(Happy) Anniversary to the ACA. Well the health reform bill turned 2 years old today and while the benefits of the law are already apparent, many continue wondering why Obama & Co. have missed the ‘messaging opportunity.’ Meanwhile, oral arguments before the Supreme Court begin next week with unprecedented protests and other activities to highlight support or opposition to the ACA. Legal experts are giving the ACA a ‘close win’ in the Supreme Court. The question of whether the law truly impacts people’s lives is highlighted in this story about four individuals.
Strings Attached. One of the challenges to the health law centers on Medicaid expansion and Congressional use of the purse strings to force states to take certain actions. This is a longstanding practice of Congress, pursued in a bi-partisan fashion so a negative Court ruling on this piece would significantly alter the state-federal relationship.
MS Connection Launched!
The National MS Society recently launched its new social media platform at www.msconnection.org.Set up an account and connect with others having similar interest, including the `We Are Activist’ group.
Cost Still a Problem. Regardless of hype and headlines, paying for care is still unaffordable for many. AARP has a ‘price watch’ report on common prescription drugs that you may find of interest. Here’s an analysis by the Commonwealth Fund on ‘bending the cost curve’ by encouraging more primary care.
Health Care Law & Women. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has posted a blog about how the Affordable Care Act benefits women. Read the blog here.
Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The House has voted to repeal this provision of the ACA even after some support diminished due to the addition of medical liability reform to the bill. Repeal in the Senate is questionable and it’s doubtful the President would sign the repeal. This will likely be a campaign issue.
GOP Budget would Transform Medicare/Medicaid. Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled his budget proposal this week. If enacted, his proposals would result in some fundamental changes to the two health programs. The proposal passed the House Budget Committee by a 19-18 vote Wednesday. Two GOP members voted No because the budget doesn’t cut enough. The Society joined a letter sent by the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities opposing the budget in part because it would block grant Medicaid among other problems.
Britain & France. Did you know that U.S. spending on health care ($2.6 Trillion) eclipses the entire economy of Great Britain and France (not combined, individually)? Pretty staggering bit of trivia. Read about it at NPR.
World MS Day Blog. A new blog has been launched about World MS Day which is this coming May.
White House Community Partnership Summits. The White House is hosting a series of meetings, or Summits, around the country and they are open to the public so feel free to pass this along. This provides a good opportunity to carry our concerns to the executive branch. Upcoming summits:
- Orlando, FL – March 30 (Florida, South Carolina, Georgia)
- Los Angeles, CA – April 26 (California, Nevada, Arizona)
- Denver, CO – April 30 (Colorado, Utah, New Mexico)
- Chicago, IL – May 11 (Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin)
- Boston, MA – May 24 (Connecticut, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire)
- Dallas, TX – June 22 (Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas)
- Seattle, WA – June 29 (Washington, Oregon, Idaho)
GrandCare. It’s not what you think – it has nothing to do with grandparents caring for grandkids or grandkids caring for grandparents. It’s a new technology that allows people to live independently who otherwise would likely end up with institutionalized care. Learn more here.
Vets with MS. Vets with MS tend to have more chronic illness than those without MS according to a CDC report.
Tobacco 2.0. A new start-up company is heavily involved in use of tobacco plants making a wide variety of vaccines and proteins used in medical treatments.
That’s it for now. Remember to follow us on Twitter at @MSActivist and use the hashtag #MSActivist in your messages, check out the blog at www.msactivist.org, and sign up for Action Alerts at www.nationalMSsociety.org/MSActivist.