Category: Opinion - Part 10

Opinion: Deficit-reduction plans target
 provider fees, Medicaid support

By Bob Semro The Health Care Affordability Act of 2009 is one of Colorados most effective reforms, but the program it fostered could be in jeopardy because budget-cutters in Washington are targeting the federal funding that makes the act work. As talks continue on deficit reduction and increasing the debt ceiling, a number of proposals are zeroing in on the federal matching funds that cover hospital provider fees and help support Medicaid funding. Colorado is not alone among states that could lose funds. The Health Care Affordability Act, with the agreement and support of state legislators and the Colorado Hospital…

Opinion: Businesses, communities key to health care debate

By Anne Warhover Theres been a lot of talk both fiery rhetoric and thoughtful discourse on the national stage about fixing health care since Congress and President Obama took a crack at overhauling the entire system last year. Fast-forwarding to mid-2011, health care reform is moving along, but many key provisions still face legislative, judicial and budgetary scrutiny not to mention an onslaught of partisan bickering and negative ads from both sides of the political aisle. Whether the pillars of the Affordable Care Act and the health care debate succeed in expanding access, improving quality and reducing costs, one fact…

Opinion: Mammography guidelines have chilling effect on breast cancer screening

By Lara Hardesty, M.D. New studies show that women in their 40s are getting mammograms less frequently after much-publicized new guidelines came out in 2009. I am greatly concerned that these guidelines are subjecting women to unnecessary risk. I have been director of Breast Imaging at the University of Colorado since 2005 and have been sub-specializing in all aspects of breast imaging (mammography, breast ultrasound, breast MRI, breast needle biopsies) since 1997. As such, I recommend annual screening mammography for my patients beginning at age 40, as recommended by the American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology. In November 2009, the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) released new recommendations regarding…

Opinion: Getting US Covered celebrates first anniversary

By Marguerite Salazar The Colorado community will celebrate the one-year anniversary of the establishment of the GettingUSCovered health plan on July 1. GettingUSCovered is a Colorado-specific program under the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that provides comprehensive health insurance for eligible uninsured Coloradans with a pre-existing condition who have gone without coverage for six months. This new health plan is designed to act as a temporary bridge to 2014 when Americans will have access to affordable health insurance choices through a competitive marketplace called an exchange. Also, in 2014, thanks to the new consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act,…

Opinion: Affordable Care Act pushes limits of constitutionality

By David B. Kopel Within a few weeks, the federal courts of appeal may begin handing down their decisions in the constitutional challenges to President Obamas Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (PPACA). By now, almost everyone agrees that one or more of these cases is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. When the PPACA was moving through Congress, there was a lot of bluster from proponents of the law, who insisted that there were absolutely no potential constitutional problems. Most famously, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scoffed Are you serious? to a journalists question about the laws constitutionality. As it…

Opinion: Both sides argue individual mandate 
in U.S. Court of Appeals

By Bob Semro The future of national health care reform under the Affordable Care Act may hinge on a single provision in the new law. The individual mandate, or the minimum essential coverage provision, requires most uninsured Americans to purchase health coverage or pay a tax penalty. The big question is whether the individual mandate is constitutional. Twenty-six state attorneys general (25 Republicans, including Colorados John Suthers, and one Democrat) have joined the state of Florida in challenging the mandate. That case, State of Florida vs. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, represents the most significant test of the…

Opinion: Importance of payment reform cannot be overstated

By Michael Pramenko, M.D. Earlier this year, more than 100 physicians attended the Colorado Medical Society (CMS) Physician Summit on Payment Reform in Denver. Ninety-eight percent of them left the summit wanting to hear more and willing to stay involved with the discussion. The importance of payment reform cannot be overstated. Heres why. For years now, physicians have been talking about how the practice of medicine is changing. Weve been talking about our new realities, including decreasing reimbursement relative to inflation and the difficulty of maintaining a practice. At the same time, a wide range of public and private stakeholders,…

Opinion: Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate at heart of legal challenges

By Bob Semro The individual mandate is a fundamental part of last years national health care reform law. Under the Affordable Care Act in 2014, Americans who do not have health insurance will be required, or mandated, to purchase coverage or pay a tax penalty. Exemptions will be granted for financial hardship, religious reasons or if the price of the lowest-cost plan exceeds 8 percent of annual income. After the act was signed into law by President Obama, the individual mandate was challenged in a number of federal courts. In perhaps the most important case, 26 state attorneys general (including…

Opinion: Healthy Beginnings a daring experiment that works

By Susan H. France Doctors can be scary. This is true for anyone, but more so for some. Imagine you are a low-income single mom with small children. You have a past filled with disappointment and disruption, bad luck and bad choices. You may have been mistreated very possibly abused. You have untreated health issues that you try to ignore. Your infrequent encounters with authority have not gone well. You have learned to keep your head down. Now at Warren Village, a community of single-parent families working to together to become self-sufficient through school, work and community service, you want…

Opinion: 30 percent for 30 percent

By C.J. (Dian) M. Corneliussen-James The most devastating and feared breast cancer is metastatic (stage IV) breast cancer. This occurs when breast cancer spreads to distant, non-adjacent parts of the body. It strikes 30 percent of breast cancer patients and is fatal, taking lives on average within two to four years of diagnosis. Clearly, ending death from metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is of critical importance not only to those living with it, but also to anyone who has had, or may at some point develop breast cancer. Unfortunately, research for MBC is vastly underfunded. Indeed, research for all metastasized cancers…