President Barack Obama speaks at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., about the fight against Ebola. The president is highlighting advances in research for an Ebola vaccine and pushing Congress to approve his request for $6.2 billion to confront the disease abroad and to secure against its spread in the United States
President Barack Obama tours the Vaccine Research Center with Dr. Nancy Sullivan, U.S. Secretary of HHS Sylvia Burwell, and Dr. Anthony Fauci to talk about Ebola, during a visit to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland
Jane C. Timm: Study: Obamacare Helping More Youth To Get Mental Health Treatment
Young adults have a higher risk of mental health problems and substance abuse – both issues that the U.S. health care system traditionally has struggled to treat. But according to a new study, the number of high-risk youth seeking and receiving affordable care is on the rise, thanks to an Obamacare provision that allows young people to stay on their parents’ health plan until they turn 26. Two million young people now have health care coverage because of the provision, the study notes, but the biggest shift has been with youth demographics that are most at risk.
Among 18-25 year olds exhibiting signs of mental health or substance abuse problems, 5.3% more received mental health care than a comparable group of 26-35 year olds, researchers from Johns Hopkins and Harvard found in the study, published this month in the health care journal Health Affairs. The cost of care has decreased, too: Uninsured doctor visits requiring patients to pay out of pocket were down 12.4%, while the number of covered visits rose 12.9%. Three-quarters of all mental illnesses begin by age 24, according to the National Institute of Health. Before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, nearly 60% of all mental health or substance abuse care for young Americans was paid for out-of-pocket. Mental health care coverage is often prohibitively expensive, a factor that respondents routinely cite as a reason for not seeking care.
“I am so happy,” says Sizemore as she waits at the Grace Community Health Centre in Clay County, Kentucky, “I’ve not had insurance since I turned 19.” But Sizemore is also nervous. She is seriously overweight and was warned in her teens that she was likely to develop diabetes. Without health insurance she has not been able to afford tests or check-ups to see if she has indeed got the disease. Sizemore is one of 421,000 people in Kentucky who’ve signed up since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare, came into force last October. Like many, she now qualifies for Medicaid, the government programme that pays for health care for the poorest Americans. Under the new law, the federal government offers states money to expand Medicaid so that many more people on very low wages, like Liberty Sizemore, are covered. Benita Adams may be one of the people the Governor has in mind. The 62-year-old grandmother lives on the edge of the rolling Appalachian Mountains in eastern Kentucky. She owns her home but works two jobs as a dental assistant to make ends meet.
Adams has had no health insurance since her divorce 30 years ago. A recent heart operation left her with a $67,000 bill. Although the hospital waived around half of that, she still pays $50 a month to clear the rest. “I used to say, if I get hurt just let me be killed because I can’t afford to pay any more hospital bills,” she says. But Adams no longer has to worry. Under Obamacare, she qualifies for a private insurance plan with a hefty government subsidy that covers the monthly payments in full. “Everyone was mad over Obamacare but it’s just wonderful, it’s really helping people,” Adams says as she lists the medical appointments she has been to since getting insured. Liberty Sizemore, waiting for her blood test results at the Grace Community Health Centre, feels the same. “I was so worried,” she says. “But now I can get better because I have a doctor. I have a doctor and that’s a relief off my shoulders, more than you can know.”
Valerie Bauman: Federal Money Adds 24 New Medical Residencies In Washington State’s Most Doctor-Starved Regions
As of this year, 24 new primary care residency spots will have been created in Washington through a five-year federal program dedicated to getting doctors to regions that need it most. The latest influx of federal money is $6.3 million, reported earlier this week, more than the combined $2.55 million that the program provided for Washington residencies between 2011-2013. Each new residency position is the equivalent of a three-year, guaranteed residency spot for one new doctor. It’s never been more important for Washington to grow its pipeline of new doctors, particularly in underserved urban and rural areas. The state’s projected doctor shortage has Washington State University considering opening its own medical school in Spokane.
Why people keep doubting Obama, I'll never know. The man turns Republican tears into wine every time.
It is unique because it partners medical residents with community health clinics that typically work with low-income or underserved populations. It benefits the resident by giving a new doctor real world experience, and helps communities by getting more doctors where they are needed most. The program was created in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act, and brought the first round of new residency spots to Washington in 2011. Initially, Yakima and Ellensburg received the funding for residents, but as more money has come in through the program, it’s been expanded to Tacoma, Spokane and to the Puyallup Tribal Health Authority.
11:30: VP Biden meets with law enforcement officials to discuss common sense immigration reform
1:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
5:0: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host the Diplomatic Corps Reception (Closed press)
Occupy Democrats: Watch a Doctor Destroy a Koch Brother-Funded Anti-Obamacare Ad in 2 Minutes:
The Hill: The Obama administration on Thursday highlighted lower-than-expected premiums for healthcare plans sold through ObamaCare’s new insurance marketplaces.
In the 11 states that have released rates for next year, premiums for a middle-of-the-road plan are an average of 18 percent cheaper than the Congressional Budget Office had expected.
…. New York is the latest state to report that premiums for plans offered through its exchange would be cheaper than expected — and, on average, 50 percent cheaper than comparable policies available in the state today …. California also reported lower-than-expected premiums…
Six states have released rate filings for plans available to small businesses through a separate exchange. Those policies are also an average of 18 percent cheaper than existing coverage options, HHS said.
President Obama on Thursday touted some good news about Obamacare. And, lord knows, he’s earned the right. Republicans and conservative intellectuals keep seizing on setbacks — some real, some imagined — and predicting that Obamacare will be a catastrophe. They are almost certainly wrong.
Ironically, one of the best reasons to believe in Obamacare may be the very issue that has inspired so much chortling on the right: The insurance premiums for people who buy on their own, because they don’t get coverage from an employer or through a government program.
Insurers around the country have already submitted bids…. they are coming in lower than most experts had predicted….
…. it means the overall price of Obamacare — the amount of money the government must spend, in order to make the law function — is going to be even lower than predicted.
ThinkProgress: Most Media Coverage Ignores Premium Drop, Focuses On GOP Effort To Undermine Obamacare
Early on Wednesday, as House Republicans prepared to vote for a delay of the Affordable Care Act’s employer and individual mandates, New York state officials announced that health care premiums in the new exchange will plummet by at least 50 percent as a result of the law.
For reform advocates, the story represented a reprieve from the constant drum beat of media coverage about implementation delays, predictions of rate shock, and employers dropping coverage. But a ThinkProgress analysis of television reports about the health care law for Wednesday, July 18th, confirms that even with good news to report, bookers and segment producers are still far more interested in broadcasting stories about the political brinkmanship in Washington, DC than the actual, tangible progress of implementation.
Steve Benen: The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act did not actually strike down the entire civil-rights law, but rather, gutted it by rejecting Section 4 of the VRA. The burden then shifted to Congress to find a remedy …. Yesterday, the House held its first hearing on the VRA since the court ruling, and if the public comments were any indication, the odds of success in the near future appear long…
Most of the Republican members of the panel apparently didn’t think the hearing was especially important – which is to say, they didn’t show up ….
… Anyone predicting congressional Republicans might do the right thing on voting rights should probably adjust their expectations accordingly. GOP policymakers at the state level are rushing to impose new restrictions to keep voters from participating in their own democracy, and GOP policymakers at the federal level appear content to do nothing to stop them.
As part of our Summer Of Fakery, the House allegedly has taken up the job of repairing the damage done to the Voting Rights Act that occurred when John Roberts declared the day of jubilee. One of the witnesses today was Hans von Spakovsky, who’s been scamming this particular scam for over a decade now. Anyway, this is what von Spakovsky was peddling today.
“[That section] was an unprecedented, extraordinary intrusion into state sovereignty……..”
…. Not to bring that pesky Constitution into things again, but here’s an extraordinary intrusion into state sovereignty:
Amendment XIII: Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction…..
…. If you want to understand why modern conservatives seem so impatient with settled law, remember that they owe their modern ascendancy to the people who refused to accept any of these three Amendments because they didn’t believe the freaking Civil War changed anything.
ThinkProgress: On Thursday, three Texas Republicans filed a measure that would criminalize abortion services after a fetal heartbeat can be detected — which typically occurs around six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they’re pregnant.
The Texas legislature is currently in the midst of a special session that was convened specifically to give lawmakers more time to consider abortion restrictions. The session will end on July 31. Until then, GOP lawmakers have been busy proposing a slew of anti-abortion bills in the hopes of being able to rush them through.
Justin Elliott (Salon): If the release of President Obama’s birth certificate last month was the denouement of the birther saga, the release of Terrence Lakin from prison will be its bizarre coda. Lakin is the veteran Army doctor who refused orders to redeploy to Afghanistan because he believed Obama was born abroad, not a legitimate president, and therefore that military orders were invalid.
Last December, Lakin … was dismissed from the Army and sentenced to six months in prison … In what promises to be one of the stranger political spectacles of the year, a homecoming event is planned Saturday at the Southwest Airlines baggage claim area of Baltimore Washington International Airport. The website set up to support Lakin … suggests:
All we ask you to do is bring a home-made poster that says, “Welcome Home Terry.” or “Thank You Terry” or any appropriate messages about the issue. Bring a small US flag if you have one. We will text the coordinators when we deplane so you can all get ready to greet Terry as he descends on the escalator to baggage claim. We need a big hurray and lots of applause (of course). He may say a few words…
Unlike the folks over at WorldNetDaily, who have been enriched by years of pumping up birtherism, Lakin’s commitment to the conspiracy both torpedoed his career and put his family in financial peril. His website notes: “Please consider making a special gift at this critical time. We have been able to provide for the family’s monthly expenses, but contributions have dropped off since the release of the proposed birth document by the Obama administration.”
Can anyone imagine a more tragic story emerging from the birther carnival?
President Obama with Libby Little, whose husband Tom received a posthumous Medal of Freedom at the White House today.
Dr. Tom Little (Posthumous): Dr. Tom Little was an optometrist who was brutally murdered on August 6, 2010, by the Taliban in the Kuran Wa Munjan district of Badakhshan, Afghanistan, along with nine other members of a team returning from a humanitarian mission to provide vision care in the remote Parun valley of Nuristan. Dr. Little and his wife, Libby, lived and worked in Afghanistan for three decades beginning in 1976, raising three daughters and providing vision, dental and mother/child care to the people of that country through the NOOR program (Noor means “light” in Persian) that Dr. Little ran for the International Assistance Mission.