I spent a week last month in Boise with two members of the staff of Melaleuca—a company that makes more than 400 nutritional, cleaning, personal care, and cosmetic products—making lobbying visits to the Idaho legislature. Katie Hart and Jay Cobb work for Frank Vandersloot, CEO of Melaleuca. Vandersloot is a highly successful, conservative businessman who is committed to protecting Idaho residents from abusive medical debt collection practices after discovering that one of his employees was hit with thousands of dollars in bills—including hefty lawyers’ fees and court costs—based on a $294 medical debt that she couldn’t even identify. The stark reality is that 50 percent of bankruptcies in America are caused by medical debt. He was championing a bill called the Idaho Patient Act, House Bill 515.
By Stephanie Sperry, NCL health policy intern
Spotlight on Health Care Series, Part 3: As America's health care system is facing uncertainty, NCL staff is exploring the topic in a new weekly blog series.
The failure to successfully repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), if nothing else, exposed a Republican party divided (perhaps irreparably so) on how to reform America’s healthcare system. Despite the GOP’s devastating legislative defeat, we should not underestimate their determination to resuscitate their repeal/replace efforts.
The following Huffington Post op-ed was published August 18, co-authored by NCL's Sally Greenberg and Marilyn Tavenner, the President and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans.
Navigating our health care system is no easy task. For decades, consumers have been forced to contend with a fragmented health system that makes decision making an all-consuming challenge. Whether it’s choosing a provider, knowing where to get information about cost or quality of doctors, or understanding a dictionary of complex health care terms, many consumers often feel left to fend for themselves in a system that is working against them.
Despite dire predictions to the contrary by Obamacare opponents, three recent studies have found that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) hasn’t hurt the labor market. Critics claimed massive numbers of workers would be moved from full-time to part-time jobs to avoid the cost of the employer mandate on health insurance. Critics also warned that people might choose to work less because they could either get health insurance on the exchanges or qualify under expanded Medicaid coverage.
“So Simple, So Hard” was the theme of the medication adherence conference the National Consumers League (NCL) held on September 15 in Sacramento, California. Sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the speakers and attendees explored the challenges and barriers to medication adherence – why it is so hard – and highlighted the tools and strategies to make it simpler and to improve adherence and health outcomes, especially among underserved populations.
California’s Office of Health Information Integrity (CalOHII) just delivered a big victory for patients and consumers by expressly recognizing that sponsored medication adherence programs for a currently prescribed drug (commonly called “refill reminders”) do not require patient authorization in California. In publishing its long-awaited State Health Information Policy Manual, CalOHII takes a step to harmonize the state’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA) with the federal medical privacy laws and regulations (a.k.a., the HIPAA Privacy Rule).
The King v. Burwell ruling in favor of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has allowed for approximately eight million consumers to keep their insurance coverage. In the King case, petitioners challenged the clause of the Affordable Care Act that stated subsidies are available to people who use an exchange “established by the State” to purchase insurance.