Thursday, October 25, 2007

Deputies seize baby to test blood against parents' will

Deputies seize baby to test blood against parents' will - Associated Press -- Here's a nicely framed conflict between public health laws designed to protect newborns vs. parental religious beliefs, in state (Neb.) that doesn't provide a religious exemption for newborn testing. Absent a First Amendment claim (which would fail), the only constitutional argument would be a claimed infringement of the parent's liberty interest in violation of the due process clause . . . rational basis review . . . slam dunk for the county. This falls into the same class of cases involving Jehovah's Witness minors in need of a blood transfusion.
posted by Tom Mayo, 1:26 PM | link

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Iglehart on the House's failure to override Bush's SCHIP veto

John Iglehart, the founding editor of Health Affairs and national corespondent for the New England Journal of Medicine, posted his instant analysis [may require paid subscription] of the House's failure on Thursday to override the President's veto of the SCHIP reauthorization bill, HR 976. Iglehart's provides an excellent overview of the controversy and connects this contretemps to "the larger issue of what level of public support uninsured people deserve as our employer-based insurance system continues to erode." Excellent read.
posted by Tom Mayo, 12:26 PM | link

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Federeal employees' health plan not much of a model for reform

There's a good analysis of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) by Reed Abelson in The New York Times today. Various presidential candidates are talking about the FEHBP in their stump speeches, suggesting that this country's 47 million uninsured could be covered by the same plan that covers their elected representatives. Bottom line: There's really nothing about the FEHBP that would either materially improve the uninsureds' access to health insurance or help to rein in costs. It's a private-insurance system with insurers competing for business. Underwriting, including favorable selection, and generous benefits largely replicate the problems the rest of us experience in our own private, employment-based system, and expanding FEHBP to 8 times more individuals than it currently covers would require changes in the program that would render it "FEHBP" in name only.
posted by Tom Mayo, 2:58 PM | link

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Major-party presidential candidates on health reform

Here are links to the major-party presidential candidates' health-policy web pages, which I offer in alpha order and without editorial comment:

If you're looking for a "Cliff Notes" on their health care positions, here are some recent analyses by various media sources:

Finally, one of the more heroic efforts to analyze the presidential candidates is the three-part (so far) series in The Huffington Post by Susan J. Blumenthal, M.D., and her colleagues at the Center for the Study of the Presidency in D.C.:

posted by Tom Mayo, 1:20 PM | link

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Here's a news post courtesy of FDLI's SmartBrief:

White House to face state SCHIP lawsuits -- New Jersey was the first of several states expected to file lawsuits against the Bush administration over rules set in August that limit state coverage of children's health insurance to exclude children in middle-income families. Arizona, California, Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York and Washington also say they plan to file or support lawsuits challenging the rules, claiming that the income limits set by the administration breach federal government authority on SCHIP and make it more difficult for them to provide coverage for children. "Our chief goal with SCHIP is to ensure that the poorest kids and those with no health insurance are placed at the front of the line," a CMS spokesman countered. Courier-Post (Camden-Cherry Hill, N.J.) (10/2), The Washington Post (10/2), Forbes/Associated Press (10/1).

Interesting development, this. This issue of whether higher eligibility cutoffs for SCHIP will put on the federal dole middle-class kids who would otherwise be covered by private insurance is at the heart of the White House's veto of the new SCHIP authorization bill (H.R. 976), too. Terence Hunt is reporting (AP/Washington Post) this afternoon that Pres. Bush has announced his intention to veto the SCHIP reauthorization bill on Wednesday, and that there will be no ceremony for the television cameras. Too bad: I was hoping to be able to post the YouTube video of the veto ceremony. Guess I'll have to go with something else . . . .

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.)

posted by Tom Mayo, 3:16 PM | link

Health care law (including public health law, medical ethics, and life sciences), with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter