It’s Official: Gov. Martinez Wants Full Repeal of Federal Health Care Reform

By Charlotte Chinana

“The first step for a successful Medicaid transformation is the full repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

– An excerpt from a letter signed by 29 Republican Governors – including New Mexico’s
Susana Martinez – outlining seven principles for Medicaid Reform.

A day before the Health and Human Services Interim Committee met and heard from the NM’s Human Services Department (HSD), about their plans to redesign the state’s Medicaid program, Gov. Martinez joined several of her colleagues in signing on to a letter calling for the “full repeal” of the Federal Health Reform Act (otherwise known as the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” – or PPACA).

The repeal-support letter, written as a response to a report released in March, by Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), reiterates the claims made regarding costs that the states would assume, by expanding Medicaid under PPACA.

According to the Hatch-Upton report, it “conservatively estimates” that the PPACA Medicaid expansion would “cost state taxpayers at least $118.04 billion through 2023” – and provided state-by-state projections.

The report and its findings, however, were subsequently challenged by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, on the grounds that the report is “wholly unsound”:

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Improve The Health Care Market!

By Tracy Dingmann

News that two of the state’s largest private health insurance companies are sharply limiting or changing the way they insure New Mexico children has local children’s advocates reacting with dismay but not surprise.

According to a story last week in the Albuquerque Journal:

Presbyterian Health Plan, beginning Jan. 1, intends to put all new applicants for individual insurance coverage younger than 19 years into a single risk pool and charge different rates depending on the child’s health status. Children already enrolled in an individual plan would not be affected.

Lovelace Health Plan will accept all new children who apply into its existing individual insurance products, but only once a year during open enrollment periods. The next open enrollment will occur in July 2011. Applicants 19 years old and older can apply at any time.

Both companies are blaming their choices on changes that took effect on Oct. 1 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – changes that were meant to strengthen patient’s leverage with large health insurers and to increase access to health care for millions of Americans who did not have it.

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Healthcare Reforms Begin: Holding Insurance Companies Accountable

One after another, shortly after a diagnosis of breast cancer, each of the women learned that her health insurance had been canceled… The women all paid their premiums on time. Before they fell ill, none had any problems with their insurance. Initially, they believed their policies had been canceled by mistake.

So began a recent story by Reuters about one of the health insurance industry’s giants, Wellpoint.

And no, the canceled polices were not a mistake.

Little did these women diagnosed with breast cancer know, but Wellpoint had deliberately targeted them, through the use of a “computer algorithm”, for automatic placement on a list to be aggressively “investigated.” And the purpose of the investigation was to find any excuse to terminate their coverage – just at the time they needed it most. Revoking policies is this way is called “rescission.”

(It should be noted that Wellpoint denies the charges in the Reuters story.)

An abusive practice? It would seem so. Nevertheless, it has basically been standard operating procedure for the industry.

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