Wolf Bashes Healthcare Bill in Letter to White House

L: (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) | R: (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf is urging the White House not to embrace the American Health Care Act – legislation that would repeal and replace major parts of Obamacare.

In a letter penned to White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (President Donald Trump’s son-in-law), Wolf said he has “deep and serious concerns” about how the AHCA would affect people and communities struggling with opioid addiction, which Wolf has worked for years to address and combat.  Read more »

Here Are the Pa. Republicans Who Voted No on Repealing Obamacare

Pixabay.com

Pixabay.com

As you likely (hopefully) know by now, Republicans are trying yet again to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Yesterday, the House narrowly passed a health care bill that would repeal and replace major parts of the ACA.

All 193 Democrats in the House voted “no” to the bill, called American Health Care Act. Among Republicans, 217 voted “yes,” 20 voted “no,” and one did not vote.

Pennsylvania had more defectors than any other state – four of the 20 Republicans who opposed the bill are from Pennsylvania.

Those four Republicans are: Rep. Ryan A. Costello of the 6th District; Rep. Patrick Meehan of the 7th District; Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of the 8th District; and Rep. Charlie Dent of the 15th DistrictRead more »

A Humble Suggestion for Fixing America’s Health Insurance Problems

Photo by LPETTET/iStock

Photo by LPETTET/iStock

A few days ago, I was spending my lunch hour at work filling out an online form to make an appointment with a doctor I’d never been to before. I had my ducks in a row: calendar, check. Insurance card, check. Normal impatience: tightly reined in. Doctor forms always ask so many questions. And the plain truth is, I’m no longer sure of the exact date on which I had that hernia operation back in 1996. I do know when I had my two caesareans, though. Those are my kids’ birthdays.

Insurer’s name? Too easy. ID number? I got that, even though the tiny type and the five zeroes in a row — or is it four? — don’t make it easy to read off my insurance card. Then the form asked for group number. Um. I looked at the card, then turned it over. Nope, nothing that said “group number.” Somewhere in the far distant reaches of my brain, I felt a little tingle. I had the vaguest recollection of my ordinarily even-tempered husband railing about how he couldn’t find the goddamn group number for the health insurance anywhere — when? A year ago? Two years? Five years? I seemed to recall that he finally found it, somehow, and told the kids and me to write it down someplace safe for when we needed it again. Read more »

Report: 5 Ways the Obamacare Repeal Will Slam Pa.’s Economy

pa capital building

On the first day of his presidency, Donald Trump issued an executive order to start rolling back the Affordable Care Act, and the repeal will result in some major shocks for Pennsylvanians and the state’s economy, according to a report released last week by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.

The report’s key findings show that once the Trump administration begins to roll back the law, instituted in 2010, these five things will happen across the state: Read more »

Toomey Compares Patients With Preexisting Conditions to Burned-Out Houses

Pat Toomey has taken a lot of flak since Donald Trump won the presidency. The Pennsylvania senator, who revealed he had decided to vote for Trump only on Election Night, has been protested weekly by the “Tuesdays With Toomey” group.

But, hey, that’s what happens when you’re in the majority party and you voted for the unpopular president. And so going around liberal internet today is this clip of Pat Toomey comparing people to houses. Read more »

The Checkup: The Seemingly Healthy Foods to Boot From Your Pantry, Stat

• If you load up on dried cranberries in your salads — because how bad can dried cranberries be? They’re berries! — you’re going to want to stop. A quarter-cup serving boasts a whopping 30 grams (!!) of sugar. And don’t even get us started on big-brand green juices, which can be loaded with sugar and completely lacking fiber. Here, all the seemingly healthy foods that actually don’t deserve a spot in your pantry. [Prevention]

Read more »

Delco Podiatrist Charged in Massive Federal Health Care Fraud Sweep

health care fraud

Stephen A. Monaco via Facebook

A Delaware County podiatrist was charged in the largest health care fraud takedown in history, the Department of Justice announced today.

Stephen A. Monaco, of Broommall, Pa., is charged in a $5 million scheme to defraud Medicare, Medicaid and four private victim insurance companies. The charging information alleges that Monaco committed fraud through his Havertown office, A Foot Above Podiatry.

The Department of Justice announced Monaco’s charges as part of the largest sweep led by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force in history, resulting in criminal and civil charges against 301 people, including 61 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who participated in health care fraud schemes. The sweep involved about $900 million in false billings.

Read more »

Report: Independence Health Group Income Down 93 Percent

Independence Blue Cross HQ at 1901 Market Street.

Independence Blue Cross HQ at 1901 Market Street.

As the wave of health care consolidation continues and the Affordable Care Act covers brings new entrants into the insurance market, a new report offers a glimpse into the financial standing of one of Philadelphia’s largest health care players.

Independence Health Group earned $6 million in net income during the first nine months of 2015 — but that’s down 93 percent from the same time period in 2014 when it earned $83 million. The numbers come from Fitch Ratings, which analyzed Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies across the country, finding that 23 out of 35 reported a decline in earnings. Read more »

Q&A: Jefferson CEO Steve Klasko on Obamacare, Merger Mania

Steve Klasko, CEO of Jefferson.

Steve Klasko, CEO of Jefferson.

Steve Klasko has a bold plan: Fix health care in the United States.

For better or worse, the business of health care has changed since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — and the CEO of Jefferson has made some bold moves to navigate those waters.

In just the past year, Jefferson merged (or announced mergers) with Abington Health, Aria Health, Kennedy Health and Philadelphia University. But a bigger Jefferson doesn’t mean expanding its Center City hospital, it means bringing care to where people need it most, and partnering with innovators trying to disrupt the space.

I sat down with Klasko to discuss Jefferson’s vision as well as the future of health care in the United States — a hot topic in the 2016 presidential race. (This interview has been edited and condensed.) Read more »

Four Innovators Awarded $600,000 from University City Science Center

The University City Science Center.

The University City Science Center.

Four researchers are sharing the hefty prize of $600,000.

It’s all part of the QED Proof-of-Concept Program from the University City Science Center that unites collegiate research from the Greater Philadelphia area with expertise that can bridge the gap between academic research and product commercialization.

Half of their $600,000 winnings are funded by the Science Center, while the researchers’ academic institutions contribute the other halves. Winners were chosen from a pool of 62 applicants from 12 universities throughout the region.

The winners included: Read more »

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