Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Branstad signs Executive Order 78 establishing state workers may voluntarily pay 20 percent of health care insurance premiums PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Tim Albrecht   
Monday, 02 July 2012 12:51

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad today signed Executive Order 78, which allows state workers to voluntarily pay 20 percent of their health care insurance premium.

According to the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), 88 percent of state workers do not contribute anything toward their health insurance premium, and in total, Iowa taxpayers fund 97 cents of every one dollar spent on health care premiums.

The Executive Order is found here:

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Most Americans Support What Obamacare Does, Even Those Who Oppose The Law Itself PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Jessamyn Coughenour   
Monday, 02 July 2012 12:50

A  Reuters/Ipsos poll found that when you remove the controversial individual mandate from the equation , strong majorities favor most of what’s  actually in the new law:

·  61 percent of respondents favored allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26.

·  72 percent of respondents wish to maintain the requirement that companies with more than 50 workers provide health insurance for their employees.

·  82 percent of respondents favored banning insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

In recent weeks, some Republicans have come out in support of the most popular and successful Obamacare provisions, attempting to whitewash their longstanding blanket opposition. Insurance companies have also pledged to maintain key Obamacare measures regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Supreme Court decision on Medicaid PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 02 July 2012 09:59

Floor Statement of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

Response to Supreme Court Decision on Medicaid

Friday, June 29, 2012

Mr. President, the Supreme Court yesterday overturned the mandatory Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act.

As of yesterday, the states now have a choice to expand or not expand coverage to the poorest people in society without being subjected to harsh federal penalties.

Mr. President, I’d like to draw attention to a speech I gave on the Senate floor on December 2011 on the subject of the constitutionality of the Medicaid expansion.  I expressed my concerns then about the potential impact of a Supreme Court decision on Medicaid expansion.

I said on the floor that day, “… A Supreme Court ruling in favor of the States in this case could not only jeopardize the mandated Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act but could challenge the fundamental structure of Medicaid and have broader implications outside health care.”

The concerns I expressed then have, to a degree, come true.

Reading from a Washington Post editorial this morning about the Court ruling on Medicaid, “ … this restriction of federal authority may have greater ramifications than the court’s limiting of the Commerce Clause. One can imagine challenges to federal conditions across a wide spectrum of programs, including but not limited to the environment, education and transportation.”

This decision overturns the mandatory expansion of the Medicaid program.  And while I realize most of the focus is on the decision related to the tax mandate, we should spend a moment talking about the consequence of the Medicaid decision.

Mr. President, one of the goals of health care reform was to provide coverage for people in need.

I would argue the people most in need of coverage are people without a job, people without an income, the poorest of the poor.

The Affordable Care Act required states to cover people below poverty through Medicaid.

States were mandated to expand to cover people below poverty.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory expansion unconstitutional.  Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts said, “ … Nothing in our opinion precludes Congress from offering funds under the Affordable Care Act to expand the availability of health care, and requiring that States accepting such funds comply with the conditions on their use. What Congress is not free to do is to penalize States that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding.”

With this decision, states now have the option to expand Medicaid to cover people below poverty.

Mr. President, the states had that option before the Affordable Care Act was passed.  So what does this decision mean in real terms?

It will be up to the states to determine if they will cover the poorest of the poor.  The federal government cannot guarantee coverage.

So now people with jobs will have to purchase insurance under the tax mandate.  People without an income, people who are below poverty are dependent upon the state in which they reside.

Now I know some people will believe that the choice is perfunctory, that Medicaid expansion will move forward because the federal government has offered to pay for more than 90 percent of the expansion.

But if you were a state, would you really trust a promise from a federal government that is $15 trillion in debt?

If you were a state, would you really trust an Obama Administration that proposed eliminating that special federal payment rate through a proposal known as the blended rate?

States will very reasonably be risk adverse.

States can now expand if they choose or not at all.

No one should assume for a second all states will expand to cover as much as was mandated under the Affordable Care Act.

Of course, you might think people below poverty could still get health care through tax credits, but the people who wrote this bill made people below poverty ineligible for tax credits.

That’s right … ineligible.

It’s all or nothing for the poor with Medicaid.

With today’s ruling, the answer is nothing.

On December 15, 2011, I said on the Senate floor that the expansion of Medicaid and the coverage of poor people was in jeopardy because, “… the White House and the Democratic majority put their partisan goals ahead of collaboration with Republicans and States to build legitimate public policy.”

Today, that is the outcome.

When people with income, people with jobs are mandated to purchase health insurance and face a tax penalty if they don’t, while the poorest people in society, those without job or income have a guarantee of nothing, I think victory laps are premature.

After this decision, a person in a family with an income of more than $80,000 a year would be guaranteed access to a subsidy to buy private insurance, while a person in a family with no income would be guaranteed nothing.

When people below poverty, the people who least can afford coverage or the consequence of not having coverage are left with nothing, that sounds like a failure to me.

Governor Quinn Signs Laws to Strengthen Healthcare and Safety in Illinois PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Thursday, 28 June 2012 14:39

Laws Help Small Businesses Offer Health Insurance to Employees, Encourage CPR/AED Instruction, and Promote Breastfeeding

CHICAGO ­– June 28, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today visited the new Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital to sign three laws that will help more working families acquire insurance and stay healthy throughout their lives. These measures, all passed unanimously by the General Assembly, will help small businesses save money and provide employee health insurance; allow for CPR/AED training for middle school students; and require Illinois hospitals to promote breastfeeding.

“We want everyone in Illinois to be healthy at birth, in school and as adults,” Governor Quinn said. “These common-sense laws mean better healthcare for working families and new mothers, and will provide life-saving information to our students.”

Senate Bill 2885, sponsored by Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) and Rep. Karen May (D-Highwood), will allow more small businesses to join together to form a Healthcare Purchasing Group (HPG). This means that small businesses that may not have been able to provide health insurance coverage individually for their employees can pool resources with other businesses to acquire affordable coverage plans for up to 2,500 participants per group. This legislation, which takes effect Jan. 1, was an initiative of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and supported by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Illinois Public Interest Research Group and Illinois Department of Insurance.

House Bill 5114, sponsored by Rep. Dan Burke (D-Chicago) and Sen. Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) provides that local school boards may allow students in grades 6-8 to receive important video instruction about CPR and AED safety. This legislation was spearheaded by Dr. George Chiampas, an assistant professor of emergency medicine and sports medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an emergency medicine physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. It takes effect immediately.

"This bill will truly make an impact and rapidly enhance survival outcomes across our state for people who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest,” said Dr. Chiampas. “The reality is bystanders play a major role in survival outcomes."

House Bill 4968, sponsored by Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Chicago) and Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) recognizes the numerous health benefits of breastfeeding to newborns and requires Illinois hospitals to develop policies that promote breast milk. Hospitals will work with the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, which is supported by the World Health Organization and UNICEF to provide new mothers with information about the benefits of breastfeeding and other vital infant nutrition guidance that will help them lay the foundation for their child’s health.


Reactions to the Supreme Court ruling on Healthcare Decision PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Various sources   
Thursday, 28 June 2012 13:57

Schilling Statement on the Supreme Court’s Health Care Ruling
“Illinoisans deserve policies that reduce the cost of care and improve its quality without increasing taxes”

Washington, DC – Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) released the following statement after the Supreme Court announced its ruling to uphold the President’s health care reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, in its entirety, ruling that its individual mandate is a tax:

“Like many folks throughout Illinois’ 17th Congressional District I’m disappointed by today’s ruling, but the fact is that the President’s health care law will cost trillions of dollars while doing absolutely nothing to address the rising cost of health care,” Schilling said. “The opportunity remains for folks in Washington to come together in support of policies that address the rising cost of health care and put patients and their doctors back in charge of health care decisions, without this tax.  I will continue working to roll back the harmful parts of this law so we can get health care reform done right.  We can start over and in a transparent fashion work to enact bipartisan, step-by-step reforms that guarantee folks in Illinois and throughout the country are able to access health care that is affordable, convenient, and high quality.”

Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, health insurance premiums continued to rise.  – while President Obama once promised that premiums would fall by an average of $2,500, but they have already risen by $2,213 during his administration.  Despite its major provisions not taking full effect until 2014, it has been estimated that the President’s health care reform law has already added more than 12,000 pages of regulations and Federal Register notices.  It also creates as many as 159 new commissions, boards, and programs.  

The Administration argued repeatedly as it was working to advance the President’s health care reform law that its individual mandate (which required nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance) was permissible under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, and that it wasn’t a tax.  The Supreme Court ruled today, however, that the penalty a person must pay if they refuse to purchase health insurance is a tax that Congress can impose using its tax authority.  Under this ruling, the individual mandate survives as a tax, now leaving Americans with the choice between paying either higher insurance premiums or a massive tax.   

The House of Representatives has voted 30 times over the last year and a half on various proposals to repeal, defund, or dismantle the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Furthermore, five pieces of the law have been repealed or had their funding rescinded.  Click here to view Schilling’s plan for quality, convenient, patient-centered, and truly affordable health care.

“True health care reform shouldn’t raid Medicare, ignore the skyrocketing costs of care, limit the private sector’s ability to grow jobs, and put unelected bureaucrats between patients and their doctors,” Schilling said. “The time is now to work together and advance policies to save Medicare for our kids and grandkids, make care more affordable, provide the private sector with the confidence necessary to hire our unemployed friends and family, and put patients and doctors back in charge of their health care decisions.”

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To send Congressman Schilling an e-mail, click here

Braley Statement on Supreme Court Healthcare Decision

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act:

“The Supreme Court got it right today.  This decision is good news for the middle class and affordable healthcare.  It makes me think of thousands of Iowans like my nephew, Tucker.  Tucker survived a fight with liver cancer at age 2 because his family had health insurance.  But his parents lived in constant fear of losing their jobs because Tucker would be denied new insurance due to his pre-existing condition.  The healthcare reform law ended those fears -- and this decision means many other critical reforms will stay in place.

“From allowing 18,000 Iowans to stay on their parents’ insurance up to age 26, to requiring insurance companies cover screenings for diseases like breast cancer, to saving Iowa seniors hundreds of dollars per year on their Medicare prescription drugs, the law’s positive impact on Iowa is just beginning to be felt.

“It’s not a perfect law.  That’s why I’ll be working to bring Republicans and Democrats together to improve it and make it better.”


Branstad and Reynolds release statements on Supreme Court ruling

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today released the following statements on the United States Supreme Court ruling of Obamacare.

Gov. Branstad:

“Today, the Supreme Court handed down a disastrous decision to uphold President Obama’s destructive health care law, which means a future of higher costs, higher taxes, and increasing debt for Iowans.  The current health care system is nothing but a federal takeover and continues to exceed its budgeted amount every day.  But, as Governor Romney has said many times, no matter what may happen in Court, the American people must remain vigilant in their fight to repeal the law. Our goal is for Iowa to become the healthiest state in the country and to do so Iowans will need to take ownership of their own health to reduce health care costs and lead healthier lives.”

Lt. Gov. Reynolds:

“America needs real health care reform and we need Governor Romney in Washington. Gov. Romney will enact real reforms to ensure that the future of Iowa and America as a whole can replace Obamacare with solutions that put Iowans in control of their own health care and preserve the economic future of Iowa’s next generation. “

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Loebsack Statement on the Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court issued their decision on the Affordable Care Act.

“Today’s decision will bring stability and certainty to Iowans as they make critical health care choices for themselves and their families.  It maintains protections for those who have pre-existing conditions, ensures no Iowan will be denied coverage, and that young Iowans can stay on their parents’ health care plans until they are 26.  Additionally, this ruling affirms that preventative care will be provided without a co-payment, and that those who lose their jobs will not lose their coverage.  It also prevents women from being charged higher premiums simply because they are female, and prohibits pregnancy from being treated as a pre-existing condition.  Further, the Medicare prescription drug donut hole will be completely closed by 2020, through reforms that are already saving our seniors $650 each this year.

“As we move forward, the bill is not perfect and I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that the Affordable Care Act is enacted in a way that will reduce health care costs and help bring stability to Iowans during these difficult economic times.”



Statement from Lt. Governor Simon on Supreme Court decision

CHICAGO – June 28, 2012. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act:

"The Affordable Care Act is a good law. It helps seniors, young adults and middle class Americans receive stronger, more affordable care. It promotes preventive care, such as checkups and mammograms. And it prevents insurance companies from denying care to people with pre-existing conditions or charging women more based on their gender. The Supreme Court ruling today upholds these commonsense protections and puts our country on a healthier path. In Illinois, I encourage our state leaders to use this ruling as a backdrop as we set policies to make our citizens healthier, train the next generation of health care workers, grow local food systems and find other opportunities to move our state forward."


Governor Quinn Statement on Supreme Court Decision Upholding Affordable Care Act

CHICAGO ­– June 28, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today released a statement hailing today’s decision of the United States Supreme Court to uphold the federal Affordable Care Act.

“Today is a great day for Illinois and a great day for our country. This decision means that millions of working families across Illinois will continue to receive better healthcare.

“These historic reforms that are strengthening our healthcare system will continue to benefit young people, those with pre-existing conditions and care providers.

“We took a big step forward today as a nation and state, and I will continue to work with President Obama to help working families get the healthcare coverage they need.”


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