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Home   Hot Topics   Governmental Affairs   Practice Management   Membership   Legal Information April 1, 2010

Dr. William H. Fleming III: Some things to like, some things to fix in health law
The Houston Chronicle, March 28, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The health reform bill that we at the Texas Medical Association opposed is now law. While legal and political wrangling will go on for years, physicians of Texas remain committed to our patients. We want to keep what's good and fix what's broken in our health care system. Frankly, we cannot allow our political views or the new law to get in the way of what medical care is all about: physicians caring for patients. More

CMS saves physicians from pay cuts — again
MedPage Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When Congress left town over the weekend for a two-week recess, it left without taking action to forestall the 21 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement set to take effect on April 1. But for the second time this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has stepped in, buying doctors more time. As it did at the end of February, CMS has instructed contractors to hold claims for services performed on or after April 1 for the first 10 business days of the month. That will give Congress time when it returns on April 12 to pass legislation pushing back the cut. More

Doctor shortage obstacle to reform
The San Antonio Express-News, March 30, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The landmark health care bill that became law last week will extend coverage to at least 4.5 million uninsured Texans, but that doesn't mean they'll have easy access to a family doctor. Texas has a shortage of primary care physicians, ranking near the bottom in the nation in its ratio of primary doctors to residents. At the same time, it has the nation's highest rate of uninsured, with about one in four residents lacking health coverage. More

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Texas doctors seeing new rise in H1N1
KENS-5, March 31, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Doctors at Texas Children's Hospital say they've seen another rise in the number of swine flu cases they've had to handle and they're warning the public that the H1N1 virus has not gone away. They've had one swine-flu-related death this month and, right now, a 3-month-old child is currently being treated in the intensive-care unit because of the virus. More

Under fire, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas offers to cover medical expenses for Crowley baby
The Fort Worth Star Telegram, March 30, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Houston has health insurance. The news, announced on a Web site set up for the Crowley baby, ended his family's weeklong fight after the newborn was denied health insurance because he needed surgery to repair a heart defect — what the insurance company called a pre-existing condition. Doug and Kim Tracy's battle with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas garnered national attention, coming on the heels of historic healthcare legislation, signed by President Barack Obama a week ago, which will require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. More

Insurers' fine print leaves some out to dry
The Austin American-Statesman, March 29, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Discretionary clauses, which are the subject of a recent public debate between insurers and consumer advocates, give insurance companies the authority to interpret the terms of their policies. They also provide the legal cover to win most lawsuits in which policyholders sue over unpaid claims. In other words, the clauses effectively give companies the authority to decide who gets paid and who doesn't. More

$100 millon funding could help med school
El Paso Inc., March 29, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A little known provision of the president's budget could have a major impact on El Paso's emerging medical school complex. The budget included a $100-million grant program to support developing medical schools in areas of "health professional shortage." Federal administrators will have some leeway in defining who's eligible, but it is clear that El Paso's Paul L. Foster School of Medicine is one of them. More

Healthcare law expected to shift more of cost burden to younger people
The Associated Press via The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 29, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Under the health care overhaul, young adults who buy their own insurance will carry a heavier burden of the medical costs of older Americans — a shift expected to raise insurance premiums for young people when the plan takes full effect. Beginning in 2014, most Americans will be required to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. That's when premiums for young adults seeking coverage on the individual market would likely climb by 17 percent on average, or about $42 a month, according to an analysis of the plan conducted for The Associated Press. More

It could soon be hard to find a doctor in the Brazos Valley
KBTX, March 29, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Finding the right doctor is never easy, but it's expected to get even more difficult in the next few years. That's because the health care overhaul could put an extra strain on a field already experiencing large shortages: primary care doctors. "The country was headed for a physician shortage before health care reform passed, when you add 40 plus million people to the mix who will now have access to care — we think there will be a profound primary care shortage," said Dr. Nancy Dickey, President of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs for The Texas A&M University System. More

The articles in The Texas Medical Association Weekly Headlines are chosen from a variety of sources, Texas and national, to reflect media coverage of the medical profession and health care issues. Publication of any article does not imply that TMA has endorsed or supports its contents.
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