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04/10/12

  05:38:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 213 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

New Medical Codes Delayed Until 2014

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that an upgrade to the medical-coding standard will be postponed for a year, The Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports.

Originally set for implementation in 2013, the coding set known as will now go into effect on October 1, 2014. In a press release, HHS said the delay will give doctor and health insurers “more time to prepare and fully test their systems to ensure a smooth and coordinated transition to these new code sets.”

When the ICD-10 update is completed, the number of diagnosis and procedure codes used in medical billing will expand greatly, from around 18,000 in the current ICD-9 code set to about 140,000. Not surprisingly, the American Medical Association doesn’t favor the change, saying that the increase in codes will further burden doctors without improving care.

HHS said that the proposed coding changes – which would also establish a unique health plan identifier that could be used in billing – “would save health care providers and health plans up to $4.6 billion over the next ten years.”

To get some idea of the scope of the 120,000+ new codes, take a look at this Wall Street Journal article from September 2011. Suffice it to say, if you’re ever burned by flaming waterskis, there’s a code for that.

  01:02:59 pm, by MedBen5   , 295 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Doctors Differ In Opinion Of "Choosing Wisely" Campaign

Last week, nine medical societies jointly announced “Choosing Wisely” – a doctor-focused campaign to promote more selective use of medical tests. The groups compled a list of 45 tests and procedures they considered to be overused.

On the KevinMD.com blog, two physicians share their opinions of Choosing Wisely – one approving, the other more qualified in his support:

John Mandrola, MD, cardiologist: “Doctors must design and implement healthcare changes and reforms. Call us what you will, but we are the experts in medical diagnosis and treatments. We know what works and what doesn’t. We must be allowed to practice Medicine – not just follow protocols, or test and treat just to cover our butts. The corollary here, of course, is that we must be allowed to be human…

“That our thought leaders are now proclaiming – and social media is amplifying – the values of clinical judgment and targeted thoughtful diagnostic and therapeutic interventions represents a monumental sea change.”

Mike Sevilla, MD, family physician: “With these reports today, patients are challenging me even harder about the testing and treatments that I am recommending. I don’t have a problem with this. However, I do have a problem how this story has been framed in that ‘I’ am the reason why unnecessary tests are done, and my patients are more than happy to remind me of that…”

“Now, don’t get me wrong. I agree with everything that happened today. 30 billion dollars annually of unnecessary tests are a real problem. However, will this effort really change the behavior of physicians? Probably not. Will this effort really try to educate patients not to ask for unnecessary tests? Probably not. Will this campaign hope to score political points with Congress and the White House? Some believe yes…”

  11:22:15 am, by MedBen5   , 219 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Health Plan Management

Report: Health Care Reform Law Would Raise Deficit

The Affordable Care Act will add more that $340 billion to the deficit, according to a new study of the health care reform law by a Republican member of the board that oversees Medicare financing.

The Washington Post reports that conservative policy analyst Charles Blahous predicts that much of the savings and revenue ACA gains – from lower Medicare payments and higher taxes – will be more than offset by additional benefits to individuals already insured, paid through the Medicare hospitalization trust fund. That means those savings would not be available to pay for expanding coverage for the uninsured.

“If one asserts that this law extends the solvency of Medicare, then one is affirming that this law adds to the deficit,” said Blahous, who President Obama approved in 2010 as the GOP trustee for Medicare and Social Security. “Because the expansion of the Medicare trust fund and the creation of the new subsidies together create more spending than existed under prior law.”

The Obama administration countered that Blahous used faulty and selective math to reach his conclusions. “The fact of the matter is, the Congressional Budget Office and independent experts concluded that the health-reform law will reduce the deficit,” a White House budget official said, speaking to the Post on the condition of anonymity because the report was not publicly available.

04/09/12

  12:16:07 pm, by MedBen5   , 209 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Study Suggests False-Positives Can Predict Breast Cancer Risk

An oft-cited concern by those in support of reduced mammogramy screening is the greater potential of a “false-positive” – a result that indicates that a cancer is present when it is not. And indeed, 61% of women in the U.S. who do receive annual mammograms have at least one such incorrect result within a ten-year period.

New research suggests, however, that even false-positives may provide some hint for a future risk of breast cancer. Women in a Danish study who had at least one false-positive mammogram had a 67% greater likelihood of eventually being diagnosed with the disease, WebMD reports. The analysis included 58,000 women who had mammograms in Denmark between 1991 and 2005.

Breast cancer specialist Stephanie Bernik, MD doesn’t wholly support the study’s findings. “There has long been a suggestion that women who have more activity in their breasts that lead to false-positive mammograms may also have an increased risk for breast cancer, but I don’t think this study proves this,” she told WebMD.

Bernik (who was not involved in the research) also noted that innovations in mammography screening since 2000 have led to better detection of breast cancer and fewer false-positives, and the analysis reflects the greater test accuracy. “This study could be interpreted as reassuring for women being screened today.”

  11:23:55 am, by MedBen5   , 277 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Health Care Woes In 1933 Sound Very Familiar

The more health care changes, the more it stays the same… at least, that’s the conclusion one might reach when reviewing a list of U.S. health care problems from 1933.

C.E.A. Winslow, a Professor of Public Health at Yale University, wrote “A Program of Medical Care for the United States” for the January 27, 1933 edition of Science magazine. His observations about the state of health care back then should strike a familiar chord with you. We’ve highlighted several here – you can read Winslow’s complete list at John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog.

  • Unwise expenditures for medical care: “Of the total of $3,656,000,000 a year now spent by the American people for medical care, 360 million dollars go for “patent medicines” and 125 million dollars for the services of cultists and irregular practitioners who have never studied the human body and do not understand its working.”
  • Economic burden of emergency illness: “in the group of families with incomes under $2,000 a year (about half the population of the United States) one per[cent]…of the families spent over $500 in one year for medical care…[this] constitutes the critical economic problem in the field of medical care.”
  • Inadequate care of the sick: “The second result of economic maladjustment is that a shocking large amount of illness is now actually uncared for (in spite of the potential adequacy of the resources at our disposal).”
  • Lack of preventive services: “…there is everywhere a grave lack of the applications of modern medical science to the prevention of disease…[A]s long as preventive services are immediately contingent on the payment of a fee for such services…they will not be sought by the patient.”

04/06/12

  05:16:15 pm, by MedBen5   , 313 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

While Health Law's Fate Is Weighed, MedBen Stays Proactive

In the leadup to, and aftermath from, Supreme Court hearings over the Affordable Care Act, the Internet has been rife with speculation as to what would happen if the individual mandate, or even the entire health care reform law, was struck down. The New York Times recently focused on how reversing two years of policy would affect a specific industry – health insurers.

Based on the comments of the articles’s interviewees, there’s a fair amount of hand-wringing going on:

  • “Many of us did not get the bill we wanted, but I think having to start over is worse than having to fix this.” – Health care industry consultant
  • “The risk of repeal and starting from zero frightens [insurers] infinitely more” than having to comply with the law as written. – Former insurance executive
  • The law, “while imperfect in a number of ways, was a step forward.” – Insurer CEO

And here at MedBen? While we’re certainly keeping an eye on judicial developments, whatever the outcome should be, it’s essentially business as usual. As nothing in the law acts to reduce the cost of care, we continue to do precisely what we’ve always done: Find ways to provide leading-edge administrative services that increase efficiency while reducing client costs.

MedBen has never been a company to take a wait-and-see attitude. So rather than sit idly by, we remain at all times proactive. For instance, in 2010 we developed Partners Community Health Plan – a unique benefits package in which local hospitals and providers play an equal role in its management. Partners is currently available for fully-insured and self-funded businesses in Southeastern Ohio and Southwestern Kentucky, with more regions soon to come.

“Business as usual” really means that MedBen is constantly looking out for your best interests – through varied benefit offerings, innovative cost controls, on-line and in-house technologies, and outstanding customer service – regardless of circumstances.

  04:02:53 pm, by MedBen5   , 178 words,  
Categories: Announcements

Preventive Care Costs Can Differ Greatly

As more preventive services are covered in full by health insurance, the range of treatment costs from one provider to another has received increased scrunity. USA Today reports that a new study demonstrates just how great the difference can be.

According to research group Change HealthCare, costs for some preventive services can vary as much as 700%. A review of 15,000 consumers found cost differences of hundreds of dollars charged for the same tests. Colonoscopy costs, for example, ranged from $786 to $1,819.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has developed a list of preventive services covered under the Affordable Care Act, and predicts a 1.5% increase in insurance premiums to cover the costs. But whether that’s a conservative estimate or not ultimately depends on the consumer’s choice of medical provider.

Bottom line: Even when you ensue no direct out-of-pocket expenses, it’s a good idea to know how much you’re spending for preventive care, and how it compares to average costs in your area. Such websites as myMedicalCosts.com, Outofpocket.com and Pricedoc.com can help you with your research.

  12:18:10 pm, by MedBen5   , 262 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Don't Ignore The Signs Of Sleep Deprivation

Many of us are so conditioned to getting by with less than seven hours of sleep a night that we ignore the warning signs our body sends when it wants more rest. But failure to take notice can lead to a myriad of health problems, including high blood pressure, obesity, depression, and decreased concentration and reaction times.

Men’s Health highlights six signs that you need to turn in earlier. We summarize them below, but you can check out the complete list at their website.

  1. You’re not hungry for lunch. A lack of sleep throws off your internal clock resulting in abnormal feelings – which is why so many people lose or gain weight during periods of sleeplessness.
  2. You’ve looked at three other Web sites in the last 5 minutes – and checked your email twice. A lack of sleep can make focusing seem impossible.
  3. You can’t remember where you put the car keys. Your brain needs sleep to refresh and regenerate. Without it, your short-term memory may be impaired.
  4. You can’t carry on a conversation. Come Saturday night, coming up with witty – or even coherent – one-liners is out of the question.
  5. You’re drowsy at the wheel. If you struggle to stay awake while driving – or doing any task that puts your life at risk – you’re not just bored. You need more sleep.
  6. You feel sick – and you never get sick. Your immune system repairs and strengthens while you sleep. So in addition to eating flu-fighting foods, log at least seven hours a night to stay healthy all season.
  11:12:17 am, by MedBen5   , 163 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

FDA Warns About Fake Cancer Drugs

Avastin users may want to take extra precautions to ensure that their physicians and pharmacists are giving them the proper version. For the second time this year, the Food and Drug Administration has uncovered counterfeits of the injectable cancer drug.

AFP reports that the latest counterfeits are labeled by the name under which Avastin is approved in Turkey, Altuzan, but contain no active ingredient. Genentech, a subsidiary of the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, markets the only FDA-approved version of Avastin in the United States.

The agency “is alerting healthcare professionals that another cancer drug, originating from a foreign source and purchased by US medical practices, has been determined to be counterfeit,” said the FDA in a statement.

In February, the FDA warned that as many as 19 US medical practices had potentially purchased and used counterfeit Avastin from Quality Specialty Products (QSP), a foreign supplier also known as Montana Health Care Solutions.

Avastin is used to treat colorectal, lung, kidney, breast and ovarian cancer.

04/04/12

  05:13:08 pm, by MedBen5   , 212 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

"Choosing Wisely" Campaign Promotes Smarter Medical Testing

In an effort to reduce wasteful spending without harming patients, nine medical societies have compiled a list of tests and treatments their members should no longer automatically order. MSNBC reports that the groups, which include the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American College of Cardiology, represent nearly 375,000 physicians.

Each of the specialty societies created a list of “Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question". The 45 tests and procedures considered to be overused include:

  • Repeat colonoscopies within 10 years of a first test
  • Early imaging for most back pain
  • Brain scans for patients who fainted but didn’t have seizures
  • Antibiotics for mild- to-moderate sinusitis unless symptoms last for seven or more days or worsen
  • Stress cardiac imaging or advanced non-invasive imaging in the initial evaluation of patients without cardiac symptoms unless high-risk markers are present
  • PAP smears on women younger than 21 or who have had a hysterectomy for a non-cancer disease
  • Advanced imaging or bone scans in patients with early-stage breast or low-grade prostate cancer
  • Bone scan screening for osteoporosis in women younger than 65 or men younger than 70 with no risk factors
  • Routine cancer screening on dialysis patients with limited life expectancies
    Chemotherapy for sickest cancer patients

Complete lists are available at the “Choosing Wisely” website.

  01:40:49 pm, by MedBen5   , 354 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

President's Confident Comments Ruffle Feathers

In spite of rumblings that the Supreme Court could strike down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama is confident that the health care reform law will stand, the New York Times reports. On Monday, he said that it would be an “unprecedented, extraordinary” step to overturn legislation passed by the “strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

Obama defended his signature legislative achievement, and cautioned right-leaning justices not to practice partisan politics from the bench:

“I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is the biggest problem on the bench is judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint – that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, here’s a good example. And I’m pretty confident that this court will recognize that, and not take that step.”

The severity of the President’s comments rubbed some politicians and pundits the wrong way – even those who support the law. In The Washington Post, op-ed columnist Ruth Marcus called his words “unsettling“:

“To be clear, I believe the individual mandate is both good policy and sound law, well within Congress’ powers under the Commerce Clause… And yet, Obama’s assault on ‘an unelected group of people’ stopped me cold. Because, as the former constitutional law professor certainly understands, it is the essence of our governmental system to vest in the court the ultimate power to decide the meaning of the constitution. Even if, as the president said, it means overturning ‘a duly constituted and passed law.’”

No doubt aware of how his remarks had been received, Obama gave a more measured critique at a press luncheon on Tuesday:

“[T]he point I was making is that the Supreme Court is the final say on our Constitution and our laws, and all of us have to respect it, but it’s precisely because of that extraordinary power that the Court has traditionally exercised significant restraint and deference to our duly elected legislature, our Congress. And so the burden is on those who would overturn a law like this.”

  01:28:56 pm, by MedBen5   , 183 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

All-Metal Hip Replacements In The News

All-metal hip replacements have gotten a lot of bad press lately. Studies calling into question their effectiveness, plus a major recall following recipient reports of pain and joint dislocation, have cast doubts on whether metal-on-metal (MOM) is preferable to plastic or ceramic joints.

Recognizing the controversy, the Food and Drug Administration has announced that an advisory panel will meet this June to review the benefits and risks of MOM replacements. Reuters reports that scientists, researchers, patients and medical practitioners will advise the agency whether new testing standards should be implemented before an implant device can be sold in the United States.

There is some good news for MOM recipients, however. According to HealthDay News, a British study of people with all-metal hip replacements found a slightly lower risk of developing cancer after surgery than those who received traditional implants.

A 60-year-old male MOM recipient with moderate health had a 6.2% chance of being diagnosed with cancer in the five years after surgery, compared to 6.7% with a hip replacement made with other materials. For women, the risk was 4% for MOM replacements and 4.4% for other types.

04/02/12

  10:29:47 am, by MedBen5   , 242 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

A "Fix-It" For Health Care

On his blog, Dr. Wes offers a common-sense approach for how we proceed with health care reform should the Supreme Court strike down the Affordable Care Act:

“Fix what’s broken first.

“Rather than creating a new, larger government health care system based on an 2700-page nearly unreadable health care law that creates at least 115 new agencies and winds between countless government agencies and disconnected bureaucracies, we should move to fix what’s broken with Medicare and Medicaid first with an eye toward fixing what matters most to Americans.

“If we’ve got waste, fraud, and abuse to the extent we are told, then fix it. We don’t need new agencies to do so.

“Admit there are limits to what can and will be paid for, set a budget, and stick to it […]

“Rather than trying to fixing exerything that ails our system all at once, take it piece by piece. Vet the issues openly rather than behind closed doors. Since prices are the priority, make prices for elective procedures and medical equipment available online to patients AND doctors. Patients must be the priority to our new initiatives, not special interests. Most of all, make the lower cost of health care and quality of health care the priorities and stop promising that the quantity of care we provide can remain unlimited to all.

“Improvise. Adapt. Who knows: we might just overcome our current health care crisis bit by little bit.”

Read his complete comments here.

  10:00:33 am, by MedBen5   , 181 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

More Young Adults Developing Skin Cancer, Study Finds

Despite repeated warnings about prolonged exposure to the sun and the dangers of tanning beds, skin cancer has risen among young adults over the past four decades.

AFP (via Yahoo! Health) reports that between 1970 and 2009, the rate of melanoma among women increased eightfold and quadrupled among men, according to research by the Mayo Clinic. Mayo experts based their findings on a study of medical records for a county in Minnesota over that timespan.

“We anticipated we’d find rising rates, as other studies are suggesting, but we found an even higher incidence than the National Cancer Institute had reported,” said lead investigator Jerry Brewer, M.D., a Mayo Clinic dermatologist. Particularly troubling, he noted, was a “dramatic rise in women in their 20s and 30s.”

Brewer added that while the study didn’t focus on reasons for the increase, prior research has shown that people who use indoor tanning beds are 74% more likely to get melanoma than non-tanners.

The Mayo study also found that death rates from melanoma fell during the same period, possibly due to earlier medical intervention to treat the disease.

03/30/12

  04:24:32 pm, by MedBen5   , 334 words,  
Categories: News

Justices Follow Tradition With Health Care Reform Vote

In a city where secrets have a short shelf life, the Supreme Court takes every precaution to ensure that no one in Washington D.C. knows what’s being said behind the chamber door.

Today the nine justices are expected to determine the fate of the Affordable Care Act. And as in all Supreme Court hearings, they follow an established and rigid procedure. The Street website explains how it works:

“The justices will confer in a room by themselves – no one else is legally allowed to be present except for the nine men and women appointed by current and past presidents – seated in order of seniority as the chief justice heads the discussion…

“[E]ach justice, starting with the most senior (which is the Chief Justice), states an uninterrupted opinion about the arguments for the specific case. Each justice may speak only once to state his or her comments, which, once completed, concludes that justice’s opportunity to speak again.

“The next justice in seniority then confers his or her opinion about the case; that order repeats until the most junior – Kagan – completes her statements.

“Once all justices have stated a case, [Chief Justice] Roberts will then hold a vote for where they intend to side on a case. The “majority” opinion refers to the side that garners – at least in the Obamacare case – five votes, while the “dissenting” opinion is the minority.”

Even though the vote occurs today, only the justices will know the outcome until June. In the meantime, majority and dissenting opinions are written.

“The senior justice in the majority will then decide who writes the majority opinion, and, traditionally, the senior justice among the dissenters will decide who writes a primary dissenting opinion,” said Greg Magarian, a Washington University in St. Louis law professor who clerked for former Justice John Paul Stevens. “Although anybody can write a dissent, and anybody in the majority can write a separate concurrence explaining why they… partially agree and partially disagree.”

  12:32:19 pm, by MedBen5   , 229 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Results Of Pay-for-Performance Hospital Test Fail To Impress

A Medicare experiment to pay hospitals for quality performance, rather than quantity, apparently did not have the desired effect, Kaiser Health News reports.

Between 2003 and 2009, the Medicare Premier Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration (HQID) awarded bonuses to participating hospitals based on such performance metrics as mortality rates for heart attack and heart bypass surgery. But a study comparing the mortality rate of the 252 HQID hospitals to those of 3,363 non-participants found the mortality rate to be virtually the same in both groups.

“Pay for performance is really important,” said Ashish Jha, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the study. “This says to me that we haven’t figured out the pay part, or the performance part.”

Premier healthcare alliance, which oversees quality improvement efforts for its membership of hospitals and health systems, saw the results differently. It estimated the project saved the lives of 8,500 heart attack patients over five years, while also noting that lowering mortality wasn’t the primary goal of the demonstration project.

“The goal of HQID was to determine whether incentives would improve care processes in hospitals and it did do that, there’s no question,” said Blair Childs, a senior vice president at Premier.

HQID serves as the model for the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program, a provision of the health care reform law expected to begin in 3,000 hospitals this fall.

03/29/12

  05:21:17 pm, by MedBen5   , 185 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Unhealthy Lifestyles Impact Cancer Rates

Cancer deaths continue to fall, but obesity and inactivity are keeping overall numbers higher than they should be, WebMD reports.

A new joint report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and leading cancer groups concluded that there is a link between obesity and increased risk for colorectal and postmenopausal breast cancers, as well as cancers of the esophagus, kidney, pancreas, and uterus. Additionally, a lack of physical activity was linked to increased risk for colon cancer and “probable” increased risk for postmenopausal breast and uterine cancers.

Cancer rates did decrease in the U.S. by an average of 1.6% per year between 2004 and 2008. The report said the downward trend reflects progress in prevention, screening, early detection, and the treatment of cancer.

MedBen Worksite Wellness promotes prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases by emphasizing physician office testing using the plan member’s primary care provider. This eliminates the logistical headaches and potential redundancy of on-site screenings. Plus, individualized disease monitoring and nurse coaching is available for high-risk members.

For additional information about worksite wellness, contact MedBen Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at (888) 627-8683.

  03:47:54 pm, by MedBen5   , 203 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

FDA Revises Antidepressant Dosing Recommendations

The Food and Drug Administration has issued new dosing and use recommendations for the popular antidepressant Celexa, Medical Xpress reports. The change comes following concerns that the drug may cause potentially fatal abnormal heart rhythms in patients with preexisting heart conditions.

Here are the latest FDA recommendations:

  • Celexa should not be used at doses greater than 40 milligrams (mg).
  • Celexa is not recommended for use in patients with congenital long QT syndrome, bradycardia, hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, recent heart attack, or uncompensated heart failure.
  • Use of the Celexa is also not recommended in patients who are taking other drugs that prolong the QT interval.
  • The maximum recommended dose of Celexa is 20 mg per day for patients with liver impairment, patients who are older than 60, patients who are CYP 2C19 poor metabolizers, or patients who are also taking cimetidine (Tagamet) or another CYP 2C19 inhibitor. All of these factors lead to increased blood levels of Celexa, increasing the risk of QT interval prolongation and Torsade de Pointes (a potentially deadly arrhythmia), the FDA said.

MedBen prescription plan members can get more information about Celexa and other antidepressents at the RxEOB website. Just use the convenient link under the “My Rx Claims” section on the MedBen Access website.

  09:29:25 am, by MedBen5   , 221 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Supreme Court Considers Striking Down Health Care Reform Law

The third and final day of Supreme Court health care reform hearings gave rise to a real possibility that not only could the individal mandate be found unconstitutional, the entire Affordable Care Act may be nullified.

The Los Angeles Times reports that while the outcome of the case, which concluded its arguments yesterday, won’t be known until this summer, the court’s five-member conservative majority appeared to view the health care reform law in an unfavorable light – giving opponents just enough votes to strike it down altogether.

“One way or another, Congress is going to have to reconsider this,” said Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative. “Why isn’t it better to have them reconsider it in toto?” In response, liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said said the court should do a “salvage job” rather than undertake a “wrecking operation.”

Solicitor Gen. Donald Verrilli Jr., the Obama administration’s top lawyer, pleaded with the court for restraint. “[The Affordable Care Act] was a judgment of policy that democratically accountable branches of this government made by their best lights, and I would encourage this court to respect that judgment,” he said in his cloisng arguments.

The court also heard arguments Wednesday on expanding the Medicaid health insurance program – a provision of the law that would also get cut if the law were voted down.

03/28/12

  09:55:07 am, by MedBen5   , 200 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Transcriptions, Audio Of Health Care Reform Hearings Available

The Supreme Court website has posted transcripts of the oral arguments from Day One and Day Two of the health care reform law hearings (formally, The Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida).

While the transcriptions are lengthy, they’re definitely worth a read or a skim-through. And if you’re interested in specific comments from the proceedings, both offer indices of common terminology.

If you prefer to listen to the hearings on your MP3 player, audio versions of Day One and Day Two are also available for play or download.

UPDATE: Day Three of the Supreme Court hearing included arguments as to whether the health care reform law could stand without the individual mandate (National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius) and the constitutionality of the law’s Medicaid expansion (Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services). Transcripts and audio versions are available for both on the Supreme Court website.

Future of law if individual mandate is found unconstitutional: Transcript and audio

Constitutionality of proposed Medicaid expansion: Transcript and audio

MedBen clients with questions regarding the hearings are welcome to send them to healthreformquestions@medben.com. Responses will be sent directly to the client and may also be reproduced here.

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