Congressional Committees with Health Care Jurisdiction

Health care is such a massive topic that it takes more than one Congressional committee to handle all the health-related legislation. It’s important to know which committee a bill will be referred to for any advocacy work! Speaking with committee members should be a priority.

Once a bill is introduced in the House or the Senate, it is referred to the committee with jurisdiction over the topic or program addressed in the bill. Committees then refer it to the appropriate subcommittee and conduct an evaluation of the proposed legislation. Let’s take a look at what is under the jurisdiction of the major health care committees on both sides of Capitol Hill.

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California Adopts Statewide Insurance Subsidies

Not only are the views of the California coast spectacular, but now they come with the bonus of a buffer to the rising cost of health insurance.

California will be the first state to offer state-funded tax credits for insurance purchased through Covered California, the state insurance Marketplace. The federal government offers credits as well, but many people fall into a coverage gap due to earning too much for Medicaid and the federal credit but too little to afford insurance on their own. The California credits will be paid for in part by a new tax penalty on Californians who do not have health insurance.

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Improving Quality of Care for End-Stage Renal Disease

I spent this rainy morning shadowing a pediatric nephrologist, the specialists for kidney function in kids. The number of conditions they see is vast, but each has a unique course and some can progress to renal failure, even with medical intervention.

Chronic renal failure is the result of slowly progressive kidney diseases (and it not often reversible). 1 in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease — the two main causes of CKD in the adult population are diabetes and high blood pressure. In kids, CKD is often associated with inherited disorders, malformations present at birth, and autoimmune diseases, to name just a few.

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$12 Billion in Risk Corridor Payments at Risk

On December 10, 2019, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments concerning $12 billion that insurers say they are owed by the federal government as part of the risk corridor program.

The risk corridor program was one of the ACA’s three premiums stabilization programs (along with risk adjustment and reinsurance). The temporary risk corridors program was designed to run from 2014 to 2016 and meant to encourage risk-averse insurers to participate in the ACA marketplaces.

Here’s how the program was set up: If a plan’s costs were lower than it’s premiums, the plan would pay a share of it’s profits to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If the plan’s costs exceeded premiums received, the plan would receive a payment from HHS for it’s excess costs. Insurers entered the marketplace under the assumption these risk corridor payments would be made to cushion extreme gains and losses.

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Clean Is The New Black

It’s November, which means it’s officially time to think about holiday shopping! Before you head to the mall, consider shopping small this year with me and giving the gift of safer! When you shop Beautycounter, you’re not only supporting me, you’re supporting a BCorp, voting with your dollars, and looking out for those you love! There are gift sets for literally everyone – teacher, party host, stocking stuffers, teenagers, parents, and more! Here are some of my top picks for everyone on your list.

Don’t miss out on the Thanksgiving saleget 15% off and free shipping through 12/1!

For the Beautycounter newbie: Counter+ Skincare Favorites ($89)
With three of our high performing faves and the limited edition Lotus Glow Cleansing Stick, this set is perfect for any skin type! It works with any skincare regimen and is great for experts and newbies alike!

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Tap Dance Dreams & ACA Open Enrollment

Happy Monday!! I always enjoy the early morning sunshine after we “fall back” but boy do I hate the darkness at 6pm. I am usually an early morning studier but with an exam coming up on Wednesday, I was at it later than usual yesterday. As soon as I realized it was pitch black out, it felt like my brain turned off. So I watched the magnificent PBS broadcast of 42nd Street and did some light studying. I don’t know how I’ve never seen 42nd Street before but I AM OBSESSED.

I actually learned how to tap dance a few years ago and for one of our performances (yes, we had performances and no I won’t share the video!) we learned the opening to 42nd Street. But to see it done by professionals, holy smokes, the tapping in this show out of the stratosphere incredible! I was literally on the edge of my seat watching it. There’s a pretty good chance (like approaching 100%) that I will watch it again this week, but I’m going to do my *best* to wait until after my exam.

And since it is Monday, I think it’s time for a little MPH Monday lesson. It’s the perfect time to talk about open enrollment for 2020 ACA Marketplace health insurance, which began on Friday, November 1 and will end on Sunday, December 15th.

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Sunday Reading 11.3.19

I hope you enjoy the extra hour today thanks to the end of Daylight Savings (unless you have kids, in which case, enjoy that gallon of coffee!). Every year I look up why we have this weird time quirk – check out this great explainer from National Geographic.

My week was a blur of studying (#theusual) with a fun night shadowing labor & delivery sprinkled in, plus some great workouts, a sunset walk, and time with friends. But it left plenty of time to roam around and read the all the news, one of my favorite ways to procrastinate.

The NYC marathon is today, but there is so much more to running in the city that never sleeps.

Chelsea Clinton is exceptional – brilliant, driven, and teeming with passion.

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Day in the Life: Halloween & Babies Edition

Good morning from the couch! I’m taking it easy this morning and watching Grey’s Anatomy while I put this post together. I shadowed labor & delivery last night (omg babies!!) and didn’t get to bed until almost 1am. Wayyyyy past my bedtime, so I didn’t set an alarm and slept in until 8:30, so rare for me! I thought it would be fun to share a little day in the life from yesterday. It wasn’t an exceptionally exciting day aside from shadowing and lots of halloween candy, but it’s a pretty good representation of what MS2 has been like so far!

6:00am I stayed up late last night carving a pumpkin and watching Hocus Pocus with my friends in hopes I would sleep in, but no such luck. Going to need a coffee late to stay up for L&D.

6:15am COFFEE, read the news, and listen to my favorite classical NPR station

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This Week in Health Policy #9

This Week in Health Policy #9

This week has been a mixture of watching lectures, reviewing material for the 100th time, and having a few “ah-ha” moments, which are always oh so welcome! I’m a week into renal (allllll about the kidney) and it’s HARD. So much movement of salt and water and lots of other little molecules in such a balanced little dance. I also had another standardized patient this week focused on motivational interviewing (MI), a technique to assess and help patients regarding behavior changes like smoking cessation or weight loss. No matter what specialty I go into, I know it will come in handy! One area I hope to use MI in the future is persuading parents (and kids!) to have healthy eating habits, especially cutting down on soda and juice. What we eat and how policy impacts our food was a serious driver for my graduate work – and I love sharing ongoing work in this area!

The food industry is hooking kids on sugar through sweetened drinks.

A ban on sugary drinks in a California hospital led to health improvements for employees.

Instead of implementing Medicaid work requirements (which are onerous and don’t work!), Pennsylvania is connecting interested folks to employment training programs upon Medicaid enrollment. [States currently seeking to implement work requirements would require proof of employment to remain insured on Medicaid. It has not gone well in Arkansas.]

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Sunday Reading (on a Monday…) 10.27.19

Between some internet issues and a busy weekend, I never got around to publishing this week’s Sunday Reading post. Better late than never, right? I volunteered this weekend at a health fair performing well-woman exams and spent some time basking in the (too hot!) Miami sun at the South Beach Seafood Festival! It was the perfect balance of work and play, but it makes it so much harder to start working down the ol’ to-do list today. So what not start off the inevitable Monday morning procrastination than with some interesting reads?

I made this for dinner last night and it did not disappoint.

I’ve definitely looked through the viewers on my Instagram stories and wondered the same thing.

I got teary watching Meghan Markle try not to cry while talking about the emotional toll of the ruthless British press. She deserves so much better.

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