MASSDEVICE ON CALL — A look back at President Barack Obama’s healthcare platform during the 2008 campaign turns up a surprise: He initially opposed the individual mandate that caused such a ruckus over his landmark healthcare reform law.
In the end, the mandate requiring all U.S. citizens to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, which nevertheless upheld the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act on the grounds that the penalty amounts to a tax.
But during the 2008 campaign Obama said he opposed individual mandate,
"If a mandate was the soluton, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating that everyone buy a house. They don’t have a house because they don’t have the money," Obama said while on the stump. "I am confident that if people have a chance to buy high-quality healthcare that’s affordable that they will do so."
Having won the election, the president later pledged to preserve Medicare and Medicaid, proposing a slate of reforms and explicitly opposing the proposal that’s now the cornerstone of Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s healthcare proposal.
"I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs," he said during an April 2011 speech. "We will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations."
NFL pledges $30M to study brain injury
Now that the football season has begun, attention turns once again to the toll the game takes on NFL players’ bodies, especially their brains. There’s mounting evidence of serious, long-term consequences from repeated concussions that, along with a series of tragic suicides by former professional players, has raised difficult questions for the NFL, players and fans alike.
The league recently took a big step toward addressing the issue with a $30 million donation to the National Institutes of Health for research on brain injuries, "including potential links between head trauma and neurodegenerative disorders later in life," according to The Hill.
Retired players have sued the league over its alleged failure to warn them about the dangers of head trauma, claims the NFL denies. The NIH will also look into sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes and heat and hydration illnesses and injury, according to the website.
Grassley, Kohl press CMS on Sunshine Act
With the U.S. Congress reconvening this week after its August recess, a pair of senators from across the aisle are planning to renew their push for transparency in healthcare.
Sens. Charles Grassley and Herb Kohl are slated to hold a roundtable meeting tomorrow to discuss their Sunshine Act, which would require medical device and pharmaceutical companies to disclose gifts and payments to physicians. Kohl, who’s planning to retire this year, is said to be particularly keen on seeing the act implemented before he steps down.
Healthcare added 17k jobs in August
Healthcare added 17,000 jobs to the U.S. economy last month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accounting for 17.7% of the 96,000 total jobs added last month. The national unemployment rate now stands at 8.1%, with 12.5 millionpeople without jobs.
Is atrial fibrillation a risk factor for dementia?
The link between atrial fibrillation and dementia via clinically significant strokes that damage the brain, but recent studies suggest that AF itself is a risk factor for dementia – even without a stroke.