Daily Rounds: Health Law Optimists; Sugar-And-Video-Laden Cereals; Kosher Is Hot; Having A Tumor But No Insurance
The Optimist's Guide To Repealing The Individual Mandate (The Washington Post) — "Not everyone, however, predicts doom and gloom. In fact, a small tribe of health policy experts isn’t hyperventilating at all. It includes people like Paul Starr, a Princeton economist who advised Bill Clinton on health policy, who is quite relaxed imagining health reform without a mandate. “I don’t think we ought to regard the end of the mandate alone as being so decisive,” says Starr. “I think it’s completely severable.” Starr’s argument — supported by others — is this: the Affordable Care Act can still make decent strides toward achieving its main goal of expanding access to affordable health insurance. The health reform law the Supreme Court is now weighing, they say, isn’t like the efforts states have taken on in the past — and that makes them more optimistic for its future. “I don’t want to say the mandate is unimportant, but I would say there is so much more to the Affordable Care Act that goes to the heart of the protections that people receive,” says Ron Pollack, executive director of the pro-health reform Families USA. “It’s a far, far bigger deal that the remaining parts, like the Medicaid expansion, go forward even if the mandate is struck.”
Cereals Aimed At Kids Haven't Improved Much Nutritionally, New Report Finds (The Boston Globe) — "The Rudd Center report singled out General Mills for launching new websites aimed at children for Honey Nut Cheerios, with games like Honey Defender, and for Cinnamon Toast Crunch, where kids can make a movie or watch “crazy videos”. Honey Nut Cheerios has 9 grams of sugar per serving and Cinnamon Toast Crunch has 10 grams of sugar, compared with 1 gram of sugar in Cheerios, which has a website aimed at parents of babies rather than children."
Kosher, The Hottest Word On Food Labels (NPR) — "...demand for products made under strict rabbinical supervision — i.e. kosher products — is exploding, according to data from market research firm Mintel. So what accounts for the revival of these most ancient food rules? The kosher market is no longer limited to orthodox Jews. It's Muslims and Seventh-Day Adventists, who have similar rules about how meats should be handled to keep them pure. It's vegetarians and Buddhists. And increasingly, it's all kinds of people looking for a little reassurance. "There is a feeling by many consumers that kosher is somehow better, more wholesome," says Mintel analyst Lynn Dornblaser."
Those Already Ill Have High Stake In Health Ruling (The New York Times) — "The tumor grew like a thick vine up the back of Eric Richter’s leg, reminding him every time he sat down that he was a man without insurance. In April, when it was close to bursting through his skin, he went to the emergency room. Doctors told him it was malignant and urged surgery. His wife called every major insurance company she found on the Internet, but none would cover him: His cancer was a pre-existing condition. In desperation, the Richters agreed to pay half their hospital bill, knowing they could never afford it on their combined salaries of $36,000 a year. No other group of Americans faces higher stakes in the impending Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act than those with pre-existing conditions. The law, once its major provisions take effect, would prohibit insurance companies from turning people away or charging them more because they are sick. In exchange, most Americans would be required to have insurance, broadening the base of paying customers with an infusion of healthy people. Those who did not buy insurance would be subject to financial penalties."
This program aired on June 22, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.