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Study: Cancer ads tug at heartstrings, leave out caveats
May 26th, 2014
05:07 PM ET

Study: Cancer ads tug at heartstrings, leave out caveats

Advertisements for cancer centers are inflated with emotions, but fail to disclose the fine print, according to a study released Monday. The report, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and funded by the National Institute of Health, examined 409 unique TV and magazine advertisements from top media markets.

With more than 1.6 million new cancer cases diagnosed each year, the direct-to-consumer ads pushing to various cancer centers across the country, and specific cancer treatments, are increasing.

A systematic content analysis of these ads found that the content is sharply directed at a would-be patient’s heartstrings:

  – 85% made emotional appeals to consumers
  – 61% used language about hope, extension of life, or a cure
  – 52% touted innovative, or advanced technology or treatments
  – 30% evoked fear by mentioned death, fear, or loss

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Medicare patients may suffer if country goes over fiscal cliff
December 31st, 2012
11:10 AM ET

Medicare patients may suffer if country goes over fiscal cliff

Medicare patients are but another segment of the population that have to worry about the country going over the so-called fiscal cliff.

Doctors at Virginia Heart, a practice of 35 physicians in nine Northern Virginia locations, say they might have to turn away new Medicare patients after the first of the year.

That's because a nearly 30% cut across the board in Medicare reimbursement to doctors goes into effect if we go over the cliff. Virginia Heart, the largest cardiovascular group in the Washington Metropolitan area, says its doctors simply cannot afford a 30% decrease in pay.

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Medicaid: States turning down free money, group says
November 26th, 2012
02:37 PM ET

Medicaid: States turning down free money, group says

It’s flown under the radar, but perhaps the most dramatic element of Obamacare isn’t changes to Medicare, or the requirement for millions to purchase insurance –- it’s the planned expansion of Medicaid.

That expansion would cover an additional 21.3 million people within the next decade, reducing the number of uninsured nearly by half, according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, an organization specializing in health care policy.

While that sounds like good news, the sheer size of the expansion has many people worried about cost. Since the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot be forced to participate, eight states have said they won’t expand their current Medicaid programs, and several others say they may follow suit.  But the KFF report says those states may be making life unnecessarily hard for their poorest citizens. FULL POST


Your thoughts: Vote for the issues, not parties
GOP nominee Mitt Romney makes a statement soon after the Supreme Court's ruling on Obamacare.
October 8th, 2012
01:36 PM ET

Your thoughts: Vote for the issues, not parties

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Some Republicans are torn between party loyalty and the benefits they receive from Obamacare, as Elizabeth Cohen reports in her latest story. The piece on voting for/against the Affordable Care Act prompted many comments on party ideology in the United States and whether health care is really the only issue up for debate among conservatives.

The most popular comment on the story as of Monday morning was from reader Rawpups:

Sadly, Republicans have been voting against their own self-interest for years. Time to wake up, folks - a vote for Romney is a vote against the lower and middle classes.

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New report compares Obama, Romney health care plans
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act if elected.
October 2nd, 2012
09:43 AM ET

New report compares Obama, Romney health care plans

President Obama's Affordable Care Act, when fully implemented, will most likely reduce the number of uninsured in every state, age group and income level - a stark contrast to a GOP presidential nominee and Mitt  Romney's plan, according to a new report by The Commonwealth Fund, which compares the ACA to Romney's pledge to repeal the law and replace it with more targeted policies.

According to the report, children and low- and middle-income Americans would be hardest-hit if the ACA were repealed.  The report found that by the year 2022, with the ACA in place, about 27 million Americans would still be uninsured - a reduction of nearly 33 million people.  But with a Romney plan in place, about 72 million will be without coverage, the report projects.  By 2022, according to the organization, an estimated 18 million kids under the age of 19 would be without insurance under Romney's plan compared to about 6 million under Obama's plan.

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Romney's plan for middle-class health insurance
Mitt Romney says if elected, he will take steps to make insurance less expensive and give Americans more buying power.
August 31st, 2012
10:13 AM ET

Romney's plan for middle-class health insurance

The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Senior Medical News Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

This week during the Republican convention the Empowered Patient has been putting Mitt Romney’s health care plan under the microscope, examining what it means to various groups of American patients.

Earlier this week we looked at Romney's ideas on preventive care, helping people with pre-existing conditions get insurance, and aiding seniors who get stuck in the prescription drug donut hole. We also did a fact-check on Paul Ryan's Medicare comments in his convention speech.

Now, we're looking at Romney's plans for helping middle class Americans buy health insurance. According to a 2009 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 11 million uninsured Americans came from the middle class, or nearly a quarter of the nation's total uninsured.

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Fact-checking Ryan on Medicare
In his speech at the Republican convention, Paul Ryan called Obamacare "the greatest threat to Medicare."
August 30th, 2012
02:00 PM ET

Fact-checking Ryan on Medicare

 The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Senior Medical News Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

This week during the Republican National Convention the Empowered Patient has been putting presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s health care plan under the microscope, examining what it means to various groups of American patients.

Earlier this week we looked at Romney's ideas on preventive care, helping people with pre-existing conditions get insurance, and aiding seniors who get stuck in the prescription drug donut hole.

Today we're fact-checking vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan's statements about Medicare in his speech Wednesday night at the convention in which he called Obamacare "the greatest threat to Medicare."

According to Ryan, President Barack Obama's administration "didn't have enough money" to fund health care reform, "so they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama."

FULL POST


Romney's health care plan: Medicare 'donut hole'
August 29th, 2012
02:34 PM ET

Romney's health care plan: Medicare 'donut hole'

The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Senior Medical News Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

This week during the Republican convention I’ll be putting Mitt Romney’s health care plan under the microscope, examining what it means to various groups of American patients.

Monday we dissected Romney's ideas to help Americans afford preventive care. Tuesday we looked at his plan for helping people with pre-existing conditions get insurance. Now, we'll examine Romney's plan for filling the Medicare donut hole.

The Medicare donut hole is a coverage gap for seniors who take prescription drugs. In 2009, prior to Obamacare, seniors received help from Medicare when they spent up to $896 on prescription drugs, after which they received no help and had to pay for prescription drugs 100% out of their own pockets. Then, after spending a total of $4,350 on prescriptions, government assistance kicked back in again. This gap when seniors had to pay for their drugs on their own is called the “donut hole.”

FULL POST


Decline in circumcisions could cost billions
Declining circumcision rates in the United States could wind up costing billions later, researchers warn.
August 21st, 2012
10:15 AM ET

Decline in circumcisions could cost billions

As the number of American parents increasingly leave their baby boys uncircumcised, HIV and other sexually transmitted disease rates are likely to climb, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University, and the costs associated with those diseases could reach into the billions.

"The medical benefits of male circumcision are quite clear," said Dr. Aaron Tobian, an assistant professor of pathology at Johns Hopkins and lead author of the study published Monday in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. "But while the medical evidence has been increasingly more positive, male circumcision rates in the U.S. have been decreasing."

Specifically, he says, circumcision rates had been fairly stable in the 1970s, at about 79%. By 1999, he says less than 63% of boys had the procedure, and by 2010, the rate had dropped to 55%.

FULL POST


Checks come as surprise under 'Obamacare'
Connie Kadansky recently received a $79 rebate check from her Arizona health insurance company.
July 27th, 2012
09:27 AM ET

Checks come as surprise under 'Obamacare'

Your check really might be in the mail.

By August 1, health insurance companies have to refund $1.1 billion in premiums to about 12.8 million customers, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

The "80/20 rule" in the ACA mandates that health insurers spend at least 80% of their customers' premiums on health services, leaving no more than 20% for administrative costs and advertising. That means if an insurance company spends 78% of the money it collects on health benefits for customers, it has to send rebate checks for the additional 2%.

"The 80/20 rule in the Affordable Care Act is intended to ensure that consumers get value for their health care dollars," a letter accompanying the refund checks says.
FULL POST


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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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