Labor Day, the symbolic end of summer, has come and gone. Schools have opened and children are off to new classes and teachers.
But this September is an important month for another reason: this is the month when New York, as well as all other states, must choose the “essential health benefits” that will be offered to those who lack health insurance.
A federal appeals court ruled last week that tobacco companies are not required to comply with the implementation of new graphic warning labels on cigarette packs, arguing that the law violated corporate free speech rights. These warnings are required by the federal government and are supposed to go into effect next month.
Last week, New York’s law on indoor tanning went into effect. The law prohibits all those 16 years old and younger from using indoor tanning beds or booths. The logic of the ban has become more compelling.
The prestigious British Medical Journal published the latest research on the impact of indoor tanning. It concluded that indoor tanning is “associated with a significant increase in risk of melanoma. This risk increases with number of sunbed sessions and with initial usage at a young age” (those under the age of 35 years). The report also found:
New York receives a decent, but mixed, review for its legislative work to combat cancer, according to a new report, How Do You Measure up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality (www.acscan.org) issued by the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network.
A new report from the federal government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contains good news and bad news about smoking in America. First the good news, according to the CDC, total cigarette consumption continued an 11-year downward trend with a 2.5 percent decline from 2010 to 2011.
Many Americans have health-related problems that are defined as pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is a health problem that existed before you apply for a health insurance policy or enroll in a new health plan.
A pre-existing condition can be something as common and as serious as heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes and asthma – chronic health problems that affect a large portion of the population. Even if you have a relatively minor condition such as hay fever or a previous accidental injury, a health plan can deny coverage.
Cancer takes a staggering toll on New Yorkers. More than 107,000 New Yorkers were diagnosed with cancer in 2011, and more than 34,000 died from the disease. A different perspective is that roughly 2,000 New Yorkers are diagnosed with cancer and 660 individuals die from cancer each week.
Today’s health system often falls short in addressing the pain, physical symptoms, emotional concerns, and other chronic care needs that patients face. These needs are increasingly the norm for cancer patients and their caregivers. As medical care advances, illnesses that were death sentences a few decades ago have now become chronic illnesses that need to be managed. As a result, quality of life care needs now span over many years or even decades.
No sooner had the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in support of the constitutionality of the federal health care reform law, than a new attack was launched on health coverage for the poor.
One provision of the Affordable Care Act dramatically expanded the Medicaid program – which provides health insurance for the poor. The ACA requires that states have to expand coverage to those who make just above poverty level. If a state refused the expansion, the federal government would withdraw its funding of that state’s program.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal health care reform law which is critical to improving access to quality, affordable health care for people with cancer and their families.
The ruling is a victory for cancer patients and survivors nationwide, who for decades have been denied health coverage, charged far more than they can afford for lifesaving care, and forced to spend their life savings on necessary treatment, simply because they have a pre-existing condition.