dentist, health

Current Health Insurance Reform Issues

No sooner had President Obama signed the last piece of the health care reform package on March 30 than he hit the road, traveling to a number of states to sell the public on the new health care law of the land. On their Easter/Passover recess break, many members of Congress were engaged in their own hearts and minds campaign on health reform back in their home districts. A new Gallup poll, however, seems to show that Democratic supporters of the bill have the tougher selling job. The poll shows that 47 percent of Americans believe it is a good thing that the bill passed while 50 percent believe it to be a bad thing. And, the results show that both opponents and proponents agree that the new law does not do nearly enough to address rising health care costs. Health plans, such as Aetna, have maintained that the success of health care reform will hinge on addressing health care costs, and we have pledged to continue working toward reforms that would achieve affordability.

Federal

Since Congress was in recess last week, there is no Federal report this week.

States

ARIZONA: After a lengthy debate in special session, the legislature voted along party lines to permit a lawsuit challenging the newly enacted federal health care reform law. It is unclear whether Governor Jan Brewer will join other states in the lawsuit filed in Florida, since the attorney general has advised that he will not participate in any litigation on this issue. Brewer had asked lawmakers for authority to go around the attorney general and sue on the state’s behalf.

COLORADO: A bill prohibiting the use of gender as an underwriting factor in setting rates for individual policies passed both chambers and will become effective with plans issued or renewed after January 1, 2011. The bill is part of Governor Ritter’s health reform package.

GEORGIA: A bill that originally would have imposed a tax on health plans – the language regarding a health plan tax was removed recently — was passed out of the Senate last week. However, whether the Governor will sign the bill in its current form is not clear.

IDAHO: The legislature adjourned a week early last week, but not before passing a number of items to close out the session. Governor Otter has signed a number of the bills, including the “Idaho Health Freedom Act”, reserving citizens’ right to choose or decline health care services without being penalized by the federal government and authorizing the state attorney general to seek legal recourse to uphold this policy. Also signed were bills regulating the relationship between third-party administrators and insurers, and establishing an immunization board to maintain a single distribution center for providers and determine an assessment on carriers to fund the program.  Another bill amends the duties of the Commission of Health Information Technology Planning to include monitoring the state’s health data exchange and recommending improvements to IT capabilities. Bills awaiting the governor’s signature include a proposed prohibition …

fitness, health

Best Foods to Eat While Pregnant—and Foods You Should Avoid

There is a definite dividing line between the best foods to eat while pregnant and the foods you should phase out of your eating plan as soon as possible. As you make your daily choices about what to eat and what to exclude from your diet, you should consider more than just the caloric content of the foods you choose. You should also keep in mind the chemicals, additives, and other harmful substances that the food you choose may contain.

Almost everything you consume will cross the placenta and affect your developing baby as well. That’s why it’s crucial to choose foods high in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients and avoid anything with harmful chemicals or other substances. So for your pregnancy and diet, here are the best foods you can choose—and the ones you should phase out as soon as possible.

Organic Foods vs. Non-Organic Foods

You may think that going organic is simply too expensive to contemplate, but it’s definitely worth the health benefits to both you and your baby. Some varieties of non-organic produce have copious amounts of pesticide residue, and that residue can have harmful long-term effects on your health as well as your baby’s.

If you cannot afford to go all organic from the beginning, then try to focus on the dirty dozen of organic produce: peaches, apples, nectarines, bell peppers, strawberries, celery, cherries, pears, grapes, spinach (or kale), lettuce, and potatoes. These produce varieties have consistently tested higher in pesticide residue than other varieties, and you should opt for the organic varieties if at all possible.

Water vs. Coffee, Sodas, and Tea

Let’s face it—it’s hard to drink enough water. If you are a caffeine addict, you may find that you just need your morning coffee or tea to get going. Sodas are flavorful and addictive. So it can be difficult indeed to make the commitment to drink enough water with so many tempting options in the fridge. But drinking plenty of water can help you combat many of the common physical complaints you may experience during pregnancy.

If you suffer from headaches, body aches, water retention, or other symptoms, then drinking water can alleviate them. You should be drinking a minimum of half your body weight in water each day. So if you are 160 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces. If you work out or if you have morning sickness and experience vomiting, you should drink even more than that.

Whole Foods vs. Processed Foods

Most expectant moms are concerned about keeping their weight in check throughout pregnancy. The more cautious you are about adding extra pounds, the easier your road to fitness will be after you give birth. So it makes sense to only eat foods that are sensible and healthy and will help you keep excess weight gain at bay.

This is where whole foods come in. The more processed foods you eat, the more additives, preservatives, chemicals, and fillers you consume. These extras can contribute to weight gain …