Understanding the Implications of a Possible Supreme Court Ruling Against the Affordable Care Act

This summer, the Supreme Court will hand down a decision that could have profound ramifications for the future of the Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as Obamacare. If the Supreme Court decides to rules against the Obama Administration, defenders of the President’s plan worry that the results could be catastrophic for adults and children alike.

According to a recent Washington Post blog, possible implications of a ruling against the Obama Administration in this case include:

• A loss of insurance coverage for millions of Americans.
• A loss of coverage for 730,000 children whose parents would no longer receive subsidies from the federal government.
• A loss of coverage for 1.1 million children if Congress fails to provide more money to Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
• A loss of coverage for up to 2 million children if lawmakers also allow states to tighten income guidelines on Medicaid programs.

The picture painted above represents the worst case scenario for the outcome of this case. For example, even if the Supreme Court rules against Obamacare, Congress could still decide to continue to provide increased funding for CHIP programs, which would decrease the number of uninsured children significantly. Nonetheless, the results of the Supreme Court’s ruling will undoubtedly have an effect on Congress’ decision-making process.

Since nobody can accurately predict what will happen with Obamacare in the coming year, it is important to make the most out of your insurance coverage. If you or a member of your family is suffering from an injury or illness, be sure to:

  • Take advantage of preventative care by scheduling your appointments as soon as possible.
  • See your doctor now if you have a low deductible and you need medical care for an injury or illness.
  • Schedule any necessary testing or treatment at your earliest convenience.

When choosing medical providers, remember to choose reputable doctors with solid histories of providing quality care.

National Nutrition Month is Overshadowed by Uncertain, Controversial Guidelines

March is National Nutrition Month, a campaign managed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The goal of this campaign is to highlight the important of making smart, informed nutritional decisions in order to promote a healthier lifestyle. However, making the right choices can be difficult when the information available to the public is contradictory or uncertain.

According to a recent op-ed by Nina Teicholz of the New York Times, new studies have debunked established nutrition guidelines a number of times in recent history. For example, Americans have been avoiding fat and cholesterol for years based on information indicating that consuming too much of either of these compounds would be dangerous to their health. However, the government has now repealed both of these guidelines after reports showed their original assumptions to be false.

Even the guidelines that remain in place have faced challenges. The government’s current recommendations maintain that saturated fats are linked to heart disease, in spite of several recent contradictions. Likewise, an influential Institute of Medicine study has also contradicted the government’s call to reduce salt intake.
To establish healthy eating habits in the face of contradictory advice:

  • Take governmental nutrition recommendations in context, work with your doctor, and do your own research. Scrutinize the research studies that led to recommendations before accepting them as valid.
  • Consider adopting the same nutritional principles that worked for previous generations: significant amounts of real, whole foods (including natural fat and protein and vegetables) with limited sugar and refined grains.

March Is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Every year, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) devotes one month to raising awareness about the latest treatment opinions and efforts to improve the lives of those suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Did you know?

  • 2.5 million Americans will experience a brain injury this year alone.
  • Falls are the leading cause of TBI (35.2 percent), followed by motor vehicle accidents (17.3 percent).
  • Incidences of TBI have increased across all age groups.
  • The annual cost of TBI in the United States is estimated at $48.3 billion.

Since brain injuries involve so many different body systems, they are difficult to treat, and doctors struggle to predict the long-term prognosis. Living with TBI can be a difficult and frustrating experience as cognitive and memory functions come and go, making progress hard to chart. It can be a lonely experience as well.

That’s why the theme for the 2015-17 BIAA campaign is “Not Alone” (#NotAloneinBrainInjury). The organization’s goal is to remove the stigma associated with brain injury through a combination of community outreach and education.

Disturbing Study Shows Psychiatric Illness More Likely After Brain Injury

A 1999 study, Rate of psychiatric illness 1 year after traumatic brain injury, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, sought to determine whether patients who experience traumatic brain injury might be at increased risk of developing psychiatric illness. No prior study that had considered this possibility used accepted research standards or chose a sufficiently large sample size.

The researchers who designed this study relied on a traditional two-state diagnostic method. Over the period of a year, Wales’ Cardiff Royal Infirmary admitted 3,667 adults (over age 17) with a head injury. Each patient, admitted between July 1994 and June 1995, suffered from traumatic brain injuries. All participation was voluntary, and the study included 196 patients, 65% of whom were male. Patient ages ranged from 18-94 years. Each participant completed a questionnaire, and doctors conducted a standardized interview on 164 patients who exhibited high indicator levels for psychiatric illness.

One year following their TBI trauma, of 62 patients identified by the questionnaire, 30 had been diagnosed with a psychiatric problem, per the ICD-10’s criteria, and 20 patients had been diagnosed with multiple psychiatric issues.

The most common illnesses in the test group included depression and panic disorder. The study noted a higher rate of psychiatric illness in those who had suffered a prior traumatic brain injury. No statistically significant relationship existed between those who tested positive for mental illness and those who sought compensation in a legal claim.

As we’ve discussed in previous posts about scientific studies of TBI, correlation does not imply causation. In other words, just because researchers can find associations between two variables does not mean one has caused the other. In this study, for instance, many factors could have contributed to higher rates of psychological illness, including:

History of mental illness;

  • Age;
  • Diet;
  • Level of formal education;
  • Degree of brain trauma;
  • Nature of the TBI-induced disability;
  • Etc.

To strategize effectively to obtain fair compensation and excellent medical care after a brain injury, you need qualified, smart and skilled people on your side. Consider connecting with the Washington D.C. brain injury lawyers at Regan, Zambri & Long today for a consultation. Our D.C. medical malpractice attorneys can help you and your family understand your potential options to seek compensation.

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