Health & Wellness

Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Reform Bill

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Supreme Court upholds health care reform bill
At 10 a.m. today, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its entirety (with the exception that the federal government’s power to terminate states’ Medicaid funds is narrowly read). The Court could have struck down all or part of the bill as unconstitutional, but instead, upheld each of four distinct legal challenges.
What does the court’s decision mean to rural America?
Whether you support of oppose the health care bill, it is important to know that many provisions were included in the bill that benefit both the rural provider and patient. During the health reform debate, NRHA’s message was clear: Improve rural America’s access to health care providers by resolving the workforce shortage crisis in rural areas, and eliminate long-standing payment inequities for rural providers.
NRHA fought for and won key rural workforce and payment improvements in the bill.  Each of these decisions will remain intact in light of today’s decision.  However, complete funding for several of the provisions will likely continue to remain challenging. (Many programs “authorized” in the ACA, must actually be funded through a separate act of Congress.) For a complete list of the positive rural provisions in the ACA, click here.
The Supreme Court reviewed four separate legal issues based upon the four previous federal appellate court challenges. The four issues on which the court granted review and subsequently upheld today are:
• Whether the Anti-Injunction Act prevents challenges to the Affordable Care Act at this time (that is, is there legal “standing” to challenge a tax that hasn’t gone into effect yet);
• The constitutionality of the individual mandate, requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014;
• Whether the individual mandate is severable if it is found to be unconstitutional, or whether the entire Act would have to fail; and
• Whether the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of the Medicaid program is constitutional.
The issues of the constitutionality and severability of the individual mandate attracted the most attention in the federal courts and among the public. Though three of the four federal appellate decisions upheld the mandate, many legal scholars are still surprised at today’s decision.
Implementation of health reform is already underway, especially through the regulatory process. Today’s decision will mean that rural providers must continue to be vigilant as preparations continue for the major provisions to go into effect in 2014. Expect continued push-back from Congress to repeal all or part of the bill, as well as efforts to de-fund key provisions.
Learn more during NRHA’s webinar today, get involved and stay tuned to NRHA online
NRHA will discuss further details of the Supreme Court ruling’s impact on rural America during a webinar from noon to 1 p.m. EST today (Thursday). Reserve your seat here.
And plan to attend the Rural Quality and Clinical Conference July 18-20 in Seattle, the March for Rural Hospitals July 30-31 in D.C. and the Rural Health Clinic and Critical Access Hospital Conferences in Kansas City Sept. 25-28 for in-depth analysis on how the health law will impact you and expert advice.
Stay tuned to NRHA’s blog and Facebook for further developments.
NRHA needs you. Join NRHA online today in the fight for access to quality health care or turn in this application by July 18 to save 20 percent. It’s likely to be your least expensive membership fee, and it certainly creates the biggest impact.
National Rural Health Association
521 E. 63rd Street, Kansas City, MO 64110-3329
Phone – 816.756.3140 Fax – 816.756.3144
NRHA Services Corporation

Health Reform Update

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Health Reform Update

Supreme Court upholds Affordable Care Act in major victory for public health

This morning, in 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. The majority opinion was authored by Chief Justice John Roberts and was joined by Justices Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. The ruling represents a major victory for public health advocates who worked tirelessly over the past two years in support of the law.

“Today’s historic ruling by the nation’s highest court marks a significant milestone in our national efforts to improve the delivery and financing of health services in the U.S. and to promote health and wellness rather than disease treatment,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA in a statement released by the Association following the court’s decision.

For additional information about the court’s decision, visit the Supreme Court’s website or SCOTUSblog.

On Thursday, July 5, at 3 p.m. ET, APHA and other health partners will sponsor a webinar with leading health legal experts to discuss the implications of the court’s decision.

For background on key provisions in the ACA, including the Prevention and Public Health Fund, visit APHA’s health reform website. For an overview of the law as well as state-specific fact sheets on how your state is benefiting from the ACA, visit the website.

APHA releases prevention fund brief

In June, APHA’s Center for Public Health Policy released a new issue brief: The Prevention and Public Health Fund: A Critical Investment in our Nation’s Physical and Fiscal Health.

Created by the ACA, the Prevention and Public Health Fund is an investment in activities that can help communities improve health outcomes and help the U.S. decrease health care costs. The issue brief summarizes the need for and impact of prevention and public health funding, reviews the design and intentions of the Fund, and provides an update on how the Fund has been implemented and allocated to date.


Recipe For Volunteering

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Recipe For Volunteering

By Naznin Dhanani

2 cups of listening

1 teaspoon of trust

1 1/2 cups of kindness

1 teaspoon of honesty

2 cups of happiness

1 cup of responsibility

1 cup of patience & laughter

1 tablespoon of communication

1 tablespoon of compromise

1 dash of commitment

2 teaspoons of give and take

2 dashes of forgiveness

2 tablespoons of appreciation of each other

3/4 cup of tolerance


Combine listening, trust and kindness.  mix well. Add communication, honesty and compromise.  Blend. Cream happiness, commitment and responsibility until light and fluffy.  Sift together patience, give and take laughter.  Fold together gently.  Add dashes of forgiveness, to taste.  Top with appreciation and tolerance.


Remembering the essence of volunteering.

~reprinted from Hospice of Hilo’s newsletter April, 2010

July is UV Safety Month

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July is just around the corner, and now is the perfect time to spread the word about sun, fun and UV safety to your family and to your community.  For myself, as a kid, summer meant being the first ones on the beach and the last ones to leave.  Back in the day, we hardly used any kind of protection from the sun, and expected to be going to bed that night with sunburns, but it was always worth it, for a few precious hours of perfect freedom in the ocean.  Now, with the rise of skin cancer rates rising in young adults,  I look back on those days and think, “If I only knew then, what I know now!” I sometimes look out the window on a cloudless blue day, and imagine packing a picnic lunch to spend a day at the beach , to recapture those carefree days, relaxing on the sand and soaking up some rays.  Fortunately, the “responsible” adult  in me, also causes me to take a step back and think:  “safety first.”

The sun emits 3 types of UV rays:  UVA, UVB and UVC rays.

UVA rays make up the majority of our sun exposure and are responsible for causing premature skin aging and wrinkling (bad for us, great for the anti-aging cosmetics industry!) and also contribute to skin cancer.

UVB rays are the cause of many skin cancers.  They also cause sunburns, cataracts and damage our immune system.

Last, but certainly not least, UVC rays are the most dangerous, but fortunately, these rays are blocked by the ozone layer and do not reach earth.

Not all sun exposure is dangerous, however.  In fact, some sun is actually necessary.  The sun is our primary source of Vitamin D, which helps us absorb calcium for stronger, healthier bones.  Here are a few ways to protect yourself and your keiki from the sun’s rays:

  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.  Reapply every 2 hours when working or playing outdoors.
  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection.  Look for sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays.
  • Avoid sun exposure during the hours when the sun’s rays are the strongest- between 10a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow and sand.  Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
  • Do not burn.  Sunburns significantly increase one’s lifetime risk of developing skin cancer, especially for children.
  • Seek shade.
  • Cover up by wearing a hat and clothes that are tightly woven, loose fitting and full-length.

Have a safe and fun summer!