Political and Legal information on the Health Care Debate. View our freshly updated You Tube videos about health care on the right hand side of this blog. Includes ideas from politicians concerning Universal Health Care. Information on all things health insurance related from Medicare to short term health insurance.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Health Insurance Costs Less than Medical Bills

While I lay here in my hospital bed recovering, I can't believe how fortunate I am. Thank goodness for my loving wife and successful children. Thank goodness for the doctors and the hospital who knew enough to bring me back to life after my heart attack. But especially thank goodness for my wife forcing me to buy a temporary health insurance plan over the internet to provide insurance during the gap in my coverage.

Since I was only 50 years old and never had health problems, I thought that paying for insurance before the benefits at my new job started would be throwing money away. COBRA coverage that my previous job offered was much more than I was going to pay for health insurance. There was a three month waiting period from the time I started my new and better job and the time that my medical benefits began.

My wife and I searched the internet for something affordable. We found coverage for three months for around $200 at http://www.short-termhealthinsurance.com. That was the cost of a couple of rounds of golf that I did not want to spend. But my wife forced me to get it. My hospital bill is approaching $40,000 now because I got the best care possible. That would have cost a lot more rounds of golf than the insurance did.

The two lessons I learned is never go without health insurance, and always listen to my wife.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Deadline for Romney's Mass Health Plan Today

This article from the AP points out that under Mitt Romney's health care plan in Massachusetts November 15 is the day that everyone must have health care or they will suffer penalties. All of the major rival candidates are chastising him for such a mandate. But Mitt defends his position as the only one on the Republican side of the aisle that provides for the health coverage of all of his state's citizens. John McCain had a good quote when he explained why he does not favor a mandate for coverage when he said 'I favor universal college education, but I would not mandate it.' Mandates are not the role of the government. Mandates can cause small businesses to stop hiring and costs to continue to rise. If you have to have something, what incentive is there to reduce the price? This mandated program is not going to lower the cost of health care. It will be interesting to see if this cuts into Mitt's lead among the early primary states. Sponsored by Blue Advantage Insurance. Enjoy the article.


BOSTON (AP) — Mitt Romney's top rivals are reminding voters that Massachusetts residents have until Thursday to sign up for health insurance or face possible penalties — a requirement that Romney signed into law when he was governor.

The Republican presidential candidate isn't doing as much to mark the milestone.

Massachusetts residents had to sign up by Nov. 15 or they likely would face tax penalties starting Jan. 1. It is the stick that follows the carrot of previous deadlines requiring the state to expand subsidized coverage, or for private insurers to offer less expensive policies to the uninsured.

It's something opponents for the Republican nomination are trying to turn it into a political liability for Romney.

Such mandates are anathema to fiscal conservatives and other bedrock GOP voters who oppose government intrusion, explaining the silence by Romney and the criticism from former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and other candidates also vying for conservative votes.

Continue reading the article here.

Map to better U.S. health care: centralize, organize

This is an article by Reuters about a group that analyzes different parts of our country's health care system. The company is funded by an advocacy for universal health care, but they did come up with some very good solutions in this article. Primarily they identified the problem that the US spends twice as much as other countries per person on health care. A part of the problem is that there are too many highly specialized doctors who perform expensive procedures and not enough general care practitioners. They concluded that the system needs to change from a fee for service incentive where doctors get paid based on the procedures that they perform to a system where doctors are rewarded for keeping people well. Doctors will perform procedures because they will get paid for them, not necessarily because they are either needed or helpful. Another solution by this panel is that they need to computerize health records. I fully agree and there is too much paperwork involved in the health care industry. Medical records should be seamlessly transfered from doctor to doctor so that they can correctly identify new problems without wasting time diagnosing something that has already been found and treated. It is a good article. Sponsored by Blue Advantage Insurance.

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Experts laid out a health care road map for U.S. presidential candidates on Thursday, recommending more organized care, with an emphasis on overall health as opposed to expensive interventions.

They said it will be essential to ensure that everyone in the United States has health insurance and said the most pragmatic way to achieve this would be a combination of federal, state, employer and private coverage.

And the country needs to train more primary care physicians and move away from expensive, specialized medicine, the panel appointed by the non-profit Commonwealth Fund recommended.

"We do not get good value for our health care dollars," Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, told reporters in a telephone briefing. "The United States falls short when compared to other countries."

Continue reading the article here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Employer-provided insurance continues to decline

Here is an article exposing the problem with our employer sponsored health care problem. Less employees are being offered health care by their employers as the cost of employer based health care plans continue to rise. Small companies especially can not afford to keep up the pace of the high cost of these plans so they generally don't offer benefits to employees. This is the issue that will force the entire system to change. All of the health insurance companies gear the majority of their business around the employer based health care model. If this model ceases to be viable, then the system will need to be adjusted from within the health insurance industry. Enjoy the article.

By Julie Appleby, USA TODAY

The percentage of people with health insurance through their employers — traditionally the way most people get coverage — is continuing to shrink, raising anxiety among workers and invigorating a debate about whether insurance should be tied to jobs.

Many of those who get their coverage through their jobs are becoming less secure that those benefits will always be there.

YOUR THOUGHTS: How would you make sure those who needed care could afford it?

"It's going to disappear," says Angela Ruggiero of North Port, Fla., who lost her insurance when she and her husband changed jobs. "There's no way employers can continue to pay premiums if they continue increasing."

Continue reading this article here.

Workers Mull Private Health Insurance

This article is about and interesting trend. Now that insurance premiums are going up for employer sponsored health insurance plans, more employees are required to pay more for their medical insurance. Years ago the employer would pay for all of the premiums for the employee and his or her family. Now the employer rates have gone up, the out of pocket for the employee has gone up as well.

So this article points out that many people are opting for their own personal private health insurance plans to save money. These plans are available through brokers locally or online at sites like this one health insurance. You can compare different programs on your own and choose the premium and benefits that fits your own needs rather than be stuck with what the employer chooses. Sponsored by Blue Advantage. Enjoy the article.

As Health-Care Costs Rise, More Workers Considering Private Medical Insurance

NEW YORK (Associated Press)
- For years, if an employer offered health insurance to a worker, the worker generally took it.

Now some workers are for the first time entertaining another option: private health insurance. Some employees, particularly those at smaller companies, are finding it's cheaper to get spouses and children covered by private policies than under their employers' plans.

A decade of inflation-topping health-care cost increases and the fact that employees are now picking up a larger slice of the bill through higher premiums and greater out-of-pocket expenses are behind the trend.

"If you are healthy, there are powerful economic incentives to see if you can strike a better deal on your own," says Alwyn Cassil, a spokeswoman for the Center for Studying Health System Change.

Continue this article here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

BLUMNER: Universal health care would be a boon to the free market

This is a very good article because it looks at health care in a way that I would normally disagree with. The main premise is that Universal Health Care would actually boost the private sector through mandated coverage individually. He attacks Rudy's concept that America's system is just fine and does not need work because it healed him from prostate cancer. The main line that scares me about this article is this one. . .

If the next president does nothing else but add this country to the pantheon of advanced nations that provide universal coverage, it will be a successful tenure, one that will be remembered fondly by generations to come, like that of FDR for Social Security and LBJ for Medicare.

The reason this is a poor argument for universal health care is that Social Security and Medicare are albatross problems for future generations. We think of them as good things now, but both of those programs are poorly designed to meet the country's needs. Any universal health care proposal that looks to SS and Medicare as models of government efficiency is doomed to fail.

He goes over the ideas that many people are stuck in their jobs because it is the only way that they can get benefits. He also goes over the fact that 1500 dollars of the cost of domestic cars goes to health care costs. The author tries to justify moving to a mandated individual health care coverage system and do away with the employer system that we currently have.

I don't necessarily agree, but I'm not in disagreement with the author either. Enjoy the article.

Rudy Giuliani has been called ''Bush with brains'' by those who fear that the former New York City mayor shares a penchant for unbridled executive power. But the Republican presidential primary frontrunner seems to have a screw loose when it comes to campaigning. His attack of Hillary Clinton's health care proposal with the bugaboo of European-style ''socialized'' medicine is not only full of factual holes, but it will surely bite him in the butt if he makes it to the general election.
Americans were taken in by health insurance industry foils Harry and Louise the first time Clinton offered this country decent health care reform, but they won't be fooled again. If Giuliani wants to make this election a referendum on America's health care system, he's going to flame out faster than a hospital can dump an uninsured patient.
Polls regularly show that Americans are disgusted with the current state of affairs. In a 2007 CBS News/New York Times poll, nine in 10 respondents said the U.S. health care system needs fundamental changes and two-thirds said it was up to the federal government to guarantee that all Americans have health care coverage.

Continue reading the article here.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Heritage Foundation: Health Care on the Brink

This article goes over the issues regarding the SCHIP battle as it relates to government health care as a whole. The author points out that during Hillary Clinton's attempt to create a universal tax payer provided health care program, they concluded that the best way to do that was incrementally through segments of the population starting with the children first. The rally cry behind the debate of the necessity of federal programs like these is that there are 47 million people in America without health insurance. The problem with arguing that the SCHIP program helps solve that is that the expanded SCHIP program proposed by congress would move 77% of those eligible from private health insurance to taxpayer insurance. Therefore it doesn't solve the problem of giving people without insurance coverage, it just mandates that the government (taxpayers) pay it.

This is a good article by a congressman from Oklahoma for the Heritage Foundation. I agree with everything in it. It concludes with a quote from Hillary Clinton that 'When I am elected president we are going to get universal health care.' She tried it once. Let's hope for the sake of the children who will have to find a way to pay for this program long after the current congress people are gone that that does not happen. Enjoy the article.

By Ernest Istook

The debate over government-run health care has roiled for decades. Today, we’re at the tipping point.

Incremental growth in public health programs has brought us to the brink. Today, almost half of America’s children — 45 percent — have their health care paid for by taxpayers. The children’s health bill (SCHIP) now before Congress would boost this to 55 percent. And that’s the tipping point.

Once most children are covered by taxpayers, the remaining children will shortly follow. Then their parents. Then those with no children at home. Eventually, the whole country would be under Washington-run health care, using tax dollars to pay the bills.

Even without a megabillion-dollar SCHIP expansion, taxpayers already pick up the tab for almost half the health care in America, via Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration. The SCHIP expansion could tip that, too, so the majority of all health care — not just kids’ care — is government-paid and therefore government-controlled.

Continue reading this article here.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Health Care Excuses

Here we have an opinion piece by an author for the New York Times. He tries to go over some excuses that people use when they say our system is pretty good despite the fact that our life expectancy is less than other countries with different medical systems. Other factors including the size and diversity differences between the countries are always ignored by people like this author.

He points out four different 'excuses' that people against the government paying for health insurance use and tries to explain why they are wrong. The first part of the article where he makes fun of President Bush saying that everyone gets health insurance when they go to the emergency room. The fact of the matter is that everyone knows this - even illegal aliens. It is against the law to deny someone health care in an emergency room. In the article he claims it means that they qualify for Medicaid if they don't have insurance when they arrive in the emergency room. Most people in the Hispanic population WILL NOT purchase health insurance because this is their mantra. If they get sick, they will just go to the emergency room and get care for free. This author does not know this. He probably doesn't talk to many Hispanics about health care.

The second excuse he makes fun of is the fact that people's lifestyle choices are to blame for the high cost of health care. We are in fact the fattest country on the planet. The poorer the group, the fatter they are. Obesity contributes to diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and early deaths. All of these issues other than early death are extremely expensive for our health care system to treat on a chronic basis. If you add our large population of homosexuals and include their expensive drugs needed for contracting AIDS at a much higher than normal level, and you would have to assume that lifestyle choices at least contributes to our high cost of health care.

Then he says that all claims against socialized medicine are wrong because of . . . Medicare. That's right, Medicare will solve all of our health care problems according to this author. He doesn't mention that the system is going broke and probably won't be available by the time I turn 65. He doesn't mention that the government is trying to privatize Medicare as fast as they can through a Medicare Advantage system. He doesn't mention that doctors are turning away Medicare patients because their reimbursement rate is too low for their services. Other than that, Medicare is a perfect example of a good socialized medicine program.

Anyway, this author is wrong, but I will link to his article and let you decide. This is the problem with the debate though. People don't understand where the actual problems are. They claim to be knowledgeable when they really don't know. Enjoy this article. I certainly got a laugh out of reading this 'smart guy's' misinterpretation of the problem.


The United States spends far more on health care per person than any other nation. Yet we have lower life expectancy than most other rich countries. Furthermore, every other advanced country provides all its citizens with health insurance; only in America is a large fraction of the population uninsured or underinsured.

You might think that these facts would make the case for major reform of America’s health care system — reform that would involve, among other things, learning from other countries’ experience — irrefutable. Instead, however, apologists for the status quo offer a barrage of excuses for our system’s miserable performance.

So I thought it would be useful to offer a catalog of the most commonly heard apologies for American health care, and the reasons they won’t wash.

Continue reading the article here.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

47 million Americans lack health insurance: report

This article from Reuters goes over the statistic that all of the politicians use in detail. It points out the rise in the number of uninsured since the year 2000. It attempts to come up with reasons why so many people don't have insurance. This number is mostly a guess, but it is probably fairly accurate (within 10 million or so). It is sort of like guessing how many illegal aliens are in the country. I think the article is good enough for a post so enjoy it.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of Americans lacking health insurance rose by nearly 8.6 million to 47 million from 2000 to 2006, with children and workers from every income level losing coverage, a new report said on Thursday.

The increase was "driven primarily by the continued erosion in employer-provided health insurance," said the report by the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute.

In 2006, 2.3 million fewer Americans received health benefits from their employers than in 2000, the report said, noting the decline does not take the population increase into account.

Nearly 60 percent of the nation's children are covered by the insurance provided by their parents' employers, but 3.4 million fewer children had benefits in 2006 compared with 2000.

Continue reading this article here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Health Care Problems Exaggerated?

This article is a blogpost by the author of 'Economics and. . . ' blog from today. This post is well written and I agree with everything he says. He indicates that the issue is not whether or not it is a right. The issue is not whether or not the government should pay for it. The problem with the health care system is that we already have a government that has promised more services than it can deliver. Before we start promising more services, we need to figure out how we can deliver on the promises that we have already given. While it is important that we provide coverage for the poorest of Americans, Medicaid is designed for that. Apart from that, the system where the coverage is provided by the employer works pretty well. Those that don't have access to employer sponsored coverage generally have access to an individual plan. He theorizes that the problem becomes when people who do not have the option to get employer coverage and also don't have any individual coverage available due to a medical condition. It is a well written post and I hope you enjoy reading it.

Economics and. . .

I’m a bit confused by Greg Mankiw’s latest blog post on the subject of health care. He seems to be arguing that, aside from redistribution issues and the perception of rising prices, the problem is relatively minor. (“...the magnitude of the problems we face are often exaggerated by those seeking more sweeping reforms...”) I suppose Greg regards the actuarial insolvency of the Medicare system as a problem of smaller magnitude than those alleged by reformers, or perhaps as a purely demographic problem that is only nominally related to the health care issue. But it seems to me, if the government has made a commitment to pay for certain things, the fact that the prices of those things are rising rapidly – regardless of whether quality is rising faster than prices – is a big problem.

I agree with Greg’s contention (in his New York Times piece) that it can be perfectly rational to spend a larger and larger fraction of our income on health care, but that doesn’t change the fact that, under current institutional arrangements, figuring out how to pay for it is a big, big problem. To put my point a little differently, those “pundits of the left” who pretend to be concerned about the health care system but really have a redistribution agenda, they would seem to be holding some pretty good cards right now, given that the government has already promised more free health care than it will be able to deliver under current fiscal arrangements.

When Greg asks the question, “What health reform would you favor if the reform were required to be distribution-neutral?” it is impossible to answer without making an assumption about how the distributions will be worked out under the current system.

Continue reading the blog post here.

CNN's Money 101 : 10 things you need to know about health insurance

Here is an article from CNN that goes in depth about things you might need to think about before you purchase a policy. I will post the 10 most important things here, but you really need to go to the link I provide to the article to get an in depth analysis of things you need to look for. I like this article and agree with it. Enjoy

Top things to know about Money

In Lesson 16 - Health Insurance

1. Insurance costs a lot but having none costs more.
2. If your employer offers insurance, grab it.
3. Comparing plans is tough but necessary.
4. The lowest premium isn't always the cheapest plan.
5. Even good coverage can have big loopholes.
6. You'll pay more for freedom.
7. You can check out networks before signing up.
8. You can keep your insurance if you lose your job.
9. Working couples have more to think about.
10. Tax breaks can help.

Continue to the full article here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Health of the Nation: State By State

The United Health Foundation graded the health of each state and ranked them according to criteria they set. They looked at many different factors. This list comes out every year. Vermont is the healthiest state, while Mississippi comes in as the least healthy state. I don't believe that the data is a result of the physical location or anything about the place in general. But it is indicative of the lifestyle choices of certain areas. For example many people in Vermont are conscious of the outdoors and they hike and mountain climb a lot. While in Mississippi they are known for their very good but unhealthy fried foods. The article goes into detail on many things. Enjoy the article.

Vermont's on top and Mississippi's on the bottom of the United Health Foundation rankings. What factors were considered?

by Zoe Galland

Minnesota residents drink too much, but they have a low premature death rate. Mississippians don't overindulge, but only a fifth of the population has health insurance. And Vermont seems to be under a lucky star—few uninsured residents, a very low rate of infectious diseases, and a low premature death rate.

These are some of results revealed in the 18th annual America's Health Rankings, a report comparing Americans' health, state by state. It was released by the United Health Foundation (UHF) Nov. 5. The UHF, which was founded by the UnitedHealth group in 1999, publishes the report in partnership with the American Public Health Assn. and Partnership for Prevention.

The UHF said that Americans' overall health has declined by 0.3% as measured by key health indicators, despite progress made in several areas such as reduced cancer rates. It cited factors such as obesity, an increasing number of uninsured people, and the "persistence of risky health behaviors such as tobacco use and binge drinking."

Continue reading the article here.

No Sex In Health Insurance

Since health insurance is such a boring subject, I thought I would make it more interesting with this article by Dr. Ruth. It talks about how sex therapy should be covered by health insurance. I don't necessarily agree with that, but I do agree with a lot of Dr. Ruth's concepts in this article. How on Earth could you NOT agree with Dr. Ruth? With that said, I hope you enjoy this article.

Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer

With all the talk about health insurance in the news these days, most of it having to do with the 40 million or so people who have no health insurance whatsoever, I know that the subject of the paucity of health insurance policies that cover sex therapy is not high on most people's radar. But it should be.

To many people, sex is considered a frill, something that is enjoyable to engage in, but certainly not necessary. Just look at all the fuss that was made about the issue of health insurance covering Viagra. While I can't compare maintaining sexual functioning to keeping people free of cancer or removing a bursting appendix, this is an area that shouldn't be considered expendable either, especially to businesses.

It's widely accepted that an employee who is in a stable relationship is more productive than one who is constantly on the prowl for a partner. The dating process is never smooth and the emotional conflicts that pop up in the single employee's life do have an effect on how much attention he or she is paying to work duties as compared to the time devoted to thinking about personal matters.

Continue reading this article here.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Swiss Study Finds Marijuana Use Alone May Benefit Some Teens, U.S. Doctor Disagrees

No comment other than what the article says. Enjoy.

By Tina Benitez

Teens that use cannabis may function better than teen tobacco-users, and appear to be more socially driven and have fewer psychosocial problems than those who do not use either substance, according to a Swiss survey.

Researchers at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland surveyed 5,263 students, including 455 who smoke marijuana only, 1,703 who smoke marijuana and tobacco and 3,105 who smoked neither one.

The survey, which will be published in the November issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, found that marijuana-only smokers had better relationships with friends, better grades and were more likely to play sports than teens who smoked tobacco and those who abstained from both substances.

A U.S. substance abuse expert disagreed with the study and said U.S. teens should not be encouraged to use marijuana, particularly since teenagers’ brains are still developing at this time.

Continue reading the article here.

Guiliani's flip-flop on health insurance for kids.

This is an article from Slate about Guiliani and his experience with health care as mayor of New York. Rudy has made a habit of chastising 'socialized medicine' as a rallying cry for the base of the Republicans. He also had a campaign ad that said he would have died from his Prostate cancer had he been involved in a government sponsored health care system instead of the US system.

This article paints a different story about Rudy's positions as Mayor of New York when he was first diagnosed with cancer. Before he was diagnosed with cancer he had little interest in the health care system. After he was diagnosed, he attempted to expand New York City's role in health care by expanding their program by three times without caring how much it cost the taxpayer. The system in place is called Health Stat and increased spending on government sponsored health care to children and adults who did not qualify for medicaid by $390 million over four years.

This is another example of the difficulty that Republicans have in considering him to be a conservative candidate. While he says the right things now, his record shows a history of being very similar to the Democratic positions on important platform issues. Hopefully it will all work out, but if this part of his record is any indication, I do not think he will be able to beat Hillary Clinton for the White House after having positions that are so close to hers.

It is a good article. Enjoy.

Sick Man

Guiliani's flip-flop on health insurance for kids.

By Sara Mosle

In his campaign for president, Rudolph Giuliani keeps suggesting that his experience as a prostate cancer survivor makes him uniquely qualified to evaluate the American health care system. To judge from his recent pronouncements, the lesson he learned as a cancer patient is that America has the best health care system in the world. Indeed, Giuliani has implied that without it, he wouldn't have survived cancer. He thus sees little need, in his prescriptions for reform, for overhauling the system or greatly reducing the number of uninsured. What's odd about Giuliani's take is that it is diametrically opposed to what he said he learned from his prostate cancer in 2000, at the time of his actual diagnosis and treatment.

Before his illness, Giuliani the Mayor resembled Giuliani the Presidential Candidate. Both showed little interest in expanding coverage to New York's poor or uninsured, and both Giulianis gave only tepid support and financial backing to an S-CHIP-style program for New York's uninsured children. By Giuliani's own description, however, all that changed when he came face-to-face with his own mortality.

At a packed and emotional news conference in May 2000, in which he announced he was dropping out of the race for the U.S. Senate as a result of his illness, Giuliani admitted to suddenly seeing the world very differently. He said his illness had changed him and that he wanted to reach out to minority groups and the poor. Most important, he said, he had newfound respect, understanding, and empathy for the city's uninsured. It seems Giuliani couldn't feel people's pain until he, well—literally—felt people's pain. But once he had, he stated that extending health insurance coverage to more of the city's uninsured was his top goal for his remaining 18 months in office. ''One of the things that I felt from the beginning of [my illness] and continue to feel is a tremendous sense of compassion for the people that have to make decisions like this alone," he explained. "One of the things maybe that I can do is figure out how we accelerate making sure that people are covered."

Continue reading the article here.

Giuliani's healthcare figure outdated

Rudy Guiliani's campaign created a radio ad that indicated that his chances of survival from Prostate cancer were much higher in the USA system compared to the United Kingdom social system. This article from ABC indicates that there may be issues with the statistics that he used. The statistics used in the campaign are ten years old. Comparing the two systems is difficult because there may be other factors at play in the survivability of diseases rather than the system. While this article points out that the statistics Rudy used were old, it still says that survivability in the USA is higher than in the UK for Prostate cancer. The difference just is not as large as they claim in their campaign. While I agree with the premise that government run health care is a bad idea, I don't necessarily agree with pointing to specific instances such as this to prove the point. It is a well written article that I hope you enjoy.

By Brian C. Mooney, Globe Staff

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has made "socialized medicine" one of his favorite whipping boys on the campaign trail. But he is using a single, misleading, and outdated statistic to argue that the healthcare system in the United States is better than it is in the United Kingdom.

In a radio ad airing in New Hampshire, Giuliani says: "I had prostate cancer five, six years ago. My chance of surviving prostate cancer, and thank God I was cured of it, in the United States - 82 percent. My chances of surviving prostate cancer in England - only 44 percent, under socialized medicine."

Giuliani, who was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago, plucked the 10-year-old statistic from an article written by Dr. David Gratzer, an adviser to his campaign, in the 2007 summer issue of City Journal, an urban policy publication of the Manhattan Institute, a think tank much admired by the former New York City mayor.

Continue reading the article here.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Beyond those health care numbers

Here is an article written by a Harvard professor. He goes over the argument that people for a government controlled health care system often mention. It is a fact that people in Canada have a higher life expectancy and lower infant death rate. However as this article points out, it is not necessarily a result of the health care system. Many proponents of the government system use these facts as 'proof' that the government controlled system is better. However other issues such as lifestyle and cultural issues also play into the differences in the statistics. Americans are typically more obese than their Canadian counterparts. This fact alone could result in dramatic differences in life expectancy and has nothing to do with the health care system. Anyway I agree with this author. Enjoy the article.

By N. Gregory Mankiw

Here are three true but misleading facts about health care that politicians and pundits in the United States love to use to frighten the public.

The United States has lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality than Canada, which has national health insurance.

The differences are indeed significant. Life expectancy at birth is 2.6 years greater for Canadian men than for American men. Among women, Canadians outlive Americans by 2.3 years. Infant mortality in the United States is 6.8 per 1,000 live births, compared with only 5.3 in Canada.

These facts are often taken as evidence for the inadequacy of the U.S. health system. But a recent study by June and Dave O'Neill, economists at Baruch College, from whom these numbers come, shows that the difference in health outcomes has more to do with broader social forces.

Continue reading this article here.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Senate Passes New SCHIP Bill

The formalities are completed and the 'new' SCHIP bill will finally reach the president's desk for his signature. It is not changed and just like the last bill, this bill will be vetoed. The senate voted yesterday 64-30 to approve the bill. That is not as good as the previous vote of 67-30. This margin is not even veto proof in the senate either. The Congress needs to realize that passing legislation is not about vote counting. Passing legislation means coming up with something that everyone can agree to and making the country better. This bill is just another tax and spend mandate that our children will have to figure out how to support or cut some day. Congress needs to be cutting federal mandated programs instead of expanding them. Cutting federally funded programs is not popular and sometimes causes people to vote against representatives. But the unpopular thing is often the best thing to do for the good of the country. The president will veto this bill because it is still 35 billion dollars more than the 5 billion dollar increase that he wanted for this program. This CNN article explains the senate vote in detail. Enjoy the article.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate passed a new bill Thursday expanding a popular children's health insurance program, despite the lingering threat of a veto from President Bush.

The bill -- which boosts the number of low-income children covered by the State Children's Health Insurance Program -- was recently passed by the House, but without the veto-proof margin it received in the Senate.

Bush vetoed the first SCHIP bill and is expected to veto this one.

"There's a bill moving through Congress that's disguised as a bill to help children, but I think it's really a trick on the American people," the president said Wednesday.

The current program covers about 6 million children whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid -- the federal health insurance program for the poor -- but who can't afford private insurance.

Continue reading this article here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bush's bank shot at Hillary Clinton on health care

President Bush generally has refrained from commenting on the upcoming presidential elections. However the author of this article thought that he was taking a shot at Hillary Clinton directly. Bush's actual statement was about the nationalized health care debate. He goes over the fact that Congress tried to pass a nationalized health care plan back in 1994 and was soundly defeated. Now he says that the people who supported that effort and failed are still trying to implement it. Bush says that those people are trying to impose a national health care system through incremental steps rather than all at once. Hillary Clinton was behind the 1994 debacle. Bush has emerged victorious on his veto of the current legislation to expand the SCHIP. So with these remarks he both defends his position and attacks Hillary's position. It is a very good article. Enjoy.

by Mark Silva

President Bush has promised to hold his analysis of the 2008 presidential campaign, but he waded straight into it today.

With a broadside against the Democratic Congress and its “incremental'' plans for “federalizing'' health insurance, Bush today reminded his audience that Congress rejected a national insurance plan in 1994 – that would be the plan that then-First Lady Hillary Clinton promoted, ultimately defeated by the insurance lobby.

“We've tried, by the way, here in Washington to have a... major effort, put the federal government square in the center of health care in 1994, and the legislation didn't pass,'' the president said in a speech today to the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

“I believe many of the Democrats in Congress who supported that legislation have learned from the experience,'' Bush said. “So instead of pushing to federalize health care all at once, they're pushing for the same goal through a series of incremental steps. With each step, they want to bring America closer to a nationalized system where the government dictates the medical coverage for every citizen.''

Continue reading the article here.

States will run out of SCHIP funds

Here is an article that points to the different states that will run out of money for the SCHIP program even if it is passed in its current format. The president actually wanted a reasonable increase in spending level to keep pace with inflation without expanding the program. The problem is that the Congress was not satisfied with maintaining the program that has been so good for so many children. These children who need the program are currently on the program. But unless Congress passes a bill that the president can sign, the children currently on the program will suffer. This article goes over the different states that are in trouble of denying people this program if something is not done soon. Enjoy the article.


WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 — Twenty-one states will run out of money for children’s health insurance in the coming year, and at least nine of those states will exhaust their allotments in March if Congress simply continues spending at current levels, a new federal study says.

The findings added urgency to bipartisan talks on Capitol Hill intended to overcome an impasse over expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Top House Republicans, including Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the minority leader, met Tuesday with senators of both parties, including the chairman of the Finance Committee, Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, to seek a compromise.

Their goal is to revise a bill, vetoed by President Bush, to pick up Republican support in the House and gain enough votes to override another veto threatened by the president.

Mr. Bush complained that White House officials were not included in the discussions.

Continue reading this New York Times article here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Socialized Medicine is Sicko

This is a fantastic article from the 'Free Market Cure' website by Stuart Browning. It mainly goes over the differences between the Canadian health care system and the United States health care system. It covers many of the myths associated with a National Health Care System. While he starts out making reference to the movie Sicko by Michael Moore, he mostly goes over specifics within the Canadian Health Care system. Browning has several short films himself about health care that you can find on the Free Market Cure site. Enjoy the article.

By Stuart Browning

A case in point is Howard Fineman's column in the June 18 edition of Newsweek. Having just attended a Washington press screening of Sicko, he writes about the increasingly urgent calls for government-run health care:

It would be nice to think that the urgency is the result of outrage at our mediocre infant-mortality and life-expectancy numbers, which are among the worst in the developed world.

The truth, however, is that even if we were to adopt a single-payer system, our infant mortality and life expectancy numbers would still compare unfavorably with Canada and other OECD countries for the simple reason that they have little or nothing to do with the quality of our health care system.

Life expectancy averages are determined by a multitude of factors such as ethnicity, culture, and crime rates. Asians live longer than whites. Whites live longer than blacks. Canada has more Asians than blacks. Infant mortality rates are likewise determined by a host of factors having nothing to do with our health care system. The chief cause of infant mortality is very low birth weight babies. The U.S., for reasons having to do with ethnicity and culture, has more low birth weight babies than Canada and other OECD countries.

Continue reading this article here.

SEC Joins WellCare Probe, Requests Information After FBI Raid

WellCare is under investigation for Medicare fraud by the FBI. The FBI is seeking information about doctors bills and hospital bills for their Medicare programs. Fraud in Medicare is one of the problems with this system. It adds costs to the system that can not be recovered. Now the SEC is looking at WellCare's activity as well. This is part of the problem of a for-profit system of health insurance. Insurance companies that look for ways to make as much money as possible will not be interested in saving money for the system. Enjoy the article.

October 29, 2007 (FinancialWire)
The Securities and Exchange Commission has requested information from WellCare Health Plans Inc. (NYSE: WCG), which manages health care for more than a million poor Americans, after the FBI raided the company s Florida headquarters. The company and two top executives were sued by shareholder, Eastwood Enterprises LLC, which has alleged that the company disseminated materially false and misleading statements and concealed adverse facts. Eastwood Enterprises LLC is seeking class action status, covering buyers of WellCare stock between May 8, 2006 and October 24, 2007, according to the complaint.

Continue reading the article here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rudy hails US Health Care system in NH ad (video)

This information comes from my good friends at Hot Air 'Allah Pundit'. There is a new ad for the Guiliani campaign which talks about his experience with prostate cancer. In the ad, Rudy claims that the American system has over 82% success rate in treating this disease while the NHS system in Great Britain only has about a 40% survival rate. This information segues into his health care plan. He will offer tax credits of 15,000 per family and 7500 per individual to purchase health insurance. I agree that this is probably the best way to help from the federal level. But controlling costs must be legislated at some point. Unfortunately there is no financial interest involved in controlling costs for any lobbyist in Washington. It is a good article. I like Rudy's proposal on reforming health care in America. Please go to this post and enjoy the campaign advertisement. Thank you again to AP at Hot Air.

Click here for the video.

Paging Michael Moore: Brits flee socialized healthcare

This goes to my favorite conservative pundit, Michelle Malkin. It examines the NHS in Briton and explains that people are opting out of the government system for major surgeries. These are medical tourists in that they go to countries like India and Malaysia for major surgeries that cost much less. Of course the cost is not the problem in the UK, the wait is. I am happy to point you to http://www.michellemalkin.com for this one. I agree that the premise is that this would happen here if we were to move to government health care.

By Michelle Malkin

Oh, what lovely conditions we have to look forward to should Hillary Clinton and Michael Moore get their way:

Record numbers of Britons are travelling abroad for medical treatment to escape the NHS - with 70,000 patients expected to fly out this year.

And by the end of the decade 200,000 “health tourists” will fly as far as Malaysa and South Africa for major surgery to avoid long waiting lists and the rising threat of superbugs, according to a new report.

Continue reading this blog and article here.

Medical-bill errors increasingly common

This article shows another reason that the cost of health care is so high. It may or may not be done on purpose, but this article states that 8 of 10 bills from hospitals contain errors on them. These errors result in the increased cost of health care with no added benefit. This is one of the reasons that costs have gotten out of control. This is a problem that must be addressed so that fraud is kept under control. When doctors and hospitals over bill for services, rates for insurance and the cost of health care in general increase. This is another Business Week article. Enjoy the article.


Don't assume that your complicated medical bill is correct. Errors on bills for doctors, medical tests or hospitals can result in overcharges that run from a few dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

Husband and wife Ron and Marilyn Hess, from Homer, Alaska, were left facing a bill of about $10,000 from a hospital after Marilyn needed an appendectomy. The hospital bill was about $45,000, of which her insurer agreed to pay $35,000.

After obtaining an itemized bill and with the help of a medical-billing advocate, the couple uncovered procedures billed that weren't performed.

Continue reading the article here.

Compromises sought on kids' health

This article in Business Week goes over more detail about the problems with the SCHIP program that Congress passed last week. It explains that many states are given the ability to exclude certain income to qualify. States do not have specific rules about how to calculate the income requirements for eligibility. This results in money being spent for other than the purpose of the bill. The purpose of the bill is to get insurance coverage to families of children who could not afford it. The article goes into details about other issues such as how it should be paid for. Enjoy the article.


-- President Bush and other critics of a $35 billion spending increase for children's health insurance say they'll support expanding coverage to families of four making as much as $62,000 a year, but they want to limit states' ability to go beyond that level.

About three dozen states ignore certain income when determining who can get government-subsidized health coverage. For example, many states exclude child support payments. Others deduct expenses for child care when determining who qualifies for the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Congress is considering the renewal of SCHIP for an additional five years, but differences remain over who the program should cover and how much money should be spent. The flexibility that states have in defining income is one of the differences that will probably need to be resolved for Democrats to override a promised veto from Bush.

Continue reading the article here.

Dean: Bush wants billions for wars, but not for kids' health

I just want to put this on my blog to show the difference between rhetoric and good policy. Defense spending is generally considered separately from any other spending from the government. Defense is the only thing that private industry can not accomplish effectively. This is why money spent for the men and women in harms way for duty to country is important.

The Democrats now want to use this expensive war as their excuse for everything that they want. I agree that the war is more expensive than it should have been, but America is gaining the upper hand so the cost should begin to decline. The SCHIP program will start at this 35 billion dollars extra and continue to increase. This cost will increase because the bill does nothing to address the cost of health care. It shows how difficult it is to have a government for the people when you have a government controlled by two parties that are 'for the party'. Congress can cut the funding for the war whenever they want. They have not and I do not believe that they should. But this is no argument for a reason that the government should continue to spend taxpayer money with no regard to cost. Enjoy the article.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean on Saturday criticized Republicans in Congress for not supporting legislation to expand a popular children's health care program.

Democratic National Committee head Howard Dean addresses the "Take Back America" conference in June 20.

"The Republican leaders have made their choice. They want to stay in Iraq and deny our kids health care," Dean said in the party's weekly radio address.

Continue reading the AP article here.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

SCHIP and the Rigged Health Insurance Game

This is a very interesting article because I agree with a lot of it, but I disagree with his primary premise. He says that the SCHIP program would actually be a terrible thing for the health insurance community. I don't understand how having the government provide money to pay for HEALTH INSURANCE would necessarily point out the evil insurance companies. I would think that the insurance companies would be for the SCHIP program because the government pays for the insurance rather than forcing the individual to pay it.

I agree however with his remarks about the profit incentive for the health insurance companies. There is a problem with the capitalist model for health insurance because it encourages discrimination. It encourages companies to deny coverage to the sick because they make more money if they only insure those people who will have fewer claims. However what this article misses is the fact that insurance companies negotiate lower prices from the providers to keep the health care costs in check. So while it is bad that insurance companies try to maximize their profits through devious ways, it is good that one way to maximize profits is to negotiate much lower rates with providers than an individual would be allowed to pay.

I agree that the profit needs to be taken out of the health insurance system. I know that the cost of health care is the problem. People who do not have health insurance are not the problem. The government should focus less on the income of people needing health care and more on the health of the people who need health care and the system could work. If the government guaranteed a safety net for sick people who would be declined for health insurance, then that would be sufficient to satisfy the actual need for health care in this country.

Blue Cross Blue Shield association was set up as a non-profit insurance company. That is the best vehicle to provide payment for health care. The non-profit system ensures that health care costs are kept in check through negotiations to lower provider prices. The problem is that now the Blue Cross association plans are no longer non-profit companies. They make as much money as for profit companies. And some like Anthem are even traded as well.

Again, I agree that the system is flawed. I don't agree that this SCHIP program and the defeat of it is a sign of the corruption from the health insurance lobby. Still though I disagree, I think it is well written and well thought out. Enjoy the article.

Eric Haas

The House on Thursday passed a modified version of the SCHIP bill, with a vote that was seven votes shy of a veto-proof majority. There were 142 members of Congress who voted against extending health care to more poor children. Behind their rhetoric, their intentions are clear: they want to protect the health insurance market and the huge profits that go with it.

But the huge profits are killing health care. We all know that now. Profit-maximizing insurance companies are bad economics. They make money by denying care, which is a terrible way to try to keep us healthy.

And, profit-maximizing health insurance does more harm than that. It is also killing our sense of community. It pits us one against another to get the limited number of insurance policies, strangling the trust and cooperation we need to thrive. If we can't come together when we need each other most--when we're sick, injured or dying--without our vulnerability being used as an opportunity to maximize profits, then the U.S. is a hollow shell. The community that makes our nation a family is dead.

Continue reading the article here.

Friday, October 26, 2007

NAIC Testifies On Small Business Health Insurance Options

This is one of the most thoughtful presentations that you will find in the debate about health care reform. This was testimony in Washington DC to the Senate Committee on Finance on behalf of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The speaker was the PA Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario. He emphasized that the focus on providing health care plans does nothing to address the underlying causes of our health care crisis which is the rising cost of health care. He points out that insurance is merely the mechanism through which health care services are paid. Without addressing the causes of increasing costs of health care, the costs of insurance will continue to rise as well. Enjoy the article.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 25, 2007) — Speaking today on behalf of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Pennsylvania Acting Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance regarding strategies aimed at expanding health insurance coverage for small businesses.

Commissioner Ario emphasized the importance of cost-containment strategies when addressing the issue of helping small businesses provide health insurance coverage to their employees.

“Health insurance reform will not solve [the problem of increasing health care costs] since insurance is primarily a method of financing health care costs,” Ario testified. “Nevertheless, insurers do have a vital role to play in reforms such as disease management, enhanced use of information technology, improved quality of care, wellness programs and prevention, and evidence-based medicine — all of which have shown promise in limiting the growth of health care spending. Whatever is done in insurance reform should be done in a manner that is consistent with sound cost control practices.”

Continue reading the article here.

Community Health Plans Among Best in Nation

Six of Top 10 Medicare Plans are ACHP Members

WASHINGTON, PRNewswire-USNewswire/
-- The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) today announced that 70 percent of its member plans have been recognized by the U.S. News and World Report and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as being among the top 25 health plans in the U.S. across Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial lines of business.

ACHP members are select regional health plans that provide coverage and health care services for nearly 15 million individuals throughout the U.S. Among the top 10 Medicare plans, one member plan, Fallon Community Health Plan, based in Worcester, MA, was rated as both the top Medicare and Medicaid plan. Six of the top 10 Medicare plans are ACHP members. Among the top 15 Medicaid plans, 5 are ACHP members.

The rankings clearly demonstrate that community-based health plans offer the best quality care available while providing enrollees the highest value for their health care dollar. These plans consistently achieve such high quality ratings through close coordination among all the providers involved in a patient's care. In addition, regional health plans actively work to identify patients' health needs through a variety of patient outreach efforts. Improving their patients' health is the key goal of these plans.

Continue reading this article here.

Bush Says He'll Veto Health Bill Again

Bush uses this opportunity to explain that this Congress is merely wasting time. He says that this bill costs more than the one he just vetoed. The Democrats are just playing politics and they do not care about the American people. They only care about defeating Republicans. This is not the way the system was designed by the founders. Enjoy the article. Maybe we can find some leaders in Congress but I am not holding my breath.


— President Bush accused Democratic lawmakers on Friday of wasting time by passing legislation to expand children's health coverage, knowing that he would veto it again. At the same time, he criticized Congress for failing to approve spending bills to keep the government running.

Bush said Congress had "set a record they should not be proud of: October 26 is the latest date in 20 years that Congress has failed to get a single annual appropriations bill to the president's desk."

He also complained that Congress had failed to pass a permanent extension of a moratorium on state and local taxes on Internet access, and that the Senate had not yet confirmed Michael Mukasey as attorney general. Further, he chided Congress for failing to approve more money for Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Senate on Thursday night approved a seven-year extension of the Internet tax moratorium; differences with a House-passed version still have to be worked out.

Continue reading the article here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

House passes expanded kids' insurance bill

It's like deja vu all over again. I guess I should not mind because it keeps interest high for information like I have on my blog. I just wish that their time could be spent more wisely. Once again this bill passes the House of Representatives. Once again it is by not enough to override a veto. Once again President Bush will veto this bill. They have to finish a funding proposal by the end of November because that is when the current SCHIP program will end. Nobody on either side of the aisle wanted to see the end to this program. It was the Republican Congress that established this program in 1997. There is no way they would be interested in seeing it go unfunded. This issue is only about the tax and spend Congress. They want to know exactly how much of your money they can spend. I wish leadership would focus on the cost of health care rather than free health insurance. Enjoy the article, but it is just like one from merely three weeks ago.

By Ruth Mantell, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch)
-- The U.S. House passed an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program Thursday evening, despite a new veto threat and continued opposition from many Republican representatives.

House lawmakers voted 265-142 to approve the new plan, known as SCHIP. If President Bush carries through with his threatened veto, and precedent indicates that he would, then the tally would fall short of the two-thirds majority needed to override.

Bush criticized the new SCHIP plan, saying that it doesn't meaningfully address prior objections. The revision still calls for an increase in tobacco-product taxes to fund a $35 billion expansion over SCHIP's current $25 billion five-year funding baseline. A current extension of SCHIP expires in mid-November.

"Of course [the president] would veto it," said Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman. "In some ways, this bill is worse than the previous bill. It raises taxes on working Americans to move people from private insurance to public assistance. No tax increase of any kind is needed to fund this program."

Continue reading this article here.

Higher Health-Care Costs Are Forcing Americans To Change Behavior

This is a very informative article about the behavior of the individual. Rising health care costs have caused consumers to increase their co pays and deductibles to lower their health insurance premiums. As a result, people are being more discriminatory over when they go to the doctor which may not be a good thing. But they are taking care of themselves as an alternative which is a good thing. Our health care system relies on early detection of major problems. If people have health problems they need to get checked out. But if people take better care of their health consciously, then they won't have to worry about many major health problems that bog down our system. Enjoy the article.

Kristen Gerencher is a reporter for MarketWatch in San Francisco.

-- Concerned about affordability and feeling the financial sting of higher cost-sharing in their health plans, more Americans are changing their personal health behavior in ways that are likely both good and bad, according to a new study.

More than six in 10 Americans with health insurance, or 63%, said they saw an increase in their health plans' out-of-pocket costs in the past year, according to a survey of 1,000 people 21 and older from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research group in Washington, and research firm Mathew Greenwald & Associates.

Among these people, 81% said their greater financial responsibility motivated them to try to take better care of themselves, up from 71% who said that in 2005. Two-thirds said they tried to talk to the doctor more carefully about treatment options and costs compared with 57% who did so two years ago.

The number of people being more discriminating about doctor visits also grew -- 64% reported they only went for more serious conditions or symptoms, up from 54% in 2005. Half delayed going to the doctor this year, compared with 40% who used that tactic two years ago. Twenty-eight percent skipped or passed on filling doses of their prescribed medications, up from 21% two years ago.

It's impossible to discern from the study what the outcomes of those behaviors were, but the overall trend suggests people are being more mindful of their care and its costs, said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI's health research program.

"They're becoming engaged on some level, more so than they've been in the past," he said. "That's really the goal of what employers and insurers are trying to do -- to get them to think more about their decisions and be more active in their health care."

Continue reading this article here.

Health Care industry creating Jobs

This is good news for people who are looking for work. There is going to be a 26% increase in number of jobs in 2008 which translates to 2.8 million new jobs. The median salary for a nurse is $45,000/year so this should help our economy. Enjoy the article.

Healthy Outlook
Training for a job in the growth industry of health care

Healing the nation's sick and injured brings together people from varied backgrounds and diverse interests using not only cutting edge technology and sophisticated medical techniques, but intrinsic values such as compassion and caring.

The health care industry provides 11 million jobs for Americans -- a number that continues to grow.

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that jobs in health care will increase 26 percent by 2008, which translates into 2.8 million new jobs. For those interested in a career in health care, the choices are unprecedented in the nation's history.

According to the latest figures, the national average nursing salary is $45,000, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs for RNs will grow 23 percent by 2008. A registered nurse needs an associate degree in nursing and if working in a hospital, is usually assigned to an area such as surgery, maternity, pediatrics, emergency room, intensive care, oncology or rehab.

Continue this article here.

GOP cries foul on timing of children's health vote

While I agree that the timing of this bill is suspect, I don't think it would matter. It is a shame that Congress does not recognize the national tragedy that certain representatives must attend to. I don't believe it is a good bill. At the same time I don't believe that this argument is the correct way to stop this bill. Our Congress has broken down into arguing on one side that representatives hate children, while on the other side the argument is that representatives do not care that people have just lost everything they have in a fire. Neither of these arguments are appropriate ways of passing good legislation. But they make for good news stories and good advertisements during re-election campaigns. God bless America. We need all the help we can get. Enjoy the article from CNN.

From Deirdre Walsh and Jessica Yellin

-- House Republicans are fuming over Democrats' decision to hold the next vote on the State Children's Health Insurance Program on Thursday -- when many Republicans will be in California as President Bush tours areas hit by wildfires.

"Five to seven members are going, all of whom would be 'no' votes, and [Democrats] know it," House Republican Whip Roy Blunt told CNN. "This is clearly designed to minimize the Republican opposition to this bill."

President Bush vetoed the proposed five-year expansion and $35 billion spending increase for SCHIP on October 3.

House Democrats tried to override the veto last week, but failed to get the two-thirds majority needed for a veto. The bill to be taken up on Thursday is a revised version that Democrats hope will win converts.

At a meeting of Republican House members to discuss the revised bill, Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas said the Democrats are "taking advantage of a disaster to loot the American treasury."

Thirteen Republicans from fire-stricken districts signed a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, urging her as "a fellow Californian" to postpone the vote.

Continue the article here.

US House ready Thursday to retest Bush's veto clout on children's health bill

Here is the AP story about the new vote of the same bill that failed to override a veto just last week. It is still 35 billion dollars of money brought in through taxing the poor and middle class. Pelosi said it addresses everything that the opposition wanted, but if it does not address the cost to the taxpayer then it does nothing to address the real problem. I personally am not a smoker but when revenue from cigarettes does not cover the cost, they'll find a way to tax non-smokers to pay for this anyway. Of course the Democrats feel justified in spending money on anything they want because of the war and because of Bush's unfettered spending until recently too.

Two wrongs don't make a right. And the Federal government's only responsibility is to provide for the common defense through defense spending. Congress is writing checks that the American taxpayer (children) will have to figure out a way to cover. Tax and spend is not leadership. Tax and spend is not good for this country no matter how many times they say it is 'for the children'. It is a tax increase for the children to pay for when they become adults.

Enjoy the article, but hide your wallets.

WASHINGTON (AP): The House of Representatives plans to vote Thursday on a modestly revised version of a children's health insurance bill that President George W. Bush recently vetoed.

Last week the House fell 13 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to override the Oct. 3 veto, which had been prompted by Bush's objections to a major expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

The bill's supporters now hope the revisions will attract the seven or more Republicans needed to change the outcome later this fall. Republican leaders urged their colleagues to resist, saying the changes are too minor to justify abandoning Bush on a high-profile issue.

Continue the article here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

House to Vote on New Version of Child Health Bill

This is just absurd. The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was quoted as saying, “The bill addresses all of the concerns that were expressed by our colleagues and by the president,” Ms. Pelosi said. “We hope the Republicans will take yes for an answer.” The problem is that they did not make ANY changes, nor did they speak with anyone who did not vote for this bill 3 weeks ago. The cost is still 35 billion dollars. They are still going to raise taxes on the poor through a 61 cent tax on a pack of cigarettes. Most importantly, this program becomes PERMANENT with this bill instead of the original program that is designed to be reconsidered at least every 10 years.

This permanent mandate merely puts a further burden on these children to figure out a way to pay for these programs that do not have definite funding. At some point somewhere down the line, these entitlement programs are going to paralyze the entire country. When the tobacco tax is not enough to fund this program, where are they going to get the money? What tax are they going to raise?

On this generous compromise, 'Michael O. Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, met with House Republican leaders on Tuesday and with Senate Republican leaders on Wednesday, but said he had “yet to engage in direct conversations with the Democrats.”

“I have zero impact on what the Democrats do,” Mr. Leavitt said.'

President Bush even said that he was willing to compromise up to 20 billion dollars instead of the 5 billion dollar increase he had already proposed. The bottom line is that this Congress believes we have an unlimited supply of money. The war effort is expensive, but defense is something that the federal government is supposed to pay for. Congress recently passed a spending bill that called for 9 billion dollars more than President Bush wanted earlier this week. Their form of 'leadership' is take more of your money so that they can spend it.

They think that as long as they say it is 'for the children' they can do whatever they want. These children are going to have to figure out how to undo the financial fiscal irresponsibility that these 'adults' are placing on their future. Enjoy the article.


— Sensing a political advantage, Democrats rushed Wednesday to move a health care bill for children back to the House floor, having made minor changes to win over more Republicans.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would vote Thursday on the new bill. Like the original, which President Bush vetoed three weeks ago, it would cover 10 million children through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and increase spending on the program by $35 billion, for a total of $60 billion, in the next five years.

But the new bill would tighten eligibility for the program, generally barring the use of federal money to cover illegal immigrants, childless adults and children of families with incomes exceeding three times the poverty level: $61,950 for a family of four.

Continue reading the article here.

New SCHIP bill, same old reaction

It seems as though the Democrats are not willing to change anything on the bill that was just defeated by President Bush's veto. They will bring the same bill to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote tomorrow. The Republicans have indicated a willingness to compromise on certain elements. But the 'new' bill has the same price tag and way to pay for it as the 'old' bill that just got killed. I guess that the Democrats want to repeat the same mantra that this somehow 'proves' that Republicans hate kids. I think it proves that the Congress and especially its leadership deserves the poor approval ratings it enjoys now. Their approval is even lower than the presidents'.

This article is from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It explains that their representatives will not change their votes this time around either because there are no differences in the bill. I hope to post some more about this tomorrow. Enjoy the article.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Details were still sketchy by Wednesday evening, but House Democrats and the White House are talking about a compromise on the bill that would add hundreds of millions of dollars to Georgia’s PeachCare, a health insurance program for poor kids. The House may vote on it Thursday.

The few details that have already been leaked to reporters, however, indicate that the compromise won’t be changing the minds of the 10 Georgia congressmen who voted against the original bill - and then voted to uphold President Bush’s veto of it - this month.

The compromise would still expand SCHIP, or State Children’s Health Insurance Program, by $35 billion over five years and raise the money through an increase in tobacco taxes, Republicans complained.

Continue reading the article here.

Biden Unveils Health Care Plan

Here is an AP article about Senator Biden's new health care plan. He says that the current system is good for those people who can afford the coverage. But he says that it is important that universal coverage is given to those who 'can't afford it'. The problem with this argument becomes who determines who can or can not afford coverage offered. His program will cost taxpayers about 110 billion dollars per year. But it is different from Hillary's program in that it does not mandate coverage. He will work with all the involved entities in the first 3 months of his presidency to come up with some sort of solution. I don't agree with him, but here is his new proposal. Enjoy the article.


— Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday called for expanding access to health coverage for all children and adults, but stopped short of mandating universal coverage.

Biden's plan would also improve coverage for catastrophic illnesses, modernize the health care system and encourage wellness.

"It's time to take charge of our health care system," Biden told a packed auditorium at a private medical school in Des Moines. "The current system, as good as it is for its people (who can afford it), it's just not working well enough for all of the people."

The Delaware senator said that if he is elected, he would bring together government workers, health care providers, labor leaders and businesses in the first three months of his administration to work on health care challenges.

Continue reading the article here.

Poll: Nearly 70% say their health insurance gets at least a passing grade

We hear more often from politicians talking about how poor the health care situation in this country is. However when you speak with people about their personal experience with their own health care, people seem pretty satisfied. Politicians want to claim that there is a problem that needs major work when that is not the case. There are plenty of issues with the current system of health care that our nation has. But the idea that the fix is to throw the baby out with the bathwater is not sound. This article was in The Business Journal. Enjoy the article.

The Business Journal

Nearly 70 percent of those responding to The Business Journal's most recent online survey give their company's health insurance plans at least a passing grade.

In fact, of those responding to the question, "What grade do you give your health insurance plan, and why?," 18 percent went so far as to rate their coverage with an A, saying they had no complaints. Another 22 percent gave their insurance a B, while 28 percent were able to give their plans a C.

A total of 22 percent gave their health plans a failing grade (either a D or F), with the other 8 percent saying their jobs didn't offer health benefits.

The survey, which generated 145 responses, ran live from Oct. 17-23. It was not designed to be a scientific sampling, but a snapshot of what respondents were thinking.

Continue reading the article here.

Dems' SCHIP to again set sail, perhaps this week

This must be why the White House came out with their claim that half of America is not poor. It seems like the Democrats are going to try to pass this again and get as much money as they possibly can from the taxpayers. They just want to find out how much of an entitlement program they can saddle on the American people and take credit for a massive 'gift' come election time. I guess their job is trying to figure out how to spend everyone's money. It will be interesting to see what they come up with this time. If it is something other than 'tax and spend' I'll be surprised. Enjoy the article.

by Matthew Hay Brown

It may have gone down in a failed veto override last week. But it looks as if the plan to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program is coming back sooner rather than later---and in a form that will be familiar to all who have followed the debate.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said today that Democrats could bring the bill back to the floor as early as this week. And while Republican opponents have called for compromise on who would be covered and how much would it would cost, Hoyer suggested that the main difference this time would be better salesmanship.

"Some of the comments that have been made by members of the other side about their concerns ... we are prepared to try to address some of those concerns," Hoyer said today during his weekly pen-and-pad session with the Capitol press corps. "We don't think they were concerns that were legitimate. And we are prepared to address them to ensure the fact that everybody understands what the bill means."

Continue the article here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

White House: More than half of America 'not poor'

Since the SCHIP bill has already been killed, this is a little late. However it is still a good point in the debate about the expansion of the SCHIP program. This goes over more of the details about what this expansion from the Democrats would actually do. If you believe the Congress' version of this program that was designed to help poor families, then you have to believe that half of Americans are poor.

There is a poverty issue in this country. I do not disagree that there are a lot of people who do not have a lot. However half of America can not be considered poor. The veto was the right thing to do for the children. Without the veto, these children that would get government funded health insurance would be saddled with another entitlement program that they would have to figure out how to pay for eventually.

It is a little late for the debate, but it is not any less appropriate. Enjoy the article.

by Mark Silva

Here's a cheerful note from the White House:

"Over half the families in America are not poor.''

That's a good glass half-full way of looking at the debate over health insurance for children. With the president having vetoed -- and having sustained that veto -- a bill offering health care to the children of families living at three times the federal poverty level, the White House maintains it is willing to find more money for health care for lower-income children.

Just not the middle class.

"Over Half The Families In America Are Not Poor,'' the White House announces today, in a release focusing on a statement by Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto -- who also is not poor.

"Congress' SCHIP Bill Would Cover The Majority Of American Families With Children,'' it notes of the State Children's Health Insurance Program legislation.

"The President vetoed Congress' SCHIP bill because they were asking for a policy that was bad, not because they were asking for too much money,'

Continue reading the article here.

Senate passes health funds that Bush opposes

Here we go again with the spending in Congress. This Reuters article justifies the increased spending by saying that the Republican Congress spent too much too. This bill is for 9 billion dollars more than the President wanted. The spending includes money for research of things like cancer treatment. This is the problem with the pharmaceutical companies complaining that if we restrict how much money they can charge for prescription medications that they create, they won't have the money for research and development of new drugs. Much of the money for research and development comes from bills such as these. Once they develop the drugs, they then work in concert with the FDA for approval and the patent then ensures them years of a monopoly on a drug that was paid for by tax dollars.

I am not coming down either way on this issue because I do not know the details. Congress needs to start cutting spending somewhere (outside of defense). The only detail that really matters is that the President, who has not shown much problem with overspending himself, is not spending enough money according to the Congress. A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there, NINE billion dollars later and soon you'll be talking about real money. Anyway, it is veto proof likely because Congress wants to get something done to show for their work.

Congress does not want to give the president a blank check, but Congress wants the President to give them one it seems. This is for a $606 billion dollar program of which $152 BILLION is pork above what the entitlement programs require. It's your money. Enjoy the article.

By Richard Cowan

- The Senate on Tuesday ignored a veto threat and easily passed legislation that would spend more than President George W. Bush wants this year for social programs including health care, education and job training.

By a veto-proof margin of 75-19, the Senate passed the bill that would cost $606 billion in the fiscal year that started Oct 1. Of that total, $152 billion funds programs that Congress tinkers with each year.

The rest of the money largely pays for federal retirement and health-care programs for the poor and elderly that the government is obligated to pay, unless lawmakers take on the difficult and unpopular task of reforming them.

Last week, the White House complained the bill topped Bush's February funding request by about $9 billion.

"I really can't believe the president wants us to cut funding for cancer research; cut children from the rolls of Head Start (preschool program for children from low-income families)," said Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, who steered the bill through the Senate.

Continue the article here.

NHS failings give private medical insurance firms a boost

This is an article about the National Health System (NHS) in the United Kingdom. Many times in America politicians will speak of the universal health care systems in the UK and Canada as models for how our system should be. This article indicates that people are abandoning the universal system in favor of private medical insurance plans. For the first time in a long time the number of people on private insurance has gone up. They get private insurance to ensure that they have appropriate care if they need it. This article indicates that there are many problems with a universal health care system run by the government. If we do not learn from the problems of the systems we hail as 'superior' to ours, we will suffer the same fate. While this likely is an article for an insurance company trying to sell more insurance, the issue is worth examining. Enjoy the article.

Fair Investment Company

More people are turning to the private medical sector to ensure that they and their families get a good level of healthcare rather than put their lives in the hands of a failing NHS system, according to recent findings from The Association of British Insurers (ABI).

For the first time in recent years, the number of subscribers to personal Private Medical Insurance (PMI) policies has gone up. The latest figures from ABI show that last year, 1,030,000 people subscribed to personal PMI policies, an increase of 1.8% from 1,012,000 in 2005. This figure is expected to rise significantly within the next few months.

The NHS has recently come under fire after a report into the outbreaks of superbug C-Difficile at the Maidenhead and Tunbridge Wells Hospitals NHS Trust revealed that at least 345 patients had died while in the care of the hospitals.

Continue the article here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

GOP Govs Discuss Health Care at Retreat

This AP article goes over what is self-evident. While the Republican party has not historically had an interest in the national health care debate, the climate of the country is such that it is necessary to discuss programs. Since the AP is strict with its 'fair use' doctrine, I am only going to post a little bit of this very good and informative article. The GOP is going to try to make this their issue. Enjoy the article.


— Republicans have not been known as the party of health care, but to make headway in the next election they need to embrace what is fast emerging as the top domestic issue for many Americans. That was a key message at a Republican governor's retreat Sunday in eastern Georgia.

On the agenda at the Republican Governors Association retreat at Lake Oconee were initiatives to drive down health care costs through such plans as health savings accounts, the portability of health records and other free-market proposals designed to boost competition.

Continue reading the article here.


Here is another well meaning article that I disagree with. The author says that we should pay for 'health care' for kids because we already pay for 'health care' for adults. What she really says is that we need to pay for 'health insurance' for kids without saying it. Paying for health insurance will not make kids healthier. What kids need is an active lifestyle. What kids need is education in lifestyle choices to live more healthy. This will actually make a difference and pay off over time by making our society healthier. We do a disservice to our society if we pay for health insurance to provide care for kids who do not understand what a healthy lifestyle choice is. If we encourage kids to exercise and eat healthy in our public schools, we will have healthy children and we will lower the cost of health care in this country. While I disagree with this author, it is a well meaning article. I hope you enjoy.

Cynthia Tucker

Just four years ago, President Bush and the Republican Congress joined with Democrats to champion a program giving prescription drug coverage to senior citizens. It was poorly conceived and mega-expensive, an added entitlement for a group of Americans who already had good medical care. But Bush and Congress insisted that seniors deserved it.

Now, however, the president and many of his GOP colleagues adamantly oppose extending just a fraction of that good medical care to children. What sort of country lavishes health care on its old but withholds it from its young? Why do so many conservatives believe old folks are "deserving" but children are deadbeats?

Continue reading the article here.

Snatch victory from kids' health bill defeat

I disagree with this article because it mainly talks about government run health care as a good thing. The author of this article says that Medicare is a government run program and it does a lot of good things. The problem that this author does not understand is that Medicare is going broke. Medicare in its current form will not be available to children who are born today. I certainly would like to be able to go on Medicare myself because the benefits are good and I don't have to pay as much for it.

Medicare going broke is only the first problem with it. Doctors and hospitals are beginning to limit the number of Medicare patients that they see because they can not make enough money with Medicare reimbursements to cover their costs. Their choice is to either limit the number of Medicare patients or go out of business. Private insurance companies reimburse these doctors and hospitals at a high enough rate that they can still stay open and treat some Medicare patients as well.

Another problem with Medicare is that the government is actively trying to privatize the current system that we have now. The new Medicare Advantage programs were created during the 2003 Act of Congress that also gave us the expensive Prescription Drug program. Those programs give private insurance companies incentive to offer free plans to people willing to give up their Medicare benefits from the government to enroll in a private HMO plan administered by private health insurance companies.

Basically Medicare is a very good program, but America can not afford it. It is not an example of government run health insurance that anyone should point to as reason government run health care is a good idea.

This article demonstrates the amount of misinformation people have about the quality and viability of certain programs run by the government. Enjoy the article.

Clarence Page

Some folks don't believe government-run health care will work -- even when it already is working.

Way back in the 1990s, then-Louisiana Sen. John Breaux was accosted in an airport by an elderly woman who pleaded, "Senator, don't you dare let the government get its hands on my Medicare!"

To paraphrase Rick from "Casablanca," she was misinformed.

Nevertheless, Breaux, always the gentleman, replied congenially, "Don't worry, madam, I won't."

That's a small illustration of how successful conservatives and the health insurance industry have been at demonizing anything that sounds like "government-run health care."

Continue the article here.