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.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

"United States National Health Insurance Act"

I have provided a link to the act introduced in January of this year by Congressman Conyers entitled The United States National Health Insurance Act (HR676). This bill outlines the desires of Congress for addressing the health care situation in America.

It is a very comprehensive bill and includes a lot of things that many candidates would ignore in such a proposal. They have been working on some version of this bill for at least 15 years so I would expect some level of complexity. However, it still does not address the main BIG sticking point. The price. $1.86 TRILLION/YEAR.

OK, for some perspective, this year's budget for Washington DC was a record by a long shot, but it wasn't more than 3 Trillion dollars. This vote that they are proposing with one stroke of the Presidents pen will lock in future generations to this new entitlement program.

Having said that, I don't have to remind you that anytime DC wants to pass something, they over-promise and under-deliver. I imagine that 1.86 Trillion dollar price tag will double AFTER they vote for this legislation.

They go into some detail as to how exactly the government is going to come up with this extra astronomical amount. It all looks good on paper. But here again, with a program so massive (larger than the military) - you can not just legislate on general principals. This bill will affect every single taxpayer and their children for decades. Do you want to make promises that your children will have to keep for you?

Read the article. It is a summary and reads fast. It links to the actual bill. It is very comprehensive and well thought out. I just don't think it'll work.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Clinton softens governments role in Universal Health Care

Hillary Clinton started the debate on Universal Health Care in the early to mid 90's. Along the way she realized that the health care system in the United States was too vast for a simple solution to the issues. While she wanted a welfare health insurance state paid for by the government, she had to address prescription drugs, health insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, and finally consumers (the American people) when dealing with this issue. She had hoped that the only people who would matter in this debate were the public. But it isn't the public who will lose the most with government controlled Universal Health care.

Here is an article which discusses her views on Universal Health Care as it stands today. She points out that the current system just needs to be fixed instead of changed. Her liberal competitors for president have all come out with their own plan, and essentially said that they would have to raise taxes for it to work. It used to be political suicide if you told voters you would raise their taxes if you elected them. Now I guess it's the best thing some candidates can think to propose.

Here is the article.

I don't believe that Clinton has the answer. Why don't I believe that? Because if she did, we'd have already heard about it. She knows what won't work which is why she's allowing her competitors to propose programs that she knows won't work. Health care is not a right. The system needs to be fixed, but only a little bit. The problem with our system is how much it costs. The problem is not that our health care system is bad.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Short Term Health Insurance

Short term health insurance is a good way to bridge the gap between medical care coverages. Short term insurance plans are the same major medical coverages, but it costs much less each month in premium.

Short term health insurance plans are great for graduating students who leave their parents' policy upon graduation. If you have a waiting period for coverage before an employer health insurance benefit program starts, a short term health insurance plan would be inexpensive and provide protection. One other common short term health insurance consumer is someone between jobs. Companies offer COBRA between jobs, but it can be too expensive, and is much more expensive than short term medical insurance plans.

Applying for short term health insurance is easy at websites like this one at http://www.short-termhealthinsurance.com . In 5 minutes you can be covered for less than you think.

Fairmont Specialty Group
Assurant Health
Celtic short term health insurance plans

All of these are good companies that will offer low rates for your short term health insurance needs. Contact your local agent if you have questions about your situation.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Mesothelioma Cancer

Mesothelioma Cancer is caused by asbestos. Mesothelioma cancer lawyers and attorneys represent individuals who have contracted the disease at a job. The incidents of mesothelioma have increased over the past 20 years and the settlements have been awarded to the individuals who have contracted mesothelioma from a building or job.

Learn more about Mesothelioma from this article: Here are some excerpts:

Mesothelioma: Questions and Answers

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body’s internal organs. Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles.

What is the mesothelium?

The mesothelium is a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body. It is composed of two layers of cells: One layer immediately surrounds the organ; the other forms a sac around it. The mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that is released between these layers, allowing moving organs (such as the beating heart and the expanding and contracting lungs) to glide easily against adjacent structures.
The mesothelium has different names, depending on its location in the body. The peritoneum is the mesothelial tissue that covers most of the organs in the abdominal cavity. The pleura is the membrane that surrounds the lungs and lines the wall of the chest cavity. The pericardium covers and protects the heart. The mesothelial tissue surrounding the male internal reproductive organs is called the tunica vaginalis testis. The tunica serosa uteri covers the internal reproductive organs in women.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma (cancer of the mesothelium) is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Cancer cells can also metastasize (spread) from their original site to other parts of the body. Most cases of mesothelioma begin in the pleura or peritoneum.

How common is mesothelioma?

Although reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years, mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer. About 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year. Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or women at any age.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

VA Medical Records Model

There has been a lot of reporting about the VA and how bad the program is for our Veterans. Most of the criticism comes from the main Walter Reed facility that was not properly maintained. Criticisms are appropriate in certain circumstances, however the VA does a lot of things the right way.

One important thing that the VA does good is digital medical records. Many times when you switch doctors or apply for health insurance, you have to physically get your own medical records from your doctor and hand them to your new doctor. Doctors don't like to spend time with this, and sometimes they charge for the extra administration work.

The VA has all of its medical records in a computer data base. Any time a VA patient goes from one facility to the next, the new doctor only has to pull up the records on the global database. This saves time and money from administering medical records. All doctors treating the same patient have the same information.

I have issues with many things that the Clintons did to health care when they were in office - including the privacy acts which don't seem to help anything but lawyers. However, they were responsible for the modernization of the medical records in the VA facility. As a result, the VA is a model of how medical records should be kept and transferred from doctor to doctor seamlessly.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Access to Health Care

One other problem confronting the issue of Universal health care is Access to health care. Any time you reduce the cost to the consumer (free under universal health care), utilization rises. Right now our emergency rooms are overworked because a significant number of people use the emergency room as their primary care physician. I have spoken with many Hispanic immigrants who have told me that the reason that they do not have health insurance is that if they get sick they will just go to the emergency room. Everyone knows that they have to treat them whether or not they have insurance.

As soon as everyone is guaranteed health care on demand, demand for that health care will overwhelm the services that are available now. In countries where the government provides the health care, the main complaint is the waiting lines for services. You have to increase the amount of doctors, the amount of hospitals, emergency rooms and clinics to deal with the exact same number of people under a universal system.

Before the government even looks at ways to provide health care for all through some sort of government mandated insurance program, they are going to have to address the issue of access. Guaranteeing health care is one thing. Providing QUALITY health care is something quite different. I would hate for the government to treat the health care system the way they did Iraq with poor planning for the long haul which would deny health care to those who could otherwise afford it and need it.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Prescription Drug Dilema

We all know that the same prescription drug in Canada and Mexico costs less than it does in the USA. It does not make sense that a capitalistic society would allow this to happen. You would think that America would allow a price war and let the best business win.

The USA does have very good prescription drugs and good new drugs which prolong life and add to the quality of life. Drug companies say that if the system were changed they would not be able to afford the research and development of these new 'miracle drugs'.

The Veterans Administration is allowed to purchase major prescription drugs in bulk and negotiate for a lower rate. As a result, the VA is very good with prescription drug benefits through good access to drugs at a low rate. Congress wants medicare to have the ability to do the same thing, but the drug lobby does not allow this to happen.

If we want to keep the cost of health care down, the prescription drugs are a major place to start. We could possibly put a limit on the patents available to allow generics to be produced earlier. Many drug companies get government subsidies for the research and development, so it is possible that we could tie the subsidies with rules for shorter patents.

Any change will have to be done against the wishes of the very large and powerful drug companies in Washington DC. Health insurance rates would come down along with the cost of health care if something significant is done about the alarming cost of prescription drugs.