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.

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.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Freedom Works - The right approach to health-care reform

This is an article written by John McCain for the National Review Online. I think this plan is the best available program for health care reform. He hits on all of the points that I believe need to be addressed for real and effective health care reform that reduces the cost of health care. He emphasizes the three main phases of lowering cost of insurance through tax credits, cutting prescription costs by offering generics quicker and allowing re importation of drugs from Canada and Mexico, and third TORT reform by limiting the amount that people can sue for an improper medical procedure. He also mentions the importance of choice for the military in the VA system. This is the best available plan to fix the problems of our health care system. Enjoy the article.

By John McCain

We face a choice on health care: We can reform the system through the mechanism that has made the American economy the envy of the world — free markets and competition — or we can promote more government intervention in the false hope that bigger government will be the elixir to our health-care ills.

I offer a conservative vision of health-care reform, while the Democrats offer their usual stew of government mandates and regulations, and the inevitable imposition of massive tax increases on Americans to pay for their “reform.” Back in 1993, I opposed President Clinton’s health-care proposal because I knew it would lead to more and more taxes, huge increases in federal spending, and the rationing of care for Americans. Today, I’m sure Democrats would gladly pass that plan in a heartbeat if they could only convince a skeptical American public to go along. But they can’t. Instead, Democrats are pushing incremental government control of health care, as we just witnessed with the S-CHIP debate, and hoping no one notices.

I reject this sleight-of-hand.

Continue to read this article here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Unhealthy Health Care

This is a very good analytical article about the state of the cost of health care in America. I agree with everything she says other than how she characterizes health insurance companies - Blue Cross in particular. Basically this author makes the case for moving insurance plans from the current 'pre-paid' health care plans to more basic major medical coverages through Health Savings Accounts or Health Reimbursement Accounts. Again, I agree that employers need to look into these new programs for cost savings because it is a good solution to reduce the cost associated with health care. However, people have been unwilling to part with their expensive copay plans with low deductibles and high premiums.

The reason I disagree with the author saying that the health insurance companies don't want people in these plans is that most of the major companies offer these plans too. They would prefer to limit their liability and place the burden of cost controls to the consumer in these 'consumer driven health care' plans. I agree that it is a good solution to the problem of rising costs of health care, but we need to get away from the idea as a culture that we 'need' 15 dollar co payments for a visit to the doctor. Enjoy this very good article.

Current plans are the equivalent of a $1,000 oil change.

By Linda Halderman

If Americans shopped for health insurance like they do for auto insurance, Blue Cross might need to use a cute green Gecko for marketing.

Eighty-percent of people who buy employer-sponsored health insurance incur less than $1,200 in yearly health-care expenses. Another 10-percent accrue expenses totaling $1,200-$3,000. The final 10-percent require more than $3,000 to cover their yearly health-care needs.

But the average group (employer-sponsored) health-insurance policy costs $350-$800 every month — up to $9,600 yearly per employee. The reason for this high cost, low value equation is simple: Blue Cross, CIGNA, HealthNet, and every other major carrier aren’t selling you health insurance. Their expensive premiums fund pre-paid health care.

Continue reading the article here.

Clinton says her health plan would not cover illegal immigrants

This is a major problem with the concept of government sponsored universal health care. Illegal immigrants represent at least 12 million people in the USA. They already get treatment for emergency services and they know this. The proposal to grant citizenship to illegal aliens earlier this year would make them eligible for coverage then. In this article Hillary says it is a 'difficult choice' however it should not be. The choice from the federal government should be to enforce existing laws on the border. The concept of granting free coverage to individuals who have broken the law to be here would only encourage more illegal aliens. This proposal is already too expensive without covering the illegal aliens. Covering illegal aliens should not even be considered. Hillary does a wonderful job as a politician by not committing to enforce border laws. However, she is able to say that 'illegal aliens' will not be covered by the universal health care program. She does not say what happens when those illegal aliens are then given citizenship. Hillary's plan starts out expensive and gets oppressively more expensive as time moves forward. Enjoy the article.

From the AP

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said that immigrants living in the United States illegally would not be covered by her proposed universal health care plan.

The New York senator said she supports basic health services for illegal immigrants, including hospitalization and treatment of acute conditions. But she said the magnitude of America's health care challenge means her universal coverage proposal would not cover the 12 million people living in the country illegally.

"People who are here legally deserve some better treatment and acceptance in the law than people who are not here legally," she said Thursday. "These are hard choices."

Continue reading the article here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

House fails to override children's insurance veto

By Ruth Mantell, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch)
-- The House of Representatives failed on Thursday to override President Bush's veto of a proposal to expand funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program by $35 billion, more than doubling the program.

The vote, 273-to-156 in favor of the override, missed the two-thirds of votes needed to override the veto. Among "yeas" were 229 Democrats and 44 Republicans. Voting against the override were 154 Republicans and two Democrats: Jim Marshall, D-Ga., and Gene Taylor, D-Miss. See how the House members voted.

Because the House failed to override, the Senate will not take up the matter.

Continue reading the article here.

The right question

Here is another article on the issue of health care costs rather than numbers of uninsured. Enjoy the article.

From The Economist print edition
Welcome attention to the real problem

SENATOR JOHN McCAIN is famous for his straight talking, spelling out uncomfortable truths even when they do him political damage—whether on Iraq, torture, immigration or free trade. Now he has decided to deal with health care bluntly too: American health-care costs are much too high, he says, and the priority for any reform must be to bring them down.

Speaking on the campaign trail in Iowa on October 11th, Mr McCain put cost front and centre as he unveiled his own health plan. He noted that General Motors spends more on health than it does on steel: the price of each of its cars includes more than $1,500 for health care. Toyota's health-care costs come to about $200 a car.

Continue reading this article.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Labor group says health care plan doesn't address cost of insurance

This article from the SF Chronical goes over the Governor's health care plan. The article says that this plan is similar to Hillary's plan in that it requires every family to buy health insurance just like drivers must purchase car insurance. The problem with this plan is that the cost of health care and health insurance won't be affected by this program. It will still be unaffordable, but you will force people to pay the costs anyway. It is a good article. Enjoy.

Carla Marinucci,Tom Chorneau, Chronicle Political Writers

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Powerful California labor interests, backed by a key Democratic operative, have declared war on Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's ambitious health care proposal, a strategy that could pose problems for Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has made a similar plan a major component of her presidential campaign.

Chris Lehane, a former Clinton White House spokesman - a veteran Democratic operative dubbed "the master of disaster" for his skills in advocacy and crisis communications - has been hired by the California Labor Federation AFL-CIO to help shepherd labor's effort to oppose the governor's plan, said federation chief Art Pulaski this week.

Pulaski characterized Schwarzenegger's health care plan on Tuesday as unacceptable for working families and said organized labor strongly opposes the effort. He said it would require families to have health insurance, much as they currently must buy car insurance, without sufficiently reducing the price tag.

Continue reading the article here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Poll: Mixed feelings on kids' health insurance

This article shows that the country is pretty well split on this issue. This would be a good opportunity for people in Congress to vote their actual conscience rather than rely on some focus group to tell them how they should vote. Even with the sensationalist rhetoric that people against this proposal hate sick kids, the nation doesn't want spending to continue spiraling out of control. Enjoy the article.

By Richard Wolf, USA TODAY

— A majority of Americans trust Democrats to handle the issue of children's health insurance more than President Bush, but they agree with the president that government aid should be targeted to low-income families, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows.

Two days before the Democratic-controlled House attempts to override Bush's veto of a five-year, $35 billion expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the poll shows that opinions on the issue are mixed.

Fifty-two percent of respondents say they have more confidence in Democrats to deal with the issue, compared with 32% for Bush.

Slim majorities back two positions at the core of the president's opposition to the expansion:

Continue reading the article here.

Business group urges end of employer-based health care

Here is another article that shows the end of employer based health care system. It makes a lot of good points. It mentions that the rising costs of health insurance premium threaten the growth of the economy. It also mentions that people should have more control over their own health insurance. I did not think that this was even on the radar in the health care debate. I thought that the employer based programs were entrenched in the US health care system. This article is from a business group. It is an interesting read. I don't disagree with the article, but something must be done for those people who might be declined coverage due to health conditions as an individual. The good thing about the employer based model is that everyone qualifies no matter their health condition. Many states are adopting 'high risk pools' for individuals who would not qualify for health insurance on their own. Maybe this is a feasible solution, but it will be a huge shift in the way health care is delivered in America if it happens. Enjoy the article.

Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal

Health care costs threaten future economic growth in the U.S. and today's employer-based system is faltering and should be replaced by an insurance system driven by consumer choice, according to a report released Monday.

The report released by the Committee for Economic Development, a non-profit organization of more than 200 business leaders and university presidents, says employer insurance is failing "because of rapid cost increases and the inability to provide high-value care."

Robert Chess, chairman of San Carlos-based Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NKTR), trustee of the Committee for Economic Development (CED) and co-chair of its health-care subcommittee, said, "There are successful models for consumer choice of insurance plans, including the federal employees plan. The CED proposal builds on the best of those ideas and adds some new ones to achieve affordable, sustainable, quality coverage for all Americans."


Broder: Momentum builds for shift away from employer-based health care

This article from the Salt Lake Tribune goes over the change in the health care industry. For decades health care has been distributed through voluntary employer medical benefits. The problem is that some people are unemployed or employed by a small company that does not offer any benefits at all. As a result, the industry is shifting its focus on individual coverage for health insurance. This article goes over that in detail. Enjoy the article.

David Broder

- As the United States prepares for the next great debate on its ailing health care system, support is growing for a shift from the traditional employer-based financing to publicly subsidized individual health insurance.

A measure co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Republican Sen. Robert Bennett of Utah to convert to such a system has attracted a total of nine sponsors. Last week, presidential candidate John McCain introduced a variant that is a partial step in that direction.

And this week the Committee for Economic Development (CED), a high-powered business group, will give a strong push to the idea with a report saying in blunt terms that business can no longer afford to pay the rising costs and lacks the clout to curb the forces that are driving health care inflation.

Continue reading the article here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

FACTBOX -- Health care plans of presidential candidates

This is a breakdown of the positions of all the Presidential candidates by Reuters. I think it is a very good review of all the plans. I was planning to do the same thing myself, but I'll just post their link here for my visitors to enjoy. Here is the article.

(Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain this week outlined a proposal to provide Americans with a refundable $2,500 tax credit as an incentive to buy health insurance.

McCain's plan offers voluntary solutions to fixing health care in the country, where high costs have left millions unable to pay for health insurance. Several other candidates have also suggested how they would provide coverage for the 47 million people in the United States without health insurance. Following are some health care proposals from the leading candidates.

Continue reading the article here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Free Health Care? Not If It Means Switching Insurance Coverage!

This article from Rasmussen Reports shows a poll taken about universal health care in the USA. It shows that most people support universal health care for all, but they don't expect it to improve the quality of health care. They also believe that universal health care will cost them more. The interesting thing about this poll is that support for universal health care drops when people consider the possibility of having to drop their own coverage. People generally think that they have good health insurance coverage. Thanks to Allahpundit of Hotair for pointing me to the article. Enjoy the article.

Poll and article by Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.

Half of Americans support the notion of providing health care for free to all Americans even though they expect it will reduce the overall quality of care, increase the overall cost, and increase their personal costs. However, a Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that support falls dramatically if the plan requires everyone with insurance to “change their coverage and join a program administered by the government.” This is consistent with a large body of research suggesting strong resistance to any proposal requiring people to switch from the current health insurance.

A survey conducted September 29-30 found that 51% of American adults initially supported the notion that health care should be made available for free to all Americans. The survey also found that most Americans (52%) believed that such an approach would decrease the quality of health care in the United States. Just 29% thought it would improve the overall quality of care.

Forty-nine percent (49%) believe that making care available for free to everyone would increase the nation’s overall cost of providing care. Just 22% thought it would result in savings. Fifty-two percent (52%) thought that, when taxes were considered, the proposal would end up costing them more than they pay now. Just 28% thought their own costs would go down.

Continue reading article here.

McCain's Health-Care Divergence

I like this article on McCain's program. This article by a Wall Street Journal reporter goes into more detail about the differences in McCain's plan and all the other proposals available. McCain's plan focuses on controlling the costs of health care rather than getting more people insured. I agree with McCain's approach more than any one else's on this issue. This article mentioned TORT reform which is a major point to controlling costs. Lawsuits add nothing to the health of the society, but cost a big portion of the health care dollar. Enjoy the article.

Plan Focuses on Rising Costs,
Not on Getting More People Covered
October 11, 2007; Page A6

WASHINGTON -- Sen. John McCain will unveil a health-care plan today, but unlike his rivals he will focus on controlling costs, rather than reducing the ranks of the uninsured.

While the debate among the presidential candidates so far has focused on how to cover more people, Mr. McCain's strategy of attacking spiraling costs could provide a compelling argument for voters. The high cost of care affects all voters, the majority of whom have health insurance but may be frustrated with rising premiums, co-payments and other out-of-pocket costs.

The McCain plan, as described by senior advisers, includes some ideas on how to cover some of the 47 million people without health insurance. But his main message when he unveils the plan in Iowa will be that the rising number of people without insurance is a symptom of the larger problem of rising costs.

"I think we in Washington have an absolute requirement to bring health-care costs down," Mr. McCain (R., Ariz.) said this week at the Republican presidential debate in Michigan.

Polls suggest that health care is the No. 2 issue for voters after the war in Iraq. Asked what particular health issue the presidential candidates should address, voters give roughly equal weight to costs and covering the uninsured as their main concerns.

Among Republican voters, however, costs emerge on top. Half of Republicans said they would like to see candidates focus most on reducing health-care costs, compared with 16% who express most interest in covering the uninsured, according to an August tracking poll by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.

Continue reading the article here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

McCain's Health Care Proposal

I knew McCain would eventually get around to proposing a health care program. I like his program because it mostly leaves everything the same but allows a tax credit. In other words, I like it because there is little chance that it makes the system worse. However in this article it does mention one area where he disagrees with President Bush, importing cheaper prescription drugs from Mexico and Canada. I agree with McCain on this issue because it actually does something about the COST of health care. I think the cost of prescription drugs could be dealt with more dramatically if you put limits on patents or advertising. But a program like that would run into major opposition from the pharma lobby. McCain's stance on importing medicine from other countries will already be difficult for them to swallow. Maybe his idea of small steps is better than nothing. Enjoy the article.

By Perry Bacon, Jr.

Setting a different course from both the Democrats and his fellow Republicans on health care, Arizona Senator John McCain will propose offering tax credits of up to $5,000 for all U.S. families that get health insurance in a speech in Des Moines tomorrow.

His proposal, while more comprehensive than what the other GOP candidates have offered, does not create universal health coverage or mandate that everyone buy insurance. Those are elements of plans that Sen. Hillary Clinton and former North Carolina senator John Edwards have introduced in this campaign and similar to a plan Mitt Romney adopted as governor of Massachusetts.

"In health care, we believe in enhancing the freedom of individuals to receive necessary and desired care," McCain will say, according to speech excepts provided by his staff. "We do not believe in coercion and the use of state power to mandate care, coverage or costs."

One of McCain's biggest focuses is on reducing costs. He distances himself from the Bush administration by calling for large-scale re-importation of prescription drugs from abroad, which the White House has long opposed on the grounds that the U.S. cannot guarantee the safety of such drugs. The tax credits from McCain also differ from the proposals offered by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who would allow people to exclude up to $15,000 of their income if it was spent on health care. In the Giuliani proposal, unlike McCain's, the size of the tax credit depends on income and would be smaller for people who pay little or no income taxes. McCain would offer a $2500 tax credit for individuals.

Continue reading the article here.

NC legislature passes High Risk Pool law

I don't know how I missed this story because I have been looking for it. This is the main issue among the people who need health insurance. People with pre-existing conditions sometimes get declined for health insurance or offered a higher rate than you could imagine. Some people can only get a policy to cover them for 2500 dollars a month. This legislation did not make it through last year because the general assembly ended the session before they could vote for it. It has been under the radar, but it is immensely significant for many NC residents.

It was just passed last month and is on the Governor's desk to sign. Now the most that health insurance companies can charge for a high risk client is up to 200% of what a healthy person can get. I will be following this news so that I can help my clients save money and get coverage. Enjoy the article.

State to cover riskiest illnesses
Legislature passes health insurance

Lynn Bonner, Staff Writer

North Carolina residents whose illnesses have pushed them out of the market for private health insurance will soon have another option.

The state House gave final approval Thursday to a plan to build a government-sponsored insurance pool for people with serious illnesses who cannot afford or qualify for private coverage. It could help as many as 14,000 people in North Carolina within 10 years.

Thirty-four states already offer such insurance plans.

For at least four years, legislators have talked about offering insurance to people whom companies won't cover, or will cover only at high costs. Now the bill needs only the signature of Gov. Mike Easley to make it a reality.

Barbara Garlock of Raleigh has been waiting for legislators to approve such a program. She might need it.

Garlock, 47, was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, when her husband was self-employed, and has undergone treatments since then.

An insurance plan with a $1,800 monthly premium and a $10,000 deductible was the most affordable she could find -- easier on the family budget than the policy they found that would have cost $3,400 a month.

Garlock's husband now gets insurance through an employer, but she fears having to go back to search for coverage if he should change jobs.

"It's scary enough to face the prospect of dying," Garlock said in a trembling voice. "It's even scarier to think that your family could lose their home because you got sick."

The insurance won't be free. Subscribers will pay 65 percent of the cost through their premiums. Premiums will be set at 150 percent to 200 percent of what a healthy person would pay for private insurance.

Continue the article here.

Study: Kids Get Inadequate Health Care

Now that Congress has said it is important to give kids health insurance paid for by tax dollars, the AP released this startling result. It says that kids don't get very good care when they go to the doctor. The problem is that most of these kids in the study already had insurance. So the conclusion would be that whether or not kids have insurance, the care they receive is not good. It is a good article from the AP. Enjoy the article.


As Washington debates children's health insurance, a startling study finds that kids who regularly see doctors get the right care less than half the time — whether it's preschool shots or chlamydia tests for teen girls.

The findings, from the first comprehensive look at children's health care quality, are particularly troubling because nearly all the 1,536 children in the nationwide study had insurance.

Eight-two percent were covered by private insurance. Three-quarters were white, and all lived in or near large or midsized cities.

Two experts called the findings "shocking." Others said minority children, those with more-restrictive government insurance, and the millions with no insurance at all certainly fare even worse.

They said the results highlight the importance of the debate over the proposed expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which Congress approved and President Bush vetoed. A vote to override the veto is set for next week.

The study, by the Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute and the nonprofit Rand Corp. research group, concludes that overall, doctors gave children the appropriate outpatient medical care only 47 percent of the time.

Continue reading the article here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I won’t be bullied on SCHIP.

This article was written by a Michigan Representative Tim Walberg in response to the pressure against him on the SCHIP program. Thank you to Michelle Malkin for pointing this to me at her blog. It is a defense of his position through the turmoil of the radio ads playing a song about 'having friends in low places'. Enjoy the article.

For the Children
I won’t be bullied on SCHIP.

By Tim Walberg

Right now if you listen to a popular country radio station in south-central Michigan, you can hear advertisements spreading lies about my position on S-CHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program).

The station selection for this ad seems appropriate for House Democrats, whose blatant twisting of the truth is fit for a remake of Garth Brooks’s classic song “Friends in Low Places.”

House Democrats continue to mischaracterize Republican support of the S-CHIP program, and would like you to believe that Republicans do not care about poor, needy kids.

Democrats are using this smear campaign against Republicans to gain support for their tax-and-spend economic policies. Sadly, they are taking the focus away from where this debate should be: meeting the needs of children of low-income families.

I support renewing S-CHIP to provide health care to children in low-income families, but I also believe we need to ensure that the children’s health program is available for children who need it, and not for adults, people who enter the country illegally, or families who already have private insurance.

The Democratic legislation takes a program originally meant for children of low-income families and expands it to cover some families earning up to $83,000 and illegal immigrants, while moving millions of children from private health insurance to government programs.

In 2006, 118,501 children and 101,919 adults in Michigan received health care from the S-CHIP program. Incredibly, this means that 46 percent of Michigan’s funding allotment intended to give poor children health insurance actually went to cover adults.

continue reading the article here.

Ads target Republicans in children's health insurance veto fight

It is as though there is no need for Congress because all issues are fought in the arena of public opinion. It is a shame that Congress can not debate issues among themselves in order to govern the public that elected them. That is how the founders established the government. I am certain that the media outlets appreciate the extra spending and the circus that goes along with a campaign such as this. I do wish some civility would return to Washington DC, but I am not holding my breath. This article is from CNN about a TV advertising campaign using kids to throw dirt at the Republican postion. I always know when someone needs props to support their case, they are losing the debate and in need of a distraction. Enjoy the article.

From Deirdre Walsh
CNN Washington Bureau

-- As House members are at home for the Columbus Day weekend, a coalition of labor and advocacy groups is stepping up the battle over the federal children's health-care program, known as SCHIP.

The coalition, which includes the AFL-CIO and MoveOn.org, rolled out a nearly $1 million television ad campaign and is targeting about 20 Republicans to vote to override the president's veto of the bill.

The national ad, sponsored by Americans United for Change, an umbrella group of liberal organizations, is running on cable networks.

It includes images of a baby and other children with an announcer saying "George Bush just vetoed Abby." The coalition also promises to rally activists in districts of another 20 House Republicans over the next two weeks.

This push by Democratic groups comes on top of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's efforts to zero in on eight House Republicans who opposed the bill. The campaign arm started running radio ads and funding automated calls to voters last week in districts it considers competitive for Democratic challengers. Watch Speaker Nancy Pelosi call for the override of Bush's veto »

Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, sounded cautiously optimistic in an interview with Fox News about her party's chances.

Continue reading the article here.

Monday, October 8, 2007

It's the COST of health care, stupid

This is from my personal blog at Townhall.com. I address the difference between health care and health insurance in this article. I explain that the problem with health care is not that people do not have health insurance. The problem with health care is the cost of health care keeps rising at an unsustainable pace. I hope you enjoy my article.

The health care debate has come down to whether or not the government should pay for everyone's health insurance. While it seems to be a noble cause and idea, it neglects to recognize the fact that health insurance is different than health care. Health insurance is an important aspect of the cost of the health care puzzle. But the problem with health care is the rising cost of health care. Merely providing health insurance by paying for it with taxpayer money does not do anything to solve the problem of the rising cost of health care.

Health insurance is an important aspect of the cost of health care because it is the vehicle within which health care prices are negotiated. Without such negotiations, people would find themselves in a position of negotiating price of a life saving medical procedure only after they were certain that they needed it. The health insurance apparatus enables the negotiation of the cost of medical procedures apart from the pressures of actually needing the procedure done. In other words, if you need heart surgery to save your life, it is worth everything you have or will have to get the surgery done. But if the prices have already been negotiated by the insurance companies, your cost will be much less to have the life saving surgery. Without health insurance, it might be common to pay $50 for an aspirin because there would not be a check on the doctors' prices.

Continue reading the article here.

Health care: market reform, not big government

I finally found an article written that I agree completely with. There have been many articles claiming that 'Bush hates children' because of his veto. However they don't address the issue as it really is. This article goes over the issue in a very thoughtful way. I hope you enjoy the article.

Raymond J. Keating
October 8, 2007

If you buy the political spin, President George W. Bush opposes health care for poor children. What a big meanie!

Last week Bush vetoed a huge expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP. It was only the fourth time during his presidency that Bush has used the veto pen.

Both of New York's Democratic U.S. senators, Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer, voted for the measure, as did all five local members of Congress, including Peter King, Long Island's only Republican congressman.

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) told Newsday: "This is a presidency fixated on ideology and not one fixated on solving the nation's problems. Kids need health care." Thank goodness Bishop - who over the past four years has voted around 93 percent of the time with the left-wing Americans for Democratic Action - isn't fixated on ideology.

In reality, if you care about affordable, quality health care for both adults and children, then Bush should be commended, not criticized, for his veto.

Continue reading the article here

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Congress Vows to Override Bush Veto on Child Health Care

Once again the inevitable. What is interesting in this article is the House Majority leader, Steny Hoyer says that the plan is paid for. Of course it is not paid for without increasing taxes on the poor and middle class. So yes, it is paid for by taxing those people that this program is supposed to help to pay for insurance for people the program was not designed to help.

This veto will not be overridden and it should not be. The Congress should not raise taxes on the poor to give to the rich. Enjoy the article anyway as it details the debate in an even handed manner.

By Scott Stearns
White House
06 October 2007

Congressional Democrats are vowing to override President Bush's veto of legislation that would expand health insurance coverage for poor children. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

President Bush says he supports the Children's Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, but vetoed its expansion on Wednesday because he believes the bipartisan legislation is deeply flawed.

"Millions of children would move out of private health insurance and onto a government program," he said. "Congress's plan would also transform a program for poor children into one that covers children in some households with incomes up to $83,000. Congress's plan would raise taxes on working people. And Congress's plan does not even fully fund all the new spending."

In his weekly radio address, the president says the legislation would take the country in the wrong direction, because more government-run health care deprives Americans of the choices and competition in the private market.

Continue reading the article here