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, November 15, 2007

Deadline for Romney's Mass Health Plan Today

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


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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading the article here.

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

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

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

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

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

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

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

Continue reading the article here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Employer-provided insurance continues to decline

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

By Julie Appleby, USA TODAY

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

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

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

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

Continue reading this article here.

Workers Mull Private Health Insurance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue this article here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading the article here.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Heritage Foundation: Health Care on the Brink

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

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

By Ernest Istook

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

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

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

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

Continue reading this article here.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Health Care Excuses

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Continue reading the article here.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

47 million Americans lack health insurance: report

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading this article here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Health Care Problems Exaggerated?

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

Economics and. . .

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

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

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

Continue reading the blog post here.

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

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

Top things to know about Money

In Lesson 16 - Health Insurance

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

Continue to the full article here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Health of the Nation: State By State

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

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

by Zoe Galland

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

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

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

Continue reading the article here.

No Sex In Health Insurance

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

Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer

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

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

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

Continue reading this article here.

Monday, November 5, 2007

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

No comment other than what the article says. Enjoy.

By Tina Benitez

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

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

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

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

Continue reading the article here.

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

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

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

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

It is a good article. Enjoy.

Sick Man

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

By Sara Mosle

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

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

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

Continue reading the article here.

Giuliani's healthcare figure outdated

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

By Brian C. Mooney, Globe Staff

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

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

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

Continue reading the article here.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Beyond those health care numbers

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

By N. Gregory Mankiw

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

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

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

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

Continue reading this article here.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Senate Passes New SCHIP Bill

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading this article here.