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

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Financial tips for college grads: Watch the credit cards, get health insurance

This article explains one more thing that graduating seniors need to learn before graduating. They will now have to buy their own health insurance if they do not have benefits with a new job. There are affordable plans for healthy young individuals. But they will likely need to get their own apart from their parents' plans that they have used for their childhoods. This article is from the Boston Globe and not an insurance agent so I'll link it here.

Financial tips for college grads: Watch the credit cards, get health insurance

May 20, 2008 12:03 PM

By Peter Schworm, Globe Staff

Diplomas in hand, college graduates are heading off into the “real world," where a daunting economy and sluggish job market await. Smith College economics professor Randall K. Bartlett, who teaches in the college's Women and Financial Independence program, said recent graduates need to make a concerted effort to manage their finances well as they enter post-college life.

Bad decisions now could haunt the graduates for years to come.

"Money comes in hard and goes out easy," Bartlett said. "How you plan your finances now can have huge ramifications on how your life will play out."

To help grads along their way, Bartlett recently provided a few thoughts on the economic climate and some tips on getting a financial life:

Continue reading the article here.

Google Offers Virtual Filing Cabinet for Health Records

This is a new Google feature that will revolutionize medical records in America. Many people are concerned about privacy, but they do not understand the waste of time and money involved in getting and transferring doctors records between physicians and facilities. This feature will allow the records to be available online so that timely diagnoses can be made based on the medical history of the patient. The medical industry is on the cutting edge with life saving procedures and drugs, but if you go into an office you will undoubtedly see a receptionist with rows and rows of paper files behind him or her. This Google technology will streamline the effort to keep and transfer records the way that the Clintons did for the Veterans Administration. The cost savings will be transferred to the cost of health care. The medical industry should have done this on their own. But just as the phone companies did not extend their phone directory to the internet, Google did the job for them. This is an excellent achievement and a great use of technology. I applaud this move by Google in the strongest of terms. Enjoy the article.

By Walaika Haskins
05/20/08 12:04 PM PT

Google Health, launched in beta on Monday, is a personal health records aggregator that can provide users with online access to their own medical information culled from several sources. Partners include Walgreens, CVS and Medco. Google says targeted ads will not be involved in the system, but privacy concerns remain.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Latest News about Google launched the beta version of its Google Health personal health records aggregator Monday. The service, according to Google, will put users in control of their own medical records, giving them 24-hour-a-day access to their health records from a variety of sources.

With the introduction of Google Health, the search giant joins other Internet companies including Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Free Trial. Security Software As A Service From Webroot. Latest News about Microsoft HealthVault, Revolution Health and WebMD in the business of storing personal health records (PHR). Revolution Health is a startup Over 800,000 High Quality Domains Available For Your Business. Click Here. from Steve Case, AOL's cofounder.

Proponents such as Case contend that making these types of services available to consumers is the key to revolutionizing the healthcare Latest News about healthcare system in the U.S.

Continue reading the article here.

Personal injury lawyers still send health care costs soaring

This article goes over the argument that medical malpractice lawsuits are causing the costs of health care to increase. The doctors have to get insurance that is more expensive because there is no cap on how much the doctors can sue for. I agree that there needs to be some sort of compensation for a doctor that makes a mistake. But I do not believe that the person needs to be compensated with outrageous sums of money. This issue must be addressed if the cost of health care will decrease.

Personal injury lawyers still send health care costs soaring

By David A. Ridenour
Published: May 19 2008, 10:41 PM

Americans love hospital-based televison shows, ranging from such oldies as “Marcus Welby, M.D.” to today’s “Grey’s Anatomy” — where courageous doctors rush to help victims of car crashes, chemical spills, natural disasters and even terrorism.

In real life, our well-being often resides outside of emergency rooms — dependent on a plaintiff lawyer’s avarice. Some lawsuits, of course, are well-intentioned, but others — guided mostly by greed — play a major role in our nation’s ever-escalating health care costs.

We depend on having a viable safety net for our evolving medical needs. Lawsuits that unnecessarily increase the liability risk of health care providers tend to increase costs and add to the current high cost of health care.

Continue reading the article here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tiered Health Care Catches On

This article goes over an issue that insurance companies are using to deal with the rising cost of prescription drugs. The problem of health care in this country is not that our health care is not good, it is that it costs too much. The most expensive aspect of the health system is prescription drugs. As a result, the copayments are getting higher and higher for drugs that can be as expensive as 1000 dollars a month. If you don't take those drugs, you still must pay for the benefits which raises your monthly premium. To keep the premiums down, insurance companies make the copayments for these drugs higher. This article goes into the discussion on this new issue.

Tiered Health Care Catches On

Health insurance companies are shifting the cost of expensive prescription drugs on to patients, part of a larger trend toward "tiered" private health insurance coverage. Although employers support these measures, vulnerable patients are being exposed to great financial risks.

Health insurers are struggling to adapt to surging health care costs in the U.S. The newest development in private health insurance is the introduction of a fourth tier of cost sharing ("Tier 4") in prescription drug coverage.

Insurance tiering requires patients to bear an increasing share of the costs of care. The system is attractive to employers who sponsor health plans and to employees in good health, but it can be very costly for those who become chronically ill.

Continue reading the article here.

States Look to Tobacco Tax for Budget Holes

This article from the New York Times talks about the new tax proposed on cigarettes. While the Massachusetts tax is focused on shoring up the health care program, other states are taxing tobacco for other budget shortfalls. The problem is that they would prefer people stop smoking because they ban smoking everywhere except inside your home. This tax should help people who want to quit. But it won't bring in the revenue that the states want or need. The problem is that government is spending too much. I guess nobody should be angry over a tax on such a demonized legal product. But when are people going to get angry that the government is simply spending more money than it has? Why can't government see that they are placing burdens on future generations to pay for their pet projects. If the government didn't spend so much money, they would not need so much money. Here is the article.

States Look to Tobacco Tax for Budget Holes

Published: April 21, 2008

To keep the state’s landmark universal health coverage plan afloat, Massachusetts lawmakers are looking to tap an increasingly popular source of financing for health-related initiatives: tobacco taxes.

If the state raises its tax by as much as $1 a pack, it will join New York — and possibly a number of other states — in enacting significant increases this year. The speaker of the Massachusetts House, Salvatore F. DiMasi, a Democrat, pushed the increase, to $2.51, through the chamber this month, and the State Senate president, Therese Murray, and Gov. Deval Patrick, also Democrats, have signaled support.

The $175 million in projected revenue would be used to shore up the state’s year-old mandatory health insurance plan. State officials say the plan, which is the first to require that individuals have coverage, is over budget because enrollment has been higher than expected for state-subsidized insurance policies offered to low- and middle-income workers.

Continue reading the article here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Personal Loans and Credit Cards

These days finances are always on our minds. There are many ways to save money if you follow simple tips from experts. Personal loans are a necessity these days if you want to buy a car or a house. If you have ever tried to get a loan, you know that there are so many different options that it is easy to choose the most costly one if you have not done your research.

Some people will even use credit cards to pay for things like a mortgage or car payment if they are low on cash. They mistakenly believe that this postpones the payment and saves them time. Instead, this is usually a costly mistake and ends up costing the borrower much more than they should have to pay. It is important to understand the difference between secured and unsecured loans so that you do not fall into the trap of paying more than you should for interest.

If you are in the market for a loan, you should compare loans before you sign on the dotted line. There are many websites available where you can do this for free. Since the economy is still in a questionable state, it is important to cut costs wherever you can. I recommend visiting sites like http://www.thriftyscot.co.uk/ so that you can get all the information you need to make the right choice for you.

Parties' Split Most Apparent on Health Care

This Wall Street Journal article goes over the major differences between the 3 major candidates' views on health care. Basically it says that McCain wants more free market solutions, while Clinton and Obama both want a government system set up to insure everyone. The problem here is that no matter what these candidates say, and despite their best intentions at heart, their proposals will have to get through so many different committees in Congress before anything is passed that what one person says about it is fairly insignificant. However the people in the media and news will still hang on to every word and detail that the candidates put out as some type of indicator of how they will lead. The system that we have now is fine except for a few major problems. Our health care system is the greatest in the world, it is just too expensive. State governments are doing things to fix the problems and that is how the system is set up. The federal government can not appropriately address the problems at the local level. It is a good article and people should know the information in it. Enjoy.

Parties' Split Most Apparent on Health Care

Democrats, Republicans Differ
Over Roles of Government
And Market to Revamp System
April 19, 2008


As the presidential candidates respond to increasing economic anxiety about many issues, some of the sharpest differences in this fall's debate are expected to involve health care.

While the Democratic candidates want to use government as a lever to aid the 47 million people in the U.S. without health insurance, Sen. John McCain would rely much more heavily on the free market. The likely Republican nominee has begun charging that his Democratic rivals "want government to take over the health-care system."

With Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama focused on their own contest, Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former candidate John Edwards, has stepped in and begun attacking the McCain plan.

Continue reading the article here.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Self employed health insurance

Our medical insurance system is primarily designed around an employer based benefit to the employees for health care coverage. Self employed health insurance is a growing need because many Americans are opting out of the traditional job environment to start their own business out of their homes or over the internet. These people still need health insurance, but they are not able to benefit from the rates and risk pools that larger companies have.

There are many different plans available like the Highmark Blue Cross plans or Healthamerica plans. You can get programs that have the same benefits as employer plans with low doctor copayments and preventative care benefits. These companies also have more options for those that want to save money with high deductible health plans that operate in conjunction with a tax favored health savings account.

Your best options should be explored with experienced agents or through websites online. You can browse different companies, benefits, and rates to make the decision and apply online on your own. Or you can call an agent for help to get the best value for your health care dollar.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pa Health Insurance

Philadelphia health insurance is the most expensive area in the nation except for New York City. These rising costs hamper local business and families to the point where they can not just continue paying whatever they already have. They can not go without medical insurance either. The best option is in finding the right Pa health insurance agent who knows the options and the plans available for each situation.

Low Cost Pa health insurance.com offers several of the leading plans from the area. If you need Pittsburgh health insurance or health insurance anywhere in the state of Pennsylvania, you can get quotes, compare plans, and apply online with this agency. Their motto is "every policy comes with an agent". So you can browse different top plans and rates on your own at your convenience on the website with their state of the art quoting engine. But an experienced agent is just a phone call away should you have questions.

When you need to find ways to cut costs, there are several options available to you through your health insurance. If you use a health insurance agent, it will not cost you more, but you may be able to find a plan that has better value for your dollar. It only takes a couple of minutes to find out whether or not you can save money on the top plans.

Probate Cash Advance

Many people find themselves in a situation where their inheritance is tied up in a probate account. These things can be hurdles in the heir getting their inheritance when they may need money for taxes or other debt. Probate Cash Advance service helps sooth an otherwise difficult situation. It can take up to twenty four months for probate to be settled. During that time your cash advance probate can help you settle up some other issues within the estate.

These "heir loans" are not really loans. Representatives examine your situation and determine a set fee for the process of getting the cash to the heir while the probate process continues. The payment to the representative only happens when the probate has been settled. At that time the representative collects the amount determined when the loan was originally given.

This process is used all across the country for people who find themselves in a situation where they face a huge hurdle in getting the estate settled. There are representatives available to help your probate and get you the money you need.

Health Insurance California

Insurance decisions can be difficult if you are not experienced with all of the different plans and companies available. Most of the time you need an insurance agent who can walk you through your options carefully. Insurance is something that is unique to everyone because there is no one policy that is correct for everyone. Health Insurance California has many different quality options. Which one is right for you depends on your situation. Websites like http://www.insurancebyjohn.com offer the best solutions for you to browse online, and when you have a question an experienced agent is just a phone call away.

California home insurance also can be expensive. You need to make sure that the policy you have gives you the right coverage at the right price. Maybe you need earthquake insurance, maybe you need flood insurance, maybe you just need apartment insurance. No matter what you need, you will need to speak to a licensed and experienced agent to help you through the process.

Most people think that the agent gets extra fees from you that you would not have to pay if you were to go directly with the company. That is not the case. Agents get paid from the company that you buy insurance from and it costs the same to you whether or not you use an agent. The agent can help you if problems arise with your insurance company. Most agents also will help you because they want you to come to them with all of your insurance concerns. You are more than just a number, you are a member of a long term relationship with your interests at heart when you use an experienced and respected agent like John Tesoriero at this helpful website http://www.insurancebyjohn.com. California Health Insurance is available for individual & families, small groups, seniors and kids. And they can help you pick the best auto, home, life, and health insurance plans for you with no brokerage fees.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A query: Are health-care mandates constitutional?

This article goes over the main issue in the Universal Health Care debate. At some point in our nation's history, people have come to consider health insurance to be a 'right'. All of the politicians are clamoring to out mandate the other person so that everyone has insurance. The problem here is that the government won't set the insurance rates, private insurance companies will. So basically the question is should the government be allowed to require citizens to purchase a product under the law? It would be like mandating that you can only buy a hybrid car. But actually that is not even true because it is more like you are FORCED to buy a hybrid car whether or not you wanted or needed a car in the first place.

Proponents of government mandated health care say that it is OK because government mandates car insurance or homeowners insurance if you have a mortgage. The difference is that I don't have to purchase auto insurance unless I drive or have a car. I don't have to purchase homeowners insurance unless I have a house. Health insurance would be an unfunded mandate passed on to every citizen by the government. That is not what I would consider to be 'free citizens'. This article talks about whether or not universal health care required by the government (as it is in Mass.) is constitutional or not. Enjoy the article.

A query: Are health-care mandates constitutional?
Perhaps not. Candidates should get clear answers


An important element is being overlooked in the health-care debate between the Democratic presidential candidates: Namely, whether the plans they propose are constitutional.

The largest difference between their health-care plans is that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton would "mandate" that everyone (with limited exceptions) purchase private health insurance. Although Sen. Barack Obama's plan also contains a mandate, it is much narrower — it is only required for children. Obama principally relies on subsidies, economies of scale and regulation to voluntarily achieve his version of universal coverage.

Are health insurance mandates constitutional? They certainly are unprecedented. The federal government does not ordinarily require Americans to purchase particular goods or services from private parties.

Continue reading the article here.

The Health Insurance Mafia

This is an interesting article, and most of it is true. This article goes over the idea that the cost of health care would be less if nobody had insurance. He bases this assumption on an anecdotal experience he had when an MRI was not covered by the insurance company and he was billed - by the facility - $3000. When he told the provider that insurance would not pay the bill, they allowed him to settle for less when he paid out of pocket.

He goes over the idea that the health insurance companies don't really do anything but facilitate the transaction between patient and doctor. But actually health insurance companies do play a vital role in our health care dollars. They negotiate prices with the hospital and doctors before anyone is sick. Usually the negotiated prices are lower for the insurance companies than they would be for the patient alone. The reason this is important is because when you need the health care service is not the best time for you to bargain for the best price. It's like selling umbrellas. If it is not raining, umbrellas are one price. But as soon as the rain starts coming down, the price of the umbrella triples because the demand is greater.

If you don't need a service, it is not worth anything to you. But if a service will save your life, it is worth everything you have. I agree that health insurers go a long way beyond what they actually need to in order to make a profit. I agree that insurance companies should not make huge profits off of the health care industry. But they do play a vital role in the health care system.

I like this article from the Wall Street Journal. Enjoy the article.

The Health Insurance Mafia

April 14, 2008

Most discussions about the rising cost of health care emphasize the need to get more people insured. The assumption seems to be that insurance – rather than the service delivered by doctor to patient – is the important commodity.

But perhaps the solution to much of what currently plagues us in health care – rising costs and bureaucracy, diminishing levels of service – rests on a radically different approach: fewer people insured.

You don't need to be an economist to understand that any middleman interposed between seller and buyer raises the price of a given service or product. Some intermediaries justify this by providing benefits, such as salesmanship, advertising or transport. Others offer physical facilities, such as warehouses. A third group, organized crime, utilizes fear and intimidation to muscle its way into the provider-consumer chain, raking in hefty profits and bloating cost, without providing any benefit at all.

The health insurance model is closest to the parasitic relationship imposed by the Mafia and the like. Insurance companies provide nothing other than an ambiguous, shifty notion of "protection." But even the Mafia doesn't stick its nose into the process; once the monthly skim is set, Don Whoever stays out of the picture, but for occasional "cost of doing business" increases. When insurance companies insinuate themselves into the system, their first step is figuring out how to increase the skim by harming the people they are allegedly protecting through reduced service.

Continue reading the article here.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Costs soar for Mass. health care law

The problem with health insurance like this is that it makes costs go up. The only way that most lawmakers ever can figure out how to raise money is by raising taxes. This law has been in place for less than 4 months and they are already proposing a dollar tax on a pack of cigarettes to pay for the shortfall. This program is a disaster according to most everyone in this article. Liberals don't like it because it doesn't go far enough. Conservatives don't like the mandates by the government enforced by fines and penalties of nearly 1000/month per person. It was supposed to give everyone better coverage at a lower cost, but it doesn't work that way. Nothing does. Enjoy the article.

Costs soar for Mass. health care law

By STEVE LeBLANC, Associated Press Writer

BOSTON - Two years after the state's landmark health law was signed, the cracks are starting to show.

Costs are soaring and Massachusetts lawmakers are weighing a dollar-a-pack hike in the state's cigarette tax to help pay for a larger-than-expected enrollment in the law's subsidized insurance plans.

But that hasn't dampened enthusiasm at the Statehouse. Leaders there boast that in the two years since former Gov. Mitt Romney signed the law with a choreographed flourish at historic Faneuil Hall, the number of insured residents has soared by nearly 350,000.

Along the way the law has been scrutinized by other states, sparked the ire of critics on the right and left, and drawn the attention of presidential candidates.

Continue reading the article here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Former House Speaker Gingrich Says Democrats Will Not Overhaul Health Care

I always enjoy hearing what Gingrich has to say about America and our government. He could be wrong, but it is comforting to hear his take on whether or not the government will be able to pass a massive and unsustainable government bureaucracy to control health care nationally.

Former House Speaker Gingrich Says Democrats Will Not Overhaul Health Care

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) on Tuesday said before an audience of hospital executives that Democrats in Congress will not be able to overhaul the U.S. health care system if they are successful in the fall elections, CQ HealthBeat reports. Gingrich is the founder of the Center for Health Transformation.

Gingrich said, "On health policy, we are partly blocked down because on the House side, the two senior health people are" Energy and Commerce Committee Chair John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chair Pete Stark (D-Calif.). Dingell is "a smart guy," but health care "is not a topic he has thought about much," according to Gingrich. He added that Stark, who represents the California district that includes San Francisco, "has a perfectly San Francisco attitude towards profits and towards the economy, which is that he doesn't understand why either of those is necessary and that a nice government-run bureaucracy could take care of all this." Gingrich said House members will "discover that a Dingell-Stark model of the world is not sustainable."

Continue reading the article here.

'06 income for hospitals, health insurers surges

This article shows where a lot of the rising cost of health care is going. The hospitals, HMO's, and insurance companies are making a lot more money now than they were. I don't want to demonize people for making a profit in a capitalistic society. But when and if there is a crisis, the solution can be found in areas like this. If the government were to take over the health care industry by giving everyone health insurance, the doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies would still increase their profits. If we don't address the rising cost of health care, we won't fix the solution. In this article, the medical providers said the same excuse that if they don't make these huge profits they wouldn't be able to provide the new and latest technologies to improve health care. That is the excuse that pharmaceuticals use to say that they need to continue their patents longer and have no price controls. I don't believe any of them. While I can appreciate their need to make a profit. I do believe that the government should be able to regulate non-profit organizations (as most hospitals are) on how much excess income they should be allowed to maintain their non-profit and tax preferred status. This is a good article. Enjoy.

'06 income for hospitals, health insurers surges

Premiums for the 973,000 Coloradans in health maintenance organizations rose in 2006 and so did the dollars flowing to insurers and hospitals, according to a new analysis.

Coloradans enrolled in HMOs paid an average monthly premium of $271 in 2006, up about 2.5 percent from the previous year and nearly twice what they paid in 2000, reported Minnesota health-care analyst Allan Baumgarten.

The HMO insurance companies across the state reported nearly $172 million in pretax income, more than double the 2005 figure.

In 2006, the 22 Denver-area hospitals earned pretax net income of $476 million, Baumgarten reported.

Denver-area hospitals reported a net income of $384 million in 2005, Baumgarten said.

"There's mostly unhappiness in these numbers," said Baumgarten, who compiles the figures on Colorado HMOS and hospitals annually.

"Consumers are unhappy because they're paying more out of pocket," Baumgarten said. "Employers are unhappy too, and the percentage of employers providing health insurance continues to drop. They're throwing up their hands and saying, 'I cannot sustain these increases.' "

Continue reading the article here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Celebrity Medical Records Hacked: Are You at Risk?

This is a part of our new laws that never really made sense to me. I don't understand why we have a need to keep medical information private. The only real reason that I can think of to have legislation concerning this is that people who have AIDS don't want to be discriminated against. I have always thought that having other people know your medical history was a good thing. . . especially in cases where you might be unconscious and in need of medical care. After all don't they have those medical ID bracelets for just that purpose? What difference does it make if I have high blood pressure or high cholesterol and other people know it? It seems more like people knowing if I have blond or brunette hair (not something that is really private). If I have cancer, I would not mind if people knew. If I was hospitalized, what difference would it make if other people knew I was there. But alas, this is where we are for whatever legislative reason. And everyone seems to be in agreement that people shouldn't know that you have asthma or seasonal allergies because that would be an invasion of privacy. This article plays on the fears of other people actively trying to get that particular information without your consent. The horror.

Celebrity Medical Records Hacked: Are You at Risk?
By Jessica Ryen Doyle

It’s not surprising that hospital employees would be interested in the medical records of celebrities like Maria Shriver, Farrah Fawcett, Britney Spears and George Clooney.

But famous names may not be the only ones whose medical files are being snooped through, according to two medical experts.

Essentially, all medical records — including the average Joe's — are up for sale to large corporations, research facilities and drug companies, said Dr. Deborah Peel, founder and chairwoman of Patient Privacy Rights, a non-profit advocacy group in Austin, Texas.

By signing a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act consent form, she said, you not only are giving your doctor and insurance company access to your medical records, but you may be giving them permission to sell your information, as well.

"The privacy rule requires health care providers to give patients a notice of privacy practices to provide them with important information on how their health information may be used and disclosed, as well as what their rights are with respect to their information and how the individual can exercise these rights," says Linda Sanches, senior adviser for HIPAA Privacy Outreach, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Continue reading the article here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Fewer Primary Care Physicians Take Medicare Patients

This is the 800 lb gorilla that the universal health care advocates don't want to tackle. Doctors can't take Medicare patients at the Medicare reimbursement rates and make enough money to stay in business. They rely on private health insurance patients to pick up the loss that they get in treating Medicare patients. Recently a report came out that Medicare as it is will go broke by the year 2019. So if you are 54, you won't likely get the benefits that are available now. I admit that for a patient, Medicare is the best possible insurance that you can get. But from a doctors standpoint, they need private insurance reimbursement rates to keep their practice open. If we create a new bigger government program expect this to be more common. Doctors simply won't be reimbursed enough to provide the services that the community needs. Sure universal health care sounds like a good idea on the surface, but it will never work. The supply is not available to meet the growing demand. And the cost for giving away health care for "free" is way too expensive. Enjoy this enlightening article that neither Hillary nor Obama will want to discuss.

Fewer Primary Care Physicians Take Medicare Patients

By DIANE LEVICK | Courant Staff Writer
April 9, 2008

When 65-year-old Anne-Marie Russo of Wethersfield went looking for a new internist late last month, she didn't expect to end up so frustrated, after attempts failed with seven physicians.

"This is a real nightmare," said Russo, a retired business manager at A.I. Prince Technical High School in Hartford who's now on Medicare.

It can be difficult for people on Medicare to find a new primary care physician, and it will soon get even harder, doctors say.

Finding a new doctor can sometimes be tough for consumers under 65, too, as some overloaded primary care doctors aren't taking any new patients. An increasing number of primary care doctors in Connecticut and around the nation aren't accepting new patients who are on Medicare.

Though not a crisis yet, it's a kind of "perfect storm" in health care. Doctors have complained for years that the federal Medicare program's reimbursements to them are too low, and deep cuts in pay are coming in July unless Congress takes action.

Continue reading the article here.

Should physician decisions be constrained by costs?

This is the problem with health care in the first place. How much is health worth? If you had a disease, and there was a cure, and only one cure, how much should the person with the cure be able to charge? And if there was a cure to one disease, would it be worth the cost of the cure if you had other issues that might take your life anyway? In other words, if you are 100 years old and need a heart transplant, should insurance be responsible for paying for the surgery even though your life expectancy might not be more than a year or two even with a healthy original heart?

This is a good article and it brings up the important questions. However, it brings them up in the context that insurance companies are evil. If we ever get universal health care, you can bet that the government will be making these same judgment calls as the insurance companies do now concerning who gets treatment and who doesn't. How much is health worth? That is the question that is very difficult to answer. Enjoy the article that hits on important points.

Should physician decisions be constrained by costs?

President-elect, St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society

Physicians routinely make clinical decisions for their patients. These decisions are based on many variables, including efficacy, safety, disease-to-disease, drug-to-disease interactions, outcome desired and, of course, cost.

The patient's best interest — the best possible outcome for the condition evaluated or treated — remains the pivotal and most important focus point of each and every decision.

Physicians often prescribe less-costly therapies, as is the case with some generic substitutions, when these therapies are determined to provide similarly optimal outcomes for the patient.

Moreover, when physicians prescribe a costly test or treatment, they have often determined that the optimal outcome for the patient certainly outweighs the expense, and is worth the cost.

Continue reading the article here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Universal Health Insurance: Just Don't Get Sick

I have rarely found an article that I agree with more than this one. This says the exact same thing that I have been saying about Universal Health Care, but the article says it more eloquently than I could. Basically it goes over the different ideas about the current entitlement spending programs. It explains that we are saddling our children with debt to pay for these enormous and overly expensive government programs. I highly recommend this article as it is a good read.

Universal Health Insurance: Just Don't Get Sick

By Alan Caruba (04/06/08)

Okay, let’s say that President Obama or Hillary is in office and Congress has passed a bill that requires everyone to have health insurance. Gas is up over $4.00 a gallon, food prices are sky high, and, if you’ve recently graduated from college, you are paying off loans at $1,000 per month.

If you’re a homeowner, you have a mortgage, property taxes, and a stack of other bills. You’ve got to decide between paying the mandated premium or being able to drive to work, buy food, holding onto your home, or keeping the bill collector from your door.

All of a sudden, mandatory health insurance doesn’t seem like such a great idea. In fact, your big worry is that Social Security will be able to send you a monthly check and that Medicare and Medicaid won’t go flat broke before you die. Trustees for these massive entitlement programs just announced Social Security will be depleted by 2041, while Medicare goes bust eight years from now in 2019.

According to a March 18 Policy Analysis published by the Cato Institute, health care consumers are annually spending “more than $1.8 trillion dollars for overall health costs, more than what Americans spend on housing, food, national defense, or automobiles.”

Continue reading the article here.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Wasteful spending raises questions about universal health plan

Most of the articles out today talk about how we need government provided health insurance. They say how many people die because they don't have health insurance. I think this is actually silly because 100 years ago nobody had health insurance and everyone seemed to be fine enough to establish the great American democracy that we enjoy today. But this article is different in that it looks at an actual government provided health insurance plan in New Jersey. The problem is that it is a very small government health care program that is corrupted by waste and fraud. This shows one state trying to run one tiny portion of the health insurance. They were over billed for services, people were on the plan who did not otherwise qualify, and there were no avenues in place to police and punish people who abused the system. This type of thing gets ignored in all the rhetoric for universal health care. But this is the type of waste that the private insurance system actively seeks to prevent. Private companies care about wasting money. The government will just raise your taxes to cover their misuse of funds. Enjoy the article.

Wasteful spending raises questions about universal health plan

By TOM HESTER Jr. | Associated Press Writer

TRENTON, N.J. - Audits that found wasteful spending in New Jersey's health care programs for the poor are raising questions about whether the state could manage a health insurance program for all residents.

The audits found wealthy people enrolled in health programs meant for the poor, paltry oversight of health care programs and wasteful spending, all coming as some legislators push plans to make health insurance available to all New Jerseyans.

"If the state can't handle a small health insurance program, then what confidence can anyone have that it will do a better job when it tries to cover everyone in New Jersey?" asked Assemblyman Richard Merkt, R-Morris.

Continue reading the article here.

Clinton drops hospital story from stump speech

Here is the problem with allowing politicians decide our health care fate. Clinton once again told a false story about a pregnant woman who died specifically because she did not have health insurance. She will get away with this story because she was just repeating what someone else told her like a rumor. But the individual in the story was not denied health care at the hospital. She did not die because she did not have health insurance. We all hate when something tragic happens to anyone. However the concept of placing blame on one thing or another does not do anything to help the situation. Had this woman had health insurance, she would have gotten the same treatment that she got and she would have died. If giving everyone health insurance from the government is important, then it should be important without having to make up information to scare people into believing that it is necessary. This is the problem that our country faces. There is more hype than substance in the policies proposed by our politicians. I doubt this will be an important story to most of the mainstream media. But it does illustrate the problem with allowing politicians to manufacture issues to solve. Enjoy the article.

Clinton drops hospital story from stump speech

(CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Clinton will stop telling an emotional story about a uninsured pregnant woman who died after being denied medical care, Clinton's campaign said.

Sen. Hillary Clinton was repeating a story she heard from someone on the campaign trail.

A hospital has raised questions over the accuracy of the story, and Clinton's campaign has said although they had no reason to doubt the story, they were unable to confirm the details.

In the story, Clinton describes a woman from rural Ohio who was making minimum wage at a local pizza shop. The woman, who was uninsured, became pregnant.

Clinton said the woman ran into trouble and went to a hospital in a nearby county but was denied treatment because she couldn't afford a $100 payment.

In her speeches, Clinton said the woman later was taken to the hospital by ambulance and lost the baby. The young woman was then taken by helicopter to a Columbus hospital where she died of complications. Video Watch why the story is raising questions

Continue reading the story here.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Why is Temporary Medical Insurance less expensive?

Temporary Medical Insurance is just the same as traditional major medical insurance, but it costs much less. The reason that it costs less is the liability of the company to pay claims is lower because of the shorter duration. Every individual and family health insurance plan is a month to month type of plan. You don't have to purchase a contract like you would with a cell phone. If you pay the monthly premium, you have the insurance. If you don't pay, then you don't have the insurance.

People often don't understand the difference between short term and full term health insurance plans. The difference is that the insurance company has a short term liability of coverage. For example if you got a short term insurance plan for six months and paid month to month, you would be covered until the end of the six months. At the end of the six months, you would need to re-apply if you wanted to continue the coverage. When you apply you must answer health questions based on your medical history. If you can not answer the health questions to qualify for the medical insurance then the insurance company will turn down the new program. So if you have a claim or a medical procedure during the time you have the temporary insurance plan in place, that claim would be paid, but it would be difficult qualifying at the end of the term for a new policy.

By contrast, a full term medical insurance plan would cover an individual and family for as long as they needed and as long as they paid their premiums. If someone on a full term plan had a medical procedure covered by the insurance plan, that claim would be paid. As long as the individual pays their premium, that policy will remain in place and pay claims. The insurance company may have to pay claims on a person until they turn 65 and go on Medicare.

The term Temporary Health Insurance only applies to the insurance company. The insurance company has a temporary liability on a client's medical bills until an individual has to re-apply. For this reason, temporary health plans are mainly for people who know that they will have coverage within a short time period. It is never good to go without health insurance, but full term insurance can be cost prohibitive. Generally if people are between jobs, or starting a new job, or graduating and in the process of interviewing, or getting ready to go on Medicare, short term health insurance can provide the protection that an individual needs at a fraction of the cost.

I hope this information helps you to make an informed decision about which plan would be good for your situation. As always, contact a medical insurance agent if you have questions and they'll be happy to go over the options available to you. You can review, get quotes, and apply online at websites like this one Temporary Medical Insurance

Saturday, April 5, 2008

America's Ailing Health Insurance Markets

This article looks into different ways that the presidential candidates address health care in America. It is a general article that goes over the problems with the health insurance system, but it doesn't offer any solutions. At the end it does question whether or not insurance is the appropriate model to deliver health care in this country. It is a fair question that does not have a good answer. Here is the article.

America's Ailing Health Insurance Markets

How to fix the problems of health insurance is a hot topic, these days, honest, and I want to chip in before the elections are over and we forget all about its importance. While Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are offering competing plans which would cover the forty-seven million uninsured in this country, John McCain has a proposal to cut health care costs by increasing competition in the markets. His idea is that competition would drive the price of insurance so low that most everybody could afford coverage! No need for the government to poke its nose where it is not wanted, and the conservatives surely don't want it meddling with the markets.

There's a sense of déjà vu about McCain's proposal. Haven't we been injecting competition into the health insurance markets for a very long time? Even the establishment of the government Medicare and Medicaid programs in the 1960's had a pro-competitive edge, because it removed from the commercial markets the most expensive and the poorest paying cases, leaving them with the most lucrative consumers to insure. The Health Maintenance Organization movement of the 1970's was another injection of that competitive hormone into the insurance markets in the form of prepaid group plans which combined insurance with the provision of care. What additional forms of competition has McCain invented that health economists never dreamt about?

The truth is that not all competition is helpful to consumers. I know that this is not an idea free-market conservatives like, but it's possible for competition to actually hurt some consumers.

Continue reading the article here.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Small Firms Shoulder Burden of Increasing Health Costs

This article shows that the problem in this country is not the people without health insurance. The problem is that the cost of health insurance for those that provide insurance for their employees is getting too high. A nationalized health insurance program will do nothing to bring costs down. If we do more as a nation to bring the cost of health care down, then we will be in a position to offer more plans to more people. The number of 47 million uninsured is misleading because of how the number is calculated. If a person went for one day of a year without health insurance, they are included in that number. The problem is the rising costs. This article goes over the costs for small businesses.

Small Firms Shoulder Burden of Increasing Health Costs

FRIDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- The economic burden of providing health insurance for employees increased more for small U.S. businesses than for larger businesses from 2000 to 2005, but most small businesses have not stopped offering the benefit, a new study finds.

The study, released Friday by the Rand Corp., of more than 2,500 small, medium and large companies found that small businesses (fewer than 25 employees) were hit with a 30 percent increase in the cost of providing health insurance. Their share of offering employee health insurance increased from an average of 8.4 percent of their payroll in 2000 to 10.8 percent of payroll by 2005.

Health insurance costs increased 16 percent for companies with 25 to 49 employees, and increased 25 percent for businesses with 50 to 99 workers.

While small companies were less likely than large businesses to provide health insurance, the small businesses that did offer the benefit were no more likely than large businesses to stop providing the benefit.

Continue reading the article here.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Report identifies death rate tied to lack of health insurance in Connecticut

There are likely other factors that contribute to the reasons for these findings, but it is an interesting article. For instance, people of lower income also have a higher death rate, and would be less likely to have health insurance. Their financial status might have as much to do with it as the fact that they don't have health insurance. Even if we gave them health insurance, they still might not have the means to take proper care of themselves with nutrition. But it is an article that I hope people will find informative.

Report identifies death rate tied to lack of health insurance in Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. - Three Connecticut residents die every week because they don’t have health insurance and cannot afford to see doctors for regular checkups, screenings and other preventive care, according to a new report released today.

The study by Families USA, a nonprofit health care consumers group, says such care is important for catching diseases at an early stage and greatly increases the chances for survival.

In 2006, about 209,000 of the 1.9 million people in Connecticut between the ages of 25 and 64 didn’t have health insurance, and about 150 of them died that year because they lacked coverage, the report says.

Continue reading the article here.

Easley announces plan for health care, insurance coverage

This is in my home state. This is a good thing because it addresses certain issues. But as the Governor says, it is the first time where the government, insurance companies, and providers have come together for a solution. This solution is limited, but it is a start. There is a standard treatment schedule for care and payment for 5 of the diseases that are typically uninsurable. This is a good step, but there still needs to be a risk pool available for everyone. I applaud my state of North Carolina for approaching this problem this way. Enjoy the article.

Easley announces plan for health care, insurance coverage

Gov. Mike Easley Thursday announced a plan to restructure the delivery of health care in the state by standardizing the level of care and insurance coverage for the five most common chronic diseases.

For more than a year, the state's major health insurance providers, physicians and hospitals have been meeting with Easley to design one set of "best practice guidelines" to treat diabetes, asthma, hypertension, congestive heart failure and heart attack.

The guidelines will be the same, no matter the health coverage for the patient, to ensure quality of care.

Continue reading the article here.

Sick, Sick, Sick. Health Care in America

This is an article that looks at individuals in America and studies the health care issue anecdotally. The problem with the debate is that there is so much emotion involved when someone gets sick and needs treatment. Nobody wants anyone to get sick and need care. When someone does get sick, everyone wants them to get better. The question is, who's responsibility is it to pay for the care to make people better? I would say it is the individual and family other than a safety net for those most in need and unable to provide for themselves. But this article is interesting as it looks at health care data from individual cases. Enjoy the article.

Sick, Sick, Sick. Health Care in America

By: Tula Connell

Dorene, a cancer survivor in Oregon, can't afford health insurance, so she takes part in what she calls "faith-based health care"—she prays she won't get sick.

Barbara's son spent a year in Iraq after enlisting in the National Guard. It was the only way he could get health insurance for his wife.

In New York, Antonius can't afford health care and never sees a doctor. And if he gets a serious illness?

I couldn't get care—I would just have to die—in the richest country in the world, with great health care, I'd have no help. Does that seem right?

Unfortunately, many politicians would not answer "No" to Antonius' question. So in January, we at the AFL-CIO, in partnership with our community affiliate, Working America, launched an online health care survey to encourage people to tell their stories and provide data that we plan to present to 2008 candidates at all levels. Over seven weeks, more than 26,000 people took the survey (and it was long), and nearly 7,500, like Dorene, Barbara and Antonius, took time to describe their personal experiences with the U.S. health care system.

Continue reading the story here.

How to Fight a Health Insurance Denial

This is an older article and I probably should have posted my own article about this process a long time ago. Fighting health insurance denial of claims is difficult but not impossible. Some companies actually deny every first claim that comes in so they expect you to fight a denial. Anyway, this article goes over all the things you need to know to get your claim paid appropriately. It can be done, it just takes a little time and a lot of patience.

How to Fight a Health Insurance Denial

By: Brie Cadman

Fighting with health insurance companies has to be one of the most unsavory tasks around. When I worked in a cancer clinic, we had one woman whose sole job was to talk, negotiate, beg, and plead with insurance companies on behalf of our patients. It was never an easy fight, and one that most people have to do for themselves. Though it requires patience, attention to detail, and tenacity, taking the time to dispute a denial can really pay off. You just might win. A recent case in California brought against a managed care company found that 30 percent of medical claims were improperly denied; a study done by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that around 40 percent of disputed claims were approved. If you think your insurance company has wrongly denied a procedure, pursue it.

Continue reading the article here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Comptroller launches health insurance program for municipalties

This is actually a good solution to lower the costs for government employees. Actually states generally have a generic program for state employees that is pretty good. But this plan goes further in Connecticut where every town and county municipality will be pooled together to create one larger risk pool of people for their insurance. The hope is that the rates would be more affordable if there were more people in the risk pool. Enjoy the article.

Comptroller launches health insurance program for municipalties

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ The state comptroller is launching a program to use the state's buying power to drive down health insurance costs for cities and towns.

The plan calls for pooling municipal employees into one large risk group.

Democrat Nancy Wyman says her office is asking interested local leaders to submit claims data and employee census data by April 10. The coverage is scheduled to begin July 1. A private, third party will administer the program.

Continue reading the article here.

The Ailing Health Insurance Markets

This is a pretty good article with good points about the health care system. It mentions that competition is not a good thing in a market that uses people's health and conditions to maximize their profits. As I said, it makes good points. The problem with the health care industry is those people that the insurance company determine are uninsurable. That is really the ONLY problem with our health care system right now. There are people who the insurance companies will not insure because of the risk of financial loss to the insurance company. The competitive nature of the markets would actually encourage companies to discriminate.

If this problem is addressed with some sort of risk pool, the problem of health care - or at least access to health care will essentially be solved. Other than that, you really need to look into the costs of health care in order to lower the insurance premiums that people pay to competitive companies. Enjoy the article. I did.

The Ailing Health Insurance Markets

How to fix the problems of health insurance is a hot topic, these days, honest, and I want to chip in before the elections are over and we forget all about its importance. While Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are offering competing plans which would cover the forty-seven million uninsured in this country, John McCain has a proposal to cut health care costs by increasing competition in the markets. His idea is that competition would drive the price of insurance so low that most everybody could afford coverage! No need for the government to poke its nose where it is not wanted, and the conservatives surely don't want it meddling with the markets.

There's a sense of deja vu about McCain's proposal. Haven't we been injecting competition into the health insurance markets for a very long time? Even the establishment of the government Medicare and Medicaid programs in the 1960's had a pro-competitive edge, because it removed from the commercial markets the most expensive and the poorest paying cases, leaving them with the most lucrative consumers to insure. The Health Maintenance Organization movement of the 1970's was another injection of that competitive hormone into the insurance markets in the form of prepaid group plans which combined insurance with the provision of care. What additional forms of competition has McCain invented that health economists never dreamt about?

Continue reading the article here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Clinton camp got behind on health insurance bills

While this is both ironic and tragic, it seems like an opening for Clinton. Basically she has not been paying the health insurance premiums for people working on her campaign. Without paying premiums the workers are in danger of losing their coverage if they have a health problem. She could use this as a way to illustrate the difficulty that people have paying their health care premiums because they are so high. But actually she should have chosen a plan with fewer benefits that would have been more affordable. Enjoy the article.

Clinton camp got behind on health insurance bills

A spokesman says the bills are paid now, but in February two companies were owed about $300,000 for premiums.

From Newsday
April 1, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton promotes healthcare as a top focus of her presidential bid, but her campaign's accountants aren't staying on message.

The campaign reported nearly $300,000 worth of unpaid health insurance bills for campaign staff as part of $8.73 million in debts, Federal Election Commission records show.

The New York Democrat's campaign fund owed $229,000 to Aetna Healthcare and $63,000 to CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield for unpaid premiums as of Feb. 29, the latest information available in federal filings.

Continue reading the article here.

Elizabeth Edwards Issues a Challenge to McCain on Health Care

This is obviously a veiled attempt to get her husband back on the ticket as VP and be seen as relevant again. She mischaracterized McCain's plan, but this article from the Washington Post is interesting anyway. Enjoy the article.

Elizabeth Edwards Issues a Challenge to McCain on Health Care

By Krissah Williams

Since her husband suspended his run for the Democratic nomination three months ago, Elizabeth Edwards has remained largely out of the public sphere. A fierce proponent of her husband's run for office and once a regular on the campaign stump -- despite her ongoing battle with cancer -- Edwards stepped back into the fray last weekend with an attack on Sen. John McCain's health-care plan.

Under the presumptive Republican nominee's health-care plan, Edwards told reporters, she would not be covered, an accusation that McCain's aides deny.

Continue reading the article here.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Short Term Health Insurance – Now More Simple Than Ever.

This is actually my own press release. Enjoy:

Several new implementations on the Short Term health Insurance website make user experience faster and easier than ever.

Greensboro,NC,March,29,2008 -- Several new innovations are making the Short Term Health Insurance website even easier to use. The relationship between Short-Termhealthinsurance.com and Celtic Life and health is now more efficient as quote and buy technology is drastically improved in order to make it easier than ever to buy insurance online.

"We always expect Celtic to provide quality products, but this new software has enabled even more people who want health insurance plans easier access to these affordable programs," said Brian Thacker, president of ThackerAgency.com. Thacker Agency is the parent company of http://www.short-termhealthinsurance.com.

"We are determined to making the user experience simple and understandable when it comes to online insurance access. We want people who need it to be able to get affordable plans as quickly and easily as possible. This new online system that Celtic has provided makes shopping for affordable and quality health insurance as fast as brewing a cup of coffee."

The Short-Term Health Insurance website has even more up its sleeve, as it offers a new insurance plan known as the Amigo Medical Insurance Plan. This is the only health insurance plan available that does not require a social security number in order to be purchased, but that is still available to citizens of the United States.

Applicants are not required to live in the United States for two years before eligibility like with most short term health insurance products available in the marketplace. More than eleven states are currently offering this new Amigo health insurance plan. It is only a matter of time before other states across the country begin to offer this form of insurance to their residents.

The Amigo health insurance plan offers quotes both in Spanish and in English, and offers temporary health insurance with doctor office co payments of $50, while most other short term health insurance plans do not offer co payment plans. The main goal for the short-term health insurance website is to improve user experience, offering any type of insurance product that a visitor may require.

Brian Thacker is the founder of the short-termhealthinsurance.com website and has been offering health insurance benefits to individuals for nearly 15 years. Originally only individuals residing in North Carolina could take advantage of this unique opportunity to find the right insurance, but now Thacker's short-term health insurance services are being offered nationally and worldwide as well.

The Short Term Health Insurance website is providing a true solution for a largely untapped marketplace by providing information relating to an important and inexpensive alternative to traditional medical insurance plans like COBRA. The Short-Term health insurance website is consistently growing to offer new insurance plans to meet a variety of needs and provide solutions for people from all walks of life.

Contact information :
Brian Thacker
Short Term Health Insurance
Greensboro, NC

Why Not Single Payer?

This is an article examining the different ideas involved with the health care single payer movement within our government. It is a must read for all who want to know more about the ins and outs of the health care situation within our government today.

Why Not Single Payer? Part 5: The Single Payer Health Care Movement and the Plans of the Democratic Presidential Nominee

Before introducing Chairman John Conyers and Courtney Farr of the California Nurses Association, let me outline a few principals for our discussion this afternoon about how progressives should respond to the health care proposals of the leading Democratic presidential contenders.

First, if we have a Democratic president and an increased Democratic Congressional majority after November, we will have the best opportunity to enact Universal Healthcare in America since the Truman administration. If we blow it, the opportunity could be lost for another generation.

Second, this kind of fundamental social change will never take place only from the top. It requires a mass movement pushing from below. If history proves anything, it's that Washington only enacts major social change if prodded by large scale social movements such as the union movement, the civil rights movement, the women's movement and the anti-war movement. There already is a strong mass movement of unions, doctors, nurses, churches and community organizations building support for Medicare for All as embodied In HR 676 sponsored by Chairman Conyers. It has, I believe, over 80 Congressional co-sponsors--that's nearly 1/3 of the Democrats in the house-- and has been endorsed by over 235 union organizations in 40 states, as well as many citizens, religious and medical organizations.

Continue reading the article here.

Private health insurance available, survey shows

This is what I've been trying to say. I know there are alternatives. People don't realize that there are alternatives so they don't seek them out. There are great alternatives for health insurance in America.

Private health insurance available, survey shows

Survey says: Help is available if you lose your health insurance in this spiraling economy.

Considering the looming recession, many people worry most about health insurance. That's according to a new survey. Nearly half of those polled say, after a job loss, they would pay credit cards bills late, but only 7% say they'd let their health insurance payments slide.

"You know the good news is today that even if you do lose your job there's a very, very vibrant private health insurance market and certainly there are ways to save money and continue your health insurance even if you have to pay for it yourself."

Sam Gibbs, consumer advocate, says COBRA -- the continuation of your health insurance from your company -- is expensive. However, he says the private health insurance market offers alternatives, allowing you to pick and choose which benefits you want and how high a deductible -- just like your car insurance.

Continue reading the article here.

Private hospital boss slams insurance plan

This is an article from a doctor in Hong Kong concerning their debate on health care. He says that the young should subsidize the elderly in the system rather than having everyone covered under the same system. I think it is interesting to see how the international community deals with the same issues that we have here. I agree with this doctor. After the last post about Medicare going broke, I think we should probably listen to this man. Enjoy the article.

Private hospital boss slams insurance plan

The elderly and the young should receive subsidies to help them buy health-care insurance instead of making the scheme mandatory for all age groups, according to the deputy chief of one of the city's major private hospitals.

Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital deputy medical superintendent Kwong Kwok-hay said a mandatory insurance scheme, which has been highlighted in the government's health-care reform proposal, would deprive people of choices.

"A mandatory scheme means the young and healthy are forced to subsidize those who are chronically ill and old," Kwong said.

Kwong also accused Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat- ngok of trying to interfere with the market by proposing to standardize and regulate inpatient and specialist charges at private hospitals.

The Standard reported yesterday that Chow planned to set up a mechanism through which insurance firms and the private medical sector could hammer out standard pricing for inpatient and specialist services if the community adopts the option of social health insurance or a mandatory insurance scheme.

"It is a violation of free market principles," Kwong said. "If the government is so keen on an insurance scheme, it would be better to use public resources to buy insurance for two age groups, children under 12 and those over 65.

Continue reading the article here.

Medicare Insurance Program is in Serious Trouble

And this is the 800 lb gorilla that none of the candidates want to talk about. This is an article from the Florida Medicare Foundation that says Medicare will be insolvent in 2019 if nothing is done. This means. . . "A person who is 54 years old today cannot be assured that Medicare hospital insurance benefits will be there when he or she turns 65 and first becomes eligible for Medicare." It says that as of next year, Medicare will be spending more money than it brings in. Medicare costs account for nearly 500 billion dollars each year. Every candidate talks about providing health insurance to people who don't have it now as though it is a tragedy. But I would prefer that they focus on ensuring that the health care that they have already promised can be delivered before they move on to promise more that they can't deliver. Enjoy this important article.

Florida Health Insurance Consultant Says Medicare Insurance Program is in Serious Trouble

With most of the health insurance debate focusing on universal health care, Medicare Trustees admitted this week that the Medicare Hospital Trust Fund, and the Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund "expenditures are growing more quickly than the rest of the economy - that is troubling news," according to Morgan Moran of Florida Health Insurance Web, a health insurance consultant.

(PRWEB) March 31, 2008 -- No other topic is more important to Florida, than health insurance. Florida continues to lead the way in terms of sheer numbers of newly arriving retirees, each of these new Floridians hope their savings, and health insurance policies will be enough to get them through their golden years. Then, the latest news from Medicare arrived and is bad news for Florida. "Currently Medicare expenditures eat up 3.2% of the GDP a total of ($432 Billion)," Morgan Moran of Florida Health Insurance Web, said in a phone interview, "the total is expected to rise to 1 Trillion dollars by 2083."

The government needs to act quickly to address Medicare's fiscal health, and enact steps which would postpone the insolvency date. Congress should quickly act on this warning, which would allow the program to be modernized and transformed.
The health insurance consultant continued, "The latest figures show Medicare's Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund will be insolvent by 2019." This year the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will pay out more than its earns, and over the next 10 years (equal to $342 billion). "Funds will more than likely need to be transferred from the Federal treasury to cover beneficiaries' hospital insurance expenses," said Moran.

Florida Health Insurance Consultant Moran is quoted as saying, "The government needs to act quickly to address Medicare's fiscal health, and enact steps which would postpone the insolvency date. Congress should quickly act on this warning, which would allow the program to be modernized and transformed." More information on this story is available at the insurance web site www.FloridaHealthInsuranceWeb.com.

A Medicaid Services Administrator, Kerry Weems states, "A person who is 54 years old today cannot be assured that Medicare hospital insurance benefits will be there when he or she turns 65 and first becomes eligible for Medicare."

Continue reading the article here.

Health care-malpractice legislative dispute goes on

In out litigious society, malpractice lawsuits have grown into an epidemic. While people are due compensation in the case of an improper action by a doctor, these lawsuits cause the cost of health care to rise exponentially. The reason they rise is the cost of the malpractice insurance for the doctors goes up and they pass that cost on to the fees for the patients. This is an article on how Pa is trying to solve the problem in the legislature. This is a major prong of the problems involved in the rising cost of health care.

Health care-malpractice legislative dispute goes on

Faced with a Monday deadline, Senate Republican leaders yesterday called on House leaders to consider legislation that would extend for another year a program that reduces doctors' costs for malpractice insurance.

The issue of extending the reductions through the state's MCare abatement program "should be considered on its own merits," said Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Chester, who issued a joint statement with Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, and Banking and Insurance Committee Chairman Don White, R-Indiana.

But Gov. Ed Rendell and House Democrats, who control that chamber, have linked the reductions, known as MCare abatements, to a House bill that would extend more affordable health insurance to the state's uninsured.

Mr. Rendell set a Monday deadline for progress on the combined package. Earlier this week, he began sending letters to the state's doctors saying the deadline would not be met and that the higher bills were coming due.

Continue reading the article here.

Punjab to introduce health insurance scheme

This shows what India is doing to help give access to health care for the most poor. America already has a Medicaid system for the indigent, and a Medicare program for the elderly. But this shows how other countries are catching up to where our social safety nets are. To hear the politicians you'd never know we had it better than anyone.

Punjab to introduce health insurance scheme

Keeping in view the fast increasing costs of medical treatment, the Punjab government was shortly implementing a special Health Insurance Scheme for the people belong to Below Poverty Line families, so that the poor people could also avail the advanced medical facilities in the private hospitals.

This was disclosed by Ramesh Inder Singh Chief Secretary Punjab, while addressing the concluding function of three day North Zone Inter Medical and Dental Colleges Tournament at Dyanand Medical College and Hospital last night.

Further elaborating, the Chief Secretary said that apart from BPL families, the insurance would also be extended to the small farmers and farm laborers through village level Agri Cooperative Societies.

Continue reading the article here.

Health-care insurance gaps affect all of us

This article goes over the increases in costs to health care and how people without insurance affect those costs for everyone. There's enough money, it just gets sloshed around.

Health-care insurance gaps affect all of us

Maria Gomez knows firsthand the devastation that can hit families who don't have health insurance.

Gomez is chief executive of Mary's Center for Maternal and Child Care in Washington, D.C. The clinic serves Latinos who have no insurance or are underinsured.

The fact that 47 million people -- 9 million children -- are uninsured has been one of the top issues in the presidential campaign. Equally troubling is this statistic: The lack of health-care coverage is most acute among Hispanics and African Americans, many of whom work in low-wage jobs without benefits or are employed by small businesses that don't offer coverage.

"Things are getting worse," Gomez said. "What we are seeing is a lot of people coming in who cannot qualify for government programs."

Continue reading the article here.

Cautionary Health Care Tales

Here is an article that examines the problems with the brand new government mandated health care programs in Massachusetts and California. Enjoy the article.

Cautionary Health Care Tales

Plans for universal coverage in California and Massachusetts have been beset by problems.

The collapse of health reform in California and ominous signs from Massachusetts spell big trouble ahead for reforming the nation's health care system no matter who is elected President. The lessons from those states, which have tried hard to bring insurance coverage to all residents, are worth heeding for anyone sitting in the White House next year. They also raise the question of whether it is possible, either fiscally or politically, for states to do the job. Indeed, failure in California and troubles in Massachusetts indicate that the underlying problems that bedeviled reform efforts fourteen years ago are still with us, and could doom yet another attempt to change the American way of health care.

Although Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama try to distinguish between their plans, both are variants of the Massachusetts model. That scheme requires everyone to get health coverage, and it imposes tax penalties on people who don't -- the so-called "individual mandate." In both Obama's and Clinton's plan, people do not have a right to health insurance, as is the case in truly universal national health insurance systems, such as in France and Canada, where everyone is guaranteed coverage, with care paid for through a broad-based tax.

Continue reading the article here.

Majority of U.S. Doctors Back National Insurance Plan

This is an interesting article because it seems to indicate that doctors want to be on the government system. But if you look further into the article and see who is most for it, you will see that psychiatrists (who typically provide services that aren't covered under private health insurance) are the most for the government payer system at 83%. Insurance fraud and waste is huge now. Under a federal system I imagine that the doctors will figure out exactly how to milk it to their advantage without having to deal with the legal teams of the insurance companies. I agree that the system needs to be a not-for-profit system. But I disagree that the government will be able to administer it. I'd prefer seeing the government make Medicare solvent before promising more care it can't provide. Enjoy the article anyway. . .

Majority of U.S. Doctors Back National Insurance Plan

A majority of American doctors now support the concept of national health insurance, which represents a shift in thinking over the past five years, a new survey finds.

Typically, national health insurance plans involve a single, federally administered social insurance fund that guarantees health coverage for everyone. In most cases, these plans eliminate or substantially reduce the role of private insurance companies.

A survey conducted last year of 2,193 physicians across the United States found that 59 percent support "government legislation to establish national health insurance," while 32 percent oppose it, and 9 percent are neutral. In 2002, a similar survey found that 49 percent of physicians supported the concept, while 40 percent opposed it.

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