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Individual mandate means lower costs - Health Care Rx Panelists

Individual mandate means lower costs

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In a financial downturn, the healthy and the unemployed drop their health insurance; the wealthy resort to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and only the sick and chronically ill keep their insurance. These are the high users and when they represent a larger and larger percentage of the insured, it is easy to see why premiums soar. Only when everyone is required to have health insurance -- just as car drivers must have car insurance -- will the costs go down. Being insured covers health care costs, but it also assures a certain level of continuity and comprehensiveness that will provide cost savings even for the sick and chronically ill. The system must be universal, not necessarily single payer.

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The costs will come down, yes, but that doesn't help us. Great, the insurance companies not only get lower costs but more customers.

If you want lower costs to the American People, look elsewhere, or combine a mandate with strong mandatory cost controls or a public option.

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Doctors is the previous category.

Electronic medical records is the next category.

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2013, not 2014 - Health Care Rx Panelists

2013, not 2014

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Reform should begin in 2013, not 2014 as the Senate bill states.

What if in 2012, unemployment remains relatively high, the recession continues? What if voters blame President Obama and vote him and his Congressional supporters out of office?

Under the Senate bill, the exchanges where Americans can choose between a public plan and private insurance aren't scheduled to open until 2014. Only then will subsidies be available to the millions of uninsured Americans who, today, are forced to "go naked" because they cannot afford insurance. In addition, the laws that would regulate insurers wouldn't go into effect until 2014.

This means that if conservatives won the 2012 election and took control of both the White House and Congress in January of 2013, they would have a full year to dismantle health-care reform before it ever had a chance. In 12 months, determined politicians could repeal most, if not all, of the reform plan.

The House bill, by contrast, calls for heath-care reform to begin in 2013. Even if conservatives won in November of 2012, they would have only two months to try to figure out how to derail the plan.

Reform would begin on January 1. This means that voters would have a chance to see health-care reform in action. Self-employed Americans and early retirees who had been forced to buy insurance in the pricey individual market would suddenly have access to group rates. Low-income and middle-class families who just couldn't afford the cost of insurance would receive subsidies. Individuals who couldn't buy insurance because of "pre-existing conditions" would find that insurers could no longer shun the sick.

Once we open the door to universal coverage, there will be no turning back. Those who oppose reform understand this and are hoping for an opportunity to stop health-care reform before it starts.

This is why the Senate should adopt the House timetable, and let reform begin in 2013.

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Universal Health Care is a Myth, there is and never has been an efficient or cost effective program ran by any Government.

I say scrap Medicare and Medicaid, use the funds from those programs to buy private insurance for every American Citizen. It would cost less and it would keep the Government out of the Health Care Business.

This bill should point us all in the direction of a National Health Care system. Elimination of the middleman and volume buying is the key to cost control here.

Not to mention, in England, the National Health Service is the second largest employer. (the Military is first) We could use the jobs. If we use American manufacturers, priced by bids-the effect on our GNP could be dramatic.

Anyone that thinks the government can't be efficient has never forgotten to pay their taxes or tried to duck the draft.

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This page is a archive of recent entries in the Economic crisis category.

Doctors is the previous category.

Electronic medical records is the next category.

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We need a strong public option - Health Care Rx Panelists

We need a strong public option

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The bill needs to be amended to eliminate any opportunity for states to opt out of a public option; it has to once and for all cover all Americans. The bill also needs to be amended to remove any language about gun possession, since it gives health insurers targets for denial. We don't need any amendment to make it tougher on employers -- we need a strong public option. It will take courage and commitment, but I am banking on the majority of senators to realize that most Americans don't have the Cadillac health-care coverage that they enjoy and is paid for by tax-payer dollars and many of those Americans would settle for the smart car version.

The health-care bills introduced by the House and now the Senate are the products of long, exhaustive and complicated political efforts. What has become clear is that our leaders are not showing any strength, courage or commitment to the American people. I have been writing about health-care reform for the past three years in my breast cancer blog and I have received hundreds of comments from people without health care who are desperate for answers. These are mostly women diagnosed with breast cancer. Several ask what their options are for an easier death since they cannot afford treatment. These are the stories we are not hearing when these bills are introduced. These are the families that need a public option.

As debate begins surrounding Reid's bill, even liberal senators are now shying away from a public option and several are putting emphasis on states being able to opt out. Joe Lieberman cites the economic crisis as the reason to leave many people without a government provision for health care when in fact it is because we are in such a dire economic crises that people are now looking to their government for health care. They are all disregarding polls that show most Americans now want a public option.

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This page is a archive of recent entries in the Economic crisis category.

Doctors is the previous category.

Electronic medical records is the next category.

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Lose a job, lose insurance - Health Care Rx Panelists

Lose a job, lose insurance

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With every passing month in America's "jobless recovery," more jobs are lost. Lost jobs in the U.S. quickly morph into uninsured lives. In April 2008, the Kaiser Family Foundation calculated a metric that showed a 1 percent increase in the unemployment rate leads to a 1.1 million person increase in the uninsured and a 1 million person increase in Medicaid enrollment.

That was April 2008 -- this is November 2009. State governors, who fund one-half of Medicaid, are hard-pressed to absorb these hundreds of thousands of lives. Then what? The number of the uninsured increases.

"I'm insured, so should I care?" ask Harry and Louise. Based on recent surveys on American attitudes about the health-care safety net for people 'other than me,' it appears the European model of social insurance is seen by many American health citizens, still, as socialism, not insurance.

The sooner we get uninsured people covered -- while rewarding quality care, not paying for poor outcomes, moving our paper-based system to digital platforms and better managing the allocation of scarce health resources -- the better. Yes, it's complicated. But with each passing month in the jobless recovery, more people will move into the uninsured pool of Americans. Watch for emergency room waits and hospital/provider bad debt to grow.

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This page is a archive of recent entries in the Economic crisis category.

Doctors is the previous category.

Electronic medical records is the next category.

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No System ... No Cost Control - Health Care Rx Panelists

No System ... No Cost Control

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Of all the major flaws in our health care system, high cost is the most destructive. One out of every six dollars is currently spent on health care. By 2018 that figure will rise to one in every five dollars. And in the recent time of significant economic expansion the annual inflation in health care costs outstripped the growth of our gross domestic product by more than double. This trend is neither desirable nor sustainable.

Why is that? In our country the vast majority of care is provided by uncoordinated, independent providers operating in an financial environment that rewards more care. Not better care. Not coordinated care. Not care based on the best available evidence. Health care financing in the United States is simply not set up to provide coordination for physicians, hospitals and patients in determining the right care, in the right place and at the right time.

How and where health care is delivered should be a major component of any reform agenda aimed at both reducing cost and improving the quality of care. In other words we need to create a health care system. A few entities have done this by both aligning and coordinating the delivery and financing of care. Kaiser Permanente, Group Health Cooperative and Intermountain Healthcare are a few examples of organizations that bring physicians, hospitals and financing together to meet the needs of patients. Currently these care settings are not available to all Americans, a result of a financing system that rewards uncoordinated care. So while a model exists for how it can happen in this country, most physicians and health care practitioners do not practice in these environments. We have to ask ourselves -- why is this true? Why do the majority of physicians choose to practice in a non-integrated environment?

The unrelenting rise in health care costs is a burden to individual patients, employers, governments and our nation's ability to compete globally. Is it possible to rein in the cost of health care? Yes, but minor changes to the current manner in which we pay for care only perpetuates more of the same - more uncoordinated care at a higher cost. We need change that rewards coordinated care aimed at bringing physicians and hospitals together in the best interest of the patient.

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In the past US auto makers managed to divert outrage about the patently unsafe cars they were building by concentrating interest on drunk driving and speeding. Now, of course these did contribute to the problem, but now we know that they were not as important as unsafe design and improper maintenance. The situation is similar today. The problems you write about are real; they are very important, but there are the problems you omitted, high overhead of private insurance, the plethora of forms required of physicians, and high drug prices, that, in theory, we could solve today. The powerful insurance industry wants to keep the eye of the public away from these problems, and I am afraid you are helping them.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Economic crisis category.

Health Care Reform is the previous category.

Individual mandate is the next category.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Economic crisis category.

Doctors is the previous category.

Electronic medical records is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.