Thursday, November 19, 2009

Senate produces another healthcare plan

The Democrats have introduced their proposal for the new healthcare system that would be available to all Americans. Their proposed plan would insure 31 million more Americans while reducing the budget. The total cost for the overhaul would be $848 billion, but also decrease the deficit by $130 billion.

The goals they've outlined for the plan would:
-Impose new regulations on insurers
-Cover 31 million extra Americans
-Introduce new benefits for Medicare

Republicans are opposed to the idea and see it as a way to increase taxes and insurance costs. Read the full New York Times article here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Senate Dem leader bringing out new health bill

The Associated Press reports that the Senate's top Democrat is poised to outline a new health care bill designed to meet President Barack Obama's goal of expanding coverage without adding to the deficit.

Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada met Wednesday morning at the Capitol with Vice President Joe Biden to go over the game plan on health care. Crucial to the White House and Reid is winning over reluctant moderate Democrats.

Reid wants to bring his roughly $900 billion, 10-year health care remake to the floor in the next few days. The Democratic leader has spent weeks melding bills from the Senate health committee and the Finance panel. Democrats plan to meet behind closed doors to discuss the bill in late afternoon Wednesday.

Reid's office alerted health care allies that Senate Democratic leaders planned to unveil the bill at a Capitol Hill event at 12 noon Thursday.

Senate Dem leader bringing out new health bill

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Former Senator Tom Daschle's Keynote Speech at MDRP

Tom Daschle, Former Senator, recently spoke at MDRP. As Senate majority and minority leader from 1994 to 2005 and the architect of President Obama's healthcare plan, he is an outspoken advocate for reform, and a well-connected voice between the healthcare industry and Washington policy-makers. His recent book, Critical: What We Can Do About the Healthcare Crisis, offers exciting new solutions on changing America's healthcare system providing the framework for Obama's plan. Watch Part 1 of his keynote speech below!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Government healthcare versus current state's laws

In an interesting article at the LA Times, they look at how the proposed bill for healthcare reform could actually harm some of the consumer rights states have put in place to protect them when it comes to insurance. For instance, in California, they require that insurance companies cover second surgical opinions, and breast reconstruction surgeries for breast cancer patients. This could affect consumers when insurance companies are allowed to sell insurance policies across borders.

According to the article, said Kris Haltmeyer, Blue Cross Blue Shield policy director, believes that establishing a minimum level of benefits at the federal level could mitigate some states receiving health insurance plans that aren't completely up to par.

What do you think about this? Will insurance companies being allowed to sell policies across state borders affect the quality in some places? What does this mean for the consumer?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Forbes: Medicare Part D: A Health Care Success Story

Mary Grealy writes that among the pitfalls America has seen with Medicare, there may be one beacon of hope with Medicare Part D. Grealy says, the landmark legislation that created Part D was passed by Congress in 2003 with bipartisan support. It was the first major overhaul of Medicare in 35 years, and it offered a much-needed benefit to seniors struggling to pay for their prescriptions...Far from leaving seniors with limited options, Part D allows Medicare enrollees to choose the prescription plan that most closely aligns with their needs. In the Medicare Today survey, 80% of participants say their plan covers all the medicines their doctor prescribes. The numbers were even higher in New York and Florida.

To read more about the success of Medicaid Part D, please visit Grealy's article.

Medicare Part D: A Health Care Success Story

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Healthcare reform and abortion

Now that healthcare reform is in full swing, we're sure to see several issues that votes and opinions collide on when it comes to coverage. Currently the House and the Senate are looking at if and how abortion should be covered. Should this be dropped from the health bill, it may leave many women with private insurance at risk for their insurers to drop abortion coverage as well.

Stupak’s amendment prohibits any public health insurance option from offering abortion coverage except for cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother. It also prohibits individuals from using tax credits and subsidies to buy private insurance with abortion coverage from companies taking part in new health insurance exchanges.

Read more about the debate about including health care in the healthcare reform bill here. What do you think? When and how should the government choose to cover abortions? What impact will this have on the ruling of Rowe vs. Wade?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Obama's Health Care Bill Narrowly Passes in House

President Obama praised the House yesterday for narrowly passing his healthcare bill. The count was extremely close - 220 to 215 with only one Republican voting yes. The $1.2 trillion bill is aimed at expanding coverage to 36 million uninsured Americans and the plan will also cut spending by $400 billion over the course of a decade. Take a couple of minutes to view the coverage by CBS News below.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

WSJ: How would you recommend we improve the health care system?

The Wall Street Journal asks, "How would you recommend we improve the health care system?" to their Health Care Analysis group.

Given that health costs are constantly increasing, we definitely need to reform the health care system -- but if we are not careful how we fix it, we could end up with a lot of unintended consequences. Current projections show that the reform bill in its current state would increase costs to many people who have insurance now.

The main reason is the current bill only spreads costs around. We need an effective means to lower costs.

How would you recommend we improve the system? How will you get Congress to implement your recommendations?

Monday, November 2, 2009

NYTimes: Costs at Urban Hospitals May Get Extra Scrutiny in Health Care Overhaul

Anemona Hartocollis of The New York Times writes today that a provision in the House health care bill, included over the objections of hospitals from New York and other cities, would order a neutral group, the Institute of Medicine, to conduct a two-year study of regional variations in Medicare spending. The bill requires the institute to recommend changes that would reward “quality and value,” and those changes would take effect automatically unless Congress objected by May 31, 2012.

The recommendation that New York hospitals fear most is that Medicare should reduce payments to areas where costs grow fastest and increase payments to those who are best at controlling them. They argue that some of the most efficient hospitals are in affluent and rural areas that do not face the same challenges, including higher poverty and cost of living, as New York.

As more urban hospitals undergo the "knife" moreso than their rural counterparts, do you think this move is fair?

Costs at Urban Hospitals May Get Extra Scrutiny in Health Care Overhaul