Saturday, July 28, 2007

From an Insurance / HMO company near you - Healthy? Insurers have deal for you
Article on high deductibles latest spin. A carrot for the young healthy employees and high cost for the old and ailing. I hope the disability and senior groups get an attorney and sue them for discrimination.
"Employers are expected to see savings of up to 20 percent in the first year by switching to a high-deductible plan in which the premiums are less expensive. Eventually, they are expected to save money as people get healthier and submit fewer claims."
They neglect to mention that they save money also as employees die or are force by health and finances to quit the job and go on welfare. A short sighted aspect, for purely profit margin reasons, is that due to demographics we will see shortages of available people to fill jobs. So in the long run the employer will be cutting off his nose to spite his face. These short term tactics of insurance companies and politicians just keep building the size of the problems to be faced.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Humor can Heal

The Health Care Blues...

A man suffered a serious heart attack and had an open heart bypass surgery. He awakened from the surgery to find himself in the care of nuns at a Catholic Hospital. As he was recovering, a nun asked him questions regarding how he was going to pay for his treatment. She asked if he had health insurance.

He replied, in a raspy voice, "No health insurance."

The nun asked if he had money in the bank.

He replied, "No money in the bank."

The nun asked, "Do you have a relative who could help you?" He said, "I only have a spinster sister, who is a nun."

The nun became agitated and announced loudly, "Nuns are not spinsters! Nuns are married to God."

The patient replied, "Well, in that case...send the bill to my brother-in-law!"

BusinessWeek articles on Universal Health Care

BusinessWeek Search Results
I found this interesting that some very good material in support of single payer universal health care would be in this magazine. Also take a look at Paul Krugman's latest column for some great comments on waiting lines and the lies and scare tactics used by the HMOs. If you can't find the column, it is in a discussion message at our email group.

Employer health premiums face double-digit increase

Employer health premiums face double-digit increase
Another in the long list of reasons why we need to remove the multiple insurance and HMO companies from the health care system.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Health Care Terror - New York Times

Health Care Terror - New York Times

July 9, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

Health Care Terror

These days terrorism is the first refuge of scoundrels. So when British authorities announced that a ring of Muslim doctors working for the National Health Service was behind the recent failed bomb plot, we should have known what was coming.

“National healthcare: Breeding ground for terror?” read the on-screen headline, as the Fox News host Neil Cavuto and the commentator Jerry Bowyer solemnly discussed how universal health care promotes terrorism.

While this was crass even by the standards of Bush-era political discourse, Fox was following in a long tradition. For more than 60 years, the medical-industrial complex and its political allies have used scare tactics to prevent America from following its conscience and making access to health care a right for all its citizens.

I say conscience, because the health care issue is, most of all, about morality.

That’s what we learn from the overwhelming response to Michael Moore’s “Sicko.” Health care reformers should, by all means, address the anxieties of middle-class Americans, their growing and justified fear of finding themselves uninsured or having their insurers deny coverage when they need it most. But reformers shouldn’t focus only on self-interest. They should also appeal to Americans’ sense of decency and humanity.

What outrages people who see “Sicko” is the sheer cruelty and injustice of the American health care system — sick people who can’t pay their hospital bills literally dumped on the sidewalk, a child who dies because an emergency room that isn’t a participant in her mother’s health plan won’t treat her, hard-working Americans driven into humiliating poverty by medical bills.

“Sicko” is a powerful call to action — but don’t count the defenders of the status quo out. History shows that they’re very good at fending off reform by finding new ways to scare us.

These scare tactics have often included over-the-top claims about the dangers of government insurance. “Sicko” plays part of a recording Ronald Reagan once made for the American Medical Association, warning that a proposed program of health insurance for the elderly — the program now known as Medicare — would lead to totalitarianism.

Right now, by the way, Medicare — which did enormous good, without leading to a dictatorship — is being undermined by privatization.

Mainly, though, the big-money interests with a stake in the present system want you to believe that universal health care would lead to a crushing tax burden and lousy medical care.

Now, every wealthy country except the United States already has some form of universal care. Citizens of these countries pay extra taxes as a result — but they make up for that through savings on insurance premiums and out-of-pocket medical costs. The overall cost of health care in countries with universal coverage is much lower than it is here.

Meanwhile, every available indicator says that in terms of quality, access to needed care and health outcomes, the U.S. health care system does worse, not better, than other advanced countries — even Britain, which spends only about 40 percent as much per person as we do.

Yes, Canadians wait longer than insured Americans for elective surgery. But over all, the average Canadian’s access to health care is as good as that of the average insured American — and much better than that of uninsured Americans, many of whom never receive needed care at all.

And the French manage to provide arguably the best health care in the world, without significant waiting lists of any kind. There’s a scene in “Sicko” in which expatriate Americans in Paris praise the French system. According to the hard data they’re not romanticizing. It really is that good.

All of which raises the question Mr. Moore asks at the beginning of “Sicko”: who are we?

“We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics.” So declared F.D.R. in 1937, in words that apply perfectly to health care today. This isn’t one of those cases where we face painful tradeoffs — here, doing the right thing is also cost-efficient. Universal health care would save thousands of American lives each year, while actually saving money.

So this is a test. The only things standing in the way of universal health care are the fear-mongering and influence-buying of interest groups. If we can’t overcome those forces here, there’s not much hope for America’s future.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Analysis: 'Sicko' numbers mostly accurate; more context needed -

Analysis: 'Sicko' numbers mostly accurate; more context needed -
The #s are right on in the film. The big one omission for me is that the majority of money spent on health care in the US is for the public programs and in states like MN the majority of HMO profits come from the public dole.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Doyle pushes BadgerCare

La Crosse Tribune - 6.0
"Gov. Jim Doyle says he’ll push for his plan to expand the state BadgerCare program rather than a universal health-care plan that Senate Democrats added to the state budget proposal."
Democrats fighting over which way to go on reform - NOT a good thing.