Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’
“Repealing and replacing” Obamacare with market-oriented reforms has been the Republican mantra for years now. If you’re a long-time follower of this space, you know that we’re skeptical that Obamacare will ever be repealed, GOP slogans to the contrary. Today, however, a trio of experienced Senate Republicans—Tom Coburn (Okla.), Richard Burr (N.C.), and Orrin Hatch (Utah)—have put forth the most thoughtful and constructive plan yet developed to repeal and replace Obamacare. The plan seeks to ensure that as many Americans have health coverage as Obamacare does. It’s a proposal grounded in the real-world tradeoffs that all serious reformers must make. Want to know how those tradeoffs might affect you? Read on.
Read more by Avik Roy at Forbes.com
In the US we are used to abortion advocates claiming that the risk of elective abortion is relatively trivial, and major medical organizations denying any link between abortion and breast cancer. Now a powerful new study from China published last week by Yubei Huang and colleagues suggests otherwise. The article, a meta-analysis pooling 36 studies from 14 provinces in China, showed that abortion increased the risk of breast cancer by 44% with one abortion, and 76% and 89% with two and three abortions.
This new article is another example of the recent excellent scholarship on abortion in peer-reviewed journals coming out of the People’s Republic. There is no bigger data base than China, where there are an average of 8.2 million pregnancy terminations every year, and 40 abortions for every 100 live births. Chinese researchers and physicians are unencumbered by abortion politics, and do not cover up data showing long term effects of induced abortion, as do their US counterparts in governmental, professional and consumer organizations.
Read more by Mary L. Davenport, MD at AmericanThinker.com
If you live in a middle-class household, you generally expect your needs to be met through the marketplace. You buy or rent housing in the real estate market. When you aren’t driving your own car, you catch a taxicab or maybe even hire a limo. You or your employer buy health insurance, and you choose your doctor in the medical marketplace.
For most poor families, the experience is very different. Regulations designed to protect entrenched special interests have succeeded in raising the costs of basic services so much that low-income families have been priced out of the market for many essential services. Middle-class and poor communities differ not just by income. For the middle class, basic needs are met by markets and they benefit from the customer-pleasing innovations that competition produces. All too often, the poor must turn to public programs with all of the customer-pleasing attributes of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Take housing, for example. The cheapest form of housing is small, prefabricated homes for zero-lot developments. However, zoning regulations in most cities outlaw them — an act that effectively doubles the price of the cheapest housing. There are also other expensive restrictions on new housing, such as forcing builders to build on bigger lots and mandating specific types of materials and construction methods. Regulations vary widely across the United States. In Houston, a less restrictive city, regulatory costs add about $13,200 to the price of an average home. In San Diego, a multitude of regulations add $240,000. These cost-increasing regulations have essentially priced many low-income residents out of the market for a private home, forcing them to turn to public housing instead.
Then there is transportation . . .
Read more by John Goodman from Oct 22, 2011 at Townhall
The kitchen counter in the home of the Hayes family is scattered with the inhalers, sprays and bottles of pills that have allowed Hannah, 13, and her sister, Abby, 10, to excel at dance and gymnastics despite a horrific pollen season that has set off asthma attacks, leaving the girls struggling to breathe.
Asthma — the most common chronic disease that affects Americans of all ages, about 40 million people — can usually be well controlled with drugs. But being able to afford prescription medications in the United States often requires top-notch insurance or plenty of disposable income, and time to hunt for deals and bargains.
The arsenal of medicines in the Hayeses’ kitchen helps explain why. Pulmicort, a steroid inhaler, generally retails for over $175 in the United States, while pharmacists in Britain buy the identical product for about $20 and dispense it free of charge to asthma patients. Albuterol, one of the oldest asthma medicines, typically costs $50 to $100 per inhaler in the United States, but it was less than $15 a decade ago, before it was repatented.
Read more By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL at NYTimes.com
ever-expanding role of government in healthcare provides an excellent example of Ludwig Von Mises’ warning that “The Middle of the Road Leads to Socialism.” Beginning in the 1940s, government policies distorted the health care market, causing prices to rise and denying many Americans access to quality care. Congress reacted to the problems caused by their prior interventions with new interventions, such as the HMO Act, ERISA, EMTLA, and various federal entitlement programs. Each new federal intervention not only failed to fix the problems it was supposedly created to solve, it created new problems, leading to calls for even more new federal interventions. This process culminated in 2010, when Congress passed Obamacare.
Contrary to the claims of some of its opponents, Obamacare is not socialized medicine. It is corporatized medicine. After all, the central feature of Obamacare is the mandate that all Americans buy health insurance from private health insurance companies. And, as with previous government interventions in the marketplace, Obamacare is not only failing to correct the problems caused by prior federal laws, it is creating new problems.
Read more by Ron Paul at the-free-foundation.org
The ‘death panel’ is a new beast, with god-like powers. Congress should repeal it or test its constitutionality.
Signs of ObamaCare’s failings mount daily, including soaring insurance costs, looming provider shortages and inadequate insurance exchanges. Yet the law’s most disturbing feature may be the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB, sometimes called a “death panel,” threatens both the Medicare program and the Constitution’s separation of powers. At a time when many Americans have been unsettled by abuses at the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department, the introduction of a powerful and largely unaccountable board into health care merits special scrutiny.
Read more by by DAVID B. RIVKIN JR. and ELIZABETH P. FOLEY at WSJ.com
Here is a basic fact of health care in the United States: Doctors and hospitals know what they charge, but patients don’t know what they pay. As in any market, when one side has no information, that side loses: price secrecy is a major reason medical bills are so high. In my previous column, I wrote about the effect of this lack of transparency on the bills patients pay out of pocket.
We know about these bills, which hit us directly. What most people don’t know, because the costs are hidden, is that the same imbalance exists with insurance. The employers and employees who buy health coverage have delegated vigilance over health care costs to insurers — but insurers, for the most part, have gone AWOL.
Read more by TINA ROSENBERG at NYTimes.com
As health care costs in the United States rise, an increasing number of Americans are going overseas for elective procedures, or are at least considering that possibility.
In response to an article in The New York Times on Sunday about an American who went to Belgium to have his hip replaced because his insurer in the United States would not cover the procedure, hundreds of readers said they would be willing to follow that path.
Michael Shopenn’s surgery in 2007 would have cost close to $100,000 in the United States. But it cost just $13,660 — including all medicine, doctors’ fees and round-trip airfare — at a private hospital in Torhout, Belgium. . . .
Read more by ELISABETH ROSENTHAL at NY Times
Americans want a step-by-step, common-sense approach to health care reform. Republicans promote health care reforms that focus on lowering health care premiums for families and small businesses, increasing access to affordable, high-quality care, and promoting healthier lifestyles – without adding to the crushing debt Washington has placed on our children and grandchildren.
The following are the key elements of the Republican alternative offered during the debate on ObamaCare. This is not an exhaustive list of all health reform proposals.
Read more at majorityleader.gov
–SNIP– Desperate to find an affordable solution, he reached out to a sailing buddy with friends at a medical device manufacturer, which arranged to provide his local hospital with an implant at what was described as the “list price” of $13,000, with no markup. But when the hospital’s finance office estimated that the hospital charges would run another $65,000, not including the surgeon’s fee, he knew he had to think outside the box, and outside the country.
“That was a third of my savings at the time,” Mr. Shopenn said recently from the living room of his condo in Boulder, Colo. “It wasn’t happening.”
Read more by ELISABETH ROSENTHAL from the NYTimes.com
Remember when President Obama famously promised that if you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan? It was a brilliantly crafted political sound bite. Turns out, the statement is untrue.
Aside from that small detail, the slightly larger problem is that the Obama administration doesn’t have a health-care plan. Yes, the White House has a law with thousands of pages, but the closer we get to Oct. 1, the day government-mandated health-insurance exchanges are supposed to open, the more we see that the administration doesn’t have a legitimate plan to successfully implement the law.
Unworkable. That word best describes ObamaCare. Government agencies in states across the country, whether red or blue, have spent countless hours and incalculable dollars trying to keep the ObamaCare train on its track, but the wreck is coming. And it is the American people who are going to pay the price.
Read more by Gov. BOBBY JINDAL and Gov. SCOTT WALKER at WSJ.com
Flashback: “If you’ve got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor,” Obama said.
As Obamacare was being pushed through Congress in 2010, the Obama administration and its allies were unequivocal in two claims: If you like your doctor and you like your current health care plan, you can keep them both. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius and then-House speaker Nancy Pelosi backed the president fully in this regard. The White House even went so far as to post a “Health Insurance Reform Reality Check” on its website, where “Linda Douglass of the White House Office of Health Reform debunks the myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors.” President Obama upped the ante, putting the promise in the form of a “guarantee”:
Read more by JERYL BIER at WeeklyStandard.com
Colonoscopies Explain Why U.S. Leads the World in Health Expenditures
Deirdre Yapalater’s recent colonoscopy at a surgical center near her home here on Long Island went smoothly: she was whisked from pre-op to an operating room where a gastroenterologist, assisted by an anesthesiologist and a nurse, performed the routine cancer screening procedure in less than an hour. The test, which found nothing worrisome, racked up what is likely her most expensive medical bill of the year: $6,385.
That is fairly typical: in Keene, N.H., Matt Meyer’s colonoscopy was billed at $7,563.56. Maggie Christ of Chappaqua, N.Y., received $9,142.84 in bills for the procedure. In Durham, N.C., the charges for Curtiss Devereux came to $19,438, which included a polyp removal. While their insurers negotiated down the price, the final tab for each test was more than $3,500.
“Could that be right?” said Ms. Yapalater, stunned by charges on the statement on her dining room table. Although her insurer covered the procedure and she paid nothing, her health care costs still bite: Her premium payments jumped 10 percent last year, and rising co-payments and deductibles are straining the finances of her middle-class family, with its mission-style house in the suburbs and two S.U.V.’s parked outside. “You keep thinking it’s free,” she said. “We call it free, but of course it’s not.”
Read more by ELISABETH ROSENTHAL at NY Times
Exempt from regulation, taxation, and the individual mandate, Christian collectives called health care sharing ministries are paying for the care of their neediest members — if they approve of the morality of their needs.
In 2006, Ray Carman’s health insurance jumped from $600 to $1,000 a month. The reason? His first daughter was born five weeks premature. Though there were no complications during her birth, his daughter was dubbed “high risk” by his insurance company.
Carman, who is a real estate agent and auctioneer in Lafayette, TN, said the costs were simply too high. He began looking for alternatives.
A friend recommended he join a Christian health care sharing plan, a nonprofit in which members pay for each other’s medical costs by agreeing to contribute a donation every month. After some research, he joined an organization called Medi-Share.
Read more by Kimberly Leonard at TheAtlantic.com