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Archive for the ‘Health Care Controversy’ Category

Facts about Health Reform Disapproval

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

DisapprovalA recent poll released by CNN highlights the countries worries about healthcare reform. The CNN poll reveals that only 39% of those surveyed support the healthcare reform law, while fifty-nine percent are in opposition. However, this is just the beginning.

If you break down the numbers, you see that 61% of those polled are in favor of the section of the legislation prohibiting insurance companies from cancelling policies when people get sick. Sixty-four percent like the part that stops private insurance companies from denying people with preexisting conditions.

Public Favors Active Health Insurance Reforms

The public has favorably accepted the provisions of the law that have already gone into effect, like no coverage denial due to preexisting conditions for anyone under the age of nineteen, young adults staying on their parents plans, as well as free immunizations and preventive care.

What is that people are not happy with you ask? Well, sixty percent of the people who responded to the recent CNN poll oppose the legislation that requires all Americans to have health insurance (known as the “insurance mandate”) or face penalization. Although many people are in objection to the mandated coverage, which is understandable, there is another side to the story that is being overlooked completely.

Mandated Insurance Coverage Allows for Universal Coverage

Without the mandated coverage, insurance companies would not be able to provide coverage to individuals with preexisting conditions and remain a profitable business, unless the price of premiums was raised to an amount that is unaffordable for ninety-nine percent of the American population. The only other solution is to have the government pay for coverage of everyone with a preexisting condition, thus removing them from the private market.

Therefore, to determine where you stand on the issue of healthcare reform, you need to ask yourself if you would rather people with preexisting claims were left to fend for themselves. Before you answer, keep in mind that you may become one of those with a preexisting illness by the time you become eligible for medicare.

Creative Commons License photo credit: B Rosen

Will Health Care Reform Be Repealed Following GOP Gains?

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

So Be ItHouse Republicans, who are recovering control, are taking aim at health care reform. Their ultimate goal is to dismantle or repeal legislation.

Although House Republicans have a historic and broad majority, they have challenging obstacles to overcome in order to deliver on their top campaign promise, which is to dismantle or repeal comprehensive health care reform. The Republican attack against health care is largely due to the health mandate (a requirement that individuals must purchase health insurance if they have none – or face penalties), and state health exchanges (which require states to set up health insurance marketplaces).

Health Repeal Must Make it Past the Democrat-heavy Senate

A direct repeal must make it past the Senate, which is currently controlled by the Democrats, and even more forbiddingly a Democratic president in the Oval Office, who has personally made health care reform a number one priority. Unfortunately, the Republicans do not hold the two-thirds majority that they need in both Houses in order to have the power to overthrow a veto by the president.

On the contrary, an outright repeal may very well be the first vote on the floor, following the vote for Speaker, when Congress comes together at the beginning of the next year.

GOP Speaker Boehner says Health Reform Kills Jobs

At a recent press briefing for GOP leaders, presumptive House Speaker and Republican Representative John Boehner of Ohio said, “The health-care bill that was enacted by the current Congress will kill jobs in America, ruin the best health-care system in the world, and bankrupt our country.” He went on to say, “That means that we have to do everything we can to try to repeal this bill and replace it with common-sense reforms that will bring down the cost of health insurance.”

President Barack Obama is standing his ground on the new health care law. In a recent press briefing, he said, “I’m sure this is an issue that will come up in discussions with Republican leadership, but I think we’d be misreading the election if we thought that the American people want to see us for the next two years re-litigate arguments that we had over the last two years.”

Creative Commons License photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Government and Health Insurance Rate Increases

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Increases on RatesThe recent announcement by the federal government that it will require health insurers to seek its approval for any “unreasonable” rate increases continues to put the squeeze on health insurers as they try to adjust their business models to cope with the pressures of Obamacare. While these attempts at health insurance price controls may seem like a good idea to consumers, their net effect could be the erosion of access to medical services that may no longer be covered by insurers.

This latest announcement from the Department of Health and Human Services comes on the heels of its warning to insurers last summer that high premium increases could result in their exclusion from the insurance exchanges. Since the passage of the health care law last December, most major insurers, in direct response to the new law, have increased premiums or proposed plans to do so, some in excess of 35%.

Obamacare: Your Insurance Rates Will Go Down. Really?

These immediate rate increases and predictions of more to come are not the response that the Obama administration wanted to see at a time when it still is trying to convince the public that the health care law will result in lower premiums. Such has not been the case, and all indications are that insurers will continue to press for premium increases as more of the law’s provisions go into effect.

premiums

The new requirements will establish a state and federal oversight of insurers rate increase proposals on individual and small group plans that exceed 10%, above which may be deemed as “unreasonable” unless otherwise justified by the insurer. If an insurer demonstrates a pattern of excessive premium increases, the state may exclude it from the insurance exchange. The federal government reserves the right to step in if it determines that the state’s review was not sufficient.

Insurance Rates vs Coverage – Something Has to Give

As the government steps up its oversight and keeps its downward pressure on premium rates, the insurers will be forced to cut their costs, which means the possible elimination of certain covered services and treatments. Within the first 9 months of the law’s enactment, insurers have already dropped maternity coverage, child-only policies, and mental health coverage. For consumers, they may benefit from caps on premium increases; however, their access to medical services may suffer as a result.

The tug of war going on between the insurers and the federal government over insurance premium rates will do little to address the core issue of reigning in medical costs. Rising insurance premium rates are merely a symptom of the much larger, structural problems of the health care system that have resulted in the world’s highest medical costs.

Federal and State Battle Over Health Care Reform

Monday, January 10th, 2011

The feds and state authorities are in a vitriolic battle over the issue of health care reform. In some states, the first victim of the blame game is Medicaid. The story of a man by the name of Randy Shepard has grabbed attention all across the nation. Randy Shepard is a 36-year-old man from Arizona who was denied a heart transplant because of transplant coverage cuts for a number of Medicaid patients.

In an age where enrollment in Medicaid is steadily rising while the economy continues to show weakness, this man’s story has excavated tensions among federal and state government that are at the heart of the whole debate over health care reform, senior health insurance, and the future of our health system.

State of Arizona in Crossfire Over Health Reform

The state of Arizona, which has a primarily Republican legislature, is facing a budget deficit that exceeds $1 billion. The solution that they came up with was to cut the benefits of Medicaid patients. At the same time, Russell Pearce, who is the recently elected president for the Arizona State Senate, has stated that he will reject any federal grants, even if doing so means a $7 billion loss in federal help for the state.

The expansions to the Medicaid program that come with the new healthcare law, as well as the additional measures that must be taken such as requiring all Americans in every state to have health insurance and states to develop health insurance exchanges, have awoken rebellion from many states. In fact, the Republican lawmakers from Texas are actually threatening to eliminate the Medicaid program from their state entirely.

Tim Pawlently, the governor of Minnesota, signed an executive order back in August that forbids state agencies to apply for grant application that come under the new healthcare law.

As many as twenty states across the country have taken part in the filing of a joint lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services. The lawsuit challenges that the provisions requiring all Americans to carry health insurance by the year 2014 is unconstitutional.

Children’s Insurance Concerns Stem from Health Reform

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Children's Health InsuranceUnder the new Health Care Reform Law, child-only insurance plans are rapidly disappearing from insurance company offerings. Instead of providing families with the option to have child-only coverage, insurance companies can now force families to purchase family insurance plans.

The health reform law, as it was written, claimed that in combination with the Affordable Care Act, insurance premiums would either remain the same or drop in price. Instead, families are finding that not only can they not keep their child-only insurance plans, the new plans are significantly more expensive.

Children’s Accessibility and Affordability Concerns

In order for a family with income restriction to purchase quality insurance for their children, they often sacrifice their own medical care. The new requirements could force families to purchase a lower quality plan in order to afford health insurance.

New plans are less affordable in the current economy. With unemployment rates on the rise and employers cutting corners as much as possible, the more expensive family plans are simply out of reach for many of today’s families.

Not only is the cost of family plans a concern, national insurance companies are eliminating child-only coverage from their offerings, forcing local insurance companies to follow suit. This shift in plan options drastically limits the field of coverage plans that meet the new family insurance requirements.

Which Families are Affected by these Insurance Changes?

  • Those without access to public health programs that provide coverage for children. Middle class families are typically outside of the maximum income requirement for these affordable state health care programs.
  • Families whose employer provided health care programs dropped family coverage due to tough economic times.
  • Families with separate adult and child health insurance plans. These combinations are typically lower in cost than a family plan.

The good news is that several states recognize the problems associated with the changes in child health insurance options. State governments are working quickly to address the insurance plan accessibility and affordability concerns of families.

Ten Reasons AARP Likes the Future of Health Care

Friday, October 1st, 2010

aarpAmidst public outcry about AARP’s recent public support of Health Care Reform, AARP remains confident that the new Law will benefit their members. AARP claims that, of all of the changes listed in the 2,800-page Law, the following ten features stand to benefit AARP and its members the most.

  1. Everyone has to have health insurance coverage. Whether it be a public or a private plan, every American is to have coverage of some sort.
  2. Preventive health care will be affordable by 2014 when associated copays will be eliminated. Health maintenance is a key component of health care reform.
  3. Nobody can lose their coverage because of their medical history or a change in health condition. From children to the elderly, once you have coverage you cannot lose it.
  4. Health insurance coverage cannot be capped because the insured has used all of their coverage. Annual or lifetime limits on coverage will be a thing of the past.
  5. Pre-existing conditions will no longer determine health insurance eligibility, regardless of the type of condition.
  6. Youth under 25 will have the option of maintaining coverage under their parents.
  7. Insurance fraud is to be taken seriously and will no longer be ignored.
  8. Efficient use of medical resources by medical professionals will be rewarded, while there will be consequences for wasteful use of resources. This should save everyone money in the long run.
  9. State health insurance exchanges will allow those who purchase their own health insurance to have more options. Congress, federal employees, retirees, and dependents are all to use this exchange system.
  10. The new Health Care law reduces the amount Medicare Part D subscribers have to pay out of pocket for prescriptions. The “Donut Hole” will be countered by a rebate and 50% off brand name drugs.

Image by IowaPolitics.com