Tag Archives: Health Care Reform

Are We Talking About health Care Reform, Or sickness Care Reform

All the talk about “Health Care Reform” has certainly ignited a fire in countless Americans! Every national news and talk radio show is focused on this hot button topic recently.

The economic crisis is clearly the catalyst for the proposed sweeping changes in national “health” care. Scarce funds and resources, as well as a pending economic “collapse” (as some describe) are forcing us to consider how to manage health care in tough times… and in extreme circumstances.

We’re hearing terms like “rationed health care”, “socialized medicine”, “universal insurance” and the “value of human life”. It’s no wonder this subject has sparked such heated dialogue.

Spending the first 23 years of my life in “socialist” Canada, and still spending much time and energy in their medical system with both of my parents, I may have a different perspective from the sensationalized one being portrayed in media.

I’m perfectly willing to admit that I don’t understand all the politics and red tape involved. I simply have a memory of how things really played out in that system and countless experiences to call upon.

Growing up, I quite clearly recall paying out of pocket for many doctor’s and specialist’s visits, treatments and procedures, and paying a partial “co-pay” for the remaining forms of care: physical therapy, surgery, prescriptions, etc. Not exactly the picture I continue to see painted on the news.

Studying and working within the field of health and wellness for the past 18 years, I know I have a different perspective. First, I wish we’d quit calling this “health care”. The subject of this conversation is “sickness care”. I know I can’t change that, but it annoys me! Words are important.

I have no challenge with paying for – investing in – my own health. I will gladly invest in lifestyle choices that proactively build better health. Choices like: healthier foods, high quality nutritional supplements, pure water, exercise classes, equipment and tools, Chiropractic care, massage, less toxic personal care, household and lawn care products, and so on. I don’t expect a hand out for any of these things… although it would sure be nice! It’s just not realistic. My health and my family’s health is my responsibility.

If we continue to talk about sickness care as though it will somehow provide us with health, we’ll continue on our devastating trend of unparalleled rates of chronic illness in all age groups. We’re confused.

What drug, surgery, insurance plan or federal program could ever fix a problem due to a lack of fresh, healthy, whole, untainted (genetically required) real foods? Or a problem due to sedentary living and lack of regular (genetically required) movement? Or a problem due to a lack of healthy emotions like love and joy? Or a problem due to toxic thoughts and emotions like fear, worry, hate and hopelessness?

Thinking that national “health care” is responsible for our health is irresponsible on our part. It’s also foolish. Their paradigm is still the sickness paradigm. Why on earth would we expect them to deliver us health?

Do I think that we should have a system to help those in need achieve better health and receive sickness care when needed? Yes. But I sure would love to see the main focus of such a program be on “health”! I’m certain we’d spend FAR less on sickness care (and “health care” as a whole) if that were the case.

I’d also love to see the pharmaceutical industry focus on health rather than profits, and drugs only be used for life-saving endeavors… but I digress!

I’m blessed to live in a country with excellent sickness care options. In the case of emergency or trauma or life-saving procedures we have the best. In the case of “health care”… not so much! Sadly though, it’s all there. Everything we need in order to create ideal health is right here at our fingertips. As a culture, we just keep overlooking it and choosing sickness care, expecting health as the outcome.

Our paradigm is inaccurate.

As individuals, imagine if we all began to proactively take steps to create better health. We would no longer play the role of passive by-stander or helpless victim in this game. That’s where I think our focus needs to shift – why wait around to see what’s decided FOR us? Regardless of whatever decisions are made by this current administration, we can certainly become healthier one by one, family by family. Isn’t this the perfect, most necessary time to take responsibility for our own health and safety?

Science has clearly shown us that it’s our lifestyle choices – how we eat, how we move, how we sleep, how we respond to stress – that directly determine our level of health, function, performance and our ability to prevent and reverse chronic illness. Getting healthier means making more pure and sufficient choices while simultaneously reducing toxic and deficient choices. No one can do this for us but US.

When we shift to this responsible, proactive and accurate belief about health care, THEN we will have a truly beneficial health care reform and a profound strengthening of our economy!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Health Care Reform Program

Just recently, the Health Care Reform bill has been approved by the Congress. It is important that we know the pros and cons of this bill. We will point out some facts about this health care legislation that should be common knowledge for every citizen.

Almost all insurance providers will be under the watchful eye of the government. Minimum services to be covered, such as preventive care, will be standardized. Premiums should have a particular percentage to be paid out to patient care. By the year 2014, exchanges will begin. During that time, the insurance companies will not be able to turn down clients because of the previous conditions.

Hospitals or other private health care institutions wont be taken over by the government the way they do in Britain or Canada. Medical practitioners or physicians will not be under the employment of the government such as in Britain.

In contrast to Canada where all bills are paid by the government (single-payer system), the US government will only aid individuals in buying insurance from private companies. Other areas of the previous system such as Medicaid for the deprived, employer-assisted insurance, or Medicare for the aged will not be touched. Those who are compelled to get insurance on their own, the administration will produce exchanges for health insurance. They could comparatively analyze prices & plans with minimum effort with this.

Small companies are no longer under obligation to provide insurance for their employees but large companies will be fined if they neglect to buy them insurance. Big corporations are those that employ fifty workers or more. An employee for a company of seventy workers, for instance, purchases insurance on the exchange. Then it is found that he is eligible for the governments low-income credit then the company will be afforded a fine.

Basing on the individual mandate, every individual must have a health insurance otherwise they will be fined. Government’s goal is to cap premiums for individuals who earn below a certain bracket. Minimum of $695 for every individual each year will comprise the fine. However, there are exceptions like hardship on finances and other special cases.

Controlled by the government, the Medicare program will continue shouldering the medical expenses for senior citizens. However, cost controls will be implemented on health care institutions, especially incentives & penalties. Medicaid will now cover all poverty-stricken citizens unlike before where only the elderly, disabled, children, or pregnant women are covered. Of course, those illegal settlers won’t be qualified for this. The government does not favor elective abortions except in cases of incest, rape, or when the mothers life was endangered.

Diabetes Awareness and the Impact on Health Care Reform

As most clinicians know, diabetes is a serious disease that requires life long management and is one of the biggest challenges to U.S. healthcare. But an even more pressing problem is the dramatic increase in diabetes while awareness of the disease and how to prevent it remains low. Causes of diabetes, particularly type 2–sometimes referred to as adult-onset diabetes–are primarily due to the lack of a healthy diet (adding to the nation’s obesity epidemic) and a sedentary lifestyle. While the causes and effects of this disease are well known among the medical industry and insurance companies, evidence indicates a profound lack of diabetes awareness among the general population.

This phenomenon is not unique to the U.S. Just as our diets and lifestyles have changed dramatically over the past few decades, such as dining out more often, increasing our intake of corn sugar, and replacing physically demanding jobs with desk jobs, we’re also exporting these bad habits across the globe. Countries such as China are experiencing an explosion of obesity in their population, something that was almost unheard of in the past, as they’ve taken a liking to western foods and habits. The obesity epidemic in China is a precursor to a diabetes crisis of their own. It’s estimated that the number of people living with diabetes worldwide will rise from 366 million in 2011 to 552 million by 2030. The impact on society in health care costs (including health insurance and medical treatments) and lost productivity will be enormous, and no amount of health care reform will be able to manage the resulting deluge.

But what can be done to raise awareness and stop the rise of this disease and reduce the resulting health care costs? Isn’t it a matter of personal responsibility to develop healthy lifestyles for true health? Many ideas are being considered in health care reform and by insurance companies to pursue this course of action. For example, health care reform may initiate a Fat Tax on overweight individuals. People suffering from diabetes have on average higher medical treatment costs. Would this be a good example of personal responsibility? It would increase awareness, but there may be a backlash. And what role should insurance companies play in this debate? As it now stands, insurance companies are still going to play a big role in health care reform. One of the biggest changes for these companies is the requirement that no more than 20 percent of revenues can be used for anything other than direct medical costs. This provides a big incentive to reduce health care costs by promoting healthy lifestyles. Another consideration by insurance companies is increasing health insurance rates for overweight individuals through charging higher co-pays or annual premiums, or to cap medical treatment (ration health care). And what if insurance companies simply dropped high risk individuals? Many who practice personal responsibility for their health care argue that they pay too much in health care costs because they are force to share the costs of the unhealthy through higher health insurance rates.

So how can we promote healthy lifestyles and personal responsibility in a way that will improve overall health care and reduce health insurance rates such as improving a healthy diet to reduce the obesity epidemic? This is the perhaps the biggest issue facing the U.S. healthcare system today. By developing a healthcare systems that promotes personal responsibility to prevent disease rather than one that focuses on medical treatment, we all win with the resulting healthier population and significant health care cost savings. It will require a paradigm change for all citizens and the medical community, but if we’re to live in a country that can provide affordable health care and health insurance, and afford health care reform that will underwrite health care costs for the poor and elderly, we’re going to have to move in this direction.

The Passage of Health Care Reform

Forty years of lamenting on the floors of the Capitol and finally, the long due health care reform bill has been passed with 219 – 212 votes. The bill that will shape the whole nation, people who have no coverage at all, health workers on medical scrubs, and most importantly the insurers. The votes were all from the Democratic side of the chamber, not astoundingly though. The Republicans emphasized demanding pitches as the bill is being debated on the floor and maintained their position on the bill. Yet, the passage still moved so swiftly albeit roughly that the White House is now cleaning the President’s desk and preparing a new good pen for the bill’s final signature of approval from the Chief Executive. Many hypothesized that the votes will be in favor of the President to the point that even House Speaker Pelosi’s smiles are given meaning by the media.

Previous to this landmark passage, the President cancelled or delayed several foreign trips just to stay home to lobby to several congressmen for votes. He was always seen and captioned in photos wherein he is on a phone with a member of the congress. Just before the passage of the bill, Obama visited the premises of the Capitol Hill to pitch his last call of getting the bill right onto his desk. And even last week, he sponsored a bipartisan summit at the Blair House to tackle the bill with skeptic Republicans.

However the Democrats problem no longer resides on the Republicans but on their own fence. 38 of the Democrat congressmen voted against the bill raising concern about a bill’s pro-abortion entries worsened by the alleged using of the government fund for such an immoral acts. Last year, the White House saw a swift victory over the two drafts that has passed the two chambers floors in Nov. 7 and Dec. 24. The difference in the versions of the Senate and House, reconciliation is seen as a good answer. The reconciliation was hard and that the Republicans can use whatever tactics including offering amendments to the bill in order to delay the voting. But the GOP did not prevail in the chambers. The 216 votes that needed for the bill to be passed have been reached.

For the moment the President posted in the White House website an Executive Order that strengthens the bill prior to its passage. The same EO has raised trust among skeptic Democrats and urged them to say -Yes- for the bill.

To top the whole story, the GOP side is not happy about the Democrats -reform bill- but no longer have a single bullet to fall over the bill down. Democrats, those who sided with the Yes votes, are eager to bring the controversial bill to the President’s table. The said bill is said to be signed earlier on Tuesday. The President confided that the bill itself is not perfect for it cannot provide everyone’s wishes on health care reform but at least it is a bill that is considered best for the majority of the Americans even those health care workers in medical scrubs.

Health Care Reform and Depression on the 4th of July

We are in the middle of 2010 gearing up for fireworks; waiting for the new health care reform law to take effect. Eleven state attorneys general said they wanted to challenge the law as being unconstitutional and the Democrats are still talking about passing amendments. Moreover, there are many questions that remain unanswered; the biggest of which is, “Will it make health care more effective?” The obvious answer is no. This entire scenario is one big shell game. There are thousands of pages of new law and most of the law makers are clueless.

The reality check is that the Congress has passed this bill with a three year delay in implementation, so it was designed to change nothing for the immediate future with the hope that after three years, with no one paying attention anymore, the administration can sneak a few changes in to implement its socialist agenda. Meanwhile, we as a society still have the same health issues in a system that continues to thrive on treatment rather than prevention. One prime example is depression and anxiety. People naturally become depressed in the kind of severe economic downturn that we are experiencing with increased anxiety about a future that looks bleak. Medical insurance, health insurance or some type of managed care health plan seems irrelevant when facing unemployment. In a depressed economy, with massive anxiety and depression plaguing the population there is a serious public health problem. This kind of insidious upheaval leads to other chronic diseases like, diabete3s, high blood pressure, heart attack and the like.

The generally accepted “treatment” however, is for the pharmaceutical companies to make billions of dollars selling anti-depressants and tranquilizers. Moreover, aside from monetizing human responses to stressful stimuli, there is a political benefit to having massive numbers of citizens living in chemically induced altered realities. People on Prozac are less likely to protest against nefarious political agendas. Therefore, what motivation does the government have to reform health care to the extent that people will have better access to professional counseling for coping with and resolving their struggles?

In conclusion, as we throw a few slabs of meat on the barbecue grill and sip some beer on this 4th of July we need to realize that there are a few avenues toward seizing power and control that the founding fathers could not anticipate. The constitution is a wonderful document and has saved our republic from despotism enumerable times in our 214 year history. However, it is subject to interpretation and we know from experience that Supreme Court justices take opposite views of what is or is not constitutional depending upon whether they are liberal or conservative. Therefore, we need to be diligent in letting our political leaders know that we are not as stupid as they think. We need to consistently remind them that they work for us. That is why freedom of speech is still the most important constitutional amendment.

The Election of Scott Brown – What Now for Health Care Reform

The election of Scott Brown has rocked the political world in Washington, D.C. The question that most have is what will come of health care reform now that the Republicans can filibuster in the Senate. Let’s take a look.

Before we get into Washington politics, a quick word has to be raised about this election. The decision of voters to put Scott Brown into office is so full of irony that it is almost too much to believe. Brown was voted into the senate seat vacated when Ted Kennedy died of cancer. Kennedy, of course, was a long serving Democrat who was a huge proponent of health care reform. Unless Brown takes a left turn in his political beliefs, his election will effectively keep the Democrats from reforming health care on a partisan basis. Throw in the fact that Brown considers himself a family values man, but posed naked in Cosmopolitan and you just have to shake your head!

So, what does all this mean for health care reform? Well, pre-election the Democrats could get a reform bill through Congress without needing a Republican vote or dealing with a filibuster. This is no longer the case. The Republicans can now filibuster in the Senate and block a final vote. Given this, it makes one wonder why the Democrats did not push through the bill before the Massachusetts special election?

Health care reform is now teetering on the edge of total collapse. President Obama is already talking about trimming the plan way back to cover areas that both parties agree on. This means that at best we will see some weak plan that solves little or nothing. Alternatively, the entire bill may just collapse under its own immense weight and fall apart completely.

There is one wild card in the political process. It is Senator Olympia Snow of Maine. She has shown a tendency in the past to break with her party and vote as she sees fit. If she were to vote for health care reform, the plan could come back from the dead. Will she? It is impossible to know, but let’s just say there is going to be a long line at the door of her office and an absolute ton of pressure being placed on her.

Ultimately, it looks like serious health care reform is dead. We may get some reform, but it will be small. Given the incredible costs of medical care in this country, that is a shame.

Mark P. Warner is with BestPlacetoBuyHealthInsurance.com – the best place to buy health insurance and get information on health care issues on the web.