Posts Tagged ‘public policy’
By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
More than three years ago, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act and President Obama signed it into law. Last year, the Supreme Court upheld it. Millions of Americans have already benefited from its provisions, and millions more are looking forward to benefits that will soon go into effect. And in November, the American people re-elected the president as an affirmation of the law’s promise that no person should go broke if they get sick.
Yet today, for nearly the 40th time since it’s been the law of the land, House Republicans staged yet another repeal vote in their latest attempt to turn back the clock on progress and deny Americans health insurance coverage they can count on.
For the 37th time, Congress is voting to repeal the health care law, the Affordable Care Act.
Learn what’s at stake for Americans if the law were repealed.
By Arthur Delaney (original on Huffington Post)
ROANOKE, Va. — William McCormick remembers from his working-class upbringing in Covington, Va., that neighbors took care of neighbors.
“Both my parents worked in the mill,” he said. “For people in the neighborhood who were hungry we’d make up two or three bags of groceries, put $5 or $10 in it, set it on the porch, knock on the door and leave. We wouldn’t tell ‘em who did it.”
Now McCormick is 70 years old and living alone in a one-bedroom apartment in a six-story building. Only about 40 of the building’s 144 units are occupied. The parking lots are barren and the hallways are dingy with torn carpets. McCormick considers the building “spooky.”
Some Disturbing Stats:
- There are already 40M seniors 65+ today, with 10,000 more reaching age 65 every day.
- 40% of them are low-income (below 150% of poverty level) and will need public assistance.
- The poverty threshold for a family of four is $22,113, and the 2010 average income of the bottom 90% was $26.364.
- People 90+ had a median income of just $14,760 in 2010, about half of it from Social Security. 37.3% of them lived alone and depend on services like Meels on Wheels.
Guest article by Ray Collins
The FDA has tolerated, regulated, and now seems to favor direct-to-consumer advertising by pharmaceutical companies, apparently as part the the judicial and regulatory trends toward corporate free speech. Susan Schwartz McDonald posts at National Analysts about her company’s view
The very fact that this particular [FDA] survey [of health care professionals] is on the docket speaks volumes about what many FDA-watchers have already concluded: that the agency has morphed from wary and grudging to comfortable and upbeat about the benefit of allowing pharma to converse with patients. After several decades of experience, the FDA seems ready to conclude that direct-to-consumer advertising (DTC) can do more than bring relevant therapies to broader awareness.
I encourage you to watch the “Must See” documentary, “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue America’s Healthcare” (trailer below). It won several awards at the Sundance Film Festival, and was described as “An Inconvenient Truth for the healthcare debate” (The Village Voice). Over two million people watched when it aired for free on CNN in March. Now it’s available in theaters and for paid download and will be heading to Capital Hill in Washington later this spring. Join the fight. Read the rest of this entry »
Fee-for-service (FFS) is a payment model in which every test, procedure, office visit has a price. Since it is the predominant model in the US, it has driven and will continue to drive health care costs higher until it is abolished. Since the health care industry favors this payment model, all cost control attempts have failed. This model makes no price distinction between whether your health improves with treatment or not. Payment for outcomes is being attempted not only to control costs but to reward good outcomes for patients, unlike FFS. The legal mechanism for the change to payment for outcomes is the Accountable Care Organization, a creation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Here is an excerpt from Brian Klepper’s post at KevinMD, Hostage to a payment method that puts the interest of patients last. Read the rest of this entry »
I added this comment to Innovating Healthcare is Hard, an article on MedCrunch by Eugene Borukhovich.
DISRUPTIVE innovation is especially hard, because entrenched stakeholders stand to lose lots of money if things change. Even though there’s plenty of opportunity in healthcare innovation, resistance to real change is the biggest obstacle developers face.
Our nation wastes well over a trillion dollars each year, because we pretend to have a healthcare system but actually have an insurance-based, fee-for-service Disease Management system with perverse incentives (and a legal requirement) to maximize corporate profits for shareholders rather than serve society.
Follow the money, and you’ll see that our “system” doesn’t want you to die but doesn’t profit when you get well either, or when you are healthy and don’t need care. So, we treat symptoms and view patients as paying customers with the real objective of keeping them paying.
To implement disruptive change in this broken system, we should start with the most important stakeholder, the patient, and get them engaged in (1) managing their own health and (2) pressuring elected representatives to change policies that benefit corporations over individual citizens.
Wayne Caswell, Founder & Senior Editor, Modern Health Talk
Please browse our other articles on the Future of Healthcare and Health Reform and share your own perspectives below. You’ll see byline articles from many different perspectives (doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, public policy experts & pundents, and futurists).
I post this new video because of the direct relationships between:
- Special interest lobbying and policies resulting in a widening of income & wealth gaps,
- The widening wealth gaps and poverty,
- Poverty and obesity,
- Obesity and diabetes and other chronic illness,
- Chronic illness and rising healthcare costs, and
- Rising healthcare costs and our economic problems.
Wealth Inequality in America
In his 38-page TIME magazine special report, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us, Steven Brill dives into our health care system to understand why things cost so much, avoiding the more traditional question of who pays for what. What he found was both disturbing and telling. (His 3:38 min video introduction is at the end.)
His first story starts with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, a nonprofit facility of the University of Texas, as he follows a patient who had to prepay $48,900 for six days of testing just to determine his cancer treatment regimen, which could easily run half a million dollars. An analysis of the itemized list of confusing charges showed that they were inflated as much as 100 times over retail prices, even before the hospital’s leveraged buying power. Those costs were also way higher than what Medicare would pay for the same tests, procedures and drugs.
MD Anderson, with its 19,000 employees, is one of the city’s top-10 employers, and its CEO last year was paid $1,845,000. Four other hospitals in the 1,300-acre Texas Medical Center are also in the top-10. Clearly, healthcare is a big business, but who’s making the money if it’s not doctors, nurses and technicians? It’s the hospitals, insurance companies, drug companies, equipment providers, and testing companies. Read the rest of this entry »
By Marty Kaplan, Director, Norman Lear Center and Professor at the USC Annenberg School
“Americans are sicker and die younger
than people in other wealthy nations.”
That stark sentence appears in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, and it comes from the authors of a landmark report – “Shorter Lives, Poorer Health” — on differences among high-income countries. (Editor: This WHO Interactive Chart compares mortality rates from different causes.)
You probably already know that America spends more on health care than any other country. That was one of the few facts to survive the political food fight pretending to be a serious national debate about the Affordable Care Act.