Archive for the ‘Health Care’ Category

HR 676 = Healthcare Equality   Leave a comment

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare is not the solution to our nation’s healthcare challenge. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats seem to have an answer. Healthcare costs have been spiraling out of control for over three decades and something has to be done before it gets to the point that nobody can afford medical care. Even businesses are reducing the benefit that they will pay for their employees healthcare. ACA may have slowed the rise in costs but it has not brought it down.

The only real solution for our nation is to remove the profit from healthcare. As long as profit is part of the equation there will be a conflict of interest in regard to providing care and the bottom line and all too often it is the patient that suffers as the bottom line is the priority.

HR 676 is a single-payer, true universal healthcare plan. It would leave the medical providers as the owners and operators of their practices in the private sector as not-for-profit entities. It would eliminate the need for the for-profit healthcare insurance industry. The program would be paid for by increasing the Medicare tax to 4.5% (would be less than what most of us pay in insurance premiums now). Businesses would see their taxes rise as well (again would be less than the benefits they currently provide for their employees).

HR 676 would provide comprehensive medical care at no cost to the patient and would include medical, dental and vision. No co-pays, no deductibles, no out-of-pocket medical bills. This would eliminate the bankruptcies and foreclosures that are the result of medical bills.

HR 676 sometimes referred to as Improved and Expanded Medicare for All. Research this for yourself. There are a couple of good web sites to go to. One is Healthcare-Now and another is Physicians for a National Healthcare Plan.

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Posted March 1, 2014 by terryflowersblog in Health Care

The Affordable Act (ACA), sometimes referred to as Obamacare, Is A Fiasco   Leave a comment

The Affordable Care Act or ACA (Obamacare) is a fiasco. It is another example of expanded corporate welfare as more people will have their premiums subsidized by our tax dollars at the benefit of the for-profit healthcare insurance industry. It will not reduce our per capita cost of healthcare and it will not provide healthcare financing for all our citizens. It is a convoluted and complicated law that needs to be changed.

Yet conservatives can not come up with a solution for the rapid rise in healthcare costs which has been occurring for the last three decades. Their solution is the private sector which has proven not to be able to control healthcare costs. Their only solution is to withhold medical care for those who can not pay for it.

H.R.676 which is a government financed national single payer healthcare insurance plan would REDUCE our per capita cost of healthcare AND provide healthcare financing for 100% of our citizens from the womb to the tomb. The middle class would actually save money as the additional tax to fund H.R. 676 would be less than what the vast majority of us pay in healthcare premiums now. Most of us would actually take home a larger pay check and we would have comprehensive healthcare coverage including dental and optical care.

Businesses would not shoulder the burden of providing their employees and their families healthcare benefits and the additional tax that they would pay would be less than the cost of the benefits that they provide now. This would make businesses and corporations more competitive on the international level.

Research H.R. 676 for yourself. You can find a great deal of information on it on the web. Some good sites are PNHP, Healthcare-NOW, mforall. You can find a pdf copy of H.R.676 on some of these sites. It has been around since 2003 but the special interest groups have kept it from coming out of committee.

Posted November 6, 2013 by terryflowersblog in Health Care

Single Payer Healthcare Initiated On a State by State Basis (?)   Leave a comment

 

Single Payer Healthcare Initiated On a State by State Basis(?)

 

October 30, 2013 at 8:55am

 

Some have promoted the concept that a single payer healthcare insurance plan such as H.R. 676 may have to be accomplished on a state by state basis. It has been pointed out that Canada established a national healthcare plan when one province led the way and the other provinces followed suit. I am not convinced that with 50 states in the United States in comparison to the much fewer number of provinces in Canada that any correlation can be made in this regard. However I thought that perhaps a good look at the possibility might be in order and that maybe we need to have a conversation on the topic.

Suppose that one state decides to institute a single payer state financed healthcare insurance program for its residents? For the sake of this discussion we will assume that the legislation is the same as what is proposed in H.R. 676. I think that one must keep in mind that each state is unique and that there are many factors that need to be taken into account which may differ from state to state. This exercise then, of necessity, will be one of generalities rather than specifics.

Lets look at the potential positive and/or negative consequences in the event that a state adopts a single payer healthcare insurance plan:

1) Corporations/businesses may see the potential savings as they would not be burdened with providing healthcare insurance for their employees and their families. This may lead to a migration of businesses into the state. This would only occur if businesses could see that the savings from the freedom of providing healthcare benefits would be greater than the tax necessary to support the healthcare plan. Overall businesses would have an economic advantage over their competitors on the national and the international level.

2) Employees may see that they would be dollars ahead in paying the extra tax over paying their insurance premiums and migrate to the state. This may occur especially from adjacent states as the employee could work in one state and reside in the state with the healthcare insurance plan. Question: since the tax would be a payroll tax how would the state of residence collect it in order to provide services?

3) Everyone in the state would be able to access any licensed/accredited healthcare provider without the fear of cost. This would possibly lead to better preventive care which would lower healthcare costs in the long term. It would also eliminate the harm done to our economy when families have to declare bankruptcy and/or go into foreclosure due to medical bills.

4) H.R. 676 allows for the government to negotiate prices for pharmaceuticals and medical equipment/supplies. I am not sure that any state would have the authority or power to enact this portion of the proposed legislation. This may be a negative factor in regard to a state by state approach.

5) The unemployed and very poor may migrate to any state that enacts single payer. This may stress the resources for any state that would attempt to lead the way to single payer.

6) Funding would have to be adequate to support single payer for any state that adopted it. Funding already available would be Medicaid and Medicare funds as those populations would be provided healthcare through the new single payer insurance plan. The Federal Government could continue to provide the same dollars for the single payer plan that they are currently providing for Medicaid and Medicare. Question: would veterans in the state continue to be served through the VA Medical Admin or would they be served by single payer? Perhaps the state could work out an agreement with the VA Medical Admin so that the funds they would normally expend would go to support the single payer plan. It would be hopeful then that the increase in tax would be the same that is proposed in H.R. 676 and that it would be adequate to the needs of the single payer plan.

I am sure that there are other concerns, questions, factors, perspectives, positives and negatives that I have not thought of or listed. This is by no means a complete or thorough analysis of the possibilities or issues concerning single payer healthcare. The great majority of Americans…conservative, liberal, libertariian, progressives, etc…agree that our nation’s healthcare financing system is broken. The disagreement is how to fix it. May we come together to dialogue in order to create a better and more equitable and just healthcare financing system. May we set aside our preconceived, partisan, ideological, biased opinions/positions and work together in this important task. Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Posted October 30, 2013 by terryflowersblog in Health Care

Why I Favor HR 676   Leave a comment

Frequently I read or hear “I work hard for my money and I want to keep as much as possible to spend, donate, or manage how I choose” or something to that effect. I can readily relate to that as, I too, work hard for what I have and the money that I earn. This is one of the primary reasons that I support HR 676.

If HR 676 (single-payer healthcare financing, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All, a national government financed healthcare insurance plan) were to be enacted into law over 97% of us would be able to keep more of the money that we work so hard to earn. Yes, our taxes would be increased. However most of us who have private for-profit healthcare insurance would save more with the elimination of insurance premiums, co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket healthcare expenses than we would pay out in the increased tax.

This is also true for businesses that currently provide healthcare benefits for their employees/families. Businesses would not be responsible for providing healthcare benefits and the increased tax that they would pay would be less than the share of the premiums that they are currently paying.

While I would benefit personally from HR 676, I also favor it because we would no longer have so many who are un or under insured who are going without the medical care that they need. We would no longer see families going into bankruptcy/foreclosure due to medical bills.

I would encourage anyone who has reservations about this to do their own research. One can do a web-search for HR 676 and find a great deal of information. There is even a PDF copy of HR 676 available on-line.

Posted August 31, 2013 by terryflowersblog in Health Care

USA Is The Worst   2 comments

The United States of America (USA) has the worst form of healthcare financing of any other developed nation in the world.  USA citizens pay, on average, twice per capita than citizens of any other developed nation.  USA is the only developed nation in the world that does not have some form of government financed healthcare for ALL of its citizens.  USA ranks quite low in many important healthcare outcome categories.  See a pattern here?

USA has a financing system based on a “free-market” economic concept.  It is important to point out that our need for medical care is not well suited for a “free-market” system.  The “free-market” concept is predicated on the premise that the parties involved in the contract/agreement have equal choice/power in the arrangements.  In the case of our medical needs we seldom choose to become ill or injured.  At the point of need we have little choice/power in our need for care.  The power/choice is in the hands of the provider (in this case the insurance, pharmaceutical, medical equipment/supply, and some for-profit hospital/clinic industries).

It is for these reasons that I would strongly encourage the enactment into law H.R. 676.  This resolution would establish a  national government financed healthcare plan which would take the profit out of healthcare.  This would eliminate the burden on businesses of  providing their employees healthcare benefits.  It would remove the dependence of employment in order to have healthcare benefits.  Yes, we would all pay a little more in taxes in order to fund this financing plan, but we would pay less than we now pay for our healthcare insurance premiums.  This would reduce costs to businesses as well as to employees in regard to our healthcare financing.  We would join the rest of the developed world in providing all of our citizens the healthcare financing that they need and would improve our standing in many healthcare outcome categories.

For more information on H.R. 676 see www.pnhp.org (Physicians for a National Health Plan), www.healthcare-NOW.org , www.mforallorg. , or www.madashelldoctors.com   Become informed … get involved.  Let us provide for one another this very basic and important human need.  Let us create healthcare freedom, justice and equality.

Posted April 10, 2013 by terryflowersblog in Health Care, Uncategorized

Establish A National Government Financed Single-Payer Healthcare Insurance Plan Such As H.R. 676   2 comments

The U.S. needs to establish a national government financed single-payer healthcare insurance plan such as H.R. 676.  As long as the private-for-profit healthcare insurance industry is involved in the financing of our healthcare we (all Americans) will pay too much for our healthcare.

H.R. 676 would pool all of the current revenues (private insurance premiums, Medicare, Medicaid, VA Medical Administration, etc) into a single insurance plan.  It would be one large risk pool and everyone would pay their fair share based on ability to pay.  The insurance plan would cover every American from the womb to the tomb.

Businesses would benefit as they would no longer be burdened with providing their employees (and their families) with healthcare benefits.  This would improve their bottom line.  Employees would benefit as they would no longer have the healthcare insurance premiums coming out of their paychecks.  Yes, the Medicare tax would have to be increased, but not by as much as the premiums were.  Everyone would have more cash left in their pockets.  This would be a great stimulus for our struggling economy.

No longer would families have to worry about a major medical event wiping out everything that they had worked so hard for.  No longer would families go bankrupt or be foreclosed upon due to medical bills.  This too would boost our economy as households would be more stable.

Some conservatives scream and holler, ‘socialized medicine’, but they have no answer for our escalating healthcare costs.  In reality we have many ‘socialized’ services.  We live in an economy that is a mixture of socialism and capitalism.  Some aspects of our economy are just not well suited for capitalism and healthcare is one of them.

The U.S. is the only developed nation in the world that does not have some sort of government financed healthcare.

The citizens of the U.S. pay about twice as much for their healthcare (per capita) than any other developed nation in the world.

The U.S. ranks from somewhere in the middle to the bottom in many important healthcare outcome categories.

There is a reason for these facts and it is primarily the private-for-profit healthcare insurance industry.

Posted February 9, 2013 by terryflowersblog in Health Care, Uncategorized

PPACA (Obamacare) Is Not Enough ~   Leave a comment

July 7, 2012

Now that the PPACA, know as Obamacare by distracters as well as supporters,  has been, for the most part, upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court, we need to take a closer look at it.  The main portion of the law that was found to be unconstitutional was the requirement of each state to expand its Medicaid program to those who qualify to a more liberal set of conditions.  The Supreme Court declared that the Federal Government could not withhold Medicaid funds from those states which refused to implement this plan.

Obamacare has a number of attractive features.  It will require healthcare insurance carriers to expend at least 80% of their clients premiums on healthcare claims.  It will allow some young adults to remain on their parent’s healthcare insurance plan.  It will not allow the healthcare insurance industry to discriminate against those who have “pre-existing conditions”.  It will set up healthcare insurance exchanges in each state through which those who currently do not have healthcare insurance can purchase a policy.  If the state does not choose to set up an exchange the Federal Government will set one up for them.  This is a short list of what the PPACA  is suppose to do.

The most controversial issue involving Obamacare is the “mandate” that everyone must purchase a healthcare insurance policy or pay a fine/tax.  Whether it is called a fine or a tax is a moot point as the end result is the same.  The only real difference is the legal and/or political implication.   Both the Democrats and the Republicans are spinning this in order to promote their particular political agenda.  It is a shame that as important issue as our nation’s health has to be so politicized.   It seems that in the polls that I have seen 46% of those polled favor the mandate and 46% do not.  The rest of the law seems to be supported by a fairly large margin.

Now let’s look at the down-side of the PPACA.  It will continue to leave millions of Americans uninsured and millions more underinsured.   Of these, those who suffer a major medical event there will be an impact on healthcare costs as those expenditures will have to be absorbed by the rest of society.   Those supporting PPACA claim that healthcare costs will be reduced while those opposed claim that it will not only not reduce costs, but will actually increase costs.  The CBO is still evaluating these claims and is to file a report sometime in the future.  Now, remember, the purpose of healthcare reform from the beginning was to  provide healthcare financing for every American and reduce our per capita costs.  Does the PPACA accomplish these two goals?  In short, no, not really.  There will remain millions un- and underinsured.  The reduction in healthcare costs is debatable.

The PPACA also provides the healthcare insurance industry with millions of new clients…most of whom will be young and relatively healthy.  This will give this industry an influx of new capital and should make them even more profitable than they currently are.

What, then, is the answer?  In my opinion our nation needs to establish a national government financed healthcare plan.  We need to expand and improve Medicare to cover every American.  With the passage and Supreme Court upheld PPACA we can not become complacent.  We must continue to promote and educate the benefits of H.R. 676 which will do exactly what I have just written.  H.R. 676 will provide the financing for every American and at a reduced cost per capita.  It will relieve businesses and corporations from the burden of providing their employees healthcare benefits.  It will relieve employees of the high healthcare insurance premiums.  It will accomplish the goals that were established in the beginning as we worked to reform our nation’s healthcare system.

I encourage everyone to educate themselves.  Go to

www.pnhp.org and www.healthcare-now.org and www.mforall.org and www.madashelldoctors.com for this and much more information.

 

Posted July 7, 2012 by terryflowersblog in Health Care, Uncategorized