Archive for the ‘Health & Politics’ Category
Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
There’s a new bill in the works in California, and it stands to force health insurance companies to cover programs that would help people who smoke to try and quit. Considering there are already bills that require California healthcare companies to cover things like in-vitro fertilization, and bone-density screening, it’s hard to believe that a bill such as SB 220 has taken this long to come to possible fruition.
Understanding the language of SB-220
There is much optimism that the bill will pass, complete with provisions for copays and OTC (Over-the-counter) medications such as nicotine gum and patches. It also includes provisions for group counseling, which is very effective for some individuals. The bill is designed to make it easier for Californians who smoke to kick the habit by making treatments available at little cost to those who wish to try.
Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
Struggling to make it through in the midst of an ever-worsening budget impasse over Medicare reimbursement, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) couldn’t wait any longer. CMS is now implementing a 21% cut in physician payments, which will affect an estimated 50 million claims. Claims that were held back since June 1 will be the first to feel the effects of the cuts.
In the late 1990’s the funding formula for Medicare reimbursements was first enacted in conjunction with the Balanced Budget Act. However, even at that time it was thought by some to be flawed. Today the formula is thought to be seriously flawed, and is growing more and more out of sync with its original intended purposes with each passing year.
Medicare Cuts Could Affect Quality of Care
Even though Medicare has instituted this drastic cut it too may stand to be on the losing side of the board as well, considering there are already a huge number of medical practices that currently do not take on Medicare’s elderly patient population.
Participating physicians will see a direct impact of the 21% cut with the average office visit now being reimbursed at about $8.00 less than what they were in 2007. Medicare may also feel the brunt of this unresolved state of affairs.
If a resolution is indeed reached, and the cuts reversed, they are looking at having to swallow about .30 cents per claim that is reprocessed. This translates out to a staggering potential of $15 million dollars for the first 50 million claims alone.
Only time will tell how it will all play out in the end, if there ever will be an end. In the meantime, there is no way for anyone, including physicians, patients and even Medicare to avoid the huge impact of this monumental move.
Thursday, July 8th, 2010
California has one of the highest rates of uninsured citizens in the country with more than 6.4 million people currently without health insurance coverage. That said, it stands to reason that any additional coverage at the federal level is a huge plus for not only the California government but for the residents as well.
Positive effects of health care reform in California
When it comes to California, the federal overhaul would help those who can afford health insurance but are currently unable to get it. It will assist those who aren’t able to obtain coverage by providing them with a means to acquire health care benefits. Additionally, the bill will also go a long way in tackling the desire to provide Californians with the preventative means to uncover unhealthy conditions in the early stages, where they can be addressed promptly, and thus help everyone get more affordable California health insurance. There is a downside of this bill, however; read below to learn what it is.
Friday, July 2nd, 2010
There’s a lot to try to understand about the newest health care bill signed into law this past March. There are a lot of provisions in the act, and all of them will affect every American citizen in one way or another. The Class Act (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program) is one of the provisions in the bill. Here’s a brief overview of the basic details of this act.
The CLASS Act is a national, voluntary insurance program that is designed to provide cash benefits if you have a disability or some form of limitation in your ability to function. The idea is to provide a way for individuals who fall into this category a way to help pay for their long-term care services.
Eligibility Requirements for CLASS Act
The plan will mostly be offered by employers and paid for by employees. Self-employed individuals may also enroll in the plan. You may enroll in the act if you meet the following criteria.
- If you are actively at work
- If you are 18 years or older
- If you are not living in a nursing home or a long-term care facility at the time of your enrollment.
You cannot be excluded from the plan if you have a pre-existing condition.
Benefits of the CLASS Act
Once you have paid into the plan for 5 years you are eligible to receive cash benefits if you have a functional impairment or disability that is expected to last more than 90 days, if you have a significant cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s or if you will need substantial assistance with at least 2 daily activities of daily living that is a direct result of your impairment.
Thursday, June 17th, 2010
Tax-exempt hospitals will be required to meet new requirements under health reform.
There has been so much back-and-forth debate about healthcare reform it can make your head spin. The Democrats say one thing, and it seems as if the Republicans claim the polar opposite. It doesn’t matter what piece of the reform is in question, it seems as if the two parties will never see eye-to-eye. In the midst of this ongoing debating (and sometimes arguing) the general public is more confused than ever about what the individual pieces of the health reform act mean. Here’s a brief look at how the health care reform will affect tax-exempt hospitals.
Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
Advocates of measures to improve the efficiency of health care have been advocating electronic prescribing for many years, and if recent efforts in this area are anything to go by, as many as 75% of doctors might be using e-prescriptions in just five years. E-prescriptions are paperless prescriptions, written electronically by your doctor and sent electronically to your pharmacy. No print-outs are involved at all – your doctor doesn’t print you a copy, and a copy isn’t faxed to your pharmacy. All the work is done electronically.
What Are the Benefits of Electronic Prescriptions?
Adopting an e-prescribing system has a number of benefits for both doctors and patients. The system is more efficient, potentially saving millions of dollars in health care expenditure, and meaning shorter waits for people getting prescriptions filled. More importantly, it could completely eliminate the harmful errors that can result when a doctor’s handwriting is misread by a pharmacist. (more…)
Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
The Obama administration is in the midst of making plans to spend $19 billion on modernizing medical record-keeping systems, but is it going to be enough? Most hospitals are seriously behind when it comes to digital technology, with a full 98% of American hospitals retaining a paper-based medical record-keeping and billing system. And with the debate over Universal Health Care in full swing, it seems that everyone is looking for ways to save on individual health insurance and health care.
According to the results of a new national survey, less than 2% of American hospitals have completely switched to an electronic medical record-keeping system.
Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
Many of us are predisposed towards a mistrust of drug companies. The fact is, they make billions of dollars every year, and it seems like most would do anything for a buck. Recent news that AstraZeneca allegedly suppressed negative information about Seroquel, an anti-psychotic drug, is not helping the tarnished image that the pharmaceutical industry has earned.
A Washington Post article published recently outlines the study, known as “Study 15,” and reported that AstraZeneca had suppressed the study’s negative results, and at the same time promoted more positive results from other studies with less stringent protocols.
Wednesday, September 16th, 2009
President-elect Barack Obama should take note – health reform is about the little things just as much as it is sweeping changes to the system.
Information gathered from a batch of more than 8,500 meetings held around the country in December will be compiled and used to help design the healthcare proposal that has been in the news as of late. Obama’s transition team plans to post some of the material at change.gov.
One particular meeting took place late December 2008, between newly appointed secretary of health and human services, the former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, and more than two dozen seniors During this meeting, seniors told Daschle that they placed more importance on certain things such as waiting times to see their doctor, the increasing cost of prescription drugs, and the narrow range of Medicare coverage for certain medical procedures, equipment, and treatments.
Friday, August 21st, 2009
It’s not just the unemployed facing healthcare insurance problems, according to a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report compiling research carried out by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota. Nearly 20% of American workers have no health insurance, up from around 14% in the mid-1990s.
During the mid-1990s, one in seven American workers had no insurance. Just ten years later, that figure has increased to one in five workers uninsured, or around six-million more people over the mid-1990s total.