Archive for the ‘Politics & Health Insurance’ Category
Thursday, April 21st, 2011
Many people are wondering if the health care overhaul law had any effect on voters in recent elections. A survey found that it did have an effect. In fact, more than eighty percent of the individuals that took part in the survey said that their decision was affected. Some participants in the poll were gracious enough to elaborate on the effect that health care had on their voting decision. For example, a health care worker in Kansas had this to say, “The current Kansas Attorney General did NOT join other states in opposing Fed Gov for mandating purchase of insurance. His opponent’s sign is the only sign in my yard!”
Another voter said, “For the first time ever, I’m voting against Senator Feingold. He voted for a health reform bill that he couldn’t have read, didn’t understand and will put me out of a job.”
Some of the voters who took part in the recent survey were in favor of the law, at least as an initial move forward. One voter said, “Yes. Health care overhaul is influencing my vote in a positive way. President Obama has done what no one has done before! He at least started a change in the U.S. health care system. No one is perfect and nor his plans. But at least he is doing something.”
However, other voters would like to see greater changes, including a quicker deployment of the much-hailed health exchanges. A displeased doctor had this to say, “Yes, I’m only voting for candidates who support a strong public option or single payer. No more of the status quo.”
Officially, the exit polls put health care in second place on the list of important issues that drive voters. In fact, according to a survey by Edison Research, only 19% of young voters interviewed believed that health care was an important issue. Most people felt that the economy was more important.
photo credit: chrisstreeter
Thursday, January 20th, 2011
A recent survey revealed that the majority of Americans would rate their own health care rather high, even as the debate continues over whether to reform or repeal Obama’s health care law. The debate is only expected to get hotter as the new Republican-dominated Congress falls into places next year.
According to the latest health care survey by Gallup, 40% of people in America rated their health care as excellent. Another 42% rated their health care as good. This survey is the most positive evaluation in at least the past ten years or so.
Debate Over Health Insurance Focuses on Improving Access, Costs
As stated by Gallup, “The national debate over health care reform in the past two years focused mainly on improving access to health insurance as well as on lowering costs. As Congress considers further changes to U.S. health care policy, or possibly scaling back the new law, it is important to bear in mind that the vast majority of Americans, overall, believe they are getting at least good quality health care under the current system.”
After an evaluation of their own data ranging from 2006 through 2010, encompassing over five thousand interviews, Gallup concluded that Americans who carry either health care supplied by the government or private coverage are more positive than people who have no health care coverage at all. However, even the people that do not have health care coverage, according to Gallup, rate it as either good or excellent, with only 14% feeling that it is excellent.
People Increasingly Choosing Not to Purchase Health Insurance
In spite of the overall feelings of Americans that their health care coverage has been good, Gallup reports that there is a rise in the amount of people that put off acquiring coverage due to the rising costs.
The evaluations of health care by Americans are largely positive. In the terms of ratings, the percentage that rates it as excellent has grown considerably over the past decade. According to the survey, “Over the same period, however, the percentage reporting that they or a family member has put off treatment because of cost increased from 19% in 2001 to 30% in 2006, and has generally remained at that level since. A record-high 21% now say they put off treatment for a serious condition.”
photo credit: therichardlife
Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
In the last year of working on cases of false claims and fraud against the United States government, the Justice Department has been successful in the collection of a record three billion dollars.
According to Assistant Attorney General Tony West health care fraud accounted for $2.5 billion (USD) in civil judgments and settlements for the past fiscal year ending in September, 2010.
In cases that alleged fraud against Medicare, as well as other federal health programs, the government was successful in collecting more than a billion and a half dollars in settlements with medical device companies and pharmaceutical companies.
Pfizer Included in $2.5 billion Total for Health Care Fraud
Keep in mind that this total does include the more than $650 million in the record settlement with Pfizer. As you may recall, Pfizer Inc. was accused of marketing drugs for uses other than those that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
The $3 billion in judgments and settlements for this past fiscal year, which ended on September 30, represented a 25% increase over the previous year. In the last fiscal year, the government only recovered just under two and a half billion dollars.
Assistant Attorney General Tony West told reporters in a recent briefing, “We will hold you accountable whether you are a corporation or an individual.” He also said, “The numbers from this last fiscal year and for the last two years show that that accountability comes at a high price.”
According to the Justice Department, the majority of the cases that resulted in the recovery of the funds were brought out to the government by whistle-blowers. According to federal law, whistle-blowers can press fraud claims on the behalf of the government, and then they can share in any of the money that is recovered.
Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
Health care reform, the cost-cutting miracle plan we’ve all been waiting for, is costing us more than anticipated. Of course, any major reform can’t ever claim to be conducted for little or no cost. Unfortunately, some of us actually believed the speeches and the ads about a health care reform that would be completed with:
- No sacrifices
- No cost increases
- No hiccups
- No deficit
Health Reform Problems Begin
In the first years of health care reform alone, we are discovering that the solution to all of our health care problems is accomplishing exactly what we were told it would avoid. This plan is costing us more money, more time, and more trouble than it is worth. Health care costs were not supposed to increase. However, health care costs in 2010 are increasing at a rate of 6.3%. This can be compared to 2009’s 6.1% growth rate. Not only are health care costs still increasing, they are increasing at a faster pace.
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, March 24th, 2010
For over a year, Congress has been squabbling over the health reform bill championed by President Barack Obama. The long effort finally came to fruition last Sunday, when congress narrowly passed (by a 219 to 212) margin of victory. Known as HR4872, the bill was revised from an earlier bill that was passed by congress on Christmas Eve of 2009.
As a result, the nation seems even more divided than it was before the bill, with Republican John Boehner vowing to fight the bill, and adding, “The American people are angry… Shame on us!”