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Friday, July 30, 2010

More on Health Insurance Reform

UPDATE: 3 August - Health Insurance Reform, how it plays out

Covering New Ground in Health System Shift

Medicare Reform Means Some Seniors Face Benefit Cuts

UPDATE: 2 August - Judge Gives Virginia OK to Press On With Health Care Lawsuit Against Feds
U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson is allowing a health care
suit filed by the state of Virginia against the U.S. government to proceed, saying no court has ever ruled on whether it's constitutional to require Americans to purchase a product.
The state of Virginia can continue its lawsuit to stop the nation's new health care law from taking effect, a federal judge ruled Monday. 
U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson said he is allowing the suit against the U.S. government to proceed, saying no court has ever ruled on whether it's constitutional to require Americans to purchase a product. 
"While this case raises a host of complex constitutional issues, all seem to distill to the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate -- and tax -- a citizen's decision not to participate in interstate commerce," Hudson wrote in a 32-page decision. Complete article
HEALTHCARE:  Impact on Access to Care, Costs

Health-policy experts across the political spectrum are wary of Obamacare’s promises to increase access to health care and lower costs.

Use 'search' to locate more than 36 related Natural Health News posts on this topic

The libertarian Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner notes President Obama recently told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that the law “not only makes sure everybody has access to coverage but is reducing costs.”  Tanner refutes those claims: 
  • “The bill doesn’t come close to giving ‘everybody’ access to coverage. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 10 years from now there will still be at least 21 million uninsured Americans. That’s an improvement over today, but it’s a far cry from the universal coverage that Obama once promised. And nearly half of the newly covered aren’t getting access to true health insurance but are being added to the Medicaid program, with all of its attendant problems of access and quality.”
  • “Even further from reality is the president’s continued insistence that the new law is ‘reducing costs.’ In fact, the administration’s own chief health-care actuary reports that the law will actually raise US health-care spending by $311 billion over 10 years. This failure to control costs means that the law will add significantly to the already crushing burden of government spending, taxes and debt.”
  • “Anyone who thinks that their insurance premiums will be going down in the foreseeable future is going to be disappointed. The law does nothing to restrain the growth in insurance costs. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office says that premiums will double over the next six years, roughly the same rate of increase as would have occurred without health-care reform.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and cofounder of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), told the that the health-reform bill was actually written by the insurance industry and doesn’t address underlying problems:
  • “The big problem with the bill is that so much money and power is being handed to the private health insurance industry, which is the cause of the problem in the first place.… If you look at the [political] donations, plenty of insurance industry money did go to the Democrats. An insurance industry vice president, Elizabeth Fowler, actually came to work for Sen. Max Baucus, the head of the Senate Finance Committee, and was the author of the Baucus Framework for the legislation.”
  • “Under the new ‘exchanges’ set up under the law for the uninsured to go to buy insurance, people will have to spend up to 9.5 percent of their income for policies that cover only 70 percent of health care costs. So you would still be in a situation of having insurance that was so skimpy that you would have difficulty getting care when you needed it. As you know, Massachusetts has the prototype of this reform. If you go on the Internet to look at our insurance exchange, it’s called the Massachusetts Connector. For someone in their mid-50s, the cheapest policy available that would meet the mandate for someone who is paying the full rate—which is anyone who makes more than $33,000 in income a year—costs more than $5,000 per year in premiums. Then, if you get sick, there’s a $2,000 deductible—so you have to take another $2,000 out of your pocket before the insurance kicks in. And then, for the next $15,000 in health spending, you’re responsible for 20 percent of everything—$3,000. So it’s extremely expensive if you get sick and have to use it once you buy it.”
  • “That means that many people will still lack access to care—because they won’t be able to afford to use their insurance policy, even if they own it.”

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