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Archive for the ‘health care’ Category

Why health care costs are rising more slowly

Posted by Charles II on April 3, 2014

I always thought it was because the insurance companies had grabbed all the money in the world, but I guess I am wrong.

LIVE WEBCAST: The Future of U.S. Health Care Spending

For several decades health spending in the United States rose much faster than other spending. Forecasters predicted the health sector, already 17% of GDP, would soon exceed 20 to 25% of GDP, driving out other necessary public and private spending. However, in recent years health spending growth dropped dramatically and surprisingly, to a record slow pace for the fourth straight year in 2012. It is not clear why this turn around occurred or how long it will last.

On Friday, April 11th the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at Brookings will bring together several experts to discuss three questions that will also be addressed in a forthcoming series of Brookings papers. The discussion and papers will address the causes of the slowdown and the likelihood it will continue; its impact on federal and state budgets, and private spending; and identify reforms that will ensure slow cost growth while improving health.

Over a dozen economic and health policy experts will participate in panel discussions, including Harvard’s David Cutler, American Action Forum’s Douglas Holtz-Eakin, University of Southern California’s Paul Ginsburg, and Altarum’s Charles Roehrig. Speakers will take questions from the audience.

April 11, 2014
8:30 AM – 2:15 PM EDT
Brookings Institution
Falk Auditorium
1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Apparently the topic is popular, since i sold out before they let plebes like me know. But we can listen over the Interwebs

Posted in health care | Leave a Comment »

Massive resistance against providing medical care continues

Posted by Charles II on November 21, 2013

Ed Pilkington, The Guardian:

Barack Obama is facing a fresh offensive against his troubled healthcare reforms as Republican legislators backed by corporate sponsors prepare an attempt to effectively destroy the Affordable Care Act at state level.

With Obamacare still in crisis from its botched technical rollout, the signature reform of the Obama presidency faces threats from state-based politicians who have devised a strategy to scupper the federal health insurance exchanges.

The move is the latest in a sustained effort by conservative states, mainly in the south and midwest, to resist key elements of the changes that are designed to extend healthcare to millions of uninsured Americans.

The idea for the new attack is the brainchild of the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), a group that acts as a dating agency for Republican state legislators and big corporations, bringing them together to frame rightwing legislative agendas in the form of “model bills”.

A new Alec proposal, approved by its annual meeting in Chicago in August and published as a model bill for adoption by state assemblies across the nation, would scupper the federal health insurance exchanges set up under Obamacare. The Health Care Freedom Act, as Alec calls its model bill, threatens to strip health insurers of their licenses to do new business on the federal exchanges should they accept any subsidies under the system.

Alec justifies the measure as a way to protect local employers from the “employer mandate” – the provision in Obama’s act that penalises employers with more than 50 workers who do not offer any or sufficient healthcare cover for their employees. However, health insurance experts say that were the model bill to be taken up widely by Republican-held states, it would seriously disrupt the federal exchanges, and in turn put the whole health reforms in peril.

Legislation with almost identical language is already being debated in the state assemblies of Missouri and Ohio.

“You cannot build the healthcare system based on the free market unless you have subsidies. If they are taken away the whole thing collapses,” said Wendell Potter, a former health insurance executive and critic of the health industry.

These people are evil. There is no other word to describe the attempt to deny health care to people who are uninsurable because they are sick or poor. 40,000 American die every year because of their past efforts. To continue to cause people to die needlessly in the face of having lost the argument and two national elections is, very simply, murder.

Posted in evil, health care | 1 Comment »

Calculate your insurance cost

Posted by Charles II on October 15, 2013

Via The Raven at Avedon’s Sideshow:

Posted in health care | 1 Comment »

Gosh, I wonder if it could be because they aren’t seeing doctors….

Posted by Charles II on January 10, 2013

What profiteth a man if he gain the world and cannot even get decent medical care? Sarah Boseley, The Guardian:

America may be one of the richest countries in the world, but its people are less healthy and more likely to die early from disease or accidents than those in any other affluent country, a damning official US report has found.

Even the best-off Americans – those who have health insurance, a college education, a high income and healthy behaviour – are sicker than their peers in comparable countries, says the report by the US National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine.

“We were struck by the gravity of these findings,” said Steven H Woolf, professor of family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and chair of the panel that wrote the report. “Americans are dying and suffering at rates that we know are unnecessary because people in other high-income countries are living longer lives and enjoying better health.

The US does badly in nine specific areas….highest infant mortality rate …. does poorly on other birth outcomes, such as low weight babies.

Deaths from injuries and homicides are far higher than elsewhere and a leading cause of death in children, adolescents and young adults. US adolescents have had the highest rate of pregnancies of affluent countries since the 1990s and are more likely to acquire sexually transmitted infections. The US has the second highest HIV rate and the highest incidence of Aids among the 17 countries.

Even taking out drunk driving, Americans lose more years of life to alcohol and other drugs than people in other affluent countries. The US has the highest obesity rate and, from age 20, one of the highest levels of type 2 diabetes. The death rate from heart disease is the second highest in the 17 countries. There is more lung disease and more deaths from it than in Europe and older people report more arthritis and other limitations on their activity than in Europe or Japan.

I’ll be surprised if the Republicans allow Obamacare to be fully implemented. Killing off Americans is so much more in line with what they do!

Posted in health care, health issues, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

The Founders’ healthcare mandates

Posted by Charles II on May 2, 2012

I guess they were a bunch of socialists. Eliot Spitzer, Slate (via Avedon) reports on an article in TNR by Einer Elhauge:

In 1790, a Congress including 20 Founders passed a law requiring that ship owners buy medical insurance for their seamen. Washington signed it into law.
In 1792, another law signed by Washington required that all able-bodied men buy a firearm. (So much for the argument that Congress can’t force us to participate in commerce.)
And in 1798, a Congress with five framers passed a law requiring that all seamen buy hospital insurance for themselves. Adams signed this legislation.

Elhauge continues:

Not only did most framers support these federal mandates to buy firearms and health insurance, but there is no evidence that any of the few framers who voted against these mandates ever objected on constitutional grounds. Presumably one would have done so if there was some unstated original understanding that such federal mandates were unconstitutional. Moreover, no one thought these past purchase mandates were problematic enough to challenge legally.

To bad the Solicitor General didn’t make these arguments when it was his turn at bat. But if the Court rejects the Affordable Healthcare Act, we will all know that it is based on the lie that the Founders would never make anyone do anything.

Posted in health care, Supreme Court | Comments Off

As usual, only one man can summarize the healthcare case before the Supreme Court correctly

Posted by Charles II on March 30, 2012

In its entirety:

The following message was released today by the National Alliance of Funeral Directors:

This week, several Republican Supreme Court Justices have argued that the Affordable Care Act supported by the Obama Administration is unconstitutional. At the National Alliance of Funeral Directors, we couldn’t agree more.

It was Revolutionary War hero Patrick Henry who said, in 1775, “Give me liberty or give me death.” From that moment on, legal scholars have agreed that the Constitution guarantees every American the liberty to be dead. Here at the Alliance, we will fight for your right to be dead to the death.

Let’s take a look, if you will, at the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which protects every American’s right to shoot another American. It says nothing about giving the person who is shot health insurance to prevent him from dying. This cherished constitutional right to shoot people and make them dead is currently recognized in all fifty states, most recently Florida.

In commenting on the Affordable Care Act this week, Justice Samuel Alito compared the Obama healthcare plan to burial insurance. Coincidentally, burial insurance is the Republican healthcare plan, and one that we enthusiastically support. Under this plan, every American would be mandated to buy a coffin from one of our member-owned and operated funeral homes. May we recommend the Peaceful Valley Royale,™ a luxury mahogany casket with sienna satin interior and the finest imitation antique nickel handles ($2899).

As the organization representing America’s funeral directors, gravediggers, embalmers and cremators, we are confident that the Supreme Court will ultimately do the right thing and decide that healthcare flies in the face of every American’s constitutional right to the pursuit of deadness. And when they do, we’ll be waiting for you.


The National Alliance of Funeral Directors

Andy Borowitz

Posted in health care, judicial rulings, judiciary, Republicans as cancer, Supreme Court | 4 Comments »

The art of rhetoric

Posted by Charles II on March 2, 2012

I do not understand why, in discussing Rush Limbaugh’s characterization of Sandra Fluke as a “slut” because she wanted health insurance to include birth control (Limbaugh called this “being paid to have sex”) that almost none of those who spoke in opposition to Limbaugh noted many of the women who use birth control are married. As Keith Olbermann (the only person I have heard who made this obvious point) said, Limbaugh probably just called his four wives and his mothers prostitutes.

Nor has anyone asked whether people who have insurance against cancer, including prevention, are being paid to have cancer, another rather obvious question. [Added: or, for more perfect parallelism, paying to get anally probed. What does that make Rush?]

I am not surprised that Democrats/liberals/feminists/etc. lose rhetorical battles when they are so poor at listening to their opponents.

Perhaps they imagine that no one could be so morally sick that they would deny health insurance to people at risk of getting cancer. But what poor imagination, considering that for sixty years the right wing has denied that insurance to tens of millions of people annually, leading to death and suffering that probably exceeds all of the American casualties of World War II.

Yes, they are that bad. It would help if the people who represent progressive causes would stop sputtering and start really listening.
Added: What makes Jon Stewart a great comedian? He listens to what people are actually saying, and verbalizes it. The problem with progressive spokespeople like NOW president Terry O’Neill, is that so many of them trained in the law, while so few of them trained in being class clown, which is where the real action in rhetorical efficacy is to be found.

Posted in evil, health care, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, Rush Limbaugh | Comments Off

Humana CEO says voucherizing Medicare “impossible to implement”

Posted by Charles II on June 26, 2011

Alan Rappeport, FT.

Who cares if its workable? As long as it p–ses off the liberals, it must be a good thing.

Posted in health care | 1 Comment »

Republican economist: The US is undertaxed

Posted by Charles II on June 9, 2011

Yes, the issue is so obvious that even a Reagan Republican can see it. Bruce Bartlett (via Barry Ritholtz):

This is everything–federal,state, and local taxes. Even when–to make a truly fair comparison– you add the cost of a European-style health care system (since Europe pays for healthcare through taxes), it would only add about 5 GDP points [see footnote] to taxes (because we already pay taxes for Medicare, Medicaid, vets, and government workers), putting the US between Slovakia and Canada in terms of taxes plus healthcare. This puts the US near (but below) the OECD average. And if we had a healthcare system as efficient as the European one, our taxes would be 4.9 GDP points below the OECD average. That amounts to almost $700B.

In other words, our deficit problem is a problem of undertaxation plus inefficiency in healthcare delivery.
footnote: To compare the burden of taxes plus healthcare, Bartlett adds in the costs of the US health care system as it is. This adds 8.6 GDP points to the cost burden, but since we know that the US system costs about 60% more than the European, one can estimate that the additional cost of a European-style system would add 5.4 points to taxes including healthcare… and subtract about $800B from private costs for healthcare.

Posted in health care, taxes | Comments Off

Zombie lies, and healthcare

Posted by Charles II on June 5, 2011

Krugman flagged a very interesting paper by several UT Houston authors. It is dated 1998, but since zombie lies never die, it is just as fresh today as it was then. Here is an excerpt:

Why are health care costs so high, and so hard to control? Everybody knows the answer, or at least a large part of it. “Spiraling costs” have been driven by the aging of the population. As the baby boomers turn geriatric, the pressure can only get worse. And everybody is wrong. All the evidence points in a very different direction. Mencken would be amused.

The aging population story is, moreover, only one of a number of common misunderstandings, widely held and erroneous beliefs, about health care and its costs.

Others include:
• Spiraling costs are driven by “frivolous” patient demands; these can be dampened through the judicious application of user fees.
• Costs would be even higher if insurance coverage were universal; no one is against covering the uninsured, if only it weren’t so expensive. (This belief is exclusive to the United States.)
• You get what you pay for; higher costs buy more and/or better health care. Cost control inevitably implies “rationing” and imperils health.
• More and/or better health care is the only, or at least the major, way to improve health.

Each of these is based on a mix of truths, half-truths, and fallacies. They offer interpretations of the forces driving cost expansion in the health care sector that are “neat, plausible, and wrong” – and dangerously misleading for health care policy.

Posted in health care, liars | Comments Off

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