Entries in healthcare (4)


Get your health care waivers here!

In case you are wondering, here is the list of health insurance waivers granted so far.  The length of the list evidences non trivial economic value.   Let's think about that for a minute...?

In any case if you'd like to get your very own, give it a go here

Yes, you can! Or maybe not.


More unintended consequences: insurance companies cease writing new health care policies for children

The AP today reports:

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Some major health insurance companies will no longer issue certain types of policies for children, an unintended consequence of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law, state officials said Friday.

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said several big insurers in his state will stop issuing new policies that cover children individually. Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland said a couple of local insurers in her state are doing likewise.

In Florida, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Aetna, and Golden Rule -- a subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare -- notified the insurance commissioner that they will stop issuing individual policies for children, said Jack McDermott, a spokesman for McCarty.

The major types of coverage for children -- employer plans and government programs -- are not be affected by the disruption. But a subset of policies -- those that cover children as individuals -- may run into problems. Even so, insurers are not canceling children's coverage already issued, but refusing to write new policies..."

Many are of the view that this phenomena is not an unintended consequence, that it is by design of policy. It is a logical and predictable response to cost structures and burdens imposed by the new 'health care reform'.  We predict more insurers will follow and that health care providers across different sectors in increasing numbers will start to limit treatment or otherwise refuse to accept reimbursement schedules that cause them to incur losses.


Sensible health care approaches

John Makey in today's WSJ, The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare ,  has some utterly sensible suggestions for health care reform.

  • "Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs). The combination of high-deductible health insurance and HSAs is one solution that could solve many of our health-care problems. For example, Whole Foods Market pays 100% of the premiums for all our team members who work 30 hours or more per week (about 89% of all team members)....Money not spent in one year rolls over to the next and grows over time. Our team members therefore spend their own health-care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully. Our plan's costs are much lower than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of worker satisfaction for our high-deductible health-insurance plan. We also provide up to $1,800 per year in additional health-care dollars through deposits into employees' Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health and wellness. .
  • Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. Now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health insurance is not. This is unfair.
  • Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state and we should be able use that insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable.
  • Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual customer preferences and not through special-interest lobbying.
  • Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are passed back to us through much higher prices for health care.
  • Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost. How many people know the total cost of their last doctor's visit and how that total breaks down? What other goods or services do we buy without knowing how much they will cost us?
  • Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility. "

Many of these basic issues impair the proper functioning & delivery of health care to individuals, families & businesses across the nation, and voters should hold Congress accountable. Why are citizens held hostage to intra state coverage lines? Why is there asymmetrical tax treatment? This is not brain surgery: it smells of market manipulation, the selling of economic dispensation via regulation to the collective disadvantage of our citizens.


The specific language on "Advance Care Planning" from the current bill

Do you really want Congress to mandate a Post Office like functionary in the ICU meeting room with you and your family?

You can get the full monty here. See SECTION 1233. ADVANCE CARE PLANNING CONSULTATION p424 ff.

‘(5)(A) For purposes of this section, the term ‘order regarding life sustaining treatment’ means, with respect to an individual, an actionable medical order relating to the treatment of that individual that— ‘‘(i) is signed and dated by a physician (as defined in subsection (r)(1)) or another health care  professional (as specified by the Secretary and who is acting within the scope of the professional’s authority under State law in signing such an order, including a nurse practitioner or physician assistant) and is in a form that permits it to stay with the individual and be followed by health care professionals and providers across the continuum of care;‘‘(ii) effectively communicates the individual’s preferences regarding life sustaining treatment, including an indication of the treatment and care desired by the individual; ‘‘(iii) is uniquely identifiable and standardized within a given locality, region, or State (as identified by the Secretary); and (iv) may incorporate any advance directive (as defined in section 1866(f)(3)) if executed by the individual.‘‘(B) The level of treatment indicated under subparagraph (A)(ii) may range from an indication for full treatment to an indication to limit some or all or specified interventions. Such indicated levels of treatment may include indications respecting, among other items— ‘‘(i) the intensity of medical intervention if the patient is pulse less, apneic, or has serious cardiac or pulmonary problems;‘(ii) the individual’s desire regarding transfer to a hospital or remaining at the current care setting;‘‘(iii) the use of antibiotics; and‘(iv) the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration.’’