Non-profit Private-run Health Plan Must Never Deny Coverage

Democrats in the United States Senate, in hopes of reaching a compromise on health reform legislation, are reported to be considering a plan that would scrap the so-called “public option” for low-cost, full-coverage health insurance, in favor of a non-profit plan that would be run by the private insurers themselves, but regulated through the Office of Personnel Management. Calls to Sen. Reid and Sen.

Lieberman’s offices suggest the plan is little more than a framework proposal and is not yet written into any specific legislative language. Sen. Reid (D-NV) offers no comment on whether he favors this plan, and Sen. Lieberman (I-CT) continues to refuse to say whether he will support healthcare reform legislation, even with this compromise included. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) is said to be considering the plan, her support being necessary to get at least one Republican vote.

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Health Reform Bill DOES NOT Dictate Treatment

One of the smears Republican opponents of heathcare reform have been pushing is the idea that the reforms passed by the House and under consideration in the Senate would “allow government bureaucrats to get between you and your doctor”, and make decisions about what treatment you can receive. In fact, this is an outright lie, put forth by interests that already do interfere with your doctor’s discretion and deny you care, for profit, and they’re pushing the lie because they don’t want people to know the bill bans any insurance provider—including the government—from dictating treatment options.

The proposed health insurance reforms DO NOT allow government bureaucrats to interfere with or scale back your care. Quite the contrary, the reforms would help ensure no one but patients and doctors make decisions about the course of treatment. In the United States, the average citizen now has far less ease of direct access to routine health treatment than in other industrialized democracies, due to insurers’ having built their business model around denial of care.

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Any Healthcare Exclusion for Condition or Care Option is Failed Reform

Pres. Obama used his prime-time press conference last night to dive straight into the fray on healthcare reform, pledging commitment to bold action, demanding cost-cutting measures and promising to bring affordable coverage within reach of all Americans. He did not specify if he wanted an “individual mandate” that all Americans buy into one plan or another, and he did not promise that no insurer would be allowed to deny treatment under any circumstances.

But since we’re talking tough and being straightforward about what constitutes success and failure, it must be said: any amount of leeway for insurers to deny coverage or to limit treatment options will be a failure for the healthcare reform movement. Insurers are not substitutes for doctors and hospitals; they are insurance companies and payment systems, and that is all they should be involved in: they should have to survive without the market being rigged through allowances for denial of coverage and denial of care.

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CBO Never Reported Patients’ Healthcare Costs Would Go Up

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported last week that the healthcare plan currently being debated in Congress would likely cause federal expenses related to healthcare to increase. But it did not report that the plan would cause average per-patient costs to increase across the entire healthcare market, as opponents of healthcare reform are alleging. In fact, that philosophical point has not been disproven by any budgetary analysis to date.

Douglas Elmendorf, the CBO director, told Congress last Thursday that reform proposals currently under consideration would likely increase costs for the federal government. He never said they would fail to bring costs down across the market as a whole; nor did he, for that matter, comment on whether the federal cost increases would materialize if costs did, in fact, come down in the marketplace.

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Why Healthcare Needs a Cure: Tens of Thousands Dying, System Failing, Despite Rising Profits

The US system of healthcare is fundamentally broken. Nearly 50 million people have no coverage at all. Add to that the 13 million undocumented immigrants who are unable to buy healthcare or qualify for government programs, and we have over 60 million inhabitants of the US with zero access to affordable healthcare. Every single uninsured inhabitant of the US pushes costs up, as the system has to absorb unpayable emergency healthcare costs for those individuals. So, for practical reasons as well as moral, we need to take seriouly that every person has a right to medical treatment.

20% of the population of the wealthiest nation on the planet is unable to access regular medical treatment or preventive care. Emergency health situations, such as heart attack, cancer or accident, are leading to rising numbers of bankruptcies. Each year, it is estimated that tens of thousands of Americans die specifically from lack of coverage.

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How to Solve Healthcare: Focus on Coverage, Cost & Cure

We don’t have a good answer for how to solve healthcare in America. Let’s start there. Every interest group sees the problem differently, depending on immediate interests, learned perceptions, or advertised distortions. But the fact is, every interest group has some overlap with others, and there is a lot of common ground to be had, if we put ideology aside and try to focus on the problem itself.

The problem is severe enough that neary 50 million people are without healthcare coverage, and another many millions are underinsured, not guaranteed to have necessary treatments covered, for one reason or another. Some blame malpractice insurance costs, some blame pharmaceutical drug costs, some blame malpractice lawsuits, some blame greedy insurers, greedy doctors, or stingy public-funding programs. And they are all right. But the one group that is not ripping anyone off and that has no interest in costs continuing to escalate, is the average patient.

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Obama Composite National Healthcare Plan: Net Cost Decrease for Avg. Family

Critics have sought to characterize President-elect Obama’s healthcare proposal as “socialized medicine”, despite its relying almost entirely on market dynamics and the private sector. Government spending is considered to be one area where Obama’s plan could be unacceptable to fiscal conservatives, though Obama’s pragmatist fiscal policy is largely in line with conservative fiscal policy and aims to cover new spending with spending cuts elsewhere. New analysis suggests there is already money to cover his plan and to reach near universal coverage with a few workable adjustments in current legislation.

Analysts suggest that Obama’s stated first priority, making sure all American children have access to healthcare —mainly through the SCHIP program, where states use federal funding to provide coverage to uninsured children—, would cost between $6 billion and $9 billion. His plan to help small businesses cover their employees —a step toward universal coverage under the private sector healthcare system— is estimated to cost another $6 billion per year, the combined total costing less than one month of the Iraq war as currently funded.

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