American Massage Therapy Association - Marsh

 


Government Sponsored Plans

02/11/2010
Key Democratic senators are pushing for a government-managed insurance policy to provide alternatives that will compete with private health plans. This proposal, which aims to help President Obama’s health care reform, will also require large companies that do not provide insurance to their employees to pay an annual fee of $750 per worker. Democratic Senators Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut said that the modified proposal would be cheaper compared to its previous version. The revised proposal aims to cover up to 97 percent of the American population.Two weeks ago, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the cost of the previous proposal at $1 trillion over 10 years. The revised proposal on the other hand will cost around $611.4 billion. This modification on the actual cost of the proposal also “virtually eliminates” the earlier prediction that many companies would be forced to drop health insurance coverage for their employees.On Wednesday, the two senators wrote to the members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in anticipation of the return from vacation of lawmakers to the Capitol.As early as next week, the Health Committee could finish its version of the bill. A party-line vote is virtually guaranteed because of the proposed government-run health insurance alternative.On the other end, the Senate Finance Committee is working separately towards a companion measure that aims to achieve a bipartisan concession. At the end of the month, the three House committees working on the legislation are expected to arrive at a vote that is sure to include the proposed insurance option from the government.  Obama is pressing for Congress to pass legislation within the year. Author: Van Kelsey

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01/30/2010

The dwindling economy of America has put a strain on people as they struggle to keep themselves insured.  With companies putting emphasis on cost efficiency schemes, layoffs have become a common practice.  This has caused an increase in the unemployment rate and those without jobs find themselves in a position without medical insurance or a health care plan.  But one option has been put in place to assist unemployed individuals without medical coverage. 
 
COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) is a law allowing those who have been laid-off to purchase health coverage for 18 to 36 months. COBRA acts as a safety net and allows laid-off employees to continue their health plans as they seek new health insurance coverage through state-sponsored or private market plans or a sponsored plan from a spouse or a new employer. 
 
The economic stimulus package signed by President Barack Obama has allowed Congress to reduce the cost coverage of COBRA.  However, COBRA could still be expensive for most individuals and in some instances may not be a good option for some.
 
COBRA could be expensive compared with a regular sponsorship from an employer.  In some states, there are less expensive, short-term medical insurance policies offered, allowing an individual to save up to 35 percent more than other private plans.
 
Workers from companies that have cancelled their health coverage are also not entitled to the terms under COBRA.  These workers may purchase insurance from state-sponsored or private plans.
 
To fully consider COBRA, research is necessary.  One must also be aware of all insurance options, including the costs of policies.   The fact remains that an individual should always be covered and options for coverage should remain accessible

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01/30/2010

Due to the economic crisis, a lot of companies have implemented different tactics to reduce expenditures and increase profit. Some made adjustments in their company’s marketing tactics while others, in production. However, most companies resorted to lay off, or simply removing employees from their job posts.
 
When one speaks of job loss, everything else follows. A simple employee will be ripped off the benefits he or she has received while working. One of the most important benefits is that of the HMO. The government thought of a plan to reduce the burden of those who lost their jobs and came up with COBRA or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.  Under this, the government should subsidize almost 65% of those who wish to continue to avail of a health plan, even after being fired from their jobs.
 
This system will allow the people who lost their jobs between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009 to continue their group/business health insurance as they wish, provided that the cause of the termination fulfilled the guidelines of the IRS.
 
In addition, COBRA does not only cater to employees from large companies.  Those from small businesses can also be part of the said government program. If an employee comes from a company that has acquired COBRA premiums, the person will only be required to pay the remaining 35% of his or her health plan for nine months. Once the person is deemed qualified to be part of the program, he or she can use his or her Health Coverage Tax Credit to shoulder a portion of the insurance premium.

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08/05/2009
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius disclosed Monday that local and government organizations could now avail themselves of outreach grants to enroll more children in health care insurance plans.The outreach program aims to cover 4 million children who do not have health care plans and keep 7 million children insured under the Children’s Insurance Programs and Medicaid. Sebelius said that the project prioritizes residents of “historically under-served” or rural areas.“These grants arrived just in time, when we need them the most,” Sebelius added, referring to recent news on the country’s unemployment rate, which has reached 9.5%. Sebelius also stressed that when the unemployment rate is high, the rate of uninsured individuals also rises. This is because the majority of Americans are enrolled in group health insurance plans, which are employer-provided health plans. “When parents lose their jobs, they and their children also lose health coverage,” Sebelius added.The grants, made through the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act signed by President Barack Obama and which was released in February, will be initially funded by the federal government. The outreach program will last until 2013 and will be providing a total of $100 million worth of grants.To get the most qualified applicants, Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations, advised using innovative methods, such as technology-driven or even localized and community-based initiatives. “We should think of ways that can really help us reach all qualified children in order for them to enroll with less red tape,” Mann said.Local governments, community-based or non-profit organizations, schools, and religious groups are welcome to apply. Eligible candidates may submit their applications at grants.gov until early August.

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08/05/2009
Rep. Chris Murphy of the 5th Congressional District of Connecticut says that America’s current health care system is sick. "I like to say we've got a disease in our health care system that's very difficult to diagnose. So the solution to that disease is going to be equally complex."Murphy stressed the need for reforms to cover the uninsured and fix the problems in the current health care system. According to the Congressman, the reforms will be centered on freedom of choice.Addressing those with individual and business health insurance, Murphy discussed the availability of choices: "If you like what you have, you get to keep it. If you're an individual or a small business that doesn't like what's available, we're going to give you options."Murphy currently works in the Health subcommittee of the House of Representatives, as well as in two other House committees, writing the health reform legislation. Also writing the reform packages are two committees from the Senate.According to Murphy, bills are often bogged down because of the number of House committees that work on the actual legislation. "We're trying in the House to have all three committees write a similar bill''Despite the complex legislation, Murphy is sure that Congress will be prepared to vote on the health care reform before July ends.The reform will require some changes in the American way of life. Everybody will be required to avail themselves of health insurance. Companies will also be compelled to either offer coverage to their employees or pay costs instead.As for the insurance industry, the reform will pave the way for a basic insurance package that will be available to all American citizens.

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08/05/2009

Due to the soaring cost of health care, small businesses in Utah are now ready to embrace a health care reform, including the government-run insurance option, just to offer health care subsidy to their workers and earn a profit.
 
A recent survey reveals only 40% of the 300 randomly chosen businesses provide health care insurance to their employees, and 79% of those are struggling to subsidize their workers’ health plans. In addition, 88% of the companies that dropped their employees’ health coverage say they cannot afford to shoulder the costs anymore.
 
“What comes through loud and clear is the health crisis is huge, it’s crushing, and something needs to be done right away,” said John Arensmeyer, CEO and founder of Small Business Majority.
 
Small business owners in Utah believe a comprehensive reform on health care is an economic necessity, and that controlling the costs should be the top priority of the reform.
 
“The problem is that the cost of the health insurance is rising,” said Betsy Burton, a small bookshop owner, whose health plan cost increased by more than 20% last year. “At that rate, it is really difficult to make a profit in a business like this, with a low profit margin,” she said.
 
While almost 50% of business leaders in Utah consider themselves as Republicans and identify themselves as having conservative political views, small businesses in the state are now ready to embrace a bold health care system reform.
 
The struggle of small businesses with the rising cost of health care and their eagerness to do something to solve the problem is not really surprising, said Judi Hilman, executive director of the Utah Health Policy Project. "It is because small businesses are the first that experience the current problems in our system," she explained.

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08/05/2009

Despite the continuing support for President Obama’s health care reform, some of the major players in the debate are beginning to worry about the overhaul’s success. They fear it won’t be sufficient to solve the problem of runaway medical costs.
 
Some even believe that the deals the White House made with drug makers and hospitals to keep the negotiations alive could make the problem worse.
 
On Monday, there will be a closed-door meeting between labor leaders and Obama. They will discuss aggressive measures to keep health care costs from escalating. Terry O’Sullivan, head of the Laborers' International Union of North America, expressed his support of the plan to have everyone covered by medical insurance, and at the same time his concerns about the reform.
 
"We are certainly for expansion of coverage. We think every American ought to have health insurance. But if that doesn't come with making sure there is real prevention, if we're not talking about really controlling healthcare costs, this is going to be a train wreck."
 
On the other hand, business groups are urging the current administration and its allies in Congress to tackle the cost issues by making changes to the way doctors, hospitals and providers are paid.
 
According to Steve Wojcik, the National Business Group on Health’s vice-president for public policy, “Going into health reform, there was a lot of talk from the president on how controlling costs had to be on a par with expanding coverage. The priority on controlling costs seems to have fallen by the wayside."
 
Consistent survey results point to the public’s biggest health care concern: rising cost of medical bills and health plan premiums. At the core of his campaign for health care reform, Obama insists that his health care reform will provide relief.

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08/05/2009

House democrats unveiled an extensive plan for a bold reform of the nation’s health care system. Contained in the 1,018-page bill are provisions on regulating the health insurance market, formation of a new health insurance option run by the government, and other steps for implementing universal health coverage.
 
The bill sets out initiatives for reducing health care costs, which are expected to rise to $2.5 trillion this year. In addition, the cost of the legislation, which is estimated at $1 trillion, will be offset with a new tax to be imposed on wealthy Americans.
 
The proposal, which is considered one of the most liberal in revamping the system, was criticized by Republicans and 30 leading business groups, although many of these also showed support for some aspects.
 
If implemented, employers will either provide medical insurance to their workers or pay the government a fee based on their payroll. Small businesses with an income below $250,000 will be exempt from paying the fees. Also included in the plan are regulations prohibiting insurance companies from denying Americans with pre-existing medical conditions. This is to ensure more affordable options for everyone. 
 
All low income Americans will also become eligible for Medicaid, and private insurance companies will be offering a standard universal benefit package designed by the government.
 
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 97% of Americans, including legal immigrants, will have health coverage by 2019. Furthermore, the CBO estimates that nearly 162 million people will have continued employer-provided insurance and 30 million people will avail themselves of health coverage through the new health insurance exchange. Nine million of those who would avail themselves of the new exchange are expected to choose the new health program run by the government. 

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08/05/2009

The White House and the Democrats in Congress who are working hard on the health care bills to beat President Obama’s deadline, are trying to keep legislation costs to $1 trillion for 10 years. But would that be enough?
 
There is no doubt that $1 trillion would cover a lot of uninsured people. However, it will not be enough to meet the goals that the advocates initially wanted. Congress is currently working on proposals that include a $1.042 trillion bill that will be presented by Democratic leaders in the House on Tuesday. The proposals intend to provide subsidies to a smaller number of moderate-income families. They will also prevent most workers from abandoning the health plans provided by their employers.
 
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the estimated number of uninsured people will go down to 15-20 million after 10 years. As of now, around 50 million people are uninsured.
 
Last Monday, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell stated that "One of the major concerns that Americans have about health care reform is the price tag. Every proposal we've seen would cost a fortune by any standard."
 
In defense of the health care reform, President Obama says that the overhaul is a crucial investment toward fixing the nation’s dysfunctional health care system. Straightening the rough edges of the current health care system would prevent financial problems in the future.
 
Lawmakers are still trying to figure out how to finance the overhaul. According to Obama, fixing the health care system will not increase the country’s financial deficit, and to offset such a deficit there will be a need to either raise taxes or cut national spending.

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08/05/2009

A considerable amount of the American family’s budget is spent on medical insurance. The USA government alone allocates over $2.2 trillion yearly or $8,000 per person on health plans to ensure healthy workers and a productive economy. It is projected that the amount the government spends on the health care system will increase to more than $4 trillion by 2017 if no program for the reform of the system is enacted.
 
President Obama has initiated ways to modernize the system of health care in America. The Recovery Act of 2009 includes a provision for the citizens who have recently lost their jobs, which will provide a tax credit that will continue their health insurance contribution through COBRA. He also signed a law that supports health plan coverage for children through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The president has also pushed for the computerization of health records in the United States in five years in order to make the system more efficient and more accurate. The government will save much money if the paper-based records, which are time-consuming and expensive, are replaced with a computer system that will deliver speedy results with minimal or no errors.
 
The government also seeks to uplift the research and development of the current health system. The Recovery Act has also allocated $1.1 billion for comparative research that details data on the effectiveness of a medical treatment or procedure. This will aid the doctors in proper diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Programs on wellness will also be promoted in the country because almost one-third of illnesses are attributed to poor lifestyle choices. This will reduce the risks of acquiring diseases, such as hypertension, cardiovascular ailments, and cancer.

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08/05/2009

President Barack Obama continues to push for the overhaul of the U.S. health care system. He says that this matter cannot be delayed because it would affect “the stability of our entire economy.”
 
In Obama’s weekly Internet and radio address, he urged the Representatives from the two parties to work on laws that will decrease costs and regulate the “unwarranted giveaways to [health] insurance companies in Medicare and Medicaid,” while keeping the Americans’ health care options intact.
 
Obama added, “This is what the debate in Congress is all about: Whether we’ll keep talking and tinkering and letting this problem fester as more families and businesses go under, and more Americans lose their coverage, or whether we’ll seize this opportunity.”
 
Obama is ramping up this health insurance reform campaign, as he is set to hold two legislation events for the press this week. He will gather the Representatives to the White House for deliberations, and will hold a primetime press conference on July 22. The House and Senate are hard set to meet Obama’s August deadline, as he urges them to act on legislation before the coming congressional recess.
 
According to Obama’s recent statements, he will deny support on legislation that would add to the deficit.
 
“I don’t believe that government can or should run health care,” Obama remarked. “But I also don’t think insurance companies should have free rein to do as they please.”
 
Obama wants a final bill in about two months time, by October. Certain members of both parties criticize Obama’s action timetable for this health care overhaul campaign as “too ambitious.”
 
Jon Kyl, Arizona Senator, commented in the Republican weekly address on radio: “Something this important needs to be done right, rather than done quickly.”

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08/05/2009

Lawmakers in Connecticut are moving forward with their plans to establish universal health care, as there has been no federal legislation on the issue. This move follows Massachusetts’ pioneering law.
 
Currently, President Barack Obama’s administration and the Democrats in Congress are struggling to rally support for a plan to provide health care for a large number of Americans. Connecticut is part of a small minority of states that are planning to create universal health care independently. The state is aiming to improve the system that has caused more than 40 million Americans to be left uninsured.
 
On Monday, Republican Connecticut governor Jodi Rell’s veto was overridden by the state legislature, which is controlled by Democrats. A board composed of nine members will be created to develop a system for universal health care in the state. On January 1, 2011, this board will be giving lawmakers recommendations for the health care plan. Called SustiNet, the plan will cover almost all of the 3.5 million residents of Connecticut, including the 350,000 residents of the state who do not have coverage.
 
In 2006, Massachusetts enacted a law that made health coverage compulsory. It was the first state to do so in the U.S., and it brought health coverage within the reach of people who cannot afford it by providing subsidies and by reforming the industry. Maine and Vermont are also in the process of advancing their health care reforms.
 
Connecticut will be building a system around a health insurance pool that includes employees of the state and Medicaid participants. The pool would eventually be expanded to include private employers and residents who require individual health insurance.

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08/05/2009

Robert Reich, the labor secretary during the Clinton administration, spoke to healthcare executives on Thursday in San Francisco. Reich said that Obama must “start knocking heads” on the health reform issue if he wants a bill from Congress by this fall.
 
He also said that the president has learned from Bill Clinton’s mistakes. Unlike Clinton’s reform proposals in the 1990s, Obama did not send Congress a bill that he knew would not be passed at all.
 
Reich also said that Obama should have begun working on the issue two weeks in advance. Obama is now at risk of Congress adjourning and leaving the bill unsettled. With this, the opponents of the package will have time to plan their attacks. Reich was the speaker at the Leadership Summit that was sponsored by the American Hospital Association and Health Forum.
 
Even so, Reich said that “you will see an Obama bill.” He added that “Obama will play his cards” when a Senate and House joint committee works on the legislation. Reich is now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a regular commentator on political policy and economic issues.
 
Reich also said that the president will be adamant in adding standards to the insurance of medical malpractice. He also said that Obama as well as Obama’s allies are now more interested with HMO-style pre-paid health care and the accountable care provided by integrated systems such as the Cleveland Clinic or the Mayo Clinic. Obama and his allies are becoming aware that offering coverage to those who are uninsured is only a piece of the health reform puzzle.

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08/05/2009

President Barack Obama currently travels the country to promote health care reform. Obama brought his campaign for the health care revamp to a public forum on Thursday near the Midwestern city of Cleveland, Ohio.
 
With the increasing number of Americans getting skeptical about his overhaul plan on the American health care system, and with the growing costs of health plans, the president has become more determined to gain support for his health care reform campaign.
 
“We can rescue our economy,” Obama said. “We can rebuild it stronger than before. We can achieve quality, affordable health care for every single American. That is what we are called upon to do. That is what we will do, with your help, Ohio.”
 
The president seeks major and bold changes in the nation’s medical care system that costs $2.4 trillion. The United States is the major industrialized nation that does not have a comprehensive health care system.
 
The president emphasized that changing the nation’s health care system can no longer wait. “We spend one of every six of our dollars on health care in America, and that is on track to double in the next three decades,” said the president.
 
But the Congress’ top Democratic lawmakers have left their plans to meet Obama’s deadline for voting on his reform. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said senators will not vote on Obama’s plan before their recess in August, as the president had wanted. Reid said more work is still necessary to come up with the right plan.
 
Obama stressed that there is a sense of urgency about the issue, saying “I have no problem, if I think people are really working through all these issues in making sure that we get it right. But I do not want a delay just because of politics.”

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08/05/2009

President Barack Obama and other Democrats in Congress are pursuing a new health insurance plan. According to nonpartisan budget experts, this health plan would work with private insurance companies without forcing them to shut their doors.
 
Good news for Democratic ears, the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate comes as officials pushed for progress on the health care reform before the recess in August.
 
Democrats had a meeting on Monday afternoon with their allies in the House, and, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a floor vote may still be pushed through in the coming days. Meanwhile, negotiations between a small number of Republican and Democratic lawmakers resumed in order to find a compromise.
 
Democratic dissension has slowed the progress of legislative work from the President’s strict timetable.
 
Two weeks ago, Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf infuriated congressional Democrats and the White House with his statement in Congress about the House bill’s inability to control health care costs due to lack of mechanisms.
 
In order to disprove allegations that their proposal would make way for a federal takeover of the commercial and private health insurance industry, Democrats are now backing a suggestion from the budget office for a government insurance option that will not harm private insurance companies.
 
Given the unclear projections about how an actual reformed health care system would work, the controversy has yet to have an end in sight.
 
Poll results show that Americans favor a public coverage option as a component of the health care system reform. However, both employer groups and the insurance industry fear that a government-run insurance option will destroy private insurers.

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08/05/2009



Medicare has greatly improved its services and health plans; however, there are still many eligible persons who find it difficult to pay for their share of expenses, especially for prescription drugs, and even for their Medicare premium. Individuals, who only rely on their Social Security benefits, or those with a relatively low income, may not be capable of paying all the costs. For this reason, they can avail themselves of the following assistance programs: Supplemental Security Income Benefits (SSI), Medicaid, Medicare Savings Programs, and others.
 
Supplemental Security Income Benefits (SSI) is a benefit provided by the Social Security Administration office to individuals with limited income, or to those who are blind, disabled, or are aged 65 years and above. SSI benefits are given every month to cover a member’s basic needs.
 
Medicaid is a program jointly administered by the State and Federal governments. Persons who qualify for this usually have all their health care costs covered in full. Income level qualifications for this program vary depending on the state.
 
Medicare Savings Programs are state-level Medicare programs designed to assist citizens in paying for their Medicare premiums, coinsurance percentages, and deductibles. A person must have Medicare Part A to qualify for this.
 
Additionally, individuals with limited income may avail themselves of Medical Prescription drug assistance. If eligible, he or she will get financial assistance for the premium every month, the annual deductible, and some selected medication plans. For queries regarding qualifications for this program, concerned persons may contact their Social Security Administration office.

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08/05/2009

Access to health insurance usually requires a steady income. Most insurance plans in the United States are provided by employers through group insurance plans and as a result unemployed Americans are frequently at a disadvantage with regards to obtaining affordable health insurance.
 
Thanks to some federal programs and numerous private insurance companies, unemployed Americans and their families can now get short-term medical insurance. Among the federal programs that offer subsidies to employees who wish to continue their health insurance after losing their job is the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA).
 
COBRA helps pay 65% of the former worker’s insurance premium for up to nine months. COBRA provisions, however, only cover those who lost their job involuntarily. It also applies to those whose employment was terminated for a reason other than gross misconduct. Workers who are made redundant as a result of a large layoff may also obtain the subsidy. Applicants must be eligible for employer-provided health insurance the day before their last date of work.
 
COBRA is an excellent choice for those who are able to plan their resignation. However, it can be very expensive, with an average monthly payment of $700 for families. In 2003 only 7% of laid-off workers could afford COBRA.
 
For someone who is expecting to get another job soon or those who just lost their student health insurance plan, finding other short-term health insurance may be a better option. A typical short-term insurance policy offers six months of coverage, although some cover up to one year.
 
Health coverage of up to $2 million, low monthly premiums and fast approval of applications make short-term coverage a good option for anybody who is still in the transition process.
 

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08/05/2009

With so many different health insurance plans to choose from and so many people without any health insurance at all, prescription drugs can be expensive and difficult for many Americans to obtain.  Many people who require daily medication face financial hardship while struggling to afford their prescriptions; some even find themselves having to choose between the drugs they need and paying their bills.  No one should have to make decisions like this.  There are many options available for those who need help with the cost of their prescription medications.
Several programs help patients obtain prescriptions for free or at a discount, regardless of their health insurance coverage.  The Janssen Ortho Patient Assistance Foundation offers free prescriptions donated by a group of companies to patients who meet qualification guidelines.  The Partnership for Prescription Assistance is a clearing house that helps patients locate the best discount or free prescription programs available and assists with applications and enrollment.  Together Rx Access works directly with several pharmaceutical companies to provide discounts on many different medications.  For people aged 65 and over who qualify for Medicare, the optional Part D plan provides coverage for prescriptions.  Many states also have programs to help qualifying patients receive help with the cost of prescriptions.
Most health plans offer some form of prescription drug coverage.  If you decide to use your insurance to help with the cost of medications be sure that you understand the particular rules set out by your policy terms.  Many insurers cover only a select group of drugs, while others require co-pays for prescriptions.  These out-of-pocket expenses can vary depending on the kind of medication.  Some plans restrict or exclude medications that are not prescribed by a network provider or those not deemed medically necessary.  Consult your policy before making a decision.
Independent prescription plans are an increasingly attractive option for many people.  These programs give consumers discount cards to use when buying prescriptions.  If your health insurance does not cover a medication you have been prescribed or does not offer prescription coverage at all, purchasing one of these plans could be a good alternative to paying for medications out of pocket.  There is usually an annual fee for participation in a plan, and plans can be offered through a variety of sources including pharmaceutical companies, drug stores or pharmacies, insurance companies, and non-profit organizations.  There is a lot of variation between plans, but they are generally structured in tiers and charge fees based on a sliding scale of factors.  Discounts also vary, but generic drugs are usually much cheaper than name-brand medications.  It is very important to carefully research several different prescription plans before making a decision.  Consider what medications you need, whether you can substitute generics for name brands, and how often you purchase your prescriptions.  You may even need to participate in more than one plan if you take many different prescriptions.
Prescription medication can be expensive, especially if you require daily treatments to keep you healthy.  Consider one of these options to help you get the prescriptions you need without breaking the bank. 

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08/05/2009

As unemployment rates continue to climb, more Americans who were previously insured through an employer or union suddenly find themselves without health coverage.  For these people, short term health insurance is an affordable option that can provide a much-needed temporary safety net.  A product of the Congressional Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985—COBRA—is one of these options.
The idea behind COBRA health coverage is fairly simple.  The plan allows workers who have been laid-off to continue to purchase health insurance from their former employer for a set period of time following their dismissal.  The term of a COBRA policy is generally 18 to 36 months, and the plan is meant to protect workers while they search for another job or consider alternative options for health care coverage.  Employers are required by federal law to provide information about COBRA plans to laid-off workers, but COBRA is not always a good fit.  In fact, the majority of laid-off workers choose to forego COBRA coverage altogether in favor of more viable options.
While COBRA coverage is intended to provide care for healthy people who have recently lost their jobs and to act as added security in an unsteady job market, it can be cost-prohibitive for newly laid-off workers who have lost their source of income, and may be impossible to obtain for those with serious medical conditions or health risk factors.  COBRA policy premiums are more expensive, as workers who purchase the policy are required to take on the added cost of the portion of the premium that their employer once paid.  So workers are paying more for the same coverage.  For people with serious medical concerns the cost of care and treatment, even with a COBRA plan, could put coverage completely out of reach.  Furthermore, COBRA is not always offered by employers.  For example, when a company chooses to drop group medical coverage for existing employees or has filed for bankruptcy, it is not required to extend COBRA to laid-off workers.
Recent federal legislation tied to President Obama’s economic stimulus package has provided some relief for workers considering COBRA.  Under Obama’s plan, laid-off workers who purchase COBRA coverage can receive government subsidies for up to nine months that cover about 65 percent of COBRA premiums.  The subsidies are offered to workers who involuntarily lost their jobs between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009.  This has made COBRA health plans a much more realistic option for many unemployed people.  There are restrictions, however:  Individuals with annual income over $125,000 and married couples with annual income over $250,000 are not eligible for the program. 
Even with this help from the federal government, COBRA may not be the most affordable health insurance coverage available for laid-off workers.  It certainly pays to do some research into alternatives such as short-term major medical plans, state-sponsored programs, or a spouse or partner’s employer-sponsored coverage.  Researching these other options before necessity sets in is wise, as it allows workers the luxury of time and the opportunity to consider all factors before making an informed choice.            
 

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08/05/2009

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08/05/2009

Medicaid is a federally-sponsored health insurance plan that serves low income individuals and their families.  As the third largest provider of medical insurance in the US, the program makes it possible to get health care for those who would otherwise have to go without because of financial difficulties.
Medicaid generally covers three types of crucial protection:  insurance for low-income families with children and people with disabilities, long-term care for older Americans and those who are disabled and supplemental coverage for low-income Medicare beneficiaries to pay for services not covered by Medicare, including co-pays, deductibles, premiums and the cost of prescriptions.  No monies are paid directly to Medicaid recipients; all funds associated with care go instead to the providers offering treatment.
Each state sets its own guidelines for Medicaid.  States decide on income limits, program benefits, and which services are covered or excluded.  Some states require patients to pay a nominal fee for doctor visits and other services.  Requirements for eligibility range from state to state, as well.  However, typical factors that influence eligibility include a patient’s age, disability status, pregnancy, legal blindness, income level and financial resources such as bank accounts, property, or other assets; and citizenship or immigration status.  There are special qualification rules for those living in nursing homes and for disabled children living at home.  The program covers children provided they are US citizens or lawfully documented immigrants, even if their parents are not. Program specifics vary greatly from state to state; check with your state’s Medicaid office to find out the particular regulations for your location.
Income level is just one factor that determines a person’s eligibility for Medicaid enrollment.  Financial hardship alone is not enough to qualify someone for coverage and Medicaid does not provide coverage for all poor persons.  In order to be eligible for the program, applicants must meet income level limits and fall into one of the following categories:
-Pregnant women, married or single -Infant children of women on Medicaid -Children under age 18 -Disabled children under age 18 being treated in a 24-hour nursing facility who could be cared for at home with access to money for special services -People aged 65 and over who are blind or disabled -Patients who are terminally ill and desire hospice care -People being treated in 24-hour nursing facilities who could be cared for at home with access to money for special services -People leaving welfare programs and in need of medical coverage -Those who are pregnant, under age 18, over age 65, blind or disabled with very high existing medical bills they cannot pay.
Once Medicaid eligibility is determined, coverage is usually retroactive up to three months prior to the approval date, provided the applicant would have qualified for Medicaid during that time period.  Program eligibility stops as soon as a participant’s financial circumstances improve enough to put them over the income limit set by the state.  Each state employs several qualified caseworkers to help potential applicants determine their Medicaid eligibility status and benefits according to state regulations.

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08/05/2009

Medicare is a federal health insurance plan for individuals over the age of 65, or for any disabled person under the age of 65 and any person with end-stage kidney disease.  There are four basic parts to the Medicare structure:  Part A, which covers hospital care; Part B, which is traditional medical insurance and covers doctor visits and other services; Part C, sometimes called Medicare Advantage and only offered in certain areas of the country; and Part D, which is optional prescription drug coverage.
Once a person is eligible for Medicare, there is a seven-month enrollment period.  This includes three months before the applicant’s 65th birthday, the month of the applicant’s birthday and three months after the applicant’s 65th birthday.  Program registration is automatic if the applicant is already receiving Social Security benefits or railroad retirement income, or by self-enrollment if neither of these conditions applies. 
Upon initial enrollment, all Medicare recipients are automatically covered by Part A for hospital bills.  There is no premium for this part of the program; funds come from Medicare taxes paid during an individual’s working years.  Part B coverage is optional and pays for doctor visits, outpatient procedures and other services; a monthly premium is required.  To avoid paying more for Part B coverage one must still be working and enrolled in an employer-sponsored health insurance plan at the time of Medicare eligibility, or purchase Part B coverage within eight months of the end of a group policy protection.  It is generally wise to sign up for Part B coverage upon initial Medicare enrollment, regardless of employment status at the time of eligibility.
Medicare Part D prescription coverage is also optional and available to all eligible recipients regardless of income level or health status.  Registration is required and coverage for prescription medications is provided through an approved private insurer.  Costs for prescriptions will vary depending on the plan and there are penalties if Part D enrollment is delayed upon initial Medicare registration.  The only way to avoid these penalties is to have been covered through an employer or union at the time of enrollment.
Medigap coverage, also called Medicare supplemental insurance, is an increasingly popular option for many Medicare enrollees.  This insurance, purchased through a private underwriter, helps bridge gaps in Medicare coverage.  These policies pay for things like deductibles and co-pays, while some provide additional services not offered by Medicare.  Most states require these plans to be standardized to allow consumers to compare them more easily.  Applicants have up to six months following Medicare enrollment to purchase gap insurance without penalty for pre-existing conditions or medical history.  This open enrollment period happens just once and finding coverage later on could be more difficult, as some companies deny protection for certain conditions.  Those who are still employed or covered by a spouse’s work policy can save their open enrollment until it is needed.
Contact your local Social Security office for more information about Medicare, program eligibility, enrollment procedures and coverage options.
 

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08/05/2009

For those who cannot afford private health insurance, there are several public health insurance options available.

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08/05/2009

State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP) were established by the federal government in the late 1990s to provide health insurance to children in families living at or below the national poverty line who do not qualify for Medicaid.  SCHIPs are meant to protect children whose working families make too much to be eligible for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private health insurance.  The program is administered by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
At its inception in 1997, SCHIPs were the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded health insurance coverage for children in the US since Medicaid began in the 1960s.  Several attempts have been made recently to expand SCHIP coverage and funding in order to reach an increasing number of uninsured children, but each measure was met with opposition by federal lawmakers.  Finally, in February 2009, President Barack Obama signed a bill extending SCHIP coverage to an additional four million children and pregnant women. This bill also eliminated the waiting period for legal immigrants to begin receiving coverage.
Every state has an SCHIP. Each state has the flexibility to design its own plans and maintain control over their state-specific eligibility requirements and kinds of coverage offered while working within broader federal guidelines.  States have several options when structuring SCHIP.  The funds can be used to expand income limits for Medicaid, which opens up public-sponsored health insurance to more children. An SCHIP can operate as a completely separate entity -- independent of Medicaid -- or states can create a program that combines these two approaches.
Eligibility requirements vary by state, but most states stipulate that uninsured children in families that earn up to twice the amount of the national poverty level qualify for SCHIP.  Some states set higher income limits, while a few states have lower limits.
SCHIP coverage also varies by state, with some states offering more comprehensive care to program participants than others.  In broadest terms, SCHIP provides necessary well-child care, regular check-ups, immunizations, dental care, and treatment of illnesses for millions of children who would otherwise go without medical care.  Studies have shown that children enrolled in SCHIP are nearly two times more likely to see a doctor and get routine dental care on a consistent basis than children who do not have any health insurance at all.
SCHIP is vitally important for the millions of American families struggling to pay for medical care.  In just the first seven years of SCHIP existence, from 1998 to 2005, the number of uninsured children dropped by nearly three million; despite the continued growth of child poverty populations and the significant decline in the number of children whose families have access to employer-sponsored health insurance.  The number of children enrolled in SCHIPs has steadily increased since the program’s inception, and the latest legislation amendments should continue these positive results.
As the current economic recession continues to drag on, SCHIPs provide some relief for working parents who cannot afford health insurance.  At the very least, their children—some of the most vulnerable victims of the healthcare crisis—can have access to quality medical and dental care through SCHIP.
 
 

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08/05/2009

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08/05/2009

The bill that will merge with H.R. 3200, or the America's Affordable Health Choices Act, has been approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee with a 31-28 vote.
 
H.R. 3200 is a version that was passed by the House Ways and Means and Education and Labor committees and was approved on August 3. On September 8, it will be voted on by Congress after its summer recess.
 
The passing of H.R. 3200 was not favored by many employers, insurers and the public. Protests have been staged by conservative voters and America's Health Plans at town hall meetings held by members of Congress.
 
The reform on said act has, however, been postponed by the senate until September. The version from the Senate Finance Committee is expected to be more conservative than the version put forth by Congress.
 
“We're still waiting for the Finance Committee to take action. That really is what folks are waiting for now,” said the senior counsel on health policy, Kathryn Wilber, at the American Benefits Council in Washington.
 
H.R. 3200 creates a health insurance program that competes with private insurers. The Senate’s version is expected to widen the options with the inclusion of nonprofit and state-sponsored cooperatives.
 
Advocates of the public plan, the Obama administration and most Democrats, have been taking into consideration the benefits to the citizens who will subscribe to health insurance plans. The pros firmly believe that the public program will give rise to greater competition among insurers.
 
According to Watson Wyatt Worldwide’s senior consultant, Steve Raetzman, the Senate Finance Committee is considering proposals that do not appeal at all to employers, but the hope is that an improved version will eventually receive bipartisan support.
 

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08/05/2009

To win the White House, President Barack Obama and his associates created a wide, grass-roots network of volunteers and supporters, considered to be among the most important assets in American politics. The network’s goal after the election was to restructure itself into a ground-level force to push Obama’s health care reform.
 
But currently, as a crucial congressional break is approaching, Obama’s health care plan is facing stiff opposition. A few member of Obama’s network said the group is still thinking about how to operate. Some also said they are being slowed by several factors, including tension and disenchantment among some essential supporters.
 
In Chester, Va., Obama supporter Beth Kimbriel volunteers 40 hours a week to convince people to give their support to Obama’s health care reform. But with critics of the health plan disseminating what she calls false information, Kimbriel finds it hard to be convincing every time she presents Obama’s position.
 
Also, in Cary, N.C., Murray Silverstone, who said he is eager to pitch in on Obama’s health care battle, wonders why Obama staff people arrived late in his area. It took five weeks for Obama’s supporters to reach his area to restructure the campaign system.
 
"It wasn't clear to us why there was such a delay," said Silverstone, an astronomer who volunteers to work supporting Obama’s campaign amid his research and college teaching.
 
Even with an increasing number of people being sceptical about Obama’s plan, Democrats are still hoping the August break will give them a chance to explain the health care system overhaul to the public. But Republicans are also as determined to use the break to disrupt town hall meetings of the Democrats.

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08/05/2009

The supporters of the recently launched faith-based, pro-health reform campaign clarified that those involved in the campaign are not pushing for a particular health reform plan. But supporters also said they are taking a “moral position” on the health plan issue.
 
“This isn’t a political issue, it is a deeply theological issue, a biblical issue, and a moral issue,” said Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners. “So we are not going to at any time during the debate weigh in on the particulars of policy questions… [We’ll] leave the plumbing to the politicians.”
 
The “40 Days for Health Reform” campaign was launched by Wallis and other religious leaders. The campaign involves religious leaders from across America who will push Congress to submit legislation that will help offer more options for affordable health plans in America.
 
The group also sponsored television ads featuring Catholic leaders, local evangelicals, pastors, and other religious people. The group has been leading prayer rallies and events to reach 100 members of Congress.
 
National Healthcare Sermon Weekend, scheduled at the end of this month, will be observed by Christian, Jewish, and Muslim clergy who will speak about health care reform in congregations nationwide.
 
Some of the events scheduled for September include candlelight vigils and visits to Congress members.
 
Evangelical pastor John Hay, Jr., of the West Morris Street Free Methodist Church in Indianapolis, explained in a teleconference what inspired him to participate in the campaign.
 
“As pastor of an urban core church within walking distance of major hospitals, it seemed like some people in our congregation might as well have lived a 1,000 miles away from those shining institutions,” Hay said.
 
“They often put off a serious health problem until it reaches chronic stages and then make an emergency run,” he said. “This is no way for the most blessed country in the world to treat its most vulnerable citizens.”

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08/05/2009

The Republican Senator Charles Grassley, a key player in the controversy surrounding the health care system overhaul, faced crowds that showed little doubt that they’re unhappy with what's on the table.
 
"It seems to me that people are expressing, not just on health care, but people are just very scared about the direction the country is taking," said Grassley and accentuated that he has not signed off on anything.
 
Grassley, who is a ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, has been bargaining for a compromise health plan to get some Republican votes.
 
"I don't want the government or a bureaucrat working for the government to come between you and your doctor," said Grassley. "I think the stakes are very, very high."
 
The forums arranged by several federal lawmakers have presented challenges for the administration of President Barack Obama as it struggles to win over those who are skeptical about a costly plan for health care system reform.
 
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill and Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter were among those who held raucous town hall meetings on Tuesday. On Wednesday in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Specter stated that the health care protesters are "not necessarily representative of America" but should be listened to.
 
"There's more anger out there now than I have ever seen before," the Democrat said. "And I think the anger is caused by so many people having lost their jobs and (being) worried about losing their health insurance."
 
In North Dakota, an angry crowd packed a hall in Casselton to speak to Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan, with just a few signs of support for the health care overhaul plan. A woman was booed by the crowd after saying the reform is important.

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08/05/2009

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce started running its TV ad on Wednesday warning Americans that the health care overhaul would increase the deficit and raise taxes. The TV ad came after President Barack Obama emphasized that his health care plan would not add to the nation’s deficit.
 
"Washington's latest health reform idea: a trillion-dollar health plan and a government-run public option with big tax increases, even on health benefits," says a narrator in the Chamber's ad. "And the federal deficit? The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the federal deficit will grow $239 billion."
 
"Inflated taxes, swelling deficits, and expanded government control of your health --- tell Congress let's slow down, and reform health care the right way," the narrator concludes.
 
Changing the nation’s health care system to provide more health-plan options to uninsured Americans is among the top domestic priorities of Obama in his first year in office.
 
The first to accomplish markup of a bill was the Senate Health Committee. Recently, the Senate Health Committee approved a $600 billion measure created by Senator Ted Kennedy, which has a public health plan option. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Kennedy’s bill would cost $1 billion over 10 years.
 
The Republicans believe the President’s "bureaucratic takeover of health care" will affect businesses, increase deficit, and raise taxes.
 
"The creation of a new government-run insurance plan is a step in the wrong direction," the Chamber wrote. "We do not believe that the government plan will be a fair competitor. Because of the increased costs and lack of competition caused by a government plan, employers will not be able to continue offering their current plans, which cover more than 170 million Americans."

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08/05/2009

Officials of the Oklahoma Employee Benefits Council were happy to reveal that the state was successful in recent negotiations for HMO contracts that would cover 37,000 employees. The negotiated price was $30 million less than the original contract.
 
The state predicts an average cost increase of 5.86% in vision, dental, and health benefit plans in 2010, as compared to the finance office’s estimate of 12.88%, and Hewitt Associates’ projected an 11.8% average nationwide increase. But according to Brian King, a council spokesman, members of those HMOs will be subject to higher co-pay and out-of-pocket expenses.
 
In a planned statement, Chairman Bryce Fair said, “The council has a difficult balance to achieve, especially with the current economic situation. We’re determined to protect the needs of state employees and their families, while at the same time weighing the financial challenges of state agencies.”
 
Executive Director Philip K. Kraft commented, “Our contract negotiations with the HMOs are an exhaustive effort that requires many hours from the council members and staff. Without this effort, the costs would be significantly higher. We work hard to minimize the impact of rising health care costs on the employees, state agencies and taxpayers.”
 
According to council officials, the increases were lowered by means of “tireless, meticulous negotiations,” as well as the assistance of Gallagher Benefits Consulting Services.
 
Both standard and alternative plans offered by the participating HMOs are in turn offered by the Employee Benefits Council to state employees. Higher premium costs and lower co-pays are featured in standard plans, while lower premium costs and higher co-pays are typical of alternative plans. There will be an overall increase of 3.91% in standard plans and 8.69% on alternative plans.

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08/05/2009

When one looks for a health insurance plan, one may have difficulty choosing between a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). The common ground on which HMOs and PPOs stand is the concept of a primary care physician (PCP), who represents the first contact for the medical care of a member. But what actual differences are there between HMOs and PPOs?
 
An HMO requires a patient to select a PCP from the HMO network. This PCP will be the one responsible for the maintenance of the patient’s health. This physician will also be the one to refer the patient to other physicians within the same HMO network for specialist care, should the need arise. A patient may not see a specialist without being referred by his or her PCP.
 
In a PPO, on the other hand, a patient may get medical care from any medical provider, even if the provider is not a member of the PPO network.
 
The advantages of an HMO are the premiums, which are usually lower, and the absence of deductibles to meet. Another advantage is that there is only one PCP responsible for the patient’s overall health maintenance. The benefit of this lies in the fact that the PCP will be very familiar with the medical background of the patient.
 
On the other hand, the advantage of a PPO is that a patient is not bound to a single doctor. Also, a patient does not need to be referred by his or her PCP should he or she wish to see a specialist.

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03/05/2007
The House has passed legislation to require the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries. Action now moves to the Senate. Quality health care is essential for the well-being of our nation's children and families. Children's access to quality health care can impact their ability to learn and succeed in school. The number of uninsured Americans has grown significantly over the past three years, escalating from 41.2 million in 2001 to 46.6 million in 2005.

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03/05/2007
James Heskett is a Baker Foundation Professor at Harvard Business School. More Working Knowledge from James HeskettJames Heskett - Faculty Research Page Healthcare will grab more and more headlines in the U.S. in the coming months. Any service that is on track to consume 40 percent of the gross national product of the world's largest economy by the year 2050 will be hard to ignore. Business management already feels the effects of healthcare costs more acutely than most consumers. Several recent studies and proposals shed light on the problem and possible solutions. They leave us with questions, too. To put things in perspective, U.S.

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03/05/2007
THE Department of Health is under fire for going ahead with a R9billion plan that, it is believed, will leave the two million people in Mdantsane and other communities without hospitals with specialist services. Mike Basopu, chairperson of the Health portfolio committee, and Democratic Nursing Association of South Africa (Denosa) shop steward Edward Maseti complained that they have not been consulted about the department's plans to implement the major changes. The department has so far kept details of its plan - scheduled to be in place by the end of May - a secret.

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03/05/2007
There are many reasons to oppose Gov. Schwarzenegger';s flawed plan to ‘reform'; California';s health care system. Below are my top 5. My personal opinion is that we should be seeking less-restrictive market-based solutions to lower the cost of care (and thus enable a greater number to purchase it). 1. ";Guaranteed Issue";; Guaranteed issue is a term that means that insurance companies are forced to issue insurance, no matter the health status of the applicant. Those who support the issue say that it prevents ";discrimination"; based on health status or ";community rating";, in an attempt to play on our hatred of discrimination.

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03/05/2007
Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou emerged from several weeks of inertia looking fine. Greeks who have been asking "Is the young man slipping?" had their worst fears banished on Saturday as he addressed his party's national council conference. It was a noteworthy speech unveilinghis wide-ranging policy platform and the sources of funding his party will tap to pay for its program if elected to government. As if it indicated a good omen of sorts, the moon that evening turned shades of yellowish-brown and pink as it passed behind the Earth's shadow. It was the first total lunar eclipse in three years.

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03/05/2007
State Watch | Mass. Gov. Patrick Announces Monthly Premiums 'Significantly Lower' Than Previous Estimates for Individual Basic Coverage Under State Health Insurance Law [Mar 05, 2007] Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) on Saturday announced that health insurers will offer basic coverage for as low as $175 per month for individuals under the state's health insurance law, the Boston Globe reports. Under state law, residents must obtain health insurance by July 1 or face penalties.

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03/05/2007
Thousands of health workers, patients and members of the public turned out to show their support for the NHS this weekend. From Cumbria to Cornwall and Bolton to Brighton more than 100 rallies, marches and events across England focused widespread attention on the NHS Together day of action. The turnout was a testament to the growing number of people worried about the future of our NHS. There is no doubt in my mind that more NHS workers were galvanised into joining the protests as a reaction to last weeks' pitiful pay announcement for nurses and other health professionals. The government is short changing nurses by staging the 2.

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03/04/2007
President Bush's health insurance proposals for the tax code would increase tax revenues by $526 billion through 2017, according to a preliminary estimate from the Joint Committee on Taxation that "is stunningly different from the administration's estimates as well as those from other independent analysts," the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Joint Committee on Taxation's analysis found that the president's plans initially would reduce federal revenue if they went into effect in 2009 as Bush has proposed.

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03/04/2007
Rhode Island's Patrick J. Kennedy was one of two Congressmen to embark on a national tour this winter to gather testimony for legislation that would ensure health plans offer fair coverage for mental health and addiction care. Kennedy, a Democrat in the House of Representatives, and Jim Ramstad, a Republican from Minnesota, held forums in major cities across the country as part of the Campaign to Insure Mental Health and Addiction Equity. They gathered testimony from citizens who lives have been touched by mental illness and addiction.

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03/04/2007
BOSTON (AP) - The average uninsured Massachusetts residents could obtain health care coverage for as little as $175 a month under the state's insurance law, Gov. Deval Patrick announced Saturday as he released the results of negotiations with the state's health insurers. The lowest monthly premium is far lower than an earlier estimate of $380 a month suggested by some insurers. "This is a big improvement from the first round of bids and a big step forward for health care reform," Patrick said. "The health security that was the point of health care reform will be delivered at an affordable price.

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03/04/2007
There is no shortage of options. But some of these options would hit the pockets of federal employees if they were to see the light of day. The CBO has pulled together a list of options for increasing revenue and decreasing expenses. Keep in mind, these are only options. Some have been considered before and did not get very far. But, to keep up with events that could have an impact on your financial future, remember that what Congress gives, it can also take away. Here is a quick summary of some of the more significant proposals for federal employees.

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03/04/2007
JOHN MCLENDON has been Bayfront Medical Center's CIO and VP since 2002. He has an MBA and more than 20 years of IT experience, 10 of those in healthcare. Prior to Bayfront in St. Petersburg, McLendon was systems director for a 30-hospital system in Phoenix. He shares his thoughts on issues affecting healthcare technology. "For many reasons, hospitals are becoming paperless and filmless," he says. Among those reasons: patient safety and satisfaction, clinical and business efficiency and cost savings. Paving the way, he says, are two technologies: Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Picture Archival and Communications System (PACS).

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03/04/2007
WASHINGTON -; President Bush';s health insurance proposals would cost taxpayers $526 billion through 2017, according to a preliminary estimate from Congress'; Joint Committee on Taxation. One Democratic lawmaker jumped on the figure Tuesday to describe the proposal as a tax increase. The projection, which comes from the committee';s nonpartisan staff, is stunningly different from the administration';s estimates as well as those from other independent analysts.

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03/04/2007
WASHINGTON, March 2 — Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey was forced to resign Friday over the handling of revelations that wounded soldiers were receiving shabby and slow treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Even as the grim-faced defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, announced Mr. Harvey’s dismissal, the Army put a new general in charge of the hospital, the second change of command in two days, and a clear signal that Mr. Gates wanted a clean break from the status quo.

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03/03/2007
The Yugoslavia of 1991 bears little resemblance to the one established by the 1914 Constitution that set up a Federal State comprising six republics (with two autonomous regions in the republic of Serbia) and a collective Federal Presidency as the supreme state organ. Effective civilian federal authority collapsed in 1991 as the republics and various independence movements decisively rejected that authority and escalating ethnic animosities propelled the country into a vicious armed conflict. The Federal Government?

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03/03/2007
It is a chilling experience that everyone has faced or heard about. Somebody was wailing for urgent medical care and you were clueless on whose door to knock seeking help. There was no easy-to-remember number that you could recall. Crucial time was lost trying to hunt down the number of the family physician. Now, if you were in London, all you had to do was dial 999 and within minutes medical aid would have reached you. Estimates say a sound EMS system reduces mortality rate of emergency cases to one third. India, which witnesses 142 deaths for every 10,000 vehicles - the highest in the world - stands as a paradox.

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03/03/2007
The national day of action was organised by NHS Together, a combination of unions and local NHS staff groups. The protests aim to highlight that services are under increasing threat from budget deficits and privatisation. NHS workers protesting in east London told libcom.org that their workplaces have already seen many cuts and that more were in the pipeline, while staff in Brighton said that on top of nearly 20% of the workforce already being cut, retiring and leaving staff are not being replaced putting pressure on remaining staff to take on extra workload to compensate.

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03/03/2007
Yellow pack, Harney's public health service What is the mixed economy of welfare and why, despite Mary Harney's assurances in that, what she is doing is really in the interest of all the Irish people and not a back door method of promoting the privatisation of our health service in the interest of the doctors and consutant's who collectively and directly contribute to the demise of the same public heath service from within.

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03/03/2007
CHILDREN'S DEFENSE FUND UNVEILS FICTIONAL PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN TO ADDRESS CHILD HEALTH CRISIS One Child Stands Up for the 9 Million Children in the U.S. Without Health Insurance Washington, DC-;There are more than nine million children in the United States who are currently without health insurance, and the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) believes some of our elected officials are not doing enough to solve the problem. As a result, CDF today is announcing the launch of "Elect Susie," an integrated marketing campaign designed to build awareness for its legislative plan to provide all children in America with health insurance.

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03/03/2007
WASHINGTON (AP) -- On Thursday, when Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey fired the general in charge at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, amid outcries over poor treatment of wounded soldiers, Defense Secretary Robert Gates applauded. On Friday, when Gates learned who Harvey had chosen as the interim replacement -- another general under scrutiny for his role at Walter Reed -- Gates dumped Harvey, forcing him out without the embarrassment of a public firing. That turnabout, unfolding at a speed rarely seen in the Pentagon, tells much about Gates. Less than three months in the job, after replacing Donald H.

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03/03/2007
Print is terminally ill. Ask the experts, and they'll say the industry has only so many years left before everything is created, recorded, transmitted, received and stored electronically. They point to the health care market in particular, where the call for electronic records has been gathering steam. Distributors and manufacturers offer a second opinion. The health care industry is growing tremendously, and their companies are growing with it-through sales of printed products. By targeting private practices and hospitals, they've reinvigorated their business. The best part: Health care industry growth shows no sign of slowing down soon.

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03/03/2007
The House has met its first deadline of February 22, 2007, which was the last day that all Committees had to report Bills that will be going to a second Committee. It is very important that the Legislature set up and follow a calendar of deadlines in order to avoid in a huge jam at the end of the Session! Thursday, April 12, 2007, will be another key date for the House and Senate deadlines as this is what is known as “Crossover Day.” All House Bills that have not been killed or retained must cross over to the Senate. The same is true for Senate Bills being crossed over to the House.

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03/03/2007
Though sexual violence affects millions around the world every year, deeply entrenched cultural taboos and a lack of political leadership have historically left the issue largely unrecognised in government boardrooms, health ministries, and scientific research. But that may change, as an emerging global initiative argues sexual violence is a legitimate public health and human rights issue that warrants its own research, prevention, and interventions. The Pretoria-based Sexual Violence Research Initiative, or SVRI, was developed in 2000 by a cadre of researchers who saw sexual violence as an issue in urgent need of research and resources.

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03/03/2007
Army secretary ousted By Robert Burns Associated Press Military Writer Article Last Updated: 03/02/2007 11:35:34 PM MST Army Secretary Francis Harvey meets reporters at the Pentagon in this March 23, 2005 file photo. Harvey abruptly stepped down Friday, March 2, 2007, as the Bush administration struggled to cope with the fallout from a scandal over substandard conditions for wounded Iraq soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. (AP file / Manuel Balce Ceneta) Washington - Army Secretary Francis J.

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03/03/2007
WASHINGTON - Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey abruptly stepped down Friday as the Bush administration struggled to cope with the fallout from a scandal over substandard conditions for wounded Iraq soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Harvey's sudden departure was the most dramatic move yet in an escalating removal of commanders with responsibilities over one of the military's highest-profile and busiest medical facilities. Hours earlier, President Bush ordered a comprehensive review of conditions at the nation's network of military and veteran hospitals in the wake of the Walter Reed disclosures.

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03/03/2007
WASHINGTON (AP) - It began with reports of mice and moldy plaster, but after two weeks of outrage, the scandal over poor conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center has claimed several careers -; including the secretary of the Army's. Secretary Francis J. Harvey's abrupt dismissal Friday came under withering criticism from Pentagon chief Robert Gates, who said the Army's response to the substandard conditions for the war-wounded was defensive, and not aggressive enough. And it left the door open for more personnel changes, as investigations continue and Congress prepares for hearings next week.

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03/03/2007
Johnnie Nichols, a civilian Defense Department employee, contributes to a federal pension that will let him retire at age 56, after 32 years of service. His wife, Kimberly, a math teacher at a private business college, has no pension after two decades of teaching and running a horse farm. Their marriage reflects the new world of retirement: government employees who have secure benefits and private workers who increasingly are on their own. "If we were both in her shoes, we'd be in a world of hurt," says Nichols, 45, an information technology manager in Middletown, Ind. "We wouldn't be able to retire until age 67.

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03/03/2007
AMERICUS, Georgia (CNN) -- President Bush assured tornado victims Saturday that help is on the way as he toured towns in Alabama and Georgia that were among the hardest hit by Thursday's storms. Bush called the devastation "hard to describe" as he visited with officials in Americus, Georgia, where the storms had claimed two lives and shut down Sumter Regional Hospital as doctors cared for victims. Sumter is one of six Georgia counties that Gov. Sonny Perdue has declared in a state of emergency. Earlier Saturday, Bush was in Enterprise, Alabama -- where nine people, including eight students in a high school, were killed. He told Gov.

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03/03/2007
It seems worth noting that on two major issues which Senator Whitehouse spoke on the Senate floor about, there was a great deal of media attention and some immediate action. The first issue is the firing of US Attorney Iglesias, which Whitehouse spoke about on Wednesday, and which got media coverage in The New York Times and elsewhere (including on this blog) on Thursday. The second issue which Whitehouse has recently spoken forcefully about is the medical neglect of our Veterans, an issue which I also raised concerns about with Senator Jack Reed in an interview earlier this month.

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03/03/2007
Guyana to be Leprosy free by 2015 - Minister Ramsammy Georgetown, GINA, January 29, 2007 Hansen's disease, commonly referred to as Leprosy, one of the many diseases identified by Minister of Health as neglected, will be eliminated in Guyana by the year 2015. Minister Ramsammy gave this assurance while delivering his World Leprosy Day message on January 28, when Guyana joined the rest of the world to observe the anniversary under the theme “Give Hope.” World Leprosy Day is celebrating 54 years in existence and Guyana is hosting a week of activities.

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03/03/2007
Hogwash! Thank you, Vice-President Cheney, for re-introducing an old-fashioned word that conveys, with no hint of obscenity, the worth of a belief. Like "baloney," "hogwash" connotes preposterousness: only an idiot would believe it. Of course, I think your assertion that American troops are winning the hearts and minds of Iraqis is "hogwash;" but hogwash, like truth in this administration, may lie in the eyes of the speaker. In the health care arena, this administration has given us a few pearls. Hogwash #1: Tax deductions for health insurance will spur a major swathe of the uninsured to sign up. This is the president's promise.

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03/03/2007
"Governor Deval Patrick yesterday unveiled the broad themes of a $26.7 billion spending plan for next year" (Boston Globe) . . . "In addition to the operating budget, the state has set aside $2.789 billion for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, school building assistance, and pension funding" (State House News Service). According to my math, that totals about $29 billion taxpayers' dollars proposed to be spent in the state's next fiscal year, even before we reach the "supplemental budgets" as the fiscal year progresses.

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03/03/2007
Underscoring the need for healthcare reform, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich yesterday launched a new Web site, www.illinoiscovered.com. At this site, the public can learn about the healthcare crisis and its impact here in Illinois. Calling health insurance for all a "fundamental civil right," Blagojevich has made healthcare his top priority. "The healthcare crisis in the United States is very real and very far-reaching. It's not just low-income families that have trouble getting or keeping health coverage; it's middle-class families, hard-working entrepreneurs, and small businesses.

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03/03/2007
Republican Caucus Media Releases Business Owners Invited To Weigh In On Proposed Health Care Reform Assemblyman Bob Huff posts online survey to collect information 2/28/2007For Immediate Release CONTACT: Jennifer Vitela (909) 860-5560 SACRAMENTO - In an attempt to develop feasible solutions to California's health care problems, Assemblyman Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, has created an online survey to solicit information from local businesses. Business owners are invited to discuss the difficulties of balancing affording health care for their employees while staying in business.

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03/03/2007
It';s times like this when I really wish I had access to the Crushkerry.com archives. Because then I could go back and point out how I (and pretty much every other thinking person) realized that one of the biggest betrayals of conservative principles, as well as the current and future taxpayers of this country was the Prescription Drug Bill that the GOP passed in 2003. The saddest part for me was that in pointing this out I had to pillor Tom DeLay, who for years was one of the most courageous conservatives out there who refused to cower in fear of the usual Democrat ";you';re going to make seniors eat dog food"; attacks.

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03/03/2007
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Thanks for coming. Please be seated. (Applause.) Thank you all. Okay, thank you, sit down, please. (Laughter.) That Kentucky whiskey still works. (Laughter.) How about being with the ultimate power couple? (Laughter.) A Secretary in my Cabinet, and a powerful United States Senator. This has got to be good for the state of Kentucky. (Applause.) I heard Elaine talk about Alben Barkley. In other words, Mitch is the second party leader in the United States Senate since -- and the first was Alben Barkley. I don't know how good Alben Barkley was -- this guy is really good for the people of this state.

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03/03/2007
The following Bill was inadvertently omitted from the Second Reading Bills in the Journal of Thursday, February 22, 2007. The corrected entry should read as follows: SECOND READING BILL The following Bill, having been read the second time, was ordered placed on the Third Reading Calendar: S.

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03/02/2007
By Edward D. Spurgeon, Board Member, National Senior Citizens Law Center; and Distinguished Visiting Professor and Holder of the Gordon D. Schaber Chair in Health Law and Policy, Pacific McGeorge School of law Soaring health care costs and almost 47 million uninsured (6.5 million in California alone) are economic and moral imperatives for national health care reform. By any reasonable measures-access, cost and overall health status- the system is broken and must be fixed.

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03/02/2007
California Senator Reintroduces Single-Payer Health System Legislation 02 Mar 2007 California state Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D) on Tuesday for the third time introduced legislation (SB 840) that would eliminate health insurers and create a state-run, single-payer health insurance system, the Los Angeles Times reports. The system would be funded by payroll and income taxes. A 2004 study by the Lewin Group found that a single-payer system in California would expand insurance coverage to 6.5 million uninsured residents and reduce the state's health care spending by about $8 billion.

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03/02/2007
Reproductive health bills approved by Assembly committee Printable Version By ARIANA COHN Legislative Gazette Staff Writer Mon, Mar 5, 2007 A pair of reproductive health bills were passed by the Assembly Health Committee last week, moving forward proposals to enact comprehensive sexual education and promote the availability of emergency contraceptives. The Healthy Teens Act, a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, D-Manhattan, and Sen. George Winner, R,C-Elmira, was introduced in late January to establish funding for sex education program in New York State. The bill was passed unanimously in the committee last week.

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03/02/2007
State Senator Sheila Kuehl formally reintroduced SB 840, her plan to provide medical treatment to all Californians in a crowded press conference n the Governor's press room. The bill has the same number as SB 840 passed last year by the legislature only to be vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger. It is called "The California Universal Health Care Act." Kuehl opened with a detailed statement on her bill which demonstrated her command of the intricate provisions of the 88 page bill and the subject area of health coverage honed from the six years of battle on this issue over three past sessions of the legislature.

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03/02/2007
THE PRESIDENT'S FY 2008 BUDGET & ITS EFFECT ON SENIORS On February 5, 2007, President Bush submitted his Fiscal Year 2008 Budget to the Congress. In his budget, the President estimates the FY 2008 federal deficit will be $239 billion and that our accumulated publicly-held federal debt will reach a record high of $5.3 trillion. He projects that interest payments on our soaring federal debt will cost $261 billion in FY 2008 and will crowd out $1.4 trillion of other spending priorities over the next five years.

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03/02/2007
Californians have been helplessly watching as their health care system just crumbles around them. Families are being forced to assume rapidly escalating cost sharing, reduced benefits, exploding premiums, and for many middle class families, the loss of health care coverage altogether. There's no question. California needs a system of truly universal health care now, more than ever. This is not the time to wait patiently for universal health care. It is time to move forward.

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03/02/2007
That's the explanation he gave during an interview with PBS talk show host Charlie Rose that aired Wednesday night. After talking about education, the National Guard and free trade, Rose said that if he were in politics, he'd rather be governor than hold any other office. Easley agreed. "You can go out and grab a problem by the throat and wrestle it down and do something, and you don`t have to sit around and convince 99 other people or 59 other people to go along with you," Easley said. Rose, a North Carolina native, asked if that meant Easley wasn't planning on running for the Senate in 2008 against incumbent Republican Sen.

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03/02/2007
Our weekly roundup gives you everything you need to know to navigate the cocktail parties this weekend. Without further ado, here are the top eight developments you need to know about what's happening on both sides of the presidential campaign: 1) In a campaign cycle that has seen a series of untraditional announcements-John Edwards by cell phone, Barack Obama by video, Rudy Giuliani on Larry King Live-John McCain maybe topped them all this week: He announced on David Letterman's show. It's hardly a surprise, but the fact that McCain is officially in the race quiets some speculation that his health might have delayed his formal entrance.

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03/02/2007
After last year's bruising campaign season in which Maine's economy was described by partisans either as on the verge of ruin or on the verge of greatness, it's a relief to get an unbiased economic analysis to help guide our thinking about the state's future. That analysis came out of the Maine Development Foundation this week, in a report that is prepared annually for the Maine Economic Growth Council, a bipartisan group of business, political and community leaders in the state.

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03/02/2007
Among numerous indicators of labor's new impact on the political scene since the November elections was a federal appellate court ruling Feb. 20 ordering the Bush administration to explain why it has stalled for eight years on rules that would require companies to provide protective equipment for their workers. Also last week, the Democratic presidential candidates made strong pitches for labor support at a Nevada forum sponsored by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Former Sen. John Edwards declared, "The most important anti-poverty program is the organized labor movement.

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03/02/2007
GRAY, Georgia (STPNS) -- With the 2007 General Assembly session past midpoint, the senators representing Jones County already have success in hand with time remaining for more to come. Senator Cecil Staton co-chaired a study committee working toward a trauma network in Georgia last year, and this year sponsored SB 60 establishing a Georgia Trauma Commission to make it happen. Staton said Georgia has more than nine million people residing in the state but only four level-one trauma centers or hospitals that can treat any emergency.

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03/02/2007
Summary of Union Budget 2007-08 Reduction of duty on petrol and diesel, expanding the safety net for rural poor, additional one per cent cess to fund secondary and higher education and expansion of the service tax net are some of the highlights of the Union Budget 2007-08 presented by the Finance Minister Shri P Chidambaram in Lok Sabha today. On excise duty the Finance Minister has brought down the ad valorem component from 8% to 6% on petrol and diesel. The peak rate of customs duty for non-agricultural products has been slashed from 12.5% to 10%.

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03/02/2007
The concept was simple and not entirely new. Pool all of the school districts in the state together into one insurance pool, appoint experts and those knowledgeable in insurance rates to an Oregon Educators Benefit Board that would leverage the sheer size of the pool and get better rates on insurance plans. The concept would save money statewide and allow more money to stay with each individual school district that could be redirected back into the classrooms.

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03/02/2007
As the President visits New Orleans to talk education, his Gulf Coordinator Office, headed by Donald Powell which Office is under Homeland Security has released a fact sheet to highlights the efforts by the administration. After reading the “fact sheet” please comment upon whether you agree or disagree with the information or opinions in the statement by Powell's office. Also, feel free to comment upon the efforts of Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and Mayor C. Ray Nagin: President Bush continues to fulfill his promise to help rebuild the Gulf Coast-a region devastated by an unprecedented natural disaster .

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03/02/2007
Using Health Saving Accounts to your advantage Health care consumers may realize significant benefits from health savings accounts. Created under the 2003 Medicare Act, an HSA is a tax-favored savings plan offered by many banks, insurance companies, brokerages, and other financial institutions and that can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses. According to the Oregon Society of CPAs, Health Savings Accounts offer significant tax benefits to individuals who qualify. Eligibility: To establish an HSA, you must have coverage under a high deductible health plan.

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03/02/2007
So much is going on in the Indiana General Assembly that it makes my head spin, which makes me dizzy and unfit for driving safely on the roads. That, plus the recent heavy snows, has made me into a hermit. To reenter society, I called Dr. Werner von Fizzle, the only psychologist I know who provides at-home consultations. As he sat down on my couch, Dr. von F asked, ";Do you have some tonic vater?"; I nodded and rose to fill his request. ";And,"; he called after me, ";maybe just a bissel, a bit of gin?"; I returned with his gin and tonic. ";Doctor,"; I said, ";I am confused by a world that seems confused, not just confusing.

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03/02/2007
Perhaps the most challenging task, especially with elderly parents or relatives, is initiating the discussion. Some may perceive it as the first step toward giving up control over their personal affairs. To assuage this concern, we may emphasize that estate planning is about providing the estate owner more control, not less. Legal documents such as wills and trusts are tools that allow us to control the management and distribution of our assets both during life and at death. There is perhaps no way to gain greater control over our assets than to implement time-proven, legal estate planning strategies such as personal trusts.

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03/02/2007
Bully for Bush. The president has achieved another milestone in his mission to bridge the philosophical gap between conservatism and left-liberalism. "The Decider" recently endorsed the socialist concept of a wealth gap and promised to do his level best to level the playing field through the familiar distribution schemes: "helping people afford health insurance and providing more money for education, including increased Pell grants for college," to quote the Wall Street Journal. Some people are richer than others. Others don't like it. It's called envy.

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03/02/2007
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo Wednesday issued a legal opinion to the New York State Housing Finance Agency and State of New York Mortgage Agency stating that these public authorities did not have the right to pay health insurance premiums for current or retired board members. The Attorney General held that past contracts entered into by the agencies that required them to pay retired board members' health insurance premiums were illegal, null and void. The agencies had requested an opinion on the legality of those contracts. HFA and SONYMA have been paying health insurance premiums of board members since 1998.

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03/02/2007
Over the past few years, obesity has become a prominent issue, prompting increasing numbers of organizations, interest groups, and government officials to propose ways of dealing with the "epidemic." Whenever governments plan changes to public policy, it is vital that (a) sound evidence showing government can actually improve the state of affairs relative to the private-market outcome supports the introduction of that policy; (b) the new policy will likely achieve its intended consequence at minimum direct and indirect costs; and (c) it is the best known policy choice available.

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03/01/2007
SACRAMENTO (AP) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made a splash in Washington this week by talking up ";post-partisanship"; and instructing the president to schmooze his political opponents over cigars. But the happy world of political cooperation he urged is not the one he has created at home. If it is bipartisanship, then it is of a very different sort. In California, Schwarzenegger is single-handedly striking deals with the Democratic majority, often leaving his own party on the sidelines and increasingly dejected.

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03/01/2007
Tax credits can adversely impact employer-sponsored insurance (ESI). Some employers currently offering health insurance coverage to their workers may stop doing so if tax credits are available on the spurious assumption that institution of a tax credit will make such coverage in the individual market more affordable for their workers. In fact, individuals and families that are most likely to use tax credits to purchase insurance in the individual market are relatively younger and healthier. Because they typically utilize fewer health services than other groups, they cost less to insure on average.

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03/01/2007
SAMHSA Releases Solicitations for Jail Diversion Grants After passing a spate of legislation promised by members during the 2006 campaign, the 110th Congress has settled down to consider budgetary issues, current and future. In current (FY 2007) funding, programs that help people with disabilities gained a little. But they would lose if Congress were to enact the budget President Bush proffered for next year. The Bazelon Center and other advocates will watch closely as Congress considers the President's proposals and will alert you when it's time for action.

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03/01/2007
The measure won approval on Tuesday from the House Health Committee, the first of several panels that must approve the bill before it heads to the full chamber. The next stop is the Insurance Committee. A similar bill died last summer after being introduced late in the session. Sponsored by Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, the bill would create a pool to allow people with high-risk health conditions to get health insurance at more affordable rates. The pool would be funded through enrollee premiums and insurer assessments. A federal grant would get the program started and pay for operating costs.

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03/01/2007
Administration News | President Bush's Health Care Proposal Would Increase Tax Revenues by $526B Through 2017, According to Joint Committee on Taxation [Mar 01, 2007] President Bush's health insurance proposals for the tax code would increase tax revenues by $526 billion through 2017, according to a preliminary estimate from the Joint Committee on Taxation that "is stunningly different from the administration's estimates as well as those from other independent analysts," the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.

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03/01/2007
Politics and Policy | New York Counties File Lawsuit Against HHS To Prevent Funding Cuts Under Ryan White CARE Act Reauthorization Bill [Mar 01, 2007] Nassau and Suffolk counties in New York state on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against HHS to prevent funding cuts for HIV/AIDS programs under the recently passed Ryan White CARE Act Reauthorization Bill (HR 6143), the Long Island Newsday reports. Under previous CARE Act allocations, the counties received $6.1 million annually in funding for services for people living with HIV/AIDS, according to the Newsday.

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03/01/2007
State Politics & Policy | Actions Taken on HPV Vaccine Proposals in Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota, Virginia [Mar 01, 2007] The following highlights recent news of state actions on human papillomavirus vaccine proposals. Merck's HPV vaccine Gardasil and GlaxoSmithKline's HPV vaccine Cervarix in clinical trials have been shown to be 100% effective in preventing infection with HPV strains 16 and 18, which together cause about 70% of cervical cancer cases.

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03/01/2007
A group of Connecticut lawmakers on Tuesday proposed a $900 million plan to achieve universal health care in the state, the Hartford Courant reports. The Democratic proposal, called the Connecticut Healthy Steps Program, would address specific areas of the health care system rather than overhaul the entire system, according to state House Deputy Majority Leader Michael Christ (D).

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03/01/2007
Making Health Care Affordable Senator Stabenow is leading efforts to make health care affordable for Michigan families and businesses. The skyrocketing costs of health care are costing American jobs by making American manufacturers less competitive in a global marketplace where many of their competitors aren't responsible for health care. Rising health care costs also make health care and insurance more expensive for everyone and threaten to add to the growing number of uninsured Americans. Senator Stabenow is working to make health care more affordable.

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03/01/2007
NEW EEOC PUBLICATION ADDRESSES EMPLOYMENT OF HEALTH CARE WORKERS WITH DISABILITIES Latest Q&A Fact Sheet Explains How Americans with Disabilities Act Applies to Employment in the Health Care Industry WASHINGTON - Naomi C. Earp, Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), today announced the issuance of a new question-and-answer (Q&A) fact sheet on the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to job applicants and employees in the health care industry.

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03/01/2007
Will New York Follow Other States' Leads with Health Insurance Changes? While the United States spends twice as much as other industrialized nations on health care--$7,129 per capita--47 million Americans have no health care insurance. In the country's mostly employer-based benefit system, companies either don't offer health insurance or pass escalating premium costs on to employees. The lack of national progress toward dealing with health insurance issues has led several states, such as Massachusetts and California, to launch initiatives for their own residents.

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03/01/2007
GOVERNOR'S VETO LIKELY FOR 2ND TIME SACRAMENTO - If legislative Democrats had their way, California might well be headed to a government-run health care system. Both houses of the Legislature passed a bill last year to create a so-called ``single-payer'' system, only to have Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger veto it. Undeterred and surrounded by union supporters and fellow liberal lawmakers, the leader of the single-payer movement, Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Los Angeles, announced Tuesday that she's trying again.

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03/01/2007
Universal Voter Registration: The Massachusetts Health Care Model The overall goal of FairVote's 100% Registration Project is to create a voter registration system under which the government shares responsibility for registration with its citizens to ensure full and accurate voter rolls. Massachusetts recently enacted bi-partisan health care reform legislation that requires residents to obtain health coverage, while providing expanded funding and assistance for coverage through the state.

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03/01/2007
It is great news, this idea of selling a House office building now that the Republicans are dissolving so many committees and firing their staffs. But I wouldn't be surprised if this is only the opening wedge for a campaign to privatize Congress. Yes, let the free market openly raise its magnificent head in the most sacred precincts of the Welfare State. The compelling reasons for privatizing Congress are perfectly evident. Everybody hates it, only slightly less than they hate the President. Everybody, that is, who talks on the radio, plus millions of the silent who only listen and hate in private.

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03/01/2007
by Joanne Wojcik Posted on Feb. 28, 2007 1:21 PM CST Print this Article E-mail this Article Write to Editors Discuss Article Online SACRAMENTO, Calif.-Calling California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's health care reform proposal a giveaway to insurers, state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, has introduced single-payer health care legislation for the third time. The measure, which passed both houses of the California Assembly last year and was vetoed by Gov.

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03/01/2007
We';ve heard the words ";health care crisis."; The health care system is broken – we';ve been told that before, too. We';ve even watched Salem legislators and lobbyists haggle over a new model for delivering health care. Everyone remembers the Oregon Health Plan, circa 1994. The Oregon Health Plan seemed like a good idea at the time, with its emphasis on prioritizing medical interventions and its intent to deliver at least basic care to everybody. But here we are, looking at a number of new models for delivering health care to Oregonians, including the nearly 600,000 uninsured.

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03/01/2007
Just a few hours before presenting a giant prescription outside the Department of Health, the UK's largest union, has today published a new report (see below) showing that each of the 21 elected Cabinet Ministers in the Government faces severe health cuts in or affecting their own backyard. To mark the news UNISON will present a giant 'Prescription for the NHS' (see Photo Opportunity below), with ideas to remedy the problems that have recently left the public with a perception of a health service in crisis. UNISON Head of Health Karen Jennings said: "It's time to say 'if you value it, vote for it'.

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02/28/2007
In an appearance before a Washington, D. C., audience this week, the governor was decidedly fuzzy about exactly how he was going to achieve that goal. He said he wanted to get more money into the "risk pool" so that insurance could be offered to everyone. There are seemingly only three ways to increase funds in the insurance pool. One is to force the uninsured to pay the necessary premiums. Another is to extract the extra money from those who are already insured. The third is to use tax dollars to make up any shortfall. The first of these choices is probably unrealistic.

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