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Topic Proposed Health Care for Seniors - how can it affect those with PD? Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By WitsEnd On 2009.07.23 14:36
susger8,

You are right about the way things work today. You rent for so many months with Medicare and insurance supplement paying the rental. After that period you own it. (Unless you have hospice where hospice pays the costs and then bills Medicare.)

That's not the go forward proposal that has been put out there though post health care reform. Also, the White House is wanting a free ticket to make whatever changes it wants to Medicare services without requiring further Congressional approval.

By lurkingforacure On 2009.07.23 15:00
Sorry for any offense my post caused about being for/against this plan...I'm actually glad to hear that there are tax-paying folks with insurance supporting this and it's not only the uninsured (but can afford it) and/or illegals pushing for this freebie.

Two things we should be aware of:

1. apparently the issue of a federal plan covering abortion has cropped up, currently, the plans as written would all require abortion to be covered....something to consider, especially if you are not in favor of abortion for either religious reasons or because kids are now using it as birth control;

2. several states (make that 36, so far as I know) have passed or are passing legislation under the tenth amendment basically opting out of the national health care plan...I know it's way more complicated that this but the gist of it for purposes of this thread is that many states feel the federal government is encroaching way too much into states authority and they want it to back off. Alaska was the last state to do this, and it passed both their houses 100% and was just signed by the governor.

Now, whether you are in favor of health insurance reform (and honestly, we all are, it's just the age-old debate of how to go about it) you have to see what is happening. Even our founding fathers saw the wisdom of having separate states instead of one big huge country (where they had come from, and they knew the pitfalls that involved, even back then)....it allows the states to compete and brings out the best each has to offer. For example, if New York wants to tax folks at 50%, go ahead, and see how many folks stay there....they are more likely to move to say, Florida, where taxes might be 25%, and after enough of this, New York will be forced to become more efficient in order to have any taxpayers living there. Same thing for any other state. Each state could choose how IT wanted to manage health care reform, just like we currently do for other things. I think reform would have a much better shot at actually happening and working if it came from the local level. You would also see far less fraud at a local level than at the federal level, IMHO. Just look at our last mortgage fraud fiasco, where was the oversight? At the federal level.

By WitsEnd On 2009.07.23 17:41
lurkingforacure,

Any idea where Texas is on that legislation?

By lurkingforacure On 2009.07.23 20:04
My understanding is that Texas is one of the 36 that have also done this...I didn't hear peep about it, though. I know Perry, our governor, threw out the term "succession" months ago, but have no idea where that talk went or if it was just political gab. Interesting, though, huh? You can google this on the news button and see more.

By lynn On 2009.07.23 21:01
I think everyone who currently has coverage is scared about health care reform. I not only want to select my doctors but want my doctor to be free to order tests without asking permission. Just the other day, my hubby saw the GI specialist. Now this doctor knows my husband has PD, swallowing problems and reflux. He had the necessary tests a couple of years ago. The doctor did not reorder any tests. He knows what my husband's problems are related to. This is a good doctor. My concern is that the good doctors will get the short end of the stick and the patient will be the ultimate victim in health care reform.

By caregivermary On 2009.07.24 11:19
Hello! Hi! it's me again....

36 states have not passed legislation to opt out. Some states(about 7 or 8) are CONSIDERING a ballot initiative for 2010. Arizona is the only state that has passed legislation to put the opt out on the ballot for 2010. So everyone in the state will be able to vote not just the House and Senate members from these states. As far as I can tell, Texas hasn't moved on anything yet.

The abortion card-now that is a strategy...

By lurkingforacure On 2009.07.24 17:21
Oh, please. There is no "abortion card"-it's just another issue that will need to be hammered out. I can see where some might not be opposed to helping pay for pregnancy termination where there was an anomaly on the amnio...but completely opposed to helping pay for some teenager's third abortion because she couldn't keep her pants zipped. And trying to legislate which pregnancy terminations would be allowed or not could be a nightmare, not just from a public support perspective but from a legal standpoint. But this, and all the other issues, need to be hammered out.

The article I read said 36 states. I wish I could find it but it was in the google news button and of course now it's gone-they shuffle the news articles hourly, I have discovered. I think what is significant, however, is that any state is considering this.

By caregivermary On 2009.07.24 17:44
Here is the article on states opting out.

Some state lawmakers, in preemptive mode, are considering ballot initiatives for the 2010 election which would allow them to opt out of Obama care, if the voters so choose.

The states of Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Wyoming are all proposing some sort of legislation to unshackle themselves from what some describe as a trampling of state’s rights by the federal government’s passage of the healthcare reform package.

Arizona has already passed legislation entitled the Health Care Freedom Act that allows the ballot initiation to appear in 2010. FoxNews reports comments by one legislator on the subject: "Our health care freedoms are very much at risk by health care reforms proposed in Washington, D.C.," said Arizona state Rep. Nancy Barto, the Republican legislator who sponsored the measure. "We needed to act as a state to protect our citizens and ensure that they will always be able to buy their own health care and not be forced into a plan they don't want."

Arizona democratic state representative Phil Lopes believes rejection of Obamacare is like having legislators say that the system now in place is working, and he contends this: "This flies in the face of what the public tells us they want."

But the general public opposes the breadth and scope of Obama’s plan, and many have let their legislators know about it.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an 1,800-member state legislator’s organization has endorsed a resolution opposing federal healthcare. Wisconsin state Rep. Leah Vukmir, a Republican stated, "The real goal of national health insurance exchange isn't competition — it's a federal power grab that flies in the face of the Tenth Amendment."

(The Tenth Amendment expressly reserves to the people and to the states rights and powers not specifically delegated to the federal government. The Tenth Amendment was meant to be a limitation of powers applied against the federal government.)

Georgia State Senator Judson Hill echoed Vukmir’s sentiments: "The public plan and national health insurance exchange will squeeze out private insurance and put us on the road to single-payer health care." He added, "Having the public plan now will mean socialized medicine later.”

Yet Paul Bender, professor of constitutional law at Arizona State University, is ready to defend a national healthcare plan, noting that he has no doubt it would stand up to a court challenge. "It's hard to imagine Congress passing anything that would be plausibly challengeable under the Tenth Amendment, but it's certainly theoretically possible,” he said, adding he believes that the sheer size of a national healthcare plan would make possible federal regulation under the interstate commerce banner.

But the power to regulate interstate commerce does not apply in this case. Setting up a new company, in essence, and eliminating all competition to the point where eventually a monopoly exists in the area of federal healthcare is illegal and unconstitutional. Period.

It is state legislatures, though, who need to clean up their acts by loosing insurance regulations that are so tight there is little health-insurance competition in some states. This will promote more competition and in the bargain allow more plans and options for the public to choose from. The market, and the people, will take care of themselves.

By susger8 On 2009.07.25 08:21
Well, people keep holding up Canada as an example, and saying their system has a lot of problems, but all the Canadians I've talked to, on line and in real life, think their system is great. They can see any doctor they want to. If their doctor's office isn't open and they have a problem, they can go to a walk-in clinic. There isn't a lifetime maximum after which coverage ends. You can't be denied for a pre-existing condition, orr have coverage dropped for developing a serious chronic illness. Sometimes you have to wait a while for an elective procedure, but for anything else you get in right away.

They pay less per capita than we do, for much better coverage.

It sounds good to me. And I bet it sounds good to our friends with early-onset PD, who have lost coverage when they had to stop working and can't get any insurance company to cover them because of their illness.

There has to be a better way than what we have now.

By lurkingforacure On 2009.07.25 08:36
There is, but what's on the table isn't it. I have not heard one comment about anyone in our country trying to use or learn from what other countries have done. Rather, they want to create this huge mess from scratch and learn as we go, at our expense.

Last night I read Tim Giethner's interview/report on Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, and how he proposes to handle that mess...as you know, they oversee the mortgage industry. He actually said they were the major cause of the problems we are having relating to that industry (which is the majority), and that, if you can believe it, they are so huge, he just does not know right now what to do about them. He wants to wait a year "or so" so he can figure it out. Meanwhile, we are paying a lot of taxes to support these two agencies which failed miserably in their principal purposes. I am almost incredulous to read of a government official admitting a bureaucracy is so damn big he doesn't know how to scale it back and get it under control. How did this happen? It certainly is not in our country's best interests to repeat this situation again, with healthcare or anyother program.

By number1daughter On 2009.07.26 14:13
[deleted]

By lurkingforacure On 2009.07.26 18:28
Thanks for that, damn, that is scary to stick half the cost of this to our seniors in the form of reduced coverage/care.

We should also be aware that the Rochester Mayo Clinic (and 18 other organizations) sent an open letter to Congress praising the effort to reform health care but expressing serious concern over the proposal(s) on the table. In other words, we need reform, but this ain't it. Here is the letter link:

http://open.salon.com/blog/kathy_riordan/2009/07/22/mayo_clinics_open_letter_to_congress_on_health_care_reform

I have read that Obama has said he will not participate in the plan. Without getting into politics, does anyone have a concern about that?

By caregivermary On 2009.07.26 18:55
I read the link you posted and too away a totally different interpretation than yours. The 18 organizations praise all of the work that has been done so far and offered suggestions for the Medicare section. "In other words, we need reform, but this ain't it" is not what the letter says nor is it the message they are trying to convey.

BTW, Senators Cornyn and Hutchinson will not participate in this plan either. I already have insurance now and until I see something better, I'm sticking with mine too. This has nothing to do with politics unless you want to single Obama out???????

By lurkingforacure On 2009.07.26 19:42
CGM,

No, I have a problem with any federal employee who gets to have coverage to what will be superior to that offered under the national plan. If it's good enough for the American goose, it should be good enough for the gander. This effectively means we will pay taxes to support and pay the salaries and benefits (read: health insurance) of these federal employees as well as taxes to support the national plan. A two-tiered system, which will not be equal in coverage or benefits, but supported by tax dollars, does not seem right and is not what most people thought Obama meant when he talked up healthcare reform during his campaign.

I hope you get the chance to stick with your insurance, but I wouldnt' bet on it. We have coverage I'd like to keep as well, but I don't think that will happen under this plan, and even if it does, I can hardly wait for my premium increase and/or new schedule of benefits to show up in the mail come next year.

By lurkingforacure On 2009.07.26 20:09
From the Wall Street Journal: "Common Sense May Sink Obamacare", here's the link:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203517304574306533556532364.html

By WitsEnd On 2009.07.27 09:19
Today's Wall Street Journal - "Idea to Tax Insurers" "Gaining Traction". Let's see. I've got a good insurance policy today. So let's tax the insurance companies on those plans so we can try and make those insurers reduce my coverage down to an acceptable mediocrity or raise the costs of my plan so my health costs get even higher--or the policy gets eliminated altogether. The person who said everybody who has health insurance now is nervous was spot on.

By trapper On 2009.07.28 23:25
susger8:

As one who lives in Canada I have to essentially agree wholeheartedly with your post!

I am empathetic with our American friends who are scared but gosh you do need change in your Health Care System.
For those that are against President Obama's system, by all means take a good look at the Canadian Health Care System. It is not perfect by any means, but it is humane and worth a try.

May God bless the USA!

By WitsEnd On 2009.07.29 10:58
To each his own, but I have to comment on the Canadian system. Where I work we have employees that expat out of the US to Canada and use the Canadian health care system while in Canada. Uniformly those employees have said "no" to Canadian health care. They tell stories of waiting months to get in to see specialists and of Canadians on the border crossing into the US to get health care. They also come back themselves for care as well.

Same applies to at least one expat to the UK as well. One of them was diagnosed with cancer and the first place she headed for treatment was back to the good old USA. Perhaps the Canadian system is a step up for some...but it would clearly be a step down for me based on what I've been told. Does my current health care cost a lot? Yes, but what is the price of health?

Perhaps I am spoiled. I live in a city with MD Anderson--world renown for its cancer care. St. Lukes and Methodist are also here and provide some of the best cardio care in the world. The first heart transplant was done here.

I've seen some of the best the US has to offer in health care and I know the best costs these hospitals a lot of money. However, my mom had a heart attack and the regional hospitals sent her to Methodist. My mom had a blockage and needed a stent. She had a crook in the artery in the heart and they had to call in one of Methodist's senior heart guys to get the stent in to avoid open heart surgery. Medicare and her health care supplement paid for it. He was successful. She had a quick recovery and a good life afterwards. Later she had other issues and a doctor back in Alabama looked at the films and was amazed at what a good job the Methodist doctor did in getting the stent in and how well it had lasted. She got the best care and, was taken care of within days and home within a week of her heart attack.

So do I want Obama telling me or my loved ones which hospitals and doctors I can go? Do I want him reducing the Medicare coverage that saved my mom's life? Do I want Medicare rationing care to the elderly just because they are old and cost a lot? No. Absolutely not.

Am I concerned about losing my job and losing my insurance coverage--yes. COBRA only goes so far. Let's look at extending that. Portability of plans sounds good and everybody should be insurable regardless of pre-existing conditions--but the insurance companies have already agreed to that.

Am I concerned about being disabled and unemployed and not being able to afford health insurance or health care--yes--but that's why I've been paying for years on a long term disability insurance policy. Is that a perfect solution, no. Tweak it? Yes.

Would I like lower health insurance premiums for the same level of care? I'm not a nut case--of course I would. Do I think it is reasonable that that is going to happen with anything currently being proposed--no.

By jsmitch On 2009.07.30 09:27
The success of this forum is based on our collective experience and willingness to share those experiences and thoughts. It is rare that we get political debate on this site. Whether it is a good thing remains to be seen.

That said, I ask that all providing input in this thread avoid just passing along something they have heard or talking points from a viral e-mail. Actually 'listening' to the national discourse on this subject and applying a little common sense as a 'filter' discloses how much those for and against healthcare reform are willing to go.

As a matter of disclosure -- (1) I am fortunate enough to have healthcare insurance, (2) that "healthcare coverage" is provided by the Federal Government (I am Retired Military), (3) I worked for several years in Marketing -- specifically, Healthcare Marketing (Pharmaceutical and Insurance Companies) and (4) I am an 'Independent Voter' who supported Obama.

Based on my situation and experiences, I have a slightly different perspective on this subject than many of you.

My healthcare coverage is good. I am not told where to go or who to see. I do not require referrals. There is no "in system" or "out-of-system" limits. I have a reasonable deductible and a catastrophic cap on out-of-pocket expenses.

A few years ago my wife had a near-death incident. The medical bills were astronomic and her care and rehab continue to be expensive. Without this plan I am convinced I would be bankrupt, homeless and without a loved one.

From my experience in Healthcare Marketing, I will tell you all that the Pharmaceutical and Insurance Companies war chest is huge. They leave the truth and ethics behind them and they will spend whatever it takes to win the hearts and minds of "whomever" (congress or the American public) can affect an outcome to their financial advantage.

The Canadian Healthcare system always seems to be raised as a comparison. I guess because we have language and borders in common. Here is the problem with that comparison. The U.S. does not have the #1 healthcare system in the world. We rank, depending on who is doing the ranking, somewhere between #8 and #23. What we do have is the most expensive system. The Canadian Government is just not as lavish in their spending habits as we are, so you can't compare their program with private insurance in this country. In fact, in many instances our medicare system is more lavish than their plan.

While on the topic of socialized medicine...there are millions in America already on government healthcare in one form or another -- the most common form is Medicare -- so we already have "socialized" medicine -- it is not a "foreign" concept in this country. So why do we act like it?

Will a public insurance option destroy a sector of business in America? I say No. Why? Because the public option has to be administered by someone -- and guess who that someone will be -- the Feds will contract the task out to the Insurance Companies - just like they do now with the programs they currently have. Plus -- the public option will come with limitations and those limitations will support a whole slew of "supplemental insurance" plans. Will the industry be changed? Yes. Will it go under? Hardly

The old, weak and sick are not going be put on some euthanasia list.

When I was growing up, conventional wisdom was "Don't believe a thing you hear and only believe half of what you see." I'll reserve judgment for healthcare reform legislation until there is actually a BILL written and ready for a vote.

But this I know, having spent most of my adult life traveling around the world, it is not a good thing that we, the richest, most diverse country in the world does not have adequate healthcare for ALL its people.

Can you imagine coping with Parkinsons without benefit of healthcare coverage?

Jim

By Tara On 2009.07.31 05:23
Very well-said, jsmitch. I agree with you 100% -- all the way down to being an an Independent (neither Democrat nor Republican) who voted for Obama.

The people we really need to be conversing with on this subject are our Senators and Representatives. That's why I said in my *one post* that I felt this topic is beyond the scope of this forum. That's also why, for the most part, I have stopped reading this thread. But I just needed to echo your thoughts here.

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