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    Tuesday, October 6, 2009


    If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor? If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan? No one will take it away, no matter what?

    These assurances may not be literally true or enforceable. The legislation does not require insurers or employers to continue offering the health benefits they now provide. Current insurance coverage might not be viable for long because insurers could not add benefits or enroll additional people in noncompliant policies. Your health plan may change, and your doctor may no longer accept your insurance.


    Whether a public plan would crowd out private insurers depends on details yet to be decided, including its premiums and its payment rates for health care providers.
    The federal government already holds sway over the health care system through Medicare, Medicaid and various insurance programs for children, veterans, military personnel and other federal employees. The federal government will account for 35 percent of the expected $2.5 trillion in health spending this year, and that does not include subsidies built into the tax code.

    Democrats have unleashed a blistering attack on private health insurers as they try to convince the vast majority of Americans who already have coverage that the current system is tilted in favor of corporate profits, not patients, and that insurers are a main obstacle to passing legislation.
    Most Americans do not know the full cost of their employer-sponsored insurance. And it is easier for Democrats to paint insurers as greedy than to explain the complex math that shows current health care spending is unsustainable.

    The Congressional Budget Office has yet to issue cost estimates for the latest versions of the bill approved by three House committees. But it has warned that the legislation “would probably generate substantial increases in federal budget deficits” beyond 2019, in part because health costs are rising faster than the rate of inflation and proposed new taxes would not keep up.

    Critics say the legislation could limit end-of-life care and even encourage euthanasia. Moreover, some assert, it would require people to draw up plans saying how they want to die.
    These concerns appear to be unfounded. AARP, the lobby for older Americans, says, “The rumors out there are flat-out lies.” The House bill would provide Medicare coverage for optional consultations with doctors who advise patients on life-sustaining treatment and “end-of-life services,” including hospice care. The legislation instructs Medicare officials to propose ways to measure the quality of end-of-life care. Doctors would have financial incentives to report data on such care to the government.

    To help finance coverage for the uninsured, Congress would squeeze huge savings out of Medicare, the program for older Americans and the disabled. These savings would pay nearly 40 percent of the bills’ cost.The legislation would trim Medicare payments for most services, as an incentive for hospitals and other health care providers to become more efficient. The providers make a plausible case that the cutbacks could inadvertently reduce beneficiaries’ access to some types of care.Indeed some proposals could affect beneficiaries. The major bills in Congress would cut more than $150 billion over 10 years from federal payments to private health plans that care for more than 10 million Medicare beneficiaries.
    From “a primer on the details of health care reform” by R. Pear and d. M. Herszenhorn

    To pass his health proposal without busting the budget, especially this year, Obama would first need to violate his word. ... He pledged that 'no one making less than $250,000 a year will see any type of tax increase' -- the most memorable number of the 2008 campaign. Taxing health benefits would certainly cross this very bright line and add to the public stock of cynicism. Second, Obama would need to abandon economic common sense -- adding debt to debt or new taxes to a struggling economy.

    Please remember, as with all our articles we provide information, not medical advice.
    For any treatment of your own medical condition you must visit your local doctor, with or without our article[s]. These articles are not to be taken as individual medical advice.

    *Tune in later for How Much Evidence Do We Need to Change Practices in Which We Firmly Believe?

    Deepen your understanding of "medical malpractice"...

    For more health info and links visit the author's web site

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