mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“By The People, For The People”: Proof Obamacare Puts Control Of Healthcare In The Hands Of The Consumer

One of the key talking points consistently mouthed by opponents of the Affordable Care Act is their declaration that the law wrests control of healthcare out from the hands of the consumer and places it squarely under the control of the federal government.

And yet, the meme—like so many others employed by dedicated Obamacare bashers— is simply not true.

Now, we can prove it.

You have likely never heard about the section of the ACA that provides federal loans to help launch consumer owned and controlled health insurance plans. The money is available for insurance plans showing a reasonable chance for success, are owned by the membership (people like you and I) and operated by a board of directors where members comprise the majority -not passive investors looking to make a buck.

It is health insurance by the people and for the people.

Tufts Medical Center in Massachusetts—along with their physician group and a company which owns and operates two hospitals in the region—has acted on this provision of the law and received $88.5 million in federal funds to create the state’s first member owned and controlled health insurance plan. While the program is being put together by a panel of experts, once the insurance plan is qualified to do business by the state’s insurance regulators, they will begin signing up individuals and small businesses who will not only become the owners of the plan, they will ultimately end up running the company.

How’s that for putting control of our healthcare back into the hands of the consumer?

The not-for-profit plan entitled the Minuteman Health Initiative—which expects to offer health insurance coverage in Eastern and Central Massachusetts beginning in 2014—is looking to bring down the cost of premiums to its members by streamlining the billing process and allowing providers to work directly with employers.

According to Dr. Jeff Lasker, chief executive of the Tufts physician group, New England Quality Care Alliance, “Imagine working closely with an employer who can help us gather data and, with employees’ permission, to be able to share that data with their primary care providers. “

Imagine, indeed.

Physicians, hospitals and consumers working alongside one another to design coverage options that better meet the needs of all the participants in the healthcare equation in the effort to bring about a better result for everyone—and done in an environment where the consumer is in control of the board of directors rather than profit driven executives whose bonuses are determined by how much money is left in the till at the end of the quarter.

Can there be anyone who does not see the great potential in this concept?

We are a nation where our health care is, for most of our citizens, controlled by private insurance companies—not the United States government. If you don’t believe that, just ask your physician what he or she must go through to get an insurance company to approve a treatment or procedure you need and how you end up paying for all this time your doctor invests in fighting for your care.

Will the Minuteman Health Initiative work? Will it accomplish the goal of lowering costs and providing appropriate benefits to consumers while allowing for a workable compensation structure to health care providers—all under the direction of the very people who depend on the plan for their health care needs?

We’ll see.

But if you don’t try something, you never find better solutions. And should the Minuteman plan work out, we can expect to see similar programs launched in every state in the union—insurance plans designed to work for both provider and beneficiary and all under the control of the people who actually pay the premiums and depend upon the benefits for the security of their families.

I don’t care how much you think you detest Obamacare. If you aren’t rooting for success in the case of the Minuteman Health Initiative—and the law that made it possible—you simply are not paying attention.

 

By: Rick Ungar, Contributor, Forbes, September 1, 2012

September 4, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012, Health Reform | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Health Reform’s Gifts For Mom: Celebrating Mother’s Day With Healthier Mothers, Mothers-To-Be, And Grandmothers

Mothers care for their children, spouses, and aging parents around the clock. Many moms work full-time jobs on top of caregiving. But who cares for Mom?

This Mother’s Day, moms can celebrate health care reform’s new provisions that help moms, moms-to-be, grandmothers, and their families to get healthy and stay healthy. Here are some of health care reform’s “gifts” that moms can already enjoy, as well as a sneak peek of gifts to come.

Moms

One of the biggest worries for moms is their kids. Kids get sick, get hurt, and were denied health insurance prior to health care reform. But thanks to reform, moms have support whether they have a young child with a preexisting condition or a college graduate whose employer doesn’t cover them. Insurance companies can no longer deny insurance to children with preexisting conditions, and children up to age 26 can stay on their parent’s plan if their employer doesn’t offer coverage.

But reform looks out for Mom, too. The Affordable Care Act provides free screenings of many of women’s biggest health concerns: breast cancer, cervical cancer, blood pressure, cholesterol, and obesity.

Paired with improvements in primary care, we know this preventive approach will drastically improve the health of moms and their families. We know, for instance, that regular pap smears increase the likelihood of detecting cervical cancer early and subsequently increasing survival rates.

The bottom line? Free screenings allow doctors and their patients to address health problems earlier and help prevent Mom from getting sick.

And if Mom still gets sick, health care reform provides support there, too. Provisions now prohibit annual and lifetime caps, meaning that a person who is severely or continually ill will not “run out” of insurance.

Moms-to-be

Moms-to-be can look forward to the guarantee that all health plans will cover maternity care for the first time. This is especially exciting since prior to health care reform, 22 states offered no coverage of pregnancy-related costs under any health care. Further, in a study conducted by the National Women’s Law Center, only 13 percent of studied health plans in the individual market provided maternity care.

Maternity coverage will also include preventive and prenatal services. For instance, women considering pregnancy can receive free folic acid supplements while pregnant women can receive free, routine screening for anemia. Taking folic acid previous to getting pregnant and during the first trimester of pregnancy helps prevent birth defects and is essential to the development of the fetal nervous system. Further, pregnant women with iron-deficient anemia are at increased risk of preterm deliveries, delivering babies with a low birth weight, and even fetal death.

Finally, new moms will see additional postnatal benefits. Mothers will receive breastfeeding support such as prenatal and postnatal breastfeeding education and evaluation from trained caregivers. This has proven health benefits for both mothers and their children. Additionally, moms who go back to work will benefit from a private space to breastfeed because employers are now required to provide one.

Grandmothers

Grandmothers can stay stronger for longer with free annual checkups covered by Medicare. The physicals are available to every Medicare beneficiary and they don’t cost a thing.

In addition, other health plans will allow grandmothers to receive preventive care without copays or deductibles. All new plans must include free osteoporosis screeninga disease affecting mainly older women that causes the bones to weaken and severely increases the likelihood of fractures and breaks—for women over 65 and for women at higher risk over age 60.

Finally, provisions in health care reform are working to close the “doughnut hole” in which people enrolled in Medicare’s prescription drug program, often women, are forced to pay a greater share out of pocket for prescription drugs due to a gap in coverage. In the last year Medicare beneficiaries received a $250 rebate. In coming years there will be discounts on brand-name and generic prescription drugs, and provisions will work to make it so by 2020 the doughnut hole will be closed.

Future gifts

While many of these “gifts” to mothers are already in place, more gifts will arrive in the next two-and-a-half years.

For starters, because of new and expanded programs, more moms will have health insurance. These new programs will make it so insurance plans include even more mom and family-friendly services that build on the aforementioned maternity, preventive, and Medicare benefits.

Finally, for the first time, women—mothers included—will pay the same rate for health insurance as men. Forty-two states currently allow gender rating (charging women more than men for the same health plan), with some charging up to 84 percent more. This is a huge, long-awaited gift to women and moms everywhere.

Health care reform acknowledges moms’ 24/7 care. That’s why the law works to serve moms every day and not just Mother’s Day.

By: Sandra Bogar, Center for American Progress, May 5, 2011

May 5, 2011 Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Health Care, Health Reform, Insurance Companies, Medicare, Uninsured, Women, Women's Health, Womens Rights | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: