Get ready for sticker shock on your health insurance costs

Before you start celebrating the pending passage of a healthcare bill in Congress, you might want to make sure you have enough savings to offset the huge out of pocket costs coming your way.

Reports out of the Senate Finance Committee on what individuals and people would have to pay is not exactly a reason to pop those corks. Unless, of course, you're a health insurance CEO already making the down payment on your seventh vacation home.

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J&J takes a stab at undermining the public option

Even though health reform legislation is still in the planning stages at this point, the anticipated opposition have stepped up their crusade to thwart its progress.  But of course, those of us who were around for the same battle during the previous decade know that we're up for a battle of monumental proportions.  So get ready for some new organization, lobby faction, elected official or interest group to emerge on a weekly basis.  And a big-budget sequel to the "Harry & Louise" commercials is coming.  Bet on it.  This game's going into overtime.  

This is despite the fact that the United States is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not provide universal health care.  Yet the public option or single-payer health care (what most REALLY want) is still confusingly seen as an imminent threat to some.

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Weekly Pulse: Public Insurance Option Not Optional

 By Lindsay Beyerstein, TMC Mediawire blogger

During a press conference yesterday, President Obama voiced support for government-administered health insurance for all who need it (aka the "public option"), as a key component of healthcare reform. Though Obama stopped short of threatening to veto a bill that didn't contain such an option, he said that a public option is needed to enforce market discipline. If the system is going to reform, the health insurance companies can't just keep selling the same bad coverage with bigger public subsidies for their monopolies. Essentially, Obama isn't about to force taxpayers to buy overpriced insurance from private companies.

"The public plan, I think, is an important tool to discipline insurance companies," Obama said during yesterday's White House news conference. "I think there is going to be some healthy debate about the shape that this takes." He outlined three options: Get insurance through your employer, buy insurance on your own, or buy insurance from a marketplace where public and private insurance providers compete for business.

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Weekly Pulse: The Push for a Public Plan

by Lindsay Beyerstein, TMC MediaWire Blogger

Healthcare reform is back in the news, as Legislators and interest groups spar over the promised public component of Obama's healthcare plan. In very simple terms, this is a fight between groups with a vested interest in expensive healthcare and everyone else. This week, the American Medical Association warned Obama that a public plan could restrict patient choice. But for millions of Americans, getting a choice between healthcare and no healthcare wold represent a 100% increase in their healthcare options. Obama's public plan would also give people the choice of keeping their private health insurance. So, the public plan is an additional option, not a diminution of options.

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Weekly Pulse: Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer

by Lindsay Beyerstein, TMC MediaWire Blogger

This week, the White House teamed up with healthcare industry giants for a two-day PR blitz on health reform. A coalition of industry leaders sent a letter to president Obama over the weekend, pledging to help contain healthcare costs. The signatories include PhRMA (drug makers), Advamed (device manufacturers), the AMA (doctors), the AHA (hospitals), AHIP (health insurance), and SEIU's Health Care project. The corporate signatories are the very same interest groups that have fought U.S. healthcare reform for generations. AHIP, America's Health Insurance Plans, helped torpedo the Clinton plan in the 1990s with the infamous "Harry and Louise" TV spots.

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