Obama wants to spread healthcare changes over 10 years

If current trends continue, this amount will only cover the most minimal of changes.

Obama has stated that his main goal is to "make healthcare more efficient" by the time he leaves Washington. Does this mean INCREASING costs and decreasing affordability for the chronically ill who are not in employer plans to allow the normal (i.e. healthy people who dont need insurance as much but who improve the statistics) to get lower prices on private insurance.

If that is his goal, and that only, its NOT ENOUGH. That is NOT what we elected him for.

"634 billion investment in expanded government health coverage over 10 years"

When compared to the HUGE money (over 800 billion for just one year, still rising, open ended) that was given to BANKS to cover their gambling losses, THIS just DOESN'T cut it.

Like Martin Luther King said, the check has come back marked "insufficient funds"?

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IBM offers to move laid off staff to India "so they can keep jobs".

IBM to laid-off staff: Go to India

"NEW DELHI: Armonk-based IBM which recently gave pinkslips to above 2000 employees in the US and Canada has an `innovative' offer for them: Relocate to cheaper destinations.

In a move to support the pinkslipped employees, the world's largest technology employer has asked its laid-off employees in US and Canada to join its projects in cheaper-wage destinations like India, China, Brazil and Eastern Europe."

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Virginity college fund offers hit $3.8 million, other American students hit hard, few options.

The average cost of a college education in a state university is now approaching $100,000. Costs at many private schools run far higher. Many students are realizing they may never be able to afford college. Meanwhile, many high-tech businesses are fleeing the US because of its lack of recent technically skilled graduates and high housing and especially, healthcare costs.

Do you support her prostitution for college cash for Natalie Dylan and her sister?

So, as millions of young Americans are now discovering that even the most optimistic projections of income to their parents college savings accounts will make college still unaffordable to them, this enterprising young woman has hit on a new twist to a time-honored scheme to make college affordable for both herself and her sister.

The oldest profession.

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Healthcare for Chronically Ill vs. Obama spin machine?

According to a recent paper in Health Affairs, the US is one of the worst nations in the developed world to be chronically ill. We pay far more and get far less, for the care we often don't even receive.

Will that change under Obama when he presents us with his healthcare plan in 2012, as he seeks re-election?

NO, according to his chief economic advisor, Austan Goolsbee, who stated during the primary season that covering the 20% of Americans (one fifth) who have a chronic illness, even a manageable one - "would be too expensive".

Shocked? You shouldn't be. You saw it coming, didn't you, but ignored the signs. You were dazzled by Obama's snazzy high-gloss spin machine? We all were. And at the end, as his backers repeatedly stated "You have no other choise".

Obama's nomination was a striking triumph of marketing that elevated the importance of having a black president over the pressing healthcare needs of tens of millions of both black and white Americans.

To many, Obama, and his "less is more" healthcare plan is a luxury they can't afford. Healthcare costs are bankrupting the chronicallty ill, and Obama trades cost for coverage. That will leave many people worse off than they are now, as costs continue to increase. Obama's only suggestion for cost containment, improving medical IT, has been pushed heavily by insurance companies because it simplifies the task of identifyingand rejecting the chronically ill (and their descendents), as well as retroactively cancelling contracts when sick insured actually make claims.

Indeed, every indication to date indicates that Obama is planning to lower the cost of "insurance" to average families by increasing the burden on those unlucky enough to become sick, and making it easier for commercial insurers to identify and reject them for coverage. Obama's inaugural speech followed the pattern set in the primary seasons, where he deftly avoided answering the questions posed to him about healthcare for those with chronic illnesses and no employer-based coverage, substituting "fair price" (i.e. price based on risk) and putting forward a plan that was obviously doomed to fail because of adverse selection. (Only the sick will buy into it because of its rising costs, making it still more expensive.)

After eight years of GOP mismanagement, doesn't America deserve more?

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As Companies Fail, COBRA Healthcare for Recently Employed Dies With Them

Many recently laid off people count on COBRA to allow them to purchase health insurance at the costs paid by their former employers. But what happens when their former employers fold? An employers's healthcare plan as well as company-centric COBRA coverage provided through it ends abruptly for everyone using it.

"The crisis is on display here. Starla D. Darling, 27, was pregnant when she learned that her insurance coverage was about to end. She rushed to the hospital, took a medication to induce labor and then had an emergency Caesarean section, in the hope that her Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan would pay for the delivery."

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1986 was designed to help laid off workers continue with coverage under their former employers health plans for a time- BUT if a COMPANY dies, their healthcare plans die with them, and the coverage that their current employees, as well as their former employees may have been counting on ENDS.

This leaves many of them, especially those who have someone in their families with a chronic medical condition, unable to find affordable healthcare. Even in the best of times, one fifth of Americans - those with chronic medical conditions, are uninsurable outside of a group plan.  

This will not change under Obama, as his plan focuses on increasing job-centric healthcare access for the healthy employed.

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Should Pricing By Risk+Genetic Testing Be Allowed If It Allows More Families To Afford Policies?

As privatization of health insurance such as medicare has proceeded during the last few years, Americans have been largely insulated from the debate over genetic testing. Yet, as prices have been rising across the board, genetic testing holds out the potential of some people being able to refute geneological information in their MIB file, such as a statement that a parent died of cancer or some other disease, with geneological proof that one is not predisposed to that illness. This can save otherwise-uninsurable families or individuals money. (This kind of pricing does not apply to those in large group plans with more than around 50 members)

The increased probability of companies, legally or not of using genetic testing and asymmetrical information about family background for differentiating personal insurance premiums has a de-facto effect of creating an uninsurable 'underclass'--an uninsurable high-risk population composed of those with chronic illness and genetic predispositions, and the known children of those people. (In fact, such classes of information are already being sold, internationally, for use in pre-employment screening)

Insurance companies defend their right to use any genetic information voluntarily surrendered, such as in doctors office intake forms. However, recent legislation has restricted their right to ask for genetic pretesting, an approach with lots of loopholes. This approach also forces many very sick people who are afraid about job loss to go without needed care, afraid that a diagnosis of cancer or diabetes or even un unexplained fever that required a workup that showed some abnormal hematology at the wrong time could make one and one's children unable to purchase individual or family health insurance in the future.

The common way of handling this problem in many other developed countries around the North Atlantic, has been to regulate insurance companies' right to ask for and USE genetic information in various ways.

There is a distinction between partial regulation (that allows insurance companies access to genetic information from genetic tests already made, sometimes only above a specified amount, but not to demand new tests) and total regulation (that forbids insurance companies to ask for or use any genetic information).

I will argue that these forms of regulation probably will have adverse consequences in countries that are undergoing a dismantling of collective social insurance systems because they will allow the insurance companies to deny or price away, or even reciss the coverage retroactively of larger groups of people based on the arguement that they do not know anything about their genetic status but they may have had some sign indicating that they may get a serious disease when they signed up and did not disclose it adequately.

If this is convincing, a better way to solve the problem of an uninsurable high-risk population (and other problems) is to institute a single payer, obligatory insurance systems in which the individual risk profile does not constitute a basis for premium determination. Both arguments cast in terms of consequences and justice render support for this conclusion.

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US's de facto rationing care for chronically ill - We are worst in many measures

Chronically ill U.S. patients have the least access, the worst coordination of care, and the worst medical safety experiences among patients in the developed world's eight most developed nations, a new study released last week in Health Affairs In Chronic Condition: Experiences Of Patients With Complex Health Care Needs, In Eight Countries, 2008
- shows. Regardless of the fact that we pay more, we get far less. In essence, this study also shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the US is rationing healthcare. Healthcare that the chronically ill in most other developed nations usually receive is unaffordable to many chronically ill adults in the US.

For the chronically ill in the US, this often results in tragic outcomes that are completely preventable.

http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/con tent/full/hlthaff.28.1.w1/DC1

In Chronic Condition:
Experiences Of Patients With
Complex Health Care Needs,
In Eight Countries, 2008

Chronically ill U.S. patients have the most negative access,
coordination, and safety experiences.

by Cathy Schoen, Robin Osborn, Sabrina K.H. How,
Michelle M. Doty, and Jordon Peugh


This 2008 survey of chronically ill adults in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States finds major differences among countries in access, safety, and care efficiency. U.S. patients were at particularly high risk of forgoing care because of costs and of experiencing inefficient, poorly organized care, or errors. The Dutch, who have a strong primary care infrastructure, report notably positive access and coordination experiences. Still, deficits in care management during hospital discharge or when seeing multiple doctors occurred in all countries. Findings highlight the need for system innovations to improve outcomes for patients with complex chronic conditions. [Health Affairs 28, no. 1 (2009): w1-w16 (published online 13 November 2008; 10.1377/hlthaff.28.1.w1)]

Medical science advances and improved living standards have saved lives and contributed to longer life expectancy, yet industrialized nations now face the growing challenge of caring for patients with chronic diseases. Health systems initially designed to respond to acute, episodic illness increasingly care for patients with ongoing conditions, where the goals include preventing complications or deterioration rather than cure. Often coping with multiple conditions, chronically ill patients may see multiple clinicians at different care sites, increasing the risks of errors and poor care coordination. Across industrialized nations, chronically ill patients account for a disproportionate share of national health spending, placing them at the center of initiatives to improve health system performance.1

Experiences of chronically ill patients, especially those with recent hospitalizations or serious illnesses, offer unique perspectives. To learn from such patients, the 2008 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey interviewed adults with chronic conditions who had recent health care experiences in eight countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Including France for the first time, the survey builds on an annual series that informs a symposium with ministers and policy experts from surveyed countries. This study focuses on access, coordination, safety, and care management experiences.

The countries participating in the survey represent a diverse mix of insurance designs and primary care systems. Among the eight countries, the United States stands out for having the most expensive system ($7,000 per capita compared to under $3,500 in the other countries as of 2006), for its gaps in coverage, and for high cost sharing even for patients with insurance.2 The other seven countries have systems with comprehensive minimum benefits and universal coverage. Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom have no cost sharing for primary care. France's insurance system protects patients with specific chronic illnesses from coinsurance. Germany limits cost sharing to 1 percent of income for the chronically ill and 2 percent for all households.3 The Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom require patients to register with a general practitioner (GP) who acts as a gateway to more specialized care. The Netherlands and the United Kingdom are noted for their strong primary care foundations.4

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Chinese Factories Closing by the Thousands Leaving Millions Unemployed

Recent news stories have spotlighted that the global economic contraction due to objects and wages finding their real prices has resulted in huge restructuring everywhere, including India and China.

China has been losing jobs for years, even as economic output and productivity increased. For many, jobs are the main or only source of income. But even China's investor class is reeling.

What will the worlds most populous nation do if the economy there continues to shed its human workers? Will social unrest increase, will human workers demand a voice in how their government handles the crisis, like human workers have in the United States?

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Obama Insurance Mandate For Parents Exciting Faith Based Adoption Agencies

In Nebraska, a loophole in a newly changed law intended to provide safe havens for infants born to teenage mothers has had the unintended consequence of allowing parents of children of any age to legally abandon them. Legal abandonment has long been the insurance of last resort for parents of chronically ill children forced to buy insurance on the individual market. But now even healthy children are being abandoned.

Enter Nebraska, where a well intentioned legal change has illustrated the difficulty of preserving families when jobs disappear.

Parents of even healthy children who might have been able to care for children are leaving children as old as 17 at designated child abandonment safe havens. Not wanting their children to starve, living in cars, etc, many have been giving their children up to become wards of the state, where they can receive health insurance, dental care, and food.

Enter President Elect Obama. Obama has promised to "change" healthcare in 2012 while keeping the expensive insurance companies in the loop, mandating parents to "insure" their children, making it affordable by giving them the "choice" of buying high deductible health care plans or capped plans, if that is all they can afford. (They are supposed to put the thousands of dollars they are saving in tax free medical savings accounts so that when bills come, they will be ready, however, few people have the money. Also, IF they even momentarily drop coverage for a sick child (for example, are 15 minutes late with a payment) and get sick during that time, they will be dropped and not be able to buy insurance again. Also, many parents will not be able to afford individual insurance for their children if their chldren have chronic diseases because the insurance companies quoted profitable "fair price" will be based on their very small group, and priced by its risk. If one member of a family sized group has high risk, the fair price is a high price.)

Some "choice"! High deductible health plans will leave parents struggling with hundreds or thousands of dollars in unpaid bills before they reach deductibles, and all expenses over lifetime or monthly or yearly caps. People will see bills that represent costs that they are not able to cope with. This will lead to an epidemic in child abandonment.

No efforts will be made by individuals fighting for their survival against the system, each alone and isolated. No realistic government efforts will be made to contain costs, as are done with Medicare.

This will lead to a boon for faith based adoption agencies as children are given up by their desperate birth parents.

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Bush Gutting Environmental Protections In Remaining Lame Duck Era

The history of the Bush Administration's war on the environment has been a long and eventful one.

http://www.historycommons.org/timeline.j sp?timeline=the_bush_administration_s_en vironmental_record

In these closing days of its imperium, Bush and Cheney have been working around the clock to eliminate and weaken environmental safety rules and laws.

This needs to be stopped!

Midnight at the White House: Bush Using Rules to Cement Legacy
http://www.ombwatch.org/article/articlev iew/4400/

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