Monday, December 28, 2009

Removing Public Option

Calvin Woodward, Associated Press – Mon Dec 28, 2:50 am ET

Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina added: "We want a public option to do basically three things: Create more choice for insurers, create more competition for insurance companies, and to contain costs. So if we can come up with a process by which these three things can be done, then I'm all for it. Whether or not we label it a public option or not is of no consequence." see whole article

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Health Care Reform inches forward

December 22,2009

After some 60+ years of effort and one year of intense debate we are finally within reach of a move in the right direction toward affordable health care in our divisive,multi-ethnic,wonderfully co-mingled nation.

In the end the one remaining sticking point seems to be how we deal with abortion. Whatever your personal thoughts on the subject. Even a cursory review of history reveals that no matter how hard we continue to try, we can never regulate morality. One culture's prohibition is another's religion.

If you list all the possible variations of all the various religions and non-religions of our current world and try to find one common thread I believe you will find some version of "Treat others as you would be treated" The golden rule. Maybe that could be a road we could all travel.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Senate ready to Vote Health Care Reform

LA Times Dec 21,2009

Reporting from Washington - The Senate took a giant step toward passing its sweeping healthcare bill early today, uniting fractious Democrats after months of debate over President Obama's promise to reduce the ranks of the uninsured.

Read whole story

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Liebermun clogs the debate for political gain

Thursday, December 17, 2009
By Howard Dean
former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2002.

I'm not giving up on health-care reform. The legislation does have some good points, such as expanding Medicaid and permanently increasing the federal government's contribution to it. It invests critical dollars in public health, wellness and prevention programs; extends the life of the Medicare trust fund; and allows young Americans to stay on their parents' health-care plans until they turn 27. Small businesses struggling with rising health-care costs will receive a tax credit, and primary-care physicians will see increases in their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates.

In Washington, when major bills near final passage, an inside-the-Beltway mentality takes hold. Any bill becomes a victory. Clear thinking is thrown out the window for political calculus. In the heat of battle, decisions are being made that set an irreversible course for how future health reform is done. The result is legislation that has been crafted to get votes, not to reform health care.

In my home state of Vermont, we have accomplished universal health care for children younger than 18 and real insurance reform I know health reform when I see it, and there isn't much left in the Senate bill. I reluctantly conclude that, as it stands, this bill would do more harm than good to the future of America.

read whole article here

Comment: Ex Governor Howard Dean pretty much has the current situation nailed. The few are holding the majority hostage for personal political gain. It is beginning to look as if it is our politicians are even more in need of reform than our health care system.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rep. Stupak says his amendment unlikely to prevail

Dec 7 2009
WASHINGTON – Michigan’s Bart Stupak, the Democratic congressman who set off a firestorm of controversy with an amendment restricting abortion coverage in the health care reform legislation, says he doesn’t believe his proposal will survive in the free press interview here

Monday, December 7, 2009

Health care reform contains tax increases hidden in plain sight

excerps from an article By MIKE DENNISON Missoulian State Bureau | Posted: Sunday, December 6, 2009 6:30 am

HELENA – To pay for health care reform, you’ll find billions of dollars in tax increases tucked inside the two major bills now before Congress – with each taking a vastly different approach to who ends up paying.

Here’s a quick look at the tax proposals in each of the major bills:

House bill: It would raise about $46 billion a year by levying an income tax surcharge on single people earning more than $500,000 a year and couples earning more than $1 million. Only 700 taxpaying households in Montana fall into those categories.

It also would tax medical devices and limit tax-free medical “flex” spending accounts to $2,500.

Senate bill: It has a controversial 40 percent tax on so-called “Cadillac” health plans; levies an annual fee on insurers, drug makers and medical device makers; and raises Medicare payroll taxes for singles earning more than $200,000 a year and couples earning more than $250,000.

It also limits flex spending accounts and medical-expense tax deductions.

The excise tax would be levied on the “aggregate value” of health care benefits that exceed $8,500 for single people and $23,000 for families, starting in 2013.

While no one is enthusiastic about paying higher taxes, two prominent supporters of the health reform bills – AARP and Montana Change That Works, a labor-funded organization – say they can live with the taxes in the Senate bill. read whole article

Comment: Flex Spending Account, a payroll deduction before payroll taxes to pay for medical and/or related expenses

Friday, December 4, 2009

Webb, Warner quiet on health care bill, for now

By Bill Bartel
The Virginian-Pilot
© December 4, 2009

As the U.S. Senate completes its first week of debate on a massive health care overhaul bill, Virginia's two senators(Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb, both Democrats) have been silent. But that could change soon.

The goal would be a transparent system in which costs, treatments and outcomes for patients could be compared across the nation in real whole article here

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

about COBRA

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, eligible individuals receive a 65 percent reduction in their COBRA premiums. But that benefit ended Dec. 31, 2009.

Under current law, if individuals get laid off in January 2010, they will not be eligible for the 65 percent COBRA subsidy. However, that may change soon.

The Extended COBRA Continuation Act of 2009 has been introduced as legislation to extend the premium reduction into 2010