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The ACA: Bad for American Business? October 4, 2013

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Money.
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Wall_Street_-_New_York_Stock_Exchange

There are allegations that the Affordable Care Act is bad for American businesses. The key questions are  more nuanced – which ones and when?  The ACA will prove to be disruptive, says  former insurance executive Wendell Potter.  But the last 4 years have been good for people holding insurance stocks on their retirement plans and mutual funds. According to a report shared across the country by the AP, 5 major health insurance companies have benefitted greatly since the recession and with the prospect of millions of new customers. For example:

The good news: CIGNA stock up 477% since 3/9/2009 (as reported by the AP-not a solicitation to buy or sell shares). For comparison, the Standard and Poor’s 500 index was up 151% in the same time period.

The bad news: According to Wendell Potter (formerly of CIGNA), this may not continue as the exchanges alter the traditional insurance marketplace.

English: Wendell Potter in 2010

English: Wendell Potter in 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And what if the American public benefits as a whole because of fewer ER room visits, with more people insured and using preventive care?

Got Pre-Existing Conditions? Romney or Obama Health Plan? October 4, 2012

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous.
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As seen on Slate.com this morning-about pre-existing conditions and Obamacare.

Here’s an admission from Governor Romney’s advisor, Eric Ferhnstrom:

Pressed by TPM’s [Talking Points Memo] Evan McMorris-Santoro, Fehrnstrom said those who currently lack coverage because they have pre-existing conditions would need their states to implement their own laws — like Romney’s own Massachusetts health care law — that ban insurance company from discriminating against sick people.

“We’d like to see states do what Massachusetts did,” Fehrnstrom said. “In Massachusetts we have a ban on pre-existing conditions.”

[emphasis added by me]

If you have a pre-existing condition, the President’s plan (already the law), provides for no discrimination based on pre-existing conditions (think chronic conditions, cancer, diabetes etc.). But if Governor Romney is allowed to repeal Obamacare, then each state would have to push through their own versions of protections instead.

No guarantees there.

The Republicans are big on freedom. Before PPACA was passed, you could be trapped in your job with employer-provided health coverage, if you had a child with epilepsy or diabetes and they had been born AFTER you began work at your current company. Why? Because they would have been uninsurable with an individual plan or for a period under a new employer plan.

I knew two people who could never change jobs before PPACA was voted into law.

No freedom for them.

There is now.

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

English: President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health Care Quote of the Week: The conservative case for Obamacare October 2, 2012

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Health Quote of the Week.
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I can’t add very much to this NYT Opinion piece, save to say that its’ conservative credentials are impeccable. And the writer believes that the President’s health care plan (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) is a wonderful piece of legislation, not for  liberals but conservatives.

But here’s the dirty little secret:

“This explains why the health insurance industry has been quietly supporting the plan all along. It levels the playing field and expands the potential market by tens of millions of new customers.”

To which I would add, check your health insurance stocks, mutual funds and ETF’s. Are their shareholders complaining about performance in the last three years?

(This post is not a solicitation to buy or sell securities)

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Prot...

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fact-killing health-reform repeal January 19, 2011

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, huh?.
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So says the headline in the today’s column by Froma Harrop in my newspaper today.

I’d only like to address one part of the column and proposed legislation (HR2) in this post.

So which jobs will PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) destroy? The House Republicans offer no evidence-just assertions about losses to small businesses and assumptions about new government jobs. In fact, a repeal of PPACA would eliminate tax credits for small businesses. (This credit is available from 2010-2013 for non-profit and for-profit businesses of fewer than 25 employees and and average annual incomes of less than $50,000.)

Some businesses would lose jobs-some would be in the administration of health care for profit businesses that the US has. With 32 million more people covered, it seems obvious that more health care workers would be needed to serve them. There is also a provision in the bill to add slots in nursing education, which would lead to growth in the number of nurses we could train and add to the workplace.

A recent column in the Journal of Nursing Administration (JONA) article describes the additional opportunities for nursing education as a “watershed moment for the nursing profession”.

In workforce development reports, allied health professions and health care jobs are routinely in the top growth areas for the next ten years.

Can it be that the Republicans are only worried about pleasing their lobbyists (including 55 former members of Congress as of 2009)?

According to Bloomberg News, 1.5 million dollars per day was spent in the first quarter of 2010 on health care reform lobbying….

Health Care Reform: The Hangover Begins March 22, 2010

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous, huh?.
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Well, that party was short lived! I feel like I drank too much last night and when I woke up, I had health care, but was married to a lobbyist or State Attorney General I met in Vegas.

Well, it hasn’t even been 24 hours, and we have 12 13 states joining in a lawsuit!

Let me begin again-I sound like someone I know who can’t celebrate for a minute before he wants to climb the next mountain.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Yeeeeeeeees! Yiiippppppeeeee!

We did it-it was messy, took too long and the bill is like a spy in some sort of disguise , but the deed is done. 219 votes is bigger than 216.

Remember, what do they call the guy who graduates last in his medical  school class-Doctor! It’s a bill and will be signed tomorrow.

Next point According to the AP:

  • NEW YORK (AP) — Drug and hospital companies led stocks higher Monday after House lawmakers ended months of uncertainty and approved the health care overhaul bill.

So here’s how we stand, the currently insured plus 32 million more people (who is going to tell them?) have health insurance when the bill goes into effect. Plus your 401(k) had a few more pennies in it today.  We’ll need them, but let’s keep celebrating for a few more minutes.

What’s in it for me?  (WIFM) The Huffington Post has a list, but I went directly to the White House:

This year, thousands of uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions will have the opportunity to purchase quality, affordable health insurance.

  • Beginning in 2010, small business owners will no longer be forced to choose between offering health care and hiring new employees because they’ll be offered tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums to help insure their employees.
  • Medicare beneficiaries will no longer wonder how they’ll afford their prescription drug bills because they’ll be given a rebate of $250 if they hit the prescription drug donut hole in 2010.
  • And early retirees will be provided help through the creation of a temporary re-insurance program to help offset the costs of expensive premiums.
  • This year, you will now have the security of knowing that insurers cannot deny coverage to your child because of a pre-existing condition.
  • You won’t have to live every day in fear of having your insurance taken away from you if you get sick.
  • And for new plans, there won’t be lifetime or restrictive annual limits on the amount of care you receive from your insurance companies.

Here’s three benefits touted by NPR:

Changes that would occur this year include:

– Dependent children could remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26. ([can you say unemployed college graduate?]

– Senior citizens would get more help paying for drugs in Medicare. [donut hole]

– People with health problems that left them uninsurable could qualify for coverage through a federal program.

Let’s hope these immediate benefits, or “early deliverables” get a chance to be implemented before the nation’s Attorneys General take them away.

Talking points from the opposition March 21, 2010

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Heard on C-SPAN just now, “Everything is broken that the government runs”

Retired schoolteacher, “I don’t know what is in the bill”, and I’ve always paid for my own coverage…

Too much propaganda

Get rid of the lawsuits

“If we all have to buy it, we lose our freedom..”

Medicare is failing…

The House is in Session….. March 21, 2010

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance.
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One Minute Speeches:

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN): “Death of freedom”

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA): “All Americans deserve a choice” [to make themselves] “…not made by their insurance company or the government…”

Unidentified (R) from SC : “Bad for small business-link to Sept. 11th”?

(D) Rep. from Texas Sheila Jackson Lee: “this is the day to heal the nation”

(R) – PA Timothy Murphy: “We will never give up”, quoted Pres. Lincoln about “binding the nations’ wounds”. Health care reference unintentional?

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D), “immediate benefits for small business-give us the health care we need”

Rep. Louie Gohmert  (R) Texas, something about abortion

Rep. Steven Kagen, (D-WI) “no longer will a child’s illness cause their family to go broke and lose their home”. “paid for and lower deficit”

Shame on Juan Williams on NPR WeSat March 20, 2010

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, huh?.
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We heard the Fox News Juan Williams this morning, filling in for Daniel Schorr. I met Juan Williams briefly at an event commemorating Brown vs. Board of Education.

This Juan was not that Juan.

Maybe Juan and I each live in our own little narrowcasted worlds. He said, the health care bill is “unpopular with the American people” and that “most Americans oppose the package as it stands”. This right after the NPR newscast had just listed more groups that were in favor of the bill-including the AFL-CIO, the AMA and the AARP.

Guess over 50 year olds, physicians and union members don’t count in Juan’s world. Not to mention the Catholic nuns and hospitals that should be mentioned any time a member of the media mentions the bishops. For me, a nun trumps a bishop, but then, I’m not Catholic.

Scott didn’t even challenge Juan’s reiteration of many rumors that got media coverage in the last nine months (a definite pregnancy) but were NOT in fact true.  I will not give them search engine credence by mentioning them here.  NPR continues its’ habit this year of not challenging anyone on the hard questions. Listen to the BBC or Democracy Now sometime-their reporters aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions.

NPR, I expect better from you!

Liberals Holding Up Healthcare Bill? March 17, 2010

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance.
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President Obama had a success today-he got the vote of Rep. Dennis Kucinich, former Presidential candidate. Rep. Kucinich was for a single payer plan-weren’t we all? If he can change his mind, why can’t some others in the House and in the Senate?

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=rep.+kucinich&iid=8272357″ src=”8/a/f/e/Rep_Dennis_Kucinich_b537.jpg?adImageId=11383432&imageId=8272357″ width=”234″ height=”168″ /]

I was for the public option; not defined in my book as “a government takeover of health care rammed down our throats” (no sexual innuendo there), but the public option-looking much like the current plan that our members of Congress enjoy.

[Every time a member of Congress, or former member of the Cabinet has a health issue (stent, heart attack, etc) I wonder if you or I could get the same care, the same overnight stay, and the same access to specialists.]

But I digress. Could we have predicted that the President would have been pressing the flesh at the last minute with liberals? One would have thought that the conservatives would have been on the guest log at the White House this week.

I also heard that the Stupak language is dead too, on MSNBC in an interview with the Speaker, but NPR keeps bringing it up like it still exists.

Nevertheless, this bill is a step in the right direction, especially in terms of coverage. It deserves our support.

Thank you to the President and Rep. Dennis Kucinich and bring a few of your liberal colleagues along on your coattails!

Senate Health Bill:Passing – Your 401(k) is Up: Why that is the case December 23, 2009

Posted by Admin in Healthonymous, huh?, Money.
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I read today that the health care/insurance stocks are at 52 year highs. And many companies are up double digits, since Senator Lieberman (Say it ain’t so, Joe!)  made his proclamation at the end of October. 

When he said he wouldn’t vote for the Senate bill if it contained a public option.

Who wrote that script?

What does that tell us? We have missed an opportunity, that’s what.  Senator Lieberman has done his job, and has probably made millions on the side. For those of us that have 401(k) plans, they will also have a great 4th quarter, no doubt. We will need the money because, according to another item I read today, we will all need at least $250,000 for health care costs for after we turn 65!

Well, it is not what we all thought about, misty eyed, last January, is it? As I heard one Senator say yesterday, we have changed the culture and the expectations around health care in this country. I hope they are correct!

But we need to do more than hope. Action is virtually free. This issue needs to stay on our minds and in our emails, op-ed’s and Facebook pages all through the 2010 elections.

Expect better! (FF)

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