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Health Care Myths & Facts – part 2

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8 common myths about health insurance reform

Myth 1 Reform will create “rationing” which does not exist in the present system: It’s a myth that reform will mean a “government takeover” of health care or lead to “rationing.” To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.

Myth 2We can’t afford reform: It’s the status quo we can’t afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.

Myth 3Reform would encourage “euthanasia: It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.

Myth 4Vets’ health care is threatened: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans’ access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President’s budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.

Myth 5Reform will hurt  small business, and their employees: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.

Myth 6Your Medicare is in jeapordy: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare “doughnut” hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.

Myth 7You must drop your current insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.

Myth 8The new plan authorizes the government to make withdrawals from your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.

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Posted by on August 15, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Sen. Grassley & Republicans Attack Hospice Care

In response to wild rumors of “death panels” and other distortions,  Republicans have forced a minor provision out of the proposed legislation to reform health care coverage in the U.S. That provision was designed to authorize payment for counseling services to help seriously ill and aged sort through questions that face them upon checking into a medical facility.

Sen. Charles Grassley

Sen. Charles Grassley

Anybody who has been hospitalized in the last four or five years has seen, among the pages of crap you have to sign, questions about “extraordinary medical procedures” and suggestions about a “living will.” These very terms can be confusing and scary for older folks (my mom is 98). If there is a knowledgeable family member on hand, whom the patient trusts, these are not a big problem. However, many of our seniors are alone when a medical emergency occurs. The nurses doing the admission don’t have the time, or the training, to go over all these issues and are cautioned against giving patients any advice.

The stricken provision was to authorize payment for counselors trained to explain these issues and to consult with the patient, and any available family members or significant others, on how to make and implement a decision.

Here is a direct quote from Sen. Grassley, appearing at a public gathering yesterday (August 11, 2009) in his home stae of Iowa:

There is some fear because in the House bill, there is counseling for end-of-life,” Grassley said. “And from that standpoint, you have every right to fear. You shouldn’t have counseling at the end of life. [emphasis added]

How does this impact hospice care, you ask? Well, a great deal of what hospice workers do is just this kind of counseling. They the terminally ill, and their loved ones, find a way to talk meaningfully and openly about difficult issues and arrive at a decision that everyone can accept.  Since this is a major component of their work, and the Repubs (led by Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and that guy shaking a finger in Sen. Arlen Specter‘s face) are martialed against it, one has to question how the hospice movement can effectively survive.

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