Monday, September 17, 2007

Questions for HIllary Clinton

I just received Mrs. Clinton's proposed American Health Choices Plan to ensure that all Americans have affordable, quality health insurance. This plan covers every American - finally addressing the needs of the 47 million uninsured and the tens of millions of workers with coverage who fear they could be one pink slip away from losing their health coverage.

  1. She is proposing the same choice of health plan options that members of congress receive for everyone (Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHBP) - that seems fair.
  2. She is promising lower premiums and increased security by reducing costs and insurance discrimination - that seems reasonable.
  3. She is promoting shared responsibility by ending discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and requiring individuals to keep this high-quality affordable insurance - that would be a very good thing.
  4. She is proposing refundable insurance tax credits for working families - seems very fair.
  5. She is proposing small business tax credits for job-based coverage - love that idea.

She is also proposing a choice of health plan options and, as a condition of doing business with the federal government, insurers must cover high-priority preventive services that experts agree are proven and effective. This focus on prevention will improve health and lower costs in the long run. Now we are talking!!!!!

My questions:

1) Nowhere in the shared responsibility plan did I see anything about affordable health care coverage requiring individual citizens to be responsible for making lifestyle choices that help prevent disease.

2) Nor did I see anything in the plan about the reasonable possibility of funding this universal health care coverage by dramatically raising taxes on corporations that knowingly promote disease.


Spencer Thornton, M.D. said...

Good summary.

I would hope that any insurance plan would take into consideration the personal lifestyle choices that people make that lead to disease - like smoking, heavy drinking, drug use, etc. Otherwise it turns into a free-for-all.

Some personal responsibility must be mandatory. I think most people will see some positives here.

Obama and Edwards have similar plans, but none so comprehensive as Clinton's.

Robert Clement said...

A Democrat once warned, "Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases."

That is a fundamental truth that seems to elude many politicians these days, but especially most Democrats.

That warning about big government came from Thomas Jefferson!

James Waugh, MD said...

Mr. Clement.

I suspect Mr. Jefferson has also been turning over in his grave with the current administration's complete lack of regard for James Madison's First Amendment liberties set forth in The Bill of Rights.

But please forgive me for that response. We are here to have an intelligent discussion about the merits and problems associated with universal health care. We are not here to discuss party politics.

Anonymous said...

It's time for a complete overhaul of our healthcare system.

Thanks to our gluttony and laziness (with kudos to our Washington D.C. lobbyist controlled government that cares more about dirty business PAC money than the health of the nation), we have the highest rate of obesity on the planet, which is responsible for a large portion of rapidly escalating healthcare costs.

One third of adults over 20 are considered obese. Two thirds are overweight. We gorge ourselves on fast food. Know nothing about nutrition. Refuse to exercise. So we've got degenerative heart disease, eye disease, high cholesterol, high stress, a diabetes epidemic, run away depression, anxiety and addiction.

We are not exactly Heidi in the Alps are we?

We can thank our government and our educational system for teaching to the lowest common denominator, thereby creating a nation of uninformed cretins who way too often can't speak or write complete sentences as adults.

We can thank the food industry for lining their pockets at the expense of good nutrition and health.

We can thank the legal system for stealing Hansel and Gretel's crumbs...leaving doctors afraid not to take the safest path.

We can thank the pharmaceutical companies for corrupting doctors and putting profiteering ahead of health.

Until the American public is willing and able to start looking out for their own health and well-being, until they are willing and able to educate themselves and their children, until people are willing to forego expensive testing designed to protect doctor from frivolous lawsuites by mostly greedy lawyers, until they are willing to see a perfectly competent nurse, midwife, physical therapist, optometrist, or a physicians's assistant for their primary health care, there will be no moving forward.

A revised workable system of universal healthcare should be available to every child and adult citizen who votes and participates in a disease prevention program. It's the least we should expect from a working democracy.

There are simply not enough MDs, and not enough funds available to continue providing the present standard-of-care that has NOT proven to adequately address the healthcare needs of this country.

Ellen Troyer, MT MA said...

A recent article in Time magazine stated that 75% of U.S. health-care dollars are now spent treating those with chronic degenerative diseases.

If these amazing numbers are accurate, it seems clear that disease prevention and improved patient education must be the major focus of any new healthcare plan.

G. Bauer said...

Predictably, Clinton's health care "reform" plan is
another gigantic government mandate and the first step toward nationalized health care, with an estimated cost of more than $100 billion a year.

How will she pay for it? The same way Senator Barack Obama and John Edwards are suggesting they would pay for their health "reform" plans - with higher taxes!

Big government has an insatiable appetite for tax dollars - your money. As the government grows, it demands more and more money. And as taxes and regulations increase, freedom of choice wanes.

Margaret Smith said...

It's appauling that we have $2 trillion in our health-care system - 50% more than any other country in the world, and we can't provide basic healthcare for everyone.

If this were a business it would have been put in bankruptcy years ago because the numbers and the outcomes don't add up.

Hopefully, gentlemen like Robert Clement will start to focus on issues at hand and particularly our national healcare needs instead of replying to serious blogs with Jefferson quotes on liberty that, under the current circumstances, just seem absurb.

June said...

i think healthplans should cover vitamins. I spend so much money so I don't get sick yet I still have to pay for health insurance. Why won't the government help people like me?

Ellen Troyer, MT MA said...

I agree with you June.

If I'm reading Mrs. Clinton's healthcare plan right, it should cover (or at least partially cover) disease prevention supplements if they are supported by published science, including all of the new genome science that links gene-based degenerative disease to nutritional deficiencies.

Hopefully, both the Democrat and Republican "wantabe president" politician's healthcare plans will follow Mrs. Clinton's suit, since the citizens of this country are fed up with the healthcare status quo.

Preventing disease will be far less expensive for the government and the tax payer than covering the healthcare cost associated with long-term care of patients afflicted with, mostly preventable, chronic degenerative diseases - patient and healthcare provider education is the key.

Robert Clement said...

Margaret Smith states that there is $2 trillion in our healthcare system. There is a reason for that.

Drug costs are higher in the United States than anywhere else in the world. Nowhere else does the drug industry have the control of the media and the political system as in the US.

If the public was given the same treatment (cost coverage) for nutritional supplements as for pharmaceuticals, the public health would be improved and money spent on expensive drugs saved.

I agree with June. We - the public - should pressure the Health Plans to cover nutritional supplements (vitamins, antioxidants, essential trace minerals, etc. sold by reputable concerns) shown to prevent or slow the progress of degenerative disease. We could begin by contacting our elected officials to enlist their support.

Anonymous said...

I hate Hillary and would never vote for her if she were the last women on earth.

Ellen Troyer, MT MA said...

No one takes an "anonymous" hate message seriously-particularly on a blog designed for intelligent discourse on a variety of health related subjects.

Jeffrey Anshel, OD said...

Let's see now.....Gates just asked for $190 Billion more money for the Iraq war. Just gotta wonder where THAT money could be better spent....!!!

I also think one "problem" with the Hilary plan is the "requirement" to get healthier (as ET asked in her question). Not everyone knows how to do that and they just follow whatever the drug companies (via their PCP) say they should do. We (as a nation) don't have a mindset to be preventive. We wait until we have a problem, then try to solve it. Not the best approach to health....