Raising Women’s Voices

One-Fifth of U.S. Adults Underinsured in 2007

Posted in Affordability, Health Disparities, Insurance companies by raisingwomensvoices on April 20, 2009

 

“Consumers facing increased medical expenses are likely to report decreasing their contributions to retirement savings plans (29 percent), taking on credit card debt (22 percent), and experiencing difficulty paying for basic necessities like food, heat and housing (27 percent) as a result of their medical costs” according to Community Catalyst’s report, When Coverage Fails: Causes and Remedies for Inadequate Health Insurance

The report discusses the ramifications of being under-insured, such as poor health and financial difficulties.  According to the report, 50% of bankruptcies in 2007 were the result of medical debt.  That same year, 25 million were under-insured–a 60% increase from 2003–meaning their insurance was not comprehensive, forcing them to forgo or delay medical treatments, preventative tests and doctor visits.   The report concluded that the federal government could help alleviate the situation by setting standards for coverage and limiting deductibles. 

There are many ways in which the term under-insured is used.  How does Community Catalyst define ‘underinsured’?  By analyzing the income of those with insurance and the out-of-pocket costs of health care they pay, and determining when those costs become too great of a barrier to overcome.  The Commonwealth Fund classifies individuals as under-insured when more than 10% of their income (which is 200% below the federal poverty level) on out-of-pocket health expenses, or whose deductible consumed 5% of their income.  The report found that families paid the highest deductibles, and those purchasing their insurance on their own (not through their employer) are more likely to be under-insured.

Save 30% on Health Premiums?

Posted in Affordability, Health Disparities, Insurance companies by raisingwomensvoices on April 15, 2009

President Obama’s health care plan that offers  options similar to that of Medicare could save Americans up to 30% on their health care premiums costs. According to MoveOn.org: 

  • Health care costs are spiraling out of control. From 2000 to 2008, health insurance premiums increased five times faster than wages.
  • A public health insurance option would provide an affordable, quality alternative. Two new studies show that Americans could save 25% or more off of a traditional private plan. The New York Times says this would “keep the private plans honest.” They’ll have to lower rates and offer better value to compete.
  • Plus, a public health insurance option would be reliable coverage for all. Private insurers are notorious for dumping people with little notice. A public option would allow consumers who’ve been dropped—or just don’t like their current coverage—to switch to a steady public choice.

Join MoveOn.org and other health advocates and send a message to Congress, telling them how you could use the 30% savings.

States Cut Cost-Saving Health Programs

Posted in Affordability, Health Disparities, State Reform by raisingwomensvoices on April 15, 2009

In lieu of the budget crisis that our nation faces, many states are reacting by cutting health care programs.  While these cuts may offer a benefit in the short-term, the programs being slashed are ones that provide long-term cost savings.  According to Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 34 states have cut programs.

What are some of the real-life implications to these cuts?

  • States like Ohio that have had to reduce funding to child welfare are likely to see an increase of the number of children in foster care.  Ohio’s cuts have translated into a loss of 75% of its child welfare investigators.
  • California has eliminated Medicaid Dental Coverage for adults.
  • States like Arizona now have over 1,000 individuals who are forced to go without home medical care, who now struggle to perform basic functions such as bathing and domestic chores, which means many will enter nursing homes, an option that is more costly than home care.

According to the  New York Times, the hardest hit state has been Arizona, where Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has cut $1.6 million this year, and a proposed $3 million from next year’s budget.   States foregoing practices that are cost effective in the long-term and beneficial for well-being of its constituents.  Families in situations of child abuse and neglect, for example,  are now faced with 2 drastic options:  remove children and place them in foster care, or wait until a serious incident occurs within the home.

Political Power for the Uninsured?

Posted in DC Reform, Health Reform Policy Proposals by raisingwomensvoices on April 13, 2009

If the uninsured were an organized lobby group, Congress would have a tough time trying ignore their demands.  The recession has contributed to the increased numbers of insured, pushing the numbers to over 50 million.  UNINSURED

So what’s the problem?  Health care, accessing it and paying for it, are still regarded as private issues, rather than ones of public debate.  But what cannot be stressed enough is that health care affects us all. According to one writer of the Associated Press, “People who lose coverage often struggle alone instead of turning their frustration into political action”.

Health Care for America NOW!, (HCAN) a grassroots organization that advocates for quality, affordable health care for all, plans to bring more than 15,000 individuals to Washington, D.C. to lobby on the behalf of the uninsured.  Campaign director Richard Kirsch notes that many of the uninsured do not have the opportunity to partake in events such as the one being organized by HCAN due to fiscal and familial restraints, which is why it is important to have those numbers represented in health reform activism.

With a presidential administration committed to health care reform and advocates across the country working for quality, affordable, comprehensive and accessible health care–the time to act is now!

Loss of Dashle Blow to Health Reform? He Doesn’t Think So…

Posted in DC Reform, State Reform by raisingwomensvoices on March 20, 2009

“When I withdrew from consideration to be secretary of health and human services, some pundits said health reform had received a devastating blow. While it would be flattering for me to believe that, it would also be completely wrong…the biggest error those pundits made was in thinking that the debate over health-care reform would be decided by who occupies certain positions in Washington. It won’t. It will be decided by the American people. And at the Forum on Health Reform, those voices were finally heard,” says former HHS Nominee Thomas Daschle.

The former South Dakota Senator reports that while it may be flattering to hear that his withdrawal is a serious blow  to health care reform in this country, he believes that there are many advocates and reformers in Washington that are able to achieve change.  Furthermore, Daschle notes that with a President who believes “Health-care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year” , a committed HHS nominee  Gov. Kathleen Sebelius , White House Office of Health Reform head Nancy-Ann Min DeParle, Republicans who support health reform and allies from the pharmaceutical lobbyists, not to mention the thousands of Americans who have already voiced their concerns, health reform has many staunch supporters.

Will Florida Stop Charging Women More for Health Insurance?

Posted in Affordability, Health Disparities, State Reform by raisingwomensvoices on March 4, 2009

Are women being penalized for trying to be healthier people? 

When searching for an individual health policy, women will find that they are often charged more than men, even if they are within the same age and health bracket.  Why?  According to the insurance companies it’s because women use the health care system and its services more than men. 

One report quotes Mark Wright of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida says, “Among other things, women stay current on annual screenings, which tends to lead to better future health.”   The Florida Legislature is considering a bill that would end the gender-rating associated with health care policies.

Women, Health Care and the Economy

Posted in Affordability, Health Disparities, Insurance companies, Reproductive Health Care, Uncategorized by raisingwomensvoices on February 13, 2009

“…[W]e are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make. To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground to expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information, and preventative services.”

Obama’s statement from the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade highlights important issues to women’s health.   One writer points out that by increasing women’s access to contraception, jobs that offer living wages with benefits, and access to quality and affordable child care are essential to the nation’s economic health. 

Women’s health is inextricably tied to our nation’s economic well-being, and economic policy should not be void of considering women’s reproductive health issues.  Republic House leader, John Boehner, asks

“”How can you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives? How does that stimulate the economy?

Women and children make up a majority of the nation’s poor.  Comprising 70 percent of minimum-wage and below-minimum-wage workers, women struggle to attain financial equity in within the workforce.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argues that the inclusion of family planning in Medicaid would prove to be money-saving.  In 2007, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the Family Planning Medicaid Expansion would actually save the federal government more than $200 million over 5 years.  The recent rescinding of family planning expansion from the economic recovery package in an effort to garner Republican support ignores the importance of women’s health and its link to the economy.

Does Public Health Insurance Mean Lower Costs and Higher Quailty Care?

Posted in Affordability, Health Reform Policy Proposals, Insurance companies, Uncategorized by raisingwomensvoices on February 6, 2009

According to the report released yesterday by the Institute for America’s Future, yes! The report shows that public plans are much better at controlling costs and health care spending than private plans by highlighting the cost savings of Medicare. The report proposed that a new plan should be created, similar to that of Medicare, but available to those under the age of 65. In the past 25 years, Medicare has been able to control costs better than private plans have. Public plans also offer better quality of care, as they are less likely to pass financial increases along to employers and more likely to invest in preventative services. In other words, public plans appear to have more of an incentive to improve the quality of care in order to reduce costs. Public plans were also found to have lower administrative costs, stronger bargaining power, more choices for consumers and increased provider accountability. The health insurance industry and many Republicans in Congress oppose allowing competition between private plans and public plans managed by the federal government. Read the full report!

Cancer Patients with Health Insurance Struggle to Pay for Health Care

Posted in Affordability, Insurance companies, Pre-existing conditions by raisingwomensvoices on February 6, 2009

The American Cancer Society and Kaiser Family Foundation issued a report yesterday on 20 patients who have been diagnosed with cancer or other serious illnesses and the difficulties they have had in accessing affordable health care. The report, Spending to Survive: Cancer Patients Confront Holes in the Health Insurance System, identifies 5 major gaps that cancer patients experience after they have been diagnosed.
First, caps on benefits can lead to high out-of-pocket expenses. Second, employer-based health coverage may not cover catastrophically high health costs. Third, finding an adequate individual plan can be difficult, both for those recently diagnosed and for those in remission. Fourth, high-risk pools are either not available in some states or not affordable. Finally, the waiting periods and eligibility restrictions leave many patients in a period of limbo, in which they are without affordable coverage while waiting to be access public programs.

Check out the full report here

Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee McCain Discusses Cancer Issues at Ohio Event

Posted in Affordability, Insurance companies by raisingwomensvoices on July 25, 2008

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) on Thursday discussed issues related to cancer at a town hall meeting in Columbus, Ohio, hosted by cyclist and testicular cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, the Los Angeles Times reports.
During the event, McCain, a melanoma survivor, said, “I was in a battle with melanoma. And I know … somewhat, at least to a small degree, how tough that battle can be. And yes, I’ve become a fanatic. Yes, I admit it. When I see a woman with a child in the sun, I go over and say, ‘Get sunscreen on that child, please.'” McCain, a former smoker, also criticized tobacco industry lobbyists.
According to the Times, “McCain’s appearance at the summit was widely panned by liberal groups that have criticized his health insurance plan, which some independent analysts say could make it more difficult for people with health problems to find coverage.” McCain has proposed to replace a tax break for employees who receive health insurance from employers with a refundable tax credit of as much as $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families to purchase private coverage, and critics maintain that the plan “might impose hardships on cancer survivors, for example, because insurance companies might balk at covering people with pre-existing conditions,” the Times reports.

read_more: http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/health2008dr.cfm?DR_ID=53511

Tagged with: , ,