воскресенье, 26 декабря 2010 г.

Direct-buy Health Insurance: Another Health Insurance Alternative

The battle for supremacy in the heated health insurance debate seems to be halting progress. Lawmakers are perpetually clashing proposing bigger, better plans, while carefully pointing out the flaws of the current bill. One such new plan is called Direct-buy health insurance, which provides patients with a refundable tax credit to buy health insurance directly.
The direct-buy health insurance plan is one that is currently being touted as the pet plan of Rep. Paul Ryan , R-Wis. Ryan sees the plan as an extension of the capitalist mentality that has driven the American economy to success for the past 200 years. Under the plan, health insurance companies and health care providers would be forced to compete for customers. This would not only drive down costs, but also up quality.
Furthermore, the plan would give customers a choice to purchase health insurance through an employer or a provider of their choice. Currently, only businesses are able to purchase plans with pre-tax dollars. Under Ryan’s plan individuals would be able to as well.
For the lower income bracket, funds would be given for individuals to purchase health insurance with flexible out-of-pocket costs. The plan would also address the issue of pre-existing conditions and force insurance providers to offer insurance to everyone including those with prior medical conditions.
The direct-buy health insurance would not be limited by state borders either: customers from Washington would have the opportunity to purchase a plan they like in, say, North Carolina, or Texas. Moreover, like car insurance plans, customers would be able to choose a high-deductible plan or a low-deductible plan depending on their preference.
Health Insurance Reform: Will it Happen?
Meanwhile, Washington remains up to its neck in health insurance reform rhetoric. Bitter bickering from both sides over seemingly every minutia of the bill has the President all the more fired up to get the health insurance reform legislation passed. Thus far, President Obama has delayed his Asia trip and instead gone on a small state-by-state campaign style jaunt to try and rally Americans to get some “courage” and be more supportive of the controversial bill.
Democrats have been toiling away on the house floor trying to create new ways to get the bill passed without having to deal with Republican outcry and waivering Democrats. Senate Democrats want to push the bill in an all-or-nothing package that can be revised once passed. House Democrats, however, want the wording changed before not after the fact.
Republicans are also making their voice heard with proposals of other plans such as direct buy health insurance. They remain extremely critical of Democrat maneuvering and have been very effective at swaying public opinion.

среда, 22 декабря 2010 г.

Judge Says Health Care Law Constitutional, No Violation of Commerce Clause

A federal judge has ruled that the new health care law, a mandate of which requires all Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 or face a penalty tax, is indeed constitutional and does not violate the “Commerce Clause” which grants Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce.
Judge George Caram Steeh ruled in the Michigan lawsuit, the first in about 15 to 20 filed across the nation challenging some aspect of the healthcare law according to Department of Justice estimates. Most argue that the federal government does not have the right to force individuals to buy a product, in this case health insurance, just because they are American citizens.
Read: Judge Allows Virginia Lawsuit Against Healthcare Bill
The plaintiffs in this case, four uninsured individuals (by choice) and the Thomas More Law Center, argue that the decision to buy insurance is a form of inactivity rather than an economic activity and therefore isn’t covered by the Clause.
Judge Steeh ruled that by choosing not to obtain health insurance,”plaintiffs are making an economic decision to try to pay for healthcare services later, out of pocket, rather than now through the purchase of insurance.”
“These decisions,” wrote Judge Steeh, “have clear and direct impacts on healthcare providers, taxpayers, and the insured population who ultimately pay for the care provided to those who go without insurance.”
"The court found that the minimum coverage provision of the statute was a reasonable means for Congress to take in reforming our health-care system," said Tracy Schmaler, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department. "The department will continue to vigorously defend this law in ongoing litigation."
Robert Muise, senior trial counsel for Thomas More Law Center, plans to appeal the decision with the US Court of Appeals of the 6th Circuit.

вторник, 14 декабря 2010 г.

Even A Short Term Splurge Can Dampen Weight Loss Efforts

Many dieters follow the same pattern: eating very strict low-calorie diets throughout the week and then splurging and skipping the gym on the weekends. A new study from Linkoping University has found what many dietitians already know – over-eating and living a sedentary lifestyle, even for a short period of time, can ultimately sabotage weight loss efforts.

Consistent Healthful Behaviors More Beneficial than Short-Term Diets

Dr. Torbjorn Lindstrom, an associate professor in the department of medical and health sciences, studied 18 normal-weight healthy participants (12 men and 6 women). Their average age was 26 years. For one month, all were placed on a restricted physical activity regimen that involved the equivalent of no more than 5,000 steps per day – the threshold for a “sedentary” lifestyle. The participants also increased their daily caloric intake by 70%, mainly by consuming fast food. The average calorie intake was 5,750 per day.
Read: Saturated Fat Tells Brain to Keep Eating
The study compared the results to a “control” group that did not change their diet or activity levels.
By the end of the month, the “splurgers” gained an average of 14 pounds. Fat mass increased from 20% of total body weight to 24% after the intervention.
Read: Why Some Diets Don't Work
The researchers also studied the patients six months and one year later, after the group had resumed a diet and exercise regimen. Most had lost about 10 pounds of their excess weight, but never achieved their pre-study weight. Even two and a half years later, the group that “yo-yo’d” (went off their diet and then back on) were still heavier than the group that remained consistent with their diet and exercise routines.
"A short period of [over-eating] can have later long-term effects," said Dr. Lindstrom. "Based on this, it can be recommended to avoid very high food-intake that might occur during shorter periods in normal life."
The study is published in the current issue of Nutrition & Metabolism.

вторник, 7 декабря 2010 г.

Free, Low-Cost Health Insurance Includes All Rockland County Children

As health care coverage becomes an increasing concern for many working families, the Child Health Plus program has been expanded from 250-percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) to 400-percent of the FPL making comprehensive, affordable coverage accessible for all uninsured children in Rockland County.
This expansion allows all uninsured children to enroll in coverage by offering a graduated sliding fee scale for premiums making it more affordable for families to access coverage for their children. This expansion included a waiting period for children with family incomes above 250-percent of the FPL, which means that children who have access to employer-sponsored coverage must be uninsured for six months before they can apply. Some select populations will be exempt from this waiting period. The Rockland County Health Department can help those uninsured children gain insurance through the Child Health Plus program regardless of income or immigration status.
Adults aged 19-64 with limited income and resources might be eligible for free health insurance through a program called Family Health Plus. Single childless adults including College students with monthly income under $903 per month will qualify for free medical coverage through the Family Health Plus.
These programs, funded through the State of New York and administered through the Rockland County Health Department, are intended to make quality health insurance affordable for all New Yorkers.
Child Health Plus & Family Health Plus covers:
• Regular medical checkups
• Immunizations
• Dental visits
• Eye exams/eyeglasses
• Prescription drugs
• Laboratory tests
• Hospital
• Dental care and more.