Archive for Friday, January 19, 2007

Health insurance expansion urged

January 19, 2007

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— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Thursday urged expansion of health insurance coverage, saying it would save Kansans and employers in the long run.

But while Sebelius pushed for more insurance, state health officials said new federal rules were depriving coverage to thousands of low-income Kansans.

"We're all looking at ways that we can make the dollars we use go further," Sebelius said in a speech to more than 700 people at a Topeka Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

"Sixteen cents of every dollar you spend on health care right now - if you purchase health insurance - goes to provide care for those who don't have insurance," Sebelius said.

"You are paying for that each and every day," she said.

Sebelius has proposed spending $4 million in state funds to expand coverage to about 2,000 children from birth to age 5.

Meanwhile, health policy officials told lawmakers that federal requirements were squeezing thousands of low-income Kansans.

Starting last July 1, the federal government required that all applicants for Medicaid and HealthWave - two federal and state funded programs that provide health coverage to the poor - provide documentation of citizenship and identification. The rules were aimed at illegal immigrants.




Bush to visit K.C.

President Bush will visit Kansas City, Mo., next week to talk about health care issues. Bush plans to hold a round-table discussion on the topic Thursday, according to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo. The White House has not released any specifics about the event or disclosed where it will take place. Bush's last visit to Kansas City was in September, when he helped raise money for Republican Sen. Jim Talent's re-election campaign.

Since then, nearly 24,000 people have dropped off the Kansas rolls.

Andrew Allison, deputy director of the Kansas Health Policy Authority, said more than 16,000 of those have fallen off the program "while waiting to be re-enrolled as a result of the large backlog of cases the new requirements have created."

Allison added: "While we understand that the new law targets illegal immigrants, we must point out that the impact of the law in our state is mostly falling on eligible citizens."

He said the situation may ultimately cost the health care system more.

State officials said they will meet with members of Congress next month to request help in solving the problem.

Comments

ksknowall 8 years, 3 months ago

"Sixteen cents of every dollar you spend on health care right now - if you purchase health insurance - goes to provide care for those who don't have insurance," Sebelius said.

So lets get the state government involved so we will be paying 32 cents to provide care for those that don't have insurance instead - what's wrong with this picture?

truthhurts 8 years, 3 months ago

Thanks to genius leadership in DC we have a semi-socialized health care system right now. Medicare/Medicaid have been inefficient and put future generations trillions of dollars in the hole. Sebelius is simply posturing (as she always does) with this proposal - it's not a step towards long term progress.

BTW - participation in HealthWave was low even before the documentation rules. These new rules may be misguided, but the program was struggling w/o the federal interference.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 3 months ago

"Medicare/Medicaid have been inefficient"

Actually, that's not true. They are considerably more efficient than private insurers.

conservative 8 years, 3 months ago

"Actually, that's not true. They are considerably more efficient than private insurers."

Wow, that's a bold statement. I'd ask for a link supporting it, but I know it'll never come.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 3 months ago

Here's a pdf of a New England Journal of Medicine study comparing the administrative overhead of the US and Canadian healthcare systems.

http://pnhp.org/news/Admin%20Cost%20study.pdf

From another article, http://bostonreview.net/BR30.6/geyman.html, which while obviously written in favor of a national health insurance plan, uses a statistic that has been widely accepted and reported:

"(regarding the often hyped myth)The private sector is more efficient than the government. This is an unfounded claim, as illustrated by the ninefold difference in administrative overhead of the Medicare program (3.0 percent) and investor-owned Blue Cross (26.5 percent)."

Since you appear to have been unaware of this fact, perhaps you need to broaden your horizons a bit.

truthhurts 8 years, 3 months ago

Bozo - don't take it from me take it from the Board of Trustees that oversees the Medicare program:

"As a percentage of GDP expenditures are projected to increase from 2.6% to 13.6% by 2079.

The level of Medicare expenditures is expected to exceed that for Social Security in 2024 and, by 2079, to represent almost twice the cost of Social Security.

Growth of this magnitude, if realized, would place a substantially greater strain on the nation's workers, Medicare beneficiaries, and the Federal Budget."

-from the 2005 annual report

I'm not here to defend the insurance industry, but they do have to work within the bureaucratic mess that the Feds have created.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 3 months ago

Irrelevant to your original point about efficency.

The report in your last post says absolutely nothing about efficiency. It reflects the fact that the population is getting progressively older, and thus will need more healthcare services.

truthhurts 8 years, 3 months ago

Once again - we do NOT have a private system right now. We have a clusterfrick of third parties making health care decisions.

truthhurts 8 years, 3 months ago

Actually an older population does not account for a percentage increase of this magnitude. Also - by 2079 the boomers will be gone so this goes beyond the scope of a population bump.

truthhurts 8 years, 3 months ago

Wow - I'm not sure how to counter that :)

Just out of curiosity - are you comfortable with the current health care system? If not - what type of changes do you advocate?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 3 months ago

What's to counter? Medicare, the government's insurance program, is administered way more efficiently than private insurance is. The same is true of national healthcare systems nearly everywhere they exist.

So I support a national, single-payer healthcare system. It doesn't have to be modeled precisely on what exists in other countries, and could still allow medical professionals remain in private practice. But the current system is way beyond broken, and in addition to providing poor or no medical care to up to 1/3 of the US population, it's just about to bankrupt us.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 3 months ago

BTW, the Bush Administration is doing everything it can to sabotage medicare, which definitely counteracts its inherent efficiency. Maybe that's what you are actually referring to.

truthhurts 8 years, 3 months ago

Do you see this administered at the federal level or as a partnership between the feds/state?

Yes - the current system is way beyond broken and will take years to repair (regardless of strategy).

conservative 8 years, 3 months ago

Bozo, you are confusing administrative costs with the ability of a system to provide adequate healthcare.

A problem with your articles is that the private insurance companies provide 100% of the support for their products. The government contracts out the support to companies such as Pearson here in Lawrence. Those costs aren't showing in the comparison between the two. Also how about a consumer satisfaction survey between customer service from Medicare and that from a private insurance compay. Granted the private insurance companies aren't great at it but the government downright sucks.

Also look to other countries to see what impact nationalized healthcare has had on the level of care for the people. I have read many articles talking about how nationalized healthcare results in a lowering of care in many european countries.

truthhurts 8 years, 3 months ago

"The Bush Administration is doing everything is can to sabotage Medicare"

Bush signed off on PDP, a huge expansion of Medicare.

He is certainly sabotaging many things (too numerous to mention here), but I'm not sure Medicare is one of them - please clarify.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 3 months ago

The only thing he's expanding about Medicare is the ability for Big Pharma to make more money out of it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 3 months ago

"The government contracts out the support to companies such as Pearson here in Lawrence. Those costs aren't showing in the comparison between the two."

I would assume that everything they contract out is included in this calculation. Why would you think it's exluded?

"I have read many articles talking about how nationalized healthcare results in a lowering of care in many european countries."

The statistics don't bear that out. Sure, there's some amount of rationing and you might have to wait for some services, but by and large, the quality of healthcare there is as good as it is here, and it's considerably better there than it is for the 100 million or so here that are uninsured or inadequately insured.

And it's a hell of a lot cheaper, too. Did I mention that already?

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