Archive for Saturday, July 17, 2010

Chamber seminar looks at health reform

July 17, 2010


The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce will present a seminar and panel discussion this month on the federal health care reform’s impact on small employers.

The event will be from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 27, at Maceli’s, 1031 N.H.

Panelists will include Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, Lawrence Memorial Hospital CEO Gene Meyer, and Gerry Hollis, a senior associate at Willis HRH, among others.

The seminar will address how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act might affect businesses. Specifically, it will look at what impact the legislation will have on health care benefits offered, health care costs, and possible availability of other benefits for employees.

The discussion will focus on immediate health reform changes that are scheduled to occur Sept. 23.

The event costs $10 for chamber members and $15 for nonmembers. The deadline to register is Friday.

To register, call 865-4411 or e-mail


Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid, according to a report released yesterday by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Insurers make paperwork confusing because "they realize that people will just simply give up and not pursue it" if they think they have been shortchanged, Potter said.

More on this story:

Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

If you’ve been watching the Senate Finance Committee’s markup sessions, maybe you’ve noticed a woman sitting behind Committee Chairman Max Baucus. Her name is Liz Fowler.

Fowler used to work for WellPoint, the largest health insurer in the country. She was its vice president of public policy. Baucus’ office failed to mention this in the press release announcing her appointment as senior counsel in February 2008, even though it went on at length about her expertise in “health care policy.”

Now she’s working for the very committee with the most power to give her old company and the entire industry exactly what they want – higher profits – and no competition from alternative non-profit coverage that could lower costs and premiums.

A veteran of the revolving door, Fowler had a previous stint working for Senator Baucus – before her time at WellPoint. But wait, there’s more. The person who was Baucus top health advisor before he brought back Liz Fowler? Her name is Michelle Easton. And why did she leave the staff of the committee? To go to work – surprise – at a firm representing the same company for which Liz Fowler worked – WellPoint. As a lobbyist.

You can’t tell the players without a scorecard in the old Washington shell game. Lobbyist out, lobbyist in. It’s why they always win. They’ve been plowing this ground for years, but with the broad legislative agenda of the Obama White House – health care, energy, financial reform, the Employee Free Choice Act and more – the soil has never been so fertile.

The health care industry alone has six lobbyists for every member of Congress and more than 500 of them are former Congressional staff members, according to the Public Accountability Initiative’s LittleSis database.

Just to be certain Congress sticks with the program, the industry has been showering megabucks all over Capitol Hill.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

The U.S. health care system is typically characterized as a largely private-sector system, so it may come as a surprise that more than 60% of the $2 trillion annual U.S. health care bill is paid through taxes, according to a 2002 analysis published in Health Affairs by Harvard Medical School associate professors Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein.

Tax dollars pay for Medicare and Medicaid, for the Veterans Administration and the Indian Health Service. Tax dollars pay for health coverage for federal, state, and municipal government employees and their families, as well as for many employees of private companies working on government contracts.

Less visible but no less important, the tax deduction for employer-paid health insurance, along with other health care-related tax deductions, also represents a form of government spending on health care.

It makes little difference whether the government gives taxpayers (or their employers) a deduction for their health care spending, on the one hand, or collects their taxes then pays for their health care, either directly or via a voucher, on the other.

All told, then, tax dollars already pay for at least $1.2 trillion in annual U.S. health care expenses. Since federal, state, and local governments collected approximately $3.5 trillion in taxes of all kinds—income, sales, property, corporate—in 2006, that means that more than one third of the aggregate tax revenues collected in the United States that year went to pay for health care.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

Improved Medicare for All would bring with it 2.6 million new jobs

Creates 2,613,495 million new permanent good-paying jobs (slightly exceeding the number of jobs lost in 2008)

Expanding Medicare to include the uninsured, and these on Medicaid or employer-sponsored health plans, and expanding coverage for those with limited Medicare, would have the following immediate impacts:

Create 2,613,495 million new permanent good-paying jobs (slightly exceeding the number of jobs lost in 2008)

Boost the economy with $317 billion in increased business and public revenues Add $100 billion in employee compensation Infuse public budgets with $44 billion in new tax revenues Further, moving to the new system comes with an unexpectedly low price tag, given the economic benefits and the far-reaching consequences of genuine healthcare reform, DeMoro noted.

Healthcare for all cost far less than the Wall Street bailouts.

Adding all Americans to an expanded Medicare could be achieved for $63 billion beyond the current $2.1 trillion in direct healthcare spending.

The $63 billion is six times less than the federal bailout for CitiGroup, and less than half the federal bailout for AIG.

Solely expanding Medicare to cover the 47 million uninsured Americans (as of 2006 data on which the study is based) could be accomplished for $44 billion.

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