Friday, February 08, 2008


(Each "Featured Question," an idea which I gleaned from A Republic If You Can Keep It, will remain toward the top of the blog until the next question appears. The previous QUESTIONS are HERE. Please scroll down for recent postings)

Recently, when Mr. AOW lost his job of some twelve years due to company lay-offs and, along with that job, our health insurance coverage at an empl0yer-subsidized rate, this family of two people have had a rude awakening about the cost of healthcare. You can see a rate quote for a private plan with CareFirst HERE and not reveal much personal information. Quotes from other providers are also available at various web sites.
The online quote, however, isn't a firm one; even if the provider agrees to insure us and in spite of the Portability Act and never having been uncovered by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), we will be rated 25%-50% higher, based on our medical histories. Furthermore, the quote does not reflect the out-of-pocket amount for the medications we require every day. Because we dare not let our healthcare coverage lapse, for the next fourteen months Mr. AOW and I will be paying the COBRA coverage, the monthly premium for which is nearly $1200 (a $250 increase as of March 1). And, of course, Mr. AOW is seeking employment with healthcare coverage — at the age of fifty-eight.

Meanwhile, trends indicate that healthcare coverage offered by employers show signs of reduced funding, in one way or another. For example, some employers are reducing the percentage amount of the portion they pay. Other employers are now denying coverage to spouses of employees if those spouses have available to them any plan for health-insurance coverage, whether the plan is a good one or not. Rumor has it that, due to the necessity of cutting budgets, local governments, which typically offer plans cost-effective plans as far as the employees' portions are concerned, may be considering dropping employees' spouses from those plans — thus reducing the dollar amounts the local governments pay into the health-insurance plans. In any case, options for "shopping" for more affordable plans is becoming more difficult and more costly. Therefore, according to the research I've recently done, some who have excellent healthcare insurance today at an affordable price may not have that same coverage and the same price tomorrow.

According to this article in the February 28, 2008 edition of the Washington Post, our Congress in partnership with the White House is working on providing funds to alleviate the spread of particular diseases in Africa. Excerpt:
House leaders from both parties and the White House yesterday reached agreement on a bill that would more than triple funding for the Bush administration's global AIDS program, already the largest foreign aid initiative aimed at fighting a single disease in U.S. history.


The bill authorizes $50 billion over five years to prevent infection, treat people already ill from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and care for children orphaned by the epidemic. The program, known as the President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), provided $15 billion over its first five years.


About $9 billion would go to fight tuberculosis and malaria, which often simultaneously infect AIDS patients in Africa. That sum would underwrite purchase of food supplements for AIDS patients, an underappreciated component of medical treatment of the disease. It would finance "microcredit" loans to women widowed by the disease or ostracized because of their infection.


The legislation's goals include, by 2013, preventing 12 million new infections; providing antiretroviral treatment for 3 million people (including 450,000 children); medical and nonmedical care for 12 million (including 5 million orphans); and training at least 140,000 new health-care workers.

Numerous Republicans spoke in support of the bill, although a few said they did not have enough time to review the amended version, which was delivered to the committee room warm off the photocopying machine. About a half-dozen said "no" in the voice vote, which passed.

"I have been here 20 years, and this is the most insane thing I have ever witnessed," Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) said. He added that "we have people at home who need to be taken care of," citing veterans and families that cannot afford health insurance....
Read the entire article HERE.

FEATURED QUESTION, in three parts: (1)
Is health insurance industry in need of reform? (2) Do programs such as that delineated in the above article in the Washington Post negatively impact our healthcare costs here in the United States? (3) Do any of the leading candidates for the White House have a workable plan to reduce the cost of healthcare insurance in the United States? Hillary Clinton's statement is HERE, John McCain's HERE, and Barack Obama's HERE.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 2/08/2008 11:57:00 PM