Moving, Medicaid, and Tax Cuts

Hello, I am in the process of moving so I will have few, if any, blogs until September.

Medicaid

When, it comes to Medicaid, however, nearly 2/3 of all Medicaid spending is for the elderly and disabled in nursing homes.

Nearly 65% of all the people in nursing homes are on Medicaid.  Medicare does not cover long-term nursing home care!  Therefore cutting Medicaid and requiring people to work affects less than 1/3 of people on Medicaid.  Most of  them are children, poor women and families.  

Tax Cuts

To help support Obamacare, pharmaceutical and medical device companies were taxed as well as wealthy families. Those taxes will be repealed under the new “Better Health Care Reform Act”   Proposed by the Senate.  The tax repeal on the wealthy will be retroactive.

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Drug Ads Coming on Facebook!

Yes, drug advertising is coming to Facebook and its new Facebook Health initiative.   Congress allowed direct to consumer advertising in 1997.  Before that time they were not allowed to do so.  One way to try to ‘control’ drug costs would be to ban direct to consumer advertising.  Enjoy the story below.  The article below is from STAT news which holds the  copyright to the article.  Coming next:  Selling Sickness. 

Get ready for more drug ads: Facebook is making a bid for pharma dollars

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Personal Doctor for $40,000 to $80,000 a Year? Try San Francisco, Seattle and a Few More

In my last blog, I wrote that nearly half of all Medicare recipients have annual incomes under $26,000.  For those who depend on Social Security, Social Security income depends on where and how you work—full-time/part time; self-employed, seasonally employed. Or the many women who were never employed and will only inherit part of their husband’s Social Security upon his death or by age 65. Women live an average of seven years longer than men.

Indeed an AARP survey in California in the late 1990’s found some women had incomes of about $400/month. One Real Change vendor in her 60’s here in Seattle has a monthly income of about $580, half of which goes to rent.  She is not yet eligible for her late husband’s Social Security. This is Ivy: http://realchangenews.org/2014/10/15/vendor-profile-ivy-irving

Now this: Special personal contract doctors have annual fees of $40,000 to $80,000. Seattle and San Francisco are two of the top cities for such care.  For the complete story read The New York Times:   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/03/business/economy/high-end-medical-care.html?_r=0

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War on Seniors and the Poor?

Current proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will cause great harm to  seniors and poor families. The proposals also pit the welfare of seniors against the welfare of  children and poor families. Here’s why:

  • Nearly half of all Medicare members have incomes under $26,000 per year
    • Voucher programs with flat fees could make health services out of reach financially if the voucher is tied to social security income which is lower for low income workers (AARP—Policy Institute)
  • Many people 60 to 64 who buy individual health insurance policies have median incomes around $20,000 (AARP Policy Institute)
  • Simply because of age, many 60 to 64 are more likely to have pre-existing health conditions (AARP Policy Institute) Continue reading
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Taxes on Drug and Device Companies Removed in Repeal Plan: Insurers and Health Care Industry Concerns

Repeal proposes cutting taxes on Pharmaceutical and Medical Devise Companies while raising costs for elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.

 The CEO of Blue Cross of California opposes current reform proposals, citing cost increases for individuals and families and harm for people with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer, diabetes:

 http://californiahealthline.org/news/blue-shield-ceo-says-gops-flawed-health-bill-would-harm-sicker-consumers/?utm_campaign=KHN%3A%20Daily%20Health%20Policy%20Report&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=51531075&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_R6IjlbfGK21ZmqOhdgpRftSuG3hI-MtHy5Y8EHjTqJQLj9z9AngZjPkmjkbGJoP9wDP4UR52iVtLAys0LGHQ7wjkG6Q&_hsmi=51531075

 MODERN HEALTH CARE CITES COSTS CONCERNS ABOUT  CHANGES TO ACA FOR INDUSTRY

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Get Rid of Old Prescriptions–Sat., April 29th-Drug Take Back Day

April 29th is Drug Takeback Day so people will have a place to get rid of unused or old medications.  The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) now has a way for you to dispose of your old or unused medications.  Here is the link to find a place close to you:  www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov

A common problem with old or unused prescription medications is how to get rid of them. Flushing them down the toilet is not a good idea, nor tossing them in recycling, much less giving them to friends and family!  (that’s part of the Opioid epidemic problem).

I actually heard a “funny” story in the 1990’s  about how a popular anti-depresant was impacting fish.

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A Must Read Book About the Players That Drove the Opiod Epidemic from the Get Go

Dream Land is an engaging read–well written and well researched.  Sam Quinones, author and journalist, traces the Opiod epidemic from the first distillation of Morphine from opium in 1804 to the present.  He even includes the Opium Wars between the British and China in 1859 and 1957 to showcase what nations and people will do for opium.

The book’s vitality stems from its personal stories whether they are about the early marketing tactics of  marketing and pharmaceutical companies or the stories of  researchers, dealers and addicts. He gives the names, the history and motivations of key players. Seattle and Portland are featured as is Los Angeles, Utah, Arizona and Nayarit, Mexico as the story unfolds.  His short personal stories focus on people, place and motivations that weave seamlessly together to showcase how the epidemic grew and thrived.

Dream Land is a compelling all too human tale of the players, the economic forces and the very personal drivers that rolled this epidemic.  You won’t be disappointed.

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A Call to Conscience-Pre-existing condition changes and Limits on Patient Legal Options

This is a quick blog about some disturbing issues pending in Congress.  First is the new call to eliminate pre-existing condition protection. The intent is to repeal the protection and leave the matter to the states.  In the past there were High Risk Pools but they came with high risk costs for patients.

We are one of the few countries where you can be bankrupt with medical bills when you face cancer or heart surgery or other life saving, but expensive diseases.  I know one family facing cancer with annual pharmaceutical costs of $65,000.  Changes in pre-existing conditions could potentially cost individuals and families with health problems considerably more.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/with-help-from-pence-house-republicans-suddenly-rekindle-health-care-talks/2017/04/04/91cf1c74-192f-11e7-855e-4824bbb5d748_story.html?_hsenc=p2ANqtz-

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New Patient-Centered Resource for Patients and Researchers

New healthcare technology is developed every day. But, with all the hope of these innovations comes important questions about safety:  Patients want to know if this technology will work for them? Does it add value or will it just increase cost?  The answers to these questions only come when the patient is a real research partner.  Engaging the patient in research not only makes sure the patient gets the right care, but also that they are involved in planning and directing the research  from the very beginning.

An effective healthcare system depends on asking the right questions and learning from those questions. A learning health care system makes sure the right people get the right care at the right time by the right caregivers. That’s where CERTAIN comes in.

Housed at the University of Washington, the CERTAIN Patient Advisory Networkwww.becertain.org/partner/patient_advisory_network seeks to improve medical research by having patients actively participate in the research process–from identifying research questions to communicating the final research results.

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Health Care Sound and Fury: A Lament

There’s no sense talking to you. It’s just like talking to me, is a line from a Bob Dylan song in the 1960’s.  It was a time of great division over the Vietnam War. There were large marches and demonstrations. Some students were even killed for protesting.  Our health care debate has been every bit as vitriolic since at least Teddy Roosevelt in the 1920’s and the threat of ‘socialized’ medicine. Dylan’s line remains true today.

Health care reform has been demonized as “socialized” or “government run” in one form or another since then.  FDR kept it out of the New Deal for fear his whole program would fail. Campaigns were even waged against Nixon’s call for health reform—a modest reform through employers where most people had health insurance.

We attack taxes to pay for health care. We make rules and set financial limits such as degrees of poverty.  We even take partial truths for examples, latch on to them and hold them up as yet another reason that disasters await if everyone gets health care.

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