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Monday
Jul212008

A Worrisome Trend in State Health Care Reform

Instead of working to make good coverage available to all residents, Florida and Georgia are leading a new wave of state proposals to push the uninsured and low-income Americans into high deductible and limited benefit health plans. Backed by Newt Gingrich's Center for Health Transformation and playing the tune of John McCain's health care plans, the Florida and Georgia proposals are signs of what's to come from the Right in future state and federal health care debates.

Florida - Coverage in Name Only: With an unfocused eye on the state's 3.8 million uninsured Floridians, lawmakers enacted the Cover Florida Plan ( SB 2534) which, among other things, allows insurers to offer limited benefit health plans called "Consumer Choice Benefit Insurance Plans". Monthly premiums will be capped at $150, but no subsidies will be made available to low-income residents. Coverage will focus on preventive care, office visits, and prescription drugs, but there are no requirements that specialist care or lengthy hospitals stays be covered.

read_more: http://www.progressivestates.org/content/867/states-still-leading-feds-on-minimum-wage#2
Monday
Jul212008

Problems found with consumer directed health plans

Consumer-driven health plans, hailed since their inception in 2000 as a tool to help control costs, are actually motivating plan members to forgo care and discontinue drugs to treat chronic medical problems, according to two new studies by Oregon researchers.
Under these employer-sponsored health insurance plans, members pay up-front deductibles either out of their own pockets or from a dedicated health-care account before insurance coverage begins.
New research published in Health Affairs this week, led by two University of Oregon policy experts, found people enrolled in these plans were more likely to quit taking drugs that control high blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications than participants with more robust medical coverage.
The number of large companies offering a consumer-directed health plan has nearly doubled over the last two years, according to research published earlier this year by Watson Wyatt and the National Business Group on Health.

read_more: http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2008/07/07/daily25.html
Monday
Jul212008

Black nurses earn less than whites

Even with same experience, they make less money.

Nursing has long been a ladder up for minority women, but a new state study shows that in New York City, black nurses get paid less than their white counterparts.

The Center for Health Workforce Studies at the State University of New York in Albany compared the salaries of nurses with similar experience and credentials and found that black nurses made less in almost all cases.

For example, black nurses with 30 or more years of experience earned an average annual salary of about $81,000, while white nurses with the same experience earned an average of almost $90,000—11% more.

read_more: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080706/FREE/178966375
Monday
Jul212008

U.S. Health Care System Overhaul Needed To Reduce Costs, Columnist Writes

"Health care will become one of the most onerous personal finance issues in coming years unless the system is changed to ensure universal access, cost control and long-term financing," Bloomberg columnist John Wasik writes in the Bloomberg/Boston Globe. He writes that the establishment of an "entirely government-run program may be untenable and politically unacceptable," and that the "road to a solution can merge both private and public interest." According to Wasik, such a "hybrid" health care system would use audit firms to determine areas to reduce costs, negotiate lower prices for services, base payments for services on performance and outcomes, and increase use of efficient technologies.

read_more: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/113937.php
Monday
Jul212008

North Carolina Mental Health Parity Law Takes Effect

North Carolina health care insurers must provide the same amount of coverage for certain mental conditions as they do for physical ailments under a state law that took effect on Tuesday, the Winston-Salem Journal reports. The North Carolina General Assembly last year passed the "mental health parity" measure to require that nine common mental health conditions be covered at levels equal to physical conditions. The conditions are bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, paranoid or psychotic disorders, schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

read_more: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/113789.php