More women to get health services under new law Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Danville Weekly Online, on Aug 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm
Access to women's health services expanded on Wednesday, Aug. 1, due to the federal Affordable Care Act. The guaranteed services are part of a package of preventative services in the act designed to help underserved populations avoid or reduce the impact of serious chronic diseases.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 2, 2012, 12:15 PM
Posted by TL Nelson, a resident of another community, on Aug 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm
Of course, now everyone who has insurance is paying for these services through their premiums. This is really a misuse of "insurance" which by definition is meant to protect us from catastrophic situations and is not intended to pay for routine medical expenses.
What if someone wants to buy a policy that does not cover these routine expenses. Now the government says that I cannot purchase that policy. This is quite simply reaching into your neighbor's pocket to pay for services that you should be paying for yourself. What ever happenend to freedom of choice? If this is not a perfect example of government overreach, what is?
Posted by Christa Mathews, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 3, 2012 at 9:17 am
Representative ESHOO seems to neglect to tell us SHE and congress exempted themselves from Obamacare! She also has refused to sign House Resolution 615 that would put HER on Obamacare along with us little masses. Drs leaving medicine--25% of drs foreign trained --- grandparents will be made comfortable/ not treated under obamaCARE! Wake up people!! Solent green-----
Posted by CW, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Aug 3, 2012 at 11:01 am
I'm a woman and I think this is a hypocracy! We will ALL be paying for this so called "Afforadable" healthcare! We already are! Our health insurance premiums have increased tremendously as have our copays. our copay was $10 and now it's $25! Why should anyone who doesn't believe in abortions have to pay for those who do and get them? Our federal government is out of control....in many ways! Obama is usurping our freedoms, our money, our jobs, our homes, our guns, and on and on! He wants to increase our taxes so he can "waste" even more of our money! He also likes power!
Posted by Sally, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm
Obama is usurping your guns?
Kim's right...the costs of healthcare for uninsured come through to those who are insured one way or another anyway. And it's hard to argue the long-term cost effectiveness of covering preventative care, which is what this new bill does.
Posted by LMP, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm
Talk about an article that's carrying water for the Obama campaign!
Why is contraception covered at no cost when heart meds or insulin is not?? Why do unions get waivers when religious organizations do not? How can you have a massive "health care reform" bill that does not address litigation reform?
For the record, I'm a woman so spare the the misogynist comments.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm
If TL Nelson wants to go back to the original purpose of insurance, then he/she is going to have to do away with for-profit insurance companies, because, originally, ALL insurance organizations were non-profit mutual aid societies.
Posted by Sharon, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm
@ LMP - covering contraceptives at no cost makes sense. Reducing unwanted pregnancies in a population that may be uninsured (therefore resulting in much $ spent on prenatal care) is financially sound. It also reduces the burden related to general assistance when children are unplanned. I would love it if other meds were also covered this way, but it that wouldn't have the same financial impact.
@ Christa Matthews - I'm 67 years old and as part of my job I had to absorb the new health care regs (I work in a health care setting). I can't say I agree with everything by a LONG shot, but the language related to older adults having access to end of life counseling has not changed - it was contributed by a Republican (in the 1980's maybe? I could be mistaken, but I believe it was authored during the Regan administration) and does not reduce aggressive treatment. It provides the opportunity for seniors (like me) to receive counsel rather than spend their last days prolonging death. I'm grateful for this provision - always have been. It's interesting to me that now that it is simply more well known, people on both sides (dems and reps) seem to object.
Posted by Carolyn, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Aug 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm
The US Supreme Court did NOT do thier job when they said Obamacare is OK. That person that currently resides in the White House is going to destroy this country before he is done. People, wake up before it is too late, if it is not too late already!!!!!
Posted by Citizen Paine, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 4, 2012 at 7:24 pm
I just looked out my window Carolyn, and the sky's still "up." If this stuff is so important to you, then why are you going to nominate that nitt-Mitt as your candidate? He can't win, and it will become increasingly obvious what an Empty Suit he is as the campaign heats-up after Labor Day.
You might want to change your news channel -- you'll feel a lot better knowing things really aren't as they've been portrayed to you.
Posted by TL Nelson, a resident of another community, on Aug 4, 2012 at 10:54 pm
I think this country is headed for civil war if this ill-conceived legislation is not repealed. There are simplier and better ways to accomplish the same objectives without all of the negative impacts of Obamacare. You do not need to hurt 95% of Americans in order to help 5%.
Anyone who supports this legislation has not actually read it .. I have read it, and and what it contains concerns me deeply. The problem is that too many Americans cannot think for themselves and are brainwashed by political propaganda in the leftist media.
Posted by TL Nelson, a resident of another community, on Aug 4, 2012 at 11:00 pm
Citizen Paine .... I cannot believe that you support President Obama, a ruthless politician who is completely devoid of any ethical or moral values. His only campaign strategy is to denegrate his opponent with the willful help of the socialist/leftist media.
Posted by Citizen Paine, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2012 at 7:05 am
Sure TL, and he beats his kids and kicks his dog.
The only reason Not to pick on his opponent at this early stage is that it's just too easy. When you have serious national newsmags running cover stories -- in August -- asking if your candidate is simply too insecure to be Prez, your campaign's in trouble.
And as to ethics and moral fiber, I heard one guy say that porn star Jemma Jameson endorsed the Flipster because he was the only person in America who'd assumed more positions than she had. It's that easy.
When everyone who disagrees with you is a Socialist, perhaps it's time to decide that your definition is the problem?
Posted by George, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2012 at 9:29 am
My health insurance premium has spiked as the insurance company positions itself to cover claims on previous conditions, eliminate the cap on lifetime coverage, and provide "free" services to women. I'll also be paying an additional 3.8% tax on the sale of my home... and other investments... to cover all this new "free" stuff in the "Affordable Care Act". All you "takers" enjoy it while you have it, as it will be short lived after the election. See you at the polls.
Posted by MJ, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2012 at 10:29 am
Well I just had to speak up .... I had health insurance all of my life eleven years ago I survived an emergency triple bypass....thank goodness no problem ever since then....I paid over $600.00 a month just for myself ! Well after having Anthem Blue Cross for many years they dropped me !!!!! one payment was not received ! I was appalled by this...they refused to take me back because of my prior heart problem.......well here I am in my 60's without insurance !!!!! I have tried many companies they treat me as if I have leprosy ! Changes have to come about with health care. I don't know what to do anymore....I cannot even afford the heart medicine I need to be on....a lot of complaints and comments on this for those of you that do have coverage you are very blessed......I did not ask for a heart problem but due to that no company will cover me now....and IF I did find one the premiums would be around $800.00 a month....Never thought I would be going through this especially at 62 years old....just have to hope and pray for continued good health....
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2012 at 11:41 am
We have endured 20 years of skyrocketing health insurance premiums, tens of millions of our fellow citizens (including millions of children) left without health insurance, and a population that increasingly lags behind other western countries in life expectancy, infant mortality, etc.
Does anyone really believe that our health care system was just fine?
And who else was going to fix it? Not the Republicans. They had no plan.
Posted by another sexagen, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2012 at 11:54 am
The Republicans actually DID have a plan, until Mr. Obama adopted it as the best way to get reform legislation through the Congress. Only then did it become "sssssocialized medicine."
I'm 61, in good health, and when COBRA from a prior employer ran its course and I applied for a policy, I got anywhere from $900/month to $1600/month, and that for bare bones coverage. I have had to choose to go uninsured until I hit Medicare age. If I get in a wreck, I will cost each of you big bucks, in ways you can't readily identify or even understand.
This reform works well in Massachusetts and will work well nationally -- in preference to the pirates who run for-profit health insurance companies, and make their money by delaying/denying legitimate claims. Premiums have gone up because it's currently an unmanaged and unmanageable non-system of profiteering.
Posted by spcwt, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2012 at 12:36 pm
Congratulations! You won. We’re now committed to spending $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years to put millions of more people on Medicaid and also give people making up to $89,000 per year a $10,000/yr healthcare tax credit.
Never mind that we can’t pay for those stupid wars you’ve continued to fund these past 9 years and the new military conflicts Obama has gotten us into.
Nor can we pay seniors what they’re owed for Social Security and Medicare. Obama already offered to cut those programs by $300 billion. When a “grand bargain” is finally struck with Republicans, no doubt these programs will be cut a lot more than that.
The middle class will help pay for this new welfare entitlement. Higher healthcare premiums is just the start.
I know, Obama promised that only “the rich” would be stuck paying the bill for this. Not true. The new taxes Obamacare imposes are not indexed for inflation, so eventually those taxes will apply to everyone as wages “rise” due to inflation.
Also, the amount of the healthcare tax credit isn’t indexed to inflation either. So as health insurance premiums rise, the tax credit won’t keep up, so as time goes on, more and more of the insurance premium will be paid by you, as it should be.
The “poor” will continue to get their healthcare paid for by Medicaid. With any luck they should still find enough money to buy the latest tennis shoes, ipods, fancy cars, cable, etc., and use their food stamps at strip clubs and while on trips to Vegas and Hawaii as reported recently in the Contra Costa Times. And don’t worry about them starving. In U.S. households making less than $15,000 a year, 31% of the adults are obese.
You know, Spain has free healthcare too. It’s just tough finding a doctor who will treat you. So enjoy your “free” healthcare while it lasts.
Posted by John, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm
I agree 100 percent that the healthcare system needs changes. I waited patiently through the Bush Admin when there was no mention of any changes to healthcare.
The republicans like free markets we can get closer to a free markets if everyone is required to buy "Individual Policies". However, I do not think they would enjoy seeing like their premiums increasing 20%, 30% or $40% and not being able to do a dam thing about it (especially if you are over 50).
And for those who complain about Obamacare give me an alternative that the Republicans would support, and I do not mean a policy that I could buy from Texas or the south which all are among the worst healthcare states in the nation.
Furthermore, I always hear Obamacare plan comments about subsidizing the uninsured. I say to this the following:
1) Look in the mirror if you are over 30 or 35 and in a group policy you are being heavily subsidized by the younger folk. Also these costs are past to everyone via product costs, taxes etc. The employees that receive these substantially reduced rates, compared to individual policies do not pay income taxes and this is essentially income for tax purposes. The companies that pay the premiums for you, get tax breaks (so basically the taxpayers are subsidizing anywhere from 15% to 35% of the group premiums employees are receiving, not including state tax deductions. Thus the term “Corporate Welfare”.
2) Rationing and Death Panels - This exists in our current system and will become more apparent as fewer people become insured. It will not only be the invisible poor people but also more and more of the middle class that will fall victim to inevitable increasing costs of health insurance and the ability to receive health services. Denial of life saving currently exits for some. For example, because I have an Individual policy I put off as much medical treatment as possible, knowing that my premiums will increase, primarily on my own medical expenses and not buried or averaged out as in a group policy.
3) If you are on Medicare you are being heavily subsidized by the younger people because medical costs are much higher for seniors now then when we were young and paying for seniors in our youth (yea I'm nearly 65 and should not be saying this). The kids and grandkids will get stuck with the bill.
A side bar, for the seniors, is the Ryan voucher system, proposed to replace Medicare. Seniors will receive a fixed amount of dollars to buy private insurance. Every year, thereafter, this fixed dollar amount would be increased based on an inflation formula. Your purchasing power would be eroded over time because the costs of medical care is increasing at a two or three fold pace over any of the recognized inflation measures such as the CPI. I am individual policy holder, as are many self-employed, my premiums have increased by at least 20% each of the last 8 years. In ten years my premiums increased over 300%, due to the compounding effect.
3) Be careful for what you wish for. A great deal of medical costs are "Sunk Costs" these are usually described as past or sunk costs meaning they were already incurred at a prior time and not directly related to your last visit or hospital stay. These costs include hospital buildings, offices, capital improvements to these facilities such as seismic upgrades and the ever increasing medical device/equipment costs. Sunk costs are recovered over a number of years based on the underlying asset's life. These costs will usually appear on hospital, clinic and doctors bills as facility or equipment cost. Drug costs are more of a hybrid cost as there are many drugs (especially new or under development) in the pipeline that will not be charged to patients until many years later.
The reason I mention sunk/hybrid costs and say be “careful for what you wish for” is that with less insured patients these costs will be spread over fewer and fewer patients. And with the global economic competition and pressures less companies will offer group plans (look at what has occurred over the last 20 years and you cannot blame Obamacare for this). The group rates will increase more and more as less people are insured and the sunk costs have to be passed on to fewer and fewer.
Obamacare is not perfect and sould and could be tweaked in the future as more data is employed. What Obamacare will do is
1) expose the costs related to the uninsured that are now invisible are either embedded in our insurance premiums or taxes, reducing the tremendously expensive ambulance and emergency room visits by the uninsured (this will reduce costs as more efficient means are utilized to deliver medical insurance to the uninsured).
2) Relieve the future patients of absorbing ever increasing percentage of "Sunk Costs" as fewer and fewer will be able to afford insurance.
What Obamacare will not due, and must be addressed in the future, is change the underlying fundamentals of our current medical cost structure. There are so many special interest groups involved that this will take much pain and compromise, I do not see this happening, after watching the Republican proposals during 2001-2007 (they held all 3 houses) when there were no proposal or not even a mention of a proposal.
In summary, I see four alternatives:
1) Current system - most agree this is broken and unsustainable and unless you are very wealthy, elderly or have a Cadilac group plan (which I am currently subsidizing, and you hope won't go away), you will be sadly disappointed in the near future as I have witnessed through my own policy. This system is a hybrid disaster with some heavily subsidized (an extreme example think of the congress and senate with lifetime plans) and while others are not subsidized or worst can't afford medical insurance.
2) Obamacare with its good and bad points, maybe a starting point.
3) Pure market driven system (this would seem to be a natural choice for our free marketeers, namely conservatives). This would be the best system for controlling costs and the only system that really addresses the underlying cost structure. The problem being that only wealthy will be able to afford medical insurance.
4) Least but not last would be a socialized system which everyone (and should mean everyone) will have access to basic care. This system will probably not happen because of special interests and politics, requiring tough choices do we go to war or heal.
Posted by spcwt, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm
Romneycare of Massachusetts is more palatable than Obamacare, if nothing more than the fact that Romneycare is imposed at the state level. States can experiment and learn from each other and see what works best. In contrast, Obamacare’s one-size-fits-all approach will be difficult to refine and improve, due to special interests and different priorities of the different regions in the country. Like any big government program, it will be ripe for abuse and inefficiencies.
Also, under a state mandated health system, states can choose how much benefits are doled out to people in their state. If the state can’t pay for it, they’ll have to cut spending somewhere else or raise taxes. It would be a much more accountable system. California was considering adopting a Romneycare-type system before Obamacare usurped their authority.
In contrast, Obamacare puts the federal government on the hook for the costs. When the federal government can’t meet its obligations, it borrows money. That’s why we’re $15 trillion in debt. Obamacare will exacerbate this problem.
What’s wrong with repealing Obamacare and letting states implement their own healthcare reforms?
Posted by spcwt, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm
I agree with you about the wars. We can blame that idiot Bush for starting it, both Republicans and Democrats for funding it and “respectable” media such as the NY Times for cheering it on.
Everyone’s tax cuts, both for the rich and the poor, have contributed to our $15 trillion national debt. We all share some responsibility, particularly the bottom 50% who pay no income tax.
But even if you confiscated all of the income earned by the Top 1%, that still wouldn’t nearly be enough to plug our current annual deficit or pay seniors what we owe them for Social Security and Medicare.
And wait until the costs of Obamacare really start to kick in, starting in 2014.
Sorry. I don’t think your free lunch is sustainable.
Posted by John, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm
I agree (100%)it would be better at the state level. However, I do not see states like Texas and other conservative states doing anything about this problem. These states have absoulutely terrible health care history for many of their people.
Somebody will be paying dearly, for these unisured as I stated earlier the emergency room and ambulance costs are astronomical one of my relatives is an emergency room doctor and he tells me all about it. In addition, I do not want increasing taxes to subsidize Texas Louisana for their lack of proper health care services.
I also agree completely with Sam. I am an accountant, and saw the Bush tax cuts in action starting in 2003. Most of our clients do very well, and have nearly all their income in the form of Investment Income such as dividends. This is time period is when the redistribution of wealth ocurred. This was a pure give away to the wealthy.
In addition, if you look at the years 2003 through 2008 (collaspe of economy) the majority of the jobs that were created were real estate related (construction, mortgage brokes, real estate agents etc.) what a scam. If you strip these jobs out of monthly job figures during this period, there was hardly any jobs created especially in the USA) I keep waiting for the "trickle down effect" of the supply side economics. The middle class really got screwed.
Also regarding the main topic of this article the republican position on providing contraceptives is very hypocritical. The reason I say this is a large percentage of these women are really really poor. I do not see the republicans proposing any ideas on how we will pay for these kids (who later become adults)that are not adopted or provided for. I surely do not want to pay for additional medicare or welfare for these people. Providing of contraceptives is so much more cost effective then a lifetime of poverty and government subsidies.
Posted by spcwt, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm
The question of who’s paying a fair share of taxes is off topic, of course, but since you guys brought it up…
Bush dramatically decreased taxes on the middle class. Middle class income taxes are at historic lows, currently 5.6% for a family of four. And overall federal taxes --which include income as well as payroll and excise taxes -- on middle-income households are near their lowest levels in decades, 14.3% on average.
Meanwhile, the average income tax rate of the top 1% is currently 24%, which does not include payroll & excise taxes, the impending 3.8% Obamacare surtax on investment income and 0.9% payroll tax (assuming it is ruled constitutional), nor the 10% California state income tax. The top 5% pay more taxes than the bottom 95% combined.
Posted by Sally, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm
Really nice to see the comments toward the end of this discussion take a turn toward substantive. Thanks for keeping it civil...nice to know we can learn from one another and not degenerate into name calling.
Posted by John, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2012 at 11:39 pm
Spcwt, Oh, I know Bush reduced tax rates that's a no brainer. That's my point, we have some of the lowest federal tax rates in the last 50 years, and the economy collapsed. I still ask where are the Bush tax cut jobs?
If the Bush tax cuts were so good why did the disparity between the middle class and wealthy soar during this time?
Back to healthcare, the $89,000 you mentioned above is the maximum annual income for a family of four to qualify for Obamacare. Do you believe this family of 4 will be buying group insurance, I don't think so, the reason they need Obamacare is because they are not covered by group insurance provided through a company. They will have to buy expensive individual policies. Check the rates for these policies out. Go to Anthem Blue Cross and check out the individual policy rates. Take a couple in their 40's or 50's with 2 children, and you will see that their premiums will be substantially higher than the $10,000 credit and God help them if they are not healthy.
By the way, I buy my own insurance through an individual policy and was paying close to $1,800 a month, in 2011, with a $3,000 deductible and $10,000 annual out of pocket (the deductibles are on top of my premiums). My wife has a group plan with only 2 employees, her share of the premiums are $600 a month with $3,000/$5,000 deductible. We pay a combined $2,400 a month for premiums alone.
I was a member of the Anthem Blue Cross "Death Spiral". The Death Spiral plans are individual healthcare plans that were closed to new members. The number of members in these plans shrinks every year as the healthier members move to more affordable policies. The remaining members, many of whom have some preexisting condition, can not move to another plan and are hammered with ever increasing rate increases.
I have a bad back and had surgery, but I still work (I'm 61 years old, my blood pressure, cholesterol, blood pressure are perfect, I'm over 6 feet tall and weigh 170) and was unable to move to any other policy (including Anthem, Blue Shield, Kaiser). Over the years, I wrote many letters to politicians, Blue Cross or whoever would listen without success.
Every year my premiums went up 25% or higher. In 2011, a class action lawsuit was won by the members of these policies against Blue Cross. The settlement allowed plaintiffs a one-time move to another Blue Cross policy (the caveat being the new plan could not be an upgrade). Before this settlement I was at the point where I was going to drop my insurance.
I had to make a tough choice continue to pay the $1,800 a month or lower my premiums with much higher deductibles.
I had to do a little math. I compounded my $1,800 premiums at a 25% interest rate (believe me this is conservative rate, my premiums have averaged 28% annual increases) for the 4 years until I'm 65. Viola, I would be paying over paying over $5,000 a month by my 65 birthday.
As I mentioned earlier, I am self employed, no employees and my wife and I gross about $80K a year.
So I now have a $12,000 deductible and $20,000 annual out of pocket maximum. However, my premiums dropped to $700 on January 1, 2012.
On May 1, 2012, my annual renewal date, Blue Cross Anthem increased my premiums 25%.
Again my question where are any alternative proposals to Obamacare by conservatives or the GOP? I am tired of waiting.
SPCWT, I am not a political person, but this subject is the 3rd rail for many families, and thus my need to speak up, it has been a spirited debate. However, it is time for me to move on.
I respect your point of view and agree to disagree.
Your memory must be a lot better than mine. I seemed to remember that from October 2001 to March 2003 the huge buildup of military in the mideast just awaiting the work from Bush (Sorry I meant tricky Dick Cheney)to do our "Shock and Awe". I am stil "shocked" 10 years later and counting, but I'm still waiting the "awe" to arrive. Believe me I was not for Obama upgrading the Afganistan war, another huge waste of money
Bringing the dicscussion back to the war, I agree with you these wars were a huge waste of money, we will rebuild these countries for years to come. I did not see any
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm
I'm not sure why you are referring to me as part of the "free lunch crowd." As one of the 1%, I'm quite sure that I'm paying (according to you at least) my fair share in taxes.
I mention the reasons for the deficit (above) because I believe that if our leaders were going to start (leaving aside for now their deceptive reasoning for doing so) and fight two wars, they (Bush/Cheney) should have had the courage to ask the country to pay for them, rather than borrow and run up deficits for those costs.
The other factor in the deficits is the Bush tax cuts, which have disproportionately benefitted the wealthy, in no small measure because much of the income of the wealthy is from dividends and/or capital gains, which are taxed at a lower rate than earned income (which is the kind of income that ordinary workers receive).
I can't say that I'm surprised that you use the Tax Foundation for your citation on tax information. Despite its self-description as "non-partisan," the Tax Foundation is recognized by most people as an anti-tax think tank that is aligned with the right-wing perspective, funded by folks like the Koch brothers, and run by a Board that has been composed most of former Bush/Reagan officials and corporate executives in recent years. Those facts give a flavor of its supposed "independence."
Posted by John, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 11, 2012 at 11:33 am
I bought my house in 1975. My house is paid off. I'm sorry that you think you are subsidizing me. I apologize for not having the financial resources (according to you) to live in Danville. My family and finances have taken a downward spiral since the Bush administration and their trickle down policies. I would like to know more about your insurance and financial situation.
I also take back my earlier statement that this debate was good. Sorry to say this but you seem very bitter and narrow minded and insulting ideologue. You bring personal insults into the discussions. Lay off the personal stuff and your comments might(and I say might)be more effective.
In the future I will not respond to any of your posts, your discussions are nothing more then insults and hate. Good riddance and grow up.