We saw yesterday that the laws put into place in Maryland in 2010 by O'Malley were designed to protect health fraud just as the laws that were in place protected Wall Street from the financial fraud. These laws give the public NO avenue for justice.....only the State can move forward and as we see with the current state of Maryland ranked at the bottom nationally for fraud and corruption, our public justice organizations will not move on corporate fraud. WE MUST REBUILD AND REINSTATE RULE OF LAW IN MARYLAND AND AMERICA.
The next concern will be who can access care. We already know by the defunding of Medicaid that the poor will not. We see already with the Medicare co-pays and deductibles that many of the old will not.....and those numbers are growing. These 1% are going even further in making sure those with pre-existing conditions do not as well. Remember, these are all the categories of cost for health care.....health corporations will lose money on these folks so they are not going to allow them access to care. They will do this with Medical Bankruptcy and Defining Health Categories. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that with 20% of health care not paid with Medicare and Medigap insurance rising out of reach of most one major health incident, say a heart attack with bypass surgery will bankrupt a families health budget leaving them with no ability to access further care. There will be no going to the hospital and having the hospital absorb the costs in this health care reform.....that is the purpose, to end all this free care. You don't have to be at the lower end of the wage scale to see how this will affect you. Middle-class families already struggle with this. The second avenue for denying access is Defining Health Categories. I'll give one example that we hear all the time ......OBESITY!!!!! Now, there is no doubt a weight problem in America but consider how broad this category is now being defined. I went to my doctor this year and had her tell me I was obese. I am 5' 10" and 160pounds. I am not an obese person, I am being categorized as one. This means my costs for health insurance will rise. They are defining this category so low as to make most Americans fall into what will be the most heavily regulated health designation....obesity.
We are seeing now corporations designing health packages for their employees that require specific goals be met in order for the corporation to pay health benefits and the consequences of not meeting them are larger deductibles.....ergo, you will not be able to afford health insurance. My weight gain of 15 pounds came with my aging baby boomer status but we know there are people with genetic predispositions, we know that the entire food system is stocked with all of what has now been determined to biochemically create weight retention. So, setting a low bar for this category and knowing people will not overcome the hurdles makes for policy that is driven with the goal of lowering access to care. SIMPLY USING THIS ONE PARAMETER OF OBESITY WILL ELIMINATE THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS FROM HEALTH CARE ACCESS. So, my family history of heart disease and cancer will be trumped by my categorization as 'obese'.
REMEMBER THE MANTRA BY THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS THAT THIS REFORM WAS ALL ABOUT SHORING UP ENTITLEMENTS AND COVERING PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS? THEY ARE THE ONES WHO WROTE THE LAWS ALLOWING FOR THESE TIERED DEDUCTIBLES PREDICATED ON ARTIFICIAL CATEGORIES! These are despicable people folks!!! We paid for all of the medical research that created these advances that now these health institutions intend making the next money-making markets for themselves!!!
JUST VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!
Medical bankruptcy has always been a bad deal for the taxpayer because billions of dollars in Federal money is lost from what we now know were largely unnecessary medical costs. Add to that the high level of health fraud and you see a massive fleecing of Federal coffers by doctors and health institutions. Why are they changing this now? WE ARE NOW HANDING ALL OF OUR TAX REVENUE DIRECTLY TO CORPORATIONS AND INTO THEIR POCKETS......IT IS NOW THEIR MONEY AND THEY WON'T HAVE ALL OF THIS FLEECING OF THEIR FEDERAL REVENUE!!!
This is exactly what is happening. They see our tax money as their profits and they won't see it wasted. So, where many families just lived with this stigma of medical bankruptcy.....it was even often ignored by financial agents giving more credit.
Imagine what all this looks like as these laws disappear.....medical bankruptcy cannot be discharged and you are saddled with lifetime debt. First you would struggle to pay and then you would sink into what the poor deal with in payday lending and the shadow banking industry, then you will be jailed for failure to pay. ALL OF THIS MEANS SIMPLY THAT YOU WILL NOT BE ACCESSING HEALTH CARE!!!
Medical bills prompt more than 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies
HEALTH INSURANCE June 05, 2009|By Theresa Tamkins CNN Health
This year, an estimated 1.5 million Americans will declare bankruptcy. Many people may chalk up that misfortune to overspending or a lavish lifestyle, but a new study suggests that more than 60 percent of people who go bankrupt are actually capsized by medical bills.
Bankruptcies due to medical bills increased by nearly 50 percent in a six-year period, from 46 percent in 2001 to 62 percent in 2007, and most of those who filed for bankruptcy were middle-class, well-educated homeowners, according to a report that will be published in the August issue of The American Journal of Medicine.
"Unless you're a Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, you're one illness away from financial ruin in this country," says lead author Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., of the Harvard Medical School, in Cambridge, Mass. "If an illness is long enough and expensive enough, private insurance offers very little protection against medical bankruptcy, and that's the major finding in our study."
Woolhandler and her colleagues surveyed a random sample of 2,314 people who filed for bankruptcy in early 2007, looked at their court records, and then interviewed more than 1,000 of them. Health.com: Expert advice on getting health insurance and affordable care for chronic pain
They concluded that 62.1 percent of the bankruptcies were medically related because the individuals either had more than $5,000 (or 10 percent of their pretax income) in medical bills, mortgaged their home to pay for medical bills, or lost significant income due to an illness. On average, medically bankrupt families had $17,943 in out-of-pocket expenses, including $26,971 for those who lacked insurance and $17,749 who had insurance at some point.
Overall, three-quarters of the people with a medically-related bankruptcy had health insurance, they say.
"That was actually the predominant problem in patients in our study -- 78 percent of them had health insurance, but many of them were bankrupted anyway because there were gaps in their coverage like co-payments and deductibles and uncovered services," says Woolhandler. "Other people had private insurance but got so sick that they lost their job and lost their insurance." Health.com: Where the money goes -- A breast cancer donation guide
I WANT PEOPLE TO STOP AND THINK WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. DO YOU SEE ANY SIGNS THAT OBAMA HAS PROTECTED THE AVERAGE PERSON'S ABILITY TO DISCHARGE DEBT? LOOK AT THE FORECLOSURE DEALS THAT GIVE THE VICTIM'S $1,900 WITH OBAMA CALLING THEM 'IRRESPONSIBLE'. LOOK AT THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OUTSOURCING TO BANKS THE STUDENT LOAN COLLECTION PROCESS THAT HAS EVERYONE STRUGGLING WITH LOAN PAYMENT BEING TARGETED BY AGGRESSIVE COLLECTION AGENCIES.
I AM ALREADY HEARING THAT DISCHARGING MEDICAL DEBT THROUGH BANKRUPTCY IS ABOUT TO END!!!!!!
THIS WAS A THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATIC LIE!!!!
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!
Obama and Bankruptcy Reform
by Thomas McAvity on July 12, 2008 Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm
In Powder Springs, Ga., today, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama will propose “changing bankruptcy laws to ‘fast-track’ the process for military families, help seniors keep their homes, and protect people recovering from natural disasters,” the Associated Press writes. Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton has sent reporters this summary of what his boss will be suggesting: • Reform bankruptcy laws to protect families facing a medical crisis. Half of all personal bankruptcies today are caused in part by medical expenses. That will change when Obama is president. If you can demonstrate that you went bankrupt because of medical expenses, you’ll be able to relieve that debt and get back on your feet. • Support older Americans facing financial hardship. Obama will help our seniors who fall into bankruptcy keep more of the value of their homes by increasing the homestead exemption to the median value of a home in their state. • Help victims of natural disasters recover financially. Obama will help families who are recovering from a natural disaster by streamlining the bankruptcy process for them and enacting a temporary moratorium so that these families don’t have to worry about collectors at a time when they’re just trying to rebuild their lives. • Protect military service members and their families. If you’re protecting America, America should be protecting you from unfair bankruptcy laws. That’s why Obama will create a “fast-track” bankruptcy process for military families, simplifying the steps and offering greater safeguards. • Enact a comprehensive consumer protection agenda. In November, Obama proposed a plan to help families who are mired in debt, including greater transparency in credit card lending and a Credit Card Bill of Rights that will protect consumers at a time when more and more are depending on credit cards to cope with rising prices.
Being Obese Can Weigh On Employees' Insurance February 20, 2013 4:00 AM Listen to the Story Morning Edition
Renee Montagne talks to Morgan Downey, editor of the Downey Obesity Report about employers using carrots — and sticks — to improve the health of their employees.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
As Yuki just reported, employers are looking very closely at using carrots and sticks to get workers to change their unhealthy ways. Let's learn more now about that provision in the health care law which allows employers to put in place wellness programs aimed at improving health and managing health care costs. Morgan Downey is an advocate for people with obesity. He's also the editor of the Downey Obesity Report.
Thanks for joining us.
MORGAN DOWNEY: Not at all. It's my pleasure.
MONTAGNE: What exactly is a wellness program?
DOWNEY: Well, wellness programs come in two varieties: voluntary, participatory programs, where the employer may provide classes on smoking cessation or diet or lifestyle, maybe a membership in a gym - totally voluntary. And the rewards there are usually, you know, a baseball cap or tickets to a movie or a baseball game or something like that.
The other type of program is a mandatory program where employees take a biometric, it's called - like blood pressure for hypertension, like body mass index for obesity - and set a target for what change they want to see. And if the employee meets the target, the employee would receive a benefit, an incentive. But if he or she doesn't, then they could be charged, in effect, up to 30 percent of their health insurance premium.
MONTAGNE: So - but what's the downside to that? That would seem to be quite a powerful incentive.
DOWNEY: Well, my concern is if you look at the literature - and there's now a lot of studies that have been done - the results are very, very modest. Some have improvements, like in diet or physical activity, but no improvement - significant improvement - in weight.
MONTAGNE: Well, then, wait. Your concern is that these programs that you know of and might be used do not work, and therefore are unfair.
DOWNEY: That's right. It's also not that they don't work, but, remember, the whole point of the Affordable Care Act - or Obamacare - was not to penalize people for preexisting conditions. And under this formulation, individuals could end up paying an additional $1,500. If it's a family coverage, it could be an additional $5,000. So it's a very significant penalty, and the whole purpose of the law was not to go in this direction.
MONTAGNE: But you're saying that employers could, in effect, mandate these programs that don't work, or have never been proved to work, and then that would end up having the employees carry a heavier burden of the cost of their own insurance or being penalized in some way. Is that something that you think could really happen widely, or...
DOWNEY: Sure. We know that employers are adding these wellness programs at a very high rate. I think something on the order of 80 percent of large employers have them. And the ones that have, in effect, a penalty provision is growing very rapidly.
MONTAGNE: But, you know, it does seem reasonable - and, obviously, it was reasonable enough to get into the Affordable Care Act - to ask employees in some way and motivate them to be healthier. Could you give us an example - one example of a big wellness program that an employer might use?
DOWNEY: Here's the problem: Some employers have been using programs which are designed to encourage physical activity or to improve the nutritional quality of the employees' food. Fine. They're great. Provide them support and encouragement when motivation starts to wane. And I think those can make differences, but we know that that doesn't always mean there's going to be a difference in body weight.
MONTAGNE: Thank you very much for joining us.
DOWNEY: My pleasure.
MONTAGNE: Morgan Downey is the editor of the blog the Downey Obesity Report.
I WANT EVERYONE TO THINK ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING. HOW WOULD YOU GET THE MOST PEOPLE OUT OF HEALTH CARE REPRESENTED BY THE MOST HIGH-RISK GROUPS? HOW COULD YOU BUILD THE NEXT GENERATION OF MEDICAL PROFITS? OBESITY
AGAIN, I SEE OBESITY AS A PROBLEM. I JUST SEE AS WELL AN ENTIRE INDUSTRY OF HEALTH FRAUD GROWING FAST. AS YOU SEE BELOW I AM NOT OBESE ACCORDING TO THE BMI OR ANYONE ELSE SO WHY WOULD A DOCTOR WHO I WILL NOT RETURN TO SAY THIS?
WHAT WE SEE ALREADY ARE DOCTORS AND HEALTH INSTITUTIONS HANDLING ENTITLEMENT PATIENTS....MEDICARE AND MEDICAID USING NUTRITION AS THE NEXT BILLING FRAUD. SO, A DOCTOR TELLS A PATIENT THEY HAVE HIGH CHOLESTEROL/FAT LEVELS FOR EXAMPLE.
THAT DOCTOR WILL THEN INSIST THAT PATIENT COME BACK EVERY 3 MONTHS FOR BLOOD LEVELS JUST TO TELL THE PATIENT THESE LEVELS ARE STILL HIGH. THE EXPECTATION IS THAT YOU WILL BE FORCED TO CHANGE THESE RESULTS. IF YOU DO NOT RETURN EVERY 3 MONTHS THE DOCTOR REFUSES TO KEEP YOU AS A PATIENT. SO, YOU SEE THE INCENTIVE FOR DOCTORS TO HAVE YOU DECLARED 'OBESE' AND WHETHER THEY ARE SIMPLY BILLING THAT WAY OR ACTUALLY CHANGING THE PATIENT'S CHARTS AS REGARDS HEIGHT AND WEIGHT.......THIS IS HAPPENING AND IT IS MASSIVE.
Center for Disease Control
Height: 5 feet, 10 inches
Weight: 165 pounds
Your BMI is 23.7, indicating your weight is in the Normal category for adults of your height.
For your height, a normal weight range would be from 129 to 174 pounds. Maintaining a healthy weight may reduce the risk of chronic diseases associated with overweight and obesity.
For information about the importance of a healthy diet and physical activity in maintaining a healthy weight, visit Preventing Weight Gain.
Top 10 Reasons Why The BMI Is Bogus
by Keith Devlin July 04, 2009 8:00 AM Listen to the Story Weekend Edition Saturday
4The BMI Formula BMI = weight in pounds/(height in inches x height in inches) x 703
The 703 is to convert the index from the original metric version of the formula.
CDC Recommendations: Below 18.5 = Underweight
18.5 to 24.9 = Ideal
25.0 to 29.9 = Overweight
30.0 and above = Obese
Americans keep putting on the pounds — at least according to a report released this week from the Trust for America's Health. The study found that nearly two-thirds of states now have adult obesity rates above 25 percent.
But you may want to take those findings — and your next meal — with a grain of salt, because they're based on a calculation called the body mass index, or BMI.
As the Weekend Edition math guy, I spoke to Scott Simon and told him the body mass index fails on 10 grounds:
1. The person who dreamed up the BMI said explicitly that it could not and should not be used to indicate the level of fatness in an individual.
The BMI was introduced in the early 19th century by a Belgian named Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet. He was a mathematician, not a physician. He produced the formula to give a quick and easy way to measure the degree of obesity of the general population to assist the government in allocating resources. In other words, it is a 200-year-old hack.
2. It is scientifically nonsensical.
There is no physiological reason to square a person's height (Quetelet had to square the height to get a formula that matched the overall data. If you can't fix the data, rig the formula!). Moreover, it ignores waist size, which is a clear indicator of obesity level.
3. It is physiologically wrong.
It makes no allowance for the relative proportions of bone, muscle and fat in the body. But bone is denser than muscle and twice as dense as fat, so a person with strong bones, good muscle tone and low fat will have a high BMI. Thus, athletes and fit, health-conscious movie stars who work out a lot tend to find themselves classified as overweight or even obese.
4. It gets the logic wrong.
The CDC says on its Web site that "the BMI is a reliable indicator of body fatness for people." This is a fundamental error of logic. For example, if I tell you my birthday present is a bicycle, you can conclude that my present has wheels. That's correct logic. But it does not work the other way round. If I tell you my birthday present has wheels, you cannot conclude I got a bicycle. I could have received a car. Because of how Quetelet came up with it, if a person is fat or obese, he or she will have a high BMI. But as with my birthday present, it doesn't work the other way round. A high BMI does not mean an individual is even overweight, let alone obese. It could mean the person is fit and healthy, with very little fat.
5. It's bad statistics.
Because the majority of people today (and in Quetelet's time) lead fairly sedentary lives and are not particularly active, the formula tacitly assumes low muscle mass and high relative fat content. It applies moderately well when applied to such people because it was formulated by focusing on them. But it gives exactly the wrong answer for a large and significant section of the population, namely the lean, fit and healthy. Quetelet is also the person who came up with the idea of "the average man." That's a useful concept, but if you try to apply it to any one person, you come up with the absurdity of a person with 2.4 children. Averages measure entire populations and often don't apply to individuals.
6. It is lying by scientific authority.
Because the BMI is a single number between 1 and 100 (like a percentage) that comes from a mathematical formula, it carries an air of scientific authority. But it is mathematical snake oil.
7. It suggests there are distinct categories of underweight, ideal, overweight and obese, with sharp boundaries that hinge on a decimal place.
That's total nonsense.
8. It makes the more cynical members of society suspect that the medical insurance industry lobbies for the continued use of the BMI to keep their profits high.
Insurance companies sometimes charge higher premiums for people with a high BMI. Among such people are all those fit individuals with good bone and muscle and little fat, who will live long, healthy lives during which they will have to pay those greater premiums.
9. Continued reliance on the BMI means doctors don't feel the need to use one of the more scientifically sound methods that are available to measure obesity levels.
Those alternatives cost a little bit more, but they give far more reliable results.
10. It embarrasses the U.S.
It is embarrassing for one of the most scientifically, technologically and medicinally advanced nations in the world to base advice on how to prevent one of the leading causes of poor health and premature death (obesity) on a 200-year-old numerical hack developed by a mathematician who was not even an expert in what little was known about the human body back then.
YOU CAN SEE WHERE THIS WILL BE LEADING TO ABUSE AND THINK OF THE FACT WE ALREADY HAVE $200-400 BILLION BEING TAKEN IN FRAUD FROM ENTITLEMENTS NOW.......HOW DO YOU PROVE A DOCTOR IS SOAKING THE TRUST FOR OBESITY TREATMENT? THERE IS THAT TRICKY WORD......'INTENT'.
Medicare Will Cover Obesity Screening and Treatment By Meredith MelnickDec. 02, 2011
Time Health and Family
Medicare, which covers some 42 million American seniors, will pay for obesity screening and behavioral therapy as part of its portfolio of preventive services.
About 72 million American adults, including about a third of Medicare recipients, are obese, and the related health-care costs total some $325 billion a year. The federal decision will now allow Medicare beneficiaries to see their doctors for regular weight-loss counseling — a low-cost, low-tech solution — and may spur private insurers to do the same.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ decision summary, obese Medicare beneficiaries — with a body mass index of 30 or higher — seeking weight-loss counseling may see their primary care physician for one face-to-face visit every week for the first month. Then, Medicare will pay for one face-to-face visit every other week for the next five months. If the patient loses at least 3 kg (6.6 lbs.) over the first six months, Medicare will pay for an additional six months of once-a-month face-to-face visits with the doctor.
MORE: Number of Normal-Weight Americans Edges Out the Overweight
Despite the overwhelming rates of obesity in this country, few people have been diagnosed with a weight problem by their primary care physicians. In a 2007 Mayo Clinic study of nearly 10,000 primary care patients, about one quarter were obese; of those, only about 1 in 5 had a diagnosis or treatment plan for obesity. For older patients, the rate was even lower.
As the Los Angeles Times reported:
While research finds that physician counseling can be a powerful prod to weight loss for those who need it, many physicians have been reluctant to offer it. While some of that reluctance has stemmed from an absence of insurance reimbursement for such services, many also cite patient pushback and a lack of effective tools as reasons for shrinking from the task of identifying obesity, counseling patients about its health hazards and getting them started on a weight-loss program.
Medicare coverage isn’t going to change the fact that we still don’t have foolproof tools to help people lose weight, or that patients will push back — no one likes to hear that they’re obese, after all — but if the federal decision helps lead to more obese people losing even small or moderate amounts of weight, it could be life-changing.
“As small of a weight loss as 5% to 7% can lead to a huge health improvement,” Christy Ferguson, director of the STOP Obesity Alliance, told USA Today, noting also that obesity programs should emphasize an overall healthy lifestyle as well as weight loss. “It’s not necessarily weight loss so much as it is increased fitness level and increased health.”
The coverage is effective immediately, so Medicare recipients may be screened as soon as their next appointment.