Hillary Clinton’s Health Care Plan

Hillary Clinton is the second Democratic candidate running for the 2016 election. Having been Bill Clinton’s first lady during his presidency, Hillary has first-handedly witnessed the power and responsibility that comes with being the president of the United States. According to a  Newsweek 1993 article that was re-published on the occasion that Hillary would be running for president:

“Mrs. Clinton is far more than a first lady. She has her own network, which stretches across the country and deep into the new administration. In charge of the administration’s most important domestic initiative, reform of the nation’s $800 billion health care system, she wasted no time on jokes or slaps on the back. She has practice. The Clintons (had) decided to duplicate the tag-team strategy they used in… the early 1980’s to develop and sell a controversial package of educational reform. Hillary traveled to each of the state’s 75 counties, holding hearings and selling change.

While these quotes are only a glimpse from the 1993 article and her many variety of roles, we can agree that Hillary’s experiences working in and out of the White House had made her proficient and head-strong in her ability to overcome and lead. Bill must have certainly been thankful for having such a clever woman as his wife! And so, this week we will be discussing Hillary’s health plan for America.

In contrast to Bernie Sanders’s willingness to change the American health care system, Hillary Clinton is defending Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. However, instead of going from the now 90% coverage under ObamaCare, Hillary wants to achieve 100% coverage.

Here are a few elements that she wants to fight for:

  • Defending the ACA and building on it to slow the growth of out-of-pocket costs.
  • Breaking down rising prescription drug prices and hold drug companies accountable.
  • Protect women’s access to reproductive health care, including contraception and abortions.

As a woman myself, speaking in regards to access to reproductive health care, I feel empowered by Hillary’s activism for equality in reproductive rights. In fact, having Hillary as President would be an important next step in ensuring that women have a voice. Which is especially important now, as women are still being shut down too often in today’s society.

One additional point about Hillary’s approach that we find worth highlighting, is in regards to her effect on the most vulnerable populations (in contrast to Sanders). This is something we in the Community Health program take very seriously. The author, Mari Brighe, points out that “If you’re happy to let a GOP candidate win the presidency because Sanders isn’t the Democratic candidate, you’re not nearly as progressive as you think you are, and you probably should examine your own social privilege.” Bernie is certainly a crusader for health rights as well, but this is definitely a point worth considering. 

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Here is some additional information on Hillary’s proposed health plan:

  • Fighting for universal health coverage by encouraging all states to expand Medicaid and access to families regardless of immigration status.
  • Extending health care access to rural Americans, who often have difficulty finding quality, affordable, health care.
  • Ensuring women have access to affordable, critical health services such as breast exams and cancer screenings.

Signing off, Angelina.

 

All of us at the CHC3 team would like to thank you for reading our blog posts over the past few months. We really hope you learned something new about healthcare policy, internationally and nationally, and about the 2016 running candidates. This election couldn’t be more important in regards to how it will affect the U.S. healthcare system, for yourself, and so many vulnerable populations. So, whatever you do this November, remember this one thing: VOTE! 

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Sincerely, the CHC3 Team.

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Trump on Health Care in America

Does Trump have the ideas for a health care plan that we will see as the most triumphant option? If you support a health plan that operates under free market principles, you may be in luck!

Trump is pitching for a free enterprise health care market. What does that mean? Essentially, it is a system that provokes people to compete for the health care provided to them. He claims that since he hasn’t been bought out by some large insurance company, that he would truly fight for the chance for every American to compete in a free market for care. His goal is to have health insurance company monopolies be broken and allow Americans to buy across states.

In his own words, when asked on if he shared a stance close to Hillary or Bernie on health care, Trump responded: “I think I’m closer to common sense…. And I will tell you, part of the reason we have some people laughing, because you have insurance people that take care of everybody up here. I am self-funded. The only one they’re not taking care of is me. We have our lines around each state. The insurance companies are getting rich on Obamacare. The insurance companies are getting rich on health care and health services and everything having to do with health. … We’re going to get a plan where people compete, free enterprise. They compete. So much better.”

 

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Here is an extremely simplified breakdown of his 7 point health care reform plan:

  1. Entirely repeal Obamacare – no is is required to buy insurance
  2. Allow for full competition in health care insurance market by allowing for sale of health insurance across state lines
  3. Allow for buyers to fully deduct health insurance premium payment from tax returns
  4. Establish Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), which are basically estates individuals can set-up with tax-free contributions they make throughout their lifetime in regards to health and it can be passed down to any member in the family as inheritance
  5. Require price transparency from all healthcare providers, so individuals can shop for the best prices for any medical-related procedure
  6. Eliminate grant Medicaid to the states and create incentives for states to seek out and eliminate fraud within the Medicaid structure
  7. Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers, allowing consumers access to safer, reliable, and more cheaper drugs

Want more info? Here’s his healthcare plan details.

Essentially, he wants to give a voice to the buyer. I think the plan could work and it seems innovative to have a candidate pushing to eliminate federal and state regulations. We already live in a profit based economy, so why not add health care into the mix where consumers can push for competition and increase satisfaction?  What are your thoughts?

Signing off, Jen.

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John Kasich Speaks From The (Political) Grave

John Kasich is the 69th and current governor of the state of Ohio. Prior to that he represented the 12th congressional district of Ohio in the United States House of Representative for nine terms. His tenure in the house included the House Armed Services Committee, and The House Budget Committee. He was also instrumental in the reformation of the Welfare System.

On July 15, 2015, John Kasich announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. One of the most talked about issues in this presidential race is the Affordable Care Act, or Obama Care as it is commonly called. Every Republican candidate expressed their desire to repeal Obama Care. However, Kasich came under fire for his acceptance of the Medicaid Expansion bill under Obama Care. His fellow Republican has long viewed his acceptance of the bill as a probable liability. His Republican rivals Donald Trump, Gov. Jeb Bush, and Sen. Ted Cruz wasted no time criticizing him since his stance on the bill could have enabled him to emerge as the top alternative to Mr. Trump, Gov. Jeb Bush, and Sen. Cruz. Gov. Kasich fired back by stating that he is for repealing Obama Care, but expanding Medicaid in his home state brought money back to Ohio. He added that the state is saving money, as well as saving lives. He also noted that at the end of the day that is what matters to him. Governor Kasich also urged Jeb Bush to be more positive in his thinking.

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Since Gov. Kasich’s expansion of Medicaid, more than 450,000 low and moderate income Ohioans have secured insurance coverage.

  • Adults under the age of 65 with incomes ranging between $16,105 and $32, 913 are eligible for Medicaid, while individuals who are enrolled in Medicaid receive free to low-cost coverage.
  • The state is saving approximately $22,500 a year per individual, by treating mental health patients, and people addicted to drugs instead of sending them to prison.
  • Funding to be shifted from nursing homes to home-based care. This caused an uproar in the nursing home industry, but the Governor did not back down. He eventually won the necessary votes in the Legislature.
  • The program has enabled Ohio to cut taxes by 5 billion dollars, and grow approximately 350,000 jobs.

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On May 4, 2016 Gov. Kasich announced the suspension of his presidential campaign. This cemented Donald Trump’s position as the nominee for the Republican Party. The moderate voiced Kasich, failed to win any state primary but his home state. He stated that the Lord has a purpose for him. The governor said that he has a renewed, and deeper faith in the Lord and he will continue to live a purpose driven life. I firmly believe that Mr. Kasich will make a good running mate for Donald Trump, since he has years of experience in the political arena. He is also mild mannered thus making him very composed to deal with the challenges ahead.

Thanks for reading, Roz.

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Candidacy Review: Bernie Sanders’s Health Plan

The political career of Bernie Sanders nearly ended before it began. In the early 1970s, he lost his first four races — two for the Senate and two for governor — running on the ticket of Vermont’s radical Liberty Union Party. Fast forward to the present, the 2016 Presidential Election is well under way, and we are more than excited to give you a detailed fix about the running candidates and their health care agenda for the U.S. This week’s post will be about Bernie Sanders, one of the two remaining candidates running for the Democratic party ticket.

According to the New York Times Bernie Sanders unveiled a universal health care plan that includes cutting back on tax increases for the lower and middle classes, and adding a tax hike for the top 1% (the wealthiest). Isn’t this what Americans have been asking for forever? It makes complete sense to tax the wealthier more because it relieves the tax strain on lower and middle class Americans.

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This health care plan would be made possible due to a 2.2 percent premium, which would be accompanied by an estate tax on the wealthiest Americans. Under the plan, “individuals making $250,000 to $500,000 annually would be taxed at a rate of 37 percent.” The top rate, which is a whopping 52%, would apply to those earning $10 million or more a year.

Mr. Sanders proposal would expand Medicare and “build on the success of the ACA.” Patients would be able to choose their doctors and receive comprehensive care for various services including hospital stays, emergency room visits, and primary and specialty care. Overall, the plan would save $6 trillion over 10 years compared with the current system. These numbers were analyzed by an economist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

A typical family earning $50,000 a year would save nearly $6,000 annually in health care costs. Under Bernie’s proposed health care plan families would pay $466 per year in premiums and deductibles. This is incredible!

Businesses would save more than $9,400 a year in health care costs and the average annual cost to the employer for a worker with a family who makes $50,000 a year would go from $12,591 to $3,100.

Sanders wants to replace the entire health care industry with a single-payer system.

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Here are some Bernie “memes” on health care:

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Thank you for reading. Till next week, Angelina.

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The Disabled and the Affordable Care Act

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there has been a great deal of attention given to the bill by the media. While members of the Republican Party grapple with the pros and cons of the bill and how to repeal it, I was concerned how the bill will benefit millions of uninsured Americans and other members of vulnerable populations such as the disabled. It turns out that the disabled will benefit greatly in terms of health coverage, since people with pre-existing conditions cannot be precluded from health care coverage under the ACA. There are 86,000 Americans with pre-existing conditions who have gained coverage since the passing of the bill. People with disabilities were always excluded from having private insurance mainly because of pre-existing conditions, which caused members of this population to rely on Medicaid or have to forgo medical insurance altogether.

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Many disabled persons will opt for coverage under the ACA rather than Medicaid because:

  1.       The premiums are more affordable.
  2.       They will obtain significantly better health care.
  3.       They do not have to repay at death, as is with the case with Medicaid.

In the past most people with disabilities are often placed in an institution such as a hospital, a nursing home or a group home. Under the Affordable Care Act’s Balancing Incentive Program approximately 3 billion dollars in federal grants will be given to various states in order to keep disabled citizens in their respective communities so that they can lead meaningful lives. There is also the First Choice Option which allows individuals with disabilities to transition from an institution to a home or community based service.

People with Autism will benefit immensely from the ACA. The law contains important provisions for people with Autism and other conditions like cerebral palsy. These individuals and their families will have a wider range of access to affordable insurance options because of the new Insurance Exchanges and improvements in the Medicaid system. Individuals who are suffering with behavioral health or mental health and substance abuse issues are also covered under the autism provision of the new law.  However, some states have their own autism insurance reform laws and up to 21 states may not cover behavioral health treatment.

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There are 3.8 million disabled veterans living in the United States of America. Have you ever wondered how the ACA benefits our disabled veterans?  Well, if veterans are enrolled with the Veterans Affairs department they do not actually need the ACA. In fact the new law does not change health care coverage for veterans nor does it change their out of pocket expenses.

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Approximately 56.7 million disabled citizens currently residing in America (i.e 18.67% of the population). As Americans, we all should be happy that our disabled citizens can now gain access to affordable health care.

Thanks for reading, signing off Roz.

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The War on Drugs and Mental Illness May Soon Be Over, and Obamacare is Helping

It’s no secret that two of the biggest problems with the criminal justice system in the United States are over-criminalization of drugs and sentencing to jail time. Treatment, not incarceration, is what is actually needed. As this realization sweeps over the nation, a key question still persists: How do we adjust the funding streams so that we can pay for treatment programs instead of funneling more money into the bloated prison-industrial complex?

It turns out that Medicaid expansion (which was built into Obamacare, aka The Affordable Care Act) is solving this problem. Because of how the ACA was drafted, repeat drug offenders are now eligible for coverage. This wasn’t the case before the ACA. Provisions for mental health care, built into the parity provision of the ACA, are helping to fund treatment for individuals with mental illness and addiction problems.

To help give some perspective on the issue, let’s take a look at a real-world scenario. The LEAD program describes this upcoming video interview as “a conversation between a recovering addict, Seattle cop, and a case manager on their experience as some of the first participants in an innovative harm reduction program. The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) is a harm reduction program started in Seattle. Instead of incarcerating low level, repeat drug offenders, LEAD is a pre-booking diversion program treating addiction as a public health issue by connecting addicts to treatment services. Its success brought the attention of the White House who invited LEAD organizers to share the program with police chiefs, prosecutors, social workers and policy makers from across the country.”

Check this video out:

This is exactly the type of program that demonstrates the direction that the country needs to be heading in if we are going to fix the justice system and stop creating criminals by locking up addicts or the mentally, along with violent offenders rather than treating those in need and getting them back into society where they can thrive and get healthy.

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a presentation with my colleague Ragavan (who writes for the 1planet1chance blog) where we addressed issues of cost and waste in the justice system as it applies to dealing with mental illness. The biggest reaction from the audience was provoked by these infographics from USA Today’s article Cost of not caring: Nowhere to go.

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This chart shows how many folks with mental illness in the U.S. are actually being treated (in red) versus those who are homeless or in jail (in blue) versus make the heartbreaking decision to end their own lives (in black). The Affordable Care Act is changing this.

And while many assume that increased treatment for those with mental illness or substance abuse issues would be exorbitantly expensive, in fact the complete opposite is true. Here’s what you get for $30K:

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To clarify, for $30,000 you can have someone with mental illness either:

A. Hospitalized for less than three weeks

B. Serve a 3 month prison sentence… or

C. receive a year of treatment, a home, and disability income (that will go right back into the economy)

The choice of what’s going to be most effective (cost-wise and health-outcome-wise) couldn’t be clearer. And the ACA is paving the way. If this trend continues, we may finally be able to say, “the war on drugs and mental illness, is over!”

Signing off, Adam.

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Is Your Health in Your Hands?

We all live in a country that has both private and public healthcare services. So much health information is available to us online. Yet, what can we do moving forward that can really give us the health outcomes we deserve to prevent us from becoming the skeleton behind the keyboard.

FIRST: You should understand what healthcare services are available to you? Do you understand the difference between public and private healthcare?

According to the National Procedures Institute, public hospitals are typically larger than private hospitals and are funded by local, state and federal funds. Meanwhile, private hospitals are privately owned and can refuse to provide treatment, unless however a person is in need of stabilization.

 

Let’s look at the numbers:

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*Registered hospitals are those hospitals that meet AHA’s criteria for registration as a hospital facility. Registered hospitals include AHA member hospitals as well as nonmember hospitals. For a complete listing of the criteria used for registration, please see Registration Requirements for Hospitals.

**Community hospitals are defined as all nonfederal, short-term general, and other special hospitals. Other special hospitals include obstetrics and gynecology; eye, ear, nose, and throat; rehabilitation; orthopedic; and other individually described specialty services. Community hospitals include academic medical centers or other teaching hospitals if they are nonfederal short-term hospitals. Excluded are hospitals not accessible by the general public, such as prison hospitals or college infirmaries.

***System is defined by AHA as either a multihospital or a diversified single hospital system. A multihospital system is two or more hospitals owned, leased, sponsored, or contract managed by a central organization. Single, freestanding hospitals may be categorized as a system by bringing into membership three or more, and at least 25 percent, of their owned or leased non-hospital preacute or postacute health care organizations. System affiliation does not preclude network participation.

**** Network is a group of hospitals, physicians, other providers, insurers and/or community agencies that work together to coordinate and deliver a broad spectrum of services to their community. Network participation does not preclude system affiliation.

© 2016 by Health Forum LLC, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association

 

Still not sure which you prefer?

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Read more here on what to consider when picking the better option. 

SECOND: Understand your public right to health!

The term “public” implies that people have a right to use it or take advantage of it. Thus, when healthcare is delivered in the U.S. in both public and private forms, many are led to believe that health in the U.S. is not entirely deemed as a right or a type of freedom or service that we have access to.

The U.S. prides itself in enabling the public to vocalize their concerns. As students who have grown to become well-versed with health communications, we CHC3 bloggers were able to comprehend how vital communicating health concerns is.

When looking further into whether Americans preferred private or public health care, we noticed that many of those who seemed vocal about the topic opted to post and share their opinion on health care blogs.

We actually found a great database that lists numerous health care blogs.

 

THIRD: How to use this knowledge to benefit your health care options moving forward. Become health activists. Take a stance on what you will be voting for in the upcoming election season.

Often blogs are incorporated within, or transform into. campaigns (as shown here). The organizers of that campaign collected $50 million over 5 years, a very impressive achievement. 

So if the American public can engage in adapting health care reform and other changes in public health policy by means of their online postings and contributions in blogs, then perhaps this is our right to public health. Like most things within the States, this would potentially require the assistance of those with money and power to push over forward, but it is a possibility.

Ultimately, all of the blogs we got to look at, including current ones, such as A Healthy Blog revealed to us that there is power within health communication. Despite whether or not an individual has a preference on private or public means of health care deliverance, we do have a public right to health. Activists can utilize and advocate blogs and online campaigning to bring about health care reform and change.

Next week we will discuss what our current day political candidates are looking into in terms of healthcare reform.

-Signing off, Janani.

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