Posts Tagged - ‘medical care’

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Germany Struggling With Health Insurance Costs, Too

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Image: Aenneken under CC 3.0

While the Germans are dominating the World Cup, the situation regarding their health insurance doesn’t look so bright. Just like the United States, their economy has been dealt several blows, and the nation is dealing with a major budget deficit.

Some believe that more direct government intervention will lower the cost of affordable health plans in the U.S., but Germany is proving that point wrong. Chancellor Angela Merkel (the German equivalent of our president) recently agreed to increase premiums for virtually all residents, from 14.9% to 15.5% of their gross pay–split between employers and employees. Insurers will also be allowed to ask for an extra premium to cover additional costs.

On the positive side, nearly 90% of the population is covered through their mandate. Unfortunately, they have failed to control severe jump in health care expenses.

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Minorities Struggle with Alzheimer’s

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

The Alzheimer’s Association has released a study that says African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to develop dementia. The troubling disease is taking over the lives of more minorities due to lack of good health insurance.

The study found that African-Americans are about two times more likely and Hispanics are about 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The reason for this is not believed to be genetics, but rather their lack of comprehensive medical care.

Some family members ignore signs of Alzheimer’s, victims are unaware, and before you know it the disease matures into a stage beyond doctors’ control.

Those with the disease often times don’t have access to affordable medical insurance which lessens their quality of life. Other conditions linked to the Alzheimer’s often go untreated including diabetes and high blood pressure.

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Q&A: Your Healthcare Legislation Questions Answered

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Many Americans may have questions and concerns when it comes to the health. Even though the bill is a hot topic there are still many misconceptions about it. Some uninsured wonder if they will get assistance with medical health insurance, others believe they will be forced to change their health coverage.

Here is a response from USA Today with answers to some questions you may have about President Obama’s attempt to pass health care legislation:

Q: What does President Obama mean when he says he wants an “up or down” final vote on health care?

A: He wants the House and Senate to pass a final health care bill by a simple majority, but in order to do that Congress would need to use a process known as budget reconciliation.

Q: What is reconciliation?

A: It is a way to make policy changes in existing spending or tax laws to meet budget goals. Only spending or revenue items can be changed. Unlike most legislation in the Senate, reconciliation bills cannot be filibustered so only a simple majority is required for approval.

Q: Why are Democrats using reconciliation?

A: The House passed a health care bill Nov. 7 and the Senate passed its version Dec. 24. Typically, lawmakers would merge the two measures into a single bill that would get a final vote in each chamber. But for affordable insurance and health care, Obama is concerned Republicans will filibuster a merged bill, and filibusters can only be ended by 60 votes in the Senate. The Democrats have been one vote shy of that threshold since Feb. 4, when Republican Scott Brown was sworn into office as a Massachusetts senator.

HARRIS, SANTORUM: Ex-senators draw different lessons from previous health efforts
OBAMA: President tells Democrats to ‘trust me’ on health bill
TIMELINE: Key events on road to health legislation

Q: How would reconciliation work?

A: There are a few possibilities, but the most likely scenario for health care is a two-step process. First, the House would pass the Senate version of the health care bill and send the bill to Obama for his signature. A separate reconciliation bill would then be passed by both chambers to make changes Obama and many lawmakers want to the main health care bill. The process lets the Senate avoid another vote on the health care bill. Instead, it would vote only on the changes and would need only a simple majority.

Q: When would this happen?

A: Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs said the president would like a vote by March 18. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said he would like a vote before Congress leaves for Easter break on March 29.

Q: Is health care legislation guaranteed to pass through this process?

A: No. It’s unclear if House Democratic leaders can get enough Democrats to vote for the Senate health care bill, which contains controversial provisions on abortion and taxes. The House passed its version 220-215 and since then one member who voted “yes” died and two others have left Congress.

Q: What are the potential problems in the Senate?

A: Even if the House passes the Senate health care bill and a separate reconciliation bill, Senate Republicans can offer an unlimited number of amendments to the reconciliation bill. They can also raise points of order on provisions that don’t deal with spending.

Q: Hasn’t reconciliation been used before?

A: Yes. For instance, Congress used reconciliation to pass the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) that provides health coverage for employees who lose their group coverage at work.

Q: How would the health care bill change if it went through this reconciliation process?

A: Obama has proposed numerous changes to the health care bill, such as increasing subsidies to middle-class Americans who buy insurance in the private market and increasing fines on employers who do not offer coverage to their workers.

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