HEALTHPLANUSA . NET
Community For Affordable Health Care
Vol VI, No 2, July, 2007
Utilizing the $1.4 Trillion Information Technology Industry
To Transform the $2 Trillion HealthCare Industry into Affordable HealthCare
In This Issue:
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1. Feature Article: Is Living Longer Worth It? Reason Magazine
Pursuing the longevity dividend at Transvision 2007 in Chicago, Ronald Bailey | July 24, 2007
CHICAGO—In advance of the World Transhumanist Society's annual confab, Transvision 2007, the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) held a pre-conference meeting in a non-descript ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel. The room was packed with 50 or so people interested in the issue of securing the "longevity dividend." Not everyone in the audience would call themselves "transhumanists" but all were interested in figuring out how to sell longer lives to the public. This was not a crowd of wild-eyed utopians. The audience was diverse—about one third women and two-thirds men, and ranged from doctors, professors, and economists to people who had lived in alternative communities and even a few high school students. One might think that longer, healthier lives should be an easy sell, but, in fact, there are people who believe that dramatically extending human lives would be a bad idea.
I attended the IEET conference as a speaker, to give a talk on the political economy of the longevity dividend. What is the longevity dividend? It's a way of rebranding the quest for extending human lives in a politically palatable way. The idea behind the longevity dividend was expressed in an article in The Scientist which argued that research should be directly targeted at slowing the aging process by seven years. As University of Illinois-Chicago demographer Jay Olshansky put it at the conference: It is a new paradigm for health promotion and disease prevention in the 21st century. Olshansky, one of the co-authors of the article in The Scientist unveiling the campaign to push for the longevity dividend, argues that slowing the aging process by seven years would mean that age-related diseases-cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's-would be cut in half at every age. "If we succeed in delaying aging, the bonuses will be an extension of healthy life and a drastic reduction in health care costs," said Olshansky.
Olshansky argues that the old paradigm of directly targeting diseases is about to run out of steam. Even if all cancer, all heart disease and all diabetes were eliminated, it would add only 3 more years to average life expectancy in the United States. So if researchers want to achieve big gains in lifespan and healthspan they have to go after the aging process itself. For adults the doubling time for risk of death is seven years. If you slow aging by seven years, you cut the risk of death at any age in half, and cut the risk everything else that goes wrong with the body in half too. The idea is not to make people older longer, but to make them younger longer. Not being libertarians, Olshansky and other advocates for the longevity dividend want to reprogram $3 billion in federal biomedical research to target aging itself.
At the conference, David Meltzer, a medical economist from the University of Chicago, warned that the longevity dividend could have downsides too. For example, one should consider what follow on costs may flow any particular intervention. If someone is saved from a heart attack, he or she may now live long enough to get cancer which could cost more to treat. In addition, Meltzer noted that most analyses of the benefits of medical interventions measure only future medical costs. But that fails to account for total costs by including future consumption—food, clothing, housing—in the calculations as well . . .
My own talk looked at research done by two University of Chicago economists, Kevin Murphy and Robert Topel, who tried to put a dollar figure on the value of health and longevity. I began by pointing out that the quest for longer healthier lives has some formidable opponents, including Johns Hopkins University professor and author of Our Posthuman Future, Francis Fukuyama, bioethicist Daniel Callahan, and former chairman of President Bush's Council on Bioethics, Leon Kass. Opposition to slowing the approach of the grim reaper also got a hearing the mainstream with The Atlantic Monthly's 2005 article decrying, "The Coming Death Shortage." Of course, they are wrong . . .
Transhumanist George Dvorsky, one of the honchos responsible for the Betterhumans portal, did a quick run through of the objections to attempting to boost healthy human life expectancy, including the appeal to nature (death is natural therefore good); undesirable psychological consequences (long-lived people would be bored); and undesirable social consequences (nursing home world). If you want at thorough debunking of these and other objections to life extension, may I suggest that you read my book Liberation Biology?
Finally, theoretical biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey, critiqued the idea of the longevity dividend from the point of view of someone who is pushing for a more comprehensive research attack on aging itself. De Grey's new book, Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs that Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime is out in September. De Grey said, "I am pessimistic about the longevity dividend, but I strongly support it." Why pessimistic? First, he is not pessimistic about the prospects of increasing life expectancy. But De Grey is pessimistic about the idea that the way the campaigners for the longevity dividend want to pursue it will result in reduced medical costs. Why? Because he pointed out that American life expectancy has already increased by about seven years since 1960 and medical costs have obviously not gone down. Inherent in the idea of the longevity dividend is the notion of compressed mortality, that is, the period of decrepitude at the end of life will be shortened. De Grey argues that this not biologically plausible. Medical interventions can reduce the risk of death and disability at various ages, but eventually, frailty will come—it will just come later. As Murphy and Topel note, American men are about 6 years "younger" in 2000 than they were in 1970-a 55 year old in 2000 is equivalent to a 49 year old from 1970. Frailty may be unavoidable, but pushing it off for as long as possible is still a great idea . . .
I will be covering the rest of the World Transhumanist Assocation's Transvision 2007 conference through Thursday. Luminaries such as William Shatner, Ariana Huffington, Ray Kurzweil, Ed Begly Jr., and Peter Diamandis are scheduled to speak.
To read the entire article, go to www.reason.com/news/printer/121564.html.
Ronald Bailey is Reason's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books.
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2. In the News: Global health spending rises, FT, By Nicholas Timmins, July 19 2007
Global spending on health is continuing to outpace economic growth, with most countries having seen a near doubling of expenditure as a share of national income over the past 25 years, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reported yesterday.
Per capita health spending has risen more than 80 per cent in real terms between 1990 and 2005, outpacing the 37 per cent rise in gross domestic product per head.
In 1970, across the OECD nations, health accounted for just 5 per cent of GDP. By 2005 that had reached 9 per cent, with a quarter of OECD countries spending more than 10 per cent of national income on health.
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The number of people with private insuranace has risen significantly for the first time in five years.
Bupa Hospitals lures NHS patients By Nicholas Timmins, Public Policy Editor, FT, July 13 2007
Bupa Hospitals is launching an advertising campaign designed to persuade National Health Service patients to have operations in their local Bupa hospital. The drive comes as ministers press ahead with promoting choice in the NHS.
The £450,000 campaign marks the first time the private sector has advertised directly to NHS patients. Slots in local newspapers will tell readers that there is now “somewhere surprising you could go on the NHS: Bupa Hospitals”.
Richard Jones, Bupa Hospitals’ commercial director, said: “This a sign of the way the NHS is changing and a bold move into the new world. Our core business remains private healthcare. But there are growing opportunities to do NHS business that are terribly important to us.”
The campaign will run in two phases: the first will run immediately for three months; a second big campaign will start in autumn as Bupa Hospitals changes its name to Spire Healthcare following the £1.44bn private equity purchase by Cinven of the hospitals from Bupa.
The advertising campaign, approved by the health department under its new advertising code for the private sector and the NHS, was bitterly attacked by Unison, the largest health union.
Karen Jennings, Unison’s head of health, said the campaign “is another example of the damage being caused by bringing private companies into the NHS”.
“The NHS will lose out twice because money will be diverted into the pockets of private providers and NHS hospitals will be forced to use taxpayers’ money to compete for business”.
In the past, Capio hospitals has advertised its NHS treatment centres to family doctors through the trade press but not to the public. . .
William Laing of the analysts Laing and Buisson said that, if patients chose them, private hospitals could probably accommodate some 250,000 to 300,000 NHS treatments a year - including some diagnostic procedures - without raising their occupancy rates above 70 per cent or so. He said private hospitals were reluctant to exceed this figure for fear it reduced rapid availability for private patients . . .
Bupa Hospitals has to change its name following its sale by the Bupa Group. Mr Jones said the choice of Spire Healthcare reflected the company’s desire to spread its business outside hospital into diagnostics, community and primary care, both for private patients and the health service. The name change is scheduled to take full effect in the autumn.
To read the entire article, go to www.ft.com/cms/s/cef82450-30d8-11dc-9a81-0000779fd2ac.html.
The NHS does not give timely access to healthcare, it only gives access to a waiting list.
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4. Medicare: Medicaid Patients
Get the Short End of the Government's Stick, WSJ,
July 27, 2007
Your page-one article "Note to Medicaid Patients: The Doctor Won't See You1," July 19, provides a shocking commentary on the difference in attitudes and behavior to two populations, the elderly and the poor.
As the first chairman of the Secretary's Medicaid Advisory Committee in the mid- and late-1960s, I can attest that these differences existed from the first days of Medicare and Medicaid.
Of course it is shocking to find the difference in payment -- and treatment -- for the two populations by the same government.
If $357.58, the amount paid by Medicare, is the "correct" payment for the treatment of a broken arm, then how can $184.51 be the correct payment for a Medicaid patient? Either Medicaid is underpaying or Medicare is overpaying. We all know which.
Even so, it is also shocking that so few physicians will see Medicaid patients given that these physicians were more than willing to accept and be the beneficiaries of the large subsidy by government to their medical education.
I would suggest that each person entering medical school be given a choice: Don't take the subsidy (somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000 to $200,000) and be free to choose your patients as you see fit, or accept the subsidy and in return agree to treat all patients who need your help. This isn't involuntary servitude. In the words so dear to all, the prospective physician would be "free to choose."
Rashi Fein, Professor of the Economics of Medicine, Department of
Harvard Medical School, Boston
Government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem.
- Ronald Reagan
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5. Lean HealthCare: Trouble when medical test doesn't serve medical need, By Dr. Michael Wilkes – Sacramento Bee, Saturday, July 21, 2007
Kim and Robby have lived in the United States for nearly seven years and have been married for five years. They share a two-family home with their extended family. They are very eager for children, and Kim recently learned she is pregnant.
When the couple sit down to talk about the pregnancy, Kim is silent; her husband explains that she doesn't speak English. Robby is friendly, engaging and crystal-clear about the purpose of their visit. He says that his wife has been pregnant four times, and each time she's had "an elective miscarriage."
The couple -- or at least the husband -- are eager for a boy. Each of the past pregnancies has been a girl. Today, they are asking for a test that will determine the sex of their fetus.
Robby understands that sex-determination testing is expensive and not covered by his insurance, but he willingly agrees to pay for the procedure in cash. A doctor can legally order the test, but is this an appropriate reason for a "medical" test -- even if the only benefit is personal preference?
Some people request gender selection to avoid serious, life-threatening genetic diseases that run in a family. These diseases are often found only in males (they are sex-linked), and couples choose to avoid these diseases by gender selection.
Others wish to select their baby's sex for social or cultural reasons. For example, one family I care for has five girls and the parents want their next child to be a boy.
When sex selection is used to prevent a genetic disease, its indication is considered medical and is well accepted. If the decision to select a child's sex is done to balance a family, for cultural or personal purposes, then the process is considered social. Is there a difference between the two?
In the United States, we have a strong legal and ethical tradition that favors reproductive choice. We routinely offer prenatal screening for a host of diseases with the option of early termination. Is selection of sex so different that we want to prohibit this type of reproductive choice?
Opponents -- including many leading medical groups -- say the practice devalues women. In nations such as India, nearly all elective terminations are of females in part due to cultural traditions such as the requirement of a dowry. This is not the case here.
Some may feel uncomfortable using pregnancy termination as a method of gender selection, but what about using sperm sorting, which occurs prior to fertilization? Because it is the male's sperm that determines the sex of the offspring (the female provides two X chromosomes while the male can provide either an X or a Y chromosome), attention has focused on separating male sperm from female sperm. The process was initially developed to sort animal sperm (namely bulls), but has evolved into a process that is effective and generally safe for humans.
No matter what technique is used to select gender, the process raises social and ethical problems now and in the future.
This is a case in which technology has moved ahead by leaps and bounds but we've not yet had the debate and discussion to develop a rational approach to use of the technology. The doctor's job is not merely to order tests requested by patients. Our integrity is based on reasoned, rational logic and not cultural preference. . .
To read the entire article, go to www.sacbee.com/107/story/281917.html.
Michael Wilkes, M.D., is a professor of medicine at the University of California, Davis. Identifying characteristics of patients mentioned in his column are changed to protect their confidentiality. Reach him at email@example.com.
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Editorial: Health care for all? Affordability grows ever more ephemeral, Sacramento Bee, Wednesday, June 13, 2007
There has been no shortage of health care plans in the Legislature this year. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, legislative leaders from both parties and individual lawmakers are proposing various means of expanding access to health insurance and health care.
But none looks seriously enough at the underlying problem that prevents people from gaining access to care in the first place: It costs more than they can afford to pay.
With health care inflation rising at a faster rate than the cost of living, that problem is only getting worse. Requiring more employers to buy insurance for their workers, regulating insurance companies or raising taxes to finance health care for all will not solve the problem as long as the core costs keep going up.
Part of this is inevitable. An aging population uses more care, and new technology and drugs cost more. But there are some things that could be done on the margins.
The governor's plan comes closest to attacking the issue head-on. Schwarzenegger wants to increase payments to doctors and hospitals that care for the poor so that those costs are no longer shifted to paying customers through higher insurance premiums. And he wants to boost prevention and wellness by giving people incentives to avoid behavior that is bad for their health.
But more could be done.
One key step in controlling costs is gathering more information, so consumers and people who buy coverage for them can know which doctors, hospitals and labs are doing the best job for the least money.
If the state would collect more raw information on doctor and hospital performance, the government, through its provision of care to the poor, could use it to create incentives for the most effective, efficient care. Private payers could do the same.
Rather than being rewarded only for ordering expensive procedures and tests, doctors might earn more by spending more time with their patients or using their office staff to coach chronically ill people to better manage their diseases.
[Would you, Mr. Editor, spend more time on the job, say an extra hour for no additional pay? If the doctor saw fewer patients to give this extra time to another patient, would Medicare or Medicaid or Blue Cross pay more per patient to keep the income level? Would Congress or the Legislature appropriate more money per patient to allow this to happen? Those that don’t understand the practice of medicine, are using their podium to pontificate from the editorial page total nonsense that further confuses the issues.]
Those are only a few of the possible changes that might restrain some growth in health costs. While legislative leaders and the governor negotiate on the big question of expanding access to insurance, it would be great if some rank-and-file lawmakers spent the time to develop a comprehensive, credible plan to contain costs. That way, whatever program to expand access is approved might actually have a chance of succeeding.
[The best way to contain costs is to get the lawmakers busy doing something besides health care. They have too much time on their hands being busybodies about issues they don’t understand. Can we go forward to a part-time legislature? Say meet in January every other year for a month or two and then go home and experience life including healthcare in the trenches?]
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7. Overheard on Capital Hill: State Efforts to Increase Transparency in Government Spending
year, thanks to the leadership of Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), Congress passed
President Bush signed into law the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act
(S.2590) which passed House and Senate in September of 2006.
The bill creates a free, publicly searchable website for all federal contracts and grants. It would
provide access to data on all payments of more than $25,000, with exceptions for classified
information and federal assistance payments made to individuals. Also excluded are federal
employees. The OMB has set up the interim website and is requesting feedback at:
The federal effort has inspired elected officials at the state level to work to empower taxpayers to become fiscal watchdogs by making expenditures available on the Internet.
Kansas became the first state in 2007 to sign into law comprehensive legislation mandating
the creation of a website detailing state expenditure information. Minnesota quickly followed
and Gov. Pawlenty signed legislation at the beginning of May. Oklahoma Gov. signed
legislation on June 5th, and Governor Perry signed transparency legislation into law on June
15. Hawaii has passed similar legislation. Governor Lingle has until July 10 to veto all bills
sent to her, but since the bill was not on the list of potential vetoes, she is expected to sign the bill soon.
"That is the problem with government these days. They want to do things all the time; they are always busy thinking of what things they can do next. This is not what people want. People want to be left alone to look after their cattle."
Ramotse, father of Precious Ramotswe, head of The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency
"The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" by Alexander McCall Smith
A Detective Novel
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The State Children's Health Insurance Program (Schip) was originally a Republican program to provide health insurance to children in near-poor families who did not qualify for Medicaid. Democrats now want to expand Schip to children of the middle class.
Their efforts to do so are rightly being resisted by the White House, but Senate Finance Committee Republicans have already caved on an unwise compromise to make more people eligible for Schip.
On the surface, congressional Democrats appear to be rescuing children from the scourge of uninsurance. The reality is quite different. If they get their way, millions of children will have less access to health care than they do today, and the same will surprisingly be true for many low-income seniors.
Studies by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber show that public insurance substitutes for private insurance and the crowd-out rate is high. In general, for every extra dollar spent on Medicaid, private insurance contracts by 50 cents to 75 cents. For Schip, depending on how it is implemented, private insurance could contract by about 60 cents.
These findings make sense. Why pay for something if the government offers it for free? Under congressional proposals to expand Schip, the crowd out would likely be much worse. The reason: Almost all the newly eligible beneficiaries already have insurance.
The Senate bill would expand the eligibility for coverage under Schip to families with incomes 300% above the federal poverty level ($62,000), from its present ceiling, 200% above the poverty level. House Democrats want to push coverage to 400% ($83,000 annual income).
Yet almost eight of every 10 children whose parents earn from 200%-300% more than the poverty level already have private health-care coverage, according to the Congressional Budget office (CBO). At incomes between 300% and 400% more than poverty, nine of every 10 children are already insured.
What about the eight to nine million children currently uninsured? Nearly 75% of them are already eligible for Medicaid or Schip, according to the CBO. So the main result of the Democrats' proposal to expand Schip will be to shift middle-class children from private to public plans.
Why is that bad? One reason is that most Schip programs pay doctors at Medicaid rates -- rates so low that Medicaid patients are having increasing difficulty getting access to health care. Anecdotal evidence suggests that U.S. Medicaid patients already must wait as long for specialist care and hospital surgery as in Canada.
Many doctors won't see Medicaid patients. Among those that do, many will not accept new patients. As a result, children who lose private coverage and enroll in Schip are likely to get less care, not more.
There is also the issue of who exactly will be covered. Republicans want to restrict Schip to children. The Democrats want adults covered as well. Even under the current system, children's health insurance is increasingly a ruse to cover adults. Minnesota spends 61% of Schip funds on adults. Wisconsin spends 75% . . .
The proposal to expand Schip comes at a time when health-care spending already poses a serious threat to the federal budget. The Medicare trustees tell us that the program's unfunded liability is six times that of Social Security. The CBO predicts that on the current course, income tax rates paid by the middle class will reach 66% by midcentury and the top marginal rate will reach 92%.
So what do congressional Democrats plan to do about this problem? Ignore it.
A key provision of the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act says that when Medicare's finances deteriorate to a certain level (that level is already reached), the president must propose an appropriate reform and Congress must fast-track the proposal. Yet one senior Democratic legislator -- as yet unidentified -- wants the Schip bill to repeal that provision.
In a way, repeal makes a certain sense. If the ship is going down anyway, why spoil the fun?
To read the entire article, go to http://online.wsj.com/article_print/SB118549936022579842.html.
Mr. Goodman is president of the National Center for Policy Analysis.
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9. Health Plan USA: Single-Payer Health Care By Any Other Name Is Still A Monopoly
Opinion Editorial by Pete du Pont
Over the past decade, self-appointed health care advocates have talked a lot about health care reform in America, ranging from issues such as a patients’ bill of rights to reign in HMOs to the plight of the uninsured. Pundits often refer to these issues collectively as incremental health care reform, which is spin for the left’s current strategy to push towards a system of national health insurance (e.g. socialized medicine) one step at a time.
Americans soundly rejected the idea of “socialized medicine” back in 1993, when the Clinton administration proposed a wholesale change of the health care industry. Licking their wounds from that defeat, proponents of national health insurance have recently seized upon a less threatening term - a “single-payer system.”
In theory, a single-payer system would reduce the
number of different organizations with which physicians and hospitals must file
claims. From a paperwork sense, this sounds attractive. Many public health
advocates assume the administrative savings would be sufficient to fund
coverage for the uninsured. Likewise, consumer groups would like to pocket any
savings in the form of lower premiums. Yet however logical these arguments
sound, the truth is there will be no “savings” to fight over.
Health economists see inherent problems - similar to those experienced in Europe and Canada - in all single-payer systems. First and foremost, because it is paid for through taxation, consumers are insulated from the direct cost of health care. Consequently, they are not price sensitive and tend to consume more than they otherwise would. Thus, single-payer systems must employ one of several tactics to artificially reduce consumption. Options range from the outright rationing of care, to shortchanging capital investment in facilities and modern equipment, to reducing the number of physicians available to treat patients.
Britain and Canada, for example, have fewer physicians per capita than the U.S. To adopt a single-payer system with resource allocation similar to Canada, the U.S. would have to fire around 171,000 physicians. Those doctors who remained would have to see, on average, 921 additional patients per year to match the average number of patients seen by Canadian physicians. As a result, the length of time patients spend with their physician during an office visit would likely be shorter.
Because of these factors, virtually all countries with a single-payer system of national health insurance experience chronic equipment shortages and long waiting lines for treatment (not to mention higher taxes). Waiting lists exist simply because there aren’t enough specialists, treatment beds and operating facilities to accommodate patients needing care. Thus, care is given to those patients most likely to benefit - at the least cost. For instance, in England, the shortest waiting lists are often for non-critical procedures, while life-threatening ones require longer waiting times.
Further, long waits are frequently required for routine services Americans take for granted. In 1999, for example, the median wait for a CT scan and an MRI across Canada (both critical for diagnoses) was five weeks and 12 weeks, respectively.
Finally, a single-payer system would be a bilateral monopoly. Just as a monopoly can charge what it wishes for the services it offers, a single-payer system can reduce funding available for particular services or refuse to cover services deemed too expensive. Because a single-payer does not have to compete for your business, consumers will likely get less value for their money. And consumers needing costly non-covered treatments (or costly medications not included in a drug formulary) would have to pay out-of-pocket.
Under our current system, if a health insurance company raised prices and reduced benefits, consumers would switch in droves. But, when there is only one game in town, consumers would have to accept whatever costs and benefits were offered. Without the incentives created by competition, a single-payer system would likely exemplify the innovation, compassion and efficiency of the Internal Revenue Service in no time.
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10. Restoring Accountability in Medical Practice by Non Participation in Government Programs and Understanding the Devastating Force Of Government.
· Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, www.atr.org/ keeps us apprised of the Cost of Government Day® Report, Calendar Year 2006 Fourteenth Edition, www.atr.org/content/pdf/2006/July/071206ot-costofgovernmentday.pdf. Cost of Government Day (COGD) is the date of the calendar year on which the average American worker has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of spending and regulatory burdens imposed by government on the federal, state and local levels. Cost of Government Day for 2006 is July 12th, a one day increase above last year’s revised date of July 11th. With July 12th as the COGD, working people must toil on average 192.5 days out of the year just to meet all the costs imposed by government. In other words, the cost of government consumes 52.7 percent of national income. If we were to put health care into the public trough, the additional 18 percent would allow the government to control 70 percent or nearly three-fourths of our productivity and destroy our health care in the process. We would have almost no discretionary income.
· John Berthaud, President of the National Taxpayer’s Union, www.ntu.org/main/, keeps us apprised of all the taxation challenges our elected officials are trying to foist on us throughout the United States. To find the organization in your state that’s trying to keep sanity in our taxation system, click on your state at www.ntu.org/main/groups.php.
· Ayn Rand, The Creator of a Philosophy for Living on Earth, www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer, is a veritable storehouse of common sense economics to help us live on earth. To review the current series of Op-Ed articles, some of which you and I may disagree on, go to www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=media_opeds.
· John and Alieta Eck, MDs, for their first-century solution to twenty-first century needs. With 46 million people in this country uninsured, we need an innovative solution apart from the place of employment and apart from the government. To read the rest of the story, go to www.zhcenter.org. Stay tuned for their next innovative move in designing the healthcare system for the entire country of Antigua and Barbuda.
· Michael J. Harris, MD - www.northernurology.com - an active member in the American Urological Association, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Societe' Internationale D'Urologie, has an active cash'n carry practice in urology in Traverse City, Michigan. He has no contracts, no Medicare, no Medicaid, no HIPAA, just patient care. Dr Harris is also nationally recognized for his medical care system reform initiatives. To understand that Medical Bureaucrats and Administrators are basically Medical Illiterates telling the experts how to practice medicine, be sure to savor his article on "Administrativectomy: The Cure For Toxic Bureaucratosis" at www.northernurology.com/articles/healthcarereform/administrativectomy.html.
· PRIVATE NEUROLOGY is a Third-Party-Free Practice in Derby, NY with Larry Huntoon, MD, PhD, FANN. http://home.earthlink.net/~doctorlrhuntoon/. Dr Huntoon does not allow any HMO or government interference in your medical care. "Since I am not forced to use CPT codes and ICD-9 codes (coding numbers required on claim forms) in our practice, I have been able to keep our fee structure very simple." I have no interest in "playing games" so as to "run up the bill." My goal is to provide competent, compassionate, ethical care at a price that patients can afford. I also believe in an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. Please Note that PAYMENT IS EXPECTED AT THE TIME OF SERVICE. Private Neurology also guarantees that medical records in our office are kept totally private and confidential - in accordance with the Oath of Hippocrates. Since I am a non-covered entity under HIPAA, your medical records are safe from the increased risk of disclosure under HIPAA law. Ever have a blinding migraine and couldn't even drive to see a doctor? Dr Huntoon even makes house calls. Canadian patients are welcomed. Such a deal.
· PATMOS EmergiClinic - where Robert Berry, MD, an emergency physician and internist states: "Our point-of-care payment clinic makes acute and chronic primary medical care affordable to the uninsured of our community by refusing to accept any insurance (along with the hassles and crushing overhead that inevitably come with it). Read the rest of the story at www.emergiclinic.com.
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Stay Tuned to the MedicalTuesday and the HealthPlanUSA Networks and have your friends do the same.
Articles that appear in MedicalTuesday and HPUSA may not reflect the opinion of the editorial staff. Sections 1-9 are entirely attributable quotes in the interest of the health care debate.
Editorial comments are in brackets.
ALSO NOTE: MedicalTuesday receives no government, foundation, or private funds. The entire cost of the website URLs, website posting, distribution, managing editor, email editor, and the research and writing is solely paid for and donated by the Founding Editor, while continuing his Pulmonary Practice, as a service to his patients, his profession, and in the public interest for his country.
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Del Meyer, MD, CEO & Founder
6945 Fair Oaks Blvd, Ste A-2, Carmichael, CA 95608
Words of Wisdom
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. --Thomas Jefferson
What this country needs are more unemployed politicians. –Edward Langley, Artist 1928-1995
Some Recent Postings
Harry Potter Battles Big Brother, by James Murtagh, MD, www.healthcarecom.net/JM_HarryPotter.htm
America Alone, The End of the World as we Know It, by Mark Steyn, reviewed by Del Meyer, MD www.delmeyer.net/bkrev_AmericaAlone.htm
HealthPlanUSA for April 2007, www.healthplanusa.net/April07.htm
This Month in History
During the month of July, we celebrated Independence Day on the 4th. This was the greatest and grandest experiment to alter the course of humankind from millennia of government enslavement to individual human freedom. It worked well for the first 150 years after 1776. Since that time, forces using the democratic model have slowly hoodwinked the American public to do what Jefferson warned us against – wasting people’s industriousness in the pretense of taking care of them. These programs will be our undoing and in a democracy, it is very difficult to change course. As noted in Section One above, we have delayed aging in our generation alone by seven years. By any form of logic, we should have indexed programs for the aged by the same seven years. If senior citizen status began today at age 72, even the programs that Jefferson warned us against would not enslave future generations of Americans. To tax our citizens for an additional seven years of health benefits is beyond any sustainable tax structure. Can we survive as a nation devoted to human freedom? That is our mission at MedicalTuesday and HPUSA.
We should also pause to remember three presidents who died and one president who was born on this date. Two presidents, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, whose careers were intertwined and whose friendship was itself a classic story, died on the fourth of July in 1826, fifty years to the day after they put their signatures on the Declaration of Independence. James Monroe, another president, died on July 4, 1831. Calvin Coolidge, another president, was born on July 4, 1872, in Plymouth, Vermont. Aren’t we fortunate to have so much presidential history associated with Independence Day? A real celebration!