Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’

Health Care Law

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Dr. Chris Lillis practices primary care medicine in Fredericksburg, Virginia. His patients range from 14 to 102, with about 40 percent of his practice being Medicare enrollees. He loves primary care medicine because “you really get to know your patients. … I get to help them stay healthy through good times and navigate the health care system through difficult times.”

Because of the health care law, Dr. Lillis says his patients can get affordable health coverage and are better able to pay for their prescriptions.

“The Affordable Care Act absolutely is making a difference for my patients—the young folks who can stay on their parents’ insurance plans [and] my Medicare beneficiaries who can now afford their medicines more easily, especially when they fall into the coverage gap, the so-called ‘donut hole,’” said Dr. Lillis.

“In years past, I can remember patients who chose to avoid their screening mammogram or their screening colonoscopy because a deductible or copay was just too high and they had to make a decision between [paying] for the gas in the tank of their car or [getting] a preventive screening that could potentially save their life,” Dr. Lillis says. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, people don’t have to make those choices any more. They can receive their preventive care screenings without out-of-pocket costs, which is the best kind of care we can deliver as primary care doctors.”

And importantly, the Affordable Care Act encourages doctors to coordinate care for patients. The health care law is “going to help us focus on quality, not quantity. I want my patients to get the health care I think they need. The Affordable Care Act does that. It’s knocking down barriers to care,” he says.

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Doctors’ orders: Avoid insurance

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Many physicians, fed up with patient overload and filing claims, are minimizing insurance-based coverage and offering round-the-clock service for a retainer.

By Parija B. Kavilanz, CNNMoney.com senior writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Like a lot of their patients, doctors are sick of long waits in the waiting room and dealing with insurance companies.

That’s why a growing number of primary care physicians are adopting a direct fee-for-service or “retainer-based” model of care that minimizes acceptance of insurance. Except for lab tests and other special services, your insurance plan is no good with them.

In a retainer practice, doctors charge patients an annual fee ranging from $1,500 to as high as over $10,000 for round-the-clock access to physicians, sometimes including house calls.

Other services included in the membership are annual physicals, preventive care programs and hospital visits.

Doctors argue that this model cuts down their patient load, allows them to spend more time per patient and help save the system money.

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AMA Ends 72-Year Policy, Says Marijuana has Medical Benefits

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

By Americans for Safe Access, Medical Marijuana Therapeutics/Research

HOUSTON — The American Medical Association (AMA) voted today to reverse its long-held position that marijuana be retained as a Schedule I substance with no medical value. The AMA adopted a report drafted by the AMA Council on Science and Public Health (CSAPH) entitled, “Use of Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes,” which affirmed the therapeutic benefits of marijuana and called for further research. The CSAPH report concluded that, “short term controlled trials indicate that smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.” Furthermore, the report urges that “the Schedule I status of marijuana be reviewed with the goal of facilitating clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods.”

The change of position by the largest physician-based group in the country was precipitated in part by a resolution adopted in June of 2008 by the Medical Student Section (MSS) of the AMA in support of the reclassification of marijuana’s status as a Schedule I substance. In the past year, the AMA has considered three resolutions dealing with medical marijuana, which also helped to influence the report and its recommendations. The AMA vote on the report took place in Houston, Texas during the organization’s annual Interim Meeting of the House of Delegates. The last AMA position, adopted 8 years ago, called for maintaining marijuana as a Schedule I substance, with no medical value.

“It’s been 72 years since the AMA has officially recognized that marijuana has both already-demonstrated and future-promising medical utility,” said Sunil Aggarwal, Ph.D., the medical student who spearheaded both the passage of the June 2008 resolution by the MSS and one of the CSAPH report’s designated expert reviewers. “The AMA has written an extensive, well-documented, evidence-based report that they are seeking to publish in a peer-reviewed journal that will help to educate the medical community about the scientific basis of botanical cannabis-based medicines.” Aggarwal is also on the Medical & Scientific Advisory Board of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the largest medical marijuana advocacy organization in the U.S.

The AMA’s about face on medical marijuana follows an announcement by the Obama Administration in October discouraging U.S. Attorneys from taking enforcement actions in medical marijuana states. In February 2008, a resolution was adopted by the American College of Physicians (ACP), the country’s second largest physician group and the largest organization of doctors of internal medicine. The ACP resolution called for an “evidence-based review of marijuana’s status as a Schedule I controlled substance to determine whether it should be reclassified to a different schedule. “The two largest physician groups in the U.S. have established medical marijuana as a health care issue that must be addressed,” said ASA Government Affairs Director Caren Woodson. “Both organizations have underscored the need for change by placing patients above politics.”

Though the CSAPH report has not been officially released to the public, AMA documentation indicates that it: “(1) provides a brief historical perspective on the use of cannabis as medicine; (2) examines the current federal and state-based legal envelope relevant to the medical use of cannabis; (3) provides a brief overview of our current understanding of the pharmacology and physiology of the endocannabinoid system; (4) reviews clinical trials on the relative safety and efficacy of smoked cannabis and botanical-based products; and (5) places this information in perspective with respect to the current drug regulatory framework.”

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Healthcare Reform is Economic Malpractice

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Texas Straight Talk – A Weekly Column
Rep. Ron Paul (R) – TX 14

As Washington continues debating healthcare reform the rest of the country is primarily concerned about jobs and the economy. It is still uncertain what policies will be implemented, but I am certain about one thing: It will only further devastate our economy and our dollar.

The leadership has come up with a proposal they are confident will be what they consider fiscally responsible, only to have it scored as nearly twice as expensive by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Estimates of past healthcare spending programs have been off by as much as 100 percent so there is no telling what the actual cost will be.

The past century should have taught us one thing: that government intervention is expensive. Government programs lend themselves so easily to waste, fraud and abuse. Combine that with overall inefficiency and it all adds up to a hefty price tag for the taxpayer, with not much leftover for actual services. An outright takeover of an entire sector of the economy, especially one as important as healthcare, is something that we just cannot afford for the government to do right now. Not to mention the fact that it is completely unconstitutional. But Washington insists on torturing the numbers and tinkering around the edges rather than facing this truth.

If healthcare reform does indeed pass, we should not be under the illusion that it will be free. The money to pay for it will have to come from somewhere. They say they will get the money from cutting waste, fraud and abuse, but all of that is seemingly intrinsic to government programs. Since they want to expand the government’s reach we have to assume we will be trading waste, fraud and abuse for waste, fraud and abuse with a bigger budget. The powers that be have insisted the money won’t come from higher taxes, it won’t come from rationing of care, and it won’t come from higher premiums. This can only then put more pressure on the Fed to print the money out of thin air. We already have a weakening dollar. They are accelerating everything that weakened it in the past. Adding this new, monumental pressure could very well be the straw that will break the dollar’s back.

Foreign creditors are already nervous about continuing to invest in the US because of our skyrocketing debt. The explosion of debt that is certain to accompany the enactment of this national health care bill can only add to that nervousness.

Ironically, enactment of the health care bill could help the cause of liberty by hastening the day when Congress is forced by economic circumstances to stop increasing the welfare-warfare state and return to the Constitution.

There are many problems with our current healthcare system, to be sure. There are many tragic stories to be told. However, we need to look at the root of our problems in order to address them properly. More government intervention and bureaucracy injected into healthcare will take a flawed system and make immeasurably worse.

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Operation Health Freedom – Peter Schiff

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

As part of our Operation Health Freedom series, Euro Pacific Capital President Peter Schiff talks about problems with the employer-based health care system and how costs would go down over time without government involvement in health care.

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