Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jackson & Coker’s 2008 Physician Compensation Survey

Survey Results Page:

"Jackson & Coker’s 2008 Physician Compensation Survey"

Always interesting to see what people are making, and more interesting to see how they feel about it.

From my perspective, I will only offer that physicians, on the whole, work very hard and under very stressful conditions. I think we perceive others in our income range, and (horrors), those making loads more, as not having payed their dues as we have and continue to do...

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

AMNews: June 2, 2008. Individual health insurance: Are mandates ready for prime time? ... American Medical News

AMNews: June 2, 2008. Individual health insurance: Are mandates ready for prime time? ... American Medical News:

"Last fall, Laura Allen didn't think Massachusetts' law requiring everyone to have health insurance would affect her life. She had a customer service job at a rubber stamp company that provided coverage.

But then the 42-year-old Easton, Mass., resident was told she would be laid off before the end of the year. And the new state law imposed a $200 tax penalty on anyone uninsured on Dec. 31, 2007."

An overview of mandated insurance coverage from Massachusetts to California to the Federal proposal.

But scrolll way down for the public opinion table showing 68% support for mandated insurance:

"The majority of Americans favor the concept of requiring everyone to have health insurance, with government help for those who can't afford it, according to a June-October 2007 poll of 3,500 adults.
Strongly favor 40%
Somewhat favor 28%
Somewhat oppose 12%
Strongly oppose 13%
Don't know/refused to answer 7%

Source: Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey"

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S.E.C. Backs Health Care Balloting -

S.E.C. Backs Health Care Balloting -

"WASHINGTON — The Securities and Exchange Commission, shifting its position, has told companies they must allow shareholders to vote on a proposal for universal health insurance coverage.

Shareholders, including religious groups and labor unions, have offered the proposal in an effort to draw the nation’s largest corporations deeper into a debate over the future of health care, fast emerging as one of the most important issue in domestic policy.

The S.E.C. has told Boeing, General Motors, United Technologies, Wendy’s International and Xcel Energy over the last several months that they may not omit the health care proposal from their proxy materials."

An interesting approach. I am not surprised to hear many companies' officers arguing that this is neither related to their business nor useful, but they are wrong on both counts. As the article points out, some major companies are already finally coming to grips with the fact that health care in the US is hurting their competitiveness and profitablilty, so it does matter to every business, no matter what your core business is. And it will become extrememly useful when companies' managers finally get around to rejecting their juvenile, knee-jerk response that health care system reform is always bad, and that when the Fortune 1000 push an issue, the government listens. Of course, quite a bit of the Fortune 1000 have vested stakes in the status quo, but the vast majority of us have an interest in serious reform.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Report boosts bipartisan health plan - Yahoo! News

Report boosts bipartisan health plan - Yahoo! News:

"Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, the other sponsor of the legislation, said the report confirmed that the plan would not only cut health-care costs but actually save money in the long run.

'I am convinced we can reach our goal to improve coverage and provide affordable, private health insurance to every American,' Bennett said at a news conference with Wyden and other Senate supporters of the bill.

The so-called Healthy Americans Act would replace the current employer-based health insurance system with a system in which the government requires, subsidizes, and oversees a system of private health care plans that individuals select. The coverage would be guaranteed to be as good as that which federal employees receive, and the government would subsidize health care for people up to 400 percent of the poverty level.

The plan is paid for in part by changes to the tax code, including a new tax on employers of between 3 percent and 26 percent. Wyden labels the tax 'employer-shared responsibility payments' and notes that they would replace money employers now spend to provide private health insurance for their workers.
The employer payments are expected to generate up to $100 billion a year in federal revenue.

'Employers like this plan, and the reason they like it is because it cuts their current and future health care costs,' Wyden said."

Obviously, the torpedos are being loaded into the submarines already, but this may represent an opportunity for real reform and, although not single payer so much as Bismarkian/sickness fund style plan, I can live with it. And, more importantly, even many free marketeers can live with it, too.

Sen. Wyden's press release is here, and it lists current Senate co-sponsors.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Six steps to bring about true health-care reform in Utah - Salt Lake Tribune

Six steps to bring about true health-care reform in Utah - Salt Lake Tribune:

Dr. Joe Jarvis of Utah has written a nice opinion piece for the Salt lake Tribune identifying six important areas to address in health care reform discussions. Some I have addressed here in the past, such as the Moral hazard myth. His number one is:

"Health underwriting: Every critically ill or injured person will be treated in our health system whether they have health insurance or not. Therefore, we should not waste resources trying to identify persons likely to have critical illness in order to exclude them by price or refusal from acquiring health financing. Community rating, guaranteed issue and risk-sharing will increase health system efficiency and eliminate the unfunded mandate that is cost-sharing."

After seeing the Frontline Sick Around the World Program and web site, and also after attending the Single Payer Debate at Duquesne University earlier this year, it may be that the path to reform in the US might have to be the path of Bismarckian universal healthcare. It seemed that even the far right Fraser Institute's spokesman at the debate was willing to grant that this might be a reasonable way to provide universal access in the US and not violating the hard charging laissez-faire types ideology too badly.

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