Health Care Myths and Realties

Seeking the truth about high-deductible plans.

Recent news releases from two very different organizations paint entirely separate pictures of what can happen to people once they sign up for a high-deductible health plan.

One release from Cigna, the giant for-profit insurance firm I used to work for, would lead us to believe that human resource managers who haven’t moved all of their company’s employees into a high-deductible plan should be canned for fiscal ineptness.

The other, from GiveForward, a Web

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Doctors Treating Sick in Africa Now Aid U.S. Uninsured

Nonprofit’s free clinic in Chicago illustrates health system failures – and need for reform.

I wish every candidate for public office would be required to spend an hour or two volunteering at one of the free clinics operated throughout the country by a nonprofit organization, Remote Area Medical . The group bills itself as “pioneers of no-cost health care.” Its volunteer doctors and nurses travel to places where patients have been left behind, offering medical care to these forgotten ones.…

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Romney and Scott in Wonderland

A GOP guide to policy: corporations are people and states are consumers.

On the campaign trail in Iowa last week, former corporate executive and Republican governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney shot back at hecklers who were challenging his stance that it would unfair and unwise to raise taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations to reduce the deficit.

“Corporations are people, my friend,” Romney said. “Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? …

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A New Kind of House Call

Dr. Bruce Kinosian still makes house calls, and he’s proud of it.  In fact, he introduces himself as a physician who goes to see his patients in their homes rather than insisting that they come to see him at his office.

He’s convinced that if more doctors did what he does, we could eliminate billions of dollars we currently spend in this country in an often-futile—and almost always incredibly expensive—effort to get people well.

Much of that savings, he says, …

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How Our Health Care System Cripples Small Business

‘Best and brightest’ resisting lure of innovative firms due to coverage fears.

Want to be an entrepreneur but also be certain you’ll have health insurance?

Good luck with that. You might seriously consider moving to Denmark or Canada. Those countries have not only achieved universal health care coverage for their citizens — coverage that’s not tied to employment — but they have also moved ahead of the U.S. in the Small Business Administration’s ranking of entrepreneurial performance worldwide.

Contrast that …

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Health Insurance Companies are on a Stock Buyback Binge

Ever wonder what happens to the premiums you pay for your health insurance?

You might be surprised to learn that more and more of the dollars you pay for coverage are being sucked into a kind of black hole.

It doesn’t really disappear, of course. It just doesn’t do you a bit of good—unless, of course you believe it is to your advantage that it ultimately winds up in the bank accounts of a few investors and insurance company executives, …

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Frustrated Small Business Owners Among Single-Payer’s Biggest Fans

Insurers have botched their chance to control costs and expand access

Of the many supporters of a single-payer health care system in the United States, some of the most ardent are small business owners who have struggled to continue offering coverage to their workers.

Among them are David Steil, a small business owner and former Republican state legislator in Pennsylvania who earlier this year became president of the advocacy group Health Care 4 All PA.

Another supporter is Vermont Gov. …

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‘Purging’ Small Business Coverage to Hike Health Insurance Profits

Modest-sized firms priced out of health insurance market don’t have much to celebrate during National Small Business Week.

You might not realize it, but this is National Small Business Week. I’m betting many small business owners aren’t aware of it, either. Perhaps that’s because most small business owners are far more likely to be worrying about whether they’ll be able to offer health insurance to their employees for another year.

Or is this the year they join the ever-growing list …

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Are Insurers Writing the Health Reform Regulations?

One of the reasons I wanted to return to journalism after a long career as an insurance company PR man was to keep an eye on the implementation of the new health reform law. Many journalists who covered the reform debate have moved on, and some consider the writing of regulations to implement the legislation boring and of little interest to the public.

But insurance company lobbyists know the media are not paying much attention. And so they are able …

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Wendell Potter: Rally Against Wall Street’s Health Care Takeover

Saturday, August 29 I had the good fortune to speak at a community rally for health care reform in a city park in downtown Portland, Oregon. It was a broad-based and diverse group with many signs and placards supporting the ‘public option’ being debated by Congress, and others calling for ‘single payer’ reform like that working effectively in other countries such as Canada. Here is what I said:

I would like to begin by apologizing to all of you for …

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