Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Seven Health Care fixes, That Would Work !...11/24/09

Seven Quick fixes to Health Care
What would happen soon if the health-care overhaul passes.
By Ryan Teague Beckwith

To hear the rhetoric on both sides, you'd think the health-care overhaul in the Senate would change the U.S. system overnight. In reality, most of the changes — such as the new health insurance exchanges and insurance mandates for individuals — would not take place until 2014 (or 2013 in the House version).
Still, a few provisions are set to begin next year, if the legislation passes. Some of the most significant changes would extend existing programs and rules in order to immediately reduce the number of uninsured Americans. Others would end unpopular practices in the private insurance industry.The measures are designed to build immediate support for the longer-term provisions in the bills, which could still be changed by future legislation. They will also provide President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats with talking points going into the 2010 elections. If the bill passes, expect to hear a lot more about these provisions in the near future.
Below, a few of the immediate changes:
* Insuring high-risk citizens. Both bills would create a $5 billion fund for temporary insurance for citizens with pre-existing conditions who have not been insured for at least six months. The program would end once the insurance exchanges begin in 2013 or 2014.

* Extending insurance for adult children. The House bill would allow parents to keep unmarried adult children on their health insurance until their 27th birthday; the Senate bill, until their 26th birthday. This would reduce the number of uninsured young adults.

* Extending insurance for the recently unemployed. Under current law, laid-off workers are allowed to continue buying their existing insurance through the COBRA program for up to 18 months. The bills would extend that coverage until the insurance exchanges begin.

* Ending lifetime limits on benefits. Both bills would end the lifetime caps on insurance coverage which have sometimes been used to deny payments to consumers with particularly expensive treatments. Both bills would also restrict annual limits on health-care benefits.

* Ending rescission. Insurance companies often cancel policies for consumers who require expensive medical care because they made honest mistakes on their medical histories. Both bills would prohibit insurance plans from canceling coverage except in cases of fraud.

* Starting to close the doughnut hole. Both bills would begin closing the so-called "doughnut hole" in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage by providing an additional $500 in coverage starting in 2010. Over several years, the gap would be reduced until it was closed entirely.

* Taxing plastic surgery. The Senate bill would include a new 5 percent tax on elective cosmetic surgery. The tax is estimated to raise $5.8 billion over the next 10 years. It does not apply to cosmetic surgery to fix problems caused by accidents, disease or birth defects.

Ryan Teague Beckwith is deputy editor of Congress.org.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Underdogs Blog=Don Jones !....11/21/09...You Bet !

UnderDog`s Blog ?
By Don Jones = Underdog

I publish this blog, called Underdog almost daily. I write about things, I think, I know about ? For instance, I write about Organ/Transplantation. I write about Unions. I write about healthcare. I write a little about Pulmonary Hypertension. At times I am very opinionated. I do not ask that you agree with me, I do ask however that when you disagree with me, that your comments on my blog be without curse words. I do not use them in my blog. I must insist that your comments be curse free. If they are not without curse words, that`s your prerogative. However, that particular comment will be deleted. That's my rule ! I am a Democrat most of the time. Although, I have voted Republican. I am a voter of platforms and programs. Thus, the platform of the Democrats, usually fit my needs. I feel that if you are a Republican voter, you are mostly with and not without, you are white collar not blue collar. I feel if you are opposed to health care reform, you are both with and have great insurance ! I`m a Democrat who opposes gun control. I am a Democrat who opposes abortion. If you want to carry a gun, and I do ! Get licensed. I am ! You don't want or believe in abortion, don`t have one ! As for myself and my family, I view it as our decision, not your`s ! I believe in Free Democratic Trade Unions ! I belong to one. In my state of Tennessee, we have a law called (Right to Work) You are not required by law to join a union. If you do not wish to join, don`t ! You must understand, that I do not agree with that law, but, I am a law abiding citizen, thus I do abide by it ! I believe we should have term limits for our politicians. Congress was never intended to be a life-time occupation. We have them for our President and in Tennessee we have them for our Governor. Why not Congress and the Senate ? I once had a politician tell me, he could`nt be bought, but, he could be rented for a little while. I had a problem with that statement. I am a practicing Christian. I believe in separation of church and state. I have seen my church lose members over the years, because they turned into a political action committee(PAC). Let your conviction be tempered by your love for your fellow man. Let your example be that of Love, Hope and Charity ! I am a Freemason, Do not ever give up on our democracy. Vote ! Demand that your voice be heard and that you stay in touch/contact with your elected Representative`s. When you do disagree with someone, disagree with kindness, not hate or disgust. My e-mail address is on my blog. You can contact me via e-mail. donjones90@gmail.com/ or donjones@charter.net . You can make comments on my blog, I encourage you to do so. Just be agreeable or disagreeable, not ugly ! If you have items of interest you would like to see published, just forward them to this writer. Now, understand, I am the publisher, I will decide what is published and what is not ! If you wish to save my web-address for my blog, just click on the title or the following link. > http://wwwsecondchance.blogspot.com/ <
and put it in your favorites.With warmest regard, I remain
Stick a Fork in Me, I`m Done !
UNDERDOG = Don Jones !

Friday, November 20, 2009

Medicare & Healthcare reform !...Check it Out !

Medicare & Healthcare Reform...H.R. 3962

A report requested by Republicans and released on Saturday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services drew attention from health reform critics this week. The report questioned the expected savings from the House-approved health care overhaul. However, CMS's analysis is not an apples-to-apples comparison to the cost estimate conducted by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), because CMS did not review tax provisions, which help offset the price tag of the Democrats' measure. It is certain that the House health care reform bill will extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by five years, significantly longer than any other recent proposal. The legislation will also cut out-of-pocket spending by more than $200 billion by 2019. "We must separate fact from fiction to avoid being alarmed unnecessarily," said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. "Overall, national spending on health care would increase by less than 1.3% over the next decade with the House bill, even though millions of additional people will gain coverage. Without health care reform, health care costs are expected to rise at rates double that of inflation, growing every year as a larger share of the Gross National Product." To learn more facts about the financial benefits of H.R. 3962 to retirees, go to http://bit.ly/jV9Ml.
______________________________________________________ Donut Hole...Sucking Sound ! $$$

Rising Drug Costs in Face of Health Reform The New York Times reported early this week that the drug industry has been raising its prices at the fastest rate in years - this year by 9%. The rise has caused speculation about price increases in advance of health reform legislation. Those increases will add more than $10 billion to the nation's $300 billion drug bill this year, and led Democrats in Congress to request two investigations of drug industry pricing http://bit.ly/1NcGtz on Wednesday.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension ~ This Writer Has It !...11/14/09

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
By Don Jones, PAH Patient...11/14/09

I have not written about my Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension disease lately. I have been doing a drug called Ventavis 5.0 inhaled six(6) times a day and a drug called Revatio(20mg.)The cost of these two drugs are appoximately $12,000.00 per month, my insurance pays, or I could`nt pay ! I do not believe these drugs have made a marked difference. I do not believe I`m any worse. Vanderbilt is going to stop these drugs and put me on a new drug called Tyvaso. I am affraid to ask the cost. Tyvaso is form of Remodulin. Tyvaso, (inhaled treprostinil) is an inhaled form of Remodulin®, which is a synthetic form of prostacyclin. It is produced by United Therapeutics, Inc and received FDA approval in 2009 for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension in WHO Group 1 patients with NYHA Class III symptoms. Tyvaso is administered using the Tyvaso Inhalation System. The product is to be administered by oral inhalation, 4 times daily, approximately 4 hours apart during waking hours. The effects on a persons ability to exercise will decrease over the course of the minimum recommended dosing interval of 4 hours but treatment timing can be adjusted for planned activities in order to accommodate individual schedules of activity. I must say that I can`t wait to begin this new drug ! Shortness of breath is not much fun. I cannot do very much strenuous activity and walking is a nightmare at times. Being a Heart-Transplant, this disease puts a heavy burden on my heart. I`m not sure if I will continue the Revatio, Vanderbilt`s Dr. Hemnes(Picture Above) has not said at this point. As I learn more, I will write more in regard to this new treatment. I would ask what anyone`s experience is with this new drug, but, it is so new, there are`nt any. I have learned that as a PAH patient, I have good days and bad days. I find it extremely difficult to keep a positive outlook. I do know, that without my family, I could`nt make it ! Studies have shown that Tyvaso is a very effective treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension. It is much less invasive than the current subcutaneous or intravenous formulation of treprostinil (Remodulin) and since it is administered less frequently than Ventavis®, it makes it a very desirable option for PAH patients. For additional Information, visit the Tyvaso Website.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Unfair Trade, Ya Think ?

U.S. Taxpayers to Give Over $425 Million to Create Over 2,000 Jobs in China...

Chinese Manufacturer Claims "This is Just the Beginning"

Recent news revealed that the developer of a planned Texas wind farm is seeking – and expects to receive – more than $425 million in stimulus funds for the project. The wind farm is estimated to create a few-hundred temporary construction jobs along with about 30 ongoing jobs in the United States. Meanwhile, it is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs in China. That’s because a Chinese firm will be the exclusive supplier of the wind turbines for the project. China Artificially Lowers the Cost of their Exports, While U.S. Producers Struggle In case after case, China is continually found to provide massive subsidies to its domestic manufacturers along with other tactics to undercut U.S. producers. Consider that while China’s wind-turbine producing industry grows, in the first three quarters of 2009, there were 33 percent fewer announcements of U.S. wind turbine factory expansions compared to 2008.China plans on continuing their investments in the U.S. renewable industry in order to create a market for their manufacturers. Lu Jinxiang, an executive involved with the West Texas deal, was recently quoted as saying that “this is just the beginning” and the U.S. is “an ideal target” given our desire to promote renewable energy. We Can’t Afford to Give Up Good-Paying Manufacturing Jobs Unemployment now stands above 10 percent. Adding in those who have stopped looking or are not working as much as they would like takes the rate above 17 percent. Now is the time to make a real commitment to American jobs through a solid policy to promote manufacturing, as so many other nations already have. We need to get our country and our communities back on track. Green jobs can help reinvigorate the U.S. manufacturing base and provide quality, sustainable jobs for millions of Americans while promoting a cleaner environment. The stimulus bill was supposed to spark this activity – not create green jobs overseas. These wind turbines, their main components and other “green” products, can be made in the US – at least for the moment. It’s time to rethink our policies and renew our commitment to quality jobs in the U.S. Get Ready To Act ! We will NEVER just sit by and quietly watch this happen! Rapid Response will let you know how you can take action within a few days to help us try and stop this further export of U.S. jobs and taxpayer dollars to China!

Health Care Critical to Seniors...Life & Death !..11/13/09

Alliance Leaders Join First Lady as Part of Health Reform Effort

Several Alliance leaders are scheduled to be with First Lady Michelle Obama this afternoon at a White House health reform event focused on senior women. Ms. Easterling, Alliance Executive Vice President Judy Cato and Executive Board member Barbara Matteson of Tucson, Arizona, are planning to attend the event, which will shine a light on the difficulties older women face getting insurance and how health reform will help them.

Senate Works to Pass Its Own Health Care Bill :

The narrow margin in the House vote suggests enormous challenges in the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is struggling to hold on to all 58 Democrats and two independents in his caucus. Sen. Reid has merged two bills into one. The fine print is not public, but according to The New York Times, the broad outlines are known. Unlike the House bill, which pays to extend coverage by taxing individuals who earn more than $500,000 a year and couples who earn more than $1 million, the Senate bill would impose a tax on higher-end insurance policies, which could have a detrimental effect on coverage for retirees and older workers. And unlike the House bill, which includes a national public plan, the Senate measure would allow states to opt out. White House officials realize that the closer the final vote comes to the November 2010 midterm Congressional elections, the more difficult it will be to pass legislation. "Senators must remember that many workers gave up other benefits in order to maintain their right to good health care benefits," said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. "To tax those workers? health benefits now would be unfair."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Health Care & Trade Our Two Most Important Economic Indicators...11/12/09

It`s Health Care & Trade, Stupid !
By Don Jones

As most of you know, I am a strong believer in our middle class. I think that without Unions, Fair Trade and reformed Health Care our middle class is lost. I do not believe that Wall Street will save us ! I do not believe that unfair commerce will save us ! I do not believe that a few people with all of the money will save us ! Our political system has divided into two factions, the Republicans represent the rich and powerful. The Democrats represent the middle class and the not so powerful. If you do not believe or like that statement, where on earth have you been ? Unfair Trade is absolutely killing off all of our manufacturing base. Without descent paying jobs, America is lost ! Health Care is one of the factors in moving off shore and manufacturing that same product and send it here to the United States for sale. Health Care is part of our manufacturing cost. If say, Goodyear Tire & Rubber builds a plant in China and they have and are. They can pay their employee`s 0.42 cents per hour and no benefits/health care ! They send tires back to USA for sale, They cannot sell them in China for (5) five years ! Price does not come down. Now, that's fair, sure it is ! Workers here cannot compete with that kind of unfair trade. I picked on Goodyear because that is exactly what is going on, plus, I worked there before my retirement. Unions have been rendered almost powerless in the last decade or longer. It is tough to organize workers, when there are no jobs. Can we all sit in front of a computer and make a living ? I think not. It is jobs, jobs, jobs and as our President says, we must make products here ! We no longer make shoes, clothing, electronic`s. Buy American, sounds great, but where do you find American made products, you sure cannot find them at Wal-Mart ! They are the great China importers. Do not believe the party of NO that we cannot have fair trade. I have heard that crap, until I`m sick. We must have fair trade, trade that equalizes are workers. Without it, we become a third world country. Our very rich, move their money off-shore to avoid paying tax`s. That leaves just the middle class to tote the note. Soon there will not be enough of us remaining to pay. Stop the bleeding of our manufacturing base now, or pay dearly later...and not much later either. So, it is Trade and Health Care...fix it !

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How Health Care Reform Would Help YOU !...11/10/09

Here’s How the House’s Health Care Reform Would Help You
by Seth Michaels, Nov 9, 2009

With successful passage of a historic health care reform bill this weekend, experts are weighing in on the benefits that the bill would bring to working families.
Maggie Mahar, a longtime observer of health care policy, says the progress Congress has made on health care is “astounding” and the House bill would move millions of families to less expensive, more comprehensive health care coverage, protecting them from medical bankruptcy, lifetime coverage caps and other consequences of our current flawed system. A study by MIT health care economist Jonathan Gruber suggests the changes in the House proposal will lower premiums by hundreds or even thousands of dollars for middle-class families who are looking to buy insurance.This legislation includes numerous benefits for working families, immediately and in the long term, whether you have insurance now or not: It will end the national scandal of medical bankruptcy—the number one cause of personal bankruptcy—by eliminating lifetime caps on insurer payments and limiting annual out-of-pocket costs. Medical bankruptcies affect up to 4,000 families every day in the United States—and 78 percent of them are fully insured.
It ends abusive insurance company practices, including the denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions and “rescissions”—the practice of canceling coverage when patients file claims.

It provides subsidies to help middle-class and lower-income families afford coverage. Through an exchange, it offers people a wide range of choices of insurance, including a public health insurance option that competes with private insurers.

It narrows the “donut hole”—the gap in Medicare coverage for prescription drugs.

It creates incentives to increase the number of doctors and boosts funding for community health centers.

It allows young people to be covered by their parents’ insurance up to age 27.

It creates a new fund to help employers give health coverage to early retirees.

It provides for efficient, computerized medical records and other tools to streamline medical care and increase quality.

It cuts costs to the federal government as well as to families, reducing the deficit by more than $100 billion over the next 10 years—thanks, in part, to the existence of a public health insurance option, which lowers costs across the system.
Ad it’s fairly funded—through employer responsibility and a surtax on the very highest earners, not a tax on middle-class health benefits.

That’s a huge, historic win that will make a real difference in the lives of people of all ages. Here’s a two-page fact sheet that explains more.
Meanwhile: President Barack Obama
praised the House members who showed courage in taking this critical vote.
Health Care for America Now (HCAN) and other reform supporters are
thanking representatives who voted “Yes.” You can thank your member of Congress here. They showed courage by fighting against insurance companies and for working families—and they need to hear from you to know that they did the right thing.
And the Senate could begin debate on its own health care legislation
next week.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Great Connection ~ Wal-Mart & China...11/02/09

The Emma Maersk (part of a Danish shipping line).

What a ship....no wonder 'Made in China ' is displacing North American goods big time. This monster transports goods across the Pacific in about 5 days!!! This is how Wal-Mart gets it's stuff from China . 15,000 containers and a 207' deck beam! The crew-size: 13 people on a ship longer than a US aircraft carrier (which has a crew of 5,000). Notice that 207' beam means it cannot fit through the Panama or Suez Canals . It is strictly transpacific. Cruise speed: 31 knots.. The goods arrive 4 days before the typical container ship (18-20 knots) on a China -to- California run. So this behemoth is hugely competitive when carrying perishable goods..The ship was built in five sections. The sections floated together and then welded. The command bridge is higher than a 10-story building and has 11 cargo crane rigs that can operate simultaneously. Additional info: Country of origin - Denmark Length - 1,302 ft Width - 207 ft Net cargo - 123,200 tons Engine - 14 cylinders in-line diesel engine (110,000 BHP) Cruise Speed - 31 knots Cargo capacity - 15,000 TEU (1 TEU = 20 cubic feet) Crew - 13 people First Trip - Sept. 08, 2006 Construction cost - US $145,000,000+ Silicone painting applied to the ship bottom reduces water resistance and saves 317,000 gallons of diesel per year. Editorial Comment ! A recent documentary in late March on the History Channel noted that nearly all of these containers are shipped back to China , EMPTY. Yep, that's right. We send nothing back on most of these ships. What does that tell you about the current financial state of this country ? Just keep buying those imported goods (mostly gadgets) until you run out of money. Then wonder what the cause of unemployment (maybe your job) in the U.S. and Canada might be? I believe it is time to start shopping somewhere besides WalMart.
LOOK FOR MADE IN AMERICA. We can do it if we stick together. American Made Only.

Editorial : Thanks to Buddy for this ! Ya Think Wal-Mart is your friend ? I think not !