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Healthcare Reform - The missing link

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March 26, 2010 – Comments (5) | RELATED TICKERS: MSS , NG

Below are a list of articles that were posted prior the November 2008 elections. I posted these in Cato's blog yesterday but I dont think many people got to see them.   The healthcare industry recognized that healthcare costs were too high and were already coming up with ways to lower them.  However after the current administration was elected, these stories disappeared.  I applaud the efforts of employers and insurance companies trying to lower healthcare costs by giving incentives to the consumer to be healthy.  Unfortunately these measures are completely missing from the current healthcare law.

Safeway Traces Lower Health Costs to Preventive Care Plan

An employee health plan offered by supermarket chain Safeway that focuses on preventive care reduced company health care costs by 11% for nonunion employees in 2006, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The plan, which was offered in January 2006 to the company's nonunion workers, includes a $2,000 deductible and limits out-of-pocket spending to $3,000 for family coverage. Out-of-pocket costs partially are offset by a company contribution of $1,000 to a health reimbursement account for the household, and unused funds in the HRA are rolled over to the next year.

The plan, administered by Cigna, covers all preventive care services that are appropriate for a beneficiary's age group. It also offers a 24-hour hot line staffed by registered nurses, services to help people manage chronic conditions and incentives designed to promote healthier lifestyles, among other benefit

 

HMO fitness program may lower health care costs

Offering diabetic seniors the opportunity to participate in a subsidized community-based exercise program may help lower health care costs, if they attend the classes regularly, preliminary study findings suggest.

"These findings warrant additional investigations to determine whether policies to offer and promote a community-based physical activity benefit in older adults with diabetes can reduce health care costs," conclude Dr. Huong Q. Nguyen, of the University of Washington, in Seattle, Washington, and colleagues.

According to previous research, nearly one in five Medicare recipients have diabetes, and diabetes-related health care costs account for about a third of total Medicare expenditures.

 

Companies set up on-site clinics hoping to lower health care costs

Dr. Suzanne Palmieri works at a family health clinic in Saratoga Springs.

On a typical day, she will perform physicals and baby well-care exams, give immunizations, treat colds and flu, and check blood pressure. Her workplace is your average primary care center, with one big difference: It is inside the Quad/Graphics plant on Duplainville Road.

The commercial printer, which is based in West Allis, Wis., and has 1,000 workers in Saratoga Springs, is one of a growing number of employers fighting rising health costs by offering workers on-site care.

 

This article was posted yesterday but I dont think it got much attention: 

Experts: One-third of breast cancer is avoidable

BARCELONA, Spain – Up to a third of breast cancer cases in Western countries could be avoided if women ate less and exercised more, researchers at a breast cancer conference said Thursday, renewing debate on a sensitive topic.

While better treatments, early diagnosis and mammogram screenings have dramatically slowed the disease, experts said the focus should now shift to changing behaviors like diet and physical activity. The comments added to a series of findings that lifestyle changes in areas such as smoking, eating, exercise and sun exposure can have a significant effect on all sorts of cancer rates.

 

Now don't get me wrong. Healthcare Reform is now law and I accept that.  But without any measures to address personal responsibility, I can't help this nagging feeling that healthcare costs are going to continue to go up. 

5 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 26, 2010 at 9:00 AM, devoish (98.36) wrote:

This healthcare legislation definitly incentivises insurers to continue wellness programs because it reduces their ability to cut costs by rescinding health insurance policys when you get sick, or denying coverage to sick people.

It is possible health insurers will decide they have been incentivised to make sure every other industry in the USA stops dumping carcinogens and other pollutants into the atmosphere and water. Clean the air pollution, reduce Asthma, make more money.

 

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#2) On March 26, 2010 at 9:09 AM, binve (< 20) wrote:

Hey outoffocus!

>>I applaud the efforts of employers and insurance companies trying to lower healthcare costs by giving incentives to the consumer to be healthy.

Exactly! That is the part that should be focused on, staying healthy by smart (and easy) lifestyle changes in the first place. And from an individual and indivdual company responsibility standpoint that move was starting to gain traction. But mass subsidization of "sick care" is like an 800 pound gorilla plopping his ass down on one side of the seesaw as it was starting to move into the direction of balance. Insurance companies now have very little incentive to change or become more efficient / preventative. Exactly the opposite in fact..

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#3) On March 26, 2010 at 9:31 AM, outoffocus (23.05) wrote:

devoish

Good point. One could only hope.

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#4) On March 26, 2010 at 9:34 AM, outoffocus (23.05) wrote:

binve

But mass subsidization of "sick care" is like an 800 pound gorilla plopping his ass down on one side of the seesaw as it was starting to move into the direction of balance. Insurance companies now have very little incentive to change or become more efficient / preventative

Call me a skeptic but thats the way I see things. By making insurance purchases mandatory with the option to increase premiums (just not too much), wheres the true incentive to cut costs?

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#5) On March 31, 2010 at 12:50 AM, haoyaya wrote:

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