Blog Posts (47)
October 21, 2015
This picture, from the Kaiser Family Foundation, shows that many people who lack health insurance in the United States right now are actually eligible for either Medicaid or federally subsidized private insurance.
The post Unnecessarily Uninsured appe...
June 25, 2015
A while back, I linked to a story by Rebecca Plevin, out of California Public Radio, on the challenge of discussing health care costs. Well, she has tuned up that piece and placed it on Marketplace. Here is a print … Continue reading →
The post What Physicians Can Learn from Veterinarians appeared first on PeterUbel.com.
June 4, 2015
When I think of the federal government, “efficiency” is rarely the first thing on my mind. But when it comes to controlling healthcare costs, we need to consider the possibility that the federal government is better at this job than … Continue reading →
The post When It Comes to Controlling Healthcare Costs, the Government Outperforms Private Industry appeared first on PeterUbel.com.
April 6, 2015
People like me, trained to be physicians, have pushed hard to promote health insurance in the United States because we believe, with some evidence to back up our claims, that good health insurance promotes better health. When people don’t have … Continue reading →
The post Health Insurance Is About Financial Security Too appeared first on PeterUbel.com.
March 24, 2015
In the old days, blockbuster drugs were moderately expensive pills taken by hundreds of thousands of patients. Think blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes pills. But today, many blockbusters are designed to target much less common diseases, illnesses like multiple sclerosis … Continue reading →
The post The High Price of Affordable Medicine appeared first on PeterUbel.com.
January 19, 2015
<p style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">Let’s say you are looking to buy a car. You think you might want to buy a Volvo so you go down to the Volvo dealer and check out the new models. But you are shocked by what you see. You realize that you really don’t need to spend $35 to $40,000, or more, on a new car, so you decide to visit the Subaru dealer. There you find very nice alternative models for thousands of dollars less. You are delighted to have a new Outback for about $27,000.</span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">The above story is how private markets and market choices work for the vast majority of items that we purchase to meet most of our needs as human beings. However, it has become painfully obvious that healthcare is an area where the normal model of markets and market choices do not apply. I’ll use a personal example.</span></p>
<p><strong style="color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our <a style="color: #000099; text-decoration: underline;" href="/Academic/bioethics/index.cfm">website</a>.</strong><span style="color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"> </span></p>
December 4, 2014
Paige Rentz, an excellent reporter at the Fayetteville Observer, recently posted a question and answer piece, exploring some of the pressing issues facing the second round of insurance enrollment, on the Obamacare health insurance exchanges. I suggest you look at … Continue reading →
October 10, 2014
<p><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">When the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare was under consideration there was an unrelenting partisan attack against both the proposed legislation and the president who proposed it. We were told that millions would lose insurance coverage, that the cost of medical care would skyrocket, and that government bureaucrats would be interfering with the health care relationship between us and our physicians. We were told that death panels would be making decisions to end the life of the elderly and infirm. We were told all sorts of things that were so ridiculous that I cannot recall them. The fact is we were told lies. Interestingly and importantly none of these things have occurred. The Affordable Care Act was designed to increase the extent of medical insurance coverage and the corresponding access to health care permitted by insurance coverage. The Affordable Care Act was also designed to slow the growth of health care costs. While it is true that there were initial technical glitches in its rollout, now a year after people could begin to enroll, and still only months after the initiation of most of its provisions it is clearly apparent that it is doing just what it was designed and implemented to do. Yes, the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, is a success.</span></p>
<p><strong style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px; color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our <a style="text-decoration: underline; color: #000099;" href="/Academic/bioethics/index.cfm">website</a></strong></p>
June 18, 2014
A great cartoon from the Kaiser Health News website that pithily captures the “wonders” of the American health insurance system. (Click here to view comments)
June 15, 2014
<p>In a recent <a href="/BioethicsBlog/post.cfm/the-importance-of-assisted-reproductive-technologies-for-women-in-developing-countries">blog</a>, I asserted that assisted reproductive technology (ART) should be a higher priority for the global South because of the severe health, social, and economic effects infertility can have on women there. The most common response to this claim is that resources should first be devoted to treating and preventing life-threatening conditions, such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, rather than conditions that are perceived as merely social and/or psychological. The same response is often used when people suggest that ART should receive higher priority in the global North. Whereas many global North countries provide national health coverage for ART, the US does not. However, there has been movement toward coverage for ART in the US in the last couple of decades and currently 14 states require health insurance companies to cover ART (though there is a wide range of what is covered and under what circumstances). Unfortunately, oncofertility (fertility preservation for cancer patients) is <a href="http://oncofertility.northwestern.edu/sites/default/files/uploadedfilecontent/basco_et_al._2010.pdf">not covered in any of these state laws</a>.</p>
<p>While I understand the argument that limited healthcare resources should be dedicated to the most "pressing" conditions, it is also important to recognize the potential side effects of choosing not to provide coverage for oncofertility and other types of ART. One concern with the lack of coverage for ART is that it reinforces socioeconomic inequalities. The <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1955265/">primary users of ART</a> are white, educated, middle- and upper-class not because this group is the most likely to be infertile, but because they are the most likely to be able to afford the high cost of ART out-of-pocket expenses. Cancer patients from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are unlikely to have the large amount of disposable funds (the <a href="http://www.asrm.org/detail.aspx?id=3023">average cost for one cycle of IVF</a> is around $12,400) for fertility preservation treatment. While “traditional” infertility patients can save their money over a period of time in order to be able to afford ART, cancer patients need to preserve their fertility before their cancer treatment commences and thus they need to be able to immediately provide the cash for fertility preservation treatment in order for it to occur. </p>
<p><strong style="color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 20px;">The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our <a style="text-decoration: underline; color: #000099;" href="http://www.amc.edu/Academic/bioethics/index.cfm">website</a>.</strong></p>
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January 20, 2015 7:16 pm
A contract dispute between health insurance provider Blue Shield of California and the Sutter Health network of doctors and hospitals is threatening to force nearly 280,000 consumers in Northern and Central California to find new doctors.
November 10, 2014 6:49 pm
The U.S. Medicare program is proposing to add lung cancer screening tests for beneficiaries with a history of heavy smoking, the federal government announced on Monday.
October 8, 2014 2:14 pm
Taking away access to healthcare, even though many of my co-workers couldn’t afford it anyway, is just another example of Walmart manipulating the system to keep workers in a state of financial crisis.
September 24, 2014 4:50 pm
The Affordable Care Act will lead to $5.7 billion in savings in uncompensated hospital care costs this year, the Obama Administration said Wednesday, reducing one of the biggest financial challenges hospitals face.
September 8, 2014 6:47 pm
President Barack Obama’s top health adviser on Monday called for an end to partisan bickering over Obamacare, saying the public and businesses are sending a clear message to Washington that it is time to move on with implementing the law.
July 30, 2014 5:14 pm
His insurance paid to have the dead teeth removed, but won’t pay for new ones. [The insurance] said it wasn’t a medical issue and of course it’s from a medical issue.
July 23, 2014 6:21 pm
U.S. rules that ensure prescription medicines are not misused have been manipulated by brand-name drug companies to fight off generic competitors, costing consumers billions of dollars, according to a report released on Wednesday.
July 9, 2014 2:05 pm
A New York-based health insurance company has agreed to reimburse members up to $31 million for previously denied mental health and substance abuse claims, the state attorney general said on Wednesday.
July 8, 2014 5:15 pm
U.S. Democrats hope to turn their legal setback on Obamacare and contraception into a winning autumn campaign issue by pushing legislation requiring employers to include birth control in healthcare coverage.
June 2, 2014 8:04 pm
Young adults with cancer are far more likely to recover or live longer if they have health insurance, a new study on the potential impact of the Affordable Care Act shows.
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