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Steve Kagen (WI-08) may be familiar to some of you. He's the freshman representative who refused Congressional health insurance as a protest.

Here's my bottom line: No citizen -- rich or poor, young or old -- should be denied access to affordable health care. Period. And no business should be be pushed to the brink of bankruptcy simply because it cares for its employees.

After more than 25 years helping to heal the wounds of families in my District, I understand our health care crisis is beyond a Band-Aid remedy. I'm pro-cure, and so are American families. Washington should be, too.

And until it is, I will decline my Congressional health coverage.

Now, Rep. Kagen has introduced something else to the discussion: legislation that alters the "pre-existing condition" concept.

Our Constitution protects every citizen against discrimination, the result of long and hard-won gains by ordinary people who for decades showed extraordinary courage fighting for change. Applying these fundamental gains to our health care system is the right thing to do, because my patients and my constituents cannot hold their breath any longer.

That's why I've introduced the No Discrimination in Health Insurance Act. This essential legislation will guarantee access to affordable care for every citizen in America by bringing an end to discriminatory practices employed by insurance companies who deny life-saving coverage to millions of Americans solely because of their pre-existing medical conditions.

The grim reality is our Constitution does protect you against discrimination, until you become ill. Well, my legislation puts discrimination where it belongs -- in the past.

More description of the bill directly from Kagen:

The essential elements of this necessary legislation are: (1) No Discrimination due to pre-existing conditions, (2) Open Disclosure of all prices, and (3) Every Citizen is allowed to Pay the Lowest Price available. These ideas must be included in any successful comprehensive health care reform legislation.

At this very early step in the process, I am pleased to have the encouragement and support of many of my freshman colleagues, AFSCME and Families USA. I am looking forward to presenting this bill and these ideas in a Congressional hearing this spring.

Surely, the insurance companies will oppose this. But first, Kagen's bill need to pass Ways and Means and make it out of committee before further action is taken. The bill is HR 5449 and like other health care bills from SCHIP to the Langevin-Shays universal health care bill, it may or may not go anywhere in an election year. Sometimes, these bills are little more than posturing. Chris Shays is the last House R in New England, and the CT-04 Republican survives by talking like a moderate in even-numbered years; Jim Langevin, the Democrat from RI-02, has introduced this bill before though this is the first time Shays has signed on).

Some of Shays' opponents questioned his motivations for backing Langevin now. The Democratic representative offered similar American Health Benefits plans in 2004 and 2005, but they never reached the House floor for a vote.

Whether they advance this year or not, these bills are very much likely to set the table for the health care plans and proposals from the Presidential candidates as November gets closer.
HR 5449 isn't single payer (more about that here), and it isn't universal health care (see HR 676). But with backing from AFSCME and Families USA, it has a chance of passage, and might even out the playing field on a few major issues. As with SCHIP, passage of any of these bills does not preclude single payer discussions.

We know health care is a constant 'issues that matter' election item for the public along with Iraq and the economy. This is a welcome addition to the discussion, and a piece (albeit incomplete) of the larger whole. Kudos to Kagan for introducing it; the net effect of the legislation remains to be seen, and whether incrementalism in health reform can truly be sequentialism in practice.

Nonetheless, health reform is on the table in this election. To underscore the point, here's the NY Times editorial page:

The American carmakers’ problems underscore the need for a government-backed system of universal health care, which would relieve some of the costs that have made competing so much harder.

More to come, on all fronts.

Graph from December Kaiser Health Tracking Poll.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 04:22 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I appreciate the symbolism (15+ / 0-)

    Everything Kagen says is absolutely true and needs to be said again and again until the rest of Congress gets it. His background as a physician gives the message extra credibility.

    Declining the Cadillac congressional health care coverage is a great gesture. On the other hand, Kagen is a millionaire, so he still won't have to worry about lack of access to health care.

    Maybe he should propose instead that all members of Congress be required to receive coverage equivalent to the worst medicaid (government health care for low-income citizens) plan in the U.S. That would spur some quick action.

    •  the other shoe drops (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DemFromCT, Powered Grace, bramish

      Kagen is a millionaire

      and below, DrSteveB says
       

      In his professional life Kagen was (is still?) the owner operator of a chain of allergy-immunology clinics. He is a very entrepeneurial sort of physician. Some of his reforms are more about doctor-insurance company interaction then citizenery.

         That would have been a more complete picture in the diary...I feel tricked, heh.
      Still, progress is appreciated.

      •  huh? tricked? (6+ / 0-)

        If you only want to work with non-rich congresspeople, you won't be working with hardly anyone. And fewer Senators. ;-P

        Good to have that out there about Kagen's background (which I was unaware of), but take the bill on its own merits. Look at its other backers. See how it does in committee. Figure how it works for you. See the comments elsewhere i this post. Etc.

        I don't know if the bill survives committee, but I love having heath care discussions on the table in multiple forms.

        Status quo is unacceptable.

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:39:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You Misrepresent Kagan (7+ / 0-)

        KenBee,

        Yes, Steve Kagan is now a millionaire but he grew up poor and put himself through undergrad and medical school by working in blue collar mill-type jobs.  You make him sound heartless.  Not only does he have an M.D. but he is board certified and considered an authority in his field--one of the top doctors in his field in the country.  I believe he has also been a clinical professor at U. of Wisconsin, Madison Medical School.  He beat a real conservative neanderthal in the Green Bay area (former area that was home to Joe McCarthy) by the name of Gard and that guy will run against him again.  Kagan is a good guy; give him some respect and support.  

        •  More on Steve Kagan (6+ / 0-)

          Here's more on Dr. Steve Kagan who represents Wisconsin's 8th District (his district was a Democratic pick-up in the 2006 election). It is in a traditionally Republican area.  

          "Dr. Kagen began his working career bagging sugar and whey at Foremost Dairy and later earned an honors degree in Molecular Biology and a medical degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He founded the Kagen Allergy Clinics in Appleton, Green Bay, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac and has served as an assistant clinical professor of Allergy-Immunology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Kagen is triple board certified in Internal Medicine, Allergy-Immunology, and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology.

          Wisconsin doctors voted Dr. Kagen one of the "Best Doctors in America," and CNN named him their Allergy Consultant. His groundbreaking work in identifying new causes of asthma earned him an international reputation in that field. He was honored in 2005 by the federal EPA with a 2005 Children’s Environmental Health Recognition Award for his creation of a school-based health education program that protects children from environmental risks."

          http://www.kagen4congress.com/...

          •  Kagan = supports Barack Obama (4+ / 0-)

            Kagan statement after the recent Wisconsin Primary:

            "It is an honor to serve everyone in Northeast Wisconsin, a duty I take very seriously. Last evening, I had the opportunity to speak with both presidential candidates Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton to express my appreciation for their great efforts to build a better nation for all of us. They are both great public servants, and I applaud their efforts.

            This is a phenomenal and exciting election year, and we are very fortunate to have so many talented individuals who have sacrificed their personal and family lives to seek public office.

            As a strong believer in representative government, it is my responsibility to support the winner of Wisconsin’s 8th District, and that candidate is Senator Barack Obama.

            Senator Obama has inspired a new generation of voters, everywhere in these United States, and right here in Wisconsin. Senator Obama has earned my strongest support, and I look forward to working with him to guarantee access to affordable health care for all of us."

            Steve Kagen, M.D.
            Member of Congress
            Wisconsin

            *************
            Kagan is a really progressive person who is highly intelligent and works for the people not special interests--just the kind of reps this web site wants in Congress.  Let's support him because he is in a vulnerable district that traditionally votes Republican so his district is near the top of the list of congressional districts the Republicans want to take back.  The man he beat (Gard) is to the right of George W. Bush and will run again against Kagan because it was a close election last time.

            •  Kagan and Veterans Legislation (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bramish, RandomActsOfReason

              If you watched the Texas Democratic debate you say the candidates talking about a problem vets have who live far from a vet hospital.

              Kagan has introduced legislation to help solve this problem at least with respect to mental treatment.  Kagen is the author of the Rural Veterans Mental Health Improvement Act, which would provide eligible veterans with vouchers to pay for necessary mental health services at local private facilities if they live more than 30 miles from a VA facility.

              Kagan is a good guy and needs progressive support.  

        •  Kagen (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KenBee

          All the talk about Kagen's background is irrelevant.  As long as he is fighting to make health care affordable for my family, it doesn't matter how much money he has...it just matters that people can buy both their prescriptions and dog food!

          •  Yep, my point exactly (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DemFromCT

            I was teasing DemFromCT a little.
                Rich people give me a rash...it's an allergy of some kind, no skin prick test for it, booo.
                 If a rich successful person does something good, great.
             Knee jerk defense is sweet, but I'm glad to be of service, heh.  (Oh wait...let me tune that up a little) Heh.

      •  yup (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bramish, KenBee

        Who else could afford to give up paid healthcare?  The wealthy usually are the ones that bitch about paying an extra penny in tax--here's a rich man putting his ideals before his wallet--to be admired.

      •  Kagen has a history of selling unlicensed drugs. (0+ / 0-)

        Just another little tidbit about the good doctor.

        FDA investigating Kagen

        They call it the Royale with cheese

        by vincent vega on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 08:39:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  there's less there than it seems (4+ / 0-)

          Your reference is not to unlicenced drugs, it's to non-standardized allergy shots. According to the FDA, this is an ongoing project

          Standardizing Extracts
          Biologists and chemists in FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research are working in their labs to standardize allergenic extracts.

          "Without standardization, there is no defined potency for these extracts," says Paul Turkeltaub, M.D., acting director of the center's division of allergenic products and parasitology. "This can reduce the effectiveness of both diagnosis and treatment."

          Stanley P. Galant, M.D., an allergist in Orange County, Calif., and a clinical professor and director of pediatric allergy at the University of California, Irvine, explains that different lots of nonstandardized extracts may not be the same strength, and allergists have no way to know if there is any variation. He says that to avoid the risk of a bad reaction with these extracts, a patient starting a new vial of treatment solution must get a lower dose than what the patient is on and build up again.

          "Standards for extracts improve medical management of allergies and lessen the risk of an adverse reaction," says Turkeltaub. "Standards should reduce the need for retesting of patients who switch physicians, since the physicians will have access to the same extracts."

          Currently, FDA scientists have developed standards for cat allergens, dust mites, short ragweed, and several bee venoms. The venoms were among the first to be standardized because life-threatening reactions to them are more common.

          FDA has determined, in consultation with industry and medical professionals, the priority for other extracts to be standardized. In most cases, higher priority went to allergens affecting the greatest number of people.

          FDA scientists are nearing completion on standards for latex and cockroach extracts, and work is continuing on standardization of a peanut extract and many pollens.

          "Peanut is the most severe form of food allergy," says Marshall Plaut, M.D., chief of the allergic mechanisms section, in NIH's National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. "A high proportion of deaths from food allergies are from peanuts, and, unlike most food allergies, which disappear after childhood, peanut allergies tend to last a lifetime."

          The agency plans to standardize other food allergens, pollens and insect venoms in the future.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 09:12:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  fda gestapo (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bramish, KenBee, fflambeau

          thanks for repeating a smear pushed by Karl Rove.
          as noted below, the fda has been at war with allergists and pharmacists for decades. this only became an issue with kagen after he had the balls to challenge bushco and run for congress.
          if the fda had its way, it would take your herbs and vitamins away and leave you to the tender mercies of unregulated insurance companies and hmos.
          kagen should be commended and supported for standing up to these goons at great personal and professional risk.  

          •  response was meant for vincent, not DemFromCT (0+ / 0-)
          •   Tender mercies indeed. (0+ / 0-)

             I think they would be happy to have(both meanings)  companies sell you any kind of untested crap they can come up with, and do away with consumer protections and leave a shell of an agency...oh, wait, they kinda already did.

            leave you to the tender mercies of unregulated insurance companies and hmos.

            Add drug companies to that ....

          •  Well said Mr. Harding (0+ / 0-)

            Yes, McCain and Rove hand-selected Kagan's opponent, the ultra-right wing John Gard.  During the campaign, Gard (with Rove's backing) labelled Kagan, "Dr. Millionaire."  Interesting that after the campaign, Kagan met Bush and Rove at a reception and it is alleged to have told Rove to his face something like, "I'm Dr. Millionaire, the guy you tried to defeat. It didn't work."  

        •  FDA looks Kagan only after he beat Cheney's man (0+ / 0-)

          Yes, after Kagan defeated Dick Cheney's hand-picked Republican opponent, Gard, it seems that a federal agency began "investigating" Kagan's mixture of a ragweed drug treatment for allergy claiming he "may have" violated some federal laws.  See any parallel there with the fed prosecutor's cases?  If you are not on the Republican team, you get investigated or worse.  To date, Kagan has not been charged with any wrongdoing and I doubt if he will be.

      •  RE: other shoe (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee

        This isn't about a profit.  The idea is to make health care more affordable so everyone can afford it, paying an equal and fair price in the area they live i.e., lowering the price not increasing it.

        I think it's great that Kagen is pushing this.  We need more people in Congress who challenge the big insurance companies.  Hopefully some other Congressmen and women will sign on.

  •  H.R. 676 (14+ / 0-)

    Universal, Single-Payer health care. For everyone.
    Let's fix this problem once and for all.

    •  Agree completely (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anthony Segredo, nightsweat, possum

      Rep. Kagan's bill, while well-intentioned, will not work.  It's this simple: If an insurance company is required to take all comers, it will be insuring people on whom it is guaranteed to lose money.  The only solutions are either to raise rates for everybody or to stop insuring.  If Kagan's bill is designed to make the latter happen so that universal health care is the de facto result, that's one thing; but as a standalone solution, it's unworkable.

      "Success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives." --George W Bush, May 2, 2007

      by mspicata on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 04:51:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  you are right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mspicata

        This bill by itself does not do much to solve the problem. But it is a step in the right direction at least it goes as far as bringing the topic to discussion. And if you are planning on slowly moving toward a single payer system (like the current proposals from the candidates do) this is necessary. I would prefer the passage of HR676 or a similar bill and just be done with it, but I am not sure if such a bill would ever make it out of committee.

        But you are right by itself it does not do much good.

        You know, I rather like this God fellow. He's very theatrical. A little pestilence here, a plague there... Omnipotence...got to get me some of that.

        by ryan81 on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:16:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Disagree in part... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          barbwires

          Won't solve the problem, but will make it smaller both in size and seriousness.

          The most infuriating part of today's problem is that the people who need care most are often explicitly excluded from receiving it.

          What makes that even more galling, is that the same companies who exclude those people fall all over themselves to sell coverage to corporations -- without the same restrictions.

          Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

          by dinotrac on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:21:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Pre-existing (0+ / 0-)

            Corporate policies also exclude pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing exclusion makes perfect sense for insurance. We do not have a health care system in this country. We have a health insurance system.

            If you didn't buy a policy until you had a collision, would you expect the new insurance company to fix that pre-existing condition? Why buy a policy at all until you have a claim?

            Insurance is the wrong paradigm for health care. Insurance is for rare events whose effects are catastrophic, not predictable events. You don't buy education insurance, for example.

            •  Sounds simple but what is pre-existing? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              barbwires, snazzzybird, Hens Teeth

              Take for example hypertension. 80/120 is normal by conventional wisdom but Mayo cites 75/115 as the gold standard. Prehypertension is anything over 80/120 and is sometimes called benign hypertension. Stage 1 is 140 to 159 or 90 to 99 while Stage 2 is malignant hypertension. (this excludes "white coat" hypertension caused by the stress of the visit to the doctor)

              OK at what point does hypertension become a pre-existing condition? Unless it is the result of trauma or contagion, most of the debilitative conditions are a continuum and do not simply appear out of the blue.  

              •  Good Point (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                barbwires

                And supports my thesis that insurance is the wrong paradigm.

                Step 1: Extend Medicare to all retirees, including age 62 & disabled. Extend SCHIP to all kids in school up to age 26 (grad school, medical school, law school)
                Resolve differences between Medicare & Medicaid

                Step 2: Extend Medicare in stages to lower and lower ages and extend Medicaid to higher & higher income/property levels.

                Step 3: There is no step 3. By the time Medicare reaches SCHIP we will be at single-payer. All that is needed is administrative reorganization to bring Medicare,Medicaid, and SCHIP under one administrative framework.

              •  We are essentially born with some diseases (0+ / 0-)

                that don't show up until much later in life

                always thought that it was a scam

                glad to see someone take it on-huge uphill battle

          •  If it were passed (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DemFromCT

            it would actually exacerbate the problem, as insurers would flee markets rather than assume the losses.  Perhaps that would bring about the reform we seek; perhaps not.

            As for the corporation aspect, there are two reasons why insurers sell to corporations without pre-existing conditions.  First, selling to corporations means that you have less antiselection -- an insurance term meaning that someone knows that they are a certain risk, and a guaranteed loss for the insurer.  People employed by a business are less likely to take the job solely to insure themselves.  The second reason is that the insurer is certain that they are taking on good risks at the same time; people who are employed are, on average, healthier than those who are not.

            I'm in no way suggesting that this is fair.  Given the current paradigm, this is unavoidably how it works.

            "Success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives." --George W Bush, May 2, 2007

            by mspicata on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 06:28:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Right on. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snazzzybird, TheFatLadySings

      The number one best choice on the table today.  Maybe not perfect but better than anything else so far by a wide margin.

      Peace.

  •  Pre-existing condition (14+ / 0-)

    I am so glad that this subject is being brought up. I could not get health insurance for my children because of the their preexisting condition (which is autism). Fortunately, I was able to get medicaid for them but now in Ohio, the funding for treatment will no longer be covered beginning July 1. I wrote a diary on this yesterday. It is so frustrating.

    •  Autism? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      possum

      As a pre-existing condition?  Never heard of it.  Moreso the case that autism and treatment for autism is not covered - although some inroads are being made.

      "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

      by newfie on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 04:56:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. It is possible (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        newfie

        to get coverage if you are on a group plan. We tried to pass a mental health parity bill in Ohio, which it did, but they removed autism. We are not trying to pass an autism parity bill now so that we can get insurance for them.

        Here is a [http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/02/20/AUTISM_RULES.ART_ART_02-20-08_B4 _TI9DH56.html?sid=101
        link] to my local newspaper regarding medicaid.

        After listening to anguished, tearful pleas from the parents of autistic children for more than two hours yesterday, a state panel allowed a new rule to take effect that will reduce or eliminate services for many of the disabled youngsters.

        •  Sorry I messed up on the link. (0+ / 0-)

          I will try again.

          link

          •  Thanks. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            franziskaner

            But it seems that you are saying that autism is a non-covered condition not that your children were refused health insurance due to a pre-existing condition.  From the insurers' standpoint it is a question of "how does this benefit the company?" or "Are the employer groups willing to pay for this?"  Any medical condition that will cause an increase in costs further down the road in terms of medical health has a far greater chance at being covered well.  Any condition that cannot be so easily tied to other health issues to the point of treating now at a great expense saves more later does not.  Anyone who is paying attention to autism (even a very minute bit like me) knows that early intervention is doing great things for the autistic.  But from a spreadsheet perspective - not so much.

            The other side of the coin is the employer group and whatcoverage the will buy.  Anything can be insured at the right price.  Some employer groups do not wish to do this even when there are very direct and very costly medical issues at risk - I'm mostly thinking susbtance abuse.  Without State requirements there are plenty of employee groups who will not pay for substance abuse coverage.

            Mental Health is the low man on the insurance totem pole.  It will always have these battles for coverage (as long as we have businesses making money off of health.)

            Good luck with your efforts.  There are very real and very effective treatments to aid those with autism but as you say they are quite pricey.

            "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

            by newfie on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:20:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you for your long and thoughtful comment. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              newfie

              My first experience with this was when I was in Germany. I was very fortunate in that we had universal health coverage so I did not have any problems. However, I had an insurance agent come over to sell me supplemental health insurance. So.. for example, if we wanted to have private rooms, get the Chefartz, etc. we could get these little treats with supplemental private insurance. I found out that my children could not get this because of their autism.

              When I separated from my husband and moved back to the states with my kiddos, I applied for health insurance immediately. I was rejected by all the companies that I applied to. Some of them called me and refused to send a letter. I went back and demanded a letter so that I could use that in my testimony in the mental health parity insurance hearings. It ended up being useless because they took autism out of the bill. That is why we are trying to pass one that only addresses autism. I have discovered, unfortunately, that about 1/3 of children with autism also have seizures. My oldest sees a neurologist several times a year and I am sure it is quite costly. Fortunately, my medicaid does cover that. Another problem for many parents is that it is difficult to get medicaid. You have to be below poverty level OR be able to obtain a waiver from MRDD. The waiting list is extremely long and we  still have adults with disabilities waiting for a waiver.

              •  Wow. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                barbwires, franziskaner

                I had not heard that as being an issue for pre-existing conditions.  I have heard many parents who are frustrated because coverage for services that are most helpful is not covered but not that they could not obtain insurance.  THanks.

                "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

                by newfie on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:37:59 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Oh and... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                franziskaner

                to display my further ignorance about autism.... I did not realize that 1/3 of autistic kids experience seizures.  Oh joy (says the insurance compnay) I get to spend a whole lot of money and all I get is more costs.  Yikes.  Now, does early intervention have a financial benefit?  Knowing that the potential for a significant improvement in the lives of the autistic and the family exists is there any corresponding substantive effect on medical costs down the road?  I am not aware that there is so you run into that problem - similar issue with things like alcoholism but due to many very sound studies that show correlation to medical usage - alcoholics and their families are extremely high users of medical services, and State mandates there is a decent amount of coverage for substance abuse.

                "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

                by newfie on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:44:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  As a parent (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  newfie

                  I had no idea about the seizures until my kid starting having them. I learn as a I go. I wish I was as well informed as the other parents but it gets so tiring just to manage day to day. When we were at a meeting with the governor, one of the people brought up a study in which EIBI could save a million dollars in the future for each child. However, I do not what that study is or where to find it so I can not honestly tell you. It is just heresay at this point. I am just speculating here but perhaps the study involves an estimate of how much it costs to institutionalize the person when they become adults. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be surprised if many of the adults today are homeless or in prison. I had just learned that Ohio will be closing two institutions.

                  •  I'm certain that (0+ / 0-)

                    you can show cost savings over time when you are speaking to government.  Then you can show additional costs around education needs, support needs etc.  More difficult - I presume when it comes to healthcare costs.  I could be wrong but I believe benefits come in forms of behavior and social adaptation than diminished healthcare - early intervention will not prevent seizures or any other medically related costs.  That is what gets insurance companies to listen.  Governmental bodies - more of a what will in cost... how many constituents are involved....will it happen on my watch... type thing.

                    "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

                    by newfie on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 08:00:03 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  mental health equivalence (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              franziskaner, newfie, Hens Teeth

              is generally left out of most every bill.

              It's a terrible situation, particularly for children. becuause of poor payment there simply are not enough inpatient beds for kids with needs for inpatient care, as another example of a broken system.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:31:11 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Kid's beds are tough (0+ / 0-)

                in mental health.  They are costly and not always filled.  So hospitals are less inclined to have them - making them easier to fill but harder to find.  Quite tragic.

                "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

                by newfie on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:36:29 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  in CT they are nearly always filled (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  franziskaner, newfie

                  with kids waiting in ERs for days at a time for an opening. Most community hospitals closed their adolescent beds, so there's only a few places to go to. Increased services at home is the usual fix, which sometimes works and sometimes not.

                  Insurance companies balk at crossing state lines even when beds are available elsewhere. And so it goes.

                  Of course, if you have no insurance, you're even more out of luck.

                  Add it to the inequity list when it comes to mental health issues.

                  "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                  by Greg Dworkin on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:45:31 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  p.s. I meant to say (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DemFromCT

          we are NOW trying to pass an autism parity bill...

          not NOT trying to pass....

          I need some more coffee.

    •  Autism as a preexisting condition (0+ / 0-)

      Never heard of that. I raised my niece who was diagnosed with autism for a few years (shes now living with her mom). She was covered by Medicaid and she got disability from social security (which helped us out a lot). We never had a problem with medicaid covering anything here.They covered speech therapy (though that was partly through the school district) and therapy with a behavioral child psychiatrist because she could be pretty violent. Also now she is in a special daycare for kids with special needs which is partially paid for by the state for kids.

      I know that it can be tough and hope that your Kids can get the help that they need.

      You know, I rather like this God fellow. He's very theatrical. A little pestilence here, a plague there... Omnipotence...got to get me some of that.

      by ryan81 on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:23:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Where is that? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        franziskaner

        I think the issue is that commercial insurers will not pay for treatment for autism - especially early intervention that has shown a remarkable effectiveness.  Also, it appears that in Ohio - according to the article, services are being cut - although other treatment courses are available the most intensive and effective treatments will not be.  The article alludes to the potential of larger costs over time.

        "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

        by newfie on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:32:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I live in Omaha Nebraska (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          franziskaner

          The daycare is a non-profit organization that was started by a couple women here. Its a very good organization. They care for kids from infants to 21. And the kids that go there have any range of problems (down syndrome, autism, Rhetts, there are kids with feeding tubes). They have nurses that work part time there and come in and feed some of the kids that have feeding tubes.

          From what I have learned from experience and research, early intervention is the best treatment and it is wrong to deny such treatment. When Samantha had speech problems (she still wasn't talking at all at 2 years old) her Dr. recommended we set her up with a speech therapist through the school district. A therapist came into our house twice a week and worked 1-on-1 with her. Then when she turned 3 she started in a preschool class that was specifically for kids with developmental problems that seemed like they were not going to be ready for kindergarten. These programs helped her out a lot and she made huge progress in a short amount of time. I don't think she would be talking at all now (shes 4 now) if it wasn't for these programs. This is really the only way to treat autism.

          You know, I rather like this God fellow. He's very theatrical. A little pestilence here, a plague there... Omnipotence...got to get me some of that.

          by ryan81 on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:46:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry to respond so late (0+ / 0-)

        but my children are also covered by medicaid through a waiver they received from their local county MRDD. In Ohio, children can get medicaid if their family income falls below a certain level (which is going to be lowered btw) or if they get the much coveted waiver. Many families here in Ohio are trying to get medicaid so that their children will be insured. During the mental health insurance parity hearing we had last year, one parent told me that his twins had insurance through his wife's work. His wife had to quit because her mother got sick. The father applied for insurance and one of the twins was rejected because he had autism. They do not have the waiver for his son and their income is too high for medicaid. It is a tough battle.

    •  Pre-existing is also used to bootstrap other (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barbwires, franziskaner

      conditions; I would be interested to see how many other conditions would be considered pre-existing because they could exist as an adjunct to autism? In these days of increasing teen diabetes and hypertension, pre-existing could mean a good proportion of the population may be uninsurable by age 12.

  •  Kagen '08 (6+ / 0-)

    If you're a fan of this, consider donating to Kagen.  WI-08 leans slightly right, and he won by a small margin in 2006 against John Gard, who is running again this year.

  •  No duh (5+ / 0-)

    until Congress gets off it's duff and legislates it the Insurance companies wisely do things like refuse to insure folks for pre-existing conditions.  I say wisely because they are businesses out to make a profit and someone with a pre-existing medical condition costs them money.  It makes business sense but it does not make moral sense.  And only if you take the humanity totally out of the picture.  The instincts of the insurance leaders 100 years ago were right - it is wrong to get in the business of insuring someone's health.  There is no clear, clean way to do it.

    I just hope that soetime in my kid's lifetime they see "universal healthcare" without having to move to another country.

    "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

    by newfie on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 04:55:16 AM PST

  •  Non discrimination for pre-existing conditions (9+ / 0-)

    is a basic fundamental for decency in health care.  We either have a good system or we don't.  Forcing insurance companies to cover everyone or no one may be the only way to get what we really need.

    Autism as a pre-existing condition is an example of just how far the insurance people are going to make as much money as possible as quickly as possible.

    They all said, Sit down. Sit down, you're Baracking the Vote. There have to be some guys and dolls around who recognize the song. me

    by maybeeso in michigan on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:01:52 AM PST

    •  I'm still trying to establish (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maybeeso in michigan

      whether autism is ever viewed as a pre-existing condition.  This would mean that the autistic person would have no medical coverage whatsoever.  Rather I think that it is really a non-covered condition - meaning you can receive health coverage but insurance will not pay for treatment for autism.

      The distinction is important in that in one case it is discriminating against a person for a condition that (as far as I know) has little impact in terms of other medical conditions.  In the other case it is not providing coverage for a service that has proven to be effective in improving lives.

      "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

      by newfie on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:26:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good for him! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bramish, RandomActsOfReason

    A principled person, in Congress, that's a dam good thing, thanks.
     Remember this about preexisting conditions recently:Doctors balk at request for data-Los Angeles Times.

       Blue Shield of Cal is mine, and they constantly fiddle the fine print to weed out the flakes...I mean poor people like me, who sometimes can't pay the $434 monthly premium on time. Cancellation would mean reapplying, which would mean preexisting conditions looked at in the underwriting, even though I've been with them 12 years. My rate would jump to 600 or 1046$/month, and I would go naked...with a condition where I face instant surgery needs. Nice.
        They have also threatened to re-underwrite my policy if I request to change to a higher deductible, from $2400 to $4000 out of pocket limits, which would save me $1000 a year.
        Re-underwriting examines my recent history, akin to preexisting conditions, in that it would raise my rates to 435, 656, or even 1046 a month ....just by my asking to increase my out of pocket limit. What tricky bastards.
      That said, they did mostly pay $200,000 for a series of surgeries in years past, dam glad I had them.

  •  Only one recommendation: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bramish, snazzzybird, KenBee

    SOCIALIZE THE FUNDING--PRIVATIZE THE CARE

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:08:02 AM PST

  •  on Steve Kagen (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemFromCT, tobendaro, KenBee

    Some may be surprised that I do NOT object to any incremental reform that we can get, on the way to real universal health care. And if Kagen can get this stuff passed that is great. If it show up Repuglicans that is great. Just as SCHIP and SCHIP expansion is important.

    Just be careful to call it incomplete incremental reform, and not to confuse it with finishing the job. Don't make claims (diarist does not, but Kagen does) that this is not only beginning but also the end of what is needed.

    Kagen has refused to sign on to HR-676 or even give it rhetotical support. When he came to TPM Cafe table for one to promote this last August he refused to engage in the sort of back and forth that was expected. He has refused to promote anything that has to do with universal coverage. In his professional life Kagen was (is still?) the owner operator of a chain of allergy-immunology clinics. He is a very entrepeneurial sort of physician. Some of his reforms are more about doctor-insurance company interaction then citizenery.

    Now Dr. Steve Blythe running in FL-15 is a physician who is a PNHP member and has endorsed HR-676.

    •  in the post (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DrSteveB, RandomActsOfReason

      HR 5449 isn't single payer (more about that here), and click "here" to get to DrSteve B's diary on a broader perspective.

      One observation... HR 676 hasn't made much progress. it is highly unlikely to do so in this Congress.

      I completely agree that if Kagen's bill passes, that does not finish the job. But I am also reminded of hostility to SCHIP because it wasn't universal health care. In fact, HR 5449 isn't, SCHIP isn't and the cup of coffee I am drinking isn't (and a lot of other things aren't).

      Notheleless, SCHIP expansion is a good idea especially with a looming recession, this is a good idea, and HR 676 is an intriguing and probably very good idea. But the first two do not preclude the third, and the third will need to await a new congress and a new WH. That's a fact.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:20:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes -- and a conservative yes at that. (4+ / 0-)

    As one of the token conservatives who comes around here, I say yes, yes, yes.

    Some say the proposed changes could drive insurance companies out of business -- utter and complete male bovine droppings.

    In today's world, most Americans get their coverage from their employers, which means most people already are free of cherry-picking and pre-existing coverage concerns.

    Kagen would simply says that the rest of us should receive the same consideration.

    Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

    by dinotrac on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:17:09 AM PST

  •  And someone make sure they get better flu vacines (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    franziskaner, snazzzybird

    I have been up all night with the flu.. and I spent like 15 bucs on a non working vacine... I love the flu...

    •  they're on it... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      franziskaner, RandomActsOfReason

      http://www.newfluwiki2.com/...

      Next year's flu vaccine is on track for a complete overhaul to provide protection against three new and different virus strains - hopefully better protection than this year's version.

      Federal health advisers have unanimously recommended the new recipe, echoing the World Health Organization.

      Now the question is whether vaccine manufacturers can make such a big change in time to produce more than 100 million doses by next fall.

      The flu vaccine must be reformulated every year to keep up with the fast-evolving influenza virus. This year the government made a rare wrong bet on which strains would cause the most disease.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:21:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It happened to me too. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barbwires, franziskaner

      I've been getting the flu vaccine at my work for fifteen years and never got the flu... until this year.  I had forgotten how miserable the flu is, but I won't forget again soon!

      Our troops won the war. Bush lost the peace.

      by snazzzybird on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 07:57:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  yeah, this year's was a screw up (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      franziskaner

      in defense of CDC, it is the first time in a long time that they got the stain mix wrong.

    •  I got one better. (0+ / 0-)

      Not only did I get the flu but my oldest son got the flu TWICE in one month. I still don't know how that is possible. This kid just does not build up an immunity. Both of my kids had the chicken pox vaccine and still got the chicken pox. My kids doctor explained that the actual virus is better than a vaccine when it comes to building up an immunity but even that may not work at times. Poor kiddos.

  •  pure community rating? (0+ / 0-)

    I can't really figure out what he means by "Every Citizen is allowed to Pay the Lowest Price available," but it sounds to me like pure community rating (particularly since he says the bill would require firms to "charge every citizen the same fee for the same service within the region").  Does anybody know if that's what he's proposing?

    •  familiesUSA is a backer of HR 5449 (0+ / 0-)

      so maybe. Hmmm... let me maake some inquiries..

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:24:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That link (0+ / 0-)

        was the first google hit, incidentally.  Just below that is the article which convincingly contradicts claims like those made here that pure community rating leads to loss of coverage.  Or an adverse selection death spiral, for that matter.  But this reminds me that I was going to look at the NY/PA/CT data a few more years out to see how insurance in these states is holding up.  Oh, if I had more hours in a day...

    •  answer from Kagen's office (0+ / 0-)

      The cost of living — and thus the cost of medicines and medical services — is higher in some regions than it is in others.  A workable comprehensible health reform plan must recognize this reality and take it into account.  People in Manhattan do not pay the same prices as people in Appleton.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 12:44:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Now I'm just confused. (0+ / 0-)

        Okay, so there are regional differences.  So there's no call for community rating?  I mean, even with pure community rating in NY, the largest market with constant prices across the board is the state.  Given that we push all of the regulation to the state level, that's pretty much what we get.

  •  I see one major problem with the proposal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    franziskaner, mspicata, Tom Paul

    Maybe I'm missing something, but if the insurance companies can't "discriminate" against you for a pre-existing condition, why wouldn't one simply carry no insurance until you had a catastrophic problem then buy a policy?

    The idea of insurance is that you spread the risk around, which requires healthy people to pay more than they consume to cover the costs for the ill.

    That's why universal care makes so much sense.  Healthy people are the ones most essential to the system, but they have the least incentive to carry the costs.

    There are no unimportant states, only uninspiring candidates.

    by nightsweat on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:37:06 AM PST

    •  That's called antiselection (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DemFromCT, nightsweat, franziskaner

      and you're right.  That's precisely what insurers fear.  Historically, in fact, insurance companies refused to write health insurance at all, for this very reason.  It was only when actuaries realized that employer groups substantially reduced the risk of antiselection that health insurance became widespread.  At the time (late 1920s), the whole concept was considered quite progressive.

      "Success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives." --George W Bush, May 2, 2007

      by mspicata on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 06:48:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  which means it makes best business sense to (0+ / 0-)

      exclude sick people from the risk pool. To spread the risk is one thing; to completely exclude the risk is another.

    •  Very good point. (0+ / 0-)

      This is why I support Universal Health Coverage. I rec'd an Obama advertisement in my mailbox yesterday (live in OH) and was disappointed that it was an ANTI-Hillary ad with the headline (and I am paraphrasing): "Hillary will force you to pay health insurance even if you can't afford it". It sounded so eerily similiar to what the republicans and insurance lobbyist did to Hillary in the early 90s. I love Obama but not when it comes to this.

  •  AutoImmune (genetic immune deficieny) 20% (0+ / 0-)

    ...20% of the U.S. poplulation carries the genetic marker for an auto-immune disease!

    Excellent work by Congressman Kagen.  I wonder if auto-immune is an issue in his family?  

    Both sides of GWB's family carry the auto-immune marker.  I can't tell you which diseases they have, but we did get input from scientists and doctors on the Bush family health issues re: autoimmunity. In 1994, I addressed Congressman Gekas' House Bio-Medical Committee on AutoImmune Diseases.

    For more info on AutoImmune Diseases:
    http://aarda.org/

    I had a women's support group, a 501(c)3 Foundation.

    Raynaud's, cold-hands, cold-feet, exists in a large number of people.  Some of those with Raynaud's, having the genetic marker for auto-immune disease, might develop one of the auto-immune diseases.

    When I was asked about genetic testing, I would advise people to consider the consequences of the test becoming part of the medical record.  There was the possibility of discrimination not only in getting health insurance, but also in even getting a job, getting an education, getting married, and not just for oneself, but also for one's family!

    Bush's family has auto-immune diseases on both sides.   Disease is on-partisan, and. equal opportunity destroyer.

    Access to medical care should be fair, accessible to all.  Research into what factors exacerbate or ameliorate auto-immunity, should be funded!  20% of the population carries the genetic marker!

    I was working on stopping the discrimination, based on genetic testing.

    I'm now too sick, disabled and in a wheelchair, unable to fight for myself, let alone fight for others.  

    Excellent work by Congressman Kagen!

    Who made the law...

    by Aidos on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 05:52:46 AM PST

  •  Hi DemFromCT. Thanks for posting this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird

    alert. I am continuing to work on the proposed Medicaid Rules Change that will cut off huge amounts of Medicaid funding to public (but not private) hospitals in May if not stopped.  There are a pile of other rules changes to Medicaid as well that Bush has proposed, just in case Senator Bingaman's effort to block this one succeeds.

    So we are changing our strategy Engels in the House and Bingaman in the Senate to amend their bills to impose a moratorium on ALL CMS rules changes for one year.  If we are not successful, billions of dollars will be cut from the Medicaid budget despite clear bi-partisan opposition in congress, effectively destroying our public health infrastructure.

    I am working on a diary on the topic which will be posted here, and in each of the states, telling folks what they can do to prevent this from happening.  I will also be travelling to DC in a few weeks where a lovely internet blogger will be helping me to produce a documentary on the topic.

    I need your help, and the help of every topic, to alert the public to the impending crisis. The MSM is asleep at the wheel on this one.

    Big boss man..you ain't so big, just tall, that's all.-Written by Jimmy Reed. Belted Out by Koko Taylor.

    by TheFatLadySings on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 06:04:30 AM PST

  •  I'm all for universal health care, but (0+ / 0-)

    "the American carmakers’ problems underscore the need for a government-backed system of universal health care, which would relieve some of the costs that have made competing so much harder"

    Uh, no, the American carmakers' problems are related to poor design, the export of automaker jobs to foreign countries, and top-heavy administrations.

    Stop passing excuses for these guys.

    •  that, and the cost of health care (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snazzzybird

      which is not an excuse. It's a real cost for every major and minor corporation.

      Stop pretending health care costs are not a real issue. ;-)

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 06:37:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  anyway, sans snark (0+ / 0-)

      the point of the editorial is the widespread calls for change.

      Cheers!

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 06:38:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is it an egalitarian Single payer system or?? (0+ / 0-)

    See my Diary from yesterday on this subject.  Even single payer has many complication issues that can be easily seen or anticipated if you look at other countries that already have it. There are many tough policy decisions that lie ahead even after a nation makes the leap to some type of single payer system!  Who and how will these tough decisions be made, and in the end will more citizens be happier or more pissed off than they are now????????  There are a lot of very solid reasons why experienced politicians tread carefully or not at all in this healthcare arena!

    •  good diary and good topic (0+ / 0-)

      to have on the table for discussion. Don't forget France when looking at other countries.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 06:40:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As someone who has "preexisting conditions" (3+ / 0-)

    waivered out of my health insurance (even though they arose during continual major medical coverage), this would make a huge difference to me in many ways, including not having to be worry about losing everything if I had some major complication related to a preexisting condition.

  •  Thanks, Steve ! (0+ / 0-)

    /s/ Bob LaFollette

    When life looks like Easy Street...

    by Cartoon Peril on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 06:51:59 AM PST

  •  pension equalization (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird

    NY courts made state pensions gender neutral even though woman outlive men actuarily.  Same should be true for healthcare--yes, those with pre-existing conditions cost more--so spread the cost.  Equal opportunity often costs a large group a little something, but it is what democracy is all about.  It is anti-Reaganomics--and that's a very good thing.

    BTW, love the term--"pro-cure"--we should all use it.

  •  Here are the members of the committee (0+ / 0-)

    Call them!

    Charles B. Rangel, NY Chairman
    Fortney Pete Stark, CA
    Sander M. Levin, MI
    Jim McDermott, WA
    John Lewis, GA
    Richard E. Neal, MA
    Michael R. McNulty, NY
    John S. Tanner, TN
    Xavier Becerra, CA
    Lloyd Doggett, TX
    Earl Pomeroy, ND
    Stephanie Tubbs Jones, OH
    Mike Thompson, CA
    John B. Larson, CT
    Rahm Emanuel, IL
    Earl Blumenauer, OR
    Ron Kind, WI
    Bill Pascrell Jr. , NJ
    Shelley Berkley, NV
    Joseph Crowley, NY
    Chris Van Hollen, MD
    Kendrick B. Meek, FL
    Allyson Y. Schwartz, PA
    Artur Davis, AL
    Jim McCrery, LA
    Wally Herger, CA
    Dave Camp, MI
    Jim Ramstad, MN
    Sam Johnson, TX
    Phil English, PA
    Jerry Weller, IL
    Kenny C. Hulshof, MO
    Ron Lewis, KY
    Kevin Brady, TX
    Thomas M. Reynolds, NY
    Paul Ryan, WI
    Eric Cantor, VA
    John Linder, GA
    Devin Nunes, CA
    Pat Tiberi, OH
    Jon Porter, NV

    01-20-09: THE END OF AN ERROR

    by kimoconnor on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 07:11:23 AM PST

  •  Severely abused as a child, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird, Hens Teeth

    Denied for conditions including depression, anxiety, PTSD, previous addiction problems.

    This makes me so mad!

    Almost killed as a child, school authorities ignored all the signs of physical abuse, and now I cannot find affordable health insurance.

  •  I've been saying this for years -- (0+ / 0-)

    The American carmakers’ problems underscore the need for a government-backed system of universal health care, which would relieve some of the costs that have made competing so much harder.

    -- at my own company, which despite record profits is constantly in budget-cutting mode to keep our stock price from going in the dumper.  Outsourcing jobs to India is the solution du jour.  My co-workers, many of them unthinking Republicans, wring their hands and hope their jobs don't go next.  That's when I say, "If we can just get universal health care, and get the employers out of the insurance business, that giant whooshing sound you hear will be jobs rushing back into the US."  First there's the knee-jerk response of horror -- OMG socialism! -- but I urge them, "Just think it through."

    Our troops won the war. Bush lost the peace.

    by snazzzybird on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 07:55:36 AM PST

  •  Brilliant use of semantics (0+ / 0-)

    Who could vote against discrimination?  

    Our Constitution protects every citizen against discrimination...That's why I've introduced the No Discrimination in Health Insurance Act.

  •  Discrimination against medicval cannabis patients (0+ / 0-)

    Mainstream healthcare providers have been increasingly denying  pain medication to patients whose urine tests for cannabis. I've got one report, so far unconfirmed, of a lifesaving transplant denied because the patient was selfmedicating with medical marijuana.

    The Primary Wars are over. To those who said "Wake me after the Primary Wars are over," wake the fuck up.

    by ben masel on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 08:08:22 AM PST

  •  Excellent Diary (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you so much!

    Classical economics can't deal with abundance since it only deals with the distribution of scarce resources.

    by pollwatch on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 09:35:21 AM PST

  •  Do any of you guys know if (0+ / 0-)

    a non-profit insurance company is possible to establish?

  •  All Or Nothing vs. Getting Things Done (0+ / 0-)

    We should be careful that the great is not the enemy of the good. What we need, NOW, is movement, is improvement, are solutions to the real problems real people face NOW.

    It seems to me that Congressman Kagen's bill addresses a very real problem and tackles it in a way that is politically and administratively doable. It takes away one more bureaucratic obstacle that has stood in the way of people getting the health care they need.

    Simple is better, and, in politics, simple is often more likely to get done.

    Let's not be so eager to stand on the ramparts that we forget who we are fighting for. Under this administration and this Congress, universal health care is not going to happen - but an end to discrimination may just manage to become law. And, as others have commented here, it is a good first step towards making health care a fundamental right, not a privilege.

    •  Should have made clearer (0+ / 0-)

      That is was responding to the few comments (and the sentiment I have seen in other discussions to other health-related posts) suggesting this was not worthy because it was a half-measure and that only complete, socialized, universal health care mandatory for everyone immediately is a good thing.

      Generally, the responses here seem to me to show that most folks would support and benefit from a no-discrimination act.

  •  taming the insurance companies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RandomActsOfReason, fflambeau

    Kagen's bill is a good one.  It eliminates the worst abuses by insurance companies and begins to tame these arrogant giants.
    This bill lays the groundwork for federal regulation of insurance companies. These companies have hidden behind a tangle of state regulations, avoiding federal regulation.
    Kagen acknowledges his bill is the first step, not the last, in guaranteeing access to affordbale health care.
    We can't allow perfect to be the enemy of good, and we need not confine ourselves to only one approach to solving this problem.  
    Let a hundred flowers bloom and a thousand schools of thought contend.      

  •  Beautifully put, John Harding! (0+ / 0-)

    Very nice thoughts and beautifully written.  

  •  why would insurance industry oppose (0+ / 0-)

    this legislation as long as there are no caps on premiums?  This is just more of the same.  Until we get universal single-payer coverage and the insurance companies are forced to sell insurance other than health insurance (health care security should be viewed as a right and not a privilege) there will be essentially no progress on this issue.  What good is forcing insurers to cover you regardless of preexisting conditions if there is no premium cap?  This is not insurance, it is simply paying for the privilege of having the insurance company be the middleman between you and your doctor, a feature of the current system that costs about 30% of every health care dollar right now.  Our system is pure insanity!  The business model for health insurers logically leads to less coverage and less choice (for doctors and patients), and less health.

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