Monday, March 29, 2010

Health Reform Benefits Our Families #hcr

I'm so excited that we got health reform past. I think this will be overall good for the American people. I would prefer a public option or an expansion of Medicare, but I think this law is a start.
Here are some of the benefits:
- Health insurance providers cannot deny any child coverage because of a pre-existing condition
- Insurance companies can no longer drop someone when he or she becomes ill
- Young adults can stay on their parents' health insurance plan up to their 27th birthday
- Health Insurers must now reveal how much money is spent on overhead
- New health insurance plans must cover checkups and other preventative care without co-pays
- New measures will be implemented to help eliminate health insurance waste, fraud, and abuse
- Small businesses (fewer than 50 employees) will get tax credits covering up to 50% of premiums
- Seniors on Medicare will get a rebate to fill the "donut hole" in their drug coverage
- Insurers will be required to put more premiums dollars toward actual health care services, not administration, advertising, or profits
- Insurance premium increases will be have to be reviewed and justified
- Lifetime caps on the amount of insurance a person can have will be banned
- A temporary high-risk pool will be set up to cover adults with pre-existing conditions

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Health Reform (#hcr) by Our Values

Obama is giving great talks and pumping up the crowds on health care reform. Yesterday in Pennsylvania he was introduced by a woman who had diabetes, whose insurance company kept raising her rates. Obama continued with this theme, talking about PEOPLE, INSURANCE COMPANY DENIALS, AND WHY WE BELIEVE EVERYONE SHOULD BE INSURED.

That's why I was surprised by the new White House website: Health Reform by the Numbers: 1,115 | The White House. They are devoting a website to focus on the numbers of health care: how much insurance cost, how many people we will drop. This is exactly the WRONG strategy. As I've posted before, people do not respond to numbers. They respond to value arguments. We need to keep talking about the Americans who cannot receive care in our current system, and why we believe they should.

Values win over numbers. Thank you again, George Lakoff.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Drug Trials Should Not be done by companies

In this article, Dr. Krumholz, talks about the recent diabetes drug issues. He advocates for all drug data (after a drug is approved) to be in the public domain. This way, academic researchers can look at the data and see if there are lots of adverse effects, instead of relying on drug company documents.
Drug Companies Disappoint Me Again -

I would go a step further. As I've said before, I think all drug trials should be done by FDA-designated academic centers. First a drug company puts the drug through Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials. (These are early trials that figure out the dosing and initial safety.) Then the FDA takes over. The drug company pays the FDA to do the Phase 3 trial (the major part of the trial that tests if the drug works). The FDA contracts an academic researcher to do the trial and publish the results. The FDA uses that data to determine whether the drug gets approved. (I also would have the drug tested against a drug that works, instead of a placebo.)

This process still allows the drug company to do the initial development. It just protects the research from too much industry bias in the development. The drug company then still gets to make the profits after the drug is approved.

We need to separate the research from the industry, after a certain point. Without this, we will continue to have more drug recalls.