June 4, 2011

When States Punish Women

Posted in Healthcare tagged at 9:00 AM by minoritybrief

The Obama administration has rightly decided to reject a mean-spirited and dangerous Indiana law banning the use of Medicaid funds at Planned Parenthood clinics, which provide vital health services to low-income women.

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June 3, 2011

What Does the Maternal Health Care Crisis Look Like in the U.S.?

Posted in Disparity, Healthcare, Women of color tagged at 3:21 AM by minoritybrief

Amnesty International recently released a maternal health graphic, bringing attention to the country’s maternal health care crisis, as well as legislative developments in the last year that could signal some progress on the issue.

It shows that despite spending more money per capita on healthcare than any other country, we rank 50th in the world for our maternal mortality ratios. To make matter worse, while care for childbearing women and newborns is the number one reason for hospitalization in the U.S., preventable deaths of both newborns and mothers in relation to childbirth are alarmingly high, especially for women of color.

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December 21, 2009

Fewer Options For Moms On Medicaid

Posted in Healthcare, women tagged , , at 9:00 AM by minoritybrief

By Lindsey McCormack

This story was originally published by CityLimits.org.

The Birth Center at Bellevue Hospital was designed for the kind of birth experience that many moms, even the well-connected, find elusive. Labor was to unfold in spacious, comfortable rooms with sweeping views of the East River; midwives would massage women through labor pains; and world-class obstetricians would be at hand to address any complications. All this in a public hospital that primarily serves low-income patients and the uninsured, many of them immigrants. Read on…

October 27, 2009

Minority Groups Raise Voices on Reform

Posted in Healthcare tagged , , at 1:21 AM by minoritybrief

From The Washington Post

In the debate over revamping the health-care system, there are the doctors and nurses, the insurance companies and industry lobbyists, and the patients with preexisting conditions, among others. With so many interest groups, the conversation is loud and getting louder. Missing from the noise so far: the voices of minorities, who are disproportionately represented among the poor and uninsured and could benefit the most from reform, and who are more likely than others to have chronic illnesses such as diabetes. They are symbols of the failures of the current system.

Starting this week, however, with a new campaign and new ads, their voices will become a larger part of the debate.

Leaders of black and Latino advocacy groups say that because so many of their members favor health-care reform, they are becoming more forceful as the final drafts near, even though they are reluctant to make race and ethnicity a central issue.

September 19, 2009

Study: Racial Health Disparities Cost $229 Billion From 2003-2006

Posted in Healthcare tagged at 3:57 AM by minoritybrief

Racial health disparities cost the United States $229 billion between 2003 and 2006 — money that could help cover an overhaul of the nation’s health care system, according to a new report by Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland researchers…read on

August 18, 2009

Fact versus fiction: What’s really in the Democrats’ health care reform bill

Posted in Healthcare, Social Policy tagged at 2:55 AM by minoritybrief

It is really unfortunate and sad that there are some in the media (Fox News) that purposely lie to and mislead their viewers. There is more than enough for people to genuinely debate the merits of healthcare reform. Instead, those who pander to the lowest denominator and feed people’s fears and insecurities would rather focus on half-truths and hyperbole. Their goal is two-fold: maintaining the status quo for the privileged and destroying the presidency of the Obama Administration. They will succeed if people continue to wallow in ignorance and reject what could be their own best interests. So maybe its time to back away from the talking points and the comparisons to Hitler and Nazism. Let the following be a first step:

Detroit Free Press

The health care reform debate in Washington has led to many charges and countercharges about what the proposals would or wouldn’t do. Here’s a look at the House Democrats’ bill.

QUESTION: Would the legislation require people on Social Security to have end-of-life treatment consultations with their doctors?

ANSWER: No. It would allow Social Security to pay for such consultations every five years, though, if the patient wants one. It’s not mandatory.

Q: Could I keep my current insurance, like President Barack Obama has said?

A: Maybe. If you have your insurance through your employer like most people, and your employer decides to keep offering it (and it already meets federal minimum standards that will be set), then sure. But those standards aren’t set, so it’s hard to say what they would require – and it’s tough to know how many employers would keep offering health care if a public plan was available.

Q: I have an individual insurance plan, but not through my employer. Would I be able to keep it?

A: It could be grandfathered in, yes. But if the insurers made any change – like in benefits or premiums – they would have to meet the federal standards.

Q: Would I have to have health insurance?

A: Yes. Otherwise you would face a tax penalty.

Q: Would I have to enroll in the new public insurance plan?

A: No. In fact, if your company offers health insurance, you couldn’t. The new plan would be for individuals and small businesses that can’t afford coverage. Big companies could provide insurance or pay 8 percent of payroll and let employees find their own insurance as individuals on the health care exchange (which would include the public plan and other providers).

Small businesses would participate in the exchange, offer their own insurance or pay 2-6 percent of payroll to let workers find their own insurance as individuals.

Q: What if I couldn’t afford the premium of the new public plan?

A: The legislation would provide “affordability credits” that would help households with incomes up to four times the federal poverty limit (or about $88,000 for a family of four).

Q: Would the plan cover people living in the country illegally?

A: No.

Q: How would the public plan affect private insurance?

A: The Lewin Group, a health care consulting firm, says the number of people without insurance would drop by 33 million (out of a projected 49 million in 2011). If all employers are eligible for the exchange, the number of people with private insurance would drop by 83 million. If only small employers were eligible for the exchange, private coverage would drop by 35 million.

Q: How much would the change cost?

A: The Congressional Budget Office estimates government costs would increase by more than $1 trillion over 10 years, but additional revenues and cost-saving measures would bring the impact on the federal deficit down to $239 billion over 10 years.

Q: Would there be new taxes to pay for it?

A: There could be a sliding surcharge on the income of the top 1.2 percent of earners. It would apply to families with income of more than $350,000 a year and individuals making at least $280,000. The surcharge would be only on income over the thresholds. It would range from 1 percent to 5.4 percent (for families making more than $1 million).

Q: Would the legislation require insurance plans to pay for abortion?

A: No. Abortion coverage could not be part of the most basic coverage plan in its present form. But that doesn’t mean abortions couldn’t be covered in other plans. There is, however, a restriction on the government paying directly for the procedure.

Q: How would the legislation control costs?

A: It calls for applying cost-containment formulas intended to protect against overpayment to various services, including hospitals, hospice and home health care. It also calls for cutting payment rates for Medicare Advantage plans, saving $156 billion over 10 years.

Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, Congressional Budget Office, Detroit Free Press research