Friday, September 11, 2009

DuPage Woman Newspaper nominated for American Express Shine a Light Award! Your Endorsement is Needed

DuPage Woman needs your help! We have been nominated for the Shine a Light award by American Express, a recognition program where the winner will receive $100,000 in grant money.

To be considered however, we need at least 50 endorsements. Endorsing us is easy – simply click on the link below that brings up our profile, then click on “Endorse Now”. Note: After clicking on Endorse Now, below those words will appear a request to login or register. Registration is very simple: setting up a user name, password and contact information. The registration is required for the endorsement to be counted.

Here is how we need your help:
1. We must have at least 50 endorsements by Sun. 9/13 at 11:59 pm to be considered. Please visit the site and endorse us now – it will only take a couple minutes!
2. Please pass this email on to others and encourage them to endorse us as well.

Our heartfelt gratitude!

For more information on DuPage Woman Newspaper, go to:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Should the proposed health care reforms scare you to death?

Everywhere you turn, the buzz is about the proposed health care reforms. Much of the buzz is about the details. What is true? What isn’t true? Will it be good for us, or will it make things worse? If legislation is passed later this year, only the passage of time will answer those questions.

Many details of the proposed legislation have been brought to light and are being debated. The main question, though, is do we need to overhaul the entire medical system? As someone who has been in health care administration and as a Certified Financial Planner, my opinion is that a total overhaul of medical care is akin to tearing down the entire house because you want to remodel the bathroom and kitchen. I believe we can cure what ails the system without a massive overhaul.

Because of the sheer magnitude of the proposals, it is impossible to address all the issues in one article. So in this article, I want to focus on the aspects of the proposed reforms that should scare you. In my next article I’ll focus on some of the cures for what currently ails the system without having to do major surgery.

1. A 1,000+ page document written in legal terms is scary!
The bills currently being considered are about 1200 pages in length. This is the equivalent of an instruction manual for medical care. And have you looked at it? It’s written in legal terms that even with an MBA I have difficulty following.

How many Congressmen and Senators have every read a 1,000 page book! Yet they expect medical providers and insurance companies to not only read but also to implement the provisions of this massive document. Wouldn’t you rather have your medical professionals boning up on current trends in health care instead of boning up on the law?

How long will you have to wait while your doctor or insurance company finds the appropriate passage in the law when determining whether you are eligible for a particular treatment? Do you really want to know how long it would be?

2. Add 45 million to the health insurance rolls AND reduce costs?
If 4 people were added to your family, what would happen to your food expenses? What would happen to your utility bills? What would happen to your medical costs?

The two objectives are a physical and fiscal impossibility. The primary method being proposed to reduce costs is by paying doctors, hospitals, therapists and technicians less – in effect, a pay cut for doing the same amount of work. What would you do if the government reduced your pay check? Would you be able to live in your current lifestyle? Would you stay in your job or look for other employment? (By the way, over the last two decades, the primary way that our government has reduced medical costs was to reduce payments to medical providers.)

So why would doctors be different? Or what if doctors were paid less than what it costs to provide the service (which, by the way, is already happening)? There already are doctors developing their exit strategies.

And how could hospitals stay in business if their incomes are less than their expenses? And what will happen when there are fewer doctors? And fewer hospitals?

The overall effect will be fewer doctors, less hospitals which translate to greater scarcity – basic economics! Do medical care shortages scare you?

3. What would health care look like under a government run system?
Would it be run like the IRS, the Post Office, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the banking overhaul, the $787 billion stimulus package, General Motors, the EPA …. ? If that doesn’t scare you, nothing will!

4. Do you trust politicians to avoid using their influence to benefit a family member or friend over your needs?
The University of Illinois admissions scandal, the bribes required to get a permit to build medical facilities (the focus of the Blagovich and Rezko scandals and indictments), congressmen and senators steering business to their favored constituents (a la Barney Frank saving auto dealerships in his district from losing their contracts). If government has primary control of the medical care system, will you need to petition your Congressman or Senator for a heart bypass procedure? Or for a hip replacement? Or for cancer treatment? Do we really want to concentrate so much power and decision making in the hands of so few? Does it scare you that your choices will not be yours to make?

5. To truly understand the direction in which reforms are being steered, it is imperative to become familiar with the writings and opinions of the people providing advice.
Presidential appointee Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and brother to Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s Chief of Staff, is already an influential advisor. As I read about his beliefs and writings, my entire body shivered.

A Wall Street Journal editorial on August 27, 2009, reports that Dr. Emanuel’s beliefs include:
· True reform must include redefining doctors’ ethical obligations. He admonishes doctors for focusing only on the needs of their patients and believes that medical students should be trained to “provide socially sustainable, cost-effective care”.
· To ensure that medical resources will be allocated in a way that keeps society going, he suggests that those individuals who ensure healthy future generations with full and active citizen participation should have services socially guaranteed as basic. Those who are prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed, he argued. An example he used was that health services should not be guaranteed to patients with dementia.
· Establishing “priority life curves” on which individuals from roughly ages 15 to 40 receive the most substantial opportunities, while services to the youngest and oldest are diluted. The Jews were not the only ones annihilated by Nazi Germany – also sent to death camps were the disabled, the weak, the old: anyone who was not able to contribute to society. This may sound harsh, yet a close reading of his views begs the comparison. Under these proposals, it could be your mother who is denied cancer treatment because she has dementia, or your fiver year old denied treatment for leukemia.

What should be done? There is no question that some aspects of our current medical and the related insurance systems need to be reformed. I do question though the need for a top to bottom overhaul, especially with such draconian measures.

I believe we can cure what ails the system and that there are ways that that can be accomplished without increasing costs (aka taxes). What is needed is a thoughtful, deliberative look at the consequences of this legislation and to shape reform so that it is for highest good of all. Look for some of my reform suggestions in the next newsletter.

In the meanwhile, continue to educate yourself about what is being proposed and make your opinions known to your elected leaders. We should not be rushing through such an important and life altering legislation.