Category: Opinion - Part 9

Few Americans would have to buy new health policies under Affordable Care Act

Analysis by The Bell Policy Center Only 6 percent of Americans will become new buyers of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The Bell Policy Center analyzed data from the Urban Institute and found that just 2 percent of people who are now uninsured will have to buy health insurance without some sort of subsidy. An additional 4 percent of Americans will be required to buy health insurance, but their incomes will allow them to qualify for subsidies to help pay for the insurance. The remaining 94 percent of Americans already have private health insurance through work, have coverage…

Opinion: Report Card highlights “Winnable Battles” in health

By Dr. Chris Urbina Never have I been satisfied with average at least when it comes to report cards. Unfortunately, the results of the Colorado Health Foundations 2011 Colorado Health Report Card , to be released this week, show Colorado is generally getting above average to below average grades when compared to other states in 38 health indicators. But while the report card indicates how Colorado is doing in certain national rankings, it doesnt provide a complete picture of how the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is working with the states 54 local public health agencies and other partners to improve the health…

Opinion: Stop politicizing women’s health

By Vicki Cowart Like many women across Colorado and the nation, I am outraged and perplexed about the birth control debate taking place in todays political climate. First, there was the all-male congressional hearing on the Obama Administrations new birth control benefit that ensures women have access to birth control with no costly co-pays, regardless of where they work. The Republican Congressional leaders refused to let any woman speak in support of the new birth control benefit during that hearing. In fact, they said that a woman affected by the policy wasnt appropriate or qualified to speak on the issues….

Opinion: A scream in the health care wilderness

By Terrance R. Kelly The most important issue today in health care morality is crystal clear. It has nothing to do with birth control insurance coverage for employees of Catholic universities and hospitals, the Catholic hierarchy or Republican presidential candidates. Several cancer drugs that are the mainstay of treatment regimens used to cure several cancers,are not being manufactured in sufficient quantities to meet the life-and-death needs of cancer patients. Dr. Michael Link, the president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, states, If you are a pediatric oncologist, you know how to cure 70 to 80 percent of patients. But without these drugs you are out…

Movie review: Good news in U.S. health care

By Diane Carman Listening to the candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination might lead your average health care consumer to think the system is on the verge of collapse. While the Affordable Care Act is not yet fully implemented and remains in large part unproven, some health care systems around the country are demonstrating the potential for significant improvements in cost control, access to care and better outcomes. They also are acting as testing grounds for such health care reform concepts as medical homes, virtual health care, electronic medical records, integrated behavioral health care and revenue pooling across care…

Opinion: Affordable Care Act saving seniors money, closing ‘donut hole’

By Bob Semro Prescription drugs are a big part of the monthly budget for many seniors on Medicare, and provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are working to lower those costs. In 2011, 3.6 million Medicare recipients nationwide saved $2.1 billion in prescription drug costs, according to estimates released last week by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In Colorado , 39,746 Medicare recipients saved $22.8 million on prescription drugs, or $579 per person on average, according to these estimates. HHS projects these savings will increase over time totaling nearly $4,200 for the average Medicare recipient by 2020. For…

Opinion: Medical marijuana industry welcomes regulation

By Michael Elliott and Norton Arbelaez Staff Sergeant Mary McNeely joined the military, went to Iraq and served her country with honor. While there, she was injured in a car bombing. Upon returning to Colorado Springs, physicians at the Veterans Administration prescribed her narcotic pain medications to treat her various injuries. Nonetheless, her health kept deteriorating. The drugs did not effectively treat her pain, made her irritable, nauseous and unable to function. She grew distant from her daughter and husband. Through Colorados medical marijuana system, she discovered that cannabis controlled her pain and nausea with minimal side-effects. As a result,…

Opinion: We can’t afford to turn our backs on victims of mental illness

By Lacey Berumen As a special committee of Congress takes on the important mission of reducing our countrys federal deficit, we must not lose sight of the need to protect some of our nations most vulnerable citizens those suffering from mental illness. Congress understandably will have to make some tough choices, but it also must set priorities. On the heels of Mental Illness Awareness Week, observed earlier this month, the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Colorado is imploring Congress to oppose cuts to Medicare and Medicaid that could imperil the estimated 195,000 Coloradans living with mental illness. This special…

Opinion: Medicare, Medicaid reach milestone,
 but budget battle could bring changes

By Bob Semro July 30, 1965, was a milestone in American history. On that day, the Social Security Act of 1965 was signed into law. That legislation, implemented a year later (45 years ago), introduced two new programs, Medicare and Medicaid. We take them for granted now, often without realizing how much they have achieved and how much we rely on them. In 1964, before the implementation of Medicare, 49 percent of Americans 65 years and older had no health care coverage and 30 percent of seniors lived below the poverty line. The average life expectancy in the United States…

Book review: Basic elements of science and humanity still at odds

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot (Crown, 366 pages) By Diane Carman The first time that author Rebecca Skloot heard of Henrietta Lacks was in a biology class. Her teacher mentioned the name of the woman whose cells had been used in thousands of scientific experiments over decades, and had enabled scientists to discover breakthroughs in prevention of polio, gene mapping, chemotherapy, in vitro fertilization and advancements in the understanding of a vast array of medical conditions. Skloots curiosity was piqued. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is the culmination of a decade of dogged reporting and…