Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Republican Health Reform Proposals

Now that the Florida primary is over and we await super Tuesday, it’s time to look closely at health proposals of Republicans. Unlike Democrats, they’re turning to market rather than governmental solutions. Governor Romney, of course, led the effort in Massachusetts to create a universal solution requiring every individual to buy insurance, but he now says that solution applies only to Massachusetts and shouldn’t be applied to other states.

Republican candidates want more options for individuals. They would create new deductions or tax credits for health insurance. Lower income people would get subsidies to purchase private insurance.

People could purchase health insurance across state lines, and regulations and mandates would be reduced to make health insurance less costly. Reduced premiums would bring new buyers into the market, expand competition, and force insurers and providers to offer more affordable options.

Here’s what the surviving GOP presidential candidates are saying.

- John McCain: "It is good tax policy to take away the bias toward giving workers benefits instead of wages. It is good health policy to reward having insurance no matter where your policy comes from. To use their money effectively, Americans need more choices."

- Mitt Romney, "The federal government needs to loosen regulations on the nation's health-insurance providers, increasing competition and thereby lowering patient costs. The right answer is less government, less regulation, more individual responsibility, and more of the market dynamics that propel the rest of our economy."

- Mike Huckabee: "I advocate policies that will encourage the private sector to seek innovative ways to bring down costs and improve the free market for health-care services. We can make health care more affordable by making health insurance more portable from one job to another, and making health insurance tax deductible for individuals and families as it now is for businesses."
The Republican presidential candidates want to give people the same tax benefit whether they purchase a policy on their own or they get it at work. They don’t want insurance tied to the workplace. Nor do they want individual mandates requiring everyone to buy insurance as Senator Clinton proposes. Senator Obama supports a mandate for children to get health insurance but not everyone. "The reason Americans don't have health insurance isn't because they don't want it, it's because they can't afford it.”
Major candidates of both parties support:

- More prevention

- greater use of electronic health records

- more information for consumers on choices and prices

- better chronic-care management

- medical malpractice reform. (assuming John Edwards has been effectively eliminated from the race)

- more consumer choice and control over health insurance

Barring a sweeping Democratic victory in the fall with control of Congress and the presidency and a veto-proof majority, complete transformation of the health system is unlikely.

8 comments:

Scott Smith said...

Jan. 30, 2008
Dr. Reece
Medinnovationblog

Dear Dr. Reece:

As Director of Public Relations for MyMedicalRecords.com (“MMR”), I read with great interest your blog on the politics of healthcare reform, including your mention of electronic personal health records, and thought you would find MMR of interest. MMR has contracts with organizations covering more than 30 million lives to provide our services.

Contrasting MMR to other popular EMR products, MMR is delivering the most user-friendly, convenient and versatile web-based Personal Health Record available today. Using our proprietary patent pending technologies, complete patient information including actual lab test results, radiology reports and images, progress notes and all of a patient’s charts can be uploaded or faxed with annotated voice notes and comments directly into the user’s password-secured account. Users do not need to install any special software or use any special hardware to use our service.

MMR also has integrated other advanced features, such as multilingual translation, a drug interaction database of more than 20,000 medications, calendaring for prescription refills and doctor appointments, and private voicemail for a doctor’s message and other personal uses.

There also is a special “Emergency Log-In” feature that allows a doctor to access a user’s account to view their most important medical information in the event of a medical emergency. To ensure individual privacy, specific data, such as prescriptions, allergies, blood type and copies of actual medical files or images, are pre-selected by the user for inclusion in the online read-only Emergency Folder.

In addition, MMR also includes an online ESafeDeposit Box feature that enables users to securely store any important document in a virtual “lock box” and access them anytime from anywhere using an Internet-connected computer or PDA. These documents can include Advanced Directives, Wills, insurance policies, birth certificates, photos of Family, Pets and Property, and more. MMR is clearly one of the most complete user-friendly Personal Health Records available today (I can send you a comparison chart).

I would encourage you to visit MMR and set up a complimentary account. Simply go to www.mymedicalrecords.com and sign up using registration code MMRBLOG. I would be interested in your experience and hope that you will include us in any further discussions of Personal Health Records. I could also send you more information by email or snail mail (the latter allows me to send a bit more than I’d want to clog your email with). Recently, we sent out a release about MMR Pro, which will better enable physicians to put patient records into secure, online accounts.

Sincerely,

Scott S. Smith
Director of Public Relations
MyMedicalRecords.com
11000 Santa Monica Blvd. #430
Los Angeles CA 90067
888/808-4667
Ext 123 (Cell: 310/254-4051)
ssmith@mmrmail.com

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