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Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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Senate Votes to Advance its Health Reform Bill, But Fails to Extend Universal Health Coverage to Millions of Americans

News Reports Estimate as many as 25 Million Americans Would STILL Lack Coverage

With its vote on Saturday, the United States Senate advanced its version of a healthcare reform bill one step further. Now, in both the House and Senate, full floor debate will begin on the different healthcare reform bills that have reached the floor in each body.

Looming in the background, however, is the failure of each of these 2,000-page proposed bills to extend universal coverage to all residents of the United States. This is notable fact, since, over the course of 2009, advocates of an immediate legislative overhaul of the healthcare system in the United States declared their goal was to extend health coverage to all of the estimated 46 million Americans who currently lack health coverage.


It’s True! Health Insurers Tell Congress They Cancel Policies of Sick Patients

Rescinding health policies of 20,000 people in past five years saved health insurers $300 million

For years, Americans have heard news stories about the sick patient whose health insurance policy was rescinded in the midst of a health crisis. Now comes public acknowledgement—at a Congressional hearing no less—that this business practice exists!

Executives from three of the nation’s largest health insurers admitted to this practice when testifying at a Congressional investigation recently. Observers believe the surprisingly candid acknowledgement about health insurance recissions pretty much guarantees insurers will be excluded from the health care reform debate. It may even ensure inclusion of a government health insurance plan in the final legislation which passes. (more…)

Congress Eyes Tennessee Group’s Plan for Reforming Healthcare In United States

Health reform plan preserves patient choice and requires no new government funding

As Congress gets down to the nitty gritty details of healthcare reform, a unique bipartisan proposal presented by the Rolling Hills Group, a group of Tennessee healthcare experts and community leaders, is gaining support on both sides of the aisle.

This healthcare reform proposal, initially developed for a statewide program in Tennessee, has captured Congress’ attention because it meets top health care reform priorities—universal coverage, lower costs, improved care and safety, but doesn’t require any new funding sources.


Economic Stimulus Gives Workers Second Chance for COBRA Coverage at Reduced Premium

As previously suggested by earlier Dark Daily e-briefings, studies of the 46 million uninsured Americans suggest there’s more to this statistic than a big number implies. Up to two-thirds of the uninsured either qualify for government-sponsored insurance or could afford to buy coverage.

But no one disagrees that widespread layoffs and elimination of employer-sponsored health coverage are causing the ranks of the uninsured to swell. For every worker who loses health benefits, the multiplier is 3.14-the average size of the U.S. family. Thus, the loss of 3 mllion jobs over the last year translates to about 9.4 million people losing health coverage.


Informing Uninsured about Health Coverage Removes Big Barrier

As many as one-third of the nation’s uninsured qualify for public health programs and the answer to getting them insured may be as simple as educating these individuals about which health insurance programs are available to them! That should be big news for hospitals, health systems, and clinical laboratories that spend millions of dollars annually on uncompensated care for uninsured individuals each year.

About 34% of uninsured individuals qualify for public health programs but are not aware they are eligible, according to commentary from Phil Lebherz, Founder and Executive Director of the Foundation for Health Coverage Education in Modern Healthcare. These people are mostly the working poor, the elderly, and single parents of young children. But that’s not all! Another 32% of uninsured individuals-because they make enough money-could afford to purchase their own health coverage, but they are not informed enough to know the importance of health insurance. 14% of uninsured individuals are between jobs and may not know about the availability of COBRA or other programs.

Recognizing this opportunity to help uninsured obtain health coverage, some forward-thinking hospitals have teamed with non-profit organizations to utilize the Internet to explain viable options for health care to such individuals. The Foundation for Health Coverage Education was one of the first to reach out to hospitals to get them to help promote health insurance education online. Their site,, gives consumers the opportunity to answer a 5-question quiz to figure out which health insurance options are available to them based on their state of residency. The data from the quiz can be re-used to start the enrollment process should the individual completing it want to enroll in a health insurance program.

For every 1% increase in the unemployment rate, another 1.1 million individuals become uninsured. The work of the Foundation for Health Coverage Education demonstrates that simple programs to educate uninsured patients have the potential to generate major benefits, and reduce the number of Americans who lack health insurance.

Finally, 34% (approximately 15 million) of the nation’s 45 million uninsured individuals qualify for the federal Medicaid program. Why are state and federal efforts to educate and enroll such people in these social safety net health programs failing to reach so many individuals? Could it be that, because of budget squeezes and spending fears, that our elected officials and program bureaucrats have huge financial and political disincentives to be more successful at identifying the insured and bringing them into such health programs as Medicaid? That certainly is a dimension to solving the nation’s uninsured problem that gets little attention by the intellectual class and the national media.

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Educating the uninsured