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Government and Healthcare: A Seismic Shift in Public Opinion

November 13, 2009
4:37 pm

A new Gallup poll released today shows that a small majority of Americans (51 percent) say it is not the government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health coverage.  The survey shows 47 percent saying that government does indeed bear that responsibility.

Ordinarily, a margin this close wouldn’t warrant a tremendous amount of public attention.  What makes this survey noteworthy, though, is how significantly these results vary from public opinion measured over the past decade.

This is the first time since Gallup began asking this question in 2001 that a majority of the public said that they don’t believe the responsibility for insurance coverage for all rests with the government.   In previous years, the margin hasn’t even been close – but in the opposite direction.

Just three years ago, in 2007, 69 percent of Americans said it was government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans had health coverage, compared to just 28 percent that disagreed.  In fact, the margin separating “yes” from “no” responses on this question has never been closer than 13 points, until now. Read more

The House Vote

November 07, 2009
11:25 pm

While we commend the House of Representatives for its commitment to extend health coverage to more Americans, we look forward to this debate moving to the U.S. Senate and an opportunity to enact legislation that is centrist, sustainable and that achieves the true goals of health reform.

We feel that an opportunity is being lost in this debate.  Improving our nation’s healthcare system is a task that should bring Americans together.  Rather, as polls show and today’s House session underscored, this debate is highly partisan and divisive.  Legislation of this magnitude should not be passed by one party over the objection of the majority of Americans. Read more

Insure Montana’s Honor Roll for Coverage Award

November 04, 2009
1:19 pm

Since 2000, the Healthcare Leadership Council’s Honor Roll for Coverage Award has recognized exemplary community programs that have distinguished themselves as leaders in providing access to health insurance for uninsured Americans. We created this award as a way to recognize innovative approaches to improving access to health coverage.  Honor Roll for Coverage helps provide models of what’s working in communities across the country.  The goal is making quality health coverage affordable and accessible for working families and I believe this is worth spotlighting.

Last week, it was our privilege to award Insure Montana with HLC’s Honor Roll for Coverage.

Insure Montana has provided health insurance to more than 1,400 small businesses, resulting in coverage of nearly 8,000 previously uninsured employees and dependents.

Insure Montana began in 2005 as a joint initiative of the Governor and State Auditor.  The two part program, administered by the State Auditor’s office, is designed to assist small businesses with the cost of health insurance, whether they have provided health insurance previously or not. Small businesses of 2-9 employees who currently provide health insurance to their employees can participate in either a purchasing pool or tax credit program.

Senator Lieberman In His Own Words

November 03, 2009
4:02 pm

Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has been absorbing a lot of criticism in the media and the blogosphere for his comments last week that he may have no choice but to oppose the Senate Democratic leadership’s health reform legislation if it includes a government-run health plan option.

There have been so many people trying to interpret the Senator’s statement and speculating as to his motivations that I was glad to see that Senator Lieberman took it upon himself to write an op-ed in the Hartford Courant explaining his decision.  I was pleased to see the Senator, in spelling out his opposition to the government plan option, cite the cost-shifting factor that has received too little attention:

“A new public option will likely increase premiums for the 170 million Americans who already have private insurance, and let’s not forget the warning of the Congressional Budget Office: that the federal government will assume the financial risk that the premiums charged in a given year may not cover all of the public plan’s costs.”

Senator Lieberman also explained that he’s not against health reform, but rather he supports reform that will truly address the greatest needs of our healthcare system. Read more

Uninsured Kids and Outreach

November 02, 2009
4:27 pm

Newsweek magazine’s website has a post well worth reading about a new study from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center showing that 17,000 children died in hospitals over the past two decades because of a lack of health coverage. 

It’s important to get the message of this study straight.  The researchers are not saying that children are dying because hospitals aren’t caring for them.  Rather, according to Newsweek, “kids who show up in the hospital with complications that might have been warded off by preventive care, like chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes, or once-mild colds that have devolved into pneumonia, are much more likely to die if they don’t have insurance.”

The report says the cause of this problem is quite clear.  Programs – Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program – exist to cover children from low-income families.  Yet, according to Dr. Paul Wise, director of Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention, some families never hear about these programs because outreach is so poor.  Or, in other cases, the bureaucratic paperwork to either enter or remain in these programs is too complex. Read more