[library-media] FW: SIRS E-mail Bulletin #11: Food for Thought -- Health Care Reform

Paula Zsiray paula.zsiray@cache.k12.ut.us
Mon, 17 Mar 2003 13:26:07 -0700


SIRS E-MAIL BULLETIN #11: FOOD FOR THOUGHT
HEALTH CARE REFORM: ARE WE GETTING CLOSER?
Written by Jolene Hill
Health care reform has taken on a new urgency due to increasing costs
coupled with=20
decreasing coverage. Past government administrations have wrestled with =
the
complex=20
issue of creating a health care system that would be available to all
citizens while at the=20
same time avoiding socialized programs like those implemented in other
countries. President George W. Bush's recent outline for health care =
reform
focuses on creating=20
an innovative system that would allow for more choices, expanded
prescription drug=20
coverage and lower premiums. To help reduce consumer premiums, the
President's=20
plan proposes lowering liability premiums for doctors and implementing a =
cap
on=20
malpractice awards. One potential drawback to the plan is that =
individuals
in need of=20
continued financial support due to a medical error would be at a loss.
Patients need to=20
consider if this plan is in their best interest.
Another contributing factor to health care woes is prescription drugs =
costs.
After=20
completing a review of the current patent laws in 2002, the Federal =
Trade
Commission=20
determined that brand name drug manufacturers are using legal loopholes =
to
delay the=20
expiration of their patents. By renewing or delaying patent expirations =
with
frivolous=20
product changes such as labeling, the brand name manufacturers are able =
to
impede=20
cheaper generic drug production. The President's new health care reform
policy=20
addresses the issue in two ways: (1) current patent renewal laws would =
be
modified;=20
and (2) Medicare would be required to incorporate prescription drug =
coverage
into=20
their plans. Consumers would benefit from increased availability of =
lower
cost generic=20
drugs and partial coverage for brand-name drugs not yet available in a
generic version. Competition is the backbone of a healthy economy. =
President
Bush's proposal offers=20
more options than are currently available in HMO plans. Congress has =
been
called=20
upon to draft a "patients' bill of rights" that opens the door to =
greater
physician choice=20
and eliminates many bureaucratic procedures that impede treatment and =
hinder

reimbursement.
The current proposal of the Bush administration is the first step =
towards an
innovative=20
health care system for all.
For more information on health care reform, see articles such as "Fact
Sheet: President=20
Proposes Minimum Standards for Medical Liability," "President Bush =
Outlines
Health=20
Care Agenda," "Changing Nature of Public and Private Health Insurance" =
and
"Issues=20
in Designing a Prescription Drug Benefit for Medicare-Summary," on SIRS=20
Government Reporter.
Jolene Hill is an Editor for SIRS Government Reporter. Jolene received =
her
B.A. in=20
Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University.

For more information on Food for Thought or any of SIRS products, please
contact SIRS Customer Service at=20
1-800-232-7477 (press "1"), e-mail custserve@sirs.com or visit =
www.sirs.com.