Are There Alternatives To Traditional Health Insurance?

Alternatives to Health Insurance

November is health care selection month…

Are There Alternatives To Traditional Health Insurance?

November 16, 2020 — With November the time many Americans are asked to choose their health insurance coverage, the cost, expense, and value are on people’s minds. Are There Alternatives To Traditional Health Insurance? Healthcare is expensive. The healthcare and medical insurance industries are massive with billions of dollars of income. They are able to buy advertising and lobbyists to gain every advantage that money can buy. As Americans try to find ways to pay for it, do any really have any chance of meaningful change for an industry that all but regulates itself? Or should we just resign ourselves to healthcare and insurance companies doing and charging what they want with little if any restriction on them?

Alternatives To Big Insurance

According to Dr. Steven Goldstein, founder of the Houston Healthcare Initiative, there are ways to be insured and save money. As he told his podcast audience, the best alternative to insurance at this time is the healthcare cooperative. The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast can be heard on SoundCloud, Google Play, Libsyn Feed, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify, and the Houston Healthcare Initiative web site. When combined with a health savings account and a high deductible, sharing of healthcare costs will go down.

Take Care of Yourself

Of course, the best way to lower costs is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, diet, limited alcohol consumption, adequate sleep and not smoking are the best ways anyone can be healthier. But for those who refuse these, there should be consequences. “There needs to be consequences for individuals that do not take care of themselves,” Dr. Goldstein told his audience.   “For those that do nothing, laws need to be changed so that care would only be provided at charity hospitals. I know this is a radical change of thinking, but I believe it would go a long way to improving public health. Subsidizing unhealthy behavior only leads to more unhealthy behavior.”

About the Houston Healthcare Initiative Podcast

The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast with Dr. Steven Goldstein is an information vehicle for people who want to know all medical options for themselves and are interested in reforming the healthcare industry. To learn more about the Houston Healthcare Initiative please visit www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org.

Healthcare Costs Keep Rising. Why?

In the United States, our health care is among the most expensive in the world. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) data shows that in 2017, the U.S. spent nearly double the health care expenditures per capita of comparable countries (analysis done by KFF). Despite this fact, the quality of health care in the U.S. is not the best. The OECD has shown that the U.S. has consistently performed worse than the average of comparable countries with mortality rates in the U.S. being higher in most categories measured. A question many people a starting to ask is why do our health care costs keep rising while the quality isn’t improving as quickly.

There are too many factors to discuss in this short article. However, there is one factor that plays a big role in this growing problem, managed care plans and like insurance plans. It’s likely that if you have insurance, you are a member of one of these plans because they make up the majority of health care plans in the U.S. These plans introduce a monopolistic nature to the health care system and doesn’t allow for the inherent price and quality checks of a free market to benefit the people who rely on the health care system, which is to say, everyone.

Healthcare Costs Keep Rising. Why?

How it works

These managed care plans allow members to get medical care from specific health care providers and medical facilities at reduced costs. These health care providers make up the network for a particular managed care plan, and they are contractually obligated to provide care to members at a reduced cost. For people without the managed care plan (people outside the network), prices can be extremely high. Ideally, the members of the managed care plan will be paying a lower rate than they would if they went outside the network.

The problem

It may be true that members likely pay less within their network, but members could be paying less both inside and outside their network if managed care plans and networks didn’t exist at all. This is because health care providers within a network no longer have to operate competitively. They are guaranteed to have customers because going outside the network is too expensive for most people, and there is little competition within a network. This means that they no longer have to price their services competitively or even have to ensure that their quality of care is competitive.

The solution

The upside to all of this is that many health care providers are actively trying to remedy this problem. Dr. Steven Goldstein and his fellow physicians at Houston Healthcare Initiative (HHI) are trying to set the new precedent for the health care system. Contact HHI today to learn what they can do for you.

What You Need To Know About Health Care

Health care is a controversial issue in the United States. With so much emphasis on health insurance like Medicaid, there is a lot of confusion on whether health care is a right or a privilege. Here is a look at the definition of health care and whether it is a right or privilege.

What You Need To Know About Health Care

What is Healthcare?

According to the World Health Organization, primary health care is health and well-being focused on the preferences and needs of communities, families, and individuals. It deals with the comprehensive elements of physical, social, and mental health and wellbeing.

Healthcare ensures people get comprehensive care from prevention to treatment and rehabilitation.

Is Health Care A Right or Privilege?

According to Article 25 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, Every person has the right to living standards that are sufficient for their health and wellbeing. Therefore, this means that this care should be a right and not a privilege.

Health care as a right means that states are required to fulfill it by providing access to care, hospitals, food, safe drinking water, sanitation, and housing. This right entitles people to treatment, disease prevention and control, and access to essential medicine. It also affects various health determinants including healthy working conditions, gender equality, and health-related education.

However, health care is not a right in many states, it is a privilege. This means that this care is only given to those who can afford it. In the U.S., like in many parts around the world, the government has been struggling to satisfy all the conditions of health care and to make it a right for everyone. In fact, one of the issues that determines whether a U.S. presidential candidate wins an election or not is their proposals regarding healthcare. This goes to show that the fulfillment of healthcare as a right for every human being is far from being achieved.

Houston Healthcare Initiative is a group of health conscious patients and physicians dedicated to people’s health and well-being. The initiative does not only encourage ideas regarding healthcare but it also provides resources regarding the state of healthcare across the globe. If you are looking to make a difference in healthcare or want to learn more about healthcare, HHI is the forum to join.

contact us Today for more information.

Will more or less time save or cost lives? Shortcuts On Regulations For The Coronavirus/Covid-19 Vaccine Research

Will more or less time save or cost lives?

 Shortcuts On Regulations For The Coronavirus/Covid-19 Vaccine Research

According to Dr. Steven Goldstein, founder of the Houston Healthcare Initiative, it usually takes years for any vaccine to be developed, tested on humans and finally introduced to the public. What of the Shortcuts On Regulations For The Coronavirus/Covid-19 Vaccine Research? The much-anticipated vaccine for the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic is progressing at unprecedented speed. But why is this the case and should the public be concerned? On his regular podcast Dr. Goldstein provides explanations. The listen to the Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast visit: Soundcloud, Libsyn, iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Radio.com,

Timing

Will more or less time save or cost lives?
Will more or less time save or cost lives? Shortcuts On Regulations For The Coronavirus/Covid-19 Vaccine Research.

Dr. Goldstein described to his audience some of the reasons these vaccine trials were progressing so quickly. “Given the urgent need for a vaccine to help end this global pandemic, some vaccine developers are compressing the clinical process by running trial phases simultaneously,” Dr. Goldstein said. “Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said that independent Data and Safety Monitoring Boards can end trials early if their interim results are overwhelmingly positive or negative, so that is another time saver.”

Caution Takes Time

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) promised to fast track the approval process for a Covid-19 vaccine. But they have also said that there are far more rigorous standards in place than is typical for the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) process for this vaccine. So while the NIAID made a way for the work on the vaccine to proceed more quickly than normal, the FDA says that its work will be ‘a careful evaluation with no rushing.’

The FDA Speaks

In an article published in the October 27, 2020 issue of USA Today, Dr. Peter Marks states that “this process will not be rushed. There will be no shortcuts in developing the relevant phase 3 efficacy results.” Dr. Marks also said that the public’s trust is important for the Covid-19 vaccine so it gets taken by the public. “Trust means everything. Trust in vaccines facilitated the incredible positive impact that vaccination had on public health in reducing illness and death over the past century.”

Not Predicting The Future But

Dr. Goldstein admitted that he was not very good at predicting the future, but he believed that the Coronavirus/Covid-19 vaccine could be available as early as January 2021. “There are currently dozens of vaccines under development and in the advanced stages of approval,” Dr. Goldstein said. “That the government has streamlined some of the requirements without compromising safety to help advance development is remarkable. But nothing in the world of medicine is without risk and the ultimate introduction of the Coronavirus vaccine is no exception. The laws and regulations, at least for now, seem to strike a balance that protects the public and aids in the fast delivery of a vaccine.”

About The Houston Healthcare Initiative

Dr. Steven Goldstein is a Houston based neurologist. He founded the Houston Healthcare Initiative and is an advocate for common sense solutions to the healthcare crisis that confronts the citizens and residents of the United States of America.

 

Is Healthcare a Right?

When we talk about rights in the American tradition, we generally are considering things that citizens enjoy that the government cannot take away, as enumerated in the Bill of Rights. The first amendment, for example, says that Congress “shall make no law” concerning the free exercise of religion, speech, press, and the right to peacefully assemble and petition the government to redress grievances.

Is Healthcare a Right?

However, when we talk about the right to healthcare, we mean that everyone should be able to access medical services regardless of the ability to pay. The “right to healthcare” becomes a little tricky since someone has to pay, if not the patient. Most advocates who call for the right to healthcare believe that the government should pay for it in some manner.

The problem is that a couple of states have attempted to enact single-payer healthcare, only to fail when the question of funding arose. Vermont, the home state of Sen. Bernie Sanders, a well-known advocate for a government guarantee for the right to healthcare, failed to enact such a system when the amount and method of taxation to pay for it arose.  An attempt to enact single-payer healthcare in California failed for similar reasons.

Sadly, no country on Earth guarantees healthcare as a right, not even Canada, as a recent piece in the Washington Times by Roger Stark pointed out.  Stark is a healthcare policy analyst and physician. Canadians have the right to healthcare insurance, which is a distinction that makes quite a bit of difference. Sick Canadians must often await healthcare services for months, a delay that would be unacceptable to most Americans.

Stark suggests a free-market solution to providing the most people the greatest amount of healthcare possible. But would such a system guarantee healthcare for all, which everyone across the political spectrum regards as a worthy goal?

For more information contact us.

The right mix of policies, from a free market to a government guarantee, would be a tricky one to enact and would not constitute a simple solution.

Off Label Prescriptions Removed From The Table Overly Zealous Watchdogs Interfere with Patients and their Doctors

Off Label Prescriptions Removed From The Table….

Overly Zealous Watchdogs Interfere with Patients and their Doctors

October 1, 2020 – Does a physician or the pharmacist know what is best for a patient? When the Ohio

Off Label Prescriptions Removed From The Table….  Overly Zealous Watchdogs Interfere with Patients and their Doctors   October 1, 2020 – Does a physician or the pharmacist know what is best for a patient? When the Ohio Board of Pharmacy ruled that doctors could not prescribe the off-label treatment hydroxychloroquine to treat the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic it was a chilling trespass into the rights of people in Ohio and set a dangerous precedent in the other forty nine.  Medicines to treat conditions with off-label prescribing occurs when a physician stipulates a drug that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved to treat a condition different than what a patient has. Off label prescribing is nothing new.   Unanticipated Consequences of Overly Aggressive Regulators This practice is legal and common as one in five prescriptions written today are for off-label use. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy decision was without precedent. Americans should be nervous about this instance because it puts the relationships between doctors and patients at risk and removes the judgement of physicians about how to best treat their patients, putting it into the hands of government regulators. “This overreach is a present and future danger for Americans and their doctors in the wake of the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic,” Dr. Steven Goldstein told the audience on his podcast. “This puts decision making about how best to treat a patient into the hands of someone who does not know the individual, never mind has any medical experience with them.”  The Future Beyond Covid-19 The prospect that someone other than the doctor and patient are involved in this decision making is bad practice. “Doctors are trained and educated to diagnose and treat patients”, Dr. Goldstein said. “They also have experience treating their patients and know how to evaluate scientific papers about new treatments. Pharmacists and government bureaucrats do not have this training or experience.”   In the case of hydroxychloroquine there is no randomized controlled trial to prove scientifically whether or not this drug is effective for Covid-19. It is also true that there is no other treatment that has been proven with a randomized controlled trial to be effective. “Physicians should be able to use any treatment that may be beneficial to their patient,” Dr. Goldstein said. “Interference by government boards or other non-physicians will retard the development of effective treatments and lead to additional mortality and morbidity.” The next outbreak is a certainty, it’s only a matter of time. “If pharmacists and bureaucrats are getting between doctors and patients now, we should be very worried about the future,” Dr. Goldstein concluded.  About the Houston Healthcare Initiative Podcast The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast with Dr. Steven Goldstein is an information vehicle for people who want to know all medical options for themselves and are interested in reforming the healthcare industry. To hear the podcast go to: SoundCloud, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Backtracks, LibSyn, or the website at www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org. Dr. Goldstein insists that for the health and welfare of the American public, the congress must pass reforms that limit the influence of the pharmaceutical industry and its lobby.
Overly Zealous Watchdogs Interfere with Patients and their Doctors.

Board of Pharmacy ruled that doctors could not prescribe the off-label treatment hydroxychloroquine to treat the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic it was a chilling trespass into the rights of people in Ohio and set a dangerous precedent in the other forty nine.  Medicines to treat conditions with off-label prescribing occurs when a physician stipulates a drug that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved to treat a condition different than what a patient has. Off label prescribing is nothing new

Unanticipated Consequences of Overly Aggressive Regulators

This practice is legal and common as one in five prescriptions written today are for off-label use. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy decision was without precedent. Americans should be nervous about this instance because it puts the relationships between doctors and patients at risk and removes the judgement of physicians about how to best treat their patients, putting it into the hands of government regulators. “This overreach is a present and future danger for Americans and their doctors in the wake of the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic,” Dr. Steven Goldstein told the audience on his podcast. “This puts decision making about how best to treat a patient into the hands of someone who does not know the individual, never mind has any medical experience with them.”

The Future Beyond Covid-19

The prospect that someone other than the doctor and patient are involved in this decision making is bad practice. “Doctors are trained and educated to diagnose and treat patients”, Dr. Goldstein said. “They also have experience treating their patients and know how to evaluate scientific papers about new treatments. Pharmacists and government bureaucrats do not have this training or experience.

In the case of hydroxychloroquine there is no randomized controlled trial to prove scientifically whether or not this drug is effective for Covid-19. It is also true that there is no other treatment that has been proven with a randomized controlled trial to be effective. “Physicians should be able to use any treatment that may be beneficial to their patient,” Dr. Goldstein said. “Interference by government boards or other non-physicians will retard the development of effective treatments and lead to additional mortality and morbidity.” The next outbreak is a certainty, it’s only a matter of time. “If pharmacists and bureaucrats are getting between doctors and patients now, we should be very worried about the future,” Dr. Goldstein concluded.

About the Houston Healthcare Initiative Podcast

The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast with Dr. Steven Goldstein is an information vehicle for people who want to know all medical options for themselves and are interested in reforming the healthcare industry. To hear the podcast go to: SoundCloud, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Backtracks, LibSyn, or the website at www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org. Dr. Goldstein insists that for the health and welfare of the American public, the congress must pass reforms that limit the influence of the pharmaceutical industry and its lobby.

 

 

Federal Government Goofs Delayed Coronavirus Tests By 6-8 Weeks

The United States badly bungled coronavirus testing.
The United States badly bungled initial coronavirus testing. Federal Government Goofs Delayed Coronavirus Tests By 6-8 Weeks.

Federal Government Goofs Delayed Coronavirus Tests By 6-8 Weeks. On his regular podcast Dr. Steven Goldstein described how failures within the federal government delayed proper testing for the Coronavirus/Covid-19 virus by several weeks.  The outcome? Tracking and tracing the infection early in the process was impossible. The Houston Healthcare Initiative Podcast is available on SoundCloud, iHeartRadio,LibSyn, Spotify,  iTunes, Radio.com, Stitcher, ListenNotes, Podcast Addict, or the Houston Healthcare Initiative web site.

Early Kit Troubles

Early in the testing process the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent Coronavirus/Covid-19 test kits to approximately 100 health labs across the country. Initially the FDA had done all the testing in in-house, but more cases meant that tests had to be available in more locations. There was just one, very important mistake and that was there was no way to validate the tests and its ingredients all acted the same way when used, regardless of the location.

Thirty-six of the approximately 50 tests returned results to the FDA that were ‘inconclusive’. Manufacture of new ingredients for the tests took 3 weeks. The failure to get working test kits into public-health labs came at a really bad time. Early in any outbreak, contact tracing, isolation, and individual quarantines are used to contain the spread of disease. These steps don’t work when suspected cases cannot be tested. The gap made by the bad test kits made it impossible for public-health officials to get a read on how far and fast the disease was spreading. The result, Covid-19 spread undetected for several weeks. “The government was not prepared when it came to identifying and quarantining contacts of the first patients and preventing sick patients from entering the country,” Dr. Goldstein told his listeners. “Government bureaucracy delayed the development of laboratory tests for 6-8 weeks.”

Worse still, when an Emergency Use Application (EUA) test was sent via email and followed up with phone calls from the University of Washington Virology Lab to the FDA for approval, the applicants learned that U.S. law required a hard copy of the applications be sent with a CD or thumb drive via the U.S. Postal Service to be considered. Instead of using more advanced communications like e-mail the lab was forced to use ‘snail mail’. (The F.D.A. has since dropped the requirement to send a CD-rom or USB drive with a copy of the application).

Bureaucrats Want More Power Not Less

According to Dr. Goldstein, issues like this have more to do with the bureaucratic class maintaining its influence than protecting the public or any devotion to science. “People ensconced in government bureaucracy want to preserve their authority and it seems that they are willing to take drastic measures to preserve that power,” Dr. Goldstein said. “These people are very invested in expensive, high tech treatments. Low tech measures like contact tracing and quarantining and testing anyone entering the country could have controlled the epidemic early on.” One possible lesson from this is to remember that government takeover of any health crisis will persist long past any benefit is exhausted. Finding ways around these career government employees should be part of any proposed reform for the healthcare industry.

About the Houston Healthcare Initiative

Dr. Steven Goldstein is a Houston based neurologist. He founded the Houston Healthcare Initiative and is an advocate for common sense solutions to the healthcare crisis that confronts the citizens and residents of the United States of America. Federal Government Goofs Delayed Coronavirus Tests By 6-8 Weeks.

 

Healthcare and Telemedicine

Healthcare IT News is reporting that the Health and Human Services Department has released a document that addresses the unique problems facing healthcare providers and patients in rural America. A crucial part of the Rural Action Plan involves distance or telemedicine, in which healthcare providers consult with patients over a two-way computer network.

Healthcare and Telemedicine

Rural America has had a longstanding lack of readily available doctors and hospitals. People living outside of large population centers often must travel great distances to acquire face-to-face care. Telemedicine is one tool meant to alleviate that problem and get more healthcare services to underserved rural patients.

The federal government’s current budget proposal for Medicare would separately value telemedicine services from their equivalent face-to-face services. In this way purveyors of distance medicine will be more readily ensured reimbursement for their services.

The budget will also allow federally qualified healthcare providers and rural health centers to offer telehealth services, making permanent an arrangement that is temporary because of the coronavirus pandemic. The role of the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth will be elevated to become a focal point for coordinating telemedicine services across the government and the private sector.

One barrier to expanding telemedicine across rural America has been a lack of broadband internet services outside of big cities. Fortunately, the private sector seems to be stepping up, in particular Elon Musk’s SpaceX with the development of the Starlink satellite constellation. Starlink is designed to provide direct-from-space audio, visual, and data communications services to everyone on the planet, with services for North America (the United States and Canada) due to be available in 2020. The service will expand world-wide the following year.

Telemedicine’s expansion is thought to be a vehicle to expand healthcare services and enhance outcomes to millions of hitherto under-serviced people.

For more information contact us at Houston Healthcare Initiative.

Pharma: Greed Lies and the Poisoning of America

Gerald Posner on the podcast this week.

On this special edition of the Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast, author Gerald Posner discusses the history of the pharmaceutical industry and his new book “Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America.” This book describes the history of the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry and how we and they got to the place we are now.

Among many shocking facts included are that many of the practices that were incorporated into marketing and selling heroin and cocaine in the early 20th century are still used today. And like before, those same companies are deliberately downplaying of the risk of modern-day medicines like opioids. Refer to www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org and www.posner.com. Be sure to read “Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America.”

Association Healthcare Plans

An association healthcare plan is a method of providing the advantages of a large group health insurance plan enjoyed by larger corporations, the federal government, or state governments for small businesses and individuals. Associations based on a shared profession, a line of business, or even just a geographic location, such as a state or city, can offer group health insurance with the ability to negotiate savings from healthcare providers and pharmacies. Membership in an association health insurance program also provides cost savings for premiums.

Association Healthcare Plans

Let us suppose that you are the owner of a mom and pop eatery and want to provide your employees some good health insurance, but the number of people who work for you does not rise above the threshold of a large group as defined by your state’s regulator. In that instance, a restaurant association might offer a health insurance plan for its members, with the number of premium-paying members easily being above the cutoff line of a large group, thus qualifying for savings.

If you happen to be self-employed or a freelancer, the same idea applies. Say an association of everything from accountants to freelance writers or musicians can offer an association healthcare plan, rendering tremendous savings over individual health plans.

Individual health insurance plans in the United States are very expensive and have such huge deductibles that often having such a plan is the equivalent of not having one, despite the member paying huge premiums. Association healthcare plans provide an alternative to paying through the nose for health insurance or doing without it for people who don’t work for large employers.

Health insurance reform has been a contentious political issue in the United States for decades. Association healthcare plans, in the view of many, provide at least part of an answer to getting more people affordable insurance.

For more information contact us.