For These Uncertain Times What Type of Health Insurance Is Best?

In wake of the election which insurance is best?
Three in ten uninsured adults in 2019 went without needed medical care due to cost. 

In wake of the 2020 election outcome…

For These Uncertain Times What Type of Health Insurance Is Best?

November 24, 2020 – According to Dr. Steven Goldstein, founder of the Houston Healthcare Initiative, “with the current system we have, I would buy a policy that has a high deductible,” he told his podcast audience. “This is sometimes known as ‘catastrophic’ health coverage. Then I would pay cash for my health expenses.”

That times are unsettled was never truer than in 2020. With the U.S. House and the presidential election settled, the majority of the senate remains undecided and will stay that way until the two runoff elections for both Georgia senate seats on January 5, 2021. The implications for the U.S. healthcare system are many. What can or should Americans do in the near term? Listen to “The Houston Healthcare Initiative Podcast to find out. The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast can be heard on SoundCloudGoogle PlayLibsyn FeedStitcheriHeartRadioSpotify, and the Houston Healthcare Initiative web site.

Cash & Catastrophic Coverage

According to Dr. Goldstein, cash payments are accepted for most if not all medical charges and prescription drugs. Do not try to get the ‘insured’ rate to put against your deductible. Paying cash is much less desirable with the insured rate. “Most people will never reach their deductible amount anyway,” he said. “This arrangement is the best value for people under the current system. So, while at the doctors’ office show them your insurance card but tell them you are paying cash.”

Return of the Mandate?

Most Americans get their health insurance through their employer. The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care, made more choices for insurance available and penalized people who did not purchase health insurance. While not ideal, it was a way to get more people covered by private insurance than before. Plus, it offered subsidies for those who could not afford insurance.  But at the same time, it was the mandate and accompanying monetary penalty that seemed to make the policy so unpopular with many. “The overall insurance industry and its approach to paying for healthcare are very flawed in fundamental ways,” Dr. Goldstein told his listeners. “We can spend time and money to make a bad system work better and that is probably what will happen in the near term.”

Likely Short-Term Changes

Some near-term changes are likely to be mandates for private firms and their employees to provide for and buy health insurance. The cost of care for uninsured workers is often passed along to the insured through taxes and other mechanisms. There are employed people now who go without health insurance and keep the part of their pay that would go to health insurance. One economic rationale for employer mandates is that the cost of care for uninsured workers is often passed along to the insured through taxes and other mechanisms. Mandates are, in part, an attempt to eliminate those who opt out of available coverage.

American Attitudes About Caring for Each Other

Generally, Americans have decided that we will treat sick and injured people who do not have insurance, but that treatment is not free. “So, we have all these schemes for the uninsured, or others to make people buy insurance,” Dr. Goldstein said. “While caring for the sick and injured is laudable, paying for it is another matter, like with the Obama Care mandate.”

Three in ten uninsured adults in 2019 went without needed medical care due to cost. Studies repeatedly demonstrate that uninsured people are less likely than those with insurance to receive preventive care and services for major health conditions and chronic diseases. Not having insurance is generally a financial issue and one that leads to unhealthier people. “With the catastrophic coverage, patients are able to be seen as many practices will not see anyone without insurance,” Dr. Goldstein said. “Paying cash for services and not applying them to the deductible will both save money and result in a healthier population.”

About Houston Healthcare Initiative

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.

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.

Compare Democratic and Republican Healthcare Plans and What the Public Can Do About Them

Compare Healthcare By Party

Compare Democratic and Republican Healthcare Plans and What the Public Can Do About Them. 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. To listen to the podcast, click below. 

Do we 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? On this podcast, with what is a more optimistic point of view is respected Houston based neurologist and founder of the Houston Healthcare Initiative, Dr. Steven Goldstein.

Healthcare reform according to the Democrats is some form of single payer system. According to the Republicans it means more price transparency and more competition between insurance companies. The Democratic reforms will indeed lower healthcare costs by fiat and not cause any appreciable decline of public health. However it also will not improve public health. It will however make individual patients unhappy because of rationing of care. The Republican reforms will have little effect on lowering costs but will avoid the rationing of care. It also will not improve public health. No matter which reforms are adopted patients will be unhappy with the results. Also no legislation will be passed without the blessing of the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and hospitals.

What Can The Public Do?

Individuals and companies need to walk away from the insurance system. If enough companies  and individuals leave, the current system will collapse. The best alternative to insurance at this time is the healthcare cooperative. When combined with a health savings account and a high deductible sharing of healthcare costs we can begin to see a gradual reduction in cost. Of course, the best way to lower costs is to lead a healthy lifestyle. This will indeed improve public health. For the medicare age groups, the managed medicare plans lower costs by partial rationing of care combined with encouraging a healthy lifestyle. I do not have the statistics as to whether or not managed medicare plans improve public health.

What About Obamacare?

Didn’t the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care, make more choices for insurance available and penalize people who did not purchase health insurance?Yes, but look what happened to health insurance premiums. They kept rising even faster than before. The subsidies, while allowing more people to be covered by insurance, were a boon to the insurance companies allowing for the increase of premiums and increasing the number of policies sold. This is why the insurance companies and hospitals were in favor of the bill in the first place. We can see the result- higher premiums. Things are worse than they were before. The overall insurance system is flawed in fundamental ways. We are spending time and money to make a bad system work better and that is probably what will happen in the near term.

There needs to be consequences for individuals that do not take care of themselves.             They can subsidize the government insurance by paying the government a higher premium; pay for care themselves or do nothing. 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.

November Is Health Coverage Selection Month; Which One Is Best?

Time To Choose Health Insurance

November 3, 2020 – Is it possible to get good health insurance coverage in 2021 and save money on treatments, prescription drugs and the policy too? The answer according to Dr. Steven Goldstein, founder of the Houston Healthcare Initiative and respected neurologist, is yes. On his regular podcast Dr. Goldstein, describes how this could work. The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast is heard on SoundCloud, Libsyn, iHeart Radio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Pod Cast Addict, Back Tracks and the Houston Healthcare Initiative web site.

The Virtues of Catastrophic Policies

So called ‘catastrophic’ health insurance policies come with high deductibles and limited coverage for office visits, tests or prescription drugs. These may be the perfect way to remain insured and provide an outlet for savings and that is to pay cash and ignore the deductible. “When people pay cash, they will be charged less than what the insurance company has to pay on the same claim,” Dr. Goldstein told his listeners. “Many doctors and specialists actually prefer cash which is why they usually charge less.”

Does This Apply To The Deductible?

When paying cash and the lower price offered for it, does this apply to the annual deductible amount? “No, the cash price will not apply, but for most who will never meet the deductible amount, it really does not make any difference,” Dr. Goldstein said. “Remember the reason for buying catastrophic insurance, it is in case of a catastrophe. Even if in one year you would’ve met the deductible otherwise, the money you save in other years will more than make up for it.”

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.

November Is Health Coverage Selection Month; Which One Is Best?

Time To Choose Health Insurance

How can anyone know what the best choice is? November Is Health Coverage Selection Month; Which health insurance option is best?

Is it possible to get good health insurance coverage in 2021 and save money on treatments, prescription drugs and the policy too? The answer according to Dr. Steven Goldstein, founder of the Houston Healthcare Initiative and respected neurologist, is yes. On his regular podcast Dr. Goldstein, describes how this could work. The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast is heard on SoundCloud, Libsyn, iHeart Radio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Pod Cast Addict, Back Tracks and the Houston Healthcare Initiative web site.

But, which health insurance option is best? The calendar, the traditional postal mail and email flooding into our respective boxes tells us all that it is time to make selections for health insurance coverage for 2021. What is different this year? and of course, Which health insurance option is best? One major change is that there are fewer choices for health insurance coverage in major population centers. Fewer choices for insurance coverage will mean that insurance companies will have even more influence on what is covered and how much they will pay on patient claims. Fewer choices mean less competition and less competition means the marketplace will have limited influence. For those who want alternatives to traditional health insurance, are there any and what are they? Find out by listening to the podcast here.

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.

 

Child COVID-19 vaccine trials to begin in Florida this week.

NOTE: Child COVID-19 vaccine trials to begin in Florida this week. Watch how Dr. Steven Goldstein, founder of the Houston Healthcare Initiative, contributed to a major television feature on vaccine trials in the state of Florida. You can see him and the full story here:

WFTV ABC in Orlando, Florida news on Covid-19 vaccine trials.

Child COVID-19 vaccine trials to begin in Florida this week. Starting this week, researchers will begin testing one of the experimental COVID-19 vaccines on children, marking the first trial in the country to do so.

It’s one of several big developments in the race to approve a vaccine.

Screen Shot 2020-10-27 at 4.23.06 PM Child COVID-19 vaccine trials to begin in Florida this week.
In this story Dr. Steven Goldstein discusses liability waivers for vaccine trials starting in the state of Florida.

So far, more than 600 Central Floridians have walked into a DeLand lab, willing to test the Moderna vaccine.

Moderna and Pfizer are in the final phases of testing their vaccines. For Pfizer, that includes testing children 12 and over.

On Tuesday, Johnson & Johnson paused its study after one person got “an unexplained illness.” And it’s been over a month since AstraZeneca’s trial had been put on hold in the U.S. after two British participants experienced neurological issues.

When a vaccine is approved and available by, at the earliest, the end of the year, companies cannot be held liable for any unexpected complications. A good place to start with answers is here as Child COVID-19 vaccine trials to begin in Florida this week.

“Now, if there are expected complications, and the company hid that information, like they knew about something that it would happen, and they don’t tell people about it, you can still sue for that,” said Dr. Steven Goldstein of the Houston Healthcare Initiative.

A recent Gallup Poll found people are split right down the middle when asked if they’d take a vaccine, down from the 66% of people who were willing to take it three months ago. People in Florida will help the entire country find answers.

What Will Vaccine Liability Waivers Mean For The Covid-19 Inoculation

What Will Vaccine Liability Waivers Mean For The Covid-19 Inoculation. There will be issues with the new Coronavirus/Covid-19 vaccine because there were issues with every single vaccine introduced before. There are currently numerous studies and trials devoted to finding a shot that will give immunity to the recipient against the deadly and contagious Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic. The company that is first to introduce a successful shot for immunity will reap big rewards in the form of profits and scientific prestige. But when there are problems with it, as there certainly will be, what recourse does the public have?

Vaccine Liability Photo
Vaccine waivers protect manufacturers from lawsuits and liability other drugs have.

On his regular podcast, respected neurologist Dr. Steven Goldstein describes the risks and benefits of vaccines and a regulation known as the ‘vaccine liability waiver.’ The Houston Healthcare Initiative Podcast can be heard on SoundCloud, LibSyn, Google Play, iHeartRadio, iTunes, Stitcher, Radio.com and many other places where podcasts are heard.

What Is The Vaccine Liability Waiver?

According to Dr. Goldstein, vaccine liability waivers are really what the name implies which is that vaccine makers are not generally held responsible for injuries their vaccines may cause. “This is notable because it is the only part of the healthcare industry where such protection exists,” Dr. Goldstein told his listeners. “The companies that make these vaccines cannot be sued for monetary damages unless a person who died or was seriously injured can demonstrate that the company engaged in “willful misconduct” which is a very high legal standard to achieve.”

The Vaccine Waiver Makes Vaccines Possible

What Will Vaccine Liability Waivers Mean For The Covid-19 Inoculation? It is very likely that were it not for the ‘waiver’ there would be few if any vaccine makers in the U.S. Starting with the Salk vaccine in the 1950’s through the 1970’s and ‘80’s, lawsuits against vaccine makers increased to the point that there was only one Diphtheria Pertussis Tetanus (DPT) vaccine maker in the U.S.

In 1986 the U.S. Congress responded to the situation in the vaccine market by passing the ‘National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act’ or NCVIA. The act included a number of regulations related to informed consent and adverse event reporting but also removed many of the monetary recovery options that were putting the industry out of business.

Complexity Comes With Safeguards

Vaccines are developed, tested, and regulated the same as other drugs but more so. Vaccine development is a complex process that takes usually takes years. That is because the number of people in vaccine clinical trials are usually greater, and, those who receive vaccines are more in number than those who receive or take other prescription drugs. In addition, post-license monitoring of vaccines is closely examined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

So, while the liability waiver exists, all the other pharmaceutical safeguards are in place. Regardless of expectations, no medical treatment is completely risk free. “Vaccines are made to protect us from disease, but they can have negative side effects,” Dr. Goldstein said. “Most of these effects are pretty mild like soreness in the arm from the injection. Others can be more serious. But without these rules it is unlikely anyone in the U.S. would be researching a Covid-19 vaccine.”

What Will Vaccine Liability Waivers Mean For The Covid-19 Inoculation? Nothing in the world of medicine is without risk and the ultimate introduction of the Coronavirus vaccine is no exception. The laws and regulations strike a balance that protects the public and aids in the delivery of a vaccine sooner than later.

The Effectiveness Standard for Covid-19

The minimum requirement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for any COVID-19 vaccine is that it should at least prove 50% effective when compared with a placebo — that is, a neutral saline solution. The annual flu vaccine is a success when it is 40% – 60% effective. Fifty percent is right in the same range as the flu 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.

 

Vaccine Development Liability Waivers Where Safety & Business Gel

The pluses and minuses of the vaccine liability waver laws on this edition of the Houston Healthcare Initiative Podcast.

Vaccine Development Liability Waivers Where Safety & Business Gel.

There are currently 120 Coronavirus/Covid-19 vaccines in development and a race to be the first one available for the public. Being first with this vaccine will mean big rewards for the maker in the form of profits and scientific prestige. Along with these developments there is political pressure to not only be first but be first by election day.

Regardless, the benefits of a vaccine for this extremely contagious virus will ultimately accrue to the public. But nothing is foolproof and there will be problems with this vaccine because there were with all of them. And when there are problems who is ultimately responsible and how can the public find justice? To know better what the possible risk benefit for a vaccine to the Covid-19 is and help us understand the possible downside and upside is respected Houston neurologist Dr. Steven Goldstein. On his podcast Dr. Goldstein describes the advantages of vaccine liability waivers and the potential downside.

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.