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.

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.

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.

 

 

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.”

Why Are Prescription Drugs Cheaper in Canada?

Why Are Prescription Drugs Cheaper in Canada?

Even those with private, employer funded health insurance gasp at the price of some prescription medications. Learning that the same medicine is available north of the border at a substantially reduced price often produces other emotional reactions from surprise to anger. There are plenty of reasons those drugs are priced differently.

drug prices in Canada are lower because the Canadian government regulates the price.
Why Are Prescription Drugs Cheaper in Canada? Prices in Canada are lower because the Canadian government regulates the price.

Listeners to the Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast will learn why as respected neurologist Dr. Steven Goldstein explains how the combination of foreign government requirements and U.S. government non-regulation combined to give the American public sticker shock at the drug store.

The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast can be heard on SoundCloud, iHeartRadio, iTunes, Stitcher, and the website at www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org.

Canadian Government Declares Prices

In short, drug prices in Canada are lower because the Canadian government regulates the price. In Canada, a review board decides on pricing and what they believe are reasonable or excessive prices. If they decide a drug is priced too high, they will not allow it on the drug formulary. This board, the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, is described in Canada as a quasi-judicial agency.

Before a prescription drug can be sold in Canada it is scientifically reviewed to make certain that it can do what it is supposed to do. A committee of experts known as the Human Drug Advisory Panel will make recommendations about other valid drugs on which to make comparison, in addition to recommendations for the categorization of new drugs. The level of therapeutic improvement of an existing patented drug is used to determine a ceiling price, known as the Maximum Average Potential Price, at its introduction.

U.S. Prices Set by Industry

The U.S. government is prohibited by law from negotiating prices for Medicare and other government programs. “Obviously, the drug company needs to recoup the cost of research, manufacture, advertising and the cost of getting the drug approved by the FDA,” Dr. Goldstein told his listeners. “The people in this country essentially pay for all of this work as countries like Canada do not allow their citizens to share the cost.” New drugs are issued a patent giving the drug company a monopoly on sale of the drug for 20 years. The drug company is free to set whatever price it likes for prescription drugs. Prices are then negotiated between insurance companies and the manufacturers.

Needed Drug Price Reforms

The U.S. and Canadian systems each present two very different models for drug pricing, neither of which is reasonable. The Canadian system does not allow enough incentive for new drugs to be created. The American system results in unaffordable prices. “There are several needed reforms,” Dr. Goldstein said. “We are not able to flip a switch and adopt the prices charged in Canada, though that would be nice.”

The reforms Dr. Goldstein recommends are:

  • Reform drug patent law. The patent system for drugs needs to be reformed so that drug development costs can be recouped along with a profit. Once this occurs, the patent should expire.
  • Streamline approval. The FDA needs reform so that drug authorizations are more efficient. Possibly, an international FDA funded by a consortium of countries could approve drugs.
  • Eliminate monetary incentives for writing prescriptions.
  • Drug discounts to insurance companies and Medicare should be illegal.
  • Enforce the laws already passed. Antitrust laws for price collusion need to be enforced.

“If these reforms were enacted, prices for drugs would be determined more by supply and demand,” Dr. Goldstein said. “This would ensure an adequate supply at the lowest price. For high priced drugs of marginal benefit, demand would be low and would tend to cause the price to drop. For new orphan drugs, the government could provide subsidies.”

About Houston Healthcare Initiative

Houston Healthcare Initiative (HHI) was founded by Dr. Steven Goldstein. Like many Americans, Dr. Goldstein is concerned about the state of the U.S healthcare system as well as the sorry state of the public’s health. The Houston Healthcare Initiative web site is an aggregator of news, healthcare pricing information, and resources for those who want to help drive reform for the healthcare industry. HHI’s emphasis for reform is on free market innovation and personal responsibility.

 

Why Canadian Drug Prices Are Lower Than US Drug Prices

US & Canadian Drug Prices

What are the reasons prices for prescribed medicine here are far higher than they are in Canada? Is there a good reason or any reason? Add to this the recent federal government action to bring U.S. drug prices close to or on par with their costs in Canada. To make sense of this, please listen to the Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast. Listen here to find out Why Canadian Drug Prices Are Lower Than US Drug Prices.

Listen for more here at https://soundcloud.com/you/tracks.

 

Patients Can Save Money When They Pay Their Doctor In Cash

Even for those who have private insurance…

Patients Can Save Money When They Pay Their Doctor In Cash

Even patients who have their own health insurance can often save themselves money by paying cash. The Houston Healthcare Initiative website (www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org) now has a page that lists seventy-eight separate medical services that will accept cash payments. The number expands almost daily as independent providers look for ways to compete with the large conglomerates that provide most of the care here in the U.S. and provide more and better service to their patients. To go directly to the “Healthcare Pricing” page click here: https://houstonhealthcareinitiative.org/pricing.

There is no charge to visit the site, nor is there any fee to those who want to list their practice or

Medical Price Transparency
Save money when paying cash, even when patients have their own health insurance. 

facility.

Direct Payments Are Counter Intuitive

How could a patients’ direct payments be more affordable than those from their health insurance? “People who have health insurance assume that the insured price is always better than the cash price, but that is not always the case,” said neurologist and founder of the Houston Healthcare Initiative, Dr. Steven Goldstein. This has to do with meeting deductibles that are now higher than in years past. “Businesses who provide their employees with health insurance often require them to bare more of the cost in the form of higher deductibles, paying thousands of dollars on their healthcare before they can make a claim.” It is for these people and families that direct payments for service, on the day provided, makes sense.

But Do Not Go Without

Of course, this is not always the case nor is it a good reason to completely forgo health insurance. “Health insurance can protect people from high fees associated with serious long-term illnesses and accidents that could potentially bankrupt them,” Dr. Goldstein said. “But if someone has a high deductible and wants to save, this is a reasonable alternative that is at least worth investigation.”

Good For Doctors Too?

It is costly and labor intensive to administer health insurance. Healthcare providers benefit from accepting cash because of lower administrative and collection costs. “The labor required to file claims, negotiate with the insurance company and wait for payment, chase down their compensation from the insurance company or the patient saves the office manager a lot of time and hassle,” Dr. Goldstein said. “So much so that providers can pass that savings on to those who can pay cash.”

Potential Downside

The biggest potential negative for those who want to pay in cash is that often those payments will not count toward a deductible. All insurance companies have different rules for out of pocket payments and where the cap is for them. It is a good idea for those with such policies to investigate what the requirements and restrictions are in advance. Cash payment makes more sense for someone with a deductible not met or high enough that it likely will not be reached anytime in the same calendar year (deductibles reset annually). The insurance company web site or employer administrator will be able to answer these questions. “There is no substitute for knowing what a policy will or will not allow,” Dr. Goldstein said. “Before making a decision make sure it is informed.”

About Houston Healthcare Initiative

The Houston Healthcare Initiative web site is an aggregator of health news, healthcare pricing information, and resources for those who want to help drive reform for the healthcare industry. HHI’s emphasis for reform is on free market innovation and personal responsibility.

 

Secret Revealed on Pricing Practices of Health Insurance Companies & Hospitals

The actual price of what a medical test, procedure, exam and often prescription cost and how charges are assigned is not based on the free market. Instead, prices are agreed on via secret agreements between hospitals and insurance companies. This is the subject of the Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast with Dr. Steven Goldstein. To hear the Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast, please visit: SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, iHeart, PlayerFM, or the Houston Healthcare Initiative web site. Secret Revealed on Pricing Practices of Health Insurance Companies & Hospitals.

Pay More Attention

Price Transparency
Price transparency from insurance companies and medical companies is a rare thing.

Most people get health insurance from their employer which is the reason, so few pay much attention to the price of the medical services and pharmaceuticals that Americans purchase. Employer funded insurance pays for most of what is charged with individuals picking up a smaller deductible. But according to neurologist Dr. Steven Goldstein, it is past time to start devoting attention to not just what is charged but how the health insurance companies, and the medical community decides what to charge and why. Spoiler Alert: it is not based on the free market.

The idea that pricing for medical services as paid by insurance companies are artificially set and not competitive at all. They are agreed to in advance by the hospital and the insurance company, not disclosed to the public, and we are all led to believe that our insurance providers were negotiating on behalf of the people that pay the premiums.

It Is Expensive But…

The fact that the charges for visits to the doctor, hospital and pharmacist are mostly paid for by employer funded insurance does not make us any less likely to get both overcharged and underserved. It is a lack of transparency that makes medical costs so high. It was not wrong to believe that research, new equipment, and pharmaceutical discovery were what was behind the increase in healthcare prices; they account for some. “The issue is that patients do not know the actual price of services,” Dr. Goldstein told his listeners. “The list price is the price charged to patients without insurance. Each insurance company negotiates a discounted price.”

Thus, there are multiple discounted prices depending on the insurance company plus a different price for Medicare and Medicaid. These prices have traditionally been secret. There is no competition between hospitals based on price. “Medicare sets the price standard based on costs,” he said. “Thus, hospitals are cost plus operations with little incentive to reduce costs.”

Why Not Just Pay Cash?

Cash prices are often much less than what is charged even to the insurance companies. People often can secure better deals if they don’t use their insurance. A 2016 Wall Street Journal investigation found that hospitals frequently offer far better deals for people who pay in cash rather than use their insurance. “Price transparency allows individuals to shop for the best nonemergency deal. It would also force hospitals to compete, thus saving consumers money. It gives them a choice,” Dr. Goldstein said. The way any of us chooses to spend our money is the most democratic thing anyone can do.

Price transparency allows individuals to find the best non-emergency deal. It would also force hospitals to compete, thus saving consumers money. “If prices were known, posted in public, people could shop for the non-emergency services,” Dr. Goldstein said.

About 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.Secret Revealed on Pricing Practices of Health Insurance Companies & Hospitals