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"We may not always get what we want, but surely we will get what we deserve."
                                                                                      - Doug Horton

selected sources from our research

(to get you started on your own. . . )

Sources
Simmons, Henry E. "Building a Better Health Care System." National Coalition on Health Care 20 July 2004. 15 Nov. 2004 <http://www.nchc.org/materials/studies/reform.pdf>.

The National Coalition on Health Care has put forth a report similar to that which we are trying to create ourselves: a report of some of the major problems in American health care. Made up of both democrats and republicans as evidence of their non-partisanship, the NCHC lays out what they feel are the five most important issues facing health care today. First, health care coverage for all. Second, cost management. Third, improvement of health care quality and safety. Fourth, equitable financing. Fifth, simplified administration.

Matthews, Merrill. “Answering the Critics of Pharmaceutical Patents.”  Ideas. 31 January 2003. 12 Nov. 2004 <http://www.heartland.org/pdf/12040.pdf>.

Prescription drug patents seem to have a negative connotation in our culture. In this article, the IPI attempts to reveal the truth behind criticism of drug patents. They address the charge that drug patents create a monopoly on a particular drug with the response that other drug companies are not unable to create a product that addresses the same medical condition. They respond to the allegation that patent laws keep low-income people from having access to prescription drugs by giving examples of drug companies that have offered discounts to low-income families.

National Coalition on Health Care. “Facts on Health Insurance Coverage” Date Unknown. 14 Nov. 2004. <http://www.nchc.org/facts/coverage.pdf>

This statement from the National Coalition on Health Care uses statistics to illustrate how fast health care costs are rising. One of the most important is that they say that health-related expenses are rising at a rate five times that of inflation. The NCHC claims that Americans are paying more fro prescription drugs, senior citizens are especially at risk, health insurance premiums are on the rise, and that fewer and fewer Americans have coverage at all. They draw their information from a variety of sources including government agencies, Kaiser Health Foundation, Christian Science Monitor, and the Wall Street Journal.

Bettelheim, Adriel. “Managing Managed Care.” The CQ Researcher. April 1999: 305-    328

This seems to be a heavyweight in health care reform research. Many of the articles that we found on our topic referenced this one. The CQ Researcher is a respected and authoritative journal. The article addresses managed care with a question and answer format. “Will tougher regulations lead to a rationing of health care?” They answer that tougher regulations will result in more defensive medicine by doctors, increased employer-premiums and employee contributions, a decrease in insured individuals, and lost wages for each covered household. They then address the question of whether physicians and hospitals should be subject to performance ratings. They make the case that these “Doctor Report Cards” don’t account for the severity of the patients illness or condition and many time the review results are falsified to reflect what the insurers want their customers to see. They describe how many performace rating programs around the country have since been discontinued. The article then explains that these programs focused on health care quality while everyone else in the industry focuses only on cost – and that programs should be retooled and renovated, not discontinued.

Marks, Alexandra. “Health Care Costs: Big Woe for Small Firms” The Christian     Science Monitor. September 2004

This article addresses the familiar issue of exponentially-rising health care costs, but presents it from the perspective of a business owner trying to provide coverage for his employees. They especially focus on small businesses - those with 200 employees or fewer - claiming that they get hit with the largest annual premium increases. The Monitor endorses a bill in Congress that would allow small business to band together into large cooperatives to make costs more affordable. They admit however, that it seems little will be done on the political front.

Claxton, Gary, et al.  Employer Health Benefits 2004 Annual Survey.  Menlo Park, California and Chicago, Illinois.  The Kaiser Family Foundation, Health Research and Educational Trust, 2004.  <http://www.kff.org>

This is a large and comprehensive survey detailing with all issues surrounding healthcare.  It is a corporate analysis written by several authors including Gary Claxon.   The authors state the rates of health care premiums are increasing at double-digit rates, and therefore at least five million jobs have stopped providing health insurance.  Further they elaborate, premiums increase much faster than inflation, and the wage gains.  They state over half of insured workers have a health plan, which requires a deductible be met before benefits are provided.  Also over half of employers are very likely to increase employee contributions in the coming year.  The authors feel, the study raises the question of whether small firms will continue to provide health benefits to workers families.  As it sits currently, family coverage costs an average of $10,000 per annum roughly a year’s work at minimum wage.  The authors have provided in this study numerous graphs, tables, charts and statistics to support these statements.

Health Policy Alternatives, Inc.  Prescription Drug Costs.  Menlo Park, California.  The Kaiser Family Foundation, 2004.  <http://www.kff.org>

The report states that the prices for prescription drugs reflect consumer demand and the patent system.  Further, while the patent system allows the manufacture to hold secure rights to that product for 20 years, the manufacturer is enticed to invent new drugs, in order to avoid loss of sales due to generic invention.  The report further states that from 1995 – 2002 drugs manufacturing was the most profitable industry in the nation beating fortune 500 companies by almost 400%.  Next, the report suggests that importation of drugs from other countries may not be the best solution to the problem, because companies could just limit the supply to those foreign countries.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.  Coverage and Cost Impacts of the President’s Health Insurance Tax Credit and Tax Deduction Proposals.  Menlo Park, California.  The Kaiser Family Foundation, 2004.  <http://www.kff.org>

 This report is put out by the Kaiser Family Foundation, and outlines the Health insurance tax credits, and deductions proposed by President Bush.  Overall, the reports analysis showed that the policies implemented would increase the number of people with health insurance by 1.3 million at a cost of $4700 per insured person.  In addition, a little over 10 million people would use the tax credit.  The report also suggests those who would benefit tend to be younger and healthier than the uninsured overall.  The analysis raises the question of whether additional policy responses would be needed to increase insurance access for more costly groups of uninsured people, i.e. Elderly, chronically ill.

United States.  Dept. of Health and Human Services.  Confronting the New Health Care Crisis: Improving Health Care Quality and Lowering Costs by Fixing Our Medical Liability System.  Washington: GPO, 2002.

This is an excellent study.  The analysis shows that because of litigation, doctors have begun to practice defensive medicine, just to avoid lawsuits.  It also notes that rates for malpractice insurance are rising at rapid rates.  Some statistics include; 79% of doctors ordering tests that they did not deem medically necessary, 74% of doctors referring patients to specialists they did not deem necessary, 51% recommending invasive procedures, and 41% prescribing medicines deemed medically unnecessary.  The report further suggests that these treatments pose risk to the patient, drive costs up, and make those services unavailable to someone else.  Next, malpractice insurance and frivolous damages raise the cost of health care; indirectly cost the government 28.6 to 47.5 billion dollars per annum.  In addition, the report states that the costs of malpractice cost the healthcare system between 60 ~ 108 billion dollars per annum.  Further doctors are leaving some states to avoid fees, and uncapped lawsuits.  The report states malpractice insurance companies are leaving the market; the premiums for the US have risen 505% since 1976, and some doctors are going bankrupt.

Alliance for Health Reform.  Health Care Coverage in America: Understanding the Issues & Proposal Solutions.  Washington DC: The Alliance for Health Reform, 2004. <http://www.covertheuninsured.org>

The crux of the document boils down to the fact that as health insurance becomes more expensive, we may not be able to afford our share, if we are offered coverage at all.  The document states that an estimated 18,000 adults die each year because they are uninsured, and cannot get appropriate care.  In addition, hospitalized patients without health insurance receive fewer needed services, worse quality care, or no care at all.  The report shares statistics like: trauma victims are less likely to be admitted and 37% more likely to die if they are uninsured.  The document proposes that the family’s financial standing may be severely compromised by lack of insurance.  In addition, the cost of health insurance is rising five times faster than earnings, and inflation.  This increase in cost produces the effect of people not being able to afford it.

United States.  Office of the President of the United States.  Economic Report of the President, 2004.  Pgs. 189 – 221.  Washington: GPO, 2004 <http://www.gpo.com>

The document states that between 50 and 75 percent of the rise in healthcare costs are related to technological progress in healthcare goods and services.  It also states, however that there is a question as to whether or not it is affordable or cost efficient.  It argues that over reliance as insurance as a method of payment at the point of service leads to inefficient use of resources by overuse, and misuse.  In addition, the United States spends a higher percentage of the GDP than any other industrialized nation on earth.  Even with that increased spending, our longevity and infant mortality are not any higher.  The document suggests that we are not wholly inefficient; rather we bear the costs of medical advances.  The document attributes the remaining rise in costs to the practice of defensive medicine.  Doctors who want to avoid being sued practice defensive medicine.  As a result, insurances are paying for more services than necessary, and costs are driven up.  The report uses a clever analogy about clothing insurance, and demonstrates that people will change their habits of use, when insurance makes their out of pocket costs less; this is referred to as moral hazard.  The tort system accounts for 233.4 billion dollars a significant cost for the healthcare system, and the cause of the practice of defensive medicine, and the high rates of malpractice insurance for doctors.

United American Insurance, “Do you need Health Insurance?” (Sept 2002) Retrieved on October 24th, 2004 from: http://www.unitedamerican/underhealth.asp

     This article was titled, “Do you need Health Insurance?” It is promoting United American Insurance Company who is telling us why to choose their insurance as consumers. There are some interesting facts throughout the writing. It promotes the company by saying they are a strong company and that they are a company of integrity. The reasons they list for choosing them are: flexibility, affordability, it is guaranteed renewable, and last, individual protection.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (October 2000) “Improving Health Care Quality”   Retrieved on October 24th, 2004 from: http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/qntlite.htm.
   
The name of this article is “Improving Health Care Quality”. First the author states that things are getting better in regards to health care quality. There are several things listed regarding what people can do to be more actively involved in their own health care. It then explains how Quality is measured and where to find those measures. I thought this was very interesting and helpful. Last, it listed several resources to contact for information regarding medical conditions you or your family members might be experiencing.

“The Pro’s and Con’s of Group Health Insurance.”  Retrieved on October 25Th 2004 from: http://www.healthinsuranceinfo/HIPRo.htm.

     This article is called, “The Pro’s and Con’s of Group Health Insurance.” At first the author explains that group health insurance is insurance that covers all eligible people in a group regardless of their age or physical condition. It continues by confirming that small group insurance refers to the number of employees covered under a company’s group insurance plan. Finally it talks about some of the pros and cons that come with group health insurance.

Intermountain Health Care (April 6th, 2004) “IHC named Nation’s Top Health System” Retrieved November 8th, 2004 from: http://www.ihc.com/xp.ihc/aboutihc.news.xml

     “IHC named Nation’s Top Health System” is the name of this article. It was written by the public relations department of Intermountain Health Care. The public relations department explains why four out of the past five years IHC has been nationally ranked as the top integrated health system. The authors also explain a study that was conducted by Verispan, a Chicago based health Information Company that examined 568 health system’s around the nation.

O’Donnell, Michael P. The American Journal of Health Promotion (Aug, 2003) “Health Promotion” Retrieved on November 8th, 2004 from: http://www.healthpromotionjournal.com
   
 This article is by The American Journal of Health Promotion and specifically Dr. Michael P O’Donnell who holds a P.H.D., MBA and MPH. Dr. O’Donnell states at the beginning of this article that, “Almost half of all premature deaths in the U.S. and other developed countries are caused by lifestyle related problems. He continues by saying that there are a number of things that we can do to prevent many of these deaths and enhance the quality of life for millions of people.

Heather, Judy, Christian, and Drew