Not quite over the hump yet; gotta get through today first, and it's a busy one. But first, the news:
Health insurance premiums have sky-rocketed this year. It costs more to insure a family than to buy a new car. They say they're keeping pace with the cost of health care, but from the rate filings I've looked at, it appears to me that they are raising rates now because, starting in 2012, they will have to justify all rate increases over 10 percent under health reform. There's no question that utilization rates are going down because people are staying away from doctors due to cost in this economy. States are starting to crack down, though. Connecticut's Insurance Department has just denied a rate increase from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of CT, giving them much less than they asked for. The worst thing about the rate increases is that some people won't be able to afford insurance at all. More and more of the costs of health care are being shifted to employees. Check out this chart - scary. Of course, the GOP blames this on health reform even though the provisions of health reform designed to control cost have not taken effect yet.
Meanwhile, GOP Paul Ryan, who proposed turning Medicare into a voucher program and Medicaid into block grants, now says we should repeal health reform and provide everyone with some help to pay for health care. But he says we have to address the overutilization of health care. Overutilization. There isn't much that makes me madder than the baseless belief that people use more health care than they need. Every once in awhile, I try backing off one of my meds to see if I can get the number down some. I haven't had a colonoscopy in 2 years. I go to the doctor way less than the doctor would like me to. My underutilization is not good, but I think it's typical. People with chronic illnesses stay away from doctors as much as possible. We learn when we need them and when we can manage on our own, and we manage as much as we can.
Soldiers are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan with a host of problems, both physical and emotional. Their need for attention strains their families. We must step up. Many have mild traumatic brain injuries, which are being diagnosed at an alarming rate.
Believe it or not, that's all I have for you today. Slow health-news day. Maybe no news is good news? Have a great day! Jennifer