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Three Low Points in the Health Reform Debate
Les Masterson, Senior Editor-Managed Care

Healthcare reform's Era of Good Feelings has been replaced with anger, hurt feelings, and—surprise, surprise—lies, half-truths, and partisan bickering. There have been plenty of low points over the past two months, but there are three that I think have especially turned a productive health reform debate into a political campaign full of fear-mongering and name-calling. [Read More]
  August 26, 2009

Editor's Picks
Health insurers' profits induce ire
The campaign to paint health insurers as the evil empire continues as President Barack Obama and healthcare reform advocates bash insurers as making "record profits" while the rest of the economy struggles. One Web video even portrays health insurers as circling sharks. But whether these charges are correct depends on how you slice the numbers. [Read More]
Healthcare insurers get upper hand
Though they are being pillared from almost every angle, health insurers may actually come out of healthcare reform in good shape. Some of the top healthcare reform proposals would implement an individual mandate that would flood health insurers with new members. President Barack Obama and Democrats are not fans of health insurance and are quick to bash the industry as a major cause for health costs, but insurers might just escape this year's health reform in better shape. [Read More]
Insurers asked about pay, practices
In a piece of political arm-twisting, two leading House Democrats sent a letter to insurers asking them to provide detailed information about their conferences and retreats, executive pay, and other business practices. The Democrats are collecting the information in hopes of painting health insurers as the enemy in the healthcare debate. Health insurance companies are far from saints, but this blatant political move is discouraging and signals how far the health reform debate's discourse has fallen. [Read More]
Insurers' employees counter criticism
Employees of health insurers are attending town hall meetings in an attempt to promote the industry's message. They trumpet the need for bipartisan legislation and speak about the potentially negative effects of a public insurance plan. America's Health Insurance Plans has released a "Town Hall Tips" memo that warns employees to expect harsh criticism directed at health plan employees, but asks them to remain calm and not yell at members of Congress. [Read More]
Co-opting Public Plans
With many wondering if the public insurance plan will make it through the sausage factory on Capitol Hill, health insurance cooperatives are being seen a potential compromise. But there are plenty of questions as to how cooperatives would work and one industry insider even calls cooperatives "the single dumbest idea" he has heard in 20 years of health reform debate. [Read More]
Managed Care Headlines
Health premiums up 95% since 2000
Philadelphia Inquirer, August 21, 2009
New Efforts to Insure Young Adults May Beat Reform Proposals to the Punch
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, August 26, 2009
No Health Reform Plan Features Major Medicare Changes
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, August 21, 2009
Key senators discuss trimming health bill
Washington Post, August 21, 2009
Public Plan, Co-ops Remain on Health Reform Plate
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, August 24, 2009
Senate Democrats consider tactic to push through government health plan
The New York Times, August 24, 2009
Group aims at 8 senators for public option
The New York Times, August 25, 2009
Public Plan is Being Swiftboated
Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 21, 2009
Taxing Health Benefits Would Hurt Poor Working Families More Than The Rich
Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 21, 2009
Health insurers eye social networking
Wall Street Journal Health Blog, August 20, 2009

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A significant disconnect exists in our current framework that disenfranchises the individual from the financial ramifications of their day-to-day lifestyle and health-related decisions. Add to this the rich benefits offered by employers fueled by its tax advantages and you have a formula that has caused the employee to be removed and disengaged from the actual cost of providing their care. [Read More]
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Removing Costs Can Spark Prevention

Education and incentives are needed to bring about significant cultural health behavior. [Read More]
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