December 21, 2007

News from 12/21/07

HomeUniversal Health Care in Maryland in 2008

Health Care is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization working with other organizations, elected officials, and concerned individuals to bring high-quality universal health care to Maryland in 2008. We're planning town halls, summits, conferences, and organizing legislative efforts. Visit our website: (by Mike Hersh)

States' Health Care Liability Totals $2.73T, Some Unfunded

the five largest states by population -- California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois -- have reserved no funds for retiree health care obligations

Nearly half of states have not adequately funded their pension and retiree health care obligations, which will total $2.7 trillion over the next 30 years, according to a study released on Wednesday by the Pew Center on the States, part of the Pew Charitable Trusts, the New York Times reports (Williams Walsh, New York Times, 12/19). States have reserved sufficient funds to cover 85% of the future pension and retiree health care obligations, according to the report. The report found that states will owe $381 billion for retiree health care and other nonpension obligations over the next 30 years.

Teen dies after transplant funds denied by CIGNA HealthCare

"She passed away, and the insurance (company) is responsible for this"

GLENDALE, Calif. -- A 17-year old died just hours after her health insurance company reversed its decision not to pay for a liver transplant that doctors said the girl needed. Nataline Sarkisyan died Thursday night at about 6 p.m. at University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. She had been in a vegetative state for weeks, said her mother, Hilda.

Physician shortage looms in Maryland

Rural areas expected to be hit hardest
by Steve Berberich | Staff Writer

Widespread shortages in many physician specialties can be expected by 2015 in Maryland, especially in rural counties, unless action is taken soon, said a committee of top medical experts in an unpublished report due to the state government next month. ‘‘I think this is just a small piece of a bigger problem,” Sen. Thomas M. Middleton (D-Dist. 28) of Waldorf said of the report. ‘‘My gut feeling is that we are approaching a crisis in primary care doctors.”

California Moves Closer to Passing Universal Health Care Plan

By Michael B. Marois |

Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- California is one step closer to passing a $14 billion plan supported by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to expand health care to the state's uninsured by charging employers a fee and raising taxes on cigarettes. The state Assembly, controlled by Democrats, passed the bill yesterday in a 45-31 vote. It would require businesses to spend as much as 6.5 percent of payroll costs on health care for workers or pay as much into a state program. It also would raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by at least $1.50 from the current 87 cents and force all residents to buy insurance if they can afford it.

Small Businesses Oppose Mandates for Health Plans

By MILT FREUDENHEIM | The New York Times

The small-business lobbying group that had a big role in derailing Hillary Rodham Clinton’s effort to overhaul health care in the early 1990s has staked out its position for the 2008 political season. The group, the National Federation of Independent Business, which says it has 350,000 members and lobbyists in 50 states, warned politicians and policy makers on Wednesday not to impose new health-benefit obligations on small employers.The group said in a statement of principles that “a health care system built on employer mandates or on play-or-pay taxes is unacceptable.”

'Is this what America stands for?'

By Linda P. Campbell | McClatchy Newspapers

Hillary Clinton talks about health-care reform in terms of "American values, American families and American jobs." Barack Obama talks about health care as a "right for everyone, not a privilege for the few." John McCain talks about making insurance more affordable "by fostering competition and innovation." Uwe Reinhardt talks about outrages.The Princeton economics professor tells of a hospital patient charged $9,000 for a night in the intensive care unit and $791 for stockings that run $12 at a drugstore. He tells of a father who sought treatment for his son's infected eye and got billed $1,200. "Is this what America stands for?" he asked. But it wasn't really a question.

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