Saturday, August 15, 2009

Evangelism Workshop

Bob and Leslie and I are going to attend an Evangelism Workshop in Joplin today. Leslie will be here sometime after 7:00 AM and we will take my car.

I am not a great Evangel but will go anyhow to support Karen P. who will be the presenter.

I hope it doesn't get too hot for Slinky since he will be out all day. This workshop doesn't break up until 4:00 and it's an hour and a half drive from Joplin.

When Leslie called last evening she sounded rather subdued. Four weeks ago she interviewed for a job she really wanted and they promised her she was a frontrunner and they would get back with her the next week either way. They never called one way or the other.

She called back the end of that second week and they assured her she was still in the running and they had not made a decision yet. She still has heard nothing. She is not going to call again. Obviously, she was passed over but they should have called to tell her that.

Friday, August 14, 2009

From today

So much for a slow news month. August feels like campaign season, with claims on health care coming at us daily. Does the House bill call for mandatory counseling on how to end seniors’ lives sooner? Absolutely not. Will the government be dictating to doctors how to treat their patients? No. Do the bills propose cutting Medicare benefit levels? No on that one, too.

But on the other hand, has Congress figured out how to pay for this overhaul? Not yet. Or will it really save families $2,500 a year as the president keeps claiming? Good luck on that one, too.

In this article we offer a run-down of seven falsehoods we’ve taken on recently, with some additional updating and research thrown in.

False: Government Will Decide What Care I Get (a.k.a. they won’t give grandma a hip replacement)

This untrue claim has its roots in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the stimulus bill), which called for the creation of a Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research. The council is charged with supporting and coordinating research that the government has been funding for years into which treatments work best, and in some cases, are most cost-effective. Supporters of this type of research say it can provide valuable information to doctors, improving care and also lowering cost.

Betsy McCaughey, a former Republican lieutenant governor of New York (and now a professing Democrat), wrote in an opinion piece that the government would actually tell doctors what procedures they could and couldn’t perform. The claim took off from there, popping up in chain e-mails and Republican press conferences. It’s not true. The legislation specifically says that the council can’t issue requirements or guidelines on treatment or insurance benefits:

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the Council to mandate coverage, reimbursement, or other policies for any public or private payer. … None of the reports submitted under this section or recommendations made by the Council shall be construed as mandates or clinical guidelines for payment, coverage, or treatment.

As for the health care bills themselves, the House’s H.R. 3200 sets up a center to conduct and gather such research within the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, an entity the CBO called “the most prominent federal agency supporting various types of research on the comparative effectiveness of medical treatments." Like the stimulus legislation, the bill states that: "Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the Commission or the Center to mandate coverage, reimbursement, or other policies for any public or private payer.’’

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee bill (not yet released in its entirety) calls for a similar center that “will promote health outcomes research and evaluation that enables patients and providers to identify which therapies work best for most people and to effectively identify where more personalized approaches to care are necessary for others,” according to the summary of the bill.

This claim also stems from a fear that the U.S. will institute a system like that of the U.K., where the government provides and pays for health care. But none of the bills now being debated in Congress call for such a system, and the president has said he doesn’t want nationalized or single-payer health care, as we’ve said several times.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Health Care Reform

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage

Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.

Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses

Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.

Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.

Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.

Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.

Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.

Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won't be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.

Learn more and get details:

8 common myths about health insurance reform

Reform will stop "rationing" - not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a "government takeover" of health care or lead to "rationing." To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.

We can’t afford reform: It's the status quo we can't afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.

Reform would encourage "euthanasia": It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.

Vets' health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.

Reform will benefit small business - not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.

Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare "doughnut" hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.

You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.

No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.

Learn more and get details:

8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now

Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more:

Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job. Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more:

Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more:

Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more:

Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more:

The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more:

Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people - one in every three Americans under the age of 65 - were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more:

The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance - projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Funeral for Ivan

I went to Independence today to get my hair done and meet Juanita for breakfast and then do the funeral.

Juanita was telling me she went into the prescription drug donut hole this month. She needed one of the drops she uses for her glaucoma and it usually costs $125 for a very small vial of meds. She was amazed to find that it now cost $465. And she has to refill this drop every month. She lives on a little over $1,000 a month. What a racket! And that is just one of her three drops.

The funeral turned out well. Many of our congregation attended. They also had military honors. Ivan had served during World War II. Those are so impressive!

Afterward we met John and Leslie for lunch and then came on home for Bob's nap. Slinky wanted in and so he is in the kitchen. I have changed out of my dress and into my shorts.

Several at the funeral spoke of Ivan and how dear he was to all of us. Nadine, his dear friend, was also there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Busy Tuesday

I went to sit with my sister again today...same story different verse. I heard everything over and over again that I heard the past few months. Poor woman doesn't realize she repeats everything. My brother-in-law went to his breakfast and had a break.

Then we went to Independence where I had a board meeting for the Montgomery County Medical Clinic. After that, we took Leslie to lunch at Big Cheese. Bill H. met us there. Bob had visited him while I was in my meeting.

We came home and let Slinky in the house. It was 90 degrees and he was hot! He will be outside this evening though because Bob A, Leslie and I have a Mission Center meeting at 6:30 at Scammon, KS, about 60 miles away. We will leave here at 4:45 and pick up Leslie at Independence. My Bob will go to the viewing of Ivan at the family time.

Tomorrow will be pretty hectic too. At 7:15 I have my hair appointment and then breakfast with Juanita. Then at 11:00 I will do the funeral for Ivan. Bob will read the obit and ask the invocation. He will also do the graveside remarks and prayer.

Then in the afternoon, I will be free.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ivan's Funeral Plans

I finally got the final word from Mary Lou this morning and got everyone called that has no email. Ivan's services will be Wednesday at 11:00 in Independence, Kansas. Visitation will be tomorrow evening between 6:00 and 7:00 PM. Bob will go to that. Leslie and Bob A. and I will go to Scammon for the Mission Center budget meeting. That is at 6:30.

I worked all morning on the service. It is finished now and we are ready.

We cleaned house this morning and I cleaned the bathrooms really well. Slinky has been out all day because the rain we got cooled things down quite a bit. We didn't get much rain so it may heat up again this afternoon.

Tomorrow will be my usual busy Tuesday. Not only will I sit with my sister but I have my board meeting at 11:00 and we are taking Leslie to lunch at noon. Then I will go back up that afternoon to pick her up for our trip to Scammon.

Bob intends to go to the viewing.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Nice Sunday

I had a call last night at 9:20 to tell me that Ivan passed away earlier at 8:30. I was afraid of that when we saw him Friday. The services will be at 11:00 Wednesday. Mary Lou, his niece, called me this evening to tell me about the plans. Bob and I will do the service.

Bob and I got up early this morning to drive to Joplin (about 1 hour and 20 minutes away) where I was to preach. The service went well. There was a nice dinner afterward. We enjoyed the visit then.

We got home about 2:30 this afternoon and Slinky was very hot. We let him in all the rest of the afternoon. Poor guy! He had not eaten anything since his cinnamon toast this morning. His food was still in the bowl and I could not entice him to eat it.

I made Bob and myself bacon and tomato sandwiches for supper and finally I poured the bacon grease on his food. Oh Boy!! He was delighted! He ate every bite. That dog is spoiled rotten!