Health/Fitness

ECM'S HEALTHCARE REFORM BILL ANALYSIS : WHO WILL BE COVERED--AND HOW WLL IT IMPACT YOU?

COSTS, DIFFERENCES BETWEEN KEY REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC PLANS ALSO WEIGHED
 

November 8, 2009 (Washington D.C.) –H.R. 3962, The Affordable Health Care for America Act approved Saturday by the House of Representatives is widely deemed the most significant social reform since the enactment of Social Security and Medicaid. The bill will next be considered by the Senate. While much media coverage has focused on a public option (i.e., giving qualifying consumers a choice between private healthcare and a government-run system) the bill in fact has many other provisions that, if enacted, will impact nearly everyone in America.

Last-minute amendments, media spin (and in some cases, outright fibs) have many confused about what’s actually in the bill. How will it affect you, what will it cost, and how does the Democratic-backed bill passed by the House compare with alternatives proposed by Republicans? East County Magazine has consulted a wide variety of sources on the left and right as well as nonpartisan fact-checking outlets, government analysts, and major media outlets to provide you with as many answers as we could find.

BREAKING NEWS: HOUSE PASSES LANDMARK HEALTHCARE BILL; LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES DIVIDED

 

November 8, 2009 (Washington D.C.) - The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Affordable Healthcare for All Act last night by a 220-215 margin.  Local Democratic representatives Bob Filner and Susan Davis voted for the landmark measure, while local Republicans Duncan Hunter, Darrell Issa and Brian Bilbray voted no. 

 

In the House, only a single Republican (Joseph Cao of New Orleans) voted for the measure.  In addition, 39 Democrats voted no, including representatives from conservative districts as well as some liberal members.

AMA AND AARP ENDORSE HEALTHCARE REFORM PROPOSAL NOW BEFORE CONGRESS, LOCAL LEADERS WEIGH IN

 

HUNTER AFFIRMS OPPOSITION TO PUBLIC OPTION; OTHERS OBJECT TO DROPPING AMENDMENT TO LET STATES PASS STRONGER HEALTHCARE REFORMS



By Miriam Raftery

 

November 5, 2009 – The Democratic-sponsored healthcare measure currently before Congress got a booster shot today with the endorsement of two major groups, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S IN THE HEALTHCARE BILL? TOP 14 PROVISIONS THAT WOULD TAKE EFFECT IMMEDIATELY

 

October 31, 2009 (Washington D.C.) – Many Americans are not aware that The Affordable Health Care for America Act now before Congress has many provisions to help people afford healthcare costs right away. A public option (or choice between government-run healthcare and private insurance) if passed would take time to set up. This week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi released this list of the top 14 provisions that would kick in immediately:

1. BEGINS TO CLOSE THE MEDICARE PART D DONUT HOLE — Reduces the donut hole by $500 and institutes a 50% discount on brand-name drugs, effective January 1, 2010.

2. IMMEDIATE HELP FOR THE UNINSURED UNTIL EXCHANGE IS AVAILABLE (INTERIM HIGH-RISK POOL) — Creates a temporary insurance program until the Exchange is available for individuals who have been uninsured for several months or have been denied a policy because of pre-existing conditions.

SAN DIEGANS TO CONFRONT INSURANCE GIANT: POLICY HOLDERS & ACTIVISTS PLAN 3-DAY PROTEST AT BLUE CROSS; HAUNT BEGINS ON HALLOWEEN

Sit-In Slated for Monday morning

 

October 30, 2009 (San Diego) --“Is there anything scarier than thinking you might need medical care, and getting canceled by a health insurance corporation who spent your premiums on TV ads and lobbying?” asks San Diegan Mike Copass, co-organizer of a 45-hour haunt of Blue Shield’s office at 2275 Rio Bonito Way in Mission Valley.

 

The actions are part of a national groundswell of civil disobedience at health insurance company offices by people seeking to end insurance abuse and win health care for all. So far, 115 people have been arrested in 18 cities demanding “real health care reform that treats health care like a human right, not a commodity,” according to a press release issued by event organizers. 

MORE H1N1 VACCINE ARRIVES IN UNEXPECTED SHIPMENT TODAY

 

Additional Doses Going to Primary Care Providers, Emergency Workers

 

2 new deaths announced, including a pregnant woman

 

October 30, 2009 (San Diego) -- The County of San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) has received an additional unexpected shipment of 78,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine. About 10,000 of those doses were distributed directly to the County’s Public Health Centers.

The remaining doses will be distributed to primary care providers (including pediatricians, obstetricians, and family providers), ambulatory and community clinics not reached in last Friday’s allocation, as well as used to conduct vaccination clinics at schools.

MUSIC IS THE BEST MEDICINE: GROSSMONT/SHARP HOSPITAL PHYSICIANS SAVORED “HAPPINESS COMMITTEE” MUSICAL EVENING

 

A review by Bill Pogue

 

October 27, 2009 (La Mesa)--Grossmont Hospital Chief of Staff Michael Musicant M.D. recognized that the pace and structure of the medical practice today is stressful and tends to isolation of practitioners, compared to 30 years ago. So he set up a "Happiness committee" dedicated to getting staff together around social projects. Six have been organized so far. One donated back packs to needy school kids. Another exhibited art created by thephysicians, attracting attendance by 170 doctors and their families.



On Tuesday, September 17, about 150 Doctors, staff, and family gathered on the lawn behind the mental rehab facility as the sun set, enjoying two hours of music of all sorts performed by Grossmont Hospital physicians.

CITIZENS OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE ISSUES REPORT ON HOSPITAL BOND EXPENDITURES

October 27, 2009 (La Mesa)--A volunteer citizens group that is overseeing how the taxpayer-supported Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) is spending millions of dollars in voter-approved bonds for construction projects at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa has issued a special mid-year report on construction progress, including the recent completion of the hospital’s Emergency and Critical Care Center (ECCC) expansion.

SUPERVISOR JACOB “WORRIED” OVER SHORTAGE OF SWINE FLU VACCINES

October 22, 2009 (San Diego) – “I’m worried,” Supervisor Dianne Jacob told East County Magazine when asked about H1N1 (swine flu) vaccinations. “These should have been here yesterday.”
 

Jacob expressed concern over the fact that San Diego has only received 28,000 doses of the vaccine, yet the County has 12 million people. She added that she is now receiving hourly updates on the situation.

WHERE DOES YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE STAND ON HEALTHCARE REFORM?

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

October 18, 2009 – The House and Senate are grappling with several versions of major healthcare reform measures that could dramatically transform our nation’s healthcare system. Four of the five measures would include a public option, which give Americans a choice between private health insurance or opting for coverage under a government-run system similar to Medicare.

Where do your Congressional and Senate representatives stand? All have now taken a firm position either for or against the public option. Here are statements directly from San Diego County’s five Congressional representatives and California’s two U.S. Senators. If you wish to contact your Congressman or Senator to voice your views, you can find their contact information in our Citizens Action Center.

WARNER SPRINGS RESIDENTS: BOIL WATER ORDER ISSUED

October 14, 2009 (Warner Springs) – A boil water order has been issued by the County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health for customers of the Los Tules Mutual Water Company drinking water system inWarner Springs, CA, effective immediately. The water system has tested positive for contamination by Total Coliform bacteria.

SAN DIEGO MEAT COMPANY RECALLS GROUND BEEF AFTER USDA FINDS E-COLI CONTAMINATION

MEAT SOLD TO LOCAL RESTAURANTS & CATERERS, USDA WARNS—BUT COMPANY REFUSES TO RELEASE NAMES

October 14, 2009 (San Diego) – San Diego Meat Company is recalling approximately 925 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E-coli, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced yesterday.

According to the USDA, the meat was distributed to local restaurants and caterers. However San Diego Meat Company refused a request today from East County Magazine to provide names of local food establishments that may have received contaminated beef.

ASSEMBLYMEMBER SALAS HOSTS VETERANS HEALTH & RESOURCE FAIR OCT. 17

October 14, 2009 (Otay) – Assemblymember Mary Salas, Chair of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee, will host a Veterans Health and Resource Fair at Southwestern College 900 Otay Lakes Road, Chula Vista, CA 91910.  Over thirty representatives from health organizations and Veterans service organizations will be in attendance offering information, body mass index, blood pressure checks, and glucose screenings.

HOUSE PASSES FILNER'S BILL TO SECURE TIMELY FUNDING FOR VETERANS’ HEALTH CARE

 

2ND BILL TO BUILD MORE V.A. CLINICS ALSO APPROVED

 

October 11, 2009 (Washington D.C.)– On Thursday, the House of Representatives approved an amendment to H.R. 1016, a bill to secure timely funding for veterans’ health care delivered through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

“Today, the House of Representatives took action to respond to years of chronic underfunding of VA medical care,” said Congressman Bob Filner (D-San Diego), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and author of the bill. “Over the last 23 years, 20 VA budgets have been passed late – and our veterans pay the price with fewer doctors, longer waiting times, and more restricted access for the 6 million veterans using VA health care."

LA MESA TO VOTE TUESDAY ON “HEALTHY EATING, ACTIVE LIVING” RESOLUTION FOR CITY

New measure follows city’s recent award for excellence in community health and wellness programs
 

community gardenOctober 9, 2009 (La Mesa) – A whopping 60% of La Mesa 5th, 7th and 9th grade students sampled and over half of all adults in California are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for stroke, high blood pressure, or other serious medical problems. To combat obesity, the League of California Cities has adopted a resolution encouraging cities to embrace policies that foster healthier lifestyles and communities, including a healthy diet and exercise.

On Tuesday, La Mesa’s City Council will consider whether to adopt the measure which calls for a redevelopment plan that would include community gardens, design plans to make La Mesa more accessible via bicycles and walking, improve access to fresh foods, and more. The proposed resolution also calls for promotion of employee wellness and urges the City to set an example for other area businesses by establishing an employee wellness program. Read the full text of the resolution here.

H1N1 FLU VACCINE NOW AVAILABLE IN EAST COUNTY & SAN DIEGO

 

October 6, 2009 (San Diego) -- The first allotment of H1N1 flu vaccine has arrived in San Diego County and will be administered starting today. (View video) According to state guidelines, the initial doses of H1N1 nasal spray vaccine are designated for children 2-18 years of age who are healthy and healthy household contacts of infants younger than 6 months.

26,000 doses of nasal spray vaccine will be available at various primary care physicians’ offices throughout the county. An additional 2,000 doses are being offered at County public health centers. (See locations at the end of this article).

HEALTH CARE REFORM: CAN WE PASS THE FINAL HURDLE? OCT. 20 IN SAN DIEGO

 

September 27, 2009 (San Diego) – Want to learn more about healthcare reform options?  San Diego’s League of Women Voters presents a luncheon featuring keynote speaker Gerald Kominski, Ph.D., professor at UCLA School of Public Health and Associate Director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Dr. Jeoffrey Gordon from California Physicians Alliance will also speak, summarizing the political climate for healthcare reform in Congress.

WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT HEALTHCARE MAY HURT YOU

Ex-Senator Kuehl Leads New Effort to Win Healthcare for All Californians

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 27, 2009 (San Diego) –Speaking to the San Diego League of Women Voters last week, former state Senator Sheila Kuehl shared some startling facts:

  • California law used to require insurance companies to be nonprofits.  Since that law changed, premiums have skyrocketed much faster than costs of medical care.
  • Iinsurers are routinely refusing to pay doctors for services—forcing doctors to spend $78 million a year suing insurance companies, according to the American Medical Association.
  • Insurers are canceling policies when people get sick, claiming applications were filled out wrong. Many are refusing to sell policies (or canceling existing ones) due to pre-existing conditions—even toe fungus or use of asthma inhalers years ago.

 

Kuehl authored two bills passed by the California Legislature which would have provided healthcare for all Californians—including dental, eyecare and medical coverage. But both were “terminated” with vetoes by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Now a statewide coalition has launched a campaign to win public support for a new single-payer healthcare bill in California.  View the video. 

BIG INSURANCE: SICK OF IT!

Story and photos by Leon Thompson

September 22, 2009 (La Jolla) Health reform advocates today held a “Big Insurance: Sick of It” rally as part of a nationwide day of action. Locally, a rally was staged in front of the San Diego office of Anthem Blue Cross, the California subsidiary of insurance giant Wellpoint. Protestors demanded that Anthem Blue Cross sign a pledge to support real reform and end what the activists called “bad health insurance industries practices.”

More than 75 exuberant protestors called for an immediate end to such practices as denying coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions, arbitrary caps on payments, and terminating policies (in many cases, after people are sick with a costly-to-treat illness). Advocates for reform also charged that Anthem offers incentives to its employees to deny patient care or reject claims.

WOMEN’S HEALTH FAIR OCT. 3 TO BENEFIT CHASE AVE. FAMILY HEALTH CLINIC

September 24, 2009 (El Cajon) – A women’s health fair will be held on Saturday, October 3 at Andres Restaurant, 1235 Morena Blvd. in San Diego (www.andresrestaurantsdc.com). Proceeds will benefit the Chase Avenue Family Health Clinic in El Cajon.

 The health fair is sponsored by San Diego Wedgies Chapter of the Blue Thong Society (www.bluethongsociety.com). Pledging to “blend the generations and fight frump,” Blue Thong Society describes its members as “fun, fabulous, smart, and sassy women of all ages who have blazed new trails and broken the molds since birth. We’ve worked, rebelled, rock ’n rolled, raised families and never failed to stand up for what we believe in. Now we’re ready for our ‘next rally’: a time for us, our girlfriends, and to give back to our communities while having fun!”

GROSSMONT HOSPITAL COMPLETES CONSTRUCTION ON TOP 3 STORIES OF EMERGENCY & CRITICAL CARE

 

September 18, 2009 (La Mesa)-- Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) and Sharp Grossmont Hospital, East County’s largest hospital, have jointly announced that construction is now completed on the top three floors of the Emergency and Critical Care Center – the first infrastructure improvement project that was financed by voter-approved bonds at the publicly owned hospital.

 

TO YOUR HEALTH! FREE & LOW-COST HEALTHCARE CLASSES IN SEPTEMBER

 

Sharp Grossmont Hospital’s Senior Resource Center offers free or low-cost educational programs and health screenings each month. The Senior Resource Center also provides information and assistance for health information and community resources. For more information, call 619-740-4214. For other programs, call 1-800-827-4277 or visit our web site at www.sharp.com.

 

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