Take Back Healthcare


News and analysis about the uninsured, single-payer, employee health benefits, medical insurance, medical tourism, Medicare, Medicaid, health costs, drug costs, the Canadian and other foreign plans, and more.


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Reference Links

Worstpills Independent source for prescription drug information.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance Through this site, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance offers a single point of access to more than 275 public and private patient assistance programs for prescriptions, including more than 150 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies.
Healthcare Coverage Options Database An on-line tool to help make American health care consumers aware of all of the coverage options available to them. The Database contains information about private health insurance coverage, as well as the many public and private programs available to Americans to help them obtain the medical care they need.
StateHealthFacts.org Source of information provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation about state-level health services.
healthinsuranceinfo.net Georgetown University has written a consumer guide about your medical insurance rights for each state and the District of Columbia, each of which is available on this site.
Nieman Watchdog - "Health" Put out by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Its aim is to encourage more and better watchdog reporting, and it is targeted at reporters, editors and concerned citizens.
Hospital Compare This tool provides you with information on how well the hospitals in your area care for all their adult patients with certain medical conditions.
Association of Health Care JournalistsAn independent, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. Its mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing.
patientINFORMA free online service that provides patients and their caregivers access to some of the most up-to-date, reliable and important research available about the diagnosis and treatment of specific diseases.
Health HippoHealth Hippo is a collection of policy and regulatory materials related to health care, with some graphics sprinkled in. It would be wise to confirm anything you intend to rely on with a hardcopy of the reference.
Boston University Health Reform ProgramThe Health Reform Program designs practical solutions to health care problems�solutions that address the needs of all parties.

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Pat Sullivan Blog - Long-time sufferer of Candida, Chronic Insomnia, Mercury-Toxicity, Chronic Fatigue, Irritable Bowel, and Adrenal Fatigue Syndromes. (But doing quite well now!)

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Mon Jul 18, 2005

Panel: Poor Communication, Bad Information Impede Hispanic Health Care

Poor communications and bad information impede Hispanic healthcare, according to a panel of medical experts speaking Saturday at a Hispanic national conference being held in Philadelphia, according to the Cherry Hill (NJ) Courier Post.

Hamilton, OH, has also reported that language and cultural barriers impede Hispanic healthcare.

However, other reports suggest that immigrants, generally, suffer poor healthcare for economic reasons.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Jul 18, 05 | 3:29 pm

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Idaho Access to Health Insurance Program Begins

Idaho's Access to Health Insurance program began July 1. Under it, small businesses must pay half of their employees' premiums and then the state adds up to $100 each for the employee and his or her spouse. The employee pays the rest. Employees' children can also be covered.

IdahoStateman.com details this program.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Jul 18, 05 | 12:58 am

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Thu Jul 14, 2005

The First Online Directory for Uninsured and Underinsured New Yorkers has Opened

The first online directory of health and social services specifically for uninsured and under-insured New Yorkers, the Health Information Tool for Empowerment (HITE) has opened.

According to its website, it serves as central clearinghouse of programs and services for uninsured people.

HITE also offers users an eligibility calculator to determine if an individual qualifies for one of these programs.

It appears to be designed more for social workers than for the uninsured themselves.

HITE is currently being pilot-tested in three New York communities. Following an evaluation, it will expand to cover all New York state.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Jul 14, 05 | 1:11 am

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Sun Jul 10, 2005

NYT: Solo Insurance is Possible But Not Easy

The New York Times describes the troubles people seeking solo health insurance have.

Comment: Had they published this article fifteen years ago, it might have been newsworthy.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Jul 10, 05 | 3:14 pm

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Thu Jul 07, 2005

New Hampshire: New Law Repeals the Use of Geography and Health Status as Factors in Determining Health Insurance Rates and Establishes a Reinsurance Pool for High-Risk Patients.

New Hampshire Governor John Lynch Tuesday signed SB 125, which bars insurers from using geography and health status to set rates and also which creates a reinsurance pool.

"Today, we are ending the ability of health insurance companies to discriminate against sick workers, or to dramatically increase rates on small businesses just because they are located in the North Country or the Seacoast," Lynch said.


Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Jul 07, 05 | 12:58 am

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CDC Report: Number of Uninsured Children Declines, of Adults Remains Steady

Health insurance coverage for children showed continued improvement in 2004, and the percentage of working-age adults without insurance coverage, which had been climbing in recent years, did not increase last year, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The data, based on CDC�s National Health Interview Survey, provides estimates of insurance coverage for the United States in 2004. For the first time, the latest survey also includes statistics on insurance coverage for the nation�s 10 largest states.

The report, which tracks insurance coverage since 1997, finds that the improvement in coverage for children reflects an increase in public coverage�including the State Children�s Health Insurance Program--for poor and near-poor children.

Highlights of the report include:


  • In 2004, over 90 percent of America�s children had health insurance at the time of the interview � a steady rise from the first report in 1997. In 2004, 9.4 percent of children � 7 million children under 18 years of age � were without health insurance. In contrast, in 1997, about 14 percent � 10 million children � lacked coverage.

  • Among poor and near-poor children, lack of coverage dropped by about a third from 1997. For near-poor children, public coverage almost doubled from 24 percent to 43 percent between 1997 and 2004. Nearly 70 percent of poor children under 18 years of age rely on public coverage.

  • Overall, 14.6 percent of the population � 42.1 million Americans of all ages � was without current health insurance coverage in 2004, about the same level as in 1997.
  • One in five working-age adults (age 18-64) were without insurance in 2004. This number had been steadily rising in recent years but appears to have leveled off in 2004.


The survey produced health insurance coverage estimates for the 10 largest states. For the population under age 65, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania had considerably lower rates of uninsured than the national average of 16 percent. In California and Florida, just over 20 percent were without health coverage, and in Texas, about 27 percent lacked coverage.

These findings appear in �Health Insurance Coverage: Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2004,� gathered from the annual household survey with a sample of the nation�s civilian non-institutionalized population. In 2004, the survey, conducted by CDC�s National Center for Health Statistics, added questions to improve the accuracy of the estimates on insurance coverage.

In addition to insurance coverage, the survey collects data on a wide range of health indicators, including measures of health care utilization, health habits and health status. The findings are on the CDC/NCHS Web site.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Jul 07, 05 | 12:09 am

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Wed Jul 06, 2005

Insurers May Not Pay for FDA-Approved Medical Devices

Insurers can and will deny coverage for medical devices even though the FDA has approved them.

The New York Times looks at how - despite FDA approval - insurers deny coverage for Johnson & Johnson's Charit� -- a spinal disk that can be implanted as an alternative to spinal fusion.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Jul 06, 05 | 2:28 pm

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Thu Jun 23, 2005

Federally Qualified Health Centers: One Option for the Uninsured

One option the uninsured do have is federally qualified health centers. The Battle Creek (MI) Enquirer describes how its community hopes to use such a center to care for the uninsured.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Jun 23, 05 | 12:24 am

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Wed Jun 22, 2005

Maryland's Proposed Medicaid Cuts Would Affect Immigrants

Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s proposed budget would eliminate a $7 million dollar program for low-income pregnant women and children who are legal permanent residents, according to the Baltimore Sun.

As we previously reported, immigrants are more likely to uninsured than are the native born.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Jun 22, 05 | 11:30 pm

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Thu Jun 16, 2005

Leading Indian Doctor Proposes Two Tier Health System for America

Dr. Naresh Trehan, former president of the International Society of Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery (ISMICS) and founder of the internationally renowned Escorts Heart Institute and Research Center (EHIRC) in New Delhi, has proposed a two-tier health insurance system for the United States.

He says he has submitted his proposal to Senator Hillary Clinton.

According to Trehan, American healthcare has become too expensive. "Unless they regulate it Americans can't afford healthcare," he said.

He says he as proposed a two-tier system. The first tier, an expensive $10,000 policy would insure for everything one needed from sources in the United States. Tier Two, however, a less expensive $5,000 policy, would provide emergency care in the United States but would provide a menu of certified facilities around the world.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Jun 16, 05 | 1:07 am

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