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Health Insurance Lobby Claims Legislation From Senate Democrats Would Raise Premiums

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As the battle for healthcare reform heats up inside the beltway, the insurance industry has launched a blistering attack on legislation drafted by Senate Democrats. According to the New York Times, the health insurance lobby, America’s Health Insurance Plans, claims that the new Senate bill drafted by Democrats would significantly raise the cost of coverage. Under current law, family coverage that now costs $12,300 annually would rise to $18,400 by 2016; the new Senate bill would increase that amount to $21,300 per family per year. According to the lobby, individual coverage that now costs $4,600 annually and under current law would rise to $6,900 in 2016, would increase to $7,900 under the Senate bill.

Many doubt the ability of government to rein in healthcare costs. While controlling existing Medicare fraud and waste is often cited as a source of funds to pay for healthcare reform, common sense suggests that this is unlikely, given that government now fails to control waste, fraud, medical errors, hospital acquired infections and payment for medical errors.
Paul Harch, M.D., a member of ANH-USA’s Board of Directors, has said that integrative healthcare therapies, including the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, are both cost effective and based in science. A Largo, Fla., physician has recently documented that over $2 million per year per 100 patients is saved when science-based lifestyle recommendations allow diabetic patients with high blood pressure and high cholesterol to discontinue their medications. With 10 percent of Americans type II diabetic and 40 percent pre-diabetic, the savings accomplished by educating consumers to make lifestyle changes under integrative medical supervision could change the fact that America now spends nearly double for medical care, compared with Canada, the country closest to us in rankings of healthcare costs. Science-based integrative medical therapies save money and improve patient well-being. Programs like Take Back Your Health, sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, are critical to the integration of lifestyle medicine into Medicare. Let’s make that a universal call as we discuss healthcare reform.

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