AC Alert for September 27, 2012 Just 15 Minutes for a National "Healthcare" Dialogue? AC Alert for September 27, 2012 Just 15 Minutes for a National "Healthcare" Dialogue?

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AC Alert for September 27, 2012 Just 15 Minutes for a National "Healthcare" Dialogue?
Friday, September 28, 2012 - 10:15am

CONTENT: Newsletter

AC Alert for September 27, 2012

Just 15 Minutes for a National "Healthcare" Dialogue?

As the race for the presidency of these United States rounds the third bend and heads into the home stretch, the commission running the upcoming debates between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney has done something they've never done before: announced in advance the topics for the first debate scheduled for October 3rd.

We learned this: "Jim Lehrer, moderator of the first 2012 presidential debate, has selected the topics for that debate, which is on domestic policy. The topics for the debate to be held in Denver, not necessarily in this order are:

  • The Economy - I
  • The Economy - II
  • The Economy - III
  • Health Care
  • The Role of Government
  • Governing

The format calls for six (6) 15-minute time segments, each of which will focus on one of the issues listed above." (Source: Commission for Presidential Debates)

The moderator will pose a question -- each candidate will have two minutes to respond; the balance of time will be for discussion on the topic.

So, the debate on the future of healthcare, which is perhaps the most important (and complicated) issue for many Americans, has been determined to be condensed to a cameo-like 15-minute segment during the first debate next month. Likewise, the debate about the role of government -- a critical issue to many, many voters on both sides of the political aisle -- also gets 15 minutes, same format.  The first debate will broadcast on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox networks, and the cable news channels (Fox, CNN, MSNBC).

So -- will the voters better understand the candidates' views -- and their future plans -- and the key elements of the issue -- for such complex and important subjects -- in such a brief period of time? Maybe -- we live in a world of 144 character Tweet messaging and 8-second news sound bites.  Maybe 15 minutes on a topic will seem like an eternity for some TV viewers!Blah, blah, blah.

But we can all agree we really do need depth and breadth in the coverage of the ongoing public debate on the issues and challenges that we face as a people and nation. Print and on-line publishing is the back up for the face-to-face / rapid-fire discussion that we will see in the presidential debates.

Take the healthcare dialogue -- this is and has been so important to so many Americans; doing our part, we created a special Hot Topics section dedicated to the subject. We gather news, commentary and research from many sources for this section of the Accountability Central platform, providing you with vital information. The ongoing debate over health care has certainly been in the spotlight in the presidential race.

Back in June, in a closely-watched and widely-publicized decision, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, largely upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as constitutional. Perhaps the most debated provision of the law -- the individual insurance mandate -- was upheld, as were most of the law's more popular provisions.

There are some important facts to keep in mind as we monitor the candidates' responses in the 15 minute healthcare segment of the first debate:

  • The health care industry collectively represents approximately one-sixth (1/6) of the total US economy.
  • Health care provides more than 14 million jobs in the USA.
  • About 580,000 establishments make up the "health care industry," with 77% being the offices and facilities of physicians, dentists, or other health practitioners.
  • According to recent surveys, 80% of the nation’s consumers are satisfied with their present health care situation.
  • There are still approximately 46 million people living in America (citizens, documented and undocumented non-citizens) who do not have health insurance.

Within this framework the nation remains engaged in one of the most heated and emotional government public policy debates since the days of the Viet Nam War. Both candidates and their supporters are deploying the “facts” as well as a fair amount of rumors and suppositions to support their side of the argument in favor of or against the current system. AC editors stay on top of the issue and provide fresh, factual updates on a daily basis.  Here are some recent excerpts from this Hot Topic section as the nationdebates healthcare:

Tax penalty to hit nearly 6M uninsured people
(Source: Bloomberg Business Week) Nearly 6 million Americans will face a tax penalty under President Barack Obama's health overhaul for not getting insurance, according to congressional analysts. Most would be in the middle class. However, the 6 million figure still only represents a small segment of the population, since more than 150 million people currently are covered by employer plans.

Wider US health coverage spurred by reform, income decline
(Source: Reuters) Some 1.3 million more Americans had health insurance in 2011, as healthcare reform helped blunt a decade-long decline in private coverage and government safety nets expanded to cover growing numbers of the poor, elderly and disabled.

Health-care premiums rise three times faster than wages
(Source: Christian Science Monitor) Health-care premiums have doubled since 2002, a new study finds, while average wages to pay those premiums has risen only by a third. But the rise in health-care premiums is starting to slow.

Healthcare reform, aging population drive greater need for case managers
(Source: As healthcare reform accelerates and accountability measures solidify, the role of the case manager in home care has taken on greater importance and urgency. The Affordable Care Act has put more pressure on hospitals to control costs, improve transitions to home care and prevent readmissions.

US expands Sept. 11 World Trade Center health program to include 50 types of cancer
(Source: via Washington Post) The federal government has added about 50 types of cancer to the list of September 11 World Trade Center-related illnesses that will be covered by a program to pay for health coverage. The decision, announced on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, came after an advisory committee made up of doctors, union officials and community advocates recommended that cancer be added. Previously, the aid effort had covered only people with mostly less-serious ailments, including asthma, acid reflux disease and chronic sinus irritation.

Paying higher out-of-pocket medical costs could strain seniors' finances, study finds
(Source: McKnight's) If seniors have to pay a higher portion of their medical costs, it could lead to their financial ruin, especially if they have dementia.



This is just a sampling of the information in our Alert. Go here for the full text of this alert, and more information on Sustainability, and other Accountability related topics.