Vaccines and the battle for U.S. health reform
7/28/2009 1:13:50 PM
According to health officials and doctors, adult vaccinations and the issues surrounding them are some of the numerous problems that haunt legislators as Congress continues to work on the health
In a survey released by health officials, only a small number of adults are aware that they can avail themselves of vaccines against meningitis, tetanus, whooping cough, pneumonia, and shingles.
Experts however believe that demand and awareness are just tiny bits of the whole problem. According to Dr. William Schaffner from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and the National Foundation
for Infectious Diseases, the health care system is a hindrance to vaccination. Not all medical insurance and health plans provided by companies cover vaccinations, doctors are paid only minimally for administering them, and nobody can ensure the availability of vaccines.
In a news conference, Schaffner said, "They system is cumbersome almost to the point of not being able to get the vaccine."
Schaffner, along with vaccine experts, is hoping for Congress to tackle vaccination issues in the health care reform legislation. He said, "More than $10 billion a year is spent in direct medical costs and indirect costs" to treat pneumonia, meningitis and influenza. “These diseases can be prevented through vaccination.”
A survey of 22,000 U.S. adults released by Dr. Anne Schuchat of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that most adults in the U.S. don’t get the necessary vaccines.
Dr. Anne Schuchat further stated in the news conference that, "About half of adults had received a tetanus shot within
the past 10 years." People should get tetanus vaccines every 10 years.
Americans doubt cancer coverage
7/13/2009 1:13:21 PM
A survey released last Wednesday revealed that only a little less than half of the American population believes that their health plans would cover their cancer treatment costs in full, while around two-thirds have the false notion that Medicare will not cover anything.
Out of the 1,000 adults who participated in the survey, 70% stated that they were “very concerned” about shouldering cancer treatment costs if they ever had cancer, while 59% fear putting their families in financial trouble.
Released by the Community Oncology Alliance, the survey implies
that Americans are worried and at the same time misinformed about the country’s health care system, as well as the modifications that might take place after Congress and the White House finish working on the overhaul.
According to Dr. Patrick Cobb, president of the Community Oncology Alliance and a managing associate of Hematology-Oncology Centers of the Northern Rockies in Billings, Montana, it is right for people to fear the costs of cancer treatment since cancer is the second leading cause of death in America.
When it comes to health insurance comparisons, only a small number of private insurance plans provide full coverage for cancer treatment. These plans could have premiums of $5,000 or more.
Cobb further explained, "Monthly out-of-pocket costs for cancer care and treatment, not covered by private insurance plans or Medicare, can easily run to $1,000 or more. For many cancer patients, the costs of diagnostic imaging, surgery and expensive cancer medications, especially in the first few months of treatment, can add up to well beyond $2,500 per month."
As part of the proposed health care reform, President Obama has begun to push for a government-managed insurance option that will be offered along with the traditional private and employer-sponsored insurance.