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Why Supreme Court will support health reform

Yesterday Dean Harris from UNC’s public health school laid out his argument – and pointed out the irony of the current anti-health reform lawsuits:

On the surface, opponents of health reform are arguing that the law violates the Constitution on the grounds that it is an unprecedented expansion of federal government power. In reality, opponents are taking the position that Congress did not go far enough in expanding federal authority over the health system to meet the requirements of the Constitution. If Congress and Obama had created a public health insurance system, operated by the federal government and funded by taxation, that system clearly would have been constitutional.

In fact, we already have a congressionally approved public system of tax-supported health insurance called Medicare and a public system of tax-supported cash benefits called Social Security.

Harris’s argument is persuasive and brings back an important point often lost in all the rhetoric around these lawsuits: the new national health reform law is just about the most conservative method of changing our health system in a way that will actually cover almost everyone. This defines the intellectual desert of the “repeal and replace” crowd. There is not a single “replacement” out there for this legislation that will cover almost everyone other than expanding Medicare to everyone or a similar all-payer proposal. It really is that simple.

10 Comments

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  2. Single Payer Action

    December 21, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    its not gonna cover everyone, Adam.

  3. Single Payer Action

    December 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Pissed off?

    Maybe it’s your insurance company.

    A Maryland psychiatrist thinks it might be.

    Writing in the current issue of Psychiatric Times, Dr. Carol Paris lays out the diagnostic criteria for something she calls Private Insurance Induced Stress Disorder (PIISD).

    “Mental illness can sometimes be triggered by abnormalities of brain chemistry,” Dr. Paris said. “But in this case it’s triggered by outside forces – in particular, large corporations.”

    Dr. Paris lays out four criteria for diagnosing PIISD.

    Criteria A: The person has been exposed to a traumatic insurance-induced event in which both of the following have been present:

    * The person has experienced a health insurance traumatic event, due either to lack of access to health insurance, or due to failure of their health insurance to meet their health care needs.

    * The person’s traumatic response involved intense fear, helplessness, anger, and confusion and was caused by financial considerations that seriously complicate their (or their patient’s) medical treatment and recovery.

    Criterion B: The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in one (or more) of the following ways:

    * Feelings of anger, frustration, and shame at the thought of one’s inability to access (or provide) needed care.

    * Feelings of alienation from and abandonment by one’s countrymen and elected officials, precipitated by exposure to any form of corporate-controlled news media coverage of the health care crisis.

    * Feelings of inadequacy, as an individual, as a family member, or as a physician/provider, due to the repeated inability to obtain needed care for oneself, one’s family member, or one’s patient.

    * Avoidance of seeking, or providing, needed care due to fear of serious financial strain or even bankruptcy.

    * Fear of an acute confusional state or other cognitive disorder following attempts to understand one’s EOBs (explanation of benefits).

    Criterion C: Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness, as indicated by three or more of the following:

    * Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings or conversations about anything related to health insurance or healthcare.

    * Efforts to avoid interactions with physicians, hospitals or health care centers that arouse recollection of the trauma. In the case of physicians, efforts to avoid patients who are experiencing health insurance trauma.

    * Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities.

    * Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others.

    * Restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to experience feelings of wellbeing)

    * Sense of foreshortened future (e.g. does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span). In the case of physicians, does not expect to remain in practice, anticipates early retirement or disability due to consequences of health insurance trauma.

    Criterion D: Persistent symptoms of increased arousal, as indicated by two or more of the following:

    * Difficulty falling or staying asleep, due to intrusive thoughts about the health insurance trauma.

    * Irritability or outbursts of anger. In the case of physicians, this often results in sanctions, possible loss of hospital privileges, and being labeled a “disruptive physician.” In the case of patients, it often results in suspiciousness directed at one’s physician, often being labeled a “difficult patient.”

    * Difficulty concentrating, resulting in functional impairment and further jeopardizing career, health, and sense of wellbeing.

    * Hypervigilance, (e.g., won’t let children play on playground equipment for fear of minor injury resulting in possible retraumatizing need to interact with one’s health insurance company).

    Criterion E: The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

    Dr. Paris warns in the article that “this diagnosis is not currently reimbursed by health insurance carriers.”

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  5. New Era Hat

    December 21, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Thank for sharing

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