UBP blog


Naturapathic Medicine: The AMA says it might not be safe or effective, should insurance cover it?

More and more Americans are going to naturopathic (i.e. natural and holistic) doctors like acupuncturists and mind-body healers. Yet, so many in the medical community (including the doctors of the AMA) continue to dismiss these doctors saying their treatments don’t work.

Despite what AMA doctors say, an influential group of U.S. Senators (led by Senator Tom Harkin and Barbara Mikulski) are giving naturopathic medicine a chance.

Harkin and Mikulski back an amendment that would bar health insurance carriers from “discriminating” against healthcare providers with licenses issued by their states. This amendment’s goal is to get alternative medicine covered by health plans.

All in favor see cost-savings:

Those who are in favor of this amendment say it could bring huge long-term health care cost-savings—tens of billions to be exact.

Savings could come from the following two things, among others:

  1. More people leaving behind costly prescription drugs in favor of alternative medicine
  2. More people seeing naturopathic doctors who help them make lifestyle changes (i.e. stress reduction, improved diet, vitamins and minerals) and in turn becoming healthier 

Naturopathic doctors do say that you should absolutely use prescription drugs and have surgery when it is medically necessary. However, for things such as neck and back pain, insomnia, head colds, anxiety and stress, there are new (and less costly) alternatives to popping a pill.

With all of this in mind (and what the medical experts say), do you think health insurance should cover both licensed alternative and regular medical treatments?



What the new healthcare reform bill means for you and your employees

Filed under: health care reform legislation — ubpblogger @ 2:07 pm
Tags: ,

On July 14th, The House of Representatives introduced America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 (HR 3200).

Legislators say that the bill will do these 2 things:

1.    Make quality, affordable health care accessible to all Americans

2.    Curb health care cost growth

If America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 is passed into law, here are a few things that would happen:

  • All Americans would be required to have health insurance or pay a penalty.
  • All businesses (except for those with annual payrolls of $40,000 or less) would be required to offer health insurance coverage to employees or pay a fee*.
  • Medicaid would be expanded to cover more of our nation’s poor.
  • New exchanges would be created for Americans to purchase insurance with the assistance of government subsidies.
  • A public plan option would be established.

This Act has an expected price tag of $1 trillion over the next 10 years; here’s how it will be paid for.

  • Reduced Medicare spending
  • Graduated income tax on the wealthiest Americans (Individuals with adjusted gross incomes of over $280,000 per-year and families making more than $350,000 per-year)

Opposition to the act:

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that this Act will extend coverage to 37 million uninsured Americans by 2019. However, there’s still quite a healthy amount of opposition out there to this bill.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses spoke out against the bill—and its public insurance option—saying that it:

“threatens the viability of our nation’s job creators … destroys choice and competition for private insurance and fails to address the core challenge facing small business — cost.”

On the other side of the issue, President Obama advocated for a public insurance option stating that it would:

“make health care more affordable by increasing competition, providing more choices and keeping insurance companies honest.”

So, what do the people think?

Support for the bill among the general public is less than unanimous. 

A recent study conducted by Zogby International in conjunction with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston shows just 40% of voters are for it. Also, a national survey conducted in July by Rasmussen Reports revealed that only 35% of Americans support a government health insurance plan to compete with private insurers.

Are you for or against having a public plan compete against private insurers? Why?

Also, what are your thoughts on essentially taking Massachusetts’ mandate for businesses to offer insurance to employees nationwide?

*In the Senate HELP Committee’s proposal, employers would need to contribute at a minimum 60 percent to employee premiums or pay $725 for each full time employee and $325 for each part-time employee. The House of Representatives’ proposal would require employers to pay 72.5 percent of premiums for individual coverage and 65 percent for family coverage. The fee for noncompliance with this would equal 8 percent of payroll.

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