Health care reforms will help Kentuckians
I had the privilege of attending Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill with other members of the American Medical Women's Association. We met with senators and representatives regarding health care reform and the potential impact on women's health. It is important to make sure women and families in Kentucky are aware of the immediate benefits from the Health Care Reform Act of 2010.
As of the fall of 2010, insurance companies will be prohibited from terminating policies if we are sick. Also, one benefit we at the University of Kentucky have already seen included in our upcoming 2010-2011package is the ability to keep our dependent children on our family policies until they turn 26. This is a wonderful change for many families.
Another benefit that we providers of primary care are especially pleased with is that all new insurance plans will be required to cover preventive health care and screenings, including pap smears and mammograms, without charging co-payment. Further, forbidding insurance companies to deny coverage for children with pre-existing conditions is long overdue.
One aspect of reform that will positively impact many of my patients' lives is the elimination of the Medicare Part D "donut hole," although this will take a few years. But starting in the fall, if a patient's prescription drug expenses are high enough to put them into the non-reimbursed hole, they will be eligible for a $250 rebate.
Many of us in the medical profession realize the health reform act is by no means perfect, but it is definitely a step in the right direction for the health of the women and families in our state.
Deidra Beshear, M.D.
Assistant professor of medicine, Center for the Advancement of Women's HealthUniversity of KentuckyLexington
I have one simple question for our current and future legislators: What have you done or what are you going to do to put Kentuckians back to work?
Very simple. No campaign slogans or bumper sticker answers here. We need to ask every single one of them this very important question. Just an idea.
Into the tar pits
Thanks to modern medicine, people are living longer than ever before. However, living longer comes with a multitude of health problems that limit functioning and mobility.
When we get older and can no longer live independently, who is going to take care of us? In many cultures throughout the world, people consider it an honor and a duty to care for their elder family members.
This is not true in the United States, where the elderly are more likely to end up in nursing homes.
This year, two bills were filed in the General Assembly that addressed issues of staffing and licensing that would help improve the quality of care. Unfortunately, these bills did not even receive hearings in committee. Legislators instead gave their attention to nursing home industry propaganda.
Several improvements to nursing home care may come from Washington thanks to certain amendments attached to the recently passed health care reform bill. The amendments passed with no help whatsoever from Sen. Mitch McConnell and his colleagues in the Senate and the House. They were too busy opposing health care reform in any form.
I am reminded of a short-lived sitcom from the early 1990s featuring animated dinosaurs. The characters in this TV show had a unique way of dealing with their elderly — they simply threw them into a tar pit once they reached a certain age. Perhaps this is what our legislators expect us to do, too.
Too late for review
Yahoo reported that a neutral panel has reviewed the health care bill; and sure enough, it projects many problems down the road. Most of those problems lie within the Medicare system along with the fact that this bill will not keep health care costs from rising.
Wasn't cost reduction for health care the top argument for this bill? Never mind that. The real issue is why review the bill after it has been signed into law? It is like preparing a report for your boss that he or she asked for, submitting it and then going back and reviewing it to see if you made any mistakes.
Take a moment to clear your head and look past all the fables of cost reductions and having a healthier nation because more people have health insurance. Ponder this for a moment: Our government signed one of the largest social legislations into law and then had it reviewed after the fact. Get your heads around that logic for one moment and then tell me what is wrong with Washington.
It isn't dairy farms
I'm responding to correct the inaccurate depiction of dairy farming, as part of animal agriculture, in the April 19 op-ed "You can't be a meat-eating environmentalist."
According to an April 2010 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations report, the global dairy sector only contributes 2.7 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions.
Over the last 60 years, the dairy industry has reduced its carbon footprint by nearly 63 percent through the use of new technologies and manure management practices.
As part of the U.S. Dairy Environmental Commitment, dairy farmers and the dairy industry are working together to reduce carbon emissions by an additional 25 percent over the next 10 years.
That's the equivalent of taking 1.25 million passenger cars off the road annually.
With regard to federal regulation and guidelines for treatment, storage and disposal of animal manure, the Environmental Protection Agency, through state agencies, regulates all animal operations through permitting and the requirement of nutrient management plans.
Burn those cards
During the Vietnam War, some protesters against our government openly burned their draft cards. The action drew attention to their cause.
I think the Tea Party activists can learn from this action. If they burned their Medicare cards, it would draw national attention to their position.