cost

medicine

How Much Biden’s Plan Will Cost Americans

Joe Biden says he is opposed to a single-payer healthcare system and instead favors a “public option,” which is a government-owned health insurance company.

In reality, there is no difference. 

A government entity would be subsidized. Private companies can’t compete with that. They would either go broke or be forced to fold their operations into the government company. Shareholders would be wiped out, and 180 million Americans would lose their current policies. 

Another downer—research and development for new drugs and medical devices to fight cancer, dementia and other ailments would suffer.

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Steve Forbes is Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media.

Steve’s newest project is the podcast “What’s Ahead,” where he engages the world’s top newsmakers,

Steve Forbes is Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media.

Steve’s newest project is the podcast “What’s Ahead,” where he engages the world’s top newsmakers, politicians and pioneers in business and economics in honest conversations meant to challenge traditional conventions as well as featuring Steve’s signature views on the intersection of society, economic and policy.

Steve helped create the recently released and highly acclaimed public television documentary, In Money We Trust?, which was produced under the auspices of Maryland Public television. The film was inspired by the book he co-authored, Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy – and What We Can Do About It.

Steve’s latest book is Reviving America: How Repealing Obamacare, Replacing the Tax Code and Reforming The Fed will Restore Hope and Prosperity co-authored by Elizabeth Ames (McGraw-Hill Professional).

Steve writes editorials for each issue of Forbes under the heading of “Fact and Comment.” A widely respected economic prognosticator, he is the only writer to have won the highly prestigious Crystal Owl Award four times. The prize was formerly given by U.S. Steel Corporation to the financial journalist whose economic forecasts for the coming year proved most accurate.

In both 1996 and 2000, Steve campaigned vigorously for the Republican nomination for the Presidency. Key to his platform were a flat tax, medical savings accounts, a new Social Security system for working Americans, parental choice of schools for their children, term limits and a strong national defense. Steve continues to energetically promote this agenda.

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health

Liz Weston: How losing Obamacare could cost you

If the Supreme Court throws out the Affordable Care Act, your finances and your future could pay the price.

THE RETURN OF PREEXISTING CONDITIONS

The Trump administration and a group of Republican attorneys general have asked that the entire law be thrown out. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Nov. 10.

Before the ACA, insurers routinely used preexisting health conditions as a reason to deny coverage or charge people more. Preexisting conditions included serious ailments such as cancer or heart disease as well as more common conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes and obesity, and temporary conditions including pregnancy. Insurers denied about 1 in 5 applications for individual policies because of preexisting conditions, and some employer-provided group policies required people to wait up to a year before their preexisting conditions were covered.

President Trump signed an executive order in September announcing “a steadfast commitment to always protecting individuals with preexisting conditions,” but the order alone can’t force insurers to offer coverage if the ACA is struck down.

And America is a land of preexisting conditions. Half of adults under age 65, or up to 133 million people, had health issues that could cause them to be denied coverage or charged exorbitant premiums, according to a 2017 government analysis.

‘USE IT AND LOSE IT’ COVERAGE

Health insurance is meant to help people pay their medical expenses and avoid potentially catastrophic bills. Before Obamacare, however, using your insurance could cause you to lose it.

If someone with an individual insurance policy got sick, the insurer could scour the person’s application looking for errors. Even minor mistakes could cause the company to revoke the policy, a practice called

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health

Harvard researcher estimates COVID-19 has cost US 2.5 million years of life

A Harvard researcher who looked at the life expectancy of 200,000 Americans who have died from the coronavirus estimates COVID-19 has cost the United States 2.5 million years of life.

The researcher, molecular biologist and geneticist Stephen Elledge, is the Gregor Mendel Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, both located in Boston, USA Today reported.

Elledge arrived at his findings by estimating the remaining years of life those 200,000 COVID-19 victims likely had. He found that many of those who died were in middle age, and not elderly.

“It was really pretty shocking,” Elledge told USA Today, adding, “the younger half of that population are losing just as much life as the old people. And they really need to know it.”

The genetics professor said many of those killed by the disease could have lived decades more if not for the pandemic.

“Someone who dies in their 50s, for example, loses two to three decades of life expectancy,” said Elledge. He also said COVID-19 may have lasting effects on patients post-infection, and that its effects on young people later in their lives is unknown.

“You’re pushing your age forward,” he said. “All the people who make it through, who knows what’s going to happen to them when they get older.”

Elledge’s work typically encompasses DNA studies, though he wrote up his ideas about cumulative lost years due to COVID-19 deaths using simple calculations in an online report.

He said his findings were aligned with calculations he conducted earlier in the pandemic, adding that he is seeking to get them published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal soon.

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health

Coverage, risk factors, options, and cost

Preventive screenings, such as bone density tests, can help identify potential medical problems. Medicare covers some costs.

Bone density tests may help prevent expensive reparative treatments. Medicare generally covers such tests, although there may be other out-of-pockets costs.

This article looks at bone density scans and osteoporosis, including risk factors. It also discusses Medicare coverage of the tests, along with costs.

If a doctor thinks a person may have osteoporosis, they may ask for a bone density scan, which uses an X-ray to measure bone mineral density.

The test may be done in a hospital setting or by using a mobile device. In general, a person will get the hospital test for a hip or spine X-ray, while the mobile test is done on a person’s finger, wrist, or heel. However, the type of test may depend on the community’s access to equipment.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), if the test cannot be done on a person’s hip or spine, then it could be done on a person’s radius bone, which is in the forearm.

Osteoporosis is a medical condition that causes decreases in a person’s bone density, which can lead to fractures of the hip, spine, or wrist following a fall or other trauma.

After a doctor confirms a person has osteoporosis, recommended treatments may include medications and lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise and increasing intake of calcium and vitamin D.

Women are more likely than men to experience osteoporosis due to age-related hormonal changes. For example, after menopause, a woman’s estrogen levels drop. Estrogen is one of the hormones responsible for stimulating osteoblasts, which are cells that promote bone growth.

Other osteoporosis risk factors include:

  • lack of bone-building vitamin D and calcium in the diet
  • smoking cigarettes
  • drinking alcohol excessively
  • being sedentary
  • having a too-low body weight
  • having a medical history of a parent who broke their hip

If a person has several of these risk factors, a doctor may recommend a bone density scan.

A bone density test is also called a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The test is a non-invasive, painless X-ray scan of the hip and spine. A person does not need to do or wear anything special to get the test, and the entire scan typically takes 15 minutes or less.

Once a person has had a bone density test, a doctor trained in reading the scans will view the images and use calculations to assign a T-score, which compares a person’s current bone density to that of a healthy adult at age 30. Three T-score categories exist:

  • normal bone density: -1 or higher (such as 0 or +0.5)
  • low bone density: between -1 and -2.5
  • osteoporosis: -2.5 and lower

In addition to receiving a T-score, a person may also receive a Z-score. This is a score that compares a person’s bone density to someone of the person’s similar age and size. These scores are usually more effective in identifying bone density levels in children, teenagers, and younger men

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