United States can learn from Dutch healthcare system



A new Mayo Clinic study found that it is generally safe to withdraw anti-seizure medications in children with epilepsy who have achieved seizure-freedom while on the medication. Researchers found that these children were not at high risk of subsequently developing intractable epilepsy. The study will be presented on Sunday, Dec. 7, at the American Epilepsy

Full Post: Study finds it generally safe to withdraw anti-seizure medication in children with epilepsy

The United States can learn from the Dutch Health Insurance System model, according to an article by Pauline V. Rosenau, Ph.D., in the December issue of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law.

Rosenau, professor of management, policy and community health at The University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston, co-authored the lead article, which discusses universal health care coverage in the Netherlands and its possible lessons for the United States.

The article examines the 2006 Enthoven-inspired Dutch health insurance reform, which is based on regulated competition and requires individuals to purchase basic insurance policies. The structure of the Dutch model provides insight into the effects that universal health care reform could have in the United States, Rosenau said.

“Although this type of reform is important and critical, policymakers must think carefully on how it is done,” she said.

According to Rosenau’s evidence-based assessment, U.S. policymakers seeking to establish universal health care should be aware that, according to the Dutch model, it may not control costs. Insurance companies have seen profit loss on basic policies, health care providers are in opposition and public satisfaction is not high in the Netherlands.

“The Netherlands is the best test of market competition-based health insurance reform to date,” Rosenau said. “But U.S. policymakers should be careful with this form of universal coverage because it has failed, so far, to reduce costs or improve quality.”

However, according to Rosenau, the quality and access to health care is sometimes better in the Netherlands, while the healthcare cost per person is half the amount of the United States.

“We suspect that if patient satisfaction with the Dutch healthcare system has not declined dramatically since the insurance reform (and surveys provide conflicting findings), it is because of a dedicated ‘army’ of primary care physicians who remain committed to their patients. An excellent example is the after-hours care provided by Dutch primary care physicians,” says Rosenau.

With several industrialized countries providing universal health care coverage, Rosenau believes the Netherlands’ model closely resembles the model that U.S. policymakers are looking to create.

The Dutch Health Insurance System requires regulated sale of health insurance policies and makes the purchase of basic health policies mandatory by implementing fines and penalties for those who ignore the law. The basic policy requires services such as primary and specialist care, hospitalization for up to one year, maternity care, ambulance service and prescription pharmaceuticals. For basic health insurance policies, there are no limitations on preexisting conditions. Citizens can purchase supplementary coverage for procedures such as cosmetic surgery or expanded dental or vision care, but insurance companies are able to choose the patients they want to cover.

http://www.uthouston.edu/

Link




About 10.9 million Americans under age 65 purchased individual health insurance policies at some point in 2006, but only 7 million were covered by these policies for the full year, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The 3.9 million individuals who had individual health insurance policies

Full Post: 10.9 million Americans under age 65 have individual health insurance



America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) will release a new comprehensive health care reform proposal that offers solutions to contain rising health care costs, enhance portability, provide affordable coverage options for small businesses, protect against medical bankruptcy, and more. A detailed analysis of the causes of rising health care costs by PricewaterhouseCoopers will also be unveiled.

Full Post: America’s Health Insurance Plans to release health care reform proposal



The RAND Corporation has launched an online tool to provide policymakers and interested parties with a unique way of understanding and evaluating the effects and unintended consequences of health care reform proposals certain to be introduced in the new 111th Congress and beyond. COMPARE (Comprehensive Assessment of Reform Efforts) is a first-of-its-kind online resource that synthesizes

Full Post: New online tool to evaluate health reform proposals



Nearly one-fifth of all Californians under age 65 were without health insurance for all or some of 2007, according to a policy brief released today by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Drawing on comprehensive new data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the policy brief’s authors found that 6.4 million Californians lacked

Full Post: Nearly one-fifth of all Californians under age 65 lack health insurance



The public ranks action on health care highly as part of efforts to stem the impact of the economic recession and also views reforming health care as one of the top priorities for President-elect Obama and Congress, according to a new national survey conducted by researchers from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School

Full Post: Healthcare among public’s top priorities for economic stimulus