Today, the USA is struggling to balance access to healthcare for all its citizens with constraints of the federal budget and precepts of the US Constitution. This political struggle is nothing new.1 It became acute, however, when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA),2 for short, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or more commonly known as Obamacare,3 mandated ‘guaranteed issue’ laws4 whereby insurers are required to make health insurance plans of all kinds, whether individual, small or large group health plans, available to all Americans5 without exclusions based on preexisting conditions,6 age, etc. and without premium increases based on such risk factors.7This article does not explore possible constitutional challenges to guaranteed issue laws. Some of those challenges have been made and decided by the courts. In order to understand the current challenges to such a mandate, however, it is important to understand the background context. Thus, this article … [Read more...] about Development of public health in America: ‘Guaranteed Issue’ mandates
Guaranteed life insurance no medical questions
It's a small, innocuous-looking thing with a crotchety-sounding name: the pancreas. At the moment, a lab technician standing next to me at Johns Hopkins hospital, in Baltimore, is probing one like it's an overdone steak. He explains that the marbling I see is cancer. Now that the organ has been removed, the former owner's chance of surviving the next 5 years has risen from zero to 5 percent. Speed is one reason for the fatal fait accompli: Pancreatic-cancer cells spread especially fast, because they have easy access to the liver and nearby lymph nodes. Stealth is another factor: When cancer develops in the upper region of the pancreas, there are often no symptoms until the malignancy grows so large that it spills over the borders of the organ. You have a better chance of beating brain cancer. Ryan Chappell, a 21-year-old community-college student and Starbucks barista from Lacey, Washington, carries a gene mutation that guarantees he will develop pancreatic cancer. Chappell … [Read more...] about How Far Would You Go to Save Your Life?
"Gunners" was what we called them, with a mixture of respect and contempt that none of us really tried to sort out. They were the ones who just couldn't give up, even after being accepted into medical school, on what was clearly a lifelong campaign to be the Smartest Kid in the Room. All our grades were pass-fail and no class ranks were at stake, but still the gunners spent the first 2 years leaning forward in the front row, elbows cocked, ready to raise their hands at the first question the lecturer let fly.In the midst of medical school's unassimilable flood of information, when no one knew which fact, if any, was going to be the one that saved somebody's life, it was difficult not to view such compulsive self-confidence without a little envy.Until the third year. That's when the scene shifted from the lecture hall to the hospital wards. I still remember the day the rules changed. I was one of two students on the pulmonology service. The other student was a notorious gunner; already … [Read more...] about Your 15-Minute Medical School
There are moments when I wish that I could clone myself, or at least blink like Barbara Eden and transport myself instantly somewhere else. I feel that desire one Tuesday last fall, as the sun dips toward the jagged line of brownstones in my Brooklyn neighborhood. My wife, Ellen, is home, keeping an eye on our 2-year-old son, Owen, while I dash to the UPS store on Atlantic Avenue. As the clerk weighs my parcels for postage, my cellphone bleats, a siren breaking the store's hush.The clerk arches his eyebrows."Sorry."I flip the cellphone's lid to hear my wife's garbled voice. "Come home--now. . . . I'm giving the baby oxygen. . . . His saturation is going down!"I pivot toward the door, toss back another apology to the clerk, and sprint down the avenue, threading my way between late-afternoon shoppers, teenage boys dribbling a basketball, and Muslim girls heading home from school, their heads swathed with scarves. At the intersection of Bond Street, I hurtle into traffic, hoping the … [Read more...] about This Boy’s Life
Remember Woody Allen? The movie director who married his ex-wife’s adopted daughter? Well, Woody once said, “There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?”Okay, I’m an insurance salesman, and as any young girl can tell you, spending an evening with Woody would be worse.At least with me, you learn a little about insurance.Related: The Men’s Health Better Man Project—The 2,476 Greatest Tips and Life Hacks You’ll Ever Use, GuaranteedAnd I’ll learn a lot about you. We’ll sit there in your living room, and while you’re reading my glossy brochures, I’ll be estimating your worth, how close you come to living beyond your means, and how worried you are about risk.For instance, I love your taste in clear plastic sofa covers and that lovely coaster collection! Why risk a horrible stain? Like all salesmen, I enjoy reading people and discovering how they feel … [Read more...] about Which Insurance You Should Buy, Consider or Skip, According to an Insurance Salesman