When Will There Be A New Covid Variant
People wait in front of a pharmacy open on Sunday to get a COVID-19 test, in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. An unprecedented number of coronavirus infections is once again exposing the underfunding and shortcomings of public health care systems, even in developed parts of Europe.
Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, told The Hill that until everyone everywhere has access to vaccines , the next COVID-19 variant is just around the corner. And right on cue, a new variant has shown up in France.
It reportedly has 46 mutations from previously discovered variants.
Is this the next big thing? Who knows? But viruses mutate. The new virus that turned up in France has infected a dozen people but no more since it showed up in mid-November. The larger point is, there is more to come.
Many of the same epidemiologists who have breathed a sigh of relief over Omicrons relatively low death rate are anticipating that the next lineage might be much worse.
Health Care Insurance Purchased Through The Marketplace
If you purchased health care insurance through the Marketplace, you should receive a Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, at the beginning of the tax filing season. The information shown on Form 1095-A helps you complete your federal individual income tax return. If Form 1095-A shows coverage for you and everyone in your family for the entire year, check the full-year coverage box on your tax return. Among other things, Form 1095-A reports the total monthly health insurance premiums paid to the insurance company you selected through the Marketplace. It lists the amount of premium assistance you received in the form of advance payments of the premium tax credit that were paid directly to your insurance company, if any. If you received a Form 1095-A with incorrect information, see our Corrected, Incorrect or Voided Forms 1095-A questions and answers to find out how it affects your taxes.
If you purchased coverage through the federally facilitated Marketplace and you set-up a HealthCare.gov account, you can get a copy of Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement online from your account. Visit your Marketplaces website to find out the steps you need to follow to get a copy of your Form 1095-A online. You can use either the information from your online account, if it is available, or the Form 1095-A that is mailed to you to complete your tax return.
Health In The United States In Global Context
In 2019, the under-five child mortality rate was 6.5 deaths per 1000 live births, placing the United States 33rd of 37 OECD countries. In 2010-2012, more than 57,000 infants and children under 18 years died in the United States.
While not as high in 2015 as in 2013 , maternal deaths related to childbirth have shown recent increases in 1987, the mortality ratio was 7.2 per 100,000. As of 2015, the American rate is double the maternal mortality rate in Belgium or Canada, and more than triple the rate in the Finland as well as several other Western European countries.
Life expectancy at birth for a child born in the United States in 2015 is 81.2 or 76.3 years. According to the World Health Organization, life expectancy in the United States is 31st in the world as of 2015. The United Statesâ average life expectancy is just over 79. Japan ranks first with an average life expectancy of nearly 84 years. The United States ranks lower when considering health-adjusted life expectancy at just over 69 years. Another source, the Central Intelligence Agency, indicates life expectancy at birth in the United States is 79.8, ranking it 42nd in the world. Monaco is first on this list of 224, with an average life expectancy of 89.5.
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Fact 1: Surprise Billing Is Associated With High Health
In a well-functioning market, consumers are able to observe price and quality differences between different options. Health-care markets often fail to meet this standard. One striking way in which they fail is a practice called surprise billing, when insured patients find out that a provider was outside of their insurance network and is consequently much more expensive than they had anticipated. This raises costs to consumers and also allows providers to charge higher prices than those that were negotiated by insurers, raising overall costs.
Figure 12 shows that surprise billing is very common when patients use ambulance services or the emergency department visits , and somewhat common even when receiving elective hospital care . Surprise billing in emergencies presents special problems: patients and their families have little or no ability to compare prices and choose the best option even if they are aware of the prices they face.
Congress Is Going To Kn95 Masks Maybe You Should Too
A woman wearing KN95 medical mask.
Dan Diamond at The Washington Post got his hands on a Congressional memo:
Congress will start providing KN95 masks to House staff and lawmakers. Congress top doctor warned of unprecedented infections at the Capitol.
The memos says that each member of Congress office will get 40 KN95 masks per month. Until now, they have been getting less-protective surgical masks.
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Why Is Health Insurance Important
Almost 2/3rds of bankruptcies in the United States were caused by medical bills. Health insurance is not just insuring your health it insures your wealth. Even after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, most people in the US receive their health care through their employer. Insurance can be difficult to obtain if you retire before youre eligible before Medicare. The ability to have access to any sort of coverage between retirement and Medicare is a huge benefit. Not just for federal employees, but also their spouses, and family members.
Accessing Health Care Services
Canadians most often turn to primary health care services as their first point of contact with the health care system.
In general, primary health care:
- delivers first-contact health care services
- coordinates patients’ health care services to support:
- continuity of care, which means receiving high quality care from diagnosis to recovery
- ease of movement across the health care system when more specialized services are needed from specialists or in hospitals
The provinces and territories also provide supplemental coverage to certain groups of people, such as:
- social assistance recipients
This helps pay for health care services that are not generally covered under the publicly funded health care system. These services include:
- vision care
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Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act
The first open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act began in October 2013. Prior to this period, access to healthcare and insurance coverage trends were worsening on a national level. A large, national survey of American adults found that after the act’s first two enrollment periods, self-reported coverage, health, and access to care improved significantly. Furthermore, insurance coverage for low-income adults were significantly greater in states that expanded Medicaid in comparison with states that did not expand Medicaid. However, discrepancies do exist between those covered by Medicaid versus those covered by private insurance. Those insured by Medicaid tend to report fair or poor health, as opposed to excellent or very good health.
Fact 1: Us Physician Labor Supply Is Tightly Restricted
Health-care providers have become a larger share of the labor force, rising from 5.0 percent of employment in 1980 to 8.5 percent in 2019 . However, labor supply has been limited in important ways. In figure 11a, we show the rate of medical residency positions per 100,000 U.S. residents that were available over the last 60 years. These positions are a necessary part of physician training, required just after medical school. Historically the federal government has heavily subsidized a certain number of residency positions hospitals have been reluctant to provide many residencies without subsidy.
From 1960 through 2010, per capita medical residency positions increased only slightly, rising from 6.9 to 7.4 per 100,000 people. A more rapid increase occurred since 2010 as a number of osteopathic programs entered the data, bringing the rate to 9.8 in 2019 , but still below the application rate.The flat ratecontrasted with rising expenditures and health-care needs for an aging and richer populationsuggests that limited supply has been a problem.
In health-care occupations generally, training requirements have steadily risen. In 2000, for example, physical therapists were required to have either a four-year degree or a masters degree in every state. By 2015, 43 states required that they obtain a doctorate degree to be legally permitted to practice .
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Fact : In Many Cities Health
In a well-functioning competitive market, prices for the same service will not vary widely within a given place: consumers will avoid a business that charges much higher prices than its competitors. However, many health-care markets dramatically violate this expectation. Figure 7 focuses on health-care price variation within selected metro areas, showing that some metropolitan statistical areas feature much more price variation than others. For example, estimates from the Health Care Cost Institute show that the price for a blood test ranges from $22 to $37 in Baltimore, Maryland, but in El Paso, Texas, the same range is $144 to $952. For a C-section delivery, prices vary widely both across and within markets: the 10th to 90th percentile range is 9.3 times larger in the San Francisco, California, metro area than in the Knoxville, Tennessee, metropolitan area.
Some variation in prices is due to differences in quality and amenities: one medical practice might take more time with patients, have nicer facilities, or employ more experienced medical teams, allowing it to charge correspondingly higher prices. But much of the variation is likely related to market imperfections that limit the ability and incentive for patients to shop for the lowest price .
A Hamilton Project proposal by Michael Chernew, Leemore Dafny, and Maximilian Pany would address this type of health-care price dispersion with regulatory interventions directed at the most egregious price growth.
Reception And Possible Ramifications
The technical problems were heavily criticized, and Republican representatives sent President Obama a list of questions, demanding explanations for what went wrong. Some Republicans called for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, to be fired, because she oversaw the planning for the site launch. Former White House Press SecretaryRobert Gibbs described the technical problems as “excruciatingly embarrassing”, and he said that some people should be fired. Scott Amey of the Project on Government Oversight pointed to the development cost ceiling being raised from $93.7 million to $292 million, and he asked: “Where was the contract oversight?”
American conservative commentators such as National Review writers Jonah Goldberg and have argued that the website’s launch was a disaster that presages larger problems throughout the entire law, with Goldberg asserting that “the Republicans who insisted that this monstrosity had to be delayed are looking just a little bit more reasonable with every passing tick.” In a statement, the Republican National Committee responded to President Obama’s comments that the “tech surge” was code for a “spending surge” and will waste millions of dollars. Said statement also read, “The federal bureaucracy has proven itself too slow, too bloated, too incompetent, and too outdated to manage Americas health care.”
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Fact : Market Concentration Is High For Specialist Physicians Insurers And Especially Hospitals
One reason for high prices and high health-care costs is that competition is unusually weak in the health-care system. Consolidation of medical providers, barriers to market entry, and the closing of some hospitals have led to high and rising market concentration, which allows providers to set higher prices without losing patients.
Figure 9 describes this situation in terms of a commonly used concentration metric called the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index . This index captures the degree to which market share is concentrated in a few organizations, and it is an important assessment tool for antitrust policy. Under the Department of Justice/Federal Trade Commission Merger Guidelines, an HHI of 1,500 indicates a moderately concerning concentration level, and an HHI of 2,500 indicates high concentration. As shown in the figure, insurers, specialist physicians, and hospitals are all above this latter threshold, with hospital concentration especially high . Primary care physicians are between the moderate and high concentration levels, but they have experienced a rapid increase in HHI as private practices have been acquired .
Reversing consolidation that has already occurred is likely to be difficult. But policymakers can take steps to prevent additional consolidationand promote competition in other waysas described in a Hamilton Project proposal by Martin Gaynor .
Health Care In The United States
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Health care in the United States is provided by many distinct organizations, made up of insurance companies, healthcare providers, hospital systems, and independent providers. Health care facilities are largely owned and operated by private sector businesses. 58% of community hospitals in the United States are non-profit, 21% are government-owned, and 21% are for-profit. According to the World Health Organization , the United States spent $9,403 on health care per capita, and 17.9% on health care as percentage of its GDP in 2014. Healthcare coverage is provided through a combination of private health insurance and public health coverage ” rel=”nofollow”> Medicare, Medicaid). The United States does not have a universal healthcare program, unlike most other developed countries.
In 2013, 64% of health spending was paid for by the government, and funded via programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Tricare, and the Veterans Health Administration. People aged under 65 acquire insurance via their or a family member’s employer, by purchasing health insurance on their own, getting government and/or other assistance based on income or another condition, or are uninsured. Health insurance for public sector employees is primarily provided by the government in its role as employer.Managed care, where payers use various techniques intended to improve quality and limit cost, has become ubiquitous.
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Delivering Health Care Services To Specific Groups
We provide certain direct health care services to some population groups, including:
- First Nations people living on reserves
- serving members of the Canadian Forces
- eligible veterans
- tax rebates to public institutions for health services
- deductions for private health insurance premiums for the self-employed
What About People With Very Low Income
Open enrollment is the best time to sign up for coverage, but starting next year, people with low incomes up to about $19,000 for a single person and about $33,000 for a family of three will have more flexibility to enroll in A.C.A. plans throughout the year. The change is expected to benefit millions of people.
You can also qualify for a special enrollment period if you lose your job-based coverage, have a child or experience other life changes.
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System Efficiency And Equity
Variations in the efficiency of health care delivery can cause variations in outcomes. The Dartmouth Atlas Project, for instance, reported that, for over 20 years, marked variations in how medical resources are distributed and used in the United States were accompanied by marked variations in outcomes. The willingness of physicians to work in an area varies with the income of the area and the amenities it offers, a situation aggravated by a general shortage of doctors in the United States, particularly those who offer primary care. The Affordable Care Act is anticipated to produce an additional demand for services which the existing stable of primary care doctors will be unable to fill, particularly in economically depressed areas. Training additional physicians would require some years.
Lean manufacturing techniques such as value stream mapping can help identify and subsequently mitigate waste associated with costs of healthcare. Other product engineering tools such as FMEA and Fish Bone Diagrams have been used to improve efficiencies in healthcare delivery.
Between 1990 and 2010, among the 34 countries in the OECD, the US dropped from 18th to 27th in age-standardized death rate. The US dropped from 23rd to 28th for age-standardized years of life lost. It dropped from 20th to 27th in life expectancy at birth. It dropped from 14th to 26th for healthy life expectancy.
Value for money
Delays in seeking care and increased use of emergency care
Types Of Health Insurance Plans
When purchasing health insurance, your choices typically fall into one of three categories:
- Traditional fee-for-service health insurance plans are usually the most expensive choice. They offer the most flexibility in choosing health care providers.
- Health maintenance organizations offer lower co-payments and cover the costs of more preventive care. Your choice of health care providers is limited to those who are part of the plan.
- Preferred provider organizations offer lower co-payments like HMOs but give you more options when selecting a provider.
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Federal Employee Health Coverage
UnitedHealthcare works with federal agencies to provide members and annuitants with quality health coverage and access to health care. Health plans for federal employees may include:
- A Health Savings Account
- Lower premiums compared to traditional plans
- Access to UnitedHealthcare’s broad national physician and hospital network without the need for physician referrals
- Coverage of most network preventive care, including screenings and checkups
The White House Will Distribute 10 Million More Covid Tests Per Month To Schools
“If you haven’t gotten vaccinated, do it,” Biden implored. “Personal choice impacts us all.” He called COVID-19 “one of the most formidable enemies America has ever faced. We’ve got to work together, not against each other.”
Biden also said six new federal medical teams will be dispatched to aid overwhelmed hospitals in six states.
The medical teams are being sent to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y. Rhode Island Hospital in Providence the Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque and University Hospital in Newark, N.J.
Facing criticism over its response to the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus, the White House says that since Thanksgiving, over 800 military and other federal personnel have been deployed to 24 states and that 14,000 National Guard members have been activated in 49 states to help with everything from clinical care to administering vaccines. The deployments have been paid for by the federal government with funds from the American Rescue Plan.
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