Tag Archives: health care

Six words on health care

Everyone’s got a story about health care, whether it’s a late night rush to urgent care with a sick kid or a nightmarish series of calls to the insurance company to settle a claim. Last week, we asked for your Six Word Economy Memoir and received some great responses. With the recent passage of the health care reform bill, this week we turned to health care stories, and here’s what came back:

Alan Atwood: $12,000 A Year is Too Much.

January Hentschke Thapa
: I hope I never get sick!

Allison Olson
: Realizing we’re very lucky. Fingers crossed.

: hoping to die before exhausting coverage

Harlan Lewin
: Why is obesity a fashion statement?

Minnesota Public Radio
put a call out on the air for submissions. Their Public Insight Journalism network connects the station with viewers. Here are some of the responses from the Minneapolis area:

Colin Mansfield
: Minnesota Care is my life saver

Theresa K.
: Insurance is costly product, not guaranteeable.

Patrick S.: Public Sector Dad, Adulthood Is Sad.

Jennifer Hernandez
: Broken ankle. Huge deductible. Ouch!

Oh, and mine? Yoga classes are cheaper than therapy.

Do you have one to share? Add it in the comments below.


The House passed health care reform late last night. What will the new legislation mean to you? What are the biggest myths surrounding the bill and what do you need to know to take advantage of the upcoming laws? Last September we looked at how much of the economy is really spent on health care. Now that a bill has passed, how will those funds shift and how will health care reform change your costs?

PBS NewsHour breaks down the basics:

The legislation will require nearly every American to carry health insurance starting in 2014 and will impose a penalty fee on those who don’t. It will set up a series of state-based insurance exchange marketplaces where people who do not have access to employer-based insurance will be able to shop for plans, and will also offer new tax subsidies to make that insurance more affordable for millions of Americans who earn up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

It will also impose new regulations on the insurance industry, including barring insurance companies from denying coverage to patients based on pre-existing conditions, and barring companies from using technicalities to drop customers who become ill.

Many of the bill’s provisions, such as the insurance exchange marketplaces and new subsidies, won’t go into effect until 2014. But some of the new insurance regulations will begin this year, such as a provision that allows young adults up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ plans.

Want to discuss the bill with your friends and colleagues but don’t know where to begin? PolitiFact lists the top ten facts about health care reform and dispels some pervasive myths.

The government will not take over hospitals or other privately run health care businesses. Doctors will not become government employees, like in Britain. And the U.S. government intends to help people buy insurance from private insurance companies, not pay all the bills like the single-payer system in Canada.

So what will happen? Kaiser Health News provides a consumers’ guide to health reform, detailing when various provisions will take effect and answering pressing questions about how health insurance affordability will change and what types of insurance will be available.

WNYC’s The Takeaway spoke with health care professionals and small business owners about how the changes in health care reform will affect them.

“I’m hoping that by adding 32 million people to the insurance pool that premiums will eventually come down by bending the cost curve,” John Brown, VP of Brown Furniture Company, told The Takeaway.

For more on how health care reform could change your coverage, check out this New York Times “choose your own adventure”-style interactive and follow your health care options through the bill.

You can also add a question about health care for Capitol News Connection’s reporters to ask on the Hill.

If you have a health care story or thoughts on how reform could help or hurt your current situation that you’d like to share with EconomyStory, please add it in the comments below. We’ll be featuring stories from readers during the coming weeks.

Fees, keys and ripped up tees

It hasn’t been an upbeat start to 2010.

A blog post on NPR this morning pointed out that while the December jobless rate was higher than economists anticipated, it would have been EVEN HIGHER if those who’d dropped out of the market all together had been counted. And talk of a new recession for 2010 was the headline on a NewsHour analysis piece this week.

A range of issues indicate recessionary trends from reports at stations around the country:

Minnesota Public Radio reported on “Cash for Keys” plans, where lenders pay former – and busted — homeowners to surrender their keys faster. These systems have cropped up across the country, with some success.

Cash for keys has been around for years, he says, and it’s increased with the jump in foreclosures.

On the health care front, as a national bill moves through Congress, WSIU in Illinois reported on a new bill in the state that allows young people up to age 24 to stay on their parents’ health insurance, costing the state nothing but charging fees to those families that wish to keep their grown kids covered.

Many people shop at discount retailer H&M to save some money on fashionable clothes, particularly as little luxuries are less affordable. But reports this week about the chain ripping up old clothes, making them unwearable, rather than donating them to charity had the Web up in arms.

But maybe being in the dumps isn’t all bad. Creating more waste is actually a GOOD economic indicator, according to a story from WIUM in western Illinois. A waste management expert told the station:

“A trash collection report is one of the strongest economic indicators. When more waste is collected in an area, in this case western Illinois, that means more people are staying home. But at the same time, they’re buying things close to home.”

Top posts of '09

Over at EconomyBeat, Jon’s put together a list of underperforming posts for the year. I’m a little tired of this whole ‘glass half empty’ thing, so while the top performing posts aren’t all good news (how could they be?), here’s a quick glimpse at some popular economy stories and projects from public media in 2009.

1. One Sixth of What? The health care debate was the story of the year in Washington, so it’s no surprise that it hit a nerve with EconomyStory readers as well. While progress has been made since we looked at what healthcare costs really mean, in the new year, the bill will reach President Obama’s desk. Here are some recent thoughts from NPR listeners about the current health care bill. Health care also took center stage in a game from American Public Media, where you decide how tax dollars get spent.

2. Water, Water Everywhere The close ties between water, the economy, and politics brought a number of investigative stories from California, which faced a huge drought in 2009.

3. Men Men Suits vs. Corduroy Patches One of the most successful shows on TV this year lent itself to a popular EconomyStory post. The series Mad Men on AMC had everyone throwing back to classic 60s looks and highball drinks on Sunday nights, prompting NPR to do a piece on a new Brooks Brothers suit, styled in the Mad Men tradition. The price tag, however, was something not everyone could hang their fedora on this year.

4. One House One Town One Lecture You can’t talk about the economy of 2009 without mentioning the real estate bust. In Missouri, The Economy Project looked at one filmmaker’s take on the housing bubble, and NewsHour’s Patchwork Nation examined how the crisis played out around the country.

5. Watch and Learn When PBS launched it’s new video widget this fall, the web responded and now the video player is on dozens of station and program sites, featuring stories from shows like NewsHour, Frontline, and Nightly Business Report. You can add it to your personal site as well. Check out some of the best videos of the year that are up now:

More fun with maps

Last night on the NewsHour, Dante Chinni of Patchwork Nation explained the thinking behind mapping different types of communities and how looking at location and context together create a deeper picture of what the American economy looks like.

“But it’s more than that, because, when you break the counties out into these types, as we do, we’re able to get a feel for — in each one of these 12 communities, we have identified who’s getting the most, not even in per capita terms, but in just real raw numbers terms,” Chinni said.

Check out the full interview:

A new map from National Journal takes a look at where the uninsured in America are living, broken down by Congressional district. South Florida, Central California, and South Texas appear particularly hard hit.
How about posing a question to lawmakers in those districts (or your own) about health care reform?

While only tangentially related to the economy, it’s interesting to take a look at this new mapping project on the flu from the Center for Disease Control as an example of how government agencies are starting to think about maps that can be shared online to spread information. For more flu updates, visit Fluportal.org.
CDC Flu View Map Widget. Flash Player 9 is required.