Commentary on medical news by a practicing physician.

  • Epocrates MedSearch Drug Lookup


    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov

    ''Once you tell people there's a cure for something, the more likely they are to pressure doctors to prescribe it.''
    -Robert Ehrlich, drug advertising executive.

    "Opinions are like sphincters, everyone has one." - Chris Rangel

    email: medpundit-at-ameritech.net

    or if that doesn't work try:


    Medpundit RSS

    Quirky Museums and Fun Stuff

    Who is medpundit?

    Tech Central Station Columns

    Book Reviews:
    Read the Review

    Read the Review

    Read the Review

    More Reviews

    Second Hand Book Reviews


    Medical Blogs


    DB's Medical Rants

    Family Medicine Notes

    Grunt Doc




    Code Blog: Tales of a Nurse

    Feet First

    Tales of Hoffman

    The Eyes Have It


    SOAP Notes


    Cut-to -Cure

    Black Triangle



    Kevin, M.D

    The Lingual Nerve

    Galen's Log



    Doctor Mental



    Finestkind Clinic and Fish Market

    The Examining Room of Dr. Charles

    Chronicles of a Medical Mad House



    Health Facts and Fears

    Health Policy Blogs

    The Health Care Blog

    HealthLawProf Blog

    Facts & Fears

    Personal Favorites

    The Glittering Eye

    Day by Day


    The Business Word Inc.

    Point of Law

    In the Pipeline


    Tim Blair

    Jane Galt

    The Truth Laid Bear

    Jim Miller

    No Watermelons Allowed

    Winds of Change

    Science Blog

    A Chequer-Board of Night and Days

    Arts & Letters Daily

    Tech Central Station





    The Skeptic's Dictionary

    Recommended Reading

    The Doctor Stories by William Carlos Williams

    Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 by Elizabeth Fenn

    Intoxicated by My Illness by Anatole Broyard

    Raising the Dead by Richard Selzer

    Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

    The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

    The Sea and Poison by Shusaku Endo

    A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich



    American Academy of Pediatrics

    General Health Info

    Travel Advice from the CDC

    NIH Medical Library Info



    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    Experimental: Maine's state-sponsored health insurance program for the uninsured (Dirigo Health) has been so successful they're going to start taxing healthcare payments to pay for it:

    The Dirigo board is levying a Savings Offset Payment, or SOP--a remarkably innovative name for a new claims tax--to 'recover' every dollar that the state says it has 'saved.' This SOP is similar to a sales tax; a 2.4% surcharge is added to all paid health-care claims. When applied, this new tax will cost the average individual about $70 and the average family about $200 a year--at a time when most individual insurance policyholders are already absorbing a 16% increase in their insurance premiums.

    But, you may ask, if the program is saving all this money, why is a new tax necessary? The answer is that without the SOP, Dirigo Health's high costs would bankrupt the program.

    This little bit about its implementation was interesting:

    When the law creating Dirigo Health was signed, proponents said it would reduce cost-shifting and health-system costs and ultimately cover all 130,000 uninsured Mainers within five years, including 31,000 uninsured in year one.

    It hasn't worked out that way. Through the first nine months only 1,600 previously uninsured individuals enrolled in Dirigo Health's insurance product, called DirigoChoice. The other 6,000 who enrolled simply traded their private health insurance for taxpayer-subsidized DirigoChoice. The program continues to spend millions subsidizing insurance for those already insured.

    Some of the doctors and hospitals in our area have been trying an experiment to help out the uninsured. Called Access to Care, it provides essentially free care to people without insurance. Doctors provide their services for free, and patients pay a minimal one time fee to participate. I considered volunteering briefly, but decided against it largely because it sets up a disincentive for people to purchase their own insurance. Why would someone opt for an employer-based insurance program that might cost them $100 or more a month when they can participate in Access to Care for less than that a year?

    posted by Sydney on 2/16/2006 08:51:00 AM 0 comments


    Post a Comment

    This page is powered by Blogger, the easy way to update your web site.

    Main Page


    Home   |   Archives

    Copyright 2006