Thursday, February 12, 2009

Health Crisis Topic On Paltalk


An increasing number of people are losing their jobs, and, along with them, their health benefits. Additionally, many companies are cutting back on, or eliminating, health insurance for their employees in order to make ends meet.

The push is on again for some kind of national health care in the United States. But is this a step forward or backward?

I have a friend in Canada who went to the doctor in January with certain symptoms that the physicians told her were possibly indicative of colon cancer. He wanted her to get to an oncologist as quickly as possible. But the earliest the specialist can fit her in is in May. By then, she tells me, if the general practitioner's diagnosis is correct, the cancer may have progressed so far that she may die.

She lives in Windsor and has health care provided by the province of Ontario. But just across the Detroit River from her, in Michigan, the situation isn't much better. In my own family, I have seen multiple cases where the doctor has prescribed life preserving medication for elderly patients only to be told by the pharmacist that the insurance company, which authorized the initial prescription, won't OK refills. The doctor wants to know when insurance companies became licensed to practice medicine.

Additionally, physicians in Connecticut, New York state and New Jersey have sued insurance companies for shortchanging them in their reimbursements for treatment. In essence, it is charged, the companies deliberately under valued the "customary" charges of treatment.

And an increasing number of doctors in the United States have stopped accepting medical insurance at their practices, because dealing with the companies has become full time work. Instead, they take cash paying customers who are then forced to fight with their insurance companies for reimbursement. If they are successful in getting paid, they get less than the companies would have paid a doctor directly because they went out of network.

Adding to this confusion, some insurance companies have disassociated with certain hospitals. Which means if you have a medical emergency and you go to or are taken to the wrong hospital, you may be stuck with astronomical medical bills.

So what are the best answers to this issue, one that is becoming even more important as the baby boomer generation ages?

Joining us to discuss this and other medical issues on News Talk Online on on Monday February 16 will be Dr. Davis Liu, author of the book, Stay Healthy, Live Longer, Spend Wisely.

Liu has been a practicing board-certified family physician in Northern California since 2000. His comments have appeared in Fortune, Smart Money, Remedy, Real and Simple and the New York Times. He has penned opinion pieces that have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Sacramento Bee.

Until the American health care system improves, he feels individuals today need to have the vital information necessary to ensure that they are doing the right things so that they and their families, as the book title suggests, stay healthy, live longer and spend wisely.

To talk to Dr. Liu on News Talk Online on at 5 PM New York time Monday February 16 CLICK HERE.

Paltalk is the largest multimedia interactive program on the Internet with more than 4 million unique users.

News Talk Online is also syndicated by CRN Digital Talk radio to an additional 12 million households.

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