When Government Manages Health Care!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2004
When Government Manages Health Care!
Sun, 09-12-2010 - 9:33am
From the Chicago Tribune:

H1N1 vaccine demand peters out

Health departments left with thousands of surplus doses

April 02, 2010|By Jeff Long, Tribune reporter

People waited in line for hours last fall for the H1N1 vaccine as officials warned about the spreading pandemic. But, due to less demand than expected and production delays, local health departments now are getting rid of thousands of surplus doses that have become so much medical waste.

The CDC shipped 126 million doses of the vaccine under a $1.6 billion federal program, but officials estimate that only between 72 million and 81 million people have been vaccinated across the country.

In Illinois, more than 3.5 million vaccines have been distributed to local health departments, but very rough estimates say just 1.6 million had been administered by the end of March, said Melaney Arnold, a spokesperson for the state health department.


"If you think back to (the fall), we had demand that outstripped supply, and then as we started getting all the vaccine in December, the demand just really fell off," said Paul Kuehnert, executive director of the Kane County Health Department. "It's certainly disappointing, the timing and the fact that we have vaccine on our hands now."

Thomas Skinner, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, explained that federal officials decided "to be sure we had a dose for everyone who wanted it. There was a lot of uncertainty about what we were going to be up against."

Illinois began a new advertising campaign this week warning people that the virus is still a threat through the flu season that ends in late April or early May, and urging them to consider vaccination.

"A lot of people have become complacent about it," Arnold said.

The H1N1 strain of the flu never became the widespread problem that health officials once feared. In Illinois, the illness hospitalized a little more than 3,000 people, killing 105 — including a person in Cook County last month, according to Arnold.

Now, local health departments are contracting with medical waste disposal companies to get rid of thousands of doses of vaccine that began expiring this week.

Lake County will dispose of about 2,400 doses of the spray vaccine that have expired. About 15,500 doses of the injectable vaccine remain of the 100,000 the county ordered, officials said.

"We were very lucky that the virus was not as virulent as it could have been," said Mark Pfister, the county's population health services director.

The Lake County Health Department provided some of its remaining vaccines on Thursday to people at New Hope Christian Fellowship Church in Mundelein, where Mexican immigrants had come to apply for Mexican passports.

Gregorio Flores, 44, of Mundelein, said he decided to take advantage of the free shot after applying for his passport because he hopes it keeps him from getting the flu this year.

"I was working a lot last year and didn't have an opportunity to get the vaccine, so this was my first chance," he said.

The Cook County Department of Public Health has received 199,235 vaccines and distributed nearly 163,000 by early March, said spokesperson Amy Poore.

In Will County, the health department received about 85,000 doses of the vaccine, mostly in early December. More than two-thirds of the supply remains undistributed, officials said.

About 22,000 doses of the injectable vaccine expired on Wednesday, said Vic Reato, a county health department spokesman.

"They're taken out of the refrigerator and they‘re locked away," Reato said. "They're just stored away in an office somewhere."

The Kane County Health Department received about 68,000 doses of the vaccine, of which 43 percent remain unused.

"We're continuing to see some demand — it's obviously much lighter than it was in the fall — and we‘re continuing to make the vaccine available to folks in our community," Kuehnert said. "We still have our hot line set up and on a daily basis we're probably seeing a dozen calls or so."

While praising the speed with which the new vaccine was brought to market, Kuehnert said it arrived too late to match the spread of the epidemic in the fall.

The DuPage County Health Department received 140,098 vaccines and administered 96,685.

"We support the public health message that your best protection is to get vaccinated and we still have appointments for free vaccine, said spokesman David Hass. "It is also clear that the public interest in vaccine is declining at this time."

Freelance writers Robert Channick and Ruth Fuller contributed to this report.



iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2006
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 11:32pm

Most insurance providers charge a flat rate for a family plan, whether there is one child or 5. Will insurance companies raise premiums on the family plans now that adult children are included? Sure, but it won't be much because adult children are low-risk compared to other age groups.

And if you pay 100% of your employees' insurance premiums, you're to be commended. Very few employers pay the full cost of health insurance. I understand you must lower their wages to get your profit. You must always take care of yourself, first.

I'd like to see employers out of the health insurance business altogether, and single payer is the best way to do that.



iVillage Member
Registered: 01-25-2010
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 9:48pm
What does your tax accountant say about it? Have you checked into the tax offset that one gets for the extra cost of the insurance? How about how you have set up your business? There are ways to help yourself.
Now another tax reality check. Those with out insurance eat up billions of dollars in tax revenues. Why because they go to emergency rooms! Also they wait until it is a major happening. Yes there are a lot that can be done.
All that being said many people in the next decade will be working for themselves either full time or parttime because there are no other choices.
For those who are now starting out it will be easier. but a 23% raise is a lot. However not doing anything would be a lot more expensive.
blue dragon with sword

xvx Pictures, Images and Photos

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2009
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 9:37pm
That may be. I'll have to check that out.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2010
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 9:29pm
I'll bet the premiums are paid for by your DH with "pre-tax" dollars so you are getting to write them off. They're not included in your taxable income in the first place.

>>Luck is what you call it when preparation meets opportunity<<
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2010
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 9:28pm

I was faced with this today myself...someone wanting to add their adult kid, age 24 to our health reimbursement policy. This is something the employee pays nothing for--we pay it all. Now we have to cover the costs of their adult child. It's ridiculous. That employee won't be getting a pay raise or bonus until we make up the difference. It's not possible now that they've decided to cost us more. We have to get the extra $ from somewhere. Or perhaps we'll just have to start charging everyone else so they can help cover this employee's adult child's costs. I'm still at a loss as to why the adult child can't pay for his own out of pocket expenses. I believe this "child" makes some pretty good money--but hey, if you can bill your dad's employer, why not?

What an absolutely poorly thought-out plan. I could see putting them on if the "child" were still a dependent but we have to cover them even if they make big bucks and are married! It's insane.

>>Luck is what you call it when preparation meets opportunity<<
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-25-2010
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 7:18pm
best practices = standard.
Sounds good works bad. Try to get the insurance company to define and start ROFL!
blue dragon with sword

xvx Pictures, Images and Photos

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2009
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 7:09pm


As a self-employed person, you get to at least write off your insurance premiums. My DH's employer provides insurance for him and we have to pay for me and my two kids. We are not allowed to write that off.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-19-2010
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 7:04pm

(The current employer supplied health care is standard procedures that means crappy care.)

Then you are free to purchase, on your own, a supplemental insurance policy that will provide you with better coverage, right?

It really bugs me when people have the mentality that your employer is somehow REQUIRED to provide you with a great health insurance plan. Health insurance is a perk.

As a self-employed person, my insurance premiums went up 23% last quarter because now I am paying for people's 26 year old kids being on their policies, other people's children with pre-existing conditions, etc. Gee....thanks Obama.

I don't get any help from the taxpayers to pay my insurance. I wish people would be a little less greedy and pay their own darn way through life and not expect everyone else to pick up their tab. That really chaps me!

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2010
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 6:14pm
I don't think so. Doctors are generally required to use a best practices approach. If the insurance standard were below standard as you claim they'd get their butts sued.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2010
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 6:12pm

What 'inefficiencies'?

The paper-pushers ARE the efficiency. Someone posted a story about a month ago about how Soc. Sec. nabbed a group of fraudsters.

The liberals in that thread all gathered around, sighed a sigh of relief that the government was getting back hundreds of millions of $s, proclaimed that government "does in fact work" and not a single one of them noticed that if this were a private insurance company it never would've paid those hundreds of millions in fraudulent claims the first place.

It's those 'inefficient' paper-pushers keeping the fraud down. They pay for themselves.