A Voter’s Guide to Healthcare Reform

by Joyce Frieden
News Editor, MedPage Today

Washington Watch 02.08.2016

MedPage Today brings you a “voter’s guide” to the candidates’ positions
on healthcare reform.

Wondering which of the presidential candidates are most likely to value the interests of those with chronic pain and illness? Thanks to MedPage Today, we have a better understanding of who stands where on health care. Unbiased reporting with facts and links to each candidate’s website make up this voter’s guide on healthcare reform.



Caduceus Medical Symbol with USA Flag

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21st-Century Healthcare Revolution

A technology-driven healthcare revolution has been shifting control from the hands of institutions and physicians back into the hands of the patients for the past 40 years. This revolution appears to partially mirror the institutional revolution that took place in the early 1900s with the creation of medical schools and hospitals. Prior to that time we were born at home and died at home.Stich, Abbildung, engraving, gravure : 1857

The certification of physicians limited those who could practice, and the advent of hospitals took the control out of the hands of the patients and put it in the hands of the experts. Now this trend is reversing. Patients are looking for complementary alternatives to traditional medicine. These patient-driven incentives enhanced by technology are changing the way we experience and practice medicine in the 21st century.

The CPC has adopted a patient-centric model where well-informed patients can decide on their own path to health…

Coupled with the sky-rocketing prices of health care and the need to stem those costs, technology offers solutions to patients by giving them choices for less expensive options. The Community Pain Center (CPC) offers multiple cost-saving technologies all in one place that promise to reduce overall healthcare expenditures, help patients achieve their desired health outcomes, and put the control of health management back in the hands of the patients. The CPC has adopted a patient-centric model where well-informed patients can decide on their own path to health with the guidance of physicians, allied health associates, and health coaches all playing a role in their healthcare team.

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News from the Healthcare Insurance Exchanges

By Nancy Slanover

Health Insurance Exchange

The time to act is now for 2016 health insurance coverage, including dental and vision plans. The open enrollment period to apply for new health coverage is November 1, 2015, to January 31, 2016. If you do not enroll in a health insurance plan through one of the exchanges through the Healthcare Insurance Marketplace, you cannot enroll for coverage again until the next open enrollment period unless you have certain life events, like getting married, having a baby or losing other coverage. You can apply for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at any time of the year.

The open enrollment period to apply
for new health coverage is
November 1, 2015, to January 31, 2016.

Tax Credits to Help Pay Health Insurance Premiums

Your ability to qualify for assistance in paying your monthly health insurance coverage through the healthcare marketplace is based on three factors: your income, family size and where you land within a measurement known as the federal poverty level (FPL). If you make between 100% and 400% of the FPL, you may qualify for tax credits to help you cover the cost of your monthly health insurance premiums.
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A Vision for the Community Pain Center

The vision for the Community Pain Center, a revolutionary destination website created for the chronic pain community, began 20 years ago when the CEO, Lynne Kennedy Matallana, was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia (FM). She had been bedridden for two years after surgery to treat endometriosis. Wracked with pain and fatigue, she saw 37 doctors before finally receiving an FM diagnosis. With this new information, Lynne set out on a quest to find out as much about her condition as possible, but discovered that little information and support was available.

NFFA Logo with pattern

This led her to focus what little energy she had on creating a solution to this problem. By 1997, she and Karen Lee Richards, a fellow FM sufferer Lynne met in an online chat room, formed the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA). Guided by the mission statement: “To develop and execute programs dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with fibromyalgia,” the NFA started out in a makeshift office in Lynne’s attic and over the years grew to be the most recognized and influential FM organization. The NFA directly assists approximately 1.2 million people each year in developing skills to regain control of their lives, reduce isolation, and restore hope.

Lynne couldn’t help but think that there had to be more she could do to help people
suffering with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions.

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What is Advocacy?

Is advocacy meeting with your elected
officials? Or drawing awareness to a cause? What about coordinating a campaign?
Advocacy is a general term that applies to all this and more.

Advocacy takes place on the grassroots level and the organization level. Most organizations have staff that specializes in government relations; these people develop and execute an advocacy plan specific to their organizations’ issues and work with constituents in the organizations’ networks to understand how major policy issues affect communities around the country.

While government relations professionals possess the expertise necessary to build an effective policy agenda, it is their grassroots counterparts that seal the deal. “Grassroot” and “grasstop” activists refer to people in a community who want to make a difference on behalf of an issue. These individuals are passionate about an issue because it directly affects them or a loved one, or they simply just want to make a difference. They are willing to make phone calls and legislative visits, and even to rally in order to promote an issue.
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