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Policy Interns

In early February, the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) hosted their 25th annual policy research conference on “Medicare and Social Security in a Time of Budget Austerity.” It was a two-day event and I gladly participated in one of their several sessions on a Friday afternoon.

The session that I chose to attend was titled “No Benefits If They Won’t Pay for Them: What Young Americans are Willing to Finance.”

The panelists were Hilary Doe from Roosevelt Institute and Brian Collins from Bipartisan Policy Center. The following pressing questions were asked: “Can social insurance address the needs of increasingly diverse generations? If so, what should be done to reach out to younger Americans and engage them in charting the future of Social Security, Medicare, and other social insurance programs?”

Overall, Collins and Doe were both very optimistic about the future of social security and Medicare…

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Myths and Truths about sugar!

Ideas

In 2009, an hour and a half lecture about sugar and obesity that I gave to the public was posted to YouTube. Given its scientific content, I wasn’t even sure if my family members would watch it. Three million views later, the video is still going strong, and my theories about sugar’s toxic effects on the body are gaining traction. I still believe that one particular form of sugar—fructose—is toxic in high dose. Yet there is still a lot of confusion about this dietary bogeyman. Here are five myths about sugar and some important distinctions about how our body processes its different forms.

(LIST: Top 10 Diet Discoveries of 2012)

Myth 1. A carbohydrate is a carbohydrate; they all have the same calories.

Half true. There are three molecules that make up all the various kinds of carbohydrate: glucose, galactose, and fructose. All three molecules have the…

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Have you seen a doctor recently? It’s very common to find yourself waiting in the doctor’s office for at least one to two hours. After filling out some basic information about yourself and about your previous health history, a nurse finally calls you in into a small, brightly lit room where you will sit and wait another minimum of thirty minutes. Once the doctor enters the room, you briefly chat and be examined under ten minutes, if even that. Then you’re out the door with a prescription in your hand.

  • Now imagine that scenario again but double the time you wait and shorten the actual examination period. With the new healthcare in full swing for 2014, you will slowly see changes in the new year of 2013. Even though we’re in our 20s and medicare does not apply to any of us, fortunately, as well as medicaid, it will somehow indirectly effect your next doctor’s visit. The purpose of President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act is to provide health coverage to those who are uninsured. Those who are without a health insurance will soon be insured by 2014, unless they are willing to pay a fine. In a recent study in American Journal of Medical Quality,Characteristics of Primary Care Safety-Net Providers and Their Quality Improvement Attitudes and Activities: Results of a National Survey of Physician Professionalism,” researchers have found that doctors who willingly accepted uninsured and medicare patients, “safety-net” physicians, may have already reached their capacity of patients that they can see.

In a press release, Massachusetts General Hospital researchers have found that these so-called “safety net” physicians may no longer accept new patients or simply are unable to care for the increased number of patients.

“This study raises very serious concerns about the willingness and ability of primary care providers to cope with the increased demand for services that will result from the ACA. Even with insurance, it appears that many patients may find it challenging to find a physician to provide them with primary care services.” — Eric G. Campbell, PhD, of the Mongan Institute, senior author of published report in American Journal of Medical Quality.

You may think this does not apply to you just yet. However, what will you do if you need a doctor who is unable to see you because of the overwhelming number of patients flooding the office?

Whether you are self-employed or on a payroll, you will experience an increase in medicare taxes. Currently, employers deduct 7.65 percent of your wage to support the elderly and to those with permanent disabilities. And of that, 1.45 percent goes into Medicare’s hospital expenses. However, in the beginning of 2013, the Affordable Healthcare, Obamacare, will increase Medicare hospital tax by 0.9 percent for those who earn more than $200,000 (source: IRS). There is also a new 3.8 percent tax on investment income to the same provision as discussed earlier; for those who earn more than $200,000. Investment income is simply an unearned income; its what is left over after you have subtracted your investment expenses such as fees and commissions (source: financial dictionary).

Even though many of you still may be in college or are not worried about the future of healthcare, it is important to take note that it has the ability to effect the economy in which we are living in.

What are your thoughts?

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