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Convention 1991
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LWVHI Proposed Budget 91-92
Health Care Study Commences
Programs Offered
Proposed Bylaw Change

Health Care Study Commences

At the 1990 LWVUS National Convention, members approved a new study on health care in the United States. Earle Fedje has been appointed to be LWVHI chair of that study.

The focus is: Evaluate public and private mechanisms for delivery and financing of health care in the United States.

The scope is: Examine the current status of and evaluate public and private alternatives for delivery and financing of health care in the Unites States including coverage, cost, funding, "rationing," strengths and weaknesses.

Did you know???

  • The U.S. spends approximately 12 percent of its gross national product (GNP) on health care, projected to increase to 15 percent by the year 2000. This is the most expensive system for delivering and financing health care services in the industrialized world, providing some of the most advanced medical technology in the world.

  • In spite of the amount Americans spend on health care, the U.S. infant mortality rate is one of the highest among the industrialized countries of the world.

  • Estimates reveal that there are 31-37 million Americans who have no medical insurance and many of them cannot afford to seek necessary medical treatment. Delay of treatment can lead to serious illness and expensive medical intervention, the cost of which must be borne ultimately by the entire society.

  • Medicare now costs $105.4 billion a year, yet it pays less than half of the health care costs for Americans over age 65.

  • Combined Medicaid expenditures (federal and state) were $61 billion in 1989 and are expected to reach $70 billion in 1990. In 1990, Medicaid covered only 38 percent of the nation's poor.

  • According to the American College of Physicians, administrative costs absorb 22 percent of personal health care spending.


Because health care programs evolved in a piecemeal manner in the United States, our delivery and financing system is fragmented and complex. Many services are duplicated; many are not available in some areas or for some segments of our population. Public programs to finance health care vary from state to state. Few individuals have health benefits that cover the cost of long-term or nursing-home care. Private insurance is increasingly expensive and exclusive. Access to health care is a serious and growing problem for many people.

You can be a part of the solution, as Leagues across the country delve into this critical public policy issue. What will the League bring to the debate? What are alternative policy options for the future? What will be the new League position on delivery and financing of health care?

Your participation in the study can strengthen the voice of the League when it speaks on health care policy. Read up and join in!

Can you answer these questions? Try your hand. (answers below)

  1. Administrative costs absorb what portion of health care expenses?

  2. Are all citizens 65 years of age or older eligible for the Medicare insurance program?

  3. HMOs, PPOs, and IPAs can be grouped under what broad heading?

  4. What health care benefit program is the largest single source of payment for the long-term care provided by nursing facilities?

  5. Name several reasons why individuals could lack health insurance.

  6. Explain the purpose of "Certificates of Need."

  7. How does the federal government influence state Medicaid programs?


Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, Visiting Professor at the University of Hawaii, is giving a series of lectures on health care at different sites on Oahu. Each is held Wednesday evenings between 5 & 6:30 P.M.

The dates and locations: March 27th at the State Capitol Auditorium; April 3rd at Orvis Auditorium on the UH Manoa campus; April 10th at the Kennedy Theatre at UH Manoa; and the final presentation again at the Capitol Auditorium on April 17th.

Evelyn Bender and Earl Fedje have been attending. Other Leaguers interested in the National study on Health Care will want to join them for these lectures. A monograph of the series can be obtained by calling 956-8207 at the series end.




Answers to the Health Care Quiz

  1. 22 percent

  2. No. To qualify for Medicare, individuals who are 65 years of age or older must be eligible for Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits. Persons under age 65 qualify for Medicare if they are eligible for Social Security disability payments for more than two years. Certain workers and their dependents who require kidney transplantation or dialysis receive this care under Medicare.

  3. Managed care plans.

  4. Medicaid

  5. (a) Do not qualify for government benefits.

    (b) Cannot afford to purchase private health insurance.

    (c) Insurance companies refuse to insure the individual.

    (d) Work for small companies or hold parttime positions that do not include health insurance benefits.

    (e) Changed jobs and do not qualify for new employee insurance.

  6. CONs enable states to limit capital expenditures by institutions such as hospitals to prevent duplication of services and facilities.

  7. Mandating a minimum level of care.
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