Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Harkin Drafting Preventive Care Package for Reform Bill

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said in an interview with CQ HealthBeat that he is “well down the road” toward drafting a bill that would require private health insurers as well as Medicare and Medicaid provide better coverage and reimbursements for effective preventive health measures. That would include annual physicals, mammograms and colonoscopies.

“Prevention has to be incorporated in how we extend coverage, how we reform the payment system,” Harkin said

Among the elements of his legislation:

- An emphasis on a concept known as ‘integrative health,’ in which various practitioners collaborate in coordinated care on a patient’s physical, emotional and mental health

- tax credits for businesses that offer wellness programs such as smoking cessation or depression screening

- annual physicals and other preventive measures - whatever preventive service that gets a recommendation of an “A” or a “B” from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force - ought to be covered without co-pays or deductibles in any basic benefits private insurance policy


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