Since even before Medicare was passed in 1965 its been a source of frustration and intense debate from The Hill to Main Street. From concierge doctors to family physicians, politicians and family gatherings, health care reform is still a tough subject to grasp.

While Andy Griffith is currently appearing in television ads explaining Medicare changes to seniors, and the White House is praising its upcoming health care overhaul, the facts of how Medicare will change still remain a bit fuzzy.

1965. A lot of good things came out that year, like Medicare. This year, like always, we’ll have our guaranteed benefits and, with the new health care law, more good things are coming. Free checkups. Lower prescription costs and better ways to protect us and Medicare from fraud. See what else is new. I think you’re gonna like it, says Andy Griffith in his new TV ad. (Time.com) Seems to be pretty simply and explanatory, right? In reality, its a little more complicated.

Time.com states that Medicare Advantage, will in fact be greatly affected by health care reform, causing many seniors who have Medicare Advantage plans to lose fringe benefits that are not required by law. According to the Wall Street Journal, dozens of Medicare Advantage providers plan to cut back vision, dental and prescription benefits. Some plans are eliminating free teeth cleanings and gym memberships, and raising fees for hearing aids, eye glasses and emergency-room visits.

Medicare Advantage plans will take the biggest hit when the health care overhaul starts to take effect next month, mainly because Medicare Advantage plans are privately run plans that offer additional benefits beyond traditional Medicare. Obamas health care overhaul cuts to Medicare Advantage will open up the doors for 30 million Americans who currently dont have health insurance c overage. By taking some funding away from Medicare Advantage, money can be put towards those 30 million uninsured.

Democrats say the payment cuts are fair because Medicare overpays private insurers to run the plans. The government now pays private insurance companies an average of 9% more to operate the plans than it costs the government to run traditional Medicare, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an independent congressional agency. That allows insurers to offer richer benefits to enrollees. (Wall Street Journal Online)

As for standard Medicare plans, they will not change, a common misconception among seniors according to Time.com. In a July poll, 50% of seniors believed health care reform would cut benefits that were previously provided to all people on Medicare, and that Medicare patients will have to spend more out of their own pocket. The reality is that while Medicare Advantage will change dramatically, standard Medicare will not, according to Time.com.

The law requires Medicare to pay 100% of preventive care, which includes checkups. The law will also gradually close the Medicare prescription drug gap known as the doughnut hole.

It isn’t too much of a surprise that many Americans are finding the cost of health care too high to be affordable. Having said that though, they are also happy with the quality of their health care.

It’s interesting to note that a recent survey of Americans about the health care system discovered that overall, people were pleased with the quality of the health care they received. On the other hand, the cost of health care was entirely a different matter. Cost is a flash point with many people in this recession and it should come as no shock that those being polled would respond to the higher costs of health care.

It’s not a secret that health care costs have gone up precipitously over the last few years, with seemingly no end in sight. Although with some of the recently announced changes to the system coming in 2010, the price pendulum may swing back to the point of being reasonable. And that’s the conundrum facing us today, the quality of our health care and what we should be expected to pay for it.

Two out of three people who were asked questions about their experiences with our health care system were pleased with the quality of care they received. With quality care however comes a hefty price tag, much like the saying, “You get what you pay for.” So it’s a bit of a dilemma for the system to also be condemned as not being very affordable, as in where does the system draw the line between quality and affordability? The poor affordability rating came from those who suffer from disabilities or other chronic conditions.

The number of people polled for this interesting survey was fairly representational of the American population at large, with close to 14% of those responding admitting they had no health care because they couldn’t afford it. This doesn’t address what they would do if they required health care and had to pay for the expenses incurred out of their own pockets. The respondents who did have health insurance mostly received it from an employer, who sponsored a group health care plan at their place of employment.

While the survey is valid in terms of being representational for the nation, it did not include a portion that asked people what they were willing to pay for quality health care. Quality health care and the skill to deliver it needs to be reimbursed in some manner, so the question is how to deal with that and ensure everyone has access to affordable health care.

You don’t have to make the terrible decision to send one of your loved ones to a hospital or nursing home; there is always the home health care option! Just think, you might even be able to save money by having a professional come to your home to take care of someone who has been hurt.

Home health care, in the most basic sense, is where a trained agent will come in and do all of the things that a patient would have needed at the hospital, but in the convenient setting of a home environment, where friends and family can be around as well to help things.

Some of the options for this type of care include things like wound care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and patient and caregiver educational information. People can also deal with IV’s, injections, nutrition, and the monitoring of serious conditions that just require a watchful eye, and not scrutiny by high-paid hospital staff.

There are all sorts of agencies that have home health care options. You’ll find companies ranging from tiny neighborhood ones to major corporate ones, and the options that you need will be clearly defined when you talk to any of them for the first time. Just don’t be scared to ask questions.

The home health care staff will take care of a patients eating and drinking, check on vitals like temperature, breathing, pain levels, amount of sleep they get, heart rate, and blood pressure. In addition, they can take care of things like basic cooking and cleaning, depending on the program you’ve set up for them.

You’ll always be made aware of your plan of care as well. Essentially, this is just a list of every detail of your health and how it relates to an agent. Time frames, equipment use, medication details, things like that. If anything changes in your condition, your plan of care will indicate that, so you can keep a record of how things have progressed over time.

Conditions for the home health care service should be constantly improving as well. Every new day will have something that happens, and each challenge should be approached as a way for them to make the overall service better. Staff should always be polite and well-informed as well, giving everyone in the system a chance to be as happy as possible.

Now that you have a basic understanding of how home health care works, do a little homework to find if there are local places that fit you needs, and you know that you’ll be ready to make the right decision if you’re ever put in the position to make a call.

You may be the adult son or daughter of an aging parent, with a job and family, living across the country from your parent. You may be worried about your parent or loved one, because taking care of someone long-distance can be impossible when hands-on care is needed. In this instance, you may want to consider using the services of a Denver home health care provider. By utilizing Denver in home care, your aging loved one will be able to continue to live at home with the extra care needed so that you can be sure that he or she is being looked after properly, even if you cannot provide all of the necessary care yourself.

Denver elderly home care can be tailored to meet the needs of your senior. Many seniors find that driving becomes a challenge as they age, and it is safer to therefore use Denver home care services to provide them with the safe transportation that they need. Denver home care workers can drive your aging loved one to doctor’s appointments and to other visits he or she wishes to make. Some elders need help with walking, and a Denver in home care nurse can escort your elder to meals, or to religious services or other places the elder wants to go. Denver home health care can also be used if your senior has undergone a medical treatment and needs help during the recovery period. Medications can be administered by, and meal preparation and cleanup handled by Denver home care services, making it possible for the senior to recover safely at home. Some elders need help with laundry and linen changing; these and other light housekeeping tasks can be easily handled by a Denver home care assistant.

Denver home health care providers also make sure that the senior’s mental health is kept at optimal levels. The Denver in home care provider can play games with the elder, hold conversations and help with letter writing, for example.

As seniors age, they will also sometimes need help with personal care. Denver home health care nurses can provide the assistance needed for hair care, oral hygiene care, skin care, incontinence care, ambulation assistance, and dressing and grooming assistance.

For the elder who needs a greater level of assistance, the Denver in home care provider can offer bed positioning, night supervision and live-in round-the-clock care. No matter what the specific needs are of your elderly loved one, there are Denver home health care services that can meet those needs in a professional and caring manner.

We are in the middle of 2010 gearing up for fireworks; waiting for the new health care reform law to take effect. Eleven state attorneys general said they wanted to challenge the law as being unconstitutional and the Democrats are still talking about passing amendments. Moreover, there are many questions that remain unanswered; the biggest of which is, Will it make health care more effective? The obvious answer is no. This entire scenario is one big shell game. There are thousands of pages of new law and most of the law makers are clueless.

The reality check is that the Congress has passed this bill with a three year delay in implementation, so it was designed to change nothing for the immediate future with the hope that after three years, with no one paying attention anymore, the administration can sneak a few changes in to implement its socialist agenda. Meanwhile, we as a society still have the same health issues in a system that continues to thrive on treatment rather than prevention. One prime example is depression and anxiety. People naturally become depressed in the kind of severe economic downturn that we are experiencing with increased anxiety about a future that looks bleak. Medical insurance, health insurance or some type of managed care health plan seems irrelevant when facing unemployment. In a depressed economy, with massive anxiety and depression plaguing the population there is a serious public health problem. This kind of insidious upheaval leads to other chronic diseases like, diabete3s, high blood pressure, heart attack and the like.

The generally accepted treatment however, is for the pharmaceutical companies to make billions of dollars selling anti-depressants and tranquilizers. Moreover, aside from monetizing human responses to stressful stimuli, there is a political benefit to having massive numbers of citizens living in chemically induced altered realities. People on Prozac are less likely to protest against nefarious political agendas. Therefore, what motivation does the government have to reform health care to the extent that people will have better access to professional counseling for coping with and resolving their struggles?

In conclusion, as we throw a few slabs of meat on the barbecue grill and sip some beer on this 4th of July we need to realize that there are a few avenues toward seizing power and control that the founding fathers could not anticipate. The constitution is a wonderful document and has saved our republic from despotism enumerable times in our 214 year history. However, it is subject to interpretation and we know from experience that Supreme Court justices take opposite views of what is or is not constitutional depending upon whether they are liberal or conservative. Therefore, we need to be diligent in letting our political leaders know that we are not as stupid as they think. We need to consistently remind them that they work for us. That is why freedom of speech is still the most important constitutional amendment.