I just posted the following entry on the Oprah.com website. The link to the full text of the legislation can by found by clicking here!
I ran across a mention of this on a blog, and did a little checking-----Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) has introduced legislation to Congress (HR-584) that would mandate coverage of hormone replacement therapy by Medicare, Medicaid, and other health insurance programs. This could be very, very important. Since I cannot post the link (which is driving me nuts), Google in HR-584, Barbara Lee and Hormones, and the link to the full text of the bill should come up. I will post a link to it on my blog, which you will need to private message me to get that link! I hope Oprah's web people get a link to the legislation proposal on the site, it would be beneficial to a lot of women (and men!).
A word of caution, however, this will not solve the problem of not enough physicians in many parts of the country being knowlegeable enough to attend to the hormonal balance needs of their patients. To be honest, even if this legislation passes, many doctors who are knowledgeable about BHRT and use it with their patients will still not accept Medicare reimbursements, and I'm guessing that many more will not even consider Medicaid participation. Before you start screaming that doctors are in it just for the money, I know from personal experience that the rate of reimbursement for Medicare patients is ridiculously low, and the hoops a provider needs to jump through to get a paltry sum are simply not worth it. Many Medicare providers need to employ one person full time in their offices just to deal with the insurance hassles. Medicaid is even worse, and with the rising costs of malpractice insurance, and other costs associated with a medical practice (it is, above all else, running a small business), in many cases it is simply impossible for a practitioner to spend quality time with a patient and still keep his/her head above water financially. Add to it the mess the economy as a whole is in---- I went to a new primary care physician (I live in NC, and my hormone doctor is in CA----I needed someone local to get my blood work done) last week, and she was a half hour getting to me, and then spent 10 minutes with me ---- at a first appointment!!!!! I hate it, and thank goodness I am not treated that way by my hormone physician. He takes the time to listen to my symptoms, and trusts that I know my body better than anyone else. That 's the way medicine should be practiced, but the reality is that when an insurance company is involved, the chances of really being heard and treated holistically are slim and none.
However, the passage of this legislation is a start, and as so many of us have found, access to a provider who is willing and knowlegeable about BHRT is difficult and frustrating, so any step in the right direction gives us hope and the incentive to become better educated patients. Congresswoman Lee deserves a huge thank you note, and we need to get busy letting our representatives know how important this legislation is to millions of women and men!