RadioSETH with Jay Angoff

Play Audio Return to CJ RadioSeth Ginsberg: This is Seth Ginsberg filling in for Lisa Wexler here. Jay Angoff, you just spent three years with the US Department of Health and Human Services.  You’ve devoted your entire career to protecting the rights of consumers and holding insurance companies accountable and you are actually the only person to have ever served as the lead federal health insurance regulator, the director of an HHS region and a state insurance commissioner. What an impressive bio because you’re truly one of the nation’s leading insurance experts.   Angoff: Thank you for your kind words   Ginsberg: Basically, you’re the man, is it fair to say a primary architect of the health reform and the affordable care act?   Angoff: No, I think that’s both giving me too much credit and too much blame. I was the head of the unit that was responsible for implementing the private health insurance reforms of the Affordable Care Act the first year, the first year after the law was passed so I was in charge of things like the patients Bill of Rights, the provisions that allow kids to stay on their parents’ policies until the age of 26, the provisions that prohibit insurance companies for cancelling people or cutting off coverage at a certain dollar amount. Also, for regulations like the medical loss ratio rule which require insurance companies to spend at least 80 cents of the premium dollar on healthcare and no more than 20 cents on overhead expenses and profit.”   Ginsberg: How much did the anti-Obamacare partisan politics play a role in these problems? I mean the delays and the challenges in the presidential election and then the Supreme Court. I mean all these things lend themselves to failure and granted, you might be Read More

RadioSETH with Steve Marmaras

Play Audio Return to CJ RadioSeth   Ginsberg: All right, welcome back, this is Seth Ginsberg filling in for Lisa Wexler. You are listening to ‘The Highway to Health.” That’s what I’m calling the show today because were talking health reform and we’re talking about some of the intricacies that the Obamacare health legislation covered but may not have necessarily been discussed in the mainstream media because it’s more exciting to focus on the shiny objects and on the phone now is somebody who knows a great deal about some of these intricacies. Steve Marmaras, Steve, hey you there?   Marmaras: How are you Seth?   Ginsberg:  Hey, good afternoon. Steve, you are the manager of state and national advocacy for the Global Healthy Living Foundation. How’s that going?   Marmaras: It’s going great. I’m based in Washington, D.C. In the role, I’m really the liaison between policy and regulations that impact access to care, and most importantly, the patients who are affected by the decisions.   Ginsberg: Excellent. So full disclosure here, Steve. We work together (laugh) and as the co-founder of the Global Healthy Living Foundation and patient advocate since the age of 13 when I was diagnosed with a form of arthritis called spondle arthropathy, I definitely appreciate the great work you do in the importance of educating policymakers and regulators about the issues that we face as patients living with chronic diseases. So how important is this subject of biosimilars?   Marmaras: Well, it’s a very important subject Seth. Since GHLF has many communities of patients with chronic diseases, including complex conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Our communities rely heavily on biologics to manage these conditions. So when policies and regulations are proposed, that threaten access to the therapeutics, we have to mobilize our communities, to first Read More

RadioSETH with Glenn Kantor

Play Audio Return to CJ RadioSeth   Ginsberg: And welcome back to the Lisa Wexler show. This is Seth Ginsberg, America's patient advocate, filling in for Lisa Wexler who's on vacation, a much-deserved break where she's headed "Down Under." We're on "the Highway to Health" right now and we're talking all about how to improve access to care, how to change the story we tell ourselves and how we can become our own advocate. I am joined now by our next guest, Glenn Kantor. Glenn, you there?   Kantor: I'm here.   Ginsberg: Let tell everybody why they should be so excited to hear from you because you're a lawyer. Kantor and Kantor.  You're a partner at one of most experienced and respected law firms dealing with the prosecution of claims against insurance companies and you represent clients whose insurance companies have failed or refused to pay claims arising out of disability, health, life, long-term care and other liability insurance claims. So actually, you are a very important lawyer. You're the good guy, is it safe to say?   Kantor: I would like to think so.   Ginsberg: I'd like to think so as well because inevitably those of us who face health issues or disability issues, have to do battle. We have to literally put on our armor. We have to shine our sword in terms of gearing up to deal with the fights we have to fight against the people or the companies responsible for paying our share and paying for their responsibility in terms of coverage or insurance and that's not always as it seems, is it, and that's never uh, doesn't always go as smoothly as it should, does it, Glenn?   Kantor: Absolutely not. My day is filled with helping people who have valid claims, Read More

RadioSETH with Dr. Gudin

Play Audio Return to CJ RadioSeth     Ginsberg: This is America's patient advocate, Seth Ginsberg, filling in for my good friend Lisa Wexler and wishing her well on her much-deserved time off continuing, our conversation today, complicated to say the least but also very relevant given the fact that today is November 22, 2013, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of our 35th President, John F. Kennedy, someone that lived with a great deal of chronic pain as well as several other conditions that caused pain: osteoporosis- a weakening of his bones; colitis- a gut disease- as well as Addison's-an autoimmune condition, a very painful autoimmune condition. So when we learn now, after the fact, that JFK took up to 12 different medicines a day to treat his painful conditions, such as codeine, and Demerol and Methadone.  That's an awful lot medication, even by today's standards. Here to talk to us a lot more about those medications as well as those that are available for us today is Dr. Jeff Gudin. Dr. Gudin, so you are a board-certified pain management anesthesiology, palliative care as well as in addiction medicine, Director of the Pain and Palliative Care of Englewood Hospital Medical Center in Englewood New Jersey, and a clinical instructor of anesthesiology at the Mount Sinai University School of Medicine. So you know a thing or two about pain, don't you Jeff?   Gudin: It sounds like it. That's what we live everyday. Ginsberg:  What's your perspective?   Gudin: You know it was very well known and obviously published a lot after his death when they were able to piece together his medical record that he did suffer with chronic pain and like you say, early bone loss osteoporosis. He was known to have a number of vertebral fractures as Read More

RadioSETH with Dr. Gibofsky

Play Audio Return to CJ RadioSeth   Ginsberg: This is Seth Ginsberg, America's patient advocate here filling in for my good friend Lisa Wexler who I hope is tuning in from "Down Under." I want to talk all about JFK but we are going to talk about it in a way that I think a lot of us can relate to which is that he had suffered health problems since childhood and used an arsenal of drugs including painkillers and stimulants to treat various medical conditions during and leading up to his presidency. And you know the fact is, JFK suffered from colitis, prostatitis, and a disorder called Addison's Disease, which affects the body's ability to regulate blood sugar and sodium. He also had osteoporosis of the lower back causing pain so severe that he was unable to perform simple tasks, such as reaching across his desk to pull papers forward or pulling up his shoes and socks onto his left foot. Wonder if you knew that?  You know, we think about JFK, we think about vigor, we think about good-looking guy out there in Hyannis but we don't necessarily think about his health issues that many of us can relate to. Here to talk a lot more about those health issues and answers more questions is Dr. Alan Gibofsky, Professor of Medicine and Public Health at the Weill Cornell Medical College and attending rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Dr. Gibofsky, welcome to our show.   Gibofsky Thank you, Seth. Good to be with you.   Ginsberg: Chronic pain I think is the one that we can most all relate to at some level but Addison's Disease, could talk a little bit about that? This autoimmune condition?   Gibofsky: Sure, Addison's Disease is basically an insufficiency of the Read More

RadioSETH with Dr. Dolinar

Play Audio Return to CJ RadioSeth   Ginsberg: This is Seth Ginsberg filling in for Lisa Wexler here and we have a very smart guy on the line here. Dr. Richard Dolinar calling in from Phoenix, Arizona. Hey, Dr.Dolinar.   Dolinar:   Yes, Good afternoon.   Ginsberg: You've testified before the U.S. Senate subcommittee on Consumer Affairs and you’ve given congressional briefings on Capitol Hill and you're the expert when it comes to biosimilars. What are biosimilars?   Dolinar: Well, biosimilars are copies of trade name biologic drugs whose patents have expired. Many of the Biologics are quite complex, large molecular drugs and unlike the drugs that are made by chemical reactions, biologics are manufactured using living cells and that's a big difference between them and the chemical drugs so for example if we had aspirin- aspirin is made by a chemical process, chemical reactions- but if you take a biologic that I use very frequently with my patients – insulin- that's made using living cells. The easy way to look at it would be, you grow a redwood tree, you don't manufacture a redwood tree. We can manufacture a car, but when it comes to making a tree, like a redwood tree, we plant the seed, we grow it. We understand there are a number of companies with biosimilars in the final testing stages here in the United States. And I think you're going to start seeing them on the market pretty soon.   Ginsberg: Will they be cheaper?   Dolinar: Yes, we believe they are going to be cheaper, yes.   Ginsberg: And so now what does the FDA still have to rule on? What are some of the outstanding issues that we have to deal with?   Dolinar: Well, one issue involves naming. When we have the original Read More

RadioSETH with Dr. Charles

Play Audio Return to CJ RadioSeth   Ginsberg: This is Seth Ginsberg filling in for Lisa Wexler here, talking all about what’s happening out there to millions of us living with chronic illnesses when we get prescribed a treatment or a diagnostic test or even a medical device and our insurance companies elect to force us onto a cheaper, an older and many times, less effective therapy than the one our physician had intended us to take. It’s a practice called “fail first” or “step therapy”.  It’s  burdensome, to say the least, for me to speak my mind and to tell you how I really feel would ensure that the FCC come and haul me away in handcuffs and so to do it much more eloquently is an advocate and a physician, a neurologist, a father of four from Tennessee. Dr. David Charles is the chairman of the Alliance for Patient Access, which is a national network of physicians with a shared mission of ensuring and protecting patient access to approved medical treatments and therapies. Welcome Dr. Charles. Charles: Thank you so much. I really appreciate the opportunity to join you. Ginsberg: All right, so let’s get into it here, what is the Alliance for Patient Access? What’s the mission? Charles: So, the Alliance for Patient Access is an organization that helps physicians learn how to become better advocates for our patients. We work to make sure that our patients have access to approved therapies; be they pharmaceutical, biologics, tests like diagnostic tests that a physician may order for patient or medical devices. Ginsberg: What are the origins of this organization? You’re a practicing neurologist there in Tennessee and obviously, you have to deal with these hurdles that patients are put through with issues like “fail first” or “step therapy”, Read More

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