Health Care or extortion racket??
supporter
Posted by howdy (+4949) 12 years ago
The dirty little secret is that we Americans, alone in the civilized world, accept a system called "Health Care," that is nothing more than an extortion racket, operated by a conspiracy of Health Industry executives in collusion with our elected Representatives. The goal is simple: extort as much money as possible from us, the victims, while dispensing as little Health Care as possible.

I read this paragraph elsewhere and thought it bears repeating...When will our elected reps stop hearing the siren song of corporate money and get real help for Americans??
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supporter
Posted by Kelly (+2734) 12 years ago
Tripp Palin has Government Health Care...

http://images.eonline.com...bpoena.pdf



EDIT: Pages 8 & 9 of 42

[This message has been edited by Kelly (2/20/2010)]
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newbie
Posted by Lucy M (+4) 12 years ago
What about those card carrying republicans whose teenage daughters get knocked up and have them apply for medicaid? No problem accepting government handouts then. They would rather the government pay than them have to come up with the money, since they were to cheap to carry insurance on them in the first place. Government handouts are bad until you want them.
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supporter
Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4457) 12 years ago
The goal is simple: extort as much money as possible from us, the victims, while dispensing as little Health Care as possible.


Not even close to true. Our system excels at dispensing lots and lots of Health Care. Probably too much.

But it's generally still the best health care in the world if you can afford it.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6170) 12 years ago
But it's generally still the best health care in the world if you can afford it.


Right. If you can AFFORD it!
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4457) 12 years ago
That's what most people see as the crux of the issue.

Needless to say, despite best wishes, taking something that's expensive and making it 'free' rarely works the way people intend it.
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10013) 12 years ago
I'm 42 years old, and I pay about $200 a month just to get in the club. That's $2,400 a year, as a starting fee. And then I also have about a $2,000 deductable. So that's really about $4,400 a year to get in the club. But then, they only cover 80%, so add 20% on to that. And even beyond that, they don't cover a lot of stuff. So add 100% of other stuff on top.

Seriously, it is cheaper for me to NOT have health insurance, and just pay for it myself. The entire system is messed up. I believe Obama had the best intentions, but forget about the R's who won't have anything to do with it, the D's can't even follow in line as well. We're screwed all the way around. I have no faith in either party. We need a new one. Perhaps one that begins with an L.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15076) 12 years ago
I fail to see how not charging the consumer for a service and yet tripling the taxes of everyone to pay for the service is "free". The notion that the government isn't capable of an extortion racket is absurd. The increase in cost is commensurate with government involvement. The more they are involved the higher the cost.
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Posted by Gern Blansky (+17) 12 years ago
My wife works in management of a nationally recognized hospital heading up the insurance billing function. I feel somewhat qualified to speak on the subject. The great neurotic disconnect in the whole health care issue is the mindset among many voters, most of whom make up the 'zero basis taxpayer' (they pay little or no income taxes) demographic feel that this country should have in place a health care infrastructure comprised of highly educated and trained doctors, nurses and support prsonnel, many of who have had to attend years of college, backed by hospitals that requre billions of dollars to build and equip and to have it all on demand 24/7 and then it isn't supposed to cost anything. I have never seen such a neurotic disconnect as I have ever seen when President Obama, in making a speech before congress on his health care monstrosity, derided opponents to his plan for 'demagoguing' the debate, and in the same sentence attacks doctors for performing medically unnecessary amputation of limbs of patients only because it pays more money.

You want to know what should happen to truly reform health care insurance? Quit perverting insurance to pay for expenses for which it was never designed. Insurance is a mechanism that is designed to cover losses that are rare, unpredictable and financially catastrophic on an individual basis. Medical insurance is used to pay for costs that happen routinely and predictably, and what that has done has removed the consumer from the transaction, inserting a third party payor between consumer and provider, and that is what has driven up costs by providing an incentive for over consumption.

If the Obama administration was truly concerned with health care reform, instead of their real agenda of the democrat party angling for its grab of the next great voting bloc, would streamline rules for health savings accounts and flex plans where the people directly manage their routine health care costs. Insurance should only be used for the random and rare, financially catastrophic events.

Amazing how many votes the democrats have gotten by advocating the Robin Hood mentality to insulate them from accepting the notion of personal responsibility. The constitution grants me a right to keep and bear arms, but nowhere in that document does it say that the taxpayers are obligated to purchase them for me.
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supporter
Posted by Denise Selk (+1664) 12 years ago
Quit perverting insurance to pay for expenses for which it was never designed. Insurance is a mechanism that is designed to cover losses that are rare, unpredictable and financially catastrophic on an individual basis. Medical insurance is used to pay for costs that happen routinely and predictably, and what that has done has removed the consumer from the transaction, inserting a third party payor between consumer and provider, and that is what has driven up costs by providing an incentive for over consumption.


While the original design of insurance may have been to cover losses that are rare, unpredictable and financially catastrophic, trying to utilize the system in this capacity is a little like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.

I've used this example before, but I will use it again, as it is so ludicrous. After the birth of my son in November of 2006, I, as every major medical association recommends, took my child in for a series of well-baby visits. For those of you who do not have children, this consists of a 15 minute (maximum) visit with a nurse/doctor and a series of immunizations, depending on the stage of development. For ONE visit, the 15 minute session, required immunizations (one oral) and the two immunization admin fees totalled $662.00 ($29.00 just to admin a liquid). Now, this was just one visit in a series of visits required before the age of two, ranging anywhere from two weeks apart to months apart.

Sir, if you truly have not utilized your insurance in a manner for which it was never designed, congratulations to you. However, that tells me either you are independently wealthy, inordinately healthy and have no children (or had children back in the good old days when a complicated delivery and two-week stay in the hospital was $800 vs. $100,000), or both.

I am not remotely a "zero basis taxpayer", yet there is no way in hell my family could afford to pay our medical expenses without insurance. Although the original intent for insurance may have been only to cover those expenses that are catastrophic, we are well beyond that point now. I know very few people who could afford medical procedures completely out-of-pocket.

Perhaps the argument will be that if we revamped the system and once again mandated that insurance coverage provide for only rare, unpredictable and financially catastrophic costs, the costs of medical procedures will come down, making it affordable as was intended (so that we can "accept the notion of personal responsibility").

However, as a good Republican once told me in discussing a proposed sales tax in our great state in order to alleviate the heavy burden on property owners being taxed to oblivion, there is no guarantee that imposing the sales tax would lower the real property tax.

The fear was that we would just end up with both.

Exactly...

[This message has been edited by Denise Selk (2/21/2010)]
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supporter
Posted by Bob Netherton II (+1910) 12 years ago
As someone who has worked hard all of my life, and have now had all of my savings wiped out, plus an enormous essentially unpayable debt to show for it, all due to a life threatening illness, I feel I have some "expertise" on the subject as well. Anyone who thinks our health "system" is workable the way it is is completely full of poop. Gern, I've been jerked around plenty by your procreateing insurance companies. The absolute last person I care to hear from on this subject is someone from a goddamned insurance company. Don't worry gern or gert or whatever the hell your name is. Thanks to the stinking Supreme Court, your insurance providers will have an even bigger say than they do now. I hear the word "FREE" being thrown around a lot, especially by right wing knuckleheads who like to post photo-shopped pictures of Joe Biden when he's not the subject. The key word here, you assholes, is AFFORDABLE.
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supporter
Posted by Bob Netherton II (+1910) 12 years ago
Oh. And next lets hear from the tobacco companies on all of the great health benefits of cigarettes and snuff.
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Posted by Kyle L. Varnell (+3751) 12 years ago
Bob, to which SC ruling are you referring to and can you provide a link so I can read it?
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Posted by David Schott (+17424) 12 years ago
California Death Spiral
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: February 18, 2010

Health insurance premiums are surging - and conservatives fear that the spectacle will reinvigorate the push for reform. On the Fox Business Network, a host chided a vice president of WellPoint, which has told California customers to expect huge rate increases: "You handed the politicians red meat at a time when health care is being discussed. You gave it to them!"

Indeed. Sky-high rate increases make a powerful case for action. And they show, in particular, that we need comprehensive, guaranteed coverage - which is exactly what Democrats are trying to accomplish.

Here's the story: About 800,000 people in California who buy insurance on the individual market - as opposed to getting it through their employers - are covered by Anthem Blue Cross, a WellPoint subsidiary. These are the people who were recently told to expect dramatic rate increases, in some cases as high as 39 percent.

Why the huge increase? It's not profiteering, says WellPoint, which claims instead (without using the term) that it's facing a classic insurance death spiral.

Bear in mind that private health insurance only works if insurers can sell policies to both sick and healthy customers. If too many healthy people decide that they'd rather take their chances and remain uninsured, the risk pool deteriorates, forcing insurers to raise premiums. This, in turn, leads more healthy people to drop coverage, worsening the risk pool even further, and so on.

Now, what WellPoint claims is that it has been forced to raise premiums because of "challenging economic times": cash-strapped Californians have been dropping their policies or shifting into less-comprehensive plans. Those retaining coverage tend to be people with high current medical expenses. And the result, says the company, is a drastically worsening risk pool: in effect, a death spiral.

So the rate increases, WellPoint insists, aren't its fault: "Other individual market insurers are facing the same dynamics and are being forced to take similar actions." Indeed, a report released Thursday by the department of Health and Human Services shows that there have been steep actual or proposed increases in rates by a number of insurers.

But here's the thing: suppose that we posit, provisionally, that the insurers aren't the main villains in this story. Even so, California's death spiral makes nonsense of all the main arguments against comprehensive health reform.

For example, some claim that health costs would fall dramatically if only insurance companies were allowed to sell policies across state lines. But California is already a huge market, with much more insurance competition than in other states; unfortunately, insurers compete mainly by trying to excel in the art of denying coverage to those who need it most. And competition hasn't averted a death spiral. So why would creating a national market make things better?

More broadly, conservatives would have you believe that health insurance suffers from too much government interference. In fact, the real point of the push to allow interstate sales is that it would set off a race to the bottom, effectively eliminating state regulation. But California's individual insurance market is already notable for its lack of regulation, certainly as compared with states like New York - yet the market is collapsing anyway.

Finally, there have been calls for minimalist health reform that would ban discrimination on the basis of pre-existing conditions and stop there. It's a popular idea, but as every health economist knows, it's also nonsense. For a ban on medical discrimination would lead to higher premiums for the healthy, and would, therefore, cause more and bigger death spirals.

So California's woes show that conservative prescriptions for health reform just won't work.

What would work? By all means, let's ban discrimination on the basis of medical history - but we also have to keep healthy people in the risk pool, which means requiring that people purchase insurance. This, in turn, requires substantial aid to lower-income Americans so that they can afford coverage.

And if you put all of that together, you end up with something very much like the health reform bills that have already passed both the House and the Senate.

What about claims that these bills would force Americans into the clutches of greedy insurance companies? Well, the main answer is stronger regulation; but it would also be a very good idea, politically as well as substantively, for the Senate to use reconciliation to put the public option back into its bill.

But the main point is this: California's death spiral is a reminder that our health care system is unraveling, and that inaction isn't an option. Congress and the president need to make reform happen - now.

http://www.nytimes.com/20...ugman.html
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supporter
sponsor
Posted by souix (+307) 12 years ago
Years ago I went to a small town Doc, in Idaho and in a few months his fees went up from $35 a visit to $85. When I asked him why the large increase, he said that $85 is what Blue Cross allowed him to charge, but then his contract with BC he had to reduce the $85 to the agreed amount that the contract stipulated. So the only people paying the $85 were those without insurance. So, as Denise pointed out, the cost of medical treatment is now outrageously priced.

Also all the people working for a business that gives them insurance are having the patrons of that business, pay for their health insurance.so Gern's wife is having everyone else pay her insurance.
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10013) 12 years ago
My significant other was actually fired in October, after working more than 20 years in her industry.

Earlier in her career she was purchased from another company, and was a top sales rep at the one that fired her -- and she was fired due to the fact her health insurance was too expensive. They told her "it wasn't personal, it was just a money thing". The head office was out of Portland, and some idiot ran a spreadsheet to come to that conclusion.

There were other people laid off as well, and they were all successful 40+ year old employees, which were immediately replaced by kids.

They gave all her accounts to some kid that wasn't even a sales rep.

In order to get severance, they made her sign a piece of paper acknowledging she was not fired due to age discrimination, which is what happens if you are over the magic number of 40.

Luckily she found a better job with a better employer and has gotten most of her accounts back -- and is making more money than before, since they are a manufacturer and have more buying power (meaning more gross margin of profit to play around with).

The sweetest revenge is success. I'm just waiting for the place that fired her to go bankrupt, which will eventually happen. Due to the fact she was acquired, for some reason they failed to have her sign a non-compete, and she's actually taken millions of dollars of gross revenue from them to her new place of employment.

All because of a stupid health insurance premium, which was about $600 or $800 a month, I can't remember which. Somewhere in that range.
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supporter
Posted by Bob L. (+5100) 12 years ago
Larry:


NICE!
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supporter
Posted by Bob Netherton II (+1910) 12 years ago
Kyle - I just bumped "State Campaign Finance" so you can easily revue the previous discussion on the SC ruling I referenced.
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Posted by Jason Miller (+221) 12 years ago
Common you guys.... Everyone has to agree that status quo isn't going to cut it. Instead of bashing someone for trying make things better, tell me about what you would do. Unless you are good with the way things are. You must have some ideas that will help. Tell us what they are. I'm truly interested.
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Posted by Kyle L. Varnell (+3751) 12 years ago
After reading the case my thoughts are as follows:

I agree with ruling insofar as I don't believe the Government has any business telling a private company that they can not donate to a campaign. Various Unions, who hold significant power themselves, have strangleholds on campaigns under the guise of "For the Children". Teachers unions contributing to an election to block merit-based pay comes to mind among others, so I don't see why business should be exempt from donating as well.

Coporations & Unions are going to find ways to get around the law, whatever it is. It's just that you had to "Wine & Dine" a Senator way back when.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15076) 12 years ago
Instead of bashing someone for trying make things better, tell me about what you would do. Unless you are good with the way things are. You must have some ideas that will help. Tell us what they are. I'm truly interested.


You must be new around here. I have been pushing market based solutions like allowing competition across state lines, tort reform, etc. for over a year. The public option does not increase competition which is key to lowering cost. Giving consumers more choices, rather than making the government plan the only choice is the most effective way to lower costs.

The current plan isn't about lower cost or healthcare. It is about empowering democrats in perpetuity.

Let the bashing begin.
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Posted by David Schott (+17424) 12 years ago
Richard Bonine, Jr wrote:
The current plan isn't about lower cost or healthcare. It is about empowering democrats in perpetuity.


Richard, can you elaborate on this statement? What do you mean?
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supporter
Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15076) 12 years ago
This is why the government shouldn't be in healthcare.

http://www.cnn.com/video/...dicare.cnn
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founder
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11898) 12 years ago
I have health insurance. So far, I have been billed over $13,000 for the six hours I was in the hospital. You read that right. $13000 for six hours. One hour was spent in surgery, which accounted for about $9,000 of that. My insurance, after the $2,000 deductible and the $5,000 out of pocket, and then only paying a percentage etc. will cover some of it but I will be left with a minimum of $5,000 and probably closer to $7,500 to pay.

Which I don't have and will have to borrow. I am cutting back expenses i.e. buying less to help, which is bad news for the economy.

Multiply me by the hundreds of thousands and tell me that our economy isn't suffering because of outrageous health care costs.
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Posted by Bob Netherton II (+1910) 12 years ago
Don't worry, Amorette. Richard is coming to your rescue with market-based solutions!
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15076) 12 years ago
Actually, I am in a similar situation to Amorette, with a bunch more testing to occur next month. I am thankful that I have insurance to help cover the cost. That said, I fail to see how more government involvement would lower my costs. Even if I pay less for the medical care my taxes will go way up. How am I any better off?
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Posted by souix (+307) 12 years ago
Richard,

The same thing happened to a friend.she needed a brace after knee surgery. She found the brace on the internet for 1/6 of the cost that the Doctor's office wanted to charge her. Blue Cross told her that they could not reimburse her if she purchased it herself.

The *Real* reason that Medicare is going broke is because of the unfunded Rx program that Bush implemented and the additional cost that Medicare pays to the for-profit insurance companies (i.e. Humana).

Also, one could argue that we should go back to having the military support our troops.

http://www.corpwatch.org...p?id=12011

[This message has been edited by souix (2/21/2010)]
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supporter
Posted by Bridgier (+9297) 12 years ago
Richard, can you elaborate on this statement? What do you mean?


Dimes to dollars he won't.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15076) 12 years ago
It is all about developing a block of voters that will keep democrats in control.
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Posted by hilinetransplant (+135) 12 years ago
[This message has been edited by hilinetransplant (2/22/2010)]
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supporter
Posted by Bridgier (+9297) 12 years ago
Could you describe the demographics of this hypothetical voting block for us?
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17661) 12 years ago
Market-based solutions....tort reform....what a maroon. What an imbecile.

Show me a country in the world that operates like that. Where all the trial lawyers have been drawn and quartered, and the insurance companies have no government regulation. That population must have the bestest, healthiest popoulation in the whole wide world!

Wake up and smell the coffee, you idiot.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15076) 12 years ago
Could you describe the demographics of this hypothetical voting block for us?


Sure! 50% of them are social democrats and the other 50% are democratic socialists.
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Posted by athome (+370) 12 years ago
Insurance is either loved or hated, depending on where you fall in the use category.

Consider someone who has had one or more serious bouts of illness or injury resulting in 25,000--100,000 or more in medical costs. That individual in all rights may support the system as it in all rights probably saved them from financial calamity.

Now otherwise healthy or lucky people who have had little use for insurance protection may take an entirely different view. Some are fortunate enough to go most of their lives without any significant injury or illness that requires substantial insurance coverage to lessen the financial burden or hardship on that individual or family.

Yes, healthcare needs reform. Can it be done without offing the taxpayer?

I understand the (risk-pool) argument and it makes perfect sense. Just like car insurance.

But as long as there is a (profit motive) in healthcare, can we really drive costs down without sacrificing the quality of healthcare and prevention?

What a quagmire.
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Posted by Chuck Schott (+1290) 12 years ago
Quite simply Amorette your problem was/is crappy insurance from where I sit.

But I can't understand why we can't get something done if all we want is........Insurance for all, No pre-existing conditions exemption, No co-pay, Free drugs, No mandatory insurance (or a small fine for not carrying) All for less money and no tax increases on the middle class, seniors, or union members.

I'll open a kiosk so you can stop and buy your insurance on the way to get your by-pass.

I want some sort of changes in health care but does the left have to f**k the millions of us with good insurance to do it? The inner city youth are getting there bullet holes patched for nothing now and all children are being covered by my $7 a pack cigarettes.

It has to be done in baby steps so we won't realized how screwed we are until it's too late.

[This message has been edited by Chuck Schott (2/22/2010)]
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1664) 12 years ago
Chuck, dare I ask how you afford "good" health insurance coverage at your age? As someone who pays the health insurance premiums of her company's employees, the premiums are becoming downright unmanageable, and that's for mediocre coverage, certainly not what I would call "good" coverage. Amorette's plan is quite average, certainly not crappy by any means.

And ageism sucks, big-time. Premiums for those workers over 50 are quadruple those of workers in their 20s. That's what a market-based approach will get you.

I'm always intrigued when older workers say they have great coverage. Hmmmm. Do tell.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9297) 12 years ago
*cough*medicare*cough*
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Posted by David Schott (+17424) 12 years ago
And ageism sucks, big-time. Premiums for those workers over 50 are quadruple those of workers in their 20s. That's what a market-based approach will get you.

The insurance companies know that the schmuck taxpayers will pick up the tab for the old and indigent and leave the gravy-train for them. They've spent a lot of money lobbying Congress and the American people (through fear-mongering propaganda) to ensure it.

People like Chuck hold vast shares of stock in the big insurance companies and love the profits so he's okay with sticking it to the average taxpaying idiots.
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Posted by Chuck Schott (+1290) 12 years ago
I'm will not be sorry I have good affordable insurance and I don't want to loose it. I do understand the plight of those who don't fall under an employment based plan, and I don't see any clear options.

Mandating 31 million more customers for the big insurance companies subsidised by tax payers can't be the only solution.

I reserve the right to change my opinion as circumstances dictate.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4457) 12 years ago
Three (big) changes could change Health Care as we know it.

1. End the employer-based insurance mode. Let everyone know what they're paying (or saving)

2. Model health insurance coverage like life insurance coverage. (If you buy when you're young, you lock in for less)

3. Make an insurance company own an illness if diagnosed on one of their insured. I know this sounds complicated, but actually other forms of insurance operate like this. Takes away the issue of preexisting conditions, and takes away the motivation to ditch people once they're sick.
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Posted by David Schott (+17424) 12 years ago
Rick, that's some of the most coherent text I've ever seen your fingers type. What do you do with the uninsured? The ones who show up at the emergency room expecting emergency care for free? Society can't turn them away, so what do you do with them?
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Posted by polar bear (+515) 12 years ago
I have what is considered very good insurance. In the last 5 years due to my husband's Parkinson's and brain surgery, my hearing loss and 3 surgeries to treat that, and my son's neurological disorder, we figure we have paid about $65,000 OUT OF POCKET ( insurance premiums, deductibles, co-pays, meds, procedures not or only barely covered). Our meds alone have been up to $1000 a month some months AFTER insurance due to needing non-generics. All 3 illnesses could not have been prevented in any known way. They are not "lifestyle" illnesses.
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Posted by David Schott (+17424) 12 years ago
Below is an email exchange from Nov 2008 that I had with the Washington State Insurance Commissioner. That Paul Krugman column I posted earlier in this discussion struck a chord with me.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
From: David Schott
Sent: Monday, November 24, 2008 12:15 PM
To: Dan Halpin
Subject: RE: Health Insurance Rate Increase


Thank you, Dan. I will look at the info on reform that you sent.

I am glad to know that the rate increase was reviewed and is justified by the numbers. I can't help but think that what will now happen is some number of people who can no longer afford the increased premium will stop subscribing to health insurance thereby reducing the pool of insured and so in a year we will see yet another double-digit rate increase to make up for the company's loss of revenue from premiums. Meanwhile those who are newly without health insurance will present an extra burden on medical providers who will simply pass those costs on to those who can pay... further exacerbating the problem of increased costs for the insurance companies and further increasing the premiums for those of us who do pay. The system is in a death spiral. It also seems to me that we already have "socialized healthcare" and a damn poor implementation of it.

- Dave

-------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Dan Halpin
Sent: Monday, November 24, 2008 10:36 AM
To: David Schott
Cc: [email protected]
Subject: RE: Health Insurance Rate Increase

Commissioner Kreidler has requested that I respond on his behalf. Yes, the company was required to file their rates with our office. Unfortunately the company is losing money in this market. The company's experience justified the rate increase. The Commissioner cannot arbitrarily deny a rate increase that the data justifies.

It is apparent that continued double digit annual increases in health care cost are not sustainable. All levels of government are taking a fresh look at the problem. The Commissioners proposals are discussed on our website at http://www.insurance.wa.g...ndex.shtml.

Health care insurance reforms is the Commissioner's top priority. You can expect him to make the very best effort possible to resolve this problem. We appreciate your interest in this issue.

Dan Halpin
OFFICE OF INSURANCE COMMISSIONER
PO BOX 40256
OLYMPIA WA 98504-0256
1-800-562-6900 http://www.insurance.wa.gov




-------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Marquis, Stephanie (OIC) On Behalf Of OIC Ask Mike Kreidler
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2008 5:28 PM
To: OIC CAP MAILBOX
Subject: FW: Health Insurance Rate Increase

-------------------------------------------------------------------
From: David Schott
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2008 4:51 PM
To: OIC Ask Mike Kreidler
Cc: 'David Schott'
Subject: Health Insurance Rate Increase


Greetings Mike,

Today I received notice from my health insurance provider, Lifewise Health Plan of Washington, that our individual health insurance premium will increase by about 17.7% as of January 1st. This is for their "WiseChoices 30" individual coverage plan for myself (age xx non-smoker) my wife (age xx non-smoker) and my two children (ages x and x). We all remain in the same age brackets so none of the increase is attributed to our advancing age. The deductible is $1500/person/calendar year with a family maximum of $4500/year and there is a 30% co-pay once the deductible has been met. Our monthly premium is increasing from $770 to $906 per month.

Questions for you:

1.) Am I correct that the Washington State Insurance Commissioner now regulates rates for the individual health insurance market in Washington State?

2.) Did your office review and approve the rate increase that Lifewise is making?

3.) Is there any information available on your website regarding the review/approval of this rate increase?

We are a relatively young and healthy family. I'm sure it comes as no surprise to you that paying $906/month for health insurance with a high deductible and high co-pay is taking a huge toll on our monthly budget in what is already a tremendously difficult economic climate. I feel that if I could bully medical providers into accepting discounted payments for services in the way that the insurance companies do, it would make more economic sense for me to forgo health insurance entirely and just pay for my medical expenses out of pocket. I suspect that high rates driving consumers out of the market for health insurance is playing a role in rising rates as the risk is being spread amongst an increasingly smaller pool of insured and as medical providers find it necessary to raise their rates to cover the cost of providing services to the uninsured who are unable to fully pay for services received. I believe you are a strong proponent for reform in the healthcare system. I certainly consider the situation to be grim.

Thank you,

David Schott
Redmond, WA
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1664) 12 years ago
One of the things killing small employers is participation rates. In order to get the participation rate your plan requires, it is pretty much necessary to pay all of the employee's premiums. If you require the employee to pay any portion of the premium, there are always a few who refuse and choose to go without insurance. That would seem like their right and a big gamble on their part. However, this gamble affects the company's participation rate and plan eligibility. Thus, the employer is forced to fully pay the employee's premium, and in this current premium climate, that is becoming a very difficult thing to do.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4457) 12 years ago
I'm not sure there's a pat answer there, David. All of life's necessities have a question mark where there's an inability to pay.

But the one thing you don't do is gear the whole market around people who can't (or in some cases won't) pay.

Imagine if you did that with housing, or food, etc etc.

There'd have to be alternative arrangements come up with for people who can't pay. But as I've said before, you can't give a jobless homeless person the same health care as a multimillionaire.

It might be nice to think so, but if you think about it practically, it's not possible.

And besides, the uninsured are a small piece of the puzzle concerning the expense of health care. Getting everyone insured won't fix the system, and will eventually make it much much worse (if that's all you're doing)
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Posted by AJS (+213) 12 years ago
Some of us used to dream of the day we might be earning the salary we're struggling on now.

AJS
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Posted by Bruce Helland (+592) 12 years ago
I am tired of subsidizing the insurance for all the government employees. And school system employees. In fact, everytime I purchase something, I'm sure part of the cost goes to pay insurance for someone.
Damn this socialized medicine system we now have! Covers some but not me....
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4457) 12 years ago
Interesting...

There IS government, therefore ALL SHOULD BE government.

That logic is impenetrable.
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Posted by souix (+307) 12 years ago
I think what Bruce was saying is that either everyone have insurance or those whose jobs pass the premium on to other should stop this practice.

Those workers, whose jobs pass the premium on to others, should be paid a wage and go out on the free market and purchase a policy for themselves, because, for example, when I go to the hospital, I should not have to pay part of the premium for all the medical and support staff who provide services.
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Posted by howdy (+4949) 12 years ago
Good health care should not be based on being able to afford it...No American should die because they cannot afford to live IMO...
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Posted by Bruce Helland (+592) 12 years ago
Souix got it. Rick, I suprised that you didnt; similar to what you said about 'decoupling' employer cost in healthcare.

I disagree about your parallel to life insurance though. In my case, I had a term life policy that I held for years. Recently my premium increased more than 10 fold. Why? Not due to illness on my part nor passing a certain age threshold. Simply because this policy 'expired' They would be more than willing to sell me another policy at much higher cost though.

Check your policy Rick. You dont want to outlive its expiration date!

We need real reform and we need it NOW.
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10013) 12 years ago
This doesn't have anything to do with health insurance, but does have to do with insurance companies.

My 300Z got a knocking noise in the engine (which isn't good) so it has been sitting in my garage for about the last year. A period of that time it was insured, but since it was driven 0 miles, I didn't extend the insurance.

Anyway, my mom gave a 4x4 pickup back to me, which was mine the entire time, but it was under her insurance ... and before it expired I went to get new insurance. The huge problem was that due to the fact there was "a lapse" (in regards to my 300Z), which I explained was due to a car being driven 0 miles sitting in my garage, the minimum liability for the pickup went from $180 for 6 months to $320 for the same period.

I argued with them about that, got escalated, still $320. And due to the "lapse of coverage" for a car sitting in my garage with 0 miles driven and no tags, the next six months for the pickup after this will still be the same amount -- $320 every 6 months for a $1,500 pickup perpetually. So basically my minimum liability insurance doubled for no reason. There was no vehicle ever driven without insurance.

I'm very irritated with them, and unfortunately the other places I contacted have the same attitude. I haven't had a single ticket since about 1992, which was a very minor traffic thing. I'd like to punch them in the face.
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