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Old 02-24-2008, 12:00 AM   #21
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  1. What is your personal situation that you feel needs to be solved?
  2. Do you have also have social agenda that is broader than your personal situation?
  3. Briefly state what you think the basic problem is and the solution to the problem.
I currently have coverage through work - but it is a high deductible plan. Covering costs for health insurance is the biggest unknown for us in planning for retiring early.

As I work on the front lines I certainly have an agenda. The system is broken and worsens every year. Here in Seattle in the last 5 years we have gone from rarely closing our ED to ambulances to doing it daily due to ED and Hospital overcrowding city wide. We board patients - even critically ill ones in our ED hallways every day now. Even a Democrat controlled White House and Senate would take years to make any significant change in this - and that assumes that health care remains a priority and funding exists.

The basic problem? We want (demand) the "best" health care in the world and whole industries strive to provide it at a profit.


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Old 02-24-2008, 12:23 AM   #22
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What is your personal situation that you feel needs to be solved?

We have employer-sponsored health care and I have a congenital blood disorder that requires ongoing care.

There are several problems I think need to be addressed, starting with our nation spending more per-capita on health care than any other nation on earth while getting less for our dollar. I'm also concerned about the drum beat of stories in the news about insurance companies issuing automatic denials for implicitly covered services and forcing consumers to jump through hoops (or die, as some do) before getting approval, the lack of portability while traveling or moving from one employer to another, the cost to employers of providing inefficient health care to their employees and . . . .

Boy, the list goes on and on and on. Probably better to ask what I like about my health care coverage through Kaiser than the long list of things I see going wrong.

Do you have also have social agenda that is broader than your personal situation?

Yes. See what I think is wrong, above.

Briefly state what you think the basic problem is and the solution to the problem.

There are so many things that are wrong that, at first, I thought you were asking me to write a book. Then I thought of this one thing, and how it seems to be at the root of the problem. Right now the people who collect the health care dollars get rich by not providing timely and efficient health care. Drug companies, for example, earn more by inventing a drug for arthritis pain that is taken twice daily for years and years than developing a three-shot vaccine that cures cervical cancer and saves lives. Insurance companies make money by denying claims. Businesses save money by working employees long hours instead of hiring additional help because it costs them more money to pay for health care for those additional employees than it does to pay overtime.

So my simple solution is to change the equation to one that pays to keep people healthy instead of paying them to keep people sick.

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Old 02-24-2008, 03:51 AM   #23
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Interesting article. U.S. Health Care Spending In An International Context -- Reinhardt et al. 23 (3): 10 -- Health Affairs

If there is much truth to the observations in the article, the US may need fundamental change. Bandaids on the current system may not work.

We are likely to be caught up in a political quagmire. There are powerful business interests that do not want to disrupt the current cash machine. Probably similar to big oil. They are fine with the status quo (as long as they make money). Changes will rearrange the balance of power and money.
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Old 02-24-2008, 07:14 AM   #24
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1) I'm covered under national health insurance, so this is not an issue for me directly. Though I do have relatives left behind in the US for whom health care could be an issue.

2) No particular agenda, but as long as you are asking for my opinion:

3) The problem is that you need to make sure everyone is covered, at least to some basic level. Institute a health-care tax, plus use copays to keep frivolous use down -- just suggestions.
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Old 02-24-2008, 07:19 AM   #25
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There are issues with the current insurance model and how drug pricing works, but the main problem with U.S. health care is we want it to be ALL of (a) affordable, (b) top quality and (c) highly accessible/not rationed. In reality, at best we can pick any two.
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)
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Old 02-24-2008, 09:47 AM   #26
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What is your personal situation that you feel needs to be solved?

Four months into Cobra. Turned down by UNH and Assurant for individual plan due to DW having had stage 1 Thyroid Lymphoma 6 years ago, even though in complete remission. Fairly rare form of lymphoma but easily treatable with very high survival rate. Moving to NC this summer. BCBS in NC required to accept everyone under hippa but high rates very possible (NC agent tells us 5 yr's "clean" should bring the rate down a bit. We'll see)

[DW was on the US national kayaking team in 70's and has always been a poster child for staying fit and eating healthy. Probably less actual risk than most people her age. With the "L" word on her record nothing else matters]

Do you have also have social agenda that is broader than your personal situation?

Not really other than to follow the news and support change, especially for self employed and small biz types. When I had a small biz I grappled with family rates going from 550 to 1200 per month. Advanced degree type employees so we just paid the increases. Can't imagine how small operations with lower paid staff can even contemplate health insurance now.

Briefly state what you think the basic problem is and the solution to the problem.

I think others here have a better grasp of endless details. Willing to try any alternative to the status quo
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:37 PM   #27
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1. My personal situation:
DH and I would have not been able to ER/have insurance since he was rejected by UH and BCBS due to several pre-existing conditions (cancer 14 years ago---clean ever since; somewhat high cholesterol and an episode of atrial fibrillation completely controlled by meds; took mild doses of antidepressants when working; has a genetic condition called neurofibromatosis which can have a lot of complications but which is only cosmetic with bumps on his skin in his case). Fortunately, his employer's policy had a conversion option. We are paying $900 a month for him (about a $2500 deductible) at age 54.
Just like TargaDave's wife, he follows a very healthy lifestyle but that was never considered in his rejection!
I have virtually no health concerns and opted for a $10K policy at about $150 a month.

2. Broader social agenda:
That Michael Moore's Sicko would contain no truths whatsoever!
Universal coverage and affordability.
That the US not continue to spiral downward in terms of quality of life and health.

3. Problem and solution:
Profiteering (yes, I realize and respect this being a capitalist society) but thre are too many people wanting to make an excessively huge profit. This includes hospitals, health care provides, pharmaceutical companies, lobbyists, malpractice attorneys, patients who sue for any negative outcome beyond a doctor's control, people not taking responsibility for themselves....

“It is not a sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society”.------Krishnamurti
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