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View Poll Results: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Medical professionals (getting paid too much b/c we are one of the most affluent nations) 1 2.63%
Insurance companies (well, because insurance companies are the devil) 6 15.79%
US residents (the obesity "epidemic" or unhealthy lifestyle is increasing the costs for all of us) 3 7.89%
Health care related corporations (Drug companies etc.) 9 23.68%
All of the above 16 42.11%
I have had too many drinks and will offer no opinion at this time 3 7.89%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

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Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-21-2005, 07:56 PM   #1
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Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

Being DT's 2nd man in charge I felt the need for a poll on a topic we all fear - rising health care costs. Vote - 2 if needed, provide additional explanation or thoughts and provide your solution (if there is one). Canadians feel free to rub it in our face
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-21-2005, 09:50 PM   #2
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

No entry for our legal system ? Trial lawyers are also the debbil.
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-21-2005, 10:08 PM   #3
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

Quote:
I have had too many drinks and thus will offer my no opinion at this time...
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-21-2005, 11:55 PM   #4
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

Read this report for 2001-2002 done by Price Waterhouse.

No poll needed.

http://www.aahp.org/InternalLinks/PwCFinalReport.pdf
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-22-2005, 02:20 AM   #5
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?


Maybe you should have included excessive government regulation. The current system is wasteful and inefficient, and it's regulated just enough to keep it that way.

Cost of my health insurance will be reduced by about 3% next year.
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-22-2005, 09:41 AM   #6
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

I've never understood why "Insurance Companies" are so evil. Maybe they are similar to other businesses: they must cover their costs and conform to the rule of law (government mandated -but not funded- regulations.)

On the other hand, suppose I'm wrong and they truly are the devil. Then why not start our very own insurance company? A sure fire way to get rich, no?

I'm looking forward to the RE Health HMO Initial Public Offering.

Lance

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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-22-2005, 09:48 AM   #7
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB
Cost of my health insurance will be reduced by about 3% next year.
JB, Is that reduction due to some change in your policy.

My insurance stayed the same this year but they squeezed a small increase by raising the general co-pay by $5 and created a new co-pay group for non-GP doctors raising that by $10. Since I rarely go to doctors except for my annual, it doesn't really effect me.

MJ
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-22-2005, 10:06 AM   #8
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

Well, you could think insurance companies are "similar to other businesses" and still hold them responsible for increased costs. [think Exxon]

But they're not similar, because most people cannot shop around; they end up with the plan their employer negotiates (and pay relatively little) or try and go solo (and pay $10k a year and up, which most people cannot afford). Hence 40 million uninsured in the US.

And health insurance is particular indeed, because you can't put a market value on your or your family's health. There's a limit beyond which it doesn't make sense to insure your car, house or boat.. even your life. *"Health" is just different.

My doctor had 30 to 40 different plans to navigate, all with different restrictions, codes, and paperwork. This could all be eliminated at enormous savings either by Universal Health Care OR fee-for-service. Whether the savings would go into your pocket or your doctor's is less important than the fact that Something Needs to Change.
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-22-2005, 10:57 AM   #9
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladelfina
Well, you could think insurance companies are "similar to other businesses" and still hold them responsible for increased costs. [think Exxon]

But they're not similar, because most people cannot shop around; they end up with the plan their employer negotiates (and pay relatively little) or try and go solo (and pay $10k a year and up, which most people cannot afford). Hence 40 million uninsured in the US.

And health insurance is particular indeed, because you can't put a market value on your or your family's health. There's a limit beyond which it doesn't make sense to insure your car, house or boat.. even your life. *"Health" is just different.

My doctor had 30 to 40 different plans to navigate, all with different restrictions, codes, and paperwork. This could all be eliminated at enormous savings either by Universal Health Care OR fee-for-service. Whether the savings would go into your pocket or your doctor's is less important than the fact that Something Needs to Change.
Hi Ladefina,

Should, we can add Exon to the list of evil companies? (If you believe Exon is bad, would you be willing to use public transport to reduce demand for oil?)

Health is important, but, in the end, someone has to pay the bill. And if someone else is paying, is there any reason to control costs?

Universal Health Care? Sure, I'd love to have those government benefits if the cost is shifted to someone else

Merry Christmas,

Lance

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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-22-2005, 11:15 AM   #10
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

On the way to the airport I had an interesting conversation with the driver who was from Peru. We were talking about the rising costs of health care in this country and compared it to Europe (can't remember which country but I think it was Norway). I asked him which healthcare program he thought was better... a socialist system or our system. He said that taxes are 20% on goods to cover healthcare costs for everyone and other government services. For routine care he said the service was better over there but for hip replacements you could be put on a waiting list for days or weeks in pain. Even if you had healthcare for everyone in the states paid thru higher taxes and just covered serious care (cancer, etc.) through an employer plan or self insured it would be cheaper than what most are paying now for their healthcare. Bottom line is the current system is broke and totally efficient based on the payments shelled out.
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-22-2005, 11:23 AM   #11
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

Just got back from my annual blood work and finger wave. :P *$15 co-pay eases the ordeal though. Doc says it's time for my first colonoscopy. I mentioned to him that all these test contribute to higher insurance cost. His reply, preventive medicine is cheaper than fixing a problem later. Sounds just like my mechanic. What's a fool to do?
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-22-2005, 12:01 PM   #12
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

The poll needs the actual cost item thats causing the rising rates:

People's inability to let go of their loved ones coupled with doctors inability to know when to give up.

The other items listed are factors, but when you look at the total health care load they're drops in the bucket.

My wife works in health care, and i've read more than enough reports that show that the vast majority of health care costs are expended in the last year (sometimes the last months) of ones life. By definition, this means the heroic efforts were unsuccessful.

As medical technology has improved, many family members and doctors expect miracles for 102 year old aunt sally or their 16 year old who hit a tree with the family car. They're hooked up to machines and pumped full of drugs, along with series of low expectation surgeries.

Many of the countries with national health care have limits on age and/or health level for continued care, transplants, and performance of operations. Thats how they keep the system solvent.

In this country, the rich get the best care, the poor get the minimum and die, those in the middle get kept afloat as best as possible by the mainstream medical system as paid for by the insurance companies. Rates go up to satisfy the shortfalls.
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-22-2005, 12:31 PM   #13
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

This is a complex problem, and there are many contributing factors to the escalation of health care costs.

1. Part of a solution I have thought about is to work on the supply side of the problem.... educate more doctors, nurses, and other health care workers.* Every medical and nursing school I have heard of has a waiting list of qualified applicants... some of these appicants eventually get in, but others move on and find careers in other fields.

Briefly, other important factors contributing to high health care costs include:

2. "Ambulance chasing lawyers" and people who see medical malpractice lawsuits against-- both the drug companies and health care providers-- as their ticket to ER.

3. Over regulation by the government in all areas.

4. Higher expectations, more expensive treatments available.

5. The requirement to treat illegal aliens and anyone in any hospital, regardless of their ability to pay.* (Someone pays these costs, and if it is not the recipient...guess who that is?).

===

Personally, I think health care insurance should only be for those costs that would break you--catestrphic illness.* I remember the "good old days" when we'd go to the doctor, and my mother would pay for the visit in cash.* What a concept!* No insurance forms, no complex billings and formulas.... just hand over the $15 and leave.

* *
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-22-2005, 12:54 PM   #14
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

Lance, I personally don't care what Exxon charges, but seeing as there were Congressional hearings obviously somebody does * ! *I never said Exxon was 'evil', or that insurances companies were 'evil.' They both take profits where and when they can. Businesses are not immoral, they are amoral.

The problem with insurance companies is there is a perception anyway of "someone else paying the bill.." *Dog51 just said his $15 co-pay "eases the ordeal." *The "tragedy of the commons" works whether you are talking about "Communism" or about "capitalistic" private insurance.

But we all pay for it one way or another:

through insurance (with unequal payments, unequal access..)

through taxes (everyone pays regardless)

or out-of-pocket.

And the costs get spread out whether you like it or not. If you see a charge for a $5 Tylenol on a hospital bill, it's because 1.) they're trying to make a profit themselves, 2.) they have to pay for the guy in the ER with the gunshot wound who's uninsured, and 3.) they, too, figure "the insurance company will pay for it." *If you are paying out-of-pocket it's likely your doctor will give you a heavy discount versus his/her 'insurance company' rates, and you will be able to talk that hospital bill way down.

I just think, "who needs the hassle and expensive overhead of insurance companies??" Why is that a good thing (for anyone not an insurance exec)? *Anyone out there who thinks insurance companies don't ration health care?

People are happy with Medicare, yet somehow "America isn't ready" for UHC? *

In Italy I'm covered by the national plan, as is every resident (that's right, "resident!"). My husband's mother at 81 just got her second knee replacement, and she's doing fine. Sure, she was on a waiting list for a couple months, but she didn't pay a dime.

Now you can say Italy's finances are in the toilet, and you'd be right. So are America's. In Italy health care is imperfect, but it is a social priority. In America, it isn't a social priority. The US Congress chooses to spend money on things other than health care. Anyone who says the US "can't afford" to do things differently, though, hasn't looked at the budget.

And anyway my argument is that the US could probably spend the same dollar amount on health care with better results and efficiency without the massive insurance bureaucracy/intermediary.

Buon Natale!
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-22-2005, 09:31 PM   #15
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladelfina
Lance, I personally don't care what Exxon charges, but seeing as there were Congressional hearings obviously somebody does * ! *I never said Exxon was 'evil', or that insurances companies were 'evil.' They both take profits where and when they can. Businesses are not immoral, they are amoral.
Well, we are in agreement about one thing: business is amoral. And i'm glad to hear that
you don't think Exxon/Insurace companies are "evil"

Congressional hearings about Exxon? Goes down well with the voters back home

Lance


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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-22-2005, 11:07 PM   #16
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ
JB, Is that reduction due to some change in your policy.
Nope, the policy is the same. Maybe they were forced to reduce the rate by the Insurance Commissioner. I do know that they applied for a rate increase which was to be used to build another facility in a different area. The increase was rejected.

The problem here is that there are very few plans available to individuals. A few months ago some politician proposed that anyone could buy insurance in any state, whether or not they are a resident. Seems like a reasonable first step.
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-23-2005, 02:06 AM   #17
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

See, now this is why insurance is not a "normal business"

Quote:
very few plans available to individuals

On the one hand, it's regulated out the wazoo (sometimes to the 'consumer's' benefit, occasionally to their detriment).

On the other hand, it's the only business where the fewer 'customers' they have, the better. Their only purpose in life is to limit your access to their 'services'.

Health insurance costs are a big issue. Health insurance access is a bigger one.
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-23-2005, 08:17 AM   #18
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

Interesting to see that of the people who voted for anything other than "all of the above" only a few believe it is us.* I know a lot of variables go into this and I did not include them all but I think our poor health is a major factor - more than 3 votes in my mind.* We have to subsidize others poor health/prescription usage and it justifies rate increases to some extent.* () TH also pointed out some reasons that I find true and interesting.
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?
Old 12-23-2005, 09:26 AM   #19
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Re: Who's to blame for rising insurance costs?

Health Care is still a 15% component of the US economy and growing at a 15% rate per year - simply unsustainable!

Patients and health providers thread their way through this non-system of insurers whose main purpose is to make everything complicated so that they don't have to pay in a timely fashion. We've all been involved in the classic finger-pointing of who is supposed to do what to get a provider bill paid. There are two armies of overhead - people at the provider's office that supply info as they think is desired and those at the insurers that find ways not to pay - adding a 20-25% overhead to the system.

The insurer side is huge and driving the system for their benefit - the patient and the providers are being held hostage to the insurer middle men. All the time, more and more patients are being removed from the insurance pool, thus increasing the costs for those remaining - as well as those attempting to fund their own health care.

Unsustainable -

JohnP
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