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Old 10-11-2009, 12:55 PM   #41
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In spite of his money, it sounds like Hobo doesn't think he has to pay for health care, whether prepaying for it via an insurance policy or paying for it as it's delivered to him. Why should his health care be free any more than his housing or his food? Maybe we should pay for that for him too?

Sending three students to college does not equal scamming the system for free health care.
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Old 10-11-2009, 02:29 PM   #42
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I can hide my assets by giving them to my children, or putting them in a foreign bank account - that's legal.
It may be fraud under the bankruptcy code and under state law. I have seen bankruptcy debtors denied discharge in bankruptcy for putting assets in over seas bank accounts to try to keep them out of the reach of creditors. I have also seen transfers to children and other parties undone as fraudulent. And if you lie in a bankruptcy about the gifts or the off shore accounts, that is a crime and you can go to jail. As you should.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:08 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
In spite of his money, it sounds like Hobo doesn't think he has to pay for health care, whether prepaying for it via an insurance policy or paying for it as it's delivered to him. Why should his health care be free any more than his housing or his food? Maybe we should pay for that for him too?

Sending three students to college does not equal scamming the system for free health care.
Can't anybody see the bigger principles that I am standing up for? Health care, as it exists in the US, is both a scam and unfair to the average person. What other industry has total control of the customer's check book? From the moment you walk through the doors of a doctor's office, things start happening over which you have no control and have no idea of what it is going to cost. And in most cases you have no control over your own body. Think about that.

True story: I went to a doctor because I had a small lump on my neck and it bothered me when I shaved. The doctor cut it out and then tells me he must send the piece of flesh to the lab to check for cancer. I told him I didn't want that. The doctor told me I have no choice - standard procedure. I told him I wasn't going to pay for it. He sent the lump to the lab anyway.

The lab charged me $1200 to tell me the lump was not cancerous. I told the lab the doctor sent it without my permission and to bill the doctor. Of course, the lab eventually sent the bill to a collection agency. After 6 more months of threats, the collection agency dropped my case.

I am willing to pay for health care, but it must be fair and rational. Plus I demand total control over my entire body... isn't that fundamental human right?
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:04 AM   #44
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Hobo, you should just not go to the doctor ever. Then you won't have to pay for health insurance or health care.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:34 AM   #45
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Hobo, I hear you loud and clear. It is every man for himself out there, unless you are protected by a corporation or governmental body of some sort (socialism) for your health care.

What really blows my mind is the way the laws and rules are arbtrarily enforced, and variably obeyed / ignored / avoided.

You had a good example. The $1,200 bill (egregious) was eventually dropped, for you, but a different person, not clever enough, or too timid to challenge it, would end up paying all or a portion of the bill, simply because of his personality. There is a large burden placed on the consumer to figure out how to "survive" in the health care jungle.

My real life example : went to ER for a cut which needed stitches. Had insurance. Asked at hospital if I would owe anything other than the copay. They said no. A few weeks later I get a bill form a "doctors group" for some huge amount, like $150 (in addition to what my ins already paid).

I complained, and they dropped the bill. They seem to just bill to the hilt, and take whatever they can get.
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:42 AM   #46
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Hobo, I hear you loud and clear. It is every man for himself out there, unless you are protected by a corporation or governmental body of some sort (socialism) for your health care.

What really blows my mind is the way the laws and rules are arbtrarily enforced, and variably obeyed / ignored / avoided.

You had a good example. The $1,200 bill (egregious) was eventually dropped, for you, but a different person, not clever enough, or too timid to challenge it, would end up paying all or a portion of the bill, simply because of his personality. There is a large burden placed on the consumer to figure out how to "survive" in the health care jungle.

My real life example : went to ER for a cut which needed stitches. Had insurance. Asked at hospital if I would owe anything other than the copay. They said no. A few weeks later I get a bill form a "doctors group" for some huge amount, like $150 (in addition to what my ins already paid).

I complained, and they dropped the bill. They seem to just bill to the hilt, and take whatever they can get.
Thanks John, you are right, we are looking at a fundamental law of capitalism at work right now. Our society functions best when, as Adam Smith says in his theory of the "invisible hand" of the market. When an individual pursues his or her own individual self-interest, the unintentional result produces a collective good for society.

We don't have government run health care (thank God), we have a group of corporations (doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, bio-tech companies, etc.) who all function for one purpose - to make a profit.

Right now, everybody is talking like these health care organizations are only motivated by altruistic intentions - serving the community to maintain the health and welfare of society. That is a marketing gimmick just as much as fast food restaurants would have you to believe their food is healthy to eat. Pure marketing to give their product a positive image.

Well, the health care industry is no more altruistic and kind-hearted than your local grocery store chain or your stock broker. Everybody is out to make a buck (or a million bucks) - just like everybody on this board is trying to retire early and get out of the rat race.

And we, as both consumers and fellow capitalists, will only get rich if we stay smarter than the other guy because he/she is our competitor. Maximize the profits, minimize the expenses. If you don't understand that, you are shark meat in today's economy.

And one of the smartest group of capitalists can be found in America today is our health care industry. You've got to watch their every move, don't trust anyone with your money, and be prepared to fight back with all the energy and brains that God gave you.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:12 PM   #47
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You don't have to pay for medical care--just don't go. If you choose to go, then pay for it. Period. We make these choices all the time. You don't have to hide your choices in discussions about the health care industry, the grocery industry, the stock broker. Don't want to pay for a service? Don't use it.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:13 PM   #48
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I think Hobo is being criticized a bit too harshly, but at the same time understands the people who worry that lots of folks like him drive up the cost to everyone else....but I tend to think Hobo has it closer to right.

I agree with the sentiment that the current health care system is in shambles, too expensive, inefficient and truly punitive to anyone trying to work outside the system, like trying to pay out-of-pocket for only the health care that you really want or need. I know myself have probably paid $150K or more in premiums over the past ten or so years and will be more than that the next 10, for nothing other than routine care...and even if I paid my premiums 100% on-time for 20 years, if I someday fell behind on my payments and got cancelled, and then had some unexpected medical event, the fact that I had paid 240 monthly premiums in-a-row, on-time, would do absolutely nothing to help my cause. The companies would take everything from me they are legally entitled to get in order for me to settle my debt.

I am sure we can all come up with examples of being billed for stuff that no other business would even consider trying to, here is my own small example: I went in for some testing of some sort and needed some blood tests, the lab drew the samples and for whatever reason they were allowed to sit around for days before they got sent in or processed. When the results came back they were all inconclusive, and clearly stated on the results sheet that they (eithter the lab or the doctors office) waited too long to send in the samples and they were essentially spoiled before they were tested.

The lab still expected to be paid, and so did the doctors office - I had insurance and zero out-of-pocket expenses, so I didn't fight it (really how much time am I going to spend fighting to save my insurance company a few hundred bucks?)

I agree with Hobo's sentiment in that 1) I/we didn't create the bogus health care system we have 2) I/we have little or no control over it 3) people getting paid millions/billions of dollars of year design a system that is currently geared towards maximizing profits at the expense of better care 4) I don't know what the solution is and wouldn't know how to implement it even if I did and 5) there is so much fraud in the system from both companies and patients gaming the system that the average hard-working person who needs to pay for everything out-of-pocket (or pays there own premium) is getting screwed.

So while you may be morally opposed to skirting out of responsibility of "paying your share", I think as long as you are working within the law, it is not an unreasonable position to take to minimize the adverse financial impact that the current system has on you or your family. Companies do everything they can to maximize profits, and find loopholes that put money in their own pocket, is it really unreasonable for the average person to try and do the same?
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:40 PM   #49
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The lab charged me $1200 to tell me the lump was not cancerous.
I disagree with the decision by the doctor (or the lab) to tell you the results of the test until they had been paid. As I'm sure you'll agree, the whole system suffers when people receive services for free--markets function best when there is a tight link between services and payment. The lab should, instead, have sent you a registered letter letting you know that the test results were in--and that there was something you'd probably want to discuss with your doctor (all true--you want to discuss the bill with him). "We'll send results when someone pays us."
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:33 PM   #50
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I think a salient point was specifically that Hobo explicitly advocates outright lying and cheating to avoid paying for medical services he consumes. He also uses the childish reference to "the system", just like many refer to the "the government" - the money funding his free medical care comes from my pocket or that of my employer. He advocates hiding assets (illegally), using a false identity, and essentially committing fraud, all wrapped up in some ridiculous assertion that he's doing it to protest a corrupt system.

If a person is performing a service, he or she will expect to be paid for it. That means someone has to pay. If someone chooses not to pay for the services they consume, it means that others must pay for it. If Hobo decides his primary care physician is the local ER, which will receive no payment, any visit I make to the ER must offset his freeloading.

There are certainly ways in which one can control the costs of living in a relatively safe, orderly society. I can choose to live in a house with lower property taxes to control how much I pay for police, fire, and education. I can structure my income in such a way that my income tax burden is reduced. And I can protect my legally in my house, my IRA or my 403(b). But what Hobo advocates is fraud. I suppose he'll next rebel against the corrupt fatcats at the Olive Garden and refuse to pay once his check arrives.

His arguments remind me of elder law attorneys who counsel the aged on how to shift assets to avoid spending them on long term care. I think both approaches are reprehensible. Rules in place designed to ensure the basics of care available to the truly needy are being exploited to benefit the truly cheap and selfish.
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Old 10-15-2009, 03:43 PM   #51
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RandyMan65 is spot on!
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Old 10-15-2009, 03:57 PM   #52
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I agree with Hobo's sentiment in that 1) I/we didn't create the bogus health care system we have 2) I/we have little or no control over it 3) people getting paid millions/billions of dollars of year design a system that is currently geared towards maximizing profits at the expense of better care 4) I don't know what the solution is and wouldn't know how to implement it even if I did and 5) there is so much fraud in the system from both companies and patients gaming the system that the average hard-working person who needs to pay for everything out-of-pocket (or pays there own premium) is getting screwed.
1) We didn't create it, but we are responsible, in that the majority of us have chosen to vote for representatives who listen to industry lobbyists and fight reform
2) See #1. Have you contacted your reps yet? Who did you vote for?
3) agreed
4) Why can't we do what every other civilized country in the world has already done in some fashion? Why not the Swiss model as a first cut?
5) agreed

We all need to take responsibility. End of lecture.
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:31 AM   #53
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I think a salient point was specifically that Hobo explicitly advocates outright lying and cheating to avoid paying for medical services he consumes.
Absolutely wrong. My primary point is to put oneself in a position where they can choose to not pay for medical services they don't need. Why should I pay a doctor to write a prescription for thyroid hormone medicine when I do not have a thyroid? Should we all just roll over and pay whatever the doctor/ hospital/ pharmacy chooses to charge us?

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There are certainly ways in which one can control the costs of living in a relatively safe, orderly society. I can choose to live in a house with lower property taxes to control how much I pay for police, fire, and education. I can structure my income in such a way that my income tax burden is reduced. And I can protect my legally in my house, my IRA or my 403(b). But what Hobo advocates is fraud. I suppose he'll next rebel against the corrupt fatcats at the Olive Garden and refuse to pay once his check arrives.
Look at the incongruity in your statement. You advocate taking advantage of every opportunity to control your cost of living, such as tax avoidance and choosing low cost options in your life. If we are hungry, both of us have the option of eating at the Olive Garden. I can go in, look at the menu, choose a cheap or expensive meal - all of these are my choice and I willingly pay the bill.

The doctor's office is the complete opposite. If I need medical care, the system gives me no choice. If I wanted something as simple as a deep splinter removed from my finger, the US gives me only one option... go to doctor's office and have a doctor remove it. There is no effort to save costs. A nurse can't do the job. The doctor will use a "single-use minor surgery packet" which contains many instruments the doctor doesn't need. You will be charged extra for the use of the doctor's surgical room because it is equipped with all the latest high-tech equipment. Then I will be given a pharmacy prescription and perhaps a tetanus shot. The bill will certainly be in excess of $500.

This is my only option; other than staying at home and having my wife dig the splinter out with an Exacto knife.

I have no option like going to nurse's office in a pharmacy. Someone who is set up to take care of small medical problems such as safely and inexpensively remove a splinter, stitch up a cut, write a prescription for an antibiotic, check out a sick kid, etc. - and pay a bill of maybe $50. Our medical expenses are so expensive because we, as a nation, think the doctor's office or the hospital are the best in the world... and the only way we can recover from an illness. This notion is flat wrong!

BTW, everything I suggested to make me appear poor are perfectly legal providing you execute them properly. My approach is no more of a fraud than your use of the tax code to your best advantage.

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Old 10-16-2009, 10:48 AM   #54
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BTW, everything I suggested to make me appear poor are perfectly legal providing you execute them properly.
Umm, no they are not. You advocated fraud. I advocated keeping my income low enough that I was not in group which is/will be taxed at a higher rate. I did not advocate hiding assets off shore. I did not advocate the theft of services. And I certainly did not advocate impersonating anther individual (perhaps construed as identity theft?) with the express intent of the theft of services.

If you truly don't value the quality or quantity of the medical services in this country, some of which are spectacularly good and well priced, others not as much, then don't avail yourslef of them. No one is decrying your right to remove yourself from the healthcare system in the US. What I - and others - have found most repugnant is your stated intent to use these services for which you have no intention of paying simply because you're cheap and you feel others should pay for the care you don't wish to.

You're certainly welcome to avail yourself of the care available in other countries at typically more affordable rates. Of course, you don't expect to use those services for free. You could also receive a modicum of medical education to be able to remove your own splinter. But thats not the choice you have made.
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Old 10-17-2009, 08:57 AM   #55
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You're certainly welcome to avail yourself of the care available in other countries at typically more affordable rates. Of course, you don't expect to use those services for free. You could also receive a modicum of medical education to be able to remove your own splinter. But thats not the choice you have made.
Just to push this topic along, I am curious if you are satisfied with US health care system. Setting aside my feelings (and actions) for the moment, do you see any flaws in the current system of employer provided insurance, the way insurance companies do business, or the system where doctors and hospitals have a monopoly on how health care is delivered?

The original post of this threat talked about a man who decided to take complete control of his health care by avoiding insurance companies and negotiating with doctors face to face. He obviously saw problems with the health care system.

Do you have enough experience with the system to form a valid judgment? In other words, have you had any serious illnesses that allow you to see what is right and what is wrong?

As an example of what I am talking about, I have met many people who think credit cards are great. It's not until someone has mischarged you or stollen your identity that you can really see how poorly they function when you need them on your side.
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Old 10-17-2009, 11:09 AM   #56
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Just to push this topic along, I am curious if you are satisfied with US health care system.
It comes down to 2 kinds groups of people:
1. You work for a company and have group coverage for which you pay very little, you're probably pretty happy and are scared the govt is going to screw it up.
2. You work for a very small company with no health care coverage, or you are out of work trying to deal with the insurance companies on a individual basis. All the horror stories are in this category.

Group 1 is happy, group 2 is not. I've been in both groups, so I know.
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Old 10-17-2009, 11:45 AM   #57
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It comes down to 2 kinds groups of people:
1. You work for a company and have group coverage for which you pay very little, you're probably pretty happy and are scared the govt is going to screw it up.
2. You work for a very small company with no health care coverage, or you are out of work trying to deal with the insurance companies on a individual basis. All the horror stories are in this category.

Group 1 is happy, group 2 is not. I've been in both groups, so I know.
TJ
It overstates it to say group # 1 is happy, IMO. There are many people *in* group #1 who are smart enough to realize they could end up in group #2. So not so happy.

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Old 10-17-2009, 12:27 PM   #58
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It comes down to 2 kinds groups of people:
1. You work for a company and have group coverage for which you pay very little, you're probably pretty happy and are scared the govt is going to screw it up.
2. You work for a very small company with no health care coverage, or you are out of work trying to deal with the insurance companies on a individual basis. All the horror stories are in this category.

Group 1 is happy, group 2 is not. I've been in both groups, so I know.
TJ
Group 1 may be superficially happy. Either "ignorance is bliss" or "I know we have problems but I choose ignore them". Either way, the fundamental rule for a democracy to function properly is the need for an informed public. This issue is very much on the table now and anybody who is thinking of retiring early should have a well-informed opinion. Right now all I read about is health care programs that are long at giving more people health insurance, but short on cutting expenses.

From the looks of things, the special interests which collectively make up the health care system, are making every effort to make sure they keep their portion of a big, fat, expensive pie.

If more people are covered by some type of government sponsored program, without a significant effort to cut costs, we are going to have a very expensive government entitlement system piled on to a rapidly growing national debt.

The US is a power house economy, but every economy has its limits. This health care issue may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Even Group 1 should be worried about that - it doesn't bode well for future of the country where most people in this forum hope to someday retire.
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Old 10-17-2009, 03:30 PM   #59
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It overstates it to say group # 1 is happy, IMO. There are many people *in* group #1 who are smart enough to realize they could end up in group #2. So not so happy.

-ERD50
I'm going to guess that most people in group 1 aren't looking that far
into the future, I based this on the numerous polls showing the lack
of savings by most american workers.
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Old 10-17-2009, 03:54 PM   #60
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Polls indicate 80+% of Americans are happy with their health insurance. I just think that's a little misleading.

"I hate this job--the work is terrible, I am underpaid and there's no future here. I want to leave, but I can't now that my husband has diabetes and I might not be able to get coverage. My health care coverage is good here."

So, this gets recorded as a "satisfied with medical insurance" when clearly she does not like the results of the present system.

"Sir, a report from below decks. We've done a quick poll and the galley slaves are satisfied they are getting sufficient exercise. No need to ask more questions I suppose, eh, if morale is that good?!"
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