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Old 09-23-2010, 11:04 AM   #21
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The cost of care for the uninsured who become ill will be born by those who have insurance.
The cost of care for the uninsured is already born by those who have insurance.
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:05 AM   #22
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I don't think so - some here (hem) are too predictable.
P/K/B?

Other than a couple of people who don't like opinions of any sort on anything, this has been a reasonable discussion. There's no politics involved in saying that there can be unintended (if not unforeseen) consequences to actions. I guess all those people warning us of an overheated real estate and stock market back in 2007 were being too political too. We need more discussions like this, not fewer. If it devolves into name calling, somebody can wake up a moderator.
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:09 AM   #23
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i'm curious to how my company will react. they are very mum on the matter and basically said, "don't ask any questions, you'll see what happens next month during open enrollment and you won't get to know what changes are made until open enrollment starts, but change is a coming..." (no political pun intended on my interpretation of my company's message)

stay tuned til Oct 19th for the official change. hoping for the best.
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:10 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Martha View Post
Just passing along data, not into speculating today.

Another update:

Uninsured Rate Soars, 50+ Million Americans Without Coverage - Kaiser Health News

In a reflection of the battered economy, the number of people without health insurance rose sharply last year to 50.7 million — an all time high — according to data released Thursday by the Census Bureau.
That pushed the rate of uninsured Americans to 16.7 percent last year from 15.4 percent in 2008, when there were 46.3 million uninsured. It was one of the largest single year increases since the Census starting tracking the figure in 1987.

Nearly every demographic and geographic group posted a rise in the uninsured rate — with the exception of children, who remained stable at about 10 percent.

I'd be interested in seeing how many of these newly uninsured are a result of the increase in unemployment, which is where most people get their insurance. The article didn't give any specifics. If it is, as I suspect, a major contributor, then that becomes an even more driving force toward uncoupling health insurance from employment. I don't think the current plan will accomplish what we need, but having options (hopefully affordable) would be nice. I wonder, though, how many would use those options if they are out of work. I suspect, once again, that people would defer coverage until something bad happened. That's the negative side of the public option and the forced coverability. Damn that human nature, it screws up all the good plans.
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:18 AM   #25
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The cost of care for the uninsured who become ill will be born by those who have insurance.
Or care is forgone.

Nearly 45,000 annual deaths are associated with lack of health insurance, according to a 2009 study published by the American Journal of Public Health. That figure is us considerably from the 18,000 shown in a 2002 study, which I reported on before.

The study found that uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of death than their privately insured counterparts, up from a 25 percent excess death rate found in 1993.
New study finds 45,000 deaths annually linked to lack of health coverage | HarvardScience




And this from a 2010 survey:

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Old 09-23-2010, 11:19 AM   #26
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The cost of care for the uninsured is already born by those who have insurance.
Correct. But it not evenly distributed among the insured, and the group that pays the most are the uninsured that still have resources.
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:19 AM   #27
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Whatever happened to "Major Medical"? Is something like that still available? I remember the pay as you go plan and it seemed to work pretty well.
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:25 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by ronocnikral View Post
i'm curious to how my company will react. they are very mum on the matter and basically said, "don't ask any questions, you'll see what happens next month during open enrollment and you won't get to know what changes are made until open enrollment starts, but change is a coming..." (no political pun intended on my interpretation of my company's message)

stay tuned til Oct 19th for the official change. hoping for the best.
My old megacorp was one of the first to publicly talk about this, although I don't think their intention was for it to become public. I hung on for a couple of years after FI in order to be eligible for the retiree health coverage. Not for the cost, just for the coverability. I know W2R and a few others did the same. I know things will work out however they work out, and there are no guarantees, but it would have been nice to FIRE a couple years earlier if they're going to yank the rug out.

AT&T, Verizon, others, thought about dropping health plans - May. 5, 2010
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:29 PM   #29
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That's just the opening. In California, one of the affected states, there is already a bill on the Governor's desk to require that any firm selling that lucrative individual medical insurance in the state also sell individual policies for children.

Call and raise...
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:35 PM   #30
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The study found that uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of death than their privately insured counterparts, up from a 25 percent excess death rate found in 1993.
From that article I'm having trouble parsing out the difference between "linked to lack of Health Care" and "caused by having no insurance". I know of well insured people who do a number of things in that following chart.

Regardless, if we assume there is a strong cause/effect there, I think it's a real shame that the Government promoted this tying of Health Insurance to our employment so many years ago. Imagine if our car or homeowners insurance was tied to our employment? We'd be seeing headlines "Family loses home to fire, laid-off worker could not afford insurance on the family home", etc.

I'm sure that promoting Health Insurance by our employers through tax breaks was seen by many as wonderful and humane and something only mean people would be skeptical of. Yet, it contained those unintended (but not unforeseen) consequences.

-ERD50
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:57 PM   #31
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From that article I'm having trouble parsing out the difference between "linked to lack of Health Care" and "caused by having no insurance". I know of well insured people who do a number of things in that following chart.



-ERD50
I don't have a link to the study itself that looked at deaths relating to lack of insurance, but I did read it some time ago and it controlled for a wide variety of confounding factors. I thought it was relatively well done.

The graph is just from a survey not at all related to the study on death rates and few conclusions can be drawn other than cost is an issue for quite a few people.
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:58 PM   #32
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Here is the sequence of events
1. Private health ins premiums go up for each mandated change
2. Individual and companies reduce or drop health ins.
3. Private health ins premiums go up for #2 - fewer people paying in
4. More people move to the Gov't plan.
5. Private heath ins. premiums go up for #4 - fewer people paying in
6. Number of private health ins companies decline.
7. Private heath ins. premiums go up for #6 - fewer ins. companies; less competition
8. People without any ins rely more upon hospital emergency rooms. Increasing costs for state and local government and insurance premiums - depending upon state.
9. Premiums and/or taxes go up for #8
10. Gov't plan becomes dominate plan in USA
11. People complain that Gov't plan too expensive; Gov't tries to keep premiums artificially low
10. Gov't cuts benefits to control costs and deficits. Taxes may increase.
12. Private health ins. becomes supplemental ins to inadequate Gov't Plan for those that can afford it. The premium goes up as gov't services decline.
It is amazing that every other OECD country has figured out how to do national health insurance. on lots of different delivery platforms. I'm not sure if Americans are not just mentally defective or simply so stupid and greedy that they cannot figure it out

There is enormous waste in American healthcare No one else spends the administrative dollars we do trying to make sure people don't get care.
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:14 PM   #33
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It is amazing that every other OECD country has figured out how to do national health insurance. on lots of different delivery platforms.
Maybe not so amazing. From the stats I've seen, every other OECD country has figured out how to do public schools, on less money and with better results.

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I'm not sure if Americans are not just mentally defective or simply so stupid and greedy that they cannot figure it out
I suppose there are many causes/reasons. I won't rule out the two you mention.

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There is enormous waste in American healthcare No one else spends the administrative dollars we do trying to make sure people don't get care.
There is enormous waste in American public schools. No one else spends the dollars we do to get poorer results.

I'm not attacking the school system in those statements - I'm just saying it is probably a reasonable comparison. I'm agreeing with you, we seem to get less for our dollar here in the United States. I'm not sure there is reasonable evidence that taking the HC system public is going to change that. Though I certainly agree that some changes are needed, it's a broken system as it is.

-ERD50
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:25 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Martha View Post
Just passing along data, not into speculating today.

Another update:

Uninsured Rate Soars, 50+ Million Americans Without Coverage - Kaiser Health News

In a reflection of the battered economy, the number of people without health insurance rose sharply last year to 50.7 million an all time high according to data released Thursday by the Census Bureau.
That pushed the rate of uninsured Americans to 16.7 percent last year from 15.4 percent in 2008, when there were 46.3 million uninsured. It was one of the largest single year increases since the Census starting tracking the figure in 1987.

Nearly every demographic and geographic group posted a rise in the uninsured rate with the exception of children, who remained stable at about 10 percent.
If unemployment was not almost 10%, that number would drop...........not many folks in America who are unemployed can afford insurance........
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:27 PM   #35
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It is amazing that every other OECD country has figured out how to do national health insurance. on lots of different delivery platforms. I'm not sure if Americans are not just mentally defective or simply so stupid and greedy that they cannot figure it out

There is enormous waste in American healthcare No one else spends the administrative dollars we do trying to make sure people don't get care.
I'd tend to agree. Yes, in some countries there are fiscal problems related to funding health care, but in many others, it's working well, or the 'problems' they have related to funding are trivial compared to our existing Medicare imbalances.

The Swiss healthcare coverage system is actually one of the closest to the current US target model (private insurers, minimum coverage specified, all persons required to participate), but it does so with substantially fewer 'moving parts', all the odd little clauses, gotchas and oddities packed into the recent US legislation.

I'm pretty sure we are no longer capable of having a fact-based rational discussion on the future of health care and its potential problems in this country. Now, if there were a 30 second sound bite to get people deathly afraid of what would happen if we didn't do something reasonable, then we might get somewhere. Until somebody else makes up something even scarier against it, anyway.

There's a force at work beyond rational discussion. Once Idiot America gets it's pointy little head focused on the issue, the sheer volume of Crazy dumped into the conversation will drown out any rational discussion.
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:28 PM   #36
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My old megacorp was one of the first to publicly talk about this, although I don't think their intention was for it to become public. I hung on for a couple of years after FI in order to be eligible for the retiree health coverage. Not for the cost, just for the coverability. I know W2R and a few others did the same. I know things will work out however they work out, and there are no guarantees, but it would have been nice to FIRE a couple years earlier if they're going to yank the rug out.

AT&T, Verizon, others, thought about dropping health plans - May. 5, 2010
I guess you won't be able to keep your own insurance plan like the POTUS said..........small wonder.........
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:37 PM   #37
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It is amazing that every other OECD country has figured out how to do national health insurance. on lots of different delivery platforms. I'm not sure if Americans are not just mentally defective or simply so stupid and greedy that they cannot figure it out

There is enormous waste in American healthcare No one else spends the administrative dollars we do trying to make sure people don't get care.
One of the major differences between the US & other countries is the Tort Liability System. Much of the cost of Healthcare is the cost of Malpractice & liability insurance built into it. We are talking really large sums of money here. Many doctors & facilities cannot afford it or build it into the cost of medical services. The new HC Bill does very little to reduce the cost of medical services, (there is a small sure-to-fail-pittance given to the states for Tort Reform which is doomed IMO given the funds/strength of the BAR & such). Drugs & medical devices are expensive in the US for the same reason. The US is flooded with ambulance chasing attorneys encourage potential litigants to sue for "bad" drugs, etc.

I spent 20+ years in the insurance industry, and the cost of liability insurance in other countries is very small (even when provided by a US INS CO). Why? Because of their legal system and viewpoint of compensation for losses.
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:45 PM   #38
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The Swiss healthcare coverage system is actually one of the closest to the current US target model (private insurers, minimum coverage specified, all persons required to participate), but it does so with substantially fewer 'moving parts', all the odd little clauses, gotchas and oddities packed into the recent US legislation.
Yes, I was surprised how little attention the Swiss system got in this whole debate leading up to what we got. I could be 'sold' on the Swiss system, and I'm a tough 'sell'.

Makes me wonder - how did the Swiss manage to do it?

-ERD50
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:48 PM   #39
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One of the major differences between the US & other countries is the Tort Liability System. Much of the cost of Healthcare is the cost of Malpractice & liability insurance built into it. We are talking really large sums of money here. Many doctors & facilities cannot afford it or build it into the cost of medical services. The new HC Bill does very little to reduce the cost of medical services, (there is a small sure-to-fail-pittance given to the states for Tort Reform which is doomed IMO given the funds/strength of the BAR & such). Drugs & medical devices are expensive in the US for the same reason. The US is flooded with ambulance chasing attorneys encourage potential litigants to sue for "bad" drugs, etc.

I spent 20+ years in the insurance industry, and the cost of liability insurance in other countries is very small (even when provided by a US INS CO). Why? Because of their legal system and viewpoint of compensation for losses.
Tort reform has eben attempted for over 30 years, but the lawyer's lobbyists always beat it back.
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:55 PM   #40
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Tort reform has eben attempted for over 30 years, but the lawyer's lobbyists always beat it back.
That has always surprised me. It's really a side issue, though, as the cost of litigation and malpractice insurance is around 1% to 1.5% of health care costs, and with defensive medicine added in, is around 2.4% of costs.

Tort reform would be a good thing, but it's not going to have a significant impact on the costs of health care on it's own.
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