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Old 11-12-2009, 02:40 PM   #161
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Its getting a little hot in here, folks, and some of the rebuttals are starting to be aimed at the person rather than at the issues.

Spirited discussion of the issues related to health care reform are welcomed here, but let's see if we can keep commentary about the individual personalities of thread participants out of it.

Thanks!
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Old 11-12-2009, 03:24 PM   #162
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Nothing personal, but I've never had particularly good luck relying on salespeople the govt for unbiased product information and projections on future pricing.
Fixed....
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Old 11-12-2009, 04:12 PM   #163
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Can we get civilized and provide insurance for everyone just like other industrialized countries in the world? They pay only 10 percent of their GDP and everyone is covered while we paid 16.5 of our GDP and 46 millions are uninsured?
Well, I don't think those countries have 40 million illegal aliens in them...........
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Old 11-12-2009, 04:38 PM   #164
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Can we get civilized and provide insurance for everyone just like other industrialized countries in the world? They pay only 10 percent of their GDP and everyone is covered while we paid 16.5 of our GDP and 46 millions are uninsured?
I missed this post earlier. Think about the number for a moment. Insurers have on average an 8% profit. With the house bill all people will be covered no matter what pre-existing conditions exist. Assuming The Secretary appointed to control the costs of insurance develops a magic formula that let's insurers continue making the same profit level, how are premiums going to be effects? The insurers cost just increased dramatically, what is going to happen to the premiums?

Even with the flood of young people and those who don't need much medical care they are a small number of the total who are not currently covered. There's over 300 million people of whom 255 million already have insurance. The expectation is that 15 million will still not be covered. That leaves the cost of covering the people with pre-existing illnesses to be spread over 30 million people (some have serious health conditions that cost a lot to treat) as compared to now. I don't see how the costs will come down. On the contrary it looks like the cost of care should go up with the increase in demand.

The insurers are able to keep their profit margin at 8% by being hawks, denying claims, denying or charging high fees for those with pre-existing conditions. If the Secretary lowers the profit margin too much it isn't worth the headache of staying in business.

You have to remember Americans are very vain. We spend a lot on unnecessary cosmetic surgery. We also extend our ER's (among other services) to the Canadians when theirs are too back logged. We have a large population of athletes. Many participate in sports that have an element of danger to them. I would guess, we have more people involved in contact sports than some countries have people. Many of the countries we are compared to have populations of less than 1/3 of the US. Germany is the closet EU nation with 82 million people (that's about 4 of the most populous states). Many of the countries close to the US or larger have large populations poor. Not "US poor", but the real poor.
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Old 11-12-2009, 04:43 PM   #165
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Hello Again,

I want to say thank you to the people (who disagree with me) for putting up with my rant. It was (the rant), indeed, one dimensional; there are many issues that need to be addressed, and I am too busy with work to explore all of them. Thus, I see through a pretty narrow lens.

I have spent my life staying healthy - I am in excellent health - and, what tweaks me the most is the rise of insurance rates. I have had very few expenses health-wise, with the exception of yearly exams, colds, etc. I know that life is unfair, but that doesn't negate my feelings.

The problem is, indeed, complex. I don't like the high premiums, but I do like the good coverage. On the other hand, I would like to see some sort of universal system. But, on the other hand, 40 million illegal aliens gives me pause.

And so, it seems that we are in a big mess, full of contradictions.
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Old 11-12-2009, 05:04 PM   #166
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Yea, sounds good!
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Old 11-12-2009, 05:06 PM   #167
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Careful folks, we do not have close to 40 million illegal aliens in this country by anyone's estimation.
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Old 11-12-2009, 05:10 PM   #168
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Samclem says:
"Fix it! Charge somebody else more, and don't give the money to the people I don't like. Don't bother me with details!"

Yea, that's about the way I feel. Crazy huh?! And, lower my premiums.
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Old 11-12-2009, 05:23 PM   #169
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Careful folks, we do not have close to 40 million illegal aliens in this country by anyone's estimation.
Well, there are people estimating numbers about that high:

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“My estimate of 38 million illegal aliens residing in the United States is calculated, however, using a conservative annual rate of entry (allowing for deaths and returns to their homelands) of three illegal aliens entering the United States for each one apprehended. My estimate includes apprehensions at the Southern Border (by far, the majority), at the Northern Border, along the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico coasts, and at seaports and airports. Taking the DHS average of 1.2 million apprehensions per year and multiplying it by 3 comes to 3.6 million illegal entries per year; then multiplying that number by 10 for the 1996–2005 period, my calculations come to 36 million illegal entries into the United States. Add to this the approximately 2 million visa overstays during the same period, and the total is 38 million illegal aliens currently in the United States.” — James H. Walsh, former Associate General Counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service
His methodology seems very suspect. And, I think many "visitors" have gone home since 2005.

Of course the real number is unknowable. I'll bet 15-20 million is close.
And, can we please stop calling them "illegal aliens" and start calling them "potential voters"? Thank you.
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Old 11-12-2009, 05:28 PM   #170
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Right. It is beyond suspect. Numbers are estimated by most at 11, 12 million and by some at 15 to 20 million.
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:04 PM   #171
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And, can we please stop calling them "illegal aliens" and start calling them "potential voters"?
Experts here in the Chicago area say that "potential" is moving quickly to "kinetic" and they are now an important voting block in many wards. Unless that impacts obtaining or maintaining FIRE status, it's moot to this discussion however.
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:14 PM   #172
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I am in excellent health - and, what tweaks me the most is the rise of insurance rates. .
I understand your feelings, but that's what insurance is all about. Lots of folks pay in so that there is a pool of money for the few that need it.

I don't see any way that a "reformed" health care system is going to be able to make health insurance coverage cheap or free for folks who can afford to pay. There are lots of issues that can be fixed, but having healthy middle class Americans pay no or small premiums isn't going to be one of them. In my opinion, anyway.

I'm not lowering my budget for health insurance one bit going forward.
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:18 PM   #173
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Careful folks, we do not have close to 40 million illegal aliens in this country by anyone's estimation.
Even if that number is high, probably still 15-20 millio illegals. How do you propose we cover them? Oh, that's right, they just keep showing up at the ERs across America.....

IF the Senate passes the Health Care Bill, it needs to stipulate that of you are not here legally, you are not going to be covered.

In regards to govt run health care in Europe, how many of them have a huge illegal immigration problem like the US? Probably none........never heard of anyone willing to risk life and limb to go to France or Germany or Britain........
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Old 11-14-2009, 06:04 AM   #174
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I did not take into consideration the illegals when I typed my last post. When they are taken into consideration that leaves only about 19 million people this bill is supposed to cover. The question then becomes, is that going to bring down the cost of insurance for everyone? Since the amount of money an insurer makes is limited to an as of yet unspecified percentage of medical loss and there isn't a provision for a carryover of loss to future years, an insurer would be foolish to have the premiums set so low that they would not be giving a refund every year. Currently with the "cut throat" claims payouts and underwriting standards the insurers only make 8% profit The expectation is that the infusion of new people will bring the costs down further. My WAG is when the number of new people is balanced against those with preexisting conditions and having to cover everything, it is at best a wash.
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Old 11-14-2009, 07:35 AM   #175
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Failure to have adequate insurance doesn't just effect the person without insurance. So, OPM is already in use.
I'm glad to see that someone else gets this; it's rarely mentioned in the debate these days. Everyone in this country (including illegals) already has insurance coverage, whether they're officially insured or not. Several years ago my Mom was hospitalized for 10 days with pancreatitis. When she got the bill there was a fee/item of several thousand dollars (IIRC, the fee was $2000-$3000), for uninsured coverage. When she questioned it with the hospital, they said that's a fee the State allows them to tack on to every bill in order to cover their losses for treating the uninsured. When she called the relevant State agency, they confirmed this and my Mom's insurance company was obligated to pay it. At least here in NY, signs in waiting rooms specifically state that the uninsured cannot be refused treatment.

As I see it, one of the things that makes the current system so unsustainable is that the uninsured actually piggy-back on other people's insurance, but in the most expensive way possible. Because they have no coverage of their own they generally wait until they are VERY sick and then seek ER treatment. IMO, getting these people real coverage (even if it's through a public option, subsidized by my taxes) will result in somewhat lower costs because they'll no longer wait to seek treatment and can do it through a routine visit with the Dr. rather than the ER.

I'm sure that if illegals are specifically excluded in any health care bill, they will continue to receive treatment under the incredibly expensive "coverage" they have now. We'll pay for it either way.
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Old 11-14-2009, 08:01 AM   #176
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In regards to govt run health care in Europe, how many of them have a huge illegal immigration problem like the US? Probably none........never heard of anyone willing to risk life and limb to go to France or Germany or Britain........
Of course they do. Illegal immigration is driven by economic opportunity.
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Old 11-14-2009, 10:23 AM   #177
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There are many more low income citizens than illegal immigrants that overrun hospital emergency rooms. Many illegal immigrants pay cash for reasonably priced health care services in walk-in clinics around the country. Others would pay if the health care services weren’t so outrageously priced.

“Illegal immigrants” is (are?) a red herring – an easy way to distract. The core of health care reform is access and affordability for everyone. Any reform that enables more people to have better coverage should be encouraged.
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Old 11-14-2009, 10:32 AM   #178
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I did not take into consideration the illegals when I typed my last post. When they are taken into consideration that leaves only about 19 million people this bill is supposed to cover. The question then becomes, is that going to bring down the cost of insurance for everyone? Since the amount of money an insurer makes is limited to an as of yet unspecified percentage of medical loss and there isn't a provision for a carryover of loss to future years, an insurer would be foolish to have the premiums set so low that they would not be giving a refund every year. Currently with the "cut throat" claims payouts and underwriting standards the insurers only make 8% profit The expectation is that the infusion of new people will bring the costs down further. My WAG is when the number of new people is balanced against those with preexisting conditions and having to cover everything, it is at best a wash.
Here is an article about what happens when the government gets to decide how much profit an insurance company can make. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maine is the only carrier that sells individual policies in that state because fo the government decision to run other carriers out of business with guaranteed-issue and no pre-existing condition. Anthem agreed to cover all policyholders for a guaranteed profit of 3%, which was agreed to by the state.....and then the government decided to exercise its power once all the other carriers were gone. Just wait until this happens nationally:

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AUGUSTA — More than 100 people stood in the pouring rain Wednesday to protest Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield's lawsuit against the state.

The lawsuit seeks to overturn a decision by Maine's insurance superintendent denying the company a guaranteed 3 percent profit margin.

Protesters rallied on the lawn of Kennebec County Superior Court, where the lawsuit was filed Aug. 21. Oral arguments are expected to be heard next month.

Phil Bailey, state director for Change That Works, a grass-roots organization supporting health care reform, told the crowd that Anthem's rates in Maine have gone up 89 percent and profits have increased 79 percent in the past seven years.

"We're gathering here, asking them to drop the suit against taxpayers of Maine, who already can't afford their polices, and return the money – that they are using to lobby against health-care reform – to their ratepayers in the form of reduced premiums," Bailey said.

Anthem submitted a request last winter seeking an average 18 percent rate increase for its four individual health care insurance products, affecting about 12,000 of its 400,000 policy holders in Maine.

The request reflected the medical risks of doing business in Maine, company officials said. In its lawsuit, the company said Maine has high rates of asthma, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses, a high number of smokers and a restrictive regulatory environment.

"Unfortunately, the individual market premiums are merely the symptoms of a larger underlying problem in Maine's individual market: rising health care costs," said Anthem spokesman Chris Dugan.

After holding several public hearings, Insurance Superintendent Mila Kofman cut Anthem's rate increase request to 10.9 percent, which provided for a zero percent profit margin.

In a brief filed in Superior Court, Anthem called the zero-percent profit margin unfair and unprecedented.

In response to Anthem's lawsuit, Attorney General Janet Mills filed a 38-page brief two weeks ago detailing Anthem's revenues, profits and profit margins in Maine. Anthem, she said, can easily make a profit on the lower rate increase.


In these tough economic times, she said the average individual policy holder pays about $6,000 in premiums each year, with deductibles of $7,250.

"They want a guaranteed profit of a certain minimal amount on the backs of ratepayers who are carrying these health insurance plans, mainly small business owners, sole proprietors, restaurant owners, loggers, farmers – the backbone of our economy," Mills said Wednesday.

Andrew Twaddle of Boothbay, a retired University of Missouri professor who attended the rally, said medical costs are bankrupting our society.

-snip-
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Old 11-14-2009, 11:28 AM   #179
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So what, exactly, will Maine do if Anthem decides to leave the state? They don't have any competitors to take up the slack. With how the state is treating Anthem, it has lost all credibility on any promises it makes to any other insurer who might want to take up the challenge. I would say Anthem has the state over the barrel not the other way around. If the state decides to cut the "guaranteed" profit, the company can always go out of business.
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Old 11-14-2009, 11:32 AM   #180
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So what, exactly, will Maine do if Anthem decides to leave the state? They don't have any competitors to take up the slack. With how the state is treating Anthem, it has lost all credibility on any promises it makes to any other insurer who might want to take up the challenge. I would say Anthem has the state over the barrel not the other way around. If the state decides to cut the "guaranteed" profit, the company can always go out of business.
Exactly. What happens when this occurs on a national level? This is the exact reason everyone is concerned that a public option and regulation would force private insurers out of business, leaving behind only the government-run program. It's like playing a football game in which the referee is also the coach of the other team.

The article also doesn't mention that Maine's state-run health insurance program, DirigoChoice, has not taken on a new person in about two years and is bankrupting the state on the same promises of Obamacare. Very efficient.
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