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The Health Insurers have already won
Old 08-06-2009, 09:52 PM   #1
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The Health Insurers have already won

The Health Insurers Have Already Won - BusinessWeek


IMHO, all that we're going to get out of this is that the insurance companies are going to have 47 million additional customers - whether the customers like it or not! In return, they'll do away with the pre-existing-condition stuff.

Our premiums will continue to go up in double-digit percentage increments, the nation's deficit will continue to rise, and the Health Insurance companies will be the next industry with $100M bonuses.

I was so hopeful about this when Obama was elected. Now, it just makes me sick!
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:33 AM   #2
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I'm also disappointed in the lack of reform on the federal level. The vested health insurance interests are getting their way again and it will bankrupt the USA. What really annoys me are the scare stories about the health care systems in Canada and Europe! I have a lot of experience with the UK system and I've always had fantastic care without the worries of how I'm going to pay for it. Ask any Canadian or European and they like their systems and are frankly afraid of the US approach. How can anyone defend a system that leaves 45M people uninsured, costs twice as much as the systems of other developed countries and produces poorer health care outcomes for infant mortality, life span, heart disease etc.

I live in MA so we at least insure 98% of the residents, now we just have to control costs. In ER I'm looking at between $300 or $600/month in health insurance premiums and if they go up much more I'll be moving to the UK. I predict that the cost of insurance will cause many more ERers to retire abroad.
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Old 08-07-2009, 07:16 AM   #3
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We will be better off than now if we get mandatory coverage, no pre-existing conditions, and no lifetime caps. With health care part of the Fox V MSNBC culture wars anything more is a pipe dream.
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:23 AM   #4
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We will be better off than now if we get mandatory coverage, no pre-existing conditions, and no lifetime caps. With health care part of the Fox V MSNBC culture wars anything more is a pipe dream.
Agreed. It worries me that the inability of the US to tackle big issues like this because of a basic fear of government will be the nail in the country's coffin this coming century.
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:02 AM   #5
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What I cannot believe is how we provide "socialized" healthcare for the politicians, the military, the vets, and the elderly....what the hell is the big deal about extending that same level of care to everyone else? We are already practicing "socialism" (since this is the big debate against universal healthcare) with our welfare programs, social security, our libraries, and medicare.
I hope and pray that Obama stands up to the corrupt politicians and finally does some good in this area.
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:40 PM   #6
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I hope and pray that Obama stands up to the corrupt politicians and finally does some good in this area.
That would be revolutionary, but we'll see. Most if not all politicians are "corrupt" in the sense they have to pander to special interests to fund their campaigns, and essentially bribe voters with their own money (taxes) while making it sound like they are giving voters something - it's a grand system. That is not to say politicians are all basically corrupt, they have to work within the system. I don't think most people make the connections even though it happens mostly in plain sight. An "honest" politician couldn't get elected and couldn't be effective if they did.
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:52 PM   #7
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That would be revolutionary, but we'll see. Most if not all politicians are "corrupt" in the sense they have to pander to special interests to fund their campaigns, and essentially bribe voters with their own money (taxes) while making it sound like they are giving voters something - it's a grand system. That is not to say politicians are all basically corrupt, they have to work within the system. I don't think most people make the connections even though it happens mostly in plain sight. An "honest" politician couldn't get elected and couldn't be effective if they did.
Ding ding ding...

Once again, I never really blame politicians. Gee, just look at their constituents! I never really knew what my extended family members' stances were until the election. For example, there's one liberal member who is pro a certain defense project that I know (think?) is bogus. Why? His corporation works on it, of course!
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Old 08-07-2009, 01:11 PM   #8
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Ding ding ding...

Once again, I never really blame politicians. Gee, just look at their constituents! I never really knew what my extended family members' stances were until the election. For example, there's one liberal member who is pro a certain defense project that I know (think?) is bogus. Why? His corporation works on it, of course!
This is one of the few very good reasons to be for any political plan. Nothing could be better than something which takes from all the taxpayers, skims a little off the top, and gives to the few when that includes you.

Ha
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Old 08-07-2009, 01:37 PM   #9
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Objections about the nature of the proposed law aside, my greatest concern at the moment is the manner in which national political leaders are conducting the whole business of creating law. Billions of tax dollars are on the line, some politicians are pushing to pass this bill now, while others are fighting like crazy against it; and you can't even find a complete text of the bill online. Seriously, there's at least 19 amendments that I found, which were passed, that are not in the bill online at either opencongress.org or the official site of the library of congress. You can find the 19 amendments by looking at the website for the committee on energy and commerce, but then you have to try and piece them (and all their references) into the appropriate context in the bill.

I'm reading the bill and the amendments that I've found, but I have no way of knowing if I'm getting it accurately or completely.

How the hell am I supposed to support or oppose something that I'm not getting all the information about?

There's no open and intelligent public debate here, it's just a partisan battle over pecker length and who can grab the most goodies for their team.
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Old 08-07-2009, 03:23 PM   #10
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...because of a basic fear of government will be the nail in the country's coffin this coming century.
That is one of the drivers during the founding of this country.

Citrine--The health insurance the civilians in the government have is provided by private insurance companies, personally I have BC/BS. We have to pay for a portion of the premium, just like I did when I worked for a private company. You only get the socialized medicine in the government when you look at the military. Even then a lot of military bases have gone to a clinic type setting and many major procedures are farmed out to the local community. Don't think that has been all peaches and cream either. I had to interview many military members with collections on their credit report from screwed up paperwork from the military clinic to Tri-care(military health insurance). Do you know how long a bill has to go unpaid before providers refer them to a collection agency and it goes on your credit report? I don't, but it is longer than 3 months. That's how long it took me to get the billing company to provide the correct information to the insurance company. The billing company wouldn't listen to me and do what I told them to do, but when they did they had their money within a couple weeks.

Leonidas--I always go back to basic investment advise, when in your situation. If I don't understand something or can't get all of the information, I don't support it. It has probably cost me a lot of money in lost revenue, but I'd rather lose money by not earning it than lose money I've already worked for. The parts of the bill I have read has me paying a lot more for health care than I currently pay. That is assuming current health care prices and the prices over the last several years and no run away inflation, like I expect if this passes.
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:29 PM   #11
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... With health care part of the Fox V MSNBC culture wars anything more is a pipe dream.
I think it is a little too "convenient" to blame Obama's failure to get a health care bill passed on "Fox V MSNBC culture wars".

Read Leonidas's post below - and tell me what part of this is some kind of manufactured "culture war"? Actually, there is biased info from media on both sides - why would one suddenly have so much more power to sway the polls than another? Gallup polls indicate a great distrust of government and health care reform. Should be no surprise that the proposals are meeting opposition.

I'm in favor of some reforms. But not the "hurry up and sign this before anyone reads it" style of "reform" that was being pushed.

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Objections about the nature of the proposed law aside, my greatest concern at the moment is the manner in which national political leaders are conducting the whole business of creating law. Billions of tax dollars are on the line, some politicians are pushing to pass this bill now, while others are fighting like crazy against it; and you can't even find a complete text of the bill online. Seriously, there's at least 19 amendments that I found, which were passed, that are not in the bill online at either opencongress.org or the official site of the library of congress. You can find the 19 amendments by looking at the website for the committee on energy and commerce, but then you have to try and piece them (and all their references) into the appropriate context in the bill.

I'm reading the bill and the amendments that I've found, but I have no way of knowing if I'm getting it accurately or completely.

How the hell am I supposed to support or oppose something that I'm not getting all the information about?

There's no open and intelligent public debate here, it's just a partisan battle over pecker length and who can grab the most goodies for their team.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:48 AM   #12
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Just a quick response. Regardless of what political bend you have, there will be a certain degree of health care rationing. There just aren't enough doctors and nurses to go around, nor are there enough drugs available to treat every disease. Furthermore, the medical system, insurance system and Americans themselves place little emphasis on preventative medicine. Education regarding preventative medicine, exercise, eating healthier, and the like would probably have a much bigger effect than wholesale reform.
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:47 AM   #13
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Just a quick response. Regardless of what political bend you have, there will be a certain degree of health care rationing. There just aren't enough doctors and nurses to go around, nor are there enough drugs available to treat every disease. Furthermore, the medical system, insurance system and Americans themselves place little emphasis on preventative medicine. Education regarding preventative medicine, exercise, eating healthier, and the like would probably have a much bigger effect than wholesale reform.
I agree. The argument seems to be what system do we use to ration care. Do we ration care with a system that emphasizes need first then on a first come first served basis? Do we go with system that encourages people to work hard for the care? Personally, I prefer the second, when people are made to pay for their service they tend to appreciate it more. With insurance, cost has been effectively removed from the forefront. Paying government through taxes would further that removal. Neither one I think is good for controlling costs. If the peoples were affected more by the cost of their care, I think they would find the time to take care of themselves better.
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:25 PM   #14
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Education regarding preventative medicine, exercise, eating healthier, and the like would probably have a much bigger effect than wholesale reform.
I understand the rationale behind the comment, but I wouldn't say education is likely to be effective. Is there a significant population of Americans who don't already know that being fat, smoking, eating lots of "bad" fats, and being sedentary are unhealthy? People, for the most part, don't need to be educated, they already know what they need to know. Instead, they need to be motivated to make some changes in their lives if they are going to live longer.

When people trot out the numbers on US longevity and % of GDP devoted to medical care and use them to show that our health care system is more expensive and gets poorer results than the systems of Europe, Canada, or Botswana, these lifestyle choices are hardly ever even mentioned. If Europeans ate as much, weighed as much, or walked as little as Americans, I wonder what their health care costs would be. You can bet that a significant reason for the high medical costs in the US is the fact that, for cultural reasons, we don't take care of ourselves very well. Heck, maybe we've got an exceptionally efficient health care system and any other system would have higher costs given the McStresses we put on it! (I'm not being serious)
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:43 PM   #15
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Congress did to the Health care bill what the did to the stimulus bill. It is a Christmas tree with something for everyone. Instead of listing say the 5 or even 10 most needed reforms, in order, and then crafting a bill that solved all or part of them, it appears they attempted to con-cock a bill that completely changes almost every aspect of health care as we know it. Does anyone really think it takes 1,000 pages to write this bill? If the same people were going to write the constitution using the same tactics, all the forest in the world would have to be chopped down to furnish the paper!
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:53 PM   #16
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it appears they attempted to con-cock a bill
Thanks for that--funniest thing I've read today!
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:24 PM   #17
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If Europeans ate as much, weighed as much, or walked as little as Americans, I wonder what their health care costs would be.
One needs to go abroad occasionally to be reminded that Americans are overweight. Staying at home, we get used to our own standards and images. Just watched a dark comedy, In Bruges, where there was a scene where three BIG American tourists were advised by another foreign tourist to not climb the bell tower. What ensued was hilarious. Watchable and unique dark comedy, despite the liberal dosage of f words.
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:48 PM   #18
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One needs to go abroad occasionally to be reminded that Americans are overweight. Staying at home, we get used to our own standards and images. Just watched a dark comedy, In Bruges, where there was a scene where three BIG American tourists were advised by another foreign tourist to not climb the bell tower. What ensued was hilarious. Watchable and unique dark comedy, despite the liberal dosage of f words.
Actually, that isn't quite true. There are huge differences in weights seen on the street from neighborhood to neighborhood. In the upscale neighborhoods, almost no one is fat. No woman with a husband making $500,000 a year is going to let herself gain even a pound. How may fat men or women do you see in J Crew or Ann Taylor or Nieman Marcus? How many fat Sudanis or Sengalese or Iraquis or Chines or Japoneses or Koreans or Indians do so you see?

I am out on the street every day, and I can tell you that I don't see many fat people.

Ha
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:13 AM   #19
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I understand the rationale behind the comment, but I wouldn't say education is likely to be effective. Is there a significant population of Americans who don't already know that being fat, smoking, eating lots of "bad" fats, and being sedentary are unhealthy? People, for the most part, don't need to be educated, they already know what they need to know. Instead, they need to be motivated to make some changes in their lives if they are going to live longer.
A rare situation, I'm disagreeing with samclem!

As Henry Adams said, there is no such thing as an underestimate of average intelligence.

Having heard something and having been educated in it are two very different things. I've recently discussed healthy nutrition with a few fairly intelligent people, and was amazed at what they didn't know. I think you are right with a caveat - most people with a reason to care already know this stuff. But there may be a huge population that haven't internalized the knowledge yet. I think real education, starting with the youngins, will help in the long run. It took at least a generation for the majority to learn about the dangers of smoking. I think we're still in the early stages of education on healthy nutrition and exercise.

And it's not helped by the fact that the scientists and doctors can't get their stories straight. I stll think they'll eventually determine that eating chocolate and cooking with lard will be major positive health factors.
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:18 AM   #20
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Actually, that isn't quite true. There are huge differences in weights seen on the street from neighborhood to neighborhood. In the upscale neighborhoods, almost no one is fat. No woman with a husband making $500,000 a year is going to let herself gain even a pound. How may fat men or women do you see in J Crew or Ann Taylor or Nieman Marcus? How many fat Sudanis or Sengalese or Iraquis or Chines or Japoneses or Koreans or Indians do so you see?

I am out on the street every day, and I can tell you that I don't see many fat people.

Ha
In the first place, don't you live in Seattle? From what I've heard, that is ground zero for trendiness. And while I can agree that there is less of a weight problem among women (not men) who live upscale lifestyles, there are significantly more people in the US that are not upscale. Quit checking An Taylor and Nieman Marcus. Take a look in TJMaxx and Walmart.
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