Third Party & Independents Archives

It’s Deja Vue All Over Again

First it was government subsidies to the oil companies. Then. it was pandering to the drug companies through Medicare Part D. The banking industry in the bankruptcy bill was allowed to remain unregulated while increasing fees and limiting the ability of citizens to start anew. The securities industry would have obtained a windfall with the failed attempt to privatize Social Security.

Now the health insurance industry has found its new source of revenues: the uninsured. Yesterday, the Health Insurance Lobby Group unveiled its plan for universal health care. But, who wins?

This plan allows everyone to set up a pre-tax account to pay for health insurance. In effect, people will pay for health insurance from the private carriers with pre-tax dollars. For those who can pay, this is a good idea. But, what about those who can’t pay? Karen Ignani of the group stated in an interview on Marketplace (http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2006/11/13/PM200611133.html) that Many adults still end up in the cracks of our public program. We want to stop that and set a standard to say that public programs ought to cover 100 percent of people below the federal poverty level. And the cost of these subsidies? The insurers estimate it will cost $300 billion over 10 years

This is nothing more than $30 billion a year of new revenues to the healthcare insurance vendors from the government. To put this into perspective, the The Insurance Information Institute quotes Stanard and Poors that, in 2003, insurance revenues derived from healthcare of the top ten companies was $110 billion, with the tenth ranked company earning $4 billion. Conservatively, we can estimate that revenues from all vendors would be no greater than $150 billion. Assuming that with a 9.2% revenue increase (2004-2005 increase) compounded annually, 2006 revenues would be about $200 billion. This influx of new money would increase industry revenues by 15%, almost two years' growth.

I can't blame the industry; they are in the business of making money and have found a way to get on the gravy train established by the Bush administration. With the Democrat's interest in extending healthcare coverage to the uninsured, they have developed this strategy to realize benefits from increased government spending.

In 2005, healthcare costs rose 7.9%, while insurance premiums rose 9.2%. This 1.3 percentage point increase translated into increased profit, since we can assume that the processing and sales costs did not increase beyond that of healthcare delivery or almost twice the cost of living (the CPI increased by 4.7% in the same timeframe). This proposal parallels the oil industry’s subsidies. Profitable companies are trying to derive additional profits from the government through grants and subsidies.

The insurers plan to cut costs by offering cheaper health plans, although no details were provided. They plan to invest "significant resources" to their proposal. Marketplace states that they spent $100,000 the week of the announcement week, just in Washington D.C. If they can do this, why have they not done so already? Why can the cost of a family’s healthcare insurance be greater that the cost of housing?

The answer is simple: profit. These are for profit companies who provide a product that many are afraid of living without. Without it, they can spend not only their last penny of healthcare, but go into deep debt. Of course, in its infinite wisdom, the Bush administration and in its giveaway to the banking industry made it difficult for these individuals as well as those affected by natural disasters and defending our country to file for bankruptcy.

It is about time that the taxpayers stop subsidizing US industries that are currently profitable. If we are to implement a universal healthcare plan, it should be one that spreads the risk over a wider pool. It should be one that reduces the paperwork required by physicians; where in some practices the number of support staff to address insurance claims is half the number of physicians. It should be one that lowers healthcare insurance costs to manageable levels. This proposal does not perform any of these functions.

Posted by M.L. Schneider at November 14, 2006 5:10 PM
Comments
Comment #195062

Government is FOR-SALE.
Government is in-league with some that abuse vast amounts of money to control government.
The consequences of this trend are becoming more and more obvious.
Irresponsible incumbent politicians are bought-and-paid-for.
While median wages have been falling since 1999, Congress has given itself raises 9 times since 1997.
Irresponsible incumbent politicians carry the water for their those that abuse vast amounts of money to control government. Those that pad their campaign war chests, buy them tickets to sporting events, buy them vacations, sell them homes at half-price, give them $90K to hide in the freezer, etc., etc., etc.
But, we keep re-electing them.
Even after 7-Nov-2006, 90% of incumbents still retained their cu$hy, coveted incumbencies.
So, why should incumbent politicians stop when we keep re-electing them?

The best thing for healthcare is to get all the middlemen out of it.
Give some minor oversight to government. Nothing more.

Currently, healthcare is not only increasingly unaffordable, but dangerous too! Pharmaceutical corporations and the FDA are becoming pill pushers that are killing hundreds of thousands in the U.S. (annually). That does not even include the huge number of patients that are irreversibly damaged and maimed. JAMA reported that over 2.2 million hospitalized patients in 1994 had serious Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) and 106,000 were fatal, making these drug reactions the 5th or 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.! JAMA’s conclusion was that “the incidence of serious and fatal ADRs in U.S. hospitals was found to be extremely high”. On 27-July-2004, HealthGrades.com reported that “An average of 195,000 people in the U.S. died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, according to a new study of 37 million patient records”. Once again, part of the problem is the growing corpocrisy, corporatism, and influence of government by corporations and some that abuse vast amounts of money to control government. Healthcare solutions are needed. While government is not responsible for providing universal healthcare, it is responsible for protecting consumers from some greedy corporations that will do anything for a buck. Also, illegal immigration is placing huge burdens on the healthcare system. Illegal aliens are over-running our ERs, hospitals, Medicaid, and welfare.

And, who thinks irresponsible government, who already has miserably mismanaged Social Security, Medicare, etc., etc., etc., and manage a national healthcare system, responsibly?

Voters are culpable too.
I don’t know how to put it any nicer, but voters are dumb.
They are too easily bribed with their own money, expect to be taken care of from cradle-to-grave, and keep re-electing the very same irresponsible incumbent politicians that keep using and abusing the voters.

And, while we are all being distracted with that issue that is going nowhere, Do-Nothing Congress still fails to get anything done.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 14, 2006 6:26 PM
Comment #195090

M.L. good post. I was reading about this proposal on yahoo news and my first thought was thats a lot of money for such a small return. This plan hopefully will die a quick death in Congress.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 14, 2006 10:00 PM
Comment #195105

Yesterday, the Health Insurance Lobby Group unveiled its plan for universal health care. But, who wins?

The insurance companies and politicians. Who else? It sure as hell aint gonna be the tax payers.

The best thing the Government can do is to stay out of health care. When Medicare started health care was reasonable. But the health care industry saw gold mine and cashed in. Also with health insurance the industry has found a gold mine and cashed in.
The insurance companies are seeing the same gold mines. And they’re cashing in.
The fastest way to lower heath care cost is to do completely away with health insurance. When folks have to start reaching into their pockets to pay for health care I can guarantee that they’ll start shopping for cheaper care. And they’ll go to the doctors and hospitals that have the best prices. Just like when folks shop for cars and other high ticket items.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 14, 2006 11:50 PM
Comment #195107

So in an emergency Ron I’ll just neogoiate my best deal with the cheapest hospital in the … state … country ? Im sure that will work. I just hope I have the time to do this lengthy get my best deal approach you seem to think will work before I keel over. Your get rid of insurence, free market approach with the little guy vs. the medical corporation makes me think your hand is in the medical till.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 15, 2006 12:10 AM
Comment #195118


I will gladly pay you Tuesday for an appendectomy today.

Posted by: jlw at November 15, 2006 2:58 AM
Comment #195122

j2t2, you hit the nail on the head. The problem with a free market health industry is that it is impossible under some circumstances to shop around. You have a heart attack, you don’t want to go to a hospital 45 minutes away because it’s cheaper, you want to go to the closest one RIGHT NOW.

You want national health care coverage? Cake and pie. Set up a national health insurance tax. Anyone within 50% of the poverty line pays nothing, grade the ammount a person pays from 50% to 150% of the poverty line, then a flat ammount for everyone else. With a pool of, what, 200 million workers or so, I can’t imagine it costing a huge sum per person. At $50 per year alone you are looking at a fund of $10 billion per anum. And, most important, the money in the health insurance fund ABSOLUTELY CANNOT be tapped into for any other purpose. No SS slush fund bullshit here. Anyone see any problems with this?

L

Posted by: leatherankh at November 15, 2006 6:26 AM
Comment #195127

Good article. I have a handicapped wife and son, the bs that we and our doctors have endured from ins. companies is staggering. Not to mention what my employers have gone through with “Magic Premiums.” L, You have a good idea. Sadly there is no “lock box” these thieves won’t pick. The only way to keep a politician from spending it on thier favorite pork is not to let them have it.

Posted by: Ted at November 15, 2006 7:31 AM
Comment #195146

Ron, you have the only fair and sensible idea, but people won’t like it because they would then have to use their own money to actually support what they “say” they care about.

What about an emergency? Try planning, its worked for me and my family. Sure we can’t buy name brands or eat out that often but those sacrifices are alot better than depending on govt to do it for us.

And do any of you ever think about what a “national health insurance tax” would mean?
If govt pays for your health insurance they are responsible for your health. And to save money, they will control how you live your life.
I would rather be free to live my life as I think best, not how others and especially not how the govt thinks best.

Posted by: kctim at November 15, 2006 11:14 AM
Comment #195149

If consumers would form a union of sorts, and approach healthcare providers directly, then we could eliminate the middle-men (i.e. leeches: government and insurance companies) and deal directly with healthcare providers. That would cut costs immensely. The middle-men are taking trillion$ and it’s unnecessary. Also, healthcare providers would probably be better off too without the middle-men trying to beat them down and tell them how to treat patients.

Insurance companies are making a LOT of money, but are they providing a net benefit to society?

And, letting government manage healthcare will be another huge, mismanaged system like Social Security and Medicare. It may be the last straw that finally breaks the camels back. Just look at the way government has plundered $12.8 trillion of Social Security surpluses, leaving Social Security a pay-as-you-go with looming shortfalls.

Those that want government to create a national healthcare system should think carefully before asking government to do this, because it will only make it more dysfunctional. There are better approaches. The consumers need to organize and deal directly with healthcare providers, and get rid of the middle-men. If government has any role, it would be only to provide over-sight and law-enforcement.

As it is now, Medicare fraud is rampant. Consider Bill Frist’s HCA hospitals. They bilked tax payers out of a billion dollars (yes, that’s a billion with a “b”), and have to return $400 million (or more) of it. Insurance companies make a LOT of money. Why pay all that money to insurance companies? Why pay all those people? What are they providing? There are better ways. The problem with the system is that it is over-run with leeches and ambulance-chasing lawyers making a lot of money off of other peoples’ misery, and running many healthcare professionals out of business. This is why Florida passed a law to allow doctors to practice withhout liability insurance … it was unaffordable. It’s ridiculous. The system is being destroyed because leeches are sucking the life out of it. But, we keep re-electing them, keep mailing those massive insurance premiums to them, and keep empowering them to use and abuse us.

The people are bearing the consequences of their own negligence and ignorance, as many systems become top-heavy with cheaters, and destroying the value producers.

Solutions and many badly-needed reforms are futile until people (and voters) understand the fundamentals, learn to recognize them, and stop empowering cheaters that use and abuse (often in-league with government).

Posted by: d.a.n at November 15, 2006 11:29 AM
Comment #195151
It’s Deja Vue All Over Again

Exactly.
We are trapped in a circular pattern of behavior.
There are some that fuel that pattern.
Such, as politicians that fuel the circular, distracting petty, partisan warfare.
It is powerfully effective and distracting.

If we start taking a look at this, and many dysfunctional systems, you will find a common-thread among them all. The systems are top-heavy with cheaters.

Take education for instance. Part of the problem with the rising cost and decreasing quality is that the schools systems are becoming top-heavy with administrative positions, and fewer teachers, and more children per classroom. Duh!

Take government. Talk about bloated. It is bloated to nightmare proportions.

Take insurance companies. This would fill volumes.

Take professors with tenure. Ever noticed how lazy many become? Tenure corrupts.

Take many corporations. How many have grown so top heavy with do-nothing management, they imploded?

Look at our Do-Nothing Congress.
Why does CNN call it “Do-Nothing Congress” ?
Because it is.
It is a farce.
But we keep re-electing them.
Even after 7-Nov-2006, 90% of incumbents still retained their cu$hy, coveted seats of abused power.

Take any organization, corporation, government, or society. None can be successful with a lack of education, and understanding of the importance of transparency and accountability. That lack of education leads to a lack of transparency, which leads to a lack of accountability, which breeds corruption, which we are witnessing, but only the tip of the iceberg.

  • Responsibility = Power + Conscience + Education + Transparency + Accountability
  • Corruption = Power - Conscience - Education - Transparency - Accountability
Posted by: d.a.n at November 15, 2006 11:46 AM
Comment #195166

j2t2
No, I don’t have my hands in the ‘medical till’. Unless you want to count the pay check my wife gets as a nurse. While she gets paid pretty decent it won’t be buying us any mansions or Rolls Royces any time soon.
If folks start shopping for the normal health care the doctors and hospitals will start lowering their prices. So if you have an emergency the chances are the hospital you go to will have reasonable prices.
Like kctim suggested, you can plan for emergencies. Put a little back each week. Unless your constantly running to the ER it’s build up. Then when an emergency does come up you’ll have something to fall back on.

kctim,
I’m very well aware that folks don’t like my ideas on heath care. Every time I bring them up someone (usually someone that spend most their pay check on TVs, stereos, fancy cars, and such) objects that they couldn’t afford to pay for health care themselves. It seem that folks don’t want to take responsibility for themselves any more.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 15, 2006 1:00 PM
Comment #195173

I know Ron, believe me, I know.

“It seem that folks don’t want to take responsibility for themselves any more”

B-I-N-G-O

Posted by: kctim at November 15, 2006 1:45 PM
Comment #195178

Great article!

Since employers want to get out of the healthcare business, and the insurance companies want to fleece us anyway, the only way left for us to build an efficient and superior healthcare system is universal health care run by the government.

Medicare has less overhead than do insurance companies. Medicare wants to help us achieve greater health; insurance companies spend most of their time looking for ways to reduce our health choices.

Don’t be afraid of the government. It’s doing a bang up job with Medicare. All we need to do is extend Medicare to everyone.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at November 15, 2006 2:04 PM
Comment #195186

kctim, So I plan and save a little each week lets say $10 for emergencies only. $520 a year. $5200 a decade. On a late weekend night I break my arm patting myself on the back. Boom 2, 3 4 decades of savings out the door. Thats just me suppose I have a wife and 3 kids. The point is health care cost are to costly to go it alone. My other option is $500 to $600 /month for insurance coverage. $6k/year. $60k a decdade. Sorta expensive for 1 broken arm, but hey the insurance company likes me, they tell me where to go and who to see and what they will fix for that money. I am more fortunate than some in that my employer pays the biggest share of my insurance costs, that’s not the norm for the next generation of working class people. So 1 bill from the hospital and they are indebted to the hospital for years or wiped out financially.

One problem I see is that, because we have a capitalistic health care system, hospitals must each have the latest technology and equipment in order to compete with other hospitals in the area. Under a universal health care system 1 hospital could refer certain patients to another hospital, say for heart problems and specialize in another type of medical technology such as kidneys or brain etc. Now I know the providers of medical technology may not sell as much but the costs would come down. Employers could get out of the funding insurance for employees business and focus on their speciality. Employess could have health care when changing jobs, unemployed etc.
Isnt it aty lease worth a try?

Posted by: j2t2 at November 15, 2006 2:52 PM
Comment #195188

isnt it at least worth a try?

Posted by: j2t2 at November 15, 2006 2:54 PM
Comment #195192

Ron, where on earth do you go to get reasonable medical care without insurance? Next time one of your neighbors, employess etc. without insurance gets sick go to the hospital or doctor with them and tell them how much the sick person can afford to pay. Try going to the hospital, tell them you have no money for care and see how much they can cut costs for you. The sad fact is without insurance you as an individual are subject to even higher cost for the same service . Try every Doctor and hospital in a 50 to 100 mile range. Let me know how it works out for you. BTW, my jeep is 6 years old, my TV is older and my stereo is well my computer.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 15, 2006 3:07 PM
Comment #195218

J2
It is not worth it to me, but, I would be totally behind a voluntary plan sponsored by the govt with only members money being used. If a person doesn’t want it, then don’t force them to support it, as they do with SS and other social programs.

And, to be completely honest, I really don’t care about other peoples ailments. But if I did, I wouldn’t want to force other people to believe as I do and finance it. I would actually help without violating anothers rights.

“Ron, where on earth do you go to get reasonable medical care without insurance?”

One thing people can do is find a doctor who is willing to take cash payments. For me, it is alot cheaper and no paperwork headaches.

Posted by: kctim at November 15, 2006 5:29 PM
Comment #195239


“isn’t it worth a try.”

j2t2: Not in a capitalist society. No government programs can be allowed. Those government programs like social security and medicaid must be destroyed. Everyone must be dependent on corporations for their fuel, their electricity, their health care, for everything. Everyone must pay more and more because corporations must provide more and more to their shareholders.

Posted by: jlw at November 15, 2006 6:49 PM
Comment #195241


Dan: Form a union, don’t you realize that Union is #5 on the capitalist list of evil things.

How can you possibly say that we have a do nothing Congress. Our Congress does plenty for the wealthy and their corporations, just nothing for everyone else.

Posted by: jlw at November 15, 2006 6:57 PM
Comment #195242
Paul Siegel wrote: Since employers want to get out of the healthcare business, and the insurance companies want to fleece us anyway, the only way left for us to build an efficient and superior healthcare system is universal health care run by the government.

YIKES !
Paul, that’s the worst thing that can happen.
Consider this instead.

jlw,
Unions have their place.
They ended child labor abuses.
They abuse their power in the 1970s to 1990s.
But, consumers need to unite.
Otherwise, they will continue to be the sheep led to the slaughter.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 15, 2006 7:05 PM
Comment #195252


Dan: ConsumersUnion.org

Posted by: jlw at November 15, 2006 8:07 PM
Comment #195254

jlw,

Thanks for the link.
I get their Weekly E-Mails.
ConsumerAffairs.com is another good one.

I dread the formation of a national healthcare system, because it won’t really solve the problem. In fact, based on how badly the government does everything else, it will be a disaster. Fraud will be more rampant than it is in Medicare. And, government will find a way to misappropriate the surpluses, just like the $12.8 trillion pilfered from Social Security.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 15, 2006 8:14 PM
Comment #195257


The government programs could be run very effectively and efficiently and it will when We the People get it thru our stupid heads that it is not the governments fault, it is our fault that the government is as it is.

Posted by: jlw at November 15, 2006 8:51 PM
Comment #195259


Why is it that countries with national health care pay half of what we pay. Is the health of our citizens twice as good as those countries? No. Is the service that we receive twice as good? No. Is our life expectancy double theirs? No. Is our child mortality rate half what theirs is? No it is higher.

Why do veterans pay half as much for prescriptions as people on the Medicare prescription plan?

Posted by: jlw at November 15, 2006 9:09 PM
Comment #195260

jlw,
I truly could not agree more.
That is why education is so important in a voting nation.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 15, 2006 9:09 PM
Comment #195261

jlw,

The reason for those high prices is corpocrisy, corporatism, corporate/investor fraud, corporate welfare, bought-and-paid-for politicians, and government in-league with those corporations.

Free enterprise is one thing, but rampant greed, monopolies, and government controlled by a few with vast amounts of money is what is destroying the nation. Some with vast wealth abuse it to control government, and government is FOR SALE.

That is why Congress refuses, decade after decade, to ever pass any badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer, reforms.

Hence, that is why the media calls it the Do-Nothing Congress.

But your right, jlw.
We keep re-electing, rewarding, and empowering those very same irresponsible incumbent politicians. So our problems continue to grow in number and severity.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 15, 2006 9:18 PM
Comment #195262

jlw, d.a.n., the insurance companies havent done such a good job on health care , give the government a chance. Its been proven in other countries that socialized healthcare works.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 15, 2006 9:19 PM
Comment #195263


It is hard to believe that no one so far has screemed SOCIALIZED medicine?

Dan: You say that Medicare is a very mismanaged system.

Paul: You say that Medicare is more cost effective and better managed than private insurer plans.

Who has the statistics to prove the other one wrong?

Posted by: jlw at November 15, 2006 9:20 PM
Comment #195265

j2t2,

It looks like it is going to happen anyway.
However, not all of those other nations have the corpocrisy and corporatism we have. It’s not the best solution, but it may be better than what we have now. It could be much better if the healthcare industry, doctors, and healthcare providers could deal directly with their customers, instead of through all the middle-men, taking a huge cut.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 15, 2006 9:27 PM
Comment #195266
Who has the statistics to prove the other one wrong?

Medicare fraud is rampant. Consider Sen. Bill Frist’s HCA hospitals. They bilked tax payers out of a billion dollars (yes, that’s a billion with a “b”), and have to return $400 million (or more) of it.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 15, 2006 9:29 PM
Comment #195267

Just run a google search on: +medicare +fraud

Posted by: d.a.n at November 15, 2006 9:31 PM
Comment #195284


Perhaps we should sic Lou Dobbs on Frist every night for a month or two. Perhaps we can start a boycott against his hospitals. The vote out incumbants movement isn’t working. Everyone thinks there Congressperson is wonderful because she/he helped Uncle Joe get his S.S. disability. So, we need to be inventive. Boycotts are a good way to get frauders, hit them where it hurts the most, their profit margins. It might even embarrass the government into cleaning up the mess.

Posted by: jlw at November 15, 2006 11:06 PM
Comment #195291


My medical care comes from the Veterans administration. It isn’t that bad. You have to wait to see a specialist unless it is an emergency. Congress could give us a little more funding and maybe the Dems will do that. The V.A. is ran rather efficiently with little or no fraud. The main thing is that they can negotiate with drug companies and other suppliers to get a good price. An $8 co-pay for veterans under the poverty line and no co-pay for disabled veterans on each drug. There are many veterans who go to the V.A. even though they have medical insurance. The V.A. bills their insurance company.

Posted by: jlw at November 15, 2006 11:52 PM
Comment #195294

j2t2
When I was a kid nobody had health insurance. The closet thing was hospitalization. And very few had that.
We could get the doctor to drive the 16 miles from town to our house and treat 3 or 4 of us youngins for $5.00. The hospitals would except payments on their bills. Very few prescriptions cost more than a dollar or two.
Try to even hint that a doctor should come out to your house today. You’ll get laughed off the phone. You have to drive to his/her office. Wait for two hours or more past your appointment time. Then you only see the doctor for a couple of minutes. And your bill will be $80 to $100 per person. Of course you won’t pay that much out of your pocket but depending on you copay you’ll be paying anywhere from $30 to $60 per person. And a whole heap of doctors won’t even take you as a patient without health insurance.
Most hospitals won’t even treat you, except for emergencies, unless you have insurance. And NONE of them will except payments on your copay.
By getting rid of health insurance folks will have to pay out of their pockets. They will start shopping for the doctors and hospitals that offer the best service for the least amount of money. This will force the doctors and hospitals to offer better service at lower prices or they’ll loose patients.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 15, 2006 11:59 PM
Comment #195305

Ron Brown, You must be very old. I’m nearing fifty and never recall the Doc being that cheap or coming to our house. Maybe prices were that cheap in the thirties.

Posted by: gergle at November 16, 2006 12:59 AM
Comment #195310


gergle: I remember this one well. In 1973 I had a serious ear infection. I went to my old family doctor. He had delivered me and my eight younger siblings and I remember him coming to our house often in the 1950’s. As I was saying, I went to him for my ear. He got a big brown bottle of pills off a shelf, he had a couple hundred bottles and thousands of pills. He poured a few pills into one of the little paper envelopes they used for pills then and told me to take three a day for a week. I went out to the receptionist and asked what my bill was. She said two dollars and I said two dollars and she said two dollars. I paid the two dollars and in a week my ear infection was gone. I remember this incident well because of the two dollars.

Posted by: jlw at November 16, 2006 1:24 AM
Comment #195328

Ron, then the 80’s happened. Remember “greed is good” etc. from The repub god Reagan. Well now your doctor is a corporation and he is working for the hospital that is now a corporate chain. The insurance companies and drug companies that serve the medical community are corporate entities. All these corporations exist for 1 reason which as we all know is profits for the shareholders. Hearing stories about the good ol days really doesnt help the next generation solve the healthcare problems of today. The cats out of the bag, you will be hard pressed to find doctors that could afford to make house calls or to neogoiate rates to benefit the patient. In fact the world has changed significently this past 20 years or so, try going to walmart, kmart , Albertsons etc. and neogoiate a price on any new items they have. Only car dealers do that my friend. To try to use the same methods that was the norm back then in todays environment will only getcha to bankruptcy court where thanks to the repubs you get beat up again, all because you fell ill. To think that as an individual you will have power to shop and neogoiate in this market place is unrealistic unless you are suggesting passing a law that outlaws all insurance companies from participating in medical insurance. Is that what you are saying?

Posted by: j2t2 at November 16, 2006 9:44 AM
Comment #195336

gergle
Very old?
You sound like my grandyoungins.
Reckon it depends on how ya look at it. I don’t think so. I turned 60 last month.
During the 50’s and at least the early 60’s doctors would make house calls. Sometime during the late 60’s or 70’s doctors quit doing that.
Believe it or not the doctor would even come to the house on Saturday and Sunday. Try to get into a doctors office on Saturday or Sunday today. If you do you’ll get arrested for burglary.

jlw
I remember our family doctor having pills in his bag when he came to the house. It was almost like he already knew what was wrong with us just from talking to Momma on the phone.

j2t2
I remember the 80’s. Do you?
It wasn’t the decade of greed y’all Democrats like to say it was. Sure folks did good. That’s why y’all don’t like them. Folks were making money and y’all didn’t have the White House so as ya could take the credit.
BTW, Y’all had the White House during the 90’s. Folks were doing pretty good then. Why aint the 90s another decade of greed?
Fact is I did better in the 90’s than I did in the 80’s.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 16, 2006 11:01 AM
Comment #195341
jlw wrote: Perhaps we should sic Lou Dobbs on Frist every night for a month or two. Perhaps we can start a boycott against his hospitals. The vote out incumbants movement isn’t working.
It’s working. Unfortunately, voters only picked on one party, which failed to send a clear message to ALL irresponsible incumbent politicians. So, the process is slow. 2.000 steps forward, and 1.999 steps backward. It doesn’t have to be that slow. It requires Education to speed it up. But, don’t worry … the voters’ education is in the pipeline. They’ll learn the smart way, or the hard way.

jlw wrote:
Everyone thinks there Congressperson is wonderful because she/he helped Uncle Joe get his S.S. disability.
Yes, I know what you mean. People are brainwashed, are seduced into the circular partisan warfare. Politicians love to fuel it, and some voters love to wallow in it.

jlw wrote:
So, we need to be inventive. Boycotts are a good way to get frauders, hit them where it hurts the most, their profit margins.
I’m all for it. Doctors should help. A few years back, doctors boycotted AETNA HMOs. Doctors are getting squeezed too by insurance companies and ambulance chaing lawyers.

jlw wrote:
It might even embarrass the government into cleaning up the mess.
I doubt that. Voting them out is the only thing that will work. That is the only thing that provides the necessary peaceful force.

Last year, my wife was in the hospital over night.
It turned out to be nothing to worry about.
The hospital tried to bill the insurance $14,000 for the room only.
The insurance company beat that down to $900 .
What’s up with the gouging ?
I’ve seen bills where the doctor or hospital charged 10 times more than the insurance company’s negotiated amount.
Is this all a scheme to make people believe they must have insurance? Otherwise, they will be forced to pay 10 times more?
There somehthing sinister going on.
Perhaps a national healthcare is what they all deserve?

What will a national healthcare do to hospitals and doctor’s profits when they have to compete with a national healthcare system?

Take medicare for instance.
Some doctors refuse to take medicare patients.
Some doctors say that if forced to accept medicare patients, they will simply quit practicing.
Some commit medicare fraud.

What is unseen is how government meddling and Medicare has driven up prices for everyone else. And insurance companies are squeezing everyone, and trying to make medical decisions.

Insurance rates for people over 40 is getting so ridiculous, I’m of a mind start self insuring. Instead of sending $450 a month to the insurance company, it may be better to start putting it in a savings account and invest parts of it in various safe instruments.

And, why can’t they tell you in advance how much these things cost? If I knew a hospital room was going to cost $14,000 , I might choose to take my chances without it.

I once had a HMO with a primary care physician. I broke my foot (a displaced 5th metatarsal). The ER gave me a pair of crutches and said call a orthopedic to set it. So, I went to my primary care physician and he said it would take a couple of weeks to get a specialist to set the bone. I said, you’ve got to be kidding? So, I changed my primary care physician immediately, and the new doctor gave me a referral immediately, and said he didn’t understand why my previous primary care physician said it would take two weeks to get a referral to an orthopedic to set the bone, when it can be done immediately. So, 5 days later, the bone finally got set in an out-patient procedure (in which they inserted a 5 inch pin). The hospital and doctor (combined) tried to bill the insurance about $13,000 (in 1999). The insurance company beat them down to about $1200. What’s up with the gouging? Why do hospitals and doctors bill those WITHOUT insurance 10 times more?
And, another scam is where hospitals make patients pre-pay more than the contract approved amount with the insurance company (e.g. for a ultrasound), and the hospital keeps the difference.

Yes, perhaps a national healthcare system is what everyone deserves.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 16, 2006 11:49 AM
Comment #195345

Ron: The 80’s were the begining of corporate greed. In the 70’s we had three hospitals. In the 80’s one of the med corporations moved in and bought them. The prices went thru the celling and the quality of care went thru the basement. As a result, anybody who could afford to or whos HMO will allow it; now go to Cinncinnati, Columbus, or somewhere else for their care. Now we have only one hospital left and their customers are Medicare and Medicaid. If the government ever gets serious about Medicare fraud, this hospital and it’s corporate owners are going to be in deep do do.

Posted by: jlw at November 16, 2006 12:10 PM
Comment #195349


Dan: $450 per month is about half of the monthly wage for half the people here. In 2001, a starting wage for a nurse here was 12,500 a year and a experienced operating room nurse made less than double that. Although we are rural and poor, the local university has one of the finest nursing schools in the nation. Many of the young graduates have family and friends here and don’t want to leave. The corporation takes full advantage of this.

Posted by: jlw at November 16, 2006 12:32 PM
Comment #195358

jlw,
I think there’s something to what you say.
Look at the following graph.
Many things started to look worse in 1980, including the National Debt-to-GDP ratio.
And, look at the rampant money-printing and inflation after 1980.
I think we’ve been on the wrong track for decades, and there will eventually be consequences for so much fiscal and moral irresponsibility. Regardless of how good/bad things are, we could have, can, and should do much beter.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 16, 2006 12:59 PM
Comment #195360

jlw,

That $450 per month is only medical insurance for my wife and I (and it’s a 80%/20% thing, which is tricky; 20% of a fortune is still a fortune).

It’s ridiculously high. Also, property tax is out of control. That’s $303 per month. Then there’s a hefty sales tax in Texas (8.0% to 8.5% in Dallas, TX area). And, electricity costs have never been higher. Then there’s the price of gasoline. It adds up. There’s no doubt about it. The middle income class is getting squeezed, but corporate profits are at record levels, and Do-Nothing Congress has given itself a raise every year since 1997 (the last 9 years).

Posted by: d.a.n at November 16, 2006 1:14 PM
Comment #195369

A government run health care system can work. Why not use the Post Office as a prototype? It must pay for itself and thus is a blend between government and free enterprise. By the way, if other countries had people pay what we pay in health insurance coverage, they would have stellar systems. But, they try to do it on the cheap.

To reduce insurance costs, it is necessary to spread the cost over a wide pool of people. This is impossible if there are multiple vendors and plans. With a voluntary plan, the benefits of the wide pool are lost.

Lastly, what about paying it out of your pocket. You are 50 years old and need open heart surgery. This will cost around $100,000. New treatments for breast cancer can cost $50,000. For someone working at the median salary of $50,000 a year. You are asking them to pay two year’s salary for heart surgery and one for breast cancer. They can’t afford these costs, so they would just die.

Posted by: M.L. Schneider at November 16, 2006 1:53 PM
Comment #195381

ML Schneider,

It must pay for itself and thus is a blend between government and free enterprise

That’s what we have now, and it is NOT working.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 16, 2006 2:36 PM
Comment #195402

If government really wanted to help, they would try to implement this plan, and then monitor it only (like they monitor the FCC, FEC, SEC, etc.).

There are a lot of reasons for the exploding healthcare costs:

  • (1) insurance companies

  • (2) medicare, and other government meddling, fraud

  • (3) ambulance chasing lawyers making a fortune from other people’s misery

  • (4) new technoligies

  • (5) pharmaceuticals

  • (6) FDA and pharmaceuticals

  • (7) 106,000 people killed by adverse drug reactions in 1994; 195,000 people killed by medical mistakes in each of years 2000, 2001, 2002 in a 37 million patient study

QUESTION: Which things in that list could be eliminated?
ANSWER: The middle-men that are taking a huge chunk, which are insurance companies and the government.

The government can not control costs. They simply make everything more costly. Medicare is one of those things. Any attempts to control costs will fail if either the government or insurance companies are the guarantors of payment.

A DIRECT-PAY system would eliminate the middle-men (an entire insurance industry making hundreds of billions per year selling healthcare insurance, and countless billions wasted by mismanamgement typical of government incompetence and fraud made easy by that incompetence).

Also, a DIRECT-PAY system would:

  • (1) benefit every American who requires medical care or service.

  • (2) benefit every business that no longer has any employee healthcare costs

Of course, the following (i.e. middle-men) will oppose a DIRECT-PAY system:

  • (1) insurance companies.

  • (2) private hospitals and hospital corporations

  • (3) the American Medical Association.

  • (4) the government bureaucracy for Medicare and Medicaid and all it’s subcontractors and suppliers

  • (5) all Congressmen and Senators who have been and are regular recipients of bribes (called campaign contributions) from most of the above listed groups.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, hospitals, starting with Baylor Hospital in Texas, began to make agreements with employee groups that in return for a small payment from each member of the group each month, the hospital would provide hospital services for any group member who needed them. This idea became so attractive to many hospitals that now could be certain that their bills would be paid. Eventually these individual arrangements led to the founding of the Blue Cross programs around the country.

That some sort of thing could be done with people in a DIRECT-PAY system.

These things are not complicated.

There is always one common thread in such problems (healthcare, irresponsible government, open borders, tax reform, campaign finance reformm, illegal immigration, eminent domain abuse, medicare, national debt, rampant money printing, election reform, $450 billion of PBGC debt, a Do-Nothing Congress, FOR-SALE government, influence pedding, government controlled by a few individuals and corporatinos with vast amounts of money, etc., etc., etc.).

There is always one common thread:
greed, selfishness, and laziness.

Those that benefit from perversion of these many systems will always oppose reforms to improve them for the majority.

And sadly, the majority, due to their own lack of education, are used and abused.

In a voting nation, education is paramount. And, the majority’s (i.e the voters’) education is on the way. They won’t like it, but they bring it upon themselves. Especially be continually re-electing, empowering, and rewarding those that use and abuse them.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 16, 2006 4:36 PM
Comment #195497

d.a.n

What’s up with the gouging ?
I’ve seen bills where the doctor or hospital charged 10 times more than the insurance company’s negotiated amount.
Is this all a scheme to make people believe they must have insurance? Otherwise, they will be forced to pay 10 times more?

I’ve seen bill like that too d.a.n. My wife had minor surgery earlier this year. It was an outpatient procedure. The bill we received was for $12,000 of which they wanted us to pay $2,400. The insurance company beat them from the $9,600 of their share to $1,000. But we still had to pay the $2,400.

There something sinister going on.

Their sure as hell is.

jlw
Your most likely right. That’s right about the time all the pinko hippy draft dodgers turned yuppie that had liberal professors for 8 to 10 years of college started getting promoted into positions that gave them say in the corporations. And there aint nothing greedier than a yuppie.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 16, 2006 11:54 PM
Comment #195590

Yuppie (Young Urban Professional).

I’m a puppie (Poor Urban Professional).

: )

Posted by: d.a.n at November 18, 2006 2:49 PM
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