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Archive for Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Praeger: Health insurance should not be denied

Commissioner wants to end exclusions for pre-existing conditions

Sandy Praeger, former state senator and current Kansas insurance commissioner, said the health insurance system in Kansas is better than many others nationwide.

April 21, 2009

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The state of the insurance in Kansas is good, yet still needs some work.

That was the basis of a discussion Monday evening led by former Kansas Senator and current Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger.

Praeger, of Lawrence, also served on the city commission and as mayor here before moving on to state government.

Praeger addressed questions, comments and concerns during a talk at Trinity Episcopal Church. One point she made was that cracks in the system can be fixed on the state level with a bipartisan approach.

“We’re looking at expanding Medicaid eligibility … so that safety net would work for more people,” Praeger said.

While Praeger believes the system in Kansas is in better working order than in many states in the southern tier of the country, she also believes making coverage cheaper and easier to obtain is crucial.

“I think people should not be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions,” she said. “If you’re sick, you should be able to buy health care just like healthy people and so I think getting rid of pre-existing condition exclusions is an absolute must.”

Praeger says she is working to ensure that health insurance continues to be regulated on the state level.

She said that nearly 340,000 Kansans are uninsured, while another 500,000 are underinsured.

Comments

Orwell 5 years, 10 months ago

Shouldn't we all start foaming at the mouth about how all the big-government Republicans just want to interfere with the free market?

I forget – is this socialism, or fascism, or both? I'm sure there are a number of regular commenters who can enlighten us.

jaywalker 5 years, 10 months ago

A laudable statement. Now what? There are options for those with pre-existing conditions: get a job with a large corporation (Home Depot, UPS, Starbucks, etc.) and get on their group coverage. Employers like UPS and Starbucks give full bene's with only 20 hrs./wk. And the state of Kansas has insurance for the uninsurable. But under the current system, if Praeger's wish were to come true it would just mean that everyone else's insurance would shoot through the roof if individual insurance was available to anyone regardless of malady.

Kryptenx 5 years, 10 months ago

"A laudable statement. Now what? There are options for those with pre-existing conditions: get a job with a large corporation (Home Depot, UPS, Starbucks, etc.) and get on their group coverage. Employers like UPS and Starbucks give full bene's with only 20 hrs./wk. And the state of Kansas has insurance for the uninsurable. But under the current system, if Praeger's wish were to come true it would just mean that everyone else's insurance would shoot through the roof if individual insurance was available to anyone regardless of malady."

jaywalker: I was diagnosed with cancer at 17 and it had nothing to do with bad habits or even genetics. Why must someone with a preexisting condition be forced to work at a company they do not want to just for group health insurance? Does that not run contrary to everything that the "American Dream" stands for?

For the record, I am currently on one of these great group plans since I am a full time student, and it's not as you think. Had I been 25 at the time with coverage from one of the places you named, I would have been more than bankrupt. Even with insurance, treatment ran over 6 figures. They have tried everything in their power to drop me and they deny every single claim that comes to them until we fight it. Is this honestly a morally acceptable practice?

I also fail to see how "if Praeger's wish were to come true it would just mean that everyone else's insurance would shoot through the roof if individual insurance was available to anyone regardless of malady". How can you claim that when you say that insurance is available for preexisting conditions? Either: A) People with preexisting conditions can already get good coverage by working at Home Depot, so costs should stay the same -or- B) People with preexisting conditions can not get good coverage under the status quo, and telling them they must go work at Home Depot or Starbucks (regardless of their career plans) to obtain insurance is both insulting and blatantly false.

redmoonrising 5 years, 10 months ago

Jaywalker, I can understand your logic but I don't think you have a clue. I had cancer in the past. I also have three preexisting conditions that more or less make me unemployable by anyone but myself. Over six years ago BC-BS had to offer me coverage as I'd had it with them up till then. What they offered would have cost me over $18,000 out of pocket per year. It didn't pay for meds which now cost me $300-500 per month, far more than then. No one else would touch me because of the cancer. So I had no choice but the state high risk pool. At age 62 it costs me more than $13,000 a year by the time I pay premiums, copays and deductibles. I don't get SS or SSI because I fall through all the cracks. So after this year, I am going to be uninsured because I can no longer afford insurance. I can only keep my fingers crossed that I make it healthwise and financially for about 2 1/2 years till I qualify for Medicare. I don't want you to pay more so I can be insured, I just want to have some options so it's possible.

jafs 5 years, 10 months ago

The problem is clearly who bears the extra cost of insuring those with pre-existing conditions.

If the individuals pay for them themselves, it seems the costs are prohibitive.

If we all pay for them communally, people argue they don't want their costs to rise because of others' pre-existing conditions.

It's a tough call.

sourpuss 5 years, 10 months ago

I am in my lower 30s and I was diagnosed with cancer a year ago. I just finished my last chemotherapy treatment. The cost out of my pocket was about $1000, which was an optional expense since I wanted to take oral chemotherapy rather than IV. My three surgeries, my IV chemo, my radiation, my psychiatrist was all paid by my medical coverage. None of my care had to be "reviewed", my doctors could treat me as they thought was best without waiting for an insurance company to agree to pay. I was in a CT machine the day I was diagnosed, I never had to wait for surgery, and my survival chances started at 35% and are now at 90%.

Oh, right, I'm in Canada. I thank my lucky stars every day that I didn't get sick in America. Interestingly, the death rate for my cancer is far higher in the US than in Canada.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

Sorry, sourpuss, we can't believe anything you say because you are clearly a godless communist heathen. God Bless America!! (the top 10% income bracket, that is.)

jaywalker 5 years, 10 months ago

krpt and redmoon:

" Why must someone with a preexisting condition be forced to work at a company they do not want to just for group health insurance? Does that not run contrary to everything that the “American Dream” stands for?"

Never said you "had" to, just that it's a viable option. Unfortunately both of you were dealt tough hands. But the "American Dream" has never been about the government making sure everyone gets everything the same. Life ain't fair, obviously.

"telling them they must go work at Home Depot or Starbucks (regardless of their career plans) to obtain insurance is both insulting and blatantly false."

How on God's green earth is it insulting or blatantly false? Let me get this straight: you got handed a lemon so everyone else needs to bend over and take it in the shorts? Working an extra 20 hours a week so you can wipe out 13k a year in premium costs AND get an extra paycheck is insulting? Please. It insures quality of life for you, literally and figuratively. And it certainly isn't 'blatantly false', quite the opposite actually.

"How can you claim that when you say that insurance is available for preexisting conditions"

Don't know what your point is supposed to be. There are the options I mentioned. My point was that if we keep the current system and all those with pre-existing conditions are allowed into the current pools, everyone else's insurance goes through the roof. Period. Take the two of you for example: redmoon's costs are extensive. 13k a year is steep. But I'm bettin' his/her cost to the insurer/medical community is 10 times that amount each year. That cost has to be disbursed amongst those in their pool. Now figure in the 1000's in Kansas alone suddenly added to the pool. Ka-boom!

(continued).

Linda Aikins 5 years, 10 months ago

Red, guess what. My husband and I are both fully employed and we pay that much for insurance too with BCBS. The premiums are $1700/month ($20,400 annual) and prescriptions are more than $400 ($5,000 annual).

It doesn't matter if you are employed or not - we all pay about the same out of pocket that you do. You should not be complaining for $13,000...

jaywalker 5 years, 10 months ago

(continued)

"Jaywalker, I can understand your logic but I don't think you have a clue."

First off, I don't know how you figure I 'don't have a clue' when you reiterate my points. Thing is, I actually have a really good base of knowledge in this area. I was an agent in Kansas and Missouri for a while. Two main reasons I got out of the industry: 1) unscrupulous agents looking to make a 'sale' no matter what they had to say to get the check, and 2) it was heartbreaking to have to tell people they would be declined. Even worse was when I had potential clients who kept putting me off or blowing me off. Then a month or two later calling me desperately wanting to get covered because they'd just been diagnosed with bi-polar or diabetes. And then it was too late. Made me feel like it was my fault, I didn't do a good enough job selling them. Our company tried to preach 'sell with fear', outline what the downside's were. I hated that approach and refused to do it. I figured people were smart enough to figure they were rolling the dice. Whole thing was depressing.
Look, I completely sympathize with both of you and I'm in no way against you getting care. People have misunderstood me on this issue before. The way the system is set up is not in your favor. Nor can the current system absorb people in the straits you're in. That's basically all I'm saying. There has to be a massive overhaul of the industry. I have no idea how to do it. I'm completely against nationalized healthcare 'cuz I have no faith our red-tape addled government could pull it off, look at our VA's for example. So, like I said, Praeger's sentiment and statement is laudable. It's what comes after the good intentions that's up in the air.

Practicality 5 years, 10 months ago

logrithmic (Anonymous) says…

" People working for someone just to have insurance are not productive people."

I know plenty of people who do this and they are all productive people. Most everybody works for compensation, benefits are considered compensation. Therefore, having a job to cover your benefits isn't any different than having a job to pay your mortgage.

Most everything you say Log is all subjective Your unrealistic view on how you want America to be is hardly ever based on practical, honest reasoning or current reality. I am starting to think you are either a fairly young person or else extremely immature and naive.

Practicality 5 years, 10 months ago

logrithmic (Anonymous) says…

"There are plenty of places to get the money for single payer."

Again, a naive statement. Always this belief that there is an unlimited amount of money for your ideas because you think there should be. Maybe you should run for office with this wealth of knowledge you possess. The ease at which you believe everything can occur is amazing. You must be a true genius.

All that aside, I do hope that one day there can be a reasonable Universal Health Care System put in place that makes everyone happy, including the Health Care Professionals and the tax payers.

feeble 5 years, 10 months ago

Based on Praeger's numbers, 11.3% of all Kansans lack any form of coverage. 16.6% are under-insured, so ~ 28% of all Kansans lack sufficient health insurance.

The % of Kansans below the poverty line is ~11%, so this isn't terribly surprising. Nor is the distribution of poverty around the state.

Critical poverty rates (50% above the state average) in Kansas are found in the following major cities:

* Emporia (17.9%)
* Kansas City (17.1%)
* Lawrence (18.9%)
* Manhattan (24.2%)

Interestingly, there are only two counties in Kansas in which the poverty rate rises or falls 50% above or below the state average. One of these counties has a critically high poverty rate, while the other has an unusually low poverty rate.

The county with a critically high poverty rate of 17.6% is Wyandotte County. The county with an unusually low poverty rate of 5.4% is Johnson County

Practicality 5 years, 10 months ago

logrithmic (Anonymous) says…

"Lie."

Great reasoning. You really put me in my place.

"And I have proven you were a liar once when you said I pulled all my references from a site I had never even visited.

I guess you want me to make you eat your words again?"

Now, that sir, is a "Lie".

Practicality 5 years, 10 months ago

logrithmic (Anonymous) says…

"have proven posts by him/her lies before. By directing you to the post at 10:25 a.m., I am once more proving a post by him/her is a lie."

You have never proven anything. I exposed your looney, biased, admitted agenda having news sources.

Calling me a liar just prooves again the point I made earlier.

Practicality says at 11:28 " Most everything you say Log is all subjective Your unrealistic view on how you want America to be is hardly ever based on practical, honest reasoning or current reality. I am starting to think you are either a fairly young person or else extremely immature and naive."

You just continue to proove my point everytime you write anything.

jaywalker 5 years, 10 months ago

"Doesn't say liberty and justice for some - but for all."

Liberty and justice have nothing to do with working a job in order to reap the benefits. Brilliant correlation.

"All men are created equal and have unalienable right to life. Doesn't say that some should be condemned to die cuz they don't have a job or don't make enuf money to afford private healthcare insurance"

Your translation of our creeds is pathetic. All men are created equal (self-explanatory); have an unalienable right to life = does not mean the government is responsible for keeping you alive as long as humanly possible.

As to the rest of your nonsense........well, that pretty much sums it up. There are idiots, and then there's log.

Practicality 5 years, 10 months ago

Careful Jaywalker,

Logrithmic will post back calling you a "reichwinger", a defender of the "Banksters", and then call you a "Liar".

He then will start espousing something totally off the subject that he read somewhere in a totally radical looney newsource to support what you weren't even discussing in the first place.

Lastly. he will call you and everybody in the government names again, then return down into his Mothers basement to pout until he thinks of something else to rail about, or she calls him for dinner, whichever comes first.

Ryan Neuhofel 5 years, 10 months ago

Very productive debate about health care guys and gals. . . I will paraphrase the remainder and save everyone else the trouble of critically thinking about the actual issue . . . and then we can all go back to our little false ideological worlds and fight your shadowy, evil opponents.

"Righty" = shut up commie idiot! "Lefty" = you hate poor people and want them all to die!

And the health care issue is solved . . . .wait . . . who said what?

If anyone would like to have a constructive, non-personalized conversation about health care reform - feel free to PM or email me at neuhofel@yahoo.com.

jaywalker 5 years, 10 months ago

Pretty sure log is the only one to (predicatably) digress into political labeling, neu, but I understand where you're comin' from.

Practicality,

I shall not fear the reprisal of basement dwellers. Besides, I actually have alot of sympathy for people like log, I mean that sincerely. Life can't be easy when a mind works like his.

jaywalker 5 years, 10 months ago

(predictably)......hate when I notice the typo after I've hit submit.

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