Opinion

Opinion

Market will defeat health care reform

August 2, 2009

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In the current discussion of our health care problems, two key words keep popping up: “perverse” and “incentives.” Because most doctors are paid for services rather than outcomes, they have a perverse incentive to order superfluous tests and other procedures to run up their bills. Tax breaks for businesses who pay for their employees’ insurance create a perverse incentive for carte blanche policies that cover non-essential treatments. Overly generous insurance gives patients a perverse incentive to go to the doctor every time they have the sniffles. The medical malpractice snake pit motivates doctors to practice costly “defensive medicine” to protect themselves from ruinous lawsuits.

“The system of medical reimbursement warps incentives for doctors, insurers and patients that lead Americans to consume more and more medical services,’ according to The Economist. “There is strong evidence that Americans use pills, procedures, scans and other expensive forms of health care more than do patients in other rich countries and not always to good effect.”

The health care debate is also muddled by ideological intemperance. The word “universal” is a kind of magic charm to some who believe that if everyone is “covered” all problems are solved. As with all our debates, demonization drowns out thought. Bogeymen such as “Big Pharma” and “Socialized Medicine” are evoked as conversation stoppers.

We often hear that Medicare is “more efficient” than private insurance. “The administration of Medicare,” wrote one columnist, “is a miracle of low overhead and a model, despite all the fraud and abuse, of what government can do right.” That’s like saying the Russian Zaporozhets showed that communism could build an economical automobile — if you ignore the car’s tendency to break down and sometimes explode.

Anyone who’s dealt with government knows that “bureaucratic efficiency” is an oxymoron. Medicare is “efficient” because it maintains a minimal crew of doctors and clinicians and puts much of the burden of administration on doctors, hospitals and insurance companies. Its costs are low because it “uses formulaic rules made in Washington to set broad and inflexible restrictions on medical practice,” according to one industry authority.

A number of things could be done to reduce costs and improve health care without some grandiose plan dictated by Washington. One of the towering defects of employer-paid insurance is that it’s not “portable.” If you leave your job, you lose your insurance. A new insurer can reject you for “pre-existing” health problems. If we paid into a lifetime program at the start of our working lives, the insurance company would profit in the early days of our good health and build up a reserve to pay for a hip replacement or heart surgery when we’re old.

One reason health insurance is so expensive is that it pays for things most of us could pay out of pocket. If we paid for routine medical care, we might be more careful about spending and inclined to shop for the best deal. Medical insurance would cover catastrophic costs.

Debates remain unsettled and questions unanswered, yet the politicians are yelping about the urgency of “getting something done.” Medicare expenditures are twice as high in McAllen, Texas, as in El Paso. Similar variations are countrywide. We ought to know why. There’s compelling evidence that greater expenditure yields worse results. Shouldn’t we get to the bottom of this paradox?

In Grand Junction, Colo., “doctors collaborate to increase prevention and the quality of care, while discouraging overtreatment, undertreatment, and sheer profiteering,” according to an article in the New Yorker. Shouldn’t we be looking into the secrets to their success?

Lack of competition among operators of American hospitals is another factor driving up costs. More transparent doctor and hospital fees would promote competition and drive costs down. The tax break for employer-paid health insurance ought to be eliminated — or extended to those who pay for their own insurance. Removing the tax break would produce revenue that could help pay for covering the indigent and uninsured. Reforming the malpractice system — making it serve the victims rather than the lawyers — might reduce “defensive medicine.”

Instead of taxing the rich to pay for covering the uninsured, why not remove them from Medicare, a system that’s going bust and threatens to torpedo the nation’s economic future? Some argue that politicians want even the rich on Medicare because they want to make everyone dependent on government. No doubt they salivate over the idea of getting control of health care, which represents almost 20 percent of our economy. In fact, getting politics out of health care would do more than anything to lower costs.

Addressing perverse incentives that drive up costs ought to be the priority of health care reform. But the current initiative, conceived in haste and promoted by apocalyptic rhetoric, seems to be ignoring these issues. Of course, behind every perverse incentive is some interest group that’s profiting — and making campaign contributions. Reforms would require sacrifices from powerful lobbies: senior citizens, unions, lawyers, the medical industry, all of us. Does anyone believe our politicians have the will, wisdom and courage to require sacrifices from a society that’s come to believe it’s entitled to everything?

Increasing longevity is going to make ever-greater claims on our resources. A disproportionate amount of health care money is spent on the last months of life. A potentially bitter generational conflict looms: the young who pay versus the elderly who consume. Difficult choices lie ahead.

No matter how the politicians try to control health care, the market will ultimately defeat them. Health care is already becoming a global enterprise. People travel to countries such as India for major operations competently performed at a fraction of the cost in America. Competition and freedom of choice will win out in the end, to the benefit of all.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

"Anyone who’s dealt with government knows that “bureaucratic efficiency” is an oxymoron. Medicare is “efficient” because it maintains a minimal crew of doctors and clinicians and puts much of the burden of administration on doctors, hospitals and insurance companies."

This pretty well sums up the vacuity of Gurley's column. Private insurance is even more bureaucratic than medicare, and places even more limits on the " crew of doctors and clinicians and puts much of the burden of administration on doctors, hospitals."

Health care reform is going to be a difficult nut to crack, but pretending that the current hodgepodge "system" offers anything like fairness, freedom of choice or efficiency is wholly unhelpful.

devobrun 5 years, 8 months ago

bozo, the statement by Mr. Gurley is true. The statement by you regarding the inefficiency in insurance company health care is also true. Neither statement is vacuous.

A service is provided by a doctor to a patient. The third party payment system disconnects the provider from the receiver. Because the market economy of this transaction is broken by the third party, cost benefit is lost on the consumer. Decisions are taken by bureaucrats. Not the patient. Not the doctor. Protocols, templates, approvals, cookie cutter solutions result.

Bureaucracy in any form is not going to help the rising cost of health care. Most primary care physicians in Lawrence have moved to the west side of town and stopped accepting medicaid and medicare.

The only primary care doctor group left that is located near the hospital is Reed medical group. They continue to accept government payed patients. They loose money on them, but provide care to the folks left in the downtown area. Everybody else moved out to Wakarusa and west 6th .

All primary care docs are on their way out. Within 10 years you will get your primary care from Walgreen or Walmart or expanded emergency rooms in hospitals. Think fast food.

God help you if your malady doesn't fit a protocol.

Sunny Parker 5 years, 8 months ago

We already have govt insurance. It's called Welfare!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

"Within 10 years you will get your primary care from Walgreen or Walmart or expanded emergency rooms in hospitals. Think fast food."

That'll be a big improvement (heavy sarcasm.)

Flap Doodle 5 years, 8 months ago

Want to tear down American health care & rebuild it in the Canadian/European model?

Read this & then think again.

"1. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers. Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

  1. Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians. Breast cancer mortality in Canada is 9 percent higher than in the United States, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher, and colon cancer among men is about 10 percent higher.

  2. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries. Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit from statin drugs, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease, are taking them. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons, and 17 percent of Italians receive them."

More reasons at:

http://www.hoover.org/publications/digest/49525427.html

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

Yea, snap, and the author of those "facts" is so confident of their accuracy that they supplied absolutely no information about the source.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 8 months ago

http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba596 cites a Lancet study. You've heard of Lancet, haven't you, bozo?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

Actually, they don't really cite the Lancet, snap. They cherry pick some "facts" from the article, but fail to provide a link, while also failing to define such terms as "European" and "survival rate."

I know that your concern when it comes to the healthcare debate is strictly one of maintaining some form of ideological purity, which explains why you only cite organizations whose purpose is the same.

But it really isn't helpful in improving the access to or expense or quality of the US's healthcare system.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 8 months ago

Citations you want, citations you'll get. http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba649 BTW, you can elect to just keep your fingers in your ears & chanting "La La La, I can't hear you" if you really really want to ignore reality & bet on hopenchange.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

Oh, spare me. It's nothing but a list of cherry-picked statistics, some of which may be meaningful, some not, with no attempt to discern between them or to put them into perspective, because that would considerably pale the rosy picture the compilers of that list want to paint. Why? Because their goal is purely ideological. They couldn't care less about the healthcare system.

No matter how many idiotic lists like that you want to link to, it will not change the fact that the US spends double what other industrialized democracies do, but we still fail to provide adequate access to almost 1/3 of the population. Sure, there is no perfect system out there, but none are nearly as imperfect as the one we have, and come at considerably less cost.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 8 months ago

No free candy and unicorns. :(

"WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's treasury secretary on Sunday said he cannot rule out higher taxes to help tame an exploding budget deficit and his chief economic adviser would not dismiss raising them on middle-class Americans as part of a health care overhaul.

As the White House sought to balance campaign rhetoric with governing, officials appeared willing to extend unemployment benefits. With former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan saying he is “pretty sure we've already seen the bottom” of the recession, Obama aides sought to defend the economic stimulus and calm a jittery public.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers both sidestepped questions on Obama's intentions about taxes. Geithner said the White House was not ready to rule out a tax hike to lower the federal deficit; Summers said Obama's proposed health care overhaul needs funding from somewhere.

“There is a lot that can happen over time, Summer said, adding that the administration believes “it is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out, no matter what.”

During his presidential campaign, Obama repeatedly vowed “you will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime.” But the simple reality remains that his ambitious overhaul of how Americans receive health care — promised without increasing the federal deficit — must be paid for."

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/6558038.html

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

Health Care Realities

“private markets for health insurance, left to their own devices, work very badly: insurers deny as many claims as possible, and they also try to avoid covering people who are likely to need care. Horror stories are legion: the insurance company that refused to pay for urgently needed cancer surgery because of questions about the patient’s acne treatment; the healthy young woman denied coverage because she briefly saw a psychologist after breaking up with her boyfriend.”

It’s a funny story — but it illustrates the extent to which health reform must climb a wall of misinformation. It’s not just that many Americans don’t understand what President Obama is proposing; many people don’t understand the way American health care works right now. They don’t understand, in particular, that getting the government involved in health care wouldn’t be a radical step: the government is already deeply involved, even in private insurance.

And that government involvement is the only reason our system works at all.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/31/opinion/31krugman.html?_r=1&em

The U.S. health insurance system is typically characterized as a largely private-sector system, so it may come as a surprise that more than 60% of the $2 trillion annual U.S. health insurance bill is paid through taxes which comes to $1.2 trillion. $1.2 trillion is a sweet gravy train for the industry. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

An employer advised that the total cost for the best coverage will be $18,310 =$1,526 per month for 2010 if nothing changes…that is a rotten deal. All of these costs are passed on to consumers somehow = substantial tax increase.

2008-2009 cost was $13,000-$14,000 = more than $1,100 per month and not a good deal.

HR 676 predicted cost for a family of 4 is at $2700 a year for awesome coverage. That leaves thousands for other needs or maybe a vacation.

Americans are tired of getting duped by the industry and too damn many special interest politicians. HR 676 is the way to go to improve your quality of life.

HR 676 would be great deal for employers and individuals alike in terms of saving thousands of dollars annually and still have awesome medical insurance coverage.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

Obama could be right is his comment about not having to raise taxes... if he chooses to back HR 676. The plan Gurley and others continue to ignore yet this proposal is far from dead. It's all about journalism going down the tubes.

The U.S. health insurance system is typically characterized as a largely private-sector system, so it may come as a surprise that more than 60% of the $2 trillion annual U.S. health insurance bill is paid through taxes which comes to $1.2 trillion. $1.2 trillion is a sweet gravy train for the industry.

The above $1.2 trillion medical insurance tax dollars would cover all americans INSTEAD of only government employees which apparently equals 60% of those in the USA with full coverage insurance. Americans have been getting duped for a very long time by the very people who gladly accept primo tax dollar paid medical insurance.... our Washington D.C. legislators.... republicans and blue dog democrats alike.

So I say let's bring our tax dollars back home to Lawrence,Kansas in the form of health insurance for all...HR676.

I mean what the hell is going on? Put this matter of HR 676 before the people and let them vote for it by choosing HR 676. It would pass with no problem because voting taxpayers are typically fiscally rersponsible smart people. Saving thousands of dollars a year on medical insurance is truly a fiscal conservative notion.

What is nice about HR 676 is * patients would have complete freedom of choice so far as doctors,clinics or hospitals are concerned.

  • patients could shop around for cost difference if necessary

  • substantial more jobs in the field of medicine will open up

  • all medical people will be paid

  • eliminates the most expensive care on the planet = emergency room treatment for non emergency situations

jumpin_catfish 5 years, 8 months ago

Democrat talking point alert Awesome coverage for a plan that hasn't been implemented yet. What flavor is kool-aid you're drinkin merrill. How do you know it will actually be awesome?

kla4one 5 years, 8 months ago

Why are Republicans so scared that a govt plan coexisting with private health insurance will "destroy" healthcare? The only good reason to be "scared" is that the public plan would do a better job and people would prefer it to private health insurance. Currently, a CEO, a private bureaucrat, stands between a doctor/patient's decision with NO regulation, with no regulation AND a financial incentive to drop expensive individual patients and expensive small business owners. I'd choose a govt bureaucrat with regulation in place to protect the consumer any day.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

The problem is we DO NOT have the best insurance coverage in the world.

According to the CBO HR 676 is the only proposal that DOES save dollars. Yes in fact $350,000,000,000(billion). HR 676 is the only proposal with 86 co-sponsors. Yet the media,the white house and too damn many legislators pretend this bill does not exist.

So what would the new Medicare For ALL Insurance offer to americans 365 days a year,24/7,employed or not,moving on to a new job or not,single mom or not,struck down with cancer or not?

What would a new Medicare Insurance Plan cover 365 days a year 24/7?

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would pay about $2,700 in payroll tax for all health care costs. About $225 per month. Today the below insurance coverage actually costs about $1,100 per month.

  • long term care such that cancer would require
  • prescription drugs
  • hospital
  • surgical
  • outpatient services
  • primary and preventive care
  • emergency services
  • dental
  • mental health
  • home health
  • physical therapy
  • rehabilitation (including for substance abuse)
  • vision care
  • hearing services including hearing aids
  • chiropractic
  • durable medical equipment
  • palliative care

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would pay about $2,700 in payroll tax for all health care costs. About $225 per month. Today the above insurance coverage actually costs about $1,100 per month.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. If a deductible and/or co-pay policy is in effect this usually indicates under-insured.

HR 676 would save hundreds of billions annually by eliminating the high overhead of the private health insurance industry and HMOs. The privatized medical insurance industry is anything but efficient.

HR 676 contains costs and saves about $350,000,000,000 annually. But special interest politicians don't want to talk about HR 676. So they present bills that will increase the cost. Why? Special interest campaign funding(the industry) is writing those bills.... foxes in the chicken coop!

Changing nothing certainly will save nothing ever!

Senate Report Finds Insurers Wrongfully Charged Consumers Billions = BIG TIME CORRUPTION http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html

kla4one 5 years, 8 months ago

Overblown fears of govt-run industries, courtesy of Tina Dupuy, "Firefighting in the 1800's: A Corrupt, Bloated, Private-for-Profit Industry"

"Let's look at this reasonably: Firefighting used to be a private for-profit industry. In the 1800's, the early days of urbanization, in cities like New York and Baltimore, there were private "clubs" or "gangs" who were in charge of putting out fires. The infamous Boss Tweed started his illustrious political career at a volunteer fire company. ... Around the time of the Civil War, firefighting in big cities was reformed and taken over by the government. Currently firefighters in most major metropolises are trained by the government, employed by the government and given health care -- wait for it -- by the government.

Yet if we had to have the "conversation" about the firefighting industry today, we'd have socialism-phobic South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint on the TV every chance he could get saying things like, "Do you want a government bureaucrat between you and the safety of your home?" ...

There would be 30-second TV spots paid for by the powerful firefighting lobby featuring stars and stripes graphics and the national anthem playing softly in the background with a booming voice-over trumpeting, "Founding Fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were volunteer firefighters. Support traditional values and oppose government waste. Tell your representative you want a bi-partisan solution to fire reform. ...

But instead, today firefighters are national heroes. They're organized, quick, competent and with few exceptions pillars of the community. Their duty is to protect people and their property and they do it. They make no profits, are part of the government and they help people 24-hours a day. They even let seniors live. No debate necessary. What started out as a shady gaming of the system where the general public's welfare was at risk is today something of national pride.

So government can do something right. It's happened.

Less government is not always good. The private sector is not always first-rate. And free market capitalism does not cure all. "

Ryan Neuhofel 5 years, 8 months ago

Very nice piece Mr. Gurley,

There is no disputing that our fully dominated third-party health "insurance" (actually pre-paid managed care) system (private or government controlled) we currently have is not optimum for value or quality for most Americans. As a physician, I think pre-paid managers are mostly unnecessary and add little secondary benefit to true health care between a doctor and patient.

Politicians lambaste the "evil and greedy" health plan industry on a daily basis, but most people don't remember our history and WHY health plans have grown so large, powerful and profitable.

Private managed care (HMOs, etc.) did NOT arise because consumers demanded it in a free marketplace. At the urging of health insurance lobby, bureaucrats in both parties implemented the system and transformed health "insurance" to pre-paid care starting in 1973 (see Managed Care Act, authored by Ted Kennedy!) and continuing throughout the 1990s. Read Teddy's praise of his work and growth of private HMOs in 1978 at . . .

http://www.forhealthfreedom.org/Publications/Choice/ThenAndNow.html#FOOT1

The industry grew tremendously as they controlled an ever increasing amount of health care dollars (profit margins remained fairly static) . . . while medical inflation predictably ensued . . . and now "private" industry and free-markets are falsely blamed for the current dilemma.

Oh well, surely Sen. Kennedy and his colleagues will get the reform right for the American people this time around.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

Why is it difficult to get HR676 passed?

Think corrupt campaign funds, shareholder dividends and protectionism of high profits all by way of connected legislators who BTW have no problem accepting tax dollar paid insurance.

Are taxpaying citizens getting duped?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/05/AR2009070502770.html?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR2009061204075.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html

http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

Flap Doodle 5 years, 8 months ago

"Why is it difficult to get HR676 passed?"

Because it's not real-world practical?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

Fear: Health reform will let faceless government bureaucrats come between you and your doctor.

Fact : Private health insurance already comes between you and your doctor. And because each company sets its own rules, it's hard to imagine a more bureaucratic system. Some insurers decide which doctors you can see, which hospitals you can visit, and what drugs you can take and still be covered. And they may require copious paperwork before approving a treatment you and your doctor want. Health-care reform would standardize claim procedures to cut down on all of that. And it would protect you from other abuses, like being rejected for coverage or paying exorbitant premiums if you get sick.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/august-2009/viewpoint/5-common-fears-about-health-reform/reform-5-common-fears.htm

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

Fear : Health reform will take away the good coverage from your job.

Fact : If you're satisfied with your job-based coverage, you would be able to keep it. Employers who don't offer insurance would either start to provide it or contribute to a fund that helps employees buy it on their own. Some small businesses would be eligible for subsidies to offset the cost. And every policy would offer at least a standard, easy-to-understand, comprehensive set of benefits like those your congressperson now enjoys.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/august-2009/viewpoint/5-common-fears-about-health-reform/reform-5-common-fears.htm

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

Fear : Comparing the relative effectiveness of treatments and drugs will lead to rationing.

Fact : This issue flared up because Congress recently approved more funding for "comparative-effectiveness research." The term refers to studies to evaluate which drugs or treatments work best for different medical conditions and different patients. That's one more piece of information—based on science, not drug-company advertising or sales reps pushing pills—to help your doctor and you decide what's right. Consumers Union has long argued for better health-care information.

For an example of our work, go to ConsumerReportsHealth.org. You'll find free advice based on comparative-effectiveness research into which drugs work best for some two dozen conditions, ranging from heartburn to heart disease. That's not rationing. It's just being smart. And if you suffer from one of those conditions, you may find you could choose a better medicine with fewer side effects and save thousands of dollars a year.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/august-2009/viewpoint/5-common-fears-about-health-reform/reform-5-common-fears.htm

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

Fear : Health reform will be too costly; it will raise your taxes and could even bankrupt the country.

Fact : The real threat to your finances is the health system the U.S. has now. A recent study concluded that today's $2.4 trillion annual health-care tab would jump to $4.4 trillion by 2018 if nothing is done to rein in expenses.

Consumers Union thinks reform is the best hope for getting costs under control. It would cut down on waste, overhead, and price gouging, and reduce inappropriate care and preventable errors.

We fully understand why some people are apprehensive about reform: Any change is scary. But we also see the shameful damage caused by the current system. Americans deserve better than this, and can have it.

ASBESTOS 5 years, 8 months ago

Merrill wrote:

"HR 676 contains costs and saves about 350,000,000,000 annually."

How does it save and cost the $350,000,000,000 annually>

You cannot compute those two at the same rate and shows that you are just posting Obama care "Talking points".

Again, Merrill does not have an original idea, but is the "cut and paste King".

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

HR 676 has nothing to do with Obama care. Containing costs can save money this is nothing new. Doing nothing increases the cost of full coverage to $18,310 in 2010 which increases the cost of living as business pass this cost on to consumers. 2008-2009 costs came in at $13,000-14,000 which is no great deal either.

How does HR 676 reduce costs?

By eliminating high dollar medical insurance spending on what over 1,500 health insurers add to the actual cost of providing care such as: • its bureaucracy • profits • high corporate salaries • advertising over charges • sales commissions • Shareholders are the primary clients of for-profit insurance companies, not patients • Special interest campaign dollars Golden parachutes Politicians as shareholders: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR2009061204075.html Senate Report Finds Insurers Wrongfully Charged Consumers Billions http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html ( has anyone on LJW filed for a refund as a result of this fraud?)

KS 5 years, 8 months ago

merrill: how much cut and paste can you do? Nobody reads that stuff. Go back to your hole! I don't want your government care and I should not be FORCED to have it. This is AMERICA! Get a life, already.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 8 months ago

Has anyone on this blog ever been seriously ill? When you are struggling to get through each day, managing health care is close to impossible. You cannot concentrate on the myriad of statements and bill paying processes. We can only imagine what it must be like for very elderly seniors. Free enterprise is fine for buying clothes, but we need a regulated health care system, or, perhaps, a government system. Healthy people feel invincible and make rules/laws/opinions accordingly. Know someone's pain, then speak.

hsr0601 5 years, 8 months ago

The only way health insurance companies can make profits is by denying coverage. It’s called capitalism. If you have a pre-existing condition, they won’t cover you because you’re too risky, as your medical bills will most likely exceed the cost of your health plan. If you want insurance, they will offer you dozens of options. Most Americans can only afford the minimum coverage, which is sometimes provided by their employers. So if you can’t afford maximum coverage and one day require a complicated (and therefore expensive) surgery or even cancer treatment, it’s most likely not covered by your health plan. So you can be very sick in bed and battling health insurance lawyers until you die, as President Obama’s mother did.

KS 5 years, 8 months ago

hsr0601 - And you think ObamaCare is going to change that? The Government can't run anything right. Reimbursement rates will be reduced to doctors and staff so the Fed can save money. Services will be reduced and many good qualified people will decide NOT to enter the healhcare profession. Fewer doctors, longer lines, restricted services, but yes, it will be FREE! The Government can't be all things to all people. Yes, some changes can be made to the system to improve it, but the Feds won't have any part of it. Restructure what and for how much one can sue on malpractice is a start. Force insurance companies to accept you if you have pre-existing conditions. Allow for competitive pricing on insurance. Allow someone like GEICO or Progressive to sell healh insurance. Then watch Blue Cross and Blue Shield take a competitive stance. It happened in the auto insurance industry. Now State Farm has reduced their rates to compete. There are lots of things that can be done without destroying the best quality of care program in the world. Why do you think folks from around the world come to America for treatment? Why will not both the President and Congress join this new program if it is so great? It if is not good enough for them, why should it be good enough for us? This is a take over and socialism at its best. Not the America I grew up in, nor one that I want to live in the future.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

" The Government can't run anything right. "

Not as long as we keep electing folks who believe this self-fulfilling prophesy, and instead of making it work well for all taxpayers, succumb to the complete corruption of corporate welfare.

BrianR 5 years, 8 months ago

With all of the money (our money) the insurance industry is throwing at campaigns to influence the public and legislators in their effort to maintain the status quo, it would be more accurate to say that marketing will defeat health care reform.

Ryan Neuhofel 5 years, 8 months ago

A suggestion to anyone who hates private "insurance" companies and wants to decrease their profits and control of health care . . .

Stop pre-paying for all of your health care dollars to some HMO/PPO (ore demand your employer do so) and instead . . . . buy your routine health care directly from your doctors and purchase a high-deductible policy (true insurance) to cover unexpected, expensive health events. This would be a nightmare scenario for the current 'managed care' industry profits and the most every individual would save money on health care . . . AND it would require a single piece of legislation from Washington.

Ryan Neuhofel 5 years, 8 months ago

correction, "would NOT require a single piece of legislation from Washington"

Flap Doodle 5 years, 8 months ago

The linkbot has woken. Fear his mad copy/paste skillz.

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