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Letters to the Editor

Insurance villain?

October 28, 2009

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To the editor:

I found the article about health insurance companies’ profits very interesting. Seems like the villains may not be the mean, uncaring health insurance executives.

So many of our leaders, starting with the president, have branded the health insurance industry for being cruel and evil. I too do not like the high cost of insurance. But having spent 50 years in the insurance field, from paying claims to helping people buy insurance of all kinds, let me say that it is very, very competitive. How can a senator or congressperson say it is not competitive when there are hundreds of companies competing for business that results in the low profit margins outlined in the news article?

Could the real villain be, as the old Pogo cartoon said: We have met the villain and it is us?

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

Not sot fast, Chuck-- How about a look at the real numbers.

http://www.pnhp.org/news/2009/october/is_health_insurers_.php

"Comment:

By Don McCanne, MD

In simple accounting terms, profit represents the difference between gross revenues and the cost of producing and marketing the products or services sold. So what is the product that the private insurers are selling us? Administrative services.

Unlike most other businesses, the revenues of the private insurers include our own funds that essentially are held in trust for the eventual payment of medical claims - currently 85.2% as represented by their medical loss ratios. Their business costs relate strictly to their product - the administrative services - currently 14.8% of their revenues. Thus their profit margin, to make sense, should be calculated based on their business model of providing us administrative services, but not on the funds held in trust which involve negligible expenses but which provide them with long term investment income. (Profit statements for the notorious financial services industry should also be adjusted accordingly since that is also our money that they are jerking around.)

The 3.3% profit margin reported by Morningstar includes the funds held in trust, but if adjusted to include only all costs of their legitimate business operations of producing and marketing their administrative services then their profit margin is actually 22.3%. That moves them into first place on the Fortune 500 list of profitable firms, in front of the network and communications equipment industry (20.4% profit)."

continued

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

continued

"To be realistic, playing with these numbers does not change the fact that eliminating these profits would have only a very small direct impact on our total national health expenditures - saving less than 1% of our health care dollars. What would have a tremendous impact would be to eliminate an industry that has the incentive of a 22% profit margin on a product that is designed to reduce our access to the health care that we need, not to mention a product that places a costly administrative burden on our health care delivery system. Eliminating the private insurance industry could have a hugh direct impact on our health care spending - diverting perhaps $4 trillion over the next ten years from administrative waste, and redirecting it to patient care.

We need to take heed of this comment in today’s Los Angeles Times:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-health-insure26-2009oct26,0,11741,full.story

“As President Obama’s push for a healthcare overhaul moves toward its final act, the oft-vilified health insurance industry is on the verge of seeing a plan enacted that largely protects its financial interests.”"

http://www.pnhp.org/news/2009/october/is_health_insurers_.php

Tony Kisner 5 years, 1 month ago

Chuck,

you need a bad guy in every equation, makes it very simple to understand for a simple minded voting populace. It was the drug companies, now the insurance companies.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 1 month ago

Who will be the next target of the O'dude's howling mob? Stay tuned......

puddleglum 5 years, 1 month ago

insurance company executives? who cares about them. It is the owners who are making all of the money. Insurance is a racket and I hear no one who hasn't been ripped off by either claim 'adjustment' or just flat out denial of coverage. the only people defending the insurance companies are...........................................people that own and work for insurance companies. It is time to end this legalized crime. This, government-sanctioned panhandling. These people have been soaking the life out of the american people for years. enough is enough!

monkeyhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

"How can a senator or congressperson say it is not competitive when there are hundreds of companies competing for business that results in the low profit margins outlined in the news article?"

That's easy ... they lie.

"Quick quiz: What do these enterprises have in common? Farm and construction machinery, Tupperware, the railroads, Hershey sweets, Yum food brands and Yahoo? Answer: They’re all more profitable than the health insurance industry." http://thebsreport.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/health-insurance-profits-obscene-factually-not-by-a-long-shot/

"Health insurers posted a 2.2 percent profit margin last year, placing them 35th on the Fortune 500 list of top industries. As is typical, other health sectors did much better - drugs and medical products and services were both in the top 10.

Trim those profits, by undercutting them with a public option subsidized by you and me, and help put them out of business. Quite the Big Government way.

And Obama et. al. know this. They have all the same data the Associated Press has. And they’re trying to pull one over on an unsuspecting public." http://stonescryout.org/?p=2497 http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2009/performers/industries/fastgrowers/

Even John Kerry's ketchup factory is more profitable than the insurance industry.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 1 month ago

The notion that government competition with private industry is somehow good or necessary is why so many of us are convinced that our country is moving in the wrong direction.

jafs 5 years, 1 month ago

As far as competition goes, I thought that anti-trust regulations haven't been applied to insurance companies and that in many areas there are virtual monopolies.

Shane Garrett 5 years, 1 month ago

In the Legatum study, the United States ranks 27th for the health of its citizens. Life expectancy in America is below the average for 30 advanced countries measured by the OECD, and the obesity rate in America is the worst among those 30 countries, by far. And, of course, we spend far more on health care per person than anybody else -- but get no bang for the extra buck. Did anyone watch the CBS, not fox, report on Medicare Scams? 60 billion in fraud? Let me think.... oh yeah it is a government run program.

Jimo 5 years, 1 month ago

OMG - I could spend a few minutes searching the internet for whatever wingnutter started this latest theme of "low profit margins" but what would be the point? They'd just move on to the next crazy claim.

One last time: the insurance industry should operate just above zero (0) percent profits. That's because their business is predicated on the future being very similar to the past. There is no innovation, no patents, no revolutionary business models, no risk (if there were they'd insure for that), nada. As McPheeters should be able to tell us, it's the single most boring industry in the world.

The presence of any significant profit over the long run is prima facie evidence of cheating - political bribery, collusion, disclaiming of liability, and other cartel behavior (the virtual OPEC of America). Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get the Senator from Aetna, the Congressman from Assurant, and the Attorney General from Blue Cross to take legal action against them....and so we suffer while the shareholders reap unearned profit from an easy business (one key reason Warren Buffett famously loves investing in insurers especially the ones with cheeky geckos!).

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

Wouldn't buy insurance from this source for he knows not what he is talking about. More distraction from the industry.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid, according to a report released yesterday by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee. This Story

The report was part of a multi-pronged assault on the credibility of private insurers by Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.). It came at a time when Rockefeller, President Obama and others are seeking to offer a public alternative to private health plans as part of broad health-care reform legislation. Health insurers are doing everything they can to block the public option.

At a committee hearing yesterday, three health-care specialists testified that insurers go to great lengths to avoid responsibility for sick people, use deliberately incomprehensible documents to mislead consumers about their benefits, and sell "junk" policies that do not cover needed care. Rockefeller said he was exploring "why consumers get such a raw deal from their insurance companies."

The star witness at the hearing was a former public relations executive for major health insurers whose testimony boiled down to this: Don't trust the insurers.

"The industry and its backers are using fear tactics, as they did in 1994, to tar a transparent and accountable -- publicly accountable -- health-care option," said Wendell Potter, who until early last year was vice president for corporate communications at the big insurer Cigna.

Potter said he worries "that the industry's charm offensive, which is the most visible part of duplicitous and well-financed PR and lobbying campaigns, may well shape reform in a way that benefits Wall Street far more than average Americans."

Insurers make paperwork confusing because "they realize that people will just simply give up and not pursue it" if they think they have been shortchanged, Potter said.

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

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

The most expensive medical insurance industry on the planet loves your $1.2 trillion hard earned tax dollars...

Paying More, Getting Less

How much is the sick U.S. health care system costing you? http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

By Joel A. Harrison Paying through the Taxman

The U.S. health care 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 care bill is paid through taxes, according to a 2002 analysis published in Health Affairs by Harvard Medical School associate professors Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein.

Tax dollars pay for Medicare and Medicaid, for the Veterans Administration and the Indian Health Service. Tax dollars pay for health coverage for federal, state, and municipal government employees and their families, as well as for many employees of private companies working on government contracts.

Less visible but no less important, the tax deduction for employer-paid health insurance, along with other health care-related tax deductions, also represents a form of government spending on health care.

It makes little difference whether the government gives taxpayers (or their employers) a deduction for their health care spending, on the one hand, or collects their taxes then pays for their health care, either directly or via a voucher, on the other.

Moreover, tax dollars also pay for critical elements of the health care system apart from direct care—Medicare funds much of the expensive equipment hospitals use, for instance, along with all medical residencies.

All told, then, tax dollars already pay for at least $1.2 trillion in annual U.S. health care expenses. Since federal, state, and local governments collected approximately $3.5 trillion in taxes of all kinds—income, sales, property, corporate—in 2006, that means that more than one third of the aggregate tax revenues collected in the United States that year went to pay for health care.

Recognizing these hidden costs that U.S. households pay for health care today makes it far easier to see how a universal single-payer system—with all of its obvious advantages—can cost most Americans less than the one we have today.

Medicare must exist in the fragmented world that is American health care—but no matter how creative the opponents of single-payer get, there is no way they can show convincingly how the administrative costs of a single-payer system could come close to the current level.

con't http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

If 3 million healthy insured dropped their policies in the next two weeks not only would they save thousands of dollars the insurance industry would faint in disbelief that this many people actually are awake and give a damn.

Sooner or later another few million would do the same. Suddenly all of america would realize the medical insurance business has been doing nothing but making tons and tons of profit by way of fear mongering.

At that point all would see that america could have insurance at a much much lower rate such as 225 a month for the best coverage in the world that includes the entire family.

Makes dollars and sense to me. More money to invest smart instead of supporting high rollin executives and shareholders.

Maybe get on with that home improvement with cash instead of borrowing from the bank.....just maybe.

Maybe go to Jamaica for a few weeks instead of supporting high rollin executives and shareholders.

National Health Insurance does not remove competition from the actual health care industry. It will be alive and well. Profits will be based on customer service and clinic performance based on the clients experience. CHOICE returns to the clients ballpark.

Satirical 5 years, 1 month ago

Look, all I know is that Obama and the Dems said that Insurance Companies are the enemy, earn profit, eat puppies for breakfast and throw old women in front of moving trains.

Even though other companies also make profit, the insurance companies are the enemy because they occupy the same sector as where the government wants to take over. Obama doesn't use fear tactics and create enemy lists to accomplish his agenda.

If Obama says flower shops are then enemy, and earn profit, and flowers could be provided cheaper by the federal government because they wouldn't have a profit incentive, then it must be true.

If Obama says NFL owners are evil and wants everyone to root for the Washington Redskins, then that is what must be done.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

Face it National Health Insurance would save employers,employees and all other insured thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars annually. What is wrong with that?

As it is the most expensive medical insurance in the world increases our cost of living across the board thus taking large chunks of expendable cash that could be better spent on investments,home improvements,vacations,college for children,flowers for our lovers or a host of other things.

Why pay the most expensive medical insurance industry in the world anything?

Never never never forget… It is the private medical insurance industry that cancels YOUR medical insurance AFTER taking YOUR MONEY for years. Years and hundreds of thousands dollars later no one has any guarantee of any coverage.

Not only that if an employer makes a switch there is no guarantee any coverage or same coverage will be available.

Face it , what wayyyyyyyyyyyyy too many healthy citizens pay out to insurance companies in a 12 month period they would never spend that much in 12 months no way jose'... with very very few exceptions. So why are we giving a middle man so much money? What's the point?

Paying out all that money is no guarantee the most expensive insurance industry will stick with you when the bills come rolling in.

Think about it. It's so many many many working people WITH insurance that are being forced into bankruptcy.

Why pay an insurance company anything?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

Following national trends, each year a larger share of the budget of the Kingston City School District (Ulster County, NY) is needed to meet health benefit costs, which have nearly tripled over the last ten years.

In 2007-2008 the Kingston City School District paid out $65.6 million in wages and $22.6 million for health benefits, including basic hospital, medical, dental and vision care and a 1.45% payroll tax for Medicare.

Under HR 676, the school district would have paid only $3.9 million for health benefits, resulting in a savings of $18.7 million for the 2007-2008 school year.

Under HR 676, the average school district employee with an annual wage of $44,700 would pay only $123/month in a new 3.3% payroll tax—eliminating co-pays and deductibles.

The savings could: • support 200 new teachers • fund major capital improvements to every school • reduce class size and provide a teaching assistant for every class

The Kingston City School District is just one of 87,850 state and local government jurisdictions in the U.S. Imagine the impact of replicating these savings over the entire country!

Isn't time USD 497 taxpayer experienced a savings of $18.7 million or more for a school year? FOR A CHANGE?

puddleglum 5 years, 1 month ago

75 x 55: So, I assume that you have no insurance of any kind, puddleglum?

yeah, I have car insurance-because it is mandatory, if I want to drive legally...talk about government interference!

especially in the health sector: insurance=legalized crime.

its the only service in america that you can sell to someone, and then when they need to use it, you can deny them. think about it.

jafs 5 years, 1 month ago

Satirical,

The many problems with the healthcare system in this country precede the current administration's attempt to solve them.

Mixolydian 5 years, 1 month ago

Are you now, or have you ever been:

A communist

......

A health insurance executive A stock trader A banker An entrepreneur A car dealer who's contributed to republicans A successful business owner An American who's realized the hope and dreams of our nation.

Your Ways and Means subpoena is on it's way.

Evil doer.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

The nations consumers could have excellent National Health insurance for all if one would remove:

*elected officials as shareholders

*special interest campaign funding

*the insurance industry recklessly spending health care dollars to bribe votes

*the news media offering misinformation ( their large advertising revenue is at stake)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

Given that many posters here haven't yet accepted that the premise of this LTE is a bald-faced lie, so let me repost this paragraph from my previous post--

"The 3.3% profit margin reported by Morningstar includes the funds held in trust, but if adjusted to include only all costs of their legitimate business operations of producing and marketing their administrative services then their profit margin is actually 22.3%. That moves them into first place on the Fortune 500 list of profitable firms, in front of the network and communications equipment industry (20.4% profit).”

http://www.pnhp.org/news/2009/october/is_health_insurers_.php

So, do you get that? Those profits are not even average-- they are higher than that of any other industry, and even worse, they are calculated against the most expensive and least efficient healthcare system in the world, making them doubly obscene.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 1 month ago

porch person,

I hope you're laughing at all the respect you don't get for your waste-of-space accusations. You add nothing to the cannon of knowledge.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

Sell OFF Now!

If I were invested in the medical insurance industry I would sell and move that money elsewhere.

Why wait?

This is going to be a hot potato and all those corrupt democrat and republican stockholders will be selling off not notifying their constituents.

Don't be a fool.

Those legislators will know before YOU do and will sell off. Yes they will leave all other stockholders holding the losing money bag.

If one CANNOT AFFORD to lose money why take the chance. If one can afford to lose money it would seem foolish to lose when it's not necessary.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

By JESSICA HODGSON

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest private philanthropy fund, sold off almost all of its pharmaceutical, biotechnology and health-care investments in the quarter ended June 30, according to a regulatory filing published Friday.

The Seattle-based charity endowment, set up by Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and his wife, sold its total holding of 2.5 million shares in health-care giant Johnson & Johnson in the quarter, according to the filing.

The foundation also sold millions of shares in major drug makers, including 14.9 million shares in Schering-Plough Corp., almost 1 million shares in Eli Lilly & Co., 8.1 million shares in Merck & Co. and 3.7 million shares in Wyeth, over the same time period. The foundation no longer holds shares in any of those companies.

Among the other health and life sciences-related investments the foundation liquidated are Allos Therapeutics Inc., InterMune Inc., Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.

The only life science-related holding the foundation retains is a 3 million-share stake in Seattle Genetics Inc.

The foundation's decision to drastically reduce its exposure to health-related stocks is striking, as many of its charity grants have been disbursed to address developing country health issues. Its move comes against the background of anxiety among drugmakers and healthcare insurance firms about the potential impact of the Obama administration's proposed overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system, which could put pressure on prescription drug prices.

======================= Why would anyone want to be invested in an industry that does this to its' shareholders?

Insurers Wrongfully Charging Consumers Billions http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html

Satirical 5 years, 1 month ago

jafs... "The many problems with the healthcare system in this country precede the current administration's attempt to solve them."

When did I say otherwise? I simply think it is funny how many liberals can't see the fear tactic used by ObamaCo. to use arguments which could be used against any industry, simply because he wants to have a public option which would lead to a government takeover of the industry.

I have repeatedly stated that reform is needed, but to ignore the tactics Obama is using to make the insurance companies appear like the enemy, in an effort to support his agenda, is ignorant. This inevitably leads to rubber stamp liberals claiming anyone who supports ObamaCare is really trying to help the enemy (insurance companies), when in fact they don't want to replace something horrible with something atrocious.

Satirical 5 years, 1 month ago

Correction: "This inevitably leads to rubber stamp liberals claiming anyone who (doesn't) support ObamaCare is really trying to help the enemy..."

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

HR 676 is the only fiscal responsible proposal on the table.

All others will increase the cost of insurance including changing nothing.

HR 676 makes the nation more employable to include new jobs in the health care industry.

Let's not be stupid about this.

The USA is the only industrialized country NOT providing medical insurance or care for its’citizens.

HR676 is the ONLY option being offered NOT connected to corporate american insurance. Politicians are still concerned for themselves and their election campaigns while you and I pick up the cost of their insurance.

Each of the many politicians could easily afford to pay their own way. Yet you and I are doing so.

I cannot afford THEIR medical insurance.

Why should taxpayers be forced to pay insurance for elected officials? They say paying for mine is not affordable. Then how is theirs affordable?

Think about it. How many times are we paying considering the number of politicians in our lives?

All taxpayers need coverage and big time reduction in cost.

HR 676 is the only equitable approach that includes all of us.

tbaker 5 years, 1 month ago

Hows this sound: What ever HC reform is finally passed, congress should "experiment" by removing the government from the equation on a trial basis for a limited, narrowly defined group. A "test case" if you will. This idea costs zero tax dollars, so we (the people paying the taxes) have nothing to lose.

Transfer power to individual people. Empower them to buy health insurance where ever they want. Let them write-off all of their health care expenses like business does. Let them save all the pre-tax dollars (no limit) they want in a health savings account. Let private citizens band together and form buying pools to leverage the discounts business gets. Force pharmaceutical companies to publicly advertise (in the store and on the net) the prices of prescription drugs. Force doctors, hospitals, and clinics to do the same for all of their health care procedures. Force health insurance companies to do the same price advertising, and offer "cafeteria-style" health insurance plans where people can pick and chose the coverage they want, and the deductible they want. Watch and see what happens when health care becomes a two-party proposition (consumer + provider) versus the three/four-way equation we have now. Form some bi-partisan blue ribbon commission to "study" what happens and report back to congress after X time has passed whether or not access and cost of HC were improved or not.

Of course enacting reforms that don't run-up the national debt / involve the government will be branded as (fill in the blank invective) by those who believe only the government can solve our HC problems. I say fine, let them think that way, and pass what ever big-government program they want - provided we give this alternative experiment a try at the same time. If it works, we scrap the big-government option in favor of the empowered person (free) option.

Whats the harm in that? If it doesn't work, the President, et all, are vindicated, his opponents are silenced, and up, up and away we go with the big government option.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 1 month ago

"How can we trust the people who are part of this conspiracy to grant benefits to these companies to turn around and take legal action against them when that would entail implicating themselves" -LibertyOne

Exactly right. We cannot trust a government complicit in insurance industry give-aways to now become the provider of everyone's insurance. This is what socialized medicine advocates don't want to acknowledge - the government they complain about as corrupt is the very government they want to be in charge of our health care. Wrong answer.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

"I have repeatedly stated that reform is needed, but to ignore the tactics Obama is using to make the insurance companies appear like the enemy,"

They aren't the only enemy, satirical, but there is no need to make anything or anyone "appear" to be that which they already are and have been.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

HR 676 Statement of Purpose

Oppose forcing employers to fund medical insurance for all with the exception of work related incidents and work injury litigation.

Statement of Common Purpose

Our current health care system in America is not affordable for families, businesses or government. We need an American solution to secure our families’ health and a healthy economy. All of us, individuals, employers and government have a shared responsibility to realize comprehensive reforms in our health care system.

Our government’s responsibility is to guarantee quality affordable health care for everyone in America and it must play a central role in regulating, financing, and providing health coverage by establishing:

ÿ A truly inclusive and accessible health care system in which no one is left out.

ÿ A choice of a private insurance plan, including keeping the insurance you have if you like it, or a public insurance plan without a private insurer middleman that guarantees affordable coverage.

ÿ A standard for health benefits that covers what people need to keep healthy and to be treated when they are ill. Health care benefits should cover all necessary care including preventative services and treatment needed by those with serious and chronic diseases and conditions.

ÿ Health care coverage with out-of-pocket costs including premiums, co-pays and deductibles that are based on a family’s ability to pay for health care and without limits on payments for covered services

ÿ Equity in health care access, treatment, research and resources to people and communities of color, resulting in the elimination of racial disparities in health outcomes and real improvement in health and life expectancy for all.

ÿ Health coverage through the largest possible pools in order to achieve affordable, quality coverage for the entire population and to share risk fairly.

ÿ A watchdog role on all plans, to assure that risk is fairly spread among all health care payers and that insurers do not turn people away, raise rates or drop coverage based on a person’s health history or wrongly delay or deny care.

ÿ A choice of doctors, health providers and public and private plans, without gaps in coverage or access and a delivery system that meets the needs of at-risk populations.

ÿ Affordable and predictable health costs to businesses and employers. To the extent that employers contribute to the cost of health coverage, those payments should be related to employee wages rather than on a per-employee basis.

Effective cost controls that promote quality, lower administrative costs and long term financial sustainability, including: standard claims forms, secure electronic medical records, using the public’s purchasing power to instill greater reliance on evidence-based protocols and lower drug and device prices, better management and treatment of chronic diseases and a public role in deciding where money is invested in health care.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

I say make HR 676 National Health Insurance available to all making it the only insurance available to all city,state and federal government employees considering taxpayers are picking up the tab.

Make National Health Insurance mandatory for all disabled veterans, senior citizens and their dependents considering taxpayers pick up the tab.

Leave all others the choice to purchase whatever.

Employers should not be responsible for insuring their employees. Employers can offer to reimburse as a carrot stick.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

Here's the deal. National Health Insurance is not a free ride and never will be perhaps with few exceptions.

You see my tax dollars will pay for my portion therefore no one else would be paying for MY National Health Insurance coverage.

However if you listen to the republican party NOT and Max Baucus you would be led to believe that my tax dollars are not my tax dollars. How can that be?

The fact that National Health Insurance would come from the rather substantial tax dollar cookie jars simply means that no monthly or weekly deductions would come out of my pay check per se..

Since federal, state, and local governments collect trillions in taxes of all kinds—income, sales, property, corporate etc etc this is how medical bills would be paid as it is now.

You see as we speak the government tax dollars support medical insurance payments to the tune of at least $1.2 trillion which is quite a gravy train I'd say. Next year this will increase by changing nothing and not passing the National Health Insurance Act.

In essence MY tax dollar amount to pay MY portion of National Health Insurance would be about $2700 annually for the entire family.

What coverage would this buy the family:

long term care such that cancer demands 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 good deal that would free up more expendable cash to be spent elsewhere thus creating new jobs. Things like birthdays,christmas,home improvements,taking better care of my lover and investments would benefit.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 1 month ago

75x75

Great point. Unfortunately the Far Feft actually believes that government is society. They believe that government is a surrogate for families. They believe that government is an extension of communities.

That's why you and I get confused looks when we tell the Far Left that government is the problem.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

“You and your source might have a point, boohoozo, if those reserves weren't required by law.”

That's pure BS. Theoretically, insurance is a system of shared risk, accomplished through the contribution of premiums pooled to cover expected claims for medical treatment. The law you cite merely requires insurance companies to retain a minimum amount of capital to cover these reasonably expected claims, rather than just squandering them all on subprime derivatives.

The insurance industry is thoroughly corrupt, and you are it's poster boy, Pil.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

This supports the "Sell Off Now" instead of losing lots of money down the road. Only the insiders will get the big bucks. This insider sees the writing on the wall

By JESSICA HODGSON

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest private philanthropy fund, sold off almost all of its pharmaceutical, biotechnology and health-care investments in the quarter ended June 30, according to a regulatory filing published Friday.

The Seattle-based charity endowment, set up by Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and his wife, sold its total holding of 2.5 million shares in health-care giant Johnson & Johnson in the quarter, according to the filing.

The foundation also sold millions of shares in major drug makers, including 14.9 million shares in Schering-Plough Corp., almost 1 million shares in Eli Lilly & Co., 8.1 million shares in Merck & Co. and 3.7 million shares in Wyeth, over the same time period. The foundation no longer holds shares in any of those companies.

Among the other health and life sciences-related investments the foundation liquidated are Allos Therapeutics Inc., InterMune Inc., Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.

The only life science-related holding the foundation retains is a 3 million-share stake in Seattle Genetics Inc.

The foundation's decision to drastically reduce its exposure to health-related stocks is striking, as many of its charity grants have been disbursed to address developing country health issues.

Its move comes against the background of anxiety among drugmakers and healthcare insurance firms about the potential impact of the Obama administration's proposed overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system, which could put pressure on prescription drug prices.

Brent Garner 5 years, 1 month ago

porch_person: You are quite correct that in many states, Kansas included, there has been a mass exodus of insurance companies. Why the exodus? Its usualy government mandates. These artificially raise the cost of policies and insurance companies have to analyze whether or not such mandates can be underwritten and the company can still show a profit. If they can, the companies stay. If they can't, the companies leave. Therefore, the impact of government mandates is to decrease competition instead of increase competition and, as you correctly note, as the number of companies decreases rates increase. One thing that would help there is to allow citizens to buy policies across state boundaries. That alone would increase competition. But, it would mean that state insurance departments would lose at least a portion of their ability to regulate/control the insurance market within their state. Sorry, but I don't see government bureaucrats giving up that kind of power.

monkeyhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

"Clunkers: Taxpayers paid $24,000 per car" http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/28/autos/clunkers_analysis/index.htm?postversion=2009102817

Here is another great government program. Unfortunately, I did not feel the need to purchase a new car, so maybe I can deduct my share from my taxes?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

" Its usualy government mandates. These artificially raise the cost of policies and insurance companies have to analyze whether or not such mandates can be underwritten and the company can still show a profit."

Care to be specific? What are those mandates, and how do they do anything other than require insurance companies to be slightly less corrupt? And given that, as the link I started this thread with shows, insurance companies are actually the most profitable of all, what level of profit should insurance companies expect?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

Good question, Larry. And it underlines quite well the lie that there is currently a choice in insurance. The vast majority of Americans with insurance get it through their employer. Employees get little or no choice on their insurance, and employers will tend to choose a policy based on how it affects their bottom-line, not on the quality or expense of the coverage it will get their employees.

But on the bright side for insurance companies, now that they've been a major player in collapsing the world economy, people who still have jobs are less likely to change jobs in order to get better insurance.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 1 month ago

Bozo,

Since government wouldn't require itself to carry a massive cash reserve like it requires of insurance companies, and because the government doesn't have to pay any taxes, how do you expect private insurers to compete with the government over the long term?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

The government would almost certainly carry the same cash reserves required of the insurance companies.

And I really couldn't care less if they can compete with the government. The reason we have a problem with healthcare in this country is precisely because insurance companies have a fiduciary responsibility to place their profits ahead providing medical coverage to their customers.

It's time to make sure that people can get decent healthcare for their hard-earned money, not just sucked up by companies who provide health insurance in name only.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

"So you admit the government DOES require insurance companies"

You asserted it, not me. But requiring them to maintain enough money to cover reasonably expected claims seems, well, reasonable.

"Thus, as I said earlier, these cannot be discounted when calculating profit,"

That's absurd. It costs them nothing to maintain this balance of someone else's money- as a matter of fact, they use it as investment capital, and profit off of that, as well.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

"Please name a single government program already in operation that carries a cash reserve."

Social security.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 1 month ago

Allow me to conspicously repost Pilgrim2's post. It's that good.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

“Please name a single government program already in operation that carries a cash reserve.”

Social security.


Fool. There is no social security lockbox. You've been hooked by another looney left lie.

Not that I'm surprised.

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