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Letters to the Editor

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September 17, 2012

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To the editor:

I experienced an interesting and painful coincidence this summer that illustrates the control wielded over us middle classers by a powerful insurance industry and a conservative state government.

First, I received a letter from my long-term health care insurance carrier notifying me that the premium for my present level of coverage was increasing 72 percent! Not 20 or 30, but 72 percent! The explanation was that their analysts had not anticipated the fact that people are living longer and medical costs are increasing. So because of their commitment and obligation to me, the insured, this increase was necessary. So they were actually doing me a favor! (I’m paraphrasing, but this was the tone.) Since I have 15 years’ worth of premiums invested in this insurance, what could I do?

Just a few weeks later, I read that Gov. Brownback’s tax overhaul will no longer allow the expense of long-term health care insurance premiums as a deduction for state income tax purposes. As one of those fixed-income seniors, this double whammy to my pocketbook means a realignment of my budget, eliminating one or two charities that I choose to regularly support.

This is one good example of how doing the right thing by trying to provide for myself as I age has absolutely no significance to an insurance company or a state’s conservative agenda. The wealthy get richer, and the middle class and poor bite the bullet.

Comments

atiopatioo 1 year, 7 months ago

  1. QE3 will bring inflation. Maybe it will bring hyperinflation. But that only happens if the banks start using their phonied-up balance sheets as the basis for new money expansion. But why would they do this? It is not in their interest so long as the payout rate is near zero. Another scenario that leads to hyperinflation is the global dumping of the dollar and its dethronement from its status as the world reserve currency.

Barring those scenarios, inflation is likely to take different forms. We've already seen this in commodities, ((health care)), energy, and education. But what we don't see is the glorious deflation that would be affecting all these sectors if market forces prevailed -- deflation such as we've seen in technology that has been such a gift to humanity. It is the absence of a rise in the purchasing power of the dollar that is the real price we will pay.

http://lfb.org/today/five-deadly-effects-of-qe3/

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oldbaldguy 1 year, 7 months ago

don't get sick or old. if you do die quickly.

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George Lippencott 1 year, 7 months ago

You know Obama care originally had a LTHC element but in a bi-partisian move it was stripped for being too expensive

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Carol Bowen 1 year, 7 months ago

The last time I checked, not only do you pay huge premiums, but if you get seriously ill and are not working, you still have to pay the premiums or your long term care is not covered. The alternative is to spend down your assets to pay the medical bills. Once the assets are gone, you can apply for Medicaid. There has to be a better way.

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prospector 1 year, 7 months ago

Why does comprehension go out the window around here? The letter does not say SQUAT about doctors and the medical profession nor does this have anything to do with the ACA. The letter addresses long-term health care insurance that covers care generally not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. These policies generally start when you can't care for yourself, in need of a nursing home or in-home care. I call it inheritance insurance, it keeps you from spending the 100s of thousands your heirs would inherit.

The problem lies with the actuaries that set policy rates too low years ago along with the massive run up in costs of services that we have seen.

Sam should be told that the change in the tax law SUCKS. This women should be admired. This is an individual that is not only taking responsibility for herself but has Sam placing a heavier burden on her. Shame

Okay, blather on.

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Dan Eyler 1 year, 7 months ago

I find it interesting how few have any idea of what is going on in hospitals and clinic across the nation. We are scaling back big time. 20% operational reduction for every hospital in the nation. Clinics are operating at huge losses. There are no clinics in Lawrence or KC operating in the black. Medicare payments to hospitals and clinics dropping like a rock. I can't argue that there is virtue in making insurance available for everyone. But one thing is clear, it won't take too much longer before everyone realizes access to healthcare will be worse than any time prior. Access to doctors will quickly be replaced by practitioners and physician assistants and most patients frustrated with poor services and lack of answers from their clinics will continue to flock to the emergency rooms. That is until the government prohibits you from doing so. If you're frustrated now because of cost, I can't wait for the letter to the editor when your costs don't decrease and and access does.

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Eybea Opiner 1 year, 7 months ago

Just how much of other people's labor and production do you folks think you're entitled to?

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Getaroom 1 year, 7 months ago

Perfect example Betsy Evans. This sure is a great advertisement for Privatization and letting the Free Market take care of everything isn't it? Look where they have gotten us to this point with all that competition based Insurance and lower costs, absolutely no where but poorer.
If Romney/Ryan and the GOP, backed by Corporate America, have their way we will all be buying everything from the company store and on the road to Serfdom. Their answer: let those who can't afford insurance go thru the Emergency room system, or vouchers. What a very bright spot it is in Proud American history, when only profits rule in the well being and care of it's people. Insurance companies have your pocketbook in their best interests - not your health. And just think, Insurance companies are only the middle men and provide no actual care and they make this kind of profit. What a sweet deal they have, now wonder they don't want to give up anything and in fact want more for share holders! It's all about the competition and lowering costs is it - right? No, it isn't. Good job Merrill, keep it up and soon Snappy will be at your heels nipping away like a Chiwawa.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

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 by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee.

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

Did you receive YOUR refund or has anyone received notice of a class action lawsuit? I have yet to talk with anyone that has received either.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

Single-payer national health insurance is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health financing, but delivery of care remains largely private.

Currently, the U.S. health care system is outrageously expensive, yet inadequate. Despite spending more than twice as much as the rest of the industrialized nations ($8,160 per capita), the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

Moreover, the other advanced nations provide comprehensive coverage to their entire populations, while the U.S. leaves 51 million completely uninsured and millions more inadequately covered.

The reason we spend more and get less than the rest of the world is because we have a patchwork system of for-profit payers.

Private insurers necessarily waste health dollars on things that have nothing to do with care: overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing departments as well as huge profits and exorbitant executive pay.

Plus spend on special interest political campaigns. Today there are 8 expensive lobbyists per elected official.

Doctors and hospitals must maintain costly administrative staffs to deal with the bureaucracy. Combined, this needless administration consumes one-third (31 percent) of Americans’ health dollars.

Single-payer financing is the only way to recapture this wasted money. The potential savings on paperwork, more than $400 billion per year, are enough to provide comprehensive coverage to everyone without paying any more than we already do.

Under a single-payer system, all Americans would be covered for all medically necessary services, including: doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs. Patients would regain free choice of doctor and hospital, and doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.

http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single-payer-resources Physicians for a National Health Program

http://www.healthcare-now.org/

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

As Grover Norquist argues, “We are not auditioning for fearless leader…. We just need a president to sign this stuff.”

The “stuff” they would pass—already endorsed by Romney—includes repeal of the modest reforms enacted to police corporations after the Enron scandal and banks after the financial collapse.

Then repeal of healthcare reform, stripping some 30 million people of coverage.

Then budget cuts that would gut almost all domestic functions of the government from education to child nutrition to safeguarding clean air and water.

Then an end to Medicare and Medicaid as we know them.

These draconian measures would be used to pay for increases in military spending and tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.

Under the Romney plan, those making over $1 million a year would receive an average tax break of $250,000.

A Romney victory would buoy a Republican right eager to roll back social progress, constrict voting rights and exacerbate racial divides in an era of middle-class decline.

The offensive against labor and workers’ rights would escalate.

And Romney’s bellicose foreign policy would make George W. Bush look dovish.

If Romney wins, we will spend four years fighting to limit the damage he will inflict on the nation.

http://www.thenation.com/article/168264/politics-99-percent[/

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