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http://www.slate.com/id/2204051?gt1=38001

Sure seems like CHANGE.

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Originally Posted by MrWondering
What is really sad...is the rates you quote above as a supposed scary example of how high the rates are for the riskiest group are, in fact, equal to what my family IS already paying for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan High Deductible HSA insurance with a $3,000 deductible.

We get one office visit per year. Office visits thereafter are completly out of pocket and not even taken down to the "negotiated rates" that BCBS would otherwise pay (and what they pay for that first free visit).

Up to $3,000 all prescriptions are out of pocket.

I don't suppose you have an insurance agent you work with if that is the plan that you have. For what it's worth, your plan sounds as though it sucks.

However, since I don't know all the particulars of your plan choices, whether or not they are through an employer or are an individual plan, I'll just keep these comments brief, since I've already stated it and you may have missed it in the last post.

The STATE approves all plans available for sale in given State. The differences between States can be marked, but it is the State that "sets the rules" for any insurance company that wants to market a product in a given State.

Now, if you have an HSA insurance plan, you have a LOW deductible ($3000) for a family plan. In addition, you made no mention of the HSA savings account, which a primary reason for having an HSA qualified health plan. The Health Savings Account is designed to work WITH the health plan. The money that you put into the HSA is Tax deductible and the money used from it is Tax Free for anything health related. But the major advantage of the HSA savings account is that it rolls over year to year and it remains YOUR money and not the insurance company's.

In addition there are other ways to address the deductible if you wanted to. I do that sort thing routinely for my HSA clients.



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We can't get a cheaper PPO because of a minor "pre-existing condition" which would automatically "rate us" out of such plan. We certainly aren't "high risk" but we are paying as though we are.

I'm sorry, but you cannot compare Michigan rates with North Carolina or New York rates. Rates are State specific. Believe me, rates in North Carolina are among the lowest in the country, and that is why the rates in the table are high, for residents of North Carolina.

Now, if you want to get a plan from Blue Cross of North Carolina, a "regular" type not an HSA plan, you can. I have had clients quoted $1,600 per month per person for such a plan for people with health problems.

Now, if you wanted to tell me what sort of "minor" pre-existing condition you are talking about, I might be able to give you some suggestions. But since that is very personal information, if you'd want to do that I would suggest you do so via email.

One of the things I run into all the time, and that you might be thinking when you call your condition "minor," is that to a given individual the "condition" may not cause a lot of problems, however, that is NOT how insurance works for "risk." It compares ALL of the people with the same condition, the usage and claims history for that given condition, and assigns a "risk" classification based upon the "average" of the experience. I'll give one that I run into all the time. It's called "Fibromyalgia." For some people it is more of a "nuisance," but for others it is debilitating. For some, the costs to treat the disease and the symptoms is VERY high.

Here's another example of high cost. Kidney Dialysis. On average it costs about $1000 per day for dialysis treatment (3 times per week, all year.) IF it was covered (and it can be under some very special circumstances, as I have worked with Kidney Dialysis Centers for several years) the Premium Cost would be VERY high. But unless an insurance agent is involved with someone when they have ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease, i.e. Kidney Failure), most people don't have a clue about what they might be able to do "insurance-wise."



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In a nutshell...YES...I trust the government MORE than I trust the medical insurance industry with actually providing me and my family with medical care, if and when we need it.

You are entitled to your opinion. But that does not make the opinion automatically correct. PLEASE go look at England and Canada and see just how Socialized Medicine actually works.



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Medical Insurance, as it exists today, is un-Christian. Health Insurance increases the cost of medical care, while taking down the payment per patient for medical providers. In essence, it skims directly from the top. Like a loan shark, when you put usury into the health care industry by taking a usury percentage, in money, from the use of the money, you corrupt it. Usury is an abomination. See Ezekiel 18:13. A Medical care industry that pays usury, er, interest, to it's nonperforming "investors" off the backs of the suffering is abominable.

I got it. You don't like the Stock Market. Perhaps you'd be more comfortable with some "faith-based" insurance programs such as "Lutheran Care." You might want to check it out.

One more time, Health Insurance has nothing to do with the COST of healthcare. All Health Insurance does is PAY for the care that is charged by the Providers so that you don't have to should the full burden yourself. You really don't seem to understand that an "average" Hospital stay cost around $20,000 - $30,000. And "critical illnesses" can cost tens of times that amount. I talked with a young couple who had a premature birth, and by the time they were done with the care and could take the baby home, they went through over $1,000,000. NOW, just WHO is going to pay that cost?

You don't like investors paying for "stock" in a company and you'd prefer that people pay all the costs for care. If you pay $1,000 per month ($12,000 per year), as one example, and you or someone in your family needs surgery (i.e. an appendectomy, or something "average") and the cost is $30,000, how long do you need to pay your premiums in order for the insurance company (or the government for that matter) to JUST recover the cost of that ONE stay in the Hospital, and that's assuming that there are no more "stays"?

Now, how about the couple with the premature baby? They could pay premiums for the rest of their lives and NEVER pay to the point of "break even."

I ran a company that provided healthcare services. We treated Cancer patients, AIDS patients, Bone Infection patients, etc. Do you have any idea what my COSTS for the service were? Pharmacists and Nurses don't come "cheap." Neither do the Pharmaceuticals or the mandatory Workers Compensation Insurance that I had to carry on everyone. I had both private insurance and Medicare clients. When I billed Medicare for services performed TODAY, I would NOT get paid by Medicare for over 1 year (in the business it's called DSO, Days Sales Outstanding). But in the meantime, we had to continue providing the service and we had to continue making payroll. I had about 35 employees…and believe me, NONE of them cared much for the idea of working for me TODAY, but not getting paid for that work for over a year. They wouldn't even like waiting "just a few months" to get paid for their work.

One of the reasons I got into insurance after leaving that business was because people NEED to be protected financially from the "bad things that can happen" health-wise and the high cost of PAYING for such services.



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It may take good Christian such as yourself...within the industry itself to come forth realizing and exposing this abomination before real change occurs. Others have...I am calling on you my brother to cast aside your "self-interest" and to start looking at this issue as Jesus would.

I do. The Good Samaritan did not provide the care, he took the person to someone who COULD care for him, and he PAID for that care. If the government wants to stop confiscating my money, perhaps I, too, could pay for someone else's care, or at least contribute with others to pay for it, while also providing for the needs of my family.

There ARE changes that I would like to see, and some I have talked about for years, but no one is really interested in my "street level sense" of what could be done to improve the healthcare system.



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Health Care IS a right and a system with EVERYBODY in (not just the risky) will be cheaper and provide better health care, on average, for everyone.

Healthcare is NOT a right, despite your opinion. NO ONE is "obligated" to treat you or anyone else. To think that it is a "right" puts the providers of health care into the position of "indentured servitude," or worse, "slavery." Health care is a CAREER choice because people DO get sick and injured and CAN often be treated.

If the government were to "buy" your idea, and it's safe to assume that at least Obama does, and then take over the healthcare system, WHO is going to work for "low wages" or for "free" just because the government decided that "someone" had to provide the services? There is NO ONE who MUST become a Doctor or a Nurse. They CHOOSE to do that, as my wife did. I'm willing to bet that when you practiced law, you did NOT practice for free. You MAY have done some pro bono work, but it was not ALL of your work, right?



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p.s. - You had a mistatement in your post. You said 40% of the population doesn't pay taxes. I am not going to research it to get the exact number but that is not true. Perhaps 40% don't file income taxe returns...but MANY of them still pay Withholdings, Social Security, Medicare Taxes which are taken directly from their paychecks. Further, everyone pays Sales, Gasoline, Liquor, Cigarette, and/or Property Taxes and the like. You'd be hard pressed to find ONE American that completely 100% avoids paying ANY taxes whatsoever.

Fine, you do that. But while you are doing that, take a look at the "Baby Boom" generation and the projections of "over 65" citizens by, say, 2020 or 2030. Retired. Not working. Not paying into Social Security, but drawing Social Security. Not paying Medicare taxes, but receiving Part A free if they worked 40 Quarters in their lifetime. Any "withholdings" taken from any "post-retirement" work is usually returned in a "tax refund."

Now, if you are talking about under age 65 working people, a lot of them work for "tips," and ALL that is withheld from them is based on below minimum wage "pay."

If you want to "quibble" about "40%" be my guest. But the reality is that fewer and fewer people are paying into the system. Take a look sometime at the number of "workers" compared to the number of "retirees" back when Social Security was set up and compare that to today's figures. When I "joke" with my children that they need to go get a 2nd fulltime job in order to support me in my old age, that's only "half joking."


Further, everyone pays Sales, Gasoline, Liquor, Cigarette, and/or Property Taxes and the like.

Bad examples, Mr. W.

ONLY those who buy things pay Sales taxes, and each STATE is taxed differently.

ONLY those who drive or use gasoline pay a gas tax.

ONLY those who smoke pay a cigarette tax.

ONLY those who own a home pay Property Taxes (and sometimes on things like cars and dogs, etc.)

The REST of the people are getting a "free ride" on the taxes paid by others.

Here in my County, the voters just approved ANOTHER School Bond Referendum that means MORE taxes for ONLY the property owners. Now THERE's an example of where voting should be restricted to ONLY property owners.

But the point is that ONLY those who USE those things or own property PAY the taxes.

Similarly, if YOU are healthy, you "don't need health insurance." You could easily pay for an annual checkup with your Doctor with the savings in NOT paying premiums for health insurance AND for the "privilege" of having a Co-payment for that Doctor visit.

You are NOT required to buy health insurance.

But you WILL be required to pay taxes to PAY for insurance for "everyone" else.


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NMDreams, please email me.

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Thank you for the civil response and I apologize for any and all of my incivility. Perhaps there is nothing non-Christians enjoy more than to see us Christians attacking each other. Makes them feel all warm and fuzzy about denying Him. I will attempt to restrain my passion.


In a nutshell...I have bought employer plans through our business (my family was the entire "group") and now we are on an individual family plan. Our experience with health insurance has been frustrating, to say the least, even though we've had no catostrophic event. The years I obtained great coverage and paid higher premiums, we've had no claims, so we switch to a cheaper policy only to, then experience significant claims. Once we were "rated" we stuck to a pretty good PPO policy for the 3 of us for awhile but eventually the allowed rate increases priced it over $1,000 per month. [excuse me for not feeling secure about the industry contolled government establishing "fair" rates by regulation].

It is soooo very frustrating and even though I can afford it, it burns me up to see what other people are experiencing. In the last 3 years I have been invited to sooooo many "events" to help people pay for medical problems because they didn't have coverage, they max'ed out or they were underinsured and needed help for whatever reason. Tragic stories. It's getting ridiculous.

Not to mention what the skyrocketing costs are doing to the auto industry here in Detroit and other US industries. It's deeply impacting our ability to compete in the world.

To me...it appears the titantic IS already HIT and sinking fast. It's got to be done sooner rather than later. There is no other viable solution than EVERYBODY in, such that the risk is spread out and nobody is skimming the top to the tune of 30%.

Am I wrong about the 30%???

Mr. Wondering

p.s. - My research indicates that, despite the rhetoric and few highlighted specific individuals, MOST Canadians and MOST Brits and the French are generally content with their health care. At least, a greater percentage like theirs than the percentage of US citizens that like ours.


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Originally Posted by ForeverHers
Healthcare is NOT a right, despite your opinion. NO ONE is "obligated" to treat you or anyone else. To think that it is a "right" puts the providers of health care into the position of "indentured servitude," or worse, "slavery."

I am curious, how is healthcare fundamentally different from police or fire fighting services? Are policemen and firefighters slaves, by your logic above?

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WHO is going to work for "low wages" or for "free" just because the government decided that "someone" had to provide the services? There is NO ONE who MUST become a Doctor or a Nurse. They CHOOSE to do that, as my wife did.

Again, that seems to work just fine for police and firefighters, why not healthcare?

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But you WILL be required to pay taxes to PAY for insurance for "everyone" else.

Just like you do for police - you may not need their services, but you pay for the services to be there for those who need them.

AGG


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Adding to AGG response...

IMO,

1. The Medical Profession is a calling.

2. The Medical Profession needs to discontinue unreasonably
limiting it's ranks

3. Medical Schools can become more efficient by training individuals to become experts in specifics things instead of everything (too many jacks of all trades and masters of nothing)

4. Efficiencies can be had by conglomerating certain procedures in certain facilities and utilizing more factory type delivery of units of health care.

5. Doctors ARE overpaid...(under SPHC they will have to unionize to get better pay from the government)

Mr. Wondering


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I don't suppose you have an insurance agent you work with if that is the plan that you have. For what it's worth, your plan sounds as though it sucks.

However, since I don't know all the particulars of your plan choices, whether or not they are through an employer or are an individual plan, I'll just keep these comments brief, since I've already stated it and you may have missed it in the last post.

The STATE approves all plans available for sale in given State. The differences between States can be marked, but it is the State that "sets the rules" for any insurance company that wants to market a product in a given State.

Now, if you have an HSA insurance plan, you have a LOW deductible ($3000) for a family plan. In addition, you made no mention of the HSA savings account, which a primary reason for having an HSA qualified health plan. The Health Savings Account is designed to work WITH the health plan. The money that you put into the HSA is Tax deductible and the money used from it is Tax Free for anything health related. But the major advantage of the HSA savings account is that it rolls over year to year and it remains YOUR money and not the insurance company's.

In addition there are other ways to address the deductible if you wanted to. I do that sort thing routinely for my HSA clients.

*************************************************

FH,

I have had many different health insurance plans thru the years(offered by my/my H's employer,in different states).
Can you explain an HSA insurance plan for me?

First of all, is the HDA insurance plan a type of plan that some companies offer employees?
OR is it a plan that that *I* would prurchase IN addition to health insurance offered by my husbands company?

Is an HSA savings account somehtign that an individual sets up themselves....and, if so...how and where?

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Reading this with great interest....

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5. Doctors ARE overpaid...(under SPHC they will have to unionize to get better pay from the government)

What is SPHC ? Showing my ignorance here.

My middle son is nearing completion of getting his BS in Biochem, minor in mathematics with a 3.98 GPA. He is currently getting prepared for medical and pharmacy school entrance exams.

So far been paying out of pocket with small scholarships and no loans - however we will not be able to keep assisting him for another 7 yrs. The costs could reach $250K. So I dont agree with being over paid in general. It takes a greater than average intelligence and discipline to become a physician and they should be able to reap a reward for the dedication.

Where I think the Canadian system is superior is allowing students to financially get the education.

Interestingly here in DFW - GP, Internist and OBGyn that we have are from Canada. I suppose that Canada would like to see the US go towards a more public system to stop the brain drain.

I hope that this nation will have a good discussion with experts including the AMA and keep the lobbyists at bay to come up with a solution. There is a solution out there.



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Originally Posted by MrWondering
Thank you for the civil response and I apologize for any and all of my incivility. Perhaps there is nothing non-Christians enjoy more than to see us Christians attacking each other. Makes them feel all warm and fuzzy about denying Him. I will attempt to restrain my passion.

Nothing to worry about Mr. W. We all tend to get "passionate" about issues that hit very close to home in our own lives. And health care is a rather personal issue for all of us.

The "problem" with Christians is that the only "authority" that can decide if we are "right or wrong" in our thoughts, ideas, and beliefs is God. Unlike Islam, for example, where the "religion" can literally decide you are worthy of death if you don't "believe what they believe," Christianity is about a personal relationship with God Himself, predicated on Jesus Christ actually BEING the second person of the One God.

The "problem" you are dealing with regarding health insurance is not much different than any other problem we face in life, we live in a fallen world and "bad things" (i.e., health conditions) DO happen to people regardless of whether or not they are believers. Our relationship with God is "supposed to" supercede anything in our lives, including circumstances, willful sin, and affects that impact us directly and indirectly as a result of the "broken" world we live in. That is why we are told to be IN the world, but not OF the world. As you know, that is also why I am very passionate about the abortion issue. Just because the "world" may think it's "okay," it is contrary to God's stated PURPOSE for life.




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In a nutshell...I have bought employer plans through our business (my family was the entire "group") and now we are on an individual family plan. Our experience with health insurance has been frustrating, to say the least, even though we've had no catostrophic event. The years I obtained great coverage and paid higher premiums, we've had no claims, so we switch to a cheaper policy only to, then experience significant claims. Once we were "rated" we stuck to a pretty good PPO policy for the 3 of us for awhile but eventually the allowed rate increases priced it over $1,000 per month. [excuse me for not feeling secure about the industry contolled government establishing "fair" rates by regulation].

Okay, you need to understand something before I comment further. Without knowing what the health problem(s) might be and who in the family has the health problem, whether or not anyone is a smoker, height, weight, age, etc., is almost impossible to talk about specific "options" for health coverage. Your definition of a "catastrophic" event is also an unknown, as all the health conditions have defined codes that have been established whether they are CPT-9 or DRG, and those codes determine the "risk" associated with a given problem as well as the "usual and customary" or the "allowable" reimbursement to providers, depending upon whether we are talking about under 65 health insurance or government run Medicare health insurance.


Having said that, let's just talk about the underlying issue of "healthcare" being a "right" for a minute. The "reason" that most people feel that it is a "right" is because it IS "my body" and that when things "go wrong" it impacts all parts of our lives as an individual and as a family. The FACT that medical care has advanced enough that many things that "used to" kill us not longer necessarily do kill us is a reality.

If you think that a career in medicine is a "calling" for people, you might be right, but DON'T confuse that "calling" with a "religious calling" to help people regardless of the "earning potential" of the chosen field. Yes, in Medicine, as within the Church, there ARE people who DO see it as a "calling" and will NOT be all that concerned about "how much they can make." The same can be said about many professions, including Law, but it is NOT "the norm."

Most people are willing to "help others," but only if there is "enough in it for them," again "personally," to have the sort of earnings and "lifestyle" that they want to have.

Why do you think HMO's even exist? They exist because they were started BY Doctors and Hospitals to "make buckets of money" for them personally, not to altruistically provide healthcare to people. That is also why so many HMO's "went under" in the 1980's as the REALITY of the COST of providing services "caught up to them."

Anyway, back to the issue of healthcare being a "right." That is just another "government-speak" word for "entitled," or "entitlement," that "Sounds Good" to the people. I mean, who in their right mind WOULDN'T like to have all of their healthcare needs taken care of and NOT be responsible for paying for the service they seek and want?

Even with God, it COST HIM (as in HE paid the total price) in order for Him to offer us the choice between "handling things on our own" and in "accepting His payment" for sin without us having to PAY for anything ourselves. It IS our "right" because that is how He made us, with Free Will, to CHOOSE, but the "sinful state we are in" has given each of us a "terminal disease of the soul." In other words, there is NO "free lunch." There WILL come a day when death and disease ARE banished and will never affect us again, but that is part of the gift He has bought for us, and no amount of "payment" on our part can purchase it because the COST is so high no one could "afford to pay it" on their own, or even collectively.

Now let's talk a little about MOTIVATION. What is it that gives anyone the "motivation" to help someone else in need? For most people there is a "what's in it for me" component. The usual "component" is "compensation" for services or products provided to someone that meets, or at least attempts to meet, that person's perceived or real "need." But it is NOT a "right" where anyone else "must," or be "compelled to," meet anyone else's "need" in their life.

Just one "example" of the sort of thinking that "wants and needs" can get confused, and become "rights" regardless of someone's ability to pay for whatever it is that they think is a "right" would be the current the fiasco generated by the "feel good" idea that everyone has a "right" to house. The government "mandated" to banks and lenders that there was a "need" that was actually a "right," regardless of whether or not anyone could "afford" their perceived need. Obviously I think it was "politically motivated" in the attempt to show how "wonderful" our government was in "taking care of seeing to it we GOT what we WANTED," and the true COST was not an issue. NOW, we the taxpayers, are STUCK with billions of dollars going to "bail out" the "sub-prime mortgage industry" because the CONSEQUENCES of not doing so will have other dire results on the nation as a whole.

IF we want to think of healthcare along the same lines, we CAN bury our heads in the sand and "think" that the true cost of providing healthcare is "not my problem, we will just make others pay for it," we are asking for the same sort of "meltdown" that has happened to the sub-prime mortgage market. It SOUNDS good, but again, there is NO "free lunch." Even IF we assumed that ONLY those who felt "called" to enter Medicine would actually BE in Medicine, and if they DID enter Medicine knowing that it was essentially and "uncompensated" field or very "under-compensated field" (let's say like Missionary work as a comparison), there would not be "enough" of them to "go around" to take care of the healthcare needs of the entire nation. The same sort of "reasoning" applies to Lawyers, Bricklayers, Auto Workers, any "field" we might think about.

We, as a nation, don't "like" to wait for much of anything, and certainly NOT for getting our healthcare needs taken care of NOW, not sometime later. But the reality of Socialized Medicine is that "waiting" is inherent because someone else gets to decide what is "important" in the treatment of various "problems" that YOU PERSONALLY might have. YOUR perception of the "need for treatment" is NOT necessarily THEIR perception, and as a result healthcare becomes "rationed" according to THEIR evaluations of YOUR condition.

If you don't believe me, just look at the VA system and you'll see it is rampant. Waiting lists are LONG for a lot of VA services, especially for a BED in a VA Hospital. But it already IS a "Universal Healthcare System" available to ALL veterans, regardless of their ability to PAY for the service. Sound familiar? The PEOPLE, through taxation, PAY for the Veterans healthcare needs because they "qualified" through having served the Nation. ANYONE could "access" the VA system if they wanted to. ALL they would have to do is "pay for it" with a little time IN the military, in service to our country. But a LOT of people don't want to serve in the military, or can't because they are physically able to do so. But NOW they want the "same sort of 'free' healthcare extended to everyone as a "right," regardless of service or ability to pay for what they want.

What, then, IS the motivation, or the motivating "factor," in the high level of healthcare services that we DO enjoy in this country?

One word, and it's an "ugly" word to a lot of people.

Profit.

And profit comes AFTER cost. Profit has become a "dirty word" because the politicians play to our emotions, to what "sounds good," and they refuse to deal with REALITY.

They have done that with Social Security. They have done that with Medicare. They have done that with the VA system. They have done that with virtually everything that the government decides "they know better how to run a business" of any kind. They did that with the mortgage market. They have done that with gasoline and the ridiculous number of "blends" of gasoline to satisfy the "environmentalist wackos" and NOT take a stand on what actually DOES "work well."

And NOW people want to "Trust the Government" to decide what is "best" for them individually in their own choices for healthcare.

Why? Because they think that healthcare is too expensive, therefore they can SHIFT the cost to everyone and let the government decide who gets treated and when they can be treated.

But think back on the "profit motive." How many times have you ever had to interact with "government employees?" SOME try to do a good job, but the overwhelming majority of them are just "collecting a paycheck," and excellence in performance is NOT even on the table in their minds. Have you ever tried to get a "straight answer" from a government employee, let alone from a career politician?

The "answer" to the healthcare system, and the impact it has on what WE pay individually to be able to "afford" to be treated IS NOT in "doing away with the profit motive" that spurs people to excellence, to being "rewarded" for doing a good job. It IS NOT in "nationalizing healthcare" and putting government workers in charge of what and when you can access the healthcare system.

The answer lies in "thinking outside of the box," not in reinventing the whole system and "chucking" the "free enterprise" foundation of excellence in providing CHOICES for people. Why do you think that FOREIGN car sales have been so successful against domestic car manufacturers? It's NOT because cars are "cheap," they are not. But people WILL choose to buy a "cheap car" or an "expensive car" depending upon their wants and their ability to pay for their choice. Foreign cars COMPETED in the system and thought of "new things" to offer that people soon began to think of as "needs," or "rights" to have in their cars. But the COST of buying a car continued to escalate. Now, if you want a car for each member of the family, the monthly "premium" will likely equal what anyone pays for health insurance. Toss in the mandated auto insurance, and you have a "right to drive" that is about the same cost as having health insurance to "drive your body through life" regardless of the "caused" or "uncaused" damages to that body over the course of time.

Let me digress here for a minute. THE two most "costly" parts of health insurance are Doctor Visits and Prescription Drug coverage, not the part that covers hospitalization and surgery. Why? Because EXPERIENCE has shown WHERE people DO spend money "most often." The truly catastrophic things are "statistical outliers" in the whole delivery system of healthcare. VERY few people actually HAVE a catastrophic condition that will cost hundreds, or even millions, of dollars. MOST people have things in the $20-$30,000 range. Even heart bypass surgery, admittedly "serious," costs about $80,000 on average around the country.

BEFORE HMO's began lying to people that healthcare could be "free," before the lawyers started going nuts with malpractice lawsuits, all that most people had was "Hospital/Surgical" coverage and they paid for their Doctor visits and Prescription Drugs on their own.

NOW everyone expects everything connected to healthcare to be a "right." It simply is not so. Nor would a Socialized system, government run and controlled directly or by mandates, provide services need by YOU in a timely manner. It would be "apportioned" according to THEIR "need schedule" and there would be nothing you could do about it.

Unless, like some Canadians, you could just cross the border and GET treated here in the USA. Unless, like a large number of Brits, you had the personal financial ability to PAY for private healthcare outside of the Government run healthcare system and you DON'T have to "wait on them" and THEIR schedule.






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It is soooo very frustrating and even though I can afford it, it burns me up to see what other people are experiencing. In the last 3 years I have been invited to sooooo many "events" to help people pay for medical problems because they didn't have coverage, they max'ed out or they were underinsured and needed help for whatever reason. Tragic stories. It's getting ridiculous.

The "problem" is not the healthcare system, it is the COST of care, especially when the health issues "get serious." MOST Americans CANNOT afford to pay for much of any healthcare, let alone the really expensive treatments, ON THEIR OWN. That is why Insurance exists, to "shift" the burden of paying for it TO the insurance company and off of the backs of the individuals.

One thing that I often tell my clients is that the ONLY time you have the freedom of choice to GET an insurance is "before the wreck occurs." AFTER the wreck, no one is going to pay for "fixing" the car or for paying for expensive healthcare. People need the insurance BEFORE the problems happen.

But with healthcare it's more than just an inconvenience. You can't simply "not fix" the car (you body) because you can't do without it and can't go get a replacement for it.

But getting treated is no more a "right" than it would be to get your car fixed.




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Not to mention what the skyrocketing costs are doing to the auto industry here in Detroit and other US industries. It's deeply impacting our ability to compete in the world.

We can talk about Michigan, Michigan taxation, the Auto Industry, if you want to, but basically you can't "tax" yourself out of a problem and you can't let the unions decide what any business MUST pay it's employees in wages and benefits as if it's a "right." It is not. What happens if, for example, the Doctors and Nurses decide to NOT WORK until they get what they think they want? That, too, HAS happened and it has contributed to the "up tick" in the costs of providing healthcare.



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To me...it appears the titantic IS already HIT and sinking fast. It's got to be done sooner rather than later. There is no other viable solution than EVERYBODY in, such that the risk is spread out and nobody is skimming the top to the tune of 30%.

Am I wrong about the 30%???

Yes, you are wrong. That is my opinion, and whether or not you ever "come around" to seeing it as I see it is not guaranteed. But REASON, rather than emotions, should be part of the "evaluative process," especially when it comes to the "delivery system" of healthcare.

There ARE other "viable solutions" to Socialized/Nationalized Healthcare. At least there are in my opinion.

"Nationalized" healthcare is scary because it lowers healthcare to the "lowest common denominator" and "dumbs-down" the expectations of people for getting THEIR problems taken care of as THEY want, and not as some politician or government employee wants.

It WOULD likely create a "two class" system of healthcare (as has been the experience in Great Britian). One for the "people" and one for those who can afford on their own to pay for what they want, and want NOW.



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p.s. - My research indicates that, despite the rhetoric and few highlighted specific individuals, MOST Canadians and MOST Brits and the French are generally content with their health care. At least, a greater percentage like theirs than the percentage of US citizens that like ours.

Most people ARE content with shifting the burden of responsibility to someone else. That is "human nature." But it's a "false sense of security."

What people in America "don't like" about our healthcare system is having to pay for it themselves, and the rising cost of coverage because of the rising COSTS. They LIKE the level of healthcare that is available and that they can access it whenever THEY want to.

What Socialized Medicine wants to do is essentially "toss the baby out with the bathwater." They have done that with abortion, and decided that the "needs" of the baby are determined by someone other than the baby. NOW they want to extend that sort of thinking to all "healthcare." And people are "buying into" the notion that "I might not like it but it's okay if someone else wants to do it." Unfortunately, with Socialized/Nationalized healthcare, we won't have the "luxury" of "personal choice" anymore. Healthcare will be dictated and mandated by the government according to what IT thinks is "right" for everyone. AND they will TAX people for it at rates IT determines, and no one will have any "say" in what that cost to them personally will be.

There ARE other ways to address the issue of "affordability," but NOT through government control of the entire system.




Originally Posted by MrWondering
Adding to AGG response...

IMO,

1. The Medical Profession is a calling.

For some it is. But for most people in all areas of healthcare, it's a JOB that pays them money for the service they provide.


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2. The Medical Profession needs to discontinue unreasonably
limiting it's ranks

Ahhh….the "lower the expectations of excellence" argument?

Think about this a little.


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3. Medical Schools can become more efficient by training individuals to become experts in specifics things instead of everything (too many jacks of all trades and masters of nothing)

Yep. We CAN let the government decide what is needed and determine who gets to practice in whatever area they feel gifted in and like to practice in.

By the way, Medical Schools DO train "Specialists," according to the desires of the people involved. But the fundamental argument we always hear is that there are not enough "general practioners."


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4. Efficiencies can be had by conglomerating certain procedures in certain facilities and utilizing more factory type delivery of units of health care.

If you say so. But most people find TRAVEL to those "specialized" areas to be prohibitive, either by distance, ability TO travel, or by the cost to travel. And it LIMITS accessibility to healthcare, if for no other reason than the ability to pay to "get there."


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5. Doctors ARE overpaid...(under SPHC they will have to unionize to get better pay from the government)

If you say so. But then so are Attorneys and a lot of other professionals.

Besides, if they unionize and "strike" for better pay, how long do you think it would be before the Healthcare system had the same sort of problem that the Air Traffic Controllers caused to the Airline Industry when they "struck for higher wages?"

And even if they were successful, WHO pays the increased wages? Taxes. You and me, to support THEIR higher wages. Who is going increase our wages so we can afford to pay them more?


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Originally Posted by AGoodGuy
ForeverHers: Healthcare is NOT a right, despite your opinion. NO ONE is "obligated" to treat you or anyone else. To think that it is a "right" puts the providers of health care into the position of "indentured servitude," or worse, "slavery."

I am curious, how is healthcare fundamentally different from police or fire fighting services? Are policemen and firefighters slaves, by your logic above?

We have a police force so we don't have to carry guns and duke it out "wild west style."

But they aren't there all time and we do have Concealed Carry and other ways to defend ourselves.

In addition, the Police are there "after the fact" and are not "preventative."

Same thing with firefighters.

Now if you want an example of "stupid," consider the people in California who think that they have a "Right" to build houses in areas KNOWN to be prone to wildfires. It is not a "right," it is a choice. And how many millions of dollars does the State spend every year "defending their right" to have home where they KNOW their homes could be burned down?


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WHO is going to work for "low wages" or for "free" just because the government decided that "someone" had to provide the services? There is NO ONE who MUST become a Doctor or a Nurse. They CHOOSE to do that, as my wife did.

Again, that seems to work just fine for police and firefighters, why not healthcare?

You aren't serious, are you?

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Where is a cop when you need one?"

They need MORE cops and firefighters all the time. But who is going to PAY for them?
That is the ever-present issue. It's NOT that they are not needed, it's the COST and who pays for it and how much will it cost in premium….errr…taxes.

And the government does NOT force anyone to become a cop or firefighter. My son is cop because that's what HE wants to do.


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But you WILL be required to pay taxes to PAY for insurance for "everyone" else.


Just like you do for police - you may not need their services, but you pay for the services to be there for those who need them.

AGG

Already answered above.


Regardless, though, you are talking about turning over control of your healthcare to the government. Personally, I like having the control of who I see, where I go, and when I get the healthcare services I think I need.

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Nia, I'd be happy to explain what HSA's are and how they work. But I have to beg for a little time as I just spent all morning responding to Mr. W and AGG and now I have "Honey Do" things that I must get done before my Grandson's one year old birthday party this afternoon.


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No problem. I'm just trying to get (and undestand) as much info as possible BEFORE I choose a plan for next year (which I need to do this month).
Thanks.

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Originally Posted by ForeverHers
We have a police force so we don't have to carry guns and duke it out "wild west style."

I know why we have police. That was not my question. My question was why is it OK to have government pay for providing police and firefighter services (through money raised by tax dollars), instead of having everyone hire whatever police protection they can afford? The latter is how the healthcare system works.

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Have you ever heard the phrase, "Where is a cop when you need one?"

So you suggest that we should turn over police forces to private security? You can afford protection, great; you can't, you're on your own? Like healthcare is now, right?

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And the government does NOT force anyone to become a cop or firefighter.

Precisely. Nor will it force anyone to be a doctor or nurse. People will go into those fields because they want to, just like with cops.

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you are talking about turning over control of your healthcare to the government. Personally, I like having the control of who I see, where I go, and when I get the healthcare services I think I need.

Well, and that is your prerogative, just like it is your prerogative to hire private security instead of relying on police. But I think the reason that most of the world relies on government healthcare is because they view it similarly to government functions of providing basic services like police and firefighting. You stil haven't answered why healhtcare is any different than police and firefighting, i.e. why you expect the government to provide you one but not the other, other than you want to have a "choice" - which you would always have, because just like there are private security services, there would always be private doctors. But at least you won't b paying them to subsidize those who cannot afford to pay, since the latter would be taken care of by the government.

AGG


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Originally Posted by MrWondering
Adding to AGG response...

IMO,

3. Medical Schools can become more efficient by training individuals to become experts in specifics things instead of everything (too many jacks of all trades and masters of nothing)

Bad idea, very bad. That's what residencies are for. Most people complain because of overspecialization these days and the trend away from general practice. A specialist without general training simply isn't going to be a very good doctor.

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5. Doctors ARE overpaid...(under SPHC they will have to unionize to get better pay from the government)

Spoken like someone with absolutely no clue about what is involved in a medical education/residency/practice setup and operation, insurance, hours, etc. So far as limiting the number of doctors, which is done by limiting med school admissions, do you really want to go to an MD who got a 3.0 undergrad? I don't.

If you're looking for an overpaid profession, look at Wall Street. Look at CEOs who run companies into the ground and then get golden parachutes to go away. But don't look at doctors, particularly primary care physicans, the gatekeepers of managed care plans.

The fact is that certain residencies are far more sought after than others these days - dermatology and plastic surgery, for example. The reason is because these specialties are less insurance dependent.

Bowing out now.

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AGG - I don't have time for your nonsense right now. Believe what you want. It is clear you don't understand much about it.

By the way, why don't you discuss your views with Louis Farrahkan?

How about the billy club wielding "protectors" in Philly?

Or maybe Curtis Sliwa?

How about the folks along the border with Mexico?


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Originally Posted by ForeverHers
AGG - I don't have time for your nonsense right now. Believe what you want. It is clear you don't understand much about it.

Not sure I understand which part is "nonsense". I was simply asking you a question.

In reality, there is little difference between healthcare and police. In some countries, people still do rely on private protection instead of police, based on whether they can afford it. Nothing wrong with that. I was just asking why you thought healthcare was all that different from police, i.e. why you expect the government to provide one but not the other. Nonsense or not, most of the world's countries do in fact expect the government to provide both. We are one of the few countries living in the "wild west" of healthcare.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy your grandchild's birthday, what a fun age!

AGG


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Originally Posted by nia17
FH,

I have had many different health insurance plans thru the years(offered by my/my H's employer,in different states).
Can you explain an HSA insurance plan for me?

First of all, is the HDA insurance plan a type of plan that some companies offer employees?
OR is it a plan that that *I* would prurcHSAe IN addition to health insurance offered by my husbands company?

Is an HSA savings account somehtign that an individual sets up themselves....and, if so...how and where?

Okay Nia, let's talk in general about HSA's.

Health Savings Accounts were approved by the Government a few years ago as a way to address the need for coverage protection from high cost and catastrophic health problems while affording individuals and families a way to cover the cost of "smaller" things like Doctor visits and Prescription Drugs.

Essentially, what the law provided for was a way to have a portion of someone's premium to be paid to themselves instead of to the insurance company. Along with that provision, they established a special type of Savings Account at banks who would participate in the plan, but not be a part of the Insurance Company.

The first requirement is that in order to qualify for even having a Health Savings Account, a person or family FIRST had to have a "High Deductible" health insurance plan that qualified according to the rules established.

The participation in the HSA is voluntary, but it really doesn't make much sense to have one and NOT contribute to it.

Unlike "Flexible Spending Accounts" or MSA's (Medical Savings Accounts) that were annual "use it or lose it" accounts (set aside pretax money into one of these accounts according to what you THINK and/or KNOW you will need to spend (i.e., for deductibles, co-payments, dental, etc.), HSA's are NOT "use it or lose it." IF you don't use all the money in those accounts (MSA's, FSA's) by the end of the year, you forfeit the remaining money and can start over from zero the next year.

You can, once you have a HDHP, set up an HSA with any participating bank you want to. Or you can use the one that is recommended by the health insurance company. Some are even now letting you pay both "premiums" to the insurance company and they then deposit the HSA "contribution" into your HSA.


HSA's have a few unique advantages over a regular passbook savings accounts.

1. The money you contribute into an HSA is tax deductible in the year you contribute it.

2. The money earns interest at a higher rate than a "normal" savings account.

3. Money withdrawn to pay for medical expenses is tax free.

4. Money in the account can be taken out for anything, but if it's not for healthcare related things, you potentially owe taxes on the money (since it was tax deductible to begin with)

5. When there is "enough money" in the HSA to cover the basic needs (usually around $2000) the "excess money" in the HSA can be "moved" to the investment side of the HSA (usually a Money Market type of account) where it can potentially earn even higher interest rates.

6. The money in HSA is ALWAYS yours. It does not belong to the insurance company or the bank anymore than any savings account does.

7. The HSA usually provides 2 basic ways to access your money. First is a checkbook drawn against the funds in the HSA. The second is a Debit Card that is also directly attached to the HSA. You can use either to pay for things like Rx, Co-pays, Deductibles, etc.

I personally believe that an HSA makes a lot of sense for the right people. So who are the "usual" right people.

1. Younger…so they have time to build the HSA and let it grow.

And example, a 42 year old family that contributes $5,000 per year into their HSA will probably have around $250,000 in that HSA by the time they reach age 65. The money is there's to keep and use for whatever they want.

2. Essentially healthy. No known BIG healthcare expenditures for currently existing health problems. Otherwise they will be USING the HSA funds instead of letting them grow as a "rainy day" sort of fund.

3. Disciplined…at least enough TO contribute something into their HSA even if they can't do the maximum. DON'T just take the lower premium for the HD plan and "pocket" the premium savings. Treat the TOTAL of the HD premium and the HSA contribution as the "monthly premium," even though part of it is going to your own account and not to the insurance company.

4. Back up the HD plan with a "mini-medical plan" that will either greatly knock down or eliminate the high deductible, to minimize both having to use the HSA funds unnecessarily or to have to "come up with" the deductible if the HSA doesn't have enough money in it. Usually it takes the average policyholder about 2-3 years of modest contributions to the HSA to build up enough money in the HSA to "cover" the HDHP (high deductible health plan) deductible. Most plans pay 100% AFTER the deductible is met, and that give the person a "stop loss" on big medical expenses.

I routinely set my clients up on a $5,000 HDHP/HSA plan and back it with a mini-medical that will pay them $5,000 if they stay in the hospital for 6 days. If a "big" problem hits, staying in the hospital 6 days is realistic. But if not the full six days, it pays a portion of the $5,000 each DAY they are in the hospital.

There are other mini-medical plans that I also use depending upon my client's needs.


Nia, the "big gripe" that prompted the establishment of HSA's was from healthy policyholders who complained that they were paying "all these premium dollars" and they don't use the healthcare system. They might go once a year for a checkup (usually more women than men), but on the whole they were paying way more premium than it would cost for the annual checkup if they paid it themselves. The "fear factor" is the "what if" something really bad DID happen? That IS why we have any insurance and health insurance is no different.

The "glaring need" in health insurance today is in the area of Maternity Coverage. If you are not planning on children, it's no big deal. But for the "younger set" it is something that is both needed and expensive if included in the plan. Basically what an insurance company is doing with Maternity Coverage is having you "pre-pay" for the cost. Right now, on average, it costs around $5,000 for a "normal pregnancy."

Most MC coverage is about $250 per month and doesn't hit "full coverage" until you have been on the plan for 2 years. Do the math. They are just prepaying for it. The same as if you put the money into an HSA.

But too many people think they "need" Maternity Coverage "in case" something goes wrong with the baby. But the baby is covered under the main plan, not the Maternity rider, from the moment of birth on virtually all policies.

THAT is why insurance companies won't accept an application for insurance from anyone who is pregnant or who has a family member they are legally responsible for, who is pregnant (including a girlfriend of a son who got her pregnant). They will wait until the baby is born and is healthy for usually 1month.


That's a "quick and dirty" of it.

But remember, NO plan is "perfect." So it's important to pick out a plan that fits YOUR family's needs. "One size" does NOT "fit all."


I hope that helps a little.


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Go read my previous post to Mr. W.

It answers your questions.


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Read this: (written by a doctor)

THE HEALTH INSURANCE MAFIA


*Notice also he mentions the concept that part of the problem is the artificial scarcity of medical practitioners when he suggests opening more medical schools.



My sidenote: I didn't go to Law School to become a practicing lawyer for the rest of my life nor did I do it to become some rich lawyer. I went to Law School to expand my ability to think. Even if we went to complete socialized medicine, there will never be a shortage of people that desire to undertake the noblest of professions.


FBH(me)-51 FWW-49 (MrsWondering)
DD19 DS 22 Dday-2005-Recovered

"agree to disagree" = Used when one wants to reject the objective reality of the situation and hopefully replace it with their own.
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