Why Is This A Good Deal?

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  #1  
Old 05-20-2011, 03:08 PM
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Default Why Is This A Good Deal?

Did anyone catch the earnings reports today by the five biggest health insurance companies in the U.S.? Their earnings are all at record historic levels, up from 39% to 48% over last year. The health insurers profits were terrific, but the whole healthcare industry has been the top business sector performer in the stock market this year, and not by a small margin. All this in an ecponomy which is stumbling along towards a very fragile recovery.

Now how did this happen, do you think? I don't know about you, but within weeks after the healthcare bill (ObamaCare) was passed last year, my premiums from United Healthcare were increased by 11%, my annual deductible was increased by $500, and my copays for the most common procedures were increased by $5. There was a couple dollar increase in my Medicare premium, but no changes that I could determine in either deductibles or co-pays. If I had a choice of having a Medicare-like secondary policy available, it wouldn't take me long to bail out of United Heathcare.

I can't bail out of course, because the bill called "ObamaCare" doesn't provide for a single-payer public option. Not only was that idea blocked in the final negotiations, but the health insurers were assured that they'd get all the business insuring the 30-40 million people who will now be insured under ObamaCare. I'm pretty sure that President Obama wanted the expansion of healthcare insurance for the uninsured. But I also am quite certain that he was not in favor of steering all that profitable new business into the hands (and pockets) of a handful of large health insurance companies.

I know there are a number of you on this forum who are steadfast believers that the private sector is always the best provider of services which are commonly provided by governments in all of the world's developed countries. Even though the health of the residents of those countries is both better and cheaper than what we have with mostly private sector control here in the U.S.

Yeah, yeah, I know why the Republicans unanimously voted down a public option. It's called massive campaign contributions by the health insurance companies, drug companies and hospitals. So I know the bill was a heckuva good deal for the members of Congress who were instrumental in creating the legislation.

But tell me again, how is our reliance on the private sector for health insurance a good deal for me? Or for you, for that matter. Or the country as a whole?
  #2  
Old 05-20-2011, 04:41 PM
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Yeah, the more I hear about it the better it sounds. (hear sarcastic laughter here)

I'm sick in England; I call my doctor; I now only have to wait 18 weeks for an appointment. What a deal!!!

You want horror stories; stories of people waiting weeks to get a broken arm set. Babies denied urgent care because of lack of hospital beds? Read some of the stories on the 3rd link. You can keep your socialized medicine. Thank you very much.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/20...g-times-longer

http://www.nhs.uk/choiceintheNHS/Rig...g%20times.aspx

http://www.neoperspectives.com/britishhealthcare.htm
  #3  
Old 05-20-2011, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Villages Kahuna View Post

But tell me again, how is our reliance on the private sector for health insurance a good deal for me? Or for you, for that matter. Or the country as a whole?
Very simple VK....it's not.
  #4  
Old 05-20-2011, 08:09 PM
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The Health Insurance firms listed on the NYSE reported the following earnings for Q1 2011 as compared to Q1 2010.

UnitedHealth Earnings up 10% on a 10% increase in business
WellPoint Earnings up 6%
Aetna Earnings up 3%
Humana Earnings up 22%
Health Net Loss
Cigna Earnings up 52%

http://www.fiercehealthpayer.com/spe...ealth-insurers

The average earnings increase was 15% if you do not include the losses at Health Net. Including them would reduce this number to closer to 12%. This is quite healthy but not in the 39% to 48% reported in the media.

You can expect to continue to pay more for health care. Obamacare mandated some procedures not normally previously covered and eliminated insurance companys right to exclude previously existing conditions from coverage. Treatment for PECs normally had an exclusion period before coverage would kick in. These may be good ideas, but they cost money. As additional phases of Obamacare come into effect, they will continue to drive up health costs. Insurance premiums and deductibles will, of necessity, rise with the increases in cost. There is no free lunch.
  #5  
Old 05-20-2011, 08:24 PM
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Default Blame Me Or Bloomberg Radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQMan View Post
...The average earnings increase was 15% if you do not include the losses at Health Net. Including them would reduce this number to closer to 12%. This is quite healthy but not in the 39% to 48% reported in the media.

You can expect to continue to pay more for health care. Obamacare mandated some procedures not normally previously covered and eliminated insurance company’s right to exclude previously existing conditions from coverage. Treatment for PEC’s normally had an exclusion period before coverage would kick in. These may be good ideas, but they cost money. As additional phases of Obamacare come into effect, they will continue to drive up health costs. Insurance premiums and deductibles will, of necessity, rise with the increases in cost. There is no ‘free lunch’. You can expect to continue to pay more for health care. Obamacare mandated some procedures not normally previously covered and eliminated insurance company’s right to exclude previously existing conditions from coverage. Treatment for PEC’s normally had an exclusion period before coverage would kick in. These may be good ideas, but they cost money. As additional phases of Obamacare come into effect, they will continue to drive up health costs. Insurance premiums and deductibles will, of necessity, rise with the increases in cost. There is no ‘free lunch’.
Excellent response. I will admit that maybe I should have done more research on earnings. The statistics I stated I heard today in an interview with a market strategist on Bloomberg Radio. I recall listening to the numbers for each of five companies and the low was +39% with a high of +48%. Now it makes me wonder what time periods he was talking about. It might have been year over year.

You're also right about new coverage inclusions in ObamaCare. What seems to be missing is very much that will actually begin to control or cut the costs of healthcare. Many of those inclusions were "lobbied out" of the bill that was finally passed.

What's going to happen, of course, is that instead of Congress designing a bill that would actually work to begin to reduce healthcare costs there will be a fiscal train wreck that will result in cost cutting to all government spending more akin to cutting and slashing with a battle axe rather than an intelligent assessment of priorities. But then, maybe an intelligent approach is and always has been beyond the ability of this Congress or any other Congress to accomplish.
  #6  
Old 05-20-2011, 08:41 PM
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Default Anecdotes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichieLion View Post
Yeah, the more I hear about it the better it sounds. (hear sarcastic laughter here)

I'm sick in England; I call my doctor; I now only have to wait 18 weeks for an appointment. What a deal!!!

You want horror stories; stories of people waiting weeks to get a broken arm set. Babies denied urgent care because of lack of hospital beds? Read some of the stories on the 3rd link. You can keep your socialized medicine. Thank you very much.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/20...g-times-longer

http://www.nhs.uk/choiceintheNHS/Rig...g%20times.aspx

http://www.neoperspectives.com/britishhealthcare.htm
Richie, I must admit that I went a bit beyond arithmetic in my math studies. I did take a number of courses in statistics, as well.

Honestly, I'm not impressed by your anecdotal references--all negativer of course. There may actually be positive feelings by some Brits about their healthcare system, but we'll never read about them in your posts.

I do wish we base our discussions on the many meaningful statistical studies done of the various healthcare systems in the world. For quite awhile the health of U.S. citizens, as measured by a variety of factors, has ranged from a high of 11th to a low of 34th among the developed countries in the world. Those studies were conducted by legitimate organizations with no axe to grind.

Other statistical studies clearly show that the U.S. spends far more per capita on healthcare than any other developed country. In fact, our spending per capita is double that of the country in second place! Of course, it should be noted that the U.S. is the only country among the developed countries of the world that relies so heavily on for-profit insurers to fund our healthcare costs.

Lastly, there is unanimous consensus that our spending on healthcare is increasing at an unsustainable pace. Some projections that I've seen have healthcare spending consuming a proportion of our GDP that clearly can't be sustained within the next decade or so.

So rather than responding with flip anecdotes, why not a serious discussion on how our spending on healthcare can be reduced without seriously impacting on the good things being accomplished by our system?
  #7  
Old 05-20-2011, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Villages Kahuna View Post
Richie, I must admit that I went a bit beyond arithmetic in my math studies. I did take a number of courses in statistics, as well.

Honestly, I'm not impressed by your anecdotal references--all negativer of course. There may actually be positive feelings by some Brits about their healthcare system, but we'll never read about them in your posts.

I do wish we base our discussions on the many meaningful statistical studies done of the various healthcare systems in the world. For quite awhile the health of U.S. citizens, as measured by a variety of factors, has ranged from a high of 11th to a low of 34th among the developed countries in the world. Those studies were conducted by legitimate organizations with no axe to grind.

Other statistical studies clearly show that the U.S. spends far more per capita on healthcare than any other developed country. In fact, our spending per capita is double that of the country in second place! Of course, it should be noted that the U.S. is the only country among the developed countries of the world that relies so heavily on for-profit insurers to fund our healthcare costs.

Lastly, there is unanimous consensus that our spending on healthcare is increasing at an unsustainable pace. Some projections that I've seen have healthcare spending consuming a proportion of our GDP that clearly can't be sustained within the next decade or so.

So rather than responding with flip anecdotes, why not a serious discussion on how our spending on healthcare can be reduced without seriously impacting on the good things being accomplished by our system?
"Patients must receive an appointment within 18 weeks" ....18 WEEKS!!
and they fail very often to even that standard. You call that better healthcare?

That's all the statistics I care about, and any sick person would care about.

You want to talk cost numbers to sick people? Good luck.
  #8  
Old 05-20-2011, 10:12 PM
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Default I have to agree

[QUOTE

You're also right about new coverage inclusions in ObamaCare. What seems to be missing is very much that will actually begin to control or cut the costs of healthcare. Many of those inclusions were "lobbied out" of the bill that was finally passed.

What's going to happen, of course, is that instead of Congress designing a bill that would actually work to begin to reduce healthcare costs there will be a fiscal train wreck that will result in cost cutting to all government spending more akin to cutting and slashing with a battle axe rather than an intelligent assessment of priorities. But then, maybe an intelligent approach is and always has been beyond the ability of this Congress or any other Congress to accomplish.[/QUOTE]

Unfortunately, I have to agree. You put it quite well.
  #9  
Old 05-20-2011, 10:25 PM
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I'm just wondering if it's so great for the country, why are they handing out wavers like candy?
  #10  
Old 05-21-2011, 05:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichieLion View Post
Yeah, the more I hear about it the better it sounds. (hear sarcastic laughter here)

I'm sick in England; I call my doctor; I now only have to wait 18 weeks for an appointment. What a deal!!!

You want horror stories; stories of people waiting weeks to get a broken arm set. Babies denied urgent care because of lack of hospital beds? Read some of the stories on the 3rd link. You can keep your socialized medicine. Thank you very much.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/20...g-times-longer

http://www.nhs.uk/choiceintheNHS/Rig...g%20times.aspx

http://www.neoperspectives.com/britishhealthcare.htm
Try working in the healthcare field around the Canadian border in the USA (now!). Many Canadians come over here to see a doc..... and for their testing because they don't have to wait forever for their MRI's, CT scans, etc.....& even their surgeries. It would be a wake-up call for many as to what we face in the future with Obamacare.
  #11  
Old 05-21-2011, 03:10 PM
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Richie, I have trouble believing some of that.

A person with a broken arm would head to the hospital or ER to get it set.

When I was in Canada a few years ago and had a flare-up of a problem of mine that required a hospital visit, they saw me IMMEDIATELY and charged my insurance company about ONE FIFTH of what my local (Southern NH) hospitals charged and that included X-Rays, diagnostics, etc.

But to your point of some of the horror stories, why, then, do the Brits outlive us? Why are their health statistics so much better? ...the same for teh French, the Canadians, the Swiss - EVERYONE in the industrialized world - and yet we continue to pay 2-10 times what others pay for services that do not give the same results.
  #12  
Old 05-21-2011, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djplong View Post
Richie, I have trouble believing some of that.

A person with a broken arm would head to the hospital or ER to get it set.

When I was in Canada a few years ago and had a flare-up of a problem of mine that required a hospital visit, they saw me IMMEDIATELY and charged my insurance company about ONE FIFTH of what my local (Southern NH) hospitals charged and that included X-Rays, diagnostics, etc.

But to your point of some of the horror stories, why, then, do the Brits outlive us? Why are their health statistics so much better? ...the same for teh French, the Canadians, the Swiss - EVERYONE in the industrialized world - and yet we continue to pay 2-10 times what others pay for services that do not give the same results.
Excellent points, let us see what Richard has to offer. Oh, oh, - probably, "I didn't write it, I'm just the messenger."

Xavier
  #13  
Old 05-21-2011, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xavier View Post
Excellent points, let us see what Richard has to offer. Oh, oh, - probably, "I didn't write it, I'm just the messenger."

Xavier
I can see it already: Richie says "never happened"
  #14  
Old 05-21-2011, 06:36 PM
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Well, there was the whole "Then why does the rest of the world come here for medical treatment" myth that I busted a while ago. I did research on the fast-growing "medical tourism" industry and it showed quite the net OUTFLOW. Far, far more people going overseas from the United States for medical services than were coming here. The most visible example of this is busloads of American retirees going to Canada for their pharmaceuticals. I don't mean that in a metaphorical sense - I mean there really are CHARTER BUS companies that do these trips over the border to Canada.

When it vomes to these worldwide health statistics, sometimes there are differences in the way the data is collected. For example, we look worse on infant mortality because we try to save more preemies and the French don't consider a preemie a 'live birth' as quickly as we do. The British tend to let slower-moving cancers (like prostate cancer) go a bit more to the back of the 'cancer line' when it comes for scheduling treatment regimens and I hear that they DO take into consideration a patient's age. If a VERY old man has prostate cancer, there's an adult discussion as to whether or not to treat it because of the side effects of treatment. In other words, they ask the guy if he'd rather live out the rest of his days HIS way rather than practically living in the hospital.
  #15  
Old 05-21-2011, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djplong View Post
Richie, I have trouble believing some of that.

A person with a broken arm would head to the hospital or ER to get it set.

When I was in Canada a few years ago and had a flare-up of a problem of mine that required a hospital visit, they saw me IMMEDIATELY and charged my insurance company about ONE FIFTH of what my local (Southern NH) hospitals charged and that included X-Rays, diagnostics, etc.

But to your point of some of the horror stories, why, then, do the Brits outlive us? Why are their health statistics so much better? ...the same for teh French, the Canadians, the Swiss - EVERYONE in the industrialized world - and yet we continue to pay 2-10 times what others pay for services that do not give the same results.
If England's numbers are better I'd be willing to wager that the numbers are grossly flawed and skewed to promote this socialist agenda.

Read the documents I linked and not just the stories from neglected sick and injured. The health law in England calls for patients to be see within 18 weeks and they fail to hold to that standard at a failure rate of 26%. That means 1 out of 4 patients wait longer than 18 weeks for an appointment.

Screw everything else. That's all I need to know.
 

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