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The Chronicles of Obama


lockmat

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Umm...Moderators...topic? Or do threads in this arena not get pulled in?

This is the same topic Lockmat and The Niche posited last year...during Lent.

Can't we get someone to gripe about how Obama is promoting stimulus projects to personally mess up his commute?

I think that the moderators have endorsed the philosophical banter, provided their (admittedly brilliant) comparison of my verbiage with that of the Michael Scott character from 'The Office'.

In a few days, the thread will die again...only to be resurrected with another presidential controversy. We'll move on, and this discussion will be almost un-Googlable when we try to reference it six months from now.

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Even though there have been disagreements, I believe the posts have been civil. What are you objecting to?

Well, I know it will come as a shock to some, but there is meant to be such a thing as "staying on topic" instead of seizing every thread as an opportunity to expound upon one's personal philosophies. That said, in the politics sub-forum it seems one might argue for a good bit more leeway and flexibility about topics.

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Well, I know it will come as a shock to some, but there is meant to be such a thing as "staying on topic" instead of seizing every thread as an opportunity to expound upon one's personal philosophies. That said, in the politics sub-forum it seems one might argue for a good bit more leeway and flexibility about topics.

I'd rather just make fart jokes, but nobody's setting me up well for them. I discuss my personal philosophies only as plan B.

Edited by AtticaFlinch
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Umm...Moderators...topic? Or do threads in this arena not get pulled in?

This is the same topic Lockmat and The Niche posited last year...during Lent.

Can't we get someone to gripe about how Obama is promoting stimulus projects to personally mess up his commute?

Such a buzzkill Porchman, the one thing you contributed to this thread, and you "tattle" on us.? Nice going.

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Such a buzzkill Porchman, the one thing you contributed to this thread, and you "tattle" on us.? Nice going.

biggrin.gif I was just stunned that the thread topic hasn't been addressed in the last couple dozen posts (and several days). The mods don't seem to care. I guess it's just "Way, Way...Way Off Topic".

Excuse me, I'm now going over to the Heights Forum to snark about general home improvement threads being posted there.happy.gif

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biggrin.gif I was just stunned that the thread topic hasn't been addressed in the last couple dozen posts (and several days). The mods don't seem to care. I guess it's just "Way, Way...Way Off Topic".

Excuse me, I'm now going over to the Heights Forum to snark about general home improvement threads being posted there.happy.gif

Oooooohhhhh, the Mods know that we would have eventually steered it back on track. We are good like that.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My health insurance just went up from $550 a month to $950 a month. Since we started blaming presidents for every single thing that happens in society no matter if they have any authority over it or not; who can I blame for this? I hope the same thing doesn't happen to anyone else but this does not bode well.

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My health insurance just went up from $550 a month to $950 a month. Since we started blaming presidents for every single thing that happens in society no matter if they have any authority over it or not; who can I blame for this? I hope the same thing doesn't happen to anyone else but this does not bode well.

Don't feel like the only one, I've had a number of my friends complain about this, even ones who had NEVER used their insurance. A number of docs even stopped seeing Medicare patients as well.

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My health insurance just went up from $550 a month to $950 a month. Since we started blaming presidents for every single thing that happens in society no matter if they have any authority over it or not; who can I blame for this? I hope the same thing doesn't happen to anyone else but this does not bode well.

Well, mine quadrupled in 3 years under the last guy, and I never used it. I'm cool with you blaming the prez for your increase, but I may be forced to blame the last one for mine.

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I didn't blame him. My point was that we shouldn't blame the president for every little thing. The federal government is never a first responder to a disaster like Katrina and they also have no capability to stop a blowout in the gulf. Nor should they have these capabilities or responsibilities.

Edited by jgriff
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I have no problem with people that are out to make a buck, but if they're showing huge profits, I don't see the justification for these increases.

As a general rule, the best place to determine whether a company or industry has abruptly achieved economic rent on some significant order is to glance at historical net operating cash flows.

But glancing at the historical financials for many of the largest health insurers, I get the sense that red ink from the 'Great Recession' is making any kind of price increases a wash. WellPoint (BlueCross BlueShield), CIGNA, and Aetna's 2009 net operating cash flows were off from their highs by 30%, 55%, and 66%, respectively.

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As a general rule, the best place to determine whether a company or industry has abruptly achieved economic rent on some significant order is to glance at historical net operating cash flows.

But glancing at the historical financials for many of the largest health insurers, I get the sense that red ink from the 'Great Recession' is making any kind of price increases a wash. WellPoint (BlueCross BlueShield), CIGNA, and Aetna's 2009 net operating cash flows were off from their highs by 30%, 55%, and 66%, respectively.

Well, that makes sense. Considering most people don't have insurance unless their employer is subsidizing a substantial portion of the costs, and considering so many people are currently unemployed, it stands to reason prices will have to climb in order for the insurers to not show negative growth or financial losses. Of course, these increases are fueling consumer (voter) anger, which could lead to demands for even more drastic healthcare reforms. The need to adhere to traditional measures of capitalistic success (ie growth and profitability) may end up causing the insurance industry to implode upon itself.

The insurance industry is Ouroboros.

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The need to adhere to traditional measures of capitalistic success (ie growth and profitability) may end up causing the insurance industry to implode upon itself.

Unlikely. Congress needs the insurance industry to continue to exist profitably so that they can use it as a mechanism to increase healthcare entitlements whereby higher revenue from insurance premiums acts like a backdoor tax that isn't reflected in the deficit, and whereby (healthy) voters have a corporate scapegoat upon which to lay blame for their lesser standard of living.

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Now here is the part I don't get, so I hope someone can help me understand:

Supposedly with everyone in the country having to buy their own insurance (either public or private) shouldn't this actually help the insurance industry and inturn, the health industry?

It would seem to me that if everyone would be "paying", there would be a number of people that would still NOT go to a doc anyway and would be to the insurers' favor in that money would be "unused" and would help offset the ones that have high medical costs.

It would help the health care industry because there wouldn't be as many financial losses to writeoff because everyone would (theoretically) have insurance to pay all the bills.

This in turn would help keep prices low, because they don't have to have such high overhead tp help cover deadbeats, and further help the insurance companies.

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Now here is the part I don't get, so I hope someone can help me understand:

Supposedly with everyone in the country having to buy their own insurance (either public or private) shouldn't this actually help the insurance industry and inturn, the health industry?

It would seem to me that if everyone would be "paying", there would be a number of people that would still NOT go to a doc anyway and would be to the insurers' favor in that money would be "unused" and would help offset the ones that have high medical costs.

It would help the health care industry because there wouldn't be as many financial losses to writeoff because everyone would (theoretically) have insurance to pay all the bills.

This in turn would help keep prices low, because they don't have to have such high overhead tp help cover deadbeats, and further help the insurance companies.

You've pretty much got it. Insurance companies are being used as a mechanism to set up transfer payments so as distort and increase the aggregate quantity of healthcare demanded by way of making the private marginal cost lower than the social marginal cost for purchasing an additional 'unit' of healthcare.

Without an effective price ceiling in place for any given unit of healthcare and an inability to quickly train new healthcare professionals, the increased demand without a commensurate increase in professionals capable of supplying it will initially lead to higher healthcare prices...which is to say profits for health providers and higher wages for established healthcare professionals. You can expect aggregate revenue from insurance premiums to increase as well, although many people who have already been paying high premiums for many years may not notice because so many more healthy people will now be paying health insurance premiums.

It will take many years for the labor market to recognize the need for new healthcare professionals and for new healthcare professionals to become adequately trained and experienced such that the price for a unit of healthcare might be expected to drop, but labor will (eventually) be sourced from other parts of the economy as workers seek to cash in on lucrative opportunities in health careers. That sounds like it'd be something to look forward to, but it actually represents two very big problems that nobody is considering. First, there is an opportunity cost to allocating labor to healthcare; these workers could've otherwise been doing something else, such as increasing the capital stock, producing goods/services for export, or producing other goods/services that people might actually prefer to healthcare. Secondly, we'd probably end up with a fully-developed healthcare infrastructure and workforce right about the time that the baby boomers begin to die off in droves, meaning that the very-long-term career prospects for a young healthcare worker may be bleak.

Having just gotten back from my grandfather's funeral and the festivities that followed, and as I prep to go to a cousin's wedding tomorrow...I'm inclined to prefer that our policy focus on satisfying those most capable of appreciating satisfaction. Life for the living! I'd rather subsidize my cousin's honeymoon than my grandfather's end-of-life indignities, his morphine-obscured reality, and even his dying breaths. If he'd had a choice in the matter, no doubt my grandfather would agree. But somebody else was picking up the tab (or rather, we had already paid for it by other means).

And yeah, I know that sounds cold. It sounds like I would support a hard limit on healthcare entitlements, that people do not have a right to healthcare even to sustain their own biological life, and...well, you can imagine all the things I might be okay with regarding human health and dignity. And yeah, what can I say? I'm not Christian. I am not bound to any de facto principle establishing the sanctity of biological life.

...

Sorry to vent; it was merely cathartic.

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You've pretty much got it. Insurance companies are being used as a mechanism to set up transfer payments so as distort and increase the aggregate quantity of healthcare demanded by way of making the private marginal cost lower than the social marginal cost for purchasing an additional 'unit' of healthcare.

Without an effective price ceiling in place for any given unit of healthcare and an inability to quickly train new healthcare professionals, the increased demand without a commensurate increase in professionals capable of supplying it will initially lead to higher healthcare prices...which is to say profits for health providers and higher wages for established healthcare professionals. You can expect aggregate revenue from insurance premiums to increase as well, although many people who have already been paying high premiums for many years may not notice because so many more healthy people will now be paying health insurance premiums.

It will take many years for the labor market to recognize the need for new healthcare professionals and for new healthcare professionals to become adequately trained and experienced such that the price for a unit of healthcare might be expected to drop, but labor will (eventually) be sourced from other parts of the economy as workers seek to cash in on lucrative opportunities in health careers. That sounds like it'd be something to look forward to, but it actually represents two very big problems that nobody is considering. First, there is an opportunity cost to allocating labor to healthcare; these workers could've otherwise been doing something else, such as increasing the capital stock, producing goods/services for export, or producing other goods/services that people might actually prefer to healthcare. Secondly, we'd probably end up with a fully-developed healthcare infrastructure and workforce right about the time that the baby boomers begin to die off in droves, meaning that the very-long-term career prospects for a young healthcare worker may be bleak.

Having just gotten back from my grandfather's funeral and the festivities that followed, and as I prep to go to a cousin's wedding tomorrow...I'm inclined to prefer that our policy focus on satisfying those most capable of appreciating satisfaction. Life for the living! I'd rather subsidize my cousin's honeymoon than my grandfather's end-of-life indignities, his morphine-obscured reality, and even his dying breaths. If he'd had a choice in the matter, no doubt my grandfather would agree. But somebody else was picking up the tab (or rather, we had already paid for it by other means).

And yeah, I know that sounds cold. It sounds like I would support a hard limit on healthcare entitlements, that people do not have a right to healthcare even to sustain their own biological life, and...well, you can imagine all the things I might be okay with regarding human health and dignity. And yeah, what can I say? I'm not Christian. I am not bound to any de facto principle establishing the sanctity of biological life.

...

Sorry to vent; it was merely cathartic.

I would imagine that the health care industry would first stop charging 8 bucks for a Tylenol pill and overhead prices, where insurance can save money, and eventually we, the consumers, can get a break on the policies.

But like most things, i think it just may be wishful thinking that I will see it before *I* am planted in the ground (Sorry to hear about G-Pa, BTW).

What you mention about the labor pool shifting a bit makes a great deal of sense, though. It simply hasn't occurred to me that it would be "cool" to be a doctor or a nurse again because the money would be better.

Well, if it makes you feel better, I told my daughter to feel free to put 5 or 10 pillows on me when I start being a burden and my babysitting usefulness is over.

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Having just gotten back from my grandfather's funeral and the festivities that followed, and as I prep to go to a cousin's wedding tomorrow...I'm inclined to prefer that our policy focus on satisfying those most capable of appreciating satisfaction. Life for the living! I'd rather subsidize my cousin's honeymoon than my grandfather's end-of-life indignities, his morphine-obscured reality, and even his dying breaths. If he'd had a choice in the matter, no doubt my grandfather would agree. But somebody else was picking up the tab (or rather, we had already paid for it by other means).

And yeah, I know that sounds cold. It sounds like I would support a hard limit on healthcare entitlements, that people do not have a right to healthcare even to sustain their own biological life, and...well, you can imagine all the things I might be okay with regarding human health and dignity. And yeah, what can I say? I'm not Christian. I am not bound to any de facto principle establishing the sanctity of biological life.

Sorry to hear about your grandfather. I know nobody prefers arbitrary death sentences, but like you, I'm not bound by the artificial sanctity dictates either. That's why I hope when it's my time to pass from this mortal coil, euthanasia has progressed from a political taking point to a cultural reality. When people have the ability to choose when it's their time to go, death becomes less arbitrary, and potentially more dignified. As it stands right now, if I develop some sort of terminal illness, the only option I have to not become a burden on my family or the entire healthcare system is some form of ghastly suicide... and life insurance won't pay out on that. By my figures with current law, that leaves me with two options. Either I go skydiving and remove my pack prior to the safety mechanism automatically deploying the parachute or take a trip to the arctic and get into a tickle fight with a polar bear. All other "accidents" I have so far imagined have too big a margin of error where I could survive, alive with a terminal illness and disfigured or paralyzed.

I would imagine that the health care industry would first stop charging 8 bucks for a Tylenol pill and overhead prices, where insurance can save money, and eventually we, the consumers, can get a break on the policies.

But like most things, i think it just may be wishful thinking that I will see it before *I* am planted in the ground (Sorry to hear about G-Pa, BTW).

What you mention about the labor pool shifting a bit makes a great deal of sense, though. It simply hasn't occurred to me that it would be "cool" to be a doctor or a nurse again because the money would be better.

Well, if it makes you feel better, I told my daughter to feel free to put 5 or 10 pillows on me when I start being a burden and my babysitting usefulness is over.

My health insurance costs are through the roof. Just to cover myself, my wife and my <1 year old child, I spend $5,200 per year. And a huge chunck of my insurance costs are subsidized by my employer. There's no telling how much my insurance premiums actually cost. I'd bet my employer covers anywhere from a third to half the costs which means my insurance costs anywhere from $7,666 to $10,400 per year. Not to mention, every time anyone goes to the doctor or gets a prescription filled, there's another cost associated with the co-pay. If we go to the emergency room or even so much as ride in an ambulance, the costs escalate even further. Given my wife's current pregnancy and her need to regularly visit the doctor, and couple that with my daughter's regular check-ups at the pediatrician, I figure my total personal out-of-pocket insurance costs exceed ten grand per year. And, before 2010 is out, I'll have a second child who'll be adding even more to those numbers.

The cost of healthcare is out of hand. We pay more on average than the residents of any other country for healthcare, and I suppose I wouldn't be bothered by that if our system was considered the best in the world. The WHO (back in 2000 - they no longer rank healthcare systems) has the US ranked 37th in the world in terms of healthcare quality. And, I attribute this to the fact our system is fundamentally flawed. Our system is an industry. Our system is designed to put profits over lives and health, and until that entire flawed premise is overhauled, our system will continue to be costly and the quality will continue to be average at best. And, I can see no way to improve upon this (without a complete socialism overhaul) unless we eliminate the insurers. They drive the price points, and they determine the level of care given to individuals. Then, after we throw out these misguided middlemen, we can begin an honest dialog about end-of-life care. I'm all for allowing indivuals and their families to decide whether euthanasia or hospice care makes more sense for themselves, but it's ridiculous we spend so much keeping alive people who've moved well past the point of usefulness to society. One example I'll give is if a person is in their 90s and develops terminal cancer, I seriously don't think it makes any sense to treat it. At that advanced an age, they need to be allowed to choose the hospice or the needle. That's it. It may not be popular to say, but if the economics of the situation is really the most important aspect of the healthcare debate, that issue needs to be addressed honestly.

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Sorry to hear about your grandfather. I know nobody prefers arbitrary death sentences, but like you, I'm not bound by the artificial sanctity dictates either. That's why I hope when it's my time to pass from this mortal coil, euthanasia has progressed from a political taking point to a cultural reality. When people have the ability to choose when it's their time to go, death becomes less arbitrary, and potentially more dignified. As it stands right now, if I develop some sort of terminal illness, the only option I have to not become a burden on my family or the entire healthcare system is some form of ghastly suicide... and life insurance won't pay out on that. By my figures with current law, that leaves me with two options. Either I go skydiving and remove my pack prior to the safety mechanism automatically deploying the parachute or take a trip to the arctic and get into a tickle fight with a polar bear. All other "accidents" I have so far imagined have too big a margin of error where I could survive, alive with a terminal illness and disfigured or paralyzed.

My health insurance costs are through the roof. Just to cover myself, my wife and my <1 year old child, I spend $5,200 per year. And a huge chunck of my insurance costs are subsidized by my employer. There's no telling how much my insurance premiums actually cost. I'd bet my employer covers anywhere from a third to half the costs which means my insurance costs anywhere from $7,666 to $10,400 per year. Not to mention, every time anyone goes to the doctor or gets a prescription filled, there's another cost associated with the co-pay. If we go to the emergency room or even so much as ride in an ambulance, the costs escalate even further. Given my wife's current pregnancy and her need to regularly visit the doctor, and couple that with my daughter's regular check-ups at the pediatrician, I figure my total personal out-of-pocket insurance costs exceed ten grand per year. And, before 2010 is out, I'll have a second child who'll be adding even more to those numbers.

The cost of healthcare is out of hand. We pay more on average than the residents of any other country for healthcare, and I suppose I wouldn't be bothered by that if our system was considered the best in the world. The WHO (back in 2000 - they no longer rank healthcare systems) has the US ranked 37th in the world in terms of healthcare quality. And, I attribute this to the fact our system is fundamentally flawed. Our system is an industry. Our system is designed to put profits over lives and health, and until that entire flawed premise is overhauled, our system will continue to be costly and the quality will continue to be average at best. And, I can see no way to improve upon this (without a complete socialism overhaul) unless we eliminate the insurers. They drive the price points, and they determine the level of care given to individuals. Then, after we throw out these misguided middlemen, we can begin an honest dialog about end-of-life care. I'm all for allowing indivuals and their families to decide whether euthanasia or hospice care makes more sense for themselves, but it's ridiculous we spend so much keeping alive people who've moved well past the point of usefulness to society. One example I'll give is if a person is in their 90s and develops terminal cancer, I seriously don't think it makes any sense to treat it. At that advanced an age, they need to be allowed to choose the hospice or the needle. That's it. It may not be popular to say, but if the economics of the situation is really the most important aspect of the healthcare debate, that issue needs to be addressed honestly.

The WHO study is fundamentally flawed. It discounted the US healthcare because it did not cover everyone, and the costs were high. That is not to be confused with the fact that our QUALITY of care IS the highest in the world. If you are seeking a specialist in any area, you are seeking that person here in the United States. If you are looking for the highest quality of care possible, you are getting that here. It is unfortunate that our care is so expensive and there are lots of ways that are simple to make things more affordable but all of them revolve around the government loosening the noose around doctors necks, not tightening it as the trend has been.

I do purchase the healthcare for our business. We recently switched from BlueCross to Aetna b/c Bluecross was asking for a 13% rate increase (later negotiated to a 9% increase). Blue Cross is blaming the government for increased costs...at least to their customers they are. We insure 568 employees give or take, and approximately another 250 dependents and spouses. I can tell you that we pay approximately $2,200 per year per employee for our care. We cover our employees on an 80/20 plan with a $500 deductible and a $2000 max out of pocket, $1,000,000 lifetime max. Kids and Spouses get more expensive, up to the highest of about $900/month if you are family (spouse + children). BlueCross opted to not negotiate with us on our plan this time around and Aetna did negotiate. Our plan is an extremely stable plan with 53 years of experience and a year to year utilization rate of between 73 and 80%. That means on our $2,000,000 policy the insurance company is keeping between 20 & 27% of our premium.

The insurance companies are charging an arm and leg b/c the hospitals are charging an arm and a leg, because we have so many people who cannot pay their bills. Adding insurance to all, certainly means more bills will be paid, but at the same time means that more care will likely be dolled out...so we risk the shortage of care issue. When the shortage starts the good doctors, will just charge more than the government pays. We will be creating a 2 tier system of care, where there currently is only one. While the poor certainly cant pay for their care now, they can still get it. What I predict we will see under the new changes, are two tiers of doctors, the good, and the ones who take government care. Access to the good will be limited to only those who can afford it. Then watch our WHO rating plummit. You will be crossing the border to get a Z Pac in Mexico b/c it will be faster and cheaper than waiting to get one here.

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The insurance companies are charging an arm and leg b/c the hospitals are charging an arm and a leg, because we have so many people who cannot pay their bills. Adding insurance to all, certainly means more bills will be paid, but at the same time means that more care will likely be dolled out...so we risk the shortage of care issue. When the shortage starts the good doctors, will just charge more than the government pays. We will be creating a 2 tier system of care, where there currently is only one. While the poor certainly cant pay for their care now, they can still get it. What I predict we will see under the new changes, are two tiers of doctors, the good, and the ones who take government care. Access to the good will be limited to only those who can afford it. Then watch our WHO rating plummit. You will be crossing the border to get a Z Pac in Mexico b/c it will be faster and cheaper than waiting to get one here.

The reason why hospitals are/were charging so much is that they need to have a certain overhead from people who did NOT have insurance to pay their bills. I raised my eyebrows a number of years ago when they charged my insurance $12 for two Tylenol.

Now that more people would NOT skip out on the bill (Through no insurance, or inability to pay), hopefully the amount that is needed for overhead should decrease or at least stabilize.

As long as we don't get a system like England or Canada (where you have to wait for certain procedures to be done), the opportunity to pick and choose affordable insurance would be a major god-send and don't believe the system will fall in the way you suspect it would.

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The WHO study is fundamentally flawed. It discounted the US healthcare because it did not cover everyone, and the costs were high. That is not to be confused with the fact that our QUALITY of care IS the highest in the world. If you are seeking a specialist in any area, you are seeking that person here in the United States. If you are looking for the highest quality of care possible, you are getting that here. It is unfortunate that our care is so expensive and there are lots of ways that are simple to make things more affordable but all of them revolve around the government loosening the noose around doctors necks, not tightening it as the trend has been.

I'm with you one the first part of the paragraph, but I don't follow you on the last part. I don't think deregulation is the way to go. I think setting reasonable price controls is critical.

I do purchase the healthcare for our business. We recently switched from BlueCross to Aetna b/c Bluecross was asking for a 13% rate increase (later negotiated to a 9% increase). Blue Cross is blaming the government for increased costs...at least to their customers they are. We insure 568 employees give or take, and approximately another 250 dependents and spouses. I can tell you that we pay approximately $2,200 per year per employee for our care. We cover our employees on an 80/20 plan with a $500 deductible and a $2000 max out of pocket, $1,000,000 lifetime max. Kids and Spouses get more expensive, up to the highest of about $900/month if you are family (spouse + children). BlueCross opted to not negotiate with us on our plan this time around and Aetna did negotiate. Our plan is an extremely stable plan with 53 years of experience and a year to year utilization rate of between 73 and 80%. That means on our $2,000,000 policy the insurance company is keeping between 20 & 27% of our premium.

Out of curiosity, what percentage of the cost of insurance does your company subsidize? Meaning, if you pay $2,200/year, how much does the employee pay? The reason I ask is because if I was single, or at least the only person on my plan, I'd be paying out-of-pocket that much on top of my employer's contribution... and I work for an enormous company with a ton of buying power. We use United Healthcare though, and I couldn't hate this UHC more. I loathe my health plan.

The insurance companies are charging an arm and leg b/c the hospitals are charging an arm and a leg, because we have so many people who cannot pay their bills. Adding insurance to all, certainly means more bills will be paid, but at the same time means that more care will likely be dolled out...so we risk the shortage of care issue. When the shortage starts the good doctors, will just charge more than the government pays. We will be creating a 2 tier system of care, where there currently is only one. While the poor certainly cant pay for their care now, they can still get it. What I predict we will see under the new changes, are two tiers of doctors, the good, and the ones who take government care. Access to the good will be limited to only those who can afford it. Then watch our WHO rating plummit. You will be crossing the border to get a Z Pac in Mexico b/c it will be faster and cheaper than waiting to get one here.

If you think about it, we already have a three tier system: those with great insurance, often with supplements; those with standard employer subsidized coverage which is often mediocre at best; those with no insurance. The level of care is vastly different for each tier. Ben Taub's emergency room is one of the busiest in the country, but if you have insurance, the ambulance will park next door at Memorial. If you have the best insurance, you'll probably end up at a place like Methodist. Places like Ben Taub rarely see people with insurance because the care there is so spotty. That place is a wellness factory, and they churn patients out like an assembly line. If you don't have insurance and if your injury isn't immediately life threatening, you may find yourself sitting in the waiting room for up to 24 hours. If you have insurance, you're pushed to the front of the line, regardless of how badly you've been hurt.

Also, I have no idea what a Z Pac is, but I imagine it's already cheaper and more rapidly available in Mexico than here. I won't bother to locate a source on this, but I've read/watched on TV/been told as hearsay (I don't know which) that our prescription drug prices are the highest in the world.

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I'm currently working for a contract shop since I switched jobs a few months back. The shop told me the reason their rates went up so much is becuase the average age of their employees is getting higher. When I switch over to working directly for the company I'm contracted out to my rates should be abour 30% of what they are now. I've heard a lot of talk in the compaines I've been working for lately about getting the average age of their worker population down. Maybe this is one of the reasons. It sounds like age discrimiation to me but maybe they are doing it unfofficialy.

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I'm with you one the first part of the paragraph, but I don't follow you on the last part. I don't think deregulation is the way to go. I think setting reasonable price controls is critical.

Out of curiosity, what percentage of the cost of insurance does your company subsidize? Meaning, if you pay $2,200/year, how much does the employee pay? The reason I ask is because if I was single, or at least the only person on my plan, I'd be paying out-of-pocket that much on top of my employer's contribution... and I work for an enormous company with a ton of buying power. We use United Healthcare though, and I couldn't hate this UHC more. I loathe my health plan.

We offer two plans, a High plan and a low plan. We pay 100% of the low plan, or about $2200/yr per employee. - The low plan is the plan above, $2000 max out of pocket, 80/20, etc. The High Plan costs the employee $26/check or $52/Month. The difference in the high/low is not the big of a difference. The High plan, has a $200 deductible, max out of pocket of $1000, and co pays are $15 instead of $30. Both have prescription drugs, and the same network, and max out of pockets. etc.

We get good rates, but not because of our buying power. We get good rates because we have a healthy group. In 53 years we have never had a utilization rate higher than 85% billed premium. We also have a majority of non-smoking asian employees (bout 73% asian). The actuarial charts on a non-smoking asian is quite high. They have very low utilization of care, and as long as they do not smoke, they are very healthy due to the high quantity of rice & seafood they eat and low quantity of red meat. All this is accounted for in our premium.

If you think about it, we already have a three tier system: those with great insurance, often with supplements; those with standard employer subsidized coverage which is often mediocre at best; those with no insurance. The level of care is vastly different for each tier. Ben Taub's emergency room is one of the busiest in the country, but if you have insurance, the ambulance will park next door at Memorial. If you have the best insurance, you'll probably end up at a place like Methodist. Places like Ben Taub rarely see people with insurance because the care there is so spotty. That place is a wellness factory, and they churn patients out like an assembly line. If you don't have insurance and if your injury isn't immediately life threatening, you may find yourself sitting in the waiting room for up to 24 hours. If you have insurance, you're pushed to the front of the line, regardless of how badly you've been hurt.

I agree you will get different treatment as it pertains to rooms, waits, etc, but in the end you are still generally getting a good quality doctor/surgeon and good care. You may not like the waits, but you will still be happy with the care itself. I have no problem with a non-life threatening injury having to wait to be taken care of if they cannot pay for it, or even being taken to a different hospital than paying patients visit. It sounds bad, but many of the non-paying customers have illness and other issues, that are not-common to our particular location, and that we do not necessarily immunize against any more. People who can afford to pay, and do pay should not have to be exposed to the various illness that come with non-paying free care. There should be different levels of convenience for paying and non-paying customers. Lawyers see to the fact that the actual care given is up to par. If a doctor gives sub par care, they are sued into oblivion...med mal is a favorite of many lawyers, and patients looking for a way not to pay for care.

Also, I have no idea what a Z Pac is, but I imagine it's already cheaper and more rapidly available in Mexico than here. I won't bother to locate a source on this, but I've read/watched on TV/been told as hearsay (I don't know which) that our prescription drug prices are the highest in the world.

A Z-Pac is zithromax, its a very common highly effective anti-bacterial medication....its similar to amoxicacyllin, except it comes in a box with the 7 or 8 doses (pac) needed. If you goto the doctor with a bacterial infection, or illness the chances are high you will end up with either zithromax, or amoxicacyllin. You can buy it over the counter in Mexico, b/c they have more lax rules on prescription meds.

Our prescription drugs are the highest, b/c the pharmacetuicals have to develop them somewhere and we have patent protection on drugs which makes the US a favorable place to develop drugs. Many countries dont allow the pharmaceuticals to price their drugs at market, so the US gets to pay all of the development costs, while other countries reap the rewards. The FDA makes it increasingly more difficult to get new drugs approved, and then once approved the lawyers love to find the side effects and sue. It all ends up in the price we pay here, until the patent protection is up, and the drug goes generic.

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I'm currently working for a contract shop since I switched jobs a few months back. The shop told me the reason their rates went up so much is becuase the average age of their employees is getting higher. When I switch over to working directly for the company I'm contracted out to my rates should be abour 30% of what they are now. I've heard a lot of talk in the compaines I've been working for lately about getting the average age of their worker population down. Maybe this is one of the reasons. It sounds like age discrimiation to me but maybe they are doing it unfofficialy.

Its not unofficial - your rates are based on actuarial charts. It's done with full knowledge.

Ways to get your plan a better rate include:

1. Younger workforce

2. 6 month waiting period (prevent fraud)

3. Certify a non-smoking workforce - its not considered discriminatory to not hire a person b/c they smoke

4. Males - cheaper to insure than females.

5. Children - plans love them - they run the rate up, and seldom need more than a pediatrician visit.

These are just a few...there are others - your rates are based on averages...insurers work on averages...males are generally cheaper than females, younger cheaper than older, asians cheaper than white folks, african americans most expensive over all. Etc, etc, etc...

Its all been figured out based on tables.

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Its not unofficial - your rates are based on actuarial charts. It's done with full knowledge.

Are you saying that a corporation can have an official policy of giving preferential treatment to younger candidates for a job over older ones?

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Are you saying that a corporation can have an official policy of giving preferential treatment to younger candidates for a job over older ones?

No - absolutely not. Hiring practices have to be race/age/sex/national origin neutral. However, the insurance company can raise the price of the health care plan based on who the corporation hires.

But the company can refuse to hire anyone who smokes without penalty.

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No - absolutely not. Hiring practices have to be race/age/sex/national origin neutral. However, the insurance company can raise the price of the health care plan based on who the corporation hires.

But the company can refuse to hire anyone who smokes without penalty.

That's what I thought.

There are two companies I've worked for where I've heard talk of attempting to get the average age of employees lower. I'm sure this isn't an official documented policy but they are doing it anyway. I work in petrochem engineering and it's full of old guys. It feels like I've been the youngest guy in the business for 20 years.

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That's what I thought.

There are two companies I've worked for where I've heard talk of attempting to get the average age of employees lower. I'm sure this isn't an official documented policy but they are doing it anyway. I work in petrochem engineering and it's full of old guys. It feels like I've been the youngest guy in the business for 20 years.

Age discrimination cannot be an overt goal, however can often be achieved in ways that skirt the regulation, for instance by shifting to a less experienced and less costly workforce. Productivity losses are made up for by lower salary; savings from cheaper health plans are the gravy.

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Age discrimination cannot be an overt goal, however can often be achieved in ways that skirt the regulation, for instance by shifting to a less experienced and less costly workforce. Productivity losses are made up for by lower salary; savings from cheaper health plans are the gravy.

If healthcare was socialized, it would save jobs for older employees, and it would save me and my employer money.

Good. Problem solved.

As I already pay a bare minimum of $5,200/year for healthcare, I'd gladly give that in taxes instead. Especially if that meant I wouldn't have to worry about either of my parents getting laid off in favor of younger, cheaper employees.

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If healthcare was socialized, it would save jobs for older employees, and it would save me and my employer money.

Well sure, if the regulation surrounding it couldn't be gamed. You know it would be, though. Consider what would happen if your health insurance benefits were taxed as ordinary income. That's not exactly a free-market system to begin with.

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