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Privatized Health Care Costs Are Killing the American Dream


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From Bill Moyers:

 

 

Rip-Off: How Private-Sector Health Costs Are Killing the American Dream
November 1, 2013

Part one of this series, “The High Cost of Low Taxes,” noted that while Americans enjoy a tax burden lower than that of other wealthy countries, we also pay four times as much as they do, on average, for out-of-pocket “social costs” in the private sector – on health care, retirement security, disability and unemployment insurance, and the rest of the safety net.

 

 

When you add up what we pay in taxes and what we pay out of pocket, the US spends about the same amount on social costs overall as some of the most generous, heavily taxed social democracies, but we get a far less secure safety net in return.

 

 

The federal government doesn’t have a deficit problem. Its fiscal issues are entirely related to the bloated cost of American health care. If we paid the same amount for health care per person as people do in other wealthy countries with longer average life expectancies, we’d have a balanced budget now and surpluses projected for the future.

iStock_000008130602Small-300x168.jpg

iStock

 

 

But those are just numbers on a spreadsheet. Fran and Randy Malott understand those costs more viscerally.

 

 

The Whittier, Calif., couple aren’t living the American dream right now. They haven’t for a while. They were slammed when Wall Street’s house of cards came tumbling down, and now they’re feeling the squeeze of the Great American Rip-off.

 

 

Fran lost her job as a customer service representative in 2009, at the height of the Great Recession. “A lot of companies are getting rid of customer service these days,” explains Randy. He lost his job managing a temp agency a year or so later.

 

 

The Malotts are two of what Paul Krugman called “the forgotten millions” – the long-term unemployed who face unique barriers to reentering the workforce, including discrimination by potential employers just because they’ve been out of work for an extended period. “And our age doesn’t help either,” says Randy. He’s 59 and she’s 60. “There was unemployment for a while,” Randy says, “and now we’re getting by on savings.”

 

 

He tells Moyers & Company, “we live pretty frugally,” but the $1,600 a month they’re forking over for health insurance represents about half their total spending. The Malotts are a healthy couple, yet they’re watching their life savings drain away, in large part due to their health insurance company. The $140,000 the Malotts had socked away for retirement is now down to around $45,000. “We’ve got quite a ways to go before Social Security and Medicare kick in,” says Randy.

 

 

The Malotts are in a tough spot, like a lot of people who find themselves in similar circumstances. Studies have shown that long-term unemployment causes stress and illness. In the rest of the world’s highly developed countries, the Malotts’ health care would be covered by their government – the risk of long-term unemployment would be spread across an entire society – which means they’d have one less serious stressor, and around $45,000 more in the bank than they do today.

 

 

When Competition Drives Up Costs

 

The US system is a stark testament to the fact that, at least when it comes to health care, more competition doesn’t lead to lower prices or better outcomes.

Three facts are indisputable. First, the $8,500 we spent per person on health care in 2011 was around $5,000 more than the average among developed countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — and almost $3,000 more than the average in Switzerland, which was the next highest spender.

 

 

Second, multiple studies have found that we have significantly poorer health outcomes than most developed countries (see here, and here) – by some measures, we rank dead last. And it’s not just because we have higher rates of poverty and inequality — a study conducted by the National Research Council and the Institute for Medicine accounted for those factors and found that, as Grace Rubenstein summarized for The Atlantic, “even white, well-off Americans live sicker and die sooner than similarly situated people elsewhere.” (American men are also becoming shorter relative to men in other highly developed countries – the average height of a population is a proxy for the quality of prenatal health care and nutrition.)

 

 

Finally, we rely much more heavily on .....

 

 

http://billmoyers.com/2013/11/01/rip-off-how-private-sector-health-costs-are-killing-the-american-dream/

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The Private Health Insurance Industry is Killing the U.S. Economy

 

 

 

Fifteen years ago the private health insurance industry told Congress and the nation that it could fix the health care mess if government got out of the way.

 

 

The insurers said that they would control costs for American families and businesses and improve the quality of care. The American people, American business and the Congress aren’t about to buy that line again.

 

 

The result of leaving health care reform to the insurance industry is that health insurance premiums have gone up six times faster than wages in the past nine years. Those dollars are buying skimpier health coverage with high deductibles and caps on benefits, resulting in more and more insured people being forced into medical bankruptcy.

 

Businesses that are struggling to meet health care costs in a global economy and dropping coverage, so much so that now 1 out of 3Americans under the age of 65 has been uninsured at some time in the past two years. Health care eats up 16% of our economy, up from 11% when the nation decided to leave the private insurance in charge.

 

The insurance industry and their defenders on the ideological right are resorting to the same name tired name calling that worked for them the past, “government-run” health care. It’s a desperate attempt to fend off a sensible government role in making health care affordable to our families, businesses and nation. This time it won’t work.

 

The President and leadership in Congress — and the American — people support a two-pronged role for government. One, set rules so that the private insurance industry can’t continue to put profits before our health. Two, offer a choice of private insurance or a public health insurance plan, so people aren’t stuck only with private insurance.

 

The fact is that if private insurers controlled health care inflation as well as Medicare has over the past decade, businesses and families would see much lower premiums than they do today.

 

Between 1997 and 2006, per enrollee spending in private insurance grew 59% faster than spending in Medicare. And Medicare has the tougher job, because it cares for the most expensive population: the elderly and those with serious disabilities.

 

One reason that private insurers have gotten away with skyrocketing premium increases is that they have a near monopoly across the nation. According to data from the American Medical Association, in virtually every metropolitan area in the country (96%) the insurance market is dominated by so few insurers so as to be considered “highly-concentrated.”

 

A public health insurance option coupled with a regulated private insurance market will break the stranglehold a handful of companies have on the insurance market. Most importantly, under these reforms consumers will be able to vote with their feet when their health care plan — public or private — doesn’t work for them.

 

In fact, the main argument that the industry and the right has with offering the choice of a public health insurance option is that too many Americans will choose it. If private insurers are really more efficient than government, they shouldn’t have any trouble competing with a public health insurance plan. It’s the height of irony that the defenders of free markets are opposed to competition. But when it comes to health care, which is a public good, public insurers really are more efficient.

 

There is broad agreement that America’s health care system does not deliver the value we need. Today, private insurers have little incentive to develop sophisticated disease management programs, since such programs may attract sicker patients into their plan.

 

And when care improvements are achieved, private plans have no incentive to share best practices with industry competitors. A new public health insurance plan would create a mechanism for the development of innovative and transparent payment mechanisms, the expansion of quality incentives, and the adoption of evidence-based protocols.

 

As the Veterans Health Administration and Medicare have proven capable of doing, a new public health insurance program could lead the way in advancing electronic medical records, creating incentives for greater integration of delivery systems, and establishing improved measures of quality.

 

The American public gets it. In a national survey of voters taken last year, four-out-of-five voters (79%) said that the insurance industry puts profits before people. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released this week found that two-thirds (67%) of U.S. residents “strongly” or “somewhat” favor establishing a public health insurance option “similar to Medicare.”

 

Polling by Lake Research Partners this January found that the public believes that the choice of a public health insurance option will lower costs, improve quality, and increase competition.

 

The poll paired the strongest conservative attacks — “rationing”, “government bureaucracy”, losing private health insurance and being dumped into a public plan — against the arguments for the choice of a public health insurance plan. In every case the public favors the pro-public health insurance option, in most cases by margins of better than two-to-one.

 

For example, 61% agree that a public health insurance plan will be better able to control costs by using its purchasing power to drive competition. Voters reject by wide margins claims that a public health insurance plan will limit access, with 66% of voters agreeing that a public health insurance plan will provide an affordable option with a wide choice of doctors.

 

The question before Congress is whether it will follow the will of the American people. Or, instead, bow to the private insurance industry and other interests that stand to lose if reforms are passed to really make health care more affordable.

 

The President and Congressional leadership share a strong commitment to reforms that will guarantee good, affordable coverage for all, with a choice of private or public health insurance.

 

 

We know opponents will use scare tactics across the country and a huge corporate lobbying presence inside the Beltway to block reform. Progressive leaders in Congress and Health Care for America Now will be working hard to keep the American public engaged in this fight over the next months. Our success will be the hallmark of a new era in American politics in which the public good is put ahead of corporate excess and greed.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-kirsch/the-private-health-insura_b_191770.html

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merrill, you're just a cowardly idiot.

 

Rather than respond RATIONALLY to the posts to you on the previous topic you started (Social Security), you RUN.

 

Only to start yet another stupid topic.

 

You behave like a Truther.

BElOSER, YOUR A PEDOPHILE WITH YOUR POSTER ON EVERY TELEPHONE POLE IN TOWN, AND A COWARDLY TURD THAT WAS AFRAID TO RESPOND TO THE OP.

 

I will be over to face fuck your wife in the morning, have you bought some more Tequila yet?

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68% of the American People say DUMP your government NObamaCare and start over.

 

Sucks for your socialist bullshit, huh??

LMAO! Yeah, start over means capitalist health care sucks and makes you look like fucking fool. And 58% of the people want 100% National Health Care Bozo. Deal with it Loser. Sucks to be a Capitalist loser, huh?

My 'privatized' health insurance cost me ~$120/month before the fucked up Zerocare came along.

Now here in AZ I will pay ~$1500/month in 2017 for a shittier plan!

I'll take privatized every day of the year!

Don't fret. The GOP is going to repeal ACA on DAY ONE, and you can go pay a private insurance corporation again. You lucky dog!! Now days the average family health care plan is about $833.00 a month with a $7,983.00 deductible. Hope you don't have any pre-existing.

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Will Health Insurance Companies Succeed Where the GOP Couldn't—in Killing Obamacare?

 

As Aetna and Humana bail on the Affordable Care Act, it's private profit vs public need. Guess which wins out?
Congressional Republicans have tried in vain over the years to repeal or overturn all or part of the Affordable Care Act — President Barack Obama’s keystone legislation that has given more than 20 million Americans health insurance coverage in the world’s costliest health care market — since it was signed into law in 2010. But where GOP has failed time and again, private insurers may be succeeding.

Aetna and Humana, two of the country’s five largest health insurers (they’re currently involved in merger negotiations), have announced they’re pulling out of Obamacare’s public insurance exchanges — a key component of the legislation aimed at reeling in costs to Americans not covered by employer policies or otherwise unable to afford premiums and other expenses.

Humana, the country’s fifth-largest insurer by revenue, said Wednesday in its quarterly earnings report that next year it will cover “no more than 156 counties, down from its 2016 presence in 1,351 counties.”

It’s pulling out completely from fourof the 15 states in which it’s currently participating. (A call to a Humana spokesman asking to clarify which counties were spared and what criteria was used to selected them was not returned.)

Only a day earlier, Aetna, the country’s No. 3 insurer, announced it was re-evaluating its involvement in exchanges in 15 states and dropping previously reported plans to expand its coverage via exchanges.

“We believe it is only prudent to reassess our level of participation on the public exchanges,” Mark Bertolini, Aetna chairman and CEO, said in a conference call with analysts on Thursday. “Our initial action will be to withdraw our 2017 public exchange expansion plans.”

They both follow the path set by UnitedHealth, the nation’s top health insurance provider, which announced in April that it would be exiting most Obamacare exchanges in 2017. Other major insurers have made similar announcements, citing customer bases that are too sick and too costly to insure.

A Blue Cross Blue Shield report earlier this year said enrollees in the company’s individual exchange plans, “have higher rates of certain diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, coronary artery disease, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C.”

And yet this was all expected, Obamacare proponents point out, since a disproportionate number of exchange enrollees would have been denied coverage for pre-existing conditions pre-Obamacare.

The problem, both insurers and Obamacare boosters agree, is that fewer than expected healthier customers (i.e. those with a lower cost of care) have enrolled in the individual exchanges, which means their ranks consist largely of lower-income self-employed workers and those hovering near the line that qualifies them for Medicaid.

Part of the issue is that these exchanges are still new and the majority of insurers have yet to figure out how to make them profitable. The most successful companies operating in these exchanges, such as Molina Healthcare and Centene, are those that been handling Medicaid managed-care plans and who have experience with the state and federal program that covers the poorest among us.

“If you look at the insurers that are expanding on the exchange and those that are not, they tend to serve very different markets,” Mireille Jacobson, director of the Center for Health Care Management and Policy at the University of California, Irvine, told Salon via email.

“My impression is that the insurers that are more familiar with lower income consumers are the ones expanding, e.g., Molina in my neck of the woods. They have more experience with these customers and have established provider networks to serve them.”

The exodus of major insurers from Obamacare business could result in several outcomes. One is allowing more people to qualify for Medicaid subsidies and raising rates — putting the ACA’s gains and long-term prospects at risk.

Or perhaps there will be an influx of younger, healthier Americans opting in to the exchanges and bringing costs down. Or the government could intervene and impose health care price controls and/or a single-payer system.

Those last two options are unlikely to happen anytime soon given the political climate in the country and the fact that the GOP seems assured of retaining control of the house, if not the Senate, this November. So it appears these fleeing insurers are making once dubious claims that the ACA will lead to higher health care costs look prophetic.

The reasons health insurance companies cite for pulling out of the Obamacare deserve a little scrutiny. Insurers have pointed to the money they’ve lost by participating in the exchanges.

It’s worth noting, however, that these companies have earned billions of dollars in profits, and the Obamacare mandate — which penalizes those who don’t buy insurance — has given them a much larger customer base and contributed to those handsome profits.

Take Aetna as an example: Since the 2012 ruling in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Obamacare’s constitutionality, Aetna’s profits have grown 32 percent, its revenue has doubled to more than $60 billion and its stock has gained nearly 180 percent.

Humana’s stock price has grown by nearly 120 percent over the same period. UnitedHealth’s shares have grown 142 percent.

The hard truth about Obamacare (and about health care around the world) is this: nobody makes money extending health coverage to large numbers of poor customers — even the success stories are working with customers who receive government subsidies.

Even so, it’s clear the ACA isn’t killing the health insurance giants — too bad they don’t seem inclined to return the favor.

http://www.alternet.org/economy/will-insurance-companies-kill-obamacare

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BElOSER, YOUR A PEDOPHILE WITH YOUR POSTER ON EVERY TELEPHONE POLE IN TOWN, AND A COWARDLY TURD THAT WAS AFRAID TO RESPOND TO THE OP.

 

I will be over to face fuck your wife in the morning, have you bought some more Tequila yet?

 

 

I wonder ... is this ^^^^^ what passes for the average DemocRAT nowadays? If so, perhaps we should call them DemoPIGS.

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From Bill Moyers:

 

 

Rip-Off: How Private-Sector Health Costs Are Killing the American Dream
November 1, 2013

Part one of this series, “The High Cost of Low Taxes,” noted that while Americans enjoy a tax burden lower than that of other wealthy countries, we also pay four times as much as they do, on average, for out-of-pocket “social costs” in the private sector – on health care, retirement security, disability and unemployment insurance, and the rest of the safety net.

 

 

When you add up what we pay in taxes and what we pay out of pocket, the US spends about the same amount on social costs overall as some of the most generous, heavily taxed social democracies, but we get a far less secure safety net in return.

 

 

The federal government doesn’t have a deficit problem. Its fiscal issues are entirely related to the bloated cost of American health care. If we paid the same amount for health care per person as people do in other wealthy countries with longer average life expectancies, we’d have a balanced budget now and surpluses projected for the future.

iStock_000008130602Small-300x168.jpg

iStock

 

 

But those are just numbers on a spreadsheet. Fran and Randy Malott understand those costs more viscerally.

 

 

The Whittier, Calif., couple aren’t living the American dream right now. They haven’t for a while. They were slammed when Wall Street’s house of cards came tumbling down, and now they’re feeling the squeeze of the Great American Rip-off.

 

 

Fran lost her job as a customer service representative in 2009, at the height of the Great Recession. “A lot of companies are getting rid of customer service these days,” explains Randy. He lost his job managing a temp agency a year or so later.

 

 

The Malotts are two of what Paul Krugman called “the forgotten millions” – the long-term unemployed who face unique barriers to reentering the workforce, including discrimination by potential employers just because they’ve been out of work for an extended period. “And our age doesn’t help either,” says Randy. He’s 59 and she’s 60. “There was unemployment for a while,” Randy says, “and now we’re getting by on savings.”

 

 

He tells Moyers & Company, “we live pretty frugally,” but the $1,600 a month they’re forking over for health insurance represents about half their total spending. The Malotts are a healthy couple, yet they’re watching their life savings drain away, in large part due to their health insurance company. The $140,000 the Malotts had socked away for retirement is now down to around $45,000. “We’ve got quite a ways to go before Social Security and Medicare kick in,” says Randy.

 

 

The Malotts are in a tough spot, like a lot of people who find themselves in similar circumstances. Studies have shown that long-term unemployment causes stress and illness. In the rest of the world’s highly developed countries, the Malotts’ health care would be covered by their government – the risk of long-term unemployment would be spread across an entire society – which means they’d have one less serious stressor, and around $45,000 more in the bank than they do today.

 

 

When Competition Drives Up Costs

 

The US system is a stark testament to the fact that, at least when it comes to health care, more competition doesn’t lead to lower prices or better outcomes.

Three facts are indisputable. First, the $8,500 we spent per person on health care in 2011 was around $5,000 more than the average among developed countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — and almost $3,000 more than the average in Switzerland, which was the next highest spender.

 

 

Second, multiple studies have found that we have significantly poorer health outcomes than most developed countries (see here, and here) – by some measures, we rank dead last. And it’s not just because we have higher rates of poverty and inequality — a study conducted by the National Research Council and the Institute for Medicine accounted for those factors and found that, as Grace Rubenstein summarized for The Atlantic, “even white, well-off Americans live sicker and die sooner than similarly situated people elsewhere.” (American men are also becoming shorter relative to men in other highly developed countries – the average height of a population is a proxy for the quality of prenatal health care and nutrition.)

 

 

Finally, we rely much more heavily on .....

 

 

http://billmoyers.com/2013/11/01/rip-off-how-private-sector-health-costs-are-killing-the-american-dream/

pay for your own healthcare I dont owe you anything

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Welfare Parasites commentating on Business concerns.

 

Confederate Democrat National Socialist Propaganda.

 

A simple look at the rates in which Businesses have slashed full-time employment, in favor of Part-time shifts, to precisely Avoid Ochavez-Care, will drive a peg in this dead duck's ass.

 

Ha!

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Welfare Parasites commentating on Business concerns.

 

Confederate Democrat National Socialist Propaganda.

 

A simple look at the rates in which Businesses have slashed full-time employment, in favor of Part-time shifts, to precisely Avoid Ochavez-Care, will drive a peg in this dead duck's ass.

 

Ha!

 

You're a fucking moron. I've been at my current job over 25 years. I've never once collected welfare. In fact, I work in healthcare. Most people cannot afford insurance (and the peripheral costs such as deductible, copays, coinsurance, etc.) and their health is suffering because of it.

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You're a fucking moron. I've been at my current job over 25 years. I've never once collected welfare. In fact, I work in healthcare. Most people cannot afford insurance (and the peripheral costs such as deductible, copays, coinsurance, etc.) and their health is suffering because of it.

Deductibles are not "peripheral costs", it is a direct cost that was increased because of the stupidity of Obamacare.

We told you when you idiots were shoving this down America's throat that you can't expand the number of people covered, expand WHAT is covered, AND reduce costs.

ANYONE who has ever taken and passed an economics class, knew this.

 

The objective wasn't to provide people with insurance. Obamacare was passed to create a new liberal social program that was designed to fail, so that the Dummycrats could ride in and "save" the country with single payer. Trouble is they didn't anticipate Hillary losing the election, and Republicans actually being able to let Obamacare die.

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Deductibles are not "peripheral costs", it is a direct cost that was increased because of the stupidity of Obamacare.

Incorrect. Deductibles decreased initially with Obamacare; it was written into the legislation. Do feel free to continue to flaunt your stupidity on this issue, though. :D You're funny as hell.

 

 

 

We told you when you idiots were shoving this down America's throat that you can't expand the number of people covered, expand WHAT is covered, AND reduce costs.

Who's "we?" You and the voices in your head? :lol: The most important thing is to have ALL Americans covered so they can tend to their healthcare needs. Raking in mad profits isn't the goal (nor should it be).

 

 

 

ANYONE who has ever taken and passed an economics class, knew this.

This is about caring for the health of our citizens, not rolling a profit.

 

 

 

The objective wasn't to provide people with insurance. Obamacare was passed to create a new liberal social program that was designed to fail, so that the Dummycrats could ride in and "save" the country with single payer. Trouble is they didn't anticipate Hillary losing the election, and Republicans actually being able to let Obamacare die.

Your tinfoil hat seems to be short circuiting. I've never been a fan of Obamacare because it kept big insurance involved in healthcare. Big insurance has ZERO interest in a healthy population; their only concern is making obscene profits.

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Incorrect. Deductibles decreased initially with Obamacare; it was written into the legislation. Do feel free to continue to flaunt your stupidity on this issue, though. :D You're funny as hell.

 

 

 

Who's "we?" You and the voices in your head? :lol: The most important thing is to have ALL Americans covered so they can tend to their healthcare needs. Raking in mad profits isn't the goal (nor should it be).

 

 

 

This is about caring for the health of our citizens, not rolling a profit.

 

 

 

Your tinfoil hat seems to be short circuiting. I've never been a fan of Obamacare because it kept big insurance involved in healthcare. Big insurance has ZERO interest in a healthy population; their only concern is making obscene profits.

 

And you claim you "work in healthcare".

DO you realize that anyone that is IN HEALTHCARE cares only about ONE THING?? MAKING A PROFIT.

 

It ain't free since YOU expect that paycheck every week don't ya??

 

And in case you missed it, those Insurance companies ain't making "obscene profits". If they were, they wouldn't be dropping like flies in this obamaNOcare scheme. Companies making money doing something don't just up and leave because they were making too much money, so your ENTIRE PREMISE is completely and totally fucked.

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If there profits are soooo obscene, why can't an insurance company run by liberals compete with them?

 

What insurance company is "run by liberals?" Source?

 

Most companies are run by both liberals AND conservatives. This is about healthcare, not politics.

 

Google up the annual bonuses for the CEO's of CIGNA, United Healthcare, Aetna, etc. "Obscene" is an apt description to anyone with a room temperature IQ.

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What insurance company is "run by liberals?" Source?

 

Most companies are run by both liberals AND conservatives. This is about healthcare, not politics.

 

Google up the annual bonuses for the CEO's of CIGNA, United Healthcare, Aetna, etc. "Obscene" is an apt description to anyone with a room temperature IQ.

 

So IF YOU WORK IN HEALTHCARE, WHY DON'T YOU DO IT FOR FREE????

 

Oh wait, let me guess...."it's because the money is sooooo great you can take care of your family", right???

 

IF you were really interested in peoples health, you would WORK FOR NOTHING, ASSHOLE!!!

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