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Health Insurers Say they Don't Get Paid Enough.

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October 13, 2009 – Comments (18) | RELATED TICKERS: UNH , WLP , CI

 A family of four under current law could expect to pay $15,500 by 2013, but that would rise to $17,200 if the new measures were adopted, the report found. The cost would be $21,900 by 2019 under the current system or $25,900 if the changes are implemented, it said.

- AHIP, Health Insurance Industry Lobby

If you have the health care industry complaining that we’re going to raise costs because of these changes, it is them putting us on notice that we haven’t put enough cost containment in the bill. You know, the health care industry themselves is putting out a whole report saying that. That should be a tell to the Baucus team that you know what, maybe it’s time for them to go back and revisit the public option.

In a strange way, and look, obviously they didn’t mean this, the health insurance lobby today fired the most important salvo in weeks for the public option, because they have said, as clear as day, left to their own devices, according to their own number crunchers, they’re going to raise rates 111%. And that’s why, you know we have a petition at CountdownToHealthCare.com where we’re telling people for the moderates in the Senate, the so-called moderates, and for the White House, we need the public option, and the health care industry is making our argument for us.

- Congressman Anthony Wiener

Left to their own devices, the industry raised rates 119 percent in the last decade, soo 111% in the next is right on course.

As Rep. Weiner says, adequate cost containment just isn't in the Baucus bill, and while the last thing--the very last thing AHIP wants is a public option, they make a damned good argument for it by commissioning this report. That argument is the substantive one Weiner is making about cost containment, but also a political one. They've just shown that, despite all the cozy meetings early on with White House officials and the Baucus team, that they are intrinsically opposed to reform and they'll do anything to kill it.

So now that AHIP has betrayed their true selves, maybe we can get a real push from the White House and the Senate leadership for real reform, and a robust public option.

- The Daily Kos

"The insurance lobby now claims that health care reform will cause significant premium increases, conveniently forgetting that they imposed significant premium increases during the past decade that are making health coverage unaffordable for families and businesses," 

- Ron Pollack, Families USA.

18 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On October 13, 2009 at 9:09 AM, ChrisGraley (29.97) wrote:

Yes! Demand the public option and screw yourself even more!

The government can run things much better, like they do with welfare and the DMV!

This program is guaranteed to work if you don't get sick!

119% increase is not enough! Put the government in charge so we can see a 300% increase and a 4 month wait for care.

After all, we are Americans and still believe in a free lunch!

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#2) On October 13, 2009 at 9:56 AM, ajm101 (32.12) wrote:

Devoish - I think this is by far the most important issue facing US equities as a whole, I'm glad you're covering it.  Not only is the current healthcare system a 10% drag on the GDP, it is demonstrably costing US jobs (http://www.cringely.com/2009/08/neutron-bomb/).  I assume that US equities (ex healthcare) and the dollar (since we would not be subsidizing the medical costs of the rest of the world) would both be up within two years of a public option.

It's obvious to me that a public run optional health insurer is the answer.  The USPS hasn't put FedEx and UPS out of business, but it has driven them to innovate and kept them honest.  The same goes for state colleges and private colleges.  At a nascent level, space travel.  Research (Livermore and the other national labs haven't put GE, GLW, IBM, et al out of business), too.  No reason health insurance should be any different.

To Chris Graley, I have a perfect solution.  Don't use the optional government plan, go with UnitedHealth, Cigna, Aetna, or one of the dozens of BCBS providers.  I don't understand why free market advocates are literally terrified by the prospect of a government competitor.  AmTrak hasn't killled off GM or CSX/BNI/NSC...

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#3) On October 13, 2009 at 9:58 AM, Gemini846 (54.83) wrote:

You left out the part of the article where they mentioned that it's changes to the bill that would remove the requirement for everyone to have insurance (paying in) while requireing them to accept everyone (paying out) + extra taxes that would cause the increase in premiums. They are right. Congress is watering down the important parts of the bill to keep it alive and basically adding wasteful spending with no results.

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#4) On October 13, 2009 at 10:29 AM, ChrisGraley (29.97) wrote:

To Chris Graley, I have a perfect solution.  Don't use the optional government plan, go with UnitedHealth, Cigna, Aetna, or one of the dozens of BCBS providers.  I don't understand why free market advocates are literally terrified by the prospect of a government competitor.  AmTrak hasn't killled off GM or CSX/BNI/NSC...

The private plans will die if they have to compete with a tax subsidized public plan.

The USPS has been hemoraging money but doesn't die because it is government supported. When I ship UPS overnite, it actually gets there overnight, that's not the case with the USPS. Like anything else government supported, it's inefficient and bloated.

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#5) On October 13, 2009 at 11:32 AM, ajm101 (32.12) wrote:

Chris - that is inconsistent.  You just said that the USPS was bloated, inefficient, and tax subsidized.  However, you use UPS anyway, and they still managed to do $3B in FY08.  

Unless you overnight delivery is more important than your health, you would probably be willing to pay extra for a private health plan that offers premium service for healthcare over a public option.  But if you couldn't afford that premium, it's still crucial to have some kind of option.

I will say that I don't believe that taxes should subsidize a public option, unlike Medicare.

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#6) On October 13, 2009 at 11:46 AM, Darvo285 (59.62) wrote:

Thanks ajm101,

It brings me great comfort that you assume that US equities and the dollar would both be up within two years of the public option....Oh wait..... nope, nevermind, it doesn't bring me comfort at all.

 While you point out that we wouldn't be subsidizing the medical costs of the rest of the world, you admit we would be subsidizing medical costs here, along with the sudsidization of USPS, GE, IBM, and Amtrak....These are just the ones you mentioned in three paragraphs, can you imagine how many more there are?

Now, speaking as one of those free market advocates that is terrified by the prospect of a government competitor, the aforementioned are just a handfull of the multitude of entities that are taking funds from the taxpayers. Its not the point that govt run entities haven't put private companies out of business. The point is that taxpayers would have more money to spend on goods and services they want and need which would make US Equities and the dollar stronger. I also love the litany of government mandates involved in healthcare and how it is considered a free market failure and now govt needs to intervine. That also sounds familiar with a few other industries but I won't go there.

 Finally, before someone says, Hey! GE and IBM are not subsidized! I personally believe that they, along with many other company's green initiatives are not being done out of the goodness of thier hearts but because of the guarantee of tax-payer funds by pursuing these initiatives which are subsidies.

 

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#7) On October 13, 2009 at 2:08 PM, ajm101 (32.12) wrote:

Now, speaking as one of those free market advocates that is terrified by the prospect of a government competitor, the aforementioned are just a handfull of the multitude of entities that are taking funds from the taxpayers. Its not the point that govt run entities haven't put private companies out of business. The point is that taxpayers would have more money to spend on goods and services they want and need which would make US Equities and the dollar stronger. I also love the litany of government mandates involved in healthcare and how it is considered a free market failure and now govt needs to intervine. That also sounds familiar with a few other industries but I won't go there.

You totally ignore the point that the consumer might have less money to spend because prices would be higher absent the real competition.  Or do perfectly free markets have no monopoly pricing, even though that is an optimal strategy for an individual actor?

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#8) On October 13, 2009 at 3:35 PM, Darvo285 (59.62) wrote:

My apologies, I didn't realize I ignored the point that the comsumer might have less money to spend because prices would be higher absent real competition. The reason for this is because I don't consider a government option real competition.

In your post you referenced three insurance companies and the dozens of BCBS providers. In fact, I did a little search on health insurance companies and here is what I found:

Aetna American Association of Retired Persons American Family Insurance American National Insurance Company Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Assurant Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Cigna Fortis Golden Rule Insurance Company Group Health Cooperative Health Net HealthMarkets Humana Inc. Independent Health Intermountain Health Care Kaiser Permanente LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon Medical Mutual of Ohio Premera Principal Financial Group Regence Group Scott & White Shelter Insurance Companies Thrivent Financial for Lutherans UnitedHealth Group Unitrin Wellpoint

Obviously the health care industry is absent real competition, that is the key in this situation. I get it now. I am sure it has nothing to do with not being able to price risk accordingly because of mandates or not being able to purchase insurance across state lines which would do nothing for real competition.

 

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#9) On October 13, 2009 at 3:54 PM, Rebkong1 (< 20) wrote:

ajm

 

then you are ignoring cboe that perfectly states that if the government option is passed that in 5 years 50% of americans will be on it.

 

if you think this isn't trojan horse to a single payer system all but KILLING THE GREATEST HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IN THE WORLD..then i suggest what you do some freaking research..you uninformed people are clueless 

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#10) On October 13, 2009 at 3:59 PM, Rebkong1 (< 20) wrote:

excuse me 80% of americans

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#11) On October 13, 2009 at 4:01 PM, Rebkong1 (< 20) wrote:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLm9t9j-qKM

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#12) On October 13, 2009 at 4:04 PM, Rebkong1 (< 20) wrote:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndStT6c93rc

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#13) On October 13, 2009 at 4:08 PM, kmacattack (55.26) wrote:

        It is refreshing to learn that the insurance companies are concerned with the economic well being of Americans.  When did this change suddenly occur?  Truly America has some of the best medical care TECHNOLOGY in the world, but we have a very poor record regarding our overall health.  The "poor" insurance industry had the resources 15 years ago to spend $80 MILLION in order to blindside Clinton's healthcare bill, which enjoyed 80% public approval prior to the media misinformation blitz designed to scare the hell out of the American public.  Recently, the republican congressmen ( insurance company bagmen) were telling us that 80% of americans are happy with their health insurance provider.  Considering that 50 million people have no insurance (myself included) and that I consider the statement that 80% of the people who DO HAVE COVERAGE are happy with their provider to be a TOTAL LIE, the statement should have been "About half of ALL Americans are happy with their health insurance coverage."  Of course, I'm making the assumption that people with no insurance are not happy with their coverage.  What these politicians are really saying is that the people who have no insurance DON''T COUNT.  These are the same FORCES (only the FACES have changed) that have fought every major social reform since the 1930's.  Insurance companies have enourmous political clout and enourmous wealth, and this whole smokescreen is designed to derail ANY PROPOSAL which would reduce their political clout or enourmous profits.

       If these politicians had any integrity, they would also tell you that 88% of ALL CANADIANS are happy this their healthcare system (because EVERYONE is covered), and the CONSERVATIVE leader in parliament who led the fight against universal care recently APOLOGIZED  and admitted that he was wrong, saying, it is the greatest thing we have ever done for the people of Canada.  The Canadian system isn't perfect, no system is.  But the US is the ONLY COUNTRY of the leading 30 industrial countries that does not have a national healthcare system.    

        My mother passed away last night in her sleep,  two days after her 90th birthday,  I'm firmly convinced that her quality and length of life were enriched by her medicaire and medicaid coverage. 

       The other side of the equation is illustrated by another personal story.  I had a friend who rented a property from me this summer.  He was a triple purple heart recepient in Navy Special Ops in the first Gulf War.  He bacame Ill about two weeks after moving in, tried to gain admission to the VA hospital and was refused because, even with 3 combat wounds, one which required back surgery, he was "only 20% disabled".  He was forced to go to a public hospital, spent about a week in ICU and was facing a bill in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Facing a bill which would bankrupt his family, four days after his release from the hospital, he blew his brains out with a 45 cal. automatic.  How many thousands of times does this happen EVERY YEAR ? 

        I'd like to ask Chris if he plans to accept a monthly check from Social Security upon retirement?  If so does that not make you a SOCIALIST?  As to your assertion that we will ultimately have a public option which could kill the private insurance companies, I really don't believe that will be the case, because there are plenty of examples of private companies thriving while competing with government run options. We have been paying the highest rates of any major naton for health care that leaves 50 million of it's citizens to fend for themselves for decades, only because the insurance lobby and others have played the boogie man "socialism" card so many times successfully, while laughing all the way to the bank.  When this bill passes, I will purchase coverage.  I fervently hope that a public option is available.  I will analyze all options and make my decision at that time.  It is my firm belief that if we truly want to cut costs, a public option is a must.  The insurance industry is a long way from bankrupt, and, like Wal Mart, has the resorces to sell certain products at a loss if they so choose to gain market share, and make money on other products.   They have a stranglehold now and a litte competition might make them offer  more competitive pricing. 

       Regarding prescription drugs, I take one generic presciption monthly which costs normally about $55 for 60 tablets.  This month, the cost dropped to $35 unexpectedly.  I wondered if the Pharma industry was doing this on a widespread scale to diffuse the angry mob fed up with high prescription prices just prior to the inevidable passage of health care legislation.  I used to take another "brand name" medication which started out at $80 and within two years had gone up to $135.  The funny thing was, whether 10 mg. or 60 mg. capsules, the price was exactly the same for this medicine.

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#14) On October 13, 2009 at 4:55 PM, kmacattack (55.26) wrote:

          One more thing, Chris. Since you mentioned the Insurance industry threatening us with price increases for health care, may I remind you that we are paying about 50% MORE Money  for health care than any other major nation (ALL OF WHICH HAVE A NATIONAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IN PLACE), while at the same time leaving 50 million people uninsured. We are number ONE  or high on the list in the following categories- Infant Mortality rate, Diabetes, Obesity, etc.

      My wife and kids have Indian health care, a "socialist" system largely paid for with earnings from smoke shops and casinos which the tribes operate.  What I have observed is that, while you may have to wait 3 weeks or so for some procedures (my wife was sent to a neurologist outside the expertise of the Indian system recently), I've found that the wait is exactly the same to see the same doctor with private insurance. By and large, the care is compassionate, competent, and with very little waiting, often less waiting time than seeing a doctor outside the system.

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#15) On October 13, 2009 at 5:59 PM, ajm101 (32.12) wrote:

Dear Rebkong.  I'm not going to follow your youtube links.  Thanks.

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#16) On October 13, 2009 at 6:11 PM, ozzfan1317 (78.57) wrote:

I am hoping the next bill has some form of public option in it. I have seen first hand what happens if you are too poor to afford health insurance and the emergency room is your only option. Too many in the middle class and below brackets will literally wait till the bitter end rather than the let whatever it is bankrupt them. And yes this is personal my mom has suffered from her health for years public aid won't help her because I am raised and she is dirt poor so other than being half ignored at the emergency room she has no hope. Chris Graley I am sorry you have never been poor and don't understand how fucked our system is. However you will still be in my prayers.

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#17) On October 13, 2009 at 6:35 PM, ajm101 (32.12) wrote:

Hey Darvo, you didn't do enough quick research there, buddy!

"The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) is a federation of 39 separate health insurance organizations and companies in the United States. Combined, they directly or indirectly provide health insurance to over 100 million Americans."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Cross_and_Blue_Shield_Association

Also, I don't know what this talking point about purchasing health insurance across state lines.   It seems that would lead to regulation shopping, sort of like how all credit card companies are based out of Delaware.  Perhaps you could explain to me how it would be of benefit?

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#18) On October 13, 2009 at 8:13 PM, Darvo285 (59.62) wrote:

Hi ajm101,

First, you just reinforced one of the points I was trying to make in my post. I am familiar with the BCBSA, the emphasis on the word dozens in my post was to lament the fact that with the organizations that make up BCBSA along with a list of other health insuranace companies (that came up with my quick search) was to show that there is acutally quite a bit of competition. This is why I don't buy the argument of the government option lowering costs because of increased competition.

Second, I live in Minnesota. When I pay my premiums for my health insurance there are 68 different mandates that are part of my policy. A state like Idaho has 13. As a consumer I may not want or need all of the 68 mandates that are required to be included in my policy purchased in Minnesota. If I had the option I could purchase my health insurance in Idaho to save money.

 

 

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