Author Topic: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform  (Read 7448 times)

Offline rmg7

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Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« on: August 17, 2009, 11:00:54 AM »
I just received this newsletter from Weiss Research - an obvious pitch for subscribing to their services, that reminded me of the abusive practices of the Health Insurance companies. IMHO, it is worth reading.

http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/health-care-war-35069

I think the important conclusion that we can draw from this newsletter is that the Health Insurance industry is out there to make a buck, and could care less about people's health. This is simply not right.

Jack has criticized the "ass-clown" attitude of the current administration or trying to push this fast-track Health Reform bill. I don't have all the details to post an educated opinion, but my gut feeling is that this is probably more of the same old BS that won't solve anything. I'm with Jack and all of the TSP members that consider themselves libertarians at heart. We need less government, period.

OTOH, I still value Michael Moore's opinion and what he exposed in his movie Sicko. Less government intervention is always better, but are astronomical profits ethical when it comes to people's health? Life is nearly impossible without health, so the American motto of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" needs to be looked at very carefully when considering the health issue. As I see it, we all have a right to be healthy [as long as we take care of ourselves], and we should not be shackled to a life of bankruptcy-poverty just because we developed a strange disease or got into an accident.

Here's a clip that interrelates debt, lack of health, and government intervention, from the movie Sicko:

Sicko - Chilling Excerpt by Tony Benn

Here's a big question for all who have served as soldiers, policemen, firefighters, etc.
Why have so many NYC firefighters from the 9-11 debacle, been denied proper treatment for their asbestos induced lung ailments?

My point here is that there should be a serious discussion of what we can do as individuals to protect ourselves and prepare for the worst in the health-care arena.

As a TSP member, we have to provide each other with practical every-day solutions that others can implement. Since I cannot take on the government, big-pharma or the health insurance industry, here's what I have done:

I live in Puerto Rico. A close friend of mine for the past six years has worked as a private-industry consultant for both the PR and US governments in setting up public health care plans. Here's what she has recommended:

  • Pay myself $225 monthly - the same I'd pay a private health insurer each month, to a cash reserve account. The idea is to build a $10k-15k pot to cover yearly medical expenses and a possible one week hospital situation.
  • Pay only for catastrophic health insurance. I.E., conditions that would require more than 1 week in a hospital, and that would be impossible to pay for out-of-pocket.
  • Keep a healthy lifestyle: good sleep, plenty of water, healthy food, plenty of exercise, as major component of the health insurance plan.

Here's another anecdote that is a "hair-in-the-back-of-the-neck" raiser.

In PR, even if you're insured, when you get into a major, major accident, or develop a weird disease, private hospitals will not take you in, simply because they won't get reimbursed on-time, or maybe at all, by the Insurance Companies. So what happens? You end up in Centro Medico with all the rest of the uninsured population.

Centro Medico is the government run hospital complex in San Juan, that happens to have incredible doctors and medical students that are bound by their professional code of ethics to treat patients to the best of their abilities and resources. Most are are willing to perform and you will most likely get treatment. Yet as all government run facilities, that hospital can be a blessing or a huge nightmare. I've heard of medical miracles that defy current medical practices, but have also heard of people developing strange diseases and complications because they were sleeping in the hallways exposed to all sorts of bacterias because of overcrowded conditions.

What's ironic of it all, is that most Puerto Ricans are simply wasting their money on insurance that really does not protect them from the really bad stuff that could happen to them. And most ironic of it all, is that if they do decide to get treated in PR, they will probably end up sharing a room in Centro Medico with three others that never had a cent to pay for medical services.



Offline rmg7

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2009, 09:25:41 AM »
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Overburdened-doctors-are-cnnm-2582479372.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=3&asset=&ccode=

This article is about doctors thst are switching from insurance based to cash based operations. The Insurance Companies are forcing many doctors to consider this option.

Offline cartpusher

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2009, 02:56:38 PM »
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Overburdened-doctors-are-cnnm-2582479372.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=3&asset=&ccode=

This article is about doctors thst are switching from insurance based to cash based operations. The Insurance Companies are forcing many doctors to consider this option.

Yeah sometimes I wonder if scrapping all health insurance would really be the best thing.  Make everything cash based.  Dr's are still going to need to work.  Might put everything back to a point where it would actually be affordable to get medical care.   In the end, I think we are after affordable quality healthcare, not affordable, quality insurance.


Offline rmg7

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2009, 06:32:11 PM »
Here's a quote from the article Jack posted on Mackey's comments:

Quote
Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That's because there isn't any. This "right" has never existed in America

Even in countries like Canada and the U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care. Rather, citizens in these countries are told by government bureaucrats what health-care treatments they are eligible to receive and when they can receive them. All countries with socialized medicine ration health care by forcing their citizens to wait in lines to receive scarce treatments.

Although Canada has a population smaller than California, 830,000 Canadians are currently waiting to be admitted to a hospital or to get treatment, according to a report last month in Investor's Business Daily. In England, the waiting list is 1.8 million.

There's a lot of misinformation out there and scare tactics related to the socialized medicine countries. I think the greatest argument against all these, is that if indeed the US system was better, most of these countries would have switched to the US model and they're clearly not doing that. I do not think Canada, Denmark, France, Spain, Italy, England, etc. are that dumb. I mean, why aren't Canadians crossing the border if indeed the waiting lines are THAT long?

Of the list developed countries [OECD], the US, Mexico, and Turkey are the last ones out. Apparently, Mexico is moving towards socialized medicine in the near future. [http://www.olis.oecd.org/olis/2009doc.nsf/LinkTo/NT00000B6A/$FILE/JT03259332.PDF]

Regarding the waiting see minute 7:40 of this YouTube video. This US politician really nails it in the head.
SICKO: Michael Moore on Capitol Hill

Interestingly enough, here's a recent article from Fool.com that reacts to Mackey's statements. The comments section is worth reading to get a sense of how wide is the spectrum of opinions out there.
http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2009/08/18/mackey-and-health-care-what-the-heck.aspx

babeinthewoods

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2009, 05:48:15 AM »
For me personally the biggest help would be to get employers out of the health insurance biz. Think about where you work. Think about the time, effort and expense your employer spends dealing with health plans, insurance Co's, renegotiating etc etc etc. Small biz are really at a disadvantage when dealing with insurance companies - they either have to pay through the nose or offer less benefit - making it difficult to offer enticing compensation packages to good people.

I say get my employer out of my health insurance. Pay me what I make without taking out for health care and let me go shop it like I shop car insurance or home owners insurance. If my insurance Co pisses me off I want to be able to fire them and find another.

Here is what I think the gov really should do:

Keep Schips for the young
Keep Medicaid for the disabled
Keep Medicare for the elderly
Keep medical ins payments tax deductible.

Mandate that employers get out of health care
Mandate that ins companys can not rate jack you for a health care issue
Provide a single form to be filled out by new insurance applicants with limited health risk questions - this form must be used when quoting rates.
Mandate a "truth in care" statement be given to a patient prior to treatment - exactly what they are doing and what it is going to cost (trauma/emergency situations exempt).
Encourage more plans like home owners insurance where you have to meet a deductible - since you know what you are going to pay this encourages people to shop doctors in a non-emergency.
Encourage long plan terms like 5, 10 and 20 years. Allow people to lock in their risk.
Standardize billing for doctors to insurance companies. Allowing doctors to streamline billing and reduce overhead.


Lets face it, right now most people do not have a choice in health insurance companies. You are locked in to 1 or 2 providers offered by your employer. If you loose your job you loose your insurance or pay $$$cobra$$$. Do your risk factors increase dramatically when you change jobs? Usually not. My auto insurance or non-employer life insurance is not affected by employment, why is my health insurance?

Small biz would flourish once they have a more level playing field with big companies. They could focus on what they do, not being a health insurance provider.

Woke up grumpy this morning.

Chris

Offline cartpusher

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2009, 07:00:52 AM »
An item that I did not see on your list, which is one of the biggest problems - inability to purcahse insurance either due to $$ or some previous condition.  I don't know how you get around it with the current private insurers.  I mean do you really force them to take someone that is likely to get cancer for a second or third time?  What do they charge that person? do they charge them some made up low figure and pass the risk on to the other healthy customers?

There has been a haven for these people with employer based insurance.  If they are turned out to shop on their own they are screwed.   I do think that the current health insurance system has a real aspect of stifling liberty and innovation.  If you have a great idea for a business and want to leave your corp job,  but your wife has had cancer, you can't do it.  You end up stuck working for somebody else, your options for pursuit of happiness become very limited, if you want to have access to medical care.  Even if you are healthy... our one programmer did leave here, but is now saddled with paying $12,000 to get a direct plan for his healthy young family of 3.  He may not be able to stay a float, just because of that expense.  It is a lot of billable hours just to cover that.

So I am not sure what the solutions are, but that from an aspect of liberty and freedom of choices in life, knowing that you have coverage, might be worth more than having a choice in what coverage you have.  I have watched many people stay in a job that they hated merely for the health insurance.  I think to a point that companies like holding this over people, but I think that is wearing off, and they just assume get out of this biz of managing employee health care.

All this said... do I trust the US Gov, to manage my health care? not really.  So where does that leave us?

Offline liftsboxes

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2009, 07:44:21 AM »
I wrote this up for another site, so apologies to anyone who might have read it before:

When you remove direct consumer cost from healthcare decisions, people stop questioning those decisions and defer hard choices. Many people will decide that it's easier to take blood pressure medicine or statin drugs than it is to lose weight. If our health care provider can run three tests instead of two and "somebody else is paying" then we do it. Often, we don't even ask the questions: why do I need this? What are we trying to accomplish? Are there other options and what are they? We take risks and make choices that we otherwise wouldn't because we feel that there is a net. Guess what happens then? Demand, and therefore prices, go up.

Eventually health insurance premiums go up too. Sometimes these increases are hidden from the consumer because they are borne by the employer, but they go up. Some people get dropped, some people get laid off or receive less in salaries or wages ... but because of the veil, we don't usually associate those consequences with that cigarette, extra helping of ice cream, the antibiotics we took with our cold (which was viral), the hair replacement procedure, or those sky diving lessons.

Now we have an inflated market based on inflated demand for healthcare and we're all busy being concerned about the cost of insurance. Why doesn't anyone ask what the real consumer driven demand for healthcare is?

Nobody really knows what the real cost of healthcare is, because it hasn't been subjected to direct consumer market pressure in decades. We've just been kicking the can down the road. I submit to you that anyone who says that they know what healthcare really costs is operating under a false premise, even if they don't realize that they are doing so.

Do you have a right to healthcare? Sure you do. Go look in the mirror. You have a right to take care of yourself, or not. If you want reform in either direction, at least have the courage to admit that you are the first party responsible for your own healthcare.


Until we figure out what healthcare is worth, any talk about reform is either just talk ... or it's really talk about control, not healthcare.

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/health-care-reform-is-about-control-not-health/

Offline cartpusher

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2009, 09:16:11 AM »
I agree with you about the personal responsibility for health care and learning the cost.  Maybe we should be willing to pay more for our health than say our cable and internet, or car payment, or even our mortgage.  Of course to make that switch overnight would blow people's budgets out of the water.

As far as passing more cost to the consumer, i am torn on the effects this may have.  You may not be going out skiing and mountain biking or letting you kids play all those sports,  if you knew you may be paying for a $10k knee surgery the next day.  Right now, those of us with insurance hardly give this a thought, and thus run up the costs. 

But I think it is also dangerous for individuals, and for running up costs, to have people deciding to hold off on things, that might catch something early(and thus cheaper to treat.)  I mean this is the only way cost would come down right? if we decide to not get treatment? or like you suggested maybe push for more of a bargain.  But health care is not like shopping for a car and checking consumer reports.   Often you don't know you wasted money until after the test results come back negative.  And then, was it really the "wrong" decision to get those tests.  If one came back positive, you would be patting yourself on the back for making a great choice.  For a market economy to function you need a well educated consumer.  So we can make better decisions than we have been maybe, but we are not all Dr's.  We are not all informed enough to make the right choices and decisions, on whether to get this test or that test, that would allow the market to function.  Believe me, I wish I was well enough informed to do that, I do not trust most of the Dr.'s I see these days, and try to take as much control of my own care.


Offline chris

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2009, 09:18:07 AM »
Here is what I think the gov really should do:

This is the EXACT mind set that got us into this mess.

Offline rmg7

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2009, 07:56:06 PM »
This is the EXACT mind set that got us into this mess.

Okay Chris, but we need ideas on the personal level. Do you have ideas as to what we can do to prepare self or family for a SHTF related to health issues.

I'm with you: fu** gov't, but what are the options with these corporate crooks controlling access to affordable care? Private industry has clearly screwed hundreds.

Perhaps we should give a well set up gov't program a little chance. I mean, if the gov't run Military program has been able to conquer the world, then the US gov't is perfectly capable of reducing military expenditure and inject that money and discipline to make the US the healthiest nation in the world. They already have incredible MDs that are combat hardened. Those same MDs should help the Marines that served after their tour is over. These soldiers have life long conditions to deal with because they served with valour, but now for some unknown reason they don't qualify for proper medical care. If they told these soldiers upfront this is how their nation would treat them, I'm sure they would think twice before signing the dotted line.


« Last Edit: August 20, 2009, 08:03:20 PM by rmg7 »

Offline cartpusher

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2009, 08:17:57 PM »
if the gov't run Military program has been able to conquer the world, then the US gov't is perfectly capable of reducing military expenditure and inject that money and discipline to make the US the healthiest nation in the world.

Well... rmg7 you have a point.... we are good at blowing stuff up.  We are apparently not so good at putting stuff back together and that doesn't bode well for a health initiative.  Our greatest successes as a conqueror, seem to be covert, brutal, proxy wars.  Not sure how we can adapt that to health care.  Maybe send in some paramilitary forces to wipe out the un-insured, and then pat ourselves on the back for solving a crisis.

not picking on you RMG7, just the empire. 

Chris - you are usually pretty sharp - What do you think the "mess" is exactly?  (I find this to be a huge hurdle, we all call it health reform, but i think the gripes really vary, so are we, as a nation, even trying to fix the same things?)  What are your thoughts on getting us out of this mess? 

Offline chris

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2009, 08:37:52 PM »
Chris - you are usually pretty sharp - What do you think the "mess" is exactly?  (I find this to be a huge hurdle, we all call it health reform, but i think the gripes really vary, so are we, as a nation, even trying to fix the same things?)  What are your thoughts on getting us out of this mess? 

The free market. It's the answer to every problem. Contrary to the socialist mindset, the free market isn't guys with big bank accounts smoking fat cigars in a back room controlling the world. It puts all the power in the hands of the individual. The rold of govt, if any, is to guarantee the rights of the individual.

Read this. Hans-Hermann Hoppe is brilliant.

http://mises.org/story/3643

A Four-Step Healthcare Solution
Mises Daily by Hans-Hermann Hoppe | Posted on 8/14/2009 12:00:00 AM

 It's true that the US health-care system is a mess, but this demonstrates not market but government failure. To cure the problem requires not different or more government regulations and bureaucracies, as self-serving politicians want us to believe, but the elimination of all existing government controls.

It's time to get serious about health-care reform. Tax credits, vouchers, and privatization will go a long way toward decentralizing the system and removing unnecessary burdens from business. But four additional steps must also be taken:

1. Eliminate all licensing requirements for medical schools, hospitals, pharmacies, and medical doctors and other health-care personnel. Their supply would almost instantly increase, prices would fall, and a greater variety of health-care services would appear on the market.

Competing voluntary accreditation agencies would take the place of compulsory government licensing — if health-care providers believe that such accreditation would enhance their own reputation, and that their consumers care about reputation, and are willing to pay for it.

Because consumers would no longer be duped into believing that there is such a thing as a "national standard" of health care, they would increase their search costs and make more discriminating health-care choices.

2. Eliminate all government restrictions on the production and sale of pharmaceutical products and medical devices. This means no more Food and Drug Administration, which presently hinders innovation and increases costs.

Costs and prices would fall, and a wider variety of better products would reach the market sooner. The market would force consumers to act in accordance with their own — rather than the government's — risk assessment. And competing drug and device manufacturers and sellers, to safeguard against product liability suits as much as to attract customers, would provide increasingly better product descriptions and guarantees.

3. Deregulate the health-insurance industry. Private enterprise can offer insurance against events over whose outcome the insured possesses no control. One cannot insure oneself against suicide or bankruptcy, for example, because it is in one's own hands to bring these events about.

Because a person's health, or lack of it, lies increasingly within his own control, many, if not most health risks, are actually uninsurable. "Insurance" against risks whose likelihood an individual can systematically influence falls within that person's own responsibility.

All insurance, moreover, involves the pooling of individual risks. It implies that insurers pay more to some and less to others. But no one knows in advance, and with certainty, who the "winners" and "losers" will be. "Winners" and "losers" are distributed randomly, and the resulting income redistribution is unsystematic. If "winners" or "losers" could be systematically predicted, "losers" would not want to pool their risk with "winners," but with other "losers," because this would lower their insurance costs. I would not want to pool my personal accident risks with those of professional football players, for instance, but exclusively with those of people in circumstances similar to my own, at lower costs.

Because of legal restrictions on the health insurers' right of refusal — to exclude any individual risk as uninsurable — the present health-insurance system is only partly concerned with insurance. The industry cannot discriminate freely among different groups' risks.

As a result, health insurers cover a multitude of uninsurable risks, alongside, and pooled with, genuine insurance risks. They do not discriminate among various groups of people which pose significantly different insurance risks. The industry thus runs a system of income redistribution — benefiting irresponsible actors and high-risk groups at the expense of responsible individuals and low-risk groups. Accordingly, the industry's prices are high and ballooning.

To deregulate the industry means to restore it to unrestricted freedom of contract: to allow a health insurer to offer any contract whatsoever, to include or exclude any risk, and to discriminate among any groups of individuals. Uninsurable risks would lose coverage, the variety of insurance policies for the remaining coverage would increase, and price differentials would reflect genuine insurance risks. On average, prices would drastically fall. And the reform would restore individual responsibility in health care.

4. Eliminate all subsidies to the sick or unhealthy. Subsidies create more of whatever is being subsidized. Subsidies for the ill and diseased promote carelessness, indigence, and dependency. If we eliminate such subsidies, we would strengthen the will to live healthy lives and to work for a living. In the first instance, that means abolishing Medicare and Medicaid.

Only these four steps, although drastic, will restore a fully free market in medical provision. Until they are adopted, the industry will have serious problems, and so will we, its consumers.

Hare of Caerbannog

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2009, 08:44:46 PM »
Quote
Read this. Hans-Hermann Hoppe is brilliant.
See, chris, this is why you have positive Karma.
At this rate you'll be passing me in about a week.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe is about the sharpest knife in the drawer today.

Offline cartpusher

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2009, 09:01:23 PM »
Chris - This is a great explanation of how to convert health care to free market, which I respect, but it doesn't seem to fix many of the issues most people are concerned about. And you didn't answer what you think the problem is.  Health care too expensive?  Are you being charged unfairly in order to cover someone who should be paying more?  Knowing this will make your solution much more meaningful.

Offline chris

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2009, 09:36:17 PM »
And you didn't answer what you think the problem is. 

Govt interventon in the form of insurance regulation and cartelization in the form of licensing. As well as socialist expectations on the part of many consumers. High costs are an effect of those three.

Offline cartpusher

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2009, 09:50:55 PM »
Govt interventon in the form of insurance regulation and cartelization in the form of licensing. As well as socialist expectations on the part of many consumers. High costs are an effect of those three.

I am not trying to get you in a corner with the following question, but trying to see how Han-Herman Hoppe's solutions would apply to a person who had breast and lymph cancer, but is now in remission.  She cannot purchase health insurance direct because of the previous illness, and currently gets coverage only through a company plan.  I am not sure if his proposal is saying, well nobody should cover her, and she will have to go without health care, unless she has enough cash on hand, or if through the free market, quality health care will become more accessible to her to due decreased prices, more Dr's, etc.  And don't worry, this is a very good friend of mine i am describing, but i will not be offended by the answer at all.

Offline rmg7

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2009, 10:41:21 PM »
...
apply to a person who had breast and lymph cancer, but is now in remission.  She cannot purchase health insurance direct because of the previous illness, and currently gets coverage only through a company plan. 

Your friend might have to move to another country. Canada might be a very feasible option for her. And I'm not writing this is a sarcastic tone.

Offline chris

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2009, 11:20:47 PM »
I am not trying to get you in a corner with the following question, but trying to see how Han-Herman Hoppe's solutions would apply to a person who had breast and lymph cancer, but is now in remission.  She cannot purchase health insurance direct because of the previous illness, and currently gets coverage only through a company plan.  I am not sure if his proposal is saying, well nobody should cover her, and she will have to go without health care, unless she has enough cash on hand, or if through the free market, quality health care will become more accessible to her to due decreased prices, more Dr's, etc.  And don't worry, this is a very good friend of mine i am describing, but i will not be offended by the answer at all.

Bad things happen to good people. We live in an imperfect world, so there no solution that is going to make everyone happy. I know jack and spit about cancer, and especially about your friends cancer and prognosis. I have an aunt that's 27, who beat cancer at 12. The doctors told her that if she was cancer free for at least 5 years than her prognosis was different than someone who hadn't ever had cancer. If your friend is in the same boat, I don't see why some insurer wouldn't cover her. If, on the other hand, it's only a matter of time before it comes back then it's likely no one will cover her. That doesn't mean she has no other options.

Before we had the current health care system, you had plenty of hospitals. Most were run by religious charities. If the govt was removed from the equation, and other changes mentioned were made, you'd likely see an explosion of treatment options.

No one can accurately predict the future. But one rule is almost inviolate *, in a free market, prices go down because of competition, and choices go up.

* I say almost because I can't think of a situation where this didn't happen, but I'm leaving room for error. Not error on my part of course, see the 12th Law of Thermodynamics.

Offline cartpusher

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2009, 07:04:11 AM »
Thanks for the explanation.

I do disagree that free markets always lead to prices going down and increased choices.  Maybe if you convert a socialist country where all the stores were state run to free market, you would see this improvement for a time.  But more and more, over time I think the free market system leads to ever decreasing choices, and thus higher prices.  Look at the products in the grocery stores, merger after merger, or how many choices do you have for hardware stores compared to 15 years ago, and as far as I know this is pretty much left to the free market.  Even within Home Depot and Lowes, the choices keep decreasing, they weed out the low margin options and are ever replacing them with a smaller selection of higher margin items.  Would not the same things start to happen in free market health care?  The game of Monopoly was created to show the inevitable conclusion of free market capitalism: one person ends up with the whole pot.  Am I way off base here?  Does the Austrian school have any way to deal with this consolidation?

Since these are really more free market, Von Mises questions, rather than health care, I have started a new thread if you care to continue this conversation over there:

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=8078.0

Offline chris

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2009, 10:24:37 AM »
But more and more, over time I think the free market system leads to ever decreasing choices, and thus higher prices.  Look at the products in the grocery stores, merger after merger, or how many choices do you have for hardware stores compared to 15 years ago, and as far as I know this is pretty much left to the free market. 

Inefficent competitors will diseappear or be absorbed by more efficent competetiors. Nothing bad about that. This should lead to lower prices, IE Walmart. But where is the role of the consumer? Why do people continue to shop at those places? If a place doesn't have what you want, go somewhere else. if someone buys a more expensive item, at a lower quality, because they're lazy, no system can make up for that choice. 

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Even within Home Depot and Lowes, the choices keep decreasing, they weed out the low margin options and are ever replacing them with a smaller selection of higher margin items.  Would not the same things start to happen in free market health care?


Shop somewhere else. The free market places the power in the hands of individuals, but it can't make them use that power.

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The game of Monopoly was created to show the inevitable conclusion of free market capitalism: one person ends up with the whole pot.  Am I way off base here?  Does the Austrian school have any way to deal with this consolidation?

That's the propaganda you were taught. Monopolies and cartels can ONLY exist with govt enforcement. Look at the price you pay for sugar, and the lack of competetion in the sugar industry.

Offline cartpusher

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2009, 10:43:20 AM »
Quote
The free market places the power in the hands of individuals, but it can't make them use that power

Yes I agree with this, I think is the real key in arguments surrounding free market.  Promoters and critics of free markets miss this point.



As far as shopping elswhere....  There are fewer and fewer options every year, but still some options so I will go along with you on this one, until, I can't go anywhere else.


As far as product selection though....  Walmart, and the same with McDonalds, changes manufacturing and food processing so much, with such strong buying power that they dictate what is even being made, or grown.  So even if you go somewhere else, you can't get a product that used to be available.  But again, i will agree with what I started with, customers could demand something else.  Walmart recently drop RBGH from their private label milk, no that will send ripples through what is showing up in milk in other stores.  All due to customer demands.

I still need convincing that you couldn't have monopolies and prices fixing on massive scales even within free market.     We can deal with that in the other forum thread though.

Hare of Caerbannog

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2009, 11:08:50 AM »
I haven't read the whole thread so forgive me if this has been covered.
Currently in America many forms of health insurance are against the law, mostly on a state by state level.
So for this reason the 19 year old athlete is forced to buy the same insurance as the 59 year old with health issues. Additionally the insurance companies are prevented by law from offering more tailored coverage.

Example:
This example is from last Wednesday's Freedom Watch.
To purchase a health insurance policy in New Jersey, you have to pay for coverage that applies to the possibility of ovarian cancer, even if you are a man.
The only policy the company is allowed to sell you has this coverage built in. There is no option.
Also, lets assume you are a 55 year old woman, your coverage must by law cover some types of contraceptives and some specific abortions even if you cannot possibly get pregnant and you object to abortion for religious reasons.

Folks, this is not the free market. Regulations destroy the price structure. They never help.

This is the typical bait and switch the statists use to say the free market doesn't work.

Offline chris

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2009, 12:12:00 PM »
This is the typical bait and switch the statists use to say the free market doesn't work.

Exactly right. They monkey up the market with govt intervention, then blame the free market, and say the only soluion is more govt intervention. When that fails, they'll say we need more govt intrevention.

Offline rmg7

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2009, 01:59:38 PM »
Good info and valid viewpoints, but my intent here was to provide solutions for our community TODAY. We need to prepare taking into account the current system. When the day's done, none of us have control over what's going to happen.

Offline chris

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2009, 02:25:20 PM »
Good info and valid viewpoints, but my intent here was to provide solutions for our community TODAY.

End the current system, and go to a free market system. What more solution do you want?

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #25 on: August 21, 2009, 03:13:38 PM »
End the current system, and go to a free market system. What more solution do you want?

Yea, to put it differently, the government messing with auto and steel worker wages in the 30s-40s led to the bloated semi-socialist insurance giants which led to over regulation of said insurance giants by more government involvement. Then government became a direct competitor in the insurance industry through Medicare/Medicaid etc which led to increased bureaucracy both in the government health care oversight and in the insurance industry as it sought to defend its self from governments as a competitor.
All of this government meddling led to an unstable and unsustainable price structure completely separated from the laws of supply and demand.

The answer, remove all interference and allow the market to naturally correct the problem.

or

Continue government meddling in healthcare under the blind faith that more government is always the answer, no matter the question.

Offline fred.greek

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2009, 06:09:52 AM »
While I don't agree with everything in the petition, I agree with it far
more than I do the proposals coming from the White House and Congress...

*******
(http://www.HealthRevolutionPetition.org)

1. Federal government encouragement and reward for the People taking
personal responsibility for their own health

- A full federal income tax deduction, with no minimum, for the purchase
of any product, service, or device that is intended for use in the
improvement of health. This includes, but is not limited to, dietary and
herbal supplements, gym memberships, health coaching services, exercise
equipment, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies or any
other health-enhancing products and services.

- The immediate creation of an investigatory panel, comprised of leaders
from both conventional and naturopathic backgrounds, that would
investigate the "Citizens In Charge" debit card health care system
described at www.HealthRevolutionPetition.org/Ci...


* The "Citizens In Charge" health care system is a
"socialized-free-market" system of health care that eliminates all
health insurance and puts health care decisions back into the hands of
the People, allowing them to spend their government-provided health care
funds on any health-related products or services they choose
(conventional, alternative, licensed or unlicensed).

* The investigatory panel shall report on the economic viability (and
potential savings) of the program, as well as the likely improvements in
health care outcomes. This report shall be made publicly available on
the internet for all citizens to read and discuss.


2. Restore Health Freedom to All Americans and Legalize Healing

- Allow all practitioners of the healing arts, licensed or otherwise,
the freedom to practice healing arts with the consent of patients. End
all government persecution of alternative and complementary care
practitioners and clinics.

- End FDA oppression of free speech about health products and therapies.

- Protect access to dietary supplements, colloidal silver, medicinal
herbs and anti-cancer products.

- End FTC and FDA assaults on the Free Speech rights of natural health
companies who accurately describe the health benefits of their products.

- Affirm the rights of American moms and dads to choose to avoid
mandatory vaccinations of their children.

- End federal assaults (DEA) on the possession or sale of medicinal
plants that have been medically recognized and legalized by States such
as California.

- Legalize Healing: End state monopoly medical licensing laws that grant
conventional medical authorities absolute power to decide who can or
cannot practice medicine.


3. End FDA Tyranny, Censorship and Corruption

- End the FDA's definition of a "drug" and strip it of authority to
censor truthful health claims about dietary supplements.

- End revolving door employment between the FDA and Big Pharma; fire
current FDA employees and advisors with past financial ties to Big
Pharma.

- Require full disclosures of financial conflicts of interest of FDA
managers, scientists and decision panel members.

- End the FDA's Big Pharma-initiated attack on compounding pharmacies
and bioidentical hormone therapy.

- Investigate the FDA's collusion with pharmaceutical companies in
hiding clinical trial data from the American public.


4. Protect the Food Supply

- Ban GMOs in the U.S. food supply.

- Ban harmful food additives: MSG, aspartame and sodium nitrite.

- Require honest labeling of irradiated foods.

- Require country-of-origin labeling for all foods sold in the U.S.

- Ban the importation of foods using pesticides outlawed in the U.S.

- Save California's almond growers and end the fumigation of raw
almonds.

- Require honest investigation into mad cow disease and the questionable
practices of factory animal farms.

- Only permit "harmonization" of our healthcare and food laws with other
nations if all the freedoms and rights mentioned in this petition are
respected and guaranteed both domestically and in the harmonizing
nation.


5. Restore Honest Science to Medicine

- Require the open, timely publication of all medical studies.

- Require open disclosure of all ties between study authors, researchers
and for-profit entities.

- Require clinical trial results to report ABSOLUTE numbers, not just
relative numbers.

- Require long-term testing of drugs (at least 12 months) before
approval in order to determine real-world side effects.

- Require safety testing of multiple drug combinations that are commonly
prescribed to real patients.

- End disease mongering and the psychiatric medication of infants and
toddlers. Outlaw the drugging of young children with mind-altering
chemicals such as ADHD drugs.


6. End Era of Big Pharma Domination Over Health Care

- End all drug-company-funded "benefits" to doctors, including
vacation-style CME events, speaking fees, consulting fees and author
fees.

- Investigate and prosecute drug company executives for intentionally
hiding negative drug trial data and misleading the public about the
safety of their products.

- Get Big Pharma out of medical schools.

- Guarantee the right of consumers to sue drug companies and medical
device manufacturers for damages caused by unsafe products.

- Restore power to the FTC to regulate commercial drug advertising
practices.

- Modify the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to double product liability and
personal injury awards involving any pharmaceuticals that are advertised
in a Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) manner.

- Enact legislation that would impose substantial criminal penalties for
executives of drug companies that advertise drugs for which serious
adverse events were known by the company at the time the drug was
submitted to the FDA for approval.

- Regulate direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription
medications by removing its jurisdiction from the FDA and shifting it to
the FTC, which is normally the agency that exercises jurisdiction over
commercial advertising. Additionally:

* Require such ads to prominently and conspicuously display, for a
period of no less than five seconds, a toll-free phone number that drug
consumers may use to report drug side effects.

* Disallow the practice of using celebrity spokespersons for the
promotion of any drug.

* Disallow ads that exaggerate claims of drug benefits or that do not
accurately reflect the scientific findings of clinical trials.

* Require all statistical claims of drug benefits to be stated in
absolute numbers, not relative numbers.

* Require drug side effects reports gathered through the toll-free phone
number to be reported on a timely basis to the FDA.

* Require the FTC to disallow pharmaceutical "lifestyle advertising"
that suggests taking a drug will dramatically transform the lifestyle of
the patient. Lifestyle advertising sends a dangerous message that the
"before" person (depressed, miserable, unhealthy-looking) will be
magically changed into the "after" person (healthy, vibrant, happy,
energetic and sexy) by taking the drug.


7. Protect Children From Products That Compromise Their Health

- Restrict commercial advertising of junk foods, sodas and caffeine
energy drinks to programming hours not commonly viewed by children.

- Eliminate junk food and soda vending machines from all schools and
public buildings.

- Get processed foods out of the school lunch program and encourage the
use of fresh, unprocessed foods.

- End mandatory vaccination requirements (as per section 2, above),
restoring this decision to parents.


8. Ban Man-Made, Non-Natural Cancer-Causing Chemicals in Cosmetics and
Personal Care Products

- Ban man-made, non-natural chemicals in cosmetics that have not been
proven safe.

- Require government-funded testing of commonly used man-made,
non-natural chemicals to determine their safety.

- Require honest labeling of cosmetics and personal care products with
appropriate cancer warnings.

- Recognize that the skin absorbs chemicals, and chemicals used on the
skin can enter the bloodstream.


9. Invest in Disease Prevention

- Encourage and permit tax deductions for routine testing of vitamin D
as part of routine patient exams.

- Encourage vitamin D supplementation and sensible sunlight exposure to
correct deficiencies.

- Teach the population about nutrition, vitamin D, medicinal foods and
disease prevention by using Public Service Announcements.


10. Protect the Environment from Drug and Chemical Companies

- Require the EPA to investigate the environmental impact of
pharmaceuticals in the water supply.

- End the chemical fluoridation of public water supplies.

- Require hospitals, pharmacies and nursing homes to dispose of expired
pharmaceuticals in an environmentally-conscious away that avoids more
drugs being flushed down the drain and passing intact through waste
water treatment facilities and then into our bodies when we consume tap
water.

You can sign the petition yourself at:
http://www.HealthRevolutionPetition.org

Offline chris

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2009, 07:51:45 AM »
Ban. Require. Protect. End.

What a nightmare.

Offline rmg7

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Re: Show Topic: Health Insurers vs. Health Reform
« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2009, 10:17:15 PM »
Keep Schips for the young
Keep Medicaid for the disabled
Keep Medicare for the elderly
Keep medical ins payments tax deductible.
Mandate that employers get out of health care
Mandate that ins companys can not rate jack you for a health care issue
Provide a single form to be filled out by new insurance applicants with limited health risk questions.
Encourage long plan terms like 5, 10 and 20 years. Allow people to lock in their risk.
Standardize billing for doctors to insurance companies. Allowing doctors to streamline billing and reduce overhead.

Well said. These would be excellent fixes to the current system. If you can hire enough hit men to get rid of all Ins-Co's lobbyists, then these should pass in Congress just fine. LOL

Long term though, I think having the Isn-Co's as middle men deciding how and why we should be treated is a faulty proposition. The only exception to this is if you mix both of our viewpoints: make everyone pay for their day-to-day health care, and for the really unaffordable stuff give us the option to buy high-premium catastrophic insurance. Then again, what if you're poor and don't earn enough money to pay for medical costs. Then the whole thing swings towards the humanitarian side of the argument, i.e. universal healthcare.

Here's a link to a free portal where Sicko by Michael Moore can be seen: http://www.documentarywire.com/sicko.
Please send this link to all of your friends and family who may not have seen it. Scary stuff.

In the movie, there's a segment where a lady buys her medicine for $.05, whereas in the US she had to pay $120 for the same stuff. I find it shameful and unethical that we as tax payers in the US and in PR have to live under the gun of Big Pharma and Ins-Co's profits. Is this due to Gov't intervention: most likely. Or is this due to corporate greed: no doubt.

I have a personal story to tell about Big Pharma.

I worked for Amgen Manufacturing back in 2006-2007 as an independent consultant for architecture, construction, and interiors. The plant in Juncos is Amgen's main manufacturing facility in the world until the company finalizes an identical plant in Ireland. So all the drugs that Amgen makes and distributes come out of Juncos, period. That makes it a critical piece of their international operations and of their corporate profit scheme. Thus, one could safely assume that the managers and administrators that are hired would be of the highest caliber. Sorry to break the news, but sadly this is not so.

Working for the Space Planning division, allowed me to meet and interact with many people of the different departments that make up the plant here in PR. I made very good professional connections and also made great friends during those 16 months with employees, consultants, and subcontractors. This combination of mobility and personal relationships gave me access to a lot of insider information. One of the most shocking things that I discovered was the incredible ineptitude of the department managers and plant administrators across the board. Most "bottom-rung" employees coincided that their managers were there because they had come in first, not because they had the proper credentials or had proven a good track record along the way.

I for one, quickly discovered that my managers were definitely less qualified than I was to do the tasks at hand. It got to the point that our group of five or six external consultants were doing all the significant work of the department, while the seven permanent employees were simply too busy preparing project metrics, planning meetings or responding to emails related to past meetings. Eventually we stopped informing with significant detail how we were managing our projects because otherwise the red tape culture wouldn't have allowed us to complete as many projects as we did on time and in budget. Yes, we did become a little subversive group within the corporate umbrella. What's really funny is that the word spread that we were the problem solvers and even the dumb ass dept. heads were requesting our services directly on hallway conversations. It's as if the mediocres were intelligent enough to realize that the only way to get things done was to join the revolution within. Needless to say when the cutbacks came, we were the first to leave. I still have a bunch of e-mails of people that were really sad to see us leave.

I don't have the exact numbers, but I can assure you we saved Amgen millions of dollars that would have been wasted in silly manager power moves, coordination mishaps, and red tape silliness. Long story short, Amgen wastes millions of dollars in unnecessary infrastructure refurbishment, pays external consultants millions and hires extra personnel that is not properly qualified all justified by thinly veiled pretext of law and procedures compliance. [i.e., corporate and government BS]. And please, don't think for a minute this is due to the fact that these are a bunch of third world Puerto Ricans. No, no, no. The managerial crew is both local and international, so are the greedy external consultants, and the red tape comes from the tape feeder machine in Thousand Oaks, Colorado - corporate headquarters.

How does this relate to the topic at hand, well I'm just pointing out that Aranesp, Neupogen, and Neulasta are incredible drugs for patients with life-threatening conditions, but also that the patients out there that are dying of cancer are paying needlessly for extremely irresponsible corporate behavior, luxuries and ego moves from the company's managers. My inside informants told me once that to develop, manufacture, package and ship Neupogen cost Amgen around $70million after government subsidies. They made that money back in their first lot. Ask around to see how much is charged for that medicine at your local pharmacy. The following years until patent expiration are simply to fill the coffers with Peruvian silver and Mexican gold. This was confirmed to me by one of AML-1 managers that has been with them since the company first came to PR.

To make matters even more immoral, all of these drugs that are made in PR, leave the island only to be shipped back in to be distributed to all the local suppliers and then on to the clinics. Think of what this does to the cost of the drugs. This is WRONG, very wrong. Puerto Ricans should somehow get a benefit for all the effort and manpower that goes into making these medicines that provide better lives to many, many people around the globe. Even an Amgen employee in PR that needs to be treated for chemo will pay more for the drug he makes with his own hands, that a Joe Nobody in Kansas City.

I mean, if this is not upside down, then I must be from another planet.

Let me finish by saying that I was really glad when they kicked me out. Many years before I "met" Jack, I followed Jack's golden rule when loosing a job: that afternoon I paid a round of beers and pizza to my fellow subversives in that last Happy Hour in front of the manufacturing plant.

Will the free market help in making Amgen more efficient and their medications more affordable? Hard to say. I have a distinct feeling it will not work.

BTW, I did listen to the Everyday Anarchist and found it fascinating. Thanks for the link. I still hold my position regarding healthcare. On other subjects, I'm closer to a true anarchist.