the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Obamacare

Posted by Jeff Id on June 21, 2010

Thank god for Obama and his supporters.  Without them, how would we know the way to prosperity.

UPDATE 1-Individuals see health insurance costs jump-report

Strange, now that we’ve regulated companies to take away profit and given everyone insurance wasn’t the cost supposed to drop?

WASHINGTON, June 21 (Reuters) – U.S. health insurers are raising prices by an average of 20 percent for working age adults who buy their own policies, according to a survey released by a nonprofit healthcare group on Monday.

Twenty PERCENT!!  I wish.  My company provides insurance to our employees and our insurance jumped 40% this year.  FORTY!!  Twenty percent sounds like a trip to heaven at this point.  Five years ago, our insurance jumped 30%, then 20% then a series of 5 percent hikes and this year 40…… Thank god for democrats.

I love this reporting….

The findings come as the Obama administration works with insurers to implement some of the new rules under the recently passed healthcare law, which aims to expand consumers’ coverage while cracking down on discriminatory industry practices.

Just who believes this stuff is beyond me.  Maybe Sod I guess.

“With people in the individual market being hit with average increases of 20 percent, the survey shows that the steep increases we have been reading about over the last several months are not just extreme cases,” Kaiser Family Foundation Chief Executive Officer Drew Altman said in a statement.

No, no they are not….extreme.

Although individual, or “nongroup,” policies are a small slice of the health insurance industry, they have attracted sharp scrutiny in recent months amid reports of price increases as high as 39 percent.

Ah yes, well as a business owner, let me report a somewhat higher increase of 40 f…ing percent, across a whole bunch of people!!  We don’t charge our workers a penny but pay the whole thing.

Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for the industry’s lobby group, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), defended the industry’s premium hikes, citing “soaring medical costs” and the number of younger, healthier consumers who are opting out of coverage. AHIP fought the healthcare reform bill.

The costs in medicine these days are related to the massive regulation and liability heaped on us by the same ‘government’ that ‘fixed’ the problem several months ago.

But other reforms, such as protections for those with pre-existing health conditions, do not go into effect until 2014.

By then, all Americans will be required to have health insurance or risk paying a fine. States can also set up health insurance exchanges aimed at providing consumers one-stop shopping to compare plans.

Yup, now we are forced to have health insurance.  We’re forced to pay a private company for service.  Nothing has ever been more unconstitutionally mandated in our lives but our population has been brainwashed — or imported — so the majority CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT!!

I know it sounds angry, I know you convince more people when you’re calm, but if you’re not angry you are not paying attention.  So without further ado, the biggest lie of all…

“Insurance is still going to be expensive because healthcare is expensive,” said Gary Claxton, vice president and director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Marketplace Project, but he said many of the reforms should help increase competition for those shopping for their own coverage.

With mandated health care insurance, the competition will continue to raise prices.  There is no market feedback when the price is too high, only when the price is higher than the guy next door.  We don’t have the option of telling them no, unless we want the governnment to step in and steal the money.


27 Responses to “Obamacare”

  1. Sean said

    The average household income in the US is around $50K. The average premium for group family health insurance is $13.5K. A quarter of the average person’s income goes to health insurance. What do you think the total percentage of compensation would be devoted to health care if you factored in taxes and Medicare deductions? Let’s face it, we are all working to support the health care industry now.

  2. Sean said

    A clarification, that $50K is the median household income.

  3. Jeff Id said

    #2 so if we happen to live to 75, we will have paid..one million dollars to health ”insurance” which typically has a limit of around 2 million.

    hmmm.

  4. Jeff Id said

    Also, Sean #2, your numbers are right on for our group 80/20 PPO with $1000 out of pocket max…

  5. michel said

    Yes, this is why you need private sector provision of health care, and universal health insurance run by the government. The government is the low cost provider of insurance, but a truly dreadful operator of health care services.

    If you look at this systematically, you have in the US private provision and private insurance. Both are incredibly expensive. Making the insurance mandatory does not make it run any cheaper.

    In the UK you have state provision of both, with the insurance tied to the state sector. The result is disastrous levels of hospital infections, rationing and denial of care, proliferation of administration costs, ridiculous schemes in the provision sector that have nothing to do with providing health care, featherbedding….

    In Continental Europe, you have private sector provision of care, and government universal insurance with some private supplements.

    The only one of these that works is the Continental European model. It delivers quality care, consumer choice, known entitlements, at the lowest cost.

    There is a fourth entry on the matrix, but I know of no country that has tried it, that would be to combine state provision of care with private sector insurance. That ought to deliver the worst of all possible worlds, the competing insurance companies would incur huge administrative costs (as they do in the US) in the effort to screen out bad risks, and the state provision sector would be thoroughly feather bedded and have a total lack of quality control or workplace discipline, as the UK NHS does.

    Someone is bound to try this one day….

  6. AEGeneral said

    Holy crap Jeff! $1,000 out-of-pocket max & you’re not charging the employees for premiums? Can I come work for you? Gees, the company my wife works for has 40,000 employees & the out-of-pocket max is $5,000!

    On another note Jeff, have you gotten wind of the new 1099 requirements they hid in the bill? I just found out in the last CPA newsletter. Starting in 2012, you’ll be required to issue a 1099 to anyone & everyone you pay over $600 in a year, regardless of legal entity. Corporation, LLC, doesn’t matter. So to give you an idea, the company I work for has about $10M in sales/yr. I’ll go from issuing about 30 1099′s to roughly 750. Imagine how many a company like FedEx will have to issue.

    There’s your 16,000 new IRS agents right there. That’s at least a billion new pieces of paper. I thought I was angry before, then I find out about this….

  7. CO2 Realist said

    I’m self employed, with a policy for my wife and 16 year old and a separate policy for me. My wife and son’s policy just went up 30% and mine went up 39% to a total cost of about $15,000 per year. Our claims in the one year preceeding this? Annual physicals for my wife and I and one trip to the doc for me to get steriod cream for an allergic rash on my arm. Really life threatening stuff to explain the rate hike.

    Even Saturday Night Live understands you can’t give 30 million people health care for free:

    http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/china-cold-open/1178451/

    The health care part comes in around 2:25, but the entire thing is worth watching.

  8. twawki said

    Aaaah add that to the cost increases in electricity and water. And don’t forget as basic service costs go up they drive everything else up. For example if electricity goes up so does the cost of food. And as electricity is a base cost and many businesses seek a 100% markup then double the cost of the electricity price will then be passed on.

  9. Rob R said

    Michael

    That is more-or-less what we have in New Zealand, but with the addition of some private hospitals.

    Our system reeks of inflated spending in the largely government controlled health sector and a continuous very expensive expansion of its administrative system. It seems that year by year proportionately less actual money gets alocated to the direct provision of sevices by medical staff.

    Similar ills infect our education sector.

    As a reward for constant expansion of the role of central government in most aspects of out lives the government has enforced an emissions trading scheme (mandated price on carbon)onto us. So now we can feel good about paying for the blood sucking public service from our taxes and we can feel good about the alarmist environmental crusade at the same time.

    Hooray for Politicians, what would we do without them.

    By the way I have generally had pretty good service at the pointy end of the system. No complaints about the doctors and nurses. The administrators are a real problem pushing the latest fad and telling us how to live our lives.

  10. Tom Bauch said

    I think this must be part of Obama’s plan to increase jobs… He read about the UK National Health employment numbers:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article1050197.ece

  11. Scott B said

    The problem with the health plan is that it left the main problem with our health care system in place. Insurance companies. They make a profit by refusing care to as many people as they can. They set prices at a point where they make the most money, but millions can’t afford coverage. Acceptable it most areas of business, but not when it comes to peoples’ lives IMO. The further right solution of industry regulation and strict limits against malpractice suits would have been preferrable to this POS compromise. This is the only area I can think where the far left solution of single payer would have been preferable. Cover every citizen and get businesses out of having to purchase plans. Yes, wait times would have increased a lot and the quality of care on average would have dropped. Exceptable losses for me to allow millions to get the care they need without abusing our emergency rooms.

  12. j ferguson said

    Jeff,
    we bought policies with high deductibles for our employees and then pledged to them that the company (me) would pay the delta between the old deductible and the new one – $3,000 annual max.

    we had 10 employees who I imagined we knew well and didn’t have a bad experience over the 5 years we did this. and in late 80s early 90s, we saved some real bucks this way.

    best regards, john

  13. michel said

    Scott B, #11, yes.

    It is not really important whether you call it far left or whatever. What counts is that it is the lowest cost highest return solution to the problem. As long as you have sole provision of this particular kind of insurance by competing financial services companies, you cannot avoid the two evils you identify. “They make a profit by refusing care to as many people as they can. They set prices at a point where they make the most money, but millions can’t afford coverage.”

    The problem also is, that in order to screen out these bad risks, they incur huge administrative expenses. If you look at Belgium, a country not noted for administrative efficiency, you see that Belgium can manage to run an insurance system with well defined guaranteed payouts and treatments for health conditions, not incur out of control costs, not overrun budgets by significant amounts, and all this without rationing or inflicting long treatment delays to compensate for bad state budgeting.

    Something the UK routinely does. The UK assigns a certain amount of money to local health authorities, if they budget badly, or if too many of the wrong kind of illnesses come in, they just increase the waiting time. In fact, there have been cases in the UK where health authorities have been fined for treating people too quickly. This is the problem with a unified, state does both, system. It has the option of manipulating treatments in order to fix budgets. The great element of discipline about the Belgian system is that this option is not open. So the state insurance scheme has a great incentive to get its budgets right, and the hospitals and doctors all have incentives to treat promptly and properly, knowing they will get paid.

    It is not cheap (though its a lot cheaper in terms of what it delivers than the US system). But it takes away the uncertainty, and it makes sure that the insurance dollars actually get spent on healthcare. And by making sure everyone is covered and cared for, it means that you have a society which is generally perceived to be fair and working. You do not have this awful situation that exists in the US where, lose your job, lose your health care insurance. It is yours, it travels with you wherever you work or don’t work.

  14. stan said

    You can only control costs by making sure that those receiving the care have the incentives to monitor costs and comparison shop. Obama has moved us even farther away from that situation. Obviously, a stupid move for the country, but his motivation wasn’t our best interests.

    If you want to encourage innovation to develop new drugs and new technologies for treatment, Obamacare is a disaster. If you want to control costs, it’s a disaster. If you want to foster freedom and liberty, it’s a disaster. If you want to retain some control over your healthcare decisions, it’s a disaster. If you want to reward Democrats’ special interests, it’s a success.

  15. stan said

    13,

    Without the enormous subsidies provided by the US, all of the nationalized health systems would be even worse than they are now. Without the profits from the US market, cheap new drugs and inexpensive new technology wouldn’t be available. If Obamacare isn’t stopped in the USA, the quality of care in the rest of the world is going to tank badly or get a lot more expensive.

  16. kim said

    Among other reasons, health care has come to cost so much because the consumer, with no money(bills paid by ins. co) and no expertise(compared to the doctor), had little input to the spending decisions by the doctors. Over the last 20 years that flaw has been partly remedied by insurance company feedback into the medical decision process. There were still flaws, but also a dynamic and responsive market.

    With government fiat, the market’s dynamism and responsiveness is lost. We will end up with less care for more money, and increasingly worthless money at that. The citizenry will become sullen, once they realize that better care has been unnecessarily taken from them. We have had the wonders of modern care, and that will progressively be taken from us.

    But I suspect much of Obamacare will be repealed. It is too radical, and too much a poor substitution to stand among a free people. And Democratic politicians are going to end up resentful of how much power is being taken from them by this administration’s lust for socialism.
    ==================

  17. j ferguson said

    “Why do you care? Medicare covers it.”

    Aunt was comatose and on her way to her reward. “Hospice consulting services” were proposed.
    “For whom?”
    “Her”
    “But she’s comatose”
    “Why do you care? Medicare will pay for it.”

    Same thing with speech therapist and someone who was going to help her organize her life while in full-time nursing care.

    It’s amazing what they will try to sell to someone who isn’t paying. My take is we ARE paying – and paying – and paying.

  18. kim said

    Yep, JF, incentives in government health care are already perverted. Imagine how much worse it is going to get.
    =================

  19. Les Johnson said

    It could be worse guys. You could live in Canada.

    I can’t get a doctor in this town, as none are accepting patients. They can’t get doctors to work here, because of the government mandated charges. Doctors can’t charge any more than this.

    Most of the doctors here are from Pakistan, Nigeria or South Africa, who signed a 5 year contract to stay in this small town.

    The only way I can get medicine for my gout, is to sit in the hospital waiting room for 3 or 4 hours.

    For what its worth, the South African I had last time in the ER, couldn’t wait to get back home to SA.

  20. Retired Engineer said

    You miss the whole point. Obamacare will save the nation. From financial disaster.

    It’s all about old people. With cuts in Medicare and National Medical Service review boards to decide what treatments people will or will not get, us old folks get the shaft. 80 years old and need triple bypass? Sorry, not appropriate. The UK already has this and is expanding. They have decided to greatly reduce surgical procedures, to save money. Seniors take it on the chin. Our productive years are past, so “no soup for you!”

    Why is this good? Simple: with so many geezers, Social Security will bankrupt the nation. The demographics are a disaster. (young people pay more in, so thay can stay) Solution: kill off SS recipients. And save the country. Sieg Heil!

    It amazes me that no one else has seen this.

    (I do wish we had a sarcasm font …)

  21. Sean Peake said

    You may be better off here in Canada—apparently we’re in much better shape than the US (not surprising), and we get all the good TV channels, too.

  22. kdk33 said

    “Without the enormous subsidies provided by the US, all of the nationalized health systems would be even worse than they are now. ”

    dingdingdingdingding… We have a Winner.

    How long ’till everyone else figures this out.

  23. Jason Calley said

    The only reason why someone would expect the new health care programs to cut consumer costs, is if you somehow believe that provision of affordable care is one of the actual reasons why the program was created. I do not see any evidence that this belief is justified.

    Here is the sad fact (but one which unbiased observation will verify): EVERY program or legislation promulgated by the upper rank politicians is designed to seize a larger amount of wealth or power for the politicians and their supporters. No exceptions. None. If you think there is an exception, then think a little more. Any program or law which does somehow help “the little guy” is passed only as a way of keeping the little guy sleepy and pliant so that the shearing will be easier.

    You understand that concensus is not a basis for good science. Realize as well, that just because everyone believes the politicians when they say that they “are working for the good of the people” does not make it true. Observe what actually happens, what is actually implemented, and you will see that the concensus opinion which believes in the good motives of our leaders is, quite simply, not correct. Our politicians are the absolutely best liars in the world. Do not believe them when they say that they are working for YOU. They are not. Not ever.

  24. Sam said

    This is another case where everyone really knew that ‘health care reform’ would increase costs, but some (Democrats) supported it anyways. I had a conversation with a liberal professor of mine right after the law passed, and he eventually admitted that he knew this would increase costs. I asked him why he still supported it, if he knew this obvious truth. He told me that it was essential to just ‘get our foot in the door’ to make the necessary changes latter. That’s the current tactic: pass any bill you can, then fix it later. If they now have a good plan to lower costs and fix it, why didn’t they propose this plan back then? Or wait a few months to get a better plan? Because they aren’t going to lower costs, they don’t want to. They want to step in and save us from the greedy insurance companies, probably by creating a public option or even just nationalizing them. I would put a plug in here to ‘vote in November’ but honestly I think once Republicans have power they aren’t much different.

  25. j ferguson said

    Les Johnson,
    I’m hard pressed to discover data to support this, but some doctors (general practitioners) here in the US don’t accept new patients and there are towns without doctors.

    Anecdotally, this is ascribed to insufficient numbers of doctors and attraction of specialization over general practice.

    New Yorker Magazine published an excellent analysis of medical services costs in two Texas cities, El Paso and San Marco that were quite different because of the different choices the doctors made in treatment arrays. Surprising that there should have been different local patterns but there were and they were very different, despite the patient populations being similar.

    Our pre-Obamacare insurance system was no protection form these regional cost excursions although it should have been. My possibly incorrect memory is that per-patient annual medical cost was $14k in San Marco and $6k in El Paso.

    The new system won’t fix it either. System that limits cost of each treatment component but does not get into how many components are prescribed can’t do it. And that is what we had, and still have.

    Again, why not get all the bells and whistles if you are not paying yourself? You like it and the doctors like it.

    A better system would be one where the medical system gets paid while you are well and doesn’t when you’re not. then it is in their interest to fix you and since it’s at their expense they will look closely at cost and result data.

  26. j ferguson said

    An analogy.

    electric radiator fan quits on car. You take it to shop in San Marco where they replace both temperature sensor switch on radiator and fan.

    In El Paso, they spend the 10 minutes on labor to test switch and fan separately, discover switch is bad and replace switch.

    Any fool would know that both can’t fail simultaneously.

    cost of switch replacement one hour labor and cost of switch.

    Cost of switch and fan replacement: switch, fan, 3 hours labor.

    This is exactly what is going on in our healthcare system. Those who think the market system provides absolute protection from such practices should realize that when insurance company profits are a percentage of cash-flow, the higher the cash-flow, the higher the profits, until the horse’s back is broken.

    And unfortunately, the people who think that Obamacare will change this are wrong.

    I still like the guy. But there’s only so much that can be done in a country so full of people who don’t understand what they are doing – ie concentrated in Washington

  27. Adam Gallon said

    You’ve also got to factor in the effects of your legal system.
    Patient presents with symptoms, gets examined & treated.
    Something happens, be it gets worse, or even drops dead.
    Up pops the lawyer, court case, “Was he/she CAT scanned?” – “No” – “Negligence, award us, sorry, the patient a few million bucks!”

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