Democrats Seize on Wellpoint’s 39% Rate Hike to Renew Reform Effort

By | February 12, 2010

  • February 12, 2010 at 7:02 am
    Hooray for Capitalism!! says:
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    Mr. Waiting to See Your Answer: I’ve been posting for six months on this topic…..if you were tuned in you’d know.

    The public school system (which is poor quality) is irrelevant…..the public option is NOT SELF SUPPORTING! It’s a bottomless pit of taxpayer funded care.

  • February 12, 2010 at 11:32 am
    Jane Logan says:
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    The industry will jack the rates while blaming health care reform. Just before meaningful health care reforms take effect in 2014 or 2016 health insurance companies will just stop writing health insurance.

    It will be the same situation as when insurance companies stopped writing homeonwer insurance in coastal (not only waterfront) areas.

    The only difference being when the industry dropped coastal homeowners they had the “FAIR” Plans to find coverage.

    Without a Public Option consumers will have no choice when the industry simply stops writing health insurance.

  • February 12, 2010 at 12:44 pm
    youngin' says:
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    Please explain why health insurance companies will abruptly stop writing health insurance policies. This assertion appears to have no basis in theory or fact.

  • February 12, 2010 at 12:58 pm
    Rick says:
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    A Public Option will eventually turn into a subsidized one which the USA cannot even closely afford. Fortunately the polls reflect the people grasp this fact and resoundingly are against it.

  • February 12, 2010 at 12:59 pm
    SAM says:
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    That is a bit of a crazy comment, health insurers will not stop writing coverage, they are enjoying record profits yet again as announced. Even if their profits are cut by 50% they would still be VERY profitable in general. The giants like Anthem will never go away and there arent many smaller ones left. I work in the health care benefit industry and believe me the carriers arent going anywhere regardless of whether there is a govt run option or not. They are doing pretty well!

  • February 12, 2010 at 12:59 pm
    Bear says:
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    I am for healthcare reform, and i understand the argument for a public option. What I don’t understand is why we are only focused on health insurers, what about the medical device companies—and pharma? Where are they in the rising costs equation? Should they be part of this Reform?

    To what extent are Medical Device and Pharma business practices at the root of rising costs? Has anyone looked at this? Or is all about greedy insurance profit margins and life style choices?

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:00 am
    Texas agent says:
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    Won’t the companies have to discontinue writing health insurance when the government puts so many mandates on them that they cannot make a profit. Isn’t that what businsses are supposed to do? Oh wait, most politicians in Washington
    have never run a business. I am sick and tired of the politicians thinking that government is the answer to everything.
    The Health Insurance industry is not a social program. It is a for-profit business.

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:05 am
    Hooray for Capitalism!!! says:
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    Democrats mistakenly believe that this is ammo for their bill…

    In reality, it’s ammo for Republicans…….because the current healthcare reform legislation is going to do NOTHING to reduce costs…and therefore nothing to reduce premiums. In fact, most health insurers LOGICALLY see the current reform proposals INCREASING PREMIUMS EVEN MORE THAN THEY ARE RISING NOW.

    Why?? Because the democrats legislation imposes new coverage requirements on the insurer…such as mandating increased benefits, eliminating caps on lifetime max’s, having to accept a known cancer patient for a measley initial monthly payment knowing they will pay millions in care in the near future, etc.

    These increased losses will result in a need for further increased premiums to account for the additional claims expense.

    Notice how Congress wants answers by Feb. 24? The day before the televised 2/25 healthcare summit? I await the spin.

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:05 am
    Draco says:
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    Take a big pay cut or take a hike! (and we don’t mean a price hike!). You’re not needed–just a bunch of parasites…

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:05 am
    Rick says:
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    Health insurance companies have the second lowest return on equity of any American industry. Average profit is 2% to 4% – hardly excessive.

    If Liberals/Progressives hate profit that much they can purchase their health insurance from the many non-profits that compete for the business.

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:08 am
    Otto says:
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    Draco, your post is illogical

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:08 am
    Doctor J says:
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    With the economy in bad shape and people losing their jobs, those in good health are opting out. That leaves a smaller, sicker pool to pay for rising costs. No wonder they want a rate increase. God forbid an insurer turn a profit.

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:09 am
    Hooray for Capitalism!!! says:
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    Because you are clearly one who has bought into Obama’s bastardization of incoming earning and profit making, are you willing to share:
    1. Age
    2. Sex
    3. State in which you reside
    4. Occupation, if any
    5. Level of Education

    Thanks.

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:12 am
    Just Curious says:
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    Rick: You say you are opposed to public options because they become subsidized.

    Would you then also suggest eliminating the public options available in p&C such as:
    Work Comp State Funds (Competitive and
    Monopolistic)
    Auto Assigned Risk plans
    Work comp residual market programs
    JUA’s
    FAIR Plans
    Etc.
    These are all public and all subject to subsidies.

    And what about Guaranty Associations? Are you opposed to these as well? After, they are just government subsidies with indirect taxes.

    Just Curious

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:16 am
    CY says:
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    Why do you need health insurance? It is because you do not want to pay for it when you are sick or for something that you can’t afford to pay? Americans have been spoiled for years. Americans are willing to pay over $100 to eat at expensive restaurants, hair colors, haircuts etc. But they do not want to pay to get wellness check and doctor visits. They want to have $10 copay to see doctors. In Singapore, there is no such as insurance to pay doctor visit. Singaporeans buy hospital insurance, critical illness and pay to see doctors out of pocket and pay to have wellness exam done. I did not need to see doctor to have a ultrasound and I paid $80 in a hospital 10 years ago. In America, you need to see a doctor to write a paper to lab, then you go to lab, then you have to go back to your doctor to hear the result. It takes 3 trips for 1 exam. Those procedures are very costly. Emergency room services are for people in health crisis. Those who abuse it should be responsible any cost. No legal and illegal can get around. Someone has to pay it. You and me, people are paying health insurance and/or taxes. I do not understand who health insurance should pay for weight loss.

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:24 am
    Whimp Stomper says:
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    Nice Jane,

    Do some homework before waisting out time would ya?

    First, rates go through an approval process by the state regulatory agency, typicaly the Department of Insurance. (Insurance is state regulated)

    In this case, is seems these are isolated rate extremes, but I’ve seen rate increases in excess of 70%. There’s reasons. You just have to be educated to understand what rating variables the GOVERNMENT has allowed health insurers to use. For small group in Oregon, until recently, that’s only been age and sex.

    Secondly, IF your state (?) lacks an alternative health coverage option (I doubt it) that’s your states choice to fail to set one up. Most are subsidized so the cost is obtainable (in Oregon, the cost is set at 25% more than the average group rate, and is age banded, but not sex based).

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:37 am
    Rick says:
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    There is no comparison between individual states WC, A/R, Fair Plan etc to a Public Option for health insurance competiting over the entire population of the USA. I’m opposed to a Public Option for many reasons. One is the fact that it’s not needed! Many for profit and not for profit insurance companies today compete for this business. A Public Option would introduce an unfair competitor that has the advantage of tax payer backing and possible subsidized rates that tax payers would be responsible for. The USA today is BROKE, and a Public Option competiting in an unfair way for 300,000,000 people could send us into the abyss.

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:43 am
    Prediction says:
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    …if we stay with the status quo: Companies, like mine will feel squeezed even more in future years by the benefit plans they offer their employees. “Let’s get rid of this expensive prescription plan. Let’s increase the employees retention, etc.” Can you blame them? How many of us have seen our indivicual costs in our plans actually go down from one year to the next? Little by little, employers will reduce benefits to their employees and will take their chances on losing people to other firms. Before you know it, reducing bennies and passing on the costs to employees will be the thing to do. Private insurers will see this and will have no incentive to reduce rates or get rid of the restrictive terms current in their typical plans. More uninsured will use the local ER as their doctor of choice. I give the system about 10 more years before it blows up…if we do nothing. The solution is everyone pays into the system, like Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance…even Public School! The brains in congress actually can come together on a solution rather than calling each other names and trying to score political points. It’s not hard. We can do it and still look at our god fearing, capitalist selves in the mirror because the economy has been spared from another melt-down. How about that? A system where you don’t have to die or go broke because you’re sick. Who can argue that Medicare did not at least have a hand in increasing life expectancy significantly since the 1960s? In 10 years, when this system blows up (if we do nothing) the government may be forced to do something. That won’t be pretty. My prediction does not make me an enemy of captitalsm or a socialist. I have never worked for the government nor ever will (unless they make me a good offer). I don’t feel compelled to call people names or acuse Obama of wrecking America, etc. either. Some people are actually looking ahead. You cannot just look away from the growing costs in this current system. Today, $1 dollar out of every $6 dollars goes toward health care (17% of GDP). That is a far cry from 20 years ago (6%)…We are just wistling past the grave yard with all this cynicism and name calling….Forgive me for the probable misplellings in this post.

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:44 am
    richard says:
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    I have worked in the insurance agency business for over 40 years and I’ve always thought the management of insurance companies had to be some of the stupidest people in the world. Then the airline industry or the automobile industry tries to take their place on the stupid scale, but this poorly timed rate increase anouncement gets them right back to the top of the stupidity scale. Then I remember they are in California and that explains it all.

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:45 am
    Really now... says:
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    You are comparing Singapore to the US? Really? Apples to Watermellons…

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:47 am
    j. La Belle says:
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    As previously stated, Health Insurer profit margins are razor thin. The absolute dollar amounts are high because the VOLUMES are high. Additionally, the major increase in last quarter profit for Anthem (Wellpoint) was largely the result of their sale of their Pharmacy Benefits Management unit, NOT operating margins. This fact is clearly known by Sebelius, Obama, and all the other miserable Democrats who want to make an issue of this. The increases reflect a higher risk pool and were APPROVED by the State Insurance Commission. As long as State mandates are satisfied, the risk falls were it may and is priced accordingly. Much like whether you can afford filet mignon or dogmeat, Kias or Mercedes, etc.
    What do you think premium increases based on fundamental underwriting criteria would be under the current reform bill with the removal of caps, 30 to 40 million new (many indigent) enrollees, no pre-existing conditions, and a host of additional health mandates (my favorite is Transgender Reassignment Benefits in San Francisco!). Somebody has to pay for this and remember the “Government” is US!

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:48 am
    Otto says:
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    Your post ignores the fact that Medicare is broke and the USA national debt is fast approaching the point at which it cannot be paid back.

    If we want to survive as a country we must cut government programs and not add to them.

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:52 am
    tom irish says:
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    Companies are raiseing rates because of costs supposely have gone up. The big problem is WELLNESS. The american public in general do not practice HEALTH AND WELLNESS, go to the shopping mall and observe the individuals walking around and with the type of food in their hand and what is the per centage of them that are overweight. Japan is number 1 in health according to the world health organinzation, we are number 37, Japan practices preventive medicine, we in the USA push pills and if that does not work cut it out. The individuals who are in good physical shape should receive a discount on their insurance for practiceing Health and Wellness. We could also offer a policy to individual and or their families which meet certain fitness guild lines, companies get discounts who employess do the same. The overweight, smokers etc. cry that it not fair. Too bad.

  • February 12, 2010 at 2:18 am
    Just Curious says:
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    Rick: You say there’s no comparison. I disagree.

    In health insurance, a public option provides a mechanism for people who can’t afford to purchase insurance at actuarially determined rates a way of getting at least basic coverage.

    In each of the items I mentioned, the goal is to provide a mechanism for people (businesses) who can’t afford to purchase insurance at actuarially determined rates a way of getting at least basic coverage.

    Not doing this in health insurance is based on a belief that no one has a right to health insurance so the government should stay out of it. This is a sentiment I have seen expressed in IJ stories many times over the past few months.

    The P&C public options support home ownership, auto ownership and business ownership. We could eliminate these programs and say, if you can’t afford the insurance. too bad, sell your home, auto or business. But we don’t! We treat these things like they’re a right.

    Why is it appropriate for government to create programs which support owning homes, autos and businesses, but it’s completely unacceptable to create programs to support health?

  • February 12, 2010 at 2:18 am
    Fred says:
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    Everyone is still missing the point. Americans pay twice or more for HC than anyone else in the Western world. The biggest reason is because we do not use the efficencies of a single payer plan, rather we institutionalize a needdless health insurance industry that brings nothing to the table. Please explain exactly what they do besides adding billions to the cost side? Until we by- pass this entire industry and go single payer, we’ll all continue to get screwed.

  • February 12, 2010 at 2:24 am
    Hooray for Capitalism!!! says:
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    Fred……yet again, WE GET MORE THAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY TOO, in our health care…that’s why it costs more!!!!!!!!!!!

    Your continued promotion of goverment sponsored health insurance fails to consider that the care WILL NOT BE AS GOOD. And in our case, it will be MORE EXPENSIVE AS WELL!!!

  • February 12, 2010 at 2:35 am
    Rick says:
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    The problem with your point is the fact that this country cannot afford a Public Option as we are broke! What brought us to this umpleasant fact is too many government programs and government bureaucracies.

    In the not to distant future our government will have two options: default on the national debt or monetize it. Either way we are ruined, and still you propose an additional government program.

  • February 12, 2010 at 2:51 am
    Fred says:
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    Show me any world ranking that puts our health care system anywhere near the top – you can’t because we rank far down the list by most standards. Do we offer the best, in say, heart transplants, probably. But our system due to cost, inefficency, lack of access, is far from the best. Our country will go broke with the current system. Why is it that no other country is moving from a gov’t based system to a private system as it’s primary delivery system? Is everyone else just stupid! By the way, the Commonwealth Fund ranked the USA last in the quality of health care among the 19 countries compared in 2008. Show me your ranking!! We pay twice as much and rank last, what a deal!!

  • February 12, 2010 at 2:57 am
    Hooray for Capitalism!!! says:
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    An earlier post already debunked your assertion that the “US ranked 19th” in healthcare by the Commonwealth Fund….I don’t have time to research it, but common sense tells me that the ranking system doesn’t coincide with how most Americans themselves would rank their healthcare.

  • February 12, 2010 at 3:02 am
    Just Curious says:
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    Actually, I too have a major problem with government debt, an area which history suggests both the Democrats and Republicans disagree with me.

    I do, however, question why something as basic as health care needs to be the whipping boy. But, if government debt is the problem, use the P&C model where insurance companies are assessed to pay losses in the public option program. It doesn’t add to the national debt. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help on the taxes issue because it simply hides the amount of the tax and most people don’t notice.

    Throw in some tort reform where every bad outcome isn’t malpractice so less tests and paperwork are needed, limit coverage to major medical and trauma care and you’re moving in the right direction. Still a lot of details to work out but it should be possible to make it so that getting sick isn’t an economic death sentence.

    I personally prefer using the P&C model for requiring coverage (auto and work comp) for everyone because it spreads the risk better and doesn’t limit the payers into the system to only those with group coverage and those who are already sick but that’s open to discussion as well.

    Just an idea.

  • February 12, 2010 at 3:04 am
    Rick says:
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    Fred, I hate to bust your bubble but Canada and Great Brittan are in the infancy of moving to a free market style health insurance program as they can no longer afford the single payor they now have.

    Another fact you might want to consider: WE ARE NOW BROKE!

  • February 12, 2010 at 3:15 am
    Rick says:
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    Just Curious, It’s pleasant communicating with you. What a breath of fresh air!

    Keep in mind individual states cannot print money, only the Federal Reserve can. We deal with a new animal when we get the Feds involved and their record of financial competence is nil. Today, no one in the United States is turned away from health care and I think it would be smart to keep the Feds out of it.

    I must go – sorry – I’d like to continue with this.

  • February 12, 2010 at 3:29 am
    An Agent from Arizona says:
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    Where would the medical industry be without health insurance. It is a vehicle that has funded our system for years. “Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.” Do we need reform? Absolutley. The question is do we want a reform that the Democrats have tried to jam down our throats or contrary to the spin the Republicans have no ideas should we take a look at insurance companies being able to sell across state lines, modifying the approach to pre-existing conditions, and tort reform (so doctors don’t have to order every test under the sun or face potential malpractice) In my opinion we should not have price controls over medications. Why should products be shipped out of our country at way below what it cost us to purchase the medication here in the United States. Change we need, but not change that will add to our deficit and do nothing to reduce the cost. We don’t need a plan that includes the Louisiana purchase and the Nebraska cornhusk deal. Please Congress stop the pork, special interests, and paybacks.Please listen to the people who are footing the bill. We need our Congress to step up and show real leadership in true reform. After all isn’t that why we elected you (Congress)?

  • February 12, 2010 at 3:45 am
    Hooray for Capitalism!!! says:
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    After years of debating, it’s unfortunate that Obama’s ego will not allow him to seize the opportunity – and see that everyone is ready “for something” and actually consider the ideas of others……..He would rather let it die than not get his way on the playground.

  • February 12, 2010 at 3:46 am
    Fred says:
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    The public option is self supporting just like every other private health insurer with those earning less getting gov’t subsidies. The public option would not be burdened with marketing cost and inflated executive salaries not to mention keeping stockholders happy. With the gov’t ability to bargain for lower cost, the public option would result is large savings when compared to priviate health insurance companies. That’s why the private companies are scared to death, because they know they can’t compete. Medicare Advantage is Medicare administered by private companies. It cost about 114% of what gov’t Medicare health care cost due to additional built-in cost that the gov’t doesn’t incur.

    You guy’s still haven’t answered the question – What does private health insurance bring to the table?

  • February 12, 2010 at 3:52 am
    Hooray for Capitalism!!! says:
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    No government insurance program has EVER BEEN self supporting….from Medicare, Medicaid, National Flood Insurance, The State of Florida’s property insurer, Citizen’s, the State of Massachusettes bankrupt state health insurance program, Fannie and Freddie “the insurer of all mortgages”, the list goes on and on…..The government is really good at cooking up numbers to act as though they’ll be self supporting beforehand, but we all know, the government is not capable of self support….they merely back the program by my tax dollars……

    You’re believing this???

  • February 12, 2010 at 4:12 am
    Otto says:
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    “What does private health insurance bring to the table?”

    A MORE COST EFFECTIVE INSURANCE SYSTEM WITHOUT BANKRUPTING THE COUNTRY THATS WHAT! DO YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRATS ARE EFFICIENT? DO YOU BELIEVE THEY WORK FOR NOTHING? THE AVERAGE BUREAUCRAT MAKES 75K PLUS PER YEAR COMPARED TO PEOPLE IN THE PRIVATE MARKET AT 40K. THAT INCLUDES ALL THOSE WELL PAID EXECUTIVES YOU SEEM TO HATE. DID YOU EVER TRY TO SOLVE A PROBLEM WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT?

    WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN THE PAST 50 YEARS?

  • February 13, 2010 at 4:22 am
    Jane Logan says:
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    Employment based health care is a flawed system:

    1. Insurance companies collect premiums on relatively healthy, employed people.

    2. Seriously ill people often are unable to work (even if only temporarily) and most can’t afford COBRA payments, so they lose their coverage just when they need the most.

    3. State and Federal Government have assistance programs with income threshholds to qualify for benefits.

    4. Unless we’re going to change State and Federal law to eliminate assistance programs AND legalize human euthanazia the current system is great for insurance companies and bad for taxpayers who fund the assistance programs.

    We need a cradle to grave program that promotes good health and preventative care where everyone pays into and all benefits are paid out of the same bank account.

    Please note how much of a difference it makes when comments posted use paragraphs and punctuation…

  • February 12, 2010 at 4:27 am
    Gray Cat says:
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    Is it possible Anthem has worked a backroom deal with the feds about this? What I’m referring to is; Harry R or Nancy Pezhead promised to cut them slack about future rate increases on the premise that Anthem roll out a huge increase now and give the dems ammo for their so called reform bill? Nothing would surprise me. Of course, all the dems need to do is go nuclear and pass the bill by reconciliation. Not a da** thing the repubs could do to stop it.

  • February 12, 2010 at 4:55 am
    sarah says:
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    You have to reduce costs to reduce the cost of health insurance. If the Democrats had their way, they think they can reduce costs by providing more coverage. WRONG!

    No sacred cows!!
    The only way we will benefit from Healthcare Reform is if we have no sacred cows.

    1. Doctors can not make a million dollars a year, Lets subsidize their education rather than their salary. They need fee schedules. They should not be able to own rehab and testing labs where they send us for test to prove something they already know. Why do we have to pay one doctor to get a referral to another doctor? That’s crazy. Give us a prescription that lasts for our life if we have a disease that requires we take medicine for life.

    2. Insurance companies need standard policy forms like we have in personal auto and Homeowners policy. HO3 H05 HO8. etc. They also need an excess profit law where they must return a certain profit back if they make too much money. Establishing affordable premiums should be easy to develop, due to the law of large numbers and mortality tables and an extraordinary amount of statistical data available to actuaries. Carriers are entitled to a fair profit, key word fair when it comes to health insurance. I don’t care if the make a fortune on my car insurance I can always find someone to insure my car.

    3. Pharmaceutical companies need to sell us their medicine for the same amount they sell to Canada and only make a certain profit margin after R & D.

    4. Lawyers- We need to get them out of the business of sucking on society. We need National mandatory Tort reform for those blood sucking leaches.

    5. Congressmen are not allowed to take any political contributions from any entity which is involved in heathcare. Insurance Companies, Lawyers, Doctors. Etc. You see what happened when Dodd and Frank got sweetheart deals from Countrywide and expounded how Freddie and Fannie were in great financial shape as federal regulaters were warning them about collapse . We all almost went broke. Oh by the way all congressmen and senators will be required to take whatever plan they establish for us and pay half the premium. While we are at it they have to forgo their current retirement plan of %100 percent of their annual salary and replace it with Social Security. But they shouldn’t worry; we as their employer will pay half of this benefit like our employers do for us. Welcome to being and American citizen.

    6. Get Chiropractors out of healthcare. For goodness sakes my vet has more training than they do. News flash! They are not doctors..

    7. Hospitals can’t charge $3000 for an emergency room visit. They should be paid by the hour and that does not include the waiting room. $15. Aspirin. Give me a break. If someone is going to die and believe me doctors know this, don’t keep me alive for 3 miserable days with life support so you can charge my insurance or my family 25k more.

    8. Computerize our health records and allow us to send them to any doctor we want, whenever we want. Health insurers and any other entity including the government can not obtain them without our written consent every time they are retrieved. That does not mean we sign it or not get insurance. Doctors seem to think this will save a tremendous amount of money and be able to treat patients better. Oh well, they get it, if it saves us money.

    9. All employers are required to pay half the health insurance premium for their employees, all employees will be required to pay the other half. This would lower cost due to the ones who have it now pay for the uninsured. We should be able to take our insurance with us when we leave an employer and the previous employers plan not affected regarding our claims, etc. No group rates based on age, everyone pays the same. That includes the poor or the rich. Healthcare is not a right it is a privilege remember no sacred cows and that includes us.

    10. NO GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT AFTER THESE ITEMS ARE DONE. LETS SEE WHAT HEALTH INSURANCE COST’S AFTER THIS.

  • February 12, 2010 at 5:02 am
    Joe says:
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    I beleive it is exactly the oposite that needs to be done.

    Put everyone in the pool. Law of large numbers and determine the rate for an individual to have health insurance regardless of their weight, sex, age, race. Everyone in the pool. So we find that Young people pay the same as old. People with prior conditions and cancer pay the same as someone healthy.

    Is that not what all you progressive liberals want. Oh well there you go.

  • February 12, 2010 at 5:15 am
    An Agent from Arizona says:
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    Sarah, nice post. Although I don’t agree 100% (most of it I do)you obviously have taken the time to give a lot of thought to the issue and expressed your points very well.

  • February 12, 2010 at 5:33 am
    Otto says:
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    Sarah

    Re: #2. An excess profit is in the eye of the beholder. Presently the average profit for health insurance companies is 2% to 4%. The health insurance companies have the second lowest return on equity of any American industry. Profit companies are competiting with non-profit companies. Competition is, and will continue to contain profits. Congrats to any company that can reap so called “excess profits”.

  • February 12, 2010 at 5:39 am
    Waiting to see your answer says:
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    So, obviously you don’t like this Government run Healthcare idea, but what would you like to suggest as an alternative? Also, do you not like any Government run agencies such as public schools, post office, etc? Just curious.

  • February 13, 2010 at 7:40 am
    Jane Logan says:
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    What this country can no longer afford is to have the insurance industry get all the cash while taxpayers get all the bills for people to sick to work who have no insurance.

    If we have a system that EVERYONE contributes to, the system will be self funding.

    Maybe there should be a tax on food-everyone eats!

  • February 13, 2010 at 11:28 am
    An Agent from Arizona says:
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    Jane,There are countries who have set up socialist systems like you are describing. I don’t know any that have worked out well. Our neighbor to the North has a national run health care system. Canadian citizens who have serious health issuses are struggling to get to the United States to get treated, because of the six month to two year waiting period to get treatment in Canada.

  • February 13, 2010 at 11:40 am
    Jane Logan says:
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    Why not compare what we have to the French system – it is by far the best.

  • February 13, 2010 at 12:21 pm
    Louie says:
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    Jane – Self funding??? Like Medicare, which is broke, underpaying providers by 20% – 30%. Don’t you even know what happens to that underpayment? It gets cost shifted to the private carriers.

    Social Security self funded??

    Liberals/Progressives for some reason do not think of the big picture. You do not even realize why politicans never are able to have a government insurance program self funded. I’m not going to waste time explaining it to, you should be able to figure it out for yourself.

  • February 13, 2010 at 12:24 pm
    Louie says:
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    France is slowly approaching third world status.

    My God, Liberals/Progressive – do more reading and THINK!!

  • February 13, 2010 at 1:21 am
    Jane Logan says:
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    The only program that will work is a cradle to grave, non profit with compulsory participation of 100% of the population.

    I like the idea of funding it through a tax on food. The more one person eats, the more they pay. If you have a huge family, the more food you buy the more you pay.

    And I’m a registered Independent not Democrat.

  • February 13, 2010 at 1:41 am
    Loui says:
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    If you think government can run a health insurance program for 300,000,000 people without bankrupting the country, then dream on as you’re in fantasy land!!! Maybe that’s why so many in Hollywood are liberal/progressives.

    Jane, I realize utopian things sound good, but this is real life. Think of one reason why politicians cannot fund programs honestly, and competently. They always must protect their re-election from other politicians who would demagogue their tough decisions.

  • February 13, 2010 at 1:47 am
    Jane Logan says:
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    Louie, I agree which is why we need serious campaign finance reform and term limits.

  • February 13, 2010 at 2:38 am
    Louie says:
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    We tried term limits, had it approved in a few states, and the politicians eventually passed laws by-passing them. Term limits would be the answer but it will never happen. Most politicians do not view their position as one of public service for a few years, but as a career. Public service was never intended to be a career.

    The only chance we have as a free people is keeping the federal government from attaining more power.

  • February 13, 2010 at 4:09 am
    Charlie says:
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    Until the patient takes control, nothing will change. Require policies to have a minimum $10,000 deductible then 100% coverage. No copays. Then the patient will ask the two questions 1. How much? 2. Is it really necessary? Ask these questions of your doctor and watch how they respond.

    Also, let’s go back to paying the insured. Have you noticed that the hospital no longer sends you an itemized bill, I wonder why??

  • February 13, 2010 at 5:15 am
    An Agent from Arizona says:
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    Charlie,
    I really wish it were that easy, because in theory it sounds great, however in reality there are a lot of issues.
    The first time a baby dies because a mother didn’t take the baby in, because they couldn’t afford a $10,000 deductible all Heck would break loose. I totally agree with you that people run to the doctor way too much. Have you been to an emergency room lately. Here in Arizona our emergency rooms are jammed with stuffy noses, a large percentage do not speak English or if they do it is broken English. A large percentage are not here legally, and they know that the Emergency room cannot refuse treatment whether they have the money or not.Then there are those that are not here illegally, but for some reason they do have a job, but aren’t eligible for our state’s system. Arizona has been hit very hard by economy.
    That was a side bar, but the argument would definatley be if people had to pay more than a co-pay many people would not get treatment in early stages that would lead to more complications and thus higher costs.
    In Arizona those on in our state system have no deductibles, and no co-payments. They pay nothing for prescription medication, and it causes some to think twice before leaving the state system to go back into the work force. The incentive to work becomes diminished.
    Please don’t misunderstand this post I am not for Universal Health Care. I am for health care reform (tort reform, buying across state lines, and doing something about people with pre-existing conditions)and there are no easy answers to our nations health care catastrpophe. Charlie I like to hear ideas and you obviously have thought about the issue. I wish your idea about the deductible would work, but I personally don’t think it is the answer.

  • February 13, 2010 at 5:49 am
    nobody important says:
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    Sorry folks, term limits are a pipe dream. They do nothing but eliminate any experience that might prove useful. We have tried it here in Michigan for a long time with the results you see here. Part of our problem is that we have nobody in the legislature who actually know how government can and should work. Of course you can and will end up with career morons, but you need to have people who are experienced and not constantly campaigning for the next office. They really don’t work the way you think they might. Kind of like socialism. Sounds great, but being human, we don’t all act perfectly and in the interest of our fellow man. Sorry Jane, but France is already a third world backwater living on the past.

  • February 13, 2010 at 6:53 am
    Otto says:
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    “We need cradle to grave etc etc”

    Assuming you promote a government only plan, it’s amazing you cannot grasp the fact the United States of America cannot afford one, as the country is broke!

  • February 15, 2010 at 11:12 am
    TxLady says:
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    Exactly! Insurance , as every single insurance person on this forum ought to know, is a for profit business. Why people expect insurance to be run as a money loser is beyond me. The demand that everyone get affordable coverage for every possible condition is simply not sustainable. Cover a cancer patient for $100 a month and pay out 25,000 a month and you are simply going to go out of business. Yes, certain reforms are needed. Cheif among them buying coverage across state lines, tort reform, ability to get RX drugs at the lower prices other countries enjoy. No coverage for illegal aliens, period. I am tired of having to pay higher and higher taxes to the Parkland Hospital District ( Dallas County, highest birthrate in the nation) to cover anyone who walks in the door. Common sense has to eventually win out. You just can’t pay out more than you take in. The screaming over ‘insane profits ‘ is nothing more than media hype.

  • February 15, 2010 at 1:35 am
    sarah says:
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    Jane,

    You really should go to Europe and see the health plan at work that you claim would be better than our system. Yes, our system has many problems but overall the private sector is the best place to find competition and competition drives inovation and lower costs.

  • February 17, 2010 at 12:35 pm
    Allan says:
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    I’ve read a lot of the posts on here and the only one that really has a grasp on the correct way to go is Sarah.

    By stripping a lot of the profit motivation away from the health care industry and create more competition, it will reduce cost and insure more people. A lot of European countries, Japan and Taiwan already practice a model like this, everyone is covered, cost are VERY affordable, and cost to GDP is between 8 – 10%. While ours hover around 16-17% with admin cost at 30%.

    Not everything has to be for profit. Imagine if the Salvation Army or Red Cross were for profit companies. Kinda defeats the purpose of why they do what the do. Same with caring for health.



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