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Health Care Reform Full Time Employee Question & Answers

2013 October 14
by Sarah Fields

Michael asks…

What are some reasons as to why reconstructing and giving out free health care to all citizens is bad?

What are some reasons as to why reconstructing and giving out free health care to all citizens is bad?

Sarah Fields answers:

It doesn’t work: some are told to die, we all go bankrupt:
Canadian doc on UHC:
“…Another sign of transformation: Canadian doctors, long silent on the health-care system’s problems, are starting to speak up. Last August, they voted Brian Day president of their national association. A former socialist who counts Fidel Castro as a personal acquaintance, Day has nevertheless become perhaps the most vocal critic of Canadian public health care, having opened his own private surgery center as a remedy for long waiting lists and then challenged the government to shut him down. “This is a country in which dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week,” he fumed to the New York Times, “and in which humans can wait two to three years.”

And now even Canadian governments are looking to the private sector to shrink the waiting lists. Day’s clinic, for instance, handles workers’-compensation cases for employees of both public and private corporations. In British Columbia, private clinics perform roughly 80 percent of government-funded diagnostic testing. In Ontario, where fealty to socialized medicine has always been strong, the government recently hired a private firm to staff a rural hospital’s emergency room.

This privatizing trend is reaching Europe, too. Britain’s government-run health care dates back to the 1940s. Yet the Labour Party—which originally created the National Health Service and used to bristle at the suggestion of private medicine, dismissing it as “Americanization”—now openly favors privatization. Sir William Wells, a senior British health official, recently said: “The big trouble with a state monopoly is that it builds in massive inefficiencies and inward-looking culture.” Last year, the private sector provided about 5 percent of Britain’s nonemergency procedures; Labour aims to triple that percentage by 2008. The Labour government also works to voucherize certain surgeries, offering patients a choice of four providers, at least one private. And in a recent move, the government will contract out some primary care services, perhaps to American firms such as UnitedHealth Group and Kaiser Permanente.

Sweden’s government, after the completion of the latest round of privatizations, will be contracting out some 80 percent of Stockholm’s primary care and 40 percent of its total health services, including one of the city’s largest hospitals. Since the fall of Communism, Slovakia has looked to liberalize its state-run system, introducing co-payments and privatizations. And modest market reforms have begun in Germany: increasing co-pays, enhancing insurance competition, and turning state enterprises over to the private sector (within a decade, only a minority of German hospitals will remain under state control). It’s important to note that change in these countries is slow and gradual—market reforms remain controversial. But if the United States was once the exception for viewing a vibrant private sector in health care as essential, it is so no longer.”

http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_3_canadian_healthcare.html

Hillarycare exists in Taxachusetts with only 6.5 million people:
“Massachusetts announced that spending on its health care plan would increase by $400 million in 2008, a cost expected to be borne largely by taxpayers.”

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20080129/ZNYT02/801290745

Last modified: January 29. 2008 5:03AM
Article explains why CA couldn’t get it off ground.

Medicare is touted by the uninformed as THE solution:
In the US, Medicare is going bankrupt. In 1998, Medicare premiums were $43.80 and in 2008 will be $96.40–up 120%. “Medigap” insurance is common because of the 20% co-pay required for service. Medicare HMOs are common because they reduce that burden without an extra charge in many cases. HOWEVER, many procedures which used to have no or a low co-pay NOW cost the full 20% for the HMO Medicare patient. ALSO the prescription coverage they tended to offer has been REDUCED in many cases to conform to the insane “donut hole” coverage of the feds. Doctors are leaving Medicare because of the low and slow pay AND because the crazy government wants to “balance” their Ponzi scheme on the backs of doctors.
“That dark cloud lurking over the shoulder of every Massachusetts physician is Medicare. If Congress does not act, doctors’ payments from Medicare will be cut by about 5 percent annually, beginning next year through 2012, creating a financial hailstorm that would wreak havoc with already strained practices.

Cumulatively, the proposed cuts represent a 31 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursement. If the cuts are adjusted for practice-cost inflation, the American Medical Association says Medicare payment rates to physicians in 2013 would be less than half of what they were in 1991.”

http://www.massmed.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=vs_mar05_top&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=11037

What Canada Tells Us About Government Health Care
By Doug Wilson
Monday, February 25, 2008

Americans may not agree on much between now and November, but we have reached a consensus about the importance of at least one issue: health care.
In a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 76 percent of registered voters said that health care was very important to their vote. Democrats ranked health care their most important issue; Independents slotted it as their second most important issue. Republicans, meanwhile, positioned health care as more important than social issues such as abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research.
This public concern has prompted political action—or at least political posturing. It seems every politician has a plan to solve our health care woes. For Democrats, the silver bullet remains universal, government-funded coverage. Both Senators Obama and Clinton have proposed regulation and tax-heavy programs to offer cradle-to-grave health care for Americans.
Ironically, these proposals come at a time when some of our other entitlements—Social Security and Medicare—stand on the brink of collapse. For example, most experts agree that Social Security will be entirely bankrupt by 2041, and that the system will show serious financial strain as early as 2017. If a business faced such dire financial straits it would cut costs, but the government continues its perpetual spending spree.
Before we allow the government to burden us with another mammoth entitlement program, however, we might well consider the plight of countries currently employing socialized medicine. And we need not look very far for an example. Since the 1960s, Canada has operated a system of socialized medicine, while also forbidding the private sector from insuring medically necessary care.
The verdict: Canadians pay more for their health care and get less. That’s according to the Fraser Institute, an independent research and educational organization based in Canada. Fraser’s recently released study, “Paying More, Getting Less: Measuring the Sustainability of Government Health Spending in Canada” calls our attention to the painful realities of government-funded health care.
How, exactly, do Canadians pay more for their health care? Taxes, naturally—and higher and higher ones at that, for there is no other way to maintain such an enormous entitlement. Consider that by 2035, six of 10 Canadian provinces will spend half of their taxpayer-generated revenue on health-related expenses.
In slow economic times, health spending tends to exceed revenue. The government responds by raising existing taxes or creating new ones; to do otherwise would lead to the neglect of other government programs like schools and roads.
By restricting the market, public health care programs create long waits for specialists and often prevent patients from pursuing new treatments. Indeed, the median wait times between a referral from a family or general doctor to a specialist for further treatment increased significantly in every Canadian province between 1997 and 2006. For many treatments and procedures, Canadians are forced to wait twice as long as doctors believe is medically advisable.
Canada’s restrictive policies have also reduced the number of various types of health professionals, limited the availability of advanced equipment and severely restricted the prescription drug choices. Consider that even after Health Canada certifies a new drug, it takes over a year for that drug to actually reach the patients who need it. Between 2004 and 2005, it took an average of 439 days for provinces to receive reimbursement for drugs, forcing patients to wait months for necessary medications.
The list could go on, but it need not. We get the picture. The question is: What are we going to do about it?
The answer lies in the marketplace. Among the more promising proposals currently before Congress is the Health Care Choice Act. The Act would allow individuals to compare and purchase health insurance across state lines. This is a very important, if often misunderstood, way of reducing health care costs. Here’s a quick primer: Because health care is primarily regulated at the state level, states can force providers to cover services and procedures (e.g., chiropractic care or fertility treatments) regardless of necessity or patient demand. Insurance companies then pass these higher costs along to every consumer, regardless of whether they want or need coverage for such procedures.
A more efficient system would allow individuals to select the health care plans of their choice. Such a plan recognizes that a 20 year old male typically has very different medical needs than a 60 year old woman. Freeing consumers to select a health care plan that meets their needs and budget, even if it is in a different state, is a common sense solution that would ease the budget crunch facing man

Chris asks…

How is universal health care not a huge step towards socialism?

Haven’t many countries tried socialism? Collapse after collapse. I can’t see any angle as to how universal health care isn’t built on the same principles as socialism. Why is this even an option?

Sarah Fields answers:

You are correct.

I think there are a couple of major reasons why it’s getting such play in the US.

First, we have always been among the most compassionate people on the planet. This is proved by Arthur C Brooks, Who Really Cares?, book which documents how we, the people, give the most in foreign and domestic charity and always have of ANY nation on the planet. We are told we’re greedy, selfish SOBs full of hate. That is from LIARS with no facts to support them. That many people do have health problems AND medical care IS expensive means that some of us don’t get all the care we really should.

Which leads us to the next point, we’re told (again it’s a lie) that the problem with failure to deliver health care is everyone doesn’t have insurance. Yet insurance is one of the greatest reasons health care costs so much because the insurance industry is corrupt.

Thus, with all the lies people are fed by the media, politicians, etc. People are thinking that UHC is “the answer” and again, lies are told, about how it “works” in other countries. Not true. Of course a compassionate people get confused and want to go off into the ditch.

Fact: UHC does not work. Canadian doc:
“…Another sign of transformation: Canadian doctors, long silent on the health-care system’s problems, are starting to speak up. Last August, they voted Brian Day president of their national association. A former socialist who counts Fidel Castro as a personal acquaintance, Day has nevertheless become perhaps the most vocal critic of Canadian public health care, having opened his own private surgery center as a remedy for long waiting lists and then challenged the government to shut him down. “This is a country in which dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week,” he fumed to the New York Times, “and in which humans can wait two to three years.”

And now even Canadian governments are looking to the private sector to shrink the waiting lists. Day’s clinic, for instance, handles workers’-compensation cases for employees of both public and private corporations. In British Columbia, private clinics perform roughly 80 percent of government-funded diagnostic testing. In Ontario, where fealty to socialized medicine has always been strong, the government recently hired a private firm to staff a rural hospital’s emergency room.

This privatizing trend is reaching Europe, too. Britain’s government-run health care dates back to the 1940s. Yet the Labour Party—which originally created the National Health Service and used to bristle at the suggestion of private medicine, dismissing it as “Americanization”—now openly favors privatization. Sir William Wells, a senior British health official, recently said: “The big trouble with a state monopoly is that it builds in massive inefficiencies and inward-looking culture.” Last year, the private sector provided about 5 percent of Britain’s nonemergency procedures; Labour aims to triple that percentage by 2008. The Labour government also works to voucherize certain surgeries, offering patients a choice of four providers, at least one private. And in a recent move, the government will contract out some primary care services, perhaps to American firms such as UnitedHealth Group and Kaiser Permanente.

Sweden’s government, after the completion of the latest round of privatizations, will be contracting out some 80 percent of Stockholm’s primary care and 40 percent of its total health services, including one of the city’s largest hospitals. Since the fall of Communism, Slovakia has looked to liberalize its state-run system, introducing co-payments and privatizations. And modest market reforms have begun in Germany: increasing co-pays, enhancing insurance competition, and turning state enterprises over to the private sector (within a decade, only a minority of German hospitals will remain under state control). It’s important to note that change in these countries is slow and gradual—market reforms remain controversial. But if the United States was once the exception for viewing a vibrant private sector in health care as essential, it is so no longer.”

http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_3_canadian_healthcare.html

Fact: Hillarycare does not and cannot work. It’s been implemented in Taxachusetts by Romney. “Massachusetts announced that spending on its health care plan would increase by $400 million in 2008, a cost expected to be borne largely by taxpayers.”

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20080129/ZNYT02/801290745

Last modified: January 29. 2008 5:03AM
That article also explains how lefitst CA tried and failed to implement UHC because it’s too expensive.

Medicare is touted by the uninformed as “the” way to go:
In the US, Medicare is going bankrupt. In 1998, Medicare premiums were $43.80 and in 2008 will be $96.40–up 120%. “Medigap” insurance is common because of the 20% co-pay required for service. Medicare HMOs are common because they reduce that burden without an extra charge in many cases. HOWEVER, many procedures which used to have no or a low co-pay NOW cost the full 20% for the HMO Medicare patient. ALSO the prescription coverage they tended to offer has been REDUCED in many cases to conform to the insane “donut hole” coverage of the feds. Doctors are leaving Medicare because of the low and slow pay AND because the crazy government wants to “balance” their Ponzi scheme on the backs of doctors.
“That dark cloud lurking over the shoulder of every Massachusetts physician is Medicare. If Congress does not act, doctors’ payments from Medicare will be cut by about 5 percent annually, beginning next year through 2012, creating a financial hailstorm that would wreak havoc with already strained practices.

Cumulatively, the proposed cuts represent a 31 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursement. If the cuts are adjusted for practice-cost inflation, the American Medical Association says Medicare payment rates to physicians in 2013 would be less than half of what they were in 1991.”

http://www.massmed.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=vs_mar05_top&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=11037

Already starting THIS January, Medicare and its HMO and other plans have been trying to weasel out of paying for things like physicals. Though it’s in writing that it’s a covered benefit, it’s not always being paid for now. Interesting, don’t you think? So much for the “great” program.

Now what is REALLY causing high medical costs? Government interference (idiotic programs like Medicare–it’s a Ponzi scheme and need is not a factor and people are FORCED to take it even over a better for them private plan; interference in what “has” to be offered by insurers; can’t buy policies for across state lines, etc.). Insurance industry CORRUPTION. They routinely ignore CONTRACT and ANTITRUST law, pushing prices up.

When 75% of the people who declare bankruptcy over medical bills ARE INSURED, then insurance is CLEARLY not the answer.
“Aldrich’s situation is “asinine” but increasingly common, said Dr. Deborah Thorne of Ohio University. Thorne, co-author of a widely quoted 2005 study that found medical bills contributed to nearly half of the 1.5 million personal bankruptcies filed in the U.S. Each year, said that ratio has likely worsened since the data was gathered.

Like Aldrich, Thorne said, three-quarters of the individuals in the study who declared bankruptcy because of health problems were insured. ”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20201807/

Linda Peeno, MD testified that SHE had often denied treatment JUST to save the insurance company money http://www.thenationalcoalition.org/DrPeenotestimony.html

Furthermore:
“the vast majority of health insurance policies are through for-profit stock companies. They are in the process of “shedding lives” as some term it when “undesirable” customers are lost through various means, including raising premiums and co-pays and decreasing benefits (Britt, “Health insurers getting bigger cut of medical dollars,” 15 October 2004, investors.com). That same Investors Business Daily article from 2004 noted the example of Anthem, another insurance company. They said the top five executives (not just the CEO) received an average of an 817 percent increase in compensation between 2000 and 2003. The CEO, for example, had his compensation go from $2.5 million to $25 million during that time period. About $21 million of that was in stock payouts, the article noted.

A 2006 article, “U.S. Health Insurance: More Market Domination, More CEO Compensation”
(hcrenewal.blogspot.com) notes that in 56 percent of 294 metropolitan areas one insurer “controls more than half the business in health maintenance organization and preferred provider networks underwriting.” In addition to having the most enrollees, they also are the biggest purchasers of health care and set the price and coverage terms. “’The results is double-digit premium increases from 2001 and 2004—peaking with a 13.9 percent jump in 2003—soaring well above inflation and wages increases.’” Where is all that money going? The article quotes a Wall Street Journal article looking at the compensation of the CEO of UnitedHealth Group. His salary and bonus is $8 million annually. He has benefits such as the use of a private jet. He has stock-option fortunes worth $1.6 billion.”
–Save America, Save the World by Cassandra Nathan pp. 127-128

“Insurance Companies Robbing Patients
Robbing patients to pay CEOs leads to unprecedented medical insurance corporation greed.
Thursday, January 3, 2008 8:52 AM
By: Michael Arnold Glueck & Robert J. Cihak, The Medicine Men”
http://www.newsmax.com/medicine_men/medical_insurance/2008/01/03/61543

John asks…

What is a good solution to health care cost?

1.) Outlaw health insurance, it is unnecessary for a middle man

(Since health insurance was invented, the cost of health care has gone up significantly. We pay doctors and we pay middlemen who determined the cost. So it can be argued that insurance is the greatest scam ever pulled off)

2.) Remove restrictions for out of state insurance

(Therefore allowing for healthy competition. At one point millions of doctors competed for your business, now only a handful of insurance companies do it making it very close to monopoly)

3.) Lower the cost of insurance, by imposing legal restrictions on cost

(If every consumer paid about 200,000 over the course of 50 years, then insurance companies are probably posting significant profits)

4.)The system is fine, just go to the doctor more to offset the cost

(May raise insurance rates)

5.) Have doctors post the cost of their services like a menu, explaining in detail what they charge your insurance and why?

6.) Take insurance away from the private sector all together and make a service provided for by the government and paid for with taxes

7.) Any other answer

(The First 6 where more or less examples and ideas, that may inspire yours)

I would very much like to know what, we the people would do about this from the informed and the not so informed.

Thank you for your answers :D
Thank you for your answers :) A Hunch: I think that additional diagnostics tools may cause cost increases as you state, but only in the short term. At least that is the impression I get. When people visit multiple health care providers or even the same for subsequent visits, pertaining to the original issue, the cost is driven up. By having appropriate diagnostic tools perhaps the root of the problem may be addressed through less expenses, i.e. medications, etc. Even though there is a fine line between necessary and unnecessary test, diagnostics, etc. I believe this falls to the judgement and morals of the medical provider. I can see your point, but its just that that can also be beneficial.

Mbrcatz: That was an answer. I like to try to find the minimalist approach, but how often is that possible. Especially in a Pandora’s box type situation. You presented an idea to help correct the issues, while holding accountable those who profit on the current system as well as human weaknes

Sarah Fields answers:

All medical providers are required to post a single price list, by procedure, which shall apply to every patient without exception.

Every insurer and third party payer including Medicare and MediCaid, may determine for itself the level of payment it will provide, with patient to pay any amount beyond this that provider requires.

These two together set up the needed conditions for successful doctor shopping. There’s no competition for SERVICES, and THAT is what drives up the price – not state boundry lines. Insurance costs more in NY, because NY requires that everyone pays the same price – it’s a state legal restriction – not the insurance company.

All medical records to be kept in one central database. This reduces the cost of duplicate care and duplicate testing by providing all medical records for patient to each provider. This is especially prevalent in the elderly, who are our biggest per person users of medical care.

Generics should be prescribed as a default – outside of medical necessity, patient would pay the difference between an available generic equivelent and the brand name drug. Patent issuance for prescription drugs needs to be revised. Making the same formula of drug, into a delayed release for a different number of hours, should NOT be granted new patents – thus facilitating the entrance of generics into the market for that particular formulation. Continuing prescriptions may be filled by pharmacists for up to 2 years without a new Rx. Prescriptions shall be valid in all 50 states for any drug that is legal in that state as long as physician has a valid license in the state where he is located. Prescription drug advertising has to STOP. Not in magazines, not on the radio, not on the television. Narcotics prescriptions shall require validation of Rx by pharmacist by indirect inquiry to physician’s office via state database. This will help control the cost of drugs.

All citizens are entitled to have, own and use an HSA. This levels the playing field between employees with insurance and the self-employed.

Create a separate fund to provide medically needed care, by the industry producing the abusive substances, funded by taxes on sales of abusive substances, explicitly including tobacco and alcohol, plus illegal drugs and perhaps processed foods. All sales of the abusive substance shall be taxed at equal rate for all industry participants and the pooled funds used to provide both direct and indirect care as needed. When the fund runs low, or is projected to run low, the tax rate on the abusive substance is increased for all industry participants. Such fines attach all assets of the criminal of every type, including the right to social welfare payments of all descriptions and retirement benefits, and his civil rights may not be restored until such fines are paid in full with interest. This relieves the ordinary person of health costs associated with smoking, drinking, drunk driving (an indirect cost), illegal drugs, and excess consumption of calories and saddles them on the industry selling the product.

This will reduce the health insurance costs of nearly everyone, as well as auto insurance costs, by loading the costs of these social ills onto their producers [who will raise prices to their consumers thus making the free market price of the good reflect the externalized costs as it should for the free market to work].

Tort reform: nonmonetary damages should be limited to $100,000 or 3X actual damages, whichever is LESS (just like they do in Canada). Attorney contingencies are EXEMPT from puntative damages – they only collect their percentage of the ACTUAL monetary damages. This will stop the vast majority of nuisance lawsuits, as the biggest financial incentive for attorneys would be eliminated.

And lastly, I’d eliminate the Cadillac health plans that the Congress and Senate currently enjoy – if it’s good enough for Joe Plumber, it’s good enough for them.

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