OT: Car insurance complaints

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So, given the precedent you set earlier, I am now free to think that you are arguing for actually trying free markets before we institute OCare? (grin).

And I find more than adequately supported. (g).

The VA can because it is a SYSTEM. The ACA is not a single entity. In essence you are suggesting that Congress should come in and give insurance companies this big cost reduction?

I used to make this suggestion, too. Until I couldn't find any indication (other that the gut feeling that it should) that it actually happens. And God knows I tried. If there is some newer information (I gave up around 2000), it would be most appreciated.
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On 8/15/2013 6:00 AM, Robert Green wrote:

[lots of stuff snipped] Bobby, I suspect that there are few if any times that the "free market" as defined and described by Adam Smith work well on anything other than a few anecdotal micro-economic examples. In most cases, vested interests have their fingers on the scale and everything seems to be for sale to the highest bidder.
Ever see sustained free market pricing among a group of 3 or more gas stations within eyesight of each other? Why is so much merchandise marketed to the public by multiple retailers at the absolutely identical price (before local sales taxes are considered), even on the web? Most items are price controlled if not outright price-fixed to the advantage of a variety of all the interested parties except for the end purchaser.
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wrote:

That is competition. They go up AND down, quite substantially as we have found out over the last few years. If one goes down, the others follow, also.
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On 8/15/2013 9:28 AM, Kurt Ullman wrote:

When did the price of gasoline go down substantially and stay there for very long due to valid market dynamics? Only after the conclusion of an artificially created shortage and price spike in the early 1970s. (Another example: The artificially created electricity price spike in California a few years ago.)
In my experience, very few items undergo substantial relatively long term price reductions, absent a catastrophic economic deflation. The primary exceptions that comes to my mind are the ticker prices of some securities/commodities and the currency exchange values of some country's currencies. The more common situation is that for some items, the price may go up over time more slowly or stabilize, and eventually in year-equivalent dollars becomes cheaper. Or, due to improvements, you get more for your money and therefore better value.
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wrote:

markets and the prices went down.

ANd competition doesn't impact at all??
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On 8/15/2013 12:33 PM, Kurt Ullman wrote:

We're in analytic territory as fraught with complexity and multifactoral influences as our discussion of health care reform. I don't deny that competition can, and sometimes does impact pricing, but rarely is the market free from influences that corrupt a pure demand/supply equation. The market only "works" as we wish it would if both the suppliers and the demanders have equal power. If the product is essential for the demander, the demander has no power and must find a way to afford the product. Therefore, the supplier can charge whatever he/she can get away with, even if it means the demander must become destitute to obtain it. Think chemotherapeutic drugs.
I believe that in most cases, the power balance between the supplier and the demander is highly skewed and therefore invoking competition as a justification for exorbitant pricing is a smokescreen. In our society, money provided by wealthy suppliers to lobbyists, in conjunction with laws that encourage private funding of elections almost guarantees that the policy positions favorable to the average Joe citizen will be under-represented in the office of "Joe's" elected representatives and Joe is truly being disenfranchised even though he/she may vote.
Gotta close this now. Real life calls.
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<stuff snipped>

Health care is an area where it's almost impossible to "even up" the power differences between buyers and sellers. How can you shop for the "best price" when you're in the ER with severe chest pains and SoB?

Or worse. The ACA is unlike the universal health care plans of any of the industrialized nations that I know of. Charitably speaking, it was structured that way to protect special interests, not to provide the best health care possible to American citizens at the lowest prices possible. Uncharitably speaking, it was structured that way in hopes that it would fail.
I believe that eventually a single payer system like Medicare, but with no age limitations will evolve from the ACA. (Say, isn't giving seniors nearly free health care age discrimination against the young?) The problem is that creating a single payer plan just wasn't politically possible at the time the law was passed. It may be in the future, though.
The problem, as I am sure you know, is "adverse-selection." If insurers charged everyone the same flat rate, buying coverage would be far more attractive financially for people with chronic illnesses than for healthy people. That would cause healthy policyholders to drop out of the insured pool which would fill up with sick people and thus force insurers to raise their rates. That begins a deadly feedback loop because higher rates make insurance even less attractive for healthy people, causing even more of them to drop out.
The adverse-selection problem explains why almost no countries except for the US leave the providing of health care to unregulated private insurance markets. For that reason alone I don't believe the ACA as written will be sustainable. People will demand a single payer structured like Medicare after they've been burned badly enough by the state insurance exchanges.
When NY passed a law intending to solve the adverse selection problem in the 90's, rates for individual policies skyrocketed making New Yorkers' insurance among the most expensive in the nation. Now, under the ACA and the larger pool of insured that it represents, residents who had been paying $1,000 a month for individual policies *should* now be able to purchase similar coverage on the ACA exchanges for slightly more than $300 a month. They can offer these lower rates because the requirement in the ACA that everyone buy insurance or face penalties ensures a higher proportion of healthy people in the insured pool.

I once asked a Congressman how they justified taking money from so many special interests and the reply was: "By taking money from *everyone* that means in the long term we're favoring no one." Not sure if I believe it, but I am sure plenty of Congressmen do.
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And how many of the hospital interactions are like this, let alone how many healthcare interactions? For most you can if you want to and have the time and insurance companies are rolling out websites, etc. for you to compare.

supplements to take care of the many things that MCare doesn't/

suggested that all individual policies should be put together in one group. I am not opposed to all regulation.

be surprised if that happened. Even many more moderately left leaning might take this as a sign that the government can't do the job. We can only hope.

And the areas of the country where the state government did not meddle in areas they did not understand and screw things up will have their premiums go up. (I mean this tried to address adverse selection and managed to make it much more of a problem than it was) BTW: There is fairly decent evidence from MA that great numbers of the young and healthy will see paying the fine (if found out) a better deal than insurance.

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On 08-15-2013 11:03, Peter wrote:

I have often wondered whether the frequent occurrence of a big increase followed by a not-so-big decrease may be an intentional psychological ploy--to ensure that there is less attention paid to the fact that the net effect is a higher price.
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Wes Groleau

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Why compete when you collude? All sellers win that way. Buyers, not so much.

Sounds like a good explanation of the "stickiness" of prices increases.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sticky_(economics)#Examples_of_stickiness
Some of the biggest fights that broke out among the economists that helped build the nuclear survivability model DoD used to maintain concerned what would happen to various commodity prices after a nuclear attack. We had a strong, differing opinion from each of the economist on the team, something I came to learn was pretty common with a team of economists.
So we had to design the model to run using several possible scenarios. There was a profiteering model that assumed a black market would arise for critical commodities that even the government would have a hard time competing with and might need to purchase with gold. (Sadly, my pick based on historical experience - profiteering and war go hand in hand.) There was an altruistic model that assumed people would all pull together and there would be no profiteering and a neutral model that said things would generally be the same in the post attack world.
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wrote:

Plenty of goods and services have experienced long term price reductions. How about the cost of communicating, the cost of transportation and the cost of food. I've come to count on my next computer or electronic device being less expensive than my old one based upon $/unit of performance, not necessarily dollars out-of-pocket. Markets don't like that.
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Heck inflation-adjusted gas is the same as it was in 1918.... http://www.inflationdata.com/inflation/inflation_rate/Gasoline_Inflation . asp
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On 08-15-2013 06:00, Robert Green wrote:

My wife's chemo was $13,000 per dose. And the insurance company declined because it was not officially endorsed for cancer. My appeal was that "if the standard treatment doesn't work, we can't just do nothing." The manufacturer wrote off the whole price though.
As for "supposedly non-profit"--it was claimed recently (yeah, hearsay, I don't know whether it is true) that we are not allowed to use our non-profit status to "unfairly compete" with the for-profit nearby.
But we can't make a lot of money because we are non-profit.
So we have frequent free health screenings and lots of charity write-offs.
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Wes Groleau

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wrote in message

My doctor retired. His office sent a note that said that I could have a photocopy of my file for the last three years for $50 in the form of a pdf computer file. OK. It came and was as advertised; but I couldn't read the doctor's writing. I'll take the computer notes please.
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On 08-10-2013 21:19, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

State Farm alleges that they paid to replace the windows of a guy who followed the advice in a severe weather warning--to "crack" your windows.
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http://www.insure.com/best-car-insurance-companies/
Greg
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