Who pays for the 20% administrative overhead the insurance companies absorb
today? Health insurance administration in Canada absorbs 6%, it's 4% in
France and an astonishingly efficient 1.5% in Taiwan. What baffles me is
why so many folks are apparently content paying an extra 20% for insurance
that goes to executive salaries and marketing campaigns and so on while
being horrified at the thought of the supposedly greater inefficiency govt.
would bring to the process. The insurance companies have been getting away
with murder--refusing customers with pre-existing conditions, finding
excuses to drop customers who paid their premiums for years but now need
treatment, raising their rates far ahead of inflation, not to mention
absorbing a fifth of the money they take in for "administration." We're
being screwed six ways from Sunday *now* by the industry--are we just
supposed to bend over and smile forever, paying more than any other nation
on earth for health care while coming in 13th among wealthy nations in life
expectancy and infant mortality? My usual instinct is to suspect that govt.
can usually makes things worse, but when it comes to health care we need to
do something different, it can't go on like it is now because we simply
can't afford it.
On Mon, 14 Sep 2009 10:46:05 -0700, DGDevin wrote:
That's a good point, and one that the right wingers on this group
I also wonder how many of them rejected Social Security and Medicare, or
plan to when they reach that age?
Not to claim that the left is always logical :-).
If we all used reason, voted for the common good instead of self-
interest, and had the needed information, all laws, candidates, and
propositions would be approved or rejected almost unanimously.
But then we wouldn't be human :-).
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw
But you said it yourself: "...so many folks are apparently content..." If so
many are content (85% by the last measure), why take a chance on screwing it
The Senate plan will be introduced tomorrow (Wednesday). It will contain a
mandatory insurance provision that will require as much as 17% of a family's
income (roughly equivalent to doubling their rent). This manadatory
provision is necessary in order to pay for the new coverages.
Of course those who can't afford the required insurance premium will have
its value subsidized by the government (they really do think we can't use
And who, besides the president, says we can't afford it? I suggest the
difference between 16% health premium and a 30% tax rate in the U.S. is
better than 0% health premium and a 50-70% tax rate as in the UK, France,
Canada, and other countries held up as exemplars.
Life expectancy and infant mortality are flawed metrics for the efficacy of
a health-care delivery system. First, many people in this country die from
things totally removed from the medical universe: traffic accidents,
gang-related shootings, executions, terrorism, suicides. When a drunk drives
into a bridge support at 100 mph, neither the best nor cheapest medical
system in the world will do any good. (Consider also Princess Diana.)
A better metric is life expectancy for five years AFTER diagnosis of an
extreme disease. In virtually ALL cases, the U.S. leads the world. For
example, after a diagnosis of chronic heart failure, the rate of survival
for five years is:
U.S. - 96%
Canada - 86%
U.K. - 55%
Similar numbers obtain for breast, prostate, and indeed, all cancers.
Also, many deaths are attributable to social factors beyond the influence of
the medical system. The survey you quote (in which the U.S. ranks 13th) also
ranks South Africa as, like, third from the bottom! South Africa has the
best medical system in Africa - it was the home of the first heart
transplant, for crying out loud! South Africa also has the highest incidence
of AIDS, about which even the best medical system can do almost nothing.
Infant mortality is another bad hat. When a severely premature infant is
born in the U.S., we move heaven and earth to save its life. Many,
unfortunately, expire after heroic measures add only a day or two to the
infant's life. In France, NO measures are taken for an infant whose birth
weight is less than about 1.5kg. Virtually ALL these deaths are recorded as
I don't have a problem with paying for Joe, my problem is with the
government doing it in such a roundabout way and then using the result to
claim that medical costs are out of control.
As a matter of political strategy though it's genius.
<DIV>> On Mon, 14 Sep 2009 10:42:58 -0400, J. Clarke wrote:<BR>> <BR>>> Joe Homeless walks into the emergency room to get four stitches and he<BR>>> gets them for free, while I walk into the same emergency room and get<BR>>> four stitches on the same table from the same doctor and get charged<BR>>> 2500 bucks.<BR>>> <BR>>> One step toward fixing
the system would be a Constitutional amendment<BR>>> restricting unfunded
mandates--if the government says that you _have_ to<BR>>> provide a good
or service to someone who cannot reasonably be expected<BR>>> to pay for
it then the government must compensate you for that good or<BR>>>
service.<BR>> <BR>> Need I point out that that solution STILL leaves you
paying for Joe - <BR>> just via a different path :-).<BR>> <BR></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>It is worth noting as well that the problem is less
the uninsued and more the $2500 for 4 stitches.....The hospital and/or ER have a
cost/expence structure quite beyond ration or reason. Sadly during the entire
"health care" debate we've had no attention paid to the actual cost
structure. Rod </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2></FONT> </DIV>
<DIV>> <BR>> <BR>> -- <BR>> Intelligence is an experiment that
failed - G. B. Shaw</DIV></BODY></HTML>
"Rod & Betty Jo" wrote:
It is worth noting as well that the problem is less the uninsued and
more the $2500 for 4 stitches.....The hospital and/or ER have a
cost/expence structure quite beyond ration or reason. Sadly during the
entire "health care" debate we've had no attention paid to the actual
Think the repeated references to The Cleveland Clinic, The Mayo Clinic
and Johns Hopkins recognize the above issue and suggest they may be a
model to a solution.
Yup, 8 to 10% of what we pay for insurance is shifted to cover the costs of
treating uninsured patients (and that's aside from govt. funding used for
the same purpose). Folks who don't want their taxes paying for treating the
uninsured have missed the little detail that their insurance premiums are
doing exactly that right now. Why would anyone be surprised that a
corporation seeking profit would pass on an expense like this to their
insured customers, did anyone seriously believe they would just eat this
And where will the govt. get the money? Perhaps from the taxes we pay? It
doesn't matter which pocket the money comes from, it's all the same pair of
pants. So if we're going to pay I'd like to the bill to be as small as
possible. That means keeping people out of the emergency room, i.e.
providing them with less expensive preventative care rather than having them
stumble into the ER when they have no other choice.
You need to document that number; How was it derived?
while a full 25% is pure insurance overhead, to wit (From UHC 2008 10-K)
Revenue (premiums): USD 81 Billion
Payments (medical care): USD 60 Billion
Insurance Company Costs: USD 15 Billion
Insurance Company Profit: USD 5 Billion.
25% overhead is entirely too much. Need to get rid of the insurance companies
entirely to save any money in health care. Add in the savings in the
hospitals, doctor's, etc. due to less paperwork, and you end up cutting 50% or
more from the costs of medical treatment.
Perpetual HSA's for individuals with competetive catastrophic coverage
from multiple vendors would go a long way towards reducing medical costs.
It's been quoted in the media of late; I saw it on the AMA website if memory
Their high administrative costs aside, many practices of the insurance
industry (like canceling coverage when they can get away with it, including
in the middle of someone's chemo therapy) are loathsome and should not be
Government projects are typically 30% overhead. It is not known for
efficiency. Recall the $600 hammer? The $4500 microwave? The
government has no reason to be effecient, it does not need to make a
profit, just collect tax money.
That I don't understand. 'splain to me how my insurance premiums are
paying for treating uninsured patients? Are you talking about the
increased charges to paying customers (insured or not) to cover
non-payers? I don't see any other way the insurance companies would be
paying the bills for people who don't have insurance. Certainly not
I like the idea of hospitals charging $300 for all emergencies. That
would help keep the hypocondriacs and flu patients from taking
resources from those that really need it. I rushed a friend to a
hospital once, he had a burst appendix. He passed out on the floor
while filling out page 4 of the 7 required pages to be admitted.
Hospitals will work with those without money--you can pay whatever you
can per month until paid up.
No, at the time nobody knew his appendix had burst. I knew there was
something seriously wrong because his skin turned a green color. And
because it was a Sunday, they did not know until the following day.
The lab technicians do not work on Sunday.
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