Count the Costs

>> Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This article posted at AmericanThinker spells out why our health care system costs what it does. I've seen these reasons put forth in a number of articles, actually, and they don't seem to be addressed by any of those supporting the proposals now being opposed by so many people across the fruited plain.

In an earlier post, someone mentioned that the cost of frivolous lawsuits hasn't risen in some time (if I properly recall the argument). I'll take his word for it. But that doesn't mean that what costs from such exist aren't adding unnecessarily to the overall cost. And it certainly doesn't mean that such costs shouldn't be dealt with first before insisting that draconian alternatives aren't forced down out throats. Once in place, they'll be much harder to remove later.

But these costs, or the threat of them, are, as indicated in the linked piece, what drives so much unnecessary tests and procedures that doctors insist upon in order to prevent any suits should a sad outcome come to pass. In other words, treatments for most illnesses would cost far less if doctors proceded only based on what the patient needs to survive the illness, rather than on any consideration of what the doctor needs to survive a lawsuit.

Another issue is the amount of government interference in insurance coverages. How many here want to pay for invitro fertilization? States often mandate coverage for procedures for which most people have no need or would never utilize if it weren't "free". And from all I've been able to gather, abortion would be included in the coverage the Dems are now pushing. I don't want to pay for that either, either through taxes or insurance premiums. I want a policy that is tailored to my needs and desires and paying only for what I need and want should cost less than paying for what my state insists every policy should cover.

And if I want to buy a policy that matches my needs better, I might have to go to Idaho to find it. Right now, I can't. Allowing the interstate purchase of health insurance would open up the free market competition in a natural way, without the artificial influence of gov't interference screwing it up.

The big argument is that health care costs too much for some in this country and that is why we need reform. The best reform is getting the gov't out of the picture and letting the market shape the best possibility for the most people. The gov't has done more to raise the cost than anything else. I have no faith in their ability to lower costs or improve care. Indeed, with their grubby fingers in the pie, the opposite is certain to occur.


Jim August 11, 2009 at 10:13 PM  

OK, count the costs. The CEO of United Health Group earned $124 million last year. That works out to about $102,000 AN HOUR.

So tell me more about government inefficiencies.

Over the last several years, a lot of tort reform has been passed. Have you noticed your health care premiums go down?

"How many here want to pay for invitro fertilization?" Name an insurance company that pays for in-vitro fertilization.

"States often mandate coverage for procedures for which most people have no need or would never utilize if it weren't "free"." Really? Name a state and name a procedure.

"And from all I've been able to gather, abortion would be included in the coverage the Dems are now pushing." Gather from what? Abortion isn't mentioned in any of the health care bills. And besides, most health care companies cover abortion. Why shouldn't government choices include normal and common procedures? You want people to have a choice don't you?

The current bills include a health insurance exchange which would allow anyone to do what federal employees do: choose from several health care plans that offer the coverage and costs that suit your needs. Sounds like exactly what you are asking for.

The big argument is not that health costs too much today. It is that costs are climbing much faster than incomes. It is that health care companies can deny you coverage any time they want. It is that you can be denied coverage for a "pre-existing" condition you didn't know you had. It is that an insurance company executive stands between you and your doctor and the health care your doctor thinks you need, that your health care is predicated on how much money the CEO of United Health Group makes.

Marshall Art August 12, 2009 at 12:07 AM  

The CEO could earn twice that amount this year and I'd still look UHG to do a better job of insuring me than Barry & Co. They are a business. Inefficiencies are not tolerated in a business as they are in gov't. This is basic.

What tort reform has allowed doctors to feel comfortable leaving anything to chance, thus running a myriad of otherwise unnecessary tests only to prevent legal action later if the patient doesn't recover? I doubt you could name any measure of tort reform that has eased such fears by doctors and hospitals.

"Name an insurance company that pays for in-vitro fertilization."

Doesn't matter the procedure or condition. What matters is insurance companies covering things for which they shouldn't. I don't want my insurance company paying for people that live reckless lives. That drives up my costs. Alcoholism, drug addiction, certain counseling.... the link touched on a few things. More can be found. Abortion certainly shouldn't be covered as it is most often an elective procedure. People don't NEED abortions, they need to control their urges. I don't want to pay for losers for whom sex is mere masturbation.

Don't tell me how any of these bills mirror what federal employees get. Tell me why federal employees are exempt. They should be the first to have to deal with any gov't mandated cluster-f**k.

That any cost of living is rising faster than our own ability to keep up is better handled by letting the free market work with as few regs as possible. Gov't interference has contributed to artificial rising of costs and their further interference is not likely to help us at all. It'd be like giving an arsonist more gasoline.

EL August 12, 2009 at 7:32 AM  

Assuming a forty-hour work week of 40 hours, times 52 weeks in a year, it equals 2,080 hours a year. Now divide 124 million by 2,080 hours and the result is $59,615.38 per hour. Simple math. And no, I don't believe Jim deliberately misrepresented UHG's CEO's hourly wage. He just made a mistake with his math. Still, $59,615 bucks an hour is a lot of money, but government has no business telling anyone how much they can pay their employees. Congress has given us a minimum wage, but in a land where even DEMOCRATS still talk about the American Dream... well, how many of those lying bastards in Congress make as much or more each year than the CEO of UHC? Not many, IF any, but they would, if they could. And you'd be a liar to deny it.

But we don't hear you, Jim, complaining about how much our Congressmen make each year; comparing their hourly wage to the inefficiencies of their governance.

It's hypocritical for Congressmen to reign in wages for CEO's when they routinely vote themselves raises, and use their political capital to rake in fortunes that WANT to be greater than 124 million a year-- that scrabble and claw toward that magic number --especially when they exempt themselves from the very policies they enact and burden their constituents with; giving them lies, poor governance, and skyrocketing deficits in return.

That you can't see this, and support the kind of thievery Congress is now trying to foist upon us, only shows how sadly jealous you are of those who have done better for themselves than you. And it shows how sadly ignorant you are to buy into the class-warfare and wealth-envy tactics of the political left.

Jim August 15, 2009 at 10:50 PM  

"I don't want to pay for [abortions] either, either through taxes or insurance premiums."

83% of private health insurance policies pay for abortions. Aetna pays for any abortion for any reason at any time.

So it is very likely that you pay for other people's abortions already.

Marshall Art August 15, 2009 at 11:44 PM  

Very true, Jim. But why? How did that coverage get put into any policy? There's no reason for me to have to pay for something so heinous on behalf of someone else. Plus, it is an elective operation in 90% or more of the situations. It shouldn't be in any health care plan but that proponents of the procedure insist that it is basic care. It isn't. So it should never be a reason for insurance costs to rise. Keep in mind: there is no reason anyone should get pregnant in the first place if one doesn't desire to.

EL August 16, 2009 at 12:32 AM  

"83% of private health insurance..."

That's quite a specific number. Please cite your source.

Also, Jim, you have yet to explain why nationalized healthcare would be a boon for the American people. You have yet to explain why it is good for the government to take over the health industry, why it is good to make everyone pay for abortion, why it is good for our elected officials to ignore the will of the people.

Why is it okay for Washington to live by one standard while forcing the nation to live by another? In short, what makes the Liberal/Progressive ideology so superior to the conservative?

Those, I believe, are fair questions.

Mark August 16, 2009 at 7:22 AM  

Jim also has yet to explain what business it is of the Governments to run the health care industry.

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