Health care reform, necessary?

Discussion in 'Healthcare/Insurance/Govt Healthcare' started by Wry Catcher, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. Wry Catcher
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    Wry Catcher Platinum Member

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    Reforming the way health care is provided in our nation has been an issue for a century.


    The article below is from "Business Week" and provides an historic background for debate.



    JANUARY 10, 2005

    INDUSTRY OUTLOOK 2005 -- LIFE SCIENCES

    Commentary: Health Care: More Money, Less Care
    Ever higher outlays aren't getting the U.S. a better health-care system, but the pols aren't doing much to redress this miserable equation


    This is what passes for good news in health care: U.S. spending will increase by only 9% to 10% in 2005, about the same rate as last year, according to UBS Securities (UBS ). That's still three times the rate of inflation, but at least it's less than the gains the nation saw in the first two years of this century, when costs rose by 12% to 13% a year.

    All told, the U.S. will probably spend an estimated $1.9 trillion on health care in 2005, $100 billion more than the prior year. That's 15.7% of the gross domestic product. Despite such mammoth sums, hospitals will continue to struggle to stay solvent, employers will continue to face higher insurance premiums, employees will continue to shoulder a higher percentage of those premiums, and insurers -- well, insurers will continue to do very well, thank you, because they get to pass on their higher costs to the policy holders. Though not, of course, to the 45 million people who are uninsured -- 15.6% of the population.

    At some point, and probably in the not-too-distant future, this level of spending will almost certainly become unsustainable. Expensive new drugs and medical technologies, a growing number of uninsured, and an aging, overweight population virtually guarantee cost increases will climb back to the 12% to 13% range in a few years. By 2010, UBS Securities estimates that health care will consume 17.4% of the GDP. "In my view, the pressure is not off costs at all," says William McGeever, a UBS health-care analyst. "I see nothing on the horizon that will moderate increases."

    All of this might be O.K. if we were getting maximum bang for all those bucks, but we're not. Other industrialized nations, which have universal health coverage, spend less of their GDP on health care -- 8% to 10%. Yet they rank well above the U.S. in average life expectancy and infant mortality rate, standard measures of a nation's health. The U.S. ranks in the bottom quartile of all industrialized nations on those two measures.

    Nor does the U.S. do well on more specific quality measures. In a study of a broad range of procedures in five highly industrialized nations, released last spring in the well-regarded journal Health Affairs, researchers determined that the extra spending on health care in the U.S. is "not buying better experiences with the health care system, with the exception of shorter waits for nonurgent surgery." That conclusion was backed up by a study released in December by Veteran's Administration researchers: They found that only 51% of patients nationwide receive med- ically recommended care for their conditions. So much for the oft-heard claim that the U.S. has the best medical system in the world.

    Despite this dire situation, there are no serious proposals in Washington to redress the miserable cost/quality equation. President George W. Bush's main health-care reform initiative, the introduction of tax credits for Health Savings Accounts, is likely only to siphon off healthy adults from existing insurance plans, making it harder to offset the costs of treating the sick. At the same time, the shift to high-deductible policies by many employers is likely to cause some consumers to delay health care until their conditions become serious -- and more expensive to treat.

    If change is going to come, it needs to be driven by the companies now picking up the nation's health-insurance tab, as well as their beleaguered employees. The annual Towers Perrin Health Care Cost Survey predicts that employers can expect, on average, an 8% increase in health-care costs in 2005, to an annual rate of $7,761 per employee. Those employees will see their share of insurance premiums increase by an average of 14%, while benefits will be reduced by 2%.

    A Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that the cost of job-based health coverage has risen 59% since 2000, while the percentage of U.S. workers who receive health benefits through their jobs has dropped from 65% to 61%. Paying more, getting less. Isn't it about time that policymakers -- and the people who vote for them -- come up with a better way?

    So, does anyone on this message board have a better idea? I've yet to read one on this message board, or hear one from Senate or House Republicans. "Obamacare" as many of you characterize current Congressional and White House efforts to pass a bill recieve only negative comments from many - but never do the negative nellies / neds ever acklnowledge the problems outliined above, or suggest real solutions.
     
  2. Wry Catcher
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    Wry Catcher Platinum Member

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    Historical evidence sure seems to quite the conservatives.
     
  3. andy753
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    andy753 Senior Member

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    Yes, we need reform. A little, a lot, I'm not sure. I know I have a customer that I see on a weekly basis that pays $930 a month for health insurance for his wife and himself. Crazy. I work with a guy that got his $28,000 broken leg bill wiped away with a couple of phone calls. And he refuses to buy insurance, because in his mind, why buy it when he can get it all for free. My premiums go up because of people like this.

    My last story is about a friend whose father served in Vietnam. Lost his arm. For reasons unknown, his dad has to sell his house to pay for medical bills due to some complications on his lost arm. (more to it than a missing limb) He worked his whole life to buy that house, now it's going to be gone. I have no idea why it's not covered by the government/military. And yes, I know the government/military is paid by tax payers like myself. Then I work with a jack-ass who gets his bills paid for with a few 10 minute phone calls.

    YES, WE NEED A LITTLE CHANGE. Don't tell me you think the systems doesn't need a little/lot of change. I don't have the answers, that's why I just sit around and complain. hahaha
     
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  4. Christopher
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    Christopher Active Member

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    The article does not address the root causes of the problems. That IS the problem. It is assumed that our longevity and other statistics are a complete result of the money we spend on health care. Where is the credible study which shows this? I have been asking for it for some time and not one person on this board has provided it. If I need to give you a link to the thread I can.

    How are we to agree on what the correct solution to the problems mentioned in the article are if we do not even understand what has really caused these problems?

    Also, the article mentions that the health care spending is unsustainable, which I agree. How about we also agree that government spending is unsustainable and realize we need to stop looking for more government money to fix our problems?
     
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  5. Christopher
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    Christopher Active Member

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    It is easy to portray events from history differently when there is no credible analysis given behind the reasons why things happened in history. Interpretation of what the evidence really means is necessary to find the truth.
     
  6. Wry Catcher
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    Wry Catcher Platinum Member

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    History provides, among other things, perspective. Consider if you will T. Roosevelt & The Progressive Party Platform of 1912:
    Minor/Third Party Platforms: Progressive Party Platform of 1912

    Notice the call for National Health Care nearly 100 years ago, and other reforms such as campaign finance reform.
    Now, as to your argument that there is "no credible analysis given behind the reasons for why things happened in history" I must say that is simply not true. Cause and effect do require critical analysis, but much has been done, and though absolute truth may not be known, events have been recored and sufficient evidence exists to make the certainty of the evidence nearly absolute.
     
  7. Christopher
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    Christopher Active Member

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    Then I'm sure you can provide a link to one of these analyses. I will be waiting.
     
  8. Tom Clancy
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    Tom Clancy Clancy for Ron Paul

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    Everybody pretty much agrees on Health Care Reform, but not THIS type of Reform.. Not this Crappy Bill We can't even pay for.
     
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  9. Luissa
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    Luissa Annoying Customer Supporting Member

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    Of course it needs to be reformed, and it needs to start by setting prices for procedures. You shouldn't be able to charge one price at a hospital and another somewhere else.
     
  10. PeterS
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    PeterS Active Member

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    My sons friend and co-worker just died from pneumonia. He had been sick for several days and when he didn't return calls nor answer his door the police were called and he was found unconscious. He spent two weeks in the county hospital before dying leaving behind a tab for the taxpayers of over $80K. Like my son his friend and co-worker was a contract employee and therefore had no health insurance. Had he gone to the doctor when he first gotten sick the bronchial infection would have been diagnosed and treated for a fraction of what it cost after he was hospitalized...and yet the government spending for that treatment is unsustainable, correct?

    What people do not seem to understand is that what is unsustainable is our approach to health-care in this country. If the money for health care is not going to come from wages and benefits then it WILL come from the government...one way or the other. The question is whether we want to pay a little or a lot. Personally I would rather pay a little but it seems conservative fear of government predicates we all pay a lot...
     

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