WHY health care needed reform

Discussion in 'Healthcare/Insurance/Govt Healthcare' started by Bfgrn, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. Bfgrn
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    Bfgrn Gold Member

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    WHY did health care need reform? Because Wall Street took complete control of the health care industry. Profit driven incentives create REAL death panels for Americans. Insurance corporations are incentivized to deny patient coverage and push more and more of the costs onto consumers.

    For anyone who wants an insider's knowledge of this, I recommend investing a half hour of your time to listen to what this man has to say...

    Wendell Potter is former Vice President of corporate communications at CIGNA, one of the United States' largest health insurance companies. In June 2009, he testified against the HMO industry in the U.S. Senate.

    Looking back over his long career, Potter sees an industry corrupted by Wall Street expectations and greed. According to Potter, insurers have every incentive to deny coverage — every dollar they don't pay out to a claim is a dollar they can add to their profits, and Wall Street investors demand they pay out less every year. Under these conditions, Potter says, "You don't think about individual people. You think about the numbers, and whether or not you're going to meet Wall Street's expectations."


    Profits before Patients - Wendell Potter

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    Following a 20-year career as a corporate public relations executive, Wendell left his position as head of communications for CIGNA, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, to help socially responsible organizations — including those advocating for meaningful health care reform — achieve their goals.

    In widely covered testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Technology Committee in June of 2009, Wendell disclosed how insurance companies, as part of their efforts to boost profits, have engaged in practices that have resulted in millions of Americans being forced into the ranks of the uninsured. Wendell also described how the insurance industry has developed and implemented strategic communications plans, based on deceptive public relations, advertising and lobbying efforts, to defeat reform initiatives.

    Since then Wendell has testified before two House committees, briefed several members of Congress and their staffs, appeared with members of Congress at several press conferences, spoken at more than 100 public forums, and has been the subject of numerous articles in the U.S. and foreign media.

    At CIGNA, Wendell served in a variety of positions over 15 years, most recently as head of corporate communications and chief corporate spokesperson. Prior to joining CIGNA, Wendell headed communications at Humana Inc., another large for-profit health insurer. Before that he was director of public relations and advertising for the Baptist Health System of East Tennessee and a partner in an Atlanta public relations firm. He also serves as a consumer liaison representative for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

    Wendell Potter's News Articles


    “As one former insurance executive testified before Congress, insurance companies are not only encouraged to find reasons to drop the seriously ill; they are rewarded for it. All of this is in service of meeting what this former executive called, ‘Wall Street’s relentless profit expectations.’” — President Barack Obama, Remarks to Joint Session of Congress, September 9, 2009

    It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.
    Albert Camus
     
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  2. AnnieInMexico
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    AnnieInMexico US citizen living in MX

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    Wendell Potter from Cigna should know, his was one of the companies that denied the most claims. I'm quite sure he knows the system inside and out.

    I worked for Cigna and could only hack it for three months before I had to quit. Same with the county hospital in Phoenix. That's when I decided to out it on my own and I provide far better care as a nurse than I ever could working for those places.

    Mayo is the exception to the rule of medical care.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
  3. Bfgrn
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    Bfgrn Gold Member

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    Good for you AnnieInMexico.

    Wendell Potter's story is interesting; what made him decide to walk away from a very lucrative position to become an advocate for the people. He explains that in the half hour interview with Bill Moyers and how Wall Street has complete control of the industry and punishes companies the pay out too much in benefits and treatments.

    Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.
    Edmund Burke
     
  4. Bern80
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    Bern80 Gold Member

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    Very few people would disagree that our health care system needed to be reformed. But doing something.....anything is not always an improvement. The 'how' it is being reformed via Obamacare is the problem.
     
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  5. Bfgrn
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    Bfgrn Gold Member

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    The Affordable Healthcare Act is almost a carbon copy of the "Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act of 1993"...proposed by Republicans when Clinton tried to pass reform.

    Including the BIG Republican idea...the INDIVIDUAL MANDATE.
     
  6. Greenbeard
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    Greenbeard Gold Member

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    The point of the OP and the subsequent posts in this thread is that the incentives in the health insurance market are perverse, or at the very least lead to undesirable outcomes. If the "how" you prefer is simply to further deregulate health insurance markets and find ways to undermine regulations in those states where they exist (as it generally is when someone makes a statement like yours), that doesn't really address the point here.
     
  7. Bern80
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    Bern80 Gold Member

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    I wasn't aware of the act of 1993, but I guess my question is what is your point in telling me? That I'm going to change my opinion based on what side of the political aisle proposed the policy. Wrong is wrong Bf. It doesn't matter to me if the opposition came up with something similar before. I don't know how long it will take the board regulars to get this but, I'm not a Republican. I'm a libertarian which means I dislike the bulk of the Republican part nearly as much as I dislike Democrats.
     
  8. Bern80
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    Bern80 Gold Member

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    As I have said in another thread, what business doesn't have an incentive to keep its expenses down? Your insurance plan is a contract. It does not stipulate that your insurance company pays for your health care. It stipulates that under x circumstances they will cover x health care expenses. So does an insurance company have an incentive to not pay for what it is not contractually obligated to pay for? Ummmmm, YES.

    I still get the impression that their is a pretty good chunk of people that admittedly or not think health care is a service that people should not have to pay for. So that's question one in determining how best to reform the system. Should health care be 'free' (as in payed for by taxes) and provided as a right by government, or is it a service that medical professionals deserve to be compensated for by those obtaining service from them?

    If you're answer is it should be 'free' well then we're kinda fucked because that's an entirely different debate where we have to determine what the most efficient means of delivering service is based on that funding model. Basic economics says it won't be efficient at all, but feel free to prove me otherwise.

    If it's the latter than that is something we can more easily talk about. It's interesting in touched on the concept of incentives. Because that concept is a huge part of the issue, you're just wrong on who it's the bigger issue for. The problem is the incentive (or lack of in this case) of the consumer. They have little incentive to understand their plan because they have little choice in plans and because it is an insurance model they have little incentive to understand what the costs of services really are because they don't have to deal with them. These are basic economic concepts that determine what the cost of service will be and yet people like yourself and Bf are dumbfounded by the costs of medical care. And also, sorry to take a jab here, but because you are liberals and the very last person you will hold accountable for way the things are is yourself.

    How do you fix it? It really isn't that hard.
    Addressing your concern first of insurance companies propensity to deny claims; First the consumer needs to be responsible enough to understand what there plan really covers. There are certainly things that can be done to incentivize people to do that which we can talk about in a minute. But one regulation I would be for is stricter legal regulation in terms of making the specifics of your plan legally binding. Create a penalty system that makes it unthinkable to to insurance companies to deny claims they know they should cover.

    Secondly, if the insurance industry is so awful maybe we should consider not depending on them so heavily. Here's a crazy idea, how about you the consumer just pay for the services he provides you? Again part of why costs are what they are is because the actual consumer of the product currently has little to no incentive to find out who offers the best deal on the service they need. I know this going to be a tough exercise for a lot of you, but humor and start thinking of 'repairing' your body like repairing your car and I promise you you will see prices fall.

    Thirdly, you can't argue with basic laws of economics. The more competiveness there is for a good or service the lower the cost of that good or service is going to be. That applies to both insurance plans and actual services. This is where deregulating various things comes in. Instead of mandating that employers above a certain size must provide a health care plan, take the money they would spend per individual on a plan and just give them the money instead and let them shop for the health care plan they want. Having choice is a key mechanism in keeping costs down to consumers. Look at all of the choice government has removed from the market. They have removed the choice of how an employer wants to provide the health care benefit to its employees and they have removed coverage options of the insurer. They have told employers you must provide this benefit and they have told the insurance companies what they must cover. And you really wonder why costs are as high as they are?
     
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  9. Bfgrn
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    Bfgrn Gold Member

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    Do yourself a favor, invest a half hour of your time and listen to the interview with Wendell Potter. It is enlightening.

    Watch the video
     
  10. Bern80
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    Bern80 Gold Member

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    I can't say that anything in there really shocks me. Another 'regulation' if you will that I left out, and a statement by Obama that intitally disagreed with but would, is that contributing to politicians should not be considered a form of free speech. Crony capitalism as it's called needs to end.

    But I was right about one thing I said prior to watching that; we are far far far too dependent on the insurance model for paying our healthcare. The two big themes of that piece were the crookedness of the insurance companies and how struck Potter was by people not having an insurance. The last part I just don't get. As if not having an insurance plan is the end game. The notion that if you don't have one you're basically dead. That totally misses the picture in my opinion. If you don't like the problems insurance companies have created why are we trying to come up with solutions that play by insurance company rules? It doesn't strike you as odd to malign insurance companies, but at the same time try to enact law that gets everyone on one of their plans? The goal should not the ability of people to afford health care insurance. The goal needs to be the ability for people to afford health care.
     

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