Letters to the Editor

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HEALTH: Reform matters to everyone

Letter by Robert W. Girvin, Tacoma on June 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm with 14 Comments »
June 27, 2012 12:51 pm

Most people with employer-sponsored health plans are satisfied with their insurance. Sure, it doesn’t cover what it used to, but it is better than the alternative. Where I work, we pay $400 a month to insure our families. But that isn’t what it costs. My employer kicks in an extra $1,600; it actually costs $2000 a month. Unbelievable!

Suppose your boss stopped providing health benefits because it cost too much (it could happen). Imagine that they were going to give you the money to buy your own insurance in today’s market. Would you spend $2,000 a month ($24,000 a year) for health insurance if it was your own money? I wouldn’t. That’s why health care reform is so important. It’s big money.

The Affordable Care Act is one way to try to bring down costs. It’s not perfect, but we have to start somewhere. Don’t think health care reform matters to you? It does the instant you lose your job.

Leave a comment Comments → 14
  1. igotdabombfool says:

    So the fact that the insurance companies have already stated that if the Act were to be fully enacted it would actually raise rates helps whom?

  2. PumainTacoma says:

    Ever since the Obama love birds voted for a marginal student who vote present on every legislation we have been stuck with the worst of the worse health care legislation. Facts are employers are not paying anymore in fact they want out of it altogether. Obama to blame? Yes. Employers are stating publicly on their internal web sites that DUE TO LEGISLATION they have to increase rates and costs to employees. That is a fact. When you want ever person covered who do you think pays for that the 50% that pay taxes or those that buck the system? So all you Obama lovers stop complaining about your pensions, (double dip govt pensions) or increase health care because you voted for this idiot. Only the unions are exempt from this asinine legislation that will bankrupt every business out there in the marketplace.

  3. lylelaws says:

    Robert,

    Facing the future without health insurance would be frightening for anyone, but some provisions of Obamacare just do not make sense.

    For example, how would requiring insurance companies to accept new customers with pre-existing conditions be any different than forcing auto insurance carriers to cover people after they had wrecked their cars?

    The only way they could comply would be by drastically increasing their rates for everyone else.

  4. Lyle, you might find this interesting.

    http://m.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/06/why-hasnt-anyone-signed-up-for-the-high-risk-health-insurance-pools/239833/

    First off we are making a problem seem larger than it is. Second, the actions after no one signed up is criminal.

  5. brymarbuch says:

    Health care reform also matters to anyone who has 6-year old daughter has been diagnosed with cancer and faces a lifetime of insurance denial due to a pre-existing condition through no fault of her own.

    The argument against forcing auto insurers to cover people after they’ve wrecked their car is actually an argument for requiring everyone to buy insurance.

    Health care isn’t really like auto repair though, since you can live without a fixed car but you die if the doctor doesn’t remove that malignant brain tumor.

  6. lylelaws says:

    brymarbuch,

    You point is well taken and I would strongly support legislation that would make sure that anyone under the age of 18 would be entitled to any medical care needed because it is not their fault that they can not provide for themselves.

    I don’t practice religion but I will say a prayer for your daughter anyway.

    Don’t give up hope.

  7. BigSwingingRichard says:

    The desire for healthcare reform was driven by frustration with how much it costs. Unfortunately, all the “reforms” put in place actually increase the cost of healthcare.

    Keeping dependents on their parents insurance raises the cost of insurance for the parents and everyone else.

    Covering pre-existing conditions increases the amount of overall benefits and this costs more.

    Forcing insurance companies to cover or offer insurance to everyone raises the cost of healthcare for everyone.

    Removing lifetime caps increases costs for everyone.

    What will reduce the cost of healthcare is:

    Medical tort reform (absent from Obamacare).
    Medical Spending accounts allow patients to manage their own money. (banned under Obamacare)
    Increase the markets for healthcare, allow healthcare to sold across state lines (like car insurance).
    Allow catastrophic care policies (currently prohibited).
    Force price competition on providers. Anyone know if your DR charges more than the next guy?
    Allow the free market to determine cost of service and to increase competition.
    Tax healthcare benefits provided by your employer, then you will pay attention to what it costs and will demand price reductions and plans that you want and need.
    Allow and encourage others to provide services: Walgreens provides medical tests, blood draws, nurse practitioners, a variety of lab tests. If you are spending your own money, you would force price competition on providers.

    None of these are included in Obamacare.

    Make sure healthcare does not become welfare for everyone. Give people the freedom to choose how their money is spent and the market will force efficiency into healthcare.

    I could go on…..
    Get the government out of healthcare delivery and the control of healthcare.

  8. BSR, great post. Unlike Obamacare, your points get to the root of the problem, not just throwing more tax payer money into the pit.

    Insurance companies make very small profit margin. Adding costs to them will get passed on the consumer.

  9. brymarbuch says:

    Lylelaws,
    Thank you for your kind thoughts. Thankfully my daughter is now in college and cancer free; however she faces a lifetime of health issues due to the harsh treatments, recently she was diagnosed with another, supposedly benign, brain tumor due to the radiation to her head.

    After dealing with denials and questions about coverage for the entire 15 years of my daughters ongoing cancer fight, including the denial of hospital coverage for her very first brain surgery ($50K) I don’t believe that the insurance industry should be given free reign over the decisions about what/who/when to cover, etc., they need to be regulated. I also believe that consumers need rules; we can’t expect unlimited coverage for unnecessary and expensive medical care for everyone, which drives up costs for everyone.

    If you believe that the insurance companies aren’t profitable you have not googled “insurance company profits” and read about it. One example, United Health group was on the Fortune 500 most profitable companies list of 2011. In my experience, the main purpose of insurance company employees is to find ways to deny paying for health care since that improves company profits.

  10. SwordofPerseus says:

    BigRich and Lyle=completely without clue…

    Insurance reform in one simple step: Simply reduce medicare eligibility age to zero. Thus removing the profit margin from health care, everyone is covered for a lifetime and we all pay into the pool as taxpayers. If you want cadillac coverage for more services you can by supplemental services from for profit insurance companies. For Christ’s sake people we are behind Cuba and Poland in health care services.

    Why isn’t this done yet? Obscene profits that’s why.

  11. Buch, you make the Fortune 500 by revenues, not profit. Profit margin of only 5%.

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2012/industries/223/

    Their rank was 22nd in rev, 28 by profit (gross number, not %).

  12. Sop, I hear about people rafting to Cuba for healthcare all the time. At least use as an example a nation that is not stuck in 50’s with people literally dying to escape.

  13. brymarbuch says:

    CT7, the list was called “Top companies: Most PROFITABLE” I apologize for not looking deeper to find the profit margin. The profit margin didn’t factor in to those making the list.

    Another list I came across was Forbes List of America’s Highest Paid Chief Executives; the CEO of United Health Group was #1 at 101.96 million (for 2009 salary).
    http://www.forbes.com/lists/2011/12/ceo-compensation-11_rank.html
    He took a pay cut in 2010 to 48.83 Million. That’s a very small percent of the company revenues, but it’s still a heck of a lot of $.

  14. brymarbuch says:

    BTW, I have a Disclosure, I have bias against United Health Group; it was my son’s insurance company when he took his first job with a well-known, profitable, Redmond, WA company as a contracted employee w/o benefits. This was prior to the Obamacare allowance of covering children until age 26, so we made him get health insurance due to our prior experience with medical catastrophe.

    UHG gave him a policy, as a young, healthy, 23-year-old, no questions asked, and accepted his expensive payments. When he had a random, expensive medical need, then they went to work requiring proof of past insurance coverage, and a detailed health history to ensure it wasn’t a pre-existing health issue. This is how insurance companies profit, by denying health care.

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