COMPETITON IN HEALTH INSURANCE BUSINESS A MYTH

Competition in the health insurance business is a myth.  Those who oppose President Obama’s public option are crying foul that a public option would tilt the insurance coverage playing field unfairly.  Bull – the health insurance field is already tilted in favor of just a few insurance companies and is dominated in almost all markets by one or two companies which have swallowed up smaller companies and continue to grow, thus creating even less competition.

The American Medical Association’s 2007-2009 report on competition in the health insurance field finds that in the majority of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), a single health insurer dominates the market. Competition is undermined in hundreds of markets across the country.

Over the five years since the AMA’s first study, the country’s largest health insurers have continued to pursue aggressive acquisition strategies. The largest insurer, WellPoint Inc. (formed from the merger of Anthem Inc. and WellPoint Health Networks), has acquired 11 health insurers since 2000. The second-largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group (United) has also acquired 11 health insurers since 2000.

In 2000, the two largest health Aetna and United, had a total membership of 32 million lives. As a result of mergers and acquisitions since 2000, the top two insurers today, WellPoint and United, each have memberships, respectively, of 34 million and 33 million, totaling more than 67 million covered lives.

While large health insurers have posted very healthy profits since 2000, premiums for consumers have increased without a corresponding increase in benefits. In fact, during the same time period, consumers have faced increased deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance. This has effectively reduced the scope of their health benefits coverage.

In our own Fort Wayne MSA, the two largest provides, WellPoint and Lutheran Preferred, control 52% and 23% of the market, respectively – those two companies alone control 75% of the Fort Wayne MSA.  Not much competition there.  The AMA’s report gives a picture of competition in all 50 states.

In Gary, Indiana, an area known for its poverty, two companies, HCSC (BCBS) and WellPoint control 68% and 24%, respectively.  Two companies – 92% of the market.  Hmm – where is the competition?

The American public is being sold a lie when the opponents of the public option cry that it will cut competition.  Little competition currently exists, and, as the major insurance companies continue to aggressively swallow up smaller companies, even less competition will exist.

What the mega insurance companies really want is to control even more of the market and, God forbid, that a public option would get in the way.

Chart with examples of lack of competition in the health insurance industry

Chart with examples of lack of competition in the health insurance industry

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About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
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31 Responses to COMPETITON IN HEALTH INSURANCE BUSINESS A MYTH

  1. Iceironman says:

    Do you think getting the govt regulations mandating no purchase across state lines could help? After all, there are over 1300 insurance companies out there. Do you think getting all of the govt mandates on coverage could help reduce the cost of insurance??

  2. Lewis Allen says:

    This is interesting information, Charlotte. The benefits consumers gain from a free market are in peril when the competition is thinned so much.

    The question is, what to do about it? I believe everyone should be covered, but I also respect the concern that it would be tough for a private entity or entities to compete with the federal government, which can raise funds, for better or worse, with relatively ease.

    I’ve heard a lot of bad stories, and anecdotes, from both customers in and employees of insurance companies about the insurance industry, but I don’t really believe that excessive profit on their part contributes much to the problem of rising costs. Their margins are relatively modest when compared to other industries. But if the market continues to be dominated by fewer and fewer, who knows what could happen?

    I think allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines is generally a good idea, but I don’t think it would help that much. I’d be curious to see whether it would result in more competition, or reduce the competition further.

  3. Iceironman says:

    Lewis, good imput. Seen any geico or progressive commercials lately, how about allstate, your in good hands, how about state farm etc. Advertisements run rampant from car insurance companies with no boundries like state lines. Second, the govt has mandates that require a person to be insured to the nth degree with health insurance. With Car insurance or homeowners you can pick and chose how much coverage and for what you want to be covered for. There are of course, laws that if you dont own your car outright, you must get full coverage this protects the rightfull owner, the bank. However if you own your car (just like you own your own body, see Rowe V Wade) you can opt for many different coverages from many different companies. Just like the Progressive company that advertises its policies as little boxes, get more or less it is up to you. Or like Safe Auto, there slogan is state minimum coverage and there is a market for this. Now, there are more than 1000 mandates on health insurance, and from my research, costing the consumer appx 20-30% more per year. Add to that no competition from outside a state, add to that lawyers and we could easily push healthcare insurance down by 40% or better. This would be an estimate.

  4. Norma says:

    Yes, competition is a myth if you can’t sell across state lines.

  5. Judith says:

    Norma–Do you think the insurance regulations now set by each state for business within that state should be voided by federal law?

    Competition between health insurance companies is very necessary. How can anyone defend that one company compensated its top seven executives between 3 million dollars and 26 million dollars each for one year! Here’s where a public option would make real competition possible.
    If individual state regulations are not in place, who would decide what would be labeled basic coverage? There have to be laws setting a base and state that understandable language would explain what the policy would coverage. Too many people now think they have good insurance, but they find severe limitations when they need to collect. So purchasing insurance from the state with the fewest regulations could prove to be disasterous.
    The rising costs of health care cannot continue in our economy. Compare our health care costs, and results, with those of all other industrialized nations. We are not among the best!

  6. iceironman says:

    Judy, you are right we are not among the best, we are the best and in fact in a league of our own. Spitting on the ceos wont help. Just listen to Obamas words, competition, choice, free market. Then listen to what he wants, a one payer system.

    I suppose we will have to disagree, however, here are the facts you cannot dispute
    1 Obama says free market, choice, competition, but he wants a one payer system (I can provide video if you want)

    2) People who are in a hurry for healthcare and quality flock to the US

    3)Where govt whether state or national healthcare is MANDITORY, certain scales are used to judge what ailments will be treated and what folks are first in line.

    Nothing but facts Judy, please refute.

  7. Andy S. says:

    @Iceironman-

    You said (in regards to healthcare in the U.S.):

    “Judy, you are right we are not among the best, we are the best and in fact in a league of our own.”

    This is a LIE, a MYTH and entirely not true.

    Iceironman, you speak of FACTS, but you have no FACTS to back up your claim. Where are your links or sources that state “we ( the U.S.) are the best” when it comes to healthcare ?

    Now, if this is your OPINION, then I hate to disappoint you, but the FACTS speak otherwise.

    According to a report published by the Commonwealth Fund, the United States LAGS BEHIND other countries when it comes to providing quality, affordable, basic healthcare for its citizens:

    http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Publications/Fund-Reports/2007/May/Mirror–Mirror-on-the-Wall–An-International-Update-on-the-Comparative-Performance-of-American-Healt.aspx

    From the report:

    “Despite having the most costly health system in the world, the United States consistently underperforms on most dimensions of performance, relative to other countries.”

    ” Compared with five other nations — Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom—the U.S. health care system ranks last or next-to-last on five dimensions of a high performance health system: quality, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives.”

  8. iceironman says:

    I would love to see where the folks in charge of that study would go for an operation???? Andy, we all know there are three kinds of lies.. Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics. Now, I am not a stupid puppet that reads a report and says, wow, the US system sucks compared to socialist systems. The first question is probably “does your country offer govt run healthcare for all?? Which puts us at odds for a “good” score. Common sense says that when people from other countries have money for an operation,do they come to the US, yes they do. How fast is the service?? Now, you throw the stats in that we dont spoil our people with free healthcare and yes we dont look as attractive, but we know the truth. I dont believe the statistics for one minute. How happy is a gentleman from Canada that HAS to wait for 1 year for an MRI for a brainscan, how happy is he when he comes to the US and gets it done in 1 day, returns to Canada with the scan and finds out It will be many months before an operation will be scheduled?? Sounds great.

    At the heart of this battle is the fact that the president lied to the American people, hard workers like me will be able to keep our healthcare, BS. Please refute the three points above in my last post to Judy, you cant Andy.

    Canada rocks!!!
    http://www.vipdocs.com/
    http://www.breitbart.tv/canadian-health-services-send-patients-to-u-s-hospitals/

    Andy a little reading on Canada and other healthcare systems, remember the stats I told you about. Dont be a puppet. This is from the Investors.com

    Canada’s Single-Prayer Health Care
    Posted 06/30/2009 06:58 PM ET

    Health Reform: A critically ill premature baby is moved to a U.S hospital to get the treatment she couldn’t get in the system we’re told we should emulate. Cost-effective care? In Canada, as elsewhere, you get what you pay for.

    Ava Isabella Stinson was born last Thursday at St. Joseph’s hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. Weighing only two pounds, she was born 13 weeks premature and needed some very special care. Unfortunately, there were no open neonatal intensive care beds for her at St. Joseph’s — or anywhere else in the entire province of Ontario, it seems.

    Canada’s perfectly planned and cost-effective system had no room at the inn for Ava, who of necessity had to be sent across the border to a Buffalo, N.Y., hospital to suffer under our chaotic and costly system. She had no time to be put on a Canadian waiting list. She got the care she needed at an American hospital under a system President Obama has labeled “unsustainable.”

    Jim Hoft over at Gateway Pundit reports Ava’s case is not unusual. He reports that Hamilton’s neonatal intensive care unit is closed to new admissions half the time. Special-needs infants are sent elsewhere and usually to the U.S.

    In 2007, a Canadian woman gave birth to extremely rare identical quadruplets — Autumn, Brooke, Calissa and Dahlia Jepps. They were born in the United States to Canadian parents because there was again no space available at any Canadian neonatal care unit. All they had was a wing and a prayer.

    The Jepps, a nurse and a respiratory technician flew from Calgary, a city of a million people, 325 miles to Benefit Hospital in Great Falls, Mont., a city of 56,000. The girls are doing fine, thanks to our system where care still trumps cost and where being without insurance does not mean being without care.

    Infant mortality rates are often cited as a reason socialized medicine and a single-payer system is supposed to be better than what we have here. But according to Dr. Linda Halderman, a policy adviser in the California State Senate, these comparisons are bogus.

    As she points out, in the U.S., low birth-weight babies are still babies. In Canada, Germany and Austria, a premature baby weighing less than 500 grams is not considered a living child and is not counted in such statistics. They’re considered “unsalvageable” and therefore never alive.

    Norway boasts one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world — until you factor in weight at birth, and then its rate is no better than in the U.S.

    In other countries babies that survive less than 24 hours are also excluded and are classified as “stillborn.” In the U.S. any infant that shows any sign of life for any length of time is considered a live birth.

    A child born in Hong Kong or Japan that lives less than a day is reported as a “miscarriage” and not counted. In Switzerland and other parts of Europe, a baby is not counted as a baby if it is less than 30 centimeters in length.

    In 2007, there were at least 40 mothers and their babies who were airlifted from British Columbia alone to the U.S. because Canadian hospitals didn’t have room. It’s worth noting that since 2000, 42 of the world’s 52 surviving babies weighing less than 400g (0.9 pounds) were born in the U.S.

    It must be embarrassing to Canada that a G-7 economy and a country of 30 million people can’t offer the same level of health care as a town of just over 50,000 in rural Montana. Where will Canada send its preemies and other critical patients when we adopt their health care system?

    As we have noted, in Canada roughly 900,000 patients of all ages are waiting for beds, according to the Fraser Institute. There are more than four times as many magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) units per capita in the U.S. as in Canada. We have twice as many CT scanners per capita.

    Expensive? Wasteful. Just ask the Jepps or the parents of Ava Isabella Stinson

  9. xBillCosby says:

    First of all, HCSC does not operate in Indiana. That would be Anthem.

    Secondly, the reason why certain insurers do well in particular states is a result of economies of scale. The bottom line is what employers pay the insurance companies. This is based largely on the administrative costs associated with the program. Larger insurers with a larger presence can provide lower administrative expenses and will thus be able to provide lower rates for employers – and consequentially individuals.

    The competition between insurance companies is intense. They need to keep their administrative costs low to stay competitive, and one way is to be big or get bigger.

  10. Judith says:

    Whoops! Comment #9 was to XBillCosby from Judith–having trouble with my computer! Sorry.

  11. Judith says:

    Guess my first reply was lost, so I’ll try again.

    Anthem is now WellPoint. Why should their profits allow them to pay seven of their executives between $3,308,352.00 and $23,886,169.00 each, according to the proxy statement filed on 4/04/2008? Why have the premiums increased each year while they deny medical procedures and prescriptions? Why can they not allow many to even purchase insurance due to pre-existing conditions–often just ordinary things found in many 50 year and older? The U.S.A. is the only country in the world where health insurance companies are for-profit. We need a public option for true competition to get realistic insurance premiums and coverage for all.
    Even though we pay at least twice as much per capita for health care, our system is ranked 37th by the World Health Organization. That’s because our longevity is shorter and our infant mortality rate is greater than those of many other countries. And adequate medical care is unaccessible to millions of our citizens–more people than receive Medicare! And without Medicare we would fare far worse!

  12. iceironman says:

    I would love to see where the folks in charge of that study would go for an operation???? Andy, we all know there are three kinds of lies.. Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics. Now, I am not a stupid puppet that reads a report and says, wow, the US system sucks compared to socialist systems. The first question is probably “does your country offer govt run healthcare for all?? Which puts us at odds for a “good” score. Common sense says that when people from other countries have money for an operation,do they come to the US, yes they do. How fast is the service?? Now, you throw the stats in that we dont spoil our people with free healthcare and yes we dont look as attractive, but we know the truth. I dont believe the statistics for one minute. How happy is a gentleman from Canada that HAS to wait for 1 year for an MRI for a brainscan, how happy is he when he comes to the US and gets it done in 1 day, returns to Canada with the scan and finds out It will be many months before an operation will be scheduled?? Sounds great.

    At the heart of this battle is the fact that the president lied to the American people, hard workers like me will be able to keep our healthcare, BS. Please refute the three points above in my last post to Judy, you cant Andy.

    Andy a little reading on Canada and other healthcare systems, remember the stats I told you about. Dont be a puppet. This is from the Investors.com

    Canada’s Single-Prayer Health Care
    Posted 06/30/2009 06:58 PM ET

    Health Reform: A critically ill premature baby is moved to a U.S hospital to get the treatment she couldn’t get in the system we’re told we should emulate. Cost-effective care? In Canada, as elsewhere, you get what you pay for.

    Ava Isabella Stinson was born last Thursday at St. Joseph’s hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. Weighing only two pounds, she was born 13 weeks premature and needed some very special care. Unfortunately, there were no open neonatal intensive care beds for her at St. Joseph’s — or anywhere else in the entire province of Ontario, it seems.

    Canada’s perfectly planned and cost-effective system had no room at the inn for Ava, who of necessity had to be sent across the border to a Buffalo, N.Y., hospital to suffer under our chaotic and costly system. She had no time to be put on a Canadian waiting list. She got the care she needed at an American hospital under a system President Obama has labeled “unsustainable.”

    Jim Hoft over at Gateway Pundit reports Ava’s case is not unusual. He reports that Hamilton’s neonatal intensive care unit is closed to new admissions half the time. Special-needs infants are sent elsewhere and usually to the U.S.

    In 2007, a Canadian woman gave birth to extremely rare identical quadruplets — Autumn, Brooke, Calissa and Dahlia Jepps. They were born in the United States to Canadian parents because there was again no space available at any Canadian neonatal care unit. All they had was a wing and a prayer.

    The Jepps, a nurse and a respiratory technician flew from Calgary, a city of a million people, 325 miles to Benefit Hospital in Great Falls, Mont., a city of 56,000. The girls are doing fine, thanks to our system where care still trumps cost and where being without insurance does not mean being without care.

    Infant mortality rates are often cited as a reason socialized medicine and a single-payer system is supposed to be better than what we have here. But according to Dr. Linda Halderman, a policy adviser in the California State Senate, these comparisons are bogus.

    As she points out, in the U.S., low birth-weight babies are still babies. In Canada, Germany and Austria, a premature baby weighing less than 500 grams is not considered a living child and is not counted in such statistics. They’re considered “unsalvageable” and therefore never alive.

    Norway boasts one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world — until you factor in weight at birth, and then its rate is no better than in the U.S.

    In other countries babies that survive less than 24 hours are also excluded and are classified as “stillborn.” In the U.S. any infant that shows any sign of life for any length of time is considered a live birth.

    A child born in Hong Kong or Japan that lives less than a day is reported as a “miscarriage” and not counted. In Switzerland and other parts of Europe, a baby is not counted as a baby if it is less than 30 centimeters in length.

    In 2007, there were at least 40 mothers and their babies who were airlifted from British Columbia alone to the U.S. because Canadian hospitals didn’t have room. It’s worth noting that since 2000, 42 of the world’s 52 surviving babies weighing less than 400g (0.9 pounds) were born in the U.S.

    It must be embarrassing to Canada that a G-7 economy and a country of 30 million people can’t offer the same level of health care as a town of just over 50,000 in rural Montana. Where will Canada send its preemies and other critical patients when we adopt their health care system?

    As we have noted, in Canada roughly 900,000 patients of all ages are waiting for beds, according to the Fraser Institute. There are more than four times as many magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) units per capita in the U.S. as in Canada. We have twice as many CT scanners per capita.

    Expensive? Wasteful. Just ask the Jepps or the parents of Ava Isabella Stinson

  13. iceironman says:

    Now Im pissed, just got my Social Security statment. Since 99 my employer and I have paid in over 100,000 dollars (medicade included). Last year the statment said the system would take in less that it pays out in 2042. I one year, what a change, now the system will be paying out more than it takes in by 2016, and be 100% broke by 2037 (5 years before I am due to retire). Now, how the hell can anyone want them to run healthcare. This is not a joke, this is my money being stolen. If there is one thing we can agree on it should be that if govt touches something it is soon broken.

    They say this was the worst economy since the great depression, and yet, if I had that 100000 dollars in the stock market, I could actually have made better than what the govt is doing with my money. My father in law went into the banks to do the govt help on mortgage, he lost his job 3 years before retirement. He included Social Security as a source of money and they said they dont count that because it may not be dependable.

    So now we are looking at true robbery of our citizens, getting paid back at best 76 cents on the dollar, which doesnt include inflation.

    We flat out cannot stand more taxes that will be wasted. It is time for the Andys and Charlottes to recognize that the govt is absolutley screwing us. Lets talk about single payer for all after they fix Social security.

    Dont you realize, you would be making 15% more if it were not for Social security and medicade. What would you do with an extra 15% per YEAR. Absolute theives,liers and crooks.

    And you want them in your private healthcare.

  14. Andy says:

    @Iceironman –

    Did you even read the report from the Commonwealth Fund ?

    Probably not. You are so entrenched in your American healthcare system is in “a league of its own” obsession that you are unwilling to even look at……FACTS.

    The fact is the vast majority of Canadians favor their healthcare system to the United States hands down:

    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20090710/health_care_090710?hub=MSNHome

    From the article:

    “Canadians think their American neighbours would be wise to look north as they grapple with a massive health-care overhaul.”

    “The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey suggests 82 per cent of Canadians believe our system is better than U.S. health care.”

    82 % – Wow – How can you refute this Iceironman ? You can’t.

    Again taken from the poll:

    ” The poll also suggests 70 per cent of Canadians think their health-care system is working well or very well, while the remainder feel the system is either not working well or not working well at all.”

    Another story:

    http://www.medicare.ca./new-poll-shows-overwhelming-support-for-public-health-care

    You see Iceironman, instead of pulling such bogus claims like you have out of thin air: “we (United States) are the best and in fact in a league of our own.”, the fact is, the majority of Canadians wouldn’t trade their current healthcare system for an America-styled system if they could.

    I’m still waiting for you to supply data to support your claim that the U.S. is “in fact in a league of our own” when it comes to providing healthcare to its citizens.

  15. Andy says:

    Iceironman –

    It is true there are people who travel to the U.S. to receive recieve healthcare.

    But, in case you haven’t noticed, millions, yes Millions of Americans travel ALL OVER THE WORLD to receive their healthcare as well. Whether it be to Germany, Switzerland, Thailand, India, Costa Rica, or Singapore, Americans are increasingly opting to travel to a foreign country to receive their medical treatment.

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/03/27/india.medical.travel/index.html

    From the CNN article, entitled, “LOWER COSTS LURE U.S. PATIENTS ABROAD FOR TREATMENT”:

    “More than 6 million from U.S. will travel abroad for treatment in the next year”

    Yes you read that right – 6 (six) million Americans will travel abroad to receive healthcare next year ! ( And that number is growing )

    From the article:

    “Sandra Giustina is a 61-year-old uninsured American. For three years she saved her money in hopes of affording heart surgery to correct her atrial fibrillation. “They [U.S. hospitals] told me it would be about $175,000, and there was just no way could I come up with that,” Giustina said.

    So, with a little digging online, she found several high quality hospitals vying for her business, at a fraction of the U.S. cost. Within a month, she was on a plane from her home in Las Vegas, Nevada, to New Delhi, India. Surgeons at Max Hospital fixed her heart for “under $10,000 total, including travel.”

    “Just weeks from returning from abroad, Giustina says she has only one regret, “I shouldn’t have waited so long! I feel like a new person again, no more pain.”

    Another story on Americans traveling overseas for their healthcare:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16294182

    While it is true that some foreign citizens may travel to the U.S. to receive their care, there is a growing number of Americans who travel outside of our borders to receive their medical care as well.

  16. iceironman says:

    Andy From BIO Medics.com The last part is important

    The healthcare system in canada can do with some improvements, as was revealed by the Common Wealth Fund Survey of Family Doctors and Pediatricians. Infact, canada// was rated the least, in the use of information Technology in the management of healthcare services.

    It was observed that despite other areas being computerized, healthcare records were still stored as paper records. Further, canada was way behind in having computer systems that could notify patients about follow ups and prevention measures, which are important aspects in healthcare.

    Apart from that, the survey also found that only 55% of the Doctors were confident of handling patients with chronic problems. Only 14% were found to be in a position to advice patients about preventative care. Primary health-care reform is important for the health-care system and the first step to do that would be to implement the latest available technique to record patient information.
    ‘”/>

    Also, ANDY, do you remember the saying on lies,,, well there are also misleading statements and you have to look a little deeper, but I will do the math for you

    US dollar is at an exchange rate of 47.65 what the Indian Ruppee is worth. So you do the math genius. For an Indian citizen to go in and get the same surgury you talk about would cost them about 5 x what we pay in America. Pretty nice if you have the exchange rate, pretty piss poor if you are an Indian wanting the same treatment. Or an Indian taxpayer flipping the bill for a surgury that could be done in the US for 1/5th the cost.

    Thanks

  17. iceironman says:

    On another note dealing with this selfish 61 year old that went to India. WHY THE HELL DIDNT SHE HAVE INSURANCE TO PAY FOR THE SURGURY??? I MEAN, IF YOU HAVE 10000 TO TRAVEL ALL AROUND INDIA, SHOULDNT YOU GROW UP AND GET INSURANCE. WHY DOES SHE CONTINUE TO DRAIN ALL AMERICANS OF HARD EARNED MONEY. THIS PROVES THE HIGHT OF IRRESPONSIBILITY IN AMERICA TODAY. WHERE THE HELL WAS MEDICADE AND MEDICARE????? KINDA PROVES MY POINT, GOVT PROGRAMS DIDNT HELP HER???

  18. I just met a Canadian-born citizen who is a musician with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Since he was from Canada living here in the US, out of curiosity, I asked about the Canadian health care system. He said he is perfectly happy with it. Of course health systems have issues, so I am sure Ice will find some defect in the Canadian system.

    The US health care system is broken. The costs are horrific for the average person. And, if you don’t have insurance, you are pretty much out of luck. I have a good insurance policy, but I have a co-worker who had major surgery this past spring under the same insurance. She had to pay out of pocket over $5,000 with the same insurance that I have.

    Her total 23-hour stay (she opted to only stay that long because she would have been charged for two full days had she stayed overnight) cost $25,000. Absolutely absurd. And, for a surgery that is considered simple and standard. $25,000 – unconscionable.

  19. iceironman says:

    I dont have to find issues with the Canadian system, they do that on their own. I am perfectly happy with my system, and the fact is, Obama wants single payer which will screw me. Sorry for not trusting a govt that has screwed every social programme up, see about social security rant.

    Is your friend still alive?? What is life worth, seems 5 grand is pretty acceptable, if not, this is America, tell her there are better policys out there. Does your co worker not have access to the same insurance you do? After all you said yours was good.

    I have plenty of Canadian co workers who think their system is fine, they admit the waiting, the screwing of older citizens in favor of younger, but overall dont complain too much. The point is, they dont know any better. The fact is Canada has a MAJOR problem and is getting ready for a massive overhaul.

    A serious couple of questions

    Do you honestly believe Obama wants competition and choice, considering he has stated that it may take 5-10 years for private ins/practice to fade in his hopes.

    Do you honestly believe the govt can get this right, based on other failures.

  20. Andy says:

    @Iceironman –

    Poll after poll has shown (the majority) of Canadians like and value their healthcare system.

    My question to you is:

    If the Canadian Healthcare System is so bad, so horrible, wouldn’t you think a good majority of the folks in Canada would be sounding off about it in these polls ??

    Even more enlightening is this:

    Five years ago a poll was taken of Canadian citizens asking them who their “greatest countryman or woman of all time” was.

    Guess what person’s name kept coming up and eventually topped the list ?

    Rev. T.C. (Tommy) Douglas

    Now, I had no idea who this person was until I read a bit on him. But to many Canadians, he is deeply admired and credited as the father of the Canadian National Health-Care System:

    http://www.indy.com/posts/better-what-o-canada

    From the story:

    “There’s no question the Medicare system works extremely well, and seniors who have access to Medicare are extremely happy with the care they receive. It’s one of the great successes of our
    country. It has improved the quality of life of vast numbers of people. The single biggest reason seniors fell into abject poverty was medical expenses. Their demographic had the highest poverty back then. Today, it has the lowest.”

    “Back then, in 1965, naysayers cried “socialism,” as they did in 1964 when Tommy Douglas helped bring universal health care to Saskatchewan. Today, in the name of “choice,” we hear the echoes.”

    You have posted on how the Canadian system needs to digitize, computerize, and make their medical record keeping more efficient.

    To me, this is a minor problem which can and will be fixed.

  21. Andy says:

    @Iceironman-

    You also asked if the government could “get this right” in regards to healthcare.

    If you view the satisfaction rate among seniors in America regarding their Medicare coverage, I would hope a similar satisfaction rate could be obtained from other demographics as well.

    IF – I was hearing major dissatisfaction among America’s seniors when it comes to their Medicare coverage I would be concerned.

    But the fact is, I am hearing just the opposite: Americans value their Medicare coverage:

    http://www.medindia.net/news/Elderly-Medicare-Beneficiaries-More-Satisfied-Than-Those-With-ESI-51365-1.htm#

    http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2006Jul27/0,4670,MedicareDrugs,00.html

    Its interesting you brought this up. I can’t tell you how many people I have talked with recently, who look forward to FINALLY receiving Medicare when they turn 65. I just spoke with my uncle (devout Republican) yesterday. He said he will qualify for Medicare next year, and he was looking forward to not having to pay such high health insurance premiums any more. Another individual (whom I work with) also just recently stated to me that if she could just “hold on another year and a half”, she would be 65 and not have to worry about trying to obtain healthcare coverage.

    I think this is an issue that clearly does not get enough attention.

    How many people (Americans) are counting down the days until they turn 65 so they QUALIFY for Medicare ??

    • Foundersten says:

      What a person pays for healthcare at 65 compared to the out of pocket cost of Medicare is apples to oranges. Regardless of what level of treatment a person gets, on a fixed income free for mediocre will almost always trump cash for better- that is until a 75 year old, overweight, smoking male needs bypass surgery.

      Also, what pays for Medicare? Obama-ites will have you believe government does. All that means is that YOU pay for it. Also, those evil doctors so many people are twitching to burn subsidize current social healthcare by reducing their fees to accept those programs. In turn, the insurance companies help subsidize those reduced rates by paying higher medical premiums for folks who have insurance coverage. Simple economics that escape the “brightest” of the Obama administration.

  22. iceironman says:

    Andy its time to stop. I can show you where the minister of Canada says their system is in need of a massive overhaul.

    This post should be about honesty. But you dont want to answer.

    A serious couple of questions

    Do you honestly believe Obama wants competition and choice, considering he has stated that it may take 5-10 years for private ins/practice to fade in his hopes.

    Do you honestly believe the govt can get this right, based on other failures.

    Andy, I am an American. I say I should not be charged for not having health ins. How much sence does it make to fine those who cant afford health ins. The president has lied over and over again. He spoke of his plan, where is it?? Now in congress and senate, they dont think it is right to give due dillagence to read a bill? Come on we have to agree on something.

  23. Andy says:

    @Iceironman-

    Its obvious to me that you think the Canadian healthcare system is no match to America’s “league of its own” system. You attempt to give one the impression that the Canadian system is such a defunct, horrible sytem that Canadians hate it and are coming across the U.S. border in droves to seek out basic medical care.

    You talk of honesty, but you fail to acknowledge the fact that poll after poll shows that the vast majority of Canadians actually LIKE their system. Not 50% like, or 70% like, but…. 86% like, according to a Canadian poll taken only two months ago. It may not be the perfect healthcare system, but Canadians are clearly not willing to trade their healthcare system for America’s:

    http://www.examiner.com/x-11804-Health-Care-Examiner~y2009m7d14-Canadians-believe-their-health-care-system-is-working-well

    From the poll:

    “When asked “Would you say that Canada’s health system is superior to the US system?” an overwhelming majority preferred the Canadian system to the U.S. model.”

    Prefer Canadian system 82%
    Prefer American system 8%

    And yet another poll:

    http://www.nupge.ca/node/2486

    Kind of telling the article is entitled, “Canada Overwhelmingly Supports Public Healthcare”

    So, Iceironman – What is it you don’t get here ? You keep cheerleading for America’s privatized healthcare system which happens to be the most costly in the world. And when compared to other healthcare systems, amongst other Western countries, America’s healthcare system performs poorly in key areas(Commonwealth Fund Rpt).

    Are we just supposed to take you at your word ? Remember Iceironman when you made this audacious, bold statment at the start of this thread ??

    “Judy, you are right we (United States) are not among the best, we are the best and in fact in a league of our own.”

    I will ask you again, please back up this statement, that the United States healthcare system is in a league of its own.

  24. Iceironman says:

    Medicare is awsome andy, it will be broke by 2019
    From Actuary.org
    n The HI program is funded primarily through earmarked payroll taxes. From 1998 through 2004,
    HI payroll taxes and other non-interest income exceeded HI expenditures, and the trust fund accumulated assets. In 2005, however, HI non-interest income fell below HI expenditures and has
    continued to fall short since then. Beginning in 2010, HI expenditures are projected to exceed all HI income, including interest. At that point, the HI trust fund will need to begin redeeming its assets—U.S. government securities—in order to pay for benefits. If the federal government is experiencing unified budget deficits at the time these securities need to be redeemed, either additional taxes will need to be levied to fund the redemptions, or additional money will need to be borrowed from the public, thereby increasing the public debt. By 2019, HI trust fund assets are projected to be depleted. At that time, tax revenues are projected to cover only 78 percent of program costs, with the share decreasing further thereafter. The HI trust fund depletion date is projected to arrive a little earlier in 2019 than projected in the 2007 Medicare trustees’ report, due in part to slightly lower projected payroll tax income and slightly higher expenditures than previously estimated. n The value in today’s dollars of the HI deficit over the next 75 years is $13 trillion, or 3.5 percent of taxable payroll over the same time period. Eliminating this deficit would require an immediate 122 percent increase in payroll taxes or an immediate 51 percent reduction in benefits, or some combination of the two. Delaying action would require more drastic tax increases or benefit reductions.
    Project ions over an infinite time horizon would increase the shortfall to $34 trillion, or 6.1 percentof taxable payroll. Given the uncertainty of projections 75 years into the future, however, extending these projections into the infinite future can only increase the uncertainty, so that these results can have only limited value for policymakers

    Who cares if 100% are satisfied with a program if it is killing America. But I guess that is what this argument is about, AMERICA. Notice the tax increases. Andy, do you see past your nose, this country is going to be in debt to the tune of 21 TRILLION dollars by 2019. Every 20 cents or so of our tax dollars will go to servicing the INTEREST of our debt andy. But you play dumb and think we can give healthcare to all and not incure any more debt.

    Here are a few pictures of andys America


    People standing around begging for money, thats the America I want.

    Lets recap
    Social security BROKE
    Medicare BROKE
    Post office BROKE
    State and local gvt, BROKE
    Education system BROKE

    Yep, I got the great feeling on govt healthcare

  25. Andy says:

    @Iceironman-

    Once again, you grossly exaggerate things. It’s almost as if you want America to fail.

    Does Medicare have its issues ? Yes, but this is precisely the reason WHY we need healthcare reform.

    Just a thought here, but if providing healthcare benefits to people 65 and over was left in the hands of the private insurance industry, those few seniors who would actually QUALIFY to receive insurance would have to pay an atomically amount to get it. Hell, the insurance companies are denying claims and jacking up rates on healthy, younger individuals now, how do you think sick, elderly people would be treated ? Just think about what it would be like to live in a country that has MILLIONS of seniors without basic medical coverage. Some would say : Tough – if seniors wanted health insurance all they have to do is pay for it. If only it were that simple.

    Also, you keep railing against Social Security. The program has lasted 72 years, so I think it has been fairly successful. It if was such a horrible program, it wouldn’t have lasted ten years. To the millions of seniors and disabled who receive and rely on their social security benefits it has been a life saver. When the stock market crashed earlier this year, the one thing seniors could count on, was receiving their social security check in the mail. And by the way, the check recipients receive is usually turned right around to help pay people’s rent, mortgage payment, utility bills, groceries, gas, clothes – you name it – it goes right back into the economy. So, whether the economy is good or bad, people still receive their social security checks and turn right around and spend them back into the community.

  26. Andy says:

    @Iceironman-

    Regarding Social Security, here’s a story which ran in the Washington Post in May of this year:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/05/AR2009050503850.html

    Please note, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham had this to say about Social Security:

    “Graham described Social Security as “a math problem” that could be easily solved if both parties were willing to work together.”

    “He sketched out a plan that would include lower benefits for wealthy Americans, a higher retirement age and additional revenues. With the stock market devastated by the recession, the traditional Republican option of diverting Social Security taxes to new private retirement accounts is, he said, “off the table.”

    “You can do a combination of things, give a little here and give a little there, and get it done,” Graham said.

    Isn’t that a refreshing statement to read ?

    It comes down to this : Does America have its problems ? Of course. But I am more interested in reading about and hearing about SOLUTIONS, not just this constant negative rhetoric of doom and gloom bellowed out by folks like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

  27. iceironman says:

    The doom and gloom comes from my social security yearly update, everything does not revole around beck and rush. So andy this is a math problem, if I had invested 100000 in the stock market over the years (10) would I have more than zero dollars??? I mean this is the worst recession ever?? Right?? Because zero is what I have, The simple math problem is you cant insure everyone in America and lower the deficit. If you think you are going to throw out a republican to calm me you are wrong, they are all stealing. Thank god we are working on the tough issues that America faces.

  28. artsurd8 says:

    this is a great share ! thanks!

  29. iceironman says:

    Is this really what we as Americans need? A govt loser who help colapse a great economy telling us he is going to make it hard for a business and kill it off, and the people laugh. Wake up people, your business is next.

  30. Foundersten says:

    Charlotte said, “And, if you don’t have insurance, you are pretty much out of luck.”

    This is the one of the largest pitchers of Kool-Aid served by progressives that is offered in such quantities as to necessitate drinking straight from the pitcher. Where is there someplace in this country that if a person needs emergency medical care they can’t get it on the taxpayer’s dime? How many of your 12-30 something million uninsured are so out of choice or stupidity? Furthermore, how much of our current system can be fixed by eliminating certain government regulations that increase the cost of business for insurance companies- that one’s tough ‘cuz the question isn’t being seriously asked at the White House.

    Listen to the politicians and you’ve got your answer. It’s not about who has insurance. Oh, no! It’s about who has “access to affordable healthcare”. Excuse me? I thought we were trying to help those who are uninsured- not those who are inconvenienced by some arbitrary determination of what is not affordable. I’ve got great insurance, but if I compare what I pay to “free” then hell yeah my insurance isn’t “affordable”.

    Hence, it’s not about healthcare. It’s about the money and who controls it. If you think Haliburton is a monstrosity just wait until the government contracts open up for managing the National Healthcare bullet to the head.

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