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How for-profit insurers hijacked the health care system

  1. Jul 31, 2009 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 31, 2009 #2
    @health care:

    Just today, I heard from someone who had to make a quick trip to US from Canada so forgot about the insurance. Due to sudden appendix, had to stay at hospital for 4 days and bill totaled to like 50K. They got an option of paying 10K then and if they pay remaining in two weeks they will get 40% discount. And the surgeon doctor also said that her fee is like 2000 but paying it within few days and they can get 40% discount.

    I am not sure how US citizens react to those kind of offers but that's certainly not how I think health care should be.
  4. Jul 31, 2009 #3
    I'm not sure how one forgets about the US health insurance situation when leaving Canada. I'm so over-insured before I set foot out into the States it's goofy.

    But, so, truly, rootx? You can negotiate your fees if you pay more quickly? Like a traffic ticket?

    I'll have to watch the Moyers link. His programmes are always lucid and reliable.
  5. Jul 31, 2009 #4
    I think that if you don't have insurance and tell them you are unsure you will be able to pay they will come up with some alternative payment plan and possibly reduce the cost for you depending.
  6. Jul 31, 2009 #5
    That's what I heard but I would like ask here if that is true.
  7. Jul 31, 2009 #6
    "for-profit insurers"

    I don't suppose many of them are nonprofit.

    Anyway, you seem quite passionate on the subject during this political broo ha ha.

    Ivan Seeking, or should I say President Bar...wait, that doesn't make much sense.
  8. Aug 1, 2009 #7


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    This is correct. If you get a 50,000 dollar bill you can't pay you won't pay any of it. So they try to get however much money they can out of you, and preferably sooner rather than later
  9. Aug 1, 2009 #8
    I can't claim to know any specifics but as far as I understand you are able to do this with just about any debt you have. If there is a real possibility that you could file for bankruptcy and leave your debt holders with nothing they will likely be willing to negotiate. In the case of Root's Canadian friend it may have been more a matter of them not being able to do much to him after he left the country. I'm not sure how debters issues work out accross national borders.
  10. Aug 1, 2009 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    I am always passionate about my country. :smile:

    Due to a ~ thirty-year inside view of the medical industry and some recent catastophic health issues in my family, I have some particularly strong opinions about health care. I don't claim to have all of the answers, but no one can tell me that we don't have serious problems. I know better.
  11. Aug 1, 2009 #10
    I'm watching the interview, and the sensation is a combination of feeling slightly ill to my stomach and outrage.

    I'm passionate about people, and I've believed that people were more important than money. Always.

    I will say, though, that the propaganda put out by the insurance companies (that's talked about in the interview) is very, very effective. I see their words parroted on message boards constantly by Americans, and there's no amount of saying, "I live somewhere else, and, no, our health care system doesn't work like that, yes, I have health coverage whenever I need it, and no, what you've been told about my health care system isn't true."

    Anyway, I recommend people watch the linked interview.
  12. Aug 1, 2009 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    The key word was "hijacked". And yes we do have insurers that are not for-profit.

    There was a rather amusing moment yesterday when one Republican was touting the wonders of healt care for veterans, and almost in the same breath, said that the government can't run a health care system.
  13. Aug 1, 2009 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    I liked how they showed the Republican Congressman following the talking points; one by one.

    The Republican party line - brought to you by the for-profit insurers protecting their profits.
  14. Aug 1, 2009 #13
    The Daily Show with Jon Stewart ran a clip just a few days ago of a Republican government (not sure if it was a congressman or a senator) rep saying precisely that.
  15. Aug 1, 2009 #14
    I never cease being aghast when I watch that in action. A memo telling politicians what to say, and then footage of politicians saying precisely what they've been told by whoever is paying them to say it. I am absolutely blown away every time I see it. Maybe one day I'll get over it, but for now, it's still beyond frightening. Here's the hunk transcript for that portion:

    [Just as a point of interest, each one of the politicians quoted here have an R before their name.]

    BILL MOYERS: I have a memo, from Frank Luntz. I have a memo written by Frank Luntz. He's the Republican strategist who we discovered, in the spring, has written the script for opponents of health care reform. "First," he says, "you have to pretend to support it. Then use phrases like, "government takeover," "delayed care is denied care," "consequences of rationing," "bureaucrats, not doctors prescribing medicine." That was a memo, by Frank Luntz, to the opponents of health care reform in this debate. Now watch this clip.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER: The forthcoming plan from Democratic leaders will make health care more expensive, limit treatments, ration care, and put bureaucrats in charge of medical decisions rather than patients and doctors.

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL: Americans need to realize that when someone says "government option," what could really occur is a government takeover that soon could lead to government bureaucrats denying and delaying care, and telling Americans what kind of care they can have.

    SEN. JON KYL: Washington run healthcare would diminish Americans' access to quality care, leading to denials, shortages and long delays for treatment.

    REP. JOE WILSON: How will a government run health plan not lead to the same rationing of care that we have seen in other countries?

    We don‘t want to put the government, we don't want to put bureaucrats between a doctor and a patient.

    BILL MOYERS: Why do politicians puppet messages like that?

    WENDELL POTTER: Well, they are ideologically aligned with the industry. They want to believe that the free market system can and should work in this country, like it does in other industries. So they don't understand from an insider's perspective like I have, what that actually means, and the consequences of that to Americans.

    They parrot those comments, without really realizing what the real situation is.

    I was watching MSNBC one afternoon. And I saw Congressman Zach Wamp from Tennessee. He's just down the road from where I grew up, in Chattanooga. And he was talking-- he was asked a question about health care reform. I think it was just a day or two after the president's first-- health care reform summit. And he was one of the ones Republicans put on the tube.

    And he was saying that, you know, the health care problem is not necessarily as bad as we think. That of the uninsured people, half of them are that way because they want to "go naked."

    REP. ZACH WAMP: Half the people that are uninsured today choose to remain uninsured. Half of them don't have any choice but half of them choose to, what's called, go naked, and just take the risk of getting sick. They end up in the emergency room costing you and me a whole lot more money.

    He used the word naked. It's an industry term for those who, presumably, choose not to buy insurance, because they don't want to. They don't want to pay the premiums. So he was saying that half... Well, first of all, it's nothing like that. It was an absolutely ridiculous comment. But it's an example of a member of Congress buying what the insurance industry is peddling.
  16. Aug 1, 2009 #15


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    Don't you guys have Blue Cross down in the States?
    Ah, just checked: they're all independent of one another, with some non-profit, some are for-profit, and at least one is prepping a campaign against the upcoming health plan. I guess the non-profit ones are the ones that administer MediCare/Caid?

    Still, no coop-type insurance schemes?
  17. Aug 1, 2009 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    I think we do have medical coops, but I have never participated in one.
  18. Aug 1, 2009 #17


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    Hospitals advertise that if you don't have insurance, they will find alternatives to pay your bills. They actually hand you a brochure about the alternative options to paying your bills. I know, having been hospitalized twice in the last year. I have one brochure right here (I had major surgery a few weeks ago). Luckily my insurance paid for all of it.
  19. Aug 1, 2009 #18
    Thanks for posting that link, Ivan. It's very informative. The current system is definitely not working. Lets hope things can change in our country -- for the better.
  20. Aug 1, 2009 #19


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    It's not fair to lump all insurers into the same category. My health insurance is excellent. I do nothing, no forms to fill out, no hassles, my doctor orders something and it's done, no questions asked. I just had major surgery. My expenses? $20 for my regular doctor, the cat scan, ultrasounds and all other tests and biopsies...free, all done within 3 days, no pre certification needed, had to do nothing. The specialist that did my surgery - $40, and my follow up appointments are free. My copay for the hospital - $150.

    With the proposed health care reform, I will lose this. Under the proposed healtcare reform, I would have to pay ~ $12,000 annually for what I get for free. There has to be a way to help out the unemployed without hurting the employed. When you consider that 258 million insured Americans could be hurt by the proposed healthcare reform, to some extent, something is wrong with the proposed plan.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2009
  21. Aug 2, 2009 #20


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    Why shouldn't insurance companies try to cut the amount of money they pay out? The only way any company makes a profit is to bring in more money than you pay out.

    I agree that the idea of having my health care decisions made by someone who benefits by giving me less health care makes me nervous. Is it that much worse than having your medical decisions made by someone who makes a profit by giving you too much health care?

    SELF-REFERRING PHYSICIANS - Doctors Reap Benefits By Doing Own Tests - There's laws against doctors' offices selling prescription medications to prevent prescribing medications purely for profit. Only Maryland has any laws against doctors self-referring for medical tests.

    Health Reform's Taboo Topic - Or is requesting unnecessary tests a natural reaction to the threat of malpractice suits if any disease is missed? (This is the side of the story that most doctors would give you.)

    By the way, uninsured patients are usually given fewer medical screenings than insured patients, so the uninsured at least can't be blamed for this part of medical costs.
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