Health Insurance Should Be Illegal

By
Real Estate Agent with CENTURY 21 MarketLink Realty MN Broker #20444572
http://actvra.in/ydv

The current debate on health care reform is not actually about health care, but rather about health insurance.  Health insurance companies do not provide health care, they facilitate the overcharges made by real health care providers.  They are only the villains insofar as they are following the instructions of their policyholders, "Pay the providers whatever they want." 

Prior to the widespread availability of major medical insurance coverage, doctors, drug companies, laboratories, hospitals, charged what an average patient could pay.  In the "60's, it cost about three weeks pay for an average low level, clock punching worker to pay the doctor and hospital for the birth of a child.  How many months pay would a comparable wage earner need to come up with today?  I don't know exactly, but the existence of insurance facilitates the overcharge.  Consumers look at a huge medical bill paid by insurance as our just reward for high premiums.  It's not a reward, it's the reason for the high premiums.

The current direction being taken in Washington is fixing only the health care providers' desire to overcharge everyone in America.  They are losing a chance to gouge forty million or so Americans, and we are going to fix that.  We are going in exactly the wrong direction.  Health insurance should be illegal.  Providers should be forced to collect for their services on their own.  The free market will fix the prices if we all actually have to pay them.   Competition will work in our favor if we just get rid of insurance. 

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Rainmaker
427,184
E.J. "Mike" Carlier
Lakeville MN
CENTURY 21 MarketLink Realty

Bo, why do you think health care costs so much more today, relative to costs for everything else on this planet?  The most ardent critics of health insurance claim that the insurance is responsible for 27% of each dollar spent on health care.  Even if we could eliminate that 27%, the cost of health care would still have risen way more than any other, including energy.  No, I don't blame doctors alone, although the AMA's attempts to limit their numbers in the US seems plausible.  There is a fair gap between doctor fees charged by clinics and the amount of dollars going to the doctor.  I don't know if doctors get paid too much or too little, but I do know that the fees charged for doctors' services seem too high.  That said, there are others in the provider stream who are more easily identified as overcharging.  Look at any itemized bill from a hospital and you'll see what they charge for things we understand like an aspirin or a band aid.  Then we have the illustrious drug manufacturers.  Try to defend their practice of charging US residents more than anyone else in the world.

If it were not for insurance companies willing to pay whatever the providers charge, the charges would be scrutinized carefully by consumers before they wrote out a check.  These charges are not the fault of insurance companies not doing a good job.  To the contrary, they are exemplary in the performance of their tasks -- collect the ransom for the providers.

Bo. in your criticism of my example, I'm not sure what you want me to provide.  I have a hospital bill from 1969 for services and four days stay for $205.  That represents about sixty hours pay for an average wage earner that year.  I have a statement from the physician who provided pre and post natal care and obstetrics for $150.  That represents about forty-five hours pay for an average wage earner that year.  Average entry level pay was about 25% less than that.  That's the basis for my three weeks wages statement.  Today, anerage pay is about six times the 1969 amount.  If we factor that into the 1969 bill, we get something around a couple thousand dollars.  Is that about what it would cost today?  Don't think so. 

January 04, 2010 08:44 AM
Rainer
120,167
Brenda Carus
Century 21 Zwygart Real Estate

Health care is a real hot topic, isn't it?  The misuse of the system by so many people is shocking.  Really, do we need to go in for every cold, fever and cough like many people I know do?  People are unwilling and sometimes unable (due to lack of common sense and first aid knowledge) to take care of every day illnesses and injuries.  Personal responsibility is sorely lacking in our health care decisions.

As for the obstetrics information you cite, the costs are amazing, aren't they?  Our oldest was born via c-section 11 years ago, and the bills topped 15K, just for the birth itself, not the pre and post natal care.  Now, an average, uneventful birth can cost that.  Our other three kids were born at home.  Those births cost us about $1500 each for all care (prenatal, birth and postnatal), less than our co-pay for the c-section birth.  Twice our insurance company paid for the homebirths, saving themselves thousands and thousands of dollars.

January 07, 2010 11:19 AM
Rainmaker
427,184
E.J. "Mike" Carlier
Lakeville MN
CENTURY 21 MarketLink Realty

Brenda, thanks for your comments.  I know of one MD in the Chicago area who had his residency terminated by a hospital because he participated in home births.  The yield management tactics of providers is something that needs examining.  More on that topic later.

January 08, 2010 04:29 PM
Anonymous #21
Anonymous
Ken

Health insurance should be illegal and replaced with health care pretax savings accounts and emergency care insurance for any major long term health issues. 

By all means we should shop around for procedures, nothing will change as far as regulation and trust me word of mouth is much better then selecting a provider from a list the insurance company provides you with.

I worked in the industry for close to 10 years in provider relations department. Part of my job was to meet and recruit Dr's and trust me the bar is set pretty low. The insurance company in most  cases is the first person a patient calls when they have an issue with a Dr. and they keep a file on him and he has to come close to killing someone on more then one occasion before they remove him/her. 

On some of these HMO plans the provide gets paid a small monthly capitation per member they accept. I had one Dr that had 5k patients per insurance company to earn what her wanted to earn plus pay his expenses. What kind of care do you really think your getting from a DR with 6 HMO insurance contracts 4 PPO contracts plus cash patients who get appointments within 24hrs just because they pay cash

All we need is:

1. Catastrophic coverage

2. Health care savings accounts 

the savings accounts would be pretax dollars and not attached to a job, they belong to you and move with you. Your  employer could match contributions as they do with 401k plans if they would like as, it would be a lot cheaper then paying half of you insurance PREMIUM. 

3. The poor would get a prepaid benefits card to spend on health care only as they wish and the government would pick up on catastrophic coverage ... this is a lot less expensive then what is currently being spent.  

Look you have eye doctors and most of their customers are cash pay. A lot of dentist are walking away from insurance companies because they realize they cant give the same quality of care when they have to accepted 5k patients @ $10 a month just to cover their overhead.

 

Laser Eye surgery, cosmetic plastic surgery, all serious medical procedures that are not covered by health insurance yet they there are no more medical errors or mistakes in these fields then what er consider a standard surgeons practice. But look at the cost look and the creative finance plans, same quality lower price!

April 07, 2012 01:23 PM
Rainmaker
427,184
E.J. "Mike" Carlier
Lakeville MN
CENTURY 21 MarketLink Realty

Ken, I think your argument is valid and agree with most of what you have written.  The HMO type issue is as old as Blue Cross and college scholarships.  As long as there are others willing and able to make up the difference, an HMO can get away with paying providers pennies on the dollar of provider cost.  That's how athletic and other scholarships are usually funded, on the backs of the full priced students.

I still believe that the industry would be forced to charge what most patients could afford to pay if there were no health insurance.  If the government feels the need to provide sustenance for the poor, medical care should be treated the same as any other living expense.  With the size of government and the number of people on the dole, there should be no need to involve an insurance company to spread the risk.  Just make a decision to pay or not to pay based on what is reasonable and necessary.

April 08, 2012 07:02 AM
Anonymous
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Rainmaker
427,184

E.J. "Mike" Carlier

Lakeville MN
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