Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’
Exempt from regulation, taxation, and the individual mandate, Christian collectives called health care sharing ministries are paying for the care of their neediest members — if they approve of the morality of their needs.
In 2006, Ray Carman’s health insurance jumped from $600 to $1,000 a month. The reason? His first daughter was born five weeks premature. Though there were no complications during her birth, his daughter was dubbed “high risk” by his insurance company.
Carman, who is a real estate agent and auctioneer in Lafayette, TN, said the costs were simply too high. He began looking for alternatives.
A friend recommended he join a Christian health care sharing plan, a nonprofit in which members pay for each other’s medical costs by agreeing to contribute a donation every month. After some research, he joined an organization called Medi-Share.
Read more by Kimberly Leonard at TheAtlantic.com
Imagine going to the doctor with the flu and paying $30 for the visit and $10 for the medicine with no further medical bill. Now imagine going to the doctor and finding out you have cancer. You have enough money in the bank to deal with such a medical emergency and whatever you can’t cover, the federal government will pick up. All citizens of the country in these scenarios have the same deal and the government only spends 4 percent of GDP on health care. Sound impossible? Welcome to Singapore.
Touting arguably the best health care system in the world and a per capita income higher than America, Singapore is the answer economists have no doubt been shouting at their televisions during every health care debate the last eight years. The Singapore health care system presents an ideal blend of left and right ideas on health care and still manages to be more free-market than U.S. health care has been since prior to the “New Deal.” Due to the creation of Medicare in 1965, the federal government has been spending more each year on health care; which has brought us to a current rate of 17 percent of GDP on health care.
Read more by Breeanne Howe at FreedomWorks
But the information has no relationship to what government or commercial health plans actually pay
The Obama administration released information on Wednesday on what hospitals “charge” for 100 common inpatient procedures - without mentioning that the information has no relationship to what government or commercial health plans actually pay for the procedures.
Read more by Guy Boulton of the Journal Sentinel
For the American middle class, wage stagnation has been a fact of life for over two decades. Last year, the median household earned just over $50,000—no more, adjusted for inflation, than the median household in 1996 or 1989. That’s in stark contrast to the fortunes of the richest one percent, who saw their annual income rise 50 percent in the same period, from about $592,000 to nearly $879,000.
At the same time, the total compensation received by workers has actually increased over 30 percent since 1980—a statistic frequently cited by conservative economists as proof that income inequality is somehow exaggerated. But the fact is, most middle class families haven’t seen a dollar of that extra compensation. It’s consumed before it ever reaches them by the ever-rising cost of health care—the silent killer of middle class wage growth.
Read more by Benjamin Landy at RealClearPolicy.com
Days after they were badly hurt in a car accident, Jacinto Cruz and Jose Rodriguez-Saldana lay unconscious in an Iowa hospital while the American health care system weighed what to do with the two immigrants from Mexico.
The men had health insurance from jobs at one of the nation’s largest pork producers. But neither had legal permission to live in the U.S., nor was it clear whether their insurance would pay for the long-term rehabilitation they needed.
So Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines took matters into its own hands: After consulting with the patients’ families, it quietly loaded the two comatose men onto a private jet that flew them back to Mexico, effectively deporting them without consulting any court or federal agency.
When the men awoke, they were more than 1,800 miles away in a hospital in Veracruz, on the Mexican Gulf Coast.
Read more by DAVID PITT at Associated Press
Small-business owners across the U.S. are bracing for the health-care law that kicks in next year, fearing it will increase the cost of providing insurance to employees.
But Rick Levi, a business owner in Des Moines, Iowa, is among those considering the government’s escape hatch: paying a penalty to avoid the law’s “employer mandate.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with 50 or more full-time workers will be required to provide coverage for employees who work an average of 30 or more hours a week in a given month. An alternative to that mandate is for business owners to pay a $2,000 penalty for each full-time worker over a 30-employee threshold.
Read more by EMILY MALTBY And SARAH E. NEEDLEMAN at WSJ.com
Exchanges coerce families living paycheck to paycheck to enroll in unaffordable plans.
Last week, the Society of Actuaries warned about sticker shock ahead for individuals and families buying health insurance.
How did the White House respond? In its usual Orwellian fashion, saying “healthcare costs are falling thanks to the reform law.” Falling is correct only if you’re standing on your head.
President Obama repeatedly promised that insurance exchanges will save families up to $2,300 a year. He couldn’t possibly have believed it. From day one, it was obvious the law would push up premiums. That’s because it requires insurers to cover services rarely covered in the past, puts sick people in the same risk pool with the healthy, and slaps insurers with $100 billion in taxes to pass along to consumers.
Read more by Betsy McCaughey at The American Spectator
Every year, the International Federation of Health Plans — a global insurance trade association that includes more than 100 insurers in 25 countries — releases survey data showing the prices that insurers are actually paying for different drugs, devices, and medical services in different countries. And every year, the data is shocking.
The IFHP just released the data for 2012. And yes, once again, the numbers are shocking.
This is the fundamental fact of American health care: We pay much, much more than other countries do for the exact same things. For a detailed explanation of why, see this article. But this post isn’t about the why. It’s about the prices, and the graphs.
One note: Prices in the United States are expressed as a range. There’s a reason for that. In other countries, prices are set centrally and most everyone, no matter their region or insurance arrangement, pays pretty close to the same amount. In the United States, each insurer negotiates its own prices, and different insurers end up paying wildly different amounts. That’s what Steven Brill’s explosive article was about, and it’s why you see U.S. prices expressed as a range rather than a single number.
Read more by Ezra Klein at WashingtonPost.com
At least 1,165 people starved to death while they were patients in Britain’s National Health Service hospitals over the past four years.
Critics charge that nurses are too busy to properly feed their patients and often place food and drink out of reach, reports The Daily Mail.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics also reveal that for every patient who died from malnutrition, four more died from dehydration, according to the newspaper.
In acknowledging the problem, Britain’s Department of Health said it plans to increase the number of unannounced inspections it conducts, calling the statistics “unacceptable.”
Read more by Sandy Fitzgerald from Newsmax.com http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Patients-Starving-British-Hospitals/2013/03/03/id/492822
It’s one of the most fundamental political questions of our time: What’s driving the growth in government spending? And it has a relatively straightforward answer: first and foremost, spending on health care through Medicare and Medicaid, and other major social insurance and entitlement programs.
But I thought it was worth reviewing the evidence in a bit more detail. There are a few surprises along the way, some of which liberal readers might like and others of which will please conservative readers.
The Web site usgovernmentspending.com has an abundance of data on federal, state and local spending at different points in time. My focus will be on how government has been spending its money in the present and the past, rather than evaluating any future budgets or projections.
Read more by NATE SILVER at fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com
–SNIP– THE CURRENT SYSTEM IS NOT A FREE MARKET
The current system is not a case of the free market failing the little guy and favoring the wealthy. Right now:
You cannot choose one medication over another, even beforehand, on the basis of cost;
You cannot choose one hospital over another based on the quality of management and nursing support;
You cannot choose your doctor based on hourly rate or volume of patients;
You cannot choose what procedures you want or need based on how much they cost from one hospital or doctor to the next.
This is insane.
–SNIP– THE SOLUTIONS ARE OUT THERE, BUT SPECIAL INTERESTS WANT A QUICK FIX
John Mackey is the co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods, a national grocery chain that specializes in organic, unprocessed foods and natural remedies. It is an immensely successful venture, with 340 stores worldwide and 73,000 full-time employees, all of which qualify for a custom health care plan the company has devised. In 2009, amidst the health care reform battle, Mackey wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that compiled the most important and understandable reform principles needed in health care, and presented them as an alternative. The current law take almost none of them into account, and simply changes who pays for it rather that moving the industry toward a real free market.
These solutions are not the be all-end all of reform, but they are the most fundamental change we could advocate that would take our current system and move it closer to one that is cheaper, more accessible, freer and more flexible to changing patient needs and scientific discoveries.
Read more by Ed Willing at FoundersIntent.org
Surgery center provides free-market medicine.
Three years ago, Dr. Keith Smith, co-founder and managing partner of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, took an initiative that would only be considered radical in the health care industry: He posted online a list of prices for 112 common surgical procedures. The 51-year-old Smith, a self-described libertarian, and his business partner, Dr. Steve Lantier, founded the Surgery Center 15 years ago, after they became disillusioned with the way patients were treated at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City, where the two men worked as anesthesiologists. In 1997, Smith and Lantier bought the shell of a former surgical center with the aim of creating a for-profit facility that could deliver first-rate care at a fraction of what traditional hospitals charge.
The major cause of exploding U.S. heath care costs is the third-party payer system, a text-book concept in which A buys goods or services from B that are paid for by C. Because private insurance companies or the government generally pick up most of the tab for medical services, patients don’t have the normal incentive to seek out value.
The Surgery Center’s consumer-driven model could become increasingly common as Americans look for alternatives to the traditional health care market—an unintended consequence of Obamacare. Patients may have no choice but to look outside the traditional health care industry in the face of higher costs and reduced access to doctors and hospitals.
Read more by Jim Epstein at Reason.com
In 1918, the Soviet Union became the first country to promise universal “cradle-to-grave” healthcare coverage, to be accomplished through the complete socialization of medicine. The “right to health” became a “constitutional right” of Soviet citizens.
The proclaimed advantages of this system were that it would “reduce costs” and eliminate the “waste” that stemmed from “unnecessary duplication and parallelism” — i.e., competition.
These goals were similar to the ones declared by Mr. Obama and Ms. Pelosi — attractive and humane goals of universal coverage and low costs. What’s not to like?
Read more by Yuri N. Maltsev at mises.org