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Jan 02 2014

The Health Care Problem in the US is a Price Fixing Scam

Passing the racket onto an intermediary and then dumping it on the consumer is part of the scam. Medicare needs full market share so it can bring all the prices down since no one will RICO Act providers, for profit hospitals, and insurance companies passing that cost in addition to 13% extra for administration costs onto you even with the ACA. Forcing you to participate in this scam is what we call Obamacare.  

Some won’t get screwed as badly now, but it’s still a screw, and we need not to pretend otherwise since none of these price hikes are justified and no one is asking that they be justified at all. So essentially some people are celebrating injustice in a racket as if the mechanism that needs to be controlled for a health care system to work — as it does in most other OECD countries — is part of this equation at all. It’s not. Please learn this or make an effort to before celebrating Dolecare and Heritage Foundation care.

The scam is not regulated at all, only the payment structure in the intermediary, and that will fall onto you and I eventually. This is despite some of the anecdotes about how much cheaper it is now, in blue states, but not in red states where many people are not benefiting and having to watch their children die — where Obama’s pick, Justice Kagan, voted with the Roberts court to screw people like in my state; poor people who fall in the ACA gap and now won’t benefit from the Medicaid expansion.  Once, again, Glenn Greenwald warned the President and his defenders, but he and the dumb shits cheering him on like lemmings, decided to cheer her being picked for the nod. And because they did, she destroyed Miranda rights, too. So I was never whoopty doo about her.

I am also fine with whatever life saving benefits come from insurance reform in the absence of real health care reform, but we were not sold insurance reform in the primary. Some of you were there. Some of you remember the rhetoric, I mean, lies from the president about the public option he traded away in a deal with for profit hospitals, like working with Max Baucus to throw single payer advocates out of the Finance Committee hearings. If we were just going to get insurance reform based on Republican ideas, the president and everyone in Congress, including the liar sellout Nancy Pelosi should have just told us.

Some of us were/are disgusted at the initial sellout of real health reform, but would have put up with passing insurance reform that is helping some people right now, but not the mandate. The mandate is a BS insurance company bailout. No one has shown convincingly that this rapacious death by spreadsheet industry needs a bailout like this. And even if they do, fuck ’em. Society would be better if they went away. After Democrats sold their whole constituency out, again, we were like, fuck it; pass this insurance reform, but don’t make people sign up for it.

There is no reason we could not have gotten rid of preexisting conditions and demanded lower premiums and deductibles(oops, not so much) besides believing a bunch of lies from a monopoly that pulls the plug on people for profit. Also, it all depends if your insurance commissioner decides to act right. They might, but nothing is guaranteed, and for how long. Until the prices of services come down, which they won’t in a serious way under this system, these huge monopolies will find a way around the regulations as they have before, like the TBTF banks do who had a hand in writing Dodd Frank just like insurance companies and big pharma had a hand in writing the so called Affordable Care Act.

So I am glad it’s working out for some people who are now getting care, but mandating that people buy an insurance plan from a monopoly or duopoly is not the way the rest of the 30 million left out of this equation will get there. This matters because history is not kind to this notion which is why the The McCarran-Ferguson Act should die, and instead, the House’s anti-trust amendment placing health insurance back under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act — now practically dead so we should also resurrect it — should live. After all, it would have been adopted if we were going to have any hope at all that any good prospects, choices, or networks — or anything worthwhile in this for profit hell — would even exist or last.

Also, the ACA making single payer illegal until 2017 is a hell of a way to pave the way for single payer. I’m a little bit tired of that talking point. States already had the right to create their own health care systems (like Romneycare). Right now, VT can’t implement the single payer plan that passed their legislature and was signed by their governor until the waiver in 2017 to get out of the mandate. How many people will die before that happens? Probably quite a few.

So no, we didn’t want insurance reform to die, even though we — unlike some idiot sycophants who think they are special for loving whatever their leader tells them to love even if it’s a Republican health plan — do not like Republican health care plans that don’t prevent bankruptcies as advertised. We just don’t think rapacious predator like industries should exist. This industry is doing nothing to lower the cost of care, only pooling resources to pay the extravagant cost set by the chargemaster toy that gives free money to monopoly price fixers by mandating that people buy a plan or pay penalties.

So, this bailout may work out for awhile, but the dynamics are there for another full blown health care crisis. A crisis that we will have wasted like we did when we should have temporarily nationalized the banks, cleaned them out, thrown CEOs of TBTF banks in jail or at the every least had the justice Depart pursue criminal referrals to make an effort after the housing bust.

The leverage was there to pursue Medicare for All. The President and his lackeys in Congress sold out this health care price lowering solution — one that takes the place of insurance companies and HMOs — lowering the actual price of care where the 30% of administrative costs from private insurance don’t even have to be there on top.

I don’t know if or when this racket will ever truly stop or if we will ever get a health care system we, as a people, deserve.

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  1. priceman

    I am going to start expanding and posting my short little rants on my facebook page. They won’t always be this meaty, but that place acts as my little notepad full of rants, so I might as well add some context. But not at the orange shithouse. I’m not married to anyone there, so I can’t get a moderator job so I can run the place for my friends like someone we know.

    So I am still….

  2. Medicare For All.  Universal Health Care.  Single Payer.  I don’t care what they call it, we need it, just like every other Westernized country, and many not “Westernized” have.

    I have been saying for several years now, I could even write the damned commercials for this.  “Does your granny like her Medicare?  Wouldn’t you like to have this, too?”  Or something along those lines.

    There would even be a (much smaller) role for insurance companies, providing supplemental care.  I could live with this.

    Oh, and while we’re at it, they could close the doughnut-hole in Medicare Part D for the drug coverage.  So many people that I talk to do not even realize that the United States is, in essence, subsidizing the cheaper drugs available in countries with Universal Health Care.  Those countries make deals with the drug companies so that they pay much less.  And we pay a lot more.  If this country could make such deals as well, everyone else might have to pay a bit more, but we would be paying a lot less, and the drug companies could still make their profits.

  3. TMC

    in a NYT‘s op-ed in New Year’s Day.

    I believe Obamacare’s rocky start – clueless planning, a lousy website, insurance companies raising rates, and the president’s telling people they could keep their coverage when, in fact, not all could – is a result of one fatal flaw: The Affordable Care Act is a pro-insurance-industry plan implemented by a president who knew in his heart that a single-payer, Medicare-for-all model was the true way to go. When right-wing critics “expose” the fact that President Obama endorsed a single-payer system before 2004, they’re actually telling the truth.

    What we now call Obamacare was conceived at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and birthed in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney, then the governor. The president took Romneycare, a program designed to keep the private insurance industry intact, and just improved some of its provisions. In effect, the president was simply trying to put lipstick on the dog in the carrier on top of Mitt Romney’s car. And we knew it.

    Emergency Room visits have increased for those with insurance rather than decrease. This is probably due to the problem of finding a physician who will accept the patient’s insurance plan. What was needed was a mandate that physicians and hospitals accept all insurance plans.

    Access to Health Care May Increase ER Visits, Study Suggests

    Supporters of President Obama’s health care law had predicted that expanding insurance coverage for the poor would reduce costly emergency room visits as people sought care from primary care doctors. But a rigorous new study conducted in Oregon has flipped that assumption on its head, finding that the newly insured actually went to the emergency room more often.

    The study, published in the journal Science, compared thousands of low-income people in the Portland area who were randomly selected in a 2008 lottery to get Medicaid coverage with people who entered the lottery but remained uninsured. Those who gained coverage made 40 percent more visits to the emergency room than their uninsured counterparts. The pattern was so strong that it held true across most demographic groups, times of day, and types of visits, including for conditions that were treatable in primary care settings.

    The finding casts doubt on the hope that expanded insurance coverage will help rein in rising emergency room costs just as more than two million people are gaining coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

    Instead, the study suggests that the surge in the numbers of insured people may put even greater pressure on emergency rooms and increase costs. Nearly 30 million uninsured Americans could gain coverage under the law, about half of them through Medicaid. The first policies took effect on Wednesday.

    This will only push up the costs of health care and increase the costs for consumers and tax payers.

    This video explains in less than 8 minutes why healthcare in this country is so expensive and still sucks

  4. priceman
  5. Anne

    Obama was going to attempt to solve a crisis by going to the very industry that caused it, I knew we were not really going to be solving anything.  Well, except for the serious problem of not enough people writing checks to insurance companies for coverage that was still no guarantee of actual care.

    And now that some of those people have joined the ranks of the insured, they will soon be finding out what it really means to have insurance.  

    Now, that is not to say that there are no benefits being realized as a result of the ACA.  My daughter tells me that, in addition to all the 100% covered well-baby checkups and immunizations, my grandson is also entitled to eye and dental check-ups at no additional cost.  That’s a good thing.

    But here’s what has been, and will continue to be a problem: there will still be significant differences in coverages depending on where you live.  Red states will continue to do the minimum required and insurance companies will continue to invent new ways to make sure they are on the hook for as little as possible – we know this, don’t we?

    Those of us who live in blue states have long-benefited from mandates in coverage for things like mental health care, well-woman care, and the right to 48 hours in the hospital after giving birth (they tried booting women out after 24 hours – or less – but Maryland’s insurance commission put an end to that); people who live in red states haven’t been as lucky.  For the life of me, I do not understand why, since we’re all human beings, where we live has been a determining factor in what kind of care we are entitled to.

    I am not in favor of “public options.” To me these will be the garbage heap to which private insurance will end up relegating those it doesn’t want to have to cover, and it will further harden the class lines that already exist.  And a state-by-state effort to go single-payer probably has a negative effect on individuals in non-participating states, as the pool will shrink and premiums will increase.

    No, what we need is an expansion of Medicare.  Open it up to those age 55 – 64.  With younger, and presumably healthier, people joining the pool, it’s possible premiums for those already on Medicare would come down – a definite benefit for those living on fixed incomes.

    If that works – and I see no reason why it wouldn’t – open it up to those 45 – 54.  What happens to private insurance?  It still exists to cover the gaps that Medicare doesn’t.  What about all those jobs in private insurance?  Many of those people will be welcomed into CMS, as they will need additional personnel to handle their increased work load.

    It’s not like we don’t have many examples of countries successfully implementing – and for many years – some form of single-payer, universal coverage; what’s missing here in this country, in my opinion, are people in power making choices on the side of the people – but that’s a problem that extends across a broad range of issues.

    I guess we will see soon enough how people like their new exchange-based policies, whether they find out that the low premium comes with much higher “cost-sharing,” and with the exception of preventive care, are still going to be massively our-of-pocket and unable to afford care for actual illness.

    I can almost hardly wait to see how our leaders deal with that backlash.

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