Health insurance through work now costs nearly $20,000

johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
24,391
16,892
Colorado
#61
Point to note:

The cost of healthcare premiums is a direct reflection of the rising health care costs.

Regardless of who is paying for the insurance.....the exorbitant costs in the health care industry is the underlying issue. Which doesn't seem to get near the attention.

Example: This thread.



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It gets no attention because it doesn't play well with political soap opera. And people actually believe that "NEW" should mean "EXPENSIVE" because that's how we are conditioned. I've had people who do pay attention stick to the argument that its new, or life saving, or technologically advanced - and thus they believe it should cost a lot...
 
Likes: pragmatic

johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
24,391
16,892
Colorado
#62
UnitedHealthcare is the largest healthcare company and it employs about 200,000 people. What do you suppose the sum total is that they spend in salaries? Where do you think that money comes from? Those exorbitant costs must include paying for them as well as their profits. Make it simple and the entire program could be administered by a fraction of that and I'm only using one company here as an example. The massive behind the scenes health insurance industry must be paid for and that's before you so much as get a band-aid.
It's a fact that medical technology and service related to it comes with it's own, arbitrary, made up, premium.
 
Likes: pragmatic
Jul 2015
2,691
1,605
Maryland USA
#63
The payment system has made the actual cost of health care opaque. I doubt anyone actually knows what the cost is.
I have spent most of my professional life in the hospital industry and I find, on some level, that I cannot disagree with you. The original Medicare law mandated that the government reimburse hospitals for the cost of providing care to Medicare beneficiaries. Hospitals would submit annual cost reports. The computation of those costs were defined by the Medicare program and were not costs as typically defined as business costs. For example, it did not include the cost of bad debts or any provision for working capital. Costs were reduced by other revenues such as from cafeteria sales or services to non-patients. While the language of the law was never changed, the program converted to a predetermined payment system. The program suggested that costs still were being paid but determined through peer group determinations as opposed to individual facilities. Most Medicaid payments do not come close to any cost computation including the government.

Because Medicare payments do not reflect or include true business costs and Medicaid does not even pay costs, the payment shortfalls are being subsidized by payments from commercial insurers. Without that subsidization, many hospitals just plain would not be fiscally viable. Accordingly, under a universal system the government, ie taxpayers, must accommodate the costs being subsidized by commercial payers. Granted, that under a universal system, the bad debt subsidization would be eased, but additional payments from the government will be needed. Regarding the services being provided, not much is needed to change, the Medicare program current have some of the best gatekeepers.

I should also note that I can only comment regarding hospitals, I cannot comment on or for physicians or other provider settings.
 
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Jul 2015
2,691
1,605
Maryland USA
#65
It's a fact that medical technology and service related to it comes with it's own, arbitrary, made up, premium.
I would submit that new medical technologies do come with increased costs. Medical technology is a bit like the experience with video players. When they first arrived they were rather expensive, but as new and different technologies arrived, the cost of video players materially decreased. Similarly when first introduced, the price to purchase CT scanner was very expensive, but time and newer technologies have reduced their purchase costs. Along comes the MRI which is still a very expensive but now their prices are starting to decline. Now even more elaborate CT scanners are coming, it is thought that they will eliminate the need for cardiac caths, a rather dangerous procedure that requires a heart team to be available. Additionally, as it relates to MRIs, many of the surgeons with whom I have talked, will order a MRI before doing a surgical procedure. One, because they don't want any surprises when opening up a patient, and there may be a lawyer just waiting to ask; why did you not order an MRI.
 
Likes: Pragmatist
Feb 2010
33,470
23,171
between Moon and NYC
#66
It's a fact that medical technology and service related to it comes with it's own, arbitrary, made up, premium.

Believe the Time Magazine article by Steven Brill is the absolute standard on exposing/explaining the current mess with US health care costs. Well worth the read for anyone that is serious about discussing the topic. Eleven pages of in-depth analysis.


"Every American should read this piece on health care costs, from Steven Brill, of Time Magazine. It’s 11 pages of excellent journalism that will enlighten and enrage you, as it highlights the “why” of skyrocketing health care costs in the U.S.

There is an epic battle going on between health care providers and insurers. And providers are winning as they consolidate and increase their negotiation leverage. The result? We all pay more. Absurd levels more.

Mr. Brill examines a number of actual patient medical bills and compares costs to what you would pay on Amazon or elsewhere for the same product, as well as what Medicare and insurers might pay for services – and what unfortunate patients without health insurance are forced to pay."

Steven Brill's Time Magazine Bitter Pill Health Care Cost Article



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Djinn

Council Hall
Dec 2007
49,632
35,787
Pennsylvania, USA
#67
The recession slowed the growth of health care costs.

What in Obamacare are you claiming lowered health care costs?
The recession ended years ago - and the annual increase is still at historic lows. Prior to the ACA, how often did the increase run below 6% Or 5%? After the ACA, it hasn't hit 6% even once.
 
Likes: NightSwimmer
Nov 2010
23,156
14,833
#68
Healthcare costs are higher also in part because technology has gotten more sophisticated. Million dollar imaging machines, proprietary diagnostic tests, therepeutics that are hard to produce and have short half life, or involve costly procedures other than just popping a pill, etc.
 
Apr 2015
12,923
2,205
Katmandu
#69
The recession ended years ago - and the annual increase is still at historic lows. Prior to the ACA, how often did the increase run below 6% Or 5%? After the ACA, it hasn't hit 6% even once.
What in the ACA has slowed the rate of increase?

6% is 3 times the inflation current inflation rate.
 
Mar 2012
52,896
35,011
New Hampshire
#70
Hmmm - do they worry about cashiers losing their jobs to self check out?

Actually 200,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the number of job losses during the recession, and the economy is booming now with new jobs created every day.
Sure until the next recession and all these areas become West Virginias and the new administration that gets elected after that will just vote to change our healthcare and grant all these jobs back. Its what we are doing to steel and coal.