Las Vegas Sun

May 4, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Healthy people are being punished

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Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, is quoted as saying on health insurance, “Some of these folks have very high catastrophic plans that don’t pay for anything unless you get hit by a bus.”

What is wrong with that; particularly for healthy people who seldom have need to see a doctor and then can pay for the visit?

To force these people to buy a complete-coverage plan to subsidize insurance for low-income people is wrong and will drive up the costs of health care of these people.

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  1. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sibelius also said recently that Obama care would likely increase health care costs for all, young and old alike. Why? The invincible young [30 million primarily under 30 years old] who were supposed to sign on for health care to reduce the costs for the older [who pay on average 8 and 9 times more] won't. Why? The two Obama care exemptions will preempt them from employment with health care: (1) Less than 30 hours per week and (2) less than 50 employees. The U.S. Senate passed a non-binding resolution to cancel the medical devices sales tax of 2.3 percent effective on January 1, 2013. It is supposed to raise $30 billion over 10 years to fund Obama care [along with 21 other taxes and/or increases]. The vote was 79 to 21. Overwhelmingly bipartisan.

    Carmine D

  2. Prior to the ACA, our Health Care system had many problems that did need to be addressed. Among them were its costs and its perverse incentives that encouraged 'more' care, instead of 'better' care.

    Because we have a corrupted Congress that does the bidding of powerful interests with lobbyists, what we got with the ACA was to add 30 million more Americans to Health Care rolls, but to do little about the ever increasing costs or the perverse incentives.

    The ACA is like everything else that comes out of DC. It is feel good, well intentioned legislation to address a real problem, that is hijacked by powerful interests in the Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, Health Insurance, Medical Doctor, etc industries, who all have lobbyists in DC who make sure our legislators know that if their (powerful interests) are not protected in the ACA legislation, the legislators will be denied the money and support they need for re-election.

    This is how it always works, for 'any' legislation. It is why we have a 16 trillion dollar debt, why waste fraud and duplication is never addressed and why legislation, even well intended legislation, rarely if ever does what is intended at a reasonable cost to taxpayers.

    We must change the corrupted Congressional system and it will never happen by simply supporting either Democrats or Republicans. We need term limits, public financing of campaigns and lobbying reform.


  3. Health care for profit will continue until you people vote for a single payer system. Hypocritical capitalists promote corporate welfare but yet continue to raise rates.

    To answer the letter writer's question. Only a relatively small percentage of Americans are truly healthy. The rest either have serious chronic health issues or are fat. If these folks had to pay health insurance premiums that reflected their health it would cost a fortune. Individuals and businesses wouldn't be able to come close to paying it.

    As it is the average cost for family health insurance plan is currently $15,500 a year. Families can't come close to affording the average much less having huge premium tacked on for poor health.

  5. In Switzerland health insurance is mandatory. Premiums are reasonable for the young and old. People in their peak earning years get stuck paying more. That's what's going on here. The young have Medicaid and the old have Medicare. High wage working people and the businesses that employ them pay through the nose.

    I completely agree with the letter writer that this probably isn't fair but options are limited. The young and old don't have any money. The young are most likely to end up in the nation's emergency rooms due to foolish living habits, and the old have serious health problems for obvious reasons. The money has to come from someplace to pay for these people.

    Future.. The above analysis is what's wrong with a profit. The United States and Mexico are the only two major countries in the world that practice for-profit medicine. That should tell you something.

    What we pay for basic medical procedures compared to the rest of the world is so ridiculous it's beyond words.

    The front page healthcare article published in the Review Journal a couple of weeks ago reflected the average hospital bill in Las Vegas is $71,000. The average Nevadan has almost no money set aside for contingencies according to a major wealth survey that was done a while back.

    Giving $71,000 hospital bills to people that have no money is complete nonsense. Thousands of hospitals in the United States have given up on making a profit. They're just trying to break even.

    Food consumes a relatively small part of the average budget. Healthcare has gone from 6% of GDP and is rapidly approaching 20% of GDP in the last few decades. If the price increases continue healthcare will consume 40% of GDP in the next 30 years. That will drive millions of businesses into the abyss. If 40% of your budget goes to Walgreens that leaves very little for cars, houses, clothes and everything else that's consumed in a consumption driven economy like the United States.

    Healthcare inflation is the cause of our deficit, hundreds of thousands of bankruptcies a year and suffering beyond belief. Currently 100 million Americans can no longer afford dental care. Doctors visits are on the decline. People can't afford the prescriptions they need to control chronic illness. For the first time in history life expectancies among women in the United States are expected to decline due to poor living habits and lack of access to quality medical care.

    It's a gigantic fiasco!

  7. For people who are healthy to not pay the same as all others do,for health insurance is crazy.One day healthy people will not be so healthy,as we are all going to die from something.

    Some people complain that they are paying school taxes and they don't have children that go to school, so they should not have to pay school taxes. I say when you pay school taxes you are paying back the schools you once went to as a young person for an education.

    Should we also cut the taxes people pay for police protection, who live in a better neighborhood where the crime rate is lower?

    Like it or not we need health insurance for all,just like we need schools and police protection for all.

  8. Henry: You ask "What is wrong with that; particularly for healthy people who seldom have need to see a doctor and then can pay for the visit?"

    Second: There is no assurance that these currently healthy people CAN afford to pay for their care. I know many who can't.

    First and foremost: They WILL go out and get hit by buses! And they will then expect the rest of us to pay for their care, immediate and into the unknown future.

  9. Future: You (and Vernos B) completely fail to understand the difference between a "single payer system" - such as provided for in Social Security, a "single provider system" - such as offered by some insurance plans, and a truly socialized system. In the first instance, a single entity pays all the myriad of providers, often with some form of limit that does not preclude a profit, and to a group of enrolled providers. In the second, one non-governmental entity demands you MUST go to a specific provider, has full control over how much that provider may charge, and may actually employ the provider. That entity WILL be making a profit, but you are free to shift to any other plan you can afford. In the third, you have no choice in providers. All providers must be government employees, paid an hourly rate. The providers have no choice of patients or hours of operation. The government alone provides all materials, medications, and facilities. Only in the third instance is there sometimes an effort to choke off profit, although if the state can hide a profit in its (secret) calculations, it need not increase taxes.

    As for the savings of a true single-payer plan (like Social Security) - ask your doctor just how much he could save in overhead if he could complete one identical insurance form for every patient. Right now, he may find his staff using a DIFFERENT form for almost every individual insurance company!

    Mary Brown is the picture-perfect case of healthcare in America. She was the lead plaintiff in the healthcare law suit. She didn't believe the government had the power to force her to buy health insurance.

    Her husband ran up a big hospital bill that they couldn't pay. Next stop bankruptcy court, whining about the medical bill and trying to get it discharged. Mary doesn't want to pay for medical care the United States but she has no problem if her neighbor pays for her.

    Future... The argument against for-profit medicine is that we pay billions of dollars more per day for medical care than anyone else. That's the strongest argument.

    Russia barely has a healthcare system. If you look at the quality of life metrics in Russia a man is lucky to make it to his 65th birthday. With the exception of Third World countries Russia is among the worst.

    Russia has a weak form of socialized medicine, not for profit medicine.

  11. Are you Rush Limbaugh in disguise. You sound just like him.
    Provide me with the link that reflects Obama promising free care for all. I must have missed that one.