A vote was taken, and you lose

The number of updates to my Blog has dwindled over the past couple of weeks.  The Truth is that I just can’t keep up with the silliness from D.C.  

·         11% of Federal Employees entitled to the same medical plan that Congress and the President have, are uninsured.    Can’t afford it. 


·         The much maligned October 2009 study from PriceWaterhouse showing that the impact of health insurance costs if the bill passes, for a family, rising $4,000 more than if the legislation was not passed has caused trouble for the industry.   I agree that the study was overkill and not without questionable assumptions.   What I know is not overkill.  Without gender based pricing, which will no longer be allowed,  and with maternity benefits mandatory,  a 29 year old male in Chicago will instantly see his premium go, for a $500 deductible plan from a current $197 to more than $325 per month.   That assumes no inflation, no change in reimbursement rates to doctors, stable premiums, and a 15% discount for everyone having the benefits.   

·         Hay Dare!   The Canadian System – 

o   In 2005, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the ban on Private Insurance stating “”Access to a waiting list is not access to health care,”.  I Suspect that any health care reform in the US will give you guaranteed access to a waiting list. 

o   In 2006, the national health policy goal, of 75% of those needing bypass surgeries. getting the operation within 180 days of diagnosis, was not even met by two provinces.  

o   Here’s an interesting Canadian Company. http://www.timelymedical.ca/about-us.html.  Why do they exist and can I get a US franchise?

o   The Code word to get an MRI in Canada is “Meow”.   See this Sept 2009 story from ABC’s 20/20 on YouTube.   

·         Medicare Advantage Plans – This is when seniors opt out of Medicare to take a private insurance plan that gives them all the benefits of Medicare plus additional benefits like drugs, dental, vision and hearing benefits.   A senior on “Medicare Advantage” Plans pays little or no premium to the insurer.  They don’t pay the $97 for Medicare Part B, they don’t pay the $125-250 for a Medicare Supplement.   These plans cost the government 14% more than straight Medicare.   That 14% will be cut, and benefits to those members will be cut.    It saves the government $100 billion over ten years, but it will result in those least able having to pay as much as $300-$400 month extra to replace those benefits.    


·         Cut the Deficit by $81 Billion says the CBO – What I don’t understand is why $900 Billion in new taxes, higher medical premiums to the public, and $500 billion in Medicare Cuts don’t result in $1.4 Trillion in deficit reduction.   How about we just cut $500 billion from Medicare and cut the deficit by $500 billion.   If that was doable, it would be done.  It’s not.   The $81 billion assumption assumes that in 2011, Medicare reimbursement rates will be reduced by nearly 26%, and that those reductions will stick, year after year.  Uh-Huh! 


·         Reasonable People will cancel their health Insurance December 31, 2012.   Get your letters ready.   

o   The president of the National Association of Health Underwriters, an organization representing more than 100,000 health insurance agents, on October 14th, 2009 told his audience that costs for insurance will rise at a greater rate than without legislation.   He also told that audience that he believes that reasonable people will continue to have health insurance after reform legislation.   I agree that that costs will rise.   I do not agree that reasonable people will retain health insurance.  

o   Assuming you pay for your own insurance, and currently pay about $15,000 per year in premium, why would you continue to pay for insurance?   If you don’t have insurance, you will pay a $600 fine, maybe.  (Maybe because the excise tax is only collectable on tax refunds and they will not accrue penalties or interest).  If you need insurance, you can get it, ON DEMAND, without a preexisting condition clause.   Hmmm… Spend $15,000 even if I don’t need it, or a $600 tax…. When I need it, I am guaranteed to get it.  Well, I must have missed the continuing education course that says “reasonable people” is synonymous for “sucker” in insurance-eze.

·         Health Insurance executives limited compensation.  The new health care bill will include a provision that limits the tax deductibility of wages for health insurance executives from earning more than $500,000 per year.   And who can blame Washington for that?  After all wasn’t it the health insurers that took $700 billion in bailout money?  Wait, that was banking.   Or was it that they went bankrupt and the government had to subsidize a Cash for Klutzes program?   No… not them either… Well it must be that they are responsible for the mortgage mess?   High interest rates?  Soaring oil prices?  Gotta be something right?      In a related story, the average Major League Baseball player salary rose to over $3,000,000 this year.   


Well at least insurance agents will exist – In early bills; Insurance agents will be replaced by Government “Navigators”.   No it’s not a big Lincoln SUV.   It’s the term for the new 800 number outsourced to lots of “BOB’s and SUE’s” to help you with your insurance options.  That provision looks like it’s out of the current bills.   At least people like me will be here for a while to help you send in your cancellation letters to the insurance company.   (But not until 12/31/2012!)

Look for the “Public Option” to again gain traction in the next few weeks.