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Who Should Make the Decisions About Your Health Care October 16, 2009

Posted by Dindy in health, health care reform, Politics, Uncategorized.
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One argument health care opponents often make is “I don’t want the government making decisions about my health care.”

Well, that’s certainly understandable. Nobody wants the government making personal decisions about what drugs should be prescribed for a particular patient or what type of treatment is best for a particular person.

Of course, to be consistent, then these opponents should also refuse to accept any kind of medical insurance AT ALL, because insurance companies are the ones who are making these decisions now. How do you think insurance companies come up with all that nonsense about first tier, second tier and third tier drugs? It certainly isn’t done out of any kind of consideration for the effectiveness of one drug over another. Those decisions are made based on which pharmaceutical company is crawling into bed with that particular insurance company.

And of course, the insurance companies are the ones deciding now what kind of treatment is best for the patients. They do so based not on any particular knowledge of the patient but on what actuarial studies tell them about the cost benefit analysis of one treatment over another.

Now call me radical, but I don’t want some insurance company executive deciding what kind of treatment my doctor should prescribe. I don’t want someone’s decision about my medical care to be based on how it affects the insurance company’s bottom line. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again– follow the money. The insurance companies are the ones who stand to lose a great deal from a single provider system, and THESE people are the ones the health care opponents wanting making decisions about their health care.

Duh: Universal Health Care Means LESS Paperwork October 14, 2009

Posted by Dindy in health, health care reform, Politics.
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I spent an inordinate amount of time this week dealing with insurance paperwork for my daughter. My 25-year-old daughter has a serious, chronic illness. She moved home about two years ago to go back to school and to focus on her recovery after going into a tailspin when she went off her maintenance meds because she could not afford them even on her insurance plan. To someone who makes minimum wage, a third-tier drug, as the insurance companies like to call it, is next to impossible to afford.

I’ve been carrying her on my medical insurance since she moved home but when she turned 25 this summer, I had to move her to another insurance company, and so the paperwork begins. This week I had to provide a certificate of prior coverage, a list of all the doctors who have treated her in the past year, a statement that she has no other coverage, a signed affidavit that she is a member of the required group for this particular insurance coverage and a consent to release information from the doctor to the insurance company.

Now it shouldn’t take much in the way of brains to figure out that under universal health coverage, four of those five required forms would not be necessary. A universal provider would not need a certificate of prior coverage because… well, think about it folks. Under universal coverage we wouldn’t need to get a new insurance provider to begin with. A universal provider would not need a list of all the doctors who treated her in the past year because it would already have that information. It wouldn’t need a statement that she has no other coverage because why would a universal provider care? And it certainly wouldn’t need a signed affidavit that she is a member of the covered group because, hello– it’s universal coverage. Get it? Now a universal provider MIGHT need a consent form to release information from the doctor to the insurance company, but since she’s seen her current doctors for several years, the provider would already have this paperwork on file and wouldn’t need a new form.

Sometimes I wonder if the health care opponents actually THINK about what they are saying. Physicians for a National Health Program (PNP) found that administration consumes 31.0 percent of U.S. health spending, double the proportion of Canada (16.7 percent). Average overhead among private U.S. insurers was 11.7 percent, compared with 1.3 percent for Canada’s single-payer system and 3.6 percent for Medicare. Their study appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine and the results are published on their website.

Consider how much paperwork is involved in maintaining health insurance– and how much paperwork is involved in convincing the insurance company to pay for various procedures and treatment.  Data from the National Health Accounts collected by the Organization for Economic Co–Operation and Development (OECD) show that insurance administrative costs are significantly higher in the United States than in other countries.

Site Map | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Feedback  © 2009 RAND Corporation. All rights reserved. 		 	 Percentage of National Health Expenditures Spent on Health Administration and Insurance, by Country, 2006

Site Map | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Feedback © 2009 RAND Corporation. All rights reserved. Percentage of National Health Expenditures Spent on Health Administration and Insurance, by Country, 2006

Okay, so we’ve established that Universal Health Care will actually CUT paperwork costs. Hercule Poirot often used to advise Hastings to “Cherchez la femme!” when determining whodunnit. I suggest health care opponents “cherchez la money.” Who stands to lose the most from universal health care? The insurance companies, folks. Why do you think they are pouring huge amounts of money into lobbying against it? The five largest private insurers and the trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans spent a total of $6.4 million lobbying elected officials in Congress in the first quarter of this year, an increase of more than $1 million from the same quarter last year.

So a shout out to health care opponents: How does it feel knowing you are playing right into the hands of the insurance lobbies? There may be legitimate reasons to oppose health care reform and/or universal health insurance folks. But claiming that it will INCREASE paperwork is not one of them.