Health-care bill does little to curb costs

The high cost of health care is the primary problem with our current health-care system, and unfortunately the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" does little to truly rein in these costs.

With an unworkable individual mandate, tens of billions of dollars in new insurer fees and taxes, expansions of Medicaid and dependent age, tight limits on age rating and high minimum-benefit levels, this bill will make private health insurance unaffordable for the hundreds of millions of Americans who are currently insured. And all of the cost increases happen long before anyone reaps the benefits of the coverage changes [scheduled] to take place four years down the road.

As this bill is implemented, we must find ways to curbs costs, improve wellness, rein in frivolous lawsuits and expand consumer choice. Americans deserve to have access to the best medical care in the world at an affordable price, and it is now up to [Rep.] Shuler, Sen. Burr, and Sen. Hagan to do this.

— Mike Norris
President
WNC Association of Health Underwriters

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20 thoughts on “Health-care bill does little to curb costs

  1. entopticon

    Fortunately, the nonpartisan factcheckers at Factcheck.org and the CBO disagree with Mr Norris’s claims:

    “The truth is that for most people, premiums wouldn’t change significantly.
    The Congressional Budget Office estimated that for those in the group market — those who get insurance through their employers — premiums would largely stay the same. The change in the average premium in the large group market would be between 0 percent and a 3 percent decrease, for instance, compared with where they’d be under current law in 2016. The average premiums for those who buy insurance on their own would go up, however, by 10 percent to 13 percent. The reason is that benefits would become a lot better for this market under the bill. Also, most people buying their own coverage would receive subsidies that make their net costs for these plans substantially lower than they otherwise would be.”

    It sounds like Mr Norris may be in league with the unconscionable health insurance company scoundrels in their pathetically desperate attempt to weasel out of their obligation to cover sick children. Jon Stewart put it well:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/06/jon-stewart-slams-insuran_n_526624.html

  2. entopticon

    Time will tell. Of course, the right kept telling us that Barack Obama didn’t stand a chance against the mighty McCain/Palin dynamic duo, so your track record for predictions is very hard to take seriously at this point.

    So far, the Marxist/socialist Kenyan Islamic overlords haven’t crawled up out of the healthcare reform law to destroy the American way of life and replace it with a radical agenda of compulsory homosexual marriage to latin immigrants and death panels for the elderly, so forgive me if I am not going to hold my breath waiting for your Faux news rhetoric to come true.

  3. JWTJr

    “Time will tell. Of course”

    Yes it will. Time also tells us over and over that 10 year financial projections are completely worthless. If the CBO had a track record of being right, I’d have more confidence that they were in the ball park.

  4. Curious

    Are we talking about the cost of “health care” (that is, the charges by hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, drug companies, medical equipment/supplies companies)? Or are we talking about the cost of “health insurance?”

    In a recent experience, I discovered that adhesive bandages supplied by a local nursing services provider (and paid for by Medicare) cost $10 each. When I asked my pharmacist to get me the same, he said the cost would be $100 for a pack of 10. He offered me an equivalent off the shelf for about $3.95. And, as a sidelight, the $10 each bandages were made in Sweden. The 39 cents each bandages were made in America.

  5. entopticon

    True that. 10 year financial predictions are indeed notoriously imperfect, whether they come from nonpartisan panels of many of the world’s most renowned financial experts, or clownishly hyperbolic right wing machinators on Faux news, Pajamas Media, and Clearchannel who think every Democratic initiative spells certain armageddon. As I said, time will tell.

  6. John

    Yeah, I’m with Curious on this one. Can we get some clarification on the letter writer’s intent? Because if he’s talking the “cost of healthcare,” then I tend to agree with him. I see very little in this bill that addresses the cost of providing care other then the preventive measures and perhaps the FDA approval of generic drugs.

    I see no fat tax, drug importation, tort reform or administrative cost control in this bill. Am I missing something here?

  7. JWTJr

    Curious – What you learned is that Medicare Allowables govern medicine. Folks blame the insurance industry, but Medicare sets the rates for things. Until they make giant changes in the way they pay for medical care, costs will continue to go up. The Fee for Service model Medicare embraces is from the stone age.

  8. JWTJr

    The only cost containment issue in the bill is that of folks not using the ER for their regular health care. That is a big expense, but negligible in the bigger picture.

    The other components insure more people – big expense – and spread risk among bigger groups. Spreading risk only saves money for those in high risk categories. It costs everyone else.

    We have to cross our fingers that the God Father in all this – Medicare – can move towards better care models fast or we are in big trouble.

  9. Curious

    Thanks to those who replied to my question. And to my concerns about Medicare “allowables.” Does JWTJr (or others) know of anyone (person, elected official, organization, non-profit) providing genuine leadership, research, objective information on this issue (and not just political/rhetorical maneuvering and hype)? Writing (or e-mailing) to our representatives (Shuler, Hagan, Burr) only gets canned boiler plate responses.

  10. JWTJr

    Unfortunately, the single payor concept contains no cost savings measures when you look at how health care is delivered. Unless you have the misguided impression that insurance profits represent all the waste in the system.

    How are docs, hospitals, nurses, other therapists, home health, medical equipment, etc services coordinated in a way to improve health care delivery and hold down the costs of redundant and misguided care is the big question.

    Single payor has none of those answers either.

  11. JWTJr

    Elected officials will not be making the hard choices. They never have. Getting reelected is their priority and health care delivery decisions are politically toxic. It will be appointees and career bureaucrats. Fasten your seat belts.

  12. travelah

    Some clear indicators are now coming to light demonstratng just how under-costed this massive mistake really is. SEC regulated companies are now undergoing the painful process of reporting net present values of the future costs to employers of this new set of laws. Those costs are tremendously large when accumulated across the business community. As result of this, we can expect up to 2 million retires to be pushed into the Federal Medicare programs as private companies can no longer afford to carry post retirement medical benefit programs. None of these people and costs were considered when crafting these laws. That is just the tip of the iceburg.
    Seatbelts won’t help with this.

  13. entopticon

    It’s clear that healthcare reform is the first sign of the rapture. Only a pinko commie like Satan would pass legislation to protect children with cancer.

  14. sosdd

    rest assured, that however this “new health care bill” cimes out the middle class who pay their bills, take good care of themselves and their children and drive the economy will foot the bill for the billionaires and multi-generational wellfare scofflaws who are experts at working the system drinking,smoking and neglecting the needs of their children… in other words…same ole same ole.

  15. Piffy!

    and WHERE was the fiscal conservative RAGE and HAND WRINGING when their party ushered in a mutli-trillion-dollar war with no practical end in sight?

    All of this faux-consternation about health care costs is just the Right trying to distract the public from the US’s REAL financial woes which will certainly send the US into a fiscal tailspin: the Iraq War.

    Will ‘healthcare’ bankrupt America? Unlikely. Will our illegal, unending foreign wars? Yep, just like the Roman and British Empires before us, it will be our military excursions, not our social programs, which will turn us into a second-rate debtor nation.

  16. travelah

    For the past year all we have heard is how health care was bankrupting the country. The administration and it’s allies in Congress went so far as to blame our current economic condition on health care costs. Of course, such a charge was political theater of the absurd. Nonetheless, the true costs of ObamaCare will slowly be revealed to an already heavily taxed electorate and we shall see how that fares in upcoming election returns.

  17. Piffy!

    And when the Tea Party sweeps the congressional elections, they’ll immediately end the unnecessary and unaffordable wars, too?

  18. Bert

    Republicans and Tea Parties have ZERO credibility on budget issues. Mumpower and the Stompers helped put Bush back in office in 2004 while they KNEW he was running up the largest national debt in US history. I have yet to see any Tea Partier or conservative offer a genuine mea culpa for that. I hate to put is so bluntly, but I think opposition to this health bill from conservatives is based largely on resentment that minorities and the working poor have expanded access to health care.

    And also on the subject of credibility, remember that this is the same Republican Party and health industry that tried to block Medicaire under Lyndon Johnson 40 years ago and now has the audacity to turn around and claim they are the true defenders of Medicaire. Today’s conservative movement is so devoid of logic and shame that its impossible to even debate them.

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