Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nothing like no competition

Hurry up and die already we need the bed space. Turnover you know.

The last hold outs of the conservadems have a good point against a public option in health care, but they only have themselves to blame. In their states they have only one or two insurance companies doing all the business. In most of these states one company can have 90% of the business which means that they can charge anything they want. How can that be you might ask? The insurance companies were given an exemption from the anti trust laws way back in 1945. A court ruling gave them this little loophole by stating that insurance was not considered commerce. Now it used to be that all insurance companies were non profit so it was no big problem back then. That is until Nixon changed the laws so that HMOs could come into existance. And who do you think the CEOs of these outfits give their campaign contributions to? You guessed it their best buds the republicans for the most part with the exception of those conservadems in those small states. This brings to mind an analogy involving dogs mating but I won't go there.
It was the McCarran-Ferguson Act that permitted the insurance companies to act like a company store (remember the song "16 tons"). It was supposed to give the states the right to regulate insurance companies but that was only by a dissenting opinion so there is no teeth in the decision. Even though your state might have an insurance commisioner his powers are so limited. We can attest to that fact by the amounts rates have gone up over the past few years. I've seen my own rates go up by 75% in the last two years when I had insurance. Why should a medical test that once cost $34 now cost nearly $100? Not only that but the insurance companies are ripping off hospitals and clinics and not just the patients. How? They have a contract with the hospital to pay out fixed amounts on proceedures. When the contract is up the insurance company will try to keep their payouts at the old rate even if the hospitals costs have gone up. And that's a scary thing for the patient who by logic will pick the nearest hospital in an emergency not knowing if his insurance is honored there or not. Remember any out of provider or PPO is only paid at 50% of what's usual or customary.

So I think the insurance companies have shot themselves in the foot with that latest Price Waterhouse report. They're about to get a double punch in the face if they try to derail this. They could get their nice anti trust exemption revoked and competition from a public option. We'll see how this all works out. Sausage making is such an ugly process.


Randal Graves said...

It may be ugly, but the end result is very tasty, especially with a side of pancakes. And maple syrup, always maple syrup. The real stuff, not that plastic neo-sugar crap.

Holte Ender said...

The only reason they got an exemption was back in 1945, was the vast majority were non-profit, it started to change in the 60s, like you said, thanks Nixon and exploded under Reagan, thanks again. We are in a different place today, scam is the name of the game. My wife and I are lucky to have health insurance, I know that, but we don't have any choice om what we get, it is not that brilliant, so we have to get supplementary insurance too. Some competition would be good. Get on the Federal Employees site and check out what is offered to them, it is like a health care supermarket, all sorts of choices.

an average patriot said...

I do not know who else owns the country but I am convinced the insurance companies own the government us and the country. They do not want their gravy train to end period and will make sure your rates go up by the $4000 they threatened if health care reform goes through. If it does I think they will make damn sure we lose. This won't be good!

Dave Splash said...

The Dems will wuss out on removing the exemption as they do on most things. Either that, or the Repubs will do one of their fake filibusters and Harry Reid will cave.

BBC said...

I'm not going to try to figure that all out, it's politics and anyone that thinks they understand politics in this country is living a delusion.

The last hold outs of the conservadems have a good point against a public option in health care,

There are thing I'm against, like providing health care to fat fucks that spent their lives trying to eat themselves to an early death.

And treating smokers with cancer, oh, that would be me. Oh well, if I get it I won't seek treatment for it being as I was so fucking stupid to keep doing it.

I approve of a government ran health care program. But only if the monkeys played by the rules and not expect everyone else to fix them and keep them alive for another forty years after they did such stupid things to their bodies.

You smoke? Okay, no problem, but you are not covered. Do drugs? Not covered. Eat too much? Not covered.

Here is a cold hard fact for you, no system can afford to keep every fucking idiot alive.

I can't even think of why a system would want to, the best way to reduce the idiot population is to just let the idiots die to be examples.

They make their beds, they can lay in them.

BBC said...

Is a tit in a morgue more firm? I ponder on things like that.

BBC said...

And I think that it's a good idea to serialize women that are on welfare, they are bottom feeders.

Maybe not all of them but a hell of a lot of them are, they think god is great and supporting them, they go to churches and work the system for all it is worth.

I guess god can't make any of his own fucking money so he taxes you to support them.

Never mind, I suppose I have seen a lot more of that than you have and have a different picture of it than you do.

But being as you are not working I suggest that you go spend a few months standing in soup kitchen lines paying attention to everything. Research you know, it's pretty educational.

Been there, done that.

BBC said...

I think I could do a frontal lobotomy with my pellet gun. Ten bucks tops.

S.W. Anderson said...

Considering competition, or lack of it, among health insurers, I think most people perceive it as Big Outfit A not having to compete with Big Outfit B in a given market. That's often the case, but there's another aspect to it.

In a healthier health insurance environment for consumers, new outfits would be able to enter the market on a modest scale and, by offering better features, lower prices, fewer hassles, etc., they would be able to compete and eventually grow. Of course, in our current setup, they rarely get off the ground.

It's so much easier, when there's only a few health insurers, for the big outfits to compare notes and (wink, nod) somehow, by the darnedest coincidence, end up with amazingly similar and incredibly high rates. Plus, they somehow build in comparable restrictions and gotchas.

Oh, and BTW, when there's just a few of them, it's also easier to keep state insurance commissioners from giving them grief. With a little (wink, nod) cooperation from their "competitors," they can tell a troublemaking insurance commissioner that if he doesn't like their rate structure, denials of coverage, etc., they will just quit doing business in the state — and by the most amazing coincidence, other big insurers don't rush in to fill the void. And if one does amble in after making the state sweat for awhile, it wants certain assurances before selling policies.

What's wrong with this picture?

Doing away with that 1945 law should be on the agenda in the next few years if we get health care reform with a real, solid public option. Without that, it should be Job 1 for Congress in January.

Tom Harper said...

That anti-trust exemption definitely needs to be done away with. It might have been applicable in 1945, but not any more.

BBC said...

Harry said something about the anti trust thing when he was here today. Frankly, it's all over my head for the most part.

All this country really needs is one health insurer, one honest one.

And like it or not, there are a lot of bottom feeders in this country that should just not be treated and allowed to die after they abused themselves so much.

I don't think society owes them anything, like trying to help them live another thirty years with expensive procedures.

It's not like they ever contributed much to the system even when they was working.

I know that it seems harsh to say it but I know a few monkeys here that would save society about a million a year if they just expired.

They live off the fat of the land and any money they make is under the table and spent entirely on themselves and their good times.

I think that is bullshit.