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Comments about ‘Robert J. Samuelson: Health status and insurance not the same thing’

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Published: Saturday, May 11 2013 12:38 p.m. MDT

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Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Doctors and hospitals have "multilevel" billing. They charge one price for services when someone has insurance. They charge a much higher price for that same service when someone has no insurance. Require doctors and hospitals to charge the same rate, regardless of how they are paid. Require all people who receive services to pay for those services, i.e, if you won't pay, you won't be "served".

Government is not the solution. Insurance is not the problem. Personal responsibility IS the problem. We live in America. We are free. That means that we are free to live or die based on our choices. Insurance has compounded problems in health care. When an insurance company underpays for services, someone who is not insured has to pay extra so that doctors and hospitals can recover their costs. When someone is given "free" healthcare, someone else has to pay more for healthcare services.

The solution is simple. Require people to be accountable for their choices.

Badgerbadger
Murray, UT

Finally some science and sense regarding health insurance benefits!

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

My neighbor - a 12 year experienced office aid at our local grade school - was told yesterday by her principal that her hours would have to be cut to 27 per week due to the new Obamacare regulations starting July 1. She is going to have to quit and find work else where. The school loses - the kids lose and of course she loses. All because of Obamacare requiring Alpine School District provide insurance to ALL full time employees. My neighbor DOESN'T WANT or NEED health insurance since her husband has it but big brother government and their IRS agents were quick to remind her that she MUST have it. Yes the new 'socialism' in America.... how does it feel people?? How about that Obamacare!!! Have your insurance premiums gone down by the PROMISED 2000 per year (compliments of B.Obama)? Do you see the OBVIOUS improvements in the insurance system...after 4 years? I would dare say the vast majority of people of both political parties would LOVE to dump this train wreck of a bill into the nearest dumpster ... along with it's namesake!!

Utah Soldier
Bountiful, UT

Mike Richards - you do not know what you are talking about. Hospitals and doctors office charge the same amount NO matter the paying status of the patient. They must charge the same amount, otherwise Medicare would be all over them for fraudulent billing.

What hospitals and doctors receive is different based upon the payor. Medicaid / Tri-care / and Medicare (government programs which typically constitute about 60% of the money received by a doctor or a hospital) pay a lot less than Blue Cross or other insurance. Those with no insurance (i.e., they don't have a pre-existing contractual relationship with the hospital) are responsible for the full amount. The hospital will have charity care policies that dictate when bills can be written off, hospitals/doctors offices will typically give a 10-15 percent discount if the entire bill is paid off in full within 30 days, and there are those who don't pay their bills and it is considered bad debt.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

@Utah Soldier,

Sorry, but my facts are correct. My last trip to the dentist required a tooth extraction. I paid $150, which was a $50 discount, but $90 more than insurance paid.

When I had had my gall bladder removed, the bill was over $22,000. Insurance allowed $4,500. The hospital accepted the insurance payment as payment in full. When I asked them why there was such a difference, the hospital said that they had a contract with my insurance company and that the fees were capped. I had another operation at that same hospital three years ago. Almost the same thing happened. Insurance paid about 1/3rd of the billed amount. The hospital accepted the payment as payment in full.

Utah Soldier
Bountiful, UT

Mike Richard -

The hospital still billed the insurance company for the $22,000+. They had to. Otherwise it would be fraud. Yes, they had a contact with the insurance company to accept the approved amount as payment in full.

Again - what insurances pay and what is charged are two different things. The fact remains that a hospital/doctor MUST charge the same amount REGAURDLESS of who the patient is or what insurance they have or don't have.

BTW - a typical hospital will receive on about 48-52 cents for every dollar that they bill out. As I mentioned before, government programs are the worst payers (besides dead beats who don't pay their bills) and private insurers are the best.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

Yes, but the #1 reason for personal bankruptcy is medical expense. So even if I give Samuelson and his followers here the benefit of the doubt, i.e. a weak connection between health and health insurance (it's a stretch) there sure as heck is a big connection between no insurance (and lousy insurance) and bankruptcy. Michael Moore's Sicko is the the authority and lousy health insurance (you know he didn't deal withi non-coverage but rather with poor coverage).

Howard S.
Taylorsville, UT

"It's the great moral imperative behind the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"): People should not be denied health care because they can't afford insurance."

Sorry, the premise that Obamacare is driven by a moral imperative of universal health care is just false.

The true driving premise of Obamacare is the creation of political power by establishing government the sole provider and dispenser of health care services.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

@ patriot

So it's obama's fault that alpine school district is unbelievably cheap and doesn't want to provide good pay and benefits? Here's some advice for your friend: free market. Find another job or become better qualified. It's not obama's fault that alpine school district isn't offering your friend what they feel they're worth.

Nate
Pleasant Grove, UT

Obamacare not about improving health. Nor is it about reducing the cost of health care. It is about bringing health care under control of the central state. A step toward the Marxist utopia.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Can businesses ever be held accountable?

Why are we blaming Obama for businesses who desire to be cheap rather than provide for their employees? Everyone needs health care and benefits. Everyone. Otherwise, we all will pay for it via higher hospital bills, insurance, bankruptcies, etc. why aren't businesses providing benefits? I see Wall Street hit a new record high the other day. I see CEO pay has hit record highs. Are repubs still going to use the lame excuse that these folks just don't have enough money yet to provide us new jobs and benefits because they aren't making enough money? To me, this is an indictment on the complete and utter failure of trickle-down economics than anything else.

Why are we blaming Obama for businesses being greedy, cheap, and essentially blackmailing the American people? Can we ever call it the way it is? BAD BUSINESS?

Why don't conservatives ever hold business accountable? Health care, immigration, bloated defense budget, etc. do greedy businesses never have any impact on these issues? Why aren't they being held accountable?

To conservatives, it's almost as if business was crucified and died to pay for our sins

Lightbearer
Brigham City, UT

One can often read on these message boards that "all life is sacred," which usually means that "all life is sacred till it's out of the womb," or that "all life is sacred till we're presented with the bill."

If there is a right to life, there is also a right to the things necessary for maintaining life - food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare - otherwise this "right" is nothing but words on paper.

From the article: "Universal health insurance is a legitimate goal, but 2009 — in the midst of a major economic crisis — was the wrong time to pursue it."

I suspect that there will always be some kind of crisis which will always make it the "wrong time." So if not now, when?

J Thompson
SPRINGVILLE, UT

Look at how many people think that health insurance is some kind of "gift" that a businessman is required to "give" his employees. That is a lie spread by Presidents since FDR.

A businessman pays wages for services rendered. Those wages may be "take home pay", but most likely, they include Social Security taxes withheld and Social Security taxes paid in lieu of wages. They probably include Federal Withholding and State Withholding collected by the employer and forwarded to government so that the employee doesn't have to do that himself. They might include vacation days and sick days that are paid in lieu of wages. They might also include health insurance that the businessman withholds in lieu of wages.

Health insurance is not a "gift" from the business. It is a benefit paid in lieu of wages. FDR made that necessary when he froze wages.

If a business provides health insurance, they provide it in lieu of wages.

Stop complaining because SOME businesses make it unnecessary for you to obtain your own policy. You pay for health insurance either way.

wrz
Pheonix, AZ

"People should not be denied health care because they can't afford insurance."

Sounds good as far as it goes. But, under Obamacare the elderly will be denied certain health care even if they have insurance, such as a bad hip or knee replacement. Obama told us early on how it works for the elderly... 'just go home and take a pain pill.' And Sarah Palin had it right when she identified the 'death panel' concept.

Let's face it, there's not enough money in the entire world for all to receive the health care they need/deserve. Someone has to go without... and from the sounds of things it will be the elderly.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

Whether you know it or not, Mike Richards, your prescription for health care - pure market - assumes the absence of market power. Market power is the ability of a market participant to force a price, or partially force a price, to suit themselves. As a humble consumer I have no market power, but HMO's (for example) do. You guys are always assuming perfectly competitive markets - they are mighty rare.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

@wrz "Someone has to go without... and from the sounds of things it will be the elderly." If you want the return of a socialist party in the United States I can't think of a better way to do it. Game on!

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