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Comments about ‘Robert Bennett: Quality health care will bring down costs’

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Published: Monday, Nov. 18 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The same logic applies to the ACA requirement that preventive care be available at no cost to the patient. We spend a little more up front, but that will be repaid by dramatically lower costs in the future.

EW
HENRIETTA, NY

Yet fraud is rampant in Medicare in comparison to the private sector, who can't afford to lose their money unlike government who seems to think they can leach more out of taxpayers whenever they run out. That carelessness will drive costs back up while simultaneously driving quality of health care down if we allow government to stay involved in healthcare. It will drive the insurance companies out of business in a relatively short time period and at that point it will be either Obamacare (think Medicaid type quality) or cash only for those who can afford it. The government will have ruined another private industry.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"However, since it still hasn’t gone into effect — its official starting date is Jan. 1, 2014 — it’s a stretch to give it credit for events that preceded its inaugural."

True Mr Bennett. However, the same logic could be applied on the other side. Many have blamed rising costs on the ACA.

In your words "It's a stretch to give it "blame" for events that preceded its inaugural"

Diligent Dave
Logan, UT

Preventive care certainly increases quality of care, and should be encouraged.

The best overall solution for reducing healthcare costs per capita, interestingly, is to increase birth rates. Of course, a person of any age can have healthcare problems. But, the biggest driver of healthcare costs in this nation has been the overall aging of the population. Naturally, the longer you live, the more you age. But, also, the fewer babies that are born, the faster overall a population ages.

Aging is by itself the greatest increasing factor in disease and healthcare costs. Not too many young people need hips or knees replaced. Dementia is strongly associated with old age. And, while a number of factors could help with diabetes, aging is a major contributing factor to the great increase in Type 2 diabetes (adult on-set diabetes).

Most people in this nation are unaware that the U.S. and all nations (with one minor exception) in the world with advanced economies have had sub-replacement birth rates for some time. Economically AND healthwise, this one factor is destroying and will further destroy civilization worldwide.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

Well Diligent Dave higher birth rates will also destroy advanced economies unless those economies develop industries and jobs that will support those children in a life sustaining fashion.

What we have now with a finance centric economy that simply pumps out wealth to a few will be crushed with a higher birth rate so I hope you also propose societal investments in new industries and education.

techpubs
Sioux City, IA

@Roland Kayser:

For the last 10 years most Ins. Companies have covered preventive care at no cost to the insured. So I don't see that making a big difference anymore other than for the 10% that the ACA is supposed to give coverage to now.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

When the author says that the cost of health care have slowed down, I think he means that the increase in the cost of health care have slowed down.

In any case he is probably wrong. Private health care costs to the patient are not governed by costs but by the market. And the market is controlled by businessmen.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Making health insurance exempt from Interstate Commerce laws would allow free competition nation-wide. As it stands, only ObamaCare is "pseudo" nation-wide. When the government, instead of the customer, dictates what a policy must cover, many small companies cannot compete. The government "monopoly" crushes competition.

Getting government out of our personal welfare would be a giant step in the right direction. If people had the sense to buy major medical insurance ONLY, prices for customary services would fall because the patient would pay all of those costs out-of-pocket. Health-care providers would only be able to charge what the free-enterprise market would bear.

Nothing about Obama will reduce health care costs. Forcing those who are past child bearing years to buy maternity insurance. Forcing employers to pay for contraception is an affront to the 1st Amendment, i.e., government is dictating religious doctrine which is prohibited.

Only the power hungry and those who want someone else to pay for their personal welfare could ever believe in ObamaCare. Giving up liberty for government "mush" shows that some Americans have no backbone.

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

Independent of health care costs is the premiums individuals pay. There is no question with Obamacare premiums are going to continue to go way UP and that is the killer cost that makes Obamacare unworkable. Already individuals are seeing premium costs 2-3 times higher with the exchange and projections show that only getting worse. There may be some slow down in cost but Obamacare makes that irrelevant with what it does with premiums all due to wealth redistribution.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

You know my stand on it, Bob. Get insurance companies, with their shareholders, buildings, tv ads, and everything else out of the picture entirely. None of that goes to deliver health care, but it all costs money. Health care is a commodity like no other, and it costs a lot to deliver it. But it is also an honourable service we can and should provide one another as part of our responsibility to our society, and in doing so we can save money.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Florida is ground zero for Medicare fraud.

"ObamaCare allows the HHS to step away from its “pay and chase” model — where Medicare and Medicaid routinely paid every bill that comes in and only goes after someone if it’s blatantly obvious that something was wrong … like 991 dental procedures in one day.

HHS is beginning to embrace what private sector health insurers have done for years: pre-claims adjudication. As HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated, “Now, we’re analyzing patterns and trends and claims data, instead of just going claim by claim.."
(Forbes)

Diligent Dave
Logan, UT

pragmatistferlife said-- "Well Diligent Dave higher birth rates will also destroy advanced economies unless those economies develop industries and jobs that will support those children in a life sustaining fashion."

'pragmatist', which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Same question could be asked, Which comes first, a higher birth rate, or a better economy to support more children?

The situation we're in, you will never develop industries or jobs without a higher birth rate.

It was, in fact, the so-called 'baby boom' (1946 to 1964) that got and kept us out (for a number of decades) The Great Depression. Sure, WWII increased temporarily much higher employment. But the death and carnage and debt from WWII would have worsened the situation without increased demand.

The problem in the economy today is too little demand. This has come about because of sub-replacement birth rates. An increase in birth rates is a pre-requisite to a better economy. Birth rates alone won't do it. But, without them, nothing can do it!

MarkA
Logan, UT

I am continually appalled by the lack of dialogue regarding tort reform. This should be front and center of ANY serious discussion regarding health care costs.

Physicians feel obligated to order costly studies for the small (but legally costly) chance they could be missing something bigger. Best patient practice would dictate that such studies only be ordered after certain inclusion criteria are met or symptoms persist despite treatment for a presumed (more common) diagnosis. This is obviously a generalization of the problem, but the message is clear - so called "defensive medicine" has taken a stranglehold on our nation.

Why is this being ignored? Does the legal profession have too strong of a foothold in Washington to admit to it's own problems?

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

EW.

You cannot prove that the fraud in Medicare is any greater than the fraud in the private world. Have you ever heard of ID theft, lies in advertising, taxpayer scams, unnecessary health and dental recommendations?

Anybody.

The object of having insurance is to spread the cost over as large a number of people as possible so that each person pays an equitable costs that may be more than he needs but less than catastrophic.

Buying insurance is making a small bet that the event will happen costing a great deal of money. If the event doesn’t happen you are out the money of your bet. If the event does happen and the insurance agent pays off, you are still just out the money of your bet.

Based on the notion that government people are no more dishonest than ordinary people; since they are usually the same people, the best option would be single payer government insurance.

Shawnm750
West Jordan, UT

@JoeBlow - Actually, the way health insurance works is that health plans have to be filed with the state several months and sometimes years in advance. So...since Obamacare mandated certain changes when it was first passed, insurance carriers had to file changes (or build new plans) within EVERY state in which they operate. That type of work costs extra money in operation costs. They also have costs associated with informing insureds and clients about how plan changes affect them. I know firsthand about this as I worked for a health insurance company when Obamacre was passed, and it immediately increased workload, almost company-wide.

And it's not limited to just insurance companies. Healthcare providers are also looking at an increase in patients since previously uninsured people will be seeking care, so they have to be prepared to handle that influx and the increased operational costs associated with it.

So, you can't assert that the door swings both ways in relation to cost since the ACA placed requirements on insurers that had to be in place by its effective date, and they weren't turn-key changes. Health insurance was already a mess, the ACA just made it messier...

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

Well Dave I do agree that this economy is suffering from a lack of demand but I'd challenge the idea that sagging demand is because of too few people. Especially since the demand dropped off the cliff in '09.

Also I don't think there's any question which comes first industries/jobs. Sey's law of you build and they will come was disproved soundly in the '30's.

Lastly new industries will be highly efficient and will need far fewer workers. As a matter of fact most of the high tech world today is going begging for qualified applicants and that's with a 7+ unemployment rate. People's not the problem skills is the problem.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"Making health insurance exempt from Interstate Commerce laws would allow free competition nation-wide."

We constantly hear that. So, which states have the cheap insurance that the rest of us want?

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I think, if they had second thoughts about passing gas for the health care plan they wouldn't be sitting in the mess they are in.

David
Centerville, UT

Amen to Mike Richards. Excellent comment.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

"Not so fast. There are other reasons some folks are being told they'll have to change health plans next year. Many of them are having to switch plans not because of Obamacare but because their insurance companies want to move them into policies with higher profit margins.

Insurance companies have been sending similar notices to their customers for years. My son Alex -- and thousands of other customers of a Blue Cross plan in Pennsylvania -- got such a notice four years ago, months before Congress passed the health reform law.

Why? The insurer wanted to move those policyholders out of a plan with a reasonable $500 annual deductible and into one with a deductible ten times that amount. To accomplish that, Blue Cross notified its policyholders that their health plan would not be available in 2010. Their options were to switch to the high-deductible policy, which would still cost them a couple of dollars more each month, or to another plan with that reasonable $500 deductible. If they chose the latter, their monthly premiums would increase 65%....
And that strategy will continue until every last one of us is in a high-deductible plan."
(Wendell Potter former C

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