Dan Liljenquist: Medicaid expansion would lead to takeover of insurance market

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  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Oct. 4, 2013 1:25 p.m.

    Oooh! More creeping socialism. Must start fear. Must scare em before it's too late. Let's not be concerned with those who can't afford medical care. Let em die and reduce the surplus population. God will take them to his bosom afterall.

    What is wrong with this picture? Who are these children coming down, coming down? Saturday's Warriors to save the country from a socialist fate worse than death? Or maybe they are just deadheads lusting to grind their heel in the face of the poor.

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 11:33 a.m.

    Insurance and health care assistance should be entirely separate things. People should pay out-of-pocket for normal health expenses, and we should have a robust system for trying to help those who cannot afford regular health expenses. Insurance is something quite different.

    Insurance is not a way to lower your costs, it is a way to lower your risk. You pay a premium that is higher than what you would expect to have to pay out of pocket on average in order to not have to worry as much about worst-case scenarios.

    Under Obamacare, insurers cover lots of "essential health benefits" but either double their previous premiums or reduce their catastrophic coverage. It's like if your car insurance paid for gas and oil changes but drastically reduced how much it would pay in an accident, or if your homeowner's insurance started covering carpet cleanings and gutter maintenance but stopped covering fires. This isn't insurance, it's a fraud that will inevitably raise the overall cost of health care.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 9:23 a.m.

    Private health insurance is in business to provide a service. ALL businesses provide a needed service... or they go out of business. Name a business that doesn't provide a service that people want. If people didn't want it... they wouldn't buy it (until now).

    That service needs to be valuable enough to the people that they are willing to pay for it (what's so evil about that)?

    You are not forced to do business with an insurance company. You can pay your own medical bills. Nobody FORCES you to buy insurance (until now).

    The service they provide is... they spread the risk so you don't have to worry so much. Because if you have a catastrophic illness... they have 100 customers who DON'T have a catastrophic illness at the same time so they can afford to pay your bill (even if it exceeds the premiums you have paid) calculating the probability of that happening into their rates so they don't pay more in benefits than they collect in premiums. 80% of premiums are required to go towards paying medical bills. The rest pays for office space, employee salaries, lawyers, computers, etc.

  • On the other hand Riverdale, MD
    Oct. 3, 2013 9:54 p.m.

    I wonder what redeeming virtues Dan Liljenquist sees in our country's current medical insurance system. We have the most expensive medical care in the world but not the best medical outcomes (not even close). Our insurance companies spend more on non-medical costs than insurance companies anywhere else in the world. Notwithstanding the existence of Medicare and Medicaid, a substantial portion of our population is uninsured and at risk of incurring expenses that could ruin them financially. Our insurance system is least hospitable to some of the most vulnerable among us, including the unemployed and those with pre-existing medical conditions. In short, we have a system that provides expensive, inefficient, inequitable care. What's to like about that?

    Fear-mongers reference long wait times in Canada as if that must be the inevitable outcome of healthcare reform here. The fact is that wait times for non-urgent care in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, and many other industrialized nations are typically shorter than wait times here in the US. We pride ourselves on the fact that the US is a world leader, but when it comes to healthcare, we're way behind. It's time to fix that.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 3, 2013 6:24 p.m.

    Private health insurance is driven by profits. They're not in the business to be kind to people or do good for society. They're in business to make money. Period.

    One of the biggest obstacles to profitability in health insurance is the "pre-existing condition". When somebody has already had cancer, guess what? They're more likely to develop cancer again. These patients / customers are a big-time threat to profitability in health insurance.

    Dan, if you want to preserve the private insurance market, you need to attack the parts of ACA which directly attack profitability, such as prohibiting health insurance companies from excluding coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

    I wish people would at least just be honest about the issue.

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    Oct. 3, 2013 5:29 p.m.

    "If we wish to preserve a private health care insurance market in Utah, we should not opt for full Medicaid expansion."

    Why should we want to preserve this? Health care should not be a profit driven market. We simply would be better off if those in the private heath care insurance market were left out of the loop. Let them find another gravy train to board. They are mostly the blame for the mess that we are in now.

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    Oct. 3, 2013 3:31 p.m.

    ". . . expanding Medicaid . . . would certainly accelerate the government takeover of health care."

  • Gandalf Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 3, 2013 3:26 p.m.

    "Dabakis manages all of this in a practiced, condescending, mocking tone that projects the schoolyard bully rather than a serious, thoughtful statesman."

    I received and read the same email Dan. It did not, to any degree, strike me the way you describe. Rather, it struck me as Sen. Dabakis pleading with the Governor to consider the effects on the lives of real human beings a decision to reject Medicaid Expansion would have.

    The comments I have restated above from you Mr. Liljenquist strike me as nothing less than an ad hominem argument.

  • HR Benefits Davis, UT
    Oct. 3, 2013 1:17 p.m.

    I read MR Liljenquist column last week and was not surprised to find he misrepresented the facts in his opinion piece on the ACA leading to a single payer system. I am equally as doubtful to the facts asserted in this opinion piece. As evidence that employers will no longer provide health insurance to their employees he sites Walgreens decision to use a PRIVATE health insurance exchange (NOT the one created under ACA). This is similar to employers outsourcing customer support. Walgreens is NOT forcing employees into the federally mandated exchange but simply using a private company who bundles insurances for businesses. MR Liljenquist is either ignorant of the facts or he intentionally misrepresented the fact. Either way I am certainly glad that he is no longer holding public office given he either does not do his due diligence or intentionally would like to mislead the public. It's time that the general public start educating themselves. Perhaps only then can we make rational decisions about who should be our elected representatives.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 3, 2013 1:09 p.m.

    Proper health care won't be a takeover of the insurance market. It should be the elimination of it. Health isn't an insurable commodity.

  • Anti Government Alpine, UT
    Oct. 3, 2013 1:05 p.m.

    @Ernest T Bass

    Perhaps you could quote chapter/verse stating our expensive healthcare system is a right?

    The UNaffordable care act is just that, unaffordable. All it does is mandate a bunch more coverage with almost nothing put in place to control costs.

    Do you have a secret Federal Reserve in your basement to print the money to pay for it?

    I was born and raised in Canada. Ridiculous high taxes and literally waiting lists to get on waiting lists to get surgeries. You don't need death panels when you have waiting lists like they have in Canada.

    My Parents still live there. In just February this year when I spoke to him he had cataracts that had quickly clouded his vision in both eyes. His Doctor told him they could get him into surgery. March 2014 (13 months) and if he didn't take that appointment right then on the phone it would be June 2014!!!

    My Dad would have been effectively blind in weeks. He was/is completely independent living at home. The fact he would be blind requiring massive lifestyle accommodations was irrelevant. His choice was pay privately or go blind.

    Welcome to socialized medicine/govt healthcare.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Oct. 3, 2013 1:00 p.m.

    This is exactly the reason for Medicade expansion. It's socialism in action. The Dear Leader wants a one payer system, which won't work.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 3, 2013 10:34 a.m.

    Let's consider what is wrong with health care pre-Obamacare. For a classical market delivery system the following criteria would have to be satisfied:

    1. Many sellers.
    2. Ease of entry into the health care delivery market.
    3. Buyers have necessary information.
    4. Transactions costs low.
    5. No market externalities.

    The health care market violates 1, 2, 3, and 4 (and maybe even 5).

    This is why the classical market solution which Dan so longs for can't be had. Sowe are going to have a hybrid system (private and government) sooner or later, probably a whole lot like the ACA.

    If you don't get such you will have to come to my side of the street and have outright socialized medicine. I'll be waiting.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 3, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    Why do conservatives honestly believe that healthcare is a privilege for only the most privileged??

    Oct. 3, 2013 8:22 a.m.

    This health care reform is just a step in the direction of every democrats dream of single payer government controlled health care system. It is simply a scam to get the insurance companies out of the way so that citizens have no choice and are subject to the dictates of government bureaucrats.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 3, 2013 12:13 a.m.

    "For the 130,000 plus Utahns without health care insurance, ..." Well, Dan, what about them? And what about those insured whose benefits are maxed and are dropped? And what about those who are denied coverage because of preexisting conditions? I challenge you to watch Moore's "Sicko" for background. Remember "Sicko" wasn't about those without insurance, it was about the horror stories of those with private insurance.

    The for-profit system is a dual edge sword. It encourages innovation, but it puts profits ahead of health in all arenas. We are feeling our way now. Capitalism is demonstrating how short sided and greedy it can be - you have been watching the meltdown since 2007 surely. If your tea party friends decide on a public default, the system you so love will dissolve, and fast. Then we will have to evolve new ways of doing things, extra market, even faster. Hold on to your hat!