Tag Archives: Health insurance

If you’re planning a journey into the health insurance exchanges . . .

. . . you might benefit from visiting  Health Sherpa, given the Looking-Glass world of health insurance at present. Since I don’t need insurance, I didn’t go deeply in, but it looks like a very very useful tool.

They describe themselves thusly:

The Health Sherpa is a free guide that makes it easier to find and sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. We only use carefully vetted, publicly available data.

The Health Sherpa is not affiliated with any lobby, trade group or government agency and has no political agenda.

 

Why Medicare works and Obamacare might not

Picked this up at Andrew Sullivan’s site. More at the link.

Mike Konczal blames Obamacare’s technical problems on the law’s design. He contrasts Obamacare’s form of social insurance, which he labels “Category A,” with previous forms of social insurance, such as Medicare and Social Security, which he labels “Category B”

http://sullydish.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/social_insurance_category.png

Governor Voldemort has a better idea because he knows all about health care.

My Gov don’t like him none of that Muslim-Keynan Obamacare stuff. He’s no fan of Medicare/Medicaid either (even though his criminal abuse of both made him and his co-conspirators millions). Nevertheless, we the people chose him to run things here in Florida, trusting, I assume, that he’d gotten ethically born-again.

He knows – made it clear on Day One – that Obamacare is not for Florida and so has refused to institute any of the legally mandated reforms. He has a better idea. States, he says:

. . . can do a better job . . . we should have 50 laboratories to see which is the best approach.

Yeah, that’ll work.

Here’s a little summary of his earlier career as head of Columbia/HCA (that’s Health Corporation of America):

On March 19, 1997, investigators from the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Health and Human Services served search warrants at Columbia/HCA facilities in El Paso and on dozens of doctors with suspected ties to the company.[21] The Columbia/HCA board of directors pressured Scott to resign as Chairman and CEO following the inquiry.[22]He was paid $9.88 million in a settlement. He also left owning 10 million shares of stock worth over $350 million.[23][24][25] In 1999, Columbia/HCA changed its name back to HCA, Inc.

I always like that getting rewarded with $10million dollars for screwing up your company part. It’s the new American way you know. Also, job creators.

In the settlements,  Columbia/HCA pled guilty and agreed to a $600+ million fine in the largest fraud settlement in US history. They admitted systematically overcharging the government . . . They also admitted fraudulently billing Medicare and other health programs by inflating the seriousness of diagnoses and to giving doctors partnerships in company hospitals as a kickback for the doctors referring patients to HCA. They filed false cost reports, fraudulently billing Medicare . . .  In addition, they gave doctors “loans” never intending to be repaid, free rent, free office furniture, and free drugs from hospital pharmacies.

That ‘overcharging the government’ part? That’s us, that’s taxpayer money he stole.

In late 2002, HCA agreed to pay the U.S. government $631 million, plus interest, and pay $17.5 million to state Medicaid agencies, in addition to $250 million paid up to that point to resolve outstanding Medicare expense claims.[26]In all, civil law suits cost HCA more than $2 billion to settle, by far the largest fraud settlement in US history.[27]

 

Are the liberal justices arguing the case for the United States instead of the Solicitor General?

As they say “Now I’m  no lawyer”,  but it just sounded like Breyer in his questioning was actually providing some of the reasoned argument one would expect from the SG.

UPDATE: Sotomayor is trying – very hard – to get the SG to articulate his actual argument. The man seems to be arguing the need for health insurance, instead of presenting the US’s legal argument for the mandate. He’s doing an awful job on the mandate.

UPDATE 2: I also wish he’d stop saying “In my opinion” and “I don’t think it’s fair to say blah blah”.

Oh no, oh please no . . .

. . . please let it get better.

I’ve just begun listening to today’s oral arguments in the Supreme Court – up first is the US Solicitor General. And he is just terrible. He is so so terrible. I haven’t heard a single legal argument from him yet, it’s all defensive. He’s halting and gets a bit off track. Yikes.

I hope it gets better. If it doesn’t, the Justices are going to walk all over him and it’s going to hurt the case.

The bishops and the 70 million Catholics here – not on the same page, yet again.

From the Public Religion Research Institute, a poll shows majority support – even among Catholics – for the contraception inclusion in Obamacare. I’ve heard many liberals today, especially Catholic liberals, express discomfort about the requirement for religious organizations to offer their employees health care that includes the no co-pay provision for contraception that everyone else gets.

But they appear to not be among the majority of Catholics who strongly support the contraception inclusion. (Of course the vile Bill Donahue of “The Catholic League” is getting so red in the face one must worry about the man’s health, probably nothing, though, that a few guest rants on FOX News can’t cure.)

White evangelicals are the only group opposing with a majority.

RomneyCare: The Spin Begins

POSTED BY ORHAN

Anticipating the coming 2012 campaign, FactCheck.org takes a detailed look at the results of the 2006 Massachusetts health care law. Because of the similarities to the federal bill, much spin is predicted. FactCheck summarizes its findings:

  • The major components of the state and federal law are similar, but details vary. The federal law put a greater emphasis on cost-control measures, for instance. Massachusetts is just now tackling that.
  • The state law was successful on one big goal: A little more than 98 percent of state residents now have insurance.
  • Claims that the law is “bankrupting” the state are greatly exaggerated. Costs rose more quickly than expected in the first few years, but are now in line with what the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation had estimated.
  • Small-business owners are perhaps the least happy stakeholders. Cheaper health plans for them through the state exchange haven’t materialized, as they hoped.
  • Despite claims to the contrary, there’s no clear evidence that the law had an adverse effect on waiting times. In fact, 62 percent of physicians say it didn’t.
  • Public support has been high. One poll found that 68.5 percent of nonelderly adults supported the law in 2006; 67 percent still do.

The article is long but worth a read. Check the section “What Happened to Premiums?” (The short answer is that overall they went down — but, of course, it’s much more complicated than that.) Prepare to consume mass quantities of hot air in the lead-up to the election.

Joe Bageant, 1946-2011
Joe Bageant, author of the incomparable Deer Hunting with Jesus and the recently-released Rainbow Pie died yesterday following a four-month struggle with cancer. He was 64. Joe wrote about poverty and class in America with humor and love. His work will live on.

We have the best health care system in the world dammit

Cute.

Blue Shield of California seeks rate hikes of as much as 59% for individuals

“Another big California health insurer has stunned individual policyholders with huge rate increases — this time it’s Blue Shield of California seeking cumulative hikes of as much as 59% for tens of thousands of customers March 1. Blue Shield’s action comes less than a year after Anthem Blue Cross tried and failed to raise rates as much as 39% for about 700,000 California customers.

San Francisco-based Blue Shield said the increases were the result of fast-rising healthcare costs and other expenses resulting from new healthcare laws.

. . . Nearly 1 in 4 of the affected customers will see cumulative increases of more than 50% over five months. . . Michael Fraser, a Blue Shield policyholder from San Diego, learned recently that his monthly bill would climb 59%, to $431 from $271. “When I tell people, their jaws drop and their eyes bug out,” said Fraser “