of no fixed subtitle
April 20, 2007
Righteous blog post about the sorry state of health insurance in the U.S.
"They're in business to take your money then deny your claims."
15 years ago
This is sickening. Health care in America is a travesty, and I especially hate what the author calls "junk insurance". We received our renewal packet from Blue Cross at work this month, and it would be funny if it weren't so horrendous. The premiums for plans we currently have, not great by anyone's terms, have gone up an unbelievable amount. So they're trying to sell us these other plans, calling them cost-effective alternatives, with astonishingly bad coverage, putting exotic names on them so we'll think we're getting something special. Also,
of California allowed to drop coverage for more than 8,000. I have a friend who has a baby that NEEDS medical care. They're among those to be dropped. Thank God an employment situation is going to save them, with literally no time to spare (insurance ends May 31, new insurance begins June 01)
I don't have health insurance anymore. I'm definitely open to the medical tourism thing. The costs in the US are ridiculous.
Hey, he, maybe we could get together a MoFi bus tour to Mexico!
Much as I'd like to say that the way the American system is set up to promote research and high quality care and whatnot, I have to admit that it's plenty fucked up. Extravagant costs and pitiful insurance coverage just butchered it up, and show no signs of stopping. Our HC went up 28% last year. While it friggin pains me to say it
it may be that health care needs to be nationalized ow ow ow my business bone is going to be sore in the morning
I applaud this news because a collapse is going to be what it takes to destroy this system and start over. The current system is not sustainable, and this kind of negative goodwill will only contribute to a continuing decline in their business. Insurance pools need a lot of people to stay profitable. If the system does not collapse, I see a big market emerging for black-market medicine. I want in on it.
a MoFi bus tour to Mexico
There's a funny Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comic about a bus tour to Mexico. Coincidentally, their motive was to obtain inexpensive "medication". :) With health costs rising so much faster than anything else in our economy, it shouldn't be too long before the collapse comes.
> it may be that health care needs to be nationalized ow ow ow my business bone is going to be sore in the morning I haven't read any of these studies in in several years, but 15 years ago and a decade ago, the Canadian health care system cost less per capita than the U.S. system.
As much as I absolutely agree that the U.S. needs major health care reform, as a sufferer of several chronic diseases (one of which would be fatal if left untreated for any length of time) I hope it doesn't come in the form of a total collapse. Yes, people are suffering and dying under the currect system. But plenty more would suffer and die in the interregnum between a total collapse and a renaissance. My insurance is crappy and I (and everyone else) deserve better, but right now I'm a lot better off with it than without it. And I'm one of the lucky ones. My fist act as the person who makes all the decisions would be to move toward universal coverage for children (basic dental included). There's a crazy quilt of programs out there for low-income kids whose parents qualify, but it needs to be across the board. Maybe then they'd grow up into healthier adults to begin with.
*hands TUM banana*
Well at least in Illinois
there's a new program
that hopefully will get children decent health care. Governor Rod Blagojevich is trying to extend the same kind of program to
everyone in the state.
I use to work for United Heath Group. I quite a month ago, after the second time I had to tell a young mother that she was still responsible for the deductible even though the baby did not make it. I saw so much crap there that I was planning on writing a book titled "Life in a Call Center" and sending it to Hillery Clinton's campaign. I dislike all politicians but I think maybe she could bring the focus back to health care and make public some of the tragedies that are happening daily because of greed.
J801496: Write your book. PLEASE! Something needs to be done before our health care system implodes.
Look, a universal single payer health system is a left-wing idea. It needs a left-wing government to conceive and implement it. Do you see many left-wing politicians in high office? I don't. The lackluster phonies running for president certainly are all in the pockets of big pharma. Yes, even Clinton. I seriously don't see anything improving this generation.
Fuyugare, There were 16-17 pages of a book that was credited for changing the food industry. That book was called the "Jungle" It doesn't take left wing all it takes is for people to know what's in their food. Or, in the health care industry, what is really happening. I propose a test. If you ever need any NON-emergency medical work. First find some hospital/doctor that you are going to go to and get the information like what is needed/testing that will be done. Then call another hospital/doctor and ask for the same things but tell them you do NOT have any insurance. I would like to know what people's experiences are. Also, ask for the cost. See if anyone is even willing to give the prices out. I bet no. Everything is done and determined without the patients knowledge. Even question the tests that are being done, see if anyone is willing to explain those in enough detail that you could ask another expert what it is for. Again I bet no.
Minda25, check into Healthnet PPO. We got tired of Blue Cross's painful shenannigans. We had a high deductible catastrophic insurance plan for two nonsmoking monkeys, and each renewal fed our anger and indignation at BC/BS.
J801496: Write your book. PLEASE!
I second that. Muckraking is a vital force in anything that calls itself a democracy, and there's far too little of it these days. And I second your choice of Mrs. Clinton - she's got as many shortcomings as any politician, but she and her staff have been very responsive to our education outreach program and a lot of other programs for youth in New York. She doesn't always get results, but as far as I can see it's not for lack of trying.
I keep waiting for this thread to devolve into a "why can't we have the same health care plan as Canada?" so that I and others from the Great White North can chime in about flaws in the Canuck system. But it hasn't, so we can't.
So, I just happened to be wondering...are there any notable flaws in the system in countries outside the U.S. that have more nationalized health care?
I bought the most expensive, and supposedly "best", insurance my job offered since I was pregnant and mr. meredithea is a type I diabetic. I pay hundreds a month for the family for a plan that didn't cover any of the medications I was on (while I was pregnant I had terrible reflux and the doctor said there was only one heartburn medicine I was allowed to take. The insurance bounced the claim and suggested an OTC medicine that has been proved to cause birth defects... even after the doctor's office called to point this out. I ended up living on rolaids and still hurting.). They also claimed to pay 100% of prenatal, birth, and well-baby visits, but I'm getting bills for hundreds of dollars. On my explanation of benefits (EOB) from the hospital, it said my (relatively normal, though it had to be induced) delivery and recovery cost 60K. That's just a bit less than my parents paid for their house in 1987.
Ezra Klein on health care
is a good place to start. For instance
Some more data
Health insurance costs vs fraction of total insured
(1% of patients account for roughly 25% of costs)
Mereditha: I hope you never have sickness or trouble to need that crappy insurance again. Actually, I'm wishing health and hardiness on all Monkeys. So eat your apple a day, and have a bananananana! (easy on that cockpunch--don't want libber failure)
I have to say, (serious knocking on wood), that I have had a lot of medical crap the last few years, and except for a reflux-medication runaround like Meridithia's (didn't have reflux anyway, tried to tell the doctors, turned out I didn't need it), my insurance has covered the lot. I feel guilty every time I have something done that I know is expensive, though. I feel like I'm either driving insurance costs up, or keeping more people from being adequately covered.
The Plot Against Medicare
meredithea, fight fight fight those bills. My friends I mentioned upthread told me they get bills like those all the time, and they always fight them if they're supposed to be covered. They say that the insurance company will try to get money out of them, even if what they're billing is covered. Also, does the state you're in have any kind of ethics board or something like it? Maybe a kind of ombudsman? They might be able to offer substantial help.
My doctor threatened to sue my insurance company when they didn't want to pay for my insulin pump. It worked.
Mrs. SMT was just telling me the other day about how things work in Indonesia. Patients (at hospitals anyways) are required to pay a cash deposit before they will be seen by medical staff. I was told several stories about how patients were turned away and basically left to die on the street because their relatives didn't show up to front the money. Yikes. Sometimes I feel that this is the direction US healthcare is moving towards. I too can vouch for fighting the bills. It took me no less than one year and two months for Mrs. SMT's hospital bill to be paid (for the birth of our first child). The countless phone calls I made between the insurance company and the hospital left me feeling like a dirty crumpled ping pong ball, but in the end the insurance company finally paid (as they should have the previous year). There was no way I was going to pay thousands for a stay that was "pre-approved" through the insurance company and fell within all of their guidelines. As it turned out, I think the only reason it was finally "ironed" out was because I lucked out and got a person with an ounce of compassion on the phone (insurance side).
Controversial Michael Moore Flick "Sicko" Will Compare U.S. Health Care with Cuba's
My mom does the insurance for a small doctor's office, so she can help me fight the charges, but they're already threatening to turn me over to collections (a few months ago they threatened to do the same in the first bill I received... for 16 dollars. These guys aren't kidding.)
I've always thought that the free market approach to health care that the US seems to have is interesting. If want a new TV, but it is too expensive, I don't buy it, that's the free market at work. If I want a new house, but it is too expensive, I don't buy it, that too, is the free market at work. If I want life saving surgery but it is too expensive I, um... Basically health is the one field that springs to mind that a provider can charge any price they want. A particularly nice example of this is patented medicines, as that removes any minor price competition that might happen for something like surgery. "Here, if you don't take this pill you will die, and we can charge you anything at all we want for it regardless of our actual costs of production and development."
it may be that health care needs to be nationalized ow... Why not nationalise the insurance industry instead?
First Reaction: Michael Moore’s Sicko is “brilliant and uplifting”
US government trying to seize new Michael Moore film, says producer
According to Weinstein, the US Treasury's moves meant "we had to fly the movie to another country"- he would not say to where. "Let the secret service find that out - though this is the same country that thought there were weapons of mass destruction, so they'll never find it."
, via da
H Dawgy Dawg
Why not nationalise the insurance industry
Because then someone might call you a pinko, which is far worse than having some 50 million people go without health insurance. And it's "nationalize," with a "z". Silly foreigner!
Laughing at Nicholas Kristof
Indeed. A friend of mine (who lives in NY) has started her own business recently, so naturally she can't afford health insurance yet. She and I have the same medical condition, but are handling it very differently. Whereas I have the option of doing everything my doctor says is necessary without batting an eye, she has to find alternate methods, i.e. radically changing her diet and taking herbal remedies, with questionable results. The stress of not being able to afford proper health care just compounds the problem.
Sicko via Google Video
Apparently okay with Michael Moore?
Dang- I only saw the first half last night. What I saw was well worth the price of admission.
I think it's okay with Michael Moore, but not with the studio, apparently.
Crap. I let the entire movie download last night. I had to re-boot this morning into an older system (don't ask), and hesitated for a moment:
Hmmm, Sicko is completely downloaded. If I reboot now, I'm going to lose it. Well, I can just download it again tonight...
I would pay the price for admission. But it will not happen anytime soon. I think the last movie I watched in a theater was 2004. *awaits the call of diaper duty*
Bush to Uninsured Kids: Drop Dead
Google to HMOs: pay us and we'll defuse "Sicko"
More on Google vs Sicko
"This is the kind of movie that can change the world." Yes, if your definition of "world" is "USA". Most of the rest of us are already living in socialist utopias, natch.
Yeah, that whole "Do no evil" thing is seeming more and more of a parody every day.
"...advertising is a very democratic and effective way to participate in a public dialogue."
Absolutely. As long as "democratic" means "whoever has the most money wins".
Too easy to think that way when you've not been a have-not.
I went to fill a couple of prescriptions on my lunch break just now and watched an older guy in some kind of workman's uniform peel off $500 in cash to pay for a very small bag that couldn't have held more than two pill bottles. I'd guess from what he was wearing, and the neighborhood where my drugstore is located, that that's probably at least a third of his monthly income. Depressed the hell out of me. Insurance companies suck, but they're better than the alternative.
Universal Healthcare: the Jihadists' Secret Weapon
Couldn't even watch that to the end. Fuckwits.
Fox News is the end of satire. There's no point anymore.
SiCKO has Blue Cross Scrambling…
I can't even find the words.
"How 'Bout the USA?" Romney Is Asked In Emotional Exchange on Health Care
U.S. Presidential Candidates' Health Care Plans: Scientific and Medical Research Proposals
In order to successfully write a prescription to improve health of people in the United States and worldwide, it is imperative that the next President make scientific and medical research a top priority.
In order to successfully write a prescription to improve health of people in the United States
, it is imperative that the next President make
affordable insurance available to each and every American, but most especially, to those who have no safety net whatsoever.
There, fixed that for you, Sue. And before you start, yes, I do agree that there should be funding for research. But fat lot of good it does if we have the ability to cure all these diseases, but 4/5 of Americans can't even get basic health and dental care. My big grouch is lack of basic preventative or wellness-care. That would stop the drain of millions of dollars playing "catch-up." And yes, I do believe the federal government ban the use of high fructose corn syrup and dyes. Let's make sure we can fasten our seat belts over our gut.
GramMa for President!
HFCS is an acquired taste, as I was surprised to find when I was stateside a month or so ago. For the last year and half I have been carefully avoiding HFCS (easy enough to do in Europe, where it's not in everything), and anything made with it now just tastes fake to me. I suspect it will be years before I am finally rid of HFCS, GM crap, pesticides, aspartame and gob knows what else you can find in merkin food.
HFCS = ?
High fructose corn syrup.
Yeah, it's tough to find prepared foods in a U.S. supermarket without it. It's just so ridiculously cheap to make, especially with the corn subsidy, that it's very, very profitable. I may be politically and economically naive, but I think I'd like to see the sugar trade with Cuba reinstated and a healthy portion of the corn subsidy allocated for crops being made into biofuels and bioplastics. I've started using agave nectar as a sweetener. It's deliciouis, and it has a lower glycemic index than sugar so you don;t get those blood glucose peaks and valleys.
Being unaware of the facts behind this controversy, I did a small amount of research into HFCS (I'm probably consuming the stuff, so I'd like to know what's what). Wikipedia
(yeah, I know, but show me another unbiased source)
seems to indicate that HFCS and sucrose (cane sugar) are almost identical, both chemically and physiologically. Can someone point me to a study that shows otherwise?
Some googled links:
Dangers of HFCS
The obligatory big-red-fonted alarmist page proclaiming that
HFCS will murder your children, rape your dog, and drive your uncle into bankruptcy
Fellow who thinks
all the noise about HFCS has a low signal content
Caveat lector, as always.
From what I've been able to dig up, HFCS seems to be corn syrup (glucose) that has been processed into fructose, and then blended back with glucose to approximately a 50/50 mix. Sucrose (cane sugar), on the other hand, is a single molecule comprised of a fructose molecule loosely bonded to a glucose molecule. (and so also a 50/50 mix). Because of tarrifs (and Cuban embargo?), sucrose is expensive in the US, so HFCS is used instead. Any studies I've been able to dig up show that the low price of HFCS is responsible for the growth of obesity, not the substance itself. Again, any contradictory studies that don't have giant red text are welcome. I'd like to know if I should be avoiding this stuff.
HFCS, GM crap, pesticides, aspartame and gob knows what else you can find in merkin food.
Yeah, let's talk health when you can find just plain food without all the additives. HFCS isn't evil, it's adding it to EVERYTHING that's the problem. I have no objection to sugar in cake, ice cream or candy, but once again, companies take the cheapest way. BUT, it's not just in sweets, it's in EVERYTHING. Don't kid yourself, they add HFCS because they know it becomes a craving, just like salt. Our kids are HFCS junkies. Yes, it's cheap for companies and it feeds our cravings. Win-win for FoodCorp!
Bush to Kids: Forget About More Public Health Care
So much for states' rights.
A Socialist Plot
Go Krugman! It's your birthday! Go Krugman!
If White House press secretary Tony Snow won't save for retirement, why should you?
Healthy San Francisco
is the first effort by a locality to guarantee care to all of its uninsured, and it represents the latest attempt by state and local governments to patch a inadequate federal system.
Biting response to John Stossel 20/20 piece painting the U.S. health care system as all sweetness and light.
Cost of Insuring Four Million Kids Equals Two Months of War in Iraq
Makes you sick, doesn't it homie??
From HW's linkie:
Why do we pay far more for our health system than any other country, but have some of the lowest life expectancies and highest infant mortality rates in the Western world?
This is it. Can't get around it. Can't argue with the facts. WHY? How come this is never addressed when the health care issue comes up? Something's putrid with our system.
Why do we pay far more for our health system than any other country, but have some of the lowest life expectancies and highest infant mortality rates in the Western world?
Because the stated goal of the health system isn't to save lives or increase life expectancies. It's to make a profit for the shareholders. Only public organizations can have a public interest.
No! You cynic!
Right Wing Launches Baseless Smear Campaign Against 12 Year Old Recipient Of SCHIP
What Is Wrong With You?!?
Breaking: House conservatives sustain Bush’s SCHIP veto.
Looks like even if all the non-voters had chimed in on the Yea side, it still wouldn't have passed. Arses.
I'd like to get all radical democrat on their asses.
Huckabee: No Health Care for Dirty Hippies
Hmmm... I wonder, could this "prevention" of which he speaks possibly be carried out by, I don't know, something like increasing the availability and affordability of regular health care to more children?
He's going to milk that "I used to be fat, but now I'm not" thing as far as he can. Believe me, that's half of what he did as governor.
An attempt at a comprehensive list of Paul Krugman's articles on
Democratic proposals for health care
Blue Shield, scum suckers
Rudy's bogus healthcare stats
Lawsuit claims Health Net gave bonuses for policy rescissions
Free Markets, Health Care, and Innovation
Bush Vetoes NIH Budget And Open Access Bill
It’s Not Just the Uninsured
The catch in GOP contenders' health plans: As cancer survivors, 3 key candidates probably couldn't get insurance under current proposals
Bush Vetoes Kids Health Insurance Bill
Conservative Christmas hypocrisy
Big Table Fantasies
Every American Deserves CheneyCare
Comment #7 on that page has got it exactly right. Anybody who went to an Ivy League school or is a corporate executive or board member can corroborate.
As It Guts Medicare And Medicaid, White House Claims U.S. Has ‘The Best Health Care In The World’
Mythbusting Canadian Health Care
Clinton's and Obama's proposals are nearly identical. So which candidate offers the better medicine for America's health coverage ills?
Wal-Mart Prevails in Case to Recover Health Costs
Voodoo Health Economics
Patients in U.S. foot more of the bill for vital drugs
Elizabeth Edwards On The Inequitable Individual Market
MS Patient Falls Into American Insurance Gap
Average ER waiting time nears 1 hour, CDC says
Can It Happen Here?
Saving Money With Universal Healthcare
You would think it would be obvious, wouldn't you?
There's not a damn thing that's obvious and sensible that this administration can figure out.
Barack Obama's health care plan coddles the corporations that profit from the misery and illnesses of tens of millions of Americans.
McCain’s Radical Agenda
Iowa newspaper editorial board to McCain: Haven’t you lived your entire adult life with taxpayer-funded health care?
Health Care Destruction
So you've got insurance - good luck finding a primary care physician.
Interesting link. Thanks for that, TUM.
Millions await Obama's action on health insurance
The trouble with Sanjay Gupta
BBC Panorama: Health Care in America
Cancer Patients Die While “New Democrats” Help Bankers Get Billions
Insurer handed out bonuses, planned huge rate increase
California Approves Anthem Blue Cross Rate Hike
*throws hands in air* Fuckers.
Big health insurers to stop selling new child-only policies
No pre-existing conditions? I thought it was illegal to discriminate like that. I thought Obama nixed that, even. What kind of a God do these health insurance companies worship? MOLOCK? Throw the babies down into the fiery stomach, they said... Not that I have anything against ancient Carthage, but Molock? Really?
Wall Street has the bull; insurance companies have the Golden Calf to worship.
An Eye-Opening Adventure in Socialized Medicine
Partners: Will Clarence and Virginia Thomas succeed in killing Obama’s health-care plan?
Clarence Thomas is such a butt. He's got his, screw anyone else.
U.S. healthcare is too costly for Kevin Steinman, so he's moving to Norway
In other (car) insurance news:
Comedian Calls Out Progressive Insurance for Defending His Sister’s Killer; Progressive Responds in Heartless Robot Fashion
Insurance Company Fined Over $1 Million for Covering Missourians’ Abortions and Contraceptives
"Leave it to anti-choice politicians to make the impossible happen: a story in which a gargantuan insurance company comes off as the good guy..."
Reason #1562 why Employer-Provided Health Insurance is the Worst System EVER: Giving the Employer the POWER (not the right) to have its "moral judgment" override that of the patient/doctor/even-the-insurance-company.
The Uninsured Die at Home
The Health Insurance Shell Game