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Thread: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    Language does have an impact on the perception of political issues. "Health Care" has become synonymous with "Health Insurance", for example, when they are two distinct concepts. Health care is the system that provides the services--doctors, hospitals, etc. "Health insurance" is one way of financing health care. Most of what is being discussed is a way of financing health care, not providing it. The cost of health care is not the method of financing, while the method of financing does affect the cost. This is similar to how financing affects the price of cars and housing--to name two expenditures often financed. Calling health insurance "health care" tends to obscure the economic issues, to the detriment of understanding both how the system works and what could be done to reform it.

  2. #37
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    Yes. The US is actually pretty good at providing health care. We've historically been very bad at figuring out how to pay for it, which makes it very expensive relative to the same thing in other countries. We've gotten a bit better at the latter since '09, but we may be about to go back to the bad old days.


    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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  3. #38
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    I would submit that the difference in cost is the result of most countries having control over the financing and negotiating prices. This is most obvious in the price of drugs, but also means US providers charge considerably more than most other countries. I would expect this to far exceed the impact of insurance company profits--which is the usual whipping boy. It's also the main reason why single-payer systems are more effective in controlling costs. A quick and easy first step would be negotiating drug prices within the current system. With all the dust and smoke, I haven't seen even this easy one surface.

  4. #39
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    I would submit that the difference in cost is the result of most countries having control over the financing and negotiating prices. This is most obvious in the price of drugs, but also means US providers charge considerably more than most other countries. I would expect this to far exceed the impact of insurance company profits--which is the usual whipping boy. It's also the main reason why single-payer systems are more effective in controlling costs. A quick and easy first step would be negotiating drug prices within the current system. With all the dust and smoke, I haven't seen even this easy one surface.
    Big Pharma quashes that one QUICK.

    The impact of insurance company profits is likely matched by the administrative costs.

    WAY too much paperwork.
    Rattling the teacups.

  5. #40
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    What??!! The government negotiate drug prices for the whole country??? But - but - THAT'S COMMUNISM!

    And I wish we did more of that, here in Canada.

  6. #41
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    Multiple factors, no doubt. Private insurance companies add around 20%. That's some of it; not all by any means. OTOH, there's also the cost to providers of dealing with a multiplicity of insurance companies, all with their own forms and procedures, something Canadians never have to worry about. I'm sure that's significant, but I don't know of any accurate numbers.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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  7. #42
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    Quote Originally Posted by robm View Post
    What??!! The government negotiate drug prices for the whole country??? But - but - THAT'S COMMUNISM!

    And I wish we did more of that, here in Canada.
    Canadian drug prices are a fraction of the U.S., which has supported a cottage industry filling prescriptions across the border. Last I checked, one of my prescriptions was a tenth the price in Windsor, which I can see from here.
    Last edited by Dan McCosh; 03-16-2017 at 01:25 PM.

  8. #43
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    And many of our drug prices are much higher than in New Zealand, which has about 1/10 of the population. Our provinces are about as big as NZ, but can't get as good a deal on the drugs because of federal laws that the set price. More socialism, please!

    Our drug costs are #2 in the world, next to the US. Some drugs are actually cheaper in the US. We have some protection from rapacious drug manufacturers jacking the price up (like the EpiPen scam), but not much.

    Given how low drug costs are elsewhere, I suspect North America is subsidizing the rest of the world. The drug companies can break even elsewhere, and make all their profit here.

  9. #44
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Multiple factors, no doubt. Private insurance companies add around 20%. That's some of it; not all by any means. OTOH, there's also the cost to providers of dealing with a multiplicity of insurance companies, all with their own forms and procedures, something Canadians never have to worry about. I'm sure that's significant, but I don't know of any accurate numbers.
    20% would be about $400 billion annually. Sounds a tad high.

  10. #45
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    there's also the cost to providers of dealing with a multiplicity of insurance companies, all with their own forms and procedures, something Canadians never have to worry about.
    Not quite true. Dental care is not provided by the government, it is all private. My extended medical benefit, provided through the company I work for, part paid by them, part by me, covers it to some extent. I used to let the dentist deal with it, and pay out of pocket the 10% that was my share. Now, I pay the dentist 100% and get them to submit the forms, so the insurer will credit me. The provider made the coverage so complex, putting in limits and changing percentages covered, I now call it the "Fizzbin" dental plan. (If it is Tuesday on Rigel, X-rays are free... Star Trek reference, if you are not familiar.) It is now to the point that half the time, even they can't figure it our correctly.

    I like my dentist better than the provider, so I let the provider deal with the mess they made.

  11. #46
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    20% would be about $400 billion annually. Sounds a tad high.
    Might be a bit high, but it's in the ballpark. Obamacare limits administrative costs of private insurance to 20%. Medicare is about 2% (source).
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

  12. #47
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Multiple factors, no doubt. Private insurance companies add around 20%. That's some of it; not all by any means. OTOH, there's also the cost to providers of dealing with a multiplicity of insurance companies, all with their own forms and procedures, something Canadians never have to worry about. I'm sure that's significant, but I don't know of any accurate numbers.
    There seems to be a reasonable difference of opinion on that. I am sure there are numbers that support your comment, but there are also numbers that refute it.

    My daughter gave birth last month. The list price (cash) was $60K. The insurer paid $35K. My daughter paid nothing. So having insurance resulted in a 40% discount. When I was in the hospital a few years ago, my insurer got a discount in that ballpark - hospital, doctors, follow up. I think that is common for a good part of the US. One good thing about having insurance is that the insurer sends out EOBs that state what the provider is asking for, what the insurer is paying, and what the insured is obligated to pay.

    And speaking of dentists. My dentist accepts Delta Dental. It is not so much an insurance as a scam. But by paying $35/year to Delta Dental, we get a large discount from the dentist. He refuses to give us any discount without Delta Dental - some sort of contract provision I suspect.


    The bookkeeping is really not that difficult. Most large businesses are able to deal with billing/paying both suppliers and customers. Insurers are just large customers for healthcare providers. I think we should have the government provide us with food and lodging. I will plead poverty if necessary. It must be difficult to keep track of all the billings involved in those areas.
    Life is complex.

  13. #48
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    TLT, back up a little and read what I wrote about dividing up risk pools and the market for for-profit insurance.

    The fact that every other wealthy country manages to provide healthcare for all their citizens at about half the cost of the US would indicate to a reasonable person that we're doing something very wrong.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

  14. #49
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Little Time View Post
    There seems to be a reasonable difference of opinion on that. I am sure there are numbers that support your comment, but there are also numbers that refute it.

    My daughter gave birth last month. The list price (cash) was $60K. The insurer paid $35K. My daughter paid nothing. So having insurance resulted in a 40% discount. When I was in the hospital a few years ago, my insurer got a discount in that ballpark - hospital, doctors, follow up. I think that is common for a good part of the US. One good thing about having insurance is that the insurer sends out EOBs that state what the provider is asking for, what the insurer is paying, and what the insured is obligated to pay.

    And speaking of dentists. My dentist accepts Delta Dental. It is not so much an insurance as a scam. But by paying $35/year to Delta Dental, we get a large discount from the dentist. He refuses to give us any discount without Delta Dental - some sort of contract provision I suspect.


    The bookkeeping is really not that difficult. Most large businesses are able to deal with billing/paying both suppliers and customers. Insurers are just large customers for healthcare providers. I think we should have the government provide us with food and lodging. I will plead poverty if necessary. It must be difficult to keep track of all the billings involved in those areas.
    Our daughter has two children, delightful little girls who are very welcome additions to our family. Cost to daughters family? Effectively zero. We dont pay for any insurance, its all covered by the taxpayer funded healthcare system. Poor families get the same healthcare within hospitals as wealthy people. Do we pay more taxes than we would in the USA? yes, but not very much more, and if we had to pay medical insurance the combined hole in our pockets would be much bigger than the tax that we pay.
    Oddly enough, most New Zealanders dont mind paying their taxes, its pretty painless, and in general people feel that they get reasonable value for money from them.

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  15. #50
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    FWIW, in 2013 New Zealand spent 9.3% of GDP, $3328 US per capita on health care. Spending actually declined a little (source).

    By comparison the US in 2015 spent $9990 per capita, 17.8% of GDP (source).

    Yes, that seems like pretty good value for money (despairing irony).
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 03-16-2017 at 05:15 PM.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

  16. #51
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    I wonder how New Zealand's rate of usage compares to the US? For instance, it is pretty well documented that in the US approximately 20% of the population accounts for 80% of healthcare spending with a big chunk of it taken up by the last 5% https://www.nihcm.org/pdf/DataBrief3%20Final.pdf

    Cost controls or cultural differences? I wonder how shifting to single payer effects how people use the system.
    Steve

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  17. #52
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    It is about the same here in Canada. Old people get sick, and get treated. Which is why the aging Baby Boomer demographic is scary, as we are so much of the population.

  18. #53
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    Let us look at another risk besides health. Would anyone obtain a loan to buy a house without insurance, or lend money to anyone to buy a house without insurance? Would you buy a car, unless you were very rich, and not insure it. Yes, deadbeats do have cars and have no insurance and I have met some, hard.

    Without insurance the economy would slow to a crawl. I am not selling insurance, and I don't like the insurance industry very much.

  19. #54
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    TLT, back up a little and read what I wrote about dividing up risk pools and the market for for-profit insurance.

    The fact that every other wealthy country manages to provide healthcare for all their citizens at about half the cost of the US would indicate to a reasonable person that we're doing something very wrong.
    You made a claim about for-profit insurance companies and I refuted it. There are no comments about risk pools in this thread, so I am unable to determine what you are trying to say.

    There are a lot of poor nations in the world. That would indicate to a reasonable person that they are doing something very wrong. That just sounds silly. I don't think your implication works.

    The poor in the US are better off than the poor in most of the rest of the world. That would indicate to a reasonable person that we are doing something very right. That just sounds silly also.

    Certainly the government could dictate prices for healthcare. If we cut health care expenses from 18% to 10% of GDP, the GDP numbers look like a recession. Then there is a change in tax revenues due to lower profits or wages. I am not very impressed by solutions people offer. They seem to be half baked. (It is seldom that large changes in corporations - restructuring or mergers, produce the savings they claim pre-change. I don't think the government handling health care will produce any significant savings.)
    Life is complex.

  20. #55
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    Default Re: Insurance is socialism and socialism is communism

    TLT, how about comparing the US to comparable counties ?
    Canada, the UK, Australia or NZ?
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