There is no question that some patients have seen an improvement in healthcare affordability, but the vast majority of us have seen our monthly costs spike to record levels. One of the frequent complaints is, in order to have an affordable monthly premium, the deductible is inordinately high. The results in the entire cost of personal healthcare fall right back on the user! Thus they are insured, but they rarely derive any benefit. The NYTimes reported, “…for many consumers, the sticker shock is coming not on the front end, when they purchase the plans, but on the back end when they get sick: sky-high deductibles that are leaving some newly insured feeling nearly as vulnerable as they were before they had coverage.”
Thanks to Obamacare, it’s not unusual to see deductibles in the 10-15k range. A number of large companies across America have forced their employees into this high deductible plan because it’s all they can afford! To make matters worse, persons paying out of pocket because of this high deductible are often deprived of the discount price insurers have arranged with the pharmacy, thus adding insult to injury.We are spending 3 trillion dollars a year on healthcare and it threatens to bankrupt us by driving the nation further into debt. Three trillion dollars a year is more than the GDP of France! The Obama Administration has made a mess of healthcare with more bureaucracy, more regulations, higher premiums and fewer options. If more people are eligible for healthcare assistance, but they can’t afford the premium and get stuck with a tax penalty, how is that helping?
Gary Delgado, a healthcare researcher at UC Berkeley said, While the racial barriers are significant, the biggest barrier for enrollment for people of color was premium cost,” Once again the democrats wind up hurting the very people they said they would help.
A key component to the high cost of today’s healthcare has been the enormous rise in the cost of medications! Some drug companies have found it very profitable to monopolized the ownership of many formerly low cost drugs. For example doxycycline is a popular antibiotic and has been relatively low priced for years, but in the last 5 years it has gone up 6000%. Why? Because the entire supply doxycycline is being controlled by one company. Competition is restricted by our own FDA that has imposed rules against cheaper imports. The very same drug can be purchased in Canada for a fraction of the cost it sells for here, but technically its illegal for you to buy drugs from Canada for importation here.
In a recent editorial, the New Yorker writes, “There is ample evidence that drug prices have been pushed to astronomical heights for no reason other than the desire of drug makers to maximize profits. Prices in many cases far exceed what’s needed to cover the costs of research and clinical trials, and some companies have found ways to rake in profits even without shouldering the cost of drug development.
The two worst offenders are bottom feeders that simply buy companies they believe have underpriced their drugs and then quickly raise prices to astronomical levels.
In August, Turing Pharmaceuticals acquired the American marketing rights to a 62-year-old drug to treat a devastating parasitic infection and raised the cost of one pill to $750 from $13.50. That brought the cost of a course of treatment for some patients to hundreds of thousands of dollars. (Turing’s founder, Martin Shkreli, was indicted on Thursday on charges of securities fraud involving a hedge fund and another biotechnology firm he started.)
Valeant Pharmaceuticals greatly increased the prices of several drugs it acquired, including two used by hospitals to treat heart conditions. It also protected its high-priced dermatology drugs by urging doctors to send prescriptions to a mail-order pharmacy that would make sure no cheaper alternative was substituted.
Almost everything the Obama administration promised us about affordable healthcare has not come true. Our choices are fewer and arguably the quality of care has fallen too and doctors are asked to do more with less. It has long been said that any time you ask government to do it for you, it will cost you more and you will get less in return. Today’s healthcare proves that to be painfully true.
Jack when progressives in government attempt to control things they do all the wrong things. They add more bureaucracy, government people we must pay and give benefits and pensions. They restrict product availability through onerous, expensive regulations. They create monopolies and limit choices. All of these add up to higher costs and fewer affordable choices.
We don’t need more of this, which is what Hillary proposes. We need less of it. Less government involvement and smarter regulation (and trade policies?) will free the marketplace, reintroduce competition, and free-up consumer choices to bring costs down.
This is America! We can do so much better!
A recent article :
Aetna to cut back 70% on Obamacare plans in 2017
Aetna to cut Obamacare plans by 70% in 2017 The health insurer will only offer individual Affordable Care Act exchange plans in four states.
Aetna is sharply cutting its participation in Obamacare exchanges for 2017.
The health insurer said it will offer individual Affordable Care Act exchange plans in just four states, down from 15 this year, in an effort to reduce its losses.
“As a strong supporter of public exchanges as a means to meet the needs of the uninsured, we regret having to make this decision,” Chairman and CEO Marc Bertolini said in a statement.
The insurance giant says it will offer ACA exchange plans in Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia, slashing its Obamacare footprint by 70 percent next year.
It will offer ACA plans in just 242 counties nationally, down from nearly 780 this year.
Aetna’s announcement comes two weeks after the company booked $200 million in ACA-related pretax losses in its Q2 earnings report and nearly one month after the Department of Justice’s antitrust division sued to block the health insurer’s acquisition of rival Humana.
Humana has also announced it will sharply cut back from the exchanges. Its pullback, in the wake of UnitedHealth’s departure from all but a handful of exchanges, means that hundreds of thousands of Obamacare plan members will no longer have access to plans from the nation’s three major insurers in 2017.
Aetna has been one of the largest Obamacare players since the launch of the exchanges two years ago, offering plans in more than two dozen states.
The Obama administration’s chief executive of the federal marketplace attributed the insurer’s departure to the forces of competition in an evolving insurance market.
Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services note that as recently as April, Aetna’s Bertolini had expressed strong support for the exchanges, telling analysts that it would have cost the company more than a $1 billion to acquire the million new customers it had signed up on Obamacare exchanges.
Bertolini said the problem is that ACA plan members tend to incur high medical costs, while the federal risk adjustment program meant to offset losses on those members has not been adequate.
“More than 40 (health insurance) payers of various sizes have similarly chosen to stop selling plans in one or more rating areas in the individual public exchanges over the 2015 and 2016 plan years, collectively exiting hundreds of rating areas in more than 30 states..
But in some cases, competition will be greatly reduced. In Arizona, where Aetna and United are pulling out, the state’s Blue Cross Blue Shield provider is cutting back in some counties. If state officials can’t persuade any of the insurers to stay, some counties could be left with no exchange plan coverage next year, analysts say.
Tuesday morning update:
Hope voters will reward Demwits’ infection of Obumblecare on the country by their removal in November..
“Thanks to Obamacare, it’s not unusual to see deductibles in the 10-15k range.”
Wrong. $5K per year is the norm … which is still way too high. It discourages people from seeing to minor conditions until they become major ones, and more costly.
Which is why single payer is the only sensible course of action.
“There is ample evidence that drug prices have been pushed to astronomical heights for no reason other than the desire of drug makers to maximize profits.”
A single payer is in an excellent position to dictate reasonable rates, which is why single payer is the only sensible course of action.
“Aetna’s Bertolini had expressed strong support for the exchanges, telling analysts that it would have cost the company more than a $1 billion to acquire the million new customers it had signed up on Obamacare exchanges.”
You don’t believe ANYTHING Aetna tells you. Their days are numbered, and they know it. From now until said demise EVERYTHING they tell you is in a fervent effort to wrangle the best terms they can get from us, the single payer.
First off Libby, 5K can be the norm for a deductible and it can also be true that its not unusual to see deductibles in the 10-15k range. That was a quote came from an NPR program called the People’s Pharmacy. A very liberal program/website dedicated to finding you low cost medicines and alternative natural medicines. Thought you would like to know that.
If 5K is the norm, and it is, then 10-15K is unusual, and you have no business representing otherwise, disingenuously, to strengthen your argument.
And just to be clear, we will probably have no choice but to adopt the Belgian model for universal health care, wherein there are “insurance companies” but they are paid by the state, at negotiated state rates … which puts and end to the profiteering of outfits like Aetna, to the dismay of their shareholders, who have no choice but to suck it up.
In case you were wondering about the Aetna machinations re their proposed merger with Humana. HuffPo blew the lid off that today.
Call me a resentful member of the proletariat, but to see Aetna, the rich people’s carrier, implode would make me very happy. Do you know, I have worked at law firms where the staff got Blue Cross and the lawyers got Aetna. I mean, is that bald-assed, or what?
Poor spoiled baby brat. Blue Cross wasn’t good enough for you huh?
How about you start your own business legal business . Then you can decide and pay for top of the line healthcare for your file clerk, after all, she’s generating income for you in equal measure, right?
I don’t want to sound like the resident tin-foil hat wearer, Dewey, but, in this case, there really is a conspiracy going on.
Obamacare was never expect to succeed, by anyone; not even the supporters! It was created as a stepping stone to a single payer system. It was intended to be bad, so bad, that people would be more receptive to agreeing to single payer.
The Liberal Democrats are already testing the waters by making comments that the free market has failed in healthcare. Watch it happen. This talk will get louder and louder and at some point Hillary will be taking about replacing Obamacare with a single payer system.
People need to start using their heads and think like the insurance companies and health care providers. The real reason prices are rising is lack of competition. Lack of competition leads to lack of innovation. Downward pressure on prices is created by more more suppliers entering the market, not less. It makes innovation a requirement. Have you heard the phrase “Innovate or die” ? You innovate or you lose your market share and you lose money. But that is only the case if there are other companies willing to innovate and take your market share while you are sitting on your hands. But that isn’t the case because the government has minimized the number of players through regulations.
In the case of insurance companies they even regulate how much of a profit they can make. So what’s wrong with that you might ask. We don’t want them getting more than they deserve, do we. Well pay attention. If I can increase my profit margin I might look for ways to do things more efficiently. Why would I do that if increasing my profit margin might push me over the limit I’m allowed to make. For all my effort, the reward for all that work would be to give that money back to the premium payers because I can only collect premiums that are a fixed percentage over the services paid. So why go to all that work.
If there was downward pressure on prices due to competition in the market I would have to innovate to keep my profits from going down and to keep from losing market share. The reward for all of my hard work is survival. But the government has taken care of the competition; again through regulations. I can forget innovation! I can get sloppy! If my profits drop I just go to the government, show them my dwindling profits on my P&L report and request that they allow me to increase the premiums. How can they say no? I can document my expenses. It doesn’t matter that I’m not doing anything to decrease my expenses or to operate more efficiently. I don’t have to. Let them rise, I will just ask for an increase in premiums and make the same amount with no work at all.
The Liberal Progressives call this a failure in the free market. That’s because they have no clue what a free market is and how it works. That’s like setting my house on fire and saying the rising heat is due to a failure in the A/C. What they are claiming is a free market is not free at all. It has been regulated to fail. And, their solution is to pour gasoline on the fire by eliminating whatever competition still exists by instituting a single payer system. Well….. you can’t pass a regulation to innovate so get ready for a system that has nowhere to go but down and the only thing going up will be prices and taxes.
The Liberal Progressives did this with college tuition. College tuition was controlled by supply and demand. When the government started freely handing out college loans many people that wouldn’t have gone to college did so because there was all this money available. The increase in students created an artificial demand pushing college tuition up. The only winners to come out of this were college students that were smart enough to minimize the amount of loans they took and got a degree that lead to a high paying job so they could pay back the loans. The other people just racked up a huge debt before they even got started in life by taking large loans and getting Liberal Arts degrees. Isn’t it ironic how useless a Liberal Arts degree has turned out to be. It was appropriately named. The final joke in this tale is the fact that the Liberal Progressives now want to forgive all this debt which basically means the whole mess was just a way to funnel tax payer money into the Liberal Progressive colleges with absolutely no return except liberal teachers and teachers unions get richer.
The Liberals did this in the housing market. Barney Frank thought he was going to kill two birds with one stone. First, he would get people that couldn’t afford a house into a house even though it was a house they couldn’t afford. The plan was that all these people would be so grateful that they would vote Democrat forever. So he got the FNMA (Fannie mae) and the FHLMC (Freddie Mac) to require banks take the subprime loans or these two institutions would not buy up the other loans the banks were making. The banks had no choice. But the plan created so many new house buyers that it created the housing bubble and drove the prices up and up and up. Finally, when the people that bought the houses started to default the banks foreclosed creating a huge supply of houses on the market driving prices down. The people that bought at the start were OK but the people that got into in in the last half of the bubble found they owed more than the house was worth so they quite paying and more foreclosures meant more house on the market driving house prices further in the basement. It was a giant Ponzi scheme.
The derivative market was a result of this and a symptom of the collapse. The banks were just trying to manage their risk by mixing the bad loans with good loans to dilute the losses. This would have worked if the number of bad mortgages had not been so large. The number of defaults just kept rising and the derivatives became worthless.
Maybe Barney Frank had good intentions but what they did was STUPID and poorly executed. The people they tried to help lost everything, including their self respect. And, we almost lost our country.
Even the bail out was poorly executed. And, yes, before anyone says it, the bailout started under George W. Bush. But it came from a Democratic Congress.
Think about it. The banks are screaming because they hold loans that are not worth as much as the original loan. So the government steps in and bails THEM out. Again, think about it. They now had a lot of their losses covered so they now could foreclose without losing money. This had the affect of putting even more houses on the market and driving prices even lower. It was absolutely STUPID!
What about Mister Homeowner? He got kicked out of his home. Now consider if the bailout had been handled a little differently. What if the government gave the bank the bailout money, but instead of just giving them the money they gave them the money on behalf of the homeowners. What if the money was used to buy down the homeowners loans. The bank would no longer be in trouble because the amount owed on the loan was reasonable for the reduced value of the home. The home owner could keep his home at a lower payment. The home didn’t get dumped on the market so it didn’t fuel lower prices. We call that a “soft landing”. And, it wouldn’t have cost a dime more than it did.
Liberals are such bumbling fools. They create problems through their ignorance and rigid agendas. They have very little common sense or practicality. And they try to clean up their messes in such stupid ways. The house is on fire!!! Just put it out with gasoline. If they aren’t stupid the only conclusion is they are evil!
When it comes to money and economics I would go with a conservative any day. And now the Liberals want to run a single payer healthcare system. God help us all!
Excellent comment MCS!