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Senior medical crisis looms large

Medicare Premiums to Rise 17 Percent.

Meanwhile, SS benefits will go up by less than 2.5% -- how does Bush expect them to survive? This'll sure help the "compassionate conservative" in chief in Florida and Arizona -- NOT! BTW, this is the highest rate increase in the 40-year history of the program.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!
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Had to make up for

In reply to: Senior medical crisis looms large

the payments/discounts being issued on those crappy assed Medicare prescription cards??????????

I can't for the life of me understand why they can't enjoin Medicare and Medicaid as ONE medical program. Medicaid pays for everything from meds to glasses to hearing aids to dentistry whereas Medicare pays NOTHING and yet we PAY for it. If we have to pay for it anyhow, why not give us the whole package the NON-paying people get?

TONI

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Medicaid vs Medicare

In reply to: Had to make up for

First a disclaimer, I have no personal experience with either, and my parents only with Midicare as I understand it.

But isn't there some or all of Medicaid that is regarded basically as a no cost loan? It seems there have been links here before about spouses that were worried about losing their home at a death when medicaid had been involved?

I've been told there is some required payback from the estate, possibly even from heirs past the value of the estate. The last sounds totally unlikely and unrealistic to me.

Medicaid is an aid program to eligible needy programs with each state having some say in what is eligible and what co-payment is required.

Medicaid does not provide medical assistance for all poor persons. Under the broadest provisions of the Federal statute, Medicaid does not provide health care services even for very poor persons unless they are in one of the groups designated below. Low income is only one test for Medicaid eligibility for those within these groups; their resources also are tested against threshold levels (as determined by each State within Federal guidelines)...............

For persons enrolled in both programs, any services that are covered by Medicare are paid for by the Medicare program before any payments are made by the Medicaid program, since Medicaid is always the "payer of last resort."..............


Here is one mention of recovery win dealing with medicaid in NC.

There is mentions determining if any assests have been transfered, how long they can go back, etc, basically 3 years it looks like.

And then it goes on to say recovery efforts must apply to Recovery efforts must apply to persons 55 and older (and permanently institutionalized adults under age 55) receiving Medicaid funded nursing home care ....

States may place liens on real property of Medicaid long-term care recipients not expected to return home (within certain parameters)......

? When a spouse or dependent child remains in the home after the beneficiary dies, states may seek judgments to collect Medicaid costs when the house is sold or from the estate once the spouse or dependent child dies.





Totally confusing, but it appears the state can attempt to recover benefits paid from the estate.


RogerNC

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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Re: Medicaid vs Medicare

In reply to: Medicaid vs Medicare

Hi, Roger.

You did an excellent job of summarizing the rules. Now my question -- what do those rules have to do with compassion or Christianity? Why does the "Christian right" consider the hallmark of "Christianity" to be sexual morality, while economic justice was the centerpiece of the "good news for the poor" that Christ preached?

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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(NT) (NT) What happened to separation of Church and State?

In reply to: Re: Medicaid vs Medicare

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Stopped em dead - with thier mouths agape!!!!!!!!!!!

In reply to: (NT) What happened to separation of Church and State?

Wish i'd said it.

Don Erickson
California Republican and very proud of it.

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Welcome Don ...

In reply to: Stopped em dead - with thier mouths agape!!!!!!!!!!!

... don't recall seeing your name here before at Speakeasy. It's election season ... join the fun Happy

If you've been a lurker you know Dave's penchant for crying "SOC&S" for most things but going right back to his "Christian State" rhetoric when promoting social welfare programs. Next time you can beat me to it Happy

Evie Happy

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Compassion is a 'universal good' ....

In reply to: (NT) What happened to separation of Church and State?

Since it is a 'universal good' and not linked to any particular religion it is OK to have the government endorse this specific religious tenet.

OTOH, respect for the unborn is unique to the religious right, and therefore government intervention constitutes an attempt to breach the wall of separation between church and state.

Or so some would have us believe.

I suppose that if we want strict separation between church and state we will also have to require clergy to participate in Social Security, remove the tax-exempt status of church property, stop allowing tax deductions for charitable contributions to religious groups, ban all forms of prayer from all public facilities and events, ban all religious symbolism from all public property and public events, repeal laws against murder and theft (since those laws are related to religious ethical teachings), ...

But it would be absurd to do all of that merely because of church-state issues, just as it is absurd to claim that defending the rights of the unborn is a violation of the separation of church and state.

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Re: What happened to separation of Church and State?

In reply to: (NT) What happened to separation of Church and State?

Hi, Evie.

The Christian Right doesn't believe in the separation of Church and State -- they believe America is a "Christian nation." If that's their beliefs, then their proposed policies ought to mirror that belief, but unless you're a Calvinist, they don't.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Your problem, Dave...

In reply to: Re: What happened to separation of Church and State?

Dave, I realize that wish to discredit Republicans in your political propaganda, but this one is not very good. You made your charge against what you label as "The Christian Right", but trying to imply that all, (or even the majority) of the Republicans are members of "The Christian Right", just won't fly. Even if you insist that you personally "know" what "The Christian Right" thinks or what they should believe.

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Re: What happened to separation of Church and State?

In reply to: Re: What happened to separation of Church and State?

Quite frankly, I don't care what you think the "Christian Right" believes Dave. I am most certainly NOT a member of that group as you define it. You are the one that wishes to have things both ways. You cannot exclude any religious thought behind policy in one arena and to support other policies on the basis of religious doctrine. You outright challenged Roger over the supposed unChristian rises in Medicare premiums. Pretty pathetic. Nobody wants to see the elderly starved or denied basic medical care. But how Christian is it to promote a policy where the rich can buy more privacy so long as your conscience is assuaged by some basic level of care provided as determined by some bureaucrat? Give me a break Sad

Evie Happy

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Re: Medicaid vs Medicare-- warning, long ramblings

In reply to: Re: Medicaid vs Medicare

You did an excellent job of summarizing the rules.

I hope that it meant more to some than me, that was just what I could find. And it was stressed over and over again that each state had variances.

And I was looking for the difference between Medicare and Medicaid since Toni mentioned it, and evidence for or against the hearsay I had been told about houses being taken when someone died.

Now my question -- what do those rules have to do with compassion or Christianity?

Hmm, what does any government aid have to do with those actually? Compassion can be made an argument as a social concience to help those that need it. Some obviously do, others may, others may want it but do they truly need it. Hard choices for anyone to make. For a beaucracy to make it's damn near impossible. It may be necessary to make an attempt to codify all this and more and offer the help, but it won't be easy.


...while economic justice was the centerpiece of the "good news for the poor" that Christ preached?


And while there are plenty of things in our system that may be wrong as far as economic justice goes, I don't quite see a discussion on how medical insurance or aid for the disadvantage exactly fall under economic justice.

That is of course unless you're advocating a total government care system as the only just way to handle it. That is still a debate about social responsibility, not justice perse, IMO.

Sorry, I think you're stretching a definition to fit something else. In fact, I think you're equating "Christian right" (and I suspect any hint of conservative) with wrong in your mind, and can see no justification for them to exist. The claim that the Christian right is fixated on sexual morality while ignoring other parts of the message of Christ is no more valid than the claim that liberals are determined to have society coddle us all while rejecting any society standards on any sexual behavior. And many take one view or the other.

And neither have anything to do with economic justice. If fact, aid and/or care for those that need it and deserve it have little if anything to do with economic justice, IMO. Economic justice is in terms of fair treatment in job opportunity, earnings right, fair compensation for effort expended, etc. Aid, governmental, private institution, or individualized is a matter of caring for others, not justice perse.

The idea of blind justice is for equality before the law.

Social conscience is not justice, hopefully it's something better. It may be informal in family, community, or formalized in a government agency, but it's hopefully something above justice itself.

I'm not opposed to governmental aid and even insurance necessarily. I've yet to hear anyone suggest any system whereas the government would be more efficient, given the government's normal tendacy to bloat, inefficient, expense padding, and other wasteful habits.

There are problems with health care, but I can't even get anyone proposing the government to do more to set a definative amount they'd like the government to cover. Or whether have the government do catastophic care cost or all basic care cost. Or even to just up and admit they'd like to see the government pay all care costs.

The only thing I recall in defining anything was your exclusion of expensive procedures like transplants, without a dollar amount, just the transplant only identified procedure.

Actually if you're going to argue government care, I'd lean to basic care, say up to $10K a year for everyone. Or at least up to $10K a year for 0 to 20 years old maybe.

But then the other issue arises. Shouldn't we respect the elder's contribution to life and society enough to take care of them?

At one time extended families did most of the work of helping with care, especially for the elders. With improved health to the point that lifespans are still increasing, the caretakers are getting to the point they need help from their descendants while they're still trying to help their parents.

And we're a nation of families scattered to the wind, most are too busy living frantic paced lives to care for anyone that needs close attendance. Too busy both from making a living view and from a personal view of what they want to do. Our entire society is on a frantic race to do more work, more play, more, more, and yet more. Yet we get little done.

See the problem I see is that we can't do both economically without doubling our taxes. If you're advocating that much, you might as well go whole hog and go for government run healthcare. Does good maybe for life support, I'm not sure about quality of life.

...the "good news for the poor" that Christ preached?

Hmmm, in my rather religious childhood, it seems we were taught more to look for rewards in heaven, not on earth. And the good news of Christ was atonement for the natural sinful state of mankind, not news of economic relief. The good news was we were offered a means of salvation through the cruxifiction.

Wasn't it Christ who said there will be poor always? Of course, it's our duty to help them and each other, but does that mean by taxes and government fief? is Caesar suppose to insure all the poor are taken care of now?

I'm not really involved with any religion now, being ambivent at best about most of them. However, I do acknowledge that most of our ethics and morals are some form of some religions rules and guidelines. Without any religion of any nature, it's doubtful man as a race would have a better side or the views of "the right thing to do" that many claim we can live by without any religion.

If enough people in this country want the government to take over all their individual responsibility in any particular field, it certainly will. Government is an organism, no less alive than any mammal or reptile. It feeds, it grows, it reproduces. And it takes all it can to do so and reproduces and spreads as much as it is allowed to by checks and balences (predators). If we let it, goverment will grow until it collapses under it's own weight. Unless it finds a social/economic/institutional version of becoming a whale by finding a method of forming sea/society model to support it at any size.

RogerNC

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com
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Why say 17%...

In reply to: Senior medical crisis looms large

Why say 17%, let's talk actual coin for clairity, 11.60 a month.

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Re: Why say 17%...

In reply to: Why say 17%...

Hi, J.

because the percentage increase can be compared to the inflation rate and the benefits increase, which are both more than 5x lower. The benefit increase varies with the individual, so there's no meaningful basis of comparison the way you want it. Perhaps that's why you want it that way?

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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No, Dave...

In reply to: Re: Why say 17%...

No, Dave, because I want to know what something will cost. I dare say many peole are like me. For instance, if the price of a gallon of milk goes up 25 cents, that is infinitely more informative to the consumer than it went up "x" percent.
Your only concern is to phrase it in the best way for your political uses. BTW, Dave, don't forget that I went disabled and therefore under Social Security and Medicare during the Clinton years. You keep waving about words like compassionate in your attempts to political smear the Republicans. What makes you say SS and Medicare were any more "compassionate" during the Clinton years? They weren't. BTW, as I mentioned before, I still think that SS should be required to periodically have an agent actually visit, see,and talk to disabled recipients who's checks go to a guardian.

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Re: Senior medical crisis looms large

In reply to: Senior medical crisis looms large

As a recipient and user of Medicare and a person on a pension this is going to make an impact. Still at $78.20 for insurance which would probaly cost four times as much from a pvt provider it is still a bargain. I should add that I am fortunate in that I get back those premiums as a perk from the Govt. job I retired from...every August get a nice check to cover the medicare premium. Of course it comes a year late so I wont get that $938.40 until 2006.

I might add for those less fortunate than I am this is a big bite out of their income. In essence it is a hidden tax which will not be counted as such..sigh

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Re: Senior medical crisis looms large

In reply to: Re: Senior medical crisis looms large

Hi, gearup.

>>I should add that I am fortunate in that I get back those premiums as a perk from the Govt. job I retired from.<<
How nice for you -- how sad for everyone else.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Can anyone provide the numbers here?

In reply to: Senior medical crisis looms large

All Medicare recipients pay a premium of <$100/month and there is a deductible of $100/year? Are there co-pays on top of that or is that deductible a cap on the co-pays?

My FIL has Medicare and I'm pretty sure my parents are now on or soon to be on Medicare. Both could well afford a higher premium and they are more the rule than the exception!

Seems we are still stuck in the morasse of grander and grander vote-buying programs to solve the problems of the few. After all, while I commend the President and Republicans for actually doing *something* about the prescription drug benefit so long promised by both sides, adding an all encompassing new entitlement that doesn't target the very small percent that really need it.

Evie Happy

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Re: Can anyone provide the numbers here?

In reply to: Can anyone provide the numbers here?

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the figures you quoted in your post, but I'm on Medicare and pay $50+ per month for my deduction from my SS checks, and the deductible charged per incident at the hospital (unless I go back within a 30 day period of time for the SAME symptoms/illness) is $850+. There used to a total deductible per YEAR instead of per INCIDENT of approximately $600 per year, but that's been gone for about four or five years now.

So once you know you have a deductible to pay to the hospital that wasn't covered, you also have a balance due of whatever else Medicare didn't pay since they never pay more than 80% of what is reasonable and customary.........FOR YOUR AREA, not necessarily a flat amount that would have been charged everywhere else.

For example.....bypass surgery up north cost my mother nearly $100,000 four years ago. MY bypass in North Caroline 8 years ago at Duke was less than HALF of that. Either way Medicare only paid 80% of the bill based on what is reasonable and customary for the area we had the surgery done in. My mother had co-pay supplemental and still owed $20,000 that the co-pay picked up. I still owed about $12,000 and have no co-pay.......and Duke wrote off the balance entirely and accepted in full what Medicare sent, and I never received a bill from them for the balance.

It seems to me that Medicare 'red-lines' frequently and I wonder how they get away with it.

TONI

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Re: Can anyone provide the numbers here?

In reply to: Re: Can anyone provide the numbers here?

Thanks for the info Toni!

I got my numbers from the article which dealt only with the Plan B benefits. Specifically:

Monthly payments for Part B of the government health care program ? doctor visits and most other non-hospital expenses ? will jump to $78.20 from $66.60.

The premiums are updated annually under a formula set by law. The federal government picks up about 75 percent of the cost of Part B benefits and beneficiaries pay the rest...

... In addition, the deductible for Part B services will rise $10 next year, to $110, another change mandated by the Medicare law.


I assumed that $110 was an annual deductible. The article says Plan B is doctor's visits and other non-hospital expenses. That sounds like a pretty darned high deductible per visit, I can't think of a private plan (at least among the various and several we get to choose from each year) that even comes close to that whether we are talking co-pay or annual deductible averaged out over a reasonable number of office visits.

For those that rely solely on SS income, it would seem far more fair to tie the Medicare premiums to that income in the form of a %. I also question why the government (read his children as taxpayers) is picking up 75% of the premiums for my FIL. If the Democrats really want to play the class warfare game, they ought to question the sanity of subsidizing a large chunk of the richest Americans. But if they did that they would lose a large chunk of voters.

We have to face the reality that the SS and Medicare taxes taken from our paychecks haven't been used soley to fund the current beneficiaries placing the surplus in the bank. We can all cry foul and point fingers all we want, that's just not what has happened. There is now and never was some money to put in a "lock box". We are enacting broad entitlements for the purpose of getting votes in advance of the baby boomers retiring that the next generation will be paying for with no hopes of the same possibly being available to them when their turn comes.

Witness Dave's comments regarding the modest increases currently on the table. Witness the handwringing over the mere suggestion that retirement age might be raised.

As to what Medicare pays, I have to do some searching because it's an eyeopening litany. I think it was Larry Elder on the radio a while back that read down a list of basic services (haircut, manicure, lawn mowing, etc.) and the hours of training required to provide such services and cost of equipment to operate such a business, then juxtaposed that with such services as a mammogram, etc. and what Medicare pays. It was PATHETIC. Medicare pays less for a mammogram than most women pay for a haircut for example.

THIS is why nationalizing healthcare to any further extent scares the bejeezus out of me!

Evie Happy

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Re: Can anyone provide the numbers here?

In reply to: Re: Can anyone provide the numbers here?

My original Medicare card, which has never been replaced, only shows that I have A coverage....however, I must also have B coverage as it pays the majority owed for doctor visits and tests done. There are actually SOME doctors and hospitals that never send me a bill for any balance, and I assume it's because they are actually writing off any monies still due them; however, MOST of them will go to any lengths to collect even a pittance of under $25. My local hospital is one that for anything under $800 due (normally the deductible for each instance) will turn it over to an outside collection agency within three months, and anything over $800 is immediately (within two months) taken to the local courthouse to obtain an immediately real estate judgment, without ever notifying you of a court date to appear to argue it which is against the law. They have claimed to me that they always send a notice of the judgments, but I've had four of them placed on my property in 8 years that I never heard about until I checked my title for liens and discovered them. They've all been paid after I discovered them, but they were put there illegally since I never got notice. I hate that hospital with a passion and nearly always check myself out against medical advice when I've gone there to be evaluated for chest pains if they don't see anything to indicate a heart attack. They always want to keep me overnight 'for observation' but they aren't qualified to deal with my condition and have to ship me out to another hospital anyhow if they determine I've had a heart attack so why give them anymore of my money than they are entitled to?

TONI

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Re: Can anyone provide the numbers here?

In reply to: Re: Can anyone provide the numbers here?

As far as I know there is no charge monthly for part A which is the hospital portion of Medicare. Its use is limited to 60 days (I believe) of in-pt care a year plus another bunch of Lifetime Reserve days for longer stays. There are sizeable deductibles and co-pays involved for the hospital care portion of Medicare. It pays hospitals based on a DRG system in which there are X number of days allowed for each diagnosis which varies from region to region based on the usual LOS (length of stay) for that ailment in the area.. If the hospital stay exceeds the DRG length of stay and the hospital did nothing about discharging the patient in a timely fashion the hospital has to eat the bill. Most facilities therefore have review teams whose job it is to make sure appropriate discharge plans are made for each patient in order to insure that timely discharge is arranged.

I am sure however that there have been some changes made since 1993 when I retired as Pt Accounts Director of an 800 bed hospital run by NYC. However things go deeper than this as Medicare will advance money to a participatinng hospital based on its billing track record. What happens then is that a patients stay, if Medicare approved, is written off against this advance except for the co-insurance. In many cases this co-insurance is covered by Medigap insurance provided by a pvt company such as Blue Cross , Aetna,AARP,a union, etc.

All things being equal it is really a great program which is tightly administered. The private insurance companies do get a piece of the action as described. Plus they are involved in the approval process as agents of the govt. In NY inpatient stays are billed though Blue Cross which gets a fee from the govt for this service.

In my experience AARP coverage alomost always ended up
in collection litigation because of excessive delays in reimbursement and because it didnt pay the hospital directly but instead paid the patient.

So to sum it up,if you dont want to get stuck with deductibles and co-pays you should also get Medigap insurance which unfortunately is not cheap. In my circumstance I have two separate companies providing this. Blue Cross for in-pt care and GHI for drugs and outpatient care. People who are in HMO's run by pvt insurance companies automatically get this type of coverage provided they use Doctors and Hospitals within the HMO network.

Sorry for the long post which really doesnt actually cover all of the complexities of the programs and may
contain some errors as it is a long time since I have had to deal with this as an insider!

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Another thought, gearup...

In reply to: Re: Can anyone provide the numbers here?

Another thought, gearup. I recommend carefully checking that payment summary that you eventually get after medicare has paid for something. As I mentioned years ago on the Forum, medicare paid twice list price for this wheelchair that sits under my buns. BTW, they did it by (on paper) breaking the chair down into a list of component parts and charging the total of all those replacement parts. BTW#2, For the icing on the cake: Then they billed thru a state where I was in a rebab (I hate that trem, I call it wheelchair school) in another state, rather than my state of residence and where the chair was ordered and delivered (The dealer was in yet a third state.) Now, that's some fancy icing, none of those states noticed it. To be fair about it though, It was by a wild fluke that I caught it.

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Future seniors, fear not

In reply to: Senior medical crisis looms large

Start now! My outpatient cataract surgery bill from the hospital alone was over $6000.

So, it's never too early to start putting your disposal income into various accounts.... medical savings, children's education, Christmas fund, vacation fund, down payment on a home or on your home's upkeep, rainy day, etc. etc.

Angeline
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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Healthcare economics is not my specialty, but

In reply to: Senior medical crisis looms large

IIRC there has been a lot of concern about the fact that Medicare is (from an actuarial perspective) severely underfunded compared to projected outlays.

If that is the case, then one rational solution to preserve the integrity of the system is to increase premiums.

Of course, to be fully rational, the government would probably have to increase the 'Medicare tax' levied on income in addition to increasing the Part B premium. The government would also have to make sure that the increased revenues are used for Medicare and not other things.

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I should add ...

In reply to: Healthcare economics is not my specialty, but

The prescription benefit is obviously just one of the future costs that have to be paid. I'm no fan of the prescription plan passed a few months ago, but my understanding is that the Medicare system would have been in trouble soon even if there were no prescription plan.

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Insurance vs. Public Facilities

In reply to: Healthcare economics is not my specialty, but

Hi Bill,

I've wondered for a long time about why we have gone to a national insurance system to care for those unable to care for themselves vs. directly funding public clinics. This would seem to be the most direct method of ensuring that those truly in need can receive care. The patient cost could be prorated to ability to pay. The most needy pay nothing, the services are available to everyone on a sliding scale. No insurance premiums or whatever, just pay as you go. FWIW, Planned Parenthood seems to operate very well as a pseudo example of what I'm talking about. I used to go there in my 20's for my annual exams and the like mostly because I switched insurances quite a bit, there were no female gynecologists or they were impossible to get an appointment with, etc. I could get an appointment within a week. When I was in grad school I paid very little for my visits, paid more when I was working full time with a good income. I think having a sliding-scale Walk-In as part of a public hospital system would be sustainable. It is my understanding that many private doctors are trying this concept as well. They don't deal with insurance. They charge on a sliding fee scale for services provided by their consortium of doctors. Just eliminating the whole insurance thing saves in the fees they charge.

Medicare seems to woefully underpay for various services. As Toni has indicated, many providers "write off" the excess rather then try to collect it from the beneficiary. That "write off" must be funded elsewhere and gets spread out over the rest of the population thus increasing the fees charged to and paid by their insurance companies, thus raising their premiums. Were Medicare a private insurer, they would have gone out of business long ago, but with the power of the law/Federal government behind them they can pretty much strongarm providers to accept their terms. There has got to be a better way, and IMO the more we centralize healthcare under the control of the unaccountable Federal government the further along we get to healthcare system that serves the majority very poorly.

I was recently in Canada the land of that great universal healthcare. The "reunion" of sorts included many Canadian cousins that hadn't seen each other much. As such I was a fly on the wall as they caught each other up on their lives. To a one, there was a complaint about their medical care. One cousin, a diabetic, complained about spending four hours every three months in the doctors office for an average of 1/2 hour of actual care time. Another spoke of the bills he has to pay from a recent injury. Apparently it's not so universal there after all. Yes, catastrophic care is covered, but apparently the definition of "necessary" has been narrowed significantly by TPTB in determining which procedures are covered by this part of the plan. Admittedly I didn't get into these conversations (I don't talk politics with the relatives for reasons related to maintaining my sanity Wink) but this is the first visit that I've heard so much talk about healthcare.

Evie Happy

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Re: Insurance vs. Public Facilities

In reply to: Insurance vs. Public Facilities

Hi, Evie.

I have an online Canadian friend who lives in Winnipeg. She's diabetic, and recently had breast cancer with tripartite treatment. She was a nurse until the diabetes forced her to retire (couldn't spend long hours on her feet with the poor circulation), and says that the care she received was first-rate and timely. I realize this is just as anecdotal as your cousins, but it's definitely a different take. She does say there's a longer wait for elective surgery up there than down here -- but being sick doesn't bankrupt you; illness coupled with job loss is the largest reason for new homelessness down here.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!


-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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The largest reason for homelessness?

In reply to: Re: Insurance vs. Public Facilities

Dave:
I've seen various data on the causes of homelessness, but nothing I've seen is as specific as you report.
Depending on the data source I've seen claims that major causes of homelessness are alcoholism, mental illness, spousal abuse and unemployment. None of the sources I've seen cite loss of health insurance as a major cause of homelessness.
I have to admit that I have not done a detailed study on this, and I may have missed something. I'm curious where you got your data.

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Rather than rely on anecdotal evidence ...

In reply to: Re: Insurance vs. Public Facilities

... check out Waiting Your Turn: Hospital Waiting Lists in Canada

I only mentioned the cousins because this is the first time this was a topic of discussion between them. It seems that what is defined as "elective" vs. "necessary" has been increasingly shifting towards the former to contain costs. Despite their universal care, it also seems to be quite disparate between the various provinces.

We need to do a better job at having our health insurance portable and include some health coverage with the unemployment system (the unemployment system is another debacle but save that for another day) -- as much as I don't want nationalized healthcare, if that is going to be the option to help the large percentage of the temporarily uninsured, it seems far more rational to simply offer the transitional assistance.

Evie Happy

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I'm not sure sliding scales will help that much ...

In reply to: Insurance vs. Public Facilities

Evie:

There are problems with all of the proposals. Personally I would favor national health insurance of some form or other, although a single payer model like Canada's or Great Britain's does have limitations. There have been proposals for multi-payer models that have some government sponsored insurance along with options for private insurance. One of those models might do better.

The idea of health centers operating on sliding scales, presumably with government subsidy, does not particularly appeal to me. That is basically the model we use for local mental health centers, and it does not work well. There are too many problems with the system, mostly tied to unstable government funding and low salaries for professional employees. Some of the issues reflect the fact that mental health care has low priority in this country but I think there are other problems as well.

Planned Parenthood may work OK, but it is a highly specialized service, and does not offer general medical care. Also, my impression is that they are not self sufficient, but rely on various sources other than just patient revenue. IOW, there does not seem to be any way around the fact that government money and/or charitable support will play a role in whatever system we have.

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