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Obama health plan, silliness

Enter David Cutler. Result is more silly meaningless numbers

<sigh>

It is truly worrying when the single most sensible quote in the whole damn article comes from AEI’s Joe Antos.

How is this worth the NY Times’ attention? And what happens when the Obama bill comes up in Congress and somehow there isn’t a $2,500 check to be mailed to each household?

I thought this guy was going to treat us like grown-ups. After 8 years of insanity that would be nice.

If Cutler, who doesn’t exactly strike me as a major league populist, thinks that Obama has to “find a way to talk to people in a way they understand” how about he steers him to talk more about some insurance reforms that are both possible and very understandable. Like stopping this.

 

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Tom SAndySeanNatPeter Recent comment authors
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Tom S
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Tom S

Healthcare costs and healthcare insurance are two distinctly different things. Insurance companies make billions and provide no care. Regulations and conflicting standards are the largest cause of healthcare costs and no regulation or politician (except Frist) has ever provided care. Hospitals and doctors are going out of business due to overhead, regulations, conflicting standards, government and insurance company oversight, malpractice, and other insurance costs. Hospital profits are in the one to two percent area. For every patient who sees a physician, there are at least twelve others who get paid. We need to eliminate the additional money grabbers and give… Read more »

Andy
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Andy

Obviously Nat has never actually worked in the healthcare system. tcoyote’s point about the “low” administrative costs of Medicare being propaganda is correct. Medicare writes regulations that passes the administrative burden from the government to the provider, increasing provider costs. As for not having marketing expenses, do you not remember the massive amount of marketing paid for by the government when Part D was rolled out? That was to inform people who were already medicare beneficiaries abut Part D. Now Medicare only provides coverageto seniors. To get people to sign up for the “public plan” you have would be marketing… Read more »

Sean
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Sean

I find it interesting that Obama’s advisors casually assume that health care savings to employers would be passed on to employees in the form of higher wages. Then why, I’d like to ask, is it not safe to assume that the benefits of lower corporate tax rates would also be passed on to workers?

Nat
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Nat

The resistance from the ‘middlemen’ is understandable. Once the public plan is available, the ‘middlemen’ will vanish. 1) ‘Public Plan’ is not a new business; just follow the Medicare process where the rates are published and private insurers will be contracted to process the claims. 2) The rates need not be the same as what Medicare pays; the ‘new plan’ can have different rates. Basic assumption is the rates will be equivalent to what private insurers pay. 3) The rates are transparent. And the process is simple where private insurers are not involved in ‘decision making’ while processing claims. 4)… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

tcoyote is correct about a new public plan having to compete for enrollees. This is the problem with a two tier health network. It will have to attract docs as well, which will kill any chance of cost control. I advocate (as I have always done – it’s a windmill thing) for a single-singlepay system where we can really get control of costs. But as long as all the system players want to keep all the money circulating we have now then cost control will not happen.
Sorry for the above double post, computer glitch I guess.

Peter
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Peter

To tcoyote and others, the above post “Without wrangling the outrageous problems with medical malpractice litigation in this country,…” is by Peter Zavislac, pzavislak@life.uiuc.edu, not me the usual Peter who has been commenting here for quite a while. I have asked him twice now to make a small change in his name to avoid confusion.

Peter
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Peter

tcoyote and others, the above post; “Without wrangling the outrageous problems with medical malpractice litigation in this country,…” was done by Peter Zavislak, (pzavislak@life.uiuc.edu) not by me, the usual Peter commenting on this blog. I have asked him twice now to make a small change in his name to avoid confusion.

tcoyote
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tcoyote

Agree w/ Peter to a point. There is a ton of unnecessary testing and care that is driven solely by the fear of being sued. I remember a doctor friend telling me that every time a new patient walks into his office, he has to think of him first and foremost as a future potential adversary, a thought which chilled my blood. However, unless there is a parallel change in how physicians are paid, e.g. to remove the powerful economic incentives which presently exist to overtreat, malpractice reform alone will not achieve much in the way of savings. Having said… Read more »

Peter
Guest

Without wrangling the outrageous problems with medical malpractice litigation in this country, Obama’s plan will be worthless. The dubious money “saved” will mean more money available to lawyers in lawsuits anyway. What are the chances that Obama, a LAWYER, will fight against his brethren?

Tom
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Tom

Wow! It looks like, the ‘public plan’ will solve the cost problem significantly. Savings will be much more than 25%; I did a small math and accordingly it will be around 40%. Not just that, there are tons of other benefits: 1) You can choose your own doctor and keep for life irrespective of your employment. A solid Doctor-patient relationship will develop and it is CRITICAL for timely treatments especially for chronic illness. While people can live a healthy life, the potential long-term cost saving will be enormous. 2) Because of better doctor-patient relationship, potential law-suits will be far less.… Read more »

Nat
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Nat

Response to tcoyote & his cohorts: 1) New “public” plan does NOT need to create a new network; the rates can be published for every single procedure code and geography (just like Medicare). If a doctor provides service, that is the fee he/she gets; no more network and no more ‘fee schedules’. Best of all, patients can choose any doctor and no question of in or out of network. 2) Govt contracts private insurers to process Medicare claims; can do the same for “public” plan. Admin expenses can be further reduced…volume pricing; it will only be around 3%. 3) ATLEAST… Read more »

tcoyote
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tcoyote

Medicare has a built in “entitled” constituency. The new “public” plan will have to create a new network, unless some way can be found to force providers to accept Medicare rates. It will also have to compete for enrollees, and will thus have marketing expenses, like any start up. And remember Medicare does not process its own claims; they are outsourced to private plans, so starting up a new claims management operation won’t be cheap either. This idea looks great on paper, but will be fun to watch. Starting up Part D was a circus, and so will this. .… Read more »

Nat
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Nat

Though I am not a supporter of Obama, I am clearly seeing a big cost control measure in his plan. He proposes a Medicare like ‘Public Plan’ which will be available anyone who wants it. This plan will be much cheaper compared to any private insurance. How? In private insurance, 10-15% goes to Administrative expenses; 10-15% goes to Sales & Marketing expenses; 5-10% for Lobbying, and 5-10% for profit. Whereas for public plan, the admin cost is under 5% and no sales & marketing, no lobbying and no profit components. Here itself I am seeing a reduction of 25-50% of… Read more »

Jim Sabin
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Jim Sabin

I see Obama’s commitment to a $2,500 per family reduction as a constructive going out on a limb. An 8% reduction in health care costs is eminently achievable. What we need is political will, not more studies. If Obama is elected and puts leadership energy into meeting the $2,500 commitment, he’ll accomplish it. Over the years, when I’ve asked physicians I respect in different areas of medicine how much they could save in their area with no loss of quality if they were the czar of their field, no one ever said less than 25% and many said 50%.

Peter
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Peter

Obama risks loosing the young voters that have carried his campaign. He’s looking more like McCain and the other politicians who brought us this mess. If young voters don’t show up for Obama then McCain could be our next war president.