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Healthcare in America- the BIG SQUEEZE!

I received a comment the other day about a post on healthcare and it got me thinking…

I am happy for you on your premium costs. You are the third person I know of fortunate to have that happen, including a cousin. I would, however, ask that you thank me. My premiums went up 45% and the employees of my small business also saw increases, though not as high. Someone has to pay – nothing is free. I agree the healthcare prices needed to be addressed…(edit- you can see the full comment in the previous post)

Thanks for the comment . I know this is a touchy issue. My retired in-laws are oddly in the same boat.

As I mentioned, I think the national healthcare program is a good start. As an American, I feel that if half the nation is one visit to the emergency room from bankruptcy we cannot build a strong and independent country. We can touch on my concerns about who’s going to be our workforce in future generations because the education system is so bad in other posts.

Apparently now, instead of squeezing about half the country with unaffordable health care premiums, the burden has shifted to about 5% of Americans above the federal subsidy level and folks in states that did not expand Medicaid and earn less than 100% of the Federal Poverty Level income.

It’s not socialized medicine, meaning the government does not control either the rates or actually run the entire healthcare system down to the Doctors and Nurses. And yes, you are correct- nothing is ever free.

From personal experience, I know it’s not the Docs or Nurses getting rich (ok, maybe some do). Medicaid/Medicare (I don’t know which) essentially created a ceiling for payment of services a long time ago that was adopted by private insurance companies. I feel for the young folks in medical school with dreams of helping people that end up with EXTRAORDINARY debt in school loans and find their income potential is capped. Now their only option is- see more patients. Not exactly the manufacturing principle I would like to see implemented in my health care practitioners office (It is though).

Insurance companies claimed the high number of un-insured Americans was the reason healthcare costs were so expensive in the first place. The losses from uninsured patients visiting hospitals and emergency rooms was absorbed by the hospitals and “in theory” raised everyones rates. Now the insurance companies are saying the high number of people that can take advantage of healthcare benefits is the reason health care costs have risen. Huh?

SO, where’s the beef? As of the end of 2013, Humana, Aetna, Wellpoint, Cigna, and UnitedHealth- the big five health insurance companies, were all trading AT or just under record highs. As usual, there’s seems to be a lot of TAKE from big corp without any GIVE. Not shocking, I know.

As a small business owner, I am all for capitalism and free industry. HOWEVER, certain service industries need to serve. I feel that about the financial industry, and our healthcare system. Your financial partner ‘should’ consider your best interests first before filling his pockets by intentionally sweet talking you into buying a bad investment. There should be a fiduciary responsibility to the client. Not to get side tracked, the idea of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was to encourage competition among health insurance providers to compete in a growing marketplace which would lead to increased profitability with savings to the ‘client’ or consumer. Instead, Health Insurance companies just raised prices across the board and waited for the cows to come to slaughter with their hands out to the federal government waiting for the subsidy checks (the checks go straight to the insurance companies each month).

If there was a federal “socialized” (I know, it’s a dirty word, we could interchange non-profit instead) health insurer- maybe that would create a baseline for pricing competition. IF the federal insurer established a 20% profit pricing baseline on policies and you had the option to purchase insurance through a private company (Aetna, Humana, Cigna) or the federal insurer maybe the private companies would feel more pressure to compete on pricing or at least better services. But seeing the healthcare.gov fiasco maybe that’s too much to hope for right now. Like I said, I think the Affordable Care Act is a good start- with a long way to go.

I’m sorry and I say this with no ill will or malice that would imply you deserve this situation.  It appears insurers just found a different part of the lemon to squeeze.

Tag, you’re it.

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