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Where do you stand on insurance companies?

Old 01-01-08, 09:30 PM
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Where do you stand on insurance companies?

Greta Van Susteren asked this question to Mitt Romney. He blamed lawyers for the high cost of health care. I can't remember his exact words, but he did temper his response. That said he offered no other answer for the high cost of health care. You've all heard of the Fortune 500. Did you know that of the top fifty Fortune 500 companies 40 are insurance companies? Hmm....

Looks like if a democrat wins this election we'd be smart to invest our pesos in that direction.

Why do insurance companies always get a pass? Why does the government always step in to cover them after "disasters" ?

I always see some good thoughts in this forum. I'm simply curious to hear some of your responses.

Last edited by parrotheads4; 01-01-08 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 01-01-08, 10:09 PM
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It's a complex issue. I know of a lot of insurance companies that have lost a lot of money in health care. Other insurance like flood, fire, etc., I don't really know.

Are those Fortune 500 companies health care?

When I was in Seattle I walked up to the hospital because I was getting migraine precursors. Gave my info and sat for an hour. I took 4 Excedrin Migraine before I got there. Got over it, went up to the station and told them I was okay and wouldn't need a shot. It would have still been a 2 hour wait. They still billed me almost $200 even though I never saw anyone.

It isn't just lawyers and insurance.
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Old 01-01-08, 11:09 PM
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Mitt is simply attempting to come across as anti-corporation, when he is certainly not. Do you really think Mitt, if elected into office, is going to do anything about the issues he talks about.

Blaming lawyers for the costs of healthcare is way too easy.

The high costs of healthcare have to do with corporations--not lawyers--who are manufacturing medications at the expense of federal subsidized programs, and still charging several times what they should. Pharmaceutical companies have a large presence in Congress, put pressure on enforcing laws which have to do with getting meds from places such as Canada, which cost much less, and I can guarantee Mitt Romney is a part of it. He knows what's going on. So he blames lawyers.

Mitt Romney was even governor of Mass. at the time when cities were purchasing medications from Canada, because it was saving them millions of dollars. What does Mitt do? Oh, Mitt spoke to the Pharms and said they need to revise their strategy, while being against the rather smart idea of importing the drugs from Canada.

Mitt Romney even announced "Healthcare Reform" on his website, alluding to even more corporatized health care.

http://www.mittromney.com/News/Press...ng_Health_Care

Of course, those are generalized statements as usual, from a politician.

Hey Mitt. What's your stance on allowing medications from Canada in reducing costs for the American who's struggling to pay their high healthcare costs?

Silence.
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Old 01-02-08, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
It's a complex issue.
Yeah, insurance's just one part of the whole thing.

Look at auto ins, most people probably pay more for auto ins in a year than they pay to insure their house. Why is that? Auto repair shops don't seem to be the reason.

Are personal injury lawyers to blame? Maybe. Are medical bills to blame? Maybe.
Are states' lack of dedication in keeping bad drivers off the roads to blame? Maybe.

And remember that insurers are always working to keep up on new licensing rules and policy coverage rules.

I don't want to defend insurers, I'm just trying to draw a picture of the system for you.
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Old 01-02-08, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
Hey Mitt. What's your stance on allowing medications from Canada in reducing costs for the American who's struggling to pay their high healthcare costs?

Silence.
Yeah, that's a great point, and don't limit it to Canada. Make it a global trade point - Europe, Mexico, Asia, etc.

But that is more about prescription regulations, drug war, patents, and trade laws.
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Old 01-02-08, 03:18 AM
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Medication costs are deceiving though....as the amount of research $ that go into a successful drug (and the thousands that don't make it) need to come from somewhere. It looks very skewed to have Viagra, Lipitor, etc....make billions, but they subsidize many of the niche meds that don't make much.

Lawsuits are a problem, though insurance company bloat doesn't help. Universal health care would tank everything though. People don't understand it will lower everything, and take a broken system....and break it some more.

-p
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Old 01-02-08, 07:25 AM
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something like 40% of the country is overweight and around 50% of people use prescription drugs on a regular basis compared to a lot less several decades ago.

health insurance companies are just outsourcing companies for managing health care for employers with a side business of insuring people not insured by employer plans.

if you look at where a lot of the research money is going in medicine, it's linked to obesity. a lot of companies out there are making drugs or some kind of devices for people who have obesity linked problems

for most people if you want to know why health care is expensive, look in the mirror

Last edited by al_bundy; 01-02-08 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 01-02-08, 09:54 AM
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Not sure why you think insurance companies "get a pass". They are always get hammered. Even in seemingly obvious situations they getting hammered (think the coast).

Also, I don't know about being bailed out by the government. On the coast it was people who did not buy insurance or have enough that got bailed out, not the insurance companies. In Florida it is all but an all out assault on insurance companies. They are being told what to charge, how to run their own business and if the companies don't do it, they are investigated.

Health insurance is a hugely complicated issue. I don't give insurance companies a pass. I also don't give Dr's a pass. You talk about Fortune 500 insurance companies, what about millionaire Dr's? What about huge corporate hospitals that make a ton of money? What about large billion dollar pharmaceutical companies?

Insurance is a very odd business model. You must collect money from people who will never use your product to pay for the few that use it all the time. And you look at something like wind insurance when you can take billions and billions in for years and years only to have every single penney go out the door in a single day. Insurance companies must keep money (cold hard cash) in the bank for years and years waiting for the event that would put most companies out of business. This makes them ripe targets.

al brings up a good point, personal responsibility. Both in health and wind insurance. People can take care of themself, they can also put up things to protect their own home. It really should be a partenship.
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Old 01-02-08, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
Hey Mitt. What's your stance on allowing medications from Canada in reducing costs for the American who's struggling to pay their high healthcare costs?

Silence.
There are more people in this country taking lipitor than there are people living in Canada. There is no way to import that much Lipitor. Insurance companies are good at taking premiums and then finding loopholes not to pay when it is time to pay.
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Old 01-02-08, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by parrotheads4
Did you know that of the top fifty Fortune 500 companies 40 are insurance companies? Hmm....
That is not true:

Rank Company Revenue Profits
1 Wal-Mart Stores 351,139.0 11,284.0
2 Exxon Mobil 347,254.0 39,500.0
3 General Motors 207,349.0 -1,978.0
4 Chevron 200,567.0 17,138.0
5 ConocoPhillips 172,451.0 15,550.0
6 General Electric 168,307.0 20,829.0
7 Ford Motor 160,126.0 -12,613.0
8 Citigroup 146,777.0 21,538.0
9 Bank of America Corp. 117,017.0 21,133.0
10 American Intl. Group 113,194.0 14,048.0
11 J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. 99,973.0 14,444.0
12 Berkshire Hathaway 98,539.0 11,015.0
13 Verizon Communications 93,221.0 6,197.0
14 Hewlett-Packard 91,658.0 6,198.0
15 Intl. Business Machines 91,424.0 9,492.0
16 Valero Energy 91,051.0 5,463.0
17 Home Depot 90,837.0 5,761.0
18 McKesson 88,050.0 751.0
19 Cardinal Health 81,895.1 1,000.1
20 Morgan Stanley 76,688.0 7,472.0
21 UnitedHealth Group 71,542.0 4,159.0
22 Merrill Lynch 70,591.0 7,499.0
23 Altria Group 70,324.0 12,022.0
24 Goldman Sachs Group 69,353.0 9,537.0
25 Procter & Gamble 68,222.0 8,684.0
26 Kroger 66,111.2 1,114.9
27 AT&T 63,055.0 7,356.0
28 Boeing 61,530.0 2,215.0
29 AmerisourceBergen 61,203.1 467.7
30 Marathon Oil 60,643.0 5,234.0
31 State Farm Insurance Cos 60,528.0 5,315.5
32 Costco Wholesale 60,151.2 1,103.2
33 Target 59,490.0 2,787.0
34 Dell 57,095.0 2,614.0
35 Wellpoint 56,953.0 3,094.9
36 Johnson & Johnson 53,324.0 11,053.0
37 MetLife 53,275.0 6,293.0
38 Sears Holdings 53,012.0 1,490.0
39 Pfizer 52,415.0 19,337.0
40 Dow Chemical 49,124.0 3,724.0
41 Wells Fargo 47,979.0 8,482.0
42 United Technologies 47,829.0 3,732.0
43 United Parcel Service 47,547.0 4,202.0
44 Walgreen 47,409.0 1,750.6
45 Lowe's 46,927.0 3,105.0
46 Wachovia Corp. 46,810.0 7,791.0
47 Lehman Brothers Holdings 46,709.0 4,007.0
48 Time Warner 44,788.0 6,552.0
49 Microsoft 44,282.0 12,599.0
50 Freddie Mac 44,002.0 2,211.0
Only 4 of the Fortune 50 -- United Health, State Farm, WellPoint, and MetLife -- are primarily insurers, although some (but not 40 out of 50) also have an insurance component to their businesses.
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Old 01-02-08, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
That is not true:



Only 4 of the Fortune 50 -- United Health, State Farm, WellPoint, and MetLife -- are primarily insurers, although some (but not 40 out of 50) also have an insurance component to their businesses.
I don't know much about those 4, but I know that State Farm is mainly auto, home, life, etc. Do any of those do health insurance?
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Old 01-02-08, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
I don't know much about those 4, but I know that State Farm is mainly auto, home, life, etc. Do any of those do health insurance?
United Health and WellPoint do (WellPoint is the largest member of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield network). MetLife does dental, but I don't believe they do health.
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Old 01-02-08, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by bhk
Insurance companies are good at taking premiums and then finding loopholes not to pay when it is time to pay.
This is a total false statement and lends nothing to conversation;

An insurance companies business is to pay claims. That is what they are in business for. Look at the BILLIONS paid along the coast.

Second, there are no "loopholes". Everything is spelled out in a contract. The problem is people think the contract is only one way. The contract applies to both parties. And both people have a copy of the contract. Tho I bet more people read the manual on their new fancy universal remote then read their insurance policy.
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Old 01-02-08, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
That is not true:



Only 4 of the Fortune 50 -- United Health, State Farm, WellPoint, and MetLife -- are primarily insurers, although some (but not 40 out of 50) also have an insurance component to their businesses.
Don't let the truth get in the way of a good urban legend....lol
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Old 01-02-08, 12:23 PM
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It can also be argued that health insurance as a prevalent institution has helped to raise the cost of health care itself. When people are not paying costs directly out-of-pocket, they tend to use more of a service.

When my oldest brother was born in 1952, my father's total expense for a seven-day hospital stay and physician's care for mother and baby was about $125. Even accounting for the fact that my dad probably made about $4000 a year back then, that was nowhere NEAR as expensive as even an uncomplicated delivery is now.

Back then, most people didn't carry health insurance. If they had insurance at all, it was HOSPITALIZATION only, and you paid the doctor's fees out of pocket. If you knew your wife was going to have a baby, you started putting money away for the bills while she was pregnant. That's where Blue Cross & Blue Shield came from -- Blue Cross pays the hospital; Blue Shield pays the doctor.

When employers started offering health insurance as part of an overall benefit package, that's when health care costs began to climb. I'm not saying it was the only reason, but when you know you're billing an insurance company and not a person, you feel free to bill more.
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Old 01-02-08, 12:37 PM
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On the neck.
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Old 01-02-08, 01:18 PM
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My stance on insurance companies is that they are middlemen in the whole health care equation and as such, create a huge inefficiency in the system and need to be eliminated. Any business that wants to cut costs, has to get rid of the middleman.

I worry when I hear of candidates like Romney and Clinton that want to utilize the insurance industry in any type of health care reform. With today's model, it simply will not work. It's very scary to me that we have so little time before the boomers will be using health care full scale and yet the federal government is trying their best to maintain the status quo.

Just look at California. The state is trying to do something, but is being held up by the Federal ERISA law forcing them to use band-aid approaches like an additional tax on cigarettes to try and solve a huge problem. These ideas fall far short of the comprehensive reform that must take place if the US economy is to survive the next few decades.
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Old 01-02-08, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by shifrbv
My stance on insurance companies is that they are middlemen in the whole health care equation and as such, create a huge inefficiency in the system and need to be eliminated. Any business that wants to cut costs, has to get rid of the middleman.
Except that insurance companies actually do something in the health care equation that isn't done by anyone else. You can say they are inefficient, but what you really mean is they aren't efficient at what you want them to do. They are quite efficient at maximizing profits while providing coverage, something they are designed to do.

As to your cutting out the middleman theory, try and apply that to ordering books through Amazon.com or getting a Big Mac. You could consider the UPS driver a middleman, but cutting him out of the equation means a long drive cross-country to the warehouse for you, hardly an improvement in efficiency. Neither would eliminating the cashier at McDonalds. Do you want to tell the cooks what your order is? I doubt it.
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Old 01-02-08, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
As to your cutting out the middleman theory, try and apply that to ordering books through Amazon.com or getting a Big Mac. You could consider the UPS driver a middleman, but cutting him out of the equation means a long drive cross-country to the warehouse for you, hardly an improvement in efficiency. Neither would eliminating the cashier at McDonalds. Do you want to tell the cooks what your order is? I doubt it.
UPS and the cashier aren't "middlemen". They're critical parts of the business model.

Mcdonalds would eliminate the middleman by raising it's own beef instead of buying from suppliers.

Amazon has already cut out the middleman. They have a centralized and organized distribution system that delivers direct to the customer, instead of delivering the final goods to stores first, which would only generate more overhead costs.
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Old 01-02-08, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Vibiana
It can also be argued that health insurance as a prevalent institution has helped to raise the cost of health care itself. When people are not paying costs directly out-of-pocket, they tend to use more of a service.

When my oldest brother was born in 1952, my father's total expense for a seven-day hospital stay and physician's care for mother and baby was about $125.

That is about $930 in today's dollars. When my youngest was born in 2003, the Hospital and related bills were roughly $10,000 under Blue Cross / Blue Sheild insurance. I think our copay was $100.

Yeah, that is an EXTREME hike in costs. There were no complications or emergency surgeries, there was an epidoral but I don't know what that costs separately (back in '52, I am sure your mom was just given a leather belt to bite on for the pain)

Many factors have helped increase health care, I don't think any one can be singled out.
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Old 01-02-08, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by shifrbv
My stance on insurance companies is that they are middlemen in the whole health care equation and as such, create a huge inefficiency in the system and need to be eliminated. Any business that wants to cut costs, has to get rid of the middleman.
Isn't that what Kaiser Permanente has done? I can say from experience, they are WAY less expensive than Aetna or BCBS
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Old 01-02-08, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 4KRG
Yeah, that is an EXTREME hike in costs. There were no complications or emergency surgeries, there was an epidoral but I don't know what that costs separately (back in '52, I am sure your mom was just given a leather belt to bite on for the pain)
Actually, back then the customary anesthesia used was called "twilight sleep" and was more or less a general anesthetic. You were out cold according to what I've been told.

EDITED TO ADD that I've googled a bit and learned that "twilight sleep" was administered as a combination of morphine and scopolamine. Eeeeewwwwww.

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Old 01-02-08, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Superboy
UPS and the cashier aren't "middlemen". They're critical parts of the business model.
They're still middlemen, they're just examples of ones which can't be eliminated without a loss in efficiency. UPS has a comparative advantage in transportation, therefore, they're efficient.
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Old 01-02-08, 03:46 PM
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I don't like how the homeowners insurance companies bailed on the state of FL just because of one freak hurricane season.
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Old 01-02-08, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
I don't like how the homeowners insurance companies bailed on the state of FL just because of one freak hurricane season.
Funny, that's what they said about Hurricane Andrew that it was "freak" and could never happened again. And of course the Earthquake in California was just a freak thing, I'm sure they will never have another one. And when Florida got hit with 4 hurricanes in one year it would be a freak think if there were another bad year, but wait Katrina was worse then all four. Then surely another one wouldn't happen, but here came Rita.

See that is the business model you are working with. You could have 15 years of high profits in the state, but then a single event could wipe it all out. And as much as you would like to call it a "freak" thing, you never know what will happen tomorrow. If you did, you would self insure and skip the insurance company all together.
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