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Old 02-24-09, 11:19 AM   #1
Ngchen
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Article: Health care costs to top $8,000 per person (per year, in the USA)

The figure is amazing, not to mention insane ($670 every MONTH). The article (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29355231/) notes that the costliest ailment to treat is heart disease and related things. Since an aerobic exercise program is one of the best ways to reduce the incidence and severity of heart disease, and cycling is one of many ways of getting aerobic exercise, IMO a really good case can be made to infrastructure funding. After all, the USA spends more per capita on health care than any other country; however, it is NOT the healthiest country (IIRC it ranks 7th or so) in the world. And all this ignores the effects of pollution, congestion, and such that increased cycling would also address.

FWIW, with a number this high, no amount of redistributing costs can make health care affordable for all. Only drastic reductions in the overall costs will do.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:28 AM   #2
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??????????? Someone is keeping the average low. I'm sure that I and my employer pay over $1,000 per month for mine.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:51 AM   #3
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Need to figure out how much of that is wasted and profit. IMHO Health Insurance and Health Care should not be for profit operations. Our company kicks in for our health care but the cost is still around $600 a month for family coverage. This has been an ongoing problem in this country for years. I USED to belong to an HMO that would give preventive care at no cost if you were a member, but that got cut out during one of their cost cutting, profit raising binges.

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Old 02-24-09, 12:15 PM   #4
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The figure is amazing, not to mention insane ($670 every MONTH). The article (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29355231/) notes that the costliest ailment to treat is heart disease and related things. Since an aerobic exercise program is one of the best ways to reduce the incidence and severity of heart disease, and cycling is one of many ways of getting aerobic exercise, IMO a really good case can be made to infrastructure funding. After all, the USA spends more per capita on health care than any other country; however, it is NOT the healthiest country (IIRC it ranks 7th or so) in the world. And all this ignores the effects of pollution, congestion, and such that increased cycling would also address.

FWIW, with a number this high, no amount of redistributing costs can make health care affordable for all. Only drastic reductions in the overall costs will do
.
I had a heart attack in 2000 that was caused at least partially by a sedentary lifestyle. That cost my insurance company about a quarter million, and there are ongoing costs for them and me. I credit cycling and other exercise for not having a second heart attack...yet.

OTOH, I had a serious fall from my bike in 2005. I had surgery then, and a second operation just 4 months ago. The cost on that isn't in yet, but I think the total on the bike accident will be well over $50,000.

So we need to keep in mind that even though cycling will prevent or help reduce some medical expenses, it will also increase expenses. In my case at least, the balance has probably come out in favor of cycling.
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Old 02-24-09, 01:10 PM   #5
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Need to figure out how much of that is wasted and profit. IMHO Health Insurance and Health Care should not be for profit operations. Our company kicks in for our health care but the cost is still around $600 a month for family coverage. This has been an ongoing problem in this country for years. I USED to belong to an HMO that would give preventive care at no cost if you were a member, but that got cut out during one of their cost cutting, profit raising binges.

Aaron
I'm not sure how much is outright waste. I suppose that would depend on your definition of waste. But overhead and profit in the private health care sector runs about 25-30% of each insurance premium dollar.
Contrast that to the 2-3% overhead of programs like Medicare, SS, & Medicaid and let's hear that mantra of "gov't. can't do anything right/efficiently" again.
We need universal single payer healthcare in the U.S. We already have it with Medicare and it generally works fine. Drop the eligibility age and let the private ins. companies have the supplement/boutique market or go under completely. They add nothing of value to the healthcare system in the U.S.. They are parasites, pure and simple.

There is some real good information on the site of Physicians for a National Health Program.
http://www.pnhp.org/
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Old 02-24-09, 04:52 PM   #6
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The average cost is kept down in the US by the number of people who cant afford health care, so get sick and die. I dont think health care should be part of the cost of being employed, because people with high cost medical conditions can be kept out of jobs because the company cant afford the insurance. Public health, including polution control, clean water and sewage disposal, should be a government responsibility. The US government seems to be able to manage a very effective military, I would hate to see that privatized like it is in parts of S America.
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Old 02-24-09, 05:03 PM   #7
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Who's going to pay for it AndrewP???? While we're at it, I'm willing to bet less than half the population in this country has access to municipal sewer and water. The entitlement attitude is going to be the end of this country.

Wait, I see your from Canada, we see the effects of your medical system down here all the time, people who have to wait for treatment up there head south. Those who can afford it that is.
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Old 02-24-09, 06:42 PM   #8
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The figure is amazing, not to mention insane ($670 every MONTH). The article (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29355231/) notes that the costliest ailment to treat is heart disease and related things. Since an aerobic exercise program is one of the best ways to reduce the incidence and severity of heart disease, and cycling is one of many ways of getting aerobic exercise, IMO a really good case can be made to infrastructure funding. After all, the USA spends more per capita on health care than any other country; however, it is NOT the healthiest country (IIRC it ranks 7th or so) in the world. And all this ignores the effects of pollution, congestion, and such that increased cycling would also address.

FWIW, with a number this high, no amount of redistributing costs can make health care affordable for all. Only drastic reductions in the overall costs will do.
I agree. I think fiscal benefits of a healthier nation are huge compared to the money needed to put a decent bike infrastructure needed to bring a large chunk of that about.

I know a TON of people that simply could not bike in Augusta, GA because there was absolutely no way to do it without riding on MAJOR roads. (45mph speed limit, 60mph traffic, no sidewalks, no shoulder) All you would need in a place like that is a few connecting paths from residential area to residential area and it would open up the whole city to bikes. But they would have to give up their title to 5th fattest city in the country.
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Old 02-24-09, 07:41 PM   #9
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Who's going to pay for it AndrewP????
The same people who are paying for it now. The $600 a month that my employer pays for my policy, plus the co-pays and deductibles that I pay can go to the government. The goverenment will provide my health insurance on a non-profit basis. Without the 25 % profit markup, there will be revenues left over to fund that nationwide bike infrastructure and other preventive health programs.
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Old 02-24-09, 07:51 PM   #10
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FWIW, with a number this high, no amount of redistributing costs can make health care affordable for all. Only drastic reductions in the overall costs will do.
Yes it can. Per capita GDP in the US is $55k. So it's less than 20% of GDP. It is more than we spend on food, which is sad and another part of the problem. We could probably reduce diabetes by not subsidizing corn syrup.
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Old 02-24-09, 08:05 PM   #11
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Who's going to pay for it AndrewP???? While we're at it, I'm willing to bet less than half the population in this country has access to municipal sewer and water. The entitlement attitude is going to be the end of this country.

Wait, I see your from Canada, we see the effects of your medical system down here all the time, people who have to wait for treatment up there head south. Those who can afford it that is.
His argument had nothing to do with entitlement. His argument was that it's cost effective to give people healthcare to prevent sickness and death in the poor. He didn't word it very well but that appears to be the argument.

Currently we have insurance setup such that those who can't afford health insurance can't afford the fake price hospitals give non-insurance customers. That's ridiculous. You haggle or shop for everything except health care. We have no market in health care.

People in Canada live longer and pay less. People die due to lack of health care all around the world. Even in socialized medicine countries. Even in single payer countries (which isn't socialized medicine).

People in the US wait for treatment everyday. There are many reasons, here are a couple obvious ones:
* Scheduling. You wait for the best doctor or wait for one in your PPO.
* Deductibles. You want to arrange two or more big operations in the same year to get your insurer to actually pay.


Single payer isn't going to make health care suddenly cheap and it's not going to derail our entire medical system. Everyone is way too excited over this.

Employer payer healthcare is an incredibly idiotic idea. We actually rolled health in as a cost of hiring employees. We put serious disincentive to hiring older people. I wonder why retirement is so early now. Because we all secretly want to retire and live on less income than we need?

I'd have no problem with simply illegalizing employer healthcare benefits and illegalizing discrimination based on pre-existing conditions. Markets can't solve the pre-existing condition issue. They will consistently push people in that situation off onto a pre-existing only insurer and those people will end up paying for their end of life health costs all at the end of their life: Not the purpose of insurance at all!

The reason markets will push that is because it's in each consumer's best interest to get the lowest cost complete health care. Since most don't have a condition they'll eliminate allowing in as many people as possible with conditions: Hence the "pre-existing" clause on virtually all insurance. Very few will just buy complete insurance up front. Everyone SHOULD buy complete insurance up front.

Health care isn't a right. But health insurance makes sense as a government program. It will put discussion of what should and shouldn't be insured in the public forum. When people are dissatisfied with the insurance they should be allowed to seek added insurance. Remember: Single payer not government run doctors.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:01 PM   #12
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Sorry people, government shouldn't be in the health care business or any other business for that matter. Just look at the current medicare system to see abject failure government bureaucracy. Look at the failure of our banking system due to Fannie and Freddie, both government sponsored entities run by bureaucrats into the ground. I honestly can't believe that any of you think the government can do anything cheaper than the private sector.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:28 PM   #13
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Sorry people, government shouldn't be in the health care business or any other business for that matter. Just look at the current medicare system to see abject failure government bureaucracy. Look at the failure of our banking system due to Fannie and Freddie, both government sponsored entities run by bureaucrats into the ground. I honestly can't believe that any of you think the government can do anything cheaper than the private sector.
I just saw the President's address to Congress. He sure made a liar out of you!
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Old 02-24-09, 10:44 PM   #14
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Ha, I saw it too, hold onto your wallet, it's about to be picked clean.......
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Old 02-24-09, 10:45 PM   #15
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The figure is amazing, not to mention insane ($670 every MONTH). The article (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29355231/) notes that the costliest ailment to treat is heart disease and related things. Since an aerobic exercise program is one of the best ways to reduce the incidence and severity of heart disease, and cycling is one of many ways of getting aerobic exercise, IMO a really good case can be made to infrastructure funding. After all, the USA spends more per capita on health care than any other country; however, it is NOT the healthiest country (IIRC it ranks 7th or so) in the world. And all this ignores the effects of pollution, congestion, and such that increased cycling would also address.


Uh, no. The World Health Organization ranked health care systems back in 2000. The US came in at 37th, just ahead of Slovenia and Cuba. For life expectancy, the US ranked 28th in 2006, just ahead of Chile and Costa Rica.

The US possesses the world's most expensive health care, with a fragile system that fails utterly for ~43 million Americans by leaving them uninsured, fails for millions more by leaving them underinsured, and hamstrings businesses and employees by tying coverage to employment. All this and our health outcomes suck.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:54 PM   #16
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Ha, I saw it too, hold onto your wallet, it's about to be picked clean.......
No, my wallet's already empty from the copays and deductibles I have to pay.

I am looking forward to the Obama tax cut that will start on April 1. Then I'll have a few more bucks in my wallet. But I suppose you make more than a quarter-million a year, so you'll be one of the few Americans getting a tax increase.
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Old 02-25-09, 06:26 AM   #17
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No, my wallet's already empty from the copays and deductibles I have to pay.

I am looking forward to the Obama tax cut that will start on April 1. Then I'll have a few more bucks in my wallet. But I suppose you make more than a quarter-million a year, so you'll be one of the few Americans getting a tax increase.
Enjoy that $8 to $13 per week, I'm sure it will make a huge difference. Most of those making over $250,000 employ others in their small businesses, they'll be paying for that extra tax by reducing their payroll by a couple employees, there's some change you can believe in.
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Old 02-25-09, 06:58 AM   #18
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Three quarters of a million people are employed by the health insurance industry. What happens to them if the gov't takes over healthcare?
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Old 02-25-09, 08:39 AM   #19
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I agree. I think fiscal benefits of a healthier nation are huge compared to the money needed to put a decent bike infrastructure needed to bring a large chunk of that about.

I know a TON of people that simply could not bike in Augusta, GA because there was absolutely no way to do it without riding on MAJOR roads. (45mph speed limit, 60mph traffic, no sidewalks, no shoulder) All you would need in a place like that is a few connecting paths from residential area to residential area and it would open up the whole city to bikes. But they would have to give up their title to 5th fattest city in the country.
And yet there is a whole class of cyclists that insists that no such accommodations are needed for cycling... There is a classic debate going on right now in the Vehicular Cycling sub forum regarding the auto centric environment in which many of us cycle... and how that situation is part of why folks won't even consider cycling. Take a look. Hurst's Art of Cycling (this is in the VC sub forum, so be forewarned about some of the attitudes you may encounter)

Yeah I tend to really agree with you... the only way that this nation is going to get fitter, AND less reliant on foreign oil, is for cycling and mass transit, and walking to be supported and accepted in lieu of the individual motor vehicle.
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Old 02-25-09, 08:49 AM   #20
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Three quarters of a million people are employed by the health insurance industry. What happens to them if the gov't takes over healthcare?
Some number of them would be employed by the government, although since Medicare is vastly more efficient than private health care (the numbers are something like 96% vs. 80%) not as many would be needed. As for the rest, the California Nurse's Association research arm concluded back in January that "Medicare for all" would result in $317 billion in new business in the economy and $100 billion in new wages. With such a stimulus there would be a lot more jobs in the economy.

While we're all on the subject, it's worth noting that a "medicare for all" type plan is not socialized medicine. Socialized medicine is when the gov owns the hospitals and employs the docs and nurses as well as providing insurance - for example, the US military medical system or the British National Health Service.
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Old 02-25-09, 09:02 AM   #21
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Some number of them would be employed by the government, although since Medicare is vastly more efficient than private health care (the numbers are something like 96% vs. 80%) not as many would be needed. As for the rest, the California Nurse's Association research arm concluded back in January that "Medicare for all" would result in $317 billion in new business in the economy and $100 billion in new wages. With such a stimulus there would be a lot more jobs in the economy.

While we're all on the subject, it's worth noting that a "medicare for all" type plan is not socialized medicine. Socialized medicine is when the gov owns the hospitals and employs the docs and nurses as well as providing insurance - for example, the US military medical system or the British National Health Service.
Did the California Nurses Association also indicate how much they would be willing to drop their wages if that system went into effect? I seriously doubt it.

If MediCare is so good, then why do I keep reading articles that say more and more doctors are refusing MediCare patients? How many patients are denied necessary treatments under MediCare, and how do those denials rate against private insurance denials?
I know that under my current situation, if I need a hip or knee replacement to keep doing my walking job, I'll get it. If we had a system like Canada's, since I'm 55, would I be denied and have that wonderful medical system ration my health care? Reading of the cases of health care rationing in countries like Canada makes me wonder that if I was Canadian, at some point I would be told that since I am older, the next time my pacemaker battery wore down I'd be out of luck.
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Old 02-25-09, 09:07 AM   #22
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It should also be noted that the US is the only industrialized country in the world that does not have some form of national medical care for its citizens. Health care costs for workers in Detroit were listed as one of the issues facing the cost of manufacturing autos in the US. Competitive companies in either European nations or Asian nations do not bear this cost directly... although the taxes to profits for those companies is higher, to ultimately pay for some form of national health care.
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Old 02-25-09, 09:19 AM   #23
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My dissenting opinion is that universal health insurance is the problem, not the solution.

It has deteriorated the doctor/patient relationship, and increased the prescription drug usage to a problematic level.
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Old 02-25-09, 09:22 AM   #24
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Three quarters of a million people are employed by the health insurance industry. What happens to them if the gov't takes over healthcare?
Obama's plan, unfortunately does NOT call for a government takeover. People will keep their current healthcare, although perhaps they'll have an option of buying into a government insurance policy.

If there was a government takeover (which there definitely will NOT be), I think a lot of health insurance workers would get jobs with the new plan, if they wanted to. Again, this is not what is going to happen. There is no "government takeover." That was a smokescreen put out by the Republicans as part of their "just say no" plan for governance.
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Old 02-25-09, 09:24 AM   #25
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It should also be noted that the US is the only industrialized country in the world that does not have some form of national medical care for its citizens. Health care costs for workers in Detroit were listed as one of the issues facing the cost of manufacturing autos in the US. Competitive companies in either European nations or Asian nations do not bear this cost directly... although the taxes to profits for those companies is higher, to ultimately pay for some form of national health care.
The automakers chose to provide those benefits when other companies weren't. In hindsight it was an unsustainable model. To hold it up as a government or healthcare problem is misleading. This was a company management problem, nothing more.

That hasn't stopped it from being used by special interest groups to stir public opinion though.
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