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Thread: Ot: Oh Crap

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    Ot: Oh Crap

    Kodak just announced that they're dropping Health Care Insurance
    for retirees dependents. I'm 57, she's 55 with M.S. She's uninsurable.
    I'm unskilled labor. Even if I stay at work till I'm 67 to keep her insured, then
    we go onto MediCare which doesn't look very promising. She's already
    stopped taking her Meds due to high co-pay. It seems these days that
    every time I wake up in the morning the cards have been restacked,
    and not in our favor. I fear we're becoming a statistic in this National
    Health Care Mess.

    Maybe I'll get onto the Tandem with her and we'll go play in traffic...just
    kidding about the traffic part.

    Had to vent...thanks.

    edit: posted in this forum as this is a 50+ dilemna

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    Senior Member ronbo's Avatar
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    My sister-in-law retired from kodak a little while ago. She doesn't have any dependents, but she has told us of the kodak situation over the past few years. Hang in there...get a good ride. A solution will present itself when you get your head cleared. Sorry about the bad news.

    God bless!

    -Ron

  3. #3
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    This is a sad state of affairs - since I am the tail end of the boomers I am worried I will never be able to retire.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

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    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    That sucks.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

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    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    As a physician I've always been opposed to national health care...until I turned 50 and went into solo practice. If you have so much as a hangnail you get rated astronomically and the rates approach unaffordablity, even for a "rich" doctor. Most physicians harbor so much resentment to the health insurers than there's a lot of openness to some form of national healthcare these days.

    If that's any consolation.

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    I have friends who emigrated from the US and are becoming citizens of another country for this same reason and many, many other reasons.

    Good luck Lenny, you and your wife (and all of us) deserve better than to be constantly worrying about these things.

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    My other car is a bike TruF's Avatar
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    Yeah, but socialized medicine is like trading the devil you know for the devil you don't know: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=12857

    I had an illness a couple of years ago and participated in a forum much like this for women around the world with the same condition. Women in countries that had socialized medicine were desperate for a treatment other than hysterectomy, and even then they had to wait for months for surgery. But that was the only option they were given. The more fortunate ones spent thousands of dollars to come to the US where they could get other forms of treatment. The less fortunate ones were stuck.

    The Economist magazine had a great article about America's health care system. (Years ago I was hungry for a source of information that was as unbiased as possible. I queried talk show hosts at a well-known local radio station, KGO, to find out what magazines or newspapers they read. There were two publications that showed up on everyone's lists, whether liberal or conservative: The Economist and the Christian Science Monitor.)

    At the risk of getting in trouble from The Economist for sharing the article, here it is:


    Economics focus
    An unhealthy burden

    Jun 28th 2007
    From The Economist print edition
    America's health-care market is not as unfettered as it seems



    TO MANY outside the United States, America's health-care system might seem an example of capitalism at its rawest. Europeans and Canadians enjoy universal health care and cheap drugs thanks to government-run systems, the argument goes, but the market-based approach taken by the world's richest nation leaves many millions uninsured and leads the rest to pay the highest drugs prices in the world. Such doubts are sure to be reinforced by this week's release of Michael Moore's “Sicko”, a much-trumpeted new film on health care that bashes the free-market Yankee model even as it praises the dirigiste alternative north of the border.
    So is America's health system really red in tooth and claw? Hardly, according to a growing body of academic evidence. As a result of interference at the federal and state levels, health care is one of America's most heavily regulated industries. Indeed, its muddled approach to health-care regulation may act as a massive drag on the American economy—what one expert has called “a $169 billion hidden tax”.
    Costing an arm and a leg

    That figure comes from a path-breaking study* of a few years ago by Christopher Conover of Duke University. It looked at the many ways in which the American legal and regulatory systems affect the provision of health services and lumped them into five categories: medical torts; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); insurance regulation; and the certification of both health professionals and health facilities. His team concluded that the overall benefit to society of $170 billion per year delivered by this system of oversight was far outweighed by the $339 billion in annual costs that it imposed (see chart). Even ignoring the cost of big federal tax breaks for employer-sponsored health insurance (which Mr Conover left out), his study estimated that the net cost of America's health regulations resulted in perhaps 4,000 extra deaths each year and was responsible for more than 7m Americans' lacking health insurance.
    Building on this point, a forthcoming paper by Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank in Washington, DC, investigates the biggest federal component of this regulatory burden: the FDA's oversight of pharmaceuticals. It notes that some 20 cents out of every dollar spent by consumers goes on purchases under the purview of the FDA, which it calls “one of the most pervasive federal agencies in the country.”

    Citing the best evidence to date on the costs and benefits of FDA regulation, Mr Cannon argues that the agency “is too slow and demands too much testing”, ultimately harming consumers. He points out that drugs regulators can make two broad types of errors. First, they might approve a drug too quickly, only to find out after its launch that it is dangerous or even deadly. Second, they could delay the launch of a highly innovative drug by demanding onerous or unnecessary trials and thereby deny many needy patients a new therapy.
    Proper regulation requires balancing these two risks, but the pitch may be queered by bureaucratic self-interest. If the regulator allows even one drug to slip through the approval process that later proves harmful to some people some of the time, a hue and cry is sure to follow. Look no further than the recent public backlash against the FDA after several deaths were linked to Vioxx, a blockbuster pain remedy made by Merck.

    And yet the second (and probably bigger) risk of leaving people untreated because of restrictions on drugs rarely gets the regulators into trouble. As Mr Cannon puts it, “no FDA official has ever been fired or faced a congressional inquiry for delaying the approval of a promising new drug, however unjustified the delay.” What is more, he speculates, big drug firms may quietly acquiesce to this burdensome red tape because it acts as a barrier to entry against newcomers without the cash or lobbying power to navigate the FDA.
    The FDA's caution may result in the biggest federal “tax” on health care identified by the Conover study but an even bigger component is to be found in America's distorted system of malpractice insurance, which is regulated at the state level. That is the conclusion of John Graham of the Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a think-tank in San Francisco. In a paper†† published this month, Mr Graham has taken Mr Conover's federal analysis and applied it to all 50 states. The idea is to rank which states allow Americans the greatest amount of “health ownership”.
    Mr Graham's analysis concludes that because regulation of health insurance and overzealous pursuit of medical torts are both typically handled at the state level, states are to blame for most of that $169 billion annual burden imposed by excessive health-care regulation (as the chart also shows). The heavy-handedness, he notes, includes groups of surgeons being denied permission to open specialist clinics because rival one-size-fits-all hospitals invoke state regulations protecting their patch. Meanwhile, enterprising “nurse-practitioners” are blocked from offering simple treatments at inexpensive clinics by state rules requiring costly supervision by doctors.
    New York—a liberal bastion and home to Hillary Clinton, who in the 1990s unsuccessfully advocated a sweeping reform of America's health provision—comes out rock bottom on the PRI ranking of health freedom. That will undoubtedly please conservatives who still deride her earlier proposals for a government-run health system, which they dub “HillaryCare”. But the unstated and awkward inference of these studies will not. If America's health-care regulations are as costly as they claim, the system is merely masquerading as a free-market model and may be no better than others.


    * A Review and Synthesis of the Cost and Benefits of Health Services Regulations", Christopher Conover, Duke University, July 2003.


    † "Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on the Food and Drug Administration?", Michael Cannon, Cato Institute, forthcoming.
    †† "US Index of Health Ownership", John Graham, Pacific Research Institute, June 2007.
    Embrace diversity: hug a conservative.

  8. #8
    My other car is a bike TruF's Avatar
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    That sucks for you, by the way!!! Don't mean to highjack this thread. The problems you are facing are too real and very, very scary. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your wife, cranky old dude.
    Embrace diversity: hug a conservative.

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    Yen
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    'dude, I'm so sorry. After reading that, and your story about your childhood, it makes me wish I didn't post about my new shoes, pedals, and so many other things that really don't matter.

    My thoughts and prayers for you and your wife.
    Specialized Roubaix Expert
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    I suggest that all government employees and all elected officials
    of States that are in debt (New York & California and the US government
    come to mind) loose their free health care coverage and they need to
    pay the Lay man's prices for their health needs.....watch the changes come
    rolling in then.

    It would also be nice to limit private industry CEO bonuses and raises
    to mirror the financial treatment that they force their workforces to
    endure.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Kurt Erlenbach's Avatar
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    The rap against "socialized" medicine always has been that it would require rationing medical care. That complaint is somewhat correct, but it ignores the fact that we already have rationed health care, rationed by the availability of employer-provided health insurance. It is simply bizarre that health insurance is tied to employment - you get sick, you lose your job, and you lose your insurance.

    You read it here first - the most important issues in the country in ten years will be climate change and health insurance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    'dude, I'm so sorry. After reading that, and your story about your childhood, it makes me wish I didn't post about my new shoes, pedals, and so many other things that really don't matter.

    My thoughts and prayers for you and your wife.
    The childhood's long past, I drank it away over 30 years ago.
    Now I watch Leave it to Beaver and smile all over. My wife has
    helped keep our household emotionally balanced and our kids
    seem to have come out unscathed.

    One of our daughters has just started her post-college life with a great
    job, the other two are second year college students with great possibilities.
    They all phone home often. We're looking foreward to grandkids, lotsa
    them.

    Thanks for the kind thoughts though.

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    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by cranky old dude View Post
    The childhood's long past, I drank it away over 30 years ago.
    Now I watch Leave it to Beaver and smile all over. My wife has
    helped keep our household emotionally balanced and our kids
    seem to have come out unscathed.

    One of our daughters has just started her post-college life with a great
    job, the other two are second year college students with great possibilities.
    They all phone home often. We're looking foreward to grandkids, lotsa
    them.

    Thanks for the kind thoughts though.
    Sounds like you have everything you need.
    Specialized Roubaix Expert
    Surly Long Haul Trucker

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    Sounds like you have everything you need.
    Thanks. Yep, we're survivors. Somehow we'll squeeze a little
    lemonade outa this mess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cranky old dude View Post
    I suggest that all government employees and all elected officials
    of States that are in debt (New York & California and the US government
    come to mind) loose their free health care coverage and they need to
    pay the Lay man's prices for their health needs.....watch the changes come
    rolling in then...
    +1, and force the members of our Congress to retire on Social Security rather than their full salary!

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerlenbach View Post
    The rap against "socialized" medicine always has been that it would require rationing medical care. That complaint is somewhat correct, but it ignores the fact that we already have rationed health care, rationed by the availability of employer-provided health insurance. It is simply bizarre that health insurance is tied to employment - you get sick, you lose your job, and you lose your insurance.
    Bottom line.

    We pay, on average, roughly twice as much per capita for healthcare as the Europeans. Based on things like infant mortality and the like, we get around the 25th best result. Not only do we pay more but we're the country that makes the smookers stand outside.

    I'm thinking we might be better off getting into bed with that devil that we don't know. He seems to be getting better results.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Rober's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerlenbach View Post
    The rap against "socialized" medicine always has been that it would require rationing medical care. That complaint is somewhat correct, but it ignores the fact that we already have rationed health care, rationed by the availability of employer-provided health insurance. It is simply bizarre that health insurance is tied to employment - you get sick, you lose your job, and you lose your insurance.

    You read it here first - the most important issues in the country in ten years will be climate change and health insurance.
    +1

    and, it seems that letting insurance companies (not the government) regulate and ration health care is like sending the monkey for the bananas. They've cherry-picked their "customer base" to yield the most healthy, least heath-risky pool of "insureables," leaving the rest - those who are really sick, very poor, and too old to land a job that will pay a "market" premium for coverage - to fend for themselves in what is essentially a poverty-delineated national health care system: TANF / Medicaid in which millions of sick people are forced to maintain sub-poverty in order to simply stay alive. I seriously doubt any federal plan for "socialized medicine" would be this heartless, and this greedy, no matter which branch of government creates and administers it.

  18. #18
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your situation, dude. Hang in there and hope things will get better.

    I'm concerned about my future insurability and how it will affect my retirement plans. I think the medical cost and insurance mess calls for more intelligent discussion of solutions and fewer scary buzz words.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rober View Post
    and, it seems that letting insurance companies (not the government) regulate and ration health care is like sending the monkey for the bananas. They've cherry-picked their "customer base" to yield the most healthy, least heath-risky pool of "insureables," leaving the rest - those who are really sick, very poor, and too old to land a job that will pay a "market" premium for coverage - to fend for themselves in what is essentially a poverty-delineated national health care system: TANF / Medicaid in which millions of sick people are forced to maintain sub-poverty in order to simply stay alive. I seriously doubt any federal plan for "socialized medicine" would be this heartless, and this greedy, no matter which branch of government creates and administers it.
    Insurance is really inefficient.

    Ultimately, on average, everybody has to pay their own medical bills. That's where insurance companies get the money to pay claims - from us.

    In addition to what they pay for actual medical expenses, insurance companies also have a lot of built-in administrative expense. The two biggest departments in any insurance company are underwriting and claims. The job of underwriting is evaluate prospective insureds and not to insure the ones who are likely to generate claims. The job of claims is to pay only claims that meet the letter of the policy.

    A single payer medical care program that covers everybody would eliminate both departments.

  20. #20
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Bottom line.

    We pay, on average, roughly twice as much per capita for healthcare as the Europeans. Based on things like infant mortality and the like, we get around the 25th best result. .

    You are over-ranking us. The USA is 37th in infant mortality, 45th in life expectancy, and 37th in overall health care, according to the World Health Organization.

    But we are #1 in total health care expenditures. By a wide margin.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

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    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
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    cranky old dude

    You guys will be in my prayers! I am not insurable and if it wasn't for the VA I would really be in trouble.
    Hopefully, your wife will be able to get the medications that she needs to slow the progress of MS and/or improve her quality of life.
    F Thomas

    "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
    Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

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    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    I won't go into the politics and the more than enough blame to share between the red and the blue but it's been pretty clear over the past 20 years or so that the average American citizen has been abandoned in this country and it really hurts to say that.

    Several years back, Mrs S had "something" she needed to get through and her doctor at the time (who finally became so disgusted with "managed health care" that he quit his practice) would rail against the insurance companies who, frankly, did not -and still don't- care if you live or die. He defied them and gave her the care she needed but I don't envy anyone today who finds themselves in the position you're facing, Ol' Dude. I can't tell you how angry I am about it, even as I type this.

    FIGHT THE POWER !!!

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    Senior Member Rober's Avatar
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    I practice in community mental health for the majority of my week. I witness, first hand, the draconian maneuverings of insurance companies in their attempts to skate out of paying for necessary clinical care. Under the rather sanctimonious cover of "cost-effective care," and prodded on by Big Pharma, they push pills as the solution for everything under the sun from simple depression, to PTSD, to schizophrenia and then, to add insult to injury, anything beyond 30 days worth of pills requires a pre-auth! They won't pay for brand names either, if a crappy generic is available. But the most horrendous thing to me is that they seem to think that mental health care is simply a matter of ridding a patient of a symptom. He11, you can do that with vodka, crack, and heroin - as millions of mentally ill people already have - making matters much, much worse in the long run. To your basic HMO, mental health care has been trivialized down to symptom abatement - at which point they consider the condition to be "in remission" and no longer worthy of attention - or coverage. Horse****!
    Last edited by Rober; 08-02-08 at 06:24 PM.

  24. #24
    Old Fogy
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    The wife and I are either going to have to come up with $200.00 more a month, or settle for less coverage, starting next July. I suppose the millionaires that run our health insurance program need the money to pay their bonuses. It doesn't seem fair that they can raise the rates at will, but I guess that's how it works. We will have to opt for reduced coverage; we can't afford the extra money and still buy gas and groceries.

  25. #25
    dit
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    The insurance companies with the help of our federal government has made a mockery out of our health care. The courts have created the whole mess. Health care is now only affordable to the affluent, very poor, government employees, and the few that have really good jobs. Most of the "well paying" jobs are going away by the thousands every month. Workers earning $10 to $12 and hour can not afford families or health care and these are 90% of the jobs available today. The middle class is quickly disappearing and this has been accellerated by our executive branch and congress. These people no longer represent the working man. My grandchildren are going to have a heck of a struggle ahead of them and it is our fault for not being diligent concerning government. God I miss spell check.

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