Health Care Insurance
  • EvestayEvestay September 2008
    how many in this country really go uninsured? I know you guys will rip this article to shreds but I want to post it anyway:
    The Census Bureau doesn't tell us that 45.7 million people are chronically uninsured for the entire year. The agency has stated elsewhere that "the CPS estimate of the number of people without health insurance more closely approximates the number of people who are uninsured at a specific point in time during the year than the number of people uninsured for the entire year."

    In other words, many of the survey respondents counted as "uninsured" may have experienced only a temporary interruption in their insurance. This circumstance is quite common. When workers quit or lose their job, they are technically uninsured. But they are usually in transition between one employer-provided insurance policy and another.

    We may be accustomed to thinking of the uninsured as low-income individuals and struggling families. But the Census Bureau data show that many are relatively affluent. Over 17.5 million -- 38 percent -- of the uninsured make more than $50,000 a year.

    If the fact that over a third of the uninsured are pulling down more than $50,000 a year isn’t shocking enough, how about this: Nearly 10 million uninsured aren't even U.S. citizens!

    It's certainly unfortunate that these individuals don't have health insurance, of course. But they can still get free treatment in emergency rooms. And even a fully nationalized healthcare system would be unlikely to provide them with health insurance.

    Another 14 million of the uninsured are fully eligible for government assistance through programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP.
    How does that break down? A 2008 study by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute showed that a whopping 70 percent of uninsured children are eligible for Medicaid, SCHIP, or both programs. And roughly 27 percent of non-elderly Americans who are eligible for Medicaid haven’t enrolled and simply live their lives without health insurance, according to the Urban Institute.

    Of course, there are people who really do fall through the cracks. These are the chronically uninsured -- the working poor. They are people who struggle to hold down jobs and support their families. They earn less than $50,000 per year but too much to qualify for government help. They simply can’t afford insurance.

    There are roughly 8 million of these chronically uninsured. Any attempt to solve the problem of the uninsured should focus on this narrow slice of the 45.7 million person pie.
  • NunesNunes September 2008
    So it should be really easy to help them get insurance. Right?
  • Black+BalloonBlack Balloon September 2008
    All the more reason to kick up a plan. The fewer people that need the help, the less that needs to be spent.
  • NunesNunes September 2008
    And educate educate educate. The majority of people who are, but don't need to be, uninsured are almost definitely uninsured due to ignorance of whatever program they need to belong to to get covered. I know that I'm one of those uninsured folks <50k/year and I have no idea what to do to get insured besides get it through Gore if I get hired.

    Also, this entire article is a fantastic argument for a little reform in the existing system and much less extra money than we thought.

    If there is shoddy coverage offered in the system, make it up to snuff. Find or create programs that will help the remaining 8 million people and you're done.
  • NunesNunes September 2008
    I was just reading about mccain's health care proposal. Has anybody taken the time to think about it?

    As I understand it (barely, that is to say), McCain wants to treat your employer-provided health insurance as taxable income. So a 5k insurance policy adds 5k to your income. This disincentivizes employer-provided insurance and drives people to buy their insurance privately. He would open up state borders to allow people in NY to buy insurance from KY, where it should be cheaper. He would then provide you with a 2500 dollar tax credit that you can spend on insurance for yourself, or 5k if you have a family.

    Problems I see:
    Individual insurance is MUCH more expensive than group rates that employers receive. What this means is a lot of people will probably end up with inferior insurance that is more expensive. Also that 2500 dollars goes straight to your insurance company, so rather than actually giving YOU 2500 bucks he's giving insurance companies money you never see, removing transparency from the transaction and giving insurance companies effectively free reign to jack already rising costs even higher.

    Does anybody see this plan panning out well for them? I know this would fuck me up royally, but I'm just one dude.
  • JeddHamptonJeddHampton September 2008
    The idea is that national competition with health care will lower prices. It could and should. His system has many variables in it and relies on the market. I have no problem with that. There really is only one way to tell how any of these plans will work out in the end.
  • NunesNunes September 2008
    Meanwhile your job could cut healthcare outright, and should in the free market system and the mythical second half of this that would benefit us would still take years of competition to take place.

    When has this ACTUALLY worked in our modern economy? Ever.

    You don't even see gas station competition drive prices down, do you think that something as opaque as the health insurance industry is going to avoid this opportunity to shaft you with absolutely no consequences?
  • GovernorGovernor September 2008
    It's more of an ideal than anything else. The market today can barely be called a free market. Regulation makes competition less effective, and we have a lot of regulation.

    If you want to look at competition, look at industries that aren't regulated heavily. Computers, for example: Competition drives incredible innovation and unimaginably low prices. Or take it a step further to software: when Microsoft was on top of the world and had almost no competition from anyone, they produced Windows 98 and ME. When competition arose, they produced XP. When competition got more prominent, they produced Vista. You get better and cheaper products as more people compete.

    Gas stations are a horrible example of competition because they're not really competing. The oil industry is so entrenched in our federal politics that they can all make unheard amounts of money through manipulating it. The whole industry flourishes by having its fingers through the legislative and executive branches. When the federal government steps in to regulate, the oil industry steps into the federal government to manipulate the government's new-found influence on their industry so that they can make massive amounts of dough. Who needs competition when you're handed your billions on a silver platter by the very people who are suppose to be hurting you to help the people.

    Obviously the health care industry is in the same boat as the oil companies when it comes to their influence on Washington, though. That's why, as an ideal, McCain's system is good. But in practice, in the current state of the federal government, it wouldn't help the average joe get health insurance.

    The solution to that is limiting the scope and influence of the federal government so that having influence in it doesn't really help you that much.
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