Friday, August 7, 2009

CODE BLUE

This essay is well thought out and lays out our disastrous sytem and how desperate we need a complete overhaul....thnx palmerjoe for your brilliant work..

I would like comment on it, though theUnited States has the most expensive healthcare system in the world, 47 millionAmericans have no health insurance. Healthcare is the country's largest economicsector, accounting for over $2 trillion in annual expenditures—four times largerthan national defense. Yet millions cannot afford to take care of their healthneeds, and the prospects are getting worse. During the past eight years,insurance premiums have nearly doubled, resulting in health insurance movingfarther out of reach for millions. Burgeoning medical bills are increasinglyleaving families drowning in debt. Tragically, one-half of all personalbankruptcies are caused by medical bills.> Hospital emergency rooms are stretched beyond capacity, as the number ofemergency visits increased to 120 million a year in 2006, up from 90 million tenyears earlier. At the same time, the number of hospital emergency departmentsdropped by 7%, according to the 2009 National Report Card on the State ofEmergency Medicine. Millions of sick people who cannot afford medical care aredesperately pouring into emergency rooms, which by law cannot turn them away.> The U.S. healthcare system is financed by premiums, the collection of moniespaid for health insurance. At the same time, healthcare providers must bereimbursed for services dispensed. The responsibilities for these are shared byinsurance companies and the government.> The U.S. is the only developed country, except for South Korea, that does notprovide healthcare for all its citizens. What is unique about the U.S. system isthat the private element dominates the public one. For example, the KaiserFoundation reported that 61% of non-elderly Americans in 2006 received insurancethrough their employers; 14% were enrolled in public insurance programs likeMedicaid; and 18% were uninsured. Those over age 65 were usually enrolled inMedicare.
Here is how the system is organized:>> Private Health Insurance:> Employer-sponsored Insurance: The main way Americans receive health insurancecoverage is through their employers. Companies provide this as part of theirbenefits package. These plans are administered by insurance companies bothfor-profit (Aetna, Cigna, State Farm, for example), and not-for-profit (BlueCross/Blue Shield).>> Some large companies choose to "self-insure," that is they pay the healthcosts directly while choosing a third-party (usually an insurer) to administerthe plan. Employer-sponsored plans are financed partly by the employers who paymost of the premium, and partly by employees who pay the remainder.>> Individual Health Insurance: This option covers individuals for whom insuranceis not provided through their employers, those who are self-employed, andretirees. Plans are provided by private insurance companies. Insured individualspay the full health insurance premium.>> Public Health Insurance:> Medicare: This is a program provided by the federal government which coversindividuals aged 65 and older, and disabled individuals as well. It is fundedthrough federal income tax, as well as taxes on employers and employees, andpremium payments by those enrolled. Medicare covers hospital services, physicianservices and prescription drug benefits.>> Medicaid: This program is designed for low-income individuals and those whoare disabled. States are required by law to provide coverage for children, theelderly, the disabled, parents and poor pregnant women. Adults without childrenare not covered, as well as poor individuals who earn too much. A comprehensiveset of benefits is offered by the program, including prescription drugs.However, in spite of this, many of those enrolled still have problems findingproviders that accept Medicaid, because of its low rate of reimbursement.>
> Other Public Systems: These include the Veteran's Administration (VA), whichprovides healthcare for military veterans in VA hospitals and clinics, which aregovernment-owned, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP),which covers children whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, buttoo little to purchase private health insurance.> Individuals and businesses pay premiums to insurance companies that pay thoseinsured when claims are made. In many cases, insurers make payments directly tothe healthcare providers instead of to the claimants; this depends upon the typeof plan chosen. Both individuals and businesses pay income taxes to thegovernment, which fund programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and othergovernment-funded health insurance programs. The government also uses money fromtaxes to reimburse providers for services to members of government programs.>> The U.S. spends a higher percentage of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) onhealthcare than other industrialized countries.> The reasons for the high cost of care in the U.S. include factors such as therising cost of technology and prescription drugs, and high administrative costsfrom the country's complex multiple payer system. Approximately one-third (31%)of all healthcare dollars are spent on administrative costs. Further, another10% of U.S. expenses are spent on "defensive medicine"—the costly tests bydoctors, afraid of missing anything, who risk being sued for malpractice.>> Another contributing factor is the shift from "non-profit" to "for-profit"healthcare providers, such as the growth of for-profit hospital chains. Also,the large number of uninsured people is significantly contributing to risingcosts because conditions that could have been detected, treated and prevented intheir early stages go undetected and later develop into full-blown crises. Thesethen require more expensive procedures that may even include intensive care oremergency room treatment.>> Due to rising costs, many employers have been forced to cut back or drop theirhealth insurance plans. As the number of uninsured grows, hospitals and otherhealthcare providers must compensate through "cost shifting" at the expense oftaxpayers and higher premiums for those with insurance.>> Even public programs have been affected. The country's aging population isboosting spending on healthcare. It is estimated that one-half of Medicare fundsare being used to support sick people in their last stages of life. Expertsestimate that Medicare funds will be exhausted by 2018.>> Every year, hospitals turn millions of dollars in unpaid bills over tocollection agencies.>> The solution is not going to be an easy one, big insurance and pharmycompanies are structured to operate as a huge profit making machines and theyhave powerful lobby in Washington. It's going to take restructuring of medicalfield as well as insurance and pharmys, easier said than done.

http://healthcare-economist.com/2008/04/23/health-care-around-the-world-switzerland/

2 comments:

  1. I know this is off topic, but I guess I need to find a new broker. Morgan Stanley will not allow clients to purchase short ETFs anymore. Wanted some DTO, but denied! haha This is like a bad joke Kli. Shows me how bad things really are, I'm scared.

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  2. you better be scared.....this is a titanic struggle by the PTB to convince you the water is fine

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