Patterico's Pontifications

3/7/2014

NYT: ObamaCare Forcing People to Buy “Better” Policies

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am

New York Times editorial:

The Obama administration announced a new policy on Wednesday that will allow many people to renew their existing insurance policies for two more years even though the policies don’t provide the comprehensive coverage and consumer protections required by the Affordable Care Act. The move is designed to provide political cover for Democratic senators facing tough re-election campaigns in Republican-leaning states where the president is especially unpopular.

The Democrats have been hit with a barrage of attack ads from conservative political-action groups highlighting the cases of individuals who complained that they faced higher premiums when their old (less comprehensive) policies were canceled and they were forced to buy new (and better) policies on the health care exchanges established by the reform law. Now the last date for renewing the old policies has been pushed past the 2014 midterm elections, reducing the likelihood of complaints on the eve of voting.

This is a basic concept, but some people don’t get it, so I’ll repeat it. What’s “better” for me is what I choose for myself. My choice might be right and it might be wrong — but I know my circumstances better than the government, and if anyone is going to get it right (or have the opportunity to mess it up) it should be me. Not the government. Me.

So don’t tell me that people are being forced to buy “better” policies. Putting aside the fact that much of what makes the policies “better” is stuff that doesn’t even apply to them — is my policy better for me, a male, if it provides childbearing services? — the issue of whether it’s “better” is to be decided by the individual. If they didn’t choose to buy them, it’s not better for them. Maybe they have less money and better health. For those people, catastrophic coverage — the kind ObamaCare is outlawing — might be “better.”

The point is, it should be our choice. But that’s the way of the left, isn’t it? They always know “better” than you do.

BY THE WAY:

The new health insurance marketplaces appear to be making little headway in signing up Americans who lack insurance, the Affordable Care Act’s central goal, according to a pair of new surveys.

Only one in 10 uninsured people who qualify for private plans through the new marketplaces enrolled as of last month, one of the surveys shows. The other found that about half of uninsured adults have looked for information on the online exchanges or planned to look.

Great success!

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 7.47.56 AM

148 Responses to “NYT: ObamaCare Forcing People to Buy “Better” Policies”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. Dongey dong dong

    Colonel Haiku (624695)

  3. Outright lie on NYT part. Forced onto a “bronze” plan by our insurer at beginning of year. Took wife to ER last month middle of night for abdominal pain. One CAT scan, one blood panel, some pain meds and four hours later…. $14K. Insurer “adjusted” $2500 out of bill and paid $2500. Unpaid is $9K.

    SPQR (768505)

  4. Oh, SPQR, can you sue somebody??

    And people are out the premiums they paid because they were misled about what the policy covered as well. Like the guy who purchased dental insurance for his kids, then was told by the dentist it’s only for pediatrics. After a news reporter challenged the company, they allowed him to cancel but no refund yet.

    Patricia (be0117)

  5. We have a great policy, which fortunately is grandfathered in. It doesn’t comply with the affordable care act because it doesn’t cover pregnancy related services, which significantly lowered its price. Given our age and other details that nobody really needs to know about, we didn’t think we needed coverage for pregnancy, so we were happy to save the money.

    If the policy was not grandfathered in we would have to pay lots more for additional coverage that we don’t need.

    Roscoe (15d927)

  6. The NYT outright admits that the Democrats are making changes in the ACA for the sole reason of protecting their own political fortunes.

    I don’t care what side of the aisle you’re on, the fact that politicians are openly willing to screw with your health care options for their own gain should infuriate you.

    Blue Ox (819ba2)

  7. #3… good Lord, SPQR… that is shocking, to say the least. That true scenario would be gist for a great letter to the NYT, if they actually printed the letters of anyone other than their fevered leftist readership.

    Colonel Haiku (624695)

  8. I thought I had dodged the cancellation bullet. Not that my anger at the incalculable stress, torment and threatened finances and health of the millions whose plans were cancelled was lessened any by that assumption. Obamacare remains an act of state-sponsored tyranny and sadism inflicted upon the economic liberty and the well-being of millions of Americans.

    Then, I received a letter from my insurer (Carefirst BlueCross BlueShield), a couple of days ago, containing the opening line, “In October 2013…we notified you that your plan would no longer be available upon your 2014 anniversary date.” Thing is, I never received any cancellation letter. On the contrary, because I had been aware that cancellation letters were being sent out to various insureds (from following the news), and, because I had not received such a letter, and because I was uncertain as whether I would, I affirmatively e-mailed Carefirst in Fall 2013, requesting information as to the renewal status of my plan. In response, I received an ambiguous message containing no concrete information as to plan status, whatsoever. However, at no time during 2013 did I ever receive any communications from Carefirst — formal or otherwise — notifying me as to my plan’s cancellation.

    It is my understanding that, had I actually received timely formal notice in 2013 that my plan would not be renewed, I would have been allowed, as a matter of right, to cancel my plan and to renew it in December 2013, so that I would have had another year of coverage, until December 2014.

    I asked Carefirst to allow me to renew my plan for another year; if it denies this, then I’ll file a complaint with my state insurance office, and will also consider filing a civil suit. This is what Obamacare has wrought; this is how I have to spend my time and energy now.

    By the way, my pre-ACA plan is pretty damn good – PPO plan; $161.58 monthly premium (up 18.5% from the year before); $1,200 deductible in-network; $2,400 deductible out-of-network; $2,800 out-of-pocket maximum in-network; $5,000 maximum out-of-network.

    I’ve extensively researched the ACA-compliant plans across numerous states — they are, by any reasonable measure, decidedly worse than those that were offered pre-ACA, featuring ridiculously high deductibles; vastly more restrictive doctor and hospital networks; and, obscenely high out-of-pocket maximum limits. Why would anyone pay $250-$400 per month in premiums for the “privilege” of paying the first $5,000 or $6,000 of their medical expenses out-of-pocket? I could do that without the benefit of insurance.

    Obamacare has so completely distorted the bargain between insured and insurer, to the point that, if one doesn’t qualify for a government subsidy, it makes no economic sense to obtain insurance, if one is in good health. This abomination must be destroyed.

    Guy Jones (df6cf0)

  9. Watch hospital billing… My wife had outpatient surgery and hospital would not quote prior to operation (badly broken wrist in fall–had a few days to schedule operation–Hospital said it is not possible to give any pricing at all).

    A few days later, hospital billed $10,000 an hour for recovery (laying in bed with I/V+blanket). Nurse told wife she could take the pillow with her (still a bit groggy)–Wonder what pillow would have cost?

    If you have any assets–They will go hook and tongs for any thing you have.

    Complained to insurance company about high charges and they said it was the agreed billing costs.

    BfC (a1cf00)

  10. How can Obama’s policy matter? Insurance policies are subject to state regulations. If an insurance plan is no longer allowed in a state, there’s very little the federal government can do to change that.

    Chuck Bartowski (11fb31)

  11. The other found that about half of uninsured adults have looked for information on the online exchanges or planned to look.

    I love how they have to add the “planned to look” category in order to reach the 50% threshold. After three months there is supposedly a huge chunk of uninsured who have been meaning to check out the exchanges but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. That’s probably the same group that “plans to drop 25 pounds” this spring or “plans to clean out the garage” or “plans to read more and watch less television.”

    JVW (9946b6)

  12. The question left unasked seems to be, If they are better policies, why are people being forced to by them?

    Stephen Macklin (220bb1)

  13. Our esteemed host wrote:

    My choice might be right and it might be wrong — but I know my circumstances better than the government, and if anyone is going to get it right (or have the opportunity to mess it up) it should be me. Not the government. Me.

    The problem isn’t really whether you get it right or wrong, because you are the person who should decide what is right for you.

    My wife is 54 years old and past menopause; why does Barack Hussein Obama think that he has the right to decide that our purchasing contraceptive coverage is the right thing for our family?

    The non-judgemental Dana (3e4784)

  14. What’s “better” for me is what I choose for myself. My choice might be right and it might be wrong — but I know my circumstances better than the government, and if anyone is going to get it right (or have the opportunity to mess it up) it should be me.

    Precisely. And while you’re correct that “better” can be subjective, what actually is “better” in point of fact is not the issue. Rather, the government’s use of force is.

    It’s one thing for the government to use force in order to protect an individual’s rights — for example, arresting drunk drivers who threaten the lives and property of others. It’s a whole other matter for the government to be forcing one to do what the government determines to be in his “best interests” — or, in this instance, to buy “better” health insurance plans.

    J.P. (bd0246)

  15. SPQR,

    I take it that the new plan doesn’t cover the hospital and/or the ER doctors that saw her. The narrowness of the plans is stunning here in Los Angeles. The only plan here with a hope of covering a large group of good doctors and hospitals is Blue Cross, since they are accepted by the UCLA Health System, which is ubiquitous here. But it pays nothing if you go out-of-network, even for an emergency.

    Most people will blame this on the insurance company, those b@stards!

    Kevin M (dbcba4)

  16. The problem isn’t that Obaminablecare is collapsing, because the Democrats expected that all along, as their path to single-payer. The problem is that it is collapsing even as it is starting, much faster than they expected, and doing so in a way which hurts Democratic incumbents.

    The realistic Dana (3e4784)

  17. Mr Ox wrote:

    I don’t care what side of the aisle you’re on, the fact that politicians are openly willing to screw with your health care options for their own gain should infuriate you.

    You’re kidding, right? Is there anything with which politicians are unwilling to mess for their own gain?

    The Dana who isn't that naïve (3e4784)

  18. You can see by the way I putt,
    That I’m deeply concerned
    About your health care costs
    No time to talk
    My tee time’s at four.

    Staying alive, staying alive
    You’re causing the problem
    By … staying alive.

    nk (dbc370)

  19. Dear NY Times:

    Please come to my house and look at my wife’s old and new policies and identify for me what she is getting for the 30% bump in premiums? At her age she is unlikely to use any reproductive services, and her old policy covered a number of routine things like mammograms. We have no children under 26. Generic drug coverage isn’t very interesting when most generic drugs can be obtained cheaper than the policy’s co-pay.

    The only real difference between her old catastrophic plan and her new bronze plan is that there are first-dollar benefits and a slightly higher total OOP cap on the new plan. But she’s healthy, so this is pretty much a more expensive catastrophic plan, gussied up for the sensitivities of liberals.

    Kevin M (dbcba4)

  20. You’re kidding, right? Is there anything with which politicians are unwilling to mess for their own gain?

    Um, reducing the size of government?

    Kevin M (dbcba4)

  21. The problem is that it is collapsing even as it is starting, much faster than they expected, and doing so in a way which hurts Democratic incumbents.

    And in such a catastrophic way that is dooms the idea of single-payer for a generation.

    Compared to Obamacare, Operation Market Garden was a rousing success.

    Kevin M (dbcba4)

  22. The gov’t knows which doctors are substandard and needs to herd the sheep to the ‘better’ (obedient) ones.

    If we like your doctor, you can keep ‘em.

    Teflon Dad (53f3f7)

  23. 19. Dear NY Times:

    Please come to my house and look at my wife’s old and new policies and identify for me what she is getting for the 30% bump in premiums?

    Comment by Kevin M (dbcba4) — 3/7/2014 @ 10:50 am

    Social justice, Mr. Kevin M.!

    Her new plan addresses the “maldistribution of income,” as ex-Sen. Max Baucus proclaimed in drunken triumph to a fawning press.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY4Qbv7gPbo#t=16

    The new plans are better because they suit the needs of government. Which is playing on class envy and greed to appeal to people who think they have the right to live on your dime.

    As elissa once said, you don’t expect Obama and the democrats to buy votes with nothin’ do you?

    Just wait until they get around to nationalizing your 401(k) or IRA. They’ll force you to take a new, “better” retirement plan guaranteed by the USG then, as well.

    “There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”
    ― Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

    Nakamoto Satoshi aka Steve57 (927d18)

  24. On Thursday, March 6, the New York Times also ran this Op-ed piece by Ezekiel J. Emanuel:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/06/opinion/in-health-care-choice-is-overrated.html

    He argues that people enrolled in Kaiser Permanente don’t complain about a lack of choice, so, he claims, the real issue is quality.

    He admits to four ways choice could help (or at least reaszsure (foolish?) people

    1) There should be network adequacy, meaning by him, enough providers.

    2) Insurance companies should publish how they measure their high performing providers and consumers ashould be able to see who is included.

    3) There needs to be better measures of doctor quality than “U.S. News and World Report’s flawed rankings or hearsay from acquaintances.”

    4) Insurance companies should allow people to obtain second opinions from “recognized center of excellence.”
    =====================================

    Now I say word of mouth actually is good, especially about really bad quality. If customers (patients) are guaranteed, people won’t leave them and they’ll be able to stay in business.

    And when you have a new system, quality can start to deteriorate. Would a “cenbter of excellence”” even exist if that system had been in place all the time.

    And sometimes there are much better things.

    Example: stroke units, or just knowing to lower the body temperature of people who have had strokes. There are acertain fraction of patients or patient families who know things, and otehr people benefit from that too.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  25. Of course what I really hate is the slowdown in medical progress. If something new is discovered it will take 10 to 20 years (minimum) till it will be used.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  26. More from Zeke Emanuel:

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116752/ezekiel-emanuel-book-excerpt-end-health-insurance-companies

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303426304579402872207487810

    Mammograms Aren’t Perfect But They Still Save Lives

    Recent news reports aside, mammography is effective and should begin at age 45.

    By Ezekiel J. Emanuel And Daniel F. Hayes

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  27. If something new is discovered it will take 10 to 20 years (minimum) till it will be used.

    As I understand it, a bureaucratic committee will decide which new ideas are worthwhile of pursuing.

    Kevin M (dbcba4)

  28. Kevin M., the ER we attended was nearest. It was “covered” as much as any. The plan’s copay and deductables accounted for the $9K unpaid portion of the $14K bill.

    SPQR (768505)

  29. Best of the web, March 4:

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303630904579419322588610180?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303630904579419322588610180.html

    A Reprieve, but for Whom?

    The latest ObamaCare delay is self-serving.

    …… The idea, as described by the Hill, is to minimize the number of consumers victimized before Election Day by President Obama’s you-can-keep-your-plan fraud. Although perhaps it would be more precisely accurate to say the idea is to minimize the number of consumers who know before Election Day that they’re victims of the fraud….

    …The political imperative is clear. If Republicans take a Senate majority–a strong possibility, given that Democrats are defending many seats on unfriendly terrain–then the Senate GOP, for the first time in Obama’s presidency, have the ability to force votes on legislation, and even to push some Republican bills through Congress.

    True, the president has his veto pen (or is it a phone?), but he hasn’t used it since the Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act of 2010. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has seen to it that bills Obama opposes never make it to the floor of the Senate, which frees the president from the political cost of vetoing anything popular…

    …To be sure, although Obama doesn’t want Congress making any changes to ObamaCare, he isn’t wedded to the law itself, as evidenced by the administration’s numerous delays, waivers, exceptions and outright deviations from its mandates…

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  30. 27. Comment by Kevin M (dbcba4) — 3/7/2014 @ 1:28 pm

    As I understand it, a bureaucratic committee will decide which new ideas are worthwhile of pursuing.

    It’s going on already. The average age of people getting NIH grants has gone up.

    This means they tend to support only sure things.

    But I am talking about the delays because of drug and medical device approval. Even changes in medical practice are very very slow. Now you can do stupid things. But a set of rules is no substitute for judgment.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  31. 22. Comment by Teflon Dad (53f3f7) — 3/7/2014 @ 11:59 am

    The gov’t knows which doctors are substandard and needs to herd the sheep to the ‘better’ (obedient) ones.

    The government assumes (in its planning) that all doctors are equally good.

    Even if they started out that way, they wouldn’t be if there is not enough choice.

    If we like your doctor, you can keep ‘em.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  32. Comment by Guy Jones (df6cf0) — 3/7/2014 @ 8:56 am

    Why would anyone pay $250-$400 per month in premiums for the “privilege” of paying the first $5,000 or $6,000 of their medical expenses out-of-pocket?

    No good reason, unless:

    A) You have enormous assets to protect, and don’t feel the pain of the high price.

    B) Your predictable costs are higher than that.

    Obama and company assume that many people will buy these policies, and that the subsidies are big enough, because if they don’t, the math doesn’t work.

    The math doesn’t work because medical inflation has reached such a level, but I think things ahve just reachd the breaking point. Premiums, deductible and co-pays have gone way up.

    And did I mention – the prices an uninsured person actually pays aren’t fixed.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  33. Adjective laden Dana, great comments at 16 & 17.

    Dana (c3ab4c)

  34. Obamacare has so completely distorted the bargain between insured and insurer, to the point that, if one doesn’t qualify for a government subsidy, it makes no economic sense to obtain insurance, if one is in good health.

    Correct, but Obama is not yet ready to admit it.

    When people with pre-existing conditions could be excluded, the math did work for the others.

    In New York State, where there was community rating, and no age discrimination either, individual policies cost $1500 a month before Obamacare, but there weren’t many, except for people who felt an obligation to be insured.

    People sometimes joined groups, or even paid employers to put them on the books.

    Employer policies by their very nature have a smaller number of very sick or disabled people, so the premiuims are nowehere near that high.

    Employer provided policies are a form of adverse selection.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  35. The latest strategy, I’ve read, is to postpone the mandate for ten years. By that time, alternative programs will be available. One example is high deductible combined with HSAs. That may still happen before November. It may look like this with doctors who have dropped insurance and take only cash. Those that do tend to drop a lot of overhead with insurance and Medicare billing and lower prices. Some hospitals, especially those that are excluded from Obamacare, may go to cash as well.

    MikeK (cd7278)

  36. #3, Tell them to send the bill to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC 20500, attn: Ezekial Emanuel

    Rodney King's Spirit (ca9e04)

  37. Uninsured patients — the most profitable customers in the medical field.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    All Obamacare does is make them unprofitable.

    Rodney King's Spirit (ca9e04)

  38. “If you like your pre-existing condition, you can keep it.”

    Colonel Haiku (624695)

  39. ==My wife is 54 years old and past menopause;==

    Uh Mr. Dana, your comments @ 16 and 17 are excellent. But does your wife know that @ 13 you published her age on the internet for the whole world to see ?

    elissa (271642)

  40. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304554004579425283917275444?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702304554004579425283917275444.html

    Best of the Web Today

    Empty Souk

    The uninsured aren’t buying what the ObamaCare marketplace is selling

    ObamaCare is now in the sixth and final month of its extended inaugural open-enrollment period. If you want to buy medical insurance through the exchange–a big if, we realize–you have until the end of the month to do it, or wait till autumn to buy a policy for next year.

    This column has analyzed the disaster of ObamaCare in terms of three phases. Phase 1, the technical failure, was evident as soon as open enrollment began on Oct. 1 and many of the exchange websites proved to have been incompetently designed. Technical problems continue to emerge, including, as noted here last week, the Internal Revenue Service’s tardiness in preparing the final instructions for Form 8960, which taxpayers must file if they owe the new ObamaCare “net investment income tax.”

    Phase 2 is the revelation that ObamaCare’s central promise–”if you like your plan, you can keep your plan”–was fraudulent.

    In an effort to appease defrauded consumers, the Obama administration has announced a series of unlegislated exceptions to the law, which the president himself attempted to explain the other day….

    ….The third phase of failure is the slow revelation that the basic economic assumptions behind ObamaCare are wrong….

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  41. My “better” plan has fewer doctor choices and 50% higher costs. I am so grateful that Obama the Magnificent took the time to provide this to me.

    PerfectSense (4d5c72)

  42. Obama’s biggest mistake was delaying implementation while lying about how good it was, over and over. He had to do it for fiscal reasons, but it then was dumped on our heads in a pretty spectacular fashion.

    Patricia (be0117)

  43. Social justice, Mr. Kevin M.!

    Her new plan addresses the “maldistribution of income,” as ex-Sen. Max Baucus proclaimed in drunken triumph to a fawning press.

    Well, then they can explain why 2% of the population carries the whole load of the necessary sacrifice. Their answer should probably be that everyone else gets screwed later, but they can’t actually admit that.

    Kevin M (dbcba4)

  44. The gov’t knows which doctors are substandard and needs to herd the sheep to the ‘better’ (obedient) ones.

    Well, looking at the networks around here, it must be that speaking English is the mark of a poor doctor.

    Kevin M (dbcba4)

  45. Kevin M., the ER we attended was nearest. It was “covered” as much as any. The plan’s copay and deductables accounted for the $9K unpaid portion of the $14K bill.

    Hmmm. This is actually how it is supposed to work, although last year the plan might have been a bit better.

    As I’ve said in the past, the normal bronze plans are pretty much catastrophic coverage with the worst parts of pre-paid medical thrown in (e.g. high premiums and unneeded pre-bought services).

    The main thing about such plans are that there is a big hit if you really need care, but after that you’re protected from life-altering charges. It at least did that, and if there are any complications or follow-ups they should be covered 100%.

    Kevin M (dbcba4)

  46. SPQR,

    A number of years ago my wife had a miscarriage 6 days before her maternity policy took effect. Trust me when I say that things could be worse.

    Kevin M (dbcba4)

  47. The government should make people buy better newspapers instead of the New York Times.

    malclave (1db6c5)

  48. Kevin M., don’t misunderstand. This ER bill is not a problem. I’m just reconsidering my decision to buy insurance at all. I’m betting that I could have gotten a better “no insurance” cash price from the ER that was less out of pocket.

    I still may. I’m going to be going over the billing detail with a magnifying glass.

    SPQR (768505)

  49. SPQR, I haven’t bought health insurance for years. I get a significant discount when I pay cash.

    This is typical.

    http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Patients-negotiate-for-care-with-cash-3819735.php

    Palo Alto resident Ed Lee routinely negotiates for his own health care services, everything from the cost of a scan to an urgent-care visit – often securing discounts of 30 to 50 percent off the original charges.

    Lee, 61, a self-employed public relations expert in the semiconductor industry, started bypassing his health insurance and paying out of pocket last year when he realized that premiums and deductibles were costing him more than $12,000 before his insurer paid a dime.

    With that decision, Lee became part of a new breed of health care consumer – people who pay such a large portion of their health costs that they’re questioning the value of insurance. And because they’re footing so much of the bill, they feel they owe it to themselves to get a decent price.

    The arguments of the Obama administration are Orwellian. They argue in the court of public opinion that I must get insurance or I’m burdening everyone else. Yet I’ve never burdened anyone else, unless the rest of you are secretly chipping in to pay my Visa bill.

    Yet the argue before the Supreme Court that they must enslave young healthy people to pay for other people’s health care or else their scheme won’t work.

    They argue against free riders who aren’t in fact free riders, while simultaneously creating new classes of free riders who must by definition rely on other people to pay their bills.

    Freedom from job lock, anyone?

    As far as I’m concerned in the unlikely event I’d have to go bankrupt to pay for an expensive health event it’d be worth it. I could sell my assets to pay for my health care. Why should “society” pick up the cost.

    And in any case you’re covered by other forms of insurance most of the time. It’s absurd to argue I must carry health insurance because I could get hit by a bus. There’s a reason why bus companies and municipalities carry liability insurance. If I get hit by a bus and it’s the bus driver’s fault, my insurance isn’t going to cover the expense. Their liability insurance will.

    Final thought, just to confirm your instincts are right:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/27/business/la-fi-medical-prices-20120527

    Many hospitals, doctors offer cash discount for medical bills
    HEALTHCARE’S HIGH COST
    The lowest price is usually available only if patients don’t use their health insurance. In one case, blood tests that cost an insured patient $415 would have been $95 in cash.
    May 27, 2012|By Chad Terhune

    A Long Beach hospital charged Jo Ann Snyder $6,707 for a CT scan of her abdomen and pelvis after colon surgery. But because she had health insurance with Blue Shield of California, her share was much less: $2,336.

    Then Snyder tripped across one of the little-known secrets of healthcare: If she hadn’t used her insurance, her bill would have been even lower, just $1,054.

    …Unknown to most consumers, many hospitals and physicians offer steep discounts for cash-paying patients regardless of income. But there’s a catch: Typically you can get the lowest price only if you don’t use your health insurance.

    That disparity in pricing is coming under fire from people like Snyder, who say it’s unfair for patients who pay hefty insurance premiums and deductibles to be penalized with higher rates for treatment.

    The difference in price can be stunning. Los Alamitos Medical Center, for instance, lists a CT scan of the abdomen on a state website for $4,423. Blue Shield says its negotiated rate at the hospital is about $2,400.

    When The Times called for a cash price, the hospital said it was $250.

    Snyder is entirely wrong. Just because she allows herself to be sucked into a system that overcharges her doesn’t make it unfair to do better.

    Steve57 (927d18)

  50. Just to be clear, my chances of having to go bankrupt are actually lower if I don’t have insurance than if I do. Look at those prices.

    $250 cash for an MRI as opposed to $2400 if I have Blue Shield.

    $6,707 for a CT scan, of which Snyder was on the hook for $2,336. Or, I could not mention insurance at all and pay $1,054.

    Tell me again what I’m paying a few thou a year in premiums for?

    You guys rack up your million dollar health care bills with insurance if you like. I’ll be happy paying 10-50% of what you do and working out a payment plan. I think I could swing a heart attack or a mild case of cancer without jeopardizing my retirement, as long as I don’t have insurance.

    Steve57 (927d18)

  51. Largely offtopic, but who would have seen this coming?
    /sarc
    Former blogger for ThinkProgress/”Center for American Progress” comments on censorship from White House: We’re all a little like RT America.

    The surprise is not that there’s censorship, but that he’s admitting it.
    Not that he’s any less prone to spouting nonsense than he was then: the post immediately below that is about how it’s good that people will work less under Obamacare…

    Ibidem (7716d1)

  52. Steve57, I have two friends who practice medicine and have gone to all cash practices. One of whom got the idea when I relayed what MikeK had been writing here years ago.

    They laid off several billing clerks, and are making more money than before.

    SPQR (768505)

  53. Romneycare and Obamacare both force people into inferior health insurance. The press uses minor benefits like generic birth control pills to call these plans more comprehensive despite the plans often having twice the deductible and premium.

    If these plans were so much better, you wouldn’t need a law for force people to choose them.

    Mitt Romney and Barack Obama’s concept of a national health insurance mandate is such an erosion of our rights, and such an expansion of the nanny state, it’s difficult for a conservative to know what to do, politically. The GOP has a heavy burden to prove they aren’t simply looking forward to their version of this nannying, and actually seeks to eliminate the program, both at the national and state level.

    Dustin (f5d273)

  54. well the template were both designed by Jonathan Gruber, with modifications by Creamer, the Apollo Alliance,

    narciso (3fec35)

  55. Yeah, Obamacare is basically a GOP invention, yet of course it was passed strictly on partisan grounds with no GOP support.

    We have two bitter nannies who do a poor job cooperating on how to run our lives.

    When I tell these nannies the problem isn’t that the other nanny is a stupidhead, but that I don’t wish to be nannied, they call me a purist. They both think their version of nannying me is the less extreme or something.

    Anyway, pox on both houses.

    Dustin (f5d273)

  56. as pox on meghan’s p.o.s. coward daddy in particular I think

    plus also mitt romney

    did I miss anyone I went really fast

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  57. oopsy daisy

    *as* pox should be *a* pox

    this stupid keyboard puts the s right next to the a and I use both of those letters a *lot*

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  58. I’ll bet you a certain percentage of our wonderful low information (and low wattage) voters thought that Obamacare was absolutely free and were stunned to find out that they were actually going to have to write a check every month. USING THEIR OWN PERSONAL MONEY! Well they’re not going to have any part of that THANK YOU VERY MUCH! Therefore a lot of these policies will go fallow after a couple of months. (I understand why our politicians pander to these chuckleheads, but damn, they sure do cost the country a lot of money with their sub-bovine brainpower. )

    Funeral Guy (26d185)

  59. on meghan’s p.o.s. coward daddy in particular

    Quite.

    Dustin (f5d273)

  60. I’m betting that I could have gotten a better “no insurance” cash price from the ER that was less out of pocket.

    Well, but if the bill had been $20K higher, you’d still only be out the $9300 or whatever the plan limit is.

    Kevin M (dbcba4)

  61. Tell me again why it was such a mistake to slowdown government to stop this Blitzkreig?

    The GOP House should have fleebagged to Edmonton.

    If they had spines and could walk upright.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  62. Paying for rehab insurance is valuable to New Yorkers but not so much for regular folks.

    AZ Bob (23ff3a)

  63. I find it amusing that the big-government types in particular who supposedly are so concerned about America’s health (Hello, Michelle Obama!) nonetheless tolerate the following and even enabled the legislation that allowed such a policy to be introduced in the first place. Moreover, the anti-global-warming, Green Earthers can’t even claim such a mandate makes sense since fairly reputable studies show that not only does fooling around with the clock not reduce energy usage (and reduce the horrors of greenhouse gases!), it actually increases it a bit.

    cbs.com: This weekend we move the clocks an hour forward, losing sleep but gaining an hour of evening sunlight. But Daylight Saving Time may have serious health implications for some, making it a difficult, even potentially dangerous change…

    “Our body has a natural circadian rhythm which is almost an internal clock that regulates our 24-hour cycle. It regulates our sleep-wake cycle and that can be disturbed fairly easily,” said neuro-psychiatrist Dr. Julia Samton. According to Samton, even moving the clocks just one hour may mean disrupted sleep patterns, and more, for some people.

    “Most of our mental fog, that lack of mental clarity is from decreased of sleep,” Samton explained.

    Dr. Eric Cohen says there are even more serious health considerations beyond losing sleep.

    “There have been studies that have shown there are more workplace accidents, more driving accidents after the switch to Daylight Saving Time. There’s even studies that show there are more heart attacks right afterward. So there does seem to be some very real implications for this,” Cohen said.

    So the federal government shafts us through Obamacare and its taxes and cost burdens, and also shafts us through the artificial reduction of one hour during 8 months out of each year.

    Ripped off, coming and going. But we the sheeple are, after all, merely sheeple, out grazing in the fields of weeds and cow pies.

    Mark (2908bc)

  64. Paying for rehab insurance is valuable to New Yorkers but not so much for regular folks.

    Yeah, because there are no drugs in good places.
    [/sarc]

    There are more drug addicts and alcoholics in NY than in KS mainly because there are more people in NY than in KS. Per capita it’s all pretty much the same.

    Kevin M (dbcba4)

  65. Paying for rehab insurance is valuable to New Yorkers but not so much for regular folks.

    And as far as AZ goes, it’s a meth and cocaine capital. There are over 40 C.A. meetings in Phoenix alone.

    Kevin M (dbcba4)

  66. Not that anyone should have to pay for rehab insurance, but the idea that only some areas have drug problems is ludicrous.

    Kevin M (dbcba4)

  67. Next, we’ll have the Commuter Protection and Affordable Transportation Act (CPATA, aka CraP Act), where we will all be required to trade-in our sub-standard, junk cars on one’s that meet the option-list demands of the SecTrans.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  68. Taxation on miles you drive! Once again, teh state of California leads the nation in blue-state stupidity.

    Thankfully, I only work in my office once a week, as it’s a 102 mile round trip.

    Colonel Haiku (2603b5)

  69. Even the “regular” people in quaint, rural Vermont face a heroin epidemic. Rehab centers to follow. I suspect most druggies in their previous lives, were “regular” people.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/28/us/a-call-to-arms-on-a-vermont-heroin-epidemic.html?gwh=42E1425B66E379070023192A901F52B9&gwt=pay

    Dana (9a8f57)

  70. Ben n’ Jerry’s new “Nougat Nod-Off”… “Pistachio n’ Fruit of teh Poppy”… “Jonesberry Delight”… “White Chocolate Chippin’ “

    Colonel Haiku (2603b5)

  71. The writing was on the wall when Vermont legalized public nudity. People would turn to something to numb the images. This image is safe, imagine her nude at your risk: http://imgur.com/rvBm5Vn

    nk (dbc370)

  72. My eyes!

    Colonel Haiku (2603b5)

  73. Imagine that caboose loose in yer hoose!

    Colonel Haiku (2603b5)

  74. an axe handle wide
    Naughty Nina had an arse
    big as ten of ‘em

    Colonel Haiku (2603b5)

  75. true that few men lived
    that naughty Naughty Nina
    loved to be on top

    Colonel Haiku (2603b5)

  76. What -isms does it encompass, Haiku? Lookism? Sexism? Sizism? I’m afraid to look up “leggingism” in case it exists. Too late. Somebody beat me to it. https://www.google.com/webhp?rls=ig#q=legginsism&rls=ig

    nk (dbc370)

  77. Naughty Nina heh
    she’d sooner squish you flat Jack
    leave you limp like rag

    Colonel Haiku (2603b5)

  78. Benny loved ‘em large
    soon caught Naughty Nina’s eye
    now flat as road toad

    Colonel Haiku (2603b5)

  79. Sizism

    Colonel Haiku (2603b5)

  80. meh this one poor sod
    thought he’d steal Nina’s Mars Bars
    hasn’t been seen since

    Colonel Haiku (c48af0)

  81. couldn’t make pancake
    large enough for that Nina
    not enough syrup

    Colonel Haiku (c48af0)

  82. saucy li’l Nina
    she made teh Spandex exSpand
    made Babe’s Blue Ox wince

    Colonel Haiku (c48af0)

  83. Naughty Nina took an ax
    Gave teh Colonel 40 whacks
    When she saw what she had done
    Hid his body with her bum.

    felipe (6100bc)

  84. LOL!

    Colonel Haiku (c48af0)

  85. Mount Naughty Nina?
    felipe died upon that hill
    hoisted flag beat drum

    Colonel Haiku (c48af0)

  86. anyone seen-ah
    that saucy Naughty Nina
    and lived to tell tale?

    Colonel Haiku (c48af0)

  87. Though large in stature
    she gave as good as she got
    could’ve smashed atom

    Colonel Haiku (c48af0)

  88. Bravo, felipe!

    Dana (9a8f57)

  89. nk never thought
    This thread would go so far south
    courtesy Nina

    Colonel Haiku (c48af0)

  90. Where’s teh Limerick Avenger? Hiding under Nina’s skirts?

    Colonel Haiku (c48af0)

  91. LOL, I am immoralized, er, immortalized.

    felipe (6100bc)

  92. Nina went thru men
    like a coke fiend with Kleenex
    like sh*t thru a goose

    Colonel Haiku (c48af0)

  93. Next week… Teh Revenge of Naughty Nina.

    Colonel Haiku (c48af0)

  94. The guy who invented women’s leggings should get the Nobel Prize. And manufacturers who make them in any size bigger than 12T should get the death penalty.

    nk (dbc370)

  95. A little off topic … OK, a LOT off topic … but please read Kevin D. Williamson’s destruction of the ridiculously overrated Jon Stewart at National Review:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/372901/destroyer-cometh-kevin-d-williamson

    The article has already generated over 1,100 comments, many of which are absurdly (and typically) vulgar replies from left-wingers who cannot stand to see one of their icons flayed in such a public manner.

    Whitey Nisson (7f2263)

  96. A personal nit to pick:

    As a motorcycle rider I was more than a little upset when CA told me I had to wear a helmet at all times (Full Disclosure: I started riding in 1957, and have always chosen to wear a helmet) so that the “society” was not burdened by horrendous medical bills to pay for my head injuries (no mention as how use of a helmet has a disquieting effect on enhanced neck injuries).
    Now, most of the motoring public remained silent as this little bit of freedom was yanked away from motorcyclists who overwhelmingly (at least in the media) were portrayed as a bunch of spoiled thugs.

    Well, guess what, it’s now your turn.
    Those of us who objected to Mandatory Seat-Belt Use laws, and Mandatory M/C Helmet Laws, as an infringement upon our Freedom of Choice (particularly since we were already burdened with Mandatory Vehicle Insurance), feel a little better with the way the screw has turned – sort of a bittersweet Pastor Martin Niemoller moment, as everyone else has to belly-up-to-the-bar of BarryCare – or will we, like the majority of AW owners in CA and CT, just play our part in a little act of Civil Disobedience.

    Personally, I’ve paid cash – or prearranged services in lieu of cash – for medical services for the last 30-years or so.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  97. 97. The Luddite proves ahead of his time.

    Unexpectedly.

    What cannot continue doesn’t.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-08/demise-american-dream-2-charts

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  98. askeptic, hear you, bro.

    I never considered myself a bike rider, although I guess I am. I’m probably the only individual commenting here that owned a Hodaka Combat Wombat.

    125ccs of pure fahrvegneuging.

    Still, even though I didn’t consider myself a bike rider even though I’d been riding dirt bikes since the ’70s, I could see the health and safety nazis eventually regulating requirements for my 16′ canoe.

    I spoke up. It didn’t do much good. So I moved to Tejas.

    You know in kali you still have shotgun owners who are convinced that the gun grabbers are only coming after those other guys?

    Steve57 (927d18)

  99. I’m probbly not typical of the motoring public, though.

    http://www.ogracing.com/hans?dir=desc&order=price&utm_source=Bing&utm_medium=CPC&utm_term=hans%20device%20helmet&utm_campaign=Head%2C%20Neck%20Restraints

    I just finished safety-wiring my dogs’ tails to their bodies. Just in case.

    http://www.summitracing.com/parts/MOR-62280?seid=srese2

    I like to go fast. Really fast. Consequently, you should see the brakes on my ’71 Elco. You can’t miss them; usually they’re glowing red hot.

    Steve57 (927d18)

  100. My GM A body. My choice. Err, or something.

    http://ssbrakes.com/

    Point being, if I don’t keep their grubby fingers out of my 12 bolt rear end, or Dana 44s for that matter, they will get around to fiddling with my canoe.

    They’ll probably outlaw it altogether, what with it being so easy to tip over.

    I’m sure they’ll replace it with a “better” boat. The one filled with pilgrims going to the reeducation camp on Novaya Zemlya. No thanks.

    Steve57 (927d18)

  101. Yeah, Obamacare is basically a GOP invention,

    This is nonsense, Dustin

    JD (25d342)

  102. I read his line as sarcasm, JD.

    SPQR (768505)

  103. We need price controls on medical care.

    Michael Ejercito (906585)

  104. If you’ve been reading his screeds you would know that D’s statement was not sarcasm, SPQR. He has been quite clear on this belief — on multiple threads. JD has my respect for calling him out on such nonsense.

    elissa (6a5f2b)

  105. or is that spelled RSPCT?

    elissa (6a5f2b)

  106. Obama Romney
    Cut from same cloth don’t you know
    Or so it is said

    Colonel Haiku (adb035)

  107. I haven’t accepted the inevitable German victory.

    Which of course makes me ashamed.

    And being ashamed is a bad thing. As if, you should be proud when you do wrong.

    Yet I am not ashamed. Ergo, I blame Bush.

    Steve57 (927d18)

  108. Repub invention
    only a fool would say that
    or bullsh*t artist

    Colonel Haiku (adb035)

  109. Woke up this morning
    Felt like I need one more hour
    Felt like I was robbed

    Colonel Haiku (adb035)

  110. We’ve had this discussion. No, Romney did not invent Obamacare. Detroit is not Andorra, and Massachusetts is not the United States.

    nk (dbc370)

  111. RSPCT
    find out what it means to me
    take care TCB

    Colonel Haiku (adb035)

  112. be careful nk
    don’t need no racist tirade
    just eat yer puddin’

    Colonel Haiku (adb035)

  113. The other morning on the bus to work I overheard a conversation between two gentlemen who I know are dyed-in-the-wool liberals and Obama voters. The one guy, who is a fundraiser for an international charitable organization, said that his employer-funded health plan’s premiums are going up 60%, and he observed that this “might change the way he votes”. But his seat-mate rescued him from his near-brush with sanity by explaining that it was not Obama’s fault (What?… get outta here!!). No, the insurance companies were “punishing” Obama for ruining their long-standing lucrative health-insurance scam industry!

    Believe it or not, guy #2 is an… Architect! I sure hope gravity doesn’t decide to “punish” on of his scam buildings while I’m in it!

    Ray Van Dune (601cf5)

  114. Hallelujah meh
    glorious Sunday Morning
    madder than March hare

    Colonel Haiku (adb035)

  115. with these people Ray
    an excuse is always found
    for Dearest Leader

    Colonel Haiku (adb035)

  116. Actually, I am more on gary’s side, if on anyone’s, in this “battle for the heart and soul of the GOP”. As though politicians had hearts or souls. They’re mostly self-seeking, self-aggrandizing little weasels who went into politics because they weren’t making enough money as lawyers. The ones who are not, are rich guys whose hobby is exercising power over the lives and property of others. A pox on all their houses is my baseline and they all have to earn a good word from me.

    nk (dbc370)

  117. If we’d all just do what the government wants us to do, then the government wouldn’t have to force us to do it!

    Icy (34bec0)

  118. “I do not like this Uncle Sam
    I do not like his healthcare scam.”

    Colonel Haiku (adb035)

  119. Rand Paul for Win: 31%

    Ted Cruz for Place: 11%

    Dr. Ben Carson for Show: 9%

    Colonel Haiku (adb035)

  120. Dude Thought for teh Day:
    “Women don’t want to hear what you think. Women want to hear what they think. IN A DEEPER VOICE.”

    Colonel Haiku (adb035)

  121. SPQR – I hope you are right, but suspect you are not. I am not unsympathetic to his position, since Romney’s STATE plan hampered his willingness and ability to articulate a coherent difference, beyond degrees of statism advocated. But the suggestion that ObamaCare is a GOP idea due to Gruber working on both, or Heritage once having a paper published advocating a mandate is nonsense on steroids.

    JD (25d342)

  122. Paying for rehab insurance is valuable to New Yorkers but not so much for regular folks.

    And as far as AZ goes, it’s a meth and cocaine capital. There are over 40 C.A. meetings in Phoenix alone.

    Comment by Kevin M (dbcba4

    But the question remains: Do I really have a better health insurance policy if I have to pay for coverage (and my premiums have gone up) on things I don’t need. That is the point of this entire thread, isn’t it?

    AZ Bob (533fbc)

  123. JD, contrast that sentence with the following and I think the sarcasm is clear.

    SPQR (2939bb)

  124. 120. CPAC is a young crowd, a Paul always wins.

    The Left has its Sheila Jackson Lee, the Right its Mitch McConnell.

    http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=mitch+mcconnell+brings+gun+to+Cpac&ei=UTF-8&fr=w3i&type=W3i_DS,136,0_0,Search,20110939,6901,0,8,0

    Obviously the Left is the more likely to get its sh*t in one pile.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  125. What’s your point about Mitch McConnell, gary?

    SPQR (2939bb)

  126. 126. He is clearly, self-evidently more f*cked in the head than Sheila.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  127. gary, why? Because of the rifle, gary?

    SPQR (2939bb)

  128. gary, your comments can be a little off the wall at times, but with this attack on McConnell – based on your reading of the left wing media lies about his presentation to Sen. Coburn of a presentation grade muzzleloader replica as an award that ACU asked him to present at CPAC – you are really taking the cake.

    Let me make a suggestion – rethink your attack on McConnell on this CPAC thing.

    SPQR (2939bb)

  129. Sure, Boss I can dial it down.

    But like you say, I know ‘off the wall’.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  130. (I try again due to moderation)

    gary, evidently you don’t. Because you seem to believe the stories in left wing media about McConnell’s actions at CPAC.

    And if you had a clue, that would be a clue.

    McConnell was asked by ACU to present an award to Coburn. That award was the rifle – a custom made muzzleloader replica.

    Because as he went onto stage, the CPAC people forgot to announce what he was awarding, the left wing media crapped their panties when it saw a rifle.

    OMG – a rifle! And because he was showing it to the crowd, he was “brandishing” it …

    gary, get a clue.

    SPQR (2939bb)

  131. It was a Kentucky rifle (plus it avoided any stupid GCA restrictions). Reagan gave a rifle to the President of Mexico once. The President of Mexico gave Reagan a horse. Justmanlythings.

    nk (dbc370)

  132. nk, manly things cause the left wing media to beshat their frilly underwear.

    SPQR (2939bb)

  133. No, the insurance companies were “punishing” Obama for ruining their long-standing lucrative health-insurance scam industry!

    Believe it or not, guy #2 is an… Architect! I sure hope gravity doesn’t decide to “punish” one of his scam buildings while I’m in it!

    The mind of the liberal is quite a sight to behold. I’m not being facetious when I theorize that a lack of common sense — which probably is hard-wired into the brain of most humans via gut emotions or biases — must make some people out there (and far too many people, at that) innately foolish.

    Assuming one does not live in a philosophical bubble — perhaps a setting that’s the flip side to black America (ie, where over 95-plus percent of people are of the left or solidly, blindly in favor of Democrats) — observing the way people around you (ie, your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, acquaintances, etc) think and act is important.

    Opinion polls in the US indicate there’s no lack of nonsensically liberal bias in our society (eg, a majority of Americans even today still blaming George W Bush and not Obama for this country’s ongoing economic mediocrity), and a review of most countries throughout the world indicate the same thing.

    That should be a daily lesson to everyone that when it comes to politics and elections, ideology has to be paired with proper tactics. I’d like to be an idealist and say otherwise, but that’s not the real world.

    Mark (2908bc)

  134. 132. Sorry, Boss, I don’t read enough. My reading is of the image itself.

    Good riddance to Tom Coburn, I wish him well in his lobbyist career and with his health, but he is, was and will remain a fraud.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  135. 130. “an award that ACU asked him to present at CPAC”

    Move along folks, nothing to see here.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  136. gary, and yet, you fell for it.

    SPQR (2939bb)

  137. 139. Fell for it? Running a successful conference is all about generating revenues.

    It is great when you can further your organization’s central purpose at the same time.

    In the past, the ACU has stumbled in trying to meet this goals simultaneously.

    I submit that this year they have backed off on the latter to maximize the former, and to greater benefit the off-year election.

    Next Presidential election, as the last, the focus will be more Establishment friendly.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  138. hf-

    I thought you were wishing an ass pox upon them.
    Which carries a minimum $7500 out of pocket cost plus ointments.

    steveg (794291)

  139. Dana’s NYT link from another thread.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/09/us/politics/leading-republicans-move-to-stamp-out-challenges-from-right.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

    Mitch Vader: “We are going to crush them everywhere.”

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  140. I hear Rick Moranis’s ‘Dark Helmet’ saying those phrases,

    narciso (3fec35)

  141. Comment by Steve57 (927d18) — 3/7/2014 @ 7:06 pm

    Tell me again what I’m paying a few thou a year in premiums for?

    Credit score insurance?

    Sammy Finkelman (44bd3a)

  142. 70. Comment by Dana (9a8f57) — 3/8/2014 @ 1:43 pm

    Even the “regular” people in quaint, rural Vermont face a heroin epidemic.

    They got exposed to it because of oxycodone.

    The length of time people can be kept on such prescriptions is limited.

    Street heroin costs only 10% of the cost illegal oxycodone pills because the base cost is set by the pharmaceutical company (Purdue Pharma L.P) and it is very high.

    So people who run out of oxycodone, or whose insurance will no longer pay for it, have switched to heroin.

    Sammy Finkelman (44bd3a)

  143. Mark @ 64.

    Yes there are more accidents the week after the switch to Daylight Savings Time, but the question is how does longer days this affect this?

    In the 1980s, the base level was higher in the fall.

    So maybe the longer days cause more driving?

    Sammy Finkelman (44bd3a)


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