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Old 12-18-2013, 12:53 PM  
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Medical bills underlie 60 percent of U.S. bankrupts:

Medical bills underlie 60 percent of U.S. bankrupts: study



(Reuters) - Medical bills are behind more than 60 percent of U.S. personal bankruptcies, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday in a report they said demonstrates that healthcare reform is on the wrong track.


More than 75 percent of these bankrupt families had health insurance but still were overwhelmed by their medical debts, the team at Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University reported in the American Journal of Medicine.


"Unless you're Warren Buffett, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy," Harvard's Dr. David Himmelstein, an advocate for a single-payer health insurance program for the United States, said in a statement.


"For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection," he added.


The United States is embarking on an overhaul of its healthcare system, now a patchwork of public programs such as Medicare for the elderly and disabled and employer-sponsored health insurance that leaves 15 percent of the population with no coverage.


The researchers and some consumer advocates said the study showed the proposals under the most serious consideration are unlikely to help many Americans. They are pressing for a so-called single payer plan, in which one agency, usually the government, coordinates health coverage.


"Expanding private insurance and calling it health reform will fail to prevent financial catastrophe for hundreds of thousands of Americans every year," Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen said in a statement.


About 170 million people get health insurance through an employer but President Barack Obama says soaring healthcare costs hurt the economy and force businesses to drop medical insurance for their workers.


CANCELED COVERAGE


"Nationally, a quarter of firms cancel coverage immediately when an employee suffers a disabling illness; another quarter do so within a year," the report reads.


Obama told Congress on Wednesday he was open to making mandatory health insurance part of the overhaul.


Neither Congress nor Obama are considering the kind of single-payer plan advocated by Public Citizen, Himmelstein and his colleague Dr. Steffie Woolhandler.


"We need to rethink health reform," Woolhandler said. "Covering the uninsured isn't enough.


"Only single-payer national health insurance can make universal, comprehensive coverage affordable by saving the hundreds of billions we now waste on insurance overhead and bureaucracy."


The researchers studied 2,134 random families who filed for bankruptcy between January and April in 2007, before the current recession began.
They used public bankruptcy court records and surveyed 1,032 people by telephone.


"Using a conservative definition, 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92 percent of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5,000, or 10 percent of pretax family income," the researchers wrote.


"Most medical debtors were well-educated, owned homes and had middle-class occupations."


The researchers, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said the share of bankruptcies that could be blamed on medical problems rose by 50 percent from 2001 to 2007.


Patients with multiple sclerosis paid a mean of $34,167 out of pocket in 2007, diabetics paid $26,971, and those with injuries paid $25,096, the researchers found.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/...5530Y020090604
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Old 12-21-2013, 04:14 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Bump View Post
countries such as france have the best healthcare in the world. In terms of both policy and quality of care. The money that healthcare costs here does not equal quality, in fact, we are #1 in cost by far and we are ranked in the thirties for quality of care. You cannot say that single payer would mean terrible quality. In fact, the people in other countries with single payer have no complaints over their health care. There is a lot of propaganda out there though, like fox news stuff, that try to make people believe that single payer is communism or evil socialism (lol).
Yeah the problem is you're arguing against an emotional faith that govt can never do anything better than the free market. Facts and figures never stand up to something someone knows in their gut. Foxnews are masters at exploiting and stoking this.
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Old 12-21-2013, 06:41 PM   #47
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Q. So if medical bills bankrupt individuals, what will it do to our govt/country?
A. The same thing.
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Old 12-30-2013, 10:06 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
Q. So if medical bills bankrupt individuals, what will it do to our govt/country?
A. The same thing.
Q. Is it possible for BEP to get even less intelligent?

A. Apparently so.
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Old 12-30-2013, 12:57 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
It does, to some degree. Some people without insurance will now be able to get insurance. That will help prevent some of the bankruptcies addressed in the article.

The article also mentions people with MS and diabetes paying $35K out of pocket despite having insurance. There's a good chance they were paying so much out of pocket because because their existing conditions jacked up their premiums or their ailment was exempted, or all they could get was a shitty policy because of their conditions. Obamacare DOES address these issues.
Now you want to talk about the impact on individuals?

Yes, Obamacare shifts the costs so that a few lucky individuals at the margin will avoid bankruptcy. But Obamacare doesn't really do much to address the underlying problem of rising healthcare costs and the theoretical availability of hyper-expensive treatments that can never be available to everyone.

Everyone has at least some familiarity with the health care cost inflation problem, so I won't say more about that here. But the fact that there are hyper-expensive, bleeding-edge treatments available and that nearly everyone wants to have the best possible chance to extend their life as long as possible (at least as long as quality of life remains reasonable) doesn't get much consideration. We simply can't afford to pay for everyone to have the best possible care.
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Old 12-30-2013, 01:00 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Ace Gunner View Post
yep. that chart explains just about every problem in america today. I am secure, I've had my successful times and put it into smart investments etc.

but the dollar has fallen so far, nowdays I am merely a modest future retiree and one health problem could jeopardize that even though I have insurance.

imo this legislation is intended to put (govt) teeth in consequences for not being able to pay for your healthcare. beyond this, it's going to be expensive biz ascending as usual.
One thing that chart doesn't really explain is that the healthcare you get for +818% in 2010 isn't the same healthcare you would have gotten for the baseline price in 1960. If you were willing to limit your treatment to the tried and true, low-cost/low-tech treatments of the 60's instead of expecting (like we all do) state of the art treatment of 2010, the pricetag would be more manageable. Unfortunately, the outcomes probably wouldn't be as desirable.
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Old 12-30-2013, 01:07 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Mr. Kotter View Post
THAT is precisely what the anti-Obamacare crowd refuse to understand. It should bother us. Most of us are NOT okay with it. For me, it's similar to FDR's approach to the Depression...something has to be done, because the industry refuses to fix itself (then it was Wall Street, finance, and banking; today it's the medical industry.) In his candid moments, FDR conceded that his programs might not work....that it might need to be changed, that they may have to adjust--but at least someone was trying to fix things. Say what you will about Obamacare, but at least he's trying...and that's good enough for many of us. It sure as hell can't make things any worse for most Americans, despite what the demagogues have been brainwashed into thinking.
No, he's not even trying. He's addressing a different issue. Obamacare is an effort to extend the healthcare insurance system to people who previously didn't have insurance, it's not really about addressing rising healthcare costs.
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Old 12-30-2013, 01:09 PM   #52
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Some believe that that is exactly what it was designed to do so it could be replaced with something that was unacceptable at the time.
Cloward-Piven... overload the system to bring it down and enable radical reform.
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Old 12-30-2013, 01:16 PM   #53
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I don't get it. If you have a $5k deductible and you have MS or diabeetus you should probably plan on making sure that you are putting $5k away in your HSA every year.

Actually I take that back. If you have a $5k deductible then you should be making sure your HSA is financed regardless of your situation.
That's a 100 bucks a week, just so that I can keep eating donuts.
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:01 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
Now you want to talk about the impact on individuals?

Yes, Obamacare shifts the costs so that a few lucky individuals at the margin will avoid bankruptcy. But Obamacare doesn't really do much to address the underlying problem of rising healthcare costs and the theoretical availability of hyper-expensive treatments that can never be available to everyone.

Everyone has at least some familiarity with the health care cost inflation problem, so I won't say more about that here. But the fact that there are hyper-expensive, bleeding-edge treatments available and that nearly everyone wants to have the best possible chance to extend their life as long as possible (at least as long as quality of life remains reasonable) doesn't get much consideration. We simply can't afford to pay for everyone to have the best possible care.
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
No, he's not even trying. He's addressing a different issue. Obamacare is an effort to extend the healthcare insurance system to people who previously didn't have insurance, it's not really about addressing rising healthcare costs.
Actually, ACA does try to stop the massive increase in costs. Of course there is a massive profit being made off us, so it is a struggle.

Of course, the actual reasons for the massive increase in costs are largely ignored around here. Google "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us".

Anyway.

Bungling the Easy Stuff

Hospitals are still overcharging the poor. Obamacare was supposed to fix that too. What went wrong?

http://content.time.com/time/magazin...rss-topstories

Quote:
One of the patients featured in the TIME cover story I wrote last March--"Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us"--was Emilia Gilbert, a school-bus driver. Gilbert was 61 years old in 2008 when she slipped and fell one evening in her backyard in Fairfield, Conn.

She was taken to the emergency room at Bridgeport Hospital, where she was treated for some cuts and a broken nose. She left a few hours later with a bill for $9,418, which included $6,538 for CT scans and $239 for a routine blood test. The charges, I found, were based on something called the hospital chargemaster--a list of hugely inflated prices that no one could explain or defend.

Medicare--which by law pays hospitals and other providers their actual costs, including overhead--would have paid Bridgeport Hospital just $825 for those CT scans and $13.94 for that blood test.

When Gilbert, who was earning about $22,000 a year, was unable to pay, she was sued by the hospital, which is part of the Yale--New Haven Health System. A judge ordered her to pay off her bill in $20 weekly payments over six years.

But that was before Obamacare.

Tucked onto page 737 of the law, enacted on March 23, 2010, is a provision that was supposed to eliminate that kind of dunning and overbilling. Section 9007 of the Affordable Care Act instructs the Internal Revenue Service to take away the tax exemption for nonprofit hospitals like Yale--New Haven unless they become aggressive about informing patients clearly of the availability of financial aid and take steps to learn whether patients need such assistance before they hand over their bills to lawyers or debt collectors.

More important for Gilbert and hundreds of thousands of patients like her, Section 9007 says the IRS can now take away a hospital's tax exemption if it tries to charge patients who needed financial aid more than the average amount paid for services by insurance companies and Medicare. In other words, hospitals cannot try to make people like Gilbert pay the inflated chargemaster prices.

That's a big deal. And it's been black-letter law for more than 3˝ years.

So how can it be that, two months ago, Jeremy Kopylec, a warehouse worker who lives in Northford, Conn., was sued by Yale--New Haven Hospital for $6,129? The suit, filed on Oct. 3, has to do with the bill Kopylec incurred four years earlier, when he was taken to the emergency room after what he says was a "minor motorcycle accident."

At the time of the accident, Kopylec says, he had just gotten a job following a period of unemployment, but "my insurance hadn't kicked in yet. So they came after me for the whole bill ... I told them I could not afford it."

"I spent about 2˝ hours in the ER, and all they really did was clean up some road rash," Kopylec, 27, recalls, adding that "since the marshal came with the summons, I've worked out a plan to pay all of it off in monthly payments" of $100, extending over the next five years.

That Kopylec did not get the protection that Obamacare now requires is not a matter of Yale--New Haven violating the law. It's not about a website not working. Nor is it about Republican efforts to sabotage the law or some judge blocking it.

Under Section 9007, the only step left to enforce the law was for the Treasury Secretary or his designees at the IRS to issue specific regulations instructing hospitals like Yale--New Haven how to comply. Without the instructions, the hospitals have nothing to comply with.

Then Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, or current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, could have written the regulations with his staff the day after the law was signed, and there is nothing John Boehner or Ted Cruz could have done about it. After posting the rules in the Federal Register and a brief comment period, the regulations would have taken effect.

Instead, the rules were not drafted and published in the Federal Register until June 26, 2012--more than two years after Obamacare was passed. And that was just an initial draft called "Proposed Regulations." The American Hospital Association then complained--no surprise--that the drafted rules were too prescriptive.

Nothing has happened since. No final rules have been issued. So there are still no restraints on hospital bill collections or chargemaster charges for the neediest patients.

Asked what happened to the regulations, Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur, who oversees the IRS and is the Administration's point man for tax issues related to Obamacare, said, "These things take time. It's something we're actively working on." Did the nearly four-year delay have anything to do with the Administration's need for the hospitals to help in the rollout of Obamacare by encouraging and assisting patients to enroll? "No," said Mazur, a highly regarded veteran tax-policy expert. "We're working as fast as we can, and we can't and don't look at political implications."

"We have not changed our financial assistance policies because Yale--New Haven Health has a long established, robust financial-aid policy," said Vincent Petrini, a spokesman for Yale--New Haven Hospital. He was referring to policies that he described when I was writing "Bitter Pill"--and which didn't help Emilia Gilbert in 2008 or Jeremy Kopylec in October. "Lawsuits are extremely rare," he added. "They are all still individually approved by our management oversight committee and are considered a last resort."

A docket search of Connecticut superior courts reveals 34 collection cases filed this year through November by Yale--New Haven. As with Kopylec's suit, they all seem to be for bills based on chargemaster rates, but I cannot know for sure. Other cases may have been filed in other courts.

Only a sliver of these cases ever result in suits; most result in consumers paying up before they are finally sued, after they have been hounded by enough threatening letters or phone calls (and after their credit ratings have been torpedoed).

Since Obamacare was signed into law, there have been more than 3.5 million personal bankruptcies filed in the U.S. Some 60%, or more than 2 million, are estimated to have involved medical debt as a key factor. So the delay in writing these regulations has likely had an enormous toll in bankruptcy filings and in damaged credit ratings.

...
article continues for another page.
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:03 PM   #55
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Q. Is it possible for BEP to get even less intelligent?

A. Apparently so.
Truth hurts,'eh?
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:07 PM   #56
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I'm sick of hearing about people who can't get insurance can now get it now--as if it was never the case before. I went without for years when first out of school because I was self-employed. Then I got it by joining a self-employed group to get group rates. Had it for years. Then due to govt mandates during the 90's the premiums would keep rising and I was told by my insurance it was the govt mandates, in their attempt to make it more accessible, driving up costs that they had to pass on. So I dropped it altogether. I could afford it; was in a good income category but refused to keep paying these ridiculous increases when I had a catastrophic plan only. Jeezaz you progs and your ideas just keep making things worse. People have been dropping insurance because of all your allegedly good intentions. You f'd me over. Now again, you do it by delivering the biggest and sharpest premium increase I ever saw. Yeah, making it more affordable and accessible.....riiiiiiiiiiiiiigggggggggggghhhhhht!!!
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:10 PM   #57
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article continues for another page.
Oh brother!! You expect that to be read on a MB? This isn't academia kiddo!
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:10 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
I'm sick of hearing about people who can't get insurance can now get it now--as if it was never the case before. I went without for years when first out of school because I was self-employed. Then I got it by joining a self-employed group to get group rates. Had it for years. Then due to govt mandates during the 90's the premiums would keep rising and I was told by my insurance it was the govt mandates, in their attempt to make it more accessible, driving up costs that they had to pass on. So I dropped it altogether. I could afford it; was in a good income category but refused to keep paying these ridiculous increases when I had a catastrophic plan only. Jeezaz you progs and your ideas just keep making things worse. People have been dropping insurance because of all your allegedly good intentions. You f'd me over. Now again, you do it by delivering the biggest and sharpest premium increase I ever saw. Yeah, making it more affordable and accessible.....riiiiiiiiiiiiiigggggggggggghhhhhht!!!
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:12 PM   #59
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Bag-o-wind would be a better handle for you.
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:14 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
Bag-o-wind would be a better handle for you.
"I'm sick of hearing about people who can't get insurance can now get it now--as if it was never the case before. I went without for years when first out of school because I was self-employed. Then I got it by joining a self-employed group to get group rates. Had it for years. Then due to govt mandates during the 90's the premiums would keep rising and I was told by my insurance it was the govt mandates, in their attempt to make it more accessible, driving up costs that they had to pass on. So I dropped it altogether. I could afford it; was in a good income category but refused to keep paying these ridiculous increases when I had a catastrophic plan only. Jeezaz you progs and your ideas just keep making things worse. People have been dropping insurance because of all your allegedly good intentions. You f'd me over. Now again, you do it by delivering the biggest and sharpest premium increase I ever saw. Yeah, making it more affordable and accessible.....riiiiiiiiiiiiiigggggggggggghhhhhht!!!"

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