EppsNet Archive: Health Insurance

The Holy Fire is Now the Forrest Fire

It’s wildfire season here in Southern California . . . The closest fire to us at this time is the Holy Fire, named either for its proximity to the small mountain community of Holy Jim (see map), or because God is purifying us with flame. Jesus returned as a burning bush and inadvertently ignited Trabuco Canyon. A suspect, Forrest Gordon Clark, has been arrested on suspicion of arson. He looks normal. The fire has been renamed from the Holy Fire to the Forrest Fire. 🙂 My wife is in the insurance business. Every summer she gets calls from people living in fire zones wanting to buy a homeowners policy. There’s no concept of guaranteed issue with homeowners insurance like there is with health insurance. — Does your house have a pre-existing condition? — Yes, it’s on fire. — OK, your first month’s premium will be $500,000. Read more →

Spot the Fake News: Obamacare Subsidies

I read four news stories on the same topic — the end of Obamacare subsidies to insurance companies. The Wall Street Journal plays it straight down the middle: President Donald Trump’s executive order on health care issued Thursday marks the first major salvo in what the White House promises will be an extensive, targeted campaign to unravel the Affordable Care Act administratively. As does Bloomberg: President Donald Trump said he is moving “step by step” on his own to remake the U.S. health care system because Congress won’t act on his demand to repeal Obamacare. The Trump administration took its most drastic measure yet to roll back the Affordable Care Act Thursday evening, announcing it would cut off a subsidy to insurers hours after issuing an executive order designed to draw people away from the health law’s markets. See if you can spot the fake news in the Politico version:… Read more →

Why Should Men (or Women) Have to Pay for Prenatal Coverage?

Illinois rep asks why men should have to pay for prenatal coverage — LA Times Evidently the LAT thinks this a hopelessly stupid question, but why? ObamaCare requires that all health plans cover pregnancy and childbirth, even though pregnancy and childbirth insurance is expensive and many people (including women) don’t need or want it. Why is a man or woman not afforded the option to buy a less expensive health plan without pregnancy and childbirth coverage? Why is that not an option? Even though the LAT frames the issue as a stupid question asked by a stupid white male, why should women in their 50s or 60s or 70s be paying for pregnancy and childbirth insurance? Or women of any age if they don’t want it? Why is this law restricting our options and forcing people to pay for expensive things that they don’t need or want? Read more →

25 Concepts to Facilitate Judicious Use of Psychiatric Drugs

I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night . . . I also took a Colgate University class on medicating for mental health and judicious use of psychiatric drugs. A psychiatric medication is only one useful tool among a collection of useful tools. Remember to also consider non-drug options for therapy. The benefits of psychiatric medications are always accompanied by risk. Become familiar with the potential risk of your medication. Be alert to potential risks that might be intolerable to you. Establishing a diagnosis is a difficult and imperfect task, but it establishes the starting point for determining which treatments are appropriate. Engage your physician or a psychologist in a dialogue regarding the structure of your treatment program. Be an active participant in establishing the structure of that program. Having confidence that your treatment program will… Read more →

British Healthcare Fact of the Day

In Britain, even though they’re already paying for the National Health Service, six million Brits — two-thirds of citizens earning more than $78,700 — now buy private health insurance. Meanwhile, more than 50,000 travel out of the U.K. annually, spending more than $250 million, to receive treatment more readily than they can at home. — WSJ.com Read more →

IRS Refunds $4 Billion to Identity Thieves

The Internal Revenue Service issued $4 billion in fraudulent tax refunds last year to people using stolen identities, with some of the money going to addresses in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Ireland, according to an inspector general’s report released Thursday. The IRS sent a total of 655 tax refunds to a single address in Lithuania, and 343 refunds went to a lone address in Shanghai. In the U.S., more fraudulent returns went to Miami than any other city. Other top destinations were Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta and Houston. — Associated Press Hmmm . . . aren’t there some sort of sanity checks built into the IRS system? Doesn’t a warning bell go off when 655 tax refunds are sent to a single address in Lithuania? Does this erode your confidence in the federal government’s ability to manage complex systems and gigantic sums of money? I’m sure they’ll do a much better job… Read more →

Another Smoking Gun on “Keep Your Coverage”

The conversation below took place more than four years ago — June 23, 2009 — at a congressional hearing on Obamacare. The topic was the keep-your-coverage promise, and the participants were Christina Romer, then chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Rep. Tom Price, who is also a doctor. The conversation plays out like one of those word puzzles where you start out with one word and change one letter at a time to get a completely different word. Watch Romer’s responses on keeping your coverage go from “Absolutely” to a stammering “I’d have to look at the specifics.” It’s also yet another reminder of what a pig in a poke Obamacare was. Even the people advocating for it had no idea what was in it. REP. PRICE: You also mentioned, as other folks have, that the president’s goal — and it’s reiterated over and over and over —… Read more →

Great Moments in Presidential Prevarication

“I am not a crook.” — Richard Nixon   “Read my lips: no new taxes.” — George H.W. Bush   “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” — Bill Clinton   “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” — Barack Obama Read more →

Obama Did Not Lie

When President Obama said that he could provide health care to millions without taking any health care away from people who have already got it, he had no chance of being believed. The statement was absurd on its face. This is a law of arithmetic: If you invite a bunch of friends to share your lunch, there’s going to be less lunch for you. Everybody understands that. . . . So when the President said he could expand the availability of medical care while allowing everyone else to keep the care they’ve got, it was like saying he’d take us for a tour of England in his rocket ship. It had absolutely no chance of being believed, and therefore, it seems to me, does not count as a lie. It counts instead as an expression of contempt for the many entirely reasonable people who tried to point out that it… Read more →

ObamaCare Winners and Losers

Cindy Vinson and Tom Waschura are big believers in the Affordable Care Act. They vote independent and are proud to say they helped elect and re-elect President Barack Obama. Yet, like many other Bay Area residents who pay for their own medical insurance, they were floored last week when they opened their bills: Their policies were being replaced with pricier plans that conform to all the requirements of the new health care law. Vinson, of San Jose, will pay $1,800 more a year for an individual policy, while Waschura, of Portola Valley, will cough up almost $10,000 more for insurance for his family of four. . . . Covered California spokesman Dana Howard maintained that in public presentations the exchange has always made clear that there will be winners and losers under Obamacare. . . . “Of course, I want people to have health care,” Vinson said. “I just didn’t… Read more →

Drive Me to the Junkyard in my Cadillac

Well buddy when I die throw my body in the back And drive me to the junkyard in my Cadillac — Bruce Springsteen, “Cadillac Ranch” Say goodbye to that $500 deductible insurance plan and the $20 co-payment for a doctor’s office visit. They are likely to become luxuries of the past. . . . Then blame — or credit — the so-called Cadillac tax, which penalizes companies that offer high-end health care plans to their employees. — High-End Health Plans Scale Back to Avoid ‘Cadillac Tax’ – NYTimes.com You’re probably thinking: “So what? I don’t have a high-end health care plan. I’m a working stiff. Let the Wall Street fat cats pay their Cadillac tax.” Actually, because the plan cost that triggers the Cadillac tax is not indexed for inflation, Bradley Herring, a health economist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, estimates that as many as 75 percent… Read more →

Thomas Jefferson on Why Your Health Insurance Premium is Going Up

Health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers. — Despite New Health Law, Some See Sharp Rise in Premiums – NYTimes.com That headline should not read “DESPITE new health law,” it should read “BECAUSE OF new health law.” But we were going to get things for free! We were promised better things at a lower cost! In my day, most of the citizens were farmers or merchants or tradesmen. They lived by their hands and their wits. They had horse sense and they knew when they were being sold a bill of goods. Of course, that was before television. Americans today are unfortunately rather stupid. Most of them don’t know anything about economics, science, history, government… Read more →

The Lives of Julia and Paul

David Henderson says — accurately, I think — that Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks can be paraphrased as “People who are dependent on government will vote for the candidate who credibly (to them, at least) promises to keep the programs that have created that dependence.” Do you think President Obama disagrees with that? He doesn’t. If you think he does, please see The Life of Julia on the president’s web site. It lays out a “typical” woman’s cradle-to-grave dependence on government assistance and describes how Obama will keep those programs going while Mitt Romney won’t. The most insulting thing about it is that as you read about Obama funding this and Obama funding that, it sounds like he’s doing it all out of his own goddamn pocket. What a prince! There’s no acknowledgement that Obama is taking from some and giving to others, and that all of Julia’s “free” stuff… Read more →

Here’s a Good Mandate

Remember, we’re supposed to be worrying about skyrocketing health-care expenses. Doubling the number of wellness visits and free pills sounds great, but who’s going to pay for it? There is a liberal dream that by mandating coverage the government can make something free. Here’s a good mandate: Let’s mandate that every time a government official says that the government is going to “help” some category of voter, he or she has to say who they are going to hurt in the same sentence. Because it has to be someone. — John Cochrane, “The Real Trouble With the Birth-Control Mandate” Read more →

You Don’t Say

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama told voters repeatedly during the health care debate that the overhaul legislation would bring down fast-rising health care costs and save them money. Now, he’s hemming and hawing on that. — Health care politics run into economic reality – msnbc.com Could not have seen that coming! Read more →

Unintended Consequences of Healthcare Reform

Many large companies are examining a course that was heretofore unthinkable, dumping the health care coverage they provide to their workers in exchange for paying penalty fees to the government. That would dismantle the employer-based system that has reigned since World War II. It would also seem to contradict President Obama’s statements that Americans who like their current plans could keep them. And as we’ll see, it would hugely magnify the projected costs for the bill, which controls deficits only by assuming that America’s employers would remain the backbone of the nation’s health care system. Hence, health-care reform risks becoming a victim of unintended consequences. — Fortune, May 5, 2010   We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it. — Nancy Pelosi, March 9, 2010 Read more →

Twitter: 2010-04-19

"Sorry to hear about President Kowalski … now watch this drive." http://bit.ly/azPYiM #obama #golf # RT @OnSluts: Monday Affirmation: "I didn't get sick today so that means I don't have to dish out a co-pay." # Read more →

Thomas Jefferson on the Health Care Bill

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny. — TJ My fellow Americans — This is a glorious day in our great nation! No, I’m not referring to that tragedy of a health care bill, which I’ll get to in a moment. I’m talking about Free Pastry Day at Starbucks! Who doesn’t enjoy a tasty scone with his morning coffee? Now, on a more somber note . . . Goodbye, representative democracy! Farewell, consent of the governed! President Obama today signed into law a far-reaching measure that will affect everyone living in these United States, now and in the future. It is opposed by most of the country and it is now law. I would never have believed that the government I helped to establish would one day engage in this kind… Read more →

Playing Politics

Steven Landsburg on a public healthcare option: The [General Motors] takeover started with this promise from the President: GM will be run by a private board of directors and management team…They — and not the government — will call the shots and make the decisions about how to turn this company around. Within one month, powerful lawmakers had successfully “encouraged” General Motors to retool factories in their home states, and Senator Jay Rockefeller had prevented the closing of a dealership owned by one of his wealthy constituents. Or recall what happened with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who succumbed to so many political pressure [sic] that–well, you already know the rest of that story. When you politicize an industry, be it cars, mortgage lending or health insurance, you invite interventions on behalf of the rich and powerful. The less rich and the less powerful foot the bill. Read more →

Thomas Jefferson on Obama’s Healthcare Speech

My fellow Americans — Perhaps it was unfair of me to be critical of President Obama’s healthcare speech without having heard it. There’s not much to do on a Saturday night when you’re dead, so I read the transcript: We’ve estimated that most of this plan can be paid for by finding savings within the existing health care system, a system that is currently full of waste and abuse. . . . The only thing this plan would eliminate is the hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud, as well as unwarranted subsidies in Medicare that go to insurance companies . . . Reducing the waste and inefficiency in Medicare and Medicaid will pay for most of this plan. And how much money are we talking about, sir? Now, add it all up, and the plan I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years. WTF?! I… Read more →

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