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Small Business Health Insurance

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
We gosh Bob you should read that book. You see I'm led to believe that those making the most money pay the least. Heck you might even get more back than you pay in.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Yes Bob, maybe you should read both his books before condemning them.

Jay and Bob, do you have research to back up your claims? This book is very well researched. Many of these tax breaks, etc. have been hidden in legislation over the last 10-15 years. It took alot of digging to find it and find out the actual numbers.
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
C'mon, Anne, nobody disagrees that tax breaks are given on both sides of the aisles

But, you might be one of a handful that really do not believe that the majority of taxes are being paid for by a very small fraction of the highest paid citizens

Making these "breaks" benefit whomever is a time-honored tradition. Remember when the processing company owned by Nancy Pelosi's husband was made specifically exempt from the most recent minimum wage hike?

Bottom line: How much are you willing for your taxes to increase to pay for the cost of the health plan you envision. My point all along might easily be, that, with that agreed upon amount, some might be satisfied to make that decision independently. For insurance, I guess I am "Pro-Choice"

I am not against lowering my "insurance costs"; the result i s how much more you are willing to pay? It's way too simplistic to suggest that tax breaks given to Nancy Pelosi's husband will cure this problem
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
I'm Joe Average. There are five in my house and income is a bit south of six figures. I haven't paid hardly any federal or state tax in my entire adult life. The most I have ever paid when we approached 6 figures was well under 10k. This year, because of the rebate, we will probably pay less than we receive. Now if I'm Joe Average and I don't pay taxes, then who is funding the government?

Well answer is on the IRS website.

In 2005:
The top 1% (over $364,657) paid 39.38% OF ALL COLLECTED TAXES.

Just stew on that one a while. Almost 40% of all taxes was paid by 1% of the population.

The top 5% (over $145,283) paid 59.67% of all taxes collected. So there you go...the top 5% paying well over half the taxes.

What is that book about again? Oh how the rich are stealing from the poor. Please excuse my skepticism. Again, please fill me in on how they spin this. Why are all these rich people so ignorant? Don't they know there is hidden legislation out there?

If your house hold makes under $30,000 (how many framers are near this category?) you paid about 3% of all taxes. Thats down from 2000 when they paid 4%. Then I see a Obama ad today about him cutting taxes on the middle class. Well if "Middle Class" is those making under $62,000 (1/2 of America) then you paid about 14% of the taxes. How much of a tax cut does that group need? What do you want to bet that its this group calling for socialized medicine? Well no wonder...1/2 the United States doesn't even pay 1/5 the taxes.

I'm not saying the "under 50%" group should pay more or even their fair share. I'm just saying they should shut up!!!!!
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
Ah yes, this is what makes America great, the mindset of "I've got mine, so go f**k yourselves."
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jay, if you want to know what the book is about, maybe you should read it. You might be suprised where alot of that tax money is going.

Bob, did you read any of my posts about health care plans in other countries? There are many systems where consumers still get a choice of insurance plans from private insurers but they actually cost less than what we are paying here because of price controls. They don't fund it with taxes, it's still privately funded through employers and individuals. The state of Wisconsin is working on just such a plan.

If it came to a choice I would rather have my taxes go up a bit to have guaranteed access to health care at a price I can afford than having to pay higher and higher amounts each year for insurance that covers less and less. I'd rather see my money go to a system were everyone can get the care they need than to helping an insurance company make record profits even while they are denying people the care they need. There are ways to fix this without resorting to socialized medicine or using tax dollars for funding, but it's going to take guts on the part of congress to do it.
 

Twin2

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
No one seems willing to say how much more the Swedes or the Canucks or Italians pay, as a percentage, for personal income tax than we.
We just finished sending in our income taxes a couple weeks ago. On an income just shy of $80,000, my husband ended up paying 18% income tax. It would have been around 20% income tax, but we were able to reduce the net income by the amount we contributed to an RRSP (registered retirement savings plan), thus saving some income tax.

In Nova Scotia, we also pay 13% HST (harmonized sales tax - a combination of 5% GST, goods & services tax and 8% provincial sales tax) on most items and services purchased. I believe 8% (the N.S. provincial portion) goes towards health care, but I'm not sure exactly how much of the 5% federal tax is allocated towards health care.

Different provinces have different provincial income tax rates and different sales tax rates. The above figures correspond to someone living in Nova Scotia. In Alberta, for example, they only charge 5% GST (goods & services tax) and don't have any provincial sales tax. Their provincial income tax is much lower than in Nova Scotia. However, Alberta charges an annual health care premium to cover basic health care, which I believe was around $1200/year/family when we were living there. Often, though, companies would cover the cost of that health care premium for their employees.

I guess I should have clarified my phrase "didn't cost us a cent" to "didn't cost us any additional out-of-pocket expenses". Sure, I'm the first one to complain about how much tax we have to pay, but we seem to managing okay and like I said before, we don't have to worry about bankrupting ourselves if someone should get seriously sick.

CBC had a program a couple years ago where Canadians could vote for the "Greatest Canadian", and Tommy Douglas, the founder of universal health care was named "Greatest Canadian". Goes to show how much Canadians value the idea of universal health care.
 

David N Waldmann

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
BTW, I was not pointing the finger at anyone - merely sharing my observation of "America today". If the shoe fits, wear it; if it doesn't, don't.

Glad to hear that your husband reconsidered, Val. Hopefully this little experience has drawn you together enough such that he isn't likely to make such an independent decision again.
 

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
PaulSF,

Where do you get off throwing that isulting slur at the very people that are already paying far more than their share. It sounds more like you believe in "gimme more".
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
Your comment is based on a false premise, Pat. Two, actually. One is the premise that "they" are already paying "far more than" their fair share. The second false premise is that I was insulting "them."
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Guys-We keep losing sight of what it will cost and who will pay. Twins shared what she pays

So, let's all agree that will will start paying 13% sales taxes (and I have no problem with it)

Can't wait to hear Pelosi and Kennedy rail on that one; how many "poor" people will be "disenfranchised"?

Or, the $1200 annual fee? How many Ameicans won't even spend that much now? Who was it that said it was a tough decision to make between food on the table and medical insurance?

Bottom line people: It's going to cost a ton and we keep ignoring the obvious. We continue making this a political football by suggesting that universal means free. Perhaps the bitter pill is that we have available medical care; it's just not affordable to some

Now, tell me how it wil be affordable to all

As an aside to my friends Paul: We all agree that we need a solution, but it shouldn't be about class envy or class distinction. You cannot truly believe that the rich fat cats and corporations are conspiring to keep affordable healthcare out of reach. Imagine how many billions GM, or Wal-Mar, or Mobil, or AMEX would save if there were a universal system and they no longer were responsible for the millions of employees that they pay that monthly premium

It simply will not be free
 

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
PaulSF,

I guessed who you meant by "them" from the post that you responded to. What would be fair? All?
 

GUMBY GCF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
lets say we take one individual who would pay $10,000 a year for health insurance

If he made aprrox. percentage of income for health care

360,000 3%
165,000 6%
60,000 18%
30,000 33%

lets say we take one individual who would pay $5,000 a year for health insurance

If he made aprrox. percentage of income for health care

360,000 1.5%
165,000 3%
60,000 9%
30,000 16.5%

Where does it become affordable 6% or 10% certainly not 16.5%

Looking for health care I am single Male, 56, sightly LOL over weight, history of cancer in family, non-smoker, non drinker, drug free.
$78,000 a year

employee
single female, 51, very fit, diabetic on insulin pump, history of cancer in her family, non-smoker
$20.000 a year

employee
single female, 58, very fit, healthy, history of cancer in family, non-smoker...supports herself
$25,000 a year

I need a name of Insurance company that can provide affordable (3%-6%) health insurance.
We just want a chance at good health care as the 1-5% who pay all the taxes......

I apoligize for not being in that top 1-5% I would love to pay more but just can't seem to get more customers....
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
As an aside to my friends Paul: We all agree that we need a solution, but it shouldn't be about class envy or class distinction. You cannot truly believe that the rich fat cats and corporations are conspiring to keep affordable healthcare out of reach. Imagine how many billions GM, or Wal-Mar, or Mobil, or AMEX would save if there were a universal system and they no longer were responsible for the millions of employees that they pay that monthly premium

It simply will not be free
Exactly, Bob. I think that most American businesses would favor a universal health care system, where the cost was spread equitably across the entire population, rather than having to shoulder the burden because that's how it's always been. That system aint working anymore, not for us, and not for them.
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Guys-We keep losing sight of what it will cost and who will pay....It simply will not be free
Amen to that.

Our medical care delivery system is really screwed up, but it still works very well for those who manage to find insurance. When the doctors decided I should have a defibrillator/pacemaker, it took less than a week to schedule the implant. Can Europeans or Canadians can say the same?

Trouble is, the cost is getting out of control, and the burden more lopsided toward employers, and there's no end in sight. Something has to be done, that's a given. We are headed for socialized health care, and soon. I dread that, and do not understand how any citizen of this country could believe it will be a good thing. The availability of services will diminish quickly; the fast and friendly medical services we enjoy will become slower, less enjoyable, and much more costly for nearly all of us.

I'm an old guy, but I have yet to see a U.S. Government takeover of anything work better than what it took over. Anyone care to discuss American public education's advancements of the past thirty years?

Heaven help us.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jim, there are ways to fix it that don't involve completely socialized medicine and don't result in longer waiting times, etc. They do involve the insurance companies and the health care providers agree to some controls and restrictions on what they do (like guaranteeing no one will be excluded, agreeing to cost controls, etc.), and there in lies the difficulty.
 

mayos

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Hey...how about paying for the universal medical care via some of the foreign aid we hand out so generously??? I would agree that we do need to assist some of the countries, but maybe not to the degree we are now doing. Also, how about some of the $18 Billion dollars in tax breaks given to the oil companies?? And while we're talking about it, where did our government find all the money to give to us taxpayers as rebates? It seems the government can find the money to finance the programs they deem to be important.
 

The King

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I haven't read everything here yet, so sorry if I'm being redundant.

COBRA may be an option if your husband's former employer qualifies. If they have less than 20 employees they don't. There may be a state continuation option for smaller group in Nevada, but I don't know. My company doesn't write policies in Nevada and I'm not familiar with the state regulations there. Some states allow continuation for a maximum of 3 months, some are six months and some are up to 18 months (like the COBRA federal plan.)

In most states, a group of one isn't a group and - if it is - you'd have underwriting requirements similar to individual insurance. As several people have pointed out, you need to get connected to a larger group, whether it's the chamber or AARP or someone else with some numbers.

Try to avoid a gap in coverage of more than 63 days. If there is a pre-existing clause on the new plan (and that will be subject to state regs, too. If the state allow is, you can bet the insurance will have it) it is generally waived if you had continuous coverage for 12 months (some want 18) prior to the effective date of the new plan.

Email me if I can help, Val.
 

Maryann

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
And while we're talking about it, where did our government find all the money to give to us taxpayers as rebates? It seems the government can find the money to finance the programs they deem to be important.
They borrowed it. This is something our children will be paying for long after the rebate check is spent
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jim, there are ways to fix it that don't involve completely socialized medicine and don't result in longer waiting times, etc...
I hope you're right, Anne.

Trouble is, I don't think we can trust Congress to take care of us. Politicians have a long history of acting in their own short term interest, and this issue requires a long term solution.

If health care goes the way of social security, public education, organized labor, railroads, or the telecommunication industry, our future generations will suffer greatly.

On the other hand, maybe we should be optimistic. Maybe our government will make doctors, hospitals, researchers, pharmaceutical makers, employers, and insurers "do the right thing" and our health care delivery system will remain among the best in the world. We can only hope.
 

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Let's see, with Medicare costs spiraling out of control to the point that it might be bankrupt in the not distant future, we should bring everyone into Government sponsored Medical Insurance.

I just did the calculation for my transition to Medicare from my Company sponsored insurance. It's going to cost me $360 per month for parts A, B and D and a less than top-line Supplement policy... for my "free" Government Insurance. My choice. The sad thing is that Congress is determined to discontinue Medicare Advantage Plans that have helped lower income retirees minimize their costs.

I believe in a safety net for those who truly can't care for themselves, but there is no way to truly afford the rapid expansion of entitlements.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jim, the short sightedness of our politicians has a big effect on all the problems this country is facing. They don't look past the next election cycle and unfortunately that's not far enough to solve long term problems. It's going to take vision and nerve to make changes, especially if it means standing up to the insurance industry and telling them they have to change how they do business.
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
...It's going to take vision and nerve to make changes, especially if it means standing up to the insurance industry and telling them they have to change how they do business.
That's what scares the bejesus out of me. When government tells "them" how they have to do business, we might soon have a health care delivery system as bloated, ineffective, and overpriced as most other government-controlled entities.

Could we be assured otherwise?
 

mayos

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
The way things are headed we'll all have government financed health care soon. No one, including the corporate world will be able to afford health insurance so very few will enjoy that luxury. Because we can't afford health insurance that also means we can't afford health care. So.....guess who picks up the tab.....that' right...the government.

I am a commissioner with our local county government. We're a small county with around 9,000 people county wide. In our budget, our health care costs us over $900,000 per year for around 100 employees. It's a horrendous burden on the taxpayers of our county who struggle to pay their own health insurance. I'm not sure how much longer our county can continue to pay these rates.:faintthud:
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Mayo=Thanks for posting some real numbers; as a taxpayer, I thank you for that openess

Now, as a taxpayer, I think the fees of $9000 on average per employee sounds a tad high.

But, I'll bet that if we add spouses and partners and dependents that number drops a bit on average.

What portion of that premium is borne by the employee?

In these parts, it is a well established fact that the absolute best benefit packages (retirement/ medical etc) are found in government. Getting hired by the city or county is pretty much like a union job at the auto plant back in the 60's

Hey Anne-Why don't Micheal Moore and Al Gore and Bill Clinton and Rosie O'Donnell pool some money; start up an insurance company, charge the premiums that are "reasonable" and show us how it's done. They all have untold gazillions between them. They will have absolutely no difficulty in acquiring clients and investors. They could run the insurance companies flat out of biz
 

Paul N

In Corner
Maybe if the Republicans didn't block a bill that would have allowed the import of drugs from Canada (allegedly to "protect" our health, imagine the irony!), then things would be a bit cheaper.

You know, the same drugs that here cost 500-1000% more than the ones the pharmaceuticals sell so profitably in Canada and elsewhere. And those companies have no trouble selling the same drugs in India and other countries for like 1/30th of the price they the charge the Cash Cow, aka the American taxpayer.

And I find it ludicrous that people who have never been exposed or took part in a European health-care system, are quick to find fault with it!

And why would anyone assume that the premiums would be a flat $10,000 (like somebody posted earlier to show that somebody earning $30,000 would be paying 33% while another earning $300,000 would be paying much less?....Really hilarious assumption!! )??

Why not assume it is a percentage of salary??Say, like other deductions we pay now. How about that for an incredible idea??
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
We already have that thanks to the insurance companies. :icon9:
Anne, you bring up good points and I don't want to seem argumentative. I certainly don't have the answers, and I have no idea who does.

Insurance companies are big contributors to the mess, no doubt about that. But so are doctors and patients who game the system, employers who negotiate sweetheart deals with insurers, pharmaceutical manufacturers who charge all the market will bear, and government regulations that increase the cost of recordkeeping for everyone.

Another component of the problem that seldom gets mentioned is the growing population of uninsured people who can afford insurance and choose not to buy it. So far, the rest of us have absorbed that increasingly-significant burden, but when government takes over, that category of health care consumer will skyrocket.

I'm not up to speed on McCain's or Obama's plans, but as I recall, Hillary wants to keep insurance companies intact, for those who are satisfied with the system as it is. However, that seems like calling the car intact after removing its wheels.

What we know is that nobody knows what's going to happen next, but whatever it is, government will be in charge, and most of us will probably be disappointed.
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Maybe if the Republicans didn't block a bill that would have allowed the import of drugs from Canada (allegedly to "protect" our health, imagine the irony!), then things would be a bit cheaper.
Paul N, this really is not about Republicans and Democrats, is it? It may be worthy to note that the problem has gotten worse under the both of the Bush administrations, and both of the Clinton administrations, and every administration of the past several decades.

I don't seem to recall any President or Congress making good on their campaign promises to fix the problem, do you? You're probably right about the Republicans blocking import drugs, but I guess an astute Googler could find a bill or two blocked by Democrats, as well.

The blame game may be fun, but not productive. The problem is not tied to a political party, and neither is the solution. No matter who inhabits the White House and Congress, their actions will inflame a lot of Americans. That's just my uninformed opinion as a taxpayer.
 

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
I'm not taking either side in the debate.

I just want to throw this out there...

The American public pays the going rate on drugs because we bear the full cost of R&D of new drugs. Other countries refuse to pay R&D cost. So, if we were able to force the drug companies to not pad the price for research and development, who would pay it? Would the research for new drugs stop? It cost Billions of dollars sometimes to get a drug to market.

I currently have intimate knowledge of the health-care system. My Mom is going through chemotherapy treatments.

A Neulasta shot cost $7700. That is how they pay for all those TV ads we see.

Here is another question. Why do we advertise prescription drugs here? Marketing has to add to the cost.

There was a commercial I used to see that started out with the sun coming up on the beach, text at the bottom of the screen says "Wilmington NC" and a guys walks up and starts digging clams out of the sand. He is smiling and his dog is running around the beach. I still don't know what the ad was for, but I sure do want some. I want to be on the beach at sunrise, digging clams and happy too.
 

wpfay

Angry Badger
We already have that thanks to the insurance companies. :icon9:
I really think it's a bit more complex than that. It is a cycle of upward spiraling costs of health care, payment for technology, pharmaceutical companies, a litigious populace and the lawyers they drag into the room, incredible amounts of insurance fraud, state regulations that increase the inefficiency and cost of health care insurance, lack of physical education and health oriented training in the schools. Throw in a ton of human error, a copious amount of greed, and a burgeoning older population just for fun.

Here's a fun little statistic that my wife uncovered when she was working on an investigative study for BCBSFL. Because of the wording in one line of the standard health insurance application for the state, there had been an average of $17M in losses per quarter due to fraud. This was on a state mandated (CHIPA) product that was out of the direct control of the insurance company.
There's a bunch more like that, but the point is that every agency or business that touches the health care field adds to its expense and inefficiencies and some, like the legal profession, compound the expense part disproportionately. Funny thing about living in a capitalist system...money does drive the direction of business.

In the interest of disclosure. I do not work in the insurance field, and as of 10AM this morning neither does my wife. She was forced from her job and made to resign her position with BCBSFL after 17 years of exemplary (their words) service. We are looking at COBRA, and an HSA as well as dental coverage. sigh. The only bright spot is we can get individual insurance for our daughter without having to be underwritten for $102.00/month. This is insurance that can stay with her always once she has it.
 

Maryann

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Now, as a taxpayer, I think the fees of $9000 on average per employee sounds a tad high.
What portion of that premium is borne by the employee?

In these parts, it is a well established fact that the absolute best benefit packages (retirement/ medical etc) are found in government.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was paying about $850 per month, per employee when I left two years ago - I'm sure it's more now. Management paid 10% of the cost, union employees paid 2%. I believe that percentage still stands.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jim and Wally, I agree it is very complex with alot of players. That was just my flip comment of the day. :)

Wally, sorry to hear about your wife. My dad worked in life insurance for many years as a claims executive. His company was bought out by a bigger one and with in a year he was forced out in favor of a younger worker. He too had an exemplary record. He used his contacts to become a freelance consultant and help insurance companies sort out problems in their claims departments. He did that for a number of years until he retired. Maybe your wife will be able to find something also that builds on her experience.
 

mayos

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Paul N....I think $9,000 per employee is pretty steep too, but the costs add up. Our county pays 75% of the entire family plan which runs over $1200 per month. It all adds up to over $900,000 plus change.

Talking about pharmaceuticals...my brother is a pharmacist next door to our store and he goes ballistic when you talk about pricing. Pharmacutical companies now spend more on advertising than they do on R & D. They used to give the Drs. lavish gifts, trips, etc. then the fed govt. outlawed that so they now use that money on advertising to try to convince the consumer they need this certain drug. So the consumer goes to the Dr. and says "Hey, I think this drug will help me. I want it. The Dr. says...OK...sounds good to me" So you have a new perscription. Doctors love to write prescriptions.

They also have a system called tiered pricing. There are about 5 tiers. The locally owned independent pharmacy pays the highest prices for their drugs. Then there's a tier for the small chains, the big chains, the Dr. offices, and the hospitals. Most generally the hospitals pay the very least for drugs. In some instances the hospital is paid by the pharmacuetical company to dispense the drug. These are drugs that the patient will continue to take after they leave the hospital.

We all know these cost must be passed on to someone. So the poor sap who has no insurance pays the full amount of the script.

It's a scam from the word go. My brother says America is the only country in the world who has no price controls on prescriptions. Also, many American pharmaceutical companies maintain warehouses in Canada with the exact same drugs as are sold in America. Only difference is the higher price for the American packaging.
 

Paul N

In Corner
One just needs to watch the daily news on ABC, NBC and CBS (sorry I don't watch Fox, you know, the "fair and balanced network"....:p).

Just count how many commercials in that 30 minute segment are prescription drug related (I'd say over 90%), and the "ask your doctor about drug XYZ" advice and then you will know why the drug companies and their cronies, aka our politicians, (either party) are happy with the status quo.

Sometimes I wonder how many drugs have been invented to treat diseases that don't even exist. Yet they bombard the sheep with such ads to convince them they have such a disease. And the willing lemmings are more than glad to oblige: "Yeah, I think I have the Gastro Cranial Hemorrhoid Syndrome they just described in that commercial....!! I'd better ask my Dr as soon as he gets back from that pharmaceutical financed golf trip..."
 

shayla

WOW Framer
This is the best conversation I've heard about
this issue in awhile. It's interesting to read
all of your comments. Thank you.
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Hey Paul-Foryears, many people suggested that the three mentioned networks were "slanted". Those that agreed with the position, swore they were "fair and balanced".

It seems those same folks think Fox is slanted

Perhaps we can agree that some commentators actually do show a bias from both sides?

I did find it intersting that that the Hillary people are complaining of the unfair treatment by your favorite three networks

Personally, I think ther oughtto be a balancing act. For every Blitzer, there ought to be a Hannity; for every CNN, ther ought to be A Fox. Then let the rating chips fall where they may

The idea of 100% impartial reporting is just a tad naive, don't you agree?
 

Warren Tucker

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Paul N’s last post is at least prima fascia evidence of a deep animosity toward drug companies and real contempt for the majority of his fellow human beings (the sheep and lemmings in his mixed metaphor). I’d like to point out that these maligned companies are doing research every day to discover drugs that will relieve a great deal of human suffering and that the same companies have a history of great benefits to us all. Has anyone who trashes drug companies read about Beyer Laboratories effort in discovering sulfa drugs? Who are we to question their motives? I doubt that the people who criticize drug companies have collectively done anything to relieve suffering. That drug companies are not entirely eleemosynary enterprises with no concern for making a reasonable return on their stockholders’ investments doesn’t taint their efforts in my eyes.

Oh, mirabilis dictu, drug companies actually promote the drugs they develop. What a sinister development. Does anyone seriously think drug companies should spend billions of dollars to develop and test new drugs without making any effort to promote them? Does anyone seriously think that a drug company would? Here is a wonderful opportunity to kill the goose laying golden eggs; restrict drug companies’ ability to promote products they develop. How many people who think drug companies are raking in money defrauding sick people by encouraging them to try their drugs (in many cases, their life saving drugs) have availed themselves of the open opportunity to get on this gravy train by buying drug company stock? The stocks don’t reflect, btw, companies with licenses to steal. On the contrary, drug stocks aren’t doing too well. Want to assure that new drugs won’t be developed in a timely manner (or, at all, for that matter), restrict the companies ‘ability to set prices high enough to recover their development costs.

Catastrophic health insurance isn’t all that expensive, but we don’t usually buy that kind of insurance; we want insurance that pays for doctor’s visits rather than insurance that protects us from unforeseen catastrophes . We should be able to set aside enough for ordinary medical care. But we’d rather whine to politicians that medical care is too expensive, that drugs cost too much.
 

Paul N

In Corner
Warren:

Yes, I have low tolerance for people who can't think for themselves or wear blinders. Mea Culpa.

As for the pharmaceutical companies, no body is denying they are creating good drugs. But my beef with them is they are overcharging their American patients but selling the same drugs for much less just across the border (Canada and Mexico). Why does the America patient have to pay for their R&D, advertising but no one else??

As for their saturation advertisements, I wonder how did they ever make a penny before saturating prime time TV time with very expensive ads and passing the costs to the American consumer??

Not to mention fear-mongering and scaring some people into believing they have diseases, for a drug that just happen to be newly invented by them.
 

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Warren has it exactly right. Prices are set by the government in Canada, ergo, they don't pay for R&D. If no one does then new drugs will not be developed. What is all this Corporation bashing, anyway. It is amazing to me that people running small businesses think that big businesses should not make a profit. Corporations are the engine that drives our economy and provides the jobs that we need to put food on the table. Profits go to shareholders and justify the value of stock ownership. It also amazes me to hear politicians claim that those profits should be taken by the government. If that were to happen, in addition to loss of jobs, what do you think would happen to everyone's pension plans

Go ahead and make constructive suggestions on how to make real health care insurance more available, but get off this blaming the health care and insurance businesses for the problem. If you want the whole system to collapse, turn it over to government bureaucracies - they've really demonstrated their competence in everything else that they have touched..
 

mayos

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I think a $1,000 deductible with a 50/50 co-pay on the first $5,000 of expense at $1,200 IS paying a LOT for catastrophic health insurance. Anymore you cannot afford anything BUT catastrophic insurance. The insurance companies throw in some "give-me's' like office visit co-pay so you think you're getting something for your money.

I'm not opposed at all to corporations making money, pharmaceutical and oil companies included, but come on, some of these guys are preying on the sick and elderly of our country to make a buck. I like business making money, it's what's made our country great, but there's a moral side of the issue too.

Check out the past Consumer's Report magazine on drugs it will open your eyes to a lot. For instance Plavix....you take it with an asprin to help prevent heart attacks.....the research shows that it works no better than asprin alone. Requip, for restless leg syndrome (who ever heard of that "disease" until they had a drug for it?) may work, but restless leg syndrome is most generally caused by dietary or life style. Most generally caused by eating sugary foods prior to bedtime, or nicotine. The best treatment is a warm bath, and it costs a lot less too.

Then just a month ago, there was the news story about the drug (and I don't recal the name) which was a partnership between Merck and Scheering. Both companies needed a "heavy hitter" to replace a couple of drugs coming off patent. They jointled the two drugs coming off patent and remarketed it, but kept the results of the research quiet. When the research was revealed it showed the drug did not perform and the results supplied to the FDA were slanted in favor of the drug. I believe the CEO of Sheering has resigned over the matter.

Drug companies aren't all bad, but just like the oil companies, they're driven to perform to the expectations of their stockholders and sometimes their need for performance interferes with their responsiblilty to provide safe and effective drugs.
 

Paul N

In Corner
Who is bashing corporations here Pat?

One group of companies is being singled out for price gouging and taking advantage of the sick and elderly.
And that upsets your corporate sensibilities? Running a small business doesn't preclude me from seeing a wrong and criticizing it.

Furthermore, those companies are the ones (should there ever be a health care plan acceptable to everybody) who will still pay billions and bribe every politician to prevent it.

And by the way, don't you think those companies are making money in Canada despite the price controls?? Else, they would have turned tail a long time ago.
 

Doug Gemmell

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I'll bash one. Bayer got a glowing mention in one of the above posts.

Auschwitz:60 Year Anniversary-- the Role of IG Farben-BayerBAYER today is living off the fruits of Nazi legalism. On paper everything was legally correct: Julius Israel Kohn from the "Association of Jews in the ...
www.ahrp.org/infomail/05/01/27a.php - 21k - Cached - Similar pages
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Excessive profits are gouging, no matter what the age of the customer, especially when the main goal is how much profit can we make while providing the least we possibly can to the customer by denying as many claims as possible and covering only the bare minimum like some insurance companies are doing. That's the kind of business practices that make me mad.
 

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
It depends on the definition of excessive. Talking points about total dollars don't count. You have to look at return on investment and earnings per share.

I'm not sure it's fair to say anecdotal assertions about claim denials should be applied to the entire industry as if routine denials are a busines practice rather than the limiting of benefits to what the policy premiums actually cover.
 

The King

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Anybody wanna guess what a typical profit margain is for a health insurance company? How do you suppose it compares with, say, 20 years ago?
 

JRB

PFG, Picture Framing God
We live in a free market economy, sort of. Doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, drugstores, etc. should be allowed to charge whatever the market is wiling to pay. They get the outrageous prices because they have discovered we will pay them, and then some. It's the same with government salaries and benefits, they discovered we will pay them, so they take it. Sure, we bitch about it, but we go ahead and pay.

What if, while you were messing around in your garage with your kids chemistry set, you discovered a pill that would cure everything, including aging. You find that it will cost about five cents each to make it, another buck and a half to package it, and another buck to advertise it. All a person has to take is one pill every twenty years and they will never get anything wrong with them. What would you sell it for?

What if someone else came up with it, what would you be willing to pay for it?

That is what the whole thing boils down to, our willingness to pay whatever they ask, just so our apple cart will not get kicked over.

We are an amazingly apathetic society, we go along with just about anything, just so long as we can maintain our comfortable lifestyles. None of these medical costs would exist if we had not voted with our dollars for them.

Nobody can take advantage of you, unless you allow it.

John
 
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