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Caramel1  (Level: 136.2 - Posts: 21612)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 3:47 PM


The President today stated that EVERY 30 seconds someone files for bankruptcy because of their health care costs... What's up with that other than an attempt to scare people into passage of his health care thing? If anyone can find the figures to support that please post them as I would be very interested. Christina Romer his health lady didn't seem to know the source for his statistics and didn't seem to want to talk about it - other than to say quality health care is too big not to address immediately - Linda

Foogs  (Level: 282.5 - Posts: 848)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 3:58 PM

Here's one source, though I can't vouch for accuracy. I'm sure
it won't be good enough for Don:

"A recent study by Harvard University researchers found that the
average out-of-pocket medical debt for those who filed for bankruptcy
was $12,000. The study noted that 68 percent of those who filed for
bankruptcy had health insurance. In addition, the study found that 50
percent of all bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical
expenses.9 Every 30 seconds in the United States someone files for
bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem."

You have a computer, yes? Information is just a few key strokes
away if you take the time to look.

Caramel1  (Level: 136.2 - Posts: 21612)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 4:08 PM

Thanks for the source, Foogs. I will read it too bad the health lady did not know about it made her look as stupid as me- Linda

Caramel1  (Level: 136.2 - Posts: 21612)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 6:44 PM

Been looking at that, Foogs, and it is one source but it still differs from the inference the President made-bankruptcy every 30 seconds because of health care. The article says "health issues" fine line but a whole different ball game. The President infers that fixing health care will fix the economy. Many top thinkers don't agree. Geithner as stumbling as he is on camera has not instilled any hope that he has a clue how to fix things. He may be smart but trust is gone-look at the Stock Market-steady decline since the election. Why would anyone buy stock when they think whatever they are buying might go out of business or be taken over by the government making their investments worthless? The efforts to demonize the Corporate and Wall Street 'fat cats' has worked marvelously and they deserved it- but small investors are getting out too. The premise has always been that the problem lies in housing and finance so why is he talking about health care solving things? Consensus seems to be that he envisions himself as a great changer in social policy so he is pushing everything he can through when his personal popularity remains at all time highs. Linda

Smoke  (Level: 96.7 - Posts: 12009)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 6:59 PM

Fixing health care would fix MY economy. Insurance takes a huge bite, out-of-pocket is another huge bite, and John is trapped in a job he hates because we're afraid I wouldn't be able to get coverage with my "pre-existing conditions" if he changed jobs.

Caramel1  (Level: 136.2 - Posts: 21612)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 7:15 PM

Health care reform has been needed for a very long time and no one will argue that the goal is not worthy but fixing it will not fix the economy. People who have invested in both GM and Ge have pretty much worthless stock. Still a mystery to me why the head GE guy who ran the stock into the ground on his watch sits as a member of the President's Economic Advisory" panel. He had better do something quick about fixing the financial thing and quit concentrating on anything else until it is done. One business that is doing well is auto repairs as folks are putting more money into fixing their old cars than their market value as they cannot afford nor get a loan for a new one- Linda

Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 7:37 PM

1. Linda, I don't know about the 30 second claim, but I do know that health care costs are at least a major driver of bankruptcies. This is not really surprising. Since "bankruptcy reform" in 2005, it has been made difficult to walk away from credit card debt. This "reform" was another disgusting disgrace for the large number of Democrats who supported the bill. A big proponent of the bill was now-VP Biden, then known as the Senator from MBNA. The law gives the companies that aggressively hawked credit cards to people who could not afford them special protections in bankruptcy proceedings. That is, it is now much harder to discharge credit card debt by declaring bankruptcy. As a result, bankruptcy filings primarily occasioned by credit card debt have declined, which is actually quite a scary thought when you consider that bankruptcy filings have exploded. Medical providers receive no special breaks under the bankruptcy law. You can still discharge your medical debts -- at least if you didn't charge them to a credit card.

2. Except to the extent they are required to by law, hospitals don't let patients incur large debts without some belief that they will be paid. Thus, people without insurance are routinely denied hospital services. Non-payment of large hospital bills is to a large degree the result of people who have insurance, coverage verified by the hospital, who then have their claims denied by the private insurers. Many large insurers look for any weak reed on which to deny a claim when big money is on the line. So the hospitals confirm coverage; the insurer always reserves the right when "confirming" to deny claims based on the actual circumstances present at time of service. Hospital provides service, then insurer denies claim, and hospital looks to the insured to pay; who often cannot. Another problem is insured people with crappy policies. For major surgeries, for instance, a person could even be insured for the procedure and still rack up large indebtedness on the uninsured portions of the care such that they file for bankruptcy.

3. Although it is hard to believe that any sort of health insurance reform won't be better than what exists now -- I personally consider the Obama administration's position to be a joke. The only way that there is real universal coverage is to switch to a single payer system. Insurance companies take a lot of each premium dollar off the top, rendering it unavailable to provide actual medical services. Obama has rejected a single payer solution. If he can get something passed, it will be better than the current system -- but it most assuredly will not be a solution to the problem of uninsureds, bankruptcy due to medical debt, or control of medical costs. Understand Linda, that my advocacy of a single payer system marks me as a "Socialist" according to some on the site; you know who some of them are.

Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 7:57 PM

Not-for-profit hospitals (which includes most) cannot refuse treatment to anyone. Physicians can though, so the uninsured can whither away until they need hospital care, which is way more expensive. I'm a hospital nurse and am appalled by state of things. The little town I work in is experiencing massive layoffs due to the auto mess, so folks are losing their health insurance. Who can afford COBRA? The sh#tty attitude of many health care providers toward the uninsured is slowly changing as many of their friends and loved ones are without.
Socialized medicine? If that's what you want to call taking care of your own, so be it. Why is that more evil than the capitalistic way, which denies insurance to the very folks who need it, who only want to insure young healthy people? Insurance wasn't supposed to work that way. What a scam. Sell it only to people who will never need it. Cash in the pockets of greedy CEOs. Sorry for the rant, but I think it's a huge evil.

Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 8:05 PM

Sorry for using the word "evil" twice in a post. Should have used it many more times...

Caramel1  (Level: 136.2 - Posts: 21612)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 9:07 PM

Love my family Doc but he will accept no patients without supplemental insurance. At least in Fl. difficult to find a doc that accepts Medicare only. The first question asked by a hospital or doc is who is your insurance provider and show me a picture ID

i could not agree with you more that health care costs are off te chart. For an outpatient surgery I recently had done the hospital alone was over $27,000 and the doc and lab bills yet to arrive. My insurance after the original $250 deductible picks up the bulk of the tab. I am fortunate to have that insurance as am more than sure the surgery would never have been done if i had not. So I will not deny that health care costs could force some into bankruptcy. I was disputing his misuse of words more than anything.

Obama has no plan other than some lofty outline and he is giving it to Congress to write and we all know what a mess that becomes and how long it will take with all of the special interests and bickering.

As much as it enrages me me to hear Gheitner the tax cheater saying he is going to get the tax cheats, his department is handling the crisis that is bring the country down. There are 17 positions yet to fill that might help him but nominees have not even been given. In the meantime Obama is flitting around filling the post of the guy who will deal with hurricanes when it is not yet the season and wringing his hands about "Climate Change"

Someone needs to let him know about priorities- Linda

Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 9:18 PM

Hurricanes are pretty serious business if you want to keep us from another tragedy. You are indeed lucky to have the health insurance you do. Most of us aren't that fortunate.

Caramel1  (Level: 136.2 - Posts: 21612)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 9:30 PM

ALL of the issues he is talking about are important and huge-take some exception to the 'Climate Change- but none of them are more important or should consume his efforts other than the financial thing as unless that is somehow fixed, nothing else will probably work anyway. Linda ( I know i am fortunate to have the insurance that I do.)

Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 9:35 PM

Healthcare is a big part of the "financial thing" and so cannot be ignored.

Caramel1  (Level: 136.2 - Posts: 21612)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 9:47 PM

I am not saying IGNORE it but the banks and something I don't understand called toxic assets need to be fixed first. Since Paulson came out and announced TARP one saying he would deal with those toxic assets with Gheitner by his side, and then didn't believe good minds have seen that as the root. Obama announced that his man Gheitner would lay out the plan but if he has one he did not make it clear and the economy continues to tank. Don't believe the thing about bankruptcy judges being able to cram down -reduce the amount owed on mortgages-is helping give confidence either-could be wrong- Linda

Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 9:49 PM

Well, if you don't ignore it, then you have to do something about it!

Caramel1  (Level: 136.2 - Posts: 21612)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 9:55 PM

How many HUGE things is he going to fix at the same time??? Speeches are not going to fix anything....

Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 9:57 PM

I believe that he's searching out folks on both sides of the aisle for help on this. He's not pretending he knows all the answers.

Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Thu, 5th Mar '09 11:35 PM

Health care is more expensive in the U.S. than in countries with national health plans, although many of these countries have longer life expectancies for their citizens. A plan that leaves in place private insurers -- who can take for overhead and profit up to 45% of each premium dollar -- is not going to be able to effectively control costs in my opinion.

Collioure  (Level: 115.2 - Posts: 9952)
Fri, 6th Mar '09 12:35 AM

As I have now posted on another thread, this is not the time to load a lot of expensive government programs on the American economy. Fixing health care could help, but not before the economy itself is on the upswing unless health care can be fixed cheaply.

I am afraid a very expensive ideological agenda is being sold as a cure for the economy. It isn't and it won't be. Such risks a deep depression.

Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4593)
Fri, 6th Mar '09 6:12 AM


which says in part:

"The cost of health care now causes a bankruptcy in America every thirty seconds, Obama said........The figure comes from a 2005 Harvard University study saying that 54 percent of bankruptcies in 2001 were caused by health expenses. We reviewed it internally and knocked it down at the time; an academic reviewer did the same in 2006. Recalculating Harvard’s own data, he came up with a far lower figure – 17 percent......A good part of the problem is definitional. The Harvard report claims to measure the extent to which medical costs are 'the cause' of bankruptcies.

In reality its survey asked if these costs were 'a reason' – potentially one of many – for such bankruptcies.....

...Moreover, Harvard’s definition of 'medical' expenses includes situations that aren’t necessarily medical in common parlance, e.g., a gambling problem, or the death of a family member. If your main wage-earning spouse gets hit by a bus and dies, and you have to file, that’s included as a 'medical bankruptcy.' ...

...There is general agreement: 'Being uninsured and getting sick in the United States is really a bad thing,' Dranove told me today. 'But for academics the validity of the research matters.' In the Harvard paper, he says, 'The methods were so poor they gave cover to those who want to dismiss the problems of the uninsured – they can say the only paper out there uses a suspect method.' "

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