(NYT front page) Experts were wrong about Healthcare Costs

As part of his push for the Affordable Care Act in 2009, President Obama came to Central High School to laud this community as a model of better, cheaper health care. “You’re getting better results while wasting less money,” he told the crowd. His visit had come amid similar praise from television broadcasts, a documentary film and a much-read New Yorker article.

All of the attention stemmed from academic work showing that Grand Junction spent far less money on Medicare treatments ”“ with no apparent detriment to people’s health. The lesson seemed obvious: If the rest of the country became more like Grand Junction, this nation’s notoriously high medical costs would fall.

But a new study casts doubt on that simple message.

Price has been ignored in public policy,” said Dr. Robert Berenson, a fellow at the Urban Institute, who was unconnected with the research. Dr. Berenson is a former vice chairman of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commision, which recommends policies to Congress. “That has been counterproductive.”

Read it all (my emphasis).


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Theology

10 comments on “(NYT front page) Experts were wrong about Healthcare Costs

  1. Capt. Father Warren says:

    Sigh…………………………to say “price has been ignored” is something like observing “this man must have a headache he is taking aspirin”.

    Trying to get prices down will no more fix healthcare costs than taking away the aspirin bottle will take away the headache.

    But, just watch: we’ll create more laws fixated on price, more commissions, more intervention………..and then wonder why nothing changes……………

  2. Jim the Puritan says:

    Our state Obamacare exchange collapsed this month and was shut down by the governor after massive losses of hundreds of millions of dollars. People are now being thrown on the federal exchange. Article just came out saying that there will be yet another 3% Obamacare tax thrown on private insurers to pay the administrative costs of this (on top of the existing 3% administrative tax for Obamacare itself). So yet another 3% increase coming for everyone on private insurance. Premium costs have skyrocketed, and a LOT of doctors in our state have “retired” because of Obamacare. I lost my doctor in October–he wrote a scathing letter to all his patients about how he was leaving the practice of medicine because of Obamacare and all its compliance costs and how it was the death of the American healthcare system.

    The sad thing is most Americans remain clueless about what has been done to us.

  3. Capt. Father Warren says:

    You do not have to be a victim. If you can, look at the Christian health sharing ministries that are available. We bailed from the insurance/Obamacare nightmare and have been ever so glad we did. Bearing one another’s burdens in a Christian way is so much more fulfilling than complying with the tyrannical dictates of Washington DC and the corporate cronyism of the insurance industry.

  4. Don R says:

    I’ve been curious about the sharing ministries, but I haven’t heard a lot from people who actually use them. They’re looking extra attractive now as we face a 38% premium increase on our high-deductible ($6,300/individual and $12,700/family) plan.

  5. Jim the Puritan says:

    CFW–My concern is that at least according the ads I’ve heard on the radio, the member base of the medishare programs does not appear to be that broad, which means risk is being shared among less people and you could (I assume) face a substantial risk in increased premiums if there are too many catastrophic coverage situations. I assume that part of membership is that you continue to remain liable if there are premium increases; otherwise people would opt out when that happens and the program would collapse. But I really don’t know anything on how it works.

    But we’ve just been killed by Obamacare, after it passed our family coverage premiums jumped from $19,000 to almost $30,000 in just the space of a couple of years, then my firm restructured the firm policy to give less coverage and higher deductibles; but it is climbing again and I think next year I will be back at around $27,000 for less coverage than I used to have pre-Obamacare. Obviously, the only way it works is for the employed middle class to be increasingly socked for everyone else’s medical expenses. The rich are opting out of the system entirely and going to “concierge” care, which means doctors who only take cash but then give you promises of better and quicker care. That is happening here as well.

  6. Capt. Father Warren says:

    Our experience with insurance ended just before Obamacare became official. Beyond the lies, the cost, the inconvenience, we did not want to participate in something as immoral as Obamacare. During our last year of insurance our premiums were about $9600 with a $10,000 deductible [2 of us, individual policies].

    With Samaritan we pay less than half what the insurance was [4 years ago!] and the deductible is essentially $300 [which is what you pay before Samaritan kicks in].

    But the unknown savings comes with what you pay as a “self-pay” patient. For example, our last dental check up with full xrays, cleaning, fluoride treatment was $350 self-pay [for both of us], if we had dental insurance the charge would have been $698. Likewise with my last eye exam [at a specialist] which came in at $149 versus $350 with insurance.

    The point is: if you have insurance with high deductible, you will be paying those high charges out of pocket while I am paying the “self-pay” rates. And sometimes if you question the charge given as a “self-pay” they will knock more off the bill!

    This won’t work for everyone [pre-existing conditions can be a problem], but I think it is worth looking into.

    Finally, my monthly check does not go to Samaritan, it goes to a person, who has a need, and I include a prayer with my check; and it feels good.

  7. Don R says:

    Samaritan sounds good. From what I’ve seen, those plans sound a bit like “unlimited liability” insurance (e.g., like Lloyd’s of London was), but there must be some limits to personal liability. Any idea how that works?

  8. Capt. Father Warren says:

    Samaritan has a good website that will explain how it works [http://samaritanministries.org/]. Your basic coverage is $250,000 per medical need. In addition, they have another program that will cover you above that limit for an additional charge.

    The website explains the things not covered; prescriptions, routine tests, dental & vision [unless it is a medical need].

    On the prescription issue, they do let you enroll in a medical discount program [at no cost] that really seems to work well. I have a prescription for eye drops that costs nearly $200 per 5ml bottle and under the discount program my cost at Walmart is about $18.

    Also, their monthly newsletter directs members to providers and web portals that highlight medical providers who cater to self-pay patients. Providers are fleeing the Obama medical world to serve us because they see the train wreck coming and they don’t like the hassles any more than we do.

    We have not had a major need yet [praise the Lord!]. Samaritan publishes letters from members every month describing how big needs are met in full, so I believe the system works.

    When we joined +3 years ago there were about 15,000 families in Samaritan. Since O’care kicked in, there are now over 50,000 families in the system and still growing.

    The business model is not insurance. We don’t pay premiums based on forecasted liabilities. Members send checks to other members based on allocated already experienced needs which have been submitted to Samaritan headquarters. Biblically speaking, we are bearing each others burdens…….and God seems to be blessing this manifestation of Christian love.

  9. Don R says:

    Thanks for your first-hand info, CFW. It remains to be seen how my little company will deal with the premium increases. I suspect it may just increase my salary enough to cover them this time.

    I got into the individual market in the first place 4 years ago because our company’s insurance broker said it was the only way to avoid premium increases of 25-40%. I guess Obamacare has truly succeeded in “bending the cost curve”!

  10. Capt. Father Warren says:

    If you want to know how my insured clergy brothers in ACNA fair on their insurance:
    Family policy: $2231/mo
    Co-insurance: 80% until out of pocket costs of $7,000

    On a Curate’s salary of say $45,000, that would be a tough haul for a family with 2-3 kids………..and it don’t include any dental, vision.