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The Sad Case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

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  • Re: The Sad Case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

    Originally posted by FreshFish View Post
    3) Roberts ruled that the Federal government does have the power to impose a tax on people who do not purchase health insurance. He said it quite explicitly: "people have the option either to purchase health insurance or to pay the tax."


    You somehow keep defining # 3 as a "mandate" while I have been using the word "mandate" in the more conventional dictionary sense. Once we recognize we have been using two different definitions, any apparent discrepancy disappears.
    I don't see how this is not a mandate.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mandate?s=t
    verb (used with object)
    10. to authorize or decree (a particular action), as by the enactment of law.

    Either you follow the law or pay the price. If you refuse to pay the price long enough, as with income taxes, you could go to jail.

    Comment


    • Re: The Sad Case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

      Originally posted by FreshFish View Post
      Mrs. Les,

      One of the problems we have to deal with is inaccurate information.

      The Big Lie: people with pre-existing conditions can't get coverage under the current system. Not quite true: if you have pre-existing conditions and want coverage, you merely have to get hired by a company that provides health insurance, you are automaticaly covered as long as you enroll when first eligible.

      The Truth can Set You Free: use that insight; you don't need a mandate (which now is unconstitutional on the federal level anyway*); what you need is Open Enrollment Windows (hmm...like the existing health plan for Federal employees...). If we break the link between employment and health insurance coverage, everyone who wants health insurance can buy it no questions asked as long as they do it during the open enrollment period, insurance companies can price it properly. The problem is merely exacerbated by PPACA (as it now stands) because it still allows people to buy insurance after they get sick.

      Another Big Lie: if health care costs go up faster than inflation, we must have a problem.

      Not completely true; much of health care is elective, and you'd expect people to consume more of it as their incomes rise. If I'm poor and my kids have crooked teeth, too bad for them....if I have some discretionary income I can send my kids to the orthodontist. If I'm poor and I need glasses, I get a cheap functional pair; if I have some discretionary income, I can get contact lenses or designer frames.

      I could continue this list for awhile....PPACA is all command-and-control, "anything not mandatory is forbidden." There is no incentive for innovation, no incentive for cost control. A far better solution would be to sever the link between health insurance and employment, allow a combination of high-deductible insurance and a HealthCare Spending Account (FSA) that can be rolled over from year to year (how stupid is it that if we don't use our FSA this year we forfeit the money?), have periodic open enrollment windows, and while that doesn't "solve" the problem of a person with no coverage using the emergency room, it surely helps mitigate it substantially.





      * apparently, many people don't realize that there is a huge difference between what states are allowed to do and what the federal government is allowed to do. States do have the authority to regulate people directly; states can impose a mandate if they want. It is now clear that the federal government does not have the power to regulate people; the mandate is unconstitutional, the federal government can only regulate behavior.

      First, I am not arguing for or against the current Bill. I think we can all agree that medical cost needs to be addressed. In response to your post-
      - you merely have to get hired by a company that provides health insurance… This is either a willfully ignorant or disingenuous thing to say. Are you assuming all people chose to be in a situation that does not get them the coverage they need? Some ‘facts’- Not all employers insure people (ex.- small businesses, part time workers). Depending on the size of the employer they may not cover pre-existing conditions. Not everyone can chose an employer that will have the ‘right’ insurance. You cannot assume everyone who is unemployed is that way by choice.

      - Open enrollment does not address the suck on the system that occurs when the purposefully uninsured utilize the system with no hope of reimbursement. These people have no intention of paying in and many times can’t pay the bills when they get the service. The easiest thing would be to have them sign something that says they accept the risk of not being covered and the hospital is not required to treat them without payment. This is not realistic. We need to deal with the fact that hospitals can’t absorb the cost of giving these people care indefinitely. In Mass the number of hospitals is shrinking d/t financial problems. In the city next to me there used to be 3 hospitals and 2 acute psych facilities in the space of 5 miles. They were always full. There is now 1 hospital and the nearest treatment ctr for emergent psych is 20 miles away. Sometimes people sit for a few days in the local ER before they have a bed on the floor or a place at the psych facility. (no, this really isn’t an exaggeration. Sometimes they get treated and released after a few days in the ER at massive cost, without ever getting access to a floor bed.)

      - much of health care is elective,- I must be reading this wrong. I am sure you can’t be implying that the majority of our expense is because of frivolous expenditure. The examples you use are odd. Without the Cadillac version of supplemental insurances braces aren’t covered, glasses may be covered but usually with a limit. If people are spending money on this they aren’t the ones that are going to cost us cash. It is the person with chronic illness with multiple comorbidities that will cost us the serious cash if they are undertreated and land in the ER, ICU etc. A few hundred $ to pay for meds/testing every month beats the 100K of ER, ICU, surgery, etc. They don’t tell someone in the unit they can’t afford the surgery or meds. They give them and worry about reimbursement later.

      - allow a combination of high-deductible insurance and a HealthCare Spending Account… and while that doesn't "solve" the problem of a person with no coverage using the emergency room, it surely helps mitigate it substantially. I agree it is stupid to lose the $ at the end of the yr. In theory this sounds wonderful. In reality a high deductible is a barrier to care for the person who is working a few jobs to make ends meet.. Most people do not have 3K to burn before coverage kicks in. In Mass this has been a real problem. Insurance costs about 350$/month for the cheapest plan. That is a lot of cash. For many that means they have nothing left to save to pay the deductible. In my practice I can’t count how many times the patient cannot afford the deductible so can’t be seen/refuses an appt, can’t afford generic meds, basic testing, or the recommended screening for things like diabetic retinopathy. My visit isn't spent advising the appropriate care. It is strategizing what is least likely to cause harm when the patient can't afford what is needed.

      I repeat the question -what the plan is to deal with the aftermath of not covering people while we wait to work something out?
      Last edited by leswp1; 09-27-2012, 07:42 PM.

      Comment


      • Re: The Sad Case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

        Originally posted by FlagDUDE08 View Post
        Death panels is more of a long-term effect. This isn't so much of a tax as it is a price ceiling. Obviously, insurance companies will look to charge more because not only is the product now inelastic, but they will now need to cover what may be some very unhealthy people. However, now the government has effectively set a demand price, as the people will demand to pay for their insurance the amount of the tax, plus the price of avoiding rationed care (e.g. emergency room). Eventually, we will get to a point where the government is providing funding for all care because of the lack of affordability for insurance, and it will then be rationed in order to stay within budget.
        This death panel thing makes me crazy. Any hospital of a decent size and I would hazard to guess all teaching hospitals have ETHICS panels who review care of those who are very ill. This was something that was developed to protect the patients from overzealous Drs and families. The object of these panels is to consider whether it is ethical to continue to treat the patient when there is no hope of recovery. They attempt to limit the needless treatment/use of modalities
        that could cause pain/ suffering with no hope of benefit in people who had no hope of recovery. Ex- comatose, patient with profound brain injury and the Dr wants to do multiple tests to fully define the condition but this won’t change the treatment plan. The side effect of omitting testing/treatment with no help to the patient is we do not spend money on.

        The original Bill had a provision to encourage Drs to discuss the prognosis and ascertain the wishes of the patient before they were in extremis. It also provided for reimbursement for the discussion. Any Dr worth their salt has this discussion (which is time consuming) but currently they have to do this gratis. This was added to the Bill because research showed patients having frank discussions regarding dx/ end of life care not only lived longer but had higher levels of satisfaction with quality of life (especially if they chose palliative care) than the people who went with the full court press without the benefit of discussion. This result shocked many in the medical community but has been reproducible.
        Last edited by leswp1; 09-27-2012, 08:10 PM.

        Comment


        • Re: The Sad Case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

          Originally posted by leswp1 View Post
          This death panel thing makes me crazy. Any hospital of a decent size and I would hazard to guess all teaching hospitals have ETHICS panels who review care of those who are very ill. This was something that was developed to protect the patients from overzealous Drs and families. The object of these panels is to consider whether it is ethical to continue to treat the patient when there is no hope of recovery. They attempt to limit the needless treatment/use of modalities
          that could cause pain/ suffering with no hope of benefit in people who had no hope of recovery. Ex- comatose, patient with profound brain injury and the Dr wants to do multiple tests to fully define the condition but this won’t change the treatment plan. The side effect of omitting testing/treatment with no help to the patient is we do not spend money on.

          The original Bill had a provision to encourage Drs to discuss the prognosis and ascertain the wishes of the patient before they were in extremis. It also provided for reimbursement for the discussion. Any Dr worth their salt has this discussion (which is time consuming) but currently they have to do this gratis. This was added to the Bill because research showed patients having frank discussions regarding dx/ end of life care not only lived longer but had higher levels of satisfaction with quality of life (especially if they chose palliative care) than the people who went with the full court press without the benefit of discussion. This result shocked many in the medical community but has been reproducible.
          Perhaps we have different definitions on "death panels". From what I understand, the argument stems ENTIRELY upon the panel-represented body's ability to pay, and in most cases, that's the government. Because the government is only able to provide limited funds, such as with Medicare, there are two ways to address this. One is to cut the reimbursement amount, and the other is to ration the amount of care provided. Combine this with the fact that the Medicare contract states you may only use them as a source of payment plus any co-pays involved, not to mention that any year after retirement costs more to enroll, and you are not able to collect social security without joining Medicare, and you have an issue. This is why I have been pushing the patient payment hybrid alternative. If there's any way for the govenrment to save money on this money-sucking program, it should be considered.

          Comment


          • Re: The Sad Case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

            Gee, that sounds almost identical to Paul Ryan's plan for Medicare...

            So which is it, Fishy? A great idea, or a horrible thing?

            Comment


            • Re: The Sad Case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

              Originally posted by unofan View Post
              So which is it, Fishy? A great idea, or a horrible thing?
              Somewhere in between, I'd say. It's an interesting experiment; lots of other companies are watching to see how well it works.

              It IS a good transitional method to sever the link between employment and health insurance coverage, and that probably is an improvement.

              The Medicare Part D drug benefit actually came in under projected cost from the outset, you know...the only program of its kind in US history that ever did, and this new program uses the same kind of mechanisms.
              "Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things."

              "Beer is a sign that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -- Benjamin Franklin

              "Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy." -- W. B. Yeats

              "People generally are most impatient with those flaws in others about which they are most ashamed of in themselves." - folk wisdom

              Comment


              • Re: The Sad Case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

                Got that sick relative that seems to be an ER constant customer? May not be happening anymore....http://news.yahoo.com/medicare-fines...084833994.html
                CCT '77 & '78
                4 kids
                5 grandsons (BCA 7/09, CJA 5/14, JDL 8/14, JFL 6/16, PJL 7/18)
                1 granddaughter (EML 4/18)

                ”Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”
                - Benjamin Franklin

                Banned from the St. Lawrence University Facebook page - March 2016 (But I got better).

                I want to live forever. So far, so good.

                Comment


                • Re: The Sad Case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

                  In theory this looks awesome. Some of the issues include:
                  - lack of aftercare availability- VNA around here is strapped. We can order all the approp f/u we want but they don't have the bodies
                  - lack of financial means- again, all the orders are there but the person cannot afford what is ordered- meds/PT/etc
                  - lack of communication- can't speak for other areas but locally the charts aren't getting completed sometimes for months after discharge because they are so time consuming (previously you could dictate the d/c but now there is a bunch of BS that needs to be done that apparently takes a huge amt of time). We get rudimentary info but the whole note can be months in coming
                  - pt is just not compliant- they can tell you the discharge plan but have no intention of following it. THe hosp gets screwed, the patient doesn't really get a consequence other than another hosp.
                  - once again it is riskier to take on complex patients. If you are willing to treat medically messed up people you bear the risk they are more likely to have complications even with stellar care. The tertiary hospitals (teaching hosp, trauma centers, etc) are at huge risk. They get the worst cases and also the burden of the people more likely to be unable to afford things.

                  On the plus side- hopefully it will deal with the cavalier attitude of the hospitalists and specialists who discharge the patient with little if any preparation and tell the pt to call the Primary knowing full well all the resources aren't in place. Supposedly they reimbursement is tied to the Doc who did the admission. If the pt shows up after discharge with a post op infection DING! out goes the lights.
                  Last edited by leswp1; 09-30-2012, 08:26 PM.

                  Comment


                  • Re: The Sad Case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

                    Originally posted by unofan View Post
                    So after years of 10-15% premium increases, this year's insurance premiums for state of Iowa employees are set to remain flat or even drop by up to 7%, depending on the plan. We just got the spiel from our HR director since the open enrollment period starts monday.

                    But I'm guessing the ACA had nothing to do with that, amirite?
                    As a followup, got the numbers today. They show a 6.2-6.7 percent drop in premiums for every plan offered to state employees starting 1/1/2013.

                    Comment


                    • Re: The Sad Case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

                      That's cute. Now let's see the entire offering. I mean ****, most people could take their deductible up to $1,000 and pay a fraction of what they pay for car insurance premiums.
                      Code:
                      As of 9/21/10:         As of 9/13/10:
                      College Hockey 6       College Football 0
                      BTHC 4                 WCHA FC:  1
                      Originally posted by SanTropez
                      May your paint thinner run dry and the fleas of a thousand camels infest your dead deer.
                      Originally posted by bigblue_dl
                      I don't even know how to classify magic vagina smoke babies..
                      Originally posted by Kepler
                      When the giraffes start building radio telescopes they can join too.
                      He's probably going to be a superstar but that man has more baggage than North West

                      Comment


                      • Re: The Sad Case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

                        Originally posted by dxmnkd316 View Post
                        That's cute. Now let's see the entire offering. I mean ****, most people could take their deductible up to $1,000 and pay a fraction of what they pay for car insurance premiums.
                        Did you call The General? My employer's plan has a $3,000 deductible, and I pay the same for 1 month of health insurance for my family that we pay for 6 months of car insurance on 2 cars.

                        Comment


                        • Re: The Sad Case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

                          Originally posted by jerphisch View Post
                          Did you call The General? My employer's plan has a $3,000 deductible, and I pay the same for 1 month of health insurance for my family that we pay for 6 months of car insurance on 2 cars.
                          This. Most people don't have a 1K deductible. Wouldn't that be nice?

                          Comment


                          • Re: The Sad Case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

                            Originally posted by jerphisch View Post
                            Did you call The General? My employer's plan has a $3,000 deductible, and I pay the same for 1 month of health insurance for my family that we pay for 6 months of car insurance on 2 cars.
                            Originally posted by leswp1 View Post
                            This. Most people don't have a 1K deductible. Wouldn't that be nice?
                            I think you two COMPLETELY missed my point. The point was that premiums are meaningless if you don't know your deductible. In the situation I mentioned, you should have seen the word "car" in the sentence and realized I was using car insurance as an example.

                            (Edit: In retrospect, my original sentence was clumsy. I meant taking your car insurance deductible to $1,000 to reduce your premiums. Since I know a lot of people with $500 deductibles. Same thing with health insurance. A high deductible plan will necessarily carry low premiums.)
                            Last edited by dxmnkd316; 10-02-2012, 08:40 PM.
                            Code:
                            As of 9/21/10:         As of 9/13/10:
                            College Hockey 6       College Football 0
                            BTHC 4                 WCHA FC:  1
                            Originally posted by SanTropez
                            May your paint thinner run dry and the fleas of a thousand camels infest your dead deer.
                            Originally posted by bigblue_dl
                            I don't even know how to classify magic vagina smoke babies..
                            Originally posted by Kepler
                            When the giraffes start building radio telescopes they can join too.
                            He's probably going to be a superstar but that man has more baggage than North West

                            Comment


                            • Re: The Sad Case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

                              Originally posted by dxmnkd316 View Post
                              The point was that premiums are meaningless if you don't know your deductible.
                              The exact same plan costs ~6.5% less than this year. Nothing about it changed.

                              Comment


                              • Re: The Sad Case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

                                Originally posted by unofan View Post
                                The exact same plan costs ~6.5% less than this year. Nothing about it changed.
                                Nothing at all? No change in coverage? No change in deductible? No change in how prescriptions are handled?

                                I guess I'd be curious to see what insurance premiums do in the private world before I make my final judgment.
                                Code:
                                As of 9/21/10:         As of 9/13/10:
                                College Hockey 6       College Football 0
                                BTHC 4                 WCHA FC:  1
                                Originally posted by SanTropez
                                May your paint thinner run dry and the fleas of a thousand camels infest your dead deer.
                                Originally posted by bigblue_dl
                                I don't even know how to classify magic vagina smoke babies..
                                Originally posted by Kepler
                                When the giraffes start building radio telescopes they can join too.
                                He's probably going to be a superstar but that man has more baggage than North West

                                Comment

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