15 2 mins 9 yrs

Abolish insurance

Dr. Michael Ciampi took a step this spring that many of his fellow physicians would describe as radical.

The family physician stopped accepting all forms of health insurance […]

But the decision to do away with insurance allows Ciampi to practice medicine the way he sees fit, he said. Insurance companies no longer dictate how much he charges. He can offer discounts to patients struggling with their medical bills. He can make house calls.

“I’m freed up to do what I think is right for the patients,” Ciampi said. “If I’m providing them a service that they value, they can pay me, and we cut the insurance out as the middleman and cut out a lot of the expense.” […]

…“I’ve been able to cut my prices in half because my overhead will be so much less,” he said […]

Before, Ciampi charged $160 for an office visit with an existing patient facing one or more complicated health problems. Now, he charges $75.

Patients with an earache or strep throat can spend $300 at their local hospital emergency room, or promptly get an appointment at his office and pay $50, he said.[…]

“If more doctors were able to do this, that would be real health care reform,” he said. “That’s when we’d see the cost of medicine truly go down.”

Insurance is a racket, just a crony, white collar wealth redistribution scheme. Anyone who thinks that premiums and costs will come down as Obamacare kicks in obviously doesn’t realise that the insurance industry drafted drafted it. We know how to cut costs radically: bust open the closed shops and cartels, open all of healthcare to a hurricane of free market forces, costs will tumble immediately.

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  1. Government programs and private insurance relentlessly try to cut costs and also create endless, soul destroying paperwork.

    I agree that there is a move to not accept insurance among some doctors. All that time and motion of processing claims is time and motion that could be spent taking care of a patient.

    Its a problem.

  2. From Forbes:

    “Every now and again, a political pundit is required to stand up and admit to the world that he or she got it wrong.

    For me, this would be one of those moments.

    For quite some time, I have been predicting that Obamacare would likely mean higher insurance rates in the individual market for the “young immortals” and others under the age of 40. At the same time, my expectation was that those who fall into the older age ranges would benefit greatly as their premium charges would be lowered thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

    It is increasingly clear that I had it wrong.

    Yesterday, Covered California—the name given to the healthcare exchange created pursuant to the Affordable Care Act that will serve the largest population of insured citizens in the nation—released the premium rates submitted by participating health insurance companies for the four health insurance program categories (bronze, silver, gold and platinum) established by the Affordable Care Act, along with the catastrophic policy created for and available to those under the age of 30.

    Upon reviewing the data, I was indeed shocked by the proposed premium rates—but not in the way you might expect. The jolt that I was experiencing was not the result of the predicted out-of-control premium costs but the shock of rates far lower than what I expected—even at the lowest end of the age scale.


  3. So, why the all too popular narrative that Obamacare would mean unaffordable healthcare premium costs for so many Americans?

    Setting aside the never-ending nonsense peddled by the opponents of healthcare reform, everyone from the Congressional Budget Office to numerous private actuaries have warned that premium shock could be expected to set in once the public began to see the reality of what Obamacare would mean to their pocketbooks. And yet, the only real jolt to the system being felt by these public and private prognosticators today is utter amazement over just how reasonable the California prices have turned out to be.

    How did the CBO and the actuaries get it so wrong?

    As Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic correctly points out—

    “One reason for the misplaced expectations may be that actuaries have been making worst-case assumptions, even as insurers—eyeing the prospects of so many new customers—have been calculating that it’s worth bidding low in order to gobble up market share. This would help explain why premium bids in several other states have proven similarly reasonable. “The premiums and participation in California, Oregon, Washington and other states show that insurers want to compete for the new enrollees in this market,” Gary Claxton, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said via e-mail. “The premiums have not skyrocketed and the insurers that serve this market now are continuing. The rates look like what we would expect for decent coverage offered to a standard population.”

    Cohn is saying that, despite the political naysayers, the healthcare exchange concept appears to be working very well indeed in states like California, Oregon and Washington—the first states to publish the expected health exchange prices for purchasing coverage. These are also states that are actually committed to seeing the program work as opposed to those states whose leaders have a vested political interest in seeing the Affordable Care Act fail.

    Keep in mind that the entire idea of the exchanges is to require health insurance companies to compete openly with one another by offering identical coverage programs in the three created classes—each offering insurance coverage that actually delivers meaningful protection to customers—and then openly disclosing the price each insurance company will charge for that policy. Thus, shoppers can clearly see which company has the best price on an apples-to-apples basis.

    For all the negative chatter about how including older and sicker Americans in the health insurance pools would drive up the price for younger participants in the pool less likely to be ill, what we are now seeing in states like California is that the desire on the part of the health insurance companies to increase market share—thanks to the large influx of customers as a result of Obamacare—is driving prices downward.

    That is precisely what the President said would happen.


  4. Forbes usually knows what they are talking about.

    If this program does work well over time, the Republicans should be tarred and feathered from coast to coast. They never negotiated, they only acted as entirely negative obstructionist actors from Day One to Today.

    But lets wait and see.

  5. That’s published in Forbes, but they’re Rick Ungar’s words. So what’s the explanation?

    So why are exchange premiums lower than expected in California?

    The short answer is that the government has rigged the system so that exchange premiums won’t climb for three years, to sucker everyone to think the exchanges are working. Mainstream media will be falling all over themselves telling us how the actuaries blew it with their original forecasts. Don’t believe it for a minute.

    In the same way that the penalty for the youth is low in the first year, and climbs very rapidly to $695 by 2016. It’s a sucker’s game of bait and switch with the exchanges.

    Obama through different slights of hand is subsidizing insurance companies in the first couple of years, to keep exchange premium rates low. Then they will explode.

    We then see the Dept. of Health and Human Service’s own explanation for the sleight of hand. The piece concludes:

    The federal government (that is you the taxpayer) is going to make payments to insurers on certain health plans. The fun and games stop after 2016, when the exchange subsidies stop. When these support mechanisms are pulled, after MSM spreads the propaganda as to how wonderful the exchanges are, premiums are likely to soar. And coincidentally, the exchange premiums will start to climb when Obama will be out of office.

    Don’t be a sucker. Don’t believe Rick Ungar.

  6. Everything goes in cycles. Before we had the NHS poorer people struggled, we didn’t have the immunisation programmes, drug developments, prenatal care, health checks etc.
    Then over time the whole thing became an end in itself and its existence justified its costs.
    Drug companies and surgical equipment suppliers ramp up prices because the taxpayer underwrites the bills.
    Perhaps the same is true in the US with insurance companies?
    What this chap is doing seems fantastic but could the whole system function if everyone did this?

  7. Create a comprehensive full cover high standard NHS for all Americans funded by central taxation and voila , you have negated the need for insurance costs. Right Pete?

  8. Personally it seems to me the measure of a system’s economic success is whether it provides for our security, food housing health and employment, and leaves su with enough left over to save spend as we like.
    Pete, your ideas would eventually lead to chaos or else some kind of feudal system, not a return to the golden age you fondly imagine.

  9. Agit8ed –

    Poorer people did not struggle in the absence of a communist health rationing regime.

    More than a half of our income is confiscated, and you think that’s not feudal?!

    Colm –

    Not so. The NHS is a vast, state-run insurance pool. Consequently, costs are much higher than they ought to be.

  10. This shall affect the health of Americans and many beyond. It’s quite despicable and goes either unreported or under-reported in the ‘mainstream’ corporate media:


    The US House of Representatives quietly passed a last-minute addition to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill for 2013 last week – including a provision protecting genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks.

    The rider, which is officially known as the Farmer Assurance Provision, has been derided by opponents of biotech lobbying as the “Monsanto Protection Act,” as it would strip federal courts of the authority to immediately halt the planting and sale of genetically modified (GMO) seed crop regardless of any consumer health concerns.

    The provision, also decried as a “biotech rider,” should have gone through the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees for review. Instead, no hearings were held, and the piece was evidently unknown to most Democrats (who hold the majority in the Senate) prior to its approval as part of HR 993, the short-term funding bill that was approved to avoid a federal government shutdown.

    I’m sure that Phantom will respond to say that, because this is reported on by ‘unapproved’ source, it is untrue – except that it’s true, shockingly so.

  11. In many cases, I oppose litigation. An excess of litigation is one of the major problems in this country.

    There are no health risks in GM foods.

    It is one of those issues ( like electromagnetic radiation / EMF from cell phones ) that is the subject of great concern by a few, despite an absence of proof of anything.

  12. Monsanto bought itself immunity from prosecution via a corrupt legislature. As for

    There are no health risks in GM foods

    that’s pure corporate nonsense.


    GM crops offer no benefits to farmers or consumers. Instead, many problems have been identified, including yield drag, increased herbicide use, erratic performance, and poor economic returns to farmers. GM crops also intensify corporate monopoly on food, which is driving family farmers to destitution, and preventing the essential shift to sustainable agriculture that can guarantee food security and health around the world

    The hazards of GMOs to biodiversity and human and animal health are now acknowledged by sources within the UK and US Governments. Particularly serious consequences are associated with the potential for horizontal gene transfer. These include the spread of antibiotic resistance marker genes that would render infectious diseases untreatable, the generation of new viruses and bacteria that cause diseases, and harmful mutations which may lead to cancer.

  13. http://www.seattleorganicrestaurants.com/vegan-whole-foods/images/Final-Paper.pdf

    Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant
    genetically modified maize
    Gilles-Eric Séralini a,!, Emilie Clair a, Robin Mesnage a, Steeve Gress a, Nicolas Defarge a,
    Manuela Malatesta b, Didier Hennequin c, Joël Spiroux de Vendômois a
    a University of Caen, Institute of Biology, CRIIGEN and Risk Pole, MRSH-CNRS, EA 2608, Esplanade de la Paix, Caen Cedex 14032, France
    b University of Verona, Department of Neurological, Neuropsychological, Morphological and Motor Sciences, Verona 37134, Italy
    c University of Caen, UR ABTE, EA 4651, Bd Maréchal Juin, Caen Cedex 14032, France

    The health effects of a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup, and Roundup alone (from 0.1 ppb in water), were studied 2 years in rats. In females, all treated groups died 2–3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological profiles were comparable. Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls, the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5–5.5 times higher. This pathology was confirmed by optic and transmission electron microscopy. Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3–2.3 greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors than controls which occurred up to 600 days earlier. Biochemistry data confirmed very significant kidney chronic deficiencies; for all treatments and both sexes, 76% of the altered parameters were kidney related. These results can be explained by the non linear endocrine-disrupting effects of Roundup, but also by the overexpression of the transgene in the GMO and its metabolic consequences.

    Could this be one of the reasons why Americans are so healthy?

  14. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/medicare-trust-funds-life-extended-2-years-to-2026/2013/05/31/7efc7ca6-ca03-11e2-9245-773c0123c027_story.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpol
    Lower health-care costs are improving the financial outlook for Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly, extending the life of the trust fund that supports the program until 2026 — two years later than previously forecast.

    The new projection, released Friday by the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees, is an improvement of nine years in the forecast since passage of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The trustees’ report credits the act with part of the cost slowdown, particularly by placing new limits on Medicare Advantage, a form of Medicare run by private insurers.

    More business news

    Medicare trust fund’s life extended 2 years to 2026

    Lori Montgomery

    A drop in health costs is brightening the future for the entitlement for the nation’s elderly.

    U.S. consumers cut spending in April

    Associated Press

    Americans cut back on spending after their income failed to grow, a sign economic growth may be slowing.

    Sequester could make census more expensive, Commerce chief warns

    Jim Tankersley

    The 2010 census cost $13 billion, the costliest in U.S. history, but reforms could be delayed.

    More business news


    However, the trustees also credit lower costs and use rates in “most . . . service categories — especially skilled nursing facilities,” a development that most economists believe is in part due to the recent recession, but also to more fundamental efforts to reduce costs throughout the health-care industry.

    The trustees reported no such improvement in the finances of Social Security, but no significant deterioration, either. The combined trust fund that finances both the disability benefits and the retirement benefits funds is still forecast to run out in 2033, at which point the programs would only have enough cash to pay about three-quarters of scheduled benefits.

    Long before that date, however, Congress must act to shore up the trust fund for disability benefits, which is still projected for depletion in just three years.

    Responding to the report Friday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew noted the improvement in Medicare’s finances, which he said “demonstrates once again the importance of the Affordable Care Act.”

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