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View Diary: Health Crisis: Here are the Statistics to Prove Why (16 comments)

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  •  In Colorado health insurers have to report (none)
    their financials every year to the insurance commissioner.  The fact is that they aren't making big profits in my state.

    The notion that this is driven by medical malpractice lawsuits is also so much poppycock.  You are talking less than 1% of expenses going to that end.

    Ruling out those two popular potential culprits, it appears that the basic problems are administrative costs and rising provider costs, and as tempting as it is to focus on the former, the latter is the bigger problem.  Administering health insurance has not grown materially more expensive over the past decade.  If it was, all forms of insurance would be seeing price hikes as great of those in the health insurance area, and they aren't.

    No one wants to point the finger at health insurance providers, because they are the ones who provide the care that makes us get better.  But, in my mind, increasing provider costs are what is driving the growing cost of health care, and basically, for all that they tout their bargaining ability, health insurance companies, which are in the business of negotiating provider costs, are pathetic at the task.  They have succeeded at holding down prescription drug costs.  They haven't succeeded at holding down physician pay.  They haven't succeeded at controlling any kind of medical expenditure.  And, we all pay for that.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

    by ohwilleke on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 05:30:58 PM PDT

    •  I don't know about Colorado, but (none)
      In Colorado health insurers have to report their financials every year to the insurance commissioner.  The fact is that they aren't making big profits in my state.

      Healthcare Payor Index (HMO) more than trippled in the last 2 years going from about 450 in 2003 to 1520 today. That means that the price of HMO/Health Insurance stocks on average trippled too, that usually does not happen without correspondig profit growth (or growth expectations).

      http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/quickchart/quickchart.asp?symb=hmo&sid=0&o_symb=hmo&fre q=2&time=13

      •  In other words (none)
        It's all about the redistribution of wealth to that thin sliver at the top.

        "Why, Tom, we're the people that live. They ain't gonna wipe us out. Why, we're the people--we go on." Ma Joad, The Grapes of Wrath

        by rocketito on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 05:45:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sources of increasing provider costs (none)
      Even where provider costs are increasing, it's not necessarily the case that it is going into higher physician pay.

      Physician practices have many costs, including, ironically, the cost of health insurance for themselves and their staff.

      •  To a point. (none)
        Except that then health insurance would increase at the same rate as everything else, and provide pay is at high levels.  The nursing shortage has sent nursing pay through the roof.  And, there is no place in the world other than the United States where physicians are paid anything approaching what they are paid in the United States.  I think the numbers would show that their pay has gone up signficantly.

        "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

        by ohwilleke on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 06:49:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't have numbers (none)
          Anecdotally, my impression is that there is the winner-take-all situation going on here as in many fields - the perceived 'top' people (especially those with great marketing and business sense) are making more, while the journeyman everyday doctors are working longer and harder for less money.

          Nursing pay is going higher - but nurses are paid ridiculously little for their skill and stress level and working conditions. When I was an entry level engineer working a government job, I made more per hour  than it cost to hire a nurse with 15 years' experience to supplement my grandmother's care - and this was with a middleman taking a cut of her pay.

          Rents are also a factor, and insurance of all sorts is going up because insurance companies are losing their shirts in the stock market.

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