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Old 04-16-2013, 11:22 AM
 
4,406 posts, read 3,463,063 times
Reputation: 11931
Default Opportunity Cost, Health Insurance, and Health Care

Many of us, including myself, complain frequently about the fact that health care in America is the costliest in the world. Whether we want to admit it or not, the major reason that so many lack health insurance is precisely because it is expensive. Finally, it is expensive because--in addition to profit for the insurer--it is paying for some of the most overpriced services and goods that exist in our economy.

When we discuss trying to fix this problem many suggestions are typically offered. What few people do though is ever try to look at this problem in terms of what failing to fix this system is costing us as a country. Perhaps, if more people did this rather than focusing simply on how to get more out of the current system, there would be more of an impetus for action and reform. Economists would refer to what I describe here as the concept of opportunity cost.

How many people here have gotten few raises at work from their employer in the last 10-15 years? Have you ever stopped to wonder why that is? Has it ever occurred to you that money that could be going to in the form of raises is instead going for continually escalating premiums for your employer's health insurance plan? So, if we were able to impose real limits on the growth of health care costs, you'd very likely be taking home higher raises than your currently getting.

If government weren't faced with continually increasing costs for Medicare and Medicaid, more money would be available for all kinds of things: 1. Better roads and highways; 2. Public Education; 3. Space Program and Scientific Research; 4. Colleges and Universities; 5. Deficit Reduction; 6. Tax Cuts.

There are "trade-offs" and choices that we have to make in life. Is money that is currently spent to pay for expensive cancer medications for the elderly a better investment of dollars or would it result in more overall good to spend that same money to improve inner city schools? Is money that is spent on hip replacement surgery for people in their nineties a better use of money or would spending the same money to make certain that 100% of children receive immunizations a better choice?

Every person who runs a household has to budget and make choices. Do you take the kids to Disneyworld or do you buy a new car? As individuals, we all face the reality that we cannot afford everything we want. How do we get the biggest "bang for a buck"? Who do we say no too? Or, do you have it in you to say "no" to anyone?

I submit that as government and individuals we are spending too much on medical care and it is limiting other, better opportunities that we have as both individuals and as a society.
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
10,833 posts, read 7,706,164 times
Reputation: 3858
Hi Mark - If you rephrase your questions just a bit - I might agree 100%.

Why only deal with expensive cancer meds for the elderly or their hip replacements? How about trying to keep that 14 ounce neonate alive at a cost of millions when the kid - even if he/she survives - will probably be FUBAR - and never be a productive member of society? I have a 93 year old aunt who had 2 total knees at 90+. She has some money. And is currently giving money so one of her grand nieces can attend college. That's more than the FUBAR neonate will probably ever do.

And would you deny us older people who have money from spending our own money on health care stuff even if Medicare won't cover it (because it doesn't make sense)? Some people with a bad disease/prognosis at 75 might want to buy some pricey health care - others might want to buy a Corvette.

As long as you agree to a somewhat level playing field - especially in terms of age - I'm probably on board. IMO - I have been and will be a more productive member of society than most younger people (I even pay taxes ) - and I don't know why you place an emphasis on older people not getting X,Y,Z. Robyn
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Old 04-17-2013, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale
1 posts, read 1,483 times
Reputation: 10
I had health coverage for thefirst30yearsofmylifeandthen with a change of career I lost health coverage. I just found telehealth which seems affordable but since it's such a new concept am trying to find out all I can about it. Sound too good to be true but am very curious if this is the answer. The company I am looking closely at is called Ensurity Group Health. Hasanyone hear of the company or the telehealth concept.?
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:14 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
2,377 posts, read 1,947,787 times
Reputation: 2163
Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
Many of us, including myself, complain frequently about the fact that health care in America is the costliest in the world. Whether we want to admit it or not, the major reason that so many lack health insurance is precisely because it is expensive. Finally, it is expensive because--in addition to profit for the insurer--it is paying for some of the most overpriced services and goods that exist in our economy.

When we discuss trying to fix this problem many suggestions are typically offered. What few people do though is ever try to look at this problem in terms of what failing to fix this system is costing us as a country. Perhaps, if more people did this rather than focusing simply on how to get more out of the current system, there would be more of an impetus for action and reform. Economists would refer to what I describe here as the concept of opportunity cost.

How many people here have gotten few raises at work from their employer in the last 10-15 years? Have you ever stopped to wonder why that is? Has it ever occurred to you that money that could be going to in the form of raises is instead going for continually escalating premiums for your employer's health insurance plan? So, if we were able to impose real limits on the growth of health care costs, you'd very likely be taking home higher raises than your currently getting.

If government weren't faced with continually increasing costs for Medicare and Medicaid, more money would be available for all kinds of things: 1. Better roads and highways; 2. Public Education; 3. Space Program and Scientific Research; 4. Colleges and Universities; 5. Deficit Reduction; 6. Tax Cuts.

There are "trade-offs" and choices that we have to make in life. Is money that is currently spent to pay for expensive cancer medications for the elderly a better investment of dollars or would it result in more overall good to spend that same money to improve inner city schools? Is money that is spent on hip replacement surgery for people in their nineties a better use of money or would spending the same money to make certain that 100% of children receive immunizations a better choice?

Every person who runs a household has to budget and make choices. Do you take the kids to Disneyworld or do you buy a new car? As individuals, we all face the reality that we cannot afford everything we want. How do we get the biggest "bang for a buck"? Who do we say no too? Or, do you have it in you to say "no" to anyone?

I submit that as government and individuals we are spending too much on medical care and it is limiting other, better opportunities that we have as both individuals and as a society.
I agree completely. With employer provided health insurance, the cost of goods and services in this country is inflated to cover this expense. With government provided health insurance, individuals and companies are taxed to cover this growing expense.

As you stated, this money could be spent on a multitude of things. The US had the advantage after WWII of being the only major industrial economy that had not been damaged or bankrupted from the war. We had no competition and inefficiencies developed. We are now left with the medical and health insurance industries as two of this nation's major employers and lobbyists in Washington. Try to suggest any of the trade-offs you mentioned and the medical/insurance industry will be out in force with their death panel propaganda ads.

I don't see it changing. The medical/insurance complex will keep choking the economy and shutting down manufacturing in this country. We will become increasingly dependent on China to provide the majority of our manufactured products and our overall standard of living will gradually decline.
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:39 AM
 
414 posts, read 415,810 times
Reputation: 370
Quote:
Originally Posted by asKaren View Post
I had health coverage for thefirst30yearsofmylifeandthen with a change of career I lost health coverage. I just found telehealth which seems affordable but since it's such a new concept am trying to find out all I can about it. Sound too good to be true but am very curious if this is the answer. The company I am looking closely at is called Ensurity Group Health. Hasanyone hear of the company or the telehealth concept.?
This is not comprehensive medical insurance. Their wording states they cover MOST COMMON medical conditions and list a few then they list a few medications they cover. I am willing to bet that there are not a lot of doctors that will take this type of insurance either. Buyer Beware!
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:34 AM
 
41,633 posts, read 44,854,191 times
Reputation: 12781
One alos has to relise that we all ebenfit from mnay thinsg that are international. The US does 70% of all medical and ru g reseacrh and pays for tit thru most private insurance cost. its the same as how hospitlas can meet budget when foten they are non-profit.Its the ver idea of manged heathcare sytem so commo how i contracted cost.Healthcare is not plumbig which if any one has had it doen can be very costly for the job done. A trnamission on sutomobile can cost 3000 dolars and deos not compare at all/ Just the liabilty of surgery and treatemnt is huge in this country, Hard to compare healthcare how and eve the 1960 there is so mnay advancements that means life not death. i can remmber as a kid ;people havig exploritory sugery only to be as called then"sewed backup because it was cancer"to die.
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