Who will be the US "Big 3" in 2016?

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You think the government can not make things worse? You have never been in a VA hospital or seen by a VA doctor. Piss poor doctors and second rate
coverage if you can even get into a Hospital or find a doctor
You are confused Medicare sets the rates charged by hospitals and doctors in a given area, and sets them high. I don't know what private coverage you have but my coverage arranges with doctors and hospital to pay far less than Medicare allows per person in the area. The reason Medicare pays five times as much as the VA for the same coverage, is Medicare payments to hospital are a round about way to reimburse hospitals and doctors for free emergency care they must provide, under the Hill Burton Act, for the indigent.. The only was a doctor can charge you less than the Medicare rate is for him not to treat Medicare patients
Paying for drugs was never a problem for me but I now spend around $250 less a month for my meds, since the drug law went into effect, and I do not buy part 'D'. The sad part is, even though I never applied for SS, because of the Medicare law I can not even buy private coverage unless I sign up and pay for part 'B.'
Because of all the old folks in Florida, they get all of their drugs free and need not pay a monthly premium.
mike hunt
wrote:

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Gordon McGrew wrote:

What you say should make a lot of sense, but in my mind, NOTHING could be worse than having the government run anything so important. Everything I've ever seen the government try to take over is always poorly run and more costly. Can you think of anything they've run better and more cheaply? Let's even make that easier. Can you think of anything they've run well?
Personally, I want the government in my life much less than it already is. Not more.
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It's a virtual monopoly, and consumers (1) are discouraged from shopping around for the best prices; (2) usually have no awareness of what their insurer is paying for medical care and how this differs from what someone with other or no insurance would pay.
Unlike auto repair shops, when was the last time anyone saw doctors' offices advertising the cost of a routine 10k mile body checkup in the local newspaper? Or what's the cheapest ER within twenty miles for getting a laceration sewed up? Given the wait times in many ERs for such an injury, may as well make the driving radius 100 miles. (Wait times can routinely be long in some ERs, because some are dedicated to certain types of injury, and these injuries fill up the ER.)
Consumers, overcome with fear uncertainty and doubt, now view health insurance as not something for peace of mind but something from which they should get their money's worth every year. Which of course just raises health insurance prices more.
It seems increasingly more "funny money" is getting around, too. E.g. in the past year for two minor procedures, once the billing source heard I was not affiliated with any insurer but was paying directly, they slashed my bills. So now the uninsured can count on the insured to pay the cost of "negotiating" lower fees? I do not want to rely on this (even though in theory I received a smaller bill these last times). It's not free market action. Consumers have no idea of the actual costs of services.
It does resemble a pyramid scheme: Insurance Company X says that, by purchasing their plan, you'll get a 20% discount from the "normal" price that doctor's office Y charges. Y does not want to give money away, so s/he raises the prices on services. X responds by raising the prices for the consumer. The consumer Z is just happy s/he's getting 20% off whatever price.

Government intervenes to prevent monopolistic practices all the time. While health care providers and insurers may not be breaking the law on trusts (= monopolies), they are violating the principles on which this law is based.

This is a trick question, since rarely have direct comparisons been possible.
We could talk about the construction of interstate highways, USPS vs. UPS (they seem pretty competitive), disaster relief (despite Katrina, it would be only conjecture to say a private firm could handle such a situation better), Medicare for the 65 and older crowd vs. private insurance today, and not get anywhere meaningful.
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On Sat, 05 Aug 2006 14:22:47 GMT, Lee Florack

The USPS makes a profit and only charges 39 cents to deliver a letter to Buttfuck Idaho.

Well, the US Army used to pay a soldier $15,000 plus rations to drive a truck in a war zone. Now they give Haliburton a cost-plus contract to hire civilians at $100,000 to drive a truck which, if blown up or abandoned, represents a profit for the Company.

I would like to have health insurance that I can't lose to the whims of fate.
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On Fri, 4 Aug 2006 09:33:25 -0400, "Mike Hunter"

You must have your head pretty far up something if you haven't heard that:
1. The US is virtually(?) the only industrialized nation that does not have universal nationalized health care
2. The US has the highest per capita health care costs in the world by far.
3. The overall quality of US health care is mediocre.
4. All the above are getting worse.
Read up:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050712140821.htm
The United States continues to spend significantly more on health care than any country in the world. In 2005, Americans spent 53 percent per capita more than the next highest country, Switzerland, and 140 percent above the median industrialized country, according to new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study authors analyzed whether two possible reasons - supply constraints and malpractice litigation - could explain the difference in health care costs. They found that neither factor accounted for a large portion of the U.S. spending differential. The study is featured in the July/August 2005 issue of the journal Health Affairs.
The study authors reviewed health care spending data on 30 countries from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for the year 2003. U.S. citizens spent $5,267 per capita on health care. The country with the next highest per capita expenditure, Switzerland, spent $3,446 per capita. The median OECD country spent $2,193 per capita.
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/medical_errors.html
http://www.economist.com/world/displaystory.cfm?story_idT36968
http://dll.umaine.edu/ble/U.S.%20HCweb.pdf
http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2006-02/2006-02-28-voa59.cfm?CFID#244871&CFTOKENF366533
http://www.theolympian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060502/LIVING03/60502055

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I guess we would be better off if the government gave us all free medical care, free drugs. Why stop there? What about giving us a free insured car to go to the doctor, as well as buying the gas to run it. How about a free cell phone to call 911 if needed? How about three months paid medical leave for us and our families when somebody gets sick? How about maid service when we can't clean the house when we get sick. How about paying somebody do to our grocery shopping? How about a minimum wage of $25 a hour, and a 30 hour week so we don't have to work hard to get the things we 'need?' How about a displaced worker payment equal to our take home pay, when all of our jobs go off shore because of all the imports we buy? How about a free college education like in Russia, so we can go to China to design the Toyotas they will soon build there for the American market? Hell we can just raise the death tax to 95% and raise tax rates for the rich to 90% again, the rate in pre President Kennedy days, at least till the rich start moving out of the county, like they are doing in France ;)
mike hunt
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On Fri, 4 Aug 2006 19:03:29 -0400, "Mike Hunter"

As I recall, the economy was doing pretty well back in those Kennedy days.
The rich can leave as long as they pay the 95% exit tax that will fund our nationalized health care. Like Bill Gates told the graduates, life isn't fair.
And why shouldn't we raise the lazy bum rich kids windfall tax to 95% (of the estate over $1 million)? Like Bill Gates told the graduates, life isn't fair.
I love how you snip the bottom half of my post and then jump back up and top post your response. Must have been something there that really bothered you.

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The US the economy was doing pretty sure was do pretty well after the Kennedy cut the marginal tax rate to 50%, the income to the federal treasury tripled. Just as the income to the federal treasury doubled after President Reagan cut the marginal tax rate to 35%. There has been another huge increase in income to the federal treasury after President Bush tax rat cuts. Currently the federal treasures income is the highest in the history of the world.
You must believe it to be fair for the government to pass a law to tax all of the money YOU earned all year, at three times the rate you are currently paying, then tax whatever money you have left over at the end of the year at a rate of 55%? LOL
mike hunt
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care for many years at a nominal quarterly cost per individual. Medical costs in Canada are much less and even those who don't have a good medical plan or lots of money get the same care. A big cost saving in Canada is the approx. 30% cost in the USA of insurer overhead cost. As for drugs they are much lower cost in Canada and there is a rebate based on income. Those with lots of money can afford the drugs.
The stories of USA citizens, often seniors, who can't afford required medical procedures, is very sad. Even China has very low cost or free medical.
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Spam Begone wrote:

But for the Canadians I've spoken to, they think the Canadian Healthcare system is horrible. One of the main reasons is that it's hard to obtain.
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Mike Hunter wrote:

Mike. I gotta tell you, this is one of the few times I agree with you. Anything run by the government is always more expensive -- and usually poorly run too.
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