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Thread: Obama health plan would curb insurers on rate hikes

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    Re: Obama to Urge Oversight of Insurers� Rate Increases

    Quote Originally Posted by texmaster View Post
    Yup.

    And they did that with lowering the home loan requirements.

    How's that worked out for us?
    OT, but that is not what happened. The problem with home loans was substantially a supply side problem. It does, however, work reasonably well for many public utilities.

    Personally, if we can't have a single payer system, which in my view we should simply return all health insurers to a not-for-profit highly regulated status (where most were in the 1970's) where compensation is fixed to revenue and benefits paid must be a fixed % of revenue.

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    Re: Obama to Urge Oversight of Insurers� Rate Increases

    Quote Originally Posted by obvious Child View Post
    When did I talk about regulating prices?
    Erm, that's kind of what the whole thread is about.

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    Re: Obama to Urge Oversight of Insurers� Rate Increases

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav View Post
    Erm, that's kind of what the whole thread is about.
    I wasn't aware that regulation only extended to prices. Can you show me that development?
    "If your opponent is of choleric temperament, seek to irritate him." - Sun Tzu

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    Re: Obama health plan would curb insurers on rate hikes

    Bad idea in my opinion, if you start conroling prices like this someone is going to get screwed. Would have been better if he used a more competitive approach to controling prices, like buying across state lines and a public option...

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    Re: Obama to Urge Oversight of Insurers� Rate Increases

    Quote Originally Posted by obvious Child View Post
    Outright denial and delay of service are two different things. If an insurer simply delays until you're dead, that's not counted as a denial of service.
    Look at the specific reasons for denial.
    It isn't always what you think it is.

    You won't hear many complainers from Medicare though, that's because many of them are already near the end of their lives.
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
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    Re: Obama health plan would curb insurers on rate hikes

    Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children. ~ Ancient American Indian Proverb

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    Re: Obama health plan would curb insurers on rate hikes

    As I had suspected, the WellPoint testimony provided today to the House Energy and Commerce Committee did not provide any detailed actuarial or financial data that could allow one to analyze specific subsectors within the company. Instead, it offered technically accurate general arguments. At the same time, a Committee memorandum cited documents that lean toward the idea that business objectives, not benefit payment developments, may well be the main driver of the rate hikes.

    Given today's testimony and lack of disclosure of vital actuarial and financial details that could have substantiated WellPoint's arguments, I strongly believe that the 10K report provides the best picture of what was happening. Business objectives, not a dramatic deterioration in benefit payments, is largely responsible for the company's up to 39% rate hike in California.

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    Re: Obama to Urge Oversight of Insurers� Rate Increases

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainCourtesy View Post
    With the insanity and unethical practices in the insurance industry, this is one regulation that I completely agree with.
    But of course the govt option won't be needing that oversight, because afterall, it's the govt.
    "He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)
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    Re: Obama health plan would curb insurers on rate hikes

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    As I had suspected, the WellPoint testimony provided today to the House Energy and Commerce Committee did not provide any detailed actuarial or financial data that could allow one to analyze specific subsectors within the company. Instead, it offered technically accurate general arguments. At the same time, a Committee memorandum cited documents that lean toward the idea that business objectives, not benefit payment developments, may well be the main driver of the rate hikes.

    Given today's testimony and lack of disclosure of vital actuarial and financial details that could have substantiated WellPoint's arguments, I strongly believe that the 10K report provides the best picture of what was happening. Business objectives, not a dramatic deterioration in benefit payments, is largely responsible for the company's up to 39% rate hike in California.
    You mean greed, right Don?
    "He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)
    "Fly-over" country voted, and The Donald is now POTUS.

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    Re: Obama health plan would curb insurers on rate hikes

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    You mean greed, right Don?
    The idea of meeting profit goals is not necessarily "greed." That's an oversimplification. IMO, WellPoint should have offered an accurate explanation rather than going through pains to make an argument it is unwilling to substantiate. My guess is that an explanation that the company sought to meet profit objectives would have been highly unpopular. Hence, the company's public statements were aimed at creating a different perception, but where concrete information is required under law to be accurate, the company was careful to avoid violating its legal obligations. It's easier to make a public relations argument that something customers find unpopular was due to "necessity" than to argue and demonstrate that the rate hikes are justified by the value customers receive (the argument that needs to be made when business objectives are involved).

    If the so-called "death spiral" were involved, the company would have provided the relevant detailed data. That it didn't mention any such issues with detailed supporting data in its February 2010 10K report and again in today's Congressional testimony, both of which are required under law to be accurate, highlights the reality that business objectives were the leading driver of the rate increases.

    On the larger issue, I have serious reservations about government rate setting though things might go down that road. I do favor full and accurate disclosure. I also believe the WellPoint situation highlights exactly the case for eliminating barriers to competition. Health providers/insurance companies should be able to compete across state lines, they should have freedom to create pools where individuals could benefit from risk diversification, and foreign companies/providers should be able to compete in the U.S. market. Artificial legal protection of price arbitrage should also be eliminated.
    Last edited by donsutherland1; 02-24-10 at 01:29 PM.

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