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Why the health care debate continues to shift to the left

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Health Insurance Companies Price Gouging the US Economy

Yesterday I received what was either a Halloween trick or extortion: a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield notifying me of a 24% rate increase starting January 2010. Quite simply, this is price gouging per se.

All across America people and employers are getting notices like this. There is no way these increases can be paid. That is why even a Republican controlled Senate in Pennsylvania might agree to a single payer bill.

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Submitted by Anne on

Only mine was just under 20%.

However, I think it really amounts to more. My premium year used to be November 1 - Octiober 31, probably related to when I got the policy.

I would ordinarily get a premium notice about a month before the premium for the upcoming quarter was due. This October, I got a notice saying that BC/BS was instituting changes to their system, and so I was billed at the existing - lower rate - for November and December. I had, at that point, paid 11 months' worth of premiums.

The next thing I got was notice of a premium increase for the 2010 calendar year - I am no longer on the 11/1 - 10/31 premium year. I have this feeling that everyone was moved to a calendar year, which means that people who thought they would be paying one rate for an entire 12-month period are getting hosed by being moved to a "new" premium year, which allows them to jack up the rates. Sleight of hand that is apparently A-OK with the powers-that-be.

The good news (I snark) is that they have promised not to raise it again this year, and really, they need me to know how terrible they feel to have to pass on to me the high costs of care (keeping in mind that I hardly even used it), and reminded me of the pitifully low profit margin they are making do with.

Now, it is good coverage, and I've never had a problem getting claims paid, and I can see any doctor I want. I know my age (56) is a factor, but..the premiums have gone from $915/quarter in 2005 to $2,095/quarter in 2010: that is more than a 100% increase in 5 years. Call me crazy, but that seems punitive. And without justification.

I can hardly wait to write out the check today...

Submitted by lambert on

1. The Dems don't have to run on it in the mid-terms, Obama doesn't have to run on it in 2012, and the next mid-terms Dems can say "give it time."

2. The health insurance companies are free to gouge you whatever they want, to make up for whatever they believe they will lose when the bill kicks in -- or, more probably, because they can.

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Submitted by Kick Baucus to ... on

He said they had agreed to X billions and they went out and preemptively increased by the same - just as the drug companies did.

From the link:

Those are huge numbers considering wages are not growing (I am lucky enough to be making money), we are in a recession, and there is absolutely no low-risk investment vehicle which can consistently match those type of returns in order to keep up. There is no way the middle class can absorb this burden. And the idea of saving for retirement and children's eduction is becoming a bad joke which insults the efforts of young workers.

It is a bad joke for older workers, too. There is no option other than eventual bankruptcy. I can be bankrupted by uninsured healthcare costs, or I can be bankrupted by the mandated transfer of my wealth to insurance companies. It doesn't matter anymore, really; the result is the same.

Wages can't keep up with healthcare costs, especially when so much of the cost is things like the latest imaging machines going into a brand new deluxe hospital facility with the gee-whizest bond offering. They just add the zeros. We keep working, but couldn't possibly keep up.

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Submitted by SCRAPTHISCRAP.B... on

IF A COMPANY IS ENGAGING IN PRICE GOUGING WE HAVE ONE OF THE BEST COURT SYSTEMS IN THE WORLD TO STOP THEM. WE HAVE RULES IN THE COUNTRY ON HOW COMPANIES CAN RUN. IF YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY IS DOING SOMETHING ILLEGAL TAKE THEM TO COURT. WHY DO WE ALL HAVE TO SUFFER.ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WHERE GOVERNMENT IS INVOLVED IN HEALTHCARE THE QUALITY IS WORSE.THE MORE GOVERNMENT THE WORSE IT IS.