"Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us"

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    Re:

    I have a new rule to submit, to determine when one has won an argument.

    Existing rules:

    The "Godwin rule" : if your opponent raises Nazism or Hitler.

    The "race card" rule:  A conservative knows he or she has won when the liberal calls you 'racist' .

    The new rule:

    The "spanky" rule: You know you have won an argument with airborne, when he starts calling you "spanky"...

     

     
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    Re:

    In response to FortySixAnd2's comment:

     

    I was talking collectively as a country. I too fall into the fit category so I'd be ok with a fat tax


    One could argue that - due to certain "lifestyle" choices - some adults won't live long enough to collect medicare or SS...programs they conceivably paid into for decades.

    But even fit people take a header over their bike, fall while jogging, or contract disease regardless.

    Even as a BDC-designated commie pinko, I'm a little skeptical about efforts to tax our way thin or healthy.  I suspect it will be a combination of public and private pressures to combat our collective health issues.

    But for argument's sake, where do we start?  10 lbs. overweight?  20 lbs...?  "Call the BMI Police, Johnny!  This guy can't see his pud!"

     
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    Re:

    In response to FortySixAnd2's comment:

     

    Oh I know there isn't a chance in hell for a fat tax....but one can dream.

     

    It amazes me that ones health isn't incentive enough. 



    Incentive for what...?

    Not for nothing, but humans can be a fragile lot.  If they see no prospects for a long, happy, prosperous life, then where is the incentive to make oneself better...?  

     
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    Re:

    In response to FortySixAnd2's comment:

     

    Well of course there are examples of healthier people taking a header or contracting a disease regardless of healthy lifestyle....but you can't deny that overweight and obese people are FAR more likely to get diabetes, heart issues, high blood pressure, knee/hip replacements, asthma, and on and on and on. 

    Given the choice I'll take my chances as a fit person over being obese seven days a week and twice on Sunday

    I know the reality is there will never be a fat tax. I was having "fun" with it just like WDYWN was.

     


    Naturally.

    I was just pointing out the fact that nobody really knows what could happen tomorrow, hence the need for insurance.  Insurance is basically our backstop for not saving enough money during good times to cover an eventual emergency.

    Most everyone is just a semi-serious accident or illness away from bankruptcy.  That's what the OP article is all about.  Even a perfectly healthy person with "good" insurance (by industry standards) could end up owing hundreds of thousands in a very short amount of time due to our broken system.

     

     
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    Re:

    In response to FortySixAnd2's comment:

     

    Incentive to not be a fat mess. And I don't buy the "no incentive if one sees no prospect for a long, happy, prosperous life. How can the average person know they won't have a long happy life? Are you saying everyone who is obese is so because they figured out somehow that they will never have a chance at a long, happy, prosperous life? Is that the reason kids are obese??? Did they come to such a conclusion at age 8, 9, 10?


    No, I'm not saying all people, but it's a fact that people engage in all sorts of destructive behaviors for various reasons, whether it be stress, or abuse, or flat-out indifference, or lack of pride, etc.  (and some people actually think ketchup is a vegetable, ok...?)

    If one accepts the notion that some conditions are at least partly mental, then which parts? And for whom? And how does that manifest?

    This isn't just new-agey psycho babble.  Call them "modern problems", if you will.  Problems of means, of scale, of scope, of the sheer will it takes to not only get by, but actually succeed in a sometimes cold, unwelcoming world.

    Point being is that physique is not always just a question of how physical a person is.

     

     
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    In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:

     

    Right, but it comes full circle because one of the main reasons that's true is all the obesity/cigarette and other sin-related health costs. That's just the fee-for-service model at work.

    Clinton's quadruple bypass ends up indirectly pushing up the cost of someone's leg cast....in a systemic sense, of course.



    Again, yes and no.  I think it's much more complicated than that.  There's a whole segment of people who shun medical services entirely until something - anything - goes wrong and they have no choice.  It's only a matter of time.

    As you say, the added costs are in trying to cure the disease instead of prevent it in the first place.

    (Clinton is a bad example given he has a public pension, free health care, etc. and yet could pay for the procedure a thousand times over.)

     

    Chris Rock had a funny bit, talking about his father who would 'prescribe' robitussin for every ailment.  Broken leg?  Pour some of that 'tussin in there...!  It's an exaggeration, but the point is salient.

     

     
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    Re:

    In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:

     

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:

    (and some people actually think ketchup is a vegetable, ok...?)



    And congress said pizza was a vegetable. Ugh.

     

     



    Which is what happens when the ketchup people elect the pizza people.  We get literally tons of people eating terrible pizza.

     

    Oh, but let's rag on the first lady's socialist vegetable garden instead.  That'll help.    <eye roll>

     

     

     
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    Re:

    In response to airborne-rgr's comment:

    In response to skeeter20's comment:

     

    Budgets mean nothing.  they are cutting the growth in spending, not cutting spending.  Look it up.

    spending is UP in Europe.  Examples:

    UK spending is up:

    Government Spending in the United Kingdom increased to 84685 GBP Million in the third quarter of 2012 from 84021 GBP Million in the second quarter of 2012. .

    France:  Spending is up:

    Government Spending in France increased to 39239 EUR Million in the fourth quarter of 2012 from 39078 EUR Million in the third quarter of 2012. Government Spending in France is reported by the INSEE, France. Historically, from 1950 until 2012, France Government Spending averaged 23856.97 EUR Million reaching an all time high of 39420 EUR Million in May of 2010

    Italy:  Spending is flat, 788 to 789 (actually up slightly).

     

    Trying to grow spending 10%, then cutting that 10% is not a cut in spending, it is a cut in growth.

     

    Bottom line, there is NO austerity in Europe in general, though there are a couple exceptions.

     

     




     

    You are constantly showing how ignorant you are on just about any subject but economics in particular.

    Hey spanky, countries like UK have BUDGETS that last a year.

    That means when spending goes up or down from quarter to quarter that doesn't mean jackshit about whether the country's budgets are up or down. That spending is already accounted for and timing within the year is arbitrary.

    OECD.Stat includes data and metadata for OECD countries:

    Government final expenditure in US dollars

                 2010          2011

    UK        508.1        493.6

    Italy     409.6        406.3

    Spain   313.7        310.1

    Port        58.7          54.1

    All those countries CUT spending are are now in a recession.

     

    Countries that didn't cut spending, like Germany, Sweden, Australia are NOT in a recession.

    http://www.oecd.org/statistics/




    Your numbers are wrong.  Maybe wherever you got them did not convert properly, taking into account important factors like inflation and real value, ie, "value at the time".

    Spending is up @3.9% across Europe.  In the countries we are generally talking about, spending is up 1.8%.  Country by country:

     

                           2010              2011             2012

    France             1071               1096             1118

    UK                   805                858               851

    Greece             125                114               108

    Spain               485               480                468

    Portugal          84                   89                  84

    Ireland            78                 104                  76

    Italy                788              784                   789

     

    Check out a neat artricle on what is going on here:

    http://cafehayek.com/2012/05/the-slashed-spending-of-european-governments.html

    Look at the chart near the bottom of the articel that shows you, clearly, that there is no austerity going on in Europe. 

     
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    Re:

    In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:

    We get literally tons of people eating terrible pizza.

     


    Speaking of which I can't find any good pies out near the Melrose/Malden area. Recently moved over that way, so haven't had time to sample even a significant fraction of the places.

    Anyone know any good pizza out in that general area?

    Cataldos, decent.

    Melrose House of Pizza, meh....edible...nothing to write home about.



    Try Mother's on Franklin st, I think.  Old school, but tasty.

     
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    Re:

    In response to FortySixAnd2's comment:

     

    For the most part physique is a question of how physical a person is. Proof of that is obesity rate today versus 50, 100, 1,000 years ago. We lead a much more sedentary life than in the past. Are there exceptions? Yup...but they are the exception, not the rule. It's not rocket science...if you're active you have a better chance of not being obese than if you live a sedentary life. If you eat like sh!te, smoke and drink to excess you're probably not going to be a healthy specimen. You eat right, exercise and do everything in moderation you're likely to be quite healthy. Again, there are exception but they are just that...exceptions.

     

    I deal with this stuff on a daily basis with the kids I coach. I have so many kids who come to us beginning of season overweight with some leaving at end of season, 20-25 pounds lighter. All from our workouts and cutting out sodas and junk food for 3 months. 

     



    OK...so if you can extrapolate that out to a representative sample of the population, you can get an idea of a magnitude of the problem.  (Note: we also live longer, on average, now and metabolism rates vary wildly from child to adult)

    As far as a fat tax, the insurance market will start - if it hasn't already - levying surcharges against unhealthy behaviors.  This would have happened without Obamacare; the difference now is that the law states that insurance plans cannot discriminate or deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

    Since it's impossible to issue a mandate telling people what they can and can't eat or how much to exercise, the change has to come at the pain points -- health care services and the insurance required to affordably access those services.

    And even then, every person is different and will require individualized treatment from their doctor...hence the need to get as many people as possible into some kind of preventive care ASAP.

     

     

     
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    Re:

    In response to airborne-rgr's comment:

     

    In response to skeeter20's comment:

     

     

     

    In response to airborne-rgr's comment:

     

    In response to skeeter20's comment:

     

    Budgets mean nothing.  they are cutting the growth in spending, not cutting spending.  Look it up.

    spending is UP in Europe.  Examples:

    UK spending is up:

    Government Spending in the United Kingdom increased to 84685 GBP Million in the third quarter of 2012 from 84021 GBP Million in the second quarter of 2012. .

    France:  Spending is up:

    Government Spending in France increased to 39239 EUR Million in the fourth quarter of 2012 from 39078 EUR Million in the third quarter of 2012. Government Spending in France is reported by the INSEE, France. Historically, from 1950 until 2012, France Government Spending averaged 23856.97 EUR Million reaching an all time high of 39420 EUR Million in May of 2010

    Italy:  Spending is flat, 788 to 789 (actually up slightly).

     

    Trying to grow spending 10%, then cutting that 10% is not a cut in spending, it is a cut in growth.

     

    Bottom line, there is NO austerity in Europe in general, though there are a couple exceptions.

     

     




     

    You are constantly showing how ignorant you are on just about any subject but economics in particular.

    Hey spanky, countries like UK have BUDGETS that last a year.

    That means when spending goes up or down from quarter to quarter that doesn't mean jackshit about whether the country's budgets are up or down. That spending is already accounted for and timing within the year is arbitrary.

    OECD.Stat includes data and metadata for OECD countries:

    Government final expenditure in US dollars

                 2010          2011

    UK        508.1        493.6

    Italy     409.6        406.3

    Spain   313.7        310.1

    Port        58.7          54.1

    All those countries CUT spending are are now in a recession.

     

    Countries that didn't cut spending, like Germany, Sweden, Australia are NOT in a recession.

    http://www.oecd.org/statistics/

     




    Your numbers are wrong.  Maybe wherever you got them did not convert properly, taking into account important factors like inflation and real value, ie, "value at the time".

     

    Spending is up @3.9% across Europe.  In the countries we are generally talking about, spending is up 1.8%.  Country by country:

     

                           2010              2011             2012

    France             1071               1096             1118

    UK                   805                858               851

    Greece             125                114               108

    Spain               485               480                468

    Portugal          84                   89                  84

    Ireland            78                 104                  76

    Italy                788              784                   789

     

    Check out a neat artricle on what is going on here:

    http://cafehayek.com/2012/05/the-slashed-spending-of-european-governments.html

    Look at the chart near the bottom of the articel that shows you, clearly, that there is no austerity going on in Europe. 

     

     

     



     

     

     

    Hey spanky, it helps to do your own homework and not rely on the echo chamber rhetoric.

    From YOUR article:

    (If you want to play with the numbers yourself, go here, which will give you borrowing and lending. Change the pull down menu that says borrowing and lending to government expenditures. To get the actual amounts rather than percentage of GDP, hit the â€ÂÂÂœSelect Data” tab at the top and you’ll see the choices.)

     


    Well guess what, I did go here and used their tables.

    Here are the results of Total General Gov't Expenditure in Euro's:

                                2008               2009             2010             2011
    UK                    862,432.8      867,155.4      860,997.4     848,124.2
    Greece             117,992.0      124,669.0      114,302.0    108,003.0
    Spain               450,948.0      484,759.0      485,467.0     480,111.0
    Ireland             77,008.7         78,499.8       103,426.6      76,536.1
    Portugal           77,055.3          83,842.3         88,502.4      84,373.8

        http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/submitViewTableAction.do

    In the years between 2008 and 2010, immediately after the global collapse, the countries raised spending and were NOT in a recession.

    Between 2010 and 2011 all of the same countries CUT spending  and ALL are now in a double dip recession.

     

    Ya can't argue facts.

     

     

    And this little gem is so misleading, it proves my point:

    Spending is up @3.9% across Europe.  In the countries we are generally talking about, spending is up 1.8%.


    Spending averages across all countries is a useless figure.

    The INDIVIDUAL countries where spending is up are NOT in a recession.

    The INDIVIDUAL countries where spending is down ARE in a recession.

     



    Not true, and you left out 2012 numbers, I can only assume because they counter your argument.  Look at the GD chart in the article.  That's about as clear an indication that spending is not down that you are going to get. Maybe your numbers don't properly count for inflation or exhange rates, I don't know.

     

    Look, I don't know how I can better explain this.  Maybe you are missing some facts, maybe you want this liberal false narrative to be true, but it is not.

    Some thiings to consider:Budget is not the only determinant of whether an economy is growing or declining.  Other significant factors include impact of pensions, trade unions, types of industries, regulation, and a whole bunch more.

    Your overly pedantic (and incorrect) insistence that when spending goes down, countries go into recession is just plain false.  I have given you enough data to figure that out, yet you resist.  I don't know what else I can do to tryto educate you in this regard. Consider this:  From an economics persepctive, long term deficit spending doesn't eliminate the recssison, it simply papers it over with future GDP.  think about it.  there is no free 

    I am not trying to knock you down, I am just trying to open your eyes.  I suggest droppng the ideology and try to understand the facts I have presented.

     

     
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    Re:

    In response to FortySixAnd2's comment:

     

    And how exactly will insurers do this? When I was younger I used to binge drink like no tomorrow...my insurer never knew. How the hell could they??? How will an insurer know a person smokes? Doesn't exercise, etc? The answer is they won't. 


    I've explained this before.  It already exists.  Through employer sponsored plans, the insurance company imposes a surcharge, say for smoking.  The insured signs off to say they are tobacco-free for six months prior to enrollment.  In theory, a person could still smoke and not get caught.  But if they ARE caught, it could be grounds for termination and/or suspension of the policy.

    And if the insurance company doesn't know for sure, they can certainly get the treating physician to tell them.

     

     

     
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