In a recent Idaho Statesman article “IDAHO HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS TICK HIGHER” we are finally seeing the beginning of the end of the Obama Battle Cry. The president said “His health care law is reducing the overall costs – $1,800 in people’s pockets.” We all know what has really happened. Costs have doubled in many cases and deductibles have gone sky high where a healthcare policy once had a $500 deductible now they have a $5,000 deductible. This year Blue Cross of Idaho is raising rates 16.6%. Health care exchange rates have only been increased 3%. Is that because corporations and private purchasers of insurance have been subsidizing the exchanges for the past two years with their higher premiums? Does anyone understand that all of the money put into legislative campaigns by the medical establishment and the members of IACI to get a State Healthcare Exchange was only to benefit the medical establishment and the insurance carriers? We no longer have a free market for health insurance it is now government owned and operated.
Providers’ margins have gone up 22% and carriers’ margins have gone up 42%. Who is making money? The large nonprofit hospitals and the insurance carriers. The insurance carriers have already been backstopped by the government for any losses they may incur because of the new law; however, they continue to carry huge reserves on their books. Blue Cross Idaho had $547 million or $862 per customer in reserves and Regence BlueShield had $144 million or $1,182 per customer reserved. We always say follow the money. A few weeks ago we saw a public airing of how much the highest paid administrators and doctors received in the past year at the two nonprofit hospitals here in the Treasure Valley. Nonprofit, who is kidding whom? When you look at the staggering salaries and bonuses these people are taking home and the cost of insurance premiums I ask the question how much over-charging is really going on and why don’t we have any transparency in the cost of procedures by the different hospitals. We know that the cost of procedures in the Treasure Valley Hospital is significantly lower than St. Luke’s and St. Al’s. People should have a choice of where to go, and they can only have that if there is competition among various alternative services offered in the area.
The real scam is Medicaid Expansion. It has been set up in many states to save money employers will have to pay out for their employees. There is something called the Doughnut Hole which means if you make over 400% of the Federal poverty level for a family of four or about $92,000.00 per year, you may be eligible for a subsidy. For people below, less than 26% below the federal poverty level, they are eligible for Medicaid. For people above 26% and below 138% of the poverty level that is the doughnut hole and that is where Medicaid Expansion is going to occur. Employers are decreasing workers hours from fulltime to part time and dropping their employer’s healthcare insurance and forcing their employees to find coverage on the Healthcare Exchange. The scam is if they don’t cover their employee, they have to pay a $2,000 fine per employee and that employee has to shop for insurance on the Healthcare Exchange. The employer can also apply the $2,000 fine to an insurance product and have the employee go out and shop for insurance. But once the employee shops for the product and can’t find what they want in the market place, the employer is off the hook for the $2,000 and the employee can go and shop on the Healthcare Exchange for a policy. This is what we have been talking about for the past year. The insurance companies and the large employers are all members of IACI and many are also board members. This group has been conspiring to push Medicaid Expansion into Idaho with their new name, Medicaid Redesign, so that large employers will have the ability to get out of covering many of their employees, and can shove them on to the exchange thereby saving themselves the big expense of purchasing healthcare policies for those employees. At the same time they take care of their buddies, the Insurance carriers who will benefit because they will get to pick up those employees that were dropped as customers, by the large employers. Who gets to pay the bill, we do the Idaho tax payers and everyone who pays federal taxes. The gaming of the system has already begun, and it is only you that can stop it by making sure you hold your legislators accountable to not supporting Medicaid Expansion.
It’s time to change the attitude in this country where we expect the government to pay for or subsidize just about everything we need. It is important that we get back to basics by empowering the people to be able to have a free choice in the matter of insurance and not be mandated by this onerous federal law imposed by a bunch of crony politicians and judiciary. We need a medical system where the costs are reasonable enough that more people can afford to pay their own expenses. Virtually 42 cents out of every dollar spent on medical care goes to paper work. We have an insurance problem where you don’t have the ability to judge just what you are paying for when you go into a hospital because the insurance company pays the provider directly. There is no transparency between what a procedure costs and how much the insurance company reimburses the doctors for their services or hospitals for the use of their facilities. What we do know is that if you are going to pay cash for a hospital procedure in many cases you can negotiate the costs down substantially with the provider.
Right now the Federal government controls about 88% of the medical dollars spent in this country which by and large is a monopoly by the fact that most of us have limited choices when it comes to medical care. This needs to change and the people need to be put back into control of where and from whom they buy their medical insurance. In the Treasure Valley we have a monopoly with just two primary hospitals and two primary insurance carriers. The reason we have not seen any real competition here is that the hospitals and the insurance carriers don’t want any more competition. Just look at what happened when St. Luke’s bought out the Saltzer Medical Group. The Federal government cried foul because St. Luke’s was reducing competition and they knew it. To be sure our Attorney General Lawrence Wasden added the state on to the suit, but ask the question why didn’t our own Attorney General see what was happening to medical competition in the valley after all he does live here and has been in office for three terms. Either he was asleep at the wheel or he was going to ignore the monopolistic attitude of St. Luke’s Hospital and allow them to do whatever they darn well pleased.
We are spending almost a trillion dollars a year on medical care paid for or subsidized by the federal government. How long does anyone think this can continue on? The federal government is broke and sitting with 18 trillion dollars of debt that our children and grandchildren are going to be saddled with in the future. Don’t allow big corporations like Blue Cross, Idaho Power, Chevron and Hewlett Packard run our legislature with their big PAC money from IACI. It’s time Idahoans woke up and started paying attention to what is happening in our state and our country. It’s time we started electing legislators who pay attention to what the people want and not the big corporations who finance their campaigns and buy them fancy dinners. It’s time to check your legislators voting record not just for this year but for previous years. You can do this by going to www.IdahoFreedomIndex.com . Here you will find out just how your legislator has been voting, and it is you that should be holding them accountable. Now you have an opportunity. Also visit the Gem State Patriot at www.GemStatePatriot.com and the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s website at www.idahofreedom.org for up to the minute information about what is happing in your state. No more liberal or moderate legislators in 2016 only TRUE CONSERVATIVES. Only you can change our state. Make sure you know who your candidate is for the next election. Read their resume and make sure you hold them accountable to their campaign promises in 2016. We get the Government We Deserve.