Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


January 13, 2014

Stumptalk: Understanding the cause of a problem

CROSSVILLE — The first requirement when trying to solve a problem is to make sure you understand the cause of the problem. If you don’t understand the cause of the problem, you have no chance of determining what is needed to correct it. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) did nothing to correct the cause of the problem it attempted to solve. When politicians don’t understand the problem, there is no hope that they will solve it.

The primary cause of the health care problem in America is the cost. The problem is NOT the insurance companies; it’s the healthcare and pharmaceutical companies! They basically have no competition and can charge whatever the market will bear. The insurance companies have no control over the cost of health care other than to try to reduce them through negotiations with the healthcare providers.

A recent article in Time magazine that examined our healthcare system found that the “non-profit” healthcare companies are making enormous profits and paying their company executives enormous salaries. The profits of these companies are higher than most “for profit” companies and the costs to patients are determined by an arbitrary list of charges not on their expenses. There is no relationship between these charges and what they are willing to actually accept if these charges are challenged. They reduce these charges to insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid and other groups who pay for covered patients but are not willing to voluntarily reduce these charges for individual patients. Hospitals are required by law to treat every patient who presents for treatment, but some hospitals will not treat certain conditions until large sums are paid in advance.

Please find a copy of the March 4, 2013 Time magazine and read "Bitter Pill" by Steven Brill. Mr. Brill explains in detail the basic problem with our healthcare system. The article points out the amount of over-charging and excessive profits by the healthcare industry corporations and some of the ways these charges could be reduced. Since the healthcare industry doesn't have any competition, they can — and do — charge what is considered outrageous prices until challenged. Only then will they reduce their charges to what is considered reasonable. The biggest problem is that when an individual needs their services, the cost is not usually even questioned until the bill arrives. We should be able to compare the costs of services at several hospitals and doctor’s offices before we need their services. We are able to do this with almost everything else we buy.

If you have any doubt that the healthcare industry is making excessive profits, take a look at the number of hospitals they are buying and the additions they are making to those hospitals and ask how these “non-profit” companies are able to buy all of those hospitals and then build such expensive additions.

Health insurance should be individual, portable across jobs, states and providers; lifelong and guaranteed-renewable, meaning you have the right to continue with no unexpected increase in premiums if you get sick. Insurance should protect the buyer against large, unforeseen, necessary expenses, rather than be a wildly inefficient payment plan for routine expenses.

People want to buy this type of insurance, and companies want to sell it. It would be far less expensive, and would solve the pre-existing conditions problem. The only reason that we do not have such health insurance is because it has been regulated out of existence.

Knowing they will abandon individual insurance when they get a job, and without cross-state portability, there is little reason for young people to invest in lifelong, portable health insurance. Mandated coverage, dysfunctional cash markets and pressure against full risk rating, prevent reasonably priced health insurance.

My personal experience with the health care system resulted in charges of $4,226.57 for 3 hours in the local emergency room. The service was excellent but the charges did not seem logical. The providers accepted a total payment of $675.06.

If you would like to learn more, please “search” the web and read the following: “The ‘Bitter Pill’: Time’s Steven Brill on ‘Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us’” and “20-Year Old Man Overcharged $45,000 for Appendectomy.”

Text Only
  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice