Interesting article in today's New York Times about the role insurance companies are playing in the opioid crisis. This is significant to the woodworking industry because it affects how much health insurance costs for our employees and how many employees are available that can pass a drug test.
The drift of the article is:
"many insurers are limiting access to pain medications that carry a lower risk of addiction or dependence"............because "opioid drugs are generally cheap while safer alternatives are often more expensive"
Some people who study the opioid crisis conclude that the insurance system is "one of the major causes of the crisis" because doctors are given incentives to use less expensive treatments.
According to a recent analysis by the CDC, twenty percent of patients who receive an initial 10-day prescription for opioids will still be using the drugs after a year.
I wonder how this would would be handled with a Single-Payer health care system?
The insurance companies are the biggest stumbling block to affordable health care. They skim their money from the top and put nothing back in. What seamed like a good idea when first started has turned into a cancer difficult to kill off. The next inline are the drug companies. Their interest is not in getting you well. You need to be sick for them to make money. Single payer will remove the first cancer. The second must be held accountable. Buying drugs on the open market is a good start.
You are right Bruce. The role of insurance companies is similar to that of a pimp. They don't exactly provide any comfort. Their only purpose is to hold the money and keep the talent in line to protect their profits.
Small communities can only afford small medical practices. Small medical practices cannot afford to keep a full time person on staff merely to stay in compliance with the necessary paperwork. It's kind of like cabinet shops having to submit cross section drawings to an architect to see if your approach to building cabinets would be like his if he had ever actually built one himself. If the small medical firm had lower expenses, small rural communities would have better health care.
For a lot of small businesses health care benefits are simply out of reach financially. The insurance companies push the premiums up 20% a year to the point where unless you are a large employer you have no clout in the marketplace.
I would hazard a guess that most workers in cabinet shops are single and very few of them have families to support. The ones with families have to work for firms that can provide health care for the family.
The worker gets stuck in a low end job merely because he has to stick around for the benefits package. If this was not a consideration he could do more interesting work for higher wages. Even FamilyMan would approve of this.
Single Payer Health Care could give make smaller companies more competitive in the employment landscape.
We could also use Single Payer Health incentives to improve the health of Americans. Just like the insurance companies rely on actuarial information when setting rates the SPHP could calculate probable expense for people in any age group. If the SPHP predicted they would spend $4000 per year on health care for an individual they could offer to split any savings with the individual. If they allocated $4000 for you each year and you only consume $2000 they could offer to put 25% of the savings into a bank account for you. The $4000 fee now costs society $2500 and the members of society are healthier.
The 25% incentive could come straight off the 25% of premium that now just goes to administrative costs and health provider profits.
Finally! Single payer is getting its day. The entire rest of the civilized world has figured out that is the way to provide health care to its citizens. Yet the US has this crazy detour into "capitalism gone rampant" by forcing us to pay insurance companies a lot of money, thinking that is how we must get health care - through an insurer.
We need health care, not insurance.
Good examples are plentiful. We can take what works and try to avoid any problems as we build a system by and for people instead of corporations. Prepare to have millions of former insurance workers decide they want to be woodworkers and show up at your door looking for a job.
Be sure to look up who (BigDope, BigDoc, BigFear) is donating to your reps and senators so you know who to vote out the next opportunity. Plenty of cash in that system, but votes can overpower the cash.
According to WSJ today, the average annual cost of health care for an employer paid family plan is approaching $19,000. The average cost of an employer paid health care plan for a single worker in 2017 is $7000.
It would appear from these statistics that hiring people who have families is a lot more expensive than hiring single workers. If you are a small company with five employees the cost savings alone is $60,000 a year.
This penalizes those woodworkers who have families. They need to work for the low-wage mega-shops in order to keep the home fires burning. This deprives the small shops from some great talent and deprives the family guys from better pay and more interesting work.
Imagine what would happen to innovation in this country if small business owners could more viably compete with large businesses for the best employees?
Reuters today has an article about how the opioid crisis is blowing a hole in municipal budgets for small rural communities.
Ross County, for example, is a largely rural region of 77000 people about an hour south of Columbus, Ohio. About 75% of the 200 children placed in state care in the country have parents with opioid addiction. This is up from 50% five years ago. Care for these children is much more expensive because they need specialist counseling, longer stays and therapy.
This is just one county in one state.
In order to protect profits health insurance companies resist payment for less addictive pain treatments. The rest of us end up paying for it instead.
If you are a "Family Values" voter you should support candidates that support Single Payer health care systems.
I usually steer clear of the non-woodworking discussions, but I can’t hold my tongue on this one.
Yes, don’t confuse insurance with healthcare. That is the trick on both sides of the isle. An insurance policy (affordable or not) doesn’t guarantee proper healthcare. My family doesn’t have dental insurance, but my 3 children see the dentist every 6 months. Also, the dentist gives a discount because we pay cash. Instead of paying a premium every month, we budget for dental visits. I realize that with a major medical issue, the potential risk is much higher. Not the risk of failing to receive treatment, but rather having to sell my house to pay inflated hospital bills after receiving the care. The insurance, drug companies and government are all factors in creating this problem.
However, unlike the majority who have commented on this thread, I see no reason to hand this mess over to the government and say “you can fix it”. If you were hiring a shop foreman would your top candidate be the guy that has successfully run his past 5 employer’s businesses into the ground? I have no confidence in the government to make these issues better.
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