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The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare
The Wall Street Journal ^ | August 12, 2009 | John Mackey

Posted on 08/12/2009 12:55:50 PM PDT by Arguendo

With a projected $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009, several trillions more in deficits projected over the next decade, and with both Medicare and Social Security entitlement spending about to ratchet up several notches over the next 15 years as Baby Boomers become eligible for both, we are rapidly running out of other people’s money. These deficits are simply not sustainable. They are either going to result in unprecedented new taxes and inflation, or they will bankrupt us.

While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment. Here are eight reforms that would greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone:

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: healthcare; johnmackey; mackey; obamacare; wholefoods
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1 posted on 08/12/2009 12:55:52 PM PDT by Arguendo
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To: Arguendo

It must drive libs crazt that they purchase their organic/ vegetarian food from this guy’s food chain **giggle**


2 posted on 08/12/2009 12:57:51 PM PDT by paltz
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To: paltz

Truly. I had no idea he was a libertarian, but this is as reasonable and solidly free-market a proposal on healthcare that I’ve seen. And Mackey is pretty much invulnerable to any accusation he is simply a “greedy capitalist.”


3 posted on 08/12/2009 1:03:56 PM PDT by Arguendo
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To: Arguendo; paltz

This is something I could live with!!


4 posted on 08/12/2009 1:05:11 PM PDT by aquila48
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To: paltz

Personally I don’t shop at “Whole Paycheck” but I agree with their CEO wholeheartedly.


5 posted on 08/12/2009 1:05:21 PM PDT by GraceG
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To: Arguendo

It’s a good article, but neither particularly revolutionary nor specific to Whole Paycheck.

It’s more of a compendium of all the things rational people have been asking for for over a decade.

My own company has already instituted a high-deductible plan with HSA contributions.


6 posted on 08/12/2009 1:05:38 PM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: paltz

The big problem with the Whole Foods approach to healthcare reform is that it doesn’t concentrate money and power in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats.


7 posted on 08/12/2009 1:06:21 PM PDT by swain_forkbeard (Rationality may not be sufficient, but it is necessary.)
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To: Arguendo

Agreed. It was a refreshing read. A quick lookie at his wikipedia profile reveals him to be a pretty reasonable guy - FWIW, he and I share the same outlook on unions.


8 posted on 08/12/2009 1:09:11 PM PDT by thefrankbaum (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam)
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To: Arguendo

HSA+catastrophic coverage plans (i.e. saving money + traditional insurance) is indeed a good model.

The only real improvement I’d suggest is to impose a premium structure which would enable the following: the money put into the HSA each year still rolls over year over year, but at year N, rolled-over money from year N-2 and earlier year can either

(1) 100% roll over as well; or
(2) 90% roll over, and 10% out as cash

Imbuing money in the HSA with a degree of liquidity would put an additional incentive to shop around for value - and thus put more downward pressure on health costs - without introducing arbitrary market distortions.


9 posted on 08/12/2009 1:16:17 PM PDT by M203M4 (NEW New Deal: A pot through every window!)
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To: SJSAMPLE
True. But at this point we don't need anything revolutionary, we need people effectively communicating the free-market alternative. Pieces like this show how simple reform can be (while making it clear that it is in fact reform, not just more of the same), in stark contrast with the 1000-page plan the Democrats are putting forward.

The Republicans’ biggest failure may be that they didn't enact something like this when they had the chance. Had they done so, I doubt a fundamental overhaul of the system would even be on the table right now.

10 posted on 08/12/2009 1:16:29 PM PDT by Arguendo
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To: M203M4

(10% without penalty)


11 posted on 08/12/2009 1:22:28 PM PDT by M203M4 (NEW New Deal: A pot through every window!)
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To: Arguendo

Terrific article! Thank you for posting this.


12 posted on 08/12/2009 1:25:21 PM PDT by mlizzy
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To: Arguendo

I should have re-posted/replied that it was, indeed, refreshing to see an American CEO standing up and telling it like it is.

I give the guy credit for stating the obvious, when the obvious is not often stated.


13 posted on 08/12/2009 1:30:35 PM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: M203M4

Pretty good.
More and more people I know are choosign the HSA plans.

Right now, my family’s medical needs fit the older, lower-deductible and “Flex Spending Account” model, but I think the idea of “insurance” is being re-thought and returned to the original concept.


14 posted on 08/12/2009 1:33:15 PM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: SJSAMPLE

Especially since he’s in a business where his many of his customers may intentionally boycott his company if they see this...


15 posted on 08/12/2009 2:03:18 PM PDT by Arguendo
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To: Arguendo

Great article. I’ve posted these same things multiple times here, as have others, and the GOP should be flooding the airwaves with this. I’ve shopped at Whole Foods for 15+ yrs and am glad to hear Mackey say these things. There is a reason that it consistently ranks as one of the top companies in the country to work for. They also have some of the best pizza in town.


16 posted on 08/12/2009 2:18:03 PM PDT by FTJM
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To: Arguendo; paltz
Truly. I had no idea he was a libertarian, but this is as reasonable and solidly free-market a proposal on healthcare that I’ve seen. And Mackey is pretty much invulnerable to any accusation he is simply a “greedy capitalist.”

Have you seen the prices in Whole Foods?

17 posted on 08/12/2009 7:34:13 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative
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To: long hard slogger; FormerACLUmember; Harrius Magnus; hocndoc; parousia; Hydroshock; skippermd; ...


Socialized Medicine aka Universal Health Care PING LIST

FReepmail me if you want to be added to or removed from this ping list.

**This is a high volume ping list! (sign of the times)**


18 posted on 08/12/2009 7:35:10 PM PDT by socialismisinsidious ( The socialist income tax system turns US citizens into beggars or quitters!)
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To: Arguendo

I am a devoted fan of Whole Foods and after this, I will go there even more often. I just ignore the liberal magazines and focus on the awesome food.

Whole Foods rocks!!!!!


19 posted on 08/13/2009 10:58:57 AM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Be prepared for tough times. FReepmail me to learn about our survival thread!)
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To: Arguendo
No way i’ll ever eat organic food!

It’s either raised with chemical fertalizers and pesticides or I’m not eating it!

20 posted on 08/13/2009 11:04:00 AM PDT by dalereed
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To: GraceG
Whole Foods sucks, but this is a great article. Well-thought and incredibly well written. "• Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. Now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health insurance is not. This is unfair. • Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state and we should be able use that insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable. • Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual customer preferences and not through special-interest lobbying. • Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are passed back to us through much higher prices for health care. • Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost. How many people know the total cost of their last doctor’s visit and how that total breaks down? What other goods or services do we buy without knowing how much they will cost us? • Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility. • Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Many promoters of health-care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care—to equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals. While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter?"
21 posted on 08/13/2009 11:26:17 AM PDT by rwfromkansas ("Carve your name on hearts, not marble." - C.H. Spurgeon)
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To: Arguendo

The only point I agree with the Dems on is this: ban a limit on pre-existing conditions.

It is just patently not right that somebody can’t be covered just because they had a kidney stone in the past or something (happened to my wife when we had to temporarily get individual coverage in between jobs).


22 posted on 08/13/2009 11:30:27 AM PDT by rwfromkansas ("Carve your name on hearts, not marble." - C.H. Spurgeon)
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To: paltz

You should see the comments @ DU. Heads are exploding.


23 posted on 08/13/2009 11:35:56 AM PDT by NewsJunqui
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To: Paleo Conservative

I used to shop there. No different from any other grocery store and some things are cheaper than Walmart’s ‘grocery store’. I miss Whole Foods Market but I have my own now in my backyard!


24 posted on 08/13/2009 11:38:57 AM PDT by Petronski (In Germany they came first for the Communists, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist...)
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To: rwfromkansas

I should say I would be okay with a small rate increase for those with some severe preexisting conditions, such as heart disease etc.

But, not outrageous and no outright denial of coverage or waivers limiting coverage for a specific condition.


25 posted on 08/13/2009 11:52:34 AM PDT by rwfromkansas ("Carve your name on hearts, not marble." - C.H. Spurgeon)
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To: rwfromkansas

So health insurance companies should effectively be forced to give money to people with severe preexisting conditions who apply for coverage?

What if I just don’t bother to get health insurance now because I’m healthy and don’t want to pay for it. And hey, if I discover I have some condition I can always get coverage then.

It’s called adverse selection, and it means you can’t mandate coverage of people with preexisting conditions unless you mandate that everyone purchase insurance (and even then there are numerous problems).


26 posted on 08/13/2009 12:59:53 PM PDT by Arguendo
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To: FreedomOfExpression

Self-ping


27 posted on 08/13/2009 1:27:26 PM PDT by FreedomOfExpression
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To: Arguendo
Especially since he’s in a business where his many of his customers may intentionally boycott his company if they see this...

And he lives in an ultra-lib town, Obamaustin,TX , so he may be in for a bumpy ride around town, I fear - although most people who know the company well are pretty up to speed on his strong capitalist views on labor & economics - he already gets a lot of grief for them locally.

28 posted on 08/13/2009 3:21:49 PM PDT by leilani
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To: Arguendo

Mr. Mackey’s recommendations make for a far better agenda than the Democrats’ absurd Obamacare.


29 posted on 08/13/2009 3:28:46 PM PDT by snowsislander (NRA -- join today! 1-877-NRA-2000)
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To: snowsislander
Mackey's article is a breath of fresh air.

I'd contribute some serious cash to get Mackey on TV with ads ala Pickens, or even Perot.

30 posted on 08/13/2009 6:55:08 PM PDT by upstanding
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To: Paleo Conservative
Well I go to Whole Foods regularly and don't spend all that much more money than a regular supermarket. The "Whole Paycheck" tag is a misnomer if you know how to shop it.

Obviously you will spend a small fortune at Whole Foods if you buy the prepared foods, the exotic cheeses and the yuppie produce (like the belgian endive).

When I go to Whole Foods, I get eggs, yogurt, raisins, nuts, basic produce like salad mix, apples, blueberries, squash, etc. I basically stick the perimeter of the market and avoid all the high priced processed stuff in the middle. Therefore I get high quality food at reasonable prices.

31 posted on 08/13/2009 7:11:56 PM PDT by SamAdams76 (I am 43 days away from outliving Judy Garland)
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To: windcliff

I’ll start going there more often. The cats love Whole Food’s cat food!


32 posted on 08/14/2009 8:18:21 AM PDT by stylecouncilor (What Would Jim Thompson Do?)
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To: Arguendo

But but! Government is at our door wanting to help us. What do we tell them?


33 posted on 08/14/2009 11:14:49 AM PDT by Steve Van Doorn (*in my best Eric cartman voice* 'I love you guys')
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To: SamAdams76

I agree, Whole Foods isn’t necessarily more expensive. They have some high priced items there, but in my area a lot of the produce is actually cheaper than any other market besides ALDI (and the quality is way above ALDI). Their yogurt prices are reasonable, and they have real yogurt there instead of the nonfat artificial crap they sell at the regular market.

Some things there are crazy. I almost bought a very small container of whole wheat cookies there as a treat until I realized they were $10!


34 posted on 08/15/2009 10:30:19 AM PDT by ReagansShinyHair
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To: wafflehouse; Leisler; PAR35; TigerLikesRooster; AndyJackson; Thane_Banquo; nicksaunt; ...
All: this article is a MUST READ.

Also, off-topic, but...did I ever mention that Indiana gals are pretty darn awesome? They have that cute, sweet, innocent, friendly, all-American girl ambiance...which is usually lacking in the folks I encounter in places like Philadelphia, Baltimore, and further north. [That's not to say that everyone from north of Washington is bad, as I've got wonderful friends in places like New Jersey (!!!), and I know some terrific folks from places like Long Island, New York (!!!) but they are usually the exception rather than the rule.]

The only other place that I have found such warmth and hospitality...is in upstate South Carolina.

Dear God, I love "flyover country"...but that's probably because I *don't* fly over Middle America and get in my car and drive instead.

35 posted on 08/18/2009 12:57:13 PM PDT by rabscuttle385 (May God save the American Republic.)
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To: Paleo Conservative

Re: “Have you seen the prices in Whole Foods?”

*************

I’ve seen the goods, and the prices, and the clientele. No thanks to any of it, regardless of what WF’s leader currently says about healthcare.

Here in L.A. where the far left rules, I suppose those WF customers who get wind of this man’s views will rush to abandon Whole Foods and take up refuge at Wild Oats or some other idiotic market chain catering to their tastes.


36 posted on 08/18/2009 1:28:03 PM PDT by CaliforniaCon
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To: Arguendo
Truly. I had no idea he was a libertarian, but this is as reasonable and solidly free-market a proposal on healthcare that I’ve seen. And Mackey is pretty much invulnerable to any accusation he is simply a “greedy capitalist.”

The left is already going after him.

37 posted on 08/18/2009 2:02:30 PM PDT by GOPJ ("Fishy rumors posters" Check 'em out:http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2311664/posts)
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To: rabscuttle385

I’m happy to restate my love of Whole Foods!


38 posted on 08/18/2009 3:48:21 PM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Be prepared for tough times. FReepmail me to learn about our survival thread!)
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To: SamAdams76
Well I go to Whole Foods regularly and don't spend all that much more money than a regular supermarket. The "Whole Paycheck" tag is a misnomer if you know how to shop it.

Obviously you will spend a small fortune at Whole Foods if you buy the prepared foods, the exotic cheeses and the yuppie produce (like the belgian endive).

When I go to Whole Foods, I get eggs, yogurt, raisins, nuts, basic produce like salad mix, apples, blueberries, squash, etc. I basically stick the perimeter of the market and avoid all the high priced processed stuff in the middle. Therefore I get high quality food at reasonable prices.

Good post, I agree. I've been shopping there for years, the key is to know how to shop there, esp using their bulk section. Whole Foods also has its own discount brand and good sales across the board. For example, a large brick oven pizza with natural ingredients straight out of the oven for 10 bucks. I got a great deal on a ton of shrimp over the weekend. The specialty stuff is pricey but it's pricey anywhere. I did a price comparison on shelf items with another mainstream grocery store and there was no difference.

It's amazing that any parent (or anyone) would feed their kid or themselves milk, dairy and meat pumped full of recombinant growth hormone and antibiotics. Those products cost more for good reason and Whole Foods has the best selection and offered them at a time when you couldn't get them anywhere else. They also provide a market for farmers to get higher prices for their goods and support local farms. If you're content with large factory farms, more power to you but I'll support locals farm whenever and wherever I can. I have yet to meet a liberal local farmer.

It's funny that people here seem to think it's some hippie or liberal refuge. The is a reason why mainstream stores started carrying natural products and created organic/natural foods sections. There is huge demand for it and it ain't just liberals. I'll take it over a lifeless grocery store full of low quality processed foods any day.

39 posted on 08/18/2009 4:33:22 PM PDT by FTJM
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To: Arguendo
• Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs).

• Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. Now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health insurance is not.

• Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state and we should be able use that insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable.

• Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual customer preferences and not through special-interest lobbying.

• Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are passed back to us through much higher prices for health care.

• Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost. How many people know the total cost of their last doctor’s visit and how that total breaks down? What other goods or services do we buy without knowing how much they will cost us?

• Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility.

• Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

In complete agreement. Hallelujiah and Amen!

40 posted on 08/18/2009 5:18:51 PM PDT by GVnana (Sarah for America)
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To: Arguendo

“They are either going to result in unprecedented new taxes and inflation, or they will bankrupt us.”
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

More likely all of the above.


41 posted on 08/18/2009 7:43:13 PM PDT by RipSawyer (Change has come to America and all hope is gone.)
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To: FTJM

What you said!


42 posted on 08/19/2009 9:44:19 AM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Be prepared for tough times. FReepmail me to learn about our survival thread!)
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To: GVnana

Wouldn’t Health Savings Accounts and catastrophic care work just as well for seniors as they do for us working stiffs?


43 posted on 08/19/2009 9:45:42 AM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Be prepared for tough times. FReepmail me to learn about our survival thread!)
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To: TenthAmendmentChampion

I think they would if the damned Democrats would quit punishing people who have HSAs. Do you know that once you’re eligible for Medicare you can no longer contribute to an HSA? Your insurance coverage is ended, you’’re forced onto Medicare, and in the current system you have to buy new supplemental insurance. BY LAW.


44 posted on 08/19/2009 12:18:24 PM PDT by GVnana (Sarah for America)
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To: rwfromkansas

I’m late on this, but I was on vacation when the op-ed was written, and I’m now getting to it.

Anyway, I hate the whole pre-existing conditions clauses.

I get very worried for my daughter (who has always been on insurance). She has lots of medical problems (brain injury, seizures, and other stuff). What is going to happen to her when she goes off my husband’s insurance? We’ll probably help fund insurance for her, but we can’t cover all of her medical expenses.


45 posted on 08/27/2009 2:08:50 PM PDT by luckystarmom
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To: Arguendo

What about people who have always had coverage (from birth) that have severe medical conditions like epilepsy?

Should they be denied coverage when they go off of their parent’s plans? Should they have to pay an outrageous amount for insurance?


46 posted on 08/27/2009 2:10:32 PM PDT by luckystarmom
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To: luckystarmom

I guess that depends on the terms of their parents’ insurance. Where their parents paying the insurance companies to compensate for the risk that they would have to cover a disabled kid for his entire life?

Alternatively, the government could step in to subsidize people with severe medical conditions. But it makes no sense to require insurance companies to cover unprofitable customers, since this will invariably have adverse (and often unpredictable) effects on the market.


47 posted on 08/27/2009 2:28:53 PM PDT by Arguendo
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To: Arguendo

I don’t know of any insurance company that has an option to pay for risk that they would have to cover a disabled kid a for his entire life.

My daughter was born normal, and then got sick when she was 6 weeks old. She has a brain injury and epilepsy with a whole bunch of other problems.

What’s going to happen to her when she is an adult and off of our insurance? She’s got some learning disabilities, so it might be hard for her to get a job. (Not sure yet.)

My brother got cancer and was dropped from his private individual insurance. His wife got a job that had insurance, so he finally got covered.

I think it’s one thing for a person to choose not to have insurance. They are taking a risk. I think it is horrible to always have insurance and to be dropped or not covered by individual insurance.


48 posted on 08/27/2009 4:57:41 PM PDT by luckystarmom
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To: luckystarmom

Unfortunate, but what do you propose? You think insurance companies should be forced to cover them at average rates even though that necessarily means losses for the insurance companies?


49 posted on 08/27/2009 9:29:34 PM PDT by Arguendo
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To: Arguendo

What’s the purpose of insurance? Why have it? You don’t get insurance to pay for the every day expenses; you get it to cover the catostrophic events.

That’s why we got insurance in the first place. We had 1 healthy baby. We certainly didn’t think we would get one with lots of medical problems. We didn’t want to take a chance with not having insurance.

I know of lots of healthy people who have insurance, and then they get cancer and insurance drops them. What’s the point.

I can easily pay even up to 10K a year. It’s the 200-300K (or more) expenses that are hard.

I am definitely not a supporter of government run healthcare. I think that’s going to make things worse.

One of the big problems I see with our current system is how to treat people that have insurance that have developed problems. My daughters anti-seizure medication is $2000 a month. She’ll be on it for at least 2 more years.

What happens if my husband loses his job? You only have cobra for 18 months. I lose sleep worrying about him losing medical coverage and everyone denying us. It would be very difficult to pay for her medication without insurance. Then what happens if she has another grand mal. One trip to the emergency room in an ambulance is over $1000, not including the hospital stay. We have savings, but not enough to cover all of her problems.


50 posted on 08/27/2009 10:58:19 PM PDT by luckystarmom
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