Originally Posted By: Dow
Well, maybe I shouldn't have brought it up..
not because I don't think I made a good point, but because I can't post all the details on this public forum.

I don't think the details are necessary. I do think your example and your correlation to health insurance was valid. It did however unequivocally show me that you do not have a true understanding of the issue.

Originally Posted By: Dow
Suffice to say, I do understand that a private insurance company will have to be making a profit in order to survive, but it's the fact that THEY get to dictate to their customers (the University in this case, the citizens of the US in the example of health care) the conditions under which they function, restricting what the customers can and can't do ...

Hmmm ... the first part of that would be the very nature of "insurance".
The act, system, or business of insuring property, life, one's person, etc., against loss or harm arising in specified contingencies, as fire, accident, death, disablement, or the like, in consideration of a payment proportionate to the risk involved.
If there is actually an insurance company calling the shots (highly unlikely - it is much more likely they are self insured with an insurance company processing the paperwork), the insurer is not really dictating that the students can't do something. They are just saying they will not pay the bill if there is a loss due to defined actions that are outside the scope of the insurance contract. As I previously pointed out, it is likely that the University is self-insured and that a University representative defined the unacceptable actions.

Originally Posted By: Dow
... because otherwise the insurance companies will have less-than-huge profits (and they ARE huge, that's easy to prove) and the customers will lose their coverage-is a big problem

If it is easy to prove that the profits are huge (from a recognized standard business perspective) please do so. The Senate Finance Committee was unable to do this when they had the insurance company executives testifying before their committee earlier this year. Currently, it is well accepted that health insurance company profits are approximately 3% to 4% of gross revenue. That is not egregious or "huge". It is in fact pretty moderate. If you want to see huge, look up the the profit percentages of tobacco companies, software developers, and entertainment industry related businesses.

Originally Posted By: Dow
...a situation that could be helped if a non-profit entity would replace or at least compete with the for-profit insurance companies, which is how it's done in other countries, like Canada and Japan, who have nationalized health insurance, that's my point...

Do you honestly think that would help the situation?

If the insurance companies were "replaced" by a non-profit entity, we would have a single-payor system that, because of its enormity, would be government run. Regardless of previous claims to the contrary, national independent polls show that a single-payor government run health care system is NOT what the majority of Americans want - Nor has it been truly effective in other countries that currently have similar systems. I am not trying to start an argument with those that are happy with their systems (they are welcome to their system - it is just not what I want or feel would be in my family's best interest). The fact remains that all of the socialized systems are chronically underfunded and teetering financially. The wait times for care and services are significantly longer then they are in the majority of the US. Patients in these systems have much less choice and fewer treatment options then the majority of Americans are accustomed to.

I have no problem with a non-profit entity being set up to "compete" with for-profit companies. The more, the merrier. However, it should be fair and equitable competition: No special treatment, No government subsidies, No government employees or advisors, No government bailouts. Unless Congress is going to suspend the laws of economics, I predict that this non-profit agency will quickly and catastrophically fail - just like the Kelki Care program in Hawaii a few years ago. Although it would be nice, it is just not possible to provide equal or better healthcare to more people for less money. Americans would want pesky things like TNF drugs and MRI's within a week or less of being ordered. Those things don't come cheap.

Since you mentioned how things are done in Canada, let's address it. The Canadian government collects income taxes at their standard tax rates from their citizens (and non-citizen workers). In turn, the government redistributes the money at an equivalent rate of approximately 11% of GDP to regionally based Medicare agencies in each province. These agencies are government departments not non-profit entities. The Provincial Government oversees the Provincial healthcare systems with mixed results. Some citizens are happy with their care and treatment. Others are desperately unhappy. Search some of the posts on his forum. I believe that Megan has been shortchanged by the system in her provence. Others leap to mind. Although Canadian citizens are not forced to participate in the Medicare system, they are forced to pay for it through their taxes. At the moment, we do not force people to spend their money on health insurance if they don't want to. If we have any hope of achieving universal healthcare coverage, we will have to demand universal healthcare payment and participation.

Originally Posted By: Dow
Originally Posted By: Lon
You did not give an opinion. I admire your wisdom.

I think we knew on which side of the fence Stormy was on as soon as we read:

"...they are just blaming the "big, bad" insurance company."

You would be surprised. I am not an insurance groupie and I was not making a statement (intentionally or otherwise) by employing the phrase "big, bad" insurance company. I was merely using the phrase to point out the common current trend of passing the buck and blaming insurance companies for all of society's ills. I do believe that we have a crisis in healthcare. I don't agree with with your assessment of what the crisis is or what the solution should be. I definitely do not agree with the "solution" currently being put forward by Congress. From my business, economic and healthcare prospective, this solution will only make the situation worse. Buckle up - it is going to be a long, bumpy, and uncomfortable (for a Spondy) ride.