Tag Archives: Insurance

How We Payed For Healthcare In The Past

There was a time when the government didn’t tend to the care of her citizens like we do now.  I was researching another post or comment or something and came across this:

While the health care community and academics searched for a single insurance plan for delivering health care, the absence of regulation left individual Americans free to solve the problem on their own. They proceeded to do so, aided in the effort by a number of medical entrepreneurs.

In spite of the price increases, most people still paid for medical care out of their own pockets.  Estimated health expenditures in 1929 were $3,649 million. Of that, consumers paid $2,937 million, public sources paid $495 million, and philanthropy paid $217 million.

Employer plans covered only a tiny minority of people. Most sickness insurance was provided by mutual benefit associations unrelated to work—fraternal societies like the Loyal Order of Moose, the Knights and Ladies of
Security, the Ladies of the Maccabees, and the Société Française de Bienfaisance Mutuelle, which built San Francisco’s French Hospital in 1852. According to Stewart, there were thousands of fraternal societies operating in New York’s Lower East Side at the beginning of the 1900s. Existing for the benefit of their members and offering benefits that were not contingent on employment, many of the societies “employed or contracted with physicians to care for dues-paying members for as little as $1 to $2 per year per member. In some eastern and southern cities, a third to a half of some ethnic groups depended on these organizations for medical care. In New Orleans 88% of the entire population was said to be covered by some form of prepaid ‘contract medicine,’ also known as ‘lodge medicine’ by 1888.”

Historian David Beito estimates that in 1910 at least one-third of adult males belonged to fraternal societies that provided nearly every service of the modern welfare state “including orphanages, hospitals, job exchanges, homes for the elderly, and scholarship programs.”  Fraternal societies had a number of competitors including “commercialgroup plans, government workmen’s compensation programs, trade unions and industrial unions, company-sponsored mutual benefit societies, and other fraternal orders that provided life insurance or non-stipulated (discretionary) relief.”

Before the government intervened to solve our healthcare crisis, we were doing it ourselves.  We banded together, formed our own organizations and took care of each other.

However, there was one thing going FOR those social organizations that is missing from the government run programs; accountability:

The fact is that the fraternal societies knew their members gave them an advantage in issuing disability and sickness insurance. Lodges had home visiting committees that helped uncover false claims and one or two week waiting periods requiring members applying for aid to shoulder some of the financial load. Unlike many of the public proposals, the societies also had behavioral requirements that made life less attractive while receiving payments. Emery
reports that fraternal groups could require that “members receiving benefits could not drink or gamble and in some cases were not allowed to be away from their residence after dark.”

The fraternal societies were made up of friends, neighbors and associates.  Further, they worked to prevent fraud and ensure that a life of leisure while accepting benefits wasn’t allowed.

A sad cry from where we are today.


Fire Departments And Homeowner Insurance

A few years ago the fire department in South Fulton, TN made national news when rushed to the scene of a house fire and —

Let the thing burn to the ground.

It turns out that the family hadn’t paid their $75 annual fire protection fee:

Firefighters aren’t afraid to break down windows and doors to douse flames, but a Tennessee family’s failure to pay a $75 fee stopped firefighters dead in their tracks last week as a home burned to the ground.

South Fulton, Tenn., firefighters stood on the sidelines, watching as flames engulfed Gene Cranick’s Obion County home. They refused to help because Cranick had not paid an annual “pay to spray” subscription fee.

“I just forgot to pay my $75,” homeowner Gene Cranick said. “I did it last year, the year before. … It slipped my mind.”

The city of South Fulton charges that $75 fire protection fee to rural residents who live outside the city limits. When a household has not paid the fee, firefighters are required by law to not respond.

It turns out that when you live within the city limits you pay taxes that support things like fire departments.  But when you live outside those city limits, and avoid paying those taxes, you do not get to enjoy things that those taxes pay for.  Things like fire stations.

The outrage was all the rage at the time.  My liberal talk show hosts couldn’t stop talking about it for days.

Not surprisingly, I took the Libertarian approach:

If you want fire station protection, you should pay for it; if you don’t, then don’t.

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Why Does Health Care Cost So Much?

The United States consistently ranks as one of the lowest advanced nations when it comes to health care.  To add further to the poor ranking of the US is the fact that we spend so much more money on our medical care than do other nations.  In terms of GDP, we outpace most, if not all, nations in the world.  We simply spend too much money.

The cost of medical care is one of the driving forces behind the call for this reform.  And for the most part, I’m all for that.  Generally speaking, reducing the amount of money we spend for a service or product is a good thing.  A good thing with one caveat:  Unless spending more on that thing is reported incorrectly.

For instance, suppose I enjoy minor league baseball.  And I spend $200 this year but will end up spending $400 next.  That can sound like a bad thing.  Unless, of course, it really means I went to twice as many games, in which case it’s a GREAT thing!

So, what are we spending all this money on and how can we fix it?

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Teacher Insurance Rates: Teachers Pay Their Own Premium

North Carolina is broke.  Ba-Roe-K.

Hear it people.  We have no more money and things are gonna have to change.  And one of those things is that people who used to have the State pay for things are now going to have to pay for those things themselves!

Some will say that this is a pay cut, but I disagree.  It’s not a pay cut.  After all, it can’t be a pay cut if you didn’t count it as pay to begin with!

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It’s Hard Not To Be A Leftist

Or, Republicans Can Be Leftists Too!

We all want to what we think is the best for the folks under our care; at least I HOPE that’s what we wanna do.  Now, I understand that at the margin, there are politicians that do enter the system and play the game for the sole purpose of enriching themselves, either with power or money–or both.

By and large, however, I think they play the game in an effort to serve well.

And often times serving well means, or can mean, parenting.

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Brad and Britt: Pre-existing Conditions

I was listening to the Brad and Britt Show last week and they were discussing the proposed changes to North Carolina public employee’s health insurance payments. Currently the State pays 100% of the health care premiums for its employees.  The new proposal would require employees to contribute $11 per month this year and then $22 per month next year.

Further, premiums would be subject to individual conditions as it relates to weight and smoking habits of those employees.  For example, if an individual was over weight, they may find that their premium would be higher than their svelte co-worker.  Similar to that concept is the idea of determining the premium based upon  smoking habits.  A smoker would face a higher premium than a non-smoker.

Given the Left-leaning tendancies of our hosts, I felt for sure that they would be against such discrimination.

I was pleasantly surprised.

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More From the Boys at Brad and Britt

I suspect that we’ll be talking about health care and the health care law, Obamacare, for some time now.  And rightfully so, this is a huge issue at a time when we need to craft solutions, and quick.  We simply have no money and need to solve that problem.

So, health care.  This morning on the Brad and Britt Show the issue of allowing insurance companies to sell their policies across state lines came up.  And Brad admitted he didn’t know why that was such a sticking point to Republicans.

Blink.  Blink.

This illustrates the disconnect in the discourse today.  On one hand you have a group of people who want to legislate just “whatever they want”.  This is akin to passing a l aw that requires the ice cream man to deliver me ice cream before bed.  Who doesn’t want THAT?  And on the other hand, you have a group of people who have actual knowledge of how things work trying to legislate the “business” of government.

So, Brad, here is why allowing inter-state trade of insurance would reduce costs.

Suppose that a corporation wants to open stores in all 50 states, say, like Target.  But in order to do so, they have to meet individual state mandates on the products in their store they sell.  Say, for example, that Minnesota has passed legislation that says Target must sell books to children of all ages and adults who are poor for $2.00 each.  Target, wanting to remain in business in Minnesota, will either stop selling books all together [selling books at $2 won’t return them a profit] or, OR….they will RAISE the price of all books such that the price of a book to a non-poor adult is enough to cover the cost of having to provide subsidized books to the poor and the young.

Or, say that South Carolina passes legislation that requires Target stores that sell groceries that when someone does buy groceries from them, the store has to deliver those groceries to the customers house.  Target will either stop selling groceries in South Carolina or, OR…they will raise the price of groceries to cover the government mandated delivery service.

Is it Targets fault that they are selling books at a higher price in Minnesota?  Or that they are selling groceries at a higher price in South Carolina?


Now go further and say that ALL sellers of books in Minnesota must follow the same rules; likewise all sellers of groceries in South Carolina.

Overnight you have increased the cost of books and groceries in those states.  And for what?  For some government mandated feel good legislation.  After all, why do you hate the young and the poor who want access to books?  How DARE you pass laws that restrict their access to book?

And food?  There are people in this world [at least on] who are home ridden and don’t have the luxury or ability of going shopping.  Would you deny THEM food?  Soulness, greedy capitalist pig.  You are GREEDY!

So, in the name of altruism and good intentions, laws are passed that actually RAISE the price of goods while at the same time restricting supply.

As a citizen of Minnesota or South Carolina, would you like to enjoy the ability to buy a book in Iowa?  Or South Dakota?  Or even Mississippi if it were cheaper?  Would you not like to shop for books in the same way you shop for Star Wars action figures?  Or the citizen of South Carolina….would you blame her for peeking across the border in North Carolina for cheaper goods?  Or Georgia?  Or even, gasp, shopping on-line at Amazon?  [Where, by the way, they DO deliver your groceries to you].

It is the states that make mandates that causes insurance policies to rise.  Not ALL of the rise to be sure, but much of it.  When Maine passes a law that requires insurance companies to sell a policy to any person, no matter how sick, as long as that person has been living in Maine for 60 days, the cost of policies is going to go up.  When New York passes a law that requires insurance companies to cover acupuncture therapy, the price of that policy is going to go up.  When Vermont passes a law that forces insurance companies to cover up to 14 days in the hospital no matter the ailment, the cost of policies is going to go up.

THAT is why breaking down state barriers would reduce the cost of coverage.  Imagine if the Maine-ian could shop for a policy in North Carolina that covered only the eventualities and procedures that he wanted to insure?  His cost would plummet.  And his experience and value on his dollar would explode.

For sure Maine would see it’s insurance companies close shop nearly over night.  And so, if they wanted to keep those businesses in state, they would have to remove the punitive restrictions they placed on them.  And competition would force the cost down, the quality up.

That is why.  THAT is why we want to see insurance sold across state lines.

Health Care: 2011 Style

The boys are at it again.  Back on health care.  And, to their credit, it’s gonna be the news of the day.  For many many days.

For example, the new House is going to convene Wednesday and theya re going to, repeat, going to, vote to releal Obamacare.  Gonna happen.

And then we’re in a world of debate as the country wrestles with this problem throughout the next two years.  And when I say 2, I mean that Obama is going to be fighting this through his next election campaign.

Anyway, onto Brad and Britt

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Selling Insurance Not Medical Care

Barack Obama is a one man traveling fun show these days.  He’s out everyday holding his famous town halls and campaigning like he’s running for President.  Why?

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