HHS Had A Health Care Summit While Obama Had His

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Congressmen and the President have a health care meeting

President Obama has initiated a health care summit with Democrats and Republicans from Congress at the Blair House in order to create a bipartisan consensus on what is supposed to be done about health care reform.Some Republicans were receptive, others weren’t. Thus far, two issues seem to have emerged that the health care system as it stands is unfair to consumers, and that the U.S. Government cannot afford to begin picking up the tab. The most common cause of bankruptcy is medical bills, and it is also one of the things that routinely sends people running for payday loans.

McCain and Obama trade barbs

Some of the quotes from the proceedings, from MSNBC, indicate verbal sparring between Sen. John McCain (R, AZ) and President Obama.

Let me just make this point, John, because were not campaigning anymore. The election is over. Obama
Im reminded of that every day. McCain

Republicans strongly contend that market solutions are the better course, which seems to be consensus in other circles.A recent Wall Street Journal article backs that position, and two of the authors of the piece are business professors at Columbia and Stanford. The spending patterns of government seem unhinged, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are on the precipice of insolvency, and a foreign policy in desperate need of review. (One seems to recall not one, but two wars going simultaneously.) The House and Senate are also currently holding hearings on whether or not to lift the exemption clause that exists for health insurance companies.

The HHS was holding a meeting too

On Wednesday, The Department of Health and Human Services brought a selection of health insurance CEOs to a meeting, as per this article from ABC News. HHS head Karen Sebelius invited the heads of five major insurers to ask them about the nature of higher costs.CEOS were given a hiding about compensation of executives, such as lavish bonuses and vacations, like WellPoint, Inc. spending $ 37 million in 2007 and 2008 on retreats for executives. Rates were increased almost 40% for some policy holders.

The rate increase was attributed to already rising cost and irrespective of executive compensation. The increase in costs were also attributed to many younger insurance purchasers dropping coverage, and the remaining customers being elderly (the elderly are more prone to illness than the young) and because of the increased costs of caring for more elderly subscribers, a health insurance carrier would be forced to raise rates to stay solvent.Anthem Blue Cross, a division of WellPoint Inc. claimed to lose $ 10 million or more only in California last year. That said, if a company can afford to spend over $ 30 million on executive retreats, they dont need a cash advance from customers.

How to pick what to do for the sick

It would appear that the Washington strategy is to throw money at the problem, instead of dealing with the causes of the rising costs. Thus far, few if any, news outlets have covered the cause of increased costs of health care. The cause could lie in more insurance claims and tort suits, perhaps the cause is in the greater amount of paperwork and staff needed for insurance company filings and medical records, but it appears that the symptoms are being treated in lieu of the disease.

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