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Subject: Re: The cost of health care reform

'There is a large void in this discussion. There is little talk of the impact which employer contributions have on the “big picture”.

It’s not easily stated in a single sentence.

So I start at the basics:

The costs of health care include the cost of insurance.
Most of the money in the health care business is in the insurance premiums people pay.
The insurance company pays off claims with some of that money thus feeding the remaining players in the US health care industry.
The rest of that money is invested in things.
They seem to raise/lower premiums or raise/lower coverage in response to the status of their investments (or to the possibility of congressional investigation).
At least as many premium dollars are paid by employers for their employees as are paid by “self-payers”. (It’s probably a lot more.)

To recognize the reduction in costs of a reformed system, the new system must be able to recognize those premiums paid by employers separate from all other existing costs.
There is no way to calculate cost savings, existing system vis-à-vis single payer, unless that number is quantified and included in the equation. It must become “common knowledge”.

Until that recognition is the focus of the discussion the response from the health insurance industry (and, following their example, the health care industry) 
will be, “I’m not hiding anything, how do you know I’m hiding anything?, how do you know how much I’m hiding?, PROVE IT.”

The true, inarguable, figures must come out.

The equation looks something like this:

$5711 the cost per year for each individual American’s health care (2003 data)
$3100 the cost for the most expensive (France’s) universal care system
$2611 the savings that could be plowed back into the wallets of people when the US adopts single payer
That’s about $1 trillion. It’s like Christmas comes twice EVERY YEAR from now on. But it’s like quicksilver to even discuss.

This “commandeering” of the argument requires measurable accountability through honest brokering.
Each employer must relate accurate numbers on its payments.
The aggregate of those existing outlays will need to be “on the block”, in the public domain and not behind closed doors, for accurate quantification.

Because it must be impossible for employers to slip their existing outlays surreptitiously into their profits if/when the employer 
no longer pays for employee insurance due to the availability of a government provider. I think this is near the core of the issue.

Forcing this exposure and offering a cheaper option would undo the health insurance industry (and may well shake the foundations of all insurances).

It’s an invasion of privacy issue that would expose, like a surgeon’s scalpel, the arterial flow of cash from the nation’s employers into the investment organs of the insurance industry.

It may well expose a less than savory relationship between some industries’ executives (companies with thousands of employees) and health insurance providers.

We must clearly see this as unaccountable funneling of our general prosperity into the single largest source of worldwide venture capital in existence today.

The fear, mistrust and dread which accompany the interaction Americans have with their health insurance fuels the world economy. 
It’s the story of an economic model out of control, the primary beneficiaries of which don’t have the foresight to understand that its existence depends on our health.

 David M

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