Friday, January 22, 2010

The Medicare cuts - Medicare Advantage

Congressional Report on Medicare Advantage

December 11th, 2009 Aaron

For some reason, it doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of play in the press, but the information is pretty interesting.

On Wednesday, The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee released a report on Medicare Advantage. Let’s just get right into the findings:

From 2005 through 2008, the average Medicare Advantage insurer spent over 15% of premium revenue on profits, marketing, and other corporate expenses. Two-thirds of the Medicare Advantage insurers surveyed by the Committee had a medical loss ratio below 85% during at least one of the four years examined. Six of the insurers had medical loss ratios below 75% in one or more years. In comparison, traditional Medicare spends less than 1.5% on administrative expenses and over 98% on health care. In the aggregate, the Medicare Advantage insurers spent $1,450 per beneficiary in 2008 on profits, marketing, and other corporate expenses, nearly ten times as much as traditional Medicare spent on administrative expenses per beneficiary.

Saying that you have a medical loss ratio of 85% means that only about $0.85 of each dollar goes to actual care. Compare that to traditional Medicare, where more than $0.98 of each dollar went to care. Remember that the next time someone tells you how much more efficient private insurance companies are than government run insurance.

Requiring all Medicare Advantage insurers to have a medical loss ratio of 85% would provide billions of dollars in additional medical services to seniors. The total amount spent on profits, marketing, and other expenses by Medicare Advantage insurers over the last four years was $27 billion. The House health care reform bill requires Medicare Advantage plans to spend at least 85% of their total premium revenues on medical claims. If this threshold had been in effect from 2005 through 2008, the Medicare Advantage insurers would have spent an additional $3 billion on their beneficiaries’ medical care, enough to eliminate all copays for preventive care for all Medicare beneficiaries for ten years.

Some Medicare Advantage were so “inefficient” that merely requiring them to raise their ratio to 85% (still way below traditional Medicare) would raise enough money to eliminate any copays for preventive care for everyone in Medicare for a decade? Imagine if they were all as efficient as government run traditional Medicare.

In 2007 and 2008, Medicare Advantage insurers with medical loss ratios lower than 85% paid their executives over $1.2 billion. In 2007, a company that had a medical loss ratio of 79% paid an executive over $35 million. The same company paid 16 more executives salaries and bonuses worth $1 million or more. Another company with a medical loss ratio of 79% paid more than $210 million in compensation to 260 executives.

No comment. None needed.

Remember, the proposed cuts to Medicare are just to Medicare Advantage. Not only has Medicare Advantage been spending much, much more on non-medical costs, they have also been taking about 114% of what we pay per traditional Medicare enrollee just to function. If the government were requiring 114% of what private companies were to provide a service, and then had nearly ten times the overhead to do it, we would all be losing our minds. It’s not good economic sense.

Read the whole report if you like.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Health care is an extension of the FDR welfare state. The idea is to allow people to focus on being creative and productive.

Free to start a new business on an even playing field without the fear of failure ruining their life and that of their family. FREEDOM!

Freedom to buy a product based on advertising without needing a lawyer and an accountant to research the company and the product.

Freedom to rise to the level of your gifts, abilities and work ethic.

Predatory Capitalism has eaten it's own tail. How can it be more illegal to steal your car than to steal your life savings?

Conservatives and the Republican party must purge the piranhas from their ranks and send them back under the rocks they crawled out from under when Reagan called them into the daylight.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Iggles Lament

Iggles Lament - To the tune of Sixteen Tons

Some people say a fan is made outta mud
A Philly fan's made outta cheese steak and Bud
Cheese steak and Bud and bottles and boos
A mind that's a-weak and a arm that's strong

You need sixteen yards to make a first down.
But Jay's in your face and you can't get around.
One side is iron and the other is steel,
If D Ware don't get you then Spencer will.

He was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine
He picked up some snow and he walked to the line
He threw sixteen balls with something inside
And Santa Claus said "I'm gonna tan your hide"

They need sixteen yards to to keep up this drive,
Gotta get to Romo, better bring the whole hive.
But watch for the little guy, don't give him room.
One brings the Zoom and the other the Boom.

Bought & Sold - Wicket Springs

When you’re confused by the complex issues You buy Beck and sell your intellect and curiosity

And being scared by Muslims You buy anything named security and sell your liberty

Obsessed about the afterlife You buy God and sell your soul and your life on earth

Paranoid about the government You buy more guns and ammo and sell your peace of mind

Suffering the Homophobia You buy hate and sell your understanding

Disgusted with helping others You buy Ayn Rand and sell Jesus

Afraid of dying You buy what ever the medicine man is peddling and sell your health

Afraid of living You buy gold and sell out being reasonable