GBPI report on HSAs and CDHPs.

Conclusion – the free market doesn’t work.

Read the report here.

8 comments

  1. CobbGOPer says:

    A review of the GBPI staff bios and board of directors leads me to the opinion that we should take this report not just with a grain of salt, but with your salt-shaker firmly in hand.

    This is a group run by lefties it appears, so it’s no surprise that they are hostile to HSAs, CDHPs, and pretty much any other form of healthcare de-regulation.

  2. I must admit, on a personal level I’m intrigued by HSA and for tax purposes I would consider forming one if I thought it would save me money.

    At the same time, I’m intrigued by the new Acura RL as a better way to get me from place to place.

    Neither thing that I am personally interested in will do anything for the overall problem of transportation or healthcare in this country.

  3. GAWire says:

    Chris, clearly you don’t understand economics or healthcare, so that rules out those two areas … stick with politics.

    Firstly, you don’t form an HSA … you enroll in one, just as you enroll in your current health insurance policy.

    Next, it’s not a matter of “if” it will save you money. HSA is the equivilent (sp?) of a 401K for healthcare. So, let me ask you … do you think a 401K is a good choice? Is choosing to enroll in a 401K the same as choosing to drive an Acura? Don’t bother answering … those were rhetorical – everyone knows the answers.

    Finally, your attitude that something like an HSA or CDH in general will do nothing to help address the overall problem of healthcare in the US is wrong in many ways, and shows that you don’t understand economics at all. There are a lot of socialists supporting socialized medicine that would agree with your synopsis.

    In fact, HSAs and CDH could do wonder for healthcare. I always say: “what the government screws up, the private market will inevitably have to fix.” This is what we are starting to see more of in healthcare. Currently, we (taxpayers) are paying for a system that the gov’t (i.e. HillaryCare) has screwed up exponentially (sp?); however, the private marketplace is gradually presenting solutions, one of which is geared around CDH, which btw means CONSUMER-DRIVEN HEALTHCARE aka Market-driven system.

    In case you want to know more, I’ll be speaking on the subject to a statewide association and policymakers not too far in the future … if you can find it 🙂

  4. GAWire, enroll/form, whatever. I knew what I meant but it came out the wrong way.

    I admit the current healthcare delivery system is pretty screwed up. I read a good article in the WSJ last week about a hospital in Seattle that streamlined various treatment procedures, which dropped the average cost from $2,000 to $1,000, but because of the way their contracts were set up, they were actually losing money on the new scheme.

    The hospital had to go to the insurers and say pay us slightly more for the $1,000 so we can turn a profit, you’ll save $1,000!

    You’re pretending that the government currently isn’t paying for the uninsured. It is, and so are those paying for their own insurance through an indirect subsidy. So how do you solve that problem?

    The market may yet bail America out of the health care crisis, but, it hasn’t yet, and major players like GM and Ford seem to be ready to get out of that business altogether, and would prefer that the government get into it.

    Isn’t that the market also, can’t one industry exercise a preference that the government provide services in another sector? If the market is so wonderful, shouldn’t we privatize the police department also?

    HSA’s are one of the market’s solutions to one problem: people who already have insurance would prefer other options. But they do very little for the % that has no health coverage at all, ends up at Grady’s emergency room and then I bail them out with my DeKalb County tax dollars.

    How will HSA’s solve the problem of the uninsured. Are you ready to propose a food-stamp like subsidy to the uninsured that mandates they purchase HSA’s or similar coverage? I’d be interested in something like that. But until we start to seriously address the problem of the uninsured in this country, HSA’s might as well just be a mp3 enabled new stereo for people that already drive a car, to go back to my original analogy.

  5. DougieFresh says:

    If we stopped trying to treat health insurance like a health payment plan, the costs would drop drastically. However, everyone expect health insurance to pay for the analogous oil, air filter change and tune up, instead of the 4 car pile-up.

    Also, tying health insurance to your job was a huge mistake, but it is another problem heaped on us by the tax code.

  6. GAWire says:

    Chris, once again, you’re off base and you don’t understand what HSAs are, or what CDH is all about.

    In fact, your example of the hospital in Seattle actually goes against your argument. Healthcare businesses across the country are adopting more market-driven strategies (such as updated technology, which the healthcare system is way behind compared to the rest of the open market) to enhance productivity and revenue, and ultimately improve their operations, SO THAT when they have to go do the insurance companies (read: Managed Care Organizations), they have more negotiating leverage.

    Now, currently, I – the patient – have no impact on what the costs of healthcare services are. I am at the will of the insurance company that my employer provides and I am restricted to what doctors I can see, what procedures are covered, and ultimately the level of service and care that will be provided to me. This is not a market-based system … this is a third-party dominated system in which the consumer has no real role and ultimately consumers and providers are the losers.

    Now, let’s say I have an Health Savings Account, which essentially is a 401K account where PRE-TAX funds go to cover routine healthcare. Providers love me, b/c I’m paying them at point of care, and they don’t have to wait up to 120 days to get reimbursed by third-party payers (i.e. insurance company). Furthermore, as a consumer paying for my own “product” I can negotiate the prices and fees for my care. There is no reason that I have to be charged what BCBS of Georgia and Resurgens negotiated the fee of a routine in-office xray. Doctors are open to this b/c again they are getting paid right away and that means money on the books at PoS.

    I can see you asking what about catastrophic care, which might exceed the amount in my HSA? Simple … my Account is paired with a high deductible health plan (HDHP) that covers those catastrophic healthcare needs, or even high costing routine care (i.e. ortho surg, births, etc). So, now, in the event of catastrophic care, my HSA is paying my $2,000 deductible and immediately being replinished at the same time with tax-free funds.

    Now, if it’s a 401K like account, shouldn’t the account holder have access to those funds? Yes, and they do. I can access the HSA funds anytime and use them for whatever I want, but just like early withdrawal from a 401K, there is a penalty percentage.

    Back to your example … the fact that the hospital had to re-negotiate prices with the payers b/c they were doing something that would not only help them maximize revenue, but also provide a higher quality of care for patients is so beyond absurd that I can’t even think of a justifiable anecdote to make fun of it. Bottom line, that’s not a system that is efficeint and it surely isn’t economically beneficial (except for the payers of course).

    Your points about the auto companies is actually wrong in numerous ways. GM, et al aren’t looking to the gov’t to fix their healthcare problems … c’mon, Chris, don’t you think they know better than that. In fact, those companies are even going the extra step to make sure that the healthcare snafu doesn’t bring their companies to the ground. GM, for example, has launched feasibility studies analyzing the potential of creating their own medical centers – yeah, you heard me – the large corporations could provide their own private hospitals and medical practice groups for their employees, which will allow them to avoid the astronomical premiums that are literally bringing our nation’s largest employers to their knees. How’s that for the free market providing a solution to something the government can’t and will never do?!?

    I will agree with your comment that HSAs are only one solution to a MUCH larger problem. HSAs aren’t necessarily going to fix healthcare -that’s a problem that no one person, thing or entity can do. It will take many players, much compromise and ultimately time. But I can assure you this, when the system finally does get to a point of being somewhat “fixed” it will be the market that is leading the way – not the gov’t.

    If you want to learn more about socialized medicine, I urge you to look at numerous European countries. Patients in these countries are now paying dearly for what the gov’t thought would be a wonderful solution to providing global healthcare. Now, it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor over there – if you want quality healthcare – you’re going to another country.

    Chris, I can tell you’re trying hard to argue your point, but you’re off on this one. You make some good points for your side on political matters, but its not happening here. This is so beyond politics, which is why I usually don’t discuss healthcare on this site … most politicos just don’t have the capacity to fully understand that sector. It’s too complex and goes way beyond any political context that we can think of. Bottom line, it’s out of the league of most politicos!

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