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Posts Tagged ‘Insurance in the United States’


Ya, you! You’re too fat! Clearly, you are not capable of moving your fat butt, or watching what you put in your mouth. Guess we’ll have to do that for you, too.

Yep. That’s what Denmark and Hungary have told their citizens.

On Tuesday, Hungary voted to place a tax on “junk-foods” like Big Mac, pop (soda), and sweets.

Yesterday, the fat tax in Denmark went into effect. In this case, actual food in addition to that junk-food is being taxed. Here are some of the examples:

  • High fat dairy products (what about kids under 2 years old who need the fat from whole milk for brain development??)- items like cream cheese, whipping cream, and ice cream
  • Butter (huh, seems the body can break down the fats in butter than in fake, processed margarine-y food stuffs, but what do I know?)
  • Meats
  • Pizzas
  • Pre-cooked Foods
  • Potato Chips
  • Olive Oil (nevermind that olive oil is actually healthy fat- makes me wonder if this applies to peanut butter and nuts, which also contain healthy fats)
  • Etc. (does this include eggs? I have to wonder- if everyone had their own chickens, the fat and cholesterol content would be lower)

It is no surprise that citizens were in a frenzy, cleaning off store shelves and stocking up. Who wants to pay 30% more for butter until they have to?

And it’s no wonder that the rest of Europe, particularly Great Britain, is watching with rapt attention. After all, can you blame them?

Germany wants a fat tax, too. In fact, “Recently the German Teachers’ Association recommended weighing children in class each day and reporting the seriously overweight to social services, who would have the power to remove them to clinics.”

Incidentally, homeschooling is illegal in Germany. So, if your kid is deemed too fat, off to social services you go! And YOU, stupid parent, have no recourse; no option; no choice.

Stop reading now if you don’t want my two cents on this situation. 😆

My personal opinion is that when you rely on the government to take care of you, you have given them the right to make all those decisions. Absolutely, if I was in a country where everyone got free health care, you had better bet it would be up to the government to set in place parameters and guidelines for the citizens, as a means of keeping those costs down.

And why shouldn’t they? This clearly, imo, falls into the category of taking care of the individual’s health needs, since, you know, they obviously can’t make good decisions by themselves.

If people are going to make poor eating choices that have negative consequences on their health care (that the government is paying for), it stands to reason that they should contribute more financially to help off set those costs. Alcohol is taxed more; I would be surprised if tobacco isn’t as well.

Now, that being said, (and if you haven’t stopped reading in disgust) I don’t think the government has any business mandating either of those things. I don’t think it’s the job of the government to forcibly “take care” of its citizens. I’m a fan of choice.

In the US, I don’t believe its constitutional for the federal government to mandate something like federal health care. States- sure. Go for it. But once you do (like Massachusetts), is it impossible to undo?

I know the issue of mandatory health care is loaded, and I certainly don’t have the answer. I think it’s a bad idea to give up any decision-making choices in favor of other people making decisions for you.

If you’ve been reading along, you know how I feel about the health care system as it is now. It’s definitely broken.

Case and point: out of the two hospitals we have here (the hub of anything in 200 miles in any direction) both are too small, apparently, to have their own ER doctors. Instead, they use a contracted service.

While both hospitals are in my insurance network, this contracted service, which is the same for both hospitals, is not. That means that they can charge anything they want to, and they do.

What does this mean to me?

As a person with insurance through a national insurance group on a Fortune 500 company policy, it means that my deductible is doubled because they are out of network. It means that those services (the ER doctor charge) get paid at 70% instead of 90%, after my doubled deductible. This deductible also doesn’t go towards my out-of-pocket costs because they are out of network, or to my other, in-network deductible.

If my insurance decides to pay in-network costs as a courtesy to me- which it usually does because of the rural factor, in that I have no other choice- they pay “reasonable and customary” costs.

What does that mean? That means if “reasonable and customary” is $100, they will pay the 90% of that amount. Because they are not under contract with the insurance company, this means that the provider can- and does- charge whatever they feel like. For that $100 insurance deems “reasonable and customary”? The provider can charge you $100,000.  And you, poor sucker who had to go to the ER, legally has to eat the difference.

I’m up to my eyeballs in this again right now, after having a trip a few months ago for my middle daughter’s concussion. I cannot tell you how sick I am of being Screwed. A look at 2010 should bring you up to speed.

The bill for the doctor in the ER was $800. I have no idea what amount will be considered “reasonable and customary,” but I know insurance will probably initially pay 70%. Then I’ll have to sit on the check they send me (because they don’t pay out-of-network providers; they send the check to you) and have it go for review, which can take 60 to 90 days. In the meantime, I’m going to get letters from the provider, telling me they are (and will- trust me, I’ve been down this road) going to turn you over to collections.

Nevermind the insurance you have. Nevermind that you went to an IN-FREAKING-NETWORK provider to keep your cost down. NEVERMIND that they are GOUGING you because you have insurance and being UNETHICAL because of their outrageous cost.

Ticked? Doesn’t begin to cover it.

The thing is, they aren’t all like that. Take my GI doc, for example. When I regularly go visit him, he charges *exactly* what is deemed “reasonable and customary” by my insurance. Our company changed insurance carriers since I’ve been seeing him, and his billing practices are exactly the same for each provider: they are under contract, and bill accordingly. This means when I go visit him, if my deductible is paid, I pay my 10% which comes out to less than $5.

Yep, you read that right.

LESS than $5, and the man is a specialist. And a good one. Who actually cares about his patients, even the ones (like me :lol:) who basically self-refer even though they aren’t supposed to.

So I don’t buy the mantra that all costs are high. Some providers are out to screw you, plain and simple. And when you are rural and without options or recourse, you’re the poor sucker who, again, has to take it in the shorts unless you don’t mind your credit rating getting wrecked while you duke it out.

The uninsured (particularly here, where people go to the emergency room for colds because they can’t be turned away) is a problem. Skyrocketing costs are a problem (don’t even get me going on the comparison cost of x-rays….). Something has to be done.

But giving complete control over to the federal government?

Sorry, I just don’t think that’s smart. I think once you get on that path to expecting to be taken care of, you give the right to that entity to make choices for you, like raising your taxes on butter, bread, and meats.

 

~~When you give up your rights to choice, you give up your voice.~~

 

More articles for your reading pleasure:

Germany Weighs Tax on the Obese

Bulge Battle Will Wallop Your Wallet

Denmark Levies World’s First Fat Tax

Fat Tax Lands On Denmark’s Favorite Foods

 

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