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Bruce, very sorry to hear about your wife's stroke, I hope she gets all the care she needs, and best to both of you.

I'm indeed sorry for the rise in your health care premiums
No worries, I am lucky to make enough where that will not hurt me, but others won't be. This is the largest increase I recall seeing. My colleague is scheduling surgery and talked to "Benefits" to make sure she was doing everything right. They told her to make sure to do it this year as next year things look to change for the worse (I suspect even higher copays and deductible caps).

I think insurance companies are taking advantage of us.
Maybe, but so are liability lawyers! My company is a self-funded ERISA, so is not trying to make a profit off my premiums. They clearly want to maximize company profits, but know they have to balance against maintaining a skilled workforce. (For instance, two years ago, the took away 8 hours of holiday pay-allocation rather than lay off people in those tough days, I am ok with that fair trade off even though there was zero chance of me being laid off.)

I am not talking about medicare specifically, but the overall regulations, restrictions and "rights" applied by Obamacare. I like the Whole Foods Model, which will be ruined if they don't get an exemption. They have a high-deductible plan where the employee has to pay the first $3000 "out of pocket". BUT, the company puts $1800 in a Healthcare Savings Account each year and you carry forward what you don't spend. This allows the employees to best decide how to spend their money. They can look for doctors that charge less for yearly exams (because they take cash and don't have to file insurance paperwork for instance). They can choose to get a discounted MRI at mid-night vs high-use times of days. All that kind of market stuff. If everyone had that, then that would really affect the cost of medical care. But Obamacare will not allow this, now will it allow an insurance plan with a $2 million lifetime limit that could help reduce costs.

I would have no problem with the Gov funding HSAs for poor people. They should do same for medicare. It could be means-based - if you are poor, maybe you get $2500 or the full $3000 funded. For Medicare, if you have a certain level of income, maybe the gov funds the $3000 at 0% or 20% or 50%.

When my neighbor retired and started on SS, he was irate to find out he was required to get medicare - or at least pay the premium for it. He was not allowed to choose his own plan or piggy back on his wife's plan to save some money (and keep his premium and keep his good health care).

Do you wish you had the flexibility that choose a plan that included Chiropractic care, but maybe had a $3 million limit to offset the cost of Chiro? Don't you wish you could choose a plan to fit your needs, like you do for car insurance or home insurance. What if you had to buy a liability policy to cover "unlimited" liability. It would cost lots more. Not to mention, I would come to your house, fall down and sue you for $1 billion ;-) What if you had to subsidize your neighbor's liability for their Pool and Pit Bull?

There are checks in medicare, but it has a much higher fraud rate than private insurance [footnote needed]. One reason is that it basically pays immediately and asks questions later. Scammers setup a strip mall "dr office" and submit false claims then close up shop and run with the money before the Gov can wise-up. For-profit insurance companies have a big incentive to prevent this and do a much better job, but that costs money. Ironically, the gov has a regulation saying what % of premiums can go to "administration", but preventing fraud is an administrative function. Odd.

FYI, I feel bad calling it Obamacare, he really let Pelosi define it all and she should get credit or blame.
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