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Old 06-12-2009, 09:32 PM   #76
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I am intrigued by this P5P and may have to check it out.
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:09 AM   #77
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When you and Memphis come out to visit, I'll take you to dinner at Mother's, a health food store nearby. They have it.


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Old 06-15-2009, 08:12 PM   #78
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That's right.
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:37 PM   #79
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I have a sleeping disorder too, but owing to a muscular condition.
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:08 PM   #80
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Here's the answer:

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Mr Burd Goes to Washington

Business will pay for government health care.By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL

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It's Steve Burd's eighth or ninth trip to Capitol Hill this year -- he can't quite remember. Sitting in a hotel lobby late last week, what the busy Safeway CEO does know is that by the end of this trip, he'll have told all 100 U.S. senators his company's health-care story. That alone might deserve applause.

As most of corporate America sits on the health-care sidelines -- issuing vague statements, trying not to offend a new U.S. president -- Mr. Burd has charged into the political debate. "I'm here because health-care simply isn't a partisan issue," he says. There is what works, and what doesn't. "I'm genuinely concerned someone might try to solve this by nationalizing health care, at the moment we at Safeway have proven that it is the market that reins in costs."

Prove it, he can. As recently as 2004, Safeway was suffocating under health-care costs growing at 10% a year. Mr. Burd, who had long been intellectually and politically drawn to the health-care issue, decided it was time to hit the restart button. He blew up the company's existing health-care structure and replaced it with one that embodied market principles -- choice, responsibility, competition and price.


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Steve Burd (R), president and CEO of Safeway, testifies before Congress.
Today, Safeway has accomplished what Washington claims is the goal: The company's per-capita health-care expenses have remained flat, compared to the near 40% increase experienced by the rest of corporate America over the past four years. This has not been done by cutting care or shifting costs to employees. Nearly 80% of the 30,000 nonunion Safeway workers who take part in the program rate it good, very good, or excellent.

Magic? Not even. Mr. Burd explains that the "cure for today's ills is simply removing the obstacles to a free health-care market."

The Safeway plan has two main parts that work in tandem. The first involves giving employees a financial stake in the system. Safeway demolished the traditional PPOs and HMOs that encourage consumers to be cavalier about costs. The company today fully pays for an array of primary and preventive visits and tests. But beyond that, employees have skin in the game. The company deposits $1,000 each year into a "health reimbursement account," which workers can use to pay for care. The next $1,000 in expenses is the employee's responsibility. After that, employees pay 20% of costs up to a $4,000 maximum.

Safeway workers these days treat that first $1,000 carefully, since anything beyond it comes out of their pockets. The company is alive with stories of people who no longer visit the emergency room for routine care but instead call around to doctors to ask prices, and swap information with colleagues. Safeway is doing its part to improve price transparency, by having its care administrator, Cigna, analyze claims information. One discovery was that within 30 minutes of its California headquarters routine colonoscopy prices ranged from $700 to $7,000. By the end of the year, employees will be able to go on a Web site, punch in a zip code, and get a list of providers and costs.

The second part of Safeway's plan was an embrace of the obvious: Healthy people cost less. Mr. Burd notes that 75% of health-care costs are the result of four conditions -- cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. The majority of these are preventable. "Obesity in this country went from 18% to 40% in 20 years -- this is not genetics, this is behavior," he explains. He says that an obese employee can require 10 times the number of doctor visits in a year than someone of healthy weight.

The result was Safeway's "Healthy Measures" program, which is voluntary. Employees are tested for smoking, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. Every area they "pass" results in a reduction in their premium, of as much as $1,560 for a family, a year. Those who fail but prove progress can get refunds. Safeway complements this with an intense culture of health: weight-loss tips, fitness competitions and smoking cessation programs.

Critics of price incentives argue that they pressure consumers to forego necessary care. Mr. Burd counters that Healthy Measures and the company's free preventive care -- designed to catch problems before they become expensive -- have in fact resulted in a healthier work force. Safeway's smoking and obesity rates are roughly 70% the national average. The program has even been cautiously greeted by Safeway's union leaders, who understand that soaring health costs are eating into union wages.

When I ask Mr. Burd what he hopes to accomplish here, he is blunt that one goal is to prevent a "public option" that would only "piggyback on the experience of Medicare." It's a "Trojan Horse" that will steer people to government and ultimately squeeze out innovative programs like his.

He's also working to ensure that any health-care bill contains provisions that would replicate or encourage Safeway's success. That includes changing current law so that he can offer even steeper premium discounts for good behavior. It also includes his idea to make available Medicare's vast database of providers and costs so Americans can shop around. An optimist, Mr. Burd says he's had "extraordinary receptivity" from both sides of the aisle.

As for his fellow CEOs, Mr. Burd is eager to debate anyone who thinks he will escape costs by dumping health care on the government. Business will still be taxed to pay for the program, making the U.S. less competitive. Far better, says Mr. Burd, for companies to control their destiny, and prove markets can also work for health care. We're about to find out if Washington will let them.
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:56 PM   #81
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I've been voluntarily uninsured for the past two years, I'm sorry for screwing up the percentages.
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Old 06-22-2009, 06:11 AM   #82
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that still doesn't help those who are unemployed though.

however, i will say the company who laid me off has a pretty much identical insurance plan and it was very nice to have. if you just go to the doctor once a year for your physical then you pretty much never pay a dime aside from what comes out of your paycheck. even when i had to get two foot surgeries last year the costs were pretty minimal. but then again, if you're not working, then it's of no use to you.
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Old 06-22-2009, 06:23 AM   #83
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Sorry for the late reply, but yes in Holland it's mandatory too, so it seems like the US is starting to chose more European ways. Although the costs that are covered through health insurance get less and less by the day. Except when you can afford a high insurance, with extras and more benefits, you're safe. But otherwise, you're still pretty much screwed.

The benefit is though indeed that monthly costs can be brought back if everyone has health insurance.

I think all governments should be doing their best more to make sure everyone can afford health insurance. Which is, of course, an impossible task. But support plans and such should be extended.
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Old 06-22-2009, 04:59 PM   #84
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I've been voluntarily uninsured for the past two years, I'm sorry for screwing up the percentages.
you realize you are cheating insurance companies out of premiums.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:14 PM   #85
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It's idiotic.

If people could actually afford insurance, they'd have it. It's another dodge so the Democrats can avoid the real issue, nationalized health care, and so the Republicans can fell like they're doing something, but not supporting nationalized health care. Neither party has the guts to make any real changes.
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Old 06-23-2009, 02:27 AM   #86
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you realize you are cheating insurance companies out of premiums.
Yeah, well unfortunately starting July 1st I'll be among the insured ranks again.
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:40 AM   #87
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i was uninsured for about 2 months last year before i got my job. nice to stick it to the man, if only for 2 months.
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:00 PM   #88
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I just want to report that I have just been sent away from the Dr. office without having my appt. honored. I have a copay of $15 and I only have a dollar and some change in the bank, so I asked them if they could please not put the check into the bank until this afternoon or tommorrow as I get paid tommorrow. They told me the check would go in at 1 and if I didn't have the money it would bounce. I begged them to just hold off ONE day, but they did not care. I have a hideous ear infection, the entire side of my face is swollen, I can hardly walk or talk, it's blocked up and ringing and the pains are shooting way down my neck. But no one cares, because in this country if you don't have money you are trash that needs to be taken out and forgotten. Nobody cares if you die. I hate to sound cynical but this has been my experience. It's all about money. I am against anything that will lead to any increase in for-profit insurance companies taking advantage of people. At this point I am ready to settle for socialized health care. I never liked it, but really the greed has become ridiculous. The Dr. considers himself a 'business' but it's not something optional like say buying jewelry or getting a tatoo where if you can't afford it you don't get it. You have to go to the Dr. The whole system is fucked and wrong.
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:05 PM   #89
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yeah, compassion replaced by greed and corruption. and overcharging on shit that costs less to nothing, just to make big profit.

and the fact that they want to make these rip-off insurance plans mandatory, with penalties for non-compliance, says something about our system.

we'll spend TRILLIONS of dollars on useless adventures in the middle east, yet we cant keep our people healthy?

we are all slaves and we dont even realize it.
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Old 06-25-2009, 03:43 PM   #90
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we'll spend TRILLIONS of dollars on useless adventures in the middle east, yet we cant keep our people healthy?
Damnit now you're just sounding like a liberal.
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