Monday, March 21, 2011

Goodbye Health Insurance, Hello Health Care

Obamacare was hammered out behind closed doors and passed in the middle of the night by people who never bothered to read the bill or even think about the consequences of what they had unleashed.

One year later and Obamacrap is still in its' infancy but is already having a noticeable impact on health insurance . . . most of it negative from a consumer perspective.

Health insurance companies have responded by withdrawing from some markets (leading to less competition and higher premiums), laying off workers, closing offices and dramatically cutting compensation to agents.

They have also started to diversify into non-regulated businesses in order to preserve profits. Kaiser Health News reports the following.

UnitedHealth Group bought ChinaGate, which helps bring medical treatments to market in China; Picis, a technology vendor specializing in clinical and financial management systems for hospital emergency departments and intensive care units; the medical screening company Wellness; and six other firms.

In December, Aetna acquired Medicity, a business that helps hospitals share patient information. The federal government will reward hospitals and doctors with more than $30 billion in increased Medicaid and Medicare payments by 2015 for adopting electronic medical records, but only if they can share their data.

Also in December, Humana bought Concentra, a Texas-based urgent- and occupational-care provider with clinics in 40 states. More than one-third of Humana members live within 10 miles of a Concentra clinic, making its services convenient for the insurer's members. Last year it also bought a health coaching firm that helps employers keep workers healthy, and in February it partnered with a South African company to launch new wellness services in the United States.

So many confuse health care with health insurance, now maybe they will understand the difference and find something new to complain about.

The current trend is largely driven by the health law, said Ana Gupte, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

The newer ventures will not replace the core business of selling health coverage.

"They're very synergistic with the health-insurance [product]," Gupte said, giving insurers more tools to control medical costs while potentially increasing earnings.

More control over the cost of health care. That is a good thing for consumers if it lowers the cost of health care, which is something only promised by Obamacrap, but never addressed.

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