Thursday, April 28, 2011

From the Mailbag: Thursday Linkfest

Three (apparently) unrelated but interesting items from our email:

Regular readers know that we're big fans of transparency in both the delivery and financing of health care. To that end, we're pleased to pass along the news of a new online database called Fair Health Consumer. Eric Hendrickson tells us that the site's purpose is to "provid[e] consumers with information they need to navigate the very confusing world of health care reimbursement; one service offered deconstructs the benefit forms that insurers provide us with anytime we visit our doctor or other healthcare provider."

That's been available since the beginning of the year, and they've recently added a new "Consumer Cost Lookup function" that lets health care consumers "view charge estimates for various dental procedures within their geographic area." And come August, the site's adding "costs associated with medical procedures ... Patients will be able to conduct their searches by procedure or service, by diagnosis (in the case of medical), or by utilizing the appropriate medical or dental terminology codes."

Long Term Care insurance is another favorite topic here at IB, and Genworth Financial's a major player in the LTCi market. According to email we received from Clint Kaminska, the carrier's put together a new "Genworth Celebrates Caregivers program," which includes "Long Term Care resources aimed to support families and caregivers in talking to loved ones about big issues like aging, money, health and planning for end-of-life care."

It's a website with a variety of resources, including articles, advice and links.

■ Daniel Kessler, a professor of business and law at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, has an interesting piece at the WSJ that explains how ObamaCare© actually punishes the productive members of our society:

"This new entitlement ... will damage the country's long-term fiscal outlook. It also will introduce far-reaching negative effects on rewards to work and bizarre new inequities into American life ... There is also the likelihood that ... income taxes on upper-middle income families will have to be raised ... to finance the cost of the subsidy, the Medicaid expansion, and other provisions of the new law. Both of these effects exacerbate the law's negative work incentives."

It's a chilling and eye-opening look at this trainwreck.
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