Managed care needs a better watchdog

  • Article by: KIP SULLIVAN
  • Updated: January 23, 2013 - 7:18 PM

The Star Tribune failed that role in a story about UnitedHealth.

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jurburJan. 23, 13 8:58 PM

Very little attention should be paid to a health care company's suggestions on how to lower health care costs when the highlighted company pays its CEO 53 million dollars annually in compensation. As most health care consumers struggle mightily to purchase and retain health insurance the notion that the one who is so richly rewarded at the expense of those who sacrifice to afford what his company peddles is asked to share his vision of health care reform which is intended only to generate more wealth for those on the top rung is the most vulgar form of absurdity. One of these days someone with some guts is going to say to those who have taken so much from our health care system without giving a nickle back as they incessantly point their fingers at the elderly and the sick as those responsible for our insanely expensive health care costs when in fact it is and has long been their own unforgivable greed; not one more dime will you take.

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LastgunshopJan. 23, 1311:38 PM

Mr. Sullivan is right about the fact that managed care is a cost driver for health care. In Minnesota our HMO’s have represented to the federal government that our health care costs have increased about 8% a year every year for the past decade, yet providers have seen no increases. Where did all the money the feds gave them go? Why are their reserves so massive? Why does Minnesota have the lowest historical medicare costs in the country but the highest medicaid costs? Wherever you see managed care there you will find increased costs. The increases are fictitious just like the claims of care coordination and disease management. The insurers steal money from the government and blame doctors and hospitals. It's a scam and thanks to people like Mr. Sullivan folks are starting to see this. I must disagree with Mr. Sullivan about one thing. The star tribune opinion writers have taken the HMO’s to task repeatedly. Please keep it up.

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hswcbJan. 24, 13 6:43 AM

Thank you Trib. for printing this. Wish it had the same priority position in the paper as the article about United Health. I agree with comments so far but want to point out that the patient, you and I, is also blamed by the HMOs -- not just the docs are blamed. The providers do get stiffed by the HMOs (unless the HMO is the provider) but the patients are the ones paying the price -- in money with high deductibles and premiums and with less access to health care. Hemsley and the shareholders get richer and richer off my money and my suffering. Great system!

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mklundJan. 24, 13 9:47 AM

Good to hear from Kip Sullivan again! Remember that United Health is a for-profit insurer as are the other big insurers: WellPoint, Humana, etc. Managed care works for their profitability. Why not promote a healthy environment to bolster a healthy population? Remove toxins from the water, air and soil. We have made some strides but much more must be known and enforced.

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annsypJan. 24, 13 1:22 PM

Hear, hear! The United Health story was little more than a self-serving puff piece. I don't entirely blame the reporter, however. With shrinking resources for investigative journalism and column inches to fill, it must be very tempting to write stories based on press releases fed to the paper by the subjects of the stories themselves. United Health also seems to be one of those major Twin Cities organizations deemed "too big to criticize" by most of the media.

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lakeelmo99Jan. 24, 13 8:36 PM

While I agree health insurance companies are good targets there is no room for physicians to criticize. Insurers are not driving health care costs up and up and up. For profit hospital corporations are with price increases that greatly exceed rates of inflation. Don't forget the US is middle of the pack quality of care. Let's face it as long as the profit motive exists in health care we're sunk. Docs keep driving up the costs without controls and insurers keep passing those costs along to companies and consumers. BTW Hemsley's total annual compensation is $100M including salary, stock and bonuses.

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schristeJan. 25, 1312:34 PM

lakeelmo99 - "Insurers are not driving health care costs up and up and up. For profit hospital corporations are with price increases that greatly exceed rates of inflation." Sorry but if you look at who owns the for profit hospitals, you will find that insurers like United Health care own them and also have non-for profit branches too.

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