May 14, 2011

Math is Hard

For union leaders, that is. In New York State a health care union has to start charging 35,000 members a fee of $1,560 per year or else their health care plan will go broke. Here's a snippet:

The FHP Employer Buy-in program was launched in 2008 under New York’s Partnership for Coverage initiative, the state’s road map for providing health coverage to 2.6 million uninsured residents . . . At the time, it was considered a model for other unions or employers. The state Department of Health opened the FHP Employer Buy-in program to all employers and unions in late 2009.

When will everyone realize that [essentially] unlimited demand and limited supply guarantees failure?

Posted by Robert at May 14, 2011 1:14 PM

No worse than the math in Canada in relation to Healthcare spending. Canadians think we can just keep adding 3-400,000 new immigrants to our Free Healthcare system every year, and that things will work out good. Make all immigrants pay for private healthcare, until they have paid TAXES in Canada for 10 years. Those that don't pay in should be forced to supply their own Healthcare. No Free Lunch For Immigrant Freeloaders.

Posted by: RFB at May 14, 2011 1:46 PM

Socialists will never realize it - even when they have spent all everyone else's money.

Even they they won't believe the ponzi scheme is over.

They'll just blame someone else.

Posted by: Fred at May 14, 2011 2:05 PM

Registered health savings plans have shown promise wherever they have been tried; when you become a health care consumer for routine health care you start making intelligent choices.

Catastrophic coverage for accidents and serious illness is the other half of the health care equation, between these two innovations Canada could get out of the fiscal death spiral public health care has become.

Posted by: thucydides at May 14, 2011 2:06 PM

Fred @ 2:05 pm described our health care system as no one to my knowledge, has previously: A Ponzi scheme. Perfect analogy. Sad, but perfect!

Posted by: canuck66 at May 14, 2011 2:15 PM

If only there were a discipline that covered things such as high demand + low supply = high prices. It could be called, oh I don't know, maybe economics and it could be taught in schools. Nah, on second thought, it's just too crazy an idea.

Posted by: Kathryn at May 14, 2011 2:19 PM

As Kate's good friend the Captain would be sure to point out, a formal education in economics scarcely guarantees an understanding of the subject.

Posted by: Daniel Ream at May 14, 2011 2:29 PM

"When will everyone realize that [essentially] unlimited demand and limited supply guarantees failure?"

At about the same time that they realize health care is a service, not a right, and that a hospital is not a factory.

Those two bright ideas have done more to damage the health care industry in the last 30 years than almost anything else.

Posted by: The Phantom at May 14, 2011 2:31 PM

I find my bill of $1,616 per year for medical insurance ($5,400 annual deductible, fifty-eight-year old single man, good health, nobody else on the policy) an interesting comparison.

Posted by: Iowa Jim at May 14, 2011 2:35 PM

Anyone have any bright ideas on how to reduce demand?

Posted by: LindaL at May 14, 2011 3:22 PM

User Fees. The emergency rooms are filled with people with the sniffles.....

Posted by: jcl at May 14, 2011 3:39 PM

@ 2:19pm Kathryn wrote: "If only there were a discipline that covered things such as high demand + low supply = high prices. It could be called, oh I don't know, maybe economics and it could be taught in schools. Nah, on second thought, it's just too crazy an idea."

You are my new Sarcasm Goddess!!!

Posted by: Robert W. (Vancouver) at May 14, 2011 4:48 PM

Iowa Jim's Healthcare Bill in the USA "I find my bill of $1,616 per year for medical insurance ($5,400 annual deductible, fifty-eight-year old single man, good health, nobody else on the policy) an interesting comparison." A Canadians Universal Healthcare for any and all who can make it here, no matter if you are sick and never contributed 10 cents into Canada, bring your grannies, bring your sick and lame poppa's. They can be your live in babysitters and we will pay for their healthcare, and give them a pension. Cost To Canadians. "Canadians Now Pay More In Taxes Than They Do For Food, Clothing and Housing Combined" Good Deal Eh! We even give free healthcare to your live in Babysitters, so culturally correct. Such Stupid Canadian Taxpayers. Family Class Immigration is destroying healthcare.

Posted by: RFB at May 14, 2011 6:02 PM

I pay $109/ month for BCMSP for me & spouse.
Extended health is $100/ month. Dental is $64.

Total cost, $274/month, $3288/ yr.


Posted by: mike at May 14, 2011 6:26 PM

It might also be of interest that my medical insurance in California, immediately before moving to Iowa, was $5,700 per year ($4,000 deductible, which probably accounts for less $25 of the difference from my current payment), so it's not just private enterprise, is the differences among states. I'd guess that one reason for the fact that my insurance in California was three and a half times as expensive as it is in Iowa is that there are more malpractice lawsuits in California, with higher pay-offs (I don't know whether there are in fact more lawsuits or higher pay-offs; that's just a suspicion, as well).

Posted by: Iowa Jim at May 14, 2011 6:35 PM

it's the differences among states, not is the differences

Posted by: Iowa Jim at May 14, 2011 6:36 PM

Healthcare was started in this Country for only one reason.
It was to steal Provincial rights from Priemiers ,by holding the funds like a protection racket.
You did what PET wanted or you became the bad guy by not taking funds & direction from Ottawa.
Just like the CWB. Government is just another word for mob. Crietien proved that.
Where still held hostage by transfewr payments. Yet another scam to control Provinces policies.
The last thing they thought about was peoples welfar heath wise. That was in the parlence of wiseguys. The hook.

Posted by: Revnant Dream at May 14, 2011 7:03 PM

See, the difference between Americans and Canadians is this: Americans are right now in the process of crushing one of their political parties and completely renovating the other one, because they are not going to put up with insane socialist ideas... that Canadians bent over and grabbed their ankles for 30 years ago.

The Americans are getting borderline violent over $3.69/gallon gas. Ours is FIVE BUCKS, the difference is all -tax-. Americans would be burning cars in Ottawa. Canadians quietly held a nice sedate election, and are now all twiddling our thumbs waiting to see what Big Brother is going to do to us.

We are saps. Tax me, I'm Canadian.

Posted by: The Phantom at May 14, 2011 8:09 PM

Well said Revnant Dream.

There is a story up and open for comments on the CBC site regarding a women in BC who has been waiting for five days to have surgery on a broken arm. She can't eat because while awaiting surgery, eating is not allowed.

Posted by: Lucky Lori at May 14, 2011 8:33 PM

RFB - immigrants don't actually make that much of a difference. It's still a "free" system, so will be overused. And cutting immigrant's involvement with the healthcare system will mean a lot less doctors for us (since we're importing them already - or should we have an apartheid like separation of peoples in the country based upon what they do for a living and how long they've been here?). Sorry, but I think you're just re-arranging the deck chairs on the titanic. Price/demand says that as long as it's free it'll be overused, meaning more wait time for real, serious diseases. The only system that provides an incentive for the medical care professionals to provide fast, helpful service is the free market. Why do you think restaurant servers greet you with a smile? The tip is dependent upon how good of service they give, and the restaurant will close and they'd lose their job if there's no customers at all (which would happen if word gets around that the service is really bad).

Posted by: C_Miner at May 14, 2011 9:26 PM

CMiner, you are wrong, here is the difference, an immigrant arrives and immediately recieves world class free healthcare, the same year 399,000 others arrive with him and also recieve the same free healthcare and none of them have contributed 10 cents into the healthcare pot. Of that 400,000 per year 40% are family class and will never contribute anything but they will all recieve free healthcare. Now lets look at the Canadian born citizen, who buy the time he is finished working at 65 will have paid millions into healthcare via taxes. Now tell me again how that makes no difference. One pays millions the other pays nothing and gets the same benefits. What are you smoking man.

Posted by: RFB at May 14, 2011 11:15 PM


I certainly hope that you're right in that one
of America's political parties is being crushed.
Obama will probably be a Phoenix and rise from
the ashes of his crushed party and we'll get
another four year of gangster government. He
pandered to the Hispanics last week and now
he is opening up land for oil drilling...
something he has been against since he was
a state senator. Funny how politics works...
is there anything Obama can't do?

There's no difference between the Canadian
medical system and ours in that immigrants get
free care and the rest of us have to pay.
If you're unlucky enough to visit the US and
have to go to an emergency room, brush up
on your Spanish and be prepared to wait for

Posted by: El Zopilote at May 14, 2011 11:59 PM

ElZopilote in Canada it is the same. Part of the reason Canadians now pay more in TAXES than we do for Food, Clothing and Housing combined is that we have been giving FREE HEALTHCARE to all immigrants for many years now. Healthcare is not FREE. It is paid for by all TAXPAYERS. Immigrants who have never paid any Canadian TAXES get it for nothing. Natural Born Canadians are paying their freight. Provincial budgets for healthcare now consume 40-50% of all Provincial spending. When an immigrant family of 4 arrives in Canada generally only one is the Primary worker and starts paying taxes. Even if that person has an excellent job and pays a lot of taxes, they are getting a free ride. They also generally bring extended family who also get free healthcare for immigrants while the stunned Canadian Taxpayers pick up the tab for them as well. Family class immigrants are generally grandparents who require a lot of healthcare. Family class immigration should be ended or the sponsor should have healthcare deductions from their income to pay for their support. No more free rides. At 3-400,000 immigrants each year, very quickly you are talking millions of people who have contributed nothing to the system all sucking up free benefits. Make all immigrants pay for their own healthcare for 10 years after arrival, make all family class immigrants pay for their own healthcare as long as they remain in Canada. No Free Lunch For Freeloaders.

Posted by: RFB at May 15, 2011 7:38 AM

RBF - you missed or ignored my larger point. Any system that is free will be over-used. Yes, those who have been working within the country for a longer time "pay" for the system, but they system is still fundamentally flawed. No smoking required, I'm looking at a forest that's in trouble and you're staring at a tree that's almost dead - both results of the same malady.

And good luck importing doctors when you're telling them that they can't treat their own family members without paying extra for the privilege. If you want immigration reform, fine, but that's not what broke health care. The rules of economics say that anything that is "free" will inevitably be overused, quality will decline, and it will have to be rationed in one form or another (waiting lists are a form of rationing).

Posted by: C_Miner at May 15, 2011 9:01 AM


I get your point about nit-picking about a minor matter.....but is it that minor.

Minor efficiencies/inefficiencies have a way of affecting financial outcomes in the quantum.

Here in Ontariario, a few years past we had to head of to the nearest major urban centre to stand in line for hours to obtain a PHOTO health card. This has been streamlined significantly by having the MTO license bureaus now issuing renewals etc.

However, minor though it may seem, this was precipitated by the discovery that "new canadians" were lending there healthcards to 3rd world relatives visiting primarilly for our free healthcare.....especially when one of these beauties made the mistake of seeking treatment at the same hospital as the last freeloader....hernia if I recall.

If the effect of this was insignificant, then the government would have not taken this action....what with the potential of offending the immigrant voter bloc by closing a loop-hole.

Posted by: sasquatch at May 15, 2011 10:31 AM

CMINER and again you miss my point. Here let me say it again. Healthcare in Canada is not FREE. Although we do not pay a monthly stipend. We pay mightily through some of the highest TAXES annually in the Western World. Taxes in Canada now consume more of the average families budget annually than Food, Clothing and Housing Combined. The only ones who have paid NOTHING into our Healthcare are IMMIGRANTS because they have not yet paid taxes, or their sponsored family members who will never pay Taxes and will just consume the benefit. So if I make 100,000 a year and pay 40-50,000 a year in all TAXES then I am paying more than you in the USA for so called FREE HEALTHCARE. IT is not Free Healthcare is what I am saying. It is a huge part of the Billions paid by Canadians in our TAXES each year. There is never a Free Lunch. Immigrants do not pay for any healthcare because unless they have been here and been paying taxes they get a free pass on Healthcare. Almost 100% of Family Class Immigrants never pay taxes in Canada, and their sponsors do not pay for their healthcare either. Make Immigrants pay for their healthcare or send them home. And in Canada it is significant, 3-400,000 new freeloaders every year is a lot of freeloaders.

Posted by: RFB at May 15, 2011 12:07 PM

What is it with you guys and immigrants? There's 30 million people in this country, at -most- a couple thousand immigrants are freeloading as you suggest.

You are correct that they are doing it, and you are correct that its a corrupt practice enabled by a corrupt system.

But it is a DROP IN THE OCEAN compared to the costs incurred by all the idiots who go to emerge for sniffles, cut fingers, "not feeling well" etc. The idiots in turn are as nothing compared to the costs of regulation, certification, duplication, damn fool mismanagement and outright theft in the hospital system.

Those heinous expenses are again NOTHING compared to the armies of bureaucrats that "oversee" the entire affair. More money is spent on this superstructure of seat polishers than the entire cost of patient care. Including the theft.

It is a structural issue. You can't run a hospital like a just-in-time car factory, it isn't efficient or safe. You can't give a valuable service away free, human nature dictates people will swarm it like locusts and destroy it. You can't have a government bureaucracy divorced from the forces of profit and cost running something and expect it to work.

Our health care system can't work. If you cut all the cheating and stealing and stupidity out of it it -still- can't work. We are pushing on a rope.

Immigrants, I say again, ARE NOT THE PROBLEM. You want to get p1ssed at somebody, try Dalton McGuinty. Try Jack "Velvet Touch" Layton and Boob Ray. Y'all can blame the immigrants until the cows come home. Its not going to make a pinch of difference and it makes you look like goofs.

Posted by: The Phantom at May 15, 2011 12:08 PM

Boy Phantom are you out to lunch, read this link by a respected Canadian Economist and University Professor. The ANNUAL cost to the Canadian Taxpayer for health and welfare benefits to new Immigrants as of 2002 was 18.3B per year in scarce taxdollars. That is not chump change, and that is definately more than the costs of covering a few thousand immigrants a year. That is more than the annual cost of Indian Affairs, that is almost the cost of a decade of Fighting in Afghanistan. 18.3B TAXDOLLARS ANNUALLY to cover the Health and Welfare Benefits of Immigrants to Canada as of 2002. Wake up Canada.

Posted by: RFB at May 15, 2011 1:10 PM

From Link above for those too lazy to cut and paste. "Canada faces a similar dilemma. Thanks to the calamitous ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada in the 1985 Singh case, all foreigners who arrive in Canada, including phony asylum seekers with false documents, are now entitled to the same health and welfare benefits as Canadian citizens.

Herbert Grubel, emeritus professor of economics at Simon Fraser University, estimates the annual net cost to Canadian taxpayers of government benefits for immigrants amounted in 2002 to a monumental $18.3 billion.

That's absurd. Following Rutte's example, Canadian parliamentarians should invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution to enact laws that bar welfare benefits to immigrants for at least a few years and curtail appellant rights against deportation orders so that foreigners who break the law or pose a serious security threat can be expedited out of the country.

Rory Leishman is a London freelance writer. E-mail"

Posted by: RFB at May 15, 2011 1:14 PM

18.3B in annual health and welfare benefits to Immigrants. That is more than the cost of keeping all of Quebec pacified each year. Anyone who after reading that report, still thinks Immigration without restriction is a net benefit to Canada, the way it is now. Can not do math and is probably never balanced a cheque book in their lives. Only an Uneducated Liberal Nitwit would argue otherwise.

Posted by: RFB at May 15, 2011 3:25 PM

RFB, check the -total- health and welfare budget. Then come back and buy me lunch. $18.3B is a lot, but not compared to the total. That's my point.

By the way, the immigrants don't get the $18.3B in their hand. That's what the government spends using immigrants as an excuse. That's my other point.

By the way^2, we aren't talking about all immigrants, just the ones milking the system. Which will shake out to about 5% of the total, just like criminals do generally. Which is a couple thousand all up. That would be my third point.

Posted by: The Phantom at May 15, 2011 8:02 PM

Phantom, so you think 18.3B Tax Dollars is chump chnage. You obviously are a Liberal. The 18.3B is spent annually on Health and Welfare for Immigrants as of 2002 numbers, this is 2011. That is a great sum of Tax Dollars, that is more than the Government spends on all Natives in Canada and Quebec each year. Get your head out of you know where and get a breath of fresh air. And we are not talking about a couple of thousand immigrants gaming the system. We are talking Millions of Immigrants gaming the system. Read the report. Are you an Immigrant Gaming the System...

Posted by: RFB at May 15, 2011 9:16 PM