UnitedHealthcare-Continuum Standoff, New CBO Estimate, and Mysterious Drop in U.S. Birth Weights

Hospital to UnitedHealthcare: “Show me where you went to medical school.”

The CBO estimates it would cost $35 billion to give every state the same deal Nebraska got in the Senate health bill.

U.S. birth weights fell two ounces in 15 years. No one knows why.

Comments (6)

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  1. Vicki says:

    Love the United Health quote.

  2. Tom H. says:

    I thought Ben Nelson was going to give up on the cornhusker bribe.

  3. John R. Graham says:

    The health plan wants to insert a clause in its contract with the hospitals that will reduce fees by 50 percent if a hospital does not inform the plan within 24 hours of one of its enrollees being admitted. The incentives are obvious: The health plan wants to know ASAP before the hospital staff start running up the bills.

    In this case, my sympathies lie (ever so slightly) in favor of UnitedHealth Group, if only because UHG is attempting to insert the condition in a privately negotiated contract, whereas the hospital consortium is running to the state government to stop it (as other hospitals in Tennessee have done, according to the article).

    However, one expert quoted in the article described this as a “showdown between corporate oligopolies”. That may be a little extreme, but it brings us to the gist of the issue. As long as we rely on a third party to pay for our medical services, piece by piece, it will be subject to micro-management.

    I expect that if every American were free to buy a health-insurance policy of his or her own choice, a catastrophic illness or accident that required hospitalization would result in a cash pay-out by the insurer, and the patient would go to whichever hospital he preferred. There would be little or no need for wasting time and effort negotiating “networks.”

    But that’s just one man’s opinion: Government needs to give that money and power to patients, and then we’ll find out.

  4. Linda Gorman says:

    One possibility for the 2 ounce decline: the percentage of births to unmarried women plateaued at roughly 30+ in early 1990s. Then it headed up. It was close to 40 in 2007. All else equal, unmarried women tend to have lighter kids.

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