Healthcare Daily Digest for 8 February 2013: How Healthcare Costs Ruined the Post Office

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Once upon a time, we used to get mail delivery three or four times a day. Of course, we were also wearing wigs and dying of typhus but that’s not the point. Mail delivery has been a steadily evolving process and the next step in that evolution is: no Saturday delivery. And look: we’re going to be fine. You’re not really getting anything important in the mail in the first place. And that one lady at the post office near my house was super mean to me once so I’m glad.

Time Magazine is running a piece on their blog that suggests that the price of healthcare in the United States is a culprit in our bittersweet goodbye to Saturday mail: “Since 2006, the Post Office has been legally required to pre-fund health benefits for future retirees at a cost of around $5.5 billion a year. For the first time last year, it defaulted on its annual payment.”

It’s a nice, tidy idea. And there is a lot to discuss about why the Post Office was put into a position of having to prefund a line item that almost no other government or business agency has to. (The corollary is an interesting discussion piece, too: what if all business had to pre-fund benefits like that?) I’ll leave it up to you to make up your own mind as to how much healthcare is to blame for the downsizing of a system that isn’t as necessary in today’s paradigm.

What else does Friday bring us, news-wise?

  • Get Your “Congratulations!” Cards Re-Ready: “President Barack Obama on Thursday renominated one of his top healthcare advisers to lead the federal agency responsible for overseeing Medicare, Medicaid and the implementation of his 2010 healthcare reform law.”
  • Get Rich Quick Plans: “Healthcare deals will rebound this year after a weak 2012, with providers of innovative technologies, cancer treatments and diagnostics being the most likely targets.”
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Posted in Medical Receivables, Patient Financial Services .

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