Health Care: Crisis unhealthy for Americans

In order to avoid more job losses, the senate was instructed at the urging of Obama to pass a $787 billion stimulus package. The threat that loomed was answered with money that has not been dispersed, as yet, and probably will not make it’s way into the economy until the race for senate seats heats up in the fall. The unemployment rate has topped 9 percent and continues to rise, and the president seemingly ignores this statistic while he makes his grand push to put the American taxpayer into further debt with a package for health care that no one has been able to appropriately calculate the cost of, or find ways to help curve the cost if or when it is implemented.

In his weekly radio speech, from Paris where he is enjoying all that the city has to offer, he spoke on the urgency of passing the health care bill saying, “We can no longer afford to wait for a national health care plan…it will cause future cost to the privately funded health care plans.” More bravado than fact is the usual tactic of this administration while pushing to implement a plan that will cost from 1.5 trillion to 1.7 trillion for all Americans to have health care. The up side to this plan is that everyone will be covered, while the down side to this package is that it has not worked in other countries where those covered by government medicine plans receive less care and stricter guide lines, negating in most cases, the ability for the patient to receive care under a doctor specializing in their illness with grave consequences.

As has happened with the closing of Guantanamo Bay, this administration has high hopes and no plan “in place” for implementing their ideas. There has been talk of a tax on the privately held insurance recipient with the figures in the $1800 range for American households to help stem the cost of nationalized health care. In most cases, this cost would equal the amount of income tax taken from those households and lessen the effectiveness of the private plan holder’s insurance; people would not have the funds to pay the premiums and would be less likely to seek medical attention. Unfortunately, while the president “jet-sets” around the world enjoying the benefits from money that others have earned, and congress spends without limits from funds they did not earn, the average American is “once again” asked to open his pocket book to pay for plans that benefit those who cannot pay for health care.

Posted by D. Ffallis at June 8, 2009 9:08 AM
Comments
Comment #282634

D. - do you not think that the current situation is not only broken but getting worse by the day? Do you think that receiving health care is a privilege? Why are we the only industrialized nation that doesn’t cover every citizen one way or another? Is it just not that important that the leading cause of bankruptcy in this country is catastrophic health costs? We already pay more per person than any other country that provides universal care for its citizens. All the conservatives talk about not wanting the government between them and their doctor. Well, you already have someone between you and your doctor - your HMO or insurance company. What’s much worse about that is they have a economic incentive if not an economic imperative to deny you coverage. While there are many small minded bureaucrats out there that take delight in telling people “no” they would have no economic incentive to do so. One of the reasons companies in the US have a hard time making ends meet is paying for employees health care. If they didn’t we would be more competitive with countries that pay a non-slave wage to their workers. In addition, employee provided health care turns people into slaves to their jobs because if they leave they lose their coverage or go into some COBRA plan that costs a ridiculous amount of money. This hurts the whole economy as people are less likely to strike out on their own and become an entrepreneur since they will lose their health coverage. Small businesses are the best job creators in the country and we are stifling them.

My wife is in a job that pays well below her value because it comes with good insurance through the university she works for. Not only that but the culture of her workplace is horrible and the job is killing her soul but our two kids need health care. I work for a small company that does not provide health care at all because with three people on full-time it is not cost effective to get a group plan. Even if you have insurance in this country you are not fully protected. I have a friend who has had three recurrences of cancer and is on a private health plan as he owns a small business. His rates are not only well over $600/mo his deductible is outrageous. Unfortunately for him, each recurrence has happened after the next calendar year so his co-pay has been astronomical. All told I think it has been well over $100k. He is also a slave to this insurance company since no other would take someone on who has had cancer 3 times. So he has no choice but to continue dumping thousands upon thousands of dollars into this health plan (that has several times tried to deny him the coverage he pays for) since after three recurrences, a fourth is likely at some point and the $100k would quickly turn into several hundred thousand.

Our government (both parties) are in the pockets of the insurance industry and are making decisions based on their interests not ours. My biggest criticism of Obama on this issue is that single-payer has been taken off the table. I think health care for profit is immoral and only causes physical and financial suffering for people unable to afford it. I don’t buy the horror stories that the right throws up about waiting lines and refusal to case though they trot out a handful of anecdotal cases. The overall statistics and polls say differently. The countries that have the happiest citizens are ones that have universal health care.

The GOP hasn’t offered up one reasonable suggestion as to how to fix the problem and get everyone in this country covered. What is your plan?

Posted by: tcsned at June 8, 2009 10:57 AM
Comment #282635

D. Ffallis,

The stimulus money came in the form in reduced tax withholding from paychecks, which began in April. This was a vastly smarter approach than last years rebate checks, which went straight into savings accounts and paying down credit cards for the bulk of it, and did not stimulate consumption.

Getting 30 or 40 bucks more per paycheck will be spent on weekly and monthly grocery bills, clothing, etc, because it is not lump sum. Looking for nefarious political motives other than the intended economic ones, is an exercise in completely indefensible and unevidenced partisan projection.

Yes, the aggregate number of unemployed people continues to rise, but, the numbers of unemployed each month has declined every month since January. The rate is cumulative as a percentage of the total work force. The rate of increase of unemployed however, has declined for each of the last 5 months. Economists are talking of the potential of the unemployment rate not exceeding 10% at its highest point before dropping again.

As for the health care cost reduction plan, for that is precisely what it is, a long term health care per capita reduction plan, it has enormous merit as a concept. Whether it actually produces the desired result, no one can yet say.

And WHAT’S THIS:

There has been talk of a tax on the privately held insurance recipient with the figures in the $1800 range for American households to help stem the cost of nationalized health care.

WHO is making this talk? Is it GOPUSA nutjobs? Or, someone in the CBO or GAO? When you make claims like this, it would be more informative to cite your source so we readers can determine if such sources are to be merited with any credibility, whatsoever. It frankly sounds like more right wing propaganda hiding behind anonymous sources, as written.

But, to calculate the cost vs. the savings, requires projecting decades of lower per capita health care cost in the Medicare/Medicaid system against the initial reform costs. If universal health care coverage results as is planned, an overall health care cost reduction per patient in the government sponsored insurance plan, then the costs of the reform will be more than paid back by the decades of savings to the Medicare/Medicaid plans, saving tax payers and the nation considerably throughout the baby boom retirement demographic hump.


Posted by: David R. Remer at June 8, 2009 11:03 AM
Comment #282637

“The threat that loomed was answered with money that has not been dispersed, as yet, and probably will not make it’s way into the economy until the race for senate seats heats up in the fall.”

Simply false. I’ve personally benefited from the stimulus package through my company. The goverment released over a million dollars to one agency, which provided a large corporation a sum for a service, which spent about $8,000 on my company’s service through me.

Additional- and greater sums, in the tens of thousands- have been spent in the same way through other employees in my company. Is there a way the author can retract this blatantly inaccurate statement?

Posted by: phx8 at June 8, 2009 11:40 AM
Comment #282638

“The up side to this plan is that everyone will be covered, while the down side to this package is that it has not worked in other countries where those covered by government medicine plans receive less care and stricter guide lines, negating in most cases, the ability for the patient to receive care under a doctor specializing in their illness with grave consequences.”

I don’t know where you get your information, D.Ffallis. Despite all the misinformation about other countries healthcare being inferior here are a few facts that dispute your writings.

http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_12523427

Posted by: j2t2 at June 8, 2009 11:47 AM
Comment #282640

phx8, none of us here are entirely aware of all aspects of all parts of our government and its policies.

D. Ffallis apparently was not as informed on some aspects of the Obama administration’s policies. But, that is precisely the reason WatchBlog exists, so that through debate and conversation, we can all become more informed through the exchange.

D. Ffallis is a new writer to WB, and perhaps not yet familiar with the informational level of WB’s debaters. I think a bit of a honeymoon is in order as a new writer gets to know us and the audience they are writing to.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 8, 2009 12:32 PM
Comment #282641

David,
You’re right. I’m coming down a little hard. Whether the stimulus will work or not is debatable. However, portions of the stimulus package are already in effect and being felt in the markets. The wisdom of incurring large deficits is also open to question, no doubt about it. Personally, I think horrendous deficits are better than a Depression. There might be a long Depression anyway, but it’s better to try to avoid it, and risk failure, than to simply accept an even worse economic disaster.

Posted by: phx8 at June 8, 2009 12:40 PM
Comment #282642

Our Health Care System is a National Disgrace,To many hands in the cookie jar .

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 8, 2009 1:06 PM
Comment #282644

You are right Rodney - the hands that should not be allowed in the jar are investors seeking to siphon profit out of the system and adding no value. My rule is no value added - no involvement in our health system.

Getting the insurance companies out of the loop would also save millions if not billions in unnecessary paperwork. The only reason for most of it is to make it harder to receive services in the first place or to deny coverage if there is the slightest clerical error after the fact. It would give doctors more time to treat patients if they weren’t spending a large percentage of their time and their staff’s time trying to convince an insurance company that someone is indeed sick and needs treatment. The cancer center that my friend in my first post went to had a person who basically worked full time dealing with insurance companies who denied coverage to someone with cancer. She was awesome, dealt with my friends insurance company but she could be doing something that actually is part of getting someone with cancer well and not dealing with profiteers taking insurance premiums and denying coverage. This is at a cancer center where people aren’t going in for unnecessary medical procedures. They are facing the most horrible thing of their lives and just want to get better. This doesn’t even take into account the stress that the uncertainty of the insurance company actually paying for what they promised to pay for. Stress has a direct effect on one’s immune system. Stressed out people get sicker and recover slower than someone who isn’t. That alone could save millions more.

Conservatives, what’s your plan? Do you have one? Or does all of this sound reasonable?

Posted by: tcsned at June 8, 2009 1:41 PM
Comment #282645

tcsned, yes and yes IE Elective pays $140 in and out. everyone is happy , Medically necessary pays $ 200 First i have to get a authorization it takes forever then i have to explain to the patient they are subject to review and many times they deny the claim way after services are provided (because they are as slow as the IRS) then you are responsible for the debt if it’s denied they say OK go ahead we provide the service then i have to fill out mountains of paperwork then two months later the insurance company denies the claim i have to call the patient and guess what there mad do you blame them and sometimes they don’t want to pay and they call the insurance company and claim we were trying to rip them off so guess what guess how many MN’s we do!! :)For like another $7 dollars a month they can get covered contacts that would have paid for it all. The insurance industry is not my Friend.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 8, 2009 3:35 PM
Comment #282646

RE The patient is most of the time not aware of it because the Employer and Insurance most of the time goes cheap it would be nice the worker was in the discussion .

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 8, 2009 3:49 PM
Comment #282651

If all you think government run healthcare is a solution I have extremely bad news for you. I spent 20 years in the United States Navy and have government provided healthcare any area with a population of 300,000 I have a choice of 24 doctors. Why? Because the government does not reimburse most doctors enough money on most services to cover the cost of those services. Therefore most doctors do not take then there required number of Medicare or tri-care patients. Many doctors stayed in their head that they are excepting no patient of these types. Well single-payer may reduce the overall cost it will not offset the cost enough to cover all services. In those cases the doctors just will not order those tests that may save you the patient time and trouble on your diagnosis. These are the facts boys and girls did with it if you want government provided healthcare.

Posted by: David B at June 8, 2009 6:52 PM
Comment #282653

David B. -

My retirement ceremony from the Navy was on 9/10/01…and the next day was pretty interesting.

FYI, I’ve got nothing but GOOD to say about military health care. A civilian hospital’s willful incompetence cost me a child, whereas the military hospitals have never done me wrong. They saved my wife and youngest son, saved me the year I retired, and has had us covered for everything ever since. Just this past weekend my wife received a badly-needed transfusion for a low blood cell count. The cost? Zip, zero, nada, nil. She’s cooking dinner tonight.

Not only that, but Tricare Standard covers us overseas as well - we’ve used it in the Philippines. Sure, it covers only 75% of the cost there - but given the already much lower price of the health care, that’s a bargain.

There’s a REASON why every other modern industrial democracy on the planet has some form of universal health care…and there’s a REASON why, on the list of countries ordered by life expectancy, the top twenty-seven countries ALL have universal health care. America? We’re #30…behind Jordan and Bosnia, respectively.

In sports, David, if you’re the manager and you refuse to do something that the top twenty-seven teams are doing, you’ll get fired. Think about that, shipmate.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 8, 2009 7:21 PM
Comment #282657

OMG…were behind Bosnia????!!!! LOL. Good Rebuttals. Welcome to Watchblog D. Ffallas.

Posted by: gergle at June 8, 2009 9:09 PM
Comment #282682

D. Ffallis
Perhaps it is the timing of your piece but BHO announced recently that they would be pushing to get more of the stimulus into the economy sooner. He has pledged to create or save 600,000 jobs in the next three months.Lets see how he does but clearly he is not ignoring the problem.
Another thing to remember is unlike every other 1st world country, when you lose your job in the US there is a good chance you also lose your health care coverage. The COBRA laws help this some but the prices are high. Another piece of the stimulus that is working right now to help this problem is the unemployment extension and raise in benefit level. There is some urgency to addressing the health care delivery system in this country. More people are likely to lose their employer based coverage before we are out of the economic woods and that will further increase health care cost for everybody eventually. Some method of cost containment is important to any long term economic recovery. Yes it is going to cost but remember we already pay much more than any other 1st world country and too many Americans are not covered.
As far as taxing existing benefit packages, its not going to happen. That idea was pushed by John McCain during the election. It didn’t get him very far ,now,did it?Its also quite unlikely that the Dems would try and do such a thing and anger an influential backbone of the Democratic Party, the labor unions.Ain’t gonna happen.Nice scare tactic though.Stinks of Rove.
Welcome to WB. You have already been taken to task for a paucity of sourcing so I won’t bother but it is nice to see a new contributer and hopefully some new ideas from the Red side.

Posted by: bills at June 9, 2009 6:32 AM
Comment #282683

Just to dispel the nonsense about thousands of Canadians comming across the border to buy American health care that will inevitably appear in any discussion of national health care policy:http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/full/21/3/19

The gist is that rather than hordes ,its handfuls. Nearly to small a number to be statistically aknowleged. And out of those many did things like broke their arm while vacationing etc.
On the other hand the cross border traffic in Americans buying less costly drugs from Canada is a multi-billion dollar business and there are estimates that upwards of a million Californians a year go to Mexico to recieve care.

Posted by: bills at June 9, 2009 6:46 AM
Comment #282684

http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/full/21/3/19

http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/full/21/3/19

Sorry. Maybe this link might work

Posted by: bills at June 9, 2009 7:15 AM
Comment #282686

hello conservatives - do we have a plan yet?

Posted by: tcsned at June 9, 2009 8:32 AM
Comment #282694

phx8 said: “Whether the stimulus will work or not is debatable. However, portions of the stimulus package are already in effect and being felt in the markets.”

Yes, quite correct. I heard a figure on the news just this morning that 40 billion of the stimulus has already been injected into the economy.

And yes, it is very debatable whether the stimulus bill will achieve its stated objectives. But, then, stimulus bills are passed in a point in time, and implemented over longer period of time, and variables change along the way. So, it is never assured that anyone’s stimulus bill will meet all its intended objectives. If it stimulates the economy to the point of generating additional revenues back to the government equal or in excess of the cost of the stimulus package, that is the measure of 100% success. It is unlikely any stimulus measure would achieve this kind of measure in a reasonable time period, (defined as the period between stimulus required periods).

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 9, 2009 9:02 AM
Comment #282695

Glenn said: “The cost? Zip, zero, nada, nil.”

Oh, there was a cost all right. You just didn’t have to pay the majority of it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 9, 2009 9:04 AM
Comment #282696

tcsned, I heard the Republican plan from Tancredo and Viguillera (sp?) yesterday. Keep non-profit health care concepts from competing with for-profit health care. Where is the profit to investors in non-profit health care? That is the GOP plan. Prevent non-profit health care or insurance from ever taking hold in America. I was impressed with their candor and willingness to go public with such an honest admission. But, that was all I was impressed with. What selfish greedy short-sighted idjuts these guys are, willing to sink the nation’s future for their own profits today. Adam Smith had much to say of such folks in his Theory of Moral Sentiments. Specifically, that the general public will not long hold them up as leaders of their community. Bingo, a la 2006 and 2008’s elections.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 9, 2009 9:10 AM
Comment #282697

If we’re going to fix our health care by insuring every one I say first we have to fix the insurance companies. One half of the people declaring bankruptcy are doing so for health reasons that’s not surprisingly. The sad part’s 3 out of 4 of them had health insurance, but it didn’t pay enough. So we scrimp and save all of our lives to buy health insurance, and then when we get sick we declare bankruptcy.

Some say we have the best health care system in the world. I don’t know if we do or not, but one thing is irrefutable we have the most profitable. Poor people have to get so sick they go to the emergency room (very expensive) before they get treatment. I imagine rich people get more tests than they need and I’m afraid more surgeries than they need. In France doctors get bonuses if their patients are less sick than the norm. They actually practice wellness. Not only do they save mountains of money. But it’s a much better way of life.

Welcome to Watchblog

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at June 9, 2009 9:11 AM
Comment #282699

Mike the Cynic, actually it was reported that 60% of all personal bankruptcies now filed are a result of medical care costs. The rest of your stats conform to what I heard reported.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 9, 2009 9:20 AM
Comment #282702

Ms. Fallis stays very informed, simply because it does not meet the expectations of the Democratic party, does not mean it’s wrong. Obama announced his part time jobs plan after I had written the piece yesterday.

Medicaid and Medicare are also government run health care, and my parent’s care is lacking in many areas. The numbers between what the republicans and democrats quote (people coming to the states for health care) vary greatly, just as their political agendas vary.

Deregulation of the privately owned insurance companies started the mess, but that was done years ago and it has not been reversed by any administration. Most of what has happened to this country and around the world I have been old enough to see and understand since the Kennedy administration. The problems with this nation are both due to Republican and Democratic parties, but a push toward a socialized society is a bad thing and will be met with resistance because it’s not the way we want to live.

Posted by: Donna F. Fallis at June 9, 2009 12:19 PM
Comment #282703

Donna:

but a push toward a socialized society is a bad thing and will be met with resistance because it’s not the way we want to live

You need to speak for yourself, not everyone else. I don’t think anyone wants a totally socialistic society, but there needs to be a happy medium. We aren’t there yet.

Posted by: womanmarine at June 9, 2009 12:46 PM
Comment #282704

Donna - I agree with you that this is not a GOP failure alone. Both parties have taken millions from this industry to serve as their mouthpiece. I am angry that single payer is off the table not because of GOP pressure but because the Dems are in bed with the insurance industry too, Max Baucus for one.

Do you agree that there are certain things that are not appropriate to be run by private, for-profit companies? Things like the fire department, police department, the court system, the military (ooops, already doing that with Halliburton & Blackwater). If you do agree, why? Is it because these things are so fundamental to the smooth running of society and our general safety that we need a socialized police force and fire department? Why is our health care any less important?

Do you think that every man, woman, and child in America deserves health care? If so, how do you propose to do so? Because we do not right now. If people are making decisions on whether to go to the doctor or not when the feel some tightness in their chest because they are worried about going broke just from the tests they give you. If people are taking half doses of blood pressure medicine because they can do that or eat for the month. Is that the health care that they deserve? Do they deserve to be told, no we won’t insure you because you have diabetes? Or, sorry, we won’t pay for that procedure because there was a check box on our form you missed - you owe $15,000. That’s our system now. That’s what health care for profit does. People are dying prematurely because of the lack of good health care in this country every day.

Medicaid and Medicare have problems for sure. I would pose that the single biggest one is that they generally cover high risk groups, the elderly, the disabled, and low-income pregnant women. If everyone was on that system it would be radically cheaper per person.

Oh yeah, welcome to WB!!

Posted by: tcsned at June 9, 2009 12:49 PM
Comment #282710

Donna F. Fallis-
It is a matter of national and economic security that people get the healthcare they need. People who don’t go to doctors, don’t report the illnesses that turn to epidemics, whether the origin is natural or a bioweapons attack.

People who don’t go to doctors end up in an emergency room, their symptoms already severe, perhaps even life-threatening, and perhaps avoidably terminal because of the wait. Healthcare is cheaper when its preventative, but insurance companies tend not to pay for that.

Everything that we were told we would avoid by keeping healthcare for the average person private has come to pass anyway. What more do people have to lose?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 9, 2009 5:01 PM
Comment #282711

Glenn

you missed my point Glenn the overall purpose of my point was to indicate that current plans being proposed this system will not work will fall on bankruptcy very very quickly. You cannot control costs by cutting the cost to those who are providing it a friend of mine who is a doctor left school with over $1 million in school loans that he has to repay. In addition to that he has malpractice insurance because after all anything that goes wrong is always the doctors fault it can’t be your fault. If nationalized is what we feel is necessary to fix the medical problems in the US today, then we must first open a real estate not a debate based on everybody must be covered and US pay for out of tax money. First off we must start with amending the Constitution to allow for the federal government to pay for said heath care. Contrary to all the liberal people talking the federal government currently has no constitutional mandate to provide that service.

I for one would not be opposed to single payer system as long as there is some form of compensation for services provided. As I earlier said in my post I receive government healthcare as part of my retirement plan from the military. Therefore paid for my healthcare services through my years of service. The current climate is being proposed is that people will pay a premium if you can’t pay the premium government will pay a premium for you. While this sounds well and good but people who are not paying the premium for getting something that others or not this is not an acceptable answer. If we are born to go for this kind of system there must be some form of payment in the system, such as if you cannot pay the premium you’re premium cost should be converted to public service projects. There should be nothing wrong with having to clean up trash off the side of the road in order to receive medical payments. Also the healthcare system must be changed to ink crew each prevented it checks. I for one have always been against anyone who thinks they should get something just because they are not working. Why should people who are working have to pay for those who decided that they can make more money by staying home. The current problem that healthcare debate is to the people who are vocal on what should be done are the people who want something for nothing. To pay for everyone in the United States we will be looking at the average citizen paying 50% or more taxes this is totally unacceptable. We are told that buying a house should not consume any more than 30% of your annual income, get every estimate that I have read from independent economic sources indicate that our taxes would have to be in 45 to 55% range in order to pay for the services for everyone. I also hate to say it but politics being what they are though it is true that any kind of health care reform that is provided will be means tested and not provided to all citizens equally. We should strive for all cover programs being provided to all citizens equally anything else shows being here unfairness any true sense discrimination of the system.

Posted by: David B at June 9, 2009 5:21 PM
Comment #282714

Welcome to Watchblog Donna!

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 9, 2009 5:30 PM
Comment #282718

David, first, your friend who graduated with 1 million in student loans - the AMA average loan debt for med students is 100k. Did your friend live in a penthouse and drink Dom Perignon every night? I just went through 7 years of full time grad school and didn’t even make it to 100k. That’s longer than a med student goes to school.

Second, what insurance companies now pay doctors hasn’t changed in years. Plus they take about 15% of the money put into the system. So 15 out of every 100 dollars we spend on health care goes to the stockholders of insurance companies and to pay outrageous CEO salaries. I believe medicaid and medicare is around 3% - we could keep costs the same and pay doctors 12% more than they currently get. So that argument doesn’t really hold water.

Finally, you seem to be worried about poor people getting a free ride on our health system too. Well, most poor in this country use the emergency room as their primary health center. Not only is it the most expensive way to treat someone - when they can’t pay, the cost is passed on to. So you are now paying for the poor’s health care you are just paying for them to go to the most expensive place possible to receive it.

We already spend more per person for our health care than any other country in the world - we get a bad deal now and there are 40+ million people not covered.

Posted by: tcsned at June 9, 2009 6:58 PM
Comment #282726

David B You have confused me. You said:
“First off we must start with amending the Constitution to allow for the federal government to pay for said heath care. Contrary to all the liberal people talking the federal government currently has no constitutional mandate to provide that service.”

And then you said:
“As I earlier said in my post I receive government healthcare as part of my retirement plan from the military. Therefore paid for my healthcare services through my years of service.”

Is it that only some government healthcare is unconstitutional yet some is not?

Posted by: j2t2 at June 9, 2009 8:36 PM
Comment #282732

D.F.
The numbers of people comming to the US for treatment DO NOT vary greatly according to agenda. There is just not many people that do. The agenda determines whether or not there are lies about the numbers or not. Please read the links provided and present any disagreement with their methodology you may have. You get your own opinion but not your own facts.
The “free market” system has failed in the health care area. It might have been better had it worked but it did not. WE pay a good deal more of the GDP than other countries with better health systems and get less. Look at the numbers. The US is behind in nearly all indicators. WE lag behind in life expectancy. We lag behind in infant mortality. even behind Cuba. There are some areas where a socialist system works better, for example ,the highway system, the military etc. The health care delivery system is one such area and there is plenty of evidence to support that. That is why ALL of our great allies have adopted socialized health care. These are democracies. There are certainly no huge demonstrations to change to the American system. Critics of their system usually desire MORE funding, not an abandonment. WE can do much better that we are doing. Do not be afraid of words ,like socialism. We need a system that works. Our infant mortality rate is on a par with Latvia. Its a national disgrace and it is an access issue.

Posted by: bills at June 9, 2009 10:32 PM
Comment #282738

still no plan from the conservatives? complaining about the evils of socialized medicine is not a plan.

Posted by: tcsned at June 10, 2009 6:50 AM
Comment #282741

True Conservatives have a plan, Tom. The left just refuses to consider it: In the US, which was founded on the basic principle of individual liberty, healthcare is a personal responsibility and govt has no business running it.
Govt policy has caused the poor to abuse the ER’s and that cost is passed along to the rest of us. Govt policy and cronyism is why our meds are so expensive.

Give control of my healthcare to the organization which created our healthcare mess? No thanks.

Posted by: kctim at June 10, 2009 11:28 AM
Comment #282742


The Republicans don’t need to provide a plan. They already have a plan, health care for profit.

The only thing the Republicans need to do is offer resistance in the Congress and fill the airways with dire consequences about a single payer plan, providing cover for the Democrats once again.

Single-payer is on the table in name only. I wish it weren’t true but money talks, especially corporate money.

Posted by: jlw at June 10, 2009 11:47 AM
Comment #282744

Beats the liberal plan of health care for votes.

Posted by: kctim at June 10, 2009 12:21 PM
Comment #282745

Thank you to those who welcomed me, and really, you do not have to take it easy on me. I’m an old war horse…none of you could do anything that age has not already educated me on or about.

Good reading and glad to meet you!

Posted by: Donna Fallis at June 10, 2009 1:08 PM
Comment #282760
There’s a REASON why every other modern industrial democracy on the planet has some form of universal health care…and there’s a REASON why, on the list of countries ordered by life expectancy, the top twenty-seven countries ALL have universal health care. America? We’re #30…behind Jordan and Bosnia, respectively.

Oh dear, oh dear.

First, every american can get health care, no one is ever turned away from a hospital, that is the law. So to say that we don’t ‘cover everyone in some way’ is false. We may not cover them as YOU want them to be covered (birth to death for free) but I was not the one who used the term ‘in some way or another’.

Secondly, the REASON that statistic you use sounds weird (being 42) is because it is based on invalid data. They use all reasons of death, not just health. So in a country where we outlaw drugs and cause gang violence to rise, we have a lot of young kids dying, bringing down the number.

In fact, if you take out those types of deaths, the US has the highest NATURAL life expectancy in the world.

http://politicalcalculations.blogspot.com/2007/09/natural-life-expectancy-in-united.html

I know it messes with the rhetoric, but facts are a niggling thing. Yes, we need to do something about the sensless deaths through accidents and violence, but the health care industry is NOT the fault of our overall life expectancy problems.

Posted by: rhinehold at June 11, 2009 12:27 AM
Comment #282761
That is why ALL of our great allies have adopted socialized health care.

And are finding it unsustainable and are moving away from it. In the UK it was found ‘unconstitutional’ to block someone from going to private healthcare. France is mired in debt from trying to keep theirs afloat. Canada is blocking cancer medicines to women with breast cancer and all of these countries use some form of rationing. Even Obama has stated that it is the old people who are the biggest drain on our healthcare system and ‘it must be addressed’.

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 11, 2009 12:33 AM
Comment #282767

RH
Drug abuse and violence ARE health problems. I am with you about the futility and destructiveness of US drug policy but even if we saw the light, drug abuse would continue to be a major health problem. Rehab often works and any national health care plan should address it. Not cheap, but neither is incarceration not to mention the cost of lost productivity and wasted lives.
Our infant mortality rate is a disgrace. Gang violence has little to do with it. Prenatal care has been proven to not only save babies but save money. Our shameful rate is a direct result of poor access to health care.
No system is perfect and we already ration care. The care for the wealthy is better than the care for the middle class that is better than for the poor etc. Point is that their systems are working better than ours and the rates of medical inflation are controlled. “France is mired in debt.” So are we with a lower percentage of people covered. Women being treated at a county hospital are not very likely to recieve the latest cancer drug either. If those other systems are so bad there would be a big political push to get rid of them. There is not and most of the countries in question are republics with vibrant private sectors.Some are experiencing some problems sustaining their systems but none have jumped to the conclusion, as you have, that the systems are “unsustainable”.

Posted by: bills at June 11, 2009 7:18 AM
Comment #282769

RH and all
Here is an interesting article from the New Yorker regarding the extroardinary cost we pay in the US.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/06/01/090601fa_fact_gawande?currentPage=all

Posted by: bills at June 11, 2009 7:58 AM
Comment #282777
Our infant mortality rate is a disgrace. Gang violence has little to do with it. Prenatal care has been proven to not only save babies but save money. Our shameful rate is a direct result of poor access to health care.

I’m always surprised when I see this point about the US infant mortality raised in order to complain about American healthcare.

Our infant mortality is high relative to other’s because of our superior post-natal care. That’s right. Because our healthcare is superior. And how is that possible?

In most of the world, a severely premature baby, or a baby with severe congenital defects, or one which suffers a complicated birth, is simply counted as a stillbirth.

In the US, we provide superior technological resources to save babies that would otherwise simply die if they were born elsewhere, even to the point of keeping them alive for a time with artificial means. Of course, such babies do not always survive—which raises our infant mortality rate in relation to others. It’s quite strange to see our system attacked on the basis of warped data which actually results from providing superior care.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 11, 2009 1:24 PM
Comment #282779

Boy oh boy, WHERE do I start?

David B.:
“To pay for everyone in the United States we will be looking at the average citizen paying 50% or more taxes this is totally unacceptable.

This is based on WHAT? Every other industrialized democracy spends NO MORE than 60% per capita of what we’re ALREADY paying! YES, universal health care is CHEAPER! Even in hideously expensive Japan, where they go to the doctor on average three times as much as we do, they STILL pay 40% less per capita than we already do!

========================

Rhinehold:
“no one is ever turned away from a hospital, that is the law. So to say that we don’t ‘cover everyone in some way’ is false. We may not cover them as YOU want them to be covered….”

Tell that to the hundreds of thousands who get DENIED the treatments that they NEED…not by the hospitals, but by your oh-so-precious HMO’s. Our current president lost his mother because they wouldn’t cover the cancer treatments she needed to live. My older brother (who’s a libertarian like you) can get emergency room help for his knee (at several times the cost of a regular doctor visit), but he CANNOT afford to pay for the surgery he needs so badly…so instead of being able to work side-by-side with everyone else, he’s going to wind up in a wheelchair (at taxpayer expense) because he can’t get his knee fixed.

It behooves a country to keep their population healthy and fit…and doing so is why the top twenty-seven countries (which list is according to the Bush-era CIA World Fact Book) also pay over forty percent LESS than what we ALREADY do! Through Universal Health Care, the people are able to take care of little problems BEFORE they become BIG problems…and all businesses large and small have to spend ZERO for health insurance for their employees! Right now, General Motors spends more per car on employee health care than they do on STEEL for their cars. Just think how much more competitive our export market would be if our companies didn’t have to pay billions and billions in health care insurance!

=========================

L.O.:
“In most of the world, a severely premature baby, or a baby with severe congenital defects, or one which suffers a complicated birth, is simply counted as a stillbirth.”

Back up your claim, please. I can back up all of mine on request…and if you can’t back up your claim with a reputable source, then your claim is null and void.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 11, 2009 2:18 PM
Comment #282780

Rhinehold -

I checked your source’s stats…and I noticed that on in their summary, on the ‘pro’ side they didn’t list the benefit that EVERY business would receive for not having to pay for health insurance (and they’d be able to downsize their internal bureaucracies to boot!) and would be FAR more competitive than they presently are…and on the ‘con’ side they claimed that there would be ‘politicized medicine’ (as if it’s not already, since Medicare is BY LAW not allowed to negotiate for lower prices (and have you heard of ‘lobbyists’?)), and they claimed that socialized medicine would present a ‘moral hazard’…which means…what? Medicare’s administrative overhead is about 2%, whereas the average administrative overhead for HMO’s is 26%…and WHO do you think eats that cost?

That’s a pretty slick site, friend…but their mere postulations that universal health care would somehow lead to ‘politicized medicine’ and ‘moral hazard’ tells me to look a bit deeper at their stats, for such claims were not and CANNOT be proven by their statistics…and are easily DISproven by the reality of politics and HMO’s today.

Careful about using statistics, Rhinehold - some of us can see through them….

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 11, 2009 2:35 PM
Comment #282781
but by your oh-so-precious HMO’s.

Name one time I have defended an HMO? In fact, I have called for them to be removed from the equation for years. Yet you seem to think that because I don’t agree with using the force of government to institute our health care policy I support HMOs. Because, of course, you see only two options, the Republican’s view and the Democrat’s view, right?

Give me a break. If you couch the debate between one evil and another evil, the result is going to be a bad system.

Right now, General Motors spends more per car on employee health care than they do on STEEL for their cars. Just think how much more competitive our export market would be if our companies didn’t have to pay billions and billions in health care insurance!

So, where is the money going to come from, Glenn? Magically out of air? The reason that it is cheaper in other countries is because of rationing of services to the elderly. Is that the direction we really want to go down? According to Obama it is…

Let the individual decide to pay for it or not, decide to cover himself or not, and live with the consequences of those decisions.

You want to make those decisions for other people, which is not freedom as I know it.

As for your brother, that sucks, but it is also the situation he put himself into. Is he changing his status on his libertarian views because of it or is he, as I suspect, accepting of the situation he is in no matter how much it sucks, because it is his responsibility alone to determine his level of preparation for healtcare?

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 11, 2009 2:38 PM
Comment #282785

kctim - That assessment is mind-blowingly simplistic for a very complicated problem. So your plan is do nothing? The so-called free market has gotten our health system into the mess it is in now. The industry has been so deregulated that there is virtually no oversight from the government - that’s where the government’s blame lies, turning a blind eye. I know you “true conservatives” think that anything the federal government touches it ruins. I and many others do not agree with that premise (thankfully, we’re the ones with the White House and 60 votes in the senate). Health care for profit is immoral for one basic reason - eventually the desire to squeeze pennies out of people will inevitably lead to someone dying because someone told them they cannot have a procedure so some CEO can make his bonus. People die prematurely every day because of this now. That is how the free market operates, which is perfectly fine in a free society on non-essential functions of society. Not for health care, law enforcement, the fire dept., military.

Rhinehold - you say every American can get health care, they can go to the emergency room and get care. As simplistic as kctim’s suggestion is this is that short sighted. If someone is sick enough that they need to go to the emergency room for treatment - getting them well is going to be several times more expensive than catching a problem early and getting treatment. For example, someone is feeling like they are tired all the time. They can’t afford to go to a doctor so they let it go. They have a heart attack. First, ambulance ride ($$$$). Next, treatment at the emergency room - the most expensive place you can possibly get health care. Then, open heart surgery. Then rehabilitation. All of these things add up to 10s if not 100s of thousands of dollars. The person can’t pay. The hospital sues the person - he winds up in bankruptcy. The health costs are passed on to the rest of us and a human being’s life is ruined. That’s what using the emergency room for primary care does. It’s not a very smart policy. It would be cheaper to provide this person free health care than that.

This is a dumb way to do things - we end up paying in the end anyway and getting a really bad deal on top of it.

Are you people who favor health care for profit also in favor of law enforcement for profit? Fire control for profit? Why not privatize these services too? Or do you favor keeping our law enforcement and fire control socialized? If so, where do you draw the line?

Posted by: tcsned at June 11, 2009 3:41 PM
Comment #282786
It would be cheaper to provide this person free health care than that.

It would be even cheaper to expect people to be responsible for their own healthcare.

So, seriously, if we are looking at what is cheapest, we should go that route, shouldn’t we? Then give that money we wouldn’t be spending back to the workers who pay for it and then set up a voluntary healthcare system where people can give money when they can (not forced to even if they are having hard times) and that money is then directed to assiting those who need help with the provision that they work towards getting their own health insurance as a requirement to accepting the help.

We could also then set up healthcare savings plans that roll over and allow people to save up for larget healthcare costs of old age, tax free. That would help get the next and future generations looking at saving for their own healthcare instead of making it a responsibility of others, which is IMO the most selfish thing someone can do…

Of course, where’s the political capital in that?

Posted by: rhinehold at June 11, 2009 4:05 PM
Comment #282787
The so-called free market has gotten our health system into the mess it is in now. The industry has been so deregulated that there is virtually no oversight from the government - that’s where the government’s blame lies, turning a blind eye.

Sorry, but a ‘free market’ does not allow for government backed monopolies to exist (HMOs) and increase the burdon on business with onerous and unnecessary paperwork that ends up costing a doctor two days a week to fill out.

Do you REALLY think that the HMO’s are a result of ‘free market’ practices?

Do you really think that government involvement in healthcare in this country over the past 30 years hasn’t hurt us more than it has helped?

Why is it that I, as an individual, cannot get primary healthcare from any company if I am offered health insurance from the company I work for? That is not free market…

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 11, 2009 4:09 PM
Comment #282788

Rhinehold - of course, I don’t think that all we should look at is price, I was just pointing out the flaws with the poor in this country using the emergency room for primary care.

I don’t think that personal responsibility should be out of the equation but I think the way you suggest is fine for people who have money but not so fine for those that do not. What you are suggesting still leaves many people without the ability to get proper health care. Health savings accounts cannot possibly pay for a single catastrophic health crisis much less more than one. What happens when that runs out? Sorry about your luck? Unless you’re the CEO of a HMO and have written yourself a $50 million golden parachute at the expense of people getting treatment.

Do you think we should also privatize the police and fire departments? Should we all start law enforcement savings accounts in case someone robs our house so we can pay the police to investigate the crime? As I asked, if it is ok to have a socialized police department, where is that line and how does health care fall on the other side of it? We have, to some extent, privatized the military to disastrous consequence; we have privatized health care to disastrous consequence. Some things do not belong in the private sector.

Posted by: tcsned at June 11, 2009 4:30 PM
Comment #282789
Sorry, but a ‘free market’ does not allow for government backed monopolies to exist (HMOs) and increase the burdon on business with onerous and unnecessary paperwork that ends up costing a doctor two days a week to fill out.

What you call government involvement is not the same thing I am talking about. It has nothing to do with socialized health care. That kind of government involvement is bribery and chicanery on the part of politicians (most of those against single-payer not for profit health care) to line their pockets. That is fundamentally different than setting up a single-payer system.

I agree that there is something wrong with you not being able to get your own insurance if you want if the company you work for already provides it. But that doesn’t get to the core of the problem that no matter who you get as a private insurer they have an economic imperative to deny you care and maximize your premiums. That fact will not ever change as long as there is profit in the system.

The paperwork you complain about is not in any way because of the government. It is insurance companies trying to put every impediment they can in the way of them having to pay for someone’s claim

Posted by: tcsned at June 11, 2009 4:45 PM
Comment #282791

“We could also then set up healthcare savings plans that roll over and allow people to save up for larget healthcare costs of old age, tax free.That would help get the next and future generations looking at saving for their own healthcare”

What about the 5 year old that contracts Leukemia, or some such disease or disability? Or the 25 year old who becomes ill or injured and unable to work while recovering? How can a parent save for their own medical care, the medical care of their children, college etc. with costs so high and wages not keeping up for most? I mean Rhinehold this may be a small part of an answer but it isn’t the whole answer to the problem.

” instead of making it a responsibility of others, which is IMO the most selfish thing someone can do…”

Rhinehold you make it sound as if you are paying for everyone else whilst they are getting a free ride. That is not the case, just like with OASDI and Medicare/Medicaid. People pay into an insurance company for years, either through a job or on their own only to need it and not be able to work to afford it due to the illness or injury they are fighting. I think you may take personal responsibility to an extreme when you put this ideology into this equation. I guess if you equate personal responsibility with wealth then it makes sense.

I find it ironic that you would believe the answer to the healthcare problem is as simple as getting the government out of the way by deregulating the entire industry. Look how expensive it is now,do you honestly believe these insurance companies and hospitals would reduce costs and profits to ensure healthcare for all of us?

Many on the right, as well as libertarians, like to point out the corruption in Medicare/Medicaid as a valid reason that the government should not be involved in healthcare yet they forget to mention corruption is due to the over billing by the same hospitals and Doctors that are in fact part of the healthcare system. Yet by deregulating, this problem would some how solve itself. How does that work?


Posted by: j2t2 at June 11, 2009 5:05 PM
Comment #282793

Logan’s Run solved the whole issue of health care years ago. Set the age to 68.5 and you will fix Social Security too.

I think many people, for mostly political reasons, have moved straight to Step 5 of the Six Step Problem-Solving Method and have skipped the whole part of (3)identifying then (4)testing several solutions to a complex problem. In 1965 we identified a problem (elderly care) and implemented a solution (Medicare) without understanding the consequences. 3 years later U.S. health care expenditure had doubled due to the demand created by whole new set of consumers. Shouldn’t we take that experience into consideration?

Benchmarking is a useful tool in understanding a problem, but so too is root cause analysis. Take the chart in this article and see what you can make of it. Certainly an overlay of age and race demographics would help. I also like their conclusion about weather.

I test most proposed solutions against 3 points that I know would benefit my situation. And since I’m one of the 147m privately insured through employment these tests might be indicative of other voters out there:

1. Whichever type of insurance, private, public, or mixed, it should be tied to the individual and not to employment.

2. Someone must add a cost benefit analysis to the health care delivery equation. Right now it’s not there, mainly because we’ve instituted a cost reimbursement type of arrangement that encourages cost and doesn’t contain them. The fairest “someone” is the consumer themselves. Where this is done by the providers it also seems to work (the Mayo example in the previously linked article). Where it is done by the 3rd party payer there will almost always be a backlash (like against HMO’s and like is feared if done by the Government). For the life of me I do not know why a certain hospital decided to do hip surgery on my wife’s 97 year old great aunt who couldn’t walk before she broke her hip.

3. Everybody plays, everybody pays. We can’t sit here and pretend that those 12m or so “guests” don’t exist. Any subsidizing of illegals or those unable to pay should be done via a separate program.

Against just those 3 ideas I don’t see how Obama’s plan is going to work. He threw nationalizing the health care delivery system off the bus today so I guess he’s going to try and control cost using the HMO approach. He says if I’m happy with my employer system then keep it which means that’s not going away. And unless he can keep selling bonds to the Chinese not many people are going to want to pay without addressing the cost issue in a meaningful way.

My solution? I’m still back on step 3….

Posted by: George at June 11, 2009 5:13 PM
Comment #282794

j2t2, great points! It gets at the heart of the issue that the conservatives/libertarians ignore - morality, and the moral imperative that we all have to make sure everyone has quality health care. The end all and be all is not money in this country though we have been told that way too often.

Posted by: tcsned at June 11, 2009 5:18 PM
Comment #282795

Tom
Being responsible for oneself in order to not be a burden on society, is doing nothing? Helping those who need help ourselves instead of waiting for govt to do it for us, is doing nothing?
The idea that we must be forced to rely on govt instead of ourselves and each other, is what is “doing nothing.”

Govt policy has dictated that ERs cannot turn people away and when those who cannot pay abuse the ERs, the price goes up to compensate. Govt policy allows illegal aliens to be a drain on our healtcare system. Govt policy holds back cheaper drugs and treatments that are used overseas.

I am not envious of what another person makes and I have no problem with healthcare for profit. Healthcare is a service and healthcare personel deserve to be compensated for their service.
What is immoral is telling people you will give them free healthcare if they vote for you. What is immoral is being willing to give up other peoples individual freedom so that govt will ‘take care of it’ so that the people don’t have to do it themselves.

Wanting govt to do it so that one can sit back and do nothing, IS what is really “doing nothing.”

Posted by: kctim at June 11, 2009 5:28 PM
Comment #282796

Just a quick comment as I am tied up a bit…

I’m sorry tcsned but what the left ignore is that the we should not be legislating morality. Do you really want to go down that road? At least the libertarians can get that and reject the legislating (forcing) of morality on individuals from both the left and right.

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 11, 2009 5:32 PM
Comment #282798

I agree, we all have a responsibility to not be a burden on society. We have a responsibility to keep our selves fit and as healthy as possible. It is ridiculous to suggest that single payer, not for profit health care is sitting back and doing nothing. Providing health care to everyone is the beginning of doing something. Of course, having decent health care and not getting preventative care and getting sick is doing nothing. Having health care and ignoring doctors orders to lose weight, quit smoking, or other unhealthy lifestyle choices is doing nothing.

Govt policy has dictated that ERs cannot turn people away and when those who cannot pay abuse the ERs, the price goes up to compensate. Govt policy allows illegal aliens to be a drain on our healtcare system. Govt policy holds back cheaper drugs and treatments that are used overseas.

First, if govt policy didn’t force ERs to treat people in need, people would die, this might be ok with you but not me. Denying people emergency medical care is criminal negligence plain and simple and immoral to boot. If that’s what you want, sorry you’re never going to have that.

As to illegal immigrants - solve the illegal immigration problem and we solve that problem - how about putting people in jail that entice people here so they can have cheap, dependent labor. Blaming a poor person for trying to make their life better is putting the blame in the wrong place - how about the rich guy who doesn’t want to pay a citizen a fair wage for work?

Health care is a service and people who provide deserve to be well compensated for their work. We both can agree on that. What I take issue with is people who profit from the system who do nothing to help provide health care - what value to health care is some investor in an HMO? Or really, in an HMO? They are simply a siphon.

The complaints about government you make about not allowing cheap drugs from overseas etc do not come from anyone supporting single payer. It comes from the same old business as usual crowd of corrupt criminals who are resisting single payer. They are the same people who have sold out our nation’s health for money from HMOS and insurance companies.

Posted by: tcsned at June 11, 2009 5:53 PM
Comment #282803

Rhinehold -
“So, where is the money going to come from, Glenn? Magically out of air? The reason that it is cheaper in other countries is because of rationing of services to the elderly.”

And where did you get THAT particular piece of claptrap? If that were the case, then we wouldn’t be in 30th place on the life expectancy list, and the top twenty-seven wouldn’t ALL be the ones that have universal health care.

AND if you’d read my posts - AND if you’d check your OWN facts instead of reading just those things that back up your own beliefs, you’d find that universal coverage is 40% CHEAPER per capita than what we ALREADY have.

Furthermore, our current cost is UNDERestimated. Why? Because we currently pay X number of dollars per capita…of ALL U.S. citizens. BUT that’s not taking into account the FACT that 50 million or so are NOT covered…and so dilute that X number which - if it were applied to only the ones actually covered - would be SIGNIFICANTLY higher.

Next time, Rhinehold, please use facts to back up your rhetoric, and not make them up as you go along.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 11, 2009 7:59 PM
Comment #282841

Well I see that my analysis of Obama’s plan, against my 3 points, was incomplete. Listening to Bill Press this morning I understand that taxing employer provided health care benefits is on the table. This would all but kill the employer based system, and though I never favor new taxes here the ends justify the means.

Another idea I had: Tort liability caps for providers who follow AMA “best practice” guidlines in prescribing treatment. This would help identify the providers who are practicing defensive medicine or who are ordering additional procedures in an effort to increase revenue. You’re not telling the doctor what to do, but you are providing a counter incentive to follow guidelines for the routine cases.

Posted by: George at June 12, 2009 9:06 AM
Comment #282846

“I’m sorry tcsned but what the left ignore is that the we should not be legislating morality.”

Rhinehold I agree that we shouldn’t be, but the premise of our founding fathers was the assumption that men were moral. As our corporate business leaders have moved away from this premise in favor of the premise of capitalism, which is profit and growth uber alles, the need to protect our democracy and the people of this country has increased.

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”

John Adams

Posted by: j2t2 at June 12, 2009 9:29 AM
Comment #282848

Tom
Why is it so ridiculous? Single payer is nothing more than wanting govt to pay for ones healthcare so he doesn’t have to or wanting govt to pay for others healthcare so one doesn’t have to help his neighbor.

Going to an ER for emergency medical care is NOT abusing an ER, going to an ER for a non-emergency is and we both know that is what we are talking about.

Plain and simple: illegal immigrants are illegal and are not entitled to taxpayer services free of charge. They need to be arrested and deported, not treated and pampered on our dime.

“what value to health care is some investor in an HMO?”

Um, because without investors who are taking a risk, there would be nothing? When govt tramples rights and closes the deal on controlling healthcare, it will be the “investor.” The only difference will be that govt can make people participate and abide by force, whereas private does not have that power.

“They are the same people who have sold out our nation’s health for money from HMOS and insurance companies”

And who do those people work for and make policy in the name of? Government.

Posted by: kctim at June 12, 2009 9:36 AM
Comment #282865

well kctim - by your logic are you saying that an illegal immigrant is not entitled to police protection if he is getting assaulted? Or that the fire department should check a green card before they pull his kids out of a fire? Why is medical care any less essential than this? If medical care is as essential as police and fire protection why do we not nationalize or socialize it as well?

Posted by: tcsned at June 12, 2009 11:51 AM
Comment #282909

glenn

“that’s not taking into account the FACT that 50 million or so are NOT covered”

this has been debunked numerous times. once you break it down to those who are between jobs, those who are young and choose not to have insurance, those who can afford ins. but choose not to purchase it, etc.

http://www.businessandmedia.org/articles/2007/20070718153509.aspx

Posted by: dbs at June 13, 2009 5:25 PM
Comment #282980

Come on Tom, thats just plain silly.
Stopping an assault, pulling someone from a fire and treating a gunshot wound from someone who just arrived in an ambulance, are all an emergency and are not abuse. Treating a cold or a cut on a finger in the ER is not.

“If medical care is as essential as police and fire protection why do we not nationalize or socialize it as well?”

Everybody has the choice to be ready for medical care or not, while nobody has the choice on whether to be a victim of a crime or fire.

This latest talking point from the left is absurd.
Should people do nothing and expect police and fire to take care of them all of the time? No. They should do whatever they can to avoid being the victim of a crime or fire.

If people can figure out not to walk down that dark alley in downtown or not to have a campfire in their living room, I am certain they can figure out how to save money for medical expenses instead of blowing it on cigs, booze or the latest CD. If they can’t, well, at least they can listen to those CDs while they are waiting for their new lung or liver or death.

Posted by: kctim at June 15, 2009 1:30 PM
Comment #282981

“Everybody has the choice to be ready for medical care or not, while nobody has the choice on whether to be a victim of a crime or fire.”

So the baby born premature chooses to be born premature? The 5 year old with cancer chooses to have cancer? The 25 year old hit by a car chooses to be hit by a car? I would say your assumption is illogical kctim.

“If people can figure out not to walk down that dark alley in downtown or not to have a campfire in their living room, I am certain they can figure out how to save money for medical expenses instead of blowing it on cigs, booze or the latest CD. If they can’t, well, at least they can listen to those CDs while they are waiting for their new lung or liver or death.”

kctim Cancer costs seem to be $300k per year for the treatments. That would be roughly 2 packs a day at $5 a pack for 80 years to save that much money. Seems extreme to me to think this is a viable option.


http://www.assertivepatient.com/2007/02/the_high_cost_o.html

Posted by: j2t2 at June 15, 2009 3:06 PM
Comment #282984

J2
VERY few people want to get rid of govt programs designed to help that baby and 5 year old. The 25 year old should have insurance of some sort.

$10 a day x 30 days = an insurance plan.

The only thing that is extreme is the thought of personal responsibility.

Posted by: kctim at June 15, 2009 3:47 PM
Comment #282993

kctim when I looked at COBRA this past November to continue my insurance coverage it was $1600/ month not $300.

So you are ok with contributing to federal/state insurance plans for the children of people who cannot afford healthcare but not for the people themselves that cannot afford healthcare or the children of those that do not qualify for federal or state programs?

I think personal responsibility as you have defined is extreme. Unless you have an employer paid insurance plan, which of course probably doesn’t fall under personal responsibility as it is paid for you by someone else, family coverage is prohibitively expensive as well as untrustworthy for many Americans. It is time to as Ben would say “hang together cause assuredly we will hang separately” IMHO.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 15, 2009 7:15 PM
Comment #283023

J2-

When I was let go back in 2002 I took one look at Cobra then ran as fast as I could. Family coverage was going to be $900/month. I went to the same provider, Blue Cross, and took a “Personal Blue” plan with a $1,000 deductible. It gave me one visit to my doctor and a well visit for my child per year for free. I think it was $140/month for the both of us. I understand plans like that cost even less for singles under 30; about the same cost as having a Blackberry.

Blue Cross

Posted by: George at June 16, 2009 9:00 AM
Comment #283029

J2
So the “Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act” (COBRA), passed by Congress in 86, is too expensive? Doesn’t really operate to the benefit of a lot of people?
Interesting.

Personally, I am not for federal or state providing for everybodys need, no matter how sad the story. But I do realize people do not want to actually help those in need themselves, so using govt to do it for them is not going to stop. With that said, we do not need to give govt total control and make it even worse.

Being one who cherishes individual rights and freedoms, I do not believe forcing people to “hang together,” is an appropriate response.

Posted by: kctim at June 16, 2009 9:55 AM
Comment #283077

kctim you make it sound like it is the government causing COBRA to be so expensive. All COBRA did was to create an option for those not working that has turned out to be an expensive solution as insurance costs have risen.

I know you do not like government participation but for many people it is the only option with the costs of healthcare so high. The for profit insurance companies and hospitals have priced themselves out of the market for those not covered by an employer plan and/or are not wealthy enough to afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars it cost to fight a major medical condition.

Let me make sure I understand this, you give up individual rights by becoming a group if the government is involved but not when a private insurance decides to not cover you when you have an illness? Even though the “force” not used but implied was based upon democratically elected representatives passing a law such as a single payer system. It is better to give up your earthly possessions, dignity, health and life to protect your right to be excluded from healthcare costs. What am I missing here?

Does personal responsibility include dying in the street if you cannot afford medical care or cannot beg for the money needed to pay the cost of treatment?

Posted by: j2t2 at June 17, 2009 12:14 AM
Comment #283088

c’mon kctim - it is not silly at all to compare medical care with our police and fire functions. In fact, it is most appropriate. They are all essential services for the functioning of society. Medical emergencies far outnumber police and fire emergencies so an argument can be made that it is more essential. Trivializing it to a “cut finger” just shows the level of insensitivity to people’s real suffering. You on the right seem so fired up to privatize everything that I just want to see where the line is and why you put your line where you do.

It is not a choice whether or not to get medical care, that is a ridiculous assertion. Tell that to an 18 year old kid who finds out he has leukemia that he was stupid for not starting a ludicrous health savings account. Tell someone who makes minimum wage (about 1,200/mo) to pay 1/4 of his or her families income on health insurance that will only deny their claims any chance they get. Don’t forget that their financial obligations for health care don’t come close to ending with a premium. There are co-pays, fees, and all sorts of other crap that easily runs into the thousands of dollars.

If the insurance industry had behaved ethically we wouldn’t be having this conversation and we would have the best health care in the world for everyone but they are greedy and can’t be trusted to do what they say they are going to do much less to do the right thing and help someone out. When it comes down to it - we could not count on the business community to behave ethically - you all deregulated the financial system and we are facing the utter collapse of our economy because of their unbridled greed. We have a health care system, while great for those who can afford it, puts us at the bottom in life expectancy and infant mortality in in the industrialized world. Not only that, these lame insurance companies are using money (millions) from our premiums to lobby congress so they can continue to screw us. That is a great trick, using our money to lobby against our interests. How many people have died because of the way our health care system has been swindled? How many more have to die before those on the right get over their “I don’t care” attitude? These are real people who have done nothing wrong that you are sentencing to death by inaction.

Posted by: tcsned at June 17, 2009 8:40 AM
Comment #283090

George

SSSSHHH!! don’t you know you’ll take the wind out of thier sails, when you go and present a realistic solution to thier catastrophic dilemas. you just are not supposed to do that. there are plenty of insurance plans out there if you look. i understand safeway stores has a plan that is working well for the employees and the co. it keeps cost under control. the problem is everyone thinks they should get everything for free. when people don’t have to pay anything, they generally abuse it, and that drives up costs. runny nose, go to the doctor. IMO insurance should be reserved for emergencies, or things that are budget busters.

Posted by: dbs at June 17, 2009 9:10 AM
Comment #283091

J2
Govt created that option and it has turned out to be even more expensive.

Private insurance companies are at the mercy of govt policies, just like doctors and hospitals. When you treat people who won’t pay, that cost is passed along to those who do pay.

Do you get to decide how your money is invested when you pay SS? Can you choose a more productive plan instead? What happens if one does not pay their SS tax? Govt healthcare will be the same and have the same answers.
With private plans, one chooses where their money goes, how it is used and can quit anytime they wish, without punishment.

It is better to give up my earthly possessions, health and life to protect my rights.
It seems the thing missing here is respect for the rights of others.

Posted by: kctim at June 17, 2009 9:17 AM
Comment #283093

That is about as ridiculous as I have heard in this debate. People abusing the health care by going to the doctor when they are sick? When is something a “real emergency” as you put it? When they are actually dying? What about preventative care? That does more to save money than anything else - it prevents catastrophic health expenses to begin with. People don’t generally go to the doctor for no reason. Abuse of the system by patients is such a minor part of the problem that it isn’t worthy of serious discussion compared to the abuse by insurance companies, drug companies, and the like.

Posted by: tcsned at June 17, 2009 9:33 AM
Comment #283097

kctim - Private insurance companies are at the mercy of gov’t policies? What policies are causing this problem specifically? It is more the lack of gov’t regulations due to this insane drive to deregulate everything and leave it up to human greed that has caused this problem.

So you are saying that it is better to give up your “earthly possessions, health and life to protect” your rights? How about giving up these things so an insurance company can deny you payment for coverage you have paid for because the last 4 presidents (one democrat included) have deregulated this industry so that there is no real oversight to what they do?

Your arguments are simplistic and flawed - one does not have the right to switch insurance companies whenever they wish if they have diabetes or something like that as no other company would cover them. Not only that, if they have insurance through work, they become slaves to their jobs because leaving a job means giving up health insurance. These problems exist because of the lack of gov’t regulation not because of it.

Posted by: tcsned at June 17, 2009 10:03 AM
Comment #283098

Tom
I was saying that comparing police and fire emergencies to ER abuses was silly. I was not trivializing actual emergencies. Everybody knows ERs are used for non-emergencies and that is abuse.

I honestly am not sure if I count as one of those “you on the right” that you speak of or not. I know that for some on the right, this is about business, but for me it is about freedom of choice and keeping govt small as it was meant to be. While an important aspect, protecting the free market is not my main concern.

Of course preparing ones life for possible healthcare needs is a choice. The 18 year old is the exception, not the norm and treating 300+ million as if they all fall in with the exception would be a very intrusive and expensive mistake.

I wouldn’t even try to say that some components of the insurance industry have not behaved ethically. But, just as I know our financial mess is the fault of both Dems and Reps, I know we the people have aided in this healthcare mess. They make more than me so they are responsible for me, has become our way of life.

“the bottom in life expectancy and infant mortality in in the industrialized world.”

As far as life expectancy: Have you seen how many years separate us? I would rather live 78 years free than 80 or 82 years dependent.

“Not only that, these lame insurance companies are using money (millions) from our premiums to lobby congress so they can continue to screw us”

But yet you blame only the insurance companies and want to give total control to their partner in crime? Sorry, but that makes no sense at all.

For me, it is not that “I don’t care,” but rather what I care more about.

“These are real people who have done nothing wrong that you are sentencing to death by inaction.”

How are you going to see where the line is when you allow emotions to cloud the debate?

My beliefs in freedom have sentenced nobody to death. I help others when I can and I have ensured myself and my loved ones are not a burden on society. That is a far cry from “inaction.”
Sitting back and expecting govt to provide for oneself or others is doing nothing. That is inaction.

Posted by: kctim at June 17, 2009 10:25 AM
Comment #283102

tcsned

“That is about as ridiculous as I have heard in this debate. People abusing the health care by going to the doctor when they are sick?”


going to the doctor because you have a cold is ridiculous. i’ve had plenty of colds, and flus and didn’t run to the doctor, unless there was a problem such as needing antibiotics for an ear infection, or something that that wouldn’t pass with bed rest. when people don’t have to pay for something they tend to abuse it, when you force them to pay a deductible they are much more prudent about when they use the services.


” When is something a “real emergency” as you put it? When they are actually dying?”

when you need something that only a doctor can provide such as the example i mentioned above, and yes there are other exceptions thats just one.


” What about preventative care?”

i would say twice a year would be sufficient. most of the doctors i’ve dealt with have a set fee for an office visit, however many times they will reduce that fee for those that have less means if you talk to them. if you figure @ $80 to $100 for a visit twice a year it ends up being a little more than $15 a month per person. being willing to pay a deductible ie paying for a few visits out of your own pocket before your insurance kicks in saves money, and reduce the cost of premiums.

Posted by: dbs at June 17, 2009 10:32 AM
Comment #283104

kctim -
The only reason ERs are used for non-emergencies is because that is often the only option for treatment many people have. Granted, it is the worst, most expensive option but the only option. People don’t go to the ER for fun. They go because their inability to pay makes that the only place that can’t turn them away (though some still do).

I don’t just blame insurance companies or the GOP - the democratic party has taken millions from these companies to do their bidding and seeing that the only reasonable option I see - single payer not for profit health care is off the table I blame the Dems for being weak and corrupt too. Max Baucus is just as guilty as the GOP.

I don’t see how setting up a health care system that works is inaction - leaving the status quo in tact is inaction. I also don’t see how a public option (unfortunately the only reasonable thing on the table) is restricting your choices? You can still give money to a private company who has an economic incentive to deny you coverage. You can still pay to have a pre-existing condition not be covered. You can still pay and then go bankrupt if you are unlucky enough to get sick. All the while, the CEO of the insurance company is sipping champagne on the yacht you helped to pay for and then handing an envelope of cash (that came from you too) to a politician who will ensure that the system doesn’t change.

There are many ways for a public insurance program to work, insist on individual responsibility, and keep doctors from going under financially. For profit health care has done none of these things for us.

How can you have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness if you are either sick or bankrupt because you had insurance and got screwed by the insurance company or you are poor and didn’t have a viable option for health care?

Posted by: tcsned at June 17, 2009 10:49 AM
Comment #283105

dbs - are you a doctor and know how to diagnose a potentially life threatening condition that starts off looking like a cold or flu? My mother caught a flu bug 4 years ago and died from pneumonia at 67 years old. My youngest sister did as well (5 years ago) at 31 years old. While both had insurance and got medical care in a reasonable amount of time and other conditions made them highly susceptible to respiratory problems (mostly due to medical malpractice by an army pharmacist) it is a fact that thousands of people die every year from the flu and many could be saved if they went to the doctor. Most people don’t get preventative care because they can’t afford insurance or the co-pays if they already have insurance. I have a friend who has had three recurrences of cancer. He has insurance. His premiums went up from about $250/mo to about $500/mo and since each recurrence of cancer happened on a different calendar year all the co-pays kicked in. He has spent 10s of thousands of dollars already and cannot now switch insurance companies because no one else will cover the pre-existing condition. So he can either continue to get raked over the coals by the insurance company to the tune of about $6,000+ a year (who initially denied his claim by the way, just the kind of stress that someone trying to fight cancer needs) or do without. Oh yeah, he thought he had a cold too - and his general practitioner initially prescribed antibiotics and told him it was nothing - he had to go back several times before being taken seriously. My sister was also initially denied coverage because she was over 23, though severely handicapped, and was “too old” to be on my father’s insurance.

kctim - I apologize for insinuating that you do not care whether or not people die as I am sure you do indeed care and just have a difference of opinion as to how to get there. I am unapologetic about insurance companies not caring whether you live or die (well, only in the sense that you will no longer pay them premiums if you die), they don’t care and prove it time and time again. They spread the misinformation that is used as ammunition to stop health care reform, they deny rightful claims, and refuse coverage of people who need it.

Posted by: tcsned at June 17, 2009 11:27 AM
Comment #283106

“You can still pay and then go bankrupt if you are unlucky enough to get sick. All the while, the CEO of the insurance company is sipping champagne on the yacht you helped to pay for and then handing an envelope of cash (that came from you too) to a politician who will ensure that the system doesn’t change.”

ya, and these are the same politicians that will be setting up a gov’t run system. where’s the improvement?

“CEO of the insurance company is sipping champagne on the yacht you helped to pay for”

this is hilarious LOL!!!!! limit profit, and you limit the incentive to achieve. install a gov’t run option, and it will eventually be the only option. no competition, no need to improve the product. we’ll end up with the same piece of crap they have in the UK, and canada. yipee!

Posted by: dbs at June 17, 2009 11:28 AM
Comment #283107

tcsned

i’m sorry about your mom and sister. lets be honest different age groups need different levels of coverage. one size doesn’t fit all. thats what you’ll get with a gov’t plan. you’ll also most likely get rationing, which could have ended up denying your mom what she needed, or making your sister wait until it was to late. i know this doesn’t change anything, and i’m truely sorry for your losses, but the gov’t option IMO will not be an improvement, and actually be worse, because it will eventually squeeze out the private options.

Posted by: dbs at June 17, 2009 11:39 AM
Comment #283108

well dbs - we have seen what happens with no limits - we are in the middle of financial ruin because of greed.

No these politicians are the one’s putting up impediments to change (they are in both parties). I hope that this does lead to a gov’t run, not for profit system.

I would gladly trade the piece of crap we have now for the systems in either the UK or Canada. Their people don’t go bankrupt when they get sick. Their infant mortality is a lot lower than it is here as well as better in most indicators of a healthy population. All the misinformation from the right and from the US insurance industry will tell you horror stories about socialized medicine when their people are statistically a lot happier with their health care than we are here.

What I suggest we do is to do what Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Niell wisely did in the 80s with Social Security - take it off the table as a political weapon and get a non-partisan group to look at the issue holistically and make policy recommendations based on what is best for the the American people.

Posted by: tcsned at June 17, 2009 11:43 AM
Comment #283110

tc

what we need is for the gov’t to stop mandating what ins. cos. must cover. they currently mandate all kinds of things. we need to have different levels of coverage, and different coverage options. i had a plan that covered hospitalization when i was young, and it was cheap. i paid for everything else. if you allow for numerous private options you would probably find that insurers would compete by trying to offer superior packages, than thier competition, thus creating a wide variety of choices, and levels of coverage.

what the gov’t needs to do is regulate the industry to make sure they are holding up thier end of the deal, and not denying coverage they have agreed to, in order to try and get people to give up and go away, in order to save money. ie vigorously enforce the good faith clause.

Posted by: dbs at June 17, 2009 12:05 PM
Comment #283112

Tom
People who abuse the system are not turned away because of govt policy. People who abuse the system are not forced to pay because of govt policy. Cheaper drugs are not available because of govt policy. Politicians, who are govt, make govt policy which benefits themselves.
You can blame one side of the problem if you wish, but that will not fix the problem.

“These problems exist because of the lack of gov’t regulation not because of it”

The freedom to choose my insurance and my job is not a problem for me and I in no way feel as if I am a slave to anything but govt. Govt is the only thing that has the power to intrude on my personal life and try to dictate how I live it.

“leaving the status quo in tact is inaction”

The status quo is to dump the responsibility off on govt, which is proven to not work on such a grand scale and yes, it is inaction.

“I also don’t see how a public option (unfortunately the only reasonable thing on the table) is restricting your choices?”

Depends on how it is set up. Can I choose to pay into the govts nanny plan OR the plan of my choice? Or is it like SS where I pay into SS and still have to pay into the plan of my choice?

“You can still give money to a private company who has an economic incentive to deny you coverage.”

Do you honestly believe that the govt will not have an economic incentive to deny coverage? Taxes will have to raise in order to pay the bills until the people complain. At that point, cuts will be made to program, like denying coverage on certain things, until the people complain. Then taxes will raise. Then cuts. Then higher taxes. Then cuts. Over and over again.

“How can you have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness if you are either sick or bankrupt because you had insurance and got screwed by the insurance company or you are poor and didn’t have a viable option for health care?”

Easy. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not measured in dollars.
We can write better regulations to protect people from being screwed without growing govt and giving it even more control over us.
We can help those who are poor and who wish to better themselves. Help them work towards having a real option for health care, not a false option which makes them dependent.
If they don’t wish to better themselves, then I don’t care if they have a healthcare option or not.

Posted by: kctim at June 17, 2009 1:17 PM
Comment #283123

dbs - We have allowed for numerous private options - that is what we have now. That is the system that skims huge profits off of our health care, provides nothing but headaches for consumers and doctors and leaves us with an average life span and infant mortality of a developing nation. That system denies claims for minor technical reasons, refuses coverage of pre-existing conditions, and hasn’t increased what it pays doctors in a decade. This last point is important - do you ever wonder why when you actually do go to your doctor that you rarely see him or her but more often see his nurse because in order to make ends meet he needs to see a ridiculous number of patients a day making it impossible for people to get the doctor’s attention. The insurance companies raise our rates and increase their profits but don’t pay doctors more. So we are getting screwed at both ends by these people. If anything there are not enough government mandates as to what these weasels can do and not do.

kctim - once again, the problems with the government are not the people trying to get single payer health care passed it is those trying to stop it, chiefly the GOP and conservative Democrats. Casting your net to include “all government” misses the point.

freedom to choose - between bad plans and worse plans good luck

status quo - this means the existing state of things - the government does not run our heath care. the status quo is private, for profit health care

no there is no economic incentive for government to deny anyone health care - do they pocket more money by telling someone no? No. Does your insurance company? Yes.

what you are proposing is the status quo - where the poor will continue to use the emergency room for primary care and insurance companies will continue to reap huge profits while doing nothing to increase the care people need. I find that unacceptable and will continue to work tirelessly until we have a just and fair health care system.

Posted by: tcsned at June 17, 2009 4:45 PM
Comment #283126

It depends how one looks at it, Tom.
I don’t want anything to do with govt controlled single payer health care, so those trying to pass it are the problem. When passed, I will be forced to pay for it just as I am SS, and just like SS, it will never go away no matter which of the two partys are in power.

I would rather be free to choose between a bad plan and worse plans, than have that freedom stripped from me and the choice made for me.

Thank you for wishing me good luck. I have a personal HSA and have budgeted in a major medical expense policy. I don’t make much money and I actually made the choice to be responsible all on my own without govt help.

“status quo - this means the existing state of things”

Like in “the existing state of mind of Americans not to save and be responsible for themselves?”

I am well aware of what status quo means, Tom. The problem is that some see govt as the answer to everything and some of us see personal responsibility, as our founders did, as the answer.

There is a huge economic, and power, incentive for govt to deny or even ration health care. The more money in the trough, the better the books look, and that makes a great campaign slogan. They can also raid it as they do with the SS money they steal from us. Politicians get kickbacks for sending business certain ways.
And how about the power govt will have over us? If they are paying for our health care, then it is only common sense that they dictate how we use that health care and how we maintain our own health. I am a vet and I have first hand knowledge of how the govt runs those two things. I don’t want it.

I am glad you will work tirelessly for what you believe in. I too will work just as hard for what I believe in: Freedom!

Posted by: kctim at June 17, 2009 5:57 PM
Comment #283136

kctim - what I think you are missing in your definition of the status quo, in this context, is that “the way things are” is not people lying around waiting for the government to solve everything. While there may be people doing this, the state of things is that the government is doing nothing and those people are going to be waiting for a long time. The status quo is health care for profit; that is the system that is in place.

You seem to base your thinking on how many people will abuse a system - which I think is a valuable angle to look at things as it helps to close loopholes and to keep people honest. This is the same thinking that welfare is bad because a very few game the system. I hate abuse and waste as much as the next person. We should always look at ways to cut abuse in any program as long as that doesn’t mean cutting programs that work for the vast majority so that they stop a few from abusing the system.

Now I don’t quite know what kind of abuse you are worried about, while there are a few hypochondriacs who will go to the doctor for everything these people are very few. Most people don’t go to the doctor when they really should, socialized health care isn’t going to change that. I tend to look at the gross injustices of the current system and how can we make it fairer for everyone even if a few people will game the system. Like it or not, people die because of the greed inherent in any health care for profit system. Just because someone can get rich by denying someone else needed medical care. While I don’t think you would do this, I know for a fact that there are greedy, heartless bastards out there who could care less who dies as long as they get a big paycheck. People like this cannot be totally removed from any “free” market solution to health care so they will always be there to bend laws, change agreements, and otherwise cheat people out of their lives so they can get rich. The only real solution is to not make things like health care an opportunity to attract subhumans like that to get rich. Letting “lazy” people have access to health care is much better than letting evil people deny care to someone who deserves it.

If you are worried about illegal immigrants getting health care - it is a problem. Illegal immigration is a problem but the one’s you should be mad at are all the large and small businesses who are getting rich by paying people sub-standard wages in this country and obviously not providing health care to their workers. Illegal immigrants don’t come here to take advantage of our great health care system (because it isn’t anywhere approaching great) or our wonderful welfare system (it isn’t either). They come here because they want to work, and they do work, almost all of them and they work hard. Their drain on the system is the fault of those that lure and hire them not the poor people leaving a bad situation in their home countries for a slightly less bad one here. Get mad about but get mad at the right people. The right gets mad at Mexicans for stealing their jobs but not at the people who have driven wages in the construction business down to fast food levels - that is baffling.

Every industrialized nation in the world other than the US has some sort of health coverage for every person. We lag behind in the two most important statistics - life span and infant mortality. These statistics clearly show that our health systems kills or allows people to die that would survive in other countries.

Posted by: tcsned at June 17, 2009 8:49 PM
Comment #283140

“SSSSHHH!! don’t you know you’ll take the wind out of thier sails, when you go and present a realistic solution to thier catastrophic dilemas. you just are not supposed to do that. there are plenty of insurance plans out there if you look.”

dbs there is no wind out of my sails . The fact is the cost to continue coverage for me was $1600 per month. Because of pre-existing conditions other insurance companies would be more expensive or would not cover me and mine as we are over 50. The pricing for an under 30 plan is just not realistic for me.

The problem with private insurance is twofold, one they pick and choose to maximize their return to the shareholders, and 2 when you need it you cannot afford it and they run away. No one on the right mentions responsibility when it comes to the insurance companies, probably because their responsibility is to their shareholders in theory, not to the patient, which of course is the problem. But to think that private insurance will ever address the problems of health care is ridiculous on it’s face. Capitalistic health insurance only fools those on the right it seems.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 17, 2009 10:16 PM
Comment #283159

Tom
My definition of the status quo is people not doing for themselves because they believe everybody else owes them and govt should do it for them. Savings accounts are almost non-existent in the US today.
I see where you say health care for profit is the status quo, I just have no problem with it. Those professionals provide a service and they should be paid for their service.

I base my thinking on individual rights and who the responsibility for oneself lies with. The abuse angle is just another part of govt policy being enacted and prices rising to compensate for those policies.

It doesn’t matter why illegal immigrants come here, they are a drain on the system. But rather than taking measures to deter them, govt policy takes actions to encourage them. D.A.N and others have provided some very interesting numbers on what illegal immigrants cost us.

“Every industrialized nation in the world other than the US has some sort of health coverage for every person”

So what? No other industrialized nation in the world is like the US. Her people have rights, freedoms and protections that people in other countries can only dream about. Those things make us better than all of them and throwing it all away in order to be like every other industrialized nation in the world would be ridiculous.

Posted by: kctim at June 18, 2009 9:28 AM
Comment #283162

“Savings accounts are almost non-existent in the US today.”

At .25% to .5% interest they should be extinct not just merely almost non-existent IMHO kctim. With inflation at least 3% you lose on every dollar you put into the savings account. You are better off buying and storing goods than saving dollars.

“So what? No other industrialized nation in the world is like the US. Her people have rights, freedoms and protections that people in other countries can only dream about. Those things make us better than all of them and throwing it all away in order to be like every other industrialized nation in the world would be ridiculous.”

Yeah it sure would , well… if one only considers half the picture. Read it and weep kctim. It seems whilst many on the right have focused on the government as the problem with our country other countries have figured it out and in the process gained the freedom we only talk about here in this country.

The United Nations Human Freedom Index (0 = least freedom, 40 = most freedom. More.):

Sweden 38
Denmark 38
Netherlands 37
Austria 36
Finland 36
France 35
Germany 35
Canada 34
Switzerland 34
Australia 33
United States 33
Japan 32
United Kingdom 32

http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/8Comparison.htm#Back87

Posted by: j2t2 at June 18, 2009 10:01 AM
Comment #283163

kctim - there is no one saying that doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals should not make a living at what they are doing. They should all make a very good living as what they are doing is so vital to the country. Health care for profit means corporate owned hospital systems and insurance companies that earn profit off of people’s health care. Those people do nothing to provide health care they just siphon money from the system that should go to people providing health care or to people paying for it.

No other country has more than 60% of personal bankruptcies due to catastrophic health expenses. No other country has 46 million people with no health coverage at all (about 15% of the population). No other country’s health system has to support insurance company executive pay in the 10s of millions of dollars.

There are some interesting statistics in the report the jtt2 posted. Among them are the fact that we already pay more as a percentage of our GDP (13.4%) than any other nation. Canada is second at 10%. Why then can we not provide health care to everyone with this money that is already being spent? This isn’t “free” as some like to put it - it is being paid it’s just a matter of how that money is put to use. I think it is criminal that any of this money goes to some CEO that makes an average of 120-130 times the rate of pay of the average worker. That is many times more more than the doctor who saves your life. Tell me which one do you think is more valuable?

Posted by: tcsned at June 18, 2009 10:34 AM
Comment #283189

Just got an email from Sen. Cornyn of Texas, entitled: “Lower The Cost Of Health Care Without Sacrificing Control To Washington”. In it Cornyn says:

“I believe our top priority should be to lower the cost of health care, without reducing quality or access to care.”

Note his words carefully, “without reducing access to care”. Which means he has no intention of supporting legislation which will provide coverage to the 48 million uninsured today. The best he can do is try to insure more folks don’t become uninsured.

Here is the reply I sent back to Sen. Cornyn on this issue.

Dear Sen. Cornyn,

Your op-ed appears to miss the mark by a Grand Canyon or two. Lowering the cost of health care will not provide insurance to the 48 million uninsured today. Your implication that government sponsored health insurance coverage equates with government bureaucrats advising doctors, clinics, nurses and technicians as to how to do their job is the height of blatant sophistry.

Your op-ed appears to us a blatant demonstration of how and why Republicans lost control of government in 2006 and 2008. They just refused to side with the majority of people on the people’s issues. The polls show Americans want a choice between private and public health care insurance. They want a safety net when Congress and the President fail their responsibilities to oversee and prevent massive unemployment, financial and economic collapses, or recessions. The American people as a majority are not going to accept your view on this polls show. Which begs the question: As a U.S. Senator, why aren’t you siding with the American people on this issue. Your actions appear to indicate you believe you serve only the constituents who voted for you previously in Texas, and to hell with the rest of the American and Texan people.

I don’t think tenured politicians can’t be taught new tricks. I do think tenured Republicans and most Democrats, refuse to exert the effort to side with the people instead of the easier path of siding with their corporate wealthy special interest campaign donors and lobbyists. I find myself, now your age, unable to vote for any incumbent until enough are removed, each election, to force the remaining incumbents and freshman to accept that their reelection depends on the voters, especially the Independent voters going forward, not the wealthy corporate special interests and lobbyists.

Change is here, and more is coming, and it is being brought about by independent voters, which we are proud to include ourselves members of.

Sincerely,

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 18, 2009 1:52 PM
Comment #283193

Tom
The people who own and operate hospitals and insurance companys put up the money, reap the rewards and shoulder the failures. They are professionals in the healthcare field and they too deserve to earn their money. Just how much that is should be of not concern to others.

No other country offers its people (at least as founded) the individual rights and freedoms as us.

That report from J2 is propaganda. It takes what leftists believe makes one free and what they believe is a suitable standard of living and then try and pass it off as proof that more govt intrusion in individual lives equals more freedom for those individuals.
Govt taking my money and giving me what they think I should have for “free,” is NOT freedom.

I would rather pay a hundred dollars to whom I am free to choose, than pay ten dollars to govt to make that choice for me.

The reason our govt pays so much of our GDP for health care is because we have taken the responsibility of doing so from the individual and passed it along to the govt.

“Tell me which one do you think is more valuable?”

The owners put up the money, take all the financial risks, buy they equipment, building and run the business. Without them, doctors and their support staff would have to work for themselves and make alot less or find a different career field. They would have no place to “save lives.” Without doctors and their support staff, there is no reason for people to invest. Without support staff, doctors and owners could not function.
They are all valuable Tom, I just don’t care enough about what other people earn to try and separate their worth.

Posted by: kctim at June 18, 2009 3:37 PM
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