What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed?

Posted by: Grimm

What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/06/09 07:21 PM

I know we are all waiting to see what the government is going to do about healthcare. (especially here in the US)
As an uninsured person with AS who is currently not able to work - I think about what it would take to make healthcare work. I honestly can't come up with any great ideas.

Do any of you think about this? Any great ideas? Are you insured, uninsured, been denied insurance? (Let's do try to keep politics out of it.) I have come to appreciate the wisdom and insightfulness offered here, if anyone could fix this mess, KickASers could.

Anna
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/06/09 07:36 PM

I have decent insurance but I worry about my sons. Once they turn 25, in 5 years, they won't be covered by my policy anymore and will have to work for a large company that offers healthcare or they will be denied coverage everywhere due to a pre existing condition. They are thinking about living in Oregon and Washington due to state run insurance pools for those with pre existing conditions. Expensive but at least it is something.

I do not have all the answers but I know what we have now needs to end. If the senators and congress would put politics aside, stop listening to the big lobby money, and work to solve the problem I believe it could be done though.
Posted by: Farinelli

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/06/09 07:36 PM

I think it will be tough to really do much about healthcare due to an economic phenomenon called Baumol's disease. I think our best hope is that technology can solve the chronic diseases that plague us now. I am sure if we took better care of ourselves that that would help too. I don't think the government can do very much about Baumol's disease or our behavoir. (weight, drinking, smoking, drugs and violence) I think all societies are struggling with the cost of healthcare regardless of the design of their systems.

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/07/07/030707ta_talk_surowiecki

Craig
Posted by: Grimm

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/06/09 07:56 PM

Wow Craig- that is an eye opening article, it really gives me a new look at the healthcare muddle. I have to admit my preception was that doctors had become greedy and on the payroll of the pharm companies. Something new to think about-

Dizzit- have your sons been dx'ed? I worry about this also- my brother has many of the symtoms, I told him to get insured before he goes to a rhuemy, just in case he has AS. I also wonder if some doctors are doing folks a favor by not coming right out and dxing AS ( it would be great if people could get the treatment without the dx!)Ofcourse to get insurance to pay for biologics you usually have to have a firm dx. Boggles the mind! Seems like there is no right path. Thanks for weighing in.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/06/09 08:01 PM

After COBRA was tapped out, I found myself without health insurance and obviously uninsurable. I applied to every provider in Georgia but was denied across the board. I thought for awhile about moving to Tennessee since they have a high risk pool, but there were some other reasons why that wouldn't work out.

Personally, I don't want "government run" healthcare. They'll indirectly find a way to muck it up and make it as inefficient as possible. Just look at the USPS, Amtrak, Social Security, etc. The bill that got a lot of press this summer, HR3200 was a piece of garbage in my opinion. I don't know if the Baucus bill (Senate) is any better. Taxing people for not having health insurance. Come on. That's the best those bloated do-nothings in D.C. can create? Tax this, tax that, they'll tax anything they can. However, these legislators need to find a solution to help folks like us with chronic illnesses. I understand we are a greater risk and expense, but they need to figure something out cause we are the ones that can least afford to be without insurance. Also, somebody needs to hold the insurance companies' feet to the fire regarding retroactively canceling individual policies for minor errors, etc. I can understand it if an individual has blatantly lied, but leaving out something like an acute sinus infection and having your policy canceled is just ridiculous.

I'm kind of all over the place here this evening.
Posted by: Grimm

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/06/09 08:30 PM

I know where you are coming from. I feel that the insurance companies are a huge part of the problem, unfortunately there doesn't seem to be anything on the table except the competition concept. My opinion is that they are as shady as the banks.
Posted by: Lrtabit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/06/09 08:54 PM

Hi this is going to be a big problem - one for many now as it stands and another once any change is made. You are right about US government being in the pockets of big pharma- to include the doctor realm. So if the competition was eliminated, all would benefit. Is socialized medicine so bad if everyone gets the care they need? What am I missing here? Don't the Europeans have this in place?
I've read(cant remember where...economist.?.) the Swiss have a very good system that our US gov't might be using as a model.

What can we do? Really?

We ought to find out because it dosen't pay to debate if we have no means to influence the final outcome.

Sorry. Just lying here with no desire to do much,


Lucy
Posted by: petesimac

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/06/09 09:22 PM

Keep in mind that what the administration is proposing is not government run healthcare. Even with the public option, it will still only be an option. Think Fed-Ex vs. UPS vs. the Post Office; you have your choice between two private companies (among others) and a quasi-government option. The Post Office has not put the other two private companies out of business just as a public option in the health care program would not put private insurance companies out of business -- it would just help to make sure that private companies don't monopolize the industry and thus enable them to continue to raise rates every year.

So, to repeat, the proposed plans are NOT for a government run program, just a public option; it must stand on it's own, will not be subsidized with tax dollars like Amtrak, and will help to lower the cost of the private plans.

Everyone will have a choice! They can stick with the plan they have now or shop around or opt for the public option (if it's included in the final bill -- looks like there might be a trigger for a public option if rates from the private insurers don't fall enough due to no competition).

The good news is that there will be a health care reform bill passed before Christmas. And all of us without healthcare will soon be able to get the care we need. Those of us who can't afford it will get assistance so that we can.

The debate has been good, the plan will be a great start, and over time it will be even better. We have so many cooks in the kitchen in our govt, but even with the politics, we'll still get what we need.

Hang in there, help is on the way!
Posted by: DragonSlayer

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/06/09 09:25 PM


Hi, Anna:

It is said that in the ancient Roman world, people with arthritis were not taxed by the state. This would be a good thing today, also. In actual fact, the repressive taxes now required just to service the debt will make it impossible to address healthcare in any meaningful way.

The pabulum provided to and by the media in general is not the real story at all. There is a major swindle going on and every aspect of it is ultimately controlled by the unions. The public needed a distraction and the Gordian Knot of healthcare happened to be perfect subterfuge. Don't get any hopes up; the real action is very different than what we are FED.

In my own experience, I was very blessed with good insurance, but today my wife is uninsured and we have "Plan B." Well, it is Plan B for a lot of things, it seems but she is a Filipina, so we can go to Philippines any time we want for medical care. The work I had done on my teeth early this year paid for my trip. And I can get any blood test I want there and buy most drugs that I'm interested in without first bribing some clown in a lab coat.

The entire medical industry got too greedy, it is true, but what the politicians never mention is something called 'tort reform.' The reason the politicians never discuss this is because they are LAWYERS and proper measures would put a lot of them out of business.

Think about who creates the wealth of a nation (and jobs)--and lawyers are not on this list, nor are doctors, unions, bankers, or politicians. But these guys are running the country and pretending to fix healthcare, while union jobs are secured at any cost but it is a temporary sham that will come crashing down before anyone can do anything about it.

So fear not, although change is inevitable, sometimes that change we hoped for is not in the direction we would have envisioned for ourselves.

BE HEALTHY (and careful, too),
John
Posted by: Jewelz

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/06/09 10:39 PM

No, I don't think it can be fixed. I don't think the proposed program will work or be passed. I do think our govt is spending money like drunkin sailors right now. And no I don't have any great ideas on how to make it work.

Aren't I just a bundle of sunshine today!
Posted by: Farinelli

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 07:14 AM

Hey Grimm! Doctors do make a ton of money here compared to other countries especially the specialists. I also think that insurance companies are a lot of the problem. Their profits are huge. In the Netherlands, all insurance companies are run as non-profits just like our credit unions. The insurers are private. The government regulates but doesn't actually run anything. I heard that 35% of all of our health care dollars go to insurance companies. I think we should adopt the Dutch model. They also don't allow people to be discriminated against if they have a preexisting condition. All people are treated the same regardless of age or health or gender. For instance, all single individuals must be charged the same rate by their insurance company. The same goes for married couples and then married couples for children. This system would help and is better than ours but we still can't get around baumol's disease.

Craig
Posted by: fyrfytr187

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 07:14 AM

Very Well Put John!!

While I am still running on COBRA from my last employer, my future health insurance options are bleak at best. MedicAid is such a sham that only my GP accepts it. Neither my Rhemy nor my Spinal Pain Specialist will even touch it. And of course biologics along with some other meds are not allowed by it. In looking at the Medicare option after I complete my fight for SSDI, I am finding that it is indeed a Plan B. And private insurance is non existant when you add AS to the application. I don't see the government fixing anything...I mean they can't even run the country in the green, but they never miss giving themselves a raise or benefit package, so who are they to try to run a healthcare system? It needs simplified not governed with more confusing beuraucracy.
Posted by: lynnanakas

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 08:32 AM

If everyone could recieve a palm pre and get a diagnosis without going to the doctor. just have the whole appt.over the palm pre. Then go to the pharmacy to get your meds.that would save alot of time and cost and let the people who do need to be seen , be seen alot quicker. have a yearly fee for palm visits and a monthly fee for in person visits. Im at the library so I cannot reply until next week.lost my computer.Lynne
Posted by: Lon

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 08:33 AM

Beloved,
Less government
Fix tort action, by lowering benefits and maintaining standards for physicians
Stop spending what we do not have- my grandkids have a debt from the last 9 months that will take a
life time to repay.
Fix social security / Medicare / Medicaid now
Local responsibility and more sovereignty for the states in regard to insurance.
Stop bailing out people who can not give an honest answer and spend more in one weekend get away
Than most of us do all year.
If a man does not/ did not work why should he be guaranteed insurance?
For 35 years I have visited people in hospitals who have never had insurance, who have never paid their bills but are taken care of by our society. We have problems, but we have always taken care of our sick. Yes there are exceptions, but we have been the most generous nation in the world.
The Catholic Church said they will close 200 hospitals in the cities, if this mandatory health care goes into effect, why? Because it does demand certain things from folks who are already burdened financially. I did enjoy this rousing discussion. We are all stronger when we have to explain our ideas.
Senator Enzi from Wyoming has worked long and hard on this. I have e-mailed him and listened to numerous speeches. I have tried to read copies of this legislation. Has anyone gotten it? We must stop passing bills we have not read.!
Posted by: petesimac

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 09:38 AM

Hey Lon, the debt is from the last 8 years and 9 months, not just the last 9 months; it takes time and money to clean up a mess that big.

And those people in the hospital without insurance, we pay every penny of the bill in higher rates. Something has to be done to reform the system and something will be done.

And it's funny about those who cry for less government, like those in Georgia who didn't want any of the stimulus money, but as soon as the flood waters came, here they come, hat in hand to the federal government, wanting their own bailout. Hypocrisy in action.

I don't have health care, Lon, and I can't get it because of AS; the status quo means I won't get health care in my lifetime (goodness knows that the other side had 8 years to pass their version of some kind of reform, including tort reform -- which I agree with by the way -- and they didn't do it; didn't even get a bill out of committee, committees that they controlled and chaired); so yes, I want healthcare reform, because without it, I'm screwed even more than I am now.
Posted by: Lon

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 09:48 AM

HI,
We are agreed, that we need reform. It will take everyone cutting back and cutting down. When the Senate goes to work on Tuesday night, and leaves Thursday afternoon, I don't see how they will get much done.
Thanks for the civil chat. I am not against helping those who need help. I give a percent of my income as do many here; to those in need. When I read the manuscripts of past messages and speeches from these guys who are making these decisions- available at the public library- they have lied to us.
I want more state authority and less naitonal input on health care...
Thanks for you time.
America is worth fighting for, and this site is a wonderful place because of wonderful people.
Posted by: petesimac

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 10:21 AM

Peace!
Posted by: trudi

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 10:42 AM

I always get concerned when the govt gets involved in anything. There are usually 'hidden' rules that actually tie people up so the govt pays less. I've seen it in the medical community, disaster zones, public school systems, etc.

I have a child that is on a special medicaide that only pays for care from specialists .... only their approved ones. The only problem is that I have lost a voice in her care. Some things I will fight, others I will not. I know where my line is drawn and I accept that she will be pulled from the care when I stand up for that line.

I just wish our insurance system would graduate to the 21st century and allow for alternative health care as well. I spend a LOT more money each month on this type of health care because it helps me more than tradiditional medical care. My insurance doesn't cover very much of anything. My hubby works so we can pay for medical care.

Maybe things would be different if the health insurance was run as a non-profit company? I know there's still high salaries in non-profit groups, but maybe the profit as a whole would be less.
Posted by: JamesB

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 11:02 AM

Hi,

Putting a stop to excessive greediness in the medical and pharmaceutical industry would be a nice place to start. Medication doesn't have to cost 'this' much, neither does pulling a tooth cost $250, etc. An xray of the spine shouldn't cost $300 if an xray of the hand costs $40. If people weren't feeling forced into disability for the insurance, then there would be less people trying to get disability. I know that Prescription meds are overly priced, for example some meds have over-the-counter equivalents carrying the same brand name, but cost 100 times less.

Everyone wins with less costs.....
Pharmies get more sales. Doctors get more patients. More people affording insurance (not to mention rates will become cheaper). Less denials for pre-existing conditions. Less people forced into disability. More spending power in Medicare. More people have money for food and clothes. Medicaid's spend-down will stop going up, etc etc etc.

The only people who won't win are the people who want the most amount of money for the least amount of work/product/service.

By the way, I have insurance now, but I was once denied insurance for a pre-existing condition though an employer in the past. PS. This is the polite version of what I was going to say.

Take care,
James
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 11:51 AM

I hope you can get something like what we have here in Canada. I pay under $60/month for extended health care which includes dental. Here's a summary of my benefits:

Blue Cross

This is affordable and perhaps your legislators can come up with something similar. Here's hoping.
Posted by: 30yrvet

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 11:54 AM

Hey Jewelz,

I know a lot of drunken sailors and you just insulted them. Heheh. (thank you Mr. John McCain). Our congress has definitely gone crazy spending other people's money. Our money, and I don't think it is going to stop at healthcare.

Our health care industry is the envy of the civilized world, and there are people outside the US that are wondering why we want to change it. We are trying to fix something that isn't broken. We do have a problem with a relatively few people who don't have health insurance. They still have health care. They can go to the free clinics, hospitals, or they have to pay for it themselves. It's kind of like when I as young all those many many many years ago. If you went to the Dr. you paid him/her (most of the time him). Of course the Dr would also, on occasion, come to our house to see us too. Oh well, times were different then but the principle remains.

We've gotten to the point where we feel entitled to the free lunch, and if we don't get it, then we feel deprived because there are others getting it. The only way to fix that is to change our attitude and become more self reliant. I don't think that will happen any time soon because I want my health care paid for too. Don't you?
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 01:33 PM

Isn't broken? Health Insurance companies profits going up hundreds of percent on the backs of ordinary citizens who go broke? The leading cause of people losing their homes is lack of health insurance.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year -- one every 12 minutes -- in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday.

I don't know but that doesn't sound too good. I hope you get a robust public option so people can get away from the insurance companies who are only answerable to their shareholders.
Posted by: Possi

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 03:36 PM

Amen!!

Possi
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 04:43 PM

well .... last year over one million americans left this country to get medical procedures done that they could not afford or access in the US?

Try going to a free clinic for a million dollar cancer treatment or for a TNF drug at 20K a year. Sorry but you won't be able to get it. Many in this country are doing without and dying. I don't think too many envy us anymore. With premiums going up at the current rate in the current system it will bankrupt the country very shortly.
Posted by: Lon

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 04:46 PM

Timo,
I am often surprised at what you can come up with.
thanks. I will send this to senator!
Lon
Posted by: Grimm

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 08:07 PM

Thanks for the amazing and diverse points of view expressed- I honestly believe KickAS has some of the brightest and most elonquent people around. Reading all of your posts is a treasure and a privledge. Thank you for being yourselves!

Much to think about-

Anna
Posted by: Dotyisle

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 09:33 PM

Hi there,

I believe "envy of the civilized world" is a bit strong. Living in Argentina here... they can not believe everyone does not have access to medical care. They actually believe that is an advantage of living in Argentina vs States.

My last 3-4 years as Controller/Accounting Manager for billion $ company I watched as health care costs/premiums were going up over 20% each year... that is a cost that is out of control... something is broken and needs to be fixed otherwise many more will be without healthcare in next 4-5 years.

I also agree with some earlier comments... too many people with hand in cookie jar now and want there share. This is not helping costs and hindering correcting some of the issues.

Tim
Posted by: petesimac

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 09:39 PM

Quote:

Hey Jewelz,

I know a lot of drunken sailors and you just insulted them. Heheh. (thank you Mr. John McCain). Our congress has definitely gone crazy spending other people's money. Our money, and I don't think it is going to stop at healthcare.

Our health care industry is the envy of the civilized world, and there are people outside the US that are wondering why we want to change it. We are trying to fix something that isn't broken. We do have a problem with a relatively few people who don't have health insurance. They still have health care. They can go to the free clinics, hospitals, or they have to pay for it themselves. It's kind of like when I as young all those many many many years ago. If you went to the Dr. you paid him/her (most of the time him). Of course the Dr would also, on occasion, come to our house to see us too. Oh well, times were different then but the principle remains.

We've gotten to the point where we feel entitled to the free lunch, and if we don't get it, then we feel deprived because there are others getting it. The only way to fix that is to change our attitude and become more self reliant. I don't think that will happen any time soon because I want my health care paid for too. Don't you?




Well, we certainly have the best medical treatment available in the world, but sadly the worst healthcare system. There are 40-50 million people in this country without healthcare, myself included, most of whom can't get healthcare because the insurance companies don't want to underwrite anyone who has a pre-existing injury/condition (for fear that they might actually have to pay out on a policy).

And while we can get treated at the hospital and clinics, those without insurance don't get the same "deals" on the cost of procedures that insurance companies get, thus the bill is higher and depending on the procedure, too high for most to pay; so guess who pays -- you do! That's why insurance rates keep going up, the fat cats at the top of the insurance companies keep getting richer, and more people fall through the cracks.

I do agree that life was simpler before the healthcare insurance companies took over: you got sick, you paid the local doctor a modest fee for services (or gave him a dozen eggs, lol) and that was that. But as soon as these private insurance companies got involved the prices went up, the service went down and we find ourselves where we are today.

As a nation we cannot do what you advocate: nothing. We can't afford to do nothing. Healthcare in this country is broken and it needs to be fixed. Thankfully it looks as though it will be sometime before Christmas -- what a great present.

As for Timo's wish for us to have a Canadian style system, yeah right, in our dreams, lol. Sadly, it's too drastic a change for most Americans. We'll be lucky to get a strong public option. But thanks for the kind thought and wishful thinking on our behalf. Maybe in time.

And please, dear friends, try to remember this one thing: the government is not going to be running healthcare! It's not a government takeover of healthcare. Private insurance companies will continue to provide the majority of policies, with absolutely no government interference. The only portion of the healthcare program that the government will be a part of is the public option, which is only an option! No one will be forced into the public option. It will exist to serve as a way to force private companies to keep their rates low and their service high! THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT TAKING OVER HEALTHCARE. Lol, okay, I can breathe again, I think I got my point across.

Great discussion guys. If I didn't love this country so much, I think I'd move to Canada, if only for their healthcare system (and their incredibly nice people!)
Posted by: snowshoe

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 10:11 PM

Can it be fixed? That depends upon who is funding your senators and congress members. Click on their name then the "Industries" tab to see who is under the influence of the health care industry...why health care reform has gone nowhere fast for decades Who owes who favors...
http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/candlist.php?congno=111#
Posted by: Angelmom

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/07/09 10:32 PM

Insurance is about to break us literally but I still feel like I can't complain because my family are some of the lucky ones that can have it and it pays for my Remicade not having to pay a penny for it.

Now with Bill's last job we paid right at $600.00 a month with a $5000.00 deductible a $300.00 a year script co-pay per person and we paid $20.00 to see our Drs. that were in network (all of our Drs. were in network)

When Bill was let go we now have Cobra that THANKS to the Government we are only paying $325.00 a month for 4 months until we are eligible with insurance for the new job.

When we are eligible with the new insurance we will be paying $197.00 a week which is pretty much $800.00 a month for our insurance. We will have a $2500.00 deductible and it will be $20.00 for our Drs. and I know we will have dental insurance but not sure what it covers yet.

I also have Medicare and Tori, Ethan and I can all go to the Indian clinic for free, from Drs. to hospital stays to surgery.

We are really lucky, costing this much money sure hurts but we just can't due without insurance.

Lisa
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/10/09 09:03 AM

Pete, I'm not so sure that most self sustaining citizens were expecting or wanting stimulus help. I think all those folks wanted was maybe some temporary assistance from FEMA. It is those that typically live off the government's teet that would want stimulus money. Just look at the handout that took place in Detroit in the past few days.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/10/09 09:07 AM

Well said Dean.
Posted by: petesimac

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/10/09 09:29 AM

Quote:

Pete, I'm not so sure that most self sustaining citizens were expecting or wanting stimulus help. I think all those folks wanted was maybe some temporary assistance from FEMA. It is those that typically live off the government's teet that would want stimulus money. Just look at the handout that took place in Detroit in the past few days.




Temporary assistance? Sure sounds like a bailout to me; no matter what you choice to call it, the tea-baggers don't want anything from the federal government unless it's for them, like flood relief, or social security checks; they want relief but they don't want anyone else to get relief. Many that are fighting against healthcare reform are getting health care from the federal government. Again, hypocrisy in action. All I ask for is consistency. If you don't want the fed in your life, don't cash the social security check, don't ask for help from the feds in an emergency; if you want to be self-sufficient, be self-sufficient, but don't pick and choose.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/10/09 10:00 AM

I don't think it is necessary to stereotype everybody in the state of Georgia as a "tea-bagger". Additionally, there is a big difference between federal disaster assistance and wasteful, "dead end" stimulus money.

Also, why shouldn't those opposed to big government get social security checks? They were forced to pay into the system and did pay into the system, so now you automatically think this is the government's money and is there's to do with as they please handing it out to any and every open hand in the street? Come on man! I don't get your logic. Also, I'm sure there are many out there that would gladly take their money back (with interest) from the ponzi scheme that social security is. However, if you've paid in, no matter what you think of the system, you are eligible to receive benefits.
Posted by: petesimac

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/10/09 09:25 PM

Quote:

I don't think it is necessary to stereotype everybody in the state of Georgia as a "tea-bagger". Additionally, there is a big difference between federal disaster assistance and wasteful, "dead end" stimulus money.

Also, why shouldn't those opposed to big government get social security checks? They were forced to pay into the system and did pay into the system, so now you automatically think this is the government's money and is there's to do with as they please handing it out to any and every open hand in the street? Come on man! I don't get your logic. Also, I'm sure there are many out there that would gladly take their money back (with interest) from the ponzi scheme that social security is. However, if you've paid in, no matter what you think of the system, you are eligible to receive benefits.




Well, Jay, apparently your view of hypocrisy is different from mine, so there's nothing for it.

And I'm sure you know that most SS recipients get back way, way more than they put in, so your main point is a weak one, whether you can follow the logic or not, man.

And that "wasteful" stimulus money you refer to has kept 500,000 people (and counting) in their homes who otherwise might have lost them, has succeeded in restoring more than half of what we all lost from our 401ks at the end of the last administration, has reduced the income tax burden on the middle class, and has returned many auto-workers to their jobs, and that's only with a small portion of the money -- more great things are to come in the next few years, whether you like it or not. I'm sure all the people who received this help think a bit differently than you, and how fortunate that is.

Regardless, I think we're getting off-topic here, so I'll let this be my final word on the subject and leave the field to you to muddy up.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 12:48 AM

Quote:

I hope you can get something like what we have here in Canada. I pay under $60/month for extended health care which includes dental. Here's a summary of my benefits



That's how I think all of this should all be approached

Why not do a direct comparison of the all the different ways other countries handle these problems? Learn from them, figure out what works, what doesn't, especially with the countries that have made changes in the direction of more universal health care in recently years, they would have the statistics that would be the most relevant to us, we could look at the before/after to find out how the changes affected the average life span, etc.

I've heard some discussion that makes direct comparison to the US and Canada, England, France, etc but these were mostly from "fringe" media, like Bill Maher's comedy show on HBO, "Sicko", some web sites, but see almost nothing like that in the mainstream media, and disappointed that Obama doesn't openly cite some of these numbers

Then I think I realized why he chose to not go with that strategy. I think because he knows that this country is still too busy chanting "We're Number One! We're Number One!" to stop and give any of those unflattering comparisons a serious look
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 07:17 AM

Pete, I'll send you a PM as I agree that we are straying.



Quote:

Why not do a direct comparison of the all the different ways other countries handle these problems?




You mean benchmarking? You bring up a great point and one I've never heard anyone from government bring up. We did an very informal solicitation of healthcare systems in other countries on another health related site that I peruse. We had folks from England, Australia, France, and Canada respond. Out of all the summations of the different systems I heard, Australia sounded most attractive. Either way, I agree, we should be benchmarking the healthcare systems of all developed nations and maybe a few developing/emerging market countries.

However, I'm of the opinion that any administration (read either failing party) is not for giving the American people appropriate healthcare reform. They have to many dollars to lose from lobbyists. Also, should something get passed, it would not surprise me in the least that individuals will be taxed for not having insurance. Uncle Sam is always looking to increase their top line numbers.
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 10:44 AM

I've asked Americans quite a few times what their coverage includes and how much they pay but so far I've had nobody tell me their details for some reason. ?
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 10:50 AM

Hi Timo
Thats interesting wonder why?? Obviously it dosent affect me over here. But the whole American system seems very strange to me.
Kevin
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 11:01 AM

Timo, at my last employer, I think the coverage I had was maybe $40.00 per pay period (bi-weekly) for an individual, so roughly $80.00 per month. If I remember correctly, the deductible was $1,500 per year. I think max out of pocket after deductible was met was $3,000 with the co-insurance being 80%/20%. It covered nearly everything (medical, dental, vision, etc.). The company for whom I worked was self-insured. Aetna did the administration/processing. The only thing for which I was ever denied in seven years was a bite-guard to spare my teeth damage from my bruxism. It kind of irked me, but I didn't have time to fight it so I sucked it up. I somehow think that was largely Aetna's doing. All of that was three years ago, so I'm sure that premiums have increased a bit.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 11:08 AM

Quote:

But the whole American system seems very strange to me.




I think that is largely due to so many different insurers offering different plans (level of benefits). I don't know that the number of insurers (unless the government shuts them down) or the variety of plans would change a whole lot. I've seen in the Baucus (Senate Finance) proposal that they want to offer some sort of Silver, Gold, Platinum variety of packages, but that is just setting some sort of coverage levels at varying costs and applying simplistic names and calling it health insurance reform. Such profound ideas from upstanding folks who work 2.5 days a week.
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 12:06 PM

Hi Jay. After you pay your $80/month is everything included like ambulance, surgeries, hospital stays etc? We hear about people getting billed for all types of things in the hospitals in the US but if you are covered, those would be covered as well?
Our overall plan details show that there's a deductible of $65.00 per family per calendar year but I'm not sure exactly where that is implemented. Probably with prescription medicines (some cost lots of money) because I never get any medical bills for anything else during the year. We just go the doc, get tests, go to specialists etc. with no concern about the monetary part of the system.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 01:58 PM

Quote:

You mean benchmarking?



Yes. Like this World Health Organization study from 2006:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/globalhealth/july-dec09/insurance_1006.html

shows some very interesting facts, like that the US average per capita expense is $6719 but in Mexico it is $718, and our average life span is 78 years, compared to their 74

and look at US vs Canada..
Posted by: Grimm

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 03:51 PM

I don't know if Timo wants to know this but here are a few examples from my expenses this month. I do not have insurance.

I had a chest xray that was $41 and I will be billed for the radiologist seperate. The insurance would have been billed much more but the hospital gave me a discount for paying cash.

I had to have blood work done to see about starting a biologic- $750. I could not afford this so I went to a clinic here that is run through the catholic church for the working poor and uninsured. It took 2 days of paperwork and 2 office visits and funding from the tobacco tax here but they did my bloodwork for $71. The clinic is a wonderful place and they did not make me feel like a beggar.

My meds cost $50 a month.

4 months ago the rhuemy I was seeing wanted to have me pay for a CAt scan out of pocket and wanted to put me on Enbrel- out of pocket. He claimed that mtx and ssz did not work for AS and took the word of a radiologist that I had no damage. When I said hey I don't have insurance he refered me to a pain clinic because he couldn't do anything else for me. Do you actually think that would have happened if I had insurance? I don't.

As I have written before my new rhuemy looked at the same xrays and saw that I had fusion, erosion and tons of inflamation AND offered to get me on one of the biologics through the medical assistance from pharm co. and to continue me on the ssz.

So I think that a large part of the problem with healthcare is that many doctors are in the pocket of the big pharm co. and that doctors and hospitals try to get as much money as possible from the insurance companies. It's all about the insurance company money- we are no longer the consumers- they are. They only want healthy people to insure and doctors and hositals want insured people to be able to diagnose with mild but life long disease that requires brand name meds and frequent but easy office visits and lots of expensive tests ie. high cholesterol, gerd, and diabetes. (I know these are real and serious problem but they also are very profitable and require little on the doctors part.) Doctors are either part of a hospital group or an insurance group so they are more worried about what those people think not their patients. Heck our insurance companies even tell us which doctors we can see- talk about conflict of interest. Built in customers no need to perform.

I'm sorry I don't mean to be preachy but the system is messed up and it is definitely not about keeping or getting people healthy.

Anna
Posted by: Angelmom

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 04:50 PM

I don't understand why the insurance companies have to have rules like IF you will use this and that we will give you a discount.

It gets so confusing when you have say my Remicade infusions, just off the top of my head but for the infusion treatment is almost $5000.00 then they charge extra for the needles, gauze, IV's, lines ect around 2 to 300

Then the insurance comes in and says well we will only pay $3000.00 for the treatment and nothing for the extras.

Why can't it just be this is going to be this price and maybe a lower price for people who don't have insurance or going to pay cash.

Lisa
Posted by: Grimm

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 05:20 PM

I don't know Lisa- but it really irks me that everyone BUT the patient gets a say so and makes money, the patient may not even get better. And what is said if the patient stays sick? Nothing or if you are a women you may even be told it is all in your head. HA! drives me nuts!

Anna
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 06:09 PM

So the goal is to have no different plans and no different level of benefits. Equality for all.
Who is against this??
Posted by: Angelmom

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 06:15 PM

Hi Anna,

I agree with you 100% and that is a reason I really, really want people to have an advocate for them especially with older people because they are the ones who get lost in the cracks.

When my Mom was in the hospital for 13 days before she died I had countless confrontations with nurse, therapists even some of the Drs. she had surgery for a broken hip, she had a broken shoulder and we think she suffered a small stroke during surgery and so she didn't know who she was or who we were.

After surgery the physical therapists would come in and say we are going to sit her up, I was like..like crap you are she doesnt even know who she is or where she is at. The dumb lunch lady would bring the lunch menu for her to fill out then would gripe when it wasn't filled out..I was like HELLOOOOO she has no idea where or who she is. I told the nurses do NOT let that woman back in her room or I am going to punch her lights out.

The nurses would come in and try to pull her up by her shoulder HELLOOOO it is broken!!! I said when you come on shift do you not check on your patients and see what is going on with them, their response was we don't have time to go thru every patients file and look at everything, I was like you have got to be kidding me.

After surgery they put her in a regular room, I fought to have her put in ICU and by the next day she was in there.

I have no doubt if me and my Dad had not been there for her she would have died sooner than she did.

The way the hospitals are being ran and the turnover and now they have like the CNN'S and LPN'S do all the grunt work and you hardly see an actual nurse, you push the button and sometimes 30 minutes later I would have to call back and say HELLOOOOO

I am afraid for all of us and our parents and children with the way things are ran today. If you are a patient or have a loved one please make sure they have someone that is there pretty much all the time or take shifts.

I know I got off topic but hey..lol

Lisa
Posted by: Grimm

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 07:20 PM

Lisa it just makes my heart hurt for you when I read what your mom went through. This is absolutely what I was talking about.

There is no competition and no reason for them to strive for excellence or customer service. Why is healthcare like this??? A plumber who doesn't fix your toilet doesn't get paid and doesn't get more business.

Sending warm hugs your way- you have suffered too much.

Anna
Posted by: trudi

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 07:58 PM

I agree... amazing how a doctor makes a mistake and they still get paid AND gets paid again to fix it! My MIL had heart surgery about 8 years ago and they put the wrong valve in it. Had to open her up again the same day to fix it. gah! Double heart surgery!

I had an argument with may daughter's endocrine doc about my method of tx her hashimoto's thyroid problem. She said she wouldn't px her needed growth hormone if I didn't agree with the meds she wanted. I had no choice. Do it her way or walk out. Thankfully, I walked out and a couple months later she agreed to do it my way with no problem this time.

The system is messed up and it appears there is no solution to make everyone happy.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
for whoever asked about details of insurance .... here is what we can choose from:

Insurance options with hubby's work:

$250-300 a month for blue cross & blue shield. I'm not sure what they all cover because we cannot afford it.


$40 a month for dental and it doesn't cover much. For all 7 of us to get a cleaning costs us approx $1000, plus add in about $35 for each filling. They only pay $500 per person for orthodontics (which cost $5000 or so). And all my kids need braces.

~ ~ ~ ~

We are blessed to have military retirement health insurance (which is a govt option) and most employers request we use that instead of their offered insurance. It is free for us up front.

If you go to a doc in their network, they pay 70% we pay 30% plus a copay which is about $20.

my recent example:
my rheumy visit was $375,
insurance paid them 152.78,
they wrote off 171.30
I had to pay $50.92

not bad for me, but looks like the drs lose.

If we don't use a doc in their network, we may have to pay part or all of the bill and we won't know until we get the explanation of benefits after the doc visit. There is no write off with these docs and we get to pay whatever the insurance doesn't pay.


Since I go to a doc that doesn't take insurance, I have to pay upfront. Her visits cost anywhere from $95 - $165 a visit. Blood labs are around $40.

Our px cost is excellent, though. My Celebrex ($200 normally) only costs me $3 - $9. I'm not sure what biologics would cost. I believe they pay most of my daughter's growth hormone therapy and that is about $1500 - $2000 a month.


It all gets so confusing after awhile and we always seem to have bills in the mail.
Posted by: Angelmom

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 08:30 PM

I don't understand how a Dr. can NOT NOT take insurance..that is ludicrous!

How does he make a living, people have to take cash, does he offer some kind of incentive for paying cash?

I know I have heard of some Drs. going to this but they offer a discount for not having to deal with all the insurance paperwork and hassle.

I know if not for our insurance I certainly wouldn't have the luck of getting a biologic, so I am so grateful for that.

We are getting ready to be priced out of insurance. When we start paying for our insurance on Bill's new job it will be $800.00 a month and that is still with a $2500.00 deductible...ptttt!

Lisa
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/11/09 08:50 PM

Timo Many americans have no clue what their heath care insurance costs as the employer covers much of it. For some reason that means it is free to the employee or not to bad. Such flawed logic is common. Health insurance costs are crippling US business from a competitive standpoint against foreign competition that does not pay for employee health care.

My health care is covered by my employer but it cost them $12,000 a year to cover a family of four.

I have a $1,000 deductible and spent that much before any insurance coverage kicks in.

After the $1,000 I pay 30% and my insurance covers 70% until I have paid individually $3,000 or family total of $6,000 out of my pocket. Then my insurance covers all costs.

So this year I will pay $6,000 in health costs and my employer will pay $12,000 to keep me and my family in insurance. Great deal huh and my coverage is considered pretty good around my area.

I have a maximum of 1 million dollars of coverage in my lifetime.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/12/09 03:03 AM

Quote:

So the goal is to have no different plans and no different level of benefits. Equality for all.
Who is against this??



I do fear that the people who are against this...

(besides the people who have been showing up at the town hall meetings with signs and an intent to disrupt the proceedings, who have been directly and indirectly been influenced to do so by corporate interests)

(and besides the people who are against Obama, ignoring at least for the moment the racists, but now talking about members of the Republican party, who think one of the ways to regain power for their party is to try to defeat ANY proposal coming from the Left)

(and also some of our people who have developed a mistrust of our government to actually pull this off)

...are a lot of people who currently have coverage, likely through their employers, and this is a way for them to keep their advantage over the poorer and unemployed people, and ESPECIALLY the minorities and immigrants, who they fear might come to this country in increasing numbers, should things like coverage for people with pre-existing conditions become available-

That's what I think, anyway
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/12/09 07:30 AM

Timo,

Yes, all of that was covered. I'm making an assumption on an ambulance ride since I never took one.

The way it worked was:

• Individual paid annual deductible ($1,500 in my example)

• Then co-insurance kicked in where the individual paid 20% of all subsequent expenses up to the annual out of pocket maximum (in which the deductible is included). Annual out-of-pocket maximum in my example was $3,000.

• After the annual out of pocket maximum is reached, insurance covers 100%
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/12/09 07:44 AM

Quote:

I don't know Lisa- but it really irks me that everyone BUT the patient gets a say so and makes money, the patient may not even get better. And what is said if the patient stays sick? Nothing or if you are a women you may even be told it is all in your head. HA! drives me nuts!

Anna




Personally, I'd like to see outcome based medicine where the physicians are only paid or are only rightfully compensated based on the outcome of the procedures they perform and the medicine they practice. It would be difficult to make this change, but it could be done with the appropriate effort. I know I've tired going to these useless quacks only for them to cause me more problems. That is why I am real careful about the doctors I chose to work with now.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/12/09 08:05 AM

Quote:

I do fear that the people who are against this...

(besides the people who have been showing up at the town hall meetings with signs and an intent to disrupt the proceedings, who have been directly and indirectly been influenced to do so by corporate interests)




You mean the people showing up with signs exercising their right to free speech or do you mean the union thugs that the politicians from the left have brought in to intimidate and employ physical violence against elderly attendees and law abiding citizens?

Quote:

(and besides the people who are against Obama, ignoring at least for the moment the racists, but now talking about members of the Republican party, who think one of the ways to regain power for their party is to try to defeat ANY proposal coming from the Left)




Apparently everybody that is against Obama is a racist. Has nothing to do with his political ideology or the way he runs his administration, huh? The race card is an easy out I suppose.

Quote:

(and also some of our people who have developed a mistrust of our government to actually pull this off)




You can lump me in this category. It doesn't matter if it is a donkey or an elephant in with majority or holding the highest elected office in the nation, they have done nothing to earn my trust.

Quote:

...are a lot of people who currently have coverage, likely through their employers, and this is a way for them to keep their advantage over the poorer and unemployed people, and ESPECIALLY the minorities and immigrants, who they fear might come to this country in increasing numbers, should things like coverage for people with pre-existing
conditions become available-




Oddly enough, I don't have health care coverage, yet I don't want what is being offered right now. I'd like this nation to realize health insurance reform (e.g. pre-existing conditions, holding the insurance cos. feet to the fire so that policy holders can not be dropped via loopholes), but I want as least government interference in my life as possible. I have no problem with individuals of lesser economic means receiving some help with health care and/or health care coverage. Nor am I worried about immigrants coming to this country since their are predetermined quotas on that. Non-resident immigrants should not receive anything from the taxpayer, nor should they have any rights (except basic human rights) while in this country.

One last thing. I thought this topic was doing pretty good about sticking to the issue and not delving into partisan politics. I guess I was wrong.
Posted by: petesimac

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/12/09 09:49 AM

Well said, Dow; we have one amongst us, but free speech is free speech, even if it's misguided, misinformed, and expressed with alterior motives. Nonetheless, we'll get better healthcare despite all of them, and even they will benefit (almost doesn't seem fair). Keep the faith, Dow.
Posted by: 30yrvet

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 09:44 AM

Hey Jay,

Sorry I missed this very interesting thread.. I will put my 2 cents worth in... I agree with you 100% so Pete, you have at least 2 among you, and a good thing too. This country and our northern neighbor would not be anywhere near the free bastions that they are without free speech.

Dean
Posted by: Lon

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 10:09 AM

Anna,
Hi. " I'm sorry I don't mean to be preachy but the system is messed up" Hey. lady, I am a preacher - is that a bad thing?? lol
I love it here.
Posted by: Grimm

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 10:19 AM

Sorry Lon, I meant that as in I was not knowledgable enough to preach about it or anything else much.

You, sir, and your brothers and sisters of the pulpit have my utmost respect.

You also have a pretty great sense of humor- I love you posts!

Anna
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 10:23 AM

Quote:

...but I want as least government interference in my life as possible.




You gotta love the people at the Town Halls yelling "Keep your [**BLEEP**] government hands off my Medicare!" Where do these people come from?

One solution proposed was pretty simple, lower the age of Medicare to 1 year old.
Posted by: Grimm

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 10:43 AM

Sorry to disagree Timo but I think most of those people are retired person's who worked the whole lives, contributed to "the system" and actually believed that "the system would be there when they needed it.

I personally believe that I have contributed to "the system" (social security, unemployment, medicare) since I started work at 14 and now at 43 and unable to work for the last 5 months- I should be allowed to draw unemployment, apply for disability and apply to medicare/medicaid or something for help. I understand that I have to apply so as to keep people from taking advantage. But I do feel that I am allowed to because of my contributions.

I think that maybe people at the town halls are angry because the feel that their contributions will be used for people who have not paid into the system- ie. illegals, people who choose not to work, etc. and that when the time comes that they themselves need it, the money will be gone.
I think they have valid fears- social security alone has gone through several changes from it's original set up.

Unfortunately it is hard to trust a government (current and former) that changes it's tune so often. It is difficult to trust any large institution to have your best interest at heart- just look at banking, hospitals, schools, insurance to name a few.

The town hall explosions are the result of a bigger picture. In my humble opinion- Thank you for your point of view on these weighty issues.

Anna
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 11:15 AM

My point was that the people yelling these things didn't realize that their Medicare was government run. The noise generated by the health insurance industry has been enough to confuse many. They have to protect their shareholders and that's what is important to them, not actual people.
Posted by: Grimm

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 11:21 AM

Well said Timo- I think that is a point that we can all agree on!

All of this makes one wish for Utopia.

Anna
Posted by: DragonSlayer

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 11:57 AM


ugh!

This thread is getting too political and it risks being locked or deleted.

Quote:

misguided, misinformed, and expressed with alterior motives




Did You mean to say posterior motives?

Free speech is what we are allowed to some extent even here, but don't abuse the privilege by being offensive to others, especially when You specifically don't express Your own ideas better than this--otherwise we are certain that You are talking about only about Yourself.

THREE

John
Posted by: petesimac

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 12:02 PM

Quote:



This country and our northern neighbor would not be anywhere near the free bastions that they are without free speech.

Dean




There's something we all can agree with!
Posted by: Lon

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 12:24 PM

Anna,
Just having some fun.
And checking to see if I was invisible or not.
It is nice to have you as part of the fam.
Posted by: 30yrvet

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 12:47 PM

Hey Timo,

I think you may have been swayed by too many of the left leaning news sources. First, those who have been "yelling these things" at the Town Hall meetings are definitely informed. They know that Medicare is run by the government, and they also know that Medicare is poorly run, loaded with fraud, and bankrupt. Also, they know that those of us who own stock in the insurance companies are the villainous stockholders you hear so much about. To whom would you have the doctors or hospitals be responsible? Us, or the Government, who bring us such well run organizations as the post office, Medicare, and Medicaid, the same government that brings you $1,000.00 hammers and toilet seats.

Personally, I would rather my Dr. and I decide on my treatment, not my government or my insurance company. So, if we are going to fix something, we should be concentrating on fixing this: Get those who don’t know beans about medicine out of medical decisions. And that is what the Town Hall folks are yelling about.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 01:51 PM

Timo,

I think these folks are well aware that the government runs Medicare and other programs. My best inclination is that they are leery of the government using the funds meant for health insurance and leaving I.O.U.s much like they have done with our Social Security program (even though that is what SS has always been). As Dean stated, most of the attendees of these town hall meetings are politically engaged and keep close tabs on the actions of these lawmakers.
Posted by: petesimac

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 02:08 PM

Quote:


Personally, I would rather my Dr. and I decide on my treatment, not my government or my insurance company. So, if we are going to fix something, we should be concentrating on fixing this: Get those who don’t know beans about medicine out of medical decisions. And that is what the Town Hall folks are yelling about.




Well, some of them anyway. But that fear is unfounded as nothing in any bill in either house will result in the govt. making medical decisions. The decision is and always will be between you and your doctor. There will be recommendations about what procedures have worked before (hoping to cut down on expensive tests that have failed to work in similar cases), but nothing will DEMAND that doctors follow the panel's advice. And the desire to keep the insurance companies from disallowing or not covering certain tests/procedures will be met with the proposed reform, so you should be happy that reform is coming -- I think you'll like it.

In the end the town halls were very successful, because through the discussion, mostly civil (the media covered only the loud ones), good information was available to those who wanted to hear something beyond fear tactics.
Posted by: 30yrvet

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 02:26 PM

Hi Pete,

Yeah, I should be happy about it. I'm over 60 and will soon need my health insurance covered, but because I'm over 60, when the Gov. says, "don't worry" I worry. When they say that "There will be recommendations about what procedures," I'm pretty sure those recommendations will come with some pretty heavy strings attached. With the insurance industry, if they say I can't have a procedure (or they recommend I don't have a procedure) I can always appeal to a higher authority. That authority may, in fact, be the government. With the Gov. there is no higher authority, so I'm done. And I believe that is what the folks are nervous about. Those of us who managed to live through Vietnam don't always trust the politicians of any party.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 02:32 PM

While the proposed legislation may not interfere in the decision between you and your doctor, it is my interpretation (referring to H.R. 3200) that it doesn't mean that the government will pay for the decision at which you and your doctor arrive. You may want to familiarize/re-familiarize yourself with Sections 122 through 124. I don't think this will be any different than that decision being rejected by an insurance company. The only difference I'm left to wonder about is if you will have the ability to appeal any such rejection. My guess would be no.
Posted by: petesimac

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 08:14 PM

Quote:

Hi Pete,

Yeah, I should be happy about it. I'm over 60 and will soon need my health insurance covered, but because I'm over 60, when the Gov. says, "don't worry" I worry. When they say that "There will be recommendations about what procedures," I'm pretty sure those recommendations will come with some pretty heavy strings attached. With the insurance industry, if they say I can't have a procedure (or they recommend I don't have a procedure) I can always appeal to a higher authority. That authority may, in fact, be the government. With the Gov. there is no higher authority, so I'm done. And I believe that is what the folks are nervous about. Those of us who managed to live through Vietnam don't always trust the politicians of any party.




First and foremost, thank you for your service; it is very much appreciated. And I hope you know that I really mean that.

But to get to your point, don't let your fears distort reality. It's obviously human to fear the unknown and yes, nothing is written in stone about the final form of the bill, but the end result of what the administration wants is for less interference from insurance companies; all those horror stories about them refusing coverage for vital exams and procedures are why reform is needed and why they're trying to pass it.

I know you want what's best for this country and I hope you know that we do as well; I'm hoping you'll be pleasantly surprised by the final form of the legislation and that it does what was promised (who knows anymore thanks to having so many cooks in the kitchen). But anything has to be better than what we have now, which for me is no insurance at all thanks to our wonderful disease -- no one will cover me and I don't qualify for Medicaid, so I definitely need help.

Hang in there, and let's hope the politicians get this done right, both sides.
Posted by: petesimac

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 08:26 PM

Quote:

While the proposed legislation may not interfere in the decision between you and your doctor, it is my interpretation (referring to H.R. 3200) that it doesn't mean that the government will pay for the decision at which you and your doctor arrive. You may want to familiarize/re-familiarize yourself with Sections 122 through 124. I don't think this will be any different than that decision being rejected by an insurance company. The only difference I'm left to wonder about is if you will have the ability to appeal any such rejection. My guess would be no.




Well, that's the House bill and not the final version of the bill, but if you are correctly interpreting the language, then I wonder under what conditions something would be denied -- obviously cosmetic surgery shouldn't be covered unless it's due to an injury; perhaps that might be the reason for including such limits.

I know it's easy to assume the worst about the wording in legislation, but assuming that the bill is actually designed to make things better than they are now (and not some conspiracy to make life worse for Americans -- not that you are doing that, by the way), I think the wording is probably there for a good reason. But that's the kind of thing that should be debated in Congress, and I'm sure it will be as the bills make their way through both Houses.

We all know that the govt. can screw things up pretty good, especially with so many bureaucrats in the way, but this country is still pretty damned nice, and when well-meaning people try to do something good, I like to give them the opportunity to try and do it. So we'll see what happens.

I know you want what's best for the country and for it's citizens (and I appreciate that), and I hope you know that I feel the same way.

Peace
Posted by: jessxo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 10:42 PM

Dear Timo,

Thank you so much for sharing this information about your supplemental insurance. It is eye opening to see this -- and brings into focus all the more how much we Americans are "suffering" in the current situation.

For instance, my son was diagnosed with severe articulation disorder, aka, nobody could understand him as a toddler/preschooler. He has profound issues with speech. I work for a pharma company and get "good" insurance, but though they paid for the diagnostic visit, our HMO simply refused to pay for therapy recommended (3 times a week at $90 per session) because they saw this as an "educational" issue. So, we clearly could not afford this and felt like terrible parents, so we searched for a solution and I ended up treking to a state university and worked with the grad students at a reduced rate, and when that became too much (25 mi. each way, a long walk on campus with 4 yr old and 18 month old in dead of NJ winter), we gave it up, and he suffered socially until he entered the school system at 5 and began to receive the services "free" and improve... Now at 7 he is cured, thank goodness, but would have been nice if we and his peers could have communicated with him earlier on... Why didn't he deserve treatment for this? The speech pathologist said there is no known cause, some kids just develop this way. We didn't mess up as parents, but clearly, this was something "in him"... how could it be educational????!!!!!

Anyway, I know I digress, but it is so astounding to see how these services, like RN and natropath are covered for you under this plan, and for us, I am not aware such insurance even exists... It's a pity, and many Americans don't recognize it, which leads me to tremendous frustration.

But thanks all the same, I learned a little bit more from you today Timo.

Jess
Posted by: jessxo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/13/09 11:31 PM

We hear often about all the trouble faced by US doctors-- lawsuits and malpractice insurance, and from what I can see, I suspect physicians are suffering by being forced to overpay for mal-p insurance to the point of some being forced out of practice (for example, shortage of OB-GYNs in NJ). That said, I wonder about the validity of this myth of widespread problems with enormous payouts for frivolous lawsuits, so I would really love to see data on this-- What is paid into mal-p insurance cos., what is paid out to patients, what is happening with all these supposed cases where people are being awarded these big, ridiculous and undeserved awards that patients are getting away with being 'overcompensated' for, and who are these judges and juries perpetuating this? I think I will look into this and share my findings here. Maybe starting with snopes.com....

Funny, I saw a lawyer some years ago on a malpractice consultation, and he told me that the doctors almost always win, mostly because there is an unwritten code where one dr won't testify against another.

Sadly, a friend of mine had an endometrial surgery to help her to conceive. The doctor of the illustrious clinic screwed up and punctured her uterus and quickly cauterized it. She was later told the clinic had not been equipped to handle this situation, and that she almost had to be rushed to the hospital, but luckily, they were able to get in there and take care of it... terrific...She wanted so very badly to be a mother, and was willing to go through extraordinary measures. So, after some time, she underwent invitro by the same acclaimed doctor, and was blessed and became pregnant with twins daughters. At 24 1/2 weeks, her uterus burst and her twins were delivered by emergency c-section weighing at about 1 lb. each, barely. What happened? Her uterus had burst right where he had cauterized it. She was later told by the doctor who performed her c-section that her uterus was like "tissue paper, in many pieces" and the babies were floating in her abdominal cavity when they were abruptly delivered. She was told she most likely would never carry another child. The babies went through hell, and about 4-5 weeks after they were born, one of her tiny daughters died. Today her surviving daughter is a beautfiul, smart, healthy miracle, but what about the big hole in this mother's heart that will never be filled, and the fact that she was robbed, and now cannot have more children? To my knowledge, she was unable to secure any medical expert testify on her behalf.

I am so sorry for this situation, and so she should have gotten money, for the doctor's mistake cost her a child and her ability to have more. And by grace of God, her daughter is healthy, but many preemies this small are not so lucky. It sickens me. And we Americans are fed propoganda about tort reform.

How about the issues of insurers having inherent conflict of interest to only insure healthy people. It is sad and ridiculous what has happened here. My husband says it started under Nixon, that I can't say, but I can say it is broken and I pray for a solution.

Just my 2 cents.... Jess
Posted by: Angelmom

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 12:33 AM

I have had the chance for this situation to hit close to home.

My husbands sister has 2 girls (our nieces) who are both in college right now and both will graduate with honors in 3 years instead of the typical 4.

They all came for a visit about a month ago and these beautiful girls have both decided to become Drs. the younger one wants to be a Dentist and the older wants to be an OB-Gyn. While we were talking to her the subject of malpratice insurance came up and I told her that I had read that on the average now Dr.s are paying a staggering $170,000 a year JUST for malpractice insurance. I told her that is something to think about.

Im not sure if it is like that for just specialty Docs that maybe they have a bigger chance of messing up as far as say surgery ect...or if that is pretty much accross the board.

If I had thought today I would have asked my Immunologist about it and seen if his malpratice insurance is thru the roof.

I do know that I have read over and over again that this is forcing wonderful Drs. right out of their practices and making it to where we have less and less Drs. to keep up with demand.

I hope to goodness that someone can come up with something to take care of this.

Lisa
Posted by: wolverinefan

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 04:59 AM

Quote:

If a man does not/ did not work why should he be guaranteed insurance?





Frankly, I'm shocked that anyone in this forum would ask this question, Lon. So many people with AS can't work, some from a very young age, meaning they were not able to pay much into the Social Security system or build up any other kind of insurance equity. And you honestly feel people like that should not be guaranteed some kind of health insurance? Really? I'm sorry, that seems a rather callous attitude given what so many of us here go through and now about how big medicine works (or rather, doesn't). Why should someone who hasn't worked be guaranteed insurance? Quite simply because access to healthcare should be a right that is guaranteed to every human being in this country or any other, period. I find it shameful to view access to healthcare in any other way. And before you ask, no, I don't know how to make that happen, and I don't know if any plan out there right now is one that could achieve that goal in a way that makes sense. I do know that other countries have managed to make this happen and thus, there has to ultimately be a way to make it happen here in the United States.

Quote:

For 35 years I have visited people in hospitals who have never had insurance, who have never paid their bills but are taken care of by our society. We have problems, but we have always taken care of our sick.




Again, I have to disagree with you here, Lon. I just do not feel this is true, or even close to true. In every region of our country today, be it an inner city neighborhood that has been devastated by the loss of manufacturing jobs, or a small Appalachian town where jobs have always been hard to come by, there are millions of people who have no meaningful access to the the healthcare they need to live truly healthy lives. I need only look to one of my best friends to know this. He used to manage a large bookstore and earned a near-six-figure salary. However, his store was downsized, and he suddenly lost that job. Since then, he has applied for dozens, if not hundreds, of retail jobs and managed to land only one, which lasted only six months before that store cut back staff. After almost a year unemployed--and with no healthcare coverage--he finally found a job as a security guard that pays $10 an hour with no insurance. Since losing the bookstore job, he has had several sinus infections, colds, and at least one bout of the flu; he also suffers from chronic back pain. Since he makes barely enough to live on--and would not make enough if he was not able to live rent-free at his parents home (he's in his 30s and is ashamed he has to do this)--and gives almost all the money he does make to provide for the care of his 2-year-old son, he can never afford to go to the doctor when he is sick. Well, I think he did go once when he was so sick he could barely function, and then he went just because it was the only way he could get a script for the antibiotics he knew he needed. Other than that, nothing. He can't afford it, period, and there are no free clinics that we know of in this area.

He has checked with the county-level social services agency and been told that he makes far too much money to qualify for their healthcare assistance programs--at $10 an hour!!--because most of those programs are designed to help those at the poverty level and below. In a nutshell, he is basically screwed because he has decided to work at a low-paying job that offers no insurance. In all honesty, he would be better off if he simply sat home and remained unemployed. Then he would be in that poverty zone and would qualify for a number of government programs. Of course, then he would be labeled a lazy, no-good freeloader who is content to live off of decent Americans hard-earned tax money (read this with dripping sarcasm to get the full effect) when he is completely able-bodied and able to hold down a job. I mean, what a leech, just sitting there living off the government dole.

Can you not see the absurdity of this situation? Can you not see how people like my friend, and millions like him working these $10 an hour or less) jobs, or even working two of these jobs at a time if they are "lucky" enough to make that happen, are being penalized by this ridiculous catch-22? Everything I've written here about my friend's situation is the truth and an exact representation of the absurdities he's encountered since losing his bookstore job. How can a system that actually rewards people for not working--when it comes to healthcare anyhow--not be completely broken and in need of massive changes? We absolutely are NOT "taking care of our sick," and there is not enough charity or generosity in the world to cover the healthcare costs of the millions of people caught in this working-poor trap. Free clinics are almost nonexistent here in metro Detroit, so few and far between that they cannot even remotely meet the needs of everyone who cannot afford to pay for even basic care. Yes, churches and other charities meet some of the burden, but that amount has dwindled to a tiny portion of the whole since the economy tanked. What these folks face has nothing to do with how generous a country we are, or how much charitable giving people can handle. Those people you've visited in the hospital for the past 35 years are the lucky ones, Lon, but more and more, they are the minority. What you aren't seeing in those hospitals are the increasingly overwhelming number of people who simply do not have access to the kind of charity care you encounter in your visits. Is there any rational way to say that those people do not deserve the exact same level of care as those who were lucky enough to receive the charitable assistance? Too many people are falling through the cracks today, cracks that have become Grand Canyon-sized craters. The system is broken at its most fundamental levels and needs to be fixed sooner, rather than later.

Brad
Posted by: wolverinefan

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 05:17 AM

Quote:

Our health care industry is the envy of the civilized world, and there are people outside the US that are wondering why we want to change it. We are trying to fix something that isn't broken.




Dean, do you honestly believe that our system isn't broken? That stuns me. While yes, we might have access to the best technology money can buy in our healthcare system, and we have more money being spent on medical research than other countries, I'm afraid that saying our healthcare system is the envy of the civilized world is not even remotely true anymore. Yes, they envy our state of the art hospitals , unparalleled resources, and large number of doctors that practice here, but as far as how we treat people and the way that only people who have insurance have access to that amazing quality healthcare, well, in that regard, we are an international laughingstock. Other nations look at us and wonder how it is that the most powerful, and perhaps wealthiest, country in the world lets tens of millions of people live without insurance--that is, live without access to basic healthcare. How is it that this great nation with its amazing medical industry has an infant mortality rate that ranked 29th in the world in 2008? Socioeconomic factors such as lifestyle choices, teen pregnancy rates, etc. certainly play a part in that mortality rate, but so too does a lack of access to prenatal care and basic healthcare services.

What the U.S. healthcare system does well, it does better than any country in the world--that is irrefutable. But until everyone has at least basic access to that system, to say it is not broken is equally indefensible, in my opinion.

Brad
Posted by: wolverinefan

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 05:34 AM

Look, I live in Detroit, and let's not even start with this nonsense about what happened the other day at the forum where people were supposed to find out about potential government help with utility bills, etc. Sure, it's easy to mock people because so many people showed up and because the stress of waiting in line for hours cause some to lose their temper and unruly behavior to break out. It's even easier to mock people like the woman who was interviewed and said she was there to get her "Obama money." Is that statement ridiculous? Of course it is. Does it change the fact that the unemployment rate here in Detroit is nearly 30 percent--read that number again, folks--and that people are so desperate for ANY kind of help keeping their homes and feeding their children that they would stand in line with 20,000 other people for an entire day just for a chance at one of 3,400 vouchers that would provide a small amount of relief?

It's so easy to laugh at those people, to mock them, to think that they are just out to live off the government dole and are ready to get into fistfights to get their free handouts. And yet the vast majority of Americans are, what, two or three missed paychecks away from being desperate themselves? Why are so many so quick to judge those that were in that crowd in Detroit without knowing a single thing about them? Everyone sees the news stories, many of which were slanted to make the people there look as bad as possible because, hey, that's good television, and instantly think they know exactly what's going on, that those lazy bums and freeloaders saw another way to live large off the government, and yet nothing could be further from the truth. Go ahead, laugh at those people if it makes you feel better. But before you do, think about just how close you or other family members might be to standing in that exact same line with 20,000 of your neighbors, your dignity in shreds, all so you can hopefully get some kind, any kind, of relief for your family.

If you'd like to read an excellent story about what happened in Detroit that day, a story that explains what I just touched on in a far more eloquent way, please read this article from Laura Berman from last Sunday's Detroit News. Maybe then people here won't be quite so quick to mock people for being desperate and angry.

Rush-ing to Judgment: National Commentators Don't Understand Detroit's Plight

Brad
Posted by: wolverinefan

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 05:43 AM

Quote:

I've asked Americans quite a few times what their coverage includes and how much they pay but so far I've had nobody tell me their details for some reason. ?




Because it is literally different for every single person, Timo. There is simply no stock way to answer that question. Right now, I pay $505 a month for my COBRA coverage, but my COBRA is not the same as the COBRA that another person might be paying the exact same amount for. That is because COBRA is an extension of the insurance you had when you were working--ie, private insurance provided to employees by an employer--and thus each person has different insurance because every company offers different insurance. My company offered an exceptional insurance package that includes an option that pays 100 percent of my expenses once I meet a $250 deductible for the year. Well, 100 percent as long as I stay in their health network--if I stray outside that network (which IS very large), I get hit with huge bills. Also, I do have a constant deductible on all prescriptions that ranges from $10 to $75 per prescription, depending on what type of drug it is. Another person also paying $505 for their COBRA might not have nearly the same coverage I do solely because their employer offered a different policy, one that covered far less than my insurance did.

The bottom line is my first sentence--insurance is different for every person here. Using my COBRA coverage was just one type of example of this.

Brad
Posted by: wolverinefan

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 05:47 AM

Quote:

So the goal is to have no different plans and no different level of benefits. Equality for all.
Who is against this??




You'd be surprised, Timo, you'd be surprised.

Brad
Posted by: fyrfytr187

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 06:51 AM

Good Morning Timo

As I have said before I am also on COBRA. Carry on the insurance from my last employer. For Carol and I, we pay $630/mo. This is for hospital, medical, and prescription meds only. And with that there is a $20 copay at every doctor appointment, and a copay on meds that must be purchased in 90 day quantities from the insurance company's pharmacy. This runs from $20-$100 depending on the med and whether a generic is available. COBRA is a limited time coverage to fill a gap between becoming unemployed/uninsured and finding a new insurance carrier.

There seems to be a misconception, even among others in the US that Medicaid is a free pass for everyone to get healthcare. Not True! In my own case, Carol works a part time job for minimum wage. Her employer does offer insurance that is so poor that he doesn't carry it himself. This will cost her approx. $325/month once the COBRA runs out. She cannot receive Medicaid because she makes "too much money". I cannot go on her employer's insurance due to the AS. So my choices are to find a private carrier that will accept me with AS, an impossible task. Or go to Medicaid. If I go with the Medicaid, because of Carol's income I will have an approx. $350/month "Spend Down". In other words every month, the first $350 comes out of my pocket. Also Enbrel is not covered, which isn't a big deal since my rheumatologist does not accept Medicaid. So once COBRA has ran its course I wind up paying more money for much less coverage than I currently have. There are other state run options for low income households but they cost even more than this.

I would whole heartedly support a government based insurance plan if they could pull it off. And even pay another $60 to extend that coverage as yo have. The problem here is that our leaders, regardless of party lines, are in bed with big insurance, and big business. So they aren't going to slap the hands of the people that put them in office. So we get a social insurance that benefits the insurance companies and healthcare companies, not the public at large.
Posted by: fyrfytr187

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 07:18 AM

Dow,

At least from my standpoint I disagree. Yes I am a Republican and have held a job and paid taxes and social security since I was 13, however now I am not working due to my AS and its related complications. And I am paying my own way on COBRA insurance for the time being. And I never held my insurance policy over the head of anyone, rich or poor, citizen or alien. I do feel that to be covered by an insurance that no doubt we the people will be paying for, that you should at least be a citizen or legal visitor to the US.

I am not against the general issue of having a national health insurance. I am against having one pushed onto us that we know so little about, and how it will be financed and for how much. I would feel this way regardless of the party in charge. There are so many spins on what this plan covers and doesn't cover and where the money will come from to fund it, does anybody really know what we are getting? The plan on paper looks like a NYC phone book. Just give us the facts and let the people decide.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 08:15 AM

Replace Detroit with Baltimore or Atlanta or Sacramento. My statement was not about the folks of Detroit, but rather about people that game the system and the exercise (the handout) that was carried out. Personally, I see something far more dangerous happening there (no, not a Detroit-related problem), but that is not fodder for this forum. There are some folks everywhere that game the system. It shouldn't have been anything that was construed as personal toward the citizens of the city in which you reside. I can appreciate your going on the defense. I likely would have regarding the folks of my native city too.

Your right, I don't know a darn thing about the folks that stood in line to receive help. However, understand this. I don't mock people or laugh at them or their hardships. I've had too many health related hardships (not just AS) in my life to want to make fun or make fun of anyone's hardships. I've also received plenty of help from others in my life. Heck, right now I live with my parents since having to discontinue my job due to health related matters.

I also find agreement with you that the news media will find whatever they believe is most entertaining to their viewers/listeners/readers instead of reporting facts. They interject with politically biased opinions and creative editing to sway the audience instead of letting the viewer/listener/reader interpret the facts and draw their own conclusion.
Posted by: 30yrvet

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 08:16 AM

Quote:

But anything has to be better than what we have now, which for me is no insurance at all thanks to our wonderful disease -- no one will cover me and I don't qualify for Medicaid, so I definitely need help.




Hey Pete,

That makes it personal, and a personal argument wins me most of the time. I have to ask myself, "is there some way I can help Pete?" The answer is, unfortunately, no. I can only hope that our often times less than gifted gov officials will produce a piece of legislation that won't bankrupt our country and/or me. We are already spending way too much money on way to many things the Gov. should not be involved in, so this could, in fact, be the load of bricks that breaks the camel's back.

Dean

PS, thanks for the Thanks Pete, but I couldn't serve in the armed forces. I volunteered for the Navy and Air force, and then went to the army when drafted, but none of them would have me. Something about having a bad back. Heheh
Posted by: 30yrvet

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 08:35 AM

Quote:


What the U.S. healthcare system does well, it does better than any country in the world--that is irrefutable. But until everyone has at least basic access to that system, to say it is not broken is equally indefensible, in my opinion.

Brad




Hey Brad,

Thanks for your opinion. I have learned over the years I've been on KickAS to value it highly. However, it is your opinion. The facts are as you stated, the US has a healthcare system that is the envy of the world. The law in any state I've ever lived in is that no one can be refused treatment because they can't afford it. That could be different in Michigan, but I somehow doubt it. You are right, though. If someone does not avail themselves of the services, they won't get treated. And, they may not be first in line, but we are a generous nation, and we will not refuse medical care to anyone. That's the Law.

Dean
Posted by: petesimac

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 09:07 AM

Quote:


PS, thanks for the Thanks Pete, but I couldn't serve in the armed forces. I volunteered for the Navy and Air force, and then went to the army when drafted, but none of them would have me. Something about having a bad back. Heheh




Oops, there I go again not reading carefully; I thought you had said that you were in the Vietnam War. Anyway, thanks for trying to serve, lol; your heart was definitely in the right place. And thanks to all who serve and protect this great country!
Posted by: jessxo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 10:35 AM

Wow Brad, I very much agree with you, and have sincere sympathy for your friend.

My own mother is in this 'working poor' group, and in NJ she does better as she has a job that pays a slightly more livable wage (about 14/hr).

Six years ago when she was living in Florida, the only jobs available to her were day labor in cleaning up construction sites or doing landscaping at the golf courses at slighly over 5 dollars an hour, all with no health insurance of course. And all of her friends in neighbors were in the same sand trap. They had each other and not much more. She watched a very good friend of hers die of ovarian cancer caught late and basically untreatable, this poor woman never had a chance. So sad.

Shame on America for looking right over these people's heads to the middle class and never taking the time to solve this from the bottom up.

Jess
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 10:40 AM

Quote:

We are already spending way too much money on way to many things the Gov. should not be involved in




As far as I know, the goal of this health legislation is to lower costs. Check out this chart

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Canada

where the US is spending 16%, the most, on healthcare costs as a percentage to GDP. If it was possible to lower that by 5% the savings would be enormous and the legislators know that.
I would hope this is an unloading of bricks for all Americans.
Posted by: jessxo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 11:34 AM

Hi There,

I do have some knowledge about pricing of Rx drugs and fraud. If anybody feels like reading up, this is a very interesting case from about 10 years ago where TAP got caught red handed giving kick-backs and "marketing the spread"

http://www.phillipsandcohen.com/CM/NewsSettlements/TAP_Oct3_2001.asp

http://healthcenter.bna.com/pic2/hc.nsf/id/BNAP-548LJ8

Then Lilly

http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/pae/News/Pr/2009/jan/lillyrelease.pdf

And more recently, Pfizer

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125190160702979723.html

http://www.miamiherald.com/business/breaking-news/story/1216716.html

A lot has been put in place since to deter these conflicts of interest, both legally (OIG) and regulatorily (FDA) and also by the industry groups like PHRMA and AMA.

http://www.mwe.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/...BDF6D8CB25E.cfm

As a regulatory person whose job it is to help companies do the right thing, this is very sad for me to see. More info coming....

Jess
Posted by: jessxo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 11:39 AM

OK, so here is some more information about rx drug pricing. Below is a synopsis of the rule that was put into place by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) because companies were intentionally manipulating their product prices in different "lists" and "marketing the spread".....

OIG Integrity of Data and Government Reimbursement

The Guidance warns pharmaceutical companies against directly or indirectly manipulating sales and price data. The Guidance suggests that pharmaceutical manufacturers may be held responsible for the average wholesale prices (AWP) reported by private publishers such as the Red Book, the Blue Book or Medispan, whose listings are based on price data furnished by manufacturers. Because the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) uses this published data to set federal reimbursement rates, manipulation of pricing information furnished to private publishers can inappropriately increase government health care spending. CMS also relies on pharmaceutical manufacturers to report the average manufacturer price (AMP) and Medicaid best price (MBP) for each drug for purposes of the Medicaid Drug Rebate program. The AMP is the average price at which a manufacturer sells a product, other than to federal purchasers and state drug assistance programs. The MBP is the lowest price paid by a manufacturer’s customers, excluding certain specified purchasers. CMS uses AMP and BMP data to calculate the 15.1 percent rebates that manufacturers must pay to state Medicaid programs under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Act. Moreover, many Medicaid programs and commercial insurance companies use the reported AWPs as a benchmark in setting pharmaceutical reimbursement rates.

To avoid liability under the False Claims Act and federal Anti-Kickback Statute for AWP or AMP manipulation, the Guidance indicates that reported prices should reflect actual wholesale price transactions adjusted to account for all forms of purchasing concessions. These concessions may take the form of price reductions, discounts, rebates, up-front payments, free or discounted "bundled" goods or services, grants, coupons or other items of value.

As in the draft guidance, the final Guidance expresses concern regarding active marketing of the "spread" by pharmaceutical companies. The "spread" is the difference between the wholesale price of the manufacturer and the reimbursement rate recoverable by the purchaser. "Marketing the spread" refers to the practice of encouraging product purchases based on the potential profit that customers can realize from the spread in relation to similar margins on competing brand-name or generic drugs. AWP manipulation in conjunction with marketing the spread (i.e., acting to inflate profits to drug purchasers) would appear to be particularly suspect conduct in the view of the OIG. The Guidance describes it as evidence of "unlawful intent."

The Guidance also indicates that the federal Anti-Kickback Statute is potentially implicated when manufacturers manipulate the AWP to increase customer profits from federal drug reimbursement programs. The Guidance, however, does not clarify how to accurately calculate an AWP, an issue of debate within the industry. In addition, though the Guidance states that "marketing considerations" should not "inappropriately" influence AWP reporting by manufacturers, it is not clear what "inappropriately" means in this context. Manufacturers by definition must consider marketing and profitability in the course of setting prices. On the other hand, inaccurate reporting of wholesale price sales for purposes of manipulating AWP is clearly improper in the view of the OIG. What is not entirely clear is whether the OIG views marketing the spread alone, in the absence of AWP manipulation by the manufacturer, as potentially involving the offering of illegal "remuneration" under the Anti-Kickback statute.
Posted by: wolverinefan

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 03:27 PM

Quote:

She cannot receive Medicaid because she makes "too much money".




Hi Chris,

This is exactly the point I made in one of my earlier posts where I told the story about my good friend who is making $10 an hour as a security guard (a job that does not offer healthcare benefits, of course). While he is thrilled to have this job and to be working after a year-and-a-half period where he was employed for only about six months due to retail downsizing (he was a bookstore manager then worked at a large hardware chain for about 6 months), taking the job absolutely meant he would be making too "much" money to qualify for any state or country social services programs, including any kind of subsidized healthcare plans they might offer, or for any federal programs, including Medicaid. His fiancee is my ex-wife, a Canadian citizen, and they have a 2-year-old child together (a miracle baby--she had been told by several doctors she could never have children, so please, no comments from anyone reading this about the irresponsibility they showed by having a child when their economic situation was in shambles). For a time they were able to afford renting a house here in the States and lived as a family, but once he lost the hardware job, he was unemployed for about 8 months and they lost their rental home.

With both unemployed (more on this in a moment), they could have qualified for some programs here in the United States. Well, my friend and their son could have--my ex cannot ever qualify for Medicaid or state health insurance programs unless she becomes a U.S. citizen; a green card is not enough to qualify for these programs. If they had needed help when she was pregnant, she would have been able to receive assistance with neonatal nutrition, etc., and I'm sure they could have found a charity hospital where they could have had the baby for free. Luckily, they did have some money still during almost the entire pregnancy, and plus, I was still carrying her on my insurance (and paying for it), as we were only separated then, not divorced (a situation I've explained here at KA many times and don't care to go into again unless totally necessary). With my excellent insurance, her pregnancy was totally covered; immediately after the birth, we started the divorce process and were legally divorced several months later. At that time, she had no ability to get ANY insurance in the U.S. due to her lack of citizenship and her inability to work--a key point I left out. She has very serious chronic health problems of her own: incredibly serious and nearly debilitating Type 1 adult onset diabetes (the really, really bad type of diabetes that mostly begins when you're a child; it is very rare to come down with this as an adult) and the worst case of degenerative disc disease her spinal doctor had ever seen. More on her working in a moment.

Anyhow, with no money, no job on the horizon, and no health insurance, they had to make a very tough decision. For the past 8-10 months (maybe longer, I'm horrible with dates and memory!), my friend has lived here in the States with his parents so he can keep his job, while she and their son have returned to Canada to live with her parents. Luckily, her parents live only an hour or so from the U.S. border, either through Port Huron/Sarnia or the ferry at Algonac. While I know many folks have it even worse and can't fall back on their parents like this and thus end up homeless, that does NOT mean this has been a good solution. Their separation has torn them apart and left their engagement in doubt, as they are constantly struggling to have enough money to take care of their son and their own basic needs. It's hard having a long-distance relationship in the best of circumstances, and nearly impossible when such harsh economic realities loom over them 24/7 and affect every aspect of their lives. Even though she knows he is working 8-12 hours a day at least five days a week on second shift, she sometimes can't help herself and becomes resentful of him because she must provide single-parent care (ie, constant care, a state many in KA experience daily, I know, as I know we have our fair share of single parents here) for at least those 5 days; as their son grows older and heavier, it becomes harder and harder for her to take care of him, play with him, etc. She has her mother and father there helping out a great deal, but unfortunately, her family has some big issues of its own that is putting an enormous amount of stress on my ex over and above her own stressful situation. It is just a terrible, terrible situation, trust me. And it was all brought into being because my friend was "downsized" and there are so few retail job openings for someone with managerial experience and a great work record that he has been forced to take whatever he could to survive.

Which brings us full circle back to the original point: By doing the right thing and busting his a** at a $10/hour job--at which he has already been shot at once, BTW--he moves his family well above the poverty line at which people can receive access to healthcare and other social services programs. Honestly, it would be better for the three of them if he quit his job and, at least temporarily, lived off the various government housing and healthcare programs, among others. They could probably all live together here in the States in subsidized housing, something that would no doubt reduce the terrible tension in their relationship. However, like many here and throughout every country in the world, he is a proud, able-bodied man in his 30s who wants to work and who prides himself on his strong work ethic; the idea of living on welfare is simply anathema to him and something he cannot bring himself to do as long as he can find A job of almost any kind that at least pays enough to provide the basic essentials for his family.

But wait! I know some of you must be saying, "Hey, you mentioned your ex is Canadian and is once again living in Canada--doesn't she now requalify for the wonderful Canadian system we hear so much about?" Well, yes and no. Because her son was born to a Canadian and a U.S. citizen (in the States), he has dual citizenship and can receive coverage in Canada. She thought that all she had to do to reinstate her OHIP coverage in Ontario was visit the proper provincial government offices and re-establish her residency in Canada, and in a way that was true. She had filled out all the paper work and was ready to turn it in, but when she did, the government employee told her, "OK, all I need now is your green card--to receive your Canadian benefits once again, you have to relinquish your green card." WTH? The only reason the employee even knew she had a green card was because it had come up in casual conversation as she did the paperwork--she had no way of knowing that information was dangerous! Of course she did not turn in her papers that day, as she had to think about this enormous decision. It didn't take her long to realize that once all things were taken into account, she simply could NOT lose her green card. For starters, once the economy is better and her guy gets a better job (it WILL happen, I pray every night for that), they fully intend to live in the States again. FYI, she is doing nothing illegal by keeping the green card she earned by marrying me, either. We were married for more than 12 years, which is long enough for her to even remain in the States living on her own after the divorce, even if she had never met her current fiance and never had a child. (What I'm saying here is that by giving birth to a child in the U.S.--a child that is automatically a U.S. citizen for being born on U.S. soil--and ultimately marrying another U.S. citizen, she would have had those new ways to "re-qualify" for her green card very soon after our divorce. However, immigration law is such that she did not need ANY of that stuff to happen to stay here at least until the current 10- or 12-year period on her green card wore out. At least I think that is the time period, although there is a chance she is actually at the point where she was here and married to me long enough to qualify for a lifetime green card--either way, she it was totally ok for her to stay over here if wanted. I just wanted to be very clear on a point that maybe wasn't apparent from my original statement.)

Above and beyond wanting to live here again in the future, there is the simple fact that having the card makes it much easier for her to go back and forth between the U.S. and Canada so she can spend some time with her ex and son over here (although most weekends, he goes over there). It's easier to cross the border, and she doesn't have to worry about being pulled at the border to face tough questions about how long she was in the U.S., did she have any receipts to prove how long she was there, etc. Bottom line, the green card is far too valuable for her to give up, too high a price to pay for even something as important as the healthcare coverage she needs desperately. Thus, thanks to this horrible economy, she faces this unbelievably difficult decision--go for the short-term gain of giving up the card so she can receive the low or no-cost healthcare that she desperately needs, or do the smarter long-term thing and keep the card so that it will be easy for the three of them to live together as a family again once things do settle down. Quite a price to pay for keeping the card, no? Luckily, by living in Canada, she has at least received assistance from the Canadian division of the company that makes her insulin pump, as they provide her with a decent quarterly stipend with which she can pay for her insulin and her test strips and pump equipment (which must be changed regularly and is quite expensive--I know because I was paying for that equipment in the months since we've been divorced because I told her I would ALWAYS provide as much help as I could for her, her fiancee [because he is my good friend now too--it's odd, I know! ]--and their son when it came to medicine or other health needs, which I still do).

Oh, I also said earlier I would revisit her unemployment status due to her health issues. Despite being in enormous pain every day due to her DDD, and despite her sometimes wildly unpredictable adult-onset Type 1 diabetes that has landed her in the hospital several times even though she monitors her sugar religiously, she did apply for and land a job working at a Tim Horton's in her hometown. She never would have even received an application to fill out if not for the fact that her mother used to work at that Tim Horton's and was friendly with the shop's owners. She managed to keep the job for about four months--never calling in sick once--until a few months ago when she was hit by a very mysterious, and very serious, infection that nearly killed her twice. This infection wreaked havoc on her entire immune system and caused nearly crippling pain throughout much of her body, but even worse was the fact that just about every infection can cause a diabetics sugar to suddenly go completely haywire and either skyrocket into the 600s (seriously) or plummet to 40 or lower; sometimes, the high and low would happen on the same day! The first time this hit, she asked her mother to take her to the hospital, but her mom told her she was positive that it was only the flu or a bad cold and there was no reason for her to go to the hospital. Finally, almost 24 hours later, she convinced her mother that something very serious was wrong and she did go to the ER. There, she had confirmed what she already knew, which is that she was deep into ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis occurs when the body does not have enough insulin and it begins breaking down fat to get the energy it needs. If there is no fat left, the body turns to muscles, etc. and begins breaking those down. Once the body begins breaking down fat, large numbers of ketones are produce, which can quickly cause a diabetic coma and even death. When my ex reaches the ER that night, her doctor quickly diagnosed the problem and took steps to stabilize her. Once that was accomplished, she told my ex that if she had waited just two more hours to come to the hospital, it was almost certain she would have been dead--it was THAT serious.

Anyhow, she spent several days in the ICU following that infection and keroacidosis and had to take huge doses of antibiotics at home once she was discharged (luckily they were available in generic and very cheap). Eventually she appeared to fight off the infection, which doctors never were able to pin down and assign a name or cause--frankly, they were baffled by the symptoms she displayed and just how this infection was acting in her body. When she felt better, she returned to work as soon as she felt strong enough. It should be noted that this was after her family doctor, who she saw as part of her hospital after-care, told her that he would never approve of her returning to work and would never write her a note for that purpose--in his mind, her diabetes was simply far to serious and unpredictable, especially combined with the possibility that this unknown infection could return at any time, since nobody had ANY idea what it was or how she got it. I can add that she has a long history of constantly coming down with UTIs, sinus infections, ear infections, and other "common" infections. (Basically, her health greatly deteriorated just a few years into our marriage, which is when this woman who had been physically extremely health her whole life suddenly saw her immune system seemingly go to he** in a hand-basket. She saw a rheumatologist and many other specialists connected to immune system disorders in one way or another, and not one of them ever came up with any kind of diagnosis (well, she did learn about her DDD then, which at least provided her with a real explanation for her horrible back pain, not to mention total vindication for all the doctors who told her that x-rays showed her back was fine and all her family members who thought she was acting and whining). When the Type 1 diabetes finally manifested itself several years after her immune system started acting up, her doctors were content to say that all her earlier problems had been her body working its way toward this full-blown diabetes, and for a while, she believed they might have been 100 percent right. It was only after she continued to get regular infections and then suffered this incredibly dangerous body-wide mystery infection that she realized that she still had no real idea why her immune system went nuts in the first place and that the diabetes was just another result of some bigger problem that was still undetected (and remains so today).

Just as she and I both feared, the infection that put her near death returned only a few weeks after she went back to Tim Horton's. (Please NOTE: This is NOT in any way an indictment of Tim Horton's, nor am I stating or implying that it was her work in that store that caused her infection and near-death experience; in fact, the store owners and everyone else at her store treated her with absolute respect and great concern for her well-being, not to mention they never threatened to fire or reassign her. Heck, after the first incident, the owners moved her to their second store where a position was available that would be less physically demanding and give her a better schedule to take care of and be with her son.) This time, she was ready for it and knew exactly what symptoms to watch for; the minute the first one hit, she was off to the hospital (no problem convincing mom this time!) and onto IV antibiotics. Her quick action meant she only spent one night/day in the ICU that time and only a few days in the hospital in total, plus she recovered at home much more quickly and did not require a few weeks to rebuild her energy levels. Still, as a result of this second incident happening almost immediately after she returned to work, she knew that she would have to give up that job and do what her family doctor had suggested. Not only had he told her he would not approve her return to Tim Horton's, he also told her that she really should not attempt to work at all, as it was simply too hard on her body at this point in her life.

Thus, she cannot work any more even if a job was available. She would love to apply for disability in Canada, but applying for that would undoubtedly mean giving up the ol' green card again, and we already covered that ground. She is trying to find some freelance work she can do from home, which would involve work from the publishing company we both used to work for, and at least one lead there looks promising. Hopefully, she can find some work of this type and thus bring in some money.

Sorry this covered so much--I originally just intended to make a very quick point about how I agree with Chris regarding the whole "oops, you make too MUCH money to qualify for, well, anything!" post because I had already told the story of my friend who is experiencing the exact same catch-22. However, as I made that point, I realized that there were many other things that had happened recently that might be of interest to others, so I dived into those things as well. The result is this unintentionally loonnngggg post. Hope it has some info that benefits at least one person here!

Brad
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 04:36 PM

Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 05:07 PM

Quote:

Our health care industry is the envy of the civilized world, and there are people outside the US that are wondering why we want to change it. We are trying to fix something that isn't broken.



This is an important point, and I do agree, at least the first part of the statement

We have some of the best, most renowned doctors in the world here, and great facilities

Many WEALTHY people from all over the world come here to be treated.

Why is that?

I argue that it is the fact that we don't have the price controls here, if a very talented surgeon wants to capitalize on his reputation, and fame, if he practices in the US, he can charge whatever he can get, so therefore moving to this country is a very strong incentive indeed

But if the same surgeon were to practice in one of the countries where there is a price cap, the government has an influence on the rate charged for a heart transplant, for instance, he/she won't make as much money for the same service

I think that gives an explanation for some of the types of ironies that currently exist in our free-enterprise system...
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 06:02 PM

Quote:

Dow,

At least from my standpoint I disagree.



Curious to know, Chris, more about which one (or all) of my thoughts you disagree on?

Want to make sure I point out that I have a lot of respect for your opinions, and your contributions here

Quote:

I am not against the general issue of having a national health insurance. I am against having one pushed onto us that we know so little about, and how it will be financed and for how much. I would feel this way regardless of the party in charge. There are so many spins on what this plan covers and doesn't cover and where the money will come from to fund it, does anybody really know what we are getting? The plan on paper looks like a NYC phone book. Just give us the facts and let the people decide.



Well, that isn't the way it will unfold, as U.S. citizens, we are not going to be able to vote on one bill or another, or to abandon the idea of reform completely

And want to make it clear that there isn't just one bill being discussed right now, there are in fact 5 different ones being developed, that are making their way through the process, and many changes will be made to them as they go through the House, the Senate, and the Executive (Presidential) branches

The way we citizens get to influence that process, is by making our voices heard, by doing things like participating in discussions such as the town hall meetings (yes perhaps by protest, if that is what we feel), exerting our voter's rights by writing our elected representatives and telling them what we think of their actions, and whether or not will we support them by contributing to their campaigns, and ultimately, whether we will use our votes in the next election to re-elect them or cause them to be removed from office

sorry if that is too political, it seems to me that we can't really have much of a discussion about health care reform, if we don't delve into the processes that shape it
Posted by: wolverinefan

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 06:30 PM

Quote:

Replace Detroit with Baltimore or Atlanta or Sacramento. My statement was not about the folks of Detroit, but rather about people that game the system and the exercise (the handout) that was carried out. Personally, I see something far more dangerous happening there (no, not a Detroit-related problem), but that is not fodder for this forum. There are some folks everywhere that game the system. It shouldn't have been anything that was construed as personal toward the citizens of the city in which you reside. I can appreciate your going on the defense. I likely would have regarding the folks of my native city too.





Thank you for your thoughtful response--we do have some common ground on this issue. I'd only like to quickly revisit two items. While yes, the situation in question COULD have happened in any city, the fact is you did single out Detroit in your post and in such a way that, thanks to the inability to express tone or inflection in written posts, it was easy for someone to construe that you were saying/implying that those folks in Detroit clearly had no interest in turning in day's work as long as government handouts were available. Now, you state that was not your intention, and I absolutely accept your explanation and believe you weren't intentionally singling out Detroit. Yes, it is likely I am a bit sensitive about the subject, but it's hard not to be after watching some of the Fox News regular use clips from that huge crowd to do just what I mentioned in my first post, which is mock and belittle everyone that showed up that day for creating a "mob" intent on "getting theirs" from the government. Not to mention I've encountered a ton of like-minded pundits here on the web taking their potshots while the embedded video clips play in the background. Almost all the comments I heard or read were simply deplorable and inexcusable, so yes, I do admit I was almost certainly overly sensitive about your comments, and if that is the case, I apologize.

The other thing I'd like to quickly address is this: You are 100 percent correct that there are "folks everywhere that game the system." That is absolutely true today, and it has been true since the beginning of time, or at least since mankind spawned its first form of government. And, unfortunately, it will likely remain true for the duration of mankind's time on this blue orb unless some massive ideological change occurs in every nation and state.

That said, I think it is always incredibly important when making such a claim to remember--and to take time to remind anyone who might be reading--that just because there are always people out there who will try to scam a system at the expense of even their fellow desperate neighbors, those people are always the exception and definitely not the rule. That the vast majority of people receiving government assistance--or any kind of charitable assistance--are good, hard-working people just like you or I, people who have had a couple bad breaks, or suffered some family tragedy that translated into financial hardship. That same vast majority likely feels mild to extreme shame at having to accept ANY kind of handout, yet at the same time, they are incredibly thankful to the people providing the assistance because it would be almost impossible to survive without it.

The main reason I feel that it is important to always remind folks about the real people out there who receive the government aid and greatly benefit from it is because too often in our society we focus on the negative aspects of any given situation instead of remembering--and celebrating--the positives. When it comes to government aid, be it old-school welfare, modern "workfare," or any other federal or state program designed to use tax dollars to help a disadvantaged segment of society, it is unfortunately very easy for opponents of those types of programs to find plenty of examples of how people have defrauded the program or simply let their greed get the best of them (for example, the widow who continues to cash her husband's social security check when it accidentally keeps coming after his death). Armed with such damning ammunition, these opponents are very vocal and very actively involved in trying to put an end to such programs, or at least get them cut way down in size. On the other side of the battle, there is often little in the way of organized support for such aid programs. As mentioned, those who receive the aid often aren't too proud of needing assistance and thus are in no hurry to talk to any journalists or organize any support rallies.

All I try to do then, and all I ask others to do, is that no matter how strongly you oppose any social program that gives aid to a segment of the American population, always stop for a moment to remember that even as some people are busy defrauding such programs at any given moment, for every one crook there are likely 100, if not 1000, good decent people who are depending on that program more than anyone who hasn't been in their position can every really now. Put even more simply, don't ever forget to let compassion factor into any battle that, on the surface, might appear to be strictly a financial one.

Thanks again for your thoughtful answer.

Brad
Posted by: wolverinefan

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/14/09 07:20 PM

Quote:

Hey Brad,

Thanks for your opinion. I have learned over the years I've been on KickAS to value it highly. However, it is your opinion. The facts are as you stated, the US has a healthcare system that is the envy of the world. The law in any state I've ever lived in is that no one can be refused treatment because they can't afford it. That could be different in Michigan, but I somehow doubt it. You are right, though. If someone does not avail themselves of the services, they won't get treated. And, they may not be first in line, but we are a generous nation, and we will not refuse medical care to anyone. That's the Law.

Dean




Hi Dean,

You are partially correct about hospitals not being able to turn people away. Under the Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act of 1986, any hospital that accepts money from Medicare (which is almost all private and public hospitals) must provide a screening exam to any patient who comes to the ER to determine if any emergency medical care is required. If it is determined that no emergency exists, than hospitals can then turn away any patient they want to, including those that do not have an insurance or other ability to pay for the hospital's services.

If it is determined during the screening that an emergency condition does exist--and this includes active labor--then a hospital may not legally turn that patient away. The hospital is required to treat the patient until such time that the emergency condition has been made stable. Under the law, stabilizing the patient means that the hospital has provided enough necessary treatment to assure that the patient's emergency condition does not deteriorate during transport to a different hospital, nor once the patient arrives at the new hospital (that is, no deterioration occurs as a result of the transfer to the new hospital).

That's it--that's all they have to cover. If you do into an ER and they determine you have a non-emergency condition, you can be denied service in all 50 states no matter how sick you are; basically, you can be denied service in such instances for ANY reason at all, but one of the most common ones is because the patient had no medical insurance. So, let's say a person in his/her 20s and apparently in good health except for the obvious case of the flu the person has shows up in an ER with a fever of 102, vomiting, and a bad cough. It's Friday night, your doctor doesn't open until Monday, no free clinics in the area, so the ER is your only option. Well, if that's the case, and you don't have insurance, you are likely going to be SOL.

Luckily, in pretty much every state, there is at least one hospital (and often more than one) that is either a charity hospital that provides completely free services to those with no insurance who can't afford treatment, as well as other public hospitals that have established policies where they will not refuse treatment to any patient, but any treatment provided is not free. Under their charters, every hospital has set up guidelines for how to handle patients without insurance. Some will request a certain amount of money up front before they will admit someone, and if the patient does not have it, they are sent elsewhere. More common are hospitals that will work with the patient to set up a payment plan that the patient must agree to meet before the hospital will provide services. In addition, some hospitals use a sliding scale approach to billing patients for services. With this method, the hospital sits down with each patient and determines how much the patient can pay, then sets up a payment plan based on that number.

Thus, I think there are some rather huge and scary holes in the idea that hospitals must treat every patient even if they don't have insurance or can't afford to pay. Sure, receiving care in an emergency situation is often the most important thing, and that is in place. But the whole stabilization thing seems a little open for interpretation, to say the least. These days, hospitals do EVERYTHING they can to keep any patients from dying in their hospital. To which I bet everyone replies, "Well, duh." Unfortunately, I don't mean they will provide every cutting edge treatment they can in order to save patients' lives. No, I mean that they will do whatever they can to ensure a patient is out their door and either sent home or transferred to a another hospital if they are afraid a patient might die in the very near future. One of my good friends is best friends with a hospital administrator, and he told her that it is absolutely shameful what hospitals do today in order to make sure as few deaths as possible occur on the premises. One way they can do this is to adopt a VERY broad interpretation of "stabilization," which allows them to transport they call stable, even though they are aware that any stability is very temporary and that the patient is very likely to die in the next 12-24 hours. Proving they didn't properly stabilize a patient in court is usually very difficult.

Brad
Posted by: fyrfytr187

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/15/09 06:50 AM

Morning Dow!

Healthcare reform has been a platform for officials of every level for as long as I can remember.

I do understand that "we" won't have an opportunity to vote on this, and the workings of our political system. And I am not calling out any one party or group. Democrat or Republican we have all had a bite at the apples and we have all had our success and failure.

As I stated I amnot against a government run heallthcare, as long as it can be run fairly across all boundaries and in the black without huge taxes upon people that are already taxed to the hilt. What bothers me with the route this bill(s) is taking is that they, our elected officials, are trying to rush something through to show that they made a change regardless of the cost in dollars, and more importantly quality of care. SLOW DOWN!! Lay a solid proven ground work to build on. If it doesn't happen during Obama's tenure it can carry on to the next administration. We are talking about peoples healthcare, their lives, not killing snakes. There are countries that have already made the mistakes, and are finally making it better, ie Canada and England. Look at their systems, quit playing the Almighty USA and ask our neighbors for some input so that we don't fall into the same holes that they did getting their system up and running.

We have the Medicare system already in place. Far be it from perfect or financially sound. Can it be restructured to fit the needs of all people, or is there a need to re invent the wheel?
Posted by: fyrfytr187

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/15/09 07:16 AM

Quote:

Curious to know, Chris, more about which one (or all) of my thoughts you disagree on?





I was merely disagreeing in general from standing in my republican shoes, that I am to be feared, that I am against reform from the democratic party, or that I have waved my health insurance policy over someone less fortunate.

As for mistrust or lack of trust in the government to pull this off? I don't know. I guess it depends on whether you watch CNN or Fox.. Do I have mistrust or lack of trust, Sure I do. Just as we all do, or else we wouldn't be having this discussion or have a vote to change the powers that be in Washington or any level. Do I want to see healthcare reform fail? Heck No! It directly effects me and my future accessibility to healthcare.

This is and has been a political hot potato for years. And yes we have to be somewhat political in discussing it. After all we are talking about politicians!!

A little good back and forth doesn't hurt. I just wish that Washington could get along as well as ASKickers..
Posted by: wolverinefan

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/15/09 02:13 PM

Chris,

You are right that this is a political hot potato that has been on the table for years. I know we can go at least as far back as George Bush the First and see that every president since then has said they were going to finally reform healthcare, but not one of them had the guts to see it through. Clinton made the most noise, actually going so far as to carry on a dog and pony show at one of his State of the Union addresses where he held up a model of the healthcare card that would be issued to every American. Yeah, well, we can only have the card Bill if you don't chicken out and drop the matter about a month after that speech.

Because it is such a hot-button and absolutely contentious issue, I am actually surprised that Obama appears poised to actually carry out his promise to reform the healthcare system. I kind of figured that while he might try harder than any of his predecessors to get a reform bill passed, that in the end, he would realize trying to achieve just that would cost him far too high a political price and make him a one-term president. Now, it appears I was wrong about that. It certainly looks like Obama is willing to sacrifice any chance of winning a second term by going all the way with his promises on healthcare. I say he'll be sacrificing his chances because I totally believe that no matter what version of the bill gets passed, it will anger one side or the other enough that he will never be able to recover and build any kind of consensus for the next time. If that turns out to be the case, then frankly I feel that even those who hate Obama and ardently oppose him should at least respect him for that. After all, what politician has had the guts in recent history to be the champion of an important issue that is so divisive, and so unpopular among a good-sized part of the electorate wants no part of it? None that I can think of, and I can also think of few issues that are as divisive as modern healthcare reform. Seeing as every politician I've ever known takes action 90 percent of the time solely to do something that will ensure his/her reelection, it is kind of stunning to see someone willing to ride such an unpopular horse all the way to the finish line (if, in fact, that does end up happening--we're still only at the quarter-mile post, I'd say, so a lot can happen).

Just my opinion, and I do realize that there are many out there who dislike Obama too much to concede respect or any other positive recognition, and I respect those feelings. If the issue in question wasn't healthcare, something that is of the utmost importance to every person in this forum, I wouldn't have even remotely considered commenting on it like this, and I still hope that people understand that I am not using this post to praise Obama for his political views or liberal ideology. As I said, I just think that ANY politician, Republican or Democrat, who is willing to risk his political life in this manner because he thinks an issue is essentially important to the long-term well-being of the country, at least deserves a little grudging respect for the willingness to champion that issue.

If somehow this attempt at healthcare reform falls through at the last minute and nothing ends up being done--at least nothing of note--then I am afraid that all we've done is postpone the inevitable. The industry absolutely MUST be reformed so that fewer people are left to fall through the cracks, and so that those who DO have insurance can get some relief from ever-rising premiums. If not this president, then the next, and if it doesn't even get done at that point, then I fear the system will experience some kind of collapse that will instantly force the issue and lead to reforms that are far less pleasant than anything proposed now because they will happen on the fly and in crisis mode.

Brad
Posted by: fyrfytr187

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/15/09 02:30 PM

I think you have summed up the whole deal Brad. Good, Bad or Indifferent it will have to be dealt with at some point.

And I have to applaud each and every person that has posted to this point for tip toeing through this political mine field without drawing any blood. I know that as a mod I have been waiting for the shoe to drop...
Posted by: DragonSlayer

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/15/09 02:48 PM

Note to self:


For want of insurance, the patient was lost.
For want of universal health insurance the entire kingdom was lost.

To fix one problem, let us give it to the very same people who have engineered the worst financial crisis since John Law helped precipitate the French Revolution. There will be another reign of terror when the public awakens to just how much has been swindled from them by the politicians who are really lawyers refusing to admit that the system is broken mostly because they continue to condemn any mention of tort reform.

They protect their own and especially the big groups who put them into office. Big business is gone and it is now big unions who need the government option for their retired members because their leaders squandered the pension funds and could not make up the differences on the risky investments that have failed. It’s all about the UNIONS: GM bailout, universal healthcare, tariff protectionism that will guarantee China and Russia will never cooperate in the proper diplomatic subjugation of Iran and N. Korea, and the financial sector. Lehman Brothers was allowed to fail because very few union dollars were invested, but AIG has not only big union money, but also constitutes a major part of union insurances.

Organized unions, organized government and all other forms of organized crime do not actually create jobs, but only stifle industry and send entire economic sectors either underground or offshore. Trust in this country is gone and will not return for more than a generation, since anti-business policies prevail, there will be no real jobs created and the death spiral will continue, fueled by the absolute worst economic decisions possible. If we want healthcare for everybody, we should be creating jobs for everybody and first regulate the physicians’ liability insurance system and then pool a portion of the resources so that insurance companies can cover every person, even the indigent, based upon their ability to pay. The key is the economy; no money means no healthcare for anyone.

I strongly believe in helping the poor and providing free schooling to children even if their parents came here illegally, and I have been in my own healthcare situation in the past, where I just did not want the extra expense (with AS I probably protected myself without knowing it) and traveling all over the world meant I was in places where I would not be covered. Good thing medical care in other countries is quite reasonable. So I do believe that some level of medical care should be free for anyone really needing it.

Now here is just one dilemma: Arthritis drugs that seem to work well for AS cost about $2000 per month but I know that AS can and should be treated for about $50 per month, but only with enough active participation by the patient. My treatments will avoid future hip replacements and will avoid future shoulder surgeries, and will avoid osteotomies like I went through, being unaware of the proper treatment for so many years. The treatments will keep people with AS from becoming disabled—another cost savings story altogether. AND some of these treatments can be VERIFIED for compliance.

Physicians and pharmaceutical companies do not want these treatments, and certainly neither do the ambulance chasers! But when the government starts running healthcare, THEY might be very interested in such a cost savings and, in estimable nanny-state fashion, also become interested in which patients are in compliance, and which are not.

When they tax sugar drinks, alcohol, and tobacco perhaps it is not such a stretch to tax what they think is wrong with foods—like the cholesterols—the fatty fast foods and what about starch for a person with AS? What will we say to Big Brother! It’s MY BODY and MY CHOICE? My choice to become disabled if I want to do so? All the hypocrisy has absolutely no limits.

And did anyone consider who in the heck would ever run an insurance company where 10% (AS, RA, PsA, etc) of the patients were costing it $2000 per month whenever they are not having their $50K hip replacements and just how many people need to pay into that system to keep it afloat? How much will the plan administration cost (60% in the case of the Federal government) so premiums are well over $300 per month per client. Ok, that is the rheumatic chronic illness side of the costs, what about cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and the host of other ailments that are the plague of our peoples? What will the real premium become? $600.00…$1600…$2200 per person? Mark Twain said that a “consultant” was a person who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is—but I say the government steals our money through legislation and they hire PR firms to make us believe it is in our best interest; “they” know better what to do with our money. Like fight wars but not ever win, and pay deadbeats to clog the streets and bum cigarette and booze money off people with jobs.

NO THANKS!
I have “Plan B:” My wife is a Filipina and we will both pursue dual citizenship, so I will be conveniently a Filipino citizen when it comes time for me to pay premiums, because I will have my next procedure(s) done in Philippines for 15% of the cost here in US. Out of pocket is then reasonable, due to the incremental savings.

Insuring every person in the US will not be the only cause of hyperinflation, but healthcare burdens will serve to really accelerate our economic decline, just as punitive taxation, excessive trade imbalances, the next (commercial this time) real estate bust, and the flight, en masse, of capital business interests and IP (Intellectual Property).

Get used to less and less costing more and more; when everybody gets on the merry-go-round at once, it eventually…stops.
Posted by: Grimm

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/15/09 02:52 PM

Chris- very well put, I agree with you about Obama and politicans. And you know what, I didn't agree with the government getting involved in banking but I think it has forced some changes that needed to be done. Maybe that will happen in healthcare.

Thank you also for posting about your friend and his situation, I know that was probably not easy for you on several levels but it is good to put a "face" on the situations we hear about. My heart goes out to them- when ever I think my own situation is bad, I hear of someone's that is worse. A reality check for me but very sad to hear about others who suffer.

Thank you!

Anna
Posted by: trudi

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/15/09 09:09 PM

Good Plan B, John! I was considering getting sponsored by my Canadian family members for dual citizenship.. but still am not sure the Canadian economy is any better than ours.... So my plan B is to take care of our health at home as much as possible and teach the kids to be self-sufficient too. Stay small & hidden.
Posted by: petesimac

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/15/09 09:33 PM

Of course with a wide majority in favor of health care reform (the same majority that voted for Obama last year, and then some), the chances for re-election are very good, especially if he gets health care reform passed (hardly a requirement though).

But Brad, you nailed it when you said that Pres. Obama doesn't do things soley for political reasons; he does things he believes in and takes the consequences come what may (his vote against the war in Iraq for instance when nearly everyone else in Congress voted for it, way before he decided to run for president).

No, his chances for re-election are very good: he promised a middle-class tax cut and delivered in the first month of his first term; he promised health care reform and is very close to accomplishing it; he promised to lead the country's economy to recovery and signs are everywhere that this has begun (with a lot of work to do yet); he promised to restore America's standing in the world and that has begun in a major way; he promised to end the war in Iraq and troops are drawing down every day (not as fast as I'd like but I guess it can't be done overnight); he promised to take the fight to the real terrorists in Afghanistan and is in the process of doing just that; he promised to close Gitmo and has already signed the executive order to do so (and now if those in Congress would allow him to complete the action it'd be great).

We as a country have a long way to go, but think of where we were just a year ago -- how far we've come in such a short time; and now imagine 3 more years of this same, disciplined, responsible, intelligent, non-dogmatic leadership (but of course not perfect -- who could be?) and it's not hard to imagine and actually easy to expect a second term for Obama (obviously, not if you listen to the critics, but that's why they're called critics).

Politics is/are politics, and there will always be critics, no matter who's in office and no matter how effective that president is (Lincoln was hated by so many during the Civil War, Reagan was seen as the anti-christ, lol, by many liberals; even FDR was not exempt from partisan politics, and yet each of these is considered to be a great president).

But first thing's first: I need healthcare! Let's go Congress; get the job done, both parties; it's time.
Posted by: wolverinefan

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/16/09 05:50 AM

OK folks, we're on the borderline of this thread sailing straight into the general political discussion that, as Chris pointed out, we really cannot have. Let's try to stick solely with the healthcare reform question. It would be a shame to close this thread, as it has led to a very good discussion on healthcare, but if it continues to slide away from that topic, closing it will become a very likely option. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that's where we stand right now. Everyone has done a good job so far, and maybe we've just reached the point where the discussion can't move forward without devolving into a general political thread, but we will wait and give it a chance.

Brad
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/16/09 09:25 AM

Quote:

For want of insurance, the patient was lost.
For want of universal health insurance the entire kingdom was lost.




This is if we don't see dissolution of the union first.
Posted by: JeffreyS

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/16/09 03:16 PM

Hi all,

I just wanted to add my current situation into the mix. Right now, I'm unemployed due to downsizing and I've run out of COBRA since my last employer didn't offer insurance. Under the law I'm entitled to join a HIPAA plan and my agent found a decent one. Its a low premium with a huge deductable, but once I pay that it has good coverage. Given the circumstance, its not too bad.

The problem is that its taken more than two weeks to get the proper paperwork from the last insurance company to the new insurance company. I'm still waiting to hear if the last form I turned in is what they need. They have all the info they need, but there is one specific form they want before they will start my coverage.

As of right now, I'm still within my time limit, but if I wasn't calling the old company every few days, I don't know if I would have gotten the correct forms I needed on time. I may be cinicle(sp), but it almost feels like they want me to fail and lose my insurance, even though the new plan isn't even theirs!

While a public option would be good, I think they need to at least insure that the insurance companies play fair and give people the coverage they should be getting.

Jeff
Posted by: jessxo

Write a letter to the government - 10/17/09 09:02 AM

Last night I saw Chris Matthews on Bill Maher. He said the way to get *anything* done in Washington is to take out your computer, write a letter to your Congressmen and Senators, sign your name and send it by mail.

He recognized that this might seem outdated or old fashioned, but he said that is the only thing that these guys really respond to, knowing something is important enough to the voting public to take the time.

Just thought I'd pass it along to be taken, or leaven.... Jess
Posted by: Dow

Re: Write a letter to the government - 10/17/09 04:18 PM

Yes, totally, we've heard that too, that paper letters count for more than email, online polls, and all that, so that's what we've been doing lately

And when it came time to signing the letters, by hand, it always reminds me how I've almost completely lost the ability to write the old-fashioned way, as I kid I used to pride myself in my penmanship, now those muscles are almost completely not under my domain

Missed the Bill Maher show last night, will ketchup tonight

Isn't it ironic how a show like that, which is hosted by by someone as clearly radical as he is, actually ends up being one of the more equal-opportunity discussions on TV, because he has guests from all points of view, and they just go back and forth? (Like last week he had Bill Frist on the show, talking about health care, expressing some of the same points that we have been seeing here)

Also I try to always watch "The McLaughlin Group" for the same reason, four people from both sides of current issues, battle it out for half an hour each week
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/17/09 04:51 PM

Quote:

Organized unions, organized government and all other forms of organized crime do not actually create jobs, but only stifle industry and send entire economic sectors either underground or offshore.



I think of it as a big pendulum

When it swings too far to one side, like say for example when there were no unions, as there were in the early 1900's, and factory owners clearly took advantage of their power, there were many examples of abuse, and so the unions were created, thrived, and controlled some of the abuses

then the unions got fat, got too much control, and became abusive themselves, and then that set the stage for other countries to create a competition to our factory production, with lower wages, controlled health-care costs, and thus lower costs per widget, and now we have lost a lot of our manufacturing industry in this country

so hopefully, the forces are building to help swing that big pendulum back the other way now...

                                                                     
Posted by: Possi

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/18/09 02:31 PM

This is such a toughie. Just as my husband's dr. said, "Your thoughts on this situation depends on whether you are one of the lucky ones who have insurance." and he is so right,.

We are so blessed to both have Medicare and then to have insurance that picks up the difference at a rate that does not put us in the poor house. Our drug coverage is not quite as good but we do have it except that hubby's is in the doughnut hole which gets very expensive. That doughnut hole needs to be filled in.

I am absolutely not smart enough to have the answers to the Health Care question and I don't think we have people in government who are either. It is not a quick, easy fix and I hope they don't jump in to something very quickly and make things worse.

For us personally, it will hurt because since we will have a choice of the government coverage, our company coverage will be dropped. I expect this time next year we won't be nearly as well off.

It is truly a problem. The only thing I know to do is to pray for those that are in power that they may have the wisdom to know what is best for our country. And one of those things to me is to once again become "one nation under God".

Hope you don't consider me out of line. It is just quite a discussion and at first I stayed out of it but decided to add my two cents worth which with inflation and the economy today is not worth much.

May we all be blessed with our needs met.

Hugs.
Possi
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/18/09 05:02 PM

Hi Possi:

That was a very well-spent two cents, it was worth a lot more than that!

Quote:

For us personally, it will hurt because since we will have a choice of the government coverage, our company coverage will be dropped. I expect this time next year we won't be nearly as well off.




I worry about that too. If the government creates a viable alternative to the existing very profitable health care insurance companies that now exist...

meaning a cheaper, not-for-profit one, that is designed to create competition, to have the effect of getting those insurance companies to no longer be a monopoly consortium (which they are in fact, because since 1945 they've been granted an exemption from anti-trust laws, via the McCarran-Ferguson Act, there are only a few other businesses that have a similar exemption, one is Major League Baseball)

....it will have some repercussions, perhaps not ones we can predict accurately at this point, but the one you mention has occurred to me, that some businesses might not choose to pay for coverage to their employees, and those employees could very well end up with a lesser plan than they do now

but on the other hand, they would be paying much less for that coverage, so perhaps the deduction that currently comes out of our paychecks would compensate, as well as the other portion of your insurance payments that the employer covers (which is where this would help us compete economically with other countries)

or maybe I'm just being too optimistic...

A lot of these speculations depend on the drafting of the final bill, which is now being melded together from the 5 different that currently exist

But in any case, this won't be happening next year, the earliest that any health care reform would take effect would be in 2013
Posted by: Possi

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/18/09 09:56 PM

Thanks Dow. Glad there is one that I didn't offend. ) Yes, I was probably way off about the "this time next year" thing but our company is dropping the amount they pay each year and any thing that can give them an idea to drop more, I think they will.

It is pretty tough now basically living on SS but we consider ourselves very blessed. I would imagine to 99% of the world, we are very well off. When I see the people on the news around the world that are suffering or hear the stories that our grandaughter tells who just got back from a medical mission to the mountains of Haiti, it is hard for me to complain.

Hope you have a great week.

Possi
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/18/09 10:45 PM

I just don't understand.

Canada: I pay a little over 20% in taxes from income. I accept that because the stats say that 1 in 2 people who smoke in their life will cost the health care system X amount of dollars so I pay for the over 100% tax on cigarettes if I want a pack (about 10 bucks. I hear the Indian packs are 3 bucks)

I go to emergency, the hospital, or any doctor, I pay nothing. I wait for nothing. I see the doctors I want. I show a card. I never fill out a form. I never pay a cent.

I don't understand why Americans don't question HOW they got to paying upwards of 50% taxes from income and NOT get any healthcare out of the deal?

I did have a whole other paragraph that I deleted cause I just read to keep politics out of it. I do think this goes hand in hand though. Had nothing to do with any parties in particular, just wanted to answer the rhetorical question I placed above.

I hope I did not offend anyone.
Posted by: Possi

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/19/09 06:26 AM

No offense here. ) I have heard from some of my friends from Canada that if you need heart surgery, etc. that you have to get in line and wait and that it can be a long time unless you have the money to come in to the states and pay for it yourself.

Have you experienced this? We hear different things about what the Canadians get. I would love to hear more of your input.

Blessings.
Possi
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/19/09 09:22 AM

Well I've never had heart surgery! I needed a colonoscopy and I waited 1 week (just enough time for me to mentally prepare for round 2) from the time I agreed with my Doc. The day of the colonoscopy, she said "let's get you a CT Scan. Ok I put you in the computer, its on the 3rd floor, go there" from the time she decided to do the CT scan from drinking the barium and finishing the scan took 1.5 hours.

Whenever they put me in for blood work or X rays, I can go when ever I want usually I'd go immediately and get it done within the 1/2 hour. I flip em the card and I'm all good.
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/19/09 09:35 AM

Another thing I don't understand, is the idea that the system will all of a sudden become a dud. Doesn't the system work the way it works? I don't think they are changing the oil for the engine, more like letting more people drive the car. If the system doesn't have enough buildings to house the sick that otherwise didn't have coverage, then wouldn't building new healthcare buildings create jobs and stimulate demand for jobs all throughout that sector from doctors to hardware providers?

Also, couldn't Americans have thrown some of the 700 billion into this and jump started the economy while helping the sick?
Posted by: 30yrvet

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/19/09 10:58 AM

Quote:

Also, couldn't Americans have thrown some of the 700 billion into this and jump started the economy while helping the sick?




Hi Adam,

The answer to your question is a resounding "Yes", but that would have taken way too much political intelligence. Also, it would have taken politicians who were truly more interested in fixing medical insurance than they were in staying elected, and filling their coffers with whatever pork they can.

Wait, is that too cynical? Oops sorry,
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/19/09 01:45 PM

Quote:

...more like letting more people drive the car.




Is this like allowing more chefs in the kitchen? If so, that may not be a desirable thing.


Quote:

Also, couldn't Americans have thrown some of the 700 billion into this and jump started the economy while helping the sick?




Yes (to build upon Dean's sentiment). We also could have spent a couple of trillion dollars on health care instead of a couple of endless wars that have resulted in too much death and destruction.
Posted by: Grimm

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/19/09 04:36 PM

Moose kick! Yes Yes and Yes- would you like to run for president?- great idea!
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/19/09 05:20 PM

Point is that the US spends more per person on healthcare than any other country in the world. Yet the US is only rated about 20th best in terms of medical outcomes. The system is broken and has been a dud for quite awhile, we are spending more and getting less than any other advanced country in the world. No it needs a new engine and very badly. Leaving it alone will bankrupt this country rather quickly and unlike most wars there is no end in sight to increasing medical bills and spiraling insurance costs.

Throwing more money into a system as inefficient as ours is lunacy. While I agree that the war in Irag was a huge waste of money, it was money the US did not have in the first place. Just spending it elsewhere, while a better use of the money, is still a huge expense we can't afford.

The system in only the envy by the wealthy in other countries not the average citizen.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/19/09 05:57 PM

agreement from me, Drizzit!

Here's that chart again that I linked to before, from 2006 World Health Organization

It doesn't have a rating about which country of the 5 compared is "best" (I guess that could be considered an opinion) but it does show amount spent per capita, and what the life expectancy numbers are:

Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/19/09 06:04 PM

yep and the GDP number will get worse until our primary government expense in the US Is healthcare. It will crush this country's economy unless it get retooled and very soon. Throwing more money at what we have now is just not an option
Posted by: Possi

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/19/09 09:55 PM

Thanks for sharing. I think for the rest of it I will stay out of the politics on this forum. Now get me in a room alone and..... I do have my opinions but I think the admin probably doesn't want us to go there.

Blessings. I am glad you have good care. May we all.

Possi
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/19/09 10:30 PM

Most of us in the US don't understand that either. How we can pay more per person than any other country in the world and still have well over 1 million americans travel to other countries to get medical procedures done they can't afford in the US. I suspect more americans travel overseas for medical care than canadians travel to the US.

Heck they are even calling it a medical vacation and whole travel agencies set them up for americans to foreign hospitals
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/20/09 03:38 AM

...and all the people that travel over the border to get the same medicine that they would pay much more for in the US!

I've mentioned before that my wife and I worked on a documentary for PBS called "Critical Condition" that told the story of several people that got lost in our health system, all of them were employed and hard working, but didn't have plans that covered their medical problems, it's a difficult film to watch

One of the stories was about Carlos, a chef in a Los Angeles French restaurant, diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, with very developed spinal fusion. At one point he drives to Mexico, and buys a prescription drug at a pharmacy on a street corner, and pays about 3 dollars compared to the $90 (I forgot the exact price, sorry) that he normally paid for the SAME drug in Los Angeles

He had gone to Mexico to consider a surgery to help him straighten his spine, and help him breathe better, because of the AS, but when they told him it would cost $40,000, he knew there was no way he could raise that kind of money

But ultimately, he got a lucky turn, in a way, and here's something that we can be proud of as Americans, despite our lack of national coverage:

A doctor at UCLA met Carlos at a free health fair, knew he was in real trouble, and with the help of the publicity generated by the film as it was being made, arranged to get Carlos that same surgery. For free. It was estimated that the difficult complex procedure (similar to Alan on this forum wrote about?) would have cost $300,000 in private practice

The other three stories in the film don't have such happy endings, unfortunately. I look forward to a time when we don't hear about (or actually live through) stories like this!
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/20/09 07:46 AM

I'm not against health insurance reform. I said that from the get-go. However, those numbers in that table can be misleading because they don't tell the whole picture.

I've seen a comment or two wowing about Mexico's health care system. I'm not here to disparage their health care system, but their infant mortality rate per 1,000 is over four times that of the U.S. Now the U.S. is double that of Japan, which I also find quite shocking. I wonder if that may be attributable to the lifestyle of the mother or both the mother and the father. While the Netherlands, Canada, and Japan have longer lifespans, it is not that surprising. I guess what I'm wondering is if this has more to do with lifestyle (e.g. diet, exercise, reliance on self, etc.) than medical systems. I mean, I am of the impression that folks from Japan and the Netherlands are overall more active than those of the U.S. I also have the impression that most Japanese maintain a rather healthy diet (at least in contrast to the Standard American Diet). I suppose something similar must hold true for Canada as three years of additional life is pretty significant.

While I don't doubt that access to health insurance has some influence on these figures, I find it hard to draw conclusions based on the information presented.

Also, a question for our Canadian participants. I was of the impression that your healthcare was 100% covered. However, this chart only states that it is 70% covered. Please help me understand.
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/20/09 09:09 AM

We pay for doctors notes for work (10$) medicals for certain drivers licences (about $40), umm prescriptions, dental work, plastic surgery (enhancement), but most companies have that covered for you. Once I was diagnosed with AS, I got approved for the trillium fund. Its more government stuff. I think I actually did fill out one paper, sorry. But now I have drug coverage from the government.

I have one more question, everbody talking about waste and spending- arent you guys spending money on yourselves? Like, say you have a guy who has heart monitors, and you need a heart monitor, you give the guy $$ for the monitor, then you have the monitor and he has the $$. Now you've just helped stimulate the economy no? I don't get this "waste and spending" Idea. You're not buying healthcare from China and Russia are you?
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/20/09 09:10 AM

I forgot to mention that a dental checkup and cleaning is about $40-$100 depending on where you go. You can also go on Craigslist and find a dental student that wants to clean for free!
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/20/09 09:28 AM

Sorry, I'm the worst at posting too many in a row. I'm the guy who has the perfect comeback when its far too late. Like George Costanza and "the jerk store".

I must say, I do agree that things could be tightened up. Cutting costs, raising efficiency, etc. I believe this for Canada and probably the US as well.
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/20/09 11:40 AM

You think we still make things in the US ROFL.

Nah it was made overseas and most of the money transferred out.

Another huge drain is public money being spent on Medicare. Current Taxes are not high enough to cover it. raise taxes cut people spending ability, hurt the economy more.

Companies are moving jobs overseas where they don't have to pay for health care for the employees on the payroll. They pay employees less in benefits and that increases profit.

it is quite the downward spiral we are on.
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/20/09 02:31 PM

My dad was in emergency one night (glad I was there with him) and had the heart operation (2 stents) the next day. Home in 3 days or so and has been doing great for 5 years now.

Oh yes, not a bill in sight.
Posted by: wolverinefan

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/21/09 11:24 AM

Quote:

The answer to your question is a resounding "Yes", but that would have taken way much political intelligence.




Dean, did you REALLY just use the words "political" and "intelligence" right next to each other with no punctuation between them? In other words, you linked them together, made them a phrase, coined a new term, etc., etc., etc. I mean, I could understand it if your sentence read something like, "When it comes to all things political, intelligence always flies out the window." But to actually use the phrase "political intelligence?"

Congratulations, Dean, on creating the greatest oxymoron in the history of morons, oxy or otherwise!

Too funny Dean!

Brad
Posted by: 30yrvet

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/21/09 12:17 PM

Hey Brad,

It is always nice to be rewarded for making history, and making people laugh. Of course Moronic Oxys are very popular around here, and funny punsters everywhere can't resist making them every now and again. but mostly now. Heheh
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/21/09 01:47 PM

the answer is no. A stimulus must be broad based and impact a much larger section of the economy than just healthcare.

Housing, construction, etc must be improved to see any impact on the economy. Pumping money just into healthcare is just throwing down a money pit and there would be no impact on the economy. too small a focus
Posted by: 30yrvet

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/21/09 03:00 PM

Hey Drizz,

Do you think throwing money at healthcare would have less impact on the economy than say... throwing money at clunkers? Who knows? It just seems to me that if you are going to be throwing money around, it would be a good idea to see that some of it went to making a healthy workforce.

That being said, I am not in favor of the government throwing money at anything. It seems that both the past and present administrations have done all they can to make us dependent on the government. Personally, I'm a fan of Thomas Jefferson when he said "The government that governs least governs best."
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/21/09 09:21 PM

Hi Jaybird!

Quote:

I'm not against health insurance reform. I said that from the get-go. However, those numbers in that table can be misleading because they don't tell the whole picture.



I remember, glad we agree that we are both open to health insurance reform in the U.S. Also agree that the numbers in that table doesn't tell the whole picture. But I think of them as raw data, they need to be interpreted, as you have started doing

Quote:

I've seen a comment or two wowing about Mexico's health care system. I'm not here to disparage their health care system, but their infant mortality rate per 1,000 is over four times that of the U.S. Now the U.S. is double that of Japan, which I also find quite shocking. I wonder if that may be attributable to the lifestyle of the mother or both the mother and the father. While the Netherlands, Canada, and Japan have longer lifespans, it is not that surprising. I guess what I'm wondering is if this has more to do with lifestyle (e.g. diet, exercise, reliance on self, etc.) than medical systems. I mean, I am of the impression that folks from Japan and the Netherlands are overall more active than those of the U.S. I also have the impression that most Japanese maintain a rather healthy diet (at least in contrast to the Standard American Diet). I suppose something similar must hold true for Canada as three years of additional life is pretty significant.



Totally agree that socio-economic conditions in a country are critical to look at when trying to make sense of some of the statistics and data, and that we must consider & discuss other factors

I'm definitely not one to say that we should adopt Mexico's (for example) health care policies, but we should be asking why they are spending so much less per capita than we are, (about one-ninth) and still getting comparable results

One of the BIG reasons that I see, is that they get the same drugs that are produced in the US, but pay way, way less

(I checked the scene from the DVD of "Critical Condition" that I mentioned, and I got the numbers from memory wrong, it was worse, Carlos bought his AS medicine from the Mexican pharmacy for $3.50, same medicine that he paid $100 for in Los Angeles!!)

And I believe that the reason for that kind of story happening is because of collusion on the part of our pharmaceutical countries, and the insurance companies function as a monopoly here, because they still enjoy being protected as getting an exemption from our anti-trust laws, as established in the afore-mentioned McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 (google-able for the details)

Other countries that buy the drugs produced in this country, don't have that restriction, the price they pay benefits from their government negotiations, ironically of course, because we are supposed to be the ones with the "free-market" capitalist system (that's one of the reasons why Canada has such a big mail-order business of selling US made drugs to Americans)

Quote:

While I don't doubt that access to health insurance has some influence on these figures, I find it hard to draw conclusions based on the information presented.



Agreed there too. And while it would have been easy to do so, I didn't want to look for a chart that ignored some of the other relevant numbers, do like a "Michael Moore" version of it, simply omit the column with the number of birth fatalities, just quote some of the numbers from the chart. It would still have been technically true and accurate, more persuasive to the cause of US health reform, but THAT, I would have considered to be misleading

Glad we are able to to be having this discussion!
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/22/09 01:33 AM

PS

I think it's wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.
- Steven Wright
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/23/09 02:08 PM

Hey all, I've been watching this discussion with some interest. Someone was asking about the Canadian system. This explanation of our system and its history from Wikipedia is pretty good:

Healthcare in Canada

In 2002, the Romanow Report on healthcare was issued. This 392 page report was commissioned to make recommendations on how to improve the system in Canada. It was paid for by Canadian tax payers. To my knowledge, it has been largely ignored by our government. I could be very wrong about that.

One thing of interest, when Paul Martin Sr. first tabled a national hospital insurance plan in 1957, the main objectors to this idea were virtually the same as those in the United States: doctors, insurance companies and big business. In 1960, the Canadian Medical Association spoke out against publically funded healthcare. In 1966, Medicare was formally adopted by the Liberal minority government, with support from the New Democrats as the "tie-breakers" in Parliament, with the government covering 50% of costs. In 1978, doctors began "extra-billing" (i.e. charging fees on top of what the government paid them for covered services) to increase their incomes. This practice was banned in 1984 when the Canada Health Act was passed.

Pharmaceuticals are not currently covered beyond individual provincial programmes (i.e. Trillium here in Ontario) designed to help lower income people, those on disability and those with catastrophic med costs. Dental is also not generally covered beyond whatever employer benefits people might have.

Our healthcare system does have problems; problems that I truly hope they are working hard to overcome. However, I can categorically state that had we not established Medicare in 1966, my father would have died, I am certain, because my mother would not have been able to pay the bills for his increasing health problems beginning in 1967. I would not have the sister that I've been so frightened for lately and I would not have my two beautiful nieces in my life. I'm sure that many families here can tell similar stories, but my entire family (pretty much bar none) has benefitted from our system and the fact that we do not have to pay for our healthcare beyond whatever provincial levy there is (which is generally covered by employers here in Ontario). Our Premiers keep insisting the feds give them more say in things (and less accountability for how our healthcare transfer dollars are spent), and every time the feds give in to them, things get worse. At least, that's how it appears to me. Sometimes, someone has to hold the reins lest the team run rough shod over everything.

Regardless, as a rule (for the most part), the government does not dictate what we can or cannot choose as a treatment (unless it is experimental or has not been proved to the satisfaction of Health Canada). I might have to wait an incredibly long time in ER (depending where I am and most of you have heard my rants on the state of downtown ERs), but I cannot be turned away because I have the wrong insurance or no insurance at all.

Anyway, I'll shut up now and listen again for a while.

Warm hugs,
Posted by: 30yrvet

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/23/09 02:44 PM

Kat, I have always liked the way you think.

This article puts the question into either the correct prospective, or the wrong prospective, depending on your point of view. As I said earlier in this thread, when you make it personal (and saying, "I can categorically state that had we not established Medicare in 1966, my father would have died." makes it very personal indeed) you have no choice but to be in favor of universal healthcare coverage. That is, unless you have a stone for a heart. If I could, I would pay for all of my friends to have healthcare coverage. Let's see, at $1,200.00 US per month. times all of my friends, I would be broke in about… less than one month. So, the question remains, do you make national policy on emotion? Or, do you make national policy on something remotely resembling fact. The fact is, the USA can't afford it any more than I could. If the USA goes broke, how are we helping anyone? A cost of over $1 trillion (too many 0's) will put the USA into debtor nation status far further than we are right now.

I would rather help folks the good old-fashioned way. If there is someone who needs healthcare coverage that doesn't have it, let each of us pay for one person until that person can pay for himself/herself. It is an unwieldy way to handle it, and full of problems, but it is accomplishing the goal of covering folks without breaking the bank. I know, it's not very practical, but then again, I'm not often very practical. Heheh.
Posted by: DragonSlayer

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/23/09 07:49 PM


Hi, Kat:

I appreciate very much Your story, and only WISH that the US were as sensible as Canada. You see in the US, we have to plan WHEN to get sick: We are front-loading our nationalized healthcare plan by PAYING for it three years before the first part is actually funded, and potentially as many as six years before the uninsured actually become insured, but it gets better because this first round expires after ten years, so the uninsured should plan on getting sick in five--but not ten--years from when the legislation passes. Not bad for only doubling the national debt!

We have a bunch of dreamers in this country, unable to separate fact from fiction; it is a good thing we have a media on top of the whole thing and not in the pockets of the Daley Machine (sarcasm). If Elmer Gantry were only alive today...

HEALTH,
John
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/24/09 10:35 PM

I still don't understand where all the tax dollars go if we (Canada) are the ones who have all these "socialist" programs to help us and you guys pay roughly the same amount of taxes as us. Still no one looking into that as the problem. Am I wrong?
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/24/09 11:01 PM

Yes you are missing a key point

Frankly the US does much more in the world than Canada does and it is expensive. We have a lot of spending that canada does not because of the position of the last superpower and our defense obligations.

Massive military spending. It is expensive being the worlds policeman (don't get me started on the idiotic nation building we do) Plus we have a space program yea know. We spend as much on just NASA as Canada does on its entire military.

Foreign aid is much higher for US

paying interest on a massive debt we have dug over the last 20 years with both democrat and republican spending.

Increasing costs of medicare and medicaid will break the bank if we don't reform the US healthcare system period.
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/24/09 11:35 PM

-Aha! Here we go...Hegemony is expensive! This is about healthcare, but I too could go on with you for hours (probably days)on end to get to the WHY.

-There's still the option to keep all this spending in America to create jobs- stimulus.

-Crashin stuff into the moon is cool.

-I SINCERELY hope you guys work this out for the good and well being of the people, not the ...
Posted by: Maggie

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/24/09 11:53 PM

The USA may give more actual $$ in foreign aid. This is because they have a larger population. They actually only give 0.1% of their gross national income whereas Canada gives 0.33% of theirs.

If I may say, I can't help feeling that those opposed to a health care system like that of Canada or Great Britain are those who are already taken care of and, as with any "socialist" notion, they don't wish to help pay for others. I could be wrong.

I think it's a feeling that we all would jump to but have to try to overcome because taking care of everyone is the right thing to do. That's what it's all about.

Please don't think I have bad feelings for the USA. You are a beautiful nation. I would dearly love to live there - if it wern't for a few things. One of which is the healthcare.

Maggie
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/25/09 12:00 AM

An economic stimulus must create jobs across a broad section of the economy and in multiple industries to be effective. I would argue the more we spend on healthcare the less we have to stimulate the economy and create jobs for the average american. Overall expensive healthcare is a drain on an economy and not a positive.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/25/09 08:24 AM

I think maybe the foreign aid to which Steve was referring is taxpayer-sponsored government aid. Perhaps 0.33% vs. 0.1% represents private charitable giving?

Also, while not against health care reform, I am against a health care system defined and potentially administered by our government. I, as do many others, want to see them in less and less of our lives and incorrectly spend less and less of our money. I am one without health insurance and am not "taken care of". It is not the responsibility of my fellow citizen to buy me (or anyone else) health insurance. I'm not opposed to helping (via tax credits, subsidies, etc.) those of lesser economic obtain health insurance. However, we also need to get those folks, that are able bodied, into the workforce so they have the means to put food on the table, a roof over their heads, and adequate health insurance. There are too many instances of folks living off the government dole and are content to let the government take care of them for the rest of their lives.

I believe that their are certain mandates or rules which the insurance companies need to follow/must play by. However, I do not wish to see my fellow citizens potentially taxed and/or harassed by an entity like the IRS since they make a choice not to purchase health insurance. My thought is that if you don't buy health insurance and are of economic means, then you potentially face a long time/life time as a debtor if you run into a health emergency. That said, there should also be rules for the consumers (open enrollment periods?) so that they don't game the system by procuring a policy when they are ill and then dropping it once they are well. Health insurance consumers must be greatly protected and afforded many rights, but the folks selling health insurance (as evil and unfair as they can be) must be protected from those that would be inclined to take advantage (per the aformentioned example).

I don't know what the answer is, but from my perspective, our country hasn't arrived at it yet. Just the fact that the partisan legislators want to arrive at a compromise on something as important and far reaching as a health insurance makes me sad and extremely angry simultaneously. Our health insurance policy is not something which should be developed through a partisan compromise. It should be developed with the best interests of the American citizen in mind, regardless of political affiliations and what not.

Sorry, got off on a tangent here, but sometimes it is hard not to deviate.
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/25/09 09:38 AM

Stimulus so far: directly to insurance and auto.

Stimulus for healthcare: Construction, manufacturing across broadest range of industries imaginable (food - clothes -high tech), education, demand for directly related jobs like Doctors, nurses, janitors, security, paramedic, admin, you name it!

Or you could just throw like 50 billion to 3 auto companies... owned by standard oil...
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/25/09 10:25 AM

Really really really really disagree with that. Why would you give stimulus $$ to companies showing healthy profits and employment growth while other areas are collapsing??? How much more money does healthcare need when it is already growing faster than almost any other area of the economy. I don't think you understand the problem here in the US. US healthcare is not short of money it is flush with cash. I suppose you could force them to change how they spend it but then that is the point of healthcare reform then isn't it.

Stimulus saved thousands of teacher jobs and university cut backs and that was huge. 2/3 of it is just now being spent and the construction projects are getting the money now. I can rattle off at least 5 highway projects in my town funded by stimulus money. I would liked to have seen more spent on badly needed infrastructure construction but it takes a while to get those projects out to bid and going. Our national infrastructure is in pretty bad shape and that was the logical place to go with the money. Go after a big need that is underfunded and create blue collar jobs at the same time.

The car piece was nice and saved thousands of blue collar jobs but was not a huge piece of the stimulus. It actually did work and that was cool. Regardless who owns them the clunker program saved a lot of jobs and that was the point.

I mean thousands of teachers were being laid off, bridges, sewer systems and water systems all over the country are very old and beginning to collapse, huge layoffs in the auto industry almost collapse an entire state. Those were just a few of the problems. Meanwhile healthcare is doing well, showing profits, and experiencing steady employment gains even in this economy. Sorry I can't see the arguement that we needed to spend my tax dollars on stimulating healthcare related jobs. Makes no sense at all
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/25/09 11:44 AM

If the US has 100% of its people getting healthcare, I believe there will be tonnes of needed growth. Covering everybody will cost $$, but instead of JUST building a building, cover the people, and let capitalism build the building. Then you've killed 2 birds with one stone.
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/25/09 12:09 PM

I don't buy the we need more hospitals arguements at all. People are getting a lot of care today. They go to emergency rooms at no cost to them, free clinics, free drugs for the poor programs etc It is a very inefficient, expensive way to provide medical care but we do it. Now I do believe many die in the US due to lack of care and access to medical care but that is for long term chronic health problems not routine visits and hospital care.

In our present model many people wait until they are very very sick to go to the hospital. This is crazy expensive. If we ge them all covered I agree we will need more dentists, family doctors, and nurses to be sure but if we keep them healthy we may need fewer hospitals and emergeny rooms.

If we focus on early care and reduce lawsuits so unnecessary care is not being provided and we focus on preventive care with reform then fewer may go to hospitals and clinics and we may be overbuilt. That is a distinct possibility.

The whole point of healthcare reform is to get everyone covered. We can do that without stimulus money in all of the plans in congress. One way it is paid for is by forcing all in the US contribute and carry insurance while many today do not. In canada you all pay taxes to support the health care program. In the US many young and healthy people choose not to contribute but want free care if they do get sick. that is a huge difference in the systems. Drug prices will fall since the companies do not need to provide free drugs to the uninsured any more and hospitals can charge less as they won't be providing so much "free" care anymore. The money is there to pay for coverage for all without a stimulus effort. If we pay less for healthcare that is a great way to stimulate the economy. Not paying more into the current system

I guess I just see this country as flat broke and the days of free programs are pretty much over. We can't give tax cuts without cutting programs anymore, we can't do any more stimulus projects without cutting programs elsewhere anymore. We can't go to war without a tax increase to pay for it anymore.

The US is about done if we don't start getting our spending under control. Healthcare reform may cost some of us more and it will reduce costs for others but overall we will be better off as a country and it will not require a huge increase in taxes or a stimulus program to support or it won't work in the first place.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/25/09 02:45 PM

Agree with all of your points and frustrations, Jay

Only difference is how I see it is what the government's role in changing the current situation could be.

Right now, our health care is being run by a for-profit free enterprise system, and while we have mentioned some of the good things that can be said for it, such as we have the best medical care in the world for people who can pay for it, it isn't working for those who can't

And it will continue that way unless something is done, because what's been happening is that those companies are using their profits and power to actually control what happens in Washington, rather than the other way around.

Their lobbyists, the money they spend on media control, the fact that companies like GE that are heavily involved in the medical industry can and do literally OWN television networks like NBC, MSNBC, CNBC...

So whenever they see a new law or proposal coming down the turnpike that they don't like, they use some of their massive profits to fight the legislation, send their lobbyists to Washington, who then give money to the campaigns of our elected "representatives" who support them and withhold contributions to those who don't, (there are currently SIX lobbyists for every ONE representative in Congress) that and how they subtly and not-so-subtly have an influence on the media, to control how we citizens perceive what's going on

they cite cherry-picked statistics to support their claims, by so-called non-partisan consulting firms like The Lewin Group, which is actually owned by United Health Care

So how can our country get out from being controlled by these private companies?

We can't legislate it, we can't just say to them that they must give up their profits, we can't say they must start for instance covering people with pre-existing conditions, we can't say they MUST give expensive operations to those who need it

Because if we did, they'd just use their monopolistic position to find other ways to protect their profits, raise premiums, invent new rules to deny coverage, charge more administration fees, create more loopholes, etc. And if the regulation really was written so carefully, so restrictively, that they couldn't make the kind of money that they now make, they could just go out of business, no law could prevent that!

So that's why I think the best proposal is one that creates COMPETITION to their stranglehold, one that uses some of our taxpayer money to support it, that way when the public option becomes a better deal for many Americans than private insurance, those companies will have to adjust their ways of doing business, or risk losing their customers completely, and therefore their profits..

Makes sense?

And I totally agree with you regarding the Baucus Bill that is the one that is getting support in congress, it requires that everyone must purchase insurance, and those that don't are forced to pay a penalty, a horrible idea that would only guarantee profits to health care companies, and put many poor families into MORE debt, and give them no coverage at all.
Posted by: Grimm

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/25/09 02:52 PM

Moosekick-
I just wanted to say that what you purpose makes alot of sense to me. I think you make a good point that it would benefit the economy in many ways- many industries. Building, staffing, education, maintainance and ofcourse- healthcare for the un insured.

I personally think it is the best idea I have heard on this subject- it is unfortunate that the stimulus money has been spent in a very different way.

I have high hopes that this concept could still be a possibility.

Anna
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/25/09 03:52 PM

one point on the baucus bill is that poor families will be given tax credits (not breaks) to offset the cost of insurance. If you don't get everyone involved it is very difficult to cover those with preexisting and expensive conditions and be profitable. Seems like we want to have our cake and eat it too. we want to have affordable care and get everyone covered yet we want to respect personal decisions and let people opt out and not contribute to the cause. tough call

You know those who don't contribute get sick and then we will still give them free healthcare at the emergency room and everyone with insurance or who pays the bill gets stuck with the bill. Or they declare bankruptcy and again those responsible people get stuck with the bill.
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/25/09 04:06 PM

boy do I agree with the point on partisan politics. I am not sure we ever put the best interests of the american citizens ahead of partisan politics or the parties making decisions just trying to stay in power anymore.

Washington makes me very sad. I am not sure we can fix it without the rise of a third moderate leaning party to change the status quo.
Posted by: wolverinefan

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/25/09 08:16 PM

I agree with drizzit, Moose. Stimulus money, no matter what you call it or how you dress it up, has to ALWAYS be a last resort. In fact, it should be an option that is SO much of a last resort that I rhink we should come up with a new name for just what type of "resort" it is. Maybe the "Cold Day in He**" resort. Or the "Get Out of Economic Jail Free Resort, Redeemable only Once per Century." Or maybe even the more drastic. "If You Morons on Capitol Hill and in the Boardrooms of America Ever Try to Pull This Crap Again, We;ll Make the French Revolution Look Like a Boy Scout Jamboree" resort. While I do believe that some of the bailouts given over the past 12 months were needed simply because to not provide them would have led to even bigger problems, I agree with drizzit that we should never even think of awarding huge stimullus packages to healthy businesses or industries. While I can certainly see the argument that "isn't it better to reward highly-motivated, functional industries with financial rewards (ie, aid) instead of "rewarding" industries that have used. at best, qustionable business policies, the real goal should be to never give ANY so-called stimulus packages again, as a robust, high-functioning economy shouldn't need them anyhow.

There is one area that I wish all parties could agree that increasing government funding in said area is a good thing, not just another form of welfare. That area is education, which I subdivide into two very different, but equally important, divisions. The first is basic education, meaning K through 12, as our only real hope to build the workforce of the future that we will desperately need is by vastly improving our school's across the board. The second goes by several names: Adult education (actually not really accurate for what I am ultimately aiming for); continuing education (yes, this would be a part of it, as technology and enhanced communication, etc. are leading to changes in very old, established industries that the U.S. must stay on top of if it hopes to remain at the forefront of the industries in which it is still a leader (I know, I know--do we even lead in making ANYTHING anymore?). To do this, even the most blue-collar industries must adapt the CE model that is so common to doctors and other white-collar professionals. My dad experienced some of this when GM built a new engine plant behind the existing plant he had worked at for more than 30 years. Designed to replace the old plant, the new facility was designed so GM could build far more, and better, engines with a much smaller workforce than it had employed at the old plant. While the loss of jobs due to technological advances that made the new plant state of the art is unfortunate, that kind of attrition has happened for as long as technology became such an important part of business and improved business practices.

The good that came out of closing the old plant and cutting hundreds, if not thousands, of workers, was the fact that those employees who kept their jobs and made the transition to the new plant receivea classes in how to use all of the new technology in the new plant. While obviously some of the things they learned were specific to just that plant, others covered new technology that was commonly used in many industries (robotics, etc.) and thus helped build a more technical, transferable knowledge base that the remaining workers could use to find jobs outside the auto industry, either because they wanted to or because they might someday be forced to. In other words, GM finally pulled it's head out of it's stodgy old rear for just a few seconds and did something that was incredibly smart and that should have been emulated across the entire auto industry.

The last kind of education I would like to see benefit from some kind of "stimulus" plan is worker retraining. trade schools, etc. To a certain extent, this is already happening, as I know government money has been made available in larger amounts to provide as many people as possible with full or partial scholarships. To me, that is an excellent use of such resources, one that should have a very direct point a to point b effect on more folks finding new jobs and careers. I say that because most of the trade schools and retraining classes that you see out there are for the hottest job fields of the future. Anything in healthcare, especially occupational and physical therapy, are experiencing incredible growth. You simply cannot go wrong right now in the States spending money and time learning to be a therapist, a nurse, or almost any other kind of medical specialist--such as a phlebotimist, x-ray tech, etc.--thanks to the rapidly aging population that is also living much longer than in the past (ie, more elderly people to begin with, and they live longer). I'm sure everyone has noticed how television and radio ads for the trade schools that specialize in the hotter careers have sprung up all over the place, and I'm sure that is in part due to the increased money they have to offer for scholarships. Again, this is just my opinion, but any money spent in this manner is money well-spent, whether is is government or private. Teaching people new skills that are actually in-demand is perhaps the best way I can think of to actually change the make-up of our workforce and to put people to work in jobs that pay better than the "unskilled," near-minimum wage jobs that are, frankly, all that are available to many of the unemployed folks here in the U.S. because they lack education (our high-school dropout rate is criminal) and don't have the money to pay for classes even if they are interested in finally attending school to create better lives for themselves. (And yes, I understand that the argument can be made that dropouts make their beds, therefore they must lie in them and that we don't owe anything to people who rejected the free education we gave them, and I can even sympathize with that position. However, I know that being more interested in telling people "Ha! We told you so!" and working to keep them down because they don't "deserve" any government assistance, let alone any government money is simply not conducive to making our society as a whole better than it is now. A simplistic viewpoint? Sure it is. But I guess I'll take a simplistic view that supports bettering people by any means necessary over an angry viewpoint about "wasting government money" on folks who don't deserve it anytime.

So there's my take on any more "stimulus packages" and where the government can stick 'em! As well as where they can actually start spending their money in a smart way. LOL

Brad
Posted by: wolverinefan

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/25/09 08:23 PM

Great post Dow. I've had a hard time finding the words to explain why the system is so broke and thus why this reform is so essential, but luckily, you just did it for me. And probably more politely than I would have done it.

Brad
Posted by: Angelmom

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/25/09 08:24 PM

I know this probly doesn't fit it here and I might have already posted it so forgive me if I have but I would like to say that the insurance status of Cobra that the house, senate, congress, or the President allowed all but save my families butt.

When Bill lost his job in september of this year we had to go on Cobra, we had been paying about $650.00 a month for sucky insurance $5000.00 deductible, $15,000 family deductible BUT we were thankful to have it given my families health history's.

We were told Cobra was going to be $925.00 a month for 4 months until Bill's new job insurance kicked in. $925.00 a month with no job was not an option we HAD to take the Cobra or we would miss the 90 day window gap for all of our pre-existing conditions to be covered.

Could not believe it when we were told that because of the stimulas package or help to people that get laid off that the government would pay 65% of our Cobra. Our part would be $325.00 a month. I wish somehow we could stay with the Cobra the full 18 months. When we qualify in 1/1/10 for Bill's new job insurance we will now be paying $800.00 a month for a $2500.00 deductible and because the company he works for has less than 200 employees.

We have no choice we HAVE to have insurance. Im just not sure how to pay the $800.00 a month insurance and then the rest of our bills. We already spend a minimum of $500.00 a month on meds and that is probly the low side, so that is at LEAST $1300.00 a month for a middle income family. If we made $100,000 a year might not be so bad but we don't. Right now I am just trying not to think about january, Im just trying to be grateful that my husband has a job when so many others out there don't.

Lisa
Posted by: Possi

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/25/09 09:18 PM

I had no clue, Lisa, that they did that for people on Cobra. I am happy for you. I just don't know how it is ever going to end up. However, it goes, there will be people it helps and people it hurts. I guess that is the way life mostly is.

I do know for us personally we will be hurting if there is a Health Care package because we will be dropped from our company retirement insurance. They are gradually working us out anyway by paying less each year. This will give them the out they want. Then I don't know what we will do. Guess what we will do is not worry about it. ) I know we will be taken care of.

Hope you are recuperating from your fall.

Hugs.
Possi
Posted by: Maggie

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/25/09 11:06 PM

No, I am reffering to government aid
I have now seen figures as high as 0.22% of gross national income however.

Have to admit that I'm lost in all your healthcare discussions.
I remain resolved though, that no matter a person's income, work ethic etc..., universal healthcare is the right thing to do. It's health care for crying out loud. There are always some who do not do their best to maintain good health but it seems dangerous thinking to imply that we should not take care of them too.
I disagree with a lot of Canada's spending of tax dollars but not when it comes to healthcare. In fact I wish it were extended to dental.

Maggie
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/26/09 11:18 AM

Dow,

Hello.

You typically kill a snake by cutting it's head off. While I find the whole lobbying concept as it exists today, whether it is in relation to health insurance or another industry, rather enraging, I don't see it as the primary problem. I'm not defending lobbying groups and I certainly wish that corporations would spend their money on worthwhile causes, but it is, after all, at least until it gets mucked up by the pols, their money to spend. The problem I see is that of the politicians, the elected “representatives”. There was a time when these individuals would serve the public and then return to private life after there term was expired. I, unfortunately, don't know the history of politicians and political life, but I perceive that some of the earliest representatives didn't make a career out of being an elected “representative”. They were statesmen (or stateswomen, today). That said, cut the snake's head (career politicians) off, and the rest of the snake (lobbyists – since they are dependent demand) dies. I'm not going to get into a greater opinion piece, but I think maybe you can assume where I'm going. Change, in regard to the lobbyists and their influence on politicians, that you mention, needs to start further upstream and needs to be pretty significant.

Regarding The Lewin Group and others. I fully agree with you. However, I will also state, that nearly all entities cherry pick or spin study results in their favor. Therefore, I don't find any one entity who is that “pure” from which one can draw conclusions on that data alone. Even some vetting must be done on some of the non-profit or non-partisan organizations. This also ties into the comments you made about NBC and their sister channels (broadcast networks...another example of oligopolies, as mentioned shortly). Digressing for a moment...there was a chart I had (lost in hard drive crash) that showed how something like 90% or more of either the media here in the States or possibly the world is owned by something like five or seven corporate entities. Ridiculous! If I can find it again, I'll PM you with it as it may be of interest. Back on track...again, I don't disagree with you about the lies, deceptions, and misinformation pushed out by the mainstream media. I also find it sad that people are so disengaged or complacent on such an important issue such as their health insurance that they readily believe everything they see from a single media source without further investigation or research. It occurs to me that the vast majority of the citizens of this country would have no problem being taken care of by the government as long as they can sit on their keesters, eat their chips, drink their soda pop and watch Jerry Springer, Oprah, or Family Guy and be oblivious. That, in my opinion, is scary.

I don't see these health insurance organizations as monopolies. They seem to better fit the definition of an oligopoly in my opinion. I suppose opinions vary. I think of monopolies as the former Standard Oil, the former Bell Telephone, or the current SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Monopolies aren't just limited to the private sector. Witness Amtrak (intercity passenger rail) and USPS (letter deliver to my letter box...why not open that up to FedEx, UPS, others?). I suppose one could make an argument that health insurance is monopolistic in the fact that if you are rejected by one company for a pre-existing condition, there is a good chance that you will be rejected by the others. Although, one insurer may decide you are worth the risk and sell you a policy anyway. However, there seems to be multiple choices in nearly every state (I think I applied to four or six here in Georgia although I was denied). They all verify their information from a shared information clearinghouse (MIB), therefore I don't know how that doesn't somehow amount to collusion. It also seems to me that if the federal government gets into the health insurance business (another business in which they have no business), it may create competition for a period of time, but eventually all private industry firms will be put down and the only choice anyone will have is the federal government and that may very well be an inadequate choice when all is said and done.

While I'm an advocate of state's rights, it appears that the federal government shot the consumer in the foot with McCarren-Ferguson legislation (hey...shoot the citizen in the foot and get an airport named after you...have you ever flown into McCarren Airport in Las Vegas?). It appears on the surface that having this legislation repealed would be a very good thing and would foster COMPETITION! Currently, folks are screaming that they want the same entity (federal government) that passed this legislation to define and maybe administer our health care nationally. Seems a bit perverted to me.

There's a lot more that needs to be done/be changed than just creating competition that would lower prices for some consumers. These are heady issues (covering those with pre-existing illnesses, adequate coverage for citizens of lesser economic means, greater accountability of physicians, altering medical bankruptcy laws). I don't see the entire solution coming from the federal government. They have a role. However, I see their role as a facilitator, not a health insurer. That's just my opinion.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/26/09 11:30 AM

While some of what you say is not that bad an idea, the actuality of much it would contradict what you say. The way I see it is that much of any new manufacturing to fill demand here in the States is going to take place overseas. It will either be outsourced or off-shored. Even if a product is assembled here in the States, many or all the components might be sourced from foreign countries. American workers are too expensive and their demands are too many in contrast to workers outside the country. I don't like it, nor do I condone it, but it is the way that the large majority of corporate America works. Corporations also find it advantageous in many situations to not bring the profits back to the U.S. due to tax laws. Therefore, they reinvest the profits in the country of origin or redeploy them for use elsewhere outside the U.S. Some if it makes sense since much of the growth is not taking place here. However, some of it is just for the benefit of the shareholders. I'm not saying that the U.S. or the Westernized world deserves to be rich, but, at least for a transitionary period of time, wages and standard of living here will be in decline while wages and standard of living will increase elsewhere.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/26/09 12:25 PM

thank you very much Brad!

I hope it didn't sound terribly pessimistic, I am actually somewhat hopeful that with all these developments, this country has some real hope of sorting out what's going on here, and make some changes that will lead our healthcare in a better direction!
Posted by: Lon

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/26/09 12:35 PM

Dear Brother John,
It is not so much that they are dreamers, as they are unable to think apart from a government answer for everything.
John, I think Elmer is alive, he is hitting the bottle and is well armed. But I am not so sure He will achieve all the things in the way you might expect.
We need less government, more leadership at the local level. But after Copenhagen, most of this will all be mute, as I understand the 200 page document. The Phillipeans may look better very soon.
Lon
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/26/09 02:05 PM

Hi Jay:

I am really seeing that we're even more in agreement than I originally thought, now I see that we're mostly talking about the same forces, but have different opinions about which ones are causing the most damage-

The way I see it, it's less a battle about partisan politics, than it is about corporatism, and all the temptations and corruption that all those billions and billions of dollars floating around there lead to..

and you are right, we can't just blame this on the lobbyists, you also have to look at the environment in which they thrive, they wouldn't exist unless they were getting hired by someone!

I am somewhat encouraged by some of the new policies that Obama has been putting into place, although not completely, unlike the previous administration, he has strictly set up shop with the policy of not hiring any lobbyists, but has already broken that policy with three (last I heard) lobbyists working for the White House, but has gotten waivers for them, a bit sneaky..but still that's the right direction!

and he also has set a very good rule, I think, that no one in his employ can go into the private sector for at least 2 years, his intent is clearly meant to stop people like Tom Ridge, former assistant to the President of Homeland Security, who got on TV and got everyone in a panic state over those "terror alert zones", and told everyone to buy duct tape and other home supplies, and very soon got awarded a 100K a year board position by Home Depot!!

Obama doesn't have direct control over the situation that exists in the other branches of government other than the Executive branch, so the these policies won't change the rules for the House & Senate, though

and regarding the Lewin Group, agree that cherry-picking stats is not exclusive to them, but really really bothered me about that, was that their stats were quoted by some high-profile representatives, and then when asked "Who is the Lewin group?" the answer was that they were a "non-partisan research firm", failing to mention the fact that they are wholly owned by United Healthcare, certainly not a unbiased party in this game!

Monopoly vs ogilopoly, yes, ogilopoly probably fits better, it would be theoretically possible for a new company to come along now and get into the health care business, unlike the situation that existed with the train and oil companies in the first half of the last century, when the rails and oil were controlled by select entities. A situation helped by passing new laws and regulations to limit this, but unfortunately as we have talked about, the health care industry has the opposite, the McCarren-Ferguson act makes them EXEMPT from current anti-trust laws!

and you make the good point that it is possible that if our government went in to the insurance game, it could potentially cause the collapse of the health care companies as we know them now...

They would DEFINITELY make less profit than they are doing now (and that is why they are fighting this so much with every power they've got)

But the argument against that is that the government one should be rightfully set up to be as close to self-sustaining as possible, a balance between needing to perform the function (provide universal health care) and not be a financial burden to our country, so it wouldn't be like private companies couldn't compete at all, because they wouldn't be up against another service provider with no regard to costs

So assuming for a moment that were to be possible, they don't screw up those bills in Washington, and that they were to create a public option plan that gives basic health care to every citizen that needs it

there would still be lots of people in this country who would want and could afford more than the minimum coverage, the "best" doctors, elective surgery, tests and procedures that they feel they want that aren't covered by the govt health plan. And companies that provided these plans to their employees, would be more desirable places to work. Still plenty of reason to attract the best doctors in the world to our country, still plenty of incentive to build and maintain great hospitals and facilities

it would still be a competitive environment, just now there would be a floor for people to land on, when they fall out of the "good hands" of the insurance providers...
Posted by: DragonSlayer

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/26/09 02:18 PM



Bre'r Lon:

Quote:

I think Elmer is alive, he is hitting the bottle and is well armed. But I am not so sure He will achieve all the things in the way you might expect




I know Elmer is alive and well as the flim flam man, but hiding that bottle pretty good...more like I wish I knew what he was smokin'!!

Unlike so many in this (newly) impoverished country, I have no positive expectations at all but like with any disease (we have governmentitis or governmentinoma), the game is avoiding being done to before we can become doers!

Walk away and it's my own fault, but at least walk away laughing... No chance for any statesmen, not a single Gandhi on the horizon, either. Good weather for gas masks and flack jackets.

Let's see,,,if my food lasts a year but my ammunition only lasts three months...guess I need some more calculations. Need to pour another of them cocktails make mine Molotov, bartender!

Peach,
John
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/26/09 03:30 PM

Quote:

But after Copenhagen, most of this will all be mute, as I understand the 200 page document.




I just had to wonder aloud, as your message caught my eye, if the pen to be used will be purchased at great expense to the taxpayer...you know, just to add insult to injury when the Republic is signed away.
Posted by: Uno

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/26/09 11:41 PM

All my personal opinion of course:

US Health Care currently is not a free market to begin with but is already controlled by governments (Federal and State) so the Health Insurance lobby mostly runs health care in America and in my opinion that is worse then socialism!

Americans seem to have this wierd idea that socialism = left and capitalism = right as we are on a straight line. Left or Right, that is 100% false.

A public option will allow MORE competition in health care and will actually be a move towards a "free market" in health care once again.

A free market would be best, but go and try to start your own "alternative care" hospital and compete with the American Medical Association and then report back on how the "free market capitalism" in America is working. LOL.

Or go and try obtain some LDN and then report back on the "free market capitalism" in USA health care!

Why do you think every health insurance company in America opposes the public option and why do you think they have spent $100 million this year lobbying against it? For the good of Americans?

Singapore is a great example. Singapore has the lowest health care costs per person in the modern world plus great care outcomes. Singapore achieved this through a public / non-profit option that COMPETES with private health care and so constantly improves care, improves outcomes, and dirves down costs.

Another issue is that small business can no longer compete in America. I have to pay a huge premium to provide heatlh insurance to my employees and that stops me from hiring top talent and stops me from competing against the huge companies that currently run America.

A public health care option nationwide will result in a huge increase in competition from small business and individuals - how many talented people do you know that keep their dead end job at some huge, inefficient corporation simply because health insurance?

Many of these huge firms, now exist as a simple roll-up of administration costs (health care, 401Ks, legal issues, ect..) and do not compete on an even playing field - in other words - worse than socialism.

America does not equal capitalism and never was intended to. Capitalism is a very broad concept taht has changed drastically since the founding fathers.

It is very important for people to put the concepts of individual freedom and liberty way about "capitalism" as it is today and once you start doing that then you relalize "regulation" that supports individuals over the state and/or large corporate conglomerates is actually a very American concept.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/27/09 02:22 AM

good thoughts and insights!

Not sure what you mean by America is not a free market though

My opinion is that capitalism is basically a good concept, but it doesn't work if it is completely free, there has to be some restrictions and they have to be enforced-

Jay brought up the classic example, the oil companies that would have created an unstoppable monopoly if they hadn't been reigned in

I remember being told the story of how J. Paul Getty almost pulled that off. He would move into a town, set up a gas station, sell the gas for a lower price than the other gas stations in town, actually lower than the price that he was paying for it, so he'd be losing money for a while. Then soon he would soon destroy the competition, the other gas station would lose all their business, be forced to shut down, and Getty would then be the only place in town to buy gas- at which point he would raise the price of gas, higher than before, and take his profits!

Rinse and repeat

That's the kind of thing that we need the anti-trust laws for
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/27/09 06:50 AM

I had looked into this Singapore model a while ago. I had to refresh my knowledge (memory) of how it works. A significant portion is funded through Health Savings Accounts (MediSave). It's my perception that individuals here that want government health insurance are wanting a single tier type system where they are burdened with basically no cost (wanting all these supposedly rich people to pay for it).

Also, Singapore has a population similar to that of the state of Wisconsin. I don't know if such a model, this Tri-Setup (MediSave and the other two), would be effective here. However, it is something that should definitely be considered by the folks writing this legislation. It is perceived as a very unique system and should be seriously considered.

One of my biggest concerns with this whole health care plan is that it is being pushed through at light speed when I'm not sure if anybody has really taken the time to develop an effective plan or thought through the implications of this legislation. Then if/when some portion of it sours, you'll hear people call it "The Law of Unintended Consequences" Bull! It's because someone didn't take time to stop and think things through.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/27/09 07:02 AM

Hi.

Quote:

A situation helped by passing new laws and regulations to limit this, but unfortunately as we have talked about, the health care industry has the opposite, the McCarren-Ferguson act makes them EXEMPT from current anti-trust laws!




If this is the problem, I don't understand why the legislators just don't alter this legislation. Why create sweeping reform, and a potentially bigger headache and burden for this country, when this problem may have a more straightforward solution?

Quote:

The McCarran-Ferguson Act does not prevent the federal government from regulating the insurance industry. It provides only that states have broad authority to regulate the insurance industry unless the federal government enacts legislation specifically intended to regulate insurance and to displace state law.




McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945

It appears the feds could make changes, but for whatever reason they choose not to. It would be hard for me to believe, based on what I have read in recent months, that the states want (and might have a significant financial burden) federally mandated insurance. Perhaps some states are for it, but there are others that are against it. I just struggle to see why the wheel must be reinvented if changing this one piece of legislation is the golden ticket to getting health insurers in line.

I'm going to guess the answer lies somewhere with the IRS.
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/27/09 10:28 AM

Sounds like Walmart liked that strategy.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/27/09 12:42 PM

Quote:

If this is the problem, I don't understand why the legislators just don't alter this legislation. Why create sweeping reform, and a potentially bigger headache and burden for this country, when this problem may have a more straightforward solution?




Oh, they have tried numerous times, but so far it has always been shot down (the war between the forces we have been discussing)

but they are still efforts, right at this time, to repeal portions of it, led by Senator Chuck Schumer and Patrick Leahey:

efforts to repeal a portion of the McCarran-Feguson Act

But even if by some miracle this time it was successful, it's just the tip of the iceberg..
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/27/09 12:57 PM

Quote:

t appears the feds could make changes, but for whatever reason they choose not to. It would be hard for me to believe, based on what I have read in recent months, that the states want (and might have a significant financial burden) federally mandated insurance. Perhaps some states are for it, but there are others that are against it. I just struggle to see why the wheel must be reinvented if changing this one piece of legislation is the golden ticket to getting health insurers in line.




regarding state-by-state decisions-yesterday's developments were interesting indeed, now the bill may have include the ability for individual states to "opt-out" of the public option

which strikes me as a good thing, assuming sweeping changes are too high a hurdle to accomplish, and if the bill couldn't get passed any other way

At least that way, when years from now, we see the results of what happens in the states that go for it and the states that don't, would yield some very revealing comparative data
Posted by: Maggie

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/27/09 11:03 PM

Home Depot too
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/28/09 09:48 AM

-Well put Uno

-As far as I remember from Economics in university: Price goes down, demand goes up, 100% of the time. So when you get into the free category, it is impossible that there would not be new buildings built and new jobs. 100% of the time. People still break bones in soccer matches and the driving schools didn't get better, and people still die so preventative care won't change the levels of activity in a hospital. Free care would probably streamline the type of activity there further becoming more efficient at the types of patients it gets.

-Another thing, GNP: Gross National product measures a country's output and is the measure of economic activity.

GNP= Consumption+ Investment+ GOVERNMENT SPENDING + Exports - Imports.

Yes government spending is part of the measure of your economic activity. Why so scared of that one?
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/28/09 03:38 PM

Quote:

-As far as I remember from Economics in university: Price goes down, demand goes up, 100% of the time.




Not to get picky about this point, and it is likely not germane to this topic of health care, but can't help myself

Sometimes if a seller increases the price of an item, the demand actually goes UP

such an example would be so-called luxury items, like jewelry, high-end entertainment gear, or a Hollywood real-estate property

There will always be someone who perceives that if something is more expensive, therefore it is better, and rich but foolish people look at the price and make a judgement based on that
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/28/09 03:54 PM

and Starbucks! (Tim Horton's in Canada?)

I recall in the 90's in NYC when there were a ridiculous number of different companies on just about every city block, I remember "Seattle's Best" "Timothy's" and more competing for the caffeinated dollar

then stories about Starbucks doing things like buying some of the smaller coffee shops, and just leaving the stores unoccupied, completely vacant for years, while the nearby Starbucks built their following, at which point they'd sell the property

Don't know a way to legislate against that, it's part of our system, so many disputes and lawsuits are "settled" when one larger company just buys the smaller company as a way to end the claims

thankfully we like Starbucks coffee!
Posted by: Maggie

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/29/09 12:20 AM

Strange thing about Tim Hortens though. They have really taken over here and yes, many other coffee shops have closed. However, Tim Hortens seem to be managing to enjoy this success without raising their prices. They still offer a pretty good product ( not as good as Stabucks mind you ) at a very reasonable price.
Posted by: fyrfytr187

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/29/09 05:05 AM

Here is supposedly "The Plan" as it will be presented today. Reuters News

I guess I must be missing something after reading this I am more confused than before about what it is that Washington is trying to achieve.

The one glaring thing is that this "National Healthcare Plan" allows states to opt out of the public program. I thought we were talking NATIONAL as in the whole country.

This plan is going to be funded with a tax that will produce 460 billion dollars over 10 years. and a few smaller fees and penalties? I guess that the way it comes in under the 900 billion mark is the hope that half the states will opt out?

Nowhere does it mention a tax, or aid from the Insurance Companies. Instead they are aiming at Healthcare Providers, and and 20 billion over 10 years from Medical Device Manufacturers. Having background in Emergency Medicine and a business background, collecting fees from medical device compnaies is only going to pass those on to the end users, the patients, EMS Systems, and healthcare providers. All of the sudden that $48,000 spinal cord stimulator that I have costs $100,000 and my federal insurance plan says No Way That costs too much, here are some magic mushrooms instead. It will drive healthcare costs UP.

Businesses MUST provide healthcare or face penalties. My last employer was a large multi-state corporation with a payroll in excess of $750,000 per year. So the government can spank him to the tune of 8%. Well I know his insurance runs close to that 8% mark if not over. So sitting in his chair, I look at what I am paying for health insurance, someone to administrate it over several states, the complaining and having to shop for insurance every year, and you go, Hmmmmmm 8% isn't that bad afterall. Now there are about 100 people on their own to find heathcare and try to pay for it on top of their normal bills. The company lays the blame off on the economy or government and you wave good bye to your benefits. And that happens times how many companies? I don't think just one in todays world.

The bill will increase the poverty line to 150% for Medicaid, a State run system that is already full of its own problems. And will require insurance companys to accept pre exisiting conditions. GREAT! But there is no mention as to what they can charge me for having AS or any other condition.

In my opinion if we are wanting to bring down the cost of healthcare, you don't cut off the heads of the end users. The patients, or the healthcare system. You have to regulate the Insurance Companies that rake in billions to pay out millions. Look at your next EOB from your insurance company and look at what they paid versus what was billed to get that money. In looking at other countries plans you will see that the governments sat on Insurance Companies and not so much the Healthcare Providers. OK Insurance Companies have to charge too much, because the doctors charge too much, because they owe too much on student loans, etc, that are backed by the federal government..Hhmmmmmmmmm

Living in Ohio I am going to pick on NationXYZ Insurance. They operate out of Columbus. Last year they gave Columbus Children's Hospital a 50 million dollar grant. The second largest "Gift" ever given to a US hospital. I am sure that the hospital has put that money to good use. And a portion of it no doubt went to change the name of the hospital to NationXYZ Children's Hospital. Great PR move for NationXYZ, but Columbus Childrens was already one of the finest childrens hospitals in the country if not the world. That money plus the money that they use to sponsor a Professional Golf Tour and countless other PR events could have just as easily been used to lower premiums and make them a model company to be followed by other insurance companies. Instead everything stays the same so that nobody has to lower prices. Now if a group of small independent businesses did this the government would cry foul and scream price fixing. Funny how they don't scream when their heads are on the same pillow.

Just the early morning ramblings of another confused American AS Kicker just bouncing some thoughts..
Posted by: Stormy

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/29/09 08:27 AM

According to figures from the National Compensation Survey by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2005 US companies paid between 6.6% and 16.5% of payroll on health coverage for their employees. The average was 11%. It is higher today. Basic laws of economics says that given a choice of an 8% penalty or 11% (and rising) cost, most companies will choose the penalty and will cut or eliminate health insurance. Who could blame them?

The average profit margin for health insurance companies in the US is 3.3%. That is hardly the outrageous profit margin portrayed by proponents of health insurance reform. (I can't call it health care reform as little to nothing has been said about reforming or improving the actual health care received by individuals.) Their profit margin is in stark contrast to the 25.9% earned by beer manufacturers, 22.7% by software companies, 17.4% by cigarette companies, 6% by sporting activities .......

A medicare for all type program will naturally develop as employers opt to pay the penalty and stop offering health insurance. In a medicare for all type program, average health care received by the average individual will actually decline. The average claim rejection rate by insurance companies is 4.05%. The average rejection rate by Medicare is 6.85%. The rejection rate would be even higher if providers did not "know" in advance what Medicare is likely to pay and not pay for (significantly less then the average policy) and so generally not ordering or offering those services to those patients. The reality in "Medicare World" is that a provider can not receive payment from the patient for a service that is denied by Medicare. (So your doctor may think that you need a specific test or procedure, but if Medicare guidelines say you don't, either you don't get it or the doctor eats the cost - more frequently then you would think.)

The funny thing about insurance EOB's is that the charges on them are nothing but leprechaun gold and fairy dust courtesy of the US government. Medicare and Medicaid legislation dictates exactly what the government will pay for specific services. At the same time, legislation requires that providers give a discount to Medicare/Medicaid. That discount must be greater then any discounts given to any other entity. The discount is large for Medicare and even larger for Medicaid. Take the Medicare allowable amount, add back the discount and voila you have the "fee". Insurance companies negotiate rates with providers - getting a discount because of volume and more guarantees of payment then they would have with an individual. The "fee" for service on your EOB is the "fee" inflated by Medicare/Medicaid rules. The amount paid on your EOB is the pre-negotiated amount. Leprechaun gold and fairy dust ...
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/29/09 09:06 AM

Stormy, well written and concise.

I will dispute one figure. That is the profit margins. They are slightly higher than 3.3%. This article from Associated Press [Associated Press Article] states they are around 6% (give or take a point or two). Disappointing is the comment about give or take a point or two in that they didn't list the margins on the biggest (by revenue perhaps) insurers. Therefore, one must assume that the average profit margin is higher than 3.3%. This in my opinion is not excessive. However, I'm sure opinions vary. There is another article (still the AP source) [Additional AP Article] which starts out "Quick quiz: What do these enterprises have in common? Farm and construction machinery, Tupperware, the railroads, Hershey sweets, Yum food brands and Yahoo? Answer: They're all more profitable than the health insurance industry."

The other figures in your reply I cannot verify or dispute.

I, too, have seen the combination of a government option and a penalty as a way to siphon folks from private insurance to public insurance. One preliminary figure thrown out there was that employers would be hit with a $750 per employee penalty for not providing insurance to that employee. I thought to myself...are you joking? That's a complete no-brainer. Even the 8% penalty might be rather attractive as Chris pointed out (no need to administrate it, shop for insurance, etc.).

Also, regarding that opt out clause. That has me a little puzzle and I see it as self-defeating for what was trying to be accomplished. It also leaves me wondering if D.C. will "opt out". I've (secretly) said to myself regarding this whole health care thing that if it is good enough for the American public then it is surely good enough for the legislators that created and passed any health insurance reform. There's no way that they would not choose to take advantage of this health insurance reform by continuing to keep what insurance they already have, is there? What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right? Equality for all, right? Just that some animals...I mean people are more equal than others. Yeah, right.
Posted by: Stormy

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/29/09 10:14 AM

Jay,
The concern that I would have about the Associated Press article is that they do not cite any reference for their 6% "give or take a point or 2" number. So do they think it is 4% or 8%?? Sloppy reporting on their part.

Remember the old adage: There are lies, d*&* lies, and statistics? There are several surveys and indexes that list different profitability margins. I used this one:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_otfwl2zc6Qc/SoMLoWBKM4I/AAAAAAAAK4g/wKdZyg5LxQ0/s1600-h/profits.bmp Which was based on this one:
http://biz.yahoo.com/p/522qpmd.html
There is also this one:
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2008/performers/industries/profits/ and many others.

You could also read this:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2007_August_14/ai_n27342953/ or this:
http://www.usnews.com/money/blogs/flowchart/2009/08/25/why-health-insurers-make-lousy-villains.html

People can and do manipulate statistics to support their beliefs - whatever their beliefs happen to be. My point is this; there are multiple indexes out there, but no credible ones that actually show outrageous profits in comparison to other industries.

My other numbers and facts came from business knowledge working in the financial end of healthcare. Some of the information I can not link to the general public (privacy rules) but it is all available in places like here:
http://www.kff.org/insurance/snapshot/chcm030808oth.cfm or here:
http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/368/reportcard.pdf
Posted by: fyrfytr187

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/29/09 10:42 AM

Wow, Now I see why Anheuser-Busch & Phillip Morris were so upset when I quit drinking and smoking! They lost a bunch of money!!
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/29/09 12:12 PM

Quote:

Here is supposedly "The Plan" as it will be presented today. Reuters News



Just one quick comment, Chris

The bill that just got passed through the senate vote is not necessarily "The Plan"

Just because the Democrats have been patting themselves on the back for getting it this far, doesn't mean it won't change, it definitely will

If it had been shot down, it would have had to either be proposed again, or a different bill would have had to be presented, start all over again

So now it goes to committee, and everybody gets to modify to their heart's (or their lobbyist's) content, and then it goes to the House

so still a long way to go before it reaches the President's desk

and I too hate the part about the mandate for all people to either purchase it or pay a penalty, a real sweetheart deal for the healthcare providers, certainly want to see that go away
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 10/30/09 11:04 PM

I try but don't understand the health care dilemma in the US. I research into it and I see it play out every night on CNN (the only station on every day) I don't think I will understand. What would the problem be if you just flashed a card and you're taken care of like us in Canada? My Grandma has been in the hospital for about 2 months (please pray for her) and we haven't payed a cent! Tests and care and tests and care... IMO if there should be anything that every citizen should have, this is by far the utmost important. More than education, more than crashin stuff into the moon, more than imperializing in other countries...IMO if you can't introduce anything new without cutting other programs, cut em all! Being a citizen of a country (belonging to a group) you believe in should be sufficient enough for anyone to receive care from its fellow people. Looking after one another...Screw that you shouldn't even have to believe in it, just be a fellow member of it!

As far as monopolies go, the only monopoly in the US is the FED. Look in to that one.(Maybe that's where the prob lies) Left and Right should be called stage left and stage right.
Posted by: Inanna

Healthcare for All - 11/02/09 10:40 AM

Adam, I have to say I'm with you. I don't get what the problem is either. What would be the horrible thing to tell doctors and HMOs/insurance cos. that they must now treat any and all citizens of the nation, simply because they are a citizen of that nation. Oh. Wait. I just clued in. The HMOs and insurance companies would all of a sudden have to find another way of "making a living".

Access to medical care is a human right, not just a perk for people who can afford it, especially in a country founded on the idea of equality for all. Equality doesn't mean that John Doe can get treatment because he can afford really good insurance, but Joe Schmoe can only get treatment from certain doctors and certain hospitals (even if they're 500 miles from where he lives), and Joe Public can't get treatment unless he happens upon a hospital that doesn't require specific insurance as a prerequisite to giving treatment. There's nothing equal about that.

And I have to say that he concept of "Why should I pay for someone else to get healthcare," is so completely alien to me as to be incomprehensible. Are you saying, then, that because you have a good job with good coverage your children and elders are more deserving than those of someone earning under the minimum wage at two jobs with no insurance? You need to read the book "Nickel and Dimed".

Sorry to be so opinionated on this. I just don't get that is all. A couple of years ago Parliament was bandying about the idea of a national daycare program so that all parents can have affordable daycare (including those living under the poverty line), instead of just those who have good paying jobs. A woman I know said, "Why should I pay for someone else's kid to be in daycare." There are two ways I could have answered that (but since I work with her, I didn't say either).

"Why should I pay into an education system that I will never be adding children to, so that your kid can get an education?"

"Why should I have to pay for your daughter's multiple heart surgeries? She's not my kid."

Of course, I would never say either of those things because they go against everything I believe, but I hope you get my point. The answer to both those questions is:

"Because it's the right thing to do."

It's not about richer or poorer, it's about true equality and human rights. If free education up to College/University is a human right, why is healthcare (good health being something without which you cannot live ... period) not?

Anyway, I'll shut up again. I'm sure it's none of my business.

Warm hugs,
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/02/09 01:54 PM

I wrote a rather long (too long) response to Adam's post, in which I constructed a scenario in which someone with thoughts like his might be one of our US representatives, fighting the fight for those same ideals from within our system

Mainly to point out that there ARE people with exactly those same views, trying their best to make significant changes in this country, and to achieve some of the same goals that also Kat so very well expressed

and in doing so, tried to paint a picture of what opposition they face, but that's where it just got too complicated, I got too involved with specific examples, stories of people who were victimized by lack of health care, and particular legislation that guarantees those things will continue, blah blah blah


Now I'm thinking that I should try to say it in the simplest terms possible:


That we have with a country based on free-enterprise, and that it has resulted in a corporate power that rivals, in fact often EXCEEDS the power of our own government


that's it, my answer in a nutshell, the rest is all details about the interaction between those different forces, the profit-making entities on one side, and the people who struggle to get through the day on the other

I certainly like the ideal of capitalism, that each and every citizen has the same opportunity to pursue their goals without interference

but in it's extreme form, it stops working, things like monopolies and manipulation of media get constructed, and the wealth and power get put in the hands of too few people

just like one of the other ideals, that of communism, which in theory, is supposed to be be about shared wealth, but in reality, it destroys an individual's motives to work harder, because he/she ends up with same economic reality, no matter how hard they try

So that's why I feel that our system, which I think was built with many, many, great ideas, is still the best, but it will collapse without better regulation to make a more level playing field

and why I think it's time for the pendulum to start swinging the other way, and we citizens need to use our voices, our votes, our influence, to be part of the process, it won't work without the involvement of We The People, and why it was one of the key principles so carefully written into our Constitution by our founding fathers
Posted by: Angelmom

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/02/09 02:36 PM

I know this post is 100% NOT funny but I went and saw the movie SAW and while I was watching it this post kept popping up.

I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone but it was about how OUR healthcare screws people everyday with making life and death choices of who will live and who will die by their insurance approvals and denials.

The sad thing is I was thinking yes sometimes I am sure that is what possibly what we would feel like doing to the insurance companies or the people that run them.

Insurance gets to approve or deny procedures every day that they deem experimental or too costly.

I do sooo agree with Kat, it doesn't matter if there is a drug addict trying to keep his family together or a member of congress EVERY PERSON deserves the right to insurance, coverage regardless of your situation and people are dying every day because they don't have it.

Im not sure what is going to have to happen to get our country to wake up.

Lisa
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/02/09 03:56 PM

Quote:

Insurance gets to approve or deny procedures every day that they deem experimental or too costly.





The government will do the exact same thing. Additionally, now with the proposed cuts to Medicare to help finance this whopper of a bill, the government is basically seeking to marginalize the individuals that are non-contributors to their revenues. Face it. It comes down to revenue and expenditures. If you don't help finance the government (aren't a producer), regardless that you were basically helped to finance their operations for 25, 30, or more years, they really don't give much of a hoot about you. I believe the president even laid this concept out himself where he said it would be just fine if that person existed on pain pills instead of having a knee or hip replacement (I don't recall which) and enjoying a greater quality of life. Perhaps the insurance companies do this more often that I realize too, but I've never heard my parents or elderly relatives (on Medicare Advantage) have any problem getting the procedures they needed. Maybe all of that was in the cards all along for Medicare recipients, but now their intentions have been made apparent. There has to be a better way.
Posted by: Maggie

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 12:03 AM

What is wrong with capitalism
- except -
for areas where social programs are needed. i.e. education, healthcare,.....
These items should not be in the least bit optional. They are very basic. There should be no questioning if someone deserves them or can afford them.
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 07:05 AM

We had a lovely illustration of why capitalism in healthcare is wrong here just this past week. The provincial government was giving out the H1N1 vaccine to various doctors' offices and clinics. One clinic was a privately owned clinic. They do get coverage from OHIP, but they also have extra services that you pay for. So, here are people standing in line for upwards of 7 hours at the public clinics, and these jokers are selling the vaccine. OK, not the actual vaccine. What they were actually saying was: come to our private clinic and buy a $2,300 full health screen and we'll give you the vaccine for free!!

I was so disgusted. Honestly, I almost spewed all over the TV. They have now been shamed into not insisting that people buy services from them to get the vaccine.

Warm hugs,
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 08:27 AM

Capitalism is a good thing. We up here in Canada have it too! It works well with the right amount of restrictions. The confusion is the difference between Capitalism and Corporatism. Capitalism is not the belief in the way a country is run. Capitalism is a cog in the wheel. Corporatism is when the companies exceed and/or influence the powers of politics. Canada is a good example where capitalism works well in a Social Democratic.

This brings me back to my first point: I pay 22% of my income in taxes. I have free health care. Americans pay upwards of 50% of their income in taxes. I believe this whole view of "free enterprise capitalism" is a fairy tale built to keep people believing in their "free" country. If it was so free, there would be no taxes! So all this uproar about healthcare and no question as to where all the tax dollars are going in the first place! We can start any business we want here, and we can be privy to many legal exemptions when doing so to help us along the way. Defining "free" is highly relative to what people were raised to believe.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 12:38 PM

Hi Kat:

I sure wish public shaming worked down here!

Here's a horrible recent story that will definitely raise your temperature, a recent report about a woman who was drug-raped, and being unconscious, didn't know if her assailant used any protection. She was advised by her doctor to begin anti-HIV medications as a preventative measure, and then was DROPPED from her health care insurance plan because of it!!!

Being a woman is not a pre-existing condition
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 01:11 PM

Quote:

Capitalism is a good thing. We up here in Canada have it too! It works well with the right amount of restrictions.



I totally agree with that. Capitalism WITH restrictions is the way to go. Problem here is that the restrictions are too little, and not enforced enough. And the longer that continues, the more power the private industry gets, and they use that power and wealth to influence what happens, buy television and radio time, not just to run their ads, but to actually manipulate the actual so-called "news" programming, and to threaten those stations if they don't like a way the "facts" are presented...

Quote:

The confusion is the difference between Capitalism and Corporatism. Capitalism is not the belief in the way a country is run. Capitalism is a cog in the wheel. Corporatism is when the companies exceed and/or influence the powers of politics. Canada is a good example where capitalism works well in a Social Democratic.




Of course Corporatism in it's extreme form is Fascism... a term that has been thrown about in this country a lot lately, misused as a perjorative attack against health care reform, which makes no sense, if anything it's the opposite

Quote:

This brings me back to my first point: I pay 22% of my income in taxes. I have free health care. Americans pay upwards of 50% of their income in taxes. I believe this whole view of "free enterprise capitalism" is a fairy tale built to keep people believing in their "free" country. If it was so free, there would be no taxes! So all this uproar about healthcare and no question as to where all the tax dollars are going in the first place! We can start any business we want here, and we can be privy to many legal exemptions when doing so to help us along the way. Defining "free" is highly relative to what people were raised to believe.




Well you don't actually have "free" health care, if you are paying taxes, but I see your point. (the way that your government spends that money)

Not sure by the way where you are getting the numbers for Americans paying upwards of 50% of their income in taxes. The federal tax here ends at 35%, & then there is state tax on top of that, there may be a few states/cities that charge 15% or more, will have to research that

Here in New York state, in our household we pay a combined joint fed/state 31% of our income in taxes, less than others pay, because we are nowhere close to hitting that $372,950 number, where the fed taxes alone go to 35%

Our US taxes are still far lower than countries like the UK, which is one of the reasons that many wealthy rock stars like Elton John, Keith Richards have relocated to this country
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 03:29 PM

This post seems to acquiring an “America bashing” tone and I'm not sure why. I still struggle to understand why the Canadians are so interested in what happens in regard to health insurance reform in the United States. You have your universal health insurance system, you seem to like it, and that is just fine. Enough said. Apparently, at the moment at least, we don't think such a system is necessarily the solution of choice for the United States.

I don't disagree with your statement that “capitalism is not the belief in the way a country is run”. Capitalism is akin to a free market. However, once you introduce any restrictions or regulation, you really don't have a free market. You have quasi-capitalism. I had to do some digging to refresh my knowledge I might of once possessed regarding corporatism. This quote has led me to believe that this is similar to what the current administration in the United States is pursuing.

Quote:

Thus corporatism was formulated as a system that emphasized the positive role of the state in guaranteeing social justice and suppressing the moral and social chaos of the population pursuing their own individual self-interests.




Corporatism

Also, Canada may be a good example of where capitalism works well in a Social Democratic, but we (the United States) have a Republic. It works fairly well here too. Just because we don't have universal health insurance is not indicative of whether capitalism works well or not. I think a large part of the problem here is pure greed (capitalist greed if you will) and lack of morals, conscience, etc. There is nothing wrong, in my opinion, with the concept of capitalism.

Have to agree with Dow on this one. If you pay taxes, your health care is not free. You are paying for it. The government (I imagine) just allocates/distributes the funds to cover the bill. Also, I don't think I ever paid anywhere close to 50% of my income in federal taxes. I'm assuming that the 22% does not include any provincial or local taxes. I typically fell in the 25% - 28% percent bracket regarding federal taxes. Of course, there were state taxes and local taxes, but I think my total tax burden was still less than 35%. Also, it is easy to take potshots at how our taxes are allocated, but you are comparing apples and oranges when comparing the financial burdens/obligations of both the United States and Canada.

Americans, at least the ones that are paying attention, do routinely question where our tax dollars are going. Why do you think there was such a ruckus this summer regarding this proposed health insurance reform and it is still a very “hot” topic. Part of the issue has to do with individuals having to undergo radical changes to their current health insurance and benefits, but another huge issue is how this proposal will be financed.

Also, the notion of free has to do more with the freedoms guaranteed to citizens via the Bill of Rights. Associating freedom with free market is a bit of a misnomer. Freedom is freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom to peaceably assemble, etc., although one could easily make a case that these no longer exist as intentioned.

Yes, defining free is very relative to what people were raised, or conditioned by the state, to believe.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 03:44 PM

Quote:

Problem here is that the restrictions are too little, and not enforced enough.




Mmmmm...this, in my opinion is partially true. We may have too many restrictions in some instances. It oft seems that the problem is that the existing laws/rules are not enforced. Therefore, the geniuses in D.C. take it upon themselves to enact new legislation. They also seem to do a great job of loading things up with pork, attaching completely unrelated legislation, or stripping citizens of more of their rights when they create new legislation.

Quote:

the more power the private industry gets, and they use that power and wealth to influence what happens, buy television and radio time, not just to run their ads, but to actually manipulate the actual so-called "news" programming, and to threaten those stations if they don't like a way the "facts" are presented...




I guess we see different solutions to this problem. However, I agree that a problem exists. It occurs to me that the solution is not to rely on Big Brother to regulate, it is to empower individuals to think critically and tune this garbage out. However, our public education system that churns out mindless automatons precludes critical thinking. Perhaps the garbage to which you refer will go away all together some day (we can dream, can't we?). I for one don't want to live in more of a nanny state than we already have. However, there is a disturbingly large portion of the population that wants the government to basically care for them cradle to grave.
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 04:39 PM

Quote:

This post seems to acquiring an “America bashing” tone and I'm not sure why. I still struggle to understand why the Canadians are so interested in what happens in regard to health insurance reform in the United States.




I'm sorry to have it come across this way. Not my intention. Not to downplay our own country, but on a macro level, we are like the fly on the back of your head. It matters greatly how you move to us and many times you wouldn't even know we're here. On a micro level, I also have relatives in the States so it does affect me. I did post that I sincerely hope you guys work it out the best way possible in a previous post.

Also, I did not say anywhere that capitalism does not work well in the States. I actually thought about putting it in afterwards that It runs amazingly in your own country as well! The freedom thing, people see this as a government take-over and are coorelating it to a loss of their freedom. I was saying that maybe to question the tax dollars and not the reform itself originally.


How your taxes are divied up were only stated as "IMO"s which are "in my opinion" where I said that I think that everyone should have their health taken care of because they do belong to a "group" of people and do participate in the things that the group does (sometimes whether they like it or not). Just an IMO.

22% includes EI, CPP, and Income tax on a Provincial and Federal Level.

The ROW (rest of world) regards Canadians as Americans far more than you would believe. I've seen it time and time again in my travels (I've been Corrected when I said no I'm not American, I'm Canadian, and then they said "its the same thing") so I try to stay abreast of what's going on (and think every Canadian should).

Basically I was just trying to open thought on another perspective. There are great fears in the States about this reform and many Americans would believe that our system is opressive and could never be the (or an) answer. I believe that I am free to do whatever I want (morally and legally of course) in the country that I live and just trying to eliminate some fears of the unknown.
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 05:26 PM

Quote:

Enough said. Apparently, at the moment at least, we don't think such a system is necessarily the solution of choice for the United States.




I'm curious, who is "we"? What's all the hubub about the public option and single payer? You're moving towards it, of that there's no doubt.



Quote:

If you pay taxes, your health care is not free. You are paying for it.




I think the word "free" is misused here. The proper term should be "included".

What the US does in the future regarding health care will affect us in Canada because comparisons will be drawn to failed policies and policies that have worked (on both sides). Our politicians will surely be in a tizzy no matter what your health system ends up looking like.
Posted by: mig

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 06:16 PM

Hi Jay,

I have really been enjoying this thread! Fascinating. I've wanted to jump in many times but wow, now it's so big.

I really don't think there is any American bashing sentiment here, and although I can't speak for others, I think that what you may be sensing is that for the vast majority of Canadians, 'we' are just very proud of our healthcare system... and the basic underlying sentiment (I believe)... is that we *wish* it for you! We don't wish you any additional burden of debt however.

As much as we are proud of our system, it is also far from perfect and struggling to manage the rising costs of healthcare as well. I think this is a big challenge for every country. Part of our interest in the debate (that is not ours ) probably lies in the fact that we pay great attention to what our neighbours are doing, and naturally more so than vice versa, as whatever is eventually decided certainly has some potential to impact us and our political leaders and decisions. Our nations are tied at the hip in many ways.

I think Adam, you may have misconstrued a few facts? From what I understand, our overall tax burden is generally higher than most Americans and this is essentially to do with the taxes we pay towards healthcare coverage. It always cracks me up when we say it is free because it absolutely isn't. There are varying tax brackets in Canada and combined Federal, Provincial and Municipal taxes can be as much as 45% of total income for 'some'. Not me. I do not know what our highest is actually. I would think the average is around 30% but I'm not sure on that figure either.

We are not actually a Social Democracy. We are a Federal Parliamentary Democracy (within a Constitutional Monarchy)! And capitalists too. We have a few more social programs, most notably universal healthcare but we are not socialists! We do have a Social Democratic Party, which I don't think(?) has ever held power federally. (whew) They are somewhat useful in Opposition tho.

Some key regulations, preferably less than more imho, do seem prudent and necessary. The banking system is a recent prime example that literally saved our banks from collapse.

Cripes I've gotten myself way off topic. It seems to me (not that my opinion counts for a hill of beans) that Americans are facing a unique opportunity and challenge. I imagine that if you indeed want change (which seemed the case by your last election anyway) that you could probably figure out a way to do it that would not automatically increase your deficit but it would have to be a cleverly designed and multifaceted approach to reform. There are huge efficiencies to be gained from large groups for sure but the sheer size of your population and the complexity of it really makes it difficult. It is in so many ways like comparing apples and oranges for us.

I still wish it for you though! The benefits I mean. Some of the stories are just heart-wrenching and unfathomable to me.

mig
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 07:40 PM

Well,my politics class in Uni, gave us the "social democratic" label. I guess it doesn't matter who labels what anyway.

As I remember our tax levels are similar in amounts but are made up of different "labels".

I do need to retract one comment about the "being free" thing though as I don't really think either of our countries are "free"
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 08:01 PM

Quote:

I'm curious, who is "we"? What's all the hubub about the public option and single payer? You're moving towards it, of that there's no doubt.




"We" would be the citizens of the United States. It is a certain subset of the population, but obviously not everyone is convinced of a single tier, universal solution at this point in time or perhaps any time in the future. Now, if we thought that the same system was such a fantastic idea, I don't think that the pols would have taken the beating that they did from their constituents this summer. Honestly, if the Dems intentions about enacting health insurance reform was genuine, they wouldn't have taken the approach that they did. They should have collectively read a few "how-to" books on sales. You don't try and ram something as important as this down people's throats and expect them to blindly accept it. Perhaps they are that myopic. I don't know.

There, in my eyes, and in the eyes of some others, are many problems with the public option. The government really has no business running health care for one thing. Another is that over time it will likely lead to less competition and eventually no choice for the citizens. The government will not play fair and will drive the competition out of business. Personally, I can forsee the quality of health care declining as the government creates greater interference as to what doctors can and cannot do. Not all doctors are going to want to take the MO from the U.S. government regarding how they administer care. I'm not knocking the Canadian system or the health care system of any country for that matter. Personally, I just don't think such a system is one that is satisfactory for a portion of the population. Also, it is not my intention to talk about health care systems. Health insurance is what's on the table. At least that should be the only thing that's at stake.

Single payer? Perhaps. I could forsee such a situation if the government makes it cheaper for companies to dump their employees off on a public system (pay a tax instead of paying for coverage). However, I think it is far from a sure thing.

I guess I'd attribute all the hubub to differences inherent to our respective countries. Not every citizen in the U.S. is willing to yield to what the government attempts to mandate. I don't think that the vast majority of the citizens of the United States wish any of our citizens to be without health insurance, however this country is quickly on it's way to becoming a third world country and cannot afford another entitlement program at this juncture especially when there are so many that don't contribute to pay the tab.
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 08:07 PM

Jay remember in poll after poll the majority of americans favor a public option. Your opinion does note represent the majority view in this country in any way

http://realclearpolitics.blogs.time.com/2009/10/21/cnn-poll-61-favor-public-option/

Personally due to the anti-trust laws and how the insurance companies operate now the idea the idea that there is any choice now is a bit off. In fact the vast majority of americans really can't afford any choice but what the job offers anyway.

Choice simply does not exist now except for the well employed, young, healthy people in the US

If we don't fix it somehow we will be a third world country as medicare and rising premiums break the bank of the government and individuals.

Last I saw from the CBO, the senate plan would actually save us money, 30 billion over 10 years on the federal defecit compared to doing nothing.
Posted by: snowshoe

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 08:13 PM

Quote:

I'm curious, who is "we"?



I'm curious who we is as well given there's a wide range of opinions. But at the risk of making yet another sweeping statement, I feel confident in speaking for all U.S. citizens in saying we adore our Canadian neighbors to the north!
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 08:24 PM

I don't blame you for being proud of your health care system. If it works for you that is fantastic. I know very little about it. I just don't see the Canadian, or any other country's system, as a cut and paste solution for our country. It doesn't matter if we are talking about Canada, the U.K. Singapore, etc. Each country is unique, has it's own cultures, beliefs, nuances, etc. There is nothing wrong (outside of that pesky debt) with universal health insurance. I really think very few citizens of the United States wish for the citizens of this country to be without health insurance or access to health care. Denial of care, no matter your situation is just wrong. Unfortunately it is not that simple and there are numerous shades of gray involved. Oh and about that debt...it would have been much more productive and humane to spend the money (although we really didn't have it to spend in the first place) on the betterment of U.S. citizens instead of a couple of endless wars, but that's topic creep.

Yes, this is a unique opportunity. It, in my opinion, was a blown opportunity. Instead of taking the high road for the betterment of the country, the folks in Washington chose to play politics forgetting that they are mere servants of the people.

Also, I constantly laugh at this "change" thing. Things were going to change no matter who was elected. W was done (unless he wielded power to become a dictator...or more of one than he was). I see little change. We are still headed in the same direction we were with the last regime. Down.

Finally, if your opinion is a hill of beans, I might be one little sprout. However, I'm one of the orneriest sprouts around.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 08:40 PM

Perhaps legislation was passed of which I'm not aware? If "we" (referring the citizens of the United States - 100%) are so convinced of one system, why is there still strong opposition? I didn't realize that our country reached a decision on a plan for health insurance reform. I really don't mean to be so flippant with my response, but this issue appears, at least as I understand it, to be far from resolved.

61% may be a majority, but 39% is approximately 120 million citizens. Hard to ignore that figure.

I haven't been out to the CBO page since early September. I'll have to take a look out there soon.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 08:51 PM

Hi.

Quote:

Apparently, at the moment at least, we don't think such a system is necessarily the solution of choice for the United States.





The "we" was meant to represent the idea that there are varying/differing opinions and that their is no clear consensus yet regarding the final plan for health insurance reform. If any one existing system were so ideal for our country, I don't think we'd still be fighting about the issue. I didn't realize this "we" would stir up so much dust. It was meant to suggest that the country is still undecided.
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 09:00 PM

There is strong opposition because the US is a very very divided country. Almost to the point of being ungovernable in my opinion. The extreme position, with no compromise possible, on both sides will destroy what they are trying to save in the long.

there is no decision on a plan but there is a strong majority on a general direction. 61% in a presidential election is considered a landslide victory in this country.

The last few years large minorities have been ignored by both sides in all kinds of issues. Healthcare will be no different in the long one. There will be a large chunk of very disappointed people on the losing side. That is what this country has become with all the polarizing radio and politically personallities lately. it is quite sad.

BTW you will notice I said a public option is favored not a specific plan that you tried to pin to the post. I never referred to any specific plan nor did the poll in any way.
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/03/09 09:59 PM

Here's where we get to the "I don't understand" portion once again. We don't have government run health care. Our Prime Minister doesn't pick up a scalpel and operate. There are no MP's jumping in as presidents of hospitals or becomimg GP's. No interference to the system. Who in government would think for a second that they would know the first thing about running health care? They simply pay the people who do the job best. I could go to 1000 doctors who give me 1000 opinions if I want 1000 opinions. I would bet most of them are passionate doctors (who are rich in Canada as well) who care about doing their best job and have all the resources they would ever need to do the job. From what I have seen, is high quality care from some of the best specialists who care deeply about their profession. I think that "government run" may be just another scare tactic from some conservative nay sayers and fear of the unknown.

I don't understand- I guess this leads me to the question: what would the difference be between health insurance and free health care?

I'd like to finish this with this: Considering my last 2 years, if I were in a country that did not offer me free health care, I'd be completely and utterly messed right now (either financially or health wise)! That is another reason why I pay close attention to this issue.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/04/09 01:06 PM

I hope you guys will find this amusing, it got sent to me by a friend in the UK

I do, and I'm definitely an American!

Posted by: mig

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/04/09 01:21 PM

Well, 'uninhabited' is a bit funny!

Thank goodness it is not true or I'd be a figment of my imagination!
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/04/09 02:13 PM

rather than voice an opinion, just wanted to share a website that i'm finding informative on the issue:

healthcare reform
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/04/09 02:15 PM

dow,

from one American to another........

Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/04/09 02:40 PM

Dow that is funny! Hmmm, I'm uninhabited? Does that mean I am merely a shadow of my former self?

My two favourites are "Santa!" and "Cold!"

Warm hugs,
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/04/09 04:04 PM

Thank You for clearing this all up!
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/04/09 05:49 PM

Snow bunny, you are right on.
I've been to the USA and met wonderful people and I've been to 21 other countries and would love to see the wonderful people I met.
Guess what.
Posted by: snowshoe

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/04/09 06:14 PM

Quote:

Part of our interest in the debate (that is not ours ) probably lies in the fact that we pay great attention to what our neighbours are doing, and naturally more so than vice versa,



Mig, though the map says uninhabited and the govt won't admit it, we pay much greater attention to Canada than you think...it's all very top secret of course except for the highly publicized Gordon Lightfoot botched kidnap attempt.
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/04/09 07:33 PM

Indeed and I enjoy my canadian friends in calgary and Regina. I am in a montana optimist club and twice a year we get together with the canadian clubs for a regional shindig.

good times
Posted by: mig

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/04/09 07:45 PM

Hey, no stealing our national treasure allowed!

You are sweet Snowy I feel the same as you! We got pretty darned lucky in the friendly neighbours deal.
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/05/09 10:22 AM

Mig, you're dead on with that!

To hell with Gordon's Lightfoot, by the way, I want to know where Burton's Cumming from. Ah well, never the Twain shall meet. If they did, t'would truly be a Triumph, Rankin right up there with Bare Naked Ladies in a Lighthouse!

Egad, stop me now.

Warm hugs,
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/05/09 10:31 AM

Triumph is/was good stuff! I thoroughly enjoyed one of the more well known Canadian power trios...Rush!

Don't fancy any Fred Eaglesmith, do ya?
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/05/09 10:53 AM

Can't say as I'm really familiar enough with Fred Eaglesmith to say I fancy his music. Rush, however....

The Hipically Tragic
Great Blue Sea
Blue Rodeo
Alannis and Sarah M.

And one you might never have heard of - Harmonium (Quebecois from the 70s)

Hugs,
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/05/09 11:49 AM

Leslie Nielsen makes up for all the damage that Celine Dion has done!

It does amaze me how much talent originates from Canada in show biz

I used to travel to Toronto on a regular basis, two important cartoon shows that Marsha and I worked on in our past, "The Magic School Bus" and "Cyberchase" the animation was produced there
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/05/09 11:56 AM

Don't forget the Collectors!
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/05/09 01:03 PM

Tragically Hip was always hit and miss with me. More miss than hit. That was always "tragic" to a friend of mine who was Buffalo and counted them as his favorite band.

Blue Rodeo
Alanis
The Sadies

There's another band that I'm thinking of that I saw once whose name I can't recall. [Edited: Cowboy Junkies!] Therefore, I'm perusing this monster list.

Monster List of Bands From Canada
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/05/09 01:10 PM

I can't believe you know the Sadies! My ex used to do lights for them when they were in town. The New Years eve we were together, he worked their show. Blue Rodeo made an appearance that night as well. Good god, the Horseshoe Tavern rocked that night!

Warm hugs,
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/05/09 08:21 PM

-Alex Lifeson almost produced the band I used to work with. I did have an intimate (at least on my side) talk with him. Then he got in that trouble in Florida on New Years and couldn't do the job.

-I dated a girl who was (is?) a voice on Cyberchase
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/05/09 11:43 PM

Didn't know you were moosical! Like me, did medical issues get in the way?

Quote:

-I dated a girl who was (is?) a voice on Cyberchase



trying to think of some way I can reply to this and get back to the health care discussion...

oh yeah, the show is about math! There was an episode teaching about currency and money and all that!

We only worked on season 1, but my music still opens the show, now in like it's eighth season

wonder who that ex-girlfriend could have been? Might have even been Matt, the boy character- (they tend to prefer to cast girls even to play boys since they never go through that awkward teen voice change)
Posted by: mig

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/06/09 06:00 AM

Cripes, I can't believe this thread has sidetracked into music AND that it wasn't Dow's doing..!!
Posted by: ineptwill

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/06/09 06:17 AM

Probably from the grim decibels of an overloud rumbling bass, a crazed drummer and a thrashing guititititar thrasher, i KNEW SUCH NOISE WAS NOT SAFE, now you know why it ios called rock....cripes now may I recommend a soothing aCCORDION CANTATA, THRILL TO THE SOUND OF THIS EFFERVESCENT DELIGHT, NO ROCKING HOUSES AND FAILING FOUNDATIONS WE SHOULD ALL LOVE TORALF TOLLEFSON...
Posted by: ineptwill

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/06/09 06:20 AM

WHO SAID THAT???
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/06/09 07:13 AM

Alan, you are the only person I know who would use the words "accordian" and "effervescent" in one sentence, let alone using one to describe the other.

The place rocked, not the music. The music is sort of country, but with a ... well ... it's not rock, anyway.

Warm hugs,
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/06/09 07:14 AM

I blame it on Snowshoe. She's the one who mentioned a musician in the first place!!

Yah. Yah. That's the ticket!

Warm hugs,
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/06/09 04:02 PM

Quote:

Cripes, I can't believe this thread has sidetracked into music AND that it wasn't Dow's doing..!!




Somehow I think maybe it was me after all, things seemed to go in another direction after I put up that silly cartoon about "How Americans View The World"

But I had a somewhat serious reason for doing it, back to my way earlier thought, and that was why can't part of our national debate be about comparing our health system to other countries directly? Why is that we see almost none of that on the talk shows, or speeches given, somebody citing figures and statistics about how Japan does it, or the Netherlands?

And now I just think because to do so would be political suicide, the response from the angry mob would be something like "Well move to those countries then!" That is, if you could hear that over the repeated chants of "We're Number One! We're Number One!"
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/06/09 05:27 PM

you bring up a very good point. i don't know why human nature is like this.
it's not just comparing one country to another, i've noticed it in the workplace as well. if a new person comes in and talks too much about the way things were done at their old workplace, trying to take the good from their old situation and apply it to the new, somehow that never seems to go over well. personally i would think we would want to examine the best (and worst) practices of others, at least for ideas if nothing else.
Posted by: snowshoe

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/06/09 06:25 PM

Quote:

To hell with Gordon's Lightfoot



WHAT??? Well if that's the way you feel we will just keep him!
Posted by: snowshoe

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/06/09 06:27 PM

Quote:

I blame it on Snowshoe. She's the one who mentioned a musician in the first place!!

Yah. Yah. That's the ticket!

Warm hugs,



Well maybe that's just what's needed for cool heads to prevail in the health care debate--everyone needs to mellow out with some good tunes. But now I see you're arguing about music as well.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/07/09 07:37 AM

Quote:

"Well move to those countries then!"




I heard a lot of "love it (United States) or leave it" growing up. I realize it's not that black and white, much like this health insurance reform thing, but there is a certain endearing simplicity in that statement. Personally, I think, and tend to believe that most people in the U.S. embrace changes truly beneficial to the country. However, it also occurs to me that a significant enough portion of the population doesn't want this particular version of change (national health insurance plan) that is being foisted upon them. Also, it seems the U.S. public also haven't been so willing to embrace a national health insurance plan since Truman initially laid out his desire for such a plan in 1948. Why? I can't really say for sure. My guess is that it has something to do with the spirit of individualism and largely defining your own destiny. That, however, seems to be fading at an accelerating pace and folks are being gradually conditioned to rely on the state instead of themselves. Whether I like the results or not, and whether you like the results or not, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. It may produce such a fissure in this country (beyond those that already exist) that will take a long time to rectify.
Posted by: Michelle70605

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/07/09 08:18 AM

Hi Yall...I'm going to throw my two-cents in here...but just so you know, I've already put on a suit of armor, so bashing will do no good.... Okay, I'm financially responsible for repairing my car if it breaks...my home and the KAlypso as well....I'm responsible for the vet bills if the dogs need to go, so why would I not be financially responsible for my own body? I think those that can afford to either buy insurance or pay their own medical bills, should have to do one or the other...but I think the biggest problem is that we've got too many young healthy people on public assistance and their children are on it too and the children's father isn't supporting his own children....if they would tighten the reins on just that group, make them work and take care of the children that they decided to have, it would not only bring down the unemployment rate and boost the economy, we would find a multi-billion dollar surplus in the bank, plenty enough money to take care of those that truly can't work or afford to buy insurance or pay their medical bills but of course we'll have to hire more cops and build more prisons because the crime rate will go up, simply because some have no pride and they'd rather steal what someone else has worked very hard to get, instead of working for it....sadly we now have to support not only ours but theirs too....
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/07/09 10:27 AM

Quote:

.... a significant enough portion of the population doesn't want this particular version of change (national health insurance plan)




But still a minority from what the polls say, it seems. I think a lot of people who are against it now will be the first in line once it's implemented. Voting is today isn't it?
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/07/09 10:51 AM

I'm sorry if the "bashing" tone has come from me at all, I don't want that tone to be here. If it has, I am a very sarcastic person and I use it to explain things too often. I really hope to not offend while I type!

I guess now we're talking about the difference between rights and privileges. Those things you speak of are definitely privileges. I guess it may be over determining if access to a country wide health care system is a right or a privilege? IMO a healthy life is a right and can increase a country's productivity as a side effect! In other opinions I guess its a privilege.

Then you should have the 'right' to say, "umm, personally, I'm not going to pay for the war America's in, my neighbour can pay for it if he's for it." "I don't think crashing stuff into the moon is the 'in' thing to do, maybe the next thing NASA comes up with I'll help fund."

...back to the "free" point...

P.S. I hope that didn't come across as bashing or preachy
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/07/09 11:38 AM

Personally, I'm not one to follow polls, nor am I good at finding or paying attention to them. However, this information seems to be relatively recent. Most of it seems to indicate that there are more "oppose" responses compared to "favor" responses when folks are asked about the Obama/Dem ideas of universal health care. The numbers, however, do change similar to the direction of the wind. What I found interesting is that (if you scroll down to the NBC/WSJ poll) folks find any proposal coming from Repubs as, if not more, heinous than what is being proposed by Dems. Therefore, I can only come to the conclusion that they all need to be voted out and replaced with legislators that work in the interest of the public.

Poll Information

Yes, debate opens today and may come to a vote on the floor of the House. That is just the House bill though, not a final bill.

I probably concur with you in that some of the people against it will be the early in the queue to sign up as the main thing to which they will pay attention is cost. Many of these folks don't understand what benefits they have through a current plan/policy, yet will be willing to switch based on the presumption of equal or greater benefit for less cost. There will also be some that oppose it that really won't have a choice if their employers abolish their current plans with a health insurer to sign up on a government plan.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/07/09 11:48 AM

Quote:

IMO a healthy life is a right




I'm not going to get into some kine of urination match regarding whether or not a health life is a right or privilege. Personally, I struggle to classify it as either and could lead arguments for/against both. It is, however, a responsibility.

Who bears the responsibility for an individual that lazes around day after day, shoveling the worst food into the body, and generally neglecting care for self resulting in some kind of lifestyle disease/disorder (e.g. certain types of diabetes, heart problems, hypertension, obesity)? It shouldn't be the public. Therefore, if you neglect self, do you really have a right to a healthy life? This does not apply to circumstances beyond an individual's control, but if you knowingly and repeatedly abuse/neglect your body, why is that my problem?

Also, I think you should be the poster boy for NASA. You seem to enjoy when they crash large hunks of metal into the moon.
Posted by: Michelle70605

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/07/09 12:39 PM

Quote:

I'm sorry if the "bashing" tone has come from me at all, I don't want that tone to be here. If it has, I am a very sarcastic person and I use it to explain things too often.




I love it, I'm sarcastic too but it was a rhetorical type thing, I only read the opening statement of this thread...not the 23 pages that followed....and don't worry, you were def. not sacastic...yes, we are probably are talking about diff. aspects of it....and I find that each angle of the healthcare quest frustrates me as much as all others...I'm appalled by the fact that my Dad served this fine country during Vietnam and the only courtesy extended to him at the VA Hospital is that they put a chair under him and the other 5 men in the shower before they hosed them down...okay, that's not quite the topic but it felt good to throw it in anyway....now his healthcare...repeated infections because they don't clean or replace his catheters often enough and a crappy diet and a whole Pandora's Box full of other issues...
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/07/09 02:24 PM

Hi Jaybird:

I think you are totally right to be taking the time to making some predictions about the kind of scenarios that will likely be taking place here if a universal health care plan is passed

We will undoubtedly be hearing new stories about lazy people who have the ability to work, and will be even less motivated to do so if they get health care services, there will be some that say to themselves: "why go out and get a job to get health care benefits if now I can just go see a doctor for free?"

And I've listened to talk radio shows where they emphasize the abuse that takes place today in some of our other existing social services, stories about the "welfare queens" that pull up to the social service offices in limousines, wearing expensive clothes, to pick up their unemployment checks

I wish it could be possible to enact precise legislation that would target those kind of people perfectly, and although maybe after a few years of seeing what takes place, amendments and changes to the laws could do a better job of it, but it will be impossible to prevent all of that, and there WILL be resentment from the people who are hard-working and angry that a portion of their tax money is going to those lazy good-for-nothings

but right now, it's just gone absurdly far the OTHER way, we've got instead way too many stories about the CEO's of the insurance companies getting huge salaries, for instance, Ron Williams, CEO of Aetna in 2008 taking home $24,300,112

Williams 2008 compensation

and way, way too many stories about people getting dropped from their coverage, denied access to health care from these companies, when if you read their histories, it's immediately obvious that it happened for no other reason than it wasn't profitable to keep processing their monthly payments

and check out this one, regarding how much more US citizens pay for the SAME services, and the quote saying ""Our Lipitor must be four to ten times a good as the Lipitor that Canadians take."

Comparison of health care costs
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/07/09 04:57 PM

Interesting polls but I like the one where people are asked "Do you approve or disapprove of the way Democrats/Republicans in Congress are handling health care?"
Huge disapproval, a failure to communicate.
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/07/09 09:13 PM

The bill just got passed (like a couple of seconds ago)- squeaker!!! Just wanted to be the first to post. I told you I watch this play out every night!
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/07/09 09:47 PM

Health Care reform is long overdue in this country. I don't agree with much of the bill but I applaud a group that is finally attacking the problem and we are seeing real progress toward reform for a change.

Like it or hate it there is momentum there now to fix the mess we have now.

Personally I see this as a win for the majority in the US and a defeat for the very vocal minorities.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/07/09 11:52 PM

step 1 of 3!

and now that it's been passed in the House, it goes to committee for more changes, and then on to the Senate, if whatever it has become by then passes there too, then on to the white house for signature, that's when it becomes law

not sure what this means to the Baucus bill that has also gotten through step1 in the Senate, maybe they'll just put both bills in a blender and see what happens
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/08/09 06:03 AM

You must mean minorities like me.

Having perused some of those poll results, the minority shifted back and forth quite a bit. Reform is good. This particular bill or iteration of reform...well, I hope I'm wrong in my concerns.
Posted by: Michelle70605

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/08/09 06:08 AM

Or the "Welfare Kings"....riding the gravy train does not only apply to women....
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/08/09 11:23 AM

LOL actually I don't put you in that group. I find your posts reasonable and I don't think you are for doing nothing. You disagree with the public option and I think there are some valid points for that position. I am not sure I agree but that is an OK thing to me. I have seen to many abuses at the hands of the insurance companies to not favor a public option or at least some massive regulatory reform on that industry. We are all influenced by our personal experiences.

There are way more extreme positions, on both sides, out there than yours that do bother me though and I see no logic behind them at all other than to benefit a very small section of the population at the expense of the majority.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/08/09 02:02 PM

Quote:

You must mean minorities like me.



being Green is a very liberal thing in these times!

and agree with Drizzit, you make very good points, this is not a simple issue, already bracing for the backlash- The insurance companies have announced that in retaliation to one of these bills being passed, they will raise premiums in the period prior to it becoming law, to protect their profits while they still can. I hope there will be a way to stop that from happening...
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/08/09 02:09 PM

Yea go figure removing the antitrust provisions that health care companies enjoy should stimulate competition right?? nah they get to all raise rates.

Sorry but the idea that there is any competition in the health care industry in the United States right now is just not true
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/08/09 10:24 PM

Glad to see that the House bill that just got through Step 1 of 3 includes a repeal of the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act:

WSJ Wider Oversight Looms for Insurers

Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/08/09 10:49 PM

if you are going to let these companies sell across state line then you have to have some federal oversight on them which they did not want.
As I understood it the republican proposal to allow companies to sell policies across state lines allowed them ignore stricter state rules if they were headquartered elsewhere and selling across state lines. This would stop that. I need to make sure on that though.

lots of twists and turns here
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/09/09 08:03 AM

It's kind of coincidental that you mention them raising rates in the lull period before any changes take place via any law that is passed. I was thinking about this health care stuff earlier yesterday (mainly cursing the fact that they included an individual tax as opposed to a payroll tax like many other countries with publicly funded plans have...although any new tax doesn't sit well with me) and the exact same thought crossed my mind. Not only will they do that, but they will up the cancellations of policies retroactively, increase denials for service, and do anything else they can to increase the bottom line.

Also, I don't understand your comment about green??? Am I green like eco-green, like a "green horn", or are you calling yourself green? Help me understand. Also, liberal times? Please help me understand.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/09/09 08:11 AM

Yes, but under what provisions can the federal government regulate this? That is apparently where some of the confusion lies. I think arguments are being made that it doesn't fit under the ICC, therefore it is being questioned how the feds have any authority to regulate it. Watching this portion of it with great interest.

I don't know what, if any, kind of authority the FTC could exert.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/09/09 02:36 PM

Quote:

Also, I don't understand your comment about green??? Am I green like eco-green, like a "green horn", or are you calling yourself green? Help me understand. Also, liberal times? Please help me understand.




I was making a joke about your green "Incredible Hulk" avatar, sorry if I am being typically obscure

related topic for another day perhaps, the whole controversy about Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" and all that, people who are advocating we take the global warming situation seriously are often called "green" and are in direct opposition to industrialized Big Business, who claim that it is all a bunch of hoopla

Once mistakenly got into one of those backyard BBQ discussions with my nephew in Phoenix. He is convinced that the whole thing is a left-wing conspiracy

And I was "Of course you can think that, standing out here under the ever-beautiful blue skies of Arizona! In New York City, we can see the difference in the skies between the middle of the day, and then the smog during rush hour, when all those cars are piled up bumper to bumper!"
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/09/09 03:14 PM

another day, another story about the pharmaceutical companies breaking the law

even the existing laws:

Pfizer pays largest criminal fine in U.S. history, 1.19 billion

hits close to home for me, I'm taking Neurontin!
Posted by: snowshoe

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/09/09 05:30 PM

Quote:

another day, another story about the pharmaceutical companies breaking the law




That's a good story to be told and unexpectedly I seem to have stumbled in to more than I ever wanted to know about the topic & have even been asked if I'd like to testify to the FTC. Still considering the invite but the movie Silkwood keeps coming to mind --> (hitman)
Posted by: Michelle70605

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/09/09 06:08 PM

Quote:

hits close to home for me, I'm taking Neurontin!




It was prescribed for me too Dow!!
Posted by: Angelmom

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/09/09 06:28 PM

Ewww yes BE CAREFUL we so need people to stand up for us BUT it is a very real thing and you can bet they have the muscle and the money to back it up.

Good luck,

Lisa
Posted by: Angelmom

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/09/09 06:30 PM

Yep me too for at least 2 years or more!
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/09/09 07:53 PM

I'm totally with your nephew on that amongst a whole bunch of other things.

True or not, I believe there are people who are using it to push more taxes and controls and eventually tax people for living. Believe it or not...
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/10/09 06:55 AM

You didn't get my great puns in that post?

Warm hugs,
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/10/09 07:17 AM

Ahhh... "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry". My intention is to morph back into Dave Banner at some point in time, but I'm still as angry and enraged as I was at the time I put this up, therefore it stays until that time. Been that way for practically the last 15 years.

Here's a blog post I found interesting that I thought I would post.


Healthcare "Reform": the State and Plutocracy Stripmine the Middle Class (Again)
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/10/09 04:06 PM

Quote:

Ahhh... "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry". My intention is to morph back into Dave Banner at some point in time, but I'm still as angry and enraged as I was at the time I put this up, therefore it stays until that time. Been that way for practically the last 15 years.




Well, I like that. Now we have a goal on this KickAS thread, we'll know if we ever see that Dave Banner avatar, that progress has been made!

I read the Charles Hugh Smith blog that you posted..

my thoughts are that he is describing not a system that is being proposed, but more like the one that exists today, where the health care industry rules the order of things, with our government being under their control, not the other way around!

and we will never reach a situation where "everything is free for all" nor should we try to attempt that, he is right that it would bankrupt our system, simply not possible

good point that other countries that provide greater degree of benefits for their people are stressed under the costs of doing that, but I'm sure they would counter that with that they feel that is a cost well worth spending...

but we're not talking about that here, not a newly-created government-run health care system, that uses our taxes to pay itself, we're talking about using the collective bargaining power of US citizens, (many of whom are not covered at all, and therefore have zero negotiation power) to continue to pay our existing doctors, hospitals, and drug companies

but with a critically important difference...

That the governmental bill that is being proposed is designed to NOT run at a profit, (actually decrease our deficit, not increase it) unlike our insurance companies, that were set up that way from day one, and they are VERY successful at it

So I think of it as this being about creating a competition, when the not-for-profit entity starts competing with the for-profit existing entities, the result should be lower prices for us, less profit for them, more people covered

I know you don't trust that...fair enough, when there are billions and billions of dollars involved, I'm sure that we both don't believe that it won't be the end of corruption...


Here's something I think we should all watch:

(especially the part about how it will affect tax our tax burden)

Congressman Rob Andrews from last week
Posted by: snowshoe

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/11/09 05:28 PM

Quote:

another day, another story about the pharmaceutical companies breaking the law

even the existing laws:

Pfizer pays largest criminal fine in U.S. history, 1.19 billion

hits close to home for me, I'm taking Neurontin!



You're right, another day, another story...here's a new article that may be of interest to those taking Neurontin.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091111/ap_on_he_me/us_med_pfizer_research_flap

And another today (zyprexa) http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705343716/Drug-company-settles-Utah-suit.html
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/11/09 07:15 PM

Dow,

I guess I interpreted that blog post a little differently. He, based on what I interpreted, is basically stating that the healthcare system (sickcare as he termed it) is broken no matter who foots the bill. He also was attempting to make a point that private entities (insurers, etc.) are in cahoots with the state. It is a similar concept to that of what took place with the bailouts. Privatize profits and publicize losses.

I'm attempting to see this health insurance reform thing constructively, full spectrum if you will. Us versus them (Dems vs. Repubs...where in the end they will both sell the American public out) perpetuate the status quo.

A couple of thoughts on the Congressman's words...

• Regarding Veteran's Health Benefits...nothing will change for a person under Veteran's Benefits. That means that they will continue to receive the same level of questionable care that they currently receive. No improvements. I must be missing something on this one.

• Regarding the illegal aliens. Sure, they are left out of the bill. In other words, now they don't have to pay any taxes like citizens do if they do not procure suitable coverage, yet they will still get, what amounts to care at no cost, through Emergency Rooms. Best of both worlds.

• Regarding his spiel about "evading taxation, etc". He's basically telling you that a new tax is on the way. Who do you think is going to enforce that? The IRS. IRS agents carry guns. Fabulous.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/13/09 03:32 PM

Quote:

Dow,

I guess I interpreted that blog post a little differently. He, based on what I interpreted, is basically stating that the healthcare system (sickcare as he termed it) is broken no matter who foots the bill. He also was attempting to make a point that private entities (insurers, etc.) are in cahoots with the state. It is a similar concept to that of what took place with the bailouts. Privatize profits and publicize losses.

I'm attempting to see this health insurance reform thing constructively, full spectrum if you will. Us versus them (Dems vs. Repubs...where in the end they will both sell the American public out) perpetuate the status quo.




I may be a little more optimistic, don't see it as impossible to fix, and not so much as a thing between Dems vs Repubs BUT between the public and the health care giants

I DO see resistance from those who would not like this to be a feather-in-the-cap for Obama, and increase his chance of re-election...

and like I said, I'm not so naive to think that this would be the end of scandals regarding payoffs from the health care companies to influence legislation, I have no doubt that we will continue to see that, but that this will move things in the right direction.


Quote:

A couple of thoughts on the Congressman's words...

• Regarding Veteran's Health Benefits...nothing will change for a person under Veteran's Benefits. That means that they will continue to receive the same level of questionable care that they currently receive. No improvements. I must be missing something on this one.




Well, the health care reform isn't specifically aimed at veterans, more about bringing health care to people that have none at this time. But on that subject, there are other improvements being brought about now:

Administration, Congress Seek To Provide More Assistance To Homeless, Jobless Vets. According to the Christian Science Monitor (11/12, 48K), the Obama Administration is "trying to accelerate support for military veterans who are homeless or jobless." New initiatives by the President Obama, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, "and by members of Congress focus on improving" vets' living standards. Shinseki recently "convened a national summit aimed at ending homelessness among vets within five years." Several "bills in Congress...aim to support Shinseki's goal." Obama, meanwhile, "signed an executive order Monday establishing a new interagency Council on Veterans Employment to encourage" Federal "hiring of former service members." The initiatives come "as a recession has added to challenges that war veterans often face."

Quote:

• Regarding the illegal aliens. Sure, they are left out of the bill. In other words, now they don't have to pay any taxes like citizens do if they do not procure suitable coverage, yet they will still get, what amounts to care at no cost, through Emergency Rooms. Best of both worlds.




Emergency room only coverage is not comparable to real health care! And their treatment here is nothing compared to what we as vacationers to other countries would get, for instance if you were to visit the UK, get sick, need medical assistance, the coverage would be free, as it would be for UK citizens

Or how about the recent story about John McCain's mother, who needed medical care after falling while being in Portugal, wonder how much she had to pay?

Quote:

• Regarding his spiel about "evading taxation, etc". He's basically telling you that a new tax is on the way. Who do you think is going to enforce that? The IRS. IRS agents carry guns. Fabulous.




Gun carrying IRS agents??! They just do the paperwork, send out notices of delinquent tax payments, put the ball in motion that can lead to a court date, and due process.

Personally, I'm not at this moment concerned about paying more in taxes health care reform, last I looked, I'm definitely not one of the top 0.3 percent of US citizens, pretty sure I'm not going to be making more than $500,000 a year adjusted gross income any time soon!
Posted by: tiredofpain

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/13/09 04:49 PM

This is such a hot topic, it's too much to try and jump into the middle of it and understand what is going on so I'll just toss this into the foaming waters and hope it might be useful...

I saw a fantastic show on TV last week about how the US might be able to learn from other healthcare systems around the world. It was a great show and would be of interest to people here, I suspect.

It was a PBS thing, Frontline: Sick Around the World,
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/

Hope you enjoy it (unless of course four-hundred people have already posted this link...in which case I guess, I hope you enjoyed it...lol)

Chris
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/13/09 06:54 PM

thanks chris,

i'm pretty sure i haven't seen this program mentioned here yet, unless i missed it somehow.....looks interesting!
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/14/09 01:24 AM

excellent, Chris

Documentary seems to do a really good job of focusing on each country, including both the pros and cons

in the UK section, the section I was able find to find to view online, it shows that the citizens are shielded from out of pocket expenses, but doesn't pretend that it is without a price, we all know that they pay for it in their high taxes, but the amount per-person by the National Health Service is about half what we Americans pay. And doesn't ignore the weak points, elective procedures, and that in order to get access to a specialist they must go through the gatekeeper of their primary doctor, and often wait long times for those specialist appointments

Really key to their system is the fact that the hospitals compete for the government-paid services, the citizens get to choose which hospital to go to, so it's not like the least expensive hospital will automatically get that contract, quality counts, that strikes me as sensible mechanism

and just wild to see the people protesting in the streets, upset about the idea that there were at the time of the film, efforts to privatize some health care functions, just the opposite of what people are doing in America

In contrast:

I wish PBS would re-run our "Critical Condition" doc, which tells the stories of 4 Americans, who for different reasons, couldn't get adequate health care. Though there are portions of the individual segments available on YouTube:

sorry if they are tough to watch, this is what the problem actually looks like

Carlos (suffers from AS)

Hector's (gangrene, diabetes)

Joe (diabetes, edema)
Posted by: tiredofpain

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/14/09 10:49 AM

I watched Carlos' story and that was pretty sobering. Not that I was drunk when I watched it...you know what I mean.

The stats at the end were the most startling, I thought.

The "Sick Around the World" doc gets really interesting when you look at the whole thing because they show four or five countries, how they structured their healthcare systems and what the inherent flaws with each system are. The idea is all about which lessons might Americans learn from each of these other systems and how could they be incorporated into the current healthcare system - what would the major challenges be and such.

The one question they asked in every single country was "How many people go bankrupt due to medical bills each year in your country" and in every case, they look at the guy like he was speaking in tongues...none, no one has ever gone bankrupt, etc. is the answer every time. If you can find the whole show, you wouldn't regret it, I'm sure.

From our perspective up here in the frosty north, any improvement would be a good improvement. I for one, think the US is taking steps in the right direction.

Not to imply that our system should be the model for everyone else either, we need to do a lot of work up here to sort out our own issues too.

Chris
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/14/09 11:45 AM

I really don't see this as a battle between the public (Joe and Jane on the street) and the health care giants. Sure there is a battle going on there. However, I see a mighty struggle between government (public) and big business (private). I also guess I see this as much less of political issue too (i.e. feather in the cap of Obama comment). I think if the bill wasn't so radical, instead enacting measured changes, there wouldn't be as much of a hullabaloo. Looking at it from a partisan view (which seems to be a recurring theme), I laud the Dems for initiating the process. I certainly can get behind the effort to repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act. Enacting other mandates such as eliminating obstacles for those preexisting illnesses, retroactively canceling policies, and likely a few more are also favorable in my opinion. However, I believe much of the bill is too vast at this time and I don't believe their underlying intentions are genuine. I think my opinion could be supported by the fact that the health care reform bill (whether it be H.R. 3200 or the recently passed H.R. 3962) has few co-sponsors given the fact that it is such important legislation. That tells me that either folks in the House don't believe it in, or are afraid to put their name to it fearing that it would be somehow destructive to their political careers. Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

The healthcare bill may not be specifically aimed at Veterans, however the first sentence in the bill reads "To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans
and reduce the growth in health care spending, and
for other purposes." It occurs to me that Veterans would fall under the "all Americans" umbrella. I'm also left scratching my head if these legislators took time to craft a near 2,000 page document, but found no room or time to address the healthcare of Veterans. Also, I'm all for anything that benefits those who serve or served our country (regarding combating homelessness among veterans). This is somehow shocking though seeing that the President's Homeland Security Secretary issued a memo a while back that all servicemen returning from Iraq and Afghanistan should be suspected of domestic terror activities. Way to marginalize those that serve our country.

DHS Memo

However, neither the initiative of which you speak or this memo have little, if anything, to do with this healthcare reform. I'm not sure why that Congressman brought the subject up if it is a non-issue.

Regarding the illegal aliens and healthcare. There's a significant difference between a tourist/visitor to this country receiving temporary, ambulatory care versus those that enter the country, taking up permanent residence, expecting free health care and clogging up Emergency Rooms to obtain it. I wouldn't have a problem including the cost of care for tourists in dire need (as I really don't think those who vacation here have intentions of falling ill). Illegal immigrant clearly aren't tourists. I don't know if other citizens share this opinion. There was quite some coverage locally about Grady hospital and what would happen to the illegal immigrants receiving free dialysis care Grady Dialysis. While I don't want to see anyone suffer, there is no reason that these folks can't return to Mexico to get the care they need. The hospital has even offered to return them to Mexico. Personally, what perplexes me is why ICE isn't all over this making sure that they are back in Mexico. Perhaps another government agency failing to adequately execute their mission? Back to health care.

Regarding the IRS agents. Yes. They do carry guns. Do all IRS employees. Probably not. I hope the unhelpful old bat I spoke to when the IRS failed to process my payment a few years ago didn't carry. All IRS agents? I don't know. However, my father remarked that the neighbor down the street who works for the IRS and carried a gun. I said, oh, yes, some of these agents do carry firearms. I then relayed a story of my friend's father (who currently owns and has owned multiple small businesses) decided, for a month(?) or whatever period of time, that it was (temporarily) more important to pay his employees than it was to pay the feds. The revenue agent he was required to meet about the issue was armed. Yes, it's true, some of them do a little more than "the paperwork, send out notices of delinquent tax payments, put the ball in motion that can lead to a court date, and due process."

I'm not worried about that (earning $500,000 or more any time ever) either. However, I do have concerns about not potentially being able to afford health insurance and having some goon show up to apprehend me because of it. That is a huge flaw I see in this healthcare bill. What might be more disturbing is that they now have the power to tell you that you must have health insurance or else.

Wishing us all good health.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/14/09 01:20 PM

Quote:

The one question they asked in every single country was "How many people go bankrupt due to medical bills each year in your country" and in every case, they look at the guy like he was speaking in tongues...none, no one has ever gone bankrupt, etc. is the answer every time. If you can find the whole show, you wouldn't regret it, I'm sure.




The scariest US statistic of all the research done so far is this one:

"Using a conservative definition, 62.1% of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical"

Himmelstein study


and those medical problems often lead to mortgage defaults:

"Half of all respondents (49%) indicated that their foreclosure was caused in part by a medical problem, including illness or injuries (32%), unmanageable medical bills (23%), lost work due to a medical problem (27%), or caring for sick family members (14%)"

Get Sick, Get Out

that's where this health care reform issue intersects with the nation's economy, and our ability to compete on a world scale
Posted by: Angelmom

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/14/09 01:58 PM

Im not really directing this at anyone in particular but I just wanted to say that yes, we have filed bancruptcy in the past due to medical bills..it was a really hard decision because we did use the services but between the high prices of the insurance, the co-pays, drugs ect..we just couldn't keep up.

I do not condone bancruptcy as a way to so call wipe the slate clean unless it is a last alternative. I don't agree with people that run up credit and use it as a way to get out of their responsibility.

I believe we filed with more than $50,000 in medical debt, our credit card debt was less than $1000.00

I have seen people basically lose all they have because of staggering medical treatment or expenses with little or no insurance.

The really sad thing is that we HAD health insurance and were paying $650.00 a month to have it with a $5000.00 deductible even having that wiped us out.

From what I read about what they so called passed last week was nothing but a joke.

They will REQUIRE every american to carry health insurance...sometimes I can't believe how stupid our government can be. If you force people to have it it will be worse than it is now.

I read where the insurance companies said they would just sky rocket the rates before the new law kicked in....WOW!

Im not sure what it is going to take but it sure seems like no one gets it (in the government) or realizes just how bad it is....oh but I forgot if you are a member of the congress, house ect... besides your many hundreds of thousands of dollars you get a year, you will also get that when you retire..we have to keep paying for you once you retire with I am sure the best insurance available to you...sheesh!
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/14/09 02:15 PM

dow, thanks for the statistics. i've heard and read about so many stories such as lisa's very personal story, but had no idea of the numbers involved. stats can really be an eye opener.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/14/09 03:52 PM

Quote:

I really don't see this as a battle between the public (Joe and Jane on the street) and the health care giants. Sure there is a battle going on there. However, I see a mighty struggle between government (public) and big business (private). I also guess I see this as much less of political issue too (i.e. feather in the cap of Obama comment). I think if the bill wasn't so radical, instead enacting measured changes, there wouldn't be as much of a hullabaloo. Looking at it from a partisan view (which seems to be a recurring theme), I laud the Dems for initiating the process. I certainly can get behind the effort to repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act. Enacting other mandates such as eliminating obstacles for those preexisting illnesses, retroactively canceling policies, and likely a few more are also favorable in my opinion. However, I believe much of the bill is too vast at this time and I don't believe their underlying intentions are genuine. I think my opinion could be supported by the fact that the health care reform bill (whether it be H.R. 3200 or the recently passed H.R. 3962) has few co-sponsors given the fact that it is such important legislation. That tells me that either folks in the House don't believe it in, or are afraid to put their name to it fearing that it would be somehow destructive to their political careers. Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the middle.




Agree with you mostly. But I don't equate the government with the public, it's always going to be a three or four part system, the health care providers, the insurance companies, the government, and us, the "clients". Don't see a way to just pass a law that would demand that pre-existing illnesses be covered, prevent retroactiving cancelling policies, etc, wouldn't do the job it would be designed to do, they'd just find new loopholes, raise premiums again, cry "Socialism!", all in a way to protect and even increase their profits. I think the better idea is to create competition, so that people would have a choice, if they do have the option of getting covered for a lower price, that will force the HC industry to respond by lowering their prices, or risk losing their policy-holders and much of their profits altogether

and I do also observe that there are signs that the recently passed bills are not being taken that seriously, getting them also passed in the Senate, is no sure thing (step 2 of 3)

I took a look at some health industry mutual fund prices on the Monday following the passing of H.R. 3962, I figured if that bill was making investors in the industry nervous, we'd see some selling on that day, but no, the prices actually went UP instead


Quote:

The healthcare bill may not be specifically aimed at Veterans, however the first sentence in the bill reads "To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans
and reduce the growth in health care spending, and
for other purposes." It occurs to me that Veterans would fall under the "all Americans" umbrella. I'm also left scratching my head if these legislators took time to craft a near 2,000 page document, but found no room or time to address the healthcare of Veterans. Also, I'm all for anything that benefits those who serve or served our country (regarding combating homelessness among veterans). This is somehow shocking though seeing that the President's Homeland Security Secretary issued a memo a while back that all servicemen returning from Iraq and Afghanistan should be suspected of domestic terror activities. Way to marginalize those that serve our country.

DHS Memo




Personally, I think you are interpreting that too far to say that the memo says that "all servicemen returning from Iraq and Afghanistan should be suspected of domestic terror activities." This is likely the relevant quote from it, where they assess that a potential exists:


U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and
radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from
military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the
capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out
violence. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist
groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from
the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.

Quote:

However, neither the initiative of which you speak or this memo have little, if anything, to do with this healthcare reform. I'm not sure why that Congressman brought the subject up if it is a non-issue.




Robert Andrews brought it up because that is one of the rumors floating around, that the health care reform might change the benefits that veterans receive today, to state that it wasn't true, the reform will not affect their benefits unless they choose it

I think we'd agree that at this stage in time, the veterans in this country have earned and do in fact have better health care available to them than the almost 46 million of uninsured people in the US, so I think that's where our primary attention should be, not to say that the veteran's care shouldn't improve. I posted that link just to show that progress is being made for veterans now, even outside of the health care reform bills

Quote:

Regarding the illegal aliens and healthcare. There's a significant difference between a tourist/visitor to this country receiving temporary, ambulatory care versus those that enter the country, taking up permanent residence, expecting free health care and clogging up Emergency Rooms to obtain it. I wouldn't have a problem including the cost of care for tourists in dire need (as I really don't think those who vacation here have intentions of falling ill). Illegal immigrant clearly aren't tourists. I don't know if other citizens share this opinion. There was quite some coverage locally about Grady hospital and what would happen to the illegal immigrants receiving free dialysis care Grady Dialysis. While I don't want to see anyone suffer, there is no reason that these folks can't return to Mexico to get the care they need. The hospital has even offered to return them to Mexico. Personally, what perplexes me is why ICE isn't all over this making sure that they are back in Mexico. Perhaps another government agency failing to adequately execute their mission? Back to health care.




My main point is, that someone from this country visiting another country, such as the UK or Portugal, who falls sick, will receive FREE health care when visiting that country, even though they may not get that in their home country of the U.S., here they'd get stuck with the a bill for an emergency room visit. Remember, our laws here demand that a hospital cannot refuse a person to the emergency room, they still get sent an outrageous bill, which they often have no way of paying, that's where we taxpayers get stung

and that CNN article points out why they don't want to return to Mexico, they claim that the treatment isn't as good there, that it's a "death sentence"

and I know what you are going to say to that, that the reason why the quality of treatment is better here is because it's a for-profit system, so therefore we have better facilities and better doctors...and I agree, no one said this is easy problem to tackle!

I do share your opinion on this basically. The illegal immigrants are an economic problem, they will strain our system, as they do now.

Quote:

Regarding the IRS agents. Yes. They do carry guns. Do all IRS employees. Probably not. I hope the unhelpful old bat I spoke to when the IRS failed to process my payment a few years ago didn't carry. All IRS agents? I don't know. However, my father remarked that the neighbor down the street who works for the IRS and carried a gun. I said, oh, yes, some of these agents do carry firearms. I then relayed a story of my friend's father (who currently owns and has owned multiple small businesses) decided, for a month(?) or whatever period of time, that it was (temporarily) more important to pay his employees than it was to pay the feds. The revenue agent he was required to meet about the issue was armed. Yes, it's true, some of them do a little more than "the paperwork, send out notices of delinquent tax payments, put the ball in motion that can lead to a court date, and due process."




This just didn't make sense to me at first, couldn't figure out why they would do that. As I pondered, normally it's the IRS agent who may report that someone hasn't paid their taxes, they notify the person or business, and if the payment isn't made, a court date is set, and if not resolved, it would be the local sheriff or other branch of law enforcement that makes the arrest, or seizes the assets.

But now I see some scenarios where they might do that, there are times when the IRS has to go to the site, when they are looking for evidence of fraud, to examine the accounting books of a business or individual, and I found links and stories where it is true, some IRS agents do carry guns

So point taken!

Quote:

I'm not worried about that (earning $500,000 or more any time ever) either. However, I do have concerns about not potentially being able to afford health insurance and having some goon show up to apprehend me because of it. That is a huge flaw I see in this healthcare bill. What might be more disturbing is that they now have the power to tell you that you must have health insurance or else.




Agreed there, at least mostly. Except for the severity of the punishment of not paying the penalty for not buying health care, which is designed as an incentive to get everyone to be covered, not as a instrument to scare people. I wish they could do away with that. And there will be a hardship clause, as stated, so that people who can't simply can't afford it at all, would have a way out of it. But we have to have SOME way of paying for it, and I like this idea better than an across-the-board massive tax increase. But, above all else, the most important thing is to use the collective bargaining power of the over 300 million people in this country, to get the health care industry to compete with lower prices!!!

Quote:

Wishing us all good health.



Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/14/09 06:59 PM

I guess what I'm struggling to understand is why there is a belief that the federal government must offer health insurance to ensure competition. I understand the basic shortcomings of the McCarran-Ferguson Act as it relates to today's situation, the protection it offers the health insurers, and why a good case could be made for it to be repealed. However, once those limitations are removed, insurance policies can be offered on a national level/across state lines. This alone will increase competition. Also, I tend to disagree that legislation couldn't be passed mandating that pre-existing illness be covered, etc. There is nothing preventing the legislators from attempting to pass legislation that would severely constrain the insurers. That alone may put some insurers out of business. Might give rise to other competitors too. Not passing this particular bill wouldn't mean the end of insurance regulation. It would be up to the federal government to hold the insurers' feet to the fire. No loopholes, no unlimited premiums, etc. It might be like the airline industry before deregulation where the government basically dictated cities carriers could service, routes the could fly, etc. Once that industry was deregulated, competition increased. Thus the (airline) carriers were forced to compete on service and price. Same thing would happen in the insurance industry. I guess I'm advocating that a little needs to be taken out of here and a little more added elsewhere.

Having the federal government offer health insurance and acting as a competitor is akin to the fox guarding the hen house in my opinion. They will change the rules to suit them until they eliminate all competition. Then all choices are gone and they are the only provider and can provide whatever level of service they see fit.

Additionally, the federal government has had the opportunity to try and repeal this law. Why haven't they? They've seen fit for six decades to sit on their hands and do nothing. Now many are ecstatic about the same “do-nothing for the citizens” entity administering their health care. Perplexing.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/22/09 02:26 AM

Hi Jaybird:

I've been trying to "answer" your questions in my mind, all week, did come up with a few responses, that made some sense...

...when looked at in a certain light, but they kind of fell apart in other lights

so I guess it's time to just say, they are darn good questions yes
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/22/09 07:56 AM

Another piece of cud I've been chewing on for the past week or so...

Why not implement a federal sales tax on all goods (tax everything, including food, clothing, and other necessities) of up to 1%, so that everybody can help bear the burden of the cost of universal health care? I previously said that a payroll tax would be better than a tax on individuals, and I still think that for the most part, but I wonder if this is a more effective way of paying for universal health care. I don't see it proper than any one group (e.g. wealthy...and, no, I'm nowhere near wealthy or will never see anything close to great wealth in my life unless I hit the lottery) should bear the majority of financial burden to subsidize health care for the entire country. Under a national sales tax, everybody contributes. Makes me wonder how popular an idea universal health care would be if this were proposed. I haven't seen this proposed, but I don't follow this as closely as I should, therefore I might have missed such a proposal. I shudder to think of the prospect of any new tax, but this sales tax would apply to the person buying the fancy $250,000 car as it would the person buying the $250 electronics item as it would hit the person buying the $2.50 grocery item. It would also be applicable to tourists to this country so there would be no worry about them having to pay a bill for health care should they require it while traveling here.

It will be interesting to see what twists and turns this debate takes after Thanksgiving. Personally, I think the do-nothings should be working in D.C. through Wednesday instead of going home and already start their holiday. Hopefully they will a lot of time (and receive earfuls of feedback) from some of their constituents.


Also, a new war tax is brewing. Another tax to potentially go along with the health care tax on income.

Share The Sacrafice Act of 2010

The quotes say that it has little chance of passing, but why not include this in a national sales tax instead of an income tax (like health care) so that nearly everyone can share the burden of the cost of war as the news clip states is the bill's ultimate purpose? I mean over 30% of tax returns filed have a zero or negative income tax liability, therefore perhaps this should be rolled under the national sales tax too. Income tax burden could be reduced and those dollars could funnel back into the economy to help stimulate things we need...like jobs. There's a fat chance of any income tax reduction though with the piggies in Washington. Shame on them, however, for attempting to implement a new tax using our servicemen/women as scapegoats to fill their greedy pockets. Defense is already budgeted for and funded through income tax receipts. Yes, it may be adding to the debt, but that expenditure (not defense per se, but what is budgeted for war -- hurts to say that) will disappear once it is determined that we have no obligation in that part of the world. Also, I wonder how quickly, of if, a tax would be repealed once those obligations are fulfilled.
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/22/09 12:28 PM

II would love to see some serious Tax reforms and a true pay as you go plan implemented as the democrats have proposed and the republicans opposed.

We need to know things cost real money in this country. How many would have supported the IRAQ war had they been told the national sales tax will go up 5% to pay for it while the war is in progress? would the medicare drug plan had been passed if the income taxes were to rise by 4% to cover the new costs? Would the tax cuts have gone through if people new x y and Z program would be eliminated as part of the package.

Seems our government in the past has ignored the true costs of things and just cut taxes and implemented new programs as if they were all free. I do like that at least this new health care plan has the taxes and cuts all spelled out in it. That may be a first for the US congress over the last 40 years frankly. At least we had war bonds during WW2.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/22/09 04:07 PM

[quote=drizzit]How many would have supported the IRAQ war had they been told the national sales tax will go up 5% to pay for it while the war is in progress?[/quote]

One of the ways they pulled that off, was to not make the war in Iraq part of the US budget, it was always an emergency funding measure, that's why Bush repeatedly went in front of Congress each time to get more money, they hold the purse strings

The administration smartly knew that if they had made it part of the military budget each time, then it would have met with much more resistance

Obama puts it in the yearly budget, on the other hand, so it's more visible now
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/22/09 04:53 PM

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
Why not implement a federal sales tax on all goods (tax everything, including food, clothing, and other necessities) of up to 1%, so that everybody can help bear the burden of the cost of universal health care?


A federal tax, hmm. In addition to what the individual states collect? (There currently isn't a federal sales tax on goods and services, except as I understand it for things like gasoline)

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
I previously said that a payroll tax would be better than a tax on individuals, and I still think that for the most part, but I wonder if this is a more effective way of paying for universal health care. I don't see it proper than any one group (e.g. wealthy...and, no, I'm nowhere near wealthy or will never see anything close to great wealth in my life unless I hit the lottery) should bear the majority of financial burden to subsidize health care for the entire country. Under a national sales tax, everybody contributes.


I don't think this would fly very well. If it's not adjusted for income, it would end up being more of a burden to poor people than the wealthy-

that same dollar in taxation that a poor person would pay for buying a food or a TV set, would be a larger percentage of their income

and then there's the effect that raising the price of goods & services would have on reducing our economy, higher prices means less purchases, when times are tough, people hold on to what money they have, part of the justification for the various stimulus packages, to get the money flowing again

One of the rationales behind the health care reform is that it is NOT supposed to actually end up costing more money in the long run, that the increase in productivity from having people be healthier, reducing costs by collectively bargaining with the health care companies, decreasing the costs of goods & services by lowering what both individuals and companies spend on HC, and thus compete better globally.

I know we all have doubts about that, especially as the HC companies re-direct their attention from their first goal of stopping any reform outright, to now concentrating on using their influence to weaken the proposals...

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
It will be interesting to see what twists and turns this debate takes after Thanksgiving. Personally, I think the do-nothings should be working in D.C. through Wednesday instead of going home and already start their holiday. Hopefully they will a lot of time (and receive earfuls of feedback) from some of their constituents.


right now, a strategy to reduce the impact of HC reform, is just to cause delays, using any means possible, in the hope that it will weaken it, more compromises will be made so that the people who are for it will negotiate, just so that they can get SOMETHING passed, because to not do so, would make them look like failures, reduce their chances for re-election in 2010...
Posted by: Possi

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/23/09 05:30 AM

This has been amazing to "try" to follow the original topic. LOL I love how it has been like the waves in the ocean; ups and downs and always changing.

I have my own thoughts; the original H1N1 flu vaccines not given to anyone over 64 (has been released now and I got mine), changing the ages of pap smears and mammeograms and the time in between. Seems to be the beginning of what to me is bad medicine. I hate to think what is ahead when these changes happened so quickly.

So for what it's worth...... :o)

Possi
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/23/09 03:56 PM

i just read yesterday about the changes to pap smears and mammograms and posted my thoughts about that in the women's forum yesterday. to me it is a step backwards for women's health, JMO. i'd always been told that the good thing about the yearly exams is that if something is missed one year, a chance to catch it the next. and not all of us have had the vaccine. already things like bone scans to catch osteoporosis are way to late; i had to fight for mine to be done in my late 30s and when it was i had pretty significant osteopenia, had to talk to 3 doctors before one realized i needed one due to my own personal medical history. sounds like instead of being more proactive regarding preventative medicine, these new guidelines for pap smears and mammograms is a step in the wrong direction. i understand the logic behind it, just don't agree with it.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/25/09 01:37 PM

Yes, it could be a federal sales tax imposed in addition to what the states impose, or it could be imposed instead of the federal income tax (either in part or altogether). A few states have no state income tax. I know Texas, Tennessee, and Washington don't. I'm pretty sure there are a few others. How they fare under this way of collecting revenue, I don't know. I recall some favor the idea of abolishing income tax in favor of a national sales tax.

Please help me understand that a national sales tax wouldn't fly very well. Is this because everybody would be required to help fund the services from which they benefit instead of getting something for nothing and shifting the entire burden on to someone else? It's only fair that everybody share the financial burden for services they use. This would be more fair than an income tax since everybody doesn't work, right. Much of what the legislators propose or do doesn't fly with a given subset of the population. Whether that is a national sales tax to fund health care, a tax to fund wars, the wars themselves, etc., not everyone will be accepting of it.

Regarding the burden to the poor, it is true that this wouldn't be adjusted for income. The wealthy, though, would still continue to pay the majority of taxes from an absolute dollar perspective. The thing I don't understand though is that this is no different from what the states (states that have sales tax) currently do. These state sales taxes are not adjusted for income. Perhaps drop the previously mentioned tax on the basics (food, clothing, a few others – electronics are not necessities), etc., or tax them at a lesser rate, or tax only certain items. I don't know. Some states do levy sales tax on food. I thought the state in which I reside did, but it is actually a local tax, not a state tax. However, everyone would be forced to rethink their priorities regarding spending, wealthy and poor alike. I never quite understood this practice of placing the majority of the tax burden on society's producers. It penalizes and basically discourages success.

I can appreciate Driz's comment about using tax dollars for what they are intended, as things cost money and we can't continue to borrow as we do. These wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) have consumed nearly 1 trillion dollars. The fact that they (mainly Iraq) have manifested into what they have is incomprehensible. The nagging thing is that if we stop SPENDING, whether it be unwanted wars, money losing government sponsored enterprises, inefficiently government run monopolies, etc. the country would be on better economic footing and some aspects of a national health insurance plan might be less contentious.

Regarding the economic impact of a national sales tax and it stifling spending. One, it sounds like something W advocated after the terrorist attacks for everybody to go out and shop and everything will be fine. Right. Sure. Two, actually, the price of the goods, sans what taxes add, might actually decline to offset the economic burden now added by the tax. The manufacturers/retailers are not going to continue to price goods (things like deodorant, televisions, etc.) at the same/current level putting it out of reach for consumers. The final cost (good + tax) will likely be similar or the same as it would have pre-national sales tax, but to not rethink the pricing in the wake of such a tax would have too big an impact on their revenues. The exception might be something similar to gasoline where there really aren't current viable alternatives for nearly all consumers. Three, the majority of spending would continue to be driven by the upper middle class and wealthy, therefore I wonder how significant the economic impact would actually be. Keep in mind had everyone lived within their means (all income levels), we wouldn't be in much of the economic trouble in which we currently find ourselves. The stimulus was poorly conceived and poorly executed. It, like the bailout before it, are doing little to help “main street” and the foundation of this country.

I agree that the proposed health care plan is not supposed cost more money in the long run. This may be accomplished, but I'm not hopeful. I also think that to try and accomplish this, the government will employ any means necessary. I think it is overly optimistic to think that this health care plan is a magic wand and everybody will be healthier and things will be all sunshine and roses. You are discounting the human factor (e.g. overeating, eating inadequate foods, substance abuse, laziness) and the evil entities that market the products tied to some of the aforementioned examples.

I'm a little more optimistic about the debate of this proposed health care bill. I would have thought that you would be similarly optimistic given how far this concept since there have been multiple bills) has advanced.

2008 Pharmaceutical Lobbying Top Recipients

2010 Pharmaceutical Lobbying Top Recipients

2008 Insurance Lobbying Top Recipients

2010 Insurance Lobbying Top Recipients
Posted by: Dotyisle

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/25/09 02:35 PM

Quote:
A few states have no state income tax. I know Texas, Tennessee, and Washington don't. I'm pretty sure there are a few others


When I lived in Florida there was no State income tax... not sure if it changed. I think Hawaii may be another State without.

Tim
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/26/09 10:58 AM

See, here's the thing, income taxes are geared to income. The more you make, the more you pay (in an ideal, loophole-free world, anyway). A sales tax hits the poorest harder than the richest. You might argue that since the poor don't by big-ticket items, it doesn't hit them as badly; except that it's worse for them. Every article of clothing, shoes, bed linens or towels, cleaning supplies, baby diapers, soap and shampoo, all those basic necessities (not including food, which should never be taxed when purchased as groceries), including hydro, rent, gas heating, phone, etc., becomes, say, 8% more expensive. The middle and upper classes can afford this, the poor cannot. Full stop.

To put this in some perspective. We're renovating my house, so I'm shopping for a lot of stuff right now. One of the bath supply shoppes we went into had a gorgeous vanity. Oh, I would love to have this in my bathroom. Mahogany half moon table base, with white onyx counter and sink, and polished nickel faucet. It was stunning. It was $12,000!!!!

If you can afford to buy that for your bathroom, you can afford to pay more on your income tax, as well as paying a new sales tax.

If the idea of paying for a new toggle for your toilet so it refills properly leaves you weeping as you try to figure out how that's going to impact your ability to buy food for your baby, you sure as hell cannot afford to pay a new sales tax.

Earlier in this discussion, someone raised the spectre of "Do you want the government deciding what healthcare you can get," or something to that effect. I put it out there, if you are one of the lucky ones who actually has insurance, someone already is dictating what healthcare you are entitled to. Your HMO/insurance company. Why is it better for a profit-generating corporation to make these decisions than it is for a non-for-profit entity such as the government?

Just a couple of thoughts. smile

Warm hugs,
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/27/09 03:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
Please help me understand that a national sales tax wouldn't fly very well.


Good points, everyone thinking about different ways to collect revenue, each has its own pros and cons

But let me throw into it, how whenever the tax code changes, it has all kinds of repercussions

if you change the laws that affect the rich, you get the loudest screams, because they are paying the most attention, and they use their money to protect their money, hire the lobbyists, influence Washington, media coverage, etc

Conversely, when a state gives tax breaks, the state gets rewarded by getting people to move to that state, to reap the benefits. Same with corporations, that's why South Dakota and other states have credit card companies with their corporate centers there, the laws are different from state to state, they get to charge higher interest rates on their credit cards for all customers no matter where they live, depending on where their corporate center is

Also reminded that the Governator (Arnold) got elected largely because he promised to reduce the tax on automobiles in California

I read in a funny Al Franken book, a totally fictitious account of a presidential candidate who ran on a single platform, had no opinions on military, civil rights, family values, etc

All his speeches, all his rhetoric, all his campaigns, consisted of one pledge:

"No ATM fees"

and he gets elected! yes Silly, I know, but it made me laugh, cause I could imagine that happening in real life!

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
I agree that the proposed health care plan is not supposed cost more money in the long run. This may be accomplished, but I'm not hopeful. I also think that to try and accomplish this, the government will employ any means necessary. I think it is overly optimistic to think that this health care plan is a magic wand and everybody will be healthier and things will be all sunshine and roses. You are discounting the human factor (e.g. overeating, eating inadequate foods, substance abuse, laziness) and the evil entities that market the products tied to some of the aforementioned examples.


I maintain that if HC reform is going to work, it will be because it will end up costing LESS, rather than the same or more, for the average American, and the key to that will be the competition that having a giant co-op, consisting of the currently uninsured citizens, a leverage tool that is not a factor today

With you there with the human factor, obesity, etc

Hope would be, that health promotes health, when people start getting better, they feel better, and that gives them enthusiasm for continuing in that direction

from the government's role in promoting that, Obama's increase in tobacco tax seems right to me (even though he is still a smoker smokin )

and last I heard, he wanted to similarly increase the tax for soda pop, I've seen some commercials that are against that, showing a mother complaining that times are tough, that it's unfair to increase a family's cost of groceries, completely ignoring the reason for the tax increase, which is less about revenue, than it is to discourage the consumption of unhealthy food

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
I'm a little more optimistic about the debate of this proposed health care bill. I would have thought that you would be similarly optimistic given how far this concept since there have been multiple bills) has advanced.


I am getting some optimism! Although tempered by expectations that the bills will get battered quite a bit by the process, probably a give and take affair, HC companies will definitely be using their influence to get some new loopholes put into it, and then if it reaches the point where it is likely that one of the bills will get passed, others will throw in the pork so that they can get their various agendas passed as part of the package

Here's the kind of news that gives me the most optimism, one that barely seems to register with current headlines:

Lobbyists pushed off advisory panels

Your links to HC's top lobbyist recipients are great! Important for people to take a look at those, a real eye-opener and a shock to those wondering how it all currently works!
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/29/09 12:15 PM

Yes, I realize that income taxes are geared toward income. The higher the income, the more you pay, whether it be a progressive/graduated, flat, or (likely) regressive tax scheme.

I struggle as to why the producers/earners, whether they be upper or middle class, should continually subsidize the able bodied of lesser economic means that choose not to productively enable their well-being. I can't grasp this concept of why an individual is entitled to the earned wages of another individual. I understand the exceptions for the elderly, those who are disabled and can't work, and children. I also can appreciate the extension of goodwill to help somebody get “back on their feet” and to enable them going forward for a period of time. However, there are too many out there that are too lazy to work or find it more economically advantageous to continue to live off the public dole. There is also those that fit into the category of not willing to get their GED if they didn't finish high school, not willing to try and achieve anything beyond high school, or have had the opportunity for post-secondary education, yet choose to obtain a degree that isn't widely marketable for a job. Those that exist in the previous sentence are fine; that's freewill; that's you reap what you sow. However, that is a choice that you made and you shouldn't reap what I sow.

I guess I have a little bit of a different perspective on your vanity example. While I agree the individual that can afford this price for a vanity can pay more in taxes (income or sales), it doesn't mean they should. The perspective I have is that you worked, expended your time, your effort, your strength, your knowledge, etc. to earn those wages. They are yours. You can spend them however you choose. No one outside of you is entitled to them. There's a whole different matter of should you spend that amount of money on such an object. Opinions vary I imagine. Personally, I am/was always frugal and would pass. However, instead of the government taking my money and re-allocating it, I'd rather spend the money on a reasonably priced object (after all, it is a thing) and donate a portion or the balance of it to the church or to charitable causes of my choosing. Bottom line though is that they are your earnings and you should be able to allocate them as you choose.

I concur with your toilet toggle/feed your child example also. It seems nearly everybody finds themselves in such a situation at some point in time. The situation may not be as dire as your example, but nearly everybody has a cash crisis of some magnitude at some juncture. I just hope folks in such instances can, at the very least, prioritize for spending of basic needs over discretionary items before such an occurrence occurs or that this is a rather infrequent occurrence. There are also public assistance programs for those in such dire straits (WIC in an instance of a woman and her infant/child). Ideally, this assistance is a temporary thing, but it's there if it is needed. I know it's not that simple or cut and dry; none of it ever is. I guess my point is that we, as a society, ultimately need to be reliant on self, not on subsidies.

Some of the problems I have with the government dictating healthcare versus a for-profit company lies mainly in the fact that services covered can vary from provider to provider and plan to plan, the appeals process, and the ability to initiate litigation against that for-profit company if need be. Currently, with for-profit insurance companies, doctors will perform a test, exam, etc. even if they know the insurance won't reimburse for it and explain to the patient (as least in my instances and insistence for action) that insurance is not likely to cover it. My fear is that doctors won't engage in such activity, even if the patient is willing to pay, due to fear of consequence from the government for coloring outside the lines. Also, I don't have any faith in an appeals process administrated by the government (at least our government). Just ask some of those appealing their decisions on SS disability. Want to bring a lawsuit against government run healthcare? Good luck. I'm sure there are others I'm not realizing at the moment, but this is my opinion of how things would take shape.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/29/09 01:21 PM

Quote:
if you change the laws that affect the rich, you get the loudest screams, because they are paying the most attention, and they use their money to protect their money, hire the lobbyists, influence Washington, media coverage, etc


Understandably you get the loudest screams from the rich. They are paying the most attention because they are also paying the most tax. The top 1% of earners pay something like 42% of the taxes in the United States last I heard. Here is some information that supports that statement.

Tax Payers

That's a helluva curve for the 80/20 rule. Nearly half the wage earners paid nearly all the income tax! Apparently under the current administration that curve will get steeper.

Quote:
Hope would be, that health promotes health, when people start getting better, they feel better, and that gives them enthusiasm for continuing in that direction.


I think this would be the case for a small portion of those that are not under the care of a physician. I also can't help but think that if they previously never subjected themselves for routine exams, many wouldn't be inclined to start. I might be completely wrong. Also, if they treated their bodies like crap before, that may well continue. Old habits die hard. Also, access to health care or a health care plan does not beget good health. There is free will. A doctor cannot control for an individual their diet, their exercise, their stress levels, etc. All a doctor can do is attempt to diagnose a malady and attempt to treat it using the tools within their toolbox. The patient and their body has to do the rest.

I'm kind of split on these “sin” taxes. At one level I'd like to see junk food (including soda pop) taxed to discourage consumption since there is a detrimental effect on society, but on the other if the consumer wants to eat or drink those foodstuffs in question, it is their freewill. I mean, such a tax basically amounts to the government dictating what you should/should not consume. Should they tax such items, I'd like to see the amount in tax listed alongside the price on the grocery store shelf as opposed to burying/hiding it on a receipt after the item has been purchased.

It's nice to know that Obama wants to root out some of undesirable influence. However, it occurs to me as disingenuous.

Lobbyists As Cabinet Members

India Daily
UK Telegraph (See Number 3)

(Lack of) Transparency In Government

MSNBC

Visitors (Lobbyists) To White House

The Reporter (AP Service)
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/30/09 02:42 AM

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
Understandably you get the loudest screams from the rich. They are paying the most attention because they are also paying the most tax.


and that's why many rich people work so hard to defeat this administration, they've already looked at those charts, W gave tax breaks to the people who needed them the least, and at a time when we went to war, no less, and to pay for that, he had to borrow the money that we didn't have from China. So again, the money has to come from somewhere, some sort of sliding scale is needed, when the difference between the rich and the poor reaches an imbalance, as it has, we get just the kind of economic breakdown that we are trying to climb out from now

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
I think this would be the case for a small portion of those that are not under the care of a physician. I also can't help but think that if they previously never subjected themselves for routine exams, many wouldn't be inclined to start. I might be completely wrong. Also, if they treated their bodies like crap before, that may well continue. Old habits die hard. Also, access to health care or a health care plan does not beget good health. There is free will. A doctor cannot control for an individual their diet, their exercise, their stress levels, etc. All a doctor can do is attempt to diagnose a malady and attempt to treat it using the tools within their toolbox. The patient and their body has to do the rest.


the best rebuttal to that is what we learned from the recent free health care clinics that have been taking place in several states:

Arkansans Line Up For Free Health Care Clinics

New Orleans free health care clinic

these and other events like them demonstrate that people DO want the health care, they will use the services if they are available, they just can't afford them


Originally Posted By: Jaybird
I'm kind of split on these “sin” taxes. At one level I'd like to see junk food (including soda pop) taxed to discourage consumption since there is a detrimental effect on society, but on the other if the consumer wants to eat or drink those foodstuffs in question, it is their freewill. I mean, such a tax basically amounts to the government dictating what you should/should not consume. Should they tax such items, I'd like to see the amount in tax listed alongside the price on the grocery store shelf as opposed to burying/hiding it on a receipt after the item has been purchased.


good idea. And you used the word "discourage" rather than outlaw, since the taxes would be meant to do exactly that, if someone still wants to smoke, eat Twinkies, and drink soda pop, let 'em, and we should demand that the tax revenues from such purchases be only used for health care purposes

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
It's nice to know that Obama wants to root out some of undesirable influence. However, it occurs to me as disingenuous.


Okay, time should reveal that

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
Lobbyists As Cabinet Members

India Daily


that story is from India, in Jan. 30, 2009 Tom Daschle was booted a few days later for the income tax scandal mentioned

Originally Posted By: Jaybird


(many of those are just promises that haven't been fulfilled yet, doesn't seem fair to cast a verdict this early)

but Number 3 on that list is:

3.PROMISE BROKEN. Mr Obama solemnly pledged that "no political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years". In practice, Mr Obama has granted several waivers to this rule, allowing lobbyists to serve in the top reaches of his administration.

Okay, both of those links make the same fair point, he promised no lobbyists in the White House, but there are in fact some that have been granted waivers and concede that is kind of like dressing up a cow and calling it a pony

I've searched for the specific number of current waivers, it looks like the number is currently between 3 (as the White House claims) and 10, depending on how strictly a lobbyist is defined

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
(Lack of) Transparency In Government

MSNBC


that story you linked is from June, here is the update from September:

Obama yields on White House visits

Still not perfect, it shows that he resisted doing so, but they are now releasing the visitor's list. A far far cry from the previous administration, in which the policy was to not release any records at all

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
Visitors (Lobbyists) To White House

The Reporter (AP Service)


So now you see why he didn't want to release that visitor's list! smile

But I think that is good, now we can see exactly who is visiting, and we do see that he is in fact meeting with the lobbyists from the HC industry. If after those meetings, Obama suddenly changes his tune, announces something like "I was thinking about this over the weekend, and decided that maybe this whole health care reform thing is a bad idea after all, instead I'm just going to take the week off with my brand-new Maserati, (thanks!) and play some golf..."

Earlier you gave a link that showed Obama got significant contributions from the HC industry, which gave support to getting to elected. I know he would have preferred to have done it all without that money, but sadly, it just isn't possible in this day and age, he got very far with grass root support, ten and twenty dollar contributions, but in the end of the campaign he needed the big bucks to compete with the well-funded opposition

So of course, because he got that money, he has to at least meet and discuss this with them, next is to see the results of those meetings...
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/30/09 10:23 AM

However, there are too many out there that are too lazy to work or find it more economically advantageous to continue to live off the public dole. There is also those that fit into the category of not willing to get their GED if they didn't finish high school, not willing to try and achieve anything beyond high school, or have had the opportunity for post-secondary education, yet choose to obtain a degree that isn't widely marketable for a job. Those that exist in the previous sentence are fine; that's freewill; that's you reap what you sow. However, that is a choice that you made and you shouldn't reap what I sow.

Jay, I think it's this that I really don't get. The assumption is that people in low wage jobs with no insurance aren't trying hard enough. Certainly, there are bonafide gold brickers out there. As long as humanity exists, there will be those who just don't bother to try. But the assumption appears to be that these types make up the majority of those on the dole in some form or other, or in low wage jobs. Are you truly saying that people who are stuck in the cycle of having to work 3 jobs just to put food on the table, let alone pay rent, aren't trying hard enough? If they don't have a high school diploma when are they supposed to go upgrade - on an all too rare lunch break? How about when their kids are home from school and baby sitters are too expensive? How about when they are trying to look after the disabled partner or parent, without the benefit of outside care workers because they cannot afford to pay for them? Are you really saying that people like this deserve to be without health care because they are in an impossible position?

Frankly, there are far too many rich kids out there who don't try to do anything but spend their parents' money, who never try to be useful members of society because they've never had to. They are more than a waste of space, because they have the opportunities but never avail themselves of them. Yet they get good healthcare because their rich parents can afford it, while the guy with no health insurance working those 3 lower than minimum wage jobs are less worthy because they aren't trying hard enough???

Or perhaps the guy on who can't work because of illness or injury, but is still fighting to get on disability, isn't worthy of good health care because he might be faking his symptoms.

Or let's go with the single mom with three kids who has a deadbeat husband who refuses to pay child support, let alone alimony, so she not only has to work multiple low wage jobs to make ends meet, but they don't give her health insurance and half her money is spent on baby sitters because one of them is a night job. Please don't tell me that this woman isn't deserving because she's not trying hard enough, or perhaps never completed her high school diploma.

I just hope folks in such instances can, at the very least, prioritize for spending of basic needs over discretionary items before such an occurrence occurs or that this is a rather infrequent occurrence.

Believe me, if you are the woman I described above, there are no discretionary items. What's more important, the food, or the appliance that allows the human waste from that food to be eliminated in a healthy and sanitary manner. Perhaps she should just forget the toilet and let it overflow all over her bathroom floor.

And are you really telling me that all university degrees that do not translate into an immediate high paying job are useless and people who go after those degrees are somehow not worth their salt? I prefer my version of the world, where people who go after arts and humanities degrees are as highly regarded as those who go after business or economics degrees (because those people with the economics degrees did such a great job with the world economy and the lack of regulation in the banking sector). Most people with those so-called 'useless' degrees do often end up in jobs completely unrelated to those degrees. Speaking specifically to people with arts degrees, from personal experience, they often end up doing the minimum wage or lower, back breaking, servitor type jobs while they try to pursue that which feeds the passion that sent them to university for that arts degree in the first place. I can't speak to the States, but I can say that in Canada, an out of work actor is not covered by EI and is not elligible for welfare; no starving artist is. Yet, the art they produce, whether through music, dance, painting or acting, is as integral to a fully rounded society as someone with a degree in commerce. And often, that art is produced while they are waiting tables for the upper 1% of society, or serving in an upscale boutique for spoiled women who wouldn't know how to put clothes on a hanger if their lives depended on it, let alone pick something up off the floor when they've dropped it there.

There's useless and there's useless. The truly useless are those who have every opportunity handed to them, but who don't even try to do anything with it. But that's a debate for another day.

Becareful of this type of broad-brushing, Jay, lest you spill paint on yourself. Because one day, you may find that you need help, and somebody is going to look down on you from a great height and tell you that you aren't worth it because you're just lazy and not really in need. And if this has already happened to you, I am truly sorry to hear it.

Warm hugs,
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/30/09 12:19 PM

I'm not making an assumption that individuals in low wage jobs without insurance aren't trying hard enough. I am saying that there are many out there that don't take advantage of these opportunities to obtain new skills, better educate themselves, etc. I realize the situation in which some folks find themselves needing to work two or three jobs in support of themselves or of their families. Neither side of the coin is a one size fits all.

I concur with the statement that there are too many spoiled children out there that spend their parents money. Shame on the parents for that one. I find little blame ultimately rests with the children. This may be fodder for another day, but I see it as a result of the disappearance of the family, morals, and values and I don't see this problem reversing any time soon.

Yes, they have adequate health insurance because their parent(s) have employment with an employer that offers health insurance that covers the children. It's not free. They pay for that insurance. If it takes a government entity to cover those whose employer's who don't offer insurance, then apparently that's what needs to happen. However, the taxpaying public should not be required to pay for the entirety of that insurance, especially when they are paying for insurance for their own family. I'm not saying that anyone isn't worthy of health insurance (though, apparently I'm not, due to pre-existing illnesses), I'm just advocating that they help pay for the benefit. Heck, I'm not even advocating that individuals of lesser economic means pay for the entire amount of the premium. However, I find it wrong that they (those that are able to earn) don't pay one cent toward any health insurance from which they benefit.

Regarding your example of the woman with three children. She, in your example, is trying plenty hard. An example similar to this is an unfortunate situation indeed. However, I'd like to understand why the woman would continue, after having the first child, having children with a man who had no inclination to support his family. Personally, I find it atrocious to bring a child into this world if you are not going to take care of them. I'd argue that this woman erred by continuing to have children with this man. It's possible that a situation could have arisen after all three children were born, but I'm guess that the signs were there and the woman chose to ignore them.

I'm not the judge of real world applicability university degrees regarding employment, and I'm definitely not saying that people who pursue those degrees are not worth their salt. If I implied that about people that pursued arts, humanities, etc. degrees, I'd would have been without some good friends earlier in life. I don't measure an individual by material things (including university degrees). All I'm saying is that those who pursue degrees that don't substantiate sustainable employment at some reasonable time after exiting university and expect the taxpayer to support their existence...forget about it. We all make choices in life. There is nothing fair and just about one individual subsidizing/supporting another individual who decides to pursue a career/field of work that may not support their well being because that is their creative aspiration. That reeks of servitude. Decisions have consequences. Just because Joe got an accounting degree and is employed in a job with health benefits does not mean he should subsidize Jack's health insurance premiums since Jack chose to study creative water colors and now, after university, is working at a job offering only marginal wages with no health insurance since the degree he chose didn't enable him with the knowledge or skill set for a job offering benefits similar to Joe's.

Agreed on the useless statement and wasted opportunities.

Also, I am cognizant of throwing stones that find me on their way down. I've needed help and have been extremely thankful for help I received, regardless of the significance. I find myself in a bit of a pickle right now. I'm getting a lot of help from those where I thought I might get it. I'm not getting help from those whose job it is to help us. When the help runs out, if I can't help myself by then, it's sink or swim. There are choices that I've made along the way. I'll have to live, or perhaps perish, by them.

Understand, I'm not dark-hearted as you might think. I don't want to see anyone suffer. I don't want anyone to be without access to necessary healthcare. Government takeover of health insurance is another issue. However, I don't believe it is right for something earned by one individual to be taken away and given to another by means of a third party.
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/30/09 02:50 PM

Jay, I don't see you as dark-hearted at all. I just don't agree with you. smile

I see healthcare as a human right, no matter what status in life you live, no matter whether or not your life (i.e. occupation) choices might be deemed wise in the eyes of another.

With regard to the single mom and deadbeat dad scenario, it's not so black and white as you would have it be. It's not always clear to a woman when the man she has married is an a$$. She might never know there were problems until the day he announces he's leaving her. Or, she might know there are problems, but be unable to change her situation (due to having been a stay-at-home mom for the last 10 years and having no, boss friendly, job experience, for example). Women get trapped like this all the time, and it isn't always (or even nearly always) due to her not having seen something she should have. Regardless, will you punish the children to spite the mother? I'm going to sound like your garden-variety femi-nazi here, but when you can bear children and the responsibility for their lives in the way that a mother does, then you can pass judgement on the choices a woman might make with regard to the father of those children and whether or not she truly has the option to get out of that marriage/relationship.

Jay, this, in particular, stuck in my craw:

I'm not saying that anyone isn't worthy of health insurance (though, apparently I'm not, due to pre-existing illnesses)...

You can say what you like about whether or not the Canadian system is ideal, but you will never hear of anyone being denied healthcare coverage due to pre-existing illness. Bar none. Now, extended healthcare packages (ie. job benefits) might be different, but the government funded healthcare is available to us regardless. I could move to any province in this country and be covered under that province's plan, simply by virtue of the fact that I am a Canadian citizen. That's one of the things that government run healthcare can potentially offer - an end to discrimination based on arthritis.

Warm hugs,
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/30/09 04:16 PM

I agree with both Kat & Jay for pointing out some of the different scenarios, they all strike me as possible

So I ask:

which is a greater crime/tragedy

1. A person receiving free health care, the kind of person we'd all likely agree that doesn't morally deserve it, drinks alcohol all day, doesn't look for work, does nothing to change things, etc

or:

2. A person who wants to improve themselves, ready to do so, ready to make a contribution, but needs medical attention, but can't afford it, may never get functional without it, and possibly even die because of their illness?
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 11/30/09 11:22 PM

I need to add that I believe that healthcare should not be yoked to any means of "work" (or lack there of) that someone puts in to society. Who is righteous enough to judge what work is more important than another? To me fulfilling a good purpose that has no dollar value is far more important than the billions of paper pieces with faces on them are. Being cared by someone who knows how to do so fits in there too. Synergy.

I know film drivers who drive their Mercedes to my work, pick up one of our vehicles, drive it to the set and sit around all day getting fat on craft services (trust me they tell me this). You don't even need an 'education'. They do way less work than the other drivers that we personally employ and make WAY more money. Wait- film: the most important work in the world, never mind. I think we're doing Hulk 2 in the near future...

Right now MONEY is dictating who gets healthcare, and last I checked MONEY is a poor poor poor (I'm not sure I can say it enough) judge of character.

By the way, tax payers, shouldn't you be more frustrated that a large portion of your taxes go to pay off a fake debt that was concocted out of thin air? That's entire lifetimes of 'work' and 'servitude' going to a fake number that doesn't really even exist. All while you could be getting healthcare. But that's the system we live in. Increasing national debts made out of money that doesn't even exist and the creditors telling us which programs to cut (or hand over) in order to pay them their interest back. Otherwise, "we'll make your national "Fico" score look bad to the ROW and your 'currency' or value of means in which you trade, will go into the garbage."

Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/01/09 08:25 AM

I don't see anything as a right where one individual is forced to relinquish something to support another individual. I don't directly disagree with you regarding the comment about occupation. The thing I disagree with is that if you are cognizant of how the system (as unfair or broken as each of us chooses to see it) works, and yet you choose to pursue undertakings that will not meet needs for the health insurance you'd like to have, enable you to pay for health insurance, or allow you to pay for basic health care needs (e.g. routine doctors visits on the premise of preventative care). I do see the need, as I've stated previously, for health insurance reform in this country. The real issues with me are how extensive that reform should be and how it should be funded.

I agree that these issues are always not black and white. I mentioned that in my response to your toilet toggle/feed your child example. Are there situations where a woman has multiple children with a man who turns out to be a good for nothing bum after all the children have been conceived or born? Definitely. There are also situations where the woman has one child and realizes that she should have nothing to do with that man going forward yet bears additional children with him anyway. Also, it is resoundingly possible that a woman is somehow trapped, yet it's also possible that she is able to juggle the feat of employment and supporting her child while doing without a male in the household. This seems to be an increasingly advocated idea here in the States and it's a shame. A little bit the problem for those without education is that there is increasingly a dearth of entry-level jobs (especially those that allow the individuals to advance) available as the U.S. has hemorrhaged these types of positions in the past few decades. Also though, on the flip side, if the woman has post-secondary education, she has an extremely good chance of finding a gainful position in the professional workforce with benefits (possibly including daycare). Should the children suffer? Absolutely not. As mentioned there are programs to help women and children in need (WIC). There's also healthcare program for children (SCHIP) where needed.

I don't recall ever passing judgment on the Canadian system. I did opine that I wasn't sure if a similar system was appropriate for the United States. That isn't for me to decide however. The fact that no-one with pre-existing illness is denied is noble indeed. I mentioned that was one of the measure I'd like to see with health insurance reform in the United States. Alongside that, I'd like to see caps placed on premiums for policies underwritten for those with pre-existing illness. What I don't want to see is another entitlement program. There's no way we can afford that. I recently read or heard something to the fact that the true amount by which Social Security and Medicare is underfunded is 106 TRILLION dollars. Social Security is a great idea in theory. However, when the pols raid the funds intended for it and leave a bunch of I.O.U.s then borrow funds from China and Japan to cover the outlays, that is not sustainable. When we wage illegal wars partially or in full for the benefit of other nations at an enormous cost to human life and our nation's fiscal well-being, that is not sustainable. What are we going to do? Devalue our currency? Default on the debt? Give China the State of Alaska? The State of California? This is why I can't foresee (from the fiscal argument) the U.S. Government administering a national health program. Then there's the other concern(s) associated with the U.S. Government playing insurer, many of which have been touched on in previous posts.
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/01/09 08:43 AM

Oh, Jay, I wasn't slamming you with my mention of the Canadian system. More like I was trying to commiserate/sympathize in a way with you being denied because of your AS. Sorry for that misunderstanding.

I guess my position comes from a 'needs of the many' point of view (thank you Gene Roddenberry). I don't think we should be forced to put all of our income into a general pool, but that those of us with more should have no problem helping those of us with less.

The opposite side of the occupation 'coin' could come down to why should someone be forced to do something which they find neither fulfilling nor enjoyable because of the way the system works. We could end up with a sort of '1984' world, where everything must be as the government says - culture determined by what is politically correct??? Oceania lives. wink

Warm hugs,
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/01/09 08:57 AM

Quote:
I need to add that I believe that healthcare should not be yoked to any means of "work" (or lack there of) that someone puts in to society. Who is righteous enough to judge what work is more important than another?


You don't see a problem where everybody wants but no one is there to do to enable the want? I don't think anyone is judging what an individual chooses to do with their life. Rather, it is a statement that individuals shouldn't expect a segment of society to support them while they pursue their, possibly, unfruitful endeavors.

Quote:
Right now MONEY is dictating who gets healthcare, and last I checked MONEY is a poor poor poor (I'm not sure I can say it enough) judge of character.


I don't see that changing under any government sponsored/run health insurance program. It will be subject to budgetary constraints and will suffer cutbacks, contrary to what the pols might promise. Heck just look at Social Security and the fact there are no cost-of-living increases in the upcoming year. That's odd, there's still inflation contrary to what the government and their numbers tell you. Oh...I forgot...their inflation numbers don't include food or energy. Why, that sounds like a tax right there.

Also, agreed, money is a poor judge of character. Should we go back to bartering? That's why I, for example, judge people on the quality of their character, not on what material possessions they may or may not have.

Also, it is my belief a large portion of those who lead others to believe they have money have nothing but a fat credit line, and therefore lots of debt. Many with money don't flaunt it. They also are fairly charitable.

Quote:
By the way, tax payers, shouldn't you be more frustrated that a large portion of your taxes go to pay off a fake debt that was concocted out of thin air? That's entire lifetimes of 'work' and 'servitude' going to a fake number that doesn't really even exist. All while you could be getting healthcare. But that's the system we live in. Increasing national debts made out of money that doesn't even exist and the creditors telling us which programs to cut (or hand over) in order to pay them their interest back. Otherwise, "we'll make your national "Fico" score look bad to the ROW and your 'currency' or value of means in which you trade, will go into the garbage."


I don't understand the statement about the "fake debt concocted out of thin air". I'm not challenging the statement per se, I'm just trying to understand what you mean. I also don't understand the "fake number that doesn't really even exist." passage either. Please help me understand. Yes, fiat "paper" money is nothing but a sham. Pretty soon not worth the paper it's printed on if not already the case. The creditors in the case of the nation are primarily other nations (China and Japan are our largest creditors); it is up to the pols to manage the finances, and they do a lousy job. Yes, the idea of credit-worthiness is somewhat silly, but other nations, if they are to purchase debt, need some measure(s) of another nation's ability to service that debt. I don't necessarily agree with these principals/ideas, but it is currently how the system operates. Until change can be effected, well, it looks like we deal...

Perhaps we should go back to bartering.
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/01/09 02:21 PM

Sorry, I was up way too late last night with insomnia, and in a highly philosophical mood. I still feel wierd from it!

The fractional reserve systems allows banks to take an IOU (for example, print up $1 million in paper) from, in your case the Fed (private group of people), and then dish out loans that are somewhere around 10 to 1 compared to what they actually have (10 million). Then charge interest. It is not money, its just a digit.

Proverbs 22:7 - The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

Since it really is not money, just a digit, that's where I get the "fake" from. In Canada there was a time where there was no reserve ratio. They could just make up numbers and charge interest on them. I think it is currently is 7 to 1. Its work in exchange for a digit.

If the fed just printed the 700 billion, they must also know that a couple years later comes hyperinflation...
Posted by: trudi

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/01/09 02:44 PM

I am very sad that my choice to be a MOTHER has put me into the category of 'not-deserving-because-I-didn't-pull-my-financial-weight'. I am very sad our society has caused women to have to choose work over the non-paying job of raising their children for the sole purpose of receiving health benefits. I know many women who work only for the benefits because their husband's job has no benefits. Their paycheck goes towards paying the daycare.

I do not find the obligation to work at a job you are not gifted/called to as being a productive part of society. Working where you are not 'satisfied' only causes other problems.

I am sad to see my husband suffer because he is working a job that does not fulfill him. When he was unemployed for 8 months, he was a new man, free from those bondages of society, happily looking for a job that suited him. Now that he's back to work at his former employer (jobs are scarce in MI), I do not know him any longer. My 'job' right now is to BE a mother. I've worked here & there, but found no satisfaction because I am SUPPOSED to be a mother right now.

Our world is filled with misery because of these 'obligations'. How many of us are treated by doctors/specialists that don't like being a doctor or that is not their calling? Many are doctors because of the $$ and status that goes with it. They are HORRIBLE caregivers and actually cause a LOT of misery! I'm not saying this would allow people to do nothing... as I believe that 99% of people would do SOMETHING if given a real choice to be productive in their talent/giftings.

I know society doesn't allow for any of this to happen, but that is my dream world... My brain isn't fully explaining itself right now!

<<<<< another note>>>>>

Too bad the health care industry has priced care out of reach of most of us. My husband has an injured arm, it looks to be cracked or a torn ligament/tendon. He can hardly move it:

His choices:

~ use the free govt VA care... which means call today, wait for an appt that may be a month later.

~ go to our civilian doc, pay $95 for initial visit, pay for x-rays ($45+), pay $90 for a follow up doc visit and miss many hours of work. She does not take insurance.

~ go to an accute care clinic that may or may not take our insurance.

I don't know. I just wish the doctors wouldn't charge so much money for basic care. I wish there would be a cap on those fees. Maybe if the colleges were to lower their costs, people wouldn't have such debt from school to pay off.

There's no reason a doc should get paid $95 for a 1/2 hour visit! Does it really have to cost $270 to drain a small abcess? or $32 to draw a vial of blood? or $40 to get a shot of antibiotics? And honestly, does it REALLY need to cost $2000 a month for my daughter's growth hormone shots? Those prices, I feel, are over-inflated.

Why? because society has a standard of living that won't budge. Dr's have to keep their standard up, same as insurance companies, bankers, etc. Those that are at the top of the consumer food chain easily take advantage of the people on the bottom because there are more of us to feed 'them'. We are caught btwn a rock and a hard place and we lose every time.

Sadly, to eat healthy is very expensive. So we eat crappy food (Mac & cheese & hotdogs) which cause illness and disease, which needs a dr care, which takes up a lot of money, which takes away from healthier food/lifestyles, etc, etc, etc....

I do not believe in total gov't run healthcare (I participate in several forms of it and there's always a catch somewhere which makes me worried). I do like the option that we have for our daughter called children's special health care which is for middle income families for their child/ren with specific health problems that need a specialist's care. Nephrologist, neurologist, endocrinologist, etc. THAT, I am thankful for, although I am 'forced' into therapies I am not comfortable with.

I do not believe that I should have to pay for other's health problems. I have enough to care for in my own family!

well, those are my rambling thoughts on this no-win situation.

Maybe there will arise better options than raising our taxes even more to pay for something nobody can afford. Maybe the whole system has to be broken apart and start anew, starting with the expense of colleges......
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/02/09 12:53 AM

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
I recently read or heard something to the fact that the true amount by which Social Security and Medicare is underfunded is 106 TRILLION dollars. Social Security is a great idea in theory. However, when the pols raid the funds intended for it and leave a bunch of I.O.U.s then borrow funds from China and Japan to cover the outlays, that is not sustainable. When we wage illegal wars partially or in full for the benefit of other nations at an enormous cost to human life and our nation's fiscal well-being, that is not sustainable. What are we going to do? Devalue our currency? Default on the debt? Give China the State of Alaska? The State of California? This is why I can't foresee (from the fiscal argument) the U.S. Government administering a national health program. Then there's the other concern(s) associated with the U.S. Government playing insurer, many of which have been touched on in previous posts.


I see this argument a lot, that Social Security is underfunded, and therefore it makes no sense to take on additional cost

I agree that the war in Iraq was a total disaster, and perhaps the 30,000 troops that were scheduled tonight for deployment to Afghanistan will prove likewise, but I don't think those kind of mistakes should mean we shouldn't do the right thing in regards to health care!!

My opinion is that a lot of people are just being short-sighted in regards to the benefits that this nation would get from improving the level of health in this country-to me there is no doubt that it would do that, only question is to what degree-not only from productivity, reducing costs of goods & services, manufacturing, auto-workers, things we have largely lost to other countries, etc. Then also consider that it will help people of working age, compared to Medicare, which only helps senior citizens..

and I feel that my earlier point is getting lost in the sauce here, that the most important priority, the number one thing, the big cheese:

is to lower the TOTAL price of health care, so that for instance, we are not paying more for the same services that other countries do, we shouldn't be paying two, three, or twenty times as much for the very same drugs actually produced in this country!

that has to be done by breaking the monopoly, or oligopoly if you prefer, that the industry has over us, by ideally creating a competition to it, or less ideally, legislation that is created to create a better balance. But either way, start by repealing the current antiquated laws that give them an unfair advantage!
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/02/09 07:20 AM

Quote:
My opinion is that a lot of people are just being short-sighted in regards to the benefits that this nation would get from improving the level of health in this country


I concur. The big hang up seems to be how to do that. Both sides are so extreme that one side does nothing for years then bitches about what is being done, while the other side offers a wholesale nationalization of the whole system scaring the daylights out of significant portion of citizens (e.g. elderly, those with satisfactory existing coverage, some doctors, those in favor of limited government). This divide alone is enough to make people ill.

Quote:
is to lower the TOTAL price of health care


The price or the cost? Lower the price and the insurers, drug manufacturers, device makers, make it up in volume, therefore resulting in a minimally modified overall cost? We shouldn't be paying be paying multiple times for same drugs that other countries buy at "wholesale" prices. There will be, at some point in time, some economic implication of us not subsidizing the drug companies (for example) though. Our costs might drop (in relation to what they once were), but it may raise the prices in other countries to put them on par with a newly revised U.S. system. Another scenario is that development (R&D) slows down. Maybe not immediately, maybe not within three years, but at some time in the future. The drug companies no longer see fit to budget the same amounts for R&D now that their cash cow market (U.S.) is no longer subsidizing their fat profits, yet they want to try and maintain their profit margins to keep shareholders satisfied. Is it right? No. I doubt that they care though. I'm sure there are many other scenarios too, but these are two that oft have crossed my mind.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/08/09 11:58 AM

Undoubtedly, that is the argument that the drug companies will make, that with less profit, they will claim that they will have to lower R&D

However, if they don't do the research and development, they won't come up with the next breakthrough drug, nothing to sell, so they might think twice about cutting those costs, look elsewhere, start with those outrageous CEO's salaries instead? That is the way fair competition should work

I heard someone recently make the point that significant medical research is done in State & government universities, funded by taxpayers, who don't benefit financially from that research. Instead it is the pharmaceutical companies that market the drugs based on that research that get ALL the profit. Hmm..
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/08/09 12:16 PM

I still kind of like Jaybird's idea of giving Alaska to China, to help pay off our national debt, not sure how much use they'd have for all those snowmobiles though, and whether or not it would help if we included Sarah Palin as part of the deal... doh

there are a few other ideas floating about, one frequently mentioned is that we could legalize marijuana, and tax the hell out of it, like the Netherlands do, and stop spending so much on the OTHER drug wars

I could see the argument against that, it might be considered giving unfair advantage to certain segments of the music industry, sales of Grateful Dead and early Moody Blues albums would be certain to increase smokin
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/09/09 08:41 AM

Profits would be an issue for them I'd guess. The top line number (revenue) might be an issue though before the profit consideration. It might just be justification (in their eyes) for cutting R&D. The purpose or scope of the organization may shrink, not only R&D. Employees might get lopped off. Maybe they drop whole lines of medications (e.g. maintenance meds for arthritis). If you don't have the revenue to sustain the purpose or activities of the organization, it will not continue in its current incarnation. Perhaps that is a good thing from some points of view. All I know is that they have no obligation to be in business.

It would be nice if they scaled back those CEO salaries, but I wouldn't hold my breath. However, if all these CEO salaries are scaled back, don't you lose some of your “rich” people to subsidize all of your social programs? Personally, I don't have much a problem with the way by which CEO salaries are set. Is the compensation unnecessarily excessive? Absolutely. However, those salaries, and overall compensation, are set and approved by the boards of those corporations, if public. You need to go much further than the supposed villainous CEO to root out the excessive compensation that bothers you so much. Also, if we are going to target the CEOs, we might as well target all professional athletes (I mean, they get paid millions a year to play games) and the multi-million dollar earning movie and television stars and personalities (I mean, they get paid millions to largely play make believe). Don't get me wrong, I'm not pro-pharma. However, all of these types of actions will have implications. Then again, perhaps it doesn't matter. The members of government have already sold themselves, and us indirectly, out to big business, therefore any lines that exist are rather blurred. Perhaps this is why the president brokered a deal with big pharma while this whole healthcare thing was heating up late this summer.

That's the first I've heard of significant medical research (for direct use by pharma) being done at the university level. Perhaps this is what is heard about all these university professors who have ties with big corporations. It wouldn't surprise me though to understand universities making scientific breakthroughs (through research) that can be incorporated into pharmaceuticals as well as utilized by other industries. I've also been aware of members of universities doing studies that, for example, support or refute the efficacy of a methodology of treatment. Is this what you mean? If not, could you elaborate/clarify? You may also get arguments from the students themselves, as well as the university administrators, about the financial benefits of this research. They may not benefit directly, but one would imagine that there is an indirect benefit to the students and the university.

I heard last night before I went to bed and briefly read this morning that the public option might be dead. Wow! Apparently the authors of this bill and their cohorts couldn't get it more wrong. I understand the legislation is not final, but if that is true, this fabulous bill is headed in the direction of mandating than an individual must carry health insurance and implementing a new tax upon the public if they don't. Yet, with an elimination of a public option, the individuals are given no viable means to acquire adequate insurance at a reasonable price. Granted, the government has no business running an insurance scheme, however unless this mandate for insurance, and the accompanying tax, are eliminated, the citizens are being hamstrung without a government option. Wow!

Since you elect to include Sarah Palin in the debate, it makes me wonder if they'd (the Chinese) be interested in someone who has no experience as a community organizer and doesn't keep questionable anti-American company. Actually, I was thinking that the Chinese would be interested in the natural resources they could extract from the land. Perhaps you have read about their acquisition of natural resources in their own exploitation of Africa?
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/09/09 05:54 PM

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
Profits would be an issue for them I'd guess. The top line number (revenue) might be an issue though before the profit consideration. It might just be justification (in their eyes) for cutting R&D. The purpose or scope of the organization may shrink, not only R&D. Employees might get lopped off. Maybe they drop whole lines of medications (e.g. maintenance meds for arthritis). If you don't have the revenue to sustain the purpose or activities of the organization, it will not continue in its current incarnation. Perhaps that is a good thing from some points of view. All I know is that they have no obligation to be in business.


Personally, I think that it would be empty threat, they might try to scare us by threatening to cut R&D, but to really stop developing new products, which is the business they are in, would only hurt themselves. And don't forget, the US isn't their only customer, they sell their medications to the rest of the world at a lower price than here, they are not being forced to do that, yet they still do


Originally Posted By: Jaybird
It would be nice if they scaled back those CEO salaries, but I wouldn't hold my breath. However, if all these CEO salaries are scaled back, don't you lose some of your “rich” people to subsidize all of your social programs? Personally, I don't have much a problem with the way by which CEO salaries are set. Is the compensation unnecessarily excessive? Absolutely. However, those salaries, and overall compensation, are set and approved by the boards of those corporations, if public. You need to go much further than the supposed villainous CEO to root out the excessive compensation that bothers you so much. Also, if we are going to target the CEOs, we might as well target all professional athletes (I mean, they get paid millions a year to play games) and the multi-million dollar earning movie and television stars and personalities (I mean, they get paid millions to largely play make believe). Don't get me wrong, I'm not pro-pharma. However, all of these types of actions will have implications. Then again, perhaps it doesn't matter. The members of government have already sold themselves, and us indirectly, out to big business, therefore any lines that exist are rather blurred. Perhaps this is why the president brokered a deal with big pharma while this whole healthcare thing was heating up late this summer.


I think it's good that you keep bringing this up, the fact that government and corporations are connected by an umbilical cord, even if it is to shine an equally bright spotlight on all parties.

Don't agree with the argument that the tax paid by executive CEO's should be considered a plus in regards to using those taxes for socially helpful programs. First, they and their lawyers know all the loopholes.. 2nd, those taxes aren't earmarked in any way for social programs, they could just as easily go to buying bombs as buying Remicade 3. It would be much better that the same dollars stayed in the hands of the people that need it the most, the ones that need the health care, but can't afford it, every time a dollar passes through another set of hands, somehow some of the money always disappears

Also, I'm not suggesting that because those CEO's are making a lot of money, that there is anything fundamentally wrong with that in itself.

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
That's the first I've heard of significant medical research (for direct use by pharma) being done at the university level. Perhaps this is what is heard about all these university professors who have ties with big corporations. It wouldn't surprise me though to understand universities making scientific breakthroughs (through research) that can be incorporated into pharmaceuticals as well as utilized by other industries. I've also been aware of members of universities doing studies that, for example, support or refute the efficacy of a methodology of treatment. Is this what you mean? If not, could you elaborate/clarify? You may also get arguments from the students themselves, as well as the university administrators, about the financial benefits of this research. They may not benefit directly, but one would imagine that there is an indirect benefit to the students and the university.


I didn't do any personal research here, so didn't hunt down any links to validate it, but it makes sense to me, what the person was talking about was not private universities, but state financed ones, which are largely funded by the taxes collected by individual states. Suggested it as something to become more aware of, a way to possibly get some of the investment made into education to return to the state


Originally Posted By: Jaybird
I heard last night before I went to bed and briefly read this morning that the public option might be dead. Wow! Apparently the authors of this bill and their cohorts couldn't get it more wrong. I understand the legislation is not final, but if that is true, this fabulous bill is headed in the direction of mandating than an individual must carry health insurance and implementing a new tax upon the public if they don't. Yet, with an elimination of a public option, the individuals are given no viable means to acquire adequate insurance at a reasonable price. Granted, the government has no business running an insurance scheme, however unless this mandate for insurance, and the accompanying tax, are eliminated, the citizens are being hamstrung without a government option. Wow!


keeping an eye on it, nervously..

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
Since you elect to include Sarah Palin in the debate, it makes me wonder if they'd (the Chinese) be interested in someone who has no experience as a community organizer and doesn't keep questionable anti-American company. Actually, I was thinking that the Chinese would be interested in the natural resources they could extract from the land. Perhaps you have read about their acquisition of natural resources in their own exploitation of Africa?


well, I was just being silly, suggesting that Sarah Palin would come with the purchase of Alaska, as you were, when you suggested the state could be traded against our national debt

I'm sure that China would be very keen on Alaska's resources!
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/10/09 07:58 AM

Yes, they would hurt themselves if they closed the doors. It is not however completely out of the question. I'd imagine they'd be much more likely to sell themselves off in whole or in parts to other companies. Therefore, the outcome of that would be less competition and potentially higher prices. It's like you can't win at every turn.

I'm gonna guess that the justification for selling their stuff to other countries at lesser cost is economies of scale. Again, one possible scenario is that if the U.S. sees a significant decrease in prices, other countries might see a noticeable increase in price.

Quote:
even if it is to shine an equally bright spotlight on all parties


This is an interesting portion of your post. Can I make the assumption that you truly believe that one party is less evil than the other? You don't really need to answer that question as it strays from our topic, but it is interesting nonetheless.

Quote:
Don't agree with the argument that the tax paid by executive CEO's should be considered a plus in regards to using those taxes for socially helpful programs.


Well, they are considered the "rich" aren't they? Based on the logic of the Dems, the rich are supposed to pay for everything (whether they be bombs [war tax] or social programs [healthcare]).

Quote:
3. It would be much better that the same dollars stayed in the hands of the people that need it the most, the ones that need the health care, but can't afford it, every time a dollar passes through another set of hands, somehow some of the money always disappears


The people that need it most wouldn't likely have a need if their money had stayed in their hands from the start. I think the money would be better in the hands of the people that actually earn it, as opposed to say, the government. Also, who determines need?

I concur. Every time a dollar passes through the hands of a layer of government, the money does magically disappear.

Lastly, silly is OK with me. I've been trying hard, but failing more often than I'd like, to keep partisan politics out of my posts. It is sometime difficult to discern the intention of a posted passage (e.g. the comments about Palin).
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/15/09 05:03 PM

Originally Posted By: Jaybird

This is an interesting portion of your post. Can I make the assumption that you truly believe that one party is less evil than the other? You don't really need to answer that question as it strays from our topic, but it is interesting nonetheless.


At the risk of coming across as hypocritical, yes, that is generally what I've observed.

Senator Lieberman, of course, who does have a "D" on his name keeps appearing in the news as one of the most against health care reform, contradicting himself constantly, and making us question his motives

I think the day that I became the most cynical about the process, is when I sat down and watched C-SPAN, when the issue before them was whether or not the phone companies would be liable for the illegal wiretapping that took place during W's administration

I watched senator after senator make speeches on the subject, and remember thinking that many of the arguments from BOTH sides made sense, the words they said sounded logical, they clearly seemed to be considering the moral and legal consequences of what was before them

and then it came time for the actual vote, the part of this process that would determine the actual outcome

every R, even the ones who had vocally expressed that what had happened was indeed wrong, voted the criminal allegations down, completely in lockstep with each other

and the D's were mixed, but more for holding the phone companies accountable

And I sat in stunned silence, still realizing that I still didn't understand completely how this all worked

Then someone explained to me, one of the reasons that it happens is because they all have to answer to their leaders, that if they vote against the interests of their party, it could very well lead to a problem next time they are up for election, and need funding and support for their campaign contributions...

so after I recovered from that, I mainly have concluded that the STRENGTH of the R party is that they work as a single entity, and the WEAKNESS of the D party, is that they come at it with a variety of opinions, often arguing among themselves..

Idealists like Dennis Kuccinich, who I have a lot of respect for, but recognize that when he voted DOWN the recent health care bill that passed, because it wasn't as strong as he wanted, he was doing it out of principle, but it only weakened the best proposal that existed at the time

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
Well, they are considered the "rich" aren't they? Based on the logic of the Dems, the rich are supposed to pay for everything (whether they be bombs [war tax] or social programs [healthcare]).


No definitely not "everything." Just simply think that the tax cuts to the rich that took place in the last admin, and the unfair advantages that corporations received (i.e. Halliburton being permitted to avoid taxes by claiming their corporate headquarters, were offshore, in the Cayman islands, where they had little more than a P.O. Box) were just too much

led to the huge deficit and borrowing money from the Chinese that we are paying off now

and we know that the famous "trickle down" theory that supposes that when the rich are richer, that everyone eventually benefits, simply doesn't work, both Reagan and the two Bush eras left us with a poorer Federal budget, and a widening of the gap between the rich and the poor

Remember that Clinton left us with an actual SURPLUS

so would like to see the balance return to that now, not just a better handling of the purse strings, but proper enforcement of the laws that already exist

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
The people that need it most wouldn't likely have a need if their money had stayed in their hands from the start. I think the money would be better in the hands of the people that actually earn it, as opposed to say, the government. Also, who determines need?


good question! I dunno. If you asked me or Kat, we might put a higher emphasis on things that other people see as non-important, like the arts, or if you asked a farmer, he'd say a different thing, or an urban planner another thing again. But at this particular point in history, with people literally dying that could be saved due to lack of medicine and health care, I think many of us will agree that should be THE priority!
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/16/09 02:02 PM

Hey guys, this is sort of related and I'm curious what you think of it.

Read this article in Time recently:

Fat Fees and Smoker Surcharges

Something Farinelli said a couple of pages ago in this thread made me remember it. Don't ask me what it was, because I've typed so many reports this week I can't recall where my right foot is half the time.

Thoughts?

Hugs,
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/16/09 03:01 PM

I think the idea of that is the right direction, try to find a way to penalize people who don't take care of themselves as well as they should, and therefore raise the medical costs for everyone else

I think it would be a slippery slope, how many cigarettes makes you a smoker? How do you define obesity?

Think it would be better handled as a tax on the products themselves, as our earlier discussion about tobacco tax, and junk food

that way it wouldn't be as likely to be misused in the hands of the insurance companies, and the tax would be an incentive for the makers of Twinkie and soda pop companies to make their products healthier

as you may remember, my wife teaches film in a university. Last year, there were a number of calamities from the students during their shoots, one quite serious, and as a result, the insurance companies, have not only raised the premiums, but given them new restrictions on what types of film scripts they can produce

the students now have to submit their scripts to the insurance company, to be judged on the basis of the safety of the production, for instance, they can no longer shoot scenes with anyone driving a car! Deemed too risky! So I think they have used this as an opportunity to not just protect their profits, but to increase them..
Posted by: Stormy

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/16/09 05:00 PM

Dow,
If your wife works for a larger university, chances are the university is actually self insured. In that case, the insurance company is acting as agent to handle the paperwork and insure a "separation" between the university and the insurance decision. If that is true, the University actually decided on the restrictions and limitations in advance- they are just blaming the "big, bad" insurance company.

The reality is that most large employers/companies/governments actually operate in this fashion. The state of NY certainly does (if she works in the SUNY system). Fifty-five percent of covered US workers were enrolled in self-insured plans for health care last year. Companies do not necessarily advertise it, as it is convenient and cheaper to take a hands off approach. In instances where the insurance company is acting as agent for a self-insured (or self-funded) company, they typically bill the company for the aggregate amount of claims paid plus a percentage (2% to 5%) for processing. In these instances they would actually hurt their profits by denying claims ......

http://industry.bnet.com/healthcare/1000...efund-insurers/
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/16/09 06:20 PM

hi kat,

kind of reminds me of the opposite thing i am seeing advertised on television: insurance companies paying for people to "do healthy things", go to the gym, attend yoga class, etc. i know i'm being petty when i think, "they'll cover that, but not my IF Stim machine that is the only thing that relieved my worst upper back pain". am i the only one that thinks its kind of discriminatory? i know encouraging people to do healthy things is a good thing and i know that exercise can make people healthier and thus lower insurance costs overall. i still can't help feeling "left out" when they'll cover these things and not the things i need just to function and go back to work.

i agree with dow, tax the cigarettes and junk food, not penalize the people. there are lots of factors that can come into play. i don't think you can make blanket judgement calls on people. its so easy to just blame others for their problems, instead of punishing people, why not try to help them out?
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/16/09 09:15 PM

thanks Stormy, sounds like you know a lot about this!

this case of her university is a little complicated, and I probably shouldn't go into the details here, because it's an ongoing thing. But it's not health insurance, this was more of a liability insurance, for things like equipment, theft and production (shooting student films) mishaps. Mostly I wanted to make the point that when the insurance profits go down due to paying claims, they just adjust the policy to make sure their profits will be protected, by raising the premiums, and imposing new rules on the types of films that the students are allowed to make.

I guess ultimately that is a "real world" lesson for the students!
Posted by: Lon

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/17/09 09:43 AM

Hi Stormy,
Thanks for that link.
My wife has usually been the one receiving insurance, and it has usually been from a self insured group. After reading some of the posts here and reading a lot of other things; it seems that there is a bit of truth in many places but to apply this truth to someone / everyone can be the rub.

You did not give an opinion. I admire your wisdom.

Have you seen any government run health program effectively care for someone who later becomes self sufficient? and caring for them selves?
Posted by: Stormy

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/17/09 02:56 PM

Dow,

I did realize that you were referring to liability coverage - but relating it to healthcare. Just as most large employers are self-insured for healthcare, they are also self-insured (or self-funded if you prefer) for liability, theft, damage and most other casualty losses. Have you ever wondered why most University based physicians do not carry malpractice insurance? ... They don't need it...

I also understood the point that you were trying to make. I just think that you are totally missing the mark. Yes, insurance companies are (for the most part) for-profit corporations. So are doctors, drug companies, cigarette manufacturers, auto makers, movie theaters and film production companies. The cold harsh reality is that companies need to make a profit to survive. Could we honestly expect to attract the best business minds to the insurance industry if no profit was to be made? Could we attract and retain the best doctors if they had to moonlight at the local Jiffy-Mart to feed their children? Would we see good film or schlock if there was no profit to be had in film production? The reality is that Health Insurance is profitable in the US, but at an average of 3% to 4%, not egregiously so. Companies in the pleasure businesses make much more substantial profits. Personally, I am disturbed by the out-of-control profits in the sports and entertainment industries, beer and liquor distributorships, cigarette manufacturers, etc. At the same time, I don't think the government should take over Budweiser to protect the average Joe Six Pack from prices higher then he wants to pay.

Since the University that employs your wife is probably self-insured, the details of their liability protection - and the restrictions your wife's students are chafing under - were determined by someone at the University; probably the Comptroller or the Comptroller's office. (Even if it was a true insurance policy, the ultimate purchaser of the policy - again probably the Comptroller - made a business decision.) Since the concept of insurance is something that people think they understand, (key word here being "think") the University, like most companies, continues to refer to it as insurance. There are probably fewer then 10 people at the University that actually have true knowledge of the details of the liability, healthcare, casualty, etc coverage. The average employee (even highly placed employees) will tell you that "of course" it is traditional insurance. ... Oh yea, and that the insurance company is doing everything it can to deny claims! In fact, in this type of arrangement, they only make money when they pay claims.

When I said that the key word in the paragraph above was "think", I was not trying to be offensive. I do know a lot about this. I work in this arena every day. (I do NOT work for an insurance company). Frequently, when I read the message boards, and especially threads like this one, I struggle with my desire to jump in and correct people's misconceptions about HOW the healthcare and healthcare funding industries actually work in this and other countries. I think you would be amazed at how unhappy the average American would be with a health care system controlled in whole or in part by the federal government (any more then it already is) ... something that will happen if there is any form of "public option". Ultimately, I usually bite my tongue and move on to another thread. Perhaps that is for the best.
Posted by: Stormy

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/17/09 03:20 PM

Hi Lon,

You are in good company. More then half of Americans receiving their insurance through an employer actually have a self-funded plan. My employer's plan has been self-funded for the decade I have been employed by them; and I could not be happier with my coverage. My co-worker on the other hand is terribly unhappy. ...You can't please all of the people all of the time ...

You are right, I have not explicitly stated my opinion. Working in the industry, it seemed somewhat unfair to do so. I am starting to think that it is time to "stand up and be counted" when it comes to an opinion on healthcare reform that has the potential to impact not just my family, not just my country, but the future healthcare and economies of the rest of the world. I'll have to get back to you on that though. I have two financial reports to plow through before I leave work for the day.

I have seen a few success stories for people who have come out of Welfare and public assistance situations. I have to admit though, that I have seen more success stories coming from situations involving heartfelt charitable assistance from individuals and foundations. Perhaps more on that later too...
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/17/09 03:25 PM

Well, maybe I shouldn't have brought it up..

not because I don't think I made a good point, but because I can't post all the details on this public forum.

Suffice to say, I do understand that a private insurance company will have to be making a profit in order to survive, but it's the fact that THEY get to dictate to their customers (the University in this case, the citizens of the US in the example of health care) the conditions under which they function, restricting what the customers can and can't do, because otherwise the insurance companies will have less-than-huge profits (and they ARE huge, that's easy to prove) and the customers will lose their coverage-is a big problem

a situation that could be helped if a non-profit entity would replace or at least compete with the for-profit insurance companies, which is how it's done in other countries, like Canada and Japan, who have nationalized health insurance, that's my point...
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/17/09 03:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Lon
You did not give an opinion. I admire your wisdom.


I think we knew on which side of the fence Stormy was on as soon as we read:

"...they are just blaming the "big, bad" insurance company."

Not that there is anything wrong with that, glad to be having a healthy debate on health care!
Posted by: Lon

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/17/09 04:30 PM

Dow,
There is a lot of emotion in this topic. I have enjoyed some of the discussion, but far too much for me to read through; and for you to post....lol
I do agree that you have had a rousing discussion on this topic. Agreeing to disagree can be a solution sometimes. When we come from a basic predisposition that is so much different from the person we are refering too it seems difficult at times not to be negative or to add adjectives.
I enjoy having friends that I disagree with. It is a choice.
I hope you and yours have a good holiday! If ya come this way, call ahead I make up the bed and put one the hot cidar, bake some tollhouse cookies and we will talk up a storm!
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/17/09 06:33 PM

I fail to understand what would be unfair about you, or anyone for that matter, stating an opinion on this issue. Who cares if you are in or close to the industry? I'm not sure why that would disqualify you. It seems that you have interjected some pertinent information. Stoke the fire!

Also, I was one of those individuals that was extremely happy with my health care coverage at my last employer who was self insured. Never a problem to my recollection. Premium increases over that time was steep, but nothing beyond reason.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/17/09 10:21 PM

Hi Lon:

that would be a treat, expect to visit to South Dakota again this spring, hmm, how many antelope steps is Gillette from there?

Yeah, I know, this topic is a little troublesome, not exactly suitable for light reading, nor is it as entertaining as the other forums! But I think we handle it well, considering the truth of what you said, about people coming from different predispositions

and I do have a definite predisposition to tollhouse cookies
Posted by: DragonSlayer

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/17/09 10:28 PM


Well, Dow:

I am an evil “R,” and take issue with a few distortions You have exposed.

Quote:
Senator Lieberman, of course, who does have a "D"

It is 2009 and Senator Liberman actually has an “I” after his name now, just like Socialist Bernard Sanders, who always sides with the angelic “Ds.”

The “Clinton surplus” was actually the Reagan “peace dividend,” now squandered by the effects of those seeds sown by Clinton himself (war on terror, real estate bust, and deals with China that have cost US millions of jobs and deals with multinational corporations that have locked out US competition).

Trickle-down “theory” might be that a rising tide lifts all boats. This was patently true in our former representative republic. In fact John Stossel did a story comparing the living standards of “poor” in the USA versus actual poor people in India and other places. The poor almost anywhere else in the world would rather be “poor” in the USA than where they are. Having seen these levels of true poverty first-hand, living and working in countries like India, Philippines, and S. Korea, I got an education and a renewed appreciation for our socially responsible, trickle-down structure we provide to our less fortunate in USA.

The gap between rich and poor widened most during the greedy Clinton era, but he gave us so much more—that oh so shining paragon of “D” virtues, who:

1) Provided, in concert with Bernard Schwartz of Loral (formerly Ford Aerospace), sensitive military information to enemies in exchange for money and trade incentives.
2) Took $10M cash bribe to protect Lippo Group market in low sulfur coal from US-produced coal based upon fraudulent environmental claims (a forged EIR).
3) Started a war using cluster bombs against innocent civilians.
4) Never brought the attackers of USS Cole to justice—that would almost certainly have prevented 9-11.
5) Gutted the most important banking regulations that had previously prevented de facto conflict of interest.
6) Told the Taiwanese that he supports a “one China” policy.
7) Forced banks to stop ‘red-lining,’ and provide poor-risk loans that are now in default.
8) Pardoned major tax-cheat and oil dealer to embargoed enemies Marc Rich.
9) Enriched his friends in Little Rock who built a disastrous boondoggle coal-fired plant in India that never worked, and they have also produced one in China, thanks to the Lippo bribe. That plant does finally work, but only thanks to the French engineers called in to rescue the project.
10) Travelgate, Whitewatergate, Vince Fostergate, Mena AR, and the list goes on and on while his capital “L” Liberal True Believers and Fellow Travellers have a big blind spot. Hypocrisy of this magnitude is, in my opinion the real evil.

And today we are again taxing and spending ourselves into oblivion just as if we never learned the lessons of fascism, communism, or the Jimmy Carter years. What our country is currently engaged in is self-destruction and it will be “Healthcare” that breaks the camel’s back.

Of course nobody knows what is in the bill, but from some accounts we pay now and don’t get covered for another four years. Tell everyone in your family to get sick later…

Many years I lived amongst Liberals and counted many as close friends. Eventually all but one lied to me—not big lies that mattered, but time-wasting lies that I consider evil. At the core of every capital “L” D is a lie that emanates a first moment about the mean of hypocrisy that leads to the second node of cruelty and the third result is always the lack of personal responsibility—wimping out and never properly owning a problem, but they are first to take credit for anything good (like the internet, surpluses, and Nobel Peace Prizes for stuff that never even happened).

I am also probably evil for even observing the attributes of the committed L (always a D), but I fight this problem all the time. While science begins with the most liberal positions on everything, the goal of science is to evaluate and eliminate as many theories as possible until there is just one theory left that becomes a law. Whenever this is finally accomplished, there are complaints from people who “can’t handle the truth,” because a truth seems just too dogmatic, too unforgiving and cruel—the truth is fully tyrannical.

Regards,
Evil John
Posted by: Stormy

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 01:15 AM

Originally Posted By: Dow
Well, maybe I shouldn't have brought it up..
not because I don't think I made a good point, but because I can't post all the details on this public forum.

I don't think the details are necessary. I do think your example and your correlation to health insurance was valid. It did however unequivocally show me that you do not have a true understanding of the issue.

Originally Posted By: Dow
Suffice to say, I do understand that a private insurance company will have to be making a profit in order to survive, but it's the fact that THEY get to dictate to their customers (the University in this case, the citizens of the US in the example of health care) the conditions under which they function, restricting what the customers can and can't do ...

Hmmm ... the first part of that would be the very nature of "insurance".
Insurance
–noun
The act, system, or business of insuring property, life, one's person, etc., against loss or harm arising in specified contingencies, as fire, accident, death, disablement, or the like, in consideration of a payment proportionate to the risk involved.
If there is actually an insurance company calling the shots (highly unlikely - it is much more likely they are self insured with an insurance company processing the paperwork), the insurer is not really dictating that the students can't do something. They are just saying they will not pay the bill if there is a loss due to defined actions that are outside the scope of the insurance contract. As I previously pointed out, it is likely that the University is self-insured and that a University representative defined the unacceptable actions.

Originally Posted By: Dow
... because otherwise the insurance companies will have less-than-huge profits (and they ARE huge, that's easy to prove) and the customers will lose their coverage-is a big problem

If it is easy to prove that the profits are huge (from a recognized standard business perspective) please do so. The Senate Finance Committee was unable to do this when they had the insurance company executives testifying before their committee earlier this year. Currently, it is well accepted that health insurance company profits are approximately 3% to 4% of gross revenue. That is not egregious or "huge". It is in fact pretty moderate. If you want to see huge, look up the the profit percentages of tobacco companies, software developers, and entertainment industry related businesses.

Originally Posted By: Dow
...a situation that could be helped if a non-profit entity would replace or at least compete with the for-profit insurance companies, which is how it's done in other countries, like Canada and Japan, who have nationalized health insurance, that's my point...

Do you honestly think that would help the situation?

If the insurance companies were "replaced" by a non-profit entity, we would have a single-payor system that, because of its enormity, would be government run. Regardless of previous claims to the contrary, national independent polls show that a single-payor government run health care system is NOT what the majority of Americans want - Nor has it been truly effective in other countries that currently have similar systems. I am not trying to start an argument with those that are happy with their systems (they are welcome to their system - it is just not what I want or feel would be in my family's best interest). The fact remains that all of the socialized systems are chronically underfunded and teetering financially. The wait times for care and services are significantly longer then they are in the majority of the US. Patients in these systems have much less choice and fewer treatment options then the majority of Americans are accustomed to.

I have no problem with a non-profit entity being set up to "compete" with for-profit companies. The more, the merrier. However, it should be fair and equitable competition: No special treatment, No government subsidies, No government employees or advisors, No government bailouts. Unless Congress is going to suspend the laws of economics, I predict that this non-profit agency will quickly and catastrophically fail - just like the Kelki Care program in Hawaii a few years ago. Although it would be nice, it is just not possible to provide equal or better healthcare to more people for less money. Americans would want pesky things like TNF drugs and MRI's within a week or less of being ordered. Those things don't come cheap.

Since you mentioned how things are done in Canada, let's address it. The Canadian government collects income taxes at their standard tax rates from their citizens (and non-citizen workers). In turn, the government redistributes the money at an equivalent rate of approximately 11% of GDP to regionally based Medicare agencies in each province. These agencies are government departments not non-profit entities. The Provincial Government oversees the Provincial healthcare systems with mixed results. Some citizens are happy with their care and treatment. Others are desperately unhappy. Search some of the posts on his forum. I believe that Megan has been shortchanged by the system in her provence. Others leap to mind. Although Canadian citizens are not forced to participate in the Medicare system, they are forced to pay for it through their taxes. At the moment, we do not force people to spend their money on health insurance if they don't want to. If we have any hope of achieving universal healthcare coverage, we will have to demand universal healthcare payment and participation.

Originally Posted By: Dow
Originally Posted By: Lon
You did not give an opinion. I admire your wisdom.

I think we knew on which side of the fence Stormy was on as soon as we read:

"...they are just blaming the "big, bad" insurance company."

You would be surprised. I am not an insurance groupie and I was not making a statement (intentionally or otherwise) by employing the phrase "big, bad" insurance company. I was merely using the phrase to point out the common current trend of passing the buck and blaming insurance companies for all of society's ills. I do believe that we have a crisis in healthcare. I don't agree with with your assessment of what the crisis is or what the solution should be. I definitely do not agree with the "solution" currently being put forward by Congress. From my business, economic and healthcare prospective, this solution will only make the situation worse. Buckle up - it is going to be a long, bumpy, and uncomfortable (for a Spondy) ride.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 01:46 AM

Hi John:

I'll try not to argue against each of your points, because to do so is against my nature and beliefs, there will never be winner

that there isn't a right side and a wrong side, a night and day

we need both, are a better country because of it

will say that Lieberman is a special case, he would still have that "D" after his name if he hadn't lost the primary in 2008 to a Democrat, after which he quickly changed his strategy, and became an "I", now he caucuses (if that is actually a word) with the Democrats

sorry for my error in saying that he is a 'D"

I mentioned him as a way to show that I am opposed to his current positions, as my way of pointing out that I can, and do, often disagree with some of the people in "my" party

I would add as one of Clinton's mistakes that he was responsible for the laws that changed the ownership of media companies, so he took Reagan's repeal of the Fairness Doctrine even further, in which it was no longer a broadcaster's mandate to give equal time to both sides of an discussion, now we have entire "news" organizations, both radio/print/TV, completely owned by corporations, and even a single non-American.

I don't think of myself as a liberal, even though I am sure that is the label I would be given by many, they'd take a look at my voting record, that we drive a fuel-efficient Prius, and that we did small things, like change our light bulbs to CFL's after deciding to take the time to get a closer look at the global warming debate

I'd like to think of myself as open-minded enough if when you or another person here make a point that I see the good in, I may act on it, so that in the future, I may end up with a different label
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 03:38 AM

wow, you all are really keeping me busy here! yes

As Lon would say, I love this place

Originally Posted By: Stormy
if there is actually an insurance company calling the shots (highly unlikely - it is much more likely they are self insured with an insurance company processing the paperwork), the insurer is not really dictating that the students can't do something. They are just saying they will not pay the bill if there is a loss due to defined actions that are outside the scope of the insurance contract. As I previously pointed out, it is likely that the University is self-insured and that a University representative defined the unacceptable actions.


That is exactly what is happening, they are calling the shots. (Literally and figuratively, I doubt you meant the pun)
You can't shoot in NYC without insurance, you need one just to rent camera equipment, if one of these kids drops a $100,000 camera, they're not going to take his word that he'll stop buying video games for the rest of his life and pay to replace it

Hopefully you will trust me on this, like I said, shouldn't give more details, it's making me nervous enough already

Originally Posted By: Stormy
If it is easy to prove that the profits are huge (from a recognized standard business perspective) please do so. The Senate Finance Committee was unable to do this when they had the insurance company executives testifying before their committee earlier this year. Currently, it is well accepted that health insurance company profits are approximately 3% to 4% of gross revenue. That is not egregious or "huge". It is in fact pretty moderate. If you want to see huge, look up the the profit percentages of tobacco companies, software developers, and entertainment industry related businesses.


all right, I'll dig some up. (The time I spend on it may end up reducing my profit in my entertainment industry related business, though! tongue2)

and I'll provide the links, suggest you start doing the same, esp in regards to your claims that people in this country don't want health care reform

Meanwhile, you could start by looking earlier in this thread, where I posted some yearly salaries of CEO's of HC insurance companies, there was one who in 2007 made 24 mil, as I recall

Originally Posted By: Stormy
If the insurance companies were "replaced" by a non-profit entity, we would have a single-payor system that, because of its enormity, would be government run. Regardless of previous claims to the contrary, national independent polls show that a single-payor government run health care system is NOT what the majority of Americans want - Nor has it been truly effective in other countries that currently have similar systems. I am not trying to start an argument with those that are happy with their systems (they are welcome to their system - it is just not what I want or feel would be in my family's best interest). The fact remains that all of the socialized systems are chronically underfunded and teetering financially. The wait times for care and services are significantly longer then they are in the majority of the US. Patients in these systems have much less choice and fewer treatment options then the majority of Americans are accustomed to.

I have no problem with a non-profit entity being set up to "compete" with for-profit companies. The more, the merrier. However, it should be fair and equitable competition: No special treatment, No government subsidies, No government employees or advisors, No government bailouts. Unless Congress is going to suspend the laws of economics, I predict that this non-profit agency will quickly and catastrophically fail - just like the Kelki Care program in Hawaii a few years ago. Although it would be nice, it is just not possible to provide equal or better healthcare to more people for less money. Americans would want pesky things like TNF drugs and MRI's within a week or less of being ordered. Those things don't come cheap.



How long have you been following this thread? From the beginning, when we talked about a lot of these things, or starting in the last week or so? You are covering the same ground, suggest going back to the beginning, with a jug of coffee

I obviously disagree with your belief that it is not possible to provide equal or better healthcare to more people for less money. Economies of scale, elimination of monopolies or oligopolies (as Jay pointed out), ending the McCarran–Ferguson Act, are the goal here, we can learn from other countries that DO achieve those goals, maybe they are underfunded, have different socio-economic problems, don't have a well developed military, etc. They make different choices how to use their resources, and as a result, have different results

I also suggest looking at two other examples where the government has successfully helped the situation of the consumer

1. the breakup of AT&T

which resulted in competition that gave us lower phone bills, allowed new companies to provide the same services, and did not destroy the parent company, and they are still going at it in a new arena, mobile phone services, but yet we can now choose among multiple providers, that's our laws in action, that's a good thing

2. The requirement that all drivers MUST have accident insurance

which obviously makes sense, we can't have some crazy person running a red light, smashing into your car, giving you whiplash and have no way to pay for the damage

and the fact that there is healthy COMPETITION among the insurance providers helps too, as the fact that the bigger pool of mandatory insurance buyers lowers the prices that you and I pay

so I don't see it as impossible that we couldn't follow those leads, learn from them, and improve our status in health care in similar ways as well, go ahead, say I don't understand the situation..

Originally Posted By: Stormy
Since you mentioned how things are done in Canada, let's address it. The Canadian government collects income taxes at their standard tax rates from their citizens (and non-citizen workers). In turn, the government redistributes the money at an equivalent rate of approximately 11% of GDP to regionally based Medicare agencies in each province. These agencies are government departments not non-profit entities. The Provincial Government oversees the Provincial healthcare systems with mixed results. Some citizens are happy with their care and treatment. Others are desperately unhappy. Search some of the posts on his forum. I believe that Megan has been shortchanged by the system in her provence. Others leap to mind. Although Canadian citizens are not forced to participate in the Medicare system, they are forced to pay for it through their taxes.


I HAVE been following them, I don't need to search them. Some of the Canadians have spoken on this very thread. As has my comment that their HC is not free, I made that very point. Send me your address, and I'll mail you a Starbuck's card for Christmas...

Originally Posted By: Stormy
At the moment, we do not force people to spend their money on health insurance if they don't want to. If we have any hope of achieving universal healthcare coverage, we will have to demand universal healthcare payment and participation.


you might be right, there. Well, not ANY hope. But it's not going well at all, as anyone reading about it in the last week can see. It is looking that it could very well be a very bad hacked-together bill, which could even possibly increase the profits of the HC industry, with things like "we'll give you that end to pre-existing conditions" clause, and after the celebration is over, they will see on the bottom of page 672, written in nearly undecipherable legalize, is the fact that they can raise premiums with no ceiling because of it..

(sigh) sad

Originally Posted By: Stormy
You would be surprised. I am not an insurance groupie and I was not making a statement (intentionally or otherwise) by employing the phrase "big, bad" insurance company. I was merely using the phrase to point out the common current trend of passing the buck and blaming insurance companies for all of society's ills. I do believe that we have a crisis in healthcare. I don't agree with with your assessment of what the crisis is or what the solution should be. I definitely do not agree with the "solution" currently being put forward by Congress. From my business, economic and healthcare prospective, this solution will only make the situation worse. Buckle up - it is going to be a long, bumpy, and uncomfortable (for a Spondy) ride.


Seat belt on!
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 11:01 AM

Just so the waters don't remain muddied...here's some information about health care insurers and their CEO's. I find it interesting that their compensation is similar to, and apparently significantly less than in some instances, to those of some in the media industry. As stated before, I don't condone some of the actions of the health insurers. However, I don't condone the majority of the valueless, morally bankrupt garbage that, for instance, Les Moonves puts on his network. Therefore, I don't tune in. Apparently though, someone sees fit to award him a hefty salary for peddling much of this trash. I've also posted the operating and profit margins of a few of those companies. All information was either obtained from AOL Finance or Yahoo Finance, but the source is likely to be their annual financial disclosures as they are public companies.

Industry = Health Care Plans

Aetna CEO Ronald Williams Total Compensation = $7.65 Million
Aetna Profit Margin = 3.87% (Operating Margin = 6.76%)

Humana CEO Michael B. McAllister Total Compensation = $1.69 Million
Humana Profit Margin = 3.13% (Operating Margin = 5.10%)

United Health CEO Stephen J. Hemsley Total Compensation = $1.42 Million
United Profit Margin = 4.20% (Operating Margin = 7.36%)

Wellpoint CEO Angela F. Braly Total Compensation = $3.06 Million
Wellpoint Profit Margin = 3.83% (Operating Margin = 6.94%)

Cigna CEO H. Edward Hanway Total Compensation = $1.16 Million
Cigna Profit Margin = 4.10% (Operating Margin = 6.73%)

Industry = Entertainment - Diversified
Time Warner CEO Jeffery L. Bewkes Total Compensation = $4.00 Million
Time Warner Profit Margin = -31.29% (Operating Margin = 18.72%!)

Industry = Entertainment - Diversified
Walt Disney Former CEO Robert Iger Salary = $15.95 Million*
Walt Disney Profit Margin = 9.15%! (Operating Margin = 15.76%!)

Industry = Entertainment - Diversified
News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch Salary = $13.54 Million*
News Corporation Profit Margin = -11.03% (Operating Margin = 12.18!)

Industry = Entertainment - Diversified
Liberty Media CEO Gregory Maffei Total Compensation = $3.00 Million
Liberty Media Profit Margin = -8.15% (Operating Margin = 11.78%!)

Industry = Broadcasting TV
CBS CEO Leslie Moonves Total Compensation = $24.80 Million!
CBS Profit Margin = 2.33% (Operating Margin = 9.62%)

Industry = Movie Production, Theaters
Marvel Entertainment CEO Issac Perlmutter Total Compensation = $3.18 Million
Marvel Entertainment Profit Margin = 24.40%!!! (Operating Margin = 43.76%!!!)

Industry = Movie Production, Theaters
Dreamworks CEO Jeffery Katzenburg Total Compensation = $6.10 Million
Dreamworks Profit Margin = 21.76%! (Operating Margin = 26.33%!)

Industry = Cigarettes
Altria CEO Michael E. Szymanczyk Total Compensation = $5.08 Million
Altria Profit Margin = 19.09% (Operating Margin 37.01%!)

Industry = Beverages, Brewers
Molson Coors CEO Peter Swinburn = $3.55 Million
Molson Coors Profit Margin = 13.61% (Operating Margin = 20.38%)

* Total Compensation Information not available on AOL Finance so sourced from Yahoo Finance

Oh, and also, I'm not sure why it is necessary to be so hostile toward Stormy (at least this is my perception). It is an emotional topic, but I believe all of us can stick to the issues and respectfully disagree when needed.
Posted by: WendyR

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 11:40 AM

I'm confused as to why the entertainment industry or the cigarette and and brewery industries are relevant. People choose to purchase these non-essential products of our western lifestyle. If these corporations get their forumala right, they make big profits - all paid for by choices made by individuals. The numbers may seem absurdedly high but it's the law of supply and demand.

Isn't health insurance providing an essential service, particularly for those with life-threatening or chronic illnesses?
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 12:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
Just so the waters don't remain muddied...


Jay:

What's going to make the waters muddied here, is if I let you guys turn my statement saying that the HC industry has huge profits, into an comparison about which industry makes the most money. That is NOT what I said, and what I promised to provide evidence of.

Turning this into an attack of our entertainment industry, for example, as evidence of why our country's health care should not be fixed, is a diversionary tactic, I expect better of anyone here on this thread.

it's also self-reflexive, one of biggest sources of revenue for the television industry is the endless advertising from pharmaceutical companies, "side effects may include..."

Lastly, I've worked for Les Moonves, at CBS, I did it by choice, and I'm proud of the work I've done there.

It was not political in nature, unlike Fox News. The shows were not "valueless, morally bankrupt garbage"

So please get back on track.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 12:10 PM

Wendy said it better
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 12:15 PM

Health insurance is not an essential service. One doesn't need insurance to get health care. I'm sure that arguments could also be made that certain functions of health care aren't essential either.

I don't know what Stormy's point was, but mine was simply to highlight the fact that in comparison to some of the "industries" mentioned in Stormy's post, the health insurers aren't making "fat" profits as the current administration has stated. The CEO salaries of those organizations, while hefty, are definitely not out of line with other big businesses/corporations.

Now whether health insurers should be for-profit entities is another area of discussion.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 12:24 PM

Quote:
So please get back on track


Only if you do so first. I believe this post was originally titled "What To Do About Healthcare? Can It Be Fixed?" I don't recall it ever being about profit motives of the insurance industry in general (including LIABILITY or another other type of insurance), nor about the perceived evils of U.S. corporations which, and I'm not sure why after mentioning it once, that it is even pertinent to this discussion. This discussion is supposed to be about health care not your distaste for corporate entities.

Therefore, I'll follow your lead.
Posted by: WendyR

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 12:27 PM

If you are poor in a country that only has a private health care system, you can't get health care without insurance. From the postings on this site, it's clear that people are very scared about the risk of losing their healthcare insurance.

The children who we serve in our social services organization typically come from extreme poverty. Fortunately for them, they live in Canada and can get health care. We have to fund raise to help them get dental care. If they're in pain (from dental issues, for example) we make little progress in assisting them to develop life skills and become useful employable members of our society. They're far too distracted.

We get frustrated because we can't get dental care for them without the endless rounds of fund raising. I can't imagine what it would be like if we couldn't get them into a doctor for their physical or mental health problems.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 01:14 PM

If you are poor in the United States and don't have health care insurance, there are assistance programs. There is Medicaid. There is S-CHIP programs for children. There is WIC for Women, Infants, and Children to make sure they eat. There are food stamps. There are more programs that I'm sure I don't know about. I don't know what the qualifying criteria is and what the constraints of those programs are, but they exist for those without economic means.

I am an individual with an autoimmune disease/chronic illness and I don't have health insurance. I wasn't able to get it due to my pre-existing conditions. I'm not thrilled by this, but I can get health care. I just have to pay for it (what a concept). I go to the county health clinic for blood work. I pay out of pocket for any doctor appointments. I pay out of pocket for medications. I invoke dietary measures to help me manage my pain levels (and hopefully the progress of my disease). I rely on medication like LDN that is cost effective and provides enough benefit to make it worth taking. I'm not advocating that this approach should be accepted in lieu of, what may defined as, a more structured approach to treating/managing adverse health conditions. However, barring any trauma/emergency events, I don't have many complaints.

Bottom line is that I know of many doctors who provide health care without health insurance.
Posted by: Administration

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 01:48 PM

While recognising the subject of healthcare reform is important to members (and by it's nature, inextricably tied to politics), it's to everyone's credit that this lengthy thread has maintained such a civil tone for the most part.

Concerned that it appears to be in danger of slipping sideways -- please accept this caution to All involved, to take care in keeping the focus of discussion where it will serve to support our community as a constructive debate of issues and within bounds of the R&Rs.

Thank you.
Posted by: WendyR

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 01:57 PM

Sorry, Jay. As I am not a citizen of the United States, my knowledge is limited. However, the following quotes come from an article in Wikipedia:

Poverty alone does not necessarily qualify an individual for Medicaid. It is estimated that approximately 60 percent of poor Americans are not covered by Medicaid.

According to the CMS website, "Medicaid does not provide medical assistance for all poor persons. Even under the broadest provisions of the Federal statute (except for emergency services for certain persons), the Medicaid program does not provide health care services, even for very poor persons, unless they are in one of the designated eligibility groups."


This quote is by the Reverend Gregory Seal Livingston who does a lot of anti-poverty work in the US:

The more than 10 million adolescents who currently live in low-income families are not just denied life's little luxuries. They also are denied basic human rights, such as healthcare and nutritious food. Many of these children are unable to see a dentist because their families don't have insurance, and their parents can't take time off from work to spend the whole day waiting at the public health facility. Many of them have poor vision but do not get glasses since their families don't have insurance for vision care.

Finally - this is from CNN Health.com (June 5, 2009):

This year, an estimated 1.5 million Americans will declare bankruptcy. Many people may chalk up that misfortune to overspending or a lavish lifestyle, but a new study suggests that more than 60 percent of people who go bankrupt are actually capsized by medical bills.

Bankruptcies due to medical bills increased by nearly 50 percent in a six-year period, from 46 percent in 2001 to 62 percent in 2007, and most of those who filed for bankruptcy were middle-class, well-educated homeowners, according to a report that will be published in the August issue of The American Journal of Medicine.
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 02:35 PM

Wendy, nicely researched.

Jay, I'm glad that you can afford to pay for all of your healthcare needs out of pocket. I don't know what kind of dent that makes in your monthly budget, but at least you can do it. Too many of those less fortunate than you cannot afford to pay out of pocket. I've read some of the same or similar articles that Wendy quoted here. The numbers of people whose lives are being destroyed because of medical bills they cannot afford, yet had to due to circumstances accrue, is tragic.

Healthcare is a basic human right. Nothing, I repeat, nothing, else matters if you don't have your health.

Like John, I have seen abject poverty close up and personal in my travels. I have seen too thin children wearing clothes that we in the northern-two most countries of North America wouldn't donate to charity because they are so awful. Our poor, in comparison to theirs, are rich, yet they cannot get healthcare in the United States, arguably the richest country on the planet, because they have a job with no coverage, or aren't eligible for medicare. And that doesn't come close to those living on the streets, or in cars, or cardboard boxes with their families because they lost their homes to medical bills. What are those people supposed to do? With no address, can they even apply for Medicare?

It breaks my heart when I hear stories here from people who cannot see the doctor/specialist they want because he/she isn't covered under their HMO, or they have to drive 500 miles to the nearest specialist that is covered. It breaks my heart when I hear that good people like you, Jay, who live with something like AS have to pay out of pocket for the essential medical care required just to keep you going every day. It should not be this way. It is just plain wrong.

Or maybe I'm just a dumb Canuck with too many opinions.

Warm hugs,
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 03:40 PM

i agree with you kat. i've read too much, seen too much of people being denied procedures, drugs, surgeries and then suffering or even worse dying due to those denials. and usually those things are denied due to cost. it may just be my opinion, but when it comes to people's lives and quality of life, i don't think cost should be the deciding factor, as it often is. and i think reading the books or watching the documentaries mentioned here would be a good place to start as a reminder that this isn't just an intellectual argument about money but a discussion about people's lives.
Posted by: Stormy

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 07:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Dow
all right, I'll dig some up. (The time I spend on it may end up reducing my profit in my entertainment industry related business, though! tongue2)

and I'll provide the links, suggest you start doing the same, esp in regards to your claims that people in this country don't want health care reform


You are kidding ... right????

CNN/Opinion Research Corporation
March 2009 http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/19/health.care.poll/index.html
Most Americans like their health care coverage but are not happy with the overall cost of health care, a national poll shows.

CNN/Opinion Research Corporation
December 10,2009
http://spectator.org/blog/2009/12/10/cnn-poll-61-of-americans-oppos
CNN Poll: 61% of Americans Oppose Health Care Bill

NBC News / Wall Street Journal
Posted on MSNBC
December 16. 2009
http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/12/16/2153563.aspx
The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that those believing President Obama's health-reform plan is a good idea has sunk to its lowest level. Just 32 percent say it's a good idea, versus 47 percent who say it's a bad idea.

NBC poll
Agust 18, 2009
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32464936/ns/politics-white_house/
A plurality believes Obama’s health plan would worsen the quality of health care, a result that is virtually unchanged from last month’s NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. What’s more, only four in 10 approve of the president’s handling of the issue, which also is unchanged from July.

Zogby International
July 16, 2009
http://newsmax.com/InsideCover/healthcare-poll/2009/07/16/id/331634
The year's biggest survey on healthcare reveals most Americans oppose the very reforms that President Obama is trying to push through Congress.

Zogby International
September 15, 2009
http://freshleadership.blogspot.com/2009/09/zogby-poll-americans-overwhelmingly.html
Americans overwhelmingly oppose Obamacare on key points
“A resounding 75 percent of respondents said that taxes should not be raised to fund a government-run health insurance program for Americans who do not have health insurance.”

Rasmussen Reports
December 14, 2009
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_c...lth_care_reform
40% Support Health Care Plan, 56% Oppose It

Rasmussen Reports
December 18, 2009
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_c...passing_nothing
Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters nationwide say that it would be better to pass no health care reform bill this year instead of passing the plan currently being considered by Congress.
Posted by: Stormy

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 08:37 PM

Originally Posted By: WendyR
Sorry, Jay. As I am not a citizen of the United States, my knowledge is limited. However, the following quotes come from an article in Wikipedia: .......


Wendy - It is much more complex then the Wiki article and subsequent quotes would lead you to believe. To make a valid assessment, we need to start with a basic agreement of what exactly constitutes poverty. People in this country have very different standards that they try to force into the poverty definition. (I can afford week long family trip to Disney, but I am too poor to pay for health insurance.) In almost any other country, our poor would be considered well off. At what point are you living in poverty? What responsibility do individuals have to try to seek solutions to their difficult financial circumstances? And what exactly defines difficult financial circumstances anyway? The US government, state agencies, and many charitable organizations (among others) use the poverty threshold or poverty guidelines (aka the poverty line) calculated annually by the US Department of Health and Human Services - see link.
http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/09poverty.shtml

In the US, qualifying individuals and families earning less then 133% of the poverty line qualify for Medicaid. (That would be $22,050 X 1.33 = $29,326 for a family of four.) Individuals who do not meet the income guidelines, but are medically needy qualify for Medicaid in 32 states and two territories in the US. Many states sponsor low cost health plans available for purchase. Here is a link to one state's website: http://www.coverfloridahealthcare.com/ - Other states offer similar programs. Families earning up to 300% of the poverty line are eligible to enroll their children in SCHIP ($66,150 for a family of four).

There is absolutely no reason for a child in the US to be uninsured. If their family makes up tp 300% of the poverty line, they qualify for assistance. If they make more then that, they do not need assistance. There is certainly no reason for a child in need of medical, dental or vision care to go without. (My children attend public school in one of the wealthiest school districts in the nation. Very few children in the district need or qualify for any type of financial assistance. Yet, I can not sign my kids up for school, camp or sports without being bombarded by information about SCHIP, the free School Lunch Program, subsidized school uniforms, free vision screenings, low cost eyeglasses, low cost or free school physicals, etc, etc. It is not because it is a wealthy county with excess money to burn. When we lived in a rural county that was classified as "disadvantaged" we were bombarded by the same amount of information. )

There is little reason for the average adult in America to be uninsured. One exception would be an individual who does not (yet) meet the definition of disabled, but has a chronic medical condition; who is earning above the poverty line; is ineligible for group health insurance (which by law faces severe limitations on pre-existing condition clauses - see the HIPAA Act); was unable for a variety of reasons to transition a previous group health insurance policy to a private policy; and cannot afford to pay the premiums for private health insurance. These are the people that we need to help. These are the people that the politicians should be focused on. These are the people who are largely being ignored in this fracas. Not all uninsured adults fall into this category. Their numbers are actually very few. Unfortunately, because of the nature of this disease, I am sure that a disproportionate number of Spondys do fall into this category. Again, these are the people we should be helping.

Things are not as dire as some in the media and politicians with agendas would have you believe. Most Americans do in fact have health insurance - and the majority of them are satisfied with their plans. We DO need to do something to help the people who are legitimately uninsured. I believe that forcing the majority of Americans to change their way of life for the benefit of the few is the wrong way to "fix" the problem. Polling data seems to agree with me.
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 08:44 PM

on the internet, looking for some good books on the topic, this is a little old (feb 2006) but i found it useful:

the healthcare crisis and what to do about it

off to see what else i can find....going back to the original premise: what to do about healthcare? can it be fixed?
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 10:02 PM

i just bought this book:

Howard Deans "Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform"

after reading the reviews, which i encourage you to read too, a lot of information there, i think this may be an even handed discussion of health care reform by someone with both degrees and experience in both politics and medicine. i'll know more once i read the book.

interestingly, both the older essay i posted and the reviews for this book talk about looking toward other countries for ideas and then tailoring to our needs.

the other thing i found very interesting is that the private insurers spend a lot more money (one of the reviews said 20% of their revenue, double what medicare spends) on administration. the essay i posted separately said much of that administrative cost goes toward: "fighting adverse selection, trying to identify and screen out high-cost customers".

there are additional books on healthcare suggested on the amazon page as well.

does anyone else have any other good books on the topic to recommend?

Posted by: WendyR

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 10:32 PM

Stormy - your statements that there is no reason for children and average adults to be uninsured in America don't seem to jive with the statistics.

I don’t know whether you could manage to clothe, feed and shelter a family of four for $22,050, but I would find that a struggle. It certainly wouldn’t be possible to go to Disney at this income level. Your choices are between food and heat, not Disney or health insurance. In fact, elderly people living at the poverty level are sometimes found dead from hypothermia because they can’t afford heat or dead from malnutrition because they’ve chosen heat instead of food.

USA Today quotes average annual healthcare premiums at slightly over $13,000 per annum - that's a big chunk of change for a low-income family, even if they are above the poverty line.

The following statistics sound quite dire to me:

• The United States is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not have a universal health care system. Source: Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences

• In 2006, the percentage of Americans without health insurance was 15.8%, or approximately 47 million uninsured people. Source: US Census Bureau

• The primary reason given for lack of health insurance coverage in 2005 was cost (more than 50%), lost job or a change in employment (24%), Medicaid benefits stopped (10%), ineligibility for family insurance coverage due to age or leaving school (8%). Source: National Center for Health Statistics

• The United States ranks 43rd in lowest infant mortality rate, down from 12th in 1960 and 21st in 1990. Singapore has the lowest rate with 2.3 deaths per 1000 live births, while the United States has a rate of 6.3 deaths per 1000 live births. Some of the other 42 nations that have a lower infant mortality rate than the US include Hong Kong, Slovenia, and Cuba. Source: CIA Factbook (2008)

• Approximately 30,000 infants die in the United States each year. The infant mortality rate, which is the risk of death during the first year of life, is related to the underlying health of the mother, public health practices, socioeconomic conditions, and availability and use of appropriate health care for infants and pregnant women. Sources: CDC and National Center for Health Statistics.

• Two-thirds of non-elderly people without health insurance have jobs, and the number of uninsured people is steadily growing — 46.6 million according to a 2006 Census Bureau Report.

• Three-quarters of Americans who declare medical bankruptcy had medical insurance when they became ill.

• People with incomes that are more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level accounted for one-third of the recent increase in the number of uninsured adults, and half that growth was among young adults aged 19 to 34.
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 10:43 PM

another statistic (from that 2006 essay) (and i can't imagine things have improved since then):

"To take just one example, one study found that among Americans diagnosed with colorectal cancer, those without insurance were 70 percent more likely than those with insurance to die over the next three years."
Posted by: WendyR

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/18/09 10:52 PM

I guess one thing I missed saying in the last post was that if medicaid covered all people classified as poor, then it would be reasonable to say that there is no reason for individuals in America to be uninsured but, as I quoted in a prior post:

"Medicaid does not provide medical assistance for all poor persons. Even under the broadest provisions of the Federal statute (except for emergency services for certain persons), the Medicaid program does not provide health care services, even for very poor persons, unless they are in one of the designated eligibility groups."
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/19/09 04:41 AM

here is a recent booklist:

Health Care Reform (U.S.) Books


this looks particularly interesting, and comes as both a book and an ebook:

The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care


with all this talk, may make good christmas presents.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/19/09 07:20 AM

As I stated in my previous post, I don't know what the qualifying criteria is and what the constraints of those programs are, but they exist for those without economic means.

Apparently there are multiple criteria in determining need beyond income. The article doesn't place a definition on poor, huh (e.g. poverty level, some multiple of poverty level)? Does the article document whether those 60% were even eligible, or were they eligible yet denied because they didn't fit one of the other criteria? Does it it document, categorically, why those 60% were turned away? Honestly, I'm just curious. I mean for instance, I have no income currently, but have savings from when was able to work that are sustaining my needs. Therefore, it is 99.99% likely that I wouldn't qualify.

Children should not suffer. It is really bothersome how people give little or no thought as to how they are going to provide or care for a child, yet ask society/others to shoulder that responsibility for them. Yet, too many children are brought into this world as an afterthought. Therefore, they do suffer, whether they have health insurance or not. So, what might the solution be? Take the children and put them in the hands of the state? I fail to see how health insurance is going to change the fact that a parent needs time away from work to take the child for dental care.

Yes, the bankruptcy issue. Honestly, I don't know enough about it to comment intelligently (not sure if any of my comments are intelligent though...no comments, please). Almost any individual can easily find themselves in catastrophic situation if a devastating health event suddenly strikes. It appears that chronic illness is just as devastating if not more so since it greatly impacts the ability to earn and provide. Therefore, I'd agree that this is one item that needs to be careful examined and addressed. At this juncture, I can only wonder about the numbers provided in the article then. While the bankruptcies were attributed to medical bills, I'd like to understand (and I imagine this is not something you can answer) what is split between catastrophic event, chronic illness, etc.? Also, I wonder in what percentage of those filings was the medical event the one that “tipped the scale”? I mean, how many filings, if any, might have been avoided if people had lived within their means? The whole well educated, middle class statement makes me wonder about that even more as those are the folks that I'd be inclined to believe might live outside their means. However, this middle class thing, may also be more prominent due the fact that it was the earner that was afflicted with the illness. Please don't misunderstand, I realize this is a weighty issue, but it'd be interesting to see more details behind those numbers.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/19/09 07:34 AM

Thank you for calling me good people. I appreciate it.

Additionally, like I posted to Stormy, I fail to understand what would be unfair about anyone stating an opinion on this matter. Also, I don't think you are dumb with too many opinions. Stoke the fire!

I too am glad that I can pay out of pocket for the time being. Understand that I avoid as many doctors, tests (especially the fancy ones), medications, etc., as possible due to this fact, but I'm able to manage the basics and am grateful for that. However, one serious incident (tumble down the steps, etc.), and I'm likely one of the bankrupt.

I fully concur that nothing else matters if an individual doesn't have their health. Healthcare as a right? Health? Yes. Healthcare? I disagree since that means another is forced to provide for the benefit of another. Sounds like servitude, yes. Health insurance? No.

Honestly, I don't remember all the rules regarding how an HMO works as I haven't had one since my first employer 14 years ago. All subsequent plans were PPO. However, I don't think it will be much, if at all, better under the government plan in contrast to an HMO. Instead of having a doctor direct your care, it sounds as though a high level government advisory panel will do this. Additionally, one individual I communicate with who had the same intestinal surgery as me had hers done under an HMO. She claims that if there is no one in network that can provide the appropriate service, they send you out of their network. I don't know if this is how they all work or not.

I agree that there are things terribly wrong with our health insurance and healthcare system. Careful, measured reform is needed. Access needs to be improved. Those delivering healthcare (mainly doctors and hospitals) need to be held accountable. Those that enter into an agreement to provide a service (health insurers) need to be held accountable and not be able to rescind those services once they agree to the terms and that agreement commences. However, the bill for health care should not be the burden of the citizens of this country. Those who can't help themselves should get help, continue to receive help, or be rehabilitated. However, those that can contribute, must, regardless of their economic means. Since higher taxes will be needed at some juncture to pay for this (and other existing debt) at some time anyway, maybe this national sales tax, or something similar, is examined. The government needs to define realistic rules that protect the consumer but are also conducive to business participation and, in an ongoing manner, needs to be nothing more than a referee to ensure that the businesses play fair. I know this is a simpleton's view, but I don't appreciate unnecessary complications.
Posted by: WendyR

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/19/09 08:34 AM

Those are good questions, Jay, that I'd like to give further thought to.

For now, I thought I'd attach a link to the story of one woman who faced medical bankruptcy. I realize she may not represent all medical bankruptcies but my sense is that she is typical.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20201807/ns/us_news-gut_check//

I'm rushing off to do some last minutes Christmas shopping and will do a little more research later today.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/19/09 09:31 AM

yes, good thoughts Jay

I don't have the exact numbers that would entitle someone for bankruptcy, but my understanding is that all assets are considered, if someone has savings, including a house or vehicles, anything of value, they would be counted

it varies from state to state, subject to budget fluctuations, and there is a waiting period as well

assets of a spouse are included, which sometimes can even suggest getting a divorce to qualify for medicaid

that's about all I know, maybe Stormy will have more on it.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/20/09 07:18 AM

My dad oft cites the old “believe nothing you hear (or read) and only half of what you see” saying.

I don't doubt that are facts contained within this article. The problem I have with this article is there is also the agenda of the writer and/or of the publisher. This news media source is owned by GE which, conveniently, has a healthcare business. Now, there is nothing wrong with owning a media outlet or a healthcare business, but personally, I'm not inclined to assign much credibility to anything (healthcare related or other) they publish or broadcast. I find that all broadcast (ABC, CBS, NBC) and cable news (CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc.) is more entertainment than anything that resembles real news. Also, in my opinion, asking the reader to believe everything cited in this story would be akin to asking someone to believe Rush, Beck, Hannity, or O'Reilly when they tell you unequivocally that there is no way that any health insurer has intentions of ever denying a claim. I see it as propagated to tug at people's emotions, rally against a general entity perceived to be nothing but evil, and to sway the audiences' opinions.

It's my perception that the supposed injustice in this case is less an issue with the health insurer than it is with the medical provider and possible errors in their billing. I fail to understand why it is the new health insurer's (Blue Cross) duty to inform the medical provider that the patient has new insurance, especially if automaton at a health insurer desk has no knowledge that she was previously a patient at that clinic. “Fisher (Aldrich's sister) believes the source of the problem was that the oncology practice had been paid more for the same services under Aldrich's previous insurance policy and did not change its billings to reflect the terms of its contract with Blue Shield, Aldrich’s new carrier.” I don't know how medical billing works, but would believe that the medical practice would either 1) contact the insurer when the amount of the claim paid did not match what was previously paid 2) ensure the patient did not have new insurance at each consecutive visit (such is done at nearly all doctors I visit who accept insurance). This is why I keep going back to accountability in the medical field (by doctors, hospitals, providers). Otherwise, I'm a little perplexed that the patient didn't voluntarily notify the medical provider at a consecutive visit that her insurance carrier had changed. Especially so after she realized that her share of the medical bill unexplicably increased.

I do feel bad for this woman as I feel bad for anyone dealing with such life altering illness such as cancer or any chronic illness. It would be nice to enact measures to protect, at some level, people in such instances from complete financial ruin and the resulting effects (like the negative impact to the black magic credit score). However, again, this is a complicated issue that I profess not to know how assets are liquidated or allocated to creditors and how cause is assigned. This article doesn't get me any further to such an understanding. I also hope that the intent of this article is not a shot at the health insurers as it sounds like the root of the problem in this case lies primarily with lack of communication between the healthcare provider and patient. I'm not a health insurer cheerleader, I'm just weary of blurred journalism.

One other thing I can get my head around, and the article doesn't elaborate, is why this woman would change jobs leaving her open to (greater) economic uncertainty and possibly jeopardizing her ability to maintain healthcare coverage during such uncertain times with her health. I realize that she, or no one, should remain in a job in which they are unhappy, but sometimes the situation dictates it is what one must do, like it or not. However, I forgot, people are entitled to a good job just like they are entitled to health insurance. One wonders if she would have never been laid off if she hadn't switched jobs. The article also fails to mention if some of the protections offered under FMLA were enacted or if they couldn't fulfill her needs. It'd be interesting to know. Perhaps the government should look at reforming FMLA first.

Also, looking into the Senate bill, I can only find the word bankrupt once (on page 322) in 2,076 pages. The passage claims that “Half of all personal bankruptcies are caused in part by medical expenses. By significantly increasing health insurance coverage, the requirement, together with the other provisions of this Act, will improve financial security for families.” This woman had health insurance didn't she? She still found herself needing to declare bankruptcy. I don't understand how increasing health insurance coverage will stave off bankruptcy when, apparently, many of the bankrupt have health insurance. It didn't seem to help them. My guess is that it may provide a slight reduction in the numbers of folks needing to file, but I'd suspect that they majority of folks filing have had extremely, costly traumatic events or are managing chronic disease. I suspect that other spending factors, at least for those well educated middle class, might have more to do with it than is cited

One last thing is that the article mentions her needing to allocate 33% of her income to health insurance. One wonders what is an acceptable amount of one's income that should be allocated (I don't expect you to answer than)?
Posted by: Stormy

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/21/09 12:24 AM

[quote=WendyR]Stormy - your statements that there is no reason for children and average adults to be uninsured in America don't seem to jive with the statistics. [/quote

Wendy - As I said, it is much more complex then Wiki articles, the media, and (I have to add) politicians with agendas = on both sides of the aisle - would lead you to believe. There absolutely is no valid reason for any child in America to go without healthcare and health insurance. There are too many protections in place for this to justifiably happen. Does it happen? Sadly, yes it does. When it happens, it is an unconscionable failing on the part of the parents. Children should be protected by the availability of Medicaid and SCHIP. Health screenings, healthcare and immunizations are available at all local health departments on a sliding fee scale. As I mentioned in a previous post, it is pratcically impossible to do anything for my children without being bombarded by offers of assistance - in a decidely upper middle class to extremely wealthy community. What is the answer to the problem of uninsured and/or uncared for children? Should we remove them from the home and put them into the foster care system? Should we radically change the health system for the entire nation - with the CERTAINTY that currently insured children will suffer due to the inevitable reduction in health care coverage to many? This is the land of the free - unfortunately people do have the right to make poor choices even when if puts their children in harms way. We, as a nation, don't have to like it - and most of us don't. But can we stop it? That is a question that I don't feel capable of answering.

I would like to point out that I NEVER said that I, or anyone else, could feed, clothe and shelter a family of four on $22,050. I did point out that the 2009 Poverty Line (as determined by by the US Department of Health and Human Services) for a Family of four was $22,050. This is a basic calculation of poverty based on the cost of basic nutritious food - see the link in my previous post for a more detailed calculation. Families (of 4) with young children making 133% of that amount qualify for Medicaid (WITH AN INCOME OF $29,326 - which I also could not manage on). http://www.themoneyalert.com/medicaideligibility.html Qualification guidelines vary somewhat by state. Some states allow higher incomes. No state can have lower income criteria. Families at this level also would qualify for food stamps, free school lunch - and breakfast, low income housing, possibly WIC vouchers, as well as the numerous offers that I find so annoying. (Does the school district really need to send two separate letters each semester times three children advising me of the availability of assistance? To meet federal law, they do.) Families at the income levels we are talking about are absolutely not expected to feed, clothe and shelter their families without help. Families (of 4) making 300% of the poverty line (OR $66,150) qualify for SCHIP. If they make $66,000 per year, they can afford to buy health insurance. They may wish to spend their money differently, they may plead poverty, they may have to adjust their lifestyle, but they most certainly can afford it.

I have seen all of the statistics you quoted. They are not necessarily accurate or complete representations. Beware of Wikipedia and McPaper (USA Today) - also the CNN iReports.

• The United States is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not have a universal health care system. Source: Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences
This is very true. I firmly believe that everyone should have health insurance coverage. I do not believe in, nor do I want, a government run universal health care system. The polling results that I posted to DOW certainly indicate that the majority of Americans Do Not Want a Government Run Universal Health Care System.

• In 2006, the percentage of Americans without health insurance was 15.8%, or approximately 47 million uninsured people. Source: US Census Bureau
This is mostly true. The statistic published by the Census Bureau actually said that the percentage of PEOPLE in America without health insurance was 15.8% or the 46.6 million number that was
President Obama repeatedly quoted during the campaign. This figure is derived from a monthly survey of approximately 50,000 households, The number is then extrapolated using statistical
techniques to come up with an estimate for the nation. That said, the Census Bureau numbers are generally accurate. Please note that Obama adjusted that number he talks about down to 30 million when it was pointed out (correctly) that the 46.6 million number included illegal aliens. Also included in that number are the approximately 10.1 million uninsured who make more then $50,000 per year, 5 million childless working adults age 18 to 34 who are eligible for either a group health insurance plan or eligible to purchase insurance but choose not to do so, 4.3 million who are eligible for Medicaid or SCHIP but do not choose to participate. This leaves us with 10.5 million people who are legitimately uninsured. These are the people we need to help. This number is unarguably too high, but at approximately 3.5% of the US population, not nearly so dire. Again, these are the people we need to help.

• The primary reason given for lack of health insurance coverage in 2005 was cost (more than 50%), lost job or a change in employment (24%), Medicaid benefits stopped (10%), ineligibility for family insurance coverage due to age or leaving school (8%). Source: National Center for Health Statistics
Also true. Keep in mind these numbers are self-reported. To some people any cost at all is "too much" for something they think they don't need.

• The United States ranks 43rd in lowest infant mortality rate, down from 12th in 1960 and 21st in 1990. Singapore has the lowest rate with 2.3 deaths per 1000 live births, while the United States has a rate of 6.3 deaths per 1000 live births. Some of the other 42 nations that have a lower infant mortality rate than the US include Hong Kong, Slovenia, and Cuba. Source: CIA Factbook (2008)
This is an often quoted statistic. On the surface it is true. Keep in mind, however, that the numbers used in the calculations are reported by the governments of the individual countries, then
calculated into a standard statistic. The problems with that are multiple. Accuracy - some governments deliberately underreport things like mortality rates due to a sense of shame or saving face -
think China and the underreporting and secrecy during the SARS and Avian Flu epidemics. Consistency - governments have different standards for what constitutes infant mortality. In many countries
seriously premature infants and/or infants with visible life threatening birth defects are not counted as they are not considered viable or even sadder, they are not yet considered people. In the US
every birth is counted. The US has a very high rate of fertility treatment babies. Because of the very nature of their conception, birth and risk of extreme multiples, these infants have a higher
mortality rate. Not too many poor people in Hong Kong, Slovenia and Cuba are undergoing fertility treatment, in-vitro fertilization, GIFT, etc.

• Approximately 30,000 infants die in the United States each year. The infant mortality rate, which is the risk of death during the first year of life, is related to the underlying health of the mother, public health practices, socioeconomic conditions, and availability and use of appropriate health care for infants and pregnant women. Sources: CDC and National Center for Health Statistics.
Agreed and already addressed - see above

• Two-thirds of non-elderly people without health insurance have jobs, and the number of uninsured people is steadily growing — 46.6 million according to a 2006 Census Bureau Report.
Agreed and already addressed - see above

• Three-quarters of Americans who declare medical bankruptcy had medical insurance when they became ill.
This is true with an important caveat. Bankruptcy filings have more to do with the societal implications of people living beyond their means then it does the state of health coverage in America. In the recent real estate insanity that gripped America, it became common for Americans to live far outside their means - borrowing against their homes and credit cards at an alarming rate, purchasing homes and cars above their abilities to repay and plunging headlong "creative financing". Many people were/are so overextended that any unexpected cost at all sent the house of cards into free-fall. If you have health insurance and you are living within your means, an unexpected illness should not send you into bankruptcy. Most health insurance plans have annual caps on how much you will be required to spend out of pocket. In many cases, if medical bills had not been the catalyst for financial ruin, something else would have been - an unexpected home repair for instance.


• People with incomes that are more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level accounted for one-third of the recent increase in the number of uninsured adults, and half that growth was among young adults aged 19 to 34.
Agreed - see above. Also, this group is known as the "young invincibles". They are notarious for believing that it "can't happen to them". They are young, strong, bullet-proof and can leap tall buildings in a single bound. They generally have access and means to health insurance, but believe that they are young and healthy and do not need to spend their money in this way. If they were formerly covered on their parent's policy, they have the legal right to COBRA that policy. They also are exempt from pre-existing condition clauses in private health insurance under HIPAA. In Canada (and elsewhere), these individuals would not have the choice to skip health insurance. Their wages would be taxed regardless of their wishes. This comes down to choice and personal responsibility. I work for a Fortune 100 company. My employer offers above average health care coverage to all employees. Employees can opt out of coverage and receive a cash bonus equal to what the company would have spent on health insurance. This is intended for employees who have health coverage through another means (spouse, parent, other employer, government, etc). The employee is counseled on this and signs a statement that they understand this. An audit was conducted earlier this year. Of the employees who opt out of healthcare coverage 90% were in the "young invincible" category. Of that 90%, 22% had health insurance, 78% had NONE. The cash bonus was not offered for 2010. We still had a large percentage of "young invincibles" opting out of health coverage - quite a few are angry that they are not going to receive their health insurance opt-out check.

There are a couple of key points that I think are important to consider in this conversation:
* The Canadian Health System does not cover illegal aliens living within its borders. You must have permanent residency status to obtain a health card. Personally, I don't think that requirement is at all out of line. It is however, inaccurate to suggest that Canada covers everyone without exception.

* The Canadian Health System varies greatly from Province to Province. What is covered under the UK system varies from one Health Care Trust to another. How is that different from the variation in health insurance policies available in the US? Canadians have basic health care coverage through the Medicare system. Many people purchase supplemental policies privately or through their employers. People in the UK can and do go outside of the NHS system and pay privately to be seen quicker. What this really comes down to is the fact that regardless of where you live, the amount of money that you are willing to put into the healthcare system directly correlates to the quality of care you receive.

* The media and a number of politicians report that large numbers of Americans are dying due to lack of health care coverage. Death or exacerbation of illness due to lack of care is unacceptable - it also happens everywhere, not just America. In the US, hospitals have an obligation to treat patients regardless of insurance status. Emergency rooms triage patients and see them in order of severity of symptoms/illness. Sometimes mistakes are made, or people get frustrated and leave, and people die. This happens all over the world, not just in the US. Sometimes people with chronic illnesses or worrying symptoms fail to follow up with their doctors because of lack of health insurance. They do have the option to go to the Health Department or a free clinic or pay out of pocket - many doctors will offer a discount for uninsured patients. The majority of drug manufacturers offer free or discounted medications to those in need.

*Some people are happy with the health system in Canada. You appear to be happy with your care, However, the reality is that not everyone is happy. THE CANADIAN PRESS SASKATOON - The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country's health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it. August 15, 2009 http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=cp_x081502A.xml&show_article=1

* Based on what I have observed on this forum, what I have observed in Family and friends living in Canada, and reports that cross my desk everyday (that I can't disclose here), wait times for care and services, as well as tests and procedures appear to be longer on average in government run systems then they are in most of the US and certainly longer then any wait time I personally have ever experienced. It is not unusual to read posts on this board about people getting appointments for things like MRI's and other tests many months into the future. One of my Canadian relatives became very ill Christmas time last year. He spent months going back and forth between the ER and his doctor. He was hospitalized multiple times. His doctor determined that he needed an MRI and referral to a specialist in February. Even though he was hospitalized several times after that, no MRI or specialist consultation took place. He finally got the MRI in July, saw the specialist in August, and had surgery in September. Recently, one of my kids needed an MRI. The pediatrician ordered it on a Monday, insurance approved it on a Tuesday, it was done in Wednesday and I discussed the results with the doctor on Thursday. I don't want to wait under a government run health care system.

Things are not as dire in the US as many have been led to believe. Do sick people suffer and sometimes struggle to get the care that they think they need, want, deserve? Undoubtedly YES. Is that fair? Absolutely not. Do sick people in Canada suffer and sometimes struggle to get the care that they think they need, want, deserve? Undoubtedly YES. Is that fair? Absolutely not. Do sick people in France, the UK or Japan suffer and sometimes struggle to get the care that they think they need, want, deserve? Undoubtedly YES. Is that fair? Absolutely not. I think you know where I am going with this. You can't please all of the people all of the time. There is not one system that will meet everyones needs or make everyone happy. Polling data suggests that most Americans don't want to live under a government run system.
Posted by: Stormy

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/21/09 12:38 AM

Originally Posted By: Dow
that's about all I know, maybe Stormy will have more on it.


I have some knowledge of bankruptcy law, but it is somewhat limited. I am a finance geek, not an attorney.

Bankruptcy laws do vary greatly from state to state. Many states protect your home and one vehicle in bankruptcy - others do not (I believe), still others limit the value of the protected asset. (So you don't get to keep your Mansion.

From what I have seen, most people who file for bankruptcy for the stated reason of excess medical bills, probably would have ended up in bankruptcy anyway. Often, they are living beyond their means and the additional medical bill is the straw that breaks the camel's back. If not for the medical bills, something else would have eventually broken them.

I did not quite understand the reference to state budget fluctuations - or were you referring to Medicaid eligibility there?
Posted by: Stormy

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/21/09 01:15 AM

Originally Posted By: Jaybird
I don't know what Stormy's point was, but mine was simply to highlight the fact that in comparison to some of the "industries" mentioned in Stormy's post, the health insurers aren't making "fat" profits as the current administration has stated. The CEO salaries of those organizations, while hefty, are definitely not out of line with other big businesses/corporations.


Originally Posted By: Wendy
I'm confused as to why the entertainment industry or the cigarette and and brewery industries are relevant.


My initial point was simply that the restrictions and limits that DOW's wife and her students were chafing under were most likely imposed on them by University Administration, not by an insurance company. I am annoyed by the constant references to egregious profits by insurance companies as that is simply untrue. The insurance company bashing is getting old. The Democrats and liberals do it constantly...but just try to mess with their profits in their chosen professions. I listed several industries whose profit margins are much higher then the profit margins of insurance companies. I think that is valid and relevant in this discussion. I really was not picking on DOW - I actually have never paid attention to what he does for a living. I really had the Michael Moore's of the world in mind when I originally posted. His recent interview with Sean Hannity was very telling. He visibly paled when Hannity questioned if he was willing to give up much of his exorbitant income like he was expecting corporate CEO's to; or if he would give up large portions of his income to pay for healthcare for the disadvantaged. Apparently, Mr Moore does not view himself as one of the wealthy who should pay for this health care monstrosity. (That struck me a pretty typical.)
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/21/09 03:50 AM

Originally Posted By: Stormy
I really was not picking on DOW - I actually have never paid attention to what he does for a living.


Hi Stormy:

My name is Dow McKeever (not all-caps DOW, BTW)

I grew up in one of the richest communities in the country (Greenwich, Connecticut) my father was a stockbroker, and thought the name was funny

Now we live in a modest house in NY State

my wife Marsha teaches at NYU, a private university, where she teaches film and television editing and sound

We work in the film and television community, on both entertainment shows (such as "30 Rock") and documentaries for low pay that we choose to work on because they are important to us

our most recent film was called "No Tomorrow" which takes a look at the topic of capital punishment, the costs of putting someone to death, and the moral and legal complications, so we examine subjects other than health care as well.

We turned down more lucrative TV work to do the sound for "Critical Condition" a show produced for public televison (PBS) which I've mentioned several times so far, to almost no response on this thread

the film follows four people who were caught in the dark place between their health care insurance, and our country's social services, or lack of them

"Critical Condition" trailer

"Critical Condition" Amazon link

I would expect that if you were to watch the film itself, you'd find ways to criticize it as coloring the debate

the way that we had music playing under the scene in which Joe, a doorman who was fired from his job, because he had diabetes, and could no longer perform his duties, in which we decided to play music in the scene when his family visit him in his hospital room, and he soon dies after that. There are also earlier sequences in the film which show how without health care benefits, he couldn't afford the diabetes medicine that his doctors wanted him to take

the film has been called the "real world" "Sicko" (Michael Moore's film). It has no narration, no commentary, but some statistics are occasionally shown. It simply gives a glimpse of four people through several years of their lives, with the filmakers following them through that time, as they struggle through the myriad complexities of dealing with their illnesses. All of them had jobs before they got ill. Two of the four have now passed away, so it's a very hard film to watch, unlike "Sicko" which has a lot more entertainment value, like the famous sequence in which several people smuggle their sick friend to Cuba, and treatment is given readily, without cost, which was unobtainable in the U.S.

So my question is who are you?

We know you work in a field related to health care, but you don't give the details, for whatever reason, and you live in a wealthy community. An accountant? A lobbyist? You say you are a "finance geek" and that's about all we know.

And somehow you expect us to trust your statistics and decidedly parsed facts, while telling us to be distrustful of Wiki, and other sources of information. Yes I checked your links regarding the "proof" that the majority of Americans don't want health care, trying to put aside the "You're kidding....right?" comment, which said volumes about your attitude. My impression was that they were cherry-picked, right-wing biased, and that you are quite good at what you do. I was tempted to go to the same pages that you cited, and demonstrate that I could pick a different poll result, different ones that you used, and make the opposite case, that Americans DO indeed want and are ready to make different choices.

But alas, that's the problem with statistics, 103% of them are misleading...
Posted by: marshamm

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/21/09 09:31 AM

Just thought I'd throw my two cents in as I've been following this debate. If we go back to the beginning of the conversation, and put aside the carefully parsed statistics and politics we can perhaps step back and look at the issue from both sides. That implies that this is a two-sided debate, perhaps it is more hexagonal in nature, but here goes.

It appears that people want healthcare reform, but are undecided about how to go about it. I'm reasonably happy with my health care insurance provided by my job but not a day goes by that I don't think about what would happen if I lost my job. My husband, with his pre-existing condition, would not be able to get health insurance on the open market. And if legislation goes through to force health care insurance companies to do away with pre-existing conditions, he could then buy insurance on the open market, but currently there is nothing to prevent an insurance company from selling him a policy, agreeing to cover him and then suddenly sending him a bill for a $3,000 a month premium.

It seems to me that there are valid concerns regarding both availability of health care and cost as well as who should pay for it.

I think you have to look at the public education paradigm. If you are fortunate enough to make enough money in America, you can choose to send your kid to private school. Great--hooray for Capitalism and all its choices. If you suddenly get laid off through no fault of your own, you have the PUBLIC OPTION of sending your kid to public school. Recently a friend of mine who lives in Greenwich CT, told me that the public schools there are suddenly seeing huge enrollments because of the layoffs in the financial sector and those people not having the money to send their kids to private school. Fortunately those people have this public option and their kids will not be deprived of an education.

Someone like me who wants the government to provide a public option doesn't support that because I think I'll need to use it, but because I feel that like an educated society, a healthy society is more productive.

Dow and I do not have children, but we pay school taxes. A lot of school taxes. Do we feel that we shouldn't have to pay school taxes because we're not utilizing those schools? No. We feel that our school tax dollars work to make our economy more sound and our community stronger by ensuring a well-educated population.

Likewise I know that part of our tax dollars to the government are going to provide health care for a segment of the population (Medicare and Medicaid) to ensure that they are healthy and productive and can enjoy the same pursuit of happiness that we do. It would not make my life one iota better to have those tax dollars back in my pocket and see the elderly couple across the street not get their weekly shipment of oxygen that they need to help them be able to live our their remaining days in the comfort of their home.

So yes, I believe that a fellow citizen having adequate health care, a good education and a place to live makes my life immeasurably better.

I do find it tragic that an industrial country like America doesn't compete with other industrialized nations in this arena. And again, I'm referring to access and affordability of health care to all of our citizens, not quality of health care and not availability. These are separate issues and when they are deliberately mingled, it throws the debate into partisan politics.

America has great doctors and we have great hospitals and we have an amazing amount of choice. This is all obtainable if you are fortunate enough to have enough money and a certainty that you will never lose your job or your wealth. Realistically, that's probably a very small portion of our population.

So those of you who don't want government regulation in the health care sector, I respect your position as you've most likely had to deal with government red tape at some point of your life. However, my argument is that Capitalism only works if there are safeguards in place to prevent abuse. For example Glass Steagal was passed during the Great Depression to establish the FDIC which safeguards your banking deposits. Imagine going to your bank to take out money to pay your health care premium and finding it closed and your money gone. Gone. Poof--just like that. Glass Steagal was also responsible for preventing banks from owning other financial holding companies. Consequently this aspect was repealed by Gramm-Leach-Billey in 1999 and thus the financial services industry was born with huge mergers between banks and insurance companies.

And no, I'm not happy that my tax dollars were used to bail out an industry that should never have been allowed to become "too big to fail" had Glass Steagal remained intact.

I'm bringing Glass Steagal into the mix because it positions both the blessing and the curse of government reform. If we pass legislation that limits what the health insurance companies can do that might work for a while, but there's no guarantee that a future Congressional body won't repeal that legislation. A larger government reform like expanding medicare or creating a public option might be harder to dismantle at the whim of future political interests.

Honestly, I respect both (all) sides of this argument. I understand the reluctance to create bigger government and I understand the desire to do so as well. I believe that it simply comes down to preserving the American position of choice based on an individual's ability to choose. If you have the money and the means, then buy private health insurance, if you do not, then you should have a public option of being able to stay healthy and a productive member of society. Or if not productive than at least not a drain on other resources with expensive trips to the emergency room for basic care. And I really, truly do not believe that a person who has worked hard all their lives to buy and maintain a home and a reasonable standard of living, should lose that just to pay outrageous medical bills. Again, using the example of my elderly neighbors--if they lost the government benefits that enable them to receive their medical care free or at low cost, they would lose the home that they worked hard to buy and maintain when they were young and healthy. There is simply no reason that the inevitability of age and infirmity should take that away from them.

As for those who have expressed a desire to not see additional government involvement because of a fear that this will discourage a segment of the population to not get a job for health care benefits and this will encourage their laziness--if a person is determined to live off the government, they will find a way to do so no matter what happens. You will never eliminate totally the segment of the population that does that. I don't believe healthcare reform should come to a screeching halt simply because a few people might take advantage of it.

Lastly, a word about using polls to back up your arguments. I participate in polls often because I know that they are used for a variety of purpose, some good and some bad. When I'm asked whether I'm happy with my health insurance company or not, I answer yes. So someone could look at the results of the poll I just participated in and say, "see people are happy with their health insurance, why bother changing it?"

However, that doesn't address my other worries--what would happen if I lost my job and we lost our health insurance. What if my copay became so big that I couldn't afford to pay my other bills? It's these concerns that are likely causing me to grind my teeth into oblivion while I sleep.

Unfortunately the mouth guard causes TMJ which requires physical therapy.

If only one of those things were covered by my health insurance.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/21/09 01:40 PM

I'm glad that you can all see why I'm so proud of Marsha! hrtballon

In regards to being wary of where we get our information, some of you may remember that I came up with the phrase:

"Question the Source, and Source the Question"

and keep in mind that I also came up with:

"A hand in the bush is worth two birds at the bar"

Proof that we should definitely question all sources of information! yes
Posted by: Lon

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/21/09 01:56 PM

Dow,
Hi. Like you said a rousing discussion.
I have watched the "critical condition- trailer", and some of the Film. My conclusion is that we all approach things with a predisposition. I can see the same interview and conclude things differently bercause of my belief system.
I appreciate your work and abilities, you are very obviously a gifted and talented artist. I am currently helping 4 people / families that do not have health care. Yet get care at the hosptial when they need it. I have paid rent, loaned cars, given cash and bought groceries. But I stop when they quit thier jobs or refuse to work when we ask them to.
But I will continue to think on these things.
Lon
Posted by: wolverinefan

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 03:37 AM

I have largely stayed out of this thread and will return to doing just that after this post, but as I was reading some of the recent posts to see how the thread was holding up, I did come across one quote that I just couldn't leave alone. This was in one of Stormy's posts:

Quote:
In almost any other country, our poor would be considered well off. At what point are you living in poverty?


Um, yes, "poor" people in the U.S. would be considered well-off in many other countries. To which I basically say, so what? I find that to be a totally irrelevant argument because, in this case, we are tolking solely about the quality of living in the United States and what is considered poverty in this country as a result of that standard of living. It really doesn't matter one whit if you try to compare poverty in a sub-Saharan nation with what we call poverty in the United States, because in this particular debate, we are talking about what it would take for people living below the poverty line in the U.S. to receive some kind of healthcare coverage through healthcare reform. In such context, what we consider as poverty in the U.S. is all-important because that is the baseline we must use when deciding who will qualify for what based on income. In that context, a family in a Third World country that is surviving on $50 a month (equivalent dollars) or less plays no part whatsoever in determining how we will provide better healthcare for those who live in poverty by current U.S. standards. To even try to inject this into the debate seems a bit misleading at best, a bit disingenuous at worst.

Brad
Posted by: wolverinefan

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 04:00 AM

Quote:
There is little reason for the average adult in America to be uninsured.


I'm sorry, I don't understand this statement at all. Could you please explain why you think this is true? Because I don't know what state you live in, but here in Michigan, I know many, many people who are working one or more job that no longer provides healthcare coverage. These are jobs such as security guard, where a friend I know makes $10 an hour with no insurance; he's already been shot at in his first four months on the job, but his job doesn't pay enough, and isn't considered important enough for his company to bother providing medical insurance (because they know in this economy, they will be flooded with applicants without having to offer it). Then there are my friends who have been downsized from the publishing company I used to work for and have managed to keep the lights on and food on the table by turning to freelance editing work. Unfortunately, every company in the publishing industry has drastically cut the rates they pay for freelance work because--and this is really kind of horrifically funny--there is such a huge pool of qualified freelancers because every company has gone through some form of downsizing! My, doesn't that becaome a self-fulfilling prophecy (the one that says. "hey, we can lower labor costs if we downsize our staff and outsource work to freelancers; just think, we wouldn't have to pay for insurance and we'll be able to pay WAY less for the freelance work than we pay our in-house workers!")

A couple of my friends who quit voluntarily a couple years before the first wave of downsizing because they could see the writing on the wall (pun fully intended) are doing better than most at freelancing because they were the first ones into the pool. As a result, yep, they've been able to purchase private insurance--kind of. All they can afford for their family of four is, essentially, catastrophic healthcare coverage. They pay for all basic appointments and services, but at least they know they are covered if something goes horribly wrong. And gee, who knows, maybe they'll get lucky in just such a case and end up receiving some tidy life insurance benefits too. (Yes, that was morbid, but it about sums up the lunacy going on in many parts of this country.) Luckily, this family looks like somethingo out of a Greed god and goddess catalog, and their two beautiful, healthy daughters seem to have inherited their wonderful genes. All four of them are insanely healthy, and thus they have not been hugely burdened by rolling the dice on catastrophic-only care. Yet.

Those are just a couple examples. Seeing as the unemployment rate in Detroit and other cities here that relied on the auto industry is 29 percent, there are many, many more I could relate. Michigan used to be an amazing state for workers to live in, as wages were good and very good insurance was always part of the job package. Now, even those who have managed to keep their jobs in the auto industry and pretty much every other industry have had to face the same things almost every other American worker has faced--decreasing wages (at the very minimum, when compared to the cost of living index) and rapidly increasing health insurance costs. To so many others, I've heard just how spoiled Michigan workers were, and how we had it too good anyhow. That always strikes me as a real curiosity. Spoiled? Because we were able to negotiate good wages? Isn't that the American way? Aren't we supposed to bust our butts, work hard, and get rewarded for that work? Aren't we all supposed to strive to make as much money as possible, and aren't higher wages a good thing? Not anymore. Apparently, making a high wage for something as "menial" as assembly line work is, basically, a sin. Instead, anyone who makes a higher wage should be ashamed of themselves--don't they know that if they would just agree to take a 40 percent wage cut, they could keep X number of their coworkers employed? Well, ok, that's the reality now. But when did we become so complacent that we just ACCEPT the idea that we are all earning too much and that we must cut wages if we are to survive in this global market. Instead of lowering wages here in the U.S. so that we can be competitive with factories in Mexico and China (to cite just a couple) that pay $2 an hour, wouldn't it be good for everyone across the globe if we instead tried to raise the wages for workers in those countries so that they could actually receive something above slave wages for doing a dirty, mind-numbing job? Call me crazy, but that seems like a pretty da** worthy goal to me, but like sheep, we just accept the idea that U.S. workers are horribly spoiled and should just shut up and take less money to work longer hours. After all, you should feel da** lucky you have a job these days!

Even one that no longer offers health insurance.

Call me Pollyanna, I guess, as I know the idea of actually raising the working wage around the world will never, ever happen. Pity.

So, really, to get back to my original question, why is it you believe that the there is little justification for the average American to live without insurance these days? I can't tell you how curious I am to hear your answer, mainly because I thought just the opposite was true--to me, it sure seems as if having insurance is getting harder and harder these days.

Brad
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 04:17 AM

i've known about the term "working poor" for quite some time now and the book "nickel and dimed" just reaffirmed much of what i already knew. the book didn't just cover health care / health insurance and the lack there of, of the "working poor" but it came up in every example that was illustrated. dow also mentioned a documentary that he worked on that covered similar stories.

a personal example of a young couple who i assumed with their professions would surely be covered, i find out are not. my nephew is a chef with training from a culinary school. he is the head chef at a good restaurant at the shore (think high traffic from lots of tourists in the summer months) that employs him 35 hours a week, so they don't have to give him benefits. i know this is fairly common practice, other family and friends are similarly employed. my nephew's wife is a teacher, but i didn't realize til the other day that finding a teaching job where they live is difficult and thus she is a substitute teacher. the demand for that is high enough that she essentially works full time, but she has very minimal health care coverage. it will be enough to help pay the hospital bills when the new baby comes, but it does not cover my nephew. fortunately for them, they are both healthy. let's just hope my new great niece or nephew is as well.

Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 04:39 AM

Originally Posted By: wolverinefan
Then there are my friends who have been downsized from the publishing company I used to work for and have managed to keep the lights on and food on the table by turning to freelance editing work. Unfortunately, every company in the publishing industry has drastically cut the rates they pay for freelance work because--and this is really kind of horrifically funny--there is such a huge pool of qualified freelancers because every company has gone through some form of downsizing!


That pretty much describes exactly what has happened to us this year. We're freelance, but thought we had a regular gig, because one of the shows we worked on since the first season has just been doing great with many awards. But we didn't get the call. Then we heard that another person who worked on it too, full time with HC benefits, got the boot. Then a little later, guess what, he got hired back part time (no benefits.)

I don't blame the employer, there is less work out there, so they simply can't justify paying full time wages and benefits, if people aren't busy and productive for a full 40 hour work week. Something had to be done to protect the company, and the cost savings that made the most sense was to find a way to stop paying for those health care packages sad
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 07:06 AM

Quote:
my nephew's wife is a teacher, but i didn't realize til the other day that finding a teaching job where they live is difficult and thus she is a substitute teacher.


Did she (they) ever think about relocating? My sister subbed for quite some time, and also worked at daycare and other jobs so that she could pay bills, until they decided to move. She then found a job, no problem. Sounds like more an issue of supply/demand to me than an issue of health care. Oh, that was somewhere around 15 years ago by the way.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 07:41 AM

I just watched that "Critical Condition" trailer. Based on the numbers (that support their cause) stating that we spend 50% more on health care than any other country, yet we rank 15th in preventable deaths and 24th in life expectancy, is it possible that our methods of caring for people are inadequate? Is it possible that we provide too much care (heck we spend all that money and the results appear to be extremely poor)? Apparently it's time to rethink how we care for our infirmed.

Also, there is a doctor I listen to on the radio that cites that the U.S. is approximately 5% of the world's population (which seems about right at approximately 305 million of six billion people on the planet), yet we consume nearly 70% of the supply of pharmaceutical medications (this I cannot verify). True or not, this is very thought provoking.

Another thing that leaped out at me while listening to the radio recently. The individual mentioned that obesity (the overwhelming majority of which is due to overeating and lack of activity) costs this country $140 billion annually. Well, these numbers show that that number won't be reached until 2013, when we still won't be receiving our government sponsored health care, but the number from year 2008 are approximately $80 billion. These costs are projected to reach $344 billion by 2018. These are only direct health costs. It doesn't factor in the cost of any lost productivity, ancillary problems, etc. that will be experienced. The majority of this problem is due to people not having any self control, nor exerting any initiative to do anything to help themselves. Therefore, government legislation must be enacted. Keep the Big Mac, supersize fries, and ultra-large liquid corn syrup cola beverage coming day after day. Funny how people are so willing to pay to destroy their bodies, but want someone else to pay to try and resolve the problems that they help create.

Direct Health Care Costs - Obesity
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 08:36 AM

I think when talking about the working poor one cannot generalize or put it in terms of black and white. It's just not that simple. With so many employers downsizing to cut costs, including so they don't have to pay for health coverage for their employees, there would seem to be a glut of available cheap labour out there. And cheap is the operative word. It's not so simple as just relocating or finding a better job. If the high paying employers are not hiring fulltime employees, so they can pay part-time rates with few or no benefits, people are stuck with what they can find. How many cab drivers have you met who were fully qualified engineers, or doctors, or teachers, but cannot find work in these times.

If you're working 12 hours a day at two part-time jobs, each paying between, say $6.00 and $9.00 per hour, and the money you earn just gives you enough to keep a roof over your family's heads, food on the table and maybe, just maybe, clothes on their backs, is it conceivable that this person would have the thousands of dollars required to relocate?

And where do they locate to? Big cities are expensive to live in. Small towns are too, due to lack of services or the cost to ship food to the grocery stores. I don't know about in the States, but up here, the further you are from the main shipping city, the more expensive basic necessities are. So is it really cost effective to spend the thousands of dollars required to move, when it's going to be more expensive once you get there?

It's very easy for us to look down from our vaunted heights and judge that someone is simply not trying hard enough. You have to walk a mile in someone's shoes to truly understand their situation. Sadly, I fear too many of our KA family have walked in those shoes.

Warm hugs,
Posted by: Dotyisle

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 11:17 AM

On front page of Appleton Post Crescent newspaper (newspaper in my home town), an article stated health care costs have gone up 192% since 2000.

Unreal... knew it was bad as when I was accounting manager in States saw annual health care costs going up nearly 20% a year some years.

How does this happen, what is driving all these costs? Are we that unhealthy as a country or is it red tape or profits lining pockets of large corporations.

Tim
Posted by: DragonSlayer

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 11:37 AM


Hey, Tim:

Quote:

How does this happen, what is driving all these costs? Are we that unhealthy as a country or is it red tape or profits lining pockets of large corporations.


Doctors are not the greedy ones.
Insurance companies are in business to make profits, but they cannot begin to approach the massive and obscene profits of a company like Exxon in a good year (usually bad year for drivers).
Pharmaceutical companies spend way too much to meet governmental regulations, so out of necessity they have to be a little greedy.
HOWEVER the real greed that causes medical costs to skyrocket in the US is LAWYERS.

What is the president? Oh, yeah he and nearly all the crooks in Washington D.C. are lawyers and they NEVER talk about "tort reform." Never suggest putting themselves out of business.

Malpractice insurance should be outlawed. Go to the doctor at your own risk, just like we who have AS do but WE always get the wrong answer, yet still suffer the consequences because the doctors don't do obvious things that result in actual death. It may not be the physicians' fault that they don't know how to treat AS, but we cannot take advantage of their malpractice insurance because current medical practice is far behind the science.

Well, WE decided to go to the doctor in the first place--so getting worse by them is our own fault and we are just smelly stuff-out-of-luck that damages cannot be affixed or assessed.

The only conspiracy is squarely on the lawyers; they have fixed the system to their own advantage and are now addicted to it.

It takes a lot of suits to keep a lawyer well-dressed,
John
Posted by: mig

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 01:09 PM

Oh, I was under the impression that tort reform of some sort was a part of this bill, isn't it John?

We have measures in place (in Canada) to protect healthcare practitioners against 'frivolous' lawsuits, laws against those few who would pursue case after case after case eyes and yet this is balanced with the patient's rights also. It is very difficult here to sue a doctor and yet, if you have just cause, you certainly can do. Yes, reasonable regulations and restrictions need to be in place, otherwise we'll be left without doctors willing to perform the riskiest of procedures and thank goodness for them. The rising costs of healthcare are an ongoing challenge for every country, though likely not to the extent that the US has been and is experiencing.

On another note, I just want to correct what a few have stated earlier on in this thread. In my understanding of it, healthcare in Canada is not an enshrined Right. Equality of access is a right! The two are quite different.

Merry Christmas!
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 03:01 PM

i think kat addressed some of the issues of relocating very well. that and needing to be near family to take care of aging parents, etc, can also come into play. the two body problem (two people needing jobs) can also come into play, especially when those careers happen to be professions where the jobs are scarce or tend to only be in certain areas. as kat said, situations can often be quite complex. but the main point i was trying to make is that even people with professions that took many years of training are hired part time or "full time" but only 35 hours a week so that their employer doesn't have to pay benefits. sometimes, as in the restaurant business, its a small business, and they simply can't afford things like health insurance for their employees if the business is to stay afloat. with larger companies, well, i'd like to hold my opinions because they are just that, opinions. my niece and nephew don't complain though, they are happy to have jobs within their professions. still, they are caught in a situation without adequate coverage if anything were to happen.
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 03:12 PM

before you blame the problems of obesity completely on the people (who consume the large quantities of fast food), please watch or read things like "supersize me" if you haven't already. not sure i'd completely blame it on the fast food industry either. but when fast food is cheap and plentiful, and fast food is offered in schools instead of more nutritious food (partly because its what the kids want), and people don't have a lot of money, its one of the reasons people gravitate to fast food. reading about the slow food movement, the obama's garden and michelle obama bringing in DC children to learn about slow food, etc. all of that helps. but we can't just place blame and tell people what they should be doing. we need to figure out why things are the way they are and then figure out what we all can do to change the situation.
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 03:58 PM

please read or at least skim the following that i posted a few days ago. its from 2006, so its a little outdated, however, i do believe a lot of the same issues still apply today, just magnified.



and a few things more recent (from this year):

why does health care cost so much?
Why health care costs keep going up

each tries to explain some of the reasons for the rise in health care costs and thus the rise in health insurance costs. though each is just one person's views, they do seem more balanced than most. and reading more and more, patterns start to emerge.

in the end, not sure a complex problem can be boiled down to A simple cause....but maybe that's just my opinion.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 08:11 PM

I can appreciate the uniqueness of everyone's situation and realize the working poor face many struggles, including health care. However, I just don't believe that one party should be forced/obligated to pay for someone else's health care. I'll just leave that up to difference of opinion. I also disagree, at least in large part, with your assessment of employers downsizing so they don't have to pay for health care coverage for their employees. I'm sure there are a few cases where this might hold true. However, it seems to me that employers are primarily cutting jobs (and costs) due to lack of demand for products/services and high uncertainty of what economic policies/mandates the current administration is going to enact. I also realize that picking up and moving is no easy task, but if that's what it takes, sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Also, in situations of reduced wages versus no wages, regardless of benefits, the decision seems pretty clear to me. I'm not at all agreeing with the actions of employers in regard to benefits, however I don't think that nearly as many as you believe are using the economic crisis as reason to permanently strip employees of benefits. Once economic conditions start improving and those employers don't reinstate benefits to previous levels, many in their workforce are going to walk in favor of something better.

No, it isn't conceivable that the person would have thousands of dollars to spend on relocation. I don't understand why it would need to cost thousands of dollars to relocate. If a person's situation is that dire, I'd tend to believe that that person wouldn't be apt to spend thousands of dollars on relocation. If you have an opportunity elsewhere, you probably take what you absolutely need. Anything additional is dictated by your budget and would likely be considered a luxury. I'm not saying it's pretty, but if it means gainful employment elsewhere, you do what you need. The folks that fled the plains during the Dust Bowl didn't spend (the equivalent for that time) thousands of dollars to relocate. They fit what they could on the old jalopy of a car (if they had a car) and headed to more prosperous areas.

Agreed, big cities are expensive to live in. Maybe not the best choice if avoidable. Small to medium cities in some parts of the country or rural areas, at least in the United States, usually have much more reasonable costs of living. Some examples include (from BankRate.com)

US$ 1.00 of purchasing power in the Atlanta, GA metro area is equivalent to US$ 1.0774 in the Stillwater, OK micro area

US$ 1.00 of purchasing power in the Chicago, IL metro area is equivalent to US$ 1.1858 in the Cincinnati, OH metro area.

US$ 1.00 of purchasing power in Baltimore, MD metro is equivalent to US$ 1.2363 in the Hastings, NE micro area.

It appears the most significant difference is that of housing costs versus say grocery. The extensive transportation network (although crumbling) of much of the United States enables ready distribution to many non-metro areas. Cost for food, it appears, would likely remain flat or differences, one way or the other, would be negligible. That's been my experience in the various places (seven) I've lived.

Also, I'm not looking down at anyone or anyone's situation from some high horse (whether or not that is believed). I also can appreciate the need to walk a mile in someone's shoes to understand what the situation with which they are dealing. I realize that these are extraordinary economic times and things, and people's situations, are rarely cut and dry. However, waving the white flag in favor of waiving your rights seems a bit short-sighted to me. I guess, to each his/her own.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 08:16 PM

Agreed that situations can be complex in regard to obligations. However, if the choices are staying put and having no or inadequate income versus relocating to commence a job that can fulfill all personal economic requirements, the decision wouldn't be much of a decision to me. The elder parents may need to make the move also if there are absolutely no other options. Again, as stated to Kat, it may require only taking the bare essentials due to cost. That's not favorable, but outside of the sentimental/personal items, it is just stuff and it is replaceable.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there is no legal definition for part-time and full-time work. Also, it appears (at least that I can find) that employers are not required to provide health benefits for employees that work 40 hours a week (or more – exempt). If that is true, lack of health benefits is an issue with the particular employer. I recall hearing that, I think it was Starbucks offered all associates (baristas, etc.), or associates that worked 20 hours or more a week, health benefits. I don't know for sure if that is the organization that provided this benefit and I obviously don't know what the scope of these benefits are, but, who knows, it might be worth investigating part time work to obtain the benefits.

I honestly hope your nephew can eventually find an opportunity where the employer will be able to offer him health care benefits and/or your niece lands a full time teaching job. However, under the government's proposed bill, I can't help but wonder if it will enable them to procure more appropriate benefits within their budget, if it will be be status quo for them, or if they will face the tax if they elect not to obtain coverage due to cost.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 08:24 PM

I'm not sure who else I'd blame most of the obesity problem on. No one is forced to eat things like fast food, puffy pastry treats, fried foods, various wheat-centric goodies, and drink soda pop. I haven't seen the movie Supersize Me. Is there something significant in there that I'm missing? I absolutely won't argue that fast food is cheap and plentiful, but that doesn't mean that one can't be resourceful in their approach to eating. Strive to maintain a balanced diet (eat something other than the junk at least half the time) or practice avoidance.

I won't even go into how it's wrong on so many levels that children have access to fast food in public schools let alone because it is what the kids want. They are children. Adults are supposed to ensure their welfare. This includes overseeing what they put in their mouths/bodies regardless of what they want. Shame on the parents. Shame on the administrators. Shame on the school boards.

Even if you don't have a lot of money, there are many better choices for equal or lesser cost than scarfing down fast food with great frequency. People gravitate (opinion here) toward fast food cause it is convenient and is tasty (cause it is laden with chemicals!). Also, regarding the garden and slow food, anything the politicians do is, in my opinion, nothing more than symbolic. A photo-op.

Quote:
...tell people what they should be doing


Apparently they can. Once this bill passes they are telling me that I MUST buy health insurance.
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 09:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Jaybird


Apparently they can. Once this bill passes they are telling me that I MUST buy health insurance.


I have such mixed feelings about this. I have seen the damage uninsured motorists can do to a families pocketbook and I am glad that law exists.

SO I wonder should we say you don't have to have health insurance but if you get sick you pay cash or we won't treat you to the point of letting them die? Sorry you know you had your chance to buy insurance.

Why should I have to pay for a person who won't buy insurance and then expects free treatment thus driving my payments up? That is just another form of freeloading to me.
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/23/09 10:03 PM

people may not be forced to eat food that is bad for them, but they can not be blamed entirely on doing so. who else is to blame? the fast food industry, the food industry in general, restaurants that serve larger and larger portions because food is the cheapest part of their operation and with larger portions they can charge more, advertisers, the schools that serve less nutritious foods due to low cost and ease in preparation, the loss of small local farms across our country, etc. when that is what one is exposed to, when that is what is accessible, when that is what is affordable, one may either not know any different or may not have the incentive to change. however, we as a society can get involved in education, volunteering, helping to support local regional farming, etc.

you asked if there is anything in "super-size me" that is worth seeing or hearing; i wouldn't recommend watching it if i didn't think that there was.

i agree with you that there are better, healthier options than fast food, convenience foods, junk food that is just as affordable. that is largely what the slow food movement is all about. the slow food movement is more of a grass roots effort than a political photo-op. i congratulate the white house for getting involved regardless of motive.

here are a few links for the slow food movement:

60 minutes inteview of alice waters
the international slow food movement
slow food USA

i agree that obesity, diabetes, heart disease, not eating well, lack of exercise are all problems within the U.S. but rather than placing blame for the problem, lets just try to figure out ways of changing these things, and just telling people what they should or should not be doing is obviously not working. but education, volunteer programs, school programs, etc may help to make a difference.
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/24/09 09:16 AM

I had this brilliantly worded reply, full of facts and figures outlining the various expenses in relocating a family in their old jalopy as they did from the Dust Bowl during the 1930s, but I lost it. argh.

Suffice to say, the cost of gas over thousands of miles, the cost of feeding the family (I won't go into the cost of motel rooms, as they would probably end up sleeping in the car if they're poor enough), the cost of first and last month's rent and a security deposit, all add up to thousands of dollars that too many families do not have.

Jay, I say this with all respect for you, but I have to say it ... you really don't seem to have an understanding of what it is to be poor, to have to worry about keeping a roof over your family's heads on a day to day basis, to go without food yourself so your children can eat - usually cheap, crap food because that's all you could afford to buy, to decide what's more important - the heat/electricity (because usually, that's one and the same thing) or transportation to the job that pays you too little. And if you have experienced this, then I apologize for saying you don't seem to really understand.

It is a truly viscious cycle and our governmental systems seem designed to keep people down, instead of helping them get up out of the cycle. Are there some people who abuse these systems. There certainly are. But not as many as you might think. Most are just honest joes trying to keep their and their families' heads above water in a world that demonizes them for being where their society has placed them. Sometimes, someone gets a boost up and is able to rise above it. Most don't. Truly, read something like "Nickel and Dimed". It is a sobering read. The woman who wrote it did have an income, did have savings, and wasn't trapped there like the people she met and worked with, but in having made the choice to try to live on the wages that the working poor make for just a few months, she found it horrifyingly difficult and demeaning.

These are the people you say aren't worth spending healthcare dollars on when you ask why you should pay for someone else's healthcare. It's not just the migrant workers and ne'erdowells, it's people like some of our own KA family, perhaps like people you meet when you go to doctors appointments or run errands in town. That grocery clerk probably has two other jobs just to stay alive. How does she go to school and further her education? Between 3 jobs, two kids and a household to run, where does she find the time?

And I don't think anyone is saying that employers are downsizing just to keep from paying out benefits, they are downsizing due to the economic times. Getting rid of fulltimers to hire part-time contract workers who get no benefits is just one of the perqs of the financial bottom line. And if you think those benefits are going to come back enforce once the enconomy heats up again? I doubt it. Because the corporations who will be raking it in hand over fist will have discovered that they can make even huger profits by sticking to the measures they undertook to weather the recession. And their CEOs will get even bigger bonusses for having pillaged their employees. (And yes, I freely admit, I am cynical when it comes to big business.)

Anyway, enough of that. It's Christmas Eve and I think I've said enough for now.

Warm hugs,
Posted by: DragonSlayer

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/24/09 09:50 AM


Hey, mig:

The SMART way to fix healthcare is to first extract the lawyers out of the process.

Our congresspersons are not especially smart. Several are now in jail where most of them actually belong.

The current bill--now being passed--not only taxes some existing health insurance policies at a 40% rate but the "benefits" of this taxation will not be realized for four years because we shall end up with a "pay now and get fixed later" plan.

I doubt our Canadian cousins would allow such a farce.

There will probably never be a peaceful decommissioning of the US federal government. They are all a bunch of Marie Antoinettes--so out of touch with their bosses that merely firing them will not suffice, especially once it is revealed just how much of our wealth they have squandered and stolen.

HEALTH,
John
Posted by: WendyR

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/24/09 09:59 AM

My personal opinion is that we measure a society by the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens - its poor, its elderly, its disabled and sick, and its children.

I'm never happy about contributing tax dollars to the war machine but I'm never troubled by the idea that my taxes go to support those in need. To me, that is a measure of a just and caring society.

When we blame individuals for their situation (obesity, poverty, inadequate parenting skills etc.) we ignore the fact that they are a product of our society and that there are a host of factors that have contributed to their situation. These factors can include intergenerational dysfunction (parents who were alcoholics, abusive, lacking in life skills etc.) but, as we all know, can also include life-altering experiences such as severe illness, loss of loved ones, job losses, and victimization by government or corporate systems (insurance companies that cut off benefits, doctors who shout at us, hoops to jump through, discrimination.....).
Posted by: Inanna

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/24/09 10:01 AM

I doubt our Canadian cousins would allow such a farce.

laugh2 John, thank you for your faith in us. Sadly, while the Canadian public might not allow it, our government has recently made a habit of doing whatever it wants, no matter what the public makes clear is a priority (to paraphrase our Prime Minister - 'It's not my job to listen to what polls and the public have to say. It's my job to do what I think is best.' which he said a few short months after having been elected to a minority government - sadly, he's stuck to this). I fear that while your government is fighting for healthcare for all and a clean environment, ours is doing its utmost to weaken things beyond reckoning. As a Canadian citizen, I am embarassed beyond belief by our current government and its stance (or lack thereof) on far too many issues.

And, yes, I know I've het up some of my fellow Canucks in saying this. It is merely my opinion, which I have stated quite clearly on many occasions.

Warm hugs,
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/24/09 11:47 AM

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

Inanna I am with you- HARMONIZED SALES TAX?? We will now have to pay extra taxes on tons of things that weren't taxed before.

AND we had no say in the matter.

I don't even know of the reason why? Other than the fact that the reigns just get tighter and tighter each year from the slow moving interest bullet.

We, as in the Canadian Government, had the option over the years by law, to take loans from the Bank Of Canada at 0 interest. Yet we have a 186 million $ a day interest payment to make. HOW in the world does that happen in any logical thinking brain? Factor in corruption.

Thank You for your input John, well said. Except for the fact that I think we all let things happen right before our blind eyes.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/26/09 11:02 AM

No, you are right, I don't know what it is to be poor first hand. I only know what it means to be financially challenged (if that is the appropriate phrase) and needing to pare back to nothing but the basics. I do, however, have an understanding of some of the challenges that face the poor.

I can only understand, appreciate, and learn lessons from people that have been poor. My (now deceased 10 years) grandmother who lived to 90 years, living through the depression and maintained many of her frugal habits throughout the balance of her life; the next door neighbor immigrant from Latvia whose family fled the Nazis (whose sister was killed in a when a ship on which she was aboard was attacked by a German U-boat), ate dog food at times, yet put himself through the electrical engineering program at Purdue University and subsequently enjoyed a successful life, built his own house, and raised a family; one of my uncles (of nine children on my mother's side whose family routinely struggled to maintain the basics) who entered the Navy at 17 years of age to fight in WWII (actually on the USS Missouri when the Japanese came aboard to finalize the terms of surrender), returned to work the night shift at a PPG manufacturing plant for decades, and was motivated enough and sacrificed enough (I routinely recall him sleeping when our family stopped to visit during daylight hours) to work into a supervisory position to better provide for his family; the gentleman team member at my first employer who lived out of his car for a period of time, married a woman with chronic health problems, managed to work his way into a factory job eventually working into an “professional” level, exempt position, raised a daughter, housed numerous foster children, and provided me with invaluable guidance.

While I haven't experienced these particular hardships, please realize that I do have a partial understanding of what it is to be poor (in an industrialized nation). Maybe these accounts speak more about sacrifice, but I'd hardly call surviving on dog food, living out of your car, or enduring the Great Depression, sacrifice.

I am a champion of self-sufficiency in contrast to continued reliance on others. I'm not foolish enough to believe that their aren't situations in which individuals that must rely on others, typically unequivocally against their own wishes/desires (with exceptions of minors). I am also not opposed to providing a helping hand to those in need; extending assistance to enable people to turn things around/right the ship. However, I am opposed to those that are able, yet unwilling, to help themselves. I am opposed to those that aren't willing to be responsible for self or their dependents. I am opposed to requiring servitude to enable another a free ride.

Also, cheap food doesn't need to be crap food. I'm not advocating that one can or need eat fine cuts of meat, fresh fruits and vegetables with great frequency, or any frequency for that matter. There are plenty of choices outside of fast food (which was the original issue) that can provide adequate nutritional needs. Though, in my eyes, if you are allocating your money for food to fast food, you aren't frugal enough. However, I've gone grocery shopping around the first of the month when I lived in an area of widely mixed incomes and I'd be floored at what I'd see in the some of carts of those receiving assistance. I do, though, appreciate that foods of questionable nutritional value are absolutely desirable to no food at all though.

One thing I can't get my head around is the following:

Quote:
Most are just honest joes trying to keep their and their families' heads above water in a world that demonizes them for being where their society has placed them.


Do we, in the United States, have a rigid caste system similar to what I've learned existed/exists in India? Are people relegated to a predestined way of life that they can never rise above? I'm inclined to believe that if we keep heading down the big government/central planning road that we are, this will be true. I'd like to hear my friend from college, who came from Brockton, MA (tougher, historically working class area of Boston) who was the first in his family to attend college, take on that belief. While I've basically lost touch with him in the last five years, he was enjoying a successful career in business finance. My father would might serve as a good example also. He came from a home where his father was a linesman for a local power company, who liked the drink a lot, who'd routinely beat up on my grandmother (my father tussled with him on occasion), yet my father entered the military (back in those draft days), then went to college graduating as an electrical engineer, and successfully worked in his “professional” career for 37 years. My father never drank to any excess, never caroused at bars, and never was abusive toward my mother. I'd also like to understand my godfather's take on that too. He left college after year one, yet has been extremely successful as member of a large, international packaging company. Also, something interesting I once heard is that nearly half of the members of Forbes Magazine's 400 wealthiest people or billionaires or whatever never went for or completed post-secondary education. I just don't subscribe to the fact that people have to accept their situation and are powerless to do anything about it. I don't know about the values and beliefs of Canadians, but the individuals I grew up with and the people I know here in the States would certainly take issue with such sentiment that folks had to accept where society placed them. However, placement per “society's wishes” will be/will continue to be a prominent feature of big government/central planning by conditioning individuals to believe that they have no chance, no opportunity, no incentive.

Also, I don't believe I ever said that no one was worthy of receiving health care or having health care dollars spent for their benefit. I have only questioned why it is society's responsibility to pay for health care of able bodied individuals that might not have to contribute anything.

Regarding the reinstatement of benefits, I guess it is a difference of opinion. Talented folks won't stick around if better opportunities are to be had elsewhere. It may not impact the company immediately, but it will in the longer term. I subscribe to the Southwest Airlines approach to managing/operating a large company...employees first, customers second, shareholders last. If you have happy employees, they are going to provide superior service and value to the customers. Therefore, that makes the customers extremely happy. Perhaps this is one of the reasons, in the realm of the tough domestic airline industry, that Southwest Airlines has been so wildly successful while the “legacy” carriers routinely struggle.

I heard Jim Traficant (a former U.S. Congressman from Ohio - recently released from prison – many have said he was railroaded) say during an interview that we can judge a society by how it treats its prisoners. A subjective argument I suppose. Others say that we can judge a society by how it treats its most vulnerable. I might argue that we can judge a society by how we treat each other (regardless of gender, color, shape, size, economic status, etc.). However, it appears that this health care legislation marginalizes certain members of those vulnerable groups. The elderly and disabled that rely on Medicare will be facing cuts. It's pretty black and white in the realm of $400 billion to $500 billion over ten years. Do you really think doctors are going to continue to see the same number of patients or be able to deliver a desirable quality of care on an ongoing basis for less money? There also appears to be mandatory funding for abortion in the Senate bill. We sure aren't protecting unborn children who can't protect themselves. Additionally, it will force employers to either to offer and pay (at least partially) for health care insurance or pay a tax. Those employers very well may just cut their workforce to avoid or offset paying for something they previously weren't mandated to pay, creating more poor and/or unemployed. Or perhaps, those costs will be just passed along to the consumers, forcing more to go without goods or services for which they once had no problem obtaining. Those working ill who rely on Flexible Spending Accounts to help defray some of the expenses for over-the-counter needs will now lose that benefit. Additionally, the bill is offering protections to makers of biotech medications (one would believe this includes biologics). The legislation apparently includes preventions or deferments of generics from coming to market. I'm not sure how this benefits the sick.

I agree that there is a societal influence on the situation of everyone, however the influence of society should rarely trump the influence of the parents/family (there are exceptions, but they are exceptions and not the rule). It is not society's job to see that your child is active and eating adequately to foster proper development and health and staving off obesity. It is the job of the parents. It is not the teacher's job to babysit your child at school. It is the job of the parents to teach that child how to behave, act with respect towards others, and be responsible for their own actions. It is the teacher's job to educate. I find it highly bothersome that society casually dismisses the importance of the family; a nuclear family, many with strong extended families. I'm not looking down on anyone from some high and mighty position (contrary to what one may believe), however, I find troubling the number of single parent families (excepting the unavoidable) and the challenges such situations pose to the children. It is not to say that children raised this by single parents are deficient and cannot succeed or excel, it is just perceived that these children would be at greater risk for being denied opportunities since a parent may not be able to advocate for that child or that the child may be overlooked. This is one area where I am blessed. I have the best parents in the world. I am also fortunate to be part of a large, extended family, that despite their differences, have remained relatively close and cohesive. It's not like it was when I was growing up due to the passing of many in the previous generation and people chasing lifestyles, but many of their children strive for continuity of family ways.

OK, I'm done. Off my high horse.
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/26/09 11:19 AM

Driz, I'm not sure to which law you are referring. Auto insurance is regulated by the state, not the federal government. I had uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage. I purchased it to protect me. I don't, to my recollection, believe that particular coverage is mandatory here in the state of Georgia or any state in which I've been licensed. I'm not sure auto insurance is mandatory in every state of the union. I believe bare minimum mandatory is usually liability, but may vary widely state to state.

No, I don't think we should say “sorry, we won't treat you” and you will die because you should pay cash. Everyone should be treated and stabilized. Perhaps if the individual has the opportunity to buy health insurance (if mandatory under this bill – but what about the people that can't afford it?), doesn't, and falls ill, they must be culpable for the debt. If mandatory insurance is the way we are headed, perhaps there should be no special protections afforded to those individuals who can't service the debt they incurred. I mean, this legislation eliminates any reason why an individual shouldn't have insurance, therefore this should be a non-issue. Otherwise, maybe they are thrown in prison. Perhaps this is why I heard all the grumbling about 800-some FEMA prison camps. They are expecting people won't pay the imposed tax or will default on medical debt under a mandatory health insurance scheme (the operative word being scheme).

You shouldn't have to pay for an individual that won't buy insurance. However, why should you have to buy them insurance? Isn't the financial responsibility theirs, insured or uninsured? Also, who is expecting free treatment? There is no such thing as free treatment. Somebody is paying somewhere. The users/recipients just need to be accountable under your freeloading example.
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/26/09 11:23 AM

Question - Maybe I'm missing a lot but why is it, then, the job of employers to supply health care? Why can't people just get portable health care whether they work or not? That makes no sense to me but I don't live in the States. Or can they?
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/26/09 01:27 PM

hi tim,

this may help explain it a little:

The unraveling of employer-based insurance

In 2003 only 16 percent of health care spending consisted of out-of-pocket expenditures by consumers. The rest was paid for by insurance, public or private. As we'll see, this heavy reliance on insurance disturbs some economists, who believe that doctors and patients fail to make rational decisions about spending because third parties bear the costs of medical treatment. But it's no use wishing that health care were sold like ordinary consumer goods, with individuals paying out of pocket for what they need. By its very nature, most health spending must be covered by insurance.

The reason is simple: in any given year, most people have small medical bills, while a few people have very large bills. In 2003, health spending roughly followed the "80–20 rule": 20 percent of the population accounted for 80 percent of expenses. Half the population had virtually no medical expenses; a mere 1 percent of the population accounted for 22 percent of expenses.

Here's how Henry Aaron and his coauthors summarize the implication of these numbers in their book Can We Say No?: "Most health costs are incurred by a small proportion of the population whose expenses greatly exceed plausible limits on out-of-pocket spending." In other words, if people had to pay for medical care the way they pay for groceries, they would have to forego most of what modern medicine has to offer, because they would quickly run out of funds in the face of medical emergencies.

So the only way modern medical care can be made available to anyone other than the very rich is through health insurance. Yet it's very difficult for the private sector to provide such insurance, because health insurance suffers from a particularly acute case of a well-known economic problem known as adverse selection. Here's how it works: imagine an insurer who offered policies to anyone, with the annual premium set to cover the average person's health care expenses, plus the administrative costs of running the insurance company. Who would sign up? The answer, unfortunately, is that the insurer's customers wouldn't be a representative sample of the population. Healthy people, with little reason to expect high medical bills, would probably shun policies priced to reflect the average person's health costs. On the other hand, unhealthy people would find the policies very attractive.

ou can see where this is going. The insurance company would quickly find that because its clientele was tilted toward those with high medical costs, its actual costs per customer were much higher than those of the average member of the population. So it would have to raise premiums to cover those higher costs. However, this would disproportionately drive off its healthier customers, leaving it with an even less healthy customer base, requiring a further rise in premiums, and so on.

Insurance companies deal with these problems, to some extent, by carefully screening applicants to identify those with a high risk of needing expensive treatment, and either rejecting such applicants or charging them higher premiums. But such screening is itself expensive. Furthermore, it tends to screen out exactly those who most need insurance.

Most advanced countries have dealt with the defects of private health insurance in a straightforward way, by making health insurance a government service. Through Medicare, the United States has in effect done the same thing for its seniors. We also have Medicaid, a means-tested program that provides health insurance to many of the poor and near poor. But nonelderly, nonpoor Americans are on their own. In practice, only a tiny fraction of nonelderly Americans (5.3 percent in 2003) buy private insurance for themselves. The rest of those not covered by Medicare or Medicaid get insurance, if at all, through their employers.

Employer-based insurance is a peculiarly American institution. As Julius Richmond and Rashi Fein tell us in The Health Care Mess, the dominant role of such insurance is the result of historical accident rather than deliberate policy. World War II caused a labor shortage, but employers were subject to controls that prevented them from attracting workers by offering higher wages. Health benefits, however, weren't controlled, and so became a way for employers to compete for workers. Once employers began offering medical benefits, they also realized that it was a form of compensation workers valued highly because it protected them from risk. Moreover, the tax law favored employer-based insurance, because employers' contributions weren't considered part of workers' taxable income. Today, the value of the tax subsidy for employer-based insurance is estimated at around $150 billion a year.

Employer-based insurance has historically offered a partial solution to the problem of adverse selection. In principle, adverse selection can still occur even if health insurance comes with a job rather than as a stand-alone policy. This would occur if workers with health problems flocked to companies that offered health insurance, while healthy workers took jobs at companies that didn't offer insurance and offered higher wages instead. But until recently health insurance was a sufficiently small consideration in job choice that large corporations offering good health benefits, like General Motors, could safely assume that the health status of their employees was representative of the population at large and that adverse selection wasn't inflating the cost of health insurance.

In 2004, according to census estimates, 63.1 percent of Americans under sixty-five received health insurance through their employers or family members' employers. Given the inherent difficulties of providing health insurance through the private sector, that's an impressive number. But it left more than a third of nonelderly Americans out of the system. Moreover, the number of outsiders is growing: the share of nonelderly Americans with employment-based health insurance was 67.7 percent as recently as 2000. And this trend seems certain to continue, even accelerate, because the whole system of employer-based health care is under severe strain.

We can identify several reasons for that strain, but mainly it comes down to the issue of costs. Providing health insurance looked like a good way for employers to reward their employees when it was a small part of the pay package. Today, however, the annual cost of coverage for a family of four is estimated by the Kaiser Family Foundation at more than $10,000. One way to look at it is to say that that's roughly what a worker earning minimum wage and working full time earns in a year. It's more than half the annual earnings of the average Wal-Mart employee.

Health care costs at current levels override the incentives that have historically supported employer-based health insurance. Now that health costs loom so large, companies that provide generous benefits are in effect paying some of their workers much more than the going wage—or, more to the point, more than competitors pay similar workers. Inevitably, this creates pressure to reduce or eliminate health benefits. And companies that can't cut benefits enough to stay competitive—such as GM—find their very existence at risk.

Rising health costs have also ended the ability of employer-based insurance plans to avoid the problem of adverse selection. Anecdotal evidence suggests that workers who know they have health problems actively seek out jobs with companies that still offer generous benefits. On the other side, employers are starting to make hiring decisions based on likely health costs. For example, an internal Wal-Mart memo, reported by The New York Times in October, suggested adding tasks requiring physical exertion to jobs that don't really require it as a way to screen out individuals with potential health risks.

So rising health care costs are undermining the institution of employer-based coverage. We'd suggest that the drop in the number of insured so far only hints at the scale of the problem: we may well be seeing the whole institution unraveling.

Notice that this unraveling is the byproduct of what should be a good thing: advances in medical technology, which lead doctors to spend more on their patients. This leads to higher insurance costs, which causes employers to stop providing health coverage. The result is that many people are thrown into the world of the uninsured, where even basic care is often hard to get. As we said, we rob Peter of basic care in order to provide Paul with state-of-the-art treatment.

Fortunately, some of the adverse consequences of the decline in employer-based coverage have been muted by a crucial government program, Medicaid. But Medicaid is facing its own pressures.

from: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/18802
Posted by: WendyR

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/26/09 01:33 PM

Good clear article, Sue. Thanks for that.
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/26/09 05:55 PM

Quote:
Are people relegated to a predestined way of life that they can never rise above?


YES, YES, YES!

350 million people in North America. 400 Wealthiest people (probably in the world). Thats about a 1 in 1 million chance to be there (after you factor out corruption and aristocracy). Also, you say half didn't go to College, then that just shows how our society pushes higher learning to raise quality of life, but life for whom? Probably some of those same 400, considering people are left with a great amount of debt after they get out of school.

Mathematically, Foreclosure and Bankruptcy are necessary parts of our great system and must happen to some people, kinda like musical chairs.
Posted by: Timo

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/26/09 06:27 PM

North America Population: 528,720,588 (July 2008 est.)
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/26/09 06:56 PM

Sorry, forgot Mexico and others. WHOOPS!
Posted by: SueNP

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/28/09 02:46 PM

Here is Max Baucus who is the Senator from Montana that heads the committee that wrote much of the Senate Bill on Health Care. He is speaking on the Senate floor [edited]. I have no faith in the government running health care when they can't even keep a known terrorist off an airplane. Link to You Tube video showing [*] Senator. George Washington just turned over in his grave. BTW, I'm an Independent and have equal distain for both major political parties. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
==============================================================
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5Y9X5ggxzA
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/28/09 05:43 PM

Hi SueNP, and welcome to KickAS!

(you do have a ways to go if you are going to make as many posts as our other Sue yes )

That is pretty shameful, must find out the whole story on Baucus, whether he was [*], or [*], or something else

Not to defend the Democrats or anything, but he is one of the Blue Dog Democrats, almost another party unto themselves.

I do agree with you that there abundant evidence to have disgust for people in both parties, but there are also honorable politicians, too

and I think that because they are human, just like you and me, that is even more reason, not less, for us to be involved as citizens, to be a part of the process that will shape our lives

and we citizens are the ones that elected those representatives, so they are a statement about us as well

BTW, I also thought about becoming an Independent, because it fit my idealogy better. But then I learned that they can't vote in the primaries in New York state, so I didn't change, not wanting to lose that privilege
Posted by: SueNP

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/29/09 07:42 AM

Dow quote--"BTW, I also thought about becoming an Independent, because it fit my idealogy better. But then I learned that they can't vote in the primaries in New York state, so I didn't change, not wanting to lose that privilege "
===========================================================
Yes, and this is how they keep Independents out of power by NOT LETTING us vote. How Democratic of them.
===============================================
Yes, he was [..*]
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/29/09 10:05 AM

Max Baucus was NOT [*].

I have met him personally several times. He has a fairly severe speech impediment that is well documented and also stutters at times. People who know him are really laughing at this attack by the far right. It is a lame attack by the conservatives on a man with a physical disability.

shame on them
Posted by: 30yrvet

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/29/09 11:47 AM

Happy New Year everyone...

It's amazing that this thread is still going on??? It was a good discussion with good points on both sides, but the damage is done. The Dem's have had it their way, and have mortgaged our grandchildren's and great grandchildren's future to the hilt.

The US national debt today is 12 trillion and counting, so why not add another trillion to the debt for the healthcare bill. Oh yeah and let's add another trillion for yet another meaningless economic stimulus package. Who knows where the limit is going to end up. Today, without the healthcare bill, the interest alone on the national debt is at least $480,000,000,000.00 per year. That is conservatively $15,000.00 every second of the day for interest only!!!

I'm 61 years old. I'll never live to see the national debt paid off, but my grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren, etc... will be paying for it in higher taxes for their entire lives. Not that anyone really wants to pay off the national debt. The last president that was even remotely interested in paying off the debt was Andrew Jackson, and he was obsessed with paying it off, and he did it. Of course that was clear back in 1835. It's amazing how smart we are now compared to those old fogies.

Please forgive me for my rant. I mean no disrespect for any of my brothers or sisters on KickAS, or anywhere for that matter. I just wanted to put my 2 cents worth in. And, as it turns out, 2 cents isn't worth a lot these days.

Thanks and I wish you all a great New Year with NO PAIN.
Posted by: SueNP

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/29/09 12:32 PM

I respect your opinion but [...*]. I live in Bozeman, Montna and, in my position, deal with him on a regular basis. [...*...]
Posted by: moosekick

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/29/09 06:37 PM

To whom is this interest owed?
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/29/09 11:06 PM

Originally Posted By: 30yrvet
Happy New Year everyone...

It's amazing that this thread is still going on??? It was a good discussion with good points on both sides, but the damage is done. The Dem's have had it their way, and have mortgaged our grandchildren's and great grandchildren's future to the hilt.


It ain't over yet!

The 2 bills are now in conference committee, where they will get melded together, hammered, & pummeled by all the forces and special interests that continue to exist in our country, and we should try to keep on top of them so we don't end up with the worst from both bills

I wish we didn't look at this as a Dem vs Republican issue, health care reform is in every citizen's interest, but please take a closer look at this:



found that here: zFacts.org (left-wing commentary, but chart info came from the White House.org)


Originally Posted By: 30yrvet
The US national debt today is 12 trillion and counting, so why not add another trillion to the debt for the healthcare bill. Oh yeah and let's add another trillion for yet another meaningless economic stimulus package. Who knows where the limit is going to end up. Today, without the healthcare bill, the interest alone on the national debt is at least $480,000,000,000.00 per year. That is conservatively $15,000.00 every second of the day for interest only!!!

I'm 61 years old. I'll never live to see the national debt paid off, but my grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren, etc... will be paying for it in higher taxes for their entire lives. Not that anyone really wants to pay off the national debt. The last president that was even remotely interested in paying off the debt was Andrew Jackson, and he was obsessed with paying it off, and he did it. Of course that was clear back in 1835. It's amazing how smart we are now compared to those old fogies.


Seems to me that many people are still taking it as a predetermined fact that health care reform will increase the national debt, rather than decrease it.

The Congressional Budget Office as of 8 days ago, said that the Senate bill, as it exists today, would yield a net reduction in federal deficits of 132 billion over the 2010-2019 period

Letter to Harry Reid (pdf)

here again is my link to Rep. Andrews from Nov. 7 disputing some of these perceptions in regards to that bill:




Originally Posted By: 30yrvet
Please forgive me for my rant. I mean no disrespect for any of my brothers or sisters on KickAS, or anywhere for that matter. I just wanted to put my 2 cents worth in. And, as it turns out, 2 cents isn't worth a lot these days.


well, those 2 cents plus the zillions of points that you've got coming to you as one of the current leaders in the "Water" music quiz, well, that adds up to...

(checking calculator...)

Definitely worth more than 2 cents to me! laugh2
Posted by: Sue22

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/29/09 11:47 PM

like the graph, thanks for posting it, a picture is certainly worth "a thousand words" for me. i thought i had remembered the deficit and debt going up and down at certain times and this graph helped refresh my memory, plus a few surprises.

and the pdf looks interesting on first glance, lots of useful info in there as well. thanks for the research and resulting info.
Posted by: Dow

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/29/09 11:55 PM

found these clips of Max Baucus speaking publicly in the past:

Dec. 2008 interview

HC Reform panel

my sense of it is that as Drizzit said, clearly he has a speech impediment. He certainly doesn't look [*] to me in these clips, but does stumble frequently, and has a hard time getting the words out. And especially in the second clip, that's a 46 minute long section, are we to think [...*]
Posted by: wolverinefan

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/30/09 03:59 AM

Dean,

I think you know from bumping into each other in any number of threads in the past that I absolutely respect your always-thoughtful (and often very funny!) posts. With that in mind, I am certain that you'll know that I am not attacking you in any way when I make this post--you just happened to be the lucky dog who raised the issue of the "damage" the health reform bill would do to the deficit, which gave me a convenient place to hit "Reply" so I could post a link I meant to post earlier. So no problems there, right? hrtballon

Alrighty then, on with the show. All I want do with this post is point out that if we are going to throw around blame for rapidly ramping up our federal deficit--and more specifically, ramping it up through some kind of health reform--then everyone here needs to remember that there is plenty of (recent) blame to go around. To wit:

Washington Post article

I think the one that made me laugh (cry?) the most is Hatch's reply about how, gee, buying things we couldn't afford to pay for was just how we did things back then. Translation: When his croneys, as opposed to the other party's croneys, were in power.

It never ends.

Brad
Posted by: Jaybird

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/30/09 07:54 AM

A little bit the problem I have with that graph is that the line turns nearly vertical under the sitting administration. Granted, the spending ramped up insidiously under W as he enriched his neocon buddies hellbent on destroying our country (especially the financial terrorism his administration oversaw at the end of 2008), however I haven't seen any measures enacted to curb this spending. It also seems to be getting much worse. The current administration might well as be a continuation of the previous. Also, we really need to get off the partisan politics, eh? Stick to the issues. Debt is debt. It doesn't make it alright that administration B continues the damage that began under administration A. They both continue to dig us a bigger hole and set us up for catastrophe.

A little bit the problem I have with the deficit neutral or reduction of deficit statement is that it is very misleading. They desire to make themselves look like champions, yet it is merely a smoke and mirrors trick. They do the hey look here while our plan is revenue neutral or reduces the deficit, but don't look here as we lop off $400 - $500 billion of health care benefits to recipients of Social Security. Shameful. I'm also failing to see the cost benefit of a plan (Senate) that spends $871 billion to cover 30 million people. That's approximately $29,000 per person! Even if you make an assumption that health care increases at 10% per year between 2010 and 2019, we are at cost of less than $20,000 per person (using the per capita figure of 6,719 provided by Dow). That's just sheer wastefulness with something near 50% going into the abyss, likely the government abyss.

Regarding the Baucus thing. While I agree with Driz that it is absolutely shameful to make fun of anybody with a speech impediment, there was more to it than that. As far as I could tell, the only major fumbling in this speech that I noticed, after having watched the video clip twice, was at the very beginning. What was most telling in my opinion that he was potentially [*] was his body language, his disposition, his incessant rambling, his talking over everyone without fail. Contrast that to the Bloomberg interview posted where he is pretty mild mannered and reserved. I'd believe had this been a police officer to whom he was talking during a roadside stop, he would have ended up in jail.
Posted by: 30yrvet

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/30/09 08:19 AM

Hey Moose,

Quote:
To whom is this interest owed?


The interest is owed to whomever buys the t-bills. That can be us or it can be some foreign folks, most notably the Chinese lately. But I'm not sure that who gets the interest makes much of a difference. It still has to be paid.

Hey Brad,

Quote:
I think you know from bumping into each other in any number of threads in the past that I absolutely respect your always-thoughtful (and often very funny!) posts.


Thanks for the complement, and I would never take offense at a reply. Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion. (with the possible exception of Mr. Andrews. laugh2 Get that Kevin? )

I never meant to imply that the Dems were the only ones who liked to spend other folks money. They are just better at it than most. I believe the reason the the Rep's are no longer in control of the government is because they got drunk on spending MY money, and as a result got booted out of office in favor of those who do that sort of thing better.

No, the national debt is far bigger than one party. After all, Andrew Jackson was the first real Democrat, and he paid the national debt all off during his administration.
Posted by: Dotyisle

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/30/09 10:33 AM

Quote:
Max Baucus was NOT [*].

I have met him personally several times. He has a fairly severe speech impediment that is well documented and also stutters at times. People who know him are really laughing at this attack by the far right. It is a lame attack by the conservatives on a man with a physical disability.


I honestly thought this was the case and glad you cleared it up Steve.

Tim
Posted by: drizzit

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/30/09 10:42 AM

Originally Posted By: Dotyisle
Quote:
Max Baucus was NOT [*].

I have met him personally several times. He has a fairly severe speech impediment that is well documented and also stutters at times. People who know him are really laughing at this attack by the far right. It is a lame attack by the conservatives on a man with a physical disability.


I honestly thought this was the case and glad you cleared it up Steve.

Tim


I have been around him several times in heated discussions and that is how he sounds when he gets really worked up and tries to talk to fast. I don't know him personally and have no clue if [*], but in a former job I was around during a few heated exchanges and that is Baucus getting wound up.

People are quick to make assumptions based on their experience but it really doesn't apply if they have not seen personally the speech impediment he has in action.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/30/09 10:52 AM

Steve its the usual thing isnt it If a man in the street staggers and falls he must be drunk not he might have Diabetes or Epilepsy
Kevin
Posted by: Administration

Re: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed? - 12/30/09 12:59 PM

As it unfortunately appears that this thread has noticeably degraded into one that has become overly focused on politics, rather than a discussion on healthcare reform suited to benefit our Ankylosing Spondylitis support community -- regrettably this thread is now closed.

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