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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


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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?


Kind Regards,
Jay

Almost all of us long for peace and freedom; but very few of us have much enthusiasm for the thoughts, feelings, and actions that make for peace and freedom. - Aldous Huxley

Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. - Thomas Jefferson
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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!


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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).


Kind Regards,
Jay

Almost all of us long for peace and freedom; but very few of us have much enthusiasm for the thoughts, feelings, and actions that make for peace and freedom. - Aldous Huxley

Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. - Thomas Jefferson
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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!


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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,


Kat

A life lived in fear is a life half lived.
"Strictly Ballroom"

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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..


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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/

Last edited by Stormy; 12/17/09 12:26 AM.
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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?



sue

Spondyloarthropathy, HLAB27 negative
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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!


Dow
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