The Real Republican Health Care Proposal

medicine.jpgWhile in many cases it has fallen on deaf ears, we’ve made efforts in the past to clear up some of the misinformation being handed out by proponents of Democratic health insurance reform proposals around the web, including here at TMV. I was mentally adding a few check points to that list today while reading Rick Moran’s latest column at Pajamas Media, “Take Health Insurance, Please!” One of the non-technical but completely valid points is this continual complaint I hear about how the Republicans won’t “be reasonable” and compromise to work with Democrats on health care. Of course, what most proponents don’t want to talk about is the fact that if you are only offered choices which run completely against every basic tenet of fiscal conservatism and individual responsibility, that’s really not much of a choice at all.

Democrats informed the GOP that health care reform would include a public option and other “no go” provisions that are an anathema to the founding principles of the party and conservatism. And the Democrats expected … what? That the GOP would embrace that reform, betray its principles, and shatter the party just to give Democrats cover with the voting public who will probably not like this “stealth single-payer” idea?

But it is a mystery why Democrats can’t see that voting for a bill with a public option (or it’s weak sister, health care insurance co-ops) would doom the Republicans with most of the rest of their party and enrage their base. Of course, they wouldn’t see that as quite the calamity the objects of their scorn would view the matter. But the hypocrisy is getting pretty thick when the Democrats bitch about the GOP refusing, in effect, to walk the plank because they can’t swim.

This, however, isn’t the major piece of disinformation that I want to address today. Here’s one of the big complaints about the GOP which I myself addressed last spring: “The Republicans complain about the Democrats’ health care proposals, but they don’t offer any plan of their own!” I’ve seen that one here over and over again, as recently as this week. However, shortly after I sat wondering where the GOP proposal was, it was delivered without my even knowing it. (Thanks, media!)

In fact, I only found out about the final version earlier this week on Rick’s radio show and had to go look it up online. Sure enough, there it was. Rather than the 19 page summary so many of us saw and scoffed at, Rep. Paul Ryan introduced H.R. 2520, The Patient’s Choice Act, on May 20 of this year. It was immediately referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, along with two others, where it languishes to this day.

There are quite a few reasons for that, not least of which is the fact that it was developed and introduced by Republicans, but because it also includes some common sense proposals which are essentially anathema to Democrats and liberals in general. You can read the entire bill here yourself. Coming in at less than 300 pages, in the rare instance that a member of Congress actually chooses to read a bill, it will at least take less time than the 1,000+ pages of the various Democratic versions.

What’s included? First, Title 1 is based entirely on a concept which most Democrats seem to back… focusing on incentives for preventative medicine and healthier lifestyles. Title 2 deals with one of the great problems in health insurance, allowing for state based health care exchanges and federal incentives for multiple states to band together, crossing state lines, to offer more choices. And the state based exchanges would be charged with providing group rates to people across a multitude of circumstances to reduce rates.

Title 4 provides for supplemental health care assistance to low income families, along with both tax credits and advancement vouchers so they can purchase health insurance through these group plans. Limits are also placed on excessive premium charges by private insurance companies.

Why won’t this ever see the light of day? (That is, aside from the fact that the GOP suggested it.) Among other reasons, because Titles 4 and 5 also include fiscally responsible proposals which too many Democrats despise. First, they mandate means testing for the direct government assistance in the form of grants and advancements which would cover every American citizen who can truly not afford health insurance. Why this is such an abomination to my liberal colleagues I will never understand. Also, Title 6 has a provision to encourage the reform and limitation of frivolous lawsuits which, along with other waste and abuse, drives up costs across the board.

That last one is apparently a real deal breaker for most Democrats, who rely on a group mentality where everyone will eventually slip and fall on the sidewalk of a rich person and hit the lottery. None of these, of course, will come to an open vote and likely never even be read by the public. But you should know that one of the biggest lies being foisted off on you by supporters of Obamacare is that Republicans are unwilling to get involved in a better solution. They already have. But nobody is listening or talking about it, either in the majority or the lion’s share of the media.

134 Comments

  1. At last a great moderate right post on Healthcare. After suffering through a barrage of leftie posts great to see. Thank you.

    BTW I been also posting in the comments setion about another piece of comprehensive legislation put forth by Ryan HR 6110 Roadmap for America's Future Act of 2008

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h….
    http://www.house.gov/ryan/roadmap/roadmap.htm
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4p71KYEK3Q

    Republicans have plans they just are blocked or held up by the majority in committee and then get accussed of having no plan.

  2. That last one is apparently a real deal breaker for most Democrats, who rely on a group mentality where everyone will eventually slip and fall on the sidewalk of a rich person and hit the lottery.

    Yikes!

  3. Out of the last 36 years there has been a Republican in the White House. Where were these great plans all those years? There wasn't one, ever & that's why the Democrats know they have to do something. Jazz, you shill too much for the party of NO!

  4. Hmmm democrats get accused of group mentality when it's convenient and accused of not being cohesive at all when it's funny…depending on the spin of the day..

    Meanwhile,
    ***
    “I hear about how the Republicans won’t “be reasonable” and compromise to work with Democrats on health care. Of course, what most proponents don’t want to talk about is the fact that if you are only offered choices which run completely against every basic tenet of fiscal conservatism and individual responsibility, that’s really not much of a choice at all.”
    ****
    True, the millions of uninsured plus the millions of those people already “insured” who are hotly dissatisfied with their [lack of] coverage, plus the millions more who, when educated, will see we already have a public option in place, the ER-room, for those 50 million, are at loggeheads with an elite group of super-conservatives who use the bottom-line as their guiding light…

    The issue is one of a moral outlook. Those people with souls believe that human health and wellbeing isn't a “fiscal issue”. Those people without souls think that it is. There is no bridging that gap short of a religious conversion.

  5. PelosiObamaReidCare (PORC) is a Fascist Pig

    All shades of pink to red, leftist-lipstick have been put on PORC, but nothing can gloss over these 10 facts about this fascist pig:

    PORC forces people to buy health insurance whether they want to or not.

    PORC forces employers to provide health insurance for their employees whether employers want to or not.

    PORC forces employers to pay a certain percentage of health insurance premiums for their employees whether employers want to pay this amount or not.

    PORC forces some groups (the wealthy, business owners) to pay for the health insurance of other groups.

    PORC forces one group (Americans on Medicare) to accept reduced benefits in order to fund other public health care plans.

    PORC forces insurance companies to write policies, and employers and individuals to buy them, that cover specific conditions.
    PORC forces healthier people and younger adults to pay higher premium rates to subsidize lower premium rates for less healthy people and older adults.

    PORC authorizes the government to use its power to (a) force insurance companies to compete on an uneven playing field with a government-backed, government-run plan, (b) force insurance companies out of business, and (b) exert a monopolistic control over the health care marketplace.

    PORC regulates and controls the relationship between patients and doctors so health care goods and services are provided on terms and at fees dictated by the government bureaucrats rather than a free market.

    PORC sets up “GetMoCare” in which bureaucrats can make arbitrary and unfair decisions on health care without administrative appeal or judicial review.

    Americans are mad as hell that we are being herded together and blindly rushed to take a leftist-led, lemming-like leap into health care hell. If we do, the Democrats — and any pink elephants — will have hell to pay in 2010 and future elections.

    Does anybody in Congress have the courage, wisdom, and persuasive ability to defend our inalienable rights? We need a cadre of individual rights referees in the halls of Congress blowing the whistle on the socialists, fascists, and other statists who support legislation that violates the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness recognized by our Founding Fathers and protected by the Constitution.??

    As an alternative to PORC, health care reform should target crony capitalism's protectionism for trial lawyers, health care professionals, and insurance companies. The final health care reform bill should minimize crony capitalism by including: (a) tort reform to minimize frivolous malpractice lawsuits; (b) ERISSA reform so that insurance companies are no longer protected from lawsuits and can be held accountable for their fraudulent nastiness; (c) provisions that allow individuals and small businesses to purchase insurance across state boundaries; (d) tax incentives for individuals to own their own insurance policies rather than being dependent on companies; (e) incentives for individuals to buy, and insurance companies to sell, policies that permanently cover preexisting conditions; and (f) provisions that allow health care professionals to practice in all 50 states without having to be licensed in each and every state.

    We at Doctors on Strike for Freedom in Medicine believe health care reform should proceed by eliminating barriers to competition, providing for liability reform, and designing checks and balances against bureaucratic malfeasance–all without violating the rights of patients, doctors, and business owners.

    Dr. Gregory Garamoni?
    Doctors on Strike for Freedom in Medicine?
    http://www.doctorsonstrike.com

  6. “Among other reasons, because Titles 4 and 5 also include fiscally responsible proposals which too many Democrats despise.”

    Jazz, you're a hack.

  7. Jazz great to see a post that isn't left of center for a change, I do enjoy the moderate left postings as weoll here, but they have been buried lately in far left threads of late.

  8. Jazz also see Ryan's A Roadmap For America's Future Act of 2008

    http://www.house.gov/ryan/roadmap/roadmap.htm

    The Democrats will likely hate it, mainly because Ryan is an up and comer and likely fututure President. He offers Hope and Change without the nanny State.

  9. Imavettoo- that's actually not true. Paul Ryan and a handful of other GOP have been plugging away at conservative reforms for years. In fact, something I just learned is that Ryan says that his vote for the Medicare drug expansion was something he saw as a tradeoff because he was able to get an amendment put in for HSAs. He'd been trying for a healthcare reform bill to implement/expand HSAs but the Democrats would have filibustered it, so he negotiated to have it put into the Medicare drug bill.

    Now, it is true that Bush didn't take on the issue at all, nor the GOP congressional leadership, and that's a shame.

  10. I've addressed many of those supposedly “common sense” proposals in Paul Ryan's proposal already here, so I won't do it again now. The only thing I want to point out here is that you are asking and expecting Democrats to do *exactly* the thing you deplore Democrats asking Republicans to do: betraying our core principles. Why IS that, Jazz? Why is it that Republicans see the concept of core principles as referring only to themselves, and define “compromise” as emptying the store and giving away all its contents to YOU?

  11. A quick FYI for all the usual suspects. You don't like the tone of this post and the characterizations? I don't hear any of you complaining when several frequent authors here post things about Republicans “lying” and “fooling the gullible” on health care and repeating lie after lie after lie, such as the lie that Republicans never put forward any proposals. And they don't do it politely whatsoever. And you all hold your tongues. So it's ok to laugh and insult and bash any conservative opinion, but if anyone else does it… Oooooo! You're SO MEAN!

    You're not going to listen to reason anyway, but this is aimed at those who still may be weighing their options rather than being addicted to rhetoric.

  12. Still waiting for you to cite the specific parts of the legislation on the other thread Katty. Let me know when you have.

  13. Silhoutette, I do admire your posts on health care reform. I think it's time to tell you that.

  14. Jazz look up HR 6110 A Roadmap for America's Future also by Ryan

  15. What kind of doctor goes on strike? sisnt you take an oath to help people Greggers? what a great doctor pfff…

    Jazz,

    I'm not sure how this republican plan you presented will lower costs of healthcare and insurance? isnt that a major factor? as well as giving every american the right to good health is they so choose?

    We are all paying for the uninsured who can't pay medical bills already… it comes in higher hospital costs and premiums. where are the republicans on that part?

    the GOP is obv playing politics and could care less if someone in the next year is denied healthcare they need and dies… every week we do not do something is another week a fellow american does not get better or healthier – or even dies fo no good reason at all… and it is a shame that in the most powerful country in the world we cannot put politics aside to help those in need of something as basic as medical care

  16. “The issue is one of a moral outlook. Those people with souls believe that human health and wellbeing isn't a “fiscal issue”. Those people without souls think that it is.”

    Wow. How do you get up and down stairs, Sil, without tripping over the hem of your habit? And doesn't the light from your halo make it hard to sleep at night?

  17. KathyKattenburg says: “The only thing I want to point out here is that you are asking and expecting Democrats to do *exactly* the thing you deplore Democrats asking Republicans to do: betraying our core principles.”

    That is a fair point and here lies the problem: no one really wants to compromise on their core principals. There are core principals that I admire from Republicans and Democrats. But will either side REALLY want to compromise to make a truly bipartisan bill? I understand that whoever wins and has the majorities has the ball BUT in an issue so far reaching as health care, shouldn't this be an All-American effort? Liberals and conservatives. Democrats and Republicans. Saabs and F-150s!

  18. Jazz,

    I'm more than willing to admit my liberal bias. My problem with you is that you don't admit your deep Republican bias and try to pass it off as “moderate” when it is anything but. Also, allow me to laugh at you for this gem:

    “lie that Republicans never put forward any proposals”

    You just admitted yourself in this post that you were unaware of any Republican proposal because of a lack of media coverage until you dug and dusted off H.R. 2520, The Patient’s Choice Act. If this is such a smashing piece of legislation, how come Republicans' are not talking about this instead of death panels or carrying guns to protests? 2 months this bill has languished and I cannot recall any Republicans advocating it or defending it on TV, but naturally it's the librul media's fault. I repeat: You admitted that you yourself did not know about this bill until recently. But somehow it's the liberal commentators fault for spreading this evil evil lie.

    So Jazz I would like you a lot more if you just admitted your conservative bias and deep friendship with Cap'n Ed rather than playing the cutesy “Tee hee! All Democrats are evil partisans but I'm a sweet and reasonable moderate” game.

  19. It's a shame that Republican efforts as well as Senate Dem efforts have been put in the (truly dark) shadow of the godawful frantically-hacked junk by the lunatic Dems in the House. That Obama has been the _real_ shill here (or worse, actually _believes_ in getting this junk enacted) has debased him, too.

    * * *

    “He is Hope and Change without the Nanny State and with reality not just rhetoric.”

    Uh-oh. That's _real_ hope for long-overdue change (and relief).

    * * *

    “The issue is one of a moral outlook.”

    Not only are you incorrect, Silhouette, as well as completely disconnected from reality with what you continue to stoop to writing after you say this, but you are demonstrating yourself to believe the pure nonsense, aimed at the low tail of the IQ bell curve, that Obama has chosen to appeal to the emotion of the exploitable. You are simply repeating his stupid aimed-at-children propaganda:

    “a core ethical and moral obligation”

    The only halfway-intelligent thing Obama has tried to do lately is to appear on a conservative talk radio show, as an overdue “outreach” toward other than farther-left people.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ar

  20. also Jazz,

    I see you comment on other websites on other's articles.. mostly conservative sites. you don't know your ass from your elbow… you have no clue about the constitution, get you talking points about health care from other right wing nut jobs, and the way you use childish language only furthers most of your reader's beliefs that you should prob go find a real job… b/c your a horrible writer and you just feed hate to the internet…

    in the words of Barney Frank:
    “But it is also clear that left entirely untouched by public policy, the capitalist system will produce more inequality than is socially healthy or than is necessary for maximum efficiency.”

  21. Lit3Bolt.

    I think of Jazz as a moderate Conservative, just like I think of Joe Gandleman as a moderate Democrat. Compared to someone like Katty or Michelle Malkin thats an easy position to justify.

  22. I agree with TSteel about the core principles (and I guess, for once, I'm agreeing with Kathy!)

    But what I think is necessary is for people to be able to defend those core principles. Not demonize people who hold to (or start from the perspective of) other core principles. Actually say why you think that your approach is the best way to address a problem, instead of acting as though any reasonable person MUST default to the same core philosophy as you do unless they're morally bankrupt cretins.

  23. I think of Jazz as a moderate Republican or maybe a moderate Libertarian

    I was a registered Republican until 2005 when I left the party and I'm now a registered independent. The party was too full of people I disagreed with fundamentally on core principles for foreign policy and social issues. I didn't join the Democrats because they are as bad, if not worse, in the other direction. Obviously many of our commenters don't know or care about that, since they think I'm a “hard core Republican” and never read the rest of the things I've published over the years. Doesn't bother me. I define me. You don't.

  24. Inrepid, oh thats rich

    You cite Barney Frank and condemn someone of partisanship?

    ROTFLMAO

  25. *sigh* I know he is. But seriously, Leonidas, crap like “That last one is apparently a real deal breaker for most Democrats, who rely on a group mentality where everyone will eventually slip and fall on the sidewalk of a rich person and hit the lottery.” is NOT an argument from reason for tort reform (which I support, btw, astonishing, ne?) This article deserves some pushback because it was espeicially snarky. Kathy gets no more or less from the conservatives on this site. And if Jazz is going to play “B-b-but Dems do it too!” game, then he deserves to be mocked for it. When he tosses rhetorical bombs he shouldn't be surprised when he gets them in return and attempt the “moderate argument from authority.” If he's so tired of the Itchy and Scratchy BS, then he should put his money where his mouth is and think, or at least apologize after a post like this.

  26. Oh BTW I think T-Steel's post is good, and Katty does have the right to assert that liberals are no more willing to give up their core values than are conservatives. I have no problem with that, even if I disagree with those core principles I respect their right to hold them.

  27. Leonidas, Ed used to be good but has veered sharply to the Republican shill side of things ever since he moved his site. You just have to take things he says with a much bigger grain of salt nowadays.

  28. “You're not going to listen to reason anyway, but this is aimed at those who still may be weighing their options rather than being addicted to rhetoric.”

    Pretty arrogant, Jazz. I don't know why the insurance giants are such sacred cows to you guys, or why you dismiss the reasonable arguments of those who disagree with you. So I'll take your arrogant tack.

    Jazz, you're not going to listen to reason anyway, but for those who still think for themselves:

    The insurance industry gets huge taxpayer largess from this bill. Everyone gets covered only through private insurance. Awesome. For the insurance industry. Even the “State Exchanges” have to buy private plans. We all become guaranteed customers in a mandatory sales scheme that would make Scrooge blush. By law, we would all become their customers unless we're too poor (in which case they still get the customer, compliments of Uncle Sam). If that happens, I will certainly invest in insurance companies. Their profit already went up 500% under Bush, while our rates have doubled. Of course, when they double again, within 10 years, many more Americans will be “truly unable” to afford private plans, and will need public payment. Median income, $45,000. Insuring the family, $12,500 now, $25,000 in 9 years (current doubling rate).

    Next, the pathetic, tired and discredited meme about “tort reform”. Several states have already capped damages. In every case, malpractice insurance rates in those states went UP, not down. So, ZERO savings. Incidentally, the cost of all malpractice, both the insurance and the payouts, is < 2% of health care cost. In most cases, there was actual malpractice and people were harmed or killed by it. Now the “personal responsibility” issue gets real cloudy. You want consumers to be held responsible but not doctors. If a surgeon shows up drunk, or amputates the wrong leg, or through error or incompetence, kills your wife, you want the WRONGDOER to be protected? Really? Let's pretend that half of the settlements are excessive (which I doubt). So maybe you have a 1% savings there. But apparently not, because even with damages caps, the insurance companies have no intention of EVER lowering rates.

    It's all about OUTCOMES. The outcome of tort reform should be to lower costs, but it doesn't. So I reject it. The outcome of single payer systems is better health performance in nearly every category at lower cost. On what basis do you reject it?

    Now let's talk outcomes for the “preventative” (preventive) health care strategies. You want to create a new bureaucracy to lecture us about living healthier lives? Name me a single area of public education in this regard that is not ALREADY being done. Seen enough anti-smoking messages? Never heard of the massive 5 servings (fruits and vegetables) a day effort from USDA? What about all those ads about walking farther from your car to the shopette, or playing outside with your kids? Jazz, I think you're dreaming to think that people will change their dietary or lifestyle behavior because of some new government ads.

    But on a single payer plan, every person could go get cholesterol, CRP and other tests (e.g. PSA for men, mammograms for women), with no concern for the cost, no co-pay, and no fears that their lab test result will be used to DENY them coverage.

    The Ryan bill is a super-sized extravaganza of obscene profit for private insurers, in which I assume you are an investor. It is far, far away from addressing in a serious way, the crisis of health care we currently face.

  29. Joe Gandelman is a Birther Lit3Bolt… that is not a moderate democtrat – sorry. but u dont have a clue

  30. Joe Gandelman is a Birther Lit3Bolt… that is not a moderate democtrat – sorry. but u dont have a clue

  31. “What about it, anyone? Can you explain why you think reform is not possible without adding another government run insurance entity? That should be the starting point to convince doubters who might be persuaded.”

    I have even opened an entire thread with a different post, inviting exactly this.

  32. “I define me. You don't.”

    More of that great Jazz exceptionalism. I wish I could avoid responsibility for anything I post by lazily pointing a finger in the direction of my body of work.

  33. Leonidas,

    who did I condemn with partisanship?

  34. GreenDreams wrote: The insurance industry gets huge taxpayer largess from this bill. Everyone gets covered only through private insurance. Awesome. For the insurance industry. Even the “State Exchanges” have to buy private plans. We all become guaranteed customers in a mandatory sales scheme that would make Scrooge blush. By law, we would all become their customers unless we're too poor (in which case they still get the customer, compliments of Uncle Sam). If that happens, I will certainly invest in insurance companies. Their profit already went up 500% under Bush, while our rates have doubled. Of course, when they double again, within 10 years, many more Americans will be “truly unable” to afford private plans, and will need public payment. Median income, $45,000. Insuring the family, $12,500 now, $25,000 in 9 years (current doubling rate).

    Next, the pathetic, tired and discredited meme about “tort reform”. Several states have already capped damages. In every case, malpractice insurance rates in those states went UP, not down. So, ZERO savings. Incidentally, the cost of all malpractice, both the insurance and the payouts, is < 2% of health care cost. In most cases, there was actual malpractice and people were harmed or killed by it. Now the “personal responsibility” issue gets real cloudy. You want consumers to be held responsible but not doctors. If a surgeon shows up drunk, or amputates the wrong leg, or through error or incompetence, kills your wife, you want the WRONGDOER to be protected? Really? Let's pretend that half of the settlements are excessive (which I doubt). So maybe you have a 1% savings there. But apparently not, because even with damages caps, the insurance companies have no intention of EVER lowering rates.

    It's all about OUTCOMES. The outcome of tort reform should be to lower costs, but it doesn't. So I reject it. The outcome of single payer systems is better health performance in nearly every category at lower cost. On what basis do you reject it?

    Now let's talk outcomes for the “preventative” (preventive) health care strategies. You want to create a new bureaucracy to lecture us about living healthier lives? Name me a single area of public education in this regard that is not ALREADY being done. Seen enough anti-smoking messages? Never heard of the massive 5 servings (fruits and vegetables) a day effort from USDA? What about all those ads about walking farther from your car to the shopette, or playing outside with your kids? Jazz, I think you're dreaming to think that people will change their dietary or lifestyle behavior because of some new government ads.

    But on a single payer plan, every person could go get cholesterol, CRP and other tests (e.g. PSA for men, mammograms for women), with no concern for the cost, no co-pay, and no fears that their lab test result will be used to DENY them coverage.

    The Ryan bill is a super-sized extravaganza of obscene profit for private insurers, in which I assume you are an investor. It is far, far away from addressing in a serious way, the crisis of health care we currently face.

    And I thought it ought to be repeated.

    It would be nice if one of the health industry shills here would disprove or argue against anything GreenDreams wrote.

  35. Lit3Bolt,

    “Ed used to be good but has veered sharply to the Republican shill side of things ever since he moved his site. You just have to take things he says with a much bigger grain of salt nowadays.”

    Ed hasn't changed, Ed is still good, he just isn't being critical of Bush so much with Bush out of office. He is addressing the man in Office, Obama, whose policies have not been very moderate and his approach which has greatly resembled that of his predecessor, just replace WMD with stimulas for example.

  36. When the republican bill includes “And stick it to the insurance and pharm industries” i will be 100% for it. Aside from that, my line of thinking is with Sil. Millions of us have seen first hand the stubbornness of big insurance in helping out people who have paid for insurance and are sick to death of it. Health insurance's number one goal should be to help every person who is suffering that is under there plan, which they are not. Therefore, anyone who is siding with the corporatist standpoint is far from the people's side…a losing mindset from the very beginning as far as this debate goes. When the GOP can prove to the people that they are MORE on the people's side than on the corporatist side, THEN liberals and left of center moderates will give them credit. Now that we have confirmation from Ridge about raising threat lvl's for cheap fear votes and the revelations about a right-wing militia group being the preferred for secret hit squads by the CIA simply to keep its hands clean (GWB and his adminstration have killed the GOP for the next decade, mark my words) can someone who is 100% against Obamacare tell me why any good Christian should listen to ANYTHING the right has to say given our current moment in time???????? Jazz has said he is no longer with the Republicans, and now I no longer believe him when he says such statements, which sucks because as far as the conservative bloggers who post here go, i have the most respect for him.

  37. The republican plan includes freedom to buy insurance across state lines. this sticks it to them.

    Welcome aboard Wannabe_Centrist.

  38. Intripid

    “who did I condemn with partisanship?”

    Jazz of course, unless you mean something different when you write:

    “…get you talking points about health care from other right wing nut jobs”

    So if you see Jazz as a “right-wing nut job” you aren't accusing him of partisanship?

  39. I'm also going to out on a limb and claiming a new “silent” majority. This group waited patiently for GWB to leave office, refused to give the GOP a second chance, got what they wanted, and now want to give the GOP a second chance but cannot because of the horrible misconduct of the last 8 years and even to this day (death-panals and death threats to Obama's wife and kids?). There are millions of us in this group and it includes a lot of young voters, including myself. I may not be an expert at HC, but I have always had a good instinct for political moods and GOP continues to dig its hole deeper. I wanted Obama to take a bi-partisian approach for obvious reason but no longer. I remain a wannabe centrist for the time being.

    and to PM: At least sil is willing to stick to her principle of people before self-interests, something that seems rare among the right at the moment.

  40. It would be nice if one of the health industry shills here would disprove or argue against anything GreenDreams wrote.

    I would argue that one of the main goals of tort reform is to reduce excessive testing, not just to bring down malpractice rates. Currently doctors practice CYA medicine where tests are ordered on the off-chance there might be a lawsuit later. Tort reform needs to be looked at as more than just reducing the cost of malpractice insurance, and the numbers GreenDreams cites are really a red herring.

  41. So new private insurance companies can head down the same path as the hated ones of today…no thanks leo, I think I'll pass on that idea.

  42. For some of us on the right its our kids future before ourselves. We don't want to mortgage their future to pay for our own fiscal irresponsibility.

  43. “So new private insurance companies can head down the same path as the hated ones of today”

    Nope so they want be protected from competition by the government and allowed to run up the price tag.

  44. Jazz wrote: “A quick FYI for all the usual suspects. You don't like the tone of this post and the characterizations?..”

    Getting a little Glen Beckian are we Jazz?

    You're not going to listen to reason anyway, but this is aimed at those who still may be weighing their options rather than being addicted to rhetoric.

    Change that to a LOT Glen Beckian. Maybe a weeks vacation would do you (and the sponsors) good. :-)

  45. SteveK, proving Jazz was right.

  46. How feeble, Leonidas. You mean instead of buying Anthem of Colo coverage, I could buy Anthem of CA? Oh boy. That sure sticks it to them. Hey, I want a business in which the government forces everyone to buy my product and guarantees my profitability. Love that free market. </snark>

  47. and to PM: At least sil is willing to stick to her principle of people before self-interests, something that seems rare among the right at the moment.

    That's all fine, Wannabe. What I reacted to was the “anybody who doesn't want to do this my way is soulless”.

  48. Thanks for the compliments Kathy [way up above]. It's nice to hear once in awhile. Since this has degraded into a “who is conservative, moderate or liberal” debate..

    ****
    Jazz great to see a post that isn't left of center for a change, I do enjoy the moderate left postings as weoll here, but they have been buried lately in far left threads of late~ says Leonidas
    ******
    What isn't being grasped is that this isn't a partisan issue at all. This is an issue of an overwhelming majority being convinced it is a partisan issue. If we were debating only the pure mechanics of the de facto public option already in place, the astronomically expensive ER-option, then we'd have an avalanche majority supporting a cleanup of that option by legitimizing it once and for all.

    Instead we've been cleverly lead to believe this is a partisan issue. That way the GOP can pick up more numbers from sheer blind obedience than if people opened their eyes and realized THEY'RE ALREADY PAYING WAY TOO MUCH FOR THE PUBLIC OPTION…that the revised public option proposed would save taxpayers [gop faithfuls and dems alike] SCADS of money by its simple enactment. Add to that supplimental funding from taxing of harmful substances with little or no healthful values, add a tiny monthly premium per individual and you'd have yourself the best health care program in the world, hands down…and operating in the black..

    Yeah, the GOP/MedMob momentum would be dead in the water at that point…

  49. “Tort reform needs to be looked at as more than just reducing the cost of malpractice insurance, and the numbers GreenDreams cites are really a red herring.”

    Outcomes are never a red herring. You're welcome to cite examples in which tort reform DID lower costs. As for needless tests, see, I think THAT is a red herring. Doctors and hospitals get paid for doing tests, hence there is a pure profit motive unassociated with malpractice fears. What evidence do you have that they're covering their asses, which are already covered by malpractice insurance?

  50. Not only tort reform but getting government out of the business of deciding where the people can buy their insurance from. If the ability to purchase across state lines was opened, people in New Jersey wouldn't have to pay twice what people in California do for the same coverage. The high cost states would see tremendous reductions and the lower cost states would see reductions in costs as well as competition occurred.

  51. @ PM – It's hard not to feel like sil does when everyone has rediscovered their inner fiscal scold during the healthcare debate but were ambivalent about the war, bailouts, etc. It may be just me but it seems that Jazz has argued more passionately for fiscal responsibility during the Great Healthcaremoot than any other issue. I'd love him more if he was as consistently obsessed about finances in trade, war, the bailouts, subsidiaries, etc etc.

  52. @ Leonidas-so what then prevents insurance companies from merger and upping the rates for the entire nation? I'm not convinced cross state insurance is an awesome idea, mostly (like so many other ideas in the Great Healthcaremoot, no one seems to have any firm evidence of what it would actually do).

  53. Doctors and hospitals get paid for doing tests, hence there is a pure profit motive unassociated with malpractice fears.

    I agree with you on this, and part of health care reform also need to be reducing the reimbursement gap between cognitive services and procedures. However I think it's wrong to say that all excessive testing is due to the profit motive and none is due to fear of lawsuits. It seems to me both are reasons for excessive testing, and the existence of one doesn't cancel out the other.

    To my knowledge there are no studies saying tort reform reduces excessive testing, since over-testing is extremely hard to quantify. Maybe the best indirect evidence would be the excessive C-section rates in the US which are currently around 50-60% higher than in Canada and the UK, but even that is not direct evidence.

  54. Leonidas, I would suggest that instead of New Jersey seeing “tremendous reductions”, CA would see tremendous increases. Apart from “medical loss” (paying claims), insurance company profit and overhead “are not expected to vary by a percent or two” according to the insurance industry itself. Perhaps “medical loss” is higher in NJ than CA. But the industry won't compromise its profit to compete with itself. It will simply increase rates in CA to cover the costlier NJ customers.

    Let me return to what I think is the central problem with insurance-company mediated health care.

    Insurance companies will NEVER care as much about your health as their profit. The more they deny and refuse, the higher their profit. So does that refusal to pay yield reduced costs? Never.

  55. Lets face facts, most doctors don't even know the cost of the tests they do. Who cares because insurance pays them. Even if they are doing extra tests for the money it's still the same thing, who cares insurance pays them. Insurance has done more to jack up prices than anythng else.

  56. Part of the point of allowing people to buy across state lines is to allow people to opt out of the regulations that are imposed by their own state.

    A lot of the recently uninsured are people in a few states that have been priced out of the market because their states will only allow gold plated insurance plans to be offered. MA was one of those states, in fact- their health insurance costs were the highest in the nation. And coincidentally (that was snark), they also had regulations that forced all insurers to include coverage for chiropractic, full dental and vision, mental health, and I think even IVF. And mind you, that's not a regulation which insists that all companies must OFFER such all inclusive plans- they're just not even allowed to sell a product that doesn't cover everything, even if customers might want that to reduce their cost for the insurance.

    And here in GA where the regulations are not like that, products have recently come on the market which offer really low cost, high deductible plans. The problem is that all of those people in NY, NJ, etc, aren't allowed to buy those kinds of products. That's why in this case, I don't think it makes sense to argue that the states should be able to do their own thing if it means that it limits the choice for their citizens.

  57. Insurance companies will NEVER care as much about your health as their profit. The more they deny and refuse, the higher their profit. So does that refusal to pay yield reduced costs? Never.

    This is true in virtually every industry though and it's only a problem with regard to healthcare because we don't really have the option of choosing another provider if our current one screws us over.

    My grocery store could refuse to sell fresh food, or refuse to sell bread for less than $50 a loaf- but since they know I can go to another store, they know they can't get away with that. The gas station on the corner could dilute their gasoline with water, but again, they know they wouldn't have customers any longer if they did so.

  58. And CStanley brings the argument full circle to “the public option”.

    Or not.

    Actually, I'm very curious about something. Given the hue and cry, and the widely held belief that insurance companies are fleecing the consumers for the sake of very high profits, wouldn't you think some kind of competition would have shown up by now, even within the system we have?

  59. I'm not so sure that simply opening up the state lines to nationwide insurance competition will do the trick of pushing down the costs of the healthcare system. Sure it will increase competition in the insurance market but it doesn't do anything to restrain the cost of health care procedures, which are also increasing rapidly. If the costs of actual treatment aren't dealt with, it won't matter how many insurance options there are, premiums will still be high. Also, a majority of Americans dont directly participate in the insurance market, they get it through their employer.

    Still I think it's probably a good idea. It just isn't a magical solution any more than a public insurance plan is.

  60. PM- in another thread, I pointed out that lower cost plans ARE showing up, in states that allow them. Some states have mandates though that all insurance products have to cover everything, including some services that a lot of people will never use or would be perfectly happy paying out of pocket for instead of buying a jacked up insurance plan.

  61. It may be just me but it seems that Jazz has argued more passionately for fiscal responsibility during the Great Healthcaremoot than any other issue. I'd love him more if he was as consistently obsessed about finances in trade, war, the bailouts, subsidiaries, etc etc.

    No problem, It is,in fact, just you. Go do a quick search in my author archives here over the years. I opposed the Iraq war from the beginning (and even marched in the streets against it) and also complained about the cost of the war in, yes, money, in addition to the greater cost in blood wasted. I screamed about the Bush administration's spending ways, as did Ed Morrissey (who has also been maligned in this thread, though the far Right castigated him for it as well.) I oppose NAFTA, opposed the bailouts in TARP and the Porkulous bill. I argued against subsidies for Big Corn for ethanol and other agricultural interests. It's all right here on TMV. Feeling more love more me now, Lit3Bolt or would you care to dig up some non-existent posts where I'm inconsistent?

  62. APR- the thing is though that there's no real market pressure on the procedures right now because the insurance companies negotiate price but they'll still pay probably more than anyone would if they had to pay it from their checking account.

  63. SteveK,
    Greendreams' tired screeds against anything and everything that anyone who isn't a died in the wool liberal has ever proposed have already been taken to task. Failures in some instances of insufficient tort reform are not a basis to throw the baby out with the bath water. Most of his tirade is nothing more than a poor man's screed complaining about people who make more money than he does. He doesn't think there is a place for insurance companies in America. He probably doesn' think there's a place for banks who charge interest on loans, either. Everything should be free. That single player plan should be looked at by people in the UK, one of whom we interviewed on our radio show this week. He loves the NHS. Of course, he's always been poor. I asked him why there were still private hospitals and private insurance companies. He said it was because those were for people who “had more money and wanted better conditions.” That pretty much said it all.

    These liberal arguments on health care are driving us toward a cliff. The sad part is that they will likely eventually come true and when their dreams are realized, it will be several years before the country is broke and we all realize how much we've all been screwed.

  64. If Obama were to completely accept Ryan's plan tomorrow the Republicans would be against it. The “health care exchanges” sound like co-ops to me. Or should I say a government takeover of health care?

    It's fairly clear at this point the Republicans will not support anything proposed by or agreed to by Obama. It's about a lot more than health care reform at this point.

  65. “No problem, It is,in fact, just you. Go do a quick search in my author archives here over the years. I opposed the Iraq war from the beginning (and even marched in the streets against it) and also complained about the cost of the war in, yes, money, in addition to the greater cost in blood wasted. I screamed about the Bush administration's spending ways, as did Ed Morrissey (who has also been maligned in this thread, though the far Right castigated him for it as well.) I oppose NAFTA, opposed the bailouts in TARP and the Porkulous bill. I argued against subsidies for Big Corn for ethanol and other agricultural interests.”

    Ok, so you finally burnished your cred and came out of the woodwork. Took you long enough. So, Jazz, would you agree that costs not being discussed in regular political discourse is a feature, not a bug? Why are you arguing as if Republicans are acting in good faith and the Democrats are not and secretly want to hang crushing entitlements on the American people? Both parties have committed egregious violations of fiscal trust. The fact that you don't address these issues at all and just launch rhetorical bombs exclusively at the Democrats makes me suspicious of the purity of your motives. So if you actually ADDED the crushing cost of the Republican (and now Obama's) wars in the same breath as healthcare, I'd believe you. But you don't and write a post that would fit in great at Redstate. Your ONLY retort to this is “B-b-but you don't call out Kathy on her behavior!” which makes you a hypocrite because I don't see you constantly prowling the messageboards consistently calling out conservative BS.

    So no, Jazz, you can't participate in the healthcare fight and pretend to be above it at the same time. That's my problem with your attitude.

    Secondly, your argument against Greendreams is so blatantly classist I don't want to dirty myself by addressing it. What, do we come to TMV to drop our incomes? Jesus.

    “Of course, he's always been poor.”

    That's some gooooooood moderation right there! If this is “moderate,” I don't want to associate with it.

  66. You are asking and expecting Democrats to do *exactly* the thing you deplore Democrats asking Republicans to do: betraying our core principles.

    What principles are you referring to, Kathy? Jazz suggested means testing and discouraging frivolous lawsuits are anathema to Democrats, which seemed like a straw man; I was unaware Democrats defined themselves as the Party of Frivolous Lawsuits. But y'all seem to be conceding one or both are indeed inviolable principles.

  67. “Jazz suggested means testing and discouraging frivolous lawsuits are anathema to Democrats, which seemed like a straw man; I was unaware Democrats defined themselves as the Party of Frivolous Lawsuits.”

    You realize you just addressed a straw man argument that was rebutted with a personal attack with another straw man, right Dr J?

  68. Next, the pathetic, tired and discredited meme about “tort reform”. Several states have already capped damages. In every case, malpractice insurance rates in those states went UP, not down. So, ZERO savings.

    In Texas, Proposition 12, passed in 2003, doctors have seen malpractice insurance rates drop by almost 50% since the proposition was passed (ref: http://www.texmed.org/Template.aspx?id=780). It may be possible to make a case that lower malpractice insurance premiums for doctors does not translate into lower health care costs, but at least in the case of Texas, the blanket statement made about tort reform having no impact on malpractice insurance rates is inaccurate.

    By law, we would all become their customers unless we're too poor (in which case they still get the customer, compliments of Uncle Sam).

    If there is a mandate for individual health insurance coverage, then we'll all be customers of either the public or private plans. Is it OK to force everyone to have a plan if it's a public plan but not so if it's a private plan?

  69. Why are you arguing as if Republicans are acting in good faith and the Democrats are not and secretly want to hang crushing entitlements on the American people?

    Can we stick to the facts? We definitely have crushing health care costs, which crush 5% harder every year. The Democrats are in fact proposing to turn those costs into an entitlement. The only exaggeration is that they're doing it in secret.

    As for who's acting in better faith, that's a religious argument best avoided by anyone hoping for a productive dialog. The gist of Jazz's original post was that it should would be nice if people stopped saying Republicans are opposed to any health care reform and haven't put forth a plan, because they're not and they have. Looks pretty accurate to me. Why turn it into a religious hundred-years-war?

  70. “You realize you just addressed a straw man argument that was rebutted with a personal attack with another straw man, right Dr J?”

    No, Lit3, I asked a question. What inviolable Democratic principle is at stake?

  71. Lit – as someone who has sat and debated issues with Jazz for well over a year now, I can assure you that he is more moderate than a vast majority of the commenters in this thread. Jazz would get kick out of the “conservative club” because of his stands on all of the social issues (not to mention Iraq and Afghanistan – have you forgotten about the war?)

    Just because you disagree with him on this does not make him a “conservative” by any stretch of the imagination….

    LL

  72. Sil – you are getting the same “keep it partison! Keep it partisan! Above all KEEP IT PARTISAN!!” out of the Democrats too so what's your point?

    LL

  73. Silhouette,

    I enjoyed your introduction of the ideas of morality and souls into the debate. Honest question: When do you believe human attains that soul, and do you think it's moral to kill (or allow to do) a human after they've attained a soul?

  74. Lit – then you have not been paying attention to Jazz's writings in previous years….you know that whole “body of work” thing that you so quickly dismissed….Jazz spent a lot of time excoriating President Bush on his free spending ways ESPECIALLY when it came to the war!

    LL

  75. What a great comment thread. I took some more time to go out and finish some badly needed edge trimming around the yard and then came in to read the rest of the invective. And the funny part is, I'm not bothered by the arguments, or feeling driven to further argument. It's actually kind of endearing. I don't ascribe any false, evil motives to the people who so fervently argue against the items I'm pointing out. In fact, I'm almost envious. I do get that it's a strongly held belief in an ideal. You honestly do believe that, even after all this time, that if we just try hard enough, if we elect the right people and write up the correct pieces of paper, that everything is going to be ok. If we just, finally get it right, government will provide the answers to all of our problems and he bad parts of the world will simply go away. It's almost like those hobbits in the Lord of the Rings. If we can just win this one more fight then the good king will marry the elf queen and a thousand years of peace, prosperity and love will settle over the world.

    Unfortunately, it's the government. It's composed of people with all the same flaws as all the rest of the people. And it's not going to happen. And every time you hand over more power and control to them you are setting yourself up to be screwed by those you keep surrendering control to.

    Good luck with that,though. Let me know how the rainbows taste.

  76. @ LL

    My problem is this specific post and Jazz's recent body of work. I realize Jazz is an Elder holy moderate, but he cannot argue in good faith that quotes like:

    “Among other reasons, because Titles 4 and 5 also include fiscally responsible proposals which too many Democrats despise.”

    “most Democrats, who rely on a group mentality where everyone will eventually slip and fall on the sidewalk of a rich person and hit the lottery.”

    “He loves the NHS. Of course, he's always been poor.”

    “when several frequent authors here post things about Republicans “lying” and “fooling the gullible” on health care and repeating lie after lie after lie, such as the lie that Republicans never put forward any proposals.”

    are made from a stance of moderation and decency. There is only blatant hypocrisy and an argument from authority, because since Jazz can claim he's a moderate and above all this petty partisan bickering which he dives into with glee and jumps out untouched by the mud he's wallowed in. Anyone who disagrees with him on this issue is a filthy partisan, especially when we point out that he is carrying water for the Republican party, big time. So what, the Iraq War never happened? Bailouts? Medicare Drug Plan? The Republican party was for all these things, is STILL for all these thigns, and now Jazz is credulous enough to advocate a Republican healthcare plan over the Democratic one?

    Jazz can flaunt his blogger cred all he likes (and he deserves to), but to paint the Democrats as flithy tax and spenders while holding up the Republican minority as a model of fiscal restraint and ingenuity is dishonest. And that is what Jazz has recently been doing. Being a “moderate” is no excuse, and not a get out of jail free card for Jazz to polish snark on the Democratic party but then clutch at pearls and sniff smelling salts when he gets the same treatment. I'll repeat myself: If he is tired of the Itchy and Scratchy BS, he should act like it and not participate in it. If he's tired of Democratic lies, he shouldn't repeat Republican lies.

  77. “Good luck with that,though. Let me know how the rainbows taste.”

    Ok, this is the argument from cynicism aka “realism”. Then why do you even post Jazz? What about YOUR Republican rainbows? Didn't you trot out a 3 month old piece of legislation that no one has heard about, discussed, and doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of passing just to “get even” with all the people who have asked to see the Republican plan for healthcare? Don't you toss rhetorical bombs and lies as well? Will you deny that? And let's see, here, what's this:

    “I don't ascribe any false, evil motives to the people who so fervently argue against the items I'm pointing out.”

    HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHA. This is too easy, Jazz! Make me work a little!

    Also there's this:

    “And every time you hand over more power and control to them you are setting yourself up to be screwed by those you keep surrendering control to.”

    So you trust corporate bureaucrats more than government bureaucrats. Fair enough I suppose.

    In any case, I bow to your superior moderate wisdom, in all things.

  78. Still waiting for you to cite the specific parts of the legislation on the other thread Katty. Let me know when you have.

    Here you are, Leonidas.

    By the way, my name is Kathy, not Katty.

    Provides a refundable tax credit – $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families – to
    purchase coverage in any State, and keep it with them if they move or change jobs.
    [...]
    Modernizes Medicaid and strengthens the health care safety net by reforming high-risk
    pools, giving States maximum flexibility to tailor Medicaid programs to the specific
    needs of their populations. Allows Medicaid recipients to take part in the same variety of
    options and high-quality care available to everyone through the tax credit option.
    [...]
    For those currently under 55 – as they become Medicare-eligible – creates a Medicare
    payment of up to $9,500. This payment is adjusted for inflation and based on income,
    with low-income individuals receiving greater support. It is also risk-adjusted, so those
    with greater medical needs receive a higher payment.
    [...]
    Offers workers under 55 the option of investing over one third of their current Social
    Security taxes into personal retirement accounts, similar to the Thrift Savings Plan
    available to Federal employees.
    [...]
    Simplified tax rates are 10% on income up to $100,000 for joint filers, and $50,000 for
    single filers; and 25% on taxable income above these amounts. Also includes a generous
    standard deduction and personal exemption (totaling $39,000 for a family of four).

  79. That is a fair point and here lies the problem: no one really wants to compromise on their core principals. There are core principals that I admire from Republicans and Democrats. But will either side REALLY want to compromise to make a truly bipartisan bill?

    Thank you for acknowledging my point, T. I appreciate that.

    As for whether either side will really compromise, I would argue that Democrats made a huge compromise at the very start of this process by taking single-payer off the table before any discussion even got started. Republicans and other conservatives who insist that the public option has to go, and who berate Democrats for not being willing to jettison it, fail to appreciate that the public option, for Democrats, IS the compromise.

    Now, having said that, we all know that the White House and some Democratic leaders have been indicating their willingness even to get rid of *that.* And having offered to give up everything that makes health care reform a reflection of Democratic core principles, the Republican leadership has actually — amazingly, astoundingly — said straight out that they will oppose the bill anyway!

    I totally agree with you, T., that compromise and bipartisanship is important. But Democrats have shown their willingness to do that, even beyond what's reasonable, and Republicans have refused.

  80. GreenDreams

    ” Leonidas, I would suggest that instead of New Jersey seeing “tremendous reductions”, CA would see tremendous increases.”

    I don't think you understand market forces very well at all, LOL. So tell me, why haven't generic drug makers raised their prices to match name brands? If there is a profit to be made by keeping prices low, someone will take that market segment. Pretty much always has been (except during the great monopolies of the Robber baron days) and always will be.

  81. The only way public option is a true compromise is to take it out of the budget and make it support itself outside of tax revenues paid by non-subscribers. What do I get out of a “compromise” that requires me to fund both the before-compromise and after-compromise construction? Where's the option for me to be totally uninvolved?

  82. Polimom

    “Actually, I'm very curious about something. Given the hue and cry, and the widely held belief that insurance companies are fleecing the consumers for the sake of very high profits, wouldn't you think some kind of competition would have shown up by now, even within the system we have?

    I mean… if the dollars are that big, why hasn't a company shown up that will take only 5% (like grocery stores, for instance)? It's not as if that still wouldn't be a LOT of money…”

    Yes you would, where is the George Soros insurance company???

    Thing is, Insurance companies do no provide healthcare. That is a critical fact that gets ignored in the effort to demonize them, what they do is risk management. If you want to bring down the costs of risk management outside of increased insurance competition, you have to reduce the risk, in this case the cost of healthcare. Whats driving those costs? malpractice insurance that doctors pay, the cost of pharmaceuticals, research, doctors fees, expensive tests, non transparency of health provider costs. These have to be addressed if we want real solutions.

  83. Dr. J

    ” The only exaggeration is that they're doing it in secret.”

    not such an exaggeration let me refer you to the Obamameter

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promise

    “To achieve health care reform, “I'm going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We'll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies — they'll get a seat at the table, they just won't be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we'll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies. And so, that approach, I think is what is going to allow people to stay involved in this process.”

    Sources: Town hall meeting on Aug. 21, 2008, in Chester, Va.

    <snip>
    Obama promised — repeatedly — an end to closed-door negotiations and complete openness for the health care talks. But he hasn't delivered. Instead of open talks of C-SPAN, we've gotten more of the same — talks behind closed doors at the White House and Congress. We might revisit this promise if there's a dramatic change, but we see nothing to indicate anything has changed. We rate this Promise Broken.

  84. Dr.J,

    “The only exaggeration is that they're doing it in secret.”

    not so fast check the Obamameter

    Obama promised — repeatedly — an end to closed-door negotiations and complete openness for the health care talks. But he hasn't delivered. Instead of open talks of C-SPAN, we've gotten more of the same — talks behind closed doors at the White House and Congress. We might revisit this promise if there's a dramatic change, but we see nothing to indicate anything has changed. We rate this Promise Broken.

  85. Kathy, sorry about calling you Katty, it was an honest mistake no insult intended. that name is just not so easy to read with the first and last names run together, again my apologies.

    Ok you cited a part of Ryans bit, although its not actually from the legislation just a summary, but thats ok. What problem do you have with what you cited regarding healthcare?

    Do you oppose the dollar amounts? if so what do you think fair ones are? Do you opposed to buying insurance across state lines, or allowing folk's insurance to follow them when they move? Are you opposed to reforming the high-risk pools? Are you opposed to greater State flexibility to tailor to the needs of their populations? oppose to those under 55 becoming medicare eligable? opposed to the adjustments for inflation and income? opposed to lower income folk recieving more support?

    I need to know exactly what your objections are if I am to address them.

  86. Kathy

    “fail to appreciate that the public option, for Democrats, IS the compromise”

    Two points:

    1. Not all Democrats favor single payer or even the public option, thats why the Democrats can't pass either one despite a filibuster proof majority. So when you claim Democrats are Compromising here your not accurate, you should say Liberals instead.

    2. What liberals fail to appreciate is the government getting involved at all for Conservatives (Democrats as well as Republicans) IS the Compromise.

  87. Casual Observer

    ” he only way public option is a true compromise is to take it out of the budget and make it support itself outside of tax revenues paid by non-subscribers.”

    I could potentially accept a public option under those terms, provided there were provisions against bailouts with federal revenues.

  88. Why didn't more people start car companies to compete against the big three? The reason is that their are little sweet regulations that the industry had a hand in writing that allows them to cut out anyone large that is not in on the game, and then anyone small can be crushed with rising prices that your larger customer base can more afford once distributed. This is the way our capitalist system works. Small businesses are wonderful I agree but fewer and fewer of them exist that really matter because the mega corps get their ways and they continue the dance for their stock holders of ever rising returns but that is not sustainable for the nation because those profits come from us in the guise of higher prices and ever more paperwork and legalize.

  89. Saying the Public Plan is not a moderate idea is a bit problematic considering the fact that the Public Option continues to poll above 50%.

  90. so what then prevents insurance companies from merger and upping the rates for the entire nation? I'm not convinced cross state insurance is an awesome idea, mostly because like so many other ideas in the Great Healthcaremoot, no one seems to have any firm evidence of what it would actually do.

    Not just that, but also it would eliminate the ability of states to regulate health care policy in their states. Here is a quote from an article supporting a ban on state regulation of insurance companies, at Heritage.org — a very conservative site.

    Health insurance is heavily regulated at the state level. Some states require insurance plans to cover certain types of health care providers or to provide certain types of health benefits. Other state regula­tions affect the rating rules for insurance or the ability of insurance plans to exclude people from coverage. Still others limit the ability of insurance companies to select health care providers.

    Many of these regulatory initiatives, particularly in the area of health insurance underwriting, are designed to achieve specific policy goals, such as controlling escalating health care costs or expand­ing the availability of health coverage, particularly for high-risk individuals. Achieving these goals invariably requires trade-offs, but policymakers rarely make these trade-offs explicit. For example, rating rules that enable high-risk, older, or sicker employees to get low-cost health insurance with­out exclusions for medical conditions can make health insurance affordable for these employees but at the price of making younger and healthier employees pay higher premiums than they would otherwise obtain in the market. When younger persons do not or cannot participate in the health insurance market, their conspicuous absence increases the pressure on the premiums for those who remain in it.

    Obviously, it's to insurance companies' advantage to not be required by law to cover people in higher risk groups. This is not about giving younger, healthier people lower premiums; it's about denying coverage to the people who need it most, or making it prohibitively expensive. It may be sound corporate policy for the insurance company, which of course is in business to maximize its profits, but it's terrible health care policy. It's terrible public policy. And in my view the role of government is to create, support, and advocate for sound public policy, not to shill for private business.

  91. I've read almost all the comments and have failed to see the one obvious fact about health care. Doctors and hospitals provide services. Health insurers take money from subscribers, keep 20 to 30% and pay the bill. The HC's don't do anything else. They provide nothing to society and, as a result, do not fit into a capitalistic system. With what can they compete? They don't even buy and resell anything. They provide no services and they certainly manufacture nothing. What are they besides a conduit for shoveling money from consumers to doctors and hospitals?

    If rates increase in 2010 as they did in PA for Blue Cross (+12%), why did they go up? Increased medical costs, increased HI dividends or salaries or reduced payout targets? Nobody knows. Until we find a way to know, we will never control health costs.

  92. What problem do you have with what you cited regarding healthcare?

    Do you oppose the dollar amounts? if so what do you think fair ones are? Do you opposed to buying insurance across state lines, or allowing folk's insurance to follow them when they move? Are you opposed to reforming the high-risk pools? Are you opposed to greater State flexibility to tailor to the needs of their populations? oppose to those under 55 becoming medicare eligable? opposed to the adjustments for inflation and income? opposed to lower income folk recieving more support?

    I need to know exactly what your objections are if I am to address them.

    Leonidas, I already answered all of those questions, in that other thread, where I also told you the specific sections of the proposal I was talking about. I also addressed some of the same issues in this thread.

  93. “Why didn't more people start car companies to compete against the big three?”

    They did. Tesla's in the news these days, but Toyota and Honda used to be small car companies that were not only able to compete, but to eat Detroit's lunch. In fact most of the companies you might deride as mega corps got that way after knocking the previous champ off its perch. Of course small companies exist, and of course they matter.

  94. Health insurers provide nothing. Health costs are a certainty. Everyone will get sick and require health service. There is no such thing as a pool. Need for healthcare and medication is a predictable certainty. The competitive market works well for digital cameras, flat screen TV's and even life insurance all of which have fallen dramatically in price because of competition, improved efficiency and technology and increasing longevity. But health insurance is not insurance. It simply distributes premium. Medical costs only go up. So, if all society needs is a payer of medical bills, I suppose we should choose the least greedy payer.

    My physician's office has 23 people supporting 7 doctors. With a single payer, or at least a common form, those 23 could be reduced considerably. A single payer need not be the government, if that offends you. It could be an NGO (non-government office) or a true non-profit with NO POLITICAL LINKS. Lobbyists can lobby day and night but since they can't benefit from financing politicians, better decisions will be made by medical management.

    There are several countries operating successfully this way. Israel spends 8% of GNP and has life expectancy over 81. We spend 17% of GNP and live to 77 or so.

    Name one positive thing that Health Insurers provide our civilization. Define what they do and then let me know why they should continue to exist. I haven't been able to come up with anything.

  95. “[Health insurers] provide no services and they certainly manufacture nothing.”

    Sure, insurance companies provide a financial service by entering a bet with you that helps you manage your risk.

    If you own a house, and the average house burns down every 200 years, yours will probably not burn in your lifetime. But if it does, you can't afford to replace it. So to manage that risk, you enter a wager with a fire insurance company, in which you bet your house will burn down early, and they bet it won't. If it does you win the bet and enough money to replace your house, but odds are you will lose money overall. They've done you a service, letting you swap a huge but unlikely bill for a smaller but certain one.

    Health insurance started along similar lines but has morphed into something bigger and more controlling. Health insurers now play this weird gatekeeper role for all health care you receive, as if your car insurance company negotiated gas prices for you and told you where you could buy it.

    Of course, the car insurance market is competitive, as is the gas market. If you had a choice you probably wouldn't sign up for a car insurance plan that controlled your gas too, because it would be more expensive than buying it yourself.

    If consumers had a real choice about health insurance, and if there were a competitive market for doctors and hospitals, we'd probably conclude the same thing, that we're better off shopping for and paying for most routine treatment on our own. We'd pass on the big-gatekeeper plans the insurance companies offer today and push them back into the role of traditional insurance. That would be a terrific reform.

  96. The Republicans had a choice, make heath care “Obama's Waterloo” or discuss their proposals, even if the Dems are not willing to consider their proposals. The Republicans should be making a case about the cost of the proposed plans and how their proposals are more financially responsible, instead we have “death panels” and people shouting at town hall meetings, pretty obvious what direction the party wanted to go.

    One problem not discussed is that in some areas there is only one hospital or one chain of hospitals, with no competition there is no incentive to lower prices.

    Finally I see no comments on heath Co Ops, some have worked out well but in some cases have not, some form of heath Co Op might be a way around the single payer issue.

    This thing has now become so polarized that I don't see any rational thought anymore, we are back to the old Liberal vs Conservative mindset.

  97. I suppose we all basically agree on the basic issue but don't concur on the details.

    I've had homeowners insurance on eight houses in 30+ years and never had a claim. The same is true for my auto insurance. But, my health insurance is different. Since becoming 60+ my claims have increased each year. Knee replacement, blood tests every three months, surgery on my elbow for arthritis, and on and on. I'm typical of aging Americans. I cost money and the older I get, the more I cost. I have great insurance through my wife's employer. The cost to me to replace it is over $20K a year.

    Health insurance is not made up of a risk pool. Health insurers return premium to doctors. That's all they do. They are an expensive middleman and they should not be there. The optimum solution has no private insurers. Competition does not apply to them. They are a relic of WWII employers attempt to keep workers by paying their health bills when they could not give raises. Now all the insurers do is pay their CEO $20mm a year and do nothing to lower health costs.

    Eliminate preexisiting conditions, make recision (refusal to pay) illegal and cancel the lifetime limit and watch premiums soar. Maybe then the Crazies will want relief then.

  98. Kathy,

    ” Leonidas, I already answered all of those questions, in that other thread, where I also told you the specific sections of the proposal I was talking about. I also addressed some of the same issues in this thread.”

    You don't actually expect someone to jump from thread to thread to piece together your position like a jigsaw puzzle do you? Lets have the section you question and your rasons why in on post please.

  99. Magical Sky

    ” Saying the Public Plan is not a moderate idea is a bit problematic considering the fact that the Public Option continues to poll above 50%.”

    I already dispelled that myth, those polling questions are answered with a diferent perspective depending on who is asked. Conservaties responded positively to keeping a private option open as well if the government decided to run its sysem.

    With Republicans being opposed to the public option and Republicans now being trusted on healthcare more than Democrats not only by Conservatives but by independents, with 3 to one saying no public option should be considered if it loses money (which every study on the measures presented has indicated it will in trillions) I cannot consider it in any way shape or form a moderate propossal.

  100. Stupid Nation
    Just how stupid do they think we are?

    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZWQ3Njk0OW

    The Obama team is saddled with a foundering health-care strategy. But it has a fallback plan — relying on the sheer dimwitted gullibility of the American public. How stupid do they think we are?

    Stupid enough to think that a new $1 trillion health-care entitlement is just the thing to restore the country to fiscal health.

    Stupid enough not to know that almost every entitlement known to man has cost more than originally estimated, with a congressional committee in 1967 underestimating by a factor of ten Medicare’s cost by 1990.

    Stupid enough not to realize that it is through budget trickery — the taxes begin immediately, the spending is put off for a few years — that the program in the House shows “only” a $239 billion deficit over the first ten years.

    Stupid enough not to focus on how the gap between the House plan’s revenue and spending steadily grows after the first ten years, making it a long-term budget buster.

    Stupid enough to think increased preventive care will save the government money, just because Pres. Barack Obama constantly repeats it, despite all the independent studies to the contrary.

    Stupid enough to believe that a program with no cost controls that can be discerned by the Congressional Budget Office will control costs.

    Stupid enough not to worry that Obama’s proposed superteam of technocrats operating outside normal political controls — the so-called Independent Medicare Advisory Council — will resort to rationing when costs continue to spiral upward.

    Stupid enough to consider it wise to use several billion dollars in cuts from Medicare to create a new entitlement rather than to forestall Medicare’s own looming insolvency, currently projected for 2017.

    Stupid enough not to notice that the “public option” was explicitly designed by the Left as a stealthy path to single-payer, even as liberals continue to talk and write about its ultimate purpose openly.

    Stupid enough to believe that we’ll be able to keep our current health-care arrangements if we like them, even though the public option could throw tens of millions of people out of private insurance.

    Stupid enough to trust the same people who came up with the public option as stealth single-payer to craft a co-op provision that isn’t a stealth public option.

    Stupid enough to credit Obama’s assurances that the Democrats’ reform isn’t about government intervention in the health-care system when — even without the public option — it all-but-nationalizes health insurance.

    Stupid enough not to see through Obama’s sudden insistence on calling his plan “health-insurance reform” as empty poll-tested phrase-making.

    Stupid enough to consider Obama’s reform a good deal when its insurance regulations would increase premiums for most healthy people.

    Stupid enough to think that the very real problem of people with pre-existing conditions locked out of the insurance market can’t be alleviated short of a 1,000-page bill reordering the entire health-care system.

    Stupid enough to buy Obama’s cockamamie stories about unnecessary tonsillectomies and amputations — undertaken by greedy doctors to pad their profits — driving health-care costs.

    Stupid enough to get gulled by rhetoric attacking special interests when almost all the special interests are backing Obama’s plan for cowardly and self-interested reasons.

    Stupid enough to consider new taxes on employment — imposed by the so-called employer mandate — a good idea during a weak economy with a 9.4 percent unemployment rate

    Stupid enough to condemn ordinary people angry and frightened enough to show up at town-hall meetings in every corner of the country as the product of an “astroturfing” conspiracy.

    Stupid enough to blame nefarious Republicans for the faltering public support for an expensive, ungainly and contradictory health-care program passed out of four congressional committees on strict party-line votes.

    Stupid enough to trust the good faith and public-spiritedness of an administration operating on Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s ram-it-through-now credo that a crisis should never go to waste.

    And stupid enough not to be offended at how contemptibly stupid they think we are.

  101. My physician's office has 23 people supporting 7 doctors. With a single payer, or at least a common form, those 23 could be reduced considerably.

    That's not a high ratio at all. In veterinary practice, where we don't deal with insurance to any measurable degree, that would be a pretty lean practice with an efficient use of support staff.

    I wonder if your physician's office might be contracting out some of the paperpushing though.

  102. Dr J-I am unsure if you are missing my point or if you are trying to avoid it. Honda & Toyota had plenty of time building up a customer base before they moved to the US to compete and Tesla was not built to compete in the same market and did not become a force until long after the big 3 were weakened. Are you trying to over simplify history or did you really think I thought only 3 car companies existed in the entire world?

  103. Leonidas-The poll of which you speak took out the word choice and the numbers plummeted. The latest Survey 2000 poll that left in the word choice has the Public Option at 77%. How do explain the polls that say people approve of reform only with the public option?

  104. Stuart: “Health insurance is different. Since becoming 60+ my claims have increased each year.”

    Yes, you're right. Medical bills are a lot like retirement bills, pretty much guaranteed later in life. That breaks the “unlikely event” requirement, so insurance is the wrong financial instrument to cover them.

    The right instrument would be something closer to a savings account. Everyone should be putting money away from day one to pay for medical bills they will eventually face, just like we should be putting money away for retirement.

    There is still a role for insurance, to cover the risk that you come down with something expensive early in life.

  105. How about they realized just how good they have it and don't give a rat's ass about covering anyone but themselves? “Choice” or not, I'm not cutting off my foot to give insurance to someone else.

  106. SkyFather: “Dr J-I am unsure if you are missing my point or if you are trying to avoid it.”

    The point I took was that big companies tend get a lock on the market and thwart competition. Dying car makers seemed a curious choice of example.

  107. DrJ- What I was trying to convey is that we do not have a free market in this country. If you want to move to that model in a very Ron Paul type of way I am right there with you but in our current market I fail to see any real competition to bring down prices as the market players use their profits to bribe our politicians to stack the deck in their favor while writing regulations. If you want to melt the fed and move to a libertarian free market then I am all for health care remaining in only the free market. Otherwise this is a nice little game but free market it can never be and everyone knows it. Reagan actually promised that is where he was headed and instead he grew gov. Saying the free market cures all ills is just like the 70's dems that said that only gov can cure all ills, they are extremist points of view by definition because they reject not only the reality of our system but the history of our system. Though it was never “supposed to be this way” here we are and screaming liberty and free market has gotten us no closer to that but it has nicely added to the military and prison industrial complex and given us a gov that is 40% of gdp all while questing for a free market. Ideology is fun but this is reality here.

  108. I think you're arguing against a straw man, SkyFather. No one claimed the free market cures all ills. No one said “melt the fed.” No one is rejecting reality or history. If we have a military and prison industrial complex, it's not because people screamed liberty and free market too much.

    What I did say was the free market serves us well in every other industry besides health care. That market competition is the only way to drive efficiency up and costs down in the long term. And that promoting a more open, competitive market would improve our health care system.

  109. DrJ- Its not so much a straw man as much as an explanation of why even those of us like me that screamed liberty and voted Republican did so to get exactly where we are. I am done, I will wear whatever banner you like, call me socialist or a commie but economic liberty is no longer something I care all that much about while my other liberties have been taken by the party that is supposed to be a friend to libertarians. They gave us a system in which we got rid of those pesky regulations that corporations did not like and helped consumers but they really do not want a free market either. They have helped tarnish the name of capitalism in my opinion by opening the flood gates of the worst of predatory economic practices while pulling in the lobbying dollars. If they will not allow the market to run and choose to distort it how will doubling down on free market reforms change that? I fail to see how a free market solution can work in such a nation. I also consider the melting of the fed to be another prime component of any true free market system since constant money printing distorts the market to the detriment of the “middle class” and poor. I agree about competition and I even will swallow the allowance of buying insurance across state lines but only with a public option as that is the only way I see costs going down and that is only after they begin effectively bargaining for our prices which will probably not happen until our debt level is so high we may not be able to afford anymore wars. Then we shall finally find fiscal discipline. Just to say it again me and many of my libertarian friends screamed liberty and free markets to much, we are now reformed new deal types, it explains only a small percent of voters but they were once reliably republican voters and are no more.

  110. MagicalSky

    ” Leonidas-The poll of which you speak took out the word choice and the numbers plummeted. The latest Survey 2000 poll that left in the word choice has the Public Option at 77%. How do explain the polls that say people approve of reform only with the public option?”

    Here is the short answer.

    Do you really think that 81% of Republicans support the Public Option? and that 68% doe so strongly (just 3% less than Democrats)? Does anyone in their right mind believe this?

  111. ” but only with a public option as that is the only way I see costs going down”

    Seems like every study suggests the opposite, costs will go up dramatically with a public option, the difference is you wont be paying them, your children will as the deficit grows larger.

  112. Hmmm . . . don't most states now require car insurance of some kind? Come to think of it, I don't know of a state that doesn't. Have you watched TV in the last few years? Every other commercial is for car insurance. And, what has that done for the rates? You guessed it – brought them down. Why? It's called capitalism and the free market. If you can't handle the free market, may I suggest a few other countries that would love to have you.
    Private industry is not allowed to make a profit? Well then, let's just run out of business any industry that dares to do so. We've already done it to the auto industry and the banking industry. Now, you wnat to take over the health insurance industry also. Of course, the oil industry should go – they make way too much money. Let's see, what else? It seems to me that software and computer companies are also on the “take”. After all, Bill Gates has become a billionare off Microsoft. That shouldn't be allowed. So, I suggest we take them over, too. Definitely add to the list some of these stupid restaurant chains like McDonald's. Why in the world should they be allowed to make money from the rest of us when they serve up food that can only add to our health problems? Let's take them over, too. And don't forget the tobacco companies. They should just be done away with. And how about the alcohol and beer industries? Should they be allowed to make money when folks are dying in car accidents? Let's either run them out of business or take over. Hey, I say we shouldn't allow the grocery companies to make any money either. After all, we have to eat, don't we? Why should they be allowed to profit off something we have to have. Same goes for the construction industry. It just isn't fair that there are people who are actually getting rich off the fact that our human condition demands we have shelter. What an outrage! Off with their heads! Off with all their heads! Our government should just take it all over! Obama can handle it all! If he can't, we always have Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid!

  113. Leonidas-Why is it we always find that Franklin line when a handful of peoples profits are at stake and forget it when we are actually handing over our rights like with the patriot act? I think I am just done debating, we do not agree on the polls, do not agree on the meaning of the poll results and you refuse to move and so do I. Its a bit like debating a Fox news or Chomsky person, you are not debating the same reality so its pointless. If you want the deficit to go down lets start with ending the war on drugs and vacating our military bases around the world. Lets keep a standing army to deal with our current crises and then only have special forces units and maintenance on what we have already built instead of using the funding to prop up rural areas economies. Lets ensure that Medicare/Medicaid and SS are not being gamed by enforcing laws and actually investigating abuse. I suppose if we do nothing by this rate in 16-20 years we will not be discussing co-ops as we were in the 90's nor will we discuss a public option like now we will have single payer on the table and many more people will be ready for it since I seriously doubt republicans will change anything to get in the way of higher profits. I seriously doubt I will stay in this country without reform anyway because it makes me to fearful of my financial future knowing I am one calamity away from a bankruptcy that it will be pretty difficult to declare now. I just pity those that are stuck here and that are actually trying to raise families, good luck with that.

  114. I have read more than one post here comment that people who are not in favor of the public option are investors in insurance companies, corporatists, etc….

    Wannabe_Centrist wrote:
    “Millions of us have seen first hand the stubbornness of big insurance in helping out people who have paid for insurance and are sick to death of it.

    Millions of us have also seen first hand seen the stubbornness of big government in helping out people who have paid for Social Security and are sick to death of it. Example, I have neighbors who are losing their house. Why, you might ask? This is an older couple who have worked their whole lives, paid into the system, raised their children and were working toward their retirement. Today, their reality is that the husband was recently diagnosed with cancer and can no longer work. Since he earned the lions share of their income they are trying to sell their house before foreclosure. This man has been given less than 6 months to live and is fighting the cancer with chemo and radiation. I personally would define someone with less than 6 months to live and unable to work as “Disabled.” Yet, big government disagrees and has denied him Social Security Disability benefits. This is just one example, I personally know of others. So when you point your fingers toward Big Insurance, you must know that Big Government is performing just as badly or do you conveniently ignore this fact. This is why I am not in favor for a public option. The Left's assertion in all of this debate is that Big Government can do it better than Big Insurance. Yet in all of the Big Government programs I am aware of there is absolutely no evidence of this being the case. Big Government has not proven to me that it is capable of doing it better than Big Insurance!! I do not oppose the public option out of hand because I am morally inept as some would suggest. I have as much concern for people as anyone and want to see health care affordable for all people regardless of their income.

    Wannabe_Centrist then wrote:
    “Health insurance's number one goal should be to help every person who is suffering that is under there plan, which they are not.”

    As pointed out in the example of my neighbor, the same goal should also be number one for Big Government yet we all know that Big Government has also miserably failed. I would argue that Big Government and Big Insurance are figuratively speaking one and the same thing. Big ineffective Bureaucracies!!

    I personally do not see any of the proposals that I have heard or read about fixing anything. They are simply politicians beating their chests saying “Look at me, look at what I am trying to do for you!” If they were truly concerned about us then they would put forth legislation that would actually fix something. The truth is that both D and R are all in the back pockets of the Lobbyists (Insurance in this case) and all of the plans IMO retains the status quo for the Insurance Companies.

  115. @Identon

    “Hmmm . . . don't most states now require car insurance of some kind? “

    Nope not a one does. The only requirement for car insurance if if you wish to drive. You can wlak, ride the bus, catch a train, catch a plane, ride with someone else, etc., all without car insurance. You only pay for car insurance if you use the driving priviledge.

    A public option is asking you to pay for car insurance even though you don't have a car for anyone who would not use such an option. We already have examples of this however, one's I'm opposed to. The easiest to cite is Public education. Why should people who send their kids to private schools be forced to pay for educating someone else's children? Why should people without children be forced to take on a share of a parent's responsibility to provide and education for their children.

  116. There is much mis-information and dis-information floating around the health care issue and this forum is no exception. If you scrape away the barnacles, comprehensive reform proposals have the objective of (1) providing universal health care coverage (or at least access thereto) (2) containing health care costs (3) allowing provider choice and (4) maintaining quality of care. Generally the French system does a good job of all of the above. The French government pays for certain basic health care needs. Individuals have the right to purchase supplementary health insurance to cover medical needs not paid by the government or to pay for them out of pocket (self-insurance). The government reimbursement is paid out of general revenue funds. There is much less evidence of defensive medicine because their tort liability system is more limited than ours (though we have considerable variation from state-to-state).

    None of the Democratic and Republican proposals will get us remotely close to such a system.

    A problem with the “public option” is that it provides employers with an incentive to scrap their current insurance coverage and assume a “tax” for that action. I am reasonably confident that my previous employer) will take that option as it was paying in excess of 20% of my salary towards my coverage (self and dependent) and will only incur an 8% “tax”. I expect that will be the case for many employers. If that transpires, I will also lose my coverage as I participate in a pool with the active employees, albeit I pay the full premium. In which case, I will end up in the public option. If, as expected, many or most employers opt out of providing health insurance to their employees, many health insurance providers will disappear. Health insurance companies play a vital role in the French system because they are available to fill the gaps in their system. This is an important safety valve. Canada, for example does not permit private health care in competition with the government owned and operated system, so the US health care system currently is their de facto safety valve.

    One of the reasons health insurance is so expensive is that health care providers look to health insurance to pay for all of the slackers in the system. This includes people that use health care services but lack any coverage, people who use bankruptcy court to discharge large medical bills, the medicare program (which only currently reimburses a small portion of the charges in my state) and that portion of the medicaid program expenses which are covered through fee-for-services rather than ongoing HMO coverage.

    In my state, the bulk of health insurance coverage is provided by HMOs which must be non-profit per statute. By the way, this statute is not a silver bullet. Our state health insurance costs are larger than many states that permit for-profit health insurance coverage. Not surprisingly, non-profit HMOs operate very much like a cooperative for health care providers. The non-profit requirement has significantly reduced the number of health insurance providers in this state as has been the experience of other states that have imposed well-intentioned requirements on health insurance companies.

    Assuming, (a) the “public option” elbows out much or all of private health insurance down the road and (b) reimbursement rates are equivalent or comparable to Medicare, many or most health care provider networks will become insolvent. If that develops, we will have a health care crisis that makes the current one look like a tempest in a teapot. .

  117. @ Magical Sky

    ” Leonidas-Why is it we always find that Franklin line when a handful of peoples profits are at stake and forget it when we are actually handing over our rights like with the patriot act?”

    Suffice it to say, you don't know me at all. I was a vocal critic of the Patriot Act.

    A couple of things I posted at the main forum I frequent to give you an idea

    From March 20, 2007

    ” This just goes to show the value of an opposition party in Congress, the Republicans allowed this type of stuff to go on with little oversite and now that we have it all kinds of things are turning up. Maybe one day rule of the WhiteHouse and Capital Hill can still keep watch over itself, but judging from recent history we are better off with a division of power, at least until we put enough people in Congress who are willing to cross party lines when good governance requires it, or a President who can reach out to the opposition even when he has the majority.”

    From July 9, 2006

    ” It is right and proper to be concerned about the attacks on 9/11 but we shouldn't let al-Queda dictate who we are as a people by their cowardly attacks. We are better than that. Paying back the motherf***ers who did this is a correct response, lashing out blindly is not. Taking precautions to secure our nation from future attacks and changing legislation to achieve this is proper, violating and side-stepping around legislation is not. Standing up for American ideals knowing that our freedoms and way of life is the ultimate weapon in “The War on Terror” which our foes cannot defend against is right, disarming ourselves of this weapon to fight on their level is not.”

    April 11, 2007

    “I think the job of the FISA courts is to make such determinations, not the intelligence agencies. Letting them be the ones who decide if a cout order is eeded, is like giving a crack addict the keys to the room where drug bust evidence is stored.”

    December 22, 2005

    ” I think that the Patriot act should be scapped and more appropriate laws and specific laws be written to replace what is necessary with the proper safeguards included. This likely can't be done immediately so an extension is not a bad idea giving lawmakers time to iron out what exactly needs to be done. However, I'd like to see a very temporay checks on abuses included with any extentions at this time as the Patriot act has definately been used for purposes other than its origional intent.”

    and finally August 6, 2007

    ” Refresh my memory.

    Perhaps I did call the Patriot Act unConstitutional, I don't recall doing so, but its entirely possible. If I did it is not really unConstitutional and I was in error, it is only unPatriotic.”

    As you can see I don't carry the double standard you suggest.

  118. You don't actually expect someone to jump from thread to thread to piece together your position like a jigsaw puzzle do you?

    Yes, I do, actually. You don't expect me to repeat answers I've given to questions you've asked in another thread just because you ask the question again in a different thread, do you?

  119. Leonidas-Sorry yesterday my head finally exploded over the issue when I got yet another bill from my insurance company 3 months after I was told everything was covered.

    It looks like you were saying basically what I was around the patriot act so I apologize for misreading you. One of the things that also makes it a difficult debate is that first its hard to tell who are anti-gov about everything or anti-corp about everything or anti-free market about everything apart from those that just have a problem with this issue in one of those areas. The second problem is that then you have two different sets of pro-business people those that want to leave it to the free market to help business and those that want to take it off of business to make our country more attractive to employers. It makes it difficult because any of the two pro-business schools will go for one another's throats and I think you and me are a descent example. I want to make our citizens as healthy and educated as possible to attract employers but from a business point of view anything that takes the costs off their back is affordable but then you have to find a way to not have people bleeding in the streets but then you get another split between handing the poor money and handing the poor care or refusing to hand the poor anything. Repubs are discussing handing the poor money which makes it confusing and democrats are discussing keeping it free market which is confusing. I am anti-corp but not on one issue on all issues, it offends the libertarian in me but I really dont care if we have a mixture of the three, business, corps and gov all working to fix the problem or just one(I would prefer as many actors as possible actually) I only care that the costs come down or at least slow down and that we look hard at ways to ensure it ceases to bankrupt people.

  120. @ Kathy

    ” You don't expect me to repeat answers I've given to questions you've asked in another thread just because you ask the question again in a different thread, do you?”

    Yes I expect an intelligent and in one piece commentary if I'm to bother to reply to it. If your too lazy to do that, why should I bother?

  121. Jazz: Greendreams' tired screeds against anything and everything that anyone who isn't a died in the wool liberal has ever proposed have already been taken to task. Failures in some instances of insufficient tort reform are not a basis to throw the baby out with the bath water. Most of his tirade is nothing more than a poor man's screed complaining about people who make more money than he does. He doesn't think there is a place for insurance companies in America. He probably doesn' think there's a place for banks who charge interest on loans, either. Everything should be free. ..snip..

    Jazz, I don't think you've ever been directly insulting to me and I know I have not been to you. You don't know me at all, and your “screed” is just plain wrong about both me and the points I've raised. For instance

    Failures in some instances of insufficient tort reform are not a basis to throw the baby out with the bath water.

    “Tort reform” is a darling of the right, but with corporate control / excessive influence of both legislative and administrative branches, the right to sue for damages is our only recourse when inadequate laws or regulations allow incompetent or crooked people to hurt us or our families. The right uses outright lies, such as that in both the famous McDonalds coffee case and the famous Sears mower incidents, to mischaracterize 'outrageous' rulings. Our justice system establishes our right to have a jury of our peers to decide if we've been wronged and how much the wrongdoers should pay for their negligence, corruption or incompetence. Don't like that? Well you can easily move to someplace without jury-granted awards. Do you really want BIG GOVERNMENT to limit what our peers can decide, crippling a constitutional right for the benefit not of the people, but of the wrongdoers?

    In any case, it is true that malpractice is a trivial part of health care cost. You think not, prove it! Here's what the CBO says:

    “In short, the evidence available to date does not make a strong case that restricting malpractice liability would have a significant effect, either positive or negative, on economic efficiency, ” the CBO said.

    And a 1999 study in the Journal of Health Economics found only tiny savings – less than three-tenths of one percent – when studying the cost of Caesarian sections in states with limits on lawsuits, compared to states without limits.

    CBO: When CBO applied the methods used in the study of Medicare patients hospitalized for two types of heart disease to a broader set of ailments, it found no evidence that restrictions on tort liability reduce medical spending. Moreover, using a different set of data, CBO found no statistically significant difference in per capita health care spending between states with and without limits on malpractice torts.

    BTW, CBO is headed by the former chief economist for Bush's Council of Economic Advisors

    Most of his tirade is nothing more than a poor man's screed complaining about people who make more money than he does. He doesn't think there is a place for insurance companies in America. He probably doesn' think there's a place for banks who charge interest on loans, either.

    Jazz, I'd bet you money that I have both made more and currently have more money than you. WAY more. I care about people who have not started half a dozen companies, managed dozens of people, made a ton working, made a ton more investing and are comfortably retired.

    As I've pointed out many times, and you just admitted, insurance companies exist and thrive under single payer systems. And I've offered the proven facts that Medicare represents a 31-37% savings over insurance mediated costs, even in the toughest cases — old people, documented both by the government and by the insurance company trade association. Nothing you have suggested is even 5%, IS IT? As for banks and interest, I think by not supporting the bank bailouts you reveal the incosistency of your own argument here. I have no problem with, and have relied upon, loans both loans I've made with interest (to fund a friend's startup) and loans I've taken out and paid back with interest, including 8 mortgages.

    In conclusion, Jazz, screw you, a55ho1e

  122. …party of NO! Seriously, where do you get your talking points? From the DFL controlled state-media? How many times has tort reform been tried, only to have the greedy lawyer lobbyists shoot it down? If the party of NO is the party of NO big government, NO multi-trillion dollar deficits, and NO trampling on the constitution, I'll gladly say “Yes!”

  123. Um…you state that because it was proposed by Republicans, nobody is talking about it? Give me a break!! You've got all the people shouting down townhalls, republicans and extreme right-wingers spouting lies left and right to strike fear into the hearts of our senior citizens, talking heads on every station bitching about Democratic proposals. The FACT is that nobody's talking about it because YOU, and the rest of the republicans don't BELIEVE in what they want to talk about. If they did, they'd be holding townhalls to talk about WHAT THEY WANT TO DO, not WHAT THEY DON'T WANT TO DO. Waaaah! Waaaah! Stop complaining and talk about what you actually want to do, if it's such an amazing proposal. You apparently have the ear of the American people enough to drown out the Dems; use that to actually DO something!

  124. look, I agree at times. Republicans didn't do enough when they were “in power”. Granted, healthcare wasn't QUITE as big an issue as it is today. We can, and should, thank the Democrats for making it so. I firmly believe both parties (Republican, Democrat) are necessary. They offer wildly disparate viewpoints and ideals on how government should be run. Reasons why nothing has been done about healthcare to date:
    1. Insurance Lobbies – If the government starts imposing sanctions, their profits slip.
    2. Trial Lawyer Lobbies – If Tort reform is enacted, they stand to loose a ton of money.
    3. Not in top 3 issues “of the time”.

    I think your idea that only “have a soul” if you support a national system is ludicrous. People without health insurance can and do receive healthcare. Hospitals cannot turn them away just because they cannot pay. As for the fiscal side of things, that is deathly important. Extreme case here: Government never “rights the ship” so to speak. The USA falls deeper and deeper into debt. Someday the liability on our loans will exceed the GDP to such an extent we will NOT BE ABLE to pay them back. In your situation you can just say oh well and file bankruptcy and start over. Unfortunately the bank gets your house and maybe your car. What of value does our government have to give? Alaska? Hawaii? Missouri? I mean scoff if you want, but seriously, someday we will be faced with some very tough choices. Me, I would rather pay a little higher taxes now, and have a lot fewer government programs now, and start making some headway on our loans. In small terms a $1,000 loan is alot easier to pay back than a $10,000 one. Not the least of which due to the interest difference between the two. Put that into the trillions and you get an idea about how much interest we are talking here.

    National Debt clock: http://www.usdebtclock.org/

    Now I love and care about my fellow man/woman, but at some point you have to think about the unit as a whole. Sure we can cover all these people for the next 100 years, take care of their food and housing while we are at it, but at some point everyone could loose all.

    (To get an idea about where my opinions come from, I am a fiscally conservative independent.)

  125. The basics: Government's role is to Protect person and property – not for Provision.
    I think if we freeze government spending across the board and then reduce government by attrition we will make serious headway without causing a train wreck.
    Along with that commit to no more new recipients to any government programs. Set an age, say 15, where no more Social Security will be paid to the government enabling them to set up their own retirement accounts if they wish.
    The next thing once these practices are implemented would be for anyone who wishes to opt out of paying into Social Security may do so irrevocably. The other diminishing government programs would then have their budgets being redirected to bolster Social Security for those left in the program.
    I think the medical industry would have to behave like any other business if the government and the AMA were not able to regulate it like they do. Enforcement of accurate medical credentials is all I would want from the government to protect me from charlatons as I choose my nurse, doctor, etc.

  126. Bottom line in all GOP proposals is business refuses to pay for healthcare. GOP proposals are both immoral and unreasonable. It is immoral because it exploits the working poor and undermines the democracy. It is unreasonable because universal healthcare actually grows an economy rather than generates burdens! In other words we are killing medical RandD which could be a world wide growth industry for the USA. The best health care reform option is to mandate all employers of 6 people or more provide health insurance or join a state sponsored HMO. We have this in Minnesota and it has worked well for years. Let cut the complaining and get on with meaningful reform.

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