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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

  16. ” 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. @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.

  21. 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. .

  22. @ 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.

  23. 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?

  24. 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.

  25. @ 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?

  26. 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

  27. …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!”

  28. 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!

  29. 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.)

  30. 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.

  31. 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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