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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 22, 2007 12:20 PM. The previous post in this blog was New Portland parks sponsor policy launched. The next post in this blog is $57 million vistas. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

State of the Union preview


Comments (28)

I dunno, that sounds more like something our governor would say...

Sadly, Hillary proposed the same thing back in that brief co-Presidency period.

Prediction: this will probably last along as his big plan for the trip to Mars.

On the subject of Mars, look for a Kennedy-isq announcement to build a permanent moon-base by 2024.

Judging by how well our public schools perform, nationalizing health care is definitely not a good idea.

As if Medicare/Medicaid isn't bloated enough already.

...look for a Kennedy-esque announcement to build a permanent moon-base by 2024.

Tom Friedman is right. Energy independence is this generation's moon shot. We've been to the moon. It's time to shoot for something new. Unfortunately this president is incapable of doing that.

How about affordable hydrogen fueled cars in every garage by 2017?

"As if Medicare/Medicaid isn't bloated enough already."

You might want to look at some objective facts about this -- for example, the administrative cost of Medicare compared to the administrative cost of private, insurance-based health care. Then, on the other hand, they might not support your bias, so maybe it's best not to look.

How about affordable hydrogen fueled cars in every garage by 2017?

Doesnt that produce water vapor? I thought water vapor was the biggest contributor to the greenhouse effect?
How does that help?


That last line should be "How does that help global warming?"

I know it helps energy independence.
(Except for all the plastics we make, and heating oil.)


"Judging by how well our public schools perform, nationalizing health care is definitely not a good idea."

Silly me. I had no idea our schools were run by the federal government. That explains almost everything.

Just keep defending the status quo Allan. So good to see your partisanship clouding your logic. Boy, the OHP and Oregon public schools are really thriving, aren't they?

BTW, Medicare/Medicaid many 'administrative' costs are left out of all those 'objective' reports you're referring to. Add in things like debt servicing and management costs, Medicare meets or exceeds private admin costs.

S/B: "many of Medicare/Medicaid's…"

The State of Oregon already imposes a hidden tax on health insurance to pay for the Oregon Health Plan. Oregon charges each insurance company about $180 per year per employee covered. The insurance company passes the cost back to the company, which may pass some of it back to the employee. So, our state is a little ahead of Bush.

It's not like Junior has ever cared about finding the money to pay for his programs before. Why start now?

Chris, I can't tell whether you are defending the current state of health care in the U.S. or avocating against public education. Either one, I would think, is a steep hill to climb.
I would be interested in seeing sources for your assertion that Medicare administrative costs exceed those in the private sector. I think that's demonstrably wrong. Studies that I have seen that try to defend private sector costs mostly show that, while private sector costs may not be ten times Medicare's, they are certainly four or five times as high, even after a lot of massaging. Capital costs are not administrative costs in either public or private financial reporting, but to my knowlege there are no capital costs yet in Medicare (though the drug "benefit" will probably change that).
I don't think it is necessary to defend public education in order to argue for a better health care system. But I would strongly defend it in principle, even though I would agree with you that it is not in a good state here in Oregon (or very many other places in this country). There are a lot of reasons for that, and inadequate funding is among them. Inadequate funding, by the way, is the main reason the Oregon Health Plan is no longer achieving its objectives. Meanwhile, we are all paying (some of us only indirectly) far too much for far too little in health care.

"advocating" against public education

How does that help?

Well it gets us thinking. And moving toward a solution. I don't think we can afford to spend another decade talking about how new ideas won't work. I'm merely suggesting we spend the next 10 years thinking of ideas that will get us toward energy independence and putting those ideas to work. It's not just about the environment. It's about jobs. It's about trade. It's about education. It's about a lot of things. There's a tremendous opportunity here, but if we sit on our hands and complain that it's too tough and allow our leaders to continue business as usual, this opportunity will be lost for another generation.

I'm not sure what the objection to this proposal is, as it only taxes benefits under those "gold-plated" plans that offer health insurance valued at more than $15,000 a year. It is those people who have very generous health benefits who can afford to go running to the doctor for every sneeze and sniffle, without thinking about the cost, that drive up the cost of medicine. If no one is concerned about the cost (because, after all, their insurance will pay in full, with a $5 co-payment) then people overconsume the resource -- and that's just basic economics.

I think this proposal to offer families a tax deduction for their health insurance up to a value of $15,000 (regardless of who provides the benefit, self or employer) and individuals deductions of $7,500 would make health care more affordable to more people. And that's a good thing. Finally Bush is getting SOMETHING right, even if it is late in his presidency.

Now if we could just get him to understand basic Constitutional precepts, we'd really be getting somewhere!

It is those people who have very generous health benefits who can afford to go running to the doctor for every sneeze and sniffle, without thinking about the cost, that drive up the cost of medicine.

That has a nice ring to it, but there are very few people in this category.

Finally Bush is getting SOMETHING right, even if it is late in his presidency.

Amen. Isnt this what people want? Its essentially government subsidized health care...just that the "care" is kept in the private sector, where it belongs.

Although I doubt teachers here will be happy with it. Their benefits package is in the $25k ballpark (according to a Trib article a while back). I would bet most of that is their health coverage. Anyone want to bet they bitch up a storm? Or will the state offer the Teachers Union something similar?


Although I doubt teachers here will be happy with it.

Bingo. This thing is a dead letter and the president knows it. But it plays right into the right wing talking points.

Unions bad!

Teachers are overpaid!

Public education sucks!

He doesn't want to talk about healthcare at all. And the media is eating it up (again). Every story you hear about this proposal reminds us unions have these gold-plated plans GWB wants to tax. Just when I thought the president was the dumbest guy in the room.

It's all the unions' fault. It has nothing to do with filthy rich doctors, ripoff hospital corporations, or crooked pharamaceutical companies.

Even discussing a domestioc proposal Bush will make in the SOU is a waste of time. Haven't you caught on yet? To him these are just speeches, they don't actually mean anything. Look back at the previous ones, he always make a bunch of proposals which are promptly filed, seen any switch-grass farms?

seen any switch-grass farms?

Ask Gregg Clapper.

It's all the unions' fault. It has nothing to do with filthy rich doctors, ripoff hospital corporations, or crooked pharamaceutical companies.

Actually, I think it has a lot more to do with the crooked, filthy rich health insurance companies...Im not the type that goes to the doctor "for every little sniffle", but I sure get tired of the damn insurance company arguing about every single nickel they are billed for. Especially with the amount of money they get from all of us every month.
Just last week I finished an argument with my insurance company from a single $130 office visit in April of last year! It was for my daughter, and it was the ONLY time all year she went to the doctor. They get several hundred of my hard earned dollars a month, and they bitched about $130. Now yes, I could afford to just pay for it. But its the principle. I pay them to cover my family. (I did win though.)

Its just stupid. I mean c'mon, my family is fairly healthy. Out of 5 people...we went to the doctor a total of 3 times all year. Total with prescriptions about $500. Yet they got about $12,000 of my money in premiums. Year before that, maybe 5 office visits for flu & such, and I broke my ankle. Emergency room, and maybe 6 office visits. Total about $7,500.
Its one helluva racket.

I'll bet GOP guru Gregg Clapper's entire marijuana crop that W doesn't talk about Iraq for more than two sentences... one of them linking it to 9/11.

Then, I'll wash down W's garish garbage with some Vicodan and call it a night, like the Bush Twins do most evenings.


The health care problems in this country are intractable, but I guess it's good that politicians on both sides are trying to do something.

Regarding the people with "gold-plated" health plans, Julie Rovner on NPR said this morning that about 20% of people with insurance would fall into this category. The Administration seems pretty open that the intent of this is to limit the number of high-end plans as a strategy for controlling costs system-wide. Intellectually, this idea makes some sense and is consistent with Bush's view that the tax system is the appropriate place to influence individual behavior, rather than through a government program. (Personally I think the tax code IS a government program, but whatever.) Bush has been proposing health care tax credits and deductions for years, this is just a newly expanded program.

That said, of course this is also political because it goes after mostly union workers and avoids directly taking on the health care industry. And Bush knows it has no chance in Congress, but he can claim to be doing something.

Finally, Jon, the reason the insurance company makes money off of you is because they are providing insurance. You pay too much because some other poor soul was nailed by a bus and is still racking up $100k hospital bills.


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