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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 22, 2009 4:19 AM. The previous post in this blog was Words I don't like to hear together. The next post in this blog is The City That Doesn't Work. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

An inconvenient truth

Some of the folks who are opposed to having a public option as part of health care reform like to call into talk radio or log on to the internet and rant about how the people of America simply don't want it. These polls, however, clearly indicate otherwise.

You wonder if guys like Sen. Wyden (R-N.Y.) are paying attention. Wyden will be quick to tell you that in his heart, he might be for a public option, but not the kind of public option that anyone has proposed so far. And since no one has proposed an ideal system, he'd rather have you be required by law to buy private insurance from an insurance company. You'd get to pick from two or three. "Consumers will get a real choice. That's how I'm standing up to the special interests." Whoopee.

I'm not at all optimistic about where this is heading. And worst of all, Congress continues to blow week after week messing around with it. There are so many other things that the party of change was supposed to do, and it's wasting its chance to do just about any of them. Next year will be a congressional election year, when change is going to be way harder than it was this year.

Meanwhile, the media would rather distract us with other things. Swine flu! Swine flu! Forget about the rape of the economy by the robber barons of Wall Street. O.k., maybe we'll make the guy running Bank of America give back half of his $40 million annual pay. He'll only make $20 million. That will teach him. Feel better?

Comments (27)

How about allowing people a tax credit for buying private insurance? I know this doesn't help low income people.

My fear is a public option will become like Medicare. Medicare has a few issues with funding, but it shows what happens with a govt sponsored program. I am not going to even begin on how Medicare controls costs (Drs basically get told what they got $1 for in 2009, they'll get $0.90 in 2010, for example.)

Imagine a health care system without a proft motive, and what that would mean for care providers, patients, and the overall health of the country. Real health *care*, not just disaster insurance for when problems and emergencies arise.

Then, imagine a health care system without "death panels". You know, the insurance company groups whose sole purpose is to find ways to deny care, cut it off, minimize benefits. Like, say, the companies who commonly call "rape" and "low birth weight" pre-existing conditions.

Then, imagine what a healthier country would mean to the economy, to communities, and to families. To the world.

Then, imagine insurance companies spending almost three-quarters of a billion dollars in lobbying, advertising, and polling efforts to prevent such a scenario.

If insurance companies have a spare billion lying around just to spend on lobbying, I wonder why so many people are eager to make sure they get even more money?

Medicare primarily exists to benefit doctors and insurance companies...It does not exist to benefit the patients.

We already have government-run health care It's run primarily benefit doctors and insurance companies (lawyers), not the patients.

Our health care system works great...For the doctors and lawyers. Health care costs (not to mention profits) are rising 10-15% per year. Where else can you get that rate of return?

That's why we are not going to have any significant changes to our health care system anytime soon. The current debate in congress is simply a straw man to generate campaign contributions ("Pay up or we'll nationalize your business").

Jack, the way these surveys are worded I would respond affirmatively to most because I participate in something I like called the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan obviously sponsored and administered by the Federal Government.

Yet, of the dozens of specific insurance options in the plan there is not an option that is actually administered or operated by the Federal Government. The lesson here is if someone really wants to know what people support the questioning has to be much more granular.

I clicked away and couldn't find what they asked.
If it was, "Would you support a public option that reduces cost and privides full health care coverage"?

it should be a higher support level.

Of course if it asked whether or not you would support a public option which added to the deficit, cut medicare and may not include full coverage it would be much lower.

The Democrat oppostion to Interstate open insurance competition, lawsuit abuse reform and finding the Medicare cuts first is telling for most conservtives.
But no matter how many times we raise these interests they get ignored with demogoguery as if they don't matter.

The idea that we should plunge into universal health care and worry about the details later should be unacceptable to everyone recognizing the critical need for fiscal prudence.

Incremental steps to assure some measure of fiscal sanity should not be cast as greedy industry obstruction.

"It's run primarily benefit doctors"

Knowing a few doctors that take Medicare patients (most doctors don't want Medicare patients), I think I could find you a counter argument. I know AMA has lobbyists to roll back draconian measures that Medicare does on cost-cutting, but I wonder exactly who Medicare benefits.

Which prompts the next question - Why is govt-backed medical insurance rev 2 going to be any better run than Medicare adter a few years? I haven't seen anything to convince me that it won't be any different.

Why is govt-backed medical insurance rev 2 going to be any better run than Medicare adter a few years? I haven't seen anything to convince me that it won't be any different.

Because the proposed changes are more than just "public option". There are several changes that would rein in the drug and insurance industry power to fix prices and control the market. Those changes alone would be a marked improvement in health care.

In other words, the problem is not absence of public care, it's the presence of a free-range profit motive.

I'm thinking along the same lines as Ben mentions upthread.

No one has articulated what a "public option" would actually cost. It has become shorthand for way too many assumptions, the primary one being "lower cost" and "better healthcare". Some may even conclude it as being "free".

The polls do not shed any light on what a public option may actually cost the consumer.

In the sample question posed by Ben, a poll could just as easily ask,

"Would you support a private insurance option that reduces cost and privides full health care coverage"?

I am sure you could all see where that poll would end up.

"There are several changes that would rein in the drug and insurance industry power to fix prices and control the market."

OK, this I haven't heard, but insurance industry power to fix prices? Elaborate please. I can't see insurance companies bumping up price of care and premium prices would be fixed by having more sources.

If you want to control the prices of drugs, what will fund new drug research? A lot of new drugs take several years of research and FDA approval plus you put 100 in the basket and 1 might be a winner. You clamp down on drug pricing, it will show up somewhere else.

but insurance industry power to fix prices? Elaborate please. I can't see insurance companies bumping up price of care and premium prices would be fixed by having more sources.

There are hundreds (perhaps thousands) of examples. Here's one:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x3006953

Google price fxing and drug companies for all the reading material you could ever want.


If you want to control the prices of drugs, what will fund new drug research? A lot of new drugs take several years of research and FDA approval plus you put 100 in the basket and 1 might be a winner. You clamp down on drug pricing, it will show up somewhere else.

You might be misunderstanding how drug pricing works. non-US drug companies routinely sell drugs at far lower prices--and somehow are able to do R&D and deliver drugs. And US companies? They sell at those lower prices too--except in the US. We pay premium (exhorbitant, often 10-15 times as much) prices, making drug companies one of the richest industries in the world. WIth enough cash, say, to put nearly a billion into lobbying efforts.

And keep in mind, "drugs" are just one part of health care cost. Part of what needs to change is the health care practice itself, focused on symptom treatment via drug cocktails.

Interesting that they would describe the plan as "like Medicare."

Medicare is popular. But if the "public option" plan they want is indeed "like Medicare," we better watch out.

When Medicare was established in the 60's, they had cost estimates for how much the program would need all the way out to 1990.

By 1990, the true cost of the Medicare program was NINE TIMES the estimate.

If we are stupid enough to do this yet again, and on a much larger scale, we are indeed a nation that can't learn from its own past mistakes.

I think yesterday was a call the hill day for health insurance reform. You have the perfect opportunity to tell them what you want, or don't. The "NO Healthcare" people are calling -- big time.

This site makes it easy to get links to submit your opinions. They don't recommend paper mail anymore.
"http://www.congress.org/"

Medicare for all is the least expensive option. Health care is a human right and should not be subject to a profit motive to provide less care. The idea that you can regulate the motivation to reduce care for the same premium out of the system is ridiculous.

This has gotten too conveluted.

We are told $500 billion in anticiapted Medicare savings will help fund the new public option reform.

OK so go find the savings first and build credibility for the public to stand on.

But wait, Ed Schultz said Medicare is really efficient, they are just underfunded.
Ok so they need more funding? What happens to the $500 million in savings if medicare funding has to be increased instead?

Round and round we go.

I listen to Thom Hartman all the time and he is also quite the circle maker.

Why are we supposed to adopt this health care reform under these circumstances?
Simply because the left demands it?

"non-US drug companies routinely sell drugs at far lower prices--and somehow are able to do R&D and deliver drugs."

Examples? If you're going to use Teva, they just do generics.

"Part of what needs to change is the health care practice itself, focused on symptom treatment via drug cocktails."

And a govt-run program will fix this how? I just don't see the minds in govt that could address this issue which does exist.

I watched Oprah yesterday, and the show was about how other people live. She did an extensive interview with two ladies in Denmark. I was lucky enough to spend some time there 20 years ago. It's still such a progressive and thoughtful country. I feel we are so archaic. No wonder they are the happiest people on earth.

Simply cannot fathom how Wyden's "choice" proposal will save anyone money. The idea of group health insurance is to create a big enough pool and spread the risk. If employees are allowed to opt out of their employer's plan, the pool shrinks and costs go up.

As the only employee in my little business, I have plenty of choice and they are all bad. I have opted for a plan that has somewhat affordable premiums, but it also has a $7,500 deductible per year. So routine doctor's visits, physical exams and things like colonoscopies come out of my pocket and if I break a bone or end up in a hospital in any given year, I'm going to drain $7,500 out of my savings before the insurance company kicks in a dime.

Britt Storkson and others who think this way: (paraphrased) "Medicare benefits doctors and insurance companies and not the patients."

This statement is a very broad slap in the faces of most health care providers.

Britt and others, have you ever had health care (even outside of Medicare)? "Yes and probably many times". I find it hard to believe that in your visits that your providers, as they patiently worked on you, were thinking only of themselves and not you.

Be serious, most people in health care look out for your well being without thinking of the profit motive.

Next time my wife, who is in health care, might get to see you, I'll ask her to treat you with profit motive in mind-but she won't listen to me. You'll be lucky

Ah, Britt, I forgot to mention that I could see you too. I'm a trained Army Medic and I don't think I'll treatment you thinking how it will benefit me-typically us medics were good at dispensing a good shot of whiskey.

How is this poll any different from the polling that measured support for a (multi-purpose) baseball stadium in Beaverton?

Of those polled, 65 percent responded positively at the prospect of a multipurpose facility in downtown Beaverton for sports, concerts and community events.

Wow. That's over 2 to 1 support so it should be a slam dunk, except something happens when you ask people if they would be willing to accept a trade-off to get it:

In order to pay for the multi-purpose facility, Beaverton residents would likely be asked to pay higher property taxes and fees. The average homeowner in Beaverton could be asked to pay up to $7.50 more per month. Would you support or oppose the increase in order to pay for this multi-purpose facility?
(DON’T READ: IF ASKED BY RESPONDENT HOW MUCH INCREASE WOULD BE PER YEAR = $90 PER YEAR)
IF SUPPORT/OPPOSE: Is that strongly support/oppose or somewhat support/oppose?
strongly support
19%
somewhat support
23%
Total support
42%
don’t know
6%
Total oppose
52%

somewhat oppose
11%
strongly oppose
41%

You can slap whatever name or metaphor you want to expand publicly funded healthcare, there are going to be consequences to members of the public who have to fund it. When you explain those consequences, enthusiasm will drop again.

You can slap whatever name or metaphor you want to expand publicly funded healthcare, there are going to be consequences to members of the public who have to fund it. When you explain those consequences, enthusiasm will drop again.

I'll tell the 60 million people currently receiving Medicare and US Armed Forces health care that you don't really want to fund it. Because those are publicly funded health care, and have been for decades.

On a related note, here's Sen. Franken briefly discussing health care cost consequences:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgqqSHr0wVA

Anyone that quotes CBS, or Sen. Stuart Smalley better get ready for a big disappointment.

Can't wait for 2010.

Anyone that quotes CBS, or Sen. Stuart Smalley better get ready for a big disappointment.

Anybody who relies strictly on ridicule and snark to communicate better get ready to never be taken seriously. Ever.

Are you kidding me? Given the vitriol, hate, and disrespect poured out here towards Republicans, conservatives, and anyone that merely disagrees with you - you actually have the temerity to type those words!?!

God Eco, I'm going to love hearing you & Tensky squeal when you get you asses handed to you in 2010, and the Senate elections after that.

Change is coming alright, just not the type you guys want.

Are you kidding me? Given the vitriol, hate, and disrespect poured out here towards Republicans, conservatives, and anyone that merely disagrees with you - you actually have the temerity to type those words!?!

Blaming others for your own behavior makes you even less credible, HMLA.

God Eco, I'm going to love hearing you & Tensky squeal when you get you asses handed to you in 2010, and the Senate elections after that.

...And that kind of statement is why I don't take you seriously. You're a parody. Even more, you apparently assume the world is simply "Republican" and "Democrat".

'Medicare Option E(veryone)' is the jingoism that would explain the most understanding to the most people. Also, since Medicare is existing legislative language, and practice, then enacting reform in Medicare terms would be more definite, (as opposed to drafting reform language from scratch, as is mainly happening). More definition, by extending a standard practice, would be the best outcome because it would medically help the most Americans.

Congress is going to pass and enact something, some 'health care' reform. It is dubious whether the persons of this Congress are coherently able to legislate either 'health' or 'care', but they are going to pass something, whatever they write.

Which is all the importance that there is in this. It's not what they've written, (probably useless, and probably amended later to be unrecognizable), it is that they passed something, Congress acted, the 14-year logjam stalemate breaks open.

People whose mouths have been full of 'no' and 'objection! obstruction!' and LIARS words, when something is passed then their feeling is going to be mostly that the Act is jammed down their throats.

And that is the most importance in this sustained months-long push to pass something: to shove down the throats and gag the subversives, deprivers, and LIARS.

If you want health, grow your own.
If you want care, call your spouse or parents.

If you'd like to STFU the enemy within, like to incarcerate the anti-America traitors, then help Congress pass 'Medicare Option E(veryone)'. Down. Their. Throats.

147 million people currently get health care as a benefit through their employment. The amount employers pay is much higher than the average employee understands. They just bitch about the $1000 deductable but do not know that the employer has paid $13,000 towards his family of 4. This plan takes that burden and places it on you. There is no employer mandate in Baucus. Obama has stated that this means you will get a raise. Remember when Clinton did not seem so progresive much of the time. Lesson not learned.


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