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« Obama In Philadelphia Tuesday | Main | ED RENDELL’S HEALTHCARE HOAX (AND THE SINGLE-PAYER SOLUTION) »

March 17, 2008

Comments

tyler

Yada yada yada...you show me where in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution "healthcare" is enumerated, then I'll support national 'tax you to the stone age' healthcare. Free? ya, right.

If healthcare should be a right, then isn't housing a right? What about a job? Is a job a right? Car? Phone?

Or you can earn each through personal responsibility. And not be beholden to a government agency that is bound to fail.

Just a thought from the other side.

have a great day :)

p.s. According to Zogby...McCain beats Barrack or Hillary...thank you Ralph Nader...this decades Ross Perot.

John Morgan

This is a basic human right tyler, if you don't understand that there's no hope for your humanity. The constitution also doesn't guarantee our right to clean air, clean water and that companies cannot poison us but we all recognize our right to these things.

Funny, we don't have $200 billion for health care for kids but we do for Bear Stearns.

Eric

We can argue the concept of "personal responsibility" all day - this is a hardened ideological position that's been reinforced through many, many decades of mainstream propaganda and probably not going to be dispelled through a single blog post (though John's point regarding the bailout today is on-target if you ask me).

But regardless: Today we have a market-based health care system and it is completely broken when it comes to providing good care. This is not a problem just for liberals or progressives; right-wingers get sick too. We have the most expensive system on the planet (which eats up money from Republicans as often as Democrats) and one of the worst at making sick people better (like 36th in the world). Our infant mortality rate (!!) is horrific and a national disgrace (and scary as hell for this parent). More Americans will die from hospital-acquired staph infections this year than will die from auto accident.

It's appalling.

Here’s my question: Why must ever social arrangement be based on free-market ideology? Must we be so fanatical about the free market that it becomes the paradigm upon which EVERY social program is based? The free market is fine, it works with great elegance for SOME things. But must it work for all things, all the time? I mean it clearly doesn’t work for health care.

If we’re going to get out of this deep dive our country is in we need new ideas and new ways of doing things. We desperately need to move past the old ideologies, such as Tyler’s knee-jerk conservativism which in truth serves only to maintain the (very dire) status quo. Sure, personal responsibility is vital and has a real place in society, no argument. But so is making sure we get can care when we’re sick and that our kids survive their trips to the hospital, for crying out loud. If that’s a government-run system then I'll take it.

Eric
www.changeany1thing.com

Truth

It is a cruel lie to refer to anything like our current healthcare system as a "free market". It is all based on OPM, other people's money.

If we had a "free market", an aspirin dispensed at an Emergency Room could not be billed at $25 each. If we had a "free market", every hospital room rate would not possibly be four figures per day. The entire system is set up to cost shift from one group of patients to the insurance companies of others.

I've given up supporting our current system. What opponents of single-payer want is a system where the rich get batter care than the poor. Guess what. We have that EVERYWHERE, even where they DO have a single-payer system. The rich can always opt out and go cash basis, and get better care.

The real question is this: Is the current system of supporting the lifestyles of redundant insurance company and cost containment bureaucrats any better or worse than if those bureaucrats were in government? So far, no one has come close to proving it to me. No, it may be time to look at single-payer. I believe it HAS TO BE CHEAPER than what we're now doing.

John Morgan

Well said Eric.

The issue shouldn't be about access to "health insurance" but access to "health care." Insurance companies, by law are required, first and foremost, to make a profit. Even the supposed "non profits are anything but. One PA Blue Cross has $5 billion in reserves. I call that "profit." The difference is only that they need not pay taxes on these earnings.

Insurance companies routinely deny care to sick and injured people they have contracted to cover so even "affordable health insurance" isn't worth the paper its printed on for many people. Insurance companies aren't the solution because they are the problem.

Eric

Note to "Truth" - ye speak the truth, brother. I was going after the idea that health care is ostensibly based on a free market system as opposed to a gov't run single-payer system that I would like to see. But in reality the system is well-gamed by corporate interests in whose pockets most of Congress resides, where their profits are protected and propped up through what amounts to outright bribery.

Consider that it's ILLEGAL for the US gov't to use it massive purchasing power to negotiate for lower pharma costs, and you begin to see why I had to shell out $60 bucks as my "co-pay" for a prescription on Monday and another $40 for my daughter the next day. And why, even as a person lucky enough to have insurance, I spent 10% of my net pay last year on out of pocket health care.

Note to the the folks at Pennsy Progressive: Cool site! Just discovered you. I'll be visiting!

Eric
www.changeany1thing.com

tyler

The simple reason we are in the 'mess' we are in is because government got its big nose involved in the first place. And now you see the solution as what? More government involvement...no wait..TOTAL government involvment.

No one cared what the charges were...why? Because 'someone else' was paying it. It's the rental car syndrome or the expense report phenomenon. Got a hang nail? Head to the emergency room. Every boo boo was treated as a emergency...why not, its not 'me' paying the bill...so give me the works!

So when prices started to go up because the 'government' (read our tax money) was footing the bill, insurance companies stepped in to help pay bills that were now going up beyond the average of the citizens. And yes, they are companies and yes, they are entitled to make a profit...

So now we have $50 aspirin and high healthcare costs...why? Because of the 'someone else is paying for it mentality' from the government hand outs that led to this mess...and you on the left want more of it.

Lemme give you a great example. LASER EYE SURGERY. Not covered by insurance, not covered my Medicare/Medicaid. It's considered cosmetic. The costs of that surgery are falling...used to be $2000 less than two years ago...now you can find it for about $500...why? because people have to pay out of their own pocket...someone else ISN'T paying for it...UNLIKE the rest of the healthcare industry that is seeing costs go up every year. Competition works for the consumer. Free market working?? Perish the thought!!!!

But in a larger sense and like so many other things...the horse has long left the barn, no point in closing the door. Like taxes, states rights, etc...there is no way government is getting out of the business...and like so many other liberal ideas...it's not that it's failed...you guys always take the tact THAT WE HAVENT DONE ENOUGH YET. Yours is the only thinking in the world where failure is only an indication that more is needed. Our schools arent failing...we need to give MORE money to them. Who cares we are giving them record amounts and are getting less and less return...we need to throw more money after bad. It's lunacy. Stupidy (or insanity) is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

But I'm knee jerking, I have no humanity. Creating generations of people who cannot or will not support themselves is the embodiment of having no humanity.

You just wait...if we get our socialist utopia and the government takes over... You like the DMV? You'll get it with your healthcare. Want to take the profit out of an activity, you will get EXACTLY what you pay for. And there will be no going back. EVER.

Think wiretapping will stop? Think domestic spying will stop? Think national healthcare will stop once its started? There is no off switch in government.

Blame me, blame insurance, blame the free market...you guys blame everyone BUT the group that started this whole mess...your beloved, benevolent government. We're from the government and we are here to help.....

have a great day :)


John Morgan

Quite the contrary in health care tyler. Government involvement in health care has been much more efficient, effective and fairer than the insurance industry. I know, I was a victim of one of these giant companies, CIGNA. Government provides quality health care to all federal employees, the armed forces, senior citizens, veterans and children. Overhead is a fraction of that for th eprivate sector and those covered by Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs aren't told that must die because the insurance company puts profits ahead of care.

tyler

I guess time will tell...my opinion is that right about the time I am hitting you with the snowball to prove global warming isn't happening (harkening back to the thread about global warmin...i mean climate change) the subsequent frostbite will be seen after a 42 week wait, and then treated in another 18. Which by that time your ear will have already fallen off. But hey, the treatment was free, right?

:)

p.s. You didnt see any relevance in the Laser Eye Care example? Competition? Free market? Falling prices? Anything? No information sunk in?

John Morgan

The argument about waiting lines is specious. We have lines now and we have lines 47 million Americans cannot even get into. When you call your doctor or go to the ER you wait in line. Who gets right in except those in truly critical condition? No one. Try calling for an appointment with a specialist and you'll find you're at least a week in line after previous appointments. Those are all lines tyler.

Truth

tyler,

You're right about laser eye surgery. That really IS a free market. I just don't see a way to stuff the healthcare toothpaste back into the personal responsibility tube. It's too far gone. There is nothing in "regular" medicine that is sufficiently free market any more.

One example: back in 2002, I needed minor surgery from a podiatric surgeon. Because I was covered by insurance, the bill for what was essentially a severe ingrown toenail ran thousands of dollars, much more than my major skin cancer surgery (which needed anestesia) the year before. Had I been UNINSURED, my bill from the podiatric surgeon would have been FAR FAR LOWER! A small fraction. Because I was INSURED the doctor brazenly charged almost 4 times as much as had I been paying myself.

I don't know what to do with that fact.

John Morgan

See, those with insurance are paying for those without. It's a major hidden tax. Universal healthcare solves that problem and enables us to provide everyone with full medical and health and wellness care at much lower cost.

The U.S. currently spends twice as much on health care as other major industrialized countries yet we have one of the worst health care systems compared to western democracies. We rank 37th, behind Cuba and some other third world countries who do have civilized health care.

Jennifer Markens

Healthcare is one of the issues that is killing jobs in the U.S., given that NAFTA has forced U.S. businesses to compete with business in countries that have government sponsored healthcare.

Barack Obama has a great plan for getting affordable health care for U.S. citizens which will give businesses in the U.S. a better advantage in competetive business, and protect our citizens through the life cycle.

Sen. Barack Obama is the more likely candidate to get the health care issue forged in our government. Senator Clinton sat on this issue for twenty years and held up healthcare due to the manner in which she monopolized the issue, and excluded elected officials, even slandering some who were well-known advocates for a health care plan back during the Clinton Administration. Her current management of her own campaign and behavior within her own party is evidence of a pattern over a career that has disrupted much needed legislation for the American people and for American business. A further concern is the hidden interest of BIG insurance and how much influence they will have in how this policy is crafted. Senator Clinton has never demonstrated transparency, and this issue is too vital to entrust to someone who is unwilling to define government mandates and how this may benefit Insurance investors, rather than the American people.

Vote for Barack Obama. He can win against Sen. McCain, and we've had enough celebrity politics. We need to get our Democracy back with folks who offer transparency and accountability.

EJ

I am not going to even get into the nuts and bolts of the Obama or HRC plan. The question we need to ask is: who can get us started on the path to a health care program?

IMHO - HRC had her chance, and her current campaign shows that she will not unite this country. She will try to get things done with a 50%+1 mentality. HRC as the nominee WILL lead to losses in a few close US Senate seats. Do we think that Mitch McConnell as the new Senate Majority leader will help us on health care?

Obama will motivate a new generation of Democrats, and bring a majority into Congress that WILL pass a health care plan. It is the first step in a new direction for America.

DO NOT let the conservative infiltrators destroy the Democratic Party. Many Democrats feel 'comfortable' with HRC, but don't forget about our losses in Congress & State Legislatures in the nineties!

Chris Blask

Hi folks!

I've lived half my life in Canada (in chunks - back and forth since kidhood) and I don't know *what* the answer to the whole thing is.

In Canada everyone has the same level of access to healthcare - bad. On top of that, costs for *everything* are through the roof (when people here complain about prices my answer is usually: "try Canada - 15% sales tax, 54% income tax and $5/gallon for gas", and healthcare is a huge part of that).

Here in the states we have incredible profits by insurance companies, little to no coverage even if you have coverage and open-house day at the County hospitals and ER wards that we all pay through taxes.

The one thing I do know is that between the two Dems in the race, Obama seems to have the basis for a solving this that stands a chance (open-door conversations with all parties is a good start to any problem). We have to involve all of the players - cutting out the insurance companies won't work (when Obama's numbers go down their stock prices go up, if that's a sign). True Socialized healthcare like Canada isn't the answer, and at least I don't hear him calling for that.

Something has to be done, and my bet is that Obama is the one of the three choices who might be able to get it done.

-chris

John Morgan

The proposed solutions here do not involve socializing medicine. Socialization means having the medical providers government employees. The plan here in PA (HB 1660 and S.B. 300) keep all the providers private.

Since the major problems are on the other side of the system this isn't necessary. Doctors, hospitals, clinics, labs and other servcie providers remain private businesses. Therefore these programs are NOT socialized medicine.

What the new system would do is eliminate insurance companies and other multiple "payers" with a single payer, a government agency. Under the Family and Business Healthcare Security Act (Pennsylvania House Bill 1660) they are replaced with an agency of the state which collects premiums and pays the providers. Doctors need not continue hiring multiple staff simply to submit claims and fight with them for payment. It saves enough money to provide full, comprehensive medical care for everyone.

Nikki

Hillary had her chance and failed.

Kalaine

I had carried my own, private health care plan until December 07. My policy started changing around 2002 - my price kept going up and what was covered kept going down until it reached the ridiculous point of costing 8% of my income and covering .38 (yes, that's thirty eight cents) of my yearly wellness visits. Un or under regulated insurance companies cannot be trusted - I even own stock in my former insurance company and the stock is doing well. That doesn't help me with my health care, though, just my eventual retirement. We need comprehensive health care in the US. Personally, I am offended my a 'mandate' without confronting the silly standards of the insurance companies so I do not like Clintons plan - plus, her stubbornness and need to do things 'secretly' will prevent any gains in nearly anything - especially health care. Barack Obama has a great - not perfect but solid - plan and the most 'up' side is that he can get it done. He can breech the partisan divide, comprimise, bring US into the process and accomplish the goal. On this issue (health care) Obama wins hands down.

tyler

Chris...54% income tax???? Are you kidding me???

Flabbergasted...I knew it was bad, but I had no idea it was over 1/2. And that is JUST income tax? Then a 15% sales tax? Holy hell, whats the motivation to work? Where's the incentive? Why get out of friggin bed in the morning when most of your labor goes straight to the government...serfs in feudal systems weren't taxed that much.

I never really grasped how close Canada is...and how close we are, to racing towards outright communism.

p.s. Like many of the claims of the left...the number of uninsured is very questionable...those numbers are normally generated by groups who have a heavily vested interest in over estimating. If you are a homeless advocate, does it make sense to under report or over report the actual numbers... So even if that 47 million is accurate...which it isn't...how many of those have elected to go uninsured?...I went 4 years out of college without it to help pay down my student loans. And how many are temporarily between jobs?


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