National health care offers choice and affordability

Choice is of course a dangerous word to use when discussing any partisan issue. But to me that is exactly what health-care reform boils down to: choice. In addition to placing commonsense caps on abusive insurance practices (such as the refusal to insure preexisting conditions, dropping coverage, even for the terminally ill etc.), which benefit only the insurance companies, reform would mean offering those of us who would prefer a public option the chance to benefit from such a program. People who wish to keep their private policies may do so.

My family is one of the many college-educated, two-working-parent households that simply cannot afford to be adequately insured. Even after paying out enormous premiums, we are still facing daunting medical bills that have greatly challenged our financial security. I know we are not alone in this community, and certainly not nationwide.

President Obama has promised not to increase the deficit or raise taxes in order to fulfill these promises. Do I believe him? Yes, until I see proof not to. Utilizing funding that is already in place, whittling down the extraneous and inefficient aspects, while streamlining the process of providing a larger number of citizens the ability to insure themselves and their families—why in the world are people trying to shout that down?

I was really hopeful that with the dawning of a new political era that some of this partisan nit-picking would dissolve in the name of community and cooperation. I guess I was naive. Hopefully our representatives will continue to be as naive and push past their political labels, refuse insurance-lobby money and make the tough decisions that will benefit us all.

— Katherine Apt
Asheville

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122 thoughts on “National health care offers choice and affordability

  1. “President Obama has promised not to increase the deficit or raise taxes in order to fulfill these promises. Do I believe him? Yes, until I see proof not to.”

    What the bill says, pages 167-168, section 401, TAX ON INDIVIDUALS WITHOUT ACCEPTABLE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE:

    ‘‘(a) TAX IMPOSED.—In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of—

    (1) the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, over

    (2) the amount of gross income specified in section 6012(a)(1) with respect to the taxpayer. . . .”

    EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGE:

    1. This section amends the Internal Revenue Code.

    2. Anyone caught without acceptable coverage and not in the government plan will pay a special tax.

    3. The IRS will be a major enforcement mechanism for the plan.

  2. “President Obama has promised not to increase the deficit or raise taxes in order to fulfill these promises. Do I believe him? Yes, until I see proof not to.”

    Here is what the bill says, pages 197-198, SEC. 441. SURCHARGE ON HIGH INCOME INDIVIDUALS

    ‘‘SEC. 59C. SURCHARGE ON HIGH INCOME INDIVIDUALS.

    ‘‘(a) GENERAL RULE.—In the case of a taxpayer other than a corporation, there is hereby imposed (in addition to any other tax imposed by this subtitle) a tax equal to—

    ‘‘(1) 1 percent of so much of the modified adjusted gross income of the taxpayer as exceeds $350,000 but does not exceed $500,000,

    ‘‘(2) 1.5 percent of so much of the modified adjusted gross income of the taxpayer as exceeds $500,000 but does not exceed $1,000,000, and

    ‘‘(3) 5.4 percent of so much of the modified adjusted gross income of the taxpayer as exceeds $1,000,000.

    EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGE:

    1. This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code.

    2. Tax surcharges are levied on those with the highest incomes.

    3. The plan manipulates the tax code to redistribute their wealth.

    4. Successful business owners will bear the highest cost of this plan.

  3. Footloose

    Thanks Tim. Yes, how will this be paid for? Tax the “rich”? I’ve got news for the fuzzy-headed folks who think the “rich” can pay for all this. They don’t have enough money. There WILL be a tax increase for everyone. Including Obama’s supposed sacred cow “the middle class”.

    Also, call it what you want, “public option” or “co-op” or whatever, the simple fact of the matter is this is a planned incremental step towards socialized medicine. The end result will be NO choice. And the people who gave us the post office and the VA hospital system and the welfare system, will be running our medical lives. Incompitently, just like these other bureaus they run. National Socialist Healthcare flat out will be a big mistake.

    Our rallying cry should be:

    IF OBAMACARE IS SO GOOD FOR US,WHY DON’T THE POLITICIANS ADOPT IT INSTEAD OF THE ELITIST CADILLAC SYSTEM THEY NOW HAVE?

  4. Piffy!

    Politicians have health care centers in elitist cadillac’s?

    Or their health care is provided by the Cadillac corporation?

    And is there any other kind of Cadiallac other than ‘elite’?

  5. Mister Blister

    Don’t worry, we won’t have health care reform. Luckily idiotic politicians can say whatever they want and their little parrots will just repeat it.
    “obamacare… deathpanels… no choice… national socialists… squak!!”

  6. Sovereign Starr

    Mister Blister, I think you’re talking about yourself.

    I wonder what happened to “question authority” ever since Obama’s been in office. It’s turned into, “question authority, unless it tells you that everyone can have something for free and no one will have to pay for it!”

  7. Barry Summers

    We’re paying for the uninsured now, you fools. People without insurance put off medical care until the last minute, then go to the emergency room for the absolute most expensive care, and then skip out when they can’t pay. The hospitals eat this, & it winds up on YOUR bill. People with insurance run up bills until they get cut off by the insurance companies, then go bankrupt, & eventually walk away from those bills. The hospitals, insurers, & credit card companies eat this, and it winds up on YOUR bill. Add in the lost productivity in the workforce due to people who can’t stay healthy enough to do their jobs. Add in the overhead involved in giant, competing insurance companies geared towards maximizing profit by cherry-picking customers & cutting off care to those who need it most & a dozen other factors, and the current system is an enormous drag on the economy AND your own healthcare bill.

    The only way to bring down costs is to make sure everyone is covered, & then the risks, costs, and benefits are spread across the greatest number of people. The rest of the developed world understands this.

    The other alternative is to recognize that the current trends will continue to drive up costs & more people will lose the insurance they have, & we’ll have to accept what the Kaiser hospitals were caught doing in Los Angeles: dumping the uninsured in the street to die. Is that the America you want to live in?

  8. Clueless and Loud

    yeah sovereign star! Question Authority!

    Just don’t question the logic behind claims of “Death Panels” or “Socialism”. That should be accepted without any critical thought or rational analysis whatsoever.

    Just like when lifelong politicians tell us to not trust the Government.

    Socialism!!!!!!!!!

  9. Socialism is the political-economic system of collectivism that demands that the individual be subordinate to the collective, and that his individual values be subsumed in favor of mystical social values.

    As Ayn Rand put it, “Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.”

    A government-run health care system that forcibly distributes a value among all members of society for the common good, over against the individual good, fits the description of socialism.

  10. Ill Literate

    Oh, well, when you quote a dead novelist, you really convince me, that is for certain.

  11. Footloose

    Does Tim practice at presenting stupid ideas, or does it come naturally?

    True Conservatives want to know.

  12. Barry Summers

    Another juicy one from the Aynster, in which she reveals her One True God (Christians take note):

    “The word “We” is…the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages.

    I am done with the monster of “We,” the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame.

    And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride.

    This god, this one word:

    “I.” ”

    Remember this when Tim Peck(1) or other conservatives mock you for self-indulgence or “Me Generation” thinking. This is Ayn Rand in a nutshell – to hell with “my brother” or that other weak-ass s*** that Christ Whoever was talking about – It’s all about ME & what profit I can carve out of those too weak to resist Me!

    http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/432.Ayn_Rand

  13. Barry Summers

    Sorry, I went back & realized that the paragraph I snipped out (…) was worth including (remember, Christians. Try to imagine Jesus saying this, when confronted with a sick person asking for help):

    “What is my joy if all hands, even the unclean, can reach into it? What is my wisdom, if even the fools can dictate to me? What is my freedom, if all creatures, even the botched and impotent, are my masters? What is my life, if I am but to bow, to agree and to obey?”

  14. Barry Summers

    Here, I’ll try:

    “Get your hands off the robes, bub. When was the last time you Purelled? Gosh, you stink. Where is My joy if all hands, even yours, Stinky, can reach into it? Where is the value of My portfolio if United Healthcare has to cover you?

    “I know I said there would be poor always, & the meek would inherit the earth, and all that. But do I really have to let these lepers paw me? Are there no workhouses? Are there no alleys that Kaiser can dump these losers in?

    “Oh sorry, that’s mine. I have to take this – my agent might be calling about that endorsement deal. Oh, no. It’s the poor again. I’ll just let the machine get it. I’ve gotta get an unlisted number…”

  15. Barry Summers

    “Does Tim practice at presenting stupid ideas, or does it come naturally?”

    Are you referring to Tim 1, 2, or 3?

  16. “True Conservatives want to know.”

    1. I’m not a conservative.

    2. Funny there are no valid arguments contained in your comments, Mr. uh…uh…

  17. “Oh, well, when you quote a dead novelist, you really convince me, that is for certain.”

    Specifically in what way does being dead invalidate an argument?

  18. Piffy!

    [b]Funny there are no valid arguments contained in your comments, [/b]

    kettle? you should meet pot.

  19. Piffy!

    [b]Specifically in what way does being dead invalidate an argument? [/b]

    Oh, it doesn’t. Her being a “Novelist”, though, makes her opinion, well, opinion. You might as well quote Tom Clancy, or Matt Ruff.

  20. Barry Summers

    “Specifically in what way does being dead invalidate an argument?”

    “Oh, it doesn’t. Her being a “Novelist”, though, makes her opinion, well, opinion. You might as well quote Tom Clancy, or Matt Ruff.”

    Or Lewis Carroll:

    “At any rate I’ll never go there again!” said Alice, as she picked her way through the wood. “It’s the stupidest tea-party I ever was at in all my life!”

  21. Barry Summers

    I think it is at least as valid and insightful as anything that Ayn Rand wrote. Really, read the “Mad Tea Party” chapter from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with the current debate in mind:

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Alice's_Adventures_in_Wonderland/Chapter_7

    “The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it. “No room! No room!” they cried out when they saw Alice coming. “There’s plenty of room!” said Alice indignantly…”

    .

  22. Sovereign Starr

    Again, no one is considering why healthcare is so expensive in the first place.

    Think about this: in the 1950’s, a doctor’s office visit averaged around $3. (That’s around $26.81 in 2009 dollars.) Even adjusted for today’s rampant inflation, that’s a hell of a lot cheaper than the cost of a doctor’s office visit today, which is $60, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield. It may even be cheaper than your co-pay, if you have private medical coverage, but certainly it is cheaper than the amount you pay out in monthly insurance bills and deductibles, relative to the amount of care you receive.

    Okay, so let’s use our heads here. How did a doctor’s visit go from about $27 (2009 dollars) in 1950 to $60 (2009 dollars) in 2009? If you think it is because doctors are greedy, you are probably wrong. More likely, it is because doctor’s overhead expenses have gone up drastically in that period of time. Hmmmm… what do doctors have to pay for now that they didn’t have to pay for in 1950? Well, there’s a lot of high-tech equipment nowadays, much of which is probably unnecessary, and real estate is more expensive… but it doesn’t seem like that would account for such a large jump in price.

    Oh, I know! What about medical malpractice insurance, which all doctors are required by the government to have, and which costs an average of $60,000 per doctor, per year? What about licensing fees (which have to be renewed periodically)? What about the fact that the average med school bill is outrageously expensive?

    Have you noticed that most doctor’s offices have a waiting room full of patients every time you go in, and often you are seen by a nurse or a nurse practitioner instead of by your doctor? Why do you think that is? It is because there is a shortage of doctors. The demand for medical services is much greater than the supply. And why is that? Because the medical schools, in collusion with the government and the AMA, are restricting entry into the medical profession, by keeping the seats available in med school programs low, and charging out the ass for tuition.

    Insurance, in most circumstances, is for catastrophic risk. This used to be the case with medical insurance, too. But now, with medical costs so high due to government regulation, we need insurance to cover day-to-day medical care. Remove the government regulations that drive up the cost of care, and people would be able to easily pay for most of their medical expenses out of pocket, reserving insurance for catastrophic risks.

    Everything the government touches turns to crap. The sooner everyone realizes that, the better.

  23. Dagney Tag Art

    [b]Funny, still no valid arguments. [/b]

    No valid arguments for what? Ayn Rand being used as a reference for how Obama is a Socialist?

    You have argued nothing, Tim. You are just stringing together vague descriptions of “socialism” that have absolutely nothing to do with the current health care debate.

    Everyone else is just having a field day poking fun at your bizarre mancrush on Ayn.

  24. “Remove the government regulations that drive up the cost of care, and people would be able to easily pay for most of their medical expenses out of pocket, reserving insurance for catastrophic risks.”

    Excellent analysis.

    Not everyone here is a dullard.

  25. Frank Ricci

    ““Remove the government regulations that drive up the cost of care, and people would be able to easily pay for most of their medical expenses out of pocket, reserving insurance for catastrophic risks.”

    Excellent analysis. Not everyone here is a dullard.”

    Thank you Tim and Sovereign Starr. Also, consider this. Lawyers and their lawsuits account for a lot of the waste that runs up medical bills unnecessarily. Of course you’ll never get politicans to even admit this, let alone try to fix it. Because politicans, like our president, are lawyers themselves. Professional liars, if you will. They aren’t about to throw their fellow sharks down a hole.

    Physicians have to pay exorbitant premiums on malpractice insurance. The winners? Lawyers like John Edwards who “channel” a dead boy and win $10 million dollar settlements. And guess who pays this? The medical consumer. Us. Cap insurance premiums and regulate TORT. That’s one way to get medical costs down.

  26. Barry Summers

    “Lawyers and their lawsuits account for a lot of the waste that runs up medical bills unnecessarily. Of course you’ll never get politicans to even admit this, let alone try to fix it. Because politicans, like our president, are lawyers themselves. Professional liars, if you will.” Frank Ricci

    Hey, just a shot in the dark here – are you the same Frank Ricci that has filed or threatened multiple discrimination lawsuits against city fire departments since 1995? If not, my apologies.

    http://documents.nytimes.com/new-haven-connecticut-firefighter-frank-ricci-suit#p=1

    http://crooksandliars.com/john-amato/new-haven-firefighter-frank-ricci-just

    “New Haven firefighter Frank Ricci just loves him some lawsuits”

  27. Piffy!

    Wow, Tim is the only one not smart enough to figure out that Frank Ricci and Sovereign Star are the same person.

    Can’t say i’m the least bit surprised.

  28. Eli Cohen

    The irony of it all is that Timmy (who probably doesn’t have health insurance) would benefit from the lower cost of a government run health care system. Government is good, without it savagery would rule.

  29. “The irony of it all is that Timmy would benefit”

    1. Oh, is that supposed to be a personal insult? Great argument. I love it when commenters run out of arguments and resort to personal ‘ad hominem.’ It always means that their position is weak.

    2. No, I would not be better off with socialistic health care. No one is.

    3. It is government intervention that provides all the savagery in our economy, not economic freedom. The only proper role of government is the protection of individual rights. Now the government is the chief violator of rights. Extending government control is not reform.

  30. John

    There needs to be changes. No doubt. What the changes are is the real meat. Those familiar with CMS and Medicaid regularly see the ‘changes’ that Gov’t managed health care brings about.

    What makes the proponents of a Government Option think that the Post Office can run health care? Get ready to hurry up and wait.

    The Health Care industry is already by far the most regulated industry in the US. What makes you also think that the same people that created the regs that got us here all the sudden have the answers?

    Look at the Kaiser Foundation’s summary of the various bills. Most items require the creation of more bureaucracy. How will that lower costs?

  31. Thanks John. You make good points.

    It’s refreshing to hear someone on this thread commenting on the issues at stake instead of attacking persons who comment.

    Funny thing, that.

  32. John

    “President Obama has promised not to increase the deficit or raise taxes in order to fulfill these promises. Do I believe him? Yes, until I see proof not to. Utilizing funding that is already in place, whittling down the extraneous and inefficient aspects, while streamlining the process of providing a larger number of citizens the ability to insure themselves and their families—why in the world are people trying to shout that down?”

    Every President since CMS, Medicare back then, was created has tried to do this and they sounded great from the podium when promising all this change and reform. It is certainly a noble cause. However, it is not as easy as they make it sound or others would have made headway.

    Be careful of the flowery speeches. Its much easier to give a good speech than it is to actually follow through.

    Obama said it well when talking about the Gov’t vs the Private Sector. “UPS and Fedex don’t have problems …the Post Office has problems!” This quote will come back and haunt him.

  33. Barry Summers

    Wait, Tim(1). Please tell me you’re not claiming victim status & discounting the guy’s argument because someone called you ‘Timmy’. Oh, Tim(1)…

    And John, before you quote anything from Kaiser, you should remember to quote John Erlichmann, as he & Nixon prepared to create the HMO system we still operate under:

    Ehrlichman: “Edgar Kaiser is running his Permanente deal for profit. And the reason that he can … the reason he can do it … I had Edgar Kaiser come in … talk to me about this and I went into it in some depth. All the incentives are toward less medical care, because the less care they give them, the more money they make.”

  34. John

    barry …. prove wrong anything on the Kaiser site. I’m waiting.

  35. Piffy!

    [i]“The irony of it all is that Timmy would benefit”[/i]

    [b]1. Oh, is that supposed to be a personal insult? Great argument. I love it when commenters run out of arguments and resort to personal ‘ad hominem.’ It always means that their position is weak.[/b]

    timpecked, how is someone claimng you might potentially benefit from changes in the health care system a ‘personal ad hominem attack’?

    also, as i recall and bob brings up, you called shad an ‘anaymous coward a while back with no rational cause, and have yet to admit you were way off base.

    Wouldn’t that actually be an ‘ad hominem’?

  36. Piffy!

    oh, and above, mr pecked, you imply anyone you dont agree with is ‘a dullard’.

    Is that not an ‘ad hominem’ attack?

    You’re arguments are absurd, and you consistently rely on name-calling games when you run out of cut and past ayn rand quotes after actual, thinking people respond with the product of actual thought, not regurgitation.

    No one takes you seriously. Does it hurt?

  37. Barry Summers

    “barry …. prove wrong anything on the Kaiser site. I’m waiting.”

    Keep waiting. It’s not about trying to disprove some corporations polls or their analysis, it’s about realizing where their butter comes from. Every question on every poll, every talking point on every opinion paper, is tweaked by the fact that they make more money when they give less medical care for those that need it. That’s a criminal, insane, and immoral place for human beings to be in, and it’s unsustainable for our economy, as we’re witnessing..

    Find out how much Kaiser profits off of other people’s illness and injury, how much their executives get paid, and how much they spend on lobbyists and politicians.

    And while you’re at it, look into those charges filed by the city of Los Angeles that Kaiser was dumping patients without insurance into cabs & dropping them off on skid row:

    http://www.medlaw.com/healthlaw/HOSPITAL/6_6/los-angeles-kaiser-facili.shtml

  38. Barry Summers

    Oh, and lay off Tim(1). He’s only a third of himself these days.

  39. Wow, you guys really have nothing. It really is like talking to a room full of three year olds. And you’re losing the debate nationally too. Same reason.

  40. Eli Cohen

    There is no national debate Timmy, there’s only fear mongering by the insurance companies. And of course there are newt and hannity’s brownshirt contingent.

  41. John

    barry – you haven’t even read it. Its a simple comparison of the various bills.

    Kaiser could say the sky is blue and you’d disagree. Folks like you in the debate degrade it to what it is now …. shouting matches where neither side knows what they heck they are talking about.

    Try debating the facts for once.

  42. John

    Eli – your position that only one side isn’t fighting fair almost made my coffee come out my nose.

    Go to Factcheck.org or Politifact and see how BOTH sides are blowing the debate.

    NPR isn’t the exactly the most objective reporting entity out there. You may as well use the Huffington Post as your source next time.

  43. Barry Summers

    John – I have read that before, and you’re right – It’s a useful tool, as far as it goes. It focuses a little too much on the minutiae for me, as the various bills that they compare likely will bear little resemblance to what finally comes out. The national debate has a huge cycle to go through yet, and I choose to recognize that peering into the details of the various current bills is a time-waster, an unnecessary distraction, and maybe that’s the point. Following the legislation/sausage analogy, it’s like sifting through a random pile of pig innards to decide whether the sausage being made two counties over will taste good.

    Mainly, I was simply pointing out, why go to them for information at all? Their bias is written into their DNA, and their criminal conduct makes me want to avoid them, frankly. Their corporate model, indeed the entire HMO system, is heading inexorably towards what they were caught doing in LA: dumping the uninsured in the street to die.

  44. John

    barry – not reading the ‘details’ is a mistake. There are less than a dozen major points that are each very significant. Read them somewhere else if you can’t stomach Kaiser. They will read the same. Your bias is getting in the way of you understanding what is really being debated.

    What do you care about in the debate? Stating that 10 or so points is too much for you to comprehend is a sad statement. Not debating the facts of the bills clears the way for both sides to fear monger. You included.

    All managed care models have problems. Medicare and Medicaid manage care and they have giant problems. Ignoring their problems now will cause you to relive them in a big way later.

  45. Barry Summers

    I’ve read them. It’s pointless, when the national debate is moving the big picture around in major ways, to dwell on details of bills that are already obsolete.

    What do I care about in the debate? How about acknowledging that ‘death panels’ already exist, and no one cares. The bean counters in for-profit insurers and hospital chains can cut off your benefits, leaving you to go bankrupt & die because you can’t afford care. Or, if you’re uninsured, they can literally order nurses to unplug your IV’s and shove you into a cab & drop you off in skid row. These things are happening now. THAT’s what I care about, & that’s why I know that tinkering around the edges will change little.

  46. John

    barry – I understand your concerns and have some of the same myself. They represent, though, only a small portion of the bill. Your aversion to all but one or two of the primary issues is an excuse to ignore them. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Managed Care … whether by insurance, medicare, medicaid or the VAMC … have all the same issues with denying care. The VAMC, Medicaid and Medicare do it all the time. You don’t think that the Gov’t Plan will manage care like every other government or private entity? What makes you think that? If anything, the Obama Administration has discussed how they will manage care in great detail.

  47. alan richard

    Looks like the same irrational ranters (tim peck, and friends) trying to dominate the dialog with misleading “information”. The top 1% of income earners are wealthier than ever; even compared to the gilded age. They can certainly afford to pay an extra $9K per year when they make $350K and above. The current CEO of United Health Care makes $100K PER HOUR. The previous CEO walked away with $1.1 Billion in income in one year. That is Billion with B. Do you fools want to continue to funnel billions of tax dollars to the so-called “private” sector? What we have NOW is socialism for the corporations and the rich; and exclusions from the gravy train for small businesses and the middle and lower classes. But the insurance industry and the Republican party are masters of propaganda and they have lots of minions to spread it around with lies: like calling Living Wills Death Panels. Is Sarah Palin your intellectual leader?

  48. Barry Summers

    “Try debating the facts for once.”

    John –

    Here’s the problem for me, and I think for a lot of people. We, and I mean all Americans, are engaged in a difficult, complicated, incredibly important discussion about health care reform. There are inaccurate and not very helpful statements on all sides, but I think I can make the case that the majority of crazy things have been said by those trying to block reform. Must I list them? Socialism, death panels, Obama-is-a-nazi, 50% tax rate, etc. And now, add this cherry on top. The Republican National Committee just sent out a fundraising letter, signed by Chairman Michael Steele, suggesting that:

    “GOP voters might be discriminated against for medical treatment in a Democrat-imposed health care rationing system.”

    http://www.kansascity.com/444/story/1410789.html

    Yes, you read this right. The RNC, not some wacky tea partiers, mind you, is telling people that ‘Obamacare’ will allow Democrats to check your voting registration, and they might deny you medical care if you are a Republican.

    How the (bleep) can anyone have a sane debate about a topic like this, when one side is trying to drive the nation off the crazy cliff?

  49. John

    I agree the issue is very complicated. Too complicated for the simpletons in DC if you ask me.

    I do not agree that the RNC is any more guilty of distracting folks from the issues. Both sides are at fault for different reasons.

  50. fidel

    As I recall, annie rand was a big hit with the freshmen girls @ u.n.c.g. Back in ’86

  51. Eli Cohen

    “What we have NOW is socialism for the corporations and the rich; and exclusions from the gravy train for small businesses and the middle and lower classes.”

    Exactly!

    What I’d like to know is where do I find out precisely who is paid off by the insurance companies. Don’t they (politicos) have to report their bribes?

  52. Eli Cohen

    “I do not agree that the RNC is any more guilty of distracting folks from the issues. Both sides are at fault for different reasons.”

    And I respect your opinion John, please elaborate.

  53. John

    Eli – how about the President himself asking that people send in nightmare scenarios regarding their insurance companies? What was he going to do with that anecdotal data? Scare people.

    If he’s going to be honest, his site should have also have asked for Medicaid and Medicare nightmares. Government provided health care nightmares. Why didn’t he do that as well? Because those nightmares are far, far worse and far more plentiful.

    Both sides are astro-turfing the town halls.

    Pretending like the left is innocent here is a joke. Go to factcheck.org and politifact.org and see the lies both sides tell.

  54. Sovereign Starr

    PFKaP: I am not the same person as Frank Ricci, nor have I ever heard of him. While it is impossible for you to verify this fact, I just thought I would let it be known.

    Alan Richard: These facts are almost all irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Yes, I agree that the richest people in the nation could probably afford to pay extra taxes. But I don’t think it’s morally right, necessary, or even an efficient way to deal with the problems we face. No, I do not want to continue funneling billions of tax dollars into the private sector. What I want is for the government to cease and desist all coercive practices, including most kinds of taxation and regulation. While I do not have the patience or time to explain for your benefit how these two government practices are the root of most of our economic problems, not only in the U.S., but worldwide, with a little initiative and willingness to learn you can educate yourself on these matters. Yes, we do have socialism for the rich in this country, as well as socialism for the poor and socialism for everyone else. What we have is called corporatism- where the government and the largest corporations exist in a mutually beneficial embrace- to the detriment of the average citizen. I do not agree with or endorse this, nor, I think, does Tim Peck or any of the other dissenters of nationalized healthcare on this forum. I do think, however, that it is the inevitable result of having a government. Governments are naturally fecund ground for the kind of organized crime conducted by the very richest thugs in existence. Without them, and without organized religion, there would be zero possibility of a large-scale economic takeover by anyone.

  55. Piffy!

    [b]PFKaP: I am not the same person as Frank Ricci, nor have I ever heard of him. While it is impossible for you to verify this fact, I just thought I would let it be known.[/b]

    It is equally impossible for you to verify that you aren’t. I just notice you both spew the exact same nonsense talking points. If you indeed ARE two different people, you seem to be sharing the same brain.\

    You might wanna look into that.

  56. Barry Summers

    ‘Sovereign Star’ – you say it is not moral to tax the rich in order to help pay for healthcare for those who can’t afford it. I say it is immoral to allow people to suffer and die in a system that places wealth and privilege over simple humanity. And if all you’re concerned about is self-interest, it’s not healthy for you and all Americans to have such an enormous drain of wealth out of the working class into the hands of investors and executives. There has been an enormous transfer of wealth upward over the last 30 years, and the healthcare system on the verge of a breakdown is just one symptom of it.

    And before you accuse me fomenting class war, I’ll assert that it’s not fomenting to simply point out that war exists. How do I know that it exists? Because Warren Buffett, one of the richest and most well-connected men in America told me so:

    “There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/business/yourmoney/26every.html

  57. Sovereign Starr

    PFKaP: Just as it is impossible for you to verify that you do not share a brain with all of the other “progressive” sheeple in the world.

    Barry: Yes, I agree with you that there has been an “enormous transfer of wealth upward over the last 30 years”. I also agree that our current system “places wealth and privilege over simple humanity.” That doesn’t make wealth redistribution moral, wise or effective. You keep missing the point. It is the government that causes these horrors, because the government serves as a vehicle for an incredibly small percentage of the population to manipulate the rest of us, via a quaint little thing called regulation.

    Question: What makes you think that this healthcare “reform” thing is going to be any different? Clue: Almost every person on Obama’s cabinet is from Wall Street. Do you really think that Obama/Geithner/Gates/Hillary/Pelosi have your precious little working class interests at heart? These people have proven time and again that they are in politics to serve the same diabolical corporatists that you’re on about.

    I am fully in favor of people being rich. I think it’s a fantastic idea. I am thoroughly opposed to theft, which is what it is called when someone forcibly takes something from you without your consent, whether or not it is then used for the “common good”. Rich people are not the problem. Being rich does not make a person greedy or evil. Corporations are not the problem. A corporation, in most cases, is merely a company that has exceeded its customers’ expectations by providing a product or service that people need, at a reasonable cost, while not pissing anyone off too badly. It is when a greedy rich person or an unethical corporation meets the government that things begin to go amok. They cannot control the populace without the government.

  58. travelah

    There has been an enormous transfer of wealth upward over the last 30 years, and the healthcare system on the verge of a breakdown is just one symptom of it.

    If there has been a tremendous transfer of wealth upward, where did this wealth come from? It certainly did not come from the poor because they are significantly better off than they were 30 years ago. Since pension and retirement funds are the largest single investment group in the markets, it seems the middle class has done quite well too. So if it did not come from the poor and the middle class has benefited substantially from economic growth, the only source for this alleged transfer is economic growth itself.From this the rational and lucid mind can grasp that if you throttle back economic growth you hurt not only the ones you despise but the very ones you pretend to care about.

  59. Eli Cohen

    Travelah, as usual, you’ve you decided to muddy the waters with a lot of false assumptions,skewed logic, and half truths. (Petitio Principii)

    “It certainly did not come from the poor because they are significantly better off than they were 30 years ago.” (Red Herring)
    And what does “significant” mean? Just because there may have been improvement in the plight of the poor does not mean it was a sufficient amount.

    “Since pension and retirement funds are the largest single investment group in the markets, it seems the middle class has done quite well too.” (False Analogy)

    And what does that statement prove? Nothing! The middle class is shrinking.

    “So if it did not come from the poor and the middle class has benefited substantially from economic growth, the only source for this alleged transfer is economic growth itself.” (Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc)

    Now you’re really reaching…

    “From this the rational and lucid mind can grasp that if you throttle back economic growth you hurt not only the ones you despise but the very ones you pretend to care about.” (Straw Man)

    Assuming you are rational and lucid, why would you think anyone would despise someone else for being wealthy?! The rich are getting richer, the middle class is shrinking, and the poor are getting a royal screwing. Please keep your fox news factoids to yourself and refrain from commenting until you have some real argument against affordable health care for the people of this country. This is much too important for your usual sophistry and neo american facist propaganda.

  60. travelah

    Big E, should I be surprised at your comments. You failed to engage the argument at all. Where is the alleged “transfer coming” from?

  61. dhalgren999

    Way to go travelah-your as slippery as a dead fish. I do not speak latin-but it seems obvious we are talking about the shrinking middle class and the increasing number of poor, not where the rich stole their money. Look, you are anti-human rights, I get it. Let us try to stay on topic. Hows aboutcoming up with some rational reasoning for denying us all of reasonably priced healthcare.

  62. travelah

    In order to state that the middle class is shrinking, it must first be defined. The same is true for the class of poverty. One thing is certain. One of the reasons the weathy have prospered in numbers is because there are significantly more of them. I would suggest a couple of things here. A lot of formerly middle class are now retired and quite wealthy and are so because of sound investments, wise tax strategies and an understanding that wealth is earned rather than stolen.
    Why is it that the poor do not move into the middle class? One significant reason is because three generations of poor have been raised on the pablum of entitlement. Instead of working towards the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty through education and personal motivation, too many have sunk into the morass of feeling they are entitled to exist at somebody elses expense, namely the middle class and alleged wealthy. Of course they have the sycophant liberal to feed them the continuous lie. Now, three generations later, the poor are not much better than when Johnson’s war on poverty began.

    dhaligen, get an education, get a job with benefits or work two jobs to pay for what you are demanding.

  63. dhalgren999

    “Hows aboutcoming up with some rational reasoning for denying us all of reasonably priced healthcare.” ok travelah, are you just going to answer the question you wish i had asked? slippery, slippery. Evasions, anecdotes, fuzzy logic. Howbout some straight answers travelah? Obfuscation seems to be a lifestyle choice for you.

  64. Eli Cohen

    “One of the reasons the wealthy have prospered in numbers is because there are significantly more of them.” uhh yeah…

    Travelah, Did you misspeak or are you becoming more incoherent?! For once, just stick to answering the question. No evasions, no half truths, no false analogies, no misdirection or distractions of any kind. Why would you deny the american people affordable health care?

  65. travelah

    Big E, the American people are not being denied health care. Recent polls have indicated that up to 80% of Americans are satisfied with their health care coverage. The pertinent issue is how to deal with those who are not covered by insurance but get their needed care through the emergency room or higher cost urgent care. The numbers floated by the Democrats and socialists in trying to push this wreckage through are highly inflated and include significant numbers of people who have no legal rigth to be in the country in the first place. In addition to that, the CBO has repeatedly confirmed that rather than lower costs and remain within socialist projections, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid affair will escalate medical costs, taxes and deficits far above where they are now. In other words, it’s time for rational minds to go back to the drawing board and re-examine this matter. That means excluding fellows such as yourself, Big E.

    dhalginee, I addressed your issue. As for yourself, the following applies:
    dhaligen, get an education, get a job with benefits or work two jobs to pay for what you are demanding and get your thieving hands out of the pockets who are paying all the bills.

  66. Eli Cohen

    OK travelah, I can see it’s hopeless. You will not answer the question. So, continue with your smokescreens and evasions like the rest of your fox news friends, while the rest of us try to have an honest discussion. Just stay out of the way sophist…

  67. Barry Summers

    “get your thieving hands out of the pockets who are paying all the bills. ”

    Wow. Unfairly-personalize-for-the-purposes-of-misdirection much?

    Oh, and for the record, ‘Travelah’, I don’t “despise” the wealthy, I just think everyone will be better off under a fairer system – economically, morally, socially, etc. I care about the nation as a whole. On the other hand, some seem to care only about derailing the debate, maybe because they’ve been trained to see ‘compromise’ as surrender, ‘sharing’ as theft, and ‘respect’ as weakness. Truly Orwellian.

    “Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain.” George Orwell

  68. Barry Summers

    “Just stay out of the way sophist…”

    Good call, Eli. The Sophists (the earliest lawyers), had a tendency to promote the weakest argument, partly because of the potential to profit from an argument, regardless of it’s outcome.

    Socrates predicted that Democracy would fail, because of the Sophists. He may be proven right…

  69. JWTJr

    I love it how everyone is discussing the specifics of the bill. No propaganda here.

  70. Barry Summers

    “I love it how everyone is discussing the specifics of the bill. No propaganda here.”

    Hey, lay off Tim(1).

  71. Barry Summers

    Besides, the original topic was not the specifics of any bill, but the larger issues and the nature of the debate. As I said earlier, don’t insist that people focus on minutiae as the national discussion is moving in leaps and bounds. There is definitely merit in looking at the details, but Congress is nowhere close to an agreement on what will actually be in the bill yet, so why waste the time?

  72. JWTJr

    barry – You, Eli and Tim are all equally guilty. Encouraging others to look at this from 40,000 feet is a mistake when its the facts that matter.

    Minutiae?! Many parts of the bill are how they will be when its finally done. A few won’t make it, but most will. The real argument is which parts stay, not whether reform is a good idea or not.

    If you continue to stick your head in the sand about the major parts of the bill, you will regret it later.

    The great taste … less filling method of discussing this plays right into the hands of the legislators who don’t want to be bothered by the specifics.

  73. JWTJr

    Another point .. the public option will be an HMO. You will be assigned a primary care physician who will be your gate keeper for all other care.

    Lots of choice there. NOT.

  74. Barry Summers

    “The great taste … less filling method of discussing this plays right into the hands of the legislators who don’t want to be bothered by the specifics.”

    And the ‘focus on the details while the big picture is decided elsewhere’ method only plays into the hands of those who don’t want any change in the status quo, which is killing and bankrupting Americans every day.

    “You will be assigned a primary care physician who will be your gate keeper for all other care.”

    Where are you getting this? Every description I’ve seen shows the public option allowing you to keep your current physician if you choose to. Seriously, where did you get this? And don’t give me an insurance-lobby scaresite.

  75. JWTJr

    My previous comment was too vague. Here you go.

    Its common knowledge that the Public Option will be an HMO. HMO’s use PCP’s as gatekeepers. You can only keep your doctor if he or she decides to be a participating physician with that plan.

    “And the ‘focus on the details while the big picture is decided elsewhere’ method only plays into the hands of those who don’t want any change in the status quo, which is killing and bankrupting Americans every day.”

    That is bunk and propaganda. I want some reform and choose to be informed. Keep your head in the sand if you want.

  76. Barry Summers

    “Its common knowledge that the Public Option will be an HMO. HMO’s use PCP’s as gatekeepers. You can only keep your doctor if he or she decides to be a participating physician with that plan.”

    I don’t know where you get ‘common knowledge’. Obviously, you don’t have an actual source for your loud contention that the public option will somehow force a doctor on you that you wouldn’t choose otherwise, but never mind. Let’s pretend your unsupported contention is somewhere close to the truth.

    Hello? That’s what you have NOW, if you have private insurance. If the doctor you’d like to see doesn’t take your insurance, you’re SOL. No doctors are forced to accept private insurance, so why would the public option be any different? Bedsides, it’s likely that a large pool of newly insured patients might be an attractive plan for a doctor to be a part of.

    And you’re obscuring the key word here: Option. If you like your plan and your doctor, nobody’s forcing you into some neo-commie cattlepen of coverage. The public option is just that. Optional.

    And your claim that because I don’t approach the issue the same way you do, it means that I am uninformed and have my head in the sand? That makes you a jerk, and devalues your argument in my eyes. Sorry.

  77. JWTJr

    Most people have PPO’s not HMO’s. By at least 5 to 1. PPO’s don’t use gate keepers and have much higher out of network benefits so that patients can use whatever doc they want with minimal penalty. HMO’s have higher penalties for out of network utilization.

    Also, you can only keep your plan if your employer elects to. You have little input there.

    I work in the health care industry and have to interact with Medicare/Medicaid/Insurance all the time. I have vast experience with all 3. After spending as much time with those 3 entities, it makes me laugh when folks assume that the Gov’t plan is going to be so efficient. The Gov’t’s inefficiency and rigid bureaucracy far outweigh the profit taking of Insurance.

  78. Barry Summers

    Still waiting for any source other than your alleged “common knowledge” that the proposed public option would impose more restriction on your choice of doctor than private insurance.

    And again, you’re sweeping aside and distorting the bigger picture, which is why I resist your compulsion to focus on the details. The ‘public option’ is primarily there for people who currently have no insurance AT ALL, and would gladly endure “government inefficiency” if it means they get to see a doctor. Do you care at all that 45 million (and growing) Americans have no health insurance? Your thread of argument here suggests you do not.

  79. JWTJr

    barry – if all you want is for people who don’t have insurance to have it, why not just expand medicaid? Its an existing entity that will cost far less to expand than to start something from scratch. Start up on a new entity is a big time expense.

    I have no issues with folks having coverage. I’ve never said I did. I’m more concerned about how we do it. The devil is in the details.

  80. JWTJr

    Many private insurance plans are very restrictive about who you see. Same with Medicaid which operates much like a HMO. Many doc’s don’t take Medicare either – straight Medicare is not an HMO or PPO, but you still have to see a doc that takes Medicare.

    That is the diff between an HMO, PPO and Traditional insurance. Never once has Obama spoken about a Traditional or PPO model. If your doc chooses not to participate with the Public Option, you will have to change or pay him/her cash.

  81. JWTJr

    barry – here is a good article – that runs on a premise that you agree with – that discusses how the public option would operate. Very much an HMO model – managed care. Your doc will have the choice to participate in it or not. Just like regular insurance, medicaid and medicare. They all allow the doc to play or not.

    When Obama says you can keep your doc, there is one caveat, you better ask your doc if he/she is planning to participate in it.

    http://www.alternet.org/healthwellness/141040/only_a_public_option_can_make_decisions_in_patient's_best_interest/?page=1

    Maybe tonight, he will shed some more light on this.

  82. Barry Summers

    JWTJr – thanks, this was an interesting article, although I’m not sure I agree with some of the premises. For example, the presumed willingness of traditional HMO’s to follow suit with whatever treatment guidelines a federal panel determines, etc.

    I still think you are missing or glossing over a critical point.

    “When Obama says you can keep your doc, there is one caveat, you better ask your doc if he/she is planning to participate in it.”

    I believe that characterization of Obama’s message refers to the changed regulations that may come to existing private insurance (no pre-existing condition exclusion, no benefit caps, etc.). I think he’s referring to the fact that these changes in insurance regulation won’t affect your relationship with your doctor.

    Whether a doctor chooses to participate in a public option or not would only matter to you if you are signing up for the public option. Presumably, some of those with existing private insurance will want to switch to the public option, if it’s cheaper. In that case, yes, you would need to know if your doctor participated. I read somewhere the predicted percentages of people who would cross over to a public option – I can’t remember what they’re predicting, but the majority are expected to stay with their private insurers. The point is, the public option is primarily there for people who don’t currently have insurance. This is the primary motivator for reform right now, along with rising costs – tens of millions don’t have insurance. To them, access to care is paramount – choice of doctor is secondary.

    Unless you’re one of those who believe that the creation of a public option will lead to the collapse of private insurance. Is that the case?

  83. JWTJr

    “I agree with some of the premises. For example, the presumed willingness of traditional HMO’s to follow suit with whatever treatment guidelines a federal panel determines, etc.”

    Medicare already does this. Insurance is regulated at every curve by Medicare. The insurance that you and I have is highly regulated already. They follow Medicare Treatment Guidelines in almost lockstep.

    “I believe that characterization of Obama’s message refers to the changed regulations that may come to existing private insurance (no pre-existing condition exclusion, no benefit caps, etc.). I think he’s referring to the fact that these changes in insurance regulation won’t affect your relationship with your doctor.”

    Those are all very separate issues. However, when he says, “you can keep your doctor”, he is talking about both the public option participants and that his policies won’t affect those already insured. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

    “Unless you’re one of those who believe that the creation of a public option will lead to the collapse of private insurance. Is that the case?”

    I opposed to the Gov’t option because I work with both private and existing public entities. The Gov’t entities are the most messed up. Their operations are from the 50’s and their finances are always a disaster. If an insurance company gets that messed up, it is simple, they fail.

    Many in congress have said that the public option is the best possible foothold for a single payor system in the future. I can’t ignore that when I think of them running everything the way they have Medicare and Medicaid to this point. There has to be competition to serve as the check and balance. If the public option isn’t funded in a transparent way, there will be no way for us to compare who is really best.

  84. JWTJr

    I liked his speech for the most part. He spoke highly of competition being a necessary component of keeping costs down. He also poo poo’d the single payor idea very specifically. Pelosi and Reid hated that.

    Very importantly was his insistance that the Public Option be self sufficient and funded using premiums allowing for transparent finances. That thwarted Pelosi and Reid too. I think he reached across the isle on many issues. Especially tort reform. The trial lawywers own the Dems.

    Once the public option rolls out, the insurance industry will create products that mirror the same benefits. It will then be very interesting to see who can be the most competitive. I know who my money is on, but only time will tell.

  85. Barry Summers

    “Many in congress have said that the public option is the best possible foothold for a single payor system in the future.”

    I thought so. How about this blast from the past:

    “One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine.”

    That’s Ronald Reagan arguing against the creation of Medicare in 1961. Medicare has NOT led to ‘socialism’ in America, and it continues to be the lifeline for millions of seniors. Not surprisingly, Reagan was wrong. The public option won’t lead to ‘socialism’ either. Get over it.

  86. Barry Summers

    Oh, and BTW, ‘JWTJr’, if a polite debate is to continue, I would appreciate a little more care in ‘snipping’. Deliberately or not, you neatly twisted my quote around up there by leaving off the “I’m not sure…” from the “I agree with some of the premises.”

  87. JWTJr

    barry – I’m in favor of civil debate. I’ll be more mindful in the future.

    One last point on following the details … knowing the details of the various bills in congress gave me solid context during last night’s speech. Was there compromise or not and by who. His speech made both parties happy and mad at the same time. Unfortunately, he does not write the bill, congress does. We’ll see what they do with his recomendations.

  88. JWTJr

    MX – what’s it take to actually have your comment posted? Is someone asleep at the wheel?

  89. Barry Summers

    What’s the problem? That one seemed to go through alright.

  90. Barry Summers

    Oh – wait. By any chance, you didn’t try to ‘sock up’, did you? Because I believe that every new commenter has their first comment reviewed before they can post at will. And as I discovered, MX doesn’t automatically clear every puppet – a few weeks ago, I tried to create an obvious sockpuppet named “not Barry” to illustrate how an echo chamber effect is created. They didn’t clear ‘its’ comments, I guess because they knew I was behind it (pretty obvious).

    Tell your uncle barry. You tried to sock up, didn’t you?

  91. JWTJr

    There are so many health care threads going on now that I may have gotten lost in the thread count. No socking up here.

  92. JWTJr

    Snark!? You %$#&! How dare you use Snark on this thread! Heaven forbid.

  93. Eli Cohen

    If it was undeniably apparent to you (travelah, tim,ricci and company) that a single payer system would lower costs and increase quality for everyone, would you support it?

  94. Barry Summers

    Good luck with that one, Eli. Might as well shout at your sock drawer.

  95. travelah

    Eli,
    If it was undeniably apparent to you that Jesus Christ is LORD and God manifested in flesh, would you bow down and worship Him?

    … Of course you wouldn’t…

    In answer to your question, I would support the system that is most effective and efficient in delivering ever improving health care to the American public. By default that eliminates anything associated with a government run single payer system. To verify this all you need do is look at the U.S. tax code and come to terms with how it got that way. Then move on to the U.S. Post Office, teh U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and teh various military branches. There is next to nothing run efficiently within the U.S. Government.

  96. JWTJr

    Eli – I would support the best system. If there was a real comparison. I work with Medicare, Medicaid the VAMC and Insurance every day. After dealing with them, I’m skeptical that the Fed can pull it off. If they do, I’ll take my hat off to them.

  97. Barry Summers

    “Eli,
    If it was undeniably apparent to you that Jesus Christ is LORD and God manifested in flesh, would you bow down and worship Him?”

    Wow, a new low. And for you, ‘travelah’, that’s saying something.

  98. Barry Summers

    It’s worth pointing out that single payer has NEVER been on the table in these talks. Right wingers called it socialism, so the Democrats never even brought it up (with the exception of a few backbenchers). The public option was a compromise, just another competitor with private insurance. Right wingers called it socialism, so the Democrats are about to pull it. The ‘trigger’ system to a public option was called a compromise, but now even ‘moderate’ Republicans are calling THAT socialism, so the Democrats are falling back again. The final compromise was the ‘co-ops’, but some Republicans said they wouldn’t even support that compromise.

    Do you see a pattern here? They aren’t honest negotiators. They are fully bought and paid for by the industries that stand to lose billions in profits, so they will kill any genuine reform.

    Social Security was created with little or no Republican votes, same with Medicare. Go for 51 votes and stop pretending that these millionaires give a damn about the middle class.

  99. JWTJr

    barry – Did you hear the clapping at Obama’s speech when he said that ‘some think a single payor is the way’? Probably 1/3 of the Democrats applauded. That group wants single payor regardless of its performance. Then, deliciously, Obama hammered them saying that single payor is not a good solution and that competition is a key component to keeping costs down. It is a flip flop on his part from things he has said in the past .. I choose to think he’s seen the light.

    We can still get rid of preexisting condition clauses, stop insurers from dropping sick patients, have the exchange for low income folks and have competition.

    Medicare, Medicaid and the VAMC all have the same drive to limit care as the insurance industry. They both have bottom lines to watch and make decisions accordingly. I see them every day. Thinking abuses won’t occur in a single payor system, when those same abuses occur in every Gov’t run system, is ignoring history.

    51 votes won’t do it. Gotta have 60.

  100. travelah

    barry barry barry …. you poor thing. To Eli, Christ is a myth and seeing that you didn’t realize that it is no surprise why you fail to see the point in my comment.
    Address my full comment or remain irrelevant.

  101. Barry Summers

    “Did you hear the clapping at Obama’s speech when he said that ‘some think a single payor is the way’? Probably 1/3 of the Democrats applauded.”

    I don’t know how many applauded, but I have to believe that a fair amount of that came from those who have taken the Republican/insurance company playbook to heart: demand way more than you really want or need or believe you’ll get simply as a negotiating point.

    “It is a flip flop on his part from things he has said in the past .. I choose to think he’s seen the light.”

    I think he’s crafting a negotiating position based on his political needs, independent of what he truly believes. He needs to pass anything at all that he can point to as a success, knowing that a lot of the Republican opposition stems from what that one Congressman said: they want this to be his Waterloo, so they can weaken him politically. It’s a grotesque game that both sides are playing, with people’s lives in the balance.

    “We can still get rid of preexisting condition clauses, stop insurers from dropping sick patients, have the exchange for low income folks and have competition.”

    First, it would never have been possible to achieve even the appearance of those modest concessions without the threat of a public option to bring the insurers to the table. Second, I haven’t seen any advocates for genuine reform say that real competition will exist without a public option. I think any improvements will be illusory without it.

    “Medicare, Medicaid and the VAMC all have the same drive to limit care as the insurance industry. They both have bottom lines to watch and make decisions accordingly. I see them every day. Thinking abuses won’t occur in a single payor system, when those same abuses occur in every Gov’t run system, is ignoring history.”

    I disagree that the gov. run programs have the “same drive to limit care.” The people who set those limits are somewhat accountable to the recipients, unlike executives and shareholders of private companies, who are only accountable to the bottom line. The gov. programs, while having some waste and abuse (of course), are an improvement over the deliberate siphoning of cash that occurs under private insurance without honest competition from a government-run public option.

    “51 votes won’t do it. Gotta have 60.”

    Wrong. The ‘reconciliation’ process only requires a bare majority, not 60 votes. I think they should use it. The bad faith exhibited by the opposition has made ‘compromise’ and ‘negotiation’ pointless. They bared their hand with that ‘Waterloo’ comment. Ram it through. Public option now!

  102. Barry Summers

    “barry barry barry …. you poor thing. To Eli, Christ is a myth and seeing that you didn’t realize that it is no surprise why you fail to see the point in my comment.
    Address my full comment or remain irrelevant”

    travelah sock, travelah sock, travelah sock.

    It’s whatever comment that follows a smirking, cynical attack on someone’s religious views that is irrelevant.

    Jeff – When will we be free of these hateful cowards?

  103. Barry Summers

    JWTJr

    Another voice that can’t be discounted so easily is Wendell Potter, the former Cigna VP for Communications. Until recently, he was on the inside of one of the biggest health insurance companies. He knows their game plan, he knows their business, and he’s turned whistleblower. He has come out hard for the public option. Today, he said that if there is no public option, the bill might as well be called “Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/15/wendell-potter-public-opt_n_287733.html

    He says that the current ‘compromise’ bill (without a public option) being considered in the Senate Finance Committee “would benefit health insurance companies far more than average Americans.”

  104. JWTJr

    You guys keep ignoring the fact that Medicare, Medicaid and the VAMC do all the same stuff. When the quarter or the year is closing, care stops at the VAMC.

    If you want to think the Public Option is going to be this unlimited piple line of uncompromising care, it sure isn’t based on the Gov’ts track record providing care to now. Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it.

  105. JWTJr

    I’m curious to know what you think the Public Option will do differently than insurance/medicare/medicaid? How will the patient benefit?

  106. Barry Summers

    I don’t know where you’re getting that I, or anyone else thinks that a public option will be an

    “unlimited pipeline of uncompromising care”

    whatever that is. It’s an exaggeration, a misrepresentation, and ultimately, and insult to our intelligence. Please, we were doing so well…

    I know, of course, that a govt. run plan will likely be half-a-loaf at best. But for God’s sake 48 million Americans have NO health insurance, including me. I would LOVE to have to wait in line for a month to see whatever doctor is willing to take my crappy govt. insurance coverage. Right now, that actually looks good to me, AND ONE IN SEVEN AMERICANS. Does this part of the issue just turn into Swahili in your mind, therefore become irrelevant? You keep talking about nibbling around the edges (pre-existing condition, etc.) but the real BIG issue just gets shoved off the table: the cost of private insurance is increasingly out of reach to tens of millions of people.

    Without a public option, the private insurers have NO motivation to actually bring costs down, especially if they are allowed to cram into whatever legislation comes out of this sausagefest sufficient ‘mandatory’ clauses that will guarantee them millions more customers, but very little pressure to improve services or lower the cost of coverage. All you’ll have is a whole lot of people feeling forced into buying over-priced private insurance, which will then lead to more govt. subsidies in the form of taxbreaks to consumers or direct payments to insurers. Things will continue the way they have. Profits will go up, the new benchmark for profits will have been set, and services will be cut in the future in order to meet that benchmark. So it has been, since 1973.

    The only real change will be that the death panels that currently exist at the private insurance companies will have plusher chairs to sit in while they order you to smother Grandma in her sleep.

    This is my educated guess of the outcome of all of this, with no ratty, poorly managed govt. option on the table.

  107. Eli Cohen

    There is next to nothing run efficiently within the U.S. Government…Travelah, judging from the economy and recent events,the only thing the big business private sector does well is corruption, greed, and disregard for the overall welfare of the people of this country. Most of the guys running these big companies are probably sociopaths, judging from their actions. And by the way travelah, your fascist stance on human rights indicates jesus is a myth to you also.

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