What A Sorry F***ing Mess. (Health Care)

I am 69 yo and I am so glad I’m not 20-50 something. I’m retired with Medicare/Caid and should I ever need more than that, I’ll be happy to have spared everyone the expense of postponing my demise. You all know what the Chinese are reputed to have said about “interesting times”.

I don’t have cable and, what little I know of the major networks, I get on the net from Jon Stewart. Last night he targeted the popular right-wing reaction to the news that Congress was moving toward passing a health care reform bill (the size of an urban telephone directory and about as likely to be read by anyone it affects) which they characterize as socialistic and too expensive.

I am also a poster at Common Dreams where the latter-day disenfranchised hang out. They were tearing Dennis Kucinich a new asshole for reversing his stand against the bill after he had been taken for a ride in Air Force One. There was general agreement that Dennis had been made an offer he couldn’t refuse like eating his own shit electorally or shitting on the pile with the rest of them. His few apologists suggested that he may have been offered the Wellstone Alternative.

These heirs of Che Guevara also find fault with the bill on the grounds that is just another example of (corporate) socialism and will cost too much because of corporate profiteering. So we have the left and right, united against a bill that is generally recognized as “imperfect” and nobody really likes, using the same words to describe their objections. WTF?

What is the difference between govt “waste” and “inefficiency” and corporate profiteering? Doesn’t it all end up in the same pockets anyway?

“Compromise” is defined as, “When everyone complains equally.”

Mission accomplished. If the wailing and gnashing of teeth is any indication, this is the best bill we could’ve hoped for.

I think what started as a good intention by Obama and much-needed social program ended up as nothing more than a game of political capture-the-flag.

Democrats want the bill to pass because they need to have some accomplishment to point to during the upcoming elections.

Republicans don’t because they need to point out how ineffectual the Democrats were in office during the upcoming elections.

The original bill has been chopped, gutted, adulterated, transmogrified, circumcised, and crucified, and its entrails dragged across the Senate floor and over every television screen in the United States. Nobody likes it now, but that doesn’t matter.

I thought socialized healthcare would be a great step forward for this country. Why am I surprised that it just turned into another congressional hack job?

The current bill has some changes that are badly needed, like the changes around pre-existing conditions. It is not all I hoped for, but then what I wanted was never even on the table. Even as gutted as it is, from the comments I just read in a smaller community newspaper’s website, many are convinced this is the way Obama is going to take away all freedom and allow his communist czars to control everyone.

And yet still will extend health insurance to 95% of the population, reduce the deficit, lower premiums, and eliminate discrimination based on preexisting conditions.

Legislative processes are messy. Don’t let that color your view of the actual substance.

I agree with Agent, it started out as health care, ended up as a must-pass just so they can claim some victory. The Dems will get killed in Nov if this passes, and get killed worse if it doesn’t.

I think it’s a bad bill, and we can’t afford it as a country. But borrow-and-spend seems to be the rule for the last few decades, so why not some more.

What do you mean by that? Have they been lining up political opponents against a wall and executing them? Or perhaps have they been ineffectual in creating peasant uprisings? Or have they been surrendering to their enemies by shouting “Don’t shoot me, I’m Che, I’m worth more alive!!”

The CBO would appear to disagree with you on whether we can or can’t afford it.

And, Paul Krugman too. But, hey, what does he know?

It’ll save as many as one million lives over the next decade – most of them poor, and disproportionately from minority or otherwise oppressed populations. You think that’s nothing?

It’ll cover 30-some million people who have no health insurance today – overwhelmingly because they can’t afford it.

It’ll stop insurance companies from denying coverage – or even from requiring higher premiums – from people who, through no fault of their own, have asthma, or Parkinson’s, or cancer, or Crohn’s.

It’ll stop the imposition of lifetime caps, so someone who paid their premiums every month but ends up with cancer or diverticulitis or kidney disease doesn’t get dumped. When that happens now (which it does literally every day), those people usually can’t get any other insurance either, because they’ve been sick.

It’ll allow entrepreneurship to thrive, because people who have ideas for new businesses or products will be able to strike out on their own without fear that they’ll lose the coverage for their kid’s asthma or their spouse’s hypertension medicines.

Similarly, it’ll allow small businesses to offer health care benefits, making them more attractive employers to top talent.

It’ll require insurance companies to spend the substantial majority of premium charges on health care instead of bureaucracy, advertising, or officer salaries.

And, while it unfortunately doesn’t create a public option (an idea that only arose during the 2004 presidential race, BTW; it’s not like it has been a objective on the left for decades, although health reform sure has), it allows states and regional compacts to establish their own.

And it will do all these things at a cost savings of a trillion dollars over the long term. Not only is every dime of spending paid for, those dimes generate a big return. It’s the biggest deficit-reduction effort since the Clinton surplus.

It’s a great bill. It is not a perfect bill. But that doesn’t make it anemic, or lame, or worth spurning – or even turning you nose up at. It’s a great bill.


Who’s going to pay for all the services and infrastructure to support all these extra living people, eh? :smiley:

I have insurance through work, a family policy costs the company about $1200 a month.

But if I had to buy the same policy as an individual it would cost over $5250 a month (unless I want to keep my adult children on, then the rate goes higher. When my company talked about switching plans I considered keeping the one I had as an individual because I didn’t want to change doctors then I got a quote

I don’t get how someone can be forced to buy this? So, they’re going to give a tax credit??
So what? Even if a family has a pre-tax income of 100K or so they are lucky if they take home more than $63,000.00. They can’t spend it ALL on insurance but this policy costs 63K a year.

Fucking A.

For those buying insurance on their own, rather than receiving it through their jobs, out-of-pocket expenses will be capped at $11,900 per year per family, or $5,900 per year for individuals.

Salon has put together a nice slideshow of facts about the bill that should be passing this weekend.

Thanks for that link, tumbleddown.

No, you incorrigible slack brain. I’m talking about their deep and totally justified distrust of Corporate America and their idea that the US health care system would be much better were it modeled on Cuba’s.

Poor Dennis Kucinich, reamed, steamed and hung out to dry. Here , he and Ralph Nader discuss the bill. Interesting note, very little of it goes into effect until 2014 and it is estimated that 180,000 Americans will die as a result of the postponement.

And here is Ralph Nader’s proposed single payer system.

Thanks to all for your responses, esp. tumbledown. IMHO, the best and most practical way of bringing decent health care to the US would be to incrementally lower the age at which Medicare/Caid kick in. The best part? One fucking page of text.

Don’t mistake an estimate that doesn’t account for reconciliation as backup of your assertion.

Further, and as was argued endlessly in GD, you seem to have faith that the Congress will have the balls to take 500 large out of Medicare and 200 large out of DocFix to pay for this. When historically they’ve overridden the pain in the budget and opted out. I’d like to see them do that first, let’s eat the vegetables before we get dessert.

And that there’d be no affect at all on health care delivery. (think about it: we’re adding 30 mil without illegals, or 45m if illegals get it, reducing what we spend, and improving healthcare for Americans. I don’t buy it).

Finally, there’s the law of unintended consequences. As we talked about in the other thread, the Investor’s Business Daily did a random poll of over 1300 doctors. They found that an incredible 45% would consider retiring if this passes. Although the poll isn’t absolutely perfect (it was done by mail, for example, a straw that the blind proponents of HCR were grasping onto, sadly IMHO, to try to refute it), there’ no question that there will be massive ramifications that we cannot anticipate now.

Ok, I’ll cite duel ya’.

Here’s a Reuters poll of American doctors.

I realize that this is just a summary so do you have any links that explain how the deficit is going to go down since I cannot see that there will be " savings would come because the government would be spending less on Medicare and Medicaid" if there are going to be more people enrolled in Medicaid. I also hope that they base the fees on pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of medical devices on how much the public uses what each company makes, rather than just the same for all. Tho I suppose they will just jack up their prices to cover the fee.

This one “Payments to private insurance companies that run Medicare Advantage plans would be frozen in 2011, which Democrats say would eliminate overpayments.” doesn’t even make sense. Overpayments don’t happen because company X is getting Y amount of money.

On this one - “Insurers would have to spend 80 to 85 percent of what people pay in premiums on actual medical services; right now, they’re allowed to spend less, pocketing the difference.” I hope the government understands the difference between keeping a bank of fund available to make unforecasted payments, and just “pocketing the difference”. I tend to doubt it tho, since the bill also calls for “Lifetime limits on the amount of medical care your insurer would pay for would be illegal, and annual limits would be “tightly restricted.”” so I wonder how insurance companies are going to stay in business. I begin to believe that one goal of this bill is to force most of them out of business.

This doesn’t make sense either - “Premiums could fall by as much as 3 percent over what they would be if the bill doesn’t pass (but they’ll still be higher than they are now, because healthcare costs keep rising). There would be a new tax on the most generous plans – those with a value of more than $27,500 for families. That value would be indexed to inflation, so as prices go up in general, the limit for the tax would rise with them. The goal of the tax is to keep employers from offering so-called Cadillac plans, because experts believe they encourage patients and doctors to spend money unnecessarily on care that might not actually improve health.” Why would our premiums go down if the insurance companies are required to pay out more? Why is it a bad thing for patients and doctors to spend money on care if it is covered by a high premium plan?

“Abortions could not be covered by plans that get subsidies” - heh, what separation of church and state? Women shouldn’t have control of their futures, should they?

I wonder if I’ll be able to live long enough to say I told you so when the whole country is in the same condition as the state of California…

Medicare for All would be a great system. But look man, it’s simply not feasible, The plan that’s going to the Floor today is essentially the GOP alternative to Clinton’s health care plan in the '90’s. And how many GOP votes will it garner? There’s so much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments over this plan on the left, but they’re all using the wrong counterfactual. If this bill fails, the alternative isn’t single payor. The alternative is the status quo – and anyone who thinks we can just let it get worse and in a few years, even the Republicans will admit that we have to do something is incredibly naive. Some form of universal coverage has been on the table since Teddy Roosevelt, and it never got enacted. And every time a push was made, and failed, it took a decade before anyone was foolhardy enough to try again – and countless deaths, and countless bankruptcies, and countless suffering in the meantime. And when it does come back, it comes back paltrier. This is what we can do, and we can do it today. What you want – no one can do it. And no one will be able to do it tomorrow, or in 2020.