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Health care shuck n jive

By
April 17, 2008

Universal health care is the only humane system for a nation of such great wealth, and the only logical discussion is how to get there. Except, why has this Congress not taken a baby step? Why has it not authorized Medicare to negotiate drug prices?

Other first world nations have found their own way to provide government sponsored universal health care to their people. Japan does it yet is able to provide nearly instant services at extremely low cost to the residents (yes, it is not restricted to citizens).

Britain provides care at very low cost but has delivery delays that trouble some. Germany provides both excellent care in a timely fashion, but is more not as inexpensive.

Taiwan studied these and other universal systems as well as the American model. As they put it, our system is “what happens when you don’t do anything.” They found it to be worse than the other models because we pay the most for the least benefits.

But while politicians pronounce, announce, promise, debate and dither about their way to get there, there is at least one single step that could be taken now and it would result in enormous savings to Americans.
We need to authorize Medicare to negotiate drug prices for its beneficiaries.

Medicare carries enormous clout in setting prices – ask hospitals and doctors. Yet they are prohibited by law from negotiating drug prices, an insane policy that was wrong when adopted and even more glaringly now.

There are many things that can be said about health care and what changes are needed to bring the entire system into balance and to provide excellent health care. But as usual, Congress is in love with the charade we call democracy, they would rather talk about something than doing it.

Maybe none of the ideas now out there are the entire answer. Maybe each has some merit and eventually the system we will get be a synthesis of current and future plans. But wouldn’t it be better to just get started, test out one change at a time until we are able to agree on the next one.

Congress, just do it.

55 Responses to Health care shuck n jive

  1. Ted Remington

    April 19, 2008 at 7:31 am

    Ron:

    Please try to put your thoughts into paragraph format. Makes it more likely that people will read it.

    I have one question and one question only. You say up towards the top of your post that 2/3ds of the money spent on health care in the US is “sucked down” by for-profit corporations. That is, at best, a specious argument unless you are saying that the money is not going to health care. If so, it is your duty to provide support for that statement.

    What percentage of your food dollars go to for-profit corporations? Do you complain that every dollar goes into the hands of a for-profit corporation? Didn’t think so.

    I point out to you that pretty much every dollar you pay directly to a doctor or dentist goes directly to a for-profit corporation, since almost all such medical care providers have incorporated themselves for various tax and legal liability purposes. If they were non-profit do you think they would continue to provide you with medical treatment?

    What I suggested in my post above was providing medical care at the most competitive rates by creating an environment where health care providers were encouraged to compete with one another. Certainly if you want to put together a non-profit organization and compete with for-profit corporations there would be nothing to stop you, but non-profits are normally incapable of competing for one single reason: they cannot sell shares of stock, so they have no way of putting together the kind of money needed for doing such things as building a hospital. And hospitals tend to be on the extensive side.

    Look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Non-profit_organizations and the sources cited therein for further enlightenment on this subject.

    Ted

  2. keith

    April 19, 2008 at 8:26 am

    I’ve seen so-called “Unviersal health care” at work up close and personal-like in Canada. And it’s an absolute mess!

    It’s so much of a mess that fully one quarter of my USA doctor’s patients are now Canadians coming across the border and paying confiscatory CASH rates his far more timely and responsive services.

    For the REAL story of how NOT to implement such so-called “universal” care (and rather than repeating it here), I invite you all to have another look at my previous Blue Blog postings on the subject (Some Thoughts On Universal Health Care) here on Capitol Hill Blue, along with the resulting discussions.

    I believe all of it will, once again, prove enlightening:

    http://www.capitolhillblue.com/cont/node/4234

  3. Flapsaddle

    April 19, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    All that a universal coverage system will do is change who rations medical care. Currently, the insurance carriers are the gate-keepers – and that is the “customer” that the hospitals and doctors have to satisfy. If you replace the insurance companies with a government agency, then it becomes the gate-keeper to whom the medical service providers are beholden. Under either system, the patient is not the customer who must be satisfied.

    We have no idea what medical care really costs because the system has been distorted through regulation. For example, why should the “courtesy kit” – barf pan, insulated drinking cup, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, body wash, mouthwash, comb, razor, etc. – issued a hospital patient be billed to the insurance carrier for $45.00 when the indinvidual components can be bought at a “dollar” store for about $7.50?

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  4. keith

    April 19, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    T.J. wrote:

    We have no idea what medical care really costs because the system has been distorted through regulation. For example, why should the “courtesy kit” – barf pan, insulated drinking cup, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, body wash, mouthwash, comb, razor, etc. – issued a hospital patient be billed to the insurance carrier for $45.00 when the indinvidual (sic) components can be bought at a “dollar” store for about $7.50?

    At least part of the answer is that this is how the health care provider recovers the costs associated with giving those items to people who cannot (or will not) pay for their care in our country.

    It also reflects the failure of health care providers to fully recover the true costs of providing care to those people who do happen to have insurance, but whose insurance companies refuse to fully reimburse those costs.

    So, in that sense, it isn’t just “regulation” that has “distorted” these costs, T.J., it’s ALSO the result of insurance providers not fully reimbursing health care providers for the true costs of the services they provide, as well as covering the costs of the tens of millions of people using the health care system in our country who aren’t (for various and sundry reasons) paying for it.

    It’s just like a food merchant who must cover the costs of theft, breakage and/or spoilage of a portion of the items they offer for sale by passing those costs along to those who actually buy their wares with real money.

    And, I’ll also bet the actual reimbursement the medical provider got from the insurance company for those items you mention was a lot closer to $7.50 than it was to $45.00.

  5. SEAL

    April 19, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Roncorvus: Unless you post in paragraph format with some white space I will not read your posts. Also, like Ted said, if you make allegations you must supply facts or reasonable, logical argument to support them.

    It was a very good posting, just very difficult to read.

  6. SEAL

    April 20, 2008 at 3:43 am

    The plain fact is that if you are going to create universal health care for all americans, you automatically eliminate insurance companies. If everyone is automatically provided healthcare there is no need for a middle man to take a cut off the top inflating the cost of the care. Universal health care is paid directly into a health care fund through automatic payroll deduction based on a percentage of income.

    Universal health care would be non-profit. Universal health care would create an autonomous agency to oversee and control it. It would no longer be called ‘insurance.’ There would be no such thing as exclusons for any reason.

    As the only provider it would have the power to regulate the cost of prescription drugs, hospital costs, lab and specialized diagnostic fees (such as MRIs). I have no way of knowing but I suspect the cost to the individual taxpayer would be less than they are currently paying for medicare. Lobbyists would be eliminated. There would be nothing to lobby for.

    Under universal health care the individual could choose any doctor or hospital they wanted. All fee schedules would be mandated and any required co-pays should be established the same for all, however, any doctor or pharmacy could charge a higher or lower co-pay fee. Essentially it would be very much like the medicare for seniors we presently have. There would be no middle man (insurance company) being paid to do little more than punch up our file on a dumbputer and tell us what is covered and what is not.

    Such a system would dramatically reduce the cost of health care in this country. No middleman raking a cut off the top – preventive medicine would reduce major medical conditions [like a +baby's cold becoming pneumonia] – reduced staffing of Emergency Rooms that would handle only true emergencies. There are many other minor cost saving features that would add up to a great deal of savings.

    I see universal health care as being so simple to establish, efficient to operate, and such an obvious cost saving program I can’t understand why Ron Paul or Kucunich or some other “radical” candidate hasn’t proposed it. Surely I’m not the only one who has thought of this.

  7. Flapsaddle

    April 19, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    I think it still reduces to a matter of regulation both by the insurance industry and by government.

    The insurance company, the “customer”, decided what it wants to pay, and it also decides who can/cannot be insured and for what. Hospitals really cannot opt out of the problem due to federal regulations – they essentially have to treat, or at least evaluate, everyone who shows up; doctors must try and treat or at least evaluate everyone that shows up. If they, doctors and hospitals, do not, they look a malpractice charge in the eye.

    There are some really strange, illogical things here, though, in that a person who presents with chest pains can get admitted to cardiac ICU – at about $5,000/day – and be there 3-4 days, but cannot get coverage that would get him a couple of annual doctor’s visits and BP and blood thinner meds that could cost as little as $5/day.

    Unfortunately, the resolution is probably going to be a government-administered system that will still ration health care and still pass the costs on to the public at large.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  8. Sandra Price

    April 20, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Let me remind you that seniors are covered by medicare. When an office procedure or hospital procedure is sent to the government (Medicare) they take up to 4 years to pay the hospital and doctors.

    I’m watching CSPAN at this time and the lack of doctors is increasing drastically. The cost of medical coverage for them is so high and the delay in being paid by Medicare is sending them into a private practice and many will not take a Medicare patient.

    I have had a couple of procedures done without the use of my insurance or medicare and this is becoming more popular with my seniors here in the development. Some of the best doctors will not take medicare and who can blame them?

    If the federal government takes over universal health care, every single one of us will regret it. Will our doctors who refuse to accept Medicare have to leave the country to practice?

  9. Ted Remington

    April 20, 2008 at 10:19 am

    SEAL:

    You said: “The plain fact is that if you are going to create universal health care for all americans (sic), you automatically eliminate insurance companies.”

    Why is this a plain fact? Everyone is down on insurance companies, but I have yet to see anyone provide specifics about what the companies do that is so antithetical to the interests of the world.

    You said in part: “All fee schedules would be mandated and any required co-pays should be established the same for all, however, any doctor or pharmacy could charge a higher or lower co-pay fee.”

    Who would establish these fee schedules? Under what authority? Yet another massive bureaucracy?

    They you say that co-pays would be established the same for all but any doctor or pharmacy could charge a higher or lower co-pay fee. In the first part of your sentence you say the co-pay fees would be the same for all, but then you say doctors didn’t have to accept the co-pay schedule. This reminds me of the cartoon of Charles Dickens sitting across from his editor, who sneers, “Well, Mr. Dickens, was it the best of times or the worst of times? You can scarcely have it both ways.”

    What happens when the doctors emulate John Galt, shrug the world’s shoulders, and tell you they are not going to work for slave wages?

    What you are proposing is a strict socialized medicine setup which is completely antithetical to the way Americans do business in the real world. Instead of having the marketplace decide priorities you would have bureaucrats doing it. That way lies chaos.

    Back in the 1970s I worked in an agency which tried to collect the overpayments made to nursing home service providers under the Medicare program. The setup of was extremely complex, but boiled down to a situation where the Medicare program bore a portion of the overhead costs of the facility that were proportionate to the number and type of Medicare patients in the facility. The case files on these debts were as big as the debts: HUGE. Almost impossible to comprehend.

    But one day I was leafing through a file and a name caught my eye. Annie Something. I thought to myself, I remember seeing that name. She was listed as the head nurse of a nursing home, and her salary was included in the overhead. And over here, in a seemingly unrelated case file, Annie Something appeared again, with her head nurse salary as part of the overhead of another facility.

    So I and the other adjudicators put together a card file with the names of the employees. Lo and behold, Annie Something was being paid a head nurse salary in some 50 or 55 facilities, all at the same time! Even more interesting, Something was her maiden name, and she was married one of the owners of the facilities.

    This is the sort of stuff that happens when you put a bureaucracy in charge of big money like this. Crooks come out of the woodwork and steal us blind. We succeeded eventually in putting several of these people in jail, but we couldn’t begin to collect the money because these people had spent it or gotten it to a place where the Justice Department couldn’t get to it.

    The lesson: Let HMOs and PPOs and Blue Cross/Blue Shield all compete and let the market determine where payment goes. Once you inject a bureaucracy into the equation you end up with massive theft and other inefficiencies.

    We have an existing medical marketplace which, while not broken, is admittedly pretty bent up at the moment, but which could work well with some tweaking to get rid of some of the inequities. Don’t throw the baby out. Help him grow up.

    Ted

  10. staunchdem

    April 21, 2008 at 12:25 am

    I think the term Universal Healthcare is misunderstood.
    The proposal that makes the most sense is a Single Payer system much like Medicare.
    Medicare has about 3% administrative costs while our current private plans shell out between 25-30% overhead enriching a very few.
    Meanwhile we are not even in the top ten in categories like infant mortality, and many others.
    Plain and simple we are the only industrialized nation that hasn’t figured out how to get this done.
    I believe we owe it to our citizens to get this done one way or another.
    It won’t be a walk in the park but we need to do it.

  11. SEAL

    April 21, 2008 at 7:06 am

    Thank you stauchdem for helping to make my point. If you establish universal health care, you have no need for insurance companies. They are only expensive overhead dedicated to denying as many claims as possible. That’s why the insurance and drug companies have poured so much money into the campaign funds of certain candidates.

    Who do think it was that derailed Hillary’s plans for a “universal” system back in ’92? She learned a lesson from that and, now, she proposes a system that would leave the insurance and drug companies in control. Not only that, she has made it mandatory, forcing all those insurance ‘deadbeats’ that fill the ERs every day for free medical treatment to become cutomers. That’s more than a million new premium payers.

    Ted: you are correct that what I describe is socialized medicine wherein the agency would establish standard fees and co-pays that the doctor or pharmacy could follow or not. But the patient would know what the standard fee was and decide whether to use them or go next door.

    The massive burocracy you fear already exists – Medicare. It would simply be expanded. And no matter what kind of system you create, some will figure out a way to enrich themselves from it. That’s why we must have oversite and investigators for it just like any other program.

    Insurance companies have no place in a true medical care program that serves the needs of all americans. As long as they are involved we will be told which doctors ond hospitals we can use and there will be higher premiums and exclusions that cause needless sufering.

    True, that it would be mandatory, but based upon a percetage of income I believe we would find the cost affordable for all. And all the money would go towards medical care instead of large expensive homes and Hummers for insurance executives.

    I don’t like socialism either. In fact I hate it. But this is the only way possible to truly provide affordable, efficient, universal health care for all. We must remove the profit motive, ie., the insurance company.

  12. Jeffers

    April 21, 2008 at 10:10 am

    I have a couple paragraphs for sale, but will not give away my work for free.

    Jeffers

    Peace without freedom is still slavery.

  13. Jeffers

    April 21, 2008 at 10:16 am

    If medicare is so great, why do all our parents have “supplimental insurance”?

    Many of the doctors of 30 years ago are glad they do not practice today. They recognized then that HMOs and government regulation would stop them from practicing medicine as they wanted to.

    Jeffers

    Peace without freedom is still slavery.

  14. Sandra Price

    April 21, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    I would prefer a choice of either having emergency coverage only in the private sector or government control of their procedures. If we go on a mandated government coverage it will destroy our medical system.

    Americas do not want to pay for their health insurance and too many feel it is the function of the government to do it. I wish you could show me where this function and authority comes from.

    If you can afford cable television and a new car you can afford to pay your own way. Don’t expect me to pay your bills if you drink and smoke too much and eat like a pig. This is America not Cuba where everything is free except the citizens.

  15. Ted Remington

    April 21, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Sandra:

    You said: If we go on a mandated government coverage it will destroy our medical system.

    Can you explain why this would result?

    You also made the statement:

    Americas (sic) do not want to pay for their health insurance and too many feel it is the function of the government to do it.

    Can you provide documentation for that viewpoint?

    Lastly, you said:

    If you can afford cable television and a new car you can afford to pay your own way.

    Do you mean that such people can afford to pay for your own health insurance or do you mean that they can afford to go bare, i.e. self-insure?

    Ted

  16. ekaton

    April 21, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    There may be people in this country who can afford health insurance but choose not to carry a health insurance policy. There are for sure working people in this country who cannot afford health care insurance. These people do not drive new cars and have cable television. They are lucky to know where the next meal is coming from and often have to decide whether to pay the rent or buy medicine for the kids. And there are jobless and homeless people. How are they going to afford Hillary Clinton’s mandatory health care insurance? And what happens to them when they do not purchase health care insurance? Do we jail them? Refuse them food stamps? What?

    — Kent Shaw

  17. staunchdem

    April 22, 2008 at 4:20 am

    I live near Canada and, despite what the propoganda machine says the vast majority of Canadians I talk to love their health care system and think we are nuts.
    The only exception is elective procedures, which do involve a long wait.
    The Medical system has not been destroyed, rather they rate higher in most categories than we do.
    What is different is that people like Bill Frists father haven’t become billionaires by sucking 20-30% off the top.
    Socialism is when the government owns the buildings and pays the workers salaries.
    If you have a problem with socialism you must eliminate the military, the police, the fire department, the courts, all federal, state and local governments which is a Conservative wet dream.
    The only problem is the Cons have never produced anything but massive debt and poverty.
    We can and should provide for our citizenry and it’s time to stop talking about it and do something about it.

  18. Sandra Price

    April 22, 2008 at 8:10 am

    Ted. The federal government will set the standards for surgeries including the length of stay in any hospital. This would remove the resonsibility from the medical community. It would also rate each doctor on their charges and control the hospital rates and services. At this time our patients’ insurance coverage is based on the amount of coverage we buy. When medicine is controlled the patient will have to face the same treatment that our vets face. We will be allocated to a specific hospital and a doctor who caters only to the government.

    The only reason the government is involved in our medical insurance at this time, is that Americans feel it is their right to have medical insurance because they are Americans. The documentation for this information comes from listening to the American people day and night through television and radio talk shows.

    The American people believe this right for coverage is their right and yet many have the luxuries of fancy homes, new cars, and all the trimmings of the wealthy, including having cable TV so they can call into CSPAN.

    My political opinion comes from personal responsibility not handouts and welfare. My points are very clear that if we go into federal insurance, we will lose the best doctors, hospitals and our general health will suffer.

    Ted, we know how to eat, exercise and that every body needs proper nutrition, plenty of exercise and sleep. If the parents took more care of their growing children our health care would not be necessary for the government to get involved.

    You are nitpicking on my statements because you obviously believe the government has resonsibility over our health. You miss the factor that we have developed brains done through years of evolution and self development. For documentation of this, read Richard Dawkins.

  19. Sandra Price

    April 22, 2008 at 8:20 am

    staunch. You have made this discussion of health insurance into a political partisan issue. We have many Canadians who come to America for the more sophisticated surgeries. If you would pick up a copy of the U.S. Constitution, you will see that our federal government is limited in their authority over the American citizens.

    To protect the American people, means having a military defense. The States have the authority to build police and fire departments. There is no mention of medical coverage in any part of the U.S. Constitution. It is up to the states to handle their own residents.

    This is not a partisan argument but a Constitutional problem.

  20. Ted Remington

    April 22, 2008 at 9:18 am

    Sandra:

    You have apparently not understood what I am saying;

    I am proposing that a tried, tested, and working well nation-wide system be expanded to include other people not included in the original scope of the program.

    The FEHBP does not set criteria for length of stay in hospitals; never has. The insurance companies which operate under that umbrella set guidelines, but they do not refuse to pay if an individual patient exceeds their guidelines due to medical necessity.

    The very best doctor I have ever met participates in the HMO which I chose as my insurer when I was in Colorado. He is NOT an employee of the HMO. He is in private practice. He also takes other kinds of insurance, but he contracts with Pacificare of Colorado to participate as a preferred provider. He would not have it any other way. He likes doing business this way. He is not going to run screaming from the practice of medicine because of the existence of HMOs, PPOs, and the like.

    I am not saying that the Federal Government can or should be a provider of health services; what I am saying is that they have a vehicle that we can, if we choose, make larger to carry more people, thus achieving more competition while spreading the costs over a wider client base.

    You say that I am nitpicking your statements; not true. I am asking you to support them. You make sweeping statements and provide as basis such things as “The documentation for this information comes from listening to the American people day and night through television and radio talk shows.” That certainly is not documentation, but only your personal view.

    Ted

  21. Sandra Price

    April 22, 2008 at 10:46 am

    My point of view is shared by many Americans. I spent many hours a day discussing politics on line and in person. The American people want health care without paying for it. They do not believe that their taxes will be increased to cover the expenses they are so eager to give away.

    The medicare system is going into bankruptcy in less than 10 years…Is this the system you want extended? Do you realize that we all pay close to $100 a month for this coverage?

    Ted, I make sweeping statements because I have been involved in all this government fraud and corruption since the end of WW2. It is like watching a cancer take over our Constitution. I want it to stop eating away at our values, freedoms for the comfort of people too damn lazy to earn a living and pay for their own health care. At this time nobody is turned away from any hospital. If the federal government gets their greedy and corrupt hands on this system, it will collapse and nobody will get help.

    Can you even imagine the restrictions put on people if the government take over the health care? Anyone who smokes, takes drugs, drinks too much and being over weight by so many pounds will be excluded. I guess it is a good way to weed out the under achievers.

    There is nothing better than to have individual freedoms for all Americans and let them choose their insurance plans. I happen to have an HMO which will cover me for emergencies. I have been a health nut since birth and have paid my own way including my children without taking a damn dime from you or anyone else. I do not want federal government corruption to be involved in anyone’s medical care.

    Look Ted, I was raised and trained to be independent and the U.S. Constitution gives me this right to live outside the jurisdiction of any Socialistic federal program. It is a point of view that comes from being an American. I cannot help it if you need the government to cover your bad habits. You cannot make an argument for Socialism as it means a reduction in personal care. Go live in Canada and wait your turn when one of your kids is bleeding. I guarantee you will be back to America and you had better work for any system other than the Federal government.

    Any system that is mandated is evil.

  22. Flapsaddle

    April 22, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    On the horns of a dilemma: How do we provide access to reasonable health care for everyone without bankrupting us or without creating another massive government bureaucracy. Unfortunately, it is probably impossible without one or the other. Because of the existing system(s) – perhaps it might better be said that because of the lack of a system – the normal market-forces cannot correct the distortions without wreaking considerable havoc among the extremely vulnerable.

    Part of the problem has to do with expectations and attitudes on the part of our citizenry. Americans expect the best medical care in the world . After all, we are the richest nation on the planet, the most inventive and the most technology-oriented, the most hard-working, etc.; therefore, why should we not have instant access to the best in health care? Many expect it to be at low or no cost, because part of the American reality is that most of what we want and need is available at a reasonable cost to all of us. At the same time as we hold these high expectations, we operate from a general attitude of self-reliance and the notion that we should generally earn this ourselves and not expect others to hand it to us.

    The reality has collided with the expectations, and now we as a nation find ourselves in the situation of having health care services becoming more and more expensive for everyone and less and less available to an increasing fraction of us. For many, especially the older and retired and for the poorer, the cruel choice often has to be made between eating or health care services. The collision has generated two opposed schools of thought: The government-must-do-something notion and the get-off-your-butt-and-fix-it notion.

    Both sides tend to gloss over the hard realities of their respective nostrums and to indulge in a certain amount of double-talk and sleight-of-hand as to how the respective cures will work. Both sides are convinced that they can indeed square the circle and trisect an angle despite the evidence to the contrary.

    The proponents of the government-based solution tend to deny that their solution is other than a nationalized/socialized system of medical care; thus, they come up with alternate labels – “universal access” or “single-payer” – in order to try and say otherwise. Further, they pretend that their system does not involve the continued rationing of health care; they simply ignore the reality that the government will replace the insurance-carriers as the gate-keeper. They also would have us believe that it will be free or low-cost, and that the major burden will be borne by “the rich” or by “big business”, in effect ignoring the economic reality that businesses always pass on costs to the final consumer of the product. Finally, they expect that the system will not be excessively bureaucratic, that it will be accomplished by existing agencies with little distention – unlike Falstaff’s embroidering, there will not be “eleven rogues in buckram from two”.

    Those advocating the self-reliance and market-forces solution also evade some harsh facts. Just as Jesus told his disciples, the poor will always be with us – as well as some totally lazy and worthless – and these must be considered as well. They also seem to think that all of us have some assets that we can easily liquidate to cover the costs and still continue life as usual. They also tend to insinuate that someone seeking help may be,well, just bit lazy and in need of a kick in the butt to set them aright. And some tend to think that the single parent who is working a low-wage job with no insurance benefits is just being a bit hysterical and overreacting when they are trying to comfort a fever-wracked child at two in the morning.

    Yes, it is a dilemma, and the solution is probably not going to be a particularly good one either.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  23. Jeffers

    April 22, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Costs are out of control even with the system we have now.

    Consider the medical contract for a typical company and it is often paying double digit medical increases. How would this be constrained by government intervention? Only by some limitation. That must be happening in the European and Canadian plans, which means that the government is deciding what to pay for, what to cover. If you want to control your medical coverage then you have to pay for it, directly.

    Loose control systems are poor and inaccurate.

    Jeffers

    Peace without freedom is still slavery.

  24. Sandra Price

    April 22, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    We in America have gone through many problems starting with slavery that has put the whole mess into the hands of the government. Those in government drool at the concept of ruling over the masses.

    We also have the opportunity of looking at the other nations and how they tried to solve things such as prisons, birth control, health care and how to manage the horrendous racism and anti-Semitism that still prevail in America. We have two choices on these problems: We can hand it to the government or we can design our own solutions. The problem is that we are not equipped to think for ourselves and tend to look to Shakespeare or the bible and bring up a Jesus quote. That only diverts the situation and bores the reader.

    America has the longest living citizens and has kept up on innoculations and we are a lot stronger than any other nation on this planet. The problem is that for 40 plus years, we forgot to educate academically the broad base of the American culture. We trained people how to fill out forms for handouts. We trained teachers how to train to the tests.

    We must remove this health care mess out of the government and assign the states to work out something that they can afford. Where are the entrepreneurs that made America great? Dumbed down or outsourced???? We must fix the academics and stop this silly outsourcing of our products.

    There is not a single political party or candidate who can fix a damn thing. Every time we come up with a candidate who can fix the problems, they are forced out of the campaign.

    Here we are just 7 months from the most important election in our history and not a damn thing has been fixed for 20 years.

  25. Flapsaddle

    April 22, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    A lack of documentation is often a problem on the internet, and all of us have to deal with the misinformation, misconceptions and resultant pointless exchanges predicated on the same. Many people do not seem to grasp the significant difference between a fact – which is objectively determined – and their opinion.

    I find that one of the most common logical fallacies indulged in by the unprepared is the ad populum – the notion that the fact of a matter is dependent upon the number of people agreeing with it; this seems to be a common fall-back used to transfigure one’s opinions into matters of fact in the absence of objective information. Other frequent ly-used fallacious arguments are some form of the ad ignorantum or of the “appeal to authority” – especially the anonymous authority.

    I do not mind someone stating their opinion as to a matter – we all do that, don’t we? – but it that’s quite a distance to leap from and say that it’s a fact because many agree with it, or because of a long history of seeking out such opinions. If I state my opinion on something, I believe that I should couch it in such terms that it is clear that it is not necessarily factual or else I should be prepared to support the claim with something objective.

    Suffice it to say that I agree with your position that someone making a statement and either asserting or insinuating that it is a matter of fact should be prepared to document – cite – at least one objective source for the claim.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  26. Flapsaddle

    April 22, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    No. This is not correct: America has the longest living citizens and…

    According to this article in Wikipedia on longevity, we trail well behind a number of other countries. With a mean life-span of 77.7 years, Americans lag behind the UK (78.4), Germany (78.7), France (79.6), Italy (79.7), Australia (80.4) and Spain (82.3) and some others as well.

    As Mr. Remington stated above, you need to buttress your claims or else clearly indicate that they are merely your opinions and subject to verification.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  27. ekaton

    April 22, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    SP: The American people want health care without paying for it. They do not believe that their taxes will be increased to cover the expenses they are so eager to give away.

    KS: All opinion, not fact.

    SP: Anyone who smokes, takes drugs, drinks too much and being over weight by so many pounds will be excluded.

    KS: Fear and opinion.

    SP: The medicare system is going into bankruptcy in less than 10 years…

    KS: Not if we stop spending a couple trillions of dollars on useless and illegal wars. (Speaking of SOCIALISM, a huge bloated military is a perfect example.)

    SP: I happen to have an HMO which will cover me for emergencies.

    KS: Because you can afford coverage. Many cannot. You have been harping on people supposedly spending extravagantly on material goods and neglecting to purchase health insurance, and I suppose there are a few people like this. But please tell me how a single mother with a child or two making $20K a year covers all of the family living expenses and can still afford $300-$1000 a month for health insurance. I doubt that her waitressing job provides health insurance. Life throws a lot of curves at people. Maybe that woman had to quit school to support ailing parents without health insurance. In that case she might not have had opportunities to pull herself up by her bootstraps the way you did. What if you had suffered a crippling injury in your younger years and could no longer work? How would you have provided health care for your family? You have previously described your life and how you have conducted it. And I have nothing but respect for what you accopmlished. But, I submit to you that you have been extremely lucky. God forbid that one of your children came down with one of those life long life threatening illnesses that quickly drain a bank account. You would have had two choices. Let your child die or accept public assistance. Which would you have chosen? I guess you “wouldn’t have taken a damn dime” from me “or anyone else.”

    SP: I cannot help it if you need the government to cover your bad habits.

    KS: Needless, assumptive and arrogant ad hominem attack.

    There is one earth. None of us own it. Is it to be every man for himself at all times, or are we sometimes all in this thing together. Am I my brother’s keeper? Am I responsible to no other human being, only myself?

    — kent shaw

  28. ekaton

    April 22, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    SP: America has the longest living citizens and has kept up on innoculations and we are a lot stronger than any other nation on this planet.

    KS:

    There are 19 countries that have a lower infant mortality rate per 1000 live births. The U.S. rate is 6.4 per 1000. The 19 countries range from 2.8 per 1000 in Sweden, to 5.7 per 1000 in Italy and New Zealand. 10 of those nations have rates of 4.5/1000 or better. A handful have between 4.5 and 5.7 per 1000.

    People in the United States live an average of 78 years. Fourteen other countries fare better, ranging from 81.4 in Japan to 79.2 in Austria. Three countries average 80.6, Most average above 79.0 years.

    Documentation: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004393.html

    Questions: Can we use the above statistics as a general indicator of the general level of medical care in these countries? Note that some of them, Germany for example, have national health care systems. Are those systems providing a higher level of care than the United States?

    SP: We must remove this health care mess out of the government and assign the states to work out something that they can afford. Where are the entrepreneurs that made America great? Dumbed down or outsourced???? We must fix the academics and stop this silly outsourcing of our products.

    KS: I agree wholeheartedly, assuming you meant to say “…out of the FEDERAL government and assign to the STATE governments…”. Another uncomfortable question: Is “socialized medicine” okay in the states but not in the federal domain? If so, why? Of course those with means will be able to move to a state that does NOT provide socialized medicine, and they will purchase health insurance in their new homes. Others without means may be stuck where they are, regardless whether they live in a “socialized medicine state” or a “free enterprise medicine” state. Obviously we would still have uninsured people in those states.

    SP: There is not a single political party or candidate who can fix a damn thing. Every time we come up with a candidate who can fix the problems, they are forced out of the campaign.

    KS: Totally agree.

    — Kent Shaw

  29. Sandra Price

    April 22, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Individual states have the legal authority to take us all by the hand and make us equal in anyone’s standards. We have the ability to leave states that are too involved in our decision making. The difference Keith, it that the states are run by the voters and we have the ability to make our own laws. For example, the Supreme Court is debating the death penalty. That is a State’s Right not a federal right.

    I’m sorry but I do not consider Wikipedia to be a link to anything. We need to discuss with actual numbers how many Americans cannot afford health insurance. This can be done by asking the IRS who is living in poverty. People taking outrageous loans on their house and claiming to be living in poverty is ridiculous. I realize there is a level of Americans who cannot afford any coverage and they should be looked at as a special needs for coverage. The biggest problem are the illegals who also want into the free health care offered by the candidates. It gains them votes. Our Congress can take a solid week,if not more time to worry about illegal drugs given to our athletes. Who sets the priorities with these bozos?

    Just saying one cannot afford insurance is not enough. It would be better to turn this over to the individual states who can investigate these poverty claims.

    Keith, what if the plan fails and there is not enough money in the till to pay for anyone’s medical bills? Do we ask China to pick up the tab? It is a problem solved by the Bush Administration who cleaned our our budget for the war. We will never have the money after the rest of the soldiers bring their broken bodies and minds into the system. We throw away our futures when we elect men like Bush and now McCain. They are notorious for scamming the citizens on false premises.

    We all knew this election would be based on health care, all the candidates promised to bring it up but not one of them has plan to keep the system away from the government because there is no system that can do it. It is on the bottom of the priority list and nobody realizes what a government program like this would cost; a loss of care and medical help with another budget debit added to our kids.

    If we fall into this terrible plan, we will never be able to get out if it.

    There comes a time when all of us elderly seniors know we have worn out our welcome. The cost of keeping us pain free is way too expensive. I have thousands in my groups all over America who would rather simply die as soon as possible. You will all get there and wonder if another day of pain is worth breathing. Many get into alcohol and even illegal drugs.

    I remember in the late 60s when Reagan suggested making Social Security an option. But it was mandated and a lot of our money was taken out of our paychecks and put into the federal budget. We knew it and we tried like hell to get it out of there. The LP jumped in in the 70s to work with us. We were all told that Americans were too stupid to set aside their retirement funds and D.C. treated us like idiots. We have been screwed for years and when anyone dares to speak of it, we are considered dangerously demented.

    Apparently there is nobody here who would take a stab at trying to fix this health care system and also to keep it out of the government. Once the system is in place it will be set in cement and I feel sorry that most here cannot see it.

  30. Ted Remington

    April 22, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    Sandra:

    This is going to be the last time I comment on anything you say. You do not appear to assimilate anything that disagrees with your point of view, and I will in the future not spend my time trying to make you understand what you patently refuse to even think about.

    But you said this:

    For example, the Supreme Court is debating the death penalty. That is a State’s Right not a federal right.

    You could not be more wrong. The Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment. Period. States have no right to institute anything repeat ANYTHING that is contrary to our Constitution. This is not the Confederate States of America, this is the United States of America. States are not free to do any darned thing they want to.

    In addition, we have Federal death penalties. We have used them. Timothy McVeigh comes to mind. He may have been executed in a state prison, but he was convicted and sentenced under FEDERAL LAW!!! You can look it up.

    I will read no more of your posts, so please don’t think you have to respond to this one. Life is too short.

    Ted

  31. SEAL

    April 22, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Sandra, we’re all pretty smart people here and understand what would result if health care was turned over to the government. I, too, would like to see someone propose a plan that would provide national health care for all americans. One that would not be controlled by the government. I have tried for years and have not been able to do it.

    I have never in my life had to pay one penny for my health care. 32 years of it was covered by being in the Navy. When I retired they gave me a health card and all I had to do was hand it to any doctor’s office, pharmacy, or hospital and that was the last heard about payment. When I turned 65 I was switched to medicare like everyone else with my government card being the secondary. But nothing changed. I still pay nothing.

    I get print outs once a month with a break down of who is paying what and how much. I give it a quick read out of curiosity and am always surprised at the amounts. My drug cost alone is over 20 grand each month. Cancer is expensive.

    I know a lot of people are jealous of me but I don’t care. I earned my health care. And somewhere along the way of crawing around in all the jungles and deserts and garbage and so forth I picked up the bug that caused the cancer that is, now, killing me.

    Anyway, my point is, that if the government can run my health care so efficiently, why couldn’t they do it for everyone? Whatever system they were using for me before I turned 65 must have been a good one. I know it paid on time because I saw copies of the bills. Both medicare and my government insurance paid less than the asking price but that was accepted by the doctors and hospitals and pharmacies.

    If they have the power to reduce my bills, just think what they could if they were the only health care provider. Let’s face it – doctors charge too much for what they do. $100 for the privilidge (office visit) of sitting in their office for an hour looking at 6 month old magazines and 10 minutes talking to the doctor.

    Hospitals charging huge fees, such as the 42 thousand they billed us for my 10 year olds broken leg when he was hit by a car, to make up for all those uninsureds they are forced to take in. But again, my government insurance knocked that down to 24 grand and the hospital accepted it. That was what it was worth.

    That is what a single universal provider would do. Elminate uninsured and set fees for doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies at what they are worth.

    Of course, the case for the government single payer system is based on the riculous assumption that everyone is going to play fair. We all know there will always be a few that will find a way to beat the system. That’s why we have oversite and investigators.

    Thus far I haven’t been able to come up with a better national health care plan. Maybe some one here can?

  32. Flapsaddle

    April 22, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    I believe that any further exchange with you on this topic is wasted effort. As Mr. Remington notes, you are not going to recognize as fact anything that undercuts your opinion; however, you will offer no support for your claims and simply insist that they be accepted without question. Further, it appears that you now attempting to change the topic from health care options to the matter of states rights versus federal power.

    Perhaps others may wish to continue the pursuit of a will-o’-the-wisp with you.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  33. staunchdem

    April 23, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Sandra,
    It is not a partisan issue, rather an ideological one.
    I believe we can and should protect the health of our citizens and it’s well within the boundaries of the Constitution if we pass legislation to do so.
    You think accident only coverage is enough but it’s not if you get sick.
    How about preventative care?
    From what I’ve read of your postings you lean Liberetarian and your posts are well thought out and articulated, I just happen to disagree.
    Listen to Thom Hartmann talk about “The Commons” and you will see where I’m coming from on this one.
    The “Don’t Get Sick” healthcare plan is not where I want to go on this issue and poll after poll suggest the American people overwhelmingly agree.
    Vote early, vote often, vote Democratic (Now that’s partisan).
    P.S. I carry a pocket sized Constitution in my pocket every day.
    Got it from Senator Byrd.

  34. roncorvus

    April 19, 2008 at 4:06 am

    Americans pay in more than $2.3 TRILLION DOLLARS annually into Medicare/Medicaid. Unfortunately, "FOR-PROFIT" corporations i.e., insurance companies, HMOs and pharmaceutical companies suck down approximately two-thirds of our nation’s $2.3t healthcare budget. Their board of directors have a duty by law to maximize profits for their shareholders; unfortunately, at the expense of America’s health. Only about one-third of our Medicare/Medicaid budget goes to the actual cost of healthcare provided. The obvious solution is to ELIMINATE THE "FOR-PROFIT" corporations eating the majority of our healthcare budget and redirect those funds toward the cost of actual healthcare provided ALL Americans. This would be more than enough money to cover all the healthcare needs your family would ever need. There is no need to create a new revenue stream or to raise taxes. In other words, we’re already paying for universal healthcare – we’re just not getting it. Hillary, Obama and McCain do NOTHING to convert our current "FOR-PROFIT" healthcare system to a "NON-PROFIT" healthcare system. Hillary, Obama and McCain do NOT offer single-payer universal healthcare, period. Hillary Clinton wants to require you to buy healthcare insurance. Obama asks, "What’s the penalty for NOT buying such a mandated insurance?" The truth is, every politician in Washington, including Obama and Hillary, want you to make insurance payments. They all promise to make healthcare "affordable." Such a promise is disingenious at best, downright criminal at worst. In fact, such promises are indicative of the intent of the politician. The true intent of the politician is to keep using our tax dollars to subsidize these outrageous profits enjoyed by the insurance companies, HMOs and pharmaceuticals. Whether by direct payment or by government subsidy, these politicians REFUSE to eliminate these greedy "FOR-PROFIT" corporations from our nation’s $2.3 trillion dollar trough. Obama is promising to implement universal healthcare by the end of his (first) term as President – nonsense! First of all, Obama nor Hillary offer single-payer universal healthcare; nor can a President pass universal healthcare by themself. Such a claim is an insult to the informed American. To the uninformed, it must seem like Kennedyesque rhetoric. Obama, like Hillary, both keep "FOR-PROFIT" corporations maximizing their profits at the expense of all Americans’ healthcare. The fact is, Americans are already paying for all the healthcare their family would ever need – they’re just not getting it. Why would a politician want you to keep making payments to insurance companies if our nation’s healthcare budget is enough money to cover all the healthcare one would ever need? The answer is to keep corporate lobbyists and their fellow crooked Congressmen and women happy, that’s why. The drug lobby literally writes our nation’s healthcare bills, and Hillary and Obama know it. They know the drug lobby will NEVER allow single-payer universal healthcare to be passed, period – no matter WHO is President. The Democratic Party and Hillary have been taunting the American public with their empty promises of universal healthcare for a long, long time now. I can only wonder how much longer will Americans keep believing that one day, if we get the right President, then we’ll all have universal healthcare. It’s NOT going to happen with the Democratic and Republican Party monopolizing Congress. John McCain asks, "Do you want government running our nation’s healthcare system, or do you want families making decisions on how to run our nation’s healthcare system?" This is slick, ole Washington doubletalk which is actually French for, "I, John McCain, hereby promise Corporate America to keep "FOR-PROFIT" corporations maximizing profits for their stockholders, to keep corporations siphoning 2/3 of our nation’s Medicare/Medicaid budget to the exclusion and expense of the American people." Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney passed a healthcare bill in Massachusetts requiring all citizens to buy health insurance, whether they can afford it or not. Even more disgusting is the fact Romney and Sen. Kennedy called this their "universal healthcare bill." It’s anything BUT universal healthcare. Today almost half of Massachusetts’ citizens are criminals – designated such by Mitt Romney and his so-called, "universal healthcare bill," for failing to purchase healthcare insurance. The sad fact is, many Americans who can afford to make insurance payments DO NOT WANT other Americans enjoying free healthcare without paying for it. This is the ugly truth about how many Americans feel about fully-paid universal healthcare. How did these Americans become so indifferent to their fellow citizens? Mostly from decades of non-stop brainwashing, courtesy of the healthcare profiteers. Some are just plain hateful and snarky. The truth is NO AMERICAN should be making ANY PAYMENTS to ANY insurance companies, HMOs or pharms, since Americans pay enough money to Medicare/Medicaid to cover ALL Americans’ healthcare needs. Virtually no one addresses the real issue, which is should private corporations operate our nation’s healthcare system? Should private corporations continue to be allowed to maximize corporate profits at the expense of Americans’ health? Some Americans believe private corporations should be allowed to maximize profits at the expense of Americans’ health. Some people think that if we didn’t allow "FOR-PROFIT" corporations to maximize profits and run our healthcare system, "NON-PROFITS" would fail miserably. There is not a shred of evidence to support such a contention; in fact, evidence exists to the contrary. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain are three of these Americans who prefer to continue to allow private corporations to maximize corporate profits at the expense of Americans’ health, sucking down almost two-thirds of the $2.3 trillion Medicare/Medicaid budget. The fact remains: We The People are ALREADY PAYING FOR FULLY-PAID UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE – WE’RE JUST NOT GETTING IT! We don’t need to raise taxes or find a new revenue stream to pay for fully-paid universal healthcare! NO! Our nation’s $2.3 trillion dollar healthcare budget is MORE THAN ENOUGH to pay for ALL the healthcare you and your family will EVER NEED! Problem is, the majority of those funds go to the fatcat profiteers at the insurance companies, HMOs and pharmaceuticals. Their Board of Directos have a DUTY BY LAW TO MAXIMIZE PROFITS FOR THEIR SHAREHOLDERS! I say we need to redirect those funds AWAY FROM those profieering corporations and use those funds to pay for all the healthcare your family will ever need! ELIMINATE THE HEALTHCARE PROFITEERS! I believe an American’s right to fully-paid universal healthcare supercedes the corporation’s right to maximize profits in the dispensation of that healthcare. Unfortunately, Hillary, Obama and McCain believe otherwise. These three politicians fight for corporations’ right to maximize profits instead of fighting for Americans’ right to fully-paid universal healthcare. Instead of converting our current greedy "FOR-PROFIT" healthcare system to a "NON-PROFIT" system, Hillary, Obama and McCain prefer corporate welfare – using tax dollars to fund corporate profits! This is worth repeating and highlighting: Hillary, Obama and McCain prefer to use billions and billions of our tax dollars to pay for the profits these greedy insurance companies, HMOs and pharms enjoy. The politician’s job is to CON Americans into believing the best they can do is to make healthcare premiums, "affordable." What a crock! It’s bad enough that two-thirds of Medicare/Medicaid goes directly to the profit pockets of these corporations; yet Hillary, Obama and McCain want you to keep making ADDITIONAL PAYMENTS to the greedy corporate profiteers. The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world who does NOT enjoy fully-paid universal healthcare! The anti-universal healthcare propaganda is staggering. The drug lobby writes our nation’s healthcare bills – Congress doesn’t. Over 100,000 Americans die each year in America’s hospitals from medical negligence. Another 100,000 Americans die annually from LACK OF healthcare, due to corporate exclusionary policies. In other words, the technology was there to prevent death; but was not used, due to corporate decisonmaking regarding "profit-protection." Yet there is Hillary, smiling and talking about how she cares so much about the plight of Americans’ healthcare and how she has devoted her life to implementing "universal healthcare." The woman has done NOTHING AT ALL OVER THE YEARS to convert our current "FOR-PROFIT" healthcare system to a "NON-PROFIT" healthcare system; Hillary, Obama and McCain’s job is to convince Americans that paying insurance premiums is the best we can do, so criminalize the act of NOT purchasing healthcare insurance. Unfortunately, I don’t see this situation changing anytime soon. Certainly not by the end of the next Presidential term or even the next. Implementing fully-paid universal healthcare is going to require the American public to become fully informed of the facts of the situation, to the point of voting for partyless candidates, since NO PARTY CANDIDATE WILL EVER IMPLEMENT FULLY-PAID UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE! The world will continue to enjoy fully-paid healthcare while poor Americans will continue to go without healthcare – healthcare already being paid for, but not received. http://www.roncorvus.com/healthcare.htm

  35. Ardie

    April 19, 2008 at 2:04 am

    Care for some history by which to compare just how stupid this country really is? So, how did the great Bismarck, who used the America economic system created by Friedrich List, treat the German worker?

    The Sickness Insurance Law of 1883, the Accident Insurance Laws of 1884 and 1885, and the Old Age Insurance Law of 1889 are based upon the principle of compulsion which was introduced into the sick insurance legislation of Prussia in 1854. — Bismarck and State Socialism by William Harbutt Dawson

    Bear in mind that at this time both the U.S. and Germany had surpassed Great Britain, economically, owning to the American System (Henry Clay). Germany, under Bismarck, was the perhaps the greatest nation on earth. No greater leader was there than Prince Bismarck–and he owed it all to the U.S., the real land of geniuses (but no more–the idiots have taken over).

  36. griff

    April 18, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    The healthcare problem is just another symptom of the incurable disease we call Government. Universal Healthcare will mean that everyone will be forced into the same pitifully corrupt and hopelessly inept system that some of us have the "privelege" of spending our hard-earned, worthless currency for.

    http://www.naturalnews.com/Index.html

  37. Ted Remington

    April 18, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    I disagree with many of the points made above, starting with what Sandra Price says about being self-insured, and “borrowing only for accidents.”

    There’s lucky and there’s damned lucky, and Sandra fits right in in the middle there somewhere. The biggest fear of any parent or other support person is not having to pay for an accidental injury. It’s having the doctor sit down and tell you that your child has leukemia, spina bifida, or any other of literally thousands of things which can bankrupt an individual before the end of the current year if there is no insurance.

    And then there’s tropicaltaco’s statement:

    “In order to have true universal health care we must get rid of the greedy drug and insurance corporations along with their doctors and government officials.”

    Excuse me, but if it ain’t private enterprise and if it ain’t government, what the hell is it that is going to provide you with “universal health care”? Self-insurance is simply not a viable option, Sandra’s apparent good luck with that approach notwithstanding.

    Everyone is down on the insurance companies, calling them bloodsuckers, thieves, etc., etc. But all an insurance company does is provide a means for spreading the risk among all of the participants in the insurance pool. Yes, they make a profit, but I submit to you it is not an outrageous profit, particularly in a situation where there is extreme competition.

    As I have pointed out before, the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan is a good place to look for a relatively inexpensive (in terms of overhead) highly competitive marketplace in which to buy medical services. The Office of Personnel Management runs the service by providing a marketplace for practitioners of all kinds to in effect advertise their services. They have a really big pool of insured people, running into a couple of million people, so they can attract offers from a wide spectrum of medical providers, who typically organize themselves into a group to offer a competitive package of services.

    OPM functions mainly to require certain coverages from these groups so that the employees can compare apples with apples and bananas to bananas. (Note, both of these fruits are pretty good for you.) They also serve to collect the premiums and pass them on the the provider organizations and they they do some monitoring to make sure that the providers actually provide the services they advertise.

    In the major employment areas particularly the competition for enrollees is nothing short of fierce. In the areas without a lot of employees there is admittedly less choice, but the competition among the national providers is still pretty intense.

    I have advocated and continue to advocate expanding the pool of enrollees by opening up the marketplace to other governmental levels, state, local, community, to businesses big and small, and to individuals who cannot otherwise qualify for coverage.

    The paramount thing to remember is that OPM does not pay one penny in premiums, and every person who enrolls would have to foot the bill either directly or with employer contributions as is now the normal course of business throughout the United States. Eventually, every penny in premiums comes directly or indirectly from the enrollee, though that might include a governmental supplement at the state and local level for the neediest part of our economy.

    One of the advantages to this is that there would arise more and more competitors anxious to provide medical treatment at reasonable costs, and it would almost undoubtedly mean that most if not all people in the US could be covered under an existing structure without huge goverment expenditures and with minimal government interference. Most of the interference would actually be the government’s making the insurers toe the line.

    Remember, there is no suth thing as a free lunch. And the same applies to medical care. It is not free and never will be free. When someone ends up paying for it, it is going to be the citizen, either directly through premium payments, indirectly through employers who cover all or part of the premium, or through additional taxes to pay the cost of those who cannot pay for their own coverage. And that’s the way it should be!

    Ted

  38. Sandra Price

    April 19, 2008 at 8:09 am

    Ted. The value of my property would have covered any medical costs. I had no income to buy insurance but I had equity to cover any expenses so that you would not have pay anything. I seem to have a different approach to maintaining my own responsibility. Had one of the kids developed a serious disease, I would have sold the whole property. That is why I paid it off! We had to grow most of our own food, and with no heating unit, we spent our free time searching for firewood. But I took not a dime of welfare money and after 17 years of living like paupers, the kids survived and went off to college. I sold all my jewelry to survive. My point was that we have more ability to survive without socialism, if that is our endgame. It is mine!

  39. tropicaltaco

    April 18, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    In order to have true universal health care we must get rid of the greedy drug and insurance corporations along with their doctors and government officials.
    Then and only then will we have a shot at real health care for everyone as proposed by Kucinich, this and a few other good ideas was the reason he (DK) was pushed to the sidelines by those corporations.
    There is no other reason why we can not have the best doctors and state of the art equipment and hospitals for far less than what we spend for profit driven HMO’s etc.
    The life expectancy of Americans is less than all other developed countries with universal health care and the only ones against true one payer health care are those profit driven drug and insurance corporations.
    To better understand today’s corporations, how we got here and why everything including our health as a nation is so screwed up please take the time to watch, “The Corporation.” a documentary by film makers Mark Archbar and Jennifer Abbott’

    Our government and our wonderful constitution will work just fine once we get off our ass and take the power back from these mega corporations and the nation building military…

    It’s like Phil says “one step at a time is how it’s done, but we need to take that first step and not be dissuaded by those corporations.

    Poco a pocito (little bit by little bit)

  40. Sandra Price

    April 18, 2008 at 11:43 am

    I remember when I owned my own bookstore in a building I owned outright (no mortgage). I was a member of the Chamber of Commerce and they began to put together a health insurance plan that would be available to all small businesses owners, employees and family members. I never saw it happen. When I was the sole supporter of my kids who did have accidents and necessary surgury procedures, I had always had the opportunity to borrow on my home. I did pay off the loan and then it became my insurance safetynet. When I moved north, I bought the commercial building with the money I got from my home and financed my new home. I could not afford any health care insurance and tried them all to see what my costs would be. I did not make enough profit in the store from selling books but I did have a class A credit rating. I never abused my credit line and was able to pay back any amount in 5 years. The equity in our homes is a perfect insurance policy but this means staying away from welfare or any federal handouts as they take first chance at the equity. Playing with the federal government is the best way to get thoroughly screwed. It doesn’t matter which party is in power, the system is set up against our personal choices.

    I am now in an HMO supplement over my medicare and my choices of doctors is very limited. It is one of the reasons I moved to Sun City as the ratings of the hospitals are wonderful which means good doctors time tested here for many years. The problem here is that many doctors hate the paperwork and retire as soon as they can.

    I remember suffering with guilt when one of my kids got hurt and I had to scrounge up money for their doctors and even hospital stay. I casually mentioned it to a teller at my local bank and she led me into the manager’s office who started a loan procedure using the equity in my home.

    This whole thing sits on individual plans to cover the possibility of having huge debts after a sickness. Believe me when I say, we all took the best possible care of our health and we borrowed only for accidents.

    With today’s children’s diets I would have to imagine that few are concerned and the spread of diabetes and this will end up being the disease of the future for our kids.

    Common sense, proper diet, exercise and supplements tend to work well for many families. But today that is not cool…..

  41. Sandra Price

    April 18, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Let’s see, the government threw themselves into a war in Iraq. They have failed in far too many ways to take care of the men and women coming home with injuries as we have never seen before.

    The government is unable to come up with a plan to even guide the Governors to handle the illegal immigrants or to work on problems increasing the reading scores or keeping the kids in school.

    The government has also increased our debt and have used China as a mortgage holder for our ever growing inability to handle our finances.

    The last thing I want is for this same government to throw a blanket over our medical procedures and our hospitals. Americans are at a point where we have slipped back into a helpless mess. Once we get into socialized medicine we will never get out.

    There is no authority found in our Constitution but the individual states could combine a system but only if approved by the voters.

  42. bryan mcclellan

    April 18, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Good morning Sandra: You hit the nail, State legislatures are the rightful governing bodies as directed by the voters of said states. We’ve got to kick the federalies out of our everyday lives and prevent them from erecting another monopoly thats controlled by Big Pharma. Why is that so difficult for these boobs (Congress) to comprehend? One would think a state legislator would relish the opportunity to tell the boys in the big house to keep their nose out of his/her states business and then actually do something for the greater good of those they represent. HACK!

  43. Jeffers

    April 18, 2008 at 10:52 am

    One could make the same argument for socialism. All of these other systems are living from our medical research and drug companies.

    Our scientists are quite capable of inventing and discovering techniques and treatments that are more costly than we can afford. Like it or not, it is the marketplace that controls and drives down costs. This then provides healthcare for the masses. If we leave this to government we will get less and less for more and more.

    If I have to pay for something, I will decide what I can afford. If someone else pays for it, they decide.

    Healthcare is important to me; so is my family. I don’t want this left to someone else.

    I also don’t want someone else paying for their important project out of my wallet.

    It is just economics. And socialism didn’t work.

    Jeffers

    Peace without freedom is still slavery.

  44. staunchdem

    April 23, 2008 at 12:37 am

    Sandra,
    It is not a partisan issue but ideological differences of opinion.
    I happen to believe we can and should take care of the health of our citizens and there is nothing in the Constitution that says we cannot do this if we pass proper legislation.
    Listen to Thom Hartmann talk about “The Commons” and you’ll see where I’m coming from on this one.
    I really hope you don’t get sick because you would find out the hard way what the phrase “deep shit” means.
    By the way, I carry a pocket sized Constitution with me every day and I’ve read it several times.

    Jeffers-Medicare recipients have to have supplemental coverage because the system isn’t perfect.
    None of them are but I look at a medicare supplement as similar to us with private insurance having a co-pay.
    Once again, under the current system 20-30% of our health care dollars are sucked off as overhead while we have substandard care.
    Single payer systems could do the same thing for 3%.
    That gives us a lot of room to improve the system.

  45. Sandra Price

    April 23, 2008 at 7:20 am

    Years ago I suggested that the Governors meeting 4 times a year would be a great place to discuss the reading scores of their Board of Education groups in each state and I was blasted for such a silly suggestion. The posters here and elsewhere wanted the federal government to take on the education of American kids. Today I suggest that these same Governors take the resonsibility of the health care of their residents and again I’m blasted. Apparently CHB is still collecting socialistic ideals instead of individual responsibilities.

    Well, you got your federal authority over the education of your kids and not a single student was helped to read, just how to test. You obviously want the government to design and execute your health insurance without much resistance.

    This is difficult for me and I do communicate with many Americans who are disgusted with the government for not guaranteeing a free health service.

    It amazes me that Ted has nothing to say about our government using torture and not considering this as unusual punishment and wants to put the death penalty in the hands of our federal criminals.

    There is no solution to this problem but you will line up to support the first candidate who gives you something free. You will end up putting all Americans into a system that will never work. Now you tell me it is part of the U.S. Constitution?

    I guess I will have to check out Bob Barr and see what he has to offer. CHB has morphed into just another middle of the road site. Easily a hundred other writers have warned for years to stay away from the authority of Big Daddy. At the time they were written it was considered fantasy. Well reality is here and many Americans will line up for their free handout of the government.

    You will sit back and watch the Military Industrial Complex turn into the Insurance Industrial Complex. Pretty soon Big Daddy will make all your major decisions for you and your freedoms will fly out the door.

    Don’t worry Ted, I will not be responding to your posts as your mind is very closed to others who really want a debate. You don’t deserve a debate.

  46. linda lee

    April 25, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    I am 67 years young – I took control of my life 20 years ago-no doctors, no drugs, no lawyers, I am in control of my own destiny, my health, my own opportunities, my legal stuff, and anything else that comes along.

    Why does not everyone learn to take care of their own health?

    Why does not anyone talk about opportunities in America-
    none of the candidates talk about opportunities –
    they just talk about what the government can do for you.

    Of course, if the government controls you then it is over.

    Blessings,
    Linda

  47. Sandra Price

    April 26, 2008 at 9:41 am

    Thank you Linda! I too took care of all my family decisions and from 1964 on I stepped away from respecting our federal government. On this health issue, it has been determined that Hillary Clinton will MANDATE this coverage which makes it a Socialistic move.

    We gave up talking about opportunities in the early 90s. We continue to elect Presidents who have accepted the Big Daddy position of leading us out of our own mistakes. The fact that they lead us into these manipulated wars should be a hint that the voters have been scammed again and again.

  48. Jim C

    April 29, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Ms Price , I’m not sure which I find more puzzling , your comments or that so many other posters seem to agree with them . It doesn’t take four years or anything close to that for medicare to pay bills . If you want delays and stalls you need go no farther than insurance companys and HMO’s . You of course realize that about 40% of your doctors overhead goes to complying with insurance company generated paperwork designed to stall , delay payment and if possible deny claims ? Medicares overhead is less than 4% . You would be hard pressed to find a doctor that wouldn’t much rather deal with medicare than any insurance company or HMO . When payment is made ( by insurance company or HMO ) it is a tiny fraction of the actual charge , to which your doctor has to agree to be a prefered provider . Doctors and hospitals inflate charges in part because they know insurance companys will low ball them , plus they have to make up for that 40% overhead . OK , now add to that 40% ( doctors overhead ) the providers profit , 15% minimum to over 27% of you healthcare dollar goes into the pockets of shareholders and to pay bloated salaries of in particular , upper managment . I waited to post this because it just happened I had a doctors appointment . I asked my doctor , a nurse and one of the girls at the desk who they prefered dealing with , medicare or HMOs/insurance companys , my doctor , medicare hands down , the nurse , medicare , but the girl at the desk didn’t care , why , because that was why she was there , to deal with them . She and three other girls in the offices main job was to wrestle with them , fight denials and tend to the maze of paperwork , oh and answer the phone . Another minor point , in healthcare outcomes we rate 37th , behind Peru I believe . But we pay about twice as much as the nearest modern country , we’re also behind several not so modern countries in outcomes ( we’re neck and neck with Cuba ) . The closest to us in cost is England , they pay about 60% of what we do , Japan , France , Germany , Norway , Sweden and the rest pay well less than half of what we do and get better care . None of the aforementioned countries have any , none , naught healthcare related bakruptcys or even fianancial strain because of medical bills . Finally , your statement about how our big pharma is supplying the world with wonder drugs is simply breathtaking in its ignorance . Our pharmaceutical industry is just one piece of a worldwide puzzle of drug innovation , try looking at where drugs you take are invented or produced , that also goes for medical procedures . By the way , most of the actual research is done in colleges or taxpayer subsidized one way or another . Much of pharmaceutical company expense comes in testing and preparing the formulation for market after they patent it , not in actual research as they would have you believe ( profit and advertising are one and two , research comes in third ) . Keep that in mind the next time you take a ” Bayer ” or ” Glaxco Smith Kline ” medication . While I am sure you’ve endured much hardship in having to remove your own apendix with a broken plastic party fork or whatever . Many of us believe that neither you , or anyone else in this country should have to be concerned about getting necessary healthcare for themselves or their families . I am all for letting everyone have the equivilent of medicare and removing the parasites in the insurance / HMOs , putting those dollars into healthcare instead of their pockets . If you actually figure it out about .50 cents( or more ) out of every healthcare dollar goes for overhead and profit , not healthcare , plus costs are out of control . Take out the middle men and the profit motive you would see prices come down dramaticly . No other country in the world allows its peoples health to be held hostage to greed . The simple fact is , our system is badly broken and stays that way because of the vast amounts of money the industry pays to our politicians , not because of how great it is .

  49. Sandra Price

    April 29, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Jim. I have been dealing with the Medical problems for many years; not as a patient but as a Hospice worker. Locating decent good doctors is becoming harder every year. Hospice works with Medicare for the cases of our terminal patients. The Doctors who count on their bills being paid through Medicare are opting to work without these patients.

    The government is notorious for holding back on the payments of these patients. I have a Supplemental policy for myself and the list of doctors that I use is growing smaller by the year.

    I’ve had a problem with weight retention since I started taking medications for my body not rejecting my metal joints. I helped a lady at the pool therapy class and she told me of a new pellet that is injected in the rear fat that might counter these meds. It is so new that most doctors don’t know about it. She is a medical doctor but cannot do the procedure herself as she is licensed in Australia but is working on an Arizona certificate. I called the doctor she referred and was told they did not take Medicare coverage. I didn’t ask for this and went in and had the procedure and paid for it.

    What part of this do you not understand? Are you dealing with free clinics? Are you aware of time it takes for any payments back to the doctors and hospitals? It is so bad that many California hospitals went broke waiting for payments from Medicare.

  50. Jim C

    April 29, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    I reiterant , ask pretty much any doctor if they would prefer single payer ( big government healthcare ) if you will , or the present system . The problems you speak of are being caused by 14 years of republicans cutting medicare reimbursments trying to kill the program , that is the case in many of the problems you refered to in your posts . Every single other first world country manages to supply healthcare to its citizens at a fraction of the cost of ours with better outcomes . I would defy you to find a one country that would trade systems with us . When Taiwan decided to start a universal healthcare program they studied all of the major countries and designed their own hybred . After research they rejected ours outright as a complete mess . For profit healthcare does not work for anyone but CEO’s . I am not sure what you are talking about with this four year wait business . But if its true then things must be even worse than I thought . A huge majority of doctors much rather deal with medicare than any HMO or insurance company . All that would prove is that doctors would rather wait for years for payment than deal with the present mess .

  51. Sandra Price

    April 30, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    I deal with doctors daily and they do not want a universal health care system. Their charges and fees will determined by the congress. You trust your government and I do not! Nothing will be free in America. Those of you who claim not to be able to carry a supplemental policy will expect the rest of us to cover you. That is what has happened in America for over 40 years when the federal government bought you with their handouts.

    I cannot imagine what has happened in America that has made all of you unable to handle your own expenses, pay your own mortgages or cover yourselves medically. I saw this coming 43 years ago and immediately started cutting back on my expenses living on the barest minimum way.

    You see I am a long time Conservative who followed Rand’s advice to take nothing from anyone or any program I did not earn. I have never looked around for any action that would deny me the right to live this way. I refuse to give my support to our government on how I will be medically treated. You have 3 candidates who are eager to offer federal help but the discussion of how to keep this out of the hands of the federal government seems to be an insult to CHB.

    I spent 6 months warning this site about the hell that would hit America if Bush was elected 2000. For my efforts I was banned. So excuse me for daring to offer another concept of keeping that pile of corruption out of our health care. It does not belong in the authority of the federal government. How much more will you accept when things like an illegal wars being fought by Blackwater’s ability to make millions on taxes?

    I get the feeling that most of you woke up yesterday and are innocently looking for Big Daddy to solve all your problems. Big Daddy is the problem. Corruption must not be fed by giving them more authority.

  52. ekaton

    May 1, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Those metal joints you referenced in a previous post must have set you back many thousands of dollars each if you had those done prior to enrollment in medicare. Or do you always insist on paying the full amount, refusing to participate in medicare?

    John McCain has a plan that MIGHT suit you. He wants to give tax credits to cover medical expenses. But then if thats the case, why not just lower taxes on the less well off instead on the very well off?

    — Kent Shaw

  53. Jim C

    April 30, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Really , then how do you explain several recent polls of doctors , 67% now say they are in favor of universial coverage and most say single payer is the best way to go ? That is up from 50% in a poll taken in 2004 . At present their reimbursments are decided by insurance companys , if you cut them out doctors paperwork would be drasticly reduced ( remember , that is 40% or their overhead ) , not to mention the constant race to lowball and second guess them by beancounters . As far as trusting the government , this is a representitive democracy , we get who we vote in . Are you saying you would rather trust the insurance / HMO’s with your healthcare , they’re doing a great job aren’t they ? May I repeat a simple indisputable fact that you keep ignoring . Every other modern and some not so modern country on earth has some form of universial coverage for its citizens . We pay twice as much for healthcare as any other country on earth but still rank 37th in outcomes . No we don’t have the best healthcare or even close , but we damn sure have the most expensive . You and others keep refering to ” free healthcare ” , nobodys talking about ” free healthcare ” , we’re talking about sharing the expense and cutting out both the middle man and the profit . You know , like the rest of the modern world . The rest of your post is confused to the point of inanity , Ayn Rand , the woman was nuts with her ” law of the jungle drivel , A huge part of the economic mess we’re in is because of Greenspan who is also one of her followers , I suppose you think Arther Laffer was a genious too . You want to know where that economic model leads , pry your fingers loose from ” Atlas Shrugged ” and read ” The Jungle ” by Upton Sinclair , that book shows the reality of Rands conservative wonderland . So you say you’re a conservative ? In that case you should think things are just dandy , the problem ain’t the government , its corporate money polluting government buying influence . In case you haven’t noticed the country has been controled by conservatives for the last , what , twelve years . Your obvious confusion is also apparent in in your statements about Blackwater and illegal wars , Blackwater is what you get when you privatize the military , plus , the ” illegal war and Blackwater was brought to us by whom , “”” conservatives “””” . The ” wasted taxes ” you refer to is being wasted by who Sandra ? If you said ” conservatives ” and their freemarket pals put a star by your name . So your a conservative , I guess that explains a lot of your thinking . Oh , by the way Sandra , I do have an understanding of the markets , I’ve been an invester for many years and am doing quite well thank you . But I’m a Keynesian , because it has been proven to actually work , something Adam Smith and co haven’t . History is littered with failed conservative experiments . Its always the same pattern , the rich get the mine and everybody else gets the shaft . So your a conservative , yep , that explains a lot , especially the reams of misinformation , misguided ideas and total lack of understanding what being part of a society means . Some of us don’t want to live by the law of the jungle Sandra . Feel free to look up the polls I mentioned , they were quite recent and would be easy to google I’m sure .

  54. SEAL

    May 1, 2008 at 5:16 am

    JimC please break your posts into paragraphs. Your posts are excellent but you make them so damned hard to read. Give us a break, will you, and put some white space in them. A lot of us are old and our eyesite is not good.

  55. Jim C

    May 1, 2008 at 7:33 am

    Sorry Seal , What you see is the result of little to no english composition training . I used to read a lot but hated to write . I have no training in sentence structure what so ever and it shows .