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December 24, 2009

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zero

it's not a start. it's a prelude to the american people being sacrificed to the will of corporate interests. unless those 60 progressives in the house who have written and signed a letter stating they would not vote for any health care "reform" that didn't include the public option really withhold their votes, we have been had.

chuck

I share your concern, zero, but see this as more the camel's nose:)

zero

i have no faith in "our" elected representatives, including the president.

Doug

ditto that, zero... this is a "bailout" for corporate interests. A real health care reform bill would focus on giving individuals more control and ownership over their health care decisions, rather than to health insurance companies or other agencies.

zero

absolutely.

chuck

More control and ownership...play that out for me, Doug.

zero

no doubt doug's idea of more control and ownership is a lot different from what i would envision. i'm for medicare for all.

zero

no doubt everyone is enjoying their day with family and/or friends so enjoy and many blessings this christmas day.

Doug

Basically, let individuals control their health care dollars, and free them to choose from a wide variety of health plans and providers, which includes across state lines (which is possible the single-most cost-reducing measure with regards to insurance. While perhaps many people's fears over government control over the decisions of our health care are unfounded, why not write into law that no government agency, bureaucrat, or other entity other than the individual patient and his/her doctor will be legally permitted to withhold or make decisions concerning the health care services of individuals? If the pro-reform folks really want to appease those who are fearful, then perhaps writing explicit laws might help the fearful. Just write it into law that the fears many of us have about "government-run health care" won't come true. The absence of such betrays the real agenda.

zero

doug's version of control for individuals implies that this "control" would be for people to continue to be at the mercy of the healh insurance companies, which we all know offers absolutely no control to the customer now. and that's not likely to improve unless there's a wholesale reworking of the system. and since the health insurance companies went for-profit, it isn't likely that they will ever actually do anything that benefits the customer unless forced (yes, forced) to. and the only entity that can make that happen is the government, who has already sold out the american people to the interests of the health insurance companies. so much for control for the individual.

zero

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kamran-pasha/how-the-story-of-christma_b_403664.html

this might be somewhat off topic for this thread, however, it's an amazing historical account of christianity and islam doing well together. perhaps a lesson to be learned for competing interests in this country? actually looking out for one another?

fundamentalist

Congress has fooled the American people again. The current insurance industry reform legislation does nothing but federalize state law. I work for an HMO. HMO's and all insurance companies have always been heavily regulated by state insurance commissions. All that the current law does is to duplicate at the federal level what states have done for decades. There is nothing new in the law except the criminalization of people who don't buy insurance and the abolishment of the pre-existing condition exclusion.

But keep in mind that group plans to companies have always given the company the choice of buying insurance that covers pre-existing conditions or insurance that excludes them. Of course one is cheaper than the other so most companies opt for the cheaper version. The federal law will do nothing but raise premiums.

Instead of just applying to the states for rate increases, insurance companies now must also apply to a federal agency, thus increasing costs dramatically. And like state agencies, federal regulators will have no choice but to allow for the rate increases, otherwise insurance companies will go out of business.

The press convinced people that insurance companies were robbing them with huge profits. But a Price-Waterhouse-Coopers analysis of health insurance companies showed that 87% of all premium money goes directly to paying doctor and hospital fees. 5% goes for profit and the rest is administrative. Outlawing advertising will save maybe 1% in premium charges.

Doug

Zero, by definition when I say "more control to the individual," that excludes insurance companies maintaining that control. When individuals are paying, doctors must compete for the best services. And there are many medical services that could be performed safely by those who are not quite doctors, such as nurse practitioners and others, but government has ensured with licensing laws that we all have to pay more for even the simplest of services.

The idea that we ought to be guaranteed something that must be provided and paid for by somebody else really makes me question the ethics of those who propose that such things ought to be "guarantees."

In principle, I'm not concerned with the details, and in some cases I'm willing to concede some government involvement, so long as it is crystal clear that government will always and forever be prevented in making decisions on behalf of individuals. But normally those two things are mutually exclusive, given the nature of the State and its goals and aims.

And I have a question for those of you who don't like the profit paradigm of health insurance: why not start your own insurance company, never deny anybody coverage, charge very inexpensive premiums, and never refuse payment except for fraudulent claims? If your method of providing insurance would be so superior, you'd easily take away the business from the other insurers, and you would very quickly be the capstone of ethical and moral health insurance provision. But as zero has pointed out, gov't is in bed with Big Insurance, and laws (both federal and state) prohibit competition. But in a market economy, where government hasn't sabotaged competition, no insurance company would be immune from competition by other firms, and costs inevitably drop.

Zero, wouldn't you prefer a system where insurers are forced to compete for lower premiums, higher payout rate, and better customer service in order to "make a profit"? Profit isn't bad, but when there is no incentive to provide a better service to us, they don't have to provide great service. That's what competition does, and in a real market economy, that's what would happen.

Doug

Further, the idea of tying one's health insurance to employment is ludicrous. I know it arose out of a market to compete for labor, but if that money were simply given to employees in the form of income, and we all individually had to search for insurance, and companies were not restricted within state lines, competition itself could reduce insurance costs by 20% or more.

But no, that's too simple a solution, even though it would cost taxpayers nothing, give us all more choices, and severe the tie between employment and insurance (which not only means no loss of insurance with loss of employment, but more flexibility in switching jobs).

zero

simply. i want medicare for all. there are aspects of living that should not be a part of private industry at all. this includes utilities, oil companies, etc. if we are going to allow this, i want everyone in the country to get a royalty like everyone in the state of alaska gets for the oil that's removed and sold by private business. other states do this so why doesn't the individual benefit directly instead of indirectly, meaning it's taxes it they are paid at all, that's supposed to be for the benefit of all and that doesn't happen. my attitude is that of the native americans. the earth can't be owned by individuals and the bounty should be for all equally (even if they don't practice that in modern time that is what they practice before white men ruined america for them) and they shared in the care of one another regardless of delivery method. that's what i'm for.

fundamentalist works for an hmo? probably one of the coldest, cruelest delivery of health "care" in this country. hmos were the trailblazers of denying coverage when coverage was needed most.

Doug

HMOs don't deliver health care.

So if medicare is for all, run by the government, what happens when some politicians get elected who are less-than scrupulous and don't care about the plight of others? Why should the control over our health be in the hands of a government bureaucrat?

zero

so business persons are more trustworthy than politicians? there's plenty of evidence that business persons don't give a flying flip for the public. we can argue who is worse, however, politicians can be voted out of office. business persons pretty much stay put until something really bad forces them out. and there's no such condition as "letting the people vote with their dollars" because that just doesn't happen enough for it to make a dent.

zero

what do hmos deliver then?

Doug

Your businessman vs. politician scenario is entirely backward. In a market economy—one that isn't sabotaged by gov't intervention and protectionism—businesses go under when they stop serving the public. Unless, of course, those businesses are protected by the gov't and prevented from going under, or if it is subsidized by taxpayer dollars.

"Voting with our dollars" is a misunderstood idea, and only works for those who have money. But even so, the principle is still the same: in a free market businesses must survive or die based on the services it provides to others. Government need do no such thing.

I thought HMOs were a type of quasi-insurance plan... maybe I'm wrong.

zero

that might be how it's supposed to be, doug, but it is not that way in reality. your willingness to hang tenaciously to the "principles" of economics flies in the face of how it all really operates. and stating that corrupt this or that will not explain why it doesn't work as it "should".

if government does so poorly with medicare, why weren't all those tea bag supporters this past summer willing to give up their medicare? why weren't republicans and corporate-tied democrats willing to say it should be done away with in support of complete market based health care insurance? medicare, for the fraud, waste and abuse it does contain (based on corrupt practices by providers of services, not by the government program itself) is still cheaper than private insurance both in premiums, copays and the what the administrative costs are....which is about 4% as opposed to at least 15% of the private sector costs.

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