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Archive for Friday, August 14, 2009

Fear stifles health care debate

August 14, 2009

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Like many of my fellow Kansans, the other night I answered the call for a “tele-town hall” conducted by Sen. Sam Brownback. After a while, I hung up, disgusted with the tone of the callers I heard, calling President Obama “the Messiah” and denigrating him personally, and condemning health reform as “socialist” and worse. I had hoped to hear reasonable discussion but ended up leaving the call instead.

Since then, opponents of health reform have been out in full force — specifically in opposition to HR 3200, the bill that has now passed the House that would ensure reforms to the system of private health insurance where most nonelderly Americans get their coverage. Well-funded interest groups (claiming to be spontaneous, grassroots protesters but often orchestrated by the insurance and drug industries) are taking advantage of the fears, insecurities, and anger of some groups of Americans, arming them with lies and misinformation and urging them to show up at their (Democratic) representatives’ town hall meetings to disrupt them and prevent any discussion, pro or con, about health care.

I have waited for my elected representatives — especially the Republicans — to help put an end to the disruptions of democracy in action. Let me be clear: I believe people have the right, even the obligation, to protest and dissent. I have done plenty of both. But I do not believe that showing up at town hall meetings with the sole purpose of shouting down anyone who disagrees is a productive way to exercise freedom of speech.

Some Republican leaders (not our senators) have said that they have nothing to do with what is going on. But that is not enough. By their silence, our members of Congress are giving their implicit support for scare-and-delay tactics.

The unfortunate result is that this outpouring of anger, fueled by fear and misinformation, is stopping the conversation about changing a health care system whose status quo is not acceptable. We’ve read the statistics; I won’t review them here. After a while, we can become numb to the litany of suffering, but it is real.

Just ask Wendell Potter, former communications director for CIGNA, the fifth-largest U.S. private insurer. He admits to the active role he played for years in denying claims of premium-paying customers and thwarting efforts to expose these practices. After attending an open-air health fair in Wise, Va., at which he saw hundreds of uninsured folks show up for free routine medical care — some from several states away — he knew that he could no longer participate in such a system. He is now speaking out, to atone for his past and help move the country forward.

And now we come back to the images of Democratic members of Congress being shouted down at public meetings. Online, documents are circulating that characterize various legislative proposals, such as HR 3200, in ways that are inflammatory (invoking euthanasia and public funding of abortion) and untrue.

Fortunately, respected health services researchers, such as Linda Bergthold, have looked carefully at the text of HR 3200 and refuted the allegations, one by one. I keep listening for alternative solutions from Republicans, but so far all I hear is noisy protest, cynical complicity with extremists or stony silence.

Many economists agree that the current system is not sustainable. Some who object to the current reforms cite the trillion-dollar price tag as the basis for their objections. Cost is a legitimate concern. But we need both sides to have a conversation about how to get where we need to be, instead of stifling debate, saying no, and hoping for a political loss for the leader of the other party. The human toll of this outcome seems not to enter the conversation.

It seems the whole purpose of these summertime protests is to defeat health reform, and that is not acceptable. I cannot understand how leaders who claim to be ethical can support a system that allows, even rewards, insurance companies to profit from human suffering. There is a place for free-market economics, but not in health care.

I hope that in his last months in the Senate, Sen. Brownback, free of the need to be reelected, will depart from the ideological script and do what is right for our country. Our delegation can — and should — speak out in favor of civic (and civil) discourse. Regardless of one’s views on the reforms being proposed, what is happening now is not debate, and it is not democratic. We Kansans should not allow the debate to be shut down. If we won’t talk to each other, how can we get anything done?

Comments

kla4one 5 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for a thoughtful response to the healthcare problem. It's obvious that the Republicans are only interested in derailing healthcare reform.

Why else would Grassley, one of the Republican Senators of the Gang of Six who is supposedly "working" with Baucus to craft a bipartisan compromise, now be promoting the out and out lie that the House bills promote "death panels." Why should Democrats bother to try to work with a party that is promoting misinformation and out and out lies?

People are shouting at elected officials at townhalls instead of trying to honestly discuss the issue. Half of them are already Medicare recipients, but they are all up in arms about the government taking over healthcare, when their Medicare benefits are offered BY THE GOVERNMENT.

It's sad when people are so willing to refuse to use their brains and common sense to approach a serious social problem. It's really pathetic and a sad demonstration of how badly this country is broken politically when it is more important to the Republican party to stage political theater than to try to join in the first honest attempt to repair our healthcare system. The Republicans had 8 years to do something about the healthcare problem in this county and they did nothing. Now, when a Democratic president is trying to do something to repair the system, they are not only doing nothing, they are doing their best to derail an honest attempt to find common ground on this issue and do something to rein in medical costs and insurance malfeasance.

grammaddy 5 years, 4 months ago

doing something is bettert han doing nothing. The Regurgicans claim to have a different option. Well let's see it! What are they waiting for? Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way!

Flap Doodle 5 years, 4 months ago

Secret deals with drug companies? Is that how the Community Organizer in Chief is going to fix health care in America?

"Pharmaquiddick: Obama's Drug Deal Gone Bad —Ace

Assume that the deal itself is legal. (I don't know if it is.) Assume that Obama sought a deal of some kind, and he's permitted to do so, and this is the "best deal for the American people" he could get.

Let's assume that.

But let's note these problems:

  1. The President is not allowed to enter into secret deals with corporations. Deal, perhaps. Deal secretly? No.

  2. They've lied about it. They did not merely withhold information about the deal; they actively lied to the public -- in agreement with each other; both parties, after all, have to agree to lie before one goes forward in the lie -- about the deal.

  3. Big Pharma has also agreed to an utterly-corrupt $150 million ad buy to prop up Obama's plan -- which is of course the same as contributing to his election war chest. And John McCain only spent $126 million on his campaign, for comparison.

  4. Obama keeps lying to the public, claiming he can find additional "savings" in drug spending, when in fact he as already promised to seek not a penny more in savings from Pharma. He needs to contrive fakey-pretend methods of savings, in order to explain why the CBO is wrong, and he keeps coming back to vague savings he'll get from drug-makers. This is a lie. The exact amount of savings has been agreed to and there is not another dollar coming. (Cf. his frequent statements that he's already gotten $80 billion out of pharma, so who knows how much more in savings he'll find?)

  5. Obama promised over and over these "negotiations" would be not only transparent, they'd be on CSPAN; he promised that anyone "carrying water" for the drug companies (a Congressman, he suggests) would be shamed. "

http://ace.mu.nu/

jaywalker 5 years, 4 months ago

"Some Republican leaders (not our senators) have said that they have nothing to do with what is going on. But that is not enough. By their silence, our members of Congress are giving their implicit support for scare-and-delay tactics."

Couldn't agree more. I don't believe all of this has been staged, but the right needs to denounce the type of behavior going on at these meetings.

"doing something is bettert han doing nothing"

'Course, that's the kind of 'thinking' we absolutely don't need. "Doing something" merely for "something's" sake is about as intellectually lazy as we can get.

"It's really pathetic and a sad demonstration of how badly this country is broken politically when it is more important to the Republican party to stage political theater than to try to join in the first honest attempt to repair our healthcare system"

What's pathetic and sad is believing all of this outrage and fear is "staged" AND that the Republicans aren't willing to join in. They've been shut out completely! Can't join in if this supposedly bi-partisan administration won't allow them in the door.

grammaddy 5 years, 4 months ago

They might be let in if they would learn how to play nicely and quit bullying everyone.

Left_handed 5 years, 4 months ago

I much prefer scare and delay tactics to what Obama wants, namely "jam it through fast before anyone knows what's in it" tactics.

kla4one 5 years, 4 months ago

"They've been shut out completely! Can't join in if this supposedly bi-partisan administration won't allow them in the door."

Jeez, another flat out lie. The Senate Finance Committee bill is being held ransom by REPUBLICAN Senators who have been doing nothing but delay and demand concessions--which have been GIVEN and NOT concessions that are at all palatable to Democrats. Republicans in this country have become absolutely incorrigible in their willingness to bend the truth and tell flat out lies. Apparently, the Republican definition of bi-partisan is change your bill to accommodate ALL OUR wishes and ignore your own Dem constituents' wishes. And we still won't vote for it because we are planning to sabotage any reform because that's a political advantage over the current WH administration. And they have the nerve to behave this way, after Bush and his Congress rammed through every d*** initiative he liked without any concessions to the Dem point of view. I don't know why I bother to respond to people who start out by stating out and out lies as truth. Such a waste of time to engage this lunacy of "death panels" and the dishonesty of people who spread all this idiocy of "we just want bipartisanship."

kla4one 5 years, 4 months ago

And, by the way, I have respect for Republicans who oppose the current UNFINISHED bills based on legitimate concerns over how it should be funded. What I find completely reprehensible is reducing the opposition arguments to the level of fear mongering about "death panels" or government takeovers.

There are plenty of conservatives presenting useful arguments on whether the bills will pay for themselves or debating how to pay for the changes proposed in the bills (tax the insurance companies or restrict the tax breaks for health costs, etc. etc.). Those arguments are legitimate and an honest debate is what is needed. Claiming that the bills promote death panels and/or that Obama wants to "pull the plug on Gramma" is not an honest debate by any stretch of imagination.

Andrea Zuercher 5 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the thoughtful discussion so far. When I wrote this, I did not realize that Rep. Moore had received several threats of violence. I heard that from his own staffers on Wednesday morning, when I dropped by his office. And I heard it reported later in the national media.

What does it tell us about the dynamic here in Kansas when two Republican members of Congress, Tiahrt and Moran, have held town hall meetings to denounce health care reform (according to the Wichita Eagle) but Moore chooses not to hold public forums because he has been threatened? If these were truly spontaneous, grassroots-driven uprisings, they would not just be targeting Democrats.

I pray that Moore, and everyone else who has been overtly threatened, remain safe and sound.

exhawktown 5 years, 4 months ago

I agree that we should argue civilly and hear each other out. There are plenty of points of contention with HR 3200 that can and should be addressed. I don't agree with the "shout them down" tactics, but I don't think everyone who shouts at a town hall is doing it simply to drown out the other side. People are upset.

I don't think HR3200 passed in the House, as the editorial indicates. It's my understanding it's just the last thing the House seriously considered, and discovered there were not enough votes to pass it before the recess. . . .

rbwaa 5 years, 4 months ago

Thank you, Andrea Zuercher for pointing out these issues. I find republican obstructionism extremely disappointing and point out one example of how this plays out below.
From an article on Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s recent town hall meeting [LJWorld, August 13, 2009] - ======================================================== ‘Answering a question from the audience in Lawrence, U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., outlined ways he would change the health care system if he were granted “ultimate power” over the health care system — a situation he likened to being “king for a day.” He said he would: • Work to reduce “excessive paperwork” that forces hospitals to spend 1.1 hours on paperwork for every hour of care provided. • Support creation of portable health records, so people can control access to their own information. • Allow consumers to “shop across state lines” for health insurance, to “expand the pool” of insured people. • Ensure that people with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. • Provide vouchers for people under the poverty level, so they could shop for insurance. • See that a “basic” health policy would be offered to everyone, while people would be allowed to buy extra coverage as they saw fit.’ ======================================================== How is that different from what is included in current health care/insurance reform proposals? It simply underscores the fact that republicans would rather subvert and sabotage everything the democrats propose rather than work together toward common goals. Tiahrt’s [and other republican’s] hypocrisy is astounding!

Flap Doodle 5 years, 4 months ago

“The Obama administration has pushed three extraordinarily large bills in Congress in seven months, and a clear pattern has developed. Obama sets himself as the salesman, but outsources the actual creation of the bill to Democratic leadership in Congress. In each iteration, that Congressional leadership has become more isolated. With Porkulus, they locked Republicans out of the effort to draft the stimulus bill, and with cap-and-trade, they ignored skeptics and moderates in their own party. With ObamaCare, the hard-Left leadership in the House threatened to bypass the committee process altogether in order to keep the Blue Dogs from moderating the direction of reform. A real leader would have taken control of the process and of the legislation. Yet Obama seems content with his role as salesman instead of executive, speaking around the country in support of a bill that he hasn’t read. The message appears to be, “I trust Nancy Pelosi,” but unfortunately for Obama, most of America does not share that sentiment. Instead, he rebuts the most heated charges about the House bill with assurance that a Republican Senator wrote the clause in question, which turned out not just to be false but also patently ridiculous, since Senators do not write bills that originate in the House. One might expect a high-school civics student to understand that much, but in Obama’s defense, no one in the media seemed to realize it, either. It does demonstrate, however, the curious disengagement of a President who promised hope and change on the campaign trail. He seems perfectly content to let Nancy Pelosi run his domestic policy with no interference or even any particular objection. Of the big three agenda items Obama has pushed this year, one might have expected him to get most personally involved in health-care reform, the one issue that started with bipartisan support both in the Beltway and among the electorate. Instead, he has floated above the fray and above the details and the hard work, and it shows. When nuggets like Section 1233 come to light, the White House response has been late, incorrect, and usually more damaging than the initial criticisms. Obama’s not leading. He’s campaigning, and doing that on a float of ignorance about the very bill he touts. Giuliani has it right — this is the President with no leadership clothes at all.” http://hotair.com/archives/2009/08/14/giuliani-obama-only-has-himself-to-blame-for-health-care-debate/

chzypoof1 5 years, 4 months ago

I find it so funny that this always becomes a blue vs. red battle. It's never about the issues, its always about which party is doing what. I am neither, and I've tried to give Obama a fair shake...but what has he done for us so far?

  1. Put our country into more debt than we can ever hope to pay off
  2. Given us "stimulus" programs like cash for clunkers that don't work, and allow people to buy hummers
  3. Passed an executive order to allow imprisoning people "who COULD perform terrorist acts" indefinitely without a trial

These are my unbiased, no party thoughts. I don't believe our country should be divided, it should be together. Here's a great quote from the article:

"Some who object to the current reforms cite the trillion-dollar price tag as the basis for their objections. Cost is a legitimate concern." But.....BUT WHAT??? Who is going to pay for all this free health care? Oh yeah, the middle income people. You know, the ones that would have NO TAXES RAISED.

Obama is a puppet, just like all of them. His strings are pulled by the highest bidder. His change is all the same, its just he gets to do things quicker, because he's "better than Bush". So sad for our country really........

jaywalker 5 years, 4 months ago

kla4one: "Jeez, another flat out lie."

Right. That's why you chose not to prove the statement is a lie. Well done.
Republicans have been working on their own bills because the House Dems won't allow them in on their committees. There is no bi-partisan work going on here.

From Boehner memo: "Their plan, drafted solely by Democratic leaders and their special-interest industry partners while they denied the existence of the alternative health care plan http://blunt.house.gov/Read.aspx?ID=1140 Republicans put forth – will give Americans everything they don't want"

http://thepage.time.com/full-boehner-memo-to-house-gopers/ http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=32718

tbaker 5 years, 4 months ago

In 2006 Nancy Pelosi said "I'm a fan of disruptors" praising those who protested President Bush's policies and extolling the virtue of ordinary Americans who gathered to disrupt meetings and town-halls, angrily shouting-down politicians they disagreed with.

See for yourself:

http://www.breitbart.tv/06-flashback-pelosi-tells-anti-war-protesters-im-a-fan-of-disruptors/

In 2006, these people were behaving the way they were because they were in fact trying to "defeat" something. You are exactly right to observe the anger displayed at the health care town-halls is trying to "defeat" something as well: the government take-over of our health care system.

Ms. Zuercher - you're obviously an educated person. Surely you can appreciate the liberal hypocrisy you've displayed in your article. This notion that dissent and public displays of anger are OK when liberals do it, but not OK when conservatives do it is the kind of arrogant duplicity that actually fuels more opposition to the health care debate.

If your aim was to convince all of us opposed to the President's policy that our angst is misguided, you achieved the opposite. You moved me to write. How many more opinions have you hardened with your hubris?

tbaker 5 years, 4 months ago

Thats a darn good question beobachter. I'd sure like to see an example of a town-hall meeting dominated by supporters of the health care proposal, perhaps even one with a more equal distribution of pro and con would even be nice. Let me know when you see one.

Andrea Zuercher 5 years, 4 months ago

chyzpoof1, you ask, "But what???" Well, here is "but what" (which is what I wrote): "But we need both sides to have a conversation about how to get where we need to be, instead of stifling debate, saying no, and hoping for a political loss for the leader of the other party. The human toll of this outcome seems not to enter the conversation."

When people talk about the cost, it's as though they assume that we are going to go from paying nothing to paying trillions under reform. That is not the case. We are already paying trillions for a system that (a) does not cover about 16 percent of us, and (b) does not produce outcomes that are worth the expenditure. If you just look at the price tag, you do not see the whole picture. Studies suggest that when the uninsured get coverage, they get preventive care that will keep them from having $50,000 uncompensated hospitalizations that the rest of us (insured people) end up paying for through cost shifting. I don't know the dollar figure off the top of my head, but everyone's premiums and medical charges are inflated to help providers recoup what they lose when uninsured people get care they can't pay for. Reforms to the insurance market should ensure that we actually get the "national health insurance" we are already paying for, but not getting.

But economics aside, isn't it time we as a civilized society stopped tolerating a system that leaves so many out?

rivercitymom 5 years, 4 months ago

Like I keep saying, this plan isn't progressive enough. Single payer all the way. The way I see it, there are THREE sides to this:

1) the "Hail to Obama" no-matter-what people 2) the "get your governmnet off my healthcare" folks 3) and people like me who think we should scrap this and go with single payer. ONE insurance bureacracy for medical providers to deal with so they can actually spend most of their time treating illness and disease.

Why are we ANY OF US so worried about having a "level" playing field for insurers and Big Pharma? They've been screwing all of us for years! (Oh, I almost forgot, Obama already cut backroom deals with them and the media luvs, luvs, luvs the insurers and Big Pharma because they buy lots of ads!)

sherbert 5 years, 4 months ago

Has anyone else noticed that Liberals always act like other people are ignorant and misinformed if they disagree with their views?? I try to watch news programs that cover all views so I can form my own opinion, but the strong liberals are so condescending that it's hard to even listen to them.

Andrea Zuercher 5 years, 4 months ago

tbaker: "Ms. Zuercher - you're obviously an educated person. Surely you can appreciate the liberal hypocrisy you've displayed in your article. This notion that dissent and public displays of anger are OK when liberals do it, but not OK when conservatives do it is the kind of arrogant duplicity that actually fuels more opposition to the health care debate."

I don't believe I wrote that, and if that's what you thought I said, you misunderstood me. There is a place for healthy dissent on both the left and the right. These kinds of antics are not healthy; they are designed to shut down the discussion. I am trying to remember the last time I saw left-leaning protesters shutting down a town hall meeting by shouting and drowning others out. I am trying to remember the last time a liberal protester showed up to a meeting with a gun strapped to his leg, or the last time a leftist group spray-painted a swastika on the office sign of a Republican lawmaker. I'm trying to remember the last death threats given to a Republican by someone from CodePink or MoveOn.org. (For what it's worth, I don't support the tactics of eco-terrorists, either.)

What also stands out about these meetings is that many people have been grievously and deliberately misinformed about what is in the legislation. Many are frightened and angered by what they've been told and have been convinced that they need to stop the discussion completely. And the misinformation is coming from people who should know better, who in many times are funded by the industries that have the most to lose if some of these reforms are achieved.

If I honestly believed that Obama, Pelosi, and Sebelius wanted "death panels" and the like, I'd be out there protesting, too.

puddleglum 5 years, 4 months ago

Like I keep saying, this plan isn't progressive enough. Single payer all the way. The way I see it, there are THREE sides to this:

1) the “Hail to Obama” no-matter-what people 2) the “get your governmnet off my healthcare” folks 3) and people like me who think we should scrap this and go with single payer. ONE insurance bureacracy for medical providers to deal with so they can actually spend most of their time treating illness and disease.

yeah, count me in as #3 as well

KS 5 years, 4 months ago

Andrea Zuercher - I was not aware that ANY bill had passed the House. Something may have come out of committee, but can you tell me when it passed the House?

jaywalker 5 years, 4 months ago

" I am trying to remember the last time a liberal protester showed up to a meeting with a gun strapped to his leg, or the last time a leftist group spray-painted a swastika on the office sign of a Republican lawmaker. I'm trying to remember the last death threats given to a Republican"

No offense, Andrea, but generally speaking you wouldn't know if anyone had a gun strapped to their leg, and you nor anyone else know with any degree of certainty who spray painted the swastika or phoned in death threats.

jonas_opines 5 years, 4 months ago

sherbert (Anonymous) says…

"Has anyone else noticed that Liberals always act like other people are ignorant and misinformed if they disagree with their views??"

If by Liberals you actually mean "a couple people on here who are far to the left," you might have something. You can't say, though, that this is a behavior limited to liberals. If you pay attention, you'll see plenty on the other side of the ideological fence who act the same way.

Andrea Zuercher 5 years, 4 months ago

Sorry, KS, I misspoke. The bill has not passed the House (nor has any other). According to the Library of Congress "Thomas" Web site, it was last acted upon July 31 and recommended out of committee but didn't get voted on yet. My mistake.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 4 months ago

What Specter thought: " “In a free society, if people absolutely insist on not being covered, that’s ultimately going to be their choice.” Had Specter done his job, he would already know about Section 401 of the House version of ObamaCare. King Banaian read it over a week ago and highlighted this particular portion in order to make clear that the bill does indeed impose individual mandates and assigns penalties for non-compliance: In General- Subchapter A of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new part: Subpart a. tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage. ‘Subpart A–Tax on Individuals Without Acceptable Health Care Coverage ‘Sec. 59B. Tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage. Sec. 59b. tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage. ‘(a) Tax Imposed- In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of– ‘(1) the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, over ‘(2) the amount of gross income specified in section 6012(a)(1) with respect to the taxpayer."

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/08/14/video-specter-shocked-shocked-to-find-individual-mandate-in-obamacare/

Andrea Zuercher 5 years, 4 months ago

Jaywalker, that's true except for the guy with the gun (in New Hampshire). He was reported on in the news, because his gun was not concealed. But you're right, the whole nature of anonymous threats is that nobody knows who's responsible. And they could just as easily have been perpetrated by someone on the left to malign the right. That wasn't really my main point, but I do see yours.

I'm not leaving the conversation because I'm tired or afraid of it; I'm leaving the conversation because I have the day off and am now going to the movies.

jimmyjms 5 years, 4 months ago

"What's pathetic and sad is believing all of this outrage and fear is “staged”"

All of it, no. But this is a movement that is demonstrably prodded along by the healthcare industry and republican hacks. Betsy McCaughey ring a bell?

http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/ezraklein_archive?month=02&year=2009&base_name=lies_damn_lies_and_betsy_mccau

Similarly, you have the GOP vice presidential candidate making up the "death panel" - then picked up on by other Republicans, even though it is 100% fiction - how can you say that's not manufactured?

"“Their plan, drafted solely by Democratic leaders and their special-interest industry partners while they denied the existence of the alternative health care plan Republicans put forth – will give Americans everything they don't want”

Oh, yeah - that bill: first, they wouldn't release it, now that they have, it does not include: Who will pay for it The amount of the tax credits, or Who would be eligible

Wow! You're right, they really are doing their share.

jimmyjms 5 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

tbaker 5 years, 4 months ago

Ms. Andrea - the gist of your piece was your lament for the dissent being displayed against the health care legislation. You are adding insult to injury by attempting to defend liberal dissent against government policies but condemning the exact same behavior in conservatives. Thankfully, on this issue, your partisan view is in the minority - which is growing by the day. The outrage is authentic and viral. Please tell me when the last time it was you saw conservative politicians refer to their own constituents as “political terrorists” or compare them to the Klan and Timothy McVeigh?

There will be ample opportunity to test the validity of your assertion that this conservative outrage in town halls will back-fire. I know it’s foolish to underestimate a politician’s instinct for self-preservation, but what do you think the odds are of democrats who are up for re-election and in trouble with their constituents voting for the health care bill anyway in some attempt to "ram it through" along partisan lines?

How many of them (Kamikaze Democrats?) will we see come out in the Fall and say “I know this is a controversial piece of legislation, I know most of my constituents strongly oppose it, but I believe voting for this is the right thing to do and I’m willing to accept the consequences.”

We will see how many of them are willing to subordinate their self-interest to what they so nobly proclaim is whats best for the country.

mitchell09 5 years, 4 months ago

  1. Put our country into more debt than we can ever hope to pay off.

Yeah, Bushy boy did it first, and I think better actually. Funny how Republicans seem to have short term memory loss about the sh*t sandwhich that Obama inherited. And I actually remeber it going down... it was last year during the election, no?

  1. Given us “stimulus” programs like cash for clunkers that don't work, and allow, people to buy hummers.

You can trade in your old car for a more fuel-efficient one. Hummers don't apply, unless your old car was a tank. Besides, I think that the struggling automotive industry and dealerships are probably really happy with it. Not to mention saving gas, emissions, etc. Yeah that sucks!

  1. Passed an executive order to allow imprisoning people “who COULD perform terrorist acts” indefinitely without a trial.

Really?! Really?! NOW you are concerned about your rights and privacy? Um, all I have to say is Patriot Act.

jaywalker 5 years, 4 months ago

"Similarly, you have the GOP vice presidential candidate making up the “death panel” - then picked up on by other Republicans, even though it is 100% fiction - how can you say that's not manufactured"

Sorry, jimmy, but Palin was not the initiator of that particular piece of misinformation, it's been around a lot longer that her Facebook blather.

"Oh, yeah - that bill: first, they wouldn't release it, ..........Wow! You're right, they really are doing their share"

Who are you talking about? There might be a disconnect between the quote and what you're referencing, but if you're talking about the Republican's plan I'm happy they haven't completed the whole thing yet or "filled in" all the variables. This is a massive undertaking and the last thing it needs is to be rushed like they're playing beat the clock.

verity 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm with rivercity mom---single payer all the way.

jonas_opines 5 years, 4 months ago

"the gist of your piece was your lament for the dissent being displayed against the health care legislation. You are adding insult to injury by attempting to defend liberal dissent against government policies but condemning the exact same behavior in conservatives."

You know, I read the same piece you did and it's clear that you are putting an argument up that doesn't exist. She said in multiple places that there is a considered difference between dissent and shouting down to destroy debate, and in multiple places has admitted to possible use of the same tactics by liberals, in the theoretical past and present with proper condemnation.

That you ignore this and essentially repeat the same post as your first shows that you either didn't read the post thoroughly, or that you are simply being intellectually dishonest.

jaywalker 5 years, 4 months ago

Andrea,

Sorry, missed your response. Yeah, I knew about the gun guy, that's why I said 'generally speaking'; who knows who's come in strapped in the past, savvy? You make good points with your article and I'm as disgusted with the level of discourse, or lack thereof, as you. As a business owner I'm extremely concerned with the progress of this issue. But while there is plenty of either misinfomation or simple ignorance concerning what this/these proposals contain, I do know a number of aspects that will effect me, my family, and my employees. Many may be attending these meetings misinformed, but there is good reason to be concerned and even frightened. It's exceptionally easy to propose reforms to health care under the guise of helping those in need; it's human nature to want to help those less fortunate, those in pain, etc. And it's just as easy to paint those who oppose such measures as callous or selfish. My number one problem with all this is simply the government's involvement. And no matter what anyone says, this is step one toward our already morbidly obese bureaucracy completely absorbing all healthcare. Obama himself has even said that he doesn't "believe we can eliminate private insurers immediately or even in 5 years. It could take 10,15, even 20." (loose quote). That concerns me to no end.

scott3460 5 years, 4 months ago

"My number one problem with all this is simply the government's involvement. And no matter what anyone says, this is step one toward our already morbidly obese bureaucracy completely absorbing all healthcare. Obama himself has even said that he doesn't “believe we can eliminate private insurers immediately or even in 5 years. It could take 10,15, even 20.” (loose quote). That concerns me to no end."

Why, jaywalker? What valid role do insurance companies play in the actual delivery of health care services? If they were, in fact, eliminated, how would the health care industry be changed? Would it be better or worse?

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 4 months ago

"Greed" and "fear" have long been the watchwords of the GOP, since the days of Lee Atwater and before.

The GOP counts on, and does everything it can to bring about, the failure of our educational system, so that their scare tactics are effective.

"Death panels" is just the latest example that includes the birther movement (BM), Obama being a muslim terrorist, and cries of "socialism".

Fear is the only thing the GOP has on its side, so of course they will try to use it. We must be smart enough to not fall for it.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 4 months ago

kubacker, just whom are quoting? Surely your use of quotations in this instance is in error.

grammaddy 5 years, 4 months ago

Let theRegurgicans throw their little hissy fits. Judging by the posts I've read here,Americans are beginning to recognize fear-mongering when they see it. Let them scream all they want. Their party is dying a slow and painful death. And scare tactics won't help, it will just alienate those with any common sense.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

It is down right stupid to fight FOR the most expensive health insurance in the world.

HR 676 is the one that would be best for large and small business plus individuals. It is by far the most practical and comprehensive AND the best bang for the buck. It should be amended to allow for the choice to be HR 676 or one from the industry. Let the people make the choice.

HR 676 has been been around for years therefore has been tuned up and refined. No matter what number is attached in the end this is what consumers and business should go for.

Why use Medicare? It eliminates reinventing the wheel therefore saves a big bundle of money and time = efficient use of existing resources.

Medicare is in place therefore it is ready to roll which is convenient. The only major change necessary is reimbursement numbers which the author and the 87 cosigners are perfectly aware. They are also very much aware of what the inefficient insurance companies pay out on invoices which is never full invoice. Insurance companies usually pay out about 50%-60%.

The USA needs to STOP being be the most expensive insurance/health care of the industrialized nations if americans want jobs back.

HR 676 Medicare for All insurance coverage is key to creating new wealth for america. The most expensive health insurance in the world is not the answer for keeping business costs down and keeping our cost of living somewhat in check.

Consider the USA as the only major industrial nation that does not provide health insurance/health coverage for its' people.

chzypoof1 5 years, 4 months ago

Mitchell09 - Thanks for proving my point about political views. And YES, people have traded in their old trucks for HUMMERS...do your research.

And YES, I hated the Patriot ACT, but it was passed in the middle of the night, by congress people that didn't even read it.

Thank you for being the typical Obamacon and having the same response to every thoughtful comment: BUSH DID IT FIRST.

jaywalker 5 years, 4 months ago

"how would the health care industry be changed? Would it be better or worse? "

Well, scott, according to my tarot cards............How the hell can anyone possibly answer that narrow question, that btw has absolutely no supportive history? I'm for reform, I agree something needs to change. But the government taking over the system has to be the worst possible solution. SS, the postal system, public education..........where exactly do you get the peace of mind that our bureaucracy could possibly run national healthcare efficiently and cost-effectively? It costs Americans something like $50 billion each year just to MEET the IRS tax codes, and that doesn't include paying the actual taxes. The head of the IRS had to hire people to do his own taxes, even he can't decipher that mess.......but let's put 350 million people's health in such bureaucrat's hands? No thank you.

I'm utterly perplexed by so many people's willingness to blindly trust these people on something so enormous and important. The administration's estimates on cost for Obamacare were atom bombed by the CBO..........not even a ripple of doubt from the left. Continued 'promises' that taxes won't be raised on middle-class Americans.......yet 2.5 trillion over ten years?? That's all coming from what? Our wealthiest one percent and bake sales? Nope, nope, it's all good say the supporters. And I don't know if it's part of any of these proposals or not, but I seem to remember Hillary's plan creating 'regions' for doctors, even going so far as specifying what field a future practitioner might HAVE to go into. So if a doc wants to relocate to Portland, say, the government could tell him no?!! We've already got our quota of your type of medical practitioner in that region, you have to live somewhere else? I certainly hope that hasn't made into any of these plans.
Do you that support this move honestly believe that it's only the Republicans that have driven this country to where we are today? That somehow the Democrats are all incredibly wise and couldn't possibly screw this all up in spectacular fashion? Not to mention this is all a ton of prevention for an ounce of cure. Again, no thank you.

sherbert 5 years, 4 months ago

No Jonas, I'm not just referring to bloggers on here, I'm talking about all across the board on news programs, talk shows and media. Chris Matthews, Bill Mahr and Janine Garrofalo (sp) to name a few. Plus most of the ladies on The View.

jonas_opines 5 years, 4 months ago

sherbert: Okay. . . so are you suggesting that there are no conservatives in the media that act dismissive of people who don't share their views, then? Because that claim seems as specious as it would if applied to the message board here.

I'm not denying what you're saying, there are plenty of people in the media, here, and in public that are arrogant and self-righteously obnoxious in their liberal viewpoints. I can't listen to 96.5 the Buzz for precisely that reason, all their DJs irritate me to death with their snobishness. But still, you can't claim that it's just a liberal behavior, or even primarily a liberal behavior. I could give you a long list of conservative media figures that are scornful in their depiction of anyone who disagrees with their viewpoints too.

Which makes it pointless, from my point of view, to call it a tendency of any one group or another. Well, not quite pointless. Fixing it on one particular group like liberals allows the other group, such as conservatives, to lie to themselves that their representatives or constituents are any better than the other, in the aggregate.

Of couse, I consider that a major part of the problem that we're facing today. If either side put the same scrutiny on their own, they'd find no one to support, and if they excused the other side to the same extent as their own, they'd find no one to oppose.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Barrypender, would you please pay for my insurance premiums? Thanks, Barry. I really appreciate it.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Sherbert said, "Has anyone else noticed that Liberals always act like other people are ignorant and misinformed if they disagree with their views?? I try to watch news programs that cover all views so I can form my own opinion, but the strong liberals are so condescending that it's hard to even listen to them."

If you disagree, then say what you disagree with. If you are just calling names like Nazi socialists, then likely you will get a reactionary push back. Maybe, you need to make sure you have your own opinion and are not just reacting to the stunt people who pose as journalists.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

chzypoof, nice how you ask yourself questions and then answer them yourself as well. Good that you are giving Obama a fair shake .... I guess, if that means not being honest about what he has done and condemning him for your incorrect view of what he has done. Maybe you need to try again to appear unbiased.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Here is some information about the "failure" of cash for clunkers:

"FORD boosted its production plans for the rest of the year as US consumers, spurred by the "cash for clunkers" program, continue streaming into showrooms to buy.

More work: Ford is boosting production to meet a surge in demand from US consumers. Picture: Bloomberg Ford increased its third-quarter production to 495,000 new vehicles driven primarily by the demand for the Ford Focus and Escape. The company will build 6000 more Focus vehicles during the quarter through overtime and Saturday shifts.

It is the third time the automaker has tweaked its output, which will now be 18 per cent higher than the same period a year earlier.

Ford also said it will now build 570,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter, 33 per cent higher than year-earlier levels and 15 per cent above planned third-quarter output.

Chrysler Group, Ford and General Motors are attempting to respond to the unexpected demand created by the clunkers program. Consumers are provided as much as $US4500 ($5345) to trade in their old vehicles and buy new, more fuel-efficient models."

Notice people going back to work and building the most popular car being bought, the "Focus," which isn't another name for a Hummer. Don't you hate it when the other party succeeds? Doesn't it really make you look foolish?

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/business/story/0,28124,25927595-36418,00.html

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Another troublesome fact:

"For Toyota dealers in the five-state region — Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas and Oklahoma — customer traffic is up 47 percent and sales up 27 percent since the program kicked off last week, according to the company."

Toyota doesn't build the Hummer.

http://www.thenewsstar.com/article/20090801/NEWS01/908010311

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Mississippi, Texas and Oklahoma are not liberal states either.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

More inconvenient facts about clunker program:

"The government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program – which offers compensation for older automobiles swapped out for newer ones – has been more than successful. Apparently, Americans have swapped out so many clunkers that the government is scrambling to obtain more funding. Today the House approved a bill allotting another $2 million to fund the program; the proposal will run through September 30, 2010, and will draw from an Energy Department loan. The bill awaits approval by the Senate.

“Cash for Clunkers” provides up to $4,500 in rebates for consumers who trade in aging automobiles for newer, more fuel-efficient ones. The government launched the program in June, with an initial $1 billion, in order to jump-start the auto industry. According to unofficial estimates, consumers have already sold close to 250,000 vehicles to the program, quickly exhausting available funds. For the struggling auto industry, the program has, apparently, provided a viable, national stimulus. Analysts reportedly believe that, if the program continues, it will boost U.S. auto sales to a record high (for this year) of more than 10 million units for 2009. "

http://www.triplepundit.com/2009/08/%E2%80%9Ccash-for-clunkers%E2%80%9D-program-a-success-%E2%80%93-u-s-government-approves-further-funding/

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Did they say, a record number of American cars, TEN MILLION units for 2009! Wow. What a failure.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

What happens when the sky falls. I am worried.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Great, the people who see life through a drinking straw are now going to jump in.

See, putting people to work is a good thing. It allows them to be able to support themselves instead of drawing unemployment and other forms of welfare subsidies. Being out of work also leads to an increase in crime, mental illness, addiction problems, family problems which leads to an increased need in law enforcement and incarceration. Employed people also add to the collection of taxes, which allows the government to pay off debt. We are also getting gas guzzlers off of the road and getting more efficient and cleaner cars in use which will cut down on pollution which cuts back on health problems and environmental clean up costs. So, take the straws away from your eyes worry warts and put a smile on your faces at the good times now coming our way, even if it makes you look like a fool right now. Eventually, you can pretend you have always been a democrat.

Sunny Parker 5 years, 4 months ago

Who is going to pay for this govt healthcare (welfare)? The same citizens who are paying for the govt housing, govt food stamps, govt cheese?

I've had enough! I don't have any more money to pay for all of you!

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Sunny, try actually thinking. Read the previous post. The problem isn't paying for this healthcare. The problem is paying for what we already have and the continued failure of this nation if we are not catching up on efficiency and productivity. So, you have it exactly backwards. It is not spending money that is a problem. It is spending it foolishly. That is what we are doing now and that is what is going to change.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Why should we trust the republican party when they are just tools of the insurance companies, the pharmaceuticals, the healthcare industries, the industrial military complex and the banking industry and they are all scared rabbits fearing that their luxurious lifestyles could be in peril. They may have to regress to multi-millionaires again, instead of billionaires. The poor wealthy people.

tomatogrower 5 years, 4 months ago

"Has anyone else noticed that Liberals always act like other people are ignorant and misinformed if they disagree with their views??"

If you aren't "ignorant and misinformed" then you understand that an end of life discussion equals a living will. Now you may disagree with living wills and we can have an intelligent discussion on the pros and cons of having one. However, if you continue to equate making decisions about how far you want your treatments to go when you have a serious disease or injury to a "death panel", because some druggie radio jockey tells you it's true, then, yes, I will call you ignorant and uninformed.

Are you against patients making informed decisions about their continued or not continued treatments when seriously ill? Do you feel all cancer patients must be forced to continue aggressive treatments, even after the cancer has spread throughout their bodies? Do you feel it's not their right to decide to go home and die in their place of comfort? I would not want to be hooked up to machines to keep me alive if I was severely brain damaged. Are you saying I don't have the right to state in my living will, that I want the plug pulled. If you don't have that end of life discussion with your doctor, family and friends, then it won't be your decision in the end. Now tell me why you disagree with this, without spouting the lies spread by fear mongering radicals.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Why trust the Republican party when they use their funds to help produce ads that propagandize, putting out hate language such as Hitler,Naziism, Socialism, and foment lies about death panels for the elderly, the disabled and the veterans. This is not only an act of desperation. It is also dangerous to democracy itself. Democracy relies on assuming that we all honor the basic premise of our nation, even if we disagree. Will the conservatives resort to any means to gain back power and if so, how can they pretend to favor democracy?

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Bad news for repubs continues:

" Life expectancy Infant mortality rate Physicians per 1000 people Nurses per 1000 people Per capita expenditure on health (USD) Healthcare costs as a percent of GDP % of government revenue spent on health % of health costs paid by government:

Australia 80.5 5.0 2.47 9.71 2,519 9.5 17.7 67.5 Canada 80.5 5.0 2.14 9.95 2,669 9.9 16.7 69.9 France 79.5 4.0 3.37 7.24 2,981 10.1 14.2 76.3 Germany 80.0 4.0 3.37 9.72 3,204 11.1 17.6 78.2 Japan 82.5 3.0 1.98 7.79 2,662 7.9 16.8 81.0 Sweden 80.5 3.0 3.28 10.24 3,149 9.4 13.6 85.2 UK 79.5 5.0 2.30 12.12 2,428 8.0 15.8 85.7 USA 77.5 6.0 2.56 9.37 6,102 15.2 18.5 44.6

The most amazing fact about our health care system is that fully one-third of the $2.2 trillion goes to overhead. This means a lot of our investments are going to pay bureaucrats, particularly insurance companies, to perform paperwork, not medical care or, as important, wellness education. The latter investments could be designed to motivate people to learn to live in ways that prevent the need for much illness treatment in the first place."

http://www.seekwellness.com/wellness/reports/2007-08-31.htm

LiberalDude 5 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the letter Andrea. I agree 100%.

exhawktown 5 years, 4 months ago

lazerbeak: " . . . the reform will save money."

Not exactly right if you're talking about HR3200. From the CBO website:

"According to CBO’s and JCT’s assessment, enacting H.R. 3200 would result in a net increase in the federal budget deficit of $239 billion over the 2010-2019 period. That estimate reflects a projected 10-year cost of the bill’s insurance coverage provisions of $1,042 billion, partly offset by net spending changes that CBO estimates would save $219 billion over the same period, and by revenue provisions that JCT estimates would increase federal revenues by about $583 billion over those 10 years." "By the end of the 10-year period, in 2019, the coverage provisions would add $202 billion to the federal deficit, CBO and JCT estimate. That increase would be partially offset by net cost savings of $50 billion and additional revenues of $86 billion, resulting in a net increase in the deficit of an estimated $65 billion." http://cboblog.cbo.gov/?p=332

"Let me be clear about this. . ."

jaywalker 5 years, 4 months ago

Anyone get the license plate of that hijacker?

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

tumbil, this isn't just about how long people live, it is about the quality of life and the productivity of people. These factors among many others are the ones you are ignoring as you go through life with your blinders on. We are spending twice the money for less results in many respects. And this fragmented system we have is making people stressed and upset on a daily basis. It is broken and requires repair.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Vertigo, you are making a solid point. The reality is that most people are buying vehicles such as the Ford Focus, the Escape and other vehicles that do get much better gas mileage. Escapes get in the mid 20's and the hybrid gets into the 30's. Toyota's, Suzuki's and other vehicles selling well, get well into the 30's. Although Hummers are not a hot seller by any stretch, I would agree that these lower mileage vehicles should be eliminated from the program. In addition, Ford was going to sell a Diesel F 150 that gets 30 MPG, but then decided not to. Ford was also going to sell a Diesel car and then didn't. This is the kind of bait and switch we have seen from the US market for years. I think more pressure needs to be put on these companies to get these higher mpg vehicles out. Perhaps an incentive program would help them get these cars out.

sherbert 5 years, 4 months ago

First of all, I stand by my previous remark that strong liberals are very often condescending to others viewpoints. This I find in the media and in people I know. They will argue to the end that you are wrong and they are right. Conservatives will more often debate their cause and then agree to disagree instead of driving into the ground that the other person is uninformed and/or just plain stupid. This is a personal observation.

Secondly, ask the Used Car Dealerships whether they think the Cash for Clunkers is good. Government involvement in private enterprise is usually never a good thing, let the free market work itself out.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Tumbil, That's another chapter and another campaign, possibly. I will say this, it appears to me that more people are thinking about what they eat now and about exercise than before. Healthfood business is growing and more people are going to the gym. That could be another incentivised component added in, now or later, such as lower premiums for people who work with health coaches. So, I think you have a point.

tomatogrower 5 years, 4 months ago

rshrink, your information about how our health system is so true, and should strike a chord with conservatives, because they are suppose to be in favor of fiscally conservative operations. Their fight against attempts to solve this problem just demonstrates to me that they are very self-centered and are probably heavily invested in this system that puts profits above people's health. Instead of trying to find a solution to an obvious problem, they become part of the problem. But wait until they have a a heart attack, stroke, or develop a debilitating illness at a young age, which happens to people, despite their lifestyles. Are they so rich, they can afford to not apply for federal assistance? Some, maybe, but most can't. They like to look down on people who need a hand, but it could happen to them. I always thought the term "compassionate conservative" was a contradiction in terms, but they prove it over and over. Making more money is their only focus, and they don't care who they hurt to do it.

exhawktown 5 years, 4 months ago

Wow Tomatogrower, way to take generalizing to a new level.

Rshrink, Mark Steyn has a piece that addresses stats like yours in general, when discussing health care reform. "As is often pointed out, U.S. life expectancy (78.06 years) lags behind other developed nations with government health care (United Kingdom 78.7, Germany 78.95, Sweden 80.63). So proponents of Obamacare are all but offering an extra "full year" of Euro-Canadian geriatric leisure as a signing bonus.

"Life expectancy" is a very crude indicator. Afghanistan has a life expectancy of 43. Does this mean the geriatric wards of Kandahar are full of Pushtun Jennifer Lopezes and Julia Robertses? No. What it means is that, if you manage to survive the country's appalling infant-mortality rates, you have a sporting chance of eking out your three-score-and-ten. To say that people in Afghanistan can expect to live till 43 is a bit like saying the couple at No. 6 Elm Street are straight, and the couple at No. 8 are gay so the entire street is bisexual.. "

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/life-expectancy-health-2529244-say-good#

Health care is administered to the individual, not the collective. We're talking about a commodity (heath care/health treatment) that should be as highly individualized as possible.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

There are countries which don't compare to the US due to wars, extreme poverty, no healthcare, etc. But we like to think we are doing better than our neighbors and the truth is, we are not. In addition, as has been said repeatedly, we pay more for this lack of care and much of that is due to ineffeciency. Those in the healthcare field have no doubt about that. Health Insurance Reform, as being discussed, will not address every problem. Mostly, it is just making it possible for nearly everyone to have insurance and it adds choice into it. This is a first step and how things go with this step, will provide indicators to everyone as to what the next step needs to be. Anyone here who doesn't think that the enormously wealthy healthcare industry isn't trying to hang on to it's huge advantage by spending lots of money on propaganda and staging protests, would have to be naive and brainwashed to the core. Of course they are. They are known as a "special interest group," that had already been spending more than a million dollars a day on lobbying congress. How is it that they have so much money to throw at this process and think that it is worth it? And who is already paying out the whazoo to make that possible? Tomato is right. There are things in this change that conservatives, not in the healthcare field, should be drooling over and the smart ones are. The smart business people know it will lower their cost of doing business. The smart ones know that healthy people are far more productive than unhealthy people. Combine these factors together and they have a shot at competing in the global market place.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Jane, please explain why your tape recorder is only capable of recording propaganda and will not detect any messages which contain facts, things which are verifiable and objective.

tomatogrower 5 years, 4 months ago

"Health care is administered to the individual, not the collective. We're talking about a commodity (heath care/health treatment) that should be as highly individualized as possible."

Do you mean by "individualized" that those who can afford it get it, but those who can't just need to go away, suffer and die. Please clarify yourself.

exhawktown 5 years, 4 months ago

Sure, I'll clarify. Treatment should be taylored to the individual. That's what I am talking about. Do I think those who can't afford health insurance should just go away and die? Of course not. Like I've said, there are things we can do to improve access to actual care and make it more affordable. Not all conservatives are gleeful with the status quo, as you seem to imply.

A couple of interesting ideas: "• Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual customer preferences and not through special-interest lobbying.

"• Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are passed back to us through much higher prices for health care."

Those are just a couple of ideas. You can read more here:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204251404574342170072865070.html

I think all of us have to tone down insulting exchanges (myself included) and like others have said, truly discuss workable ideas.

Thanks.

Back to watching the Moyers interview . . .

chzypoof1 5 years, 4 months ago

So rshrink...um, you contradicted yourself there. You told me that hummers weren't being bought in the cash for clunkers...then you told someone else that they were.

And your argument about people working because of it, has little merit. You talk about everyone living better, and helping ourselves...who's going to pay for this down the road? Not you. You will be long gone. It will be our children/grandchildren who will pay for ALL the party's mistakes...not just repubs or demos....ALL of it.

Creating jobs to have jobs does not help our society. That's what we are doing right now with a lot (not all ) of the stimulus funds...fixing roads that dont need to be fixed...building bridges that dont need to be built...hiring MORE police officers, when we don't need more police control.

I'm sorry that I offended you with my logical answers. I don't believe either party is ethical, and I think they are all out to create a socialist society where the top 1% have everything, the rest are equally dependant on the state.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

exhawk, sorry, in places where tort payouts were greatly reduced, premiums still went up. Won't work. The insurance business is the wealthiest business in the world. Helping out the insurance companies will not help you out at all. Too bad, some people just don't learn from their mistakes.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

chzy, you need to learn how to read or get someone else to do it for you. I will not repeat myself. Go back and look at it again, unless you really don't care about anything except your own opinion. Sorry, but roads and bridges do need to be repaired, badly. Some of them were frankly, very dangerous. It appears that you just say things to try to win an argument and facts don't matter to you. You don't seem to realize that if we don't rebuild this country, we are going to end up a third world country ourselves. We were on the verge of total disaster due to Bush and the repubs. The president has brought us back from the brink of a wipeout. All you have to do now is criticize with bogus information. Well, you can relax. Competence has been restored, so take a load off.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

chzy said, "and I think they are all out to create a socialist society where the top 1% have everything, the rest are equally dependant on the state."

That is what we have now, except the rest are dependent on the dictates of this corporate controlled country which is largely represented by the insurance companies. So, keep dreaming about being saved by a free market system that doesn't exist except in your mind.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

We are paying now for the mistakes of Bush and the repubs. The smartest people in the country have been involved in helping to figure out how to get ourselves out of this mess. So, people here need to stop sitting on the sidelines and taking pot shots. Get off of your haunches and start pitching in. You are being foolish if you don't help out now when we have a chance of saving ourselves from this mess. Limbaugh will go on being stupid, but you don't have to go with him.

exhawktown 5 years, 4 months ago

rshrink and others, Part I That was an interesting interview, and I’m glad you posted the link. Thank you. I did not learn a lot of new information, per se, but it is informative as to some of the reasons why this is an important issue, and it helps me better understand your position, which is something I do want to do. I enjoy and appreciate discussion on this issue.

In general, yes, I do understand how powerful huge industry can be in forming policy and opinion. However, this Moyers interview didn’t convince me the protests are “orchestrated.” I know a few folks who are concerned and who have attended town halls in the region. They are well-informed individuals who do not merely “buy into” what some of you consider to be “party propaganda.” They research issues, rely on various sources for information, think for themselves, and observe what is going on in their communities.

What it does seem to focus on is how the insurance industry is motivated by profit. I do understand that point.

exhawktown 5 years, 4 months ago

Part II Here are some ideas about health care I would like to hear more discussion on:

• Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs). • Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. • Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. • Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. • Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost. •Revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren't covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

The above bullets are taken from the opinion piece at the following link:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204251404574342170072865070.html

Some items were omitted.

I think this is such a polarizing issue, because it’s huge, and a person’s political philosophies and personal values naturally come into play. You will not convince me to become a democrat (if you are one) and I won’t convince you to become a republican or libertarian. Our values and philosophies are firmly in place. What we can and should do is see if there is a common ground there on the issues we can identify as important—unfair denial of claims, access to care and treatments, and lowering costs.

fuel_for_the_fire 5 years, 4 months ago

Does anyone else find the comment -

"We were on the verge of total disaster due to Bush and the repubs. The president has brought us back from the brink of a wipeout."

immediately followed by the comment -

"All you have to do now is criticize with bogus information."

as hilarious as I do?

fuel_for_the_fire 5 years, 4 months ago

Bogus: an adjective meaning spurious or not true. As in the following sentence: The president has brought us back from the brink of a wipeout.

This is fun.

fuel_for_the_fire 5 years, 4 months ago

Health care insurance should not be a for profit enterprise. Change this and you solve a lot of the issues.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

fuel for the fire

Thanks for proving my point. No one could have done it better, I assure you.

And good luck on changing the insurance business, the biggest and wealthiest business in the world. I'm sure you can do it though, right after you bring peace to the middle east and Africa.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

I already told you exhawk, there is not enough in tort reform to matter. Lawsuits comprise maybe 1% of healthcare costs. While a good PR was done to promote this, there is nothing there. And in Missouri where lawsuits were capped, premiums went up. While some of the other ideas may be interesting, the insurance companies have had no interest in sharing the wealth. Some companies have jumped in recently, worrying that if they don't, they will be totally screwed. Nice idea, the free market. It just doesn't work on its own. No country has been able to pull it off, much like communism. Libertarians live in the past, dreaming of what used to be. The world has dramatically changed since then. We have different problems now and just as the world is always changing, we must be able to adapt.

exhawktown 5 years, 4 months ago

No, tort reform could be a huge help. Malpractice insurance could go down over time, but that's not the only issue, nor are "lawsuits." It would have farther reaching effects. They would be less afraid of getting sued, which could have a huge effect in how they go about doing their jobs. From my understanding, so much of their day-to-day time practicing medicine is eaten up by CYA. Again, it doesn't sound like we are going to convince the other of much of anything at this point.

fuel_for_the_fire 5 years, 4 months ago

What was that about pot shots, rshrink?

Insurance may be the biggest, wealthiest business in this country, I don't really know for sure. But I am quite sure that it is not the biggest wealthiest business in the world, you arrogant pompous [fill in your favorite expletive here].

And your solution is to "start pitching in" but only if it's not too hard to do. You are beyond pathetic.

exhawktown 5 years, 4 months ago

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons believes in tort reform.

http://www.aaos.org/news/aaosnow/sep08/reimbursement9.asp

More information from the Tort Reform Assoc. of America:

http://www.atra.org/wrap/files.cgi/7964_howworks.html

Not bothering to post quotes here, out of time, and want people to read the info and decide for themselves.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

well fuel, (pot shotter) it is the wealthiest business in the world. look it up and then get back to us.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

I am handing you stuff on a silver platter and you ignore it. I am not joking about the reality that lawsuits only account for 1 % of the healthcare costs. And where tort reform has been done, insurance premiums still went up. It does not address the lions share of unecessary costs which is administrative costs which is more than 30 %. That is why we are looking at the solutions we are looking at. There really is a good reason. If you all quit hitting the replay in your dialogue, you might get some actual answers. Secondly, oftentimes people covering their a$$es can account for being more careful and doing a better job. If there are no consequences for screwing up, then in some cases, it might lead to people doing what they should not do.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Read this:

"Tort reform has been championed as a way to reduce health care costs for consumers. But this analysis of health insurance premiums several years after states have enacted tort reform reveals families and individuals have not realized any savings, thus raising the question of why consumers should trade off legal rights without economic gain.

Tort reform advocates have argued capping the amount of money medical malpractice victims can potentially collect for noneconomic damages will directly reduce malpractice insurance premiums, as well as change the way doctors practice medicine. Freed from the fear of large court judgments, providers will practice medicine less “defensively” and thus more efficiently. Health care cost reductions should then be passed on to consumers as lower insurance premiums, in effect, their “trade-off” for capping potential damages.

This analysis of health insurance premiums was based on data collected from private and government employers with more than 200 employees for the period from 1999 to 2004 and examined premiums three to five years after tort reform was enacted, allowing for the impact of reform to filter through the system. "

http://www.rwjf.org/pr/product.jsp?id=36768

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Read this:

"THE INSURANCE CYCLE, NOT THE LEGAL SYSTEM, DRIVES UP RATES

Typical Soft Market: Insurers make most of their money from investment income. During years of high interest rates and/or excellent insurer profits, insurance companies engage in fierce competition for premium dollars to invest for maximum return. Insurers severely underprice their policies and insure poor risks (where there likely will be claims to pay) just to get premium dollars to invest. This is known as the “soft” insurance market. Americans for Insurance Reform, Stable Losses/Unstable Rates 2007. Typical Hard Market: When investment income decreases because interest rates drop or the stock market plummets, or price cuts during the soft market make unbearably low profits, the industry responds by sharply increasing premiums and reducing coverage, creating a “hard” insurance market usually degenerating into a “liability insurance crisis.” Americans for Insurance Reform, Stable Losses/Unstable Rates 2007. Periodic Cycles: Such “liability insurance crises” associated with “hard markets,” have occurred three times in the last 30 years – in the mid 1970s, in the mid-1980s, and between 2002 and 2006. Eventually, rates stabilized and availability improved everywhere as the “soft market” took hold. Americans for Insurance Reform, Stable Losses/Unstable Rates 2007. With each new hard market, insurers have tried to cover up their investment losses by blaming lawyers and the legal system. To buy this position, one would have to accept the notion that juries engineered large jury awards in the mid-1970s, then stopped for a decade, then started again in the mid-1980s, stopped 17 years and the started again from 2002-2006. This is ludicrous, and not true. At no time did claims or payouts spike during these period and since 1975, medical malpractice payouts have risen almost precisely in sync with medical inflation. Americans for Insurance Reform, Stable Losses/Unstable Rates 2007. Today. Investment losses throughout the industry now threaten to cause another hard market. Kathy Chu and Sandra Block, “Insurance premiums rise on sour profits,” USA Today, April 20, 2009."

http://honolulu.injuryboard.com/medical-malpractice/tort-reform-myth-the-legal-system-causes-high-malpractice-insurance-premiums.aspx?googleid=262696

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Read this if you aren't tired:

"The industry groups will also have their friends in the news media working overtime hyping any possible obstacle to health care reform. And they are filling the airwaves with scary ads, warning that people will never be able to see a doctor again if meaningful health care reform passes.

Since there are trillions of dollars at stake, the effort is understandable. The basic story is simple. The insurance, pharmaceutical and medical supply industries, along with the hospitals and the American Medical Association, have rigged the deck so that they get rich at the public's expense. They have structured our health care system so that we pay more than twice as much per person as people in other wealthy countries, even though we get worse care by many measures.

The bloat in the health care sector is projected to grow rapidly over the next decade as health care consumes an ever larger share of the economy. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reports that just the increase in health care spending share of the economy over the next decade will cost us $4.3 trillion. That is equal to a health care tax of $57,000 for an average family of four.

Who benefits from the taxpayers generosity? CMS projects that $1.4 trillion, or $18,500 per family will go to the hospitals. Doctors and the pharmaceutical companies are each expected to score about $550 billion, costing families $7,300. And the insurance industry's share of GDP is projected to rise by $360 billion, or $4,800 for an average family."

http://www.truthout.org/062209R

exhawktown 5 years, 4 months ago

rshrink, My 3:32, and 3:33 posts were accidentally posted to you in this thread, and should have been posted to another reader in a different thread. Very sorry about that, and for any confusion associated.

I have, however, started to look at your links because this entire issue fascinates me, and I don't view other current issues as important as this one.

So, from the same source as the link in your 5:22 post, another group of authors does tout the importance of tort reform. Amazing what you can find, isn't it?

"This article explores three reasons why bundling both medical liability reform and health care reform may prove valuable in health care reform development:

  1. Escalating health care costs are significantly tied to malpractice liability costs. The authors cite that a decrease of total health care spending by 1 percent would lead to a savings of $22 billion per year. . . "

http://www.rwjf.org/pr/product.jsp?id=43668

BTW, this article isn't as detailed as the one you linked to, but it's more recent.

exhawktown 5 years, 4 months ago

rshrink, Some lawyers don't like tort reform. You can probably guess why. Same reason you think insurance companies don't like health insurance reform.

Your 5:31 post includes a link to a piece written by Wayne Parsons, who is a lawyer who handles malpractice cases. While he probably has some valid points, he also says the following: "The tort reform movement is brought to you by the insurance industry - AIG and the same band of scoundrels who took Wall Street down with their financial misconduct and accept your premiums and deny your claims. . . Does Major media care about anything but ratings and getting sponsors? The news? Oh, that. Who cares. So you have to get it here and on The Daily Kos, The Huffington Post and The Injury Board." (It's further down on your link. . .. )

The Daily Kos and the Huffington Post are interesting sources. I've used Huffington once to prove a point to a "lib", but I don't really rely on them as my primary sources of news, either.

http://www.wayneparsons.com/

exhawktown 5 years, 4 months ago

rshrink, your 5:46 post, well, since the source is truthout.org, I don't even feel the need to remark beyond this: WTFE.

Reiterating this point: we're really not going to convince each other. . .

exhawktown 5 years, 4 months ago

Though I will add this. I also believe in "torte reform." Massive ingestions of an incredibly wonderful dessert commonly known as the flourless chocolate torte, to both improve mood and reduce stress levels. . .

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Here is what happened under the Bush dictatorship and the republican support of Bush/Cheney regime:

August 14, 2009 at 04:04 PM

"Income inequality in the United States is at an all-time high, surpassing even levels seen during the Great Depression, according to a recently updated paper by University of California, Berkeley Professor Emmanuel Saez. The paper, which covers data through 2007, points to a staggering, unprecedented disparity in American incomes. On his blog, Nobel prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called the numbers "truly amazing."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

exhawk, I am afraid while 22 billion seems like a lot to you, it will be a drop in the proverbial bucket. So, to focus on something that small, which doesn't really provide a solution to this huge problem, is a bit like rearranging the furniture on the Titanic.

Secondly, this really misses the point of the need to provide healthcare to everyone, not just the wealthy and well employed. It also does not address the points made about helping people become more productive and making us competitive with the other big players in the global market.

Just because you don't like truthout, doesn't mean it lacks credibility. And your own credibility is lacking as long as you support the current healthcare industry ran by billionaires. I suppose you think of yourself as a free marketeer. Trouble is, as I have said repeatedly, a free market is not possible, never has and never will be. The best systems arriived at so far, that really benefit the most people and a nation as a whole, would be a combination of free market with regulation and with built in programs to make sure there is a basic level of care for the people to prevent the people without conscience from taking advantage of the honest and ethical people. Otherwise, the most evil people will always be able to get the upper hand.

camper 5 years, 4 months ago

The townhall protesters are simpletons that can be described as follows:

1) NASCAR fans who actually like watching cars travel in circles. 2) Inbredded mountainers who have such distaste for anything government and centralization 3) Old people swayed by Republican sentment who nonetheless prosper from Medicair benefits and resent younger folks who also desire good care.

jaywalker 5 years, 4 months ago

"The townhall protesters are simpletons that can be described as follows...."

Camper, I can't tell you how disappointed I am to find you posting such. Usually you're rational and level-headed. This is easily the most moronic, poorly thought out post I've ever read of yours. Irregularity perhaps?! "THE townhall protesters"?!! All of 'em?! None of these people are intelligent Americans with legitimate concerns?!! Wow. Just wow.

Climb back into the bottle and post again when you're not projecting like the usual suspects around here.

"Trouble is, as I have said repeatedly, a free market is not possible, never has and never will be."

Then you should stop talkng! Seriously, better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

camper 5 years, 4 months ago

Jaywalker. You are correct and level headed. My post was regretfully stupid.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Camper. I have no doubt now that you are a thoughtless fool with a head full of monkeys screaching away.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Yes, exhawk, there are conservatives who come to town hall meetings to listen and share. Obviously, they are not the ones carrying signs and shouting down the speakers. If students went to their classes doing such things, we could be certain that they wouldn't be there to learn. And when people are reading the talking points, then they are parrots, not sentient beings engaged in beneficial discussion.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Sorry camper, I meant jaywalker. That is why one shouldn't try this late night style.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Meet the press had Dick Armey on and he was accusing MoveOn.Org of comparing Bush to Hitler. In fact, the truth is Move On was comparing Bush policy of torture to the war crimes that Nazi's were convicted of in 1945. So, the mounting evidence of torture is backed up, whereas comparing President Obama to Hitler is more of the kind of baseless scam we saw in the promotion of war with Iraq, claiming weapons of mass destruction were known about. The repubs have these respected (by repub) spokespeople who are compulsive liars and manipulators and con artists. Truly, the repubs continue to sink to new lows and the coporations that back them and essentially are the power of the repub party are like mafia trying to protect their turf. The big players in the healthcare arena are these bloated mafia types who will use any and all unethical scams to maintain their monstrous appetite for wealth and power.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

P.S. Sadly, the Chamber of Commerce continues to be on the wealthy corporate side in their politics. They also spends lots of money putting out false ads to gain support for bad republican projects.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

Anytime people are being cruelly tortured for very long periods of time, it measures up to the worst horrors in the history of mankind. The stories you cite, once again, have a context which is much different and it is based on things that Bush has actually said and done. So, you have no point. The attacks on Obama are baseless and designed only to propagandize and promote the failed repub party.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 4 months ago

In addition, it is now clear that the reason for the torture was to get prisoners to say that Saddam was involved in the 9/11 plot, just to support the Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq.

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