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Letters to the Editor

Inequitable system

August 18, 2009

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To the editor:

Everyone in America (and around the bewildered world) has heard outlandishly false claims by Sarah Palin, Chuck Grassley and other fear-mongering Republicans, about notorious death panels being proposed by Congress. Clearly, there are no provisions in any of the several Senate and House bills that envision a plan to terminate the life of any person involuntarily. The sole intention of the legislation is to facilitate compassionate discussion about end-of-life choices (“advance directives”) for persons and their family members, preferably long before critical decisions need to be made for a dying patient.

In fact, there are death panels in our country — in the form of for-profit health insurance companies. The accounts of persons being denied coverage, or having claims denied if they are “covered” are well-known, having been documented widely in the press. Furthermore, the Institute of Medicine has stated that more than 20,000 Americans die annually because of not having access to affordable care.

Ironically, few people seem to be outraged by the fact that family members, friends and co-workers are uninsured or underinsured, suffering poor health and inadequate productivity. My brother cannot afford individual health insurance premiums, and my son is denied individual coverage due to a pre-existing condition. I am furious!

Some have implied that a single-payer system would amount to socialized medicine. Medicare is a single-payer system and, with all of its flaws, it is far more efficient, equitable and affordable than private insurance. Few seniors and persons with disabilities could live without Medicare.

Comments

commuter 5 years, 1 month ago

Dr. Goering- thanks for the LTE. I have a few problems. I hate hearing that people can not afford medical insurance. Please define can't afford. People can't afford medical insurance but they can pay for cell phones, cable tv, eating out etc. During my last year of college, my wife and I were raising two small kids- we couldn't afford a lot of things but we sacrificed and made decisions that were in the best interest of our family. All without going on welfare.

It is too bad your son has a prexisting condition, have you spoken to your insurerer about it? I am suprised that the company I work for, there are no pre-existing conditions. Maybe your son needs to look around more.

Finally, no healthcare reform is adequate unless Congress and Executive branch has to be included in the plan. I am outraged that Congress has the special healthcare and they are wanting to pass something different for the rest of America- come on Dems step up and be real leaders but no you only care about yourself.

How are we going to pay for it? Cut Earned Income Credit is my my response, start making soem not for profit groups like KU Endowmwnt, Harvard Endowmwnt, KU Sports pay some tax - This would require a change in the tax law but we would get trillions of dollars to help fund health care.

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commuter 5 years, 1 month ago

By the way- life is not fair. If it was, I would get paid like you but do the work of Merrill.

Have a nice day.

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kansastruthteller 5 years, 1 month ago

Does the bill contain specific language for a "death panel?" No, of course it doesn't, but the bill's language regarding end of life counseling is very broad. Those who administer the system could very well, based on the bill's broad language, construe it to mean they have the authority to create so-called "death panels."

The opponnents are concerned about "death panels" and pubicly paid abortions. These seem to be two of the major criticisms of the bill. The solution is very simple. If the intent of Congress and the President is not to have "death panels" then make the bill's language very clear and specific on what can and cannot be discussed during end of life counseling or better yet, remove that section of the bill.

The same about abortions. Is health care coverage for those under-insured or uninsured more important than abortion coverage? I think it is, so take publicly paid abortions off the table.

As with any change or any legislation, you can't always get exactly what you want. Sometimes you have to compromise to make change happen.

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monkeyhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

"....my son is denied individual coverage due to a pre-existing condition."

Could the kind doctor please explain to us what the term "professional courtesy" means?

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jaywalker 5 years, 1 month ago

Very sorry to hear about your son, Dr. Goering. In case you don't know, the state of Kansas offers coverage for those who can't qualify due to pre-existing conditions. Forgive me, can't remember the website but I bet you can find it through the State site.

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Stuart Evans 5 years, 1 month ago

i would have expected something about tort reform out of a doctor. after all, the cost of malpractice insurance is one of the major cost hurdles for doctors and hospitals.

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SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 1 month ago

Dr. Goering,

It's unfortunate that some in our country don't have the level of health care that they'd prefer. Nevertheless, our government has neither the right nor the responsbility to confiscate my income to pay for someone else's health care.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

How much do you make, Dr. Goering?

Maybe if you cut your fees in half people could afford healthcare in this country. The average hospital (including 'non-profit' LMH) makes more in profits than the average insurance company.

By the way, Doc: It's not the insurance companies that have death panels, either. They deny no one care of any kind. They simply say that, under the provisions of the policy and applicable state regulation, they are not going to pay for something that isn't covered. Actually, Doc, it's the physicians who deny care when an insurance company refuses an authorization, and for the sole reason that they aren't guaranteed payment, isn't it?

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BigDog 5 years, 1 month ago

The good doctor mentions the Medicare system in his letter. I would like to know if Dr. Goering is accepting Medicare patients in his practice.

Many doctors are not accepting Medicare and Medicaid patients because of the low reimbursement rate. Kansas by the way pays one of the lowest Medicaid rates in the country. Medicare rates to doctors, hospitals and nursing homes were just cut again.

If these systems are so great ... why will many doctors not accept Medicare or Medicaid patients???

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bankboy119 5 years, 1 month ago

"Furthermore, the Institute of Medicine has stated that more than 20,000 Americans die annually because of not having access to affordable care."

"Some have implied that a single-payer system would amount to socialized medicine. Medicare is a single-payer system and, with all of its flaws, it is far more efficient, equitable and affordable than private insurance. Few seniors and persons with disabilities could live without Medicare."

What the good doctor fails to mention is the new stipulation put into place AFTER Obama was elected. Medicare now cuts off providing oxygen after 36 months I believe. They pay $0. The solution? Go buy a $600+ machine yourself. Tell me how someone could live without oxygen.

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 1 month ago

Full frontal Dem-on-Dem action coming to the House! "A full 60 Democrats have now pledged to vote for healthcare reform only if it contains a public option. In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (obtained by Firedoglake), the Congressional Progressive Caucus took issue with Sebelius's recent statement that a public plan was "not the essential element" of healthcare reform, and pledged 60 votes against final passage unless a public plan is included: To take the public option offthe table would be a grave error; passage in the House of Representatives depends upon inclusion of it. We have attached, for your review, a letter from 60 Members of Congress who are firm in their position that any legislation that moves forward through both chambers, and into a final proposal for the President's signature, MUST contain a public option. A previous, similar pledge by the progressive caucus included 50 members, so support for the public plan seems to be growing among House liberals. Centrists have speculated that House liberals may demand a vote on the public option when a bill first goes through the House, but would eventually accept a conference committee compromise that lacked a goverment plan. This letter seems to suggest that's not the case.” http://briefingroom.thehill.com/2009/08/18/60-democrats-its-public-plan-or-nothing/

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Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 1 month ago

Socialized medicine is a national disgrace and should be scrapped immediately.

In today's paper there is a story about how a bunch of Americans are living off of taxpayers, expecting the rest of us to fund their health care while they rely on a government system that is inefficient and causing my private insurance costs to go up.

End socialized medicine now and let private industry take care of it. Removing the ridiculously inefficient government from the system will immediately cause everybody's insurances costs to go down dramatically.

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

Socialized medicine is not on the table for discussion. Socialized Medicine is what the military offers.

The question is USA medical insurance which is now the most expensive in the world. Why are elected officials protecting the most expensive medical insurance in the world?

Insurance coverage for 2010 for complete coverage without co-pays and deductibles is coming in at $18,310..... Just think some hard working people don't make that much in a year. Yes nothing like the privatized medical insurance industry. Gotta get that special interest campaign money from somewhere.

4 substantial reasons why Medicare Insurance for All/HR 676 should be the choice for all in america

  1. *Eliminates Politicians as shareholders: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR2009061204075.html

  2. *Eliminates Paying More Getting Less http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

  3. *Eliminates Leading Cause Of Bankruptcy http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/bankruptcy_study.html#ixzz0IQKZLHHh&C

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.

Health Care in the United States | Dollars & Sense http://www.dollarsandsense.org/healthcare.html

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

What increases the cost of the most expensive medical insurance in the world?

• its bureaucracy • profits • high corporate salaries • advertising over charges • sales commissions • Shareholders are the primary clients of for-profit insurance companies, not patients • Special interest campaign dollars Golden parachutes * Politicians as shareholders: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR2009061204075.html

What will HR 676 and ONLY HR 676 Eliminate? Eliminates high dollar medical insurance spending on what 2,000 health insurers add to the actual cost of providing care: • its bureaucracy • profits • high corporate salaries • advertising over charges • sales commissions • Shareholders ! are the primary clients of for-profit insurance companies, not patients • Special interest campaign dollars * Golden parachutes

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

What increases the cost of the most expensive medical insurance in the world?

• its bureaucracy • profits • high corporate salaries • advertising over charges • sales commissions • Shareholders are the primary clients of for-profit insurance companies, not patients • Special interest campaign dollars Golden parachutes * Politicians as shareholders: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR2009061204075.html

What eliminates the most expensive medical insurance in the world ...HR 676. What will HR 676 and ONLY HR 676 eliminate? Eliminates high dollar medical insurance spending on what 2,000 health insurers add to the actual cost of providing care: • its bureaucracy • profits • high corporate salaries • advertising over charges • sales commissions • Shareholders ! are the primary clients of for-profit insurance companies, not patients • Special interest campaign dollars * Golden parachutes

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notajayhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

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