Health care bait-and-switch strategy

August 28, 2009


— Obamacare Version 1.0 is dead. The 1,000-page monstrosity that emerged in various editions from Congress was done in by widespread national revulsion not just at its expense and intrusiveness but at the mendacity with which it is being sold. You don’t need a Ph.D. to see that the promise to expand coverage and reduce costs is a crude deception, or that cutting $500 billion from Medicare without affecting care is a fiction.

But there is an exit strategy. And a politically clever one, if the Democrats are smart enough to seize it.

1. Forget the public option. Whatever the merits, and they are few, it is political poison. It dies by the Liasson Logic, the unassailable observation by NPR’s Mara Liasson that there are no liberal Democrats who will lose their seats if the public option is left out, while there are many moderate Democrats who could lose their seats if the public option is included.

2. Jettison any reference to end-of-life counseling. People see (correctly) such Medicare-paid advice as subtle encouragement to voluntarily refuse treatment. People don’t want government involvement in a process they consider the private province of patient, family and doctor. The Senate is already dropping it. The House must follow.

3. Soft-pedal the idea of government committees determining “best practices.” President Obama’s Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research was sold as simply government helping doctors choose the best treatments. But there are dozens of medical journal review articles that do just that. The real purpose of FCCCERs is ultimately to establish official criteria for denying reimbursement to less favored (because presumably less effective) treatments — precisely the triage done by the NICE committee in Britain, the Orwellian body that once blocked access to a certain expensive anti-blindness drug until you went blind in one eye.

4. More generally, abandon the whole idea of Obamacare as cost-cutting. True, it was Obama’s original rationale for creating a whole new entitlement at a time of a sinking economy and a bankrupt Treasury. But, as many universal-health care liberals complain, selling pain is poor salesmanship.

5. Promise nothing but pleasure — for now. Make health insurance universal and permanently protected. Tear up the existing bills and write a clean one — Obamacare 2.0 — promulgating draconian health-insurance regulation that prohibits (a) denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, (b) dropping coverage if the client gets sick, and (c) capping insurance company reimbursement.

What’s not to like? If you have insurance, you’ll never lose it. Nor will your children ever be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions.

The regulated insurance companies will get two things in return. Government will impose an individual mandate that will force the purchase of health insurance on the millions of healthy young people who today forgo it. And government will subsidize all the others who are too poor to buy health insurance. The result? Two enormous new revenue streams created by government for the insurance companies.

And here’s what makes it so politically seductive: The end result is the liberal dream of universal and guaranteed coverage — but without overt nationalization. It is all done through private insurance companies. Ostensibly private. They will, in reality, have been turned into government utilities. No longer able to control whom they can enroll, whom they can drop and how much they can limit their own liability, they will live off government largesse — subsidized premiums from the poor; forced premiums from the young and healthy.

It’s the perfect finesse — government health care by proxy. And because it’s proxy, and because it will guarantee access to (supposedly) private health insurance — something that enjoys considerable Republican support — it will pass with wide bipartisan backing and give Obama a resounding political victory.

Isn’t there a catch? Of course, there is. This scheme is the ultimate bait-and-switch. The pleasure comes now, the pain later. Government-subsidized universal and virtually unlimited coverage will vastly compound already out-of-control government spending on health care. The financial and budgetary consequences will be catastrophic.

However, they will not appear immediately. And when they do, the only solution will be rationing. That’s when the liberals will give the FCCCER regulatory power and give you end-of-life counseling.

But by then, resistance will be feeble. Why? Because at that point the only remaining option will be to give up the benefits we will have become accustomed to. Once granted, guaranteed universal health care is not relinquished. Look at Canada. Look at Britain. They got hooked; now they ration. So will we.


Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

However I believe the more important concern is why in the world is are so many members of congress protecting the most expensive medical insurance in the world?

Then pretend as though they are doing us a favor .

And why is the industry blowing $1.4 million health caredollars a say to defeat any type of reform?

That same $1.4 million dollars a day would provide 519 families of four excellent Medicare Insurance each day the campaign continues. After 31 days that becomes over 16,000 families robbed of HR 676 Medicare Insurance.

Why have the special interest legislators avoided discussing Medicare Insurance for All in depth and in public view?

Why do they want to throw it away without in depth discussion? HR 676 has 87 co sponsors in the house.

What is the world is the medical insurance afraid of?

The public deserves discussion of the options especially the most fiscally responsible and comprehensive coverage that has come our way in the last 50 years....HR 676.

Interest reading on the matter:





Senate Panel Hears of Health Insurers' Wrongs Ex-Insider Testifies to 'Fear Tactics'

By David S. Hilzenrath Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, June 25, 2009

Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid, according to a report released yesterday by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee.

The report was part of a multi-pronged assault on the credibility of private insurers by Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.).

It came at a time when Rockefeller, President Obama and others are seeking to offer a public alternative to private health plans as part of broad health-care reform legislation. Health insurers are doing everything they can to block the public option.

At a committee hearing yesterday, three health-care specialists testified that insurers go to great lengths to avoid responsibility for sick people, use deliberately incomprehensible documents to mislead consumers about their benefits, and sell "junk" policies that do not cover needed care.

Rockefeller said he was exploring "why consumers get such a raw deal from their insurance companies."

The star witness at the hearing was a former public relations executive for major health insurers whose testimony boiled down to this: Don't trust the insurers.

"The industry and its backers are using fear tactics, as they did in 1994, to tar a transparent and accountable -- publicly accountable -- health-care option," said Wendell Potter, who until early last year was vice president for corporate communications at the big insurer Cigna.


Flap Doodle 8 years, 10 months ago

Bring out your dead (horses)! Bring out your dead (horses), merrill.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

The one thing WE DO KNOW about HR 676 is that it would provide insurance to everybody no matter what.

WE DO KNOW that today OUR tax dollars are providing insurance coverage for 60% of those who are insured which = $1.2 trillion which wouid cover all in america 24/7 without raising taxes. Yes this $1.2 trillion is in the budget and changing nothing or sticking with the insurance industry will definitely increase this number of budgeted tax dollars.

All of our legislators and their staff people are among those covered by the $1.2 trillion medical insurance tax dollars. It is okay to subsidize our elected officials with our tax dollars for THEIR medical insurance but it is NOT OKAY to subsidize those who subsidize the US government employees. Something wrong with this picture.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

Oddly legislators pretend they can be objective as receivers of large special interest campaign donations. We're talking about key legislators.

Study: Health Industry Accounts for Half of Blue Dog Campaign Donations

A new study shows more than half of the $1.1 million in campaign donations given to the group of right-leaning Democrats known as the Blue Dog Coalition came from the pharmaceutical, healthcare and health insurance industries.

The Center for Public Integrity says the Blue Dogs received more donations than any other congressional grouping over the same period.

On average, the Blue Dogs received over $62,000 more from the health industry than other Democrats. The Blue Dogs have played a key role in the standstill over healthcare reform since voicing objections to a public health insurance option last month.

Looks like both sides of the aisle are covered.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

"FCCCERs" Perfect.

"The FCCCERs won't let me have a transplant because my reduced ability to contribute to the greater good will not offset the cost to the community. FCCCERs."

cato_the_elder 8 years, 10 months ago

In recent weeks it's become apparent that some of the most vocal opponents of Obamacare are Canadians. Were the Dems' current nightmare proposal to pass and our system thereafter becomes like theirs, Canadians soon won't be able to come to this country for the medical care they can't get in Canada due to health care rationing and interminable waiting lists. As was stated recently by Dr. Anne Doig, incoming President of the Canadian Medical Association, Canada's government-run health care system is "imploding," in large part because Canadians can't get the health care they need when they need it.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

We do know that the industry is using the US Chamber of Commerce to coordinate their $100,000,000(million) anti reform campaign. What an odd way to spend health care dollars.

That $100,000,000 could well afford 3,703,704 families of four medicare health insurance for one year under HR 676 National Health Insurance... yes almost 4 million families.

Smart Medical Insurance Improves Our Quality of Life And Our Wallets!

Some of our reps on all sides of the aisle say “Let's slow down a bit”. I say consumers have been waiting for more than 60 years for fiscal responsible medical insurance how much slower can it go?

It's time to put this matter to a vote on the national ballot. Elected officials cannot seem to get by their investments and corrupt campaign funding.

YES let the citizens vote for use of their tax dollars!

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

What could possibly be more american? Providing americans with the choice of National Health Insurance. HR 676 is the only equitable approach that includes all of us.

HR 676 would cover every person for all necessary medical care including: long term care such that cancer demands prescription drugs hospital surgical outpatient services primary and preventive care emergency services dental mental health home health physical therapy rehabilitation (including for substance abuse) vision care hearing services including hearing aids chiropractic durable medical equipment palliative care long term care.

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would pay about $2,700 in payroll tax for all health care costs.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save hundreds of billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs.

Let's move all of the following into the program bringing those tax dollars with them. • everyone on social security and their dependents • all disabled veterans • all Iraq/Afghanistan veterans • all government employees • all currently uninsured

Are Americans ready for HR 676? Of course they are.

Not only that HR 676 makes all Americans more employable. And encourages small business ventures. Now opportunity knocks. Now we're talking long term wealth building for americans by way of long term employment. YES for small business.

Employers should not be forced to pay up. There are enough tax dollars available in the USA to cover the cost easily:

*60% of insured are covered with OUR tax dollars = a big slice of the pie = $1.2 trillion(will actually cover all of us under HR 676)

*Cut subsidies going to very wealthy industries = Another sizeable slice of the pie. Let's get them off welfare! And provide health care for taxpayers.

Medicare Insurance for All will attract NEW industry and NEW jobs while at time creating new wealth locally and across the nation. Todays most expensive insurance in the world is NOT attracting new industry,new jobs, new wealth locally or nationally.

What a great way to bring OUR tax dollars home by funding OUR own medical insurance with OUR own money.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 10 months ago

Be sure to wear cheerful bright clothing while scrolling past merrill's posts.

nverlost 8 years, 10 months ago

It's amazing to see how O’s ego is throwing his own party into chaos. Instead of focusing on ways to seriously fix this economy he keeps throwing us further into a deficit. You are all witnessing the downhill slide of the Democratic Party. Many (D) will go by the wayside in '10 and '12 - in large part due to the exposure to moderates on what this guy is really all about. If any of you people actually think that our gov't can effectively run a national health care system then you probably haven’t to deal with the beauracraice of gov't entities very much – I personally always dread it.

drake 8 years, 10 months ago

That's funny snap. I thought I was the only one who skips his posts. If I see that the author is Merrill I just scroll on past, haven't read one in over a year.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

Most other industrialized nations used Medicare Insurance as template for their systems.

Elected officials going against HR 676 have no idea if it will work or not. It is all rhetoric coming from the insurance industry who spends tons of money bribing elected officials.This bribery has been taking place since the 1940's.

WE do know that the insurance industry is providing the most expensive insurance in the world. This is NOT good for business or keeping our cost of living contained.

Some of our reps on all sides of the aisle say “Let's slow down a bit”. I say consumers have been waiting for more than 60 years for fiscal responsible medical insurance how much slower can it go?

It's time to put this matter to a vote on the national ballot. Elected officials cannot seem to get by their health care investments and corrupt campaign funding coming from the industry. Therein lies the problem.

YES let the citizens vote for use of their tax dollars!

Flap Doodle 8 years, 10 months ago

Did somebody leave the window open? I though I heard a duck fly past.

BigPrune 8 years, 10 months ago

Charles Krauthammer is a genius. Under Obama's plan he might get refused treatment since he is a quadriplegic.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

"Under Obama's plan he might get refused treatment since he is a quadriplegic."

I'm sure glad to see such a "serious" discussion of the issues from you, Prune (heavy sarcasm.)

jafs 8 years, 10 months ago


Do you trust private insurance companies?

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 10 months ago

Congress has the best health insurance in the country and we the taxpayers foot that bill. Why not medicare for everyone? The public option will cause competition among companies and the government.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

" Do you trust the government to run health care effectively and efficiently or not?"

That depends on the government, doesn't it? If it's a government whose primary purpose is to meet the needs of big business, which is unfortunately what Republicans have established, with the help of way too many Democrats, then you get debacles like Katrina and Iraq.

So it's not just a matter of turning it over to government-- it's also a matter of creating a government that's transparent and accountable, and which looks after the needs of all citizens, not just those in the upper 1% bracket.

And jafs question deserves a serious answer-- not just ideological posturing about the inherent superiority of private business vs. government.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 10 months ago

No verification for citizenship status? “Read the CRS report on ObamaCare's treatment of illegal immigrants By: DAVID FREDDOSO Commentary Staff Writer 08/27/09 9:16 PM PDT Mark Tapscott noted yesterday that a new Congressional Research Service report is being discussed by Republican members of Congress. It says essentially that notwithstanding all the rhetoric to the contrary (including, most recently, that of Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.), there is really nothing in the House health reform bill to prevent illegal immigrants from getting subsidies from the federal government for their insurance premiums under the plan. Because CRS reports are generally hard to come by, The Examiner has obtained a copy for your reading pleasure. In its subsection on health insurance subsidies (known as "affordability credits"), HR 3200 does state, "Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States." That would seem to solve the problem, but it's more rhetoric than reality. The bill contains no verification requirement or enforcement process for citizenship or legal residency, as exists for other federal benefit programs. The only verification required for the subsidies pertains to family income. Beyond that, as the CRS report notes, everything is left in the hands of the Health Choices Commissioner. House Democrats defeated all attempts in committee to add an enforcement mechanism that would require proof of citizenship or legal residency for those getting subsidies.” http://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Yes-they-can-55389592.html There's a link to a pdf of the CRS report on the sfexaminer page.

ralphralph 8 years, 10 months ago

merrill's original point - way up there - hit the nail on the head. Corruption in government, legally sanctioned through campaign finance and lobbying activities, is the driving force behind nearly every action taken in Washington. Unless and until we break that bond which should be illicit, our "representatives" will continue to roll over for the highest bidder -- that's what prostitutes do. As it stands, I don't trust or believe anything coming from either side of the aisle, because both sides are bought-and-paid-for whores. Period. Clean up the money, or it's all a sham.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

"And once again we will ask, were those figures put together by the same folks who estimated the costs of the Cash for Clunkers program, Richard?"

Try as you might, Pilgrim, there is absolutely no connection between a one-time stimulus program and fixing a badly broken healthcare system.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

BTW, Pilgrim, I'm sure that if they made the Cash For Clunkers program permanent, they could get the kinks worked out. Is that what you want?

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

The industry and our elected officals are taking us for fools and taking our money.

Is protecting the most expensive medical insurance in the world good for business? No it is anti business and anti new jobs and industry

Is protecting the most expensive medical insurance in the world good for keeping the cost of of just about everything we buy in reasonable check? Absolutely not it increases our cost of living across the board just like high dollar gasoline.

Did we elect people to office to protect the most expensive medical insurance in the world from a more reasonable and fiscally responsible insurance program? No way jose' That is corrupt.

Did we send elected officials to Washington to accept special interest campaign money from the most expensive medical insurance program in the world? Heck NO that increases the cost of insurance!

So it seems the loudest voices against Smart Medicare Insurance for All are those who are profiteering from the misfortune of others.

Why is it $1.2 trillion tax dollars are paid out on the most expensive medical insurance in the world to cover a wide variety of government employees including elected officials? Yet these same officials say NO to all of the rest of taxpayers.

The real kicker is the $1.2 trillion tax dollars that cover ONLY government employees would cover all in this country under HR 676 Medicare Insurance for All. People this should be a no brainer.

The industry and our elected officals are taking us for fools and taking our money.

N_Trenched 8 years, 10 months ago

Those of you complaining about the high cost of care are missing the point. Yes, reform does need to take place, but aim your venom at those who are actually causing the problem. Plain and simple, your costs go up because you are paying for those who have decided to be irresponsible and go without insurance. It has come down to the choice that the uninsured have made with a conscious decision to have cable t.v. over care.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

N_Trenched-- If that were the case, why is it that every other industrialized democracy in the world is able to insure everyone for a little more than half what we spend, while nearly 1/3 of this country is either uninsured or seriously underinsured?

BTW, just repeating the cable tv soundbite does nothing in moving this debate forward. Under a single-payer plan, everyone would be required to contribute what they can afford, and spending it instead on cable TV (or whatever) would not be an option.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

LO-- Providing healthcare is going to require expenditures of some sort or another no matter what system is used, unless you're suggesting scrapping the monetary system in favor of a barter economy.

Whether the money is collected by an insurance company in the way of premiums, or by the government through taxes, money collected is money collected.

What happens to it after it's collected is the important thing, and currently way too little of the money that's collected in so-called healthcare insurance premiums actually gets spent on healthcare.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 10 months ago

Look at how well government control of everything worked in the Ukraine in the early 1930s. Axelrod's puppet is following in Uncle Joe's footsteps.

jonas_opines 8 years, 10 months ago

"Look at how well government control of everything worked in the Ukraine in the early 1930s."

Yeah, except for the Ukraine I've heard life was wonderful for everybody on the planet in the 1930s.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

"bozo, now you know the key word that made a connection was federal and not expenditure."

They were all English words, within an English grammatical structure, too.

KS 8 years, 10 months ago

merrill - Please go back to your room and close the door. We don't want to see all the cut and paste crap anymore. Nobody reads you anymore.

Mixolydian 8 years, 10 months ago

It is insane that we use health insurance as the primary method of payment for every single aspect of health care.

That's completely foriegn to any concept of insurance, which is typically used to cover catastrophic events, fire, flood, tornado, death, car crashes.

It's no different than using your auto insurance to pay for your gas and oil changes.

And to tie it all in with employment makes no sense as well.

That's where the reform needs to occur. We don't need the government to bolster that crazy system, we need real reform.

There's an excellent article in this month's Atlantic Monthly detailing all of this and it's a fascinating read. I don't have a link becasue I read the article old school...out on my patio, magazine in one hand, a Rocky Patel in the other hand and a pint of Fat Tire nearby.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

About HR 676

Health Policy Q & A with PNHP Co-founders Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler

Should PNHP support a public Medicare-like option?

PNHP should tell the truth: The "public plan option" won't work to fix the health care system for two reasons:

  1. It foregoes at least 84% of the administrative savings available through single payer. The public plan option would do nothing to streamline the administrative tasks (and costs) of hospitals, physicians offices, and nursing homes. They would still contend with multiple payers, and hence still need the complex cost tracking and billing apparatus that drives administrative costs. These unnecessary provider administrative costs account for the vast majority of bureaucratic waste. Hence, even if 95% of Americans who are currently privately insured were to join a public plan (and it had overhead costs at current Medicare levels), the savings on insurance overhead would amount to only 16% of the roughly $400 billion annually achievable through single payer.

  2. A quarter century of experience with public/private competition in the Medicare program demonstrates that the private plans will not allow a level playing field. Despite strict regulation, private insurers have successfully cherry picked healthier seniors, and have exploited regional health spending differences to their advantage. They have progressively undermined the public plan – which started as the single payer for seniors and has now become a funding mechanism for HMOs, and a place for them to dump the unprofitably ill. A public plan option does not lead toward single payer, but toward the segregation of patients; with profitable ones in private plans and unprofitable ones in the public plan. Would a public plan option stabilize the health care system, or even be a major step forward?

The evidence is strong that such reform would have at best a modest and temporary positive impact – a view that is widely shared within PNHP.

Indeed, we remain concerned that a public plan option as an element of reform might well be shaped in a manner to effectively subsidize private insurers by requiring patients to purchase coverage while relieving private insurance of the highest risk individuals, stabilizing private insurers for some time and reinforcing their control of the health care system. Given the above, is it advisable to spend significant effort advocating for inclusion of such reform?

No, for two reasons: 1. We are doctors, not politicians. We are obligated to tell the truth, and must answer for the veracity of our stance to our patients and colleagues over many years. Ours is a very different time horizon and set of responsibilities than politicians'. Falling in line with a consensus that attempts to mislead the public may gain us a seat at the debate table, but abdicates our ethical obligations.

  1. The best way to gain a half a pie is to demand the whole thing.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

By Donna Smith -

So, we’ve been told over and over again that under the health care reform plans currently defended and pushed by the President and Congress that we can keep what we’ve got if we like it. No one will take your health insurance benefits away. Not under our employer-based, for-profit system.

But the larger issue remains. Just how gullible are we when we trust that any private company will be forced to keep any benefit plan it chooses not to keep?

Employers will still be able to change up healthcare plans to meet the company’s needs – and if that means you have to see another doctor or pay a higher co-pay or drive to a more distant in-network provider, that will not be your decision. And health insurance companies will still be able to change their provider lists and covered services and all sorts of other things without any input from policyholders.

So, America, it just isn’t true that you can keep what you have if you like it when it comes to private, employer-based healthcare benefits. It’s a big, fat lie. And the company noted in the article above provides but one example. There will be many more.

The House bill on healthcare reform, the Senate plan for healthcare reform and the President’s plan for healthcare reform – none of these actually guarantee that you can keep what you have if you like it, because tomorrow your employer or your insurance company may change what you like to suit their bottom line. That’s the truth.

If this big lie about healthcare reform rolls off their messaging engines like melting butter on a warm slice of bread, what else do you suppose they are lying about? Come on. Get real.

We won’t have what we want in terms of truly having the freedom to choose and keep or change our doctors, our providers and our own treatments until we break free from the lies and produce reform that guarantees a progressively financed, single high-quality standard of care for everybody. Everybody in, nobody out.

Then you can keep what you like. Your choices. Your decisions. Your health. Your healthcare. Your money. Period.

It’s not just the right-wing selling myths in this discussion. We need to admit that and work to be as honest as we can. Too many lives depend on this. There will be no death panels to order Grandma’s demise, but there are also no guarantees that you can keep what you have if you like it under this system. Both things are lies.

We can provide one another the healthcare security that we’re being misled to believe is in the current reform plans. But we will have to help our fellow Americans to understand that a publicly financed, privately delivered healthcare system – like Medicare – for all of us is the most reasoned, most economical and most freedom-protecting choice.

And that’s the truth.

Donna Smith is a community organizer for the California Nurses Association and National Co-Chair for the Progressive Democrats of America Healthcare Not Warfare campaign.

Stephen Roberts 8 years, 10 months ago

Merrill- How much do you get paid to cut and paste your stuff??????? You do it so often and on almost every thread, I have to think you are getting paid for it.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 10 months ago

I hope no one is keeping a cork lodged in their fundament while waiting for HR 676 to become law. That's going to get very uncomfortable.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

Marion, LOL.

One thing for sure, I don't want the FCCCRs to insert themselves between my docs and me.

blackwalnut 8 years, 10 months ago

HR 676 is the bill to support

Single payer health care sponsored by Conyers and Kucinich.

30 pages long.


Pelosi promised a full debate on the House floor.

Mixolydian 8 years, 10 months ago

Attention!!! Jonathan Kealing.

For the love of God... Meriill's cut and paste of the same post a 1000+ times must be a violation of some...any... TOS of your paper?

Have some minimum standards.

Cut him off.

We are all begging you.....pleeeaaassse.

notajayhawk 8 years, 10 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says…

"– a view that is widely shared within PNHP."

Ah, yes, merrill, Physicians for a National Healthplan. That's who you're referring to as being 'obligated to tell the truth?' (By the way, merriill, musta' missed that particular obligation in the hypocratic oath.)

PNHP, one of the merrill-bot's favorite sites to link to, has ramped up their rhetoric to the level of openly disseminating this flat-out lie on their website: “… private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume one-third (31 percent) of every health care dollar.” However, on a separate page they water that down to “administration consumes 31.0 percent of U.S. health spending,” which is not quite the same thing. That widely and incorrectly cited figure of 1/3 of our healthcare dollars going to insurance companies comes from that infamous and methodologically unsound article in the NEJM, which, strangely enough, was authored by PNHP Co-founders Drs. David. Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler. The study found no such thing, incidentally, only that administration (most of which has nothing to do with insurance) consumes 1/3 of our healthcare spending. And even those conclusions were extremely suspect, almost as much as that other tripe being pushed by the same two doctors, that trash about the majority of bankruptcies being caused by medical bills.

PNHP describes themselves as “a single issue organization advocating a universal, comprehensive single-payer national health program,” and “dedicated exclusively to implementing” such a program.

From Dr. Woolhandler's, bio:

“After several years of working in the movement against the Vietnam War, I sought a career that would allow me to continue my work for social change. … Medicine was a career that allowed me to combine both my interests…I could reach a large audience for progressive ideas by publishing in medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the JAMA.”

“[Her mentor] helped me envisage how my social activism might be combined with an academic career.”

She wasn't a doctor fed up with insurance procedures, she specifically entered the field of medicine to promote her 'social change' agenda. Oh, she does still practice as a clinician - part-time - but not at some inner-city clinic for the indigent. She works at Cambridge (primarily as a professor), and she accepts private insurance (Aetna, HealthNet, and Guardian.) Under the 'plan' proposed by these fine doctors, for-profit hospitals and clinics would no longer be allowed, although, obviously, doctors would be allowed to profit from healthcare.

I'm glad they're obligated to tell the truth, merrill. When are they going to start?

notajayhawk 8 years, 10 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

"So it's not just a matter of turning it over to government— it's also a matter of creating a government that's transparent and accountable, and which looks after the needs of all citizens, not just those in the upper 1% bracket."

And you think we should do what, boohoozo, first turn healthcare over to the government, then try to fix the government? Didn't you advocate that same plan with the mT? First, pass the tax increase, then make changes in the bus system?

How'd that work out, boohoozo?

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

Agnostik, as far as I have observed, senators profess complete ignorance and disdain for house bills, yet you reference a senate bill to explain a provision of HR3200. a house bill

This entire health care reform fiasco is a complete fog, a smoke screen, it is unintelligible, incomprehensible (purposefully so). It should be scrapped, thrown out with the stinky, dirty, oily, murky dishwater in which Obama has submersed it.

The majority are speaking out loud and clear - they/we will not lay down and accept the FCCCR-ing that Pelosi, Reid and Obama are striving to foist upon us.

notajayhawk 8 years, 10 months ago

Mixolydian (Anonymous) says…

"Attention!!! Jonathan Kealing.

"For the love of God… Meriill's cut and paste of the same post a 1000+ times must be a violation of some…any… TOS of your paper?"

Mr. Kealing and the LJW love having merrill around. They're a little bit less than 24,000 posts short of that millionth post, and without merrill's cut-and-paste, they'd only be halfway to a million.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

The medical insurance industry is not good to its' users. The only folks standing behind the medical insurance industry are investors/stockholders. When large investors decide to cash out the small investors will be left holding the empty bag. It has been said that Bill Gates has pulled out.

Go To: http://www.healthcare-now.org/hr-676/

Politicians,medical insurance industry,the media and others opposed to practical,fiscally responsible,fiscally conservative and the most comprehensive medical insurance ever presented to consumers are playing the USA public for fools. http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2009/06/diagnosis-reform.html

What increases the cost of medical insurance? high dollar medical insurance spending on what 2,000 health insurers add to the actual cost of insurance: • 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? Go To: http://www.healthcare-now.org/hr-676/

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

Go To: http://www.healthcare-now.org/hr-676/

*Eliminates: “In front of me I have a document from my employer that shows their cost for insurance.

Medical, Dental and Vision for the year 2010 my employer will pay $15,450. I will pay another $2,860 out of my pay check.

$18,310 a year for insurance is ludicrous, and we wonder why so many companies are having massive layoffs. It is a real travesty that nothing is going to happen in the near future on health care.”

blackwalnut 8 years, 10 months ago

The government that cannot run anything right does alright with Medicare for some reason.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

Wall Street Journal


SAN FRANCISCO -- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest private philanthropy fund, sold off almost all of its pharmaceutical, biotechnology and health-care investments in the quarter ended June 30, according to a regulatory filing published Friday.

The Seattle-based charity endowment, set up by Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and his wife, sold its total holding of 2.5 million shares in health-care giant Johnson & Johnson in the quarter, according to the filing.

The foundation also sold millions of shares in major drug makers, including 14.9 million shares in Schering-Plough Corp., almost 1 million shares in Eli Lilly & Co., 8.1 million shares in Merck & Co. and 3.7 million shares in Wyeth, over the same time period. The foundation no longer holds shares in any of those companies.

Among the other health and life sciences-related investments the foundation liquidated are Allos Therapeutics Inc., InterMune Inc., Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.

The only life science-related holding the foundation retains is a 3 million-share stake in Seattle Genetics Inc.

The foundation's decision to drastically reduce its exposure to health-related stocks is striking, as many of its charity grants have been disbursed to address developing country health issues.

Its move comes against the background of anxiety among drugmakers and healthcare insurance firms about the potential impact of the Obama administration's proposed overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system, which could put pressure on prescription drug prices.


Bill and Melinda know when it's time to move on......to better places.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

Will Obamacare treat Merrill's OCD, or will Merrill be deemed too far gone to merrit (as opposed to merrill) the extensive, costly, and questionably effective treatment that will be required to cure him of his obsessive need to post and repost excerpts from the Move-on.org talking points?

notajayhawk 8 years, 10 months ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says…

"I've met him; he's not all “THAT” old!"

Couldn't tell from his apparent total senility.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

I speculate that special interest politicians will be dumping their shares in health insurance and other related stocks such that Bill and Melinda Gates have done...... more quietly and behind closed doors with other insiders.

Leaving behind those who cannot afford to lose selling at much lower values. Early bird gets the worm.

New energy sources will be the next round of "boom town economy" stocks. Early birds gets that worm.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 10 months ago

Wow, merrill, was that an original thought, or did the mommy-wife help you out with that one?

Wouldn't it be fun if only the merrill bots were allowed to participate on this and other forums if our president has to take emergency control of the internet?


eldragon 8 years, 9 months ago

merrill, you seem to have a lot to say about this reform, maybe you should head out to http://www.typobounty.com/Funny/Health_Care_Reform2.htm and see if you can change their mind : D

Commenting has been disabled for this item.