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Letters to the Editor

Private option

December 29, 2009

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To the editor:

Dr. Bruner and Mr. Burkhart recently had letters in the paper taking opposing positions on the public option in the health care debate. I would like to add my two cents’ worth.

To see how health insurance would work with or without a public option, look at Medicare Part B (medical coverage — public option) and Medicare Part D (drug coverage — no public option). Except for the years the Republicans controlled Congress and cut the budget annually, Part B premiums have remained fairly low while coverage has steadily expanded. Part D premiums, however, have risen dramatically. Coverage, on the other hand, has been decreasing. When Part D began, there was a plan in every state that had no coverage gap (doughnut hole). Now there is not in any state. Also, drugs that were covered one year are not the next. I suspect this is what we can expect if Congress fails to pass a public option.

The Republican plan for allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines may or may not reduce premiums. What it will do is make it harder to enforce state insurance laws. One of the main tools for dealing with an offending insurance company is to prohibit it from selling in that state. If they can sell across state lines, this becomes meaningless. It really amounts to a backdoor deregulation of the insurance industry.

One thing I find missing in all the Republican plans being offered is one to achieve universal coverage. I suspect they don’t have one.

Comments

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

Good food for thought Mr. Rollins. National Health Insurance is the only true public option however insurance giants won out again..... and are spending $1.4 million health care dollars a day to save their $1.4 trillion tax dollar gravy train. Yes $1.4 trillion tax dollars flow into their bank accounts from a variety of government sources.

16 reasons to go back to the drawing board:

1.Insurers Wrongfully Charging Consumers Billions http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html

2.How much is the sick U.S. health care system costing you? http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

  1. Bill Moyers - $380 million health care dollars spent thus far to stop reform http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/2009/10/bill_moyers_michael_winship_in.html#more

  2. Smart National Health Insurance will save 400 billion annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs according to the Congressional Budget Office. Reduces admin waste,negotiates budgets for hospitals and purchases drugs in bulk = $400 billion in savings annually.

  3. National Health Insurance does not remove competition from the actual health care industry. It will be alive and well. Profits will be based on customer service and clinic performance based on the clients experience. CHOICE returns to the clients ballpark.

  4. Prudent reasons why National Health Insurance for All should be the choice for all in America: http://www.healthcare-now.org/hr-676/whats-single-payer/ ( TRUE PUBLIC OPTION)

  5. 65% want citizen/taxpayer supported National Health Insurance plan: http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2009/09/25/us/politics/25pollgrx.html

  6. Never never never forget… It is the private medical insurance industry that cancels YOUR medical insurance AFTER taking YOUR MONEY for years.

  7. Smart National Health Insurance WILL NOT cancel your coverage.

  8. Bankruptcy due to medical bills CANNOT happen with Smart National Health Insurance.

  9. Smart National Health Insurance = CHOICE across the board

  10. Smart Medicare Insurance for All will not only improve our quality of life but also our wallets. Yes we would have more expendable cash for birthdays,Christmas, vacations and investments.

  11. Smart National Health Insurance is fiscally prudent.

  12. Most of us can afford office calls and prescriptions. Plus there will be money left over to invest in a health coverage investment that will MAKE US MONEY instead of of CEO's and stockholders.

  13. Substantially Higher premiums are on the way due to no change which the repubs support.

  14. Womens rights are at stake! http://www.now.org/press/12-09/12-24.html http://www.now.org/press/12-09/12-19.html

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 11 months ago

The current Democratic plan is certainly badly flawed, but a sizable portion of Democrats in Congress really do want to improve healthcare and access to healthcare in this country, so the bill does at least have some aspects that allow them to hold their noses and vote for it.

And while the most egregious aspects of this bill are directly attributable to the blatant corruption of many Democratic members of Congress, the Republican Party of No has almost no members who aren't similarly corrupt. They really couldn't give a rat's a$$ about the average consumer of healthcare.

grammaddy 4 years, 11 months ago

Good for Al Franken! He should have told Lieberman to hit the door! Regurgicans had their chance and didn't use it. They would rather see the entire nation fail, than to support ANYTHING this administration tries to accomplish. I hope the average American is smart enough to see that they are big cry babies who don't WANT to work with anyone. While his Health Care bill is seriously flawed and we may be amending it for many years to come, at least it is a start. Nancy-Tom, if you want illumination, it's been posted on line for a little while,now.

leedavid 4 years, 11 months ago

Grammaddy so you think it is a good idea to put out a horrible health care bill and then spend years admending it to fix it. You support this idea because at least it is a start. Is there anything in your life you work this way? There are two republicans, Snowe and Collins from Maine that will work with democrats more than republicans and they don't support this bill. Heck democrats had to be bought off to support this bill. Have you ever heard of the saying, get it right the first time?

We don't have time to get it right the first time, but we have time to do it over and over. This is crazy.

arizonajh 4 years, 11 months ago

See Tom that's the problem. Democrats aren't "crumbling apart" they are thinking for themselves. There are Dem's from different parts of the country that are trying (for the most part) to represent their people. They have different concerns, different points of view, they look out (again for the most part) for who elected them. The Republicans on the other hand walk lock step on everything. Their loyalty is to the party. If the party says don't vote for this bill then they don't vote for it even if it benefits their constituency. Not one Republican has voted for any bill that the Dems are trying to pass (though I think Snowe did vote with them on a committee vote). You can get Dem's to see the other side of the coin, to see that there other ways of looking at things. During the Bush years various Dem's voted with the Republicans for the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, the Bush tax cuts, etc. They recognized that something may not play well with their base but it might be good for the country. What have the Republicans voted with the Dem's on? The Democrats aren't "crumbling apart" they are just as they always were a party that reflects many idea's, desires and views that don't necessarily mesh with the views of everyone else in their party. They realize that half a loaf is better than no loaf, and compromise is not a dirty word. The Republicans seem to be just looking for the opponents "Waterloo" to score a political win. Where are the moderate Republicans?

SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 11 months ago

First, Medicare is a bankrupt nightmare. Its expenditurs will outstrip its income before a child born today gets to middle school. Let me opt out now and keep my premiums. I have absolutely no faith that the government wil have enough money to pay even a small fraction of the income I am being forced to contribute over a lifetime of work.

Second, it should not be a prioritity of the government to guarantee universal anything to anyone except for civil liberties, national defense and a few other provisions clearly enumerated in the Constitution. Quit assuming the government has a responsibility to take care of you.

cowboy 4 years, 11 months ago

You're absolutely right Barry , the congress and senate pay approximately $300 per month for a full family health policy including free care at Bethesda. I think this socialist welfare program should be immediately halted.

Any self respecting senator or congressman should decline this coverage as socialist.

arizonajh 4 years, 11 months ago

So enlighten us Tom who called it "the worst bill in history" was it Rush or Bill O? Oh that's right you don't listen to them you just somehow end up quoting them. You must get your info from the guy who gets his info from Rush.

LeeD At least I can read Tom and STRS and see what they're getting at (though BP bores me with his repetitiveness, he's as bad as Merrill), you though make no sense sometimes. You want this bill perfect before it is law? How many other bills have we passed by both R's and D's that have been tweaked, adjusted, or revamped after passage? Let me tell just about all of them. There are unintended consequences from just about everything. There are things we find looked good on paper that don't make sense once put into practice. There is no perfect bill. That's why we can amend laws. If you think Government works slow now, try getting everything perfect and agreeable the first time around before it can be passed.

STRS The Declaration say's everyone is equal but what they are referring to is rights. The Divine Rights of Kings was the problem. Equality is in the rights not the abilities of men. There are people with low IQ's, with disabilities and injuries, and with misfortune not of their doing. These are our brothers, our sisters, our children. We have how many unemployed right now? People who worked decades at productive jobs and those jobs were shipped overseas to maximize profits. How is their fault? I know engineers and architects (my field) right now that have education and experiance beyond anything I'm sure you have accieved that can't find a job. I have a close friend who is a PHD in structural engineering with twenty years experiance who hasn't been able to find a job in over a year. Then there's BP who say's some can not make it in a free market and he's right. So do we say too bad? You weren't born into the right family, you weren't born with a high IQ, or you were born in a ghetto with no hope for a decent education, so you are worthless? When we see a person living on the street that has lost his mind because a disease has stopped his receptors in his brain from receiving messages do we say he is worthless and deserves no help, no medical care? How did we get from a supposedly "Christian" society to one that is survival of the fittest? Jesus liked to talk about the shepherd's. Shepherd's, when a lamb would go astray, would go and find the lost and return it to the fold. If there was injury he would carry the lamb on his back, he did not leave it for the wolves because it failed to stay healthy. I'm not a Christian (though Jesus must have been a really cool person) but I'm trying really hard to be the shepherd. I believe we are all our brothers keepers. I don't believe in lifelong welfare for the able bodied and able minded but that is not the whole of the uninsured. A dog eat dog society results in one thing, a lot of dead dogs.

SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 11 months ago

arizona,

First of all, thank you for your thoughtful comment.

Second, it's interesting that you say Jesus must have been a really cool person. As a Christian, I agree that he was. However, I've examined Jesus' teachings and I struggle to think that anyone who claimed to be God and claimed to have the power to forgive sins would be cool unless he really was God and really did have the power to forgive sins.

If Jesus wasn't who he said he was (God incarnate), logic declares that he must have been either crazy or a liar. That would categorically preclude him from being a good teacher. Just my thoughts.

Third, like you, I also believe that I am my brother's keeper. I also believe that God's church has a responsibility to care for the sick, the unemployed, the widowed and the orphaned. However, unless the government wants to adopt ALL of Jesus' commands (including the commands to preach the Gospel and baptize new converts to Christianity), I would advise the government not to pick and choose the commands of Christ that fit a political ideology.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

Single-payer is a term used to describe a type of financing system. It refers to one entity acting as administrator, or “payer.” In the case of healthcare, a single-payer system would be setup such that one entity—a government run organization—would collect all healthcare fees, and pay out all healthcare costs.

In the current US system, there are literally tens of thousands of different healthcare organizations—HMOs, billing agencies, etc. By having so many different payers of healthcare fees, there is an enormous amount of administrative waste generated in the system. (Just imagine how complex billing must be in a doctor’s office, when each insurance company requires a different form to be completed, has a different billing system, different billing contacts and phone numbers—it’s very confusing.)

In a single-payer system, all hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers would bill one entity for their services. This alone reduces administrative waste greatly, and saves money, which can be used to provide care and insurance to those who currently don’t have it. Access and Benefits

All Americans would receive comprehensive medical benefits under single-payer. Coverage would include all medically necessary services, including rehabilitative, long-term, and home care; mental healthcare, prescription drugs, and medical supplies; and preventive and public health measures.

Care would be based on need, not on ability to pay. Payment

Hospital billing would be virtually eliminated. Instead, hospitals would receive an annual lump-sum payment from the government to cover operating expenses—a “global budget.” A separate budget would cover such expenses as hospital expansion, the purchase of technology, marketing, etc.

Doctors would have three options for payment: fee-for-service, salaried positions in hospitals, and salaried positions within group practices or HMOs. Fees would be negotiated between a representative of the fee-for-service practitioners (such as the state medical society) and a state payment board. Government would serve as administrator, not employer. http://www.healthcare-now.org/hr-676/whats-single-payer/

leedavid 4 years, 11 months ago

Arizona: "LeeD At least I can read Tom and STRS and see what they're getting at (though BP bores me with his repetitiveness, he's as bad as Merrill), you though make no sense sometimes. You want this bill perfect before it is law? How many other bills have we passed by both R's and D's that have been tweaked, adjusted, or revamped after passage? Let me tell just about all of them. There are unintended consequences from just about everything. There are things we find looked good on paper that don't make sense once put into practice. There is no perfect bill. That's why we can amend laws. If you think Government works slow now, try getting everything perfect and agreeable the first time around before it can be passed. "

I agree with you entirely. However, this bill is not the right way to go. It is so bad votes had to be bought. Senators Collins and Snowe would love to vote for a health care bill, but they can not support this one. It is all wrong. A bill like this should not be written by Harry Reid behind closed doors. Get two republicans and six democrats get them to write the bill. Would it be perfect? No but it would be better than this one. This bill is just tragic.

georgiahawk 4 years, 11 months ago

Lee, I agree, this would be a better bill if there was a broader base of ideas and solutions that we started with or that was brought to the table during the process. However, there were some people in Congress that were not cooperating in any way or fashion and it just so happened that they were all repub's. The repub's did exactly what their handlers told them to do, which did not include adding anything constructive to the process. The operative word being "constructive".

If you have a problem with the bill, some of the blame has to go to the repub's for not offering anything substantial to the process. The repub's have some good ideas, or at least ideas that should be looked into, but they did a terrible job of communicating them.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 11 months ago

"It is so bad votes had to be bought."

While I agree that this is a bad bill (for reasons different from yours) the votes were bought primarily because the majority of votes in Congress are bought-- the quid pro quo here had very little to do with the quality, or lack thereof, of the bill. In the case of the senators from Louisiana and Nebraska, the political climate back home made it easy for them to hold out for windfalls for their states, so they did. What I find even more corrupt than that are the votes that were bought by Big Health special interests for provisions that will have very negative effects on the supposed constituents, the voters back home, of these Senators and Representatives.

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