Archive for Friday, June 12, 2009

Obama confronts health care critics

June 12, 2009

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— President Barack Obama challenged Republican critics Thursday to offer alternative plans for overhauling U.S. health care, declaring he’s “happy to steal people’s ideas” but that doing nothing about out-of-reach costs and uninsured Americans is not an option.

“What else do we say to all those families who spend more on health care than on housing or on food?” Obama said at a town hall-style meeting, surrounded by supportive citizens in the nation’s heartland. “What do we tell those businesses that are choosing between closing their doors and letting their workers go?”

Undertaking an aggressive new effort to push a major health-care measure through Congress by August, Obama rebuked critics from both the right and left — conservatives who say his support for creating a government-sponsored insurance option alongside private coverage would send the country toward an unsustainable nationalized plan, as well as liberals who are concerned he won’t go far enough to mandate universal coverage.

Obama said the question of what to do about health coverage, which has vexed Washington for decades, has reached near-emergency status.

“I know there are some who believe that reform is too expensive, but I can assure you that doing nothing will cost us far more in the coming years,” Obama said. “Our deficits will be higher. Our premiums will go up. Our wages will be lower, our jobs will be fewer and our businesses will suffer.”

There is emerging bipartisan consensus around many big issues of health reform, including a need to move all Americans toward coverage and to prohibit insurance industry practices that deny coverage to people with health problems.

But there remain major disagreements over how to pay the $1.5 trillion it will cost over the next decade to cover the 50 million Americans who lack coverage, as well as whether employers should be required to offer coverage and whether government-sponsored insurance should be one option.

Obama has detailed few specifics that he is for and against, and he did not break any new ground on Thursday.

But his steadfast support for a public insurance component in any plan is a major obstacle to bipartisan agreement on a final bill.

The American Medical Association, the nation’s largest doctors group, to which Obama speaks in Chicago on Monday, is wary of the idea. Republicans are campaigning hard against it.

Comments

jmadison 5 years, 10 months ago

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until we get "free" government health care.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

"conservatives who say his support for creating a government-sponsored insurance option alongside private coverage would send the country toward an unsustainable nationalized plan,"

No, their real concern is that private insurance won't be able to compete with a plan designed to deliver healthcare, not profits.

Left_handed 5 years, 10 months ago

No, their real concern is that the American People won't be able to afford the continued staggering budget deficits that will be required to carry out the Obamessiah's plans.

Chris Ogle 5 years, 10 months ago

not to worry.... Merrill will be here soon.... he is sleeping right now.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 10 months ago

Free health care my butt. How dare anyone consider Health Care For All free.

How in the world can National Health Insurance be free when everyone in the nation would be contributing to the funding with tax dollars? Tax dollars are hard earned money earned by all. Tax dollars in no way constitute free medical insurance.

It's time OUR tax dollars were spent on taxpayers instead of OUR tax dollars sudsidizing wealthy corporations and going to tax breaks for the wealthy.

OUR tax dollars providing 24/7 medical insurance for all no matter what = a best bang for the tax dollars.

National Health Insurance For All would reduce budgets substantially for school districts. Also for city,state,and federal governments.

National Health Insurance would reduce the cost of doing business across the board thus reduce the cost of living.

No such thing as free medical insurance. This way we all contribute.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 10 months ago

There's that pesky "profits" word again, righ bozo? God forbid private industry having a profit motive to spur it toward efficiencies and innovation. The free markets and profits (there's that word again) have helped make this country the richest, most prosperous nation in the history of the planet.

Let's not royally screw ourselves by surrendering yet another personal freedom to the those who wish to control every aspect of our lives.

jumpin_catfish 5 years, 10 months ago

Name one thing the government has wrapped its fingers around that doesn't end up wasting huge amounts of our money. Name one thing the government would get an excellent rating. Just one that's all I'm asking.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 10 months ago

http://www.healthcare-now.org/2009/03/single-payer-health-reform-bill-introduced-in-senate/

http://www.healthcare-now.org/campaigns/win-win/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-van-gelder/what-americans-want-natio_b_110830.html

There are so many that feel they should continue to have the right to buy very expensive insurance BUT no else should have the right to buy insurance at a more practical rate that provides the same coverage for far less.

HR 676 would cover every person for all necessary medical care including 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, and 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.

Health care costs and facts:

http://www.nchc.org/facts/cost.shtml

http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

Tax Dollars = OUR money = all citizens are paying their own way.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 10 months ago

jumpin catfish,

How about the Post Office? No, the Post Office is bankrupt.

The Lawrence T? No, it's bankrupt too.

Amtrak? Darn, another government-run monolith that's literally bankrupt.

Medicare and Social Security? Those government programs have trilliions upon trillions in unfunded obligations.

Hmm, maybe it makes sense to keep government as far away from healthcare as possible.

Alia Ahmed 5 years, 10 months ago

When one of the biggest crooks in the healthcare industry spends tons of money on fighting healthcare reform, it is an indicator that it is a pretty good plan. Richard Scott isn't fighting for free enterprise and capitalism, he is fighting to continue ripping off our government and individual consumers. So we get a double whammy from Richard Scott, unreasonably expensive healthcare that we pay for in terms of health insurance premiums as well as higher taxes. When Richard Scott was CEO of HCA/Columbia they defrauded the government out of millions of dollars. Having him "protect" our healthcare system is like having the fox guard the hen house. http://theragblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/richard-l-scott-healthcare-enemy-number.html

Practicality 5 years, 10 months ago

logorithmic,

You accusing someone of being a liar is like Adolph Hitler accusing someone else of being Anti-Semitic.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 10 months ago

logrithmic,

Your faulty logic combined with your condescension are why you are not, and likely never will be, a leader.

bankboy119 5 years, 10 months ago

"It's time OUR tax dollars were spent on taxpayers instead of OUR tax dollars sudsidizing wealthy corporations and going to tax breaks for the wealthy."

So what you're saying is that it's okay for wealthy people who have legitimately earned their money to pay for your healthcare because they have more?

feeble 5 years, 10 months ago

There's that pesky “profits” word again, righ bozo? God forbid private industry having a profit motive to spur it toward efficiencies and innovation. The free markets and profits (there's that word again) have helped make this country the richest, most prosperous nation in the history of the planet.

Except healthcare currently isn't efficient. My mother-in-law banged up her knee a few weeks ago. Family doc identified it as a Medial Ligament Sprain. She had mobility, just some pain, and is by no means an athelete.

Her insurance required three specialists, an MRI, two separate xrays and 72 hours of physical rehabilitation, spread over 6 months.

The family doc was just as pissed off as the rest of us, because all she really needed was a leg brace, a few weeks off her feet and some ibprofen, but insurance wasn't going to payout for that. Either she did the full course, or nothing at all. real efficient.

But hey, we all know you're a shill for big business, so it's no surprise to see you trying to sell us a turd and call it a rose.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 10 months ago

Printing more money is the obvious answer!

Ryan Neuhofel 5 years, 10 months ago

While I fully sympathize with the frustration of the current health care system, we must realize we have NOT had health "insurance" for 25+ years . . . we have health "managers" (managed care, PPOs, HMOs, various gov't entities). Patients and doctors are just pawns of third-parties - often viewed as diagnosis codes and numbers on a spreadsheet. So we have very good reason to powerless and like sheep being herded. But continuing a fully dominated third-party payer system, whether private or public, is NOT the solution.

Doctors and patients must disengage from these third-party managers whenever possible - and return to a direct, old-fashion style of medicine - despite the power players (politicians, health plans, lobbyists) making every attempt to control and capitalize on every health care decision.

Ryan Neuhofel 5 years, 10 months ago

or we can continue this phony right-wing vs. left-wing pissing match . . . spew hatred about each other in attempt to take some delusional moral high ground . . . and accomplish nothing.

monkeyhawk 5 years, 10 months ago

merrill wants "free" health care provided to us by the government. If he was to think beyond his need for everything entitled, he might realize that it might not be such a good thing for him and the wifey.

He is the perfect model for the twilight person who may not be worth the expense of treating when the health czar makes those determinations. (It is also a very convenient way to "fix" social security.)

Wouldn't it be amusing to watch merrill run for the border when he gets sick? After stopping at WalMart for supplies, of course.

Ryan Neuhofel 5 years, 10 months ago

Right on cue, very constructive input log. Do you truly believe that 50% of your countrymen are heartless, selfish bastards who wish to deny medical care for the sake of hoarding it all to themselves? If you do, I really feel sorry for you. I understand message boards allow us to "release frustrations" in anonymity, but if our nation continues with this type of dialogue in attempt to solve problems . . we are doomed.

monkeyhawk 5 years, 10 months ago

"but if our nation continues with this type of dialogue in attempt to solve problems . . we are doomed."

Considering that nobody gets out of here alive, it just becomes a matter of how much more difficult things can get. I am afraid that constructive dialog is a thing of the past.

ASBESTOS 5 years, 10 months ago

Nobody is talking numbers.

Remember that this todo is about 47,00,000 whom are not covered and do not have insurance. Compared to the 257,000,000 that do have insurance, whey does anyone want to destroy thw whole system to insure so few?

If medicare actually worked the people would already be covered. LKook at just how badly the Government handles things, like for instance the financial markets or the banking system. They do not regulate.

First regulate the insurance companies, regulate the fraud in medicare and medicaid,'

THEN and only then can we start to see what the "problem" is.

remember that the "12-20 million" illegal aliens are about half of this 47,000,000 problem as well.

These people get social security benefits after 18 quarters, whereas American Citizens and legal reisdents have to contibute 40 quaters to get benefits.

This "health care" fix is about 2 things.

General Motors and the ongoing health benefits and buying votes from the illgal aliens and the inpoverished.

We can cover the eligibles with the 30 billion dollars of waste in the Medicare system alone.

Shane Garrett 5 years, 10 months ago

So has anyone read the book by Obama and his thoughts on what America should be like?

Ryan Neuhofel 5 years, 10 months ago

Asbestos,

There certainly is a significant amount of fraud in Medicare + Medicare, but the true problem is much more fundamental . . .and much easier to fix. Skyrocketing inflation is the direct result of adding a middleman (HMO, PPO, Medicare, etc.) to nearly every medical transaction - third-party (private + public) payments accounts for 90% of all health care expenditures (the other 10% is mostly 'co-insurance' fees). Most people view third-party managers as a "cost containment mechanism" (aka managed care) because they can "negotiate" lower rates with health care providers (doctors, hospitals, etc.). However, the added cost of administering the 'managed care' is tremendous. Nearly 50% of all health care dollars (now mostly premiums + taxes) are 'used' by third-parties - a small portion (~5%) which is profits (but the small change many obsess over). The cost of doctors dealing with 'managed care health plans' is also significant - accounting for half of a practices overhead expenses (coding, billing, etc.). Basically, only 25% of the money "spent on health care" . . .is actually spent on health care! I'm not advocating total elimination of health insurance (in a true sense) or government assistance, but third-party management of primary medical care (prevention, routine, minor) is expensive, frustrating and unneccessary. Also, the inflation caused by our system is the primary cause of the "uninsured"!

Alia Ahmed 5 years, 10 months ago

neuhofel says.......Nearly 50% of all health care dollars (now mostly premiums + taxes) are 'used' by third-parties - a small portion (~5%) which is profits (but the small change many obsess over). The cost of doctors dealing with 'managed care health plans' is also significant - accounting for half of a practices overhead expenses (coding, billing, etc.). Basically, only 25% of the money “spent on health care” …is actually spent on health care! I'm not advocating total elimination of health insurance (in a true sense) or government assistance, but third-party management of primary medical care (prevention, routine, minor) is expensive, frustrating and unneccessary. Also, the inflation caused by our system is the primary cause of the “uninsured”!

You make an excellent argument for a single payer system, though it will never happen because the insurance industry has a very powerful lobby and is one of the leading industries in the U.S.

http://www.pnhp.org/facts/what_is_single_payer.php

http://www.newser.com/article/d98eqap01/health-insurance-industry-boosts-first-quarter-lobbying-spending-as-reform-debate-intensified.html

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_12546834

BigDog 5 years, 10 months ago

I am sure the government will do a great job at running health care system .... just look at the VA system as an example

Afterall why not healthcare .... the government can run insurance companies, banks and car companies now.

JayCat_67 5 years, 10 months ago

..."or we can continue this phony right-wing vs. left-wing pissing match … spew hatred about each other in attempt to take some delusional moral high ground … and accomplish nothing."

But you see... This p*ssing match is what sells papers, TV/Radio ads, books etc.

Seriously, do you think Anne Coulter would sell one book if she said things like, "Well, I tend to lean toward conservatism, but I really think (insert any democrat's name here) makes an interesting point." ??? Or if some editor wrote, "Yeah, (Republican name here) made some errors, but he's not really a bad guy." his journalism career would be rather short lived.

Shane Garrett 5 years, 10 months ago

So I will just take the lack of response three ways. One... No one has read the book by Obama. Two....No one wants to respond to the question. Three... No one cares what Obama has written.
Cause... he wrote he wants the oil companies to pay for medicare/healthcare.

Ryan Neuhofel 5 years, 10 months ago

LOGAN,

My argument is against any third-party entity, including government, managing all medical care. Third party prepayment of any kind, administered "for profit" or "not for profit", costs money! A single payer system would only further the status quo of middleman payer - but under different management (for those 65% not already in government plans).

Even accepting the premise that private "profits" are a waste of rescources (I don't) - they only account for 3-6% of the total cost (per average health plan profit margins). Also, I'm assuming the new government health managers will be getting compensated for their work . . . and continue to place needless hassels on doctors (I know Medicare currently does).

I can't disagree with the lobbying power of health plans (so-called insurance). They have used politicians (from both parties) to implement this ridiculous "managed care" system we currently have and greatly profitted as more dollars are filtered through them. In fact, Ted Kennedy (the author of our new reform effort) wrote the first senate HMO bill (Managed Care Act) in 1973! see his statements from 1978 . . . .

http://www.forhealthfreedom.org/Publications/Choice/ThenAndNow.html

Like many issues, I think there is a false bipolar notion for reform in health care. Most Reupblican politicians will continue to support the status quo or maybe promote mechanisms to cover the "unisured" under private managed care. Democrats will generally push for an expansion of government managed care. Don't fall into the false debate, people.

Ryan Neuhofel 5 years, 10 months ago

jaycat,

It only sells because we buy it. However, I don't think the lack of civility is secondary to "strong ideology" as the popular media portrays. I think the problem is "false ideology" - lacking a basic foundation of philosophy, history and economics. Too many people develop their beliefs through a phony prism of 'right and left' or by political platforms without having any framework of guiding principles. Some people actually do have a post-modernist ideology (an oxymoron, I know), but many people are just rooting for the donkeys or elephants . . usually resorting to superficial personal attacks to support their team. Despite their hatred for each other, I personally believe it's really the same stinky animal . . . and we are riding it straight off a cliff!

notajayhawk 5 years, 10 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says…

"How in the world can National Health Insurance be free when everyone in the nation would be contributing to the funding with tax dollars? Tax dollars are hard earned money earned by all. Tax dollars in no way constitute free medical insurance."

Well, merrill, except for that pesky little detail that not everyone pays payroll taxes. And among those who do, not everyone pays as much as everyone else.


logrithmic (Anonymous) says…

"The argument of the rightwing is simple:

“I've got mine and you can't have it.”

Whereas the simpleton argument of looney-left Larryvillers like logjam is "You have yours and I want the government to take it and give it to me."


"President Barack Obama challenged Republican critics Thursday to offer alternative plans for overhauling U.S. health care, declaring he’s “happy to steal people’s ideas” but that doing nothing about out-of-reach costs and uninsured Americans is not an option."

Typical. If you don't like MY plan, then you must want to do nothing. There have been alternatives presented, but the Democrats reject them. McCain's tax credit proposal, for instance - sorry, that goes against the prime Democratic belief that only tax increases, not tax credits, can solve anything. Or tort reform - ever wonder why the big class-action attorneys (like a certain former Democratic VP candidate) support the Dems so much? No, the Democrats don't want a solution, they want control, and having the population more and more dependent on the government.

Ryan Neuhofel 5 years, 10 months ago

nota,

The Republicans have done a really poor job of putting forth a cohesive, significant plan for reform. McCain's plan of "taxing employer benefits and giving tax credits" had some valid rationale (moving away from employer-based system + improving portability/choice/ownership) but it was overly complex and 'packaged' very poorly during his campaign. Let me propose a very simple, but significant plan, that’s also truly “pro-choice”. . .

1) Create a tax-exempt "health care account" (without caps) accessible to every citizen regardless of employment or current insurance/managed care.

2) ‘Health account’ funds could be spent on any health care expenses - payments to providers (doctors, hospitals, etc.), medications + supplies, and health plan (insurance or managed care) premiums.

3) ‘Health accounts’ funded by 2 mechanisms A - Privately by individual themselves or employer contribution (or combination) B – Government subsidy: amount determined by income, age (Medicare), health status/conditions

4) Create government-funded/managed ‘saftey net’ health insurance plan for those with extraordinary health care expenses (greater than ~$100,000k in any given year) – effectively covering the so-called “uninsurable”

While there would be debate about who would be eligible for government subsidies and how much is appropriate, there is plenty of Medicare/Medicaid/SCHIP money to adequately fund these accounts – especially considering the savings in fraud + administrative costs (sorry current gov’t employees).

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