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Letters to the Editor

‘Affordable’?

October 17, 2009

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To the editor:

This is a response to Tom Mach’s letter to the editor printed in Tuesday’s Journal-World. In his letter Mr. Mach says, “We simply don’t want an expensive and unnecessary government run, i.e., public option, health care program.” Mr. Mach then goes on to list the post office and Medicare as examples of poorly run government programs.

He contends that we should provide government health care “ONLY (his caps, not mine) to the people who can’t afford health care.” Well, who does he think would benefit most from the public option? It’s exactly the people who can’t afford health care. Furthermore, what exactly is your definition of “afford,” Mr. Mach? So many people in this country are crippled by debt because the very health insurance they can “afford” to have taken out of their paychecks does not end up covering quite as well as they’ve advertised.

And this is more to the point: If everything the government oversees becomes poor, in your opinion, Mr. Mach, why then are the health insurance companies so against the existence of a public option? Could it be that the comically crooked private health industry knows that the American people are sick and tired of them and can no longer “afford” to be financially exploited for getting sick or injured?

Comments

Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

Poorly run medicare insurance is the insurance industry line of defense aka misinformation.

Of the additional overhead in the current U.S. system, approximately half is borne by doctors’ offices and hospitals, which are forced to maintain large billing and negotiating staffs to deal with all the plans.

By contrast, under Canada’s single-payer system (which is run by the provinces, not by the federal government), each medical specialty organization negotiates once a year with the nonprofit payer for each province to set fees, and doctors and hospitals need only bill that one payer.

Of course, the United States already has a universal, single-payer health care program: Medicare. Medicare, which serves the elderly and people with disabilities, operates with overhead costs equal to just 3% of total expenditures, compared to 15% to 25% overhead in private health programs. Since Medicare collects its revenue through the IRS, there is no need to collect from individuals, groups, or businesses.

Some complexity remains—after all, Medicare must exist in the fragmented world that is American health care—but no matter how creative the opponents of single-payer get, there is no way they can show convincingly how the administrative costs of a single-payer system could come close to the current level.

Some opponents use current U.S. government expenditures for Medicare and Medicaid to arrive at frightening cost estimates for a universal single-payer health care system. They may use Medicare’s $8,568 per person, or $34,272 for a family of four (2006). But they fail to mention that Medicare covers a very atypical, high-cost slice of the U.S. population: senior citizens, regardless of pre-existing conditions, and people with disabilities, including diagnoses such as AIDS and end-stage renal disease.

Or they use Medicaid costs—forgetting to mention that half of Medicaid dollars pay for nursing homes, while the other half of Medicaid provides basic health care coverage, primarily to children in low-income households, at a cost of only about $1,500 a year per child.

Paying More, Getting Less How much is the sick U.S. health care system costing you?

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

Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

Here's the deal. National Health Insurance is not a free ride and never will be perhaps with few exceptions.

You see my tax dollars will pay for my portion therefore no one else would be paying for MY National Health Insurance coverage.

However if you listen to the republican party NOT and Max Baucus you would be led to believe that my tax dollars are not my tax dollars. How can that be?

The fact that National Health Insurance would come from the rather substantial tax dollar cookie jars simply means that no monthly or weekly deductions would come out of my pay check per se..

Since federal, state, and local governments collect trillions in taxes of all kinds—income, sales, property, corporate etc etc this is how medical bills would be paid as it is now.

You see as we speak the government tax dollars support medical insurance payments to the tune of at least $1.2 trillion which is quite a gravy train I'd say. Next year this will increase by changing nothing and not passing the National Health Insurance Act.

In essence MY tax dollar amount to pay MY portion of National Health Insurance would be about $2700 annually for the entire family.

What coverage would this buy the family:

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

A good deal that would free up more expendable cash to be spent elsewhere thus creating new jobs. Things like birthdays,christmas,home improvements, deserved treats for my lover and investments would benefit.

BrianR 5 years, 2 months ago

Mach has Medicare, what the hell does it matter to him whether people have coverage or not? He has his.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

We're using humor to stand up to the forces against health care reform:

Billionaires for Wealth Care Rally (Send a Message & Have Fun through SATIRE!) Saturday, October 17 Noon – 2 PM Nichols Fountain on the Plaza 47th and JC Nichols Parkway Kansas City MO Some billionaires will come by Limo!!

Check out some video clips to really get the concept: http://www.billionairesforwealthcare.com/

Billionaires for Wealth Care portrays the message about the obscene profits of insurance companies, by acting as if we “billionaires” agree with the forces against reform.

Let’s dress up in our “rich people” clothes (e.g., tiaras, pearls, evening gowns, furs suggested for women; tux, top hat, black coat, a big cigar suggested for men)

Signs (such as: DO NO HARM TO OUR BOTTOM LINE, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO AN APPLE A DAY?)

For more ideas and printable signs, go to: http://www.billionairesforwealthcare.com/signs/

We’ll provide clever chants & songs. This should really be a lot of fun!!

We need lots of “billionaires” to get some media attention—to really get the message out!

Sunny Parker 5 years, 2 months ago

Get real! People in this country are not crippled by debt because of their health insurance!

25% of the American people choose not to pay for Health insurance, which is their choice.

Health insurance does not put people into debt, that is an absurd statement. People are in debt because of their spending. Spending money they do not have.

Live within your means and stop thinking the government (my tax dollars) owes you something.

There is already 'free health care', it's called welfare! You also have your food stamps, free housing (section 8), your electric bill paid, and many many poor percs with my tax dollars!

That idiot Pelosi wants to force 'parents' to keep their children on their health insurance plan until they are 27!

There are plenty of government handouts now, we don't want more!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 2 months ago

"Get real! People in this country are not crippled by debt because of their health insurance!"

So how do you explain that the US spends twice as much for less coverage than any other industrialized democracy in the world?

denak 5 years, 2 months ago

"....Get real! People in this country are not crippled by debt because of their health insurance!..." "....Health insurance does not put people into debt, that is an absurd statement. People are in debt because of their spending...."

I have a friend who has a master's degree and makes an above average salary for Lawrence. She also has a 16 year old son who is a type 1 diabetic. Contrary to your erroneous assumption, Sunny, health insurance does put a person into debt. In the three years since her son was diagnosed, she has had to change jobs three times in order to get health care for her son. She has to get health insurance through her job because private insurance will not cover a diabetic child. Two years ago, she came to work for USD497. At the time, the school district had reasonably good insurance but even with that insurance,she still has to buy things he needs in order to survive. She is not out partying or buying things she does not need or spending her money on trinkets. She is not on welfare, food stamps, in section 8 and, because of her income, her son does not qualify for a medical card. USD497 changed insurance this year. With this new insurance, she now brings home $400 less a month. She is now facing the very real possibility that she might have to file bankruptcy. Before her son's diagnoses, she was, by most people's standard, doing quite well. The only thing that has changed in the last three years is his diagnoses. She is facing bankruptcy because of medical bills. She has those bills in part because she has to take the insurance she can get. No other company will give her an affordable plan.

You tell me how a situation like this is ok. How a situation is moral. How a situation like this is not the result of health insurance companies putting profit above people's health. And please, tell me, why you think it is acceptable that a 16 year old child, in the United States of America, should suffer for something that he did not cause or ask for.

Dena

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