Letters to the Editor

Tell the truth

October 17, 2009

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To the editor:

When can we count on the Republican leadership to tell the truth about health care? When can we count on our Republican members of the Senate and the House of Representatives to work for real health care reform on behalf of us, their constituents?

This morning on CNN Sen. Grassley of Iowa was claiming that the proposal to do something about tort reform would save 10 percent of the costs of health care, a “real savings.” However, according to Grassley, the Democrats would not include these cost-saving Republican proposals on tort reform in the legislation.

Reports have circulated that in the states that have adopted tort reform provisions the savings have been around 1 percent or 2 percent. A report from Congressional Budget Office notes that only negligible savings could be expected.

President Bush, in his push for tort reform, said that $60 billion to $108 billion a year could be saved, and now Grassley is providing roughly the same numbers. However in two new economic papers published only last month, CBO concludes that limiting malpractice liability would reduce total national health care spending by about one-half of 1 percent, or about $11 billion this year, about $41 billion over the next decade in lower Medicare, Medicaid and other federal spending for health care.

While every billion dollars in possible savings should be seriously considered we need to be able to count on reliable information from our congressional representatives regardless of party affiliation.

Comments

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

Republican concerns were written into a bill by demos. Republicans declined to support the bill. Grassly is a great source of misinformation and loves those special interest campaign bucks....... just like his pal Baucus($1.5 million). http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/2009/10/bill_moyers_michael_winship_in.html#more

Then again the republicans are not alone as the problem source..... let's be real.

The nations consumers could have excellent National Health insurance for all if one would remove:

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

*special interest campaign funding = big bucks http://www.opensecrets.org/lobbyists/

*the insurance industry recklessly spending health care dollars to bribe votes ($1.4 million per day) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/05/AR2009070502770.html

*the news media offering misinformation ( their large advertising revenue is at stake) AND media owners may be shareholders.

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!

Do citizens deserve access to National Health Insurance? Absolutely! Go To: http://www.healthcare-now.org/hr-676/

Doctors for Single Payer http://www.pnhp.org/

Health Care In the USA http://www.dollarsandsense.org/healthcare.html

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

Take a look at the huge profits created by the most expensive medical insurance in the world. Yes there is tons of profit in overcharging clients( one way to get dividends back from unsuspecting shareholders)

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. This Story

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.

Potter said he worries "that the industry's charm offensive, which is the most visible part of duplicitous and well-financed PR and lobbying campaigns, may well shape reform in a way that benefits Wall Street far more than average Americans."

Insurers make paperwork confusing because "they realize that people will just simply give up and not pursue it" if they think they have been shortchanged, Potter said.

More on this story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html

BrianR 5 years, 6 months ago

Priorities of (all) politicians: 1. Their own jobs (reelection) 2. The Party 3. Something else (a lobby, most likely) 4. Something else 5. Something else 6. Something else 7. Something else 8. Something else 9. Something else 10. Something else 11. Something else 12. Something else 13. Something else 14. Something else 15. Something else 16. The People

BrianR 5 years, 6 months ago

If the savings is 11 billion dollars or $11.00, either is good IMO.

Stephen Roberts 5 years, 6 months ago

Forest - When will you learn- All polliticians are not telling the whole truth- They are telling us what they think we want to hear. Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Dems & Repubs are all the same.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

From Ralph Nader of Consumer Reports:

Single Payer

Right now, the United States spends $7,129 per capita on health care—more than twice as much per capita as the rest of the industrialized world.

And yet, the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy and infant mortality

While other industrialized nations like Canada and Sweden provide comprehensive coverage to their entire populations, the United States leaves 47 million completely uninsured and tens of millions more inadequately covered.

According to an Institute of Medicine report, 18,000 Americans die each year because they cannot afford health care.

And inability to pay for medical bills is the leading cause of bankruptcies – they currently contribute to about half the bankruptcies in the United States.

In our current system, there are thousands of different payers of health care fees.

This system is a bureaucratic nightmare, wasting $350 billion—close to a third of all health care spending on things that have nothing to do with health care—overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing departments, huge profits and exorbitant executive pay.

In addition, there is over $200 billion in computerized billing fraud and abuse.

Nader/Gonzalez support a single payer system that would save the $350 billion and apply those savings to comprehensively cover everyone without paying more than we already do.

All Americans would be covered for all medically necessary services.

Patients would have free choice of doctor and hospital.

Costs would also be controlled in part by the single payer negotiating fees and making bulk purchases.

References: * Physicians for a National Health Program * Healthcare Now

lctchr1 5 years, 6 months ago

BrianR an commuter are right on. Politicians are all the same, doesn't matter which party they belong to. Until their interests lie with their constituents, nothing good will get done for the people.

GardenMomma 5 years, 6 months ago

Then ...

VOTE

THEM

OUT!

And keep voting them out until we get someone in there that does have the people's confidence.

Hubris is what politicians seem to have now.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 6 months ago

How many times have you copy/pasted then same drivel, merrill? 200 time, 300 times? Do you even bother to keep count?

notajayhawk 5 years, 6 months ago

Gee, Forrest - when are the Democrats going to start telling the truth about health care? Have you seen the garbage merill cites on an hourly basis? That's the "truth" according to Democrats.

As BrianR said above, what's wrong with saving 'only' $41 Billion, anyway? This is part of the problem - we can fix the specific things wrong with the current system piece by piece, why do the Democrats think we have to come up with some kind of magic bullet that's going to fix everything at once? Maybe if they tried to fix a few things at a time, we wouldn't end up with 1000+ page bills that nobody's read, nobody understands, nobody can agree on, but will become the law anyway.

puddleglum 5 years, 6 months ago

people do want single payer, pilgrim.....its just the insurance companies and their employees that don't.

can't blame them, though. then they would have to go out and get a real job.

tort reform is a total joke. when will the republican party offer something that saves the people money? seems like everything they stand for is super rich people and big business and its ability to stamp out small business.

ralphralph 5 years, 6 months ago

"Vote Them Out" doesn't work any more. The Govt is so big and so powerful and so distant from the people, that it makes little difference who you plug into the various offices. They're all whores -- some when they go to DC, the rest after they arrive and see how it works.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 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, 6 months ago

Merrill why do you hate wealthy people?

and no...I have never read your cut and paste crap!

Sunny Parker 5 years, 6 months ago

If Obamy would create all those jobs he promised to create, more Americans would be offered health insurance through their job!

That way the current tax payers would not have to pay for your health care/insurance!

How about it Obamy lovers?

lctchr1 5 years, 6 months ago

ralphralph is right. My vote in 2012 will most likely be "campaign finance reform and term limits" unless a candidate runs on those two issues to fix government. For years and years, DC has been one big brothel. This continues today, and seems to be getting worse.

rbwaa 5 years, 6 months ago

"Of course, you know it's heavily skewed to the right."

i'm glad you're finally able to recognize/admit that...

Jimo 5 years, 6 months ago

"And what about the savings to the private sector, Forrest? Your CBO figures don't take those into account. Not all health care runs through Medicare, Medicaid, or other federal spending. Grassley's figures are accurate for the entire health care industry. The CBO figures are probably accurate for only a portion of the health care industry"

What part of "total national healthcare spending" is difficult to grasp? It's the TOTAL of the NATION'S SPENDING on healthcare. It is not merely government program spending. Since when was the nation the government? Grassley is a bald-face liar. Unlike many parrots on posing here, he doesn't have the excuse of being unable to gather the facts himself.

What the study DOES ignore is the cost in justice denied to those victims of these "reform" efforts.

Ralph Reed 5 years, 6 months ago

People do want and people don't want a public option. I'm right and you're wrong (pp and pil2). Tell us, each of you in a single post why you do and don't want the public option. I don't think you can do it.


@Tom, Your rant quality, not that it was ever good, is falling back. You're not sick, are you, everything OK in L-wood? I'd rate your two rants above (on a scale of 1 to 10) 1 and 2.3 respectively. Come on, you can do better than that, can't you?

jumpin_catfish 5 years, 6 months ago

I'm happy with what I got, so leave me alone. Obama's plan is to backdoor the single payer plan as defined as a publicly administered health care system, Ralph. Look at what the government administrates now, they suck at it and some of you think they will do better with our healthcare, please.

Ralph Reed 5 years, 6 months ago

Big insurance currently sucks at it, more than the government ever could.

BigDog 5 years, 6 months ago

Forrest,

Try being honest yourself .... both sides are playing political games with information. Democrats aren't being dishonest about the costs of their program .... real costs not being added into the amount .... counting 10 years of revenues and only 7 years of costs.

They are not being honest about the impact upon seniors, cutting $300 million from Medicare will impact services to seniors and their choices. There are not huge amounts of waste and fraud in Medicare ..... if there is, why is Secretary Sebelius and her people not doing something about it? They don't need health care reform to go after fraud .... do they?

lctchr1 5 years, 6 months ago

Pilgrim, I understand your concern of the government controlling 1/6 of the GDP, but you do realize that health care being 1/6 of the GDP is a problem in and of itself, don't you? The insurance industry isn't doing a good job. You might think the government would do worse, and you might be right, but two wrongs don't make a right.

Ralph Reed 5 years, 6 months ago

@pil2, re: your 1924. So, you're arguing the domino theory based on a single quote from Barney Frank, correct? That's an awfully long stretch. Public option is not the same as a single-payer, despite what Frank says. Nor, will it lead to it my our lifetime.

What it does is provide a health care option for those that Big Insurance won't insure because they're uninsurable (read that as actuarially non-profitable). This includes those with Parkinsons, MS, HIV/AIDS, genetic disorders, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, someone rendered para or quadriplegic from an accident, and a host of other "conditions". Unless, of course, they already have insurance and haven't reached their lifetime cap. This means that if someone like that needs surgery, it comes out of their pocket, they go to an ER like at LMH, or they go on the dole. Is that what you want to happen?

Ralph Reed 5 years, 6 months ago

@pp, re your 1909: In his/her response pil2 raised the issue of universal health turning into a single payer, citing the domino theory based on a quote from Barney Frank. You've cited examples where it has not happened, England and Canada specifically. Why do you think it won't happen here, even though Barney Frank says there aren't enough votes for it to happen anyway?

ozzynbn 5 years, 6 months ago

Forrest Swall is a dye in the wool whiney democrat who has spewed his hatred about Republicans for decades in Lawrence. His latest editorial showed nothing new.

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