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Letters to the Editor

Factual sources?

February 3, 2010

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To the editor:

What are the facts? Occasionally, writers have expressed views in articles appearing in the Opinion section of the Journal-World relating to health care efficiency and cost in the United States vs. unidentified other countries. For example:

• Trudy Rubin (Jan. 5) — “Never mind that we have a health system twice as expensive and far less effective than those in several European countries.”

• Randy Supernaw (Public Forum, Jan. 26) — “Incidentally, all those government-run health systems are rated superior to ours and at less cost per person.”

These writings contain no source(s) for these conclusions. Printing these statements without citing sources are correctly classified in the “Opinion” section (in my opinion).

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 10 months ago

Cecil clearly disagrees with the opinions cited, but cites no facts to back up his opinion.

jaywalker 4 years, 10 months ago

What opinion would that be, bozo? He offers no position on the health care debate, just wants citations.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 10 months ago

There have been plenty of (unsupported) opinions taking the opposite position in this newpaper, jaywalker. But, curiously, Cecil didn't ask for citations from them.

SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 10 months ago

Great reminder, Mr. Teeter.

Only the ignorant would base an argument on supposed successes at "several European countries." Likewise, "all those government-run health systems" don't give me a lot of comfort. I think advocates for command-and-control government health care can do much better.

jaywalker 4 years, 10 months ago

"But, curiously, Cecil didn't ask for citations from them."

Ah. So omission sets his opinion in your pea brain? How very open minded of you, bozo.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 10 months ago

Ah, jaywalker, good to see you're as blissfully naive as ever.

meggers 4 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Teeter wrote a letter to the editor stating that the LJW placed two articles on the correct page? Next, will he write a letter stating that an ad selling a refrigerator was correctly placed under 'Appliances' in the classified section?

I think I'll write a letter commending the LJW for printing the correct date on today's paper.

jaywalker 4 years, 10 months ago

Naive? Because I don't jump to conclusions? You're a mental midget, bozo.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 10 months ago

Maybe so, jaywalker. But I'd be willing to wager a rather sizable amount that the conclusion to which I supposedly jumped is exactly right.

jaywalker 4 years, 10 months ago

"But I'd be willing to wager a rather sizable amount that the conclusion to which I supposedly jumped is exactly right."

Well, you've got a 50/50 shot. Doesn't speak much for your ability to parse things impartially, but then that's you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 10 months ago

In my opinion, Cecil's point wasn't to decry a general lack of citation of sources in LTE's. If that were the case, he would have found examples on many subjects, from a variety of viewpoints.

In my opinion, Cecil's goal was to imply that the information supplied in the two quotes was untrue and/or unreliable, but he was just too lazy to make that argument, and supply citations of his own to back that up.

But that's just my opinion.

madameX 4 years, 10 months ago

Regardless of any underlying message he may or may not have intended, Cecil has a valid point. Lack of citation has been a pet peeve of mine ever since I read an opinion piece in the KC star a couple of years ago that built an argument on the claim that "fifty percent of Americans don't pay taxes" without citing a source. I emailed the author (Josh Somebody, I think) and asked where the stat was from but didn't hear back. Now every time I see some bit of information that could have been validated with an "according to...." I get a little bit mad. I know they have their reasons (usually not noble ones), but I would never have gotten away with this sort of thing in English 101, why should professionals be allowed to?

jaywalker 4 years, 10 months ago

Thank you, madamex. Now that's a rational and fair evaluation of the LTE. And that's all I read into it as well.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 10 months ago

I'll wager that if the two quotes he singled out had supported the healthcare status quo, you wouldn't have been so generously open-minded, jaywalker.

George Lippencott 4 years, 10 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

So we need facts to disaprove opinion???

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

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

By Joel A. Harrison

The U.S. health care system is typically characterized as a largely private-sector system, so it may come as a surprise that more than 60% of the $2 trillion annual U.S. health care bill is paid through taxes, according to a 2002 analysis published in Health Affairs by Harvard Medical School associate professors Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein.

Tax dollars pay for Medicare and Medicaid, for the Veterans Administration and the Indian Health Service. Tax dollars pay for health coverage for federal, state, and municipal government employees and their families, as well as for many employees of private companies working on government contracts.

Less visible but no less important, the tax deduction for employer-paid health insurance, along with other health care-related tax deductions, also represents a form of government spending on health care.

It makes little difference whether the government gives taxpayers (or their employers) a deduction for their health care spending, on the one hand, or collects their taxes then pays for their health care, either directly or via a voucher, on the other.

Moreover, tax dollars also pay for critical elements of the health care system apart from direct care—Medicare funds much of the expensive equipment hospitals use, for instance, along with all medical residencies.

All told, then, tax dollars already pay for at least $1.2 trillion in annual U.S. health care expenses. Since federal, state, and local governments collected approximately $3.5 trillion in taxes of all kinds—income, sales, property, corporate—in 2006, that means that more than one third of the aggregate tax revenues collected in the United States that year went to pay for health care.

Recognizing these hidden costs that U.S. households pay for health care today makes it far easier to see how a universal single-payer system—with all of its obvious advantages—can cost most Americans less than the one we have today.

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.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

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

By Joel A. Harrison

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

By any measure, the United States spends an enormous amount of money on health care. Here are a few of those measures. In 2006, U.S. health care spending exceeded 16% of the nation’s GDP.

To put U.S. spending into perspective:

United States spent 15.3% of GDP on health care in 2004

Canada spent 9.9%

France 10.7%,\

Germany 10.9%

Sweden 9.1%,

United Kingdom 8.7%.

Or consider per capita spending: the United States spent $6,037 per person in 2004

Canada at $3,161

France at $3,191

Germany $3,169

U.K. $2,560.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

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.

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

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 10 months ago

So are you attempting a paraphrase, or posing a question, George?

Flap Doodle 4 years, 10 months ago

If only somebody had copy/pasted enough drivel about HB 676, we'd all have free health care with unicorns and candy.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

Health Care NOW is EXPANDED/Guaranteed Medicare Insurance for ALL and does understand that EXPANDED/Guaranteed Medicare Insurance for ALL rates and fees need to be tweaked to meet current demands. The private health care system will not go broke no way jose'.

A primary reason the Medicare system was chosen is to save tons of dollars. This system is in place thus preventing the reinvention of the wheel. It is a program that works therefore why not adopt, improve and tweak where necessary. The health care industry is familiar with Medicare. AND several hundred million "clients" = substantial buying power thus reduction in cost for items such as prescriptions.

Should those who are pleased with their current insurance provider be forced to sign on? Probably not. But it would save all money for excellent quality of care from the same health care provider. OR there will be freedom of choice to change health care providers across the board.

There are estimates that Expanded/Guaranteed Medicare For ALL Insurance will create 2.6 million jobs in the health care industry alone. The economic impact of this will create more jobs throughout the economy.

Who would Expanded/Guaranteed Medicare For ALL Insurance cover 365 days a year 24/7?

employed or not moving on to a new job or not single mom or not struck down with cancer or not senior citizens Veterans

What would EXPANDED/Guaranteed Medicare Insurance for All cover?

  • long term care such that cancer would require
  • 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

Expanded/Guaranteed Medicare Insurance for All ends deductibles and co-payments.

George Lippencott 4 years, 10 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says…

Except that no body knows what a single payer system would actually cost. Most numbers I have seen come from proponents and do not include all the costs.

Are we assuming we make the system less expensive by killing seniors - refusing care currently available. Or maybe you wait longer - sometimes very long! What procedures will not be covered?

Since all current federally paid insurance is subject to Congressional review and is cut rathere frequently, how do we make sure they will not just reduce money and let care float?

George Lippencott 4 years, 10 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

Perhaps I misunderstood you but it appeared you were demanding proof from the letter writer to address opinion by others??

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 10 months ago

"Except that no body knows what a single payer system would actually cost. "

That's not really true-- ours is by far the most expensive healthcare system in the world. Other countries, including some with single-payer systems, provide comprehensive coverage for considerably less. There's really no reason to believe we couldn't do the same.

"Are we assuming we make the system less expensive by killing seniors - "

Why are you dredging up Palin's death panels again?

"how do we make sure they will not just reduce money and let care float?"

How do you know your insurance company won't do the same thing? We can (theoretically) vote our reps out of office, if we so choose. You can't do that the the execs who run the insurance companies.

"Perhaps I misunderstood you but it appeared you were demanding proof from the letter writer to address opinion by others??"

As I said previously, I think the letter writer just disagreed with the statements made by previous letter writers, but chose to criticize the lack of citations rather than the content. To do otherwise would have required him to provide the same level of documentation he was demanding of the others.

George Lippencott 4 years, 10 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

It would help if you read my post. The kill seniors comment was not related to "death panels" but to the comment earler in the sequence to do so. Also related to the reference.

The problem with all numbers about health care is that they are generated by advocates - how can you trust them?? I do not trust your sources any more than I trust the insurance companies!!

It seems to me that unless we ration care we will have basically the same costs but with a big bill to transition. One example: The doctors own/lease their offices; if we nationalize health care we would have to buy all of them (as well as the hospitals). Or was your plan to just take them??

The repeated statements about the waste in insurance companies is belied by their actual profits. If we have a national system just about everything we currently pay for would still be there. The models from othere countries fail to address two major issues: rationing and the parallel pay as you go systems that draw off patients who can pay and will not be rationed out of care.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 10 months ago

"It would help if you read my post. The kill seniors comment was not related to “death panels” but to the comment earler in the sequence to do so."

I missed that comment, and on quick review, I still do not see to which comment you are referring.

"It seems to me that unless we ration care we will have basically the same costs but with a big bill to transition."

Healthcare is rationed now, primarily on the basis of wealth, but also because health insurance companies' profits are in direct competition with the delivery of healthcare.

It is rationed in other countries, and it will continue to be rationed in this country, no matter what system we have. The issue is merely a matter of how that rationing is determined. Personally, I think it would be much better to ration it on the basis of the likelihood of successful outcome and fairness-- not the wealth of the patient and/or the desire of insurance companies to protect their profitability, which is the current basis for rationing in this country, and at any given moment somewhere between 1/6 and 1/3 of the population is rationed right out of the healthcare system.

"The repeated statements about the waste in insurance companies is belied by their actual profits."

How so?

"If we have a national system just about everything we currently pay for would still be there."

Not the at least 20% skimmed off the top by insurance companies.

"The models from othere countries fail to address two major issues: rationing and the parallel pay as you go systems that draw off patients who can pay and will not be rationed out of care."

Other countries do deal with this, some more successfully than others. Certainly much more successfully than we do.

jaywalker 4 years, 10 months ago

"I'll wager that if the two quotes he singled out had supported the healthcare status quo, you wouldn't have been so generously open-minded, jaywalker"

Of course you would, 'cuz that's the way you like to see things. Sorry, bozo. You'd lose.

George Lippencott 4 years, 10 months ago

Mjust_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

I am the stupid one - the comment was on a different thread. See below.

oderate (George Lippencott) says…

See:

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2010/feb

An eye opener for national health care insurance!!!

Do you really think the old are going to go quietly into the great beyond at your behest? No wonder there are “tea parties”!! Think about how you would feel if you are suddenly told you must die because we will not pay for the care you were promised. Of course, the rich will not be so affected, will they? This could get real ugly! Kill the old so the young can have free /low cost health care. Not much greed there?

How about we drop all Pell grants, low cost loans and government grants in general to colleges and college students while cutting the salaries for college level educators by 20 - 30 %. That will make plenty of money available to pay for the promises made!

We could also save a bundle not subsidizing the mothers of children born when they can not afford them. More than enough there to pay the promises made!

When I started paying into my allegedly over burdening and pre-paid entitlements college professors were respected and not paid a whole lot. Now they are paid a whole lot and are not particularly well respected.

George Lippencott 4 years, 10 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says… “It seems to me that unless we ration care we will have basically the same costs but with a big bill to transition.”

Healthcare is rationed now, primarily on the basis of wealth, but also because health insurance companies' profits are in direct competition with the delivery of healthcare.

Really. I just do not agree with that statement. Many health insurance companies are not paid for health care, they are paid for administration of health care. The employer pays for the health care. The employers is motivated by keeping the cost down and not rewarding insurance companies for anything.

It is rationed in other countries, and it will continue to be rationed in this country, no matter what system we have. The issue is merely a matter of how that rationing is determined. Personally, I think it would be much better to ration it on the basis of the likelihood of successful outcome and fairness— not the wealth of the patient and/or the desire of insurance companies to protect their profitability, which is the current basis for rationing in this country, and at any given moment somewhere between 1/6 and 1/3 of the population is rationed right out of the healthcare system.

Where does you 18 to 33 % come from?? First of all rationing goes on all the time and it is not necessairly related to wealth. Medicaid and CHIPS are fairly comprehensive medical programs and cover more then Medicare aqnd target the lower social stratue. Employer provided insurance already rations care by the very factors you mention. High cost, low return experimental efforts generally are not covered.

“The repeated statements about the waste in insurance companies is belied by their actual profits.”

How so?

Are you mixing profit and cost? Return is about 3-5%. Go check the data

“If we have a national system just about everything we currently pay for would still be there.”

Not the at least 20% skimmed off the top by insurance companies.

Where did that number come from. Yes, insurance companies are mostly for profit meaning they have stock holders. The stock holders provide the funding for the capital investment and for the repayment of cost delays from all insurance sources - they expect a return. IF government does this we will all pay for those investments.

“The models from othere countries fail to address two major issues: rationing and the parallel pay as you go systems that draw off patients who can pay and will not be rationed out of care.”

Other countries do deal with this, some more successfully than others. Certainly much more successfully than we do.

Yes they do. They ration for some and allow rich people to run around the system. This is a good thing??

I am sorry, but government has never managed anything I am aware of in a manner that would lead me to want for them to manage my health care. They wil be just as arbitrary if not more so than the current system.

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