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Letters to the Editor

Reform not dead

February 4, 2010

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To the editor:

In response to Dr. Steven Bruner’s letter (Public Forum, Jan. 29), I would first like to say I don’t agree with the “Sunday morning pundits” that health care reform is dead. Overwhelming percentages of Americans disapprove of the current version of reform, but given today’s political landscape it would not surprise me to see the administration attempt to impose their will anyway.

As one who has read as much of the bills as I can find online (not an easy task even with this transparent administration), it appears to me the current version is withering away for only one reason: It’s bad policy!

Not one Republican vote was needed (until recently) to pass this behemoth, pork-laden, albatross of a bill. Yet, according to the pundits, it was “lying Republicans” and a “fickle and misinformed public” responsible for its demise.

This attitude is precisely what drove the election results in Massachusetts, and will continue to do so in the 2010 midterm election. The typical voter is tired of the condescending remarks from representatives supposedly elected to represent us. When we disagree on the content of the bill, we are told by politicians we are not intelligent enough to know what is good for us.

I, for one, am happy for the groundswell of grass-roots support that is going to unseat a sizable number of politicians who have forgotten their purpose in Washington.

Robin Jones,

Tonganoxie

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 11 months ago

Yes, the bills now on hold in Congress are bad bills. But that doesn't mean that Republicans have offered any better ideas, or that they will if they regain control of Congress.

As a matter of fact, Republicans are the pioneers in the corruption that is primarily responsible for these bad bills.

jaywalker 4 years, 11 months ago

Almost, bozo. First half of that post was solid but slipped off the rails at the end. Keep tryin', tiger!

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 11 months ago

Interesting title to this article, since the content does not really match the Republican intent.

Perhaps before it was truncated by the editor's it would have read, "Reform not dead yet."

Anyone who believes the Republicans intend to reform the health care industry are completely out of touch with reality.

Kirk Larson 4 years, 11 months ago

The bills got so huge because republicans in committees said. "I won't vote for it unless blahblahblah is in the bill". Once it was put in, they didn't vote for it anyway.

Robin Jones 4 years, 11 months ago

That's interesting Cappy. Can you cite some specific examples?

rtwngr 4 years, 11 months ago

Cappy,

When the House and Senate met to "merge" the two healthcare bills into one, there were only a handful of Dems in the room and no Repubs present. They met behind a closed door where there was not Obamatransparency as promised. So there.

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

TS,

Most democrats believe that tort reform would not accomplish much in terms of savings, and would limit patients' ability to hold doctors/facilities accountable.

Also, the concern with allowing interstate purchases is that insurance companies could simply relocate to the state which regulates heatlh insurance the least, decreasing the quality of the policies.

Robin Jones 4 years, 11 months ago

jafs,

It appears you and I are far apart regarding health reform, but I really appreciate your thoughtful, concise post. It focuses on specifics and facts instead of venom and broad, sweeping generalizations. Keep it up!

Kirk Larson 4 years, 11 months ago

I'm talking about the seperate House and Senate bills when the were formed in their individual committees. I watched on C-SPAN and on the news. It went on for months.

Kirk Larson 4 years, 11 months ago

Tort reform does nothing or next to it. Texas adopted tort reform and now has some of the highest insurance markets in the country.

BorderRuffian 4 years, 11 months ago

Someone ought to take a close look at Obamacare and discover that it is NOT a bill about healthcare reform, it is a bill that basically mandates everyone obtaining health insurance. And folks like BCBS and other insurance companies are salivating at the idea. And lobbying hard.

While there ought to be some reform in health insurance, shouldn't there also be significant reforms across the board, in issues that directly affect the costs of health care? Issues like malpractice awards, drug costs, exorbitant hospital costs, over billing, etc.? Until we reform healthcare costs across the board, all we accomplish by Obamacare is enriching the insurance companies wildly.

Let's take a deep breath and now that Obamacare seems threatened, let's begin again, this time looking for real ways to reform healthcare itself, not just enrich insurance companies.

Robin Jones 4 years, 11 months ago

Tom,

No, I don't think it's a broad, sweeping generalization. I agree 100%.

Robin Jones 4 years, 11 months ago

BorderRuffian,

I think your post goes to the heart of one of my deepest disagreements with the left in general and the Obama administration in particular. In their eyes, corporations (or any entrepeneur that has the grapes to risk everything to start a business and provide employment to the local community) have been vilified if they turn a profit. The tax and regulatory policies have had a chilling effect on expansion of small business, which is the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. I think this is the primary reason for the double-digit unemployment we're experiencing now. While unemployment as a whole hovers between 10-17% depending on how you count it, the umemployment rate in the government sector is at about 3%. That sector cannot produce wealth, it can only redistribute it.

All this goes to the heart of the main difference between conservative and liberal, and that is the degree to which government should be involved in our everyday lives. That's probably something that will be debated forever.

sherlock 4 years, 11 months ago

meanwhile big government gets ever bigger. perhaps the answer is: just have everyone in the USA work for the government. Problem solved! Well almost!! That is apparently where its going tho!

mr_right_wing 4 years, 11 months ago

You know, republicans (and others) spread those horrible rumours about 'death squads'. Well, the voters of Mass. apparently appointed themselves judge and jury over all of our health, and it looks like for most of those without insurance, it's death. Isn't it reassuring to know we have such compassionate humanitarians in Mass?!

One nation under God, with liberalism and insurance for all!!

georgiahawk 4 years, 11 months ago

Robin, conservatives want the government in our personal lives, one of the main reasons I have not voted for them.

CeeDub 4 years, 11 months ago

Excellent letter Robin, with all your subsequent comments!

"Georgia Hawk: conservatives want the government in our personal lives, one of the main reasons I have not voted for them."

I think you meant to say "liberals" want the government in our personal lives. Conservatives have always been against big government.

"Mr. Right Wing: You know, republicans (and others) spread those horrible rumours about 'death squads'. Well, the voters of Mass. apparently appointed themselves judge and jury over all of our health, and it looks like for most of those without insurance, it's death. Isn't it reassuring to know we have such compassionate humanitarians in Mass?!"

Interesting that you would make such a comment, when Gov. Romney was able to get a health care bill through working with both houses in his state. Scott Brown stated after he was elected that he would like to bring that experience to the table.

CeeDub 4 years, 11 months ago

"Bozo: Yes, the bills now on hold in Congress are bad bills. But that doesn't mean that Republicans have offered any better ideas, or that they will if they regain control of Congress. As a matter of fact, Republicans are the pioneers in the corruption that is primarily responsible for these bad bills."

I love the same old talking points that are constantly regurgitated. =) When Obama met with the Republican Caucus Friday (finally), he was given a 30 page booklet of all their proposals for solutions. I skimmed through the document (available on www.gop.gov) and discovered that these had all been presented during 2009! Then, he goes out on the "Campaign Trail" this week, and says that he told the Republicans to give him their ideas.... Hmmm.... how soon we forget, Mr. President! Also, Congress has been controlled by the Dems since the 2006 elections; Obama himself voted for every spending bill once he was in office as a Senator. Republicans and Democrats are both guilty of including HUGE pork in bills that keep getting passed and needs to be stopped!

Our State Senate is currently working on SCR 1615 (Senate Concurrent Resolution), that puts Congress and the President of the United States on notice that the State of Kansas affirms its authority to govern as established under the U.S. Constitution and proclaims the federal government exists for the benefit of the States and not the States are established for the benefit of the federal government! In Federalist Paper No. 45, James Madison argued the U.S. Constitution creates a federal government of specific listed powers, not one of wide-ranging and far-reaching power that takes over the state’s authority and the rights of the people. Click here to read the 10th Amendment proposal: http://www.pilchercook.com/TenthAmend/2009_1615.pdf

Contact both your State Senator and Representative to support this if you agree. Here's the link to find them: http://maps.kansasgis.org/demograph/ims/myelect.cfm

jhwk2008 4 years, 11 months ago

CeeDub (Anonymous) says…

"I love the same old talking points that are constantly regurgitated. =) When Obama met with the Republican Caucus Friday (finally), he was given a 30 page booklet of all their proposals for solutions"

Republican health care plan according to the CBO:

  1. Insures only 3 million more people. (The Democrat's plan insures 36 million more people.)
  2. Reduces the deficit by $68 Billion. (The Democrat's plan reduces the deficit by $109 Billion.)
  3. Does not end discrimination for pre-existing medical conditions. (The Democrat's plan does. It's the sole reason there must be a mandate to buy coverage. Otherwise, people would only buy coverage after they get sick.)
  4. Does not end gender discrimination. (The Democrat's plan does.)
  5. Does not cap annual out of pocket expenses. (The Democrat's plan does.)

http://cbo.gov/ftpdocs/107xx/doc10705/hr3962amendmentBoehner.pdf

I'm curious CeeDub, what does it do?

CeeDub 4 years, 11 months ago

Thank you Keebler...

I'll include one more talking points item of the left, another classic!

"It's the Republicans' fault that the health care bill hasn't passed because they're the party of "No"."

As all of us "Know", they've had a majority in both Houses, including a Super Majority in the Senate, and did not need the Republicans to pass a bill. Because of the in-fighting between the far-left wing and the moderates of the Democratic Party; it doesn't take much to determine this squabble, along with crafting the bills behind a locked door to keep out Republicans, sank the very partisan bill.

CeeDub 4 years, 11 months ago

jhwk2008 "Republican health care plan according to the CBO:...I'm curious CeeDub, what does it do?"

Jhwk, even though the CBO is supposed to be nonpartisan and provide objective analyses to the budget process, I have come to look at their analyses with a grain of salt. Far too many times, especially recently, they have had to revise their reviews, with an oops!, we meant this... and it's usually for the worse...

The link you took me to was based on a submission of 11-3-09, but on gop.gov, their introduction was from 11-6-09. Not sure if this is a true comparison.

  1. I don't know where you got the figure that the Republican plan would only insure 3 mill more... Previous reports showed there would still be uninsureds, only there would be less with the Republican plan versus the Democrats' plan.
  2. Democrat deficit reduction is frankly, a joke. I really don't want to pay premiums three or four years in advance for coverage that's going to be worse than what I have. I don't believe the rhetoric that we'll be able to keep the insurance or providers that we currently have. Would you want an auto insurance company doing that to you? How would you know they would still be in business after that time? Just fuzzy math... Also, did you know Obama's 2011 budget includes income from the Cap and Trade tax which hasn't even been passed yet? What does he know that we don't?
  3. The summary for the Republican plan shows that it does end discrimination for pre-existing medical conditions.
  4. Discrimination against gender, are you talking about gender re-assignment?
  5. No cap of annual out of pocket expenses?

Since I was trying to respond to you in a timely manner, I could not find anything on gender, nor out of pocket expenses. I think you're well aware of how bills are constantly evolving during the process. I do know that the Dems' bill was 2032 pages and had a price tag of $1.3 trillion and counting. The Republicans' bill was 219 pages and a cost of $61 billion.

jhwk2008 4 years, 11 months ago

CeeDub,

  1. Page 3 of the CBO analysis: "By 2019, CBO and JCT estimate, the number of nonelderly people without health insurance would be reduced by about 3 million relative to current law, leaving about 52 million nonelderly residents uninsured."

Previous reports?? You mean Republican press releases?

  1. "I really don't want to pay premiums three or four years in advance for coverage that's going to be worse than what I have."

Huh? Can you cite any source that says you're going to have to pay premiums three or four years in advance?

  1. The Republican summary: "Establishing Universal Access Programs to guarantee access to affordable health care for those with pre-existing conditions."

Key word: "access" Translation: Insurance companies can still discriminate on the basis of pre-existing conditions.

  1. Gender is a pre-existing condition. Thus, women are charged more. In eight states, insurers can reject a woman’s health insurance application if she is a survivor of domestic violence.

  2. Is it not in the Republican summary?

What's the issue with pages? Have you ever seen a bill? There are about 5-6 words on a line and about 20 lines per page. Moreover, you didn't actually look at the bill, did you? You merely looked at the Republican summary, correct?

And then you claim sarcastically that you "love the same old talking points that are constantly regurgitated." Um, you regurgitated Republican talking points directly from gop.gov.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

Healthcare-NOW! Members Oppose Current Version of Congressional Health Bill

Over 125 Healthcare-NOW! members at our 2009 strategy conference voted to oppose the current Congressional version of health insurance reform legislation. While we recognize that many of our allies and supporters may disagree about specific aspects of the pending legislation, we believe that, taken as a whole, it is not worthy of our support. In fact, most of the so-called reforms contained in the bills have already been tried and proven to be a failure at the state level in Massachusetts.

Instead, we should act based on evidence of what works. Medicare, with its lower administrative costs and higher rates of satisfaction, remains the “gold standard” for real healthcare reform.

We anticipated the healthcare debate this year would focus on the true stakeholders: patients and those who care for them. But improved Medicare for All (single-payer) was pushed off the table, by Congress and the private health industry, preventing the American people from learning how access to quality, universal care can be financed without increasing cost to the public.

http://www.healthcare-now.org/healthcare-now-members-oppose-current-version-of-congressional-health-bill/

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

By Marcia Angell, M.D. for Huffington Post –

Here is my program for real reform:

Well, the House health reform bill — known to Republicans as the Government Takeover — finally passed after one of Congress’s longer, less enlightening debates. Two stalwarts of the single-payer movement split their votes; John Conyers voted for it; Dennis Kucinich against. Kucinich was right.

Conservative rhetoric notwithstanding, the House bill is not a “government takeover.” I wish it were. Instead, it enshrines and subsidizes the “takeover” by the investor-owned insurance industry that occurred after the failure of the Clinton reform effort in 1994. To be sure, the bill has a few good provisions (expansion of Medicaid, for example), but they are marginal.

The House bill would take money out of Medicare, and divert it to the private sector and, to some extent, to Medicaid. The remaining costs of the legislation would be paid for by taxes on the wealthy. But although the bill might pay for itself, it does nothing to solve the problem of runaway inflation in the system as a whole. It’s a shell game in which money is moved from one part of our fragmented system to another.

Con’t: http://www.healthcare-now.org/is-the-house-health-care-bill-better-than-nothing/

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 11 months ago

Disunity of purpose never brings a satisfying result.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

The Tea Party's Takeover of the GOP

The anti-health care reform rally in Washington indicates the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement are increasingly one and the same.

You have to hand it to Michele Bachmann: She has succeeded in turning the GOP into one big Tea Party. This past weekend, the Minnesota Republican went on Fox News and called on viewers to show up on the Capitol lawn on Thursday at noon for a press conference and a last ditch attempt to kill health care reform. The gathering that resulted was marked by the now-routine extremism of the Tea Party conservatives. "I'm a bitter gun owner who votes," read one sign.

Others questioned President Obama’s citizenship, portrayed him as Sambo, or called him a traitor. One said, "Obama takes his orders from the Rothschilds." Old ladies wore red T-shirts decrying "Obamao care." The crowd also took spirited swipes at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. At one point someone yelled, "Put down your Botox and show yourself."

But what was most noteworthy was that the entire House Republican leadership was also in attendance—and their rhetoric was just as over-the-top as some of the protesters. House Minority Leader John Boehner declared the health care bill the "greatest threat to freedom I have seen."

In essence, Congressional Republicans were merging with a movement that gives open expression to racist and anti-Semitic sentiments.

The crowd was several thousand strong, many bused in by Americans for Prosperity, a group created by the owners of Koch Industries, a huge oil and gas conglomerate. The AFP chapter from New Jersey reportedly sent 29 buses.

Four AFP buses came from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and more came from Richmond and North Carolina. Lots of people in the crowd carried AFP signs or stickers warning "Hands off my health care."

More: http://motherjones.com/politics/2009/11/tea-partys-takeover-gop

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