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Letters to the Editor

Tragic irony

January 29, 2010

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To the editor:

Health care reform is dead, at least according to the Sunday morning pundits, thanks to lying Republicans, foot-dragging, timid Democrats and a fickle and misinformed public. Ironically, it died in Massachusetts, the one state that has a universal health insurance plan (supported by over 80 percent of state residents, including the new U.S. senator). In double irony, it died with Ted Kennedy who called it “the cause of my life.” Its death means the United States will continue to be the only developed country unable or unwilling to provide basic health care to all its citizens, despite paying 50 percent more than any other country.

According to studies by the National Institute of Medicine, 22,000 Americans die yearly of treatable illnesses directly due to their lack of health insurance, a number that will rise as more and more people are unable to afford coverage. That means that over the next decade, more people will die as a result of last week’s election in Massachusetts than died in the earthquake in Haiti. It won’t make the news, and there will be no telethon. They will die quietly with the knowledge that we just don’t care.

Comments

kansasmutt 4 years, 7 months ago

liberty_one ) You can thank your Mr Busch for the debt this country has now.( trillions ) The health care bill will NOT put us in debt farther, but help pull us all out of debt.It would create jobs for those who want to work in healthcare , but can`t due to hospitals being on the edge from bankrupt patiance.I agree with Mr. Bruner on the death toll. Millions will die who could have been saved as productive citezens.We can give buzillions to Haiti , but we cant save our own people ? The GOP at this time is a just say no group in Washington and we all (everyone) will pay the price now. As i sat and watched the State Of The Union i saw most GOP leaders laughing and cursing, ver very sad bunch. Even McCaine cursed and laughed, i am damn glad he is not leading this country , we are lucky to have dodged that childlike person as a leader. Nothing is simple, but simple people make nothing !!!!!!

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 7 months ago

I hope the doc is imbibing a sugar-free version of Dear Leader's Flavor-Aid.

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mom_of_three 4 years, 7 months ago

But without our citizens, we are not a country.

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SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 7 months ago

Thankfully, Steve, we citizens have rejected the notion of further empowering an already bloated and mis-managed federal government.

We've also embraced the notion of freedom and personal responsibility.

The nation's rejection of a health care take over has never made me more proud to be an American.

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Shane Garrett 4 years, 7 months ago

Why does the health care industry not fix itself if this is such an important issue? Why does it take an act of congress?

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gccs14r 4 years, 7 months ago

People are complaining about how much national health care would cost, without realizing that we're paying more now than we would under a nationalized system. I would rather pay $8,000 in healthcare taxes than $14,000 in direct payments to healthcare insurance, even if coverage didn't improve.

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Stuart Evans 4 years, 7 months ago

75x75 nailed it. The mortality rate of everyone is 100%. You will die. In modern times we have doubled the life expectancy of humans. Doesn't this make it an artificial life span? Were we meant to live this long?

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hail2oldku 4 years, 7 months ago

My question would be how many of the uninsured/underinsured are complicating their healthcare issues with lifestyle choices?

Give up that pack a day habit and/or that six pack a day habit apply the money saved towards one of the many healthcare products available on the market.

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georgiahawk 4 years, 7 months ago

75x75, brilliant argument, I say with extreme sarcasm. Is it the contention of those that don't want health care for all that it is the fault of those that need it and don't have it that they are in their situation? And that all cases fall into that contention and tough luck, it could of been avoided, live with the consequences? Do you have any studies that back up your claims?

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redmoonrising 4 years, 7 months ago

In a few years, I will be one of those people who dies because I couldn't, not wouldn't, seek proper medical care. Had to drop the health insurance when it rose to over $1,100 a month, not counting all the deductions and copays. That figure is more than my rent, utilities and food per month. I choose to eat and have a place to live instead. And I don't mooch off society, just try to live off my SS and the few assets I have. One illness or surgery would wipe me out.

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George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

There is a lot of dissembling here.

Reform: Absolutely but to a point. For example allowing those who can buy insurance but don’t the right to get insurance without penalty after they get sick rewards inappropriately

Massive Entitlements: No. We simply cannot pay for such a monstrous unfunded entitlement. We already cannot pay for entitlements that were substantially pre-paid.

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

How can anything be a government give away when OUR tax dollars are the funding mechanism? Where exactly is the give away?

Do tax dollars belong to the people or NOT?

The truly uninformed are those who do not want to know that $1.2 trillion tax dollars flow into the medical insurance industry as we speak. That much money alone could insure all americans as we speak IF the medical insurance middle men were eliminated.

Do medical insurance giants provide health care? NO they do not. They USE YOUR MONEY to make tons of profit.

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

"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."

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.

More on this matter: http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

National Health Insurance http://www.healthcare-now.org/

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

Unions for HR 676 http://unionsforsinglepayerhr676.org/union_endorsers

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

USA Government health care is accomplished by joining the military. No one else has access.

The topic is the high dollar medical insurance scam that only profiteers can truly enjoy.

USA health care will remain a private industry which under a new program that provides absolute choice across the board. Any doctor,clinic,dentist or hospital of choice anywhere in the USA. Yes this opens the competition doors wide. Competition will decide which doctors,clinics,labs,dentists,hospitals etc etc provide the service clients are searching for.

Everybody In Nobody Out = an estimated 2,000,000 new jobs for america.

"Since federal, state, and local governments collected approximately $3.5 trillion in taxes" says there is money to take care of patients. It brings our tax dollars home.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

"According to studies by the National Institute of Medicine, 22,000 Americans die yearly of treatable illnesses directly due to their lack of health insurance, a number that will rise as more and more people are unable to afford coverage."

Wow!

Speaking of lies, Dr. Bruner, nobody dies because they don't have health insurance. It isn't because they can't afford coverage, it's because they can't afford CARE.

You want the government to legislate reform, Doc? Fine - how about this?

Congress should pass a law that no doctor's office visit can cost more than $10. No ER visit can cost more than $50. And no surgery can cost more than $200.

There, wasn't that easy? Problem solved.

What, Doc? You don't want to make healthcare affordable by losing YOUR share of the pie?

You want truth, Doc? Why don't YOU tell the truth. If everyone had insurance, it guarantees your income. Actually, it would greatly increase your income, by adding a great number of patients and propping up your price structure.

When a simple office visit costs several hundred dollars, Dr. Bruner, that's too much.

When an ER visit costs as much as a new car, Dr. Bruner, that's too much.

When a major surgery or treatment for a catastrophic illness costs several years' salary, Dr. Bruner, that's too much.

The TRUTH is, Dr. Bruner, that if you refuse to treat people can't afford to pay your outlandish fees, they're not dying because they had no coverage.

They're dying because of YOU.

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Charles L Bloss Jr 4 years, 7 months ago

I remember Mary Jo. Thank you, Lynn

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 7 months ago

Copy/paste is the answer to all problems.

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

Below is an example of what EXPANDED/GUARANTEED Medicare /single payer insurance would offer to all americans. Most medical insurance coverage will not provide this quality of service. Many many consumers are simply under insured = candidates for bankruptcy in the event of long term illness such as cancer.

Who would Expanded 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

What would Expanded Medicare Insurance for 365 days a year 24/7 cover?

EXPANDED MEDICARE

  • 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

Suggested cost:

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would a payroll tax for all health care costs. About $250 per month.

Expanded Medicare ends deductibles and co-payments.

For 2010 the cost for same above care will be about $18,310 a year.

While business could be responsible for taking the tax deductions if necessary employers should not be responsible for any of the cost.

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Charles L Bloss Jr 4 years, 7 months ago

I am a republican, and I am not a liar. I am not fickle nor am I misinformed. This so called health care reform is dangerous. Especially to seniors, where it can cause their premature deaths. It has been rushed through, behind closed doors, without republican involvement, just as the so called stimulus was. Our grandchildren will be paying the bills for all of the spending the hybrid and his cronies are doing. Obviously you are among them. The victory in Massachusetts should indicate to you that America does not want your vision of health care reform, Thank you, Lynn

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Jimo 4 years, 7 months ago

"We don't have enough money to fund SS and medicare as it is. "

Well, not if you keep giving it all away to the wealthy and wasting it on paying for overpriced private health insurance.

If you opposed health care reform then I never want to hear a word from you that starts with "I can't afford."

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notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

Thing (Anonymous) says…

Merrill, ... You need a labotomy!"

Too late.

;)

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maxc 4 years, 7 months ago

gccs14r has "nailed" it. If everyone were covered the cost of health care would go down. Yes, everyone dies but premature death due to lack of care is callous. I am disappointed in the hateful demeanor of some of the posts. Not shocked, but disappointed. I hear a lot of rhetoric but few suggestions. Health care costs are drowning small businesses. We don't need more welfare programs but we MUST come up with some way to bring down the costs of healthcare.

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Joe Hyde 4 years, 7 months ago

On the exact same day as President Obama's State of the Union address, I received in the mail a letter informing me that the amount I pay for health insurance (money automatically deducted from my retirement annuity) has been increased $436 annually.

Let me say that again. My health insurance company just popped me for an extra $436 per year more above what they were already charging me. This despite the fact I have not had a single health issue requiring a visit to my physician, nor have I filed even one medical insurance claim, in two years.

Health care reform dies in Congress and I get nailed for almost five hundred bucks that could have put into savings or spent in my local economy.

Thank you, obstructionist Repubicans; thank you, blue dog Democrats; thank you, "independent" Sen. Joe Leiberman; and thank you, Mail Handlers Benefit. I've connected the dots and the image is reveals shows a threat to myself (and surely many others), a threat that I hope President Obama neutralizes before the end of his second term, if not the first.

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jhwk2008 4 years, 7 months ago

Liberty_One (Anonymous) says…

"Dr. Bruner are you, like most who support such government giveaways, ignorant about the costs of the health care bill? What will the consequences be when our nation is even deeper in debt because of these runaway spending programs?"

Ignorant much? According to the CBO, the Senate Health bill reduces the deficit by $132B over the next ten years. Furthermore, the "CBO expects that the proposal would generate a reduction in the federal budgetary commitment to health care during the decade following the 10-year budget window.”

And Lynn, you're very much misinformed and probably a racist. What's a hybrid??

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notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

maxc (Anonymous) says…

"gccs14r has “nailed” it. If everyone were covered the cost of health care would go down."

You flunked Economics in high school, didn't you?

Suppose the government gave everyone an unlimited EBT card for food.

Or gas.

Do you think prices would go down, or up?


riverat (Joe Hyde) says…

"Let me say that again. My health insurance company just popped me for an extra $436 per year more above what they were already charging me. This despite the fact I have not had a single health issue requiring a visit to my physician, nor have I filed even one medical insurance claim, in two years."

Now, if you HAD any medical expenses during that time, rat, maybe you'd know what's happening with the cost of health care delivery. When the hospitals raise their prices, you think your insurance company isn't going to charge more for premiums? Do you understand how insurance works?

If you were paying out of pocket, you'd know what health CARE costs, and maybe you'd have some incentive to do something about it rather than whining about your insurance rates. The proposed legislation did nothing - absolutely frikkin' nothing - to reduce the costs of health care delivery, it just tried to change how we pay for it. There is nothing - again, absolutely frikkin' nothing - anywhere in that legislation that says your rates wouldn't have gone up another $500 next year. As a matter of fact, there are strong incentives for insurance companies to inflate the cost of health care in the legislation.

Stop your whining and learn the facts.

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jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

Medicare is currently administered by private companies, not the government (a Bush administration move, I believe).

Social security is having a lot of trouble with their budget. One reason is that both parties like to "raid" the trust fund for other uses (completely ridiculous).

Another is that Bush (who could have used the large budget surpluses inherited from the Clinton administration) chose not to do anything about Social Security.

A final thought: If we legalized all drugs, and regulated/taxed them, we could cut way down on expenditures while raising revenue.

This extra revenue could then be put to good use.

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kneejerkreaction 4 years, 7 months ago

Interesting that even people in congress don't fully understand the current version(s) of the HC Reform plan(s), yet a Dr. in Lawrence, KS can unequivocally say that the sky is falling if we don't pass the HC train wreck that recently piled up in congress.

The people of Mass, who have a state health care plan, don't like it. And they voted against it on the Federal level. That message should tell you everything.

Pick the 4 or 5 things that need to be fixed: Medicare/aid; tort reform, buying insurance across state lines and get busy fixing these. Obama himself said there were billions of dollars to be saved just making medicare/aid more effecient. Is there currently an initiative to do this? Haven't heard of one.

Instead the proposal was to throw an entire system out and replace it. Ramifications of this? Unknown. Thank God HC reform in its current form is dead, dead dead.

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sherlock 4 years, 7 months ago

Hey, I believe the word is "lobotomy" and not labotomy!

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jhwk2008 4 years, 7 months ago

kneejerkreaction (Anonymous) says…

"The people of Mass, who have a state health care plan, don't like it. And they voted against it on the Federal level. That message should tell you everything."

Lie.

68% percent of those who voted in the special election support the Massachusetts Universal Health Insurance Law. Only 27% oppose it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/polls/WaPoKaiserHarvard_MassPoll_Jan22.pdf?sid=ST2010012203176

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verity 4 years, 7 months ago

How much will tort reform and/or buying insurance across state lines save us?

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notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

jafs (Anonymous) says…

"Social security is having a lot of trouble with their budget. One reason is that both parties like to “raid” the trust fund for other uses (completely ridiculous)."

More importantly, what does that say about making our health care dependent on tax dollars?

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shotgun 4 years, 7 months ago

blah, blah, blah, bah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah............I don't know what is more painful, enduring a nincompoop presidency for eight years or the rath of neo-cons!

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jhwk2008 4 years, 7 months ago

verity (Anonymous) says…

"How much will tort reform and/or buying insurance across state lines save us?"

Tort reform according to the CBO: $54 billion over the next 10 years.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/09/AR2009100904271.html

Should it be done? Probably. Is it the answer? Absolutely not.

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kneejerkreaction 4 years, 7 months ago

jhwk2008 (Anonymous) says… Lie. 68% percent of those who voted in the special election support the Massachusetts Universal Health Insurance Law. Only 27% oppose it.


Wrong jhwk.....70% of people voted for the MA healthcare when it passed, now 70% are against it. That's the reality.

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

Expanded/Guaranteed Medicare Insurance aka single payer is not on the table as yet. The medical insurance giants did not want true single payer on table for discussion. Why? Their high dollar insurance scams would sooner or later go out of business if the choice were introduced to taxpayers. Single payer would certainly reduce OUR cost of living and create jobs.

CIGNA medical insurance giant apparently is much like Wall Street bankers. CIGNA recently awarded their CEO with a $73 million health care dollar retirement bonus. No they are not alone.

The republican plan is working beautifully. Their plan of no change continues to escalate in cost per usual. 20%-25% is a very stiff increase. How many are receiving a 20%-25% increase in pay? When is the last time anyone received 20%-25% increase in pay?

After taking your money for years and years does not guarantee coverage next week or next month. The insurance giants can deny coverage or simply cancel in a heart beat.

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

And what about this?

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

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notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

jhwk2008 (Anonymous) says…

"Tort reform according to the CBO: $54 billion over the next 10 years."

With all due respect to the CBO:

The amount they report as potential savings are grossly understated. Some studies show that as much as 40% of our healthcare dollars are spent on tests and procedures that do nothing to improve health. Now, not all of that is to avoid being sued; physicians like to be on the cutting edge and can't resist using all the latest toys. (Remember in Monty Python's 'The Meaning of Life', when the woman was brought into the delivery room, and the doctor said 'Where's the machine that goes "Beep"? Bring in the machine that goes "Beep"!) And of course it varies from specialty to specialty. From my own experience in acute-care psychiatric, I'd say more than half of all psychiatric commitments to inpatient care were for legal rather than legitimate medical concerns.

But one of the problems in obtaining accurate data is that doctors are going to deny that ANY procedure they order was unnecessary. They have to. They can lose their licenses and even face prison time for providing - and billing for - unnecessary procedures. So, while the entire 40% isn't due to litigation concerns, a bigger piece of it is than the CBO estimates.

Incidentally, it's amusing that the article you linked to mentions new research. The estimates I referred to have been around for decades.

I agree with you that, even though the savings would be more substantial than the CBO guesstimated, it is not THE solution. But then, why do we keep looking for THE solution? One of my biggest concerns with the 2,700+ piece of legislation proposed that tries to fix everything at once (and accomplishes almost nothing) is that it's too complicated. If it works, or if it doesn't work, we won't know why, won't know which parts were helpful and which ones did nothing (or made things worse). Nobody knows for sure if the legislation will do anything at all - it's an experiment. And a lot of people are okay with that, despite the cost, because they want to see something tried. But when you perform an experiment, you don't manipulate all the variables at once - if you do, you don't know which factor was responsible for the change.

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jhwk2008 4 years, 7 months ago

Liberty_One (Anonymous) says… jhwk2008 (Anonymous) says…

"The CBO's projections are always right, these things never tend to underestimate costs ::cough:: Bush's prescription drug bill ::cough:: (oops!)."

Huh? You're using this for your argument?

"The Medicare prescription-drug benefit is costing taxpayers a lot, but less than expected. The Congressional Budget Office's original 10-year price tag was $640 billion over 10 years; it's now down by a third to $410 billion."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126282080941818727.html

Try again.

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preebo 4 years, 7 months ago

Not surprised in the least. What would surprised me is if he didn't appeal this decision.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says…

"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."

And your precious government doesn't, mertle?

Something on the order of 80% of SS disability claims are rejected on application. Most of those are eventually approved on appeal - years later. And even more would be approved if people didn't "simply give up and not pursue it" - or if they lived long enough. (The VA's numbers are similar, BTW.)

Ask anyone that works for SRS and they'll tell you that the process for obtaining any federally funded assistance is deliberately made difficult, to 'weed out' those who don't really need it. The end result of that is, however, that those who need it most and are least capable of navigating the system are the ones who have to jump through all the hoops.

What does that have to do with healthcare access, you might ask? Well, if legitimate disability claims were processed and approved in a timely fashion, those people would already have access to Medicare and Medicaid, wouldn't they?

You think the government doesn't deny funding just because of financial concerns, mertle? You haven't been keeping up with current events much, have you? (They don't report the news on your propaganda websites, I guess.) In the state where I work, the Dept of Mental Health told all the agencies it funds that they can't accept any new patients after December 1st of last year. With more than half the fiscal year remaining, people who haven't already been in a DMH-funded program within the past 12 months are now ineligible to receive state-funded services. And a little while back I had a reviewer call me on the phone to tell me he was denying my request for additional services for a patient because he had been unable to contact me by e-mail to ask a question. Again: He CALLED me and told me, while he was speaking directly to me, that the request was denied because he couldn't contact me.

So take your belief in the superior nature of government-funded healthcare and stick it somewhere that will make it extremely uncomfortable to sit at your computer, mertle.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

oneeye_wilbur (Anonymous) says…

"Health care is not about helping people become well, it is an industry and financial business. Just look at what the director of LMH makes."

'Not-for-profit' LMH had revenues in excess of expenditures (we used to call that a "profit") that were significantly higher than the profit margin of the typical health insurance plan. But nobody cares about that, because someone else is paying for it. People think that ER bill only cost what they spent for the co-pay and deductible. If they had to cover the entire $10-12 thousand bill out of their pocket, maybe they'd pay more attention to what health CARE costs and actually do something about it.

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maxc 4 years, 7 months ago

If everyone were covered the cost of health care would go down because the pool of funds to pay for health care would be much larger. We would also not be "making up" for those without health insurance. Those who have no insurance often put off routine health care until they have a serious problem. This makes the care much more expensive and we DO pay for it now anyway in one form or another.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

maxc (Anonymous) says…

"If everyone were covered the cost of health care would go down because the pool of funds to pay for health care would be much larger."

Where do you people get this from? I really don't get how you can twist basic mathematics to fit your delusions.

That only works, max, if those new people paying into the system don't take anything OUT of it. And you can't have it both ways. The good Dr. Bruner claims there's 22,000 people dying every year because they don't have insurance - that sounds like a lot of medical claims that would be paid out if they were covered. And I thought one of the most basic parts of the so-called 'reform' package was to cover all those people who can't get insurance because of pre-existing conditions, or were dropped because of major illness? (I agree with the necessity of addressing that, BTW, just not with how they're going about it.) Those people would be a huge net loss to the pool.

The only ones that would be a net gain to the pool would be the ones who are healthy and don't need insurance (it's good that more and more reformists are recognizing those people make up a large portion of the currently uninsured). YOUR premiums might go down, because someone else that doesn't need insurance is now paying for your medical expenses. But that's not doing anything to bring down costs, it's just shifting them to someone else.

"Those who have no insurance often put off routine health care until they have a serious problem. This makes the care much more expensive and we DO pay for it now anyway in one form or another. "

That's a leap of faith. If everyone has insurance, the potential exists to make that situation worse instead of better. There are plenty of people who can't afford to miss a day of work who would choose to wait until after 5:00 to go to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic after hours if they had insurance to pay for it.

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gccs14r 4 years, 7 months ago

"There are plenty of people who can't afford to miss a day of work who would choose to wait until after 5:00 to go to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic after hours if they had insurance to pay for it."

And they might do that once a year, or they can do what they do now, which is put off routine care and end up in the ER when they're near death, which is a lot more expensive.

Here's the thing: we can spend less on healthcare and cover everyone, but not if we have to also fork over trillions to the middleman insurance companies. Get rid of the insurance companies and suddenly there will be a lot more money available to pay for actual healthcare.

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Satirical 4 years, 7 months ago

I agree it is ironic, but there is no tragedy if rather than passing ObamaCare, Congress is forced to listen to the American people and come up with a bi-partisan bill to reform health care.

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maxc 4 years, 7 months ago

You miss the point. All people NEED health insurance. It's called insurance for a reason. You pay into homeowners insurance even if there is nothing wrong with your house right now. You pay car insurance even if you never have an accident. It's the same principal. Just because you are healthy today doesn't mean you will not need health care tomorrow. Also, there is a HUGE difference between an urgent care clinic and a hospital emergency room. The costs of running a large hospital and thus an emergency room visit are exponentially larger than a small clinic.

I do not hallucinate people nor voices in my head. I'm saying everyone must carry some form of health insurance and share the costs of healthcare.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says…

"Here's the thing: we can spend less on healthcare and cover everyone, but not if we have to also fork over trillions to the middleman insurance companies. Get rid of the insurance companies and suddenly there will be a lot more money available to pay for actual healthcare."

Like I said earlier, I really don't get how you can twist basic mathematics to fit your delusions.

The average health insurance plan makes a 3.4% profit, gcc. (That's substantially less than "trillions", BTW.) Please explain how you're going to add 15% of the population, many of whom have the most expensive healthcare needs, save 3.4% on insurance, and "spend less on healthcare".

And that doesn't even take into consideration that insurance companies actually hold down total overall costs by negotiating lower rates. Have you ever seen what your insurance company actually pays out compared to what your provider would have billed directly to you?


maxc (Anonymous) says…

"You miss the point. All people NEED health insurance."

No, they don't. What they need is for health care to be affordable.

"You pay into homeowners insurance even if there is nothing wrong with your house right now. You pay car insurance even if you never have an accident. It's the same principal."

Wrong again. It should be the same principle. But people don't get their newly remodeled kitchen or that aluminum siding paid for through their homeowners insurance. Their gas, oil changes, and that new car stereo aren't paid for through their car insurance. If it was the same principle, max, then health insurance would only be used for unexpected, catastrophic expenses, not for every time you went to the doctor's office for a sniffle.

"Also, there is a HUGE difference between an urgent care clinic and a hospital emergency room."

Just as there is a HUGE difference between an urgent care clinic and your PCP's office.

"I do not hallucinate people nor voices in my head."

Glad to hear it. However, there's a difference between hallucinations and delusions.

"I'm saying everyone must carry some form of health insurance and share the costs of healthcare."

See, max, we already do all share in the costs. Whether it's out of pocket, in taxes, or through premiums, we all pay for it. The current reform proposals do nothing except change who pays for it and how, which means system-wide it will still be unaffordable.

It costs too much, max. THAT is the problem.

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lgreen17 4 years, 7 months ago

Dr. Bruner sent my friend a letter telling her he wouldn't be her doctor anymore because she was in a car accident (not the driver) and the insurance company hadn't paid him yet for her treatment.

Dr. Bruner, you are the one who doesn't care about people.

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LoveThsLife 4 years, 7 months ago

Merrill says:

"USA Government health care is accomplished by joining the military. No one else has access."

Run for senate..if you win you get insurance for life. It is also a "Cadillac Plan". All courtesy of the American taxpayer. In addition, you get your own secret little office..so you can make your deals with the devil all while out of the eye of the press or anyone else. You also get the benefit of concealing any improvements that you make to the space from taxpayers while requesting that they fork over more money so you can "solve" problems. Be assured that regardless of your colleagues political affiliations you can be guaranteed they "have your back" because they get the same benefits too...gotta love the American way.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/01/15/ap/congress/main6099315.shtml

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mr_right_wing 4 years, 7 months ago

As you, yourself pointed out Dr. there are plenty of developed countries that have a form of socialized medicine.

Pick one and go. The majority of us (who want nothing to do with obama health control) will stay there and fight for a reasonable fix for our healthcare system.

See ya....(no need for a post card thanks.)

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Melissa Sigler 4 years, 7 months ago

Obviously you all know exactly how to fix everything. I think we have the wrong people in office.

Quit pointing fingers at each other. All parties involved have, over time, messed up the system, its not any ONE person's/parties fault. Good grief, I'm sick of all your holier-than-thou, I-know-everything-about-everything attitudes.

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jayhawklawrence 4 years, 7 months ago

We Americans are very proud of our country. We advertise our government and economic system as the best the world has ever seen.

Today, America is in decline. We are losing power and influence in the world.

China is becoming an economic juggernaut. Europeans don't trust or respect our government.

Our congress can't solve anything anymore. It is like watching little kids fight and argue. Their moronic political agendas and philosophies sound more and more like idiotic chatter with no substance in a real world. Their reality has nothing to do with the average American.

It's time to look in the mirror and ask why.

We did it to ourselves. We have to get representation in Washington that works for the average American. Not a bunch of loud mouths on an ego trip.

I wouldn't trust these guys to carry out my garbage.

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gccs14r 4 years, 7 months ago

"The average health insurance plan makes a 3.4% profit."

After they pay their executives, staff, overhead, bribes, and kickbacks.

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weeslicket 4 years, 7 months ago

ding. ding. ding. and satirical rings the golden bell: "I agree it is ironic, but there is no tragedy if rather than passing ObamaCare, Congress is forced to listen to the American people and come up with a bi-partisan bill to reform health care."

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LoveThsLife 4 years, 7 months ago

"mdsigler83 (Anonymous) says…

Obviously you all know exactly how to fix everything. I think we have the wrong people in office.

Quit pointing fingers at each other. All parties involved have, over time, messed up the system, its not any ONE person's/parties fault. Good grief, I'm sick of all your holier-than-thou, I-know-everything-about-everything attitudes."

I agree with you Mdsigler. Could you please send this message to our current President? He didn't get the memo...

Thanks.

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jayhawklawrence 4 years, 7 months ago

When you use a derogatory term such as "ObamaCare" you demonstrate the problem.

It is about as pathetic as listening to a guy use rascist language while arguing that he is not a rascist.

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ASBESTOS 4 years, 7 months ago

"......thanks to lying Republicans, foot-dragging, timid Democrats and a fickle and misinformed public."

Wrong place to place the blame. The Republicans were all but excluded for the entire process. After 365 proposed amendments by the GOP side, only 2 got in.

Additionally the Dems hold a commanding majority in house and senate, they barely got the bill to cloture in the Senate and had to get three of the votes by outright bribery that is going to cost the Senators their seat in the Senate. The House only got 218 votes for their "written in secrecy" bill that meant only cleared by 3 votes, yet they hold an 80+ democratic party majority.

Thrown in Senator Harry Reid, the most worthless person on the face of the planet and more corrupt than Chris Dodd, and his behind closed doors writing of the POS Health Care Bill. Then it went to behind closed doors at the Whitehouse. NO Republicans in either room. Add in the additional promise the President Obama gave in his campaign that the process would be open and transparent and the debates on CSPAN, and that did not happen either.

With all that, if they cannot pass this bill then it was a POS bill and we are better off it died.

This was the worst piece of legislation and the protesters of the "Tea Party" were maligned as "teabaggers" and they were the majority and the reason that Sen. Elect Brown won in Mass.

Time for you guys to wake up and smell the revolution!!!!!

The American Citizen does not want this.

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jayhawklawrence 4 years, 7 months ago

I agree with Dr. Bruner.

Thanks for taking the time to write this letter and make a righteous statement.

I would bet that 99% of the people who are complaining the loudest about the health care bill have no clue what is really in it.

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commuter 4 years, 7 months ago

If the senate's version of the healthcare bill was so great why

did they have to bribe the senator from LA??

did they have to bribe Senator Nelson from NE??

did they choose to exclude their own health coverage in the plan??

The Democrats claim that the Republicans did not provide any suggestions for the health care bill but if you are not allowed to come to meetings, how can you give input in those meetings??

To me it is politics as usual, the Dems thought they had enough votes to cram the legislation down our throats. The last time they tried that was during the first two years of Clinton's first term. he made the fatal flaw of sending Hillary down the hill to rally support. Instead of rallying support she pissed off people on both sides of the aisle.

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weeslicket 4 years, 7 months ago

how about some politics unusual

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weeslicket 4 years, 7 months ago

another toss at the pywacket, please.

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weeslicket 4 years, 7 months ago

once again, the pywacket please.

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Matthew Herbert 4 years, 7 months ago

I appreciate your letter, Dr.Bruner.

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commuter 4 years, 7 months ago

Beo - Based on your comments, I guess the Repubs can not disagree with Reid & Pelosi?? Remember the health care bill was done behind closed doors by the DEMS and they did not allow the Repubs in. Whys should the entire nation have to pay for an increase in Medicaid to Nebraska to get Nelson vote??

You are mad at the Repubs but here is what I see. Reid, Pelosi, & Obama dealt the Repubs a fixed deck and they and you are mad because they can't win!!!

I was disappointed in the increase in spending during Bush's terms and I am not too happy about more increase during Obama's term.

Obama should have put the economy first a year ago but what did he do, pushed health care or insurance reform, go around to meet other leaders to apologize, Blame Bush, lobby Olympic Committee to try to get the Olympics in Chicago, Blame Bush, go on vacation, Blame Bush, go on vacation, watch more and more of his nominations withdraw due to issues,etc.

It is so much easier to get people to go along with more spending when the economy is doing well.

I would not mind if Obama succeeds because the US will succeed but his arrogance at time is quite remarkable. I think he belives all of the hype about him. I have confident in my abilities but his confidence is way beyond Deion Sanders Cockiness.

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bliddel 4 years, 7 months ago

“According to studies by the National Institute of Medicine, 22,000 Americans die yearly of treatable illnesses directly due to their lack of health insurance”. Big hairy deal, so what? Former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey noted that due to poor hygiene, hospital infections in the United States kill an estimated 103,000 patients every year. The Institute of Medicine's (IOM) 1999 report concluded that medical errors caused up to 98,000 deaths annually. According to statistics provided by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services in 2004, accidental deaths caused by physicians total 120,000 per year.

Do you know anyone with a so called “pre-existing condition” that would pay for health insurance but is unable to get health insurance? No? I didn’t think so. Even so, if you outlaw the “Pre-existing” exclusion, you take the gambling out of the equation. I’d be willing to feed slot machines if I could be assured by law that they’d pay the jackpot every time. So would you! The problem is that nobody would provide slot machines if they were required to pay a jackpot every time. Just think how much I could save on my house and car insurance if I only had to buy it when I had a potential claim.

You really want Federal government-run healthcare? The Transportation Security Administration has spent billions groping little girls, and confiscating Congressional medals of honor from former state governors, but while they had an eight-year old boy held spread-eagled against a wall, nightstick between his legs, because the boy’s name was close to that of someone on their secret no-fly-list, an incompetent underwear bomber was allowed on an aircraft because the bomber’s father wasn’t physically there to point the explosives out to the agents.

The U.S. Government is obviously hopelessly incompetent, and should be fired! That’s why the independents in this country now separately outnumber both Republicans and Democrats.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says…

“The average health insurance plan makes a 3.4% profit.”

"After they pay their executives, staff, overhead, bribes, and kickbacks."

Like every doctors' office, hospital, and other medical provider, gcc. They all have overhead costs. As a matter of fact, that now-infamous NEJM study that found that 1/3 of our healthcare spending went to administrative costs was NOT referring to administrative costs at insurance companies, but rather those of providers.

And, um, gcc? Medicare has overhead expenses, too. And per person, they're higher than private insurers'.


jayhawklawrence (Anonymous) says…

"I agree with Dr. Bruner."

Gee, there's a shock.

"I would bet that 99% of the people who are complaining the loudest about the health care bill have no clue what is really in it."

Nice try. If you honestly believe that the proposed legislation would do anything to bring down the cost of healthcare in this country, or do anything except make insurance companies - and fine physicians such as Dr. Bruner - richer, then you obviously haven't read a single word of it.


beobachter (Anonymous) says…

"And 90% of those are Republicans, aka the party of NO,"

Whereas BeO is a proud Democrat, the party of "I don't know."

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gccs14r 4 years, 7 months ago

"Like every doctors' office, hospital, and other medical provider, gcc. They all have overhead costs."

The difference is that a healthcare provider's overhead is in support of providing healthcare. An insurance company's overhead is in support of denying healthcare.

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ASBESTOS 4 years, 7 months ago

"I would bet that 99% of the people who are complaining the loudest about the health care bill have no clue what is really in it."

Yep Beo that is true, but what is also true is that those that support it do not know what is in it either.

So your argument/statement is bogus.

Nobody knows what was in the bill; supporters and opposition.

That is how P-poor the legislative process and the only blame to that is San Fran Nan and Clueless Harry.

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tbaker 4 years, 7 months ago

As with just about every other liberal rant in favor of Obamacare I’ve read, the good doctor also conveniently fails to mention we already have quite a number of ever-growing, massive government-provided healthcare systems in this country. He reinforces this deception by bemoaning the lie that “…the United States will continue to be the only developed country unable or unwilling to provide basic health care to all its citizens.” With an abundance of charity, one should be able to assume a medical doctor’s level of education would provide him the mental faculties to recognize this dishonesty. He is guilty of precisely the same kind of sordid deception he accuses the bill’s detractors of. Like the rest of the liberal / socialist elite in this country, he predictably underestimates the common American’s capacity for being able to spot another big-government scam that will cripple our already bankrupt country. As I have said many times on this blog, government is the art of the possible. Why then will not the supporters of healthcare reform in this country adopt the precept that we should change those things that a) don’t cost the tax payers anything, and b) enjoy broad-based bipartisan support – before we dive headfirst into yet another behemoth entitlement program we simply cannot afford?

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notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says…

"The difference is that a healthcare provider's overhead is in support of providing healthcare. An insurance company's overhead is in support of denying healthcare."

And this is the heart of the problem, gcc. Insurance companies are not in the business of providing healthcare. Guess what - that's not their purpose!

The purpose of car insurance is not to provide transportation. The purpose of homeowners' insurance is not to provide shelter. They are financial arrangements, the purpose of which is to protect against financial loss.

Like other forms of insurance, health insurance is a financial arrangement, nothing more, nothing less. The purpose of health insurance is to assume, for a fee, the financial risk from medical expenses. As I mentioned to max earlier, insurance is not supposed to pay for day-to-day common expenses - somehow we've distorted the health insurance system into something that pays for everything, and we've made people dependent on having it.

It's a business transaction, gcc. It's not supposed to be healthcare. And yes, they make more by holding down costs - what is YOUR alternative? You want administrative costs lowered? Great - then, when there's nobody left to negotiate lower reimbursement rates, when there's nobody to catch fraudulent claims, premiums are going to do what - go down? Again, what system of math are you using?

You don't want those middlemen in your picture, gcc? You don't want to pay the fee for the service of their assuming your financial risk? Fine - pay for your own healthcare out of your own pocket. See what kind of rates you can negotiate with LMH next time you're there. I'm sure it will save you a bundle.

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Linda Endicott 4 years, 7 months ago

You know something, nota? I remember a time when if you had health insurance, it paid for everything, even the most trivial procedure. You didn't have to worry much about whether something was covered or would be denied. If it was a medical procedure of any kind, it was pretty much covered...

And there were no such things as deductables and co-pays back then, either...at that time I admit that health care costs were a lot less than they are now, but guess what? Even though that system appeared to be working, health care costs exploded into a monster problem anyway, the problem we have now...

Exactly why did that happen???

And exactly how much more expensive does it become, for every year that passes, for us NOT to have some type of health insurance for everyone?

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notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

crazyks (Anonymous) says…

"You know something, nota? I remember a time when if you had health insurance, it paid for everything, even the most trivial procedure."

You know something, crazy? I remember a time when not everybody had health insurance, because people could afford to go to the doctor, even the emergency room, without it. And it wasn't that long ago.

"Even though that system appeared to be working, health care costs exploded into a monster problem anyway, the problem we have now… Exactly why did that happen???"

It happened precisely because people used insurance for everything, including the most trivial procedure. If you think the problem is insurance, how much does your doctor charge for an office visit, how much does that ER visit cost, compared to the time you were speaking of? THAT is where the problem lies. And nobody did anything about it, nobody cared, nobody even noticed, because they all thought, as you did, that "insurance ... paid for everything." Insurance didn't pay for anything, crazy, the other people paying their premiums did. That's how insurance works. And when everyone began using insurance for everything, those premiums went up, co-pays and deductibles went up, everything went up, because the cost of service delivery was going up. Doctors, hospitals, other providers had no incentive to hold down costs - because, after all, insurance "paid for everything."

"And exactly how much more expensive does it become, for every year that passes, for us NOT to have some type of health insurance for everyone?"

And exactly how much more expensive does it become, for every year that passes, for us NOT to do anything about the COST instead of trying to get someone else to pay for it??

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mr_right_wing 4 years, 7 months ago

Mass. already has something similar to Obama's health control, yet the way they voted indicates to me that they are less than satisfied with it.

Again, and I know you liberals loathe me reminding you of this; but a democrat President, a Kennedy even once said "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Those words have stood the test of time because they are very wise. Turning to the government to solve all our woes is extremely short-sighted and foolish. If JFK were here today, he'd agree with that, and be completely opposed to his own brothers pet project.

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gccs14r 4 years, 7 months ago

If insurance companies would actually pay out for covered expenses, I would have less of a problem with them. What irks me is that we all pay our premiums, then we have to fight tooth and toenail to get anything covered. Basically, we're paying premiums, then paying the doctor out of pocket, too.

If I could get my company's share of my insurance premium added to my base salary, I would seriously consider switching to cash-only for medical expenses. I'd be dollars ahead. A lot of dollars.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says…

"If I could get my company's share of my insurance premium added to my base salary ..."

It's called switching jobs. Try it sometime.

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gccs14r 4 years, 7 months ago

Oh, you really think I'm going to go find something that pays an extra $15,000 a year in this economy? Not to mention that I'd have to have yet another extra $15k to pay for commuting costs. Oh, plus I'd lose 2 hours every day having to drive back and forth. Sorry, no. Besides, that doesn't really fix the problem of the company still having to pay into the health insurance system on my behalf, whether I participate or not.

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