Archive for Monday, October 4, 2010

Statehouse Live: Brownback, Colyer, Schmidt blast federal health reform

October 4, 2010, 9:06 a.m. Updated October 4, 2010, 4:36 p.m.

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— The Republican team, that if elected would be in charge of health policy in Kansas, said they will fight to repeal and replace the new federal health reform law.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Sam Brownback called the reforms successfully pushed by President Barack Obama “an abomination.”

Lieutenant governor candidate Jeff Colyer, a doctor from Overland Park who would lead health policy in a Brownback administration, said Kansans would suffer under the federal plan.

And Derek Schmidt, the Republican candidate for attorney general, said he would fight the reforms in court, calling the landmark legislation “an unprecedented federal power grab.”

Brownback, a U.S. senator, and Colyer, a state senator, face Democrat Tom Holland, a state senator from Baldwin City, and the Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Kelly Kultala, a state senator from Kansas City, Kan.

Brownback and Colyer called a news conference at their campaign headquarters to feature Schmidt, a state senator from Independence, who is trying to unseat Attorney General Steve Six, a Democrat.

Schmidt said if he is elected he would either join legal efforts by 21 other states against the federal health care law, or find an alternate legal theory for Kansas to challenge the measure.

Six has declined to join other states in litigating the issue. He has said there is little chance a lawsuit claiming the health care act is unconstitutional will be successful. He has also said because other states have filed a lawsuit, any decision by the U.S. Supreme Court would apply equally to Kansas.

Six’s campaign spokesman Gavin Young said Six based his decision on law and not politics. Meanwhile, Six has won record amounts for the state in Medicaid fraud and abuse cases.

“These are the results Kansans get from an independent attorney general, and Steve is opposed to attempts to turn the attorney general into little more than a member of the governor’s cabinet,” he said.

Brownback said the difference in positions between Schmidt and Six is important.

He said that his administration would fight the reforms and that he was confident that if Republicans take over Congress they will de-fund regulations to implement it.

“One of the best things we could do to grow the economy right now is repeal and replace Obamacare,” Brownback said.

Holland, the Democratic candidate, criticized Brownback’s position.

“Once again, Senator Brownback is saying he wants to drastically change something that impacts hundreds of thousands of Kansans, but he won’t say how. We need a leader who does more than sit on the sidelines and watch the sick get sicker and the rich get richer.”

Brownback, Colyer and Schmidt said they would work with the Legislature “to continue the state's health care reform efforts that includes encouraging small-business health plans and health savings accounts as well as reducing waste, fraud and abuse in the state's Medicaid program.”

While the Republicans roundly criticized the health-reform law, an independent study released earlier this year said many Kansans will benefit under the new law. The study projected that 200,000 Kansans who don't have health insurance now, will get it under the law.

With many of the major portions of the law taking effect in 2014, those getting insurance will do so through expansion of Medicaid, more large employee group policies and the new subsidized exchange markets, the report stated.

Total health care spending in Kansas, including state and federal government, employers and individuals, totals $13.418 billion per year. After the reforms take place, that total is expected to grow by about $150 million, or 1.1 percent, the report said.

The report notes that Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which were originally designed as “safety-net” programs, will become the largest source of coverage.

Federal spending is expected to increase by more than $800 million per year to take care of the new Medicaid enrollees, the report said.

Meanwhile, state government spending is expected to remain flat; large employers will spend slightly more while small employers will spend much less.

The report was funded by United Methodist Health Ministries and was done by independent actuarial schramm-raleigh Health Strategy, based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

But Colyer and Brownback said that studies released since that one dispute the earlier figures. According to them, Kansas will have to spend from between $160 million to $260 million more in Medicaid, which Brownback said will jeopardize funding for all other state priorities.

Comments

QuinnSutore 4 years, 8 months ago

Why do "independent studies" aleays have LIBERAL conclusions???

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

As opposed to the party of 'Don't Know' marching giddily and blindly over the cliff.

Phillbert 4 years, 8 months ago

Three men with government-provided health insurance complaining about other people getting health insurance. Sounds about right.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Of course, they get their health insurance provided because they have jobs, not because they're on welfare.

booyalab 4 years, 8 months ago

I believe Brownback's position was completely arrived at from a selfish motive. He wants to get elected. But that doesn't stop him from being completely right.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

And don't forget, one of them not only has government-provided health insurance, he has clients who pay him with government-provided health insurance.

Double dipper.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Think a whole lot of Dr. Colyer's plastic surgery patients pay with government-provided health insurance, bobbie?

Even if what you were (poorly) trying to imply were true, then Dr. Colyer would be opposed to the federal legislation even though it would be against his personal interests. I know that mindset is completely alien to the freeloaders who only want what they can get for themselves - like you - but maybe it's not a bad thing to have someone take a stand that might be better for the state than it is for himself.

Gene Wallace 4 years, 8 months ago

I have "Government Provided" healthcare through the VA. I gave my country thirteen years in the military during the Viet Nam Conflict, ( two tours ), and the "Cold War". Left the military after Jimmy Carter and friends made military life unlivable. Each year I have to fill out a "Means Test" form which is used to determine my amount of "Co-Pay". I'm "Co-Paying" the US government for my healthcare? I really do Not understand American War Veterans having to pay anything for medical care. We offered up our lives for our country and gave up our best learning and career building years.

whats_going_on 4 years, 8 months ago

I imagine they do that so other VA members won't try to take advantage or screw them over, etc etc.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

""If fully enacted, the Obama Health Care plan would devastate the Kansas budget with unaffordable mandates, threatening every other priority in state government," a news release from gubernatorial candidate Sam Brownback's campaign says. An independent study, however, shows that many Kansans will benefit under the new law."

The latter statement does nothing to dispute the former. Whether or not 'many Kansans' (how many is 'many', BTW?) benefit does not change the validity of the concerns about the budgetary effects on all Kansans. It would benefit 'many Kansans' to put everyone on Medicaid, to have the state pay for all educational costs and eliminate the segment paid through property taxes, to make tuition at KU and other state universities free, to hand out food stamps to everyone. The unsustainable nature of such undertakings, however, render them somewhat unfeasible.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

How about those people on welfare go to work for those corporations? Help 'em both out, nice symmetry.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 8 months ago

I like it. How soon could you write it up?

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

"$800 million to cover the increase in Medicaid? sounds like a very small drop in a very big bucket ..."

That was the point, genius - the $800M being contributed by the feds doesn't come close to covering the increased costs to the states.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

$800 million won't come close to covering costs?

http://www.khi.org/news/2010/may/18/reform-will-add-820-million-year-federal-health-sp/

"...the Kansas Medicaid program is expected to save $206 million between 2014 and 2019..."

OMG, we don't want to save $206 million.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

"OMG, we don't want to save $206 million."

Even if those rather optimistic (and heavily qualified) projections came to pass, bobbie, those savings are for only the five-year period you mentioned. Gee, I can't imagine why you cut off your quote without finishing the sentence, which ended "when federal aid for the new programs begins to recede." I'd hate to think you truncated the sentence in a deliberate attempt to mislead.

According to the article above, the total for state health care spending is expected to grow by $150 million per year as a result of mandates in the 'reform' package. Follow that 5-year period with an open-ended entitlement, and the $206 million is not a 'savings', but a small reduction in the costs to the state; after the federal money peters out, the cost to the state will be twice what you say we'll "save" within three additional years.

And that all assumes that the costs to the state remain the same; also from your source: "The projections in the report were based on 2011 dollars, which means they did not include the annual cost growth to the state for Medicaid and related services." Then again, maybe the state could realize a significant savings to Medicaid if they cut out all that plastic surgery spending that's going into Dr. Colyer's pockets.

But thanks for playing, bobbie.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

How silly of anyone to not trust the personal opinion of "notajayhawk" on ljworld.com over the analysis of the Kansas Health Policy Authority.

The analysis doesn't include growth under current Medicaid because that growth is not subject to health care reform. It happens with or without health care reform, kind of like you holding yourself out as an expert whose personal interent opinion is of equal merit to professional analysis.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Nice evasion - as usual, bobbie.

You lied. Your own 'experts' clearly stated - in the same sentence that you only partially quoted - that the federal contribution is only temporary, and after that there will, indeed, be a substantial increase in the state's costs, not a 'savings'. If mommie pays your first 5 years' mortgage payments for you, bobbie, it still costs you money to buy the house.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

Disagreeing with notajayhawk is not lying, it is usually exactly the opposite.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Good comeback, bobbie. No more than expected (again, as usual). I called you a liar for deliberately taking a quote out of context to make a cost appear to be a savings. Care to come back with something that factually disputes that?

[crickets]

Centerville 4 years, 8 months ago

The 'independent study' probably came out out of Sibileus' office. It's the usual 'free unicorns' bilge.

BigDog 4 years, 8 months ago

Always wary of financial projections for federal programs that haven't been implemented, they always cost far more than ever projected.

Also wary when this statement is in the article from KHI:

"The projections in the report were based on 2011 dollars, which means they did not include the annual cost growth to the state for Medicaid and related services."

CLARKKENT 4 years, 8 months ago

GOD HELP OUR STATE IF THAT TRIO IS ELECTED.

cowboy 4 years, 8 months ago

Get a calculator out morons . The real reason that the republicans want to repeal OBAMA care is that their friends in the insurance industry don't want any regulation to infringe on their predatory profit margins by having to cover people they don't feel are worthy. Now you might say oh but Cowboy , if they cover sick people they will raise my rates also. Well they aren't covering the pre existing folks now and they have raised rates some 35% in the past 18 months for healthy folks. So what does that tell you ? have you seen your benefits slowly be lowered over the past 5 years ? The insurance companies are making record profits by the way.

From Industry Annual Reports

"According to a report prepared by Health Care for America Now – based on annual reports filed with the Security and Exchange Commission – WellPoint Inc., UnitedHealth Group, Cigna Corp., Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc. posted combined profits of $12.2 billion, a 56% increase over calendar year 2008.

During the same period of time, the big five insurers covered 2.7 million fewer Americans."

Now the flip side , if I'm a pre existing and can get covered on a high risk subsidized program , and I'm paying premiums , and the group is still making money on me is that not better than me not paying any premiums and just showing up at the hospital ER ? Most health issues are less expensive to prevent than they are to treat after years of not being taken care of.

While Brownhack and his stooges start throwing the medicaid bomb out there as a scare tactic they are truly protecting the commercial health industry.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

"Get a calculator out morons . The real reason that the republicans want to repeal OBAMA care is that their friends in the insurance industry don't want any regulation to infringe on their predatory profit margins by having to cover people they don't feel are worthy."

Speaking of morons, what would you call someone who supports the legislation on that basis, when there is nothing in the legislation to keep insurance companies from continuing to increase their profits, and, as a matter of fact, a removal of the only obstacle remaining that keeps them from doing so?

"is that not better than me not paying any premiums and just showing up at the hospital ER"

You could at least try to get some facts straight. The uninsured are the only group that uses a smaller percentage of ER resources (in terms of both number of visits and dollar costs) than their percentage of the population. Both the privately and publicly insured use a greater share of ER resources than their respective share of the population, with the segment over-utilizing ER resources the most being: yep, Medicaid beneficiaries. So, hey, let's get more of those on board.

Mary Sucha 4 years, 8 months ago

The legislation, depending on the size of the insurance company, requires an insurance company to spend between 80%-85% of premiums collected on medical care. If a company spends less than those percentages, they must refund the difference to the payers of the premiums. My guess is that this is what the insurance companies are really upset about.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Very good! You actually read part of the bill!

Now, do you understand the implications of that without a cap on premiums?

Let me explain for those that don't get it (and this is something that some states that imposed similar loss-ratio minimums have already found out):

Insurance companies now have no incentive to hold costs down, and every incentive to inflate them. Given that much of their administrative cost is fixed, anything they do to reduce costs (e.g. negotiating lower reimbursement rates with providers) comes directly out of their profits, and a relatively small reduction in reimbursement rates completely wipes out any profit. On the other side of the coin, it only takes a rather small increase in the reimbursement rates to double or triple those profits. See, if they're paying out 80-85% of their premiums in claims (which, incidentally, most of them already are), they can raise their premiums without limits as long as they make a corresponding increase in claims paid (which is virtually guaranteed without increasing reimbursement rates at all, solely because of the addition of those with pre-existing conditions). And, again, since their administrative costs are pretty much fixed, that increase translates directly into additional profits.

Of course, before Obamacare, they couldn't do that. If they raised their premiums TOO high, then people would stop buying insurance, either because they'd be more willing to assume the risk themselves as the perceived benefit of having insurance diminished, or because they simply couldn't afford it.

But now they don't have any choice, do they?

booyalab 4 years, 8 months ago

"Well they aren't covering the pre existing folks now and they have raised rates some 35% in the past 18 months for healthy folks. So what does that tell you ?"

It's for the same reason they would raise rates if they were forced to insure unhealthy people. They're anticipating future high costs.

Glenda Breese 4 years, 8 months ago

The doctors are running scared! So they might make a little less!! So what!! Bush used our social security money to fund a war that was never declared!! Thats why there is no money there,but look at all the republican whiners when you mess with their money! Like health care for all! Its not just their country its everyones right to have health care! I would sooner live in poverty than let one child or elderly person die needlessly! Me vote on anything republican WILL never happen!!! So don"t try to win election on that ticket, the people are too smart for that.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

"Bush used our social security money to fund a war that was never declared!!"

Other presidents used Social Security money, including Bush's predecessor. That's how he managed to make it look like there was a budget 'surplus' while he added to the national debt.

"Like health care for all!"

The 'reform' package does not provide health care for all. And if you meant health insurance, there will still be uninsured people in this country after the 'reforms' take effect, and most of those newly-insured will be people that already had insurance available but chose not to buy it.

"Its not just their country its everyones right to have health care!"

Well, besides the fact that what liberals think they're entitled to does not make something a "right", nobody in this country is denied access to health care. You don't have to have insurance.

"So don"t try to win election on that ticket, the people are too smart for that."

If the polls are any indication, "the people" are a little smarter than you are.

whats_going_on 4 years, 8 months ago

if these boards are an indicator of what people are like elsewhere in the country, I really do fear for us.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

Brownback may well be a medical insurance shareholder = dividends due to the misfortune of others.

I see this repub crew is set to waste a lot of time and tax dollars from day one..... typical.

Politicians,the medical insurance industry,the media and others opposed to practical,fiscally responsible,fiscally conservative and the most comprehensive medical insurance ever presented to consumers are playing the USA public for fools.

What increases the cost of medical insurance? High dollar reckless spending on: corp jets • its bureaucracy • profits • high corporate salaries • advertising over charges • sales commissions • Shareholders CERTAINLY increases the cost of insurance • Special interest campaign dollars Golden parachutes Politicians as shareholders: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR2009061204075.html

Insurers Wrongfully Charging Consumers Billions http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html

*High costs of medical insurance = Cause Of Bankruptcy http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/bankruptcy_study.html#ixzz0IQKZLHHh&C

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

Medical Insurance increases annually no matter what = status quo = repub plan

Healthy humans seldom spend what they pay out to the insurance industry!

If millions of healthy insured dropped their policies not only would they save thousands of dollars annually the insurance industry would faint in disbelief that this many people actually are awake and give a damn.

Remember the medical insurance industry does not and never has provided healthcare! Why pay them?

Paying out of pocket will save thousands of dollars a year. Do medical insurance companies provide health care? NO!

Money will become available to invest smart instead of supporting high rollin executives and shareholders.

Set up a health care investment account or annuity that makes YOU money instead of wealthy CEO's. Your health care annuity will NOT cancel out on when the poop hits fan.

Sooner or later more will do the same.

Suddenly all of america would realize the medical insurance business has been doing nothing but making tons and tons of profit by way of fear mongering and insuring healthy humans. Medical insurance industry has never provided health care!

AGAIN Healthy humans seldom spend what they pay out to the insurance industry!

At that point all would see that America could have insurance at a much much lower rate such as 225 a month for the best coverage in the world that includes an entire family of four. How? IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for All.

Why support high rollin executives and shareholders because of your misfortune aka becoming ill or needing surgery?

Most consumers are under-insured = candidate for bankruptcy. Most coverage WILL NOT stick with consumers when the going gets tough = fraud.

What could be done with that high profit middle man money that which DOES NOT provide health care?

  1. Home Improvements = jobs

  2. Invest in a green annuity

  3. Create a college investment account for children

  4. Purchase a fuel efficient auto = money saved and secures jobs in the automotive industry

  5. Buy gifts for a lover which improves ones quality of life and boosts a local economy

  6. Buy a second home in the Rocky Mountains = helps reduce number of homes for sale

  7. Keep an existing vehicle in top running condition = dollars saved and clean air

  8. Landscape a yard to reduce mowing substantially which requires far less water = conservation of natural resources and more money in the wallet

  9. Donate to a local zoo or library.

  10. PAY OFF CREDIT CARDS

IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for ALL is far better for America than any option on the table !

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

"Medical insurance industry has never provided health care!"

Well, that's good, since they're not supposed to. Health insurance is no more supposed to provide health care than car insurance is supposed to provide transportation or homeowners insurance is supposed to provide shelter.

"At that point all would see that America could have insurance at a much much lower rate such as 225 a month for the best coverage in the world that includes an entire family of four."

Does that include the free flying unicorn ponies, or are those extra?

Take out the 4.8% profit from health insurers, and health care costs in this country still average out to over $525/month per person. And you're going to pay for that with $225/month for a family of four?

Math wasn't your best subject in school, was it?

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

"Health insurance is uniquely different from auto and homeowner's insurance (and we can throw in renter's insurance, too) because we only fall back on those types of insurance when something major or catastrophic happens."

Agreed. This is, however, part of the problem, not a solution. If we used health insurance the same way we use other insurance - only for those major unexpected expenses - it would be affordable. And there's no reason people shouldn't be able to budget for the everyday medical expenses they incur year after year the same way they do for oil changes and septic tank pumping. When everyone is insured, and has more incentive to go to the doctor's for every little cough or scratchy throat, overall health care costs will skyrocket even worse than they are doing now.

Actually, it would be in a car insurer's best interests to provide preventative care the same way your dental insurance does (and most health insurers DO provide an annual checkup). But only if you kept the same car for life. Paying for preventative care for a car you may sell to someone else (who's going to insure it with another company) doesn't work out in their favor.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Almost forgot:

Even though health insurance companies pay for the everyday expenses and even some preventative care, they still are not intended to be health care "providers". (As a matter of fact, people scream bloody murder at the notion that decisions on their care are being made by insurers rather than providers.) Insurance - of any kind - is a financial risk management tool, nothing more. The insurer enters into an agreement that if you pay your premiums, they will assume the risk for a financial loss incurred for a covered event. Period.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

"I'm not saying that all lawsuits are good and proper--but throwing the misdiagnosed baby out with the bathwater isn't any better."

The problem is that the baby wasn't always misdiagnosed. When something goes wrong in a hospital - like someone dies, for instance - it always has to be someone's fault. It's not - people die, every one of us, once each. But it's a natural part of the grief process to want to blame someone, to have a focus for the anger that helps stave off despair.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

"health care costs in this country still average out to over $525/month per *person "

Says who? That's $6,300 per year per person. That is absurd. That would be $25,200 for a familiy of four. No insurance company is paying that out of their profits. $525 per month must mean folks are paying a lot out of pocket plus the insurance premium = what a scam. A $5,000 deductible plus co-pays means the insurance industry is likely paying out nothing. Now we're talking 100% margin.

People need health care people do not necessarily need a car so we're talking appies and onions.

Why should healthcare dollars be applied to:

High dollar reckless spending on: corp jets • its bureaucracy • profits • high corporate salaries • advertising over charges • sales commissions • Shareholders certainly increases the cost of insurance • Special interest campaign dollars Golden parachutes (CIGNA CEO received $73 million retirement bonus on his way out the door). Politicians as shareholders: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR2009061204075.html

Insurers Wrongfully Charging Consumers Billions http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

Healthy humans seldom spend what they pay out to the insurance industry! = large profits for the medical insurance industry.

Consumers must get thorough their deductibles before the industry kicks in... = large profits for the industry.

Why pay the insurance industry?

Set up a health care investment account or annuity that makes YOU money instead of wealthy CEO's. Your health care annuity will NOT cancel out on when the poop hits fan.

AGAIN Healthy humans seldom spend what they pay out to the insurance industry!

Why support high rollin executives and shareholders by way of your misfortune aka becoming ill or needing surgery?

Most consumers are under-insured = candidate for bankruptcy. Leading Cause Of Bankruptcy http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/bankruptcy_study.html#ixzz0IQKZLHHh&C

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

To be clear, publicly held debt was reduced under Bill Clinton.

Debt to government funds, such as social security, is not publicly held debt. It is bean shuffling of the type done by every major corporation on the planet. It is also done on an annual basis by states like Kansas, as this reporter has noted on a frequent basis.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

"To be clear, publicly held debt was reduced under Bill Clinton."

To be clear, publicly held debt is not the entire national debt. And the overall national debt rose under Clinton.

"Debt to government funds, such as social security, is not publicly held debt. It is bean shuffling of the type done by every major corporation on the planet."

Spoken like a true government functionary. 'We're not out of money, we'll just take it from over there', which ignores the reality that 'over there' has to be paid back, too. If your bank takes money out of your savings account to cover their loss on a bad mortgage or other bad investment, they have not reduced their debt so much as one whit, since they still owe the money to you.

I believe that if you actually researched the issue, you'd find that internal debt is treated by the federal government, under federal law, the same as external debt - it must be repaid, and with interest.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

It is impossible to believe how clueless you are.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

As always, heck of a comeback, bobbie.

Got anything intelligent to say? Didn't think so.

But please, entertain - er, I mean enlighten us, bobbie. Go ahead and tell us all how spending the money set aside for Social Security, money which has to be paid back, reduces debt. I'm sure we could all use the laughs. Or are you just going to skip down the page and hope nobody notices what a fool you made out of yourself yet again?

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

Social Security adds to the deficit - wrong Reality: It's not just wrong—it's impossible! By law, Social Security's funds are separate from the budget, and it must pay its own way. That means that Social Security can't add one penny to the deficit.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

What color is the sky on your planet, mertle?

Carol Bowen 4 years, 8 months ago

I agree with Merill. Social Security will be a problem in the future. It needs adjustment, but it has not drawn money from other government coffers and has incurred no debt. You are confusing your issues.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Well, one of us is apparently very confused.

Social Security didn't incur debt - it IS the debt. It is a financial obligation of the federal government, and when the government spends the money it collected to meet that obligation for other purposes, the obligation remains. When money is borrowed to replace that which was spent for other purposes, it adds to the debt.

And all that happens even before we reach the point where there's more getting paid out in benefits than is taken in in payroll taxes, which will happen soon enough.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 8 months ago

Actually, social security money is used for cash flow for wars and other incidental expenses. If we eliminate social security, we eliminate cash flow.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

The best way to explain Social Security is to say what it is. It's an insurance system that protects your income when you retire or face disability, and provides income to your children if you die. President Bush wants you to look at Social Security as an investment--but it is a form of insurance that guarantees you a constant stream of income in retirement or in case of disability, adjusted to protect against inflation, for as long as you live.

Social Security can be compared to other types of insurance such as home insurance. You insure your home because if it should burn down, you would not be able to afford to rebuild it with your personal income alone. If your house never burns down, you will pay into the insurance fund and never get a penny back. But fire insurance isn't a "bad investment" because it isn't an investment at all. You are purchasing security.

Unlike fire insurance, Social Security inevitably gives most of us our money back. But the fact that we get money back does not change the fact that Social Security is a form of insurance, not an investment. Only the richest of the rich can afford not to have insurance and to rely solely on their own savings and investments to fund their retirement or risk of disability.

Young people must also understand that financial investments are inherently risky. Many investments fail, and when they do, you lose all of the money you invested. Today's 25 year olds have only seen the stock market go up, except for one (very large) drop. But you don't have to go back to the 1930s to see a different picture:

If you put money into the stock market in 1970 and waited until 1980 to take it out, you would have lost money.

There is absolutely no guarantee that stock investors will see the high returns politicians many times imply

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

Unfortunately many politicians and Wall Street still want you to look at Social Security as an investment such that Bush would say no matter how wrong. It is a form of insurance that guarantees you a constant stream of income in retirement or in case of disability, adjusted to protect against inflation, for as long as you live.

There are no guarantees in Wall Street investments.

Millions of Americans have lost their retirement funds due to:

  • unexpected job losses to outsourcing • the savings and loan scandal during the Reagan/Bush years • ENRON • Dot com fraud • Bernie Maddoff • Home loan fraud during the Bush/Cheney admin which put an estimated 11 million out of work

In essence we never know from one day to the next if we will be employed. As we all know Wall Street investing offers no guarantees of safety. Therefore Social Security and Medicare are great insurance plans.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

"President Bush wants you to look at Social Security as an investment"

Um, mertle? I know you've been recycling the same old BS hundreds and hundreds of times for years, but you might want to change the tense of your verbs - in case nobody told you (or was able to break through your BDS enough to be heard), president Bush hasn't been president Bush for almost two years now.

"The best way to explain Social Security is to say what it is. It's an insurance system that protects your income when you retire or face disability, and provides income to your children if you die."

Except the SCOTUS ruled many decades ago that it's neither a retirement fund nor insurance, it's a tax. If you want to compare it to something, it's closer to a Savings Bond - you buy it on the government's promise to pay you back, with interest. That promise to pay, mertle, is a liability. And when the 'lockbox' is empty it's an unfunded liability, bordering on a pyramid scheme, since the only way to pay the current beneficiaries is by taxing the current wage earners..

weeslicket 4 years, 8 months ago

notajayhawk, i'm just wondering. what is your relationship with the medical insurance economy? (other than you purchase medical insurance for you and your family, and use it, i mean)

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

First, I don't carry insurance on myself. (And oddly enough I still have access to health care.) With what my last employer charged, it did not make financial sense.

As far as what I do, I'm a licensed mental health provider. When I was doing agency work, I was intimately acquainted with the nuances of publicly-funded insurance, as close as anything exists in this country to that 'single-payer' system so many around here clamor for. The publicly-funded insurance system is an unmitigated nightmare for providers and includes a healthy (or, actually, unhealthy) dose of all the topics of complaint I have seen on these message boards about private insurers.

Since leaving agency work, I have not, as yet, accepted any third-party reimbursement. I am on a few provider lists, I even have a federal provider number. But I prefer to negotiate individually with clients and find a workable arrangement for the both of us. As long as I can keep doing that I will, but if and when I do start accepting third-party reimbursement, it sure as heck will not be Medicaid or Medicare.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

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Lindsey Buscher 4 years, 8 months ago

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

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windex 4 years, 8 months ago

So, I'm curious: seeing as how don't carry health insurance for yourself, how would you cope, financially, with a catastrophic health event?

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Why is this such an alien concept to so many people?

The same thing I suppose people do when their sole means of transportation to work gets stolen and they chose not to carry theft insurance. The same thing I suppose people do when their house burns down and they chose not to have homeowners insurance.

I suppose I would have to do what anyone else that pays their bills would have to do: Borrow money, sell belongings, work out payment arrangements, work a second job, whatever. Is that a risk? Yes, and with the alternative being an expense of $17,000/year for insurance I might not ever use, it's a reasonable risk. But it's MY choice to make (at least for now).

windex 4 years, 8 months ago

But, NAJ, it's not comparable in the least. Reliable transportation can be purchased for $5K or so. I personally know several people whose bills (for themselves or their dependents) have tallied over $500K. Some of them are on medicare; some have private insurance. Thank goodness all of them have something. That's not a second job or selling belongings. That's pooling risk. People like me (on the verge of medicare age but still paying for private insurance, and remarkably healthy up to this point) are paying in so that our unlucky friends (there but for the grace of God go I) can keep the Grim Reaper at bay. It works out. I think it's selfish of you not to join the pool. Eventually you'll probably benefit yourself, or someone you love will (if anybody loves you; you sound sort of grumpy and you do quite a bit of name-calling...)

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Everything's relative, windex. $5K for reliable transportation is just as out of reach as $500K when you have nothing.

And one of the reasons your acquaintances' bills totaled over $500K was precisely because they had someone to pay for it. Having been treated at the same facilities for the same conditions both with and without insurance, and having seen it myself from the provider's perspective, I can comfortably wager that you would be amazed at how much lower those bills would have been for self-pay patient.

What you're describing is charity, not insurance. Or, under the new system, a form of taxation. I already give at the office. When you cross that threshold into Medicare land, the money that's paying your medical bills will be coming from the taxes of those like myself who are still working. As for those others in need you refer to, I'm already paying my own bills - it's ludicrous of you to to even suggest I should 'contribute' an additional $17K/year to help defray theirs.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Okay LJW esteemed moderators - care to explain this one?

Maybe you thought I you were being even-handed deleting all the posts. Maybe I even implied one of the people who made a personal attack on me wasn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier, although I did not use any terminology that should have got the post yanked.

But all I said to bozo was that I was glad he picked the name of a clown because his posts amused me. I didn't pick his screen name, HE calls himself a clown. Then again, I realize the LJW has a separate set of standards for non-liberals.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 8 months ago

You would have to have an office and staff to work with a private insurer.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Neither of those is true. Most of my colleagues rent office shares - quite a deal, furnished office space with all the trappings available (e.g. copiers, phones, and computers) for an amount that can be covered with as little as three clients per week. And those that do bill insurance either do it themselves or use a billing service.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 8 months ago

Oh, I forgot to mention billing services.

Lindsey Buscher 4 years, 8 months ago

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 8 months ago

If Brownback gets elected, Kansas will be back in the 20th century. This man is a useless senator, his office did not respond to any of my contacts in the last few years, Congressman Moore has responded to every one. Brownback is clearly in it to run for President and Kansas is just a bucolic backwater in his thinking. Do not vote for this hidebound representative of the Party of No, he is worthless for Kansas.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

Brownback is a beneficiary of tax dollar supported medical insurance for the rest of his life yet big government is terrible. ===================================================================

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

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

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

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

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

Organizations and Government Bodies Endorsing HR 676 http://www.pnhp.org/action/organizations_and_government_bodies_endorsing_hr_676.php

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

So why is it okay for Brownback to have tax dollar supported medical insurance for the rest of his life but not okay for the rest of us?

It seems he is more than financially capable of footing his own bill. Is he a tax dollar moocher?

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

BTW Brownback will be drawing about $200,000 guaranteed big government tax dollars a year as his retirement pay after only 16 years.

Most people have to work at least 20 years for benefits and will not come away with $200,000 big government tax dollars annually. In fact some are receiving benefit reductions.

Is this guy a big government tax dollar moocher or not?

Gareth Skarka 4 years, 8 months ago

Remember kids -- if "Obamacare" had been enacted under Reagan or Bush, it would be fine.

The new laws are exactly the same health care program proposed by Bob Dole as a counter to Hillary Clinton's health care push in the 90s.

So, why was it a good idea when proposed by Dole, but "an abomination" when enacted by Obama?

Simple -- Obama isn't on their team.

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Psssst - Gareth - Bob Dole wasn't elected.

And I really love the way you use something that was proposed by Bob Dole as 'evidence' that it would have been okay under Bush or Reagan.

Gareth Skarka 4 years, 8 months ago

It was the OFFICIAL REPUBLICAN proposal, put forward as what the party wanted instead of Hillary Clinton's health care proposal.

Why did the Republicans want it in the mid-90s, but not now?

We'll all wait for your answer. As soon as the smoke clears from the little engine whirring itself out trying to figure out how to explain it.....

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

"It was the official republican proposal"

According to which left-wingnut blog, gareth?

From the Republican Party platform in 1996:

Improving America's Health Care

Our goal is to maintain the quality of America's health care - the best in the world, bar none - while making health care and health insurance more accessible and more affordable. That means allowing health care providers to respond to consumer demand through consumer choice.

That approach stands in stark contrast to Bill Clinton's health plan of 1993. "Clintoncare" would have been a poison pill for the nation's health care system. Congressional Republicans countered with the right prescription:

* make insurance portable from job to job;
* ensure that persons are not denied coverage because of preexisting health conditions when changing employment;
* crack down on Medicare and Medicaid fraud, while preserving the confidentiality of medical records from inappropriate scrutiny and without imposing criminal penalties for clerical errors and billing mistakes;
* reform malpractice laws, to reduce the costly practice of "defensive medicine" and to make it easier for doctors to specialize in fields like obstetrics. We also recognize the vital importance of maintaining the confidentiality of the national practitioners data base;
* let individuals set up tax-free Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs), so they can plan for their own medical needs instead of relying on government or insurance companies.
* Republicans believe that Medicare and Medicaid recipients should also have the option to utilize Medical Savings Accounts, which would result in huge savings for the American taxpayers;
* overhaul the Food and Drug Administration to get better products on the market faster and at less cost to consumers;
* change IRS rules that restrict coverage: let employer groups offer tax-exempt policies and make premiums 100% deductible for farmers, small businesses, and all the self-employed;
* promote a private market for long-term care insurance;
* reduce paperwork through electronic billing;
* change anti-trust laws to let health care providers cooperate in holding down charges;
* avoid mandatory coverages that make consumers pay for more insurance than they need;

[Did you happen to catch that last one in particular, gareth?]

[continued]

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

[continued]

* allow multi-employer purchasing groups and form "risk pools" in the States to make employee health insurance more affordable;
* remove regulatory barriers to the use of managed care for those who choose it. Traditionally, all Americans have had the freedom to choose their health care plans, as well as the providers who treat them. To ensure quality of care, it is imperative that patients continue to enjoy the freedoms to which they have become accustomed. Communications between providers and patients should be free and open, and allow for full discussion of the patient's medical care. Financial arrangements should not be a barrier to a patient's receiving quality medical care;
* permit families with incomes up to twice the poverty level to buy into Medicaid;
* promote rural health care through telecommunications and emergency air transport; and
* increase funding for Community and Migrant Health Centers.

http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/conventions/san.diego/facts/gop.platform/platform.all.shtml

THAT was the "official republican proposal" when Dole was the Republican nominee for president. Musta' missed the part about mandatory health insurance.

The legislation he proposed in 1993 that was endorsed by a handful of other Republicans as an alternative to Hillary-care was not "the official Republican proposal". (And how it has anything to do with Reagan or Bush is just beyond amusing.) Senator Dole had always demonstrated a willingness to compromise and accept some Democratic positions. He was advocating for a bipartisan solution that accepted the mandate for individual insurance even last year. He made it rather plain, however, that he did NOT endorse the Democrat's legislation:

"“The ad makes it appear Senator Dole is supporting the Democratic version of health care reform,” Mr. Marshall said. “That is patently false. He is not supporting any bill out there. He has been pushing for bipartisanship and for leaders on both sides to come together to pass sound reform.”"

http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/democrats-heed-doles-objection-and-kill-tv-ad/?hp

BTW, other Republicans have kicked around the idea of mandatory insurance from time to time, gareth. Taking such considerations out of context, however, is rather duplicitous. There were some in Nixon's administration who advocated for it, for example - as part of a proposal to do away with Medicare and get the government out of health care altogether. That plan okay with you?

Carol Bowen 4 years, 8 months ago

Brownback has made a difference. He has convinced us that we should debate healthcare at the state level. Not only that, but after reading all the posts, it's difficult to remember what was in the health care legislation. Should the health care legislation be an issue in a gubernatorial campaign?

notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

"Should the health care legislation be an issue in a gubernatorial campaign?"

Yes.

weeslicket 4 years, 7 months ago

ok, so i'm a bit of a luddite. i asked: notajayhawk, i'm just wondering. what is your relationship with the medical insurance economy?

notajayhawk answered: i am an independent health care provider. (also implied: i purchase health care when i need it. otherwise, uninsured.) (also, expressly stated: notajayhawk works diligently, and in good conscience in his practice specifically, and in general in his life.) and, naj provided quite a few specific arguments supporting his experiences.

as for me, i accept these answers as both honest and informative.

but these reponses do illustrate the difficult dichotomy in all this:
individual benefits and costs (often more immediate) vs. generalized benefits and costs (often lagging in both benefit, and cost).

does one argue these experiences primarily, or only, based on one's personal algebra? or does a nation amount to something more than the allowances of simple and constrained mathematics?

again, just wondering what people think.

JHOK32 4 years, 7 months ago

Brownback wants to screw 200,000 fellow Kansans out of having healthcare because taxpayers shouldn't foot the bill, but he's perfectly fine with having us taxpayers pay for his healthcare and his family's healthcare...........what's wrong with this picture?

JHOK32 4 years, 7 months ago

Brownback is against his fellow 200,000 Kansans having healthcare because taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill, but he's perfectly fine with having us taxpayers pay for his healthcare and his family's healthcare...........what's wrong with this picture? Let's see him put his money where his mouth is and deny himself and his family any taxpayer funded healthcare as Governor, and oh by the way, he can also repay all us taxpayers for footing his healthcare bills for all the past years he has been in office!

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