GOP should debunk health bill figures

January 21, 2011


— Suppose someone — say, the president of United States — proposed the following: We are drowning in debt. More than $14 trillion right now. I’ve got a great idea for deficit reduction. It will yield a savings of $230 billion over the next 10 years: We increase spending by $540 billion while we increase taxes by $770 billion.

He’d be laughed out of town. And yet, this is precisely what the Democrats are claiming as a virtue of Obamacare. During the debate over Republican attempts to repeal it, one of the Democrats’ major talking points has been that Obamacare reduces the deficit — and therefore repeal raises it — by $230 billion. Why, the Congressional Budget Office says exactly that.

Very true. And very convincing. Until you realize where that number comes from. Explains CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf in his “preliminary analysis of H.R. 2” (the Republican health care repeal): “CBO anticipates that enacting H.R. 2 would probably yield, for the 2012-2021 period, a reduction in revenues in the neighborhood of $770 billion and a reduction in outlays in the vicinity of $540 billion.”

As National Affairs editor Yuval Levin pointed out when mining this remarkable nugget, this is a hell of a way to do deficit reduction: a radical increase in spending, topped by an even more radical increase in new taxes.

Of course, the very numbers that yield this $230 billion “deficit reduction” are phony to begin with. The CBO is required to accept every assumption, promise (of future spending cuts, for example) and chronological gimmick that Congress gives it. All the CBO then does is perform the calculation and spit out the result.

In fact, the whole Obamacare bill was gamed to produce a favorable CBO number. Most glaringly, the new entitlement it creates — government-subsidized health insurance for 32 million Americans — doesn’t kick in until 2014. That was deliberately designed so any projection for this decade would only cover six years of expenditures — while that same 10-year projection would capture 10 years of revenues. With 10 years of money inflow versus six years of outflow, the result is a positive — i.e., deficit-reducing — number. Surprise.

If you think that’s audacious, consider this: Obamacare does not create just one new entitlement (health insurance for everyone); it actually creates a second — long-term care insurance. With an aging population, and with long-term care becoming extraordinarily expensive, this promises to be the biggest budget buster in the history of the welfare state.

And yet, in the CBO calculation, this new entitlement to long-term care reduces the deficit over the next 10 years. By $70 billion, no less. How is this possible? By collecting premiums now, and paying out no benefits for the first 10 years. Presto: a (temporary) surplus. As former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and scholars Joseph Antos and James Capretta note, “Only in Washington could the creation of a reckless entitlement program be used as ‘offset’ to grease the way for another entitlement.” I would note additionally that only in Washington could such a neat little swindle be titled the “CLASS Act” (for the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act).

That a health care reform law of such enormous size and consequence, revolutionizing one-sixth of the U.S. economy, could be sold on such flimflammery is astonishing, even by Washington standards. What should Republicans do?

Make the case. Explain the phony numbers, boring as the exercise may be. Better still, hold hearings and let the CBO director, whose integrity is beyond reproach, explain the numbers himself.

To be sure, the effect on the deficit is not the only criterion by which to judge Obamacare. But the tossing around of such clearly misleading bumper-sticker numbers calls into question the trustworthiness of other happy claims about Obamacare. Such as the repeated promise that everyone who likes his current health insurance will be able to keep it. Sure, but only if your employer continues to offer it. In fact, millions of workers will find themselves adrift because their employers will have every incentive to dump them onto the public rolls.

This does not absolve the Republicans from producing a health care replacement. They will and should be judged by how well their alternative addresses the needs of the uninsured and the anxieties of the currently insured. But amending an insanely complicated, contradictory, incoherent and arbitrary 2,000-page bill that will generate tens of thousands of pages of regulations is a complete nonstarter. Everything begins with repeal.

Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.


Tom Shewmon 7 years ago

This trainwreck legislation won't be repealed until Obama leaves office in two years and a Republican congress and president overturn it. Mr. O is getting a big bounce in the polls now, but unless this economy, now in it's third year of Dem control doesn't to a turnabout, Mr. O is probably finished---not positively---but probably.

beatrice 7 years ago

Tom, just so you know, "Mr. O" isn't really any more respectful of the office than "the anointed one."

usnsnp 7 years ago

Tom how come it is always the people that do not have to worry about health care or worry about who is paying for most of their health care cost are the people saying that we cannot afford adequate health care coverage of everybody. Give me one sane reason why everybody in the United States should not have the same health care coverage as our Congress and their Staff's have, at the same cost that they pay out of pocket.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

I don't have health insurance. And I am one of those saying we can not afford this ridiculous piece of - legislation.

Give me one sane reason why we should keep finding ways to PAY for health care instead of figuring out a way to make it COST less (instead of more, as this piece of - legislation - will do).

gudpoynt 7 years ago

buck up. you'll be able to afford insurance soon :-)

notajayhawk 7 years ago

Except gee, even the Democrats agree this will make insurance cost more. Insurance is a major factor in the problem, not the solution to the problem.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"instead of figuring out a way to make it COST less (instead of more, as this piece of - legislation - will do)."

I agree. That's why I support single-payer.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

Brilliant solution, boohoohoozo. Why, let's give everyone an unlimited food stamp card and watch the price of food come down while we're at it.

Chris Golledge 7 years ago

Assuming your are not a multimillionaire, proclaiming you don't have health insurance is the equivalent of saying you expect others to pay for it if something bad should happen to you. And you are one of those complaining about the financial responsibility of others, hmm.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

No, I pay my own bills, thank you. It's an entirely alien concept to the freeloaders of Larryville, so I'm not surprised the possibility didn't occur to you. But you should really consider trying it sometime.

(Pssst - BTW - if you have insurance, someone else is paying for your healthcare.)

Chris Golledge 7 years ago

Really? You can afford a prolonged hospital stay out of your own pocket?

Good for you. Myself, I have to join a group that all pay a share of the costs; it's called 'insurance'. It works pretty well when there aren't laws that say that someone else gets to pull from the group's pile without paying, which is basically the system we have when hospitals aren't allowed to turn away patients.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

"which is basically the system we have when hospitals aren't allowed to turn away patients"

Wow. You really know absolutely nothing about the health care issue, do you?

Hospitals can indeed turn away patients. Only emergency rooms can not, and they only have to provide an examination, not treatment for non-emergent conditions. If you present at an ER with the flu, the doctor can (and will, in most cases) examine you and say 'You have the flu, call your doctor tomorrow.' And, incidentally, even that requirement is only for ER's that accept Medicare/Medicaid. While most of them do, that's their choice, it's perfectly within their rights to stop accepting publicly funded insurance the same way they often refuse to accept any particular private insurance if it is not economically beneficial.

"You can afford a prolonged hospital stay out of your own pocket?"

Ah. You seem to have inadvertently stumbled upon the heart of the problem. Of course, when you have everyone else paying their "share" of your expenses, you have no reason to address that problem, do you?

Chris Golledge 7 years ago

Not inadvertently. You are ducking the question. If you get cancer or are in a major car wreck, who will pay for your treatment?

jafs 7 years ago

If it doesn't say anything about it, then it would be a non-issue.

That's Scalia's view on abortion - the constitution says nothing about it, therefore there is no constitutional issue.

Liberty275 7 years ago

Give me one sane reason why everybody in the United States should not have the same bass boat as our Congress and their Staff's have, at the same cost that they pay out of pocket.

Cait McKnelly 7 years ago

Because bass boats are a luxury; health care is not. In fact, in the spirit of the whole "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" thing, healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. Health care should not be a "business" at all; not when their profit margins and profit and loss statements are counted in human lives, not dollars. In most first world countries (in fact in all countries other than the US as far as I know) in the Western world, health care is not a "business".

notajayhawk 7 years ago

"That a health care reform law of such enormous size and consequence, revolutionizing one-sixth of the U.S. economy, could be sold on such flimflammery is astonishing"

Not if you're familiar with the comments on the award-winning LJW message boards.

Paul R Getto 7 years ago

Questionable numbers? Surely not. Both sides keep accurate books and make good predictions concerning the effects of their legislative actions. I am shocked, shocked, I tell ya!

Randall Uhrich 7 years ago

If Charles Krauthammer says something, you can believe that exactly the opposite is true. Why do you think he works for Fox? There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. (Mark Twain)

notajayhawk 7 years ago

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."

Let's see, the CBO analysis fits into which category(ies)...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

Chuck is throwing poo again. Is it sticking?

canyon_wren 7 years ago

bozo and others--you must not be familiar with Krauthammer's background. he is a Liberal who has seen the error of his ways. Read more about him and "wise up."

canyon_wren 7 years ago

Defender, I KNEW I could count on a response from you!

I realize that Wikipedia is not the most reliable source in the world but it does contain a good many facts. Read what they say about Krauthammer. You aren't ALWAYS right, though apparently you are confident that you are.

canyon_wren 7 years ago

btw--I am curious--are you male or female? For a long time I thought you were male, but some of your posts make me question that. With due respect to all the great guys out there, I would hate to think that a female would write the hateful things you do! Sorry if that sounds sexist! I know women can be equally hateful, but--as a rule--I believe they are more subtle and less aggressive in their hatefulness.

jhwk2008 7 years ago

"With 10 years of money inflow versus six years of outflow, the result is a positive — i.e., deficit-reducing — number. Surprise."

Lie, i.e., Republican talking point. In the first three years, benefits are larger than or equal to taxes. Only in year four are taxes larger than benefits. In year five, benefits equal taxes. In the next five years, however, benefits absolutely overwhelm taxes.

Page 4 of this presentation. It's a Goldman Sachs graph. Benefits are dark blue. Taxes are light blue. http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/114xx/doc11439/WHCC_Presentation-4-12-10.pdf.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

Uh huh.

Did you even read the link you posted, or just gaze at the pretty graph?

"Our estimates reflect the middle of the distribution of possible outcomes, based on our professional judgment (including consultation with outside experts). However, estimates of the effects of comprehensive reforms are extremely uncertain."

"Authorizations of appropriations for other programs: At least $50 billion during 2010-2019, but CBO did not complete estimates of all of the amounts."

"CBO has not estimated the effects of the legislation on output."

"The budgetary impact could be quite different if key provisions are ultimately changed."

Also, you DO know that part of the balancing act was dependent on the cuts in Medicare provider rates that didn't happen, don't you? (The presentation you linked to was done last August, before Congress decided not to go ahead with those cuts - which they do every year.)

jhwk2008 7 years ago

Nothing new here. Because the facts don't support your viewpoint, you attack the people responsible for those facts.

Also, you DO know that in 1997, Republicans added a flawed provision to Medicare that would have seen doctors flee the profession. Because Republicans didn't want that to happen, they passed yearly bills that prevented the cuts from taking place. None of these bills were paid for. Why you ask? Because they were cuts no one ever intended to make. If no one ever intended to make them, why should they be paid for, and why should they included as spending in the Health Care Bill? That's right, they shouldn't.

Um, the presentation was done on the Reconciliation Legislation Combined with H.R. 3590 as Passed by the Senate. The doctor fix isn't in the Reconciliation bill, and never was.

And since you're not good with graphs, here's a table. Page 6. http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/114xx/doc11439/WHCC_Presentation-4-12-10.pdf


notajayhawk 7 years ago

"Because the facts don't support your viewpoint ..."

What facts were those, jhwk (BTW, that's the year you graduated from grade school, I assume?)?

"However, estimates of the effects of comprehensive reforms are extremely uncertain."

"CBO did not complete estimates of all of the amounts."

"CBO has not estimated the effects of the legislation on output."

"The budgetary impact could be quite different"

Those are the "facts" that [snicker] support your contention?




Oh, and yes, little one, I did know where the Medicare cuts came from. The projected 'savings' the CBO counted on took those cuts into account. They didn't happen. Nice try, but no cookie.

jhwk2008 7 years ago

Lulz. You don't know how discretionary spending works, fail to grasp the meaning of "output" in the presentation, for some reason include the argument that the budget impact could be different if the law was changed, which it wasn't, and keep claiming that the doctor fix was in the CBO score, which it wasn't. (If you mean double-counting, the CBO didn't do that either. Even Paul Ryan agrees the CBO didn't double count.)

Facts = CBO -- objective, non-partisan -- educated guesses. I don't know about you, but if the most trusted weatherman around tells me it's going to rain, I don't claim that he's uncertain, I bring an umbrella. By the way, you should throw around some more ad hominems. It really helps with your argument...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"By the way, you should throw around some more ad hominems. "

I'm sure you've figured out that he doesn't need any encouragement in that dept.

jafs 7 years ago

Weather prediction is pretty uncertain too, so I'm not sure that helps your argument.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

"keep claiming that the doctor fix was in the CBO score"

Again, perhaps if you'd read the material you linked to, you'd make yourself look marginally less foolish (I doubt it, but hey, anything's possible).

  • In a letter responding to questions from Congressman Paul Ryan, CBO analyzed the effects of the health reform legislation if: – The tax on high-premium insurance plans was never implemented; – The indexing of exchange subsidies continued in the same way after 2018 as before; – The adjustment to physician payment rates under Medicare that was passed by the House last fall (the “SGR fix”) was included; and – The Independent Payment Advisory Board—which would recommend changes to Medicare to limit spending growth—was never implemented.

  • We estimated that, if those changes were made, the legislation would increase federal deficits during the decade beyond 2019 relative to those projected under current law—with a total effect during that decade in a broad range around one-quarter percent of GDP.

Now, see if you can keep up:

"The adjustment to physician payment rates under Medicare that was passed by the House last fall" the presentation refers to was (yet another) year-long delay in implementing the scheduled 21% cut in reimbursement rates. Now, you might ask yourself why Ryan would have asked - and the CBO would have supplied - the alternate analysis that included that delay in the cuts (i.e., an analysis that does not include the cuts) if the cuts hadn't been included in their original analysis?

BTW, hope you weren't out standing on your sidewalk holding a shovel when they predicted that snowfall last week that didn't seem to materialize. But hey, if you think they should spend a trillion dollars or so of our money based on something like the certainty of the weather, then hey, more power to ya'.

jhwk2008 7 years ago

Double lulz. You might want to read that again.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

There should be a literacy requirement before allowing children like you to post. I have read it, and even explained it to you and you still don't get it. Seriously, spanky, quit while you're behind.

Liberty275 7 years ago

You solve your problem, I'll solve mine. That way all the problems will be soled and nobody will have to bite anyone.

notajayhawk 7 years ago


I don't think the changes required are either as unobtainable or as difficult as you think. For a start, we could do away with the 40% of healthcare services that we pay for that do nothing to improve health. It's not that difficult to change a mindset. We need to change the providers' mindset to start thinking in terms of cost-effectiveness rather than skipping right to the 'gold standard' of treatment. And we need to get consumers to stop thinking that their insurance premiums and co-pays are all it costs for their healthcare.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

I'll try to post it later (it'd probably be tomorrow, I'm on my way out the door) or PM it to you, there were some studies from Dartmouth a while back, I've posted the links before but don't have time to look for them now.

By 'gold standard' I mean the propensity of physicians to order a CT or MRI when an x-ray would have been fine, the shortcuts to the most complicated and expensive treatments instead of starting with some cheaper and more basic alternatives, etc. For example, my doctor knows I don't have insurance, so when I had a rotator cuff problem, she started with anti-inflammatories and exercises, when that didn't work she tried a steroid shot (about $60 on top of an $80 office visit). The next step would have been physical therapy, and only then go to an MRI and a referral to an orthopod for possible surgery. Too many doctors skip right to the top, which would have been unnecessary as the steroid shot knocked it out.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

Still can't find my old links, try Googling Dr. John E. Wennberg and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

Now, some qualifications: I have trouble with some of his methodology and conclusions just as I do with some of the research from the other side of the issue. The fact that a patient in Los Angeles spends XX% more for a procedure than a patient in Vermont without a significant increase in 'success' rates is not proof that the extra XX% was wasted money; the comparison has problems just as the comparisons between our health care system and those in other countries do, which I have often criticized for the same reasons (you're not comparing the same populations and there may be other factors). But there are other indicators, e.g. the OECD noting that people in this country get more MRI's than people in other OECD countries which can not be accounted for by any significant increase in the prevalence of pathology.

Chris Golledge 7 years ago

Funny you should say that Tom. Isn't that what everyone who does not pay for the own medical problems is saying?

jayhawklawrence 7 years ago

"This does not absolve the Republicans from producing a health care replacement. They will and should be judged by how well their alternative addresses the needs of the uninsured and the anxieties of the currently insured."

If Krauthammer is such a brilliant man, I wish he could explain why the Republican Party has always avoided the health care issue until the Democrats bring it up. It sounds like he is going to start trying to Morph into someone who actually cares about the 40-50 million uninsured Americans.

Is this the new strategy we are going to start seeing? The caring and weeping Republicans?

I hope we don't take our eye off of the most important issue right now other than health care and that is the reform of our financial system and wall street. It is out of control. We also have to worry about foreign money and its influence on our government.


Remember that when you use the term, "Chinese Company", you are talking about the Chinese government because their system is not the same as ours.

George Lippencott 7 years ago

Might be because the Republicans believe that health care is a personal responsibility as it was duting most of my life time. Kind of a basic difference between the two parties.

And, by the by, they have had A PLAN ON THE field from the beginning. It relies on you buying your own insurance and not demanding that I ;pay for it.

Insurance snuck in when taxes were much higher and much more progressive - way to reward since more salary increases would be taxed away.

No good deed goes unpunished

beaujackson 7 years ago

Most of those who complain about health care costs have either paid nothing into the system (for insurance), or not enough for what they expect in benefits, thus making it more expensive for all who do.

The ER is NOT for primary care.

Illegal aliens have "broke" California's health care and educational systems, and the federal govt. (all taxpayers) will be forced to bail them out.

Several other states will follow.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

If only it wasn't for that tiny detail that those without insurance use ER's less than those who do ...

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

First of all Obamacare was more about providing 39 million uninsured with insurance somehow not necessarily debt reduction.

It is the white collar executives of the medical insurance industry increasing the cost. Obama has no control over these greedy white collar executives.

Some in this healthcare/health insurance industry like high dollar operations which is abuse of medical insurance dollars.

Meet the high dollar job killers

The health care industry alone has six lobbyists for every member of Congress and more than 500 of them are former Congressional staff members, according to the Public Accountability Initiative’s LittleSis database. That’s more than 3,000 high dollar mouth pieces spending a lot of special interest campaign money.

Former House majority leader Richard K. Armey, left, is one of several ex-congressmen working on behalf of health-care companies as a Senate committee considers legislation. Armey represents a New Jersey pharmaceutical firm. (By Danny Johnston -- Associated Press)

The hirings are part of a record-breaking influence campaign by the health-care industry, which is spending more than $1.4 million a day on lobbying in the current fight, according to disclosure records.

Nearly half of the insiders previously worked for the key committees and lawmakers, including Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), debating whether to adopt a public insurance option opposed by major industry groups. At least 10 others have been members of Congress, such as former House majority leaders Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.) and Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), both of whom represent a New Jersey pharmaceutical firm.

And even in a city where lobbying is a part of life, the scale of the effort has drawn attention. For example, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) doubled its spending to nearly $7 million in the first quarter of 2009, followed by Pfizer, with more than $6 million.

The push has reunited many who worked together in government on health-care reform, but are now employed as advocates for pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

A June 10 meeting between aides to Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and health-care lobbyists included two former Baucus chiefs of staff: David Castagnetti, whose clients include PhRMA and America's Health Insurance Plans, and Jeffrey A. Forbes, who represents PhRMA, Amgen, Genentech, Merck and others. Castagnetti did not return a telephone call; Forbes declined to comment.


Richard Heckler 7 years ago

More on the high dollar job killers:

Bill Moyers

The health care industry alone has six lobbyists for every member of Congress and more than 500 of them are former Congressional staff members, according to the Public Accountability Initiative’s LittleSis database. That’s more than 3,000 high dollar mouth pieces spending a lot of special interest campaign money.

If you’ve been watching the Senate Finance Committee’s markup sessions, maybe you’ve noticed a woman sitting behind Committee Chairman Max Baucus. Her name is Liz Fowler.

Fowler used to work for WellPoint, the largest health insurer in the country. She was its vice president of public policy. Baucus’ office failed to mention this in the press release announcing her appointment as senior counsel in February 2008, even though it went on at length about her expertise in “health care policy.”

Now she’s working for the very committee with the most power to give her old company and the entire industry exactly what they want – higher profits – and no competition from alternative non-profit coverage that could lower costs and premiums.

A veteran of the revolving door, Fowler had a previous stint working for Senator Baucus – before her time at WellPoint. But wait, there’s more. The person who was Baucus top health advisor before he brought back Liz Fowler? Her name is Michelle Easton. And why did she leave the staff of the committee? To go to work – surprise – at a firm representing the same company for which Liz Fowler worked – WellPoint. As a lobbyist.

You can’t tell the players without a scorecard in the old Washington shell game. Lobbyist out, lobbyist in. It’s why they always win. They’ve been plowing this ground for years, but with the broad legislative agenda of the Obama White House – health care, energy, financial reform, the Employee Free Choice Act and more – the soil has never been so fertile.

The health care industry alone has six lobbyists for every member of Congress and more than 500 of them are former Congressional staff members, according to the Public Accountability Initiative’s LittleSis database.

More: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/2009/10/bill_moyers_michael_winship_in.html#more

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Bring on the FBI and the Grand Jury!!!

Why ?

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

Where is your refund? Where is the class action suit?

Better yet where is the FBI and the Grand Jury?

George Lippencott 7 years ago

The merrill (anonymous) strikes again. Lots of misleading information. That which I have checked has been consistently wrong. That which is accurate is horribly misleading. It does his advocacy little good to throw around such data. There are good and legitimate reasons to move to national health care and there are good and legitimate reasons to not go there. Be nice if we could address this issue as grown ups.

George Lippencott 7 years ago

Actually already have in the past.

Look up the 10K reports from the insurance companies and udge for yoursaelf if they are stealing from us. There profits are not inconsistent with other business.

Note the report on Tricare posted here that reflects misinformation on the costs of the new entitlements. Buying in is not a moral thing

Web land is full of sites from the right challenging information from the left. Before you up chuck read some of them and do your own homework

The cuts to Meddcicare of $600 Billion have never been adequately explained. We all give up care when we are elderly so a few can have free care now.

pace 7 years ago

I am glad the health care reform bill is now law. i am glad it will not be repealed. I hope the consumer protection parts are left in place if the law is changed. There are parts I expect to be changed in the next ten years. I am glad the health care reform bill passed. It will help bring the deficit down. it will help families and persons gain needed access to health care.

What I want is congress, the senate and the President to work on jobs, foreclosures and improving education and training. Don't show me family values by outlawing gay marriage. Family values are best preserved by having a paycheck and a home.

pace 7 years ago

Tom is at least showing he is bilingual. The code word language lacks grace.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Neo Healthcare Savings Acc’t

I am wondering IF neoconservatives have stopped funding the medical insurance industry? aka canceled their medical insurance?

If so have any opened up health care savings account as the neoconservative party has been frequently suggesting?

If so would that not allow all of you anti ObamaCare freaks to stop complaining about ObamaCare,save a ton of dough and be practicing what your neoconservative party preaches?

Do any of you have any plans of financing your own HealthCare thus taking care of yourselves as is so often suggested of others?

You all do not need the medical insurance industry so why are you still supporting such a reckless operated system?

After all how can you so called fiscal conservatives afford 6 lobbyists per elected official?

After all how can you so called fiscal conservatives afford an industry that blows YOUR health care dollars @ $1.4 million per day on political campaigns?

George Lippencott 7 years ago

Actually I do need the medical insurance industry. It provides balance against the medical services industry.

I pay for my insurance - all of it. Medicare is not free and my usage in ACTUAL COSTS IS ABOUT WHAT I pay even though the great government you worship promised us free health care for life for fighting its wars. I pay in full for the supplement as I would get financially destroyed if I had only Medicare. The combined costs are just about what I paid when our insurance was actually supplemented by our employers. As far as I can tell you are not paying for any of it and worse you are reneging on promises made. But then what else is new with our great government!!!

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

My father in law is a Republican fiscal conservative. According to him the party walked away from him.

"What's a 'neoconservative'?" A person posing as a republican fiscal conservative of today. Big spending Neocons and Christian fundamentalists took over the repub party in order to avoid the ballot process required for new political parties to become valid. We’re talking the Bush family,Koch Brothers,Grover Norquist,Jerry Falwell,the Cheney family,Newt Gingrich etc etc etc and all of those behind the scenes characters who kicked off the invasion of the mideast oil fields and financial supporters.

What's their agenda?

"Rebuilding America's Defences," openly advocates for total global military domination” (Very dangerous position which threatens OUR freedoms and the nations security) http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century

Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.

Elliott Abrams / Gary Bauer / William J. Bennett / Jeb Bush /

Dick Cheney / Eliot A. Cohen / Midge Decter / Paula Dobriansky / Steve Forbes /

Aaron Friedberg / Francis Fukuyama / Frank Gaffney / Fred C. Ikle /

Donald Kagan / Zalmay Khalilzad / I. Lewis Libby / Norman Podhoretz /

Dan Quayle / Peter W. Rodman / Stephen P. Rosen / Henry S. Rowen /

Donald Rumsfeld / Vin Weber / George Weigel / Paul Wolfowitz /

Behind the scene:

Newt Gingrich / George Herbert Walker Bush / James Baker / Vice Adm John Poindexter

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

How to reduce the cost of the federal government in a large way?

Mandate that all federal government employees including all elected officials use IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for All. Instead of using the most expensive medical insurance industry in the world. YES!

Let's reduce health care costs by getting rid of the medical insurance industry. Why? Because the medical insurance industry does not provide health care. But they are a whopping expense. And most consumers do not spend what is paid out annually per policy.

Improved Medicare Insurance for All would provide real medical insurance reform!

The United States spends twice as much as other industrialized nations on healthcare – $8160 per capita – yet performs poorly in comparison and leaves over 46 million people without health coverage and millions more inadequately covered.

Expanded and Improved Medicare Insurance for All is one of the solutions.

  • Easy to Implement: Medicare has been in existence since 1966, it provides healthcare to those 65 and older, and satisfaction levels are high. The structure is already in place and can be easily expanded to cover everyone.

  • Simple: One entity – established by the government – would handle billing and payment at a cost significantly lower than private insurance companies. Private insurance companies spend about 31% of every healthcare dollar on administration. Medicare now spends about 3%.

  • Real Choice: An expanded and improved Medicare for All would provide personal choice of doctors and other healthcare providers. While financing would be public, providers would remain private. As with Medicare, you choose your doctor, your hospital, and other healthcare providers.

  • State and Local Tax Relief: Medicare for All would assume the costs of healthcare delivery, thus relieving the states and local governments of the cost of healthcare, including Medicaid, and as a result reduce State and local tax burdens.

  • Expanded coverage: Would cover all medically necessary healthcare services – no more rationing by private insurance companies. There would be no limits on coverage, no co-pays or deductibles, and services would include not only primary and specialized care but also prescription drugs, dental, vision, mental health services, and long-term care.

  • Everyone In, Nobody Out: Everyone would be eligible and covered. No longer would doctors ask what insurance you have before they treat you.

  • No More Overpriced Private Health Insurance: Medicare for All would eliminate the need for private health insurance companies who put profit before healthcare, unfairly limit choice, restrict who gets coverage, and force people into bankruptcy.

  • Lower Costs: Most people will pay significantly less for healthcare. Savings will be achieved in reduced administrative costs and in negotiated prices for prescription drugs.


Flap Doodle 7 years ago

  1. Make everything free
  2. ?
  3. Gazillions of dollars saved!!!!

notajayhawk 7 years ago

"There would be no limits on coverage, no co-pays or deductibles, and services would include not only primary and specialized care but also prescription drugs, dental, vision, mental health services, and long-term care."

And this will somehow cost less.




Richard Heckler 7 years ago

IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for ALL is far from free. It has never been offered for free.

"Gazillions of dollars saved!!!!" - Probably not but about $350 billion annually...

Privatized insurance – No Hassle full coverage 24/7 - $18,310 a year

IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for All – NO Hassle full coverage 24/7 - $3300 a year for a family of four making about $60,000.

How do we get to this?

Eliminate: 1. high dollar CEO's & stock options

  1. golden parachutes

  2. reckless spending of insurance dollars on special interest campaign funding

  3. shareholders

  4. ELIMINATE Spending $1.4 million medical insurance dollars a day to keep fiscally responsible IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for All off the table. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/05/AR2009070502770.html

  5. sales commissions

  6. 33% of every medical insurance dollar is spent on administration

  7. Open up cost of pharmaceuticals to a bid - gain VA pricing

  8. Eliminate the private medical insurance industry because the 2000 private insurance providers do not provide health care.

  9. ELIMINATE Billions of Insurance Industry Overcharges http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html

What is Full Coverage 24/7 ?

  • 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 • long term care

NO deductible --- NO co-pay http://www.healthcare-now.org/

notajayhawk 7 years ago

"33% of every medical insurance dollar is spent on administration"

When are you going to get tired of posting bald-faced lies, merrill?

notajayhawk 7 years ago

The 33% figure merrill throws around stems from the infamous NEJM study done a long time ago. That study was written by the founders of Physicians for a National Health Plan, one of merrill's pet sources for his drivel. Even if one ignored the glaring methodological issues with that study, and the equally glaring bias of the authors, the study did not find that 33% of our healthcare spending went to insurance administrative costs, just to administrative costs that are inherent in the healthcare delivery system. They never would have gotten the study published in that journal if they tried to draw that conclusion (that it is administrative costs of insurance), but they DO make that claim on their website.

George Lippencott 7 years ago

merrill basic economics does not support providing more for less. Help me. What part of the current system other than the higher salaries for big wigs would go away if we had a national health care program?? VA hospital has about the same administration as LMH. Is your savings in paying providers less? Is it in providing less care? Do you some how see government care as significantly more efficient than the current for profit system? Do we have longer waits and rationed services?

Posting left wing blogs quoting other left wing blogs does not repeal the economic facts.

George Lippencott 7 years ago

By the way Medicare (CMS) does not process claims nor deal with fraud or contract with providers as must be done under regular insurance. The program is administered by the same people who administer regular health insurance. Fraud is prosecuted by other elements of the government as are other services that regular health insurance charges directly. Other elements of the government determine the fair and reasonable charges (no negotiation) and the Congress mandates them. Where are you getting the big difference between government administered care and regular insurance care?? Apples and apples enemy mine!

Jimo 7 years ago

"With 10 years of money inflow versus six years of outflow, the result is a positive — i.e., deficit-reducing — number. Surprise."

The clear implication here is that there's a gimmick here to make this program appear to save money when it does not.

That's false. There's a gimmick to make the program appear to cost only $1 trillion in the next 10 years because Democrats are timid mice afraid that the public can't deal with large numbers without hyperventilating. (The Tea Party shows that this is true for about 20% of the public.)

In reality, this program runs indefinitely and the CBO report, which covers the next 20 years, shows that the program's savings accelerate over time, starting with hundreds of billions in savings and reaching thousands of billions in savings over this 20 year period. The longer the program runs the more money is saved.

The Opinion Page is for opinion, not lies. The LJW should be ashamed of republishing Krauthammer's false claim that the CBO report says something it does not by citing only part, not all, the report. Would LJW print a letter quoting Washington's "I can not tell a lie" as "I can ... tell a lie" ?

George Lippencott 7 years ago

Jimo (anonymous) says

Baloney. All the data on everything more than five years out is based on assumptions. The CBO by law accepts the assumptions given it and costs them. There is nothing in the legislation that reduces costs except a vague notion that by providing preventive care we avoid accute care. Might be true but is unproven and very much subject to how people use what is proivided. If the higher costs to all those currently on insurance and not subsidized leads to less use of medical care all those assumptions are out the window.

pace 7 years ago

The republicans ran a billion dollar ad campaign against the health care reform bill. They put out all stops, made health care reform a partisan fight. I am so tired of spin, number games and down right lies to prove which side is coool. Not so cool, I think the Republicans had no business to even take the time to do their repeal the bill dance until they showed me what their health care reform bill would look like and what it would costs. I won't listen to how much money they might be saving the world until their figures are on the table too. Too many Insurance companies were taking your money till major illness hit and suddenly they decide you weren't eligible. And did they return the money collected , no. Lose your job, lose your insurance, can't get picked up because of preexisting condition. Tricky and inefficient quick sand schemes that effected how medical care was delivered, what it costs and available. I would like numbers, solid ones, not spun. I would like numbers on what cuts across the board, social security, medicaid, defense, education , debt would be made. I know it hurts to say it outloud. Face it, we need cuts and we need to raise taxes, cut the loop holes and if you want to sell your ideas by the $ cost, Then lets look at the whole pie. What tax cuts or what tax increases would do to bring the debt down. Lets look at the whole pie, not the pie in the sky. Enough of the name calling, or lets sell it sister, lets look at the figures and comparisons of different effects.
I am tired of the silence about jobs, education, training and foreclosures. yes, they are so important to both parties but it just hasn't been a priority. Don't bleed me and other working families dry , sell off state and federal assets (that has taken generations to build) and tell me your economic recovery plan is to cut taxes to the wealthy and to divert assets to companies in the black.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

And in other news:


"Senate Republicans will be forced to vote separately on popular provisions of the Obama administration's healthcare reform law if they introduce a bill to repeal it, a senior Democratic lawmaker said on Sunday."

So ... they had to vote to pass this 1200+ page monstrosity as a package, but will only be allowed to vote to repeal it in separate pieces. Uh, yeah, that's fair.

So, Mr Schumer, why couldn't you vote on passing the provisions individually? Oh, forgot, because they the Democrats couldn't have been patting themselves on the back for a 'historic' healthcare reform measure.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.