Letters to the Editor

Who will pay?

February 21, 2012


To the editor:

The airwaves are full of political spots tearing hair and gnashing teeth about the new national health care system. Those on the extreme right and the news media have dubbed this system “Obamacare” in their efforts to further bash the elected president of the United States. One of the tenants of this system is to provide for everyone having health insurance with the requirement that everyone participate.

So, in the unlikely event that the Republicans seeking traction in the next election succeed in repealing the national health care initiative, who is to pay? Who will pay the hospitals for uninsured persons who show up at the emergency room for everything from sniffles from a cold to life-threatening injuries? These critical health services are not free. Hospitals are required to provide services no matter whether the patient can pay or not.

Without some sort of requirement that individuals take financial responsibility, YOU pay when you go to the hospital for services — you who have demonstrated responsibility by having health insurance or who are entitled to Medicare you have bought and paid for all your working life. Medicare is not an “entitlement” as some political candidates have indicated.

All states require that you have automobile liability insurance to have driver’s license; it is illegal to drive without coverage. Why should it not be mandated that all persons have some form of coverage to pay for their health care and remove this burden from those of us who do have medical insurance coverage?”


Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

  1. Obamacare did not necessarily increase the cost because the Medical Insurance Industry would have increased the cost no matter what as the industry has been doing for years under the status quo umbrella. Pay increases have not matched insurance increases for many years.

Obamacare did not provide lower cost BUT did bring more protection to consumers.

Blame the medical insurance industry,the lobbyists and our politicians on all sides of the aisle

  1. Under the current system never expect the rates to become reasonable so long as:
  2. Obscene CEO and BOD pay packages exist
  3. Shareholders exist
  4. the monster bureaucracy that over 2,000 insurance providers create exists
  5. the cost of 6 lobbyists per elected official exists

  6. corrupt political campaign spending against insurance reform exists such as: Former aides and elected officials spending $1.4 million a day fighting reform with lies http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/05/AR2009070502770.html

  7. Politicians as shareholders: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR2009061204075.html

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

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

Obamacare cannot force lower cost that is an illusion. The medical insurance industry is the culprit for they have a stranglehold on the political system. The medical insurance industry does not give a damn what elected officials want they run the show. The industry shells out millions upon millions of heath care dollars into special interest campaign cookie jars.

And on campaigns to defeat actual reform:

The lies coming across the TV screens suggesting that Obamacare is costing America jobs is bogus garbage. It is also criminal abuse spending of YOUR health care dollars being laundered through the US Chamber of Commerce as the medical insurance industry did in 2009.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

The U.S. health insurance 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.

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.

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

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

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

Medicare must exist in the fragmented world that is American health care—but no matter how creative the opponents of single-payer get, there is no way they can show convincingly how the administrative costs of a single-payer system could come close to the current level.


Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

Humans are born needing health care therefore health care should be a human right not a high profit retail mechanism!

Hudson Luce 5 years, 11 months ago

Jim, I'd agree with you if there weren't a state-enforced cartelization of the health care industry. Only certain state-approved and licensed companies may sell health insurance, and a study has been done which shows that in each state, there is one company which has a near monopoly on writing policies (http://www.counterpunch.org/2010/01/14/the-health-insurance-monopoly/). Moreover, not just anyone may be a doctor or a nurse, but only people who are licensed by the state to do so, and there are stringent requirements, including attending state-licensed schools and passing state-approved licensing exams. The number of people who are admitted by these schools is set artificially low so that the supply of doctors and nurses will not meet the demand, thus the prices for care may be kept artificially high. The entire industry is restricted by state and federal licensing, and should therefore be regulated like public utilities, another sector in which there is no free market. Under these conditions, health care should be a right. If there were a free market, without state licensing, and with the liberal application of the antitrust laws to prevent the creation of cartels which collude to defraud consumers, then health care might conceivably be considered not to be a right, but something which no decent society would deny its citizens.

gudpoynt 5 years, 11 months ago

" the threat of cartelization in a free market is a myth"

No it's not. Intervention of centralized government is not a necessary condition for cartelization. Ask your professor.

gudpoynt 5 years, 11 months ago

A cartel is price fixing through an oligopoly. Government intervention is not required for this to economic phenomenon occur.

gudpoynt 5 years, 11 months ago

Wait... How can a cartel firm start to undercut the prices set by the cartel, when cartels can't even develop in a free market?

Your explanation of why cartels can't exist in a free market uses the supposed behaviors of firms within said nonexistent cartel.

Maybe what you meant to say is that cartels can exist in the free market, but free market forces dissolve them relatively quickly. Is that it?

gudpoynt 5 years, 11 months ago

Perhaps you would be less misunderstood if you didn't say things you didn't actually mean.

So...cartels DO arise and exist in a free market context, in the absence of intervention.

And if a cartel can exist, if only briefly, in the absence of government intervention, then govt intervention is not a necessary condition for cartelization, is it?

See what I mean about your logic?

Now... The more interesting question is how long can a cartel exist in the absence of government intervention? Is it short enough that nobody gets screwed too badly? That's the important thing to consider.

voevoda 5 years, 11 months ago

Life and liberty are rights, and somebody has to protect them, too--namely, our armed forces and our police. So military service is "slavery," too? Government officials must provide services to all citizens. So is government service "slavery," too? Providing health care isn't slavery, Liberty_One, if individuals a) choose to become health care providers; b) get paid a salary (not fee-per-service); c) can opt out of treating an occasional specific patient for a compelling reason. There are more cogent ways of arguing that health care isn't a "right," Liberty_One. By choosing such an unconvincing line of argumentation, you reveal that your opposition to guaranteed health care isn't rooted in logic, but rather in emotion.

gudpoynt 5 years, 11 months ago

"To protect our property rights. This is the only legal function of government."

So, either public education is protecting a property right or it is illegal?

gudpoynt 5 years, 11 months ago

Which is why, after decades of indoctrination through public education, we have a population beholden to the sacrosanct federal government.

Nope, no dissenters among these ranks. Nosiree.

Just like the evil zombie soviets we are, you bet your sweet brainwash.

gudpoynt 5 years, 11 months ago

Btw, we don't have compulsory public education.

And you avoided my question about what you think public education should e categorized as... A protection of property rights, or illegal activity... since an idiot once explained to me that those are the only two options.

voevoda 5 years, 11 months ago

Silly Liberty_One, public education long predates the Soviet Union. If you don't know that, then you are too poorly informed to hold any opinion worth serious consideration.

voevoda 5 years, 11 months ago

It's your logic that is faulty, Liberty_One. If one's body is property, and a purpose of government is the protection of property, then government must provide protection of it. You have just created a very strong argument in favor of government-provided and mandated health care!

Andrew Reeves 5 years, 11 months ago

And when will we get rid of the Socialist/Communist Car Insurance scheme?!!!!

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 11 months ago

When you alre financially able to replace your car which was destroyed by a drunk, distracted or irresponsible driver who ran a red light and hit you in the middle of the intersection. This is not socialism/communism (get a book and do some studying0, it is called responsibility.l

Flap Doodle 5 years, 11 months ago

"If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it's free!" (from a P.J. Rourke source)

Brock Masters 5 years, 11 months ago

From one Fred to another, please take time to study our Constitution. The Constitution spells out Federal and State rights and powers. The States can do things the Federal government cannot do. Further, the state does not make you get car insurance unless you choose to drive. The federal government is forcing you to get health insurance for simply being alive. A small distinction, but an important one.

And if the Affordable Health Care Act is so wonderful, then why has Obama's administration granted so many waivers to it?

Health care reform is needed, but you cannot do it unconstitutionally. And yes, some will say it is constitutional, so we'll have to wait and see.

skinny 5 years, 11 months ago

Human right to have healrth insurance, give me a break! IF you want something you have to work to get it! Nothing is free. I sure the heck am not paying for your health care!!

repaste 5 years, 11 months ago

You pay $5k a year for healthcare for all the people in prison, you t-bone Fred with his paid-up car insurance yet no health insurance and pay for his care as well. Unless we are to the point of leaving the sick/injured where they fall, we all share the cost. What percentage of Kansans have there healthcare paid now for by the Fed/state Gov? 20%? more?

voevoda 5 years, 11 months ago

You're already paying for those people's health care, skinny. If you pay for health insurance for them instead of directly for their care, it will cost you less. That's because then they will seek treatment before they face catastrophic illness, and use cheaper service providers (clinics rather than emergency rooms).
Of course, skinny, you may be one of those "let them die" folks. I certainly hope that you're not so lacking in human compassion.

cato_the_elder 5 years, 11 months ago

"All states require that you have automobile liability insurance to have driver’s license; it is illegal to drive without coverage. Why should it not be mandated that all persons have some form of coverage to pay for their health care and remove this burden from those of us who do have medical insurance coverage?” The answer to your question is the bedrock on which our Country was founded: the doctrine of federalism. Under our system of government, states can mandate the purchase of automobile insurance by their residents. States can do the same thing with health insurance should they choose to do so. However, under principles of federalism, the federal government has no right whatsoever to penalize individual citizens for their inactivity, i.e. choosing not to buy health insurance, thus forcing them to buy it. Yes, the Commerce Clause has been judicially stretched beyond anything ever intended by our Founders, but if Obamacare is held to be constitutional there will be nothing that the federal government can't order private citizens to do or not do, under the guise of "regulating commerce." For the sake of our liberty and the freedom of our children and grandchildren, I most fervently look forward to a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court holding Obamacare to be the unconstitutional deprivation of our individual liberty that it unmistakably is.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 11 months ago

Yup, leave the sick, bleeding and dying in a heap outside the hospital back door if they cannot pay. Great thought! You would have prospered in the Third Reich.

gudpoynt 5 years, 11 months ago

"Why would you leave the sick and dying in a heap because they cannot pay? "

Because treating them would be giving our money away, causing us to be less profitable, and give an edge to our competitors who don't give their money away.


Leave the charity to charities; the philanthropy to philanthropes! This is a business, man! This is Libertopia!

voevoda 5 years, 11 months ago

Yes, doctors and hospitals volunteer their services. But they can do so only because they make enough off their paying patients that they can afford to do so. And somebody needs to pay for the materials those charity patients need for their treatment. When providers do so, they make up the costs with the higher prices customers pay. As you like to say, Liberty_One, "there's no free lunch." Apply this axiom logically, and you'll see why you have contradicted yourself with your assertion that Ron Paul is giving something away "free."

gudpoynt 5 years, 11 months ago

"violent coercion of society [into Medicare]"

Oh yeah! Remember when Clintion sent in the National Guard in 93 to squelch the revolution that would later be dubbed the Silver Spring?

Stay strong my Libertarian friend. Some day, we will again rise up against the violent social coercion that is Medicare and avenge our grandparents -- many of whom are actually still alive today due to service provided by...

... ahem...

.... Medicare.

Oh geez... that looks bad for our cause, doesn't it?

gudpoynt 5 years, 11 months ago

you're right. arguing by assertion IS easy.

voevoda 5 years, 11 months ago

Or Canada, where the economy is recovering quickly.

gudpoynt 5 years, 11 months ago


And it's a damn good thing they nuked that crappy, publicly funded health care system.

Oh wait, they didn't?

Oh wait, Canadians overwhelmingly prefer their system over that of the U.S. by a 10 to 1 margin?

Oh geez... that doesn't look good for our cause either, does it Libertaco?

Well, surely any progress in the recovery of the Canadian economy is directly in spite of their free-market-destroying, single payer health care system.

And as much as Canadians are known for being level headed and having pretty good common sense, surely the overwhelming support they show for their health care system is merely an exceptional, and widespread case of utter lunacy brought on by eating gov't handouts like so many sheep.

Glad you're around to bring the rest of the world into focus for us Liberty Belle! We owe you.

gudpoynt 5 years, 11 months ago

Right on, so a subset of the 8% who prefer the U.S. system to the Canadian system have come to the U.S. for care.

Contrast that with the 83% of Canadians who prefer their own system to that of the U.S.

I'm not making those numbers up. Came from a 2009 study. Google it.

How do you explain that overwhelmingly lopsided preference? Mass delusion?

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

Do you remember that Obama called for Congress to work together and pass a bill, outlining the goals he felt were important, but not micromanaging details?

And that they weren't able to do so?

Only after quite a while of waiting for that process to work did the Democrats simply try to pass something without co-operation, and only at the last minute did the Republicans want to participate, when it became clear that the Democrats would probably succeed.

I wish you'd stop inaccurately quoting Pelosi - your version is not at all what she said, or meant, and yet you keep repeating it, even though it's been corrected numerous times.

And, what ideas from the R side of the aisle are you referring to, that you would have liked included?

The bill includes a variety of ideas that had been proposed in the past by Republicans, you know.

tomatogrower 5 years, 11 months ago

"To all the ObamaCare zealots: trim your budget and purchase an inexpensive health policy."

Ummm, that's what the health care bill is requiring them to do. Here's a business for you. Help people understand that they can buy insurance, not just go to the emergency room, which all of us have to pay for.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

And yet, it's conservatives that don't believe in birth control.

And liberals that believe in sex education, so that young folks are informed about birth control.

I'd love to see a study - my best guess is that there are many more unwanted and unplanned children among conservatives than liberals, due to the above items, and the fact that conservatives seem to think that "abstinence" education will be effective.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

Of course - that's why it's a rather ineffective method to preach to young people with hormones raging.

asixbury 5 years, 11 months ago


This website above indicates that various studies have shown a link between conservatism and low intelligence. It's not saying that conservatives have lower IQ's, but that people with lower IQ's tend to be conservative. Very interesting article.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

I saw that - it is interesting.

Those folks are also more likely to be racist, if I remember correctly.

George Lippencott 5 years, 11 months ago

Since the letter was about the Affordable Care Act and asked who would pay if certain services were not provided I would simply ask who will pay for the services newly required.

I have yet to see data I trust that convinces me that taxing the upper half of the middle class to provide services for the lower half of the m idle class will do anything but move money around. The argument about preventive services has some merit but it will be decades before we see any significant return on that investment. I am still looking for the savings from fastening my seat belt.

Perhaps those subsidized will spend their health care savings on pizza and make “Godfather” a bunch of money???

gr 5 years, 11 months ago

Some people don't have insurance because they can't afford it.

Pass a law requiring them to purchase it in spite of them not being able to purchase it. Problem solved.

Armstrong 5 years, 11 months ago

Obamacare is just one of the gimmicks to purchase votes for the next election. When the propaganda mill is in full swing and the heat is on watch and see what other " Freebies " are given to the masses. When the honeymoon is over ( election day ) then its time to pay the piper, and pay, and pay .......

camper 5 years, 11 months ago

Yes, but he might have a sinus problem that needs to be looked at. He'd have to pay for that 1st.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

1 is great.

2 We're currently debating whether we think as a society that health care is a right or a privilege.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

Paying into those programs is required, and thus an obligation, not a right.

Getting much more from the programs than you've paid into them seems to be thought of as a right by some, but I'd call it more of a privilege.

But, the basic question that hasn't been decided yet is how we view health care generally - some think it's a basic right, and others disagree.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 11 months ago

If the government can mandate we have insurance, why can't they mandate we live a healthy lifestyle. It would be in everyone's best interests as that would keep the costs of that insurance down. Yes, along with Obamacare, five servings of fruits and vegetables shoved down our throats every day. One hour of exercise, mandated. (must be low impact, non-contact, non-dangerous). No smoking, no marijuana, no alcohol ....
And if anyone should suggest that the Federal government is overstepping their authority, we'll look to the Commerce Clause for justification. I'm sure it's in there somewhere.

voevoda 5 years, 11 months ago

The only Constitutional issue is the requirement for adult Americans to purchase a product from a private provider--that is, health insurance companies. This Constitutional issue was avoided in the original drafts of the health insurance reform by providing for an alternative government plan, available to all citizens. They could then either buy into the government system, or buy private insurance or otherwise prepare to cover the costs of catastrophic illness. Rather like the requirement for educating children: either send them to public schools, or send them to private schools, or home school them, but they must receive an appropriate education. So one solution would be to restore the public option. It was eliminated only because of that silly "death panel" nonsense that Obama's enemies spouted. Another solution would be to create a single-payer, state-organized, Canadian-type system. All citizens are entitled to health care; nobody has to buy insurance. Health care takes up a lot less of the Canadian GNP than the US; few people go without care or experience long delays; and the Canadian economy is doing a whole lot better than the US.

gudpoynt 5 years, 11 months ago

shot of course :)

We'd better ammo up and get ready for the onslaught of violence inherent in gov't sponsored health care systems.

Isn't that right Bertie?

They may come through the front door. They may come through the garage. They may come for you at work, or at school. They may go after your family first.

But rest assured.. . they are coming for us ... they are coming with guns ... they are coming to force their health insurance upon us ... and we WON'T...



Blam! Blam! /making guns with fingers and shooting at laptop screen, yeah!

voevoda 5 years, 11 months ago

Liberty_One, Your ideas are so much closer to socialism than mine are.

Like Marxists, 1. You claim that the economic structure of society dictates its political system 2. You set up dubious propositions concerning how the economy operates as eternal natural laws. 3. You trust that adherence to your chosen economic system will bring about a utopia, in which people will enjoy unimagined prosperity and only friendly competition. 4. You are a materialist, thinking that all that matters in human existence is material—things that people can have for their use. 5. You see government as the source of oppression and hope for its disappearance. 6. You see some people as deserving of wealth and attribute all virtue to them, while deriding others as parasites who deserve nothing. 7. You advocate depriving persons from “bad” economic groups of their civil rights. 8. You reject belief in a higher power, deriding religion as something for stupid people.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 11 months ago

This may sound unbelievable, but it really is true:

Rich people can contract diseases from poor people that could not afford to have their contagious diseases treated.

thebigspoon 5 years, 11 months ago

1) In what way does the government restrict the "supply of health care"?

2) Perhaps, Lib, some, or many, of those who are willing to pay for health care can not. I know your Libertarian world makes no room for the financially challenged, but in the real workd there are those who simply can not affrord health care. That is a fact, and none of your posturing and wishing for a Utopiuan Libertarian world will change that fact.

The opportunity existed many months ago for the Republicans to get on board with compromise ideas and they refused. The right of the parties to write an acceptable bill was refused and this is what we've got. Don't blameanyone but the elephants who were too shortsighted and hateful toward the President to act in the nation's better interests.

thebigspoon 5 years, 11 months ago

You know, Lib, you really piss me off. I ask a reasonable question or present a reasonable reply to your writings.and you give me your "you're too dumb to know anything so don't ask me again" story, without giving a concrete answer to the question. I've tried very hard in many past posts to ask you to explain yourseslf so that the rest sof us "libertarian-challenged" idiots could see what you meanj by your unsubstantiated ravings, and you refuse in any way to justify except to tell me what an idiot I am. But, I guess, the libertarian knows all and understands all and demands acceptance of his silly little world view without the attendant proof that the rest of us have to priovide to justsify our own opinions.

Did I say "silly"? Yes, I did. Your throwing the straw man epithet simply means you are too juvenile in your thinking to even attempt to justify your attacks on me or anyone questioning your authority and evidence. You may have some good, even useful, theories, but until you treat the posters on this forum as equals in intellect, you will have not an ounce of my respect. Not that that means a thing to you, but then, until you act in a manner that indicates you really want to win me over to your side, I don't really care.

voevoda 5 years, 11 months ago

thebigspoon, Liberty_One is referring to government licensing of medical professionals. Ron Paul and his son, Rand Paul, regard this sort of licensing as anathema, and it seems that Liberty_One agrees with them. They seem to think that market forces alone will ascertain that only capable and qualified medical professionals will be able to practice, and consumers will all be able to tell the difference between the ones who are qualified and those who are dangerous quacks based on internet information.
They also reject all health and safety regulations as "an abomination," and condemn the Federal Food and Drug administration for keeping "lifesaving" drugs off the market, without acknowledging that mostly it keeps life-threatening and ineffective drugs off the market.
Liberty_One has unbounded faith in the "market." Misplaced faith.

thebigspoon 5 years, 11 months ago

It says that voevoda is probably a lot smarter than you because he actually answered a question, something you are totally incapable of, from the looks of the majority of your posts. It also says he/she is possessed of the good manners to answer a direct question rather than going off ona tangent about the intellectual capacity or writing ability of the questioner.

That about cover it?

camper 5 years, 11 months ago

One of the biggest obstacles to balancing the budget is the continuing escalation of health care costs and the pressure it is putting on Medicare and Medicaid. These cost are shifting to these programs as well as those who are insured because of the shrinking "pool" of the insured.

The writer is on the mark. Who will pay? A mandate (just as it is with auto insurance) is not something that will threaten our freedom(s) and classify us as a communist or socialist state as the right wing will have you believe. It is merely an attempt to spread costs more equally so that health cost do not continue to get shifted to those who do have insurance. And not to forget, provide care to all (or more).

President Obama tried to do something about this as he promised. But even at that, it seems that what we got was a compromise that will not do much to reverse the trend.

Lets also not forget that for some people, the result of inaction on this can be premature death.

camper 5 years, 11 months ago

Kindly disagree on that Liberty_One. Free societies choose many things that they decide to collectively contribute to for the greatest good. This allows them to further pursue freedom. Just like the roads we drive on and the laws we obey.

jayhawxrok 5 years, 11 months ago

The GOP is a train wreck. They will do everything they can to protect Big Biz and tax loopholes, subsidies to those that don't need them, but absolutely nothing to help the citizens.

impska 5 years, 11 months ago

I hate to wade into a heated political discussion, but FYI: people who have no insurance will still exist and continue to be a burden on society. In its current incarnation, the Obama health care plan is not universal. Employers must provide health care to employees. People are required to have coverage - as long as they can afford it. If you can't afford your premiums, but don't qualify for medicaid/medicare then you're exempt from paying for insurance... but you also have no insurance,

This means that the current population of individuals who are most at risk (those who are too poor to provide their own coverage, but not poor enough or old enough for medicaid/medicare) continue to have no coverage.

If you truly believe that health care is a right, then you shouldn't really be a supporter of "Obamacare" - which is a poor excuse for a health care policy that doesn't actually help the people who are falling through the cracks.

camper 5 years, 11 months ago

I agree with you except with the burden on society part. I do not like "ObamaCare" for the very reasons you point out. I thought that a public option was an outstanding option, but it was taken off the table due to compromise and "death panel" talk. What we got was a watered down law that favors the Insurance business even more.

We would actually all be better off if health insurance was illegal, and everyone just paid cash. Atleast costs would come down thru less red tape and more competition amongst providers. Patients could get cheaper basic care. Most of the time rocket science is not needed.

George Lippencott 5 years, 11 months ago

Agnostick (anonymous) replies…

Paying into Social Security and Medicare is a right.

Getting out two, three, four times the amount you paid into it... that's a privilege.

Moderate Asks:

Do you have any data to support this point?

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

Yes, the multiplier is larger with Medicare, but it's also there with SS, from what I've read.

George Lippencott 5 years, 11 months ago

Thank you. I will try to figure out what he is saying. Medicare Part A is the only pre-paid portion of Medicare. The numbers don't sound right.

Part B (doctors) is paid annually. Have you seen any data that looks at part B and the personal contribution ($2400 for a couple) paid to determine how much the government is subsidizing?

What about SS? How out of whack is that?

camper 5 years, 11 months ago

All and all, I think the Government has run our country fairly well since 1776.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

For you, apparently, but not for many of the rest of us.

Both the public and the private sector are flawed - this is pretty obvious if you look at it without bias, as much as possible.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

Here's a thought.. Why are the media, blue dogs, repubs and their loud mouth rebel rousers coming out against medical insurance reform? Fair question.

Are they truly concerned about wait times? No way we've been making medical appointments for 70 years or more. We have been waiting at least 50 years for fiscally responsible,fiscally conservative,practical and comprehensive medical insurance. So the wait thing is nothing but crap.

Are they truly concerned about cost? Hell no! The USA has been plagued with high cost for at least 30 years that obviously is not their concern.

Are they concerned about government take over? The government has been involved for at least 70 years. The med insurance industry is receiving at least $1.2 trillion medical insurance tax dollars as we speak. Nope that is not a real concern just more crap.

What the hell are they concerned about?

*Shareholders only give a damn about dividends that which includes many legislators which prevents legislators from remaining objective.

*Legislators against reform and on all sides of the aisle are concerned about losing corrupt special interest campaign money pure and simple.

*The media would just hate to lose all of those recklessly spent healthcare advertising dollars for they are just loving all of the money spent on misinformation sound bites.

In a nutshell it is all about campaign money money money which is to say consumers/taxpayers are being taken for fools.

denak 5 years, 11 months ago

I think the author fails to make the distinction between those who won't pay for medical services and those who can't pay for medical services. Even with health insurance from my job, I still have to pay 20% until I hit a certain number and then my employer will pay all of it. That 20% quickly adds up. Where does the employee that has health insurance fit into all of this discussion. It seems people want to put each other in two camps: the deadbeat who doesn't have insurance and the responsible person who does. The reality is that the "responsble" person could end up oweing the hospital just as much as the "irresponsible" person. For those who want health insurance mandated, are you going to require employed individuals to buy supplemental insurance just so they won't end up oweing the hospital money also? According to your logic, the principle is the same. If a person who doesn't have insurance is irresponsible, then a person who doesn't have "enough" insurance should be considered equally irresponsible. Correct? And if not, why not? Just because they are employed and lucky enough to have benefits then they should get a pass for not being able to pay. And before you say, "oh they have a job, they can pay" That isn't necessarily true. Even with an average salary in the 30,000, a "few" thousand dollars worth of medical bills will put a severe strain on a budget. And don't try to say "oh, the hospital will be fine with only$25 dollars a month?" Umm, no they won't but if you want to believe that you can argue that with the collections specialist who calls you and calls you and calls you several times a day using different numbers. And even if the hospital did accept that, does $25 dollars a month really put that much of a dent in a hospital bill that is $10,000 dollars? Either way, the hospital is still out of that money. And they especially will be after the employed individual files bankruptcy which if very likely since hospital bills are the number one reason why people file bankruptcy. The point of all this is that not having health insurance is not a moral failing. The problem isn't as simple as saying that there are those who don't want to pay and those who do want to pay. Sometimes, it is a matter of that they *can't" pay and if they can't, doesn't that say something about how the whole system is set up and why it quite possibly should be changed?

drake 5 years, 11 months ago

"All states require that you have automobile liability insurance to have driver’s license; it is illegal to drive without coverage. Why should it not be mandated that all persons have some form of coverage to pay for their health care and remove this burden from those of us who do have medical insurance coverage?”

The penalty for not having auto insurance is that the government won't let you drive.

I guess under Obamacare if you don't have health insurance the government won't let you live.

George Lippencott 5 years, 11 months ago

Agnostic et5 al:

I went out and looked. I believe you actually meant SS. See: SOCIAL SECURITY: RATES OF RETURN AND THE FAIRNESS OF BENEFITS from the CATO Institute by Philip J. Harmelink and Janet Furman Speyrer.

The average rate of return for stocks over the period 1945 to 89 was about 13 %. The average rate of return for Government bonds is about 5%. The average rate of return for SS (high end) is about 8% while for the low end is just short of 10%. He does note that the ROR for the younger set is lower – closer to government bonds). I don’t think that data suggests a return of three times what you put in. Remember to calculate fairly you must consider the amount contributed by the individual, the amount contributed by the employer, the time value of money and as a minimum the savings to the government for not having to borrow the money that it diverts from the trust fund (ROI).

I read several articles by Mr. Steuerle and find I have little argument. His point that we cannot continue to afford the costs of the program is well taken. There are relatively simple fixes that will preserve the program without great penalty including a later retirement age, uncapping contributions and the like. Of course we could just throw the program away and put seniors (that includes you at some point) at the mercy of the market. Of course the best approach is to find common understanding of the problem and not advance simplistic solutions.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

Actually, all that needs to be included in the calculation would be the amount put in by individuals, and the rate of inflation.

Claiming that employer contributions should count towards the individual's seems shaky to me.

But even including those, I'm pretty sure that most people take out more from SS than they pay in, even with employer contributions.

The reality is that SS benefits are not merely return of the monies that individuals pay into the system, they are more generous than that.

George Lippencott 5 years, 11 months ago

See the above. Not really. Do you have a reference as above that differs in performance of the program

If you don't count the employers contribution how do you count them - free money to the government?? They match your salary and go to the same account to contribute for the same result - your SS and are mandated by the government for that purpose.

Yes, some people get back more than what they put in and some don 't. The more you make the lower the probability that you will make more. Nobody is getting back 300% of the amount contributed plus the imputed value of the money over time.

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