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Archive for Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Letter: Wasted effort

July 30, 2013

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To the editor:

I have a question for Lynn Jenkins and her colleagues in the U.S. House. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is one of the definitions of insanity. Almost 40 times, you and other Republican die-hards have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) knowing full well it has no chance in the Senate and would be vetoed by the president before it touched his desk. Why are you doing this, instead of trying to find a way to help the middle class, trying to slow down global warming or finding jobs for millions of struggling Americans? Are you so blinded by your hatred of the president you cannot see that the country has problems or do you just not care?

Comments

poolside 1 year, 5 months ago

Mental illness has treatment options. Hatred is educated. Either way, there is a solution.

Orwell 1 year, 4 months ago

Only right wing fact-free biased "indicators" point to a fiasco. The only contribution the Republicans are willing to bring to the discussion is "No, no, no." They're getting better all the time at rock throwing, but I'm not sure that's a skill we need right now.

Eileen Jones 1 year, 4 months ago

News for you:

Most of Obamacare is already implemented. The benefits are being felt by many.

Armored_One 1 year, 4 months ago

And the executive office retains exclusive and invasive control over writing laws, passing budgets and in general accomplishing everything you think he should accomplish, but if he did have that power, it'd be labeled as an attempt to hijack the Constitution and the checks and balances concept the government was formed around.

He can't sign something that doesn't reach his desk. Obviously it MUST be his fault, since Congress is nothing more than a feel good concept, designed to obfuscate the real power in this country, the President.

Maybe you should pause, take a deep breath, and take up the issue with those that are truly causing said issues.

There is a reason they call a large group of baboons a congress.

skinny 1 year, 5 months ago

Obamacare will be repealed, so just forget about it. The Government has no business being in the so called health care business! If you want health insurance go buy it!! Even if you have to get a second, third, or fourth job! No more hand outs!

Abdu Omar 1 year, 5 months ago

That isn't what the bill is about. It is about lowering medical costs and if this doesn't then the prices we pay each year will escalate to where no one can afford it. Most of the people have forgotten that. It is about costs!

mom_of_three 1 year, 5 months ago

and no lifetime caps, and no pre-existing conditions. hard to be the "greatest country int he world" when some of its citizens lack decent health care coverage.

George Lippencott 1 year, 5 months ago

So far they are all going in the wrong direction? You can not add 20 million people to the health care roles and not see the costs go up. You cannot add all sorts of new requirements (some quite good) without the costs going up. The only ways costs will go down are if we ration care or reduse payments to providers. Which do you desire??

CountyResident 1 year, 5 months ago

I thought the more patients that were added to the system, the cost would go down. Just read an article about the State of Montana providing free medical care for all of its employees and the cost to the State have been cut nearly in half.

By the way, if the Journal World added 10,000 new subscribers to its print edition, wouldn't the cost of each paper go down?

George Lippencott 1 year, 5 months ago

economy of scale does work. In health care however, where there is already a shortage of providers, the additional patients will not reduce costs per patient because new providers will have to be added or care rationed (costs may even rise faster because of a shortage of providers)., This would only work if the providers were not fully committed to serving their current patients.

Now the LJW would see a cost reduction as the fixed costs would be prorated over those 10,000 new subscribers as long as the subscription income covered the variable costs driven by the number of papers printed (paper, ink, taxes, depreciation, employee time (longer runs) and so on).

Good thinking though

tomatogrower 1 year, 5 months ago

Also, the law is requiring the insurance companies to use 80% of the premiums for health care and not for their CEO's inflated salary. If you got a refund from your insurance company this year, it means either everyone on the plan was really healthy or the insurance company was ripping you off. Of course, that would never happen. The private sector never takes advantage of their customers. (sarcasm icon inserted here).

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

Absolutely but you are smoking rope if you think that action reduced goodies to the insurance leaders. Less marketing to providers a covers it easily.

Hardly dents the costs of medical care.

bad_dog 1 year, 4 months ago

Those 20 milllion you reference are already receiving medical care at the local ER or defaulting on debts to other private practicioners. Who do you believe is paying for that? Answer; the folks with policies already paying premiums. I believe the former are referred to by an auto insurance carrier as "ratesuckers".

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

Pretty much true although there is a lot of Pro Bono work. If they have insurance (ACA) that will become paid work. It will not get cheaper. May get more expensive.

skull 1 year, 4 months ago

A lot of pro bono work? Where do you make this stuff up? It's already paid work that's being passed down to the payers.

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

Well, I guess my providers are all liars. Many of them report doing things here about Pro Bono.

We taxpayers do not get stuck with all of the costs for those without insurance.

Jean Robart 1 year, 5 months ago

not that easy for people on disability, who aren't yet eligible for Medicare. Try putting yourself in our position, and you will not be quite so glib with your answer.

Eileen Jones 1 year, 4 months ago

I guess if the system is working for THEM at THIS MOMENT, to h3// with everyone else.

Eileen Jones 1 year, 4 months ago

I guess you forgot that before Obamacare, insurance companies could kick people off their policy after years of paying premiums, if they got sick.

You forgot that millions of people do not get insurance through their employer and without the employer subsidy it is unaffordable for most people.

You forgot that if you lost your job (and insurance), and you had a condition, you could not get insurance after that.

The old system didn't work for so many people in so many ways. Obamacare is not what we needed - we need a single payer system - but it has gotten millions covered who could not get coverage before and so it is a GOOD START. It isn't as if the Republicans came up with a plan to solve the horrible problems.

ChuckFInster 1 year, 5 months ago

 I couldn't help but notice in the last election speech Obama made in Warrensburg that he kept talking about what "we need to do" and " it is up to us". I thought about those statements for a second and wondered why our leader ( term used very loosely ) is STILL talking about what we need to do.  A leader would talk about this is the direction we are going and most importantly this is how we are going to get there. That is a plan , that is leadership.

 Well into his second term "we" have yet to see the first go round of campaign promises come to light. As a matter of fact Obama is still spooning out the same schtick as his original run for the presidency.History is a good indicator of future behavior, do Obama's accomplishments give much hope that anything will change under his watch. 3-1/2 years left of the same do nothing and blame the other guy.

Obama is now like Jim Carey, First he was new and exciting but after the same thing year after year the act is old and it would be nice if he would just shut up and go away.

meggers 1 year, 5 months ago

Obama DID talk about the direction we are going and his plan for helping us get there. You must have watched a completely different speech to draw the conclusion you did. Here is the text: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/07/25/remarks-president-economy-warrensburg-missouri

And as far as campaign promises that have been kept, Politifact has thirteen pages of them listed: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/rulings/promise-kept/?page=1

You may not agree with some or all of what he's done, but to say he's done nothing is just patently absurd.

ChuckFInster 1 year, 5 months ago

Mighty impressive (and imaginative) list of accomplishments. Here are some of the most impressive. Oh yeah baby we're on the right track ! 1) Create a consumer-friendly credit card rating system 2) Change standards for determining broadband access 3) Increase minority access to capital 4) Intl tax haven watch list 5) Expand senior corps program 6) Modernize public health buildings 7) Add 100/k disabled federal workers 8) Promote innovative ways to reward teachers 9) No permanent bases in Iraq

meggers 1 year, 5 months ago

They are all campaign promises kept and the list is much more extensive than that, which makes your earlier assertion ridiculous.

ChuckFInster 1 year, 5 months ago

Yes I can see how expanding the senior corps program will save america

meggers 1 year, 5 months ago

I don't recall Obama saying anything about the expansion of Senior Corp "saving America". Programs like Senior Corps can really make a difference in helping communities address needs at a local level at very little cost. I'm not sure how anyone can view that as a bad thing.

ChuckFInster 1 year, 5 months ago

Exactly my point. Something as trivial as the senior corps is hardly worthy of mentioning as a goal / campaign promise kept. Big picture Obama has been and is a lame president from an economic, foreign policy, and judiciary stand point. Obama is too busy pointing his finger at anyone who opposes him and painting them as racist, obstructionist, .... The act is tired and predictable. I was interested in the new deal he is trying to strike with American business however. The latest scam is American business pays 50/M in "taxes" and he rolls that back into the country for economic and job development. Sound familiar ? Stimulus 1 and 2 that did nothing - but the govt got the money.

meggers 1 year, 4 months ago

Every administration is going to have both large and small accomplishments. I actually think Senior Corp will do a great deal of good for communities, especially as the baby boomer generation ages. Is it on the scale of the ACA, repealing DADT, or getting our troops out of Iraq? Of course not, but that doesn't mean it isn't meaningful in it's own right.

I have yet to hear Obama call people who oppose him racists. Do you have a source for that, or is it another thing you just made up? As for obstructionism, it is intellectually dishonest to claim it doesn't exist. This Congress is more polarized than ever and the House in particular is loaded with Tea Party types who campaigned and were elected primarily for the purpose of obstruction. They are naive, inept, and they are perfectly willing sacrifice the interests of the nation in order to pursue their own narrow, radical ideology. Boehner can't even get his own caucus on board to compromise on much of anything with the President. The Senate minority leader said that his main goal was to make Obama a one-term president. How is any of that working on behalf of the country and actually governing, as they were elected to do?

As for the stimulus, economists largely agree that it prevented us from slipping into a recession and in fact, it wasn't large enough given the financial hole we were in. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/opinion/sunday/dont-tell-anyone-but-the-stimulus-worked.html?_r=0

We have had 40 consecutive months of private sector job growth under Obama, netting 7.2 million private sector jobs. Obama readily admits that it isn't enough, but at least things are moving in a positive direction. His predecessor created just 1.1 million jobs during his entire administration- the second worse job growth of a full two-term presidency since the Great Depression.

You may not like Obama and there is always room for ideological differences, but you might want to at least consider some actual facts as you assess his performance.

tomatogrower 1 year, 5 months ago

So you want him to just do it on his own and you just sit back? Are you a citizen or not? Do you even bother to vote? This is a country, a community. We do things together. We don't sit back and do nothing (cough, Congress), we work hard for each other. Well we should, but it's been taken over be the "me, me, me, it's all about me" Ayn Rand radicals, which leads these people to put their kid in a weather ballon to get on the news and get their own faux reality TV show, or shoot up a movie theater to get their name in the news.

Lisa Medsker 1 year, 4 months ago

Oh, Congress has done PLENTY. I'm sure it's very hard work, making sure nothing, absolutely NOTHING, that might give a fair shake to "Jane and Joe Q. Public", gets accomplished! They need tons of vacation days, it's such hard work!

Eileen Jones 1 year, 4 months ago

"A leader would talk abut this is the direction we are going..."

You forgot something. The President cannot legislate. Congress has to legislate. And half of Congress has sworn to obstruct everything he tries to do.

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

Compromise. Holding the entire social safety net harmless while doubling the amount of money committed to it hardly sounds like a compromise.

Surely there must be some parts of that system that need reform or were we so perfect that we got it right the first time and it will never need changing?

jafs 1 year, 4 months ago

There's a fundamental difference between asking for compromise and simply vowing to obstruct.

jafs 1 year, 4 months ago

Not sure what you're trying to say here.

Are you claiming that their vow to obstruct everything Obama wants to do is a lie? Their actions have been in line with that vow, so I think it isn't a lie or "posturing" but the simple truth.

After having held up various appointments for a long time, R have finally voted on them, but only after the D threatened to change the filibuster rules with a simple majority vote. Sounds like they only stop obstructing if/when they're forced to.

Phil Minkin 1 year, 5 months ago

http://miami.cbslocal.com/2013/05/16/obamacare-repeal-votes-costs-tens-of-millions/

It costs $1.45 MILLION each time the house takes one of these votes destined to go no where. Congress is wasting their time and our money for empty political grandstanding.

Jean Robart 1 year, 5 months ago

so they should just give up? I don't think so.

jafs 1 year, 5 months ago

What happened to fiscal responsibility?

If they know the bill has absolutely no chance of succeeding (since Obama will simply veto it, and they can't overturn the veto), it's a huge waste of money.

That's taxpayer money - I'd prefer they not waste it.

40 tries means they've wasted $60 million so far.

mom_of_three 1 year, 5 months ago

that is just amazing how much is wasted.

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

Bogus number. The methodology used is badly flawed and assumes the Congress is turned off when not in use - that is totally bogus. The cost of operating the system is pretty much the same whether they vote or not.

Besides votes that address the concerns of their constituent are just as important as votes that address your interests. About half of us do not like Obama Care - mostly those who know they will be losers.

mom_of_three 1 year, 4 months ago

But if they aren't voting on obamacare, wouldn't they be doing something more beneficial for the people, so technically, they are wasting money voting on something that won't get overturned.

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

or playing to their constituent. Both parties do things to please their contingencies even when they know it will not pass. Gun Control comes to mind. Just part of the game!

skull 1 year, 4 months ago

Except nobody voted 38 times for gun control. This level of repetition is a waste of time and political grandstanding at its finest. Some bureaucrat has to do the paperwork on all this ridiculousness...it IS costing us money.

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

Yes, but not anywhere near what was posted. Each session several thousands of bills (sometimes greater than 10,000) get introduced. Only a handful see a committee or the floor. Are they all wasted? They are all tracked and appear in the record at cost to us. many are used by our elected leaders to placate the home folks by saying they have done something. I am afraid that Republicans are not the only people that engage in this.

Orwell 1 year, 4 months ago

Tell that to the kid who got a heart operation because of this bill. Tell it to the mother whose cancer was detected in time to treat. If you seriously think the Republicans wold have passed health care, had they only been in the majority, you might want to check on your meds. This simplistic "they're all the same" view is borderline delusional.

George Lippencott 1 year, 5 months ago

Well the president has been in office for almost five years. The middle class is seeing a steady decline in their adjusted income. The rich are getting richer despite a small tax increase. The poor are basically protected.

Exactly where is the help for the middle class. I guess the middle class is only composed of construction workers (infrastructure investment) and teachers (education funding). Seems to me that there are a lot more people in the middle class. I guess this is Obama's trickle out theory.

Along the way and in progress are a whole bunch of regulatory actions that are raising the costs of energy (and many other things) that are an effective tax on the middle class. These may be desirable actions but they cost - in some cases significantly.

It does not appear to me that Mr. Obama is trying to help the middle class. From my standpoint he is trying to help solid Democratic Party constituencies (who at best may break even given the regulatory costs).

When is enough - when the state determines what I put on my plate for breakfast? At least MS Jenkins is trying to keep my breakfast my affair.

tomatogrower 1 year, 5 months ago

I think we are looking in the wrong place on who is causing our problems. Do you really think any of the corporations care about a middle class. They can make plenty of money off the new middle class in China. They may put an American flag in their ads, but they could care less. They will put it to their employees whenever they can, they will buy politicians, they will raise their prices and make huge profits, then make everyone think they are not doing well enough to give raises or benefits. Note that many regulations hurt small businesses more than they do big business, and that big corporations often support these regulations. But there is nothing to protect us from these people. And remember corporations are people. The Supreme Court said so, well unless their pollution kills someone, then they can't be tried for murder. They get to have it both ways.

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

So -what is your solution?? If Mr. Obama knows this than why is he not concentrating on them and not all the other things he is focused on?? I know the Republicans? Always somebody else is at fault.

The point is that these corporate leaders buy Democrats as well as Republicans. They provide Mr. Obama a lot of campaign cash for which they expect a pass and get it. If he cared about the middle class he would move for lobbying reform that strictly limits all contributions. It is one thing to lobby and and another thing to buy votes.

frank regnier 1 year, 5 months ago

Our government is bought and paid for! Simple as that! If you have enough money, you make laws that work for you and your buddies.

Enlightenment 1 year, 5 months ago

Here's an interesting story to add to the mix regarding healthcare. Montana is offering State run free clinics for the state's employees in order to reduce expenses. Universal healthcare at a state level? Best part is that it works great and those formerly opposed to it admit that it is a good program.

http://www.npr.org/2013/07/30/206654000/montanas-state-run-free-clinic-sees-early-success

WilburM 1 year, 5 months ago

Simple letter, asking a simple question -- produces a Rorschach-test set of responses re Obama and health care. Still the question, why forty votes? The US House is currently, even more than the Senate,

George Lippencott 1 year, 5 months ago

Why? The house passes its agenda and the Senate their agenda. Who is right? Because you are already opposed to the Republican agenda you find their action s wanting when they are in fact serving their constituents.

Liberty275 1 year, 5 months ago

Welcome to the era of 29.5 hour work weeks until the ACA is repealed.

tomatogrower 1 year, 5 months ago

This is how our Kansas, so called, "fiscally responsible" reps save money? "East Coast Missile Defense: Members refused 173-249, to strip HR 2379 of $70 million for planning a missile-defense site on the East Coast. to go with existing sites in California and Alaska. A yes vote was to defund a program that the Pentagon has not requested or approved." All our reps voted no. So they are giving the Pentagon money they didn't even request. They also voted to give the Pentagon $3.6 billion that the Pentagon did not request for operations in war zones overseas. So the Pentagon gets money, even when they don't request it? Which corporations are making a profit here? I'll bet they are big donors to our "fiscally responsible" Republican conservatives.

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

Or are the Democrats playing politics by cutting funds that must be paid - the Pentagon works for Mr. Obama and their budget is set by him? I suspect that the east coast missile defense issue was driven by the east coast members of congress. We went along for the ride and future consideration when Kansas needs something.

A perfect world would not need any of this but then the world is not perfect and never will be.

Mike Ford 1 year, 4 months ago

oh to stop the misinformation on here that is routinely believed by Kansans being Rupert Murdoch fans and Koch Brothers fans and other purveyors of archie bunker fantasy I went to the Kaiser Family Foundation healthcare calculator and for a two person household with $28,300 yearly income from two fulltime jobs our healthcare costs will be $1670.00 a year for the Bronze plan which is actual healthcare without pre existing conditions. This is like $130 or $140 a month and I have roughly $220 a month to spend on healthcare. This time next February my wife and I will have actual health insurance like much of the rest of civilized western world. When will the people sticking their fingers into the light sockets on purpose realize your fear mongering doesn't work with people who actually think. I'm beginning to think there's a pied piper with the flute music of fear coming out that those incapable of thinking are doomed to believe. I will simply put a needle to your balloon of fear and laugh. Maybe there should be a competency/intelligence test for some Kansas voters and their gop politicians.

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

Did it every enter your mind that many people (you included) will benefit from the program. Many other people will not and they are not supporters. Many people (winners and losers) do wonder about the costs and whether rationing will result.

Mike Ford 1 year, 4 months ago

wow I can't call out the repeated fibs and lunacy that pass for truth from some corners of the blogosphere. really.....the only reason this person speaks of winners and losers is because they've bought the nonsense line about ACA from the right. My father rode a VIA Rail train (Canada's Amtrak equivalent) from Kenora, Ontario, to Montreal, Quebec last summer. Like 800 miles. Those Canadians have had this type of health care system for 60 years. It works quite well for them. I know two people in Lawrence with dual citizenship who go back to Vancouver and Toronto for health care. They stay up there for a week to get checked out. They think that the US is full of right wing denialists who repeat this end of days nonsense over and over until it's believed. I'm tired of people reveling in intentional stupidity like it's a right. They only went the simpleton route when an intelligent president was elected.

Eileen Jones 1 year, 4 months ago

I too knew a Canadian-born man who, because of marriage to a U.S. citizen (his wife, my friend) and owning a business in the U.S., could partake of health care in either country. Shortly after moving back to Canada he discovered he had a Stage IV cancer. His wife, who works in hospitals, could have brought him back to the States for treatment but refused to, saying that there was no finer care to be had than he could get in Canada. She knew, too - having worked in a wealthy private hospital in the U.S. and a Catholic hospital and seeing the difference in care patients got between the two.

The nurses and other hospital employees know. I trust their opinion. And this one said Canada could care for her husband better than the U.S. medical system.

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

There are four things to say about your note.

  1. It works for Canada because we are here to take care of those who can not get what they need when they feel they need it
  2. People accept longer waits for elective procedures
  3. There are a lot fewer of them.
  4. The country is more tolerant of a socialist solution (at least partial)

jafs 1 year, 4 months ago

Source for 1? 2 seems right, but we could do that as well. I don't understand 3 - fewer people means a smaller tax base and fewer doctors and patients. Why would expanding all of those numbers make a significant difference? 4 seems right as well - they're not afraid of that word.

When we visited Canada, we met a nice couple, both doctors, who had lived and worked in both countries - they summed up health care in them by saying "If you have a lot of money, you can do better in the US, but if not, you'll do better in Canada."

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

They are not as oppositional as we are (I chalk that up to population) although there are many factors.

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

OK, exactly how will the wife and I be winners???

jafs 1 year, 4 months ago

Does everything that the government does have to benefit you personally to be of value?

That's a pretty narrow lens, I think, to view the world through.

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

Seems to be the lens used here a lot.

However, once again you take things out of context in order to change the subject. I have made it abundantly clear that we will likely be losers in this game and have posted why.

Tuch is arguing in opposition to my point that there will be winners and losers. So if he believes we are all winners let him explain how he reached that point. By the by he is not alone in that argument.

So butt out unless you have something to add to the basic argument. Although I appreciate your admission that you realize that this is a zero sum game and that many people may be hurt so that some people can be helped.

jafs 1 year, 4 months ago

That's not what I said.

I don't agree that there will be "winners and losers", that's all. Just because something doesn't benefit you personally doesn't mean you'll be "losing".

But, if you see it that way, then you'll probably oppose things that benefit other people, which is a shame.

Eileen Jones 1 year, 4 months ago

Republicans' worst nightmare:

Obamacare is fully implemented. Everyone benefits. No one is hurt by it.

And since they named it "Obamacare" they cannot rewrite history and claim credit for it!

Eileen Jones 1 year, 4 months ago

Lynn Jenkins just tags along and follows instructions from the worst of the right-wingers in Congress.

She will never buck them, or do a thing for Kansans.

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

jafs says

"I don't agree that there will be "winners and losers", that's all. Just because something doesn't benefit you personally doesn't mean you'll be "losing".

But, if you see it that way, then you'll probably oppose things that benefit other people, which is a shame."

Where do you get off arguing that I should be happy that I am paying more for less so that some people can have insurance. What arrogance!! Why can our system not just add coverage for those that did not have it (say under Medicaid). That would cost taxpayers but not impact those already with insurance.

This is exactly why we are at each others throats. Your see no problem in a never ending increase in goodies to your favored groups at the expense of the 50% of us that actually pay for all those goodies. If you want all the goodies you pay for them! And drop the majority rule Baloney.

At some point the social contract will fail because a small minority is asked to pay a disproportionate portions of the bill for the society. 35% is enough!!!

jafs 1 year, 4 months ago

Your portrayal of my position is incorrect.

And, I find your view of the ACA to be unrealistic as well.

Also, I have to note your aggressive and combative attitude, which tends to discourage productive conversation.

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

"But, if you see it that way, then you'll probably oppose things that benefit other people, which is a shame."

This is not combative? It is also wrong, unsubstantiated and arrogant. You are not my judge - a role you adopt all too frequently..

If you believe that there are only winners with the ACA answer my question above! And yes I am argumentative. I reject many of the opinions aired here. I have that right. I usually do so with an opinion with explanation (as I did here) - not excerpts from left wing or right wing sources. Sometimes I even use hard data from federal and state government sources. You might try that sometimes.

Also, why should anybody be a winner when the government redistributes their hard earned resources to people who in many cases should be earning their own income.

jafs 1 year, 4 months ago

I have every right to my opinion, just as you have to yours.

It's a bit provocative, which I readily admit, but it's not personally hostile in the way your post is. For example, I don't call you names or claim we're "at each other's throats".

If I'm wrong, then I'm wrong, but most of your posts seem tor revolve around what you want, rather than looking at a broader picture. I challenge that view, regardless of who espouses it, because I believe it isn't the best way for us to make decisions.

What question?

I don't believe that things like the ACA are about "winners and losers", any more than things like public education are. Am I a "loser" because I pay taxes that go towards public education but don't directly and personally benefit from that? I say no.

From where I stand, public education is a good thing for a society, and we all benefit indirectly from it, even if we don't benefit directly.

Seen from that standpoint, it's quite possible that the ACA will be similar, in that having more people with decent health care is in line with our values. I don't believe it's perfect by any means, any more than public education is perfect.

How are you a "loser" because of the ACA?

George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

You are spring loaded to taking offense. The "at each others throats" is generic as to the state of the country. I was arguing tax increases on a selected few while you were arguing I should be happy to pay them (my interpretation of your comment).

Now I have been abundantly clear over the last two years that I am not opposed to a social safety net. I do question if the one we have is tuned to the outcome desired. I have called for dialogue on that topic and been completely ignored. About half my federal income taxes go to pay that cost.

I spend probably more than you on public education and I have no problem with doing so. I do have a problem with the ceaseless demand for more resources as I do not (and studies from the m iddle and right support me) believe that teacher salaries equate to better education.

I presented a solution to the problem of individuals lacking health care that did not require the complexity of the ACA. Our insurance has already increased by about 10% and the government owner of the policy acknowledges that in part that is due to the ACA. You can not require coverage until 26 without increasing premiums. There are other elements of the ACA that raise costs to all insurance programs this is just an example. Our drug coverage has been restructured and is now rationed where it was not before. It appears that it will also be more expensive - again attributed to an effort to reduce costs driven in part by the ACA.

Why is it so important to you that we define everybody as a "winner"? There is no way you can add 20 million people and a bunch of new services and not have a cost increase or rationing. If you disagree please explain how that is possible.

Now most of the arguments about the ACA and its goodness are focused on the future as it has not yet been really implemented. Since I do not see any meaningful reductions in costs for medical services. I (as someone with insurance and someone that pays federal income taxes) see only an annual tax increase to pay for the program as it is implemented. Remember we did not only cover those twenty million we established a program to subsidize their costs. That program nominally pays a subsidy to families up to four times the poverty level. That includes people well above the average income in this country.

So we are losers already and we can see no way we will not be bigger losers in the future when all the subsidizes kick in (next year). It remains to be seen how much "savings" is scrubbed out of Medicare with what consequence to availability and scope of services.

Mr. Reid s call for a trillion more tax dollars just adds credence (for us) to that expected reality. See related blog at http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/loyal-opposition/2013/aug/2/what-you-didnt-read/

jafs 1 year, 4 months ago

That's funny! You seem to be the one taking offense.

I agree that our policies and social programs are capable of improvement, and should be examined to make sure they're doing what we want them to do.

It's counter-intuitive to suggest that money doesn't make a difference in education, especially regarding teacher salaries. How else do we get the "best and the brightest" to take on the considerable challenges of teaching in our public schools, especially the inner city ones? That doesn't mean, of course, that other factors aren't vitally important as well, like family involvement, socioeconomic status of students, etc.

Are you speaking of Medicare? A 10% increase in Medicare premiums is fairly common, to my knowledge. It would mean a $15 increase on a $150 premium - don't those sorts of increases happen all of the time? As costs of health care increase, costs of health insurance increase, generally speaking.

There are some parts of the ACA that suggest increases in costs, and other parts that suggest decreases - until it's fully implemented there's just no way to really know how that will work out in practice. A number of states are currently suggesting that premiums will be lower (some much lower) than expected.

How are your drug benefits "rationed" and who made that decision? My understanding is that the ACA includes parts that close the "donut hole" over time, which would improve your coverage.

I agree that the program could and should do more to address the issue of rising health care costs, but if I remember right, there are facets in there attempting to do just that, like the one looking at places like the Cleveland clinic, which has lower costs and excellent care.

A couple of things that go towards lowering costs are that we'll have more competition, with the exchanges, which generally lowers costs, insurance companies will have more customers, and more healthy customers, which broadens the risk pool. Oh also, we have the 80/20 provision, which sets a limit on how much insurance companies can charge for overhead. People are already getting refunds based on that part.

According to Krugman, the subsidies will be paid for by already implemented taxes on the top 1% - I don't know if he's right or not, but if so, then you're not likely to see your costs rise to pay for those (unless you're a lot richer than you say :-))

My understanding is that the money "saved" from Medicare comes from "overpayments" to insurance companies administering Medicare Advantage programs. I don't understand personally why we have private insurance companies administering Medicare in the first place - wouldn't it be better to have the government do it?

Until it's fully implemented, as we both say, we won't really be able to judge the outcome - we'll just have to wait until then to make final judgements.

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