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Why A Health Care Reform Is Needed Now!

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by Ernest Barteldes

A few years ago, a close friend of mine was unfortunate enough to have suffered an automobile accident shortly before her job benefits kicked in. She was rushed to an emergency room and treated for her cuts and bruises. Though luckily she didn't have any serious injuries, a few weeks later she received a hospital bill for thousands of dollars. Not too long ago, I also ended up at a Staten Island ER with a massive toothache. Even though I was fully insured at the time, the hospital still sent me a $ 130 bill (what they called a co-pay) for what was basically a few minutes' attention, a Vicodin pill and a prescription for powerful painkillers. Until recently, another person I know worked for a small business that did not provide health benefits for their employees, which meant she had to pay for every exam, doctors' visits and other need even though she went to a clinic that supposedly provided affordable services for those unable to pay for insurance out of their pockets. These are only a few examples of stories that prove that we drastically need to fix this country's health system. The way things stand today, countless individuals are going bankrupt because they are unable to pay for the hefty fees imposed to the uninsured. Thousands others die or go without medical attention because they cannot afford to pay for said services. This affects – in a way or another – all of us who are living in the United States today. The President has sent a health care reform proposal to Congress, and there is a fierce debate over it going on right now. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/23/us/politics/23obama.html?_r=1&th&emc=th . Unfortunately, several right-wing Republicans are using this as an opportunity to regain control of Congress during the midterm elections – basically going against Pres. Obama the same way that they damaged Clinton fifteen years ago over the exactly same issue. Republican editor William Kristol actually wrote that this is the time to “go for the kill” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/20/bill-kristol-this-is-the_n_241046.html to try and unbalance his Presidency.

If you ask me, this is utterly irresponsible. We need health care reform now. This country needs to step up and protect the millions of American taxpayers who go without proper care. We cannot allow the fat cats at the insurance companies to reap huge profits at the expense of the people. Yes, we are a capitalist country and all. But we are not savage. It is time to take action now, and there is something we can all do: we can contact our representatives in Congress and let them know how we feel. Once their offices are inundated with calls, letters and emails, they will understand that their necks will be on the line during the Midterm elections next year. Believe me, this is for our own good.

Comments

Music_Girl 5 years, 5 months ago

There may be some reform needed but it doesn't need to come from the government and this bs that Obama is trying to cram down our throats is for the birds! It is time to take action; do contact your representatives and let them know that they need to keep this proposed plan from passing. This is America and yet Obama wants to penalize us for not having health insurance? The current proposed healthcare reform will break this country even more than it is already broke. If the government is truly concerned about making sure everyone is covered then they need to find a way to cover everyone without it costing us more money. We are already partly owned by China, it will only get worse. The proposed plan not only covers abortion, it also encourages euthanasia by promoting palliative care for everyone over 70 instead of having surgery. Basically if you are old they would rather just make you comfy till you die instead of trying to remedy your illnesses. This plan is NOT for our own good. This plan isn't good for anyone. It will drain more money into our already inefficient government taking away more and more funds from hardworking families to pay for politicians and their puppet masters.
What else can we do? How about creating an initiative for companies who offer insurance to their employees? How about creating a plan to help small business owners, those self employed and students have access to benefits? We don't need government telling us how to run our medical care. We need them to create opportunities for us to take care of ourselves.

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 5 months ago

Well music girl, I respect your opinion but disagree. You see, the government let Health Care run loose for all these years (as they did with Wall Street) and look at the mess we are in now. Without some kind of oversight, private insurers will just as well screw with their clients in order to increase their profit margins.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 5 months ago

The Fear-monger in Chief wants more govenment control of everything. Don't give it to him.

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 5 months ago

So what about the way the system works now? They're free, and they're screwing with the American public. Big business needs oversight, or else they'll run amok and do what they do best --- which is how we got here in the first place.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 5 months ago

Keeping government from further meddling in our healthcare system is one of the great civil rights struggles of the 21st century. When more and more of our income (property) is confiscated for redistribution, we need to rise up in justified outrage.

KS 5 years, 5 months ago

The government can't run the government. Why are we supposed to believe that they can run healthcare? I don't want BHO to be my doctor.

pace 5 years, 5 months ago

Buchunomics say keep government out of regulating commerce, We saw how that worked. The republicans say slow down. we will do it later. That is like the teenager who says he will take out the trash later. Working families are losing everything now. One republican said, there is no crisis, get the jobs back and they will get insurance, except the trend is contract labor, lower benefits and even if you have insurance, the play has changed, it might suddenly disappear if you have a crisis. The ads saying reform will take the choice out of the patients and doctors hands, that is just complete lies. The deciders are the insurance companies and health corporations. Ask your doctor what dictates his/her decisions. You might of worked for a company for 40 years, and part of your pay was your benefits, laid off? You lose your coverage. . Say you get another job, if it has health as a coverage, it has the no pre-existing clause. It is way past time to take the care of our children out of corporate hands. The government must be the community, the village that makes sure the children and families have access to a doctor.

ECM 5 years, 5 months ago

I love it. It is always a vast Republican conspiracy. What a load.

First, your bill was "expensive" because you are not just paying for you. You get to chip in on all the illegals, people who could have but choose not to have health insurance and then those who need help and are uninsured.

The government has never a small scale program efficiently what makes you think they can pull this off? More spending us out of debt. It makes no sense. If this plan is so great, why is it I will not longer be able to keep my private insurance but at the same time the President and Congress get to keep their plush health care plan? If it is good enough for us why isn't it good enough for them.

First, I do not think any government official should be able to vote or sign a bill until they have READ it! Then they need to pass a test that they understand the bill they are signing.

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 5 months ago

"People who don't have insurance but show up for treatment are the ones really screwing americans with health insurance"

That is because self-regulation does not work. You see, if there were a plan for affordable health insurance, people would have it. But as it is now, those more unfortunate come to the hospitals, get treated but don't pay... and then it's up to the rest of us.

With a comprehensive program in place (I am not hinting that Obama's plan is perfect - it does have its flaws), there will be some kind of sliding-scale system. Which is more than fair in my book.

Now MusicGirl says that "Basically if you are old they would rather just make you comfy till you die instead of trying to remedy your illnesses." With the current system, you wont make it to 30 if you get sick because you will not be able to afford treatment.

As Autie says, "the current system as is, will see a major meltdown when it hits the critical mass of pricing people out of the game." And that is precisely what Right-wing Conservatives want.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 5 months ago

The Democrats in Congress have slammed the door on this business until after the recess. So much for the O'dude's "gotta pass this now" whooping & hollering.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 5 months ago

Ernest,

So for the miniscule percentage of legal Americans who show up at emergency rooms and have no health insurance and no way to pay for care, we need to emark on a $1.5 trillion government-run boondoggle? That's simply irresponsibile.

Music_Girl 5 years, 5 months ago

Ernest says "With the current system, you wont make it to 30 if you get sick because you will not be able to afford treatment." Then how is it the average age of Americans keeps going up? Our "horrible" health care system is keeping people alive and healthier longer than any other time in our history. How do you explain that?

STRS, I completely agree with your statement.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 5 months ago

autie,

Even it were more than miniscule, Ernest seems to be making the point that the emergency room issue is significant enough move the country into socialized medicine.

monkeyhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Some people know that it is not really about providing services to the health careless. It is about control, and just a small part of the grand scheme to overall transformation of the country. Remember how smoking bans got started?

Rationing could become a reality. First, it could be based on age and worthiness. People over the age of say, 50, would be encouraged to accept end of life illnesses and maladies. They will just need to sail off into the sunset without any treatment to prolong the inevitable (though decent care could provide decades more of life.) Decisions could be based on how you have lived your life, what you eat, where you live or what you do.

Maybe if you are not one of those who takes advantage of the dissolving of student debt by joining AmeriCorps or some other government approved program for ten years, you won't be worthy. What if your skin is the wrong color, or maybe you are a member of the wrong political party. Since there is a provision in the bill for abortion, who is to say there won't be forced abortion?

Do you want GE and the government to have access to your medical records? Why would they need that info if they do not plan to "help" your doctor treat you?

This is not a good thing. The government wants to play God with your lives, and anyone who thinks they are going to get something for nothing is desperately lacking in foresight. You could not give up anything more important.

newmedia 5 years, 5 months ago

No government run program has ever been self supporting. Plus, the total deficit was 450 billion when the ONE took office not the 1.3 trillion he is happy to tout. Check with the CBO BHO. What is their projection for government run health care? You know but you won't dare mention it.

monkeyhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Thanks, MG. I think you are incredibly perceptive at your young age. I admire you.

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 5 months ago

I never said a word about socialized medicine. What I do agree with is a health care system that takes care of everyone, not just the moneyed ones who can afford it.

As a self-employed freelance journalist, I am one of those who has to pay for his own health benefits. I pay a lot even though I barely use it at all. The problem needs to be fixed, it;s not a political issue of Obama vs. everyone else who disagrees with him.

Without a proper reform, everyone will suffer. We don't need handouts. We need fairness.

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 5 months ago

And Monkeyhawk

You mention provisions for abortion. Last time I checked, abortion was legal in this country. Regardless of what the right-to-life advocates think, this will not lead to forced abortions. IF their wet dream of reversing Roe Vs. Wade comes true, then it will be another story. But remember: not even 12 straight years of Republican rule in the White House were able to reverse that decision.

monkeyhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Ernest - if it is any of your business, I am pro-choice, always have been, always will be.

..."this will not lead to forced abortions"

And the government will never own General Motors.

Music_Girl 5 years, 5 months ago

monkeyhawk, thank you for the kind compliment...and you beat me to a response to the "this will not lead to forced abortions" ignorant statement.

Ernest, you chose a career that generally does not include insurance as a benefit. You made that choice. If you were so worried about health insurance you would have chosen a career like editing a paper or magazine or another job that generally offers a benefits package. You made your choice and that means all the fun and not fun stuff that goes with it. Don't complain that America's health care system is broken because you are mad that you can't "have your cake and eat it too".

tunahelper 5 years, 5 months ago

wah, wah, wah, what a baby.

get off your butt and get a job and quit whining. and get a job with benefits. it's not my fault you leftists don't work good jobs.

the government gave us social security, the postal service, and the IRS. we don't need the government to provide health care!

or quit your jobs and go on welfare and get free health care!

stupid leftists.

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 5 months ago

Music Girl

Who said I am complaining? I am giving an example of the plight of 40 million underemployed or self-employed Americans who not always get even to look at that cake of yours.

Our health care system is broken because corporations have taken over. It's no longer about treating the ill, but about turning a profit. And that is what makes me angry and drives me to support Obama's plan.

You remarked earlier that our health care is great, and that people are living longer because of that. Well, the fact is that that medical advancement has been quite great... but very few people have access to such developments.

KatWrangler 5 years, 5 months ago

tunahelper (Anonymous) says…

wah, wah, wah, what a baby.

get off your butt and get a job and quit whining. and get a job with benefits. it's not my fault you leftists don't work good jobs.

the government gave us social security, the postal service, and the IRS. we don't need the government to provide health care!

or quit your jobs and go on welfare and get free health care!

stupid leftists.


You are pretty damn cluless. Now go play in someone else sandbox.

Music_Girl 5 years, 5 months ago

Ernest, give me a specific example of a time that you or someone you know personally did not have access to health care. You may not have wanted to pay what they were asking or you may have had to go a great distance but you could have had it. You had ACCESS to it you didn't want to PAY for it. There is a huge difference. No health insurance is not cheap, neither is car insurance or life insurance or home insurance. I mentioned earlier that something should be done to help those self-employed, students and small business owners but that has nothing to do with the masses.

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 5 months ago

Tuna

Leftist? Me? I'm more of a moderate. And I have a job - and no boss breathing down my neck. I am thinking about the future of this country as a whole, not at my own navel as apparently most right-wingers do.

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 5 months ago

Music Girl

Apparently you didnt read the original post. Please reread and get back to me.

Music_Girl 5 years, 5 months ago

"She was rushed to an emergency room and treated for her cuts and bruises." "Not too long ago, I also ended up at a Staten Island ER with a massive toothache. Even though I was fully insured at the time, the hospital still sent me a $ 130 bill..." "...which meant she had to pay for every exam, doctors' visits and other need..." Yup, reread the whole thing and it looks like you all had ACCESS to health care to me. Yes it's expensive. Pretty much everything in this world is. You have yet to prove to me that you didn't have access to care, only that you didn't want to have to pay so much for it.

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes, we had access. But the first friend almost went bankrupt in order to pay for her expenses. If there were a Universal Health Care system in place, she wouldn't have lost her benefits when she changed jobs in the first place. And in my case - $ 130 on TOP of my insurance for a five-minute conversation and a Vicodin? Seems like one hell of a markup.

What I am debating here is not the access, but how the uninsured are suffering in this country (not the ones that choose to be, but the ones who cannot afford it, ultimately becoming the biggest burden on those of us who are).

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 5 months ago

I am not aware of the specifics of that first case. All I know is that she fell out of the car when the door suddenly opened because she was not wearing a seat belt, I was not at the scene, but did speak to her after. I believe in that case the automobile insurance did not cover (or refused to cover, whatever that is) and she had to pay for it. She was x-Rayed and kept in observation for the night --- and then she got the bill, which she paid in installments once she could get the hospital's collection department agree on some kind of deal.

Daniel Davidson 5 years, 5 months ago

If they do make everybody carry insurence and raise taxes to do so shouldnt the resposible ones with insurence already get a break from the new tax? Maybe the government could pay us back some of our hard earned money.

pace 5 years, 5 months ago

Most sides agree, health care needs to change. Let us compare the different programs being suggested. OOPS the conservatives haven't really presented one because they say they don't have the presidency. Didn't stop Ted Kennedy from working on it. Maybe the wingnuts should ask their congresspersons and senators for a little ammo for their argument. Later baby later, get a job with benefits, there isn't a problem hasn't got the ring of truth and candor it needs. Access to health care isn't " you should go to the emergency room, it isn't, not having regular physicals or preventive tests, and it sure isn't waiting until your illness is so far gone you have lost your home, your savings, and get to leave the body in the morgue so the tax payers pay for the highloader to shove you in a ditch.

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 5 months ago

Well said Pace and Autie. Thanks for keeping this a high-level debate...

pills4profit 5 years, 5 months ago

One big thing that no one on here has mentioned is that the quality of care will go down because government the already existing government programs and the one proposed by BHO will not reimburse DR. enough which will inevitably make it so no one will be willing to enter into the profession. Why on earth would anyone go into a field that is so demanding with insurmountable responsibility for a fraction of the old compensation? The fact is they won't, or they will refuse to treat patients with government insurance. This is already happening now, does anyone remember the article about Dr. Buxton refusing new medicare patients a couple months back? Hes doing this because he wasn't getting reimbursed well enough by medicare. Why would the new system be any different? Becoming a Dr. is expensive, time consuming, and no on is going to devote there entire life to a field run by the government all the while not making enough to make ends meat? But I guess we could just throw more money at the system and pay for Doctors to go to med school. Whats another trillion or two?

pills4profit 5 years, 5 months ago

Also, I would like to see the statistics on how many of the uninsured/underinsured people who would be covered on this program are overweight, smoke cigarettes, use drugs (including alcohol), live setintary lives, eat fast food, don't work out, and just generally live an unhealthy life. If this program is to be put in to play people coved under the gov't insurance should not be allowed to fall under any of those categories. I fail to see the logic in tax payers paying for someones health care who obviously doesn't care about there own health. I would have to say if your recieving gov't insurance then you would have to have a yearly checkup to make sure there not obese, using cigarettes, drugs, and anthing else that would cause unnecessary dr. visits.

jumpin_catfish 5 years, 5 months ago

We must reform healthcare NOW because my heart says its the right thing to do.

These are the inner babbling of the liberal wingnut's mind and if this is why any of you think we must have healthcare reform NOW using what the dips in DC are proposing then you are a liberal wingnut or just a nut.

pace 5 years, 5 months ago

catfish, If your heart is enlarged (LOL) and you have been laid off, or your HBO isn't sure that it wasn't always large, then yes we do need reform now. Calling people names rather than proposing argument is so way cool and convincing. Sneering that someone admits that it is a moral decision dictated by a righteous stance doesn't mean squat about the real health care emergency this country is in. You might consider getting a check up to see if you are getting enough oxygen to the noodle. Do you think we are getting what we paying for as a country from the present health industry? We are getting cheated, they are getting rich and that's why the word reform is coming up so often.

Dan Eyler 5 years, 5 months ago

In this article it states that someone had to go to he ER and only got a few pain pills and had to pay 130 bucks as a copay. That is the problem. You went to the ER for a toothache. But you are the problem. You want your care for nothing. Any time any place. But I am pretty darn sure that if you were in New York you spent 130 bucks for dinner. I can go to Free State Brewery have dinner with my wife and a few glasses of good beer and spend 65 bucks. This isn't about better healthcare this is about wanting something for nothing. Healthcare is darned expensive but if we want to fix it we don't need the federal government running it. When we agree on that we can have a true debate on the subject.

gphawk89 5 years, 5 months ago

Why is it needed right now? That's easy: so it can be railroaded into existence before anyone realizes how bad an idea it is. Luckily, quite a few people have already realized what's going on. Honeymoon's over, 'Bama.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

ErnestBarteldes (Ernest Barteldes) says…

"But as it is now, those more unfortunate come to the hospitals, get treated but don't pay… and then it's up to the rest of us."

So, um - how would adding another 50 million (allegedly) currently uninsured into the ranks that the rest of pay for cut costs, exactly? Oh, yeah, the government pays for it. Maybe it wouldn't cost YOU anything - the rest of us pay taxes.

"And in my case - $ 130 on TOP of my insurance for a five-minute conversation and a Vicodin? Seems like one hell of a markup."

Wow - you're actually serious!

Maybe you haven't seen a medical bill since the 1930's, but you can't go to a doctor to have them look at your runny nose for $130.

And you have illustrated nicely exactly where the problem lies. You have no clue what medical care costs. Let me clear it up for you a little. A relative of mine recently spent 10 hours at an emergency room for 'observation.' As she was pregnant, they couldn't even do an x-ray let alone something like a CAT scan. Her 'treatment' consisted of a couple of basic blood tests and a nurse coming by every hour or so to ask how she was doing. Total bill? Over $12,000!

THAT is what the problem is. It is obscene that an ER visit costs as much as a car, or a minor operation and three day hospital stay costs more than a family's annual income. But as long as nobody has to pay for it out of their pocket, nobody cares, nobody complains, nobody thinks twice about the fact that hospitals have a profit margin almost equal to that of insurance companies. And if the government paid for it all (with our tax dollars)? People would exploit the system even more, and the costs would keep going up, because nobody would even notice.

If you really, really think that $130 was too much for you to have to pay for an emergency room visit, and you want someone else to pay that for you, YOU are the problem.


pace (Anonymous) says…

"OOPS the conservatives haven't really presented one because they say they don't have the presidency."

You meant haven't presented one your rather limited study on the matter has made you aware of, right?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

What the hell is going on? Put this matter to the people and let them vote for it. It would pass with no problem because voting taxpayers are very smart people.

What is nice about HR 676 is * patients would have complete freedom of choice so far as doctors,clinics or hospitals are concerned.

  • patients could shop around for cost difference if necessary

  • more jobs in the field of medicine will open up

  • all medical people will be paid

  • eliminates the most expensive care on the planet = emergency room treatment for non emergency situations

  • Eliminates medical insurance dollars spent on what 1,500 health insurers add to the actual cost of providing care such as: • its bureaucracy • extraordinary profits • high corporate salaries • advertising

  • over charges • sales commissions • Shareholders ! are the primary clients of for-profit insurance companies, not patients • Special interest campaign dollars
  • Golden parachutes

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

There is no such thing as free insurance. Simply because it will be our money aka tax dollars paying.

*Paying More Getting Less 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 insurance bill is paid through taxes which comes to $1.2 trillion. $1.2 trillion is a sweet gravy train for the industry. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

*"Daina also talks to entrepreneur, Jack Lohman, a lifelong Republican and co-founder of Business Owners for Single Payer, who tells her: "For the same 16 percent of GDP that we are spending on health care in the U.S., we could provide first-class health care to 100 percent of the people." And a single-payer system would "get health care off the backs of corporations so they can be more competitive with products made overseas." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-van-gelder/what-americans-want-natio_b_110830.html

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Why do legislators on both sides of the aisle think OUR tax dollars is their money? Since when I ask? Use our existing pie of tax dollars to insure all in the USA for 24/7 health care! Cut off wasteful corporate welfare and spend OUR tax dollars on OUR medical insurance. Yes the health of americans is a worthy cause!

Don't force employers to pay one thin dime! There are plenty of tax dollars in DC to cover all of us. Yes this National Health Insurance concept is the most practical and comprehensive in this nations history.Tax dollars come from the hard working people NOT from the government. It's time to give peoples tax dollars back to the tax paying people.

Yes to National Health Insurance. It’s a wise investment in the people and america!

Remember RATIONING is what the medical insurance industry has been offering for many decades. The level of care is dependent on how much money one is able to put on the table. This is corporate american style rationing and/or class warfare.

What could be more american than allowing USA people to pay for THEIR OWN insurance with THEIR OWN tax dollars?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

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

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.

The report was part of a multi-pronged assault on the credibility of private insurers by Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.). It came at a time when Rockefeller, President Obama and others are seeking to offer a public alternative to private health plans as part of broad health-care reform legislation. Health insurers are doing everything they can to block the public option.

At a committee hearing yesterday, three health-care specialists testified that insurers go to great lengths to avoid responsibility for sick people, use deliberately incomprehensible documents to mislead consumers about their benefits, and sell "junk" policies that do not cover needed care. Rockefeller said he was exploring "why consumers get such a raw deal from their insurance companies."

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

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

"You mean 51% of the people would have no problem agreeing to steal money from the other 49%."

Looks to me like the insurance industry is knowingly doing the stealing.... have you requested a refund yet?

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

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Our system will not be like the one in Canada. Why would it be?

The insurance industry is spending $1.4 million health care dollars a day for a ton of distorted commercials. YOUR health care dollars are being wasted. No doubt this fiasco will INCREASE your premiums.

All of us wait to get treatment. It's called making appointments and waiting waiting waiting for our turn. Then many times we wait more after arriving on time.

What in the world does insurance have to do with wait times?

The insurance industry screams about waiting waiting waiting then the special interest politicans start screaming about waiting waiting waiting but in a sense they are right.

People in the USA have been waiting waiting waiting ABOUT 50 YEARS for functional,fiscally responsible and sensible health insurance which brings us to HR 676 .... yes finally it is here. http://www.healthcare-now.org/campaigns/win-win/

HR 676 contains costs and saves about $350,000,000,000(billions). But special interest politicians don't want to talk about HR 676. So they present bills that will increase the cost. Why? Special interest campaign funding(the industry) is writing those bills.... foxes in the chicken coop!

HR 676 National Health Insurance will provide coverage for:

  • long term care such that cancer would require
  • prescription drugs
  • hospital, surgical
  • outpatient services
  • primary and preventive care
  • emergency services
  • dental, mental health
  • home health
  • physical therapy
  • rehabilitation (including for substance abuse)
  • vision care
  • hearing services including hearing aids
  • chiropractic
  • durable medical equipment
  • palliative care

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would pay about $2,700 in payroll tax for all health care costs.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save hundreds of billions annually by eliminating the high overhead of the private health insurance industry and HMOs. The privatized medical insurance industry is anything but efficient. http://www.healthcare-now.org/campaigns/win-win/

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Afraid Of Medicare? Why? Because the insurance industry and politiicans say so? And a few columnists?

This is not how medicare necessarily looks today. This is a picture of what it would look like if HR 676 were enacted because this is what taxpayers would expect for their money. Our legislators have come to expect such fine care covered by OUR tax dollars.

There is not a better proposal on the table. A $350,000,000,000(billions) savings comes with this proposal. No other proposal out there can boast such a savings.

HR 676 would cover every person for all necessary medical care including 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 expensive care such as cancer

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would pay about $2,700 in payroll tax for all health care costs. About $225 per month. Most anyone with a package like the above is forking over about $1,100 per month.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save hundreds of billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs.

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 5 months ago

On those $ 130 --- I paid though I complained. But I expect my insurance to cover my expenses --- that is why I pay for it every month...

Flap Doodle 5 years, 5 months ago

The Democrats in Congress are preventing the O'dude from giving everyone free candy and unicorns. Don't vote for any Democrat in the mid-term elections next year. Do it for the candy and unicorns!

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says…

"What the hell is going on? Put this matter to the people and let them vote for it. It would pass with no problem because voting taxpayers are very smart people."

Latest poll on the healthcare proposal::

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/public_opinion_polls/fox_news_opinion_dynamics/64/based_on_what_you_know_about_the_health_care_reform_legislat-435.html

In favor: 36% Opposed: 47%

Why, you're correct, merrill - the voters ARE very smart people. Apparently much, much smarter than you are.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 5 months ago

Marion says… “It defies logic and experience that we will save money and deliver better health care by expanding government control and spending."

Marion, I'm not following your logic. If fedgov controls healthcare, wouldn't we see our premiums used for something other than advertising, politicking, profits, and paperwork nightmares?

Carol Bowen 5 years, 5 months ago

Do the math. If a person makes $12/hour, that's $24,960 per year . . . if the job is full time year-round. Try paying for food, rent, clothing, and transportation (to work)) on this pay.There's no $$ for insurance premiums. Median income in Lawrence is about $40,000. Starting pay for a new teacher in Lawrence is $34,380. Let's not focus on narrow examples. As the premiums continue to increase, more people will not be able to pay for insurance. Health care should not be just for those who can afford it.

Constructive criticism is healthy, but fear-mongering is tiresome. Those who flat out oppose HR 676 should be presenting counter-proposals. I think some of the opposition is either afraid of change, or they are not really talking about health insurance. They're just talking politics.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

hear_me (Anonymous) says…

"Do the math."

Do it yourself. Get a better job. Move someplace where it costs less to live. Take a little responsibility for yourself.

"Health care should not be just for those who can afford it."

Health insurance may be; health care is not.

"Those who flat out oppose HR 676 should be presenting counter-proposals. I think some of the opposition is either afraid of change, or they are not really talking about health insurance. They're just talking politics."

Uh huh. Funny how folks never think THEIR side is just talking politics.

There have been numerous proposals made as alternates to the president's abhoration. Many have been mentioned in the numerous threads on this topic that have appeared on this paper's website. It's the people (like you) that never bother to consider the alternatives, that haven't even acknowledged that they exist, that's the problem - the ones who claim if you don't accept this proposal, you must want things to stay the way they are.

You're right about one thing - speaking for myself, I am most definitely NOT talking about health insurance. It's not insurance that's the problem - the problem is that healthCARE has become unaffordable without insurance. Nobody cares about that. Nobody cares that hospitals make as high of a profit margin as insurance companies. Nobody cares that an ER visit cost more than their car or that brief hospital stay cost more than they make in a year. And why? Because of insurance! As long as you don't see the bill, who cares, right?

As long as the cost of healthcare delivery remains so high, it doesn't matter who pays for it - WE pay for it, out of pocket, in premiums, or in taxes. If the government starts footing the bill, what incentive is there to address the real problem, the COST?

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes, we have to deal with the cost problem. This topic became extremely complex, and we will have to deal with it little by little.

disgustedagain 5 years, 5 months ago

Thanks, Mr. Barteldes, for being brave enough to stand up to the right wing "let's do nothing" component of Kansas. The Republicans have suggested nothing, but feel free to condemn every suggestion from President Obama and Democrats. (We'll see if Orrin Hatch comes up with anything that isn't just a reworking of the status quo.)

Personally, I'd love to see single payer in this country. But don't expect it to happen in my lifetime. The Democrats have once again been the only party to even bother to work toward any reform. Allowing the health insurance industry continue to reap profits and drop tens of thousands of sick people every year (and let's not forget rescission and purging small business owners that have become too expensive to keep on the insurance rolls) is despicable. Frankly, I think the health insurance industry should be prosecuted for fraud and unethical practices leading to endangering lives, but I'm a bit more extreme than the average person. Probably because I have 2 chronic conditions, was priced out of my individual policy 8 years ago ($650/month, 8 years ago), and am not blackballed by all the insurance companies. Every time I hear another statistic from Republicans and pundits about how 70% of the public are happy with their insurance, I want to ... well I won't go there. Why are those 70% so damn selfish that they won't even consider that their inertia and unwillingness to support change leaves people like me and all the other 47 million uninsured out in the cold. AND those same 70% are paying out of pocket in their rising premiums and deductibles for all those people the insurance industry deems uninsurable.

Anyway, I could go on and on. It would be nice if the JW would consider an article on the unfair practices of rescission and purging of the health insurance (covered by major print newspapers like LA Times, NYT, etc., but not by cable news shows!). I won't hold my breath.

disgustedagain 5 years, 5 months ago

"So for the miniscule percentage of legal Americans who show up at emergency rooms and have no health insurance and no way to pay for care, we need to emark on a $1.5 trillion government-run boondoggle? That's simply irresponsibile. " Setting, thanks for proving my point about selfishness. A miniscule number eh? 47 million is miniscule unless you are one of them.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

disgustedagain (Anonymous) says…

"Frankly, I think the health insurance industry should be prosecuted for fraud and unethical practices leading to endangering lives, but I'm a bit more extreme than the average person."

Really? No kiddin'.

This is another part of the problem. People like you just don't seem to be capable of understanding the difference between a provider and an insurer.

As an example, see the comments by Jersey_Girl on this thread:

She relates a story about how her insurance company refused to perform needed surgery, and several days later, when she had to have the surgery performed on an emergency basis, they had still been refusing to perform it. Insurance companies are not physicians. They don't perform surgery. They may have refused to pay for it, which could have been for any number of reasons (I don't recall Jersey ever saying what their refusal was based on). It was the hospital and the physicians who refused to perform the surgery, and why? Because they weren't getting paid. THAT's okay with you, right? That the angels in the white coats refused to save this woman's life unless they were guaranteed payment up front?

Gee, almost sounds like your beef with the insurance companies.

But hold on a sec - it's against the law for any hospital that participates in the Medicare system (that would be almost all of them) to refuse care needed to save a life regardless of the ability to pay (you've probably seen those signs in the hospital you go to). So if the doctors refused to perform the surgery when the insurance company said no, it must have been THEY who certified that her condition was not life-threatening at the time. There could have been any number of reasons for the insurance company's refusal: As a non-emergency, perhaps they wanted her to have it done elsewhere; perhaps they wanted the physician to try something else first; perhaps the doctor did a p*-poor job at his clinical justification when trying to pre-authorize the services; maybe it wasn't even covered by her policy. The doctors could have done it anyway and fought for payment later - if they truly believed it was necessary immediately, their only reason for not doing it was that they weren't guaranteed of getting paid.

Should they be "prosecuted for .. unethical practices leading to endangering lives," disgustedagain?

[continued]

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

[continued]

An insurance company is a financial institution. Their purpose is not to provide care but to manage risk. If you have a million dollars in the bank and another million or so in assets and don't mind assuming the risk of a catastrophic illness yourself, don't get insurance. If you have nothing and there's nothing they can sue you for, again, take the risk yourself. If you have a house and a couple of cars and a little money squirreled away for your kids' college funds and you don't want to take the risk of losing that, then you pay someone else to assume that risk. That is all they do, and they do it according to state regulation and the terms of the policy.

Your bank doesn't increase your credit limit on your card because you need food, do they? Does your mortgage company suddenly change the terms of your mortgage because you have to have shelter? No - they're financial institutions that are not responsible for your health or your life. Guess what - that applies to insurance companies, too.

And maybe someday, when people stop expecting someone else to pay the bill for them, they'll look at the true cause of the problem: The COST of such a surgery, not finding someone else to assume the cost.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 4 months ago

notajayhawk: "Do it yourself. Get a better job. Move someplace where it costs less to live. Take a little responsibility for yourself."

notajayhawk , are you capable of thinking about anyone other than yourself? I was not writing about myself. How about cleaning up the attitude.

notajayhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

hear_me (Anonymous) says…

"notajayhawk , are you capable of thinking about anyone other than yourself? I was not writing about myself. How about cleaning up the attitude."

Actually, hear_me, I would be personally better off under a government-funded insurance program. I work in one of the alliued health fields that Medicaid pays higher than private insurers do, for one thing. And it would likely make it more affordable for me, personally, and my family, to pay for our healthcare.

But it would not be better for everyone, and it would be decidedly worse for the country, if the current proposals for healthcare reform become reality.

Believe me, if I was thinking of just myself, I'd be another merrill, cutting-and-pasting the reformist propaganda on every thread on this website. I'd be writing LTE's, handing out leaflets on street corners, knocking on doors, screaming from the rooftops that we need this plan right now!

But I'm not just a consumer of healthcare services. I'm also a provider that deals on a daily basis with the insanity of government-funded care. I'm also a taxpayer and a citizen. And I know that turning over our healthcare decisions to the bureaucracy of any government agency would be a disaster of unimagined proportions.

[continued]

notajayhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

[continued]

Incidentally, hear_me, I agree with you that healthCARE is unaffordable for many people in this country, such as the example you gave. And I apologize for my 'attitude' and my presumption, but I've been hearing the same old song for years on these message boards from many people who aren't thinking of anyone but themselves, people who just want those gull-derned rich folks to pay for everyone.

But as I said, it's healthCARE that's the problem, not who pays for it. Actually, the more affordable insurance is, the worst the problem becaomes. Because if everyone can have a little bit taken out of their paycheck for insurance premiums or payroll taxes and never see a medical bill, they have no idea how much healthCARE costs, and nobody cares let alone has the motivation to do something about it.

Read the complaints about the affordability of healthcare on these threads. None of them are the fault of the insurance companies, it all comes down to the providers - the hospitals, the doctors, etc. But nobody complains about a hospital charging $12,000 for a person to be 'observed' in an ER for 10 hours, nobody complains that even a minor operation and short hospital stay can cost more than a house. Even a not-for-profit hospital like LMH can make almost 6% in excess revenue (which is called 'profit' for the rest of us) but they scream bloody murder when an insurance company makes 4%. People want Congressional hearings and legislation when an insurance company says they aren't approving payment for a medical procedure, which could be for any number of legitimate reasons, but they have no problem with the physician(s) and/or hospital refusing to provide what might be life-saving services for no other reason than that they aren't guaranteed payment up front.

For the umpteenth time: The problem is NOT that people can't afford health insurance; the problem is that people can't afford healthCARE without it. And yes, if people had to take a little more responsibility for it instead of begging for someone else to foot thye bill, maybe, just maybe they'd be screaming about THAT.

disgustedagain 5 years, 4 months ago

"An insurance company is a financial institution. Their purpose is not to provide care but to manage risk."

You are absolutely right. Exactly why it is morally wrong for healthcare to be in the hands of for-profit institutions. A big reason why single-payer would be better from any point of view except that of the selfish, well-paid individual who doesn't give a * about anyone else. You deserve the current system, petrified and corrupt as it is. But unlike you, I sincerely hope that you never have to face bankruptcy or the struggles of a loved one who is drowning in debt because of medical costs. I'd be willing to pay extra taxes to help out all those people who are uninsured, even if it's only your version of "miniscule." So much for the Christians in this country.

If the LJW was a better paper, they might have included some of the recent articles by journalists in the LA Times and NYT and Washington Post about the unethical practices of these "financial institutions" in dropping people because they actually needed healthcare (rescission and purging, ever heard of them? probably not!)

There's no point in arguing statistics. You can find yours and I can find mine. As far as I'm concerned it's immoral to deny a person healthcare because they only make $8/hr working as a temp and can't afford health insurance--and that's ignoring those of us who can't get insurance because of pre-existing conditions. As long as Americans continue to condone the unfair practices of the health insurance industry as "just business" for financial institutions that manage risk, we will continue to get rising healthcare costs and lousy coverage for the people who are unfortunate enough to be sick. If I could move to Canada, I would in a heartbeat. At least Canadians have the moral backbone to support universal healthcare.

notajayhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

disgustedagain <<<<------ Still doesn't get it

"As far as I'm concerned it's immoral to deny a person healthcare because they only make $8/hr working as a temp and can't afford health insurance—and that's ignoring those of us who can't get insurance because of pre-existing conditions."

Insurance companies deny nothing but payment. It's the healthcare providers who deny treatment because they can't be guaranteed of payment. Maybe that is immoral, according to your standards, but it's not the insurance companies that's the problem.

So how would single-payer solve THAT problem, the exhorbitant prices charged by hospitals and doctors and other providers, disgusted? Oh, that's right - it wouldn't change that, but it would get someone else to pay for it. Great solution.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 4 months ago

Now I get your point, notajayhawk. Thanks for elaborating. I agree that social justice claims are overused. Problem is everyone has good points even if they are contradictions. Can we all agree that it is encouraging that the topic of health care is seriously being discussed? This has been an issue for decades.

If you graph annual incomes for Lawrence, there is a very high peak(many people) at about $7/hr, very few people at $40k/yr., and another peak at $150k. (Chamber data) I was thinking about the community's income distribution, notajayhawk. And, actually I was wondering how health care would work for all groups.

JHOK32 5 years, 4 months ago

All I keep hearing about are the Republicans bitching about not paying taxes to help the 46 million Americans with no healthcare..........while at the same time THEY ARE GETTING THE BEST FEDERAL HEALTHCARE THERE IS PAID FOR BY US THE TAXPAYERS!!! Does that just have a really rank smell to it or what?

jeremyhay 5 years, 4 months ago

"At least Canadians have the moral backbone to support universal healthcare." Like most European countries - which spend less than the massive 16% of GNP that the US pays - and provide health insurance for ALL their citizens. The "47 Million uninsured Americans" is a well known statistic this (the west side) of the big pond - (not a great ad. for the US). Why does not the wealthy US provide universal healthcare for all of its citizens - like the rest of the civilised western world? Afraid to catch up with Denmark - or Germany - or even Cuba?
In Europe worrying about health care simply just not occur - it's a simple entitlement for all. And over quality - the US does well for the rich, but overall the stats. do not look too good. Perinatal mortality is at a third world level as just one example.

Ryan Neuhofel 5 years, 4 months ago

Comments from Senator Ted Kennedy about HMO (managed care) growth on March 3, 1979 senate hearing on “health insurance” reforms … (he authored the first Managed Care bill in 1973) . . .

“Today the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research holds hearings on proposed amendments to federal statutes supporting the development of health maintenance organizations…These amendments would extend and strengthen current authorities supporting HMOs in this country….”

“As the author of the first HMO bill ever to pass the Senate, I find this spreading support for HMOs truly gratifying. Just a few years ago, proponents of health maintenance organizations faced bitter opposition from organized medicine. And just a few years ago, congressional advocates of HMOs faced an administration which was long on HMO rhetoric, but very short on action.”

“The current revival of the HMO movement should come as no surprise. HMOs have proven themselves again and again to be effective and efficient mechanisms for delivering health care of the highest quality. HMOs cut hospital utilization by an average of 20 to 25 percent compared to the fee-for-service sector. They cut the total cost of health care by anywhere from 10 to 30 percent. And they accomplish these savings without compromising the quality of care they provide their members.”

“In fact, many medical experts argue that the peer review built into group practice in the HMO setting promotes a quality of care superior to that found in the traditional health care system…. “In our enthusiasm to see HMOs proliferate throughout this country we should not lose sight of the need to guarantee the quality and integrity of the prepaid plans we create.”

http://www.forhealthfreedom.org/Publications/Choice/ThenAndNow.html#FOOT1

Ryan Neuhofel 5 years, 4 months ago

disgusted says . . ."The Democrats have once again been the only party to even bother to work toward any reform. Allowing the health insurance industry continue to reap profits and drop tens of thousands of sick people every year is despicable."

The increased profits of the health "insurance" industry is directly due to the managed care legislation in the 1970s and 80s. This arrangement of full third-party payment was not the result of "free market forces" or the gov't "allowing it to happen" - politicians (Democrats and Republicans) demanded it happen! (see Ted Kennedy's comments above)

They were transformed from a true "insurance" industry into managed care entities (HMOs, PPOs) that controlled nearly every single health care dollar - inevitably their profits rose as they controlled a larger portion of the pie.

Are you disgusted about how dead wrong Ted Kennedy's lack of foresight into the effect of pre-paid health care? (including tremendous profits of private health plans) . . . Or do you think he'll get it right this time around?

Ryan Neuhofel 5 years, 4 months ago

a link to my blog post on the "Over-Insured Crisis" found at . . .

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 4 months ago

This is the response I got from Rep, Michael McMahon, Staten Island's representative in Congress:


On July 14, 2009, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) introduced the America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, H.R. 3200. This bill has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, as well as the Committee on Ways and Means, the Committee on Education and Labor, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Committee on the Budget. I will be sure to keep your views in mind when this legislation comes before the House for a vote.

We need comprehensive health care reform that will provide all Americans access to affordable, high-quality health care. Today we are confronted with a health care system that is broken. Many people are uninsured, and many more cannot afford the insurance they have or the costs of much needed treatments. Premiums are skyrocketing and patients are too often denied coverage from insurance companies seeking to make a profit. Now is the time to put politics aside and solve this health care crisis.

The plan we are working on will be a uniquely American solution. Reform will be patient-centered and will provide all Americans the freedom to continue to choose their own doctor and their own plan. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor; if you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. A high-quality public health insurance plan will be available as backup, encouraging health care providers to compete for your business. This will be instrumental in keeping insurance costs down and promoting better coverage.

Rising health care costs burden American businesses as they weight health benefit costs against other business investments. By 2015 it is estimated that one in every five dollars spent in our economy will be devoted to health care. Growing health care expenses make our businesses much less competitive in the global marketplace, and restrict job creation here at home.

Health care cost increases have also far outpaced the growth in wages for American workers. In fact, New York families have seen their insurance premiums grow 7.3 times faster than their wages over the last 8 years. Additionally, large medical bills have contributed to half of all bankruptcies and foreclosures in our country.

I recently signed onto a bill which addresses the critical shortage of primary care providers in America; The Preserving Patient Access to Primary Care Act of 2009 (H.R. 2350). I am working very hard to ensure that this legislation becomes a part of the final health reform package. Primary care is at the core of America's health care system, and we need a critical supply of doctors, nurses and other providers of primary care.

Sincerely,

Michael E. McMahon Representative for the 13th District of New York

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