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Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 16 posts ] 
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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:53 pm 
Headlines Straight From Washington , Slicing The Health Care Pie.

Around the massive ornate table sat the gentleman and gentlewomen (princelets) in their immaculate suits of power leaning over the gilded golden sweet pie nearly filling the table with its wafting delicious wholesomeness filling the room. The princelets, each with a razor sharp carving knife glistening with precious stones, sat on the edges of their cushioned high back chairs. Each were poised to slice the biggest piece for the obese lobbymen huddling behind them. Leaning over the princelets the lobbymen were ready with their pudgy hands to guide the knives.

Beyond the gold studded doors thronged the sick and infirm silently waiting for their crumbs to be tossed out when the feast was over. Now these well kept Princeslets had everything to loose if the lobbymen, fearing a lean diet, weren't fed sufficiently. Anxiously waiting for the amen of a terminally long blessing grace the saliva and heavy breathing was nearly unbearable while through the doors started a low barely audible groan of the once silent masses.

Finally the piously intoned amen and the slicing began in earnest with knives slashing and hacking sometimes cutting the hands of their fellow princelets and lobbymen as each tried to lob off and grab as much as they could. All the while attempting to prevent nothing but the smallest crumbs from eluding them and falling to the floor to be swept out to the waiting throng whose low groans had now turned to oohs and aahs in anticipation of what crumbs they might get.

The only rule of this feast was nobody got to eat until that beautiful gilded trillion dollar pie was divided, not equally necessarily but divided until each lobbyman was at least excepting of their take. So the frenzy inside continued long into the night as blood oozed and soaked into that once promising pie. The princelets faces grew gaunt from exhaustion and the lobbymen bloated even more with greed until finally the princelets fled for their vacation leaving the pie, now a pile of blood soaked mush and the few crumbs on the floor trampled in the mad rush for the door.

The bloated lobbymen, left to drool over their reserved piles began to haggle with each other and cook up ideas for when the princelets returned soon left to huddle with their Masters of Profit. The cleaning ladies came to sweep the floor and add the crumbs back to the pile of bloodied mush on the table.

The princelets, now sequestered in their modest and not so modest mansions soon felt revived as their campaign coffers began to grow. Feeling better, they began to step out to speak of a new campaign of how "Crumbs for People" although more expensive than ever are the best thing since sliced white bread for GMO ham sandwiches.

As I sit and take in the scene I think back to the long ago murdered social reformer who spoke of a time when man would have to choose between feeding the war machine or feeding and caring for people. Then as now the Masters of Profit put a stop to even the thought of such nonsense. Even most of the progressive activists seem to have gone home to wait for their crumbs and declare a victory for change while hoping the empty hope that the wars would hurry up and be won.

©Johncrow August 2009

 Author: crow
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:22 pm 
The Global Resource Center Auditorium was filled to capacity with little standing room left. Mayor Marshall introduced Senator Jeff Bingaman and the meeting began.
First thing to appear on the overhead screen were the pies for New Mexico. (see below)
In a nut shell any talk of universal single payer health care is off the table according to Bingaman. The "reform" consists of helping (in some cases forcing) people to buy health insurance. This would be accomplished through mandating certain business to offer employee plans, making insurance pools available to more people, a central clearing house where options for insurance plans can be reviewed and compared and just a little bit of help to the increasing numbers of poor.

Healthcare1.jpg [ 13.85 KiB | Viewed 10980 times ]

Healthcare2Web.jpg [ 16.18 KiB | Viewed 10980 times ]

Although full of many popular slogans that got cheers from the audience his outline and support of proposed "fixes" and likely outcome of the bill was far from the meat of his slogans.

The audience questions were interesting and varied and for the most part handled well by Bingaman but two questioners with concerns over paying the cost were not well addressed. the first questioner complained the his grandchildren will be paying this generations cost. The second offered a practical solution, "take the money from the Pentagon budget and use it for universal single payer coverage". For a country who could flatten a city in minutes, blow the world up some 20 times over, send its minions sweeping across another country and maintain close to 200 military bases throughout the world to protect corporate interests but can't figure out how to take care of its own people is embarrassing.

Although eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP ("Children's Health Insurance Program") would rise from 133% to 300% of the poverty rate this would only increase the number of people eligible in New Mexico by 5%. See charts below for New Mexico Stats. People without papers are just SOL and presumably could be denied care. Acts of humanity are just too expensive.

There is a promise to untangle the red tape for both doctors and patients but there doesn't seem to be any rollback of costs for such thing as drugs and devices nor profits for corporate middle men. That famous gift to the insurance companies called "The Donut Hole" will not disappear according to Bingaman. The law that bars negotiations with drug companies to lower drug costs still stands and is not being addressed. Drugs (and there makers) that maim and kill and doctors who do harm may further be protected with a reform of the "Tort" and malpractice laws if some have their way.

Some interesting figures tossed out by Bingaman were that for an average family (4?), health insurance costs about $11,700.00/year and costs for health care rise at twice the rate of wages. Even though the charge is made that the uninsured drive up the cost of insurance ($1,000.00/year /average family according to Bingaman) this seems to be another one of those "wedge" issues used to create anger towards the uninsured because the insurance companies don't cover the uninsured directly.

".... one in four (25%) New Mexicans is uninsured, and many of them actually have full-time employment." according to Bingaman. This does nothing to address the reasons why like the high rate of poverty, even among working people. When people don't have jobs or are paid substandard wages they don't buy goods and services, especially something as nebulous as health insurance regardless of the cost.

Basically the current reforms will consist of protecting the insurance companies while imposing a few more regulations on them for a while.

(see my earlier article on "Slicing the Health Care Pie" Above)
File comment: Senator Jeff Bingaman and Frank Drysdale (on right)
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 Author: jef
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:18 am 
The fact that most Americans are not able to access health care with out paying off the insurance rackets is blatantly obvious. Stephen Fox asked Mr. Bingaman about this (in slightly different words). Bingaman's response was that Mr. Fox obviously knew the answer, so he wouldn't comment. Again, I'm paraphrasing, but I thought that short interchange was the kernal of the event, and I wish it had been on the front page of the Forum, as well as every paper in New Mexico!

I spoke to Jeff Bingaman immediately after the meeting. I explained to him that the sliding scale we used to be able to use at HMS had been replaced by a new program.

The old sliding scale program allowed us to pay a portion of each visit, sometimes nearly full cost, sometimes less, with the rest subsidized. That changed. Stephen is now eligible for Medicare but I'm too young. So HMS and the state of New Mexico would require me to buy insurance. The state would subsidize what I can't afford. So, essentially, I (and taxpayers) must pay every single month to an insurance company, for services we rarely use. How much of that goes to the local economy at HMS (when I use their services perhaps once every 5 years), and how much enriches the 'health' insurance industry every single month? No way will I pay a cent to those crooks, so no more HMS for me. I pay cash for anything I need, which rarely includes allopathic medicine anyway, so insurance isn't that crucial too me as it might be to others dependent on the mainstream medical system.

Jeff said he found it very confusing to understand why I felt this policy helped insurance companies more than it helped the people and the local economy. He also claimed not to understand how it was possible that the small clinic I used to work in went from one less-than-part time employee, to one full and one part time employees handling insurance claims within 24 months. No changes in the income of anyone working there, no new buildings, equipment, etc., just the need to employ people to aggressively go after legitimate insurance claims, to keep the clinic open. Of course those costs had to be passed on to the patients. Some claims, after 6-12 months, had not been paid completely by the time I left.

I use to be able to allow my clients, when therapy was prescribed by their physician, to use health insurance to pay for my services. After not getting payments for sometimes as long as 18 months, requiring many, many hours of my time on top of the service provided, I will no longer accept insurance under any circumstances.

Both at the clinic and at my office, these are insurance policies that have been paid for, with treatments prescribed by a licensed physician, yet the insured are becoming less and less able to use them. Improving health care services in this country by giving a bigger piece of that pie to the industry may be the most ludicrous policy I've seen out of Washington yet!


 Author: Nancy Kaminski
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 5:58 am 
Thank you Elizabeth, sometimes I forget about the doctors and clinics that must work with the insurance companies. My story comes from the injured workers side of this issue. I worked as a welder in Wisconsin. One particularly hot August night while I was doing my job an 18 year old new hire kid accidentally hit me in the armpit with a large piece of steel. This accident caused me years of grief and a permanent partial right arm disability. The insurance company was St Paul Fire and Mutual, a giant among giants. They paid for approved mainstream medical care but anything beyond that was my responsibility. After four years of being batted back and forth by the insurance company and my employer the doctors declared me permanently partially disabled. That's when the giant really took the gloves off. They wanted me back at work no matter what. They phoned my home day after day. They lied to me. They sent letters and demanded that I return to work immediately. All this to save themselves a couple years of one quarter of my wages as a disabled worker, for which I had paid an insurance premium for many years. In the end I am disabled but only partially, which means there is no monthly income from any source, and no insurance since I now have a pre-existing condition. Wisconsin is a state in which you cannot sue your employer. There is a schedule of injuries which paid me $7,000.00 for my right arm. No lawyer or insurance company will have anything to do with me now. All of my old blue collar jobs are now beyond reach, as is the income I worked very hard for many years to achieve. I sold everything I owned and moved to New Mexico where it costs less to live. Since being here I have consistently made do with less then $5000.00 per year. Thank the Goddess for family and friends. There were times when that and my sense of humor was all I had left.

 Author: Thom Cobb
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:14 am 
Thanks for all of your interest and concern on this important topic. GOOD discussion ! I too attended Sen. Bingaman's town hall meeting, but I thought it was informative. The later one at the VFW Hall in Arenas Valley was much more of a propaganda event for the wing nuts.
I tried to impress upon Sen. Bingaman the great need for the public option. It is crucial, It is the ONLY thing that will slow down the rise in the cost of health care.
But please remember that the public option will be only one of several plans available.
There will be (the plan is) a menu of insurance plans and people can select which of them they prefer. People who have very little income will be subsidized into the "public option" plan. People who can pay a bit will pay that, and those who cannot will be fully subsidized.
There are a huge number of ways to pay for the subsidies, put a 1/4 of 1 percent tax on all stock market transactions, the Brits did that and would you believe the sky did not fall in ? Tax the sugary soda drinks. Tax alcohol. The list is indefinite.
The reason the single-payer plan was never considered is because about half the country has private health insurance and does not want the government to pull them out of that and put them into a new single-payer plan. If the government DOES regulate the insurance companies as the claim they intend to do, those folks should see a cost savings.
Also to be considered is the fact that the public option is to be self-supporting. That is, it will be paid for initially by the taxpayers, but that's for the start-up only. Once off the ground it has to pay it's own way.
All the insurance companies would have to conform to these new proposed regulations at least until the Republicans regain control of government. No "pre-existing conditions", no canceling of policies the moment one falls ill, and they would be some price competition which we don't have right now.
But if they intend to COMPEL all of us to buy health insurance, there sure better be a public and affordable plan offered with it or it's train wreck time.
Pres. Obama has talked about controlling insurance costs by "regulation" but no one has ever effectively controlled costs by regulation. They tried it during WW2 and it didn't work.
An affordable public option is the ONLY solution. If that's not in the final bill that congress has to vote on, then I intend to call both Senators and Harry Teague and tell them to PLEASE vote the damn thing down.

 Author: mclark
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 12:12 pm 
I went to the Town Hall conducted by Sen. Bingaman. I found him pretty knowledgeable and prepared.

Then with much reserve I attended the panel discussion at the Grant County Commissioners building sponsored by the Tea Party. The panel consisted of 2 representatives from HMS, Alton Sircy representing Beehive Assisted Living, Dr. Stein. Dr. Stanley, Dr. Bell,, Christy Buckley, Dr. Rogers, Robert Rydeskie from Rydeski Insurance, and Mike Morones CPA from Morones and Kuntsen.

What I noticed right away was the lack of attendance by other local doctors, city officials, progressives or the more radical Tea Party members. I also noticed that although the venue was billed as “being very different than the Town Hall meeting with Sen. Bingaman, it was not.

The first audience speaker however started right away with how the Obama health care reform plan is unconstitutional. When asked if Dr. Bell believed Medicare to be unconstitutional, he replied” no.” No one asked if he felt the single payer reform was unconstitutional.

During the panel discussion one of the first questions asked by the doctors was, “How many people here are satisfied with their insurance coverage”? Very few of those attending raised their hand.

The doctors all had basically the same thing to say. Health Care in the US is broken. Medicare is broken. Medicare is costing more than it takes in. People who receive SS and Medicare get much more out of the system than they paid into it.The Baby Boomers
(I prefer the term post war babies) are now just beginning to hit the system.
The US ranks 37 in over all Mortality rates, which means that 36 other countries have fewer Mortalities than does the US. Medicaid is also broken.

The concerns voiced from these doctors were: How are we going to pay for Health Care reform? Their major concern about HR3200 is that it is modeled after Medicare, which they consider to be broken.

What I heard them saying is that reform is needed. That reform should run deep and have several components.

1. Health care cost in the US is rising.

2. Insurance Companies need reform. The doctors felt that as doctors “their hands are tied by the Insurance companies”. Insurance Companies dictate what procedures a doctor can perform. The Insurance Company mandates the quality of your health care, not your doctor. Malpractice Insurance cost and full time staff needed to process CPU Insurance, Medicare and Medicaid billing codes all contribute to higher cost at the doctors office and the hospital. Paper work must be reduced and an easier filing/ billing/ tracking system must be initiated.

3.Tort claims must be reduced and the amount paid out with these claims must be regulated and reduced. GRMC and local doctors air vac many patients out to larger facilities partly due to fear of being sued. People sue for things that they have compounded by their life style and actions. Patients must form a partnership with themselves and their own health care by eating healthy, exercise and taking responsibility their own actions.

4.Pharmaceutical companies must be regulated. Cost must be lowered, drugs must become safer with fewer recalls.

5. More doctors should be participating in the dialog about reform.

6. It will take a partnership of all the players working together to fix the problem.

7. One woman suggested that the real problem is greed. Greed from the Insurance
Companies Pharmaceutical Companies, people who file Tort Claims and the
doctors themselves. Her personal experience was that one doctors visit she
attended cost her $485. (The CEO for Cigna made $12.5 million last year and is set
to retire this year with a retirement fund of $75 million).

The conversation did not address how the uninsured influence the cost of health care or what is being done to stop the increased numbers of uninsured due to employers dropping health insurance for employees due to rising cost. Or how the uninsured contribute to the over all Mortality rate of the US.

The conversation did not address how these reforms need to take place nor who would do the reforming. (Obviously the Insurance Companies nor the Pharmaceutical Companies can be trusted to reform themselves).

In conclusion, I heard a lot of words, a lot about what is wrong but I did not hear any solutions.

 Author: mclark
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:42 pm 
I found this cost benefit analysis for the 2nd Congressional DIstrict.

July 2009
Benefits of America’s Affordable Health Choices Act
In the 2nd Congressional District of New Mexico
Committee on Energy and Commerce

America’s Affordable Health Choices Act would provide significant benefits in the 2nd Congressional District of New Mexico: up to 11,600 small businesses could receive tax credits to provide coverage to
their employees; 8,600 seniors would avoid the donut hole in Medicare Part D; 660 families could escape bankruptcy each year due to unaffordable health care costs; health care providers would receive payment for $104 million in uncompensated care each year; and 134,000 uninsured individuals would gain access to high-quality, affordable health insurance. Congressman Harry Teague represents the district.

• Help for small businesses. Under the legislation, small businesses with 25 employees or less and average wages of less than $40,000 qualify for tax credits of up to 50% of the costs of providing
health insurance. There are up to 11,600 small businesses in the district that could qualify for these credits.

• Help for seniors with drug costs in the Part D donut hole. Each year, 8,600 seniors in the district hit the donut hole and are forced to pay their full drug costs, despite having Part D drug coverage.
The legislation would provide them with immediate relief, cutting brand name drug costs in the donut hole by 50%, and ultimately eliminate the donut hole.

• Health care and financial security. There were 660 health care-related bankruptcies in the district in 2008, caused primarily by the health care costs not covered by insurance. The bill provides health insurance for almost every American and caps annual out-of-pocket costs at $10,000 per year, ensuring that no citizen will have to face financial ruin because of high health care costs.

• Relieving the burden of uncompensated care for hospitals and health care providers. In 2008, health care providers in the district provided $104 million worth of uncompensated care, care that was
provided to individuals who lacked insurance coverage and were unable to pay their bills. Under the legislation, these costs of uncompensated care would be virtually eliminated.

• Coverage of the uninsured. There are 154,000 uninsured individuals in the district, 24% of the district. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that nationwide, 97% of all Americans will have
insurance coverage when the bill takes effect. If this benchmark is reached in the district, 134,000 people who currently do not have health insurance will receive coverage.

• No deficit spending. The cost of health care reform under the legislation is fully paid for: half through making the Medicare and Medicaid program more efficient and half through a surtax on the
income of the wealthiest individuals. This surtax would affect only 1,200 households in the district.
The surtax would not affect 99.5% of taxpayers in the district.

This analysis is based upon the following sources: the Gallup-Healthways Survey (data on the uninsured); the U.S. Census (data on small businesses); the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (data on the Part D donut hole, health care-related bankruptcies (based on analysis of PACER court records), and uncompensated care); and the House Committee on Ways and Means (data on the surtax).

http://www.energycommerce.house.gov/Pre ... Teague.pdf

 Author: Allee Barr
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:15 am 

Thanks for the comprehensive overview.

Do you, or anyone out there, happen to know if sole proprietorship businesses (i.e. self employed with no other employees) would qualify for that 50% discount?


 Author: rearnheart
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:54 pm 
As Senator Bingman's Town Hall event slides into history, I want to make a few points for the record.

First, we were had.

The day after the event there were two stories on Daily Kos. One story quoted Repiblican Senator and member of the Gang of Six, Olympia Snowe, that the 'public option' wasn't even on the table in their discussions. Square that with Senator Bingman and his posse's song and dance about his support for the option. It doesn't. Unless you read the second story which said that Sen. Bingman was all but 'invisible' on the committee. So I guess if you're invisible you can have an opinion but nobody really knows about it because you're...well, invisible. Which is probably why all the beef jerky and M&M's in the chambers seemed to have kept disappearing into thin air, as does the public option.

Second, the Tea Party that wasn't.

I made it a point to sit next to one of our Tea Party brethen so as to get a feel for her rage. Totally committed, red 'T' shirt and all, I thought she would be a screamer. Not so. As I engaged her in conversation it took a few minutes to get through the Fox News talking points before we started hitting human paydirt. She was a second generation business owner in Silver. She was well prepared and, even if the information she had was bogus, it was organized. She had actual, serious concerns with which I could relate. Given enough time, we could have worked out compromises on tort reform and a legislative schedule, but never on the core issue of a health care system that covered everybody. Which I found odd for one main reason: She was on Medicare, her aging folks were on Medicare, and her grandson (with a disability) was on Medicaid and had been for years. So why is it, exactly, that she would be so interested, so deeply committed to restricting others from acquiring health services using the same model the government has used in the Medicare and Medicaid systems that she and her family had obviously used successfully for generations?

My answer from her on that point was that she had to go because she was in charge of part of the Tea Party health information event at the County Building. Hypocrisy wasn't in the schedule. Gotta go!

And speaking of hypocrisy (of the tax paying variety), I saw an individual at that Town Hall to whom I have written checks for years. He's a good carpenter and builder and, I believe, honest to a point. That point being the fact that he brandished a sign at the first Tea Party event saying that he was, indeed, 'Taxed Enough Already' where, in reality, I have his cashed checks in a folder. Dozens of them. Good luck if you need disability or social security. But that's the freedom of choice they want to defend, isn't it?

And finally, I am going to have to rely on those with more information than I have in memory for the veracity of this, but bear with me. When I was with former State Archaeologist Glenna Dean on the Little Walnut site some years ago, a very sick Cynthia Bettison was there. In passing conversation it was expressed that she was in need of a new kidney. Now, I don't know if Dr. Bettison ever got that kidney, or if that turned out to be the real problem, but if she had surgery or treatment, it would have been paid for by her insurance as an employee of WMNU, which is a state university, surported by your tax dollars ie., if Dr. Bettison got a new kidney, you and I paid for her health care with tax our dollars. So, if that is indeed the case, why is Dr. Bettison so actively involved with the Executive Cmte. of the Tea Party in blocking health care for others that she herself has been the beneficiary of, and paid for by the public to boot?

I don't get it. Somebody explain selfishness to me in the face of human misery? Spell out how greed feels good if suddenly, it's you or your loved ones in the crosshairs of some dire illness? Tell me why it's OK if you have yours but it's not OK if somebody else just like you wants theirs?

In working for a healthier population, we all win. All boats rise. Fear is abandoned. Life, with the security of access to health care, is lived more fully. So is all the arguing over the fine print of such a desire really sane? After our meeting with Senator Bingaman, I just know one thing:

Never trust an invisible man. If we want a public option, it's up to us.


 Author: Bruce
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:09 pm 
I thought Senator Bingaman explained his position on the public option fairly well. He compared the features of the public option to those of the coop option. When pushed, he said he preferred the public option over the coop option, but that others on the committee seemed to prefer the coop option. He expressed pessimism that the public option would have the votes to pass.

I won't be any happier than anyone else if the public option doesn't pass because I want to be the first to sign up for it. I want to dump these incompetent private insurance companies once and for all. But if it doesn't have enough votes, I'll blame the worthless Democratic Party, not Senator Bingaman who was one of an apparent minority of democratic legislators who support it.


 Author: jef
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:41 am 
Senator Bingaman, along with many others, gave up on doing the right thing, economically and socially, because "the votes weren't there". He seems like a pretty nice guy, but where's the fire and the passion towards excellence rather than a hang dog sort of acceptance of less than mediocre solutions? Why is this OK with the American people?

Meanwhile, my morning peace is interrupted by the gears of the Pepsi truck grinding down 180. How much does that truck weigh, how many gallons of fossil fuel is it burning? How many gallons of fossil fuel were used to grow the GMO corn to make the corn syrup to make the Pepsi on acres that could have produced real food, and how many people in my little town will be swilling it while they worry about their lack of health insurance and welcome their children back from Afghanistan and Iraq?

The dollars spent on producing and consuming what is not only a useless, but a dangerous "food" could be providing healthy food and health care, if the oil and agro industries were not subsidized by taxes. And all of it spent willingly by Richard's sheep.

How loud will the alarm clock have to ring to wake us up?


 Author: rearnheart
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:48 am 
Bruce, what disturbs me is that Sen. Bingaman knew full well that the public option had no standing in the cmte. he serves on and yet he could come before us and acknowledge his 'support' of it. He could play 'good cop' to the cmte.'s 'bad cop'. Yes, he explained it well, sort of. Did you understand 'exchanges' as a means of premium cost control? If you do, do you believe that they would for one second actually work? And ins. company competition across state lines? OK, let's say we get that. Does that also mean that those policies are effective everywhere in the US? If they were public option policies? If they were co-ops? I asked that question. I got mumblefuck.

Jeff is Jeff. A go along, get along guy with a long history in the senate. He voted against the war in Iraq so for that he will still have my respect. But right now we need some cajones on the Hill. The most recent writings from Roubini and Reich reflect a sentiment that we may be in store for a very long 'recovery', susceptible to a second recession after the stimulus plays out in mid 2010. The EU (with the exception of eastern Europe) is already pulling out of the recession, as are the BRIC countries and Australia. And one of the major reasons credited for their escallating recovery is the existence of universal health care systems that liberate consumer spending. Rather than cost us in the long run, national health care actually creates jobs AND a real sense of security that improves every aspect of life in any country.

But who am I talking to here? You know all of this backwards. As for Jeff, we got what we got. And the Dems? Let's see...which ones aren't under indictment yet?


 Author: Bruce
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:10 am 
Richard, I’m still not sure I understand your criticism, or what you think Bingaman should have said. Is Bingaman an effective negotiator in the committee? A quiet negotiator might be better than a firebrand, but neither is likely to change a 4-2 to 5-1 vote. In any case, we’re lucky to have any influence on the bill at all. Others are complaining that the six senators negotiating on the committee are all from non-populous states that represent less than one percent of the country. The House version might win out over any Senate version anyway. Obama may be waiting to weigh in when all the committees in both houses finish their sell outs.

I came here from a state where Group Health Cooperative does provide an effective model of reducing medical costs, and so I think the coop plan is better than nothing, although it’s hard to create one out of nothing rather than have it evolve over many years. Still, even in the best scenario, the coop option will take a long time to create competition with the insurance companies. I’d still sign up for it in a minute rather than stay with a private insurance company.

Insurance competition across state lines has one little problem—the US constitution. The whole federalist issue of what should be done at state and federal levels is a can of worms, but eventually something could probably be worked out. Another serious constitutional question is whether the federal government can force people to have insurance against their will. Probably that can be worked out too, but not without court challenges.

I agree with Elizabeth that as long as Americans keep sucking down corn syrup, all the health care reform in the world won’t make us healthy. But changing the country’s diet is a little beyond the Senate, the House, and the President. We’ll have to improve our own diets first and hope others eventually follow. And there are some good signs in that direction, although it’s going to be a long process. Individuals can change our diets easier than we can change our insurance, so I’d be satisfied with health insurance reform as a start.


 Author: jef
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:15 pm 
A friend just sent this link http://www.mydd.com/story/2009/8/20/165644/660. Contrary to the much touted notion that we're all just pleased as punch about our current private insurance, the majority of Americans want a public option. According to this source, even a majority of self-identified Republicans want the public option. Funny how NBC/WSJ dropping this part of their survey hasn't been on any network news! Not!

 Author: mirocook
PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 8:25 am 

Your query about the selfishness of some people regarding health care reminded me of a quotation by John Kenneth Galbraith. "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."

 Author: rearnheart
PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:11 am 
Mirocook, that's a big 'amen' from the congregation.

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