• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    riverdaughter on Oh yes Republicans would like…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Oh yes Republicans would like…
    campskunk on Oh yes Republicans would like…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Memorial Day
    eurobrat on One Tiny Mistake…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Evil people want to shove a so…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Evil people want to shove a so…
    riverdaughter on Evil people want to shove a so…
    campskunk on Evil people want to shove a so…
    eurobrat on D E F A U L T
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Tina Turner (1939-2023)
    jmac on D E F A U L T
    jmac on Does Game Theory Even Help Us…
    William on Does Game Theory Even Help Us…
    William on Does Game Theory Even Help Us…
  • Categories

  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

  • Top Posts

Moving toward a “public plan” inch by painful inch and we STILL don’t know what we’ll have when it’s done!

[UPDATE: Reid to Republicans: Nevermind]

My head is reeling  – DID Obama slap-down Rahm Emanuel? — I don’t think so:

“I am pleased by the progress we’re making on health care reform and still believe, as I’ve said before, that one of the best ways to bring down costs, provide more choices, and assure quality is a public option that will force the insurance companies to compete and keep them honest,” read the statement. “I look forward to a final product that achieves these very important goals.”

The vague reassurance came hours after Obama’s own chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel suggested that the White House would be comfortable with legislation that had a public plan “triggered” in only by worsening economic conditions.

Vague assurances make a tasty headline but, I have to agree with Crooks and Liars commenter all hail the hypno toad:

. . . I don’t really see the difference between
rahm: “The goal is to have a means and a mechanism to keep the private insurers honest. The goal is non-negotiable; the path is” negotiable.”

Obama: “as I’ve said before, that one of the best ways to bring down costs, provide more choices, and assure quality is a public option that will force the insurance companies to compete and keep them honest. I look forward to a final product that achieves these very important goals.”

Other than slightly more detail from rahm.

We know (because we read it everyday) that Serious Politicians & Presidents want to keep “insurance companies honest” (see President Obama’s statement above) — but, I’ve never heard anyone in real life mention that as a goal of health care reform. I can assure any serious politician out there — you can’t fool us; we’ll know right away if your bi-partisan compromise doesn’t make health care any more accessible than it is today.

And speaking of bi-partisan compromises. . . . THIS sounds like a slap-down to me:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday ordered Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to drop a proposal to tax health benefits and stop chasing Republican votes on a massive health care reform bill.

. . .

According to Democratic sources, Reid told Baucus that taxing health benefits and failing to include a strong government-run insurance option of some sort in his bill would cost 10 to 15 Democratic votes; Reid told Baucus it wasn’t worth securing the support of Grassley and at best a few additional Republicans.

But, wait — there’s MORE! This is a Slap-Down too:

Progressives Warn Obama Against Dropping Public Health Care Option

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chairman of the 77-member Congressional Progressive Caucus, fired off a letter to President Barack Obama warning him against dropping a public insurance option from health care reform plans.

. . .

“I want to be crystal clear that any such trigger for a strong public plan option is a non-starter with a majority of the Members of the Progressive Caucus,” Grijalva said.

“Moreover, I consider it unacceptable for any of the cost savings that you are negotiating with hospitals and other sectors of the health care industry to be made contingent upon a robust public plan option not being included in the final legislation,” Grijalva continued.

Give me more Slap-Downs like these — and some REAL Health Care Reform — and we could be a fun summer!

[UPDATE:  I just saw this post at Suburban Guerrilla on the same subject]

Digg!!! Tweet!!! Share!!!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Furl | Newsvine

159 Responses

  1. “keep insurance companies honest”. Really. That implies that insurance companies are currently honest and we just want to keep them from straying off the righteous path. Or that’s how I read it.

    How much Goddamned evidence does Congress and in particular Rahm and Barack need to figure out that entire problem with the healthcare industry is that it is not honest now. I mean “recission”, denying valid claims, high deductibles so that people who have insurance cannot use it. Are they simply unable to listen to their own hearings? Are they all just sleeping here? What the hell is their problem.

    The “goal” is not to “keep insruance companies honest”. That is a lost cause and we all know it. The goal is the provide better healthcare to all Americans at a reasonable cost. It is not that hard. THat’s what we were promised.

  2. Single-payer healthcare, NOW!

  3. Nice video. I believe people have married for the health insurance! I guess it can be as good a reason as any other for some. Once again it is a woman depending on a man. I think many men may be looking for a woman with good health insurance as well.

    • my guy is 68 and on medicare. If you could get on your spouses medicare that would be terrific. I would marry him for his health care if it would do me any good.

      • I had a friend that joked about using his retirement to make a “deal” with someone because it had good health insurance, etc. He’d be married in name only. They’d give him money and he would include them on his plan. I reminded him that they might try to get “survivor benefits”!

  4. Obama slapped down Rahm? Really? I agree with this guy on C&L:

    “So Obama told him to STFU.”
    Tue, 07/07/2009 – 13:59 — oh really

    You’re kidding, right? That isn’t what Obama’s words say at all. Not even close. Talk about reading into a statement what you want to.

    John, holding the president’s feet to the fire doesn’t mean waving a match at him from five miles away. Obama is positioned to abandon the public option completely if he feels it is expedient to do so. And his statement is a perfect expression of that position.

    Read it again and then please explain how it contradicts what Emanuel said.

    He says: “…one of the best ways.” He doesn’t say it’s vital, or the only way, he says it’s “one” of ways to accomplish his goals. If the final legislation doesn’t have a public option in it, you can expect the president to explain how they found one of the other ways to be the way to go. Please, get your head out of the clouds.

  5. I can’t for the life of me figure out why any of you think that a public option, or a single payer system, is going to result in quality health care at a reasonable cost. There is no evidence of any such system ever having been created anywhere on the planet, at any time, in human history. You folks are ignoring the facts, just like the Obots. No offense.

    I understand what you want, and your health care needs, I just can’t believe that you think these Democrats (or the Republicans) will deliver it with the current proposals. You are being played.

    • As someone whose hubby (a doc) has actually worked in several European countries, I can tell you that yes, such systems have been created.

      And they work really well. Perfectly? Nope. But they work a damn sight better than what we have now.

      Your contention that they have never worked, “anywhere on the planet, at any time” is absolutely false. If your contention is that none of those systems are perfect, I’ll grant you that. But I’m looking for reasonable, fairly effective health care, not perfection. Looking for the perfect system, and insisting loudly that none exists is a straw man. Why not try comparing what we have to what other countries have, in the real world, and doing the comparison?

      No perfect automobile exists, either. That does not mean that an intelligent person cannot conclude that car A is better and more reliable than car B. Going around and shouting that car A has problems is pointless. I’m aware that car A has some problems – but are they WORSE and MORE NUMEROUS than car B? That is the question that needs to be asked.

      • Then why do I hear so many reports from folks who live in other countries warning us not to go this route? The problem with the current system is the cost of health care. If health care costs are high then the insurance premiums must be high. How will they get those costs down? By reducing the quality and availability of health care. Don’t you see that? For example, It is cheaper to have 1 MRI machine per 100,000 people and if you have to wait 6 months for an appointment so what. But, because we have only 1 MRI instead of 6, I can reduce premiums. Multiply this across the board and hence health care worsens. For you to get low premiums it has a cost. Don’t you see that? Why do you think most doctors in Russsia are women??

        Your right about 1 thing, expecting a perfect system is unrealistic. The problem is that our Gov’t leaders are not trying to find a good system. They are looking out for the money. Everyone is trying to protect their pot of gold including the politicians and you (and me) are going to get sold out.

        • “All these reports” of people in other countries being so disgusted with their healthcare are very often either untrue or overblown.

          Sorry, but I’m not going to freak out because some anonymous German email or “I know a guy in Germany” says he hates their healthcare, when every poll done in the country says that something like 80% of the country thinks it’s grand.

          Even in Canada (whose system does indeed have some problems) 57% are satisfied or very satisfied with BOTH the affordability and availability.
          Here in the good old USA, only around 25% are satisfied with our system.

          So keep on giving credence to “reports” that people in other countries hate their system, are aghast that we might consider it, and wish they had our system. It’s a LIE.

          • Well I’m just going to have to dig up the evidence because I don’t listen to “anonymous German email or “I know a guy in Germany” says he hates their healthcare” comments either.

          • NH, please do that. Because as it is you aren’t providing us any reason to believe that what we have now is better than what progressives are pushing for.

            You seem to spit on the Health Care systems of all the countries on the planet and I can’t even tell what you WANT to happen. Do you like the current status of health care in this country?

            Do you think reform is hopeless?

            Or are you just playing games with us?

          • NH, you’re really wasting your time. And you’ve completely bought into the right-wing propaganda b*lls**t. I can say that, as an extremely happy and healthy Canadian who’s never had to think twice about medical care…and who’s never had to wait for it either. I can choose any doctor(s) is wish, at any time, and I can drop into a hospital emergency room, if necessary, and never have to worry about paying. Money is never discussed. I pay very reasonable taxes (probably less than you, since I’m not paying hidden taxes or monthly health insurance) and get excellent care. Let me repeat: I get EXCELLENT care. And so do my family, friends, acquaintances. Our lives our pretty carefree, relatively speaking, in comparison to my friends south of the border.

        • Re: cost, answer me this: How does taking 35% of every single dollar spent on healthcare in this country and handing it to administrative overhead and SHEER PROFIT for the insurance companies contain costs?

          You could buy a hell of a lot of MRI machines for those kind of numbers. What would your premiums be if that 35% got slashed to 4 or 5% (which is Medicare’s cost to run itself.)

          Let’s go back to my car analogy. You are no longer going to buy a car directly. What you are going to to is pay an insurance company a certain yearly amount, and they will pay for all your “car needs”. It costs this company around 35 cents on every dollar to process your car purchase claim, and to take their cut, etc. Oh, and you have no control over what dealers they will allow you to use, or what prices they negotiate for with said dealers.

          What do you think would happen to the cost of a car under those circumstances? How much would you be paying for a car by the time they were done? Congratulations, that is what is happening with your healthcare.

    • What plan do you think would do the most good for the most people?

      People are and have gone into bankruptcy because of astronomical health care bills. Some people avoid health care until they need emergency care. Many Americans need help now.

      • Your very right. I was talking to my sister yesterday and her husband (a dentist) has experienced medical problems. She told me their monthly insurance bill for the whole family (3 kids) is $1,700.00. Yikes!! He is self employed, but he never was without insurance so he wasn’t one of those folks who shopped for insurance after he got sick.

        We the people have been yelling for elected officials to address the issue of health care cost for 40 years, at least, and they sat on their asses. Now we have a real problem. But I’m sorry, these Democrats in Congress right now are frankly stupid. I do mean intellectually dumb, and can’t be trusted with solving this problem. I mean Barney Frank, Dodd, Pelosi, Biden etc. Jesus they are idiots.

    • “no evidence of any such system ever having been created anywhere on the planet, at any time, in human history.”

      Well, except for Canada, France, Germany, the UK, Japan, Italy, Greece, Spain, etc., etc. (all of which have public or public option plans, all of which spend *less* on healthcare than the US, and mostl of which have *better* healthcare than the US as measured by such statistics as life expectancy, infant mortality, etc.).

      • Really, that’s not what I hear. Canadians who can are coming to the US for health care, and the list goes on.

        • Name two.

          • Cinie, I doubt NH can: that is a myth that Republicans have been pushing for years. NH, please see my post above (and excuse the typos). Canada has an excellent health-care system. I know because I’ve lived in Canada all my life. To hear that a family of five pays $1,500 a month for health insurance is INSANE! Why have all of you not revolted by now?

        • Actually, not true. More US resident now leave for health care than foreigners come for health care. Indeed, even insurers are sending patients to such places as India for surgeries.

        • Well, NH, the Canadian I live with has a somewhat different view. Her description of the Canadian healthcare system is:

          “Back home if you get sick, you go to the doctor and you get well.”

          She describes the US system as “crazy” and “stupid”.

        • I think you have to look at real data. The health care system in France is rated as “best” in terms of health care options.

          We have the wrong conversation going on; we should be talking about how big the bill for health care is and what the bill should be. Instead, we are talking about who will pay the bill.

          I have medicare plus a supplemental plan through my husband which costs me nothing. I really think that is what the public option should look like. Medicare: knowing that it is only going to pay for 70-80% of your medical costs but with the option of buying a private plan or medical savings account for the rest.

          But the real conversation needs to be about health are cost and how they can be reduced. And we do not need MRIs for most conditions.

          • Yes, agreed, but that isn’t on the table. That’s why I wish “progressives” had been a little more cautious before getting on board with any plan that contained the word “public”.

        • ONLY elective procedures are “wait listed” in countries with universal health care.

          If you watch “Sicko” with a logical/critical eye, you will get a pretty good idea of how those systems work. We are an embarrassment by comparison.

        • yes decades ago.

        • I live on the Canadian border. Nearly every week there is a story in the local paper about so-and-so coming to the US for treatment. And no, it is not elective procedures when reported in the news. When people come to the US they must have the cash to pay and then the Canadian health care system reimburses.

          Here’s an example of non-elective care in the US of Canadian citizens:

          Look through the News’ website and look for keywords like cancer, mri, basically anything you can think of that should be taken care of quickly when someone with a terminal disease needs to have done “right now”. You should find a story. And then realize this is just one story from the thousands of people that cross the bridge for faster, possibly life saving, health care treatment.

          There is NOTHING our government does well. I question why anyone would think this this bunch of politicians would implement something that will work, let alone be an improvement.

          • NOTHING government does well? That’s a pretty extreme statement. But, I’ll address the bit that deals with this post:

            I’ve been assisting my elderly parents for the past year or so. And this last month I have accompanied my father to a variety of medical tests. Doctors in three different states (some of them very well known specialists) have taken care of him with no complaint for his Medicare status.

          • The government writes checks quite well, as anyone living on Social Security will tell you. Single payer means exactly that–that the government, as opposed to provably more bureaucratic and costly insurance companies, writes the checks–they do not hire the health care practitioners or any of that (that would be more like the British system or our own V.A. hospital system, which no one is proposing).

          • Katiebird – my compliments to you. I remain my dad’s medical advocate, but my mom died not long ago after nearly a year of taking her from doctor to doctor to lab to imaging to hospital, etc. I, too, saw Medicare as a very well run organization. My dad, is tied into the VA, as well….not so well run. The horrible mistakes made by Hospice (a privately run group connected to a new private hospital) killed my mother probably weeks, if not months, early.

            Inky – Social Security is fine as long as nothing changes. My mother died in May, we called them within a week. They registered her death in March and within 48 hours pulled her March, April and stimulus payments out of her checking account. We’ve been trying ever since to get them to fix that mistake, and we’re still waiting. I’ve heard many horror stories about SS messing up at death.

          • meee2, I am sorry to hear about your problems with the SS administration. I just know that our present system, with checks cut by private insurance companies–and often stalled many more months than you have presently had to wait for your problem to be resolved–is about as bad as it gets. In private conversations with my various doctors–and I have several: a GP, a gynecologist, an endocrinologist, a breast doctor–every single one of them has at one time or another stated that they would prefer a single-payer system to the maddening hassles that they have to put up with now. And they are the ones who would have to deal with the government bureaucracy and late checks, not we as patients.

            And I’m sick and tired of hearing that our government can do nothing right. What’s so damn wrong with our postal system? With our national parks system? When our government wants to do something well–send astronauts to the moon, bring electricity to Appalachia, reduce poverty among the aged–it is quite capable of it.

          • Inky – SS doesn’t pay medical bills. Medicare is great.

            Oh, and the USPS…google it. I’m not sure it’s government run anymore.

          • Yes, I realize that. I’m glad you like Medicare. It seems that our entire conversation was based on a misunderstanding on my part that you didn’t like Medicare. I was simply using SS as an example of a government program that worked well, a strategy that backfired in any case.

        • People WHO CAN go somewhere else. What about those who CAN”T?

          They go to a local doctor and get the best care available. In the United States people who cannot do not go to a doctor at all. They suffer as long as they can and self-medicate.

          People who doppose single payer don’t know what it is like to watch their own child suffer and tell her to hold on, she’ll suely get better soon, we can’t affod to go to the doctor. My daughter ran a 105 deg temp for 5 days in July (in 100% weather). I know she had West Nile. But I could not take her to a doctor because I was supporting 7 people at the time and had to drop my insurance to buy food.

          I used to drive to Mexico to buy antibiotics becase I couldn’t afford the $150 for the doctor visit to get a prescription.
          You ever do that? Well, I have. I oculd go on about what life is like for 50 million people without the option to go to any doctor at all.

          People who oppose single payer have never gone without in their lives. And they have no compassion for those with less. All I can see them caring about is that their doctor will be seeing more patients and they might have to wait. a little longer to get in.

          My youngest son has had a seriously infected ingrown toenail for 7 months. He has to wait until the new fiscal year starts because I’m going to get better insurance this year. My daughter had one of those and it took 5 doctor visits and cost over $1200 to get it cut out. No one in the family could go to the doctor for any reason for a year.

          Ridiculous. I’m one of 50 million and I am not by any means the worst off.

  6. Why should profits be a part of any health care system?
    Single payer/ medicare for all.
    That’s the bottom line.

    • Good luck finding a doctor, much less a specialist.

      • So, how much luck do you think the 48 million Americans who have no health insurance have with finding “a doctor, much less a specialist”?

        • 50% of those folks chose not to buy insurance and not because they didn’t have the money.

          • OK. You keep tossing out lines like this. PLEASE give us a source and a link.

            Because as it is your comments are starting to look like trolling.

          • Ok, this I heard from an NPR TV documentary on Health care costs I saw in the last 4 or 5 months.

          • That’s not a source.

          • As an earlier commenter said: “name two”.

            Which health insurance company do you work for, anyway?

          • NH – that’s an absurdly illogical thought.

            Small business is where the highest percentage of people are employed. They don’t have to offer insurance if they employ less than 20-25 people, and they certainly don’t have to pay the premiums if they do offer it. Retail has such high turnover in their staffing that it is prohibitive for them to even offer insurance, so if they do offer it, often that’s not until someone has worked 6 months for them.

            COBRA is prohibitively expensive for the unemployed, and states are cutting the policies that once were available to the poor. WA state just doubled the premiums for the poor and unemployed with the sentiment, “if they can’t afford the increase, they just won’t have insurance.”

            I’ve been uninsured for years. Never was that because I chose not to buy it.

          • I don’t work in the medical/insurance field.

            II don’t share your opinions and I’m not trying to change your minds. I’m expressing mine.

            When everyone provides a source for their statements of fact, comments, judgements and conclusions you can demand proof from me.

        • Actually, since it’s my post, I can ask anything I want. I gave you plenty of slack and then asked you pretty nicely for some sources for your (repetitive) comments.

          You are certainly welcome to discuss this issue without sources. But, so far what you are saying sounds more like trollish-sniping than actual discussion.

          So either provide some links or offer substantive opinion but, cut out the hit-and-run snark-blasts.

          • That should have been attached to the NH comment of 2:43

          • Yes, you can, but you are only demanding links and proof from folks you disagree with.

          • No. I’m only demanding (a couple of) links from you. AND I’ve explained why: You have littered this thread with hit-and-run snark-blasts.

          • No, I disagree. I’m not making hit and run snark-blasts. If I were agreeing with you, you would have no problem with what I am saying. Just because I disagree doesn’t make my comments “snarks”.

          • So, NH, just curious (are you a Republican? Libertarian?): you’ve mentioned how much your brother-in-law pays for health insurance. How much do you pay? And have you ever been truly sick and needed surgery? And, if so, what about those deductables? Do you have friends or family who’ve lost their jobs and can’t afford to keep up payments (if they were already insured)?

            Just askin’…

  7. Of course Obama didn’t slap down Rham Emanuel. Honest to God, how can people believe the President’s Chief of Staff would just go off the rez like that. It makes no sense. Clearly, Rham was to test the trigger theory for reaction for the White House.

    But what I really can’t believe, is how sad our health care debate has become. I don’t know how many times I’ll say this before sham health care goes through, but the public plan isn’t going to lower cost or increase care for the vast majority of us. If you listen to what they are saying in Congress right now, the only outlines of the so-called public option is of one limited to people by income and/or access to employer based coverage. So if you live in MA, you’ve seen this public plan before. It’s available to a limited number of individuals in MA, prolly not you. If you don’t have employer-based insurance, you have to buy private insurance, and guess what? Affordable turns out to be a highly relative term. If you live in MA, you also know this health care reform (even with the vaunted public option we have for some individuals) does NOTHING to control premiums or health care costs. Indeed, the only way for the Government to ever control health care costs is to set prices. I don’t have any clue why liberals are so jazzed about the “public option”. Sure, if anyone could enroll as has been promised to us, sure if it was going to be based on Medicare NOT Medicaid reimbursements as had been suggested, sure if health reform overhaul included a certain percent of income by law any of us could be asked to spend on health care as Hillary proposed, but this is ain’t any of that. I will never understand why people (including Paul Krugman!) think this is anymore than a national version of the MA nightmare.

    • Their not looking at the facts, their looking at what they “hope: are the facts. Their need is clouding their judgement and reason.

      • Well, given your comments, you are not looking at “facts” either. We have among the lowest health care outcomes of any OECD country despite spending nearly double on health care per person. Further, nearly every developed nation, whether they have pure social insurance, or social insurance and private supplemental insurance provides better quality care at half the cost, the main reason is prices are set by the Government and what private payers there are are non-profit. And, by the way, you know how you can tell people are generally happy with their health care cost and quality in other countries? Because they have become the third rail of politics in those places. Even Maggie Thatcher and the Conservatives couldn’t get rid of the UK single payer system(which is not as good a model as our own Medicare). I mean, think about this for a minute, in the US there is no debate, voters will not let politicians dismantle Medicare. Not. Even. Discussed. Yet, voters are urging the government to fix the private, for profit health care system the rest of us live with. Innovation in medicine in the US has little to do with private insurers as payers. Indeed, I would like to see one stat that suggests private payer of medical care sparks innovation, rather than Government research money and our knowledge-based infrastructure. I can not fathom how anyone can not believe in social insurance for all. It’s just good economics.

        • http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124692973435303415.html

          A short internet search is showing mostly links criticising the British health care system and warning Americans not to adopt it. The above is only one. I will have to wait to later to explore this further.

          • Yeah, so how come no political leader is talking about dismantling the British system?

          • Take a look at the WHO (World Health Organization) statistics here:

            Click to access EN_WHS09_Full.pdf

            United States male life expectancy is 68, UK, Spain, Chile are 71, female life expectancy is US 72 (73-76 the others).

            Probability of dying by age 5 per 1000 live births is 11 in the USA, 6 in Canada and the UK, 5 in Israel, 4 in most of Europe, 3 in Scandinavia.

            Density of physicians (per 10 000
            population) USA 26, UK 23, Spain and Sweden 33, Uruguay 37, Switzerland 40

        • Private companies do research and development, and then generally want to recoup every penny, plus profit. That’s partly why drugs here cost so much. When public funds via state and private universities conduct research, my sense is that the public benefits more evenly, if you will.

          RD probably is the one to address this, given her occupation and insights.

          • Well, I don’t lump drug companies in with insurance companies because, IMO, drug companies actually do produce something worthwhile, while insurers are mere payers. I was speaking specifically of medical innovation as it relates to health care techniques, practices, instruments, etc., and much of that innovation is conducted through government funded research.

          • “meer payers” = “meer preyers”

          • meer=mere

    • I pretty much agree with everything you are saying.

      But, I do think that if they have some sort of subsidy for incomes up to that 400% of poverty, it would be a lot better than what we have now.

      On the whole though, I think Obama was being pretty honest about his goals,

      “that one of the best ways to bring down costs, provide more choices, and assure quality is a public option that will force the insurance companies to compete and keep them honest,

      You don’t see Universal access to Health Care anywhere in that list.

      • “But, I do think that if they have some sort of subsidy for incomes up to that 400% of poverty, it would be a lot better than what we have now.”

        We have that in MA. I’m in the donut hole, so it doesn’t effect me at all, except that I help pay for that with my tax payer dollars. I think, to have political legs, health care policy has to improve everyone’s pocketbooks, and health care needs. this doesn’t do that.

        • THAT totally sucks. TOTALLY sucks. And I actually believe that I’ll fall into the National Donut Hole (if it gets that far).

        • Still – even believing that I could fall into the donut hole, I think having some generally available public plan would be better than what we’ve got.

          (shrugging) But, who knows. That whole business of “not drawing a line in the sand” makes it all just as valid as a wild guess.

      • Also, I should say that like you, I TOTALLY believe that health care expenses (total expenses not just “premiums”) should be capped by % of income.

        But, that discussion isn’t happening anywhere among the Serious Politicians (that I’ve found) (as I said above, their goal is to “keep the insurance companies honest” spitting)

        I’m not sure why NH is accusing me of not looking at the facts. I look at them. I get it.

      • Here in MA, there are loopholes. I’ve seen people get rejected who are below the poverty line, so they may say it’s 400%, but you have to read the fine print. And the fine for noncompliance is $1000, so if you are poor and get rejected, that’s a significant chunk of your income.

        • And there’s no recourse? What a nightmare.

          • They both appealed and both got rejected a second time, which I think is the appeal limit. they still haven’t yet been able to track down a bureaucrat who can explain why.

          • That’s why (if I had anything to say about it) we should be talking about caps on health care expenses based on % of income. I just don’t see how rich people MANDATE huge expenses for middle class people.

          • Word. The MA plan means we’re forced to buy insurance we can’t afford and they can still deny us when we get sick, just like everyone else in America who has insurance. It’s no different from any other state except for the mandate part, unless by some miracle you actually qualify for the state plan.

    • Yup. That’s why I said in an earlier thread that unless they are going to offer a “public option” that ANYONE can buy into, it will be a disaster.

      A public option limited ONLY to the poor is not a true head-to-head test of whether the govt can do insurance cheaper and better than BCBS. That is NOT a true public option in my book.

      • I agree, but I’d elaborate and say that it’s absurd to think that people can/will buy into a plan that costs 15% or more of our incomes (Could “reform” possibly look worse than what we’ve got?

        I go in circles on this reform business. But (fooling myself or not) I seem to be happier with the idea of SOMETHING of substance happening than I am with NOTHING at all happening.

        • Well, you don’t live in MA. I think when you see this reform in action, you may have some buyers remorse.

        • Half a loaf in this case doesn’t seem better than none. It will only put off real reform for another 20 years while this fails.

          No plan is better than a half-ass or bad plan.

          • Some days I agree but, others I don’t. IS it really better to do nothing? What if we have to wait another 15 years?

          • I was in a quandry about for quite some time but just finally made up my mind that I do not believe partial reform will work,

            A potential litmus test is “does it lower the cost of health care per person”? If it doesn’t, I guarantee it’s worse than nothing and with costs of $1-$1.3 trillion or more it isn’t doing it.

            Medicare for All achieves a cost saving of >$300 billion from the current spending. That’s the way to go. Anything more expensive is lining the pockets of insurers and should be unacceptable.

          • (thinking out loud)

            Your comment is a sort of argument for the Trigger? The Trigger would possibly guarantee that the issue be revisited in some pre-defined period of time (presumably less than the traditional 15 years).

            Maybe at that point things would be so bad the professional politicians would consider putting single-payer on the table?

          • No, no trigger! no how no way! It’s an argument for real UHC.

          • In fact, I don’t care about “insurance” at all. It’s a mark of how badly the fight for reform has gone off course that we’re even discussing “insurance”.

            Screw health “insurance”, it’s about health “care”. The goal of this should not be for everyone to have a shiny new insurance policy, but for them to have access to quality health care. I do not believe they are the same thing at all.

            With a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, a large majority in the House, a Democratic (supposedly) president, and polls showing over 60% of Americans want UHC, WTF is the problem? Even 50% of Republicans want UHC. If we can’t get it now, well hell…

  8. My MIL is visiting (from abroad) and I was explaining the (lack of) healthcare here. She couldn’t get her head around it.
    “But what if you need an operation and don’t have insurance?”
    “But aren’t there any government hospitals that will treat you?”
    “But what about medicare?”
    “Huh, at least back home if you’re poor there are government hospitals.” Back home is the Philippines, btw, 3rd world country.

    Her other kid lives in New Zealand. She gets good quality health care there when she visits.

  9. Spammy won’t let me post? 😦

    • I didn’t see anything in the filter — could you try hitting the Back-Page button to see if you can pull up the comment and submit it again?

  10. We need to have a great national debate on health care costs. We are discussing who will pay the bill; who will even have access to service to actually get a bill. WE NEED TO DISCUSS THE SIZE OF THE BILL. How big should the bill be? What runs up the bill? (for example one stat I have heard is that 75% of the bill has to do with chronic illness and a major reason for that bill being so high is people not following medication instructions—-for a whole lot of different reasons). What can we do to keep the size of the bill down? You can not answer those questions without digging into the data. It seems like some folks here do have access and knowledge of these data and I would really like to see that conversation as an on-going dialogue here at TC.

    • I recently worked for the BlueCross insurance group in my state. They claim to be “not for profit”. Oddly, though, they indulge in the most wasteful treats for their management staff. Not for Profit should be putting any “profits” they end up with into paying for more services to their members, rebates on premiums, or something that meets a Not for Profit principle. Instead, profits are handed out to exempt employees in the form of large bonuses, ridiculously large parties to celebrate themselves for minimal reasons, holiday gifts and catered gathering for all employees, free lunches for all employees smart enough to schedule their meeting between 11:00-2:00, and endless other wasteful expenses. Yes, folks, THAT’s how your medical insurance premium dollars are spent right now.

  11. When people talk about how great the US system is, they fail to note that the high end care that brings potentates from all over the world here for health care is also hugely expensive.

    • The potentates come here for the luxury rooms they don’t have in hospitals where they are. We do provide much better care for those who can and will pay highly for them.

      Compare the two network journalists, Bob Woodruff and Kimberly Dozier, nearly 100% recovery from massive head injuries in Iraq to what our troops get for the same/similar injury.

  12. I found some interesting reading at the Physicians for a National Health Program at:


    (I don’t know how to embed linkees)

    • I don’t understand why they are keeping Medicaid through all this. Why do the “poor” have to be shuffled off into their own system? Wouldn’t it make sense to keep everyone in the same system?

      • Here’s link to an article by some Physcians that the British health care system is a mirage and sick.


        • Egads. We’re discussing the United States and what we need HERE to serve the people with a decent health care plan. What vested interest do you have in making quality health care unavailable to everyone in this country?

          The British people need to deal with the problems in their own system, if they feel that’s important. The argument doesn’t belong here.

          • No, the argument belongs here, as many of us upthread were discussing looking at other countries plans that work.

            IMO, the British plan is the worst of the lot, so I’m not surprised by that article.

        • I’m not sure what they mean by the two-tier system. You can buy private health insurance in the UK (BUPA comes to mind). Having lived in the UK for 20 years and now the US for 20 years, I can say that for me I’d rather have the NHS system with everyone covered. It just seems over here that we’re all one major illness away from bankruptcy.

          I know I’ve been out of the UK for 20 years now, but my family (and my husband’s family) still lives there. I feel they are very well taken care of in regards to health care and education. Just my opinion.

          • I agree, the NHS has its (minor)flaws but it certainly isn’t a bad system by any means.

  13. This article was in a comment at No Quarter. As the poster said when you get past the backtrack praise, look at how the money was gathered.


    Is this what the people of America have to worry about for future elections? This article did not even talk about the foreign donations.
    I really do not expect a good health care plan as long as backtrack and his bunch are in office.



    • if the DEMS keep things up like they have this past elect they sould not even call them elections . mabey change it to selections .

    • The truth is much of my concern and fear about the Health care debate/proposals are that they are coming from Politicians I believe are ethically, morally and even criminally corrupt.

      I do not trust these Democrats at all. I am not saying that the Republicans are better. These Democrats don’t even read the bills they vote for.

      I don’t know the answer, but I know that Obama and his lapdogs do not have my best interests at heart.

      • I’m with you on that. They are OWNED by the insurance industry.

      • Well if The One (minus one) thinks he can mandate honesty from the insurance companies then maybe he can mandate honesty from the politicians too… Excluding President God, of course, since he’s a deity and not a mere mortal. Although I’m pretty sure I won’t like his interpretation of “honest.”

      • I agree on that one, NH. I don’t trust these guys to not ruin it, even given a good idea.

  14. NH doesn’t believe that people from the U.S. travel overseas for healthcare?! It’s been happening for years, especially for dental work — the California/Mexico border is lined with Mexican dental clinics offering services to Americans who can’t afford dental care here even with insurance.

    Just today the Indian government issued news that it plans to certify more hospitals to accommodate the growing trend for medical tourism: http://www.travelbizmonitor.com/accreditation-of-hospitals-to-boost-medical-tourism-in-india-7323

    And there’s a brand-new association just formed, to consolidate the efforts of overseas hospitals looking for American patients who can’t afford care in the U.S.: http://www.medicaltourismassociation.com/

    Speaking of dental care: Better-off Americans are eschewing Mexico and traveling to Hungary for dental care, where the facilities are more upscale and a combined dental visit/vacation is still cheaper than going to a U.S. dentist. http://www.usatoday.com/travel/news/2005-07-28-dental-tourism_x.htm

    Hungarian dental clinics are openly advertising for U.S. and European clients with sophisticated ads: http://www.treatmentabroad.com/cosmetic-dentistry-abroad/hungary/

    And here: http://www.discovermedicaltourism.com/hungary/

    And it isn’t just dentistry! Many Americans are traveling to countries like India for major surgeries because they can’t afford to have them done here.

    It’s so popular, in fact, that an entire industry of so-called medical tourism has risen up around it!


    Reason I know all this? Because I am seriously considering it. I don’t have any health problems (knock wood) but I have many, many dental problems and the cost–even with what NH would no doubt call my “gold plated insurance” is absolutely KILLING me. It would be cheaper to travel to Hungary (or India) for a week and get all my work done than it would to pay out the thousands and thousands I have paid (and expect to continue paying) just to keep my choppers healthy.

    • My SIL went to Canada for back surgery because the procedure wasn’t being done here, yet. Farrah Fawcett went to Germany for much of her cancer treatment, Rock Hudson went to France for much of his AIDS treatment, and on and on.

      Our slow FDA approval system has people going to the medications and treatments that are ahead of us.

    • I went over seas to a country with Universal Health Care to get treated because my Blue Cross Policy didn’t cover my condition (so much for the lies about our loosing choice…what choice) and it didn’t even cost me what the medications would have cost here.

      This has been going on for years, they make profits off of us and don’t cover conditions. One of the States, had to pass a bill that prohibited exclusions of maternity, yes, maternity, heck…imagine, I would think it was a basic, since they cover VIAGRA!

      Oh, all the little lies and they don’t tell you that even in a recession they raised the premiums this July…so WHAT SAVINGS?

      Lies, lies and more lies while people die and are refused care..we need Single Payer NOW!

  15. OT: Francis Collins for NIH head? He’s an evangelical Christian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Collins_(geneticist)#Religious_views) — anybody know his positions on women’s health and stem cell research? I can’t find anything definitive.

  16. Rahm is certainly the new best scapegoat for BO’s hypocrisy, failings and backtracks. It cracks me up to see the Kewl Kidz squeal, when confronted by the latest outrage, “it’s RAHM!!!” It allows them to 1) feel no guilt over installing a used car salesman like BO and 2) maintain cognitive dissonance.

    But Rahm is just the bad cop to someone else’s good cop. That’s why he was hired.

  17. Not health care but, until they get a bill, there’s not much else to say about it. However, from a Human Rights standpoint what the Obama DOJ is doing is horrible. This is worse than Bush.


    • Healthcare debate: Single Payer vs Public Option

      First, let me say that the national Alliance for Democracy has taken a firm stand in favor of Single Payer Healthcare (www.thealliancefordemocracy.org).

      There is a Single PayerHR Bill 676 which is discussed in this article as apposed to Obama’s (or maybe not since Rham was reprimanded…maybe he supports the insurance companies and their profits) public option.

      • I am for HR676 and Sander’s companion bill in the Senate. It’s by far the best way to go. Now all we have to do is convince the politicians to come unbought.

        • What I don’t understand is why we don’t here more from the Senators & Congress-people who’ve signed onto those bills.

          It’s like even the people who BELIEVE in it have taken Single Payer off the table!

  18. It’s just unbelievable that they are still talking about a trigger when those insurance jackals just testified that they are going to continue canceling policies. Not to mention that they were warned in 1993 to get their act together and they have do nothing since then but continue to gouge policyholders and deny claims. It is simply immoral to give them any more time to prey on us.

  19. Hey guys,
    OT – but i was wondering if anyone here had a favorite foreign policy blog or website. I’ve been trying to brush up on it recently, but I’ve been having trouble finding a place I really like.

    Also, i’m happy because my shirt from 1payer.com came today. i already love it.


    Better say bye bye to the elderly ,disabled and terminally ill as they their care will be drastically cut if President Obama and and the Democrats get their way and pass a health care bill that includes the “public option”. President Obama has already advocated cutting billions of dollars from the Medicare budget due to rising costs. So, if Medicare is any quide, drastic cuts will be made to the “public option” budget when costs start to go up. That translates into rationing of health care with some government bureaucrat deciding who will get what health care if any based on their political “worth” to the elite in Washington DC.

    Moreover, do the Democrats have a death wish for the economy? The higher taxes on small businesses the plan calls for will force businesses to lay off even more people. The higher spending will raise the deficit even higher causing the economy to spiral downward even further. And for what? So 80% of the people who like their private insurance are FORCED into the government run “public plan” (the Democrats are not be truthful if they say otherwise)and so people who don’t even want to be covered and can afford it, are FORCED into a public plan they don’t even want or need? This is pure insanity.

    The Democrats are not being truthful when they say everyone will get good health care under their “public option. The facts are everyone may be “covered” but when the time comes to get the care they need they will be be cut off from getting any care as government bureaucrats will be calling the shots on who gets what health care if any based on one’s political “worth” to the power elite in DC.


    • This is an excellent idea. Making the politicians pick the “public option” that is.

      • Leave them with NO insurance like the 47 and growing Millions of uninsured. Frankly, Western Countries with Universal Health Care are advanced and the rich always have ways of trying every experimental treatment, some those treatments are in countries with Universal Health Care like France and Australia and look who had a lab that ID’d the Swine Flu…Oh, yea….CANADA!

    • I agree that the Obama/Baucus plan will be expensive and not work. That is why I think single payer everyone in by law is the only way to save our system. It would be less expensive than private and work better. It would be better than medicare and everyone’s cost would go down, private individuals and business alike.
      But thanks for the regurgitation of republican talking points with no facts or figures to back them up.

  21. While I like the idea of the Senate & Congress getting there coverage through the Public Plan (maybe THAT would “keep them honest”)

    The rest of your post sounds a little bit overly cynical to me.

    We’ve got years of experience at how The Government manages Medicare – and it works very well. Why would a Public Plan be managed in a worse way?

    • Do we even know the public plan will be government run? There was a question about that.

      If it is government run, if they have to set up a bureaucracy outside of Medicare to run it that’s obscene. Yet everyone I hear says the public plan won’t be like Medicare.

    • Well, if it were to be run by Medicare, then why not just expand Medicare as it was intended to be? Medicare is not the model for the public option, from what I have read.

      • That’s the idea. HR676 and Sander’s companion bill in the Senate would do just that, but they can’t even get them scored by the CBO. If they were scored, they would make the others look too bad.

  22. HMMMM so is there going to be a show 2night on puma united radio

  23. OT – but how is Dakinikat doing?

  24. I don’t post often, but might I, as a Canadian chime in. Every post on every American blog always has multiple comments on how terrible the other countries’ health plan is, and most zero in on Canada.
    Let me give you the benefit of my experience, but before I do, the health plan is not free – it is paid for through taxation, so every one who works pays for their health plan in one way or another (I’m bleeping tired of people who insist anything is free – it ain’t)
    Since the Health plan was introduced, I have paid higher taxes for sure, however, I have never paid for a doctor’s visit. I can walk to one of our community health clinics, and yes, I will wait for an hour or two, but I will see a bona fida doctor and get a perscription if required, or be sent for further tests (which are also included in the tax). I can usually arrange for the further tests within a week. I have been in several situations whereby I needed emergency care for either myself, or my children. Our emergency departments work on a triage plan – those who need the care the most will be seen first, regardless of when they arrived. Ergo, I’ve waited 4 hours for my own situation, however, when my son had a reaction to bee sting, he was taken immediately, as when my daughter had when her symptoms seemed to be meningitis. When I broke my wrist in three places (so badly that my hand flapped to the side) I was taken immediately, and was treated by a doctor and an anaestheologist (because they knew I would have to be under while they attempted to repair the damage). I died on the table (due to the intense pain), but they brought me back. The first cast that I had was too tight, but the emergency guy (one week later) would not believe me. When I went to the orthopedic specialist the following week, the first thing he did was remove the cast and replace it. I went to him for six months, once a week, and he was a jewel. I will never have the ability in my arm and hand that I once did, but I bless all the doctors and nurses that gave me the ability to type this message with both hands.
    By the way, out of pocket costs for all this attention $0.00. I’m not saying it cost me nothing, because I’ve been paying taxes and accepting lower wages for many years to cover this type of situation.
    Regarding accusations of people crossing the border to get treatment because they feel our system is inadequate, that does happen, however it happens rarely and for various reasons. And most of those people have the money to do so, and are not happy with having to wait in line with the rest of us peon Canadians. All said, I am very happy with the Canadian system which covers everyone, and I’m advised the cost is significantly less than the American version. Sorry for the diatribe…I get tired of reading about how terrible other country’s health system, and I noticed mablue’s response – so blame him for me!

    • Thanks for the info HT.

      I know many people who reside in Canada and although they have some complaints about certain doctors…who doesn’t…they have no complaint about their health care system per se. what we here in the States hear is Propaganda aimed at scaring the Sheep into believing that Canada is akin to a third world country when it comes to health care! i too am sick of the deception but I fault the people who REFUSE to speak out on their own behalf.


    • In our ERs they are so over the top, they sometimes put people in beds in the halls, because people go there to take care of things that would be taken care of by a GP, or a clinic. So, the ER is chock block full of people needing basic care at the ER, and some are trying to get a refill of a prescription.

      My wait was six hours, and no it wasn’t the flu, but eventually they took me in when I had a reaction due to swelling and then was taken in and treated.

      So, the Republicans a telling lies, and more lies. My relatives have Universal Health Care and they don’t pay anywhere what we are paying, and the biggest cost to business….HEALTH CARE!

      Who do you think gets laid off, those over 45 due to high costs of insurance. The rates for 45 and over are just unbelievable and the cost have out paced the cost of living increase and will soon be out of reach. Some thing must be done!

    • Well, I wait about an hour or two every time I go to the doc anyway. And, I have certainly waited 4 hours in an ER. I’ll take Canadian health care any day. I already ration my health care. I try to never see a doctor.

      • Well, I wait about an hour or two every time I go to the doc anyway. And, I have certainly waited 4 hours in an ER. I’ll take Canadian health care any day. I already ration my health care. I try to never see a doctor.

        from your lips to God’s ear!

  25. ACKKK…Spammy got me by the leg….Heeellppp!

    I thought I was posting so good information.

  27. I will try again

    I Just got a book in the mail called ” how to do (just about everything) right the first time.
    It has a chapter about health care.
    If you dial 211 or go to http://www.211.org it is a place for community services in 41 states. You can get info on
    medical information lines
    home heath care
    support for older Americans and persons with disabilities
    crisis intervention services
    support groups
    adult day care
    health insurance programs
    transportation services

    Maybe some of you already knew about this but I did not and i hope this helps some other people



  28. I give up. I’m beginning to think I am banned or something? 😦
    My comments disappeared yesterday also. Did I offend someone?

  29. Here is another phone number and web site

    toll-free 888-ask-hrsa

    These are for free or nearly free medical test.

    as I said maybe many of you know about these sites but I did not and hope the information will help someone.



  30. Most of us realize this truth when it comes to universal health care. Currently our tax dollars go to pay for emergency room visits which cost ten times as much as a simple doctors visit to fix the problem.

    I’m sure it’s impossible because it contradicts some law of physics or government, but we honestly could provide universal health care to everyone in this country and spend less taxpayer money doing it than we do now, because we would be investing in prevention instead of crisis clean up.

    We already have universal health care in this country and it’s already paid for by taxpayers. It’s just that it’s an inefficient, inhumane, and wasteful way of doing things.

    I never imagined it was possible to to come up with a worse plan than the one we already have. I was wrong. I think Obama and the Dems are going to deliver us the Mitt Romney health care plan, mandatory insurance and fines if you don’t purchase it.

    • Actually, it’s doubtful we would spend less for the reason you cite. Indeed, most economists agree that prevention won’t bring down health care costs, but we will live happier, healthier lives. What brings down health care costs is not paying third Party payers, and when the Government uses it’s muscle to set prices. We could spend half as much for far better results but that would sort of quash insurance company profits.

  31. Here’s just a small example of what we can expect as they give us the “Public Option”. Yea, healthcare is available, the last one standing pays:

  32. OT…

    Posted this up at my site and thought you guys would get a laugh outa this nonsense.

    Seems some of the good Rev’s listeners believe Sarah Palin had something to do with Jackson’s death………

    • “We’ll see. I don’t know!” Are they nuts? She’s probably the reason Obama’s poll numbers are falling as well. Al should have stepped up. I’m getting pretty tired of him. His antics during the memorial service for MJ was a bit over the top for me. I think he is very divisive.

  33. […] here:  Moving toward a “public plan” inch by painful inch and we STILL … The nicest compliment that you can give me is to to subscribe to the Dental Blogging Newsletter. […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: