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    Healthcare reform takes shape

    KeithHennessey.com » Understanding the Kennedy health care bill

    I won't comment much on this yet as it's just a draft summary, but it gives a good feel for what kind of role this administration sees government having in our healthcare.

    Generally it's shaping up to be very expensive and intrusive. I'm not a fan (naturally).

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    I just read this very article and frankly, Ill never be sold on government run anything especially when it comes to my health. One would simply have to review europes health system to see this for what it truly is. the concept like all big government theories sounds great, but realistically it just doesnt work. i often get frustrated that the things that mainly cause high health care costs are largely ignored. can you say "political aggenda".....

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    I heard on the news this morning (I haven't read the article posted here, however), that the HealthCare Reform Bill offers 'residents' the option of taking the government provided plan.

    Residents as opposed to citizens. And, the 'option' infers that 'some' will opt for the plan while the 'others' pay for it.

    I agree in that we need to see how this unfolds. Hopefully, the lobbyists are in full force on this one.
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    I don't know that this is the way to go, but IMO health care reform is drastically needed.

    A lot of people don't have health insurance - either because of cost or pre-existing conditions. And a lot of other people are struggling because of the cost of medical care and/or insurance.

    Health Insurance is #3 on my list of expenses - rent, food, then health insurance ..........car insurance/repair, gas, travel, phone etc. all pale in comparison to the health insurance bill that keeps going up, up, up!

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    I like what you wrote scooterbug.

    So, if rent is $1,000
    food $300
    car ins. $100
    repairs/maintenance (avg.) $100/mo.
    gas $200
    phone (cell, I presume) $100
    utilities:
    power $150
    internet/cable $90
    water $60

    That's $2,100/mo. before travel and health insurance. If someone makes $36K/yr. and assuming a 20% Fed bracket (no state income tax in FL), that leaves $300 left over for medical insurance vs. travel/entertainment.

    This is a very conservative example and I put this up because a lot of people will make other choices. If someone has a pre-existing condition, depending upon the medical issue, it will be covered at the first anniversary date or second. And, from HIPPA, if someone leaves any corporation where there was an employer sponsored health plan (or, even changing individual ins. plans), they are issued a certificate of coverage/insurability (that pre-existing condition is covered under the new plan - in other words, they cannot be declined coverage).

    I think part of the issue surrounding medical insurance is that it was initially used to entice good employees. This quickly became a corporate entitlement and when someone loses their job or chooses self-employment, they aren't making health insurance a priority.

    We have medicaid for the poorer and we have in Atlanta Grady Hospital......on the back of the ambulances for Grady, there is now a clause, "Your Tax Dollars at Work." Grady is also one of the best trauma facilities in the country.

    We have many, many avenues of socialized medical care. For those who are on maintenance drugs and cannot afford to pay, almost every pharma co. offers benefits to provide the necessary meds.

    P.S. I am older than you and had a great PPO plan, which covered everything for $208/mo. If we are looking at reform, I believe educating the populous needs to be a huge factor. I think we can devise ways to improve the current system, but socializing medical care is not an effective measure.
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    Democrats Weigh Health Mandate as Obama Urges Taxing Wealthy
    Democrats Weigh Health Mandate as Obama Urges Taxing Wealthy - Bloomberg.com

    I wonder where the rich/poor cutoff line in for this?
    Last edited by Yarmap; 06-08-2009 at 05:56 PM.

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    I don't think we need socialized health care as much as we need to just get health care/insurance costs under control.

    The cost of prescriptions and insurance premiums are just plain ridiculous.

    This year my health insurance premium increased by 15%. Forgive me for thinking that is ridiculous since the only medical care OF ANY KIND they have provided me with in the last year was a regularly scheduled yearly check-up.

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    Individual plans will adjust the 'pool,' not the individual....(a capitalist form of socialism from the respect of spreading the risk). The pool is most likely the State, but could be as small as the County. The premium adjustment has to be approved by the Insurance Commissioner, just like the hazard and wind coverage.

    Pharma is an issue here in the US, but our government has enabled it. However, to receive certain meds direct from the pharmaceutical company, you don't necessarily have to be of poverty level. For example, some chemo that isn't covered by ins. plans, would otherwise be cost prohibitive to the patient (even though that person might make $100K/yr.), can be provided direct if the patient applies.

    We've come a long way in a short period with insurance plans. I used to underwrite large group plans in 1991-1992; I had to call some employers to inquire as to a sick patient. If that patient had HIV/AIDS, we would carve the individual out of the plan......Y'all, that wasn't that long ago! It was situations like this that so much regulation has come down since this period. From a general perspective, insurance carriers are fully prepared to do the right thing, but not forcibly by the US Gov't.....they will fight socialism tooth and nail! Yahoo~~~~~~
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    House Health-Care Proposal Adds $600 Billion in Taxes (Update2) - Bloomberg.com

    Our new government run healthcare system is shaping up to be quite expensive, and will likely include major tax increases.

    In advance of those milestones, the White House was moving aggressively to counter public criticism that funding plans for the health reform effort are unrealistic, particularly in the face of an expected 10-year pricetag of $1 trillion or more. Some analysts have faulted the White House for being overly optimistic about savings and tone-deaf to which tax-raising proposals are likely to fly in Congress.
    Obama plan to pay for health reform - Josh Gerstein - POLITICO.com

    Here we go again, more overly optimistic projections from the president.
    Last edited by 30ashopper; 06-13-2009 at 01:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 30ashopper View Post
    House Health-Care Proposal Adds $600 Billion in Taxes (Update2) - Bloomberg.com

    Our new government run healthcare system is shaping up to be quite expensive, and will likely include major tax increases.



    Obama plan to pay for health reform - Josh Gerstein - POLITICO.com

    Here we go again, more overly optimistic projections from the president.
    From the article:

    Rangel said Democrats are still considering options for tax increases that might be in the bill, including a possible end to the income tax exclusion for employer-paid health benefits.
    I wonder what incentive a company would have to keep offering health benefits if they were to be taxed on them.

    If it were my company, I'd increase the pay of my employees a percentage of what I had been paying for their health plans. Then they could get the new government health insurance plan.

    Employers offer benefits in place of higher pay because they aren't taxed on them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winnie View Post
    From the article:

    I wonder what incentive a company would have to keep offering health benefits if they were to be taxed on them.

    If it were my company, I'd increase the pay of my employees a percentage of what I had been paying for their health plans. Then they could get the new government health insurance plan.

    Employers offer benefits in place of higher pay because they aren't taxed on them.
    Those non-tax free benefits contribute to higher pay as well, employers pass costs along to employees.

    It's interesting to note the difference between the two parties, McCain wanted to exempt individual health care premiums from taxable income. Obama wants to keep taxes on health care payments and eliminate the tax free status on employer contributions. He's doing that to generate revenue so he can institute a new government system that unfairly competes with the private sector. The progressives (e.g. socialists) are watering at the mouth in anticipation of this.
    Last edited by 30ashopper; 06-13-2009 at 11:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 30ashopper View Post
    Those non-tax free benefits contribute to higher pay as well, employers pass costs along to employees.

    It's interesting to note the difference between the two parties, McCain wanted to exempt individual health care premiums from taxable income. Obama wants to keep taxes on health care payments and eliminate the tax free status on employer contributions. He's doing that to generate revenue so he can institute a new government system that unfairly competes with the private sector. The progressives (e.g. socialists) are watering at the mouth in anticipation of this.
    Maybe a little competion might be a good thing for the abusive, arbitrary, your-pre-existing-condition-denies you, private health care system in this country. Might help them clean up their greedy acts.

    This is America--can't people of lesser means have a choice?

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    Do we have any gov't programs now that engage in healthy competition with the private sector?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynnie View Post
    Do we have any gov't programs now that engage in healthy competition with the private sector?
    The private sector administers the government programs.

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    Alls I know is that 1) my health insurance costs too much and doesn't cover a damn thing 2) any tax changes will get passed along to me 3) far too many people don't see the need for, or can't afford health insurance 4) too many of the major players coming up with or voting on the new plan have gotten a sheetload of money from pharmaceutical and insurance lobbies or companies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 30A Skunkape View Post
    The private sector administers the government programs.
    They administer? But, is there competition? What does the private sector administer of our gov't?? The only thing I can think of is the USPS, which is now the 'tightest ship in the shipping business,' IMO, of course.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scooterbug44 View Post
    Alls I know is that 1) my health insurance costs too much and doesn't cover a damn thing 2) any tax changes will get passed along to me 3) far too many people don't see the need for, or can't afford health insurance 4) too many of the major players coming up with or voting on the new plan have gotten a sheetload of money from pharmaceutical and insurance lobbies or companies.

    You will benefit, indeed. And, many will.

    HOWEVER! I know some people who make the decision to buy expensive weed and "self-insure!" What do we do with these applicants? Drug test them first and decline them? I'll go along with that! If someone is being blatantly irresponsible, I'm not going to pay for their medical insurance!
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    Quote Originally Posted by hnooe View Post
    Maybe a little competion might be a good thing for the abusive, arbitrary, your-pre-existing-condition-denies you, private health care system in this country. Might help them clean up their greedy acts.

    This is America--can't people of lesser means have a choice?
    There's plenty of competition. We have thousands of private insurance firms in this country.

    I'm not saying that there aren't areas where we need reform, but Obama's approach IMHO is all wrong.

    A government managed system is something entirely different. The government can stack the deck against everybody, including the doctors, nurses, and patients, because they control the laws and the courts. They also have a bottomless pit of funding, so cost saving and efficiency won't be important. By creating this gaping hole of a system funded by the taxpayers without the reform that's actually needed, we'll end up with a new, massive, and very expensive entitlement system that nobody will be happy with. It will also sucks trillions of funding away from all the other stuff the progressives want money thrown at. (The money to pay for this isn’t going to materialize out of thin air Hnooe, it has to come from somewhere.)

    Look at the plan as it stands now. Capped payments, mandated coverage (it will be illegal to not have insurance, and the I.R.S. will regulate you to make sure you have it), government regulated coverage, new private insurer mandated administration costs, a new small business tax, and a new income tax on anyone who currently enjoys good healthcare provided by their employers. (Sucking funding away from the one area of our system that actually provides good care, for a new, crappier system that won't provide good care.) Plus there’s nothing to stop private insurers from dumping all their worst cases on the new system instead of having to deal with the issue of providing cost effective care for those who most need it.

    All you have to do is look at the politicians in Washington who are behind this, and you see where this is going. It isn't a solution, it's a disaster of epic proportions in the making.
    Last edited by 30ashopper; 06-15-2009 at 10:55 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 30ashopper View Post
    There's plenty of competition. We have thousands of private insurance firms in this country.

    I'm not saying that there aren't areas where we need reform, but Obama's approach IMHO is all wrong.

    A government managed system is something entirely different. The government can stack the deck against everybody, including the doctors, nurses, and patients, because they control the laws and the courts. They also have a bottomless pit of funding, so cost saving and efficiency won't be important. By creating this gaping hole of a system funded by the taxpayers without the reform that's actually needed, we'll end up with a new, massive, and very expensive entitlement system that nobody will be happy with. It will also sucks trillions of funding away from all the other stuff the progressives want money thrown at. (The money to pay for this isnt going to materialize out of thin air Hnooe, it has to come from somewhere.)

    Look at the plan as it stands now. Capped payments, mandated coverage (it will be illegal to not have insurance, and the I.R.S. will regulate you to make sure you have it), government regulated coverage, new private insurer mandated administration costs, a new small business tax, and a new income tax on anyone who currently enjoys good healthcare provided by their employers. (Sucking funding away from the one area of our system that actually provides good care, for a new, crappier system that won't provide good care.) Plus theres nothing to stop private insurers from dumping all their worst cases on the new system instead of having to deal with the issue of providing cost effective care for those who most need it.

    All you have to do is look at the politicians in Washington who are behind this, and you see where this is going. It isn't a solution, it's a disaster of epic proportions in the making.
    This is something I really worry about. What people fail to realize is that there are already hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of low income people who already have 'free' government health insurance. That insurance, however, is only as good as the card it is printed on;many providers simply will not see these folks because they tend to be the sickest, least compliant, time consuming population and the payoff to the physician is next to nothing. Basically, the carrot on the stick is there, but the carrot is so unappealing few providers are tempted.
    I worry that there will be a mandate from on high that requires physicians to see these patients. I guarantee you this will chase more providers out of the system than anything else. Then where will we be?

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    How easy would it be for us to just have a basic doctor to whom you paid a fee when you got sick or needed a check-up and then "insurance" for emergencies/major injuries or illnesses.

    Between co-pays and premiums, many folks would save a lot of money, and so would doctors who could just get paid instead of spending their time and their staff's time dealing w/ insurance nonsense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scooterbug44 View Post
    How easy would it be for us to just have a basic doctor to whom you paid a fee when you got sick or needed a check-up and then "insurance" for emergencies/major injuries or illnesses.

    Between co-pays and premiums, many folks would save a lot of money, and so would doctors who could just get paid instead of spending their time and their staff's time dealing w/ insurance nonsense.
    I am willing to bet this would be a tougher sell to the public than the creation of a massive health bureaucracy. So many people are convinced (erroneously) that they pay little to nothing for health insurance and medication benefits that as long as some sort of system where small out of pocket expense is preserved there will be little resistance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 30ashopper View Post
    There's plenty of competition. We have thousands of private insurance firms in this country.

    I'm not saying that there aren't areas where we need reform, but Obama's approach IMHO is all wrong.

    A government managed system is something entirely different. The government can stack the deck against everybody, including the doctors, nurses, and patients, because they control the laws and the courts. They also have a bottomless pit of funding, so cost saving and efficiency won't be important. By creating this gaping hole of a system funded by the taxpayers without the reform that's actually needed, we'll end up with a new, massive, and very expensive entitlement system that nobody will be happy with. It will also sucks trillions of funding away from all the other stuff the progressives want money thrown at. (The money to pay for this isnt going to materialize out of thin air Hnooe, it has to come from somewhere.)

    All you have to do is look at the politicians in Washington who are behind this, and you see where this is going. It isn't a solution, it's a disaster of epic proportions in the making.
    There's where you have it all wrong. One of the biggest problems that drives costs up is medical malpractice and medical error. Today, as a matter of fact, Obama is meeting with the AMA to discuss these issues. Because of malpractice suits, doctors feel compelled to have unnecessary and expensive testing done. They will tell you it's needed, but it's because they need to cover their a$$es, and rightfully so. We need some sort of caps on medical malpractice insurance rates and better means to capture errors. Things happen like someone getting the wrong organ removed; the wrong drug, or has a medical device left them, (this just happened to my BIL and no, he did not sue).

    Matter of fact, Legislation, the National Medical Error Disclosure and Compensation (MEDiC) bill, based on the concept of full disclosure and open communication between patients and medical providers, was introduced in Congress by Senators Clinton and Obama, but it was never moved out of committee. The measure would have provided grants and technical assistance to insurers, hospitals, doctors and healthcare systems to implement medical error programs which have proven to cut costs by 2/3rds. Studies have shown that prompt disclosure of medical errors can lead to lower litigation costs.

    There was also an initiative, known as the Safest Hospital Alliance, that will focus on core processes that cut across a hospitals operational structure to try to reduce by 80 percent the difference between todays performance and perfection. Implementing the safest hospital template, according to the Alliance, could also reduce healthcare costs by as much as 30 percent.

    We also have the issue of prescription drugs. We pay a significant amount more than other countries do, not to mention that generics can not be made by other companies for certain drugs. You can't tell me that this is not lobbied extensively to keep a monopoly on newer drugs and alleviating competition.

    So, please do not say that the Administration is not seeking expense reform.

    If anyone is interested, Obama will be discussing healthcare Issues on ABC in a special to air June 24 at 10 p.m. Eastern, on two-hour tape delay.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mango View Post
    There's where you have it all wrong. One of the biggest problems that drives costs up is medical malpractice and medical error. Today, as a matter of fact, Obama is meeting with the AMA to discuss these issues. Because of malpractice suits, doctors feel compelled to have unnecessary and expensive testing done. They will tell you it's needed, but it's because they need to cover their a$$es, and rightfully so.

    Matter of fact, Legislation, the National Medical Error Disclosure and Compensation (MEDiC) bill, based on the concept of full disclosure and open communication between patients and medical providers, was introduced in Congress by Senators Clinton and Obama, but it was never moved out of committee. The measure would have provided grants and technical assistance to insurers, hospitals, doctors and healthcare systems to implement medical error programs which have proven to cut costs by 2/3rds. Studies have shown that prompt disclosure of medical errors can lead to lower litigation costs.

    There was also an initiative, known as the Safest Hospital Alliance, that will focus on core processes that cut across a hospital’s operational structure to try to reduce by 80 percent the difference between today’s performance and perfection. Implementing the safest hospital template, according to the Alliance, could also reduce healthcare costs by as much as 30 percent.

    We also have the issue of prescription drugs. We pay a significant amount more than other countries do, not to mention that generics can not be made by other companies for certain drugs. You can't tell me that this is not lobbied extensively to keep a monopoly on newer drugs and alleviating competition.

    So, please do not say that the Administration is not seeking expense reform.

    If anyone is interested, Obama will be discussing healthcare Issues on ABC in a special to air June 24 at 10 p.m. Eastern, on two-hour tape delay.

    I never said malpractice wasn't a major issue and agree with you that it is. I've read a little about Obama considering to do something about tort reform, but my guess is the liberal wings of Congress will water down anything he might push for. Obama can try and set policy, but in the end its Congress that defines it.

    The NYT actually covered a little bit of this today with an article.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/15/he.../15health.html

    Mr. Obama has not endorsed capping malpractice jury awards, as did his predecessor, President George W. Bush. But as a senator, he advanced legislation aimed at reducing malpractice suits. And Dr. J. James Rohack, the incoming president of the medical association, said Mr. Obama told him at a meeting last month that he was open to offering some liability protection to doctors who follow standard guidelines for medical practice.

    “If everyone is focused on saying, ‘How do we get rid of unnecessary costs,’ ” Dr. Rohack said, recounting the conversation, “if we as physicians are going to say, ‘Here’s our guidelines, we will follow them,’ then we need to have some protections. He listened and he said, ‘Clearly, that concept is worthy of discussion.’ ”
    Worthy of discussion, but will it be a center peice of the legislation? IMHO, there isn't a chance of that. The special interests that control the democrats in Congress will make sure of that.
    Last edited by 30ashopper; 06-15-2009 at 03:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 30ashopper View Post
    Worthy of discussion, but will it be a center peice of the legislation? IMHO, there isn't a chance of that. The special interests that control the Congress will make sure of that.
    And THAT is the crux of the issue IMO! Our lives and laws are being decided by special interests and lobbyists!!!

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    The speech today by President Obama was, as usual, articulate, informative, and most importantly, detailed in what he visions as an answer to America's health care problems. While I think he is on the right track with his vision, I am also sure that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Ted Kennedy will not support it or allow it to happen. It is not Universal Health Care as they envision it.
    Last edited by Andy A; 06-15-2009 at 04:54 PM.
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    Obama to AMA


    "The second step that we can all agree on is to invest more in preventive care so that we can avoid illness and disease in the first place. That starts with each of us taking more responsibility for our health and the health of our children. It means quitting smoking, going in for that mammogram or colon cancer screening. It means going for a run or hitting the gym, and raising our children to step away from the video games and spend more time playing outside.


    It also means cutting down on all the junk food that is fueling an epidemic of obesity, putting far too many Americans, young and old, at greater risk of costly, chronic conditions. That's a lesson Michelle and I have tried to instill in our daughters with the White House vegetable garden that Michelle planted. And that's a lesson that we should work with local school districts to incorporate into their school lunch programs.


    Building a health care system that promotes prevention rather than just managing diseases will require all of us to do our part. It will take doctors telling us what risk factors we should avoid and what preventive measures we should pursue. And it will take employers following the example of places like Safeway that is rewarding workers for taking better care of their health while reducing health care costs in the process. If you're one of the three quarters of Safeway workers enrolled in their "Healthy Measures" program, you can get screened for problems like high cholesterol or high blood pressure. And if you score well, you can pay lower premiums. It's a program that has helped Safeway cut health care spending by 13% and workers save over 20% on their premiums. And we are open to doing more to help employers adopt and expand programs like this one.


    Our federal government also has to step up its efforts to advance the cause of healthy living. Five of the costliest illnesses and conditions cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, lung disease, and strokes can be prevented. And yet only a fraction of every health care dollar goes to prevention or public health. That is starting to change with an investment we are making in prevention and wellness programs that can help us avoid diseases that harm our health and the health of our economy.

    But as important as they are, investments in electronic records and preventive care are just preliminary steps. They will only make a dent in the epidemic of rising costs in this country.
    Despite what some have suggested, the reason we have these costs is not simply because we have an aging population. Demographics do account for part of rising costs because older, sicker societies pay more on health care than younger, healthier ones. But what accounts for the bulk of our costs is the nature of our health care system itself a system where we spend vast amounts of money on things that aren't making our people any healthier; a system that automatically equates more expensive care with better care.
    A recent article in the New Yorker, for example, showed how McAllen, Texas is spending twice as much as El Paso County not because people in McAllen are sicker and not because they are getting better care. They are simply using more treatments treatments they don't really need; treatments that, in some cases, can actually do people harm by raising the risk of infection or medical error. And the problem is, this pattern is repeating itself across America. One Dartmouth study showed that you're no less likely to die from a heart attack and other ailments in a higher spending area than in a lower spending one.


    There are two main reasons for this. The first is a system of incentives where the more tests and services are provided, the more money we pay. And a lot of people in this room know what I'm talking about. It is a model that rewards the quantity of care rather than the quality of care; that pushes you, the doctor, to see more and more patients even if you can't spend much time with each; and gives you every incentive to order that extra MRI or EKG, even if it's not truly necessary. It is a model that has taken the pursuit of medicine from a profession a calling to a business.


    That is not why you became doctors. That is not why you put in all those hours in the Anatomy Suite or the O.R. That is not what brings you back to a patient's bedside to check in or makes you call a loved one to say it'll be fine. You did not enter this profession to be bean-counters and paper-pushers. You entered this profession to be healers and that's what our health care system should let you be.


    That starts with reforming the way we compensate our doctors and hospitals. We need to bundle payments so you aren't paid for every single treatment you offer a patient with a chronic condition like diabetes, but instead are paid for how you treat the overall disease. We need to create incentives for physicians to team up because we know that when that happens, it results in a healthier patient. We need to give doctors bonuses for good health outcomes so that we are not promoting just more treatment, but better care"



    ************************************************** ***********************************************


    Until we make these changes, we can never have health care for all. It isn't always popular to lay it on the line; I admire his frankness. I hope we can all work together to getting these measures implemented pronto-burger

    G

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    Quote Originally Posted by scooterbug44 View Post
    How easy would it be for us to just have a basic doctor to whom you paid a fee when you got sick or needed a check-up and then "insurance" for emergencies/major injuries or illnesses.

    Between co-pays and premiums, many folks would save a lot of money, and so would doctors who could just get paid instead of spending their time and their staff's time dealing w/ insurance nonsense.
    We have these plans and they are incredibly affordable. They are catastrophic plans designed to cover for major illnesses or injuries, but not routine dr. visits, minor colds or meds. However, because we are living in an 'entitled' society, most people opt for the more expensive plans and complain about those not covering 100%.....or, worse, they opt to self-insure and we bear the brunt of their irresponsible decisions. (Disclaimer: This does not apply to everyone; and, there are those who are truly in 'need,' but we do have the plans you are suggesting, already!)

    Quote Originally Posted by 30A Skunkape View Post
    I am willing to bet this would be a tougher sell to the public than the creation of a massive health bureaucracy. So many people are convinced (erroneously) that they pay little to nothing for health insurance and medication benefits that as long as some sort of system where small out of pocket expense is preserved there will be little resistance.

    Yep, but the physicians typically like it because these are 'traditional' plans and fees are not negotiated. Physicians actually get to be doctors!


    Quote Originally Posted by Mango View Post
    There's where you have it all wrong. One of the biggest problems that drives costs up is medical malpractice and medical error. Today, as a matter of fact, Obama is meeting with the AMA to discuss these issues. Because of malpractice suits, doctors feel compelled to have unnecessary and expensive testing done. They will tell you it's needed, but it's because they need to cover their a$$es, and rightfully so. We need some sort of caps on medical malpractice insurance rates and better means to capture errors. Things happen like someone getting the wrong organ removed; the wrong drug, or has a medical device left them, (this just happened to my BIL and no, he did not sue).

    Matter of fact, Legislation, the National Medical Error Disclosure and Compensation (MEDiC) bill, based on the concept of full disclosure and open communication between patients and medical providers, was introduced in Congress by Senators Clinton and Obama, but it was never moved out of committee. The measure would have provided grants and technical assistance to insurers, hospitals, doctors and healthcare systems to implement medical error programs which have proven to cut costs by 2/3rds. Studies have shown that prompt disclosure of medical errors can lead to lower litigation costs.

    There was also an initiative, known as the Safest Hospital Alliance, that will focus on core processes that cut across a hospitals operational structure to try to reduce by 80 percent the difference between todays performance and perfection. Implementing the safest hospital template, according to the Alliance, could also reduce healthcare costs by as much as 30 percent.

    We also have the issue of prescription drugs. We pay a significant amount more than other countries do, not to mention that generics can not be made by other companies for certain drugs. You can't tell me that this is not lobbied extensively to keep a monopoly on newer drugs and alleviating competition.

    So, please do not say that the Administration is not seeking expense reform.

    If anyone is interested, Obama will be discussing healthcare Issues on ABC in a special to air June 24 at 10 p.m. Eastern, on two-hour tape delay.

    Medical malpractice is an issue. The solution is tort reform and judicious/financial reprimand for frivolous law suits......but, Congress is mostly comprised of attorneys......now, we've gone full circle and are back at our starting point.

    I like the medical error program - is it costly to administer? There is supposed to be a 'count' of surgical towels and equipment/utencils before and after surgery prior to closing 'em up.

    At a hospital in Atlanta, we had an error in amputation. Now they get a BIG X on the part to be surgically removed and the patient is questioned at least a half a dozen times even after the X is placed......someone got left and right grossly confused! I don't think there was a law suit per se........max on the insurance policy granted and it was done!

    Pharma in US most definitely, unequivocably needs reform.......write letters, Y'all!
    Helping others is a gift.

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    This is becoming more defined now, with some clear indications on how it's going to shape up. Some key points -

    Mandates - this looks to be a foregone conclusion. The healthy will be required to subsidize the sick. It's unfortunate we have to implement stuff like this as its basically playing Robin Hood with health, but it's also easy to understand the financial issues revolving around not having it.

    Expanded Medicaid - The original income levels this was to be expanded to have been scaled all the way back to the poverty line for adults, and around 133% for kids. Subsidies will be phased in over a few years, which is basically a way for Congress to hide true costs at the time of enactment. However, phase-ins can also be changed with new legislation down the road.

    Insurance Subsidies - Eligibility has been scaled back to around 300% of the poverty line. This is still way too high in my opinion. I'd much rather see reform that cuts costs vs. simply having government pay the bills. Future reforms will have the ability to decrease costs by regulating the level of care, so it gives future politicians the opportunity to control costs.

    Public plan - It's looking more and more like this is not going to be part of the plan, with some sort or consumer run co-op non-profit corporation taking its place. This is really good news IMHO. The public plan (which was based on Medicare) was flawed in a thousand different ways, so it's good to see Congress is finally making some changes to it. IMHO whatever this "co-op" thing is, the idea that it'll be "consumer governed" seems like a great idea. Another good thing about this is that the financials would likely be completely separate from the general accounting of the federal government. (Like a Freddie or Fannie for health.) The details though are still thin, so we shall have to see.

    Insurance regulation - In return for mandates, insurance companies would be regulated more. For example they would not have the ability to refuse coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. IMHO trading the mandate for this is probably a worthy trade. My younger 20'ish self would likely be outraged by the idea of government forcing me to buy health insurance, but these days I'm a little more reasonable. (just a little).

    Employer provider / funding mandates - It may get scratched completely, or phased back significantly. Small business owners collectively can go "whew!" together.

    Misc. "preventative health measures" - There's a lot of this throughout, mostly provided through existing systems or tax incentives for business who provide preventative health service for employees. <-- That right there really blew me away when I read it, Congress it seems, is not filled entirely with idiots.

    Funding - Nothing comes for free. A whole host of major tax hikes are under consideration. Predictably Obama wants to tax the rich, but it seems Congress is thinking that something that's more fair might be the right solution.. according to WaPo this morning -

    Meanwhile, in the House, Democrats are exploring a range of funding options, including a surtax on the rich and an increase in the payroll tax imposed on all U.S. workers. The list also includes new taxes on sugary drinks and alcohol, along with broader levies, such as a national value-added tax of up to 3 percent.

    The Senate's preferred option -- taxing the health benefits that millions of Americans receive through their employers -- is also on the House list. So is Obama's favorite idea: limiting the value of itemized deductions for the nation's wealthiest 3 million taxpayers.

    Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the Ways and Means subcommittee charged with developing a financing plan, said lawmakers have not "embraced any particular source of revenue." But he confirmed that big, broad-based taxes like the payroll tax and a value-added tax are under discussion, mainly because they have the potential to raise "a lot of money" for an expansion of health coverage expected to cost more than $1 trillion over the next decade.

    The House will not unveil a financing plan until after the July 4 recess, Neal said, though House leaders were expected to release an outline of the rest of their plan today, with a goal of putting a bill to vote later this summer. The Senate is aiming to debate its legislation in July as well, and is seeking a bill that would cost less than $1 trillion.
    washingtonpost.com

    We won’t know what they decide upon until after July 4th. Note, cuts to Medicare aren't mentioned.

    All in all, this is starting to shape into something far better than what was originally proposed by Obama. You can thank our founding forefathers for that. Here's the powerpoint on the Sentate Finance Committee's plan as it stands now -

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv...sal_061809.pdf
    Last edited by 30ashopper; 06-19-2009 at 11:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 30ashopper View Post
    This is becoming more defined now, with some clear indications on how it's going to shape up. Some key points -

    Mandates - this looks to be a foregone conclusion. The healthy will be required to subsidize the sick. It's unfortunate we have to implement stuff like this as its basically playing Robin Hood with health, but it's also easy to understand the financial issues revolving around not having it.

    Expanded Medicaid - The original income levels this was to be expanded to have been scaled all the way back to the poverty line for adults, and around 133% for kids. Subsidies will be phased in over a few years, which is basically a way for Congress to hide true costs at the time of enactment. However, phase-ins can also be changed with new legislation down the road.

    Insurance Subsidies - Eligibility has been scaled back to around 300% of the poverty line. This is still way too high in my opinion. I'd much rather see reform that cuts costs vs. simply having government pay the bills. Future reforms will have the ability to decrease costs by regulating the level of care, so it gives future politicians the opportunity to control costs.

    Public plan - It's looking more and more like this is not going to be part of the plan, with some sort or consumer run co-op non-profit corporation taking its place. This is really good news IMHO. The public plan (which was based on Medicare) was flawed in a thousand different ways, so it's good to see Congress is finally making some changes to it. IMHO whatever this "co-op" thing is, the idea that it'll be "consumer governed" seems like a great idea. Another good thing about this is that the financials would likely be completely separate from the general accounting of the federal government. (Like a Freddie or Fannie for health.) The details though are still thin, so we shall have to see.

    Insurance regulation - In return for mandates, insurance companies would be regulated more. For example they would not have the ability to refuse coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. IMHO trading the mandate for this is probably a worthy trade. My younger 20'ish self would likely be outraged by the idea of government forcing me to buy health insurance, but these days I'm a little more reasonable. (just a little).

    Employer provider / funding mandates - It may get scratched completely, or phased back significantly. Small business owners collectively can go "whew!" together.

    Misc. "preventative health measures" - There's a lot of this throughout, mostly provided through existing systems or tax incentives for business who provide preventative health service for employees. <-- That right there really blew me away when I read it, Congress it seems, is not filled entirely with idiots.

    Funding - Nothing comes for free. A whole host of major tax hikes are under consideration. Predictably Obama wants to tax the rich, but it seems Congress is thinking that something that's more fair might be the right solution.. according to WaPo this morning -



    washingtonpost.com

    We wont know what they decide upon until after July 4th. Note, cuts to Medicare aren't mentioned.

    All in all, this is starting to shape into something far better than what was originally proposed by Obama. You can thank our founding forefathers for that. Here's the powerpoint on the Sentate Finance Committee's plan as it stands now -

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv...sal_061809.pdf

    Thanks for posting your analysis. Well done.

    Here's my take so far:

    - I agree that it is nice to see the prevention incentives. I hope there will be a way to expand the incentives to those self-employed or unemployed.
    - I'm also pleased that the public option seems to be losing support.
    - I am not pleased that the crux of the whole plan is just to insure everyone. That keeps us all in the same messed up health care/insurance system currently in place. I want to see real reform like fair pricing, tort reform, insurance options.

    More specifically, when you show up at the emergency room with a broken arm, they should be able to give you a fair estimate of how much it will cost you to have treatment. In addition, the cost should be the same for an uninsured person, someone with Blue Cross insurance, or with Medicare insurance. If you receive the same treatment it should cost the same.

    If you are seeking non-emergency care the same should hold true. You should be able to call around for pricing and find the best deal.

    For insurance options, you should be able to buy coverage for only those things you want to insure. Every state currently mandates the coverage options available. I don't think it is a good idea to have insurance for routine care. You should be insuring against bad luck, not everyday living. That's not in the spirit of "insurance" if it is a cost you will definitely incur. The risk to the insurer is 100% in that case.

    I'm sure there are many other broken parts of the system that throwing insurance coverage at is not going to solve. I would like to see legislation aimed at improving the system not just funding it.
    Theyre all for diversity in everything but thought.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winnie View Post
    Thanks for posting your analysis. Well done.

    Here's my take so far:

    - I agree that it is nice to see the prevention incentives. I hope there will be a way to expand the incentives to those self-employed or unemployed.
    - I'm also pleased that the public option seems to be losing support.
    - I am not pleased that the crux of the whole plan is just to insure everyone. That keeps us all in the same messed up health care/insurance system currently in place. I want to see real reform like fair pricing, tort reform, insurance options.

    More specifically, when you show up at the emergency room with a broken arm, they should be able to give you a fair estimate of how much it will cost you to have treatment. In addition, the cost should be the same for an uninsured person, someone with Blue Cross insurance, or with Medicare insurance. If you receive the same treatment it should cost the same.

    If you are seeking non-emergency care the same should hold true. You should be able to call around for pricing and find the best deal.

    For insurance options, you should be able to buy coverage for only those things you want to insure. Every state currently mandates the coverage options available. I don't think it is a good idea to have insurance for routine care. You should be insuring against bad luck, not everyday living. That's not in the spirit of "insurance" if it is a cost you will definitely incur. The risk to the insurer is 100% in that case.

    I'm sure there are many other broken parts of the system that throwing insurance coverage at is not going to solve. I would like to see legislation aimed at improving the system not just funding it.

    Good points Winnie - that last part about insuring for everything is one of the main reasons our healthcare costs so much. All-you-can-eat insurance coverage, where everything is covered, leads to over use. High deductible, catestrophic coverage plans are a great way to fix that, but government isn't interested in providing those through services like Medicare and Medicaid, even though they should be. Rising costs however are pushing companies and individuals to switch to these plans, which is a positive trend.

  40. #31
    As most above have said, this system will only work if there is significant cost cutting in the health care system.

    The expanded medicaid will need to be a barebone system. Generics only, limited psychiatric coverage, limited end of life care (ie; extended fruitless ICU stays when death is very likely anyway). Thhis all will be difficult as all interested parties will want the govt. plan to cover their services.

    Tort reform would be helpful to cut some costs.

    With all patients being covered by insurance, hospital and doctor fees should be reduced since they will no longer need to pass on the costs of covering the uninsured. Some sort of mandate would be necessary to force this to occur.

  41. #32
    Obama does not support tort reform. He said it at the AMA meeting. That is why he got booed by the doctors. He is going to have trouble getting the AMA on board without agreeing to meaningful malpractice reform. My faith in organized medicine has been restored: they are playing hardball with the president and will not publicly support his plan until they see malpractice legislation in the bill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dominoes View Post
    Obama does not support tort reform. He said it at the AMA meeting. That is why he got booed by the doctors. He is going to have trouble getting the AMA on board without agreeing to meaningful malpractice reform. My faith in organized medicine has been restored: they are playing hardball with the president and will not publicly support his plan until they see malpractice legislation in the bill.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dominoes View Post
    Obama does not support tort reform. He said it at the AMA meeting. That is why he got booed by the doctors. He is going to have trouble getting the AMA on board without agreeing to meaningful malpractice reform. My faith in organized medicine has been restored: they are playing hardball with the president and will not publicly support his plan until they see malpractice legislation in the bill.
    His general message was greeted with much applause. The only time they booed was when Obama stated that he would not pursue capping damages awarded for malpractice lawsuits, something he has always stated he was against. Nothing new. But, to say he is against tort reform is not accurate.
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    It's really quite impossible to get a good sense of how the AMA reacted generally and how they reacted on specific points. The news media and bloggers have covered this with more layers of spin than you'll find in an onion. The headlines pretty much sum up the who's who of who leans left and right. IMHO from what I've ready neither you two (Dominoes and Mango) have managed to do a good job of representing the AMA's response accurately either.

    Overall I'm sure the AMA would like to see reform, both in terms of our healthcare system in general and our legal system. So far they appear to be giving Obama's plan a grade of "C" or so. Seeing as how they know more about this stuff than most of us (including Obama) I'd be interested in listening to what they actually had to say if I could find it, and I hope Obama did the same.
    Last edited by 30ashopper; 06-20-2009 at 03:09 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 30ashopper View Post
    It's really quite impossible to get a good sense of how the AMA reacted generally and how they reacted on specific points. The news media and bloggers have covered this with more layers of spin than you'll find in an onion. The headlines pretty much sum up the who's who of who leans left and right. IMHO from what I've ready neither you two (Dominoes and Mango) have managed to do a good job of representing the AMA's response accurately either.

    Overall I'm sure the AMA would like to see reform, both in terms of our healthcare system in general and our legal system. So far they appear to be giving Obama's plan a grade of "C" or so. Seeing as how they know more about this stuff than most of us (including Obama) I'd be interested in listening to what they actually had to say if I could find it, and I hope Obama did the same.
    Excellent point. I have always thought of the AMA as the closest thing there is to a physician's union, but unlike almost all labor unions, there is political and goal diversity within the AMA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 30ashopper View Post
    It's really quite impossible to get a good sense of how the AMA reacted generally and how they reacted on specific points. The news media and bloggers have covered this with more layers of spin than you'll find in an onion. The headlines pretty much sum up the who's who of who leans left and right. IMHO from what I've ready neither you two (Dominoes and Mango) have managed to do a good job of representing the AMA's response accurately either.

    Overall I'm sure the AMA would like to see reform, both in terms of our healthcare system in general and our legal system. So far they appear to be giving Obama's plan a grade of "C" or so. Seeing as how they know more about this stuff than most of us (including Obama) I'd be interested in listening to what they actually had to say if I could find it, and I hope Obama did the same.
    Here's a statement prior to the meeting.

    “The A.M.A. does not believe that creating a public health insurance option for non-disabled individuals under age 65 is the best way to expand health insurance coverage and lower costs. The introduction of a new public plan threatens to restrict patient choice by driving out private insurers, which currently provide coverage for nearly 70 percent of Americans.”If private insurers are pushed out of the market, the group said, “the corresponding surge in public plan participation would likely lead to an explosion of costs that would need to be absorbed by taxpayers.”

    The group has historically had a strong lobbying operation, supplemented by generous campaign donations. Since the 2000 election cycle, its political action committee has contributed $9.8 million to Congressional candidates, according to data from the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Responsive Politics. Republicans got more than Democrats in the four election cycles before 2008, when 56 percent went to Democrats.

    The A.M.A., an umbrella group for 180 medical societies, does not speak for all doctors. One group, Physicians for a National Health Program, supports a single-payer system of insurance, in which a single public agency would pay for health services, but most care would still be delivered by private doctors and hospitals. In recent years, some doctors have become so fed up with the administrative hassles of private insurance that they are looking for alternatives.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/11/us.../11health.html

    BTW, my insurance renewal is now 22% higher this year and other business owners have said the same thing; so I am not alone.
    "With Liberty and nothing for all" ---my 3 yr. old nephew's version of the Pledge of Allegiance.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mango View Post
    The A.M.A., an umbrella group for 180 medical societies, does not speak for all doctors. One group, Physicians for a National Health Program, supports a single-payer system of insurance, in which a single public agency would pay for health services, but most care would still be delivered by private doctors and hospitals. In recent years, some doctors have become so fed up with the administrative hassles of private insurance that they are looking for alternatives.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/11/us.../11health.html

    BTW, my insurance renewal is now 22% higher this year and other business owners have said the same thing; so I am not alone.
    Is this article implying that out of 180 medical societies only one is for a National Health Program. If that is indeed the case, I have serious doubts about a Universal Heath Care system, but then I already had serious doubts about one as I had my second child born under one and the results were less than desirable.
    I think of government as the Mafia without the moral authority or predictability. Ron Hart

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy A. View Post
    Is this article implying that out of 180 medical societies only one is for a National Health Program. If that is indeed the case, I have serious doubts about a Universal Heath Care system, but then I already had serious doubts about one as I had my second child born under one and the results were less than desirable.
    I would guess you could have 1000 medical societies, but how many health care workers are members is the question and who speaks for the majority?

    Andy, I am curious. You're a Veteran. Do you use the VA doctors? If you do, what do you think of them? The reason I am asking is because they are paid directly by the government. They are on payroll and the same for military doctors, which is in essence socialized medicine.

    I think a single pay system; which doesn't mean single insurance company; it means one clearinghouse for payments; may be a better way to go than Obama's plan to have an additional government option for insurance.

    Honestly, I do not know. I have concerns like everyone else about a reduction in care. One thing I do know is something has to be done. A 15-21% increase every year for the past 10 years is ludicrous. I'm reading the FAQ asked questions from the Physicians for National Health Care web site and they say 31% of our insurance premiums go to admin. costs and executive salaries. It also says that the VA gets a 40% reduction on drugs because of their buying clout.

    Interesting reading to say the least........
    Single-Payer FAQ | Physicians for a National Health Program
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    Here is what is fundamentally wrong in this country - it is INSANE that over 40 million are uninsured, it is so fundamentally unfair that people can work their whole lives and dilligently put money aside, pay for health insurance every month and then be driven into bankrupcy and lose everything because of an illness (and in most cases they HAD health insurance)!!

    People throw around the word socialized medicine as if it is a curse and in many cases they have NO idea what they are talking about- I have lived in many countries, including France, England (and my sister has been in Canada for 5+ years) and I can tell you that the health care I have experienced in other countries was excellent and comprehensive.

    And btw: the healthy here are ALREADY paying for the uninsured and covering the costs for all the people who cannot afford it.

    I cannot imagine that reform of some sort is not feasible that would actually make good health care accessible to many more at a fraction of the cost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chickpea View Post
    Here is what is fundamentally wrong in this country - it is INSANE that over 40 million are uninsured, it is so fundamentally unfair that people can work their whole lives and dilligently put money aside, pay for health insurance every month and then be driven into bankrupcy and lose everything because of an illness (and in most cases they HAD health insurance)!!

    People throw around the word socialized medicine as if it is a curse and in many cases they have NO idea what they are talking about- I have lived in many countries, including France, England (and my sister has been in Canada for 5+ years) and I can tell you that the health care I have experienced in other countries was excellent and comprehensive.

    And btw: the healthy here are ALREADY paying for the uninsured and covering the costs for all the people who cannot afford it.

    I cannot imagine that reform of some sort is not feasible that would actually make good health care accessible to many more at a fraction of the cost.
    I agree with you, but remember, senior citizens in this country do in essence enjoy socialized medicine, so to imply that our seniors are being driven to financial ruin isn't exactly true.

    And while I have never lived anywhere outside of the American south, I understand there is an impending train wreck in Europe as the younger taxpayers, who are not reproducing as Europeans were two generations ago, age and the dollars (Euros, clams, whatever) are predicted to dry up. Might be ugly in a decade or so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chickpea View Post
    Here is what is fundamentally wrong in this country - it is INSANE that over 40 million are uninsured, it is so fundamentally unfair that people can work their whole lives and dilligently put money aside, pay for health insurance every month and then be driven into bankrupcy and lose everything because of an illness (and in most cases they HAD health insurance)!!

    People throw around the word socialized medicine as if it is a curse and in many cases they have NO idea what they are talking about- I have lived in many countries, including France, England (and my sister has been in Canada for 5+ years) and I can tell you that the health care I have experienced in other countries was excellent and comprehensive.

    And btw: the healthy here are ALREADY paying for the uninsured and covering the costs for all the people who cannot afford it.

    I cannot imagine that reform of some sort is not feasible that would actually make good health care accessible to many more at a fraction of the cost.
    That 40 million number gets thrown around a lot, but it really isn't accurate. The actual number of folks who want insurance but can't get it due to cost or that they are hard to insure is around 12 million.

    I think finding a solution to that problem is as simple as a mandate in return for rules that insure health insurance companies can't refuse coverage.

    All the rest of the ideas being thrown around seem to me to be more about wealth redistribution than healthcare. As you point out, our health system already does that today to a degree. Why we need govenrment managing it I really don't understand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chickpea View Post
    Here is what is fundamentally wrong in this country - it is INSANE that over 40 million are uninsured, it is so fundamentally unfair that people can work their whole lives and dilligently put money aside, pay for health insurance every month and then be driven into bankrupcy and lose everything because of an illness (and in most cases they HAD health insurance)!!
    .
    So how will insuring everyone fix that?

    Better to fix the system than to just buy insurance for everyone. Insurance is not reform.
    Theyre all for diversity in everything but thought.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winnie View Post
    So how will insuring everyone fix that?

    Better to fix the system than to just buy insurance for everyone. Insurance is not reform.

    Actually, I don't think Chickpea made an accurate statement.
    Helping others is a gift.

  59. #45

    Some things that may help.

    I am repeating, but expanding a point already made by Scooterbug earlier. I think that $20 and $30 copays have led to overutilization by many. I have clients who, because of a generous plan, run to the Dr. for every cold, or minor proplem. By shifting more of the cost to the patient, but reducing the premium, some abuse would stop. I think the HSA plans are a great option. Also, rather than every little visit resulting in interraction with the insurance company, Dr.s staff would be reduced as much of their effort is spent trying to get paid by insurers, and getting reimbursed for Medicare and Medicaid.

    I had a client in another state who purchased a plan from Aetna, through me. The president of the company had a Endoscopic sinus surgery to clean up blockage. He was happy with his results, and within one year, three others from this company of less than 60 employees had the same surgery. Each time they got their renewal increase, they complained, but Aetna broke out what Aetna paid to health providers versus the premium, and during some years, Aetna was losing money before even allowing for their own overhead.

    I have had physicians tell me that they have to run unecessary tests due to fear of being sued if something was missed. I am not vouching for the validity of this, but repeating what has been told to me by numerous physicians. I do know that many hospitals in Mississipi to not even have anyone that delivers babies as they have had an exodus due to unfavorable malpractice environment. I have clients in the western part of Mississippi who insist on a plan that includes Louisiana hospitals.

    I will bow out of the debate on this next issue, as I don't know how you approach this delicately. Just last week, I met someone who is now working out and staying extremely fit, and he said that it originated with a visit to the Dr. He was told that he needed to lose about twenty pounds, or begin taking blood pressure medicince. He was afraid of the affects of a daily medication, so he got serious about diet and exercise, and never had to take the medication. Many health problems are bad luck or genetic, but so many of them are of our own making. I don't think legislating good habits is viable, so I don't have an answer. I am happy for my new friend, and have heard similar stories from others.

  60. #46
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    I overheard some guy on the news this morning state that the taxing of medical benefits over a certain level was a sure thing, unless you were a union member, then you were exempt. Anyone seen anything on this on the net?


  61. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrobert View Post
    I overheard some guy on the news this morning state that the taxing of medical benefits over a certain level was a sure thing, unless you were a union member, then you were exempt. Anyone seen anything on this on the net?
    How come union members would be exempt?

  62. #48
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    [quote=Mango;
    Andy, I am curious. You're a Veteran. Do you use the VA doctors? If you do, what do you think of them? The reason I am asking is because they are paid directly by the government. They are on payroll and the same for military doctors, which is in essence socialized medicine.
    First of all, I do not have an answer to our healtcare problem, per se. I do have some very strong opinions and feelings about what is wrong with our healthcare system.
    Mango, I do not use the VA system. I am, for all practical purposes, under a socialized care system. It is called "Tri Care For Life" and it totally covers all military retirees who enlisted after, I believe, 1950. Col. Bud Day finally succeeded in getting those who enlisted during that period what we were promised upon enlistment...healthcare for life.
    The VA system uses civilian doctors who are paid by the government for their services to the VA. At least that is how it was in Oklahoma. They have private or other institutional practices as well. Yes, once again, it is a form of socialized medicine as is Medicare and Medicaid. Two big differences, IMO, is that care is restricted only by availability and there is not the fear of malpractice suits that doctors not working for the government face. Suffice it to say something that everybody already realizes. The provision of healthcare in the United States is very complex and expensive and the solution to our problem will not be found in a "one size fits all" solution.
    I believe we need everyone to have the availability of "wellness programs" which are designed to keep them healthy. I also feel we should have some type of "catastrophic coverage" for all regardless of pre-existing conditions.
    For those truly needy and unable to care for themselves, these health care fundamentals would be supplied by the government with some system established to cover these costs. There would be strict rules and regulations to cover who would get "free" care. Those able would pay for their own care through any number of methods proposed after all were evaluated and a method chosen. There would either be a cap put on malpractice suits or they would be eliminated altogether except for blatant mistakes such as taking out the wrong kidney or taking off the wrong leg. The total costs of our healthcare system could be greatly reduced by managing malpractice, thereby reducing tests and procedures deemed necessary to forego legal action. We could also reduce costs by streamlining billing and financial procedures.
    Many of you are aware of other cost cutting procedures and they are all viable. We shouldn't forget to seriously pursue the fraud prevalent in our healthcare system and eradicate it.
    One thing I strongly believe is that a universal health care system totally supported by the government is not the answer and will not achieve the results we are looking for in our healthcare. As the saying goes, I've been there, done that, and I was not pleased with the final results.
    Last edited by Andy A; 06-22-2009 at 04:22 PM.
    I think of government as the Mafia without the moral authority or predictability. Ron Hart

  63. #49
    This is the executive summary of a cost analysis done by the Lewin Group for the proposal "Health Care for America" . You can google it for the complete report.

    Before anyone says liberal think tank, the Lewin company was deemed "The Gold Standard" last year by the Wall Street Journal-an organization that will never be considered liberal.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by wrobert View Post
    I overheard some guy on the news this morning state that the taxing of medical benefits over a certain level was a sure thing, unless you were a union member, then you were exempt. Anyone seen anything on this on the net?
    This was apparently in some version of one of the plans but may not end up in the final. Obama thus far has been against taxing health benefits since it would do the opposite of what he wants to achieve, it would increase the cost of heathcare for those who have employer or union based plans.

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