any comments about Obama's healthcare proposal

any comments about Obama's healthcare proposal

cool beans boi
cool beans boi

June 17th, 2009, 5:07 pm #1

I like the public option, but until we get single payer healthcare, this country will always be behind other western industrilaized countries.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 17th, 2009, 11:31 pm #2

I'd say Obama has caved to for-profit insurance industry. During his campaign- and for years before- he said a single-payer system was the way to go but now he says its "political unworkable"- meaning that the for-profit insurance industry owns congress with millions of dollars of "campaign contributions" (a euphemism for bribe-money) to ensure that nothing threatens their gravy train. This is why advocates of single-payer were not even allowed to speak at Senate healthcare reform hearings. In fact when some doctors and nurses in the audience asked to be heard Committee Chairman Max Baucus- who has received $413,000 from drug and health insurance lobbyists- had them arrested and carted off to jail. So much for democracy. Even a "public insurance option" will be difficult to get through Congress- and it's not really going to save much money because doctors and hospitals will still have to contend with multiple insurance suppliers each with different forms, rules and procedures.
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Bob
Bob

June 18th, 2009, 12:32 pm #3

I like the public option, but until we get single payer healthcare, this country will always be behind other western industrilaized countries.
Some thoughts:

I realize the Republicans are going to oppose most anything Obama and the Dems propose, but I think one valid concern is that the "public option", if not handled correctly, could give private employers an excuse to dump coverage for their employees. Businesses are ditching costs any way they can. Many are already eschewing the company retirement pension in favor of employee-funded plans like 401K, to reduce their exposure. Another great cost is employee benefits, particularly company-sponsored health care plans. If the Obama plan is too aggressive, I could see employers saying, "We can't compete with that," and be glad to discontinue this benefit and let their employees go to either the public plan or to fund their own private insurance.

I want to see government address costs too. I not only want control over the expense of hospital stays, drugs and procedures, but I want to hear my government say that Americans are too reliant upon medications and medical procedures for promotion of their health. We simply pop too many pills for everything . . . we expect huge batteries of tests for even common problems . . . our "experts" keep promoting the idea of the "next wonder drugs" and techologies, and how expensive it will be to develop these, but how essential all of that is. Meanwhile, Americans are too overweight and with poor diets, too sedentary and too stressed out . . . and addressing those things would be less expensive and lead to real health.

That said, one of my other concerns is with government control over people's lives. I don't want government officials or experts in medicine and academia deciding lifestyles for Americans. I think the proper role of those folks is: Do the research, try to come up with answers, and provide objective information to the public -- then allow competent adults to make those decisions for themselves. The danger in too much public funding of health care is that the govt then feels justified in dictating to people: "We are paying for this, so you must do as we say to minimize health costs." That is the path to lost freedom, when the govt takes over decision-making for individuals. Instead, I would simply like to see information made available and healthful activities promoted without being mandated.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 18th, 2009, 2:34 pm #4

First off Bob, I think health insurance should be divorced from employment. Why should it be connected? Your auto insurance is not, your utilities bills are not, there is no reason that your health insurance should be- it just makes it more expensive and less obtainable for people who don't have jobs or are self employed or work for someone who doesn't provide it. Employers should take the money they spend on health insurance and give it to the employee in increased wages so he can buy his own insurance like he buys everything else.

As to your two other points they seem rather contradictory- you say medical cost are too high because of two many expensive and unnecessary drugs and procedures, but then you don't want the government dictating to us. Well you are a little late on the last point- the government dictates to us every day in many ways- when I get in my car I must put my seatbelt or I can be pulled over and fined. Before this law was passed I seldom wore one- and I resented the government telling me I had to- but I begrudging started doing so to avoid getting pulled over and fined- and now I don't even think about it- it's just automatic- and I probably still wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't a law- but it may someday save my life.

There are hundreds of examples like this where the government has imposed requirements that now just seem like common sense- now when I watch a old movie and see people zooming down the road with no seatbelts or breathing smoke-filled air or working with toxic materials with no safety equipment- I think are those people nuts? What are they thinking? Our cemeteries are filled with people who would be alive today if the government "interfered" in their life a bit sooner and prevented what killed them.
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Bob
Bob

June 18th, 2009, 4:34 pm #5

Nat, I don't see my position on this as inconsistent at all. A lot of the expense of health care today is excessive use of drugs and procedures. I think our govt could do a lot of good if they put out public service announcements that told people that drugs aren't the answer for everything and that just because there is a new test or new surgery doesn't mean it's the best way to go. Likewise, PSA's for healthy eating, exercise and stopping to smell the roses . . and reminding them of the lower cost to themselves for doing so . . . would be positive. Even the PSA's regarding the hazards of smoking, so long as they are fact-based and not sensationalized, would be good in my opinion. What I object to is govt telling us that we MUST stop eating a certain way, sitting around too much or not smoke. I oppose regulations and taxes that impinge of inidivduals' choices to decide such things. I think the price for living in freedom is that others won't always do what we want them to do or even the "smart" thing to do.

I would agree with you that employment isn't necessarily the best way to provide health coverage. But, one thing that does is it prompt people to do something to earn . . yes, "deserve" . . the coverage. The problem with public health coverage is that it must, to avoid being discriminatory, cover everyone. That includes covering people who refuse to work, who live off of the toil of others, who make their money illegally or under-the-table, who refuse to get training and regiment their personal schedule so as to be a contributor to society rather than a parasite on society. Today, this also means that people who aren't even supposed to be in this country may qualify for health coverage . . and coverage for the hordes more who, seeing increased free services, decide not to wait to enter legally and instead come in any way they can so as to ride the services gravy train.

Marx' point: From each according to their ability; to each according to their need. But, some people never try to have "ability", yet their "need" remains great. My point: If you give someone something for nothing, they will NEVER pay for it.

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Bob
Bob

June 18th, 2009, 5:07 pm #6

First off Bob, I think health insurance should be divorced from employment. Why should it be connected? Your auto insurance is not, your utilities bills are not, there is no reason that your health insurance should be- it just makes it more expensive and less obtainable for people who don't have jobs or are self employed or work for someone who doesn't provide it. Employers should take the money they spend on health insurance and give it to the employee in increased wages so he can buy his own insurance like he buys everything else.

As to your two other points they seem rather contradictory- you say medical cost are too high because of two many expensive and unnecessary drugs and procedures, but then you don't want the government dictating to us. Well you are a little late on the last point- the government dictates to us every day in many ways- when I get in my car I must put my seatbelt or I can be pulled over and fined. Before this law was passed I seldom wore one- and I resented the government telling me I had to- but I begrudging started doing so to avoid getting pulled over and fined- and now I don't even think about it- it's just automatic- and I probably still wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't a law- but it may someday save my life.

There are hundreds of examples like this where the government has imposed requirements that now just seem like common sense- now when I watch a old movie and see people zooming down the road with no seatbelts or breathing smoke-filled air or working with toxic materials with no safety equipment- I think are those people nuts? What are they thinking? Our cemeteries are filled with people who would be alive today if the government "interfered" in their life a bit sooner and prevented what killed them.
Short of it:

Gaining health coverage through employment means I had to work for it, not given to me just for breathing in and out.

I favor INFORMATION being provided regarding healthy practices . . I favor promotion of health practices . . . but I oppose govt bans and mandates that take away individuals' right to decide for themselves (personally, I think the decision to wear a seat belt or not should be up to each adult . . while children should be buckled).
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 18th, 2009, 5:19 pm #7

Nat, I don't see my position on this as inconsistent at all. A lot of the expense of health care today is excessive use of drugs and procedures. I think our govt could do a lot of good if they put out public service announcements that told people that drugs aren't the answer for everything and that just because there is a new test or new surgery doesn't mean it's the best way to go. Likewise, PSA's for healthy eating, exercise and stopping to smell the roses . . and reminding them of the lower cost to themselves for doing so . . . would be positive. Even the PSA's regarding the hazards of smoking, so long as they are fact-based and not sensationalized, would be good in my opinion. What I object to is govt telling us that we MUST stop eating a certain way, sitting around too much or not smoke. I oppose regulations and taxes that impinge of inidivduals' choices to decide such things. I think the price for living in freedom is that others won't always do what we want them to do or even the "smart" thing to do.

I would agree with you that employment isn't necessarily the best way to provide health coverage. But, one thing that does is it prompt people to do something to earn . . yes, "deserve" . . the coverage. The problem with public health coverage is that it must, to avoid being discriminatory, cover everyone. That includes covering people who refuse to work, who live off of the toil of others, who make their money illegally or under-the-table, who refuse to get training and regiment their personal schedule so as to be a contributor to society rather than a parasite on society. Today, this also means that people who aren't even supposed to be in this country may qualify for health coverage . . and coverage for the hordes more who, seeing increased free services, decide not to wait to enter legally and instead come in any way they can so as to ride the services gravy train.

Marx' point: From each according to their ability; to each according to their need. But, some people never try to have "ability", yet their "need" remains great. My point: If you give someone something for nothing, they will NEVER pay for it.
Bob, in my state (and probably all states) everyone who owns a car is required to have auto insurance. But my employer doesn't provide this insurance- I buy it myself- because I know I have to have it. I don't see why it should be any different with health insurance. The main thing is to get that insurance down to rates that everyone can afford.

There are two big problems with our current system- first- private insurance companies must make a profit- and that profit (and its a big profit) comes off the top of the premiums that we pay before they do anything for our health. Another thing that makes our healthcare by far the most expensive in the world is the fact that doctors and hospitals have to deal with a plethora of different insurances companies- each with different forms, rules and procedures- some doctor offices have more people handling insurance paperwork than dealing with patients.

By having a government run uniform non-profit single payer system solves both of these problems.

Of course- you are going to hear of horror stories about bad patient care in other countries- well there are plenty of horror stories that happen right here under our system! The fact is- most people in Canada and European countries who have a government run system are happy with their service- often live longer than Americans- and don't pay nearly as much for medical care.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 18th, 2009, 5:25 pm #8

Short of it:

Gaining health coverage through employment means I had to work for it, not given to me just for breathing in and out.

I favor INFORMATION being provided regarding healthy practices . . I favor promotion of health practices . . . but I oppose govt bans and mandates that take away individuals' right to decide for themselves (personally, I think the decision to wear a seat belt or not should be up to each adult . . while children should be buckled).
I'm not saying people should be given free health insurance- nobody gives me free car insurance- I pay for it- and I'm willing to pay for my health insurance if it's fair and reasonable.

And remember- you are now paying for those people who don't have health insurance- when they don't pay their hospital bill- that charge is passed on in higher rates to those who do have insurance.

And you are not getting "free" insurance from your employer- he is just deducting from your paycheck before you ever see it.
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Bob
Bob

June 21st, 2009, 12:05 pm #9

Bob, in my state (and probably all states) everyone who owns a car is required to have auto insurance. But my employer doesn't provide this insurance- I buy it myself- because I know I have to have it. I don't see why it should be any different with health insurance. The main thing is to get that insurance down to rates that everyone can afford.

There are two big problems with our current system- first- private insurance companies must make a profit- and that profit (and its a big profit) comes off the top of the premiums that we pay before they do anything for our health. Another thing that makes our healthcare by far the most expensive in the world is the fact that doctors and hospitals have to deal with a plethora of different insurances companies- each with different forms, rules and procedures- some doctor offices have more people handling insurance paperwork than dealing with patients.

By having a government run uniform non-profit single payer system solves both of these problems.

Of course- you are going to hear of horror stories about bad patient care in other countries- well there are plenty of horror stories that happen right here under our system! The fact is- most people in Canada and European countries who have a government run system are happy with their service- often live longer than Americans- and don't pay nearly as much for medical care.
Using your example of car insurance: I am required to have at least minimum coverage or the State can rescind my ability to operate that vehicle. But what does govt do if people fail to subscribe to the required health insurance? You know there will be people who choose not to take out the coverage, or who claim they cannot afford it, even as they continue their cell phones, cable TV and other optional expenses. There are people who let their car insurance lapse, picking up coverage when they have to (to satisfy the State and get their plates renewed) only to let the coverage lapse again.

When people don't pay for the health insurance . . . is that automatically deducted from their paychecks before they ever get their pay? How about the people (a la child support dodgers) who only work for cash or make money from illegal activities? How do you punish such people for not buying health coverage? If the answer is, "We won't worry about the small minority who don't buy coverage. Most will", what about all the people who don't pay support, or taxes, now and we can't forget about them. They would be just as likely not to pay health insurance premiums and yet also a population that might be heavy users of emergency-type health services (due to high-risk lifestyles).
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 21st, 2009, 4:02 pm #10

Will a few people manage to beat the system? Sure- a few people manage to beat any system- but it will be fewer than are beating the current system- now when people don't pay their hospital bill the charges are just passed on to people who do- nothing fair about that! So just because a new system may not be 100% perfect is no excuse to stick with one that is far far less than perfect.
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