Obamacare: Sacrifice for All Except Dem Donors

July 22nd, 2009 at 1:09 pm | 42 Comments |

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As President Obama’s health care reform founders, he and Congressional Democrats are attempting to shift blame to the ‘do-nothing Republicans.’

Democrats need to be reminded that in truth they have no one to blame but themselves for the collapse of their health care agenda.

President-elect Obama promoted a “grand bargain” that would ask all Americans to compromise in the interest of tax reform, health care reform, and entitlement reform.

Everyone’s going to have to give.  Everyone’s going to have to have some skin in the game.

Americans were likely willing to give quite a bit for expanded coverage, greater portability, lower costs, and increased transparency.  But for all the Progressive talk of ‘shared sacrifice,’ Obamacare promises to secure the interests of the politically connected – by industrial heft or ideological affinity – while taxpaying suburbanites (including many Obama voters) get caught in the crossfire.

Stakeholder industries, threatened with becoming pay-fors, have cut their own bargains.

The pharmaceutical industry has its deal, kicking in $80 billion (a steal compared to the $130 billion Congress hoped to get) to fill the “doughnut hole” in the hope that the 50% branded-drug discount will keep more seniors from switching to cheaper generics.

The American Medical Association has its deal, apparently accepting the public plan it previously rejected and an $18,900 loss per-physician, in return for repeal of the dreaded Sustainable Growth Rate Formula.

Health insurers will swallow additional government regulations in return for the promise of insuring those forced by the individual mandate to purchase coverage.

Even Wal-Mart, the bogey of the unions for its reluctance to provide rich health benefits to its employees, now supports Obamacare, trusting that the legislation will help it to undercut the competition.

And those are just the stakeholders supporting Obamacare out of economic self-interest.

Next up are the standard-issue liberal groups that need to get theirs.

The abortion lobby will benefit through requirements that private insurers and any government plan provide for elective abortions.

Trial lawyers will be protected from medical malpractice reform.

And through pork in the name of wellness, the politicians responsible for Obamacare are attempting to shore up their own reelection.

The business community and liberal interest groups get quite a bit out of this deal.  But what about those who are supposedly the beneficiaries of Obamacare?  As it turns out, these ordinary middle class citizens will be doing most of the giving.

Channeling President Kennedy, Obamacare asks them to pay all the price and bear every burden.

Elderly citizens face rationed care. In the event of unfunded Medicaid liabilities state tax bills will increase.  Republican Finance Committee staff contends that the 5.4% “surtax” will be paid for in large measure by small businesses, the same small businesses that will be hit by an 8% tax if they cannot rewrite the laws of economics and provide health care to their employees without lowering wages (see p. 147, line 14 of the Tri-Committee bill).  For the millions ineligible for Medicaid or insurance subsidies, non-compliance with the individual mandate will lead to a tax penalty.

And in Obamacare’s coup de grace, 83 million individuals will lose their private health coverage.

Could this toxic formula have been avoided?  Could the middle class have been asked to bear its burden without the accelerated inflation in health care costs and loss of choice associated with Obamacare?

The answer is yes.  The President could have demanded that health care benefits be treated as ordinary income.  A majority on the Senate Finance Committee would likely support some taxation of benefits as a means of financing reform, while bending the growth curve. Sure, had Obama demanded inclusion of this bipartisan policy, he might have faced some uncomfortable questions about his campaign’s mischaracterization of John McCain’s “Health Insurance Tax.” But some minor embarrassment is not what holds the President back from promoting changes to the tax treatment of health care.  The real challenge for Obama is standing up to the unions (and their liberal patrons in the House and Senate), who are among the chief beneficiaries of the inflationary exclusion of employer-provided health care from income.

As he earlier demonstrated with the auto bailouts, crossing the unions – asking them to share in the sacrifices necessary for health care reform – is apparently a bridge too far for the President.

If Obama’s hopes for a “Grand Bargain” collapse less than 9 months into his presidency, he and Congressional Democrats will not be able to pin blame on lack of industry or interest-group support.  Rather, it is their own lack of will – their failure to demand real sacrifice from political allies like the unions – that will be the true source of Obamacare’s undoing.

Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

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42 Comments so far ↓

  • ottovbvs

    …….A government employee enjoying one of the most generous healthcare packages available to American citizens provides links to a rag bag of just about every Republican and insurance industry talking point he can find…….Speaking as one of those seniors facing “rationed care”……… sorry I’m not buying

  • ottovbvs

    “Democrats need to be reminded that in truth they have no one to blame but themselves for the collapse of their health care agenda.”

    ………..And HC why don’t we check back in three or four months time see if it’s collapsed or not

  • PatSajak

    You can’t argue with that logic: because of your employer your arguments have no merit, especially since I’ve heard of a couple of them before. Check-mate.

    I wish to subscribe to Ottovbvs’s newsletter.

  • sinz54

    Obama lied when he said that “If you like your current health plan, you can keep it.”

    If an employer decides to drop private coverage and go with the public option because it’s cheaper for the employer, the employees will have no say in the matter. Even if the public plan fully funds abortions, and some employees find that morally abhorrent, they will still have no choice but to resign their jobs (not an easy thing to do in today’s economy).

    When confronted by a reporter, Obama hemmed and hawed, and then so much as admitted that the employer has the ultimate say. So yes, millions of workers are suddenly going to find that their employers decided to switch to the public option, whether they like it or not. And they have numerous reasons to not like it: If the public option funds abortion and they find that morally abhorrent; if the public option offers fewer benefits than the private plans they were used to; or if they are just politically opposed to Obama and his schemes.

    The only way that “If you like your health plan, you can keep it” would work is if the playing field were leveled between group health insurance and individual health insurance. But Obama, and the congressional Dems, aren’t doing that, AFAIK.

  • Spartacus

    sinz54 // Jul 22, 2009 at 3:40 pm “Obama lied when he said that “If you like your current health plan, you can keep it.” If an employer decides to drop private coverage and go with the public option because it’s cheaper for the employer, the employees will have no say in the matter. ”

    This is your basis for calling Obama a liar? He never promised that a person’s employer would always offer private coverage. What he’s saying is that the *government* won’t take away private insurance.

    Why do you continuously raise the thoroughly debunked notion that a public option will end the private insurance market even though there is no evidence to suggest that will happen?

  • ottovbvs

    sinz54 // Jul 22, 2009 at 3:40 pm
    “Obama lied when he said that “If you like your current health plan, you can keep it.”

    …………At times I find it very hard to take you seriously Sinz…………And suppose an employer chooses to change his private insurance carrier what “say” in the matter will the employee have?…..and for godsake let’s not get into abortion, a red herring if ever there was one and something of a speciality of yours……..The private insurance companies must be fabulously inefficient if they can’t compete with the govt which you say is useless.

  • SFTor1

    what a pile of nonsense.

    Sinz, if an employer drops health care altogether today, does the employee have a say? And how many times a day does that happen across the country, in your estimate?

    And abortion is getting dragged into this? While living kids and adults are going without health care? Please, spare me.

    When is it going to dawn on people here that we have a serious national problem, and stop protecting millionaires in executive suites?

    I just don’t get it.

  • liv&win

    ottovbvs // Jul 22, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    …….A government employee…so are all government employee’s views and opinions suspect or just the ones you don’t like?

    We all have at least one thing in common, we are health care patients/consumers. And because of that, we all have a few more things in common. We all want reasonable access to quality healthcare at an affordable price. Further, we can all agree, or we can after some rangling, that health care is currently not affordable. We should also be able to recognize that health care is not health insurance. While they are interrelated, they are not the same. Health care is a service or supply provided by a health care practioner. Health insurance is a method of financing health care. It is an important distinction. Health insurance can be reformed tomorrow. There may be some angry insurance executives, but it is really that simple. No pre-exisiting conditions, no denial of coverage, regulated costs and spending targets, DONE.

    Health Care Reform, on the other hand is a hugely complicated matter. If one were ambitious, you would realize that health care is not just doctors and hospitals, but oral and mental health, too. You really couldn’t do a complete job of health care reform without tackling Workers Compensation. Sooner or later you would realize that the education of our health care workers is a fundamentally important part of supplying the right kinds of works to the right geographical area.

    Pretty quick you would also need to start planning to avoid huge job losses. there are more insurance agents than auto workers, yet your plan might put the agents out of business or worse, reduce their incomes by a substantial amount. Insurance companies employee hundreds of thousands who could also be unemployed if your plan wasn’t carefully crafted.

    At the end of the day, when you look at the thousands of interconnected pieces of the puzzle, each which changes when something else changes, and you realize that you are really dealing with life and death issues which are a jumbo percentage of the economy, and you hopefully get HUMBLE. You say to yourself, we need to do this slowly and deliberately in a regional manner so we can test our hypothesis. Afterall, mr. humility, we are talking about humans, with human emotions and often irrational behavior. At the end of the day, we are talking about the human condition which is as varied and multi-layered as anything in our world. There is nothing which has more bredth and depth of issues and complications than health care. The space program was a walk in the park compared to this.

    So, we as consumers of health care have something basic in common. We need to ask ourselves, what do we have to do as consumers to get what we want? What changes can we make which will give providers the ability and incentive to do for us? What we can’t afford to do is just turn this over to a bunch of inside the beltway industrialist and bureacrats and hope they take care of us. It won’t happen, again, for the hundredth time.

    We need to stand up and say, YES, health care reform is important. More important is that we get it right. We need to understand that it could concievably take 10 years to incorporate all the change and another 10 years to ‘perfect’ it. But we need humility before anything else.

  • liv&win

    sorry for the speech, but jezz folks…

  • ottovbvs

    sftor1 // Jul 22, 2009 at 5:08 pm
    “And how many times a day does that happen across the country, in your estimate?”

    ……….Off the top of my head I can’t remember the exact number that have dropped employee insurance over the past couple of years but it’s in the tens of thousands and that ignores of course the tens of thousands of businesses that have ceased trading entirely partly because of insurance costs…….what I find most astounding about all this is that Sinz is a guy with serious health problems that he presumably has insurance to take care off…….What if his health problems had arisen and he had no insurance or the company he worked for dropped coverage and he had buy some…….not that he’d be able to probably because the private insurers probably wouldn’t take him

  • ottovbvs

    liv&win // Jul 22, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    “A government employee…so are all government employee’s views and opinions suspect or just the ones you don’t like?”

    ………If you can’t understand this undermines his cred somewhat in this matter….well…..and on that topic you never answered my question the other day about whether you worked in the insurance industry or for an insurance advocacy group?……I’ve read your piece in detail as I read all your comments the other day because you obviously know a bit about this hence my suspicion you work in the industry ……….once again however you make a whole series of leaps like this one:

    “Pretty quick you would also need to start planning to avoid huge job losses. there are more insurance agents than auto workers, yet your plan might put the agents out of business or worse, reduce their incomes by a substantial amount. Insurance companies employee hundreds of thousands who could also be unemployed if your plan wasn’t carefully crafted.”

    ……..The implication of which is that all of a sudden the private insurance industry is going to go out of business…..it’s not.

    …….Not to mention a load of philosophical bs the main import of which seems to be we should “go slowly” which means preserve the status quo.

  • Chekote

    Americans were receptive to Obama’s call for reform because they are concerned about the rising costs. Most people are self centered and really don’t care whether 47 million are uninsured. They won’t admit it but it is the truth. Nothing in Obama’s bill reduces costs. Actually, it raises costs. Overnight 47 millions will be added with no overnight increase in doctors, nurses facilities.

  • liv&win

    ottovbvs // Jul 22, 2009 at 5:38 pm ………If you can’t understand this undermines his cred somewhat in this matter

    That was my point, his cred, Obama’s cred, rangle’s cred, pelosi’s cred…yes I review them all with skepticism, but I don’t dismiss them. insurance company cred, your cred, my cred. But I don’t dismiss them. Everyone is an example, everyone offers something.

    ottovbvs, don’t you think it is interesting that the GM thing was all about american jobs, but this health care thing, jobs are never mentioned. One of the features of Obama’s plan is to have a ‘clearing house’ where consumers can compare plans and pick the best one for them. I have some experience in this area too. This is a blatant attempt to car dealer insurance agents. Close em up, shut em down, cut them out, period. It is ridiculous that the govt would destroy a segment of an industry to establish a clearing house which would perform the same function.

    Its not an implication, it is an economic fact of life, jobs will be destroyed. My point is that there is a right way and a wrong way. Which is why I think the timeline for reform should be 10 years to 20 years. that’s just a guess, but it seems right.

    Now for a question to you ottvbvs, what are your favorite liberal blogs you participate on?

  • sinz54

    ottovbvs: When I got seriously ill, I did not have adequate insurance. I had a high-deductible policy. I had figured that was a good deal, since according to my healthy lifestyle and actuarial tables, I was supposed to live healthy till I’m 78 at least.

    But I was unlucky–I fell ill, cause still unknown. And all of a sudden, I was facing huge medical bills caused by those high-deductibles.

    Fortunately, thanks to RomneyCare in Massachusetts where I live, I was able to switch to a low-deductible policy offered by Blue Cross–they were not able to reject my application despite my serious pre-existing condition. (I could even switch to a zero-deductible policy if I wished to pay the significantly higher premiums.)

    If my income had been lower, I could also have qualified for CommonwealthCare, the Massachusetts public plan. Unlike ObamaCare’s public option, CommonwealthCare is not for everybody–it’s income tested, so only the unemployed and poor qualify for it. Hence it does the job of insuring the uninsured, while never being a stealth roadmap to single-payer, as liberals are smugly assuring themselves ObamaCare will be.

    I was a big fan of RomneyCare before I fell ill. And now that I am ill and I have seen in person how it works, I’m even more of a fan of it.

    Those who are calling it a “disaster” are, I suspect, more ideologically motivated than knowledgeable.

  • sinz54

    One more thing. CommonwealthCare, the Massachusetts public plan, was structured so it has the “look and feel” of any good private plan. There’s probably less bureaucracy associated with it than with some big private insurers. And it even offers a 24×7 nurse telephone helpline for its members, even weekends, night or day (how many private insurers offer that?).

  • Chekote

    Eventually, I think doctors and patients will deal directly and cut out insurance except for catastrophic coverage.

  • ottovbvs

    liv&win // Jul 22, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    ……..I note you don’t answer my question about about your status apart from an oblique reference to the insurance brokerage industry which I take to mean you’re a broker……nothing wrong with that so why be so reticent………And scepticism is my middle name let me assure you……. the analogy with the car industry is on the face of it ridiculous (I used to manage a group of companies that included auto parts manufacturing and construction equipment so I know a lot about the auto industry) because the Detroit three had massive over capacity in distribution and everyone has known it for years but they couldn’t shoot these guys because they were protected by state franchise laws……but to be honest I’ve no idea whether there’s over capacity in insurance brokerages/agencies……..I do however see exactly where you’re coming from……..They make a lot of money in the health insurance industry (I know ok) and while all this scaremongering about the private insurers going out of business is bs there’s no question that in the long term a public option is going to squeeze their margins and probably stress their marketing systems……..but this is going to take years to unfold anyway and will provide everyone plenty of time to adjust (it’s one of the reasons I’m against single payer btw)…….the same is true in the delivery side of the business which we both clearly understand is where the real cost savings are to be had……the bottom line is it will probably take 10 years or more for this all to work itself out anyway which is your timetable!

    “Now for a question to you ottvbvs, what are your favorite liberal blogs you participate on?”

    …………The only blogs I visit with regularity are this one, RCP, the Atlantic, the American conservative, and several financial ones by people like Barry Ritholz and Nouriel Roubini but I occasionally look at all sorts from Kos to the Corner(Manzi is good) to some about the Hapsburg monarchy.

  • ottovbvs

    sinz54 // Jul 22, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    ………Thanks for the honesty about your situ…..thank god apart from having some awful bone disease when I was a teenager I’ve basically been as fit as a flea all my life……

    “I was a big fan of RomneyCare before I fell ill. And now that I am ill and I have seen in person how it works, I’m even more of a fan of it.”

    ……….So why the animosity to what will essentially be Romneycare writ large……and isn’t it a commentary on the state of todays GOP that Romney doesn’t want his name associated whti his greateest achievement

  • ottovbvs

    Chekote // Jul 22, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    “Eventually, I think doctors and patients will deal directly and cut out insurance except for catastrophic coverage.”

    ………I can see you know a lot about this subject

  • Chekote

    Otto

    The regular checkups are not that expensive.

  • liv&win

    sinz54 // Jul 22, 2009 at 7:12 pm
    And it even offers a 24×7 nurse telephone helpline for its members, even weekends, night or day (how many private insurers offer that?).

    Allow me to answer…kaiser, blue shield, cigna, healthnet, pacificare, unitedhealth care, blue cross and probably many others have been offering nurse-line 24/7 for many years.

    There are literally dozens of other value-added programs they have developed. The first cool one I became aware of was 15 years ago, called centers of excellence. The insurance plans I worked with identified several major illnesses and hospitals/clinic which not only specialized in those, but excelled. The plans paid for air ambulance transportation to these specialty hospitals, no additional cost. They even paid for room/board for a family member.

    There is very little which hasn’t been innovated and applied somewhere.

  • liv&win

    Chekote // Jul 22, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Eventually, I think doctors and patients will deal directly and cut out insurance except for catastrophic coverage

    At least for primary care. Specialty care and associated lab work is very expensive.

  • liv&win

    Chekote // Jul 22, 2009 at 6:49 pm Most people are self centered and really don’t care whether 47 million are uninsured

    There are several studies which shed an interesting light on the uninsured. Who are they really? 8-10 million are illegal immigrants (or if you prefer aliens). It includes people who are without coverage for less than 30 days. It also includes a large number of 18-34 year olds (mostly men I suppose). When you get to the kernal, 8-10 million are being screwed by insurance laws and government regulation…can’t get insurance even if they could afford it and don’t qualify for government programs.

    You want health insurance reform, it can be done today, snap, just like that. It is not complicated. It has already been done in some places in USA like Hawaii and California. That should be done NOW. Then let’s work on the hard part, health care reform.

  • liv&win

    ottovbvs // Jul 22, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    liv&win // Jul 22, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    ……..I note you don’t answer my question

    The reason I don’t answer your question is that you are prone to ad hominem attacks, which as you may recall are one of the many logical fallacies.

  • ottovbvs

    liv&win // Jul 23, 2009 at 1:32 am
    “The reason I don’t answer your question is that you are prone to ad hominem attacks, which as you may recall are one of the many logical fallacies.”

    ………..Really, is this the best you can do……I tried to give you a detailed and honest answer to your various points……. I’ll take the refusal to give a straight answer as a confirmation you are in the industry

  • ottovbvs

    Chekote // Jul 22, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    “Otto

    The regular checkups are not that expensive.”

    ………..You are ignoring a host of non catastrophic tests and conditions that are extremely expensive…..take prostate biopsies for example

  • Chekote

    Otto

    I SAID that insurance will be only to cover catastrophic events. What I meant is that for preventitive care, it is cheaper to deal directly with the doctor than to go through insurance. I pay about $400/month. I have a $3,000/year deductible. No copays except for ER. So I am paying basically out of pocket for routine/preventive care and pay premiums. That is what happening to most people. No wonder there is a lot of frustration out there.

  • barker13

    Re: Liv&win // Jul 22, 2009 at 5:19 pm –

    “We all want reasonable access to quality healthcare at an affordable price.”

    True. But as we’re both well aware, price is a function of cost-plus.

    “Further, we can all agree, or we can after some rangling, that health care is currently not affordable.”

    And yet… we DO afford it. (*SHRUG*)

    I afford it. I don’t like to pay for it, I believe I’m overpaying, but I afford it.

    Bear with me, L&W, I’m not trying to pick a fight with you – just the opposite! Here we are, two conservatives… “rangling.” (*GRIN*)

    Our health insurance (mine and my wife’s) cost us roughly the equivalent of both of our monthly car payments plus our monthly food shopping. Is it pleasant for us to pay so much? No. Do we want to pay so much? No. But we afford it… just as we afford our car payments and groceries, etc.

    HERE’S A DIFFERENCE THOUGH: As with our other expenses, we pay for our health insurance out of pocket – out of our earnings – financial compensation for work performed. Millions and millions of our fellow Americans have large chunks of their health insurance bills paid for by their employers. This non-direct-financial compensation is NOT taxed as income to the employee. The employer gets to write it off as a “business expense.” Government “makes up” the unrealized taxes in those two circumstances by increasing taxes elsewhere to make up for the “shortfall.” To add insult to injury, my wife and I get hit with both receiving no tax subsidy while paying for others’ tax subidies.

    *** Ahh… but I digress… point is, healthcare is “affordable” – even to folks like us who don’t get the subsidy union types and corporate types get.

    Are lawyers “affordable?” Legal services… are they “affordable?” Say you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time and everything goes wrong, events conspire in such a way as to enmesh you or a family member in the legal system. Imagine you have to hire a top flight criminal attorney who will end up billing you for many dozens of hours of work – perhaps more – anyone think that will be “affordable?”

    L&W. Again… I’m not trying to play word games or muddy the waters, I’m simply trying to make a point. Society affords the poor (“if you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided for you”) legal services, but you have to be really poor. What some seem to believe is that when it comes to medical care we should just assume that the entire middle class is “unable to afford” insurance or ultimately care so that (the false logic implies) society must therefore step in to “provide” – to provide not just for the poor, but for the middle class.

    My point? There’s a difference between “expensive” and “unaffordable.” My other point, the costs are the costs and there are only so many ways of lowering them. (*SHRUG*) “The devil is in the detail…” “the cure is often worse than the disease…” Pick whatever cliche you choose, but beware… there’s a reason these phrases BECAME cliches. (*SHRUG*)

    “We should also be able to recognize that health care is not health insurance. While they are interrelated, they are not the same. Health care is a service or supply provided by a health care practioner. Health insurance is a method of financing health care. It is an important distinction.”

    EXACTLY…!!! Right on the mark! Dead on!

    “Health insurance can be reformed tomorrow.”

    By King Bill or Emperor Liv&Win. (*GRIN*) By Obama and Congress… not so fast. (Protect us from evil and deliver us from our tresspasses…) (*CHUCKLE*)

    “No pre-exisiting conditions…”

    …means we’re no longer talking about “insurance.” We’re now talking entitlement. (*SHRUG*)

    Hey… I’m not against talking entitlement… I’m just saying let’s not confuse the two concepts. Let’s not pretend that if my auto insurance allowed me to keep the most bare boned of bare bones policies and ADD full collision with ALL the bells and whistles only AFTER an accident that my insurance company would be able to stay in business very long.

    (Yes, L&W, I realize that YOU know all this… I’m just laying it out for those who believe in the “free lunch” concept.) (*SMILE*)

    “…no denial of coverage…”

    Again. Fine as an entitlement to CARE, but let’s not fool ourselves… if the “coverage” we’re talking about is CARE which is GUARANTEED to cost far more than any premiums collected then we’re simply NOT talking about “insurance;” we’re talking about entitlement spending.

    “…regulated costs and spending targets…”

    Which brings us right back to “the devil is in the details.” (*SHRUG*)

    “Health Care Reform, on the other hand is a hugely complicated matter.”

    Yep! Which is what we’re trying to get across to the folks who what “change now” without necessarily thinking ahead to “what sort of change” we’ll get. (*NOD*)

    “If one were ambitious, you would realize that health care is not just doctors and hospitals, but oral and mental health, too.”

    Yep. There have been years when BESIDES paying $13K-$14K a year (out of pocket) for straight medical health insurance we were also paying THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OUT OF POCKET for dental care as needed.

    “You really couldn’t do a complete job of health care reform without tackling Workers Compensation.”

    (*THUMBS UP*) Good point! (I didn’t even consider that aspect!)

    “Pretty quick you would also need to start planning to avoid huge job losses. there are more insurance agents than auto workers, yet your plan might put the agents out of business or worse, reduce their incomes by a substantial amount. Insurance companies employee hundreds of thousands who could also be unemployed if your plan wasn’t carefully crafted.”

    (*SHRUG*) L&W is right.

    Outstanding post, L&W; simply outstanding!

    BILL

  • barker13

    Re: Chekote // Jul 22, 2009 at 6:49 pm –

    “Nothing in Obama’s bill reduces costs. Actually, it raises costs. Overnight 47 millions will be added with no overnight increase in doctors, nurses facilities.”

    (*SHRUG*) (*NOD*)

    Of course.

    (*THUMBS UP*)

    BILL

  • barker13

    Sinz54 // Jul 22, 2009 at 7:08 pm –

    Sinz. (*SIGH*) What you’re saying is that you gamed the system and won.

    Sinz. (*SIGH*) What you like is that you gambled, lost, and now “the house” has to cover your “losses” plus.

    I mean I understand the human nature of your reaction… but do you understand MY reaction…??? Do you understand why I’d like to smack the $hit out of you and rumage through your belongings taking what I want (sharing with L&W, Mid, Brutus, Franco, and Mike of course) in order to make up just a little for YOUR “theft” of MY taxes?

    BILL

  • sinz54

    barker13 sez: “I mean I understand the human nature of your reaction… but do you understand MY reaction…??? Do you understand why I’d like to smack the $hit out of you”

    Perfectly.
    And it illustrates an important point, which I’ve made before:

    A completely free market in health care (which is what you prefer) inexorably leads to Social Darwinism: The poor and the less fortunate (those who fall ill through no fault of their own, like me) are left to die. Unless, of course, they can go begging to private charities and get some handouts.

    The RomneyCare experience shows that you can design a health care system with substantial private sector involvement. It doesn’t have to devolve into single-payer.

    But if you want your society to be humane, and take care of those who fall sick through no fault of their own, the free market can’t deal with that. Because the free market assumes that

    a) transactions are the result of conscious rational choice; and
    b) the supply-demand curve intersescts at a price point that won’t bankrupt the society.

    Neither of those is true.

    I didn’t consciously choose to get kidney failure.
    And because everybody thinks THEIR life is worth a lot, the demand for health care will always max out.

  • sinz54

    barker13: One more thing.

    I made the conscious, rational choice, which is exactly what any participant in a free market should do:

    I took a high-deductible plan, recommended for the healthy; and I did everything I could to stay healthy: Normal weight, high fiber, low fat diet, normal cholesterol levels, exercised regularly.

    It didn’t work. I got sick anyway.

    And the reaction from free market purists is: “Too bad! You lost at the game of life! Not my problem!”

    Which is exactly what Ebenezer Scrooge said in the 19th century.
    We economic conservatives will never win elections again if we sound like Ebenezer Scrooge.

    I remember what Ronald Reagan promised in 1980: “We’ll move ahead, but we won’t leave anyone behind.”

    When I joined the conservative movement back then, it didn’t talk like Ebenezer Scrooge. That old model had been jettisoned. Now, in the bitterness after the 2006 and 2o08 elections, it’s back.

  • barker13

    Re: Sinz54 // Jul 22, 2009 at 7:12 pm –

    Funny thing, Sinz… I just received an issue of “National Journal” yesterday; the cover story is “Lessons of Massachusetts.”

    Allow me to provide a few excerpts…

    “…in MA, healthcare costs are about 25% higher than the U.S. average…”

    Oh, wait… there’s a “boxed” statement! Here…

    “MA has the lowest uninsured rate in the nation. Per capita costs for personal health care were higher there than in any other state in 2004, the most recent year for which data are available.”

    Hmm… more numbers…

    Government spending on Commonwealth Care was six hundred million in 2007. In 2008 it went to $1.1 billion. 2009…? Budgeted for $1.3 billion.

    So… six hundred million to $1.3 billion in two years… great… just great.

    More quotes? Sure!

    “The price of the four insurance plans offered under Commonwealth Care rose 9.4% in 2009…”

    More? Why not!

    “…more than half of the residents newly enrolled in health coverage in MA are in free or heavily subsidized plans.”

    (Nah… no “trend towards socialism” here, right…?) (*SNORT*) (Oh… sorry… we don’t use the “S” word. It’s… er… “social justice.”) (*SMIRK*)

    Oh… and get this…

    There’s a chart marked “Boston Medical Center Costs and Payments from Medicaid and Commonwealth Care.” For the year 2009: Costs – $600,000; Payments – $300,000.

    (Hmm… I think next time I go food shopping if the bill comes to $60 I’ll just hand the cashier $30 and say “close enough.”) (*SMIRK*)

    Hey… Sinz… “In the state budget for fiscal 2010, the Legislature voted to eliminate health care coverage for 30,000 LEGAL immigrants. Lawmakers are considering halting dental care for people on Medicaid.”

    (But, hey, Sinz… as long as YOU are getting YOUR “fair share” of the Peoples’ tax subsidies all is well in the World of Sinz.) (*SHRUG*)

    Oh… oh… oh…! Read this…

    “…one in five adults in 2008 was turned away from a doctor’s office or clinic because it was not accepting new patients or their type of insurance. The problem was worse for low-income people: 29% reported problems.”

    Hey… did you know that in Massachusetts “two thirds of (MA Hospital Assoc.) member hospitals say their community has two few primary care clinicians. The trouble has become severe, according to the MA Medical society. A 2008 report found 12 of the 18 physician supported specialties had critical or severe shortages?”

    (Perhaps government will simply “mandate” the creation of more doctors… say just grab a few thousand folks from the stands at Fenway during the next home game and “pronounce” them “By the Grace of Government… thou art physicians!”)

    Hey… Sinz… in MA…

    “The percentage of family-medicine physicians who no longer accept new patients rose from 25% in 2006 to 35% in 2008.”

    Furthermore…

    “Existing patients had to wait an average of 18 days for a routine doctor’s appointment or regular office visit in 2008, up from 15 days a year earlier.”

    (Oh, what a year can do…) (*SMIRK*)

    Anyway, Sinz… just a timely bit of added perspective.

    BILL

  • barker13

    Re: Chekote // Jul 22, 2009 at 7:47 pm –

    “Eventually, I think doctors and patients will deal directly and cut out insurance except for catastrophic coverage.”

    From your keyboard to God’s (Obama’s?) eyes and ears! That’s what I keep on calling for… CATASTROPHIC COVERAGE!

    Re: Chekote // Jul 23, 2009 at 9:13 am –

    “I pay about $400/month. I have a $3,000/year deductible. No copays except for ER. So I am paying basically out of pocket for routine/preventive care and pay premiums. That is what happening to most people. No wonder there is a lot of frustration out there.”

    We can’t get such a plan in New York State. (*SHRUG*)

    See, this is the problem – it’s not that there’s not ENOUGH government “regulation” and “oversight,” it’s that there’s too much! 50 states… all with their own rules and regulation… no ability for a consumer such as myself to “shop around” out of state and as we all realize, “shopping around” within a state is a joke because each insurance company is straightjacketed by state regs to basically offer only slight variations on the same basic plans.

    BILL

  • barker13

    Re: Sinz54 // Jul 23, 2009 at 10:00 am –

    “The poor and the less fortunate (those who fall ill through no fault of their own, like me)…”

    Sinz. Seriously. Doesn’t being full of shit leave a bad taste in your mouth?

    YOU WEREN’T POOR!!!

    YOU WERE A GAMBLER!!!

    YOU GAMED THE SYSTEM!!!

    As to being “unfortunate…”

    Yeah. I feel your pain and sympathize that you have kidney disease. But in terms of the health INSURANCE debate we’re having… the health CARE debate we’re engaging in… YOU WERE EXTREMELY FORTUNATE…!!!

    YOU WERE ABLE TO GAME THE SYSTEM!

    YOU WERE ABLE TO AVOID PAYING “YOUR FAIR SHARE” IN TERMS OF PREMIUMS while BEING ALLOWED TO SHARE EQUALLY IN THE BENEFITS OF THOSE WHO SUBSIDIZED THEIR OWN PLANS PLUS SUBSIDIZED YOUR GREED!!!

    My God… sorry for all the “shouting”… but this is ridiculous. You’re a frigg’n leech, Sinz.

    “But if you want your society to be humane…”

    Sinz. You confuse “humane” with a society which allows itself to be EXPLOITED by people like you. You confuse “humane” for you gaming the system and the rest of us paying the freight.

    Now I don’t know if anyone else will have the balls to call it like it is… but your self-serving actual personal history in contrast with your high minded talk makes me gag.

    BILL

  • barker13

    Re: Sinz54 // Jul 23, 2009 at 10:07 am –

    Sinz. You’re delusional. I just don’t know what else to tell you.

    (*SHRUG*)

    BILL

  • Washington Planner » Thursday Required Reading

    [...] *except for the biggest supporters of health care reform. [...]

  • sinz54

    barker13: We’re all “gamblers,” at the Game of Life.

    Many of us try our best to live a long, healthy life, and we try our best to do the same for our children. But stuff happens. It could happen to you someday.

    And I did *NOT* “game the system,” as you call it.

    In Massachusetts, insurance companies, who own the casino and try to maximize the house take, agreed to accept guaranteed issue–accept anyone regardless of pre-existing condition. They did that in exchange for the Commonwealth mandating universal coverage. With millions more young healthy policyholders, the insurance companies come out ahead despite policyholders like me.

    That is the “system”: In Massachusetts, all the healthy people pay the claims of all the sick people. And there’s no revolt against this, because most folks in Massachusetts recognize that stuff happens, and “there but for the grace of God go I.” That’s a sensible ethical policy for any society. Not “To hell with losers.”

    I made a mistake by purchasing a high-deductible plan. Should I be sentenced to death by kidney failure for that mistake?

  • barker13

    Re: Sinz54 // Jul 23, 2009 at 12:46 pm –

    “barker13: We’re all “gamblers,” at the Game of Life.”

    Sinz… (*SNORT*)

    ‘Nuf said.

    “And I did *NOT* “game the system,” as you call it.”

    (*ROLLING MY EYES*)

    Keep telling yourself that.

    “I made a mistake by purchasing a high-deductible plan. Should I be sentenced to death by kidney failure for that mistake?”

    No… you should be sentenced to death for that “game of life” crack.

    (*SNORT*)

    BILL

  • Spartacus

    barker13 // Jul 23, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Down, boy, down!!! Who let the barking dogs out this morning?

  • barker13

    Re: Spartacus // Jul 23, 2009 at 4:31 pm ==

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He82NBjJqf8

    (*WINK*)

    BILL

  • Spartacus

    barker13 // Jul 23, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Very funny. I would not have expected that from a conservative. Although, you’re more of a libertarian so that makes more sense.