Patterico's Pontifications

6/11/2009

Obamacare: Docs vs. Dems

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:53 am



[Posted by Karl]

Pres. Obama is going to Chicago next week to address the American Medical Association on his planned government takeover of the US healthcare system, but the AMA has just announced it will oppose creation of a government-sponsored insurance plan:

[I]n comments submitted to the Senate Finance Committee, the American Medical Association said: “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.”

While not the political behemoth it once was, the association probably has more influence than any other group in the health care industry. Lawmakers seek its opinion and support whenever possible…

***

The group has historically had a strong lobbying operation, supplemented by generous campaign donations.

But the opposition of the AMA — and doctors generally — is a major obstacle to Democrats’ plans for a much more basic reason.

Doctors have patients. Those patients generally have a relationship of trust with their doctors. You know who patients do not trust? Politicians.

People generally tend to think that doctors are honest and ethical and that Congressmen are not. This split can even be seen on the issue of the Comparative Effectiveness Research that Democrats see as the first step in rationing healthcare in a government-dominated system:

A majority of Americans — 55 percent — told pollsters recently they would trust an independent board of scientists to evaluate competing medical treatments and to recommend which ones should be covered by insurers.

That may seem like good news for Congress, which just allocated $1.1 billion for research into the relative effectiveness of various medicines and medical devices. But the same poll, conducted in March by the Kaiser Family Foundation, National Public Radio, and Harvard University, also reveals only 41 percent of Americans would trust the scientists on the panel if they were “appointed by the federal government.”

And that is before people find out what government-run CER would mean for patients seeking cancer treatments, virtual colonoscopies, and so on.

Persuasion requires credibility. Doctors have it; Congressmen don’t. If doctors say a government-run plan would ultimately restrict patient choice and explode costs, people are likely to believe them. That is one of the reasons why Obama is feeling the need to take his medicine show on the road. However, with his approval ratings turning negative on budget and spending issues, it is far from clear that Obama can beat back America’s doctors.

–Karl

97 Responses to “Obamacare: Docs vs. Dems”

  1. Listen to the podcast from Tuesday of Mike Allen of Politico on with Hugh Hewitt talking about the coming battle over health care.

    Allen says that the Admin. for the first time is really beginning to become concerned with the prospect of passing a health care reform bill. The biggest obstacle as they see it is too many players in Congress with leverage over the final product all having differing ideas about how to go about it. The GOP and insurance industry are going to be able to play “divide and conquer” because there is a significant portion of the moderate dems who do not want health care reform to be a vehicle for crippling private insurance and an intermediate step to their overall goal of single payor — and any public option will be just that, as pointed out here by Karl.

    Too many moving parts — Mary Landrieu said yesterday she will not vote in favor of a public option. I suspect they never get Ben Nelson from Nebraska either.

    Congress is too big and works too slow to make this play work. It’ll be shoved through the House in a form that will never survive in the Senate, where it will die a slow procedural death.

    Replay of 1993 all over again.

    WLS Shipwrecked (53653f)

  2. Karl, patients don’t trust their doctors after they’ve dealt with the results and seen the bill.

    What are you belly-aching about anyway? The AMA and the insurance companies OWN Congress and the White House.

    Oh I get it. Even so much as contemplating a change in the staus quo is Socialism.

    David Ehrnstein (2550d9)

  3. We can only hope that it does not become legislation. Given the current climate, and Obama’s ability to take over (at least portions of) banking, automobile manufacturing, etc. – and appoint so many new czars (pay czar, gotta love that); I’m not sure it won’t go through (in some form). All Obama wants is his foot in the door. Any new program to ‘spread the wealth’.
    I think we have about 12-15 months before the @#$% hits the fan.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  4. Pres. Obama is going to Chicago next week to address the American Medical Association on his planned government takeover of the US healthcare system…

    Pres. Obama has shown how slick he is with backhand demonizations of persons who oppose, or he thinks might oppose, his sweepingly ambitious programs. Now that the AMA has shown its hand regarding the One Size Fits All health plan, it will be worth our time to scrutinize his address to the doctors to weigh the difference between attempts to convince, vs attempts to intimidate, the good doctors.

    NB – we may hope that, unlike good ol’ Uncle Joe, Obama stops at the point of demonization. One wonders what would come next – particularly when the demonizer claims some kind of moral rectitude.

    Insufficiently Sensitive (a939d1)

  5. Obama’s thisclose to becoming a modern – day Elmer Gantry, traveling around to give circus revivals primarily to sympathetic and cult – like audiences, all in order to preach a false gospel from a false prophet. Pride goeth before a fall, but this man’s arrogance exceedes even Nixon’s regarding his absolute certitude and moral rectitude. He’s going to fall hard, and soon – the results won’t be pretty, he’ll increase his extreme demogoguery to all those who oppose him.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  6. I’m in the health care field and have seen it from the standpoint of a private practitioner dealing with insurance companies and all the headache that produces as well as with the different but still headache producing problems with CHIPS and Medicaid.

    When the government takes control, what happened with Medicare will happen with government run health care. Costs will explode, care will decrease and docs/nurses/clerks miles away from the patient and just make dumbassed decisions based on cost containment will rule the day.

    If you think insurance problems now are a headache, just wait till Uncle Sam is in control. Been there, done that, am out of that part of health care for good. My own sanity is too precious if you know what I mean.

    GM Roper (85dcd7)

  7. I thought this bill was going to be named after Ted Kennedy. I was kind of hoping it would be, if that might decrease its chance of success.

    I know this is anecdotal, but here in Ann Arbor I meet far more people who think that Nationalized Health Care is a great idea. No, let me restate that. I meet a lot of them – I see a LOT of bumper stickers to that effect and I’ve never seen a bumper sticker against single payer.

    How about this one? “Keep your laws off my body!”

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  8. Aargh! I post my comment, and then I don’t see it for a half hour or more!

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  9. Meet the person who will be handling all your health care needs:

    http://bit.ly/6yThN

    evilned (638e4b)

  10. #1-This is the same Hugh Hewitt who said Americans should boycott purchasing Chrysler and GM cars because Americans have invested in a piece of the action. I suppose he plans a boycott postage stamps, too. No doubt he never watches PBS either.

    The Banned in Boston & Pattericoville DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  11. Obamacare: Docs vs. Dems <– You mean Docs, or rather the AMA, versus Americans. The AMA is just echoing the position of the insurance industry. Little wonder they’d oppose (or fear) competition from an alternative, such as a single payer system. A good capitalist conservative will surely keep their more costly private sector insurance coverage and never opt out for a less expensive government plan.

    The Banned in Boston & Pattericoville DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  12. Methinks that ASPCA’s idea of competition is a bit skewed.

    JD (eee3ad)

  13. I am a practicing physician of 30 years experience. Laymen won’t quite understand the significance of the AMA’s opposition to the public insurance option. This is the first time I can recall the AMA taking a position AGAINST something proposed by the government czars that would hurt physicians and patients. Time after time – recall specifically the AMA cheerleading for Hillarycare – the Association has sucked up to Washington. Which is why only a minority of American physicians belong to the AMA. Simply put, the majority of us feel it is stupid to pay dues (over $1,000 annually) to an organization that acts contrary to the interests of its members (this refers to the national organization, not the state chapters, which are more in tune with membership).

    Jeffrey Hull (e1dd4f)

  14. Actually, Hugh was the token conservative on the L.A. PBS TV outlet for several years.

    AD - RtR/OS! (15fd5c)

  15. This is the same Hugh Hewitt who said Americans should boycott purchasing Chrysler and GM cars because Americans have invested in a piece of the action

    Actually, I kind of agree with him. I don’t think it will be an issue, though, because the Obamamobile will not sell many even to Democrats. Right now, I have a Toyota, a VW, and a Ford F 150 truck. My middle daughter has a Honda and I just gave them my Nissan truck. My wife drives a Tahoe which she is very happy with but that will be the last SUV that Gummint Motors ever makes.

    The AMA has been sucking up to the feds since the 80s when they stabbed the surgeons in the back with the RBRVS fee schedule for Medicare. I resigned as a delegate after that and did not renew my membership.

    Now, I really think they see disaster ahead and may get enough guts to defy The One. Interestingly enough, the Medicare Part D legislation, which I was completely opposed to, has turned out to be far less expensive than anticipated and may offer a Republican alternative to rally around.

    I don’t think this is a done deal. I have been posting links on my blog to analysis of the bill as the details leak out.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  16. #14- Actually, Hugh was the token conservative on the L.A. PBS TV outlet for several years.

    Then Hewitt is most definitely a hypocrite.

    The Banned in Boston & Pattericoville DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  17. Banned,

    A good capitalist conservative will surely keep their more costly private sector insurance coverage and never opt out for a less expensive government plan.

    Class assignment: name me one program–one–government program or initiative that has truly been “less expensive.” One.

    Incidentally, when I was in the Air Force in the 1990’s, I was a “guest” of the Italian government health care system after suffering an eye injury. Try spending 10 days flat on your back, in a communal room with 10 other belching, farting, groaning, and snoring Italians as your “entertainment” (there was no TV, radio, or other music unless your family brought it in). Furthermore, try eating gooey pasta and unripened fruit three times a day for 10 straight days, while trying to avoid stepping on cigarette butts in the hallways on the rare occasions you’re actually allowed to get out of bed to limp around. Lastly, try calling for a nurse’s assistance: ooops, sorry, you won’t get any because they’re all “too busy” to help you.

    Yeah, Banned, government medicine is the bee’s knees…until you actually get to experience it.

    MarkJ (42fe5b)

  18. #13- Laymen? A little elitist, aren’t you, Doc? I still remember when MDs made house calls for $30 as late as 1972. Do you still make any?

    You don’t get it. The insured laymen gets your bill which you know is paid for by insurance companies. The AMA these days is a lapdog for the insurance industry. A special interest group that sees a cash cow threatened. A little healthy competition from a government health care system for private insurance will drive costs down or they’ll go out of business. Nothing wrong with that kind of competition. The post office competes with UPS and FedEx. You have a choice. Why conservatives suddenly fear choice is quite perplexing.

    And a ‘government czar’ running healthcare?? Like the Surgeon General? Center for Disease Control, etc.,?? Good grief, will the endless scare tactics from conservatives ever cease.

    The Banned in Boston & Pattericoville DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  19. It still just pukes out the same sh*t, over and over and over and over and over. It is like a Tourrette’s of idiocy.

    JD (b527d1)

  20. The idea the conservatives fear choice is a lie, and you are a liar.

    JD (b527d1)

  21. BTW, it takes a real special kind of cowardly pathetic man to take the cheap shots you did at DRJ, and not apologize in the same manner.

    JD (b527d1)

  22. I still remember when MDs made house calls for $30 as late as 1972. Do you still make any?

    Twerp, there happens to be an association called American Academy of Home Care Physicians. I’m a member. There is a lot you don’t know, twerp, and I would suggest spending some time reading what others who know what they are talking about write. Except that pie hole of yours seems to have chronic diarrhea.

    You don’t get it. The insured laymen gets your bill which you know is paid for by insurance companies. The AMA these days is a lapdog for the insurance industry. A special interest group that sees a cash cow threatened.

    No, twerp, you don’t get it. We are trying to avoid disaster with a bunch of impractical utopians running the government temporarily. There are ways to reform healthcare, just as there are ways to get out of recessions, without destroying the economy.

    For the twerp’s information, one reason why doctors make fewer house calls than they used to is that insurance, following the Medicare lead, pays a doctor less for a house call than it pays a nurse. Many years ago, the LA County hospital had a program called “Home Care” which paid residents to make house calls on patients who were disabled and had difficulty getting to the clinic. Those were the days when the county hospital was crowded. Lots of us took care of patients at home. County patients. We even had patients at home in traction for femur fractures. Then came 1965 and Medicaid stopped paying county hospitals.

    That is a whole different subject but we once had an excellent system of care for the poor. Medicare and Medicaid destroyed it and what was left was destroyed by illegal aliens.

    Then there are little twerps who read left wing talking ponts and think they know something. When they ge too annoying, we call them trolls.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  23. DCSDA — once again, take some reading comprehension lessons.

    1) It was Mike Allen of Politico, on the Hewitt show, who said the Admin. is beginning to express concerns internally about Congressional action.

    2) Hewitt is not advocating a boycott — he’s simply said he will not buy another GM product while the Gov’t is a shareholder, because of the unfair playing field the government’s action has created vis-a-vis Ford, among others, by giving GM access to Treasury financing in order to save UAW contract wages and benefits.

    Not only that, in wiping out GM bondholders’ value by overriding their entitlement to preferred creditor status in bankruptcy, pension funds of union workers and others like the Indiana teachers and CALPERS were made to suffer losses in their porfolios in order to payoff Dem. party constituencies — the UAW.

    All to avoid the devastation of 38,000 jobs — about 5% of the number of total jobs lost nationwide in May alone.

    Shipwreckedcrew (e73ed2)

  24. I see DCSCA’s comments remain as incoherent and full of misrepresentations as ever.

    I’m perennially amused at how vehement people like DCSCA are in their opinions – usually matched by how ignorant they are in the topics they opine upon.

    SPQR (72771e)

  25. For those that weren’t around – ‘ignore’ is the only solution, since this blog doesn’t let you hide / screen comments. Just let it go.

    carlitos (7d2345)

  26. Meanwhile, the Canadian system that all the single-payer advocates claim is so great, has a three year long waiting list for a *ahem* particular procedure because hospitals won’t buy a particular piece of needed equipment for the procedure.

    Three years.

    SPQR (72771e)

  27. #17- Class assignment: name me one program–one–government program or initiative that has truly been “less expensive.” One. Do some homework yourself. The most obvious is the United States Postal Service, of course. Worked swell until it was partially privatized. Of course, you can choose to use other services, can’t you. UPS, FedEx. More choice is a conservative mainstay. What’s to fear? Nothing, of course.

    Incidentally, when I was in the Air Force in the 1990’s, I was a “guest” of the Italian government health care system after suffering an eye injury. So you had the luxury of GOVERNMENT healthcare coverage from both the United States Military and Italy. And still complaining more about the creature comforts denied you than the caliber of healthcare you accessed. Having resided in the UK for years I found their healthcare system effective and affordable. If you found your experience in Italy unappealing, try visiting an ER in Los Angeles for comparison.

    The Banned in Boston & Pattericoville DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  28. #22- ‘Twerp’? Better check that bedside manner, Doc. Could drive paying customers to another MD with lower fees and a penchant to heal the sick, not bilk them for bucks. Again, you seem to fear a government health care plan as an option to compete with private sector insurance plans. Why? Choice is good. I’s like to beleive a doctor would welcome the opportunity for those who cannot access healthcare at the current costs to get treatment at affordables rates. Should be second nature to a true healer. Perhaps you’re more of a heel, more concerned about profit than medicine. Not a good sign, Doc. This is why Americans want another alternative, like single payer. A smart doctor could turn that to their advantages. Might miss a few tee times, though.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  29. #26- The National Review is hardly an honest source on the status of Canadian healthcare. Besides, even when a government single-payer plan is instituted in the United States, you can keep your more expensive private health insurance plan and get in a faster moving line for care. You’ll pay more, but then that’s your choice. The fear of a single payer system by cinservatives that offers more choice is irrational. Unless, of course, you consider profit first, and providing care second.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  30. . Again, you seem to fear a government health care plan as an option to compete with private sector insurance plans. Why?

    Because the Government can apparently run trillions of dollars into the Red, while any private company would dissolve under the same accounting. Private companies won’t be able to compete for long with Uncle Sam playing with a “bottomless” checkbook.

    Note: forget the USPS, what about AmTrak?

    Techie (482700)

  31. DCRAP is a liar and a coward. Period. Full stop. Poon and antibody are just liars.

    JD (3ee996)

  32. Oh, c’mon, JD. The guy just apologized—sort of—to DRJ, and got unbanned. He is just seeing what fights he can pick to get rebanned in record time.

    He can’t help himself. He has to amp up the insults and the oft-repeated memes. Maybe he will be different this time? So far, not so much.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  33. Actually Mike K. has your number DCSCA and well. All you have are insults because you can’t be bothered to actually learn anything factual about an issue.

    SPQR (72771e)

  34. Doctors have finally woken up.

    Obamacare’s ‘public option’ health insurance is designed to undercut every private insurance carrier, steal their policyholders with artificially low premiums, and thereby drive them out of business…leaving only Obamacare.

    Once the ‘public option’ is the only option, Obama will raise premiums through the roof through ‘means-testing’, empower faceless and unaccountable civil servants to ration care according to draconian bureaucratic rulings, readily sentencing patients to death in the process, force drug companies to lower prices even if research funds must be slashed, and enslave doctors by dictating, a la AIG, GM and Chrysler, what they will be allowed to earn.

    If there is a such thing as tyranny, its name is nationalized health care.

    Tailgunner (1637f3)

  35. DSCPCA, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Doc K has been on board for a universal health plan for a long time. Read his blog. But he knows enough to discern the disaster headed this way.

    It’s called critical thinking; you can do that when you actually know a lot about the subject.

    cassandra (5a5d33)

  36. If anybody wanted to discuss health reform with me, they might find out that I am in favor of major reform along the lines of the French system and I have an extensive analysis of that system on my blog.

    What we have infesting Patrick’s blog is a troll that spouts leftist talking points generated by people who know even less then he/she/it does, if possible. All this hostility seems to be coming from experience in the real world. Anonymous trolls get a feeling of power by challenging people who they perceive are more intelligent or more powerful than their pitiful little persons. It’s a reason why left wing blog commenters are so free with obscenity. It makes them feel powerful, as opposed to the real Walter Mitty sitting at that keyboard.

    If I remember correctly, this troll has a real Walter Mitty complex with all sorts of unlikely claims of power and influence.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  37. Notice that once again, DCSCA in his utter incompetence links to an article that actually refutes what he claims it supports.

    Utter incompetence.

    From DCSCA’s link to the Detroit News: “The popular, controversial Limbaugh didn’t outright call for a boycott, but said he understood why people would want to avoid GM vehicles. “They don’t want to patronize Obama. They don’t want to do anything to make Obama’s policies work.””

    SPQR (72771e)

  38. Once again comments are not showing up for a long time.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  39. For those not aware of Dggcrapp’s many claims in the past, here’s a helpful reminder of his truly “Zelig” – like career:

    – claims to have met Von Braun in his underwear in the hallway of his college dorm – lengthy discussion of Apollo program was also apparently conducted;

    – claims to have also worked on rocket fusion technology at NASA;

    – claims to have also worked at Enron, which apparently means he actually shuttled between the NASA and Enron headquarters at the same time;

    – claims to have served in CIA hit squads in Latin America;

    – claims to have also served in super – secret, decoder – ring/James Bond/SPECTOR – like assasination plots, all of whom (of course) were successful.

    I’m not making any of this up – you can easily check the archives for more amazing exploits of this fraudulent, mouth – breathing fabulist.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  40. The fear of a single payer system by cinservatives that offers more choice is irrational. Unless, of course, you consider profit first, and providing care second.

    The fear is well founded and based on knowledge whereasyour position is based on ignorance.

    The socialists will do it in two stages as they did it in Canada. The private insurers and the very purchase of health care outside the mediocre queue will be outlawed, as it was in Canada.

    Terry Gain (6b2a64)

  41. Could someone explain why that POS DCSCA is no longer banned?

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  42. Apparently, Dggcrpp made the appropriate so – called non – apology “apology.”

    Dmac (f7884d)

  43. Dmac, we should call that kind of thing a “Letterman.”

    Eric Blair (5a226d)

  44. Works for me, Eric.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  45. Sorry, but making a non – apology “apology”, and then continuing the same behavior that caused the banning in the first place, is anything but appropriate.

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  46. When did the USPS’ costs go down as a result of competition from Fedex and UPS as ASPCA claims? What am I missing? Haven’t postal rates just continued to climb rather than decrease? WTF is he talking about?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  47. #31- Because the Government can apparently run trillions of dollars into the Red, while any private company would dissolve under the same accounting. Oh really? suggest you take that up with Wall Street, the banks, AIG, and of late, Chrysler and GM. The Bush Adminstration killed that idea last autumn when Reaganomics finally seized up and dropped dead.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  48. #38- Spork, you buried the lead again.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  49. #42- Ask a civil question and you’ll get a civil answer. Otherwise, “Hello boyzzzzzzz, I’m baaaaack!” – Randy Quaid “Independence Day’

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  50. #47- Ahem, please read that it was before ‘privatization’ was forced upon the postal service. Now it’s forced to be profitable. That would have been quite a surprise to Ben Franklin.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  51. OMG. It is like a robot with a weird form of Tourrette’s. It just blurts out the same things over and over and over and over and over and over … And, it is a liar and a coward.

    JD (cfbd15)

  52. #47- Ahem, please read that it was before ‘privatization’ was forced upon the postal service.

    What privatization?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  53. No, it is a Libturd!

    AD - RtR/OS! (15fd5c)

  54. #38- Spork, what is it about the header “Right-wing-radio-hosts-back-GM-boycott” you don’t comprehend; right wing radio hosts or boycott?

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  55. ASPCA – What privatization of the USPS are you talking about? Are you drunk again? San you elaborate on your claims of how competition with Fedex and UPS cut its costs? This is important for your claims on health care. Don’t run and hide on this point now.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  56. #36- Obamacare’s ‘public option’ health insurance is designed to undercut every private insurance carrier, steal their policyholders with artificially low premiums, and thereby drive them out of business…leaving only Obamacare. Really? Is the private sector insurance industry that weak in the United States? If so, perhaps it should be allowed to fail.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  57. It does not even try to be coherent. I am still waiting to hear about the efficient, low cost, and profitable government programs.

    JD (cfbd15)

  58. “Really? Is the private sector insurance industry that weak in the United States? If so, perhaps it should be allowed to fail.”

    ASPCA – If you have a competitor with unlimited deep pockets called the government willing to write or subsidize the business at a loss unril your competition goes out of business, it is not really a question of the weakness of the insurance business, is it? Try making a real argument and we can have a conversation.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  59. DCSCA – I want to hear more about the fabulous Postal Service cost cuts and its privatization.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  60. Again, what about AmTrak?

    Techie (482700)

  61. #21- Then you will welcome a single payer public healthcare system to compete with the private sector. Just as the postal service, albeit a partly privatized postal service, competes with the likes or UPS and FedEx. Indeed, the postal service has contracts with FedEx to move Express Mail to key cities via FedEx.

    #53- Repetition is how we teach conservatives and disobedient pets. You know, the way Rush and Newt want to try to ‘teach’ the majority of Americans.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  62. #62- And there is no competition to Amtrak?

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  63. “Indeed, the postal service has contracts with FedEx to move Express Mail to key cities via FedEx.”

    Why do you think that is DCSCA? Couldn’t they get their own costs down to match Fedex and offer the same service at the same price and breakeven?

    What do you mean by the term partially privatized?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  64. #54- I’ll allow you’re probably not aware of when the partial privatization of the postal service occurred. Nice to be young.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  65. DCSCA – Why are you afraid to answer questions? I’ll allow you’re afraid to be proved an idiot.

    I’ll ask again – What partial privatization? Many of us here are older than you think, pops.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  66. #65- Postal service rates are competitive- if not less- than with FedEx. You have a choice. A government postal system or a private postal system. And of course, if the postal service was completely privatized, or turned over to FedEx to run, it would serve the stock holders, not the people of the United States. Post offices in, say, Crawford, Texas or Kennebunkport, Maine might be closed and force patrons to drive to Austin or Bangor. The point is to have choices. And a government postal system, or health care system offers Americans more choices. Why conservatives fear that is perplexing. If they truly believe in private enterprise, the private sector health care will easily compete with a public system with competitive costs and services.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  67. #67- Pops? No need for that.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  68. You would have a better chance at getting Oliver Willis to step away from an extra large pizza than you would have in getting ASPCA to have an honest discussion. It’s Tourrette’s just kicked our Rush and Newt, randomly. I wonder which profession it will claim this time. CBS exec was one of my favorite.

    JD (c70964)

  69. #60- ASPCA? No need for that. I’m being civil to you. Try it. I’m curious where you concluded the government has ‘unlimited deep pockets’ given the red ink run up since 1970 by the Federal government. It is a matter of weakness of the private insurance industry. Clearly FedEx and UPS compete with the postal service. DHL could not make it against in the U.S. and failed. So was it the postal service or FedEx and UPS that drove it under. FedEx and the postal service share some facilities and services under contract. They compete but share an objective. A public health care system could do the same with a private insurance system as well. The system as it is now cannot continue to function. The circle of people accessing affordable health care is shrinking, not expanding.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  70. #70- Jealous.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  71. Jealous of you? You must be kidding. I pity you.

    JD (c70964)

  72. Who would be jealous of an aggressive and proven liar?

    JD (c70964)

  73. The socialists will do it in two stages as they did it in Canada. The private insurers and the very purchase of health care outside the mediocre queue will be outlawed, as it was in Canada.

    Comment by Terry Gain — 6/11/2009 @ 5:32 pm

    I think that this is an important point that we are missing. Even in the UK, private insurance and medical care are not banned.

    carlitos (7d2345)

  74. This is the first time I can recall the AMA taking a position AGAINST something proposed by the government czars that would hurt physicians and patients. Time after time – recall specifically the AMA cheerleading for Hillarycare – the Association has sucked up to Washington. Comment by Jeffrey Hull — 6/11/2009 @ 11:37 am

    That’s an interesting turn of events, even more so since they appear to have a history of being caught up in a rather liberal mindset.

    I wonder why they perceive Obamacare as necessarily worse than Hillarycare? Perhaps they’re worried that America is now posed to become too dysfunctional — too Banana Republic-ized — even for their own liking? Maybe because they’ve seen what has been going on in most of the emergency rooms of LA hospitals? A fear of getting stuck in a quagmire that ends up being a larger version of, say, the King-Drew Medical Center?

    Mark (411533)

  75. “So was it the postal service or FedEx and UPS that drove it under.”

    DCSCA – You began the insults first, so do not point fingers.

    DHL’s own business plans were the reason for it’s failure and you also forgot about Airborne.

    You have now abandoned your original point about competition from Fedex and UPS resulting in the USPS lowering its cost. I can only assume that is because you cannot defend it and have to shift the goal posts to a different argument about how choice is a good thing. That may well be, but I have to conclude that you lost the original argument by default since you have been unable to defend it, back it up, or even cite history for some of your statements about privatization.

    If you want to talk about the insurance industry, something about which you appear profoundly ignorant, I am happy to oblige as long as you provide links for your statements as opposed to completely unsupported bloviations about your theories about the industry.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  76. #75- It will never be banned in the United States, either. But a public health care option will spur competition in costs and services provided. Conservatives should be happy with that potential win/win situation. Success will be welcomed by all. And if it fails, it will be privatized or sold off to the private providers. Penske is getting Saturn at a bargain though the GM/gov’t bankruptcy.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  77. “The circle of people accessing affordable health care is shrinking, not expanding.”

    Insurance is different than health care. Please try to understand the fundamental difference before embarrassing yourself further.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  78. #79- I’ve tried to be civil. You have not. Go learn about your postal service.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  79. “Conservatives should be happy with that potential win/win situation.”

    DCSCA – Liberals are mostly concerned with cost shifting. As long as they don’t have to pay for the bulk of their own health care or health insurance, they will be happy.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  80. #77- You’re wrong and not civil. When national healthcare is in place at a lower cost than your private provider, you will be first in line.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  81. “Go learn about your postal service.”

    Shorter DCSCA – I brought it up, but I really had nothing.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  82. #81- Liberals are mostly concerned with cost shifting. As long as they don’t have to pay for the bulk of their own health care or health insurance, they will be happy. Conservative nonsense. When a Republican senator dumps their government health care for life and pays for their own, let Americans know. Didnt see Barbara Bush pay for her heart surgery through a private provider either. Taxpayers picked up that tab as well.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  83. “When national healthcare is in place at a lower cost than your private provider, you will be first in line.”

    DCSCA – Now you get it. When the government prices the product at a loss, the private insurance industry has a choice of following them and bankrupting themselves that way (except insurance companies don’t go bankrupt technically)or they can exit the health insurance market. As a rational business executive which choice would you make?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  84. “Conservative nonsense.”

    Bullshit. Tell me who is going to pay for Obama care. If it is not cost shifting, why does it cost anything instead of just consisting of a set of administrative rules? Why are people going to receive subsidies for participating?

    You know nothing.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  85. #85- When the government prices the product at a loss. A loss? Such negativity. To be expected from The Party Of No. You havent learned about your postal service, have you.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  86. “You havent learned about your postal service, have you.”

    Not from you, DCSCA, but I learned plenty from one of our former Postmaster Generals and he would say that you are completely full of shit up to your eyeballs, by the way.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  87. As I was reading this, the phrase “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” came to mind. Also, I envisioned the face of Obama, smiling with those big white choppers of his, floating above the place in question, like a self-appointed superman, but one full of cluelessness, shamelessness and hollow compassion and do-gooder-ness.

    Los Angeles Times, June 11:

    In an industrial zone a few blocks off the 101 Freeway, the Tarzana Treatment Center relies on government contracts and nonprofit tax status to serve drug addicts in poverty or trouble with the law. A clerk sits behind protective glass in the lobby. Down a hallway in the detox wing, down-and-out men are curled on their cots. The coat hooks in the rooms flip down so patients can’t hang themselves.

    It hardly seems like the headquarters of a $45-million-a-year business.

    Tarzana dwarfs most other nonprofits in the same line of work. By far the largest user of public funds for drug treatment in Los Angeles County, it draws 85% of its money from taxpayers.

    Its top executives have also made it a lucrative operation for themselves, with compensation and business arrangements that are highly unusual in the industry.

    Chief operating officer Albert Senella earned $428,057 in 2007, soaring above the highest paid county employee — the medical director of Harbor UCLA Medical Center, which has a budget 12 times Tarzana’s. Chief executive Scott Taylor made $330,732 working 32 hours a week.

    Taylor is also a lawyer with a long-standing contract to provide Tarzana with legal counsel. Tax filings show the deal paid him $237,956 in 2007 — on top of his salary.

    Taylor, Senella and two other board members also have ownership stakes in six properties that Tarzana leases as its headquarters and treatment sites. In 2007, the four men collected rent of more than $2.27 million.

    Although Tarzana gets more than double the public funding of its closest competitor, government payers can’t say whether its patients fare any better than those at other centers after treatment. Nationally, no one comprehensively tracks whether patients use drugs again, find work or get arrested.

    Tarzana executives said they are meeting all legal requirements. They said board members always sought the best deal for taxpayers, disclosing potential conflicts of interest in tax filings and abstaining from votes on those matters.

    Federal grants for drug treatment now total more than $2.5 billion a year. But the basic requirement has remained the same: Only nonprofits need apply. Nobody was supposed to get rich.

    Mark (411533)

  88. DCSCA, you do realize that the USPS has a statutory mononpoly on the delivery of first class and third class mail. It is ILLEGAL for FedEx, UPS or DHL to compete with the delivery of regular mail. In fact, Congress allows the USPS to decide what aspects others may compete with it in, and could potentially rescind any competitive concession at any time. There was a SCOTUS case a few years back about this, IIRC.

    Techie (482700)

  89. Techie – That is its idea of “competition”. Odd, that.

    JD (cb9226)

  90. I forgot about it’s claim to working at CBS back in the day, JD – thanks for reminding me.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  91. When national healthcare is in place at a lower cost than your private provider, you will be first in line.

    Yes, and when donkeys fly we’ll all need bigger umbrellas. Which is about as likely as your hypothetical statement.

    Steverino (69d941)

  92. #47- Ahem, please read that it was before ‘privatization’ was forced upon the postal service. Now it’s forced to be profitable.

    Profitable?! Hell, the USPS would be happy if it at least were breaking even. Moreover, the only thing it’s apparently forced to do is pay — and this fits the topic of “healthcare” — healthcare benefits to former employees.


    Associated Press, November 2008:

    The Postal Service ended its fiscal year $2.8 billion in the red, battered by a faltering economy that cut the amount of mail being sent.
    Postmaster General John Potter said the agency is making sharp cuts in hours and overtime but added there are no plans for layoffs. The mail being sent dropped by 9.5 billion items.

    By cutting back on spending the post office had a net operating income of $2.7 billion in 2008, but still ended up in the red because of the requirement for a $5.6 billion payment to a health benefit fund for retirees.

    Even so, the $2.8 billion loss was well short of last year’s $5.1 billion postal deficit.

    Potter welcomed recent reductions in the cost of fuel—a major expense for the post office—and said his agency is continuing to cut overtime and working hours as it seeks increase efficiency.

    Potter said the agency plans to ask Congress to restructure the way it handles payments for retiree health care. A 2006 law requires the post office to create a fund to cover retiree health care, contributing several billion dollars annually for 10 years. At the same time the agency is paying about $2 billion annually for retiree health care.

    Overall, the post office had revenue of $74.9 billion, operating expenses of $72.1 billion and a health benefit fund payment of $5.6 billion for a net loss of $2.8 billion. The fiscal year began Oct. 1.

    Mark (411533)

  93. The twerp thinks that national healthcare will be cheaper. The price may be less than private care (in other words, free) but unless Obama follows the Iranian system of persuasion, there will be no doctors providing that free care. I deal with workers comp every day. I talk to the providers on the phone. What happens is that most of these docs who do lots of workers comp (which is low paying with lots of bureaucracy) have six or seven offices which are run by PAs and nurse practitioners, if that.

    My ex-wife was a Kaiser advice nurse for several years. If you call Kaiser with a question about your health or your kid’s health, you get a nurse on the phone. Most of them know what they are doing; I”m not denigrating Kaiser which is the best of the HMOs. What you will not get is a doctor. Anesthesia at Kaiser is all provided by nurses and PAs. The one anesthesiologist is there to supervise. Once again, I have nothing against nurse anesthetists; one put me to sleep for a procedure. Still, this is what Obamacare will look like.

    The best physicians and surgeons will be in private practice, I suspect out of the system, maybe out of the country if Obama uses Chicago-style persuasion like the Canadian government used on their doctors. There is already a movement to “boutique-style” medical practice by internists and some surgeons are doing similar things. An excellent internist will close his/her practice to new patients and will set up an arrangement whereby patients pay a fee, maybe $100 per month, and they will be eligible for personal care. That way the physician can limit his/her practice to maybe 600 or 800 patients total.

    I can tell you that this is going one right now and lots of people are signing up. There are lots of changes going on right now and most involve fleeing the government programs. What will be left will be the Medicaid mills.

    Enjoy Obamacare.

    Mike K (2cf494)

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  95. […] Obamacare through as part of the budget reconciliation process was not a viable option. The AMA opposition to any “strong” public plan was also a big red […]

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