Patterico's Pontifications

9/18/2009

L.A. Times: Imagine That Government Money Appears Magically Out of Nowhere

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:08 am

At the L.A. Times, Noam N. Levey has this analogy for health care:

Imagine the debate over healthcare legislation on Capitol Hill as a tussle among three friends out for dinner.

All three have been struggling to pay their bills lately. When the check arrives, they try to figure out how to divide it. The problem is no one can really afford the meal. And if one manages to pay less, the other two will go home even deeper in the hole.

Interesting. And who are the three friends?

Think of our three friends as consumers, businesses and government, the three major groups that pay for healthcare in America. The check is the nation’s healthcare tab, which now tops $2.5 trillion a year.

Ah. I see. So the more that our friend government pays, the less business and consumers have to pay.

Great! I’m convinced: let’s have government pick up the whole check! I always like paying less of the check. Don’t you?

Except that, of course, every penny paid by “government” is actually paid by taxpayers. Did you forget that, Noam N. Levey?

So really, it’s not very much like three friends. It’s more like you and your brother are eating lunch with your disreputable cousin Paulie, who has no job and stays alive by mooching off you and your brother. Paulie might play Mr. Magnanimous and pick up the check — but it’s hard to feel too grateful, because you and your brother both know that the money is coming out of your pocket anyway.

Other than that, great analogy.

Thanks to a reader.

112 Responses to “L.A. Times: Imagine That Government Money Appears Magically Out of Nowhere”

  1. Do “journalists” like Noam N. Levey every proof read what they write? How did he miss the fact that the government doens’t have any of it’s own money to spend? Does he live in bubble and really believes the government can pay for things without it coming out of our wallets? Or was this article a left wing propaganda attempt?

    It sure would be nice to know, Noam. Why don’t you try to answer our questions? We could use some transparency in these trying times.

    tyree (353f22)

  2. The lies the LA Times tells are related by marriage to the lies told by Obama and the Democrats. The cost of health care cannot be paid much longer by the feds. The whole concept of enrolling everyone in Medicare is a scam and is intended to avoid bankruptcy of the program. The way they will do that is to add the revenue from all the new members and cut off the health care expenses for the present beneficiaries. It is bait and switch. I think the motive is growing panic at the prospect of the Boomers retiring and finding they have already spent their inheritance. After all, we have been governed by Boomers for the past 17 years. They have looted the treasury while mouthing nonsense about balanced budgets.

    The only way to save the system is to go back to paying for health care the way we did before Medicare. The failure is Medicare, not the private system. Nobody wants to discuss that.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  3. The left understands economics like a fish understands a bicycle

    JayC (20201c)

  4. Reaching for the bottom of the analogy barrel.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  5. i’m not surprised at the stupidity of anyone the Slimes would hire to write for their execrable rag, but i am amazed that anyone still bothers to read it…….

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  6. Right on Mike (#2)

    The current ‘debate’ is simply a smokescreen to hide that fact that the supposed reform is a way to tap into another revenue stream. Once the IRS has access to your assets for the purported purpose of funding the health of the nation there will be no end to the diddling around they’ll do.

    I’ll never understand how anyone can look at how the gov has sqandered away the last several decades of ss and medicare taxes (which are line items in your fed tax returns, fer chrissake) on other projects…and want to give the gov more access.

    Jebus, it’s insane.

    KB (5a6552)

  7. #1

    How did he miss the fact that the government doens’t have any of it’s own money to spend?

    tyree, tyree, tyree …. did you miss the fact that the government doesn’t need to have any money of its own? it has the presses. it can make all it wants, kinda like Milton-Bradley.

    Barack “Hasbro” Obama

    quasimodo (4af144)

  8. And where does he thinks “business” gets its money? When business costs go up that gets passed on to someone. Anyone? Buehler?

    Bob O. (a90bc5)

  9. The only way to save the system is to go back to paying for health care the way we did before Medicare. The failure is Medicare, not the private system. Nobody wants to discuss that.

    Comment by Mike K — 9/18/2009 @ 6:31 am

    And as much as we did before Medicare? Medicare pays hospitals $2,000.00 a day just for the bed. For an Alzheimers patient it will pay the primary care physician, who spends three hours with the patient and counseling the family, $160.00. And then it will turn around and pay the radiologist $160.00 for reading the MRI after paying $800.00 for the MRI which is worthless in Alzheimers cases anyway. There’s something wrong there.

    And then, if I believe the numbers, agriculture production is 0.7 (sic) of GDP and health care delivery is 16% of GDP. That’s ridiculous.

    It’s the costs we need to bring under control.

    nk (df76d4)

  10. pay the radiologist $160.00 for *ten minutes* reading

    nk (df76d4)

  11. Typical Conservative simplified distortion.

    You are already paying for the costs of the uninsured in case you dont realize that. And right now, as things stand, businesses have a choice of being crippled with health care costs or dropping employee insurance and letting individuals find it on their own. You ought to try it sometime.

    Its not about a free ride for middle class citizens or economic slight of hand but about changing the system to make it work.

    Its about putting an end to the abuses of the insurance industry whose only concern is taking in as much as possible and giving as little as they can in return and whose entire reason for existence is to make money for stockholders and multi million dollar a year executives. And they dont want this system to change so they spread lies and fear through their spokesmen and paid off politicians to fearful people who eagerly believe any charge no matter how false or patently insane! Death Panels!!? Socialism!!? Vets encouraged to end their lives!!?? Something only Hitler would have dreamed up?

    All this concern about spending money on health care for middle class Americans is in such contrast to your willingness to spend trillions on a war for reasons long proven false and to increase the deficit by giving huge tax breaks to the top one percent claiming that and deregulation would work economic wonders. Does anyone think those Conservative policies worked out in the past eight years? Why would you listen to these people now?

    VietnamEraVet (9f20cf)

  12. did you miss the fact that the government doesn’t need to have any money of its own? it has the presses.
    .
    Exactly the thought that came to my mind too. The government can create money out of thin air every time a bill for a medical procedure is issued. No need to borrow from the fed, just issue debt-free US Notes. Congress unquestionably has this power.

    cboldt (60ea4a)

  13. I was discussing health care reform with a lib friend recently. I said I’m taxed enough already, haven’t got anything left to give. He asked me if I had a good tax accountant! In other words, we should raise taxes to pay for govt health care, then do everything we can to dodge paying the taxes! In libland, every lunch is free. Every unicorn shits healthcare biscuits; all you have to do is gather them up off the ground.

    gp (72be5d)

  14. Do “journalists” like Noam N. Levey every proof read what they write? How did he miss the fact that the government doens’t have any of it’s own money to spend? Does he live in bubble and really believes the government can pay for things without it coming out of our wallets? Or was this article a left wing propaganda attempt?

    They should have put this in the opinion section.

    It’s the costs we need to bring under control.

    Price controls will work wonders in containing costs.

    Its about putting an end to the abuses of the insurance industry whose only concern is taking in as much as possible and giving as little as they can in return and whose entire reason for existence is to make money for stockholders and multi million dollar a year executives. And they dont want this system to change so they spread lies and fear through their spokesmen and paid off politicians to fearful people who eagerly believe any charge no matter how false or patently insane! Death Panels!!? Socialism!!? Vets encouraged to end their lives!!?? Something only Hitler would have dreamed up?

    Why are you blaming the insurance companies?

    The price gougers are the doctors and hospitals, and their price gouging is the reason people need insurance to be able to afford health care in the first place .

    Michael Ejercito (833607)

  15. already paying for the costs of the uninsured in case you dont realize that

    no, we fully realize it. I prefer it (i.e. doing nothing) to any thing the socialists have come up with to replace it… because it is still a fraction of the cost. In my locality, there is a modest county tax to help defray the cost and the poor here go only to the best hospital in town and receive the best care

    quasimodo (4af144)

  16. “The left understands economics like a fish understands a bicycle”

    OMG, you mean that I cannot contact the Association of Flounders and Assorted Flatfish to help me with my bike needs? Damn!

    Very big grin inserted here [ :D ]

    GM Roper (85dcd7)

  17. There are several places that we can get the money:

    1. Since we will all be happier, more productive and feel wealthier with “free” medical care, we can print money to match this increase in the national wealth.

    2. The cost savings from not having to recycle all those insurance forms.

    3. China will give us the money.

    4. We can default on our current debt, giving us all that wasted interest money to spend.

    5. Cigarette taxes.

    6. Medical cap and trade. Whatever that means.

    7. Denial. “What costs? You mean savings, right?” The administration is currently here, I think.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  18. VeV hates capitalism. And facts. And logic. And sanity.

    JD (5f9cc7)

  19. If the terrorists blow us up, or destroy our economy, then the health care issues and spending don’t really matter. So I think keeping the terrorists bottled up in Iraq and Afghanistan is a good thing. Maybe we’re just not doing enought in Afghanistan–maybe we need another surge. Of course, Obama is trying to read the tea leaves on what the polls say on the war, while our soldiers are dying. Who wants to bet that he’ll pull out of Afghanistan and leave them twisting in the wind while negotiating with our enemies. Maybe the Afghan President ought to be speaking to the leaders of Poland.

    Rochf (ae9c58)

  20. “The price gougers are the doctors and hospitals”
    Personal anecdotes:
    [1] My most recent prostate exam (15 seconds; material costs = a rubber glove and a dab of lubricant) cost $93! Why?
    [2] Treadmill stress test (10 minutes; material cost = 0) cost $450! Why?
    [3] Seven days in hospital in 2005 recovering from surgery. Excluding surgeon and anesthestist fees, cost $3900/day! Why?
    I paid _cash_ for all of these.
    Ejercito has a point. Where the heck do these high medical costs come from? The doctors don’t have a frickin clue what the billing dept charges for their services.

    gp (72be5d)

  21. JD, I don’t know the guy. He could be displaying Reactive Troll Syndrome. Since he just called a lot of people posting here racist.

    Eric Blair (5290b4)

  22. I also think all the recent polls are driving progressive Leftists dizzy with frustration and anger.

    Damn that right wing press!

    Eric Blair (5290b4)

  23. [1] My most recent prostate exam (15 seconds; material costs = a rubber glove and a dab of lubricant) cost $93! Why?

    Labor, I would imagine.

    But then why is labor so costly?

    Seven days in hospital in 2005 recovering from surgery. Excluding surgeon and anesthestist fees, cost $3900/day! Why?

    This excludes the fees for the surgery and anesthesia?

    Why do we not have laws constraining these costs? We have fifty states and not one of them have passed laws to contain these costs?

    Michael Ejercito (833607)

  24. And as much as we did before Medicare? Medicare pays hospitals $2,000.00 a day just for the bed. For an Alzheimers patient it will pay the primary care physician, who spends three hours with the patient and counseling the family, $160.00. And then it will turn around and pay the radiologist $160.00 for reading the MRI after paying $800.00 for the MRI which is worthless in Alzheimers cases anyway. There’s something wrong there.

    Yes. The only way we will get the system back to a sustainable situation is to go back to paying for routine care out of pocket. Insurance was intended for unexpected events. It has become prepaid care over the past 40 years and the demand has steadily grown. Hospitals are behaving like universities. They seem to be able to keep raising charges and somebody pays them. A lot of hospital care can be done at home, for example.

    You are seeing a proliferation of physician owned surgery centers and heart hospitals which can operate for a fraction of the cost of general hospital care. Before I retired, which was in 1994, I was doing laparoscopic gallbadder surgery in a surgery center. The patients went home in the morning. I did laparoscopic appendectomies on young people and sent them home from the recovery room, 2 hours postop. None of those people were ever admitted to the hospital. That was 15 years ago and technology is much better.

    In the very early days of laparoscopic surgery, I did a lap appy on the daughter of an other physician. It was a Friday afternoon. She went to a private school with my kids. The school nurse was another doctor’s wife. On Monday morning, she heard that the little girl (9 as I recall) had had her appendix out Friday night. She called the hospital to see how she was. Then she found out the kid was in class ! It was no big deal to her. The adults were all excited.

    This stuff doesn’t have to be as expensive as we have made it. Fifty years ago, hospitals charged a daily rate that covered most care except surgery. Then the insurance companies decided they were getting ripped off and demanded itemized bills. Then the hospitals discovered that those itemized bills got paid and inflation of medical charges took off.

    We now have technology that will allow lab and x-rays to be done at the bedside at home. The x-rays can be developed in the physician’s car and converted to a digital file. House calls went away because the technology got important. Now, we can do a lot of the technology at the home. For geriatrics that is very important. But Medicare won’t pay for most of it. Most of this new treatment will be outside the Medicare system.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  25. The doctors don’t have a frickin clue what the billing dept charges for their services.

    Comment by gp

    I don’t want to have to give the talk again that I gave last night at the Republican meeting. The short version is that they are not being paid what you see on the bill. The insurance companies and Medicare operate on discounts that have been wrung from doctors who have no bargaining power. They get paid about 20% of that fee you think they are getting. If they try to lower the “retail” fee to the real payment, Medicare will discount the lower fee by 80% and they cannot charge the difference. That is why they are all dropping out.

    You might look at your EOB if you are on Medicare. My last visit to the pain doc I see listed his charge as $120 and Medicare paid $11. Look at your EOB and see what is actually PAID !

    You can complain about doctors “not having a fricken clue” until you can’t find one anymore. Than you might question your preconceptions.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  26. All I know is that all of the doctors that treated me for a prior illness were specialists, yet despite being affiliated with a huge non – profit/university – related medical center, they’ve all dropped out of Medicaire, or are refusing to add any more patients from Medicaire to their practices. They’ve mentioned that not only are they being reimbursed far less than previously, but that their paperwork is monstrous, to the point that they have to employ a separate person just to fill out the appropriate forms and keep pestering Medicaire to pay them in a timely manner. The market is telling us that something’s wrong with the system, and it ain’t the doctors in this instance.

    And where does he thinks “business” gets its money?

    That one’s easy – from the government.

    Dmac (a93b13)

  27. Mike K, I’m not on Medicare or any kind of insurance; I paid cash for those three examples. When I was diagnosed for the condition leading to the surgery, I asked the doctor how much it would cost; I suggested $50K to $100K. He said no, it would be $8K to $10K. Turned out the total cost was over $39K. I repeat: the doctors don’t know what the billing dept is doing.

    I agree with Ejercito that med costs are way too high. I disagree with him that price controls are a viable solution. And I know for damn sure more govt ain’t the answer either.

    gp (72be5d)

  28. Dmac, that is my theory about Fermi’s Paradox—where are all the aliens in the universe?

    Red tape and paperwork increases over time. The aliens are buried in it, and can’t leave their home planets.

    And I don’t think I am entirely joking.

    Government seems to be about paperwork.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  29. gp–

    Nearly any insurance would have dropped your cost by about 80% — even if you had to pay 100% of the negotiated rate. People get so hung up in co-pays and routine costs, but the point of INSURANCE is to prevent huge losses at the cost of a known small loss.

    Medicare and Medicaid started this discount practice and insurance companies quickly followed. If all bills were at the same rate, we wouldn’t be in this mess and being without insurance wouldn’t be such a big deal.

    Kevin’s reform: mandate that only real insurance be offered, with large costs 100% covered and routine medicine out-of-pocket. Much like auto insurance.

    What we have now is like auto insurance would be if it also covered auto repair, maintenance, oil and gasoline.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  30. I just want to underscore VietnamEraVet’s point, b/c it gets lost:

    You are already paying for the costs of the uninsured in case you dont realize that

    We are not debating on whether or not to pay for the uninsured. We are debating how. If we require 30 million people to purchase insurance — which, absent a public option I am not entirely comfortable with — that automatically reduces the burden on the rest of us. Presently, we pay for those people who show up to the ER and can’t or won’t pay their own bills.

    Incidentally, 63 percent of doctors, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, support a mix of public and private care:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE58F3VJ20090916

    Another survey found three-quarters of doctors support a public option:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112818960

    The larger point is that few people who either work in health care or know anything about it advocate doing nothing.

    Myron (6a93dd)


  31. where are all the aliens in the universe?

    I think most of them currently reside south of the border. Which means they’ll be here soon enough.

    Dmac (a93b13)

  32. the hospital charges so much because the Gov’t and insurance companies pay tiny to small fractions of the billed amount. So the hospitals raise the price just to cover costs. Those who pay cash have to pay the full billed amount cuz the gov’t won’t let’em charge anyone less than they charge the Gov’t. The very presence of the Gov’t and insurance companies in the market has caused and continues to cause huge price increases. And the piggressives want the gov’t to play a bigger role …. to save money. What a joke.

    quasimodo (4af144)

  33. Whether it is ‘business’ or “Government”, people end up paying.

    So it’s more like this:
    Imagine a Dad and his son and daughter of College-age go out to dinner. The children have their own cash and wallet, but in fact Dad is writing them a check every semester to pay for collage and expenses.

    Who should pay for dinner? If the son says “I’ll pay for it all, I got some cash” will that improve Dad’s finances?

    Travis Monitor (8d33ce)

  34. Whether it is ‘business’ or “Government”, people end up paying.

    So it’s more like this:
    Imagine a Dad and his son and daughter of College-age go out to dinner. The children have their own cash and wallet, but in fact Dad is writing them a check every semester to pay for college and expenses.

    Who should pay for dinner? If the son says “I’ll pay for it all, I got some cash” will that improve Dad’s finances?

    Travis Monitor (8d33ce)

  35. “If we require 30 million people to purchase insurance — which, absent a public option I am not entirely comfortable with — that automatically reduces the burden on the rest of us.”

    Not true. Most likely, the amount of subsidies demand to make that a reality and the cost burden implicit in regulating insurance for all to force this to happen … will ADD to the cost for everyone else.

    One reason among several that IMHO Mandates forcing people to buy health insurance are just a bad bad idea.

    The idea that we are taking some huge fiscal hit due to emergency room care is way over-stated. It’s minor compared to the huge costs of medicaid medicare s-chip etc.

    Travis Monitor (8d33ce)

  36. Myron, what will we ‘force’ people to buy or do next? Perhaps all ‘risky’ activities should be outlawed? Ban all guns and sharp objects? Force exercise and good-eating habits? Ban fast-food restaurants?

    We need to MUST get the Federal Government out of business. They have had a big hand in getting us to the unpleasant place we are now.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  37. “I was discussing health care reform with a lib friend recently. I said I’m taxed enough already, haven’t got anything left to give. He asked me if I had a good tax accountant!”
    They havent done the fuzzy math that if we indidiually dont pay more, there wont be more money to spend?!? FDR was a hypocrite too on taxes. He bashed ‘the rich’ for not paying their share, but as a rich taxpayer, he carefully and personally did everything he could to minimize his own tax bite. That’s a crazy way to think in my view, if you dont like paying taxes you should be for smaller government, but I’m a patriot not a liberal.

    Travis Monitor (9e3371)

  38. Myron, I am uninsured, and I promise you are not paying any extra because of it. For the vast, vast majority of the uninsured, it’s a choice. Either they are healthy and don’t require doctors, or they pay out of pocket.

    Those that don’t are deadbeats that will be a problem under reform or not. If I had ‘free’ healthcare, I admit I would probably go to the doctor more often, which is why I suspect the main impact would be an even greater shortage of doctors and a much higher cost for the people. Of course, this much higher cost is paid progressively through taxation, so the democrats don’t care much about that.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  39. Kevin’s reform: mandate that only real insurance be offered, with large costs 100% covered and routine medicine out-of-pocket. Much like auto insurance.

    What we have now is like auto insurance would be if it also covered auto repair, maintenance, oil and gasoline.

    My reform: Mandate NOTHING. Remove all the mandates that are in state law that add to what is in the insurance package. These things add up and create added costs that price people out of health insurance. Allow people to buy insurance across state lines.

    Kevin’s point is well-taken, in that health insurance today often is NOT like auto insurance, it typically co-pays minor things and doesnt have high deductible. We need to get back to more direct payment of medical services, medical prices posted and known (for real consumer comparison shopping to drive prices down), and less 3rd party payment and control.

    We need Health Savings Accounts to enable this to work best, so that all personal-paid medical expenses are with pre-tax dollars. This removes the tax advantage that these ‘gold-plated’ health insurance plans have.

    Travis Monitor (9e3371)

  40. I cannot access Rasmussen at the moment, but I thught I had heard the most recent polls of doctors, asking about their opinion of the current Health Care bills showed that nearly 2 out of 3 were against it, and around 45% said they would consider leaving their profession if that bill passed.

    I understand there are fuzzier poll questions (like those run by NPR) that ask soft questions like “Are you for Health Care Reform?” – Of course the vast majority is for that. But, please, having the Feds run that is like asking the robber to mind the store while you’re gone.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  41. Myron, I am uninsured, and I promise you are not paying any extra because of it. For the vast, vast majority of the uninsured, it’s a choice. Either they are healthy and don’t require doctors, or they pay out of pocket.

    Those that don’t are deadbeats that will be a problem under reform or not.

    Well stated. What Myron fails to mention is that to make the 30 million mark get hit, the ObamaCare bills expand medicaid and S-chip, to the point where the Govt is subsidizing people up to $80,000 income level and in high-risk categories beyond even that; also, that a hugh amount of the medicaid expansion is forced on states and paid by feds only for a few years, so the real cost of this is completely hidden. In short, an UNFUNDED MANDATE is looming behind this attempt to get people uninsured who currently are not.

    The flip-side is the Baucus bill, not trying to be too generous, ends up creating what some lib Dems are calling a big middle class tax hike. Which it is. You are forcing people to buy expensive health insurance and then giving them only token subsidy. Family costs will go higher.

    There’s a lesson here: MANDATES DONT WORK. If we want to give health insurance to those who cannot afford it and want it, there are ways (Medicaid, S-Chip)…. but Mandates DO NOT work, except to hurtle us towards bankruptcy and an explosion in costs.

    Travis Monitor (8d33ce)

  42. Don’t blame the doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and other health care providers for the high medical costs. If you track the origins of these excessive costs back far enough, you will find government action as the real villian.

    For example, for every dollar the health insurance industry collects in annual premiums, ninety cents is paid out during that year. Seven cents from that dollar goes for administrative costs. The remaining three cents is profit before federal, state and local taxes are paid.

    The health care insurers make their “obscene profits” from investing the paid premiums not from gourging the health insurance consumers.

    Longwalker (4e0dda)

  43. I admit I didn’t read all of the comments…not enough time. Sorry! But, for your final analogy to REALLY work, you need a fourth person who is just along for the ride. A friend outside of the family (let’s call him Joe). None of the 4 of you can afford to pay. Cousin Paulie agrees to pay, but you know that not only is Paulie using YOUR money…now you are having to pay for ALL of Joe’s meal and he is out nothing.

    Now THAT is the real analogy here!

    Your Lil Sis (424a94)

  44. “I cannot access Rasmussen at the moment, but I thught I had heard the most recent polls of doctors, asking about their opinion of the current Health Care bills showed that nearly 2 out of 3 were against it”

    Sure, but that wont fit the ‘docs love Obamacare’ narrative, so the libs will ignore it as studiously as an ‘ACORN helping a pimp’ video.

    http://quipster.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/significant-numbers-of-doctors-oppose-obamacare-and-would-consider-leaving-profession/

    “As reported Wednesday, 65% of the 1,376 practicing physicians who responded to a mailed questionnaire over the last two weeks said they opposed health care plans that have emerged from the administration and Congress. Just 33% supported the”

    See also:

    http://messageboards.aol.com/aol/en_us/articles.php?boardId=544758&articleId=797910&func=6&channel=Rants+%26+Raves

    Travis Monitor (8d33ce)

  45. The very idea of debt-free money in the U.S. scares me to no end. At least when we have to convince someone to buy the debt there is some brake on the political spending impulse. Do you really want Zimbabwe type inflation? Even with debt money I’m not sure we’re going to avoid that scenario.

    Soronel Haetir (2b4c2b)

  46. Juan: Have you had a major illness that requires thousands of dollars in treatment? If not, then we’re not talking about the same thing.

    You’re basically saying that b/c you’re gambling and (so far) winning, then no one else who gambles could possibly lose. That’s a classic flaw in logic.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  47. Thousands of dollars! Gosh, that’s all the money in the world!

    Official Internet Data Office (551c17)

  48. Corwin, if you can find those numbers about doctors opposing reform, please post.

    Travis: Nice try.

    This undermines your point:

    ” … who responded to a mailed questionnaire …”

    That’s not scientific. That’s simply a measure of doctors who were moved to fill out and mail a questionnaire. It has no more validity than a Web site poll.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  49. Myron, um, yeah we’re talking about the same thing. There’s a reason the insurance companies want to force all the young healthy men, students, etc to buy insurance… it’s because they don’t need much healthcare. I spend about $200 a year on checkups and come out dramatically ahead by self insuring. Tens of millions of Americans do the exact same thing I do. They are willing to take care of themselves, and you want to STEAL from us and call them irresponsible for being the most responsible.

    And YOU’RE the gambler, not me. I pay for my illnesses. When I’m older, and need insurance, I’ll get it, but I just don’t need it right now. If I had an illness that devastated me financially, it’s very likely insurance would have been capped and I would have been devastated anyway. I have made no logical flaw… you’re the one trying to re-write my argument to include some kind of flaw. We have bankruptcy laws, emergency rooms, etc. Your crisis doesn’t exist.

    It’s none of the government’s business what I decide to buy, and if I am fined for not having health insurance, I will sue.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  50. Thousands of dollars! Gosh, that’s all the money in the world!

    Medical treatment can run into the tens of thousands, depending on the illness. You have not known anyone who has been really sick. I have. They’d have been crushed financially without insurance. Even with insurance, some of them are still paying lingering bills that were not covered.

    I guess you think you’re being funny, but this is not a funny issue for me.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  51. . When I’m older, and need insurance, I’ll get it, but I just don’t need it right now.

    Naivete in the extreme. It might surprise you to find that even young people sometimes get catastrophically ill. I have a friend right now, early 30s, who was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer shortly after he got engaged.

    You’re gambling, dude, whatever you choose to call it.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  52. regardless, no doubt adding tens of millions of people to the waiting lists of doctors offices around the country, because we all know that many people will go get much more healthcare if they have ‘free’ insurance than do presently, and we will face a severe shortage of medical personnel.

    WORSE, Obama has made clear he intends to cap profits for drug companies, which means we will all live shorter, shittier lives without newer medications. He’s sucking money from free enterprise that saves lives and created prosperity, and using the short term savings to claim some kind of benefit.

    WORSE, the government is worse than bankrupt, and a system relying on a bankrupt government is inherently unstable. We don’t know the full extent of the damage of the USA’s borrowing, but I do not want healthcare closely linked to it.

    Sorry, you democrats spent a shitload of cash on GM, CRA, bailing out crooks, Tarp (dem congress is responsible for all spending since 2006), and you have spent too much. If healthcare was a crisis, you should have saved money. We can’t afford this.

    Luckily, we live in a democracy. The people REJECT Obama and his Obamacare, and you will not get your reform. Basically because you spent too much fucking money already. A greater deficit than all other US Presidents saw, combined. Great job!

    Juan (bd4b30)

  53. In the current system (as opposed to a sane one), it is pretty stupid (sorry) to have no insurance. Only if it means going without food or shelter should going without medical insurance be an option.

    That is not to say that one should have one of the bloated pre-paid medical plans that pass as “insurance.” One should have a policy with only two features:

    1. A cap on personal payments, after which the insurance company takes over. This is the traditional meaning of “insurance.”

    2. A discounted “negotiated rate” within some network of providers. Preferably a large network. This would include a discount on all services, including drugs and tests.

    It is unnecessary (undesired actually) that any of the discounted payments be covered in whole or part by the insurance company (up to the cap in #1). One should never insure amounts one can afford anyway as that just adds a middleman. Were it not for the fact that everyone else is getting a discount, I’d forego point #2, but at a typical 80% off, you just cannot ignore reality.

    And yes, I’ve been uninsured in the past, and it was stupid and I paid much more as a result than if I had been insured.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  54. “It might surprise you to find that even young people sometimes get catastrophically ill. ”

    Not really, they don’t. And I have enough money to easily handle anything that would happen to me in 99.999999999999999999999% of cases. A big reason why I have that much money is that I didn’t gamble by buying health insurance I didn’t need. Instead, I ate right, exercised, and am careful about not smoking pot, drinking much, driving like a jackass. I have controlled my destiny and am very healthy. I drive a very safe car, and the accidents I’ve been in didn’t hurt me.

    I’m smart. Not gambling. the government wants me to be in a pool with pot smoking jackasses, gay people, fatties.

    I can’t eliminate the risk in life, but buying insurance in case I can’t afford a problem exceeding tens of thousands of dollars is a much dumber gamble than the one I’ve made, which is that I will remain in the 99.999999999999% of people my age and health who don’t have a crisis.

    your conclusory assessment that I’m just wrong is typical nanny democrat. Guess what, I don’t need the government for this! You want to make me pay for other people, not me, and you know it.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  55. You want to make me pay for other people, not me, and you know it.

    Juan: You already pay for other people. I can’t quite fathom why this concept is beyond your understanding.

    What we’re debating is how to pay for other people, who for now, can’t or won’t pay.

    You are basically making a debate against a phantom concept.

    You also seem to favor a government approach on health care based on ideal human behavior mixed in with just dumb luck.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  56. Kevin, it was stupid that you weren’t insured? why?

    How do insurance companies make money? At least you recognize that this is personal responsibility and you own the mistake you feel you made. I disagree that it’s stupid. Save some money, get checkups routinely, take care of problems in health, and when you turn 30, consider insurance.

    The savings of not buying insurance you don’t need are many thousands of dollars you should save. I saved it by paying off my mortgage, but it’s still there, ready to help me if I have a crisis.

    Bear in mind that a lot of the ‘insured’ are taking the same risk I am. Their insurance isn’t going to keep them from being wiped out financially… insurance is a profitable business because it makes the better gamble than the insured, as a basic law of nature.

    In the very unlikely case that I am wiped out financially, so what? Bankruptcy? Oh no. For the low liklihood of this occurring, I am satisfied with this modest protection.

    This is my life and my freedom. It’s none of the government’s business. And of course, with the deficit where it is, I think the risk of the health care system collapsing in crisis is much higher than any risk I’ve taken on personally.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  57. ‘LA Times are morons’ is kinda a ‘Dog bites man’ story.

    RB (cb63f1)

  58. “…That’s not scientific. That’s simply a measure of doctors who were moved to fill out and mail a questionnaire. It has no more validity than a Web site poll….”

    Oh. My. God. Are you really going to use the word “scientific”?

    This from a fellow who seizes on any type of poll that agrees with his own opinion as set-in-stone fact.

    The guy is just playing contrarian games, and is of the “feelings not facts” school of thought.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  59. No myron, I am saying it’s my choice. The government must not be permitted to force me to buy something like this. That’s inherently wrong. It also should not spend our future’s wealth in extreme deficit just to give me goodies.

    We can’t afford it, and I’m happy uninsured, like tens of millions of people who you think constitute a crisis.

    The idiots who use the emergency room for health care will still do so after this bill passes. Obama’s on record supporting this method of treating illegals and jackasses. That’s a fake crisis.

    Life isn’t perfect. It’s not the government’s place to destroy the future to give another entitlement we cannot afford, just to buy a lot of votes.

    I don’t care that there’s a slight risk, and it’s asinine to replace that with a huge risk. It’s very unlikely we will be able to sustain our spending… that’s the real risk, not me buying my own antibiotics.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  60. “Nearly any insurance would have dropped your cost by about 80%” I’m a contractor, so I’ve got no employer health care. I can’t find an individual policy because of a piddly pre-existing condition (which condition I would GLADLY exclude from the policy coverage, but no insurer wants to negotiate that.) And why the heck should the cost differ between the insured and the uninsured? If anything, I should be billed less than an insured, because I paid all the damn bills in full within 30 days; an insurer would have strung the hospital along for months, nickle-and-diming the line items.

    Anyway, summing up, I think healthcare prices are way too high, but I don’t see a govt solution to it.

    gp (72be5d)

  61. Anyway, you already have insurance. It’s none of your business.

    I’m the one being forced to buy something I don’t want to subsidize your bad decisions. I say no. That’s unconstitutional.

    Gay people take a huge risk in having anal sex. Motorcycle riders take a huge risk. Pot smokers take a huge risk of getting cancer or schizophrenia. I take a slight risk that my health care costs will exceed the savings I’ve accumulated by self insuring. None of these things are nanny government’s business.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  62. The government must not be permitted to force me to buy something like this.

    Juan: OK. I think that’s a point worthy of debate. I’m not sold on the individual mandate myself, particularly without a public option for low-cost insurance.

    I don’t know that the individual mandate will survive the next round. In fact, I can’t say for certain what will wind up being “in” or “out” of the final bill.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  63. Myron – You’re gambling, dude, whatever you choose to call it.

    Glad to know you’re on the gaming commission.

    What you don’t acknowledge in your contradictory statement is that you simultaneously support the ‘right’ to healthcare while admitting that some in our society are ‘gambling’ in an irresponsible manner. You’re outraged that some people have more money than others while protesting the fact that some people lose a boatload of it at the craps table, while others are more responsible.

    The only solution to your scenario is complete control over individuals, because anything less will result in failure of the system by your own admission. The problem is that people also have the ‘right’ to gamble, and won’t approve of a system that inhibits that right.

    Which is why you have to misrepresent your intentions as an altruistic goal of providing healthcare.

    This isn’t about healthcare. This is about gaining control over people in the guise of granting them their ‘rights’.

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  64. Hey I found your blog today linked from Hugh Hewitt’s. I really like what I see. I’ll be sure to regularly stop in.

    I have a humble little blog of my own (A Voice in the Wilderness) and here’s my latest piece:

    http://rjmoeller.com/2009/09/even-the-whites-stripes-get-it-obama/

    Keep up the good work. Thanks and God bless!
    -RJM

    RJ (eb7b96)

  65. Myron’s solution is single-payer, period. Anything short of that is a failure of will, because they won. He is the kind of person that wants your money and to make your healthcare decisions for you. No thanks.

    All I know is that my health insurance will have the holy hell taxed out of it, and it will likely no longer be such a great plan, or will not be offered.

    JD (0b1bd3)

  66. My ability to decide when I wish to buy insurance, and spend the savings paying off my house, to be a right that is implicit to the concept of ordered liberty.

    My health is private. It is not the people’s to manage. They have no right to even know if I have insurance or a doctor. Personal responsibility is something I believe in as a religious concept. I don’t preach to you, but I believe God wants me to live this way, and that my religious faith is violated if the government takes that away from me.

    Myron is OK with violating the principles that uphold abortion rights in Roe, gay sex rights in Lawrence, and basic religious freedom because my right is keeping money out of the pockets of democrat corruption and the government.

    I have rights. If you think I do not have a right to privacy over how I handle my faith, my medical situation, and my ability to have choices and opt out or in, then you must think the government has a right to ban Abortion, religion, risky sexual behavior.

    Millions of Americans value their autonomy and financial independence from the deficit administration. They do so just as dearly as gays and abortionists value their privacy.

    Only a complete rube doesn’t realize Obama is creating an unsustainable position to lead to single payer, and that this bill will make things work, and that the people don’t want this bill, but that’s beside the point. I want to take care of myself my own way, and it’s none of your business.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  67. Add “I find my” to the beginning of post 66

    Juan (bd4b30)

  68. Nothing proposed will reduce costs, unless unicorn farts actually have magical powers. Nothing will improve efficiency, access, or quality of care. It will take things from people, and it will give to others, while government gets its hooks into your healthcare. Demonstrate that they can save $500,000,000,000 in Medicare like hodean claims, while maintaining access and quality of care, and then I might think it is something other than a disasterous power grab.

    JD (0b1bd3)

  69. Myron, I appreciate you granting the merit in the point that the gov doesn’t have the right to force me to change my life this way.

    I didn’t see that, and I should note that.

    whether this would work, without considering the rights notion, is another issue, and one we obviously disagree on.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  70. Scrolling through, and I want to make a point:
    The “high cost” of fees…If you just want anyone to stick their finger up your arse, I’m sure the hospital can find someone at minimum wage to do it and charge accordingly; but, if you want the job done by a trained professional, you have to pay for the knowledge that person brings to the job. Just as top-flight lawyers can charge up to/or in excess of $1M/hr, and associates or single practitioners just out of law-school can’t.
    If you take your Ferrari to the “best” Ferrari mechanic in town (Guido), you will pay a Hell of a lot more than if you take it down to “Joe’s” who mostly works on Nissans – but, rest assured, in the long run, it will cost less, for when Joe screws up your Ferrari, and you have to take it to Guido to repair the damage, it will be very expensive.
    And, if we returned to a pre-Medicare system where we paid for the care we consumed out-of-pocket, prices would be negotiated to some degree between the doctor and patient as it was at that time when only the truly wealthy had anything like medical insurance – which IIRC was more like a retainer system that professionals used to smooth out their cash-flow.

    AD - RtR/OS! (5b5739)

  71. I think the only solution is for all of us to agree there cannot be a health care system that provides all the best care (that is currently available in this country and/or planet) to all the citizens of this country (and/or planet). Much the same way we can’t provide the best house, the best car, the best clothes nor the best food. The money just isn’t there.

    We have to come to an understanding that primo health care is not a right.

    To be honest, I’m against the government getting involved at all. But being in a small minority on that, I can bend to allow the government to involve itself in the lowest, most basic of health care services.

    If the government ONLY provided (funded) basic clinics. Bandaids and aspirin, etc. – free to anyone coming in (provided citizenship). Give breaks to Drs and Nurses that work there for a low wage. Provide recent grads with a place to gain experience.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  72. I paid cash for those three examples. When I was diagnosed for the condition leading to the surgery, I asked the doctor how much it would cost; I suggested $50K to $100K. He said no, it would be $8K to $10K. Turned out the total cost was over $39K.

    This is a major problem with HSAs. The cash patient doesn’t get the discount unless the claim is processed through the insurance company bureaucracy. You could probably get very high deductible coverage somewhere but this is the biggest issue in reform, how to fix the pre-existing condition problem. One way is to mandate that everybody has to have insurance.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  73. “Medical treatment can run into the tens of thousands, depending on the illness.”

    I would never have guessed.

    “You have not known anyone who has been really sick. I have.”

    How about that. Only Myron has known really sick people.

    “They’d have been crushed financially without insurance.”

    But they were not financially crushed, so what’s the problem?

    “Even with insurance, some of them are still paying lingering bills that were not covered.”

    They should read the policy more carefully next time.

    Official Internet Data Office (551c17)

  74. pay the radiologist $160.00 for *ten minutes* reading

    I think the radiologist would tell you that the reading really is only $1…the other $159 is understanding what he sees.

    Of course, it is more like $100 is knowing what he sees and $59 is for protection from bogus malpractice lawsuits.

    iconoclast (e235f2)

  75. As has been alluded to, one of the big things an insurance company does for you is negotiate. They negotiate from a position of strength, because they have several thousand customers and they can tell a doctor, “if you meet our guidelines we’ll make you in-house and send you customers; if you don’t we’ll make you out of house and pay you these rates and you can take it or leave it.” (If enough doctors leave it, as has happened to some insurance companies, that insurance company goes out of business.)

    The thing is that when you are having a problem, you may not have time to negotiate. You are in pain, you are in fear, you might be unconscious and receiving medical attention. That’s why it’s good to have a paid negotiator already contracted for.

    Some states already have high-deductible plans where the deductible is $2500 on any one procedure BUT the max out of pocket per year is $5000 up to $5,000,000. So even if you come down with some hideous cancer and the medication costs $100,000 per month, you are only out $5000 for the year. The plans run about $50 for people of reasonable age in decent health – they are what the CEO of Whole Foods alluded to in his recently famous article. What you are really getting for that $50 a month is the team of hired pre-negotiators and at that, it is a bargain.

    luagha (5cbe06)

  76. My ability to decide when I wish to buy insurance, and spend the savings paying off my house, to be a right that is implicit to the concept of ordered liberty.

    Certainly. As I state rather clearly on the Jury Talks Back. I’m pretty sure the proposed mandate is wildly unconstitutional.

    That does not mean I think that going without medical insurance in America today is wise. I can think of nothing other than pure dumb luck that would make it a good bet.

    But everyone has the freedom to be wrong. Even me.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  77. Kevin, it was stupid that you weren’t insured? why? Because sh*t happened and I had some big expenses that could not have been predicted. Wiped out my savings and then some. I could have bought medical insurance for a couple decades for the money involved. But, oddly, they don’t want to sell you insurance when you have a big, sure, claim. Although Obama wants to change that….

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  78. And why the heck should the cost differ between the insured and the uninsured?

    gp–

    It should not. However, it does. Fact. Mostly because of Medicare and Medicaid forcing a discount. So, they have rack rates for the government to discount. Insurers, being no dummies, got the same discounts, too. But the phony rates have got to be charged someone. And there you are without a chair when the music stops.

    It is not that it is right, it is that it is. More government is only going to make it worse for the fewer remaining uninsured. Best not to be one.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  79. Kevin, I always thought medicaid often got screwed. I know a lot of people get bills itemized in inaccurate ways to maximize what uncle sugar pays.

    I’ve always gotten a discount for paying for medical care in cash. but perhaps you are right.

    I would not mind if the government simply got out of regulating insurance, except to give me the same tax advantage of an employer. Perhaps some way to pool together to negotiate would be cool, but I rather doubt it. If you’re right, this would just unscrew me, which would increase costs for the insured.

    If the government gave out vouchers for everyone to buy insurance, that would be better, but really, the government can’t afford to do what it’s already doing. It’s time to end social security, federal highways, national arts programs, and everything else the states can do, until the federal government has paid off its debt. Adding huge burdens is not a real option. It’s an illusion.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  80. #24

    That is pretty cool, Mike. When I had my appendix out in 1970 at the age of seven, I was laid out for quite a while. Now, this was an emergency procedure since the appendix burst before they got me into the OR but others who had planned surgeries in tat era reported similar recovery times.

    Then I look at my nieces’ braces. They have no concept of how of an ordeal orthodontic correction was in the previous generation. Heck, you can barely see their braces if you aren’t within a few feet of their faces while they speak.

    Most of the medical innovations in my lifetime were pioneered here in the US, despite the horrible system we supposedly have.

    I’ve gone long periods without coverage but those were all largely my own fault. I can blame my predisposition for depression but I know plenty of people who struggled through far worse in life than a prolonged bout of just feeling bad about nothing in particular. Over the years I got a god close-up look at how a government run system would look. It only served to heighten the depression, as it would in another sense of the word.

    epobirs (60643b)

  81. #30

    That is simply nonsense. A major portion of those 30 million are young, healthy, and not accident prone. Forcing them to pay for anything other than catastrophic coverage is simply robbery.

    Young people in their prime might blow the money on good times. They might invest it towards education and/or building a new business. Either way, it’s THEIR money and nobody else is entitled to take it or force it to be spent in a particular way.

    epobirs (60643b)

  82. Just a dab?

    Seriously though, if someone offered me $93 to stick my finger up there in the all purpose jail storage locker… I’d say no.
    Some labor costs are high for a reason.

    That said, an itemized bill from the hospital that has $12 for an ibuprophen and $10 for latex gloves isn’t uncommon.
    That dab probably gets billed at $7.50… I suppose I could opt out of that inflated cost, but frankly I’d be willing to pay twice that.

    Some of the reason for high prices is an attempt to recover costs of treating non payers from those who do pay.

    SteveG (97b6b9)

  83. If I had an illness that devastated me financially, it’s very likely insurance would have been capped and I would have been devastated anyway.

    This is incorrect regarding most policies – when you buy a true “catastrophic coverage” policy, the caps are usually quite high, often exceeding $1MM. The risk is that you’ll still have to pay the deductable for smaller medical emergencies, which often start at $5K and go up from there. You also rarely have prescription drugs covered, which can add substantially to the bill.

    BTW, the next time that Myron uses a source that’s anything but hard – left – biased – to – the – moon will be the first. Who pays for NPR, Myron? And where does Reuters originate? Who in this country uses Reuters for reportage on US policy? Try harder next time, you’ll likely get a better response.

    Dmac (a93b13)

  84. dmac, that’s a great point, but in other words, there’s a limit to the amount of coverage I get. There are many illnesses that would exceed the cap you list, which is a lot higher than caps on coverage I’ve considered.

    I’m taking a tiny risk as it is today, but with insurance, I’m still taking a tiny risk. It’s tinier, but I’m paying a lot more. I think the idea that I can eliminate risk is false, but I get where you’re coming from. I want you to decide what risk management you’re happy with, and I want that same freedom for myself.

    The emergency room treatment situation where uninsured deadbeats waste resources is unchanged. Giving everyone insurance isn’t going to affect that very much, except it will also probably flood non emergency doctors.

    But I get where you’re coming from.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  85. luagha wrote:

    Some states already have high-deductible plans where the deductible is $2500 on any one procedure BUT the max out of pocket per year is $5000 up to $5,000,000. So even if you come down with some hideous cancer and the medication costs $100,000 per month, you are only out $5000 for the year. The plans run about $50 for people of reasonable age in decent health – they are what the CEO of Whole Foods alluded to in his recently famous article. What you are really getting for that $50 a month is the team of hired pre-negotiators and at that, it is a bargain.

    This is the kind of plan I think we should have. I believe that the current plans actually increase the cost of healthcare. The government should also bring back the tax deduction for non-elective medical care.

    Tanny O'Haley (83a3bb)

  86. Here is the real face of Conservative Republicans for those of you than can face the real truth about how you are being conned.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/18/bill-moyers-tea-party-org_n_291625.html

    VietnamEraVet (9f20cf)

  87. There are major changes coming whether the Obama bill (whatever that is) passes or not. For years, doctors were cowed by insurance companies and Medicare. I can’t imagine anyone in the 70s and 80s quitting insurance as a doc. I knew (he’s since died) a urologist who was very good but refused to join any of the PPO/HMO /IPA groups that sprang up in the early 80s. He thought he was ok but a lot of his practice drained away. A GP I knew in San Clemente was the best known guy in town and turned up his nose at HMOs when they were recruiting docs. A couple of years later, his practice was gone. A lot of his patients were city employees and they went into an HMO. When he contacted the HMO to join, they told him they had enough doctors.

    Now, that is all changing again as the payment is so crappy that primary care docs are going out and opening offices that accept no insurance. I knew these two women GPs who did it in Dana Point years ago. They had a little walk-in clinic. They had lots of HMO members who brought their kids in because they couldn’t get them into the HMO soon enough. The HMO didn’t care; they still got their money. These two women had a nice practice with Visa and Mastercard. No insurance. They were ahead of their time.

    Now it is a major trend and I don’t see anything changing it. If I were an internist, I would be doing a retainer practice. The ones who are doing it are the older ones without student loans to pay off. I know orthopedic surgeons doing it. It isn’t just primary care. Obviously, the trauma center is stuck but when I was running it, we didn’t sign contracts at the ruinous low rates. If Blue Cross wouldn’t make the hospital a decent offer, we would just say “See you at the trauma center.” They couldn’t very well tell subscribers to go somewhere else and, being in a suburb, most of our trauma was auto accidents and most had insurance.

    Some of those trauma bills got their attention. We also had the best results in the state so they were getting their money’s worth. Eventually, they came around.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  88. VietnamEraVet, you continue to try to hijack threads with your whacky little looney theories about how the world works.

    Come back to earth and ditch the lunacy.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  89. VeV – You do not get to define us, especially when you are off your meds.

    JD (c4445a)

  90. VEV, you really are a fool. If you had ever gone to one of these events, you would know that Republicans have to beg to talk to the groups. They are almost as hostile to Republicans as Democrats. You are just a fool and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Speaking of privileged asses, Moyers was the guy in LBJ’s office who was going after all the closeted gays and outing them to get them fired. I think he has a closet problem, himself.

    You truly are a fool.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  91. Giving everyone insurance isn’t going to affect that very much, except it will also probably flood non emergency doctors.

    I tend to think that if everyone had to buy a mandatory catastrosphic plan only, then the insurance risk pool not only would be dramatically increased (thereby leading to lower prices for everyone, theoretically), but the phenomenon of the “worried well” that Mike K. has discussed previously would be virtually non – existent. I doubt there’d be many takers for going into the doctor’s office for a few sniffles if you knew you were on the hook for the entire visit.

    Dmac (a93b13)

  92. One point in this whole mess I don’t see raised very often is how there are some 2000 federal and state mandates that limit or regulate the types and coverages that insurance companies can offer. And one major consideration in this is that due to one of these mandates there is no national healthcare market for insurance. One reform I would like to see is to be able to pick and choose coverages with a higher deductable. My guess is that you wouold see costs come down.

    BT (78b929)

  93. Here is the real truth.. There is a crisis in health care today.. millions of hard working middle class Americans find themselves struggling to make ends meet and health care costs are rising far faster than their wages. They are having trouble with affordable insurance for their families.
    There are several reasons for this the most important of which is that insurance companies are out to make profits and its a case of “your money or your life” and so they take in as much as they can and give out as little as possible.

    Secondly there are some that have no health insurance , many out of their own choice, but when they get sick and go to a hospital they are treated as out expense. People like Juan who is proudly uninsured but you can bet that if he or a member of his family was injured in an accident or fire he would go to the nearest hospital and if he did not have the money to pay he would accept treatment and then we would have to pay.

    Its like someone who has no auto insurance that hits us and then has no funds to pay. To me this is freeloading by those that refuse to exercise responsible caution but expect us to pay when they need help.

    Yet big money is doing the same thing is did during the Medicare debate, the Social Security debate and the Child Labor laws debate. Playing the fear card to protect their profits. Bullshitting us into believing that all sorts of horrible thing will happen if we cut into their money bags.

    It was bullshit then and its bullshit now that to think that a plan to help middle class Americans purchase affordable insurance is ok if you are a senior and are on Medicare,socialism and Marxism if you are in your forties or fifties and something only Hitler could have thought of if you are under 40!

    Notice how the main opponents of this bill are wealthy individuals, people with government insurance themselves or working for or being paid by insurance companies.. Dick Army are you reading this?

    Its the same old story folks, a small minority of very wealthy ONCE AGAIN playing on your fears and animosities to protect their special privilege and profits with words of socialism, marxism, death panels and killing grandpa..

    Do you see it now? If not what will it take?

    VietnamEraVet (9f20cf)

  94. BT – Reasonable and common-sensical have no place in this debated. They won so STFU.

    JD (c4445a)

  95. To all those young health folks that think you can do without health insurance..

    A couple of years ago, not far from where I live, there was a concert with a group called Great White and fireworks ignited on stage lead to the deaths and scarring of hundreds of Rhode Islanders. Look it up under RI Station Nightclub fire.. My friend lost his son and others spent months in hospitals recovering (?) from burns.

    Now Juan and other, without health insurance who do you suppose would pay for these million dollar plus bills? you know full well who pays…and that is why everyone must have health insurance. Its not fair to those that dont yet take advantage of care when needed.

    \On the other side companies cannot be allowed to find some shit reason for denying claims to those that they had no problem in accepting premiums from and there must be a public option like Medicare to put downward pressure on insurance companies prices.

    Its a simple plan and we can all discuss and debate the way it should be set up but isn’t it obvious that the goal of Republicans and Conservatives is not to create a better bill but to kill all reform in the hopes of preserving maximum insurance profits and gaining political power from an attack on the Obama administration AT THE EXPENSE OF THE MIDDLE CLASS?

    VietnamEraVet (9f20cf)

  96. “Imagine the debate over healthcare legislation on Capitol Hill as a tussle among three friends out for dinner.”

    “All three have been struggling to pay their bills lately. When the check arrives, they try to figure out how to divide it.”

    And, then the government “friend” pulls out a gun, says he’s levying a tax, and insists that the other two pay for the meal (plus a little extra for the government “friend’s” salary) or else go to prison.

    I think that’s a better analogy.

    Dave Surls (521491)

  97. VietnamEraVet, your #95 shows that you don’t understand the point being made at all.

    But further, you show your fundamental dishonesty, for the upteenth time, when you claim that “Its a simple plan”. That’s a rather brazen lie. And when you state that its obvious that the Republican plan is to simply kill a bill. Like all the dishonest Democrats, you ignore the bills that Republicans have introduced that the Democrat leadership prevents from reaching the floor for fear that it will have support from moderate Democrats and pass.

    And when you claim that the Republicans’ evil plans are at the expense of the middle class, you again show your dishonesty. That’s because Obamacare is designed to screw the middle class explicitly to benefit the lower classes that the Democrats have promised more free shit to.

    But then, lunacy and dishonesty are all we get from you.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  98. VeV – Take your meds.

    JD (f0aec3)

  99. Since the lawyers screwed the system up, let’s try tort reform first.

    tyree (353f22)

  100. Now Juan and other, without health insurance who do you suppose would pay for these million dollar plus bills?

    Vietnam Era Vet, you should Google “Rhode Island Station Fire Settlements” to see the millions of dollars that are being paid out to the families of victims. That is who is paying for the “million dollar plus [medical] bills.”

    And before you try out this argument, malpractice reform would not prevent these sorts of suits from coming to court seeing as how these suits were against the parties involved for negligence, not against the doctors who treated the victims.

    JVW (d1215a)

  101. “Notice how the main opponents of this bill are wealthy individuals, people with government insurance themselves or working for or being paid by insurance companies.”

    VeV – Haven’t been to any of the Townhalls, have you? How can you tell by looking at someone if they are wealthy? Why are those with government insurance opposing it if a government option if part of the solution? I don’t think most of the people on this blog opposing it fit into any of the above categories – explain that.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  102. Daley – Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. He’s on a roll.

    JD (9019c8)

  103. Let M.O. pay for the meal. She enjoys spending between $10 and $50,000 to get enough veggies to feed her gut and she only traveled a block or so.

    Scrapiron (4e0dda)

  104. In a world run by reason, refuting the posts puked up by VeV and Myron would be unnecessary. These people lie as naturally as they breathe, so their fundamental dishonesty should be self-evident enough that no one would have to respond. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world run by reason, so bilge like theirs needs to be addressed.

    All this bleating about how “the man” is out to kill the poor or keep them sick. All this crying about how “the rich” don’t have enough “compassion.” Funny how people like VeV and Myron need the government to tell them how to practice a simple human virtue like compassion, and what specifically that should be applied to, rather than take the initiative themselves. I guess they don’t have the courage of their stated convictions.

    Between 2004-2008, the following left-wing groups raised this amount of money for political lobbying and agitprop purposes:

    MoveOn–$99.5 million (and another $5.4 million in this election cycle as of June 30)

    Democracy for America–$13.6 million

    SEIU–$100.7 million

    America Coming Together–$80 million in 2004 ALONE.

    America Votes–$29.9 million

    How high would those figures be if these organizations were allocating these funds to help pay for healthcare for the poor? My guess is, not very high.

    Look at ALL THAT FREAKING MONEY, just between 2004 and 2008–over $300 million. But instead of practicing what they preach, and using those the bulk of those funds to actually provide non-profit financial charity to the poor, with NO government program to force them to do so, they instead decide to spend it on “Bush=Hitler” agitprop and protest signs from Kinko’s. I guess we can see where their priorities are.

    The lecturing and scolding from chumps like VeV and Myron would be somewhat understandable if they were giving of themselves to the poor of their own initiative, and wanted to encourage all of us to do so, at their own time and greater expense. But they’re not. They need the government to tell them how to do so(indeed, to FORCE them to do so) because when it comes right down to it, people like Myron and VeV don’t have a lick of integrity, and need to force the rest of us to be as much of a government-orded drone as they wish themselves to be.

    Oh, and have I mentioned that Obama and the Democrats STILL won’t put themselves on their own healthcare plan (all 4-5 of them)? Way to show how great it is, guys–way to establish the programs credibility.

    Another Chris (f29ad3)

  105. A greatpoint by “Another Chris”

    Massachusets has a voluntary tax rate for the wealthy to pay additional taxes if the feel the inspiration to do so. Neither Kerry or Kennedy, both fabulously wealthy by American standards, pay the higher rate.

    11% of the hospital beds in the US are run by the Catholic Church on a not for profit basis. How many of the liberal rich donate millions to support this charity work?

    I’ll believe it is a crisis when the people who say it is a crisis start acting like it is a crisis.

    tyree (353f22)

  106. Medical treatment can run into the tens of thousands, depending on the illness. You have not known anyone who has been really sick. I have. They’d have been crushed financially without insurance. Even with insurance, some of them are still paying lingering bills that were not covered.

    If price controls were enforced, they would not have been crushed financially.

    That said, an itemized bill from the hospital that has $12 for an ibuprophen and $10 for latex gloves isn’t uncommon.

    We ought to have price controls to do away with this price gouging.

    I don’t know that the individual mandate will survive the next round. In fact, I can’t say for certain what will wind up being “in” or “out” of the final bill.

    Myron,

    can you give me one good reason, just one , why universal healthcare should cover illegal aliens and sex offenders?

    Michael Ejercito (833607)

  107. Michael – Can you give some examples where price controls have worked to regulate an industry or market successfully?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  108. “I’ll believe it is a crisis when the people who say it is a crisis start acting like it is a crisis.”

    tyree – Global warming religion denialists already adopted this slogan! Find your own. Heh!

    daleyrocks (718861)

  109. People like Juan who is proudly uninsured but you can bet that if he or a member of his family was injured in an accident or fire he would go to the nearest hospital and if he did not have the money to pay he would accept treatment and then we would have to pay.

    Okay, so instead of having the IRS play the role of Big Nanny and even more of a Big Snoop, and legally authorized to nose around the private financial affairs of each and every American, hospitals and their staff should be equipped — should be legally authorized — to do the same thing.

    I know someone who because he didn’t pay for an auto registration fee way past its expiration date, the DMV (via the authority of Calif state government) sent a letter to his employer that deductions were now to be made to his salary. So the medical community needs to get with the program and start cracking down on all the freeloaders out there. In particular it needs to stop being so kissy-kissy, hugs-hugs towards, for example, “undocumented” people who drop by to see a doctor or nurse.

    The front office of a typical hospital certainly isn’t easygoing and in a kum-bah-yah mood when a visitor is clearly a native-born person who speaks fluent English. So it’s time the clerical staff start behaving in a similar way to everyone and anyone.

    And if there’s no way to garnish the wages of an “undocumented” person — because he or she lives in a world of under-the-table income — then the bill should be sent to the government of that person’s native country.

    Mark (411533)

  110. Juan–

    As I’ve said elsewhere, I’ve seen hospital bills that start at $50K, and by the time the network discounts are done the total is about $5K. And we haven’t even got to the 80/20 split.

    Subtract the insurance’s 80% payment from that, and the cost to the insured is $1,000 on an initial $50,000 bill.

    One example like that can pay for many years of insurance.

    Yes, the initial bill is bloated and unfair to the cash payer. Largely an unintended consequence of government intervention in the past. And Obama’s answer is, as usual, more intervention, as if that ever works.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  111. [...] The paper gave op-ed space to someone who implied that government can cover our health care — and it won’t cost us a dime! Because government money appears magically, out of nowhere! [...]

    Patterico's Pontifications » Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review 2009 (e4ab32)

  112. [...] The paper gave op-ed space to someone who implied that government can cover our health care — and it won’t cost us a dime! Because government money appears magically, out of nowhere! [...]

    Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review 2009 « Cliftonchadwick's Blog (bd1ac8)


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