Jul 282009
  1. Do you think a single person anywhere has read the entire, 1,017-page bill?
  2. Does it concern you that ruling committee Democrats have voted to exempt themselves from the government-run health care plan described by the bill?
  3. Do you believe President Obama’s claim that he will not sign a plan that increases the federal budget deficit?
  4. Do you see a practical, on-the-ground difference between the government directly forcing you out of your current plan, and the government incentivizing your employer to force you out of your current plan?
  5. Can you tell me, in 100 words or less, why you’re in favor of this government-run health care plan?

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 Posted by at 6:16 pm

  14 Responses to “Five questions for Obamacare supporters”

  1. Regarding question #1. Is there are bill? Maybe you could provide a thomas link?

  2. 1) I read the first two drafts, but stopped reading until they finalize something, which won’t be for a while.
    2) No, taxpayers pay for extraordinary amounts of representative health care, which include “heroic measures”. Tax payers pay millions to insure the perfect health of representatives, and they don’t want to give this up. Premiums for that type of care can cost up to twenty or thirty thousand dollars a month (on the extreme cases). That’s why they want to be exempted, and I would too
    3) Yes. This will greatly reduce the cost of health care. How much of your money every month goes into basic coverage? Personally, I get $212 taken out of my pay check every month from my employer. If we get “universal health care” (which we won’t), my paycheck will immediately go up by $212 a month. Additionally, the private sector will no longer have to pay out health benefits, or pay health care overhead, which will free up a lot of money in the private sector. Even just a 5% cut in private sector costs will generate huge amounts of tax revenue, while everyone benefits.
    5) Bulk deals are always cheaper and higher quality. In 2007 77.9% of private bankruptcies were medical cost induced. If none of those people went bankruptcies, and they were all still acting as good consumers, the economy would be a whole lot better right now.

  3. Curious: Good call. Post edited to include a link to the bill.

  4. jm: I have no idea what you’re saying to #2. Are you suggesting a premise of some substantial base of taxpayers thinking tremendously of the health of their elected officials, and demanding the very best care for them? I’ve never heard of that. I haven’t the slightest problem with members of Congress getting medical care the same way I do. I can’t imagine any but the most fawning government groupies feeling any differently.

    As for the rest of your comment, let me ask you this: have you ever had an experience with the federal government that gives you confidence that they can efficiently and effectively handle something as large as health care for all American citizens? If so, what was/is it?

    Do you believe the federal government is acting of magnanimity?

    How do you support the claim “bulk deals are always cheaper and higher quality”?

    How do you support your apparent supposition that this is a relatively simple, zero sum game (“my paycheck will immediately go up by $212 a month”)?

  5. You paycheck will go up by $212 so you can pay into the gov’t insurance program since everyone will be required to purchase coverage from somewhere.

    You mention the cost of insurance coverage, but insurance coverage is not the same as “the cost of health care.”

    Again, I say, open the markets up. Let insurance companies compete across state lines. And, we need to get away from the idea that insurance should cover EVERY little thing. It used to be that insurance was there to cover a catastrophe, not a sore throat. Walmart and CVS are competing to bring you the $10.00 strep test. If one cannot afford $10.00, Medicare is already in place to cover the least fortunate among us.

    And, tort reform is absolutely necessary to bring down medical liability insurance costs that are passed onto the consumer. Do not imagine that you can sue the U.S. Gov’t if they take over medicine and screw you up. Ask those in the military health system if they have any legal recourse there.

    By the way, the military system is a model of what universal health care would be like. I’ve yet to talk with someone who isn’t exasperated with the long wait times and inability to get necessary referrals.

    — the LCOE pig

  6. Well, Bo, you won’t like my answer to #5 —

    My hubby has been on the Army’s medical plan since 1967 (operated by the US government). Since 1985, he’s gotten VA medical benefits (also operated by the US government). When we got married in 2004, I became a Tricare (military, government-run plan) recipient.

    I can take or leave Blue Cross. VA and Tricare have consistently been efficient, professional, thorough, and open to our preferences as to treatments, docs, everything, plus the Rx benefits are amazing… we spend little to nothing on meds.

    Just my two tiny cents.

  7. 1.) very very few

    2.) no

    3.) no

    4.) yes

    5.) In the long term, uninsured citizens cost us more than insuring everyone. In addition to the fact that insurance companies and big pharm have too much influence on medical decisions, the free market system is not a great way to manage health care. I can’t tell you how much time I spend trying to get insurance companies to give authorization to pay for a medicine that would be in a patient’s best interest. May god have mercy on those with HMO’s.

    Signed your local community clinic cardiac nurse.

  8. One of the things that just BLOWS my mind is this: I am undergoing very expensive IVF treatments. When they started, I had insurance that covered 90%. Which was fantastic. I now have insurance that doesn’t cover any part of it. So, I have lots of lab work and lab bills that were previously paid and are not now. When the insurance company paid the $300 bill, they paid something like $40 dollars and I paid $3- Now, without coverage for that, they demand $300 for the same test that the accepted $43 for. How does that make sense? Why screw people just because they do not have a certain benefit on their insurance?

    Also, I do have a friend that is a military wife and she is a breast cancer survivor and she has had nothing but nice things to say about the health care she received then and now.

    I don’t know how we should fix the healthcare system but, it’s broken.

  9. i serously doubt many people will read the bill…i mean, i have never looked over a bill before and maybe i should have!

    the bottom line for health care is that we need to get costs contained and manageable before we worry about getting everyone “insured.”

  10. btw, to open up another can of worms from comments mentioned above, medicaid reimburses better (i.e., more) than tricare/VA benefits. there are a tremendous number of physicians who will not accept it.

  11. Bigdave, ‘seester: Again, y’all are all over it with suggestions that are much closer to truly gutting the system and starting over, rather than grabbing a bunch of Band-Aids for the current system. What does something really cost? How can we protect patients’ rights while minimizing the frivolous lawsuit–a major cost factor? (Hoo boy, loser pays still looks awfully good to me…)

    Suzie, Jenny: Of course you’re going to find good experiences in a bad system, just as you find bad experiences in a good system. But think institutionally. What shall motivate the government to do this well for more than 300 million people? Can it? What drives “right-sizing” here? Indeed, isn’t such all too often contraindicated in a government program? Where are the cost controls? When there is no money anyway, what’s another zero or three (and man oh man, have we ever proved that so far this year/administration)?

    Any concerns about privacy?

    Phil: I can make no sense of “in the long term, uninsured citizens cost us more than insuring everyone.” When 89% of Americans answer that they are satisfied with their current health care, there is not a massive, multi-trillion-dollar problem to solve here.

    I wouldn’t leave it as it is. But I also damned sure wouldn’t commit the most expensive fallacy of the excluded middle in the history of the world. Adopt my plan, or watch civilization end.

    Of course, I don’t believe the plan is about helping people anyway. It’s about dependency on the state; just another power grab.

    But I’m just paranoid that way.

  12. I don’t believe there will by any major change. The system we have is deeply ingrained. If we see anything at all it will just be an expansion of Medicaid. I could be wrong, but I don’t see any interest in identifying what the real issues are. Federal legislators are too lazy to put any thought or effort into how to address the stranglehold big pharma and insurance companies have on our health care system. Then there are the huge piles of money their lobbyists throw around.

  13. Cheryl, the scenario you describe is certainly preferable to many others I plausibly fear. So, in that context, I hope you’re right.

    I have to say, my favorite thing so far on this post is jm’s bit about the taxpayers’ alleged deep, abiding, multimillion-dollar concern for the health of members of Congress. Has anyone ever heard of this? Does this actually have traction?

  14. Jenny brings up a point that relates to the “true” cost. Somewhere in that $43 is profit. The pundits all talk about the bill as the true cost of health care. Which is it.

    And, another issue comes to mind. Situations like infertility are not health CARE as defined by this debate. So when it comes to all the optional, but somehow medically related issues, I certainly wouldn’t expect any public plan to pay any part of it. If private insurance wishes to offer those things as extra options for a price, then they’ll do it they can stay afloat doing so. But the taxpayers are not.

    And don’t forget, whatever wonderful solutions our federal gov’t comes up with, is going to mandate what we must have and what we cannot have. And ALL of us, the taxpayers, our children, our grand children, our great grandchildren are going to be paying the debt, whether it works or fails.

    I just cannot imagine the paperwork. Have you never had to call the IRS and ask a simple question? Just have one minorly complicated income situation, and the “worksheets” become a nightmare. OMG. I see an entire new career, much like the tax accountant, the federal-medical-form-filler-outer consultant.

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