• I agree that health INSURANCE (private or govt) can't lower costs in a free-market because of the various conflicts of interest (private) or economic impossibilities (govt). We should take those conflicts out of the equation and focus on the real root of the issue -- health care, one person at a time.

    I could live with a co-op structure that gave people ownership & buying power in the system and let people voluntarily contribute funds to the coffers for the care of less fortunate people. (Not unlike how I set aside a small amount per paycheck for a local charity via United Way.) However it's done, the money will come from our pockets, so why not cut out the middle man -- govt, insurance, whoever.

    Government never yields power once they have it, so I can't yield any more to them.

    August 13, 2009 at 2:45 p.m.

  • BSspotter
    I think we agree the health care problem is not being addressed. I don’t know if you agreed that health care is not a good free-market enterprise because of the built in problems, such as current life style etc…The Free-market will out- source, cut payroll, benefits, and many other expenses to offer a competitive price…Too many variables in the health care industry to use those principles…People won’t pay the high premiums and we will end up with a sick workforce…It’s kind of like using free-market principals for the police or fire department…IMO

    I don’t think it’s about being progressive or conservative but more about being a realist…Medicare will go bankrupt in 2019, Medicaide probably is, and Social Security need to be made solvent for about 75 years…..Unless we do something about the current trend of health care costs, the entitlements and trade deficits will take us over the cliff…How many times can we avert this? Our credit card is about maxed out.

    August 13, 2009 at 2:26 p.m.

  • This problem requires the patient to take matters into his/her own hands, but the govt options will slowly handcuff the patient and narrow the options. A great example of keeping costs low is the doctor's office in Shiner that charges a flat rate of $75 cash for an office visit, including x-rays and lab work. My dad, who is a 57-year-old uninsured small business owner, uses their services and feels like it's a bargain. The high costs kick in once he needs a prescription or hospitalization. The cozy relationship between Big-Pharma and Big-Govt is well documented (see Medicare Part D).

    My wife & I utilize natural medicine (Ancient Remedies) for minor and preventative care. My visits run $75 plus the affordable recommended natural/homeopathic remedy that I can choose to not purchase. in most cases, a change in diet is all that's needed. Diet is the most-overlooked cause of illness. Anyone here ever have a pharmaceutical deficiency?

    While preventative/minor health care is a service that should be reaching the point of being a commodity, it's being treated as a premium service by an over-institutionalized cronyistic system.

    If we ABSOLUTELY had to have a universal govt-assisted health program, I would rather have a health account system (a Lone Star card for health care) where the patients choose the providers who are COMPETING for those dollars through lower prices, better service, etc. Roll-over tax-free health savings accounts would create a similar effect for those who can afford health care out-of-pocket.

    Third parties and government intervention will continue to increase the gross, mostly-hidden cost of health care. Sure, govt may lower the apparent cost for some demographics, but it's still going to cost us more overall through taxation and currency inflation (via inevitable borrowing).

    By now, I hope it's obvious I don't have ANY partisan motivations (I'm ANTI-partisan) for opposing govt health care. I believe I provide articulate & analytical rationale, as do many who are laughed down as lacking compassion or not being progressive enough. If using a naturopathic doctor, focusing on a natural diet for long-term health, and urging local, homegrown compassion isn't progressive, then we must be using that word in the same way Stalin would've used it, which is regressive in terms of individual rights. But we don't care about individuals anymore, do we -- it's about the collective.

    August 13, 2009 at 12:22 p.m.

  • Mike..."I told you New Hampshire was your kind of state,"

    Yeah, the only things wrong with New Hampshire are December, January and February. I enjoyed the story about the guy legally carrying a gun -- not shooting anybody -- and nobody really thinking anything of it except some reporters. I'd be willing to wager a Big Mac against a Whopper that he wasn't the only one there with a handgun.

    August 13, 2009 at 11:54 a.m.

  • You know we are just skirting the issue with the pretentious battle of government versus capitalism….After viewing several CNBC round tables, reading today’s Advocate article on Health Care Reform, today’s New York Times editorial and basically making up my own mind, I think this is just another practice of futilely that we seem to engage in; just to get on our soap box to support our agenda.

    In my opinion the health care insurance companies will get out of business in the next twenty years because health care is not the marketable item that the free-market can apply their principals to.

    1. This nation is obese leading to expensive heart problems,diabetes,procedures.
    2. We have older generation with a lot of expensive medical problems
    3. We are living longer

    I am not saying the federal government will step in and do a bang up job or outperform the private insurance companies. The for- profit insurance companies will continue to find ways to try to please their shareholders; so rationing,discriminatory practices, and micromanaging will always be part of the solution…..Laissez-faire is running its course…IMO

    The new technology, mega-hospitals, and the growing trend of medical specialist will continue to drain the profits of the insurance companies, leaving them no recourse but to continue raising the price of our premiums. That’s business…On the other hand we want those expensive procedures but we don’t want to pay for them.

    Realistically ,the entitlements (Social Security, Medicare, & Medicaid) are here to stay because I cannot foresee anyone winning an election running on a platform of repealing those programs…A protester said he paid for Medicare, oh yea, let’s do a little basic math…If he made $80,000 a year for the past 40 years he would have paid in $46,400 @ the 1.45% that they took out of his check. One expensive procedure would eat that up, burdening the taxpayers for the rest.

    In my opinion health care is not a marketable item unless you can persuade the public, that it is in their best interest to live a healthier life style, shop around for the best physician, and seek prevenative care because the private insurance company will do what they have to do….As you have noticed the health industry did not make an effort to reduce costs because they were satisfied with status quo for now…It is just another example of a bubble.

    August 13, 2009 at 11:12 a.m.

  • Competition is the invisible force that drives innovation, better service, lower prices, accessibility & higher quality. Our current health care system hasn’t operated in a true free market in decades and it shows. I find it interesting how ignorant the public is to how involved the govt HAS BEEN in health care. I want everyone to be healthy, but it can’t be done through insurance. We all have to care for/about people locally. We can’t contract out compassion through a national govt program.

    The third-party payer system is a major factor in the higher prices. How can we expect prices to be low if the consumer doesn’t care about the price?! The govt’s inflation of the money supply is another ignored factor.

    If you don’t think this “reform” will grease the slippery slope to a single-payer system, you’re either lying to yourself, not paying attention, not knowledgeable of natural economic law, don’t care about economic liberties, have ignored the past words/actions of the people pushing this scheme, have ignored the historical inevitabilities of govt central planning, or some/all of the above.

    We’re all victims of the govt’s problem-reaction-solution scheme. I feel confident most of their govt solutions exist before the problems they try to protect us from.

    August 13, 2009 at 10:06 a.m.

  • Malaise asks: “Can you tell me how we are going to keep the costs of healthcare down over the next decade with Medicare ready to burst the budget?”

    Repealing the Medicare Modernization Act (Medicare Part D) would be a good start. Frankly, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet. This law maximizes the cost of prescriptions drugs and doesn’t allow competition. This bill was written by & for Big Pharma.
    Malaise asks: “Can you tell me why people like Stephen Hawking said he likes his govt-funded healthcare just fine?”

    He probably likes NHS because he benefitted from it. (no-brainer) That question can be asked for anyone getting something for “free”. As in: Can you tell me why _____ said he likes his govt-funded _____ just fine? Duh!

    While we’re getting myopic, selective & anecdotal, can you tell me why all of the 6-7 Canadians in this room don’t like their health care system? (Krugman is a worm!)
    Malaise says: You also said: "And please don’t overlook how our government fails at nearly EVERYTHING it ever does on a national scale." You mean like organizing the best military in the world?

    You mean the military that costs 3 times as much as it should and is deployed in 150 countries? How is it a success to have an imperial military that burdens the economy & incites terrorists due to foreign occupation? I can get behind a military that is strictly used for National Defense, but what we have is a perversion of its intentions. Our current foreign policy does not protect my freedoms -- it threatens them.
    Malaise says: “Or the best postal system for about 300 years until private competition and the internet finally cut profitability to the point where they now have to close offices?”

    Have you ever been to a post office? The service is typically horrible if not barely satisfactory. When I use FedEx or UPS, I get detailed tracking of my package at every stop it makes, whereas the USPS has barely come around in the last few years to knowing your package has arrived. Where would their technology be if they didn’t have competition? The private companies are usually much friendlier & more eager to please because they know they have competition. I’ve yet to find a USPS employee that’s as courteous as the least friendly UPS driver I’ve ever dealt with. If consumers didn’t like what the private competition offered, they wouldn’t exist. This is a great example of The People exercising their wills, which most national health care proponents disregard as a mere inconvenience.

    August 13, 2009 at 10:02 a.m.

  • Obama is beginning to remind me of good ol' Buzz Windrip.

    August 13, 2009 at 10 a.m.

  • Thanks Wayward & Legion, I really appreciate that…63 years old is young?:-)

    Wayward: I told you New Hampshire was your kind of state, a lone protester is allowed have a loaded gun outside a town hall meeting that featured the President of the United States, the Secret Service and the local police kept an eye on him but he was not disturbed…Ron Paul told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz that he was startled by that when he first campaigned in that state and he jokingly said “I thought Texas had liberal gun laws.”..He was surprised but he praised the Obama administration for not taking action against someone that had a legal permit, respecting state laws

    August 13, 2009 at 9:25 a.m.

  • This comment was removed by the user.

    August 13, 2009 at 9:15 a.m.

  • Mike...Happy Anniversary! I thought you were too young to have been married that long.

    August 12, 2009 at 8:21 p.m.

  • Beg your pardon, Mike. I call 'em like I see may have noticed I was never a fan of GWB, or his old man either. As your side coined the phrase, neo-con I believe it is. I have no use for them and find them equals to your side two faced, double talking politics.

    That being said, I'm glad you've got yours. I hope everyone gets theirs. Major difference in thinking. My hope is for everyone to get theirs: yours is to spread mine around. Spread your our own. I believe you can over pay your taxes any time you wish. Know that your party is in control, I know you won't mind.

    I realize you prefer to keep personal experiences/views out of your talking points. That is my issue with leftist elitists. "Do as I say". "I know what's best for you". And now the latest, "You guys are racist if you don't support (fill in the blank, Obama, Sotomayor, etc...).

    I don't care for direction Obama is taking this nation. But it is the "change" people voted for. And he has four years. I accept that. But just as you were an overly biasis critic of Bush, so I reserve the right to dislike the policies of your administration.

    Hypocrite. Yes. As you bitched and moaned about Bush, now we are supposed to behave differently about Obama? What word would you use to describe that point of view.

    And realize that the policy you support IS putting 130 million's health care at risk.

    August 12, 2009 at 8:08 p.m.

  • Congratulations Mike,

    My best wishes to you and yours on your anniversary.

    August 12, 2009 at 5:59 p.m.

  • Legion357

    Keep up, some of the monies are in the stimulus package and some are in the budget that was passed; that 635 billion for Health Care Reform…Don’t you listen to the president’s news conference?:-)

    President Obama has been talking about electronic record keeping for about two years on the campaign…I even mentioned some of his ideas in a couple of blogs…Nothing fishy going on…It’s a moot point ,since they won’t be adopting the Cleveland or the Mayo Clinic model..Why are you so argumentative?

    The president was explaining the efficiency of the Mayo Clinic even thou they were critical of the house version...I know Hannity and the Washington Times wanted to make political hay out of the situation..That's politics ;you win some;you lose some.

    Got to go....celebrating 42th wedding anniversary tonight..Have a good one.

    August 12, 2009 at 5:49 p.m.

  • BigJ
    I respectfully disagree because our (me & you) solutions are not that important but our understanding of the proposals are, if we care about certain legislation…..Being angry over something that is not in any of the five bills is a waste of time….The representatives will iron out a bill, then it is up to us to understand and help others understand; if we believe in the cause.
    As you know, Health Care Reform is my pet issue; I have been at it since I retired about 7 years ago. This was the number 2 issue behind the Iraq War for the Democratic Party in the last presidential election.

    This is just my opinion, but I think after the dust has settled and cooler heads prevail, the voters will remember who started this tempest and what party was actually trying to make a difference.. I admit ;I could be wrong.

    August 12, 2009 at 5:35 p.m.

  • Well that's good I guess Mike, since Obama used the Mayo system as a example.

    It is amazing that that from 7-29, (the date of the article I referenced) to 8-12, (the date of your reply) a mere 14 days that.....
    "the president has already budgeted the reforms needed to eventually get up to standards like electronic record keeping, Fee-for-service, patients getting all their appointments and tests completed in three to five days at the Mayo Clinic, without having to see doctors and take tests in different locations and wait for results".

    Especially since you claim the president is not writing the bill, the legislative branch is.

    Unless you mean he has only budgeted the reforms you mention for the Mayo Clinic only.

    August 12, 2009 at 5:22 p.m.

  • BigJ
    I know ,this is getting like it was a couple of years ago when you first came on….Those on the right would post talk radio, Fox News articles and right-wing blog material that would get debunked on a daily basis using Snoops and

    You know they can post all the factual derogatory material about the administration and the Democratic Party and I won’t complain a bit…It’s those lies, half-truths, and exaggerations they constantly use for facts…Personal stories or opinions are one thing but why lie?

    August 12, 2009 at 4:52 p.m.

  • BigJ and skin -- you'd swear you are really wrapped up in each of our skins. I like being a rainbow!

    August 12, 2009 at 4:50 p.m.

  • Everytime I see factcheck used here I roll on floor laughing. Everyone should research the founders of the group and where the money comes from to fund the about a farce trying to pretent to be a real grown up web site.

    Mike I would have much more respect for arguments it were for using MSNBC and Factcheck. I truely really would.

    Both are fodder for media prostitution.

    August 12, 2009 at 4:44 p.m.

  • I remember something like that happening during the Terri Schiavo where the president of the United States intervened, it was revealed that while governor of Texas, Bush signed into law the Advance Directive Act which authorizes physicians to refuse to honor a patient's advance directive, or the wishes of a patient's guardian, and discontinue life-sustaining medical care, including ventilators and feeding tubes. The Act was used March 15, 2005, to remove 6-month-old Sun Hudson from a ventilator at Texas Children's Hospital, his parents' wishes to the contrary notwithstanding. Hudson died is his mother's arms moments later.

    Fill me in; I can’t remember if the conservatives called it death panels back then.

    This is like Michelle Backmann saying President Obama was setting up re- education camps, yet her son recently joined AmeriCorps…The same group the president was encouraging the young people to join.

    Can’t we come back to reality?

    August 12, 2009 at 4:23 p.m.

  • Kenneth

    I don’t understand why people seem to think congress is rewriting private insurance policies..The president keeps repeating “If you like your insurance, you can keep it.”….Don’t people believe we have separation of powers? Max Baucus (D-MT) Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee will give the senate a chance to have a debate ,where legislators can air their concerns on CSPAN, before an up or down vote…The bill will then go to a conference committee where the White House will get a chance to markup the bill before allowing it to go through both chambers for an up or down vote….535 lawmakers will get a chance to scrutinize the bill before the president’s signature…..After passage the Supreme Court can settle any claim of discrepancy.

    1. The Hyde amendment prevents federal funding of abortions…No bill to repeal that
    2. Obama’s people do not trump 535 legislators..We do not have a banana republic.

    I look at this as every day political horse trading…..Before the insurance companies will even consider pre-existing conditions or portability, that have to be assured of ,say,30,million new customers…Question is how do we bring in the 30+ million new customers without mandates or penalties? Many baby boomers will probably go into Medicare anyway, and the poor will be taken in by Medicaid but the young indestructible taxpayers will have to be persuaded, somehow.

    My lingering question….Why, after 230+ years are we getting worried about government euthanasia, sex changes, re-education camps, and eugenics?....I said President Bush was incompetent (still do) but I never complained about him taking over the country or made stuff up…...I complained about the signing statements of President Bush, the Patriot Act, and circumventing the FISA court but Obama has followed the tradition (same complaint, except for the FISA Court).

    This is still the United States of America with the Constitution,Supreme Court,legislative and judicial branch still in tack..It did not just go "poof" overnight.

    August 12, 2009 at 4:01 p.m.

  • George W. Bush started the Death Panels in Texas, aka the Texas Futile Care Law. In 1999, Texas passed a bill which was signed by then Governor GW Bush that set up a procedure that allowed hospitals to discontinue life support measure for terminally ill patients without the consent of the parents or guardians. There were several cases of this over the last couple of years in Austin and Houston, IIRC.

    August 12, 2009 at 3:32 p.m.

  • A person can get an idea of how efficient the government is at controlling the markets for really anything including health care by reading about the "New Deal." The NRA was part of FDR's ill conceived attempt to control the price of almost everything. I got a good chuckle reading the case brought before the Supreme Court that got the NRA over turned.

    The Schechter brothers sold chickens in NYC. The NRA prosecutors alleged that the brothers were paying illegal low wages, selling sick chickens and, get this, allowing customers to choose the chicken they wanted instead of randomly grabbing a chicken, any chicken out of the coop.

    This last point got a laugh out of the justices when they asked what happens if the chickens run to the other side of the coop. They laughed the lawyers out of the court room and declared the NRA unconstitutional by a nine to zero vote. - chickens sh!T indeed !!!!

    That's how I imagine universal health care will be run. But getting back to the subject. It was stated that the health insurance companies made 12.7 billion dollars in profit. Assuming there are about 120 million policy holders this profit margin amounts to about $106 per year per policy - not exactly a staggering sum.

    I found that the CEO for United Health Care made $124 million in 2005. Most of this ($114 million) was made on stock options, which mainly comes from shareholders and not directly out of operating income.

    And finally if the proponents want more competition then why won't they allow across state line purchases of insurance? Why won't they allow tort reform? Why won't they eliminate all the insurance mandates required by federal and state laws? Many of these like lypo-suction, botox, balding and other junk mentioned above have no connection with a person's immediate health. Why can't we try some of these things first before we launch into another budget busting entitlement?

    August 12, 2009 at 3:27 p.m.

  • Thanks Kenneth

    You know this bill has a serious flaw that the opponents have not picked up on. There is a possible $80 billion deal between the administration and Big PhRMA that would continue the practice of not allowing Medicare patients to negotiate for lower prices like the VA does….I don’t really know that for a fact ,but why would the pharmaceutical companies just volunteer $80 billion over ten years?...Out of the goodness of their heart?

    I use the Jon Stewart therapy to keep from getting upset over this whole fiasco…What a complete 180, I saw some 2005 clips of the commentators on the right like Bill OReilly, Laura Ingram, and Sean Hannity calling the anti-Iraq War protester’s un-American and Nazi terrorist.Now, the left is doing the same…It’s funny when the wonders of video tape brings it into perspective.

    I got a kick out of conservative Democrat Claire McCaskill handing the rowdy crowd in her home state of Missouri. First she asked “How many of you are on Medicare or VA benefits, all those who want to give it back remain standing.”That is now the new DNC talking point….Then she asked if any one noticed that tort reform in the state of Missouri reduced malpractice suits. The crowd applauded..Then said “Your health insurance costs did not go down.” She recently told another town hall meeting crowd that” states like California and Florida where there has been “aggressive” tort reform health care costs haven’t gone down, but have instead gone up.”

    Yes, the language is important but as of now we don’t even have a senate bill, so we still have plenty of time to go through these drafts and eliminate trash before the final bill comes up for a up or down vote.

    Take care

    August 12, 2009 at 11:54 a.m.

  • Mike, I'm not going to disagree or agree with you here. This is a Democrat Bill, it has been clearly stated, they do not need any input from the Republicans. This Bill is wrong for America.

    August 12, 2009 at 11:19 a.m.

  • Bighorn
    You always want to personalize the situation..This Health care Reform bill will not take effect until 2013, by that time I will be on Medicare….So the “But then again, you have yours' and you ain't giving it up. Are you? “, is not necessary.

    Glad you mentioned Wal-Mart because this is what their CEO actually said “"We are for an employer mandate which is fair and broad in its coverage," Wal-Mart said in a letter to congressional and administration officials. "Any alternative to an employer mandate should not create barriers to hiring entry-level employees."

    For the third time in a week,I have been called a hypocrite, it seems to me, that people that call me a hypocrite need to attach a mirror on their monitor because unless you go into the numerous right-wing blogs and call them a bias hypocrite, well you know the answer.

    You said “My radical alternative is to ban all health insurance, and go to a competitive, free market system. Cash and carry. Think the price would go down radically? Bet your sweet ....., it would!.......Well, that is not a truth certain without documented facts to back it up and I seriously doubt that the 130,000 + million people that are insured would like to try that risky venture…IMO

    August 12, 2009 at 10:28 a.m.

  • Itisi said “The Republicans have went to the table, their not wanted.. It’s all about Obama, the Democrats are hell bent on giving him what ever he want regardless of the cost, and it will be on the tax payers dime. Obama, share the wealth.”

    Let me clarify, when I said the GOP won’t come to the table, I meant send someone that has the approvable of Minority leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to submit,accept or reject proposals.

    In the middle of July of this year.: GOP Rep. Roy Blunt has now said Republicans won’t offer a health care bill of their own, breaking a previous promise. Worse, it turns out Blunt is chair of something called the “House GOP Health Care Solutions Group.”

    Blunt’s quote went up online:
    “Our bill is never going to get to the floor, so why confuse the focus? We clearly have principles; we could have language, but why start diverting attention from this really bad piece of work they’ve got to whatever we’re offering right now?”
    That’s a pretty stark admission that Republicans won’t introduce their own bill solely because they think it’s better politics to keep the focus on the Democrats.

    It gets better. Head over to the House GOP Health Care Solutions Group’s Web site, and you’ll find prominent video of Blunt vowing the GOP is “drafting our own legislation.”

    Dems are already circulating Blunt’s recent suggestion that government perhaps shouldn’t have created certain other well-established government health care programs. “After saying Medicare and Medicaid were mistakes, now Roy Blunt is admitting he will not offer any healthcare solutions,” DSCC spokesman Eric Schultz emailed me.

    Expect Dems to tie Blunt’s latest to Jim DeMint’s “Waterloo” crack to push the line that the GOP’s preferred health care cure is no cure at all.

    Now ,if you are talking about the 160 amendments the GOP added to the Health Care Reform bill, a lot of those were scratch throughs of the Kennedy bill and submitted for an up or down vote but it was participation.

    August 12, 2009 at 10:04 a.m.

  • Legion357
    I am well aware that the Mayo Clinic does not approve of the house version of the Health reform bill but the president has already budgeted the reforms needed to eventually get up to standards like electronic record keeping, Fee-for-service, patients getting all their appointments and tests completed in three to five days at the Mayo Clinic, without having to see doctors and take tests in different locations and wait for results, and the Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization.

    e.g.….Mayo Clinic pays medical doctors a fixed salary that is unaffected by patient volume. This practice is thought to decrease the monetary motivation to see patients in large numbers and increase the incentive to spend more time with individuals. Salaries are determined instead by the marketplace salaries for physicians in comparable large group practices.

    It seems to me conservatives would be glad the Mayo Clinic did not like the house version of the bill.

    August 12, 2009 at 9:47 a.m.

  • BSspotter, can you tell me how we are going to keep the costs of healthcare down over the next decade with Medicare ready to burst the budget? Can you tell me why people like Stephen Hawking said he likes his govt-funded healthcare just fine?

    "I wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high quality treatment without which I would not have survived." ---Stephen Hawking, August 11, 2009

    He gave that reply after an Investors Business Daily's editorial said this:

    "People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless."

    The statement has been removed from the editorial since its original publication. Apparently the rigorous research team at IBD didn't realize that Hawking is British and has been the recipient of British health care during the whole time he's lived longer than seemingly any other ALS patient.

    You also said: "And please don’t overlook how our government fails at nearly EVERYTHING it ever does on a national scale."

    You mean like organizing the best military in the world? Or the best postal system for about 300 years until private competition and the internet finally cut profitability to the point where they now have to close offices? Perfect? hardly, but we don't have perfect now, either, with exploding costs of care and insurance.

    I consider our healthcare coverage to be "decent" but not outstanding. And it is expensive. Why should I want something different? It isn't just about the exploding costs if nothing is done. I guess I consider myself my brother's keeper. And I believe govt can do collectively what I as an individual cannot do own my own: make certain my neighbors have access to healthcare and that they aren't cut off at the knees by their insurance companies. This is part of practicing my faith.

    August 11, 2009 at 10:59 p.m.

  • It seems to me that the current plan fails in a real world sense. I forsee major corporations, especially retail outlets (Wal-Mart?) with a large employment pool, dropping their current plans in favor of a "National Health Program" and lowering their overhead. From there, I see non-retail companies following suit (hello, Exxon-Mobil, Microsoft, etc.) to lower their bottom line. In such a scenario, the mid-range and small employers (ie, small business) would wind up picking up the tab. And their employees in turn with lesser employment and higher taxes.

    I understand your hypocritical biasis, Mike. But I do not see this as a plan that USA needs. Ever.

    My radical alternative is to ban all health insurance, and go to a competitive, free market system. Cash and carry. Think the price would go down radically? Bet your sweet ....., it would!

    But then again, you have yours' and you ain't giving it up. Are you?

    August 11, 2009 at 8:55 p.m.

  • The Republicans have went to the table, their not wanted.. It’s all about Obama, the Democrats are hell bent on giving him what ever he want regardless of the cost, and it will be on the tax payers dime. Obama, share the wealth.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:03 p.m.

  • Ahh, the Mayo clinic........
    Mayo Clinic calls House plan bad medicine
    Obama loses support on reform

    By Christina Bellantoni (Contact) and Jennifer Haberkorn (Contact)

    Originally published 04:45 a.m., July 21, 2009, updated 01:39 p.m., July 21, 2009

    The Mayo Clinic said there are some positive elements of the bill, but overall "the proposed legislation misses the opportunity to help create higher quality, more affordable health care for patients."

    "In fact, it will do the opposite," clinic officials said, because the proposals aren't [R]patient-focused or results-oriented. "The real losers will be the citizens of the United States."

    August 11, 2009 at 5:52 p.m.

  • No argument there but my doctor is not at all pleased by the micromanaging (it might be his ego..;-)….To be fair, for the last two years, Aetna has been ahead of the curve with their wellness program….My wife received free advice and follow ups when she had breast cancer…Aetna reminds me of my yearly eye checkup because of my diabetes…..I am one of the 67% that say they are pleased with their health insurance but it will be a moot point at the end of next year because I will be on a single- payer government paid Medicare.

    While I am being truthful, the Cleveland & Mayo clinics are excellent models of efficiency but we are not going to adopt it.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:16 p.m.

  • An insurance provider questioning a procedure or test is not the same thing as the provider denying a procedure or test.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:02 p.m.

  • When President Obama was told that the GOP wanted to put Tort Reform on the table, he said “I will strongly consider it but what does the GOP want to offer in return.” He was told “nothing, sir.”…I am paraphrasing. If only the GOP would come to the table and compromise, a bipartisan bill might be worked out.

    Every Republican will agree that Health Care Reform is necessary but they won’t come to the table to bargain.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:44 p.m.

  • Malaise, can you take a stab at my earlier concerns?

    August 11, 2009 at 4:38 p.m.

  • JW Harrison, you aren't the only one with a professional certification on this board, (I have one as well) and you don't speak for the what is good for the rest of the country either. But you will be seeing your insurance costs climb over the next decade, I'd wager, unless you are willing to cut benefits. I've seen insurance claims denied for DISABLED CHILDREN. Claim denial happens alot, and for some pretty disgusting reasons. Maybe you haven't seen it, and that is fortunate for you and your employees. I hope you and they all stay healthy enough that they don't need their insurance.

    I happen to be fine with some degree of tort reform, including caps on punitive damages, but doing that hasn't solved all the healthcare cost problems in Texas, has it. If that was the only problem, then our healthcare costs would be coming down by now. It has helped with some increase in the number of doctors coming to Texas. Another thing that might help is for the AMA to agree with the medical school to increase the total number of doctors in their programs, especially for primary care.

    Republicans aren't offering any solutions. GWBush offered NOTHING to stop the growth in healthcare costs. Apparently they care more about the profits of insurance companies over the health of the citizens of the US.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:27 p.m.

  • Can you explain in detail to folks like me who don’t have burdensome, objectivity-destroying allegiances how nationalized heath care will benefit America in the long term? Will it be more successful than other government ventures into health care? And please don’t overlook how our government fails at nearly EVERYTHING it ever does on a national scale. Please present other instances of how government intervention lowered the cost or improved the quality of a service or product. Also, take a moment to consider the ways government already intervenes in our health care system and ponder the impact.

    I’ll get you started:
    - HMO Act of 1973 (created those horrible HMOs)
    - Non-negotiable Medicare prescription drug plan (maximum cost boondoggle!)
    - Medicare & Medicaid (10s of trillions in unfunded liabilities)

    What’s keeping our current health care system from operating in and benefitting from a true free market, like for instance, the MP3 player, computer or cell phone markets? In most other free markets open to competition, prices go down and quality increases over time. (We haven’t had a true free market in decades, but there’s still enough competition to partially simulate market forces in some areas.) If everyone who wanted an iPod had a third party pay for it, would they really care how much it cost?

    Please try to convince me that central planning works.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:24 p.m.

  • jwharrison
    As a former employee of a major Corporation, we were always informed of the current changes, costs, abuses, of hospital costs and doctor fees. The company actually paid for the insurance so they were not big fans of the underwriters and denial of claims. They were not unique.

    I know my physician just rolls his eyes every time I mention a letter I get form my insurance company questioning a procedure or test. He keeps telling me he won’t have that problem next year when I am on Medicare.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:23 p.m.

  • Two nonpartisan agencies of Congress have examined the question. In 2004 the Congressional Budget Office found “no evidence that restrictions on tort liability reduce medical spending.” And in 1999 the Governmental Accountability Office evaluated the study and said that the evidence presented was too narrow for estimating the overall costs of defensive medicine.

    The chamber also ignores several key findings from the study, all of which show that costs associated with tort lawsuits are actually slowing in growth. For instance:

    • U.S. tort costs grew by 0.5 % in 2005. This was much lower than the growth rate of 5.7 % in 2004, and was the smallest increase in tort costs since 1997.

    Tom Baker's The Medical Malpractice Myth, published last November. Baker, a law professor at the University of Connecticut who studies insurance, argues that the hype about medical malpractice suits is "urban legend mixed with the occasional true story, supported by selective references to academic studies." After all, including legal fees, insurance costs, and payouts, the cost of the suits comes to less than one-half of 1 percent of health-care spending. If anything, there are fewer lawsuits than would be expected, and far more injuries than we usually imagine.

    I have more but just to save time..This should suffice.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:10 p.m.

  • The following editorial comments are from the New York Times (July 11, 2009). Note how they refer to Obama's single payer Universal Health Care and why private insurance rates are increasing so rapidly. They are increasing because of government is interfering in the market place - very similar to the way they did to make housing "affordable" ----

    ONE way that the Obama administration proposes to pay for universal coverage is by cutting Medicare payments to hospitals. True, at 35 percent of 2007 Medicare spending, hospitals represent the largest provider group, but they are not necessarily the most rational target for draconian payment cuts. Cutting payments to specific provider types is not the answer. When payments go down in one area, they end up increasing elsewhere. For instance, Medicare has more constraints for inpatient payments than for outpatient, home health care or skilled nursing care.

    As a result, per beneficiary inpatient costs grew only 18 percent from 2002 to 2007, while outpatient costs increased 47 percent and skilled nursing and home health costs each rose more than 50 percent. These differences partly reflect the trend of hospitals discharging Medicare patients “quicker and sicker” so that they go from a tightly controlled inpatient payment system to a less constrained one. Another problem is that the more Medicare restricts payments to hospitals, the more hospitals ask of their privately insured patients.

    August 11, 2009 at 3:56 p.m.

  • I wonder if it will settle down before a bill is passed? I don't think it will, the GOPstoppers are so good at scaring the (frankly) uninformed and/or uneducated. They have no qualms at all about lying and stirring people up to get their way.

    Can we say "War in Iraq" anyone? Now it's "no govt healthcare but keep your hands off my Medicare" ???

    The lack of critical thinking skills and sheep-like behavior is characteristic of these people.

    So they will sit down and shut up only after the world doesn't come crashing down around them and we have a public option.

    They scream, I want my America back. So who took "your America"? A black President? A duly elected Congress? Or are you people just mad cuz you might have to share "your America" with the rest of us who were born with some pigment in our skins?

    BTW - Black people aren't allowed in the Nazi party, that little party belongs solely to White People and you look foolish spreading those offensive pictures. Hitler looked more like oh, Glen Beck or Rush Limberger than Barack Obama.

    August 11, 2009 at 3:50 p.m.

  • I will thank you not to think, even for a moment, that you know what is in my best interest. I believe neither I, nor all those people currently protesting, need you, or the government, to tell me what is in my best interest. I believe that given my age, my degree, and my professional certification, only I have the ability to determine what is my best interest.

    Oh, and by the way. As the CFO of a large construction company and the individual who is responsible for our company's provided medical insurance, I can say first hand, I have never seen one of our employees medical claims denied. That is a load of crap perpetuated by you and the Democratic Party.

    Maybe sometime you and your holier than thou ilk should do a little research. Ask an actuary who works for a large insurance company or pharmaceutical company how much of the cost of the products they provide is attributable to estimated litigation.

    Watch a little TV over a 24 hour period and count the number of ads for law firms trolling for clients who have been harmed by the latest miracle drug. Ask the AMA why they number of number of new medical licensees have double in the last year in the state of Texas. Tort reform. Any discussion about controlling medical care costs that doesn’t START and END with tort reform is crap.

    August 11, 2009 at 3:49 p.m.

  • One estimate is that the cost of healthcare insurance will go from $12,000 now to $25,000 a year for an average family by 2016. That's not that far away.

    Something has to be done to stop the waste in the system. We are paying insurance companies too much to deny coverage and make their profits. Insurance coverage has to be reformed so people don't go bankrupt over medical bills. Coverage needs to be extended to a greater number of uninsured in the population so we don't end up paying three times as much for emergency healthcare.

    These people are fighting against what is clearly in their best interest. This needed to be tackled ten years ago, and now it is imperative that it be reformed. Our economy depends on it. Our lives may depend on it.

    August 11, 2009 at 3:26 p.m.