Sunday, July 26, 2009

Health care clarification

Obama's health care plan is NOT socialized medicine. In fact, those of us who actually want socialized, single-payer health care are disappointed that such an option remains taboo.

The Democrats' health care plan proposes a "government option." What that means is, people can choose (key word there) to buy into (also key) a health plan offered by the government. This would not be unlike the way individuals and employers now buy into health plans offered by private companies - except that the government couldn't refuse you over preexisting conditions or price you out of coverage. This option would likely be attractive to those whose current health plans are cost-prohibitive and/or nonexistent.

Critics claim this is unfair. In fact, it makes things very fair, which is why private insurers and the teabag crowd couldn't possibly hate it more. As it stands now, private insurance is the only cushion available to most non-elderly people, if even that. The companies know this and price accordingly (high). They are responsible to no one but themselves, and often see your growth as an obstacle to their own growth. They and their apologists claim that a government option would put them out of business. But that's really up to them, isn't it? There isn't a single thing keeping private insurance companies from offering a lower-priced, more expansive product than the government - except for greed.

Taxpayers already spend exorbitant amounts of money on health care for the uninsured, who often must wait until an expensive emergency to seek help. Even those who have insurance are often one major illness away from bankruptcy. And yet, the criticism of Obama's plan touches on the same template as every other teabagger bugaboo: it's socialist! A burden to the taxpayers! It's a blow to the magic of the free market! Do you really want Big Government bureaucrats to replace the benevolent bean-counters of the private sector?

Well, yeah, if the government can offer a better plan. Which, in the absence of a single-payer system, I think it would.

No wonder Big Business is so scared.

31 comments:

NOLA Progressive said...

I think this is the issue that most singularly pisses me off more than any other. Certainly education is important, but on this issue I can find no neutral ground with the conservatives.

What it boils down to is citizens of the United States are woefully ignorant and prideful.(**o.k disclaimer for trolling nutjobs who have limited understanding** I do not in fact believe that every U.S. citizen is woefully ignorant and prideful, this is hyperbole in or to emphasize a point) I just received an email from a family member today spouting this same tired crap. "In Canada people are dying left and right from waiting for care." "In England you can't have heart surgery past the age of 59." and on and on. It's all bullshit. Complete lies meant to play on citizen's fear of something different and also on their buffoon-like pride in their home country. It makes it easier to say, "See those foreign countries can't get it right, so why should we follow in their footsteps?" The problem is that almost 100% of what they are formulating their opinions on is complete and utter bullshit.

Now I'm sure some of the resident trolls will proceed to tell me that I'm a self-loathing commie or elitist or whatever else they believe is synonomous for someone who is not roused by phony patriotism. I'm fine with that, at least I'm not basing my medical fate along with my fellow man's on propaganda.

musing said...

You're a self-loathing elitist, NOLA--and so am I. Be proud of it ;-9

The insurance lobby and the Party of No are absolutely shitting themselves at the thought that someone might force them to be a little less draconian, and maybe make only 10 gazillion dollars in profits in a year instead of 15 gazillion. Because in the fantasy world they're trying to convince America is the place were we all live, apparently nobody ever gets turned down for health care by their insurer. Nobody ever has to quit seeing their favorite doctor when s/he decides to stop taking their insurance as payment for services rendered. Nobody has ever had to spend hours on the phone arguing with some pimply-faced nameless kid in a call center eight thousand miles from anywhere--who has access to your most intimate secrets, by the by--to get something pre-approved just so you won't have to pay a gazillion dollars out of your own pocket to get it.

Where is this magical realm where health care of all kinds and at all levels is effectively free and available to anyone who needs it regardless of who they are, where they live, pre-existing conditions, etc.? Because I sure as hell haven't ever seen it--and if I had, I'd move there in a flash.

--Michael

NOLA Progressive said...

Well said sir...Well said.

Ian McGibboney said...

As I often say, saying the U.S. has the best health care in the world is like saying we have the most magnificent mansions in the world because Bill Gates has a $40 million house. Yes, it's there, but many people also live in tents. It all depends on what you can afford.

I guarantee you that we could string plenty of much, MUCH worse horror stories together from our own "best" health care system.

herb said...

The Democrats' health care plan proposes a "government option." What that means is, people can choose (key word there) to buy into (also key) a health plan offered by the government.

Except it's not really a "choice" once they run all the private insurers out of business and they're the only ones left. Plus if you don't get health coverage, most likely ObamaCare because that's all that will be left, you get taxed a fairly hefty amount. I thought health care was a "right" according to you lefties, since when do you get monetarily penalized for not exercising your "right"?

A "choice" offered at the barrel of a gun isn't a choice, it's thuggery.

They and their apologists claim that a government option would put them out of business. But that's really up to them, isn't it? There isn't a single thing keeping private insurance companies from offering a lower-priced, more expansive product than the government - except for greed.

Except that the government can and will run on a deficit whereas private insurers don't have that option.

Ian McGibboney said...

"Except it's not really a 'choice' once they run all the private insurers out of business and they're the only ones left."

Like I said, Herb, that's up to the companies. If they continue to be greedy, they will go under. That will be nobody's fault but their own.

"Since when do you get monetarily penalized for not exercising your 'right'?"

Health care has been established by the courts as a right, which is why no one can be turned down. That care, usually late-stage emergency care, costs taxpayers millions. Preventive care for everyone would more than return the money that people pay in. And I doubt that the tax involved would be anything near what uninsured people fear paying now.

"A 'choice' offered at the barrel of a gun isn't a choice, it's thuggery."

This option was wide public support among those it will affect most. The opposition is mainly a vocal insurance lobbyists and right-wingers getting their information from firms owned by insurance companies.

"Except that the government can and will run on a deficit whereas private insurers don't have that option."

Did this also bother you during Bush's reckless wars?

In this case, this will help the people. Governments don't have profit as their prime motivator, which is exactly why this option will help so many. For-profit health care is, frankly, sick.

herb said...

Like I said, Herb, that's up to the companies. If they continue to be greedy, they will go under. That will be nobody's fault but their own.

I don't care how much they cut their prices they will not be able to keep up with a government that A.) sets the rules and B.) doesn't care about making a profit. How is that fair? It's like a referee playing quarterback and still being able to call fouls.

This option was wide public support among those it will affect most.

The Iraq war you love to malign also had large public support too until people saw it in action, ObamaCare is slowly getting the same treatment and support for it is in steady decline.

Health care has been established by the courts as a right, which is why no one can be turned down.

Uh, bullshit it has. Show me the SCOTUS ruling that clarifies health care as a right. People can be and are turned down all the time due to pre-existing conditions, why are you making stuff up? But anyway, I'm not sure if you've taken a civics class but the job of the government isn't to make rights, it's to enforce rights that are enshrined in the Constitution and last I looked I didn't recall seeing a "Give everyone health care" section in it.

In this case, this will help the people. Governments don't have profit as their prime motivator, which is exactly why this option will help so many.

It will cost TRILLIONS to insure another 7% of the population. It's an amazingly inefficient use of funds, even by government standards.

You love to deride the coldness of faceless insurance companies not approving treatments but with this plan you're just exchanging one group of faceless bureaucrats for another, because if you think there won't be rationing and corners cut to save a buck you are sadly naive about how government works.

Ian McGibboney said...

A health magazine I used to have had the name of the case, but I'm struggling to find it online. I have found cases relating to state regulation of health care providers (such as Rush Prudential H.M.O. Inc. v. Moran), but not the particular one I'm looking for. It's possible that I'm wrong about this, but I don't think I am.

Regardless, it is against the law (and medical ethics) to deny someone essential health care. If someone has a broken arm, they can get it fixed whether or not they can afford it. But such emergency care is prohibitively expensive, yet all but ignored by critics who think that nobody pays taxes for others' health care now.

That thing about preexisting conditions, if not illegal, is certainly the worst kind of corporate bean-counting that isn't worth defending. Unless you work for one of these companies in an executive capacity, Herb, I fail to see why you'd defend them and their right to a monopoly on the health-insurance system. Like it or not, this plan you and your equally unimaginative reactionary brethren call "Obamacare" would help YOU too. It would offer a possible lower-priced health plan that can't employ all the favorite shareholder-protecting traits of the big insurers. Why is that where you draw the line?

Of course, I'd love to hear an alternative proposal from you or your side. Something that doesn't pretend nothing is wrong, and actually has attributes other than, "Obamacare sucks." I'm not impressed by the desperate braying of the right, who seem to think taxes are all wrong and the corporate sector is all right.

NOLA Progressive said...

What part of Obama stating that he will not sign a healthcare bill that is not defecit neutral can you not seem to absorb Herb?

You see defecit neutral means that it will not add to the budget defecit. If indeed the legislation is written in this manner, which there is a proposal on the hill which is defecit neutral, then your argument is baseless.

The government won't run a defecit to provide the coverage and neither will the private insurers. They simply will not be able to continue to be the greedy pieces of garbage that they are now. They can make plenty of money. Hell one thing for sure in this country is if you are a corporate executive there is always a way to bilk exorbitant amounts of money out of people who are less advantaged.

So, if there is an even playing field what is every moron out there pissing his and her pants about?

Is it the tax thing again? Well we know for sure that rich people won't leave our country cause they are slightly less rich right? I mean this is the "greatest country in the world" right? I mean hell, Gawd blesses us special over here in America. He's pulling for us more than any of those other countries. No one is going anywhere. So what the hell are you all so scared of?

NOLA Progressive said...

Oh and while I'm really pissed off. There is no alternative plan to anything that the Republicans possess. Those miserable pieces of useless crap along with the slugs of humanity that call themselves blue dogs and conservative democrats are for the most part strictly on the hill to find ways to line their own pockets. They don't give a shit about disadvantaged anyone! They hate poor people, they hate minorities, they hate just about everything and use conservative values and Christianity as a veil for it all!

To hell with them all and their soulless void of any cogent idea! They never have an alternative to offer. They never construct they only destruct. They stir deep seated fears and angers in what could be otherwise empahtetic citizens and use those fears and that anger to turn people against one another. It started with Reagan and kept snowballing. I hope the whole thing "trickles down" drowns them all in their own fetid stench.

herb said...

What part of Obama stating that he will not sign a healthcare bill that is not defecit neutral can you not seem to absorb Herb?

He also promised to be transparent and post bills online for people to see before he signs them, to not hire lobbyists, to close Gitmo, to have his Cabinet trim 100 million from their budgets, to try Gitmo terrorists and assorted other things he said he would do but never did. In case you fail to see the pattern I'll spell it out for you; He has this habit of telling people what they want to hear. You didn't notice that this "deficit neutral" promise never was uttered until the people started souring on the cost of this thing? You notice that? I did.

By the way the CBO says in it's current form it WILL NOT be deficit neutral, and the current plan is the one Obama wants pushed through before recess. So he's already looking to break the pledge you uphold as absolute truth.

So, if there is an even playing field what is every moron out there pissing his and her pants about?

It's not even you dolt, for the very reasons I enumerated in my previous comment. Do you have trouble reading? If the government is in the health care business, in direct competition with the private sector it's an unfair advantage. You see unlike a private insurer the government doesn't care about profits. It's a bit like Microsoft selling Windows 7 for $3.00 and not caring that they are losing money on the deal, all the while their competition HAS to make a profit therefore they HAVE to charge more to be able to pull that profit. As more people opt for the cheaper OS the competition, unable to run on a deficit, closes shop. That's when the "choice" ends. It boggles my mind that liberals are so ignorant of simple market principles that they can't understand this and just bleat on "choicechoicechoice", well yeah there will be choice for a little while, at least until ObamaCare drives everyone else into bankruptcy.

So what the hell are you all so scared of?

Some unelected government asswipe telling my doctor what procedures and tests he's allowed to perform on me or my family.

Ian McGibboney said...

Herb, everything you're saying can be applied to the system now, except that you don't get to vote for CEOs or read a corporation's ledger sheet. At least with the government you have accountability, precisely BECAUSE those people work for us, not a roomful of shareholders.

For-profit health care does everything it can to cut corners, deny care and micromanage every decision. Unless you can show me how this would be that much worse with the government than with a for-profit enterprise, I will not be impressed by your arguments.

I must say, though, it is impressive how you apply the Wal-Mart principle to health care. Suddenly, it's bad to have the biggest and the fittest survive! Well, welcome aboard, Herb!

Problem is, it's bogus in this case. Your deregulation-crazed Republicans aren't in charge anymore, so what we're likely to see is, for the first time in a long time, genuine competition. Big Pharma doesn't like this, and wants to kill it before it ever has a chance to succeed.

You know who IS behind health care reform, though? Wal-Mart! Granted, they want mandated employer coverage, which may or may not involve the government option, but it's a proposal at least. Where's yours, Herb?

herb said...

At least with the government you have accountability, precisely BECAUSE those people work for us, not a roomful of shareholders.

No, but they work for a room full of lobbyists though. When I think government the last thing I think is accountability. You seem to see this idolized version of government where everyone there is out for your best interest and singing camp fire songs with their constituents in their down time. Wrong. Everyone in government is out for themselves. If you don't think this honeypot won't be corruption central then you're not paying attention. You wave around a seemingly endless supply of taxpayer money to those corrupt fucks in Washington that "Bridge to Nowhere" will start to look like a bargain in comparison to what they'll start slipping in as "needed" essentials.

Suddenly, it's bad to have the biggest and the fittest survive! Well, welcome aboard, Herb!

If Walmart was setting the rules and able to penalize people for shopping at other stores your analogy might make sense, but they don't so it doesn't.

so what we're likely to see is, for the first time in a long time, genuine competition.

Yeah for a few years, until ObamaCare wipes everyone else out, forces hundreds of companies to close and millions to lose their jobs. Sounds great, just what is needed in a recession!

Where's yours, Herb?

I'm not a policy maker.

Ian McGibboney said...

I'm not a policymaker either, Herb, but I can articulate a plan I think will work. All you and your ilk can do is jeer Obama and the Democrats for having a plan, chanting endlessly that it won't work, but not being able to tell us what CAN. If you have no alternative, then why should we believe your opposition is driven by anything other than ideology? Hell, defend the status quo if you must. I'll disagree, but at least you will have a position.

NOLA Progressive said...

You know Herb I've really tried to be at least somewhat civil up until today when discussing this stuff, but I'm so sick and tired of you morons regurgitating your ignorance and antiquated superstitions and ideas of what you think guide our country.

If Obama makes as big of a deal about only signing a defecit neutral deal and then disregards it, he can basically hang up his career. He has stated that he wants health care done before recess, but admitted it may take longer. A defecit neutral bill either will appear which he'll sign or health care reform doesn't get done. You may not like how it's being paid for, but honestly I don't give a rat's ass.

Also you insufferable idiot, Wal Mart does call the shots. The routinely sell at a loss in order to drive potential competitors out of business, but you "Yeah Capitalism" brick heads love that crap. Only the strong survive in the greatest country on earth right?

I hope the government does put all of the health insurers out of business, and I hope a single payer system is mandated for the whole country. I personally think that is a great idea. However, that isn't what will happen. Some middle ground will be found in order to appease the hardcore "capitalist" base here in America. It will be a damn sight better than what we currently have, but probably sacrifice somewhere just to appease that base.

There are several very successful examples of hybridized/regulated government and private health insurance systems in Europe specifically the Nordic nations.

Your concern about having some "unelected government asswipe telling" your doctor what procedures you can and can't have is already happening sleeping beauty. The lobbies indeed have huge governmental power without ever being elected to a single office currently. They are calling all the shots for you and your families health. Oh and guess what? When you stop being profitable, they have absolutely no problem whatsoever letting you die!

I may not like you ideologically very much, but I don't want that for you or for me or for any of us. This is a shift that will break that lobbyist stranglehold that currently exists. I don't think it will happen in one fell swoop, but it will make a difference. You are right when you say that we also can't trust government, but we can remain vigilant and effect a reasonable measure of honesty and transparency through political activism and grassroots movement.

Wake up and face facts. We are so woefully behind the rest of the industrialized world here it is pathetic. Let's step up and get with it.

herb said...

All you and your ilk can do is jeer Obama and the Democrats for having a plan, chanting endlessly that it won't work, but not being able to tell us what CAN. If you have no alternative, then why should we believe your opposition is driven by anything other than ideology?

Uh they have a plan, it's called the Patients Choice Act of 2009, google it. But their plan doesn't matter because Granny Botox and spineless Harry are too scared to allow alternatives to ObamaCare on the floor of their chambers.

Ian McGibboney said...

Damn, even their "plan" is more of a rebuke of government than an actual plan. When a plan's own summary says, "The federal government would run a health care system—or a public plan option—with the compassion of the IRS, the efficiency of the post office, and the incompetence of Katrina," it is not serious legislation.

But even if I ignore the anti-government bleating, I'm not impressed with a plan that says private insurers should do a better job and tax breaks up the ass for everybody, but, meh, let's just let them do it without getting involved so much.

Worked for Bush!

herb said...

Damn, even their "plan" is more of a rebuke of government than an actual plan.

You say that likes it a bad thing. Hell the government can't even manage Medicare properly and you think they'll be able to administer health care to 300 million people effectively? Seriously?

Ian McGibboney said...

It IS a bad thing. It reminds me of the lawsuit Bill O'Reilly and Fox News filed against Al Franken, which called Franken "a C-list comedian who is not considered a serious commentator," as if that was remotely relevant to anything.

Conservatives can criticize all they want, but legislation (and lawsuits) should stick to serious matters and not waste print on talking points. It just further proves my point that the GOP has no good ideas.

herb said...

Conservatives can criticize all they want, but legislation (and lawsuits) should stick to serious matters and not waste print on talking points.

Uh, that quote you think is oh so terrible is from the GOP issued summary, not the bill itself. Which I don't even think has been fully compiled and prepared yet...and probably never will be because Democrats aren't concerned with hearing about alternatives to ObamaCare.

Ian McGibboney said...

Well, then, by definition it isn't a summary. I looked for a summary, and that's what I got. But if the bill itself is anything like its "summary," then I can see why Congress wouldn't consider it. What is there to consider besides talking points and a do-nothing solution?

herb said...

So you dismiss the proposed bill before you even see it? How open minded of you. I at least waited for the Democrats to present their shitpile before I bashed it.

NOLA Progressive said...

Herb quit pretending like you have any clue what the Democrat health reform legilstion even does or even which version of the bill you are bashing. You saw public option linked to any of it and you turned off.

And wait, I thought you said that the Republicans do have their own bill. Yes, I'm sure you said that. You even called it by name. Only now after Ian evaluates a synopsis of it, the bill is probably not even finished yet? Now that's a significant contribution to the legislation process. Oh wait, I'm sorry Pelosi won't allow it on the floor to begin with, so why bother writing/finishing it? That's the way to be a real legislator...don't author any legislation! Unbelievable. The Republican party is so useless and antiquated. The time is coming when it's ideaology has been ground beneath the boot of social evolution. It isn't coming soon enough for my taste, but it is definitely coming.

herb said...

Jeez, a little angry? I mean I dislike Democrats and their crappy, small minded ideals but I don't hate my political opponents with the visceral passion you seem to. I bet you would kill a Republican if you could get away with it wouldn't you?

And you work with children? *shudder*

As for the Republican proposed legislation concerning their health care plans; it may be finished, I don't know and I never alluded that it was. I merely pointed out that the wording Ian mistakenly attributed to whatever form the proposed bill will take is from the summary, and not set in stone as legislation like he seemed to believe. I'd hope someone not so consumed with borderline psychopathic hatred and anger would see and understand that.

Hathor said...

Herb,
I had never heard the words thug and thuggery until Barack Obama ran for president used in reference to the president or a presidential candidate. A mouse trap that goes off and bounces is what happens to many Obama detractors.

NOLA Progressive said...

Clever approach, but someone with violent intentions wouldn't care whether a political party was standing in the way of quality healthcare for you and yours, nor would they worry about the effect that corrupt ideaology had on his/her fellow man.

So don't mistake anger over years of political monopoly, bigotry and the destruction of parity with an urge to do violence. My passionate and, especially in this case angry, responses are rooted in worry and empathy for my fellow man unlike the opposition which is rooted in greed and blind adherence to outdated and shallow principles.

herb said...

That's funny, you "worry" about your fellow man, yet want to crush some of them under your boot heels until they conform and/or die, there's obviously some type of cognitive dissonance going on in your head that you should recognize and find a way to remedy.

I still say your angry, and obviously extremely paranoid. To preserve your deteriorating mental health you should maybe step away from politics for a while or possibly not get so emotionally invested in something you have no control over.

Ian McGibboney said...

I'll take the person angry over the issues over personal insults any day.

herb said...

Sorry Ian, I get a little testy when someone states they wish to crush me under their boot heels because I'm not as pure and righteous as they are. As someone of jewish decent that type of verbiage is worrisome.

Ian McGibboney said...

Herb, NOLA said he wished to see the right-wing ideology crushed under a metaphorical boot. He didn't say he wished you, as a Jewish person, would be ground under some jackboots. I think even you're smart enough to know the difference.

NOLA Progressive said...

I'm sorry Herb, I will make sure to fully explain all hyperbole and analogy from here forward. I assumed as Ian stated in the last comment that you knew the difference.

So let me be really, really clear here. I hope that the highly conservative ideaology of the Republican party which is rooted in and justified by, puritanical religious philosophy becomes one of those things they dedicate a chapter to in an American History book. It is heading in that direction although slower going than other places. I do not wish anyone dead regardless of their ideaology, however. I'm actually pretty consistent in my values system in that regard. I don't like any type of death.

I don't consider myself pure and righteous. If you have a few hours I"ll type you up a list of my faults. I simply want and end to the types of ethos that condemn others for those faults.

As far as my angy tone, if you scroll back up to the very first comment on this entry, I believe I said that this is one issue that makes me angrier and more emphatic than most. I also said it was an issue which I could find absolutely zero middle ground with the opposition. I don't know what I can do other tell you blatantly and in advance when I am likely to have my ire up on an issue. If in some way that I am unable to see I have offended you ethnicly I actually do sincerely apologize, because I never intend to use ethnicity or heritage to insult or hinge a debate upon. As I've said before regardles off whether or not I like you ideaologically, I do not wish you or anyone else for that matter ill.

I do not, however, apologize or dissemble at all in wishing for this ideaology to become a thing of the past or occurence in minituae.

And in the words of Forrest...That's all I got to say about that.