Quackwatch Founder Launches Site to Debunk Health Care Reform Myths

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Here’s an excellent site run by retired psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Barrett (whose Quackwatch has done great work exposing many fraudulent medical practitioners, including the anti-vaccination nuts) looking at the many myths and distortions being circulated about the proposed health care reform legislation. Dr. Barrett calls it: Insurance Reform Watch.

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341 comments
1 Occasional Reader  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:06:53am

So, does he also debunk pro-ObamaCare myths? Just curious.

2 Kragar  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:07:00am

Pfff, who needs facts when we can fling accusations of nazism and bring firearms to public debates?

/

3 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:07:22am

re: #1 Occasional Reader

So, does he also debunk pro-ObamaCare myths? Just curious.

Such as?

4 Occasional Reader  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:08:11am

re: #1 Occasional Reader

So, does he also debunk pro-ObamaCare myths? Just curious.

And, after a quick perusal, it appears the answer is, "no". Imagine my surprise.

5 Dynomite  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:08:50am

Just as long as he keeps after those back-quackers, err, chiropractors, he can feel free. :)

6 Occasional Reader  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:09:17am

re: #3 Charles

Such as?

For instance, that the following is an economically rational argument:

"Private health insurers need the government option to give them something to compete against, to keep them honest."

7 Sharmuta  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:09:30am

I think this is great considering certain news sources can't seem to be bothered to do fact checking themselves.

8 Baier  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:10:13am

re: #7 Sharmuta
/Why let "facts" get in the way of perfectly good story?

9 Pianobuff  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:10:25am

I thought this guy had some issues in the past not being board-certified and things like that... some pretty embarrassing stuff as I recall. Is this guy really legit, Charles?

10 Occasional Reader  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:10:41am

Hey, look:

Online Citizen Action

Open Letter Urging President Obama to Support Single-Payer Health Care

Why, don't they realize that President Obama is firmly opposed to "Single Payer Health Care", and that to suggest otherwise is "scaremongering"?

/

11 experiencedtraveller  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:10:54am

Before the gekko, auto insurance was expensive and problematic.

Now, I find it to be quick, easy and less expensive.

I think medical insurance needs to use a similar formula as a next step.

12 Occasional Reader  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:11:26am

I'm off to maintain my own health by eating lunch. Later.

13 Danny  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:11:34am

No debunking but somewhat related...

[Link: www.time.com...]

14 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:12:10am

re: #6 Occasional Reader

For instance, that the following is an economically rational argument:

"Private health insurers need the government option to give them something to compete against, to keep them honest."

Well, the guy spent his entire professional life dealing with insurance companies, and is one of the best informed people on the subject that I know of. If he thinks private health insurance firms have problems, he undoubtedly has good reasons for that opinion.

I'm not sure why this opinion would count as a "myth."

15 cliffster  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:13:19am

re: #3 Charles

Such as?

How about, read through David Axelrod's email. All of that stuff.

16 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:13:40am

re: #9 Pianobuff

I thought this guy had some issues in the past not being board-certified and things like that... some pretty embarrassing stuff as I recall. Is this guy really legit, Charles?

He was attacked by the people he exposed, who floated all kinds of false stories about his "conflicts of interest" and other bogus claims. He's very credible, and yes, very legitimate.

17 greygandalf  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:13:40am

re: #3 Charles

Such as?

That waiting times won't go up and quality of health care won't go down. The workload for doctors will have to go up with no more than the normal increase in doctors. That would cause the above scenario. I understand that is the sacrifice to cover everyone but I think it should at least be pointed out.

18 jaunte  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:13:49am

Insurance Reform Watch links to this article about cost-saving measures that can be taken immediately. If there are any doctors on the thread, I'm curious about your take on reducing some of the testing mentioned in the list below.

So, what can we in the USA do RIGHT NOW to begin to cut health care costs?

An alliance of informed patients and physicians can widely apply recently learned comparative effectiveness science to big ticket items, saving vast sums while improving quality of care.

1. Intensive medical therapy should be substituted for coronary artery bypass grafting (currently around 500,000 procedures annually) for many patients with established coronary artery disease, saving many billions of dollars annually.
2. The same for invasive angioplasty and stenting (currently around 1,000,000 procedures per year) saving tens of billions of dollars annually.
3. Non-indicated PSA screening for prostate cancer should be stopped. Radical surgery as the usual treatment for most prostate cancers should cease since it causes more harm than good. Billions saved here.
4. Screening mammography in women under 50 who have no clinical indication should be stopped and for those over 50 sharply curtailed, since it now seems to lead to at least as much harm as good. More billions saved.
5. CAT scans and MRIs are impressive art forms and can be useful clinically. However, their use is unnecessary much of the time to guide correct therapeutic decisions. Such expensive diagnostic tests should not be paid for on a case-by-case basis but grouped along with other diagnostic tests, by some capitated or packaged method that is use-neutral. More billions saved.
6. We must stop paying huge sums to clinical oncologists and their institutions for administering chemotherapeutic false hope, along with real suffering from adverse effects, to patients with widespread metastatic cancer. More billions saved.
7. Death, which comes to us all, should be as dignified and free from pain and suffering as possible. We should stop paying physicians and institutions to prolong dying with false hope, bravado, and intensive therapy that only adds to their profit margin. Such behavior is almost unthinkable and yet is commonplace. More billions saved.[Link: www.insurancereformwatch.org...]

19 Pianobuff  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:14:35am

re: #16 Charles

He was attacked by the people he exposed, who floated all kinds of false stories about his "conflicts of interest" and other bogus claims. He's very credible, and yes, very legitimate.

OK. Thanks.

20 Wendya  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:15:11am

re: #1 Occasional Reader

So, does he also debunk pro-ObamaCare myths? Just curious.

Not seeing it...

21 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:16:06am

re: #18 jaunte

Insurance Reform Watch links to this article about cost-saving measures that can be taken immediately. If there are any doctors on the thread, I'm curious about your take on reducing some of the testing mentioned in the list below.

There's no doubt that many many tests are currently performed on patients with no rational reason for it -- except that malpractice insurance demands it. A whole lot of money and time is wasted on these unnecessary tests for no other reason than to make sure a doctor won't be sued for malpractice.

22 Wendya  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:17:06am

re: #18 jaunte

Insurance Reform Watch links to this article about cost-saving measures that can be taken immediately. If there are any doctors on the thread, I'm curious about your take on reducing some of the testing mentioned in the list below.

The cost saving measures resemble what you'd find in the NHS. Treating patients as a group vs individuals and putting cost savings over life saving.

23 experiencedtraveller  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:17:17am

I keep coming back to the idea that the Surgeon General should act like General and be fully empowered to make the hard decisions.

24 Kosh's Shadow  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:17:26am

re: #14 Charles

Well, the guy spent his entire professional life dealing with insurance companies, and is one of the best informed people on the subject that I know of. If he thinks private health insurance firms have problems, he undoubtedly has good reasons for that opinion.

I'm not sure why this opinion would count as a "myth."

I've heard similar arguments from a medical practitioner I know.
I agree insurance companies have a lot of problems.
But why would anyone think that a government run program would be better?
At least, the government usually helps in dispute with insurance companies, but if they were running the insurance, it would be like arguing with the IRS, except that the patient could die while waiting to get a decision.
Somehow, too many people think that the government program will be well-funded and well-run, despite so many counterexamples.

25 Flyers1974  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:18:00am

re: #17 greygandalf

That waiting times won't go up and quality of health care won't go down. The workload for doctors will have to go up with no more than the normal increase in doctors. That would cause the above scenario. I understand that is the sacrifice to cover everyone but I think it should at least be pointed out.

These aren't myths however. They are points of contention and may well happen, but it is speculation at this point.

26 saberry0530  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:18:44am

re: #16 Charles

Check out this site! Provides a little more light on this man.

27 jpkoch  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:18:47am

Kind of a strange thread. Thus far there are 4 different health care bills circulating through Congress, none of which carries the President's name, and none of which stand a chance of passage as they are currently written. In that case, what myths are we talking about? I seriously doubt if there is one person in the world that knows all of the details to all 4 drafts.

28 pat  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:19:49am

I found his definition of socialized medicine to be self-serving. There are many more ways to socialize an industry other than the government paying a Doctors salary. I could not find a section on mandatory coverage and a tax penalty (but the site is extensive and it might be there), nor could I find a section on tort reform which is essential to any leveling of the cost curve.

29 midwestgak  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:20:37am

re: #6 Occasional Reader

For instance, that the following is an economically rational argument:

"Private health insurers need the government option to give them something to compete against, to keep them honest."

Nonsense!

Health insurers already have private sector competition: Humana, Aetna, BCBS, United Healthcare, Allstate, Trustmark, State Farm, Metropolitan, Prudential, Farmers, etc.

30 CyanSnowHawk  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:20:40am

re: #21 Charles

There's no doubt that many many tests are currently performed on patients with no rational reason for it -- except that malpractice insurance demands it. A whole lot of money and time is wasted on these unnecessary tests for no other reason than to make sure a doctor won't be sued for malpractice.

Tort reform. Single biggest need to reform health care now. Not seeing it in the gov't takeover plan.

31 Danny  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:20:45am

re: #21 Charles

A whole lot of money and time is wasted on these unnecessary tests for no other reason than to make sure a doctor won't be sued for malpractice.

I just searched the Insurance Reform Watch site for "tort reform" and got zero matches.

32 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:20:53am

re: #26 saberry0530

Check out this site! Provides a little more light on this man.

Completely bogus. Do some more research before you link to one of the smear sites I was talking about.

33 Irish Rose  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:22:26am

You forgot to note his debunking of scientology, Charles.
The clams hate his guts.

34 MrSilverDragon  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:22:28am

re: #30 CyanSnowHawk

Tort reform. Single biggest need to reform health care now. Not seeing it in the gov't takeover plan.

Call me cynical, but you probably never will.

35 The Curmudgeon  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:22:44am

re: #14 Charles

I'm not sure why this opinion would count as a "myth."

Because politicians and bureaucrats offer nothing but arrogance and flatulence.

36 SteveC  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:23:18am

re: #16 Charles

He was attacked by the people he exposed, who floated all kinds of false stories about his "conflicts of interest" and other bogus claims. He's very credible, and yes, very legitimate.

I can back up Charles here. When it comes to quack medicine, Barrett is a hammer. All those "allegations" made against him are really just the nails screaming.

Another good medical debunker is the blog Respectful Insolence, especially in their "Dose of Woo" posts.

37 subsailor68  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:23:27am

Interesting site. I took a look at this page:

Proposal of the Physicians' Working Group for Single-Payer National Health Insurance

It's actually only a summary of the main points of the proposal, but at a glance, it appears that what's being proposed is more restrictive than the current NHS in Britain. I'm not sure I agree with some of the proposed steps, but it's an interesting read.

38 Randall Gross  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:24:07am

re: #26 saberry0530

Here's a hint: Naderites and chiropractic quacks were on the opposing side

39 The Left  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:25:01am

Oh terrific site! Bookmarked! I see he also recommends Center for Media and Democracy, which runs sourcecheck.org, and also factcheck.org and politifact.com, all of which I have found incredibly useful on this issue. This site looks great!

40 Walter L. Newton  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:25:24am

FYI...

"Would National Health Insurance
Be "Socialized Medicine"?

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Peter S. Vig, D.D.S., Ph.D., J.D.

Socialized medicine is a system in which doctors and hospitals work for and draw salaries from the government. Doctors in the U.S. Veterans Administration and our Armed Services are paid this way. The health systems in Great Britain and Spain are other examples. But Canada, Australia, Japan, and most European countries that offer universal health care would be more accurately described as socialized health insurance, not socialized medicine. These governments pay for care that is delivered in the private (mostly not-for-profit) sector, which is similar to how Medicare works in this country. Doctors are in private practice and are paid on a fee-for-service basis from government funds. The government does not own or manage medical practices or hospitals.

The term "socialized medicine" is often used to conjure up images of government bureaucratic interference in medical care. However, in countries with national health insurance, doctors and patients often have more clinical freedom than now exists in the United States. Moreover, socialization does not mean that private options cannot exist. In Britain, everyone in country must pay the relevant tax and is eligible for care under the National Health Service (NHS). However, there is also a parallel private health system. Patients can elect to get private care for any item of treatment they choose. Those who want to self-refer to a specialist, wait less have some elective procedure, or stay in a hospital that they believe would be more comfortable can do so. Private care can be financed out-of-pocket or through private insurance, which is not paid by the government and is managed by large insurance companies such as the British United Provident Association (BUPA). To prevent favoritism within the NHS, doctors are not permitted to co-mingle NHS and private patients and must maintain separate offices and hospital privileges for their private patients. (In other words, all patients seen in an NHS office must be NHS patients.)

Dr. Vig, a retired orthodonist who had a lengthy career in academic dentistry and subsequently practiced law, is an expert on clinical research design, quality standards, and health care delivery systems.

This article was posted on August 16, 2009."

[Link: www.insurancereformwatch.org...]

41 Kragar  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:26:10am

Bottom line. With such great examples as the Postal Service, the IRS, the SEC, Social Security, Medicare, the VA, and countless other examples at the state and federal levels, I don't see how any government run health program can end up being anything more than a colossal failure.

42 SteveC  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:26:49am

re: #41 Kragar (Proud to be Kafir)

Bottom line. With such great examples as the Postal Service, the IRS, the SEC, Social Security, Medicare, the VA, and countless other examples at the state and federal levels, I don't see how any government run health program can end up being anything more than a colossal failure.

A colossal EXPENSIVE failure!

43 The Left  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:27:00am

re: #39 iceweasel

Oh terrific site! Bookmarked! I see he also recommends Center for Media and Democracy, which runs sourcecheck.org, and also factcheck.org and politifact.com, all of which I have found incredibly useful on this issue. This site looks great!

Clarification: CMD runs sourcecheck, not the other two-- my happiness made me fracture my syntax there.

44 avanti  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:27:02am

re: #14 Charles

Well, the guy spent his entire professional life dealing with insurance companies, and is one of the best informed people on the subject that I know of. If he thinks private health insurance firms have problems, he undoubtedly has good reasons for that opinion.

I'm not sure why this opinion would count as a "myth."

That's one reason I like the new trigger option being discussed. No one disagrees that heath care is outpacing inflation by a great deal and the insurance companies are making mad money. No one thinks competition is basically bad, so write a bill with a trigger. Tell the private insurers they have 5 years to keep costs withing .5 % of inflation by cutting costs, and they will not have government or co opt to compete with. That has the added advantage of giving us a few years to plan out a good plan, or the next Congress has a shot to kill the program if it's unsuccessful.

45 Darth Vader Gargoyle  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:27:03am

"The present insurance system is both morally and financially bankrupt and cannot be sustained. It is time to face reality and move in an orderly fashion to a single payer health insurance system and join the civilized world. It may not be possible to achieve all of the necessary reforms quickly, but the direction we need to take is clear."

So he thinks a single payer system is the only answer.

So we can "join the civilized world".

What a bunch of crap!

46 formercorpsman  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:27:15am

I live in Pennsylvania. From discussions here previously, some folks might recall I don't hold a great fondness for alternative medical practices, but to each his own.

This guy has been someone who has pursued those types of purveyors, thus I knew I recalled his name when seeing it. (I agree with him on a good bit of that stuff)

That being said, someone might want to do a little more research on why he stopped treating patients, forfeited his license, and retired.

He might have some baggage.

47 pat  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:27:21am

re: #37 subsailor68

What a wonderful way to drive the Doctors out of America, leaving Americans with foreign practitioners of dubious qualifications or Americans who would not be considered academically eligible for medical school at the present. A pure crack pot idea.

48 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:27:31am

Here we go again -- people seem to be assuming that I'm trying to promote national health insurance with posts like this.

I'm not.

I'm trying to promote being INFORMED about the issues.

Yes, there are exaggerations being promoted by both sides in this debate. But once again, and to my dismay, it's the Republican side that is floating outright falsehoods like "death panels" and other complete crap.

If you want to make credible arguments based on reality, you need to be informed. Listening to Sarah Palin's absurd distortions does NOT count.

49 Irish Rose  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:27:32am

re: #39 iceweasel

Oh terrific site! Bookmarked! I see he also recommends Center for Media and Democracy, which runs sourcecheck.org, and also factcheck.org and politifact.com, all of which I have found incredibly useful on this issue. This site looks great!

It is good.
I've been doing battle with scientologists on public forums for years now, and I'm very familiar with his work.

50 Douchecanoe and Ryan Too  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:28:11am

re: #48 Charles

But, but, but, Charles! Sexy librarian! She's got to be credible!

/

51 Douchecanoe and Ryan Too  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:28:59am

re: #49 Irish Rose

It is good.
I've been doing battle with scientologists on public forums for years now, and I'm very familiar with his work.

Updinged because you actually have the patience and wherewithal to deal with scientologists. Ew.

52 Walter L. Newton  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:29:17am

A good link... pro and cons...

[Link: factcheck.org...]

53 Wendya  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:29:49am

re: #40 Walter L. Newton

FYI

If it's financed with public funds and administered by the Government, it's considered "socialized" in this country.

54 Dianna  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:30:08am

How are we doing on getting our questions about the proposals answered?

55 Danny  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:30:20am

Being informed is critical, and I dislike the way health insurance companies currently operate as much as anyone. That said, I detect some left-leaning bias on the Insurance Reform Watch site. Not surprising, given Hammond's biographical info:

"In the political arena, [Hammond] has served on the executive committee of North Carolina Democratic Party and has been promoting the election of candidates at all levels who support health insurance reform and greater social justice."

56 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:31:26am

re: #54 Dianna

How are we doing on getting our questions about the proposals answered?

Nobody seems to care about those questions. It's easier to scream about death panels.

57 greygandalf  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:31:39am

re: #44 avanti

or the next Congress has a shot to kill the program if it's unsuccessful.

Oh, yes, Congress kills programs all the time.
/s

58 Killgore Trout  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:31:52am

re: #41 Kragar (Proud to be Kafir)

, I don't see how any government run health program can end up being anything more than a colossal failure.

I think that's part of the problem. You should be able to understand that pretty much every other modern country on planet earth has some form of government involvement in health care. It can work and it can work well. The Dem's plan might actually work and it might even end up being a good thing. It shouldn't be beyond imagination.

59 Wendya  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:31:59am

re: #44 avanti

That's one reason I like the new trigger option being discussed. No one disagrees that heath care is outpacing inflation by a great deal and the insurance companies are making mad money. No one thinks competition is basically bad, so write a bill with a trigger. Tell the private insurers they have 5 years to keep costs withing .5 % of inflation by cutting costs, and they will not have government or co opt to compete with. That has the added advantage of giving us a few years to plan out a good plan, or the next Congress has a shot to kill the program if it's unsuccessful.

The trigger is designed to run private insurance out of business. The congress passes a bill that puts unrealistic demands on insurance companies including the latest gem: An 8 billion dollar per year "tax". When insurance companies are forced to raise their rates, the trigger supporters bang their fists against the table and pretend to be outraged!

60 Dianna  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:32:05am

re: #56 Charles

Nobody seems to care about those questions. It's easier to scream about death panels.

Well, it's surely more dramatic.

61 subsailor68  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:32:38am

re: #48 Charles

Here we go again -- people seem to be assuming that I'm trying to promote national health insurance with posts like this.

I'm not.

I'm trying to promote being INFORMED about the issues.

Yes, there are exaggerations being promoted by both sides in this debate. But once again, and to my dismay, it's the Republican side that is floating outright falsehoods like "death panels" and other complete crap.

If you want to make credible arguments based on reality, you need to be informed. Listening to Sarah Palin's absurd distortions does NOT count.

Hi Charles. That's the way I understood your intention, and am glad to have access to the site (which I probably wouldn't have found otherwise). Thanks.

62 Kragar  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:32:48am

Captive Israeli soldier writes of 'nightmare'

In carefully printed script, Sgt. Gilad Schalit reported deteriorating health and deep depression, and makes an anguished appeal to the Israeli government to release him from his "closed and solitary prison."

Schalit, now 23, wrote the 14-line letter three months after gunmen affiliated with the Gaza Strip's Islamic Hamas rulers captured him in a cross-border raid.

The existence of the letter had been known, but his parents had not published its contents.

It was leaked to the Israeli media ahead of the publication of a new book that purports through militant sources to chronicle his captivity and Israel's unsuccessful efforts to trade him for Palestinian prisoners it holds.

Schalit's captors have not allowed anyone to see him. Three letters and an audio tape relayed to his parents have been the only signs of life from him since he was seized. The most recent was a letter that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter passed to his parents in October 2008.

"My health is deteriorating from day to day, particularly my mental health, and this causes me much depression," Schalit wrote in the newly revealed 2006 letter, which was carried by Israeli media outlets. "I am waiting for this intolerable and inhumane nightmare of mine to end, to be released from this lonely and closed prison."

63 Kosh's Shadow  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:32:56am

re: #57 greygandalf

Oh, yes, Congress kills programs all the time.
/s

Well, various defense programs have gotten killed.

64 Dianna  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:33:11am

re: #58 Killgore Trout

Where does it work well? In your opinion.

65 Walter L. Newton  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:33:25am

re: #59 Wendya

The trigger is designed to run private insurance out of business. The congress passes a bill that puts unrealistic demands on insurance companies including the latest gem: An 8 billion dollar per year "tax". When insurance companies are forced to raise their rates, the trigger supporters bang their fists against the table and pretend to be outraged!

Here's one...

"Americans would be fined up to $3,800 for failing to buy health insurance under a plan that circulated in Congress on Tuesday as President Barack Obama met Democratic leaders to search for ways to salvage his health care overhaul."

[Link: apnews.myway.com...]

66 Killgore Trout  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:33:30am

re: #55 Danny

I don't have a problem with that. He certainly couldn't be a Republican with his views. It doesn't make him dishonest.

67 SteveC  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:33:39am

re: #50 thedopefishlives

But, but, but, Charles! Sexy librarian! She's got to be credible!

No! Death Panel Palin may not wear the Sexy Librarian tag! Wrong! BAD Dopefish!

68 Darth Vader Gargoyle  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:33:46am

re: #64 Dianna

Where does it work well? In your opinion.


I'd also like to hear this. Great Britain and Canada perhaps?

69 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:34:17am

re: #62 Kragar (Proud to be Kafir)

Captive Israeli soldier writes of 'nightmare'

I hate to say it, but I'll be very surprised if Gilad Shalit is still alive.

70 Danny  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:34:23am

re: #66 Killgore Trout

Me neither, as long as I understand there's a bias.

71 Kosh's Shadow  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:34:53am

re: #62 Kragar (Proud to be Kafir)

Captive Israeli soldier writes of 'nightmare'

Israel should block access to all Palestinian prisoners, declaring them illegal combatants. And say that those conditions will remain for as long after Shalit is released as he was imprisoned.
And if he is dead, there will be no prisoner trades, but the death penalty will be implemented for terrorism and planning terrorism.

72 Killgore Trout  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:35:03am

re: #64 Dianna

Where does it work well? In your opinion.

Despite what we are told the European healtcare system is not a disaster. It does work. It works better in some places better than others.

73 Dianna  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:35:46am

re: #69 Charles

You are not alone. I can't bring myself to upding the thought.

74 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:35:48am

re: #68 rwdflynavy

I'd also like to hear this. Great Britain and Canada perhaps?

Not all Canadians are unhappy with their health care system:

75 Kosh's Shadow  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:35:54am

re: #69 Charles

I hate to say it, but I'll be very surprised if Gilad Shalit is still alive.

The letter is from two years ago, IIRC.

76 Darth Vader Gargoyle  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:36:01am

re: #72 Killgore Trout

Despite what we are told the European healtcare system is not a disaster. It does work. It works better in some places better than others.

What a relief!
//

77 avanti  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:36:12am

re: #65 Walter L. Newton

Here's one...

"Americans would be fined up to $3,800 for failing to buy health insurance under a plan that circulated in Congress on Tuesday as President Barack Obama met Democratic leaders to search for ways to salvage his health care overhaul."

[Link: apnews.myway.com...]

Just to be clear Walter, that figure is for a high income family, and is just one idea. The figure pure person starts at $750.

78 pat  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:36:22am

re: #52 Walter L. Newton

From your link:

Claim: Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)

False: Actually, the section starting on page 30 sets up a “private-public advisory committee” headed by the U.S. surgeon general and made up of mostly private sector “medical and other experts” selected by the president and the comptroller general. The advisory committee would have only the power “to recommend” what benefits are included in basic, enhanced and premium insurance plans. It would have no power to decide what treatments anybody will get. Its recommendations on benefits might or might not be adopted.

I find this sample analysis to be dubious. What they will be recommending is reimbursement. No reimbursement, no treatment. And this recommending panel reminded me of a story I read in the Daily Mail today about a similar recommendation.


'Doctors told me it was against the rules to save my premature baby'

Read more: [Link: www.dailymail.co.uk...]

Medics allegedly told her that they would have tried to save the baby if he had been born two days later, at 22 weeks.

In fact, the medical guidelines for Health Service hospitals state that babies should not be given intensive care if they are born at less than 23 weeks.

The guidance, drawn up by the Nuffield Council, is not compulsory but advises doctors that medical intervention for very premature children is not in the best interests of the baby, and is not 'standard practice'.

James Paget Hospital in Norfolk refused to comment on the case but said it was not responsible for setting the guidelines relating to premature births.

A trust spokesman said: 'Like other acute hospitals, we follow national guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine regarding premature births.'

Miss Capewell, who has had five miscarriages, said the guidelines had robbed her son of a chance of life.

79 SteveC  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:36:27am

re: #58 Killgore Trout

I think that's part of the problem. You should be able to understand that pretty much every other modern country on planet earth has some form of government involvement in health care. It can work and it can work well. The Dem's plan might actually work and it might even end up being a good thing. It shouldn't be beyond imagination.

The longer the bill, the more complicated it is. The more complicated it is, the less chance it has to function correctly if implemented. 1000+ page bill = high potential for FAIL.

80 Kragar  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:36:44am

re: #58 Killgore Trout

I think that's part of the problem. You should be able to understand that pretty much every other modern country on planet earth has some form of government involvement in health care. It can work and it can work well. The Dem's plan might actually work and it might even end up being a good thing. It shouldn't be beyond imagination.

I have no problem with government involvement in a regulatory or oversight capacity, but based on all current examples, I think a government managed system will be unworkable. I have no faith in the ability of the politicians in office currently to be able to pull it off, and don't see any waiting in the wings who could pull it off either.

81 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:36:50am

re: #71 Kosh's Shadow

Israel should block access to all Palestinian prisoners, declaring them illegal combatants. And say that those conditions will remain for as long after Shalit is released as he was imprisoned.
And if he is dead, there will be no prisoner trades, but the death penalty will be implemented for terrorism and planning terrorism.

That's not going to happen.

82 Charpete67  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:37:14am

re: #41 Kragar (Proud to be Kafir)

Bottom line. With such great examples as the Postal Service, the IRS, the SEC, Social Security, Medicare, the VA, and countless other examples at the state and federal levels, I don't see how any government run health program can end up being anything more than a colossal failure.

That's the crux of the argument...why is Ob-ma so intent on revamping the entire system vs. proposing some incremental changes to our current system.

83 Dianna  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:37:21am

Numbers. No more internet. Numbers!

Take care.

84 Kosh's Shadow  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:37:50am

re: #79 SteveC

The longer the bill, the more complicated it is. The more complicated it is, the less chance it has to function correctly if implemented. 1000+ page bill = high potential for FAIL.

The more likely there will be enough contradictions that bureaucrats can find some way to deny expensive care even if it is allowed in another part of the bill.

85 Wendya  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:38:09am

re: #59 Wendya

An 8 billion dollar per year "tax".

That's actually incorrect. Here is what Baucus is suggesting:

The plan, which drew fire from the insurance industry, would finance some of that amount through annual fees of $6 billion on health insurers, $4 billion on medical-device makers, $2.3 billion on drug manufacturers and $750 million on clinical laboratories, among other taxes.

[Link: www.bloomberg.com...]

86 The Left  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:38:25am

re: #49 Irish Rose

It is good.
I've been doing battle with scientologists on public forums for years now, and I'm very familiar with his work.

Cheers Rose, I did not know that. Excellent stuff!

87 unrealizedviewpoint  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:38:25am

Is this a myth?

Boehner: GOP leaders haven't met Obama for health talks since April

The ball is in President Obama's court to reach out to Republicans if he wants a bipartisan bill on healthcare reform, House GOP Leader John Boehner (Ohio) said Monday morning.

Boehner told reporters that the president has not invited House GOP leaders to the White House for meetings on healthcare reform since the end of April.

Earlier this year, GOP leaders sent a letter to the president in May stating that they would like to work with the administration to find "common ground" on healthcare reform.

But the administration responded with a tersely worded letter indicating that they had healthcare reform under control.

88 Kosh's Shadow  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:38:36am

re: #81 Charles

That's not going to happen.

I know, and that's probably one reason I'll never be president of the US or prime minister of Israel.

89 [deleted]  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:39:32am
90 captdiggs  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:39:51am

re: #69 Charles

I hate to say it, but I'll be very surprised if Gilad Shalit is still alive.

Seems totally off subject but, I sadly, agree.
I really can't recall a captured Israeli soldier being returned alive since the prisoner exchanges after the 67 and 73 wars. There's been a glaring absence of any proof of life.

91 Randall Gross  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:40:05am

I don't like the healthcare reform bill for numerous reasons, but the main reason is that it's trying to address too many problems with one panacea, which means we will end up with placebo. There should be a series of bills that reasonably address the individual gaps.
A bill to make insurance transportable and focused just on that would be a sure win easy pass through congress.
A bill to allow associations like say the BBB to offer group plans would be a sure win.
The list goes on with tort reform etc. Trying to package these all together along with some crud that would never pass on its own merit is creating a nightmare.

92 CyanSnowHawk  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:40:10am

re: #48 Charles

Here we go again -- people seem to be assuming that I'm trying to promote national health insurance with posts like this.

I'm not.

I'm trying to promote being INFORMED about the issues.

Yes, there are exaggerations being promoted by both sides in this debate. But once again, and to my dismay, it's the Republican side that is floating outright falsehoods like "death panels" and other complete crap.

If you want to make credible arguments based on reality, you need to be informed. Listening to Sarah Palin's absurd distortions does NOT count.

What did you think would happen if you linked to a site that only debunks the myths promulgated by the side opposed to the legislation? It's not that far of a leap, and it is a leap that your history does not justify, to propose that you are on the side in favor of it, especially by those that dislike you already.

93 zigaretten  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:41:23am

Well...I just checked out his data comparing the Infant Mortality rates in the US vs other countries. Not only does he cherry-pick his data by choosing only countries with lower IM rates than the US, he also completely fails to explain that the US rate is worse because, ironically, we have better care. The US leads the world in bringing about "live births" in premature deliveries. In most other countries many of these births are simply written off as stillborn. In fact, there is an article from the UK making the rounds right now about a woman who gave birth a few days before the NHS cut-off point of 22 weeks and the doctors refused to try and save the baby. I guarantee that baby won't be included in the UK infant mortality stats...

94 SteveC  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:41:42am

re: #84 Kosh's Shadow

The more likely there will be enough contradictions that bureaucrats can find some way to deny expensive care even if it is allowed in another part of the bill.

"Sir, when your accident occured your left shoe was untied, and according to page 704, paragraph - hold on a moment; yeah Bernie, I want the Chicken Dinner, don't get bar-b-que it's too messy - paragraph 3, sub paragraph 42A, that's a deduction."

95 Son of the Black Dog  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:42:34am

re: #30 CyanSnowHawk

Tort reform. Single biggest need to reform health care now. Not seeing it in the gov't takeover plan.

The tort bar wants to leave the actual delivery of health care in the private sector. You can sue individual doctors and hospitals, but there would be severe limits on payouts to plaintiffs, and some even stronger limits on attorney compensation if the entities being sued were government run or contracted.

96 Killgore Trout  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:42:43am

re: #80 Kragar (Proud to be Kafir)

I think a government managed system will be unworkable.

Once again, that's a problem. It is workable. It works in a lot of countries. That's a fact. I'm nervous about the plan too but it shouldn't be unthinkable that the system can work.

97 Sharmuta  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:42:53am

re: #91 Thanos

I don't like the healthcare reform bill for numerous reasons, but the main reason is that it's trying to address too many problems with one panacea, which means we will end up with placebo. There should be a series of bills that reasonably address the individual gaps.
A bill to make insurance transportable and focused just on that would be a sure win easy pass through congress.
A bill to allow associations like say the BBB to offer group plans would be a sure win.
The list goes on with tort reform etc. Trying to package these all together along with some crud that would never pass on its own merit is creating a nightmare.

I agree, Thanos. I would prefer to see some reforms, and see it handled in smaller pieces of legislation- much like what you outlined here.

98 Kragar  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:42:57am

A skull that rewrites the history of man

The conventional view of human evolution and how early man colonised the world has been thrown into doubt by a series of stunning palaeontological discoveries suggesting that Africa was not the sole cradle of humankind. Scientists have found a handful of ancient human skulls at an archaeological site two hours from the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, that suggest a Eurasian chapter in the long evolutionary story of man.

The skulls, jawbones and fragments of limb bones suggest that our ancient human ancestors migrated out of Africa far earlier than previously thought and spent a long evolutionary interlude in Eurasia – before moving back into Africa to complete the story of man.

99 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:43:23am

re: #93 zigaretten

When last seen at LGF, you were defending the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller.

[Link: littlegreenfootballs.com...]

100 lawhawk  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:43:32am

I just took a look at the Westlaw history on Barrett v. Koren, and let's just say that I have no reason to trust either side in the matter. Barrett lost at trial, and has appealed all the way to the US S.Ct., with cert denied.

As far as I can tell (and the original case as claimed on the site linked above), the facts are as follows: Barrett claims that Koren Publishers intentionally, knowingly and falsely published communications which were defamatory and clearly and explicitly referred to Petitioner. It was a defamation claim, asserting: (1) that Koren used of the term “de-licensed” physician when describing Barrett; (2) that Koren said that Barrett was “in trouble” in connection with a lawsuit that had been filed against him by a third party; and that Koren called Barrett a “quack-pot”.

Both prior to and at the time of trial, Petitioner stipulated that he was a public figure. The judge granted Koren's motion for nonsuit, and denied Barett's motion for directed verdict. Post trial motions by Barrett were deined as well.
Then, in 2008, the Superior Ct determined that the trial court's grant of a non-suit was proper because the evidence, even when viewed in a light most favorable to Petitioner, failed to establish the elements of defamation, including that the alleged defamatory statements were made with actual malice.

Barrett failed in his defamation suit. That's the only fact I can take away from all this.

101 Kosh's Shadow  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:43:54am

re: #98 Kragar (Proud to be Kafir)

A skull that rewrites the history of man

Does the article say they died off because they instituted nationalized health care?
/

102 captdiggs  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:44:17am

re: #91 Thanos

I don't like the healthcare reform bill for numerous reasons, but the main reason is that it's trying to address too many problems with one panacea, which means we will end up with placebo. There should be a series of bills that reasonably address the individual gaps.
A bill to make insurance transportable and focused just on that would be a sure win easy pass through congress.
A bill to allow associations like say the BBB to offer group plans would be a sure win.
The list goes on with tort reform etc. Trying to package these all together along with some crud that would never pass on its own merit is creating a nightmare.


Completely agree. It's too much too fast. I never liked the rush to do this. Many of the changes could be done in smaller bites.
I also think Obama is juggling too many balls at once. When you do that...you usually drop a few.

103 acwgusa  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:44:28am

The major problem I have with the Health Care proposals is pegging costs to Medicare, which isn't based anywhere near reality for actual costs.

104 lostlakehiker  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:46:58am

re: #3 Charles

Such as, "the plan will be self-financing."

When you get to the fine print, it turns out that it's self-financing if you count as part of the program the planned sharp increase in marginal tax rates on high earners, if you assume that these high earners will continue to earn big dollars in a form that triggers those taxes, if you assume that the plan won't incur higher costs than the official estimates project,

and if, and if, and if.

Money derived from an income tax is general revenue, whether you peg it to a particular program or just call it general revenue and then subsidize the program out of that general revenue.

105 Noam Sayin'  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:47:06am

re: #98 Kragar (Proud to be Kafir)

Pretty in-tact skull for 1.8 million years old.

106 Walter L. Newton  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:47:19am

Health care and Obama, tanking...

WASHINGTON – Public disapproval of President Barack Obama's handling of health care has jumped to 52 percent, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released hours before he makes his case for overhaul in a prime-time address to Congress.

[Link: news.yahoo.com...]

107 Dreader1962  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:47:37am

re: #77 avanti

Just to be clear Walter, that figure is for a high income family, and is just one idea. The figure pure person starts at $750.

What are the criteria that qualifies as valid insurance according to this fine system? Does anyone know this? Not all insurance coverage is the same, so the government is left to define what is 'proper' insurance.

108 JohnnyReb  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:47:43am

I just want to know how the Fed is going to pay for the 40+ million uninsured they intend to cover. One way or another there will be a public option if something gets passed. It may be called a co-op or something similar but it will be a public option and there will be a huge price tag with it. No one and I mean no one has really addressed that part of the plan other than some vague promises and complicated explanations that everything will be revenue neutral.

CBO estimates nearly $1 trillion over the first ten years. And they have a habit of under estimating long term costs, in real terms it will be way more than that. Where is that money going to come from? Medicare/Medicaid are effectively bankrupt, social security has over $15 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the next 10-15 years and these costs are not being addressed, but we are roaring down the pike to add yet more debt to the nation.

109 lawhawk  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:48:01am

re: #18 jaunte

Many of those items you list there would count under preventative care, and would suggest that far from saving money in the long term, are a reason for the high costs of health care. Moreover, those same kinds of tests - PSA, mammagrams, and schedules for a variety of listed tests, are done because of the practice of defensive medicine, rather than because the tests are warranted in all circumstances.

Then again, some of those proposals run counter to AMA guidelines, which are used to improve early detection of certain diseases including breast cancer and prostate cancer, both of which can be easily treated when caught early, but can be a death sentence when not detected until in an advanced state.

110 SteveC  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:48:03am

What you won't hear tonight

We will hear references to the unsustainable nature of our current entitlement systems, about how not acting now on health care reform only threatens to make things worse. We can expect references to Ted Kennedy. We will see someone in the balcony that was denied insurance... The speech will be eloquently delivered. And the House and Senate will sit as they always do, interrupting the speech with thundrous applause on multiple occasions.

But what we won't hear is this:

Congress has already exempted itself from the Public Option.

111 The Left  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:48:39am

re: #92 CyanSnowHawk

What did you think would happen if you linked to a site that only debunks the myths promulgated by the side opposed to the legislation? It's not that far of a leap, and it is a leap that your history does not justify, to propose that you are on the side in favor of it, especially by those that dislike you already.

It's insane that urging people to become informed about an issue, and correcting misinformation, is now construed as 'endorsement' of anything-- except the endorsement that it is a good idea to be informed and to make objections based on truth, and not the hysterical fantasies of Sarah Palin and others about death panels.

112 Randall Gross  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:49:00am

Look at the head lizard - I don't know what his insurance situation is, but like a lot of single-proprietor and mom and pop business' there's not a reasonable group plan he can get into from my understanding. If there were a plan offered by groups like BBB, or some blogger association it would open a new market demographic for insurance co., take care of some of the gap, and it's something that Republicans should support since small business owners tend to vote R.

113 CyanSnowHawk  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:49:14am

re: #89 Kragar (Proud to be Kafir)

That's awfully close to advocating extreme responses that are seriously frowned on around here.

114 Chekote  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:49:34am

Sorry for the OT

"Family Values" Republicans strike again:

[Link: politicalwire.com...]

115 pat  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:49:44am

re: #93 zigaretten

You are correct. And most countries do statistically factor in preemies or even infants born alive but who die prior to a predetermineed time , which can be as long as a month, in the life expectancy tables as does the USA. This greatly tilts the life expectancy in favor of these countries. If America did the same we would top most EU countries, however not Japan.

116 lawhawk  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:50:03am

re: #100 lawhawk

Minor correction in this paragraph:

As far as I can tell (and the original case as claimed on the site linked above and not available in Westlaw), the facts are as follows: Barrett claims that Koren Publishers intentionally, knowingly and falsely published communications which were defamatory and clearly and explicitly referred to Petitioner. It was a defamation claim, asserting: (1) that Koren used of the term “de-licensed” physician when describing Barrett; (2) that Koren said that Barrett was “in trouble” in connection with a lawsuit that had been filed against him by a third party; and that Koren called Barrett a “quack-pot”.

I figured out the case history and the facts by looking at the record on appeal. Barrett failed to prove defamation, the circumstances of which are difficult when you're a public figure (as he admits).

117 [deleted]  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:50:05am
118 unrealizedviewpoint  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:50:06am

re: #106 Walter L. Newton

Health care and Obama, tanking...

WASHINGTON – Public disapproval of President Barack Obama's handling of health care has jumped to 52 percent, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released hours before he makes his case for overhaul in a prime-time address to Congress.

[Link: news.yahoo.com...]


What stands out for me:

There is a clear public desire for a bipartisan approach on the issue. Eight in 10 say it's important that any plan that passes Congress should have the support of both parties, while two-thirds want Obama and Democrats to try winning support from Republicans, who with few exceptions have opposed the Democratic drive.

Yet:

Boehner: GOP leaders haven't met Obama for health talks since April

Boehner told reporters that the president has not invited House GOP leaders to the White House for meetings on healthcare reform since the end of April.
119 acwgusa  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:50:41am

re: #77 avanti

Just to be clear Walter, that figure is for a high income family, and is just one idea. The figure pure person starts at $750.

This from the same federal goverment which pegs the minimum need level 1 person can live on at $600 for welfare programs. I seriously doubt the number floated by Obama and Congress.

120 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:51:08am

re: #100 lawhawk

You know that suing for defamation has a very high bar for proof, of course. I'll bet the majority of defamation suits end in dismissals for that reason. If you look into the actual claims behind this, leaving aside the defamation issue, it's pretty clear that Barrett was right -- they did make false claims about him.

121 Spare O'Lake  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:51:13am

re: #91 Thanos

I don't like the healthcare reform bill for numerous reasons, but the main reason is that it's trying to address too many problems with one panacea, which means we will end up with placebo. There should be a series of bills that reasonably address the individual gaps.
A bill to make insurance transportable and focused just on that would be a sure win easy pass through congress.
A bill to allow associations like say the BBB to offer group plans would be a sure win.
The list goes on with tort reform etc. Trying to package these all together along with some crud that would never pass on its own merit is creating a nightmare.

The dreaded panacebo strikes again.

122 Darth Vader Gargoyle  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:51:15am

re: #108 JohnnyReb

I just want to know how the Fed is going to pay for the 40+ million uninsured they intend to cover. One way or another there will be a public option if something gets passed. It may be called a co-op or something similar but it will be a public option and there will be a huge price tag with it. No one and I mean no one has really addressed that part of the plan other than some vague promises and complicated explanations that everything will be revenue neutral.

CBO estimates nearly $1 trillion over the first ten years. And they have a habit of under estimating long term costs, in real terms it will be way more than that. Where is that money going to come from? Medicare/Medicaid are effectively bankrupt, social security has over $15 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the next 10-15 years and these costs are not being addressed, but we are roaring down the pike to add yet more debt to the nation.

Yeah Yeah, blah blah blah,

we need a single payer (Uncle Sam)! Anything else is uncivilized!!!

//

123 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:51:48am

re: #112 Thanos

Look at the head lizard - I don't know what his insurance situation is, but like a lot of single-proprietor and mom and pop business' there's not a reasonable group plan he can get into from my understanding. If there were a plan offered by groups like BBB, or some blogger association it would open a new market demographic for insurance co., take care of some of the gap, and it's something that Republicans should support since small business owners tend to vote R.

I pay a huge amount for my insurance. It sucks, really. But you have to have it.

124 [deleted]  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:52:04am
125 acwgusa  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:52:27am

re: #108 JohnnyReb

I just want to know how the Fed is going to pay for the 40+ million uninsured they intend to cover. One way or another there will be a public option if something gets passed. It may be called a co-op or something similar but it will be a public option and there will be a huge price tag with it. No one and I mean no one has really addressed that part of the plan other than some vague promises and complicated explanations that everything will be revenue neutral.

CBO estimates nearly $1 trillion over the first ten years. And they have a habit of under estimating long term costs, in real terms it will be way more than that. Where is that money going to come from? Medicare/Medicaid are effectively bankrupt, social security has over $15 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the next 10-15 years and these costs are not being addressed, but we are roaring down the pike to add yet more debt to the nation.

I'm wondering how the nation is going to float Government Health Insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security all at once.

126 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:52:30am

re: #117 zigaretten

Bye now!

127 Desert Dog  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:52:51am

I think everyone here agrees we need to do something about the current state of health care in the USA. But, let's make that "something" a rational well thought out plan, not a mish mosh of ideas slapped together for political expediency. Let's not forget, Obama wanted this voted on and passed before the August break. Before real debate and scrutiny could be brought upon it. That fact tells me this is not a rational well thought out plan.

What is the rush, Mr. President? Is the a looming crisis set to unravel our system right now? Or, is this a matter of doing it while you have the votes?

128 Rancher  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:53:11am

Well with only a quick look it seems like a fair and balanced site.

/sarc

129 Sharmuta  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:53:25am

re: #112 Thanos

Look at the head lizard - I don't know what his insurance situation is, but like a lot of single-proprietor and mom and pop business' there's not a reasonable group plan he can get into from my understanding. If there were a plan offered by groups like BBB, or some blogger association it would open a new market demographic for insurance co., take care of some of the gap, and it's something that Republicans should support since small business owners tend to vote R.

Again- I agree with you. Working for a very small business, I know that my boss can't afford to get a decent insurance plan for his employees. Allowing insurance co-ops or something along those lines would go a long way in helping people in the position of lacking the large numbers needed to get good coverage at reasonable rates. I think this is something simple that could be accomplished now if it was its own separate bill.

130 acwgusa  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:53:37am

re: #127 Desert Dog

I think everyone here agrees we need to do something about the current state of health care in the USA. But, let's make that "something" a rational well thought out plan, not a mish mosh of ideas slapped together for political expediency. Let's not forget, Obama wanted this voted on and passed before the August break. Before real debate and scrutiny could be brought upon it. That fact tells me this is not a rational well thought out plan.

What is the rush, Mr. President? Is the a looming crisis set to unravel our system right now? Or, is this a matter of doing it while you have the votes?

Never waste a good crisis with rational thought.

131 Walter L. Newton  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:53:39am

re: #118 unrealizedviewpoint

Boehner told reporters that the president has not invited House GOP leaders to the White House for meetings on healthcare reform since the end of April.

Which just highlights Obama's real problem right now, it's with his own party. You got the progressives not happy with anything he is doing, the blue dogs worried shitless about their jobs and the rest are running around trying to find some sort of moral centering point to hang their hat on.

Obama has all the votes he needs, the GOP, according to some, are shooting themselves in the foot, so they don't count, so, what in heavens name is Obama waiting for?

He's in trouble.

132 CyanSnowHawk  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:54:02am

re: #91 Thanos

I don't like the healthcare reform bill for numerous reasons, but the main reason is that it's trying to address too many problems with one panacea, which means we will end up with placebo. There should be a series of bills that reasonably address the individual gaps.
A bill to make insurance transportable and focused just on that would be a sure win easy pass through congress.
A bill to allow associations like say the BBB to offer group plans would be a sure win.
The list goes on with tort reform etc. Trying to package these all together along with some crud that would never pass on its own merit is creating a nightmare.

So, what you are saying, is that the problems in health care and health insurance should be studied until well understood, addressed in a rational manner, and resolved in manageable chunks.

That'll never fly. How do you expect the politicians to make sound bites out of a plan like that?
///

133 Kosh's Shadow  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:54:31am

re: #105 Noam Sayin'

Pretty in-tact skull for 1.8 million years old.

It isn't really that old; it is what happens to the skull when the brain shrinks under the influence of trooferism and nirtherism.
/

134 Randall Gross  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:55:51am

re: #126 Charles

I've always suspected that he was in O.R.

135 Kragar  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:56:28am

re: #113 CyanSnowHawk

That's awfully close to advocating extreme responses that are seriously frowned on around here.

I merely advocate an aggressive search while limiting the ability to move him to an area previously searched, while removing civilians from the combat area. All casualties and damage to Pali infrastructure can be avoided by his release. Any attempt to hinder the rescue should be met with overwhelming force.

Of course we know this will never happen since the world still thinks that magic pixie dust and good will will overcome in the end.

136 Wendya  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:56:33am

re: #77 avanti

Just to be clear Walter, that figure is for a high income family, and is just one idea. The figure pure person starts at $750.

Here's another gem:

Under the proposal, employers who do not offer health coverage would have to pay the full cost of the subsidies provided to employees who purchase coverage through the new health insurance exchange and qualify for a subsidy because their family income is below 300 percent of the poverty line. [1] But employers would not have to contribute to the health insurance costs of employees with higher family incomes. The new requirement would apply to firms with 50 or fewer employees.

Many employers that do offer coverage also would be subject to this requirement. Workers who would have to pay more than 13 percent of their income for their share of the premium costs under their employer’s plan, and who have family incomes below 300 percent of the poverty line, could receive a subsidy to purchase coverage through the exchange. Their employers, however, would then be billed for those subsidies.


[Link: www.cbpp.org...]

I don't know how much traction the Baucus plan has in Congress but it's not something that is going to help workers, employers or the economy.

137 Almost Killed by Space Hookers  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:56:54am

I apologize for interjecting another AGW post here, but it fits with quack watch. There was yet another "list" of people who are great physicists, who are opposed to AGW...

I got the lists confused and I had to look at this new one. So as to set the record straight... And please note that this fits here, because again, the issue that links is letting politics hold sway over fact.

OK let's look at some people from your list... First off out of 143 raging signatures, as opposed to the thousands, who actually work in the field, who say otherwise... Here are some that might be a bit questionable.

Roger W. Cohen
Manager, Strategic Planning and Programs
ExxonMobil Corporation (retired)

Andrew Kaldor
Distinguished Scientific Advisor
Manager of Breakthrough Research
ExxonMobil Corporation (retired)

Timothy D. Calvin
President, Bearfoot Corporation (retired)
Fabricated rubber products for the DOD, shoe and automobile industries

Jerry M. Cuttler
President, Cuttler and Associates, Inc.
Engineering, consulting, and licensing services for the nuclear power industry

Rodger L. Gamblin
Managing Director
Corona Color, LLC

John M. Kennel
Autonetics Division,
Boeing North American (retired)

Michael D. Lubin
Colonel,
United States Air Force

Gordon C. Oehler
Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
Working Group Chairman, Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States.

Rusty S. Towell
Professor of Physics
Abilene Christian University

Now to continue, there are people on the list who sound quite credible - retired people who are not in the field, and who are not personally convinced of the evidence yet. OK so what? There are also the far right of the physics world here. What do you think older retired plasma guys from LANL work on? These are people who thought it was cool to build thermonukes. They are as hard right as they come. And yes, it does cause one to question their biases.

But without trying to completely shred everyone on the list, and without pointing to the tens of thousands of scientists who are actually involved in this and would say different...

Where is the hard evidence that these people might have to create a counter claim?

I search the names and I find no papers by them with any hard data... If they are going to make a scientific claim about this, such that it they are contradicting the massive evidence already established, where are their papers? It is a bold thing to dissagree with the established consensus without data of your own.

NOT a single one of them has a paper out there in a peer reviewed journal that contradicts the science on AGW.

So what we have here is not science.

138 [deleted]  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:57:03am
139 JarHeadLifer  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:57:09am

The subtitle of the site is...

"Your Guide to An Equitable Health Care System"

No Thanks!

This is my primary problem with any government social problem; Their inherent and misplaced search for "equitability". The constitution guarantees a "pursuit" of happiness. It makes no guarantees that everyone will get there. It's entirely up to you. You have no "right" no health care, just like you have no right to transportation, no right to a job, no right to food, no right to much anything material. But, you certainly have a right to endeavor to posses those things and that's what people should be focused on, not the government.

140 JohnnyReb  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:57:15am

re: #125 acwgusa

I'm wondering how the nation is going to float Government Health Insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security all at once.

We can't without a massive tax hike of some kind.

141 Spare O'Lake  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:57:41am

re: #127 Desert Dog

I think everyone here agrees we need to do something about the current state of health care in the USA. But, let's make that "something" a rational well thought out plan, not a mish mosh of ideas slapped together for political expediency. Let's not forget, Obama wanted this voted on and passed before the August break. Before real debate and scrutiny could be brought upon it. That fact tells me this is not a rational well thought out plan.

What is the rush, Mr. President? Is the a looming crisis set to unravel our system right now? Or, is this a matter of doing it while you have the votes?

There are a whole bunch of Dems who are deathly afraid that they will get turfed out in the mid-term elections if this issue continues to fester.
That might be the rush.

142 LoquaciousLady  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:57:48am

This seems like a site very favorable to the single-payer system, which in my mind leads to more central control of people's lives. In Europe, no problem, those people like to be taken care of. I like to live here so I can make the best choices for me with little intervention. I love to help those less fortunate the me as well, as we should (and I thought we do with Medicaid?). But, let's create a government system to help those currently not covered, fine with me.

Also, if your insurance rates are high, try an HSA options plan.

143 acwgusa  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:58:46am

re: #140 JohnnyReb

We can't without a massive tax hike of some kind.

Don't forget payment cuts to SSA payments, Medicare benefit cuts, rationing, etc...

The cuts to SSA payments would generate INSTANT backlash.

144 unrealizedviewpoint  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:58:57am

re: #140 JohnnyReb

We can't without a massive tax hike of some kind.

The taxes are inevitable, it's the govt control that frightens many.

145 lincolntf  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:59:24am

I'm looking forward to "Wee-Wee's Big Plea" tonight.
Things I'll be looking for are his use of the fictional "40+ million Americans without insurance" and the scapegoating of the insurance companies (who actually provide the services that Obama wants you to believe are beyond reach) for "seeking profit". Either of those two points come up and it means he's not giving up on the public option.
You only lie when you intend to deceive, so if either of those two whoppers come out of his prompter/mouth then we'll know that he's gone whole hog and is going to try to ram a largely Socialist version of "reform" through.

If he bails on those Lefty memes and talks about the real world, we still have a chance to get a decent (read: not as ridiculously bad) bill out of this whole thing.

146 Desert Dog  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:59:24am

re: #129 Sharmuta

Again- I agree with you. Working for a very small business, I know that my boss can't afford to get a decent insurance plan for his employees. Allowing insurance co-ops or something along those lines would go a long way in helping people in the position of lacking the large numbers needed to get good coverage at reasonable rates. I think this is something simple that could be accomplished now if it was its own separate bill.

I am all for that. I offer two plans to my guys and it costs a fortune. I get my personal insurance from my wife's job, she works for an medical insurance company. Because I am a small company, I cannot get decent rates. But, I still provide it for my workers who want it. I split the cost 50/50. I used to pay for all of it 10 years ago, but the premiums kept going higher and higher. Even paying just half still costs me $1000 a month just for the coverage for 3 workers.

Let's have some reform...real reform...I am ready for it.

147 midwestgak  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:00:54am

re: #146 Desert Dog

I am all for that. I offer two plans to my guys and it costs a fortune. I get my personal insurance from my wife's job, she works for an medical insurance company. Because I am a small company, I cannot get decent rates. But, I still provide it for my workers who want it. I split the cost 50/50. I used to pay for all of it 10 years ago, but the premiums kept going higher and higher. Even paying just half still costs me $1000 a month just for the coverage for 3 workers.

Let's have some reform...real reform...I am ready for it.

Tort reform would be a good start.

148 Danny  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:01:06am

re: #125 acwgusa

I'm wondering how the nation is going to float Government Health Insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security all at once.

If done, it'll be paid for with massive fees and taxes on insurance companies, pharm companies, etc, all of which will ultimately be passed on to the taxpayer. I guess it won't technically be "socialized medicine" since the doctors will not be working for the govt. Instead, the rest of us will.

149 lawhawk  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:01:09am

re: #137 LudwigVanQuixote

Now to continue, there are people on the list who sound quite credible - retired people who are not in the field, and who are not personally convinced of the evidence yet. OK so what? There are also the far right of the physics world here. What do you think older retired plasma guys from LANL work on? These are people who thought it was cool to build thermonukes. They are as hard right as they come. And yes, it does cause one to question their biases.

Nuclear fusion, which is an alternative power source that would make many of the issues with nuclear power. And many of those working on nukes, particularly in the early years happened to be communists too, or did you forget Klaus Fuchs and his fellow travelers (their goal was to stop the Nazis who they considered to be the bigger threat, but once Germany was stopped, wanted to help the Communists out).

150 acwgusa  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:02:42am

As I have stated before, if the Federal Government wants to see Government health care in action, they just need to look to California's Medi-Cal program for what such a system eventually breaks down into.

151 Randall Gross  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:02:52am

When it comes to Healthcare the left has blinders on just like the right does on Abortion. Both sides assume they know what's right for other people on those issues, regardless of what other people might really want. So both sides go a step too far and try to limit choice.
The fear of limited choices is why healthcare reform will probably fail. The fear of limited choices is why anti-abortion measures usually fail as well.

152 Spider Mensch  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:02:59am

re: #138 taxfreekiller


ya know it possibly would be one of the back assed positives if the health bill passed in a current form...all employers would be required to provide health insurance for all workers..all the companies who hire the illegals would have to register them or not hire them. it might be a win/win..hire them, get them on the books and paying taxes..or don't hire them, need for illegals drops, they stop flowing into the country because no one is willing to hire them and take a chance...I know it's a bit more to this than my simplistic look at it..but still...

153 Sharmuta  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:03:11am

re: #146 Desert Dog

I am all for that. I offer two plans to my guys and it costs a fortune. I get my personal insurance from my wife's job, she works for an medical insurance company. Because I am a small company, I cannot get decent rates. But, I still provide it for my workers who want it. I split the cost 50/50. I used to pay for all of it 10 years ago, but the premiums kept going higher and higher. Even paying just half still costs me $1000 a month just for the coverage for 3 workers.

Let's have some reform...real reform...I am ready for it.

I want to see reforms too, but instead of coming up with better ideas, the right seems intent on lying and denying reforms are needed. It's not a good strategy. We do need reforms, and there are good ideas we as conservatives could support. Lies and denials are not the way to go.

154 reloadingisnotahobby  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:03:27am

re: #101 Kosh's Shadow

Does the article say they died off because they instituted nationalized health care?
/


Well... Sort of!
They ignored the Tyrannosaurus in the room/cave!
/

155 The Left  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:04:18am

re: #145 lincolntf

I'm looking forward to "Wee-Wee's Big Plea" tonight.
Things I'll be looking for are his use of the fictional "40+ million Americans without insurance"

It isn't fictional. The real estimate is about 36 million.

Getting back to Obama's statement, he said, "Nearly 46 million Americans don't have health insurance coverage today." That is the most recent number for the U.S. Census available, but he messes it up in one way that would tend to overcount the uninsured and in another way that would tend to undercount them.

It's an overcount because it counts noncitizens. Take out the 9.7 million noncitizens and the actual number is closer to 36 million.

It's an undercount because it's old data from when the economy was doing much better, and it was for people who were uninsured for a whole year. If you wanted to look at numbers just for "today," the number would likely be higher, but by how much we can't say. (The Department of Health and Human Services survey found that there were 57.7 million uninsured at some point during the first half of 2008, but we couldn't find a breakout for noncitizens.)

So Obama is sloppy by saying it is for "Americans" but not accounting for the noncitizens, which leaves him off by about 22 percent. Yet it's likely his error is counterbalanced to some extent by the large number of people who have lost insurance during the recession. So we rate his statement Mostly True.

There's also a further issue about how many are underinsured.

156 Almost Killed by Space Hookers  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:04:34am

So onto this topic, why is it a bad thing if private insurance gets replaced by a gov't insurance plan?

I would think from basic economics that:

An insurance company makes its money by calculating the odds that its customers will need certain services, banking on the fact that they will not all need those services, and charging sufficiently high enough rates to everyone, to cover the times they do need to pay out - after fighting tooth and nail - to make a profit.

So therefore, the money you pay into the insurance also pays for their profits... And therefore does not go into providing healthcare for anyone.

If you took them out of the loop and had a not for profit government run insurance system, that would mean putting more dollars into actual medical care for people who need it.

What is flawed in this analysis?

157 LoquaciousLady  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:05:08am

re: #153 Sharmuta

I want to see reforms too, but instead of coming up with better ideas, the right seems intent on lying and denying reforms are needed. It's not a good strategy. We do need reforms, and there are good ideas we as conservatives could support. Lies and denials are not the way to go.

So where do we go to get those ideas heard? Since the Bush Congress crowd couldn't keep their hands out of the treasury, I don't trust any of them to have conservatives best interests at heart.

158 Kosh's Shadow  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:05:15am

re: #149 lawhawk

Nuclear fusion, which is an alternative power source that would make many of the issues with nuclear power. And many of those working on nukes, particularly in the early years happened to be communists too, or did you forget Klaus Fuchs and his fellow travelers (their goal was to stop the Nazis who they considered to be the bigger threat, but once Germany was stopped, wanted to help the Communists out).

Fusion has been 20 years away for the last 40-50 years. Controlling plasma is just trickier than we thought, due to the way it interacts with itself. Ludwig probably knows much more about this than I do.
And many of the designs for fusion reactors produce waste as well, especially the deuterium-tritium reactors because the excess neutrons make material radioactive.

159 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:05:41am

re: #151 Thanos

When it comes to Healthcare the left has blinders on just like the right does on Abortion. Both sides assume they know what's right for other people on those issues, regardless of what other people might really want. So both sides go a step too far and try to limit choice.
The fear of limited choices is why healthcare reform will probably fail. The fear of limited choices is why anti-abortion measures usually fail as well.

Very good point, T.

160 Kosh's Shadow  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:06:13am

re: #153 Sharmuta

I want to see reforms too, but instead of coming up with better ideas, the right seems intent on lying and denying reforms are needed. It's not a good strategy. We do need reforms, and there are good ideas we as conservatives could support. Lies and denials are not the way to go.

Yes; I wish the Republicans would make some proposals of their own, even if they can't get passed. It would make them look like something other than obstructionists.

161 lincolntf  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:06:28am

re: #155 iceweasel

36 million is greater than 40 million? Wow. You're a genius.

162 LoquaciousLady  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:06:39am

re: #156 LudwigVanQuixote

So onto this topic, why is it a bad thing if private insurance gets replaced by a gov't insurance plan?

I would think from basic economics that:

An insurance company makes its money by calculating the odds that its customers will need certain services, banking on the fact that they will not all need those services, and charging sufficiently high enough rates to everyone, to cover the times they do need to pay out - after fighting tooth and nail - to make a profit.

So therefore, the money you pay into the insurance also pays for their profits... And therefore does not go into providing healthcare for anyone.

If you took them out of the loop and had a not for profit government run insurance system, that would mean putting more dollars into actual medical care for people who need it.

What is flawed in this analysis?

Politicians

163 subsailor68  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:06:40am

I agree with the posters who are concerned about the shotgun approach the current legislative proposals are using - that is, address every issue imaginable in one piece of legislation. The idea of trying things one step at a time seems reasonable to me.

For example, just pass legislation allowing insurance companies to compete in all 50 states. (Ironically, that may be the first legitimate use of the commerce clause in quite some time.)

Then see what happens before taking the next step, and fine-tune that next step based on what happened with this one.

(And, yeah, personally I'd prefer the next step deal with tort reform!)

164 Sharmuta  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:06:50am

re: #157 LoquaciousLady

So where do we go to get those ideas heard? Since the Bush Congress crowd couldn't keep their hands out of the treasury, I don't trust any of them to have conservatives best interests at heart.

That would be because, imo, they're not conservatives. Maybe we should elect some instead of Christian socialists and paleo-cons?

165 Dahveed  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:06:50am

re: #138 taxfreekiller

The 20 million or so illegals inside the U.S. now who now use the county/city hospitals for care, will U.S. taxpayers continue to pay this cost
or will these 20 million be given amnesty by say a late amendment to this current bill or a stand alone bill with in days?
Are these above included in the Obama/Democrat party 40 million now without coverage. Are there 10 million young healthy Americans who chose not to be covered due to good health?

questions like that

I asked the same question the other day with respect to illegal aliens. While they may not be covered under the public option in the federal system, I am sure they will still be covered by the states and local systems. If an illegal immigrant needs emergency care and goes to the hospital to get it and cannot afford to pay, the hospital will not let the person die for not being able to pay.

So, fine, illegal immigrants won't be part of the public option equation, but they are probably still covered elsewhere just like they are now.

166 Kosh's Shadow  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:07:33am

re: #156 LudwigVanQuixote

So onto this topic, why is it a bad thing if private insurance gets replaced by a gov't insurance plan?

I would think from basic economics that:

An insurance company makes its money by calculating the odds that its customers will need certain services, banking on the fact that they will not all need those services, and charging sufficiently high enough rates to everyone, to cover the times they do need to pay out - after fighting tooth and nail - to make a profit.

So therefore, the money you pay into the insurance also pays for their profits... And therefore does not go into providing healthcare for anyone.

If you took them out of the loop and had a not for profit government run insurance system, that would mean putting more dollars into actual medical care for people who need it.

What is flawed in this analysis?

There are already nonprofit health insurance companies, Blue Cross being one of them, and those are just as bad as the for profit companies, if not worse in some cases.

167 Killgore Trout  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:07:39am

Video of the day...
Great tits eat bats
(yes, it's safe for work)

168 Kragar  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:08:14am

re: #156 LudwigVanQuixote

So onto this topic, why is it a bad thing if private insurance gets replaced by a gov't insurance plan?

I would think from basic economics that:

An insurance company makes its money by calculating the odds that its customers will need certain services, banking on the fact that they will not all need those services, and charging sufficiently high enough rates to everyone, to cover the times they do need to pay out - after fighting tooth and nail - to make a profit.

So therefore, the money you pay into the insurance also pays for their profits... And therefore does not go into providing healthcare for anyone.

If you took them out of the loop and had a not for profit government run insurance system, that would mean putting more dollars into actual medical care for people who need it.

What is flawed in this analysis?

Presumably, public schools provides the same end effect, meaning more money to educate children. Instead we get a bloated bureaucracy filled with union stooges and pet programs while the quality of education goes down. And you trust health care to do better?

169 LoquaciousLady  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:08:35am

re: #164 Sharmuta

That would be because, imo, they're not conservatives. Maybe we should elect some instead of Christian socialists and paleo-cons?

I'd suggest that we get rid of the current spender crop. I'm hoping that Christian socialists and paleo-cons couldn't get elected.

170 cliffster  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:08:48am

re: #151 Thanos

The fear of limited choices is why healthcare reform will probably fail. The fear of limited choices is why anti-abortion measures usually fail as well.

That sounds like a pretty good reason for something to fail. The less the government does the better, especially at the federal level

171 greygandalf  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:09:31am

re: #156 LudwigVanQuixote

So onto this topic, why is it a bad thing if private insurance gets replaced by a gov't insurance plan?

I would think from basic economics that:

An insurance company makes its money by calculating the odds that its customers will need certain services, banking on the fact that they will not all need those services, and charging sufficiently high enough rates to everyone, to cover the times they do need to pay out - after fighting tooth and nail - to make a profit.

So therefore, the money you pay into the insurance also pays for their profits... And therefore does not go into providing healthcare for anyone.

If you took them out of the loop and had a not for profit government run insurance system, that would mean putting more dollars into actual medical care for people who need it.

What is flawed in this analysis?

It really doesn't frighten you that instead of dealing with insurance companies that can go out of business if run badly. That we all have to deal with government or nothing for health insurance.

172 Kosh's Shadow  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:09:40am

Time to take a walk after getting something to work better than it did before.
Clear my mind before I fix the remaining problems.

173 avanti  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:09:44am

re: #99 Charles

When last seen at LGF, you were defending the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller.

[Link: littlegreenfootballs.com...]

The story of the 21 week premie is all over the pro life sites that want the age of viability pushed back to get a foot in the door.

174 LoquaciousLady  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:10:09am

re: #168 Kragar (Proud to be Kafir)

Presumably, public schools provides the same end effect, meaning more money to educate children. Instead we get a bloated bureaucracy filled with union stooges and pet programs while the quality of education goes down. And you trust health care to do better?

This Healthcare was brought to you by your friendly SEIU employees. :-)

175 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:10:20am

re: #89 Kragar (Proud to be Kafir)

Did you really just advocate rounding up an entire population and putting them in "camps?" Which alternate reality version of LGF is that allowed at?

Because it's not allowed at this one, and you know this.

176 reloadingisnotahobby  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:10:30am

re: #167 Killgore Trout
I thought they just drove a stake thro the heart in Hungary!

177 Sharmuta  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:10:35am

re: #160 Kosh's Shadow

Yes; I wish the Republicans would make some proposals of their own, even if they can't get passed. It would make them look like something other than obstructionists.

That would require them to drop the kookiness and think up some actual ideas. I'm not sure they're interested at this point to be anything other than the party of No.

178 Pawn of the Oppressor  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:10:41am

I hate the whole insurance reform debate... For a number of reasons, it's like listening to mathemeticians argue; I just can't wrap my head around it. I know what I DON'T want -

- I don't want The Fucking Politicians making any decisions for me (read: taking more of my money to hand out to their friends).
- I don't like paying a big chunk of money every month for a service I don't use. I wish I had better plan options, if I have to have insurance.
- I don't like how much my roommate has to pay for treating her ulcerative colitis. It's nowhere near the cost of somebody having to get surgery, for example, but it takes a big chunk of her income.
- I don't like how much everything would cost up-front if I needed services and didn't have insurance.
- I don't like the fact that I can't get any straight factual answers, i.e. that the scientific approach to this national problem always seems to fall apart and factionalize almost instantly. It's like there's some sort of Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle at work when it comes to analyzing health care problems. As soon as you try to look, everything goes out the window.

So that's me... I'm just a reactionary in all of this. I guess I should be standing in a field somewhere with a sign, screaming my damned fool head off, but I do have at least a little bit of shame. This is one case where I'm going to have to leave the debate to people smarter than I.

179 BlueCanuck  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:10:42am

re: #156 LudwigVanQuixote

The problem is that more and more bureaucrats will need more wages. Funds that don't go towards health care of any stripe. Almost 40% of our government budgets go to health care up here. Most of that budget is used up by infrastructure, administration fees, and bureaucracy. And people still complain about underfunding, lack of doctors, lack of treatment...

180 Killgore Trout  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:11:18am

re: #171 greygandalf

It really doesn't frighten you that instead of dealing with insurance companies that can go out of business if run badly. That we all have to deal with government or nothing for health insurance.


That's one of the myths that we have to deal with. Single payer is not a possibility in the current bill. There might not even be a public option.

181 The Left  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:11:25am

re: #161 lincolntf

36 million is greater than 40 million? Wow. You're a genius.

It was wrong for you to claim that 40 million was a 'fictional' number; it does appear to be an overestimate, for the reasons I linked to.
Are you saying that 36 million uninsured is okay, but 40 million wouldn't be?

I linked you to a really useful and informative site on the complicated question of how many are uninsured, and your response is to simply sneer at me.

It's clear that you aren't interested in learning facts that would interfere with your version of reality, and that is why you get angry when someone provides them to you.
Not the smartest worldview. But good luck with that!

182 Almost Killed by Space Hookers  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:11:44am

re: #166 Kosh's Shadow

There are already nonprofit health insurance companies, Blue Cross being one of them, and those are just as bad as the for profit companies, if not worse in some cases.

OK, and yet I don not know a single senior who does not use it. Further, retired people who get insurance through their benefits from their companies... well the private insurance gets heavily subsidized through blue cross blue shield.

The actual benefits look the same to the retiree, but the money in bulk, is already coming from the gov't.

183 greygandalf  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:13:14am

re: #180 Killgore Trout

That's one of the myths that we have to deal with. Single payer is not a possibility in the current bill. There might not even be a public option.

I wouldn't say it isn't a possibility until I actual see a bill that is being pushed. I won't predict the future and I don't think you can either.

184 valuepack  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:13:27am

re: #3 Charles

Such as?

That health care is a human right.

I hear it pronounced as fact all the time but the logic just doesn't stand up.

185 midwestgak  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:14:02am

re: #148 Danny

If done, it'll be paid for with massive fees and taxes on insurance companies, pharm companies, etc, all of which will ultimately be passed on to the taxpayer. I guess it won't technically be "socialized medicine" since the doctors will not be working for the govt. Instead, the rest of us will.

Heads up. Government officials in Cook County, IL just increased taxes on just about everything, unless it is deemed "food." Twizzlers candy has wheat in it, so it is food worthy, hence, no tax increase on Twizzlers.

Can someone please make gasoline with wheat in it?/

186 The Left  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:14:09am

re: #180 Killgore Trout

That's one of the myths that we have to deal with. Single payer is not a possibility in the current bill. There might not even be a public option.

I wish this point would be more universally acknowledged (heh), but instead we have mythology about the nationalisation or government takeover of health care.

187 Desert Dog  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:14:43am

re: #153 Sharmuta

I want to see reforms too, but instead of coming up with better ideas, the right seems intent on lying and denying reforms are needed. It's not a good strategy. We do need reforms, and there are good ideas we as conservatives could support. Lies and denials are not the way to go.

There has not been a debate on this matter. It is open up and take it from Obama. Luckily, some of his fellow party members balked and we are now where we are. The Republicans have offered up alternatives, but you would not know it by reading the daily news or listening to the TV.

Here is the Republican Plan:

The Patients’ Choice Act

I have not actually gone in line by line to see if any of this is in the Obama/Congress plan, but so far, I have not see any similarities between the two plans at all. How about we take the best ideas from the Dems and the best ideas from the Republicans and put them together to make our healthcare system better for everyone? Too bad that will never happen.

188 Locker  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:14:45am

re: #53 Wendya

If it's financed with public funds and administered by the Government, it's considered "socialized" in this country.

Maybe if you are a republican. In fact if a democrat/liberal even speaks it's considered "socialized" by lots of voices on the right. Folks can try to redefine the word all day long but Socialized Medicine is a system where the government employs the doctors, period.

189 Dianna  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:14:51am

re: #165 Dahveed

So, fine, illegal immigrants won't be part of the public option equation, but they are probably still covered elsewhere just like they are now.

I don't see how illegal immigrants can't be covered, if on no other grounds than humanity. Public health also argues, very strongly, that illegal immigrants be treated.

It's silly to pretend they're not going to be covered; pure politics.

This is why a real reform of immigration is needed.

190 The Left  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:15:16am

re: #184 valuepack

That health care is a human right.

I hear it pronounced as fact all the time but the logic just doesn't stand up.

But that question does not need to be answered in order to enact reform. It's irrelevant.

191 Sharmuta  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:15:27am

re: #169 LoquaciousLady

I'd suggest that we get rid of the current spender crop. I'm hoping that Christian socialists and paleo-cons couldn't get elected.

I'd really like to see a return to fiscal responsibility, and I'd really love to see the GOP push for the Balanced Budget Amendment. I've even gotten liberals to agree the the government should have to balance their budget just like every other business and household should. It's a bi-partisan idea, and it could sweep the GOP back into power in Congress if they'd just ditch the kooks.

192 Spare O'Lake  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:15:33am

re: #153 Sharmuta

I want to see reforms too, but instead of coming up with better ideas, the right seems intent on lying and denying reforms are needed. It's not a good strategy. We do need reforms, and there are good ideas we as conservatives could support. Lies and denials are not the way to go.

If Obama folds on the public option then the GOP will have achieved a huge political victory, and they will be able to more or less sit back and watch the Dems split right down the middle, just in time for the mid-terms.

193 Coracle  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:15:49am

re: #145 lincolntf

I'm looking forward to "Wee-Wee's Big Plea" tonight.

Way to be open minded. Looks like you're allowed evaluation range is "will totally suck" to "may not suck quite so bad.

194 charles_martel  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:16:05am
So, what can we in the USA do RIGHT NOW to begin to cut health care costs?

Tort reform.

Tort reform.

Tort reform.

Tort reform.

Why the hell is nobody addressing this issue??!

195 unrealizedviewpoint  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:16:07am

re: #180 Killgore Trout

That's one of the myths that we have to deal with. Single payer is not a possibility in the current bill. There might not even be a public option.


If Obama could get "Single Payer" he'd be for it.

/foot in the door

196 tarkus  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:16:10am

This site advocates government-run healthcare which would be a disaster. It would be wholly ineffecient, as any beauracracy is, and without the profit motive it would kill incentive and innovation. IThe advances in medicine would slow to a halt. its a path to stagnation and misery. Yes health care is special and not as easily amenable to the free market in all aspects. Those with who are debiliated, or who are elderly will need help by a socail safety net like medicare but medicare only succeeds when its piggybacked to a robust free-market system that rewards success and efficiencies.

197 [deleted]  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:16:13am
198 LoquaciousLady  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:16:42am

I'm all for the de-linking of healthcare to employment. I think large deductible plans are better for cost control, and insurance companies should not be able to control costs by exclusion (e.g. removing the chronically ill from their poll). If I lost my job, why should I loose my insurance too? That's nuts. Gah!

Much of group controlling and employer coverages cause woefully inefficient results in the market control. The actual consumer of the product cannot even choose the product they prefer, the HR manager does that for them.

199 KingKenrod  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:17:06am

re: #156 LudwigVanQuixote

So onto this topic, why is it a bad thing if private insurance gets replaced by a gov't insurance plan?

I would think from basic economics that:

An insurance company makes its money by calculating the odds that its customers will need certain services, banking on the fact that they will not all need those services, and charging sufficiently high enough rates to everyone, to cover the times they do need to pay out - after fighting tooth and nail - to make a profit.

So therefore, the money you pay into the insurance also pays for their profits... And therefore does not go into providing healthcare for anyone.

If you took them out of the loop and had a not for profit government run insurance system, that would mean putting more dollars into actual medical care for people who need it.

What is flawed in this analysis?

The profit motive is the key to delivering value (because your customers will go elsewhere if they don't get it) and controlling costs (because you will not make a profit if you don't control costs). Without it, a market will turn to other perverse incentives - price controls, rationing, exploding bureaucracies, lack of service providers.

200 Sharmuta  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:17:29am

re: #187 Desert Dog

I have not actually gone in line by line to see if any of this is in the Obama/Congress plan, but so far, I have not see any similarities between the two plans at all. How about we take the best ideas from the Dems and the best ideas from the Republicans and put them together to make our healthcare system better for everyone? Too bad that will never happen.

Only RINOs want to work with democrats. It's heresy to even suggest it.

201 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:17:40am

re: #194 charles_martel

Tort reform.

Tort reform.

Tort reform.

Tort reform.

Why the hell is nobody addressing this issue??!

Because the insurance companies, the trial lawyer lobbies, and the politicians in their pockets won't let it happen.

202 The Left  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:17:56am

re: #183 greygandalf

I wouldn't say it isn't a possibility until I actual see a bill that is being pushed. I won't predict the future and I don't think you can either.

Then read HR3200. You will see that it does not nationalise health care.

There is a strong possibility that the public option will be dropped; if you read more on this issue you'll see that.

203 Wendya  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:18:13am

re: #155 iceweasel

There's also a further issue about how many are underinsured.

The government considers me underinsured because I have a HSA. I'm not denied treatment or care, the difference is instead of paying an insurance company thousands more per year to cover a checkup, I pay the doctor out of my health savings account and save a hell of a lot of money.

204 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:18:37am

re: #184 valuepack

That health care is a human right.

I hear it pronounced as fact all the time but the logic just doesn't stand up.

I'm pretty sure that's not part of the health care reform legislation.

205 Danny  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:18:40am

re: #201 Charles

I think trial lawyers are the primary reason.

206 Wendya  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:18:52am

re: #184 valuepack

That health care is a human right.

I hear it pronounced as fact all the time but the logic just doesn't stand up.

It's not a right if it requires someone else to sacrifice something on your behalf.

207 Almost Killed by Space Hookers  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:18:55am

re: #171 greygandalf

It really doesn't frighten you that instead of dealing with insurance companies that can go out of business if run badly. That we all have to deal with government or nothing for health insurance.

No it actually doesn't because in principle, the gov't program is there to serve me, while the private corp is there to serve itself at my expense.

I am not trying to argue that the gov't would do it better necessarily, and I am not in support of a bill that I have not read, and that has yet to actually materialize.

However, I know from plenty of family experience (many of my relatives are MDs) that the insurance companies are not anyone's friends.

It is very possible that the gov't program would be worse - when we know what it is.

However, in principle, a system run by people who get thrown out of office regularly if they f'' this up and by it's nature a perk for me as a citizen and not for profit, is much more likely to be looking out for me.

I grant that this assumes that it gets run properly and is properly funded. I grant that there are many ways it could be a problem. This is also why I am not so worried. There will always be private insurance. They will just have to compete and make a better product.

The bottom line is that wealthier people will still buy the better product, those in the middle will likely see little difference in their coverage, and those who have no insurance now will at least have something. So no, I am not afraid of it - assuming it is run well. I accept that is a big assumption. And I am not arguing it must be so. I am arguing that to be opposed in principle to the idea seems off to me.

208 LoquaciousLady  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:18:57am

re: #203 Wendya

The government considers me underinsured because I have a HSA. I'm not denied treatment or care, the difference is instead of paying an insurance company thousands more per year to cover a checkup, I pay the doctor out of my health savings account and save a hell of a lot of money.

That and you have a great incentive to be healthy. Ding! Ding! Ding!

209 Desert Dog  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:20:03am

re: #181 iceweasel

It was wrong for you to claim that 40 million was a 'fictional' number; it does appear to be an overestimate, for the reasons I linked to.
Are you saying that 36 million uninsured is okay, but 40 million wouldn't be?

I linked you to a really useful and informative site on the complicated question of how many are uninsured, and your response is to simply sneer at me.

It's clear that you aren't interested in learning facts that would interfere with your version of reality, and that is why you get angry when someone provides them to you.
Not the smartest worldview. But good luck with that!

Let's say it is 40 million. Should the remaining 260 million be left out of that debate? We have debunked that number over and over on this blog. But, even if it is the actual number, why not just give them insurance? Have Uncle Sam buy it from Blue Cross or some other private company. It would be cheaper and more beneficial to the economy than having the government step in and basically take over the entire process. The government could probably buy each one of those 40 million a new car and stuff $5000 in their pockets and it would still save over what is currently being proposed.

$1 trillion is quite a lot of money. And that is only the first estimate, we all know the actual costs will be much more.

210 lincolntf  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:20:10am

re: #181 iceweasel

Yes, yes, yes, weasel, I know. You were wrong (and the Dems lie) about the number, but it's all the fault of us mean, nutty conservatives.
Poor little victims of the big meanies, every last one of you. I'll cry for you later, I promise.

By the way, I've done the math (and seen the silly websites) for more than a year. You would have to be completely ignorant of the health care system in the US to state that 36 million are "uninsured" right now.

211 Almost Killed by Space Hookers  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:20:21am

re: #194 charles_martel

Tort reform.

Tort reform.

Tort reform.

Tort reform.

Why the hell is nobody addressing this issue??!

I agree that tort reform really does need to happen too. My doctor relatives work from between 3 and 6 months of the year to pay their malpractice insurance.

212 greygandalf  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:20:53am

re: #202 iceweasel

Then read HR3200. You will see that it does not nationalise health care.

There is a strong possibility that the public option will be dropped; if you read more on this issue you'll see that.

I mean the final bill. I think they could switch to nationalize at the last minute. They do have control of congress. And Obama has spoken positively about single payer before.

213 Desert Dog  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:20:54am

re: #200 Sharmuta

Only RINOs want to work with democrats. It's heresy to even suggest it.

RINO's and DINO's a match made in heaven

214 [deleted]  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:21:00am
215 subsailor68  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:21:11am

re: #201 Charles

Because the insurance companies, the trial lawyer lobbies, and the politicians in their pockets won't let it happen.

I guess I'm not sure why insurance companies would oppose tort reform, as - in many cases - they're the ones writing the big checks (verdict or settlement). But then again, I'm certainly no expert in this area. Guess I need to do more reading.

216 jpkoch  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:21:41am

Here are some parameters (as I see them) which the health care debate should be anchored to.

Since WWII the government has subsidized both the employers offering of health insurance benefits and the employees premiums (health care benefits are not taxed). Is it preferable to get the employers out of the health insurance industry altogether? Should the government offer tax breaks for people who purchase individual policies. Should health care benefits be taxes?

Health Insurance must be purchased instate. An individual cannot go out of state to purchase an individual policy. Should this change?

Should the federal government set strict mal-practice award limits for pain and suffering?

Should the federal government subsidize catastrophic health insurance?

How will we reform Medicare? There are not enough workers earning enough money to subsidize future retirees? The Medicare Trustees say Medicare will go permanently broke in 2017.

217 Randall Gross  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:22:11am

Some might consider this stunning, but there's great precedent for catastrophic health care being a human right. It's not in the constitution, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist de facto. If you can show me a hospital that refuses to treat someone bleeding to death you can make a case for it not being a recognized but uncodified into law right.

218 lincolntf  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:22:55am

re: #214 taxfreekiller

Don't bother. The numbers are magic.

219 LoquaciousLady  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:22:56am

re: #207 LudwigVanQuixote

And I am not arguing it must be so. I am arguing that to be opposed in principle to the idea seems off to me.

I think that practically it'd be better that it is in principle. I don't think it'd be a nightmare that some assume. I just think that in principle we shouldn't do it, it eliminates some more personal responsibility and freedom generally.

220 ladycatnip  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:23:36am

Obama actually did politicize his talks with students by pitching health care.

This was a face-to-face with high schoolers, not his edited televised speech. These weren't voters he talked to or some town hall meeting, but high school students. Absolutely inappropriate and wrong to bring his agenda to that assembly, and I'd say the same thing if Bush had done it.

221 Almost Killed by Space Hookers  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:23:49am

re: #199 KingKenrod

The profit motive is the key to delivering value (because your customers will go elsewhere if they don't get it) and controlling costs (because you will not make a profit if you don't control costs). Without it, a market will turn to other perverse incentives - price controls, rationing, exploding bureaucracies, lack of service providers.

The Germans and the Sweedes have exactly the system I am talking about.

Private health care, but public insurance. They have good systems that work rather well. They are not third world.

222 CyanSnowHawk  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:24:26am

re: #111 iceweasel

It's insane that urging people to become informed about an issue, and correcting misinformation, is now construed as 'endorsement' of anything-- except the endorsement that it is a good idea to be informed and to make objections based on truth, and not the hysterical fantasies of Sarah Palin and others about death panels.

You are right about becoming informed. Charles takes a lot of heat for advocating that very thing, and that is insane.

As far as the 'death panels' comments, could it not be said that Sarah Palin was engaging in hyperbole to describe government panels that decide who gets continued health care based on some vaguely understood criteria versus who gets cut off and left to die when continued care is not worth the cost? (Never mind that something similar happens at all insurance companies to some degree or other to keep costs down.)

I think she scored a direct hit on parts of the plan, parts of the plan that were very publicly removed as a direct result of her exaggeration. More importantly though, those comments also seriously inflamed an opposition that was already tending towards angry, both with the way she said it and the fact that she was the one who said it.

223 JohnnyReb  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:24:39am

re: #216 jpkoch

Actually in real numbers and dollars Medicare is most likely already bankrupt. Just some fancy accounting is keeping it temporarily in the black.

224 Spare O'Lake  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:24:44am

re: #205 Danny

I think trial lawyers are the primary reason.

Yeah, fuck the lawyers, that's the main thing - the innocent injured victims of malpractice are just collateral damage.
And one other thing. This stuff about all these expensive, unnecessary tests being done on patients is a canard, because if a test is unnecessary, then it would be negligent to perform it, would it not?

225 charles_martel  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:24:50am

My father was a federal employee for 30 years. He had his pick of several federal health insurance plans. The government should simply open the enrollment of the existing plans to those that want to join. Simple. There will be some funding issues to sort out, but the insurance plans are there, why reinvent the wheel?

226 Gus  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:25:06am

re: #201 Charles

Because the insurance companies, the trial lawyer lobbies, and the politicians in their pockets won't let it happen.

I've said it before:

Angoff Report Reveals Record Profits for Malpractice Insurance Companies

The profitability of selling medical malpractice insurance has skyrocketed in recent years, and consequently, most malpractice insurance companies have routinely "over-reserved" (set aside more profit) than is necessary. These are among the findings of former Missouri Insurance Commissioner Jay Angoff, who recently analyzed the 2006 financial statements of the 15 largest medical malpractice insurance companies in the U.S., and issued a report entitled, "No Basis for High Insurance Rates: An Analysis of the 15 Largest Medical Malpractice Insurers' 2006 Financial Statements."

According to the Angoff Report, the 15 largest insurers paid out an average of 31.4 cents in claims for every dollar they collected in 2006. That means that for every $1 that a hospital or health care provider paid in insurance premiums, insurance companies were able to keep 68.6 cents, using that money to fund, "...executive salaries, marketing and advertising, and lawyers and lobbyists," among other things. What the companies didn't spend on those things, they continued to hold in reserve.

Also see:

Report Suggests Malpractice Insurance Price-Gouging

227 prof.young  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:25:20am

Just checked the website. The cherry-picking of indicators on the "How the U.S. Health Care System Compares..." page will be perfect as an example of poor scientific methodology for my Political Science students this semester. All of the indicators can be more effectively explained by other independent variables.

It's sad when Ph.D.s forget their freshman statistics.

228 [deleted]  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:26:06am
229 CyanSnowHawk  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:26:32am

re: #220 ladycatnip

Obama actually did politicize his talks with students by pitching health care.

This was a face-to-face with high schoolers, not his edited televised speech. These weren't voters he talked to or some town hall meeting, but high school students. Absolutely inappropriate and wrong to bring his agenda to that assembly, and I'd say the same thing if Bush had done it.

An awful lot of those high school students will be voters in 2012.

230 prof.young  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:26:45am

Also: "unwarranted profits"

There is no such thing.

231 jpkoch  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:27:23am

re: #214 taxfreekiller


I've read 9 million illegals; 6 million who do not want health insurance; 10 million who can afford health insurance but chose not to insure, and another 6 million who are eligible for either Medicaid or SCHIPS but do not enroll. The remainder (6-10 million) have no insurance either because they are unemployed and/or do not qualify for Medicaid.

232 Locker  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:27:35am

re: #187 Desert Dog

There has not been a debate on this matter. It is open up and take it from Obama. Luckily, some of his fellow party members balked and we are now where we are. The Republicans have offered up alternatives, but you would not know it by reading the daily news or listening to the TV.

Here is the Republican Plan:

The Patients’ Choice Act

I have not actually gone in line by line to see if any of this is in the Obama/Congress plan, but so far, I have not see any similarities between the two plans at all. How about we take the best ideas from the Dems and the best ideas from the Republicans and put them together to make our healthcare system better for everyone? Too bad that will never happen.

I had some small hope of this from the medical questions document but after I took a look at it I changed my mind.

How can detailed questions be answered about something that is in multiple changing states? Who knows the answers until things are finalized? How can claim after claim be made about how health care reform will do X, Y and Z when it's still being debated, reworked and lobbied?

What I don't see, in all this drama across the country, are any clear voices talking about what does work and what could work without all the negative player hating BS drowning it out. All the constant complaining without any proposed solution wouldn't fly at work and it's very frustrating now.

Sometimes I wish we had LGF forms so we could keep running threads on issues like this. I would be very interested in reading a thread about good ideas in health care reform. There HAS to be more we can do than just tortreformtortreformtortreformtortreform.

233 ladycatnip  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:27:52am

#229 CyanSnowHawk

An awful lot of those high school students will be voters in 2012.

My thoughts exactly. And I'm sure it wasn't lost on Obama.

234 subsailor68  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:28:10am

re: #226 Gus 802

Hi Gus802! Ah! Now I see what Charles was saying. I was thinking of companies that insure patients...forgot about companies underwriting malpractice insurance - and pocketing the difference between premiums and payouts.

Thanks!

235 Wendya  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:28:46am

re: #216 jpkoch

Here are some parameters (as I see them) which the health care debate should be anchored to.

Since WWII the government has subsidized both the employers offering of health insurance benefits and the employees premiums (health care benefits are not taxed). Is it preferable to get the employers out of the health insurance industry altogether? Should the government offer tax breaks for people who purchase individual policies. Should health care benefits be taxes?

Employers and individuals should be on a level playing field when it comes to insurance. Since the government has exempted employer related insurance premiums from taxation, the same must be done for the individual. If the government turned around tomorrow and declared all employer provided insurance would be considered imputed income, all hell would break loose.

236 Gus  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:29:31am

re: #234 subsailor68

Hi Gus802! Ah! Now I see what Charles was saying. I was thinking of companies that insure patients...forgot about companies underwriting malpractice insurance - and pocketing the difference between premiums and payouts.

Thanks!

Your welcome. I'm trying to figure out who owns these liability insurance companies. I know things get rather muddled when you consider re-insurance firms and web of other insurance financing schemes.

237 avanti  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:30:01am

re: #220 ladycatnip

Obama actually did politicize his talks with students by pitching health care.

This was a face-to-face with high schoolers, not his edited televised speech. These weren't voters he talked to or some town hall meeting, but high school students. Absolutely inappropriate and wrong to bring his agenda to that assembly, and I'd say the same thing if Bush had done it.

Did you disprove when Reagan did it ?

Reagan.

238 The Left  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:30:12am

re: #203 Wendya

The government considers me underinsured because I have a HSA.

I don't know how they reckon the underinsured; I had in mind the people who have insurance and then can't get treated for some condition because the company successfully wiggles out of it or the like. I don't know the estimates about how many of those there are, nor how they arrive at them, nor whether they'd even be accurate. It's incredibly difficult for them to come up with an accurate number for the uninsured, and counting the underinsured would be even more difficult (and thus even more likely to be flawed).

And that's a legitimate worry when it comes to reform, because the cost of it can't be estimated without an accurate count (at least in the ballpark) of how many are uninsured. If it's wildly inflated, then it will cost us less than predicted. But if it's an undercount, it will wind up costing us more.

239 Land Shark  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:30:16am

An interesting site, worth checking out. I need to sit down and go through it

Here's a money line from the site, though:

"But Canada, Australia, Japan, and most European countries that offer universal health care would be more accurately described as socialized health insurance, not socialized medicine. These governments pay for care that is delivered in the private (mostly not-for-profit) sector, which is similar to how Medicare works in this country."

Medicare works? The one on the verge of bankruptcy? Who knew?

/

240 Locker  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:30:19am

re: #199 KingKenrod

The profit motive is the key to delivering value (because your customers will go elsewhere if they don't get it) and controlling costs (because you will not make a profit if you don't control costs). Without it, a market will turn to other perverse incentives - price controls, rationing, exploding bureaucracies, lack of service providers.

There is plenty of value delivered by the fire department, public schools, police, etc that aren't on the free market/for profit. What is their incentive?

241 Walter L. Newton  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:31:02am

re: #137 LudwigVanQuixote

No, your right, this doesn't fit here.

242 Wendya  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:31:30am

re: #225 charles_martel

My father was a federal employee for 30 years. He had his pick of several federal health insurance plans. The government should simply open the enrollment of the existing plans to those that want to join. Simple. There will be some funding issues to sort out, but the insurance plans are there, why reinvent the wheel?

Federal employees pay a very small portion of the entire insurance cost and the taxpayers pick up the bulk. There is no way we could afford to apply that to the entire nation.

243 LoquaciousLady  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:32:14am

re: #238 iceweasel

I don't know how they reckon the underinsured; I had in mind the people who have insurance and then can't get treated for some condition because the company successfully wiggles out of it or the like. I don't know the estimates about how many of those there are, nor how they arrive at them, nor whether they'd even be accurate. It's incredibly difficult for them to come up with an accurate number for the uninsured, and counting the underinsured would be even more difficult (and thus even more likely to be flawed).

And that's a legitimate worry when it comes to reform, because the cost of it can't be estimated without an accurate count (at least in the ballpark) of how many are uninsured. If it's wildly inflated, then it will cost us less than predicted. But if it's an undercount, it will wind up costing us more.

The government would not allow Wendya to keep her plan under the current proposals.

244 eschew_obfuscation  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:33:32am

re: #234 subsailor68

Hi Gus802! Ah! Now I see what Charles was saying. I was thinking of companies that insure patients...forgot about companies underwriting malpractice insurance - and pocketing the difference between premiums and payouts.

Thanks!

My question, assuming those stats to be correct, is what is preventing competition among 15 companies from driving profits down? Geographical monopolies, perhaps? Some other factor?

245 Wendya  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:35:09am

re: #238 iceweasel

I don't know how they reckon the underinsured; I had in mind the people who have insurance and then can't get treated for some condition because the company successfully wiggles out of it or the like. I don't know the estimates about how many of those there are, nor how they arrive at them, nor whether they'd even be accurate. It's incredibly difficult for them to come up with an accurate number for the uninsured, and counting the underinsured would be even more difficult (and thus even more likely to be flawed).

And that's a legitimate worry when it comes to reform, because the cost of it can't be estimated without an accurate count (at least in the ballpark) of how many are uninsured. If it's wildly inflated, then it will cost us less than predicted. But if it's an undercount, it will wind up costing us more.

If you have high deductibles, out of pocket expenses of more than 5% of your income per year and insurance caps you are considered "underinsured".

246 Almost Killed by Space Hookers  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:35:30am

re: #226 Gus 802

Also see:

Report Suggests Malpractice Insurance Price-Gouging

Like I said, I have relative who work for 3 to 6 months out of the year to pay it off.

Of course it drives up prices. They also have to pay off their student loans. As to dealing with regular insurance there is always a kind of car haggling that goes on. Between the doctor and the insurance company.

Say it cost the doctor x to do a service. X is defined as cost of labor, time material and some profit, (s)he does need to feed a family and pay off loans.

If the doctor were to charge the insurance company for x, (s)he would immediately be given a counter offer around .25 x.

So the doctor charges 2-3x and if (s)he is lucky receives .9x.

It is a totally messed up system we have and the profit motive, rather than promoting better care in the case of the insurance companies stifles it.

Another great flaw in our system as per malpractice itself is that it is always cheaper to kill the patient. If someone looses an eye or gets disfigured, you can expect settlements in the millions.

However, a corpse, not there to complain to the jury, gets some hundreds of thousands.

So do consider that the insurance actually makes it cheaper to kill you if things go badly.

247 The Left  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:35:49am

re: #220 ladycatnip

Obama actually did politicize his talks with students by pitching health care.

This was a face-to-face with high schoolers, not his edited televised speech. These weren't voters he talked to or some town hall meeting, but high school students. Absolutely inappropriate and wrong to bring his agenda to that assembly, and I'd say the same thing if Bush had done it.

He did not 'pitch' health care reform. He mentioned getting letters from sick people in response to a question about what motivates him to work hard. He was later asked a question about universal health care coverage, which he also answered. What was he supposed to do, refuse to take questions? He also answered a question about Afghanistan. Should all questions regarding policies domestic and foreign have been off the table?
Transcript here.

248 Gus  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:36:05am

re: #244 eschew_obfuscation

My question, assuming those stats to be correct, is what is preventing competition among 15 companies from driving profits down? Geographical monopolies, perhaps? Some other factor?

I don't know on my end. I think it's all state regulated like health insurance and state laws apply. Things get complicated with state health insurance regulations and the idea of going national is questionable because doctor and hospital costs vary be region.

249 debutaunt  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:36:06am

re: #194 charles_martel

Tort reform.

Tort reform.

Tort reform.

Tort reform.

Why the hell is nobody addressing this issue??!

Lawyers are running the show?

250 Almost Killed by Space Hookers  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:37:06am

re: #248 Gus 802

I don't know on my end. I think it's all state regulated like health insurance and state laws apply. Things get complicated with state health insurance regulations and the idea of going national is questionable because doctor and hospital costs vary be region.

That is why, according to my MD relatives the actual bill is so long and complicated.

251 Killgore Trout  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:37:43am

re: #217 Thanos

Some might consider this stunning, but there's great precedent for catastrophic health care being a human right. It's not in the constitution, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist de facto. If you can show me a hospital that refuses to treat someone bleeding to death you can make a case for it not being a recognized but uncodified into law right.

Good point.

252 subsailor68  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:38:53am

re: #244 eschew_obfuscation

My question, assuming those stats to be correct, is what is preventing competition among 15 companies from driving profits down? Geographical monopolies, perhaps? Some other factor?

Good question, and I don't really know the answer either. I posted above the possibility of opening up insurance companies to market in all 50 states (overriding current state insurance regulations in some cases). Maybe that would help drive down the cost of malpractice insurance? Don't know, but may be worth a try.

253 Gus  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:40:37am

re: #246 LudwigVanQuixote

Like I said, I have relative who work for 3 to 6 months out of the year to pay it off.

Of course it drives up prices. They also have to pay off their student loans. As to dealing with regular insurance there is always a kind of car haggling that goes on. Between the doctor and the insurance company.

Say it cost the doctor x to do a service. X is defined as cost of labor, time material and some profit, (s)he does need to feed a family and pay off loans.

If the doctor were to charge the insurance company for x, (s)he would immediately be given a counter offer around .25 x.

So the doctor charges 2-3x and if (s)he is lucky receives .9x.

It is a totally messed up system we have and the profit motive, rather than promoting better care in the case of the insurance companies stifles it.

Another great flaw in our system as per malpractice itself is that it is always cheaper to kill the patient. If someone looses an eye or gets disfigured, you can expect settlements in the millions.

However, a corpse, not there to complain to the jury, gets some hundreds of thousands.

So do consider that the insurance actually makes it cheaper to kill you if things go badly.

I've heard that before about it being cheaper. There was a media interest regarding tort and liability insurance several years ago which gradually drifted off the scope. Now I'm wondering if it should be a three pronged approach: health and liability insurance regulatory reform combined with tort reform. Also, should there be more scrutiny of liability insurance rates? Then you have to consider Federal authority regarding state regulations and it's implications with the SCOTUS.

254 Chaplain  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:41:33am

The site references a 2002 report by the kaiser family foundation that details how hard it is for 6 hypothetical patients to purchase their own insurance. Many of these patients have pre-existing conditions. I find this very interesting. I know pre-existing conditions are factored in when you purchase medical insurance but I have not experienced this with my health insurance. I am paying for health insurance through my workplace and when I married two years ago my wife, who has several major pre-existing conditions, was accepted to the health plan without anything but the standard married without kids increase. The odd thing about the whole process was that there were no health questions sent to us when she joined. Again, I know when you buy insurance yourself there are questions they ask you but is that true when you buy it through your employer? Maybe I am just lucky?

255 Almost Killed by Space Hookers  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:41:46am

re: #168 Kragar (Proud to be Kafir)

Presumably, public schools provides the same end effect, meaning more money to educate children. Instead we get a bloated bureaucracy filled with union stooges and pet programs while the quality of education goes down. And you trust health care to do better?

This is a good argument. The difference though is that the average American taxpayer could give a damn about education. It is always first cut. However, with healthcare, I do not see the same problem. All Americans on the other hand care about their own personal skins.

256 Bagua  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:42:23am

re: #220 ladycatnip

Obama actually did politicize his talks with students by pitching health care.

This was a face-to-face with high schoolers, not his edited televised speech. These weren't voters he talked to or some town hall meeting, but high school students. Absolutely inappropriate and wrong to bring his agenda to that assembly, and I'd say the same thing if Bush had done it.

Good grief, why shouldn't discuss issues with the high schoolers[sic]? He's the President and he is doing the job he was elected to do.

257 Kosh's Shadow  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:42:55am

re: #207 LudwigVanQuixote

However, in principle, a system run by people who get thrown out of office regularly if they f'' this up and by it's nature a perk for me as a citizen and not for profit, is much more likely to be looking out for me.

Yes, if we really did vote people out who f*cked up!
There are many f*ckups still in the Senate and Congress. They don't get thrown out, because it is hard to run and win, without getting a party behind you, and the incumbents have an advantage.

258 Kosh's Shadow  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:43:59am

re: #254 Chaplain

The site references a 2002 report by the kaiser family foundation that details how hard it is for 6 hypothetical patients to purchase their own insurance. Many of these patients have pre-existing conditions. I find this very interesting. I know pre-existing conditions are factored in when you purchase medical insurance but I have not experienced this with my health insurance. I am paying for health insurance through my workplace and when I married two years ago my wife, who has several major pre-existing conditions, was accepted to the health plan without anything but the standard married without kids increase. The odd thing about the whole process was that there were no health questions sent to us when she joined. Again, I know when you buy insurance yourself there are questions they ask you but is that true when you buy it through your employer? Maybe I am just lucky?

Employer group plans cannot exclude based on pre-existing conditions, but individual plans can. This ties insurance to employment even more strongly.

259 Randall Gross  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:45:00am

For numerology freaks: earlier this morning it was 09:09:09 09/09/09 -- the world didn't end.

260 debutaunt  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:45:01am

re: #221 LudwigVanQuixote

The Germans and the Sweedes have exactly the system I am talking about.

Private health care, but public insurance. They have good systems that work rather well. They are not third world.

What are the tax rates in Germany and Sweden?

261 The Left  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:46:39am

re: #256 Bagua

Good grief, why shouldn't discuss issues with the high schoolers[sic]? He's the President and he is doing the job he was elected to do.

Also, the link goes to cns news-- a right wing site. Clicking through to the transcript of Obama's actual discussion with the kids, it's clear he did nothing wrong and in no way attempted to 'politicise' reform. He made some very innocuous comments about needing reform, and what the goal of reform would be, without expressing an endorsement of any particular kind of reform-- when asked about reform. It was quite literally the blandest answer he could give.

And it's worth noting, yet again, that even McCain promised some kind of reform.

262 Bagua  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:47:05am

re: #241 Walter L. Newton

No, your right, this doesn't fit here.

Agreed, Ludwig, you're coming across similar to the passionate birther on the prior thread on this AGW thing. Give it a rest until it's the subject.

263 debutaunt  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:48:36am

re: #224 Spare O'Lake

Yeah, fuck the lawyers, that's the main thing - the innocent injured victims of malpractice are just collateral damage.
And one other thing. This stuff about all these expensive, unnecessary tests being done on patients is a canard, because if a test is unnecessary, then it would be negligent to perform it, would it not?

It would be much better for the doctor to be thinking about the patient instead of needing to consider being on the stand and answering questions regarding tests not performed.

264 Almost Killed by Space Hookers  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:48:53am

re: #260 debutaunt

What are the tax rates in Germany and Sweden?

Much higher, but, whenever this argument comes up, it fails to take into account how much we spend on health care here. The money comes out of your pocket either way.

However, they get more for their money.

Further, the arguments about taxes there also fail to take into account that even with their stifling tax burdens, they work fewer hours, have better benefits, live decidedly middle class lifestyles and have very strong economies.

265 subsailor68  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:49:13am

re: #253 Gus 802

I've heard that before about it being cheaper. There was a media interest regarding tort and liability insurance several years ago which gradually drifted off the scope. Now I'm wondering if it should be a three pronged approach: health and liability insurance regulatory reform combined with tort reform. Also, should there be more scrutiny of liability insurance rates? Then you have to consider Federal authority regarding state regulations and it's implications with the SCOTUS.

I like your thoughts on the three-pronged approach! Also interested in the Fed authority re state regs. I'm wondering if this would fall under the Commerce Clause?

For example:
The Commerce Clause authorizes Congress to regulate commerce in order to ensure that the flow of interstate commerce is free from local restraints imposed by various states. When Congress deems an aspect of interstate commerce to be in need of supervision, it will enact legislation that must have some real and rational relation to the subject of regulation. Congress may constitutionally provide for the point at which subjects of interstate commerce become subjects of state law and, therefore, state regulation.

Is it reasonable to conclude that a state preventing insurance companies operating in other (multiple) states from pursuing commerce in that state would fall under this definition?

(Don't know, just wondering.)

266 The Left  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:49:20am

re: #255 LudwigVanQuixote

This is a good argument. The difference though is that the average American taxpayer could give a damn about education. It is always first cut. However, with healthcare, I do not see the same problem. All Americans on the other hand care about their own personal skins.

Yup. That's always the way. Combine it with an active hostility towards academia and intellectual achievement and it's really bad news.
How are you, LVQ?

267 Bagua  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:50:04am

re: #261 iceweasel

Agreed, and as far politicising his speech, well that his damn job after all, I'd be disappointed in the President if he did not use speech to talk about the issues he believes in and the policies he is promoting.

268 Almost Killed by Space Hookers  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:51:07am

re: #257 Kosh's Shadow

Yes, if we really did vote people out who f*cked up!
There are many f*ckups still in the Senate and Congress. They don't get thrown out, because it is hard to run and win, without getting a party behind you, and the incumbents have an advantage.

Well, like I said, I am not arguing for the bill either and I see many potential flaws. However, even given those flaws and pitfalls, I remain to be convinced that it would be worse than what we have now.

If you talk to any Doctor about what sorts of shenanigans go on because of the insurance companies, or G-d forbid have needed them only to be screwed, you know exactly what I mean.

269 Almost Killed by Space Hookers  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:51:56am

re: #266 iceweasel

Yup. That's always the way. Combine it with an active hostility towards academia and intellectual achievement and it's really bad news.
How are you, LVQ?

Doing great Ice, how are you!

I'm heading off to the lab for a bit, but I should be online tonight.

270 Chaplain  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:52:13am

re: #258 Kosh's Shadow

Employer group plans cannot exclude based on pre-existing conditions, but individual plans can. This ties insurance to employment even more strongly.

Ahh, I see. Is that a bad thing? I tend to like the situation I have here at my job. We get great coverage and it is affordable. I think most people are afraid of something happening to their insurance coverage and that is what is driving most of the fear/anger on this issue. Whether or not that fear/anger is really necessary.

The oddest thing about this whole reform issue is that I still have no idea what the plan they have is. Does anyone? With the other initiatives they put forward (bailout, cash for clunkers) the details were laid out. Maybe, if they started talking more about what the other parts of the reform will include (aside from a public option) maybe there could be more honest debate about it. Hell, even Paglia says that they are dropping the ball on talking about the details of the reform they have planned.

271 Almost Killed by Space Hookers  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:52:42am

speaking of which, I must jet!

Stay scaly! Lasers are cheeping to be fed.

272 Gus  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:53:51am

re: #265 subsailor68

I like your thoughts on the three-pronged approach! Also interested in the Fed authority re state regs. I'm wondering if this would fall under the Commerce Clause?

For example:
The Commerce Clause authorizes Congress to regulate commerce in order to ensure that the flow of interstate commerce is free from local restraints imposed by various states. When Congress deems an aspect of interstate commerce to be in need of supervision, it will enact legislation that must have some real and rational relation to the subject of regulation. Congress may constitutionally provide for the point at which subjects of interstate commerce become subjects of state law and, therefore, state regulation.

Is it reasonable to conclude that a state preventing insurance companies operating in other (multiple) states from pursuing commerce in that state would fall under this definition?

(Don't know, just wondering.)


Maybe so. Then it would be a matter of the judge(s) taking either a Constitutional approach or on of precident?

273 lincolntf  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:54:14am

Having perused the weepy attempts to re-define Obama's position on the health care takeover, I'm convinced that it will fail.
The real world does not conform to either Obama's wishes, the activists accusations or the industry's needs. It's dead in the water. Or Obama's Presidency is. One or the other.

274 Bagua  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:56:49am

re: #255 LudwigVanQuixote

This is a good argument. The difference though is that the average American taxpayer could give a damn about education. It is always first cut. However, with healthcare, I do not see the same problem. All Americans on the other hand care about their own personal skins.

Man, that's some elitist Bull, you don't speak for "the average American taxpayer" you speak of your own biased opinion.

275 LoquaciousLady  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 11:58:02am

re: #264 LudwigVanQuixote

Much higher, but, whenever this argument comes up, it fails to take into account how much we spend on health care here. The money comes out of your pocket either way.

However, they get more for their money.

Further, the arguments about taxes there also fail to take into account that even with their stifling tax burdens, they work fewer hours, have better benefits, live decidedly middle class lifestyles and have very strong economies.

The difference is I would prefer to have control over how I spend the money not the yahoos in government at the moment.

The Swiss system also relies on taxes on their pharma companies profits derived from large profits from selling drugs in our system. We can't recreate that the other way.

276 Almost Killed by Space Hookers  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 12:00:14pm

re: #274 Bagua

Man, that's some elitist Bull, you don't speak for "the average American taxpayer" you speak of your own biased opinion.

I really do have to run, but do consider that the opponents to this are making their arguments based on the profit motive being a good thing, and yet now, the profit motive is elitist? Did it disappear when it was pointed out that it could be made to work for the other side?

Sorry, Bagua, no bagel for this one... :)

277 debutaunt  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 12:01:30pm

re: #264 LudwigVanQuixote

Much higher, but, whenever this argument comes up, it fails to take into account how much we spend on health care here. The money comes out of your pocket either way.

However, they get more for their money.

Further, the arguments about taxes there also fail to take into account that even with their stifling tax burdens, they work fewer hours, have better benefits, live decidedly middle class lifestyles and have very strong economies.

Then let's all get behind the president and model the US on those countries.

278 steverino  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 12:01:49pm

Are you serious Charles? That guy's website makes him sound like he's a kook, and a scary one. Did you see his suggestions for saving money? End coronary bypass and angioplasty, limit chemotherapy, end widespread PSA and mammogram screening. Limit advanced imaging.

And his suggestion to "stop paying physicians and institutions to prolong dying" sure sounds like a "Death Panel" approach to me. How do you think it will be decided who should get prolonged care or not?

The man is a pathologist. Has he ever actually seen a patient?

279 doubter4444  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 12:07:13pm

re: #247 iceweasel

He did not 'pitch' health care reform. He mentioned getting letters from sick people in response to a question about what motivates him to work hard. He was later asked a question about universal health care coverage, which he also answered. What was he supposed to do, refuse to take questions? He also answered a question about Afghanistan. Should all questions regarding policies domestic and foreign have been off the table?
Transcript here.

And, knowing that it would be looked at very closely, it was as Milquetoast as it could be.

280 Bagua  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 12:09:12pm

re: #276 LudwigVanQuixote

Sorry, Bagua, no bagel for this one... :)

Ok, I'll give you a rain-check on this one as silly me, I didn't notice the thread was dead.

Be careful with dem lasers.

;)

281 doubter4444  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 12:22:35pm

re: #254 Chaplain

The site references a 2002 report by the kaiser family foundation that details how hard it is for 6 hypothetical patients to purchase their own insurance. Many of these patients have pre-existing conditions. I find this very interesting. I know pre-existing conditions are factored in when you purchase medical insurance but I have not experienced this with my health insurance. I am paying for health insurance through my workplace and when I married two years ago my wife, who has several major pre-existing conditions, was accepted to the health plan without anything but the standard married without kids increase. The odd thing about the whole process was that there were no health questions sent to us when she joined. Again, I know when you buy insurance yourself there are questions they ask you but is that true when you buy it through your employer? Maybe I am just lucky?

You are not lucky, you are on a group plan.
The group is factored and pays one amount.
Now, if you were getting private insurance, you would be denied or be charged a fortune.
In your nutshell, the major point of why health reform is needed is clear.
Group insurance rules, and if you lose your job, you need to find find another one that matches the one you had, or you are out of luck.
If you start a business, or go private, it is VERY expensive or, perhaps in your case impossible to get insurance at all.
Now I have my own business.
Two years ago I was working for a company and I had a prostate test, and the doctor suggested further tests, including a biopsy (NO FUN).
Everything came back negative, all was good.
No problem.
I applied for the SAME INSURANCE that i had and was denied because I had a "risk" - the tests I was given. It took me another year, and now I pay 100% premium in addition to my monthly premium.
With my 2 year old son (healthy), I pay 1200-1300 a month, not including my wife and daughter.
On the "group" plan I paid 900 for my whole family.
To me that's killing small business.

It's a out of balance system and needs to be changed, the real question is how.

282 tyro1  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 12:44:42pm

re: #16 Charles


Dr. Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch Exposed In Court Cases
At trial, under a heated cross-examination by Negrete, Barrett conceded that he was not a Medical Board Certified psychiatrist because he had failed the certification exam.

This was a major revelation since Barrett had provided supposed expert testimony as a psychiatrist and had testified in numerous court cases. Barrett also had said that he was a legal expert even though he had no formal legal training.

The most damning testimony before the jury, under the intense cross-examination by Negrete, was that Barrett had filed similar defamation lawsuits against almost 40 people across the country within the past few years and had not won one single one at trial.

During the course of his examination, Barrett also had to concede his ties to the AMA, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

283 sagehen  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 12:45:14pm

re: #270 Chaplain

Ahh, I see. Is that a bad thing? I tend to like the situation I have here at my job. We get great coverage and it is affordable. I think most people are afraid of something happening to their insurance coverage and that is what is driving most of the fear/anger on this issue. Whether or not that fear/anger is really necessary.

Which is fine for people who love their jobs, but it inhibits economic growth.

How many people are trapped at an unsatisfying job at a large employer, would be more productive (and happier) if they could start the business they've always dreamed of, but their spouse or child has a pre-existing condition that makes them uninsurable in any but the largest group policy? How many clever ideas are never put into practice, because the person who could do it has to stay in a position that a hundred other people could full just as well? How many small businesses have trouble attracting or retaining the best employees because they can't offer a good insurance plan?

Health insurance and health care need to be decoupled from employment -- the current system benefits big business at the expense of everyone else.

284 jayzee  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 1:32:05pm

re: #21 Charles

There's no doubt that many many tests are currently performed on patients with no rational reason for it -- except that malpractice insurance demands it. A whole lot of money and time is wasted on these unnecessary tests for no other reason than to make sure a doctor won't be sued for malpractice.

Which is one of the reasons tort reform needs to be included as well in any health care plan, but that won't happen.

285 jayzee  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 1:34:30pm

The insurance industry needs fixing (like most industries probably do) but the notion that government will fix it (especially by taking it over) is absurd.

286 voirdire  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 1:40:52pm

And Palin's op-ed in the WSJ is off-the-wall? Because she calls health care rationing panels "death panels?'

287 VitaminTom  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 1:41:25pm

re: #3 Charles

Such as?


How about the "47 million uninsured Americans" BS? 10-15 million of them are illegal immigrants, many choose not to purchase insurance, and another large block are eligible for existing programs. Only around 11 million Americans are truly involuntarily uninsured. It's doesn't take a trillion dollars and a radical redesign of 18% of our economy to help that many people.

288 monique  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 1:50:59pm

re: #16 Charles

'Dr. Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch Exposed In Court Cases
At trial, under a heated cross-examination by Negrete, Barrett conceded that he was not a Medical Board Certified psychiatrist because he had failed the certification exam.

This was a major revelation since Barrett had provided supposed expert testimony as a psychiatrist and had testified in numerous court cases. Barrett also had said that he was a legal expert even though he had no formal legal training.

The most damning testimony before the jury, under the intense cross-examination by Negrete, was that Barrett had filed similar defamation lawsuits against almost 40 people across the country within the past few years and had not won one single one at trial.'

He sounds like a "quack" to me.

just saying

289 allanhateme  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 1:52:25pm

Health care may be a right, but health insurance is not. There are lots of ways, mostly ignored, to reduce how much health insurance costs. And of course #1 being reducing the cost of health care. Most of the numbers batted around are bunk, 36-46million uninsured includes nearly 20million people who can afford it but choose not to buy it. The life expectancy numbers are utter B$. If you remove automobile accidents and murder from those numbers ours are better. Infant mortality, again B$. Most nations don't count a baby born (breathing or not)

290 VitaminTom  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 2:01:55pm

re: #3 Charles

Such as?


Here's one they use on that very site. "we...are behind most developed nations based on measures such as child mortality..."

Very deceptive. The US and Europe calculate infant mortality very differently. Consider This Story from today. That child would be counted as still born in the UK, and a live birth in the US.

291 Cheese Eating Victory Monkey  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 2:20:34pm

I can't get over the irony of it all: Bush made the taxpayers bail out AIG, while AIG is not going to give a flying whoop about your individual health insurance situation if you have pre-existing conditions or lack deep pockets.

292 jonbenjon  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 2:35:16pm

Lies, Damned Lies and, well you know the quote...

I find that I cannot trust the statistal comparison between the various countries health care for one simple reason.

I know that the Infant Mortality stats are bullshit. Many, if not all, european countries do not count live births the same as the US does. In the US, if the baby is alive at birth, no matter how premature, for any lenght of time, it is counted as a live birth. Most other countries use a different criteria for a live birth, such as survival for at least 24 hours, minimum weight, minimum gestation period, etc. Infants that fail to meet this criteria are generally counted as a miscarraige.

This is a know issue, and for the author of the site to present these numbers, without any context, implies either ignorance or bias, and calls into question all of the remaining statistics he presents.

John

293 Rednek  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 2:38:39pm

This fellow's views on mammography, PSA screening, prostate cancer, chemotherapy and "false hope" are really shooting from the hip. His comments regarding cancer are unenlightening and shrill.

Regarding mammography, the recommendations on annual screening after the age of 40 are based on randomized clinical trials and supported by the National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society.


Regarding prostate cancer:

"Radical surgery as the usual treatment for most prostate cancers should cease since it causes more harm than good."

Radical surgery is not the usual treatment for most prostate cancers. There is a broad spectrum of patients from healthy to ill with tumors that vary from indolent to vicious. I think there might be one or two Urologists who might humbly voice disagreement with his proclamation.

Reading this guy reminds me of reading stuff from the anti-vaccination kooks.

Cancer therapy is a complex and difficult job. By and large, it is practiced by dedicated people who are not in the business of offering "false hope" so they can administer "intensive therapy that only adds to their profit margin".

If his recommendations were followed, my guess is that thousands of people a year would suffer and die needlessly.

294 Dwayne  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 2:39:30pm

Sorry to disagree Charles, because I honestly respect your position on so many issues, but "death panels" was an outstanding piece of satire that was designed to ridicule a real aspect of any nationalized health insurance scheme. which is the need to establish criteria for what patients will receive health care and to what level they will receive said care.

Satire of that sort isn't always meant to be a direct analogous comparison, but one that conveys a specific point, and in this instance the point is that panels and boards will wield ever increasing control over our medical decisions. To deny this is the deny the reality that exists in every nation that has some sort of nationalized insurance or health care system.

Here's the thing that bothers me the most about this whole issue of health insurance and that is this; if we were to use automobile insurance to maintain our cars the same way we expect insurance to be used to maintain our bodies, then we'd use our car insurance to pay for oil changes. And if we were to do that, how quickly would the cost of an oil change exceed $200?

re: #48 Charles

Here we go again -- people seem to be assuming that I'm trying to promote national health insurance with posts like this.

I'm not.

I'm trying to promote being INFORMED about the issues.

Yes, there are exaggerations being promoted by both sides in this debate. But once again, and to my dismay, it's the Republican side that is floating outright falsehoods like "death panels" and other complete crap.

If you want to make credible arguments based on reality, you need to be informed. Listening to Sarah Palin's absurd distortions does NOT count.

295 The Left  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 2:42:14pm

re: #294 Dwayne

Sorry to disagree Charles, because I honestly respect your position on so many issues, but "death panels" was an outstanding piece of satire

You must be joking. Sarah Palin is no Jonathan Swift, and that death panel crap wasn't satire at all; it was outright lies and fearmongering.

296 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 2:43:15pm

re: #294 Dwayne

Sorry to disagree Charles, because I honestly respect your position on so many issues, but "death panels" was an outstanding piece of satire that was designed to ridicule a real aspect of any nationalized health insurance scheme.

Really? "Satire?"

And you think it's a really good idea that Sarah Palin cynically used her own Down Syndrome baby to promote this "satire?"

Here's the quote:

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

"Satire" my ass.

297 Mr. Sandman  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 2:46:01pm

re: #108 JohnnyReb

I just want to know how the Fed is going to pay for the 40+ million uninsured they intend to cover. One way or another there will be a public option if something gets passed. It may be called a co-op or something similar but it will be a public option and there will be a huge price tag with it. No one and I mean no one has really addressed that part of the plan other than some vague promises and complicated explanations that everything will be revenue neutral.

CBO estimates nearly $1 trillion over the first ten years. And they have a habit of under estimating long term costs, in real terms it will be way more than that. Where is that money going to come from? Medicare/Medicaid are effectively bankrupt, social security has over $15 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the next 10-15 years and these costs are not being addressed, but we are roaring down the pike to add yet more debt to the nation.

You have a great lack of knowledge about the basic issues here and miss the point of the public option. It lowers costs, not raises costs. The CBO reports confirm this. It generates incentives for the private companies to control their prices, especially if it's a strong public option given bargaining power with the drug companies, etc. In fact, I would be opposed to any mandate without a public option included, since it be a massive failure and would just force everyone to give the insurance companies more money, with no responsibilities on the industry's part to ameliorate the precipitous climb in premiums. Of course, it looks like Obama's giving up on this essential point (if he ever intended to do more than engage in a charade-campaign for it in the first place), which is stupid in many ways--there is a lot of political damage to be had in passing a sham bill, so what's the point of trying to avoid political damage by passing garbage legislation rather than fighting for a bill that can work.

298 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 2:46:35pm

Wow, lots of Stephen Barrett bashers suddenly showing up here. And some of them are sleepers who've had LGF accounts for years with very few comments.

Wonder why that is?

299 The Left  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 2:49:21pm

re: #292 jonbenjon

re: #289 allanhateme

I'm hearing this a lot-- "the infant mortality stats are wrong, because of the way the US counts live births" -- but I'm not seeing links to anything that would prove that, nor is anyone arguing that the infant mortality rate, when adjusted, is actually good.

All I can find (so far) on the issue is this:

As for life expectancy and child mortality, the Democratic National Committee couldn't provide the source for the platform committee's statistics. But the numbers do match Census Bureau statistics that are used in the CIA's 2008 World Factbook, which shows the United States ranks 47th in life expectancy and 43rd in child mortality.

You might see different rankings depending on where you look. The United States scores better in lists compiled by the World Health Organization or the United Nations.

That's because each of these organizations ranks countries differently. The U.S. Census Bureau includes many more places in its rankings, such as tiny territories and small chunks of countries, as the Wall Street Journal's "The Numbers Guy" blog has pointed out.

Still, no matter whose list you check, there's no denying that the United States' infant mortality rate is higher than other large industrialized countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and Japan. And this is true despite the United States being the world leader in spending. We give the Democratic platform committee a True.

Does anyone have any information that would rebut the above bolded claim? Because that's what seems relevant to me in this debate, not whether US is 47th in infant mortality or 'only' 37th or whatever.

300 Darth Vader Gargoyle  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 2:51:45pm

re: #298 Charles

Wow, lots of Stephen Barrett bashers suddenly showing up here. And some of them are sleepers who've had LGF accounts for years with very few comments.

Wonder why that is?

I just dug around on his site to discover he favors a one payer system.
That and his discussion of us joining the civilized world pushed me into "basher" territory. He is a kook.

301 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 2:53:29pm

re: #300 rwdflynavy

I just dug around on his site to discover he favors a one payer system.
That and his discussion of us joining the civilized world pushed me into "basher" territory. He is a kook.

No, he is not a kook. You're entitled to your opinion, but it's wrong.

302 ladycatnip  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 3:34:16pm

Obama saying more people will die if we don't pass his bill.

That's not fearmongering? I think it is.

303 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 3:41:21pm

re: #302 ladycatnip

Obama saying more people will die if we don't pass his bill.

That's not fearmongering? I think it is.

That's not a quote.

304 J.D.  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 3:46:15pm
"More Americans will lose their coverage when they are sick and need it most and more will die as a result."


[Link: www.google.com...]

305 Hawaii69  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 3:49:44pm

re: #1 Occasional Reader

So, does he also debunk pro-ObamaCare myths? Just curious.

You mean that stuff about "Life Panels" and bringing your terminally ill grandma to the Fountain of Youth?

306 ladycatnip  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 4:13:27pm

Charles,

Yes it is.

"More Americans will lose their coverage when they are sick and need it most and more will die as a result"

307 EaterOfFood  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 4:31:25pm

re: #194 charles_martel

Tort reform.

Tort reform.

Tort reform.

Tort reform.

Why the hell is nobody addressing this issue??!

Because a group who helped get the current people in power would stand to lose the most from it: ambulance chasers.

308 ladycatnip  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 4:36:59pm

Here's more context within Obama's quote that I consider a fear tactic from CNN:

Everyone in this room knows what will happen if we do nothing. Our deficit will grow. More families will go bankrupt. More businesses will close. More Americans will lose their coverage when they are sick and need it most. And more will die as a result. We know these things to be true.

Growing deficits (as if the porkulus has nothing to do with that), families will go bankrupt, businesses will close, more will die...

Fear tactics.

309 monique  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 5:00:57pm

re: #298 Charles


Charles, I cut my political teeth on your site. I have learned more here than I could have learned on 20 other sites combined.

I rarely, if ever disagree with you. This is the exception.

Having read some of Mr. Barrett's ideas and comments, he's not exactly the person I would want explaining Obama's health care bill to me...in fact, I don't think any one person, outside of the Obama administration, that knows enough about it to explain it to anyone.

I've been coming here every day of the week, every week of the year, since 2006 to read the articles and comments...I usually don't post a comment because by the time I get here, there are hundreds of posts, and there's not much I could add to what has already been said by many of the other posters. You've got some pretty smart Dude's and Dudette's here.

I still love you Charles...even though you dinged me down.

310 ladycatnip  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 5:02:14pm

I Googled Stephen Barrett and found out he's been de-licensed, and has never been board-certified because he couldn't pass the exams.

Here's an article by attorney Negrete:

At trial, under a heated cross-examination by Negrete, Barrett conceded that he was not a Medical Board Certified psychiatrist because he had failed the certification exam. This was a major revelation since Barrett had provided supposed “expert testimony” as a psychiatrist and had testified in numerous court cases as such. Also, Barrett had said that he was a “legal expert” even though he had no formal legal training.

The most damning testimony before the jury, under the intense cross-examination by Negrete, was that Barrett had filed similar defamation lawsuits against almost 40 people across the country within the past few years and had not won one single one at trial. During the course of his examination, Barrett also had to concede his ties to the AMA, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

I'm smelling the scent of kook in the air.

311 donk1100  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 6:08:32pm

good job ladycatnip...just sorry it took 310 post to find this out...re: #310 ladycatnip

312 [deleted]  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 6:31:10pm
313 RexMundi  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 6:59:39pm

re: #21 Charles

There's no doubt that many many tests are currently performed on patients with no rational reason for it -- except that malpractice insurance demands it. A whole lot of money and time is wasted on these unnecessary tests for no other reason than to make sure a doctor won't be sued for malpractice.

I couldn't agree more!

314 napjim  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 7:32:17pm

re: #299 iceweasel

Here's a comment on why the numbers are different

Myth: The U.S. infant mortality rate is higher than that of other countries

Fact: The U.S.’ infant mortality rate is not higher; the rates of Canada and many European countries are artificially low, due to more restrictive definitions of live birth. There also are variations in the willingness of nations to save very low birth weight and gestation babies.

The ethnic heterogeneity of the U.S. works against it because different ethnic and cultural groups may have widely different risk factors and genetic predispositions.

Definitions of a live birth, and therefore which babies are counted in the infant mortality statistics very considerably. The U.S. uses the full WHO definition, while Germany omits one of the four criteria. The U.K. defines a still birth “a child which has issued forth from its mother after the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy and which did not at any time after being completely expelled from its mother breathe or show any other signs of life.”1

This leaves what constitutes a sign of life open and places those born before 24 weeks in a gray area. Canada uses the complete WHO definition but struggles with tens of thousands of missing birth records and increasing numbers of mothers sent to the U.S. for care.2 France requires “a medical certificate [that] attests that the child was born ‘alive and viable’” for baby who died soon after birth to be counted, which may be difficult to obtain.


[Link: www.biggovhealth.org...]

315 deacon  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 7:40:12pm

re: #299 iceweasel

I have seen information from various sources about it. This is the best I could find on short notice, but it correlates with what I have read elsewhere.

Infant Mortality Myths and Mantras

Basically, they all define the rules differently, with the US being the one that most closely follows the guidelines.

316 elanagtx  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 8:01:06pm

This is a pro-Obamacare website
Just look at the proposals for reform(poistive) and the proposals against reform (all negative)

317 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 8:18:15pm

re: #310 ladycatnip

I Googled Stephen Barrett and found out he's been de-licensed, and has never been board-certified because he couldn't pass the exams.

Here's an article by attorney Negrete:

I'm smelling the scent of kook in the air.

That is a bunch of crap promoted by Dr. Barrett's enemies. But you go ahead and swallow it if it makes you feel better.

318 Charles Johnson  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 8:40:28pm

Sleepers coming out of the woodwork in this thread.

319 steverino  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 8:57:24pm

re: #298 Charles
Mare: #318 Charles
Maybe the sleepers you mention work in the medical field and feel they have more to say on this topic than on the "traditional" LGF topics.

320 Watergate  Wed, Sep 9, 2009 10:53:37pm

I agree that doctors have specialized knowledge about how badly the system is messed up. But, I don't have nearly the faith in them to fix it, espcially if they are Obama worshippers who are heros of sites like Democratic Underground.

Also, just because Dr. Barrett might be good at spotting medical quacks doesn't mean he is good at policy solutions. For example, who in their right mind thinks that the Post Office is necessary to keep FedEx and UPS from ripping us off on package delivery? But, people really think that a "public option" is necessary. Allow competition across state lines -- see how that works before creating a federal competitor.

321 Dwayne  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 6:45:06am

I guess iceweasel and Charles missed the scare quotes around the phrase "death panel". Scare quotes used in this nature, as in when it's not a direct reference to someone else's material, it's either a method an author uses to distances themselves from the quoted concept, or that the quoted concept is not meant to be taken literally.

You two guys need to do yourselves a favor and look up the phrase "scare quotes" before you all go off on me, because ultimately it makes you seem like Muslims rioting over cartoons.

And with that, very often satire is seen as very offensive by those who are the target of that satire. Take for example one of your favorite circumlocutions: moonbat. It's a piece of satire that in no way suggest the targets of such a phrase are from our Moon or of the chiroptera order of mammalia. It's just a phrase used to denote the bad craziness some on the left exhibit.

But all that said, Charles, you have not refuted the notion that any government backed and financed health insurance option would have to have some sort of committee, a panel if you will, that must make decisions on the length, breadth and depth of death preventing coverage this publicly financed insurance would offer.

322 VitaminTom  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 8:23:46am

re: #318 Charles

Sleepers coming out of the woodwork in this thread.


I suppose I'm one of these "sleepers" since I rarely comment in threads. I've been following LGF since I found a link to your blog shortly after 9/11. I've agreed with you on nearly every subject, including the exaggerated claims made by many on the right about the current healthcare bill. However, I am thoroughly disappointed with you trying to pass off what is clearly a single-payer advocacy site as an objective source of information on this issue.

323 Charles Johnson  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 9:08:26am

re: #321 Dwayne

DEATH PANELS! We're DOOMED!

324 Charles Johnson  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 9:10:51am

re: #322 VitaminTom

I suppose I'm one of these "sleepers" since I rarely comment in threads. I've been following LGF since I found a link to your blog shortly after 9/11. I've agreed with you on nearly every subject, including the exaggerated claims made by many on the right about the current healthcare bill. However, I am thoroughly disappointed with you trying to pass off what is clearly a single-payer advocacy site as an objective source of information on this issue.

Please point out where I said this was an "objective source of information."

Clearly Dr. Barrett is advocating for a particular viewpoint -- he believes reform is needed and he thinks single payer is the way to go. Are you so afraid to have your prejudices challenged?

I tend to think it's a GOOD thing to read more than one viewpoint on an issue.

325 Dwayne  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 10:16:54am

re: #323 Charles

DEATH PANELS! We're DOOMED!

Come on Charles, that's infantile and above you.

The whole "death panel" point was polemical to be certain, but one designed to illustrate the point that we would have to put bureaucrats in charge of determining levels of service, and that as such, your 70 year old grandma may not receive the hip replacement surgery she would have received otherwise.

But you know what, if we can't recognize that simple truth, we are doomed.

326 arf  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 10:26:54am

"...Well, the guy spent his entire professional life dealing with insurance companies, and is one of the best informed people on the subject that I know of. If he thinks private health insurance firms have problems, he undoubtedly has good reasons for that opinion..."

Gee, I thought I spent my own professional life dealing with the same insurance companies. Yes, private insurance has it’s problems, but I can think of something far worse.

"Public option" keeping private insurers "honest"? That’s silly. Medicare doesn’t build networks. Medicare rules by fiat. Participation in Medicare is required for hospital privileges, actually a whole bunch of things doctors need to practice. Unlike the NHS in England, you are 100% in, or 100% out. A British doctor can declare private surgery hours and NHS surgery hours. Do that with Medicare and you face not civil action like with Blue Shield, you are fighting government.

This is the same Medicare that promised, in the original enabling legislation in 1965, that nothing in the Medicare act would restrict the right of doctors to contract privately with patients.

The death panels that everybody is snickering about? We were lied to in 1965. Exactly why should we trust government now? Medicare expenditures projected for the year 2000, we reached about 1970.

Doctors in 1965 argued that government would use Medicare to force doctors into the system, and dictate the practice of medicine. The opponents were called silly back then. After all, here’s specific language saying, directly, that nothing in the bill would ban private contracting, or interfere with the practice of medicine.

The language is still there. The government ignores it, and they do, in fact, restrict private contracting and dictate the practice of medicine.

Having been lied to in the past, pardon us physicians if we are skeptical of government promises.

327 tyro1  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 10:28:10am

re: #298 Charles

"Wow, lots of Stephen Barrett bashers suddenly showing up here. And some of them are sleepers who've had LGF accounts for years with very few comments. Wonder why that is?"

Dear Charles: I resemble that remark!

I've been here for years, mostly agree with you, and usually don't feel passionate/informed enough to speak out when I don't agree with you. I'm passionate about alternative medicine, though, and about its enemies, such as Barrett.

You've taken an article from Barrett, not licensed to practice medicine since 1993 - and who was NEVER certified as a psychiatrist and used it to validate your opinions. I think it's fair to question the source, and the motivations of the author. I also find Dr. Lundberg's "7 Ways to lower costs," espoused in the Barrett article very chilling as it addresses how to save money and lose lives.

328 arf  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 10:45:37am

Barrett points out obvious, proven frauds. Fine. Nice to have the frauds proven elsewhere, put into one source for reference. The close calls, I really have to question if he has an open mind, or even an interest in scientific inquiry.

In between quackery and generally accepted medicine, there are practices, techniques, that have support of what the courts often call “a respectable minority” of physicians. I have interest in just one of the alternative practices he sneers at. Just a small part of my general medical practice. And I do have board certification, more than I can say about Barrett. What I mean is, I’m not married to the alternative technique, I don’t even advertise it. But I do it when indicated. I was skeptical at first. One practitioner showed me, then I saw American, UK, and European continental papers supporting the practice. So I sought out a university medical center that actually taught the technique. Then I started doing it. From time to time, I use it on patients when there is reason for it. I guess I’m a quack.

Barrett called the procedure questionable, but solicited information. I took him seriously. I showed Barrett the scientific papers, physicians endorsing the practice, including C. Everett Koop, and various University faculty in the USA and Europe. No response. So I sent a follow-up E-mail, it was obvious he hadn’t even looked at the papers. The listing was then updated with new information. Namely, Medicare’s denial of coverage. That's it. Nothing about prominent physicians doing it. Nothing about University medical centers teaching it.

Oh, yeah, real scientific.

So no……..from the perspective on how he treats subjects he doesn’t agree with, and frankly knows nothing about, I can’t say I have much respect. Fine, he trumpets the obvious frauds, but anything that’s even a close call, it’s clear to me, he’s made up his mind in advance.

329 arf  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 11:07:25am

Infant mortality.

In the USA, if it came out of a female uterus, it cried and had a pulse, it was a live birth. It may not have a snowball’s chance in hell of survival, but it was a live birth. When it inevitably died, it was an infant mortality.

The same baby in various other countries, born before certain gestational age, varies with the country, it’s called an abortus. Outcome may be exactly the same, dead. But the fact remains, it’s called an abortion elsewhere, and a live birth here. Multiple sources for this, but even Wikipedia recognizes the statistical anomaly.

330 VitaminTom  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 11:23:14am

re: #324 Charles

Please point out where I said this was an "objective source of information."

Clearly Dr. Barrett is advocating for a particular viewpoint -- he believes reform is needed and he thinks single payer is the way to go. Are you so afraid to have your prejudices challenged?

I tend to think it's a GOOD thing to read more than one viewpoint on an issue.


So by your standards, Stormfront or NOI.org could be considered "excellent" sites "looking at the many myths and distortions" about racial issues?

I also have no prejudices to challenge. I spent the first 21 of my 39 years under government healthcare via my father's Army retiree benefits, and the last 18 receiving care from the private sector. I don't need to read viewpoints; I've lived them.

My post wasn't about Dr. Barrett's objectivity, it was about yours.

331 arf  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 11:57:19am

I’ve been around long enough to see the extracranial-intracranial bypass, done like crazy, then stop because it was proven to accomplish nothing, maybe even cause more strokes. About the time the debunking studies came out, one of the magazines, Time, Newsweek, I forget now, illustrated the surgery as the great pioneering American medicine.

I’ve seen the docs that are skeptical about the HPV vaccine get called “anti-vaccine nuts”.

I’ve seen postmenopausal hormone replacement for women called malpractice (1970’s-1980’s), then it’s Holy Water From God that cures everything, and doctors criticized for not giving the drug (1990’s), now back to not generally recommended but maybe some women benefit.

Government is supposed to support best practices. What’s the factoid, 15% of recommendations withdrawn in one year, 25% in two, 50% in five years……

A University hepatologist I knew liked to tweak people, pointing out that a major risk factor for hepatic failure was use of a new drug, recently certified by the FDA as safe and effective in the last five years.

A physician member of our state medical board mentioned a physician investigated by the Board for alleged underprescribing opiates for pain…..the same doc was investigated by the Board for alleged overprescribing opiates for pain. It appeared the doc’s practice didn’t change, but the Board’s political orientation did change.

So pardon me for skepticism both ways. I’ve known that Quackwatch site for years, I’m a doc too, I am boarded, actually in two specialties, I taught medical school for a few years, I’m in active practice. I walk away from that same site, seems to me the owner has made up his mind in advance of the evidence.

Not impressed that obvious quacks are listed, they were outed by others. He’s just doing the listing. The judgement calls, I don’t see the healthy skepticism, maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. Actually reminds me of the global warming “consensus of experts” types.

332 Charles Johnson  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 12:27:09pm

re: #330 VitaminTom

So by your standards, Stormfront or NOI.org could be considered "excellent" sites "looking at the many myths and distortions" about racial issues?

Are you nuts? Quackwatch is equivalent to Stormfront?

I see where you're coming from now.

333 VitaminTom  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 2:02:59pm

re: #332 Charles

Are you nuts? Quackwatch is equivalent to Stormfront?

I see where you're coming from now.


In as much as it is just as biased toward one side of an issue, yes. And I wasn't referring to Quackwatch, but rather Insurance Reform Watch, the site you endorsed.

334 Charles Johnson  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 2:14:32pm

re: #333 VitaminTom

In as much as it is just as biased toward one side of an issue, yes.

I see what you mean. A website frequented by neo-Nazis that is filled with white supremacism, racial slurs, and calls for genocide and violence, is exactly like a website that tries to debunk myths about health care reform.

Good freaking grief.

335 [deleted]  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 3:08:42pm
336 [deleted]  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 3:17:07pm
337 [deleted]  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 4:09:50pm
338 Charles Johnson  Thu, Sep 10, 2009 9:59:27pm

Bye now! Have fun storming the castle.

339 mac  Fri, Sep 11, 2009 1:55:14am

re: #156 LudwigVanQuixote

The insurance companies have to be efficient to compete, and to produce profit. They continually strive to reduce overhead percentage through efficiencies of scale, careful purchasing etc to keep their costs down.
Government programs on the other hand, are rife with waste fraud and abuse, adding to the already innefficient operation of government bureaucracies in general. It is more likely that fewer dollars or weaker less valuable dollars would go towards providing needed care. Think thousand dollar hammers and 600 dollar toilet seats.

340 Classic Conservative  Sat, Sep 12, 2009 3:47:13am

Charles, is you are all for Obamacare just say so. Don't pretend Insurance Reform Watch is not pushing the Obamacare agenda.

341 Classic Conservative  Sat, Sep 12, 2009 3:59:43am

By the way, I live in Holland and am a cancer researcher in a hospital. I deal with clinicians and patients all the time. I guess I'm a "sleeper" but I'm a very busy person. Truth is, here in Holland they are trying to abandon "single payer" as fast as possible because of the huge, unsustainable costs (this is a tiny country without ambulance chasing trial lawyers) They are trying to privatize as much as possible. They do have multiple health insurance providers but there still isn't much choice, they realize that maximum private competition is the best and they are trying to expand choice and diversity of plans. In America we do NOT need to scrap our current system, we need tort reform to remove the costs of defensive medicine.


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