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ObamaCare conspiracies

I don’t talk much about ObamaCare even though there’s as plenty of nonsense to debunk. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) myths range from Sarah Palin’s death panels to chain emails decrying provisions that aren’t in the act that passed the Congress (but were in some other bills that didn’t pass). Despite what you might have heard in an email, there is no private army created by PPACA that will euthanize old people and turn the country socialist.

Obamacares

The preceding image might be the first myth surrounding the PPACA. It wasn’t proposed or written by the Obama administration.

I was lucky with health insurance. In my working years, I had a good plan through my employer. But when I looked at early retirement at age 60, the health insurance market was pretty bleak—either really expensive or really crummy. Fortunately my wife’s employer has a retiree health plan that lets us buy insurance at the negotiated rate of a large company. I don’t think a lot of folks can do that.

Because my job involved writing computer software that did medical billing, I am perhaps more knowledgeable about the complexity of health plans than average. The process is grossly unfair. The low to middle income person without health insurance subsidizes health care for the poor, and for those who have health insurance. Insurance companies pay less than half what the uninsured pay for the same services. Providers have to increases standard rates for the uninsured to make up the difference. The poor get care at the hospital emergency room whether they can pay for it or not (under the Emergency Treatment and Active Labor Act signed by Ronald Reagan). Hospitals raise rates to make up the losses for this free care, and that is disproportionately borne by the uninsured. Medical bills are the number one cause (42%) of bankruptcy in the United States (next is unemployment at 22% and irresponsible spending is only 15%). And even the insured are in trouble, since 78% of those medical bankruptcies involved people who are insured.

The PPACA itself provides fertile ground for conspiracy thinking first because hardly anyone has read its 906 pages. Is there really a tanning bed tax in it? Yes, there is, on page 902, but here are some of the myths:

  1. The government is taking over health care (or it’s socialism). I find it hard to justify this one. Earlier versions of the bill provided a “public option” where people could be insured by the government instead of a private insurance company—it didn’t pass. While PPACA imposes restrictions on what private insurance companies can and cannot do (to benefit consumers), health insurance remains largely private, with Medicare remaining as it is, and some expansion of Medicaid.
  2. Medicare benefits will be slashed. This was one of the Republican talking points in the 2012 presidential campaign. Medicare costs will be slashed through the elimination of the Medicare Advantage subsidies to insurance companies, but he benefits to recipients remain the same.
  3. ObamaCare means taxpayer-funded abortions. President Obama signed an executive order that clarifies language in the bill and states that tax dollars won’t go for abortions except for rape, incest and when pregnancy threatens the life of the mother.
  4. Many small businesses will go bankrupt rather than provide health insurance. The mandate that businesses provide health insurance (or pay a $2,000 fee) doesn’t apply to businesses with fewer than 50 employees. There are also tax credits for small businesses (under 25 employees) who choose to provide coverage, and the presumption that coverage in the new health care marketplaces will be more affordable. In any case, the mandate applies equally to comparable businesses, meaning that one doesn’t get an advantage over the other.
  5. Everyone will pay higher taxes to fund ObamaCare. Those folks who use tanning beds will, an extra 10% of the cost of the service. There are also higher income taxes on people making over $200,000 per year ($250,000 if married). Before PPACA, all income not from wages was exempt from Medicare taxes. Keep in mind that insured families pay an estimated $1,100 a year in extra premiums to compensate for free coverage the uninsured get in hospital emergency rooms.
  6. Health care will be rationed. Health care is rationed today; insurance companies have caps on what they will pay; someone with cancer or needing a heart transplant quickly learns about rationing. Under PPACA, insurance companies are actually prevented from imposing some of their old rationing schemes like lifetime limits, or unreasonable annual limits.
  7. Death panels. The concept here is that there is a panel that will decide whether you’re worth treating or not. There isn’t. There is a panel (Independent Payment Advisory Board) made of health professionals that will study and make recommendations on what treatments are more effective and more cost effective in general; but those recommendations have no enforceability, and they do not relate to individuals.
  8. PPACA increases the deficit. CBO estimates say it decreases the deficit by $230 billion over the first 10 years.
  9. I can go to jail if I don’t buy health insurance. There is a penalty for not buying health insurance, but the IRS is prohibited from sending anyone to jail or seizing property to collect the penalty.
  10. There is a 3.8% real estate sales tax to pay for ObamaCare. There is no sales tax. There is an income tax on unearned income for persons making over $200,000 per year ($250,000 if married). Income is based on profit, not the sales price of property. Before PPACA all unearned income was exempt from Medicare taxes.
  11. The law requires people who want public health insurance to be implanted with a microchip. This comes from a provision in a bill that never passed, creating a registry of medical devices that could be implanted, things like pacemakers.
  12. ObamaCare creates a private army for Barack Obama. The law creates a “ready reserve” within the public health service, but these folks aren’t military.
  13. People will have to start paying income tax on employer health insurance. Employers will have to start including this information on the W2, but it’s still tax exempt.
  14. Hospitals will be denied Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, in whole or in part, if more than five percent of hospital employees are 25 percent heavier than the generally accepted height and weight guidelines. It was just a rumor.
  15. Congress exempted themself from ObamaCare. Just the opposite. Congress and their staffers are required to buy insurance through the health insurance exchanges set up under PPACA.

The material in this article came from a number of sources including the League of Women Voters, FactCheck.org, the Houston Chronicle, NPR and others.

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216 Responses to ObamaCare conspiracies

  1. avatar
    jdkinpa August 9, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    I just turned 65 so I’m using Medicare now but being retired military I had Tricare Prime when I had back surgery in December of 2011. I pulled out the bill that I got from the Hospital for my 3 day stay and the associated costs. It was $95691.75. That was just for the hospital. The surgeons bill was $35294.00. That’s what was billed but after it was all said and done because I had a good ‘negotiated’ government health care plan; it cost me about $200-250 dollars in co-pays, my biggest bill was $189.69.

    I’d have to take a look through all of the Summary Explanation of Benefits to get the final amount actually paid, but I’m sure it was 1/3 or less than what was billed.

    People who think that Obamacare is a bad thing, just have never gotten a bill with those kind of numbers attached, and no way to pay for it. Had I been required to foot the bill on my own it would have taken a very large chunk of my savings.

  2. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 10, 2013 at 12:11 am #

    jdkinpa: People who think that Obamacare is a bad thing, just have never gotten a bill with those kind of numbers attached, and no way to pay for it. Had I been required to foot the bill on my own it would have taken a very large chunk of my savings.

    If it hadn’t driven you to bankruptcy. Medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy in America http://www.today.com/moms/restaurant-bans-kids-night-joins-others-adding-child-free-policy-6C10881861

    Think about it for a minute: In the richest, most powerful country in the history of the world people can be reduced to bankruptcy just to get medical care. It’s insanity.

  3. avatar
    MN-Skeptic August 10, 2013 at 12:55 am #

    I’m 60 and retired (in ’99). My husband, at age 59, is still working, but I’m strongly encouraging him to retire too. We have been diligent savers and have been fortunate with our investments.

    Yet, even with a decent nest egg, I know my husband would not retire if it would be impossible to get good health insurance. And, because of some health issues, I wonder how, pre-Obamacare, we could have found insurance.

    So Obamacare makes my husband’s retirement possible. How many other folks will retire once they figure out that they will no longer have to depend on their employer for decent health insurance?

    Remember when folks stayed with a company in order to receive their pension, and how that all changed with 401(k)’s? I predict the same thing will happen with Obamacare.

    Ironically, my husband is a firm Republican. I think it kills him to think that Obamacare might be making his retirement possible! 🙂

  4. avatar
    jdkinpa August 10, 2013 at 1:05 am #

    MN-Skeptic

    Ironically, my husband is a firm Republican. I think it kills him to think that Obamacare might be making his retirement possible!

    Hey, maybe he could get some help with his cognitive dissonance after all of Obamacare kicks in. 🙂

  5. avatar
    MattR August 10, 2013 at 1:15 am #

    You can add #15. Obamacare is so bad that Democrats wanted to exempt Congress. In reality, Democrats voted to have all Congressmen and their staff participate in the exchanges right away. However, they realized that there was some question about whether or not the government was allowed to pay part of the premiums for plans bought on the exchange (like they currently pay for part of the premiums for the plan administered by the government) so they tried to pass legislation to clarify that. Republicans blocked it as a stand alone fix so the Office of Personnel Management recently issued a proposed rule with the interpretation that plans bought under the exchange are to be considered a “health benefits plan” under section 89 of Title 5 so various things like employer’s contributions and the extension of coverage after being laid off will continue to work like they do under the current system that section 89 created.

    I am not a huge fan of Factcheck but they have a pretty good sumamry of this issue.

    MN-Skeptic: How many other folks will retire once they figure out that they will no longer have to depend on their employer for decent health insurance?

    I am not close to retirement age, but I was diagnosed with a genetic condition 10 years ago that made it impossible for me to buy insurance on the individual market pre-Obamacare. It created so much additional stress whenever my company had a round of layoffs to know that losing my job meant losing my insurance which would proabbly mean lowering my life expectancy. While I can’t retire yet, it will be nice to be able to quit my job and take some time off without needing enough savings to cover signficant medical costs if I have problems finding a new job that provides me insurance at the end of my hiatus.

  6. avatar
    The Magic M August 10, 2013 at 3:39 am #

    I don’t get the fuzz anyway. Germany has universal healthcare and whoever calls us “socialist” is really living in a parallel universe.

    We pay about 15% of our net income for health care and social security, the employer pays the same.

    And we usually cringe when we hear how hospitals in the US turn people away because “no insurance”.
    Insurance is mandatory here and the state-run companies can’t turn you away (the private ones can, but only people earning more than a certain – high – amount per month can opt for private insurance instead of state insurance).
    If you’re unemployed, the state pays for you.

    The only criticism one can make about our system is that you have a two-class coverage because private insurance costs more but also covers more. For example, since I didn’t hand in any medical invoices in the last 5 years, I get 5 monthly fees back every year, money in excess of 1,000 EUR.

    Besides, I always thought that redistribution of wealth was one of Jesus’ main issues. Yet your conservatives pretend the opposite is in the Constitution.

  7. avatar
    JPotter August 10, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    Medicare was a commie plot and the death of America in 1965 …. in 2008, it was “Keep your gubbamint hands off my Med’care”.

    Will the wingnuts still be calling it Obamacare in 2040?

    Personally, I hope not … because I hope Obamacare will have been superseded long ago by a far more comprehensively socialist healthcare regime long before then.

  8. avatar
    alg August 10, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    “Despite what you might have heard in an email, there is no private army created by PPACA that will euthanize old people and turn the country socialist.”

    What?!? You mean that’s not true?!? I feel cheated! The whole reason I voted for the man was so we would euthanize old people and turn the country socialist. I thought that’s why everyone else voted for him, despite his ineligibility.

    🙂

  9. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 10, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    Done.

    MattR: You can add #15.

  10. avatar
    Rickey August 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    jdkinpa:

    Hey, maybe he could get some help with his cognitive dissonance after all of Obamacare kicks in.

    Speaking of cognitive dissonance, a woman I know has a young grand-nephew who is seriously ill with some rare condition. The boy doesn’t have health insurance, presumably because the parents don’t get it through employment and couldn’t afford it. So now they are reduced to conducting fundraisers to help pay the medical bills.

    If the boy recovers, there is a good chance that he would never be able to get affordable health insurance in the future because of his medical history. With Obamacare that will not be a problem. Yet his grand-aunt is a fervent opponent of the Affordable Care Act. She is a perfect example of a person who votes against her own interests.

    Like you I turned 65 this year, so I have Medicare. My primary care, though, is through the VA. I am eligible for low-cost VA care ($10 co-pay for office visits, $8 co-pay for prescriptions) because I served in a combat zone in 1969 and 1970. I’m also fortunate enough to be just four miles from a first-class VA medical facility. Comparable coverage through private insurance would cost me nearly $10,000/year.

  11. avatar
    jdkinpa August 10, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    Rickey

    I’m also fortunate enough to be just four miles from a first-class VA medical facility. Comparable coverage through private insurance would cost me nearly $10,000/year.

    That’s great. You’ve earned that. I’m also lucky that I was accepted into Tricare for Life and live only six miles from a military clinic. It really is amazing the contortions our conservative friends and family will use to convince themselves that anything that doesn’t conform to their political or social beliefs is the first step on that slippery slope to ……………….. SOCIALISM. Ignoring the VA, Medicare, and Social Security of course. Then they convince themselves that since they paid into Medicare and Social Security that they aren’t really socialized policy. Thus we had the signs in 2010 to kill Obamacare but keep your hands off my Medicare. Just about every convenience store in the area has at least one or two jars set up soliciting money for some sick child with no health insurance. In the richest country in the world people without health insurance have to resort to begging. No, I’m sorry that just doesn’t compute.

  12. avatar
    donna August 10, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    remember ron paul’s staffer? Paul’s 2008 campaign manager, Kent Snyder, died of complications from viral pneumonia just two weeks after Paul ended his presidential bid.

    Snyder was uninsured, so family and friends were forced to raise funds to cover his $400,000 in medical bills. Their efforts included setting up a website soliciting contributions from Paul supporters.

    The bill was initially handed to Snyder’s surviving mother, who was incapable of paying.

    Not all uninsured individuals can rely on family, friends or campaign email lists to raise $400,000

  13. avatar
    The European August 11, 2013 at 7:24 am #

    donna August 10, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    remember ron paul’s staffer? Paul’s 2008 campaign manager, Kent Snyder, died of complications from viral pneumonia just two weeks after Paul ended his presidential bid.

    Snyder was uninsured, so family and friends were forced to raise funds to cover his $400,000 in medical bills. Their efforts included setting up a website soliciting contributions from Paul supporters.

    The bill was initially handed to Snyder’s surviving mother, who was incapable of paying.
    ………………………………………………………………………
    Just a question from a dumb foreigner:

    why did “family and friends” pay the bills? He is dead. Why didn’t they leave it with the hospital ? Is there a legal reason or did they just feel a moral obligation ?

  14. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 11, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    The European: Just a question from a dumb foreigner:

    why did “family and friends” pay the bills? He is dead. Why didn’t they leave it with the hospital ? Is there a legal reason or did they just feel a moral obligation ?

    Because they will go after survivors and try to force them to pay the bills. It can get pretty disgusting. Here’s a story about it:

    http://gawker.com/5840024/ron-pauls-campaign-manager-died-of-pneumonia-penniless-and-uninsured

  15. avatar
    helen August 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    This is reminding me of the cause of the high cost of houses.

    Almost everyone could buy a house years ago for 10-25,000 dollars, but there were a group who could not afford the payments as they did not earn enough money.

    The solution was to lower the lending standards to allow the lower income people to buy houses,

    Now the medical industry is being forced to provide insurance for people who can not afford to pay for their own treatments. More demand drives up price, more people can not afford, the government now forces people to buy insurance, pays for the insurance of those who can not afford it, drives the demand up beyond the capacity of the industry, cause prices to rise, and make more people wanting more.
    coverage, costing more money, and the profits of the medical industry rise, and it all comes to what?

    Any attempt to cure everyone of everything, will wreak havoc on the economy.

    I understand that everyone wants free medical treatment, Free meaning that someone else pays for it, and I only pay a small amount.of the total cost.

    That is good for me, but is hell on the rest of the well citizens.

    And, as it is free, we want everything covered otherwise we are discriminated against because other people have it better than we do.

    Ask not what the government can do for you, but ask what you can do for the government.

    Otherwise, all is lost.

    Life, Liberty, and Freedon, is not free medical treatment at the cost of someone else

  16. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 11, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    Insurance is shared risk, not free health care.

    It was Ronald Reagan who signed the free health care bill decades ago. Just show up at the ER, they have to treat you whether you have any money or not.

    helen: Any attempt to cure everyone of everything, will wreak havoc on the economy.

  17. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 11, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    The real estate bust lowered the cost of houses for everyone.

    helen: This is reminding me of the cause of the high cost of houses.

    Almost everyone could buy a house years ago for 10-25,000 dollars, but there were a group who could not afford the payments as they did not earn enough money.

    The solution was to lower the lending standards to allow the lower income people to buy houses,

  18. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    In general in the US, such debts are the responsibility of the deceased’s estate and are paid out of the property he leaves behind. If there is not sufficient property, the creditor loses.

    However, some states are community property states, and in those states debts are considered the joint responsibility of the husband and wife.

    Also, if someone guarantees payment for someone else (like a parent for a child), they are responsible.

    And some folks would feel a moral obligation. See also:

    http://voices.yahoo.com/could-liable-unpaid-medical-bills-your-8775317.html

    The European: why did “family and friends” pay the bills? He is dead. Why didn’t they leave it with the hospital ? Is there a legal reason or did they just feel a moral obligation ?

  19. avatar
    John Reilly August 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    Helen, there was never a time in this country when “almost everyone” could buy a house. You might try actually citing to some evidence. The Census Bureau tracks this information, and at the current time, about two thirds of all Americans live in homes they own. And that is about as high as it has been Two-thirds is not “almost everyone.”

    So you might try facts. Instead of lying. Making stuff up. You know. The things you too freely accuse others of doing.

  20. avatar
    helen August 11, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: The real estate bust lowered the cost of houses for everyone.

    You really believe that? House across the street from me, just went up for sale at $650,000, plus or minus, sold last month for $469K
    Neighbors house sold $250K 12 years ago, sold last year for $326K

    Owned 4 houses in my life, lost money on the three I sold and none of them sold for more that $16K. last one in 66.

  21. avatar
    helen August 11, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    1939 before the war. My brother in law bought a house for $2,200 dollars and he made $22 a week, House across the street was $1,250,

    1934 Houses in San Francisco were being given back to lender when $1,000 was owed as they could buy another house , same type and size for $600

    Almost everyone, is not everyone.

  22. avatar
    helen August 11, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    As this is interesting, I will let you in on a secret. In my home town, it costs about $50,000 to get a permit to build a house, not including school fees.
    A lot runs about $50K if it has utilities.

    Just to get the permit and lot runs about $100,000 which means that , using the 3 time annual income that you have to make $33K a year to qualify for a loan to buy the lot and pay the permit fees.

    How can any low income person buy a home?

    But, they are still offering stated income loans up to $750 K with no down payment

  23. avatar
    Rickey August 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    helen: You really believe that?House across the street from me, just went up for sale at $650,000, plus or minus,sold last month for $469K
    Neighbors house sold $250K 12 years ago, sold last year for $326K

    Owned 4 houses in my life,lost money on the three I sold and none of them sold for more that $16K. last one in 66.

    Anecdotal evidence is not proof of anything.

    In July 2008 the average selling price of a new home in the United States was $301.900. In June, 2013 (the most recent month for which statistics are available) the average price of a new home was $295.000. In November, 2011 the average price of a new home had dropped all the way to $250,000.

    The housing market has rebounded, but it still has not caught up to 2008.

  24. avatar
    Rickey August 11, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    helen:

    But, they are still offering stated income loans up to $750 K with no down payment

    Really?

    Please identify a lender which is offering $750K stated income loans with no down payment. Since 2010 it has been illegal for lenders to make stated income loans unless the lender retains all of the risk (i.e., stated income loans cannot be insured by the lender). Dodd Frank Financial Reform Bill, HR4173, Section 1411.

  25. avatar
    Rickey August 11, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    helen:

    Almost everyone could buy a house years ago for 10-25,000 dollars, but there were a group who could not afford the payments as they did not earn enough money.

    The last time the average cost of new house was $25,000 or less was in 1967. The home ownership rate in 1967 was 63.6%. The current home ownership rate is 65%, so it has increased only marginally in the past 45 years, which pretty much shoots a gigantic hole into your argument.

  26. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 11, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    helen: Now the medical industry is being forced to provide insurance for people who can not afford to pay for their own treatments.

    The “medical industry” doesn’t provide insurance. The insurance industry does and like all insurance it is based on the concept of shared risk which means the larger the pool the lower the cost to everyone in it. People who can’t afford to “pay for their own treatment” can’t afford insurance either.

    helen: Any attempt to cure everyone of everything, will wreak havoc on the economy.

    How?

    helen: I understand that everyone wants free medical treatment, Free meaning that someone else pays for it, and I only pay a small amount.of the total cost.

    That is good for me, but is hell on the rest of the well citizens.

    And, as it is free, we want everything covered otherwise we are discriminated against because other people have it better than we do.

    Where do you live that you get “free” medical care?

  27. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 11, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    helen:
    As this is interesting, I will let you in on a secret.In my home town, it costs about $50,000 to get a permit to build a house, not including school fees.
    Alot runs about $50K if it has utilities.

    Just to get the permit and lot runs about $100,000 which means that , using the 3 time annual income that you have to make $33K a year to qualify for a loan to buy the lot and pay the permit fees.

    How can any low income person buy a home?

    But, they are still offering stated income loans up to $750 K with no down payment

    Where is your home town?

    And name one bank that provides no down (no equity?), stated income loans for any amount…..let alone $750,000.

  28. avatar
    misha marinsky August 11, 2013 at 11:57 pm #

    helen: Any attempt to cure everyone of everything, will wreak havoc on the economy.

    Israel has had universal, socialized medicine since 1948. Something wrong with that? Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance are pure socialism. You refuse all three, correct?

    helen: I understand that everyone wants free medical treatment, Free meaning that someone else pays for it, and I only pay a small amount.of the total cost.

    It’s called insurance. Look into it.

    helen: That is good for me, but is hell on the rest of the well citizens.

    That was the premise of Germany, 1933-1945.

  29. avatar
    misha marinsky August 11, 2013 at 11:59 pm #

    Rickey: which pretty much shoots a gigantic hole into your argument.

    “Helen” listens to obese, drug addled, hypocritical Limbaugh.

  30. avatar
    misha marinsky August 12, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    “Helen” is a man, masquerading as a woman.

  31. avatar
    misha marinsky August 12, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    MN-Skeptic: Ironically, my husband is a firm Republican. I think it kills him to think that Obamacare might be making his retirement possible!

    If your husband was a true libertarian Republican, he would refuse all the things he rails against. He could show his principles, and simply refuse to participate. He’s concerned about liberalism leading to socialism to communism, right?

    Libertarian calls 911:

    http://newyorkleftist.blogspot.com/2013/06/libertarian-calls-911.html

  32. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 12, 2013 at 1:02 am #

    misha marinsky: Israel has had universal, socialized medicine since 1948. Something wrong with that?

    Sissies.

  33. avatar
    Lupin August 12, 2013 at 4:52 am #

    The Magic M: I don’t get the fuzz anyway. Germany has universal healthcare and whoever calls us “socialist” is really living in a parallel universe.

    We pay about 15% of our net income for health care and social security, the employer pays the same.

    And we usually cringe when we hear how hospitals in the US turn people away because “no insurance”.
    Insurance is mandatory here and the state-run companies can’t turn you away (the private ones can, but only people earning more than a certain – high – amount per month can opt for private insurance instead of state insurance).
    If you’re unemployed, the state pays for you.

    I pretty much second everything you say.

    When I worked in the US (California), my wife and I belonged to an HMO but our monthly premium was $1200 (in 2004) going up 15% a year.

  34. avatar
    The Magic M August 12, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    helen: Any attempt to cure everyone of everything, will wreak havoc on the economy.

    That sounds like you advocate “death panels” or a form of social Darwinism (“those who are sick and too poor to pay the cure deserve to die”). Isn’t that what the right wing is accusing the left of?

    helen: And, as it is free, we want everything covered otherwise we are discriminated against because other people have it better than we do

    Slippery slope is usually not a proper argument in a discussion. That’s like saying “I am against heterosexual marriage because once we allow men and women to marry, brothers and sisters will demand to be next”.

    Most systems of universal healthcare work very well without “everything covered” (e.g. most so-called alternative methods are not covered, nor is “flying to Dubai to the world’s best specialist for your disease”).
    There are always some edge cases that cause dissent (I remember the fuzz about medication for erectile dysfunction being covered over here), but no system can please everyone (just like the law, taxes, school teachings etc.), that is not an argument for “no system at all”.
    But I refuse to discuss with people whose answer to “what if you got cancer and treatment costs $100,000 you don’t have?” is “I will pray and God will help”.

  35. avatar
    Lani August 12, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    Basically, we are idiots in the US. We price everything and demand payment – screw you if you can’t afford it.

    When I moved overseas, I was scared of the medical system because it was “socialist”. And then I was unfortunately and suddenly in a hospital. I freaked out about every pill, every tissue, because I “knew” it meant another $100 on my bill. My US behavior was so strange to the staff that they worried about my mental health until someone said I was from the US. Then my behavior made sense to them.

    The medical care I received was excellent, but the personal care was beyond extraordinary. When the staff realized that I was a new immigrant without much personal support, they scheduled their tea breaks to visit with me so I wouldn’t be alone. Some did so because they were curious. They asked if it was true that people in the US were bankrupted by hospital bills or denied care because they couldn’t pay. It was inconceivable to them.

    When you remove the insurance companies from dictating your care, you get people focused on your well being instead of filling out forms.

    Helen, you are an ignorant person, like I once was. Most modern countries are providing excellent healthcare at a fraction of what we pay for crap.

  36. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG August 12, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Helen isn’t just ignorant, she’s willfully ignorant. The facts do not support any facet of her argument, so she ignores them.

  37. avatar
    bovril August 12, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    So Helen

    Do tell, if you have a company that, when compared equally against its peers, has the following characteristics, what should happen to it in the “republican” /small government/ let the market correct it, world..?

    This company spends an average of 3 times as much on administration as its peers
    The company material costs are twice that of the average of its peers
    This company has 23% fewer skilled machinists for the same wage bill
    The company has 39% fewer master machinist for the same wage bill
    The company only has 64% of its factory floor utilized profitably compared to its peers
    The product the company manufactures cost an average of 2.5 times as much as its peers
    The product of the company only lasts approximately 90% as long as its peers

    Since these are the figures for the CURRENT (pre “Obamacare” ) US healthcare system, you tell us..

  38. avatar
    donna August 12, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    Lani:

    the NYT is running a series on medical costs for

    colonoscopies

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/02/health/colonoscopies-explain-why-us-leads-the-world-in-health-expenditures.html?pagewanted=all

    pregnancy

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/01/health/american-way-of-birth-costliest-in-the-world.html

    joint replacement

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/health/for-medical-tourists-simple-math.html

    shocking to me was the map of various colonoscopy costs throughout the country ($1,908 baltimore, md v $8,577 in NY)

    Here’s a map from the Times piece summarizing the analysis:

    http://www.nashvillescene.com/pitw/archives/2013/06/03/another-reason-to-love-nashville-cheap-colonoscopies

  39. avatar
    Lupin August 12, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    I wish I could be more precise, but there is a cancer drug that you have to inject, and because it was still considered experimental, it wasn’t reimbursed in the US or by what we call “social security” in France but which is like a universal medicare.

    At least it wasn’t reimbursed a few years ago; maybe it is today. As I said I wish I could be more specific.

    Anyway, the point is, you had to pay for it out of pocket, both in the US and in France. I don’t recall the name of the drug, but the bare facts told to me by a friend who had to buy the drug stuck in my mind.

    Ideally, you had to have one shot per month.

    In New York, that shot cost him about $9000. In France, about 1400 euros. Which is mind-bogglingly expensive for the average French person, but still not $9000.

    As far as I can comprehend there was absolutely no reason for the price differential (since this was totally free market in both cases, with no government interference) except that the pharma company (which was Swiss, I think) knew thaty it could gouge the hapless American victim.

    My friend moved to France; even by paying for some stuff out of pocket, he could go on living (and is still alive today). In the US, he would have been first bankrupt, then dead.

    This was around 2006. Things may have changed since. They probably have.

  40. avatar
    James M August 12, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    CarlOrcas: If it hadn’t driven you to bankruptcy. Medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy in America http://www.today.com/moms/restaurant-bans-kids-night-joins-others-adding-child-free-policy-6C10881861

    Think about it for a minute: In the richest, most powerful country in the history of the world people can be reduced to bankruptcy just to get medical care. It’s insanity.

    Hey, at least it tells us that bankruptcy is still preferable to suicide or exile.

  41. avatar
    sfjeff August 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    Lupin:
    I wish I could be more precise, but there is a cancer drug that you have to inject, and because it was still considered experimental, it wasn’t reimbursed in the US or by what we call “social security” in France but which is like a universal medicare.

    Just read an article- I think it was in the NYT about Americans going abroad for hip replacements- and why a hip replacement in the U.S. might cost $80,000 while one in Belgium cost $16.000.

    Basically it comes down to two things:
    a) Belgium regulates the cost of such medical operations and
    b) Belgium keeps costs down by various means- the hospitals are much more bare bones.

    If Americans had to more frequently pay the full cost of our health care, we would be going more often outside the country for treatment. I for one would trust Belgian doctors even if a Frenchman wouldn’t……

  42. avatar
    James M August 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    I am waiting, and have been asking for a long time, for one of the corporate executives who has claimed damages based on Obamacare to do the following:

    1. Open your books as a case study to show specifically and precisely how Public Law 111-148 impacted your business.

    2. Declare in lawfully binding filing to the SEC or to the IRS that Public Law 111-148 introduces specific risks to shareholder value, report specific costs stemming from this law, or report business losses from this law on a tax filing.

    I’m not holding my breath. I even had a direct, “one degree” experience with John Mackey when he spouted off about Whole Foods Market and Obamacare. See, I’ve known John since the late 70s, when he was just a guy with a food coop in Austin. I knew him when Whole Foods Market became a reality and when it expanded into Bluebonnet Natural Foods and became a two-city phenomenon. To the point, I knew him when Whole Foods Market was the only grocer in Texas providing realistic health care to its employees. It’s one of the things that set them apart. It’s something we talked about, in one of countless personal conversations.

    So to have him come out and claim that “Obamacare” cost his business, was a total surprise from left field. Still, no surprise that he’s made the list of people who claim damages from Obamacare but don’t put those costs down in reports to shareholders, regulators, or revenue agencies.

    Are they lying to me, or are they lying to investors? (It’s one or the other. I’m still waiting for John to reply to my letter.)

  43. avatar
    James M August 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    helen: How can any low income person buy a home?

    There is a house for sale which I see every morning on my commute. Asking price is in the high $80K range. It’s not in a particularly desirable neighborhood, but it’s not a slum either.

    I don’t know how a truly low income individual could come up with the $16K down payment they should put on that property. But once at that threshold, the $300-500 monthly mortgage payment doesn’t seem stratospheric to me.

  44. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    James M: Are they lying to me, or are they lying to investors?

    Add themselves to the list and I think you’ve got it.

    What amuses me about the folks shooting their mouths off are several things:

    First: Only now are we starting to see what the costs will be as more and more states announce premiums. So…….

    Second: What is the actual net increase in health care costs for a business? If they already cover some folks are those rates going to go up or, possibly, down? If they have to cover more people what is that going to cost and…..most import….what is it going to do to their total labor costs and net operating income? A 10% increase in labor costs does not directly translate into a 10% increase in the prices for your goods or services.

    Third:The part time solution. It’s stupid. Increasing the number of employees you have to manage increases your costs. There’s no way around it. Part time employees are less loyal and, probably, looking for another job the minute you hire them. All that translates into poor productivity and customer satisfaction. It’s penny wise, pound foolish.

    In the end smart business owners will take care of their employes so they can take care of their customers and, all things being equal, they will take care of your bottom line.

  45. avatar
    G August 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    Yeah, we’ll all have to keep holding our breath, because you are right. They are NOT being “damaged” and are only making these unsupportable claims because of their personal political biases, not based on real business data.

    James M: I am waiting, and have been asking for a long time, for one of the corporate executives who has claimed damages based on Obamacare to do the following:

    1. Open your books as a case study to show specifically and precisely how Public Law 111-148 impacted your business.

    2. Declare in lawfully binding filing to the SEC or to the IRS that Public Law 111-148 introduces specific risks to shareholder value, report specific costs stemming from this law, or report business losses from this law on a tax filing.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  46. avatar
    charo August 12, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    Lani:
    Basically, we are idiots in the US.We price everything and demand payment – screw you if you can’t afford it.

    When I moved overseas, I was scared of the medical system because it was “socialist”.And then I was unfortunately and suddenly in a hospital.I freaked out about every pill, every tissue, because I “knew” it meant another $100 on my bill.My US behavior was so strange to the staff that they worried about my mental health until someone said I was from the US.Then my behavior made sense to them.

    The medical care I received was excellent, but the personal care was beyond extraordinary.When the staff realized that I was a new immigrant without much personal support, they scheduled their tea breaks to visit with me so I wouldn’t be alone.Some did so because they were curious.They asked if it was true that people in the US were bankrupted by hospital bills or denied care because they couldn’t pay.It was inconceivable to them.

    When you remove the insurance companies from dictating your care, you get people focused on your well being instead of filling out forms.

    Helen, you are an ignorant person, like I once was.Most modern countries are providing excellent healthcare at a fraction of what we pay for crap.

    Lani,

    A couple of things to consider. I have been working for a school district for almost two years. I carry myself and my three children on my insurance plan. My husband kept his insurance from his job because he does not have to pay a premium for himself; the cost increases if he adds us. My insurance is what is probably termed the Cadillac kind. I have no deductible. Hospitalization is 100% covered. I pay less than $30 per paycheck for this and more. My benefits also include vision and dental, and I can even could add my husband to those; my dental plan covered more than his. I worked my last day at this job last week because I have some home based opportunities. I will lose this insurance at the end of the month, and the family will now be added on to my husband’s insurance. This cost now has to be budgeted in, but nonetheless, I want to work from home.

    The school district is in the midst of contract negotiations. People are unhappy because insurance contributions will go up. Currently, employees pay 7% of the cost and that will likely double. We are talking about 14% of the cost of the group plan. How do you think these people would react to a socialized system where 15% (to use Lupin’s number) of their SALARY will be deducted for health care costs? The healthcare benefits will not be as good as they are used to. Unions will fight a single payer system, which according to what I have heard, is what Harry Reid and others want. What if this leads to “privileged” people getting to opt out? Think of the how the federal employees already got an opt out advantage regarding the exchanges under the current law.

    Another point: Physicians have gone to school. giving up their lives until close to age 30, with the understanding that they will live a very comfortable lifestyle. Not every doctor got into the field for the money, but it is certainly a consideration. They won’t get the same money they are expecting. A trend among dentists is to not even accept insurance anymore. It is not just about forms for the insurance company we are talking about. There are doctors who want no part of any form of socialized medicine. We need every doctor we have and then some. This is not true for every area of the country presently, but there are pockets where the problem exists. It will get worse if even a small percentage leave because the system will not be able to sustain itself without more health professionals. We are seeing more nurse practitioners and P.A.’s than we used to. Will that be good enough?

    We have the uninsured. It is a big problem. But there are no easy answers. I am all for certain aspects of “Obamacare.” I would expect that a large percentage of our population over the age of 40 have a pre-existing condition of one kind or other. My husband unfortunately has bad genetics for heart disease. He is a non-smoker who exercises, regularly sees the cardiologist and listens to him. He is un-insurable unless he is employed and receives coverage under a group plan. Also, I have no problem with insuring people under the age of 26 under their parent’s plan. They in general do not run up medical bills. I am in favor of increasing premiums for those who add to their own health problem potential, for instance smokers and the morbidly obese,

    In any case, for those who have good insurance, you are fortunate. But you may not always have it the way it is now. Especially those in or heading for the Medicare system.

  47. avatar
    G August 12, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    There certainly are no easy answers…which is one of the reasons why any plan or step in the right direction will be messy (and yes, I think “Obamacare” has a lot of flaws, but at least it is taking some steps to address the problems in our current medical insurance system). Costs have been out of control and increasingly so.

    You were very fortunate to have such a generous plan with your recent employer and even your husband’s current health plan (from what little you mentioned of it) seems very generous, compared to what many of us have had as an option.

    The existing system has been out of control for many people (and many employers, who do subsidize certain portions) for a long time.

    From a cost standpoint, one of my favorite provisions of Obamacare is the 80% cap on private insurance company profits, with auditing and refunds of excess premium paid when that cap is exceeded.

    http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/06/29/18716552.php

    Personally, having spent 13 years of my career in other insurance fields (Property/Casualty in a company that also provided Life insurance, Bond insurance and a few other forms…as well as owned a bank), I think the 80% that the medical insurance lobbyists got away with is still too much profit, as other forms of insurance are very profitable on much, much smaller margins than that. (If you are really interested, you can look up terms such as Loss Ratio, Operating Ratio and Combined Ratio to see how the insurance business generally works and makes its pricing and profit). So from my perspective, the private medical insurance industry has been rife with out of control abuse for a long time and needed to be reigned in. So I see this as a small step in the right direction.

    I also agree that many of the “negotiated” payouts to medical providers by these companies is too low for certain items and services. So yes, the practitioners have been getting “boned” by the existing insurance systems for too long as well. Plus medical liability insurance for many fields of practice is out of control and hard for practitioners to afford. Again, this is an area I also put a lot of blame towards those greedy companies for overpricing and underpaying. But I also see this particular area as a huge, unaddressed problem of medical liability tort reform ..a very complex issue which somehow needs to be addressed in a balanced way to protect both patients and practitioners sensibly and affordably. ObamaCare really doesn’t address any of that, unfortunately. I can only hope that as weak as it is, it becomes a framework law, for other laws to eventually be built on top of it to address all these massive, messy holes.

    I still see it as something better than nothing. Does it have flaws – heck yeah. But most of the opposition claims boil down to overhyped “scare tactics”, which frighten people but have little relation to what the actual provisions seem to state.

    You also noted how long people spend getting their education to go into a medical field. I don’t have a problem with medical practitioners being well compensated for doing such important life extending and life saving work. I also understand why they need so many years of education and practice to supposedly get “good enough” at what they do to help people. But that brings up another massive area where costs are also way, way out of control in this country – our higher education systems. I have quite a few friends who are successful medical practitioners, making what many would consider to be really great money…yet a lot of them are still struggling with massive amounts of college debt. These education costs also get passed along (to some extent) in the cost of services and also contribute to the strain of qualified people who end up not pursuing such a field or who even stop practicing…

    So really, there is a lot in our broader economic system that contributes to the problems in medical care provision and medical care costs in this country…and a lot of areas that remain unaddressed, way beyond the scope of anything that ObamaCare could impact or would impact.

    charo: We have the uninsured. It is a big problem. But there are no easy answers. I am all for certain aspects of “Obamacare.”

  48. avatar
    dunstvangeet August 12, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    First off, Federal Employees don’t have an opt-out advantage under Obamacare. The exchanges just were not set up for large companies to buy their health insurance on them. They were specifically set up for small companies and individuals to easily compare health care coverage. In fact, the Legislative Branch is the largest employer that will participate in the Obamacare exchanges.

    It’s another myth that Federal Employees get an opt-out that is not available to other people.

  49. avatar
    Rickey August 12, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    charo:

    The school district is in the midst of contract negotiations.People are unhappy because insurance contributions will go up.Currently, employees pay 7% of the cost and that will likely double.We are talking about 14% of the cost of the group plan.How do you think these people would react to a socialized system where 15% (to use Lupin’s number) of their SALARY will be deducted for health care costs?The healthcare benefits will not be as good as they are used to.Unions will fight a single payer system, which according to what I have heard, is what Harry Reid and others want.What if this leads to “privileged” people getting to opt out?Think of the how the federal employees already got an opt out advantage regarding the exchanges under the current law.

    What you are forgetting is that you are already paying more than just your percentage of your health insurance premium. You are also paying Medicare taxes,and a portion of your income taxes goes to pay for the health care costs of Federal, state and municipal employees who get their health insurance through their government employers – plus the cost of providing medical treatment to active duty military and veterans. Those costs are hidden, but they are very real. You also are not considering that universal health care would free up employers from the burden of paying for health insurance. Your employer’s contribution to your health insurance coverage is part of your overall compensation package, money which could be paid directly to you instead of to an insurance company.

    Another point: Physicians have gone to school. giving up their lives until close to age 30, with the understanding that they will live a very comfortable lifestyle.Not every doctor got into the field for the money, but it is certainly a consideration.They won’t get the same money they are expecting.

    I’m not going to shed any tears for doctors. Most people are ignorant of the fact that the medical profession has for decades been systematically restricting the supply of doctors, which in turn contributes to the very high incomes they enjoy. The number of graduates from medical schools in the United States has remained static at 16,000 new doctors for the past thirty years, which does not come close to keeping pace with the increase in population. The artificial shortage of medical schools has driven up the cost of going to medical school, which in turn discourages new doctors from going into primary care.

    The fact is that medical doctors who work in single-payer countries such as Great Britain and Canada do very well. In fact, a 2008 study comparing the income of U.S. Doctors with Canadian doctors showed very little difference. And the study points out that “Any drop in income a physician might experience under a single-payer system would be mitigated by a drastic reduction in practice costs.”

    http://student.pnhp.org/content/what_about_physician_salaries.php

    I am not anti-doctor. In fact, my father was a medical doctor. We had a comfortable but decidedly middle class lifestyle. Times have changed, but not necessarily for the better.

  50. avatar
    Rickey August 12, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    dunstvangeet:
    First off, Federal Employees don’t have an opt-out advantage under Obamacare.The exchanges just were not set up for large companies to buy their health insurance on them.They were specifically set up for small companies and individuals to easily compare health care coverage.In fact, the Legislative Branch is the largest employer that will participate in the Obamacare exchanges.

    It’s another myth that Federal Employees get an opt-out that is not available to other people.

    That myth arose out of the infamous Grassley Amendment, which was designed to embarrass Democrats because it was assumed that the Democrats would vote against it.

    http://www.factcheck.org/2013/05/congress-and-an-exemption-from-obamacare/

    The reality is that virtually anyone who has health insurance can “opt out” of Obamacare. That includes anyone who is on Medicare or Medicaid.

  51. avatar
    Lupin August 13, 2013 at 2:14 am #

    sfjeff: If Americans had to more frequently pay the full cost of our health care, we would be going more often outside the country for treatment. I for one would trust Belgian doctors even if a Frenchman wouldn’t……

    True, we joke about Belgians the way the Brits used to joke about the Irish or Americans the Poles, but that’s a bit behind us. Belgians have actually excellent reputation, when it comes to serious stuff. They’re like French-speaking Germans! 🙂

  52. avatar
    Lupin August 13, 2013 at 2:20 am #

    I know next to nothing about Obamacare, but IMHO you will have to address the undue influence of the big pharma business in your country.

    The example I gave of the drug that cost $9000 a shot in the US and 1400 euros in France (eight years ago) was significant because AFAIK it involved no governmental inte=rference, price control, etc. of any kind.

    My wife used to order some migraine medication from Andorra (it wasn’t for sale in France at the time) (Cymbalta I believe) for 88 euros a box when the same box, out of pocket, cost her $250 at CVS in Los Angeles.

    It seems to me that you’re being fleeced by the drug companies.

  53. avatar
    richCares August 13, 2013 at 2:34 am #

    ” undue influence of the big pharma business in your country”
    .
    Spiriva COPD inhaler
    ……….US $200.00
    …Canada $59.00
    ……..India $12.00
    Generic available in Canada & India, not in USA

  54. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    Rickey: That myth arose out of the infamous Grassley Amendment, which was designed to embarrass Democrats because it was assumed that the Democrats would vote against it.

    http://www.factcheck.org/2013/05/congress-and-an-exemption-from-obamacare/

    The reality is that virtually anyone who has health insurance can “opt out” of Obamacare. That includes anyone who is on Medicare or Medicaid.

    The factcheck link has a contradiction. The answer differs from the update at the bottom. In short, I don’t believe a single payer system will result in more money to families. The government squanders our money. Social Security, from what I have read, is pretty much doomed for me. The morality of a single payer system is a different argument than presenting it as “more money in your pocket.” Will not happen.

    Lupin is correct about the fleecing by pharmaceutical companies. Shameful for both parties who let it continue. Same with tort reform. As for the shortage of doctors, are you blaming doctors for their own shortage? Whatever the reason, there is one. The super rich and government officials will get theirs. The Duchess of Cambridge, who is lovely, did not have to worry about this issue:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10122702/Maternity-wards-closure-crisis.html

    I trust our government even less than the pharmaceutical companies when it comes to healthcare. Oh and here is another dilemma created by the current law regarding charitable hospitals.
    http://dailycaller.com/2013/08/08/obamacare-installs-new-scrutiny-fines-for-charitable-hospitals-that-treat-uninsured-people/

    The law is rife with problems. Good for those in favor of single payer healthcare, right? We have a limited hybrid system now that needs improved. I don’t believe a full single payer system will work in our country the same as it does in others. In the meantime, we’ll see what transpires.

  55. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    charo: I don’t believe a full single payer system will work in our country the same as it does in others.

    Why not?

  56. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 13, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    My cohort said the same thing, but guess what? Those folks are now drawing social security benefits.

    You can read anything, but that doesn’t make it true, and if you focus on sources of a particular political persuasion, your view is bound to be distorted.

    charo: Social Security, from what I have read, is pretty much doomed for me.

  57. avatar
    Thomas Brown August 13, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    My cynical friends were POSITIVE Social Security wouldn’t be there for them in the 1970’s.

  58. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 13, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    Having had anecdotal experience with both private insurance and Medicare (with my parent’s), I’ll go with government insurance every time. A private insurance has an economic incentive to deny you coverage. The government does not.

    And really, the Daily Caller? That’s a nut job web site.

    charo: I trust our government even less than the pharmaceutical companies when it comes to healthcare. Oh and here is another dilemma created by the current law regarding charitable hospitals.

  59. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 10:11 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    My cohort said the same thing, but guess what? Those folks are now drawing social security benefits.

    You can read anything, but that doesn’t make it true, and if you focus on sources of a particular political persuasion, your view is bound to be distorted.

    I don’t think that is a fair characterization actually. Part of why I said that is based upon what I (and my husband) used to get each year from the government, explaining what benefits would be available to us at retirement, should one of us die, etc. Until the failure to pass a budget, my husband and I both received yearly information three months before our birthdays detailing this information. The last few years we did receive it, there was a caveat that only 75% of the benefits may be available, no guarantee. When we got them in years prior, there was no such caveat. That based upon predictions of how long before the system goes bust, causes some concern. Why should I not be concerned?

  60. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Having had anecdotal experience with both private insurance and Medicare (with my parent’s), I’ll go with government insurance every time. A private insurance has an economic incentive to deny you coverage. The government does not.

    And really, the Daily Caller? That’s a nut job web site.

    I predicted that would be the response. Either the information is true or it is not. I don’t reject something out of hand from Kos just because it is from Kos and doesn’t align with my general view. Is there something about the information there that is incorrect? If so, I will gladly accept that it is false. I would rather it be false than true.

  61. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 13, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    ObamaCare is not in any a “single-payer” system, and not even a step in the direction of a single-single payer system. In fact, it actually entrenches the current private insurance system and removes some government employees from a government plan. It requires individuals to buy PRIVATE insurance. It does modestly expand Medicaid, but that was charity care anyway. For those, myself included, who support a single payer system, ObamaCare was a major setback.

    charo: Good for those in favor of single payer healthcare, right? We have a limited hybrid system now that needs improved. I don’t believe a full single payer system will work in our country the same as it does in others. In the meantime, we’ll see what transpires.

  62. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    CarlOrcas: Why not?

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Having had anecdotal experience with both private insurance and Medicare (with my parent’s), I’ll go with government insurance every time. A private insurance has an economic incentive to deny you coverage. The government does not.

    And really, the Daily Caller? That’s a nut job web site.

    My experience with government insurance is with my daughter’s medical assistance for hearing aids. When she was diagnosed with hearing loss, she became eligible for hearing aids (which if they are even covered by insurance at all, cover very little) because she is under 18. I got a rejection letter for payment of one of her appointments. I never had any issue before. This gets complicated, but all bills are submitted to my primary insurance first before being kicked over to medical assistance. In 2011, I got my own insurance for myself and the kids and got off my husband’s plan. I submitted the paper work to the medical assistance office to update the file. The caseworker never updated the information so the bills were sent to the previous company instead of the current one. The bill never made it to medical assistance where it would have been covered. In the meantime, I am getting billed. The only way you can talk to your caseworker is to call and make an appointment. I got the answering machine for two weeks. I went to the office, but you cannot see the caseworker unless you call. I was practically in tears leaving messages for the worker to call me. The rules are that the caseworkers have 24 hours to return your call. I eventually called an 800 number from one of the departments on the website and after over 30 minutes of wait time, spoke to someone who handled the matter. She told me that the caseworker was probably overloaded and would not check into why my calls were not returned.

    That was my experience with government insurance.

  63. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    ObamaCare is not in any a “single-payer” system, and not even a step in the direction of a single-single payer system. In fact, it actually entrenches the current private insurance system and removes some government employees from a government plan. It requires individuals to buy PRIVATE insurance. It does modestly expand Medicaid, but that was charity care anyway. For those, myself included, who support a single payer system, ObamaCare was a major setback.

    Harry Reid thinks it is a step in the right direction. Do I need to link it? It may be a philosophical step, meaning that look, we tried, and nothing but a single payer system will work.

    I don’t believe I have insulted anyone by my comments but there is an underlying current that if someone believes differently, why there is just something wrong with ya. RWNJ Can’t someone just have a different point of view? I am open to possibilities.

    The legislation needs improved would you agree?

  64. avatar
    Monkey Boy August 13, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    Lupin: True, we joke about Belgians the way the Brits used to joke about the Irish or Americans the Poles, but that’s a bit behind us. Belgians have actually excellent reputation, when it comes to serious stuff. They’re like French-speaking Germans!

    I beg you pardon…Hercule Poirot is very adamant that he is a BELGIAN.

  65. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    I will wait for a response to my comment @ 10:11a.m. When you say this “if you focus on sources of a particular political persuasion, your view is bound to be distorted” and fail to respond to a reasonable comeback, then what was the purpose of your comment?

  66. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    charo: That was my experience with government insurance.

    First, government assistance isn’t government insurance.

    Without knowing a lot more it’s impossible to comment on your situation.

    What I can talk about is the difference between Medicare and private insurance. I have been on Medicare for almost two years and before that private, normally employer provided, insurance for over 30 years.

    I can’t even begin to count the number of insurance companies I was involved in over those 30 years because they changed with each job and, in recent years, changed almost every year as the companies I ran tried to stay ahead of skyrocketing premiums in order to keep our employees insured.

    Administering those plans for a small 50 employee company was a nightmare.

    Now….two years ago it came time for me to enroll in Medicare. I expected the same sort of hassles but there were none.

    I received a letter from them about three or four months, as I recall, before I was eligible to enroll providing me with information on how to do it on line and saying I could do it any time between then and that date.

    It took me less than a half hour to set up my account and enroll on line. Since then I have had absolutely no problems with Medicare…..even my Part B private provider is easy to work with. Everything is handled on line and I never have to talk to anyone.

    Based on my experience I’ll take “government insurance” any time.

  67. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    charo: The legislation needs improved would you agree?

    How do you think it needs improved?

  68. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    charo: When we got them in years prior, there was no such caveat. That based upon predictions of how long before the system goes bust, causes some concern. Why should I not be concerned?

    I don’t know how far back you are talking about but I have those annual reports for my wife and I going back to the 90’s and they contain similar cautions but you can rest easy. Here is one of the best explanations of why worries about Social Security are misplaced. The source? Fox Business News:

    http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/06/10/worried-about-social-securitys-future-relax-already/

  69. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    charo: Currently, employees pay 7% of the cost and that will likely double. We are talking about 14% of the cost of the group plan. How do you think these people would react to a socialized system where 15% (to use Lupin’s number) of their SALARY will be deducted for health care costs?

    You do understand that paying 14% of the premium doesn’t equal paying 14% of their “SALARY”…..don’t you?

  70. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    CarlOrcas: I don’t know how far back you are talking about but I have those annual reports for my wife and I going back to the 90′s and they contain similar cautions but you can rest easy. Here is one of the best explanations of why worries about Social Security are misplaced. The source? Fox Business News:

    http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/06/10/worried-about-social-securitys-future-relax-already/

    They did not contain the warning when we were getting them until a few years before we stopped getting them altogether because of the lack of a budget. I am not making it up. It started with a warning, then a specific percentage (75%) of benefits. I don’t know your age, but if you are already collecting, your worries are not the same as someone who is yet to receive.

  71. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 11:48 am #

    CarlOrcas: You do understand that paying 14% of the premium doesn’t equal paying 14% of their “SALARY”…..don’t you?

    That is the whole point! They were angry about paying a little more for their premiums. That would be nothing compared to 15% of their salary.

  72. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    CarlOrcas: First, government assistance isn’t government insurance.

    Without knowing a lot more it’s impossible to comment on your situation.

    What I can talk about is the difference between Medicare and private insurance. I have been on Medicare for almost two years and before that private, normally employer provided, insurance for over 30 years.

    I can’t even begin to count the number of insurance companies I was involved in over those 30 years because they changed with each job and, in recent years, changed almost every year as the companies I ran tried to stay ahead of skyrocketing premiums in order to keep our employees insured.

    Administering those plans for a small 50 employee company was a nightmare.

    Now….two years ago it came time for me to enroll in Medicare. I expected the same sort of hassles but there were none.

    I received a letter from them about three or four months, as I recall, before I was eligible to enroll providing me with information on how to do it on line and saying I could do it any time between then and that date.

    It took me less than a half hour to set up my account and enroll on line. Since then I have had absolutely no problems with Medicare…..even my Part B private provider is easy to work with. Everything is handled on line and I never have to talk to anyone.

    Based on my experience I’ll take “government insurance” any time.

    Millions are going to flood the system (which is good for people to have insurance). The system is not ready for it. My experience may be an anomaly but I doubt it. I have been fortunate to remain covered except for a couple of small periods of time. I acknowledge the difficulties that occur in the private insurance industry.

  73. avatar
    Lupin August 13, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    charo: We are talking about 14% of the cost of the group plan. How do you think these people would react to a socialized system where 15% (to use Lupin’s number) of their SALARY will be deducted for health care costs?

    Actually, that was Magic M’s number, not mine, but it’s easy to get confused and I’ll stand by his number (which applies to Germany, not France).

    I try to never discuss health insurance with American “right wingers” because they’re either very ignorant or sociopathic or both, but I’ll make an exception in this case.

    Let me simply say that if you compare my health insurance costs per year for my wife and I (age 55-60) in France, ie: the State contribution deducted from our paychecks + the voluntary complementary insurance policy that we purchase & pay for out of pocket, our total cost is around 4000 euros PER YEAR.

    In exchange, I get 100% of everything reimbursed or paid for, including dental & hospital rooms, excluding mostly prescription glasses. Doctors of my choice, hospitals of my choice.

    In the US, my health insurance cost in 2004 for the two of us was close to $16,000 PER YEAR. In exchange for that, I had a $1000 deductible for each of us, no dental, and a fight on my hands every time my wife tried to get more than 4 cymbalta a month (despite prescription). And we had to go to the HMO hospital.

    You must be insane to think your system is better.

  74. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    charo: That is the whole point! They were angry about paying a little more for their premiums. That would be nothing compared to 15% of their salary.

    I forget which country Lupin lives in but comparing it to the incredibly generous private plan you are talking about doesn’t work.

    Most people living here don’t have anything even close and, as I’m sure you know, many people simply are not able to acquire private insurance.

  75. avatar
    Lupin August 13, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    In case anyone wants to read more:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_France

  76. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    charo: They did not contain the warning when we were getting them until a few years before we stopped getting them altogether because of the lack of a budget.I am not making it up.It started with a warning, then a specific percentage (75%) of benefits.I don’t know your age, but if you are already collecting, your worries are not the same as someone who is yet to receive.

    I didn’t say you were making it up.

    Did you read to Fox story? Do you think it is wrong?

  77. avatar
    donna August 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    there is flexibility in obamacare for states to do their own thing as long as they cover the same number of people at the same cost – as a result, on may 26,2011, “Vermont governor signs single-payer health law” – 11/6/2012, “Vermont’s Governor Wins Re-Election, Earns Clear Mandate To Enact Single-Payer Health Care” – other states are looking into doing the same thing

    as far as medicare not being available, i have generations of family members who said it would not be available to them and they are now on medicare

    in july, 2009, conservative bill kristol spoke with jon stewart about healthcare – he admitted that the government can run healthcare, that the VA is the very best but expensive and the rest of us don’t deserve it

    when enacted, “Part D was even less liked than ACA: 21% of the public had a favorable opinion of the program in April 2005 compared to 35% in April 2013 for the Affordable Care Act.”

    “in November 2005, nobody had any clue about whether costs would be affordable enough to entice seniors into the new program”

    “Just before the start of enrollment, in October 2006, ‘only one in five seniors expected to enroll in Part D.’ The rest either hadn’t made up their mind, or thought they already had similar coverage.”

    “Seniors, it turned out, were not exactly great at predicting their behaviors: 53 percent of Medicare beneficiaries ended up enrolling in the new benefit. The CBO was off by a bit too, with the average drug plan costing $29 per month rather than $35. Enrollment in Part D as of April 2010 was 27.6 million beneficiaries.”

    and the ACA is closing the donut hole in part D

    republicans are afraid that the ACA will turn out the same way …. that americans will love it

    look at romneycare after 7 years – none of the criticisms occurred – “A two year old study from Urban Institute revealed that concerns over employers dropping coverage or scaling back benefits because of health reform have not been realized. That’s a claim many Washington Republicans have made about ObamCare, saying it would cause U.S. small businesses to hold back on hiring because of mandated insurance laws”

    “In 2005, just 70% of the state’s employers offered health insurance. After “RomneyCare”, it went up to 77%.”

    6/2012 “Overall the Massachusetts reform has gone very well and it’s done everything it was designed to do,” says Jonathan Gruber, a professor of economics at MIT who worked with both Romney and Obama on their respective plans.

  78. avatar
    Lupin August 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    CarlOrcas: I forget which country Lupin lives in but comparing it to the incredibly generous private plan you are talking about doesn’t work.

    I’m in France; the figure quoted was mentioned by Magic M who, I think, lives in Germany. They have a somewhat different system over there. Ours is (contrary to many clichés) NOT a single-payer system.

    I’m probably ignorant enough of the American system to say something stupid, but I feel it used to work much better when (1) Big Pharma and the Healthcare lobby hadn’t driven the prices up to unreasonable heights; and (2) the Insurance Companies didn’t routinely swindle their customers.

    The theory of your system seems fine to me; it is because you’ve allowed it to be gamed by crooks that you’re in trouble.

  79. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    Lupin: You must be insane to think your system is better.

    Before we retired I traveled quite a bit overseas and, like you, my friends in countries like England, Australia and New Zealand were just amazed at our system of providing health care. It just didn’t make sense to them.

    The only time I needed to see a doctor overseas was many years ago in Canada. I ran out of my asthma medicine (the reason I couldn’t get private insurance) and my hotel referred me to a doctor. I got an appointment in about an hour. It cost me something like $10, maybe $20. My asthma medicine which cost nearly $100 at home cost me about the same…..$10 or $20.

  80. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    The warning was very specific, but in any case, it would be interesting to see what the reports will say if we ever have a budget again. I am attending a live class so I need to pay attention. Thx

  81. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    Lupin: I’m probably ignorant enough of the American system to say something stupid, but I feel it used to work much better when (1) Big Pharma and the Healthcare lobby hadn’t driven the prices up to unreasonable heights; and (2) the Insurance Companies didn’t routinely swindle their customers.

    The theory of your system seems fine to me; it is because you’ve allowed it to be gamed by crooks that you’re in trouble.

    It’s a little more complicated than that…..in my opinion.

    Lots of factors are involved including the usually boogeymen like malpractice insurance but one of the biggest, in my opinion, is the competition for patients in many large markets where you find wasteful duplication of facilities and, in particular, very expensive diagnostic equipment.

  82. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    charo:
    The warning was very specific, but in any case, it would be interesting to see what the reports will say if we ever have a budget again. I am attending a live class so I need to pay attention. Thx

    The annual budget has nothing to do with Social Security and Medicare. They are funded by their own taxes. As the Fox story notes the fix is pretty simple.

  83. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    I should be paying attention to class… Under group insurance plans (at least all the group plans we have had), pre-exising conditions are not a bar. My insurance that I am losing is a plan that the union bargained for. My father had very good insurance through the steel mill. Under a single payer system, these plans will not be the same.

  84. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    charo: Millions are going to flood the system (which is good for people to have insurance). The system is not ready for it.

    That’s just not true. If nothing else the actuaries at Social Security know exactly where they are going and how many people they will have to serve.

    Again….read the Fox story.

  85. avatar
    Greenfinches August 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    charo: government insurance.

    what do you mean, government insurance?

    On my planet, with the NHS, I don’t worry about costs. If I need X, that is it – I had an x-ray last week, total waiting time from doctor’s instruction to leaving the x-ray suite 3 1/2 days. Nobody mentions a bill to me, and they won’t,ever.

    You don’t appear to know what single payer actually is, ma’am, so maybe you can’t judge it?

  86. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    CarlOrcas: The annual budget has nothing to do with Social Security and Medicare. They are funded by their own taxes. As the Fox story notes the fix is pretty simple.

    Then why haven’t we received the report since the last time there was a budget? It listed our income each year we worked, expected social security when retiring early versus not, support our children would receive upon our death, etc. Why don’t we get those anymore? I

  87. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    donna: as far as medicare not being available, i have generations of family members who said it would not be available to them and they are now on medicare

    The scare tactics are nothing new. You can find virtually the same nonsense going back almost 80 years to to the enactment of Social Security.

  88. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    charo: Then why haven’t we received the report since the last time there was a budget? It listed our income each year we worked, expected social security when retiring early versus not, support our children would receive upon our death, etc.Why don’t we get those anymore? I

    SS and Medicare benefits are funded by their own taxes. Other operations may be funded out of general revenues and by Congressional authorization. I don’t know.

    As far as the annual report you refer to I recall we received them up until the years we retired but I’m not sure.

    They may have stopped mailing them out since all that information is now available on line:

    http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/

    Did you check?

  89. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Greenfinches: what do you mean, government insurance?

    On my planet, with the NHS, I don’t worry about costs.If I need X, that is it – I had an x-ray last week, total waiting time from doctor’s instruction to leaving the x-ray suite 3 1/2 days.Nobody mentions a bill, and they won’t.You don’t appear to know what single payer actually is, ma’am, so maybe you can’t judge it?

    I was speaking in general about the government running things. Medical assistance is not single payer, but it is insurance run by the government. I don’t have confidence in the competency of our government to run healthcare. It’s funny how many of you guys cannot discuss issues without an undertone of insult.

  90. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    charo: Under group insurance plans (at least all the group plans we have had), pre-exising conditions are not a bar.

    It’s been a few years since my wife and I had to deal with this but she tells me that 10 years ago we were starting to get hit with restrictions on preexisting conditions including higher rates, benefit limits or just simple rejection.

  91. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    Thanks, Carl! I just registered and viewed what I used to get online. That never occurred to me. I don’t know if I feel any better, though. I promise to look at the link you provided. Below is from the SSA page:

    Social Security is a compact between generations. Since 1935, America has kept the promise of security for its workers and their families. Now, however, the Social Security system is facing serious financial problems, and action is needed soon to make sure the system will be sound when today’s younger workers are ready for retirement.

    Without changes, in 2033 the Social Security Trust Fund will be able to pay only about 77 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits.* We need to resolve these issues soon to make sure Social Security continues to provide a foundation of protection for future generations.

    *These estimates are based on the intermediate assumptions from the Social Security Trustees’ Annual Report to the Congress.

  92. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    CarlOrcas: It’s been a few years since my wife and I had to deal with this but she tells me that 10 years ago we were starting to get hit with restrictions on preexisting conditions including higher rates, benefit limits or just simple rejection.

    It did used to be that way. Now, there is more protection. I never had to show the paperwork, but you do have to show proof of continuous coverage (when you stop an insurance plan, you get a Certificate of Coverage for your records). I think you are allowed so many days without coverage. I keep all of those certificates because we have changed insurance on and off through the years.

    I have heard to never get a diagnosis of TMJ because that negatively affect you. My husband has two stents so I completely understand pre-existing conditions and private insurance. He is still young.

  93. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    charo: I was speaking in general about the government running things.Medical assistance is not single payer, but it is insurance run by the government.I don’t have confidence in the competency of our government to run healthcare.It’s funny how many of you guys cannot discuss issues without an undertone of insult.

    What is the “medical assistance” program you are talking about?

    As far as the government programs are concerned I think the history of Medicare and the Veterans Administration demonstrate public programs work pretty well. What do you find incompetent about them?

  94. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    charo: Without changes, in 2033 the Social Security Trust Fund will be able to pay only about 77 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits.* We need to resolve these issues soon to make sure Social Security continues to provide a foundation of protection for future generations.

    The operative phrase: “Without changes……”

    The material you quote is required based on current assumptions. But the point is…..do you really think Congress is going to let it happen….especially when the solution is so simple?

    I don’t.

  95. avatar
    Suranis August 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    But simply raising the Social Security contribution is so complicated it’s unworkable and no sane person would even concider something like that!!!!!

    Paul Ryan has been saying “SOCIAL SECURITY WILL BE BROKE IN 10 YEARS!!!” for 20 odd years now, and certainly since he entered congress. He hasn’t been proved right yet.

  96. avatar
    donna August 13, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    CarlOrcas: The operative phrase: “Without changes……”

    correct!!!! legislators have always made changes – in 2000, the SS cap was $$76,200 – with continuous raises (except for 2010 & 2011) it has been raised every year – in 2013 the cap is $113,700

    8/2011 Bernie Sanders Introduces Bill To Lift The Payroll Tax Cap, Ensuring Full Social Security Funding For Nearly 75 Years

    “When [Social Security] was developed, 50 percent of seniors lived in poverty. Today, poverty among seniors is too high, but that number is ten percent. Social Security has done exactly what it was designed to do!” he thundered, defending the program.

    “To keep Social Security strong for another 75 years, Sanders’ legislation would apply the same payroll tax already paid by more than nine out of 10 Americans to those with incomes over $250,000 a year. […] Under Sanders’ legislation, Social Security benefits would be untouched. The system would be fully funded by making the wealthiest Americans pay the same payroll tax already assessed on those with incomes up to $106,800 a year. ”

    “Recall that polling shows that even a majority of self-identified tea partiers would rather raise the payroll tax cap than raise the retirement age. “

  97. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    charo: t did used to be that way. Now, there is more protection.

    Continuous coverage guarantees you insurability but not reasonable rates.

    We had employees with serious preexisting conditions and if the carrier didn’t want to insure us they simply quoted outrageous rates.

  98. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    donna: correct!!!! legislators have always made changes

    Yes, we’ve been to the brink many times.

    Before the “starve the beast” folks arrived in Congress the members managed to come to their senses when it dawned on them that trying to explain to voters why their Social Security benefits might go down was probably not going to be good for their reelection chances.

    Some of the new folks don’t care and that’s scary.

  99. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    donna:
    CarlOrcas: The operative phrase: “Without changes……”

    correct!!!! legislators have always made changes – in 2000, the SS cap was $$76,200 – with continuous raises (except for 2010 & 2011) it has been raised every year – in 2013 the cap is $113,700

    8/2011 Bernie Sanders Introduces Bill To Lift The Payroll Tax Cap, Ensuring Full Social Security Funding For Nearly 75 Years

    “When [Social Security] was developed, 50 percent of seniors lived in poverty. Today, poverty among seniors is too high, but that number is ten percent. Social Security has done exactly what it was designed to do!” he thundered, defending the program.

    “To keep Social Security strong for another 75 years, Sanders’ legislation would apply the same payroll tax already paid by more than nine out of 10 Americans to those with incomes over $250,000 a year. […] Under Sanders’ legislation, Social Security benefits would be untouched. The system would be fully funded by making the wealthiest Americans pay the same payroll tax already assessed on those with incomes up to $106,800 a year. ”

    “Recall that polling shows that even a majority of self-identified tea partiers would rather raise the payroll tax cap than raise the retirement age. ”

    The specific warning that only 77 cents per dollar is not just from this year. Why the warning if effective changes have been made? This is not a general “we may not have enough funds” but that 77 cents per dollar can be paid out and that’s a maybe. Both sides of the aisle know that something has to be done to fix the problem. As long as the current recipients get their money, it is considered useless worry.

  100. avatar
    Suranis August 13, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    When have they stopped “warning about Social sec? They have been “warning about social security” since Reagan

    It gets their stupid base riled up. That’s the only reason. They know damn well that theres no social sec problem, but talking as though there is allows them to attack social security.

    These people are liars.

    charo: The specific warning that only 77 cents per dollar is not just from this year.Why the warning if effective changes have been made

  101. avatar
    donna August 13, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    CarlOrcas: Yes, we’ve been to the brink many times.

    it is disgusting – they scare the most vulnerable with their unsupported assertions –

    are teapartiers too brain dead to realize that they said don’t touch our medicare/social security?

    CarlOrcas: “Some of the new folks don’t care and that’s scary.”

    why is it that the republicans have the biggest megaphones? i blame myself too – in NY, unless you are affiliated, you can’t vote in primaries – i am tempted to register as a republican so i can vote for the biggest wingnut in the primary – we managed to get rid of teapartier, nan hayworth, in 2012 – she voted against every woman’s issue and, while i don’t answer calls from “solicitors”, i did answer when someone from nan’s campaign called – i gave that person an earful – her hubby is the CEO of my medical group where they perform abortions in the doctors’ offices yet she opposes women’s rights

    i just returned from an annual family/friends trip – one said i’m sick of listening to and don’t listen to this stuff and i snapped back that if you did you would be scared to death at what is going on across the country

    ask americans which provision of ACA they would cut and they say the mandate – the mandate which pays for the other provisions they want and wouldn’t cut – the mandate which is a republican idea of personal responsibility and which romney said (of romneycare) would eliminate the “freeloaders”

  102. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    charo: The specific warning that only 77 cents per dollar is not just from this year.Why the warning if effective changes have been made?This is not a general “we may not have enough funds” but that 77 cents per dollar can be paid out and that’s a maybe.Both sides of the aisle know that something has to be done to fix the problem.As long as the current recipients get their money, it is considered useless worry.

    Look at the time line. Congress never makes a decision that it can procrastinate a couple decades on.

    Do you really think any Congress….now or 20 years from now…..is going to cut Social Security benefits?

  103. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    Suranis:
    When have they stopped “warning about Social sec? They have been “warning about social security” since Reagan

    It gets their stupid base riled up. That’s the only reason. They know damn well that theres no social sec problem, but talking as though there is allows them to attack social security.

    These people are liars.

    I have a recollection that this information started being put into the annual report a number of years ago when conservatives insisted on it……so they’d have a drum to beat every year. Kinda like the silliness about the debt limit.

  104. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    donna: why is it that the republicans have the biggest megaphones?

    They’re more entertaining. Not to be too flip but that really is it. They’re outrageous and that attracts attention.

    Moderates trying to fix things aren’t nearly as entertaining.

    And, yes, the media are at fault for not providing balance and perspective.

  105. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    Gee, I never knew Kathleen Sebelius was a Republican fearmonger.

    Take a look. The conditions that exist for the depletion of SS and Medicare did not exist before, for example, more people on disability, babyboomers. I don’t pretend to understand the charts, graphs, numbers. I am done with the issue for today. This stuff will give you a headache.

    http://www.ssa.gov/oact/trsum/

  106. avatar
    donna August 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    CarlOrcas: Moderates trying to fix things aren’t nearly as entertaining.

    there are fewer and fewer moderates – the 2012 gallup poll showed conservatives outnumbering moderates and liberals 40%-35%-21%. The problem for Republicans is that Obama carried moderates, 56%-41%. The majority of moderates are currently moving away from the Republican Party.

    this is a center-left country on social issues and growing more so

  107. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    charo:
    Gee, I never knew Kathleen Sebelius was a Republican fearmonger.

    Take a look.The conditions that exist for the depletion of SS and Medicare did not exist before.

    http://www.ssa.gov/oact/trsum/

    This is getting tiresome. You are wrong again. Do you ever…..ever…..look before you leap?

    In less than a half minute I found Trust Fund reports from the trustees going back to 1941.

    http://www.ssa.gov/history/reports/trust/trustreports.html

    In the last 30 years they all talk about the fund being fine for the next 20 to 50 years with the need to deal with the out years.

    In that time period Congress has added prescription drugs to Social Security (and probably other things I can’t recall at the moment) and that window has now narrowed to 20 years because Congress didn’t fund Part D.

    That kind of throws things into a cocked hat and it’s their responsibility to fix it and hence the current sense of urgency.

  108. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    donna: this is a center-left country on social issues and growing more so

    Combine that with dramatically changing demographics and the Republicans are whistling past the graveyard if they stay on their current path.

  109. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    For the seventh consecutive year, the Social Security Act requires that the Trustees issue a “Medicare funding warning” because projected non-dedicated sources of revenues�primarily general revenues�are expected to continue to account for more than 45 percent of Medicare’s outlays in 2013, a threshold breached for the first time in fiscal year 2010.

    The number of babyboomers and disability recipients are much bigger factors for social security/medicare. Believe what you want. You’re not in any danger of not getting yours for life. So it’s not really just Republicans making an issue of things now, is it?

  110. avatar
    donna August 13, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    CarlOrcas: Combine that with dramatically changing demographics and the Republicans are whistling past the graveyard if they stay on their current path.

    ages ago i posted on this blog that this was the republicans’ last hurrah which is why they are screaming the loudest over issues (like abortion & contraception) they lost decades ago

    more recently, it’s gay rights

    i have also posted that if the pope sat in a room with obama & santorum, he would agree more with obama

    from today, Catholic bishop: Pro-life groups ‘not really pro-life but merely anti-abortion’

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/08/12/catholic-bishop-pro-life-groups-not-really-pro-life-but-merely-anti-abortion/

    2012 Catholic Leaders to Rep. Paul Ryan: Stop Distorting Church Teaching to Justify Immoral Budget

    http://www.faithinpubliclife.org/newsroom/press/catholic-leaders-to-rep-paul-ryan-stop-distorting-church-teaching-to-justify-immoral-budget/

    Pope Calls Health Care An ‘Inalienable Right,’ Urges World Governments To Provide Universal Coverage

  111. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    charo:
    For the seventh consecutive year, the Social Security Act requires that the Trustees issue a “Medicare funding warning” because projected non-dedicated sources of revenues�primarily general revenues�are expected to continue to account for more than 45 percent of Medicare’s outlays in 2013, a threshold breached for the first time in fiscal year 2010.

    The number of babyboomers and disability recipients are much bigger factors for social security/medicare.Believe what you want.You’re not in any danger of not getting yours for life.So it’s not really just Republicans making an issue of things now, is it?

    It would help if you posted the source, the url, for the informtion you use so I can see it in context. Otherwise it’s pretty much impossible to comment.

    I suspect, however, this mention – depending on the time frame – reflects the problems of unfunded obligations like Part D.

  112. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    donna: Pope Calls Health Care An ‘Inalienable Right,’ Urges World Governments To Provide Universal Coverage

    In the 21st century I just don’t understand how we can deny the rightness (in the real meaning of the word) of taking care of our fellow humans.

  113. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    CarlOrcas: It would help if you posted the source, the url, for the informtion you use so I can see it in context. Otherwise it’s pretty much impossible to comment.

    I suspect, however, this mention – depending on the time frame – reflects the problems of unfunded obligations like Part D.

    Sorry, it was from the same social security link from above. A good economy can help people the most. These part time jobs are depressing. Also missing is altruism. The bottom line is what counts unfortunately. I don’t believe you can force people to do what is right. It has to be in their hearts. There are problems with one payer systems, just as there are in our current system. A better hybrid of the two is what I wonder about.

  114. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    Just can’t get away from healthcare today. I was surfing, reading an article about Bush’s stent (because of my husband) and this popped out at me. The article was not meant to be political, just informative concerning screening for heart disease:

    http://life.nationalpost.com/2013/08/13/dr-aw-the-latest-in-heart-attack-prevention-could-save-your-life-just-ask-george-w-bush/

    In the U.S., these sorts of tests are advertised all over the place on billboards. Here in Canada, though, our government would prefer you didn’t ask about them — because the tests are expensive. But it’s hard to argue against cases like what happened to Bush. Now, using various imaging technologies, we actually can look inside your heart, and the big blood vessels, before you have symptoms. As usual in these cases, the patient’s best weapon against cardiovascular disease is knowledge.
    National Post

    —Dr. James Aw is the medical director of the Medcan Clinic, a leading private health clinic in Toronto.

    I wonder what Dr. Aw believes about healthcare here in the US.

  115. avatar
    donna August 13, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    charo: Also missing is altruism.

    oh pleassssse – churches, known for helping and altruism, are begging for help from republicans –

    look at sister campbell and her calls for an increase in the minimum wage and objection to the ryan plan – unlike the bishops, catholics listen to the nuns – she says after paying for rent and having no cars to live in, people rely on food pantries to feed families – the more government cuts, the more people require government services – raise the minimum wage above the 1968 level and people will need fewer services – we are subsidizing companies (with huge profits) who refuse to pay a living wage

    religious groups are begging to save the planet God created

  116. avatar
    donna August 13, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    charo:

    read the 3-part series from the NYT about costs for colonoscopies, pregnancy and joint replacements: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/02/health/colonoscopies-explain-why-us-leads-the-world-in-health-expenditures.html?pagewanted=all

    there’s a drop-down upper right for parts 2 & 3

    “More installments will be published in the coming weeks”

  117. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    charo: I wonder what Dr. Aw believes about healthcare here in the US.

    Since he’s got a goldmine in Canada I don’t think he cares one way or the other.

    Medcan is an “Executive” health clinic that charges fancy rates for everything from appointments – $100 and $250 if you cancel – to prescription refills – $50.

    You didn’t look at his site before you posted this, did you? Here are his rates:

    http://www.medcan.com/pdf/Medcan_Uninsured_Services_Listing.pdf

    They also sell vitamins and nutritional supplements.

    But, to answer your question, Dr. Aw must think American medicine is okay since the clinic is affiliated with Johns Hopkins and his bio says he on the “part-time faculty” there.

  118. avatar
    Suranis August 13, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    Hey did you know that George Bush the Lesser was using more or less the same lies about social security as Charo here is repeating 10 years ago?

    http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/social_security_lies.htm

    Here’s what this says

    The link below contains claims made by the Bush administration, as well as links to President Bush’s speeches, from which the following remarks were taken:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/social-security/

    Bush Claim:

    “In 1950, there were 16 workers to support every one beneficiary of Social Security. Today, there are only 3.3 workers supporting every Social Security beneficiary. By the time our youngest workers – those just entering the workforce today – turn 65, there will only be 2 workers supporting each beneficiary.”

    Reality:

    The reality is that in 1950 the Social Security program was still in its early stages of implementation, when the majority of people who had paid into the system had not yet retired. In addition, changes were made to the program in the 1960s to expand coverage. By 1970 the system had matured to the point where it was operating at a level where it reflected the true number of retired vs. working people in the population and accounted for the new changes to the system. In 1970 the ratio of workers to Social Security recipients was 3.7 to 1. From 1975 through to today the ratio of workers to beneficiaries has been around 3.3 to 1. The system has been operating for the past 30 years with a ratio of around 3 workers to every beneficiary.

    image
    source: http://www.ssa.gov/history/ratios.html

    Bush Claim:

    “As a result of these demographic changes, the current system will not be able to afford to pay the benefits scheduled for our children and grandchildren without enormous payroll tax increases or huge benefit cuts. The Social Security payroll tax, which was once 2%, is now more than 12%. Economists calculate that under the current system, the payroll tax would have to rise to more than 18% if our children and grandchildren are to receive their scheduled benefits.”

    Reality:

    The reason behind the possible need to increase the payroll taxes is not the changing demographics of the population, but rather it is the increase in income disparity. The fact is that the economy is continuing to grow, and as long as that happens then there isn’t a demographics problem, however, the fruits of economic growth are going increasingly to the wealthy, as middle-class and poor workers face stagnant or declining wages while wages for executives and superstars climb beyond any rational measure of their contribution to society. Because of the fact that Social Security taxes are taken only from wages, and the tax is capped so that it only affects incomes below a certain level, it means that as income disparity increases a smaller and smaller portion of our national income is taxed by the Social Security system, putting a larger and larger burden on the middle-class and poor.

    image
    source: http://www.faireconomy.org/research/CEO_Pay_charts.html

    image
    source: http://www.census.gov/hhes/income/histinc/histinctb.html

    In 1983 Social Security taxed 90% of American wage income. Today it only taxes 85% of American wage income, because now 15% of wage income is above the taxation limit.

    Over the past 25 years the productivity of our economy has increased substantially, which should increase the capacity of our economy to care for retired workers. The problem, however, is that virtually all of the productivity gains in our economy since the early 1980s have been realized by the top 1%, and thus do not contribute to our ability to sustain retirees through the Social Security program.

    image
    source: http://www.aflcio.org/corporateamerica/paywatch/

    Below is a graph demonstrating the portion of national wage income that is not taxed by Social Security. The portion in red is income that was not taxed by the retirement or disability portion of Social Security in 2000.

    image

    Bush Claim:

    “Most younger people in America don’t think they’ll see a dime”

    “If you’re 20 years old, in your mid-20s, and you’re beginning to work, I want you to think about a Social Security system that will be flat bust, bankrupt, unless the United States Congress has got the willingness to act now”

    Reality:

    This would in fact be impossible. As long as people work there will be money to pay Social Security benefits based on the way the system is set up right now. Social Security benefits are paid from money collected directly from taxation. The only way that all Social Security benefits would cease to be paid is if no one worked anymore, which would either be a result of massive technological advances that meant people no longer had to work, in which case Social Security wouldn’t matter anyway, or the result of a total collapse of civilization, in which case no retirement scheme would be of value.

    In reality, there is a problem with the way that Social Security benefits are calculated. Right now, the scheduled benefits for retirees in 2050 are 40% higher in inflation adjusted terms than benefits today. When the statement is made that after the Social Security trust fund is depleted the system will only be able to pay out 70% of scheduled benefits, it means that the system would still be paying out higher real benefits than retirees get today!

    That is certainly not a crisis and not a condition of bankruptcy.

    Bush Claim:

    “In the year 2018, for the first time ever, Social Security will pay out more in benefits than the government collects in payroll taxes”

    Reality:

    This is a flat out lie. In 14 of the past 47 years of Social Security’s operation, the program has paid out more than it collected in payroll taxes. In addition to that, even if it were true that it would be the first time, it still wouldn’t matter. The trust fund has been intentionally built up over the past 15 or so years to prepare for the retirement of the so-called “baby boomers”. Additionally, the trust fund is actually still projected to grow well past 2018 until some time around 2028. All that the 2018 date signifies is the moment at which some income from interest on the trust fund may begin being used to pay retirement benefits.

    There would be no point in putting any money into the trust fund at all unless we planned on taking it out at some point. The intention was never to continually put more and more money into the Social Security trust fund. It has always been intended that this money would be used to pay for the retirement benefits of the baby boomer generation. It is supposed to be used, yet President Bush presents the fact that this money will be used for its intended purpose as a sign of failure, when in fact it is not.

    The baby boomer generation will begin to retire around 2010 and some members of that generation will continue to inflate the numbers of retirees for another 30 to 40 years. This means that the baby boomer generation is going to be a major budgeting factor for Social Security to address between the years of around 2010 and 2050.

    This is exactly the period of time that the Social Security trust fund is projected to last without any changes made to the system whatsoever. The latest projection by the Congressional Budget Office is that the Social Security retirement trust fund will have a positive balance through 2052.

    In theory, there is little need for a Social Security trust fund at all. Normally the trust fund should be small, with only enough funds in it to cover yearly fluctuations in benefit payments. The only reason that there is a need to build up the trust fund to the large degree that we have for the past 15 years is to accommodate the baby boomer generation, which the system is currently on track to do.

    Again, the solution to any crises in Social Sec is not to get rid of social sec, its to raise taxes to pay for the benefits. problem solved. Of course Grover Norquist will have a tantrum if you do that. That fact isn’t a problem with social security.

    Like I keep saying, when republicans are talking about Social sec they are LYING.

  119. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    Suranis: Hey did you know that George Bush the Lesser was using more or less the same lies about social security as Charo here is repeating 10 years ago?

    I quoted from the SSA site, not my own facts, so F off.

  120. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    CarlOrcas: Since he’s got a goldmine in Canada I don’t think he cares one way or the other.

    Medcan is an “Executive” health clinic that charges fancy rates for everything from appointments – $100 and $250 if you cancel – to prescription refills – $50.

    You didn’t lookat his site before you posted this, did you? Here are his rates:

    http://www.medcan.com/pdf/Medcan_Uninsured_Services_Listing.pdf

    They also sell vitamins and nutritional supplements.

    But, to answer your question, Dr. Aw must think American medicine is okay since the clinic is affiliated with Johns Hopkins and his bio says he on the “part-time faculty” there.

    His site didn’t matter to me. He had a practice in Canada where some here have claimed they’ve got it right when it comes to healthcare.

  121. avatar
    Suranis August 13, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    You are SELECTIVELY quoting from the SSA site you mean. AND you are repeatedly ignoring the simple solutions that everyone has been repeating at you for days. OH NOES NOT ENOUGH MONEY COMING IN YOU MUST DESTROY SOCIAL SEC. Or you could increase the amount of money coming in. Wow, what an idea. That’s what the ” present assumptions” bit that you are repeatedly ignoring means, ya know.

    I simply showed how republicans have been using the same data you are pushing to make the same lies you are pushing for decades. So F off.

    charo: I quoted from the SSA site, not my own facts, so F off.

  122. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    Suranis: OH NOES NOT ENOUGH MONEY COMING IN YOU MUST DESTROY SOCIAL SEC.

    Show me WHERE I said that? Where and please quote. For days I have been discussing this? Oh brother, you are simply a waste of keystrokes.

  123. avatar
    Suranis August 13, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    Show me where I said that was a direct quote from you. Where and please quote.

    That’s just the next stage of the same old argument you are pushing. Its the same argument Bush was pushing when he wanted to pour all of Social security’s money into the Stock exchanges. Its just the whole “Oh noes we cant afford social sec we will have to get rid of it too bad so sad sorry you are starving to death but there nothing we can do. Hey what do you think of our new Aircraft carrier?” argument all over again.

    If thats not the next stage of your pushing the “WE CANT AFFORD SOCIAL SEC” meme you are pushing then whats the point of all the doomsday forcasting? Are you going to say your point was that we should leave social sec as is despite the fact “we cant afford it?”

    Utter BS as usual. I’m sorry that I have effectively pointed out you are using the same selective lying as Bush. He quoted from the SSA figures too, after he had gutted the payments system for Social Sec and raided the payroll tax fund. Stunningly after he had done that there wasn’t enough money coming in and “social security is going broke! We have to fix it by putting it on the stock exchange!!!”

    The more things change the more you see the same lies.

    charo: Show me WHERE I said that?Where and please quote.

  124. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    Suranis: That’s just the next stage of the same old argument you are pushing.

    Wow a mind reader!! How about that I was just worried about my future when both parties have expressed the same idea- something needs to be done. Neither wants to deal with it because no matter which way they would go, someone is not going to be happy. I don’t care how they fix it. Just do it and we’ll adjust. Slamming someone for what you think they are going to argue?

  125. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 13, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

    Charo likes to play the victim.

    charo: Wow a mind reader!! How about that I was just worried about my future when both parties have expressed the same idea- something needs to be done. I don’t care what it is. Slamming someone for what you think they are going to argue?

  126. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    charo: His site didn’t matter to me.He had a practice in Canada where some here have claimed they’ve got it right when it comes to healthcare.

    If you had taken the time to look you would have seen that the practice is anything but typical.

  127. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Charo likes to play the victim.

    Thank you, Doc. May I have another? It offends me for being called a liar for things I might say. And I don’t want anyone’s pity.

  128. avatar
    charo August 13, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

    CarlOrcas: If you had taken the time to look you would have seen that the practice is anything but typical.

    I would respond, but you know, I might come across as being a victim.

  129. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    charo: I would respond, but you know, I might come across as being a victim.

    Good thing you didn’t respond then, huh?

  130. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 13, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    You’ve been playing the victim card here for years. I thought I’d just point it out for once. I don’t know why you do it.

    charo: Thank you, Doc. May I have another? It offends me for being called a liar for things I might say. And I don’t want anyone’s pity.

  131. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    charo: Thank you, Doc. May I have another? It offends me for being called a liar for things I might say.And I don’t want anyone’s pity.

    People can be pretty unreasonable, charo. Sometimes they jump to conclusions like when someone says things that aren’t true. Life can be so unfair on the internet.

  132. avatar
    Majority Will August 13, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    CarlOrcas: Good thing you didn’t respond then, huh?

    *chuckle*

  133. avatar
    charo, victim-at-large August 13, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    You’ve been playing the victim card here for years. I thought I’d just point it out for once. I don’t know why you do it.

    Actually, you said it before, but it was awhile ago. Back in the saddle again!

  134. avatar
    charo, victim-at-large August 13, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    CarlOrcas: If you had taken the time to look you would have seen that the practice is anything but typical.

    Because I have a husband with heart disease who has had the procedures described in the article, I was surprised that the procedures are not considered medically necessary, under Canadian health care. The website about his practice has nothing to do with that issue. Also, it seems to me that Canadians are looking for more privatization.

  135. avatar
    Steve August 13, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

    I’ve pretty much given up correcting all the misinformation my Facebook friends. It’s not worth the aggravation.
    But anyway, one of them posted a picture that said “If illegal aliens get amnesty they’ll be eligible for Obamacare.”
    My friends comment: “Real Americans will still have to buy their own insurance.”

    Maybe I’m wrong, but if they do get amnesty (and I doubt any of these people who use that word know what it means), they’ll still have to buy insurance from an insurance company just like everyone else.
    That and illegal immigration isn’t 1/100th of the problem these people think it is.

  136. avatar
    Rickey August 13, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    charo:
    My experience with government insurance is with my daughter’s medical assistance for hearing aids.When she was diagnosed with hearing loss, she became eligible for hearing aids (which if they are even covered by insurance at all, cover very little) because she is under 18. I got a rejection letter for payment of one of her appointments. I never had any issue before. This gets complicated, but all bills are submitted to my primary insurance first before being kicked over to medical assistance.In 2011, I got my own insurance for myself and the kids and got off my husband’s plan. I submitted the paper work to the medical assistance office to update the file.The caseworker never updated the information so the bills were sent to the previous company instead of the current one.The bill never made it to medical assistance where it would have been covered.In the meantime, I am getting billed.The only way you can talk to your caseworker is to call and make an appointment. I got the answering machine for two weeks.I went to the office, but you cannot see the caseworker unless you call.I was practically in tears leaving messages for the worker to call me.The rules are that the caseworkers have 24 hours to return your call.I eventually called an 800 number from one of the departments on the website and after over 30 minutes of wait time, spoke to someone who handled the matter.She told me that the caseworker was probably overloaded and would not check into why my calls were not returned.

    That was my experience with government insurance.

    Let me explain how real single payer coverage works in the United States.

    I am a Southeast Asia combat zone veteran, so I get my primary care through the V.A. I pay no premiums, just a $15 co-pay for office visits and an $8 co-pay for prescriptions. I have no forms to fill out. I pay nothing up front. Each month that I see my doctor or get a prescription filled I am billed for my co-pays by the V.A. The bill is the only paperwork I ever see. I don’t even have to call in for prescription refills. I just go online, log into my account and place my order. The refills are then delivered to my house, so I don’t even have to go to a pharmacy to pick them up.

    Some hassle, huh?

    Where I have had hassles in the past was with United Healthcare. A number of years back I did something to my right wrist and I couldn’t flex it without pain. My doctor wanted me to get an MRI of the wrist. United Healthcare’s medical director denied it in writing, saying that I should take anti-inflammatory medication – even though United Healthcare knew that I was taking Coumadin. Patients who take Coumadin run the risk of dying from internal bleeding if they take anti-inflammatories. Fortunately, I was aware of the dangers of anti-inflammatories so I ignored the doctor’s advise and appealed his decision.

    What if I had not known or had forgotten about the dangers? The difference is that with United Healthcare the primary concern is controlling benefit payments. the primary concern with the V.A. is getting me treatment when I need it. If my doctor prescribes a treatment or a medication, I get it, no questions asked.

  137. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 13, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    charo, victim-at-large: Because I have a husband with heart disease who has had the procedures described in the article, I was surprised that the procedures are not considered medically necessary, under Canadian health care. The website about his practice has nothing to do with that issue. Also, it seems to me that Canadians are looking for more privatization.

    I doubt you have any idea what Canadians are looking for in health care.

    As far as the article you posted, written by Dr. Aw, are you saying it says stents aren’t considered “medically necessary”? If so, you’re wrong. If not…then what are you talking about?

    As far as the other screening procedures he talks about it looks like one is covered by the Ontario plan and the other two, which I know nothing about, may or may not be. His article is less than clear and since it appears he is really promoting his clinic’s services I’m not sure I’d put much confidence in the article…..unlike you.

  138. avatar
    Lupin August 14, 2013 at 2:20 am #

    Charo:

    You might derive some benefit from looking at wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Canada

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_and_American_health_care_systems_compared

    I also suggest you read this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Health_Organization_ranking_of_health_systems

    If you don’t mind my saying so, the reason people here snap at you is that you never acknowledge that you’re wrong when in fact, you’re wrong most of the time.

    Usually you simply avoid answering to the rebuttals that demolish your prior statements, or try to weasel out with often specious / fallacious arguments.

  139. avatar
    charo August 14, 2013 at 3:13 am #

    Lupin: Usually you simply avoid answering to the rebuttals that demolish your prior statements, or try to weasel out with often specious / fallacious arguments.

    I apologize if I presented my ideas on healthcare speciously or fallaciously. That was not my intent. The idea behind socialized medicine is honorable. I have lack of confidence in our government to administer it well or that we are prepared for the change, either practically or or philosophically. That is just my opinion and may be completely wrong. A part of the current healthcare mandate had to be delayed because computers need to be updated. Maybe a complete switchover would be easier than I think. I willingly take back away fact where I am wrong.

  140. avatar
    charo August 14, 2013 at 3:26 am #

    CarlOrcas: I doubt you have any idea what Canadians are looking for in health care.

    As far as the article you posted, written by Dr. Aw, are you saying it says stents aren’t considered “medically necessary”? If so, you’re wrong. If not…then what are you talking about?

    As far as the other screening procedures he talks about it looks like one is covered by the Ontario plan and the other two, which I know nothing about, may or may not be. His article is less than clear and since it appears he is really promoting his clinic’s services I’m not sure I’d put much confidence in the article…..unlike you.

    I was referring to the screening procedures, but in any case, the conversation has taken a turn that I never intended. There is more of a conservative push for privatization from what I was reading, but the article is too long, and I don’t want to cherry pick. I wish I had never mentioned Dr. Aw.

    Thank you for the information about the SSA website where I was able to register for my annual information. That was helpful. I jumped to the conclusion that it had to do with the budget, but the switch from mailed reports to online services was coincidental. I am pushing 50 and now retirement issues are closer than they used to be. This is not the place to air my own issues.

  141. avatar
    charo August 14, 2013 at 3:30 am #

    CarlOrcas: I doubt you have any idea what Canadians are looking for in health care.

    As far as the article you posted, written by Dr. Aw, are you saying it says stents aren’t considered “medically necessary”? If so, you’re wrong. If not…then what are you talking about?

    As far as the other screening procedures he talks about it looks like one is covered by the Ontario plan and the other two, which I know nothing about, may or may not be. His article is less than clear and since it appears he is really promoting his clinic’s services I’m not sure I’d put much confidence in the article…..unlike you.

    I was referring to the screening procedures, but in any case, the conversation has taken a turn that I never intended. There is more of a conservative push for privatization from what I was reading, but the article is too long, and I don’t want to cherry pick. I wish I had never mentioned Dr. Aw.

    Thank you for the information about the SSA website where I was able to register for my annual information. That was helpful. I jumped to the conclusion that it had to do with the budget, but the switch from mailed reports to online services was coincidental. I am pushing 50 and now retirement issues are closer than they used to be. This is not the place to air my own issues.

    Rickey: Let me explain how real single payer coverage works in the United States.

    I am glad that you have good healthcare.

  142. avatar
    charo August 14, 2013 at 3:31 am #

    charo, victim-at-large: Actually, you said it before, but it was awhile ago.Back in the saddle again!

    I am sorry for my speciousness. I have gone back to my usual handle.

  143. avatar
    charo August 14, 2013 at 3:31 am #

    Majority Will: *chuckle*

    Good one.

  144. avatar
    charo August 14, 2013 at 3:33 am #

    CarlOrcas: Good thing you didn’t respond then, huh?

    I apologize for my impertinent answer.

  145. avatar
    charo August 14, 2013 at 3:42 am #

    Suranis,

    I apologize for telling you to F off (that was unbecoming and crude) and my anger toward you. I can’t admit to lying because I did not. The quotes were from the SSA site that CarlOrcas linked for me. I should have linked back to it. It’s difficult not to “cherry pick” when the whole report itself would clog up the thread. In any case, it was a bad conversation on my end.

  146. avatar
    Lupin August 14, 2013 at 5:15 am #

    charo: The idea behind socialized medicine is honorable. I have lack of confidence in our government to administer it well or that we are prepared for the change, either practically or or philosophically.

    I would agree with you there.

    The US Government used to be generally competent and effective, as far as governments go. I’m not so sure it is true today, because of lobbies and partisan gridlock.

  147. avatar
    Lani August 14, 2013 at 5:39 am #

    Sometimes I think there is no point in discussing universal healthcare with peeps in the US. We are too brainwashed about the ebil commie stuff wherein everyone can get treatment. Oh, the horror!!!! We only have illness care at a very high price in the US and are taught that it is the best in the world.

    Few people seem to realize that in many countries insurance companies actually exist and compete with government safety net healthcare.

    And even fewer realize the freedom that comes from never fearing medical bill.

    I hope that Obama Cares steps us up a bit, but we are still so far behind civilized countries.

  148. avatar
    Suranis August 14, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    Part of the problem is that there is a 2 party system, and a large part of one party has been screaming about evil goverment not working for decades, and now they have a party where their “fan base” has been fed propaganda about “government never being the solution” all their lives, not realizing that it was just a line, and they actually believe it. So they are now using their considerable power to actually make sure that the Goverment cannot do anything.

    I mean seriously, any comparison of health care in the states, would have to look at VA medicine VS private medicine and how VA is just so much cheaper to run and gives better care. That in itself is evidence that something that’s government run can and does give better care than the private sector, even in America.

    Hell, most of the problems of the NHS that the bloggers hammer about has come from the Conservative Party’s attempts to introduce the private sector into it. And you want to compare the rail system in Britian before and after it was privatized?

    I am not a socialist but I am a believer in a heavily regulated private enterprise system with a Goverment backup system for vital services. That’s the system that seems to give consistently the best results. Contracting out to the Private sector just seems to increase costs for no real benefit other than ideology.

    Lupin: I would agree with you there.

    The US Government used to be generally competent and effective, as far as governments go. I’m not so sure it is true today, because of lobbies and partisan gridlock.

  149. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 14, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    Lupin: The US Government used to be generally competent and effective, as far as governments go. I’m not so sure it is true today, because of lobbies and partisan gridlock.

    Special interests are nothing new. James Madison called them “factions” and was complaining about them over 200 years ago.

    Neither is today’s gridlock. We just got used to political comity after World War II.

  150. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 14, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    charo: I apologize for my impertinent answer.

    Apology accepted.

  151. avatar
    JPotter August 14, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    Suranis: Hell, most of the problems of the NHS that the bloggers hammer about has come from the Conservative Party’s attempts to introduce the private sector into it.

    Yep, self-fulfilling complaints … keep ‘fixing’ it until it breaks. And then blame it for being broke.

  152. avatar
    helen August 15, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    CarlOrcas: The “medical industry” doesn’t provide insurance. The insurance industry does and like all insurance it is based on the concept of shared risk which means the larger the pool the lower the cost to everyone in it. People who can’t afford to “pay for their own treatment” can’t afford insurance either.How?Where do you live that you get “free” medical care?

    What a fallacy,. A large pool increases the cost of the care by a significant amount

    Just look at auto insurance as what the premiums would be if anyone could buy insurance at the same amount.

    You get free medicall care by going to the emergency room where they are forced to treat you, and you get a bill you don’t have to pay if you have no money!

  153. avatar
    helen August 15, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    misha marinsky: Israel has had universal, socialized medicine since 1948. Something wrong with that? Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance are pure socialism. You refuse all three, correct?It’s called insurance. Look into it.That was the premise of Germany, 1933-1945.

    social security does not cover everyone, Medicare does not cover everyone, unemployment insurance does not cover everyone.

    And , they are all paid for by the receivers of the benefits.

    Show me the masses of un-employed in Israel and the cities like Detroit and Chicago, and the other low income areas of the USA

  154. avatar
    helen August 15, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    CarlOrcas: Where is your home town?And name one bank that provides no down (no equity?), stated income loans for any amount…..let alone $750,000.

    California, private investors 8% 5 years, good credit. etc.,

  155. avatar
    helen August 15, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    James M: There is a house for sale which I see every morning on my commute. Asking price is in the high $80K range. It’s not in a particularly desirable neighborhood, but it’s not a slum either.I don’t know how a truly low income individual could come up with the $16K down payment they should put on that property. But once at that threshold, the $300-500 monthly mortgage payment doesn’t seem stratospheric to me.

    And that is the problem with people.

    they think the mortgage payment is the cost of owning a home

    Take that house, $64,000 at 4% is $2500 in interest about $210 a month, taxes about 3 percent a year $1,800 a year about $150 per month, Utilities about $100 per month, and , the one no-one considers, maintenance,2,5% about $2,000 a year or $160 a month. for a total of $600 a month or $7200 a year.

    Minimum wage is $7 time 2200 hours about $15,600 minus the $7,200 leaves about $8,400 for living expenses or about $700 a month to own a car, buy clothes , eat , and pay insurance for medical expense.

    think you could do it?

  156. avatar
    sfjeff August 15, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    helen: social security does not cover everyone, Medicare does not cover everyone, unemployment insurance does not cover everyone.

    And , they are all paid for by the receivers of the benefits.

    Social Security isn’t.

    I am paying right now for my Dad’s Social security and every current recipient of SS.

    Granted- SS recipients must pay into the system(well not exactly- wives and children don’t have to have paid in in order to get benefits) in order to get benefits, but its not my money that I get when I qualify for SS#

    We all pay into Social Security so the current recipients of SS get benefits.

  157. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    sfjeff: I am paying right now for my Dad’s Social security and every current recipient of SS.

    Granted- SS recipients must pay into the system(well not exactly- wives and children don’t have to have paid in in order to get benefits) in order to get benefits, but its not my money that I get when I qualify for SS#

    We all pay into Social Security so the current recipients of SS get benefits.

    Actually you are paying into the trust fund which is much larger than current benefits.

    Also workers or employees are not the only ones paying into the trust fund. Employers pay a matching amount.

    Self-employed persons pay the whole amount themselves.

  158. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 15, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    helen: California,private investors 8% 5 years, good credit. etc.,

    Private investors are not a bank, are they?

  159. avatar
    Woodrowfan August 15, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

    My wife and I bought our house with no down payment in northern Virginia. Good interest rate too. But we went through our Credit Union and both have good credit and regular paychecks.

  160. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 15, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    helen: What a fallacy,. A large pool increases the cost of the care by a significant amount

    Just look at auto insurance as what the premiums would be if anyone could buy insurance at the same amount.

    You get free medicall care by going to the emergency room where they are forced to treat you, and you get a bill you don’t have to pay if you have no money!

    I’m sorry but there is no other way to say it: Your ignorance is breathtaking.

    Yes, a larger pool does increase costs but it spreads risk and it increases income thus balancing things out and often in a positive way.

    I assume from your auto insurance question that you think the sickest people should pay the most for health insurance, is that it?

    As it regards your thoughts on “free” medical care just how do you account for unpaid medical bills being the number 1 cause of bankruptcy in America?

  161. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 15, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    helen: And , they are all paid for by the receivers of the benefits.

    Sigh! Not true. Google can save you a lot of embarrassment if you take the time to use it.

  162. avatar
    helen August 16, 2013 at 3:55 am #

    I am amazed the people believe the assumptions of the SSA, and it is all a matter of arithmetic.

    “•In 2011, the percentage of people without health insurance decreased to 15.7 percent from 16.3 percent in 2010. The number of uninsured people also decreased, to 48.6 million, down from 50.0 million in 2010.
    •Both the percentage and number of people with health insurance increased in 2011, to 84.3 percent and 260.2 million, up from 83.7 percent and 256.6 million in 2010.”

    “This study examines the current spending on care for the uninsured and projects additional medical spending if the population had health insurance coverage.

    The study finds that the uninsured will spend $30 billion out-of-pocket for health care in 2008 while receiving $56 billion in uncompensated care, three quarters of which will be from government sources

    Does it not look like the cost of the uninsured was $1,500 per person and that someone will have to pay that increase of 86 billion per year. Out of the insurance fund!

    If that doesn’t scare you, look at this one

    “PwC estimates that the annual medical and long-term care costs of brain disease in the United States were about $476 billion in 2010. More than half of this estimate derives from costs of treating other medical conditions, which are more common and more costly among people with brain disease”

    That is about $1,200 per person in the USA,, there are about 100,000,000 families in the usa, that indicates that the cost for this disease runs about $4,750 per family.

    And when you add the cost of running the insurance companies it would be about $6,000 per year

    That is if everyone had the insurance, just for brain disease and associated illness.

    http://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/publications/medical-treatment-cost-of-brain-disease.jhtml

    How much should the insurance premium be to cover just this disease?

  163. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 16, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    helen: If that doesn’t scare you, look at this one

    Exactly what is your point with all of this?

    Are you suggesting that certain people, certain diseases shouldn’t be covered?

  164. avatar
    John Reilly August 16, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Helen is back, not having answered any questions.

    What a troll.

  165. avatar
    misha marinsky August 16, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    helen: If that doesn’t scare you, look at this one

    CarlOrcas: Are you suggesting that certain people, certain diseases shouldn’t be covered?

    “Helen” believes in the solution used by Germany, 1933-45.

    John Reilly: Helen is back, not having answered any questions.

    “Helen” is a man, masquerading as woman. Ignore him.

  166. avatar
    Greenfinches August 16, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    misha marinsky: “Helen” is a man, masquerading as woman.

    and all there is behind the mask, is an idiot, as far as I can see!

  167. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG August 16, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    Greenfinches: and all there is behind the mask, is an idiot, as far as I can see!

    Yeah, its like that scene from “The Three Doctors” when John Pertwee, and Patrick Throughton unmask Omega, except they find pure stupid staring back at them instead of nothingness!

    misha marinsky:
    “Helen” is a man, masquerading as woman. Ignore him.

    I’m of the opinion that “Helen” is “John”.

  168. avatar
    John Reilly August 16, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    I do not understand Helen’s reliance on government figures since the government believes Barack Obama is President.

    Nor do I understand Helen’s comments about the cost of treating brain disease. It would seem like Helen would be a beneficiary of any such program

  169. avatar
    misha marinsky August 16, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: I’m of the opinion that “Helen” is “John”.

    …or a third man. (Apologies to Carol Reed.)

  170. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG August 16, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    misha marinsky: …or a third man. (Apologies to Carol Reed.)

    Harry Lime it is then.

  171. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater August 16, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: Yeah, its like that scene from “The Three Doctors” when John Pertwee, and Patrick Throughton unmask Omega, except they find pure stupid staring back at them instead of nothingness!I’m of the opinion that “Helen” is “John”.

    It’s not John, totally different style of writing. It’s traderjack. You can tell the same familiar pattern starts off asking questions, pretends not to be a birther. Then gets into talking about the Inspector General’s report which he frequently misinterprets and lies about. This then continues on to claiming well law enforcement can change the birth certificate. After that he skips on to saying no birth certificates can be valid. From there he takes apart every statements and turns it into utter nonsense.

  172. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater August 16, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    John Reilly: I do not understand Helen’s reliance on government figures since the government believes Barack Obama is President. Nor do I understand Helen’s comments about the cost of treating brain disease. It would seem like Helen would be a beneficiary of any such program

    But didn’t “Helen” previously claim no government official can be trusted and that we shouldn’t believe everything the government tells us and yet “she” is now using government figures?

  173. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG August 16, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    Dr Kenneth Noisewater: It’s not John, totally different style of writing.It’s traderjack.You can tell the same familiar pattern starts off asking questions, pretends not to be a birther.Then gets into talking about the Inspector General’s report which he frequently misinterprets and lies about.This then continues on to claiming well law enforcement can change the birth certificate.After that he skips on to saying no birth certificates can be valid.From there he takes apart every statements and turns it into utter nonsense.

    My bad, but in my defense all birther drivel looks the same to me.

  174. avatar
    misha marinsky August 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Dr Kenneth Noisewater:It’s traderjack.

    That’s my feeling.

  175. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater August 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    misha marinsky: That’s my feeling.

    It’s unmistakable. No one is that stupid and that much of a troll

  176. avatar
    helen August 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    And I have finally found out what caused the heatth costs to go up, and what will continue to cause the health costs to go up!

    When health insurance came into existence, it opened the door to medical fraud.

    Prior to health insurance the doctors were paid by the patients and there was no way to defraud the doctor to make a monetary benefit to the patient.

    Now, with any health insurance in force, there is a payer who is an intermediary between the patient and the doctor. And that allows fraud to enter into the picture!

    If you have to pay with your own money you will suffer the elfects

    If you pay with your insurance companies money you don’t care what it costs, and you don’t even want to look at the bill.

    And to be able to do that you don’t mind if there is fraud because it does not come directly from your pocket.

    And that will happen to ObamaCare, or ACA, the same way.

    Bigger systems allow bigger frauds, just look at the big banks.

  177. avatar
    Arthur August 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    helen: Bigger systems allow bigger frauds, just look at the big banks.

    One way to deal with this, whether it’s big banks or big insurance companies, thieving doctors or grifting patients, is to have greater oversight and stronger penalties for fraud or abuse.

    helen: And I have finally found out what caused the heatth costs to go up, and what will continue to cause the health costs to go up!

    When health insurance came into existence, it opened the door to medical fraud.

    I’m sure that fraud increases the cost of health insurance.

    helen: And to be able to do that you don’t mind if there is fraud because it does not come directly from your pocket.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly taking money from my own pocket to pay for health care, whether it’s co-pays, meeting deductibles, or paying for treatment that’s not covered by insurance company.

  178. avatar
    Dave August 16, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    Here’s a new conspiracy theory. From Jim Hoft: SHOCKING: Obamacare Provision Will Allow “Forced” Home Inspections accompanied by a photo of a SWAT team with the caption “We’re from the government and we’re here to raid your home.” The article begins:

    “Here come the home raids… A new provision tucked away in Obamacare will allow government forces to carry out forced home inspections.”

    Wonkette also covers this SHOCKING story: Stupidest Man On The Internet Warns Obamacare Storm Troopers Will Come For Your Children

  179. avatar
    helen August 16, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    But , the difference is , that, today, you don’t pay the full payment (otherwise you would not have insurance), and do not negotiate or pay the doctor directly, so the intervening party, the insurance company, hospitals, medical services, all, have an opportunity to raise the cost of the services provided to you.

    As to ACA, hmmm,just take a look at the welfare services, to see what happens when large agencies have control of spending large sums, and everyone declares, or see, or believes , that Medicade and Medicare are full of fraud.

    Do you really believe that any agency with that kind of power, money, and control, can stop the possible fraud?

    And, as the posters on this board do not seem to want questions in posting, I will simply state that ACA will result in fraud actions that will surpass all previous medical fraud practices.

    “I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly taking money from my own pocket to pay for health care, whether it’s co-pays, meeting deductibles, or paying for treatment that’s not covered by insurance company”

    sure, and that is why so many people want other people to pay those costs.

    There is no reason in the world why a company should have to , have to, pay the medical costs of their employees that are not job related.

  180. avatar
    helen August 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    Dr Kenneth Noisewater: But didn’t “Helen” previously claim no government official can be trusted and that we shouldn’t believe everything the government tells us and yet “she” is now using government figures?

    Those were figures, right, don’t ask questions , just give answers so others can ask questions,.

    Dispute the information, dispute the statement, ahhhhm, but that would lead to agreement.

  181. avatar
    helen August 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-16/compare-and-contrast-public-vs-private-retiree-underfunding-one-chart

    “The chart below explains, in the simplest possible terms, why there are many more “Detroits” on deck. It shows the underfunded status of public vs private retiree healthcare plans. It needs no commentary, although it may deserve one question: what happens when all those public servants who have been promised over a trillion in healthcare benefits upon retirement, realize it was all a lie? And then come… the pensions’.

  182. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 16, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    helen: And I have finally found out what caused the heatth costs to go up, and what will continue to cause the health costs to go up!

    When health insurance came into existence, it opened the door to medical fraud.

    Once again your ignorance takes my breath away.

    Health insurance, particularly employer based health insurance, has been in existence in the U.S. since the middle of the 19th century.

    A simple Google search of “history of health insurance” produced this timeline:

    http://www.ebri.org/publications/facts/index.cfm?fa=0302fact

  183. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 16, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    helen: But , the difference is , that, today, you don’t pay the full payment (otherwise you would not have insurance), and do not negotiate or pay the doctor directly, so the intervening party, the insurance company, hospitals, medical services, all, have an opportunity to raise the cost of the services provided to you.

    Insurance companies want to raise the costs of services? To what end, helen?

    helen: Do you really believe that any agency with that kind of power, money, and control, can stop the possible fraud?

    What is your solution?

    helen: There is no reason in the world why a company should have to , have to, pay the medical costs of their employees that are not job related.

    Most enlightened companies think it is in their interest for employees to be healthy. Crazy, huh?

  184. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 16, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    helen: Those were figures, right, don’t ask questions , just give answers so others can ask questions,.

    Dispute the information, dispute the statement, ahhhhm, but that would lead to agreement.

    Here’s a question for you: Why do you believe some “government figures” and not others?

  185. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 16, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    Estimates of health care fraud run from a low of 3% to a high of 10%. That’s significant, but even if health care costs came down 10%, few individuals could pay for a major illness.

    helen: Bigger systems allow bigger frauds, just look at the big banks.

  186. avatar
    helen August 16, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Estimates of health care fraud run from a low of 3% to a high of 10%. That’s significant, but even if health care costs came down 10%, few individuals could pay for a major illness.

    And, one of the problems with that is that health care fraud is hard to find, difficult to prosecute, and seldom recovers any money

    All you have to do is look at the hospital billing to see rampant fraud.

    Many people think that it is the actual cost of providing the services.

    Did you see the one where there was a $35,000 billing for hospital services for a battery replacement in a walk-in surgery, and was about a 1 hour procedure.

    And $10,000 for the battery!

    My present insurance cost on medicare is about $700 a month to cover the amount not paid by Medicare.

    I have a married friend who, under 65, was paying $1,500 a month for he and his wife.
    They dropped it, and put it in the bank. Now he goes to the doctor pays cash, pays the pharmacy cash, and accepts no receipts for the work done, and uses an alias.

    Saves a hell of a lot of money. Plans to go to India if major repairs are needed.

    All insurance is subject to fraud, which the buyers have to cover with their premiums.

  187. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 16, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Estimates of health care fraud run from a low of 3% to a high of 10%. That’s significant, but even if health care costs came down 10%, few individuals could pay for a major illness.

    Clearly helen has not had a family member or person she knows go through a major illness or injury. As several folks here have noted once they were home the bills from the hospitals, doctors and other providers started showing up and they were in the tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    I saw it happen with my mother in the last years of her life. Without Medicare and Tricare she would have been impoverished and, probably, us along with her.

  188. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 16, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    helen: All you have to do is look at the hospital billing to see rampant fraud.

    Show us.

    helen: Did you see the one where there was a $35,000 billing for hospital services for a battery replacement in a walk-in surgery, and was about a 1 hour procedure.

    And $10,000 for the battery!

    Source?

    helen: My present insurance cost on medicare is about $700 a month to cover the amount not paid by Medicare.

    What are you paying $700 a month for? Did you not qualify for premium-free Part A based on your income history?

    If you do have premium-free Part A then Part B Medical should only cost you $104.90.

    If you are paying $700 for Part D and/or some third party supplemental program something is wrong.

    My wife and I pay $43 a month each in addition to the Part A premium deducted from our Social Security for a very good HMO that covers medical, prescriptions and things like eye care that straight Medicare doesn’t.

    Regarding your friends: What do they plan to do when they turn 65?

  189. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater August 16, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    helen: Those were figures, right, don’t ask questions , just give answers so others can ask questions,.Dispute the information, dispute the statement, ahhhhm, but that would lead to agreement.

    It’s funny how you show total hypocrisy trolljack. So if I was using your logic: You actually trust those government sources to be giving you accurate information?

  190. avatar
    helen August 16, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    You are entitlled to life, liberty , and the pursuit of happiness, no one has to give it to you.

    You, of course , are wrong in your beliefs.

    Why did she need the high cost medical procedures, why to keep her alive!

    Why should the government, or the people, keep anyone alive?

    Selfishness, because we love our family and don’t want to lose them too soon

    So, we pretend that all life is precious and don’t even want to kill the murderers , rapists, and enemies of the country, all because we want our family to live a long healthy life.

    I had to pull the plug on my mother and finally realized that sometimes it is best to die rather than to live.

  191. avatar
    helen August 16, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    Dr Kenneth Noisewater: It’s funny how you show total hypocrisy trolljack. So if I was using your logic: You actually trust those government sources to be giving you accurate information?

    Simple answer, NO, Look at the natiional debt figure, hasn’t changed in10 weeks, or so.

    You think you can trust anyone you can not talk to.

  192. avatar
    donna August 16, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    CarlOrcas: Clearly helen has not had a family member or person she knows go through a major illness or injury

    TRUE – last summer, my 30-something family member had a mountain bike accident – the cost of the ambulance alone was $1500 – and then there was the ER, surgery, hospital stay, meds, PT, etc – fortunately, he has great health insurance – a routine appendectomy costs nearly $14k in NY, $12k in TX, etc

  193. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 16, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    helen: You, of course , are wrong in your beliefs.

    Using quotebacks makes it easier to tell who you are addressing. If this is for me and my message about Medicare premiums please show me where I am wrong. Tell us what you are paying $700 a month for.

    helen: Why did she need the high cost medical procedures, why to keep her alive!

    If you are talking about my mother she had several non-life threatening diseases that were very expensive to treat. Withdrawing treatment was not an option. She had a living will and its terms were implemented when she died.

    helen: Why should the government, or the people, keep anyone alive?

    If you don’t know I don’t think I can explain it to you.

    helen: I had to pull the plug on my mother and finally realized that sometimes it is best to die rather than to live.

    Did she have a living will or did you make the decision for her?

  194. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 16, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

    helen: You think you can trust anyone you can not talk to.

    Why would you trust someone you can talk to?

    You think you can trust anyone you can talk to.

  195. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 16, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    helen: Simple answer, NO, Look at the natiional debt figure, hasn’t changed in10 weeks, or so.

    This is like shooting fish in a barrel.

    You didn’t look. You just picked this canard up from some website or blog and ran with it.

    Go this website http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/debt/current

    Put in any date range you want. I put in your ten weeks and here is what I got:

    http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/debt/search?startMonth=06&startDay=06&startYear=2013&endMonth=08&endDay=15&endYear=2013

    Notice, helen, that the amounts change…..every day.

  196. avatar
    sfjeff August 16, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    helen: And, one of the problems with that is that health care fraud is hard to find, difficult to prosecute, and seldom recovers any money

    All you have to do is look at the hospital billing to see rampant fraud.

    Many people think that it is the actual cost of providing the services.

    Look up the NY Times article on medical tourism.

    As I recall the flagship story was a man who was without insurance, or had limited insurance- needed a hip replacement.

    Was quoted $80,000 here in the U.S.
    Had the hip replacement in Belgium for $16,000

    It wasn’t because of fraud. It was how our current system works- in Belgium the government controls medical costs.

    Can you imagine the outcry if we tried that here? Dictated to private enterprise exactly how much profit that they can make for medical care?

    Is the system in Belgium better or worse? I am not saying, but while medical fraud is a problem- it is not the primary cost of our medical cost increases.

  197. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 16, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

    sfjeff: Is the system in Belgium better or worse? I am not saying, but while medical fraud is a problem- it is not the primary cost of our medical cost increases.

    For fraud to be the driver in U.S. health care costs it would have to account for about 50-cents of every dollar. Not plausible. Here are data from the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation on per capita expenditures as of 2010:

    http://kff.org/global-indicator/health-expenditure-per-capita/

    For Belgium the figure is $3,975.

    And for the U.S. it is $8.233

    Interestingly in another report I found that Belgium has twice as many hospital beds per capita as the U.S. And….Belgium also has 37.8 physicians per 10,000 population compared to 24.2 in the U.S.

    So who is getting the most for the dollar….or Euro?

    For anyone really interested in understanding the issue the Kaiser website has a lot of very good information

  198. avatar
    helen August 16, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

    08/15/2013 11,948,073,603,954.31 4,790,411,038,562.49 16,738,484,642,516.80
    06/06/2013 11,906,099,594,022.72 4,832,671,232,135.87 16,738,770,826,158.59

    ths shows the debt went down about $300,000,000 dollars in that period , whereas the budget went over $58,000,000,000,

    Is that not interesting.

  199. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 16, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

    helen:
    08/15/2013 11,948,073,603,954.31 4,790,411,038,562.49 16,738,484,642,516.80
    06/06/2013 11,906,099,594,022.72 4,832,671,232,135.87 16,738,770,826,158.59

    ths shows the debt went down about$300,000,000 dollars in that period , whereas the budget went over $58,000,000,000,

    Is that not interesting.

    No. Once again it’s “ready, fire, aim” from you.

    If you had just looked at the FAQ page on the Treasury website you would have found the answer to your question:

    Why does the debt sometimes decrease?

    The Public Debt Outstanding decreases when there are more redemptions of Treasury securities than there are issues.

    Check here http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/resources/faq/faq_publicdebt.htm for any other questions you may have.

  200. avatar
    misha marinsky August 17, 2013 at 12:44 am #

    helen: Why should the government, or the people, keep anyone alive?

    That’s what Josef Mengele, Auschwitz doctor, asked all the time.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, Denialists are fascists at heart.

  201. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater August 17, 2013 at 1:10 am #

    helen: Simple answer, NO,Look at the natiional debt figure, hasn’t changed in10 weeks, or so.

    You think you can trust anyone you can not talk to.

    So again you trust government sources even though you say they can lie

  202. avatar
    John Reilly August 17, 2013 at 1:42 am #

    Ah, Mr. Helen, the troll, has returned.

    She voted for John McCain in 2008 but can’t link to his birth certificate. If she or he could, she or he would not be able to explain why he or she would rely upon some dead Panamanian clerk who may or may not have been on the base.

    She voted for John McCain because Sarah Palin was on the ticket. But she has not linked Palin’s birth certificate. Palin may have been born in Canada; heck, her parents may have been born in Canada just to get that free health care. Palin has said they walked across to get free care. Apparently having a husband who wants Alaska to secede and thus not be a citizen is not disqualifying.

    Full disclosure Helen: As the folks here know, in the first election I voted in, I voted for McCain/Palin. And sent money. They said they were qualified and I took them at their word. Just like I take Pres. Obama at his word. He is a good and decent man.

    And, in any event, having a non-citizen parent is, according to Helen the troll, disqualifying, but to prove she is not a racist, she says she would have voted for Colin Powell. She has not linked to his birth certificate, but I’m guessing that in Helen’s alternative universe having one non-citizen parent is disqualifying but having two is a plus. Lord knows what she would do with Gov. Schwarzenegger, who was not born here but benefits in Helen’s world from having a Nazi as a Father. In Helen’s world that must be good.

    Full disclosure: I’ve met Colin Powell. I’d vote for him or follow him into battle.

    Then, rather than dealing with Obama Conspiracy Theories, she’s troubled by the national debt (having read something on Dr. Taitz’s site) but what she has really proven is that we have not spent enough on reading comprehension education in Helen’s case.

    Then Helen moves on to her discovery (you have the feeling you are standing next to Louis Pasteur) that insurance is the cause of high medical expenses, so the rest of us ought to drop out and pay cash, apparently anonymously so the NSA can’t trace our meds, while Helen sticks with Medicare, which is no doubt one of the government programs she likes. The rest of us should be left to die without insurance or health care.

    (By the way, my Dad is on Medicare. Part A (free), Part B, Part D, a supplemental policy, and the high income surcharges comes to $460 per month. Apparently here in Indiana you can’t pay much more; there are a few choices for Rx plans.)

    I know that some folks (many in my party), wants to real the 20th Century, but Helen the troll seems to want to repeal the 19th Century as well, making the world only about 5800 years old.

    Helen is a troll, one of those characters who live in the muck under bridges. I concur with Misha, Helen is a Fascist and, I’m guessing, anti-Semitic to boot. She’s a liar. She has no manners.

    Helen, kindly go back under the rock in the muck from whence you came.

    Now I have to go to confession.

  203. avatar
    helen August 17, 2013 at 1:59 am #

    As I have said many times in the past , words and verbal abuse do not bother me, nor any of the moderators on the boards.

    You want to pour out venom on the boards, go to it, I don’t care, but it makes the board look awful stupid, does it not!

    But as long as you just kept caroling the same songs about the other side being one thing or another, I will try to point out some of the things I think are wrong.

    Why do I think the LFBC is wrong! Because I have more respect for the clerks in the office, who would never let a document go out with the kind of stuff on the form.

    No tabbing, no checking for errors, and general poor appearence of the filled out form

    And to let a document go out with a smeared signature, and smeared certification is not what a good clerk would do.

    Of course ,you may think less highly of the clerks than I do.

    I have said that if you want to know about the paper work and what is happening , don’t ask the boss, but ask the clerks what is happening.

    And why the supervisor let it go by and go out to the public , does tell me something about the supervisor or the signer of the document

  204. avatar
    John Reilly August 17, 2013 at 2:03 am #

    Why don’t you answer any question, Helen? You’re a troll. Where is John McCain’s birth certificate? Sarah Palin’s? Mitt Romney’s? Start by linking to them and tell us all why you trust those clerks.

    We know why, Helen. You’re a troll and a racist. The only birth certificate you mistrust is the one from the scary Black guy.

    By the way, where is Colin Powell’s birth certificate. You said you would vote for him. His parents are Jamaican. You know, British Nationals.

    Stop bitching. Answer a question.

  205. avatar
    helen August 17, 2013 at 2:17 am #

    Of course I am a racist, everyone is a racist, and they who say they aren’t are liars.

    Because it is impossible to prove that you are not a racist!

    Accusation are straws in the wind, that blow away after being utter, or , in this case, written.

    Does the Constitution ban being a racist? Where?

  206. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 17, 2013 at 2:19 am #

    helen: Why do I think the LFBC is wrong! Because I have more respect for the clerks in the office, who would never let a document go out with the kind of stuff on the form.

    No tabbing, no checking for errors, and general poor appearence of the filled out form

    And to let a document go out with a smeared signature, and smeared certification is not what a good clerk would do.

    Of course ,you may think less highly of the clerks than I do.

    I have said that if you want to know about the paper work and what is happening , don’t ask the boss, but ask the clerks what is happening.

    And why the supervisor let it go by and go out to the public , does tell me something about the supervisor or the signer of the document

    You are aware……………aren’t you……………that the clerk or clerks who typed the long form and the clerk or clerks who produced the certified copies work in two different places….for different organizations?

    Same with the supervisors.

  207. avatar
    helen August 17, 2013 at 2:19 am #

    Why should I answer a question? When the question is asked without expecting an answer.

    And when I have been criticized for asking questions.

    What a joke you are, for a good person

  208. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 17, 2013 at 2:26 am #

    helen: Why should I answer a question? When the question is asked without expecting an answer.

    For the record: I would appreciate answers to my questions.

    Other than that we still don’t know who you are talk to because you don’t use the quote back function.

  209. avatar
    John Reilly August 17, 2013 at 2:59 am #

    Helen, you’re a troll.

    I expect an answer to questions I ask, as does Carl, as do the rest of us. You answer none of our questions. Spend less energy whining and try finding McCain’s, Palin’s or Romney’s birth certificate. If anything, it will sharpen your clearly deficient research skills. Hint: those certificates are not on WND or Dr. Taitz’s site. Commander Kerchner, a disgrace to the uniform, doesn’t have them either.

    Your refusal to answer questions makes you a troll.

    I do appreciate your admission to being a racist. Kindly don’t try speaking for the rest of us.

  210. avatar
    Lupin August 17, 2013 at 3:05 am #

    I actually do not understand what “Helen” is rambling about.

    Unlike, say, Canada or England, the French, Belgian or Swiss healthcare systems are not socialized; yes, they do involve some Government regulation, but then you already have plenty of that in other fields in the US, so why not in healthcare?

    Every zillion studies shows that the US spends a lot more than any other country for healthcare and get la lot less for its money. So every conservative should be lobbying for some kind of retooling — the same way, say, that without your government’s intervention & support, you would no longer have a car or an aircraft industry in your country.

    Helen, what you write genuinely makes no sense whatsoever — and it’s not a question of ideology, I have nothing against a conservative viewpoint (as a former subscriber to THE ECONOMIST) but what you’re saying flies against both common sense and facts.

  211. avatar
    Slartibartfast August 17, 2013 at 3:19 am #

    This is certainly true of all of the accusations that the birthers make. It is not, however, true of accusations which are actually backed up by factual evidence.

    helen: Accusation[s] are straws in the wind, that blow away after being utter[ed], or , in this case, written.

  212. avatar
    Paper August 17, 2013 at 4:37 am #

    The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments ban key racist and discriminatory acts, with the 14th in particular providing a basis for equality. Equality is another way of saying, in part, no racism.

    Before exploring this tangent, let’s note that considerations of equality have a lot to do with issues of healthcare, and that the misapprehension of equality as socialism or communism contributes to conspiracy theorizing.

    People may be racist in their hearts or opinions readily enough, but the social chastisement of such sentiments is not just based in moral umbrage or the upholding of human dignity. Beyond legal bans, the spirit of the social disapproval which makes racism anathema finds support and kinship in the 14th amendment. To honor, protect and manifest the Constitution and its principles, as they now exist, is to stand against racism.

    To be racist merely and only in opinion (unlikely, strictly speaking) is not banned by the Constitution. Racism itself, however, is in opposition to the Constitution. Racists are not banned, but they are precluded from having any legitimacy or constitutional support. Moreover, any inevitable leaking of opinion into action (racism is not just an opinion, in the end) will start finding itself up against particular laws and constitutional limits. Our Constitution stands quite clearly opposed to the corruption of racism, whatever ripples and backwashes from our original constitutional sin persist today.

    The 14th establishes equality of citizenship, secures and reaffirms the privileges and immunities of citizens, and locks in the equal protection and due process of all people in our jurisdiction, citizen or not.

    So, first and foremost, the Constitution bans any manifestation of racism in government, which is how people most widely manifest their power and give force to their opinions. Moreover, the Constitution provides the context for our laws prohibiting various racist and discriminatory acts by non-governmental actors. Finally, the American constitutional spirit, as repaired by the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, abhors racism.

    That revulsion, embodied in the Constitution, even in the face of and despite our evident prejudices, has much to do with our continued progress along the long arc of the moral universe as it bends toward justice and a more perfect union.

    helen:

    Does the Constitution ban being a racist?Where?

  213. avatar
    JPotter August 17, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    Lupin: So every conservative should be lobbying for some kind of retooling

    And they always do, except when a “liberal” is threatening to make any change to the healthcare system. The wingnuts would rather nothing be done and everyone suffer than risk sharing the credit for anything. Mainly because they don’t understand sharing; no matter what they get, they’re always jealous of their perception of what the other guy gets. I see the same in business locally … morons that would rather attempt to hurt you than help themselves, regardless of any harm done to themselves.

    Can you imagine what a truly “free” market in healthcare would look like? Free markets lead to accretion and privatization of resources. The rule of free markets is: “Many will enter, few will win.” 99% of patients and providers would lose. Socialization, the pooling of funds in insurance schemes, made the modern medical industry possible.

    More regulation is absolutely needed, to promote norms (you know, “regulate”). RIght now, there is no competition for individual products or services. Individuals secure whatever insurance they can, and are tied to a limited set of providers. Enabling providers to charge … whatever they want. Generally, patients are given no estimate and only see bills after the fact. In hospitals, practitioners have no clue about billing. No one talks about cost or billing; it’s medical care, you have to have it, who cares about the cost?

    Hard choices have to be made. Decrying cost in general while at the same time deriding cost control measures as socialist, rationing, commie death panels won’t solve the problem!

  214. avatar
    G August 17, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    Beautifully written and very well said!

    Paper:
    The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments ban key racist and discriminatory acts, with the 14th in particular providing a basis for equality.Equality is another way of saying, in part, no racism.

    Before exploring this tangent, let’s note that considerations of equality have a lot to do with issues of healthcare, and that the misapprehension of equality as socialism or communism contributes to conspiracy theorizing.

    People may be racist in their hearts or opinions readily enough, but the social chastisement of such sentiments is not just based in moral umbrage or the upholding of human dignity.Beyond legal bans, the spirit of the social disapproval which makes racism anathema finds support and kinship in the 14th amendment.To honor, protect and manifest the Constitution and its principles, as they now exist, is to stand against racism.

    To be racist merely and only in opinion (unlikely, strictly speaking) is not banned by the Constitution.Racism itself, however, is in opposition to the Constitution. Racists are not banned, but they are precluded from having any legitimacy or constitutional support. Moreover, any inevitable leaking of opinion into action (racism is not just an opinion, in the end) will start finding itself up against particular laws and constitutional limits. Our Constitution stands quite clearly opposed to the corruption of racism, whatever ripples and backwashes from our original constitutional sin persist today.

    The 14th establishes equality of citizenship, secures and reaffirms the privileges and immunities of citizens, and locks in the equal protection and due process of all people in our jurisdiction, citizen or not.

    So, first and foremost, the Constitution bans any manifestation of racism in government, which is how people most widely manifest their power and give force to their opinions. Moreover, the Constitution provides the context for our laws prohibiting various racist and discriminatory acts by non-governmental actors. Finally, the American constitutional spirit, as repaired by the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, abhors racism.

    That revulsion, embodied in the Constitution, even in the face of and despite our evident prejudices, has much to do with our continued progress along the long arc of the moral universe as it bends toward justice and a more perfect union.

  215. avatar
    G August 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Very true. Very well stated.

    JPotter: Can you imagine what a truly “free” market in healthcare would look like? Free markets lead to accretion and privatization of resources. The rule of free markets is: “Many will enter, few will win.” 99% of patients and providers would lose. Socialization, the pooling of funds in insurance schemes, made the modern medical industry possible.

    More regulation is absolutely needed, to promote norms (you know, “regulate”). RIght now, there is no competition for individual products or services. Individuals secure whatever insurance they can, and are tied to a limited set of providers. Enabling providers to charge … whatever they want. Generally, patients are given no estimate and only see bills after the fact. In hospitals, practitioners have no clue about billing. No one talks about cost or billing; it’s medical care, you have to have it, who cares about the cost?

    Hard choices have to be made. Decrying cost in general while at the same time deriding cost control measures as socialist, rationing, commie death panels won’t solve the problem!

  216. avatar
    Sudoku August 17, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    I am American and spend the summers near Vancouver, BC. In a store this week, the clerk noticed I was from the States. She said she used to be. I asked how she ended up in BC. She said her husband, who worked for NASA, was diagnosed with MS. Once it became the secondary progressive stage, their insurance company cut off all care. She said they had to pay for his wheelchair, lift, and injections at $1,800 a month on their own.

    She said they saved money by moving to Canada. They paid for his injections, but they were only $600 per month here. Even so, the pharmacist felt so bad that they paid that much, he contacted the local MS Society and they have kicked in $300 per month. She said she hated the US and their healthcare system.

    I told her I did not hate the US, but I too have an issue with the healthcare system. My son was born with a severe birth defect. He is high functioning, but is in a wheelchair and has mental impairment. I have lostctrack of the number of surgeries he has had.

    I was insured when he was born. Luckily, our group is self-insured, or we would have been cut off years ago. When my son was 7, I was diagnosed with a crippling illness, and I am also covered.

    My husband has his own business and our premiums are over $3000 a month, as we pay both the employer and emoloee’s shares. We have $5000 deductibles and co-pays on everything. They still lose money on us. My meds are over $6000 a month and my son’s are over $1000.

    We are fortunate to even have coverage, but we are at their mercy. Premiums go up quarterly as coverages continue to decline. With our pre-existing conditions, we have no available alternatives.