Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Almighty Buck United States

Health Care Reform 2044

It appears that today might be the end of a very long road to health care reform. There's been a lot of debate on the subject really leading back before the election. The mainstream sounds like an echo chamber, so I'm hoping you guys have better insight. Will this bill do what the administration claims to do, or is it as bad for the future of America as Fox says?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Health Care Reform

Comments Filter:
  • by dtmos (447842) * on Friday March 19, 2010 @08:48AM (#31535010)

    Nothing is as bad for the future of America as Fox says.

    BTW, I've seen thousands of comment trolls, but I think this is the first story submission troll I've seen.

  • by Bos20k (444115) on Friday March 19, 2010 @08:52AM (#31535048)

    If you really want to fix healthcare, do tort reform first. Then break up the AMA cartel. Then look at other things that may need to be changed.

    Is there anything that the government runs that really functions correctly/efficiently?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @08:52AM (#31535054)

    Except Fox. Fox is bad for America.

  • by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Friday March 19, 2010 @08:53AM (#31535062)

    But then everyone knew that already.

    I expect it will at least mitigate my issues getting health insurance after getting kicked off my parents' plan, so there's that.

    As for the Republicans' complaints, I'm not really clear on what there is in this bill the Republicans didn't argue for. If the left had written the bill, it would dismantle the insurance industry and set up single payer. The only thing it's missing is tort reform, and the fact is that tort reform is a red herring. It accounts for 1-2% of healthcare expenditures, and that sounds about right. There should be a process for handling legitimate malpractice claims, and it's never going to be free.

  • Wrong forum (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chemisor (97276) on Friday March 19, 2010 @08:54AM (#31535076)

    Slashdot is packed with the entitlement generation and you're asking if they approve of the government creating another entitlement? Might as well go to Hell and ask the Devil if sinning is bad.

  • by TyFoN (12980) on Friday March 19, 2010 @08:55AM (#31535098)

    The Americans really need a single payer system like the rest of the world, so no this is not the correct way. However it think it appears a lot better than the current mess they have.

  • by Kludge (13653) on Friday March 19, 2010 @08:55AM (#31535104)

    Nothing will improve in health care in the US until we have more doctors. Prices are high because demand is high and supply is low. Unfortunately the AMA carefully controls how many new MDs are granted every year, and purposely keep the number low to keep their salaries high.
    Requiring people to buy health insurance will only make our problems worse. It will drive up prices higher. Until the MD cartel is broken, health care will be a big mess.

  • Neither. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jgreco (1542031) on Friday March 19, 2010 @08:58AM (#31535134)

    It's nothing like the health care bill we should have had, something to create a health care system comparable to other modern countries. The Democrats have no backbone and kept watering it down and morphing it until it was only vaguely acceptable to just barely enough of them to possibly pass. This sort of thing leads to awful legislation.

    The Republicans, of course, are chanting "wait, wait, this is being rushed," but the facts are that they had years in which they could have pushed through health care reform - years where it was clearly necessary. Despite what they say, your average Republican simply doesn't believe in health care reform, which is why it didn't happen under Clinton and wouldn't happen under Obama if they could figure out a way to delay it. So instead of pushing for a fiscally responsible and conservative health care reform, the Republicans are really pushing for the status quo, without trying to seem like they're doing that.

    Both parties stink. I'm kind of hoping this passes, but then the Republicans come into power. It'll be impractical for them to repeal this, but perhaps they'll be smart enough to tinker with it to make it better. Past history is not encouraging, though.

  • by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Friday March 19, 2010 @08:59AM (#31535150) Journal

    The Americans really need a single payer system like the rest of the world

    You haven't been paying attention to the balance sheet shenanigans going on in Greece, have you? Does anyone really know how expensive these programs are or if any government in the developed world is actually solvent or not?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:00AM (#31535156)

    The truth is, the non-left of the American public (i.e. centrists, libertarians, independents, right, etc) would better trust the government to run healthcare if they actually had a better track record of running other programs. Find any government agency that's tried to do exceptionally well and you'll find that the smaller the scope of their responsibility the better they did. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Postal Service, any regulatory agency - you get the picture. The federal government simply doesn't have a good resume; you can't blame the unbiased peoples for not loving the idea of the government running yet another program.

  • by jjo (62046) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:00AM (#31535158) Homepage

    As you might expect, this bill is heavy on the benefits and light on the necessary pain. There's virtually only one effective cost-control measure, the tax on high-cost health benefits, and that has been pushed off so far in the future that it will be killed before it sees the light of day. The bill recognizes that coverage of pre-existing conditions requires an individual mandate, but then implements it in a half-assed way that won't achieve the objective of forcing healthy people to get coverage. (It also puts a dual drag on job growth by both raising taxes on private investment and directly increasing the cost of employing people. Way to go.)

    I would much prefer a bill that provided funds to the states to let them structure their own solutions to the health-care problem, as Massachusetts has done. But the top-down command-and-control midset in Washington is too strong for that.

  • by Bos20k (444115) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:01AM (#31535178)

    It certainly would improve access to health care by reducing costs. So would breaking up the AMA cartel.

    Government run health care may make it more accessible to more people but it would do so at a huge cost. The quality of care is also very likely to be reduced.

  • by Nautical Insanity (1190003) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:01AM (#31535180)

    The evidence for the efficiency and quality of government-run healthcare in other countries is indisputable.

    However, too many people have been making money hand over fist in the US to let any system where they would be the cut cost pass. Overall, it's an opportunity for the government to provide what the market cannot. Either affordable healthcare or writing into law corporate profits. I don't trust our congressmen to avoid the latter.

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:02AM (#31535210) Homepage

    Kucinich is a politician. The dude knew that in the end, as a Democrat, he would have no future if he didn't vote for this bill; he was just blowing smoke. It is my opinion that he always intended to vote for it, and after the CBO analysis, he would be completely stupid (from a political standpoint) to still refuse to vote for it.

  • by Kagura (843695) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:03AM (#31535218)

    Except Fox. Fox is bad for America.

    Just because Fox says the health care reform is bad doesn't mean that we should therefore support the reform. It disappoints me that this is the first comment I saw when I opened up this page. The point of this article is to discuss the reform in a constructive manner, not to bash entire ideologies just because they are not your own.

    I am temporarily residing outside the U.S. at this time, and I haven't been paying attention to the argument. My mind is still malleable on this, so convince me one way or the other! Now, let's get back to a real discussion regarding the pros and cons of health care reform!

  • by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:03AM (#31535220) Journal

    There's only one thing you need to know and the rest is pure diversion:

    The taxes start now and the benefits start later.

    The reason this bill is being shoved through against so much opposition is because the government is frantically trying to raise tax revenue before the debt black hole sucks them in. Too bad we've already crossed the event horizon.

  • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:05AM (#31535230)

    Your supply is high. In the UK we have 1.5 doctors per 1,000 people, in the USA, 2.4. Of course, we treat our doctors like crap.

    The USA spends more per head on medical care than the rest of the world but gets poorer service. Either your efficiency is really low, or too much is getting creamed off the top as profit.

    Part of the efficiency problem is that due to your liability culture you throw too many tests and treatments at things.

    Part of the profit problem is that your medical system is run like a business that considers 15% a low profit margin.

  • *sigh* (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:05AM (#31535242)

    Political debate in the United States is *dead*.

    Every number you have heard or will hear about health care is a lie. It used to be that the Congressional Budget Office put out good numbers, but politicians have gotten too good at manipulating the process. Now, even CBO numbers are untrustworthy.

    The rate regulation in the Senate health care bill is a disaster. The first problem is that no one in their right mind would ever enter a market which is rate regulated. The bureaucratic red tape will keep newcomers out. The second problem is that rate regulation removes any incentive that health care insurers have to control costs. Why? Because under the Senate bill, 90% of total health care insurance revenue must be paid out for health care. So, total revenue is x. All profit must come from y, which includes profit and all non health related expenditures. The last variable is z, health expenditures. x = y + z. y = 10% of x. z = 90% of x. How do you increase your profit in such a system? Easy. Increase z.

    If I ran a health insurance company, on day 1 of the new health care regulations, I would shut down my fraud department. Not only would I get rid of a nonhealth care expenditure that must be counted against y (and thus my profits), but it would also increase fraudulent health care expenditures, which will be included in z. If the feds want to stop fraud, let them spend *their* money to do so. I don't care anymore.

    So my insurance premiums go up because I am spending more money on health care. Won't my customers just go to my competitors? Well, because of rate regulation, there won't be very many competitors. The few existing competitors will be very likely to do the exact same things I'm doing.

    Aren't I afraid that my customers will just drop health insurance altogether? That's the beauty of it. The Senate bill requires everyone to buy insurance. They can either buy my ridiculously overpriced insurance or they can pay a fine. And guess what the fine is used for? That's right, subsidies for other people to buy my insurance, so one way or another, I get the money.

    Even if you want european style health care (which many Americans do not), the Senate bill is not the way to do it.

  • by twoallbeefpatties (615632) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:06AM (#31535266)
    I do not have anything of actual use to say about this bill, other than common talking points, unsourced blather about what this bill will accomplish, and vague appeals to antiauthoritarianism. But please mod me +5 Insightful like you're doing with everyone else, just to be fair.
  • by osgeek (239988) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:10AM (#31535320) Homepage Journal

    I don't understand how someone could say that tort reform is a red herring.

    In terms of the direct financial impact of malpractice insurance and litigation costs, tort reform doesn't help more than a few percent or so. But in terms of the hundreds of billions of dollars wasted on unnecessary treatment because doctors are paralyzed to do anything besides order the extra tests and procedures, tort reform would make a HUGE difference.

    Unnecessary treatment should have been dealt with head on, and tort reform is a key part of it since being sued is the excuse that doctors give for ordering all of that and the excuse that insurance companies give for allowing it. In reality, they LOVE it. Doctors get paid extra per procedure, and insurance companies just pass the costs on through premiums, making sure to collect their extra percentages.

    Law suits are like terrorism. They affect the whole system in an extremely disproportionate measure beyond their direct impact due to the way that people change their behavior.

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:10AM (#31535328) Homepage

    Part of the problem is a McDonalds on every fucking street corner.

  • by elhondo (545224) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:11AM (#31535344)
    If I take what you're stating correctly, then Article 10 would also be able to shoot down Medicare, Fannie/Freddie, the NEA, the DOL.... NASA. In other words, it sounds right, but ever since the Civil War, I don't think it's been enforced in the manner you describe. There are specific exceptions in case law when dealing with commerce, and with health care spending in the top 5, it's a pretty easy out for the SC. I think you need look no further than the DEA's position on medical marijuana laws to realize that the 10th isn't that powerful. I'm not arguing that the 10th shouldn't be the law of the land, just that it plainly isn't, and a court challenge on strict 10th amendment grounds would cause an upheaval to the federal government.
  • by schon (31600) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:11AM (#31535346)

    most of the time I pay CASH (about $200 a year), which means I deal *directly* with my doctor.

    I live in a country that has government-run universal insurance, and I deal *directly* with my doctor, too. I'm not sure why you believe this isn't possible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:11AM (#31535348)

    A false argument, of course...

    The bill does not create a government agency to run health care. That would have been a single payer system. The bill is a set of consumer protections for health care consumers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:11AM (#31535356)

    Is there anything that the government runs that really functions correctly/efficiently?

    Is there anything about the proposed act that is government-run? If there is, I'd missed it. It mandates a bunch of things that private insurance companies are required to do, but it doesn't set up a public option (aka government-run health care).

    And, yet, it still costs $960,000,000,000 to manage. Which, BTW, doesn't include the cost of the mandates.

    Remember, kids, if you require company A to pay you X to provide service C, it is a "tax".
    But if you require company A to pay X to company B for service C, it is a "mandate", and thus "doesn't count".

  • by Jhon (241832) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:12AM (#31535362) Homepage Journal

    "Nothing is as bad..."

    Yeah. Keep saying that. When our government starts taking away our liberties (forcing people to buy health care, taking away private property to give to another private party are just two examples), I'd say that's bad for America. When it continues to spend us into either runaway iflation or economic ruin, I'd say that's bad for America. But that's just me.

    Any rational person can see this "budget neutral" bill is a hoax. 10 years of taxes, 6 years of real benefits. WTF? Additional budget trimming based on rasing the capital gains tax with estimates of increases in tax revenue that are NEVER going to materalize (as they never have in the past when estimates like this were used).

    If I STILL wasn't paying a tax to help support the spanish american war [wikipedia.org], I'd think this was a joke.

  • Sure. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by taskiss (94652) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:13AM (#31535370)

    "Will this bill do what the administration claims to do"?

    Yes it will. It claims to tax the households in the upper 5% much greater than it does today, it claims to increase insurance costs for a large percentage of folks, and it will re-distribute the wealth it collects into the medical industry to provide health care for the lowest percentage of folks who mostly don't have insurance because they would rather have multiple TV's, cars and luxury items rather than buy health insurance.

  • by linzeal (197905) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:13AM (#31535386) Homepage Journal
    You must be new here. When political stories hit Slashdot it is usually a bare knuckled ugly showdown between Anarchists, Liberals, Republicans and the Libertarians with the truly insane individual thrown in for good measure.
  • by ThePhilips (752041) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:14AM (#31535396) Homepage Journal

    The federal government simply doesn't have a good resume [...]

    Very true. And that is valid for any country.

    Though on other side, the question all Americans should be asking themselves is: do private insurers have better resume???

    One can easily bash gov't - bashing health insurers might backfire (who like all the big businesses have their hand in pretty much everything). And if gov't does shitty job, one can always vote for opposition/independent - you rarely if ever have much choice when dealing with health insurers.

    Disclosure: not a U.S. resident.

  • bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beer_Smurf (700116) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:14AM (#31535404) Homepage
    Read it for yourself. What I read is a wet dream for the insurance companies and penalizes anyone who is self-reliant.
  • by KDN (3283) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:16AM (#31535432)
    Full bill, but not the final bill. Deals are still being made. Even the CBO says that the numbers are preliminary. And frankly, 10 years of taxes and 6 years of benefits means they are cooking the books.
  • by itlurksbeneath (952654) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:16AM (#31535440) Journal

    It amazes me that with the high percentage of negative public opinion on the health care bill that congress is still considering it. This is supposed to be government by the will of the people, right? To me, the will of the people is not being executed here.

    Also, this is apparent in the back door manner in which they are trying to pass the bill by some trick of house/senate rules. This isn't some bill to appropriate a few million dollars for federal park support but a bill involving a trillion dollars of outlay. Given the current administration's massive spending and addition to the national debt with little to show for it, does anybody have any real confidence that this will work?

    Some comments on health care industries making money hand over fist. Everybody seems to be in an outrage with doctors making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, but nobody bats an eye when some sports star signs a multi-million dollar contract. If you were going to the hospital for open heart surgery, would you want the lowest paid doctor that has no incentive for good performance cutting you open? I'd want the super-star doctor that drives the Porche. If he's good enough to earn that much money, he's got to be worth his salt.

    If they were really serious about health care reform, why didn't they start with the biggest money issue in health care: tort reform. Why? Because Congress is made up with a bunch of lawyers that don't want to see their industry lose out on billions of dollars per year in fees brought about by the misery of other people. People are incensed about million dollar bonuses at financial firms, but nobody shines the light on lawyers that, for the amount of work put in, end up making thousands of dollars per hour in a settlement or ruling. Consider, also, that even though that doctor is making a quarter of a million dollars per year, he's paying 25 or 30 percent of that in malpractice insurance to protect himself from every Tom, Dick and Harry that decides to sue because they didn't follow instructions and ripped their stitches out.

    Some lawyers are a blight on society, but unfortunately, their buddies are crawling all over Washington as lobbyists or in Congress/DoJ/White House/etc. The more I think about it, the more I agree with what Get Out of Our House [goooh.org] is doing.

  • by cybrthng (22291) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:17AM (#31535468) Journal

    From my perspective, you have it all wrong. Taking care of fellow humans is simply respecting humanity and being willing to love and cherish this one life we have to live.

    The only "Entitlement Generation" i know are people of faith who entitle themselves with the only path to salvation. They entitle themselves with absolute truth. They entitle themselves with morality.

    And yet, people think helping out our fellow brothers is "Entitlement"

  • by wiredog (43288) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:17AM (#31535472) Journal

    Don't give me that, you snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings! Shut your festering gob, you tit! Your type really makes me puke, you vacuous, coffee-nosed, malodorous, pervert!!!

  • A first step (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teneighty (671401) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:17AM (#31535484)

    I know we're getting trolled, but it's too important an issue to ignore.

    In an ideal world, we would tackle the problem properly by decoupling health insurance from employment. Linking health care to employment was the worst mistake ever made in health care in America. There are probably too many powerful lobbyist in Washington to hope for that to ever change. So we're left with imperfect alternatives. Such is politics, such is life.

    And yes, this is an imperfect bill, but it's a first step towards badly needed reform. Is going to hurt? There's no way health care reform can NOT hurt some interests, while helping others. That's why leadership - political or otherwise - is supposed to take courage. Too bad we don't get that from our leaders.

  • by CaroKann (795685) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:18AM (#31535504)
    The healthcare bill is so huge and complex that it is difficult to have any intelligent debate over it. People mostly make simple, sound bite sized remarks. Very few people seem to understand the bill. I don't understand it myself.

    That said, the conventional wisdom states that the bill will be extremely expensive, on the scale of Social Security or Medicare. While I agree the current health care system leaves a lot to be desired, I think the timing is terrible. Our financial house is not in order and the economy seems to be in the middle of a long term case of fatigue. In short, I don't think we can afford it. I'm worried it could be the straw, or bale, that breaks the camel's back.
  • by Sircus (16869) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:19AM (#31535508) Homepage

    Um, if it doesn't initially have a single payer setup, it eventually will.

    And that will be a different debate. When that debate's being had, your point will be germane (although still not helpful). That's not the debate that we're having today.

  • by babboo65 (1437157) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:20AM (#31535532)

    I'm still reading and wondering HOW this applies or even belongs in this forum. This accomplishes nothing but to start the much-heated bantering again.

    This is a hot-button POLITICAL issue that *supposedly* bears no value here unless we find there is hidden wording (what? in over 2000 pages of legislation from OUR congress? I must be off my rocker!) pertaining to the way data or information or privacy will be (ab)used in the future whether this pork-laden by-product passes or not.

    In the end isn't this OP trolling??

  • Re:Wrong forum (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sageres (561626) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:20AM (#31535540)
    Typical progressive counter-argument. Argue the bad delivery of the message or a character of the messenger when you can't argue the message itself. Sad.
  • by dc29A (636871) * on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:22AM (#31535566)

    Is there anything that the government runs that really functions correctly/efficiently?

    Post office?

  • by DG (989) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:23AM (#31535598) Homepage Journal

    The morality issue that the health insurance industry is set up to rape its "customers" at the cost of their health?

    There's a reason why every other civilized nation has publicly funded, universal health care - the government of a state, no matter how inept it may be, is in place to serve the needs of its citizens.

    Private health care, no matter how competent, is in place to generate profit for the private corporation operating it.

    The primary lever operating on a public-run system is voter outrage. This tends to apply pressure on the government to improve the system for the benefit of customers.

    The primary lever operating on a private system is the generation of profit. This tends to apply pressure towards raising costs and reducing services.

    The current American system is defective by design and is ruining the health of your citizens. And the shills of the insurance companies have convinced a large portion of you that it is immoral to try and fix the system. THAT is what you should be outraged about - that you have been successfully PSYOPed into believing that universal public healthcare is somehow immoral and wrong.

    DG

  • by polar red (215081) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:24AM (#31535608)

    do private insurers have better resume???

    NO.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:25AM (#31535620)

    Is there anything about the proposed act that is government-run? If there is, I'd missed it. It mandates a bunch of things that private insurance companies are required to do, but it doesn't set up a public option (aka government-run health care).

    The bill requires insurances to include specific items of coverage, decided by the government, which essentially means that the government is going to dictate what your insurance products are in the marketplace. Further, the bill calls for setting up "insurance exchanges" which, while not providing for a public option per se, will wind up being a de facto one, since the insurances in those plans will be regulated on a Federal level as to what coverages they contain, what their price points are, and who is eligible for them.

    So, yeah, the Feds are going to be running LOTS of stuff in this scheme. And all the gubmint can ever do is increase costs.

    Not to mention, for all of you folks who think you're going to magically going to get health insurance now when you didn't have it before, all that's going to happen is you're now going to be mandated to BUY health insurance -- from a Federally-regulated exchange market (for an example of how well those work, I direct you to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) -- at your own cost, or face a fine.

    So, ultimately, this comes down to "Uninsured? Buy health insurance, at the price we tell you to, or we'll fine you."

    Meanwhile, there is essentially no cost-limiting at all in these plans. The CBO itself says that premiums are going to go up.

    Brilliant plan there, Obama. Pure genius. Let's help the uninsured by FORCING THEM TO BUY SOMETHING THEY CAN'T AFFORD IN THE FIRST PLACE.

  • by Cimexus (1355033) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:25AM (#31535624)

    You know, you're right. And I say this as an Australian living with our wonderful (and I'm not being sarcastic) universal, single-payer health care system here.

    In the past on Slashdot, when the issue of US healthcare reform has come up, you inevitably get all the Canadians/Europeans/Australians/New Zealanders on here going "OMG of course you should reform - your system sucks, and ours works pretty well". It seems like a no-brainer ... why would you not want to move to a system like ours. It's cheaper, more efficient, everyone is covered, health insurance is not tied to your employer, and the health outcomes returned are better. I was one of those people ... it seemed absolutely crazy (as in, literally mind-bendingly insane) that someone would want to oppose moving from the overpriced, inefficient and inequitable system you currently have to a system like most of the rest of the world employs.

    BUT... ...now that I actually ~read~ something about the proposal itself, I see why Americans are debating it so much. It isn't really giving you guys a system like that in CA/EU/AU at all! Rather, it's just modifying the current system somewhat. It isn't really a fresh, new or particularly efficient system. It's tacking something onto what's already there ... giving it a coat of paint if you will, but not really addressing the underlying problems. It's not introducing a single payer system like in most other developed countries. And although I would personally still support it on balance, had I been an American, I would agree that it's not really a straightforward decision and it does have some significant flaws.

    So to non-Americans mystified at the opposition to this, take a read of the actual proposal. It's not a stark choice between "the system they have now" and "a system like in other countries". Rather the proposal is for something kinda inbetween, which runs the risk that it may not work as well as ~either~.

  • by microcars (708223) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:26AM (#31535650) Homepage
    The "truth" is, the same people that want anything the Obama Administration does to fail are the same people that created the Third Largest Government Agency [dhs.gov].
    How has that worked out? And where was their outrage over its creation and its current status of operation?

    Try sending a letter or small package through the USPS, UPS and FedEx and let me know which one was more cost effective.
    Now try building a straw man and knocking him down.
  • by Entrope (68843) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:26AM (#31535666) Homepage

    The major lawsuit-related driver of medical costs is not frivolous suits. It is jackpot verdicts, where someone with no lasting harm or even short-term disability can be awarded tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in punitive and other special damages. Because the number is big, jurors think that this sends the right message, and because a faceless insurance company will pay most or all of it, they're not afraid of the costs it will incur for the doctor. That's why tort reform usually tries to impose caps on damages, and that in turn is why courts usually throw the laws out (because the laws are seen as a legislative infringement on the judicial function).

  • by jimbolauski (882977) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:27AM (#31535678) Journal
    The bill has many problems, one it takes money from medicare in order to appear budget neutral, doctors will no longer get reimbursed very much for medicare because of the budget shortfall and will drop those patients. Two health benefits will not start for 4 years but the taxes will start right away again so it will appear budget neutral for 10 years. Three forcing insurance companies to take people with preexisting conditions means there is no reason to have insurance except for a fine which is much cheaper then paying for insurance. People will wait until they get cancer and then get insurance, since people will not pay into insurance until they are sick insurance companies will have two options one lose money and go out of business or two raise their rates so high to cover their loses either way this is a huge problem and will lead to the demise of insurance companies. Tort reform has other implications not only in lower premiums for doctors but many test procedures would not be needed because the doctor would not be worrying about covering their ass with unnecessary tests. Also HSA accounts which let people put money into accounts to pay for health care tax free will be eliminated, if this bill was really about making health care more affordable a program that gives people a 30%-40% savings in health care costs would not be eliminated. Luckely there are so many things in this bill that are unconstitutional (slaughter rule, forcing people to buy insurance, trumping states regulations, ...) that this will not go into effect until the republicans can get this nightmare repealed.
  • by GiveBenADollar (1722738) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:28AM (#31535704)

    In the case of government run health care the government loses money when it treats people who are sick.

    Fixed that for you.

  • by moosesocks (264553) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:28AM (#31535708) Homepage

    The Americans really need a single payer system like the rest of the world

    You haven't been paying attention to the balance sheet shenanigans going on in Greece, have you? Does anyone really know how expensive these programs are or if any government in the developed world is actually solvent or not?

    If you haven't noticed, we're not doing so well ourselves.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:29AM (#31535716)

    When has a government program ever come in at or below the budget estimates. They couldn't forecast their way out of a paper bag, let alone accurately predict costs over a 10 year period.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:32AM (#31535764)

    You'll change your tune once you have a family, assuming you're not gay. You're obviously not having any annual checkups or medical tests if you only pay $200/year. More often than not, doctors will charge double what they do with insurance companies for cash / self-pay people. It would appear you are avoiding health services, because just walking into a door will give you at least a $100 for a 3 minute consultation. Had your eyes checked lately? Dental care? Don't be fooled into thinking because you don't feel anything you are in great health.

  • Re:Comunisam (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:33AM (#31535788)

    This isnt communism. Read the bill.

    Its more fascism. This isnt a government run health care program, its a mandate that buy private insurance from the insurance industry.

    Thats not quite communism.

    And Single Payer, Universal health care wouldnt be communism either, anymore than the military would be. Not that this bill is Single Payer. The democrats failed to bring real health care reform. What we are left with is a corporate welfare bill, that the democrats will praise like the republicans praised no child left behind and the patriot act. This not to say I support the republicans in anyway. More so that the democrats are just as lame and bought out by the corporations we ask them to regulate.

    For some reason SOME people are ok with spending all of our money on military defense, but when it comes to spending it on health defense... certain people cry communism.

  • universal healthcare is a form of investment in your society that pays dividends

    if you don't pay for it overtly, you pay for the lack of universal healthcare in terms of easily preventable heart conditions complicating into more expensive conditions, breadwinners out of work because they can't treat their diabetes leading to their children to become street criminals, mumps and whooping cough outbreaks because vaccination is too complicated for the poor, people out sick more often because of inadequate healthcare, personal bankruptcies leading to losses at financial institutions due to sudden and expensive healthcare, etc.

    in other words, you pay for healthcare, one way or another, no matter what your policy is

    its just that universal healthcare is the CHEAPEST way to pay for it. but since the cost is overt and in your face, you reject it. but this simply means you don't understand the roundabout MORE EXPENSIVE and hidden ways you pay for it if you DON'T have universal healthcare

    in other words, libertarian and tea bagger rejection of universal healthcare is based on a lack of ability to understand that life is complicated. what happens if you DON'T pay for healthcare as a society? people who get sick just disappear off the face of the earth? they are all paragons of personal financial virtue and never need aid? you yourself never need a helping hand? think about reality, then form an opinion

    there are PLENTY of areas of life that should NEVER be public, and should always be private, for a number of reasons. capitalism, in fact, is the most useful engine for the creation of wealth ever invented by man. the point is, for SOME sectors of life, not all, making some thing run by the government actually is the CHEAPEST AND MOST EFFICIENT way for that sector to function

    in other words, simplistic, fundamentalist adherence to the idea of free markets does NOT answer all questions in life, JUST AS TRUE as a simplistic, fundamentalist adherence to communist ideas does not work. but socialism, as understood by the rest of the first world, is simple the concept that SOME, not ALL, sectors of life require the government to run it for MAXIMUM FINANCIAL EFFICIENCY

    a society with a capitalist engine, with socialist safety nets grafted on, is SUPERIOR and MORE EFFICIENT than a purely capitalist society. this really is the objective financially solid truth, not an opinion. lose your utopianism please: in life, simplistic absolutist philosophies, such as a fanatic devotion to individual reliance, DOES NOT WORK IN ALL FORMS. you are part of a society. as such, you contribute financially to it so that SOME functions in your life. by doing that some functions in your life are simply handled MORE CHEAPLY than if you handled them yourself. life is complicated, and requires a moderation between competing needs. understand this about the world, and drop your extremist ideologies

    there is such a concept as the common good. there is such a concept as personal reliance. both are paragons of virtue that, in the real world, exist in tension in how they work. the idea is to find a BALANCE between the two ideals, not to simplemindedly adhere to one or the other polar extreme

    teabaggers and libertarians: in SOME avenues of life, not all, the government is good, and works for you. you reject it at the price of your own impoverishment. that's the simple obvious truth

  • by Entrope (68843) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:36AM (#31535846) Homepage

    You clearly don't know what "entitlement" means, so don't waste your breath ranting about it.

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:37AM (#31535856) Homepage

    Don't worry, IT will get regulated. Our industry has far too much power that, quite frankly, scares the shit out politicians. They can't leave well enough alone. Never have, never will.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:37AM (#31535862)

    Forcing your neighbor to take care of you against his will is a form of slavery. You don't have to force someone to help out his fellow brothers, but to expect it from everyone is entitlement.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:38AM (#31535888) Homepage

    I don't understand how someone could say that tort reform is a red herring.

    Probably because every actual *expert* (ie, not random slashbot) who has examined the issue has concluded that the savings are there, are real, and are pretty small relative to annual healthcare cost increases.

    IOW, while tort reform is a good idea, and really should be done at some point, it most certainly is *not* the silver bullet that the republicans would have people believe, and leaving it out is a relatively minor issue given the size of the problem.

    Hell, really, you should be happy tort reform isn't being addressed in this bill. The right has been bitching and complaining that the bill is simply too big! But now you want to make it bigger by adding tort reform to the mix? Why not just do that in a separate bill? It's not like it wouldn't get bipartisan support.

  • Re:Well, lets see (Score:5, Insightful)

    by osgeek (239988) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:40AM (#31535916) Homepage Journal

    Is your premise true? That the US health care system is under the management of private industry?

    I would argue that the health care system we have is a monopoly that is shored up by wiling politicians who at best refuse to take simple steps to promote competition and transparency of costs and who pays what to consumers.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:40AM (#31535922)

    Its worse, its not that they fine you, THEY CAN THROW YOU INTO JAIL FOR FIVE YEARS

    [citation needed]

  • by Chemisor (97276) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:41AM (#31535932)

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking care of fellow humans, with loving and cherising their lives as much as your own, and with giving them your money so they can live longer and healthier lives. Except that this bill is not about that. It's about forcing you to do these things at gunpoint (and yes, a gunpoint is somewhere in your future if you stop paying your taxes) by raising taxes (by 3.8%) and by forcing you to buy health insurance when you don't want to do so. This is the core problem of socialism: it's not that we should hate helping our fellow man, it's that we should hate being forced to do so. It's that we should hate not being able to choose whom to help with our efforts, and so to not be able to value the lives of the people we love more than the people we don't.

  • by Dr Damage I (692789) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:45AM (#31536032) Journal
    Yeah, stealing my money and giving it it indolent layabouts unwilling to put in the hours of labor that I do and take the risks that I take makes you a good and caring person. At least in the eyes of the people you give my money to. Why not just donate to a fucking charity if you're so goddamn superior?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:46AM (#31536042)

    They won't. The Supreme Court serves the same master as the Congress and the President - the United States Government.

    Then they should be executed for treason. They swore an oath to the Constitution, not the Government. Not their party. Not the President. Not the people. To the Constitution. So if they don't live up to it, they should be held accountable to it...

  • Re:Well, lets see (Score:2, Insightful)

    by grep_rocks (1182831) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:46AM (#31536052)
    As a corallary to this you could ask is there really anything big business does right? I mean we get a finiancial collapse every 5 years, Enron (remeber them), GM (we can't make a decent car by an american company), Microsoft (we are a bloodsucking monopoly that stifles innovation), Insurance Companies, Banks (they charge 30% credit card fees, get money from free from the gov't and collapse the economy) - the list just goes on and on - YES! given a choice bettween Goldman Sachs and the US government I will take the US goverment ANY time!
  • Re:Well, lets see (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ihlosi (895663) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:47AM (#31536082)

    4. Many of the successful systems in the world , e.g. Switzerland, are largely privately based albeit with governmental regulations.

    Switzerland is not the rule, it's the exception. And by pure coincidence, they have the second most expensive health care system in the world. (Although they're still quite a ways behind #1, the US).

  • by Ironhandx (1762146) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:47AM (#31536084)

    Yes, the government forcing, and then helping if you are unable to do it yourself with the forcing, you take care of yourself is definitely a bad thing. This bill actually doesn't go far enough to socialize your health care, and your taxes need to go up to support it as well as pay down debt, but your health care premiums disappear in exchange. Don't raise taxes for the little guy, but the capital gains tax, and the taxes on anyone making over $250,000 a year definitely need to rise. Raise the capital gains tax but build in a $50,000 buffer so that the little guy that makes some money on the home he built doesn't get screwed, but make that a yearly limit not a per-event limit. Tax the upper 5% a little heavier, they can certainly afford it, and hey, guess what, once you're done taxing them more heavily /they'll still be rich/.

    On another note socialist health care has FAR more up sides than down sides. The entire argument from the perspective of the common guy in america once you get past all the bullshit he's been fed by those looking to protect their extortion racke... ahem, I mean business models is that they know a guy(or they themselves) who went to a hospital somewhere else and "It wasn't as nice". Basically it wasn't a hotel. Which a hospital should not be to begin with.

    This bill, from what I've read doesn't go far enough in getting your health care system rectified. What you actually need in order to fix it is an elimination of health insurance along with the companies altogether. Hospitals still run themselves but Government is the one with their hand on the cash bag. Almost everyone in america seems to think of government as inefficient and lax. Well, as someone who has worked in more than one large corporation as well as in a Government(albeit the canadian government) department, the government wins on the efficiency scale, by a fair margin.

    For one, hey, sure, some government officials will get kick backs from other people for doing them favors. However this isn't nearly as bad as it is in big insurance companies etc where the guys literally just cut themselves checks out of YOUR money. There are no checks and balances, stockholders don't really give a rats ass what these guys do as long as their profits are protected, which means these guys are out to screw you in as many ways as they can possibly get away with doing. Don't ever think that your health insurance companies are the best way to go, you're paying for all of the corruption and greed within the organizations as well as the profits demanded by the shareholders before anything ever gets passed along to you for the premiums you're paying. With government you end up with a few lazy people working there because its a little harder to get fired and costs go up on workers generally by about 50% because of this. Considering some insurance companies exec bonuses alone dwarf their entire wage budget, without including profits, shareholder dividends etc, how the hell can anyone even begin to say this is a better way of doing things?

  • by alta (1263) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:51AM (#31536164) Homepage Journal

    Here's an idea, instead of forcing everyone to GET expensive health care, lets try lowering it's cost first. You realize that with the government paying for healthcare, the cost of that care is just going to go up? Prices that companies charge individuals are generally cheap. Prices they charge companies are high and prices they charge goverments are INSANE? We're all going to be getting $800 toilet seats.

    So, instead of the current plan, lets try this first.

    1. Buy insurance across state lines. This gives people the opportunity to search for cheap insurance. Right now you can only get insurance in your state... Imagine if you couldn't buy anything over the internet across state lines.
    2. Limit lawsuit payouts. The lawyers (sharks with lasers) are making a KILLING on lawsuits. Reduce the payouts and the sharks will have less to feed on, there will be fewer ambulance chasers because the $$$ will become reasonable.
    3. Reduce the FDA requirements. Wow, meds sure are expensive. Oh, they aren't in canada? Oh, and canada sells the same meds for much less and they don't have such a stringent approval process? Hmmm
    4. Promote Savings Health Accounts (see 1. first) - If you put in $xxx dollars tax free into an account that's YOUR money. Once you cap it at a certain level you just pay the maintenance (the insurance part in case something catastrophic happens) Now, it's your task to shop around for an affordable healthcare provider. You'll think twice before paying $300 for a checkup.
    5. This topic wasn't designed to discuss immigration, but guess what, that's a major cost in health care. The country will fail if the people paying into healthcare are expected to support every ILLEGAL immigrant that wants healthcare. Especially if the hospitals are charging those goverment rates for it ($30 for an aspirin anyone?) I'm just going to say, if you can't reasonably prove your an american, you don't get american health care, unless you can pay cash.

    Exercise: Call 3 local providers and tell them that you have some common malady and tell them that you have Blue Cross insurance, ask them what it will cost you, and what they will bill BC. The next day, call them all back, same malady and tell them you're paying out of pocket. If day 2 isn't a third of day 1 I will eat my shoe.

  • Re:Well, lets see (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MartinSchou (1360093) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:51AM (#31536178)

    Police? Or would you prefer to have privatized crime fighters? "Sorry, maam. You didn't pay, so we aren't interested in tracking down the person who shot your husband and kids and ran off with your jewellery".

    Army? Or would you prefer it if the defence of the US was run by Xe Services LLC [wikipedia.org]?

    Coast guard? "I'm sorry. We can't send a helicopter out to rescue your husband and child. You didn't buy our insurance, and your credit rating shows you cannot afford to pay the US$50,000/hour it costs to run the search and rescue operation. Thank you for calling the Coast Guard - have a nice day."

    Fire departments? "Well, we'd love to put out the fire in your house, but you see, you don't pay the insurance company that we work for. No, sorry, no other fire department works in this town. But if you run in and fetch US$10,000 in cash, we'd be happy to help you."

    Food and drug administration? You'd prefer it if there were no government checks on the safety of foods and drugs? I suggest that you not only look at the milk scandals that hit in China a few years ago, but also look at the history of the US itself. Not just the US, but pretty much all of the western world.

  • by diskofish (1037768) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:52AM (#31536180)
    You're right about this. There are a few doctors and medical professionals in my family. It's really expensive to go to medical school and there is a big shortage of primary care physicians because it doesn't pay enough to recoup the investment of med school. If you go to med school, you're going to end up with 500k in loans, at least. That part needs to be resolved first. This is how to bring down the cost of medical care. Simple supply and demand.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:52AM (#31536202)

    Dude, break ranks with the ininformed and READ THE BILL. It's out on thomas.loc.gov & there are plenty of summaries about what each section does.

  • by Rayonic (462789) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:53AM (#31536230) Homepage Journal

    The evidence for the efficiency and quality of government-run healthcare in other countries is indisputable

    Is it really? I have yet to see year-to-year analysis of how government run healthcare is performing in various countries. It could be good now, but slowly sliding into corruption and inefficiency. You know, like most government programs.

    It's practically like the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. In any government system, performance decreases while costs rise.

  • Re:Neither. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:56AM (#31536254)

    Or have you forgotten the new Prescription Medicine Reform where people can get "free" medicine?

    You mean the one that will cost about a trillion dollars that isn't paid for: [slate.com]

    Simply stated, the bill cost a fortune, wasn't paid for, is complicated as hell, and doesn't do all that much--though it does include coverage for end-of life-counseling, or what Grassley now calls "pulling the plug on grandma." In their 2009 report to Congress, the Medicare trustees estimate the 10-year cost of [the republican medicare bill[ as high as $1.2 trillion. That figure--just for prescription-drug coverage that people over 65 still have to pay a lot of money for--dwarfs the $848 billion cost of the Senate bill.

    This is typical of Republican governance, they bitch and moan all the time about fiscal responsibility, but they acted in the most inconceivably fiscally irresponsible way again and again during the decade or so they were in power. Now we the taxpayer and the democrats are at least attempting to clean up after the unmitigated spending spree that was the Bush Administration and Republican Congress (Iraq war, tax cuts for the wealthy, "free" prescriptions drugs) and are getting dinged for not being fiscally responsible? If this is a joke, it's not funny.

  • by Bos20k (444115) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:58AM (#31536306)

    The actual damages awarded may or may not amount to that much. It is a fact that doctors often order many more tests than may really be required to cover their asses though and that definitely adds up, probably to quite a lot.

  • by PlanetX 00 (623339) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:59AM (#31536330)
    "Further, there isn't any choice for an insurance plan governed by democracy instead of stockholders" First, true capitalism is democracy (People vote with their money). Second, why the government? If you wanted profit out of the equation, why not a heath care co-op? Or not-for-profit insurance?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:00AM (#31536338)

    The government has a bad resume?

    This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US department of energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the national weather service of the national oceanographic and atmospheric administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the national aeronautics and space administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US department of agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the food and drug administration.

    At the appropriate time as regulated by the US congress and kept accurate by the national institute of standards and technology and the US naval observatory, I get into my national highway traffic safety administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the environmental protection agency, using legal tender issed by the federal reserve bank. On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US postal service and drop the kids off at the public school.

    After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the department of labor and the occupational safety and health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to ny house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal’s inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it’s valuables thanks to the local police department.

    I then log on to the internet which was developed by the defense advanced research projects administration and post on freerepublic.com and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can’t do anything right

  • Re:Well, lets see (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RetiredMidn (441788) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:01AM (#31536362) Homepage

    How has private industry done so far with american healthcare? Cost more, gets less. Yup, that is a sign of success.

    Cost more, yes. Gets less, I don't think so.

    Overall cost of health care is up because the tests, treatments, and medications that are now mainstream are all dramatically better than they were not all that long ago, when they were prohibitively expensive and rarely employed. They are used more widely now because they are less expensive (economies of scale), and, after all, nobody wants sub-standard treatment.

    There are a lot of things that could be done to reduce the cost of health care and therefore make it more accessible to more people, and this bill does none of them:

    - Move the tax incentive for health insurance from employers to individuals (McCain proposed this before the election). This extends the benefit of cost reduction to those who aren'y insured through an employer, such as the self-employed and those who work for very small businesses.

    - Tort reform, to reduce doctor's malpractice insurance and the practice of overdone preventive testing to ward off lawsuits.

    - Promote Health Savings Accounts (and make them less damned complicated) for non-catastrophic health care, so patients have a vested interest in the cost of the tests and treatments chosen for them.

    - Remove state mandates for coverage of arguably elective medical procedures (such as in-vitro fertilization) that drive up the cost of insurance packages. [For the record, my wife and I couldn't conceive children and might have benefitted from the mandate my state now imposes.]

    - Streamline the regulatory environments so that insurance can be bought across state lines.

    One aspect of the current HCR bill really drives me nuts: it imposes a small penalty for not being insured, and eliminates restrictions on pre-existing conditions. The incentive here is to remain uninsured, which is cheaper than paying for coverage, until you're sick. The end result will be higher premiums for those who are insured. There are already protections for pre-existing conditions: the Kennedy-Kassenbaum (HIPAA) Act disallows exclusions for pre-existing conditions if you maintain continuity of insurance coverage (with an allowance of several months gap in coverage). I was protected by this 12 years ago when I was laid off and re-hired less than a year after being treated for cancer.

  • by ajs (35943) <ajs@@@ajs...com> on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:02AM (#31536386) Homepage Journal

    It disappoints me that this is the first comment I saw when I opened up this page. The point of this article is to discuss the reform in a constructive manner, not to bash entire ideologies just because they are not your own.

    I think that a valid and healthy debate could be had around the topic of how bad Fox "News": is for America, not because they're conservative (they're actually not) or because of their ideology, but because they represent the worst and least productive form of debate, approximately equal to that of two schoolyard kids yelling, "am not," "are so," at the top of their lungs.

    Want health care debate? If you watch Fox, you'll get "they're getting their shovels ready for grandma." Here's the conservative position (I won't say if this is my position, but I understand debate well enough to state it regardless of my position): this legislation represents an attempt to turn the health care industry into the airline industry. Regulating MPG ratings is easy for the government, but when it comes to industries that literally hold their customer's lives in their hands, we don't accept the concept of cost-benefit, and therefore we over-regulate until the industry cannot sustain itself. Then, we impose controls that prevent the industry leaders from failing in order to prevent our regulations from killing them. Eventually we have two choices: admit that we have socialized the industry or allow it to continue hemorrhaging money and treating its customers like cogs. This approach gives us the worst of all possible public healthcare options, even worse than what Fox has been calling it. Indeed, a government takeover of healthcare would be preferable, though it would sink our economy like a deadweight. Instead, we should be implementing controls that make the smallest possible changes to the healthcare system, yet improve its value to American citizens, while streamlining medicare and medicaid into something that doesn't bankrupt our nation, but continues to provide excellent care to our seniors and those who cannot (as opposed to will not) provide for themselves.

    I am temporarily residing outside the U.S. at this time, and I haven't been paying attention to the argument.

    Here's the problem: there is no argument. The argument is essentially: hey, we're going broke trying to provide healthcare and doing it radically worse with fewer covered than any other developed nation Vs. you're a socialist tyrant who wants to destroy our way of live, kill our elderly relatives and force all of our women to have abortions! That's not an argument, it's a reasoned position vs. a rabid chicken. Fox is the figurehead and spokesman for that rabid chicken and as such, we're not going to proceed to have rational debate in this country again until they're put out of their misery (preferably by declaring News Corp to be a political advocacy group and imposing the same controls on them as any other).

  • by FreeUser (11483) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:04AM (#31536446)

    I live in a country that has government-run universal insurance, and I deal *directly* with my doctor, too. I'm not sure why you believe this isn't possible.

    Brain-washing and indoctrination.

    The funny thing is, your tongue-in-cheek post spoofing the right-wing mentality in the US actually answers the question quite factually right there.

    I'm American. I've lived most of my life in the United States, but have lived numerous times, for a number of years, outside of the United States (Germany, France, Japan, Hong Kong, and currently the United Kingdom) and had occasion to use the healthcare system myself, or have one in my family use it, in nearly all those locations (to be pedantic: I did not need to use the healthcare system in Japan).

    The US system is by far the worst system I have used, in terms of delivery of service, cost, and effeciency. The healthcare (when provided) was adequate most of the time, but subpar more often than you might imagine (my wife got a staff infection from a routine vaccination that nearly killed her...mainly because the hospitical couldn't figure out how to diagnose such an obvious problem for an indordinate amount of time. And don't get me started on the weeks-long waiting lists for critical tests like angiograms, and the lab test results that show up months late, the lack of follow-through by doctores, and the billing mistakes that are perpetual to the point of absurdity, and always favor the hospital).

    In contrast, we've had no trouble whatsoever with the medical system in Germany, France, or Hong Kong (though this was back when Hong Kong was a part of the British Empire, so YMMV these days), and with the NHS in England, only the occasional hassle of having to follow up on getting test results (but at least when you do follow up, they show up within a couple of weeks, unlike Northwestern, where they routinely go AWOL for 6 months or longer).

    But try telling that to any of my fellow Americans. They simply will refuse to believe it (and most likely label you a liar for daring to reveal such uncomfortable truths that challenge their world-view of us having the best system in the world). Why? Years of rhetoric and brainwashing, founded on absolutely no facts.

    Want another datapoint? Guess where the richest (non-American) people in the world tend to travel to for their private medical treatment. And I'm talking about Richer-Than-God, I can fly in my gold-plated jet anywhere in the world I like (including the US) and spend more than the GDP of a small country on my medical care people.

    It isn't the US. Not most of the time, anyway.

    The US is a distant fourth, behind France, the UK, and Germany? Why? Because a lot of the leading-edge research Americans (like one who has posted here) think only happens in the US, and excuse our rediculously lousy price/performance ratio on, actually take place and is funded by those countries that are paying 25-50% of what we pay for our substandard medical care.

    But then, we're the best in the world. We don't need to learn anything from anyone else, do we? (cue patriotic music and refrains of "God Bless America" here)

  • by Shotgun (30919) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:04AM (#31536448)

    A system of governance that is based upon "what is good for me personally" is simple anarchy. Forcing an insurance company to pay for a pre-existing condition is simple theft, regardless of how hard that makes your situation.

  • by ajs (35943) <ajs@@@ajs...com> on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:05AM (#31536460) Homepage Journal

    Full bill, but not the final bill. Deals are still being made. Even the CBO says that the numbers are preliminary.
    And frankly, 10 years of taxes and 6 years of benefits means they are cooking the books.

    That's not true at all. If we had no healthcare costs in the U.S., then that would be reasonable. However, what we have is the single most expensive per-capita healthcare system in the world,, right now, so to analyze where we'll be in 10 years after we implement this plan 4 years out is entirely reasonable.

  • by raddan (519638) * on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:07AM (#31536498)

    When our government starts taking away our liberties (forcing people to buy health care, taking away private property to give to another private party are just two examples)

    I'm guessing that you chose those two examples because they are hot-button issues, but the reality of it is: you never had those liberties, but because they never affected you, you thought that you did.

    Eminent Domain [wikipedia.org] predates the founding of this country. It sucks, especially when it affects you (my great-grandfather's farm was largely seized to build a school), but there are many, many cases where there is indeed a greater good served by it. The discussion really shouldn't be "should we have it?" but "when should we have it?" Eliminating it is not practical.

    You already pay for health care, but like so many other things (roads, police, schools, car insurance), you don't see those costs directly. If, for instance, you saw an itemized car insurance bill explaining that most of your insurance money goes to paying out drunk driving accidents, or say, minor scratches on someone's Lexus, you would probably be pissed off (fun story: I bumped a Lexus once with my car-- it cost the insurance $1200, for a SCRATCH-- given that my insurance bill for the year is roughly half that, who do you think pays for it? Hint: you). Now there are many, many reasons why health care costs are going up. Medical practitioners are in short supply, medicine and equipment are very expensive (sometimes for good reasons, sometimes not), but most importantly, because the ratio of healthy people to sick (and by sick, I really mean, people needing care) people is swinging rapidly toward more sick people: baby boomers.

    If you're insured, you're paying for them already. Because I work for a large company, and they have good bargainers, we only pay about $300/mo per single employee. I contribute half of that. But ever try to get insurance yourself on the private market? Good luck affording it!

    Now, it can (and should) be argued that health insurance itself is part of the problem, and I agree. Insurance is supposed to be a hedge against catastrophe. You know, brain cancer. The kind of thing where the expense is so astronomical, that it would ruin you. Instead, we have insurers covering viagra (only actually necessary in very rare cases-- I have a friend with a rare pulmonary disorder, and strangely enough, viagra is an effective treatment for her) and elective surgery, because people don't want to pay for them themselves. This abuse has done nothing to control costs. It's a travesty that an out-of-pocket visit to your general practitioner can cost you a week's wages. I had an X-ray done recently-- it was $1000. We're talking about 19th century technology here, people. So anyway, now it covers the routine stuff, but often not the catastrophic stuff. They'll deny you coverage! WTF!

    But hey, this is what we have. Do we:

    • Dive in and fix the problem?
    • Let everyone get increasingly fucked over

    Keep in mind that while there are millions of people who can't get healthcare at all, due to cost, the CEO of United Healthcare recently received a 1 billion dollar (US) bonus [cnn.com]. That, my friends, is fucked up. This man could personally pay for doctor visits for hundreds of thousands of people.

    As many people here have said, they're trapped in their bad employment situations because they have a sick spouse or child. Imagine having to go to work someplace where they treat you like dirt for years on end because, without them, your loved one dies? That is slavery, plain and simple.

    Personal health is a prerequisite for a healthy economy. If that guy could leave his job for a better one, without worrying that it would end his wife's leukemia treatments, or

  • by operagost (62405) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:08AM (#31536522) Homepage Journal
    First, it mandates that everyone buy insurance because apparently, 30 million people go without it merely because someone is not making them. Second, it promises that rates will go down, despite the fact that when governments have mandated insurance before (such as states requiring auto insurance), it only goes UP. Third, the only consumer "protection" in the bill entails the government telling providers what they can change and insurance companies what they have to pay for. Since this will inevitably result in both groups taking losses, they will simply close up shop. This will result in a new health care crisis, at which time the government will swoop in like a false messiah to "fix" the totally unexpected void in health insurance by creating the single payer system, which Obama said was the objective way back in 2007 before he said it wasn't.
  • by ajs (35943) <ajs@@@ajs...com> on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:13AM (#31536612) Homepage Journal

    Is there anything about the proposed act that is government-run? If there is, I'd missed it.

    That's right, you missed it. Medicare and medicaid (the largest expense our government has today, costing more per-citizen (not per covered citizen) than any healthcare system in the developed world, will be expanded to cover something like 15-20 million additional Americans. Everyone else gets mandated employer insurance. I'm not sure what the un- or self-employed get, but I believe that this is modeled on the Massachusetts option, and here in Mass. we are required to buy our own insurance unless our incomes are below the poverty line. In some of those cases, the government then provides subsidies for a private plan

  • by Rich0 (548339) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:16AM (#31536676) Homepage

    Forcing an insurance company to pay for a pre-existing condition is simple theft, regardless of how hard that makes your situation.

    The problem with this is that pre-existing conditions can become very hard to prove, and insurance companies often use them as excuses for denying claims, or even doing post-claim underwriting and retroactively cancelling policies.

    I actually support requiring coverage for pre-existing conditions, when combined with a significant fine for anybody that doesn't buy minimal insurance coverage (with socialized plans available for the poor). By forcing universal coverage you eliminate the issue of pre-existing conditions entirely. Also, universal coverage means that people don't have a financial incentive to neglect preventative care.

    And post-claim underwriting should be banned in all respects. If you want to underwrite a policy, do so before issuing it. Don't let somebody pay in for years, thinking that they are covered, and then pull the rug out after the fact. That's just the same thing as pre-existing conditions but in reverse.

  • by b3d (525790) <slashdot@@@itdepends...com> on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:16AM (#31536682) Homepage

    The insurance companies are far from true capitalism. They have an anti-trust exemption, for crying out load. That's a license to screw the customer, which is what they are doing. If we actually had true competition in the insurance market, I might accept some of your argument. As it is, the government is the only entity large enough to be able to compete with the ginormous health insurance companies.

  • by jimicus (737525) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:17AM (#31536700)

    Diabetes (along with many serious conditions) is buggery expensive to treat. In the real world, many sufferer's options are realistically:

    • Live in a country which provides at least basic healthcare without you having to sacrifice your first born (or at least regulates insurance companies such that they can't say "Oh, you've got something expensive? Sucks to be you, then.").
    • Be rich.
    • Die.

    Most civilised countries decided that the final option on that list wasn't a particularly desirable one some years ago.

  • by spaanoft (153535) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:19AM (#31536756)

    Actually, despite its flaws, one of the reasons Canada's health care system works at all I believe is because for the most part the provinces run it and the federal government doesn't try to fiddle too much with specifics. Right now in the US you have this mish-mash of federal and state-level regulations that I'd imagine would be an absolute nightmare to administer (like having two bosses, or something like that.)

  • by d3matt (864260) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:20AM (#31536760) Homepage
    You really think the senate is going to do anything after the house passes their bill verbatim and the President signs it into law? The Senate may be many things, but they are most definitely not the House's lap dogs.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:20AM (#31536774)

    Just one, I'm sure there are more: http://www.aolnews.com/opinion/article/opinion-obamas-health-care-myths-exposed/19402359 [aolnews.com] [aolnews.com]

    Umm, that linked article is an opinion piece that says it would "threaten people with jail time" but provides no citation. He doesn't even use the correct term since jail would be for a local offense and prison for a federal crime. You'll have to do a lot better than that, like a citation in the bill, perhaps. I searched the text of it and there were no matches for "prison," "imprisonment," or "jail". I can give you a hundred references and cite the portion of the bill where is says you can be fined up to $750 per uninsured adult in a household. I can't find anything about a prison sentence. I'm calling bullshit on this one, unless you can provide a real citation.

  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:21AM (#31536816) Homepage

    It's not even health insurance reform: it's single-payer health insurance (which died on the table months ago quite quickly) but with a different name.

    Furthermore, they're shuffling their deck of money pretty thoroughly on this one, pulling from this and that fund (many of which are close to bankruptcy as it is - like Medicare) to fund this thing and calling it a "savings". Sorry, that doesn't fix anything: you're spreading (supposedly) short funds even shorter. Sure, health care would be 'free' but it'll make any existing services/care even worse.

    The fact that it's not supposed to actually take effect until the next sitting President's term starts (at least in one of its permutations) should be a pretty good indication of what those voting on it think about it. That's a classic "we're pushing this for its power/political benefits, the populace be damned" move. Seems every President has to have one of these doozies. Unfortunately, this doozie is particularly heinous in an already-difficult economic time.

    I feel sorry for the people who expect to get immediate financial/healthcare relief as soon as this bill is passed. They're up for some major disappointment.

  • by pnewhook (788591) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:23AM (#31536866)

    Before the advent of Social Security, more than half of all seniors died in poverty, now almost none do.

    And when social security was being debated, Republicans screamed up and down that this was government socialism, and will be the ruin of everything good and democratic.

  • by insufflate10mg (1711356) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:25AM (#31536906)
    So people with pre-existing conditions simply can't have the luxury of health care? Ignorance at its best.
  • by Kral_Blbec (1201285) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:26AM (#31536944)
    America IS voting for opposition/independent. There hasn't been a poll in months showing public support for Obama's plan. Obama's approval ratings have dropped from being the Messiah to about half. Congress has absolutely horrible approval ratings. The people HAVE spoken. We don't want this.
  • by ArcherB (796902) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:27AM (#31536968) Journal

    We have nothing to fear but Fox itself.

    So true. Because any voice contrary to what we already believe should be feared and silenced!

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:35AM (#31537194) Homepage Journal

    Except Fox. Fox is bad for America.
    Just because Fox says the health care reform is bad doesn't mean that we should therefore support the reform. It disappoints me that this is the first comment I saw when I opened up this page.

    A news outlet as slanted as Fox is bad for America, and the summary was correctly comparing the Democrat administration with the neocon-Republican Fox. If there was a news outlet that was as unabashedly left wing as Fox is right wing, instead of "the administration" they could have named the left wingnut news network. But there are no other news organizations in the US with such blatant wingnuts. And if you think Fox is balanced, you're a wingnut, too.

    As to health care deform, well, what I just called it should tell you pretty much what my views on it [slashdot.org] are. We have the best laws and legislators that money can buy. I'd like to see them just extend Medicare to everyone; that would pretty much fix things, but the insurance industry isn't about to let that happen.

  • by daem0n1x (748565) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:36AM (#31537216)
    Then create a state-managed health care system, like exists in most civilised countries, and spare the poor insurance companies that terrible burden. I weep every time I see an insurance company being thieved.
  • by heckler95 (1140369) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:42AM (#31537358)

    First, true capitalism is democracy (People vote with their money).

    Democracy is one vote per person, not one vote per dollar, per person. Should Bill Gates' single vote be worth the same as the votes of millions of people?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:43AM (#31537378)

    Just declare a war on high healthcare costs, wrap the american flag around it & yourself and commit a $700b/yr budget to bomb the problem to the stone age.
    Just run healthcare like the military! Big bloated budgets, heavy fist shaking, and pour in a whole lot of flag wrapped mccarthyism and BINGO!

    G.W. Bush advocated no nation building and humble foreign policy when campaigning for pres in 2000, and previous stated formula worked wonders to turn the republicans around 180 degrees.
    Thank goodness it worked in catching Binny and boys!

  • by saider (177166) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:44AM (#31537398)

    The USPS is in debt up to its eyeballs because electronic documents are causing a drop in volume. FedEx and USPS have adjusted their rates , fleets and staffing to accommodate this drop. The USPS is less nimble because it faces restrictions imposed by the government (what kind of business it can do, what rates it can charge, etc.). If we ran healthcare like this, you can bet it would have the exact same problem.

    Furthermore, various states run insurance companies, but often they are used by private companies to dump their risky products. Since the state then holds the risk, they are supposed to set the rates to a level that can cover it, but the politicians intervene and drop the rates. The result is a company that either has to rely on a taxpayer bailout or failure altogether.

    Here in Florida, they created a property insurance company to be the last resort for people who cannot get property insurance, which is required if you finance your house. The private insurance companies started divesting their risky properties, and the state insurance had to take them. When the state insurance company adjusted the rates to accomodate the risk, the policyowners yelled at their politicians, who in turn forced the company to limit the increases. This has resulted in a company that does not have enough money to cover losses in the event of a Hurricane. You can bet that if we get a major hurricane or two (we've had few since the scheme was concocted) that Florida taxpayers will be on the hook for the payouts.

    Government healthcare would suffer the same problem with premiums becoming a political football that politicians use to get elected.

  • by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:58AM (#31537720) Homepage

    No... Most of us already know that they're getting a half-assed health reform bill since it's been mentioned enough times in the international media.

    We just realize something is better than nothing, and that the US will never get its fingers out of the insurance companies collective asses.

  • Re:Obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Friday March 19, 2010 @11:02AM (#31537812) Homepage Journal

    Wow. You complain about skewed information from Fox News, then post links to a satire site and ... Media Matters!

    Hey, pot, kettle says you're black!

  • by Anonymous Struct (660658) on Friday March 19, 2010 @11:02AM (#31537816)

    Only the absurdly rich come to the US for care, and they come here for absurdly expensive care that most Americans don't have access to. You're only making an argument that the very best care in the US is better than the very best care in these other countries while ignoring the fact that 99% of Americans don't care, because they aren't able to buy the very best care anyway. The average citizens in these nations do better than the average citizens in our own, and from a public policy perspective, that means a whole lot more than 'but the Prime Minister of X flies his private jet to the US when he needs surgery!'.

  • by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Friday March 19, 2010 @11:11AM (#31538064)
    Let me count the ways:
    Constitutionality:
    The constitution says people cannot be coerced into signing a contract. By anyone. If you don't like it amend the constitution, but you cannot just make up your own laws. That's called anarchy. So right there the bill is dead. But let me go on.

    Common sense
    The kings of inefficiency. The same people who spent so much of your social security and medicare money on things besides social security and medicare, to the point that the two programs have unfunded liabilities of over $100 trillion [ncpa.org], are now going to, according to the bill, take 500B from medicare to pay for the new program and supposedly expand the roles of people on medicare and the new plan. Do some simple math! If you have a system that's already out of money, and you take more money from it to start a similar system, more than triple the number of people receiving benefits, it's going to cost more not less! You have to be insane if you think adding people to the government's dole will somehow lower costs as progressives claim. Keep in mind that in 1965 lawmakers predicted it would only cost 9$ billion by 1990 [usatoday.com], unfortuanly the real cost was $67 billion. But don't worry they were only off by A FACTTOR OF 7. I'm sure they are better and more trustworthy in making cost estimates today. Congress would never deceive us!

    This bill causes lack of care (not coverage)
    Sure the government will cover you for all preexisting conditions, there will just be no faciliteis or doctors to treat you! OH BUT YOU'RE COVERED!!! Tell it to the people in the UK or Canada who are waiting 6 months for a CT scan, where here in the U.S. it's unusual to wait for more than a few days. The New England Journal of Medicine estimates that a full 1/3 of doctors will "QUIT PRACTICING MEDICINE" if the bill passes [nejmjobs.org], further eroding our resources. So ya, you're covered, but you're going to have to wait a few years for that liver transplant now. People other countries will no longer have a "capitalist health care system" to save them, unfortunately nether will we. We will have a government panel deciding who is worth said liver transplant and deciding who gets to live and die, instead of your doctor or a panel of your doctors. A healthy 19 yr/old kid, who hasn't put a dime into the system will be placed higher on the list than say a 60 yr/old man who has paid into the system his whole life. In essence the 60 yr/old man worked his whole life paying into a system that will deem him unworthy and spend his money on someone whom he has never met while he suffers and dies while younger "more economically viable" people will get treatment first. In the existing system, the same 60 yr/old man would be able to do whatever it takes for him to get his liver (insurance,debt,sell car/house etc.). While dems try and portray private insurers as evil for turning down procedures, drugs etc. keep in mind that the number 1 denier of care per capita is medicare! [ama-assn.org] So there's another false argument made to try and pass this bill.

    How much is too much?
    People in this country continue to live longer and longer. This is attributable not to better diets or healthier living, but as a direct result of having invested such large sums of money into our health care system. I've heard 17% from democrats, decrying the amount. Dems say that our private insurance is increasing at too fast a rate (3%/yr) [cbo.gov] but they want to change us to a system that is similar to the unfunded medicare, but medicare is increasing at a rate much faste [nejm.org]
  • by demonlapin (527802) on Friday March 19, 2010 @11:12AM (#31538078) Homepage Journal

    And when social security was being debated, Republicans screamed up and down that this was government socialism, and will be the ruin of everything good and democratic.

    The baby boomers are about to test that proposition rather thoroughly.

  • by OnlineAlias (828288) on Friday March 19, 2010 @11:13AM (#31538106)

    Cadillacs in this case being analogous to a really good health care system, which we don't have. High costs for middling care is not a good thing.

    Being 37th and paying like we're number one...well, at least we're number one at something....

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday March 19, 2010 @11:19AM (#31538262) Homepage Journal
    "If we're not going to go off of what the CBO say's what are we going to go off of??? They don't lean right or left and they said it would reduce the deficit, period."

    I think the CBO is a great place to start from...but again, this is a preliminary report they just came out with. I'd rather the congress not rush to try to pass this, till thorough study has been made!! What is the rush? I mean, if this is going to affect roughly 1/6th of our economy, let's study and get it right.

    I'm concerned about the money shuffling congress has done to try to get this to look like it will save money and reduce deficit, I'm seriously concerned they are in some ways counting money twice. I'm also worried about them with regard to the bills to 'fix' the scheduled decrease in Dr's reimbursements for Medicare...they will likely raise those fees back in a separate bill, but really it should be figured into the cost of this one.

    I like a lot of things that are in the bill, but honestly...would it not be easier to get rid for 2000 pages of a bill with God knows what all else is hidden in there...and go with a more basic one that has things most everyone can agree on?

    • Insurance sales across state lines (surely a real interstate commerce item)
    • No pre-existing conditions
    • Allow small business and even individuals to band together to get group insurance rates
    • Allow Medicare to bargain for cheaper drugs with the pharma companies like the VA does

    These would all be popular starters, and I doubt we'd need a Lousiana Purchase or Nebraska deal to pass this through...?

  • by Eskarel (565631) on Friday March 19, 2010 @11:24AM (#31538380)

    I have Australian and American citizenship, I have lived in both countries and experienced both health care systems.

    The US bill is not single payer public health insurance, it would be better for the American people if it was, but the reality of the situation is that such a system cannot pass in the US as things stand. The Republicans are against anything the Democrats do, more than half the Democrats are in the pockets of big corporations and the Libertarians are always up in arms about anything at all which costs them money no matter how large a benefit it might provide society at large. That's not even taking into account the Tea Party and all the crazies that have come out of the woodwork because Dick Cheney proved to the American people that the government was out to get them and made every right wing conspiracy theorist and Militia member seem sane.

    That's not even counting the Americans of all political persuasions who are irate because Obama can't magic more than 11 million jobs out of his ass to fix unemployment. I mean presuming an average salary of 40k a year that'd involve finding 440 billion dollars a year somewhere, but never mind.

    Single payer health insurance cannot pass in that environment it's too radical, too different, too much like the government actually doing something useful with the tax dollars. Never mind the fact that the US pays almost twice as much in terms of percentage of GDP than any other western nation, has poorer health outcomes, and leaves more than 10% of its population uninsured, it just won't pass.

    As such this bill, which is very much imperfect is the best the American people can really hope for. Yes it leaves the insurance companies intact, yes it's full of corruption, pork, and special interest anti-abortion clauses, and yes it will probably mean that individuals who believe that they can cover the couple of grand a night for a hospital bed if they get sick might have to take on some of the burden of minimizing the insurance risk pool to keep down costs.

    On the other hand it will give 30 million Americans insurance, require insurance companies to insure people with preexisting illnesses, and remove the bonds forcing people to keep a job at any cost to keep their insurance when they need it. It would also save the insurance companies from their current death spirals by bringing healthy people back into the risk pool which would in turn reduce over all costs. It would do this while, at least according to projections, actually lowering the deficit.

    This is an ugly bill, and there are things about it which will need to be fixed, sections which are almost unconscionable. It will also require tort reform, medical practice reform, and educational reform to along with it to give it its greatest potential. Despite all that it is miles ahead of the current situation, and the best we can hope for. If Republicans had been more willing to vote yes, or there was more cost to minority filibusters we might have had a better one, with less pork, lower costs, and better results, but that's not the reality of the situation. This bill is the best the American people are likely to get under the current circumstances, and while it doesn't affect me personally I have a lot of family and friends who would be helped out tremendously by its passage.

  • by Funk_dat69 (215898) on Friday March 19, 2010 @11:26AM (#31538436)

    I always hear this knee-jerk Fox bashing.
    Guess what? All news sources have a slant, and bashing Fox just shows your bias.

    Right Slant
    ----------------
    Fox

    Left Slant
    --------------
    CNN
    MSNBC
    ABC
    CBS
    Comedy-f'king-Central

    So watch your TV with your brain turned on at all times, I would think.

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday March 19, 2010 @11:30AM (#31538528) Homepage Journal
    "You're right... we do. However we're ranked very low among the rich countries in health care quality, but we take the gold in medical bankruptcy... go USA!"

    Trouble is...I don't think this mammoth of a bill is going to fix that.

    I'm quite worried that they are going to be adding a TON of new people to the medicare roles...a program which is already WAY in the hole. I believe Medicare is already, as is, slated to be many trillions of unfunded entitlement in the next 15 or so years. How are we going to help it by adding millions of new people? Where will the money come from?

    Why can't they do a simple bill, with some main points everyone can agree on...in about 10 pages of simple language everyone can understand and agree on? Start from there and build on it?

    From what I can see...this new thing is an attempt to build a model similar to what Mass. put into place, and from what I understand it is a HUGE financial burden on the state, and not quite working out as it was intended. Anyone from Mass that can comment on this?

    I'm also concerned about what will happen to what is left of this bill after the SCOTUS challenges to it with regard to the Federal Govt. mandating that individual citizens be required to buy health insurance. I really do believe this will be struck down. Already there are laws and the like passed in many states actually banning the state from participating in this program, and I understand some are working on state constitutional amendments to battle what the feds are trying to do. This may turn into a large fight over the 10th amendment...which may not be a bad thing considering it has been largely ignored for years.

    But say the individual insurance mandate is struck down...but the rest of the law exists? What will fund it?

    This bill is serious, and the implications are large...I think much more study is required, however, at this point, it is ONLY about politics IMHO...citizens' be damned as long as one side of the other can claim victory.

  • by bazaarsoft (911025) on Friday March 19, 2010 @11:30AM (#31538542)

    Once Canadians/Europeans/Australians/New Zealanders stop coming to the US so they can get care they couldn't get in their respective countries wonderful single payer systems (I am being sarcastic), then maybe we will consider it. No US citizens leave the US for care they need, but cannot get in the US. With single payer systems in other countries that's not the case, they come to the US in droves.

    Please source this ridiculous claim. What % of people from countries with single payer systems come here for treatment and why? I've never read any credible source that has facts around this claim.

  • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Friday March 19, 2010 @11:35AM (#31538628) Homepage Journal

    This entire argument is a total fallacy. It starts with the assumption that health insurance and single payer regulation will somehow control costs. The only way that will work is through rationing, and that's not really controlling costs - it's lowering services.

    The way to control costs is to get consumers to ... watch costs. The reason health care costs have gotten so out of control in the first place is because patients never look at the costs, because the vast majority of health care is paid for by third parties. So patients demand all the best care and all the tests they want and costs be damned. Then they complain when insurance companies want to deny some services that seem unnecessary or reduce coverage.

    So to reduce costs, you force consumers to pay out of pocket for lots of services, and relegate insurance back to just catastrophic coverage, like it used to be. Another useful reform is to un-tie insurance from employment. It's irrational the way the system now is mostly controlled by employer-based insurance, with no reasonable way for individuals to shop for insurance on their own, or to be able to buy it at reasonable costs when then change jobs.

    If you look at the market for the typical services that insurance generally does not cover, like cosmetic surgery, lasic eye surgery, etc. you can see how costs for health services can be greatly reduced when people have to pay the bill themselves. If I had a monthly bill for all my food regardless of what I ate, I'd be demanding steak and lobster all the time. And guess what? If lots of other people had it too, food prices would skyrocket. What then? Government-based, single-payer food?

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Friday March 19, 2010 @11:43AM (#31538814)

    The constitution says people cannot be coerced into signing a contract.

    So then all laws requiring motor vehicle insurance are unconstitutional? That would be interesting.

    The kings of inefficiency.

    We spend 17% of our GDP on health care right now. Other nations get the same or better overall results spending less than half of this. Yes you might have to wait for some services but there is clearly huge inefficiencies in the current system, so much so that it is easy to argue that even a government run program would be better.

    Tell it to the people in the UK or Canada who are waiting 6 months for a CT scan, where here in the U.S. it's unusual to wait for more than a few days.

    There is quite a bit of evidence that the US has a huge and expensive overcapacity in exotic medical devices brought about by our current insurance system. We also clearly pay far more for the same drugs than people in other countries.

    We supposedly pay 17% now, and we live longer lives

    People in Canada, France, Germany, UK, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sweden, Switzerland and Italy all have longer life expectancies than Americans and pay far less than 17% of their GDP for that life span.

    Your article is full of factual errors. Try doing some research next time.

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Friday March 19, 2010 @11:44AM (#31538838)

    Western Europe also hasn't had to pay to defend itself for the last 60 years either. We pretty much subsidized their defense.

  • Re:ZOMG Socialism! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shotgun (30919) on Friday March 19, 2010 @11:54AM (#31539016)

    It's because people here are stupid. They are so desperate to avoid any trappings of Socialism that they'd rather die because they can't get medical care than to let Big Evil Government help them out.

    So, I'm stupid because I have a world view that I, not Obaman, own my body. Thank you, Mr. Sheep, but, yes, I would rather die than let "Big Evil Government" help me out. You see, in order to let BEG help me out, I will have to turn control of my life over to them...a fate worse than death.

    The truth is that we desperately need a single-payer system, just like every industrialized country in the world that realized a long time ago that health care is a basic infrastructure need for a productive, thriving population.

    Yes, because people are dropping dead left and right around me. It's a picture straight out of "Zombieland"

    But the American people are collectively so scared, stupid, and easily swayed, even by outright lies ("Death panels! Federally funded abortion! Rampant costs! Elderly care cuts!") posted on bumper stickers, they they would literally show up with torches and pitchforks in Washington if Congress actually did what is right.

    Only half of us are scared of that. The other half run screaming for their mothers if you whisper "Pay your own damn way" in their ears.

    The funny thing to me is that these stupid people who are so quick to bash Socialism are usually fanboys of one of the most huge, expensive Socialist organizations in the entire world: the U.S. military.

    When we set up this country, you know, with that silly "Constitution" and all, they enumerated some things that the government would be responsible for. Things that made sense. A federal military to protect the federation made sense. A federal bureaucracy to direct individual health care is nonsense in an American context.

    Now, I'm not bashing the military, I have a lot of respect for it, Socialist as it is and everything. But it's just kind of funny how when George Bush sunk trillions of dollars into it, you didn't see these idiots showing up in Washington with caricatures of him as Hitler.

    Ahem....http://semiskimmed.net/bushhitler.html...now you have.

    But consider this. The U.S. is the only country, other than Myanmar, that still has not converted to the metric system. If this country is so stubborn and stupid as to not do things the right way just to spite those damn commies in Europe (and not have to buy a new set of wrenches), seriously, what hope do we ever have of really moving to a single-payer health care system?

    And now, you demonstrate what a simpleton you are. It isn't just some lone mechanic having to buy a new set of wrenches. It is about replacing trillions of dollars worth of machine tools, trillions of dollars worth of machines, and trillions upon trillions of dollars worth of supporting infrastructure. You're willingness to slur others over your academic concept of replacing a massively entrenched system overnight with something that works better in your mind belies your inexperience and ignorance. Come back and talk to us when you grow up.

  • by svtdragon (917476) on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:08PM (#31539298)
    I agree we should untie it from employers.

    What part of my post is a fallacy, exactly? If you can point out the flaw in my logic given that I never really addressed cost control but simply the revocation of pre-existing condition clauses as a desirable outcome, I'd be glad to address it.

    I'd also make the point that as consumers, we are at the mercy of the procedures that our doctors prescribe for us. We pay them for their knowledge and rely on their diagnoses, and if everyone seeks a second opinion on everything, don't we end up with more doctor appointments and more bills?

    The ability to comparison-shop implies a level informational playing field, and unless consumers go to med school, that doesn't happen.

    People don't want to haggle over their health; not with their physicians and not with their insurance companies. When you're sick, and especially critically so, it's not worth it.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:15PM (#31539444) Journal

    First, true capitalism is democracy (People vote with their money)

    It's very sad when citizens of a democratic country, especially Americans who did a lot to popularize the whole thing (am I correct in shamelessly assuming that you're one?), do not understand that the fundamental concept of democracy is "one person - one vote".

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:17PM (#31539474)

    Which sort of implies that we, like the Romans and the British, are diverting just a wee bit too much of our resources on military activity, eh?

    You can't have everything.

  • by eldepeche (854916) on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:22PM (#31539548)

    You are a moron.

    Why rush? they've only been talking about this for a year, let's keep debating it for another goddamn year. We've only talked about universal health care for about 80 years, and we've known how to design a cost-effective system with good results for about 50. There's only tens of thousands of people who die each year because of inadequate access to health care. What's the fucking rush?

    And lord, it's going to affect 1/6 of the economy! Why is health care 1/6 of the economy? Because we've allowed our rate of medical inflation to stay far higher than any other developed country. And we're talking about regulations affecting companies that deal in that 1/6. It's not as if the government is nationalizing 1/6 of the economy.

    Oh no, the bill has a lot of pages! Who gives a shit? First of all, legislative text is triple spaced, with 1.5 inch margins, so the bill is actually 400 pages of normal text. But so what? This is complicated stuff, and legal language is notoriously verbose and dense.

    Let's just do what we can all agree on! OK, no denial of coverage based on preexisting conditions. But what if someone just goes without insurance until they need care? That's just going to make it more expensive for the rest of us. We'll have to mandate that everyone pay in. But what if some people can't afford it? I suppose we'll have to subsidize premiums for the poor. Well, what a coincidence, that pretty well describes the bill that's being debated in Congress! Weird.

    By the way, the deals you're talking about? They're being removed in the packages being voted on in the coming week.

    Take your warmed over Republican talking points and shove them up your disingenuous ass.

  • by alatar_b (670896) on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:36PM (#31539788)
    Government is why these things cost so much. And yet we are about to add MORE government into the system?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:37PM (#31539802)

    Neither party has EVER been interested in bipartisanship, especially not one with a super majority.

  • by amplt1337 (707922) on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:41PM (#31539892) Journal

    A mandate is necessary because of the nature of insurance, which is a system for distributing risk. The rationale behind all insurance is that it is better to have a small fixed cost rather than the risk of a major one. With health care, this leads to a potential problem known as "adverse selection" in which the only people who purchase insurance are those who have greater-than-average risks; this increases the amount of risk relative to the number of people in the pool, and thus makes every individual obliged to pay more.
    That would be fine, if health care were like fire insurance, and we didn't as a society care about doing anything for people who take losses from it. But it's not. Like it or not, we do not live in a society that is happy for you to die in the street if you've been injured (though we're apparently content to put you in hock for life if you get cancer...) Since that health care will be provided, the public is facing the greatest adverse-selection problem of all -- being the backstop for risks that are uninsured by private insurers anywhere.
    This is over and above the shenanigans that private insurers go through to prevent paying claims, but that's a side issue.
    Anyway, without a mandate, if you simply prevent insurers from shaping their risk pool by denying pre-existing condition coverage, you force them to raise rates -- to the point that you'll wind up de-insuring a lot of people who can no longer afford it. To keep the costs low, the risks must be spread over a wider base which includes healthy people.
    A mandate is not necessary in absolute terms; it's only necessary once you force insurance companies not to shape their risk pools through denying higher-risk people from any access to insurance.

    2) There are non-private-insurance-based ways to reform health care. The correct approach would be a single-payer system in which everyone is in the pool, and thus there is a strong democratic incentive to ensure that benefits are paid appropriately, and in which there is a powerful market presence to lower the price of drugs and to regulate procedures according to evidence-based appraisals of effectiveness, and generally set standards of care. This can also be considered a form of insurance ("social insurance" it's called) where the premiums have been replaced by a taxes, but it more closely resembles the social value that we seem to have adopted that everyone should have access to health care without being bankrupted in the process.

    I am assured that there are a great many opportunities for reducing the cost of medical care itself. Drugs are expensive, as you mention, but the VA pays a lot less for them than Medicare does; the VA is allowed to bargain with pharma companies, while Medicare isn't. Procedures are expensive, but many of them are unnecessary, and are prescribed because doctors are paid for procedures rather than outcomes (so more medicine equals more profits). Similarly, many of them just don't do anything -- like routine prostate cancer screenings, which cost a lot but are pretty slim on actual health benefit -- and could be eliminated based on broad-based industry oversight through a medicare-for-everybody type program. Procedural costs could also be managed by reducing the disparity in incomes between primary-care doctors and specialists, reducing the incentive for over-specialization while at the same time reducing prices.
    Obviously medicine is expensive. But that doesn't mean you can't make it less so. And you know what's even more expensive than medicine? Creating a system that pays for X amount of medicine, and then adds Y percent profit on top.

  • by fredjh (1602699) on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:45PM (#31539972)

    You people don't get it.

    So you begrudge the fractions of a penny that this guy's pre-existing condition will cost you, because you happened to be lucky enough to get insurance before you got sick?

    Fractions of a penny? My favorite charity happens to be Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. I donate a hell of a lot more than fractions of a penny, not that you should believe anyone posting on the internet; but the point is that it's charity: taxes and health insurance aren't charity. I don't buy health insurance for my family out of the goodness of my heart to help other people.

    And it's not fractions of a penny for one guy... it's tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people who waited too long to buy insurance and want everyone else to pony up for it. And don't fool yourself with the phony "it's only..."

    Income taxes went from 1% on the the highest income of the wealthiest people of the country to everybody paying taxes in brackets approaching 40%, and it was always "it's just a percent more... what's one percent more? Surely you can afford that?"

    Sales taxes... from 1% to 9 and 10% in some places; where does it stop? It's always just "one more penny! Just one more penny for every dollar you spend!"

    Do I think people with preexisting conditions deserve some help? Of course I do - stop pretending the alternative to government take over of 1/6th the economy is people dying in the streets.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:52PM (#31540106)

    No but I have an observation. Spain, Italy, Greece and the UK are already bankrupt. ( or very close to it )

  • a politician, for example, cannot afford to call people teabagger morons

    however, i am not a politician. i am not trying to appeal to anyone. i traffic in ugly truths, not serene lies

    i am simply stating the facts. and the simple facts are, plain as day evident to anyone except themselves, the tea party philosophy is the philosophy of the low iq

    you won't find those words on any lips of any politician, at least in public. either those politicians gleefully courting their easily manipulated votes, or those politicians loathe to deal with the cesspool of mental filth that they are, or both, at the same time

    so: thank you for the advice. at the moment i become a politician (meaning, never), i will begin to worry about offending teabagger retards

  • by Estanislao Martínez (203477) on Friday March 19, 2010 @01:06PM (#31540350) Homepage

    Insurance sales across state lines (surely a real interstate commerce item)

    As far as this one point is concerned, I can tell you why this is unlikely to ever happen. The individual state laws regarding insurance companies and what they have to cover/can't cover/etc varies wildly from state to state, even between neighboring states. It would be nigh impossible to do this.

    Say you live in Maryland, and want to buy Insurance A from New Jersey. Say Maryland has a law stating insurance companies have to cover a specific condition, but they DON'T have that law in New Jersey. You will have bought insurance that isn't guaranteed to cover you the way it should because the laws are different in the two states...this is why companies have different "arms" in every state, because every state has vastly different laws.

    It actually wouldn't be like what you describe, because all of the insurance companies would set up shop exclusively in the states with the least regulation. So in your example, you'd only have the choice to buy your policy from New Jersey. And remember that most people don't actually choose their insurer--their employer chooses it for them.

    The whole "buy insurance across state lines" is a health insurer proposal to crassly deregulate the market in their favor, turned into a Republican talking point by a flimsy claim that it would lower costs. (Which it easily would, by reducing the insurers' operating costs while further enabling them to not pay your claims.)

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday March 19, 2010 @01:08PM (#31540384) Homepage Journal
    "Why are the self employed all but excluded from healthcare altogether?"

    Where do you get this?

    I'm on a W2 gig right now, but previously working through my own S corp, I was VERY happy with my deal.

    I set up a high deductible BCBS account, for catastrophic problems...and was then qualified to set up a HSA (Health Savings Account) where I could load it up (up to about $3K last year I believe) pre-tax. I used THAT money for my routine medical care. It isn't use it or lose it either like the FSA's they offer at W2 jobs. Why shouldn't everyone save for routine medical care just like you save aside money for house payments, retirement, etc...? I remember when Health Insurance used to be called "Hospitalization"....which was only there for catastrophic emergencies, not for every time Sally got the sniffles.

    Using insurance the wrong way, along with HMOs and all the bean counters has a LOT to do with rising health care costs...I know this because when I was paying my own way, and went to DR's or even for some medical tests (MRI, lab..etc) as soon as I told them I was paying on my own, I got at least 15% knocked right off the top of their billing rate.

    Why is that I wonder?

    One Major trouble with the health care bill they're trying to pass is...that it actually goes in and cut amounts people can load up HSA's and FSA's...this part of it sucks.

  • by IICV (652597) on Friday March 19, 2010 @01:09PM (#31540398)

    That's not even counting the Americans of all political persuasions who are irate because Obama can't magic more than 11 million jobs out of his ass to fix unemployment. I mean presuming an average salary of 40k a year that'd involve finding 440 billion dollars a year somewhere, but never mind.

    Heeeeey... you know, that's about half of what the Iraq War costs per year. Maybe if we hadn't had a complete moron for president twice in a row in the last decade, we could actually magic those jobs out of someone's ass! And instead of spending all that money blowing shit up and killing people in a foreign country, we could spend it improving our goddamn infrastructure so we don't have any more bridge collapses, or building a long, high-speed transcontinental rail line so we have a workforce that can compete with China in the mass transit area, or laying more fiber optic cables so we don't have stone-age Internet access, or hell just sending all those 11 million people to college so we'll actually have an educated workforce (and solve the problems with university funding at the same time!)

    Pity that would all be socialist though, not good and republican like a nice big war.

  • by j35ter (895427) on Friday March 19, 2010 @01:10PM (#31540404)

    "Socializing" - Less profit for health industry investors!
    The "American???" way: The ones who have money may live, the ones who don't die!

    Btw. Americas fear of socialism reminds me of the drowning man's fear of swimming

  • Re:Obviously (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday March 19, 2010 @01:32PM (#31540768) Homepage Journal
    Well, I usually try to balance things out, and watch a bit of MSNBC for awhile.

    Watch Keith Olbermann spew a bit of vitriol and some insane rants for awhile, and that alone will balance out a bit of the worst that Fox news throws out at times. But honestly, as bad as Fox can get at times...MSNBC can get as bad or even sometimes a bit worse hitting from the other end of the political spectrum.

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Friday March 19, 2010 @01:35PM (#31540818) Homepage

    Well, this is only a first step in the direction of socialized medicine. They wanted a stronger step, with the "Public Option", but that wouldn't fly, so they backed off a bit.

    Look into some of the people behind the scenes of those in power, those that influenced them and even older quotes from those in the administration. They have been put on record saying they want to move to single payer and socialized medicine..but they know it has to come a little at a time.

    You honestly believe that arguably the largest industry in the country (aside from the oil industry) would allow the United States government to take it over in its entirety and run everything from development to market to treatment?

    Let me guess...you've got a bridge to sell me as well.

  • by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Friday March 19, 2010 @01:46PM (#31540996) Homepage Journal

    Government is why these things cost so much. And yet we are about to add MORE government into the system?

    Your point of view makes complete sense to me. Also, I have never heard of other countries in the world besides the United States. Are there any? No? Then since there are no other countries, we'll just have to guess whether involving government in healthcare can work.

    Sorry, sarcasm is sometimes the best remedy. There are other countries in the world, and that makes the world a giant healthcare laboratory. I've lived in a country with actual socialized medicine and it works great. Then again, the silly notion that my sarcasm was about (government controlling healthcare!) doesn't apply here: the reconciliation bill doesn't create a new healthcare system. It does make changes to Medicare and increases doctor payments for Medicaid to bring them in line with Medicare, but I wouldn't call that "more government." The hospitals will still be owned by the organizations that own them now, the insurance companies will still be insurance companies. This is the most right-wing healthcare reform I've ever seen in a modern industrialized nation. And guess which side of the political spectrum is complaining more?

  • Re:Wrong forum (Score:3, Insightful)

    by scottv67 (731709) on Friday March 19, 2010 @01:54PM (#31541110)
    >I'm 32 years old. I have a 1200 ft^2 house that will be paid for next year. My parents had a 3000 ft^2 house that they never finished paying off.

    You need to include a little background on the houses for the comparison to be worth anything. The square footage is not enough to compare two different houses. For example, if I limited my search to the Milwaukee area, I could probably find a 1200 sq ft house (probably withing walking distance of Northridge) that I could purchase with my Visa card. I could also find a 3000 sq ft house (Brookfield, Whitefolks Bay, something with a view of Lake Michigan, etc.) that would be outside of my price range even though I make good money for this corner of the state and have no debt other than my current home.

    If you and your parents did not reside in the same area, then your comparison holds very little water.
  • by Tiger Smile (78220) <james&dornan,com> on Friday March 19, 2010 @01:54PM (#31541128) Homepage

    1) You get to deal with the IRS and they get to know you much better.

    2) You pay now and it doesn't take effect until 2014

    3) It's called the biggest deficit reduction bill ever signed!

    4) Your money will as safe as your social security payments are(their locked away awaiting our retirement aren't they).

    5) Clerical error never happen in government agencies and they always care about the captive^h^h^h^h^h^ustomer.

    It has the feeling of a tax passed to keep the Federal government afloat so it can continue to operate, but with some health care tacked on. Basically, they lost me at IRS.

  • by guspasho (941623) on Friday March 19, 2010 @01:55PM (#31541136)

    > Why can't they do a simple bill, with some main points everyone can agree on...in about 10 pages of simple language everyone can understand and agree on? Start from there and build on it?

    You only think there is something everyone agrees on, but there isn't. Any kind of reform will necessarily step on the toes of the players making money off of it, insurance, pharmaceuticals, and providers. And they have all been involved in trying to water things down. Someone below suggested that everyone agrees on drug reimportation, not the pharmaceutical companies. Removing the insurance companies' anti-trust exemption out to be a no-brainer, but you know the insurance companies will oppose it. Something like 75%+ of the country thinks we ought to have a public option, if not a single payer, but the insurance companies won't allow it.

    And after all that, the GOP has radically different ideas for health care reform than the rest of us. Fundamentally, they don't agree with the very concept of insurance. Collectivized risk? Socialism! They have Godwined the debate a countless number of times over very mundane suggestions. When the Democrats talk about collectivizing risk, they want to individualize it. When the Democrats talk about reducing premiums, they talk about raising them. When the Democrats talk about making health care cheaper, they say it should be more expensive. Their very ideas for reform are the complete antithesis of what the Democrats are trying to do. And even so, if the Democrats were to completely capitulate and implement an idea they loved, right now they are pursuing a scorched earth political strategy of obstructing everything they can, just so they can run on how the Democrats can't get anything done.

  • by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Friday March 19, 2010 @01:59PM (#31541220) Homepage

    People aren't looking to be compensated, they are looking for their coverage to not be dropped or denied because their health was already fucked when they signed up for insurance.

    And the difference is...?

    If you mean that insurance against other medical risks should not be dropped or denied due to some unrelated pre-existing condition, I completely agree. Insurance should pay to treat your broken bone regardless of your chronic immune disorder, for example, provided you didn't commit fraud by deceiving them about it.

    However, if you have a known disorder which makes your bones weak and thus leads you have suffer from broken bones at an above-average rate, then you should expect to be asked about this when signing up for insurance, and should also expect either higher premiums or more limited coverage (or both) due to your heightened risk. If you chose to lie about the disorder the insurer would be perfectly justified in dropping your entire account upon learning the truth.

    Regarding complete unknowns—conditions which you had before signing up, but didn't know about—that is a matter to be specified in the contract between you and the insurer. It would be unreasonable to terminate your coverage for other conditions when you didn't deliberately defraud them, but on the other hand there is nothing inherently reasonable about automatically covering treatment for conditions which existed before you signed up, known or otherwise.

    Finally, once a risk has been realized the original insurer should be the one to cover the cost, possibly contingent on your continued co-pays or whatever the original terms were, even if you switch to another insurer. In no case should the new insurer be expected to pay for a condition which is no longer a matter of unrealized risk. This would naturally eliminate the most common justification for coverage of pre-existing conditions, which is a change in insurers (mostly due to poor policies encouraging employer-funded insurance).

  • by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Friday March 19, 2010 @02:13PM (#31541394) Homepage Journal

    One? You're joking.

    How about the Rural Electrification Administration [wikipedia.org], without which much of the US would still be in the nineteenth century because electrical utilities companies weren't expanding beyond cities? Or the federal prison system? The government runs that. There's also the Eisenhower Interstate System [wikipedia.org], which believe it or not was created by the government and not some "Eisenhower Interstate Corporation."

    If you care more about healthcare specifically, Medicare [medicare.gov] is the reason our elderly and disabled have medical coverage, particularly useful to the elderly if their personal savings were invested in Enron or MCI or one of the many companies that were walloped over the past few years (particularly in 2008). Medicare is a great example because it provides healthcare coverage more cheaply than private insurance companies do. So does the VA system [va.gov], which covers our veterans. They do excellent cost control [cbo.gov] according to the CBO.

    Or was the point of your comment that it "has worked as planned?" That's a tall order. Name some private company initiatives that have worked as planned. Most don't. I've worked for private companies most of my adult life and I see the same waste and errors people complain about in government.

  • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Friday March 19, 2010 @02:19PM (#31541476)

    The argument is essentially: hey, we're going broke trying to provide healthcare and doing it radically worse with fewer covered than any other developed nation Vs. you're a socialist tyrant who wants to destroy our way of live, kill our elderly relatives and force all of our women to have abortions! That's not an argument, it's a reasoned position vs. a rabid chicken.

    Wow, distorting things from bias much?

    Try "this sounds like a great idea on paper (even though the countries that do it are suffering massive problems due to costs), but we're sure we can make it work" vs. "it's unconstitutional, it violates peoples rights, and it's going to put costs off the chart when our country is already massively in debt".

    I love how you start out complaining about people not having a real debate and then end by slandering anyone who disagrees with you by calling them "a rabid chicken".

  • by Farmer Tim (530755) <roundfile AT mindless DOT com> on Friday March 19, 2010 @02:22PM (#31541510) Journal

    I'm not particularly interested in hearing what people believe, I'm rather more interested in cold, hard facts and forming my own opinion. Neither Fox or CNN are sufficient for this purpose.

  • by radtea (464814) on Friday March 19, 2010 @02:28PM (#31541594)

    Whether or not there's a moral or legal imperative for the federal government to provide healthcare.

    No modern "conservative" is the least bit concerned about any of that. Proof? The War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism, neither of which the Federal Government of the United States is empowered by the Constitution to undertake.

    Since "conservatives" are all major supporters of those two bits of Federal meddling in the rights of the states, and the people, they have no moral leg to stand on when it comes to opposing a Federally-regulated health-care system.

    Nor can I find anything in the Constitution about regulation of abortion being within the Federal government's purview, yet again, "conservatives" are in favour of it.

    The mythical "small-government" conservative can still be sighted rarely in the American political wilderness, but the dominant "conservative" movement is in fact populated by wild-eyed radicals who would extend Federal power into any number of areas where there is no Constitutional mandate for it.

  • Re:Well, lets see (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @02:44PM (#31541834)

    You totally missed the point of that Good Samaritan story.

    Look, Jesus was very keen on charity. That is, on people helping each other voluntarily. The Good Samaritan volunteers to help the man. It is a choice.

    You are using this as a justification for compelling everyone to help. And they're not allowed to help in whatever way they choose. Oh, no, that wouldn't be socialist. Instead, they are required to help by paying more taxes.

    It isn't good to do something if you're compelled to do it! Come on, this is Jesus 101. Free will, yeah?

    To apply the Good Samaritan parable to your argument: the Good Samaritan, the priest and the Levite should all have been prohibited from helping the man directly, but required by law to pay the authorities to help him. The Good Samaritan clearly should have been prosecuted for breaking health and safety law, and for giving first aid without the appropriate licence. What a shithead... he was probably on the way to an Ayn Rand convention.

  • Re:Obviously (Score:3, Insightful)

    by copponex (13876) on Friday March 19, 2010 @04:37PM (#31543402) Homepage

    I'll give you a dollar for every quote from the television broadcasts of Hannity, Beck, or O'Reilly that defend the rights of:

    1. A person who isn't wealthy.
    2. A person against a corporation.
    3. An illegal alien.
    4. Muslims suspected of terrorism.
    5. Same sex couples.

    Remember: rights mean equality under the law.

    I'll give you ten dollars for any pleas to go through a diplomatic process when conflict arises between the United States and any non-white country.

    I'm dead serious. Respond with links to the transcripts, and I'll paypal or mail a check for up to $100 to the person with the most links. I seriously doubt it will be enough to buy a cup of coffee. At Dunkin Donuts.

  • Re:Sure. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iamhigh (1252742) on Friday March 19, 2010 @04:43PM (#31543490)
    1. You should learn to think for yourself... instead of blindly following others.
    2. Nothing I said requires citation... go take a drive in the ghetto this weekend, stop by a goodwill and review a globe. You will have all the info you need.
    3. From the Heritage website:

    Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution--a think tank--whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

    It's a conservative think tank with an agenda... not a research organization. You should learn the difference. Look up "objective" (I can think of two definitions for that word that would help you) in Websters for a start (hint: dictionary = objective without an objective).

  • by geezer nerd (1041858) on Friday March 19, 2010 @06:54PM (#31545230)
    Government is why these things cost so little in other countries. Why can't the US do as well?
  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Friday March 19, 2010 @07:40PM (#31545628)

    Make Microsoft and Bill Gates pay the same 15% of Gates' yearly income (as well as everyone else making more than $75k/yr) that I and my employer do and the SS solvency problem is gone.

    The idea that if we raised taxes on the rich then we would have enough money is a lie told by liberals preaching to the poor.

    There is not enough rich people. The size of the predicted (by the CBO) shortfalls we are discussing here is 14+ digit numbers (more than the GNP.) We are talking about sizable percentages of the countries entire net worth.

    You would have to start taxing the assets of the people, not their income, before you would come close. Not that there is much of an alternative.. its either fuck people this way, or fuck people that way.. cause someone is going to get fucked.

    My vote is to fuck the people that made the fucking inevitable, the boomers, which means cancel their social security and their medicare and every other entitlement they arent actually entitled to.

    We should stand there and watch with tears in our eyes, at the horror that will be their future, never lifting a finger to help them on a federal or state level. We can help our family, and our friends, and anyone else we feel deserves it on a personal level.. but they are NOT entitled to the sweat of our brows through mandate.

  • by Anpheus (908711) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:44PM (#31546522)

    The government foots the bill for people who can't pay already because we, society, have deemed it completely immoral to deny someone vital care merely because they can't afford it. To top it off, Republicans since Reagan have considered it their goal to prove that social programs can't work, and so they intentionally hamstring them. See: Medicare's inability to properly negotiate drug prices, or the fact that the federal government can't step into impoverished communities and directly provide health care and help people live healthier (and ultimately cost the government less money.)

    Right now the insurance companies have a pretty sweet deal. Healthy people they cover, and they tend to not cost much. With few restrictions on denying or rescinding coverage under current law, anyone that becomes truly expensive (and could hurt their bottom line) is shunted off into the public system. The public system is hamstrung by Republicans who don't want it to truly succeed, and as a result the very ill go into a downward spiral of debt and shame from being a burden on society, wherein they may even have to decide whether their dignity is more valuable than being well. Eventually many quit their jobs to finally be able to take advantage of medicaid or SSDI or whatever, and now they can't make any payments on anything else because they have no real income. So now they're broke, truly a burden on society, and on the fast track to homelessness and poverty for the rest of their now drastically shortened (due to spotty and infrequent health care since losing coverage) and probably less than happy life.

    What I'm saying has been backed up by countless studies showing the hundreds of thousands of people every year who go bankrupt not due to a bad bet, not due to a failed entrepreneurial venture, not due to gambling or risky behavior... but because they got sick and either didn't have coverage or hit their cap or had it taken from them. These people are then forced to be covered in the most expensive way possible because that is the only way the Republicans have allowed public health care to work. It's pathetic, it's disgusting, it's sick and it turns my stomach knowing that according to the Republican leadership in Congress, the system is working by design.

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

Working...