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US House Democrats Unveil a Health Care Plan

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the world's-largest-muddle dept.

Democrats 925

gollum123 sends in this piece from a political blog in the NY Times. Here is the text of the bill in question (PDF). "House Democrats on Friday answered President Obama's call for a sweeping overhaul of the health care system by putting forward [an] 852-page draft bill that would require all Americans to obtain health insurance, force employers to provide benefits or help pay for them, and create a new public insurance program to compete with private insurers — a move that Republicans will bitterly oppose. ... But the chairmen said they still did not know how much the plan would cost, even as they pledged to pay for it by cutting Medicare spending and imposing new, unspecified taxes. The three chairmen described their bill as a starting point in a weeks-long legislative endeavor that they said would dominate Congress for the summer and ultimately involve the full panorama of stakeholders in the health care industry, which accounts for about one-sixth of the nation's economy. ... House Republicans, who have had no involvement in the development of the health legislation so far, quickly denounced the Democrats' proposal as a thinly disguised plan for an eventual government takeover of the health care system. ... The House Democrats' plan is one of three distinct efforts underway on Capitol Hill to draft the health overhaul legislation. In the Senate, both the Finance Committee and the health committee have separate bills in the works, and in recent days those efforts seem to have stumbled."

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925 comments

I'll go ahead and say it (-1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28404889)

I ain't registering for a goddamn thing

.

Re:I'll go ahead and say it (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405039)

I ain't registering for a goddamn thing

.

In the glorious and free country of the United States a citizen's decision to register for government-mandated healthcare is absolutely and completely voluntary.

Being forced to pay for those that do register, however, is another story.

Re:I'll go ahead and say it (3, Informative)

eosp (885380) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405263)

Um....in Massachusetts, on your state income tax return, they ask whether you are enrolled in either the state program or private insurance. If the answer is no, then your taxes go up by the cost of the state program and you are enrolled. No choice---unless you want to perjure yourself, of course.

Re:I'll go ahead and say it (1)

eosp (885380) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405275)

Er, slight factual inaccuracy. They make you pay a penalty each year if you're not enrolled in insurance.

Re:I'll go ahead and say it (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405303)

Any time an unpopular social program is established, the government tries to sell it under "special" tax provisions, e.g. only those that enroll have to pay.

Once the issue is mostly forgotten, the program inevitably merges with general government spending and starts drawing money from the general tax pool (e.g. your and my tax dollars).

This ALWAYS is going to happen for a simple reason: if everyone who wanted to enroll in the program could afford to pay for it, there would not be a need for a program in the first place. The sole reason for it to exist is to get those who don't use it to pay for those that do (that is the concept of welfare).

NEVER vote for a program on the basis of it having "special" tax provisions such as pay-as-you-enroll. If you are not willing to accept a government program under the understanding that it will be paid for with general tax dollar's, don't vote for it at all, since that is inevitably what is going to happen after a while.

Re:I'll go ahead and say it (4, Insightful)

realnrh (1298639) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405399)

Except that national health care is highly unlikely to be unpopular. In countries that have national health care, again such as Britain and Germany, the national health care program is enormously popular. This is part of why the Republicans are fighting the idea so hard; they know that, much like Social Security, once a large national program is established to provide for everyone something that they want (cheaper health care), it will be impossible to kill again later.

give me a break (0)

hamanu (23005) | more than 4 years ago | (#28404891)

Oh jeez this sounds like tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theories. Require. Force. Government Takeover. Give me a break!

Re:give me a break (5, Insightful)

XopherMV (575514) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405073)

Seriously. I can't understand why anyone would expect a decent economic discussion on a semi-technical website full of wild-eyed conspiracy theorists, Ron Paul anti-government Libertarians, and other zealots who interpret forceful opinion as actual fact.

Economics IS a difficult subject to understand, let alone interpret correctly. Even professional economists who do nothing but study the economy often get things wrong. Yet, everyone talks about the economy as if they are the expert and they actually know what's going on, even if they've had zero education on the subject.

Re:give me a break (5, Insightful)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405203)

Anti-government I am. Not an economist by far. But even a fucking moron can see this tripe is designed with the insurance companies profits in mind. Screw the BS. Go ahead and kick the private insurance companies to the side and make it truly government supplied health care. Single ayer with no private companies taking a cut from the pie. There will be waste and corruption no matter what, but leaving private companies involved will double waste, corruption and cost at the bare minimum.

Re:give me a break (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405357)

It's a huge pity, really. We in the US are far better at being anti- or pro- state than we are at being anti- or pro- free market.

Thus, we get grotesque situations where, in order to avoid charges of "socialism" government functions are essentially "laundered" through private sector intermediaries that take their big fat cut and, all too often, deliver seriously subpar results. We would be much better off if we abandoned that charade and, instead, let the state attend to state functions, the private sector attend to private sector functions, and avoided the incestuous interrelations of the two.

they did not know how much the plan would cost (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28404899)

Surprised the Repulicans would find this totally unacceptable ... NOT ... unknown costs are only acceptable when it comes to war, killing and torturing foreign coloured untermenschen.

Re:they did not know how much the plan would cost (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405173)

Don't be hating - we bomb your white European asses, too.

Re:they did not know how much the plan would cost (3, Insightful)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405183)

Yeah, spending all the money you decry, spent in the 12 YEARS of Bush, being spent in the first three MONTHS under the current administration is however enlightened and useful.

You *really* need to get caught up.

If the congress and the PolitBureau really wanted to pay for hospital services, they would pay the "going rate" of hospitals. Instead, they pay $36 for a $500 procedure, causing hospitals to charge $8 for aspirin. Congress is WHY the system is broken, not the cure.

The plan is to crush as many industries as possible with legislation, then arrive as if uninvolved and claim "Capitalism did this!" and "We need more regulation!

Then, the Fed, despite the strict outlines in the Constitution, controls everything in exactly the same way as Communist governments. (Where life universally SUCKS.)

This is a means to secure control. Banking, Mortgages, Car manufacturing, everything but Hollywood is getting a "bailout" and then finding themselves so bound to do the WRONG thing, they don't want it. It's instead a "BUY OUT".

These are the end-times for the America of freedom. And in the next world war, there will be no one to save France, Belgium, Luxemburg, and all the other countries we've saved twice in the last two.

The problem with Republicans is that they're not Conservative; McCain and Obama had nothing on which to disagree- both loved the idea of central control, sweeping the Constition under the rug, and consolidating power.

Sorry, but this is where we stand. Thank the media, on our way to hell.

Re:they did not know how much the plan would cost (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405381)

It's so much more complicated than that. It's a debate where two sides can argue opposite points, and both be absolutely correct. Here is an article that addresses one side of it [wsj.com]:

Short answer: there's no easy fix. Medical costs are rising for several reasons:

* Rising costs and quality of medical care (30 years ago there were no MRIs, hip replacements).
* Corrupt doctors, ordering tests because they are profitable (read the article, it goes into great detail on that point)
* Corrupt insurance agencies (sometimes charging 30% overhead)
* Incompetent government (a point which you outlined)
* Clueless patients wanting every possible test (I can't blame them for this, it's not like we have medical degrees) and not taking care of themselves (Safeway for example managed to reduce health insurance costs by 40% or so by encouraging their employees to take care of themselves)
* Oh yes, and how can any such list be incomplete without including pharmaceutical companies and medical lobbies? Many problems there.

I'm sure I'm missing some. The good news is with all these problems, there is lots of room for improvement. The bad news is that these problems exist, and the path to fixing them isn't entirely clear. I am not sure that I favor this bill, but I think it is good we are having a debate about it. We should have had this debate 10, 20, or 40 years ago.

Re:they did not know how much the plan would cost (3, Informative)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405471)

(Safeway for example managed to reduce health insurance costs by 40% or so by encouraging their employees to take care of themselves)

And also in the Wall Street Journal, here [wsj.com] is an article about Mr. Burd, of Safeway, going to Washington to lobby regarding how the market can rein in costs:

Today, Safeway has accomplished what Washington claims is the goal: The company's per-capita health-care expenses have remained flat, compared to the near 40% increase experienced by the rest of corporate America over the past four years. This has not been done by cutting care or shifting costs to employees. Nearly 80% of the 30,000 nonunion Safeway workers who take part in the program rate it good, very good, or excellent.

Re:they did not know how much the plan would cost (1, Insightful)

realnrh (1298639) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405413)

You forgot the alien mind-control rays, unmarked helicopters, mention of 'jack-booted thugs,' and blaming the U.N. But otherwise, nice conspiracy rant!

Re:they did not know how much the plan would cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405429)

The only problem with your post is that you're right. Note, though, that there's no tort reform, so lawyers will continue to get rich. Fuck congres, fuck the democrats, and fuck their republican enablers. At this rate, we're fucked.

Welcome to the DMV approach to health care. Wait in line, and fill out the form properly

Great quote... (1, Insightful)

dtmancom (925636) | more than 4 years ago | (#28404901)

"If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until it's free."

Re:Great quote... (5, Insightful)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 4 years ago | (#28404999)

Canada has "socialized medicine" and they spend 10% of their GDP funding it. The USA has a tangled hodgepodge of insurance companies that deny valid claims, overpay their CEOs, and refuse any coverage of any pre-existing conditions, and they spend 15% of their GDP funding it, while also bankrupting countless families without enough insurance. Great Britain has the National Health Service, and they spend 7.5% of GDP funding it.

Tell me how the US can't do better than Canada and England. No really, how could we suck badly enough to be worse than Canada at national health care?

Re:Great quote... (1, Troll)

Cernst77 (816740) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405069)

Tell me how the US can't do better than Canada and England. No really, how could we suck badly enough to be worse than Canada at national health care?

Greed. And the bureaucracy of covering up said greed and defense of the status quo, of greed.

What 'Better' Means For Right Wing People (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405087)

Even if Canada, England and the rest of the countries with modern health care system were spending 1% or even 0% covering everyone if would still be considered and abomination by right wing people in the US.

Even the suggestion, let alone reality, of a poor minimum wage worker or homeless person getting access to universal health care is abhorrent.

That's just not how things are supposed to work.

Poor people are supposed to be...poor.

Wasting the massive overhead costs on insurance companies and the rest of the garbage that makes the US is worth it for right wing people in the US.

Re:Great quote... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405137)

We already are better. Notice how you can go to any doctor you want, any hospital, and pay for any operation you want, even a sex change. All at your own expense.

Far better than GB or Canada or anywhere else could even dream of.

Mexico has better national health insurance than Canada or GB or anywhere in Europe, GO FIGURE!

Re:Great quote... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405199)

And if you can't afford it, you can take yourself a medical vacation to a country where you can. The important thing is that, here, we don't ration our healthcare.

Re:Great quote... (3, Insightful)

realnrh (1298639) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405445)

Except for the bit about not providing it to some people, or providing less of it. When the HMO demands that the doctor not spend the needed time with each patient, but shuttle them in and out as fast as possible - they're rationing the amount of care that doctor is allowed to provide, so that he can provide more people with less care.

Re:Great quote... (5, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405451)

And if you can't afford it, you can take yourself a medical vacation to a country where you can. The important thing is that, here, we don't ration our healthcare.

Because if you can't afford healthcare, taking a flight to foreign country and taking days or weeks off your job is obviously within your means! (And I'll bet this is a *great* solution for getting preventative care too!)

Oh, crazy right wingers... One wonders if you ever even talked to someone who is a member of the working poor.

Re:Great quote... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405221)

I am a 45 year old Canadian and no one has EVER told what doctor I may/may not see.
It has never been mentioned or hinted at by any of the doctors I have seen or by any government bureauocrat.

I call B.S. on your claim.

Re:Great quote... (1)

Quantos (1327889) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405341)

Mexico has better national health insurance than Canada or GB or anywhere in Europe, GO FIGURE!

I think some citation may be needed here. France is in Europe, and provides pay for lost time to illness. The government pays half of what is lost and the employer pays the other half. It's also not a severly capped pay schedule either, in Canada you rely on your benefits or Employment Insurance - which is not much of a help. I just don't know what this costs the French government.

Citation? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405375)

Fox News

Re:Great quote... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405239)

The NHS in the UK is in really bad shape. 'Free' healthcare is available, but most middle class folks shell out for private healthcare. Offering medical insurance as a job benefit is seen as being particularly valuable.

Re:Great quote... (3, Insightful)

bwt (68845) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405317)

Canada and England do not have our malpractice litigation mentality, which raises costs as doctors practice "defensive medicine". Neither has the high costs of introducing new medications associated with our FDA, which results in the same pills being substantially cheaper in Canada than in the US. Both offer lower quality service, with rationing, and less access to innovative procedures. The problem with a state run insurance plan is that that the state has never made anything more efficient. Ever. It's really astounding to me that people continually propose government takeovers of things.

The way to reduce health care costs is to find waste in the system and eliminate them through process improvement. Everything else is a shell game.

Re:Great quote... (1)

Jesterace (914041) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405325)

Keep in mind that we Canadians are taxed to death and pay taxes on almost everything just for this to work.

Re:Great quote... (3, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405403)

Yes, that is true, and my wife had pneumonia last year, and was hospitalised for almost a week. Without National Health, we would have been bankrupted. So, if I have to pay $14 for a crappy bottle of Gallo or $25 for a 750 of Smirnoff, fine. I can live with that, because I don't know how I would live without my wife.

RS

Re:Great quote... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405079)

"If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until it's free."

Well, that sounds good, and it will be modded way up because it strokes politically oh-so-fashionable sentiments around here. But there are plenty of countries where people pay way less for government-provided health care because there is less bureaucracy than there is here in the U.S. Of course, I'll be modded -1, Anti-'Mur'kin! for pointing that out.

Stupid... (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#28404907)

Itâ(TM)s no secret that the healthcare system (Along with the education system) is broken and needs work, but weâ(TM)re in a deep recession here and now isnâ(TM)t the most appropriate time to start spending billions. The primary goal should be to repair the economy first and then when everythingâ(TM)s kosher start disquieting about the other stuff; you canâ(TM)t do everything all at once.

If only the Obama administration wasnâ(TM)t so pedantic and feels like it needs to play God.

Re:Stupid... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28404937)

but we're in a deep recession here and now isn't the most appropriate time to start spending billions.

Actually, during a recession is the best time for the government to increase spending. The government is the only employer/buyer/spender that can afford to run counter to economic cycles. It has the ability to lessen the boom and bust cycle of the economy by running counter to it. IF the government followed the cycle of the rest of the market, then it would make booms worse and it wake make busts worse.

Re:Stupid... (1, Insightful)

jiriw (444695) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405081)

Disclaimer: I live in a small country in the northwestern part of Europe.

weÃ(TM)re in a deep recession here and now isnÃ(TM)t the most appropriate time to start spending billions

Who says anything about spending? They are drafting a proposal and they want a public health care system. Good. It's 10 years overdue. Every time I read about 'republican' opposition they are screaming 'Obama is spending too much' or 'democrats are going to make this country a new communist state'. Well if I look at recent history I know what 8 years of spending has done to the United States: No good and (the seeds of) a global recession.

Now, I'm not saying the northwestern part of Europe or the U.S. is a better place to live in. But for public health care: Take a look how it's done in most European countries and then calculate medical spending per capita for an average European and an average American (Hint: You pay more and get less). Some popular (maybe too popular for some tastes) American documentary maker even made a film out of it. Google for 'Sicko'. It might not be to your liking but it also might give you another perspective.

Re:Stupid... (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405219)

Michael Moore does point out some interesting things in "Sicko" but it contradicts what your saying. He is giving praise to the healthcare systems like the French and bashing the American system; but from what I read you make it seem like no healthcare system is good. Care to elaborate on your take?

Also, I'm not bashing the democrats because they have come up with a few decent bills lately but they need to continue there good track record since they have both the house and the senate until at least 2010.

Re:Stupid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405433)

The whole point is, if the government runs helthcare, they decide who gets care, how much and when care is given. Not the people and their doctors.

If the government becomes the single payer, do you honestly believe that health care prices with go down? With a single payer system there's no competition and no incentive to reduce prices.

Re:Stupid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405097)

Billions? Uh, last estimate has it costing upwards of $1.6 TRILLION...

Re:Stupid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405123)

Three things:

1- There never is an "appropriate" time to spend billions. Ask 10 people, you'll get 15 answers on it.

2- Since when "repairing the economy" and "spending billions" are opposites? One leads to the other, afaik.

3- Your comment about the Obama administration is pretty retarded and shows that you lack the proper understanding of the situation.

Bottom line, people are sad about the current healthcare system yet feel that if things change, it can only be for the worse. I'd say that this state of mind is the real tragedy of this moment. Changing that system can bring forth a better situation. It probably will require a lot of work until everyone is on board with the plan but then again, it's hard to achieve consensus.

Re:Stupid... (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405171)

You don't think that the current health care system is not contributing to the current recession?

Re:Stupid... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405195)

Yesss! Because the best way to repair the economy is to give more money to the rich instead of fixing structural problems that made those people rich in the first place.

Re:Stupid... (3, Insightful)

realnrh (1298639) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405283)

Healthcare currently is costing America approximately 15% of GDP and getting poor results. A well-implemented national plan could bring that down into line with the other developed democracies of the world such as Germany and the U.K., or about 10% (your numbers may vary depending on calculation method, etc, and may be somewhat lower, but let's go with 10% for a rough estimate). This saves 5% of the current US economy that can be put to productive uses instead of pointless quality-of-life-diminishing health insurance bureaucracy. This also means many of the paper-pushers currently drawing down salaries denying people coverage will have to go do productive work instead, further improving the economic situation. Further, US companies will no longer be at a competitive disadvantage with their foreign competitors, who do not have to shell out for their workers' health coverage.

So, yes, fixing health care is a plausible means to repair the economy. It is entirely possible to fix two interrelated problems at once. Whether it is an economic issue is not really in question, given the size of the healthcare industry in the US. You might dispute the efficacy of a national healthcare plan, but it'll still have an economic impact one way or another, and President Obama has made it clear in previous statements that he believes that fixing the U.S. health system will have beneficial economic effects.

Re:Stupid... (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405389)

This also means many of the paper-pushers currently drawing down salaries denying people coverage will have to go do productive work instead, further improving the economic situation.

Even though paper-pushers don't contribute to society, they are employed. If we start shutting out the insurance agencies what happens to all of those jobs?

Cost (4, Insightful)

Alethes (533985) | more than 4 years ago | (#28404909)

"But the chairmen said they still did not know how much the plan would cost..."

I'm not sure the politicians care how much it's going to cost since it's not their money.

Re:Cost (5, Insightful)

hamanu (23005) | more than 4 years ago | (#28404947)

Of COURSE they don't know how much a voluntary insurance plan is going to cost, since they can't FORCE you to sign up for it! Blue Cross doesn't know how much their plan costs in advance either.

Re:Cost (1)

plague911 (1292006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405043)

Since when don't politicians pay taxes? Social Security etc gets taken out of their pay checks just like everyone one else.....

OMG!!! It's Like...'teh Politicians'! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405301)

Go back to playing World of Warcraf, watching reality TV shows, or whatever the fuck you waste your life doing.

Leave the grown up issues to the grown ups.

NO NO NO! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28404923)

Healthcare is screwed up because of the various regulations and monopolys the govt has created.

If we had a free market instead of the quasi-socialist/fascist system in place now, the market would set fair prices.

No one ever talks about health care in laize-fair jurisdictions. Last time I was out of the US I paid $65 for a doctors visit and two prescriptions TOTAL. Open system. No govt price fixing. No government subsidies. My friend had a tooth extracted there, cost $150. My father just had the same in the US, cost $800.

Get the government the hell out of my life!

Re:NO NO NO! (2, Insightful)

realnrh (1298639) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405315)

So either this took place in another developed country, where national health care kept costs down, or it took place in a developing country, where costs are lower due to lower wages and costs of living? This fails to prove the claim that high quality of life + low bureacracy = cheap healthcare, only that a tradeoff between the three is possible.

Will this bill stop the pre existing condition BS? (5, Interesting)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28404935)

Will this bill stop the pre existing condition BS? Let you buy any plan that you want? UN tie it from your job?

How about having a Bankruptcy that is just for Health stuff and does not show up on any back round check?

Not let people ask about you medial history before offering your a job?

Make it so you can not be dropped by a insurance provider.

Re:Will this bill stop the pre existing condition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405027)

BS? What makes you think it's BS? Oh that's right, you don't want to pay for it yourself, as long as someone else does...

Re:Will this bill stop the pre existing condition (1, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405241)

The whole point of insurance is to have other people pay for your problems, you dumbass. If insurance doesn't do that, it is a scam that takes everyone's money and does not help people when they need it.

Then its not insurance... (1, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405095)

Will this bill stop the pre existing condition BS? Let you buy any plan that you want? UN tie it from your job?

Actually, no the bill won't do any of that. Are you sure you are not asking for someone else to pay your medical bills? I agree that employers should be untied from medical care and all insurance should be
privately purchased. But I think if you have a pre-existing condition you should be shuffled into a government program that covers your costs since you most likely cannot cover them yourself.

Take, for example, HIV treatment. Most people probably couldn't afford the cocktail that keeps them alive. But I don't think its too terrible to throw in a couple bucks of year in taxes per person to help another guy stay alive, as long as he doesn't bitch about Republicans, in which case, I'd vote to cut him off.

How about having a Bankruptcy that is just for Health stuff and does not show up on any back round check?

Nope. Why should it? I would think that, as a lender, paying back your health loans first would be the thing that they look for... you know, do the logical thing and pay the people to keep you alive.

Not let people ask about you medial history before offering your a job?

Quite frankly I think any credit check should be off limits when applying for a job or a place to live.

Make it so you can not be dropped by a insurance provider.

That would throw too many programmers out of work. Besides, the whole point of insurance is about risk management. If an insurance cannot manage the risk, it cannot operate as a company. Quite frankly the thing to do would be to deregulate all the coverage provided by insurance and get rid of all the various state mandates that make it more expensive.

Holy Shit Are You A Fucking Piece Of Garbage (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405253)

If anyone had any questions why the US health care 'system' continues to be a complete joke compared to the rest of the Western World just read this single post from this fucked in the head wacko.

Miserable little fucks screaming about people getting a free ride while wasting their own 'precious' money on more than 50 percent extra on health care costs in the US compared to every other modern aka 'Socialized' health care system.

Democracy's fatal flaw. Too many people are just fucking stupid like jstork.

Re:Then its not insurance... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405327)

Take, for example, HIV treatment. Most people probably couldn't afford the cocktail that keeps them alive. But I don't think its too terrible to throw in a couple bucks of year in taxes per person to help another guy stay alive, as long as he doesn't bitch about Republicans, in which case, I'd vote to cut him off.

Why am I not surprised to see a Republican openly proclaming that they'd vote for someone to be killed for not liking Republicans?

Besides, the whole point of insurance is about risk management. If an insurance cannot manage the risk, it cannot operate as a company. Quite frankly the thing to do would be to deregulate all the coverage provided by insurance and get rid of all the various state mandates that make it more expensive.

Yes. If insurance was about nothing more than hedging bets on property, and we were primarily concerned with the health of the insurance industry, then this would be the move to take. However, since health insurance deals with human lives, and the people most likely to have the poorest coverage are those least likely to be able to absorb the costs of health care that is uncovered, then it's not a simply matter of "letting the market sort things out." After all, the current economic downturn is showing us right now what happens to average people caught in the wake when we let the market sort out unregulated financial speculation. (i.e. Credit default swaps and reporting agencies that didn't have enough financial incentive to rate the products honestly.)

But then again, I'm talking to someone who just said that AIDS patients should be allowed to die if they don't agree with you. I'm guessing you don't have much value for human life.

Re:Then its not insurance... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405337)

That would throw too many programmers out of work.

Good!

Besides, the whole point of insurance is about risk management. If an insurance cannot manage the risk, it cannot operate as a company. Quite frankly the thing to do would be to deregulate all the coverage provided by insurance and get rid of all the various state mandates that make it more expensive.

The point of insurance is to keep people healthy. If society can't provide that with the current system, it has to decrease the (now exorbitant) prices until people, taken as a whole, can pay for it. Insurance is merely an intermediate in this process -- if it can't operate with a profit, make it a nonprofit.

Re:Then its not insurance... (3, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405391)

The point of insurance is to keep people healthy. If society can't provide that with the current system, it has to decrease the (now exorbitant) prices until people, taken as a whole, can pay for it. Insurance is merely an intermediate in this process -- if it can't operate with a profit, make it a nonprofit

The point of insurance is to provide a way for people to manage the financial risk of catastrophic health care costs. It is up to you to keep you healthy.

I think the larger point is that health care is so expensive that we cannot afford to pay for it ourselves, and that, if an insurance company cannot operate profitably, it means probably that health care is too expensive for society as a whole. With health care costs climbing by 10% a year, it stands to reason that even if you completely wiped out private insurance, in a scant few years, those profits would be replaced by tax increases or additional borrowing as costs continued to climb.

The only sensible way to approach health care is to understand that we have created cures and treatments that we cannot afford, and the only way to have health care for everyone is to not have those treatments. That way, everyone could afford to actually pay for their own health care.

Right On! Let The Fag Die (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405351)

"Take, for example, HIV treatment. Most people probably couldn't afford the cocktail that keeps them alive. But I don't think its too terrible to throw in a couple bucks of year in taxes per person to help another guy stay alive, as long as he doesn't bitch about Republicans, in which case, I'd vote to cut him off."

You are so right!

Those fucking Democrats want to take our hard earned money and give it to fags to keep them alive. Fucking godless socialists and communists.

It seems obvious from this (3, Insightful)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28404959)

It seems obvious from this look into the early stage of a house bill that 'democrats' and 'republicans' are acting as either side of a polar debate, one proposing knowing it's plan leans far too far one way, confident that the other side will try as hard as possible the other way, reaching a stalemate.

it's kinda like the game my brother and I would play as children splitting a piece of cake , one cuts - the other chooses.

Of course, what happens when there is more then two ways to look at a problem, i don't know.

Re:It seems obvious from this (1)

Tiberius_Fel (770739) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405387)

As has been said before, any issue that is not black and white will be cut, beaten, reworded, altered, reframed, redefined, polarized, radicalized, and several more things until it becomes black and white, and then the two parties will take sides, each declaring their side to be 100% perfect good, and the other side to be 100% perfect evil. I don't know why you would expect anything else.

Two Sides? You Can't Be Serious (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405425)

There are two sides:

1. The entire modern world that has low cost universal health care

2. The Democrats and Republicans on the other side with Republicans off in 'teh free market' la-la land and Democrats too fearful of the 'Insurance' company lobbying/campaign contribution dollars to propose any real long term solution

Look at the timing of the announcment (0, Troll)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 4 years ago | (#28404985)

I can't believe this was released in the same week where the government sponsored VA hospitals were sticking dirty anal scopes up veteran's asses and giving them hepatitis and AIDS.

I guess cleaning the ass scope isn't that fun so they decided to only do it once at the end of the day.

This is why I'll steer far clear of government run health care.

Re:Look at the timing of the announcment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405099)

Speaking as somebody who knows of dozens of people infected because of a non-government hospital reusing sterilized items because it was cheaper than buying disposables...you should steer far clear of the health care industry in general.

It ain't just the VA that has these problems, even your local doctor's office could have a penny-pincher.

Re:Look at the timing of the announcment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405369)

This is why I'll steer far clear of government run health care.

You have nothing to worry about, since nobody in power is proposing more government run health care. Even the more liberal politicians like Dennis Kucinich and Bernie Sanders tend to advocate at most a single payer system, in which the providers of health care would be the same as they are now, but the role of private insurance companies would be substantially reduced.

Of the main plans being developed, the House Democrats' plan is the only one that even calls for a government run health insurance provider, but aside from start-up costs, even their plan's "public option" would be funded by insurance premiums and not a progressive taxation scheme (except for the financial aid to the poor, but that could also be spent on private insurance plans).

The irony, of course... (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#28404991)

Is that the House Democrats are essentially following the blueprint for Healthcare provided by Republican Mitt Romney in Massachussetts. So far, the Massachusetts model has pretty much worked, in that, they did reduce the number of uninsured significantly. However, costs for the state provided side of the plan have come in way more than anyone either promised or expected. Quite frankly, the expansion of the health insurance pool did not increase the economies of scale and drive down costs for everyone. Now everyone just has procedures that they cannot afford done.

The other irony is that Obama's said to be considering the McCain plan's idea of taxing health care benefits and requiring employers to purchase it.

Re:The irony, of course... (2, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405401)

Now everyone just has procedures that they cannot afford done.

Most of my friends from work go to their doctor whenever they have a cold. Its fucking ridiculous and it needs to stop, but it wont stop until people take responsibility for their own.

Nationalized coverage wont help. It will make it worse!

Re:The irony, of course... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405409)

The fact that all the major candidates had some sort of health care proposal shows how seriously the general population takes this issue. Most people are worried about the health care system and want some sort of fix (sorry Ron Paul supporters).

852-page draft bill (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405033)

I suspect congress will look at all the examples of socialized medicine around the world and end up picking the worst elements from each of them.

Re:852-page draft bill (2, Insightful)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405261)

You underestimate them. They will add awful ideas no other country ever thought of.

Re:852-page draft bill (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405385)

That reminds me, there ought to be a law that congress (and the president) must actually read what they vote on/sign into law.

That ought to slow things down a bit, which is a good thing, when talking about bureaucracies.

Socialism - Good on Paper, Not in Reality... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405057)

Socialism - Good on Paper, Not in Reality...

An economics professor at Texas Tech said he had failed very few students but had, once, failed an entire class. That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said, "Ok, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism."
"All grades will be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade meaning, obviously, no one will receive an A." They all agreed to this. After the first test the grades were averaged and everyone got a C. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.
But, as the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too, so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around the average was an F.
The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. To their great dismay the professor failed them all. Then he sent all of them this note: "A socialistic government will also ultimately fail - because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed."

Re:Socialism - Good on Paper, Not in Reality... (4, Informative)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405175)

Because under a socialist government everyone gets paid the exact same averaged dollar amount per year regardless of what job they do and how good/efficient they are at it right? No one is advocating that kind of system, not even the real socialists nutcases [cpusa.org].

What you described is not socialism or socialist policy and it's intellectually dishonest to call it so.

Re:Socialism - Good on Paper, Not in Reality... (2, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405395)

Then he sent all of them this note: "A socialistic government will also ultimately fail - because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed."

Actually, the real lesson is that a socialist government will fail when you let a tinpot dictator practice collective punishment to advance his own political agenda as happened in the USSR under Stalin but didn't happen in Sweden under a democratic government. This is really more of a fable about college professors pushing an agenda and punishing students' grades when they disagree.

Fundamental difference. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405083)

The question you have to ask yourself is, do you think access to health care is a right or do you think that it is just another commodity to be bought and sold. If you say health care is a right then you have to be willing to pay for everyone to have it, it will be expensive, very expensive. If you think it's a commodity then you need to admit that poor people don't deserve to see doctors, or deserve a substantially lower quality of care from understaffed and overwhelmed free clinics.

I happen to think health care is something society needs to provide to everyone equally. I know where the money can come from without raising taxes too. I have my eye set on the bloated defense budget. Cut the military fully in half (by dollars spent) and we'd still have the best armed forces in the world for DEFENSE of the nation and we'd have the money to take care of every sick and injured man woman and child.

There are other things we can do to reduce costs as well such as approve the use of drugs that are already available in Europe and Canada and have been proven safe, and reform the liability insurance system.

So let's see.... (0, Troll)

mcwop (31034) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405215)

Government run schools suck. Baltimore is not safe, because the government cannot provide basic safety. We fight unnecessary wars. We have terrible copyright laws. Government granted cable monopolies. Etc... etc... etc... Our government is going to "fix" health care? ROTFLMAO Call me when our moronic government can get the basics right.

Fund health care with a carbon tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405223)

That way they have money for the plan, and they don't have to work on some Rube Goldberg cap-and-trade scheme later on for climate change.

That probably won't raise enough money by itself, so slap Pigovian taxes on other negative externalities, and if still more is necessary, levy land value taxes (land in the economic sense, including natural resources, radio frequencies, and of course land itself).

This suggestion isn't because I like taxes, but because taxes on negative externalities and on inelastically-supplied goods -- like land -- have a far less harmful effect on economic activity than taxes on labor, capital, or trade.

Required Use (1)

Thunderstruck (210399) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405247)

Can anyone point out for me the mechanism that is going to require ALL citizens to buy health care coverage? I can't seem to find it. What happens under this plan of someone does not?

Orwellian language, as usual (4, Insightful)

darjen (879890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405255)

and create a new public insurance program to compete with private insurers

We see what you are doing here. Government provision of services, by definition, is the exact opposite of free market competition. When you take money from people by force and give it to others, that is NOT competition. Please stop saying that it is.

Do not be afraid (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405273)

The current plan is appears to be much more moderate than universal health care, which means that we will be free to continue letting children die at birth while giving old irresponsible people 3 and 4 bypasses.

First, it appears to requires universal coverage. This is good. I remember a long time ago when universal coverage was not the norm for automobiles. All these irresponsible people would drive around, damage other peoples property, and then not pay. What was more they often continued to damage other peoples property with little consequence. This meant that those who were responsible had to pay higher premiums. Now everyone has to have proof of financial responsibility. One consequence of this is that I can get coverage against the irresponsible motorist for very little money. The benefit of health care should be similar. No more irresponsible people going to the hospital without health insurance. This should mean that those of us who actually pay for medical treatment, instead of expecting others to cover the bills,

Second, there will be a public option. Auto insurance in many states has the same option. Most of us do not use the public option. Most of us still pay private firms to carry our insurance. The public option is used by those those who cannot or chooses not to afford private insurance. Sure this public option costs money, but not nearly as much as having some irresponsible asshole crash into your house in his SUV, then discovering he has no insurance or assets because all his or her income went to pay the note of the truck. Every uninsured person costs us money. The public option will insure that hospitals and doctors get some money for every patient, so they do not have to gouge the rest of us.

Third, and this is what I hope, that they reform payments and set standards for care. For instance, it make no sense to pay 80% of a standard cost for a procedure, when in most cases doctors charge double the standard costs. Pay 100% of the standard cost, and don't worry about co-pays. The co-pay is built in with real and opportunity costs. Likewise, set minimum standard for diagnostics. Hospitals are spending money on proton accelerators rather than prene care. We can live without proton accelerators and other machines that go beep. What we need is care.

And this is what I think many people are afraid of. That medicine is going to go back to giving care, rather than huge returns on investments for the HMO or funding for lavish and extravagant building and equipment that rich people can then put their name on because they paid half. Or, as mentioned, we might be concerned that in the US we have a higher infant mortality rate than Cuba or Hungary, the worst in the developed world.

Re:Do not be afraid (1)

realnrh (1298639) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405379)

It's not about the machines that go beep. It's all about the machines that go 'Ping!' And the most expensive machines in the hospital, sold and then leased back so it comes out of the operating budget and not out of the capital budget.

Hell no. (2, Insightful)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405293)

I've been paying for my own medical insurance out of my own pocket since I was 23, now 36. A few months ago, my automatically deducted premiums jumped from $290ish to $530ish a month. Why?

Because Medicare sent my HMO (Group Health) a message indicating that I was on Medicare, and so they automatically combined the billing, without notifying me. I'm not even on Medicare! I may get a refund in Mid-August... meanwhile, I'm scraping by, because I saved some money for emergencies... having this happen during my regular period of unemployment (MSFT contractor 'break') makes it extra painful.

Make healthcare more affordable, so more people will choose to have it. NOT mandatory, involving buerocrats that'll screw it up even worse. Offer tax incentives, etc to businesses to cover their employees, don't cram it as another effective mandatory tax.

If the plan doesn't involve the FDA, it's useless (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405343)

If the goal is truly to do some good for the country, then the place to start is the FDA. They need to seriously rethink their views on health and nutrition and what should be allowed in the foods sold in the U.S. There are nations with a fraction of the health issues (per capita) of the U.S. and they also have better policies regarding the contents of food. The corn syrup has GOT to go for starters and they should take with it all of the aspartame and any of the dozens of other things that do not belong in our food. And let's not get into farming, dairy and livestock practices or we'd go on for days. Monsanto has GOT to go. Hormones and antibiotics on "healthy animals" have also got to go.

There is so much wrong going on in with U.S. food system that it just makes me sick... it makes us all sick. Get rid of that stuff and we will see a LOT less need for healthcare and a lot less obesity.

Not all Americans can afford health care... (1)

junglebeast (1497399) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405411)

As a graduate student without support, I basically have no income...I don't have health insurance because I can't afford it. How can you force everyone to buy health insurance? What about people like me? If this is really how it is then I'd like to take back my vote for Obama :(

How about this idea (5, Interesting)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405419)

Let's require that whatever bill they propose, that all of the US government, especially congress & house, have to operate under that bill for one year before it can be forced on the rest of us. Whatever plan they currently have is gone. They are not allowed to work outside of their proposed system. They have to use only what their bill contains, and the funding has to come as a deduction (tax) out of their salaries. The money used to provide their health care services must come from whatever they paid in, and if (when) it runs out, nobody gets any more services until more funding is available. Also, any government employee who goes outside the system must declare it on some specified national forum, so we can know about its deficiencies before it takes effect on the rest of us.

This will show us if it is a viable plan, and that it is has enough money coming in so that extra funding is not hidden in additional taxes. Let's see how they like their own plan before we're forced into another stupid plan.

News for nerds, stuff that matters. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405439)

How is this geek centric news?

Another freedom gone (1)

kgroombr (608645) | more than 4 years ago | (#28405457)

Just give me one Government program that works, isn't in a shambles, isn't broke, or isn't full of corruption, and I will go for this. I am sick of the Government mentality that we are too stupid to think for ourselves. Several are, but not me. Please let me choose.

Great Month For Medical Reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405459)

Not only is it high time that we assure complete health care for every citizen it is also a life and death issue for American business. Just how can our factories compete when the health care is attached to the employer in America while overseas health care is provided by governments? It is absolutely vital that we get employers out of funding employee health insurance.
                  And as far as social justice is concerned it is far better to have the rich getting a little less health care than they are used to than to allow one hundred million or more Americans to get little or no health care at all.
                One topic that is being avoided is regulating the fees that doctors, hospitals and the health industry in general are allowed to charge. Today insurance companies compel providers to charge less but those without insurance are paying ten times more for identical care. For example without insurance one medication I used cost about $500. per month while with strong insurance it costs me nothing at all and the insurance company pays $35. for the exact same script.
                  It's late but change is still welcomed.

The U.S. already has government-run health care... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28405463)

Have you seen all of the nightmare stories about the Veterans' Administration hospitals? This is how we in the U.S. treat our heroes -- imagine what health care will look like for the rest of us if we allow the government to ram *this* turd down our throats?

At last glance, the Constitution has no language about a federal health care system, and if that document doesn't explicit tell the federal government to do something, then the responsibility devolves to the states.

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