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Landmark Health Insurance Bill Passes House

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the put-off-that-angioplasty-for-a-while dept.

Democrats 1698

theodp writes "A hastily-crafted amendment imposing tough new restrictions on abortion coverage in insurance policies helped pave the way for the House to approve the Democrats' bill to overhaul the nation's health insurance system. 'It provides coverage for 96 percent of Americans,' said Rep. John Dingell. Rep. Candice Miller disagreed, calling the legislation 'a jobs-killing, tax-hiking, deficit-exploding' bill. The 1,990-page, $1.2 trillion legislation passed by a vote of 220-215 and moves on for Senate debate, which is expected to begin in several days." Update — 11/08 at 13:45 GMT by SS: Changed vote totals above to reflect the actual bill vote. The 240-194 number was for the abortion restrictions amendment.

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1698 comments

Free Stuff!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30020842)

Amg.

Strikers Vow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30020848)

I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

Re:Strikers Vow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021012)

Please die for me, then.

Re:Strikers Vow (-1, Troll)

millennial (830897) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021086)

And this is why Ayn Rand was a useless bitch. Take your broken pop philosophy somewhere else, please; the adults are trying to make things better.

Re:Strikers Vow (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021138)

the adults are trying to make things better.

The adults know that you can't fix the problems of a mostly government-controlled mess by making it fully government-controlled. Keynesians are infantile morons.

-jcr

What's in it? (5, Insightful)

serps (517783) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020854)

Insurance industry practices such as denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions would be banned, and insurers would no longer be able to charge higher premiums on the basis of gender or medical history.

I'm not from the US, but isn't that the main bit of you guys' healthcare system that's most in need of fixing?

In my country, pre-existing conditions just mean that you can't claim anything for 12 months after joining. It doesn't affect premiums or anything, and no health insurance provider can reject your application.

So, I guess, welcome to the 20th century!

Re:What's in it? (4, Interesting)

Igarden2 (916096) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020948)

Dude, get a clue !!! The bill has no provision that the recipient of health care be a legal resident. Regardless of protestations to the contrary, unwelcome aliens will take full advantage of the U.S. taxpayers. The bill does nothing to streamline the payment process which now sucks up a huge amount of premiums. The bill does not limit the insurance companies from denying coverage for any damned thing. True, they can't deny selling you a policy, but that policy can have lots of loopholes to deny specific conditions. There is no mention of tort reform. That alone is the main reason that many doctors and hospitals are going out of business in my state. This nightmare does not really improve our health care system. There are so many other provisions that could have been enacted to make the system better. Do you see any limitations on Big Pharma in this bill? Neither do I. I am in favor of an improved health system. This bill is not even close to an improvement.

Re:What's in it? (1)

Jerry Smith (806480) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021032)

Dude, get a clue !!! The bill has no provision that the recipient of health care be a legal resident. Regardless of protestations to the contrary, unwelcome aliens will take full advantage of the U.S. taxpayers. The bill does nothing to streamline the payment process which now sucks up a huge amount of premiums. The bill does not limit the insurance companies from denying coverage for any damned thing. True, they can't deny selling you a policy, but that policy can have lots of loopholes to deny specific conditions. There is no mention of tort reform. That alone is the main reason that many doctors and hospitals are going out of business in my state. This nightmare does not really improve our health care system. There are so many other provisions that could have been enacted to make the system better. Do you see any limitations on Big Pharma in this bill? Neither do I. I am in favor of an improved health system. This bill is not even close to an improvement.

Then deny the illegal aliens that to which they are not entitled. People dó have to identify at the hospital, don't they? Do not let the legit US population suffer. And all the negative things you mention, the loopholes, Big Pharma: that'll have to be fixed in another, more appropriate way. If this system is better than the old system (and the majority thinks it is), use this system.

I'm not and never have been a US resident, also and like most /.-ers I'm not an expert on insurance systems: what would you suggest should be done to have fixed the old system?

Re:What's in it? (5, Informative)

Igarden2 (916096) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021076)

I forgot to mention the ultimate hypocrisy in this bill. Every member of the legislature is exempt from the bill. They have their own luxury system that is fully paid for by the taxpayers for life.

Re:What's in it? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020956)

Yes and no. Yes, that's been broken for some time, but it's more than that. The state I live in has a questionnaire that one is required to fill out as part of the application. It's specifically designed to flunk at least 10% of the population into the high risk, and therefore high cost, insurance pool. Even things which are relatively minor and may not even be an applicants fault can get them randomly flunked.

Pre-existing conditions is a wonderful way of saying that none of your previous doctors noticed it so we're not paying either.

But as an aside, of course it affects premiums. Unless there's some entity to compete with the insurance companies requiring them to do all this extra coverage will cost more. At least without other reforms. Whenever an insurance company is required to come up with more coverage, they raise the price to accommodate that requirement. A public option would at least require that they compete with somebody with an active interest in keeping costs down.

Of course removing all those special protections from things like bid rigging and anti-trust misbehavior would help a lot with cost.

Re:What's in it? (1, Troll)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021082)

It doesn't affect premiums or anything

This continued blind faith in the existence of a free lunch is nothing short of astounding.

You're paying for it, somewhere.

Re:What's in it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021106)

This was never about health care... it's about further centralizing power and control over our lives and at that goal it seems to succeed. This is a war on the middle class plain and simple... they don't want us to have disposable income. If you make over 88k can you afford to spend 20% of your income buying a mandatory policy? They want the private insurance companies to be driven out of business so the government is the only option... meanwhile the similar programs medicare/medicaid are bankrupt and combined with social security have 100 trillion in unfunded debt as all the boomers retire within the next 10 years. This health bill is in measure a way to help with that bill... as it rations care so as to kill off the boomers as they age rather than let them have fancy life extending medical treatments. It will also punish doctors by systemically cutting the amounts of money they will receive for procedures driving doctors out of the business and creating shortages as they struggle to appease the bureaucrats. Being a doctor in this country will now mean you aren't allowed to make any money... this is speculation but I expect the health care system to be the next to fall under the 'pay czar' once the government is running things.. just like they are trying to do for any company that lends money. There are death panels... just not in such an obvious way.. it's all about controlling costs you see and some big policy book deciding who gets what care. If you are not happy with your insurance company you can change companies or sue them.. but you can't sue the government or agents of the government (read doctors) if they screw up. So... remind me again what the problem is we are fixing?

Re:What's in it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021152)

> So, I guess, welcome to the 20th century!

Thanks! We're so looking forward to living with the failed European socialist policies of the previous century...

Re:What's in it? (1, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021162)

I'm not from the US, but isn't that the main bit of you guys' healthcare system that's most in need of fixing?

No, the main problem of our health care system is that government interference (bought and paid for by the biggest vendors in the field) drives the costs up and prohibits competition. We need affordable health care, not horrendously expensive health insurance that's compulsory to purchase.

-jcr

Re:What's in it? (3, Interesting)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021172)

The issue is that many people won't buy health insurance until they need it. That fundamentally breaks the model because insurance depends on having a pool of healthy people paying but not costing anything. The legislation kind of makes up for that by forcing everybody to buy health insurance (with threats of jail or heavy fines if they don't), but ultimately that will screw poor people who don't have money to buy it.

I think I can I think I can (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020858)

Maybe the US will finally join the rest of the industrialized world in actually providing medical care to its citizens, instead of taking the, "find your own care" attitude.

Re:I think I can I think I can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021052)

Yes and where will all of those people from those industrialized nations who have been denied operations in their own countries go now! Like me!

Re:I think I can I think I can (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021116)

Maybe the US will finally join the rest of the industrialized world in actually providing medical care to its citizens, instead of taking the, "find your own care" attitude.

Not bloody likely. At least, not with this bill.

But thank you for the kind thoughts. Check in again a a decade or so, maybe we will have managed to drop to third world status by then and even Congress will realize that something drastic needs to be done.

On behalf of rest of the civilized world (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30020862)

I would like to offer our congratulations to US of A.

That said, I don't know why this is on /.. This has nothing to do with technology, geeks, etc... And everyone interested in this can read about this from every other news source in the world. I live in Finland and our massmedia caught this before Slashdot. In addition to that, this isn't even final yet (still needs to be signed by a lot of folks, if I understood correctly, so this still might not pass) so we will certainly be able to read about this numerous times more, even in /..

Every single argument that will appear in this comment section will be repeated in almost identical manner when the senate signs (or doesn't sign) the bill, etc...

Re:On behalf of rest of the civilized world (5, Insightful)

Starlon (1492461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021056)

For as long as I've read /. there has been news about health, whether that be some health related tech, a new life saving procedure, or some new finding in biology.

Slashdot is not just a news site. That's its primary motivation. Its secondary existence is the discussion, and for some that's their primary reason for returning to /.. There's a sense of quality to the discussion on this forum thanks to the system in place.

Hastily crafted always works out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30020866)

Unfortunetly the luck favors a terrible outcome And no amount of hope will change that.

Bill Itself: 220-215 (3, Insightful)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020874)

The final vote was a lot closer: 220 to 215. Which seems like a mid-20th century vote total. It really is quite remarkable that, in 2009, in the United States, there's still widespread debate and disagreement over the proposition that health care should not be rationed on the basis of ability to pay.

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30020900)

Why should anything be rationed on any basis other than your ability to produce enough for society to afford it?

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (5, Insightful)

SigILL (6475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020920)

Why should anything be rationed on any basis other than your ability to produce enough for society to afford it?

And why should your ability to produce enough for society be measured by how much money you have?

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (4, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021008)

And why should your ability to produce enough for society be measured by how much money you have?

Because that's how society works.

Are you one of the investment bankers who caused stockmarkets to crash, housing costs to soar and then crash and burn leaving people homeless and cause huge ripple effects in the world wide economic markets leading to millions and millions of people losing their jobs, money and homes?

Congratulations, you have had such an impact on society, that you will be rewarded with insane bonuses. You are worth saving.

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021018)

That was the intent of money. The implicit assumption here is that money is gained where it isn't really 'earned.' Maybe this is actually the root cause of problems?

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (1)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021024)

Life is a game and money is how we keep score.

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021042)

Oh, is that so? So, trust fund babies are the winners of the game, and hard working factory employees are the losers. Sounds like a great world to live in.

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021068)

The factory workers in Detroit had it pretty swank actually.

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (1)

SigILL (6475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021108)

The factory workers in Detroit had it pretty swank actually.

Thanks to the unions btw, which basically created the middle class and raised capitalism from the same old mess to something actually quite liveable. I still cannot comprehend why they're seen as malevolent on the western side of the atlantic.

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021100)

Money is your set of votes in the societal decision of how to allocate resources. Your money tells you how much society values what you provide it, and it allows you to tell society that you value some things more than others. The aggregate effect of these choices ("the invisible hand") guides entrepreneurs to serve other members of society as well as they can by efficiently (ie profitably) allocating resources.

Ability to pay gauges what a person provides to society. This gives everyone a weighted vote.

The alternative to allocating resources based on ability to pay is direction by government fiat, and we've seen over and over that that does not work. See Soviet Union gov't attempting to direct all production, United States gov't allocating resources to housing, allocating resources to banks, so on. In fact it cannot work, because no individual is 1) smart enough to know all the variables involved in allocating *any* resource, and 2) no individual is able to make an apples to apples comparison between the preferences of other individuals. Each of us can only determine the relative value *we* place on goods or services, relative to what we think the others we forego would provide. If i buy a loaf of bread, it is because i prefer the loaf of bread to what i think the $2.50 would provide me either presently or down the road. I can't make that decision for someone else, and i can't quantify another's preferences. I can only know my own, and then only in ordinal terms. Money, through bidding, allows me to make an apples to apples preference comparison with other individuals. Eg, i can want the item for sale more than $100, while the next in line only prefers it to $99.

We need to choose between the former (market) and latter (socialism) because we need division of labor. Otherwise we would all have to learn how to hunt, farm, cook, make brooms, so on, and each of us would have to own the capital goods necessary for each of these endeavors. With DOL, we learn to do one job more effectively than others, we only have to have one set of capital goods, and we trade what we provide (what society needs) for what we need.

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30020928)

Compassion?
If that doesn't work for you (and I pity you if that's the case) then see it as an investment in social stability.

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30020962)

Compassion?
If that doesn't work for you (and I pity you if that's the case) then see it as an investment in social stability.

Why don't you have compassion for those whose labor is confiscated in order to pay for your social stability scheme?

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (1)

SigILL (6475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021026)

Why don't you have compassion for those whose labor is confiscated in order to pay for your social stability scheme?

Because we know it's mere chance separating those who can labor from those who cannot. It cannot be rationally dealt with, and it's therefore beyond capitalist economics (which assumes rational players).

Also, if it's about cost, consider this: the life of every ALS-patient ever lived and which shall ever live is quite nicely paid for by the life and works of one person, Stephen Hawking. The same can probably be said of every major illness.

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (3, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020990)

Why should anything be rationed on any basis other than your ability to produce enough for society to afford it?

What does Paris Hilton produce? I'm no communist, but the mere fact that she exists makes me think again.

Those aren't the same (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021000)

I am a webdeveloper. I know waitresses, construction workers, etc. who are getting paid a lot less than I am despite working longer days.

But if our society lost every webdeveloper, it would be no worse off than it would be if it lost every construction worker.

Your wage does not correlate with how necessary you are to our society. Nor does it correlate with how hard you work.

Re:Those aren't the same (4, Insightful)

SigILL (6475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021084)

Your wage does not correlate with how necessary you are to our society.

Spot on! Consider garbage collectors; no other profession has had a larger impact on the health of society as a whole. Without them rampant cholera would actually be the least of our troubles.

Re:Those aren't the same (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021126)

Exactly, it's just supply and demand, not some magical system where everyone gets rewarded directly proportionally to their contribution.

Obvious example: professional sportsmen.

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (1, Troll)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021006)

Who produces more for society: a factory worker who puts cars together, or an investor who makes money by short selling and dealing in derivatives? Now, who is more likely to afford a heart transplant?

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (2, Insightful)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021096)

Now, who is more likely to afford a heart transplant?

Without question, its the factory worker who puts cars together. Have you seen the UAW health care plans?

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (5, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021072)

Why should someone who is sick, and hence can't produce anything for society not be allowed to get good quality health care that will lead to them being a productive member of society?

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021112)

Because, a capitalist system does not reward people people on the value they add to society but rather on their ability to add value to corporations.

The values of corporations are necessarily sociopathic. Meaning that some basic needs of society are not met.

What is perhaps the worse thing about American society is that our government is biased on some corrupt hybrid of rewarding people who are valuable to companies (lobbyists) or those that enforce the growth of government power (industrial complex).

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30020904)

I keep hearing that with this bill in place, not getting insurance would cause you to have to pay heavy fines or go to jail. That's not exactly good for people without money. Who also don't get sick or hurt.

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (2, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020976)

The final vote was a lot closer: 220 to 215. Which seems like a mid-20th century vote total. It really is quite remarkable that, in 2009, in the United States, there's still widespread debate and disagreement over the proposition that health care should not be rationed on the basis of ability to pay.

The reason that deciding who gets healthcare on the basis of ability to pay is that what when demand for medical services goes up, the best way to get more providers of medical services is to increase what they get paid. Under this law, how will they increase the number of medical providers?

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021030)

So you are basically saying that only the wealthy should have access to life saving procedures? That is, after all, how scarcity works -- if something is scarce and in high demand, only wealthier people are able to get it. Apply that principle to healthcare, and behold! Only wealthy people should have doctors saving their lives.

Yes, the markets work wonders for the medical practice.

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (2, Insightful)

zevans (101778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021090)

Yes, the markets work wonders for the medical practice.

Absolutely. After all, the poorest will all be dead. How's that for perfect information?

Re:Bill Itself: 220-215 (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021150)

Show me something from the over 2000 pages about dealing with the scarcity. If anything the price caps will decrease supply instead of improving it. In that scenario, only the politically connected will have access to life saving procedures that "only the wealthy" have access to now. I fail to see a demonstrable difference, except that it's much harder to become politically connected than it is to become wealthy.

Under the new plan, our lords will have the same excellent care they have now, but we vassals will have "the care we deserve" And like the old ox, when we can no longer strain at our yokes, even that basic, minimum care will evaporate.

If you want more people to have access to medical care, the most important thing to do is to produce more doctors and more efficient doctors.

Wrong vote count... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30020876)

Final vote count is 220-215.

I thought "news for nerds" would be accurate about stuff like numbers.

Fixing all the WRONG problems (4, Insightful)

Timex (11710) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020878)

Let's see... Buy insurance, or go to jail. It sounds like Massachusetts.

How would this get paid for, I wonder? It's written by the same people that brought you "Cash for Clunkers" and the "Stimulus Package", and we know what came of THEM.

The Senate isn't expecting to make a vote on their version until next year. Hopefully it will die a horrible death. This bill has no business at ALL being the Law of the Land.

Re:Fixing all the WRONG problems (0, Offtopic)

Lakitu (136170) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020916)

Believe it or not, willful tax evasion does indeed mean you may face jailtime. That has been the case for quite a while, and this bill did not change it.

Re:Fixing all the WRONG problems (0, Troll)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020936)

You have read all 2000 pages?

Re:Fixing all the WRONG problems (3, Informative)

Lakitu (136170) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021004)

I read the link to the Ways and Means Committee where this idea that you will "buy or go to jail" has come from, which cites IRS tax codes for the reasoning you might go to jail.

The Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee, and various media outlets, like the Drudge report, have spread this idea that you will go to jail if you do not want this health bill passed. It's not true. You will face civil and/or criminal penalties for failing to pay taxes. That should be obvious.

Re:Fixing all the WRONG problems (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021146)

That same committee says the cheapest premium for families under the democrat plan will be over $5000 more than under the republican plan. Enjoy paying more for less! The american way.

Re:Fixing all the WRONG problems (1, Insightful)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020982)

Cash for Clunkers? Yes, that was a total failure. It's like when the government promises to create 2 million jobs in 3 years, and then those jobs are CREATED IN TWO MONTHS!! Oh my god, they can't get anything right!

Note that I don't really like the CfC idea, but it's ridiculous to say it failed because it worked too well.

Re:Fixing all the WRONG problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021094)

Please show me those 2-3 million jobs.

Its will probably be done with the same math that said the CDC in Atlanta had 765 jobs saved when only ~380 people work there. Oops!

But then again politicians have never let the facts get in the way of a good story....

Go ask the dealers what they think of CfC. You know the thousands of dealers that still haven't been paid...

Re:Fixing all the WRONG problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021134)

CfC failed because we borrowed money from the Chinese to pay to destroy cars that could have been fixed, donated to charity, sold for parts, whatever. No, instead we pissed away all that money instead.

As to the jobs... please, show me those stats. I've yet to see anything that proves those numbers. And please keep in mind that it is impossible to track "jobs saved" because there is no way to tell if jobs were saved or not.

Re:Fixing all the WRONG problems (1, Offtopic)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020994)

You mean like the horrible death that so many Americans die every month, because "health" insurance companies only "insure" you, when you don't need it, and tell you to GTFO, as soon as you actually need them, thereby running a giant fraud on all of you?

I mean, helloooo... you *bought* a service, that pays for your (totally out of its actual worth) medical bills. And they won't pay. Which is a breach of contract. Except that the fine print is written in a way, that actually excludes everything, and if translated, states that you just pay for getting nothing at all. Which would be criminal if written in plain English.

Then you go to a "doctor" who gets payed only as long as you are sick. And whose information on what to do is based on fake magazines from the pharma industry. Who also only makes money if you are sick. So he gives you pills that don't do much. Just hide the symptoms a bit. And make sure they all come back right after you stopped taking them. Which would also being the criminal offense of drugging people. Except of course if you buy some senators. Which is really cheap nowadays.

I wonder how you people even survive. I wish I could see the faces of those people who oppose a health care bill that kicks the "health" industry's ass, when they then get denied coverage, and have to die. Slowly. And painfully. (They should look happy. After all there is no government death panel involved. Just plain old death-by-market. :P)

Re:Fixing all the WRONG problems (1)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021002)

Let's see... Buy insurance, or go to jail. It sounds like Massachusetts.

No, it sounds like a reasonable society. I'll use a car analogy because it's a lot clearer there: If you don't have a car insurance, and you crash into me, that is my problem, not yours. Most people who don't have insurance are also too broke to cover the damage themselves. So a law that forces you to have at least enough insurance to cover the other guy's costs is a very reasonable thing.

It's a lot more indirect for health insurance, but the argument is similar.

Re:Fixing all the WRONG problems (4, Insightful)

Teckla (630646) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021074)

How would this get paid for, I wonder? It's written by the same people that brought you "Cash for Clunkers" and the "Stimulus Package", and we know what came of THEM.

When it comes to this recession, the first stimulus package happened on George W. Bush's watch.

Also, Ronald Reagan passed a massive stimulus package as well. When inflation is factored in, it was larger than Obama's stimulus.

Even factoring in the Obama stimulus package, the vast majority of U.S. debt was accrued under the watch of Republican presidents.

Let's try to stay grounded in reality and realize that both dominant political parties in the U.S. spend too much. There is plenty of blame to go around. Partisan bickering is blinding Americans to the fact that the real problem is that the government is even allowed to spend money it doesn't have.

Congrats! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30020890)

As an European, I just want to pass on my congratulations to the US for taking a huge step forward. The mark of a civilized society is one that takes care of its people.

Re:Congrats! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30020952)

I think every one agrees that health care needs reformed. What a lot of people disagree on is that you need a 1,990 page bill with sections not clearly defined to do it.

I would support a system that made HSAs more attractive, and allowed me to buy insurance across state lines, so long as they complied with my state's minimum coverage requirements. Sure, go ahead and remove insurance companies from anti-trust protection. I don't want mandatory insurance, nor do I think this program will cost the $1.2 trillion they're estimating. It will cost much more.

Don't force me to buy something because you're the government (whether you're forcing me to buy it from a private party is irrelevant), and don't tax me because what I'm buying is better than the other guy's (the so called Cadillac insurance plans).

I believe this bill is fundamentally flawed, and completely unconstitutional.

Re:Congrats! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021080)

What makes it worse is that most of the lawmakers didn't even read the bill before they voted on it.

Re:Congrats! (1)

millennial (830897) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021140)

Your entire argument is in doubt based on the fact that you have no idea how long the bill is. It is actually less than 600 pages long. I can only assume you've just been accepting what you've been told about it and have never looked at it yourself.

Vote was 220-215 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30020892)

I think you're referring to the abortion amendment vote.

Overheads (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30020910)

1990 pages? Maybe this is a clue as to why health care is so expensive?

Re:Overheads (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021036)

Gotta pay off your donors. It's much easier to hide those payments in 2000 pages than in a couple hundred.

Re:Overheads (1)

zevans (101778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021130)

Na, you're not even trying. In the UK 1,990 pages is one ITT for one bunch of desktop PCs in one surgery. I hope I never see what the procurement documents for an MRI scanner look like, although there is a risk to health there: they might collapse under their own weight into a singularity.

12 million people excluded? (1)

Mad Hamster (870092) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020932)

What's with the remaining 4%? How come not everyone will be covered?

Re:12 million people excluded? (5, Funny)

mustafap (452510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020970)

>What's with the remaining 4%? How come not everyone will be covered?

That 4% will be lawyers.

Re:12 million people excluded? (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021020)

Crap, you just created an awesome running gag.

That 4% number are the remaining republicans after this is enacted (page 1,673, paragraph 4, sentence 2: "no person of the republican party is allowed health insurance").

Lets all run for political office ASAP. We're engineers, we know concepts like coupling, modularity, KISS, and all that other stuff that an mortgage broker, investment banker, and lawyer wouldn't understand. I would be totally for this bill if I didn't have the (most likely correct) suspicion that there is a lot wrong with it that could had been avoided if it was a lot smaller and to the point, and most of all, FAIR!!!!!

The 4% are the "uncooperative" ones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021014)

The 4% are the "uncooperative" ones.

Re:12 million people excluded? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021016)

What's with the remaining 4%? How come not everyone will be covered?

The 4% will be the small minority of people that still have jobs by 2013. They will be too busy working to support the rest of the looters to get sick and therefor will not need health insurance.

Oh sweet (3, Insightful)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020958)

So surely this bill, which makes it illegal to charge more for being a woman, also makes it illegal to charge more for being a man with car insurance and life insurance. Right? I mean, god forbid the democrats come up with a good idea and poorly execute it or create unfair exceptions that favor special interest groups that voted them in like they always do. So who read more than 100 of the 1,990 pages of this thing before voting? How do you even summarize something so simply in a matter of a few paragraphs, then someone manage to bloat that to 1,990 pages? Obviously there is a LOT more to this bill than what has hit the press releases.

Well, countdown until this article gets over a 1,000 comments and only the top few become the ones actually read...

Don't forget ... privacy destroying (3, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020964)

I'm of the opinion that even the current system of private coverage is fundamentally a violation of doctor-patient confidentiality. You've got these insurance companies just itching to monetize any piece of data they can get from their paying customers, such that the half-assed nature of HIPAA really provides no assurance that your medical information won't be used in one way or another that is ultimately against your well-being.

The only way to be sure your information (any info, not just medical records) won't be systematically abused is to make sure it isn't entered into a file or a database in the first place. Unfortunately, there seems to be a real focus on doing just the opposite with these healthcare changes - some sort of magical computer worshipping cargo cult thing where too many people think that if they can just get all our personal info into a database it will be the best thing since sliced bread. I'm tired of sacrificing privacy for the promise of increased efficiency and convenience and I am doubly tired of those promises failing to pan out in the long run. But that's exactly what I expect is going to happen here too.

Seems like the european socialist are out in force (-1, Flamebait)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020966)

For all of those posting their "welcome to the 21st century" drivel there are two points you need to consider:

  1. Our federal government is bought and paid for. This bill, if it becomes a law, forces the entire population of the US to purchase the insurance companies' product or go to jail. Leaving aside the issue of liberty, this is nothing more than corporate welfare (fascism)
  2. The entire concept of "social welfare" permits people to consume more than they produce. In fact, it encourages this behavior. Determining how this incentive system can result in a bad outcome is left as an exercise for the reader

Re:Seems like the european socialist are out in fo (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021078)

1. Calling something fascism doesn't make it so.

2. Social welfare is used basically to make nobody go dead broke and end up in so much debt they're better off killing themselves. The idea is that if you have somebody who is close to flat broke to pay him enough so he/she can find a new job, and no more than that. No guarantee if the thing you label as "social welfare" actually resembles this or if it's just a "everyone who earns less than 100k gets teh rest for free!!!" law.

Re:Seems like the european socialist are out in fo (-1, Troll)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021142)

. Calling something fascism doesn't make it so.

So how would you define "If you choose not to buy my product you will still pay for it, or else the IRS will throw you in jail"?

Social welfare is used basically to make nobody go dead broke and end up in so much debt they're better off killing themselves. The idea is that if you have somebody who is close to flat broke to pay him enough so he/she can find a new job, and no more than that.

That's a great idea. All of you that believe that should get together, pool your resources and enact this program. We only have a problem when you force me to participate whether I agree with your plan or not. I have no problem with progressives until the decide they know better than me how my resources should be allocated and start reaching into my back pocket.

Re:Seems like the european socialist are out in fo (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021170)

The entire concept of "social welfare" permits people to consume more than they produce. In fact, it encourages this behavior.

Denying social welfare dooms people to that behaviour.

Re:Seems like the european socialist are out in fo (2, Informative)

spankus (140336) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021174)

Or how about the fact that government is responsible for the state of healthcare in the country right now!

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/09/understanding_the_cause_of_hea.html [americanthinker.com]

They're the ones that started cost inflation in the 1970's that has gotten us to this point. They don't even know they screwed it up...and we expect them to fix it?

It makes me think of the classic demotivator: http://www.despair.com/government.html [despair.com]

Sigh.

Oh well, at least we don't have any money to pay for it....(not that it matters, apparently)

It works elsewhere. (1)

tbcn (97808) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020974)

It seems public health insurance works in other communist(?) states, like (in no specific order) Norway, France, Sweden, Canada, the UK and so on... Insurance companies are evil by default, they want to KEEP your money.

BBC comment (0, Redundant)

philwebs (704989) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020984)

Glad I dont live in the land of the free. Article from the BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/8345341.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:BBC comment (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021092)

So a person who brags about going to a doctor's office on a weekly basis, considering this a passtime, and is proud of the number of tests he has forced on the system while knowing he really has no physical problem is upset that he is expected to pay $9000 a year?

This man is the problem with universal health care.

Let doctors treat ill people. When people are forced to act responsibly they sometimes get upset and throw a tantrum, I know that is the case with my 2 year old son.

Great I'm scraping by as it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021046)

Where am I going to get the extra cash to pay $15K? These over stuffed asshole millionaires in office are totally disconnected from reality, but then they probably can get the best psychiatric care on THEIR far superior health plan. Which we ALSO pay for.

*Sigh* (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021058)

->Rep. Candice Miller disagreed, calling the legislation 'a jobs-killing, tax-hiking, deficit-exploding' bill.-

*sigh* Why does my representative have to be such a moron? I've been trying every time I vote to get her out of office....

Michigan has been in a recession since 2001. Lots of people are out of jobs and can't afford to get health care (let alone the basics: food, shelter, clothing). And she thinks it's a job-killer? The only thing that's killing jobs in Michigan are the representatives who aren't doing anything about trying to create them.

1.2T = 120B per year (5, Informative)

volt4ire (1131825) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021060)

Let's be clear: 1.2 Billion is the cost for 10 years, not 1 single upfront cost (like bailouts or emergency war funding supplementals)

A Step Into the Dark Ages (5, Insightful)

TheMonkeyhouse (1271112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021070)

so health care reform bill has passed it first step - actually a move forward even if you dont like the bill, everyone (except the fat insurance companies) admitted that things had to change, and so this is a start. however, the amendment restricting abortion coverage is HUGE step backwards and another reminder just how much the lunatic Religious Right has taken hold in the US. Hopefully this does not force people into coat hangers and whiskey again. so close, but yet so far still to come.

An improvement, but not as good as it could be. (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021098)

I am sure this bill will certainly help many of those who cannot afford insurance and will now recieve it. However that does not mean i think it is the perfect bill, however we will be better off with it. It does not regulate insurance companies enough, included in the bill should have been a CEO pay cap, to open p the finances of private companies to be audited and requiring them to reduce their overhead, eliminate advertising budgets, and use all of the money for providing health insurance coverage and capped salaries to their employees. Only then can we be certain that money being paid into these companies is not going to some fat cat CEO while the companies deny claims for life saving treatments as they do now. Private insurance today is pretty scammy and worthless, you often have to fight with the companies to get things covered. Hopefully the bill does set a basic coverage standard which covers everything essential. I have also always been a little skeptical of ideas of linking insurance to employment unless the insurance can continue seemlessly after employment or persons are transferred instantly to a government plan. The Public Option even in this bill is too weak and should have been set according to medicare's cost alignment rather than an average of private insurance. It is unclear whether it will survive the senate. Without the public option I would be concerned that the private companies will ruthlessly jack up rates and massively exploit the people, which could be controlled by the pay caps i mentioned above however and perhaps setting some price control or requiring that as i said the money be spent on actually providing health care. Better yet still would have been single payer, which ironically would be the most efficient, would have saved enough money considering that private insurance is 30% inefficient while medicare is 4% to provide insurance to everyone without spending any more money than we do now. That would save the lives of 40,000 children who die annually so some capitalist pig CEO can get rich. The single payer in progressive plans would be the least beauracratic, you would not have insurance company beauracrats deciding what health care you can get or deciding to deny stuff to help improve the profit margin. The single payer would gaurantee coverage of essential care, and not deny things to improve profit margins.

As far as rationing, the single payer and this bill both fight rationing. To be honest, any system contains rationing. However, it is important to make sure that highest urgency treatment is giving first priority, regardless of the patients income. Our current system rations in the worst possible way, according to ability to pay. It is genocidal to the poor since it guarantees health care to the rich and denies it to the poor. I don't want to hear this idea that people who make money contribute more. that is a lie. Try telling that to the overworked factory slave laborer or field worker who harvests the food you eat who works out in the hot sun all day making $5 an hour. It is usually the case that the hardest working people who do the most essential thing, bringing food to your table, make the least.

A progressive measure. (0, Troll)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021110)

I applaud this move heartily and am glad to see America finally catch up with the rest of the developed, Western world. Forcing citizens to enter patronize particular corporate entities IS the way forward, and I'm glad Obama and the House can see that. Once the citizen realizes he has to give up a large portion of his ability to make selfish INDIVIDUAL choices and act in accordance with that of the leaders of his or her nations, can they develop into a more moral, self-actualized human being. I think this is also an indication that there is a shift towards America having less of this "me, me, me!" attitude and the country is starting to realize that freedom isn't individual greed, but something greater than they are--sacrifice and adherence to ones' governing body. A more moral human being is one that follows the edicts of the body that rules it. A good dog, after all, is not one that jumps the fence and goes where it pleases but one that runs to its master with leash in its mouth, wagging its tail.

Loopholes? (1)

ddxexex (1664191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021124)

Insurance industry practices such as denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions would be banned, and insurers would no longer be able to charge higher premiums on the basis of gender or medical history. In a further slap, the industry would lose its exemption from federal antitrust restrictions on price fixing and market allocation.

So this sounds like a good thing to come from the bill, but does this mean that Insurance companies are going to pull a lot of new nasty tricks to increase their profit... What tricks exactly would they pull? There's bound to be a loop hole somewhere in the bill...

Amount Covered (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30021136)

Considering only around 12 million US citizens aren't covered today (4%) (the same that isn't covered in this bill) it seems all that happened is Government took further control of the system.

The supreme cout will rule it unconstitutional (2, Interesting)

Danathar (267989) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021160)

Just my prediction, but I think it will be taken to court and ruled unconstitutional (since the court is still majority conservative)

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