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House Passes Massive Medical Insurance Bill, 219-212

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the house-of-representin'-in-effect dept.

Government 2424

The votes are in: yesterday evening, after a last-minute compromise over abortion payments, the US House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill effecting major changes in American medical finance. From the BBC's coverage: "The president is expected to sign the House-passed Senate bill as early as Tuesday, after which it will be officially enacted into law. However, it will contain some very unpopular measures that Democratic senators have agreed to amend. The Senate will be able to make the required changes in a separate bill using a procedure known as reconciliation, which allows budget provisions to be approved with 51 votes - rather than the 60 needed to overcome blocking tactics." No Republican voted in favor of the bill; 34 Democrats voted against. As law, the system set forth would extend insurance coverage to an estimated 32 million Americans, impose new taxes on high-income earners as well as provide some tax breaks and subsidies for others, and considerably toughen the regulatory regime under which insurance companies operate. The anticipated insurance regime phases in (starting with children, and expanding to adults in 2014) a requirement that insurance providers accept those with preexisting conditions, and creates a system of fines, expected to be administered by the IRS, for those who fail or refuse to obtain health insurance.

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health insurance is like auto insurance now (4, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565424)

you are always going to pay for it. about time that we stopped the system of some people getting "insurance" only when they get sick

Re:health insurance is like auto insurance now (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565466)

you are always going to pay for it. about time that we stopped the system of some people getting "insurance" only when they get sick

Well that is exactly what this system is. You pay a fine until you get sick, and then when sick you go to the insurance company. They have to accept you due to not denying any with preexisting conditions.

Re:health insurance is like auto insurance now (5, Insightful)

osgeek (239988) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565486)

Right, it's a question of which is cheaper; the fine or the insurance.

Re:health insurance is like auto insurance now (2, Insightful)

axeme (818895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565594)

The cheapest route sounds like to get fired from your job, go on welfare to get your food and housing paid for, then get free health care. Who needs to work? That was the plan wasn't it?

Re:health insurance is like auto insurance now (5, Insightful)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565674)

You get your kraft dinner and a shack paid for, you don't get a nice meal and a house with a large screen tv and high speed internet and fancy clothes paid for.

Re:health insurance is like auto insurance now (5, Insightful)

DavidShor (928926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565724)

That's actually how it worked pre-bill, the poorest people qualified for Medicaid, and so the only way for a lot of people after they got sick was to get health-care was to stop working. Now you'll be able to buy subsidized insurance (or pay the fine), get health-care, and still be able to keep your job and make money. The subsidy's decrease smoothly enough with income so that the marginal return to money is almost always positive. So it would never make economic sense to make less money in order to make it back in health-care benefits. Seems like a big improvement...

Re:health insurance is like auto insurance now (0, Offtopic)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565474)

you are always going to pay for it. about time that we stopped the system of some people getting "insurance" only when they get sick

Except a couple of months ago I was hit by a guy who had voluntarily paying his auto insurance. At that point I found out how useless and backwards the US auto insurance system is.

Re:health insurance is like auto insurance now (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565566)

The Insurance industry in America is the closest thing we have to a legalized mob...other than Congress, of course. Hopefully, parts of this bill will change that.

Re:health insurance is like auto insurance now (-1, Troll)

axeme (818895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565482)

So if you only own a bicycle you're being forced to buy auto insurance? What hell are you living in? Oh yeah, the Obama hell where I'm sure that will come next.

Re:health insurance is like auto insurance now (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565636)

So if you only own a bicycle you're being forced to buy auto insurance? What hell are you living in?

Isn't it just social to make everyone pay equal, to make health equally available?

Say, you insured your bike for plan A. Someone else his car for plan B. You get run over and get a new bike, but your wheelchair isn't covered in plan A.
Plan B guy has a windshield replaced once in the time he's paying for his plan B.

Wouldn't you rather have the excess of plan B payer to be spent for your plan A wheelchair, which you sortof need harder? Without needing to pay for plan B fully?

Such things only work when you look at a larger scale and sortof care about other people, the "well, as long I can save 5 buck a month. Nothing will happen to me." which causes small drama's everywhere when shit does hit the fan.

What's the benefit for you, then? Well, more healthy people means less cost in unemployment and those kindof failover systems, less people annoying you for your money to "charity", more people do keep the economy going, bringing in taxmoney that could be back spent to your benefit.

Re:health insurance is like auto insurance now (5, Informative)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565708)

I live in Belgium, where we have health insurance and auto insurance and bicycles and none of the problems you imply. My parents live in Spain and also none f those issues. My sister in Germany? No problems there.

Hoorah! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565430)

Congrats US citizens! You're on your way to a non-broken health care system!

Re:Hoorah! (4, Insightful)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565484)

I agree. It should be a day to celebrate in America.

Re:Hoorah! (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565500)

Perhaps. /skeptical

Re:Hoorah! (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565514)

You're on your way to a non-broken health care system!

Obviously you're unfamiliar with the contents of the bill.

-jcr

Re:Hoorah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565548)

can you summarize it for us?

-rest of world

Re:Hoorah! (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565656)

The long and short of it is, it empowers the IRS to force people to purchase an insurance policy, under the threat of imprisonment for non-compliance.

-jcr

Re:Hoorah! (2, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565736)

On the upside of that, is that prisoners are subject to government run health care.

Re:Hoorah! (4, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565540)

Congrats US citizens! You're on your way to a non-broken health care system!

We could only be so lucky. This bill by and large doesn't change anything. Most of us have health insurance that we purchase through our employers, provided by insanely profitable corporations. And for almost none of us will that change.

Unfortunately our government doesn't do change this year.

Re:Hoorah! (0, Flamebait)

agnosticanarch (105861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565598)

56.5% is "most"? Since when is "most" just over half?

http://www.gallup.com/poll/121970/nearly-insured-government-coverage-2008.aspx

~AA

Re:Hoorah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565692)

Um, since always?

-adjective,superl. of much or many with more as compar.
1. in the greatest quantity, amount, measure, degree, or number: to win the most votes.
2. in the majority of instances: Most operations are successful.
3. greatest, as in size or extent: the most talent.
-noun
4. the greatest quantity, amount, or degree; the utmost: The most I can hope for is a passing grade.
5. the greatest number or the majority of a class specified: Most of his writing is rubbish.

Re:Hoorah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565706)

56.6% is more than the 49.9% that the Shrub had when he claimed he had a mandate.

Re:Hoorah! (2, Informative)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565710)

MOST –adjective,superl.
1. in the greatest quantity, amount, measure, degree, or number.
2. in the majority of instances.

Re:Hoorah! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565628)

32 Million people is "almost none?"

Re:Hoorah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565602)

Fuck you.

Re:Hoorah! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565654)

As an american citizen, I wish there was a +1 hopeful modifier.

Expensive (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565436)

This Bill will cause Billing

News for Nerds (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565438)

C'mon guys, stay in your lane. You had almost no stories about this, and now you post this. How is health care reform a nerd topic?

Stick to Linux news. I fear the upcoming flamewars about to ensue. Or maybe that's what you really want.

Re:News for Nerds (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565476)

You're right in that it's not strictly face-value news of the geek type, but lets face it, it affects nerds too. It may well affect them in large ways. All the new tech that has to be put in place for this may well bring healthcare to headlines on /. more often.

Pro / cons (4, Interesting)

MistrX (1566617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565442)

Not being a USA citizen, I can't think of any reason why this bill is controversial.
What exactly are the pro's and cons?

Re:Pro / cons (4, Funny)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565472)

The pros are the government gets to tell us even moreso what to do while extorting even more in the form of taxes.

The cons are the government gets to tell us even moreso what to do while extorting even more in the form of taxes.

Re:Pro / cons (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565508)

Republicans are opposed because it's obama's idea.

Then you have 'news' channels that do everything in their power to attack the president (which according to their own rule was very unpatriotic just one president ago), so again, because it's obama's idea.

And aside from that, there's a lot of FUD, leading to a lot of opposition amongst the people (kill squads for the elderly, all doctors stopping their work because they won't get paid, tripling of taxes, etc).

Re:Pro / cons (5, Funny)

Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565522)

From the U.S. population point of view - there are very few people that seem to be against reform.

This bill in particular has basically been a power play between the two big parties if I understand correctly.

It didn't really pan out brilliantly for either side - the Republicans get egg on their face because the other side got their bill through anyway, whilst the Democrats didn't really get the thing they wanted because they watered down their original bill to try and get Republican support.

The lead up to why this silly thing got pushed through can basically be summarised as follows (stolen from Digg - it's a great summation):

Democrats: "We need health care reform"
Republicans: "Liberal fascists! Give us a majority and we'll do it better"
Democrats: "Done, you have majority of both houses"

12 years later, health care is irrefutably worse in every respect for every single person in the United States

Democrats: "We need health care reform"
Republicans: "Liberal fascists! Americans are tired of partisan politics!"
Democrats: "OK, let's compromise"
Republicans: "OK, get rid of half your ideas"
Democrats: "Done"
Republicans: "Too liberal, get rid of half your ideas"
Democrats: "Done"
Republicans: "Too liberal, get rid of half your ideas"
Democrats: "Done"
Republicans: "Too liberal, get rid of half your ideas"
Democrats: "Done"
Republicans: "Too liberal, get rid of half your ideas"
Democrats: "Done. Time to end debate"
Republicans: "Too liberal, we need more debate, we will filibuster to prevent you from voting"
Democrats: "OK, we'll vote--sorry guys, debate is ended. It's time to vote on the bill"
Republicans: "Too liberal, we vote no"
Democrats: "OK, it passed anyway--sorry guys."

One month later

Republicans: "Wait--wait, OK, we have less of a minority now so we can filibuster forever."
Democrats: "Sorry, the bill already passed, we need it to pass the House now"
Republicans: "But we have enough to filibuster"
Democrats: "Sorry, the bill already passed, we need it to pass the House now"
Republicans: "Liberal fascists! You haven't listened to our ideas! You've shut us out of this whole process!"
Democrats: "Sorry, show us your proposal"
Republicans: "Smaller government"
Democrats: "That's not very specific"
Republicans: "OK, here's our detailed proposal--It's our common-sense ideas we spent 12 years not enacting"
Democrats: "OK, we'll add a bunch more of your ideas"
Republicans: "Liberal fascists! You included all these back-room deals"
Democrats: "OK, we'll get rid of the back-room deals"
Republicans: "Liberal fascists! You're using obscure procedural tricks to eliminate the back-room deals!"
Democrats: "No, we're using reconciliation, which both parties have used dozens of times for much larger bills"
Republicans: "Liberal fascists! You're pressuring Congressmen to vote for your bill! Scandal!"
Democrats: "It's called 'whipping', it's been done since 1789"
Republicans: "Liberal fascists! Can't you see the American people don't want this?"
Democrats: "This bill is mildly unpopular (40-50%), doing nothing (your proposal) is extraordinarily unpopular (4-6%)"
Republicans: "We need to start over! We need to start over!"
Democrats: "We should really consider voting--"
Republicans: "Liberal fascists! Start over! Clean slate! Common-sense! America!"
Democrats: "OK, suit yourselves, here it comes"

Re:Pro / cons (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565580)

This truly is the best and most accurate description of the actual process I've seen.

Re:Pro / cons (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565608)

+1 How It Really Works.

Re:Pro / cons (0, Redundant)

bev_tech_rob (313485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565648)

Good God...where are my mod points when I need them? Great summation! :)

Re:Pro / cons (-1, Troll)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565652)

Horseshit. This is a summary of how you choose to view it; the "script" as it were. It ain't reality.

Re:Pro / cons (3, Interesting)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565714)

Do enlighten us then.

Re:Pro / cons (1)

silverbax (452214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565722)

Yup. That pretty much sums it up.

Re:Pro / cons (5, Insightful)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565536)

The propaganda cons are all about things like the tremendous waits and how all the medical practitioners are going to quit because they won't get paid enough.

The real ones are that this bill doesn't do enough to reduce costs, while also fining people for not getting insurance. Many people would also put the lack of a strong single payer program as a big con.

Re:Pro / cons (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565558)

If you're too poor to afford health cover, then you'll be fined for being too poor to afford health cover. In effect, it makes taking a median wage job untenable, unless the employee also provides health cover.

And that will - and this is the intent of the "insurance" crooks that drew up the bill - create a market for "Never Pay" cover, i.e. schemes that appear to meet the absolute minimum requirement, but which have such egregious exclusions and excess contributions that you'll never use them. In effect, free money for the insurers.

There's a big problem with the health industry in the US, but the problem is that it's infested with salesmen, lawyers and accountants. This bill makes that worse, not better.

Re:Pro / cons (2, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565606)

What exactly are the pro's and cons?

Pros

  • More absurd profits for insurance comapnies
  • If you can't afford insurance you might get some help buying it through a for-profit insurance company
  • If you are really, truly, broke you might be able to buy it from the government (but most likely not)
  • If you already have insurance you keep the insurance you have

Cons

  • It doesn't actually change much for anyone
  • It increases the power of the insurance companies as now you can't not buy it

Re:Pro / cons (1)

pesho (843750) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565612)

Not being USA citizen you probably were never exposed to reasons like the bill being ungodly, unamerican, taking away your freedom and putting you in front of a government run death panel.

Rationing (-1, Troll)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565450)

Sorry, you're not going to get any treatment. I'm going to have to pick and choose who I give treatment to, because I have these other people the government will put me in jail for unless I come up with the right metrics. You don't fit the formula, so I don't have any time for you.

Who wrote the health care bill (3, Insightful)

LeepII (946831) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565456)

FYI, AHIP (insurance company reps) wrote the health care bill word for word. Do you actually believe this will help the common man?

*Gets some popcorn* (0, Flamebait)

j-b0y (449975) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565460)

This is going to be awesome fight.

Re:*Gets some popcorn* (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565554)

Ooooh yeah. F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 /popcorn

H.R. 4789 introduced by Congressman Alan Grayson (4, Interesting)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565462)

It's a 4 page bill that basically proposes to extend Medicare benefits to everyone from age 0 to age 64 with a simple 'buy-in.' You buy in at cost and you're covered.

That means no Cigna Corporation sitting around denying you a liver transplant - which cost at least one girl her life.

Spread the word. This bill got 50 sponsors in 2 days.
http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h4789/show [opencongress.org]
http://www.open.salon.com/blog/brinna_nanda/2010/03/10/a_public_option_we_can_all_love_hr_4789 [salon.com]

Re:H.R. 4789 introduced by Congressman Alan Grayso (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565538)

What?! That sounds totally reasonable and pretty sane. What am I missing?

Re:H.R. 4789 introduced by Congressman Alan Grayso (0, Flamebait)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565638)

Medicare's hideously inefficient, for one.

Medicare's operating costs: 2 to 3% (4, Informative)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565696)

Typical private insurer: 15 to 30%

Of course, if you define "efficiency" by the ratio of things they decline to cover, sure, they're way more efficient.

Re:H.R. 4789 introduced by Congressman Alan Grayso (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565658)

Well obviously that it's been suggested by one of those Communist Nazi Liberal Fascists who hate America and want to see it become like China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Nazi Germany.

Jobs killing bill (0, Troll)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565464)

The jobs killing bill just passed. As if the other penalties for reaching 50 employees weren't bad enough, now there is a $37,500/year fine for hiring employee #50. And look out if you hire employee #200 -- the fine jumps to $1 million per year. Healthcare got so messed up in the first place by tying it employment -- this only makes it worse.

There are other perverse incentives. The $750 fine per employee (for firms with between 50 and 199 employees) constitutes a regressive payroll tax, discouraging the hiring of lower-wage entry-level employees in favor of higher-wage higher-productive employees.

Get The Fuck Out Of This Country You Garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565496)

Cry you fucking piece of shit.

Re:Jobs killing bill (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565518)

The jobs killing bill just passed.

Don't worry, I am sure he could have got his liver transplant under the new scheme too. It would be nice if more people without corporate jets were able to benefit from that, but I don't think it will reduce red tape by that much.

Not reform, capitulation. (0, Flamebait)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565478)

This bill sells out the American people to some of the largest campaign contributors. The insurance companies, the AMA, and the pharmaceutical companies will reap hundreds of billions from their investment of tens of millions in bribes.

-jcr

Re:Not reform, capitulation. (5, Insightful)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565642)

Bullshit. The insurance companies spent about $10 million on ads trying to stop just the latest health care bill. Why? Because it killed their main way of maximizing profits: denial of coverage. We have seen nothing but fear mongering, lies and distortions from the conservatives through this whole process -- what is wrong with you people?

Re:Not reform, capitulation. (1, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565742)

it killed their main way of maximizing profits: denial of coverage.

That's not even close to the "main" way they maximize profits. The insurance companies operate in a regulatory environment that they bought and paid for, which prevents even interstate competition.

If we want affordable medical care, the examples of how to do that are right in front of us: veterinary care and LASIK show exactly what happens when providers have to compete.

-jcr

Mixed feelings (4, Insightful)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565492)

So the bill does a lot of good things. It stops insurance companies basically doing whatever they like, which was the main problem with the US health system. But it actually rewards those same insurance companies by delivering millions of new customers to them. A competitive public option would have pushed down insurance company margins and made them actually compete for business, instead of retaining their confusopoly [wikipedia.org] . And then there's the issue that women will now be required to purchase abortion coverage separately because the government is forbidden to pay for that procedure. This is basically a regression, since lots of plans will probably stop covering abortion in order to be eligible for government subsidised customers. Overall though, lots more people who were unable to get coverage will now be able to get it. Imperfect as it is, this bill will save lives, and contrary to what Fox will tell you, it will not affect anyone who is currently happy with their insurance.

Re:Mixed feelings (2, Interesting)

osgeek (239988) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565712)

"stops insurance companies basically doing whatever they like"... it plugs a few gaps, I guess. More than anything it theoretically eliminates the "uninsured"; but now the rest of us officially pay for them when we were only unofficially paying for them before. How does that help?

On top of that, what happens when someone who has no health insurance and who hasn't paid any fines goes to the emergency room? Are they turned away now? Or given free insurance on the spot?

"not affect anyone who is currently happy with their insurance"

Who is happy with their insurance? Premiums have been skyrocketing because insurance companies, hospitals, and doctors practically collude to hide the massive amounts of money that they move into their pocketbooks. Now they still get to do that, but we have an extra trillion dollars (and do you think that's the total bil??) to pay for with taxes and other costs that will make it back to consumers.

You can decry the Fox news bogey man all you want, but this bill looks like a disaster from what I've read so far.

Re:Mixed feelings (1)

JustASlashDotGuy (905444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565732)

Imperfect as it is, this bill will save lives, and contrary to what Fox will tell you, it will not affect anyone who is currently happy with their insurance.

Have you read the assumptions the CBO was told to follow in getting their budget numbers? CNN had an article yesterday stating that the Democrats assume that this bill will make employer offered health care more expensive due to the extra taxes. As a result they expect employer to discontinue the more expensive coverage they provide for their employees and instead purchase cheaper insurance (IE: $3000+ / year less.. that number sound familiar?). It further goes on to say that now that the employer i saving $3000+ /year per employee that they will all give their employees a $3000+/year raise, which will then be taxed via 'income tax' rates, which is greater than the insurance tax.

So yes... Employees will get to keep the health insurance offered by their employer, however Obama never said that the insurance offered will stay the same.

This bill had a lot of good things in it that both sides agreed on, however it also had a lot of bad things in it. Why else do you think they it was pushed their and passed via reconciliation on Sunday night. Reconciliation isn't all bad.. it's been used for tax cuts in the past, however it's never been used to reshape 1/6 of our economy when 55% American public opposed it.

So, how many of you think your boss will give you a big raise just because he had to cut cost on healthcare?

Ironic (4, Insightful)

Burpmaster (598437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565494)

It was the "right to life" people that threatened to block life-saving medical care for millions.

Re:Ironic (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565568)

If you are talking about Democrats like Stupak, in the end, they were reasonable, and didn't. They said they really wanted universal health care, they apparently meant it.

If you are talking about Republicans, who cares. The ones that were pro-abortion/choice still voted against it, so it made no difference either way.

Hurry up and wait (1, Flamebait)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565506)

Now we will wait and see if the apocalypse that conservatives told us this would bring arrives. Reasonable people realized some time ago that this bill most likely won't change much of anything in their lives. If the Democratic Party had a publicity group that was worth a shit, they would take advantage of that when the midterm elections come in November (at which point this bill will be law for several months and have done pretty well nothing that the fearmongerers had told us).

Re:Hurry up and wait (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565672)

Now we will wait and see if the apocalypse that conservatives told us this would bring arrives.

The apocalypse [market-ticker.org] is here and this bill won't prevent it.

Re:Hurry up and wait (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565676)

I assumed that by now they would have begun the process of rounding up all the US citizens over 40 and putting them before the death panels.

So the government is forcing me to buy something (2, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565510)

People like to harp on Massachusetts as Taxachusetts, especially after Mitt Romney(R) forced the people of his state to buy insurance whether they wanted it or not, thus creating a new expense people had to pay, but now the federal government has seen fit to follow the Republicans down the social/fascist rabbit hole.

The biggest problem is no one has ever given me an answer as to why my money has to go to pay the medical bills of my neighbor who smokes half a pack a day, or my neighbor on the other side who thinks it's funny to drink a case of beer each weekend by themselves.

What about my coworkers who refuse to walk up one flight of stairs or drink a liter of Pepsi every day? Why should I have to pay for their medical expenses when they can't be bothered to take care of themselves?

Further, why should I have to buy something I don't want? Are you next going to force me to go to a store and buy something to keep the store alive?

The ONLY winners in this whole fiasco are the insurance companies who will reap huge profits from the influx of money and still, despite the wording of the bill, will not cover everyone or every procedure.

While the Republicans can try to claim they stood their ground on this bill, they shouldn't be too smug as their party started this nonsense.

Re:So the government is forcing me to buy somethin (0, Troll)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565544)

The ONLY winners in this whole fiasco are the insurance companies

You forgot: 1) the AMA, which still gets to limit how many people may enter the profession, 2) the pharmaceutical companies, 3) the bureaucracy, and 4) the congress.

The Republicans set us on the road to financial ruin, and the Democrats have just floored the accelerator.

-jcr

Re:So the government is forcing me to buy somethin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565556)

"The biggest problem is no one has ever given me an answer as to why my money has to go to pay the medical bills of my neighbor who smokes half a pack a day, or my neighbor on the other side who thinks it's funny to drink a case of beer each weekend by themselves."

Because it's a liberal progressive mentality bordering on socialistic/marxist ideals.

We are all 100% equal, therefore you contribute for the others in society.

Why should you work to better yourself when the other guy will be brought to the same level with you?

There is no incentive to make oneself better

It's a complete reliance on the government. Something the Democrats, more the progressives, have been wetdreaming about for years.

Re:So the government is forcing me to buy somethin (5, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565670)

"The biggest problem is no one has ever given me an answer as to why my money has to go to pay the medical bills of my neighbor who smokes half a pack a day, or my neighbor on the other side who thinks it's funny to drink a case of beer each weekend by themselves."

Because it's a liberal progressive mentality bordering on socialistic/marxist ideals.

What would you do to help your mother/brother/sister/father?

How about your next door neighbor you hang out with?

The guy in the next street, or the next town?

At what point do you draw the line and say that I am going to help these people and not those people?

I think that part of the US problem is more that in general this line is drawn closer to home compared to other people who draw it further out.

Re:So the government is forcing me to buy somethin (5, Insightful)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565604)

Here's something funny: if everyone jointly pays for healthcare and everybody gets treated health costs go down. This is because no one puts off going to the doctor because of expense. Cancers are caught sooner, infections are treated before the victim starts coughing up blood. What selfish libertarians like yourself don't realise is that a persons health is mostly unrelated to their choices. No one chooses to get prostate cancer, no one chooses to get bitten by a rabid dog.

Re:So the government is forcing me to buy somethin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565668)

I'm 25 and I have bone cancer. I started having strange problems almost ten years ago, and my idiot doctor took six years after I had fairly obvious symptoms to detect my low grade sarcoma. I blew $30,000 on all kinds of blood tests and scans in the wrong places that I paid out of pocket after insurance, when the only successful detective method was an x-ray or better in the right place. I can't sue because of no discovery clause and the statute of limitations laws in my state.

  I don't have insurance because I'm not on my parents anymore because of my age. I have medically withdrawn from college eight times, most of which were pre-diagnosis. After my discovery and surgery, I only received two weeks of physical therapy. That's when the insurance company cut me. It took them 19 months and a lawsuit to get them to actually pay my bill. I still haven't had any measurable physical therapy and my quality of life is ... let's just say not good.

What should I have done differently? Why is my life worth nothing to you?

I do believe the government DID buy into several banks and car companies recently without asking you just to keep them alive.

When it comes to politics, why do people talk about things like "down the social/fascist rabbit hole" - is that some sort of Alice in Wonderland reference? It sure confuses the hell out of me...

Re:So the government is forcing me to buy somethin (5, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565680)

Because when you decide you don't want to buy insurance and subsequently get a ruptured appendix (which there is no way of reducing your risk for aside from possibly exposing yourself regularly to cholera and other digestive diseases), you're not about to lay down and die on principle. You're going to demand that the ER save your life, then demand they swallow the tens of thousands of dollars it cost (which gets passed on to everyone else in the end). Imperfectly "socializing" the worst case scenarios has roughly the same net effect as requiring everyone to buy health insurance, except that the status quo meant a reverse lottery where specific unlucky individuals go bankrupt and their hospitals lose money disproportionately. Yeah, it subsidizes the lazy and those with unhealthy habits, but I somehow doubt people are choosing to smoke so as to take greater advantage of their health care. Demanding that the guy with the ruptured appendix or the type I diabetes must die so the guy with the pack a day habit or the type II diabetes isn't "rewarded" is inhuman.

Re:So the government is forcing me to buy somethin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565716)

You pay regardless. The hospitals have to treat them and you don't expect the medical profession to tell them to piss off and die somewhere else do you?

That's really fascist.

Stop calling it 'insurance' (or update Wikipedia) (3, Insightful)

Palestrina (715471) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565546)

According to Wikipedia, Insurance [wikipedia.org] is, "a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent loss".

But with the mandate for coverage of pre-existing conditions, I don't see how there is a contingent aspect of this anymore. It is like selling "fire insurance" coverage for houses that are already on fire. That is not really "insurance".

You can call the new health care legislation many things, but it is more in the nature of a new medical welfare program than any form of insurance as we know it, since it does not appear that costs are based on actuarial risks.

Re:Stop calling it 'insurance' (or update Wikipedi (3, Insightful)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565614)

Wait, so people with chronic conditions will be able to get healthcare now? The horror!

Re:Stop calling it 'insurance' (or update Wikipedi (5, Insightful)

Palestrina (715471) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565690)

Not necessarily a bad thing. Similarly, if my house catches on fire, it is a good thing that the city sends a fire truck to put it out. But I don't call that "fire insurance". They are entirely different things.

Really? (1)

Timewasted (1731254) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565550)

I understand that many hard working people deserve health insurance. I think it would be great if I could switch careers or start a small business and not have to worry about how I will provide health insurance for my family and I.

However, I have one major issue... I know so many people in this country who try to game our systems of unemployment and welfare, and quite frankly its rather sad. I really am unsure if the government should take care of these people, as they are already a drain on our society to begin with...

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

jareth-0205 (525594) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565694)

However, I have one major issue... I know so many people in this country who try to game our systems of unemployment and welfare, and quite frankly its rather sad. I really am unsure if the government should take care of these people, as they are already a drain on our society to begin with...

Yup. Why not go all-out and line them up to be shot? I mean that's basically what you're talking about here isn't it? An elitism?

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565702)

Which is worse? People taking advantage of the welfare state, or people dying because of inadequate healthcare? You can't have a welfare system with cheaters. They can be prosecuted under fraud legislation. Of course some will slip by and get away with it, but this way is dramatically the lesser of two evils.

Unintended consequences? (4, Interesting)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565552)

Not really a total troll here, but I have heard that people like Rush Limbaugh have stated that they would leave the US if this bill was passed. Not that he will be missed by me, but are there people who are now seriously considering emigrating because they believe the government has failed them? I know that there have been a lot of trash talk from right leaning people along the lines of "if you don't like it here then leave", but I am curious to know what will happen now that the boot is on the other foot. Maybe it could be a good poll?

Re:Unintended consequences? (2, Insightful)

93,000 (150453) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565662)

people like Rush Limbaugh have stated that they would leave the US if this bill was passed

If only . . . .

I believe Rush said he'd go to Costa Rica if he ever needed surgery. He wouldn't move there, he'd just go as a medical tourist.

Re:Unintended consequences? (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565688)

So far I think every public figure who's made noise about leaving for any reason in the last few years has utterly failed to do so.

Re:Unintended consequences? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565746)

Wel, good luck and god speed to them. I hope they can find another country with a similar standard of living where the government won't run their health care. It always makes me smile when right-wingers threaten to leave for Europe or Canada if Hillary/Obama/Whomever gets elected president. 'Cause, you know... Belgium's all christian and conservative and crap.

Already got an email from my doctor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565560)

He's closing his practice at the end of this year... in fairness, he's been talking about it for a couple of years. He quit seeing medicare patients 2 years ago (but thankfully still sees my dad since I make up the difference of what medicare refuses to pay).

On the business side of the coin, my accountants tell me I am going to cut costs equivalent to laying off almost 15% of my workforce to pay for the additional burden this "health" bill creates. My other option is to shrink my business enough that it fits underneath the cutoff.

Brilliant Plan (2, Insightful)

Bodero (136806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565576)

How long until Americans figure out that it is much cheaper to pay the fines and pick up health insurance when you need it (now that insurers are required to sign people with preexisting conditions) than to pay premiums year-round?

Or was this the Democrats' intention? Bankrupt the insurance industry and come in as Mr. Government, Savior of All.

Re:Brilliant Plan (1)

etymxris (121288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565640)

I guess it's a matter of increasing the fines down the road then. In Virginia, I can get auto insurance or pay 500 a year for not having it. It's cheaper to have auto insurance.

If the current fines aren't enough I'm sure the insurance companies will lobby for greater fines. They've had their nose deep in it since the beginning of this process--I'm sure their actuarials have done the calculations and know where they stand.

Re:Brilliant Plan (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565718)

You know, this could actually work: bankrupt the health insurance industry; declare that, since the commercial sector can't do the job, the government will; set up a government-run health insurance company; and pay the money from the fines to that freshly created health insurance company to cover those who "won't" pay the new health insurance company directly.

All of a sudden, hey presto - you have a system that's very similar to Australia's Medicare [wikipedia.org] , or the UK's National Health Service [wikipedia.org] .

All you have to do is make damn sure that you don't bail out the insurance companies when they go bankrupt. Good luck in your journey towards joining the rest of the civilised world.

Re:Brilliant Plan (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565748)

Or was this the Democrats' intention?

Yes. They desperately need the tax revenue.

I can't wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565578)

for all that Iraqi oil profits to pay for health care, just like it paid for the Iraq war!

RE: health insurance is like auto insurance now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565590)

Well that's fair isn't it. You never know when you are going to get sick and need expensive treatment and it's not right that hospitals (who can't turn you away, but do a good job at dissuading you from going to the A&E) should be the ones to overcharge the insurance companies insured customers to pay for the un or under insured. It's a mess and will be cleaned up now.

No (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565592)

"would extend insurance coverage to an estimated 32 million Americans" No, it doesn't. It requires you to buy insurance. There's nothing in that bill that addresses health care costs. Insurance is not health care, those are two separate issues. It just mandates you buy insurance. If you can't afford it, which is the main reason most people don't have it at lower pay scales, it just creates a larger bureaucracy to shuffle money around from one person to the next, with the government taking a skim in the middle. Big fines if you don't go along with this idea.

It would have been better if they addressed three decades of job losses instead, and approached it from that angle, because with more and better jobs, more people could afford healthcare anyway.

This is another stealth subsidy bailout for huge corporations in the "financial services" arena, and they have the bulk of the Ds faked out this is "health care reform". It's no different from the big investment bank bailouts.

Not citizens, just cars, ode to Detroit. (4, Insightful)

GuyFawkes (729054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565596)

I may be wrong, but from the UK perspective this is not "NHS Lite" socialised healthcare, rather this is the wetware equivalent of compulsory motor insurance, now applied to human beings...

Nice civil liberties you have there citizen, shame if anything happened to them, better buy this here medical insurance, know what I mean?

Sounds like this bill has nothing whatsoever to do with medical treatment per se.

One small step from the RIAA et al doing the same thing.

Not following the logic (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565624)

There are near and long-term changes to healthcare in this bill/soon-to-be law as I understand it, the near-term changes will require the definition of "child" to be expanded to age 26 and pre-existing conditions will no longer be a basis for exclusion. Fine, but I've also been told that these changes will somehow lower my health insurance coverage premiums, but I don't see how,,,

Year of the Monkey (1, Funny)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565632)

The US was 'Born' a Monkey.

Monkeys are crafty, crazy, explosive, clever little bastards. Simple and clean just isn't fun enough. It's ONLY fun when somebody loses an eye!

So of course you're going to get a screw-ball health system which is hopelessly messed up. Monkeys are insane. They deserve the misery they create for themselves.

So, yeah, nice job.

The U.S. took a ridiculously simple concept and made it unbelievably complex and punishing.

BTW, Canada is a "Rabbit" --Cordial, diplomatic, comfy, but fundamentally selfish, and smart enough to slip it all past the radar with a smile.

Rabbits piss me off almost as much as Monkeys. Those selfish rodents will be your friend until there's no room in the life boat.

The West deserves itself.

-FL

patriotism and morality and freedom won (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565634)

patriotism, as in caring for the health of your nation, the welfare of your fellow man, belief in the common good, as opposed to the prophets of blind ultimately self-defeating selfishness: i don't know why that's "patriotism"

morality, as in standing up and saying that i don't believe in a society where a corporation takes care of its stockholders and denies middle class americans health benefits while gouging them with skyrocketing rates

freedom, from disease and sickness, as opposed to the false "freedom" to choose between paying for your broken arm, or depending upon society to pay for your broken arm because you can't afford it (while you rail about your "right" to "choose" to not have health insurance)

if you understand why you can't drive legally without car insurance, you understand why health insurance must be mandated. even the young and healthy break their arms. then, what happens? does the hospital turn them away for not having cash? can you live in a society that does that?

furthermore, what currently happens if they have no health insurance? hospitals have unpaid bills, and remains eternally on the verge of bankruptcy, eternally needing bailouts from the state and feds. in other words: you already pay for it, but now you pay for it in the most common sense way

Reform? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31565666)

How many political stories will we see posted to /.?

this legislation had nothing to do with health care or insurance reform.

Bad formatting hides sloppy thinking. (1, Troll)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565678)

The 1,990-page health care bill (PDF) [house.gov] is ugly. It's full of insufficiently rigorous thinking and poor quality communication.

Most of the manner in which the new legislation will operate is not specified in the bill. For example, on page 77 it says, "The Secretary shall adopt and regularly update standards consistent with the goals described in paragraph (2)."

The U.S. Congress uses an outdated font. It is not possible to generate a readable copy because each line is preceded by a number. There are numerous quirks, like sometimes capitalizing the word "website".

Here is a guess: Possibly there is no one in the media who writes about the bill who has actually read and understood the bill.

Still, in my opinion the bill is better than nothing. As many have mentioned, the present U.S. health care system would otherwise be one of the biggest causes of U.S. government bankruptcy.

yay insurance (5, Insightful)

Bobtree (105901) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565700)

Now they should try a health care bill.

Mixed Feelings from someone who has seen the worst (1)

ndavis (1499237) | more than 4 years ago | (#31565738)

This bill while sounding like an okay step (I haven't read the entire bill). I say this because although I didn't understand it at the time I witnessed my Nana go from being self sufficient to living with my Aunt all because her insurance company refused to help her when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Due to the insurance company not covering her she had a choice of dying and leaving some money to her kids and grandkids or spending every penny she had. This debate delayed her actions and she ended up dying with nothing as she used her entire savings as well as selling her assets to try and stay alive. If the insurance company had just done what she was paying them to do she wouldn't have died at that time but she was afraid of being a burdon on her kids.

However I still think the goverment should have changed the private companies by making them not for profit companies that could hold money to cover claims but could not have shareholders so they would not be at the mercy of profits to give to shareholders.
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