January 21, 2008
A Little Bit of Conservative Skepticism
Today's Seattle Times editorial page carries two op-ed columns, one local and one syndicated, touting a Democratic proposal for universal health care in our lovely Evergreen State.
At the risk of sounding like a cynic, let's compare and contrast that proposal with the state's less than appealing work on two other top-tier issues: education and transportation.
On education, Olympia still can't seem to find agreement on what qualifies a student as ready for life after high school, let alone ensure that students are regularly reaching such a standard. On transportation, one need only to look at the Viaduct, 520, and a now deteriorating ferry system as prime examples of how government isn't exactly doing a superlative job of providing citizens with essential infrastructure in a timely, cost effective manner.
To be fair, there are reasonable arguments to be made as to why the problems described above exist. Their roots are complex, the issues many, and the blame goes back years - in some cases on both sides of the aisle. Either way, Olympia's long-term track record on these issues isn't great. Accordingly, is it really wise to have faith in the following description of a proposed state system of universal health care?
The plan is simple: Employers and employees pay a modest payroll tax in exchange for full medical benefits, with no premiums. Patients never lose coverage and pick the doctors they prefer.
"Modest payroll tax...full medical benefits...no premiums." Full patient choice.
Yeah, that'll last.
Posted by Eric Earling at January 21, 2008
03:47 PM | Email This
Yeh Just like the democrats last session when they passed the paid leave for newborn mothers and swore it would be able to be funded out of the current budget and would require no new taxes. Watch what they do not what they say.
Nothing they take from you is modest.
We are nearing a resession, and neither the taxpayer nor the businesses need to be ripped off any further.
I do give the democrats credit today however, for it was the first day I did not recieve an email that they were proposing more tax hikes in this state.
I'm sure however non of the legislators were at work, so tuesday we will get double slammed!
For as Gregoire claimed a "hold the line on spending session" It sure don't look like anyone in her crowd was listening!
2. Why,oh WHY, does this country persist in the notion that cradle to grave "free" health care is a doable, desirable possibility even as the same systems in Canada and England are producing horrible care, long waiting lists and higher taxes for less service?! I agree that the health care system in this country(or in this state in particular) isn't perfect - but the very definition of insanity says that "universal health care" as proposed by Olympia is jumping from the frying pan staight into a raging forest fire!
There are two philosophies on this MLK day. One by him and the second quote by conservatives.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
This is today's reality:
I have a nightmare that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will be judged by the color of their skin but not by the content of their character.
You haven't received an email about tax/fee increases because it is a holiday.
Just be patient...tomorrow is another day.
Unlike the much-touted Massachusetts law forcing citizens to buy insurance from the private profiteers, the Washington and Wisconsin models pool all existing health-care expenditures and then replace the middlemen with one publicly controlled, not-for-profit system. That structure attacks problems beyond the immorality of allowing 18,000 Americans to die each year because they lack health coverage.
Notice the emotional hyperbole tacked on at the end? She means you, you heartless conservative bastards.
"pool all existing health-care expenditures and then replace the middlemen with one publicly controlled, not-for-profit system", uh, huh. Some questions for said esteemed columnist:
1. Who controls this insurance pool?
2. What's the standard of care?
3. How does this plan address costs?
Let's start with #2. By going to a pool of coverage, you're essentially imposing a one-size fits all strategy onto WA state citizens. That's fine and dandy until you realize that Americans tend to be picky about their health care. Some want their homeopathy, others want their chiropractor to straighten then out once a month. Either way, you're going to have to design a plan that pays for all of it. It'll be an administrative nightmare.
Now for #3. How does this plan control costs? Answer: it doesn't. They'll (the state) have to impose a profit margin on the insurance companies...who will take one look at their books and identify the year in which they will no longer make a profit in this state. And of course at this point, they'll promptly abandon doing business here.
Liberals are great at feeling people's pain and for making creative signs at hippie marches for this or that. It's that real life thing that's where their talents leaves them wanting, that nasty business of implementing feasible solutions to complex problems.
And question #1? A handpicked career beareaucrat no doubt rigorously chosen by our queen, uh, governor.
There is nothing modest about health insurance for employees and paid by the employers.
Since opting out of the nice BIAW health insurance system, because I had opted out of paying taxes and reduced staff, I went to a personal major health plan that costs me $200 for me per month with $2500 deductible and no drug benefits.
Modest cost and Gregoire are inherently opposites.
7. I've been in business in this state for 19 years down here in Oly and I'm about ready to just close the doors and go on welfare and let them support my ass for a while. why should I work to support my family when I can just sit and play Xbox all day and not have the headaches and hassle of trying to keep a dollar in my pocket that either the government or all insurance companies are stealing. after all, business insurance is just government mandated extortion. Ive never had a claim and in 1997 my premium for 1 million dollar policy was $700.00 a year. In 2006 it was $80,000.00 go figure. They are like unions, they want all the money and none of the risk.
8. sorry I got off on a tangent. Yeah that's what I want is the governor and the insurance companies to take over all my health care. They will do it better and cheaper. One thing I forgot to say about my bus. insurance. I talked to the insurance commisioner office and of course there was nothing they could do about it. check out florida. Their governor went on tv and told their people not to buy allstate ins. for their cars,homes and if they already had them, to cancel and find a different carrier. Our government doesn't care cause they also make all that sales tax money on all policies. So they could care less what we pay for insurance. The more the better to them. Keep electing those demorats.
9. Tom @ #3
What did MLK mean by that, Tom? Not the skin part, but the judging part. What was he talking about?
10. The plan is simple: Employers and employees pay a modest payroll tax in exchange for full medical benefits, with no premiums. Patients never lose coverage and pick the doctors they prefer.
Also, you are required by law to participate, and government gets further control or your money and your very life.
Again quoting Bastiat: Mr. de Lamartine once wrote to me thusly: "Your doctrine is only the half of my program. You have stopped at liberty; I go on to fraternity." I answered him: "The second half of your program will destroy the first."
11. Socialism or Communism???????????
12. This brings up a good point. Why do GOP leaders in this state such as Dino Rossi not stand up and oppose government control of education and transportation when it is just as doomed to failure as government health care? And why do so many fellow republicans support Romney nationally when he implemented socialized healthcare in MA?
The problem that supporters of universal health care do not discuss is that the cost of health care is relatively fixed. It takes a certain amount of money to provide health care. If we add more people to the system or provide added care to people, this can not be done unless the amount of money spent goes up as well. When supporters of health care talk about cost control they are really talking about service rationing. You can't increase the amount of service provided without a corresponding increase in costs. As government can't afford the added cost, they just "control costs" by restricting the amount of care provided. I just read that in the UK the average wait for dental service in now 2 years. Everyone has an equal two year wait. Is that what you want for your family?
The "it won't cost anymore" argument is just so much BS. It either costs more to provide added service or the service is restricted to keep costs down. There isn't any free lunch here!
My plan is even better.
Each WA resident is given a few money trees. Every time they need some cash, they simply go and harvest the cash off the trees. What could be simpler?
Modest initial investment in supply of the trees, Full Cash Yield every season, No cost to taxpayers. Full choice of either 20s, 50s or 100s.
Stop laughing, this is less expensive and more realistic than universal healthcare.
15. We don't need more entitlements....we need less. The Gov is going to implode with all this spending on social programs.
The Gov is going to implode with all this spending on social programs.
I agree completly. That is why I will only vote for candidates that loudly advocate in their platforms that they will cut some big programs. I suggest everyone who agrees with your statement do the same.
What programs has rossi proposed we cut?
What did MLK mean by that, Tom? Not the skin part, but the judging part. What was he talking about?
Tom answers,(see #3)
MLK, in his classic "I have a dream" speech, was expressing classic common sense, but what has evolved over the years is the antonyming that common sense. What was accepted at that time by most thinking folks is that a person shouldn't judge another person by their skin color, but only by the content of their character. The nightmare we are having now is that some folks want to never judge people by their bad character, but only if their skin color is championed!
Single payer health insurance won't work in this state any more than it would in the whole US unless everyone is forced to enroll.
For one thing, there are too many mandates for alternate care such as chiropractic,naturopathic, podiatrists, psychiatric coverage, etc. Unless and until those are removed, health care in this state will always cost more.
Secondly, people are not dying for lack of health care, since no one is turned away from an emergency room. People are dying for several other reasons, such as poor lifestyle choices, associating with criminal elements of society, refusing to take prescribed medications, etc.
People without health insurance have other priorities in many cases & prefer to take their chances that they won't need expensive care. This is often true of the young, healthy individual who'd rather use the money for other things.
The poor, the divorced, the low income families can obtain Medicaid but sometimes don't know about it or don't want to enroll because they are illegals or have other issues.
The only program that might help is high deductible catastrophic insurance that will prevent people from having to declare bankruptcy or fall into long-term debt due to either a long-term illness or a short-term expensive problem.
I'm all for a private health insurance account in conjunction with catastrophic coverage. Those who want more comprehensive coverage can contribute more to the HSA and those who prefer to take care of more routine things themselves, can save the money for more serious problems.
Times new columnist Sirota is a liar and communist. He makes unsubstantiated claims, like 18,000 people die every year due to lack of health care, but no where can you back this up.
These are socialist plans. All goods and service are rationed by price or by bureaucrats. These plans go with the latter. Guess who will lose?
This state is on a crash course with destiny. Too bad we who do not support the current elected officials will go down with all those sanctimonious Democrats who voted in these yahoos.
Steve in Queen Anne, a lot of carriers have already opted out of the State roughly about 10-13 years ago when the State upped their regulation.
GS, I got a couple of e-mails from OFM yesterday.
A couple of thoughts came to me as I read this article. First, it mentioned that the OIC wants to regulate the individual market because that was "stripped" away from them.
Actually, after Deborah Senn devastated the market that was a negotiation the OIC had to make in order to get companies to start selling product in Washington state again because her policies basically made it not profitable for them. So now he wants to go back on that deal so he can push universal health care.
Secondly, the bigger question is why do they want universal health care since there is access to every person in the US. This is only about who pays the bills.
So if you look at what the state is paying out in healthcare already, it's staggering and they are going broke because of it. The state mostly carries those who use the ER more than any other demographic. I'm sure Army/Medic would be able to attest to those who come into the ER. I have seen many claims from the ER for such trivial things as cutting toenails because the person couldn't reach their feet. But because that person was on state aid, it was a covered benefit.
So when you have a group of very high utilizers of medical services, the obvious choice is to broaden the risk pool so that they have more people paying into the system to offset those who are big utilizers.
Couple that with the medical lobbyists for doctors who demand more money from the state in reimbursement for state programs (note I didn't say insurance companies here) and you have the real reason behind wanting to change healthcare.
There is a real misconception about insurance companies making record profits. Most companies make a small percentage of the premium. The real costs come into play when doctors call for exams and tests "just in case" when there is no medical reason for justification. But that way they get to charge for using their equipment and charge it off to the end user.
Believe me, after 20+ years in healthcare administration, you get to see all the tricks and games played by all the players, but most I've seen are from the physicians groups and not the hospitals and insurance companies.
23. The dolts of Olympia took the WEA "advise" on what would make a high school grad ready for the world when they come out. And now look at what they're doing. The big Homer Simpson "DOTE".
I cant wait to see the same fore-head smack when they look at all the catering they did to the special interests involved here.
Many with health insurance now pay a modest premium. This new program supposedly will be offered with no premium, but instead a "modest" tax. So, is this really no premium, or is the premium replaced with the tax?
I'd say some of the local companies with very good insuarance packages such as Microsoft and Boeing would roll out a welcome mat for this.
25. Dopio, don't you know it yet? They will be exempt.
Swatter is correct that Boeing and Microsoft would be exempt as written because they are self-insured, which means that the company is taking the risk that the premiums that they take will be more than the money they send out in claims. It's a much cheaper plan if you have a healthy population that does not use lots of healthcare.
That's not the case with the population currently on the State programs. They are generally not healthy, high utilizers and the first to use (and demand) the most expensive treatment options "just in case".
So to get the bills paid for the unhealthy, they need to get the money from the healthy people who would pay premiums to an insurance company and have them pay it to the state instead to offset the costs.
Ironically, the state is also going to a self-insured plan for it's employees 2008 to exempt themselves from universal healthcare.
27. GOOD JOB PUDGE! A statement, almost without ant attack. You're doing better.
If the healthy ones are allowed to secure their own cheap and good health care insurance, where is the cash going to come from? The sick and poor?
To make the system work, the system needs the healthy ones the most to balance payments.
Only the relatively large companies will be able to afford a self-insured plan when the state completes the list of what you must have for insurance in this state. Currently, if you offer an insurance plan in this state, you must also include mental coverage, chemical dependency, chiropractic care, naturopathic care as well as basic medical care. So when you have to cover all of these coverages, only a large population of employees will be able to mitigate the risk of high utilization from the few that use it.
So the state will mandate that you have to carry "X" amount of coverage if you offer a plan, which means everyone else must go through the state. This gives the state a much bigger pool to draw resources from to offset the cost of the high utilizers.
BTW, along with the state going to a self-insured plan for themselves this year, they are also exempt from having to offer all of the coverages that are required for everyone else.
It's good to be the king... or queen in this case.
How about each person pays for their health care. If you use it you pay for it. Insurance is optional. Currently in this state their are many medical facilities that either closed their doors or are planning to do so. It seems that the State does not pay bills on a timely basis. Ask your local hospital how heavy their receivables are from the state and feds?
Also ask about the processing costs. The amount of paperwork and staff costs are added to the medical costs. My doctor has 4 people who process paperwork. A while back we came across a bill from Swedish hospital 5 days of care and delivery of friend wife in 1946. The typed bill totaled $68.45. That was about 1 week of wages (give or take). Compare that cost to todays costs for like or similar services. It will blow your mind.
One plan I heard back a while ago that made sense was to get the employer out of the health care market. It was only after WWII that employers started offering fringe benefits to men returning from the war to get the best candidates and one of these was health care.
So if you return to an individual purchasing their own health care. If this is started as a young child (by parents), we would see a few actions:
1.) All health care is completely portable from employer to employer because it is purchased by the individual and follows the individual.
2.) The risk pool is greater as it would encompass the entire US population. So Insurance companies can charge the same low rates to all customers because they would be able to offset high utilization costs.
3.) Employers can still offer benefits such as paying the premiums for the employee, but the healch care plan still belongs to the individual.
4.) It reduces layers of management in the workplace by keeping the employer out of the business. No more choosing what they can and can't afford to give to employees.
5.) Reduces the amount of oversight by the state on employers.
6.) The state can subsidize those still needing insurance at a lower rate through the plans because the risk pool is greater.
It doesn't take care of everything though. Disadvantages:
1.) Does not eliminate those from the system who refuse to pay for a plan.
2.) Doesn't foster as much creativity in the market when new drugs or treatments become available.
There could be other disadvantages, but I thought this may be good food for thought. Anyone?