September 09, 2009
Obamacare - Heard It All Before

Nothing new from President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress except some vague promise to test tort reform, meaning he hopes tossing the Republicans a scrap of bi-partisanship will gain their support for Obamacare.

Rather than taking command of the reform effort by saying the White House will submit draft legislation to Congress incorporating the elements "in my plan", Obama merely reiterated his "broad principles" and left Congress to fill in the Devil's details. It was the funniest part of the speech judging from the laughter in the House chamber. He pledged to not sign any healthcare bill that added to the national debt now or in the future. No one laughed at this bit of political hyperbole because legislators are practitioners of the art. The President closed by playing the Teddy Kennedy card and telling a series of stories about citizens who had run afoul of cruel insurance companies with tragic consequences.

He is playing a high-risk game staking his presidency and perhaps Democratic control of the House of Representatives on passage of a reform bill. Should it fail, he can't really blame the Republicans since the Democrats currently have clear majorities in both houses of Congress plus the White House. His safest bet would be appointment of a blue ribbon commission to prepare reform legislation with an up or down, no amendment vote of Congress.

There are some ideas I'd like to see a commission consider but President Obama has set his course and nothing short of a complete meltdown of the Obama/Reid/Pelosi cabal will open the door for a commission approach. Too bad.


Posted by warrenpeterson at September 09, 2009 11:02 PM | Email This
Comments
1. Don't know what he means by "testing tort reform"; it doesn't sound very serious and like more of a throwaway comment. But knowing that Obama has already said they plan to find money for this by "cutting Medicare payments"---which they say means paying doctors less for services-- people need to now demand answers as to why doctors should be paid less, but greedy trial lawyers that are propping up the coffers over at DNC HQ shouldn't take less money, as well!

Posted by: Michele on September 9, 2009 11:42 PM
2. The guy the GOP had following Obama was a joke too. Why must the GOPs plan not 'free market' and instead a bunch of government just like the Democrats?

They should have free market supporting Ron Paul, who is also a doctor, give the rebuttal.

Posted by: Lysander on September 10, 2009 04:52 AM
3. #2 I agree with you. It just blows me away to see the Republican Party continually shoot themselves in the foot by having terrible speakers do the response to our POTUS's speech. Truly, if these are the best orators the Repubs can come up with, they are in deep trouble.
Sarah Palin would have been better...at least she would have been easier on the eyes. :)

Posted by: Duffman on September 10, 2009 05:01 AM
4. Oh, and I guess he already took care of millions of uninsured because he has always said 46 or 47 million uninsured, until last night when he said 30 million.

Yes, Michele, good point. Let's allow lawyers to decide how much less we can pay doctors. And people think this is a good idea?

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 06:08 AM
5. The BS meter took off from the get go of barry's speech (from when he proclaimed economic recovery and conveniently ignored is administration quadrupling the national debt). According to barry, socialization of medicine will not add to the deficit and will lead to efficiency just like we see in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Fanny Mae and at Freddie Mac. Of course, all those programs are financial shambles and are famously mis-managed. He is an empty suit with a deep voice. Bravo, barry.

Posted by: attila on September 10, 2009 07:02 AM
6. Yeah, and he also said that ridding Medicare of waste will help pay for his plan. Does he intend to rid Medicare of waste anyway, even if his plan doesn't get passed? What's stopping them from ridding the program of waste right now? And if it's so wasteful, why should we trust you people with the *rest* of the health care system?

And yes, the Congressional Research Service confirms that there is no mechanism by which to prevent illegals from using the program. So...?

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 07:15 AM
7. So what the hell was that about last night? Why convene both houses of Congress to say nothing new?
He said the same old crap, and even the AP today has cited numerous li... um... "oversimplifications and omissions" from his speech in a lengthy fact check article.

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 07:25 AM
8. @7: why convene both houses? Because Obama is convinced that his golden charisma and oratory flourishes will make the same old words actually sound new and true! And he is convinced that his golden words, if said by him, even if not quite the truth, will become the truth as they fall upon the ears of the masses who, by Obama's and most liberal's reckoning, are not very bright and easily duped and/or hypnotized. If this all wasn't so childish, I would say it was scary.

Posted by: katomar on September 10, 2009 08:12 AM
9. Why can the President call his opponents liars in his speech to Congress, but Congressmen can't call him one?

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 08:36 AM
10. Regarding the numbers of uninsured, the number chaged but so did the label. previously they were talking about 47 million uninsured, now they are talking about 30 million who cannot afford insurance. so, they've subtraced the 17 million who can afford insurance but choose not to have it. That results in 30 million who cannot afford insurance.

The good news is that he's being forced to use more accurate numbers since people are looking into the details behind the numbers he's been throwing out.

Now, if he would just subtract the number of people who can't afford insurance but also qualify for a current goverment health program and illegal aliens, then the number would drop to around 14 million.

Posted by: Ken on September 10, 2009 08:47 AM
11. My Opinion of the Speech - FBS - and that does not stand for:

Fine Brilliant Stuff

Posted by: Tim on September 10, 2009 08:51 AM
12. Not only that, Ken, but Obama *has* to use the 30 million number now to try and cover for the fact that he has said many times before that he wants to insure "47 million", which was always an admission that illegals would be covered.

He says, "If you like what you have now, you can keep it", which is also not true, because if what you have now is *nothing*, he is going to make you buy insurance, contrary to his campaign promise.

He tells so many... uh... iffy statements that it's hard to keep up with them.

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 08:54 AM
13. Update On UNinsured

Posted by: Duffman on September 10, 2009 09:06 AM
14. Duffman, I saw that AP report today, but what of it? If Obama claims illegals won't be covered, why is the 46 million number relevant?

He no longer uses that number. He now uses 30 million to try to assure us that he isn't talking about illegals in his plan.

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 09:10 AM
15. #14 I'm not 'defending' our POTUS, just pointing out what the facts seem to be. I'm looking for a solution to our health-care dilemma; I care not which political party comes up with it. In reading what the republicans have out there, it seems to me that our POTUS could accept some of that without exception. SOMEthing must be done, status quo and/or stagnation is not an option. I happen to think it the most important issue in this country and if we must re-allocate funds to 'get-er done' so be it. :)

Posted by: Duffman on September 10, 2009 09:16 AM
16. In reading through these Republican Suggestions, it doesn't seem too far removed from what the Dems are offering and certainly could be accepted in a conciliatory gesture of trying to solve this problem as a cohesive political nation.

Posted by: Duffman on September 10, 2009 09:23 AM
17. Yes, but Duffman, what does that AP story have to do with anything?

So, he's proposing spending $30k for each uninsured (whether they choose to be or not) American? No, thanks.

Do you want to insure 46 million, or 30 million? And of those 30 million who don't want to be insured, do you want to remove their freedom to not have insurance?


Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 09:23 AM
18. Very simply, what I would like is the same coverage as our Congresspeople...for every bona fide American citizen. :)

Posted by: Duffman on September 10, 2009 09:27 AM
19. Oh, and Duffman, what is stopping Obama from cutting (what $500 billion???) in waste from Medicare now? What's the hold up, and why is the govt so wasteful to begin with?

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 09:29 AM
20. Warren,

"Rather than taking command of the reform effort by saying the White House will submit draft legislation to Congress"

Frankly, I don't want presidents drafting legislation. Drafting legislation is the responsibility of the Congress. The executive certainly should participate in the process.


"Obama merely reiterated his "broad principles" and left Congress to fill in the Devil's details."

I don't think your characterization is entirely correct. It was not merely a reiteration. Some aspects were expanded. Some were added.

Lastly, the level of detail provided by Obama Wednesday night and by the Democrats in general far surpasses what Bush and the Republicans accomplished, and surpasses what the Republican leadership has provided thus far.

Knowing that I'll get no agreement, I'll still say it again. You can't fight something with nothing.

The uproar over Wilson's unprecedented heckling of a President during a Congressional address is proof of the lack of substance and leadership on the side of the Republicans when it comes to health care reform.
The primary approach of fighting the Democrats with lies and vitriol has moved from the cable/radio/internet echo chamber to the town halls and disgracefully on to the chambers of Congress.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on September 10, 2009 09:31 AM
21. #19 Agreed! I'm as perplexed 'bout that as you are??? ...just doesn't make sense. :)

Posted by: Duffman on September 10, 2009 09:32 AM
22. MikeBoyScout, we Republicans wrote HR3400. That is "nothing" to you?

MikeBoyScout, why can your Democrat President use that forum to call people liars?

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 09:34 AM
23. The uproar over Wilson's unprecedented heckling

Bullshit. Apparently you never paid attention to the boos from the D side of the aisle during Bush's speeches, did you?

Yes, it was rude. But it wasn't unprecedented. You're simply mad because you don't like being on the receiving end of it. For a change.

Posted by: jimg on September 10, 2009 09:40 AM
24. Last time I looked, both houses of congress and the white house are controlled by the Dems. So, how is it that the evil republicans are blocking president barry's scheme for socializing 1/6 of the U.S. economy?
As the far left of the Democrat party already knows, the republican proposals for reforming health care reforming are being blocked by Nancy Pelosi and the Dem majority in the house of representatives. The republican proposals include but are not limited to lowering the barriers to interstate commerce in health insurance, tort reform, eliminating denials based on pre-existing conditions, eliminating state mandates in health insurance coverage, etc.
The house Dems will not allow the republican proposals to move forward because they - the left wing socialist Dems - are enamored of the propect for a single payer health care system being foisted on the U.S.A. President barry and the Dems wish to portray their favored legislation - which is designed to ultimately gut the private health insurance industry - as the only plan/ option available.

Posted by: attila on September 10, 2009 09:43 AM
25. Pride of authorship should not be a priority for the sake of the Nation...the administration in power will get the credit (or debit) any way.

Posted by: Duffman on September 10, 2009 09:47 AM
26. MikeBoyScout(20) - Congressional Democrats booed President Bush during his state of the union address in 2005. You can view it on U-tube. So when you say the heckling of a President is unprecedented, you are either uninformed or lying.
Or do you simply believe in double standards - heckling the messiah is heretical, but heckling BusHitler is the highest form of patriotism.

Posted by: FactChecker on September 10, 2009 09:47 AM
27. Btw, the prospect of allowing barney frank, maxine waters, william jefferson, ezekiel emmanual ad nauseum anywhere near my health care choices is pretty frightening. That these commie clowns are trying to get their hands on health care so they can do to medicine what they did to FANNIE MAE and FREDDIE MAC should set off alarm bells.

Posted by: attila on September 10, 2009 09:50 AM
28. @26 FactChecker on September 10, 2009 09:47 AM

"Congressional Democrats booed President Bush during his state of the union address in 2005.
...So when you say the heckling of a President is unprecedented, you are either uninformed or lying."

Or you don't know the definition of Heckle.

pssst. If it was perfectly ok for Wilson to heckle the president, why did the Republican Leadership direct him to apologize, and not all the others who booed Obama???
HINT: Booing is not heckling.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on September 10, 2009 10:01 AM
29. #28, because the Republican leadership sucks.

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 10:12 AM
30. Good to have that settled. Between now and January 2013 there will be many, many demonstrations against president barry, his minions and his marxist agenda. I suspect booing will play a role in those demonstrations and the Dems will applaud our expressions of dissent ("the highest form of patriotism").

Posted by: attila on September 10, 2009 10:16 AM
31. Hey, that Obamacare sounds a lot like ROMNEYCARE.

So Republicans were FOR Socialized medicine BEFORE they were against socialized medicine.

Posted by: Beth on September 10, 2009 10:20 AM
32. Oh, Darcy... not again!

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 10:31 AM
33. We'd have a lot more possible funding for health care reform if we'd prioritize and GTF out of Afghanistan and Iraq !

Posted by: Duffman on September 10, 2009 10:45 AM
34. There was significant new developments in the speech:

- Obama for the first time specified the cost at around $900. The house bill was $1.2T.

- For the first time he said an individual mandate was necessary.

- For the first time he said an employer mandate was necessary.

- For the first time he advocating taxing insurers for their most expensive plans. The house bill did not contain this provision.

- For the first time he announced using malpractice reform grants to test various proposals. The house bill did not contain this provision.

- And he made the moral case for universal coverage, which he hasn't made very frequently.

You may disagree with his policies. Well, you certainly do. But to say this is "more of the same" isn't true. Yes, he's not throwing away his reform plan, but he outlined a clear plan.

Gary, Yeah, and he also said that ridding Medicare of waste will help pay for his plan. Does he intend to rid Medicare of waste anyway, even if his plan doesn't get passed? What's stopping them from ridding the program of waste right now? And if it's so wasteful, why should we trust you people with the *rest* of the health care system?

You make a good point. We can reduce wasteful spending in health care to perfect a government plan or we can reduce that waste to fund universal coverage. I would rather tackle the significant moral concern of 30 million uninsured American citizens, and do it in a way that is deficit neutral.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 10:57 AM
35. jimg, But it wasn't unprecedented. You're simply mad because you don't like being on the receiving end of it. For a change.

It was unprecedented. A President has never in recent times been heckled like that. A boo is significantly different charge than calling the President a liar.

But the President was right. Factcheck.org says Wilson is wrong:

False. That’s simply not what the bill says at all. This page includes "SEC. 152. PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION IN HEALTH CARE," which says that "[e]xcept as otherwise explicitly permitted by this Act and by subsequent regulations consistent with this Act, all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services." However, the bill does explicitly say that illegal immigrants can’t get any government money to pay for health care. Page 143 states: "Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States." And as we’ve said before, current law prohibits illegal immigrants from participating in government health care programs.

So does PolitiFact:
Joe Wilson of South Carolina said Obama lied, but he didn't

There are disagreements here. But there is no disagreeing with the facts: The illegal immigrant charge is a cynical lie. And Congressman Wilson was disrespectful and uncivil. This was not a town hall, it was a Joint Session. His apology was necessary.

Politically, it's a whole day of news dedicated to an outraged, uncivil member of your party instead of another day covering the death panel lie. It cost the GOP a news cycle. I'd caution you to not defend someone who costs the GOP news cycles.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 11:04 AM
36. 'deficit neutral'

Ultimate oxymoron (smile)...definitely 'reverse'!

Posted by: Duffman on September 10, 2009 11:04 AM
37. Liberal media:
It was a rare breach of the protocol that governs ritualistic events in the Capitol.

(...)

Though he later apologized, his eruption — in response to Mr. Obama’s statement that Democratic health proposals would not cover illegal immigrants — stunned members of both parties in the House chamber.
More liberal media:

Wilson's staccato shouts shocked Democrats and Republicans alike, who were quick to denounce the extraordinary breach of decorum.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 11:10 AM
38. Odd isn't it. Obama say's no to illegals, yet when the Rep's put forth a bill to ensure they would not get medical care. The dem's who are in charge killed it!

Posted by: Dustoff on September 10, 2009 11:17 AM
39. Wilson's staccato shouts shocked Democrats and Republicans alike, who were quick to denounce the extraordinary breach of decorum.

Posted by John Jensen at September
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

O-brother. Bush's 2005 speech the dem's booed during his address.
I guess you just some-how for got that one.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2009/09/10/flashback_democrats_boo_bush_at_2005_state_of_the_union.html

Posted by: Dustoff on September 10, 2009 11:25 AM
40. @38 Dustoff on September 10, 2009 11:17 AM,

Not 'odd' at all. Especially since Republicans did not offer an amendment which would "ensure they [immigrants] would not get medical care", but an enforcement mechanism to prohibit tax payer benefits were not distributed illegally. One of the reasons the amendment did not pass (in addition to being offered by the minority party) is that it had the acknowledged flaw of unintentionally prohibiting benefits to US Citizens.

The enforcement mechanisms are acknowledged by all sides as needing refining, but heckling the president at a Joint Session is not the way to accomplish the objective, and I wonder....
Would it be okay for you or yours to die or go bankrupt if that was the cost of prohibiting one undocumented immigrant from obtaining a tax dollar?

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on September 10, 2009 11:27 AM
41. @39 Dustoff on September 10, 2009 11:25 AM and other like minded rationalizers,

Since when has "they did it first!" become the standard for behavior?
Frankly, such rationalizations for poor behavior are not accepted of children but seem to have become the raison d'etre for many so-called conservatives. (e.g. "Hitler!", Torture, Deficits, heckling...)

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on September 10, 2009 11:43 AM
42. #41 "Since when has "they did it first!" become the standard for behavior?

Well, it may not "become the standard for behavior", but it can certainly be the standard for calling you a hypocrit.

Posted by: Bill on September 10, 2009 11:48 AM
43. Mikey...

ONE man spoke up and you lib's go nuts!

The dem party boos Bush and not a word.
HUGE difference.

By the way mikey.. (Hiler comment came from YOUR group. Try the speaker of the house.

Or are you not only blind, but deaf too?

Posted by: Dustoff on September 10, 2009 11:50 AM
44. POTUS Obama accepted Wilson's apology...can you?

Posted by: Duffman on September 10, 2009 11:52 AM
45. Mikey.... Geee this doesn't agree with your statement.
(The Democratic House bill has "no enforcement mechanism," said Breann Gonzalez, spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, a Republican from the Columbus area who is the only representative from Ohio on the House Ways and Means Committee.)

Posted by: Dustoff on September 10, 2009 11:56 AM
46. John@37-
That is such a piece of hogwash and you're smart enough to know it.

Every single attempt to put anything in this bill that would make a person show citizenship to get medical benefits has been actively resisted by the democratic party.

What this means is that just as the illegals can get other services, they'll be able to get healthcare.

Give us a break dude. We aren't stupid.

Posted by: johnny on September 10, 2009 11:56 AM
47. It is illegal to cross international borders into the U.S. without authorization to do so from the U.S. government. We've all seen how even though such border crossing is illegal our laws are unenforced to a degree which allows millions of illegals to cross into and reside in the U.S.
How many of you truly believe president barry and the reds will actively work to prevent illegal aliens from accessing U.S. tax payer paid health care?
I suspect barry is being dishonest when he claims:
- our economy is in recovery
- his health care nationalization will be "deficit neutral"
- no appointed bureaucrats will dictate procedures or limits on procedures for patients (gosh, in the interest of "fairness" I guess liberals want Barbara Wagner's fate in Oregon to apply to any of us who experience a similar situation)
- no illegal aliens will access U.S. tax payer paid health care under his plan

The argument that you either support president barry and the reds or you support denial of care and death for U.S. citizens is a false argument. Conservatives support heathcare reform but NOT the socialization of 1/6 of the U.S. economy and NOT the insertion of some democrat POS into personal health care matters like the one who sent the famous denial of care letter to Barbara Wagner. Anyone who wants to see what Obamacare will look like need look no further than the case of Barbara Wagner.

Posted by: attila on September 10, 2009 11:56 AM
48. @41.

'They did it first!' has been the rationale of a lot of democrats, too, pointing to how horrible Bush is supposedly compared to now is a daily occurrence. The Dems are excellent at attacking Reps but don't tend to do so well defending themselves, while the Reps have the similar disability of being excellent at attacking Dems but not so well at defending themselves. To pretend one is somehow morally superior to the other is an exercise in utter irrelevance, and quite naive.

Just because the Reps screwed up doesn't make the Dems right, and just because the Dems screwed up doesn't make the Reps right. It does, however, make them both highly suspect.

Posted by: Nadorn on September 10, 2009 11:58 AM
49. Just a little more

Every Republican on the committee backed an amendment in July by Rep. Dean Heller of Nevada that would have required the use of special databases to make sure illegal immigrants were not getting government-subsidized health coverage. Heller wanted to require the use of databases like the Income and Eligibility Verification System, already used by states for social service eligibility.

The amendment failed in a party-line vote. Committee Democrats said Heller's extra checks were unnecessary -- and that the government has plenty of experience checking backgrounds for Medicare and other programs.

Posted by: Dustoff on September 10, 2009 11:59 AM
50. Warren
I disagree with your analysis of nothing new. John Jensen already covered areas that were new.

Regarding Joe Wilson, some have compared the verbal outage with what happens in Britain's Parliament, however, I saw today a posting of the rules for Parliament. Even there, they draw the line regards regarding the verbal accusation of lying. While one may not like the other theatrics, it has been done for years by both sides. What hasn't been done is what Wilson did and is out of order. I was glad to see recognized his error and apologized, and that the President has accepted his policy and basically said "let's move on."

Posted by: tc on September 10, 2009 12:00 PM
51. @43 Dustoff on September 10, 2009 11:50 AM,

Nuts? Heckling the president at a joint session, heckling disabled people at town halls, bringing weapons to political events.... compared to calling out (admitted!) bad behavior and you call that 'going nuts'?????

My expectation is for civil behavior in public discourse. When my children behave badly, I correct them. When my co-workers behave badly I correct them.
You may call this 'going nuts', but I contend that allowing bad and uncivil behavior to be rationalized with 'they started it!' to be the path to anarchy.
No, Dustoff, 'nuts' is letting bad behavior continue or encouraging it because it meets an emotional need.

There needs to be rational conservative improvements to the health care reform. Behaving like spoiled children moves us away from what is needed to be done. Time to grow up.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on September 10, 2009 12:07 PM
52. Great! This thing will never get signed then. No way it doesn't explode the deficit, no way it gets paid for without new massive tax increases on the middle class. No way it gets paid for from imagined Medicare cost savings. That's just being put out there to fool people. No serious person would believe anything Obama said last night. And since when do government workers ask the immigrant status of people applying for government benefits?

Posted by: scott on September 10, 2009 12:08 PM
53. John, what mechanism does HR3200 use to prevent illegals from being covered? The Congressional Research Service (non-partisan) says that HR3200 does not have a way to stop illegals from seeking and receiving coverage.

Thanks.

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 12:30 PM
54. #34 "- Obama for the first time specified the cost at around $900. The house bill was $1.2T."

Oh. What bill is this in that I can read?

Thanks.

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 12:36 PM
55. Dustoff @49: "The amendment failed in a party-line vote. Committee Democrats said Heller's extra checks were unnecessary -- and that the government has plenty of experience checking backgrounds for Medicare and other programs."

If the government has plenty of such experience, why is there so much waste and fraud?
So many contradictions, so little time.

Posted by: katomar on September 10, 2009 01:08 PM
56. Mikey

Spoiled childern..
Your kidding right. So how many protest against say Reagan and Bush that lib childern/protestors were going "nuts"

Your side owns that game.

If you cared to re-read what I wrote. Your side along with the MSN have had a field day with one person doing something foolish. Yet when Bush was in front of your dem's, hardly a word was raised against it about their action.

Posted by: Dustoff on September 10, 2009 01:08 PM
57. Obama: "These are the facts. Nobody disputes them."

Um... yes, people do dispute them, Mr. President. Please do not speak for me. It's like the Global Warming believers claiming by themselves that "the science is settled and there is no more debate."

Um, no it isn't.

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 01:17 PM
58. Gary, I quoted two fact check organizations. You can get information there. The bill does not cover illegal immigrants. End of story.

Whoever, The dem party boos Bush and not a word.

Booing is different from yelling out a phrase. It is completely, entirely different. One is standard if a bit immature (booing), one gets a censure on the House floor. This is why the event is even a story.

Obama is big enough to handle a heckle. He's also right, according to every fact checker organization I've read. But a member of your party acted like a brat and broke established decorum. It's a story that's distracting from your party's message. You should not encourage it, and you should realize that it is a lot different from booing.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 01:49 PM
59. #58. End of story? No, I'm afraid not. Here is the report from the Congressional Research Office.

http://media.sfexaminer.com/documents/noncitizens.pdf

The CRS disagrees with President Obama with regards to the ability of illegal aliens to obtain coverage under HR3200.

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 01:57 PM
60. If you listen closely to the tape of the Bush speech I think you will detect a bit more than just Booo'ing. Shame on you for lecturing Gary that way.

Posted by: Duffman on September 10, 2009 01:59 PM
61. Gary, I quoted two fact check organizations. You are free to send this report to them. They can explain to you why you are still wrong.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 01:59 PM
62. Duffman, why did Wilson apologize?

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 02:05 PM
63. Gary, did you even read that report? To be eligible for the credits under §242 of H.R. 3200, individuals must be lawfully present in a
state in the United States

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 02:08 PM
64. #63. And how is that verified?

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 02:13 PM
65. Who "fact checks" the Fact Check organizations? Acorn? Those places are no better than the propaganda they claim to either prove or disprove. It all depends on who's punching the keys. The internet is full of "credible" sources until you find out who runs them.
The fact is, NOBODY checkes immigrant status of people applying for government benefits.

Posted by: scott on September 10, 2009 02:15 PM
66. Decorum.

It is the job of elected officials to act with decorum and to meet ethical standards of behavior at all times when performing public business which we pay for with our tax dollar.
The booing the Democrats gave Bush in 2004 was inappropriate behavior and should have been gaveled down by Speaker Dennis "Denny" Hastert, and the Democratic caucus reprimanded by Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi.
Wilson's behavior of heckling on the floor breaches the known minimal standard of behavior, and he was the first, at least in recorded American History, to engage in such name calling heckling. He should have been gaveled down as out of order by Speaker Pelosi and censored by the House unanimously.

Wilson's behavior is intolerable and punishing him severely is the best deterrence to the behavior being repeated by a Democrat (who will most assuredly say "They did it first!) in the future.


Posted by: MikeBoyScout on September 10, 2009 02:18 PM
67. More CRS: "absent of a provision in the bill specifying the verification procedure, that the Commissioner would be responsible for determining a mechanism to verify the eligibility of noncitizens for the credits"

-
So Congress leaves it to the Commissioner. So HR3200 has no way to deny coverage to illegal aliens. No way. The Republicans introduced an amendment to do so, but guess what happened to it?

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 02:19 PM
68. #58 "Gary, I quoted two fact check organizations. You can get information there. The bill does not cover illegal immigrants. End of story."

No, I'm afraid that is NOT "End of story". The bill does not need to "cover illegal immigrants" in order for illegal immigrants to be covered. Remember Prop 187 in California? It was targeted to deny benefits to illegal aliens. It was ruled unconstitutional by a Federal judge in, I believe, 1998. The Governor at that time [Pete Wilson] planned to appeal, but when Gray Davis took over as Governor, he dropped the appeal. So the bill doesn't have to specifically cover illegal aliens in order to cover illegal aliens.

Regarding Obama's statement about not covering illegal aliens: You could say he wasn't lying if all of those illegal aliens are no longer illegal by the time they are eligible for benefits. Presto, if you make all the illegals legal, then you can say that no illegal aliens will get benefits!

Posted by: Bill on September 10, 2009 02:20 PM
69. Gary, you quoted a report which agrees with me and the fact checkers. Why did you link to that report if it agrees with me?

Why don't you quote the section that disproves the fact checkers instead of dragging this out?

scott, so far there are four sources being presented.

One and two are fact check organizations which are widely respected. I quoted them in an earlier post.

Another is a non-partisan congressional report which agrees with the fact checkers. Gary linked to the report, but didn't read it.

The last is the Republican party line.

Which source is open to bias?

NOBODY checkes immigrant status of people applying for government benefits

That simply isn't true.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 02:21 PM
70. There is a difference between not having medical insurance and not having medical care. Very few in this country can not get medical care.

When gang bangers shoot each other the police and ambulance crews don't leave the uninsured bleeding in the gutter and only transport the insured. When people who are in this country illegally are involved in a car or some other kind of accident they are not denied medical care. Prisoners have medical care, tourists will be cared for if they are sick or injured. Hell, we even provide care for wounded captured enemy soldiers.

There is no lack of medical care. The problem is paying for the medical care. Show up at a hospital and, unless it is a hospital where Mrs. Obama has made arraignments to transfer those nasty poor uninsured people to different hospital, you will be treated. That is the way the system is working now.

Posted by: Huey on September 10, 2009 02:24 PM
71. Bill, You could say he wasn't lying if all of those illegal aliens are no longer illegal by the time they are eligible for benefits. Presto, if you make all the illegals legal, then you can say that no illegal aliens will get benefits!

Your predictions of the future have nothing to do with whether Obama is being truthful or not.

The law explicitly bars illegals from getting subsidies. Two fact check organizations and the non-partisan congressional research service agree with the facts. There is no debate, except from ideologues. Do you have sources to cite, or not?

Gary, the commissioner is obligated to enforce the law. The law says that illegal immigrants cannot get subsidies. You are completely wrong.

The source you cited agreed with me. End of story.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 02:27 PM
72. Huey, that is the very minimal standard of a society: Not letting people die on the street. I'd rather folks had the chance to see the doctor when they're sick, not just when they're bleeding to death.

How much will it cost us in new taxes? The President's plan doesn't tax a single individual one red cent. It taxes health insurance companies for their most expensive plans -- and only $30bn a year at that. Universal coverage is something we can afford, and it is the right thing to do.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 02:31 PM
73. This is all a sideshow. We must keep focused on the root causes of the escalation of medical costs. Our President has previously explained this in nationally televised speeches: rapacious unethical doctors are unnecessarily amputating limbs for $50,000 a pop, and ripping out children's tonsils instead of giving them antibiotics. He said it. It is an outrageous lie, and insult to all physicians in the US.

QED - Our President is a liar. Most far left cryptocommies are.

Posted by: FactChecker on September 10, 2009 02:33 PM
74. John, if HR3200 does not provide a verification mechanism, and an illegal misrepresents his status (gee, does that ever happen?) and they get coverage, then by definition the federal government is covering them.

It's not that hard to understand. The CRS does not agree with you, John. It says HR3200 has no way to stop illegals from applying for, and getting coverage if they want to.

And John, what happened to the 47 million Obama wanted to insure? Now it's 30 million? Where did the rest go?

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 02:34 PM
75. @70 Huey on September 10, 2009 02:24 PM - Well said.
The undocumented alien resident loophole is one that allows them to pay for insurance that pays for care vice showing up and getting care without paying. Is it possible some will break the law, sure.
But the enforcement of the Simpson-Mazzoli Immigration reform of 1986 hasn't been fully funded under more Republican presidents and Republican controlled congresses than Democrats. There are 12 million more undocumented aliens here than there should be because of 23 years of in action.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on September 10, 2009 02:34 PM
76. #75 And yet you want them to pass HR3200...

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 02:38 PM
77. #71 "Your predictions of the future have nothing to do with whether Obama is being truthful or not."

Hey, I was showing how he could be telling the truth, not how he was lying!

"The law explicitly bars illegals from getting subsidies. Two fact check organizations and the non-partisan congressional research service agree with the facts. There is no debate, except from ideologues. Do you have sources to cite, or not?"

I cited it in the very post you are referencing--it is called Prop 187. You can Google it and find a number of articles
Here is One

Posted by: Bill on September 10, 2009 02:39 PM
78. Gary, You are wrong. The CRS report agrees with me. Two fact check organizations agree with me.

You have absolutely no evidence that any enforcement from the executive branch will be lax or non-existent.

If you want to cite the CRS provision that says illegals receive coverage then we can talk. But you've presented no evidence, just speculation.

Basically, you're complaining because the executive will choose how to enforce a law. That is what the executive does. I would not mind defining enforcement procedures, but the ones offered by Wilson would deny some American citizens care which is why they were voted down. Those causalities are uancceptable.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 02:42 PM
79. #78 "You have absolutely no evidence that any enforcement from the executive branch will be lax or non-existent. "

HA HA! Look at the border, John! My God!

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 02:44 PM
80. Bill, we are talking about the health reforms in front of us. Not Prop 187. I take it that you and Gary do not have sources to cite.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 02:45 PM
81. Gary, I'll look at the border, if you look at the numerous independent fact check organizations who are calling you are on your distortions.

Not a single credible source agrees with you. You hold up the CRS report and says it agrees with you. It doesn't: To be eligible for the credits under §242 of H.R. 3200, individuals must be lawfully present in a state in the United States

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 02:49 PM
82. John, is it legal for people to pour across our borders? No. Does the government stop it? No.
Is it legal for illegals to be covered under HR3200? No. Will the government stop it? No!

Don't you get real life?

They *will* be covered whether it's legal or not.


Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 02:52 PM
83. @76 Gary on September 10, 2009 02:38 PM,

Yes, I am for HR3200 as amended to incorporate the changes and limitations put forth by Obama Wednesday night.

Yes, whatever plan gets out of reconciliation should have better enforcement mechanisms regarding illegal behavior or sub standard performance via the plan. Rather than attempting to micro manage the execution of the enforcement, the Congress should require public disclosure of performance audits executed by the GAO, which is the investigative arm of the US Congress.

The approach above which I've offered to my reps and other members would easily win bi-partisan approval for amendment and utilizes the best of the founding fathers' principles on controlling the malfeasance on the part of the executive in opposition of the will of the people.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on September 10, 2009 02:55 PM
84. #83. No. You were for it weeks ago.

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 02:59 PM
85. Gary, that is the distortion.

There is a different between a handful of illegal immigrants breaking the law and President Obama purposefully extending the subsidies to illegals. Will you acknowledge that difference?

I feel like the ploy here is that the GOP is trying to scare people into thinking we'll pay for all of the immigrant's care. That's not true at all. According to ABC News and the CRS report, the executive branch would be "instructed by law that he or [sic] must have some process to establish immigration status before giving subsidies."

I would be fine, completely, with stronger enforcement methods from the legislature. But what Wilson proposed would have kept more poor Americans from health insurance than illegals.

No one -- not a single person -- is trying to put some back-door revenue source toward illegals. That is your party's obvious implication. And it is a complete fabrication. Every single fact checking organization agrees with me. The CRS report agrees with me. You have no citations at all that disagree with me.

But, yes, some people will break the law. Because criminal exist in the world. That isn't an excuse to deny 30 million American citizens health insurance.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 03:03 PM
86. "But, yes, some people will break the law. Because criminal exist in the world. That isn't an excuse to deny 30 million American citizens health insurance."

30 million Americans are being denied? Interesting.

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 03:08 PM
87. Gary, I have a friend who is 25-years-old. He got cancer of the liver, and had surgery to get it removed. He is undergoing chemo. He is in college and will not be able to get a job with insurance for at least two years while he finishes school.

Can you name an insurance company that will accept him? He's been looking for one and would appreciate your help. Thanks.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 03:13 PM
88. John, so all 30 million are being denied insurance?

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 03:17 PM
89. For all the leftist slavers so "outraged" over the shout "you lie":

Only doing what the Obamassiah himself did in 2006

John Jensen wrote:

Can you name an insurance company that will accept him? He's been looking for one and would appreciate your help. Thanks.

When did your friend last have insurance? Was it less than 63 days ago? If so, HIPAA requires all insurance companies to ignore his pre-existing condition.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on September 10, 2009 03:41 PM
90. Nancy Pelosi two years ago:

"The war on terror is in Afghanistan. The fact that we weakened our commitment to Afghanistan in order to concentrate in Iraq has taken a toll. The vacuum that was created enabled the Taliban to make a comeback. What was interesting to me in Afghanistan was that the NATO commander there told us that this could be lost. Now I did not realize that the situation was that dire in Afghanistan. And we need more troops, but we also need more NATO troops."

Nancy Pelosi today:

"I don't think there is a great deal of support for sending more troops to Afghanistan in the country or in Congress,"

And we want these people in charge of the nation's health care system?


Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 03:48 PM
91. Heck, MikeBoyScout, not only is John opposed to HR3200, so is the President. He said he would not sign a bill that adds to the deficit. So even he is opposed to HR3200.

We're making progress.

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 03:56 PM
92. John,

I am sorry to hear about your friend.

When I was 25 and in school, I paid for the insurance through the school from day one. What did he do? I would think it is a safe assumption that he opted not to.

Why don't you be his insurance company? He can pay you a premium and you cover his costs. Then, when he is done with school, he can get a job, signup with the insurance offered there and dump you.

Let's make some assumptions here.

He pays a $1,000 a month in a premiums to you. You spend $75,000 in health care claims for his treatment. Over 2 years, you just took a $51,000 loss. Seems perfectly logical, eh?

Insurance isn't free money, you idiot.

Posted by: Chris on September 10, 2009 03:56 PM
93. MikeBoyScout wrote:
"The uproar over Wilson's unprecedented heckling of a President during a Congressional address is..."

THAT'S A LIE! (My Wilsom impression).

In fact it has a precedent set by the Democrats in 2005.

Democrats in 2005 heckling George W Bush

Posted by: pbj on September 10, 2009 04:15 PM
94. #93 And pbj, Senator Obama was one of them.

What Joe Wilson did has now prompted Senate Dems to close the illegal alien loophole that Obama said didn't exist.

Gawd, this is funny.

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 04:17 PM
95. Another thing, pbj... *one* Republican heckles the President and it's a national crisis, and yet a few hundred Dems heckle Bush and that's just fine.

These people, I swear...

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 04:20 PM
96. Gary, nice dodge. Which insurance company can my friend sign up for?

Chris, that was certainly an angry reply to a real problem that someone in my life is facing. Why don't I turn into an insurance company? Because I am not a transformer. Are you a transformer?

Of course my friend made a dumb choice that millions of other young Americans make, and didn't get health insurance. Just like 30% or so of 25 year olds. He makes literally no income save for student loans and is too old for his father's plan.

Am I asking anyone to pay for his chemo or his surgery? No.

But because he got cancer, which I hope he will beat successfully, should he be unable to access any other health insurance? Should he not be able to buy health insurance in case he gets the flu, in a car accident, or is otherwise becomes sick?

Not a single insurance company on the individual market would accept my friend. Yet every single insurance company in the group market -- like employers -- will have to, by law. These same protections we get in the group market should extend to our fellow Americans in the individual market.

And yes, that necessitates an individual mandate would have had my friend insurance from the beginning. At what cost would this mandate cost in subsidies? $30bn a year in taxes on insurance companies. That's less than the cost Bush's tax cuts. Less than Iraq. Less than Afghanistan. Less than Medicare Part D. It's less 7% of the stimulus package.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 04:25 PM
97. What Joe Wilson did has now prompted Senate Dems to close the illegal alien loophole that Obama said didn't exist.

There is no loophole, Gary. You are completely fabricating things. I've shown two independent fact checkers, an ABC News source, and a CRS report that dispute your lie.

You are wrong on this issue. You are lying to the commenters here.

It is against the law for HR3200 to provide subsidies to illegal immigrants. End of story.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 04:28 PM
98. Chris, I want to come back to something.

I understand how insurance works. The only way to get rid of pre-existing conditions, have automatic issue, and have community premiums is through an individual mandate. The vast majority of this bill is this series of reforms. You need to explain to me why you are against these reforms, instead of calling me an idiot. That is disrespectful, and I'm unsure of why you needed to stoop to that level.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 04:36 PM
99. John,

Yes, I get angry. It is no way related to your friends situation.

I lost my mother to cancer 6 months ago. My father is currently battling cancer. It sucks.

However, my father made sure that they were insured up the kazoo when they retired. That means that he BUDGETED for the cost of additional coverage.

What pisses me off is exactly the mentality you possess. You said "Am I asking anyone to pay for his chemo or his surgery? No." Yes you are! You are expecting someone or some business to take on his costs. Where in the hell is that money coming from? From a tree? No. Everyone else.

Here's the deal. I would love to see a requirement that everyone must have insurance, but what about personal responsibility?

And $30 Billion?? In subsidies? From taxes on insurance companies? ARE YOU READING WHAT YOU ARE WRITING??? Is this what you are thinking? Really?

Let me see if I understand. You want to tax the insurance industry $30B (big B by the way) a year. You will take the $30B, give it to people to subsidize them purchasing insurace from the insurance industry. What do you think that will do to premium costs? What does that do to the solvency of the industry?

How about this? You give the government $1,000. They give me a $1,000 subsidy. I give the $1,000 to you to paint my house. Endgame... You get your money back, but you ended up having to paint my house to get it. You have the same amount of money you started with. But I have a fresh coat of paint on my house, at your expense.

Again, perfectly logical.....

Posted by: Chris on September 10, 2009 04:51 PM
100. Chris, you're not understanding.

I am not asking someone to pay for his pre-existing condition, which is cancer. I am noting that it is literally impossible for him to get health insurance that would cover any other medical procedure, such as a broken arm.

A requirement that everyone have insurance is personal responsibility. But you have to be realistic. Many people won't be able to afford it, plain and simple. You need government subsidies to get them insurance, otherwise they'll go without it. Do you really think we should penalize someone for being poor or lower-middle class? That would make it harder to get out of poverty, or get through college. That's not smart. People who make a little less will get a more help, and those of us who can afford health insurance without help won't need any aid.

That $30bn in taxes on insurance companies would only apply to the most expensive plans, those greater than $21,000 for families. People who have these plans will pay the additional cost, not the rest of us. Experts on both sides agree that this is a big step toward bending the cost-curve of health care. These expensive insurance plans simply cause an over-utilization of medical services at tremendous expense.

But is it fair to tax insurance companies? I think so, because Obama's plan would add thirty million new insurance customers. Those companies are going to be fine.

Does your father have Medicare? I wish him the best.

We should also establish what would happen with my friend if he did have individual insurance. His premiums would immediately skyrocket. His out-of-pocket costs would be completely uncapped. He'd have an annual and a lifetime maximum. His insurer could simply choose not to renew his plan. They could cut him from the rolls if he missed a case of kidney stones from 6 years ago on his application form. If he was unhappy with his insurance plan, he couldn't switch due to pre-existing condition requirements. He couldn't take a job and use their insurance for his treatment because of a pre-existing condition.

Not a single one of these things would be true under Obama's insurance reform. I think most of us agree that this is a good thing. And, actually, absolutely none of these things have any costs at all from the government. But for these reforms to work, you need an individual responsibility/mandate which would require government subsidies.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 05:13 PM
101. #96 "Gary, nice dodge. Which insurance company can my friend sign up for? "

Thank you, I guess. But I'm not an insurance broker.

"Of course my friend made a dumb choice that millions of other young Americans make, and didn't get health insurance."

"didn't get"? I thought you said they were all "denied". You said 30 million Americans are being denied insurance. Really?

"And yes, that necessitates an individual mandate would have had my friend insurance from the beginning."

Your friend isn't free to make this choice himself?

So, you want insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions? Then why should healthy people pay for insurance, when they can instead just start paying when they get sick? And then wouldn't the rest of the suckers who chose to be responsible and pay for insurance have to make up the shortfall?

Sweet!

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 05:19 PM
102. Chris, another thing. These subsidies is only for people who are not offered insurance by an employer. The insurance industry gets the vast majority of their money from employers who will not receive government subsidies besides the single largest tax break in America: the health care benefits tax exclusion.

So, in that sense, it equals the playing field a bit, doesn't it?

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 05:21 PM
103. John, how do 30 million Americans get denied insurance?

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 05:24 PM
104. OK... it is 2014 and the Kennedy-Pelosi-Obama "Free Medical Care For All" program has been in effect for 6 months now. After our mandatory morning exercise classes and tooth brushing session, we are walking down the street. Suddenly there is a street fight between two rival gangs, The Scandinavian Lutfiskers and the Swiss Chocolateers struggling for control of the Windex black market. Thirteen of the fighters are wounded and we discover none of them bothered to buy medical insurance. What happens? They have no insurance, they are here illegally and they are bleeding. Are they going to be left to die in the street or will they be treated?

They will be treated even though they are uninsured and illegal.

So, what's the point in having insurance? What would you say to them that would convince them that buying insurance is a good idea?

Posted by: Huey on September 10, 2009 05:25 PM
105. Gary, when you want to argue about substance and not word choice, let me know. Once again, your childish game of asking leading questions has reached the usual point of no longer leading to insightful conversation.

Huey, "Free Medical Care For All"

Absolutely no one is proposing that. My health insurance is funded by my employer, which I pay for through reduced salary. That will not change under this plan.

You sound deeply misinformed about what the plan is.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 05:30 PM
106. Fascinating, isn't it, how the number of uninsured--according to Obama--suddenly dropped overnight from 46 million to 30 million. Guess he finally realized that 46k thing was bogus and wasn't convincing anyone that he was serious about illegal aliens not getting into his trojan horse plan public option.

Posted by: Michele on September 10, 2009 05:34 PM
107. Continued:

Huey, Are they going to be left to die in the street or will they be treated? They will be treated even though they are uninsured and illegal. So, what's the point in having insurance?

First of all, ridiculous scenarios like this are simply not representative of the real problems with the health care system. Real examples, like the one I shared about a young friend of mine who is undergoing cancer treatments, are far more representative of what actually happens routinely.

To answer your question, just like the government, hospitals, and us pay for emergency care for those who would otherwise die, that same system would exist. This is because we are not a cruel nation and do not want people to die on our streets.

The difference is that significantly less people would be uninsured and require that emergency help from the rest of us. Do you have an alternate proposal, Huey?

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 05:34 PM
108. #105. "Gary, when you want to argue about substance and not word choice, let me know."

What? I'm simply asking how you came to the conclusion that 30 million Americans are denied insurance. You can make the assertion, but can't back it up.

And:

"Am I asking anyone to pay for his chemo or his surgery? No."

You're not? How is he going to get chemo and surgery then? If he can afford it himself, then why did you bring it up?

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 05:36 PM
109. Gary, I'm simply asking how you came to the conclusion that 30 million Americans are denied insurance

I did not make that assertion.

I said that not passing health insurance reform is denying 30 million American citizens insurance. I say that because without action, these citizens will not have insurance according to every projection available. Do you deny this? How will these 30 million citizens get insurance without reform?

Now, perhaps some of these Americans can afford it. Perhaps some are healthy and should get it. But tens of millions can't and aren't. They will not get health insurance, even if they wanted it, without reform. You want to spar over the use of the word "deny"? Spar with yourself. I have no interest in arguments over word choice when this country falls far short of universal coverage.

How is he going to get chemo and surgery then?

Charity, debt, and probably bankruptcy. Thankfully UW Medicine will perform all of his necessary treatments without up-front payment. They will be losing money on him, at our cost.

With an individual mandate, we wouldn't have issues like this. But we don't, and I can't expect him to go back into a time machine. So I am pointing out that he cannot get insurance for anything else either.

If he can afford it himself, then why did you bring it up?

I can't believe I have to explain this to you. I guess you don't fully understand the significant problems with the individual insurance market. I don't blame you. Most of us haven't bought insurance for ourselves.

If you get sick, the individual insurance market will simply not accept you. This is different from pre-existing conditions which they will not cover. They say if you've had cancer or you're very old, you're simply too much of a risk. Most individual companies will simply deny coverage. Those plans that may accept you with incredibly high deductibles (>$10k) will have incredibly high premiums, unaffordable for a 25 year old college student.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 05:48 PM
110. So, you want insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions? Then why should healthy people pay for insurance, when they can instead just start paying when they get sick? And then wouldn't the rest of the suckers who chose to be responsible and pay for insurance have to make up the shortfall?

Health people need to pay for insurance to get rid of pre-existing conditions. It is not possible to do one without the other. That is why an individual mandate is proposed by Obama.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 05:49 PM
111. # 109. You said:

"That isn't an excuse to deny 30 million American citizens health insurance."

Now you say some get can get it, "But tens of millions can't and aren't.". Oh. So not 30 million then? Are you gonna juggle numbers like the President? You say they're being denied, and yet you also said your friend *chose* not to buy it. That is not a denial.

Yes, I choose to spar over the word, "deny" because you cannot get away with rhetorical flourish on this board and expect to get away with it. When your side abuses numbers and the language to push your agenda, I will push back, thank you. 30 million Americans are not being "denied" insurance.

"Charity, debt, and probably bankruptcy. Thankfully UW Medicine will perform all of his necessary treatments without up-front payment. They will be losing money on him, at our cost."

Okay, it is at *our* cost. Then why say you're not asking anybody to pay for his treatment?

"...unaffordable for a 25 year old college student."

So, you *do* want us to pay for it? You're making my head spin.

An hour ago you said you weren't asking anybody else to pay for it. One way or the other it must be paid for by someone.

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 05:58 PM
112. #110 "It is not possible to do one without the other. That is why an individual mandate is proposed by Obama."

Campaign promise broken.

So, I can just stop paying my premiums now? Or 2013? A $900 mandate a year is way less than I pay now, John. WAY less.

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 06:02 PM
113. John,

You're right. Let's take the money from the employers and insurance companies. They are flush with it. Forget where it comes from, because it must be there. Always.

You're right. I don't understand. How does 30 million new customers for insurance companies, that are being subsidized by their own money, dictate that they'll "be fine"? It is their money paying for those 30 million, not the money of the 30 million.

And careful what you expect from expensive plans. When you use the term "over-utilization", I start to think that you are mandating lower cost plans that have lesser benefits, which will prevent people from getting care due to cost. By not offering, because the insurance companies will discontinue due to high taxes, expensive plans that have better benefits, you are, in a way, rationing care by economic restriction.

And what happens when those expensive plans are discontinued to avoid the tax burdens? Where does your $30B come from now? The US Mint? That place is going to overheat and melt soon.

And a final note. You do not understand what personal responsibility is. That has become quite clear. And that is ok. Really. Just don't confuse a government mandate as personal responsibility. Personal responsibility is a choice. While wearing a seat belt is a demonstration of personal responsibility, doing it because it is a law is not. Following the law due to penalty is not a demonstration of personal responsibility.

So, here is the test. Poll those 30 million. If we took that $30B and cut each of them a check, would they purchase the insurance or do something else with it? Those who want to demonstrate personal responsibility, but cannot afford insurance, would purchase it. Based on reported facts, roughly 20 million WOULD NOT. (see http://www.businessandmedia.org/printer/2007/20070718153509.aspx) Sorry, I don't know how to put those fancy links in the message. You'll have to copy and paste if you care.

Posted by: Chris on September 10, 2009 06:06 PM
114. Gary, Not passing reform is denying 30 million American citizens insurance. They will not get insurance without reform. I am not going to argue over word choice any further. You've misread what I said.

Okay, it is at *our* cost. Then why say you're not asking anybody to pay for his treatment?

I'm not asking anybody to pay for his cancer treatment.

So, you *do* want us to pay for it? You're making my head spin.

I'm not asking anybody to pay for his cancer treatment.

Please learn to read.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 06:08 PM
115. Celebrate, trolls! "Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies" is going on SIX WEEKS at the top of the New York Times bestseller list! Yahoooooo! Way to go, Michelle Malkin.

Posted by: Michele on September 10, 2009 06:10 PM
116. Chris, didn't you read what John wrote? 30 million are "denied" insurance. Can't buy it even if they want to, because it's being "denied" to them because... because... because we just don't like them that's why.

Your points are excellent BTW.

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 06:11 PM
117. #114. "Gary, Not passing reform is denying 30 million American citizens insurance."

No, it isn't.

Also, if Obama wants to cut $500 billion from Medicare to help pay for his plan, why not just start that already, and save us $500 billion regardless of whether his plan ever happens?

Also, in 34, you wrote:

"- Obama for the first time specified the cost at around $900. The house bill was $1.2T."

What bill is this in?

Thanks.

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 06:16 PM
118. Chris, You're right. Let's take the money from the employers and insurance companies. They are flush with it. Forget where it comes from, because it must be there. Always.

No one has proposed taxing employers.

You're right. I don't understand. How does 30 million new customers for insurance companies, that are being subsidized by their own money, dictate that they'll "be fine"? It is their money paying for those 30 million, not the money of the 30 million.

Listen, Chris. You really don't understand.

The insurance industry is the only one in the country that gets a massive tax break for nearly every dollar they earn. Nearly of those dollars are pre-tax dollars.

They are the only industry that will receive 30 million new customers from this reform.

Now, you can cite a source that says this tax on the most expensive plans will hurt the industry. You can cite a source that says people will lose their jobs. But what you're doing is seemingly opposing needed reforms because apparently the insurance industry is on the brink of collapse. But that isn't true. They make comfortable profit margins.

And careful what you expect from expensive plans. When you use the term "over-utilization", I start to think that you are mandating lower cost plans that have lesser benefits, which will prevent people from getting care due to cost.

I've done a lot of reading on health care. There is simply no link to cost and quality. In fact, there are more instances where spending more money and doing more tests leads to worse outcomes.

By not offering, because the insurance companies will discontinue due to high taxes, expensive plans that have better benefits, you are, in a way, rationing care by economic restriction.

This isn't true. Insurance companies won't discontinue these plans, they'll simply charge the real cost for them. You know, what they'd cost without government subsidies.

Look, it's just like income taxes. Say your employer buys you a very expensive $25,000 plan. The tax only applies on the amount > $21,000. So it's 35% of $4,000. Do you think an extra $1,400 on a $25,000 plan is going to bankrupt the industry? No.

Why 35%? That's the marginal tax rate of the folks who have these plans. So, it's basically caps the tax deduction that the government subsidies the employer-based insurance model with.

Should the government subsidize the full cost of these so-called Cadillac insurance plans with tax deductions? I don't think so. The CBO doesn't think so. Most health care experts -- ON BOTH SIDES -- don't think so. John McCain doesn't think so. And it's the best way to bend the cost curve of health care. It's the responsible thing to do.

If we took that $30B and cut each of them a check, would they purchase the insurance or do something else with it? Those who want to demonstrate personal responsibility, but cannot afford insurance, would purchase it.

I don't care what they'd do in a theoretical scenario that doesn't exist. We aren't going to cut them a check. We're going to say everyone needs to get health insurance. If you need help, here's some help but you'll have to contribute some. And if you don't need help, pay your way.

Chris, look, I've read a lot about health care and I'm sure you have too. So we know there are two ways to have universal coverage: An individual mandate with subsidies and a single-payer government system.

You cannot have a mandate without subsidies. People just scraping by would go without insurance. How would you enforce the mandate on those folks? Fine them into poverty? I think everyone in this country should have health care insurance, but I recognize the reality that it is literally impossible to have that happen without modest subsidies.

While I'd prefer a world with no taxes at all, I know sometimes we have to make trade-offs. I think taxing the industry that is subsidized by the government through the largest tax deduction in the country (the benefits deduction) for universal coverage is a small trade-off I'm willing to make.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 06:26 PM
119. Centrifuge John,

Health insurance for under 25 year olds for $51 per month.

And has your friend actually applied for health insurance with other plans? I didn't see where you stated as such, just a foregone conclusion that he cannot get insurance. HIPAA makes your statements pretty shaky, and possibly your friend is being illegally excluded from coverage.

With that said, if your concern is for the well-being of your friend, contact me via my website (see the link for my name) and I will put you in touch with an insurance broker who I know can help out, and help your friend get health insurance within 1 month.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on September 10, 2009 06:26 PM
120. Gary,

I am reading his writings. What I am discouraged by is this mentality that by not requiring something, you are denying it.

I, for the life of me, cannot wrap my brain around that.

I truly have tried to understand, so I can hopefully explain the opposite better, but frankly, I am at a loss.

Best G-rated analogy I can think of is this. By not requiring me to "drink 8 glasses of water a day" (ie. purchase insurance), I am being denied "proper hydration" (ie. coverage).

Posted by: Chris on September 10, 2009 06:32 PM
121. Chris, how about this analogy, instead:

By not being able to afford to "drink 8 glasses of water a day" (ie. purchase insurance), I am being denied "proper hydration" (ie. coverage).

Or:

By not being too sick to "drink 8 glasses of water a day" (ie. purchase insurance), I am being denied "proper hydration" (ie. coverage).

Or:

By not being too old to "drink 8 glasses of water a day" (ie. purchase insurance), I am being denied "proper hydration" (ie. coverage).

Yes, some people -- millions of people -- choose not to buy insurance. Tens of millions more are denied coverage or can't afford it.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 06:37 PM
122. Well, Chris join the club. He also said we don't have a Right not *have* have health care.

I know, I know. It's hard.

John, you wrote:

"Now, you can cite a source that says this tax on the most expensive plans will hurt the industry."

A tax? Didn't you just say again that you weren't asking anybody to pay for your friend's medical costs? Now you want to tax health care plans of people who have it?

You asked me to name an insurance company that would take your friend. I cannot, but I can tell you that your government is severely limiting his choices by not permitting companies to do business in all 50 states.


Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 06:42 PM
123. #121 "Yes, some people -- millions of people -- choose not to buy insurance. Tens of millios more are denied coverage or can't afford it. "

Oh, so it isn't 30 million then? That only took about two hours to clear up. Your very last post said "Gary, Not passing reform is denying 30 million American citizens insurance. "

Posted by: Gary on September 10, 2009 06:48 PM
124. Why don't people have health insurance? Gary, what percentage of those people said "because it's my right"?

A tax? Didn't you just say again that you weren't asking anybody to pay for your friend's medical costs? Now you want to tax health care plans of people who have it?

Listen, Gary. You are distorting what I am saying about Kevin's case. I have said repeatedly that I want no one else to pay for his treatment -- because it's impossible, reform will not take place tomorrow.

If this happened after reform, he would have had insurance and no one would question who is bearing the cost of his treatment.

Because you are unable to talk about this issue without distorting what I am saying, simply stop bringing my friend's condition into your anti-tax arguments. If you want to prove that I am not using precise language, like you always do, choose to focus on an issue that doesn't involve my friend's health. Everyone else has been tremendously respectful for the record.

Say someone was making about $20,000 a year and got cancer after reform passes. I would expect society to help pay for a portion of his insurance before, after, and during he got sick -- otherwise he couldn't afford it with that income. I, however, would not expect tax dollars to fund his treatment. The difference between premiums and treatment costs is what insurance is.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 06:58 PM
125. John,

Sorry, had to go to dinner. Back now.

Look. The amount of information in this "debate" is insurmountable. I look at your link above and my technical mind calls bs. The leap that "Others" of 6% must mean they don't "want" health insurance is preposterous. I don't know what the questionaire asked, but I doubt it would have clarified questions to extrapolate this as a result. The "Employer doesn't offer" could be "employer doesn't offer...but I don't care".

The Census Bureau reporting I was refering to could probably have a bunch of holes punched into it as well.

You and I have a massive fundamental difference in expectation and terminology.

We simply define "Health Care Reform" differently. I would wager that the vast majority of Americans would agree that "Reform" is needed. However, first of all, that "Reform" needs to be defined.

Here is what I see it as proposed/passed/etc. A huge stealing of funds from one party to provide coverage for another.

What I would like to see as reform is a change of practices in the existing system comprising of tort/malpractice, billing, and overhead changes to drive costs down, making health care more affordable.

Honestly, I have a really hard time with the pre-existing condition thing. As a businessman, I do not think should I be forced to take on someone who poses a significant risk of great cost? While at the same time, I feel for your friend Kevin. I would like to see him covered for his possible future broken arm.

At the same time, I do not know Kevin. At the expense of sounding harsh, he could be a drunk and his liver problem could be related. My mother was a smoker. We live and die by the decisions we make.

I think that is were we fundamentally differ. I believe people should have to face the consequences of their decisions. I don't think we should legislate coddling.

Even as a conservative, sometimes I wish we actually let what we teach in school run unabated. Liberals keep teaching survival of the fittest, yet work so hard to combat it.

Posted by: Chris on September 10, 2009 08:35 PM
126. Round & round and round she goes..

Rizzo, it is your pathetic and exasperated over-emotionalism that makes my anticipation of the failure of the dhimmicrats to pass this dog so strong.

It won't be long now...

Posted by: Alphabet Soup on September 10, 2009 09:16 PM
127. Chris, At the expense of sounding harsh, he could be a drunk and his liver problem could be related.

You wouldn't have known this from the information I gave you, but sarcoma cancer is of the soft tissue and is unrelated to alcohol consumption.

I think that is were we fundamentally differ. I believe people should have to face the consequences of their decisions. I don't think we should legislate coddling.

But sometimes folks get sick for no just reason at all. And because no one knows when they'll get sick, they should have insurance at all times. If they can afford it outright, they should buy it. If their employer can afford it, their employer should provide it. If they're working part time and can't pay the full fare -- we should make the moral choice that a small amount of money to help someone now is better for society in the long run.

People should have consequences for decisions. If you buy an iPod and break it, you shouldn't be given a new one for free because your feelings hurt. But certainly health care is a type of transaction substantially different from iPods. The consequences you eye are too grave: Bankruptcy, illness, and even death.

Here is what I see it as proposed/passed/etc. A huge stealing of funds from one party to provide coverage for another.

"Huge"? $30bn from insurance companies compared to $248bn for Bush's tax cuts? $30bn is a drop in the bucket for government spending, especially for something that so directly affects our lives. Remember, Obama committed to only signing a bill that doesn't increase the debt.

What I would like to see as reform is a change of practices in the existing system comprising of tort/malpractice, billing, and overhead changes to drive costs down, making health care more affordable.

Malpractice lawsuits are a burden on doctors and I want to see movement on them. I'm happy Obama extended the olive branch, and I hope more comes of it. But they simply aren't the big deal that the GOP makes them out to be. I'll quote the Washington Post:


The Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office have examined whether medical malpractice issues add to health-care spending and concluded in recent years that the link is tenuous. Proponents of malpractice caps cite a few studies that have suggested that states with such limits tend to have lower medical costs among certain elderly patients, but most analyses have found that it does not make much difference. The Congressional Budget Office reported in December that it had not found "consistent evidence that changes in the medical malpractice environment would have a measurable impact on health care spending."

Billing changes, like what? And overhead changes? Reform includes that. There's money for electronic medical records and HR3200 mandates a cap on the percentage of money that can be spent on overhead, like advertising and administration, instead of health care by insurance companies.

But these aren't panaceas. The biggest contributor to cost is the over-utilization of necessary services. The biggest contributor to that is that cost is completely hidden through employer-provided system. Which is why it is a very good thing that expensive insurance plans will be taxed from a policy perspective. It raises revenue to help those who can't afford insurance, and the CBO says it is one of the very few ways to bend the cost curve because it discourages the type of plan where the consumer has no skin in the game.

Is it a perfect bill on cost controls? Absolutely not. No bill will be -- politics in this country is not often fit to solve big problems. But getting everyone into the system is the step we need to take now, and we can deliver more serious reforms (like ending fee-for-service) as time goes forward.

Right now, one method of cost control is dropping coverage for employees. That, and unemployment, are why thousands more Americans lose coverage each day. That is an inhumane form of cost control, in my opinion. We need to completely elimate that form of cost control -- ineffective as it is -- from our toolset.

Honestly, I have a really hard time with the pre-existing condition thing. As a businessman, I do not think should I be forced to take on someone who poses a significant risk of great cost?

My response is that a businessman who has that feeling shouldn't enter the health insurance industry. This is certainly not just any industry: it is one literally vital for our well-being. In that respect, it deserves strong regulations. The insurance industry (HIAA) itself is happy with the majority of these reforms -- again, they'll get about 40 million new customers. They're against a public option. And they're probably against being taxed. But they know reforms are necessary.

Pre-existing conditions are vexing. But shouldn't we just focus on pre-existing conditions, but the reason why they can disappear. The reason is that nearly everyone will have health insurance at all times. Each of us will always be paying into the risk pool such that when we fall ill insurance will be there for us. We are collectively paying into the system -- not giving up any personal responsibility. We are pooling our risk.

And some folks who are legitimately poor will get Medicaid. Others who are scraping by will get some government help, but they'll still be paying into the system. And they'll be paying more as their incomes improve.

Of course, there are a variety of reforms for those who already have insurance. Cap on out of pocket expenses. Young people up to 25 can be covered as a dependent. No pre-existing conditions when you switch jobs or lose one. Free preventative care. No annual or lifetime caps. These are valuable consumer protections.

Liberals keep teaching survival of the fittest, yet work so hard to combat it.

Human beings are not animals in the wild, and no progressive nor conservative should be comfortable with that analogy. We are the richest nation on earth, we can afford $30bn a year.

Chris, I disagree with you but I'm glad I heard what you think about the plan.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 10, 2009 10:47 PM
128. #127 "Human beings are not animals in the wild, and no progressive nor conservative should be comfortable with that analogy."

Obama's new Regulatory Czar believes that animals should be permitted to sue people in court. His czars are bat-poop crazy.

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 05:38 AM
129.
Obama: "I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit"

This is the guy who said he wouldn't sign bills stuffed with earmarks. Did.

This is the guy who said he wouldn't have lobbyists in his administration. Does.

This is the guy who said he was opposed to individual mandates. Now he is for them. That breaks two promises in one, which is very efficient.

John, where is the text of the bill in which he outlined all of that stuff the other night?

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 06:50 AM
130. I thought indigent people already have access to healthcare via medicaid and private charity.
There was a story a couple of months ago in the Seattle Times (I know) regarding healthcare. A guy in Everett who is in his thirties or forties needs a liver transplant because he contracted Hepatitis due to his illegal IV drug use twenty years earlier in life. Now he is married and owns a home. He wants obamacare because he wants his new liver and he wants to keep his house (and not be forced to liquidate his assets in order to pay for his liver transplant).

Basically, it boils down to the reds wanting to make the other guy pay for bad decisions and bad judgement. They other guy is anyone who obeys laws, plays by the rules, works hard and is successful in life. As the other guy your healthcare choices will be restricted and your options (like Barbara Wagner's) will be dictated by a John Jensen-like Dem. The Dems will make sure that Mr. Junkie gets to keep his house and get his new liver at your expense.
I say let them liquidate their assets and apply for medicaid. I'm tired of the Dem's favored constituency groups (junkies, gays, criminals) engaging in highly dubious activities that lead to long term, extremely expensive healthcare issues and the Dems looking for ways to transfer that expense onto the rest of society above and beyond what government already provides via existing programs (while forwarding suicide invitations to Barbara Wagner who was not a junkie, a criminal, or pulling daisy chains with Karl, Ted and Ken). If more people lost their assets due to engaging in behaviors that lead to diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis etc. then perhaps it would be a disincentive engage in those behaviors.

Posted by: attila on September 11, 2009 09:25 AM
131. Gary, you can find the status of the bill by reading the NY Times or the Wall Street Journal. Your welcome.

Attila, do you have any numbers or anything to say of substance? How would "Obamacare" affect liver transplants or anything of the sort? A person like this would be in private insurance.

I'm getting tired of this cruel refrain about criminals, or THE GAYS, or junkies. The vast majority of people without health insurance are normal members of society who just can't afford coverage. Most of them are early 20-somethings who work part time jobs or go to college and go without health insurance. Most of the rest are working in jobs that don't provide insurance. Many others are between jobs or suffering through a deep recession.

I understand you feel that people should die painful deaths from HIV or Hepatitis, unhelped by insurance. I don't think our country should do that and that is not the Christianity I was taught. But medical practice -- doctor's offices -- and insurance companies are not there to decide the morality for this country. They are not the judicial system. They are there to provided the necessary treatment for folks to survive. They cannot, and must not, decide who is more deserving of treatment based on judgment calls.

No one will dictate anything to insurance companies about what they cannot cover. If you don't like what your insurance company will cover, you will be able to switch with Obama's reforms. Try that now, and find out what "pre-existing condition" really means.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 10:00 AM
132. #131 "Gary, you can find the status of the bill by reading the NY Times or the Wall Street Journal. Your welcome. "

What bill? Obama wrote a bill? I haven't seen it yet.

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 10:23 AM
133. John at 131 -

I absolutely reject the idea that the majority of the 47 million - now 30 million - good to show that focus on this issue has helped to narrow the scope - are good old regular hard working Americans.

We all work with or know "20 somethings" that can't seem to find money to pay their rent but always seem to have enough money for beer and weed.

We all know people who won't take jobs that are "beneath them" but will gladly take a welfare check. (How did morals change in this country that people would be too proud to flip burgers but find it okay to take money from my wallet so they can sit on their asses and watch tv.)

We all know that illegals will find their way into these free health services because some liberal judge somewhere will decided this is a "human right" the same way that they get every other service.

Frankly, I don't give a rats patoot about these people not having health insurance. They made their own decisions on priorities and their legal status. They need to take responsibilities for their decisions.

You mention "Christianity" (Ain't it funny how liberals only mention God when they're fighting a losing argument?) Remember that even God himself is willing to let souls go to hell if they take the wrong path.


That all said, I agree with you that some small piece of this supposed "47 million" are actually honest hard working people that hit dire straights or people with pre-existing conditions. I'd place the number at probably closer to 10 million that 50 million and most demographers would too.

(I work in the media industry where demographics are key to product and ad targeting. My estimate here is based on facts that businesses use to make decisions - not government statistics trumped up in order to help politicians take more of my dollars and my freedoms.)

So to help these people who legitimately are in need, let's change the laws on how insurance companies can handle pre-existing conditions, and take a look at handling short-term medical for people in dire straights in much the same way that we have unemployment insurance and welfare.

(And while we're at it, lets take a look at tort reform, and government waste.)

We damn well don't need a government takeover of the healthcare industry to do this.


Posted by: johnny on September 11, 2009 10:31 AM
134. I absolutely reject the idea that the majority of the 47 million - now 30 million - good to show that focus on this issue has helped to narrow the scope - are good old regular hard working Americans.

You are wrong. The plurality work in small businesses. Nearly half have gaps in coverage -- which is disastrous due to pre-existing conditions. 80% of the uninsured are American citizens.

We all work with or know "20 somethings" that can't seem to find money to pay their rent but always seem to have enough money for beer and weed.

If they can afford health insurance, they should buy it. I agree. That one component of this reform.

We all know people who won't take jobs that are "beneath them" but will gladly take a welfare check.

Irrelevant. Everyone deserves health care, regardless of your personal judgment of them. You don't particularly like me as a human being, but I still deserve health insurance without having to worry about pre-existing conditions, gaps in coverage, or skyrocketing premiums.

We all know that illegals will find their way into these free health services because some liberal judge somewhere will decided this is a "human right" the same way that they get every other service.

Illegal immigrants are not covered until Obama's reforms. Every single fact checking organization agrees with this. Just because you believe that you have a crystal ball doesn't make it so. Baseless speculation.

Remember that even God himself is willing to let souls go to hell if they take the wrong path.

Our health care system, and you, are not God.

That all said, I agree with you that some small piece of this supposed "47 million" are actually honest hard working people that hit dire straights or people with pre-existing conditions. I'd place the number at probably closer to 10 million that 50 million and most demographers would too.

Frankly, you have no idea what the demographics of the uninsured are. That takes research. You are using baseless speculation and stereotypes to form your judgment. That is not how the critical thinking works. Unless you have any evidence to cite, as I did above, you should really go and meet someone without health insurance. They're not hard to find: ask that young girl beyond the Starbucks counter, or that young guy who's making your sandwich, about their health care insurance.

In this individual market, where individual insurance costs many times the cost of employer-provided insurance, I don't blame folks for skipping out. The individual market is terribly under-regulated. The same regulations that apply to employer-provided insurance should apply to the individual market. Those regulations require absolutely no government dollars.

So to help these people who legitimately are in need, let's change the laws on how insurance companies can handle pre-existing conditions, and take a look at handling short-term medical for people in dire straights in much the same way that we have unemployment insurance and welfare.

That's a great plan, but... where's the plan? What's your plan to "handle" pre-existing conditions?

You can't "handle" pre-existing conditions without universal coverage through a mandate. It simply is not possible. People will game the system otherwise.

(And while we're at it, lets take a look at tort reform, and government waste.)

60% of the reform is funded through removing wasted health care dollars.

We damn well don't need a government takeover of the healthcare industry to do this.

No one is proposing a government takeover.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 11:17 AM
135. JJ or whatever you are.

Indigent people already recieve health care via medicaid and private charity. I do not object to even the most vile of your friends and fellow travellers recieving life-saving healthcare. I do object to the public being required to pay for their care in the absence of them being required to exhaust their own assets BEFORE asking the public to pay for their treatments. I especially feel that way for folks whose diseases and conditions are the result of famously self-destructive, illegal and/ or noxious behaviors.
I knew plenty of folks who CHOSE not to pursue responsible employment or healthcare during youth because they were wacky artists/ musicians/ dooby sucking losers who chose to travel overseas for a year or more without any medical insurance. They did so because:
A: they thought they were invincible.
B: they were stupid liberals
C: they knew that if they got sick and returned to the U.S. they would somehow work the system to gain free medical treatment via medicaid, charity and/ or private hospital write-off. These folks always found money for beer, illegal drugs, CDs, wacky musical instruments, dingy overseas travel but never treated their own health as a priority.
D: all of the above

Answer: D

Again: I do not advocate denial of care, unlike the liberal *%^$# in Oregon who denied medication to Barbara Wagner.
If you want to pay for a sex change operation for some creep in prison (Richard Speck anyone?) then you and the DNC should pony up and do it. Stop trying to make the rest of us pay for them.

Posted by: attila on September 11, 2009 11:28 AM
136. John-
Your outrage at my calling you out doesn't make you right. You're the one who doesn't understand the demographics of the uninsured market.

There a ton of information out there about households lacking health insurance because, frankly, insurance companies buy a ton of ad space. We know a lot about why people don't buy it, what their ability to afford it is, etc.

The simple fact is that a whole lot of these folks can afford insurance but don't buy it. I'll pull statistics and they will stagger you. (On the road today. Be back in office Monday.)

They own cars, color tvs, homes, etc. and those purchases come first in their estimations. You want real numbers, That is a choice.

President Obama himself lowered the estimate of uninsured by close to 36% during his last telecast. I'm suggesting he lower it again. I have no argument that there are people who are in dire straights that need help. I even agree with you that government has a role to play in that.

But, I have to laugh when you say things like "Illegal immigrants are not covered until Obama's reforms. Every single fact checking organization agrees with this." It makes the assumption that once a camel gets his nose under the tent, he'll be content. Government doesn't work that way. Taxes go up. That's just a fact.

But then, you're the guy who argued in the past that if we put a tax on the top 1% of wage earners, it would never be adjusted in any way, which is so laughable. You seem like a smart guy and that is SO beneath you.

Also, you completely ignore the point made earlier that there has been active resistance by the party in power to the idea of making people prove citizenship before receiving care.

As for your comment about "not particularly liking you as a human being" where did that come from? Look back in the archives. A few months ago I dropped a note on the board that thanked you for your participation, and said I'd learned something.

The one thing that does bother me with you is you have this agonizing habit of focusing on what a bill says instead of what will happen when the law makes its way into government bureaucracies. Theory is cute and fun to debate, but reality is where most of us spend our lives and we know how things work in the real world.

In the real world: government bureaucracies get bigger. Special interest groups - including groups made up of people who aren't even citizens - get services whether the law says they can or not. Government is less efficient than it says it will be. Things cost more than they were supposed to because government projections are always wrong. And, people who play by the rules get the shaft.

Posted by: johnny on September 11, 2009 11:47 AM
137. Hey John, dig this:

""We really thought we'd resolved this question of people who are here illegally, but as we reflected on the President's speech last night we wanted to go back and drill down again," said Senator Kent Conrad, one of the Democrats in the talks after a meeting Thursday morning. Baucus later that afternoon said the group would put in a proof of citizenship requirement to participate in the new health exchange -- a move likely to inflame the left."

-
Are you inflamed? Didn't you say illegals could not get coverage? If that's true, then what are Conrad and Baucus doing fixing something you claim isn't broken?

Kinda like when they went and removed the "death panels" after they said they didn't exist.

Too.Damn.Funny.

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 12:22 PM
138. @ 129. Gary,
Yeah, there is no bill or text that anyone can refer to to 'fact check' in the first place. I called the WA state Dems, and they don't know. Patty Murrays office is a no answer. Maria Cantwell's Seattle office told me yesterday there is NO BILL OR TEXT that they could refer me to to read myself regarding what Obama was claiming during his speach. Nothing, and he said specifically not HR3200! So, Obama can say ANYTHING he wants too and no one can refute! That is very convenient, isn't it?

Posted by: bwseattle on September 11, 2009 12:39 PM
139. #138. Amazing, isn't it?

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 12:52 PM
140. attila, if one were to get cancer because they were irresponsible, for example, it would still be an expensive ordeal even with insurance. You have co-pays. You have deductibles. We would not be paying for the health care, but helping them with insurance.

johnny, The simple fact is that a whole lot of these folks can afford insurance but don't buy it. I'll pull statistics and they will stagger you.

Many can afford it and don't; their choice is causing serious problems with the system. It's making those who get individual insurance pay significantly more. It is breaking "risk pooling." It causes business techniques such as rescission and denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. It leads to price discrimination based on age and sex. If folks can afford insurance, they should buy it. No one is proposing paying for the insurance of those who can afford it without a problem.

I'm suggesting he lower it again. I have no argument that there are people who are in dire straights that need help. I even agree with you that government has a role to play in that.

30 million American citizens do not have health insurance. That is a fact. You can keep on qualifying that number based on your experience in a relatively well-off region, but it's a fact.

It is no more less unfortunate that some people don't pay into the system than some people cannot afford the system. Both are wrong. We need universal coverage, and the good news is that plenty of people will not need government help to bring that about. They just need to buy into the system.

You keep on saying that people can afford insurance. Do you disagree with a mandate that gets them into the system?

But, I have to laugh when you say things like "Illegal immigrants are not covered until Obama's reforms. Every single fact checking organization agrees with this." It makes the assumption that once a camel gets his nose under the tent, he'll be content. Government doesn't work that way. Taxes go up. That's just a fact.

Look, I want to talk about the facts of this reform and you want to debate about some future proposal or judge that will probably never materialize. It is completely impossible for us to discuss your hypothetical.

Also, you completely ignore the point made earlier that there has been active resistance by the party in power to the idea of making people prove citizenship before receiving care.

Health CARE absolutely cannot be administered based on citizenship or wealth. We cannot let people die on our streets.

I suspect you mean "before receiving government subsidies to purchase insurance." This is wrong. HR3200 directs the executive to develop a way to enforce the law. The executive would violate the law if it ignored this order from congress. I'd be fine with some more explicit directions from Congress, but it's not going to quiet the right who seems to insist no matter what the law says that millions of illegals will steal their health care dollars. It's not true.

And look, there's a reason that incredibly strict verification requirements should be voted down.

Should we take a harder line? Force people to prove citizenship in emergency rooms? That’s illegal, for good reason. Make verification requirements so onerous that not a single illegal immigrant slips through? Very expensive, and not smart. It would be highly likely to snag deserving citizens — like old people who don’t have their original birth certificates. And besides, we’ve tried that: A House oversight committee reviewed six state Medicaid programs in 2007 and found that verification rules had cost the federal government an additional $8.3 million. They caught exactly eight illegal immigrants.

That's a million dollars per illegal immigrant. It doesn't make sense. Illegals do not go up to government offices and make themselves known.

As for your comment about "not particularly liking you as a human being" where did that come from?

Just joking. :)

The one thing that does bother me with you is you have this agonizing habit of focusing on what a bill says instead of what will happen when the law makes its way into government bureaucracies. Theory is cute and fun to debate, but reality is where most of us spend our lives and we know how things work in the real world.

Determining the reality is analyzing the data in front of us and not simply using your biases and predictions to guess it. I am here to talk about the here and now. The specifics of this bill. You want to talk about how untrustworthy the government is and how in forty years this will cause higher taxes, maybe, you think, you guess.

I don't have a crystal ball, but I know what the Finance committee has laid out is a plan that costs $30bn in new taxes per year on expensive insurance plans that are a burden on our system. John McCain proposed taxing every plan -- regardless of size -- during the campaign. And now a significantly scaled-back version of this tax is a sign of government creeping off with our dollars?

What will happen in the real world? Apparently eight illegal immigrants will get coverage. I think the larger moral concern is that 30 million citizens and 7-8 million legal immigrants go without health care coverage right now, in this real world, and not some theoretical future world. That's not the America we should be.

And, people who play by the rules get the shaft.

People who play by the rules get the shaft all the time. They lose their job, and their goes their insurance. And those with insurance don't have it too great when the going gets bad: Annual caps, lifetime caps, no out-of-pocket protections, pre-existing conditions, dropped coverage, rescission, age discrimination, sex discrimination.

We are the only western nation without universal coverage. The proposals here are not a government takeover, but a mandate and a regulated individual insurance market. The same regulations that apply to employer-based insurance should apply to the individual market. That's just fair.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 12:55 PM
141. Gary, Are you inflamed? Didn't you say illegals could not get coverage? If that's true, then what are Conrad and Baucus doing fixing something you claim isn't broken?

I quoted the congressional research service, two fact check organizations, and ABC News. Every single one agree with the fact: Illegals cannot get subsidies from HR3200. You were wrong, and still are.

Kinda like when they went and removed the "death panels" after they said they didn't exist.

You treat this like a game instead of a serious policy discussion.

bwseattle, Yeah, there is no bill or text that anyone can refer to to 'fact check' in the first place.

HR 3200 is a bill. As for "text," check out this outline from the Senate finance committee.

Both do not have coverage for illegal immigrants. Every single organization agrees with this fact.

I wonder if Gary and you have a partisan reason for disagreeing with the clear facts? (The answer is: yes.)

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 01:02 PM
142. Obviously too much time on your hands with these long posts. Get over yourselves, off your fat asses, away from the computer and try to make yourselves USEFUL.

Posted by: Homer on September 11, 2009 01:10 PM
143. John, HR3200 is does *not* have what Obama outlined the other night. You listed his bullet points, and yet there is no bill where this imaginary stuff is.

Hey, John, if it's illegal for kids to buy alcohol, and yet clerks are ordered to *not* ask them for ID, will they buy alcohol?

What are Conrad and Baucus doing, John?

I think the thing with you is you simply have decided that Obama can never, ever be wrong.

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 01:12 PM
144. For someone who's counting, that's two more questions from Gary and still no substance at all.

Gary, thanks for all the leading questions. Let me know when you start making substantive points.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 01:25 PM
145. @ 141. John Jensen,
Yeah, HR3200 is a bill. I said that. It is not RELEVENT to what Obama is apparently talking about the other night ACCORDING TO MARIA CANTWELL'S OFFICE.
So John, Unless YOU rank higher in the Democratic party than Maria Cantwell, I will take HER OFFICES' word over yours. I was also told "There are several bills floating around pertaining to health care and several committees working on this.." But there is NO SPECIFIC HARD COPY they could refer me to to verify anything on my own. To clarify my point, (which "Goldy" at horses ass agrees with, by the way) You don't know, nor does anyone else know, how to confirm or deny what Obama is proposing SPECIFICALLY. You can not reference ANY PART OF ANY BILL, and say "Here is where it says _____ about____." Get it?

Posted by: bwseattle on September 11, 2009 01:36 PM
146. I'll answer for you, John. Conrad and Baucus are closing the loophole that would have allowed illegals to get coverage.

Kids would buy alcohol if clerks were ordered to not verify their age.

See? Easy.

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 01:36 PM
147. @ 141. John Jensen,
Yeah, HR3200 is a bill. I said that. It is not RELEVENT to what Obama is apparently talking about the other night ACCORDING TO MARIA CANTWELL'S OFFICE.
So John, Unless YOU rank higher in the Democratic party than Maria Cantwell, I will take HER OFFICES' word over yours. I was also told "There are several bills floating around pertaining to health care and several committees working on this.." But there is NO SPECIFIC HARD COPY they could refer me to to verify anything on my own. To clarify my point, (which "Goldy" at horses ass agrees with, by the way) You don't know, nor does anyone else know, how to confirm or deny what Obama is proposing SPECIFICALLY. You can not reference ANY PART OF ANY BILL, and say "Here is where it says _____ about____." Get it?

Posted by: bwseattle on September 11, 2009 01:39 PM
148. Quote from an AP story called "Health care talks focus on illegal immigrants" that went up 30 minutes ago.

>>

Critics note that there are no enforcement mechanisms, or language on how to verify whether or not someone is in this country legally.

"Without a verification requirement it's essentially like posting a 55-mph speed limit and not having any highway patrol on the road," said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Democrats in two House committees defeated amendments that would have required verification of legal status.

>

This is a legitimate issue John. "Fact checkers" aside, if the bill has no enforcement mechanisms nor verification, how does it guarantee that illegals won't get healthcare?

Here's my point yet again. What your fact checkers verified is what the bill says - not what will happen.

As I noted before, the discussion has to be about what happens when the bill is passed. Sometimes it's as important to note what's not in the bill as what is in it.

Same thing goes for your "this isn't about taking over healthcare." No, the bill isn't about nationalizing healthcare. It just will lead to the nationalization of healthcare.

Posted by: Johnny on September 11, 2009 02:01 PM
149. bwseattle, I don't totally understand your point but apologies for sounding snarky. I think it's important the President outlined his policy. How is it possible to write a bill without determining what policy to put in it?

If we want to discuss the policy -- because it's important to us -- we can do one of two things:

- Look at what the President has said. Look at what the legislators involved in the process have said. Look at bills already out there, which will be amended, like HR 3200 or the HELP bill. Look at the outline of the Finance bill that will be written over the next few weeks.

- Or, cease having a discussion based on the evidence around us and guess what's in the bill.

I think it's better to use sources and current bills for this discussion. But it's duly noted that just because the President claims something doesn't mean that it will be in the legislation. I assume that to be the case, because I feel that while Presidents are often flawed they rarely outright lie about their legislative goals. However, before any bill goes to vote -- or before I take the cost numbers as truth -- I will need to read parts of it myself, read the CBO estimates myself, and make sure we're not getting side-swiped.

But nothing indicates to me that we are going to be. So far, the most controversy has been about outright lies (death panels) or about an anti-tax/spending sentiment that has hardly been shielded from public view.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 02:02 PM
150. "But nothing indicates to me that we are going to be. So far, the most controversy has been about outright lies (death panels)"

-

Good thing the Senate removed 'em after they were "lied" about.

John, please... even the President talked about a panel of government experts to decide end-of-life issues. Hell, they even practiced it on Barbara Wagner.

He even suggested that a 100 year-old woman might be better off with painkillers instead of a pacemakwer! Why??? She wasn't terminal, just elderly. Would you choose painkillers instead of a pacemaker, John? The President talked about how these "end-of-life" issues are hard to talk about while talking specifically about a 100 year old woman who wasn't dying! So, what does 'end-of-life' have to do with it in her case?

Do you think illegals should be able to participate in the new program?

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 02:15 PM
151. Johnny, if the bill has no enforcement mechanisms nor verification, how does it guarantee that illegals won't get healthcare?

The bill explicitly directs the executive to make an enforcement mechanism. If the executive were not to create an enforcement mechanism, they would be breaking the law.

Again, Congress can put in enforcement mechanisms into the bill and I'd be fine with that as long as we don't affect American citizens. But do you really think that will satisfy you or the GOP? Have Baucus' comments satisfied this issue for you?

Some seople are going to defraud the system. Some illegal aliens are going to get fake documents. It's the real world, we all know that. The bigger problem is that 30 million American citizens go without insurance right now. I'm not going to let a handful of criminals distract me from the real goal of health care reform, while you seem anxious to focus on this distraction.

Obama said that his proposals do not give illegals subsidies. That is completely true on substance. There is a big jump between giving subsidies to all 10 million illegals vs. eight of them defrauding the system.

It just will lead to the nationalization of healthcare.

How?

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 02:18 PM
152. Gary, even the President talked about a panel of government experts to decide end-of-life issues.

Not true.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 02:21 PM
153. John, I thought you read the New York Times:

THE PRESIDENT: "Well, I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that's part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It's not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance. And that's part of what I suspect you'll see emerging out of the various health care conversations that are taking place on the Hill right now."

..."And that's part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. "

Death panel. Why do we need a group to give us guidance about this, John?

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 02:25 PM
154. I also disagree you about the "death panels" being an outright lie. It's a gross exxageration but there's something to think about here, which is rationing of health service. That's pretty much inevitable under the kinds of plan you see being bounced around right now.

You probably disagre with everything I just wrote, but you can't disagree with me that when it comes time for a liver transplant, there is a panel of doctors that looks at the transplant list and decides that some people aren't going to get that liver for various reasons. (Prior drug/alcohol use, age, quality of life, etc.)

Why do they do this? Simple, it's because livers are a limited commodity. That makes sense right?

Well, sorry to have to remind you that money is also a limited commodity, and based on every single way we measure it, the federal government has less and less of that to spend each year due to wars, deficits, an aging population, current entitlements like medicare,etc.

Now, let me ask you this: When the government starts running low on money, are they really going to want to spend a lot of it to save someone like the afore reference child that has special needs? Do we really not believe that some panel will be created that will look at someone like Trig and make some dollar decisions on what will and won't be spent to keep this person alive?

It might take 5 years and it might take 20, but you can bet that sometime soon the funding for this healthcare is going to not be enough, and at that point rationing will become a part of the healthcare management equation.

Rationing happens. If you've watched the press lately you seen numerous articles and links to press reports of this problem surfacing in France, England and Canada and it's getting worse for these countries all the time.

The squeeze on the National Health Service has been a banner issue in the elections in England. Reports of lack of beds for maternity were a lead story just a few days ago. (Okay Dear, lets just have that baby here in the hallway. That will be fun!)

In France, they voted in right-winger Sarkozy at least partially to help get a rein on the out of control social spending that is in no small part due to their health services.

Canada has made announcements about cancelling surgeries by the hundreds this year and Canada is adding jobs and has a very healthy economy right now.)

Even Cuba has announced they are cutting back spending on their health services as the spending is crippling their country.

With the financial deficits we have in place, and the debt we'll have to service, it's pretty safe to say that either taxes will have to go up substantially on all U.S. taxpayers or that rationing will go into places.

Posted by: johnny on September 11, 2009 02:40 PM
155. Gary, what you said is not true. You're changing your argument with Obama's quote. He did not suggest "government experts." He did not suggest that this group would decide individual cases, as you did. He said explicitly that any suggestions would not be "determinative." As far as I know, this plan was never even in a bill so it couldn't have been removed. You're confused, which isn't shocking because you're obviously here to argue about petty politics than serious policy.

The "death panel" lie that Sarah Palin started was Medicare offering reimbursement for end-of-life planning between you and your doctor. Since you're comfortable quoting the NY Times, this article explains the myth and why it is false.

Thanks for another leading question at the end. Glad to see that you still have trouble making your points.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 02:41 PM
156. @ 149 John Jensen,
You say
"it's duly noted that just because the President claims something doesn't mean that it will be in the legislation."
Now you've got it. Combine that with Maria Cantwells office saying HR3200 is not relevent to what the President said at his speach, nor is ANY OTHER TEXT that has been published up 'till now, and what do you have? Only words in air.
You say "Look at what the President has said."
I have done this, and what concerns me is what he HAS DONE IN RELATION TO WHAT HE HAS SAID. What happened to "no earmarks on bills"? I believe there were numerous earmarks on the stimulus bill. What he says and what he does do not always match. You say
"Look at what the legislators involved in the process have said."
Many have said contradicting things! Who should I believe? Who should I not trust?
And finally, you say
"However, before any bill goes to vote -- or before I take the cost numbers as truth -- I will need to read parts of it myself, read the CBO estimates myself, and make sure we're not getting side-swiped."
There you go. I completely agree. Even you don't just take the Presidents word for it, you want to read and judge the legislation yourself, by your own words. I look forward to doing the same, when and if, the Democrat party should be good enough to agree on what bill it will present. Until then, just words in air ;)

Posted by: bwseattle on September 11, 2009 02:43 PM
157. #155 "...as I know, this plan was never even in a bill..."

Oh, so when he says this, it's not in a bill, and yet when he says $900 billion instead of $1.2 trillion, you tell me to read about in HR3200, which it isn't in.

If the link to Times article is the one by Jim Ruttenberg, he and I have talked about this. He admits that the government might base treatment based on one's age. Death panel. Trying to shave $500 billion from Medicare you know.

I have a question so easy, even you can answer it. If your doctor prescribed a pacemaker for an irregular beat, and the President prescribed a painkiller, which would you choose? I would choose a pacemaker, as I don't know what good a painkiller would be.


Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 02:53 PM
158. Johnny, I also disagree you about the "death panels" being an outright lie.

You're wrong. It's a lie. Nothing in the bill comes anything at all close to giving the government the power to ration private care. Nothing comes close to having death panels deciding when to murder babies. Nothing at all. It's a lie.

It's a gross exxageration but there's something to think about here, which is rationing of health service. That's pretty much inevitable under the kinds of plan you see being bounced around right now.

Your proposition is false. Health care rationing is not something that comes with this "type of plan," it comes with health care. We ration right now by removing 46 million people from the insurance pool. Insurance companies deny treatment for a variety of treatments and drugs, for conditions that are pre-existing or not.

Rationing is the act of taking a fixed-sized pool of money and distributing it according to need. Rationing exists in our health care system. Reform will make it less common, because it'll give Medicare a more sustainable pool of money and it will stop rationing based on income/insurance status.

Why are you pretending like this plan is anything similar to Canada, France, or the UK? In those nations you get free health care for living there. Absolutely no one is proposing that here. Your comparisons are irrelevant.

When the government starts running low on money, are they really going to want to spend a lot of it to save someone like the afore reference child that has special needs? Do we really not believe that some panel will be created that will look at someone like Trig and make some dollar decisions on what will and won't be spent to keep this person alive?

I don't know how to say this without sounding snide, but this is a very, very superficial look at an incredibly complex problem.

You seem to point to government as the problem, but that is wholly irrational. Private insurance companies have the exact same sustainability issues as the public sector. Premiums are skyrocketing at three times the rate of inflation.

With the financial deficits we have in place, and the debt we'll have to service, it's pretty safe to say that either taxes will have to go up substantially on all U.S. taxpayers or that rationing will go into places.

What are you talking about? The vast majority of people under 65 will be in private insurance programs with the employers paying the way.

You are talking about a government-run system that no one is proposing.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 02:56 PM
159. Big news breaking now:

"Census Bureau Severing All Ties With ACORN"

You know why, don't you? Maybe not if you read the Times.

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 03:02 PM
160. John Jensen,

You know those "gaps" in coverage? Pretty much ANY plan will fill them, and you can have an uncovered gap of up to 63 days and NOT have an issue with pre-existing conditions.

I am a small business owner, have been for 12 years. Individual - or single-person group - insurance can be purchased for under $100 per month. There is NO REASON to not buy insurance.

Is it your position that these uninsured cannot afford $3 per day? Don't drink that latte each day and you have your insurance. You make it sound like it's impossible and if you drop coverage for even a day you're screwed. That's flat-out wrong.

Oh, and you never answered about your friend. If he is having problems finding an insurance plan, let me know and I will e-mail you the name and contact information of an excellent insurance broker who WILL find him coverage. Guaranteed.

Do you really care for your friend John? If so, then just contact me and I will pass the information on to you, then you can pass to your friend.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on September 11, 2009 03:18 PM
161. Dan, that's a good idea about helping John's friend. You sound like you know a lot about this.

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 03:25 PM
162. Do you really care for your friend John?

Awesome.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 03:40 PM
163. John, pacemaker or painkiller? It's not a trick question. Which prescription would you choose?

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 04:03 PM
164. Neither, I want my tonsils removed.

You have to be one of the least constructive people I've ever talked about health care with. You seem to think this is just a game. Your core belief on health care seems to be that every stupid thing you read on conservative blogs needs to be parroted into a policy discussions. But not through cogent arguments, of course. Through trite, leading questions.

But, hey, I love it when yet another one of your myths gets corrected by a fact-checking organization. This is the third time in this thread where you've repeated a well-known but disproved myth.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 04:13 PM
165. It wasn't a conservative blog where I read it. It was an ABC News Obama interview.

Which prescription would you choose? Hint: It's a really easy question.

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 04:21 PM
166. I'll make it easy for you, John. If you answer "pacemaker", then you confirm the death panel.

That is why you won't answer.

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 04:30 PM
167. You are talking about a myth. It is not worth responding to.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 04:35 PM
168.
Looking at the full transcript, it’s clear that Obama voluntarily brought up the example of having to choose between a surgery and a pill. But he did so as a hypothetical example of difficult decisions about medical treatment for older patients. He was not advocating, much less requiring, bureaucrats to make a potentially life-ending decision for a centenarian.

“I don’t want bureaucracies making those decisions,” Obama said.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 04:37 PM
169. That's because it's a trap. Answer "pacemaker", and you confirm the death panel. Answer "painkiller", and that would be a lie.

John, what good would a painkiller do for the woman who was prescribed a pacemaker? Obama said maybe a painkiller would be better. How the hell would it be better if it does nothing to regulate the heartbeat?


Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 04:39 PM
170. #168 "But he did so as a hypothetical example of difficult decisions about medical treatment for older patients. "

Why is it difficult? Because they're old? So what? If they're not terminal, as the 100 year old woman wasn't what's difficult about the decision?

What prescription would you choose?

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 04:43 PM
171.
Looking at the full transcript, it’s clear that Obama voluntarily brought up the example of having to choose between a surgery and a pill. But he did so as a hypothetical example of difficult decisions about medical treatment for older patients. He was not advocating, much less requiring, bureaucrats to make a potentially life-ending decision for a centenarian.

“I don’t want bureaucracies making those decisions,” Obama said.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 04:43 PM
172. Here's a question for you all. When did healthcare coverage become a right in this country? Is is guaranteed in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights?

For most people, if they want healthcare insurance it is readily available. They may either get a job that provides healthcare insurance as a benefit or they may buy healthcare insurance on their own. The Federal government has no business getting deeper into providing healthcare coverage.

This reform of the healthcare industry proposed by Obama and his party is overkill. Instead of trying to set up an inefficient, costly government run healthcare system, effort should be spent on making incremental changes to the existing system. Let's start with real tort reform, like the state of Texas implemented.

"Freedom of choice" is usually a rallying cry for many Dems, so how about continuing to allow me to choose my own healthcare coverage from a wide variety of competing options? Keep your hands off of my healthcare coverage.

Posted by: Gary S on September 11, 2009 04:48 PM
173. Gary S, no one is proposing government-run health care. The vast, vast majority of people will still be on private insurance. The overwhelming majority of the changes affect the individual market, which right now is dysfunctional but is the very market that the sickest and least wealthy members of society are in. Do you have more specific criticisms to the plan?

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 04:56 PM
174. Do you have a response to the two questions in the first paragraph of post number 172?

Posted by: Gary S on September 11, 2009 05:05 PM
175. Democracies can choose when to extend rights. We have a right to education, to a safety net of social security and health insurance when you retire, among others. The Constitution cannot be used an argument to stop extending rights: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. The people are free to construct their own rights for society.

Health insurance is not readily available for many on the individual market. Most can't afford it, others have pre-existing conditions, others are between jobs. Insurance on the individual market is three times more expensive than insurance from your employer. Employer-provided insurance -- so-called group policies -- must automatically accept new members, must automatically renew policies, and must charge community premiums. These sane regulations do not exist in the individual market. There is a disparity. And because the cost of private insurance is skyrocketing, more and more employers and small-business owners are no longer providing insurance.

Most without insurance are employed. The plurality work in small businesses. Nearly half have gaps in coverage -- which is disastrous due to pre-existing conditions. 80% of the uninsured are American citizens.

To fix the serious problems on this market, we need to have an individual responsibility that gets everyone paying into the system. For those who can't afford it, modest government subsidies on a sliding scale should put up the gap. A tax on the insurance companies most expensive insurance plans will cover these costs. This tax -- which merely offsets the massive subsidy that government provides for employer-provided health care through a tax deduction -- has the bonus of slowing the growth of health care costs for the rest of us, according to health care experts on both sides. Because of this revenue increase, the plan is deficit neutral.

Is health insurance a right? I think it should be. Those who can afford their way, should pay it. Employers should cover their employees. Small-businesses and working-class individuals should be helped until they start earning a little more.

But what about those who have insurance? We need a safety-net of our own. 60% of bankruptcies are linked to medical costs. Of those, 80% had health insurance. There are annual caps and lifetime caps -- those should go away. As should the practice of denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. Finally, there will be a cap on out of pocket expenses for the year so no one who has insurance will go broke paying because of their health.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 05:18 PM
176. Obama says I can keep the plan I have, and yet if my plan is to pay for medical care out-of-pocket, I won't be able to keep that. I will be forced to buy insurance.

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 05:32 PM
177. World's oldest person died today. 115. If she had to start participating in end-of-life talks at age 65, she would have been doing so for 50 years.

John, what do you think about that VA manual that asks vets if they feel like they're getting to be a burden to their family?

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 05:35 PM
178. John,

If you care for your friend, then LET SOMEONE HELP. My broker can find him a plan, and in fact I'll even chip in to cover half his first month's premium.

Seriously, if someone needs help, then LET US HELP. I bet I can count on a few others in this thread to chip in towards covering the first one or two premiums for your friend.

Seriously. If you honestly care and want to help your friend, then contact me at editor@simplyshrug.com and we'll get it done.

Ball's in your court!

As far as your post:

The overwhelming majority of the changes affect the individual market, which right now is dysfunctional but is the very market that the sickest and least wealthy members of society are in.

I am in that market, have been off-and-on for 12 years now. Doesn't seem "dysfunctional" to me, I am able to get coverage. The only problem I've been seeing is a reduction in the number of available plans each year, but that's because Senn/Kreidler have so restricted - and continue to restrict - the marketplace that companies just give up on the State and leave.

Lower regulations back to the level of 1992 and we'd see a massive influx of available plans.

Do you participate in the individual market, John? Do you have experience of this "dysfunction" you talk about?

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on September 11, 2009 05:40 PM
179. I appreciate the interest generated by my post "Obamacare - Heard It All Before" but maybe it's time to move on.

Thanks,

wep

Posted by: warrenpeterson on September 11, 2009 05:50 PM
180. warrenpeterson, is it time to move on because it's hard to monitor? Is that why they get closed?

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 06:00 PM
181. John, you specifically asked if any insurance company would accept your sick friend. You should let Dan check it out. What's to lose?

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 06:09 PM
182. Dan, regarding your plan, a $10,000 deductible is simply not reasonable for many people I know. Though it is certainly cheap, it is not health insurance as most people think of it -- it's more like catastrophic coverage.

My friend, his family, the cancer care center are handling his insurance. I'll let you know if he needs any help.

I do not need to personally experience the problems in the individual market to know they exist. My aunt runs a small business in California, and health insurance for her employees is very expensive. Adverse selection, pre-existing conditions, wildly varying premiums based on health, and rescission simply should not exist in our society, in my opinion. However, I think the true test of a successful individual insurance market would be if we had near universal coverage. We are nowhere near that level of participation and thus I don't feel it is functional.

warren, it seems like most of us are participating in a relatively civil debate about substantial matters. If it's a matter of moderation, I can understand, but if it's just housekeeping I think some of us are looking for a venue to talk about such important issues. Thanks for your post.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 06:12 PM
183. AP: "White House stiffens against illegal immigrants"

Hmmm. I wonder why? What could have happened to cause this? I just don't know... it's a mystery.

http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/sep/11/us-health-care-overhaul-091109/?politics&zIndex=164010

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 08:01 PM
184. And from MSNBC:

"Today, for the first time as far as we know, the administration is backing a provision that would require proof of citizenship before someone could enroll in a plan selected on the exchange."

Hmmm. I wonder what prompted this? Are you opposed to the White House doing this, John? It's *exactly* what the Republicans offered as an amendment which Democrats voted down. I guess Democrats are gonna have go oppose Obama on this now.

Too bad.

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 08:11 PM
185. Gary, what the White House is proposing is NOT what we spoke about the GOP proposing earlier. You're wrong. You need to start reading deeper into the policy instead of focusing on the politics of the moment.

The administration is saying that illegal immigrants should not be able to buy insurance with their own money. I think it's stupid policy, and I hope Congress realizes how stupid it is.

Illegal immigrants should not have access to taxpayer subsidized insurance -- everyone agrees with that. But if they want to pay their own way with insurance that is better than having us pick up their hospital bills, which we do now. In this case, Obama is wrong.

Do you not care at all when you are substantially and factually wrong? The GOP proposed too stringent verification methods for getting subsidies. Obama is proposing not letting illegals buy insurance with their own money. One is about verification methods and subsidies; the other is about being able to spend their own money and has no mention of verification methods. The GOP never proposed this, as far as I know, but if they did they were just as wrong as Obama is now.

OMG JOHN DOES THAT MEAN WE SHOULD NOT PASS OBAMA'S REFORMS OMG OMG OMG OMG

No, as usual, the world is more complex than that.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 08:30 PM
186. John, yes Obama is talking about enforcing verification. Again, from MSNBC:

"Today, for the first time as far as we know, the administration is backing a provision that would require proof of citizenship before someone could enroll in a plan selected on the exchange."

He is against them buying insurance from members of the exchange. Which is kinda weird.

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 09:22 PM
187. John,

Here's the point: my plan WORKS FOR ME. I have never said it works for everybody (and there are dozens of plans). Under HR 3200 I lose my plan. Why is that right or fair or even constitutional? Why am I restricted from consuming a plan that WORKS FOR ME?

Your aunt in CA - different market completely. One of the big problems is that each State gets to set its own insurance requirements, thereby limiting cross-state choices. This is one area that the Federal Government actually HAS the constitutional authority - to regulate Interstate commerce. I should be allowed to buy a plan from Idaho or Kansas; right now I cannot.

Allow Interstate commerce of insurance, and you'll see prices drop AND choice dramatically increase. And it would be constitutional since it would be part of the EXPLICIT application of the Interstate commerce clause. I bet even pudge would agree! :)

And you use the example of your aunt's small business in CA to complain about the individual market; they are two different things! I know, I've been in both. Small businesses are group plans, with often a different set of legal requirements per State orders than individual plans. You cannot look at one (group) and assume the other (individual) has the same problems.

Bottom line: there are a dwindling number of plans in the State of Washington, and less and less competition in each State. The solution is not to add a 900 pound gorilla to the mix that must be obeyed (because it's the Federal Government); the solution is to increase competition by OPENING UP MARKETS.

Use the power of the Federal Government in its constitutionally mandated enforcement of Interstate commerce, and let the market solve it. It will, it does every time.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on September 11, 2009 09:29 PM
188. Gary, He is against them buying insurance from members of the exchange. Which is kinda weird.

Yes. That's different from government subsidies. This is actually a more conservative proposal than I've heard from the GOP. But it's really bad policy.

Dan, Here's the point: my plan WORKS FOR ME. I have never said it works for everybody (and there are dozens of plans). Under HR 3200 I lose my plan. Why is that right or fair or even constitutional? Why am I restricted from consuming a plan that WORKS FOR ME?

I'm happy your plan works for you, but folks need to understand that when they buy insurance they're getting a basic level of protections. Whether that basic level would be a plan like yours or something more has yet to be determined, but I would hope we'd keep high-deductible plans as an option for those who want them.

And your plan would not go away unless your insurance company cancels it. You'd have four years to get your affairs in order before the exchange/mandate takes place -- this should be enough time to manage your HSA and all of that.

But to answer your question: for the greater good. Creating a race to the bottom of minimal coverage for minimum cost can lead to bankruptcies or worse for those who end up getting coverage that won't help them when things get bad. Honestly, the amount of folks who go out of their way to buy a plan which insanely high deductibles where seeing the doctor becomes a $200 affair is a pretty small amount of people in this country, so it's not as important to me as the 30 million uninsured citizens. But you make a good point.

I should be allowed to buy a plan from Idaho or Kansas; right now I cannot.

You know the argument, Dan. That's a race to the bottom. It's why nearly every credit card company is in South Dakota.

You know what I am in favor for? Interstate compacts. If Washington decides to partner with Idaho, they should be able to share plans. That way we can buy insurance across states, but states can still choose who to partner with. I don't think the government ought to force California to allow its regulations to be circumscribed by plans in Mississippi if California doesn't want that. But interstate compacts are a good idea. They're in the Senate Finance plan.

But if every state had interstate compacts would the other, would that solve anything? No. People can already get cheap, crappy plans like yours in this case. But they don't. They get expensive plans that cover more. Inter-state competition isn't the end-all be-all for price. No serious health economist I've read has said that -- it's a GOP talking point and that's it. And it would do nothing for universal coverage.

The small group market has similar problems to the individual market. Higher premiums, less bargaining power. Under reform, small businesses would be able to partner with individuals to form a large purchasing group -- demanding better rates and better coverage, just like the large group market does now. These are not onerous Federal Government restrictions, it's a type of risk pooling that makes complete sense. And yes, we should throw interstate compacts into the mix.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 11, 2009 09:58 PM
189. #188 "Yes. That's different from government subsidies. This is actually a more conservative proposal than I've heard from the GOP. But it's really bad policy."

Well, it's weird in that if they are ID'd as illegal if attempting it, they should just be deported.

Posted by: Gary on September 11, 2009 10:10 PM
190. Wow, I got off the airplane tonight and thought I'd check this out. (I posted a few hours ago and wanted to see if there was any response.)

I really have to wonder what business John Jenson is in that he feels the need to defend this stuff so much. Is he in politics? A dem party official? A lawyer with a political ambitions? The guy is just relentless and he can twist words and logic very impressively. I really have to applaud him for the effort even if I'm pretty sure he hasn't changed a single mind with his many posts.

As for me, I know when I see a fanatic and you can't dissuade those folks, so I guess I'm done here, but I'll end with just a few other things that haven't come up here yet that have been on my mind.

1) I fear unionization of healthcare by the federal employee unions.

John Jenson can argue that this wouldn't happen all he wanted, but we all watched what happened with the Department of Homeland Security. I mean it was a republican congress and a republican president, and Bush literally had the rubble of the twin towers as a bully pulpit to stand on, but this union still took control of these workers pretty much as soon as they were hired.

Anyone want to make a strong case that these unions have done anything to make air travel safer, more economical or easier to do?

Anyone want to make the argument that with the shortage of doctors we already have, they will be more available when unions dicate how many hours a day they can work?

(I know that a lot of medical people are represented by weaker unions already, but tell me how that has helped anything either?)

2) I worry about abuse if this information is in government control.

When Joe the Plumber dared to speak out against candidate Obama, the next day his info was "leaked" about his tax payments, state licenses , etc. It was a total violation of his privacy which was 100% intended to discredit him, and it happened because some dem operative in Ohio was able to get at the information thru highly confidential state and federal databases.

Do we really believe that if we put all of this personal information that is being discussed in these bills into the hands of the federal government it won't be abused? (And I'm not point fingers just at Dems here. Republican operatives can abuse too.)

I absolutely believe that any time a citizen got too powerful for the good of the party in control, we would suddenly start hearing about his history of an STD in college or the traces of marijuana that was found in his system when he was in high school. (Even if the guy was in his 50's.)

Think that sounds paranoid? Check google for information about the scandal were Homeland Security people were stealing confidential Passport information on politicans and celebrities and reselling it. There were convictions on this about a month ago.

I know that our resident logic contortionist will say "none of these are in the bill" but again, John seems like a really passionate policy wonk and reads word instead of understanding implications.

I respect wonks. I really do. I know most business people do. I am something of a wonk myself my chosen field. It's a sharp thing to get a wonks input, consider it carefully, and then layer common sense and life experience on top - don't take the information at face value. (And I include anything I've got to say, as I don't have a crystal ball either.)

But, in this case, this wonk is asking us to believe..

- That our federal government - the same government that has the largest military government in the history of the world but still hires outside contractors like Halliburton and pays $600 for hammers - can make the insurance industry more efficient.

- That this federal goverment - the same one that has allowed over 12 million illegal aliens to occupy our nation and gives them rights to attend school, get medical services and even get arrested without threat of deportation - is really going to be able to prevent non-citizens from getting medical services.

- That this federal government - the same one that is now raising it's debt ceiling to 13 TRILLION dollars - can be fiscally responsible.

- That this federal government - the same one that brought us Nixon with his plumbers and enemies lists and the Clintons with their confidential CIA files for our U.S.congressmen found on an end table in the white house - would be able to find a way to keep all of these records safe, confidential, and free from political manipulation.

Sorry John. You're an interesting poster, and I hope you'll keep posting, but you're playing an incredibly weak hand on this one. Better luck next time.

Posted by: johnny on September 11, 2009 11:18 PM
191. John wrote:

And your plan would not go away unless your insurance company cancels it. You'd have four years to get your affairs in order before the exchange/mandate takes place -- this should be enough time to manage your HSA and all of that.

Not true. Per HR 3200 if I try to change plans, or my insurance company changes the plan in any way, then I must go to the public option. Too bad. Yes, ANY change means to the public plan I go.

Honestly, the amount of folks who go out of their way to buy a plan which insanely high deductibles where seeing the doctor becomes a $200 affair is a pretty small amount of people in this country, so it's not as important to me as the 30 million uninsured citizens. But you make a good point.

At least you recognize it as a good point.

But you still advocate tyranny of the majority over the minority. Can we play that game for all aspects of life? Do the desires and "needs" of the many outweigh the few? Because that's not the American concept at all.

Why should I be forced to pay even more for a service I do not want, simply because someone else wants that service for themselves? What is right or even ethical about it? Shall we make a law where anyone named John must buy two gallons of milk a week to donate to children? It's for a good cause, I'm sure you won't mind being required to go to the store once a week to buy two gallons of milk for donation, right?

How is forced contribution ethical or moral? Voluntary donations I can understand, no problem. Forcing contributions makes about as much sense as "required voluntary compliance" like the IRS says about your 1040.

You know the argument, Dan. That's a race to the bottom. It's why nearly every credit card company is in South Dakota.

So costs shouldn't be contained? How do you contain costs, then? Why not have the plan administrated in South Dakota where labor and land are cheap? Should we keep all those offices only in downtown San Francisco or Manhattan?

Why shouldn't it be that way? It doesn't impact service. My insurance broker lives in Scottsdale, AZ. She used to live in Seattle (15 years ago) and maintains here license here as well as in CA and AZ. It's just a phone call away to get whatever I need. Do we really need to have the insurance companies and brokers co-located with the clientele? Phones and e-mails make the world really small...

No. People can already get cheap, crappy plans like yours in this case. But they don't. They get expensive plans that cover more.

How are the number of dollars spend on health insurance lowered when people like me with affordable, high deductible (not crappy - maybe not suitable for you, but suitable for me) plans are FORCED to pay for more coverage than they want? How is that good for the economy?

No serious health economist I've read has said that -- it's a GOP talking point and that's it. And it would do nothing for universal coverage.

Then those you've read are stupid. Not unintelligent, but stupid. I know plenty of stupid folks with PhDs from fine universities. They're educated, intelligent, but lack smarts to think. Used to be called common sense, but it's not so common any more...

Higher premiums, less bargaining power.

How do you know? By your own admission you are ignorant of the individual health insurance market. Yet you have no problem saying it has higher premiums and less bargaining power. Funny, I get great discounts from my dentist and my health insurance is plenty affordable and I'm just a single person! I pay less than you do, and yes I'm in the end of the market that simply cannot have that happen... Curious, isn't it?

Bottom line: you want it because you benefit personally. You're too lazy to actually solve your own problem, you want to turn it over to a Government worker some where to decide what Comrade Jensen shall receive, and that's good enough for you.

Well, if you want that, go for it. However, stay the hell away from me and don't you DARE take my freedoms away so you can be lazy. Your desires do not trump my desires, your rights do not supercede mine.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on September 11, 2009 11:39 PM
192. Johnny, 1) I fear unionization of healthcare by the federal employee unions.

99% of the reforms here deal with insurance companies. Insurance companies do not employ doctors nor nurses and they do not own hospitals. (Well, HMOs do.) So hospitals, doctors, nurses -- they would all be private sector. So would insurance companies. There might be a public insurance option, but it again would not employ doctors or nurses.

So who is getting unionized, and how are they federal employees? I just don't get this criticism.

(As an aside, I'm not at all sold on government unions myself, by the way. They create perverse incentives, and primarily amongst my party.)

Do we really believe that if we put all of this personal information that is being discussed in these bills into the hands of the federal government it won't be abused? (And I'm not point fingers just at Dems here. Republican operatives can abuse too.)

You know, I know we've both studied this issue, but the only people I've heard talk about government databases is guests on Glenn Beck's program. (His show, just like its MSNBC counterparts, contains not much substantial discussion of policy.)

I think we need electronic medical records. We cannot put someone's health care in the hands of poor handwriting. The records need to be portable, but do not need to be centralized. And the government simply should not have access to them. I believe that's the case in every proposal so far. Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

Now, these records should be made anonymous so we can link patient treatment with patient outcomes. Right now, believe it not, there is serious disagreement as to whether it is effective or not to operate on someone who has a brain tumor. Ted Kennedy had access to the best doctors in the world. Half of them told him to operate, the other half said not to. There aren't clinical trials about it because the matter is so contentious. Abstracting out patient outcomes from the treatments is one of the smartest ways to not only save money in the future, but use the money we do spend on smarter and safer treatments. That is more important to me than the vague and perhaps unfounded charge that the US will keep a national database of our health.

- That our federal government - the same government that has the largest military government in the history of the world but still hires outside contractors like Halliburton and pays $600 for hammers - can make the insurance industry more efficient.

That's a completely flawed comparison. The government would not be purchasing anything, but in fact regulating a market. Clearly the government regulating monopolies creates a more efficient free market.

We need to bend the cost curve -- and I'm confident that the CBO will say the plan does just that -- but efficiency is not the only goal here. We need universal health care coverage in this country. It's a moral concern. The private sector would be delivering health care. By and large, the private sector would be paying for health care through private insurance companies. There is simply no opportunity for the government to bungle with wasteful spending save for the public option. And we've seen from Medicare that the government typically runs insurance with much lower overheads and happier customers. But if that option is inefficient, however, consumers of insurance will simply go elsewhere for cheaper care.

Sorry John. You're an interesting poster, and I hope you'll keep posting, but you're playing an incredibly weak hand on this one. Better luck next time.

I don't think I've presented many arguments here which are flawed. Instead of directing much of your criticism toward areas of substance, you deride a government you have cynical feelings toward. Which I think would apply if we were talking about socialized care or a single-payer insurance system. But we aren't.

Yes, yes, I get it. All of this research I've done on the topic of the last year is based in theory. You know: real numbers, real human beings without insurance, real estimates from the CBO -- but I just don't understand. I have to listen to the radio to get the real story. :P

But I do understand the real story more than those who choose to resent illegal aliens at the cost of withholding universal coverage from our citizens. I think universal coverage is worth it at any nearly reasonable cost. Very thankfully for the rational side of my brain, the cost is more than reasonable. $30bn in new taxes on insurance companies who have very expensive plans per year. That is monumentally small. The Federal government spends about the same on transportation each year.

And the only reason we need new taxes is because we are finally returning to the sane idea that bills should pay for themselves instead of into the deficit.

I am heartened, johnny, that your criticisms are sincere and do not fly out into the mythical land of Obama trying to murder old people. The type of debate I hear from you is constructive. You probably would have never supported this plan given your thoughts on the government, but I see a glimmer that you recognize it is not an evil one. I think if that were the basis of the discussion for everyone else on both sides of the aisle this nation would be in a better place.

Dan, Not true. Per HR 3200 if I try to change plans, or my insurance company changes the plan in any way, then I must go to the public option. Too bad. Yes, ANY change means to the public plan I go.

That's simply not true. You're confusing the exchange with the public option.

The health care exchange is where insurance options that fulfill the mandate live. The public option is just one option on that exchange. See this graphic. No one in the country would ever be forced to choose the public option. And I would never support a bill that did that. Competition is key to this marketplace working.

But you still advocate tyranny of the majority over the minority. Can we play that game for all aspects of life? Do the desires and "needs" of the many outweigh the few? Because that's not the American concept at all.

I think there should be a basic level of benefits with a cap on annual out-of-pocket costs -- including co-pays and deductibles. Folks shouldn't go bankrupt because they get sick. I have no clue if your insurance plan would meet those requirements. I have no clue if it would affect your costs or not.

No, we cannot play that game for everything. But health insurance requires a reasonable risk pool. If millions of people opt out of pooling their risks, health insurance becomes unaffordable or unavailable for tens of millions more. Simply put, folks would get minimal cover when they are young and healthy and get much more stringent coverage when they are old or ill.

How is forced contribution ethical or moral?

How is allowing a large section of society to go without health insurance ethical or moral? I don't think it is. I think asking you to cover yourself with traditional health care insurance with more protections for your dollar is hardly the same level of moral quandary.

So costs shouldn't be contained? How do you contain costs, then? Why not have the plan administrated in South Dakota where labor and land are cheap? Should we keep all those offices only in downtown San Francisco or Manhattan?

It has nothing to do with labor costs, and everything to do with regulations. States regulate their insurance companies. By-and-large, they call the shots. If the Federal Government forces Washington to accept Mississippi plans, the people in Washington would have no recourse to set a minimum level of expected benefits in their market.

It's a race to the bottom, and forcing states to give away their rights to determine which plans are acceptable is not a good idea. I believe inter-state compacts can give greater competition across state lines, while still retaining the ability for states to govern their insurance industries. The Federal Government should not take away that right.

Then those you've read are stupid. Not unintelligent, but stupid. I know plenty of stupid folks with PhDs from fine universities. They're educated, intelligent, but lack smarts to think. Used to be called common sense, but it's not so common any more...

Say I have Plan A with all of this great coverage. It's in Washington state. Plan B has all of this same great coverage. It's in Idaho.

What would explain a difference in cost? You hinted at labor or real estate, but those are not the major costs in health insurance. To answer my own question, there would be no meaningful difference in cost. Credit card companies do not locate in South Dakota because the weather makes it easier to collect money from people. They reside there because the regulations on that industry are particularly lax. Banks locate themselves in Delaware for the exact same reason. The consumer protection laws there are more lax.

If every insurance company located itself in Alabama because of lax laws, you wouldn't have much inter-state competition, would you? It's not a fix for the cost problem, it's a GOP talking point. Again, I support inter-state compacts. But individual states and We the People should decide who we deal with, not the Federal Government.

How do you know? By your own admission you are ignorant of the individual health insurance market. Yet you have no problem saying it has higher premiums and less bargaining power.

Because there are statistics and research available, such that I don't have to quit my job to experience the individual market myself. How do you know the sky is blue in India? Administrative costs for individual insurance are much higher -- no one disagrees with that. And how can you argue there is the a different amount of bargaining power? You are one person, compared to my company which is over 8,000 people. Of course my company has more purchasing power and thus bargaining power than you.

Further, group insurance receives ~30% government subsidy in the form of a tax deduction. Individual purchasers do not get this benefit. In that sense, insurance companies make a significant amount of money from this subsidy, which is why I think it is rational for their more expensive plans to be taxed.

Bottom line: you want it because you benefit personally. You're too lazy to actually solve your own problem, you want to turn it over to a Government worker some where to decide what Comrade Jensen shall receive, and that's good enough for you.

What are you talking about, you fool? How are you pulling my motives from thin air? Oh, that's right, you're angrily inventing them.

I pay literally $0 for my health insurance -- this has nothing to do with saving me any money or effort. Health insurance is too expensive, and I want to bend the cost curve. Medicare is unsustainable, and I want to fix it. I want "it" because we are the only Western nation without universal coverage, and I find it to be a moral wrong.

I get that you're probably going to have to find a more expensive insurance plan once all is said and done, because you have effectively a catastrophic coverage plan. You are in the extreme minority of those with insurance, and I'm sure you'll continue to do fine. And if your that pain and suffering leads to a plan that will save you a significant amount of money if you do become seriously ill, then I am not too upset over it. You have four years to plan things out and adjust for the change, if one comes up.

And like I said, it's a good point to make. But universal coverage is a moral obligation of this country, I feel, and the only other way to obtain it without a mandate is with a single-payer system. I imagine you'd feel that is a worse alternative. So now you understand why I am okay with you having to get "real" insurance: because it helps us satisfy a moral obligation, without creating a single-payer system.

Or you can take the advice of other members on this post, and go get a job that provides health insurance. (I say this entirely tongue in cheek.)

Posted by: John Jensen on September 12, 2009 01:33 AM
193. John,

So to summarize:

You have "studied" the problem, and even though you believe what you believe - which is counter to what HR3200 says - it does not matter what I want or desire, it only matters what you want.

There is no personal responsibility, there is no right of the minority, freedom of association is moot because you want what you want.

Typical liberal, it's all about you, it's all about what you desire...

There's no hope for you, John. You're blinded by ideology and you will sell your soul and sell your fellow man down the river just to make yourself feel a little better.

Oh, and for the record: I have real insurance, apparently if it's not good enough for you, it's not good enough for me. Glad that you get to set the bar of what's acceptable!

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on September 12, 2009 08:31 AM
194. Dan, You have "studied" the problem, and even though you believe what you believe - which is counter to what HR3200 says - it does not matter what I want or desire, it only matters what you want.

No, you misread HR3200. No one is forced on to the public option.

You're blinded by ideology and you will sell your soul and sell your fellow man down the river just to make yourself feel a little better.

Will you lay off with the personal attacks? This has nothing to do with making myself "feel a little better." I've told you my motives dozens of times. Without an assumption of good faith or a factual rebuttal, just calling someone a liar abolishes the integrity of the debating process. It ends a conversation.

I believe firmly that it is a moral wrong to be the richest nation in earth and have 30 million citizens without health insurance. There is no way to correct this wrong and maintain high-deductible plans like the one you have which offer no substantial protection.

Yes, Dan, it works for you. I'm happy for you, and I think you make a good point regarding the personal impact of the reform on you. But the reason it's so cheap is because it provides so little -- you know that. You'd say you're responsible and keep healthy. Health is often unrelated to responsibility, though, and just because you're healthy now doesn't mean you won't be asking for a more broad insurance plan in a few years.

If you were forever barred from purchasing a "better" insurance plan, then it might make sense and it might work. But if you give folks the chance to buy almost no coverage when they're young and then the promise that they can buy better insurance down the road, people can and will game the system. They do now. That's why pre-existing conditions aren't covered. That's why premiums skyrocket when one gets sick.

If you believe that universal coverage is a good thing for this country, then you have to recognize that some small percentage folks have to sacrifice their minimal insurance plans for ones that cover more and may cost more. But it sounds like you believe that personally saving a few dollars each month is more important than universal coverage. That's fine, but going on about "freedom of association" when you're just looking to save a few dollars is ridiculous.

Reform is going to financially impact large insurance companies through some taxes and impact those who has minimal insurance plans, like yourself. However, it's going to help everyone else. Those with insurance get new protections. Those without insurance get into the system, usually on their own dime.

I find it unfortunate that any American has to be impacted, but I find it far more unfortunate that many people go bankrupt and some even die because they don't have access to health insurance. Since the world is complicated, I've made a choice that preventing people from dying is more important than a very, very small minority of people saving $50 a year.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 12, 2009 12:31 PM
195. MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) President Barack Obama warned Americans on Saturday not to be tricked by "scare tactics" he accused his opponents of using as he went on the road to rally support for his drive to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system.

Frankly, I for one, am getting sick of the president playing the "fear" game while claiming others are doing so. He's already said he won't opt into the same system he is advocating that we join when our employers dump us into this inferior system. I say, when is the president going to "get some skin in the game"? Unless he does, he needs to keep the hell out of my healthcare decisions and that of the 80% currently happy with their level of coverage.

Put up or shut up, Mr. President, your choice.

Posted by: Rick D on September 12, 2009 03:18 PM
196. No more Mr. nice guy from the general public, who must demand that E-Verify becomes a stable, in-perpetuity federal immigration enforcement tool for everybody? No half-measure, but full implementation across the country. For new workers and those who have been on the payroll forever. Why has it taken so long to coordinate this computer illegal immigrant recognition software? The answer is evidently politicians who have been manipulated by campaign money, special favors from lobbyists. They are like a Monarchy buying and selling favors for distracting the unknowing public from strong enforcement, from the border line and enforcement in the working locations throughout our nation. Significant pieces of law have been reduced to weakened, insufficient laws that do nothing for the American people. The stimulus package was compromised, with no terminology to reduce illegal workers from applying for jobs in construction and other industries. ACORN is an undesirable organization that has been headlined lately in the national press. Under surveillance and being investigated by numerous state attorney generals for possible violating voting laws and other nefarious activities? Surely the Obama administration is not contracting them to perform serious counting of the population in the 2010 US census after these accusations?

To me this is premeditated and likewise with public access to health care, because there was no restrictions to identify illegal immigrants in the package. Until yesterday the Democratic committee members realize they had been discovered and added amendments blocking illegal persons from applying, by running their names through Social Security. It's common knowledge that illegal immigrants receive free treatment in emergency hospitals, which have for decades have been exploited for any minor ailments. The main conspirators within the Democratic leadership are Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada and Nancy Pelosi House Speaker. Both represent states of mass illegal immigration. Reid for his abandonment of the American worker may soon be ousted from office? He was the main contender in the near disintegration of E-Verify. On one hand Democrats saliva over millions of extra votes if another Blanket Amnesty is enacted, while the alternate party status quo are wanting to keep an unceasing supply of illegal labor.

Running scared Pelosi and Napolitano have changed sides and displaying a different attitude towards the millions of jobless Americans, whose work has been appropriated by foreign labor. In many cases large companies have clearly knowingly hired cheap labor, in placement of citizens and legal residents. In ICE raids its positive proof that mega- businesses built their labor force on foreign nationals? Yet the majority of companies isolated themselves from major penalties and only the lesser management was punished. E-verify would have remained non-existent if it was not for the adamant pressure of bloggers comments and articles on the internet that enlivened public attention.

Believe me when I say the bombardment of American voices over the switchboards in a harassed Washington, made a extraordinary difference? THEY ACTUALLY LISTENED and the Special interest organizations couldn't even delay the courts, in ordering the en-masse contractors and sub-contractors from obeying federal law. Years of neglect by previous administrations on both sides of the aisle, has allowed the unregulated droves of foreign illegal aliens along with families into our neighborhoods. TODAY! RIGHT NOW! We must have millions more bona-fide Americans calling this number 202-224-3121 in the muck hole at the Capitol, really do have the ultimate power of changing things.


For me health care reform is a priority because family members have suffered too long under the umbrella of shady insurance companies, as being declined of pre-existing condition was a factor in my daughter’s coverage dying of cancer at an early age. But any kind of public health care must not be rationed and must not give access to people who should never entered our country illegally. E-Verify a composite of the SAVE ACT must—NOT--be devalued by the corrupt politicians in the Democratic Party, nor the 287 G. cities, county and state police training to question and apprehend foreign nationals. In conclusion, the President wants to push another path to citizenship for those who came here through the back door? Awarding people for wrongdoing is not in my book?

If it's anything like the 1986 Simpson/Mazzoli bill it was overloaded with fraud and ended up costing taxpayers billions. New immigrants must come in orderly, signing documentation that they will not be public welfare charges. Without mitigating circumstances anybody who violates this law must be deported.It makes more sense, if such legislation exists in DC to only approve entry visas, for new immigrants with heavily vetted credentials of highly skilled engineers and professional career individuals. After all, they are unlikely to become an unemployed welfare recipient? The 1986 immigration law was intentionally engineered from the beginning, but already contains important factors in enforcement of laws.

Strengthen the same 1986 laws with amendments, instead of starting again. This legislation is already on the books? The truth is that it’s not broken, but heavily under funded from the beginning and bloated with fraud. Guest worker programs and special visas for skilled tradesman has remained a nemesis. This includes fraudulent partnership of businesses entities, attorneys in hiring agricultural workers for the fields? Many have lied to the government authorities and who have been instrumental in its corrupt notorious character. If new guest workers programs enacted by a Nancy Pelosi's AGjobs bill are eminent, the applicants must be carefully screened with the knowledge that working visas on expiring, that those individuals must return to their original place of residence. That they cannot qualify for a legal resident visa, nor can America anymore accommodate their family members with chain migration?

Another anomaly is the border fence? It was—NEVER BUILT—to Rep. Duncan Hunters original specs? His short fence expanse in San Diego remains a strong classic example of following the law. Currently along our international border we have a single line fence, not a two tier fence, with a no-mans land for patrolling border patrol vehicles in between. The previous administration shall ever be haunted by the fact they installed a virtual barrier in many places, with malfunctioning cameras, sensors, obsolete vehicle barriers that could easily be maneuvered around, that cost millions of dollars in taxpayers backing. Expenditures to support illegal immigrants through corporate welfare, over generation would leave a trail of hundred dollar bills from Earth to the Moon and back again. We need to repair our collapsing infrastructure, stop the erosion of bridges, tunnels and dams. Even our water supplies are compromised by the irreversible course of OVERPOPULATION

Federal legislation must be written to correct and heavily fine states that promote Sanctuary Alcoves such as Los Angeles and San Francisco. Warning them that no funding will be appropriated who violate federal law, instead of purposely looking the other way.
The majority of these enforcement laws have been weakened, many left to rot in a dormant state at the National Archives. Immigration laws have been compromised time and time again by lobbyists offering favors to our public servants. Facts not fiction can learned at NUMBERSUSA & JUDICIAL WATCH.

Posted by: Brittancus on September 12, 2009 04:11 PM
197. John,

Right now, HR3200 says you MUST go to the health care exchange. Right now, there is but a single pre-approved plan in that exchange - Medicaid.

If you claim other insurance programs qualify, you're flat out lying.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on September 12, 2009 05:52 PM
198. It is my understanding that under HR3200, any beneficiary under a private health insurance plan is forced into the "public option" when a change takes place in their private insurance (i.e., rate increase, change in coverage, changing employers, etc.). If that is the case, and I believe it is before I will believe an aluminum-hat liberal, then our incompetent president Obama is backing a piece of trojan horse legislation designed to gut the private insurance industry.
I too have moral imperatives. I believe it is a moral imperative to oppose marxism-leninism at every juncture. I don't believe JJ wants to "help" people. I believe he is a creepy socialist who wants to feel good about supposedly helping people (by helping himself to other's people's assets and property).
Don't feed the (liberal) trolls.

Posted by: attila on September 12, 2009 07:03 PM
199. Rick D, He's already said he won't opt into the same system he is advocating that we join when our employers dump us into this inferior system. I say, when is the president going to "get some skin in the game"?

Um, why would employers "dump" anyone? To pay the fee for not covering their employees? The CBO predicts that with an employer mandate, more people would gain employer-based coverage -- not less.

This isn't about President Obama. He doesn't need health insurance, he has about a million personal doctors and people who are willing to take bullets for him. To make this about President Obama completely misses the suffering the tens of millions American citizens who don't have coverage right now.

Dan, Right now, HR3200 says you MUST go to the health care exchange.

To avoid a tax penalty, one must get health insurance from their employer or from the health insurance exchange, true. But you've changed your argument. As I'll explain below to another comment, the public option is not the exchange no more than an apple is a grocery store.

Right now, there is but a single pre-approved plan in that exchange - Medicaid.

I don't know where you got that from. As far as I know, no one can buy into Medicaid, just like no one can buy into Medicare. And as far as I know, reform isn't going to change that. Can you cite something for this claim?

Individual insurance companies would simply cease to exist if they didn't go to the exchange. Since by law corporations must make a profit for shareholders, almost every insurance company today -- and new ones -- will create plans for the exchange. Or they'd be violating the law by purposefully going out of business.

Even a slight implication that there simply won't be plans on the exchange is incredulous. It's a market of 50-60 million people. Of course insurers want access to money as they do today.

If you claim other insurance programs qualify, you're flat out lying.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to head to the farmer's market down the street. Now, it's true, right now no fruit stands exist in that parking lot. But it is certain that tomorrow morning they will.

Right now no plans exist on the exchange. That's because the reform creates an exchange. But we can be certain that plans will exist, because a large market will exist.

You need to stop accusing people of lying, and learn to form cogent, cohesive arguments based on the actual contents of the reform plans and not what you've heard from biased sources. There is no point in conversing with me if you believe I am lying to you.

attila, It is my understanding that under HR3200, any beneficiary under a private health insurance plan is forced into the "public option" when a change takes place in their private insurance (i.e., rate increase, change in coverage, changing employers, etc.).

Where do guys you hear this stuff?

No one will be forced into the public option. Not a single person. I would not support a bill that did that. You are certainly confusing, just like Dan did above, the "public option" with the health insurance exchange.

Let's explain the difference. The public option is a government-run insurance company, like Medicare. The health insurance exchange is like a store where you can comparison shop various private insurance options and public insurance options. You can have a health insurance exchange without a public option. A health insurance exchange has bipartisan support -- it's simply not a government takeover nor is it very controversial. I would support reform without a public option, but I would not support reform that lacked an exchange.

Now, what happens if a change takes place with your private insurance? Um, nothing. If you were for a company with more than $250,000 in payroll -- which most of us do -- then the health care exchange doesn't affect anything. Look at this graphic.

I don't believe JJ wants to "help" people.

I'd ask that before you question my motives or effectively call me a liar, you should do one thing: actually understand what's being proposed, and make sure you fact check any weird rumors or understandings you might have.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 12, 2009 08:21 PM
200. Um, why would employers "dump" anyone? To pay the fee for not covering their employees? The CBO predicts that with an employer mandate, more people would gain employer-based coverage -- not less.

The CBO calls the current bill "unsustainable" financially, so that is odd for you to say, John. Also, if you claim "more people would gain employe-based coverage", you'll need to post the proof as the exact opposite is the reality that will result. I've heard that a public option would add about 29 Million in a very short time.

I hear Obama running his mouth about getting "some skin in the game", but I don't see him putting his money where his mouth is. He either needs to put his family in the public option or STFU and let the 80% currently happy with their coverage remain so. Leadership by example.

Posted by: Rick D. on September 13, 2009 08:28 AM
201. Rick D, employer-based coverage would increase under this bill according to the CBO. See "Preliminary Analysis of the Insurance Coverage Specifications Provided by the House Tri-Committee Group." With current law, employer-based insurance would increase from about 150 million individuals today to 162 million in 2019. With health reform, an additional millions more people would gain coverage from their employer. You said coverage will be dropped -- in reality, health reform would add employer-based coverage.

I've heard that a public option would add about 29 Million in a very short time

Just like Dan and others, you are confusing the health care exchange with the public option. So this number isn't correct.

Would you change your mind on the public option if the President were enrolled in it? If all Federal employees were forced on it? Of course not.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 13, 2009 09:46 AM
202. Would you change your mind on the public option if the President were enrolled in it? If all Federal employees were forced on it? Of course not.

No, I don't think the government can run a lemonade stand without losing money.

The fact remains that the president is too cowardly to put his family under the 'public option' that's he's pushing for us to fall under. If he lacks the backbone to put his family under this same option, it is telling as to the effectiveness of its quality of care.

And John, you lied about more employer based coverage. The reality is that most employers would simply dump their employees into the inferior public option.

Posted by: Rick D. on September 13, 2009 09:59 AM
203. Rick D, And John, you lied about more employer based coverage. The reality is that most employers would simply dump their employees into the inferior public option.

The only people who enroll in the public option are those who want to. No employer can force you to join any insurance option, public or private.

I linked to a CBO estimate that completely shows I am correct. You are making things up. You are not arguing based on evidence. You are being lazy.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 13, 2009 10:30 AM
204. The only people who enroll in the public option are those who want to. No employer can force you to join any insurance option, public or private.

False. Many in their current plan will be forced to accept the "public option" as employers find it's simply financially beneficial to do so. You have yet to prove that the CBO find this plan is "sustainable". The facts just aren't on your side, John.

Posted by: Rick D. on September 13, 2009 10:41 AM
205. Many in their current plan will be forced to accept the "public option" as employers find it's simply financially beneficial to do so

That is simply not true. Any business with a payroll > $250,000 will not even be able to access the exchange where the public option lives. You're making things up.

I have never claimed that the plan is either sustainable or unsustainable. Your claims that it's unsustainable have yet to be backed by any evidence. You're making things up.

You have yet to cite a single source. You're making things up. It's boring to argue with someone who has no interest in the truth.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 13, 2009 10:58 AM
206. Get educated John.

Obama is unsustainable by anyones stadards.

Posted by: Rick D. on September 13, 2009 11:32 AM
207. I never claimed that HR3200 was deficit neutral. You're arguing with a straw man.

What I did claim was that you were wrong about employer-based insurance. I proved my claim with evidence. I proved you wrong, and now you're changing the argument.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 13, 2009 11:59 AM
208. Oh great, reading the article you linked to has nothing to do with health care. You want to argue about Obama's budget.

Go away, Rick.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 13, 2009 12:01 PM
209. Go away, Rick.

You'd like that, John. Too bad the stats don't back up your bluster. You quoted the CBO and I did the same.

Have the courage and inegrity to address the issue.

Posted by: Rick D. on September 13, 2009 12:39 PM
210. Obama said he will not sign a bill "if adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future. Period."

What's your point? This bill will not affect the deficit, and it will vastly expand access to health care coverage while maintaining employer-provided insurance for most Americans.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 13, 2009 12:45 PM
211. Go away, Rick.

You first rizzo...

Posted by: Alphabet Soup on September 13, 2009 01:42 PM
212. Obama said he will not sign a bill "if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future. Period."

Yes, he says alot of things that aren't true, so what exactly is the point in believing what he says, when he doesn't follow through on promises made?

Posted by: Rick D. on September 14, 2009 05:41 AM
213. #210 "What's your point? This bill will not affect the deficit, and it will vastly expand access to health care coverage while maintaining employer-provided insurance for most Americans."

In #207 you said, "I never claimed that HR3200 was deficit neutral."

By the way, the AP is now reporting that this reform *will* lead to shortages in medical services.

Posted by: Gary on September 14, 2009 07:34 AM
214. Gary, http://cbo.gov/ftpdocs/105xx/doc10572/09-16-Proposal_SFC_Chairman.pdf

The Finance committee bill reduces the deficit. Not just over the first ten years, but forever.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 16, 2009 04:45 PM
215. All told, the Chairman's proposal would reduce the federal deficit by $16 billion in 2019, CBO and JCT estimate. After that, the added revenues and cost savings are projected to grow more rapidly than the cost of the coverage expansion. Consequently, CBO expects that the proposal, if enacted, would reduce federal budget deficits over the ensuing decade relative to those projected under current law, with a total effect during that decade that is in a broad range around one-half percent of GDP.

Posted by: John Jensen on September 16, 2009 04:47 PM
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