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What are your thoughts on health care reform?

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The most-discussed issue in our nation has been and continues to be health care reform. With many different plans on the table and much misinformation and distrust in the air, it is hard to know what is really in the plan and what is just scare tactics.

What do you think of the proposed reforms? Do you think we need a national plan, or some variation on the current system? If you don't like the current proposals, how would you do it better?

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41 Comments

Another blatant attempt at creating bigger government where its not wanted. Look we have a system for the uninsured, it’s called Medicaid. The real number of uninsured, is 10 million, so put together a plan to add them to Medicaid temporarily as they pass from one employer to the next. Most of these 10 million are not without insurance for more than 12 months.

Anyone who pays attention knows that the 45 million number includes illegal aliens, and those who don't want or need insurance. Those who don't want it are the Invincible’s of this world, the 25 year old who thinks he/she will never need coverage. Those who don't need it are the wealthy who can pay for their own doctor and hospital expenses. So stop lying to us and telling us the number is 45 million, its approximately 10 million.

Don't put me on a public plan just to help 10 million of the 300 million US citizens. I can't afford your idea of free healthcare.

Can anyone tell me how I can write in BLUE?

Thanks!

Linda,

Your lack of understanding of how a public company (ie insurance carriers) makes and reports income is loud and clear.

For the most part they are in public business, and the simplest of accounting and reporting rules demands a quarterly count of income regardless of WHERE it comes from. Your description of investing in other companies preventing said accounting is incorrect.

The botton line: The average after tax return for these companies is around 3%!

In case you do not invest, this is not only NOT breathtaking, it isn't even inspirational. In fact, it is mediocre to okay. Before you say it, I will: Looking at the annual reports of any of these companies you will be able to quickly, and simply, determine the amount of cash they spend in other companies, the amnount of salaries, huge bonuses, etc. I will repeat that their income is NOT the problem!

As for what has the insurance company done for me lately, I know the exact answer to that question ---- it provides insurance for catastrophic occurences!

I do not expect it, or use it, to provide for regular trips to the Doc with a runny nose, a sore bicep, a one degree fever for my kid, etc ----- it is INSURANCE, not a monopoly card for free healthcare. So, I get exactly what I expect.

Your dependence on using lawsuits as your basis of an argument against the insurers COULD be an indication of one of the biggest issues with healthcare that neither our Prez or the current bills want to address ---- Tort reform! As Mr. Dean stated so eloquently awhile back, the Dems are too afraid of the trial lawyers, their biggest financial supporters, to take them on.

Now, for the real issue: People without insurance coverage. On this we are probably closer in agreement that we need to find a solution.

Yes, it's too expensive, but on the other hand we tend to use it NOT as insurance but as a free clinic card for every little ache and pain. With only 800,000 doctors in the U.S., over-using the system for stupid things creates an imbalance of supply & demand, which drives up price --- econ 101! Also, the broken tort system that puts unbelievable hurdles on new machinery, new drugs, new buildings even, all drive prices up at an alarming rate.

I have data to show the problem of uninsured Americans is clearly NOT 48 million, or even 37 million, or even 27 million. The real number is closer to 10 million of institutionally uninsured Americans. That number is too large yet it is a number I can understand and get my arms around.

When our politicians keep misleading us with the bogus number of 48 million, I just turn them off because I know they are trying to play me, and if they are playing me, they must have an ulterior motive, which I think we can all agree they do. We have heard it many times --- they want to create a single-payer (ie Gov't led) health system.

So, instead of performing true problem identification and analysis, they knew what their required outcome was and are trying to build a problen to fit it! Talk about bassackwards!

We all know there is a lot of low hangng fruit on this issue. Heck, there is a lot of fruit laying on the ground! Why can't our elected idiots work on some of that first, then measure the effect, before they move to detroy the entire system for their little folly? Why throw the baby out with the bathwater?

You ask if I know? Probably not, but I know how to start (see also my post "By Epi-nonymous on September 4, 2009 10:49 AM"):

>Monday morning new laws go into affect:
---Once covered, you can't be dropped
---Everyone must have insurance of some type
---Limits on lawsuit settlements
---Scrap the class action tort system
---Loser pays rules for lawsuits
---You can't be turned down for coverage, and the carrier has to cost out the price so the individual can see exactly what it is that drives it up
---Intentional health insurance fraud results in mandatory jail sentences (like certain drugs and 3-time laws)

>Create arbitration boards to hear all cases involving disagreements between carriers, individuals, doctors, and hospitals as to care and cost disagreements

>Develop an actual accounting of who and how many are truly institutionally uninsured and categorize them. Get agreement on this, tell us about it in one of the 50 newsconferences held each week. This gives us a baseline

>Tell us the cost of creating insurance for that group. Give us a number, let's see how compassionate the American people are (we are very much so!) I suspect that once we do this, once we scrub out the scam, we will find a number that we are willing to pay for for a determinate time frame (like welfare).

[Side not: We do NOT have 40% of the population uninsured --- please get accurate data to have a fair debate. Making things up does not help the cause at all.]

P.S. Epi Anonymous, If you do your homework and realize why our health care system hasn't been working for 50 years, and you really do need to look into this in ENTIRETY, prepare to pay the price for health care when it's FREE. We've been dealing with Free health care for 40% of our population for the last 50 years with the working population paying the tab. It's out of control, it's time to find a better solution to the problem, and all of those who wish to continue with private health care insurance as they've been accustomed to for so long, had better start saving their money and setting it aside in the event that they need it, instead.
Chickens, a leg of lamb, a side of cow might even do in the long run when bartering with a health care provider for needed medical attention and treatment. Who knows? Do you?

Epi-Nonymous, I can appreciate your stand on this bill. To be absolutely honest with you, I shared a similar stand up to 1 month ago. Your question regarding the average percentage of sales income for health care insurers is redundant, considering that profit for health care insurance companies is not based on sales to their members (the policy holders). Our health insurers profit from the investments they make in other companies with our premium payments to make more money. When their investments are good, we are good. When their investments are bad, we pay for this too, as do our health care providers.
My best advice to you Epi, is to get informed and gain more awareness as to what your health insurance company has been doing for you lately, because it's very easy to do. Google United Health Care lawsuits, Blue Cross Blue Shield lawsuits, Aetna lawsuits, Cigna lawsuits, Humana lawsuits, and any other health care insurer who is providing health care coverage to the American people today.
Get back to me after you do this.
In the meantime, please realize that there are a lot of people in this country right now who need medical attention, but cannot get it because they lost their job along with their health insurance, and they are struggling just to keep their homes. Homeowners don't qualify for Medicaid or Medicare (government health care)regardless of how many years they have faithfully paid the mortgage payments and taxes to have this home.
Should we all go homeless and back to the woods? A lot of people in this country are facing this scary possibility today after years of education, hard work, and great accomplishments. You tell me Epi?

Well said Epi

"Instead of taking partisan sides for Dems or Repubs, we should be DEMANDING that these idiots perfrom some simple analysis, define the real problem (problems), take that definition to the public, and offer a series of solutions, time phased in, to fix it."

Unfortunately because of the lack of term limits, lawyers and lobbyists that will never happen. I think many of the real problems are pretty well known. This administration and congress (both sides) want no part of addressing the real problems. They just seek control to make other problems.

To Linda (above) and all of you who think the insurance companies are the big, bad culprit in all of this, I have a simple question for you:

What do you think the average income as a percent of sales is for the insurance companies that offer health coverage?

It is only by answering this question that we can get our full attention into actually define the
problem --- without a defined problem, we cannot offer solutions.

At this point, many (you?) appear to define the problem as "I don't like it. It is broke. Anything would be better". Obviously, this is not a problem definition but a simple plea for help.

It is a nice platitude to say change is hard, we are all afraid of change, blah, blah, blah. I will point out that misguided change has the potential to cause catastrophic downfall (look at the history of the world for thousands of examples).

Instead of taking partisan sides for Dems or Repubs, we should be DEMANDING that these idiots perfrom some simple analysis, define the real problem (problems), take that definition to the public, and offer a series of solutions, time phased in, to fix it.

There is absolutely no need for a single, omnibus bill (ie HR 3200) which nobody read but which guides into our lives 50 years of already failed programs.

I'm all for government health care reform. The cost of health care in our country has been out of control for too long. Since 1980 to be exact. No one has benefited from the continuing escalating cost of health care coverage, other than the insurance companies who are taking our premium payments all the way to the bank so their CEO's can retire with billion dollar parachutes in appreciation of ripping off the company's policy holders, to consistently make billion dollar company profits year afer year. Look at United Health Care as a good example of where our health care dollars have REALLY been going. All of our country's big insurers who we've trusted for years have contracted with us, and contracted with our health care providers, and health care facilities, to accept low payment for services that often don't even begin to cover the actual cost of these health care services. This is where the problem lies. Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, United Health Care, Unicare, and Cigna to name a few, all have a 3 way contract between us, them, and our health care providers and health care facilities. These insurers raise our premium rates, deductibles, and co-insurance every year, when it's time for our policy renewal. These very same insurance companies reduce payment allowed to physicians, hospitals, and all other health care providers at the same time, on the providers contract renewal date.
To sum it all up, we pay more to lose our coverage benefits every time we renew our policy with our insurer, and our health care providers are paid less for their services to us, everytime they renew their contract as a provider with our insurer.
So where has all of the money been going? What happened to all of the money?

It's a tragedy that this huge corporate health care mess has been dumped all over our new President immediately upon taking office. All of our previous Presidents were aware of this situation, but for whatever their reasons, they did not address this situation in a diligent way. I commend President Obama for taking a stand, and grabbing this Bull by the horns. It's beyond time that someone does
it! Sure it's scary, because he's proposing big changes and change is always hard. I'm open to any improvement to a system that has not been working effectively for 28 years that is doomed to totally fail very soon. Hippocrates is probably laughing in his grave right now, or weeping uncontrollably if he could. If you think about all of the training and knowledge a human being gains to be able to treat and heal another human being whenever their body is broken or beaten, infected or defective, sick or depressed, bleeding or dying, you will realize that you will always turn to a doctor who can help you when you really need help. It will not matter how much it costs, you will not think about your checking account or your health insurance carrier, and you will not think about how President Obama is looking after his own health care, or who his insurance plan is with. You will be thinking about YOU and your family, and your need for medical attention.
We need to start thinking about saving our Doctors so they don't become extinct.


If a public health plan is so good, then all federal workers, and their dependents, including the president and all members of the senate and congress, should be required to utilize it.

It is as feared; Obama was not referencing a "new plan" last night.

He was simply selling the current house bill (HB3200) with a new pitch.

Did he take nothing from the public outcrys for NO Government Takeover of Healthcare! period!

Much of what he said sounded good but it is NOT WRITTEN as he says it in the bill! That is why the senator yelled out "you lie".

He expects most Americans will think that what he said last night is what is written in the bill. (Sadly, he is probably right.) He wants Americans to simply 'trust' him. Hopefully Americans have become too saavvy for that.

An example: Obama claims there are no Death Panels in the bill. True, there is nothing written in the bill that says, "death panels" verbatum, but there ARE end of life consultations. You decide; should the government have anything to do with your end of life decisions?

As far as the costs... Does he expect Americans to believe that the 900 Billion in costs will be paid for by reducing inefficiencies in the current medicare and medicaid programs??? That is what he said. Do you know of ANY government beaurocracy which is run efficiently?!

Obama is a gifted speaker, but don't be fooled. Read the bill again and determine if YOUR interpretation is as he says his was last night !

Continue to voice your opinions and contact your representatives.

Darlene

By Chuck South on September 9, 2009 11:06 AM
CIJ,

On your PS, I don't even think you have to bet. I think that is pretty true if I am not mistaken. And that is the point. Stop free loading off the government and go and get a real job in private industry. The words government pension need to be eradicated from our language.


$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Wow! I never thought I would meet someone with a stronger viewpoint against government pensions than myself.....eradicate sounds great.

Just having police officers, fire fighters, postal workers, school teachers and law makers retiring at age 52 with 75-85% of their highest salary in pension pay-outs and full benefits is ridiculous and ludicrous. It is why we owe the Chinese 500 million in interest PER MONTH on a multi-hundred billion dollar debt.

Our kids will pay for this insanity. Recently the post office indicated it wants to retire 55,000 employees since it is losing 8 billion a year. Not only do they want to "force retire" them with 80% pensions but juice it up with half of what their Social Security is forcasted to be at age 62 from the ages of 55-62. Imagine they get paid more in retirement than while working.

Maybe this makes the postal bottom line better, but it makes the pension system bottom line even worse. Our Naperville police and firefighters are on a $61.4 million deficit as of April 30, 2008. It appears the City is afraid to release the April 30, 2009 numbers as I suspect they are worse even though the state ordered the city to improve the numbers.(Please find @ publish them Sun Officials as they should be out...thank you.)

If the govt. thinks Social Security is good enough for us civilians it should be good enough for them. Imagine our employers give us 7.65% in matching contributions for SS. We give the fire fighters 21.16% in matching contributions and we have a $61.4 million deficit. And it is not like we underpay them. Police and fire fighters in Naperville start at about 60k a year upon graduation from college at age 21 or 22. The top undergradute profession is engineers and they start at 58k. Next are accountants at 48k. And they don't get pensions with the ability to retire at 52.

You will hear about risk to justify the craziness, but not one Naperville Police officer has been killed on duty since 1929. In that year the Chief chased a robber and lost control of his motorcycle. So he was not shot at. To the best of my knowledge no other officer was ever killed in Naperivlle. The risk based on 178 years to life and limb is very minimal. ( Based on this historical fact I am shocked the NPD is not protesting the release of armed robbers from an incident at EV Liquors in which the ARMED BANDITS received or are receiving 90 days in jail. If they care about their "life and limb" they need to be in Dupage County Courthouse taking it up with the Judges and Prosecutors before the second armed robber gets 90 days in jail on Sept. 14, 2009. If Chief David Dial is not on Chicago and Washington at 2am, where is he in the daytime? What is he doing in the daytime that precludes him from looking these Judges and Prosecutors in the face about letting armed robbers back on the street after 90 days of hotel confinenment in Dupage Jail? Where is former cop, Mayor George "Charles" Pradel when you need him to make a statement of protest about a $415 fine to an armed robber...lol...less than speeding through a construction zone as it also included court costs)

Construction workers die in huge numbers every day. They get paid less, get no pension, and truly can not work at age 52 due to the hard labor required of the job.

Anyway, it all does not add up. I am glad you feel the same.

Thank you,
CIJ

CIJ,

You get the point. I could care less how they get their pensions or if they get their pensions period. They just need to get into government and then get out of government for the sake of the country.

Kind of like a home owners association or a school board. Heck, we just saw what happened in 204 when someone sits on board for too long. He became too big for his britches. Move on and get new blood. Look at Charlie Rangel. He is involved in determining how to tax us and spend government money, yet he conveniently doesn't know how to do his own taxes. Mistake, oversight. And he has been in congress since the early 1800's. Americans should be outraged by that.

On your PS, I don't even think you have to bet. I think that is pretty true if I am not mistaken. And that is the point. Stop free loading off the government and go and get a real job in private industry. The words government pension need to be eradicated from our language.

We, the voting masses, are just plain stupid.

The proof is in what we accept from our elected representatives.

Healthcare is just the latest in a sting of jokes they have played on us.

When it comes to any government program, what we all need to really ask ourselves is this:

"If it is not good enough for our elected representatives, than WHY is it good enough for each of us?"

If we ever want Social Security, Medicare, Healthcare, etc., REALLY fixed, make sure our representatives are on the same program, period!

If you guys want term limits, how can Senators and Congressmen retire with 85% pensions for the rest of their lives. They need to get their times in to get 85%.

Are you saying you don't want them to get their time in and only receive a 25% pension?

If so, I am behind you 100%.

CIJ

PS. I am willing to bet when a government official finally retires his health insurance is paid till his death. Not like that poor Jewel Employee who is being socked for 1500 a month while his pre-existing is not covered. You need to make 24k a year to pay 18,000 in heath preimiums. And he and his wife probably have deductibles and co-pays that bring his after tax cost to at least 20k a year. If he is in high tax bracket, he will need over 30k in before tax income to pay his health costs.....INSANITY!

If this is not unfair and unjust, I don't know what is.

Mark Brown,

Outstanding post! I will vote for anyone running for ay office who promises to bring up term limits EVERY session.

Career politician's in the same office are the pox on our system.

Mark Brown,

The most important line you mention is number 5. That is the root of all the problems whether it is health care, the financial crisis, whatever. Kennedey just died. After being in office for 40 YEARS. That is crazy. You should be able to serve for a reasonable time. Maybe two terms as a senator at most and maybe four as a congressman. Then you should have to go out and work in the private sector. No retiring and getting a position as attorney general. Go out and get a real job, start a non-profit, etc. Just no more government work.

The problem is government capitalizing on foolish constiuents.
The government is welcome to change healthcare IF they were capable of running anything.
The ways to lower healthcare costs instead of just trying to sieze all the power they can.
#1 Tort Reform
#2 Fix Medicaid and Medicare. Right now they only pay 35-50 cents on the dollar. So all of the missing costs are shifted to the private sector. And we all know they are running out of funds. Government should have their hands full just with fixing Medicare and Medicaid before they start CHANGING something else.
In addition, the reason #1 Tort Reform isn't on the table is they don't know what to do about it. SO HOW DO THEY KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT SOMETHING EVEN BIGGER> They don't.
#3 Treat illegal immigrants with foreign aid and stop including them in our progranms. Try and sell that to the public.
I have money to help this illigal immigrant, but I am sorry I can't help you????
Good luck.
#4 Let government exeriment with their coverage for a year or 2 before they change ours.
God help us all
#5 Most important. TERM LIMITS
THat way everyone needs to go after a few years instead of camping out in government. Remember CHANGE IS GOOD
MB

My wife and I retired at 57. We had great coverage through our previous employer Jewel Foods. Through Blue Cross Blue Shield. medical and dental. When we retired early, we didn`t want Cobra. We stayed with Blue C&S. $1500.00 a month premiums and that rises every year. No dental plan with that. Luckily we can afford this. Any procedures we had while we were working fell under the heading of pre-existing conditions and no further coverage would be given, even though we were still with Blue C&S. Some one some where down the line has to make medical insurance more available at a lessor cost. You certainly can not jam up emergency rooms with minor situations. Too, the aging of americans will require alot more family practices as the work force retires. Medical law suits should also be kept to a minimum unless there is a real crime involved. Doctors do their best and they rtoo are only human.

The doctor issue you bring up is dicey ----- I believe (and I speak only for myself) that I would prefer a certain set of minomum standards and achievments for any doctor I let practice on me.

This does not mean they HAvE to go to a U.S. medical school, but it DOES mean they have to get licensed to practice here in the U.S. I rely on this to act as some sort/level of quality control.

If you ever read any of the horror stories on plastic surgeons from the suthern hemisphere practicing in Miami, you would hopefully follow this advice!

By the way, I don't care what the cost differential is for this! CrapCare at any cost (or lack thereof) is still crap.

[Note on Anon blue type ---- I don't know. I often pass it on to my youngster, who messes with it to get those effects. He calls it html]

Doctors in Russia make $200 dollars a month I once read a few years ago. Most doctors in America with any kind of specialization make 50,000 to 100,000 per MONTH. Michael Jackson's cardiologist whom may have contributed to his death in a potential homicide case, was making 150k a month.

If we send all our DOCTORS to Siberia and bring Russian Doctors at double their salary to work here, we will save billions if not trillions and no longer have a health care crisis.

You have Indian Doctors working as gas station attendants for 9 dollars an hour because the AMA makes it almost impossible for them to get their licenses.

I am sure they would love to get out of the gas stations and work for 18 dollars an hour as doctors if they could only get licensed.

The AMA limits the number of doctors in this country thus keeping rates high. End the regulations, flood the market with doctors, and we would not even need insurance. Doctors would be happy to see you if you gave them a 20 dollar bill for a half an hour visit and made 40 bucks an hour for 2 visits. Some doctors squeeze 6 patients an hour and could still make 120 dollars an hour which in my opinion is very good money. Currently, they make over a $1000 dollars an hour easy....and that is if they bill honestly.

It should be back to Basics 101 like it once use to be and ought to be.

If we got the Russian and Indian Doctors to work for double what they work for in their respective countries, and people could see a family doctor for 20 bucks without insurance, no one would be going to the Emergency Rooms instead of the family doctor.

I have been paying my premiums for 30 years without seeing a doctor. Recently I saw a podiatrist(foot doctor) for a half an hour, who sent my insurance company a bill for 1090 dollars that included X-Rays to make sure I did not break my foot playing soccer. Luckily it was just a very bad sprain that is almost finally healed after 10 weeks. I also visited a chiropracter to make sure my back was fine after that soccer accident, and he charged my insurance company 892 dollars for a half hour visit that included X-Rays. While he found no breaks, he said it needs to be adjusted 4 times a week for 6 weeks so it can be curved just right. I use to think dentists were bad but no more.

I had to pay 30 dollars co-pay to each one in cash based on my Blue Cross Blue Shield Policy. Both said I don't have to worry about any fees that the insurance company does not approve above the co-pay and what they bill. One said that he was not a NETWORK doctor, but not to worry as he can bill through a friend doctor who is a NETWORK doctor....whatever that means. The other said he will be a member of my NETWORK of DOCTORS soon and not to worry.

However, since I have a $1750 deductible, I have a funny feeling I am going to end up paying for both these doctor's visits above and beyond the co-pay. I got the bills but they were too complicated to understand for a lay person.

It is really frightening to visit a doctor in this country whether you have insurance or don't have insurance. Since my foot and back were not broken and seemed to SELF-HEAL, I am not making my follow up appointments until I understand who is going to pay this nearly $2000. Me or the insurance companies I have been paying for the last 30 years. I just have a funny feeling I am going to be socked for this nearly $2000 dollars but I am not really sure.

Hopefully, they won't cancel my policies now that I cost them some money. The last time I had a workmen's compensation claim at a business I use to own, the insurance company refused to renew my policy. My broker told me it was typical and we just have to search for a new company. It was my first and only claim in nearly 20 years for an injured employee, but it was a large claim that was 6 digits over 2 years.

In conclusion, the health care system in this country is a mess and I have not the faintest idea what it would take to fix it short of importing foreign doctors which in essence is similar to outsourcing all our technology jobs overseas.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PS. I was given a prescription and told to fill it at Wal-Mart for only 4 dollars for 60 pills. I must admit that sounded like a great deal and could be a first step towards health reform. At least the prescription was AFFORDABLE! Thankfully we don't have to import new pharmacists from China as 99% of what is sold in Wal-Mart appears "Made in China." Is anybody old enough to remember when Wal-Mart's slogan was "EVERYTHING SOLD HERE IS MADE IN THE USA?" We sure have come a long way in the last 25 years and maybe that is just the root cause of our economic woes. Of course, I meant a long way in the WRONG DIRECTION!

Epi-nonimous,

What do we have to do to get underlined BLUE as you so nicely do to make your points?

Thanks for your help!

Epi-nonimous:
LOL.. I have enjoyed exchanging views with you and think we probably agree on more than we disagree on. I really don't carry the flag of either party or political wing as I see merit on both sides of this argument. It is also clear to me that with as many smart guys like you that we have, we should be able to find a solution to this problem that allows industry to earn a fair profit comensurate with the risks they take, and provides reasonable healthcare at a reasonable cost to us all. Like you, I think government is the last choice, but if the private sector can't get this figured out, then let's have the government. We can always privatize it later. The solution I believe will require sacrifice from all interested parties. Insurers must run tighter ships, doctors may take a pay cut, big pharma and the suppliers will have to do more with less, and each of us will have to take better care of our own health and have the routine matters taken care of in a more assembly line fashion. Let's use expensive doctor's time where it counts and let another type of health care professional handle school physicals, antibiotic scripts and the like. Then let's hang the lawyers.

To:By confused again on September 4, 2009 10:12 AM

My ED comment just meant that the gov't can dictate actions (take your land, take over an industry, make law, etc). Nothing more than that.

By the way, I AM a financial analyst ( I was a pretty high level one involved in a dynamic industry, at the exec level, performiong complex M&As, etc). You are right that there is, as a rule, more to a Income statement than ROS. However, I looked at the returns on ops, cash flows, etc. You ask where does the cash go? It goes to run the biz! Payroll, benes, etc.

The issue with the insurance carriers is that they are large, so revenues can/are be very, very large. Many often use revenues as interchangeable with profits (yes, I believe the progressive left does this often and on purpose to mislead us)

Other places where the money is? How about the humongous group of gov't workers that work in Medicare & Medicaid, the VA, etc? This is huge!. Also, think of the buildings and equipment to run a hospital (major bucks, my friend).

Oh --- one more place ----- malpractice carriers and trial lawyers!!!!

We haven't even talked to the area of graft and waste (I would guess if we ever get a valid accounting of it, we would all faint!)

Now, do not think I am giving the insurance companies a bye on all of this ---- I fully believe in regulation to require coverage availablity, portability, NOT allowing someone to be dropped once a premium is paid, etc. This can be done with laws and does NOT require HR 3200 (or a public option).

My point on the town hall meetings is that, as is almost always the case, the progressive left is much more organized, mush better funded, and very superior at such demonstrations and they have shown that yet again over the past 10 days.

We do agree that we need change, and faster is better. We MAY disagree in that the current proposals (some cal it Obamacare --- I don't) is NOT the answer and doesn't even ask the right questions!

I would propose that my suggestions, above posts, are a great start. Give them, say, 5 years to take affect THAN look at other added changes. Just opening up inter-state restrictions, breaking the tort lawyers iron grip on the left, and possibly having the Fed's be the malpractice provider for doctors, along with a true Peace-corps type program to get morte Doctors will go a long way to solvng this issue.

Of course, few of my suggestions will guarantee votes for any single politician!

When President Obama was elected there was great fanfare along with a call for "change"! In fact the changes were so great that they included a majority, fillibuster proof, Democratic Senate (once Franken was appointed, and before Kennedy died). And a majority in the house.

The Democrats, on their own, could have passed any legislation they wished - including the Health Care Reform initiative. If President Obama really wanted his bill passed why didn't he simply work at uniting his own Democratic party instead of blaming Republicans and conservatives as being obstructionist?

GJC –

“I am sadly amused when I watch these town meetings and see the obviously organized anti-reform people shouting the slogans of the medical /insurance complex”

As opposed to the obviously organized pro-reformers shouting the slogans provided by the unions or Democrats (that may be redundant)?

Isn’t it odd that a political party led by a former “community activist” now seems to object to or belittle community activism? I guess it’s only a good thing when you agree with the message, huh?

T.B.

This a.m. I heard yet another elected idiot railing on how our economy is so broke that it can only be fixed by a gov't option healthcare reform. I wonder, “Does anyone ever even look at numbers when they make comments like this?

I do, so let us venture forward.....

First, let's put some comments/factoids out there:

A)Our elected idiots and various talking heads say the gov't can find savings to healthcare costs, thus decreasing the total amount of the U.S. economy spent on healthcare

B)They (above) now say 50 million are uninsured. That translates to about 17% of all Americans (a loose term)

C)There are currently about 800,000 doctors in the U.S. caring for all Americans, the theory being that almost all of their care goes to the 250 million insured Americans

Using just this, let's analyze a bit (referenced by alpha):

A)Health insurance carriers have two things the gov’t does not: 1)a profit motive, and 2) income tax liabilities.

Given that the insurance companies make a return on sales significantly lower than many of our most admired companies (APPLE, CISCO, MicroSoft, etc), the profit motive is a driving force that helps keep costs down. The low return on sales helps to endorse that fact.

The gov’t? Absolutely ZERO impetus to keep costs down. In fact, I would submit there is a strong current to NOT get costs down as they can employ more people on the public dole and gain more votes.

Oh, by the way ---- by having the gov’t take it over, we lose all of those income taxes we currently collect from the health insurance carriers.

Of course, we also have to ask ourselves “When is the last time the gov’t EVER did something less expensive than the private sector?” Really, use some examples if you can.

B)17% - This is a very interesting number! In other words, the gov’t would have to decrease overall costs by at least 17% JUST TO KEEP OVERALL COSTS AT THE CURRENT LEVEL!

It would have to do this even if we were able to somehow ignore the laws of supply and demand!

C)The current under-supply of doctors would only be worse. Following the laws of supply & demand, an increase of 17% in the current system would create even more demand, no change in supply (we add about 1% to that 800,000 figure each year), and a resulting increase in price UNLESS the gov’t option includes a clear jump to pure socialism. I am not smart enough to measure the economics of the supply & demand curve, but I would venture to say it is not unlikely given the same effects in other arenas often/usually result in increases of pricing greater than the change in the curve (think H2) in New Orleans after Katrina for a crass example of this) So, it is a fairly thick limb I go out on to say that without a socialistic power grab by the gov’t, overall healthcare costs would increase AT LEAST 17% with the rise in users of the system.

Let’s summarize:
Costs will rise because of:
>the loss of a profit motive

>the general greediness and drive by politicians to gain more votes

>a bulk increase of 17% in users, thus needing 17% more surgeries, office visits, aspirins, etc, and a resulting 17% increase in costs

>the bulk 17% increase would also drive up demand in a shortening supply line, thus adding a multiplier to the increase in costs

>the gov’t will lose tax revenues

Does anyone REALLY think the gov’t option will save overall costs in healthcare insurance?

Really? Enough to both overcome all of the cost increases described above AND actually drive them below current levels?

Get real.

Epi-nonymous-
Thanks for straightening me out. I don't quite follow your "eminent domain" thing though. My point was that the cost of helath care has risen to the place where it is beyond the reach of so many people now that the issue has become a public policy matter. This was not always the case. It represents a change relative to what we enjoyed in this country for many years. I disagree with your statement that things get complicated by the profit motive of the carriers. I don't think it's complicated at all; the more the carriers charge the fewer of us can afford coverage. That seems pretty simple to me. Still not sure what that has to do with "eminent domain".

I haven't looked at the financial statements of the companies you cited but I would expect their profits to be higher in '06 and '07 than last year. As I understand it, much of an insurance company's return comes from investment activities including debt instruments, equity instruments and real estate, and they have been hit just like everyone else. Some of the more exotic business lines and investments associated with credit default swaps have been particularly disappointing as I understand it. With the massive layoffs we have had in the last 18 months there ae also few that are covered under a corporate policy, hence less revenue for the carrier. Additionally, as any competent financial analyst will tell you, the net after tax profit as a percentage of sales is only a small part of the story and one that is easily "managed". It is impacted by among other things investment losses, discontinued operations, downsizing reserves, nonreoccuring events, etc. not to mention the desire to minimize corporate income tax liability.
Let's say that you are right though...then where is the money? If the insurance carriers don't have it then who does? The doctors? The hospitals? The lawyers? The drug companies? Medical equipment companies? We pay more and more and there are fewer and fewer of us insured...I am still confused on this one.

I stand by my assertion that the town meetings were significantly managed by the anti-reformers and I believe they have duped many honest, sincere, but naive citizens with fear tactics and intentionally launched them into these meetings knowing that they would cause a rukus and muddy the waters. The anti-reformers used these people and are now sitting around somewhere at a luxury resort congratulating themselves on pulling the wool over our eyes once again. The galling thing is that they use the money from premiums we pay to hire lobbiests and consultants to do this, and then charge it off as a cost of doing business.

I don't know if the blues or the reds have it right, or if the other industrialized countries have it right either, but I do know a change is needed and quickly.

To: Confused again

Well, yes you certainly are!

First, it is somewhat true that, by definition, some healthcare is currently allocated in the U.S. This is a basic economic tenet based on supply & demand --- there is no way around this outside of direct government intervention to prevent it via imminent domain-type actions (sound familiar?). It gets more complicated by the profit motive of the carriers

Note here that whoever posted that health carriers make too much income might want to look at their data a little closer. Example? WellPoint, Aetna, Cigna, Humana and Coventry Health Care all had profits which were higher during 2007 and 2006, before the economy began its slide. The latest comments from Obama are thus false and misleading (surprise! A politician would lie to us?) The truth is that a normal profit on a healthinsurance carrier is about 6-7% return on sales. Arguing this as excessive is a lost cause and would indicate a lack of understanding of income flows and business itself.

Second, your comment "town meetings and see the obviously organized anti-reform people shouting the slogans of the medical /insurance complex"is either naive or misleading. Yes, I'm confident there was some organization involved at SOME town hall meetings. However, if you attended any yourself (I went to three), you would have seen a majority of people, usually families and many AARP members, personally livid over HR 3200. At the first two, the organization you refer to in terms of professional signage, cohesion, etc., was virtually non-existent.

However, at the latest (third) one I attended you would have seen an extremely organized effort by the supporters of the current healthcare reform. They were out in full array with prepared, professional, and coordinated signage, designated leaders passing out questions and directions as to when to chant and yell, etc.

It is crystal clear that to date there has been zero bipartisanship on this issue.

After all, the far left created HR 3200, included NO conservatives of any party, refused to even consider 800 amendments offered by conservatives of both parties, then they are surprised that there is a revolt.

Shocking!

First: Congrats to everyone for generally staying level headed about this topic. It is nice to see both sides trying to put forth logical arguments without the mudslinging.

Now my two cents:

1. Tort Reform: It is true that there is a small percentage of healthcare expense related to lawsuits (I believe the number is actually a slight bit lower than the 5% someone else cited but 5% is fine for discussion purposes). It is also true that providers spend enormous amounts of money on Liability Insurance. However, Tort reform is a very tricky issue that delves straight into Constitutional and moral realm. Limiting the ability for legitimate plaintiff's to recover damages and cover true expenses just to weed out the frivolous plaintiff's is fraught with dangers.

2. Foreign Gov't. run healthcare: Per the OECD numbers the key element that drives the success (Japan, Germany, etc..) or failure (England, Canada, etc...) seems to be one of system capacity. When the program offers the proper incentives to keep the ranks of providers (hospitals, doctors, nurses what have you) readily available, the wait times, level of care, and costs are actually much better than here in the U.S. In those systems with capacity issues, you see the problems readily cited such as long wait times, poor decision making by providers, and cost issues. The system can work if the time, effort , and investment are made. The real question is how could the U.S. do this when we already have a shortage of both doctors and nurses but an over supply of medical beds??? Finally, the fact is none of these proposals create this sort of system. Instead, the proposal on the table is a system with a majority private controlled system with heavy government regulation. Even the so-called government plan is not intended to cover all citizens.

3. Other people pay over 50% of their income in taxes to pay for subsidized healthcare: This is simply a false statement. There is readily available public data on tax rates for most modern nations. While taxes are generally higher than in the U.S. they are not significantly higher than what the effective tax rates were under Bill Clinton here in the States. Additionally, it must be noted that the money would be re-directed from one place (black hole of current healthcare spend) to another (black hole of taxes)

4. Regulation will hamper Innovation and destroy the current healthcare companies: Again, this is a red herring. The reality is that the health industry was heavily regulated and government subsidized right up till the 1980's. Most of the famous companies you hear of existed then and were highly profitable. Additionally, nothing in this proposal would eliminate the ability of a company to develop a new product and sell it. This simply does not change. It may impact the level of profit, but not their ability to profit.
Additionally, a large percentage of the research is already tax payer funded via the NIH.
We already regulate many industries. I can think of none of these where innovation halted and private companies all collapsed. Energy distribution is one. Exelon makes a ton of money last I looked (current economy withstanding). Yet, they have continued to invest Billions of dollars in new transmittal technology and infrastructure. Again, the real question is: are we willing to put the time, money, and investment into developing a plan that meets the needs of the U.S.?

I must admit that there are many legitimate proposals on the table from both sides. However, my gut tells me that we are better doing something in a wholesale manner than some sort of overly compromised plan that fails to address the three fundamentals: 1. Access 2. Capacity 3. Cost

--blemum

Confused Again says: A bureaucrat makes life or death decisions about your healthcare right now and has for several years. He works for the insurance company and is incented to deny you the care your doctor suggests.
Just ask you doctor, he'll tell you.
I am saddly amused when I watch these town meetings and see the obviously organized anti-reform people shouting the slogans of the medical /insurance complex

4 of the best sentences I've seen on this subject so far! Congratulations, CA. And Thanks.

Ex UK: The goal of government is not to create more government; it's to give the people the programs the media tells them they want.
confused again: if you think every other indistrialized nation has solved this problem, you'd better take another look at the levels of care provided and the costs. It doesn't look anything like what Michale Moore portrayed in Sicko.
T.B.: Tort reform is a pipe dream. Most law makers are lawyers. They're their own special interest group! It's not in the best interest of their peers to reform a system that keeps them so fat and happy. Talk about the fox watching the henhouse!! Besides, medical malpractice suits account for less than 5% of health care costs.
Yes, we have a problem with hard working citizens being unable to afford health care, and that should be dealt with. Health care for illegals and those who are capable of working but choose not to because it's easier and more lucrative to stay on the public dole should not receive the same level of sympathy or attention. Build more public hospitals with big wards like we had 75 years ago and the abusers may get with the program when that's the only care they can receive.
Here's what needs to happen:
The insurance industry needs to be reined in. Their profits are too high, and they're getting rich off malpractice insurance premiums. I stated previously that the cost of malpractice suits is less than 5% of the cost, but that does not factor in the insane premiums doctors are paying for their insurance. Once that happens, costs will go down because doctors won't feel compelled to perform so many diagnostic procedures that do little more than cover their butts and ratchet up user costs.
At the same time the drug companies need to rein in their profits, and the FDA needs to reduce the bureaucracy and costs associated with developing new drugs. Every business in America has the right to operate at a profit, but there should be controls on those where the consumer has no choice such as brand name drugs. Distributors and resellers also need to take a less gluttonous piece of the pie. Advertising for prescription pharmaceuticals should be limited to professional journals. Most patients don't have the medical knowledge to recommend the drugs they should be treated with. That's why we have doctors. We don't need to see ads for prescription drugs during a Bears game or American Idol.

Start small(er) and work from there—tort reform, true competition beyond State lines, no exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and subsidies for the truly poorest to buy their own insurance.

Don’t send our healthcare down the same path Social Security and Medicare are heading now. We can’t afford that.

T.B.

I am confused as to why every other industrialized nation in the world has been able to solve this problem while the USA still struggles. Other nations' solutions may not be perfect, but seem to function better in most evey case than ours. Why is that? One would think we could take the best of their sytems as a starting point and go from there. Kind of a "best practices" thing. The only reason I can think of for not doing this, is that the interested parties don't want to do it...it is not in their self interest to see meaningful reform of what is clearly a dysfunctional system.

When I hear of the tremendous sums spent by the corporate medical and insurance complex on lobbying activity, spokespeople on chat / news shows, and the massive public relations compaign to squash the change efforts, I become more suspicious. When I see the growth in corporate earnings, executive salaries, and all the rest in these firms, it is not to hard to connect the dots. The simple economics are that health care is a necessity and the demand curve is very inelastic. That is that the demand will not fall much when the price goes up. I think the insurance companies, medical delivery companies, pharma and equipment suppliers, physicians, malpractice lawyers and everyone eles that benefits ecomomically has figured this simple economic fact out and have been gouging us for years. They have a vested economic interest(lefestyles to maintain, market shares to maintain, etc) and will fight every way they can, to preserve this system for as long as they can.

Health care is rationed right now and has been for years. It is rationed to only those who can afford it. The thing is that they have raised the prices so high that now there are many more who can't afford it, and the scale is tipping. Their greed has pushed it to where it has become a public policy issue and very visable.
A bureaucrat makes life or death decisions about your healthcare right now and has for several years. He works for the insurance company and is incented to deny you the care your doctor suggests.
Just ask you doctor, he'll tell you.

I am saddly amused when I watch these town meetings and see the obviously organized anti-reform people shouting the slogans of the medical /insurance complex. These poor fools have been scared into becoming the pawns for the guys who have been gouging us for years.
They don't have the sense to realize that the very people who are taking their money and denying them coverage have duped them into becoming the frontline to preserve this corrupted system. These fools are arguing to preserve the very system that is eating them alive, and are either too stupid or scared to do anything different.

Like it or not, we pay for the uninsured now through higher prices. We wait behind them in the emergency room while they are treated for routine matters that have spiraled out of control because they did not have access to a family doctor who would have caught it early. With reformed system they would be treated too, but at a much lower cost and the ultimate cost to us would be lower too.

This thing is not easy but it is essentially simple, others have figured it out long before us and can't understand why we are so backward in this regard. It requires real change and overcoming those who have a vested economic interest in the status quo. It will be interesting to see what we do here. I thnk it will tell us alot about the kind of people we really are as a nation.

In the end the fact is a lot of people need medical care but lack the means to pay for it. The question is how. Government over the past 50 years has grown fat and happy redistributing money from the productive members of society to other sections which in many cases are deserving, but let's face it, many others which are not.

I don't think the answer is a colossal new federal bureaucracy from the same people who gave you the TSA and DHS, along the lines of Britain's National Health Service - which I believe is the second biggest employer in the world, after the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army. Let's be clear: the only goal of government is more government.

And how does the NHS stack up? Well, despite a budget of over 100 billion GBP, the person paying over 50% of his income in various taxes to fund it is quite likely to find his elderly relative dying in a pool of her own faeces or unfed for 2 days, to have to wait six months to be placed on a waiting list to get seen (anything government related will have targets which end up being fiddled), or to find himself in a queue behind a recent immmigrant and her ten kids who've not paid a penny in tax since arriving. And while happy to spend billions on failed IT projects, NHS managers have a tendency to go for the lowest cost option when it comes to patient care, meaning you're quite likely not to be able to understand your Nigerian, Lithuanian or Polish doctor when you eventually do get to see him.

So having escaped that, and seen my wife give birth in the excellent Edward Hospital, and seeing anything which comes from government as a necessary evil, like the DMV, or actively toxic like the TSA, I vote we keep the bureaucrats out!

This link to charts depicting the Federal Budgets and projections fits better on this thread then where it was originally posted.

Any way you turn the charts, the graphs aren't very encouraging.

Perot put together an excellent set of 35 slides. They are one year out of date, or the numbers would look far ($8-10T) worse.

http://perotcharts.com/home/

Are there problems with the current system, yes!

Is the government the solution?

*Social Security

*Medicare

*Medicaid

*Post Office etc etc etc

*$70 to $100 Trillion unfunded obligations

*Every year since the Dept of Education was founded, scores decline

*Regulating the Banks and Securities Industries, 9 detailed complaints against Bernie Madoff's $50B Ponzi scheme by a whistle blower who feared for their life, ignored.

*Broken Borders with 12+ million illegals and hundreds of tons of drugs flowing in the USA

*Free Trade deals that have exported entire industries out of the USA, 50 million white collar jobs may follow.

Where is the managerial and financial success story to point to? Would you accept this performance from your employees?

Actually they are.

Good thing they will be exempted from whatever they cook up for the rest of us.

What is wrong with the current system?

Government mandates and law suits have driven costs through the roof. Are these the only problems, no; but it would be a good start to get the cost down.

We need to start the discussion with the understanding that virtually everyone believes the current system needs some sort of reform.

Unfortunatley, the the current HR 3200 and the HealthCare reforms being advertised are the wrong solutions to undefined problems!

HR 3200 wants to replace a flawed system (our current one) with a failed system (anyone taken a really close look at Medicare/Medicaid/Department of Veterans Health, etc), lately?) The reforms being proposed have glaring deficiencies that go beyond the hubris and dogma of deficits, growing government, and attempts to grab power.

Our politicians are trying to force-feed 40 and 50 year old oft-failed solutions to fit our current-day problems (which they have yet to actually define!)

To accomplish this, our politicians need to first scare the pants off of us so we will accept anything they pass. Instead of defining the problem, they take the easy, and scariest , path by repeating as often as possible that our care is substandard and beating the drums of uninsured Americans. This is flawed because the issues, if defined properly, consists of coverage, care level, cost, and accessibility --- all are intertwined.

First, let’s look at coverage --- This is where the "number of uninsured Americans" argument begins. We all loosely accept, and throw around, an uninsured number of about 47 million. A closer look at this number reveals the following:

When you back out the low estimate of (7) illegal immigrants, (10) who earn +$75 k/annum but prefer to not buy it, (3) who also can afford it but ignore it (such as "invincibles"), (14) already covered by other programs (Medicaid/Medicare/Schipps, etc) but for some reason have not signed up), and the (1) listed as uninsured but over 65 years of age, we are left with about 12 million legal Americans uninsured. Of these 12 million, 8 million have none because they lost a job which statistically 70% will replace within 4 months.

Final number of uninsured Americans? $4 million. Hardly a small number, but a manageable one that does not support ruining our entire system. So why is the entire debate to date centered on coverage? Because it is emotional & scary!

Second, level of care: The level of care in the U.S. is acknowledged everywhere in the world (with the obvious exception of the left side of the United States Congress!) as being the best. This is true because of our specialized care (cancers, et.al.). Can it be better? Should it be better? Yes! Are costs too high? Yes! If we cut costs could we make the care even better, especially at the non-specialized levels? Yes!

So we need to ask ourselves, why is everyone in such a tizzy over healthcare if our care is so damn good? Since our Congress has a hard on for insurance companies (don’t we all!), they are trying to narrowly define the issue only as coverage so that the Fed can become, over time, our insurer. Th issue of care has been either ignored or so narrowly defined as to onloy be addressed through the coverage issue (which can’t be done! Remember, ALL of the issues are intertwined)

Third, costs: The current HR 3200, and the debate itself, at this point, truly ignores cost. Without tort reform and changes to malpractice coverage, cost will never be addressed. However, it is not this simple! Accessibility (defined below) also affects cost as the simple rules of supply & demand apply to healthcare, too..

Fourth, accessibility: We have about 800,000 doctors in the U.S. and have a net gain each year of about 1%. This means that we have a shortage of doctors! As long as there is a doctor shortage, there will be a problem with accessibility regardless of WHO provides coverage. The doctor shortage is even more acute, and care/cost affecting, when it is broken down to geography and practice type (ie orthopods versus gynees vs OB, etc). We have many areas of our country that are basically medically deprived for these reasons and it needs to be fixed. Anything on this in HR 3200? Nope! Yes, I read it, and it is not addressed.

Fifth, competition: The supporters of HR 3200 (and the rest who are demanding we blindly accept the current bill, or what some refer to as Obamacare (though it is really more KennedyCare) keep repeating the canard that the insurance industry is missing competition and the Fed would provide it, thus improving pricing. The theory is that the Fed would be so darn efficient it would drive costs down and the Insurance industry would have to follow. Kinda like the Post Office efficiency, I guess!

Guess what, chillens ---- the best competition, a move that would within 24 hours of being enacted drive rates down, is to open up state lines for competition! And, the best part is that this wouldn't require a new law, just some diligence by the ICC

I will add that there are other things that make our system susceptible to attack. The issues of getting accepted for coverage, of dropped coverage, of portable coverage, of tax status of coverage, can ALL be addressed with a simple law, or laws, that would direct the insurance industry.

This really is simple stuff, people!

Overall, this is a manageable issue and we would be better served by reforms which address all of the issues and which include tax subsidies for all Americans for healthcare ( not just corporations and businesses), getting all who qualify for CMS services signed-up, providing more encouragement and access to medical school, and providing Federal malpractice insurance for all doctors practicing in America, and passing simple laws to direct the insurance industry.

Also, it is obvious that we need to include our immigration policies into the reform solutions as the two issues are intertwined with at least 7 million uninsured illegal immigrants

Only after all of this is done, and given time to take affect, should we EVER consider nationalizing 16 - 18% of our economy under the Federal Government.

Perhaps pharmaceuticals and physicians are over priced. They have increased their lot over time and now hold the rest of us hostage when we need their services. The solution, however, is NOT government control but rather some price caps. If we go the obama way we are going to have Canada's health care and that is very bad espicially for seniors. I don't have any doubt about this, your old age will be a millstone around your necks. You will be neglected until you die. At least death is still not over priced.

http://factcheck.org/

Health Care reform is required, but NOT in it's current version.

It must be BI PARTISAN
It must include tort reform
It needs to be for all Americans, including legislature and executive branch.
Remove preferences, Acorn, Apollo and etc.
Remove the Pork
Before it goes national, pilot it both blue and red states
They say they can remove $500 billion dollars in Medicare cost, do it NOW if you see that kind of excess, do it NOW, you don't need a new law.
John Arndt
Naperville IL.

I'm mostly just entirely disheartened by the fact that it seems literally impossible to have a reasonable debate with most people about the proposals for healthcare reform without someone parroting the FOX News fear mongering over elderly death councils and other parts of Obamacare that exist nowhere outside of Glenn Beck's fantasy land.

The amount of comparisons that have been drawn by these kinds of people relating Obama to Hitler because he wants to improve healthcare coverage is so amazingly ludicrous that I honestly don't even know where to start. The proposed reform isn't perfect, I think you'd find a hard time finding anyone from either side who will say that it is, but instead of reaching some kind of meaningful compromise, people would rather wave copies of the constitution around and call for Obama's impeachment because he wants to increase preventative care across the country.

It seems to me that in what is supposed to be the best country in the world, it isn't right that we have hard working people who are just flat out unable to afford health care. For a lot of lower middle to middle class families, a single major medical incident can lead to complete financial ruin. That just doesn't seem right to me. Hospitals have major problems with people treating emergency rooms as family doctors, since they need to treat you by law, and you can just accidentally forget to bring your ID so they have no way of tracking you down. ...And if they do, you likely don't have the assets to pay your bill anyway, so what can they do?

As someone with a self employed family member who paid out the teeth for health insurance to fight cancer, only to be instantly dropped by their insurance company as soon as they found an insignificant technicality to weasel out of their obligations, it's obvious change is needed. I suppose it's easy to be an angry tea-bagging Naperville resident with a corporate healthcare plan that takes care of all your problems, but some people aren't so fortunate by no fault of their own, and their only alternative shouldn't just be to roll over and die because they can't afford chemotherapy.

This same family member, who paid for health insurance for years without a single claim now patiently waits in line at the free clinic of Stroger Hospital in Chicago. There is no alternative, their cancer is now a pre-existing condition and no insurance company on the planet will do anything but scoff at attempts to seek coverage.

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