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Senate Democrats Still Quietly Talking about Reconciliation for Health Care Bill

The American people by a vast majority don't want a government takeover of our health care system. They know that our system, albeit imperfect, is the best in the world. In spite of this, the Democrats' dream of imposing government run health care is so close they can taste it, so they are, naturally, conflicted. Should they drop their plan of a government run system and stay in the good graces of their constituents, or should they go for it alone without any Republicans, which would install their dream and thrill their base but may very well drive them out of office by angry constituents.

They are still thinking about going for it, as we learn from The New York Times:

With bipartisan health care negotiations teetering, Democrats are talking reluctantly -- and very, very quietly -- about exploiting a procedural loophole they planted in this year's budget to skirt Republican filibusters against a health care overhaul.

They are talking reluctantly because using the tactic, officially known as reconciliation, would present a variety of serious procedural and substantive obstacles that could result in a piecemeal health bill. And they are whispering because the mere mention of reconciliation touches partisan nerves and could be viewed as a threat by the three Republicans still engaged in the delicate talks, causing them to collapse.

Yet with the discussions so far failing to produce an agreement, Democrats are exploring whether they could use the tactic as a last resort to secure a health care victory if they have to go it alone. The answer: It would not be pretty and it would not be preferable, but it could be doable.

"This is tough stuff," said Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota and chairman of the Budget Committee, "but, yes, it is more than theoretically possible."

This is a very risky proposition politically. It would also most likely mean that health care would be passed piece by piece instead of in one fell swoop. But it is doable, as the article says. And implementing a bill piecemeal could be a better tack for Democrats since what they ultimately want is a government takeover, which the American people don't want. This could incrementally ease the American people into that takeover, which means we must continue the pressure and not become complacent.

On a related note, The Corner links to a post at National Center for Policy Analysis that outlines the 10 surprising things you may not know about American health care. Here's the first five:

Medical care in the United States is derided as miserable compared to health care systems in the rest of the developed world. Economists, government officials, insurers and academics alike are beating the drum for a far larger government rôle in health care. Much of the public assumes their arguments are sound because the calls for change are so ubiquitous and the topic so complex. However, before turning to government as the solution, some unheralded facts about America's health care system should be considered.

Fact No. 1: Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.[1] Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the U.K. and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

Fact No. 2: Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.[2] Breast cancer mortality is 9 percent higher, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher and colon cancer mortality among men is about 10 percent higher than in the United States.

Fact No. 3: Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.[3] Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit are taking statins, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons and 17 percent of Italians receive them.

Fact No. 4: Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.[4] Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate and colon cancer:

  • Nine of 10 middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to less than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
  • Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a pap smear, compared to less than 90 percent of Canadians.
  • More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a PSA test, compared to less than 1 in 6 Canadians (16 percent).
  • Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with less than 1 in 20 Canadians (5 percent).

Fact No. 5: Lower income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report "excellent" health compared to Canadian seniors (11.7 percent versus 5.8 percent). Conversely, white Canadian young adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower income Americans to describe their health as "fair or poor."[5]

Read the other five. These facts are compelling. I have to say that #10 was particularly enlightening. It's common for people to have a grass is greener mentality, but Americans need to be reminded of how much better our health care system is than other countries' health care systems.


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Comments (44)

And, thanks to Anthony Wein... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

And, thanks to Anthony Weiner, a true single payer plan will now be debated and voted on in the House as well.

Kim:You forget, thos... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Kim:
You forget, those higher mortality figures aren't viewed as a negative by Barry and Company. Those figures = "future cost savings on health care". After all, when you're DEAD, you're no longer a problem draining the medical system. That's the GENIUS of ObamaCare. It will also help out with the Social Security problem.

The American peopl... (Below threshold)
jp2:
The American people by a vast majority don't want a government takeover of our health care system.

Care to back that up, Kimmy? I wouldn't believe you in the first place, but this thin-air statistic seems extra sketchy.


Zogby just placed it at almost 50/50, with most Americans supporting a government plan. CBS has 72% of Americans supporting a government plan.

Anyways, back up your claim, if you can.

Crash and burn Demoncrats.<... (Below threshold)
914_62:

Crash and burn Demoncrats.

Lots of lies from the right... (Below threshold)
Frank Monsteig:

Lots of lies from the right on the health care issue - here's some facts -

Hurry up and read them before this comment is deleted.
depp=true
notiz=Nah, just disemvoweled for a drive by troll.

A pay for outcome / value p... (Below threshold)
hsr0601:

A pay for outcome / value payment system, key to the deficit-neutral, might be capable of bringing all groups together.

Supporters of the agreement say it could save the Medicare System more than $100 billion a year and 'improve' care, that means more than $1trillian over a decade, and virtually needs no other resources including tax on the wealthiest. (Please visit http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=820455&catid=391 for detailed infos).

As much as 30 percent of all health-care spending in the U.S. -some $700 billion a year- may be wasted on tests and treatments that do not improve the health of the recipients," Thus the remaining $239 billions over a decade do not matter.
Dr. Armadio at Mayo clinic says, "If we got rid of that stuff, we save a third of all that we spend and that is 2.5 trillion dollars on health care. A third of that and that is 700 billion dollars a year. That covers a lot of uninsured people."

According to the CBS/New York Times poll, survey respondents get nervous about the low quality after the reform.

In case you are a doctor, and your pay is dependent upon your patient's outcome, you will more likely strive to prescribe the best medicine for your patient, let alone avoiding unnecessary cares, and hope your patient will feel better as quickly as possible.
From my standpoint, No Rationing Is Required, as well.

Studies have documented that nearly one half of physician care in the United States is not based on best practices and that at least 98,000 Americans die of a 'medical error' each year.

Under 'the pay for outcome' agreement, practitioners are expected to eagerly and 'voluntarily' implement the 'recommendations' to work best for them, I think.

Nowadays, we can't imagine the society without IT SYSTEM, just to think of the bank that lacks it, presumably what we should fear most would be the medical institutes without the essential program. I think measurable savings in the transformative health program might be reached.



Thank You !

I spent 3 hours yesterday r... (Below threshold)
epador:

I spent 3 hours yesterday reading through HR3200. I knew that speed reading course would come in handy one day.

Then I went to our local Town Hall meeting.

The health care debate took more than 50% of the hour allotted by Senator Merkle in Astoria yesterday. There were about 200 people crammed into the small meeting room at the Maritime Museum, about half were Tea Party folks, some with signs, about 1/4 were Democrat politicos from the county (as well as our State Senator and US Representative Brad Witt), and the rest were concerned citizens of all persuasions, including myself, my 14 year old daughter and my 87 year old father. Senator Merkley handled himself and the audience professionally (his background is almost entirely as a politician or political appointee with some time in the Defense/Pentagon as an analyst).

Sadly, a fair portion of the input from the Right used poorly constructed talking points that he easily deflected:

first of all, since he's a Senator, beating upon him about the HR 3200 doesn't help, as he is part of the Senate version of health reform;

the claims of "death counseling" fears, as I have pointed out before, are fallacious, as the content of HR merely encourages and provides reimbursement for the appropriate interaction of the patient informing the provider of their desires for care at end-of-life (one of the most frustrating positions for a physician is when a patient is dying, there is no or little hope for improvement, and there is no clear information from the patient as to what their wishes are - family members generally are not unanimous in their interpretation of what the patient "would want");

When asked about Federal Employees not being part of the proposed system, he quickly agreed that he would support making the system applicable to Federal Employees as well (no one asked the follow up question about Union members).

A good question -where the hell are we going to get all the money for this, was deflected and not followed up by stating that the large budget for Health Care is not new money, but simply government spending what privately used to be spent on health care!

One typical NW hippie noted that if we closed all our bases overseas we'd have more than enough money to pay for our new "health system" and he did get a small smattering of applause, but the Senator discretely side-stepped and made a few comments about the importance of National Defense.

He did a good job of picking folks of different political persuasions, but almost too good a job, as the Democratic plants were obvious (most of the liberal questions were gifts that included a generous thanks for all you've done statements) and he selected them every other question - far too consistent for it to be by chance.

The left "questioners" used the typical catastrophic hyperbole of how messed up and poor our health care system is, and how greedy the insurers.

Local fishermen, mortgage brokers and other members of the community did get a chance to voice their concerns, and were heard out and referred to his staff for follow up.

I raised my hand repeatedly but was not called upon.

What was missing were questions about the ability of the government to manage such a large and important segment of our economy, the lack of change in the system's safety processes, and the inappropriate micromanagement in the original HR3200 plus the many last minute amendments that got it out of committee.

When the Federal bill starts spelling out which procedures for cancer screening and aortic aneurysm screening are to be covered in the bill, there is no room for improvements in technology and quality as medicine might advance and evolve over time.

The post cited above about "little known facts" is one strong set of arguments against the dismantling of our system and needs to be shared extensively.

If this is they way Town Halls go from here out, there's little hope for staving off this travesty.

re hsr:1) "Best P... (Below threshold)
epador:

re hsr:

1) "Best Practices" depends upon who and why they are being published. If you look at cancer screening recommendations alone, you will find a wide divergence of opinion from many "authorities." Under government care, only one "best practice" will be determined, and the folks determining that have strong motivations for keeping spending down (as that is the primary driver in most measures written into HR3200). Best Practices will become the euphemism for Cheapest Practices.

2) Your "30% money spent wasted," Medical Error and physician practices statistics are tripe published by shills with a self interest of promoting a single payor system.

3) Payment for outcome basically means we will not encourage treatment for high risk or low chance of improvement problems. So if you are Ted Kennedy and have a malignant glioma, we're not going to treat you with surgery or RT cause its going to kill you within 2 years anyways. Off you go to hospice and don't waste the taxpayers money with ineffective and futile treatments. Or if grandma is 90 and can't see due to cataracts, we're not going to fix them because it won't prolong her life - hell she should be dead already by the actuaries (this is they way they make decisions in single payor countries now in Europe).

You've really got to stop drinking that Cherry Kool-Aid.


The keep your private insur... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

The keep your private insurance or just pay for any medical treatment you want.

Frankie Monsteig -... (Below threshold)
apb:

Frankie Monsteig -

So much stupid, and so little time. Your dim-wit article is a laugh riot. The following gem is a chuckle:

"CLAIM: The Democrats' plans will lead to rationing, or the government determining which medical procedures a patient can have."

"THE FACTS: Millions of Americans already face rationing, as insurance companies rule on procedures they will cover."

So, as a counter to sure rationing the moron authors use weasel words to cite non-existent rationing. Kinda like saying that each of us is facing unemployment.

Truly an article for the weak and stupid.

As leftists in congress kno... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

As leftists in congress know, this debacle has NOTHING to do with healthcare and everything to do with enslavement of the American people--literally ruling every phase of our lives. No wonder democrats/leftists are in a state of high "arousal!"

jp2: Most polls I have see... (Below threshold)
jim:

jp2: Most polls I have seen that have anything like a majority supporting government health care pose the questions as "do you support a government run option to compete with private insurance"

The vast majority do reject a forced single payer system. People like the Post Office, but want to send valuable things FedEx or UPS. Yes they like the idea of a government plan, but want the quality of a private plan when it's important.

The vast majority do reject the idea on page 16 of the House bill that forbids new private health insurance enrollments after the government plan is enacted.

The vast majority reject overwhelmingly the idea that if the public has to use a single payer system that the members of the government will be treated outside of that system, which is exactly what the House and Obama have publicly and explicitly refused to enact.

For all the libs out there: where are the great protests and demonstrations in favor of this plan? Why do anti socialized medicine protesters out number pro socialized med protesters by anywhere from 4:1 to 10:1?

Jp2REf post 3.... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Jp2

REf post 3.

If the American people were so wildly behind single payer/ govt take over of health care then why dont the Dems just pass it.

After all they have super majorities in the House and the Senate.

They dont need one republican vote.

<a href="http://www.rasmuss... (Below threshold)
jim:

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/healthcare/july_2009/just_23_believe_health_care_costs_will_go_down_if_reform_passes_congress

Rassmussen reports that 53%(the headline reads 49% because this is a tracking poll) are opposed to efforts to reform healthcare and 60% of Independents oppose it. And those numbers are getting worse for the Dems and not better. 50% even oppose a competing government option.

Most think that the Dem effort will increase cost and decrease quality.

Oh and while polls suggest that people don't like the system, over 70% said that they are happy with their insurance.

Go ahead Dims...pass it...I... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Go ahead Dims...pass it...I dare you.

If you want to get through ... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

If you want to get through to these knotheads. Inform them if they vote for health care reform as it is currently formulated and if it contains anything that can be construed as a single payer or public plan, I will vote against your reelection whenever that is. The public record will indicate their vote. My representatives know I will not only vote against them if they vote yes on this. I will campaign for their opponents. Going door to door to tell about this bunch stealing our freedom. The only thing democrats understand is if they do, you will remove them from office.

You know the problem is tha... (Below threshold)
jim:

You know the problem is that Dem leaders like Pelosi et al have nothing to lose in passing this.

Even if it pisses off the public, their seats are safe. The bureaucracy is predominantly liberal. The Government will control 18% of the economy (although that will shrink as they strangle health care spending). Even if they lose control of the House, Senate and White House the GOP are unlikely to summon up the courage of their convictions (they have convictions?) and undo the whole thing.

And on the plus side the politicians get to meddle in everyone's lives and they can pull strings to benefit their friends and donors to ensure that the "right people" get good health care.

After all look at Britain: The public openly refers to the NHS as a third world health care system. Doctors are imprisoned for murdering their patients for fun and profit. Yet the politicians don't breath a word about changing things.

HSR - The figure o... (Below threshold)
jim:

HSR -

The figure on "Best Practices" is meaningless since virtually all oncology and much of many other disciplines are based on investigational protocols.

Should we halt investigation in curing most cancers? Nobody would agree to that and yet a single payer system focused on best practices would exclude investigation techniques as being unproven.

You cite Mayo's comments about saving money by eliminating unnecessary tests, yet somehow fail to mention that The Mayo Clinic has come out against the Dem reform plan.

Most unnecessary tests are done as part of what is referred to as defensive medicine, avoiding the big dollar malpractice suit. Yet there is nothing in this legislation to reduce bogus or poorly grounded lawsuits. Physicians can pay well over $200,000 per year for malpractice insurance and who do you think gives them the money to cover that insurance bill? We do.

Under the current proposal physician incomes will decline and insurance will continue to climb. In Canada you can wait 2-3 years to get a personal physician assigned to you. Already med school applications have been declining sharply because few people want to go into 6 figures of debt and not be able to make an income that will pay it off.

Who will want to be a physician in the US? Who will want to continue doing so?

If better quality is the goal government health care is not the solution. If universal coverage is the goal then there are better ways to accomplish it.

The only real explanation is that this offers politicians more power and control over the lives of their subjects. They cannot defend the particulars of the bill, because few of them have actually bothered to read any of it and fewer care about the details since it won't affect them anyway.

This is going to leave a ma... (Below threshold)
Neo:

This is going to leave a mark ...

"The co-ops remind us all of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," he [John McCain] told anchor John King. "And so I have not seen a public option that, in my view, meets the test of what would really not eventually lead to a government take over."

Fact No. 10: Americans ... (Below threshold)
RickZ:

Fact No. 10: Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations. The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other single developed country.

Free men innovate; socialist drones do not. It's all a matter of incentive, and the lack thereof.

RickZ - how right you are.<... (Below threshold)
jim:

RickZ - how right you are.

In Japan the government owns the patents to any research done in their university system. The result is that almost no patentable discoveries are made by university researchers. In the US the opposite is true. Our universities patent loads of stuff and then sell the licenses to companies who can then develop the technology.

Nietzsche famously noted that the greater rewards came with greater risks and that achieving great rewards was not possible without great risks.

What socialized medicine proposes is to eliminate risk by removing the chance of poor outcomes. If we go to a so-called standard of best practices then unproven treatments will not be developed as they will not be paid for as they might not provide the same benefit as the current best practice. Real high risk/high benefit therapies are generally tried first on patients who have a high likelihood of dying. It is these patients that the current plan would exclude from receiving treatment as the cost/benefit ratio is far too high. Even successful therapies in this setting sometimes do not save the lives of the patients, but they show promising effects against the disease they treat.

And for all their talk about paying for outcomes, the last time this was pushed by the Dems we had HMO's incentivising physicians to not refer patients to specialists even though they needed referral since it cost the primary care doc too much money if he referred a patient out.

When you pay for good outcomes, you tend to get them, corners are cut and patients who might cost too much get pushed out the door quickly.

jim:Don't confuse ... (Below threshold)
epador:

jim:

Don't confuse investigations of treatment paid by grants (true research) that is tightly controlled and observed through peer review - albeit with its own problems with power politics, and the use of treatments that are not proven in a non-investigational setting, for which payors often refuse to pay.

Your comments about paying for outcome and HMO's are right on track.

Social Security, Medicare, ... (Below threshold)
MPR:

Social Security, Medicare, Postal Service, Amtrak, Fannie, Freddie and now GM(a money pit in the making). Who in their right mind could think the government could make health care in this country better? It is so ridiculous it makes your hair hurt.

The American peopl... (Below threshold)
jp2:
The American people by a vast majority don't want a government takeover of our health care system.

Any word on those statistics there, Kimmy? Or do you just enjoy making stuff up?

Try this link to the Daily ... (Below threshold)

Try this link to the Daily Telegraph. Those savings the libbies claim? Wonder where they're going to come from?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/5955840/Patients-forced-to-live-in-agony-after-NHS-refuses-to-pay-for-painkilling-injections.html

epador -I'm not co... (Below threshold)
jim:

epador -

I'm not confusing them. What you need to know is that most chemotherapy drugs are not approved for use in more than one or two cancers. It's far too expensive o try to get Pre Market Approval from the FDA for every indication. While that might work for something like Taxol, other drugs such as Cytoxan and Etopiside are widely used for a number of malignancies that they are not approved for. Treatment therefore usually is performed on an investigative protocol. So what is considered standard of care in not what the government would consider standard of care.

Back in the day when I worked in the bone marrow transplant unit it was common knowledge that Medicare did not pay for front line therapies and it did not pay for what would be considered standard supportive care. So Breast Ca patients could get a substandard therapy that would make them sicker, get no anti-emetic therapy to counteract that sickness and have less likelihood of a cure.

What's even better is that Medicare does not allow physicians who receive Medicare reimbursement to even tell patients that there is a better therapy if hat therapy is not covered by Medicare. That's why many physicians (including the one my parents see) do not bill medicare directly. They take payment from the patient and assist the patient in getting reimbursement from Medicare. Unfortunately, under the law even this could be considered "Code Steering" a federal felony charge.

BTW: Thalidomide, the morning sickness drug that became so famous for birth defects, is now an effective treatment for Multiple Myeloma. When it became clear that the drug was effective it was not approved for use in those patients. No way a government program would have paid for it. Myeloma patients at the time it was starting to be used had ~10% 5 year survival. Now it's up to 35% because people could try new things.

Questions American tax paye... (Below threshold)
MPR:

Questions American tax payers should be asking on this "recess" of their reps.


1. Why are American taxpayers subsidizing premiums of millions of union members and healthy Americans who already have health insurance at a cost of about $6,000 per person?

2. Why should American taxpayers pay for the health insurance of millions of young single Americans making over $80,000 year who are offered health insurance at work or can afford it but don't get it?

3. Why should American taxpayers pay for the health insurances of millions of illegal immigrants? Shouldn't there be a better way to provide people who are here illegally basic care?

4. Why are American taxpayers paying $10 billion for the health care costs of retirees of big corporations?

5. You talk about using health care reform to control the deficit. But if we targeted help to people who need it most, wouldn't that help?

6. You talk about two-thirds of the money to pay for people who already have health insurance or don't have it even though they can afford it or are eligible or aren't entitled to it (see questions 1-4) or subsidizing a new program (question 5) coming from eliminating "waste in the system" by having a government panel of experts decide what services and treatments are best. Won't that increase waiting times for services and access to new treatments?

7. You also say doctors will decide how they should practice medicine. So who will decide, the panel of experts or my doctor?

8. A follow up, Congressman or Congressperson. You talk about the red pill being half as expensive as the blue pill (or is it the other way around?) but being just as effective. Sometimes only the blue pill works but in systems where government experts decide, people only get the red pill? Will that happen here?

9. Some of the "experts" have suggested that two-thirds of hospital admissions for people on Medicare in the last two years of life are wasteful because those people are going to die anyway. That includes a lot of cancer patients like Ted Kennedy. Do you think Ted Kennedy should die instead of being readmitted to the hospital? Should anyone else be denied care in order to subsidize paying for the health insurance of people who are not eligible or who can afford care they refuse to pay for?

10. A related question: the care people get in the "last two years of life" continues to extend and improve their lives (that's why we are also living longer as Americans). So wouldn't cutting this care also shorten and reduce quality of life? That's what's happened to cancer and heart patients in other countries.

11. In fact, the health care bills you support would cut payments for hospital re-admissions. That could likely increase the number of deaths and shorten the lives of people with cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson's. Isn't that denying coverage for pre-existing conditions?

12. The House health bill, which you support, pays a bonus to doctors who provide less care to healthy, white middle class people in rural area and cuts reimbursement to doctors who provide care to sick, poor black people in inner cities. Doesn't that discriminate against minorities, the chronically sick, and the poor?

13. Another follow up. All the health care bills cut subsidies for low-income people to buy insurance and provide more for wealthy people, including the new retiree health bailout fund. Doesn't that discriminate against minorities and the poor as well?

14. You say if you have health insurance you like you can keep it. But both the CBO and independent studies say that up to 120 million Americans will lose their group coverage at work and join either Medicaid or a government-run plan because government will pay much lower prices to doctors and hospitals. And these doctors will also be paid 30 percent less and denying care based on pre-existing conditions determined by your expert panel. Yet you said the goal is to improve health. I am just a reporter and not used to asking hard questions, so maybe you can explain.

15. Final question Mr. Congressman or Congressperson. If the public option is so good, will you try it out before we do?
Thanks to R. Goldberg at American Spectator.

MPRRe #14 not only... (Below threshold)
jim:

MPR

Re #14 not only do Medicare & Medicaid pay less than 3rd party insurance already they pay so much less that some hospitals (like the Univ of Chicago Medical Center that Michelle Obama collected a paycheck from) have cut back on services (U of C eliminated their trauma service) because they cost too much.

When Obama says 'cost savings' what he means is "pay less to hospitals and doctors". Costs don't actually go down. Costs go down when services get reduced. That is the great truth about government health care.

Jim,Obamalala wouldn... (Below threshold)
MPR:

Jim,
Obamalala wouldn't know about saving money if it was stolen from him. Which is what is doing to us just to get re-elected.

jp2, The next time y... (Below threshold)

jp2,
The next time you're disrespectful to an
editor, you're going to buy a big shovel.
Whether you care or not.

The problem is health insur... (Below threshold)
mag:

The problem is health insurance. Not health care. So in the process of trying to fix the problem of health insurance, the majority of the people do not want "health care" to be touch. Tough problem, but if the gov't starts to control the insurance, then they will have to control the care, and then it becomes pure and simple health control. They left tried to talk about how good the care is in other countries just to push their idea of gov't control.
I wish too health insurance was not tied into your job. Why can they have insurances out there and people can pick and choose what they like or need, like house insurance, car insurance, etc. Even poor people are not allow to drive unless they have car insurance, why can't there be at least an affordable insurance plan out there for them? Is that too simple of an idea?

Why can they have insura... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:

Why can they have insurances out there and people can pick and choose what they like or need, like house insurance, car insurance, etc.

They do. Most people can get better deals through their employers because 1) the employers tend to be able to take advantage of larger group policies, 2) the money paid by employers is deductible by them and not taxed to the employees.
As of right now, it doesn't make any sense for your employer to simply pay to you what it pays for your coverage, because you'd have to pay taxes on that money.

Here's what the public opti... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:

Here's what the public option has in store for us. Accupuncture instead of cortisone. Happy days are here again!!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/5955840/Patients-forced-to-live-in-agony-after-NHS-refuses-to-pay-for-painkilling-injections.html

I agree with #16, Zelsdorf.... (Below threshold)
Texan99:

I agree with #16, Zelsdorf. The important message to get across in emails and public statements to elected officials is that if they vote for anything even remotely like HR 3200 you will campaign for their opponents in every way you know how. If you can claim credibly that you're a member of an organization that will multiply your efforts, so much the better.

Jim at #17: It's true that the seats of Pelosi and the like are safe, but their positions of power in the House are not safe unless they also protect all the guys in iffy seats who make up their majority.

After reading your post I f... (Below threshold)

After reading your post I felt compelled to comment. First of all, I wonder where your "statistics" come from.

"Fact No. 3: Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.[3] Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit are taking statins, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons and 17 percent of Italians receive them."

Perhaps those not taking the statins have purposely chosen this route. After all, the statin drugs destroy the liver and block the body's ability to produce CoEnzyme Q10 which leads to myopathy and congestive heart failure--in other words, death.

Also, cholesterol testing is often not done properly. If you have a single blood test the day after you have eaten a lot of fats, it will show high. But perhaps your diet is consistently low in fat, you just had an extraordinary amount that day. So, are the results correct? I doubt it. You really need a series of tests over a period of time to correctly assess the condition. How many people, on first testing, are prescribed Statins and take them, no questions asked?

Well, now, do I choose to die from high cholesterol that might not really be that high, or from congestive heart failure because I take cholesterol-lowering drugs which, by the way, are making big drug companies rich beyond imagination! Not really much of a choice, is it? And, by the way, the Ontario government pays for these drugs when subscribed to seniors who probably make up the majority of people "needing" them. They are not "unavailable". You need to get your facts straight.

So, why aren't more Canadians taking Statin drugs? Just because people in other countries are not taking them doesn't mean they are not taking an alternate natural product that is quite possibly producing the desired end result of lowered cholesterol without the deadly side effects. In Europe, alternative medicine is very widespread and accepted by their governments as valid treatment. Believe me, when there is a natural alternative available, I would choose that route. If I couldn't afford that route, I would take my chances with my condition rather than cause much more serious problems with deadly drugs. Perhaps you haven't read the statistics that the 4th leading cause of death in the US is drugs! And that only covers drugs prescribed and administered correctly, not drug errors, wrong doses or patient overdose. (Imagine the percentage with those added in!) So perhaps it's because Americans are taking more drugs?

"Fact No. 4: Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.[4] Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate and colon cancer:..."

Perhaps whoever did this poll did not bother to discover that mammograms are available to anyone eligible in Canada free of charge, again suggesting that perhaps we in Canada have opted not to use this method of discovering breast cancer. Many cases of breast cancer are discovered by self-examination. I personally know a number of people who had mammograms that showed a problem and who, after further testing, discovered it was nothing. They got a major scare because of a flawed test. Many have probably also read about how controversial mammography really is. I also personally knew someone who had a mammogram which showed nothing. At the time, a new procedure had been developed to detect breast cancer and she was given this test shortly after her mammogram. She was immediately taken to the hospital for a complete mastectomy because the cancer, undetected by the mammogram, had spread so far. So, here again, perhaps many Canadians, myself included, have chosen not to go through this painful and questionable procedure.

As to the prostate testing, in Ontario (I don't know about the rest of the provinces) the PSA test is not covered by the government and I believe that is why more men do not opt to have it - they have to pay. Perhaps if paid for by the government more men would have the test, thus changing the statistics greatly? Here in Canada medical care is not federal but provincial, but we do have access to good health care. In the city where I live we have 3 excellent teaching hospitals and people come from all over the world to the one for surgery and treatment. I am grateful to live in such a place.

And as for testing for cervical cancer, that, too, is routine with most doctors here who do complete annual physicals and definitely will be done by a gynecologist when a woman is referred to one. They, also, do not charge the patient. The government covers it.

Government-funded health care very possibly does have its drawbacks, but it also makes it available for the majority of the people who are not able to pay for it or pay high insurance costs to make it available. I had friends who moved to the US from Canada and they would have had to pay huge insurance payments to get the same level of health care provided free here in Ontario.

You seem to be saying that you have far better health care in the US than anywhere else in the world. Perhaps you should look at the statistics there! In a comparison of 13 countries (done by WHO), the US ranked second from the BOTTOM!

I have no idea where you got your statistics, but they baffle my mind. Just had to get this off my mind after reading it. No offense intended to anyone.

#35GOV'T DOES NOT PA... (Below threshold)
mag:

#35
GOV'T DOES NOT PAY FOR HEALTH CARE...AS YOU NOTED IN CANADA...PEOPLE'S TAXES DO!!!!!!
IT IS NOT FREE...IF IT IS FREE FOR YOU...THEN SOME ELSE HAD TO FORK OVER THE MONEY.

"I had friends who moved... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"I had friends who moved to the US from Canada and they would have had to pay huge insurance payments to get the same level of health care provided free here in Ontario."

I have friends who moved here from Canada too. They said the health care here is more readily available (no waits) and they saved so much more by paying less in taxes and less for just about everything else they bought in their daily lives, that paying for health insurance was a non-issue. In Canada they got their health care "free" but didn't know WHEN they could get it and they STILL had to pay out of pocket for prescriptions.

#19 Whatever Stemtech... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

#19 Whatever Stemtech

"Free" is never FREE - some... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"Free" is never FREE - someone always pays the bill. Whether through insurance, through Medicare/Medicaid, through writeoffs by the hospital on uncollectable debt (which ends up costing people more through Medicare/Medicaid and insurance) SOMEONE always gets stuck with the bill.

Those $4500 giveaways? Those weren't 'FREE' either - take a look at your 1040 and figure out how much tax you paid last year. Divide it by $4500 - how many cars did you help buy?

And ask yourself - why does someone buying a car deserve the money you earned, but YOU DON'T!

"...take a look at your 104... (Below threshold)
lance:

"...take a look at your 1040 and figure out how much tax you paid last year. Divide it by $4500 - how many cars did you help buy?"

That has got to be one of the stupidest things anyone has ever said. You're saying that all taxes go for nothing but the clunkers program. I guess things like roads, police, fire depts., etc. all come at no cost. Amazing.

And you wonder why no one is listening to your screeching.

Lance -It figures ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Lance -

It figures you couldn't see it - I'm pointing out to people (and to you) that the money that Congress is shovelling out so very freely is the money WE provide them.

Defense money? We provide it.
Stimulus money? We provide it.
Bailout of GM? We provide it.
Medicare money? We provide it.
Cash4Clunkers? You guessed it - we provide it.

Government doesn't have money unless the private sector provides it. They can borrow against future income, but that card's about maxed out, and people are starting to bitch about the debt our 'public servants' in Washington are taking out in our name. It's THEIR responsibility not to WASTE it - and this Cash4Clunkers crap is a sheer waste.

So how many cars did YOUR taxes help buy?

Or do you believe, like so many 'liberals' seem to, that the money just magically appears out of thin air when needed? That the debt never needs to be repaid? That somehow Bush signing off on the bailout last year means Obama can balloon the deficit spending to at least 4 times as much as Bush did?

A word of advice, Lawson. N... (Below threshold)
lance:

A word of advice, Lawson. Next time you try to make a point, try to base it in reality. It will be much more effective.

Oh, and I did some figuring... (Below threshold)
lance:

Oh, and I did some figuring, and came to the conclusion that 0.00000001% of my taxes went to the C for C's program. What was your point again?

I am not quite as naive as ... (Below threshold)

I am not quite as naive as you seem to think when I say the government covers health care. I know perfectly well that it comes from the taxes paid by the people. But have you not noticed, we would still pay high taxes whether or not we have 'free' health care? Would it not be better to get something useful from all that money the government is collecting? We have no idea where a large percentage of that money really goes. I am also aware that those who are under the poverty line do not pay taxes. So, to them the service is free. Yes, others have paid for it, but it is a beneficial service worth the money. We also have lotteries in Canada that help support the health care system. If you buy lottery tickets and lived in Ontario, I bet you wouldn't want to see the lotteries banned so that you could start to pay for all your health care services!

Just a little food for thought.




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