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It's Baaaack.

Get ready for HillaryCare, folks:

In her remarks, Clinton outlined a range of challenges she said Democrats would tackle in the coming months, such as trimming the federal deficit, reducing dependence on foreign oil, and improving the image of the United States abroad.

She also said Democrats would focus on improving the quality and affordability of health care _ a touchy matter for the former first lady, who in 1993 led her husband's calamitous attempt to overhaul the nation's health care system. The failure of that effort helped Republicans win control of both the Senate and House the following year.

"Health care is coming back," Clinton warned, adding, "It may be a bad dream for some."

Flashback to libertarian Jane Galt the day after the election:

A lot of libertarians, including me, got what we wanted this morning: a Democratic Congress.

I've got a baaaaaaad feeling that we're going to be suffering buyer's remorse by spring . . .

Update: Already starting . . . .

A day late and a dollar short, Ms. Galt. Ayn Rand must be spinning in her grave right now.


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Comments (55)

I love it. Another major ta... (Below threshold)

I love it. Another major tax increase for the working people on the horizon.
Does anyone really believe the super rich dim's will tax the rich? If so I highly recommend an early appointement with a mental health professional. I usderstand they're filling up fast with the BDS crowd who suffered a let down when the conservatives didn't whine and cry but cheered the dim's coming destruction of America.

I think I'm gonna be sick..... (Below threshold)

I think I'm gonna be sick...

The greatest enemy of the m... (Below threshold)

The greatest enemy of the middle-class in America is conservatism. Right-wing resistance to making health care affordable for all Americans will help sink their little rowboat in the '08 election.

It's bad medicine, no doubt... (Below threshold)

It's bad medicine, no doubt. But the Republicans were never going to become conservative again without a shakeup like this. America is going to pay dearly for this, but without the loss, we would say goodbye to fiscal conservatism forever.

Let's hope it only lasts two years.

Pelosi, Murtha, Hillary - c... (Below threshold)

Pelosi, Murtha, Hillary - could we possibly have a more clear indication of the end of the world?

<a href="http... (Below threshold)

If America's So Great, Where's Our Health Care?

Lack of health insurance kills six times as many Americans each year as 9/11 did.


For Joel Segal, it was the day he was kicked out of George Washington Hospital, still on an IV after knee surgery, without insurance, and with $100,000 in medical debt. For Kiki Peppard, it was having to postpone needed surgery until she could find a job with insurance -- it took her two years. People all over the United States are waking up to the fact that our system of providing health care is a disaster.

An estimated 50 million Americans lack medical insurance, and a similar and rapidly growing number are underinsured. The uninsured are excluded from services, charged more for services, and die when medical care could save them -- an estimated 18,000 die each year because they lack medical coverage.

But it's not only the uninsured who suffer. Of the more than 1.5 million bankruptcies filed in the U.S. each year, about half are a result of medical bills; of those, three-quarters of filers had health insurance.

Businesses are suffering too. Insurance premiums increased 73 percent between 2000 and 2005, and per capita costs are expected to keep rising. The National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) estimates that, without reform, national health care spending will double over the next 10 years. The NCHC is not some fringe advocacy group -- its co-chairs are Congressmen Robert D. Ray (R-IA) and Paul G. Rogers (D-FL), and it counts General Electric and Verizon among its members.

Whine, whine, whine about their taxes, while their fellow Americans die at an annual rate six times that of the 9/11 toll.

Republicans don't care about Americans. They care about themselves and no one else.

Ayn Rand is way cool.... (Below threshold)

Ayn Rand is way cool.

-When you're reading Ayn Rand in High School, that is. Then, you move on.

But hey, what could be better than healthcare being managed by a 3rd-party-for-profit industry?

Do all of you individuals c... (Below threshold)

Do all of you individuals chomping at the bit for socialized medecine have a clue what goes on in Canada and Europe? Or is that what you want? People dying from curable problems on waiting lists? Government needs to do more to get out of the health care business (i.e. getting businesses to stop providing health insurance) not get more involved.

Despite all of the real-world lessons wrought by socialism, some just never learn.

ScrapIron, I'm never quite ... (Below threshold)

ScrapIron, I'm never quite sure if I should take you seriously or not. I'm about half convinced you're a progressive, mocking the right wing here.

So, Kim your article starts out talking about Hillary's points about trimming the federal deficit, reducing dependence on foreign oil, and improving the image of the United States abroad.


All of those are good things, right? Required, even? Those are all great ideas, aren't they?

That's not really a good lead in, if you're trying to make someone look like a crank.

Americans pay more for the same healthcare than other developed nations. Congress has passed some really bad laws over the last couple of years that funnel OUR money toward the drug companies, and tying the hands of government officials for trying to negotiate volume discounts with drug manufactures.

I don't understand why an older gentleman like ScrapIron would bitch and scream when someone wants to provide better services at a lower cost...

Oh, yeah - wait, I do. ScrapIron is getting his already from the government VA. He's getting much better service than tens of millions of uninsured Americans. He's bennefiting from the government healthcare system, while arguing for denying it to other Americans. For that matter, he's also drawing a government pension which he got after only 20 years of work.

He disgusts me.

So all that screaming about how bad government is, and he's standing at the mailbox every month with his hand out waiting for his prescriptions and his benefit checks.

And you know what?

He earned every dime of it.

What disgusts me is not that he's on the government dole, with government healthcare. What disgusts me is how he spends his "retirement" slapping other people down.


How many new hospitals are ... (Below threshold)

How many new hospitals are the democrats going to build and how many additional doctors are they going to graduate? If these things aren't going to happen then "Universal Health Care" will only increase stress on an already stressed system. It's just lovely how people think they can make rules and all the bad side effects just go away.

Basically these people live in a fantasy land. The economy doesn't understand nor follow their fantasy.

Actually Lee, I think repub... (Below threshold)

Actually Lee, I think republicans can see the socialist health care already in places like Canada and Europe and can see that it costs a whole bunch of money and fails miserably.

But liberals don't care about people and if they are getting proper health care. They just want the money and to stay in power.

VagaBond, and merc,<p... (Below threshold)

VagaBond, and merc,

I'm going to guess that neither of you have a passport, and have done much traveling.

If I'm wrong, please tell me, and tell me where you've been.


I found <a href="http://www... (Below threshold)

I found this article interesting. It discusses socialized healthcare (the Canadian model, I know they vary):

It costs $1,200 per year in taxes for each Quebec citizen to have access to the public health system. This means that the average two-child family pays close to $5,000 per year in public health insurance. This is much more expensive than the most comprehensive private health insurance plan.

My suggestion is if you're having problems getting healthcare...pretend you're an illegal alien and you'll get it for free.

We have a whole generation ... (Below threshold)

We have a whole generation and then some that were raised on "A" for Effort in school and a healthy job market shielding them from the concept of reality over good intentions.

Of course they are going to swallow all the socialist paradise fantasy despite what history has told us.

Lee, When did you have a br... (Below threshold)

Lee, When did you have a brain transplant (switch) with a retarded monkey? Name someone that doesn't have healthcare or someone that has died from lack of healthcare. I've hauled thousands of people to the E.R. and not one of them has ever been refused the same care in the E.R. as someone with the best health care money can buy, and all that needed hospital care have been admitted. Not one person has ever been refused transport due to lack of insurance or ability to pay by any ambulance service in this area.

Social services takes care of those who don't have any type of coverage and they make out better than the workers who pay for their health care. Thousands are walking in to get free flu shots while I pay $20-25 for mine, but that's fair to. I hear all of the rumors on the antique MSM outlets but that is just what it is, rumors. Never facts.

If what you claim was even 10% true there would be dead bodies stacked on every street. Even burial is free if you need it.

The poor who are on Medicare have the best medical care and prescription program available in the world.

Maybe medical care isn't available in some of the large cities ran totally by the liberal dim's, but why anyone lives there is beyond me. The liberal politicians steal more money than they spend on the poor. .

I guess we are just better people in middle America and take better care of the our citizens than the so called leaders in your area.

Put away your crying towel, if you can afford the 50% + increase in federal taxes which will be required, I can. Health care will never see the money, it will just disappear in the dim's established oversight and administration offices.

I have been to Italy, Greec... (Below threshold)

I have been to Italy, Greece, Canada, Amsterdam and Scotland....not necessairly in that order. oops...forgot Tunasia.

Herlder,That $5000 i... (Below threshold)

That $5000 is a hidden cost, however, like most taxes assesed before hand. They never had that money in their hands and then had to give it to the govt. There would be more opposition to all taxes if folks had to pull out their checkbooks once a quarter or so and pay out to the govt rather than have the govt deduct "off the top"

John,If you yourse... (Below threshold)


If you yourself had a passport and a little more experience outside the US you would realize that the vaunted Canadian universal health care system has a substantial set of problems.

In fact if you had been in Canada last month you would have seen the following two headlines inside the Globe and Mail.

1. "Clement defends waiting-times strategy"
2. "Here's progress - very long wait times are now just long"

If you did a little research you could also find and article in bmj (June, 1999) that started with this paragraph

Faced with long waiting lists for cancer treatment, the government of Quebec province, Canada, plans to send patients to the United States at a cost of $US15000 (£9375) each. About 1200 patients are waiting for radiotherapy, 500 in Montreal alone, some for as long as five months.

And you would know about the Canadian court decision forcing the government to allow private health insurance because the government healthcare monopoly was negatively impacting the human rights of Canadian citizens.

Canada can send patients to the US when the Canadian universal health care system starts failing, the US does not have that luxury.

I like Heralder's post, bec... (Below threshold)

I like Heralder's post, because he's actualy got some numbers to consider. He gives numbers for Canada, but not for the US. Canada's may seem high, until you look at our numbers.

"Health care is one of the most expensive items of both nations' budgets. The United States spends more per capita on health care than the government does in Canada. In 2003, the government of Canada spent $1886 (in US dollars) per person on health care, while the United States government spent $2548.[11]

Despite the American government paying more per capita, private sources also pay far more for health care in the United States. In Canada an average of $630 dollars is spent annually by individuals or private insurance companies for health care, including dental, eye care, and drugs. In the United States this number is $2719. In 2001 the United States spent in total 13.6% of its annual GDP on health care. In Canada only 9.5% of the GDP was spent on health care." *

* Wiki...


JohnI have a passp... (Below threshold)


I have a passport and have been traveling for years. Such garden spots as Australia, Japan, Korea, France, England, Ireland, Mexico and Canada. I even have relatives from Canada.

Some of them come here and pay for their expensive medical procedures because they can't get them done in a timely manner in Canada. Many patients suffer and die each year in Canada from waiting their turn. This is not a unique problem for Canada, it happens quite a bit in government managed health care, because it is even less responsive to the consumer then a private organization. You don't think so? Try getting something resolved through Medicare, just try, because you could die or be very old before it is actually resolved.

Making Health Care affordable by decree will not make it so, it will only make it less available.

While I share the desire for a more affordable health care system, the solution is not government managed health care, it does not work. It will not work because there is no incentive for the people controlling it to respond to problems, much the same as any other bureacracy created to solve a problem. Think your local City License division, State Department of Motors Vehicles, or any Federal Agency that you deal with regularly. How responsive are they really and how long do you wait for a response? Translate that into a health care system and wait for the nightmare.

I see Lee is still a moron though, no disappointment there. . .

TJIT,In Canada, yo... (Below threshold)


In Canada, you're talking about universal coverage, and implying that it's unacceptable because some people may have to "wait".

In this country, if you don't have health care coverage, you don't "wait", you just don't get ANY.

You also imply the common misperception that all Canadians are stuck in waiting lines. Not so. If you have the cash, you can get whatever healthcare you desire, and whatever insurance you like.

Canada provides a safety net that people can't fall through, not a lid.

I also think you'll find there are more state agencies and seniors that are interested in getting INTO Canada for cheaper medicines, than Canadians trying to get out for "cheaper" medical care in the US.


I'm curious.. John, Lee, et... (Below threshold)

I'm curious.. John, Lee, etc.

Do you believe that health care is a right ?

John,Your descript... (Below threshold)


Your description of Canada makes it sound exactly like the US.

Canada just has bigger waiting lists and more government spending. With a fraction of the improvements in future medical care that are being developed in the US.

And of course healthcare is cheaper in Canada, the government does not pay for developing new healthcare technology and they ration and restrict access to healthcare

Canada's healthcare is chea... (Below threshold)

Canada's healthcare is cheaper because they prescribe Aspirin for every ailment. After all, how much does aspirin cost anyway?

What John is quoting is the... (Below threshold)

What John is quoting is the personal cost separate from taxes paid to support the system.

Trust me, doctors don't volunteer to show up to work for free, Nurses don't change bedpans out of the kindness of their hearts and medical companies don't donate supplies for free as a matter of course.

SCSIwuzzy, good point.... (Below threshold)

SCSIwuzzy, good point.


I try to stay away from Wikipedia. Nonetheless, in the article I linked to, I only quoted a small part of it. Check out the link, there's more information there to be considered.

John,Also from my ... (Below threshold)


Also from my article:

The most visible consequence of socialized medicine in Canada is in the poor quality of services. Health care has become more and more impersonal. Patients often feel they are on an assembly line. Doctors and hospitals already have more patients than they can handle and no financial incentive to provide good service. Their customers are not the ones who write the checks anyway.
No wonder, then, that medicine in Quebec consumes only 9 per cent of gross domestic product (7 per cent if we consider only public expenditures) compared to some 11 per cent in the United States. This does not indicate that health services are delivered efficiently at low cost. It reflects the fact that prices and remunerations in this industry are arbitrarily fixed, that services are rationed, and that individuals are forbidden to spend their medical-care dollars as they wish.
All of north America, Centr... (Below threshold)

All of north America, Central America and SOuth America.
UK, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Isreal, Sweden, Norway, Finland (has it all), Ireland, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Belgium.
I hope to visit Poland, Ukraine and India before this decade is out.

How about you, Johny cakes?

Seriously, if people wanted... (Below threshold)

Seriously, if people wanted health care, they would pay for it instead of buying their IPod's, Flat screen TV's, high speed internet, Play Station 3's, etc. etc. Lee, I hardly think knee surgery is life threatening. I had my ACL replaced but I was able to do my job before and after. The average cost for a year of Medical Insurance is around 2500 bucks. Most young people don't feel it's worth the cost because they are young and healthy. If I had to choose between paying for my own plan or getting taxed to have big governement mandate my plan, I would opt for freedom of choice and pay for my own and skip the tax.

This may just be the plan -... (Below threshold)

This may just be the plan - assuming we have a plan, that is.

The Great Unwashed simply will not believe that the Donks will be worse than the Repubs unless they see for themselves. And Nancy and the Clown Brigade are wasting no time demonstrating their fecklessness.

In Mao's phrase: "Agonizing Reappraisal"

In this country, i... (Below threshold)
In this country, if you don't have health care coverage, you don't "wait", you just don't get ANY.

And to that I call "bullshit".

Ask anyone in the medical field.

I spent a month in an American hospital this year (1 week in, 3 in and out), and I was one of the few people on my floor with any private health insurance.
They got the same care and the same meds that I did. The difference, at the end of the day was that I got to choose my outpatient options (so long as my insurance covered them).
In the ER, I had to wait behind people with the sniffles who use the hospital as primary care, while one of my internal organs ruptured. A young man behind me had his appendix burst, and had to wait as long as I did, if not longer.
Don't tell me the uninsured don't get medical care.

I thought Hillary was dead ... (Below threshold)

I thought Hillary was dead set determined to overhaul the Electoral College:


Yeah, Hill .., health care, electoral college, whatever, you worthless tramp.

Yakkity yakkity yak.

If her legislative history means anything, she can bark socialized medicine all she likes, it's either a pipe dream, a hollow promise, or a smoke screen.

I don't trust her enough to even be worried.

I had a throat infection la... (Below threshold)

I had a throat infection last year that was pretty horrible. At this point I was between jobs and didn't have insurance. I went to a walk in clinic in Brooklyn and paid $75 dollars for my checkup and about $25 for the antibiotics prescribed.

Not bad. If I had a serious injury, I'm not sure what my options are, but for common issues, there are many.

SCSIwuzzy, From bein... (Below threshold)

From being a merchant marine engineer...
S.Korea, Japan, Russia, Guam, Saipan, Costa Rica, Mexico, USA, Belgium, Turkey, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Bahrain, UAE, Djibouti...

Enough for your list? ;-)

Oh, and I'm on Blue Cross/Blue Shield, affordable, and US. I wouldn't have it any other way (although I used to be on Kaiser Permanente, another good HMO, due to the doctors making the medical decisions, not business "suits").

Frankly, I don't have the f... (Below threshold)

Frankly, I don't have the faith in our government to administer a safe, reliable and efficient healthcare system. It all sounds so nice to just go to the doctor when you're sick and not worry about the money, but the pitfalls and snags will be no better and may be worse. The baby boomers could soon very well deliver a crushing blow to what will be a relatively new system seeking to avoid all the "bad parts" all those who went before us have faced.

If you think this system is bad, wait until it falls prey to the massive abuse that, again, I don't have faith in our government controlling.

And if you want to just talk money: Every state has healthcare options available to those who truly can't afford insurance, especially their children. That people don't take advantage of these programs already is often ignorance of them. National health care will only shift the economic burden from the state to the federal level and the states are certainly not going to lower their tax rates when the burden is no longer theirs. Therefore - higher taxes for everyone.

lee, the fact that you use ... (Below threshold)

lee, the fact that you use a site like informationclearinghouse to back up your arguments is just another reason in many why people don't listen to you. Try finding some actual facts. $100k knee surgery?? What, did he get a fucking golden ACL installed?! The average cost of a total knee replacement is about $32K.

The frigging lead article o... (Below threshold)

The frigging lead article on lee's "informationclearinghouse" is "Number Of Iraqi Civilians Slaughtered In America's War? At Least 655,000" Correct me if I am wrong but was this statistic not completely discredited a month ago?

D-HoggsCo... (Below threshold)


Correct me if I am wrong but was this statistic not completely discredited a month ago?

I thought so. Many do. But I still see and hear it flung around quite a bit.

Quality of care in US surpa... (Below threshold)

Quality of care in US surpasses most countries I've been to - and I traveled as a physician, working with local health care systems in Europe, Pacific Basin, Africa, and Near and Far East. Some of the more wealthy countries had pockets of excellent care, sometimes better equipment than lesser US Medical Centers, some had availability of some drugs and techniques we don't.

Some had great organizations for emergency care - Scrappy, you'd love the German Doc's [Notz Arzts -sp?] that race to where the ambulance is headed and start care right there on the ground, riding in the ambulance with the highly trained and qualified medics. However the German Medical system has its woes as well. Just google a little if you are curious. And their use of pain medicine is still about where we were in 1960 (perhaps a little left over influence from Mengele - I really heard a German doc tell a post op patient asking for a pain med: "You have pain? Gut!" and then turn and walk out. They are very paternalistic and don't like being asked questions or explaining things to patients.

But I digress.

Our system has its problems. And many physicians are more dedicated to their retirement fund and maintaining a lock on their patient population than serving their community. Nonetheless, we have a system for care in the US, supported recently, by that horrible war-mongering and penny-pinching for domestic spending GWB, the Federally Qualified Health Clinic, that provides care for un and under-insured folks. Or folks that have insurance and like the clinic. There's a number of other options available to folks, and that's the beauty of our flawed system, that the options exist, that there is a constant evolution and response to problems.

Universal health care that is high quality and efficient, however, has no record of success on large scales. Anywhere, ever! In small Scandinavian countries, there's been some success, but there have been troubles as well. Our large and economically diverse country is just not going to do any better than the Soviet Union, Canada, or even Australia.

Its a pipe dream. Like Peace on Earth, equality for every living human, or huge government entitlements without burdensome tax levies that throttle the economy.

Or every man learning to put the seat back down on the toilet [and raising the seat when standing to use the toilet].

It just ain't gonna happen.

Or training the ladies to l... (Below threshold)

Or training the ladies to look to see the seat is up before sitting down...

Thank you SCSI! My thought... (Below threshold)

Thank you SCSI! My thoughts exactly! Apologies to Oyster.

Oh, and does Hillary put th... (Below threshold)

Oh, and does Hillary put the seat back down? Can one of you trolls ask Bill?

In Canada, you're talkin... (Below threshold)

In Canada, you're talking about universal coverage, and implying that it's unacceptable because some people may have to "wait".

In this country, if you don't have health care coverage, you don't "wait", you just don't get ANY.

Here's reality in Canada: You're not waiting for coverage, you're waiting for care. My wife is Canadian and she's been in the unfortunate position of watching the health of her grandparents' rapidly diminish as they wait. They wait for overburdened doctors to make appointments. They wait for specialists to schedule 2nd & 3rd opinions. They wait for follow-up visits in order to tell the doctor that what was last prescribed is ineffective. Nope. I've seen enough of socialized medicine to know that I'll fight against it.

Rather than Universal healt... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Rather than Universal health care we need Universal health insurance. Everyone pays something either directly or through their employer, but it's guaranteed available and affordable to all. However it needs to be run by private insurers, not the government. Managed care is a bit of a hassle, but it has gone a long way in controlling costs.

The big change is that the U.S. must change a number of laws to lower the cost of care without interfering with innovation. 1) Quit subsidizing other 1st world countries like Canada. It's a simple law that prevents drug companies from selling their drugs for less in other 1st world countries than what they sell them for in the U.S. Call it an export terrify that's applied to bring the price up in those countries. 2) Reform patent law to make it much more difficult to extend patents about to expire. 3) Modify anti-trust law to prevent drug companies from paying generic drug manufactures NOT to manufacture drugs which are no longer protected by patent. 4) Limit malpractice awards and limit jurisdiction of such suites to federal courts.

Sorry to differ with you Ma... (Below threshold)

Sorry to differ with you Mac.

Universal Health Insurance = a real mess.

TennCare tried the privatization of Medicaid in a similar vein, and it was a Frickin' Disaster! Ask Al Gore (if you can get a straight answer from him). Bill Frist could tell you a little more clearly.

Managed Care has Managed to divert a huge proportion of health care dollars to administrators without benefitting patients. Plans like Kaiser have raised premiums for folks that cost "too much," helping their bottom line and leaving thousands in the Portland [People's Republic] area without insurance. Until a short time ago, there was a backlog of about 5,000 folks trying to get into the VA system there, the majority either ex- or soon to be ex-Kaiser insured.

Lets not mingle the other woes of medicine in the US with the argument for more government intervention into the practice of medicine.

Drugs cost a lot here 'cause insurance allows the prices to be high. If ALL folks had to pay for the drugs out of their pockets, a lot more would consider either life-style changes or cheaper and older generics for most of their ailments. As long as there's a deep pocket insurer to hassle, patients will all want the latest designer insulin, antibiotic, lipid lowering agent or anti-hypertensive that they just have to make a co-payment for. And that will drive up the cost for folks without insurance, and take the meds off the formulary of managed care formularies.

Shifting malpractice venues is not going to fix the Patient Safety crisis we still face, nor the ridiculous insurance/tort scams that bleed money and attention away from a system that does need redesign and change. A culture change, similar to one the nuclear industry and aviation had to meet, is the best solution I've seen.

If you want to get medical ... (Below threshold)

If you want to get medical costs under control, get the Trial Lawyers out of it.

Trial Lawyers mean exorbitant malpractice insurance and lawyers fees. They also mean a lot of unnecessary testing as doctors try to cover themselves 100% from lawsuits taxing the medical system.

But since they probably contribute healthily to both parties, its never on the table, is it?

Did anyone not guess what t... (Below threshold)

Did anyone not guess what the real donk agenda would be after the election? Why would they need a plan, it would just be a lie anyway. A recap is in order.

1. Increase taxes
2. Socialism
3. Amnesty
4. Gun control
5. Surrender to terrorists so we can have the money to do 1-4

Please explain the billing ... (Below threshold)

Please explain the billing records hilLIARy.

epador: Oh sure! Ever fal... (Below threshold)

epador: Oh sure! Ever fall in?

The demacrats are not about... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

The demacrats are not about to change their ways they will continue to do what they always have done TAX AND SPEND,KEEP US DEPENDENT ON OPEC,LITIGATE OUR BIGGIST COMPANIES INTO BANKRUPTSY and REGULATE GUNS

Once I put the seat up befo... (Below threshold)

Once I put the seat up before rather than after.

And there was the time I peed on the lid that was down.

There wasn't much point in staying mad at myself for my own stupidity, so I decided to look at the seat each time, but I think you need a Y chromosome to so that.

epador,Insurance s... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:


Insurance spreads risk and given the medical bills from an accident or acute decease, few people who can afford it go without it. You are literally betting your financial future to be without health insurance.

Managed care lowers the cost of heath care by allowing insurance companies to negotiate lower costs from heath care providers. The problem is that some insurance companies don't pass the savings on to premium payers. The way to fix that is to allow premium payers to form into groups to negotiate lower premiums. Right now there are laws on the books that prevent small businesses and other organizations from forming groups that span multiple states. Such laws keep lawyers employed, but do nothing about providing heath insurance.

Changing the venue of court case is important. Under the current system the party filling the suit gets to shop around for the jurisdiction most favorable to them. Until recently this was Mississippi where defendants were winning multi-million dollar awards with little evidence of harm. Federal courts are much harder to scam.

Most chronic illness is treated with drugs and with many illnesses there's no other option. Due to patent laws, generic drugs are not available for 15 to 20 years after a new drug comes on the market. Most people don't want a cheap drug that doesn't work very well; they want the best drug available. There are many things that can be done to lower the cost of drugs without interfering with the drive to innovate.

The current system doesn't work for millions of Americans. These are not lazy folks, but working people. The lazy folks go on welfare and get all their healthcare for free. Change is coming and conservatives need to get into the marketplace of ideas and direct that change. Lets give our support to what works, and in exchange, cut the lawyers out of the gravy train.

So the ex-Kaiser patients w... (Below threshold)

So the ex-Kaiser patients were just spreading their risk elsewhere?

How about all the Providers who weren't paid by TennCare, or the insureds who were let down?

Why not let physicians negotiate (modify current anti-Trust laws preventing it)? Where's the evidence managed care really is the best way to reduce costs? And just what proportion of that "money saved" goes to management (of managed care organizations)? You paint some broad strokes there without good evidence.

Malpractice suits are not the way to correct our system, any more than civil suits stop murder and rape.

This is not about lazy folks, poor folks, rich folks, etc. Its about the balance between availability and affordability of health care, and its quality. Our current system of insurance grew when our economy could support it. Our economy has changed. The cost of medical care has grown, in some part due to the nature of the payment system. Attempts to react to the cost problem as it affects our economy have been inadequate to solve the problem. Shifting the cost while maintaining the system won't fix a thing.

The system problem in cost now is that the consumer has either minimal impact or notion on cost with good access, or complete exposure to cost without the resources to cover the cost. Shifting to Universal Health Insurance simply will accelerate the decline of availability and reduction in quality you see in Canada and UK.

Most of the money spent on drugs in the US is for lipid reducing agents and proton pump inhibitors, closely followed by antibiotics, antihypertensives, and diabetic agents. And from my experience, and the experience of drug companies (currently marketing to patients more than doctors), folks will ask for what they think is best for them, not what their doctor thinks. And they'll doctor shop until they get it. But if they have to pay for the drug out of their own pocket for something they don't see as life-threatening, they'll buy the one that works 10% less that costs 50% less almost every time.

Most of the folks I see on Medicaid aren't lazy. Some aren't smart. Some are physically or mentally disabled. Some are professional wards of the state, but they actually work pretty hard at maintaining their status. I could call them many things, but not lazy. And none of them get access to the same formulary, or all the doctors practicing in my town, that folks with BCBS have access to.

Orphan drugs are a different issue. Lets not mix and match.

I do agree its time to think outside the box. Not recycle the previously failed attempts to deal with the problem.

epador,Ok I haven'... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:


Ok I haven't produced any evidence, but no one else on the this thread has done much of that either. The problem with healthcare is that free market forces don't work well when someone's health or life is on the line. Think what it would be like to privatize fire departments such that when you call up with a fire emergency you have to negotiate the price. The problem is that you don't have time to shop around when your house is already on fire, so the free market fails.

Except for the very rich, people simply can't afford to pay for the care they need once they are sick or injured. Yet if your life is at risk what will you sacrifice to save it, your savings, your 401K, your home? These are really hard decisions when there's a family involved. To spread that risk, people buy health insurance before they have a claim. Most folks get their insurance through their employer, and the larger the employer the more negotiating power they have with insurance companies. Insurance companies shop for health care providers who will give them the best price. It'' the best system in the world and it only needs minor fixing. For example, some states require insurance companies to pay into a state fund that's there in case some company fails and can't meet their obligations. That's the answer to your concerns about Kaiser and TennCare. The government guarantees your health insurance just like it guarantees the money in your savings account. The program just needs to be expanded.

It sounds like you are saying that our health care system would collapse if everyone had insurance. Where's the evidence for that?

New drugs are expensive for a number of reasons, but the primary cause is that patents prevent competition. You seem to think that these new drugs are unnecessary luxuries which serve no need that can't be met by life style changes and older drugs. If that's your position then you doom millions to suffer needlessly now and into the future. Why not fix the system instead? Go back to outlawing advertisement of drugs. Make sure doctors know what's new, but stop creating artificial demand. Also, I'm tired of seeing the same ads over and over.

I predict that with a few cost savings changes that health insurance could be expanded to include everyone with no increase in total cost of what's now spent. I've offered a few ideas, but there are many more. I think that's the roll of conservatives. Just saying nothing else works is going to result in socialized medicine in the U.S. similar to what's in Canada.

My issue is Zyprexa which i... (Below threshold)

My issue is Zyprexa which is only FDA approved for schizophrenia (.5-1% of pop) and some bipolar (2% pop) and then an even smaller percentage of theses two groups.
So how does Zyprexa get to be the 7th largest drug sale in the world?

Eli Lilly is in deep trouble for using their drug reps to 'encourage' doctors to write zyprexa for non-FDA approved 'off label' uses.

The drug causes increased diabetes risk,and medicare picks up all the expensive fallout.There are now 7 states (and counting) going after Lilly for fraud and restitution.

Daniel Haszard






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