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Thread: Vote McCain, lose your health insurance

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Exclamation Vote McCain, lose your health insurance

    Vote McCain, Lose Your Health Insurance


    VOTE McCAIN, LOSE YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE....Bob Herbert provides a preview of a new paper that analyzes the effects of John McCain's healthcare proposals:
    A study coming out Tuesday from scholars at Columbia, Harvard, Purdue and Michigan projects that 20 million Americans who have employment-based health insurance would lose it under the McCain plan.

    ....According to the study: “The McCain plan will force millions of Americans into the weakest segment of the private insurance system — the nongroup market — where cost-sharing is high, covered services are limited and people will lose access to benefits they have now.”

    The net effect of the plan, the study said, “almost certainly will be to increase family costs for medical care.”
    Remember: this is a feature, not a bug. Republicans think Americans use too much healthcare, and they figure that the best way to fix this is to make it more expensive. So that's what McCain's plan does. It's a pretty typical specimen of the "more skin in the game" plan beloved of conservative think tanks.

    Kevin Drum - Mother Jones Blog: Vote McCain, Lose Your Health Insurance

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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    If this is true I say we hang McCain. Health care is one of the main reasons I am a democrat.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    This isn't right from all reports.Beyond bias.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    This isn't right from all reports.Beyond bias.
    Actually, it is true. If the value of the employer provided health care is $10,000, then the McCain tax credit for it can only be a maximum of $5,000. The remaining $5,000 will be taxed via payroll taxes. It doesn't provide for increases due to inflation either.

    This is from McCain's own article on health care:
    Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.
    You can read the full article here (pdf).

    Here are two other articles on it:
    EzraKlein Archive | The American Prospect
    The Essence of McCain's Health Plan: Don't Get Sick - The Plank

    Here is Bob Herbert's full op-ed piece that was quoted in the OP.
    McCain’s Radical Agenda

    By BOB HERBERT
    Published: September 15, 2008

    Talk about a shock to the system. Has anyone bothered to notice the radical changes that John McCain and Sarah Palin are planning for the nation’s health insurance system?

    These are changes that will set in motion nothing less than the dismantling of the employer-based coverage that protects most American families.
    A study coming out Tuesday from scholars at Columbia, Harvard, Purdue and Michigan projects that 20 million Americans who have employment-based health insurance would lose it under the McCain plan.

    There is nothing secret about Senator McCain’s far-reaching proposals, but they haven’t gotten much attention because the chatter in this campaign has mostly been about nonsense — lipstick, celebrities and “Drill, baby, drill!”

    For starters, the McCain health plan would treat employer-paid health benefits as income that employees would have to pay taxes on.

    “It means your employer is going to have to make an estimate on how much the employer is paying for health insurance on your behalf, and you are going to have to pay taxes on that money,” said Sherry Glied, an economist who chairs the Department of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

    Ms. Glied is one of the four scholars who have just completed an independent joint study of the plan. Their findings are being published on the Web site of the policy journal, Health Affairs.

    According to the study: “The McCain plan will force millions of Americans into the weakest segment of the private insurance system — the nongroup market — where cost-sharing is high, covered services are limited and people will lose access to benefits they have now.”

    The net effect of the plan, the study said, “almost certainly will be to increase family costs for medical care.”

    Under the McCain plan (now the McCain-Palin plan) employees who continue to receive employer-paid health benefits would look at their pay stubs each week or each month and find that additional money had been withheld to cover the taxes on the value of their benefits.

    While there might be less money in the paycheck, that would not be anything to worry about, according to Senator McCain. That’s because the government would be offering all taxpayers a refundable tax credit — $2,500 for a single worker and $5,000 per family — to be used “to help pay for your health care.”

    You may think this is a good move or a bad one — but it’s a monumental change in the way health coverage would be provided to scores of millions of Americans. Why not more attention?

    The whole idea of the McCain plan is to get families out of employer-paid health coverage and into the health insurance marketplace, where naked competition is supposed to take care of all ills. (We’re seeing in the Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch fiascos just how well the unfettered marketplace has been working.)

    Taxing employer-paid health benefits is the first step in this transition, the equivalent of injecting poison into the system. It’s the beginning of the end.

    When younger, healthier workers start seeing additional taxes taken out of their paychecks, some (perhaps many) will opt out of the employer-based plans — either to buy cheaper insurance on their own or to go without coverage.

    That will leave employers with a pool of older, less healthy workers to cover. That coverage will necessarily be more expensive, which will encourage more and more employers to give up on the idea of providing coverage at all.

    The upshot is that many more Americans — millions more — will find themselves on their own in the bewildering and often treacherous health insurance marketplace. As Senator McCain has said: “I believe the key to real reform is to restore control over our health care system to the patients themselves.”

    Yet another radical element of McCain’s plan is his proposal to undermine state health insurance regulations by allowing consumers to buy insurance from sellers anywhere in the country. So a requirement in one state that insurers cover, for example, vaccinations, or annual physicals, or breast examinations, would essentially be meaningless.

    In a refrain we’ve heard many times in recent years, Mr. McCain said he is committed to ridding the market of these “needless and costly” insurance regulations.

    This entire McCain health insurance transformation is right out of the right-wing Republicans’ ideological playbook: fewer regulations; let the market decide; and send unsophisticated consumers into the crucible alone.
    You would think that with some of the most venerable houses on Wall Street crumbling like sand castles right before our eyes, we’d be a little wary about spreading this toxic formula even further into the health care system.

    But we’re not even paying much attention.
    Op-Ed Columnist - McCain’s Radical Agenda - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com
    The 20 million is also a low-end estimate.

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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    God, I hope this is brought up at the debates.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    Somehow I don't think it is as important as Palin's hairdo.

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    Kay, if you're of the working class and not a Christian whose beliefs line up with party principles, why would you EVER vote republican??? It makes no sense.
    "Give me your love and I'll give you--the Perfect Love Song!"

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    You could also say, "Vote Obama, pay for other peoples health insurance"

    Truth is McCain plan will only effect a very small percentage of the population the way they claim it will.

    These guys throw around the term "millions" too easily without denoting all the loopholes and protections already in effect. The whole basis of McCains plan to open up the marketplace is to increase competition ... what this article seems to ommit is that most states already have legal protections in place the plan won't circumvent that protects people from getting screwed (if they have half a brain - won't force them to change in other words, just allow them to if they so choose ... which ups competition, which should drive prices down - supposedly). McCains fewer regulations = fewer federal regulation ... he can't mess with State regs.

    (and in case you think I'm being biased, I'm voting for Obama ... but facts are facts, which is why Obama will attack other aspects of the McCain plan in the debates ... like how it doesn't extend coverage to anyone.)

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    ^Actually those state regulations wouldn't apply if you bought your insurance policy written for another state. If you live in California and bought health care under Wyoming provisions, Wyoming's provisions wouldn't be the same as California's. So if California's provisions required HMOs to provide free birth control and Wyoming's did not, then the person living in California but purchasing health care coverage under Wyoming's provisions would not be eligible for birth control.

    From Health Affairs journal/magazine:
    The main effect of establishing a national market would be to undo state laws designed to establish minimum levels of coverage and protect consumers. In a national market where state licenses are not required, insurers will charter in places where regulations are scarce--much like credit card companies do today. As a result, people guaranteed basic benefits today would find those benefits eliminated under the McCain plan. People in most states would lose access to procedural protections, such as requirements that disputed decisions by managed care plans be subject to external review.26 People also would lose access to many benefit protections. For example, forty-seven states now require mental health parity, forty-nine states require coverage of breast cancer reconstructive surgery, and twenty-nine require coverage of cervical cancer screening.27 All of these requirements--as well as regulations in several states that limit the rates that can be charged to higher-cost consumers and that limit who can be excluded from a health plan--would be eliminated under the McCain plan. Without legal requirements in place, plans would no longer offer these benefits at all in many markets, even if many consumers want them.28
    Cost And Coverage Implications Of The McCain Plan To Restructure Health Insurance -- Buchmueller et al., 10.1377/hlthaff.27.6.w472 -- Health Affairs
    Also, consider this from the Wall Street Journal editorial:
    In contrast, Sen. McCain, who constantly repeats his no-new-taxes promise on the campaign trail, proposes a big tax hike as the solution to our health-care crisis. His plan would raise taxes on workers who receive health benefits, with the idea of encouraging their employers to drop coverage. A study conducted by University of Michigan economist Tom Buchmueller and colleagues published in the journal Health Affairs suggests that the McCain tax hike will lead employers to drop coverage for over 20 million Americans. What would happen to these people? Mr. McCain will give them a small tax credit, $5,000 for a family and $2,500 for an individual, and tell them to navigate the individual insurance market on their own.

    For middle- and lower-income people, the credits are way too small. They are less than half the cost of policies today ($12,000 on average for a family), and are far below the 75% that most employers offering coverage contribute. Further, their value would erode over time, as the credit increases less rapidly than average premiums.

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    ^ Tru ... in only a "liberal spin" sort of way, in that you have to admit people can't be trusted to be smart enough to take care of themselves.

    And I have to ask you to look at this thru the looking glass and see how republicans look at it ...

    If you live in CA (which I do) and you decide to buy your health insurance from a provider in Wyoming because it is cheaper then you really don't have a leg to stand on when you complain that you weren't protected by CA law.

    You see the angle? The simple fact that some Californian Co.'s might shed their health benefits and take it to the deregulated market to buy from providers out of state should force rates down ... SUPPOSEDLY ... because it is introducing new competition into the marketplace.

    The idea is valid ... now ... the truth out here in CA is there are a lot of state health regs the insurance companies can't get around ... there are provisions here in CA (and I'm not saying this would apply everywhere) that says as a CA citizen I am still protected.

    None of that matters tho ... and it really wasn't my point, sry if I didn't make it correctly.

    From a strict capitalistic model, freeing up the marketplace to new competition SHOULD THEORETICALLY drive costs down. (we have all seen lately how well true capitalistic ideals actually operate here in the USA, and lets not even talk about how deregulation actually effected the energy marketplace out here).

    I don't mean to agree with it ... but most people who do agree with it believe Joe Blow American should be smart enough to see the pitfalls, while those of us who disagree understand most just aren't and will be taken advantage of by their employer and their insurance provider for profit.

    Wow ... thats a lot of BS to type! I agree the tax credits are too small .. but that goes along with the overall idea - they don't need to be big cause the increased competition will lower the price and therefore, less tax credits.

    Did I mention I think its crap? It sets up another "Death Star", "Get Shorty" or "Ping Pong" scenario ... go check out:
    California electricity crisis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    if this means nothing to u.
    Last edited by Coyote; September 20th, 2008 at 04:33 AM.

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    Man, u r typing a whole lot aren't u Fluffy?


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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coyote View Post
    ^ Tru ... in only a "liberal spin" sort of way, in that you have to admit people can't be trusted to be smart enough to take care of themselves.

    And I have to ask you to look at this thru the looking glass and see how republicans look at it ...

    If you live in CA (which I do) and you decide to buy your health insurance from a provider in Wyoming because it is cheaper then you really don't have a leg to stand on when you complain that you weren't protected by CA law.

    You see the angle? The simple fact that some Californian Co.'s might shed their health benefits and take it to the deregulated market to buy from providers out of state should force rates down ... SUPPOSEDLY ... because it is introducing new competition into the marketplace.

    The idea is valid ... now ... the truth out here in CA is there are a lot of state health regs the insurance companies can't get around ... there are provisions here in CA (and I'm not saying this would apply everywhere) that says as a CA citizen I am still protected.

    None of that matters tho ... and it really wasn't my point, sry if I didn't make it correctly.

    From a strict capitalistic model, freeing up the marketplace to new competition SHOULD THEORETICALLY drive costs down. (we have all seen lately how well true capitalistic ideals actually operate here in the USA, and lets not even talk about how deregulation actually effected the energy marketplace out here).
    From Health Affairs:
    Currently, the nongroup insurance market is regulated at the state level, and local insurers, often Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, are major players. Senator McCain's proposal envisions a relatively unregulated national market for nongroup insurance in which families would buy insurance on their own or as members of fluid, voluntary associations, such as churches or clubs. In this market, consumers could select insurers licensed in any state. With more choice and competition, he believes that costs would fall and service quality would increase.

    Everything we know about nongroup insurance markets, however, suggests that this vision is wrong. Health care is the ultimate local good: it is provided face to face, between doctor and patient. Today, most health plans negotiate contracts with local providers, directly or through intermediaries. The only truly national plans are traditional indemnity plans that do not negotiate with local provider networks. Such plans were once the backbone of American health care. They lost out to more tailored plans, however, because they could not compete effectively. Without an informed local network, their prices were higher and quality was lower. There is no reason to think that this has changed.
    Cost And Coverage Implications Of The McCain Plan To Restructure Health Insurance -- Buchmueller et al., 10.1377/hlthaff.27.6.w472 -- Health Affairs
    Quote Originally Posted by Coyote View Post
    I don't mean to agree with it ... but most people who do agree with it believe Joe Blow American should be smart enough to see the pitfalls, while those of us who disagree understand most just aren't and will be taken advantage of by their employer and their insurance provider for profit.

    Wow ... thats a lot of BS to type! I agree the tax credits are too small .. but that goes along with the overall idea - they don't need to be big cause the increased competition will lower the price and therefore, less tax credits.
    Which is unfortunate, because the effects really are devastating. But did you know that the McCain plan was modeled on the Bush plan? Again, from Health Affairs:
    Net effects and caveats. Weighing this increase in nongroup coverage against the twenty million people we assume would lose employer-based coverage results in an increase in insurance coverage of one million people. Because of the tremendous uncertainty in the estimates of employer and family behavior, we view this analysis as suggesting that initially there would be no real change in the number of people covered as a result of the McCain plan. However, people are likely to have far less generous policies than those they have today.

    These net changes are roughly consistent with prior estimates of the impact of the Bush administration's health plan--the model for the McCain plan. Estimates of the net change in coverage for the Bush plan range from three to nine million people newly insured.16 The difference between the estimates that show a modest increase in coverage and those, like ours, that show essentially no change reflects the fundamental uncertainty about how employers would respond to the enormous change in incentives associated with elimination of the income tax exclusion for insurance coverage. Models predicting increases in coverage generally assume that very few employers would drop health benefits.17 This assumption runs counter to most empirical evidence and to economic theory. In addition, some studies suggest much lower nongroup take-up, while others find that even sizable subsidies would not induce workers who have declined employer coverage to take up the offered coverage.18 Thus, the take-up of nongroup insurance could be much lower than we estimate, and the number of uninsured people correspondingly higher.

    What is clear from these estimates is that the McCain plan will not enable many more Americans to obtain health insurance--and it certainly will not achieve universal coverage. By our calculations, upward of forty million Americans would be uninsured--and that number would likely grow over time. The estimates described above focus on the initial impact of the plan. Over time, a refundable tax credit would not automatically adjust as health care costs increase--which is quite different from the current tax exclusion of employer premium payments. Thus, the effectiveness of the tax credit in inducing people to buy coverage would inevitably decline over time. Even if the tax credit were indexed to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), if the annual growth in premiums exceeded CPI-measured inflation by 6 percent--as was the case between 1999 and 2007--the value of the credit would be eroded so much that in just five years, five million more people would be uninsured.
    Costs Of The Plan
    It is difficult to estimate the cost to the federal government of Senator McCain's health plan, since critical details of his plan have not yet been provided. The Brookings Institution and Urban Institute's Tax Policy Center estimate that the tax-related provisions in the McCain plan would cost about $1.3 trillion over ten years starting in 2009.29 In addition, the Guaranteed Access Plans, or high-risk pools, envisioned in the plan would cost about $70-$100 billion over this period. Current estimates of the costs of the plan have focused only on government costs, but the plan also would lead to shifts in spending within the private sector. The McCain plan would shift coverage toward the nongroup market, lead to reductions in the comprehensiveness of coverage in that market through deregulation, and encourage employer-based coverage to become less generous as well. These changes would have the effect of shifting costs from insurance premiums toward out-of-pocket payments, and people with chronic or acute illnesses would likely incur much higher out-of-pocket health care costs than they do now.
    Quote Originally Posted by Coyote View Post

    Did I mention I think its crap? It sets up another "Death Star", "Get Shorty" or "Ping Pong" scenario ... go check out:
    California electricity crisis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    if this means nothing to u.
    Oh, I remember. I remember the black outs 'n such. Totally why I believe utilities should be publicly regulated instead of managed by private corporations. I've lived under both and the difference is tremendous.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coyote View Post
    Man, u r typing a whole lot aren't u Fluffy?

    Just trying to be thorough!

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    You've been very threw row!

    Its a disaster waiting to happen, but also I fully believe it is a political maneuver - a free market republican orgasm that'll never see the light of day... and I'll explain:

    If McCain is elected there is no way he would ever be able to push the fricken thing thru Congress regardless...

    Something people never seem to think about but should - Dems are gonna rule the next Congress so whatever health care McCain "proposes" is total crap cause they'll rider him to death or, at worst, filibuster it into the ground - and he doesn't care enough about it to fight them so it'll never pass anyway.

    Thats said ... I'm also not too stoked to get taxed by Obama to cover everyone - cause whatever he wants to do as President he will get to do.

    "Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice .." - you know the rest.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    a free market republican orgasm


    Higher taxes aren't very good, but something has to be done because health care keeps getting worse. I swear, we are headed towards a public health disaster within the next 15 years.

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