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Thread: "Sick and Wrong": Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone piece on Washington screwing healthcare

  1. #16
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    And you keep claiming that a majority of Americans want single-payer, but the only people saying they want single-payer are people on the far-left.
    uh, actually that was the case early on but obama simply dumped that and made the concession to a public option..

    and progressives aren't fucking far left. Jesus. Far left is Stalin.

    Progressives are just center-left. Gawd.
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    I think the biggest obstacle in selling the single payer option is the cost. If the U.S. weren't trillions of dollars in the hole, if we hadn't been running a budget deficit for the last 8 years, it would be an easier sell. Not saying either of those were Obama's fault (of course not), but the national debt is real and very scary, and even those that think national healthcare, single payer or otherwise government subsidized, is a great idea, still give great pause into going a lot more into debt. Especially when we are hearing things like the dollar is devalued and that foreign countries are going to cash in their chips soon.

    Not only that, there is no way they can do it without a tax increase and I'm not so unrealistic to think that it would only be on the "rich"...and I know that it would be a tradeoff, higher taxes for free healthcare coverage, but if you live in the U.S. that honestly sounds like a bit of a fairy tale. And since most people here are tax-averse to begin with, add a major recession (possible depression) on top of that and it's a very scary proposition.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    ^ Yes, you would pay in taxes, but you're paying for insurance now. So it may be a wash.

    Think of how much do you pay a year for your insurance plus deductibles? Do you think your taxes would be increased by more than that? It's something to think about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    ^ Yes, you would pay in taxes, but you're paying for insurance now. So it may be a wash.

    Think of how much do you pay a year for your insurance plus deductibles? Do you think your taxes would be increased by more than that? It's something to think about.
    That's what I said

    and I know that it would be a tradeoff, higher taxes for free healthcare coverage
    I am not saying good or bad, just how people think. I guess psychologically it is the illusion of control. Payment of insurance premiums is optional, but taxes would not be. I don't think some people like the idea of having money "taken" from them instead of voluntarily (in theory) paying premiums. People in this country are so damn worried about "big brother" and all that shit. I honestly think that Ronald Reagan brainwashed a bunch of people into that mentality that government is a big separate entity that is out to get us or whatever. It's definitely illogical but it is part of Amercian consciousness.

  5. #20
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    ^ Sorry, I didn't see your earlier post, just this one above.

    But if the bill passes it's no longer going to be optional to pay for insurance. It's going to be mandated. So there's that part to be considered. Which is why the public option becomes important in this, because if you must buy it, you can then buy it through the option for a lower cost.
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  6. #21
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    and rightly so, your government is not a benevolent one.. it's frankly pretty evil.
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    The thing about government that I don't understand is that it is by the people, for the people and of the people, so why would it be so evil? It's just us, right? The first question is where do they get some of these whackos? I mean for both parties...scandals and stupidity abound. I am a regular person who is definitely more educated both formally and informally than Sarah Palin, I don't know enough about economics and foreign affairs to run for office, but I'm sure I could learn and would be a willing student if I chose. Yet I am 99.9% sure I could not be elected to public office. But the complete dumbass Sarah gets elected Governor?

    What's going on? What are these nutjobs doing to get elected? Mark Sanford, Ah-nold, Spitzer, the CA guy whose spunk ran out of a lobbyist, George W Bush...how the hell do these people get elected?

    The second question is what is going on to make people so corrupt in politics? Or is it that the kind of people who run for office are narcissists who are susceptible to corruption in the first place?

  8. #23
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    ^ spitzer was a very good gov, a great AG, he just fucked up with the hookers.....

    It's not men like him that are evil.

    The sex scandals are the least of it. It's just what gets the public attention...the real true evil seldom gets reported, and it takes looking into on the average person's part to find out the truly horrible things our gov does, to us, and to the world.
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


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    I don't mean evil...I mean that these politicians aren't like the regular people I know. They are almost caricatures of themselves. Pelosi with her frozen face, McCain the Maverick...I realize we only get media coverage of the weird ones but I can't help but wonder how some of these people got elected.

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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    ^ Sorry, I didn't see your earlier post, just this one above.

    But if the bill passes it's no longer going to be optional to pay for insurance. It's going to be mandated. So there's that part to be considered. Which is why the public option becomes important in this, because if you must buy it, you can then buy it through the option for a lower cost.
    I know. That's what I'm worried about too. I said in another thread that the insurance companies are going to be vindictive and when it's all said and done all that's going to happen (I'm afraid) is that we're just going to be paying much higher premiums than otherwise, and we'll be forced into it.

  11. #26
    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    The debate about the pros and cons of single-payer can continue into infinity, but it's not on the table. Period. There are some liberals who support single-payer, but realize that since it's not going to happen now they want to focus on what is a possibility, which is the public option, unless Obama deals the public option away for watered-down reform.

    Now, those on the far-left who cling to 'single-payer is the only option' and those on the far-right who cling to 'any reform is socialism' will both be left on the sidelines because neither of those ideologies is going to shape the final outcome of this current healthcare battle.


    Quote Originally Posted by hotncmom View Post
    The thing about government that I don't understand is that it is by the people, for the people and of the people, so why would it be so evil? It's just us, right? The first question is where do they get some of these whackos? I mean for both parties...scandals and stupidity abound. I am a regular person who is definitely more educated both formally and informally than Sarah Palin, I don't know enough about economics and foreign affairs to run for office, but I'm sure I could learn and would be a willing student if I chose. Yet I am 99.9% sure I could not be elected to public office. But the complete dumbass Sarah gets elected Governor?

    What's going on? What are these nutjobs doing to get elected? Mark Sanford, Ah-nold, Spitzer, the CA guy whose spunk ran out of a lobbyist, George W Bush...how the hell do these people get elected?

    The second question is what is going on to make people so corrupt in politics? Or is it that the kind of people who run for office are narcissists who are susceptible to corruption in the first place?
    Yeah, the government is suppose to be 'for the people and by the people' but on the flip side of that is 'power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' So, in many ways, the government doesn't want to share power with the people.

    As for why the nutjobs are getting elected, it's about the mediocrity of American. Excellence is frowned on and being average is seen as being 'a real American.'

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Oh, yeah, hospitals will just get out the equation if they don't accept the single-payer system. Yeah, that'll happen. You keep ignoring the fact that money is king when it comes to corporate interests and the government. Too many people in both government and the private sector benefit from the cash that the health industry rakes in, so why would they be in such a rush to stem the flow?

    The only people that seem to be championing the single-payer system are people on the far-left. Forget the people on the far right, there's not a great amount of support for single-payer among moderates and independents, so why try to push it through if you can't get the support for it?
    Amazing how you keep arguing for the status quo. Really, quite amazing. Like hospitals just are going to close up shop if the US implemented Medicare for all.

    No, single-payer has had support from a majority of all Americans as polls have shown for YEARS. It's not just "people on the far-left" no matter how often you like to claim it.
    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    You keep going on and on about how it's not difficult to expand Medicare, but yet you refuse to explain how to do it. Plus, you continue to gloss over the inherit problems in the current version of Medicare as if they don't matter in the equation.
    I've mentioned two options on how to pay for it, which you've apparently missed: 1) allow people to buy into it at cost or 2) progressive taxation. And those problems you like to keep citing can be dealt with via legislation such as allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for one. Do you not realize that many of the people who have supplemental insurance have it for drug coverage? And that if Medicare negotiated to get drugs for low, low prices in bulk, people wouldn't need that supplemental insurance? How hard is it to process this information? Really? I've already said it more than once.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    And, yeah, it's already been made clear that we could save money from just the waste in the healthcare system. That's not a new concept. But the key question that keeps surrounding the debate is how to pay for the reform in a cost efficient way, which hasn't been hammered out yet. And even Taibbi's article doesn't explain in detail where all of the money wil come from, because America isn't the healthiest country and $350 billion alone isn't going to cut it. Because like Bill Maher points out our lifestyle is making us sicker.
    $350 billion in savings won't cut it? You may want to go re-read Taibbi's article because it stated clearly that the $350 BILLION in savings would pay for the system itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    And, yeah, you did 'gloss over it' because you pretended that the rising number of seniors isn't an issue. You have seniors who qualified for Medicare 10-15 years ago living longer, and now a host of baby-boomers hitting retirement age. The system wasn't set up for longer life-expectancies, so in addition to the loop-holes, the system needs to be adjusted to accomodate the increased numbers.

    And where are the polls that show the majority of Americans want a single-payer system?
    Amazing how I link to polls citing a majority of all Americans would prefer a single payer system, and you pretend that I provided no information. Well, since clicking a link is too hard here's some information:
    As an ABC News/Washington Post poll showed in 2003, the majority of Americans support a single-payer, government-sponsored health care system, even when they hear the right-wing's alarmist arguments.

    Here are the key findings:

    - Question 48 in the poll shows that 79% of Americans say they support "providing health care coverage for all Americans, even if it means raising taxes" over "holding down taxes, even if it means some Americans do not have health care coverage."

    - Question 49 shows 62% say they support a universal health care system "run by the government and financed by taxpayers" over the current system.

    - Question 50 shows 57% say they would support this program even "if it limited your own choice of doctors" (which doesn't necessarily have to be a side-effect of a single-payer system).

    - Similarly, question 51 shows 62% say they would support this program even "if it meant there were waiting lists for some non-emergency treatments" (again, not necessarily a side-effect).

    In light of those numbers - and other surveys showing similar support for single-payer health care even if it means tax increases - the explanation for those Democrats who don't support this system is either a policy disagreement, or fear of upsetting Big Money interests. But the entire idea that the public would oppose such a reform or see it as "out of the mainstream" - an idea pushed by the class of professional election losers in Washington - is just not backed up by the facts.
    Sirotablog: News Flash - America Wants a Single-Payer Health Care System
    And from earlier this year:
    A New York Times/CBS News poll released last week shows, yet again, that the majority of Americans support national health insurance.
    The poll, which compares answers to the same questions from 30 years ago, finds that, 59% [of Americans] say the government should provide national health insurance, including 49% who say such insurance should cover all medical problems.
    Only 32% think that insurance should be left to private enterprise.
    Read the full report here.
    Another Poll Shows Majority Support for Single-Payer Healthcare-NOW!

    Amazing. Guess single-payer isn't just for the "far-left" anymore.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    And, by the way, the single-payer system of Switzerland that you championed earlier still has for-profit insurance companies. And in that single-payer system people have to pay the supplemental coverage if they want things like private or semi-private hospital rooms or to try alternative medications.
    And what's your point here? You want to maintain the status quo? Well, like I said above, we can let people who want to buy into Medicare at cost do so and those who want to continue to pay tribute to the health care insurance industry can continue to do so. You definitely sound like you want to do the latter. Because you clearly don't want to pay for your health care like Grimm and pay for it out of your taxes and pay next-to-nothing out-of-pocket costs.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Reagan's tax cuts benefited the rich and helped them to get richer, so why would they leave? You seem to be under this impression that the rich have an infinite supply of money. With the current public option on the table, the rich are set to get hit with higher taxes to help pay for it. But the government has to find other places to get the money to pay for it so that they don't have to raise taxes on the middle class.
    I never said the rich left under Reagan. I said "I don't recall the rich returning in droves once the Reagan tax cuts were enacted back in the 80s." Returning is the opposite of leaving.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    So, if the money from the wealthy isn't enough to pay for the public option, which isn't designed to support 300 million people, then what makes you think that the taxes of the rich can support a national system that covers 300 million people without having to tax the middle class?
    The US could employ a variety of tax possibilities to pay for health care, such as re-enacting Securities Turnover Excise Tax (STET) on Wall Street of less than 1%, which would easily raise more than a $100 billion per year at a minimum. The US used to have this tax. We stopped using this tax back in the 60s.

    Stop reacting to the word "tax" like it's a boogeyman and actually look at WHAT is taxed, by HOW much and WHOM is actually affected by it. It's never surprised me how many people bought the GOP claim of the Estate Tax re-branded as a "Death Tax" freaked out about it even though they would never pay it in their entire life nor would their heirs. Your complaint of "having to tax the middle class" is right up there with them. Instead of evaluating what you could actually get for your tax money such as a single-payer system where everyone is covered for everything, you'd rather stick to the "supplemental insurance" canard and "middle class taxes." Never bothering to stop and think that you could eliminate what you pay to a health insurance company, pay for your coverage in taxes and end up paying less money to the government than the insurance company given that government-administered health care would be so much cheaper. Eliminate the middle-man who is laughing to the bank on your premiums!

    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Actually, we are saying the same thing. We're both talking about changing the system, except you believe that the only way to change the system is to implement single-payer.
    No, we're not. You keep arguing for the status quo. The only way the health care system in the US will change is by going single-payer. The soft-ball public option ain't going to do it. Particularly if people are stuck with crappy employer-based coverage via a grandfather clause as Taibbi noted above.
    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    And you keep claiming that a majority of Americans want single-payer, but the only people saying they want single-payer are people on the far-left. Sorry, but that doesn't count as the MAJORITY of Americans. That's like people on the far-right saying that the MAJORITY of Americans want the reform process to start over from scratch.
    As I noted in the post previous to this, where I posted links to polls proving that a majority of Americans WANT a single-payer system, see above. It IS a majority of Americans. It's not a "far-left" issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    ^ Yes, you would pay in taxes, but you're paying for insurance now. So it may be a wash.

    Think of how much do you pay a year for your insurance plus deductibles? Do you think your taxes would be increased by more than that? It's something to think about.
    Yeah, it would be a lot easier to just take out the middleman (insurance companies), but it's a thought beyond most people.
    What Would It Cost to Hand the Uninsured a Medicare II Card?

    By: Scarecrow Wednesday September 9, 2009 4:00 pm

    The Washington Post's Steven Pearlstein is often on the mark, but today he misses the target while lecturing the President on what he should say Wednesday night.

    Pearlstein's call for courageous candor gets lost in a column that in the final paragraph basically concludes, "just fix it, I don't know how, and I don't know how to pay for it."

    Gee, thanks Steven.

    Pearlstein sums up what he wants, but his remedy is to assume a can opener:
    Start With the Basics

    While there are no silver bullets in health-care reform, there are plenty of promising ideas on the table for reforming insurance markets and bending the cost curve. It will take time to test and implement these ideas on a national scale. What the president needs from Congress is succinct legislation that guarantees that every American will have a basic health insurance policy and sets reasonable caps on the growth of government health-care spending. The details should be left to the regional exchanges and a new board of independent health experts to oversee Medicare and Medicaid. Their recommendations could be subject to an up-or-down vote from Congress, as advocates of entitlement reform have long suggested. [emphasis mine]
    Cost containment is essential, and most support the idea of a cost-containment board -- like MedPAC. Regional experiments with different payment/incentive schemes could be coordinated by exchanges, or someone else. [So far, so good.] But aren't Medicare savings needed just to keep Medicare solvent?

    More important, how are we going to achieve and pay for universal coverage -- "every American will have a basic health insurance policy"-- when none of the bills gets us there, Baucus' proposals accomplish even less, and the White House wants an even lower cost?

    Pearlstein criticizes the Baucus proposal to charge employers a fee equal to the federal subsidies their employees would receive if the employers didn't provide insurance. But he says nothing about what the penalties for employers should be or what the penalties (and exclusions) for individuals should be if they fail to purchase insurance under a mandate. But those are the core issues, and it's not helpful to duck them.

    If you think about how other countries have solved this, it becomes apparent that the contribution each person or business should make is defined by a tax on their ability to contribute. Uwe Reinhardt has written about this:
    In Europe, as in Canada, that social ethic is based on the principle of social solidarity. It means that health care should be financed by individuals on the basis of their ability to pay, but should be available to all who need it on roughly equal terms. The regulations imposed on health care in these countries are rooted in this overarching principle.
    If, for example, we proposed to mandate that everyone buy insurance, but that some would receive subsidies, then we'd define an acceptable basic package for everyone regardless of income, and the issue would be how much it's fair to charge each person depending on their economic status. But we wouldn't solve the problem by reducing the care that low-income people receive in order to keep it "affordable."

    Higher income people would pay more, and they'd be covered by the basic system, and lower income people would pay less, but they'd also be covered by the same benefits. The revenue system would accept the fact that some could not pay as much as others. It's called progressive taxation.
    Starting from this simple fairness concept, we could then figure out how much different individuals should be required to contribute -- via the tax scheme -- to purchase insurance and how much would be supplemented from the pool of revenues collected under the tax system.

    The current bills try to do something [very roughly analogous] to this, but it's very complicated. If we saw this as a pool revenue problem and not an individual insurance purchasing problem, you could get rid of most of the complicated rules on subsidies, out-of-pocket limits tied to incomes and exclusions, while avoiding the perverse incentives created when those schemes are applied to different people in different situations.

    I don't see how else an individual mandate can function without the unintended, but perverse incentives that Pearlstein fears, and I don't see how it gets easier by trying to figure out how much to penalize employers who don't insure one kind of employee versus another kind of employee. Employers shouldn't have to worry about that.

    The simpler approach is to focus on the fairest way to collect the total revenues you need for universal coverage and disburse the money to the insurers who manage the system for paying the providers.

    But of course, if you've followed me this far, you'll realize that if we could solve the fairness problem of how to collect sufficient taxes to create a pool of money that could pay for true "universal" coverage, you could then think about reducing administrative costs by phasing out the middle mandatory step of individuals having to "buy" insurance and the companion problems of how to enforce the mandate.

    After all, we have organizations like Medicare and Medicaid that know how to pool tax revenues and pay health care providers, and it's not clear why we need anything else, other than trying to manage transition costs. And all the people would need to carry when they seek health care from their chosen provider would be a card that says, "Medicare II."

    That's probably too simple a concept, and too disruptive to the status quo for some, so I don't expect the President to propose it. At best, he might say that [to make the mandates and penalities bearable and provide an escape], maybe we should have a public health insurance option that struggles to be created and survive against an entrenched insurance industry, but maybe we should consider waiting to see how much more entrenched and concentrated that industry can get in five years and argue about what matters then.

    But that won't please Pearlstein, who's argued against having even a hypothetical path to get from here to there. It's easier to just assume a can opener.

    *[updated Wednesday afternoon]
    The Seminal What Would It Cost to Hand the Uninsured a Medicare II Card?

    Quote Originally Posted by hotncmom View Post
    The thing about government that I don't understand is that it is by the people, for the people and of the people, so why would it be so evil? It's just us, right? The first question is where do they get some of these whackos? I mean for both parties...scandals and stupidity abound. I am a regular person who is definitely more educated both formally and informally than Sarah Palin, I don't know enough about economics and foreign affairs to run for office, but I'm sure I could learn and would be a willing student if I chose. Yet I am 99.9% sure I could not be elected to public office. But the complete dumbass Sarah gets elected Governor?

    What's going on? What are these nutjobs doing to get elected? Mark Sanford, Ah-nold, Spitzer, the CA guy whose spunk ran out of a lobbyist, George W Bush...how the hell do these people get elected?

    The second question is what is going on to make people so corrupt in politics? Or is it that the kind of people who run for office are narcissists who are susceptible to corruption in the first place?
    I'm pretty sure Grimm is generally referring to things the US gov't does regarding war, rendition, illegal spying on its citizens and the like when he made that statement, not Medicare.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post

    Think of how much do you pay a year for your insurance plus deductibles? Do you think your taxes would be increased by more than that? It's something to think about.
    That question should be brought up more.

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