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What is the purpose of the public option? is it only to reduce costs because it operates cheaper?

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SeeHopeWin Donating Member (649 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:41 PM
Original message
What is the purpose of the public option? is it only to reduce costs because it operates cheaper?
If costs are kept down by law, when Congress or the Med Pac or whoever sets/negotiates the rates every year, AND the poor get some government support to buy their policies from whoever (at the negotiated lower price), wouldn't we accomplish our goal?

Am I missing anything?
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peace13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. You obviously must have good insurance.
Cost is an issue, yes, but are you aware that millions are denied coverage or have their rates raised to an impossible rate. This is the problem, If people without current government insurance get sick they are at a big risk for losing all coverage.
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timeforpeace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. That wasn't an answer. That was an excuse. Anecdotal as well.
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. AND the profits of Big Pharma, Insurers, etc are part of the cost as well.
The political influence of those groups are what is keeping health care reform from becoming a reality...as it has since FDR tried to introduce it.

Govt insurance works...in just about every other modern industrial country. The doctors make a living, the hospitals survive, and people get the medical care they need.

The only ones who are unhappy are Drug Companies and Insurers.....and lobbyists for them.

Anyone who cannot see that is either a lobbyist, or involved with drug companies or insurers.
Just knowing how much money- million$ and million$- these groups are paying to stop health care reform should give you some insight into how much profits they will lose if there is reform.

The "concessions" those folks are willing to make indicates how terrified they are of what will happen if there is health care reform..and you can be damn sure it has NOTHING to do with being worried about the quality of the health care that Americans receive!!!
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BuddyBoy Donating Member (469 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:47 PM
Response to Original message
2. Purpose is to ensure continued financial support for politicians

so that the insurance/medical industrial complex sees no diminution in their ability to satisfy their avarice.
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timeforpeace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:48 PM
Response to Original message
3. Imagine what will happen when doctors/nurses/pharmacists go on strike for higher rates. Try to
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 04:48 PM by timeforpeace
contain those costs. Who will replace them?
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DJ13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. My doctor is already from Pakistan
We could probably insource some more.
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #3
13. Can you provide a link to the time and place this has happened in any of the
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 05:08 PM by BrklynLiberal
modern industrialized countries that provide medical care for their population?


Such coordinated care is a hallmark of integrated health systems with salaried doctors, like Kaiser Permanente, the Mayo Clinic, the Veterans Administration and the Cleveland Clinic. In each system, medical records are electronic, so doctors have quick access to patients entire histories, including X-rays and prescriptions. And doctors often treat patients in interdisciplinary teams where coordination is encouraged since no one loses money by passing a patient to a colleague.


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/health/policy/25docto...


Of course there will always be doctors who feel that $500,000/yr or more is not enough. The rest of the country can struggle along and pay children's college tuition of only $100,000 a year...but not them...

The AMA is not exactly the most patient-oriented group around.
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csziggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:51 PM
Response to Original message
5. Regulation to keep costs low will be under constant attack by the insurance industry
And could be overturned or gutted, like the banking regulations. And then we will be back to increasing prices and abuse at the hands of the insurance industry. A public option or single payer system, if done properly will be cheaper and prove its value and be less likely to be overturned.

The same arguments were made against Medicare forty years ago as are being made against public option now, but even with the funding problems Medicare has, it is too popular a program to be revoked.

We need a public option at least as strong as Medicare so it can stand against the insurance industry supporters.
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:55 PM
Response to Original message
7. Let's ascribe the highst motives to it ..........
It has as its core purpose insuring those who can not or choose not to have private insurance.

A byproduct is cheaper insurance due to lack of a profit motive.

Looking ahead, if the program is successful, and more and more people opt in, it is the path to single payer.

There is lots and lots of room for trouble on the way from start-up to the goal of single payer.
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backscatter712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
9. It also keeps the private insurers honest.
By operating with costs resembling real expenses, rather than insanely inflated gouging, they force the private insurers to bring their prices down to something sane as well. Also, by treating patients better, they'll push the private insurers to knock off the denials of claims, the rescissions, the discrimination against the sick...
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #9
18. That would be well and good if the Insurance companies, drug companies, etc would ever actually
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 05:16 PM by BrklynLiberal
allow any competition. Their goal is to maintain the monopoly they have....at whatever cost. And this campaign will be costing them plenty. They will probably have to raise insurance premiums to compensate their shareholders for the money being spent on this campaign.
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NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:02 PM
Response to Original message
10. Because your health and your life is Too Fucking Important to leave to For-Profit Corporations.
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 05:03 PM by NYC_SKP
That's really the crux of it.

Wanna leave your family's well-being in the hands of the same mentality we found at AIG?

Go for it, but let us have something more stable and benevolent.

:patriot:
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:03 PM
Response to Original message
11. The health insurance sector is a mature sector
As is characteristic of mature sectors of the economy (for example, paper clips, ball-point pens, toasters) it is suppose to be characterized by very modest profit margins and minimal year-to-year increases in prices. The Swingline Company is not making vast profits making staples, for example.

However, as characteristic of sectors that are non-competative (monopolistic) it is characterized by massive profit margines and massive year-to-year cost increases. The exorbiant executive salaries is also an indicator of a problem.


If there were only 3 companies that made ball-point pens, but their prices rose 12% annually, they had high profit margins, and paid their executives 7 and 8 figures... you'd determine pretty easily that it was a scam, price-fixing, the manipulation of the market, etc.


Well, same thing here. Insurance companies make their services artificially complex (actuary tables, for example) then charge you massively for the costs of this service.

Universal single payer is the ultimate in simplicity: with EVERYBODY in the pool from conception to death, health insurance becomes a boring, steady, uninteresting business. No opportunities for quick or explosive profits or innovative ways to not pay people's medical bills. It becomes basic accounting... what the ancient Sumerians were doing 4,500 years ago with clay tablets and abacuses.

Collect money, receive bill, check validity of bill, mail out check. It's the kind of thing that government does pretty well and that competative, money-hungry, ego-driven businessmen find extraordinarily boring. They can't help NOT make it a complex, profit-generating business because in confusion they can profit.

Look how cell phone plans have evolved. When the industry began taking off in the mid-to-late 90's, it was complicated and expensive, but competition and innovation brought simplicity. I remember I was working for Radio Shack, and selling Bell Atlantic Mobile was a pain in the ass. Customers were really attracted to Sprint's simplicity, and BAM's complex coverage chart was a confusing turn-off.


However, because you get insurance through your employer or union (usually) they have a captive audience. Things have gotten more complex and divided, not less, all to make money by either charging more or covering less. The innovation in the industry is largely in new ways to drop people or discover ways to make things "preexisting conditions".

Insurance companies work in money. The same money that President Washington was paid in is what I use when I go buy a Big Gulp down at the 7-Eleven. They aren't making my money better, and since they don't make the medicines, the procedures, or the equipment... what exactly are they doing but shuffling money from one pile to another?

They're making it up. And the only way to fight the industry monopoly is to have a non-profit, low-overhead option that will force them to make reasonable profits, pay reasonable salaries, and cut other costs like advertising, lobbying, and those stupid "retreats" that their multi-million-dollar executives go on.
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Aragorn Donating Member (784 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. good answer
saved me from typing one, Like the cartoon too - downloaded it for my medical office a few days ago.

I'm not sure the poster's question was answered re: "public option" vs. single payer, although yours explains why there is a difference. As I understand, a public option "might could kick-in" at some point - but single payer means it WOULD be available to any who choose it.
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. Excellent response.... Taking health care out of the profit-making arena would
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 05:13 PM by BrklynLiberal
be wonderful...but of course, that would mean Big Pharma, The AMA, Insurance companies, and of course lobbyists, and the politicians who receive $$$ would have to bite the bullet. It will be an uphill struggle to achieve, especially when the very people who are victimized by these corporations are being convinced to fight for them. Sad and scary.
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SeeHopeWin Donating Member (649 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #11
21. Thank you, you summed it up nicely here:
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 06:57 PM by SeeHopeWin
And the only way to fight the industry monopoly is to have a non-profit, low-overhead option that will force them to make reasonable profits, pay reasonable salaries, and cut other costs like advertising, lobbying, and those stupid "retreats" that their multi-million-dollar executives go on.
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rvablue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:05 PM
Response to Original message
12. Yes, you are missing something. Three words: ZERO. PROFIT. MOTIVE.
If you've got insurance right now, it's most likely a corporate entity.

Their first responsibility is to the shareholder. That means dividends. That means profits are needed. That means that every dollar you pay into insurance, isn't going towards your health care. Actually, most of it is going to line the pockets of company executives and shareholders.

Get it?
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. BINGO!!!!
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abumbyanyothername Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
16. My main argument in favor of single payer
is that the single payer can compensate doctors who make their patients healthy.

As it stands now, the medical delivery system has incentives to promote illness.

Only a system with a mandatory and universal pool can really go to a complete wellness-based compensation/incentive system.
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DoBotherMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:47 PM
Response to Original message
19. Puts We the People in charge
Of our medical care, not corporations or special interest groups. Dana ; )
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OHdem10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 06:28 PM
Response to Original message
20. For those who do have insurance---they do not have insurance
because they simply cannot pay for it. With a subsidy they can
select Health Insurance Plan through the public option. Yes
most of these will cost less. Otherwise how are those uninsured
ever going to be able to buy a plan. The Seniors who
will be forced to change because of the funding to insurance
companies is being removed and put back into Medicare, have Medicare
Advantage Plans. This large group of Seniors will need access to
plans that are a reasonable price. I am sure they are counting
on the Public Option having some plans they can afford.

The Public Option will offer different plans at different prices.
Yes, one reason they keep the Insurance Companies honest is pricing.
Insurance companies will not be able to just continue to raise prices.
If they do they better offer some real good coverage, people have
a place to go now.
`
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SeeHopeWin Donating Member (649 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 07:34 AM
Response to Original message
22. More discussion here if you like...
I am really trying to get a better understanding of all the issues, what are some realistic expectations, what we think might work or not work...etc.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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