51. Life insurers successfully compete with Social Security Survivors' benefits
Everyone who works pays into SS, and if you die before your kids reach majority, they automatically get benefits. Many would like to have their kids get more, and so they buy private life insurance. This is morally OK, because there is a universal requirement for workers to contribute, and one standard universal benefit. Anything anyone wants on top of it is fine, as it is all on their own dime. They take NOTHING from widows and orphans who can't afford private life insurance.
20. Exactly. They are the main reason why our Health Care
system is so expensive. They are for-profit, so from every dollar people pay for coverage, approx. one third of that goes to cover the overhead of a private industry.
Medicare's overhead is ten times less.
The service they provide can and is provided much more efficiently by other government run programs, like Medicare, Medicaid and even the VA. Any problems they have can be fixed, and could and would be fixed more efficiently if all the money going into the unnecessary private system was being used to actually provide care.
As far as fears of job losses if the private industry collapsed, there would be plenty of jobs available once the system changed over to a publicly funded system.
A tax, such as the one we pay for Medicare, would be far more fair. I am sure that people and businesses now paying huge premiums, would not object to a tax that would probably less than they are paying for premiums, since everyone would be contributing according to what they earn.
The Private Insurance Industry is a burden on the American people. Financially there is not question about that. And we all know how many Americans have died as a result of this system.
The fact that this bill is over 2500 pages long, trying to figure out ways to funnel all money into the Private Industry, is simply mind-boggling.
The only way keeping them in charge of our health care can be justified, is if you are a believer in Ayn Rand/Friedman type Capitalism. The same system that has brought our economy to its knees and turned this country from a humantarian society that puts its citizens first, into nothing more than huge gambling casino where even life is viewed as a commodity to bet on.
It is an immoral system. And it's sad to see how indoctrinated people are that even try to defend it.
It is different if we are talking about Pharma. While there is gross price gouging going on in the pharma industry, at least they actually do make products of real value to the health care system. We need the drugs, but just need to get it at a cost comparable to what they charge the rest of the world.
Likewise, there are many inefficiencies in the health delivery system (hospitals and doctors.) But this system delivers services that we need. We can and should work on improving efficiency (more open records, fewer unnecessary tests, lower malpractice costs, etc). But it is a system that is delivering for us. Incremental improvement is the answer.
In the case of health "insurance" they don't create ANY inherent value. They are like the traders who have seats on the New York Stock Exchange. They have always been able to skim a percentage and they just want to preserve their position. But unlike the NYSE traders who skim just a small fraction, our system allows the insurance scammers to skim 30-40% out of the system, all the time producuucing nothing of value.
At the end of the day, all they do is assess premiums for one amount and write checks for a lesser amount, keeping the difference. Why do we need that? We don't. We need a system where we simply pay our fair share and no more. This isn't really complicated.
The closest anybody came to the right answer was when the Medicare buy-in was on the table for about 20 hours. But then Obama, Lieberman, and Emmanuel killed that one before it could get traction.
50. There is no point arguing about the impossible
As you say, that is not the system we have here today. And I would point out even with Medicare, it isn't socialized medicine. Medicare doesn't employ a single doctor or nurse. Medicare doesn't have a single hospital bed or operating room.
And beyond that, most of Medicare processing is farmed out to PRIVATE companies. Remember, that's how Ross Perot made his first billion.
People are welcome to debate any irrelevancy that entertains them, but it ain't happening here any anybody's lifetime who can read this forum today.
What we need to do is to get our system FIXED. Nobody is clamoring for government run automotive insurance or government run life insurance. Why not?
1) There is fair competition and reasonable transparency in those industries. There are 20 companies I can go to for car insurance. There are probably 100 I could go to for life insurance if I wanted to buy some.
2) There is intense regulation with a real appreciation of how badly everyone can get hurt if these companies behave badly.
That's what is missing from private health insurance. And there isn't a damned thing in the Obama bill that addresses that. There are a few provisions that sound vaguely like they could on some other planet in some other eon maybe have some effect. But they all have huge loopholes, leaving the insurance companies essentially free to continue raping and pillaging. It is a damned shame that so many people invested so much time and energy only to get this kind of a half-assed effort from those we elected.
53. I think there needs to be auto insurance reform...
But there are so many other issues to tackle first. Perhaps people who have been injured in car accidents will understand what I am talking about. I have unfortunately been in a few, and it always seems to be a struggle to get my car completely fixed, and they have fought tooth and nail to make sure they don't pay anything for my injuries or medical expenses - even when the accident was clearly caused by their client and everybody had plenty of insurance. This has resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills that the doctor's and hospitals will have to absorb into their costs, while the insurance companies get to collect the premiums without necessarily having to dole out what they should when an accident occurs. And now that I was rear-ended at 55mph on the highway without health insurance, I cannot get any medical care other than being treated and released from the ER with a bottle of $4 Vicodin.
My point is: while the auto insurance companies aren't quite as evil as the health insurers, let's not make them out to be good. =)
57. bfarq letting his intelligence get in the way of the truth
"And there isn't a damned thing in the Obama bill that addresses that." ******************************************************************************** The people who are responsible for the 2, count them, 2, versions of health care reform efforts to date that must be reconciled into one bill which must then pass by a majority in the House and a super-majority in the Senate before President Obama can sign it into law or not, as he sees fit, do not include President Obama. He has said he will get involved from here on out. I have not seen nor heard anything that disputes the above statements.
FDR made a few concessions to get the Social Security Act on the books, too. The original bill called for benefits to begin at age 65. The average life expectancy for men in 1935 was around 63; a tiny bit higher for women of whom only an insignificant number worked in jobs where the munificent sum of $35.00 per year could be collected. The republics figured they could appear bi-partisan and perhaps gain a few seats during the next election - and then they might be able to overturn the Act.
And look where we are today!
What would you have done, bfarq? Or are you part of the problem. I suspect the latter.
Are you saying that because the House bill has some real measures with cost control, that should make us feel better?
Let me tell you the facts. Obama backed the Senate bill that has absolutely nothing that will control these companies. The closest the Senate bill comes is a provision that says for group policies 80% of the premiums have to be spent on health care. Big whoop. And for individual policies, that drops to 75%. That is BS. That isn't reform. It is window dressing. It is just a little theater for the great unwashed. And there is nothing to address the other big cost problem -- the price gouging from big pharma.
Now we're treated to academic arguments that say by collecting data over the next 6 years that will lead us to better practices that will get the costs under control. Wrong. There may be a best practices issue, but the big reason we pay twice as much as any other country is PRICE GOUGING by the insurance companies and by the pharma companies. And the Senate bill doesn't address those issues at all.
Obama said the Senate bill ended up exactly where he expected it would be, which is not a surprise because he compromised everything else away.
Here's another fact (well, technically it is a prediction, but it will be fact soon enough). There will be nothing of significance brought in from the House bill and there aren't 30 Representatives with enough principles to insist on it.
What would I have done? Simple. As soon as it became clear that no Republicans were going to support it, they should have used reconciliation, just as the Republicans have done for all their major moves. Various decent cost control measures were in the bill earlier in the process, and most people believe that there were 50 votes for those measures. That would have been a hell of a lot better than gutting the bill and making me pay for Nebraska's Medicaid costs.
If Obama was honestly interested in achieving the three things he said this bill must do (this bill actually achieves NONE of Obama's criteria), he would have gone this route. Instead we see the true colors. It was always intended as a sham -- the sort of thing that Emmanuel seems to be very good at.)
Like many others here, I busted my butt to get this guy elected, and it really makes me angry that he did it this way.
Go back and look at successful revolutions. You might notice that very few are revolutions at all. Successful revolutions involve the monied interests wresting control from the former monied interests.
Unsuccessful revolutions generally involve resourceless idealists who eventually turn on each other over seemingly minor differences in dogma, kind of like we do here at DU.
If I were an unprincipled, big monied insurance person I enourage idealists to turn on each other and I would do everything I could think of doing to help that process along. I'd even use a sizable chunk of my money to that. Wouldn't you?
If you said this to the french worker you would be told to fuck off. They shut down the country when policy that is destructive is attempted to be pushed through by their "conservatives" in government. We may be bigger geographically but we have a rich history of folks who refused to go along to get along and by the way all where called crazy, ostracized and worse. For workers, listening to those who gatekeep for the monied elite is always a losing strategy.
6. It depends what you mean by "winning" and "losing"
BTW, I didn't say I thought it was right. As for "disproving" you are a little ahead of yourself. My understanding of the nature of revolutions is not my conclusion. Rather it was taught to me by a person who was by far the most intelligent man I ever met. His name was Gray L. Dorsey and he was my jurisprudence professor at Washington University at St. Louis School of Law.
I wish I still had the reading assignment list from Professor Dorsey's classes, but then I'd never have time to read all of that great stuff again. I don't think Professor Dorsey ever flew bombing missions, but he was an activist for national self determination in China right after WWII.
and paying for our health care out of pocket. I plan to use that option, since I've been without health insurance most of my life and when I did have health insurance the corporations left me to die anyway. I realize that's not an option for everybody, but I believe that those who can...should. I'm writing this as a Medical Lab Tech student. Imho, you're all putting the cart before the horse.
A major bottleneck to affordable universal health care is the shortage of facilities and trained providers. And the bottleneck to that education is student funding and the critical "clinical" training. Hospitals can only take on so many students at a time given the need for close supervision with a low teacher:student ratio to prevent medical disasters.
I'm pushing for Bernie Sanders 1350 or so new Community Health Centers (which I understand will also be training centers) to remain in the bill to provide low-cost health care to anybody who walks in the door. Increasing the number 4 or 5-fold (over the existing 350 community health centers) will make health care more available. 10-fold would be sweet! (btw, as an aside, building 1350 community health centers is *major* economic stimulus)
And increasing the grants and loans to students -- so weeding out is based entirely on ability to do the job as opposed to ability to finance learning the job -- is critical. Personally, I'm in a situation along with multiple other students, who may be forced out with one year of training to go due to terminated education loans. It's not our doing and at least 2 of us (myself and one other student) are 4.0s. We could face financial ruin and you could be short several providers as we were blindsided by fine-print rules...that were on a financial aid web page that isn't even public!
The bottom line is that health care is a *Community Service* and should be funded by the community. That means infrastructure and training. Fund the training -- train more providers and stop burdening healthcare students with loans the size of a hefty mortgage -- and service fees will come down.
Without the infrastructure to deliver, universal health care and single payer remain impossible. The fact is that until more *health care* is available, in terms of more trained medical staff and more facilities (beds), both universal health care and single payer will remain out of reach. This is a case where supply-side economics will work.
So I strongly recommend that all of you quit whining about the "sellout," recognize where the real problem lies, and help focus on that. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And that first step is within reach.
FWIW, I can see a scenario in which, as more and more community health centers come on line, providing lower cost health care while training more and more students, people will start "opting out" of the insurance industry and paying the "fine" (think "tax for down payment on community centers")
with sellout. And why would you characterize it as whining? Some will die because of this piece of shit legislation and you call it whining. Why don't you just advocate medical savings accounts while you're at it.
64. so how do *you* propose to create universal health care
given the very real shortage of medical staff? Without the infrastructure in place, there cannot be universal health care. Massachusetts demonstrated that. There are doctors in Mass working 7 days per week, with their staffs having to turn away people who are literally begging to be added to their client list.
People are already dying because of the lack of medical care. I nearly died 25 years ago, in spite of having health insurance, from what should have been a simple problem. My dentist saved my life. And guess what? People will *continue* to die, even with universal health care.
You cannot wave a magic wand and voila! create affordable, universal health care out of thin air. And just because things aren't happening in the precise way *you* think they should doesn't mean they aren't happening. In other words, there is more than one way to skin a cat.
Build the public infrastructure (which happens to also be a heck of a lot of stimulus) and publically funded health care will be available.
Or do you propose holding medical staff slaves, forcing them to work, say, 18 hours day/7 days per week in order to provide everybody health care? Good luck with that.
although will be required to see one shortly to continue my studies.
The need for more medical staff is already well understood by TPTB, hence the GOP threat of "health care rationing." (Like it isn't already rationed, just by wealth...) The Massachusetts disaster simply put it on 60 minutes, front and center.
Forget the "public option." If we build a quality public infrastructure, then single payer -- by any name -- will be the next step. Instead of insurance companies getting 45 million forced new customers, first the uninsured and then the insured will find their way to the publicly financed Community Health Centers. The insurance companies could be the ones who ultimately end up with the most expensive customers, while the government picks up the healthiest willing to forgo "insurance."
Bernie Sanders was brilliant to trade his vote for the Community Health Centers, hopefully he knew enough to demand more than are needed to get started.
We now need to see what comes out of committee: if the Community Centers are still there in force, then in the long run, we win.
It's insane and hardly anyone outside a few progressive talkers ever even go there. Book/record keepers are needed, not gatekeepers skimming off a huge amount of money.
It's a huge scam, in one of the Nixon tapes you can hear Haldeman tell Tricky Dick about this brand new thing called an HMO that can limit treatment - and Tricky Dick thought that was a swell idea. Corporate toadies took care of the rest. Presto, here we are and we're being ripped off royally.
The rest of the world's governments, at least in this matter, stood up for the people and did something about the scam, but not us, too many whores still in our government.
There is no need for them to exist. I wish they didn't. Millions wish we hadn't built up such an unsustainable system. Maybe the pending legislation will shine the light onto the criminal nature of the insurance companies and will be the 'beginning' of the end for them.
29. there is no need for LOTS of things, but they exist anyway
Edited on Fri Dec-25-09 06:59 PM by divideetimpera
of course we should not have private insurers. But what makes you think we have a choice? Look at the nations in the western world that have national health (all of them do except us). What separates them from us?
First, they are parliamentarian govts, and are smaller nations and more cohesive.
If you want americans to have national healthcare, you have to create it at a level simulating those other western nations. That means you have to do it at the state level. And because the fed govt is obviously controlled by big money, you also have to disable the power of the fed govt.
66. The state governments are even cheaper to purchase than the federal
Who do you think is letting them run amok now? State bought and paid for regulators is who.
The states are also in general terms more broke than the Feds. The effort must be top down. We need massive resources and national pooling of risk and resources. The states and Canada's provinces aren't directly comparable, it would be more like regions setting up a plan rather than most individual states.
35. A growing Liberal Voice, while great to see, is already being recognized as a threat
Edited on Fri Dec-25-09 10:27 PM by NorthCarolina
that needs to be shut down before it can take root in the public psyche. You can even see it here, on DU, where Liberals are routinely denounced as "whiney Leftists" by so called *Dems* for speaking their mind on dissatisfaction with the conservative leaning Health Insurance Reform package passed by the Senate. I for one seriously hope that these DLC/GOP types are not successful in their efforts to once again marginalize and silence the Liberal majority for another generation. Keep speaking out!
paperwork. Universal health care is the goal. Since tax payers are bailing them out, tax payers should get the benefits. Paying upper level management to fail does not concur with capitalist principle.
48. Indeed....but the idea of insurance is a good one... if greed isn't running it.
Y'know....a group pooling resources together to cover some huge expenditure that may occur. Not a bad idea. Making profits more important than the actual original purpose of forming the group....bad idea.
Besides, single payer need not be a threat of extinction for insurers. The government should provide access to basic, preventative and life saving health care needs. Cosmetic and less vital procedures can be covered by insurance as well as more comprehensive and lavish supplements to the services available to all citizens provided by government. Just like Medicare.
Also, never forget Health Care Insurers don't know anything about health care. They aren't doctors. They are paper pushers and number crunchers (important in their own right actually) The same people can insure boats and investments or whatever.
68. What value do Ins. Companies add? Why are the needed?
Some say jobs. I say re-train the workers and hire them to do the paperwork for a government run healthcare system. Besides the paperwork the only thing I see Ins. Co.s doing is dictating to medical professionals what treatments they are allowed to provide. Am I missing something?
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