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The Obama health plan

Election 2008 Obama Health Plan 2007

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#1 Palisades

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 01:33 PM

http://generationris...ma-health-plan/

It looks like his plan is to require employers to either offer health insurance coverage or contribute to a fund. The fund would be supplemented with taxpayers' money and this would be used to buy health insurance for workers who can't get insurance through their employers.

I'm bringing this up because health care will probably be Democrats' #2 issue after Iraq.

I don't see Obama's plan doing much to reign in the soaring costs of health care.
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#2 Themis

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 02:26 PM

I'd like to see it unrelated to employers.  No time to read it all now, but what about the self-employed?  People who work freelance?  

I'm sure this will indeed be a major topic, and about time.  Maybe someone, whether or not it's a candidate, will muddle through all the suggestions and come up with something workable.
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#3 QueenTiye

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 02:35 PM

From Obama's site:

Quote

Barack Obama believes we must dramatically redesign our health system to reduce
inefficiency and waste and improve health care quality, which will drive down costs for
families and individuals. The Obama plan will improve efficiency and lower costs in the
health care system by: (1) offering federal reinsurance to employers to help ensure that
unexpected or catastrophic illnesses do not make health insurance unaffordable or out of
reach for businesses and their employees (2) ensuring that patients receive and providers
deliver the best possible care; (3) adopting state-of-the-art health information technology
systems; and (4) reforming our market structure to increase competition.

Quote

Reforming medical malpractice while preserving patient rights. Increasing
medical malpractice insurance rates are making it harder for doctors to practice
medicine36 and raising the costs of health care for everyone37. Barack Obama will
strengthen antitrust laws to prevent insurers from overcharging physicians for
their malpractice insurance. Obama will also promote new models for addressing
physician errors that improve patient safety, strengthen the doctor-patient
relationship, and reduce the need for malpractice suits.

Quote

Increasing competition. The insurance business today is dominated by a small
group of large companies that has been gobbling up their rivals. In recent years,
for-profit companies have bought up not-for-profit insurers around the country.
Other not-for-profits found business so lucrative, they converted to for-profit
companies. There have been over 400 health care mergers in the last 10 years,
and just two companies dominate a full third of the national market. The
American Medical Association reports that 95% of insurance markets in the
United States are highly concentrated and the number of insurers has fallen by
just under 20% since 2000.

These changes were supposed to make the industry more efficient, but instead
premiums have skyrocketed, increasing over 87 percent over the past six years.
Over the same time period, insurance administrative overhead has been the
fastest-growing component of health spending. The 2007 Commonwealth Fund
Commission on a High Performance Health System reported that between 2000
and 2005, administrative overhead – including both administrative expenses and
insurance industry profits – increased 12.0 percent per year, 3.4 percentage points
faster than the average health expenditure growth of 8.6 percent.

And while health care costs continue to rise for families, CEOs of these insurance
companies have received multi-million dollar bonuses. Barack Obama will
prevent companies from abusing their monopoly power through unjustified price
increases. In markets where the insurance business is not competitive, his plan
will force insurers to pay out a reasonable share of their premiums for patient care
instead of keeping exorbitant amounts for profits and administration. Obama’s
new National Health Insurance Exchange will help increase competition by
insurers.

Drug reimportation. The second-fastest growing type of health expenses is
prescription drugs. Pharmaceutical companies should profit when their research
and development results in a groundbreaking new drug. But some companies are
exploiting Americans by dramatically overcharging U.S. consumers. These
companies are selling the exact same drugs in Europe and Canada but charging
Americans a 67 percent premium. Obama will allow Americans to buy their
medicines from other developed countries if the drugs are safe and prices are
lower outside the U.S.

Increasing use of generics. Some drug manufacturers are explicitly paying
generic drug makers not to enter the market so they can preserve their monopolies
and keep charging Americans exorbitant prices for brand name products. The
Obama plan will work to ensure that market power does not lead to higher prices
for consumers. His plan will work to increase use of generic drugs in the new
public plan, Medicare, Medicaid, FEHBP and by prohibit large drug companies
from keeping generics out of markets.

Lowering Medicare prescription drug benefit costs. The 2003 Medicare
Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act bans the government
from negotiating down the prices of prescription drugs, even though the
Department of Veterans Affairs’ negotiation of prescription drug prices with
pharmaceutical companies has garnered significant savings for taxpayers.
Obama will repeal the ban on direct negotiation with drug companies and use the
resulting savings, which could be as high as $30 billion, to further invest in
improving health care coverage and quality.

Preventing waste and abuse in Medicare. Medicare’s private plan alternative,
called Medicare Advantage, was established to increase competition and reduce
costs. But independent reports show that on average the government pays 12
percent more than it costs to treat comparable beneficiaries through traditional
Medicare. These excessive subsidies cost the government billions of dollars
every year and create an incentive structure that has led to fraudulent abuses of
seniors. Obama believes we need to eliminate the excessive subsidies to
Medicare Advantage plans and pay them the same amount it would cost to treat
the same patients under regular Medicare.

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#4 Palisades

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 03:11 PM

^ One potential distortion in that material from his site is that the reason the same drugs cost less in certain other countries is because those countries have imposed price controls on the drug. The price ceiling is higher than the cost to manufacture and distribute the drug so the drug companies will agree to it. Currently, insurance and drug consumers in America and other countries without price control are picking up the tab and paying more than their fair share of R&D and clinical trial expenses. Drug companies do make a high profit, but there's a lot of risk in developing drugs. A drug under consideration may not pan out, or the drug may prove too unsafe.

Also, while the measures you've quoted may reduce inefficiencies and drive down profit margins, they do little to address the root causes of why health care costs are ballooning and consuming an increasing percentage of GDP. Obama's plan may alleviate one of the root problems by decreasing the number of uninsured people, which may cause the newly insured people to go in for care sooner and prevent more serious problems later in life. However, the extent that it will be effective in this regard is questionable since most of the reasons why Americans are so sick have to do with poor diet, lack of exercise, overeating and possibly stress and not getting enough sleep. These poor health practices are becoming increasingly common and more pronounced, and the result is that Americans are becoming sicker and consequently spending more money on health care. Also, medical research is uncovering ever more sophisticated treatments, and they tend to have a cost to match. Here's a write-up of other major reasons why health care costs are soaring.

Edited by Solar Wind, 29 May 2007 - 04:04 PM.

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#5 QueenTiye

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 04:59 PM

Ok - glad you posted that list.  The Obama plan addresses all of them in some form or fashion.  I want to deal with this because I'd like the discussion to focus on if the plan will or will not work if actually implemented.

My evaluation premise is simple - can we have a health care system that covers everybody within their reasonable expectations without overburdening everyone or limiting health care choices?

1. Preference for good, rather than cheap doctors/care: This simply means that any plan created requires patient choice to be a built in, including the ability to pay for more expensive services if desired.  Most insurances include this already, and the Obama plan mostly makes use of existing structures.  Check.

2. Medical Innovation costs more - See above.  By and large, medical innovation is funded by consumers. Some procedures actually do become less expensive, the same way that technology does - so innovation is funded by early adopters.  No one really wants to do away with innovations, and most people get it that innovation costs more (says QT, without any evidence whatsoever, save that her "gut" says so).  Also, most treatments that were effective, still are - so again, innovation is for the rich or very well insured, and is a last resort for the poor.  No biggie there.

3. Health care as a rich people's consumption item: So far - this is saying the same thing over and over. The biggest argument against "socialized" medicine is that it makes the consumption model inaccessible to those who consume the most.  The poor and uninsured aren't actually complaining about getting coverage they didn't have before.  So any plan the preserves the consumption model, while providing standard care to everyone is a good plan.

4. Bureaucracy hiding costs: Building efficiencies in administrative processes should assist with this.

5. Baumol's syndrome (Sorry - can't call it a disease): While efficiencies can't be had in mass production, associated costs can be reduced by introducing efficiencies and managing insurance risk for doctors.

6. Aging America: The reinsurance idea doesn't drive down costs - it likely drives up costs, but it reduces burdens on individuals.  Additionally - having learned about long term care insurance - I would think that more and more americans will buy into that - and it behooves long term care insurers to create and promote awareness of quality of life vs quantity of life issues.  

7. Uninsured - addressed by implementing the plan. No more uninsureds.

8. The "Ugly American" - not fixable except incrementally.  Change is afoot - the new pyramids are a help, and in many major metropolitan areas - health conscious choices are increasingly available from the grocery store, as well as the health food store.  That's a growing trend, I believe.

9. Curing to die: See #6.

10. Malpractice - addressed.

QT

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#6 Palisades

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 12:59 AM

^ By addressing the root causes of rising health care costs, I meant target the root causes and thereby slow the rate at which medical costs are increasing. In your response, you concentrate on how you think Obama's plan will make the rising costs easier for low-income people to bear.

It's not that I think Obama's plan is worse than the others; I don't think that any of the plans on the table will effectively reign in health care costs. They're nibbling at the edges rather then aiming at the center.

Also, I think clarification of the first five items in the list might be in order.
1. Shopping for value means choosing the option that gives the best value per dollar spent, not necessarily the most expensive one or the one provided by the most highly regarded doctor. Americans don't do this now, which is one of the reasons so much is spent on health care in America. Obama's plan won't encourage people to start shopping for value.
2. Medical innovations tend to be expensive, and they'll still be expensive even if Obama's plan succeeds in extending health insurance to low-income workers. Insurance just shifts around who pays for the medical innovations. Expensive medical innovations are driving up the price of health care.
3. Since health care is what economists term a luxury good, as America's standard of living increases and disposable income increases, it is to be expected that people will spend more on health care. I'm not sure why you started talking about socialized medicine; this is a list of reasons why health care costs are soaring, not a list why socialized medicine is bad.
4. This point is saying that when people spend other people's money (which is basically what's happening with insurance), they make quite different choices than if they were spending their own money. Since Obama's plan increases the number of people who are insured, his plan would exacerbate this problem.
5. Let's say a 20% reduction in medical costs can be achieved by eliminating inefficiencies. Over time, the productivity of non-labor intensive sectors will improve by much more than that. Cost savings from eliminating the inefficiencies will mask the effects of Baumol's observation for a time, but that's all. After this time is up, medical professionals will once again have to increase the amount they charge to have their incomes keep pace.

Yes, Obama's plan, if implemented, will probably make life better for those currently unable to afford health insurance -- at least for a time. But it does so by shifting the burden of paying for their health insurance to other people, not by reducing the rate at which medical costs are increasing. (Yes, as I acknowledged in my previous post, the low-income people who gain access to insurance may seek medical care earlier and thereby prevent more serious problems later in life. But because of reasons explained in my previous post and because only about 15% of Americans are currently uninsured, I don't see this as doing a whole lot to contain the increase in the amount America is spending on health care.)

To sum up, I was referring to the ability of a plan like Obama's to reduce the rate at which health care costs are increasing. You seem to be arguing that Obama's plan would make it easier to for low-income people to afford health care. The problem is that Obama's plan does this by shifting the burden of paying for the health care but won't be that effective at reigning in the rapidly increasing costs of health care; consequently, higher and higher tax rates will be necessary to fund the program. Shifting the burden to different people doesn't reduce the total weight of the burden, and the total weight of the burden is increasing rapidly. Similarly to how the health insurance premiums I pay keep rising, the tax rate necessary to fund health insurance of low-income workers will keep rising.

I'll give Obama credit for trying, but I don't see this as a lasting fix. Several of the Democrats have presented plans, and I think all of them have serious problems. At least Obama's plan would just raise taxes whereas single payer and single payer/private insurers would raise taxes even more and probably mess things up for people who currently get health insurance through their employers -- politicians gave us the disaster known as Medicare, and I'd prefer they keep their meddling to a minimum.

Edited by Solar Wind, 30 May 2007 - 02:02 AM.

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"In truth, 'too big to fail' is not the worst thing we should fear – our financial institutions are now on their way to becoming 'too big to save'." —Simon Johnson

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#7 G1223

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 01:07 AM

View PostSolar Wind, on May 29 2007, 02:33 PM, said:

http://generationris...ma-health-plan/

It looks like his plan is to require employers to either offer health insurance coverage or contribute to a fund. The fund would be supplemented with taxpayers' money and this would be used to buy health insurance for workers who can't get insurance through their employers.

I'm bringing this up because health care will probably be Democrats' #2 issue after Iraq.

I don't see Obama's plan doing much to reign in the soaring costs of health care.

Well if the employer is now going to be paying for this can they be given a break on the wages they pay. Or are employers the endless feast. Able to keep wages where they are and also able to pay got health care and still able to keep prices low enough so folks can afford to buy their goods.

I guess the understanding that when expenses go up so do prices seems to beyong congress. At least while the Democrats are at the wheel.
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#8 Kosh

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 02:52 PM

View PostG1223, on May 30 2007, 02:07 AM, said:

View PostSolar Wind, on May 29 2007, 02:33 PM, said:

http://generationris...ma-health-plan/

It looks like his plan is to require employers to either offer health insurance coverage or contribute to a fund. The fund would be supplemented with taxpayers' money and this would be used to buy health insurance for workers who can't get insurance through their employers.

I'm bringing this up because health care will probably be Democrats' #2 issue after Iraq.

I don't see Obama's plan doing much to reign in the soaring costs of health care.

Well if the employer is now going to be paying for this can they be given a break on the wages they pay. Or are employers the endless feast. Able to keep wages where they are and also able to pay got health care and still able to keep prices low enough so folks can afford to buy their goods.

I guess the understanding that when expenses go up so do prices seems to beyong congress. At least while the Democrats are at the wheel.



Did you notice the topic title? Its about Obama, not "Congress" or the "Democrats."

I have an advantage where I work, of not having to insure a kid, so my costs are low, about 10 dollars a month. But if you are married and/or have a kid, the state is paying less and less of premiums that were given to State Employees in lieu of rasies several years ago. We are losing ground on the cost of living. There is no end in sight. On the rare occasion that we get an across the board raise, it's always been 5%. This time those below 20,000 a year got 600 dollars, those of us in a large middle ground are getting 3.5 percent, while the top money makers get 1300 dollars.

I haven't had a raise in three years, so the 3.5 doesn't really help, add in the increse in the cost of gas and insurance... I'm thinking about the bus, but that's quite a trip around here, I'd have to change busses somewhere to cross the river.
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#9 Palisades

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 03:26 PM

View PostKosh, on May 30 2007, 01:52 PM, said:

We are losing ground on the cost of living. There is no end in sight.

Yup, costs of health care and college education are increasing faster than wages. We've had a huge runup in housing prices and rental rates. People are starting to get squeezed. Medical care is only one of the problem areas.
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#10 QueenTiye

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 10:06 AM

View PostSolar Wind, on May 30 2007, 01:59 AM, said:

^ By addressing the root causes of rising health care costs, I meant target the root causes and thereby slow the rate at which medical costs are increasing. In your response, you concentrate on how you think Obama's plan will make the rising costs easier for low-income people to bear.

It's not that I think Obama's plan is worse than the others; I don't think that any of the plans on the table will effectively reign in health care costs. They're nibbling at the edges rather then aiming at the center.

SNIP

To sum up, I was referring to the ability of a plan like Obama's to reduce the rate at which health care costs are increasing. You seem to be arguing that Obama's plan would make it easier to for low-income people to afford health care. The problem is that Obama's plan does this by shifting the burden of paying for the health care but won't be that effective at reigning in the rapidly increasing costs of health care; consequently, higher and higher tax rates will be necessary to fund the program. Shifting the burden to different people doesn't reduce the total weight of the burden, and the total weight of the burden is increasing rapidly. Similarly to how the health insurance premiums I pay keep rising, the tax rate necessary to fund health insurance of low-income workers will keep rising.

I'll give Obama credit for trying, but I don't see this as a lasting fix. Several of the Democrats have presented plans, and I think all of them have serious problems. At least Obama's plan would just raise taxes whereas single payer and single payer/private insurers would raise taxes even more and probably mess things up for people who currently get health insurance through their employers -- politicians gave us the disaster known as Medicare, and I'd prefer they keep their meddling to a minimum.

I've never understood the purpose of the push for universal health care as being to lower health care costs.  That would need a separate initiative, though I agree that it makes sense to build some efforts at that into any health care system.  The purpose of universal health care is to provide universal health care - regardless of cost.  It is to ensure that americans have fair access to health care.  The problems of past proposals is that they have infringed on the existing quality/quantity/perceived value of care of those who already have coverage, in order to provide to others who don't, while possibly discouraging research and development in health care.  Shifting the conversation to the problem of rising health care costs does a disservice to the fair evaluation of the issue at hand - which is that some people don't have ANY coverage at all - the poor on medicaid have more coverage than the working/self-employed people who fall through the cracks.

Dealing with cost of living issues is a whole other can of worms, and needs a totally different solution - not related at all to the question of health care coverage for everyone, unless the argument is that we shouldn't cover people at all - and just let the market regulate the price.  But I think we've decided that access to healthcare is a value worth sacrificing for - including by paying insurance in the first place, to ensure that we have health care when we need it.

QT

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#11 Palisades

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 10:59 AM

^ The huge cost of paying for universal health care has always been one of the obstacles to implementing it. So long as health care costs continue to soar, I don't see how taxpayers can afford to fund universal health care (or universal health insurance) in the long run. The taxpayers may be able to pony up the necessary money now, but what about in several years when medical costs have grown by much more than their wages? Under Obama's plan, employers would pay some, but the taxpayers will still be stuck with a huge bill, and that bill will increase as the cost of medical care increases.

Edited by Solar Wind, 31 May 2007 - 11:00 AM.

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"In truth, 'too big to fail' is not the worst thing we should fear – our financial institutions are now on their way to becoming 'too big to save'." —Simon Johnson

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#12 Sinister Dexter

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 06:44 PM

I've always found it odd that that country with the largest, most powerful economy can't provide free universal healthcare. The NHS may have it's problems (too many managers, not enough doctors and nurses for one), but it's there if you need it.

Hell, even Cuba can provide free healthcare...
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#13 QueenTiye

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 07:45 PM

It's a cheap shot.  The US doesn't provide universal health care for free because the US citizens don't want it.  US citizens don't want the escalated taxes required to fund it, and don't want the sacrifice of health care "perks" required to make it feasible.  

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#14 Palisades

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 07:48 PM

View PostSinister Dexter, on May 31 2007, 05:44 PM, said:

I've always found it odd that that country with the largest, most powerful economy can't provide free universal healthcare. The NHS may have it's problems (too many managers, not enough doctors and nurses for one), but it's there if you need it.

Hell, even Cuba can provide free healthcare...

Odd, perhaps; however, America has a negative personal savings rate as it is. That means Americans are already spending more than their after-tax earnings.

Edited by Solar Wind, 31 May 2007 - 07:49 PM.

"When the Fed is the bartender everybody drinks until they fall down." —Paul McCulley

"In truth, 'too big to fail' is not the worst thing we should fear – our financial institutions are now on their way to becoming 'too big to save'." —Simon Johnson

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#15 Palisades

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 08:02 PM

View PostQueenTiye, on May 31 2007, 06:45 PM, said:

It's a cheap shot.  The US doesn't provide universal health care for free because the US citizens don't want it.  US citizens don't want the escalated taxes required to fund it, and don't want the sacrifice of health care "perks" required to make it feasible.  

QT

Where will the typical American family come up with the money to pay these taxes, especially since the necessary tax rate will continue to increase if medical costs keep increasing as rapidly as they have been? If a dose of fiscal reality is a cheap shot, so be it.

Edited by Solar Wind, 31 May 2007 - 08:15 PM.

"When the Fed is the bartender everybody drinks until they fall down." —Paul McCulley

"In truth, 'too big to fail' is not the worst thing we should fear – our financial institutions are now on their way to becoming 'too big to save'." —Simon Johnson

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#16 QueenTiye

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 08:12 PM

View PostSolar Wind, on May 31 2007, 09:02 PM, said:

View PostQueenTiye, on May 31 2007, 06:45 PM, said:

It's a cheap shot.  The US doesn't provide universal health care for free because the US citizens don't want it.  US citizens don't want the escalated taxes required to fund it, and don't want the sacrifice of health care "perks" required to make it feasible.  

QT

Where will the typical American family come up with the money to pay these taxes, especially since the necessary tax rate will continue to increase if medical costs keep increasing as rapidly as they have been? If a dose of fiscal reality is a cheap shot, so be it.

The dose of fiscal reality isn't what's the cheap shot.  The cheap shot is the claim that the US "can't" provide free universal health care.  Of course the US "can."  We just won't.  And - given some of your other comments, I'm surprised you disagree.  We are funding (as you said) innovation in medicine - so health care costs are rising, and the cost of paying for universal access has to be borne some how.  Obama's plan will certainly raise taxes, as will any other.  But "universal free health care" such as we are being charged with not "providing" will be astronomical in cost - and the majority of Americans don't want to foot the bill.

QT

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#17 RobL

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 09:17 PM

View PostQueenTiye, on May 31 2007, 05:12 PM, said:

View PostSolar Wind, on May 31 2007, 09:02 PM, said:

View PostQueenTiye, on May 31 2007, 06:45 PM, said:

It's a cheap shot.  The US doesn't provide universal health care for free because the US citizens don't want it.  US citizens don't want the escalated taxes required to fund it, and don't want the sacrifice of health care "perks" required to make it feasible.  

QT

Where will the typical American family come up with the money to pay these taxes, especially since the necessary tax rate will continue to increase if medical costs keep increasing as rapidly as they have been? If a dose of fiscal reality is a cheap shot, so be it.

The dose of fiscal reality isn't what's the cheap shot.  The cheap shot is the claim that the US "can't" provide free universal health care.  Of course the US "can."  We just won't.  And - given some of your other comments, I'm surprised you disagree.  We are funding (as you said) innovation in medicine - so health care costs are rising, and the cost of paying for universal access has to be borne some how.  Obama's plan will certainly raise taxes, as will any other.  But "universal free health care" such as we are being charged with not "providing" will be astronomical in cost - and the majority of Americans don't want to foot the bill.

QT

You say that, but then YOU aren't getting 40% of your paycheck withheld for tax and SSI. At some point, its got to end.

I'm all for paying my fair share. What I'm not for is paying for some welfare queen to live off my tax dollars, and then expect me to pay for everyone else's health care. My employer already pays for my health insurance. Taking away that and giving me some other crappy government-funded sh*t program which will probably make the VA system look like the pinnacle of the healthcare system is BS in every sense of the word.

The liberals need to keep their money grubbing hands off my wallet, and start trimming the fat off their own pork-barrel to pay for their pet projects.  :glare:

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#18 Lin731

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 09:30 PM

I don't think American's will ever be willing to foot that bill until something is done to rein in costs (which interestingly enough, never seems to be on the agenda). Look at the Medicare Prescription drug benefit, not only does it NOT use the buying clout of the seniors to bargain for better drug prices, it bans medicare from bargaining for better rates. What a big, fat, sloppy kiss that was to the big Pharma lobby.

American's are told that it would be bad for R&D if we bargained for better prices but I'd like to know who decided that footing the bills for R&D was our damned job in the first place? While everyone else has slapped price controls on drug costs, we're getting bent over paying for the Lion's share of the R&D and much higher drug prices at the pharmacy, so big Pharma can make up their profit margins at our expense.
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#19 Rhea

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 11:29 PM

View PostSolar Wind, on May 30 2007, 01:26 PM, said:

View PostKosh, on May 30 2007, 01:52 PM, said:

We are losing ground on the cost of living. There is no end in sight.

Yup, costs of health care and college education are increasing faster than wages. We've had a huge runup in housing prices and rental rates. People are starting to get squeezed. Medical care is only one of the problem areas.

Yup. We got a retroactive 2.5% increase. Big whoop. That $485 went a long way. NOT.
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#20 Rhea

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 11:31 PM

View PostRobL, on May 31 2007, 07:17 PM, said:

View PostQueenTiye, on May 31 2007, 05:12 PM, said:

View PostSolar Wind, on May 31 2007, 09:02 PM, said:

View PostQueenTiye, on May 31 2007, 06:45 PM, said:

It's a cheap shot.  The US doesn't provide universal health care for free because the US citizens don't want it.  US citizens don't want the escalated taxes required to fund it, and don't want the sacrifice of health care "perks" required to make it feasible.  

QT

Where will the typical American family come up with the money to pay these taxes, especially since the necessary tax rate will continue to increase if medical costs keep increasing as rapidly as they have been? If a dose of fiscal reality is a cheap shot, so be it.

The dose of fiscal reality isn't what's the cheap shot.  The cheap shot is the claim that the US "can't" provide free universal health care.  Of course the US "can."  We just won't.  And - given some of your other comments, I'm surprised you disagree.  We are funding (as you said) innovation in medicine - so health care costs are rising, and the cost of paying for universal access has to be borne some how.  Obama's plan will certainly raise taxes, as will any other.  But "universal free health care" such as we are being charged with not "providing" will be astronomical in cost - and the majority of Americans don't want to foot the bill.

QT

You say that, but then YOU aren't getting 40% of your paycheck withheld for tax and SSI. At some point, its got to end.

I'm all for paying my fair share. What I'm not for is paying for some welfare queen to live off my tax dollars, and then expect me to pay for everyone else's health care. My employer already pays for my health insurance. Taking away that and giving me some other crappy government-funded sh*t program which will probably make the VA system look like the pinnacle of the healthcare system is BS in every sense of the word.

The liberals need to keep their money grubbing hands off my wallet, and start trimming the fat off their own pork-barrel to pay for their pet projects.  :glare:

Oh yeah, let's continue to spend more than we take in, because we all know the conservatives have done such a swell job of balancing the budget.  :wacko: Sombeody somewhere's going to have to pay because the conservative-controlled
congress spent money like drunken sailors.
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH



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