March 9, 2010

Red Flags that the Pending Healthcare Reform May not be a Good Idea

Monique Chartier

(... in addition to the Constitutional issue - i.e., the legality of compelling everyone to purchase health insurance.)

Much of the disagreement about whether the Democrats' health care reform should proceed centers around its long term consequences. Supporters of the pending reform don't see any problems long range if the bill passes. Opponents point to the inevitable consequences of compelling insurance companies to provide essentially open-ended coverage while demanding that they not raise premiums too high.

Okay, set that aside for a separate discussion. Here are some more immediate warning signs.

1. Congress has exempted itself from it. If better/more expensive health insurance policies are Cadillac plans, Congress has a Rolls Royce. And it stays right in their driveways even if they themselves pass health care reform "for" everyone else. If the proposed reform is such a good idea, why?

2. We start paying for it right away but the benefits don't begin for four years. (Side issue, which it clearly is for proponents: what happens to all of those sick, uninsured people in the meantime?) How viable is a proposed program if the required revenue needs a four year running start?

3. $500 billion cut from Medicare. Proponents have stopped even pretending that this will come from a crack down on waste, fraud and abuse. Setting aside the disgrace and misdirected priority of depriving seniors of this care, isn't a proposed program patently non-viable if another program has to be gutted to fund it?

4. Let's see if we understand the scenario. No insurance company can refuse anyone coverage. The penalty for an individual not obtaining coverage is $800. So wouldn't it be a lot cheaper for the healthy person (many millions of them) to not buy coverage, pay the penalty rather than the premiums year after year and then simply enroll as soon as a health issue crops up? Actually, we don't have to wonder. This is exactly the approach New York took.

New York's "reforms" meant that people could literally wait until they had an accident or illness before buying a policy -- changes that more than doubled insurance costs in the state, according to the Empire State Center for New York State Policy.

Premiums shot up so far and fast that healthy customers dropped insurance altogether -- with the number of people buying individual policies plummeting from 750,000 in 1994 to 36,000 now.

It's tough to come to grips with the longer term implications of the proposed reform to health care when we are asked to disregard such serious pitfalls up front.

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"Congress has exempted itself from it."

Congress has always exempted itself. For years it was exempt from "minimum wage", so that pages were paid $2.00 per hour. They are also exempted from Social Security. I forget all of the others, but as a matter of course Congress always exempts itself.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at March 9, 2010 5:07 PM

SInce the righties including Reagan and most republicans are against medicare and social security in the first place, it's strange that you would comment that it would be a sin to make it more efficient!

Ironic, for sure!

Let's be clear. The best system would be Universal coverage with no need for all these insurance middlemen - whose job it is to TURN DOWN coverage, not provide it. But since the right will not allow anything even approaching a realistic system, we're going to have to piece together a Frankenstein of some sort. Not the best solution, but MUCH BETTER than the system we have now...which is not a system at all.

Instead of compelling insurance companies to insure everyone, we should just do away with them. The existing system is just a Casino...where the house always wins and we always lose. Nothing more and nothing less.

Once again, those who write on this site seem to be interested in criticizing everything which people are actually trying to do, without offering ANY alternatives. That means, in effect, that they approve of the status quo.

That means you approve of my wife and I paying 20K a year for insurance which covers almost nothing until we pay 5K in deductibles. It also covers no eyeglasses, dental, etc.

Normal people simply cannot afford it....can't you get that? We are not talking about a few hundred dollars here, but $9K per person per year in this country.

To put that into perspective, if your family has 5 people at home, that means your total health care costs are $45,000 per year. If YOU are not paying it, someone else (usually the government) is.......

So, what part of mathematics don't you understand? Is it just the idea that you are happy as long as someone else is paying the price?

Posted by: Stuart at March 9, 2010 6:54 PM

"but as a matter of course Congress always exempts itself."

Don't forget the Do Not Call list. Charities, prior business and politicians are exempt.

"To put that into perspective, if your family has 5 people at home, that means your total health care costs are $45,000 per year."

That's BS. Stuart, I'll make you a deal. You start with $45,000 and I'll pay 100% of my medical costs for my family of 5 for the year 2010. If I pay more than $45,000, I'll pay that to you. If I pay less than $45,000, you pay that to me, deal? Let me just say it would be a very bad deal for you. I have one of those pre-tax health savings accounts through my office. I put in $1,000 a year and usually struggle to use it all by the end of the year. So if you really think my costs are $45,000 a year, let's try our little contest here. If you think it's because eventually I'll have a catastrophic need, let's do it for a few years and see how it turns out.

"There are three kinds of lies; lies, damn lies and statistics." You can try again with your statistics.

Posted by: Patrick at March 9, 2010 7:19 PM

Once again, Stuart puzzles me. I try to give him the benefit of the doubt in that he is expressing an honest opinion.

Still, it is apparent that he has not thought through the problem, or has not learned how to think about it.

I guess I could challange Stuart to name one thing the government does efficiently.

Also he should consider the maxim that the government "should do nothing that can be found in the Yellow Pages".

Posted by: Warrington Faust at March 9, 2010 8:44 PM

The "Stuart 8-step method":

1) Reassert the false and oversimplified left-right political dichotomy
2) Lump everyone who disagrees into the "right" or "rightist" camp
3) Identify some past politicians as "rightist" and give examples of how they were supposedly failures or lacking in morality
4) Make up economic numbers out of thin air, usually outrageously exaggerated
5) Assert these numbers as absolute truth
6) Capitalize every 20th or so word
7) End with an insult
8) Repeat

Posted by: Dan at March 9, 2010 9:31 PM

Stuart is babbling the typical Marxist drivel. He assumes that everyone agrees with him when he says "the best system would be Universal coverage".

He starts by taking it as an axiom that "healthcare is a right". This is the fundamental fallacy that the Statists have used to dupe their followers into supporting the governmentalization of the industry.

Here is the opposite axiom, which has the advantage of being true: No one has the right to take the value of another person's work without fair, mutually agreed compensation. To believe otherwise is to support slavery.

Whenever someone gets something for nothing, someone else, somewhere, got nothing for something. And that is fundamentally wrong.

Posted by: BobN at March 9, 2010 9:33 PM

Okay people,everyone has tried to be reasonable about Stuart-let's face it-he's a piece of sh*t troll.He likes to taunt from behind a shield,like Rhody.

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 9, 2010 10:26 PM

Ah, the reasonable right has shown that as soon as someone cuts through the rhetoric and talks about the real problems and solutions, they paint pictures of Obama with a mustache and all it a day!

Just to clarify, any and all of my thoughts and positions ARE MY THOUGHTS AND POSITIONS and come from 6 decades of varied experience on this earth. You may or may not have the same experience (employer, business owner, father, grandfather, husband, volunteer, etc).....

But to think I am a troll or someone who expresses opinion just to get a rise - is fooling yourselves. I'm a very normal dude and know LOTS of people who think in a similar fashion. After all, most of us get our world view from experience -as opposed to all you internet newbies who read WND for your news fix.

Now maybe you don't like being classified as "righties" or "republicans"....but you should be proud of that! Heck, if you call me a liberal or a progressive, I'm very happy! Why not? (look up the definitions of both, please).

Some of us are wired to be forward thinking. That is why you have the internet, google, apple and many of these good things. Other are wired to look backwards, which is the very definition of conservatives.....isn't it?

I understand that you can't help it - and that is not a taunt. Many of you feel this is the Way It Is. But it isn't.

Su, I'm hoping just one or two of you will actually take the time and energy to remove yourself from your right wing personas and think more deeply about this stuff.

When it comes to health care - you guys are the equiv, of the cavemen looking at the perfectly round wheel we developed (in every civilized country) and telling me it would roll better if you put some flat surfaces on it!

Hint: It won't.

And, all I ask is that if you think it will - prove it and show me.

In response, I get a broadside of more talking points. Heck, you guys could just copy and paste that stuff and use it every time someone suggests that you THINK.

Ok, go back to listening to your convicted felon Republican ex-Mayor and his buddies and let me know what you find out about helping the world.

Posted by: Stuart at March 9, 2010 10:46 PM

>>>There are three kinds of lies; lies, damn lies and statistics." You can try again with your statistics.

Patrick, you obviously have a hard time with math concepts.

It is costing EVERY ONE of us almost 9K per year, compared to an average of 5K per person for the rest of the world.

That figure is the total amount spend on health care divided by the number of people in this country.

We do not base our stats on what YOU or I do one year or 10 years. We base them on the average cost. Last recorded cost was 2008, which was $8600 per year, approx. DOUBLE what is was 10 years ago (about when Bush was elected).

I think most people are incapable of understand the complexity. For instance, you might not pay it in premiums, but what percentage of your local and state and fed taxes are going to pay for health care? What percentage of them are going to pay for debt because of being in the red from health care costs?

In fact, the $9K per person per year is just the beginning - we actually spend MORE - because those other factors I mentioned, like people being less productive because they cannot afford to leave an existing job and start a business - that cost the economy big time.

So I am being very conservative.

Understanding big numbers is a game all to itself. For instance, a similar number that you would also probably disagree with is that each taxpayer pays about 10,000 per year for our military and security state! That is a figure calculated by dividing the entire figure for military/security and VA and then debt on former spending for same (1.25 trillion approx) by the number of taxpaying people (about 120 million).

Now I know you will tell you you don't pay 25K of fed tax per year (15K for other stuff and 10K for security), but YOU DO...or SOMEONE DOES....or else someone in the future will WITH INTEREST.

If you can't do the math, then you can't debate the subject....

Honest to goodness, you sound like a kid who thinks "hey, I have heat and a roof over my head and food to eat and school to go to - and I don't have to pay anything".

Hint: someone is paying.

Posted by: stu at March 9, 2010 10:59 PM

I got no problem with math, I just refute dumb statements. You throw stuff out there and I challenged you on it.

Hey, who is the government paying millions for in health care? That wouldn't be (in part) for illegal aliens that you and your friends support, would it be? How much would I have to pay for health care each year if we didn't have to pay for their health care, math whiz?

And to your statement: "Now I know you will tell you you don't pay 25K of fed tax per year (15K for other stuff and 10K for security), but YOU DO...or SOMEONE DOES....or else someone in the future will WITH INTEREST"

And we know that's not rich people, because you people keep telling me that they don't pay any taxes. So I'm not really sure how that works then. Poor people don't pay taxes, rich people don't pay any taxes and I sure don't pay $25,000 a year for "security and other stuff". Maybe it's being paid for by simply printing more money, as Obama has done. No?

Posted by: Patrick at March 9, 2010 11:19 PM

"go back to listening to your convicted felon Republican ex-Mayor..."

Trying to figure out which convicted ex-mayor you're referring to, as I just went to:

and read:
Vincent A. CIANCI, JR. (IND) 22,933 813 23,746
WRITE-IN 747 27 774"

I can't think of any other convicted ex-mayors.

Posted by: Patrick at March 9, 2010 11:23 PM


you are somewhat correct on most points there - but again gloss over the real important ones and use the immigrant nationalism scapegoating.

The Fed. Government pays about 1/3 of all the healthcare costs in this country....maybe MORE. And, yes, most of it from debt. This is 100% admitted by Obama and is given as part of the reason he wants to get a handle on it.

This is to cover the following:
1. Military - tri-care
2. Ex-Military - Vets
3. Medicare - including unfunded mandates like Part D.
4. Medicaid.
5. Coverage for all Fed. Employees
6. Subsidies to help the unemployed with things such as Cobra.
7. Payments to hospitals for taking care of the 40-50 MILLION Americans without health care.
8. DEBT on all of the above which exceeds the fed revenues

I'm certain I forgot some in that list, but hopefully you get the idea. The Fed Government has become the provider of last resort, and since big business does not want to cover the "bad bets", we (the taxpayers and all Americans) end up paying double.

Forgive me if I am wrong. I thought Buddy was a Republican now.......although he readily admits to being in it for the money, which I assume is somewhat the same.

I really don't follow his career, although I did read the book many years ago.

"Cianci was first elected mayor as the candidate of the Republican Party. While in office he declared himself an independent, and as of 2009 he said he had no party affiliation."

I guess his position alongside all the other never do wells on the radio is no clue?

Posted by: Stuart at March 10, 2010 8:15 AM

Stuart seems to have a lot of time on his hands. Good thing for him they extended unemployment benefits to 99 weeks.

Posted by: BobN at March 10, 2010 8:37 AM

Stuart makes some excellent points. Unfortunately, the message gets lost in all of the mudslinging.

The conservative point men, media wise, Hannity, Limbaugh, Savage and others make me sick when they describe our health care system as the greatest health care system in history. Maybe for them, not so for most of us.

Give people something for nothing and it no longer has value. I take people from Providence to the emergency rooms all day long, for no legitimate medical reason. They call 911 for no legitimate reason, and are treated for their bellyaches and sniffles at the absolute highest cost imaginable for no reason other than they can. Nobody tells them no. There are no co-pays for ER visits, medication or follow up, and no charge for the ambulance ride that they abuse to get there to avoid paying for parking and getting to the front of the line.

Anybody with assets pays. No matter how few assets you have, you will be billed until your assets are gone, then and only then do you get the free ride.

From what I've read, President O'bama's plan will make matters worse. It doesn't make Stuarts opinions less valid, the system as we know it is horribly unfair. But nobody I've heard has a clue what to do about this mess, myself included.

Yesterday, I had a ninty-four year old lady die, I had taken her to the ER last week. She died then as well, but we managed to revive her. If it were me, I'd have rather died. She went home to die in peace after being "stabilized." When she stopped breathing, again, the family panicked and called 911. I responded, again, and did my job. I was thankful she didn't make it this time.

The hospital bill for both visits is probably over $40,000. And she died. And she would have died no matter what we did.

Forty grand could have covered a family of four for a year.

Things like this happen thousands of times a week nationwide.

And this is called the best healthcare system we can manage?

Posted by: michael at March 10, 2010 9:03 AM

Now I'm a little surprised.stuart has let on that he's at least 60.Iguess we grew up around the same times and events since I'm a few years older.I get it now.I think Stuart sounds like those 60's backstabbers who ran around sporting Vietcong flag pins and shutting down campuses.Whether he did or not,who knows.I think you had to be there to get the attitudes left over from that era.Like the Depression,which shaped my parents' lives-I wasn't there so it's hard to really understand.
Stuart seems to have enjoyed being an American,but sounds like he was loathe to make any personal sacrifices to pay back for having been born here.He calls those who served willingly fools-serving isn't about supporting a foreign policy-it's about doing something that actually disrupts your life to one degree or another because you have been the recipient of the gift of being a US citizen.That's something in this world,where so many people exist at the mercy of tyrranical regimes and are bereft of hope.
It's not asking that much considering the freedom that is our birthright.
Thanks to the scum in the ACLU and brain dead judges schoolkids can't sing "My Country Tis of Thee","Battle Hymn of the Republic",or many other songs which make mention of the dread concept of a Creator.
I am amazed the Pledge of Allegiance hasn't been banned.Oh,they're working on it though-those leftist turds in DC.
The new mantra is allegiance to "the earth",how adorable.
Stuart and Jeff have lots to say about others here,but little specific about themselves.I know I make some harsh comments,but I also don't conceal much.
C'mon boys-be a little forthcoming if you enjoy excoriating others so much.
OTL has actually used his real name on occasion.Thomas Schmeling too,and Crowley,and Jerzyk.And if anyone doesn't know who Russ is,they haven't been following RI blogs too closely.It makes their arguments more credible,even though I seldom ever agree with them.

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 10, 2010 9:03 AM

Michael, once again you are allowing impressions and emotions to cloud your analysis.

Have you lived in other countries? I have, and I can tell you that the American system of medicine is by far the best in the world. It may not be so great compared to someone's idealistic vision of what it should be, but that isn't relevant to the real-world comparison that is being made.

Why do you get so many nuisance 911 calls? The answer is simple, and supports the opposite position of what you advocate. People who do not perceived that wasteful use of medical and rescue services costs them anything will behave in wasteful, irresponsible ways. It is that simple. If those people were paying the first $2000-4000 per year out of their own pockets before insurance kicks in (the way Blue Cross worked when I was a kid) they would exercise a lot more discretion.

The advertising for socialism is that "you are entitled to services as a right". The problem is that this message breeds contempt for those who actually provide the service.

Your problem comes directly from the aspect of the system that you advocate.

Posted by: BobN at March 10, 2010 9:35 AM

I advocate? Do you read anything or just write things? I most definitely do not advocate socialized medicine, or socialism on any level. Because I belong to and strongly support my union does not make me a socialist.

Posted by: michael at March 10, 2010 10:10 AM

Michael, I got the impression from your earlier comments that you are in favor of Obamacare or a similar, government-controlled system that exacerbates the third-party payer contradiction at great expense to taxpayers. If not, I'm sorry for mistaking your position.

Posted by: BobN at March 10, 2010 12:22 PM

Now you have me wondering what I wrote to give that impression. If you and Dan and some of the other more hard core people who comment here did what I did for a week you would probably need years of therapy. You cannot imagine the abuse and waste of taxpayer money. Rescue 1 went to Crossroads RI six times yesterday, Rescue 4 eight and the others five or six times to take intoxicated people to the ER for detox. Sixteen year olds get free rides to women and infants to deliver their third child while their baby daddy's follow in the Lexus. At 0400 a thirty year old guy called 911 for groin pain. I asked his name. He showed me his passport from the Dominican Republic then passed out on the stretcher. On Sunday a one year old had her ear pierced, started to cry, her mother called 911 for ear pain. I could go on but I'm making myself sick.

Think I'll call 911.

This is an example of free healthcare. Simply charging twenty dollars, or even ten would cut the abuse by 90%, I'm sure of it.

Price comparison is nonexistant. Insurance companies run the show, hospitals profit, fire departments profit from running 911 service as a watered down private ambulance company and the whole system is on the verge of collapse.

Posted by: michael at March 10, 2010 3:18 PM

Save your breath, Michael, these folks don't want to hear about reality. They don't want to hear about good ideas. The would not even understand.

It's so much easier to do the McCarthyism thing that they and Cheney have perfectd.

Posted by: Stuart at March 10, 2010 5:40 PM

Stuart-you insinuate yourself into exchanges between people who actually do things.Does your wife support you?
You sound like that same kind of guy,Klaus on kamreka.You're a pitiful loser.And,by the way that story about a hundred guns on your street was a flat out lie.You're a liar.A scummy liar.
Hey Jeff-go piss up a rope you sh*tmop.NOW I insulted you.

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 10, 2010 7:50 PM


"I take people from Providence to the emergency rooms all day long, for no legitimate medical reason. They call 911 for no legitimate reason, and are treated for their bellyaches and sniffles at the absolute highest cost imaginable for no reason other than they can. Nobody tells them no."

There being no socio/economic bounds to human nature; if it were "free" for all, such events as you describe would be greatly magnified.

Government, acting as government does, would issue regulations. Those regulations would create so many "unintended consequences" that women would weep and strong men avert their eyes.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at March 10, 2010 8:13 PM

"Free for All." That about sums it up. Well said, Warrington.

Posted by: michael at March 10, 2010 8:42 PM

Michael-I've seen some bad stuff on my watch,but unlike you,I wasn't necessarily there to help.You guys do a good job.FWIW Stuart doesn't belong in the conversation because he'd sh*t his pants trying to spend any time on our jobs.

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 10, 2010 9:34 PM

Sorry, Joe, we independent business folks make money without digging ditches - enough of it so our wives don't have to work and also to pay our own health care.

It's just that damn empathy, compassion, caring and reason that drives us to try to improve things for all.

Maybe someday you will be happy and fulfilled, Until then, keep drinking and hating.

Posted by: Stuart at March 10, 2010 9:41 PM

Oh,you're so full of empathy and compassion-I'm about to weep at the thought.Just like those other phonies at kmareka-you all want people to believe how you just can't wait to repair the world-you're nothing but hypocrites who like to pontificate and think they're superior.Well,you're not.
You pay for my medical care?I earned my own money Stuie.

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 11, 2010 6:03 AM

Stuart, if you want to improve things for all you are free to spend as much of your own money doing it, and you can even solicit donations from your friends and neighbors. But when you use the implied violence of government power to force other people to "contribute" to your idea of empathy and compassion, you cross the line into tyranny and dictatorship. Where is your empathy for your fellow citizens that you approve of stealing from them by force even though they don't agree with the projects that you want to sponsor?

Posted by: BobN at March 11, 2010 8:30 AM
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