Roundtable: Will Health-Care Reform Kill Capitalism?

In a brief respite from debates centering on the state of the economy and whether you're for Jon, Kate, or plus 8, health care has taken center stage at water coolers everywhere.

The Fool offices are no different. Our opinions are varied on the health-care reform plans President Obama and Congress are busily debating. So we asked a smattering of Fools: "Will Health-Care Reform Kill Capitalism?"

Seth Jayson, co-advisor, Motley Fool Hidden Gems: It absolutely won't kill capitalism. Remember, we don't have a "capitalist" health-care system now, not by any stretch. No one has any idea, for the most part, what health care costs them. Those covered by employer insurance plans don't know what their coverage costs. No one with insurance has any idea what procedures cost at a hospital. And there are separate prices -- often not even available until after you've gotten service -- for different people. What health care needs is more capitalism, and, ironically, if done right, a government reform could bring that back.

Tim Hanson, co-advisor, Motley Fool Global Gains: Lest we fail to deliver on a dramatic title, I'll start by saying it will take a lot more than one piece of legislation -- even a major piece of legislation -- to kill an economic system that's brought increasing prosperity to the world for the past 500 years. That said, capitalism, when it's working, thrives on competition. My fear with some of the plans and ideas working their way through the Congress (again, there is no final bill yet) is that they would limit competition.

That's because the two main ways any company can compete is on cost or quality of product. Wal-Mart and Southwest Airlines, for example, are two companies that cut the frills to deliver the lowest possible prices to consumers. Whole Foods, on the other hand, is a company that hopes consumers will pay a little for higher-quality food.

What does this have to do with health care? The current House health-care bill would set minimum benefit standards. This means that no insurer could offer coverage below what the government deems appropriate, and given where that line is likely to be set (pretty darn high), it could mean that all health plans end up looking pretty much the same.

At the same time, however, some are proposing a public option that, according to factcheck.org, "would set payment rates to doctors at Medicare rates plus 5 percent ... This would make the federal plan noticeably cheaper than the average for private insurance."

Thus, it would seem that if a public option is approved, private insurance would be able to compete neither on cost nor quality of product. Take that to the extreme and you end up with a government-owned monopoly on health care. Given the state of financial affairs for other large government-owned, -run, or -overseen programs (the post office, Social Security, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., etc.), that's a pretty frightening thought.

Brian Orelli, Motley Fool writer: I'm not sure what all the whining is about. If a government-sponsored public plan plays fair -- that is, the price of the plan isn't heavily subsidized by the government -- then health insurers shouldn't have any problem competing.

Sure, they'll have to figure out a way to make a profit while a government plan won't, but, come on, does anyone really think that the government is going to be able to run the program super efficiently? Have you been to a government-run office recently?

UPS (NYSE: UPS  ) and FedEx (NYSE: FDX  ) are able to compete with the post office by offering innovative services, and health insurers should be able to do the same. There's plenty of bloat in the health-care system; health insurers just need to figure out how to eliminate the extraneous expenses and take the savings as profit.

Kill capitalism? No. An additional costly program that we can't afford? Maybe.

Jim Mueller, Motley Fool editor: "The encouragement of scientific discovery [that capitalism] creates by the prospect of individual gain." That's one of seven pillars contributing to the "historic recuperative strength" capitalism has shown over time, according to Arthur Selden, author of the book The Virtues of Capitalism.

Health-care reform is not going to change that. Whether it's surgical advances being pioneered by Intuitive Surgical's (Nasdaq: ISRG  ) products or the ability to target drugs such as Erbitux to those patients who will benefit the most because they lack a certain gene mutation, capitalism -- the desire to make money -- will continue. People are endlessly inventive and will find ways to do things better and make money while doing so. The landscape will end up being different, but no reform can kill capitalism.

Charly Travers, associate advisor, Million Dollar Portfolio: There will certainly be changes, but I don't see much to be overly concerned about and my main focus is on the investment opportunities arising out of this climate. Investors who have some appetite for risk should look around the health-care space with a selective eye. In general, I'm pretty sour on big pharma since a lot of them don't have deep enough drug pipelines to replace upcoming revenue losses from patent expirations. In that segment I do make exceptions for diversified companies like Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ  ) and Novartis (NYSE: NVS  ) , both of which have complementary divisions like medical devices and consumer health products to go along with their branded drug segments.

For investors who really want to walk on the wild side, the health-care reform chatter has created significant opportunities to invest in managed health care. According to Capital IQ, the managed health-care industry is currently trading at just six times EV/EBITDA. It's easy to say investors should buy stocks that are out of favor, but when it comes time to make the trade it really can be psychologically difficult to go through with it. 

To get over that mental hurdle it can help to lean on proven value tenets, and I do see value in the two largest managed health-care firms: UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH  ) and WellPoint (NYSE: WLP  ) . Fear over what may or may not happen with health-care reform has pounded these stocks, which are trading at about half of where they were just two years ago. We own shares of UNH in Million Dollar Portfolio and consider it a bargain at nine times this year's expected earnings.

We've told you what we think. Now tell us what you think in the comments section below. Or keep reading:

This roundtable article was compiled by Anand Chokkavelu, who owns shares of Whole Foods and Intuitive Surgical. Intuitive Surgical is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. FedEx, UnitedHealth Group, and Whole Foods Market are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. UnitedHealth Group, WellPoint, and Wal-Mart are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Johnson & Johnson and United Parcel Service are Motley Fool Income Investor picks. Novartis AG is a Motley Fool Global Gains recommendation. You can get the lowdown on all our newsletters here. The Fool owns shares of UnitedHealth Group and has a disclosure policy.


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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 5:02 PM, TxTom wrote:

    Agreed. We need good, well-considered health care reform, and it will NOT kill capitalism. If it isn't done, it WILL continue to kill a lot of Americans who are unisured or underinsured.

    Even most Rebublican agree on this fact. What they can't get their greedy arms around is the fact that they will lose lots of money from the big health insurers if they support this effort. Hmmm... let people die or make more money.... what a choice for politicians.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 5:04 PM, houyhnhnm1 wrote:

    Probably the stupidest article you've ever published. Will the tooth fairy cause the death of capitalism? I wish!

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 5:07 PM, Zamaan wrote:

    What a preposterous notion!!

    How can anyone even raise the question that the health care of every citizen is of less value to the nation than a politico-economic contstruct whose main function in a democracy is directing the flow of capital and enabling the accumulation greater wealth with those already wealthy.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 5:13 PM, Edward4h wrote:

    You may not know about your insurance but I sure do. I not only know the cost of the insurance, my insurance tells me how much the Physician normally charges and how much I am paying. A government plan like Medicare and Medicaid do not tell you the cost of the plan in real dollars, nor the cost to the Doctor, nor do they give you the information so you can report discrepancies. That is why the idea of another government plan is foolhardy. Forcing people to sign up for insurance and checking on them through SS and IRS to make sure they have insurance is infringement on privacy. Why are the plans put forth costing more than a Trillion dollars? Think about that. It will at least quad the stated amount going by most of the plans after the first few years. Why is Mass. having so much trouble with their plan? Why is Tennessee also having problems - state government trying to get into the Insurance industry. Medicare and Medicaid are heavily subsidized so we have no idea how much it costs above the $1100 paid by the over 65 crowd. If you think a government plan is the solution, you have no idea what hurts the ecomomy which causes longer recessions. Study how the government gets deeper into the pockets of the citizens which prolongs the recessions - compare prior to the 1930 to after the 1930 periods and you will see why.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 5:27 PM, sommerTN wrote:

    Sorry if someone said this already. But to Brian Orelli: Do you REALLY think that UPS and FedEx compete with the post office?

    No, because UPS and FedEx can take the most profitable business. The USPS has to take what business they get, AND they have to deliver everywhere in the US, whether profitable or not.

    So translating this to health insurance, this is what we do have now. Private insurers deny the uninsurable, and the uninsurable have to spend down to poverty and they end up in the governments lap eventually via Medicaid.

    UPS and FedEx wouldn't be in business very long if they were required to deliver to ALL addresses in the US and possessions, as well as deliver what we call "ordinary first class mail."

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 5:28 PM, ballardtoo wrote:

    I'm beginning to tire of your political commentary. There is no competition now.Over 14,000 people lose their coverage each week. Our current healthcare system is broken and unsustainable. Insurance companies are essentially middle men. And if no one is noticing, they have their own death panels. We all have a pre-existing condition: mortality. Can you please just give investment advice and leave the politics at the door please? I am just getting over losing thousands due to your Bank of Greece advice. I reluctantly renewed, now I'm wondering why I bothered.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 5:41 PM, Rover4ever wrote:

    Please don't miss the point. This argument is not about health care. It is about government controlling every aspect of your life. Democrat politicians feel they know better than you as to how you should live your life. They are elitists and believe you are too ignorant to take care of yourselves and your families. The comments, of these people, at their town hall meetings are "eye opening". They have not even read the proposed legislation. If they achieve their goals private insurers will eventually disappear, with everyone eventually moving to the public option. Please do not support this legislation. We should convince our representatives to pursue medical savings accounts and tort reform.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 5:47 PM, libertarianlib wrote:

    This roundtable ought to last about 5 minutes or less.

    Healthcare reform will kill capitalism just like Social Security, Medicare, the ADA, women's rights, the minimum wage, Medicaid, etc. etc., did!

    What a joke and waste of valuable discussion time. A total BS topic that raises nothing but the tired old fear of government control destroying what is the most unbridle capitalistic society in the world.

    I can hear the strains of the chant from the fear mongering corporados and ignorant conservatives:

    "Forward into the past!"

    What a bunch of nostalgia idiots.

    Also I find TMFPhila's quote of Jefferson SO misplaced and such a non sequitur that it deserves nothing more than derision. This debate over universal health care has been going on for nearly a half century. Time to fish or cut bait.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 5:49 PM, Smith568 wrote:

    Health care reform could actually be GREAT for capitalism: just like the interstate highway system, public schools, and our robust law enforcement & fire fighting services - a public agency for the delivery of a basic plan will make things easier for everyone. I would much rather see continued competition among differentiated for-profit health care providers working to serve the interests of their niche markets above and beyond a basic public service (ala FDX/UPS) than an even more heavily regulated industry that is expected to make everyone happy. If we are genuinely interested in controlling costs - then we should be debating the nature of "basic coverage," and not yes or no. Saying "no" just perpetuates the burden of the outrageous costs we already pay. Furthermore, the benefits of a 100% covered population just speak for themselves: sticking to the capitalism theme, every industry will benefit from healthier workers and consumers. The one class of worker that will be screwed in the end will be the legions of pencil pushers now required to file all the insurance paperwork, but I still say go for it all the way!

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 5:51 PM, zerogrow wrote:

    Most of your comments seem to be in favor of universal or single payer system. It appears to be a matter of control. Some of the writers believe the gov't will be a minor player in the system. As more employers opt out of providing health care the more control the gov't has. Estimates are that at least a million more gov't workers will be needed to administer this megalopoly. Do those of you who think health care should be provided by the gov't believe this is sustainable? Have you thought of the ramifications of a gov't plan? We are already seeing exports of jobs overseas. When the ruling elite and all gov't workers want to be under this plan then perhaps your perspective would be viable because those making the laws would have a vested interest. A gov't that forces its people to buy a product is one that is one not of the people by the people or for the people.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 5:58 PM, Voxland wrote:

    The premise that surgically removing out of control excess will kill capitalism is akin to asking if putting seatbelts or a helmet on will prevent people from operating their vehicles.

    Why not ask whether allowing your US Senator, Congressman, postman or federal employee on a "government-run" health care plan has led to the use of "death panels for granny" and some of this other nonsense unfit for print or broadcast.

    In fact, over the last couple of months, we've become the laughingstock of the industrialized world. We'd prefer to make unbridled profit ahead of an efficient healthcare delivery system.

    Efficient how? As you're well aware, we have the world's most expensive care, but the statics show we're not the healthiest nor the longest-living.

    Next up, let's talk about how NOT fixing health care has made us less competitive in the industrialized world. If we want to talk purely about capitalism, employees, employers - namely small businesses the economic engine or our capitalistic system are getting the short end of the stick.

    Employers are less competitive globally and employees are seeing their premiums rising faster than their paychecks each year. Employees live in fear when facing the loss of a job - or moving to a new one when seeking to get coverage if they have a pre-existing illness.

    So, perhaps your question should be posed this way: "Will No Health-Care Reform Kill Capitalism? If we "selfishly" allow health care companies to kill the reform, they'll ultimately get away with the murder of two US victims: Its citizens and capitalism.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 6:00 PM, Snertie wrote:

    Health care "reform" can not destroy capitalism. However, It will likely kill America as the globe's most dynamic economy. We'll just slowly become enslaved and moribund like the Europeans are.

    Capitalism thrived even during the darkest days of communism in the Soviet Union. It thrived in the form of the black market, which would provide goods and services to those willing to pay when the official market was unwilling and/or unable.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 6:01 PM, afleetfeet wrote:

    What a stupid discussion question. And what is all this fear of government control? I would rather have my healthcare plan run by a government I could vote out of office instead of CEOs whose only concern in profit before patients.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 6:03 PM, Smith568 wrote:

    I will again make the analogy:

    The interstate highway system is hugely expensive, invites horrible accedents, and was built in some part to the detriment of land owners who lost out to eminint domain and a thriving rail industry that was all but destroyed. Oh yea, and it could also be used by a repressive government to rush the Army into your home town to infringe on your right to be a paranoid weirdo in any number of ways.

    But - it has enabled the creation and expansion of countless opportunities for entrepreneurs, workers, consumers, vacation goers, and other people who just want to get from point A to point B in an acceptable period of time. And nobody is really interested taking away your rights anyway, so the tanks have mostly stayed on base.

    Ultimately - it's just a way better system for getting the job done, and it only exists because the government did it. Why is this so hard to understand?

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 6:08 PM, driller101 wrote:

    People, we are the only non third world democracy that doesn't have this. Is capitalism dead in the UK, France, Germany, Japan, etc?

    The Republicans say that health care is not a right because they are deeep in the pockets of the health care establishment.

    I say that health care should be an area outside our economic system.

    Innovation will thrive. Whoever provides our health care will buy good products, just like they do in the countries mentioned above.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 6:09 PM, corycareful wrote:

    Further, the line of argument is completely lacking in logic, if government sponsored health care was the lynch pin for undoing capitalism the Finlands, Canadas, and others like them of the world would have terrible economies and only the U.S. and the developing world would have anything approaching a capitalist friendly economy.

    In Canada where I grew up taxes were certainly higher, and the healthcare system doesn't nearly approach the levels of quality of those in Europe. But where does the fact that people and businesses pay more as a percentage for healthcare insurance than the difference between U.S. and Canadian tax rates factor into the equation. A tax by any other name still makes me fork over my hard-earned dough.

    It comes down to this: if people have more money that they're not heaving into health insurance they'll have more to spend else where. Sounds like a win-win overall.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 6:22 PM, Snertie wrote:

    I have an idea: Why not reform Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veterans Administration, all government run systems on either the brink of bankruptcy or collapse, to prove that it's possible for the government to improve something before trashing the parts of the system that actually work?

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 6:23 PM, Snertie wrote:

    Question: Once our system "goes Canadian", where are the Canadians going to go?

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 6:23 PM, plange01 wrote:

    you want capitalism move to china or russia.you want a depression with over 20% unemployment the US is your place!!

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 6:26 PM, johnetheridge wrote:

    You guys said that your opinions vary but you all said the same thing.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 6:33 PM, Howard1ii wrote:

    The Problem with Brian and Tim's comments in the article is that the government insurance will be subsidized by taxpayers so they do not have to be efficient and they could basically give the insurance away (hard to compete with that). It's like if the U.S. Army decided to be in the Army surplus business and started opening up stores to give away old army equipment, who could compete against a million used m16's?

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 6:37 PM, Smith568 wrote:

    News flash to Snertie:

    Our current health care system does NOT work.

    (Unless, that is, you like the idea of having large numbers of people either dying or ending up disabled just because they don't have insurance - AFTER consuming even more of your tax dollars on last minute emergency room visits)

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 6:52 PM, eddietheinvestor wrote:

    What a silly roundtable topic. The headnote says that the opinions among Motley Fool employees greatly varies. Then all five fools agree and have the same opinion. How disingenuous! Plus, no one says that health care reform will destroy capitalism, only private insurers and our health care system, and the ability to choose your doctor and get appointments and surgeries in a timely way, and quality care. The article fails to state the truth--both liberals and conservatives want health care reform, just in different ways.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 6:55 PM, parcheymex wrote:

    I do not believe what I am seeing. Chicken little lives!!

    A piece of the sky has fallen on us because we fear that capitalism in the U.S. is so weak that a government health care measure will cause it to implode. Maybe these chicken littles have something

    because our capitalism is severely weakened by the very people that are entrusted to keep it strong.

    Or, are we being asked to wait until the weaknesses pass and capitalism will be challenged when it is stronger to mover over for a government health reform.

    The reality is that the opponents will always drum up a really wimpy argument to put it all off. They have been doing that for decades. If we do not override their wimphood we deserve to do without good health care which is surely what we have been doing for years. Shall we take another turn around the track of small minded democracy and let the insurance pools grow bigger; or do we get some service this time around?

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 6:58 PM, PALH wrote:

    Let your mind go blank for a second and then let the image of health-care reform attackers come up -- not the sign-waving screamers, but the corporate, capitalist side of it. I conjure up Big Pharma and Health Care Insurers, and that's about it. It's inconceivable why any business owner -- from the biggest corporations down to sole proprietors -- wouldn't want a strong public health-care program in place. Now. Today.

    Whatever the bucks coming out of the paychecks of most Americans who for some reason like their health-care insurance, the hit on their employers is much, much, much worse. Lose your job, wait for COBRA to kick in for a month and then just buy your own prescription drugs and pay for a doctor visit or a lab test or two in the meantime and you can see just how hard your EMPLOYER was getting kicked in the teeth with health insurance costs.

    Logic says health-care from the government should mean a major boost to many companies and would be a pathway for very small businesses to offer benefits they otherwise can't afford. The financial upside of a public option is being utterly ignored by the media in favor of covering tea parties.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 7:01 PM, actuary99 wrote:

    One thing I hadn't thought of that might help private insurers compete with the "public option":

    Most physicians currently make 150-200% of standard Medicare reimbursement. What happens when a government plan sets the price for their services at 105% of Medicare?

    Those physicians tend to put the government-insured on waiting lists while they let the private-insured right in! The same goes for the hospitals and other facilities physicians work in.

    So not unlike Medicaid-enrollees, government plan members will likely experience diminished quality of service.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 7:12 PM, mtracy9 wrote:

    Medicare is a single-payer (socialist) system, popular with the American people, yet Republican politicians are loath to admit it (hoping their clueless constituents wont notice), because is would undermine the Republican argument for opposing current health care reform.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 7:13 PM, mtracy9 wrote:

    The Medicare program operates with just 3% overhead, compared to 15% to 25% overhead at a typical HMO.

    Provincial single-payer plans in Canada have an overhead of about 1%.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 7:14 PM, mtracy9 wrote:

    When the head of Medicare is making $150,000 a year and is providing better service than the

    private insurance industry CEO who is making $12 million a year, it's time to take another look.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 7:20 PM, vinagary wrote:

    Health Care reform won't kill capitalism, "greed will kill capitalism". I think Marx said something like that about greed and we are well on our way to proving him right. Today corporations have no loyalty to our country and no loyalty to the common good. I don't know if they ever did except during the periods when we sacrificed ourselves in major world wars and provided a stable arena for their business. Privatization of pulbic assets, raiding pension funds and corporate assets, moving to no rules for business, I believe, have all contributed to the demise of our industries, our manufacturing base and the middle class wealth. The current health care system is driven by greed and in the long term will destroy itself. Trouble is we'll be casualties as well.

    I think many companies large and small would like reform. As pointed out in other comments, business would benefit. The ideologues are drowning out their voices.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 7:25 PM, greenverde wrote:

    If capitalism falls because of a national healthcare overhaul....let it. Survival of the fittest!

    Seriously, every other developed country has some form of universal healthcare. Most are capitalist economies, and all have maintained competitive with the US. And keep in mind, almost every version of healthcare overhaul that is being discussed in Washington, would involve the participation in private "capitalist" businesses in every stakeholder sector(doctors, hospitals, pharma, medical infrastructure, eqiuptment), but the government pays or subsidizes the bill. . And if insurance companies can't compete. Bye bye, the market has spoken. I personally would rather have the government overseeing my healthcare as opposed to an insurance company, whose fiduciary responsibility is to shareholders and the all mighty bottom line.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 7:41 PM, tgs10 wrote:

    Health Facts (not fiction)

    Universal health care is implemented in all industrialized countries with the exception of the U.S. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_health_care) It is also provided in many developing countries. If you stop reading here you are ducking your responsibility.

    Just to set the stage, here is a list of countries with National Health Insurance.

    Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Seychelles, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, U.K.

    Other countries with some form of universal health care:

    Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Singapore, Ireland, Scotland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan*, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Greece, Iraq*, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Oman, Peru, Trinidad, , Thailand Tobago, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, and Wales.

    *Universal health coverage provided by United States war funding

    World wide, the U.S. ranks:

    1st in overall health care expenditure and 2nd in total health expenditure as % of GDP but

    37TH in the WHO ranking of the world’s health system performance

    72nd in overall level of health!

    69th in Healthy life expectancy (HALE) at birth (years) both sexes;

    44th of 224 countries in Infant mortality (ranked from good to bad)

    121st of 223 countries in overall death rate (ranked from good to bad)

    50th of 224 countries in life expectancy (ranked from good to bad)

    134 Age-standardized mortality rate for cancer (per 100K population);

    188 Age-standardized mortality rate for cardiovascular diseases (per 100K population);

    33.2 Prevalence of adults (>=15 years) who are obese (%) female;

    31.1 Prevalence of adults (>=15 years) who are obese (%) male;

    23.9 Prevalence of current tobacco use among adults (>=15 years) (%) both sexes;

    57th in education expenditures as % of GDP

    Those who say that the U.S. has the best health care system in the world are wrong. If they are not ignorant then they are liars. In either case the rest of what they have to say cannot be taken seriously.

    Who is responsible for this dismal showing? How did we get here? Is it our health care system? It’s certainly not our health providers; so what about our lawmakers or the insurance industry? In fact all you have to do to find the ultimate culprits is look in the mirror. After all, we voted for the politicians who are doing nothing about the above shameful situation. It’s seems obvious we have people in office who like our health care system and the insurance industry just the way it is. Folks, something has to change.

    If we are 1st in overall health care expenditure, and 2nd in total health expenditure as % of GDP, but 37TH in the WHO ranking of the world’s health systems performance, then there seems to be an excessive amount of inefficiency in our system. Maybe it needs an overhaul. Or maybe there is too much profit, in the place of performance. I personally feel disgusted that my health care might be dependent on some shareholder's profit.

    So there is a need, and here is a call, to act; as individuals and in any group who aspires to improve our health care system. Don’t talk yell and scream about cost, government inefficiencies and "socialized" medicine. Such utterances are logically meaningless. The "death of capitalism"? That's as bad as "death panels". It's OK if you have to wait for medical help if otherwise there wouldn't be any. If 55 other countries, including some underdeveloped ones, can provide some form of universal health care for their citizens it’s a disgrace and shameful that the United States doesn’t. We already know some inefficiency is in excessive insurance profits and abuse of existing government-sponsored programs. We regulate telephone, power, gas, water and other utilities with the various state Utilities commissions so that they are universally available. Why shouldn't we have a universally available insurance? It's universally needed and should be universally regulated.

    Sources include the CIA Fact Book, the World Health Organization, and the United Health Foundation

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 7:49 PM, Alex1963 wrote:

    I'm for the reform. One thing I don't hear much talked about is the added benefit a public option would add for the self employed or more specifically for those who might become self employed should they either get fired or simply wish to open their own business. I lost my insurance when I became the primary caregiver for my wife. As an independent contractor my rates were outrageous. Partly paid for by my employer but still well over $300 mo for my portion. There was no way for me to swing that while looking at a terminal illness which was gulping down so much of our savings. Luckily my wife's insurance was good (at $340/mo) and our out of pocket is "only" about $15,000. I wonder how many people working somewhere now primarily for the healthcare would take the plunge and put out a shingle if they had not only the portability but the choice of an affordable public option. As the former insurance exec for Cigna now whistleblower, Wendell Potter has said, if you get insurance thru work and have since developed an illness you are now basically and indentured servant. That is not a boon for capitalism in my book. Imagine how that affects that workers ability to negotiate a better wage or how they could be abused by their employer who knows they have a virtual captive. I would offer that some of the detractors above who argue against major reform simply haven't had a major health issue yet. Well, you will. If you don't agree with the moral imperative think selfishly and advocate for your own interests.

    In short I also believe that the benefits will far outweigh the negatives. The slippery slope argument is understandable but to me still a failed one. We simply can't afford as a nation to continue with the status quo or these timid insurance industry favorable alternative plans favored by some.

    I have followed this debate intensely and no argument I have yet heard against major reform holds water. Many of the so called socialized systems in other countries work hand in hand with private insurance companies, The facts are that the US ranks 38 in overall heath scoring and pays nearly twice what other industrialozed nations pay. We already have rationed care from the insurers themselves. The insurers have increased their profits massively in the last 8 years and will need a public option to force them to forgo billions in profits. To put forward reform without a non profit gov't option is basically to hand them millions more customers, possibly mandated to get care, for whom they will rake in billions more. I agree with those who say we can at least vote our wallets if the gov't system becomes unsustainable but I believe we should try it.

    One idea I have heard from the right which I think bears study is the idea of opening up across state lines. Many states have just 2-3 insurers covering the bulk of the populations. Again tho this would involve crafting federal standards. There is a popular talking point myth that are 1800 insurers. This is false. There are in fact a few hundred insurers with a thousands of subsidiaries. And the big four of Wellpoint, United Health etc have huge market share.

    As to the funding I agree it is a concern. I think we'll need to watch that carefully as the debating continues in Sept. Tho I laud Obabm's promise to make the reform budget neutral I personally do not feel that that is the critical point. I think even if the costs were in the billions the overall boost for our economy would more than offset it.

    FYI: Here's a link to a recent article in the NY Times about how the CBO has often overestimated the cost of very large programs over the years. Yes they have also underestimated at times but this is a worthy article IMHO.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/26/opinion/26gabel.html?_r=1&...

    Regards

    Alex

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 8:18 PM, showmegw wrote:

    Not much to add to what tgs10 wrote. I would say however that it is rediculous to be so fearful of the idea of change so as to question the collapse of the entire system. I am not advocating in favor of communism or socialism but I do think that we had better start thinking more about solving problems TOGETHER for our mutual benefit. Health Care is a National issue that we need to resolve together. I am quite certain that not everybody will be happy no matter what, but it needs doing. We can look at it as a practice run for some of the threats that are out there that are going to soon require attention from not only the US, but the world as a whole.

    Climate change

    Water shortage

    Oil shortage

    Enviromental polution

    World hunger

    Just for starters. These are all real and they are not going to simply go away by sticking our heads in the sand and acting like they aren't really there and there isn't anything wrong. That is not the kind of thinking that made this country the great place that it is. WE can and will face these problems and it will work a lot better if we face them together as our history has proven.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 8:31 PM, whatsafool wrote:

    Your headline question is foolish - not Foolish. Kill Capitalism? Last time I checked, France, England, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, - all western democracies who by the way have universal health care, Fools, run on capitalism. We don't have competition in health insurance, we are stuck with monopolies. Health insurance firms are not in business to ensure we have health care, they work very hard to kick us out of our plan, if we happen to rack up high bills.

    The waste here is shameful. Did you know that for each item that a hospital may bill, there can be *forty* prices? Or that a surgeon has to spend $100k yearly to pay staff to keep track of 200 different health plans? We have madness.

    Health insurance CEOs don't make only $12 million a year, either. Elizabeth Edwards recently said “the President of UnitedHealth made so much money, that one of every $700 that was spent in this country on health care went to pay him”.

    Why not read about Wendell Potter, who walked away from his insurance industry executive salary, when he took a good look at what is happening in this country:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/27/opinion/27kristof.html?em

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 8:42 PM, actuary99 wrote:

    mtracy9 - Cite your sources. I am a healthcare actuary. I have yet to see a company with higher than 16% administration costs, so I am skeptical of your claim that "most HMO's run at 15-25% overhead". I have, however, seen Medicaid fund private insurers to administer plans with 50% loss ratios.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 8:54 PM, youaredumb wrote:

    give up your freedoms for security, what fools you are!

    every government program is broke, and you want to add nearly the equivilent of 1/6 th of our economy to the hands of government, unbelievable, lemings all, our forefathers are turning in their graves. Anyone who relinquishes freedom for security, will have neither. Glad I never subscribed to this diatribe.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 8:54 PM, LRHDVM wrote:

    Oboma and the dems have shown us that they can not be trusted. I want nothing to do with Obamacare.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 9:07 PM, actuary99 wrote:

    mtracy9 - I double-checked your claim that the "head of Medicare is making $150,000", and found that, actually, at least 57 government employees at CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) make more than $150,000. The highest paid employee, "PHURROUGH, STEVE", makes $192,000 a year. You wouldn't make a 28% exaggeration just to argue a point, would you?

    I'm all for health reform, but the current bill will not cut healthcare costs. It focuses on liberal ideals and makes no practical steps to reduce costs. I work for a large actuarial consulting firm that has quite a few people devoting their time to quantifying the impact of healthcare reform. We have years of experience modeling the effects that government mandates have on the cost of insurance.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 9:36 PM, jt02xx wrote:

    The % of the national budget spent on health care is concerning. If you are not concnerned with how much our gov't is paying for health care, you deserve to wash your big macs down with placebos instead of lipitor.

    I am all for reform...but lets proceed with real reform instead of throwing good money after bad. Personally, I do not understand how we can seriously talk health care reform and not address the absurd tort laws that create so many of the insurance issues in the first place.

    Snap out of it lemmings and insist our leadership bring us real reform that is good for the long term health of the U.S. and does not cater to lobbyist lawyers, insurance companies, or pharmacies. Right now, I would like to kick both political parties in the seat of the pants as well as the majority on this board.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 9:36 PM, MyPiggyBank888 wrote:

    I was an Xray tech for 20 plus years. Most of us in the industry knew that the best trauma care comes from a level 1 county hospital (non-profit/capitialismless) facility. The reason for their expertise can be debated, but the financing can't. It came from property owners. If you can afford more you paid more. If you can't afford more, you paid less. Yes the Jones paid more. They probably never used a county hospital. Has the hospital industry suffered? Not when the county hospitals are the best trauma hospitals. How about day to day health care needs? Walmart, are you ready to get in the clinic business? We need you now along with your $ 4.00 generics!

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 9:36 PM, alikazaam wrote:

    One can only hope.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 10:00 PM, ndev wrote:

    It won't kill capitalism but it will kill people.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 10:08 PM, jkgmot wrote:

    If anybody thinks that Capitalism is "working" at present in this country is deeply illusioned. Capitalism has not worked here for the last 20 years. Greed is the driving force in Capitalism - good sense (character) provide the checks and balances. The later has been absent here for a couple of decades - as a result Capitalism has turned into Cannibalism - trying to make more profits, industrial leaders of this country are hurting their own country by selling their industrial muscles to foreign countries, trying to make more profits. Big industries are choking out innovations, and new ideas to protect their profits - we are already lagging in the field of solar and wind energy . We lost the small car market because of the same reason.

    A very small minority of wealthy people have been guiding the destiny of this once great country for their selfish motive while the rest of this country suffer !!

    It is time for the people who really love this country to save this country before it is too late !!!

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 10:23 PM, Snertie wrote:

    Smith568: It still works better than anywhere else. If it's so great everywhere else, then why are they so dissatisfied? Try reading the Canadian and British press. Most of Europe is privatizing their systems because they are not working. Why is that?

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 11:01 PM, lwbaum wrote:

    I'm an American citizen living in Hong Kong, which has one of the freest economies in the world. Hong Kong has a government-run health system.

    The system, called the Hospital Authority, is supported mostly by general government revenue (income taxes, property taxes, fees, land auctions, etc.). Everyone, including non-citizen residents like me (I pay taxes here), can see a doctor at a hospital for the equivalent of US$8. Drugs are prescribed for a nominal fee. Hospital stays cost more but are still very cheap. Service is good, although we do need to wait an hour or two at each visit, elective procedures may require waiting for months, and hospital beds are in wards rather than private rooms. Quality is good as measured by life expectancy, which is among the longest in the world. If people want to pay out-of-pocket for health care outside the HA, there are private doctors, hospitals, and insurance plans, which may offer more luxurious service. Competition is strong, as seen by the low fees charged by doctors in private practice (around US$30 for a routine visit, plus drugs). The several private hospitals here seem to be doing well.

    The Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal from US and Cato and Fraser Institutes of Canada have consistently rated Hong Kong as the world's freest economy. I'll ask the question again and let you decide: Will health-care reform kill capitalism?

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 11:10 PM, billi1 wrote:

    I think that all of you at the round table are on DOPE!!!!

    This is not about HealthCare!

    It's all about the takeover of another segment of individual freedom by the radical left wingers ( read that communists) and the eventual destruction of our capitalist system.

    Billl Alexander

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 11:45 PM, TxTom wrote:

    If you are under 65 and can afford health insurance, that's great. I happen to be part of the "over 65 crowd" as one comment put it, and would absolutely NOT qualify for any private insurance plan in the absence of Medicare. I never realized before why this "socialed medical" program existed, but now it is painfully obvious. If I didn't have Medicare, I'd have no medical insurance at all.

    Of course I paid into the system for a lot of years, so it isn't a "handout". It is my ONLY option.

    There are quite a few Americans that don't have the financial means to afford health care. This isn't a political or financial issue. It is a moral issue. If you don't believe there is a moral obligation to help save lives through universal medical care, then continue to fight against the effort. You'll pay for those who don't have it through increased insurance premiums anyway, and only when the cost is a lot higher because they show up at emergency rooms.

    Or would you have that practice stop too?

    Does anyone else reading this think it is a moral problem that needs to be solved? Or do people less fortunate just deserve to die without medical treatment.... ?????

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 11:55 PM, gio1950 wrote:

    Capitalism has robbed health care since the sixties. Where are these writers checks coming from?

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2009, at 11:58 PM, jt02xx wrote:

    TxTom - You highlight a legit problem that needs to addressed through reform. However, tax-payers cannot continue to blindly subsidize health care for all. Some onus has to be on the individual granted there is a system that allows access.

    America is fat and getting fatter...health care reform should have some sort of incentives (i.e. excise tax on junk food and tax breaks for 'healthy' people) that rewards and encourages people to live healthy lifestyles...as well as a host of other cahnges that fundamentally alter how Americans currently view health care.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 12:12 AM, tuxeroo wrote:

    The late Norman Thomas, the American Socialist Party's perennial candidate for president, said decades ago that the American people will never vote for socialism, but it will be adopted, one government program at a time, until it has become our economic system and our way of life. He was a prophet. Social Security wasn't sold as the answer to retirement funding; it was supposed to be a safety net to supplement retirement savings. Of course, over time it has come to be "the" retirement plan for a great many; and although it isn't actuarially sound and doesn't even offer a good return on investment for the typical pensioner, the masses are deeply grateful to, and dependent upon, the all-providing government for taking their money and giving back a poor return. Shifting the health care system to the government is but another step down the road Norman Thomas foresaw (a road soon to be occupied, too, by the products of Government Motors, financed by Government Banks). Soon we'll be grateful to a kindly (and ever-growing) government for taking such good care of us when we're ill -- at a dear price in dollars and in independence and freedom of choice.

    Our health care today is shockingly expensive and riddled with waste and fraud -- in part because hospitals, drug manufacturers, and providers who derive revenue from being paid by Medicare and Medicaid for the services and products they provide have all figured out how to cheat the government with padded charges, and they rationalize it by blaming inadequate government reimbursement schedules and the truism that "Everybody screws the government."

    Nobody knows what kind of health care "reform" Congress may enact, but you can bank on this: Because it's being constructed by politicians with the eager help of the powerful health care lobby, it will cost more -- a lot more -- and it will perform even worse than what we have now.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 1:14 AM, jomueller1 wrote:

    Is capitalism a sacred cow? Must be, though many suffered a loss of big amounts of capital recently. Capitalism is an ideology and should not get in the way of pragmatic decisions. Canada and the UK have national health care and I do not consider them commies. This is just noise by interested parties who hold short of nothing to spread fear. Why does the general public allow themselves to be pushed around like that?

    Companies got use to easy profits and they do not want to work for their money. Is that acceptable?

    Health care in all industrialised nations is better and cheaper (just look at average life expectancy) because it is better organised. Americans love it complicated and that costs money.

    Employers should stay out of health care. I do not want to be employed to have health care. Then I cannot lose it when I lose my job or retire. How is that for freedom of choice?

    I want a not-for-profit insurance that uses only 5% of the premiums to run the whole organisation like those insurances do in Germany.

    I do not want pharmacies that count my pills in a dirty environment out of a box that may not even have the original pills. I want manufacturer sealed sterile medication.

    If someone thinks a different health care option would limit choices - think again! What do the insurers now? They limit in many ways like preexisting conditions, life time maximum payout and much more. They reap the profits and leave the "old and sick" for Medicare.

    Halleluyah!

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 1:37 AM, Sandra226 wrote:

    I am FOR health-care reform but not in its 1000+ page pre-orchestrated form under consideration. I am in support of comments from billie1, ndev, LRHDVM, youaredumb (quite an amount of foresight on your part!), Rover4ever and 2 or 3 times for Snertie, all of whom "get it" and have bothered to state it eloquently.

    What I see going on currently in our government scares me with an intensity I have never felt in my 66 years. There have been many times when I have been uncomfortable with governmental decisions but this is not the CHANGE that anyone wanted or considered. We need to wake up because this cannot be allowed to go forward.

    When I listen to Obama's early words now, in light of how his troupe forges ahead, as the enormous machine that it is; it makes such sense in a completely different and terrifying sense. No one ever translated his well-crafted speeches using what appears to be the true Obama agenda. We are a trusting and enthusiastic bunch and the price of that naive view will be higher than the projected deficit if civilian action is not swift and fierce.

    This mobilization that I see among citizens is not about people whining. Instead, these are people who are appropriately alarmed. These actions are not those of an organized type-oh, but I wish!

    Taking a disinterested approach at this time carries with it an ENORMOUS price for programs offering no refunds. I implore all of you not to be relaxed about these times. Please examine this new force in our midst. There is deep-seated multi-faceted threat in our midst.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 8:54 AM, bellatrix wrote:

    Your question is actually a loaded one. You connect the delivery of health care for all (something that all industrialized countries have instituted) to the demise of the entire economic system. This is utterly foolish. Please forgive the pun! Our faith in capitalism has been dented recently not by the health care debate, but by the thieves and charlatans on Wall Street. So please try to phrase the question in an unbiased manner. I expect more from you guys.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 9:48 AM, TxTom wrote:

    Yes, this entire country is hooked on junk food, and diseases like diabetes are growing rapidly.

    Disadvantaged people eat at McDonalds and similar places because they can get high fat content for little money. Our junk food industry is thus getting richer and richer while poor folks increasingly depend on it.

    Lots of reform is needed. Health care has to be well-considered, thorough, universal, and preventative as well as reactionary.

    I'm stuck with Medicare, but at the same time I eat right, exercise, and frankly am repulsed when I see our young folks growing fatter and less active. And it isn't just in America. This is happening all over the world as fast-food chains continue to spread and feed everyone crap.

    We need universal health care. It should include a lot of provisions to address the root problem as well as care for people who can't afford high premiums.

    If the process weren't so political and money-driven we might be able to implement some cost-effective plan that everyone could support. At the moment things are mired in politics and even the re-election of the present administration depends on the HUGE health care lobby that largely determines who is in office. This is not "government by the people" and certainly not "for the people". And groups scream "let's get back to the constitution"... sure... Most don't know what that means.

    Political suicide on one hand, saving/improving lives on the other. Decisions... decisions...

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 9:53 AM, ibropin wrote:

    I agree we all need health care . I am saddened when I see children and adults with out health proper health care in one of the greatest country the world has ever seen. I am willing to listen and think maybe I am missing something I have tried hard to understand. I read all these treads and can almost tell there age and where they were educated by the responce. I am 59 years old and have seen these changes little by little all my life. I truly believe you have seen your freedoms eroded little by little over the course of your lives that you do not even see it happening to you at this point. In the sixties our parents thought that we were a bad generation and the countrys was going do the tube also. So now maybe I have become them and just do not like change I truly dont know, but I am willing to listen. Just do not think that we do not understand and lable us as out of touch. We do see the problem also and agree that it needs a solution that still smells of socialism to those of us that had less government intervention that you did. Most of our teachers in school where not liberal as they are now, so we see it different and we have to meet somewhere in the middle. I do see that most of you more and more need big brother to make your life complete. I am fearful of us reaching a point where the mass can vote themselfs a pay check. I work and travel everyday in places where people are waiting for the next give away and are will to wait till the next one. When that group of people out numbers the ones working to make it work, you will as they say in the car bussiness be upside down . So I am willing to listen but do not make the mistake of thinking we are all wrong and you are the only ones that have the right answer.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 10:34 AM, kellan45 wrote:

    wow!!!!!!!

    mottlyfool is a bastion of libs and lib propaganda!!!

    if you think healthcare reform as it stands today will have no effect on capitalism you have to be reallllllly stuipd wow... look at the mess we have today it started with the houseing that "THEGOVERMENT"

    mandated all people should have a houes, made the banks loosen the lending rules great idea, lets lend money to poeple that cant pay it back...well anybody lost any money lately!!!

    anybody lost a job, car, business, house, wife,etc,etc,etc

    no the gov. run heathcare wouldn't hurt the economy lol,lol,lol

    the fool has lost me it seems to be full of 'lib

    zealous idiots & unbelievabel ignorance

    thanks for your time

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 10:47 AM, eddietheinvestor wrote:

    I am concerned about this roundtable discussion because of the lack of Motley Fool objectivity. All of the Motley Fool staff members, despite the claim of varied opinions, defend the plan. Yet the Motley Fool site has lately been showing many ads supporting Obama's plan. In other words, does the Motley Fool staff unanimously support Obama's plan--the roundtable discussion members clearly do--because they really do or because they are taking a lot of advertising money from plan supporters? I am concerned about the lack of objectivity. Furthermore, opponents of this plan claim that it will increase the deficit and hurt health care quality--not that it will destroy capitalism. So the roundtable question is irrelevant and misleading. And people of both parties want health care reform, so why can't the Democrats listen to conservatives and at least make a few concessions, such as tort reform? We are all in this together, so why can't the Democrats, despite their huge majority, at least consider a bipartisan health care reform bill?

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 11:00 AM, kellan45 wrote:

    hey esterlin!!!

    the libs are not inerested in healthcare reform THEY WANT CONLROL !!!!!!!

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 11:39 AM, IIcx wrote:

    This topic came up in an earlier blog and we asked a simple question, "has anyone reviewed the 1,000+ page bill and posted the pros and cons in a levelheaded way?".

    No answer so far, so the question deserves a second ask and, if you haven't either read the bill or found that source related to your comments, how do you know what implication the bill will have on capitalism in the healh-care and pharma space?

    Americans do not want the US to turn into a socialist welfare state but the pros and cons of this bill are little more then sound-bites at the moment.

    Just my 2 cents for consideration.

    Regards, IIcx

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 12:04 PM, wolfman225 wrote:

    One little thing notably missing in all of the comments/anti-liberal, -conservative rants is any mention of the fact that "the government" doesn't pay for anything. Personally, I am against increasing government intrusion. I've yet to have anyone show me any efficient government-run program. Just MHO.

    Let's put this into some real perspective. All of you who are so passionately for nationalized/socialized health care, try this little experiment:

    go down to your local bar, coffee shop, VFW Hall, etc, while there swapping stories look to the guy/gal on your left and try to imagine the argument you would make to convince them that they have a duty to pay some portion of YOUR health insurance, whether they choose to or not (not just the usual talking points, make it an argument with a real chance of working) THEN turn to the guy/gal on your right and try to imagine the argument they could use that would make you willing to open your wallet and give them whatever money they say they "need", regardless of your ability to afford such a sum.

    That's what all this boils down to, after all. "The Government" never pays for anything! "Free Healthcare" is anything but! When anyone demands that "the government" provide this or that, what they are really saying is that their neighbors must have their earnings confiscated to give them what they want. It's all part of an increasing entitlement mentality in this country. In fact, I actually heard a woman complain that a friend of hers was somehow being mistreated by "the system" because she MADE TOO MUCH MONEY TO GET FREE HEALTH CARE!

    If you really want to have an impact on healthcare and insurance costs, get rid of the government mandated coverages and allow insurance companies to write policies based on actual needs of their clients and allow those clients to purchase plans across state lines. Is there any reason for a woman to have to include in her premiums coverage for prostate exams , hair transplant surgeries and ED drugs? Is there any reason for a man to have to subsidize coverage for pelvic exams, breast cancer/enhancement, plastic surgery, etc...?

    Health insurance should be marketed just as car insurance is: beyond certain bare minimum coverages (in the case of health care it would be major medical/catrastrophic care), you pay increasing premiums based on the coverage you want, via a menu of options AND your behavior figures into your premium, as it should. If you're a drug/alcohol abuser with a history of related medical problems, you would naturally be expected to pay more than a vegan who runs 5 miles a day and uses little health resources. Additionally, NO truly elective surgical proceedures should be covered, unless the individual purchases specific coverage (in San Francisco, insurance companies are REQUIRED to cover sex-change operations!).

    Ideally, I would like to see a resurgence of MSA's/HSA's. Eliminate the broad-based insurance converage (excepting major medical/injury) and allow individuals to fund privately held accounts modelled on IRA's. Only by reintroducing the direct relationship between customer and provider can costs truly be contained. People are much more likely to make more informed choices when it comes to spending their own money, rather than "the goverment" paying for everything.

    "The government can't give anyone a dollar until it first confiscates two dollars from someone else."

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 12:36 PM, redbeard33610 wrote:

    Well I disagree with the assessment that many people are unaware of the cost of healthcare. The company I work for spends $7,000 towards my healthcare and because I chose to have more options than the "basic" plan I pay $2,022.80 extra for a total of $9,022.80. The plan I am on has a lifetime cap of 2 million dollars. Each time I visit a doctor, Rx, specialist, blood work etc. I see the bill. Then I see the statement from the insurance company. I see the "retail" price - the price the doctor billed the insurance company, the amount the insurance company paid and my copay (plus the day the check was sent to the doctor). Generally the doctor receives 30% of the bill he submits. In the 15 years that I have been with my primary doctor he has NEVER NEVER added any examines which were "not quite required." He always discussed any examines which he ordered - ALWAYS for my health. I live in Florida, but I researched the cost of health procedures. I cannot find the medical charges in advance, but in researching the state of Ohio hospitals are mandated by law to show their charges. This link for hospital charges in Ohio is quite refreshing to see. (http://www.bcrhc.org/brown.nsf/a1c52451f573663c86256bc90056e...

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 1:07 PM, IIcx wrote:

    Well that was a mess - sorry.

    I haven't found a great Pros and Cons article yet but I'll try again later today. Here's what I ran across that's reasonably objective:

    google search: "pros and cons of the health-care bill"

    http://growingbolder.com/blogs/uncategorized/health-care-440...

    google search: "pros and cons of H.R. 3200"

    http://brad-bigbadbrad.blogspot.com/2009/08/norman-rockwell-...

    HR 3200 Official Bill Text (1,036 pages but easier to read online - comments are interesting but only 20% support the bill on this site):

    http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3200/text

    HR 3200 Overview:

    http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3200/show

    OpenCongress Summary

    This is the House Democrats' big health care reform bill. Broadly, it seeks to expand health care coverage to the approximately 40 million Americans who are currently uninsured by lowering the cost of health care and making the system more efficient. To that end, it includes a new government-run insurance plan (a.k.a. a public option) to compete with the private companies, a requirement that all Americans have health insurance, a prohibition on denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions and, to pay for it all, a surtax on households with an income above $350,000. A more detailed summary of the bill by the House Committee on Education and Labor can be read here (four-page .pdf).

    What is the Public Option?

    http://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/1174--What-is-the-...

    The Health Care Bill's Tax Increases

    http://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/1187-The-Health-Ca...

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 1:19 PM, stonebusted wrote:

    One should look at the unions in this and many problems. They were the ones who bloated health funds to create a larger skim, passing what was left on with no concern to value. If the money had been used as intended a sneeze would be an unheard of event.

    Give a little credit to the legal system for inflating cost too. They have earned it.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 1:59 PM, otd365 wrote:

    Gee Whizz folks !!!!!!

    Politics and health care do not belong in the same paragraph. Would anybody argue that typhoid Mary had the right to a work as a waitress ?

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 2:10 PM, zgriner wrote:

    No matter what you think about our current health care system, anyone who wants a minimum level of care gets it. There is no "right" to health care.

    The government is screwing up Medicare and Medicaid in terms of costs and fraud. I just heard on NPR how politicians mandate that Medicare overpay for oxygen services by 60%. Is that the kind of health care you want?

    The government screwing up VA health by running it into the ground because there is no competition. Is that the kind of health care you want?

    Do you want your Congress to vote on a bill that no one read, just like the last two "stimulus" bills?

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 2:17 PM, PsycheDaddy wrote:

    I think the biggest concern with most people is they don't trust government. We have developed a system of government that has no limits in spending and therefore the politicians become corrupt and keep spending. Until reform of this government takes place and cutting down the size of government nothing good comes out of Washington. I am not talking about socialism, I am talking about a government of 100 years ago before the industrial revolution. We made too many mistakes in the past that have caused the mess were in. We need to look at what we need from government. We need defense, education, environment pertection, and healthcare. But we need all to be affordable and with less taxes than the 50% that all government entities take from our pockets. States with a balance budget constitutions seem to work better. Deficits in federal government are necessary in times of crisis but only then and should then revert back to balance or surplus when crisis is over. The government spends like young people with no experience in life and no concept of saving for a "rainy day".

    I am always appalled, when reading history of the economic decisions that we have made in the past. We have not learn from our previous mistakes. The corruption in government is mind boggling. We need more regulations on our government and politicians. If we all had less taxes with more take home pay, wouldn't healthcare be an much easier decision. Health is certainly the most important thing to all of us, but who can trust government to provide it. We all have had friends that keep borrowing money for their own good reasons and then never pay you back. After awhile, you just don't want to lend or give them any more money.

    I think all Americans would be better off with more money in their pockets with less taxes and a more efficient government. Is it too much to turn this all around. We have messed it up, can we straighten it out. To me that is true capitalism. True capitalism also controls expenses which is seems everyone forgets.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 3:32 PM, flying32 wrote:

    C'mon folks, as has been observed by others this isn't about welfare reform, it's about moving our government way left. If you focus on the diversionary tactics you miss the elephant in the room. Obama promised "Change" and it is being implemented in front of your eyes while you discuss trivial details!

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 4:24 PM, jenif1ip wrote:

    Hmmm... how about keeping the government from creating yet another expensive bureaucratic monster that will be bleeding us dry in perpetuity, and encourage the formation of local health care co-ops or non-profits instead.

    I saw a chart displayed by one Congressman at a "town-Hall" type meeting, that showed 30 new agencies that would be created to buffer the interaction between you and your physician. No Thanks.

    Organizations that have to be accountable to their members sound like a much better idea than government entities that refuse to tolerate transparency.

    A local entity that knows the unique health care needs of it's own community is best.

    I actually DO know what my health care costs are and what my employer pays. Read up, bubba!

    Have you even read the proposed legislation? I've taken a good stab at it, and it seems that a lot of favors are being gratified for special interests.

    I realize that co-ops take some time to develop, but I do not think that the Federal Government will do a better job.

    Just look at the VA. Our family has personal and excruciating experience with the Veterans Administration medical system. Disturbing.

    Take a look at the medical care on most American Indian Reservations through the auspices of the Indian Health Service. Deplorable.

    Let's keep the feds out of our pockets, and our health care. Keep it LOCAL.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 10:06 PM, kdpaj7b wrote:

    This country was formed with GOD'S hands and spirt. Our constitution was carved out of GOD'S power and it made our country the best. No where in our constitution does it say anything about health ins. but does state that the government must defend our country and it's people from external and internal enemies. Your comments on the government handling our health insurance sounds like a motley fool's statement.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2009, at 10:53 PM, right2bfree wrote:

    Once again you have proven the choice of Fool as an appropriate title. The discussion went far afield by ignoring the haste with which this "reform bill" is being railroaded. We all want health-care reform, but the devil is in the details. This bill does not pass the smell (or is it stink) test. The lack of tort reform is obvious. KISS - keep it simple stupid!

    First correct all of the problems in Medicare/Medicade and get all of the promised savings. Take out all of the grabs for control over our private lives. This bill is horrible and needs to be shredded and started from scratch.

    Second let's offer the federal employees plan to all that want it and try that on for size.

    Your panel has their heads in the sand.

    And for God's sake, stop spending money that is not available.

  • Report this Comment On August 30, 2009, at 12:20 AM, mlaursen wrote:

    re: "No, because UPS and FedEx can take the most profitable business. The USPS has to take what business they get, AND they have to deliver everywhere in the US, whether profitable or not."

    You've got it backwards. UPS and FedEx would love to deliver first-class mail, but are forbidden from doing so. Meanwhile, we have the USPS, because, well, I'm not sure why -- because there it is a vital national interest to stuff mailboxes across the nation with junk mail.

  • Report this Comment On August 30, 2009, at 12:22 AM, mlaursen wrote:

    Was going to comment, but right2bfree covers my opinion on this one closely enough.

  • Report this Comment On August 30, 2009, at 1:20 AM, SissyTheClown wrote:

    I don't know if health care reform will kill capitalism or not. The proof will be in the final details. This bill is so sketchy and ambiguous it is ridiculous. There are a couple of things that really scare me about H. 3200: (1) There doesn't seem to be any congressional or judicial oversight required for the program. The Cabinet Secretary or the Health Benefits Advisory Committee seem to be empowered to set or define everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) without input from any person or any government agency other than Mr. President. (2) There is no verification procedure required to make sure you're an American citizen before being granted access to this proposed system.

    For this new health care program to be successful, the government will have to change a few other programs, like: immigration policies to remove the "anchor baby" provision, deporting illegal aliens, tort reform, making illegal entry into this country a criminal offense, pulling in the reins on drug prices, etc.

    If the democrats want this bill implemented without a great backlash in the 2010 elections, they better be specific and cover all the bases. If they want the public-option program will cover abortions, say so. If they want it to pay for sex change operations, say so. They say this program doesn't allow coverage for illegal aliens. If that is true, require e-verification.

    At this point in time, I refuse to place my trust and very life in the hands of such left-wing liberals as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid without getting their promises in writing. If we're going to go this route, folks, do it right. As an old saying goes, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. All federal employees (including congress and the president) should be required to participate in whatever new program is signed into law. That should ensure that they do it right, for the benefit of all American citizens.

  • Report this Comment On August 30, 2009, at 12:16 PM, IIcx wrote:

    Thanks SissyTheClown - great comments.

    Nothing is going to kill Capitalism but the premise as I read it is Capitalism in Health-Care and related sectors that drive innovation and growth. Fair trade is an interesting topic in this arena.

    I took the time to wonder over what I felt would be a good source for pros and cons - articles related to what medical organizations think of HR 3200 - and its obvious that the medical community is split over the implications of the bill. This bill should not pass until the medical community agrees on its merits!!!

    AMA Supports yet Texas Medical Association and Ohio State Medical Association find numerous reasons for concern.

    Pros: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/news/news/ama-supports-hr-32...

    Cons: http://www.laketravisview.com/2009/08/07/smith-doggett-agree...

    Many of the Cons are very disturbing and could limit alternatives and innovation:

    Cons:

    http://www.laketravisview.com/2009/08/07/smith-doggett-agree...

    Texas Medical Association President William H. Fleming III, M.D.

    TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing nearly 44,000 physician and medical student members.

    * For the TMA, one of the major sticking points with H.R. 3200 is its opinion that the bill limits on the patient’s ability to choose their own physicians and that medical decisions be a personal matter.

    * TMA cannot support a proposal to create another government-payer health plan while existing government-payer plans, such Medicare, Medicaid, and the military health care program, TRICARE, are failing patients.

    * We are deeply troubled there is no fix to the flawed Medicare funding formula, which limits seniors’ ability to see a doctor when they need to; and the absence of medical liability reforms, which provide greater access to care...

    * We remain extremely concerned that the ‘public option’ will soon become the controlling payer in all health care, resulting in an unworkable government price-setting scheme like we now see in Medicare.

    * TMA physicians also are concerned that this plan limits at which hospitals patients can receive care.

    Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA)

    http://www.osma.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1

    note: search for HR 3200

    "This page contains several links to resources that may answer questions that physicians or patients have about the health system reform debate."

    * OSMA is concerned the bill does not address medical liability reform and opposes payment cuts in the cost of imaging services [MRI’s, CAT scans, etc.].

    * It opposes the bill’s ban on physician-owned hospitals, as well as restrictions for those facilities that would be enacted if the bill becomes law.

    * But its major concern is the same as the TMA’s – a perceived “lack of adequate measures to improve consumer responsibility in controlling one’s own health care costs.

    *OSMA believes Congress should take more time on the issue, and that there should be closer cooperation between the House and Senate before a law is passed.

    Yet,

    * current practices of insurance companies are appalling

    * patients must choose between the health care they need and deserve or food on the table

    * the bill ends coverage denials based on pre-existing conditions

    * the bill includes fundamental Medicare reform, including repeal of the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula

  • Report this Comment On August 30, 2009, at 4:26 PM, GoofyScreenName wrote:

    Capitalism will bring the highest quality of health care to the most people, at the lowest cost. IF it is allowed to.

    There is currently massive government interference in the health care marketplace and consequently there is inflation. The result? A health care cost "crisis" that the governemt itself created.

    Another marketplace with continous and unneccesary inflation? College education. There is massive government interference in this marketplace too. All those student loans distort the economics.

    Sadly, more control for government, less for citizens, patients and their doctors is the Obamacare objective. And from posts I've read here, it appears there are many sheep willing to go along.

    Some of the sheep think they are helping people who don't have health care receive health care. Many of those sheep think they are more compassionate or smarter than others who disagree with them. To them I say read my first sentence as the solution to the cost and availability problem lies therein.

    For those few unfortunate souls that cannot participate in any way to purchase or earn healthcare servcies, we already have compassionate and free care at thousands of community clinics and every hospital emergency room in the USA. Lets conrinue to extend care to all in a sustainable way without government prescribed rationing.

    As to Obamacare, the issue is a loss of FREEDOM and once it is lost, it is lost, it is so VERY HARD to regain. You may recognize the sheep as power hungry block captains or "know-it-all" in your company or town.

  • Report this Comment On August 30, 2009, at 4:45 PM, ecoloney wrote:

    This isn't about health care reform for the Homocrats, it's about oppression and control. Same as the Nazis.

  • Report this Comment On August 30, 2009, at 5:38 PM, Sophiamor wrote:

    We are witnessing the rise of a Big Government- Big Business cabal to make the military-industrial complex green with envy.

    Those who go along with the Big Government plans

    will be among the chosen ones to benefit from them.

    Note that Mssrs. Obama, Emanuel, Holder, Axelrod, et al have "got theirs". Our President is for sure NOT a friend of the rich - he only associates with the Super Rich, a la Bill Clinton.

    The "health care insurance" bill (what bill?) is not about a specific set of reforms. It is about giving the government (the current administration and its czars) a blank check to impose upon us, the great unwashed, whatever it wishes. It is about controlling every aspect of our lives, from cradle to grave.

  • Report this Comment On August 30, 2009, at 7:55 PM, Aneirin wrote:

    "Given the state of financial affairs for other large government-owned, -run, or -overseen programs (the post office, Social Security, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., etc.), that's a pretty frightening thought." Social Security is indeed in the red. Yet the Post Office from 1972-2007 has broken even (and is actually somewhat in the black). Read the following link for information: http://www.nalc.org/postal/perform/selfsufficient.html#selfs... In fact, they normally do pretty well on many measures. Recently they have been losing money, but this is unlikely to last longer than the recession, so using the Post Office as an example is foolish. Secondly, if the public option if hurts health insurers, the reason why will be that it would provide better service at a better price. Right now, the majority of insurance companies are more concerned with their bottom line than with providing healthcare. Healthcare reform should be about providing for the people, not helping insurance companies. If a single-payer system is needed, it should be had. As to whether the public option will kill capitalism, I doubt it will. Not even all of the uninsured will go into the public option (a majority will go into some kind of private plan, whether subsidized or unsubsidizd). Most people who are insured right now will probably stay with their own insurance (since most seem to be happy with it).

  • Report this Comment On August 30, 2009, at 8:56 PM, Keegan07 wrote:

    It won't kill capitalism. It's just wound it.

    There are several reasons healthcare is expensive.

    Insurance providers are rich and greedy (or just desiring to be more profitable).

    It cost a lot more money that needed to develop drugs and medical devices. In part due to the government’s involvement and inefficiency. But we like that because we "want" the gov to keep us safe.

    While we can shop for insurance, we can't shop for where we have our emergency surgery. This makes it tough to vote with your dollar.

    Who thinks this will make employers more competitive? They will have to pay the employees more so they can pay their larger tax bill.

    Yeah, the current system sucks, but any time the gov has sustained involvement in something that scares me because the gov doesn’t have the desire. The only motivation they have is to get re-elected by people who thinks the gov keeps them "safe" and wants taxpayer dollars spent on them so they don’t have to work for it.

    Go to a vet clinic and checks some drug prices, much cheaper. Wonder why? Dogs don’t have gov run health care. They don't even have health insurance.

    We do have the best health care in the world. The reason we don’t live longer is we eat too much and live too easy.

  • Report this Comment On August 30, 2009, at 11:40 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:
  • Report this Comment On August 30, 2009, at 11:49 PM, FinancialBill wrote:

    I am a Certified Financial Planner, economist, and historian on much of the 20th century and no stranger to the political scene. I have been watching the debate, reading significant portions of the bills and commenting during lengthy interviews of radio for the past 3 months.

    Our health care system has a number of problems to say it politely but it is also, in my humble opinion, perhaps the best health care system available globally. That may shock Socialists or lovers of "all things government".

    I have both concerns and grave frustrations mostly centered on the fact that, during this entire debate, I have not heard a major "fix" to the current system ever proposed or discussed. Allow me to attempt to address several, but not all, of the key areas in health care people need to understand and which our politicians need to address.

    Premise ONE: All insurance is "shared risk". That is the underlying basis. So, when you have claims, whether yours or from someone else, it can lead to increased premiums. the more claims and larger, the greater the premium increase. Couple this with:

    Fact Two: Insurance Regulators require premiums to be set which will ensure profitability in product pricing. They will actually challenge insurers who bring out new product actuarially priced too low to sustain profitability. Their concern is that the insurance company, which has an obligation to the insured to "be there" to pay claims in accordance with the insurance "contract". This exceeds any obligation of typical companies who sell product or service to "be there" long-term. I used to use GM as an example of a company that really isn't obligated to be there for you long term. That is no longer a good example for obvious reasons.

    Fact Three: I find it interesting that the government is dumping so heavily on the insurance industry (and a lot of less-than-knowledgeable consumers are willfully joining in) when the insurance products are performing and offering much better options to consumers than their nemesis and major competitors, the banks, who required extensive bailouts for their foolish and reckless behavior (all of which was facilitated and encouraged by our elected dummies, erh, uh, officials in Washington with LOTS of lobby money. Please note: the insurance companies with the exception of AIG who should NOT have been bailed out, and when they were, had we had anyone with a brain in Congress, would've stipulated that NO bonuses could be paid, that top execs would lose their jobs as part of any deal, and they would be required to pay back at least their pay and bonuses for the past period of reckless behavior.

    Premise 2: The impact of servicing "the illegal uninsureds".

    One of the simplest (yet most illusive to ever come to grasp by elected officials) solutions to really improve cost-controls and cost-effectiveness of health care is to limit access to free services of our health care system to ONLY transient legal visitors to our country who also cannot afford emergency care (very few) and to only those who truly encounter an emergency medical situation while in country. We certainly wouldn't deny health care to someone visiting Disney World who has an accident or who sustains a heart attack. But, these people are usually here, traveling on business or with family, and paying into our economy. They aren't the problem and we cover them, as we Americans are covered, when we travel to their countries and have a health related incident, though the level of care there may not be as high as it is here.

    the problem is that for decades we have refused to address the ongoing, ever-growing rampant abuse of our health care system by aliens not entitled to it. Democrats feel this is or should be an entitlement. I don't know what rock Pelosi crawled out from under or what space ship she arrived in, but BIG CLUE: United States citizens and taxpayers are not and should not be responsible for general health care for the world's citizens. PERIOD. We are a nation going BROKE, people. This Administration has seen to that by increasing in 7 months the National Debt it took all other administrations over 200 years to accumulate. Who's going to pay for this and how long do you reallly think this can continue? Russia, China, and other nations are lobbying right now to replace THE DOLLAR as the international standard in world trade. That's a dismal historic "first". And it's due to our ruinous fiscal and monetary policies.

    The Federal Reserve gave out $ 2 TRILLION to someone this spring. Within 90 days of doing so, under grilling by an astute Democratic Congressman from nearby here in Florida, a lady from the Federal Reserve, high-ranking official, would NOT tell where the money went...claiming that until they completed an investigation, she couldn't determine that. Does anyone remember when Congress grilled President Ronald Reagan over a protracted period asking him repeatedly to account for conversations several years before over Iran-Contra and getting on him because he couldn't remember all the details. The man was in his 80s and later proven to be in the early stages of Alzheimers and yet people today still rail about that. This woman might have touched the big 4_0, is hardly dealing with dementia, and the events occurred in the preceding 90 DAYS,,,, involving $ 2 TRILLION more than the Gross National Product of all but a handful of the 200+ nations on earth. And our President is praising The Fed and giving them MORE power. This is a Washington out of control. The FED is comprised of APPOINTEES not responsible to you or me and they WON'T account for $ 2 TRILLION of YOUR MONEY. Aren't you at all interested and DISTURBED by this. WE should all be outraged and faxing, emailing, writing, calling our Congressmen and Senators and The White House demanding an accounting and a freeze on FED activity until we have it. The same government wants to run your health care and make your choices.

    I ask you, please, sensibly, in the quiet of your home, try to recall ANY Federal Agency that is run efficiently, or anywhere CLOSE to the efficiency of Private Enterprise. I've been in business and monitoring this stuff a lot longer than most of you and I would be the first to speak up and NAME THAT DEPARTMENT.....if I could find one. I can't. You can't

    Back to the illegal health provisions: For decades thousands of people a year fly into Miami International from Central and South America with four things:

    1) a round-trip ticket

    2) the English phrase: "Jackson Memorial Hospital" (to give to the cab driver)

    3) Enough money for a round trip cab fare between the airport and the hospital, and

    4) a serious health problem

    they came, feeling it is their right or entitlement to have YOU and ME pay for their health care because they've been told how rich we all are. Are you? How about you? So, they come here, not to spend money into our economy, but to suck off our health care system because it is THE BEST, despite its short comings. Period. I'm originally from Cleveland, Ohio. I've been to the Cleveland Clinic. I have spoken with people from CANADA and The UK (you know those GREAT health care systems Obama and friends tell us about, and wish to emulate). They come to Cleveland, AND PAY for their treatment, to get GOOD treatment IN TIME to live!!! They know what they have back home. ok for all of you claiming theirs is a great system we should copy. They know what they have. And, they are sitting talking to me in CLEVELAND, OHIO USA to get the treatment to save their lives instead of dying while waiting for the "freebie" back home. That's a fact.

    Now, the folks who come here to suck off our system and stick YOU AND ME with their bills are the problem. Bypass surgery can easily run $ 150,000. If THEY don't pay it, but the hospital and doctors and nurses provide it, how is it covered? Ever ask yourself that?

    It is covered by jacking up the prices to everyone who MUST BE MADE TO PAY or CAN. That includes those terrible insurance companies the liberal factions are always blaming. Well, you are WRONG. Sorry. You are.

    If you STOP the free care for people coming here to free load off our medical system, and if you stop the free care for the 12 million illegals who never should've been allowed in, you wouldn't be charged outrageous prices for an overnight stay. You wouldn't be charged $ 60 for a half robe to put on during a 5 minute exam or $ 25 for a stinking aspirin. They have to make it up on us...BILLIONS a year. Tens of Billions a year.

    I cannot find an example in history in which any nation felt it somehow their "duty" to cover the woes of foreigners AT THE EXPENSE of their own people. It is outrageous and unthinkable, when you consider what we've been doing. Oh, it would be nice to do all kinds of things for people elsewhere. We don't have UNLIMITED RESOURCES, and as long as this debate goes on, we should NOT be forced to provide this care to these people. But, since it only takes a couple of corrupt, idiotic Appointed for LIFE Federal Judges to overrule as somehow in their twisted way of reasoning, as "unconstitutional" the denial of full services to illegals, when no one mandates coverage for our own people. We need to impeach an awful lot of judges.

    We need to RECALL with a national grassroots movement, most of the Democrats in office and some of the Republicans and maybe get this country back to the original precepts and just make a point of never re-electing ANYONE. How's that for term limits.

    Premise 3: Competitive Bidding. It was instituted in the V.A. years ago but Congress has on more than one occasion, voted down attempts to mandate competitive bidding for Medicare. THAT's insanity at its worst and unjustifiable (if you exclude, of course, the big money from lobbysts for the big pharmaceuticals). It is outrageous to see what Medicare pays for various items compared to what another branch of the same government (The Veteran's Administration) pays FOR THE SAME ITEMS FROM THE SAME MANUFACTURER. Why do you and I permit this practice? TELL your elected official to first FIX THIS CRAP as health care reform before bringing us any other crazy proposal. You'd be shocked at how much we could reduce costs by, which, in turn, would make health care, INCLUDING Insurance Premiums more affordable, if we would address these few issues I've raised.

    Conclusion: The solution does NOT lie in throwing the baby out with the bathwater. We have the best care available in the world. If you trash the system to put a lot more people on many of whom aren't citizens and aren't entitled, but 12 million of the Democrat's 50 million (which is too high in itself) are illegals and Pelosi is strongly on record demanding their inclusion... you will kill an awful lot of Americans prematurely through health care rationing that IS IN THE BILL...you have to read it and learn the terminology..same used in the U. K.. In my conclusion, I'll just give you a couple of quick examples.

    1) If you are 70 in the U.K. or Canada and develop Prostrate Cancer (one of the leading causes of death in men, but easily curable if caught early) Tough luck for they won't treat you. You don't have enough productive years to provide your community or nation so the bucks will be spent on the younger folks. Heh, you had a good run, pops, quick complaining and just accept it, quietly die and get out of the way.

    2) right now, people in the U.K and Canada can come here and pay for the treatment they would die waiting for at home. If we adopt their system, it is already in our bill that YOU CAN'T BUY treatment on your own out of pocket because (in a Socialist state) that would be unfair to give a wealthy person an advantage. So, Canadians and Brits would likely not be able to come here anymore either, with check in hand.Maybe they could, but maybe not. And we can't pay here or go there, so we're screwed.

    Once we go this route of national health care, I know of no situation in the world where a country ever came back from it. It's irreversible. do we really want to go down that path.

    Finally, we should not permit, and we should THREATEN WITH THE POWER OF RECALL any Congressman or Senator who votes for this bill in any form WITHOUT ATTESTING THEY READ IT IN ITS ENTIRETY. I am, and you should, regardless of your party, be HIGHLY OFFENDED that these clowns went on recess stumping for the bill THEY STILL HAVEN'T READ.

    The stimulus and Bailout bills were ill-advised, poorly designed, and wrong. Pelosi and Reid had assured Americans and their Congress that nothing would be put to a vote before our representatives had ample time to study it. In the end, 1500 pages were delivered to the Congressmen and Senators 24-48 hours before the vote. HOW MUCH are you comfortable betting that any of them read anything more than a brief summary of certain provisions at best? We DESERVE a LOT BETTER and if they don't deliver, FIRE THEM. NOW before they damage us further.

    I will leave you with this: Hitler was a great orator. Women passed out when he spoke. They passed out for Obama. Some things never change. Lenin was a highly educated Intellectual, and a great speech maker. So is Obama. Hitler gave Germany NAZIism, (National Socialism) and wowed them with a NATIONAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM, while he disarmed them. He also eventually gave us death camps, and World War II. He rationed health care too. His solution for the mentally retarded? He had them rounded up to be sent to beautiful, state of the art new mental facilities. Printed nice brochures to "sell" their families on. He loaded them into buses, and drove the buses into shelters. the driver got out, left the bus running, they closed the doors to the shelters and in roughly 30 minutes carbon monoxide rationed their health care. Their families were later sent a BS letter sadly announcing they had succumbed to an infectious disease, died, and to prevent the spread of infection, were cremated.

    Stalin and Mao were no intellectuals, but they did share a number of things in common. Incidentally, according to authorities on the subject, all of the people I'm identifying are classic, by definition and actions, narcisists. They are: Adolf Hitler; Lenin; Joseph Stalin; Mae tse Tung; and Barack Obama.

    They all started their "careers" as STREET ORGANIZERS, that was their job or claim to fame, or work record; they all wrote autobiographies before they had accomplished anything (a narcisist trait); They all bad-mouthed and name called anyone who opposed them. They all created neighborhood "spy networks" to spy on and report any negative talk against the Administration. (Barack had a website where people could report those opposing his health care plan....they shut it down a couple of weeks ago due to outrage in the populace when we heard about it. He proposed a national organization for this purpose, during his campaign that would be bigger than our military. Run similarly to what Fidel Castro and the other communist and Nazi regimes ran.

    They all disarmed their countrymen. Obama admin has tried 2 or 3 times so far in their first 4 months and they aren't through.

    History, therefore, has shown us that Socialism was introduced a bit at a time, and in the 20th century, the mechanism that introduced socialism to a nation, to a society, was National Health Care...heh, are you going to be willing to accept candy or bitters? National Health Care SOUNDS great and what could be wrong. But, if it is the foot in the door and nearly always leads to socialism, as it has, shouldn't we LEARN FROM THAT. Very old saying: "Those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it." Take heed my fellow Americans. Let's fix what we have and not go down that path.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2009, at 12:20 AM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    Wouldn't the most prudent course of action be that we make sure everyone has catastrophic coverage, and to help those that are truly needy? It makes no sense to me to insure for regular recurring expenses.

    How about a health savings account where you can put away money when you are young and healthy, and let it grow in some kind of safe investment? One that the politicians couldn't divert to the general fund.

    Why do so many think the government can do a better job running the insurance industry than the companies that compete against each other? Last time I checked, government employees make almost twice as much as regular employees and they don't have market forces to control them.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2009, at 7:53 AM, peterbailey wrote:

    Why do you publish this stuff? I thought you were a stock advisor. I agree with everyone above who thinks this article is utter nonsense. Millions of people in this country are uninsured. Health care has not caused the demise of capitalism elsewhere. Why should it here? You need to read TR Reid's "The Healing of America."

    Please, stop try and shock us like this once a week or so. It's unbecoming.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2009, at 8:06 AM, tj66 wrote:

    Aren't we all missing the obvious reform here. A simple one page bill that requires Health Insurance be marketed only to individuals will do the trick. Then everyone picks their own coverage and it isn't ties to their employer. I mean really, no one is beating a path to Washington to demand Car Insurance reform - yet.

    Let's just stop pretending - let the Fedaral Governemnt inscrease IRS withholding to 100%, then Congress can just dole out the appropriate amount to everyone each month. All problems solved, no more need for Reform, the debate is over, everyone is happy.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2009, at 10:50 AM, ddanski wrote:

    Well, if it's between keeping capitalism alive or me and a few million others--guess what? That said, it won't kill capitalism, which is still alive and at least as well as our own in almost every other first-world western country. Do you think you could turn down you AM radio so you can hear a few facts?

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2009, at 11:18 AM, cjb44 wrote:

    Kill capitalism, of course not...kill the greatest health care system in the world, yes. It's great that Obama and the Barakacrats want to insure another 40 million people, but how is the medical profession going to handle this? We already have a shortage of nurses, and I'd prefer it if we didn't lower standards to bring in more...same with doctors. We don't want lower standards just to get more of them.

    Of course I'm still looking for a government program that does what it should. Social Security is awful and I'd rather have the $12,000(or so) a year they take from me. I know I would be a better keeper of that money...And we know Medicare is going to be broke so, what a great ringing endorsement that is for more Government handling. They can't run Medicare, so let's give them more responsibility.

    In the end, people will be pushed to the cheaper option creating a system of medical have and have nots. Those than can afford private insurance will be in great shape, and those that can't will have to survive on what the government allows for them.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2009, at 12:14 PM, smace1 wrote:

    Do we really want more government control of our lives. I am a strong conservative and I would not want a conservative government to have that kind of control of my life! Lets get back to a true constitutional government please.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2009, at 12:36 PM, Keegan07 wrote:

    Nice comment FinancialBill.

    Vote out the looters and mouchers!

    Lobbyists are not bad people, and companies wouldn't need lobbyist if the Government didn't listen to the lobbyist.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2009, at 1:46 PM, Biergeliebter wrote:

    Yes, of course it will. Not immediately, but this is just another piece of the capitalist structure being intruded upon by the government.

    In his book "The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism", Michael Novak says capitalism can be thought of as a three legged stool. The first leg is the rule of law. The second is an economy based on private ownership of land and businesses. The third leg is morality.

    The government is supposed to be the first leg. The lawmakers that keep things fair so the capitalist society can thrive. By becoming involved in actually providing health care coverage, government will make itself part of the second leg, making it impossible for capitalism in the industry to continue past the short term. This is why so many liberals think it is imperative to have a public option. That ensures the government becomes part of the second leg, and eventually the first leg, the lawmakers, make laws to favor their portion of the second leg so that the rest are unable to compete. Think about it. The government became part owner of the American auto industry just a few short months ago and in an effort to sell some cars they passed the "Cash for Clunkers" program that will likely end up a mess similar to the sub-prime mess they created that caused our current economic situation.

    And as for the third leg, the lawmakers lost their morality a long time ago, so it is only the morality of some of those involved in private business that has kept capitalism limping along for the past decade.

    But for our legislators it is all part of the plan. 29 years ago they developed the Department of Education. I had a pretty good education before they came along, so what have they been doing in those 29 years? Well, according to a recent Rasmussen poll, 33% of young people think socialism is better than capitalism. The 40 and older population that was educated before the Department of Education only had 13% that thought socialism was better than capitalism. I think we know what the Department of Education has been up to.

    So I think healthcare reform can be a complete disaster for America and the current government will consider it a success because even if millions become disabled or die it will succeed in placing government in the second leg of the stool effectively killing capitalism a little more and moving them one more step towards their goal.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2009, at 4:55 PM, jwkovlanks wrote:

    Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for

    all the mis information they are spreading! Insurance

    Greed has ruined their own system and ONLY a public option will force them to compete and stop

    kicking people off the policies when they do get sick.

    We have lousy healthcare for what we pay in. In America your investments and home can be lost

    because of illness In.no other nation can this happen!

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2009, at 5:13 PM, dscfool wrote:

    These are the kinds of questions we should all be thinking about and trying to answer, if we are going to subject this legislation to the scrutiny it needs before Congress votes on it.

    1. The government has been "reforming" health-care for sixty years—tax breaks for employer-provided health-insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, encouraging HMOs and managed care, and government health-insurance at the state level in Massachusetts, Maine, Oregon. Government health-care has expanded until it is now more than 50% of all health-care spending. Yet after sixty years of government "reform," the problems with health-care are just getting worse. So why should we believe that even more government is the solution?

    2. President Obama keeps telling us that he's not trying to get rid of private health insurance. But the bill being debated in Congress would require all new insurance policies to be offered through a government-run exchange, in which the rates that can be charged and the coverage that has to be provided will be dictated by the government's so-called "Health Choices Commissioner." Employer-provided health-insurance will fall under the same regulations in five years. How is this insurance going to be "private" if the government controls everything about it?

    3. A video on YouTube shows Barack Obama back in 2003—only six years ago—saying that he is in favor of a "single payer" system. The "single payer" is government, so this means he was in favor of socialized medicine. And just a few weeks ago, Barney Frank—one of the Democratic leaders in the House—said that he considers the current bill a step toward "single payer." So when Obama and the Democrats tell us this bill won't lead to a government takeover of health-care, why should we believe them?

    4. Medicare is broke. Social Security is broke. Federal tax receipts are falling, and Congress has already voted on trillions of dollars of stimulus and bailouts in the last year. The national credit card is maxed out. So how can you justify voting for a bill that will require even more money that we don't have?

    5. The health-care bill that is being discussed includes huge taxes on businesses to force them to provide more health insurance for their employees, as well as a whole set of mandates telling health insurance companies who they have to cover and what they have to cover them for. This is an enormous increase of costs for businesses and insurers. Have you considered how they're going to pay for all of this, or whether they will even be able to pay for it? How many of these companies will go out of business or lay off more workers after the government forcibly increases their expenses?

    6. One of the main demands of the health-care bill is that insurers are required to cover people with "pre-existing conditions." That's like getting insurance on your car after you crash it. It's just a way of getting someone to bail you out for something that has already happened. This isn't insurance, it's a handout. So doesn't that mean that the rest of us will have to pay more for our insurance to absorb the cost of those handouts?

    7. The health-care bill will mandate what costs insurance companies have to cover. For example, they will have to pay for routine check-ups and physicals, or they will have to provide every woman with maternity coverage. But what if you don't want to pay for that extra coverage? Right now, if you're young and healthy and don't need frequent check-ups, you can save money with a high-deductible insurance that doesn't cover them. Or if you don't want children, or already have children, you can save money by dropping the maternity rider on your policy. By taking those choices away from us, won't this bill actually make our insurance more expensive, not less?

    8. A lot of people have been upset about Congress passing bills that they haven't had time to read—and they haven't even finished writing the health-care bill yet. But what I want to know is, with a bill this big and complex, have you taken the time to read it and understand it? Can you really say that anyone has had the time to figure out how all the parts will work together and what all of the consequences will be? With a bill this big, is it even possible to figure out all of that and really know what you're voting for?

    9. President Obama and the Democratic leadership are making us a lot of promises about what we will get and what we won't get from this health-care bill. But what is or isn't in this one particular bill is not the end of the story. For example, how many times has Medicare changed over the last forty years? As more and more of us become dependent on the government for our health-care coverage, won't we have to worry about what some future Congress or some future bureaucrat will decide to cover or not cover?

    10. The defenders of the health-care bill claim that it's going to lead to all sorts of savings, not by actually cutting any services or denying care, but just by finding "inefficiencies" that will save money. Do you think this is remotely plausible? When has anybody ever said, "This project has to be lean and efficient—let's get the government do it"?

    11. One of the ways that has been proposed for government-provided health insurance to save money is by substituting Medicare reimbursement rates for market rates when paying doctors and hospitals. But many private hospitals and medical practices have said that if they have to accept these lower rates, they can't cover their expenses, and they will go out of business. So doesn't this bill guarantee an immediate shortage of doctors and medical services?

    12. Medicare cuts costs by paying lower rates to doctors and hospitals, who then shift these costs to those of us with private health insurance, who get charged higher rates. But if the government takes over and starts dictating Medicare reimbursement rates for everyone, who will the costs get shifted to then?

    13. When the government started portraying people in the financial industry as villains and started limiting their pay and subjecting them to more regulations, banks reported a "brain drain" as smart and well-educated people left the industry or went overseas looking for better pay and less stress. But the term "brain drain" was originally coined in the 1960s, when doctors and medical researchers left Britain to escape socialized medicine. Aren't you afraid we might see the same kind of brain drain from the medical profession here in America?

    14. Do you know the meaning and significance of the term "quality adjusted life year"? (For this question, you will need the answer, which you can supply if your congressman is forced to admit that he doesn't know it—preferably after some stammering and a long, awkward pause. "Quality adjusted life year" is a term used under socialized medicine to determine whether elderly patients are allowed to get expensive drugs or treatments, depending on some bureaucrat's calculation of how many good years they have left. You should ask your congressman: Can you assure us that the same thing won't happen here?)

    15. One of the proposals for how the government is going to save money is that it's going to have a panel of medical experts who will dictate from Washington, DC, what the proper medical practices are that should be paid for, and what practices are supposedly "wasteful" and "unnecessary." Won't this mean interfering with decisions that would normally be made by me and my doctor? And won't this discourage innovation by requiring any new idea to get approved by a board of establishment "experts" before a doctor can even try it out?

    16. Government-run health-care is not some new, untested idea. In Britain, it has led to a "postcode lottery," where the medical procedures you are allow to get depend on where you live. In Canada, it has led to a shortage of doctors and waiting lists for major surgeries. In America, Medicare ended up costing far, far more than anyone expected. Massachusetts and Maine spent enormous amounts of money to extend government coverage to very few people. The Oregon Health Plan may not cover your cancer treatment—but it will cover assisted suicide. Given all of this experience, what makes you think that somehow this bill will be the exception that avoids all of the problems government health-care has always led to?

    17. Why does "reform" always mean more government? Are you aware of proposals that have been put forward for free-market reforms of health care? Congress has already approved Health Savings Accounts, where individuals buy their own high-deductible health insurance and save money tax-free, which they can use for their out-of-pocket health-care expenses. This gives people more control over their spending on routine medical treatments while keeping them covered for a serious illness, and it allows them to keep their health insurance if they change jobs. But this program has been limited in size. Are you open to ideas like this, for free-market reform of health-care?

    18. A lot of doctors say that medical malpractice insurance is what is really driving up health-care costs. Doctors have to charge more to cover their expenses, and they also have to practice "defensive medicine," ordering unnecessary extra tests just to make sure they can defend themselves in court if something goes wrong. So why isn't tort reform—for example, limiting excessive jury awards in malpractice lawsuits—being considered as part of health-care reform?

    19. What part of your decision on this bill, if any, is affected by a consideration for liberty, individual rights, and the Constitution? Would you consider opposing this bill for no other reason than because it gives more power to government at the expense of the freedom and property rights of private businesses and individuals? Would you consider opposing it simply because it grants powers to the government that are not authorized anywhere in the Constitution?

    20. Thomas Jefferson said, "A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government." Notice what is not on his list: government-provided housing, or government-provided food, or government-provided health care. And Jefferson's views on the role of government were widely shared by America's Founding Fathers. So my question is: Please explain where you disagree with the vision of our Founding Fathers, and why.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2009, at 5:50 PM, mint3p0 wrote:

    1. Its absurd to think that the people who write in these forums lack brains, for a person to even suggest that reflects your own diluted state of mind.

    There is no problem with looking out for oneself, but you can only do that on the individual level not as a collective whole. No matter what anyone here says the unified group is always stronger than the individual. Right now in my mind we have a group huge insurance/medical companies preying on the individual trying to provide for themselves and their families (everyone seems to dislike government but without it we would be up the creek, just think if there were no military, no public education, etc.).

    Why public healthcare would be so horrible I just can't understand. Even if Obama's plan does not fit, he is trying something to free options (although the page 16 argument is valid if the bill says that then I agree it should be re-thought), who else has a plan? Big Pharma? Their plan is to do nothing and continue to make billions gross and some in profits.

    A grossly generalized statement and rule of business is to be the lowest cost producer of the services you provide while passing most of your cost on to the consumer. That's why a single tee costs Nike $1 to make and you $25 to buy. To argue against that is futile when you support capitalism.

    Viable Healthcare is a right, in my mind (not privilege to only those who have, as some have argued here), to the citizens of a civilized nation. Again USPS vs FEDEX. If I'm going to pay taxes (which you always do in some form) then I want a base infrastructure built to support my citizenship. That's just the name of the game. Our government is not there to profit off us, but our major corporations are, which is fine also. Why fight a universal option entirely? Why not consider it under a plan that makes sense. Obama and his team may not have created that plan but more work from a unified nation can.

    I personally like the USPS, but if its more cost effective to use FEDEX I will, which in some cases it has been. The point is that I feel it is my right for that base infrastructure to be in place should FEDEX fail.

    The story I shared about my Canadian relatives is indeed truth. I visit about once a year and with this being the hot topic of today I wish you could try asking a random Canadian which system they would rather have. The whole "Well if you like Canada so much you should move there, is childish in nature". The point here is to site personal reference, that which all discussions lacking linkable fact are based.

    In my mind perfection is not to be desired and its very nature is stagnant. It leaves no room for imagination. That said there is no perfect Healthcare solution there will always be fault. Instead of knocking the president and his ideas we should help him make the most of what he is trying to do in this case. I mean come on at least he is trying something. How many politicians have been elected on good campaigns only to hide behind a desk.

    I have health insurance, own a small business and make a six figure salary, but contrary to most in my category I am not greedy and I have no problem sacrificing for my family, employees, or fellow man. Some would say thats almost Christian-like.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2009, at 6:27 PM, mint3p0 wrote:

    My former statements were a repost.

    Not an attack, Snertie c'mon. Your lack of faith kills me. I'm glad I have this health insurance plan with its high annual deductible, 2M limited life cap, pre-existing condition clauses and co-pays. If you have such a plan also I really hope you do not become seriously ill because once you are denied and dropped, then what? You will then be a victim just like so many lazy, obese, give me a hand-out Americans who need to get a clue, right? Absurd.

    If you argue against a public option you argue in essence for the current system as nothing else is on the table as of current. This won't destroy capitalism (an ideology I might add). Just like locking up terrorist doesnt destroy terrorism.

    Poor, Poor doctor that will have to live on the street because he/she cant feed themselves on a measly government salary (local post office pays $18-$25h, not suggesting doctors should make this but you get the point).

    Poor Poor nation that will now wave a communist or socialist flag high in the air because we chose to support each other in a time of our greatest need of each other.

    I work hard and I don't need anyones money, but that does not mean that if you are critically injured and cannot pay for it that I (personally) can just let you die especially when I have the extra money to help. To all that disagree, I will keep hope that the medical industry, as of current, does not deny your claims, give you the run around about what is cover and what is not, and just charge a monthly fee which could have done so much more as tax revenue (instead of sit in a corporate bank account, it could have built a hospital).

    I military to an extent has itself own health system but I guess it is not adequate either, even though new research is generally used there before consumers ever get to see it. Lets privatize the military also, I'm for that!

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2009, at 6:32 PM, mint3p0 wrote:

    "The military to an extent has its own health system but I guess it is not adequate either, even though new research is generally used there before consumers ever get to see it. Lets privatize the military also, I'm for that!"

    man I couldn't type those thoughts fast enough.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2009, at 9:14 PM, Aneirin wrote:

    "Given the state of financial affairs for other large government-owned, -run, or -overseen programs (the post office, Social Security, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., etc.), that's a pretty frightening thought." Social Security is indeed in the red. Yet the Post Office from 1972-2007 has broken even (and is actually somewhat in the black). Read the following link for information: http://www.nalc.org/postal/perform/selfsufficient.html#selfs... In fact, they normally do pretty well on many measures. Recently they have been losing money, but this is unlikely to last longer than the recession, so using the Post Office as an example is foolish. Secondly, if the public option if hurts health insurers, the reason why will be that it would provide better service at a better price. Right now, the majority of insurance companies are more concerned with their bottom line than with providing healthcare. Healthcare reform should be about providing for the people, not helping insurance companies. If a single-payer system is needed, it should be had. As to whether the public option will kill capitalism, I doubt it will. Not even all of the uninsured will go into the public option (a majority will go into some kind of private plan, whether subsidized or unsubsidizd). Most people who are insured right now will probably stay with their own insurance (since most seem to be happy with it).

  • Report this Comment On September 01, 2009, at 2:07 PM, Jarrhedd wrote:

    I LOVE morons that call Republicans "greedy." It's like a right-leaning individual calling a left-leaning individual a "socialist." 'Greedy' and 'Republican' are no more synonomous with one another anymore than 'Socialist' and 'Democrat.' Or, are they? Who cares? Here is an example of emotions getting the better of simple good critical judgement.

    TxTom writes:

    Even most Rebublican agree on this fact. What they can't get their greedy arms around is the fact that they will lose lots of money from the big health insurers if they support this effort. Hmmm... let people die or make more money.... what a choice for politicians.

    Look, moron, your party members sent letters 'demanding' that the insurance companies provide them with "proof of their profit margins." Which, were no more than 3 or 4 percent above costs. Gee, that seems greedy to me...You ARE right. Ah-hem, scenario: provide a return on an investment to our shareholders so that we can gain more investors to grow our company and provide insurance to "Those whom CHOOSE to ask for it and pay for it on their own WITH pre-tax dollars to lower their adjustable gross income." Yes, that does seem greedy to me....

    No one is arguing we do not need reform. What we are arguing about right now is the way everyone is going about it. There is no dialogue in the classic American Spirit. It's an ideal being forced. And, it is not a popular ideal. If it was a popular ideal, then no, I would argue there would be little debate like many other issues in the past that have become laws.

  • Report this Comment On September 01, 2009, at 6:57 PM, walterangell wrote:

    As a Canadian, practicing in both the U.S and Canada, it behooves me that we do not study the French and Belgium system. They7 as I understand it are virtually totally privatized, perhaps with some government subsidies, yet provide a higher quality of care at about 1/2 the price.

    It seems that we are totally ignoring a few elephant in the closet.

    1.The biggest high cost contributors today are our own indulgences, ie., overeating,smoking, non-compliance, especially with diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and drinking.Here, apparently the Kaiser Permante plan through whatever tastics are able to drive down the incidences of coronarys, strokes, and the debillitating effects of diabetes, and chronic lung disease. an interesting program I heard about was a preventative .www.preventativeMedicine.com> As a psychiatrist, I was amazed how easily the counties could keep chronic schophrenics on the street. A New York program, paid 1 mental health counselor,

    about $25,000, and they could keep a caseload of 18 patients on the street, for a saving of $1,980,000 to the county.DR. Dean Ornich with his preventative cardiac program is able to reduce recidivism 75% for recurrent triple by-passes.

    2 End of life costs, ie., sometimes the treatment for such is 95% of the persons entire care for life.

    3.Legal costs~it is not so much the litigation as that defensive medicine can drive unnessary tests, and treatment up 65%.

    I am sure health care professionals could go on and on.

    This is not just an idealogical issue. Medical costs, be it in capitalistic vs; socialist countries are burying everybody.

  • Report this Comment On September 01, 2009, at 7:11 PM, dscfool wrote:

    One thing that people on the left are forgetting is that we currently have freedom of choice in our system, and would have much more if the politicians would let you buy insurance across state lines (so we would have thousands of plans to choose from without being limited to those which may be more expense and cover lots of mandated things in our own state). If you don't like your health insurance or choice of physicians under our current system, at least you can choose to switch to another insurance co. I did not like Blue Cross, and had problems with them denying coverage for things, but since switching insurers I have never had a problem with Aetna or Healthnet denying a claim. Under a government controlled insurance plan, politicians and bureaucrats will control what is covered, your and your doctor's decisions, and you will have no choice and no recourse.

    Just look at what happens in Britain and Canada, where the gov't denies many treatments, drugs, and surgeries that are readily available in the U.S. Yes, we pay more, but if it is your life or your loved one's life on the line, it is worth it. Even if you can get treatment in those countries, you will likely be on a waiting list for months to years, and not just for elective surgery, but even for critically needed things such as brain surgery and chemotherapy.

    For a short video on the wonderful Canadian system and how patients have to come to the U.S. to get adequate care:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6T6yqFWXRXI

  • Report this Comment On September 01, 2009, at 10:01 PM, Radiance08 wrote:

    Will health care reform kill capitalism?

    What is being proposed is not reform it is government take over of health care. When the government takes over something as large as health care that is socialism. It may not start that way but as America ages that will be the only option for the seniors of this county. They will be waiting to see the doctor, they will be on wait lists for surgeries and while it may not kill capitalism, it may kill seniors on those waiting list.

    “One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can't afford it.” Ronald Reagan

    What we need is real reform. Real reform would look at cutting the costs of health care, not having the government take it over. Where are the cost savings in this bill? Has anyone done a study to see why it costs so much? What we need is tort reform, emphasis on prevention and a whole lot more.

    Government run health care. What has the government run that seems to work?

    What about the deficit? How are they going to pay for all this?

  • Report this Comment On September 02, 2009, at 3:10 PM, LegalizeMe wrote:

    The history of man is all about tyranny and control. The Democrats want you to give all your money to the government so they can decide how it is spent and split (aka re-distribution of wealth).

    Higher taxes, bank bailouts, automotive bailouts, Welfare (a joke), Medicare (soon to be bankrupt), Social Security (also soon to be bankrupt) are all things you put squarely on Democrats shoulders and they would tell you they did a GOOD work on those things. They want their hand in everything including your health care. Dems would have you believe health care is a right?! What a crock of $h!t. We went from a country of progressive thinkers (and conservative) to one of everyone thinking they deserve a handout.

    Read the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington are turning over in their graves just knowing we are considering let the government run health care. They only wanted a national government to worry about printing money (which the privately owned Fed does and is completely illegal and against our constitution) and national defense.

    This once great country is walking down the wrong path...

  • Report this Comment On September 02, 2009, at 4:12 PM, Pastabird wrote:

    It seems to me that there are plenty of "capitalists" working hard enough to kill capitalism to worry about health care doing the job.

  • Report this Comment On September 03, 2009, at 9:51 PM, realfree wrote:

    I am 64 and spent 6 years in the Navy, (socialized medicine). My wife had our first baby there and my cows got better treatment then she did. Obama health care will be no different then working with the IRS or social security. No such thing as customer service, they are doing you a "favor" just to talk to you. In 1973 life was GREAT!!! Government had not got to the point where it "DEMANDED" companies provide heath insurance. Health care was reasonable, I had no insurance, when the baby was born I paid the hospital and doctor bill. I also owned a house. My pay was $125 per week.

    I am for reform, get the government out of my life; especially health care. Only one good thing the government has done in the area of health care, and they can make it better by making it so anyone can have a HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT. This works with MAJOR MEDICAL, makes people responsible for the money spent on doctors and hospitals. Making people responsible for FREE money, has and NEVER will work. No politician has shown me they want to make health care better; if they did, they would not be in "CONTROL" mode.

  • Report this Comment On September 04, 2009, at 3:16 PM, cmitchellw wrote:

    "Government run health care. What has the government run that seems to work?"

    Same lame line. Or perhaps you think the military should be run by Blackwater.

  • Report this Comment On September 04, 2009, at 3:36 PM, JimVanMeerten wrote:

    Why can't health insurance be rated like care insurance. godd drivers got preferred rates, why not nonsmokers and physically active get preferred rates??

    Jim Van Meerten

    http://FinancialTides.blogspot.com

  • Report this Comment On September 04, 2009, at 5:07 PM, Daniel7801 wrote:

    Education is seen as so important that local, state and the federal governments invest in it. Those governments require attendance or for you to show that you are schooling your kids. Why isn't health care considered as important as education? Also, we have public schools and colleges and we have private schools and colleges and it seems to work well. Why can't we have public and private health plans? As one person said, we are all in the same boat and I don't think it is right that one person on that boat can have a life saving operation because they happen to be able to afford insurance but another person will die because they can't afford insurance.

  • Report this Comment On September 04, 2009, at 5:29 PM, richardrollo wrote:

    Obama promises to insure the currently uninsured and fund that from "savings" in Medicare. What savings? Medicare is on a course to go bankrupt in 2013 (the year I turn 65) This is pie in the sky. Obama promises that we will have universal care without an increase in taxes. Well, in Canada, they pay 16 per cent GST (Government Sales Tax) and 16 per cent PST (Provincial Sales Tax) to fund their equivalents of Part A and Part B Medicare for all Canadians. Is Obama such a genius, unlike Canadian politicians, that he can fund a massive government program without taxes to pay for it. You can bet that those taxes will come assuming the program is passed and Obama is reelected, in 2013. Canada care is below the standard of quality of our Veterans Administration Hospitals and inner city hospitals. One of my relatives there died because they didn't do a scan on him until the tumor was the size of an orange. I know all of this from personal experience having paid the taxes and accompanied elderly friends and relatives to the hospital both in the U.S. and Canada. One thing you can count on: no matter how bad this program is nor how much it bankrupts the country, once it is enacted, you will never be able to get rid of it.

  • Report this Comment On September 04, 2009, at 5:42 PM, SocialRespInvest wrote:

    It will save American capitalism. As you all surely have heard by now, $1500 or so of every automobile manufactured in the US goes to pay employee health insurance, while automobiles made in developed countries with a single payer health insurance system do not have that extra fee tacked on.

    Every US company is competing with a disadvantage because the Republicans who blocked earlier attempts at reform decades ago have saddled our companies with the cost of their workers' health insurance.

    So in this case, the human concern and the needs of our companies converge-- they both will be HELPED by health care reform.

    And as for those who complain about government mandates forcing companies to pay to insure their workers-- it's far better than the current system, which actually gives and advantage to the companies that treat their workers poorly and penalizes companies that offer insurance to their workers. Let's reward responsible companies.

    America will be stronger for this.

  • Report this Comment On September 04, 2009, at 7:43 PM, harrymax wrote:

    Good health care in the United States will save capitalism, and our behinds as well. health care darwinism is taking the country down.

    We are not competing on the world stage. We make next to nothing, and we are falling behind. Most of American capitalistic success stories these days are about the rich robbing the middle class and screwing them out of jobs, health care, and opportunity. We go to war to offer jobs, because there aren't any here. Our schools are so bad we are turning out ignoramouses like the type we see at town halls with guns in their holsters. Educationally, we ain't Germany.

    We better get universal health care with a public option. It is our last best hope to turn the economy around. And to become America again.

  • Report this Comment On September 04, 2009, at 8:21 PM, garywildd wrote:

    Brian Orelli is right on. Fedex and UPS do compete successfully with the USPS and it keeps prices in line and the post office efficient and responsive. But the old AT&T, a private corporation, killed choice and diversity and refused to commercialize its R&D. So it's not about private vs. public; it's about competition and choice. A public option guarantees both.

    To private insurers and their pet pols: if you are right, the incompetent government bureaucrats won't last two years. If you're scared of the public option, it proves that it will be better than the Unplan you offer.

  • Report this Comment On September 04, 2009, at 8:49 PM, garywildd wrote:

    ....continued....

    The public option is CRITICAL to keep the private insurers (P.I.) honest.Since consumers will do anything save a loved one's life, P.I. will jack up prices (as AT&T couldn't) and minimize choice and features (as AT&T did). They've been doing exactly that for 20 years! If their victims (I mean consumers) can run away to the public insurance, P.I. will be forced to provide reasonable service and price.

    Bill Clinton said that Obama should move ahead and leave Republicans behind. That's pure genius: if the attempt fails, you can blame the Republicans, and watch their seats evaporate next year. Obama can ignore the media because they are out of touch with the voters. Half the people who elected Obama don't watch network TV or read a daily newspaper.

  • Report this Comment On September 04, 2009, at 9:38 PM, bluesguy84 wrote:

    There are are some basic changes that should be made:

    1. Disconnect health insurance from employment

    2. Allow for real free enterprise systems to work in health care insurance. In many states there is only one health care insurance company that you can 'realistically' get health care insurance from. This situation typically happens because of state laws to encourage it. Make buying health care insurance like buying car insurance.

    3. Health Savings Accounts - Make the tax deductible; create a reason for people & companies to set these up as we transition away from employment based health insurance. This puts the patients in the drivers seat. So the next time we go see the Dr. with a sprained knee and they say "You have a sprained knee. He are some anti-inflammatory and use ice & heat. If it isn't better in a few days come see me again." vs. "Oh we need to do an MRI." The first one cost a $50 or $100 vs. $1000 for the MRI (which would come out of your pocket)...

    4. Change tort reform. The losing lawyer pays the costs to the winning side. By making the lawyer pay (not the client) the lawyer is going to be a lot less likely to rack up big bills on a bad case. ;-)

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2009, at 11:55 AM, Ladydidi wrote:

    The wealthiest part of the European Union has public health care.

    It also has Sanofi-Aventis, Total, Royal Shell, or

    VW, or the Airbus.

    The part that does not have it (like Portugal) has what ?

    Healthy people make efficient workers too : see the French.THeys live longer and according to non-french surveys, give their boss more work for the hour.

    It all this so anticapitalistic ?

    The "major problem" with an efficient public health system is that you end up having more elders, who stay fit longer, so the population tends to vote like elders do : according to elder people's priorities. And that might end up being a real problem in the long run.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2009, at 7:01 PM, Beth070602 wrote:

    When I had insurance paid for by my employer, I paid little attention to cost vs benefit. Now that I have a high-deductible policy I pay for myself, I think about cost vs benefit often and hard. I reasoned out how much coverage I was willing to pay the premiums for. I decline tests that by my estimation of risk aren't worth it. I might even be willing to shop doctors if price lists were available.

    I didn't become smarter when I started paying for things, I just started caring more. The disconnect that exists for most people allows them to spend irrational amounts of money on health care. Many people put more thought into evaluating their car repair estimate than they do evaluating the information they get from the doctor. They just go along with everything the doctor says.

    It does upset the doctors a little when you ask questions about costs and benefits because they like to think that through for you using some standard of acceptable risk that might be different from yours. For instance, a CA125 test seemed less valuable to me once I found 1) how frequently it gives erroneous results, 2) how much it cost, and 3) my personally-perceived risk for the cancer it would detect. I appreciate that my doctor looked at all that and said 'get the test," but with the same info I said "don't get the test." Just going through the reasoning together makes you an informed consumer instead of one who says yes-who-cares-about-cost.

    With no incentive to be a good consumer, we spend way too much, and every year there are more and more things "to buy." I think that's why the amount spent on health care is so high. Rising prices for any particular procedure is a separate issue.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 6:11 PM, reallymad wrote:

    Came late to site. The public option is intended to drive the insurance companies out and result in a single payer government system. Hey, Barney Frank even admitted it. Every country with such a system rations care, especially to the elderly and the very ill. Waiting lists abound. Britain even has awaiting list to get on a waiting list. The idea that the "elites" in Washington will do any better is totally laughable (or would be if it wasn't so tragic). With another 17% of the economy gov't controlled and the massive taxes required for this and the profligate spending good luck to capitalism. By the way the gov't owns a piece of over 500 companies now!

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