Obamacare: Something for Everyone to Hate

President Obama was in fine political form last night, as he called for bipartisan compromise on health-care reform.

Good luck with that, Mr. President. The problem with giving everybody something he or she wants to hear is that you also give everybody something he or she hates.

For health insurers such as UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH  ) , WellPoint (NYSE: WLP  ) , and Aetna (NYSE: AET  ) , there was generally more to love than not, though.

The good
In the biggest move of the night, the president did a 180 and supported a mandate that would require everyone to carry health insurance. That's a huge win for health insurers, because it increases the number of potential customers, and it will allow the companies to decrease costs. The insured indirectly pay about $1,000 per year for costs that hospitals and doctors use to provide services to the uninsured. If everyone is insured, those savings can be passed along through lower premiums.

The other big win for insurers -- and taxpayers, for that matter -- was that a government-sponsored public plan won't be supported by the government; the premiums collected will have to cover the medical costs. If the companies can work more efficiently than the government -- and I think they can -- the companies should be able to compete with a not-for-profit entity.

The bad
The requirements that the president is putting on health insurers aren't that bad. He wants them to have plans that:

  • Cover all people regardless of preexisting conditions.
  • Can't be dropped if the member gets sick.
  • Don't have caps on annual or lifetime expenses.
  • Limit out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Cover routine checkups and preventive care at no additional cost.

Insurers can do that. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if there's a plan out there right now that meets all those requirements. But it's important to keep in mind that insurance is like eating off the a la carte menu: You can have as many options as you want, but they're going to cost you.

The reason most insurance plans don't meet those requirements is that not doing so keeps costs down. It seems we may be headed in the wrong direction with this one, although cost savings in other areas could counteract the increases by these additional requirements.

The president also called for cutting back payments for Medicare Advantage. That'll compress margins, but companies were already well prepared for the cuts, and investors have been expecting them, too. Humana (NYSE: HUM  ) , which has arguably the most exposure to Medicare Advantage, trades at a P/E of 7.6. On the surface, that's a pretty cheap stock, so even if earnings fall, there's a lot of cushion for investors.

The ugly
While the president's proposal might not have been that bad, he certainly didn't help health insurance companies' bad reputation by listing isolated stories of companies' bad deeds, such as delaying treatment of a breast-cancer patient because of a case of unreported acne.

I've been a general supporter of seeing health insurers and drug companies make a buck off the sick, but these incidences are inexcusable, and they make the entire industry look bad.

Where to go from here
It's clear we need to do something. As the president said, the cost of health care is increasing the burden that Medicare and Medicaid puts on taxpayers, meaning that "our health care problem is our deficit problem."

And companies like Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT  ) , Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) , and Ford (NYSE: F  ) are hurt by the high costs of health care as they try to compete internationally against companies that have lower health-care costs in their home countries. As investors, we should be getting behind health-care reform and pushing.

Whether taking an a la carte approach to health-care reform will persuade lawmakers to jump on board, or just entrench them farther away in their opposing camps, remains to be seen.

Let us know what you think about President Obama's speech in the comments section below. Workable? Despicable? Please share.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., recorded the speech last night because he hates lawmakers clapping as much as he hates commercials. He doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. UnitedHealth is both a Stock Advisor and Inside Value pick, and WellPoint is a recommendation of the latter. The Fool owns shares of UnitedHealth and has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 4:47 PM, TxTom wrote:

    The bad.... he pointed out what most of us know already - insurance companies will drop coverage in an instant if they can find ANYTHING at all that someone didn't declare. It doesn't matter whether the condition is relevant to the present health concern. They are there to make as much money as possible (translated - avoid claims at any cost).

    Yes, that practice sucks. And yes, someone needs to hold the insurance companies responsible for their disgraceful actions. It happens every day to thousands of people who thought the premiums they were paying allowed them to be covered.

    Yes.. we need to reform health care and the costs. I really don't care if these companies make only a huge profit instead of an obscene profit.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 4:47 PM, foolhardy7 wrote:

    Whoa. Deja Vu all over again.

    I read my last Brian Orelli post yesterday, thank you very much.

    It would be helpful if the Fool included the names of the authors on the emails, then I wouldn't lose time loading unwanted political commentary.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 4:49 PM, rbianchini wrote:

    Obama is overlooking/ignoring some essential existing facts/problems. The Medicare fraud he spoke of ($Billions) are known and the govt has done nothing to correct it. How about their proven track record......The U.S. Post Office, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Oversight of financial institutions, Madoff, Stimulus Package(s).............and now we should trust them to run Health Care? WOW!

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 4:50 PM, CarryOnAgain wrote:

    That's one angle I hadn't thought of before. US manufacturers have higher costs because health insurance is an additional cost that is not borne by European companies. I wonder if that amounts to unfair government subsidy by the Europeans?

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 4:51 PM, Husk wrote:
  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 4:53 PM, stocksandbombs wrote:

    I applaud the spirit of what Obama is after but the ideas on the table, so far, do not address some key issues:

    1) we should eliminate insurance tied to employers, because portability is a HUGE problem

    2) we should let health insurance cos sell everywhere and deep-six the arcane laws that regionalize care

    3) we have to create incentives for better health, so that people are motivated to eat better and exercise more

    I can think of lots of other stuff, but why bother, it'll never even be considered, because Congress can be bribed very effectively -- and has -- to not touch these kinds of substantive, simple changes.

    Jeff

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 4:53 PM, Foolishly71 wrote:

    I agree. Our President educated and advocated for interests of all of us. I like the way President Obama supports real competition for the healthcare dollar. It is responsible for government to see that every citizen has access to heathcare. The general welfare and health of every citizen can improve with his plan.

    Lets hope our legislators can be as reasonable and place the common good above the need to sell themselves to "the highest bidder" so they can get reelected.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 4:56 PM, Laaf wrote:

    I don't know the regulations in all european countries, but I know in Germany the employer bears the healtcare costs in the salaries.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 4:56 PM, CommonPaine wrote:

    For profit health insurance is a relatively new phenomenon. For most of the 20th century, health insurance was essentially a non-profit co-operative. Most of them are now gone, having converted themselves to for-profit companies. This conversion reached the tipping point in the 80s

    Ever since, the insurance companies have become the vultures of health care. Those stories that the president relayed last night are nothing new. They have been an every day occurence for several decades. It is sufficiently common that local newspapers don't even bother writing about it anymore.

    Let's face facts: health insurance companies bring nothing positive to our health care system. They provide no care at all. Their only fuction is to pool money. Even that they can not do ethically; they skim an obscene amount off the top by denying payment for care. I sold health insurance for a while back in the early 90s. One of the things I looked into was the loss ratios of the companies doing business in the state. For those who don't know what a loss ratio is, it is the percentage of premium dollars that gets paid out in care. I was astonished to find that a few companies paid out only 55%. They skimmed 45% off the top. Admittedly, these were not the majority of insurers. The majority were only skimming a paltry 25% - 40%. The really good ones generally kept a measly 12% - 20% for overhead. By way of contrast, the most efficient insurance plans around the world are all govt. programs. Single-payer plans typically require only about 3% - 5% for overhead, and preiums are way smaller as well.

    While I have no problem with care providers earning a living by giving care, I see no reason why a company that gets rich by denying payment for care has any right to exist. You can idolize these vultures if you wish. They have proven themselves to be ethically corrupt and morally bankrupt.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:00 PM, fightdoc wrote:

    the pres. is in bed with the trial lawyers--those nothing on the biggest part of expenditure of health care dollars, namely tort reform. His token gesture last night was dysingenuous, and the system cannot be reformed without this--step 1. The 900 billion cost figure is based on what? Do we now know what the medical needs and costs are of those uninsured? Do we know how many of these people will require hip replacements or bypass surgery? Chances are they are probably in worse shape then "the insured" population, and pose greater risk factors for illness as they age. When medicare was originated in the mid 60's it was at a projected cost of 60 million--the government was off by a massive factor in their estimates, as they are on almost all cost they project. I do not believe the numbers and costs; simply not realistic!

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:01 PM, jshatchsr wrote:

    Go ahead and call me a Comsymp Socialist, but I've always felt that it is wrong to make a profit from the sick and infirmed.

    I'm not talking about the workers in the trenches--the doctors, nurses, paramedics and other health care people--they certainl deserve to make a decent living for what they do. Yes, even drug companies need to make a DECENT profit.

    So I guess I'm talking about the health insurance companies. As the Congressman from New York asked on tv the other week, "Just what is it that insurance companies contribute"?

    And, aside from dividends for the stockholders and outrageous sincecures for senior executives, I can't really answer the question.

    Maybe one of you hard core Free Marketeers can enlighten me. Maybe I'll change my mind, but I don't honestly think so.

    I'm a small--make that very small--businessman and, yes, I do own some non-health care stocks and capitalism is fine in its place, but its place is NOT in the sick room.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:01 PM, PoundMutt wrote:

    What about tort reform? OR will we have EVEN MORE government OF, BY and FOR LAWYERS!!!???

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:01 PM, tadams101 wrote:

    I still say that health insurance needs to be "personalized", and made to fit the individual. All persons should not have the same coverage, as their needs are different. When we turned 16 and got our driver's license, our auto insurance premium was higher than our parents, because statistics showed that a 16 year old was more likely to have an accident than a 40 year old parent. And all people accepted this. In health insurance, the person who is 40 pounds overweight or the person who smokes, those folks will require a greater amount of health care. If a person lives in Northern California, in the wooded areas, his house is more likely to burn in a forest fire that a house in the city. So his homeowner's insurance should be higher than a city dweller. The folks who live in New Orleans should pay a higher homeowner's insurance premium, because NO is below sea level, and is subject to more flooding. The person who doesn't exercise, who drinks excessively, who may use dope or other drugs, who has illicit sex affairs, these folks will probably require greater medical care. So, I think that health insurance premiums should be based on an individual's need. Now I do know that there are exceptions, and there are instances of major medical needs. But then these groups of folks can be put into a "pool", and have some major medical care.

    To me, I believe that people have lost their "need to be responsible" through the education of generations of folks living on the government dole The welfare programs have created a dis-interested, dis-functional, less motivated society. Why work when the government will take care of you? What's the incentive?

    I am not a golf fan, but the pro-tour is the best example of motivation and incentive. A tournament begins with a group of potential players, all who put in an entrance fee. The entrance fee ranges from small to large money, depending of the prestige of the tournament, and is non-refundable. If a golfer does not make the first cut, he is sent home, with nothing, no refund on his entrance fee. If the golfer does not make the second cut, same thing, he gets sent home, no money. The cuts continue until there are just 36 players left. These 36 all play for the top prize money. The winner gets much more that the second person, who gets more than the third person, and so on. The bottom last player does get some money, and if you ask him if it would be better if all the 36 players got the same prize money, he would say no. He says no, because he is motivated to do better in the next tournament, so that his prize money will increase. Ultimately, that last place player does have the motivation to do better with the hopes of getting to the top prize money.

    I feel that we need to get the government out of our lives. Government does have a purpose, but I don't think it should be in the health care business.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:02 PM, ACuoio wrote:

    I find it humorous that the only way the private insurance companies will be able to succeed is if they become more efficient and the government choice remains non-for profit and inefficient.

    Social Security was supposed to pay for itself too.

    Obominationcare is a disaster in the making.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:04 PM, tednerry wrote:

    Orelli is suggesting that health insurance abuses, while inexcusable, are not the norm. Wrong. For 50 years I've been trying unsuccessfully to keep my patients from being regularly screwed by their health care carriers. It is a disaster out there.

    tednerry@aol.com

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:05 PM, CommonPaine wrote:

    Those meaningless buzz words sure make you feel good don't they. The fact that they are totally meaningless is beside the point.

    It is so much easier to live in a fact-free bubble.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:07 PM, todavek wrote:

    Regardless of how much lipstick he puts on it, Obama wants to give birth to a pig named "Single payer national health care". just like his models in France, Swweden and the OK. He'll eventually get there, by whatever means necessary. This is the "Camel's nose in the tent". Then, he has to put the HMO's out of business. Easy with the senior care segment, because he'll just keep reducung the Medicare payment "equivalent", as he's started already. Employers will dump their HMO plans, in favor of the 8% tax alternative. When he floods the market with mandatory signups, including families of illegals, HMO costs will rise. Then Obama will offer his lower cost (subsidized) Obamacare HMO, which will atract the commercial HMO customers away. That kills the remainder of the commercial HMOs and puts everyone in the loving arms of Obamacare, just the arrangement he wants, to centralize control from the White House. And America will learn to "get over it", along with other concurrent assaults on our liberty.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:07 PM, jalapama wrote:

    My problem is the I do not like statist societies at all. The shift from freedom to serfdom is always sold to the masses with a sugary flavor. Unfortunately, the old adage "the masses are ignorant" is especially true today. Let's punish the doers of the world and reward the lazy while using the argument that some cannot do for themselves. Sorry, taking away my freedom to solve a miniscule problem (those who truly cannot do for themselves) does not sit well with me. As for the problems with healthcare today, it all boils down to two things: 1) existing government interference in the free market, and 2) the fact that over 20% of the yellow pages in my phone book is taken up by what we used to call ambulance chasers.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:08 PM, JHShort wrote:

    >How about their proven track record......The U.S. Post Office

    The U.S. Post Office, as opposed to Fed Ex, etc, is required to provide the same level of service to the entire country -- every last nook and cranny -- for the same price. And they are required to carry all mail -- whether it's 50 gazillion pieces of junk mail or your very important, very personal missive. Not a bad performance for ground rules under which they labor.

    >>Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

    Well now, let's see. Fannie and Freddie together securitized right around 50% of the mortgage market, yet only had 25% of the bad loans. The great bastion of wonderfulness, the capitalists on Wall Street, securitized the other 50% but were responsible for 75% of the bad loans. So tell me again where it is that the government did a bad job.

    Not to mention that Fannie and Freddie were both public companies and were very definitely NOT government entities.

    >>Oversight of financial institutions, Madoff

    Ahhhh, so you let someone who opposes regulation gut the regulators for eight years, and then you tell us that government does a bad job regulating. Isn't that convenient.

    Think again.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:13 PM, Alabare wrote:

    Those evil IN-surance companies. 65% of employer plans are self-insured (no IN-surance company). Washington and the public are kicking the wrong straw man.

    In 1976 ERISA became the law of the land. It is the ultimate consumer protection law and is strictly enforced.

    THE BIGGEST influece in rising costs is the huge cost-shifting from government programs to private programs (Medicare and Medicaid pay at government-imposed price caps so doc's and hospitals make up the shorfatll on the rest of us. Who's addressing that one?

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:15 PM, rwen wrote:

    The big problem here is not lack of good ideas. The bill has a lot to offer! It's not perfect. If anyone has ever seen perfect legislation, please let me know when and where it occurred.

    Does our healthcare system need help? The World Health Organization ranks the United States 24th in terms of the life expectancy of its citizens. Twenty-fourth, not first.

    In the category called Health Performance, the WHO says we rank 72nd in the world. Seventy second, even though we are second in the percentage of our gross domestic product spent on health care.

    Another standard measure of a civilized country is the infant mortality rate. The CIA says we are 46th in the world. Sounds to me like something needs to be fixed.

    To repeat. The problem isn't good ideas. The real problem is sore-loser Republicans and hard-headed, vindictive Democrats, refusing to work together!

    However, if this situation is not going to improve ... and I see little chance of that ... and it's the Democrats that are willing to put something on paper and push it through, so be it. At least we'll have an improvement over what is available now. This bill will NOT kill anyone, or any business ... let's get something done!

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:15 PM, CommonPaine wrote:

    While medical malpractice insurance rates go up at alarming rates from time to time, it is rarely the result of malpractice awards.

    That sounds rather counter-intuitive, doesn' it? Insurance premiums that are meant to cover potential expenses far down the road are determined by three factors: 1. Anticipated payouts. 2. Overhead. 3. (Here is the unexepected one) Interest rates on money invested.

    And in most situations in which malpractice insurance rates increase significantly, the reason is that interest rates have declined significantly. Therefore the insurance company makes up for loss of interest income with increased premium income. The fact that the change in interest rates causes such a jump in premiums says something about the amount of the premium that is not needed for current expenses or near term settlements. The fact that the insurance premiums never come down when interest rates rise also says something.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:21 PM, Mbarabasz wrote:

    The problem is not government interference in the free market, but rather corporate interference in government.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:21 PM, Frantique1 wrote:

    It is unfortunate that Americans have allowed our health insurance companies to be changed to stockholder entities. NO ONE should PROFIT from policyholder insurance premiums. This is totally a conflict of interest.

    I have been cancelled on 4 different occasions during my lifetime, denied radiation coverage after a lumpectomy (which I still think was misdiagnosed) and have paid up to $1,500/mo for insurance. How criminal can things become? My BEST coverage has been with our state plan. No restrictions as to doctors/clinics/hospitals. No denials. I actually received a premium refund at the end of last year because of my good health record - still think I was misdiagnosed but they scare the H____ out of you.

    Employers should not be involved in providing insurance - we should have a single payer system - premiums the same for everyone, insurance companies can then BID ON ADMINISTRATION OF PLANS. If employers want to inlcude health insurance they will be permitted to only REIMBURSE FOR THE ACTUAL PREMIUM - no additions. This plan would even out the playing field very quickly. Government would not be subsidizing health insurance in any way.

    For all the folks that are afraid and don't want to 'support' healthcare for the underprivileged or poor - who do you think is paying for it now??? YOU AND I !!! It would get better once we start paying for preventative care AND offering verifiable incentives for nutrition consultation and follow through, gym membership etc.

    We can do this - if everyone would sit down and talk like civilized people - this Beck and Limbaugh crowd need to be charged with inciting hatred and bigotry - if they did this on the street they would be arrested. Wow, people INVITE THEM INTO THEIR HOMES!!!! Not mine!

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:29 PM, CommonPaine wrote:

    "...I don't like statist societies." Define your term.

    Do you even know what serfdom is, what the term means?

    Ignorant masses sounds an awful lot like the rationales from the monarchists and aristocrats and the Loyalists in 1776.

    The rest of the comment is just fact-free hogwash.

    My guess is that you were quite happy with the govt. that monitored your e-mail and your phone calls, that declared habeus corpus dead, that decided they should regulate our bedrooms, that they had no need to obey the Constitution and US law.

    We were granted all that in the names of "compassion" and "faith" and "freedom".

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:31 PM, coloprof wrote:

    What nobody seems willing to admit is that other developed countries have single-payer systems that are cheaper by a factor of two with outcomes that have shown to be better, There is a huge disconnect here.

    Maybe the other countries like Germany and France have more efficient government systems for handling medical reimbursements than our insurance companies do. Is our government handling of Medicare that much worse? I don't think so. I think that our healthcare delivery evolution has developed a structurally unsound system based on skewed incentives like pay for procedure and we won't cut costs until integrated health delivery systems become the norm.

    The only way to change a system in a capitalist society is to change the incentives.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:37 PM, bluebird4 wrote:

    I saw nothing to hate in the President's speech last night. Everything he said would make health care better for the whole country. And I was so proud he stood up to all the myth-makers and nay-sayers. We are in a favored position, both being on Medicare. Cutting down malpractice insurance for drs. and hospitals would cut many of the unnecessary tests drs. give. I think the best system would be Medicare for all those who want it. We pay monthly out of our SS checks, as well as Medicare D and secondary ins.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:40 PM, FOXXY01 wrote:

    The only way that you can tell that President Obama is lying is to watch and see if his lips are moving. With lies about health care for illegal immigrants, paid abortions, and government run health care, no one can believe anything that he says. Look at what he has given to the Unions and look at his czars that their reputation have not been investigated. He has more czars than Russia has had in 300 years.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:44 PM, rgrthompson wrote:

    I think there's no question that we need to reform health care...however, I feel the only way to do it is within the contents of the free market system. People are responsible for their own insurance, period. The only thing that Americans allow is that whatever citizens spend on their health is totally deductible from their income taxes. This puts the responsibility of on the citizen...hospital, drugs, doctor's fees will all be held accountable to the free enterprise system. This is too simple...

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:47 PM, rgrthompson wrote:

    It is a known fact that everything that pertains to healthcare is billions of dollars a year, maybe trillions; and, it is no wonder the government would like to get it's fingers in this 'enterprise.' But, we do not need more beauracracy and laws. The market will weed out the incompetent doctors, hospitals, medicines, etc...and, the quality of healthcare will improve.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:47 PM, markosaur wrote:

    You can use FDX or UPS instead of the Post Office but you will pay more. The public mail service does not inflate its prices to pay for a huge ad budget, big CEO salaries, and lobbyists.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:47 PM, LessGovernment wrote:

    Yeah yeah, cover the cost by making the other guy pay for it.

    How about this instead.

    We have recently been given a very good education of what happens when no one retains risk or exposure. The result is bad loans, bad securities ratings, toxic securities and government bailouts.

    Risk is necessary to a properly functioning, capitalistic, competitive marketplace. So, with that said, I think we need to consider the following:

    Pass a law that no insurance company can write a primary health care insurance plan that covers more than 80% of incurred costs.

    The benefit in doing so is insurance companies will have 20% less total exposure, so premiums should come down a bit.

    The patient now has a stake in the process, so he will shop around for the non emergency stuff (physicals, checkups, preventive care, non emergency operations, and everything elective. This shopping around will do more to contain costs and improve care than anything accomplished by hiring government workers or healthcare gatekeepers because it introduces competition. Imagine any other industry that performs services and can't render a bill upon completion of services for weeks or even months. The current methods are simply ridiculous. And if I have a 20% stake in the savings, you better believe I will shop around for better (lower) costs, better services, and even better transparency of outcome such as a report of how the facility has performed in the past as to complications, etc. as a result of the services I am interested in.

    Now, with no primary policy covering more than 80%, I am now free to purchase a catastrophic policy from an insurer that specializes in that last 20%, or I can just take the risk and try to live better, safer, healthier, longer by taking care of myself to mitigate the excess 20% risk. Risk is good. It forces one to do what should be done.

    No risk is bad. It is why the mortgage originators failed to ascertain ability to repay a loan, accurate appraisals, etc. because the originator did not retain risk.

    I think we should apply retained risk to health insurance, cultivate competition among providers, and through doing this, reign in costs and even roll costs back as providers are forced for once to actually compete.

    If you wonder why this has never been done before, it is simply because the insurance companies did not have any risk in not doing so. No competition means higher medical costs means higher insurance premiums means higher profits.

    As to the president - he does not know what to do because he is getting bad advice from the very special interests that have grown the problem to what it has become.

    Dear Mr. President - Do this instead, and you will be a hero.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:51 PM, rgrthompson wrote:

    I disagree with 'rwen's' comment...the last thing we need to do is force legislation. Whenever laws are created it takes forever to undo them...and, in the mean time the fallacies of the legislation is the burden of the citizens. We need to stay as close to the notion of freedom and allow the citizens to manage their own affairs.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:52 PM, uncleglenn wrote:

    Actually, the article wasn't that bad. It was a fairly reasoned discussion. But who came up with that title? Not at reflective of what the author wrote.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:52 PM, perinatal wrote:

    "The other big win for insurers -- and taxpayers, for that matter -- was that a government-sponsored public plan won't be supported by the government; the premiums collected will have to cover the medical costs."

    President Obama sure knows how to tell a convincing story and have it believed.

    1) What does "government-sponsored" mean if not "the government will support it"? If you sponsor something it usually implies some monetary support.

    2) I think that what the president meant to say was that the government-sponsored public plan won't be supported by the government (who has no money of their own) but by the taxpayer.

    3) Who is going to pay for the premiums for those who can't afford to pay for their insurance coverage, the tooth fairy? Actually, they will receive a subsidy from the government, i.e., taxpayer, to pay their premiums. It doesn't matter if they are in the government-sponsored public plan or a private plan. If the government is giving out subsidies to individuals to pay their premiums, the taxpayer is paying the bill.

    Something that President Obama usually forgets to bring up is the issue of funding for elective abortions. Just because abortion is legal doesn't mean that the taxpayer has to pay for it.

    I agree that we need some health insurance reform but it should be aimed at the following:

    1) Separate health insurance from employers. There is no reason that a family/individual should lose their health insurance just because they change jobs.

    2) Provide a tax benefit for individuals who pay for their own health insurance.

    3) Make health insurance portable so that it follows a family or individual from state to state

    4) Allow states to take the lead in health care reform. A federal "one size fits all" approach is not likely to be the answer for all regions of the country.

    For some more useful information about health care reform check out the following:

    http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/wm2448.cfm

    Fool on

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 5:54 PM, NCRICK wrote:

    It is absurd to think we can add 30 or 40 million users without increasing costs! When is the last time a government program cost less than the original estimate. When something is free or nearly so, the demand will skyrocket.

    If the government can drastically reduce Medicare/Medicaid fraud and waste, why haven't they done so already? The huge cost of this program will be paid for my the working people of this country. And the cost will not be cheap! Various media reports indicate that 85% of those currently insured are satisfied with their current healthcare. What is the justification to drastically increase costs and/or reduce benefits for the 85% majority to satisfy the 15% uninsured--many or whom are uninsured voluntarily.

    There will be a huge cost and the taxpayer will have to pay it. Don't forget, ONLY PEOPLE PAY TAXES! Businesses are only tax collectors. The taxes, like all costs of doing business are paid by the customers. If a business can't make a profit, it can't survive. Ask GM stockholders for instance.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 6:00 PM, nwind wrote:

    I'm a Canadian and have watched our health care system kill a number of my relatives.

    Many Americans think our health care is "free".

    Right!! To the tune of 46.5% taxes after 80k yearly

    I love Americans for the most part and have many American friends but you folks voted for change and it's coming in a bad way.

    This arrogant president you have is one of the most insincere people I've ever seen.

    I watched his talk last night and he seemed very nervous .

    He seems to have no plan. He says nothing to me that means anything. He comes across as it's all about me; very much like our Mayor in Toronto.

    He is for sure about bigger government which is what the left is about, which translates always to more control over the people by taxing the hell out of them.Just like our union run commie city of TO.

    I don't think he cares about any ones health. He care s about bigger government .

    He is a marxist without a doubt and I guess half of you Americans like this and half don't.

    Me personally being from Europe (Holland) and living most of my life in Canada see that you are the only country moving towards socialism when much of Europe is trying to get away from it. This scares me since I am a business owner and love free enterprise.

    I am concerned that if this health care idiocy goes through that you will take us down with you.

    Our economy is doing very well but if the U.S. falls so do we.

    Look north and really see what Universal care is. It is not what you are being told.

    Good luck with your "change"

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 6:01 PM, Roxx wrote:

    Where does one start? Aside from ALL the other issues like mandating everyone who doesnt use healthcare to pay for healthcare and essentially eliminating Medicare Advantage which IS private doctors for the elderly, Firstly, you have to know that IF they could determine Waste and Abuse they certainly would have eliminated it already. And one mans Waste and Abuse is another mans access to treatment. Eliminating Medicare Advantage is NOT eliminating Waste and Abuse.

    But sitting in the middle of the room is the constitutional issue of having to cover ALL if covering ANY. So yes, the Big O did "misrepresent" and as a Constitutional Lawyer, no one knows it better than he. To paraphase the Great Betty Davis, What a Dump, lol.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 6:02 PM, harry1n wrote:

    Many people here have already expressed the problems with the health care bill, so I won't beat it to death but just summarize.

    There are many things that can be done to our existing health care to make it cheaper and better. But letting government run it is not the answer. Nowhere in the world has government run health care worked. People from Canada and the UK are flocking to the US for medical care. Lets look at our governments record of making things cheaper and better. How about the Post Office, Medicare, Social Security, etc. We have the best Medical care in the world, lets not throw out the baby with the bath water.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 6:04 PM, rnguy wrote:

    rbianchini wrote:

    "Obama is overlooking/ignoring some essential existing facts/problems. The Medicare fraud he spoke of ($Billions) are known and the govt has done nothing to correct it. How about their proven track record......The U.S. Post Office, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Oversight of financial institutions, Madoff, Stimulus Package(s).............and now we should trust them to run Health Care? WOW!"

    Where to start? Postal problems directly related to shift away from hard copy communication to electronic transmission (ie loss of revenue while expected to provide services under the original model). That is a societal shift not government mismanagement. I am sure you are not insinuating Obama is to blame for the other govn't woes you mention since they all happened on the previous watch and a nod and a wink deregulating atmosphere in washington. The vast sums of money generated by these industries made it convenient to overlook the hard choices it would have taken to reign in the abusers. It amuses me to hear politicians decry the problems of government when they are the government. (We have met the enemy, and it is us)

    There is no plan for "them to run healthcare". Who do you identify "them" as? Doctors and nurses and hospitals run healthcare while insurance companies profit from brokering the payments generated from the enormous cost of our illness. Most of the plans so far focus on the private insurance industry and correcting the inequities and protect the public from unfair practices. The VA Medical system is one of the most efficient government programs we have, which is a good argument for a government healthcare system, but that is not even being considered at present.

    You are right about billions wasted in Medicare and eliminating that waste is finally not ignored in the bills being considered.

    I would have liked to hear more details to flesh out the prose but all in all, the reform is way past due and as O said during the speech, healthcare is the deficit. As one currently living one of the healthcare nightmares you read about (unemployed, Cancer, COBRA insurance about to expire) I wish it went further and faster.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 6:10 PM, loricus wrote:

    It is really uplifting to see that I am not the only one who sees "for profit" health insurance and healthcare in general as Immoral and as a decided conflict of interest. The state of healthcare in this country is Inexcusable. When I got out of Dental Hygiene school and started to work in dental offices, I have to say that I was never offered employer based health insurance. My job, though one requiring education and training, licensure, and continuing education, did not offer health insurance. Therefore, in my twenties, while gainfully employed, educated, and MIDDLE CLASS, I did not have health insurance. I eventually bought a major medical policy that only covered the big things that were not likely to occur with a twenty something. I know that I was not alone. So, the idea that working individuals will have insurance and those who are "lazy" won't is simply false. Do any of you naysayers ever read the unemployment figures? Middle class workers have been losing their jobs and therefore their "employer based" health insurance by the hundreds of thousands. Ever try to make a $1500 monthly insurance premium on unemployment pay?

    Making health care available for everyone IS a moral and ethical issue. I am appalled by the hard heartedness of those who think that it should not be equally available for all. They are the same people who claim to be religious. I would be more inclined to define them as "wolves in sheep's clothing."

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 6:11 PM, cushoeless wrote:

    My big question: Why does health insurance have to cover every doctors visit?

    My auto insurance just covers accidents, not oil changes nor fills up my gas tank. Why should health insurance be any different?

    Any physicals and trips for the sniffles could be covered by my HSA (let's let the money just be held in escrow until we need it, not use it or lose it by year end). Then,all I need is catastrophe insurance if I get into an accident or serious illness.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 6:16 PM, prettymeadow wrote:

    It's amazing how it is so easy to tell who listens to the liars at Fox News and which people out there actually have a brain and can talk in easy to understand language without all the rubbish.

    The healthcare debate goes nowhere without actual facts. To those who haven't read H.R. 3200 , go to http://www.thomas.gov and read the bills for yourself. There is nothing in there on giving illegals medical insurance or subsidies of any kind. Yes they will get emergency care just like they do now as indigents. Would you have your fellow human bleed to death just because they didn't have insurance? If you feel that they should just bleed to death then I certainly do not want to know such an incompassionate cad like you. Especially if you call yourself Christian or of any other religious affiliation.

    The insurance companies are already getting away with murder. How else would you describe the way they are denying coverage to those who already pay for coverage. Insurance companies need to go away. With supposed "friends" like them who needs enemies?

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 6:22 PM, Appear wrote:

    Insurance companies need this to compete with. They are in markets with little if any competition and when they are they are more like cartels.

    I thank President Obama for sticking with a public health care plan that will keep insurance companies from gouging the public and providing for affordable health care for everyone.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 6:31 PM, GaryCCB wrote:

    Question. Can anyone show me a health insurer that carries a profit percentage of more than 6%?

    From what I've observed, none are making reasonable profits. I'm no champion of the health insurance business but I'm finding all the large insurers are carrying after-tax bottom lines of 4, 5 or 6%. When I started businesses I wouldn't have even considered an after-tax profit of less than 15%.

    From all the stuff I'm reading, you'd think these companies are gouging consumers.

    Where am I wrong? Just the facts, please.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 6:37 PM, FLTaurus wrote:

    Obama touched on a BIG truth that we need to keep in mind. We have several systems that are already a part of our medical care picture (there is no system). The federal employees plan, and the Veterans Hospitals. There are some other co-op and reginonal non-profits that are effecient and well regarded by the participants. Such plans need to be available to everyone.

    They demostrate that effeciency and affordability are directly related to getting away from fee for service models. As long as the more services performed(doctor visits, test etc.) the more money you make(by doctors, insurance companies etc.) affordable care for everyone will cost too much. Good care instead of quantity must be encouraged.

    Fraud and unethical practices can not be controled unless administration budgets for that purposes are adequate. Congress is constantly under pressure to keep Medicare enforcement budgets too low to do the job of stoping fraud.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 6:39 PM, land4apostles wrote:

    As long as health care is controlled by Wall St. we cannot compete with countries who provide better care at lower cost. They don't have to pay for the huge advertising expense, outlandish executive pay, uncontrolled procedures, widespread corruption, etc., etc. Add the electoral system that requires contributions from special interests, lobbyists, hedge funds, et al., and the political games of the not-so-loyal opposition, and you can start to realize why this country is as sick as it's health care system. America does not deserve Obama!

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 6:42 PM, CommonPaine wrote:

    "statist societies"

    This is the first graders' recitation at the Charter School for Excellence run under the principles of the Dobson ally, Bill Gothard, true right-wing authoritarians.

    Obedience is listening attentively,

    Obedience will take instructions joyfully,

    Obedience heeds wishes of authorities,

    Obedience will follow orders instantly.

    For when I am busy at my work or play,

    And someone calls my name, I'll answer right away!

    I'll be ready with a smile to go the extra mile

    As soon as I can say "Yes, sir!" "Yes ma am!"

    Hup, two, three!

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 6:54 PM, feathermynest wrote:

    Brian, I congratulate you!

    What Brian has done, but others fail to do, is to stay on topic. He spoke to what BO said and what he proposes. He didn’t escalate it into some fear-mongering forum from which to voice his dissatisfaction with the election. In fact, given his article, I can’t even tell how he voted – and that’s as it should be.

    To all of you cynics: If not this, what? If not now, when? And if not us, who? Are you so unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the concept of evolution that you can’t accept trial and error in this process? It’s a HUGE problem of longstanding for which there are NO quick fixes. Do you expect perfection in the first draft and implementation? I’ve never encountered any plan, document, or program for which that is true. It's just not reasonable.

    Discourse is useful as long as we don’t decline into nonsense like death panels and such. So, can we all just begin limiting the discussion to what’s on the table and not convolute an already confusing and difficult issue by introducing all sorts of speculation and, frankly, prejudice?

    I could go on and on about the single payer argument - I have family in France and the UK and friends in the Netherlands and Canada and everyone seems just fine with their systems - so I wish people who don’t seem to know a lot about it or are basing their opinion on one or two anecdotal stories would stop throwing it in my eyes like sand.

    As to whether insurance companies should profit in general, well heck yes, as long as they’re doing so within the confines of the (new) law. And I’ll make a prediction of my own. If we leave BO to get on with it, insurance companies will become self-policing which will be a plus in the short term. Why so rosy? Competitive edge in 4 years. Think about it.

    By the way, I’m both at risk of losing coverage due to a pre-existing condition and, given the lack of portability across state lines, I’ll probably lose the “right” to continue seeing those professionals most familiar with my case. And as this happens, I will become increasingly bitter knowing that things might be different if this country could stop bickering.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 6:55 PM, dancinglight wrote:

    Health care is a service not a right. The Feds have no right interfering in any business whether it is cars or health.The public health option will never pay for itself (has ANY Federal or state program actually stayed in budget?). The only thing it will do is undermine the providers and users of heath care services. No nationalized plan has worked well or as intended. It is despicable for the US government to indermine the rights of individuals with this collectivist program.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 6:56 PM, mtracy9 wrote:

    The right-wing hicks would still rather continue to be ripped off by the insurance industry racket. When will they realize that it is a scam?

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 6:59 PM, Boomer04 wrote:

    History proves that health insurance companies are a terrible way to allocate health care dollars. Their incentive is to avoid providing care. Having multiple organizations each use people's premium dollars to pay large salaries to executives, to support large clerical staffs and lobbying budgets is, by definition, less efficient than single payer. Insurance companies, not doctors, are deciding what to cover and what to pay based on their profits, not people's needs. To continue the present system is both foolish and unethical. Motley Fool needs to stop being so narrow in it's views and instead support the common good.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 7:00 PM, xetn wrote:

    The real problem of health insurance and its "high cost" are do to government intervention. Just consider this:

    Deregulate the health-insurance industry. Private enterprise can offer insurance against events over whose outcome the insured possesses no control. One cannot insure oneself against suicide or bankruptcy, for example, because it is in one's own hands to bring these events about.

    Because a person's health, or lack of it, lies increasingly within his own control, many, if not most health risks, are actually uninsurable. "Insurance" against risks whose likelihood an individual can systematically influence falls within that person's own responsibility.

    All insurance, moreover, involves the pooling of individual risks. It implies that insurers pay more to some and less to others. But no one knows in advance, and with certainty, who the "winners" and "losers" will be. "Winners" and "losers" are distributed randomly, and the resulting income redistribution is unsystematic. If "winners" or "losers" could be systematically predicted, "losers" would not want to pool their risk with "winners," but with other "losers," because this would lower their insurance costs. I would not want to pool my personal accident risks with those of professional football players, for instance, but exclusively with those of people in circumstances similar to my own, at lower costs.

    Because of legal restrictions on the health insurers' right of refusal — to exclude any individual risk as uninsurable — the present health-insurance system is only partly concerned with insurance. The industry cannot discriminate freely among different groups' risks.

    As a result, health insurers cover a multitude of uninsurable risks, alongside, and pooled with, genuine insurance risks. They do not discriminate among various groups of people which pose significantly different insurance risks. The industry thus runs a system of income redistribution — benefiting irresponsible actors and high-risk groups at the expense of responsible individuals and low-risk groups. Accordingly, the industry's prices are high and ballooning.

    To deregulate the industry means to restore it to unrestricted freedom of contract: to allow a health insurer to offer any contract whatsoever, to include or exclude any risk, and to discriminate among any groups of individuals. Uninsurable risks would lose coverage, the variety of insurance policies for the remaining coverage would increase, and price differentials would reflect genuine insurance risks. On average, prices would drastically fall. And the reform would restore individual responsibility in health care.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 7:06 PM, posparkle wrote:

    It is not legal to be for profit in the primary healty insurence buiness in the rest of the world. It should be so here.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 7:06 PM, NEPA18704 wrote:

    Isn't is kinda funny how we don't hear people in other countries with single payer systems complaining? It's also funny how they don't have the problems alluded to in the article.The bottom line is that most other countries do a better job of providing health care to their citizens for far less and the results are better. I don't think anyone disputed that fact.

    As for those that don't want or want less govt overall may I suggest you go to South America or Africa and see what less govt gets you.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 7:07 PM, salsi wrote:

    Missing the problem, Obamas strategy. Health insurance companies are as much as a victim as the insured when it come to cost of healthcare. Do they opperate too much like a business sometimes, absolutely! The big companies, as you can see, have profti margins ranging from 4-8% anually. Creating another competitor funded by the tax payer that can only operate as efficiently as the US Post Office, Freddie and Fannie, Medicare & Medicade, or the healthcare plan our veterans recieve is only going to create a bigger problem.

    However, this is the leverage that Obama, Pilosi, and Reid "democrats" will use too further control our lives, secure power by decreasing that of congress and ultimately steeling our liberties.

    Buyers Beware!

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 7:09 PM, xetn wrote:

    Lets consider how great the government is in managing anything:

    THE FUNNIEST JOKE EVER ..... ON US !!!

    Does anybody out there have any memory of the reason given for the establishment of the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ..... During the Carter Administration? Anybody? Anything? No?

    Didn't think so! Bottom line ... We've spent several hundred billion dollars in support of an agency...the reason for which no one can remember. Ready??????? The 'Department of Energy' was instituted on 8-04-1977 TO LESSEN OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL.

    And now it's 2009, 32 years later... and the budget for this NECESSARY department is at$24.2 billion a year. It has

    16,000 federal employees and approximately 100,000 contract employees AND LOOK AT THE JOB IT HAS DONE! This is where you slap your forehead and say "What was I thinking?"

    Ah, yes, good old bureaucracy...

    So what could possibly go wrong with government healthcare? (tongue in cheek)

    Now let me get this straight...

    Obama's health care plan will be written by a committee whose head says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it and whose members will be exempt from it, signed by a president who smokes, funded by a treasury chief who did not pay his taxes, overseen by a surgeon general who is obese and financed by a country that is broke. So... what could possibly go wrong?

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 7:27 PM, drivers100 wrote:

    This is just a gaggle of random thoughts ...

    Oh, Lordy. Once more: This is NOT nationalized health care.

    Re. deregulation? Have we not just seen what years of deregulation caused? Yeah, capitalism is great, but malignant capitalism not so much. We're all with TMF to make money, after all, money is power. However, absolute power corrupts absolutely, as we've been witnessing. Unfortunately, as we do not reside in Utopia, we need regulation.

    Oh, BTW, at least proposals on the board don't duplicate French health care. That would really make the collective head of naysayers spin: French health insurance companies aren't allowed to make a profit!

    Finally, in our health-care mess, I wonder: WWJD? He was, after all, the supreme community organizer.

    There is a clue, biblically, when he implored listeners, "Whatever do ye for the least of these, my brethren, do ye also unto me."

    I say pitching in a relatively small bit to help provide medical coverage for the "least" among us, will still be cheaper than the enormous hidden fee I'm paying in premiums for their ER trips for routine care.

    And, oh, yeah -- I wonder if the headline of the latest article had read, Obamacare: Something for Everybody to Like, it would have generated a wide read. Thanks, though, for the positive and thoughtful coverage. It was accurate, refreshing and reassuring, amidst the jaw-dropping, national talk show rhetoric of late.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 7:28 PM, gmly wrote:

    This article has empathy for the insurance companies and the investors in insurance companies but little empathy for the American citizen who needs healthcare now.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 7:30 PM, Rockfish88 wrote:

    What a great discussion! It is unfortunate that so much of this discussion is based on previous prejudices rather than the presentation of facts. To those who do bring some analysis of actual facts to this discussion, many thanks! Much of this is very new information to me.

    Now my disclaimer. I am a big advocate of single-payer. Within the guidelines for which they are required to serve, the post office and the Social Security system do quite well thank you. And health care can cost less and deliver more.

    My prejudice is that I believe those who talk about a death panel approving whether or not someone gets to live or die, and who disingenuously do so solely for the purposes of making an argument against health care, are in fact already serving on that very panel. They've already decided that the expense of saving those who are uninsured is too great and that those people can die.

    There is plenty of lip service to how great America is -- "We have the greatest health care in the world!" No. Most of us do not. But we could.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 7:42 PM, jalapama wrote:

    On September 10, 2009, at 5:07 PM, jalapama wrote: My problem is the I do not like statist societies at all. The shift from freedom to serfdom is always sold to the masses with a sugary flavor. Unfortunately, the old adage "the masses are ignorant" is especially true today. Let's punish the doers of the world and reward the lazy while using the argument that some cannot do for themselves. Sorry, taking away my freedom to solve a miniscule problem (those who truly cannot do for themselves) does not sit well with me. As for the problems with healthcare today, it all boils down to two things: 1) existing government interference in the free market, and 2) the fact that over 20% of the yellow pages in my phone book is taken up by what we used to call ambulance chasers.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On September 10, 2009, at 5:29 PM, CommonPaine wrote: "...I don't like statist societies." Define your term.

    Do you even know what serfdom is, what the term means?

    Ignorant masses sounds an awful lot like the rationales from the monarchists and aristocrats and the Loyalists in 1776.

    The rest of the comment is just fact-free hogwash.

    My guess is that you were quite happy with the govt. that monitored your e-mail and your phone calls, that declared habeus corpus dead, that decided they should regulate our bedrooms, that they had no need to obey the Constitution and US law.

    We were granted all that in the names of "compassion" and "faith" and "freedom".

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To address you first point Paine, a statist is one who believes that a goverment official is better equiped to run my life than I am. Examples: Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Chavez, Obama.

    Second, fact-free hogwash is an incorrect depiction of my comments, to-wit 78 pages of my yellow pages are "Attorneys" out of a total of 367 pages. That is a fact. Sorry.

    Third, hell no, I am not happy with the government in my bedroom, suspending habeus corpus, reading my email or listening to my phone calls.

    I just wish we could go back and live within the jurisdiction of the Constitution! Perhaps we actually agree more than we think!

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 7:42 PM, biophile6 wrote:

    I am *sick* of anti Obama messages on Motley Fool.

    This is a *financial* board.

    Editors take note.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 7:43 PM, drivers100 wrote:

    p.s. (xetn)

    And how many administrations have there been, since Carter? Name them. Which among them stepped up to dismantle the Department of Energy? Who were their political and corporate affiliations? What was their record on tackling foreign oil dependency and environmental devastation? What fueled (pun intended) their denial of global warming and the cause thereof? Who had foreign oil sheik bedfellows? 5,000 questions could follow ...

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 7:45 PM, stan8331 wrote:

    It doesn't matter WHAT one's opinion of the current healthcare system is, or whether you believe Obama is Satan's agent. The fact is we are heading off a cliff when the baby boomers retire and neither the Democrats or Republicans have thus far offered anything even remotely close to coping with that demographic tsunami. Right wingers love the healthcare status quo, left wingers want to immediately spend any savings on expanded coverage. Nobody wants to tell the American people we are facing some very hard choices and significant pain, even under the most optimistic scenarios.

    If we fail to find some way to drastically reduce the percentage of GDP we're spending on healthcare, and get started on it very soon, it won't really matter who is covered, or under what system they're covered, because the country will be bankrupt. We could very easily be staring at a REAL recurrence of the Great Depression.

    We're waiting until we're 100 yards from the iceberg to start trying to steer the Titanic...

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 7:48 PM, salsi wrote:

    approximatley 15 million, 5-10million are illegal aliens.

    This government healthcare does nothing for the uninsured. Simple solution, lighten up qualifications for state medicaid programs, lift state to state restrictions on health insurance companies so al 17000 companies can compete nationwide for your business, and allow for 100% tax right off for all health care expenses.

    The proposed bill is nothing but tool for the government to serve its cash flow problem.

    Bottom line, more government has never been the solution for any problem.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 7:49 PM, unadoc wrote:

    The true "bottom line" of an insurance company is the retention "for expenses" of funds not paid out for health claims but paid out in excessive salaries, perks, and political incentives. I dare say that there is not one company that pays out even 85% of its intake for benefits. For any company that doses not have a real beneficial product that is poor performance, but especially bad when it lessens the paid for health care of the sick and injured.

    Tort reform, salary caps in the industry, disclosure of bonus parameters, and open disclosure of denials of coverage as well as publicly available cost accounting would help a lot in lowering costs and choosing an insurance company.

    I am a Pharmacist, and see daily that insurers are de facto practicing medicine in the name of cost savings. In itself a desirable goal, but bonuses are based and paid on this, negating I am sure, a sizable chunk of said savings.

    There is enough truth there in the humorous last paragraph bu extn to worry me, but I am hopeful, not expectant, that better health care for all is in our future.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 7:57 PM, DorianSnow wrote:

    It is patently immoral to make a profit off of the misfortune and illness of people. Making a living and paying expenses is fine. But as soon as the entity providing the care is beholden to shareholders, care is cut at the expense of the patient to put more money in the pockets of investors. Nixon did our society a disservice when he allowed insurance companies to turn a profit. Healthcare should be not-for-profit.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 8:32 PM, hallberj wrote:

    How can anyone beleive a man who consistantly lies.

    He was caught in a lie about the illegals in his speech.

    This man does not have an ounce of truth in him.Will not cost a dime,hahaha.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 8:54 PM, thorw wrote:

    I must say I'm confused, I thought the fools would base decisions on facts.

    The US already spends 2x per person on health care out of their tax dollars as Canadians. Here on the west coast of Canada I pay less taxes than a Californian, my house price is on par with Sacramento and my pay is the same, but I get basic health care coverage included.

    So why aren't fools screaming mad that they pay more and get less. Getting less means more burden on employers, less mobility for employees, etc.

    I know I'm un-happy that the people in the UK get more for their tax dollar than I do, and I have no idea of how Cuba does more with about 1/6 of the cost. Before anyone starts yelling patent issues, I suggest a quick read of how the “new world” supported patents of other countries in the past (or not☺

    If you think it's just because US doctors get paid more, you're wrong there too. I know HMO doctors that get paid less and than Canadian doctors, with the general average being pretty close. For instance I know a radiologist who got 1,000,000 last year, not too bad.

    I also find it interesting that both the UK and France point to their Health Care system as a foundation of democracy. They state that people with huge student loans and employer bound health care are less likely to vote or voice opinions that could get them terminated. For here in Canada I have to buy extended health coverage for those things not covered by the universal plan (casts, cosmetic, experimental drugs, etc), so I fall under their definition of reduced democracy as well. The intent of the universal canadian plan was that no one should become bankrupt or so destitute due to a medical issue that they would have no desire or opportunity to get better and return to work. Surely that’s not a bad goal.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 8:56 PM, seve60 wrote:

    I think everyone would agree the industry needs reformed. But I saying heathcare costs are too high to me is the same as saying lawyers fees are too high. There is no difference. Engineering fees are too high. Auto mechanic fees are too high. Plumber's fees are too high. To say one of these is more outrageous than the next is thinking in a tunnel. We all think our career deserves the profit they make for their services and think the other industries are way to over priced. There are many healthcare workers who put in many years of education to get where they are and many are not doctors. Until there is a way to equally distribute the reform I can not condem one industry over another.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 9:05 PM, TomasCastilla wrote:

    I think te President is talking trought his teeth,I do no think he is telling the truth.Yes we need to do something about the cost of health costs but I really believe the President is not looking after us but after his prestige of "fixing"Health Care

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 9:16 PM, lorraine35 wrote:

    I think Obama is a very smart man trying to do a very good thing. I support him all the way. It will be difficult to do what he asks but can and should be done. It is a moral issue. And we need to get back to what our country can really be.

    I am puzzled , though, in that i sold my Vanguard Health and lost money on it. If the insurance companies are making such outrageous profits, why did that happen?

    I have Kaiser Health Care in California and find it to be a very satisfactory insurance program. I get periodic lab tests and Dr. visits as preventable medicine. My husband died of cancer but they did all they could do for him at little cost to us. This on Medicare, of course. Everybody should be treated as well. Lorraine Baldwin

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 9:36 PM, TSponaugle wrote:

    Brian you lost the forest for the trees. We need to resolve the problems with the current system not invite the government into medicine to create more havoc. They are already there. Its called Medicare/Medicaid and the cost overruns of these government programs are STAGGERING. And we want more of this waste and inefficiency? Not on your life. Or mine for that matter.

    We need to focus on simple fixes for 90% of the problem. Specifically, everyone should be DEMANDING the following four very straightforward changes:

    1. Portability and coverage of pre-existing conditions.

    2. Competition across state lines.

    3. TORT REFORM for out of control medical malpractice litigation

    4. Small busines coops to pool insurance costs

    With these simple reforms, 90% of the problems go away NOW. Let keep it simple.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 9:40 PM, nopcmerde wrote:

    There is precisely NOTHING wrong with insurance companies (which means company stock-holders as well as company employees) making a profit selling their product, any more than there is with a nurse making one injecting kids with vaccines or a doctor making a profit treating a patient or a drug company making drugs that cure a patient's illness or a farmer making a profit selling the food we all need to live, or the supermarket employee making a profit selling us that food or the car company that makes the car that we use to go buy our our food or get our medical care or go to a movie. A profit is just what you get beyond the minumum you need to keep you alive doing whatever you do. It is always a very good thing and before you complain about someone else making one doing what they do thing about whether you should be making a profit doing what you do.

    My wife is insured with BlueCare PPO and I have Blucare HMO. We are both very happy with our insurance and our health care. I have used next to no health care while she has had two cancers and other major problems. She was well treated without any government bureaucrat sticking their nose into her health care. There was NEVER any problem with the insurance company sticking their nose into a doctor's decsion. The biggest problem was always with the billing department of the state-run university hospital where she has been mostly treated (excellent staffs). They almost always screw something up. Maybe Obama should nationalize state-run hospitals?

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 10:45 PM, tgs10 wrote:

    Health Facts (not fiction)

    Universal health care is implemented in all industrialized countries with the exception of the U.S. It is also provided in many developing countries.

    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 September 10, 2009, at 10:49 PM, baG99 wrote:

    I agree with TSponaugle's viewpoint. In my opinion, this is a very emotional issue and we choose our favorite sound bites to argue our point. If we all step back and look at the situation, the bottom line is that the more control you give to the government, the less control you have over your own ability to make decisions for you and your family.

    The business world is full of success because of ingenuity and creativity. You give all of that away with only one source. When you give control to government, you are saying, "Hey, government, you can live my life for me better than I can." No one, especially not government, can live your life better than you. I get my motivation in life from being able to make decisions, not giving my decision making power to someone else.

    The emotion in the argument takes away from the facts. Insurance companies are not the devil because they make money off people who are sick. Insurance companies don't make the patients sick. They make money as they assist people in their quest to become well. Sure, some health insurance companies are not operating with the best of ethics in some situations and there are some unfortunate situations out there. But I have no faith in our government to do any better. If you don't like a corporation, you have a choice to leave. If you don't like government control, you are stuck with no option to shop somewhere else.

    Our government has done such a great job bullying capitalism and creating negative emotion, that their very own ugly corruption goes unreported and is overlooked by the casual observer. Government wants us to join then in beating down the big dogs in capitalism so they can become the big dogs. Just because government preaches that they are the moral compass for the rest of us doesn't mean that they are.

    All healthcare needs is a make over, but this is a government take over.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 11:02 PM, thorw wrote:

    baG99 what choice do you feel you are giving away?

    I fyou actually looked at any of the countries that have universal health care you'd see that you can choose your own doctor (not so in HMO land), which hospital you want to go to, etc.

    So what are you giving up?

    If you truly believed fully in what you've stated, then you should vote to abolish all public school, libraries, state utilities (which I wouldn't mind having California pay the couple of billion they owed to the electric grid providers). You'd remove the wheat board, dairy, egg, meat and oil subsidies.

    If not, then your argument is inconsistent with the logic you presented earlier.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 11:10 PM, seti2egy wrote:

    Yes the healthcare system is imperfect, but a lot of foreign people come here to get the medical treatment that is needed because their government health program cannot respond to their needs. This system has produced innovative medicines and techniqes

    The president more or less packaged the same stuff in a new wrapper and noticeable pandered to the far left with the gov't. program, then blamed the previous administration with the problem and finished of his speech with an epistle about Ted Kennedy's deep care and respect for the working class and how he devoted his life to taking care of " us ", spotted with shots of the Kennedy family and Joe Biden wiping tears from his eyes.

    What retrieved fron this all is that Obama is a good orator and can deliver off a screen what someone else has written for him to use.

    In final....if this system is going to be for all of us, why on page 114 of the bill is there an option for the president, congress and the senate members to decline its use for themselves?

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 11:20 PM, MKA1965 wrote:

    Yes, I have worked for 28 years and have had insurance for the same amount of time, and have never had a problem with my insurance at all. Let talk about the people like me, one out of 100,000 people had a problem, that is pretty good odds as far as I am concerned. If you want insurance work for it, other wise go to the emergency room at your hospital and get treated in Oklahoma they cannot turn you away. So, you can see a doctor, if you want to see the doctor of your choice get a job and get insurance. Every one is saying we are paying anyway, but right now I only pay when I go to the doctor, if this crap passes then I will be paying all the time not just when I go to the doctor. Open up the state lines to other insurance companies, stop the stupid law suits against everyone and the problem is taken care of, the price will come down.

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 11:21 PM, LenA3983 wrote:

    On September 10, 2009, at 4:50 PM, CarryOnAgain wrote:

    That's one angle I hadn't thought of before. US manufacturers have higher costs because health insurance is an additional cost that is not borne by European companies. I wonder if that amounts to unfair government subsidy by the Europeans?

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It is a form of subsidy, that our trade negotiators, under international agreements Reagan and Bush 41 crafted, are permanently forbidden from bringing up in a trade negotiation. The other side can bring it up, but why would they?

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2009, at 11:37 PM, MKA1965 wrote:

    helathcare is the problem with American businesses, it is the corparate tax that is the problem. No one, not a single person says that, it the cost of healthcare not that we have the highest corp. tax rate next only to Japan and we can see were there economy is. This country is not cost effective for that very reason, and this bill in congress will only make US businesses (small business) less cost effective. The manufacturer I work for would nothing less than hand health insurance to the government, I would loose mine with this bill and be forced to take the government's care, the company will pay the 8% fine and get rid of the head ache.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 12:15 AM, bambuel wrote:

    I am disappointed to see Brian Orelli's superficial political analysis of President Obama's speech presented on the Motley Fool web site in the guise of economic analysis. The U.S. health care system is a failure. We pay more for health care than other Western democracies, have more uninsured, lower vaccination rates, higher infant mortality rates and a shorter life span. The health insurance industry has done little to reduce cost, improve American citizens' quality of health, or reduce the economic burden on American business. The discussion we are currently engaged in as a nation is how to redesign our health care system so people can obtain affordable health care. This is not "Obamacare", but health care for the American people. I urge Motley Fool to stop the cheap political commentary and stick to what you do well--analysis of the investments.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 12:45 AM, john795806 wrote:

    "Something for everyone to hate"? Look, this is something for everyone to love! Well, almost, unless you are so overcome by fear that we are going to become like all of those other "communist" countries who have adopted universal health care--all of Europe, Japan, South Korea...oh wait, those aren't communist countries, are they? Wait--those are vibrant free-market economies who have never even hinted on going back...

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 12:54 AM, asthmadr wrote:

    The unfunded liabilities for Medicare and Medicaid for the next 30 years amount to 37 trillion dollars. Obamacare will add to that.

    Nothing Obama wants can get around ultimately having only government-run insurance for everyone. It doesn't matter whether the money is funneled through United or Aetna or Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the money is going to come from the federal budget.

    Products that our companies produce that compete with products produced in other countries have the cost of health insurance built into their costs. In other countries, the cost of health insurance is paid by taxes, so their products have taxes built into their costs.

    The Western European socialist democracies GDPs that are 50% or more government spending. The UK spends more on government funded health care than anything else. Have you seen any indication in recent years that any European country can defend itself militarily? Europe could not clean up the mess in the former Yugoslavia, and it was in their own back yard. The US had to do that little task. We will not be able to continue guarantee the freedom of Europe, Japan, Korea, and our other allies if everyone in this country has government sponsored health insurance. I am cynical-enough about Obama to believe that he intends to militarily weaken us so that we do not have enough power to stand up the likes of China, Iran, Russia, or any other potential America-haters. The cost of government funded and mandated health insurance may be our ability to defend our interests around the world, as well as huge deficits and dramatic tax increases.

    I am no friend of United Health Insurance, or Aetna, or any other health insurance company. Regulations could be written to hold their feet to the fire to provide what people think they are getting when their employer provides health insurance coverage. Then, make sure that those who really, really, need health insurance but don't have it, can be covered under Medicaid. It is ridiculous for the government to make it illegal for a person to move from company A with health plan X to company B with health plan Y and enroll in company B's health plan. As HR 3200 is now written, anyone who changes jobs cannot get the new company's health plan. They must enroll in Obamacare. That is just plain stupid. The only reason to require such is to increase dependency on the government with concomitant additional power and influence over our personal decisions.

    And don't forget, the 787 billion dollar stimulus bill, that is current law, requires all physicians to have electronic records that are compatible with government computers, and every physician visit, every lab test, every x-ray report, every prescription you get will be stored on the government computer where bureaucrats will review your records to decide what care you get in the future.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 1:15 AM, jomueller1 wrote:

    Today I talked to an adviser for health insurance. I do not qualify for Medicare as I worked most of my life in Germany. Only Lloyds of London will cover me as I am over 65. I said to the advisor I should probably go back to Germany or live in some other country. His response: I have heard that from many Americans.

    The politicians are cowards and the population in the US is full of fear. So nothing serious gets done. As always, businesses with their lobbyists win and you and I pay the bill.

    I do not like this country anymore because it is all about business and not about people. I feel abused and taken advantage of by corrupt politicians and greedy business people raking in hundreds of millions while others are in poverty.

    If this country does not change dramatically the foundation for a real revolution grows. With heavy handed tactics the "haves" suppress the "have-nots". I hope the brain washed majority wakes up and sees how bad this country really is. Health care is better in 19 of the 20 top industrialised countries. Does that tell you something?

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 1:23 AM, ET69 wrote:

    I've said it before and I'll say it again . You can't have a rational healthcare system based on the PROFIT motive. The insurance and drug companies and hospitals and doctors must all be nationalised...period. Make money on whatever wiget you like but not on human beings. Tough medicine but that is what this doctor orders!

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 1:41 AM, toshara wrote:

    In response to MKA1965....I'd love to have a job that also has insurance. Problem is, I work for myself. That means an individual policy (apparently also don't qualify for HSA, MSA or any other alphabet soup...I've tried). Due to an elevated rheumatoid factor (due to a truely stupid emergency room doctor misdiagnosing lyme disease as ringworm), the only insurance I could possibly get has a very high deductible and a monthly premium that would require 75% of my income. Unless of course, I beggar myself and go on welfare, then you could pay for me. Is that a rational choice? Is that your rational choice? If so, just let me know your address and I'll have the bills delivered directly to your door rather than being hidden in your taxes and insurance premium.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 2:12 AM, thomasblak wrote:

    Foxxy01,Dancing light - morons!

    Xetn - Pipe dream, then we should all stay inside and cower in fear because our lifestyle of going outside and living life might raise our rates in your facist controlled, rate setting world!

    Prosparkle - illiterate moron.

    tgslo - right on! Just the "Real Facts" please!! Read this post ALL OF YOU before you say another word!

    T Sponaugle and Poundmutt - as explained, malpractic einsurance is based on profit potential from interest rates. Malpractice suits don't add up to a hill of beans -maybe 2% of the total cost of healthcare! Big deal. Quit listening to the corporate shills on right wing radio!

    TheBus Driver - Absolutely!

    baG99 - Wrong! see bus drivers comment.

    thorw - True! true! true!

    Jalapame - go live on your own "Free Market Island" and don't call us when you need water, fire protection, police, food,or healthcare. Take your ball and go away for good!

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 2:27 AM, phlox70 wrote:

    Your Article Title reads rather negative than objective. I am a health care professional and i can affirm that the system is a mess and needs help FAST. When one has insurance, often it is abused and not used efficiently. When one has poor or non existent insurance, the individual gets poor health care...........Is that how the health of individuals in the

    strongest nation on earth should be treated ? Should the treatment of an individual's sickness depend upon whether or not it is a "Profit making move" ??

    I believe if everyone in this country had to suffer the

    indignity and restriction that poor insurance (or lack of thereof) caused............Health Care Reform would be passed with overwhelming support. It seems some are so blinded by "the bottom line" that

    they are blind to simple basic human compassion,

    which is ALL SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO DECENT HEALTHCARE,...........even the AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 3:18 AM, billcarr wrote:

    'I've been a general supporter of seeing health insurers and drug companies make a buck off the sick'

    What an appalling statement, it isn't a buck is it, but vast profits for the shareholders. The Insurance co's are not interested in peoples health they are there to make a profit. There is not much difference between Insurance co's and protection rackets, except that no threat of violence is involved. You pay for them to leave you alone when you get sick. When you pay for a service and don't get it that is fraud and theft, see Madoff. That is the difference between the US and most EU countries. We think health care is a basic right and a social service. I get also very sick of those Americans who keep labelling Europeans as serfs and living in dictatorships. You should remember that we were fighting two years (39-41) defending freedom while the US sat on its hands, and US companires did business with Nazi Germany. Profit before principle of course.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 5:55 AM, baG99 wrote:

    In response to thorw, no where in my post did I make the statement that all government entities need to be abolished. Establishing a library is much different than taking away my ability to find my own provider for health insurance. You cannot in good faith tell me that I will not lose my ability to choose. Anything can be slipped in a bill at the last moment.

    My point is that anti capitalists love to hate and stir up hate against any big company that makes large profits. Government is no better and maybe worse. They can't even turn a profit. Medicaid recipients get care because there are still providers around generous enough to treat them at a loss. Medicaid is not a perfect world either and there are plenty of those on the medicaid role that don't get equal care unless they are able to find those good samaritan providers. You will never hear the government ratting on itself.

    I like my liberal friends because they remind me that there are insurance companies out there who do really treat people unnjustly. I wish my liberal friends would listen to me when I tell them that the right hand of government brags about how great and moral they are while the left hand practices ethics no better than the next guy.

    We the people are the ones who need to get back some power and stop giving it away to politicians who we don't even really know.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 7:19 AM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    Hey Orelli,

    "Cover all people regardless of preexisting conditions."

    How about including unexistig conditions and the ones you get after you drop coverage voluntarily. I suppose Insurance Co. should not assess any risk of covering any particular person.

    "Can't be dropped if the member gets sick."

    I don't know why you need the govt for this. This sounds like a breech of contract and there are plenty lawyers around.

    "Don't have caps on annual or lifetime expenses."

    How about capping it at the Insurance Co. market cap worth. Although you can cap it at federal budget worth too. Would the Insurance Co. going bankrupt be enough or should the govt go bankrupt too.

    "Limit out-of-pocket expenses"

    Like there are no limits now. You want to limit it a $0, that's what it is.

    "Cover routine checkups and preventive care at no additional cost."

    Never mind "preventive care" doesn't prevent anything. Yes, let's not pay anything to preventive care providers. That should lower the cost to almost nothing.

    So if you think about these proposals, they are all ridiculous. Unless you want healcare for free. People already waste plebty of money and healthcare resources because they do not realize the cost of their healthcare services procurement. How is free healthcare going to make this better. Prices are indicators that make people allocate resorce efficiently. Remove that and you will have chaos. Shortages anyone!!!

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 7:20 AM, pborst wrote:

    I don't think the reqirements Obama put on the Insurance Companies are unreasonable at all. If the gov't is going to require individuals to have Health Insurance then requiring the Insurance companies to insure you is necessary.

    The one problem that nobody talks about is that Insurance companies don't offer their product in certian areas. I just retired and I'm not old enough for Medicare so I need to get insurance for myself. I live in New York very close to the county line. Many of the companies I have talked to don't sell insurance in my county but they do in the next county over. Insurance companies should be allowed, even required, to sell to everyone without reguard to what county or state they live in!

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 7:35 AM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    Hey billcarr,

    Profit for share holders? Insurance Co. and Pharma is an awfull investment. So I don't know where you get this. You think govt employees work for free and not for profit.

    The point is that to make a profit you have to treat your customer well. So profit of the sick means the sick getting healthier. Short sightness is not a virtue.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 7:40 AM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    billcarr,

    You say: "should remember that we were fighting two years (39-41) defending freedom while the US sat on its hands."

    1st. Before we enter WWII you have been fighting for 5000 years, not 3 yrs.

    2nd. You were defending your own freedom. I don't remember you invading Germany or USSR when they invade Sudentenland or Poland.

    Who do you think you are talking too, some NBC news reported with no education?

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 8:13 AM, Origin97 wrote:

    May be we could stick to the subject at hand?

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 8:46 AM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    Well, then stick. You have anything to say?

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 9:01 AM, DioninGr wrote:

    Wake up ppl!!! I am a Canadian, but have been living abroad for yrs... It is really time you stepped outside of the box the in the good ol' US of Eh!!! Obama i think hits the nail on the head in his speech on health care in saying "if we cannot afford or find a way to health care for every US citizen in that country, then it should not be able to be done anywhere!" You ppll are a bunch of spoiled and immature babies as far as i am concerned... i say this just short of swearing or should i say shouting! You do not even have a clue as to how good you have it there and i suspect actually have very little actual compassion for your fellow human beings on this planet. I hope you realise this is one of the major reasons you are not liked on a world scale - yessss you are respected, for having the biggest whip, but the general feeling is not love, which it really could be... You now have a president that is working his buns off to make giant steps for you guys on the world stage and most of you do not seem to realise what this guy is even about - it would not surprise me to see some one there find a bullet for him just like sooo many other truly good leaders that you have had!!! I feel sorrry for you guys in the end of the day - about 5% of the population keeps the rest from truly enjoying "the good life" that normally is what most ppl think exists there. Surprise surprise - i hope you do wake up on your own ppl, but there are alarm bells ringing already in the rest of the world, many of them are ringing for guess who.... Water and wealth run down hill, and it will reach the bottom of the hill whether you like it or not... Ppl are tired of being second & third rate by your status quo standards, Ding dong! Get it together!!!

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 9:14 AM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    DioninGr...

    We just don't care if you like us or not. We are no 1, period. If you don't like it, try to compete, but you don't have a chance until you stop living in quasi-communist countries. Until then, keep hating us all you want.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 9:50 AM, saving4life wrote:

    Wow. I guess you can say this is a touchy topic. Just from reading the preceding comments it is easy to see why it is difficult to implement anything. Everyone quickly resorts to shouting and accusing each other of various things.

    Why is it so difficult to get people to sit down and have an adult, rational, reasonable discussion where all topics are brought to the table and addressed instead of useless shouting matches. I know that is over simplifying things a bit but when it comes down to it it's the people who cannot get past their own views to try to have an objective perpective and help each other come to a better solution to what we have now. Is it just a shame that is has become this way. Name calling and yelling is not going to get us anywhere. Too bad we all just can't grow up and figure this out together as a nation.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 9:54 AM, Deepfryer wrote:

    You know Obama's doing something right, if he's managed to piss off both sides of the issue.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 9:54 AM, saving4life wrote:

    Not all of us think like s0jrtorr.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 9:59 AM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    saving4life

    Then you can try for the rest of the world to like you. Good luck. It will never happen.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 10:15 AM, Celtics17 wrote:
  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 10:59 AM, leftright wrote:

    s0jrtorr,

    Get back to work, before I tell your boss you have been goofing off all day posting to Motley Fool. Then when you are out of work with no health benefits you can go cry us a river.

    The point here is that things need to change. There are way to many people like you in our great country who think the status quo is ok. While the US is the greatest it has gotten that way by taking the best ideas from the world and implementing them. Right now we don't have the best system for healtcare and need to look to find a better system.

    Rather than telling the world why you don't think the plan that is on the table will work, try to add some real value by suggesting what what will work or how to make it better. Its easy to be a critic. However its not so easy to put intelligent thought into actually solving problems.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 11:21 AM, rdsxfn806 wrote:

    If both sides of the aisle would stop prejudging the various plans, listen to each other, and work together, maybe we can we can begin to accomplish something.

    An open mind on all sides could lead to something workable.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 11:21 AM, bridgegame wrote:

    My daughter, self-employed, got cancer of the cervix when she was 28. Blue Cross-Blue Shield (Tennessee) dropped her immediately. She has been unable to get any insurance for the past 11 years.

    She does a lot of work with computers and got serious dry-eye problems. After trying everything, her eye doctor prescribed Restasis. She called me from the drugstore and told me a two month supply was going to cost $246, an expense she couldn't cover if she was to pay the rent.

    My youngest son, a musician (What do you do with a musician on your doorstep? Pay him for the pizza.) gave up on human prescription medicine years ago. He goes to the vet.

    Go, Mr. President!

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 11:54 AM, billcarr wrote:

    SOJTORR

    This is exactly what I am complaing about. Your knowledge of European political, and economic history not to mention geography is clearly so poor as to be impossible to deal with here, and you count yourself among the educated!

    As for the profits of BIG Insurance profits I read they are up 400% which I would think it sounds like a great investment, so if that profit is not going to shareholders where does it go?

    Mansions, yachts, big bonuses and off shore bank accounts for the top management maybe?. As for earning a salary and making billions out of the vulnerable, there is no comparison. The rest of your comment is unintelligible

    Stalin, Lenin Mao Chavez etc are/were not government officials but despots and Thomas paine could never have imagined such people

    For those of you who fear a bureaucrat between you and you GP it is a fantasy. You already have something between you and health care, it is called an Insurance Company

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 12:25 PM, DioninGr wrote:

    s0jrtorr - glad to have gotten a reponse, and yes point taken to be mature & rational - yes you were the best, and this is what your pres is all about, being the best again if that can happen... not a bad goal to set, honourable and a nice challenge... after 100 yrs of trying i hope you will have a decent health care system... not many builders, painters, designers, engineers or anyone we can imagine get it perfect the first time, but they make what ever they do work and improve on it where possible. Obama looks to me to be a world player and is creating a vacuum that will hopefully bring back a lot of confidence that has been lost in your country. I really think it will be hard for you to look outside from inside & vsa vrsa. The US of Eh was respectable in my eyes in sooo many ways until the recent world economic crises that was in large part caused by ppl who were the best swindlers on this and several planets - the Iraqi thing that will be another Vietnam in the end, and everyday simple ppl had the wool pulled over there eyes, they think they have democracy until Uncle can strike a deal with the next real power broker in that country & oil supply is secured for the gas guzzlers back home. With the trillions of debt & selling your grandchildren's future - yeah you can be first, for a while - take a look at history - the British although pompous gave us the impression they are polite at least - if you have to go down, go down gracefully... Obama wants to put you on a world level of friends of this planet but it is going over the tops of sooo many heads there - open your eyes, wake up and be truly great, you can be while still being a real big brother rather than a big bother - check out the Icelanders and try to find some compassion somewhere in your heart... good luck

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 12:59 PM, pacella wrote:

    I resent you calling the health care issue Obamacare.

    This immediately makes it seem like a political item.

    Health care for all has been discussed by a great number of presidents of both political parties. As soon as any issue becomes a political discussion, the party out of power will find all kinds of reasons, both real and false to be against it. Every democratic country in the world has universal health care. I would think that most Americans, especially those that constantly harp on how great we are, would be somewhat embarassed that the richest country in the world can't afford it.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 1:13 PM, danteps wrote:

    Of course this is a political issue because it will require Washington to pass new legislation.

    Because other countries have universal health care certainly is not a compelling reason for the U.S. to pursue this path to fiscal irresponsibility.

    This is a moral issue & it is immoral to ask someone else to subsidize your health care choices. It's stealing or coveting or whatever your favorite commandment is assuming you are from a Judeo-Christian background.

    I don't want another citizen stealing from me. If you want to smoke, drink, not exercise, behave recklessly, have 5 kids, enjoy promiscuous sex, have excessive body weight, abuse drugs, etc. that is your choice. Don't steal from me to pay for your health care. I am not rich, but I wouldn't ask for a penny from my fellow citizen to pay for my health care choices. That's why I love this country - free will and the responsibility that comes with it.

    Americans should remain free and certainly free from the public option.

    We should work to address the shortcomings of the system piecemeal, portability, pre-existing conditions, choice, competition, etc. One omnibus bill certainly isn't the right path.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 1:42 PM, leftright wrote:

    Danteps,

    you already are paying for others... over $1k a year. This amount is most likely understated (would love to see the math).

    So question is would you rather have messy convulted system that costs a fortune and pds the pockets of a few large insurance companies OR a well run system that encourages both citizens and corporations to make right decisions that are in greater good for everyone, that reduce overall costs?

    Also, I have the feeling you don't fully comprehend what you are talking about when you refer to "public option".

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 1:48 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    leftright

    Can you give us an example of a government "well run system?"

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 1:56 PM, danteps wrote:

    Leftright:

    I am sure you are well intended and for that I applaud you. However, to make the assumption that it will be a "well run system" is disappointingly laughable.

    VA hospitals - I have worked in them and they certainly are not well run

    Social Security - pays out more than it collects. Bankrupting the nation. Not well run

    Medicare - bankrupting the nation. Without the subsidy of private insurers would be a complete disaster

    USPS - adding to our deficit daily

    Amtrak - extremely poorly run

    Education - we spend more per pupil than any country on Earth, but are not in the top academically. Well run? I think not.

    How many more do you want me to name?

    I understand the Government Option. It's a gigantic entitlement plan to garner votes and take more of my hard earned money. I am taxed enough. Fix health care without expanding the Government! Or perhaps start by fixing any of the programs I listed above.

    It is highly improbable that it will be well run; rather the private insurers would continue to subsidize the Government Option.

    I am sure folks are well intended, but the naivety to assume expanding government's role in health care will be benefiical and fiscally responsbile is considerable.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 2:24 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    danteps mused: "I am sure folks are well intended, but the naivety to assume expanding government's role in health care will be benefiical and fiscally responsbile is considerable."

    Dan, let's be very specific, OK? The subject is expanding the availability of healthcare, not expanding the government's role in health care. Since private enterprise refuses to have any part of that, then it is incumbent on the government to play a role.

    It's not necessary that the government's role be fiscally responsible, either. It's only necessary that the government democratize the availability of healthcare.

    I'll say it in simple terms, if that'll help: When I buy gas for my VW, I pay the same price that my brother with the Porsche pays. There's no chance that the gas station can turn my business away because of the condition of my car, or that they can raise the price of the gas I buy if my car if a rusted out gas guzzler that's 10 years older than the next guy's car.

    Hedge

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 2:47 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    Hedge

    With all due respect. Healthcare is akin to a mechanic job on your car, not filling it with gasoline. And yes the mechanic may turn your car away because the government regulated price he can charge to fix your car is not worth for him spending the time fixing it. When he can make more money changing oil. It happens all the time. You can offer more money because for you it is still cheaper to pay 3 times what the govt allows him to charge than to buy a new car, nevertheless it is illegal for him to take the money so you have choice. Its call "shortage" or "rationing."

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 2:50 PM, leftright wrote:

    danteps and leftright:

    I will keep this short.. i could go on for pages.

    If your belief is that the federal government is incapable of delivering basic services to the citizens of the United States and therefore should not enact any futher legislation?

    Wow!

    How about we actually evaluate what has been put on table by both repulicans and democrats and if we think we have a better option we raise our voices to add more to the table! If you simply opt for no change than you are endorsing the failed system that you believe we are currently in.

    I truly believe if we are going to try to make this a better place for everyone (not just myself whom already has the best possible healthcare), we need to make changes and take some risk. Peace!

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 2:50 PM, LenA3983 wrote:

    On September 11, 2009, at 9:14 AM, s0jrtorr wrote: DioninGr...

    We just don't care if you like us or not. We are no 1, period. If you don't like it, try to compete, but you don't have a chance until you stop living in quasi-communist countries. Until then, keep hating us all you want.

    --------------------------------

    Not any more we aren't.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 2:59 PM, leftright wrote:

    s0jrtorr

    Ok I swore off replying anymore, but after reading analogies of medical care to auto repair, I figured I would need to intervine one last time.

    If a car needs $3,000 engine and the car is worth $2,000 the car does not get its needed engine. It is scraped.

    If a person needs a $100,000 heart procedure and the person is worth $50,000... Then what the person is scraped?

    The point is that medicine is VERY freakin different than most every other purchase decision and therefor needs different rules. A totally free market system would lead to results that many would find truly appaling.

    Insurance was designed just for the scenario described above, for needs where there is a low risk of having expenses beyond what we can afford, we take insurance. Insurance thereby spreads the cost out over time and among the pool of the insured. The more people in a risk pool the easier it is to spread costs and reduce the risk that one person will bankrupt the entire pool.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 3:05 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    leftright

    The value of the care is not what you can sell it for ($2000), the value to you is what it would cost to replace it with a new one. The car is an investment that allows you to get you to work. Even a used car takes time to find (time = $$$).

    That is the problem I see with your arguments, you have an arbitrary value for everthing.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 3:47 PM, danteps wrote:

    Leftright:

    I am advocating for change and health care reform. However, I do not want this to involve an expansion of the Government.

    It is a moral issue - don't steal from me to pay for someone's health care. Your health is your private business and your responsibility.

    If you don't want The Government Option than you are vilified, how American is that?

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 3:50 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    s0rjtorr says: "Healthcare is akin to a mechanic job on your car, not filling it with gasoline."

    Sorry, but the analogy must, by necessity, fall apart when used on humans. Cars are optional. Human bodies aren't. I can buy whatever car I can afford. I'm stuck with the body I was born with.

    Or are you saying that those born to good health are "more equal" in the eyes of the US Constitution? I don't think you'll find any support for such a view.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 3:55 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    Hedge

    May I remind you that you are the one that started with the car analogy.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 4:00 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    Hedge

    Here is your quote:

    "I'll say it in simple terms, if that'll help: When I buy gas for my VW, I pay the same price that my brother with the Porsche pays. There's no chance that the gas station can turn my business away because of the condition of my car, or that they can raise the price of the gas I buy if my car if a rusted out gas guzzler that's 10 years older than the next guy's car."

    Your quote, your falling apart analogy.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 4:01 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    danteps wrote: "It is a moral issue - don't steal from me to pay for someone's health care. Your health is your private business and your responsibility."

    This is such a repugnant statement that it's hard to figure out a way to respond that will stay within the censor's viewpoint of printable.

    It is a moral issue, yes. But, the moral issue isn't theft from you. The moral issue is the "general welfare" of America's population.

    Let's get back to the issue of insurance: Under the current situation, 50 million or so Americans are excluded from the insurance risk pool solely to improve the profits of the insurance company. Some substantial percentage of those 50 million actually thought they had health insurance until they had a major medical event. Then, their insurance companies used technicalities to withdraw from the contract. And, before you start spouting the party line that they shouldn't have entered into such a contract, remember that in many cases, there is only one insurance company and thus only one contract available. IOW, it's a take it or leave it situation, and the insurance company takes it all.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 4:03 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    s0jrtorr opined: "Hedge

    May I remind you that you are the one that started with the car analogy."

    So, you choose not to address the substance of my response. Fair enough.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 4:14 PM, Aneirin wrote:

    The bottom line of healthcare reform is supposed to be to help people, not to help insurance companies. To say you support "making a buck" off the sick makes *me* sick. Whenever people (rationally) accuse insurance companies of making tons of money, corporatists always try to silence them by pointing to 5% profit margins, but these are the result of paying executives so highly. What we should focus on (besides banning rescission, denial based on prexisting conditions, portability and everything having to do with regulating insurance co.s) is preventative care, free trade for medicines, supported research, and universal coverage through mandates on holding health insurance.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 4:17 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    Hedge

    I'll address the substance:

    Car or body price caps lead to shortages.

    How's that?

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 4:19 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    Anaerin

    All studies show that preventive care doesn't prevent disease. So let's pay for it anyway?

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 4:21 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    Hedge

    50Mil uninsured? Its more like 14-20Mil. Half of those 50Mil are transitioning from jobs and are near their 30's and therefore opt out of buying it. Your 50Mil is Obama's crisis number.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 4:24 PM, Whittiermillie wrote:

    It seems to me (as well as to others who have studied the run away cost of medicine even longer than I have) that leaving out a non-profit, government-run option is not reform for health care, it's a potential disaster, in fact, it is probably a boon-doggle for for-profit insurance companies, like the Bush drug-for-Seniors bill is/was for pharmaceutical companies.

    The for-profit insurance companies give so heavily to Senate campaigns -- in the millions of $$$ per campaign-- it is time the public is made aware of how beholden the Montana, Louisiana and Indiana Senators (I spell states names more easily than senators' names) to name only the Democrats who have bowed their necks against the president ideas.

    I've been on planet earth so long I can remember when insurance was a shield against hail, fire, flood, car crashes, untimely death and other unpredictible disasters, not your doctor's bill! OB/GYNs charged on a sliding scale for prenatal care! The for-profit insurance companies have turned medicine from a profession into a 'profit centered" business!!

    Everybody that's against the 'government option' acts like Medicare is constantly cost cutting which is not the case. Medicare sometimes falls under the influence of medical equipment manufacturers and allows outlandish charges if new equipment is used (It happened to my mother; she was furious when she saw what Medicare paid a doctor who looked down her throat for perhaps 30 seconds; details upon request).

    As a nation we haven't had a DISCUSSION about the future of health care and the way to deliver the best care at a reasonable cost; it's been a SCREAMATHON.

    No one has mentioned the urgent need for Primary Care Physician to be paid a salary competitive with other Specialists in the field - or the exhorbitant fees modern medical equipment allows specialists to charge for what is essentially time saving examinations.

    I personally think, as some earlier Foolish commentor stated, that this for-profit insurance business grew up in the 80s and it is really the root of the problem. Non-profits like Kiser-Permanente, the granddaddy of all health insurance plans, are the pattern that should, it seems to me, be replicated. Interested to note that the Mayo Clinic ha been able to replicate their salaried approach in Jacksonville, FL and somewhere out west after a certain period of adjustment by physicians.

    Well certainly there no shortage of opinions -- or short opinions for that matter. I'm delighted other Foolish Ones think that it is obscene to set out to make a profit on illness.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 4:34 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    Whittiermillie

    I don't think you are wrong at all. I think that the solution for this is to government stop helping the insurance Co. Also stop allowing the individual state monopoly system that govt is helping insurance co run.

    Govt is the problem. And what some are saying we need more of it.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 4:39 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    Whittiermillie

    One point in disagreement is that in a free market you make a profit by helping your customer. Health insurace co only make a profit by screwing their customer because govt helps them keep a monopoly. Take that govt furnished monopoly and some new competitor will come in and treat you better for less money.

    Insurance and Medical Industry is highly regulated, that is one of the reasons its cost continue to increase where everyother industry costs go down over time.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 4:51 PM, danteps wrote:

    Hedge:

    I don't want to pay for someone else's health care / insurance. I don't want someone paying for my health care / insurance.

    Don't steal from me & I won't steal from you.

    We should modify the rules (e.g. accepting of pre-existing conditions) and improve the system. However, I and the majority of Americans agree, that we do not want to pay for yet another entitlement. The sense of entitlement in this country is appalling. We are not a communist or socialist nation.

    Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.

    Let freedom ring from every mountain top!!

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 5:05 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    dateps:

    Amen

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 5:17 PM, leftright wrote:

    danteps:

    The whole point of insurance is that you share risk. I take from you some days and you take from me on others. So are you therefore arguing that everyone should self insure? After all you don't want anyone taking from you!!

    If you think of the broader healthcare issue on these terms it may begin to make sense. Right now others are holding their hands out to you... however some day you may be the person with your hand out...

    Economically speaking there are many entitlement programs, far less important than healthcare that have been funded, many in my view that should be eliminated to make room for this one.

    Lastly, most of the developed world is not communist or socialist and they have better health care systems than us!! This is just as much about controlling costs and improving our system as it is about expanding its ranks to those who can't afford it.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 5:35 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    leftright

    The point of insurance is risk management, not the I take for you today and you take from me tomorrow, unless you are three musketeers. You have a complete lack of economics and business.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 5:36 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    leftright

    You keep saying the rest of the world have better healthcare than us. Prove it!

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 5:40 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    truthisntstupid

    If you are a veteran you should get healthcare paid for by the government, meaning all of us. Instead you are asking for healthcare to be socialized so that everyone else has access? Then what is your point about being a veteran? They are going to hang you out to dry either way, sir.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 5:45 PM, Brasscleaner wrote:

    I fully back what the President had to say. There is no perfect solution. I personally would prefer single payer. But that certainly is not going to happen. Soooo.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 6:03 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    truthisntstupid

    I have nothing but respect for you. I don't feel like you should go and die if you have no insurance. I just believe that if govt takes over the service will be worse than it is now. So please understand just because people disagree with your method of providing insurance doesn't mean people do not care.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 6:14 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    truthisntstupid

    By the way you fought to defend our freedom, way of life and constitution. Non of the bill of rights have anything to do with access to healthcare.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 6:48 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    s0jrtorr reminded me: "Hedge

    50Mil uninsured? Its more like 14-20Mil."

    Oh, it's ONLY 14-20 million Americans. THAT'S DIFFERENT. A figure that low surely doesn't matter. [/sarcasm]

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 6:54 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    truthisntstupid says: "Yep. I plan on finding out what's available to me from the VA."

    Start at www.va.gov. I've found it to be a good backup for the major stuff and for recurring prescriptions. The biggest I've had done is an endoscopy and a check of my shoulder by a VA-covered local specialist. For most of the runny nose type stuff, I just see a regular doctor. Unfortunately, it's probably not going to cover your family. You'll need to look.

    Thanks for your service.

    Hedge

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 7:00 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    Brasscleaner,

    We will eventually have single-payer. I'm not so sure it will be now, but it will happen.

    Hedge

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 7:05 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    hedge

    I agree with you. Thomas Jefferson said that "the natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain"

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 7:09 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    s0jrtorr responded: "Hedge

    I'll address the substance:

    Car or body price caps lead to shortages.

    How's that?"

    Insufficient and non sequitur. You still don't have the right mind set. So, let's try again. Consider the possibility that you are given a car when you are born. It is the only car you will ever have, and when it dies, you die. If you're born to a "good" family, then you'll probably have one of the better, more reliable cars. But, stuff happens. Through no fault of your own it could be damaged beyond total repair, but could still limp along though requiring expensive, time consuming maintenance. If you're born to a "not so good" family, you might get a car that simply isn't going to make it for more than a few decades before it expires - all along the way being a maintenance nightmare.

    So, remind me why either of those two people should inherently have an advantage over the other. The one from the "good" family might be a drunkard/doper all his life, while the other might contribute so much to science that his name would be forever immortalized.

    This is the analogy that I was trying to get across. Sorry if I blew it.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 7:34 PM, mlaursen wrote:

    re: "was that a government-sponsored public plan won't be supported by the government; the premiums collected will have to cover the medical costs."

    How could that possibly work? The government-sponsored public plan would be the one taking all of the people who have trouble paying. How could it possibly avoid ending up subsidized?

    re: "Cover all people regardless of preexisting conditions."

    How can any business that has to do that really be in the insurance business? The whole idea of insurance is to assemble a pool of people with low enough aggregate risk to stay solvent.

    What the nation is really trying to decide is how to subsidize the health care of low-income people and old people, the latter a group for which insurance coverage that is truly part of an insurance-issuing organization makes no sense since they are known to all have high risk of health problems.

    It just confuses the whole debate that the real problem above is getting conflated with the insurance business.

    And, speaking of insurance, why does the plan not even address two of the biggest problems with current health insurance: that it can't be purchases across state lines, and that it is heavily tied to one's employment?

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 7:52 PM, edit4u wrote:

    When I started reading this thread I winced, then I started making a list of fallacies, distortions, etc. Imagine my delight as I continued to read! You Fools have impressed me. If you want a better ground in this (for politics or investment) these few links give a good start:

    This is the must read; everything else depends on understanding it:

    http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?pid=S0042-968620040002000...

    For an overview of the (still) current situation:

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/18802

    For your amusement:

    http://blog.heritage.org/2009/07/31/paul-krugmans-health-car...

    If you refute that easily, consider investing in this sector.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 8:00 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    trughisntstupid says: "I don't know about 'backup' for the major stuff. I have 'nothing' to back up. In other words, like millions of others...I have nothing."

    Well, neither do I, actually. What I meant was that it doesn't work so well for me for the runny nose stuff, because my VA medications come by mail. So it would be pointless to go see them for the flu and have to wait 3 days for a prescription. For that, I go see a civilian doctor. If he were to put me on something longterm, such as my 4 routine meds, then I just have the VA fill them for $8 each.

    For medical emergencies I can go to the local hospital. For serious but non-emergency stuff (like CT scans, MRIs, etc) I can go to the VA center in Fort Wayne.

    You'll have to figure out what's best in your situation, but they've been really good to me.

    Hedge

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 8:12 PM, tigertor wrote:

    I think a couple of comments that Obama stated in his address were pertinent.

    Both Social Security and Medicare were labeled socialisim and the end of the United States as a democracy,when they were instituted. Both have been a blessing to many people today. I know, I know, there are infringements and problems in both plans and the government should do more policing. Overall, both plans work and bring some quality of life to those older americans that are eligible. As I see it, this is just leveling the playing field for low income families that cannot get healthcare elsewhere.

    If one didn't notice, Obama offered a bone in exchange for cooperation.The multimillion dollars class action lawsuits against doc's and healthcare will disappear via legislation.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 8:26 PM, tigertor wrote:

    to truthisntstupid:

    The V.A. has improved tremendously. I've been going there for at least 10 years and have seen the services and facilities improve.

    I was sitting next to a (medicare) Kaiser Permanente patient (who was also entitled to VA) he was coming to the V.A. because his deductibles were cheaper and he said his treatment was faster and better.

    I've got a great GP that spend about 20 minutes with me on every six month visit. She covers my history and actually talks about any new complaints etc. I may not use my medicare, because the cost comes out of one's monthly retirement. I've been told it's about $40 a month.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 8:53 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    Truth,

    I'm 0% disabled and I get VA healthcare. A lot of it depends on your financial resources. Start here: http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/

    You can sort of look ahead at this pdf file: http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/Library/pubs/EPG/

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 9:46 PM, RetiredSurgeon wrote:

    All of you "experts" on healthcare and health insurance please stop and ask yourselves: What would Jesus do? Answer this in your collective hearts and the correct answers and opinions will follow. Remember your humanity.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2009, at 10:31 PM, reallyreal wrote:

    Most of this is true, but Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Ford are not hurt by health expenses for current employees. In fact the health insurance cost for employees of Toyota in the US are about the same as the other auto companies. This statement should be clearer. What hurts these US manufacturers is legacy health costs--the health costs of retirees. There are more people in these plans than are working and they are older and sicker, so these costs have naturally ballooned. Also, a lot of these legacy costs are a result of union agreements. Unions have some of the best and highest cost health plans in the US. That's why the Democrats are shying away from taxing generous health plan benefits.

    In line with keeping it real, I think Obama needs to insert one very important point into legislation--what ever Congress passes for Americans legislators should be required to have for themselves and their families.

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2009, at 1:27 AM, mlaursen wrote:

    re: "All of you "experts" on healthcare and health insurance please stop and ask yourselves: What would Jesus do?"

    I'm guessing that what you're hinting at is that people who question the effectivity and cost of whatever plan the President and Congress comes up with don't care about poor people or old people. That's just not true. Pretty much everybody wants to see everyone getting good health care.

    Claiming Jesus would want to identify with one of the sides in a big political debate is about like claiming Jesus wants your high school football team to win.

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2009, at 6:12 AM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    "What would Jesus do?"

    Jesus said that you should not worry about what the govt take and/or provides. Well, I would say the same thing if I were the son of God. For most of us with a little more uncertainty in our lives, we like to take some more action and responsibility. Knowing that the legislators are a greedy as corporations, but with more power I rather have less of it.

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2009, at 8:13 AM, money4bear wrote:

    1. There will be no savings from a government run plan. Not unless the world starts spinning the other way - that's how unlikely it is that the feds will do better this time. The USPS is probably the very best they have ever done.

    2. We pay, insured or not. Someone said in an earlier post that US manufacturers have higher costs because health insurance is an additional cost that is not borne by European companies. It is borne by Europeans and anyone who buys their products & services. REMEMBER - companies don't actually pay for anything. It always shows up in the cost of the product unless they are eating their capital.

    3. We are now paying for uninsured health care but we are not doing it very well. Illegals are taking advantage of our system and the poor are not taking advantage of what is available to them because it is expensive relative to their income.

    4. If we get control of our borders and collect when a visiting foreigner uses the system that will help.

    5. If we can make preventive and regular care available to the poor we do a lot to help them and restore our emergency rooms to their original purpose. This will further reduce waste but does not pay for itself. It should make our nation healthier however and that's the goal I think.

    6. The President and those supporting health care reform would have much smoother sailing if they focus on 4 & 5 above and not attempt to "fundamentally change America."

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2009, at 8:23 AM, money4bear wrote:

    I should have added in #2 of previous post "In this case, taxes collected become the invisible cost of the product." Every cost of manufacturing is covered but not by companies or governments but by people, usually citizens where the product is manufactured.

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2009, at 9:07 AM, lovehut wrote:

    I am a MD. I am tired of this. I work 50 to 80 hours a week. 55% of my patients are covered by medicare, 20% by private insurance, 15% by medicaid, and the rest are without insurance. I see about 70 patients a week in my office, about 3500 a year. I performed 600 operations last year. Billed about 3 million and collected about 1 million. After all expenses of the office took home 250K. One expense is 60K for a 7million dollar malpractice insurance. A truly sincere reform of our health dollar should absolutely change this dynamic.

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2009, at 10:00 AM, perseus12 wrote:

    Hi everyone!! hello, from Sydney Australia here, I know a possible way how we can improve the health care system efficiently and saving costs at the same time, I am currently having a plan to go to US and study data mining analytics, I read in a book "making sense of data" by Glenn J Myatt, it is mentioned that someone has built a predictive system through a statistical/data mining algorithms by utilizing clinical patient data on Female Pima Indian population in Arizona, they were able to build a model that can predict who will get diabetes diseases in the next 5 years within 85% accuracy by utilizing data such as age, weight, DPF(Diabetes Pedigree Factor), insulin level, blood sugar level, how many times she is pregnant, I was wondering if you guys in America or the whole world are collecting those kind of data and asking your statistician/analytics expert, doctor, medical practitioner and scientist, we might have been able to build a predictive model for other kind of diseases like heart failures, hypertension/strokes, cancer, all sort of degenerative diseases as those kind of diseases above is caused by cell aging so the risk increased along with age, there are also techniques called deviation analysis, so if the model are encountering an out of world cases like a 16 or 20 year old teens who got a cancer of some sort because of certain genetics defects, we can investigate this unique/outlier/extreme cases and add more information or dimension or input variables into our predictive model to make it more accurate next time it encounters similar situations, researchers in data mining areas has found ways/algorithms that use the working of human brains like neural networks, or sensitive algorithms like adaptive fuzzy feature maps developed by American heuristics that can recognize rare patterns in the data to predict those rare cases like teens who got cancer etc, the real challenge is collecting sufficient quality data, mapping the problem into a statistical/mathematical model suitable for algorithm to work on, these techniques can even found correlation/relationship in the data like an association rules analysis: if a person smoke and his/her bodyweight are over certain kgs then what is his/her probability of getting heart diseases by certain percent, provided we have those predictive system for those diseases we can discover that there is a pattern for diseases to creep in into our body, the more data we have and the more model we have in our disposals, the more we would understand and predict the likely occurrences of diseases. Of course I didn't say this system is 100% fool proof or it can predict all diseases, but if you look all those diseases statistics, the biggest killers are those degenerative diseases, so if we know the factors that leads to those diseases, we can apply a preventive therapy that can save your lives in the future for those who are most endangered or a clear pattern existed on him/her that has been known to led to this diseases, a preventive therapy like regular exercises several hours for a week can then be incorporated in the model that can compute the reduction of probability of this person to get a diseases, it is a far more effective approach than treat the diseases I am hopeful when I've finished my study in America, I can participate in those kinds of projects, we should let everyone know about this because hopefully we can improve your living quality or life expectancy by preventing you or your family from getting or having a lifestyles that can let to these diseases at the first time, some expert has even try to use these techniques to analyzes DNA to isolate genetic defects or broken DNA that can lead to degenerative diseases like hemophilia, it is unclear how they are going to treat it, either through genetic therapy, developing new wonder drugs that can read DNA and target malignant cancer cells only(has different genetic structures than healthy cell) I am suggesting since we know in motley fool that someone has successfully made micro robots, we might want to inject these robots into our bodies to collect real time data about our body or health like blood pressures, nerve impulses, perspiration, hormone secretions/productions, all those vital statistics needed by those data mining model to monitor and update those information into a computer system through a wireless connections, maybe in the future we all can monitor and understand whats going on within our own body or develop system like early warning preventions for diseases or unhealthy living, there is a pearl of wisdom saying "1kg of prevention worths 1 ton of treatment" of course there is an ethical issues about this, first of all of course we know that your health information is a confidential matter between you and your doctors, there might be danger of possible hacker attacks to alter or damage the system or stealing your personal info, or unauthorized use of your information for bad purposes like charging you more for health insurance, hey but I think health insurers would love u to have it since that means less risk or less likely occurrence to get those diseases if we get an accurate warning system like that, if anyone had a political connection to the congress or pres. Barack Obama please tell them about it, we need the congress to discuss about this and making laws about the ethical issues of data collection and system implementation, but imagine if we can do that, we can save countless millions of lives or improve living quality, and if it works in America we can export it all over the world, American ingenuity lead the way again!, Gee all this pessimism about Iraq, Afghanistan, war on terror, GFC had made America down as a nation but I think America still and will find a way to adapt and changes to the challenges that lies ahead like it has been proven in her history, this I think is one of them!, thanks everyone, and I hope you all have faith in God/Jesus because if all else fails, you wouldn't want to be under insured for the Life after would you? Thanks for reading and God Bless all!

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2009, at 10:06 AM, greyhound44 wrote:

    I cannot imagine anyone being able to sell the "high deductible" concept as a necessary part of reform to the US public.

    I have had high deductible indemnity health insurance through BC/BS and the TMA since 1980.

    My premium has not increased since May 2003.

    I'll be a MC beneficiary on 1 Dec and will be paying just over $210./mo for Parts B, D and a supplement with near first dollar coverage.

    My last three years in practice, never having been sued, my annual medical liability insurance premiums increased from $8,000 to $18,000. to $38,000. for less than 1040 hours a year practice coverage.

    expat MD (ret 6+ years ago at age 58+)

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2009, at 1:20 PM, Whittiermillie wrote:

    Sujrtorr

    Touche' about insurance regulators; i guess it's the reason warren buffett likes insurance and utilities stocks so much, both are regulated. My (Genworth formerly GE) long term care insurance premium has already been approved by my state's Insurance Commissioner to go up next May!! ~~ Alas, I can't find the cogent comment made by another Foolish Thinker about the 3 factors insurance companies use to base the cost of docs' mal practice insurance: #1 was the estimated payout for medical mistakes in the future, #2 was overhead and #3 was interest on investments, When interest rates go down as they have recently the premiums go up so the profit is the same as when interest rates are high Curiously as he noted premiums don't go down when interest income goes up.

    I think it really boils down to GREED. Making more and more money has not be enough since OPEC pulled off the biggest "transfer of wealth" in the history of the world.

    The working poor and the destitute keep getting farther and farther behind. Surely renewable energy is the next "big thing" pray that we can keep from turning it into another 'bubble"

    To really think outside the box, read Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains. The patient must be the doctor's first concern in good medicine, not the profit!

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2009, at 1:26 PM, mcneebus wrote:

    First, this is not about healthcare.

    Just as cash for clunkers was not about cars. Just as nationalizing some banks was not about money and bailouts.

    Obama could give two spits worth about your Granny and how soon she dies. There is one thing and one thing only Obama cares about. And that is...CONTROL.

    More specifically, control over YOUR life. As much as possible. From the moment you wake up to the minute you fall asleep, the prez wants you involved with the government in everyway, shape and form in each of your decisions all day, everyday.

    And when you control the banks, you might even tell people where they can sleep.

    Healthcare is just the latest 'crisis du jour' so he can 'fix it' and make more and more government a wonderful part of your life.

    And do you really think government knows how to run healthcare more efficiently than the private (capitalist) sector? Hell, the Senate can't even run its' own CAFETERIA without screwing it up.

    I do not like this Obama man

    I do not like his telepromptor plans

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2009, at 1:55 PM, mlaursen wrote:

    mcneebus, I agree and disagree with you. Obama probably genuinely cares about health care AND he wants, well maybe not more control, but more solid co-dependency among his administration, his party, and the American public.

    The two aren't in conflict. People do things out of mixed honorable/not-so-honorable motivation all the time.

    We all do it in our daily lives. Honey, "I'm going to be working overtime to support our family." (And, by the way, I don't mind getting away from taking care of the kids for a while.) Or whatever. There are a million examples.

    Republicans do it, too. Cheney probably genuinely cares about terrorism, but he also didn't mind that his corporate cronies at Blackwater made some bucks.

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2009, at 2:32 PM, wuff3t wrote:

    "Our government has done such a great job bullying capitalism and creating negative emotion..."

    I think capitalism has done a pretty good job of that on its own in recent years, wouldn't you? Perhaps we could have done with a little more government interference (regulation) in the market, then maybe the banks would not have got us into the mess they have.

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2009, at 4:17 PM, jmadrid wrote:

    I find it incredible that there is hardly any mention of the fact that the US of A carries a burden of disease that is unmatched by any of the countries that it is currently compared to. All that it is required is to spend a minimal amount of time travelling, looking into other societies to notice the degree of overeating and lack of physical activity that characterize our country. The high cardiac and cancer mortality rates, of other countries, such as the UK, in which access to advanced care is limited to emergencies are also quietly ignored...

    You may disdain american health care quality, but it is largely unmatched in the world.... just as the challenges that it has to face. (has anybody ever heard of a french malpractice law firm? ).

    The sad part to the debate is that the unraveling of our health care began long ago and is slowly coming to fruition. Since the early 90s the number of training positions in medical specialties has been continuously dwindling, the proportion of physicians in direct patient care decreasing, and the needs of the population mounting. American graduates are no longer interested in medicine, as evidenced by the 70% or so of internal medicine positions currently occupied by foreign medical graduates...

    Demands increase, payment declines and worsening levels of risk have turned medicine into a unappealing option for a bright young person with ambition.

    And now medicare reimbursement is readying to decrease again... Do not be surprised to see our most experienced physicians retiring in the next few years. The best way to decrease care is limiting its availability. And as any in the health care arena will tell you, the only cheap care is the"advanced care option".

    The savings in health care will, as always, be exacted from patients and providers.

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2009, at 4:30 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    "You may disdain american health care quality, but it is largely unmatched in the world."

    Sure, for those who can afford it. For the rest - not so much.

    The problem isn't the quality if health care in the US, it's the availability. As mentioned somewhere above, a few decades ago the health care industry began to be driven by money, as opposed to actually providing care to those who need it. The public responded by attacking doctors with malpractice lawsuits. That works OK for the lottery winners, I suppose, but pretty much raises the ante for the rest of us.

    I also find it annoying that people are trying to co-relate nationalized health care with cost savings. Let's get this straight, shall we? We're not looking for cost savings. We're looking for health care for everyone; not just for those who won the birth lottery.

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2009, at 5:16 PM, Giorgi1 wrote:

    Why does the author title the article "Something for Everyone to Hate" and then admit that most of the proposals make sense. We will never have low cost health insurance with the current system. Health insurers take 30% of all premiums for profit and overhead while Medicare takes 4%. Only real answer is a single-payer system like Medicare. Before you criticize Medicare, remember that it insures the sickest people (oldest) in our society with no dropped coverage or pre-existing conditions. Something like 40% of all medical costs are incurred during the last year of life. Most people get coverage thru work and feel like they don't need any changes. They do not realize that they will be losing that coverage (or at best paying the full cost) in a few years. American companies cannot afford medical coverage and costs will continue to rise if we keep insurance companies. As we all know, insurance companies must grow profits by 15-20% every year. Only two ways to do that - increase premimums and/or reduce coverage. Profits, bonuses and advertising costs have no place in administering health insurance. They just add to cost. It is a very simple system - collect money and pay bills. Note that profit motiviation must be maintained for companies that provide the medical advances including drug companies. Lastly, this latest flap over coverage for aliens is stupid. If we don't let them buy coverage, they will end up in emergency rooms and we will all pay for the bills. Need to stop playing politics and solve the problems. Providing profits for Medical Insurance companies is bankrupting the country. There a thousands of other stocks to invest in.

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2009, at 5:56 PM, mf7 wrote:

    Only question from me is how can we require everyone to have health coverage. Would that work like auto insurance, so that if you show up in an ER without coverage, you get fined? And since it’s usually the poorest who end up in that situation, wouldn’t that defeat much of the purpose? Covering such groups ultimately requires a redistribution of wealth, whether through taxation or the higher premiums for those who are insured.

    As Americans, we value having choices. And at some deep-seated level, we still know that the government that can give you everything can also take everything away. The solutions to the myriad problems (the high cost of medical education, unrealistic patient expectations, lack of transparency in pricing, inadequate IT capabilities, redistribution to cover the uninsured, etc.) are more likely to be led by private sector initiatives than from the government. Note that most hospitals were spawned not by the government, but by religious institutions (which is why so many of them are named after Saints). We should look to the private sector for the coming reform (if it is to occur) for our Foolish opportunities, rather waiting patiently on the politicians.

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2009, at 10:08 PM, mlaursen wrote:

    The U.S. has a health care system that is about 50/50 government/private. So, it's totally invalid argument for anybody to point to the current situation and say that "the private sector had its chance" or to point to the current situation and say that single-payer doesn't work. You can't draw pat conclusions from looking at our current system, other than to conclude that it's a mess.

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2009, at 10:46 AM, cebo100 wrote:

    With all the waste already known in the health care system, why not start there now?

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2009, at 1:12 PM, thorw wrote:

    To clarify my position, I think most of America is great.

    We often have discussions here as to why the entrepreneurial environment is lacking by comparison. You look at the great inventions out there, the light bulb, telephone, insulin and sports such as, hockey, baseball, basketball, etc. all from Canada, but made great in the US. Ever try to get real VC funding in Canada, good luck!

    To me, in general, the US as a whole has never really suffered the "not invented here syndrome", or to proud to not take something great elsewhere and take it to even greater heights in the US.

    I see the country extended billions in aid to others, but at the same time neglect segments of its own. We do the same here.

    Health Care everywhere on the planet needs some level of reform. If you tried to have this discussion in Canada, everyone would agree that it needs reform, but then you'd be tarred forever for bringing up the subject.

    My only wish for my friends south of me is that they will once again take a hard look at what everyone else is doing. Take the very best and leave the rest. Maybe if they could create a real system that showed compassion for the least of us as well as enshrining the rights of the most privileged, it could be a model to emulate elsewhere.

    Good luck!

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2009, at 1:19 PM, mountain8 wrote:

    Here's socialism: first some busybody who wants to control everybody's lives gets the government to pass manditory seat belt laws so there's a fine if you don't use them. Then you had to have car insurance or you can't drive. Now you will have to have health insurance or pay a fine. Next we will have fines if we don't register as a member of political parties. Or we'll be forced by law to eat at Denny's. This IS a pattern. No choices for the plebicite. THey are too stupid to make their own choices. We'll make the choices for them. That's socialism. I don't care about the benefits. All these have benefits but that doesn't matter, the cost is the price of your freedom.

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2009, at 1:28 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    cebo100 wrote: "With all the waste already known in the health care system, why not start there now?"

    Once again: it's not about trying to save money. It's about making health care available to every single American citizen.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2009, at 1:54 PM, gageaa wrote:

    "Insuring" a pre-existing condition is oxymoronic, isn't it? Insurance is established to cover the unexpected. You can't insure against some ailment that has already happened. This alone would cause costs to skyrocket. Imagine a 95 yr old taking out a $1 million life insurance policy on himself--it would probably cost him about a million dollars.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2009, at 4:04 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    gageaa disgorged: ""Insuring" a pre-existing condition is oxymoronic, isn't it? Insurance is established to cover the unexpected. You can't insure against some ailment that has already happened."

    Well, it would seem that way, at first. But, then when you look under the covers even a bit, it's clear that your statement is a fraud. Why? Because under a system of universal coverage (as in national health care) there can be no such thing called "pre-existing condition".

    In fact, there are only two ways that one can have a pre-existing condition: 1) didn't have insurance when the condition occurred - OR - 2) previous insurance was canceled (probably for a technicality) when the condition was discovered. Clearly, neither of these two conditions can occur with universal health care.

    Next...

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2009, at 4:24 PM, knordquist wrote:

    I wish those who keep insisting that tort reform is a cornerstone of health care reform policy would actually do some research... rather than parrot their favorite political entertainer. A search of the keywords 'health insurance tort costs' lead me to a veritable plethora of links to studies which state the obvious. To you 'critical thinking' challenged parrots, check these links out...

    http://www.rwjf.org/pr/product.jsp?id=36768

    http://washingtonindependent.com/55535/tort-reform-unlikely-...

    http://www.kansascity.com/105/story/1412046.html

    The best quote comes from the last link: "Since the 2005 reforms in Missouri, malpractice premiums at Hagen’s practice have fallen 24 percent — a decline he attributes to the reforms. Reintjes said his premiums have declined 30 percent.

    But — and here is where the debate gets sticky — overall health care costs in Missouri continue to rise. The same is true in states that have enacted even more stringent tort reforms, such as Texas."

    -Ken

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2009, at 4:45 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    knordquist says: "But — and here is where the debate gets sticky — overall health care costs in Missouri continue to rise. The same is true in states that have enacted even more stringent tort reforms, such as Texas."

    Ken, how about re-integrating the figures and give us a bottom line. IOW: sure the overall healthcare costs in Missouri and Texas have continued to rise, but how does the increase compare to those states that have not enacted strict tort reforms?

    I'm not just baiting you on this one. I really want to know. Far too many posts either begin with a false premise or end with an invalid conclusion. What's the real story on tort reform now that there are some actual figures?

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2009, at 4:55 PM, kpomin57 wrote:

    This is the first and last "article" I read by Brian Orelli.

    I come to fool.com for financial and investment advice, not to hear cheerleading for the insurance companies who are ripping us off. I could tune into that simpering idiot Jim Cramer if that was what I wanted.

    Yes I am an investor but that does not mean I put the insurance companies interests over my own and allowing them to practice rescission and drop people for "preexisting conditions" is immoral in the extreme, and should never have been allowed in the first place, even if it does cost a little more.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2009, at 1:24 AM, mcintorb wrote:

    The bluster from many quarters conceals the fact that many voices are silent on the healthcare debate. This includes most non-healthcare, non-insurance-related public companies who are sick of being squeezed by the insurers, and would love a public option. The unions are also remarkably quiet because real reform, and especially a public option, would choke down the spread between what they take in for member healthcare and what they pay out for it (this spread pays for, among other things, their union leader lifestyles).

    So each of these groups (and others) are in the position where the outcome they favor financially is the one they presumably oppose ideologically. So they aint saying much in public.

    I wonder what's really happening behind the scenes?

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2009, at 10:41 AM, Biergeliebter wrote:

    Strangely, I'm with mountain8. The phrase that jumped out at me in this article was that the president said "require everyone to carry health insurance".

    Making sure everyone has ACCESS to health insurance would be an initiative I might support, although that would be a whole lot easier had the government not gotten into providing "Healthcare reform" in the 90s and given us HMOs and regionalized healthcare. And just FYI, that government healthcare reform is a large reason for the increasing healthcare costs we have seen this decade.

    But to "require everyone to carry health insurance" does away with our right to make that choice for ourselves, removing yet one more chunk of our individual freedom.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2009, at 11:05 AM, aangelis7 wrote:

    Health care reform definitely has to happen. I'm for a public option--hell, I'd love a single payer system--but I'll take what it's shaping up to be.

    The country needs this--now. We've been stuying it for the last 65 years. Time to complete the task, despire all the stupidity.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2009, at 10:04 PM, MKA1965 wrote:

    In response to "TOSHARA", no one made you go to the emergency room, you can go there for free anyway and pay $5 a month if you want. People with insurance pay for people without it's medical bills anyway, when I go the the doctor, I just don't want to pay very paycheck. And I got jobs that I knew had health insurance, no one made you work for yourself, or be self employeed. If your business is good shouldn't you have made sure you are covered by insurance, people wait until their health is shot and then worry about insurance then want some one to help them out. I have had both wrist operated on, both elbows operated on, knee surgery, ankle surgery, And 3 disk fused in my neck. And I still have insurance that pays just fine, because 28 years ago I knew sometime I would need it along with my wife and three childern. I also work in a tire plant, we are running full speed because we are the most productive plant in the world, and the largest. Maybe, you should move to a more friendly state in the USA. Come to the southwest were we know how to take care of ourselves and not rely on the government to help us out. Oklahoma is were I am taking about, I work in the largest tire plant in the world, been there 15 years and worked for Kmart and a local grocery store chain before that. We are a non-union plant and are paid just as well, and are more competitive than the union plants. Me personally, I am anti-union I will support them as soon as they support a federal right to work law, that truely gives employees a choice, as they say they do, they just price people out of jobs. And we have good insurance, along with our own pharmacy, eyecare office, and medical center on the plant site. Amoung other quirks. I have been blessed with my situation, I not that smart, anyone can do if if they are willing to put for the effort.

    If a person is tring to better themselves I am all for helping them out, but a lot of people sit on their collective butts and will not even try to help themselves.

    And for christians that say will should give all these hand out, in the book of Proverbs it states that if a man will not work he shall not eat.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2009, at 11:32 PM, ozzfan1317 wrote:

    I got tired of reading but some of the biased and ignorant opinions in the comments amazed me. I dont care what party you belong to. Our Healthcare system has serious problems and our president actually wants to attempt to improve it. However the current compromise is basically going to help line the pockets of insurance companies and still has gained very little republican support. I can already see this bill being so watered down that it becomes a waste of time. The greed corruption of our american society really sickens me. I hope I am proven wrong.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2009, at 11:35 PM, ozzfan1317 wrote:

    Also I want to make it clear that I do not support the current bill just the Idea of finally giving everyone a fair chance at affordable health care.

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2009, at 1:25 PM, Investable1876 wrote:

    Regardless of which way you lean politically, the fact is that there's something that all seniors... and everyone really... in the U.S. should be thinking about right now, more than ever before.

    Your health!

    That's right, if you haven't been paying attention lately, the health care bill that might (or shall I say, will likely) get passed may not be...shall we say...great for the older people in this country.

    Here are some very strong reasons why:

    "PG 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3 Government provides approved list of end of life resources, guiding you in death!"

    "PG 427 Lines 15-24 Government mandates program for orders for end of life. The Government has a say in how your life ends!"

    "Pg 429 Lines 1-9 An "adv. care planning consult" will be used frequently as patients health deteriorates."

    "PG 429 Lines 10-12 "adv. care consultation" may include an ORDER for end of life plans. AN ORDER from GOVERNMENT!!!"

    "Pg 429 Lines 13-25 - The government will specify which Doctors can write an end of life order."

    "PG 430 Lines 11-15 The Government will decide what level of treatment you will have at end of life."

    Now I'm not going to tell you to call your senators or congress men and women. I'm not going to tell you what you should think of this proposal, nothing like that!

    What I'm saying is that it's probably a very good time for you to start taking your health into your own hands so that you don't give the government a chance to decide for you.

    If you're not at an age yet where you don't feel like YOU need to be concerned yet, then there's a good chance that someone that you know and care about very much needs to be. Perhaps it's your parents, your grandparents, a very dear friend. What I'm saying is that someone that you know and care about may have to worry about this proposal.

    You yourself can help them (and yourself) take their lives into their own hands by showing them the way to optimal health.

    -----------------------------

    Money is like muck, not good except it be spread.

    http://www.topinvestingtips.com

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2009, at 1:45 PM, SmartSaver22 wrote:

    It is important to understand that even though the Obama Administration is positioned to make a health insurance policy universal and free for all American citizens we will all be paying for this one way or another. I say this because in order to make insurance for health free for all citizens we will undoubtedly be paying higher taxes. Thus, since we will all be paying higher taxes I feel it is our duty to find the health care insurance provider that can quote us for the lowest price. If everyone does their part to find the health care insurance company that is willing to offer the lowest quotes then we can decrease the tax burden for American citizens.

    So the question stands. How do you go about using government money to find cheap health insurance providers when Obama passes this plan? It is simple; find a website that offers multiple quotes from multiple companies. This will ensure that you are both doing your part to make sure taxes don't rise too much and you are finding a respected and reputable health care insurance agent in your area.

    ---------------------

    Look after your pennies, and your pounds will look after themselves.

    http://www.personalbudgetinvesting.com

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2009, at 2:02 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    Investable1876 trolled:

    "PG 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3 Government provides approved list of end of life resources, guiding you in death!"

    When is this sort of crap going to stop showing up in circles that should be a bit more educated than this? At best, your post is simply uninformed or misinformed. At worst, it is a lie, and I don't say that lightly.

    There is simply nothing of the sort in law or in proposed law. The proposal is to counsel people in how to setup living wills, wills, enduring power of attorney, and all the other stuff that should be done as a matter of course. In fact, the very people who are trying to make an issue of this so-called "problem" are the ones most likely to have these details already taken care of in their life.

    So, why is this an issue? How could it possibly be bad to encourage people to setup a living will? A will? Power of attorney? Other things that should be taken care of in the last days of your life?

    What is the issue here people, other than fear mongering and rabble rousing?

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2009, at 1:08 PM, starmannate wrote:

    Why don't we 'reform' legal care instead??

    By RICHARD B. RAFAL

    Since we are moving toward socialism with ObamaCare, the time has come to do the same with other professions—especially lawyers. Physician committees can decide whether lawyers are necessary in any given situation.

    At a town-hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., last month, our uninformed lawyer in chief suggested that we physicians would rather chop off a foot than manage diabetes since we would make more money doing surgery. Then President Obama compounded his attack by claiming a doctor's reimbursement is between "$30,000" and "$50,000" for such amputations! (Actually, such surgery costs only about $1,500.)

    Physicians have never been so insulted. Because of these affronts, I will gladly volunteer for the important duty of controlling and regulating lawyers. Since most of what lawyers do is repetitive boilerplate or pushing paper, physicians would have no problem dictating what is appropriate for attorneys. We physicians know much more about legal practice than lawyers do about medicine.

    Following are highlights of a proposed bill authorizing the dismantling of the current framework of law practice and instituting socialized legal care:

    • Contingency fees will be discouraged, and eventually outlawed, over a five-year period. This will put legal rewards back into the pockets of the deserving—the public and the aggrieved parties. Slick lawyers taking their "cut" smacks of a bookie operation. Attorneys will be permitted to keep up to 3% in contingency cases, the remainder going into a pool for poor people.

    • Legal "DRGs." Each potential legal situation will be assigned a relative value, and charges limited to this amount. Program participation and acceptance of this amount is mandatory, regardless of the number of hours spent on the matter. Government schedules of flat fees for each service, analogous to medicine's Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs), will be issued. For example, any divorce will have a set fee of, say, $1,000, regardless of its simplicity or complexity. This will eliminate shady hourly billing. Niggling fees such as $2 per page photocopied or faxed would disappear. Who else nickels-and-dimes you while at the same time charging hundreds of dollars per hour? I'm surprised lawyers don't tack shipping and handling onto their bills.

    • Legal "death panels." Over 75? You will not be entitled to legal care for any matter. Why waste money on those who are only going to die soon? We can decrease utilization, save money and unclog the courts simultaneously. Grandma, you're on your own.

    • Ration legal care. One may need to wait months to consult an attorney. Despite a perceived legal need, physician review panels or government bureaucrats may deem advice unnecessary. Possibly one may not get representation before court dates or deadlines. But that' s tough: What do you want for "free"?

    • Physician controlled legal review. This is potentially the most exciting reform, with doctors leading committees for determining the necessity of all legal procedures and the fairness of attorney fees. What a wonderful way for doctors to get even with the sharks attempting to eviscerate the practice of medicine.

    • Discourage/eliminate specialization. Legal specialists with extra training and experience charge more money, contributing to increased costs of legal care, making it unaffordable for many. This reform will guarantee a selection of mediocre, unmotivated attorneys but should help slow rising legal costs. Big shot under indictment? Classified National Archives documents down your pants? Sitting president defending against impeachment? Have FBI agents found $90,000 in your freezer? Too bad. Under reform you too may have to go to the government legal shop for advice.

    • Electronic legal records. We should enter the digital age and computerize and centralize legal records nationwide. All files must be in a standard, preferably inconvenient, format and must be available to government agencies. A single database of judgments, court records, client files, etc. will decrease legal expenses. Anyone with Internet access will be able to search the database, eliminating unjustifiable fees charged by law firms for supposedly proprietary information, while fostering transparency. It will enable consumers to dump their clunker attorneys and transfer records easily.

    • Ban legal advertisements. Catchy phone numbers such as 1-800-LAWYERS would be seized by the government and repurposed for reporting unscrupulous attorneys.

    • New government oversight. Government overhead to manage the legal system will include a cabinet secretary, commissioners, ombudsmen, auditors, assistants, czars and departments.

    • Collect data about the supply of and demand for attorneys.Create a commission to study the diversity and geographic distribution of attorneys, with power to stipulate and enforce corrective actions to right imbalances. The more bureaucracy the better. One can never have too many eyes watching these sleazy sneaks.

    • Lawyer Reduction Act (H.R. -3200). A self-explanatory bill that not only decreases the number of law students, but also arbitrarily removes 3,200 attorneys from practice each year. Textbook addition by subtraction.

    Enthusiastically embracing the above legal changes can serve as a "teachable moment" and will go a long way toward giving the lawyers who run Congress a taste of their own medicine.

    Dr. Rafal is a radiologist in New York City.

    Source: Wall Street Journal 9-3-09

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2009, at 2:19 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    It's amazing how much time people will spend making a useless point. Dr. Rafal, are you related to Weird Al Yancovich?

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2009, at 2:25 PM, MKA1965 wrote:

    SMARTSAVER22, Hey, if everyone was doing their part, we would be having this discussion. If everyone was doing their part we wouldn't be discussing socialized healthcare. If you are doing your part then you would take care of yourself and your own, not wait for the government (which I would let balance my check) tell you what you can and cannot do. Let's face it this is a country of intitlement, the land of the strong and brave and personal independance, didn't you know that everyone in the USA owns you.

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2009, at 4:09 PM, Teo123 wrote:

    I think the big point here is this:

    health care is forcing too many couples and families into bankruptcy and, well, bankruptcy is bad for everyone.

    In my view, an overhaul may not be necessary. That is, we could come up with a plan that prohibited the predatory practice of rescission (where an insured pays their premiums, gets sick and the insurer just refunds the premiums). We could make insurers take everyone -- preexisting condition or not. And, we could cap out-of-pocket costs. The third piece is essential. Too often folks with insurance get sick -- they have a heart attack, for example -- and wind up with massive bills they cannot afford.

    As a result, the doctors/clinic that treated him doesn't get paid. The insured -- who files bankruptcy --usually does so after falling behind in their mortgage payment. So they lose their house and then they file bankruptcy. They're out of the job market, out of the high-end goods market, etc., for seven years.

    To me, that's a bad solution. A cap on out-of-pocket may help.

    By the way, Dr. Rafal says a surgery costs $1,500. Has anyone ever seen a surgery -- for anything -- cost $1,500? No way. You can't even get your eyes done for $1,500.

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2009, at 4:12 PM, goldenskies wrote:

    This is not socialized healthcare nor will it be. Who tells you what doctor you can or cannot see already? How much you can or cannot pay for a doctor's visit or prescriptions? The last time I checked it was the insurance companies. And, who decides what treatment you can have or how much when you do become seriously ill and how long you can stay in the hospital. It's the insurance companies. Oh, and by the way there is a big, big difference between Socialism and Communism. Canada, UK, China, Russia, to mention a few. Got to love the negative naysayers, now the new dirty word for a Democrat it seems is a Socialist/Commie... How very sad we have come to this place in our culture. I fear we are digressing.

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2009, at 4:53 PM, starmannate wrote:

    Hedgehog are you related to Tony Resko??

    My point is that all that works in our medical system, the innovation, the quality of care, the development of new procedures and drugs will be destroyed by Obamacare.

    Right now the U.S. has the highest 5 year cancer survival rates in the world. According to a recent Lancet Oncology Study, American men have a 66% chance of surviving a malignancy vs. 47% for europeans, women have a 63% to 56 % advantage.

    According to the latest Investor Business Daily survey 77% of doctors oppose Obamacare and 45% would consider retiring or quitting medicine altogether.

    We can have real healthcare reform by:

    1. Caps on malpractice for pain & suffering.

    2. Allowing individuals to have the same tax deductability as large corporations.

    3. Allow individuals to buy policies across state lines.

    4. Give credits to low income individuals who buy care.

    5. Allow Doctor's and their patients to decide whether to use drugs not approved by the FDA.

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2009, at 5:22 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    Or, we could just go ahead with universal healthcare.

    Seriously, you've made a number of conclusions in your post, but you've laid absolutely no groundwork of support for them other than "because I said so".

    Apparently it's a big concern to you that some small percentage of doctors *say* they would get out of the medical field. Talk is cheap when you don't actually have a dog in the fight. We've all threatened to quit our job, and our bosses have all pretended they believe us.

    But, in fact, where will they go? There are only so many medical contracting slots available. Retiring? Well, is that really a threat? I mean, doesn't the right spew constantly about the "free and open market" where people are allowed to make a choice that best serves their interests?

    When I was a still working, there were a number of years when I made what was really an unreasonable amount of money for a computer programmer. This happened because my field was very small and esoteric. The industry eventually responded by improving the tools in a way that lowered the barriers to entry and requisite skill levels. Clearly that's not in the medical industry's best interest, but it is going to happen, and a new crop of doctors will enter the market; possibly aided by computer devices. Perhaps this new breed will be able to enter because their parent's don't have to be unreasonably wealthy to swing the education costs.

    But, in any case, if these older/wealthier doctors want to leave or retire, they're welcome to it. We simply don't need some group of privileged individuals, no matter how skilled, to have this much leverage in public policy. The sooner they are gone, the sooner more reasonable ways of providing cost-effective healthcare will become available.

    Ironically, I believe this is called the free market; something you guys on the right talk about, but don't want to actually implement - preferring, instead, to hide behind arcane rules and regulations that provide a barrier to entry by those outside the select few and their offspring.

    Nationalized health care is coming. As with any other popular issue, it will continue to be put forward until it actually happens. The right can either be a willing part of it, or stand off to the side while they are brought screaming and kicking into the 21st century.

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2009, at 5:58 PM, starmannate wrote:

    I don't make any conclusions except:

    1. We have the best healthcare system in the world and you want to replace it with something which makes a lot of promises but has never worked.

    2. Apparently you don't care for "markets". Should we make sure none of the farmers make a profit, isn't food a necessity? Why don't we have the government in charge of that too. Oh, thats called communism, socialism, etc. and IT DOESN"T WORK.

    3. 45% of doctor's wanting to retire is important! Maybe you were overpaid, maybe some of them are overpaid, but I sure like being able to pick the best doctor when I get sick or injured. If you like socialized medicine, join the military, I can assure you they have long waits and rationing for many services.

    4. If you are so eager for nationalized health care, move to Canada. Oh, that's right they come here when they need essential treatments, which pretty much says it all.

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2009, at 6:03 PM, rookiex wrote:

    We are all missing the point. Forget government rationing, what we now have is corporate rationing by the insurance companies. We are all aware of how far corporations will go to meet/beat the street. If you happen to need healthcare and your insurance company needs to squeeze a bit more margin for the upcoming close, guess what? You lose. This is unacceptable. I believe insurance companies provide no value whatsoever to this equation and that they are merely brokers, earning profits off of our sedentary and high caloric lifestyle. A better approach is to develop a single payer system that standardizes coverage and reporting requirements while providing high quality healthcare. I for one have no concern for the insurance companies...they have no problem collecting premiums year after year but seem to have an SOP when it comes to paying a claim--deny, deny, deny.

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2009, at 6:13 PM, starmannate wrote:

    Rooklex, you are the one missing the point. When the government takes over there will be more rationing and even less choices. What does the government run better than private companies?

    The answer is NOTHING!

    Healthcare will be run with the efficiency of the Post Office and the compassion of the IRS!

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2009, at 6:19 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    OK, let's see if how much of your post we can pick apart.

    "1. We have the best healthcare system in the world and you want to replace it with something which makes a lot of promises but has never worked."

    Actually, national healthcare does work. Are you aware that the US is essentially the only Western country that still doesn't have a national health care system?

    There was an article or a post recently where some right wing wag opined that if Dr. Steven Hawking had to depend on a national health care system he would be dead and we would be deprived of his genious. How ironic it is that Dr. Hawking is a professor at Cambridge. You know, in England. Where they have one of those inferior national health care systems.

    "2. Apparently you don't care for "markets". Should we make sure none of the farmers make a profit, isn't food a necessity? Why don't we have the government in charge of that too. Oh, thats called communism, socialism, etc. and IT DOESN"T WORK."

    Look, you either want a free market or you don't. As it is, we don't have a free market in the US. The barriers to entry are simply unscalable for the most of us. And, as to farms, the farming industry is actually one of the most tightly regulated industries in the US, with many products, such as milk, having their prices set in advance.

    "3. 45% of doctor's wanting to retire is important! Maybe you were overpaid, maybe some of them are overpaid, but I sure like being able to pick the best doctor when I get sick or injured."

    You miss my point. Once again, either you want a free market, or you don't. If these doctors are actually at risk of quitting/retiring (they're not) then what's the problem in a free market system? Isn't it their right?

    "If you like socialized medicine, join the military, I can assure you they have long waits and rationing for many services."

    How sad this is. You cannot *assure* me of such a thing, because I am a Proud Veteran of the US, and I DO actually get my health care primarily from the VA; which you would know if you had read through this whole thread, rather than just jumping in incautiosly. I can ASSURE YOU that I am receiving adequate health care from the VA.

    "4. If you are so eager for nationalized health care, move to Canada. Oh, that's right they come here when they need essential treatments, which pretty much says it all."

    Actually, they don't; in any great numbers. This is simply a myth that is spouted by the right when backed up against the wall and they have nothing of substance to say.

    And, no, I don't think I'll be moving to Canada any time soon. Shame on you for resorting to the "love it or leave it" mantra of the far right. Unlike you, I actually served my country when it needed me. Unlike you, I actually have a stake in the future of the country. Does that make me entitled? I suppose it does. At the very least, though, my vote (and I do vote) counts the same as yours on election day; regardless of what it counts the rest of the year.

    Conclusion:

    What most of my post has pointed out is that we do not have a free market in the US, as so many people believe we do. What we have is a sham that is manipulated and regulated by the right for the benefit of the few. Nationalizing the health care is inevitable. That's the free market of the American voting system. To quote a Thomas Paine: "Lead, follow, or get out of the way."

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2009, at 6:22 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    I said: "What we have is a sham that is manipulated and regulated by the right for the benefit of the few."

    Actually, this would be better said as: "What we have is a sham that is manipulated and regulated by the elite for the benefit of the few." Because, it's clear that there is just as much blame on the left as there is on the right.

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2009, at 8:00 PM, starmannate wrote:

    Good. Keep shopping that below 20% rating. It seems you like to dish out digs but cant take them.

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2009, at 8:05 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    No sir, it's not the digs. It's the quality of the conversation. If you find that you must resort to vulgar ad hominem attacks to respond, and you have, then you've admitted defeat in any reasonable conversation.

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2009, at 8:33 PM, starmannate wrote:

    Hedgehog says:

    "are you related to Weird Al Yancovich?"

    "Unlike you, I actually served my country when it needed me"

    I guess those weren't personal attacks?

    You stick to the facts without personal digs and you will get the same back, otherwise "if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen"

    Regards

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2009, at 9:06 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    Dr. Rafal (assuming that's you starmannate),

    So, if you don't want to be a doctor anymore, then what's stopping you from finding something you want to do? Sure, we could use more doctors, but I don't think we've reached the point of desperation, yet; nor do I think we will. It is, after all, a free market, and you're free to provide a service or not.

    As far as the *** socialist epithet: no, I'm not a socialist. I'm a US citizen who is able to understand that health care is a social issue with market implications; not the reverse. As a result, it does no-one any good to try to sell the issue as one for the so-called free market to handle - especially not when the rules in this "free market" are skewed to favor the marketeers so strongly.

    Universal health care is inevitable; it's only a matter of when, not if. I believe that the smart money has already gotten that message. What's left now is the reorganization of insurance companies and the medical community to face this reality. Whether it will be a smooth change or not, I can't say. I don't have enough information. I suppose it all depends on whether the money has time to move before the political decision is finally made.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 12:24 PM, sklaper wrote:

    First: Anyone who's truly happy with their healthcare coverage either does not pay for it or has never had to use it much.

    Second: Health Insurance companies are NOT in the health care business -- they're in the insurance business.

    Third: While I do like seeing my investments make me money, there are other things in this world more important than simply growing your net worth. The health of this country and the health of its citizens are two such things.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 12:43 PM, Bamafan68 wrote:

    As a physician who lived through Tennessee's extremely painful conversion to Tenncare, as well as having to deal with Medicare's arcane and esoteric billing/rules, I have grave reservations about the government's ability to effectively and efficiently handle a public option. President Obama threw a bone to some of the critics of the proposed reform when he suggested that several states conduct pilot programs to evaluate malpractice reform. After seeing the failures of Tennessee, Oregon, and Massachusetts health care reform efforts, maybe we'd be better off with other smaller scale trial programs to see if what is being proposed in HR 3200 would actually work.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 12:50 PM, Elmer104 wrote:

    The notion that Insurance companies act the way they do to keeps costs down is almost always false. It is employers who determine what will be covered in their benefit plan.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 12:57 PM, ishogai wrote:

    Folks,

    Please anyone correct me if I have misunderstood the wonderful mainstream media. :(

    What I HATE about this plan is that it requires me to have medical insurance. I had it, gave it up, and now pay less for medical than I ever did before. I live close to the US/Mexico border and go across the border for all my medical needs. I have a family and 3 children and have no problem finding a reputable and good doctor that can address my health needs. In the last three years, I have routinely paid less in medical/dental care than I ever paid in annual premiums only in this country. Why in the heck would I want to go to a doctor here?

    I also think I understand that Obama wants all companies to provide insurance for their employees. If this is true, my business is closed tomorrow. I run a small business with 5 employees and provide a decent income for all of us. But there is absolutely NO WAY that my company can absorb the high cost of providing health insurance for 5 people. I would imagine that this is the same for many a small business in this country.

    In other posts, I have seen people indicate that we are the only western country without a government health care. So what! Please take a minute to look at some of the state health care plans that have failed miserably like TennCare, VA, Maryland, etc. We have NEVER gotten this right even on the small scale.

    Can any one of you tell me anything the the government has succeeded in doing in the last 10 years? We have not stopped drugs, crime, Bin Laden, made us safer, financially stronger, lowered gas prices, found new energy sources, etc. What are the real probabilities that they will get this right?

    Thanks

    ishogai

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 1:13 PM, markofzorro wrote:

    The military, maintaining infrastructure shared by all, and keeping the playing field safe and fair through laws and regulations, are functions only a government can supply -- or coordinate to be sure somebody provides it.

    Health care is a function only governments can provide and/or must actively regulate, as most governments in the developed wold know. It is also why the US is number 35 or so on important indicators of population health such as infant and maternal mortality. Our sorry health care system provides perverse incentives to predatory insurance companies that screw patients and and doctors who order unnecessary tests from labs that they own -- an inexcusable conflict on interest pointed out by Atul Gwande in the New Yorker and the recent NYT lead editorial.

    The reason our sorry health care is such a poor deal for the US public is that it rations care according to how much money you have. Thus, the poor get no health care except for emergencies. Example: I have hypertension and it is controlled by drugs my doctor gives me so I am very likely to avoid having a stroke or heart attack -- at the low cost of generic drugs. A poor person would not be tested for hypertension, let alone treated for it because they get their care at an emergency room, where waits are long and costs astronomical.

    So the poor person doesn't know he has "the silent killer" until he strokes out and is rushed to the ER and transferred to an expensive intensive care bed and then on to a nursing home -- all paid for by the government or by hospitals that then pass the costs on to paying patients.

    TAdams suggestion of a golf tournament as a metaphor for a health care system seemed odd, but his application was flawed. The golf tournament of health care has Tiger Woods and other healthy and rich people playing against old ladies, people in wheelchairs, women in labor, babies, and little kids. In our present system, Tiger and his friends keep all the money and look down on the weak and helpless below as "lazy." They hire PR firms that pervert the American dream to convince the working poor and nervous retirees that giving them a fair shake will somehow reduce their chances of getting rich if they work hard or to get care as they age. This lie is doubly damaging because the system is now so far out of whack that many, many people see through it and lose faith that the American dream is real.

    I believe in the American Dream and hate to see the Mediscare campaigns spreading cynicism that leads many to conclude that it's just not true anymore.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 1:14 PM, ARetirar wrote:

    I found this article offensive. From its title to its analysis it is loaded with premises that I do not share: "Obamacare"? What is that? You start out with an epithet, make a claim that everyone hates something in the current proposals (which you never explain) and then move into analysis about whether current reform proposals are good for the five or so insurance companies that are working such a number on this country. Who cares whether they like them or not?! Screw them.

    I come to Motley Fool for investing advice, not political diatribes. Why would you wade into this, the most politically divisive issue there is at the moment, and in such a biased manner?

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 1:18 PM, mfltcipro wrote:

    If "all" elected officials in the US, including the President and Congress...especially the Pres and Congress...will be required to be covered under the "exact same" plan as all other covered individual members...with NO additional subsidies/benefits for coverage, whatsoever, this whole issue will be decided within 2 weeks of the start of drafting!!!

    srellc

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 1:20 PM, snowmon wrote:

    The Federal program being proposed is similar to what we already have in Massachusetts, including the horrendous "individual mandate" (breath tax). Since the program was imposed, MA health care cost have gone through the roof, and are now the highest in the nation. It is bankrupting the State, and a big bump in the sales tax was just imposed. Some model that is.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 1:24 PM, reming47 wrote:

    Ahhh, once again the American middle class is thrown to the wolves. I'll eat my golf hat if insurance and medical costs actually come down. My guess is profits will go up for the insurance companies and I'll continue to wait months for an appointment with my doctor and my costs will continue to rise as my benefits decline. And I am covered by Federal Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Every year my costs go up and my benefits decline. As a veteran, working for the V.A. even costs to the veteran has been on the increase.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 1:27 PM, TzingerToo wrote:

    It is true that US companies have higher costs due to health care than European companies. It's also true that European companies have higher taxes than US companies.

    What's the net? Costs are always a very strange basis of comparison. Costs are not a very good measure as they are strictly calculated by the accountant that put them together. There is not a uniform definition. Expenses are real. Costs are not.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 1:34 PM, maccdw wrote:

    I don't pay subscription fees to the MF to have them offer political comments. I want sound investment advice.

    On health care issues, I talk directly with people who work within the healthcare system and healthcare finance and insurance.

    I wish the Fool would stick to what it knows best.

    It's this type of malarkey that makes me avoid paying for other MF services, and it makes me reconsider whether I want to subscribe to ANY MF serice any longer.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 1:39 PM, mygoodword wrote:

    I agreed everyone should buy health insurance as a citizen's duty. I think if Obama can have a rule to forbid employer or Insurance companies to dump the insured to the public option, then I will be OK with the plan. This will eliminate health rationing by the government based on cost or medical resources.

    Government should stay away from private health decision and let the doctor and patient make their own choice and decision. Read the doctor's view below. You know why we have to oppose Obama's socialized care :

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/obamacare_and_me.html

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 1:43 PM, toshara wrote:

    To MKA1965

    I don't know where your emergency rooms are but where I'm from, and from what I've experienced in traveling, it runs around $800 for a visit. when I visited that emergency room, I was covered by insurance, but I changed jobs (laid off) and lost that coverage. When I applied for other insurance, I was turned down for preexisting conditions (elevated Rheumatoid factor). I work hard (16 hour days are not uncommon), I pay my bills, on time every month, every year. I save money to cover unexpected bills. But $224 for a 10 minute office visit with my doctor, plus $50 for the medications makes a big dent in my savings. And..who are you to judge me or my life? You know nothing about me other than what I have stated. Get off your holier-than-thou high horse.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 1:44 PM, jwe3 wrote:

    ObamaCare? WHAT care??? You mean

    ObummerCoverage??

    Then there is, "my plan." WHAT plan, 'Bam??? So far Prez Obama has not sent a plan up to Capitol Hill. One could do a Top Ten List Of Obama Lies from his desperation speech the other night, or from subsequent speeches.

    I suspect most Fools know we already have enough government in our lives. No more, no thanks.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 1:52 PM, brjmj wrote:

    I'm much like the Congressman, Obama is a liar. He will do anything and say anything in order to further his agenda of making this great country into a has been nation. It wouldn't surprise me for him to attempt to take away all freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. What blesses me is the number of conservatives now coming out ot the woodwork over the Obamacare initiative. That is our saving grace, not Obama.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 1:53 PM, JLGST wrote:

    If "Obamacare" refers to the reform ideas as discussed by the President during his address. I can only hope that it passes with a strong public option. This is the best thing that can happen for a majority of the citizens of this country.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 2:11 PM, shaper501 wrote:

    As a physician for 25 years, I can tell you the govt run plans are a disaster. Examples are the increasing number of patients I have taken care of having left the VA system out of frustration (instead now just willing to pay cash!,) and then there are Medicare and Medicaid not paying enough to cover overhead. Why in the world does anyone think the next govt designed system will be any different?

    I do think that Medicare and/or Medicaid are fixable. I think this is a great place to start and then extend these to the currently uninsured. It will only work unless Physicians are adequately reimbursed. I don't need to get rich off one patient visit, but this discussion about some kind of cost shifting is laughable. If anyone thinks I can see a Medicaid person at a loss of revenue and just charge a BCBS patient more, just doesn't know how the system works. BCBS simply pays me what they want--I don't get to decide.

    I am a surgeon. For many operstions I now get only 30% of what I was paid in the 80's. I am embarrassed to say that. What other business would allow that to happen to them? But I simply have no control. Between this and malpractice cost increasing, well, I hope this helps everyone understand physician frustration, and decisions on early retirement.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 2:31 PM, bbfoolkit wrote:

    Brian,

    Without even reading all of the post above me, you have definitely not done enough homework to know the plans before us do not address the simplest of things:

    Like, insure those who do not have insurance, and leave the rest of us alone. Obama says we can keep our plans that, but in the analysis, that will become impossible, and quite certain if you change jobs.

    Force insurers to compete across state lines. Sounds easy, so why not? Influenece!!!!! Money????

    The most popular bill being moved forward has not seen any wording changes, only the President has verbally changed his spoken wording.

    Too many behind closed door sessions have protected certain parties (drug makers), and demonized others (insurers).

    The wording in the bill was bought by those who had the deepest pockets.

    No one should ever change a healtcare system for all when you are only trying to insure those who don't have it - which is less than a third than the Obama admistration purports. His numbers do include illegals.

    You cannot listen to this administration. You have to research what the legislation says (with a team of lawyers).

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 2:55 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    bbfoolkit says: "No one should ever change a healtcare system for all when you are only trying to insure those who don't have it - which is less than a third than the Obama admistration purports."

    Even if we assume that only a third of the numbers that the President puts forward, we still wind up with the range of 12-16 million Americans who do not have health coverage. That's just not moral or right.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 3:13 PM, ballroombetty wrote:

    Continuing on as we have been and liking it is either centered on one's current well being, lack of forsight, fear of change or some combination there of.

    One thing is for sure your health will change.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 3:34 PM, wornoutshoes wrote:

    If the over 50 million Americans without health insurance could afford it, don't you think they would have it? Is our government really going to turn all those people into criminals by requiring them to have health insurance, fining them if they don't? Even if the cost is lowered, which rich bureaucrat gets to decide what people can afford and what they can't?

    There are already laws in some states that require full grown adults to wear seatbelts, wear helmets, the religious are being told they have no right to be religious anymore - wasn't this country free at some point?

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 3:53 PM, Crippy wrote:

    "It's clear we need to do something"? How about getting out of the way and letting the free market take its natural course.

    The only thing that is CLEAR is that government encroachment NEVER works and freedom ALWAYS does.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 4:02 PM, dannywarren wrote:

    The idea of health care reform is good but the approach and plan today is too costly to everyone. Fact, if Medicare/Medicaide waste and fraud were easy to recover it would have been done already. There are too many governmental beaurocracy loop holes that people can exercise. That said, if Obama assigns a panel to review and recover these loses who will pay their salary. He implied these would be doctors and such. Fact, if this plan is kicked off, say, by Jan 1 2010 who will foot the bill while the panel investigates and attempts to recover enough to pay for the plan. Fact, if any employer finds a government plan is cheaper for his employees than the one he is supplying he will drop his and tell his employees to take the government plan. That is bottom line dollar savings. I think we should open the market for insurance company competition. Not resticting them to regional coverage.

    This has nothing to do with the election. This is not a thought out plan with too many caves that are open to interpretation.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 4:23 PM, creekedge wrote:

    I thought this was a financial site-I have been around for 6-7 years.

    This is the second article in two weeks that really p....d me off.

    I don't have time for this drivel-so long-no more renewals!!

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 4:33 PM, c195 wrote:

    We simply need to put the free market at work. We don't have that today. Insurance companies are not free to compete today, and the consumer isn't in charge.

    The government needs to lay down some basic regulations to level the playing field and then get out of the way. For those who can't afford it, government help could be provided, as happens today with other things like food (stamps) and housing. We don't need a public option, co-op's, or any other "new" thing to force insurances companies to compete...we just need to LET them compete like they do for life or auto insurance.

    And again, the consumer has to be put in the driver's seat.

    Here's an excellent non-partisan plan: http://clarkhoward.com/liveweb/shownotes/2009/09/09/16614/

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 4:34 PM, ered60 wrote:

    The author uses the same literary technique of unsubstantiated assertion and questionable logic that the President uses in the language of his speeches.

    Example 1: increasing cost of health care increases Medicare/Medicaid burden on taxpayers, therefore, "our health care problem is our deficit problem." Outflow > Inflow = Deficit. A look at the current deficit numbers is only supportive of health care as part of deficit.

    Example 2: LMT/BA/F are hurt because foreign competitors health care costs are lower. Assertion that ignores other significant factors (e.g., high corporate tax rate in US).

    I expect more insightful and substantiated analysis in MF than this article.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 4:48 PM, mejmej wrote:

    OK, this is 8 days down the comment list and maybe no one will see it, but in the hopes that someone will write their representatives:

    Mr. Orelli seems to believe that the "free market" will solve everything, even though the folks at UNH, WLP and AET are an oligopoly. Definition: A market dominated by a small number of participants who are able to collectively exert control over supply and market prices.

    He mentions the savings that will be magically passed down to the consumer if everyone is insured. This will NOT HAPPEN unless these companies have actual competition from a public plan that offers uniform benefits to a large segment of the population at community rating prices.

    The essence of a free market is that the individual has a choice in how to spend their money and we don't have one in the US. Most of us are trapped by plans paid for by employers. In my case, one of those big three firms mentioned above is so frugal (cheap) that they don't have a contract with any of the hospitals in my city, and I have to drive 45 miles to another town where they have a contract, or pay up to $22,000 in out of pocket costs at my "out of network" providers before I get a nickel from the insurance company. Any health care reform that doesn't create this free market by providing a public option (and there is no reason this can't pay for itself) is a sham foisted on the public by the elected officials that feed at the trough of the special interests - the insurance companies.

    I too distrust the govt. to address all the evils listed above on a one by one basis because there will always be loopholes and favorites and corrupt politicians. For all the "free market" fans, I say let the govt. create a competitive option and let people vote with their dollars. It will clean up the problems in a year, and you will all have freedom of choice for a change.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 4:51 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%.

    I just signed a petition demanding that the U.S. Congress allow a public option.

    Click here to sign: http://bit.ly/1MOpFS

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 4:59 PM, LAVol wrote:

    If we don't get tort reform, limiting MD exposure to lawsuits, we won't have enough MD's to provide care. MD's are working more, making less, and paying far too much for malpractice insurance. When MD's stop running "unnecessary" tests to avoid potential lawsuits, medical costs will fall. In addition, if they could cut government paperwork, they could reduce medical costs significantly. Why isn't tort reform a major issue in the health care plan?--because the trial lawyers have liberal politicians in their pockets. I'll support health care reform when Congress is under the same health care as the rest of us.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 5:01 PM, builderal wrote:

    I live a very comfortable life. I sold my company 3 years ago, we had 4 offices across the state and over 1000 employees. We had a great health care plan but every year it got more and more expensive and I could see the time when it was going to be impossible to compete and offer health care. We already had un ethical non union competitors who didn't offer health insurance, they left it up to the free market to pick up the tab when their employees and their kids ended up in the county hospital. I was proud that we were a strong union company and that the union had great health coverage for their members and their families, it allowed me to sleep at night.

    McCain said that under O Bama's plan you weren't going to be able to keep your current coverage, that it would change.....I got news for you, your current plan, if you have one is not a guaranteed right, McCain acts like you have a guarantee that your plan will never change I guarantee your current plan is going to change as the health care costs continue to skyrocket. Doing nothing right now guarantees that you will either loose you plan or it will eat up a lot more of your paycheck. As for me and my wife we are both un insurable due to pre existing conditions. I have a bad back and my wife is a breast cancer survivor... so far the free market hasn't been able to offer me insurance at any cost, and I live in a state (CA) where no one can be deinied health insurance.........

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 5:46 PM, ezlovr wrote:

    I am definitely in favor of serious Health-Care reform and realize the President laid out only the "ground rules" to guide Congress in their setting it up. So WHY is everyone talking AT the President as though HE is writing this whole bill?? The pundits and skeptics, along with "special interest groups" have done another stellar job of muddying the waters and casting doubt and aspersions toward a "likely target" while they cut the real deals with the Congress via their lobbyists, after splintering the masses who well realize this is their fight and lives being talked about in a vacuum.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 5:57 PM, peters46 wrote:

    Non-profit or Not for Profit? Does anyone actually believe those words anymore? I recall when UNH was supposedly non-profit. It wasn't - the profit (hundreds of millions) just went to the CEO and other execs instead of stockholders.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 6:27 PM, Baggerdude wrote:

    Brian is wrong on many fronts. I don't have to deal with those ... everyone who is aware of Obamacare reform knows the truth.

    Here's a funny deal .... when the democrats started talking about nationalizing healthcare, there were 25 million uninsured. Then the number rose to 30 million ... then 37 million .... then 40 million ... then 45 million ... and finally 50 million folks in this country without healthcare.

    I have never believed this number and the truth seems to indicate a much smaller number. Which seems to be about 10 million once you eliminate the illegal aliens, folks that could be on Medicare/Medicaid, but chose not to be, or can't figure out how to enroll ... are in between coverage, folks too stupid to sign up, the homeless who don't watch television, students who are 'bullet proof', folks who have lost their jobs and are not on cobra cuz it's too expensive, those who can afford health insurance and chose not to buy it. So, this leaves about 10 million folks without health care.

    And, the price tag is still the same?? 10 million people vs 50 million. The government is just great at using numbers.

    And, the cost to 'reform healthcare' is 1.3 TRILLION ...but, I think it will be much, much more. Like they under estimated Medicare tag of $65M ... which is now billions and nearly bankrupt. Oh, and Obamacare will cut fees paid to physicians/hospitals for Medicare procedures, which will ration care to seniors for sure.

    I wonder why only 10 million folks require a 1.3 trillion dollar bailout ... why are we scrapping the entire program to eventually lead to a single payer system that Obama has wanted all along (videos show this several times as recently as 2007)? A government sponsored healthcare system ... just like Canada, France, Germany, Cuba, North Korea. Just grand.

    Perhaps doing what is needed in healthcare to REALLY reform it ... tort reform, allowing all insurance companies to compete in ALL states, get rid of the fraud in Medicare/Medicaid, and just cover those who don't have insurance (other than those who are here illegally .. who should not be here at all) with expanded Medicaid.

    Obamacare will be another infringement on our liberties, a front to the Constitution .. .and it will EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE, expansive in bureaucrats and healthcare will deteriorate and will be rationed in many ways.

    One more thing. If Obamacare is needed NOW ... RIGHT NOW while 1400 people are dying today ... why does it NOT take effect until 2013? After the next president is elected. What is going on here.

    I do not approve of the speed, expense, and lack of true reform in any of these bills. And, why does a bill need to be 1000+ pages long? And, not readable by even those in Congress? Bills need to be 100 pages or less and written in language that a high school graduate can read and understand.

    This is insane.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 9:12 PM, GoNuke wrote:

    The health coverage debate is a classic example of Americans living in a bubble.

    EVERY other first world country has universal public health care. Whether it be in Canada, England, France, Germany -any politician that hinted at privatizing health insurance would be committing political suicide.

    Just tinkering with existing universal health care brings down governments.

    Canada does not have socialized medicine. Each province provides universal health care insurance and negotiates the fee schedule with independent health care providers, most of whom are private businesses or independent institutions. Government does not provide the health care. It insures EVERYBODY. In the largest province: Ontario, the province took over a non-for-profit collective health insurance company created and maintained by the medical community (i.e. doctors). The doctors were glad to get rid of it.

    If you would look beyond the ends of your noses you would see how universal health care works.

    People are healthier, live longer, do not fear loss of health care coverage, and the cost is about half of what it costs the USA.

    Lots of people complained about the loss of manufacturing jobs to Japan. The US lost as many jobs to Canada because we had a huge cost advantage -our health care system cost less.

    As a Canadian manufacturer I hope that the US continues its nonsensical health care system. I sleep well at night knowing that I have a 10% cost advantage built into anything I make relative to my US competitors.

    In the great health care debate each person is speculating about what would happen if health care became universal. There is no need to speculate. Just look CLOSELY at the systems operating in other countries AND look at how popular they are.

    Sitting up here in Canada we are laughing at Americans -you oppose some simple bank regulations that would have prevented the greatest economic meltdown since the depression, and you oppose universal health care which is driving jobs out of the US.

    The existing US health care system is shaving many percentage points off the earnings of every US corporate (except those that provide insurance).

    As investors you should be outraged at the unnecessarily high costs that the companies you invest in are forced to incur.

    Are you really a bunch of fools?

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 11:04 PM, Baggerdude wrote:

    Yes, Canada ... everything is free when you at VAT, eh.

    Plus, your facts are just flat wrong.

    America now has the greatest healthcare system in the world. This is why folks from everywhere ... including Canada ... come here for care.

    We don't have a raffle to get a doctor in the US ... I can call my physician and get in to the office tomorrow.

    I don't see Americans rushing to Canada for care.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 11:17 PM, TaraPT wrote:

    When a person is ill they should not have to worry about going bankrupt. As my mother, who had insurance and had been paying her own premiums as a self-employed person, was dying of cancer we were being denied necessary coverage for prescriptions, tests, etc. I would go to the pharmacy and have to shell out $6,000 for 10 doses of Neupogen because she had to have it. The stress of dealing with this was enormous and took away from my time with her. A system that prays on people in their weakest time is by definition cruel and uncivilized.

    I have lived in Europe and did not fear losing everything because of illness. I was always taken care of in a humane way. My grandparents live in the UK and it is by no means perfect, but they can see private doctors if they want and there are supplemental insurances as well. There is a baseline of care which creates some security.

    I was on the phone with insurance companies and hospitals for two years, every weekday of two years of my mother's illness. There was no way we would have been able to pay 20% of her bills, they amounted to more than $2 million.

    Unless you have witnessed it first hand, you can't fathom how unfair and scary the system is. You don't realize it until you have cancer or some other serious illness that requires expensive care.

    There is no way that my mother would have been able to get anything covered and she would have been completely bankrupt very quickly if I had not been fighting. I should not have had to fight and no one who is sick and battling to get well should have to fight off hospital bills. It is unacceptable and inhumane.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 11:21 PM, TaraPT wrote:

    that should be preys, not prays!

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 11:28 PM, TxTom wrote:

    Don't believe I've ever seen a more spirited discussion about a MF article. This one struck a nerve.

    Lots of comments were sensible and considered. Others were "keep the status quo".

    Then there were personal attacks flying back and forth. Can't anyone in the country consider real facts and come to logical conclusions?

    Or... we can just listen to the ridiculous propaganda, and use that as our opinions.

    I wish Americans could be better than that. Maybe one day......

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2009, at 11:38 PM, 371 wrote:

    Facts wrong about everyone coming to America for medical treatment? Who's everyone? There's no evidence that more than a handful of Canadians come across the boarder for medical treatment. It would be news that Canadians are migrating in mass across the boarder to overwhelming our border medical establishments. Talk to hospitals in Seattle, Detroit, and New England and you'll get your answer, 'what Canadians?' And as far as Americans leaving the U.S. for affordable health car abroad, they're doing it in greater numbers. Google the phrase 'Americans traveling abroad for medical treatment,' you'll see. India, Mexico and Thailand have medical industries built around catering to insured and uninsured Americans who can't afford treatment here, just google the facts. I routinely hear of of wealthy people who travel to Europe for treatment, Farrah Fawcett did. So aside from the poorest of the illegal aliens having no other choice other than an emergency room, who are the 'everybody' that you're talking about?

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2009, at 6:16 AM, flyingmonster wrote:

    Revenue neutral?? That is, in fact, a lie. From Washington Post:

    Obama says: "I will not sign (a plan)," he pledged, "if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future. Period."

    The president seems serious, veto-ready, determined to hold the line. Until, notes Harvard economist Greg Mankiw, you get to Obama's very next sentence: "And to prove that I'm serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don't materialize."

    This apparent strengthening of the pledge brilliantly and deceptively undermines it. What Obama suggests is that his plan will require mandatory spending cuts if the current rosy projections prove false.

    But there's absolutely nothing automatic about such cuts. Every Congress is sovereign. Nothing enacted today will force a future Congress or a future president to make any cuts in any spending, mandatory or not.

    Look at the supposedly automatic Medicare cuts contained in the Sustainable Growth Rate formula enacted to constrain out-of-control Medicare spending. Every year since 2003, Congress has waived the cuts.

    Mankiw puts the Obama bait-and-switch in plain language. "Translation: I promise to fix the problem. And if I do not fix the problem now, I will fix it later, or some future president will, after I am long gone. I promise he will. Absolutely, positively, I am committed to that future president fixing the problem. You can count on it. Would I lie to you?"

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2009, at 7:42 AM, InApickle2009 wrote:

    How about this. No health insurance for anyone. Kill the burden on the employers, kill the burden on the government (Medicare and Medicaid, government workers and congressmen's health benefits). Let everyone pay out of their own pockets for their health care and prescriptions and for the care of their relatives (elderly parent, sick child, wife with cancer).

    And if they don't have money for health care or the medicine they need, they either get well or die.

    Sounds cruel and stupid doesn't it?

    Now think about the 40 million uninsured, this is their health care plan, and one day, with a bit of bad luck, this could be your health care plan as well.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2009, at 9:09 AM, vinayapte wrote:

    Greed is the fundamental downfall of humankind. It will eventually destroy us as a democratic nation.

    We cannot be proud of any industry such as health care where the entire food chain is focused on making a profit. Take out profit, and eliminate paperwork; you will be left with half the cost.

    Over the last 34 years, I have lived in Canada about 16, in England for about 2 years, in Holland for less than a year, and the rest in the US. I can tell you from our family's first hand experience (and from about 200 friends and families across Canada who I know personally), all Canadians (Conservatives included) enjoy a peace of mind that we cannot imagine. Nobody is discriminated from receiving health care, hassle free! Believe me when I say, their health care system works 10 times better than ours.

    Provincial single-payer plans in Canada have an overhead of about 1%. There is no paperwork, no bureaucracy, no one ever questions your ability to pay for any medical care you might need including life time nursing care if you suffered a severe stroke.

    I am not rich, but I have donated a lot of my hard earned money to support making health care available as one of life's necessities, that is what it is and should not be a perk available to those who can afford it.

    I just signed a petition demanding that the U.S. Congress allow a public option. This is the least we can do; provide competition. Call your congressman or whoever and fight for "not-for-profit" infrastructure in this country including health insurance.

    We as a nation, must stop supporting the greedy, or promoting greed, or stand with the greedy, and the worst of all, stop practicing it! It is one of 7 deadly sins, you know.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2009, at 10:33 AM, spendley wrote:

    Companies never should have been in the insurance providing business to begin with. Insurance should be purchased by individuals (follow Switzerland's model).

    Losing the public option is very sad in my opinion. I fully support it. I could care less if the insurance companies can compete or if they even survive (I don't own stock in unethical companies). The testimony of former ins. employees and my own experiences with them have shown that they are not worthy of having monopolies.

    They are not so different from the fire insurers of 100 years ago who would stand by and watch houses of the uninsured burn. Sorry if that offends, but that's how I see it.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2009, at 11:13 AM, otd365 wrote:

    I would recommend one regulation for health insurance companies. If an insurance company cancels, rejects a claim or in anyway fails to fulfill it"s implied contract obligation all premiums collected must be returned. In any contract the service must be performed or its called fraud.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2009, at 1:10 PM, spairscript wrote:

    The various proclamations about healthcare reform don't make any sense unless it is geared to incentivize individuals to be responsible in regard to their health.

    The only way to get costs down and improve worker productivity is by taking a comprehensive, but strategic approach.

    1. Tort reform is necessary to reduce expenditures

    2. Allowing purchase of insurance across state lines will improve competition

    3. Instead of cutting physician reimbursement so they have to make it up by volume, pay better for their time so they can adequately spend time with the patients and figure the most effective solutions

    4. Reduce the paperwork burdens on the physicians so they can focus on patient care

    5. Eliminate the dependency on employer provided insurance, have everyone buy individual policies and get adequate tax deductions

    6. Require everyone to get insurance

    7. Make people with unhealthy lifestyles PAY MORE for their insurance. If you smoke, you should pay more. If you exercise daily, and can prove it, and keep your weight down, you should get a discount.

    Our costs of care will continue to escalate if people don't take care of themselves first and prevent a lot of these diseases. Most are too stupid or lazy to do so currently, but financial incentives hopefully can motivate some to make better choices. This is likely to make a bigger impact on the young adults, and hopefully get them in better habits for the long haul.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2009, at 3:56 PM, Toeni wrote:

    I don't see how anyone can disagree with

    1.) Eliminating life time payment caps on insurance plans (how arbitrary).

    2.) Not allowing the covered to be dropped when they become ill, or have a pre-existing condition.

    3.) Allowing everyone to get good health coverage at a decent price.

    4.) Limit the trial lawyers and their crazy malpractice suits. It hurts our system way more than it helps.

    5.) Requiring everyone to have and pay for health insurance.

    Aren't these basic principles that an advanced country like ours should support?

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2009, at 4:59 PM, reallymad wrote:

    This MF article is pure unsubstantiated drivel. And some of the comments are unbelievable. The big bad insurance companies? Yeah they do some dumb things. But no one (including Obama) seems to quote any FACTS on their profit margins. Look it up people and be surprised. Then Builderal's wife can't get insurance anywhere in CA. Well, my daughter is a breast cancer survivor, lives inCA, and got insurance - of course the premium was higher as one should expect. As for gov't run care no one seems to say anything about existing plans. I'll tell you that on a visit to the UK in the 90's the Minister in charge announced PROUDLY on radio and TV that steps were being taken to assure that no one who needed a heart operation would have to wait more than 12 months. I could tell you more about them but I guess nobody wants to be bothered with facts

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2009, at 6:47 PM, gigicp wrote:

    Thanks for the article. Health care reform is good for the economy. More competitive insurance prices allow smaller businesses to spend more money on their actual businesses. Overall, it's a win-win IF the insurance companies play ball and don't find loopholes that allow them to weasel out of their obligations. That's what I worry about.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2009, at 9:29 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    spairscript wrote: "5. Eliminate the dependency on employer provided insurance, have everyone buy individual policies and get adequate tax deductions"

    This is actually a very good suggestion. Better than it looks, actually, if you're not white collar. I say this because one important untaxed benefit that most white collar workers get is a big chunk of their insurance payments covered by their employer. Take that away, or at least add it to their taxable income, and the playing field becomes a lot more level.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2009, at 9:35 PM, viajeroperdido wrote:

    I'm 43 and working class. I've worked as a carpenter for over 20yrs. I have only been insured by an employer one time for a period of about 2yrs. I have watched as this country has systematically destroyed and co-opted the working class for the benefit of the ruling corporate elites. These corporate elites are the same folks who are lobbying congress to keep our present health care system in place to the tune of $1million/day. Do we have the best democracy $ can buy or what?? We all pay taxes and complain how high they are, how much corruption there is, etc.. Well, here goes my rant. We have spent over $4 trillion invading and occupying 2 sovereign nations. We have killed,maimed and tortured tens of thousands if not more innocent civilians (collateral damage). George W. and company lied to the entire world about the evidence and reasons for these occupations. We have bailed out super rich and incompetent elite bankers to maintain our "free market" principals. I have a hard time listening to any talking head on tv, saying that we cant' afford a single payer system. We can afford, and deserve something positive for our tax dollars. "Beware the military industrial complex" They control everything!

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2009, at 10:20 PM, larrylep wrote:

    To all those who mention USPS adding to our deficit daily, I would advise you to educate yourself. USPS is run solely from revenue from postage and does not come from our tax dollars. Until this year, USPS has been either making a profit or breaking even and the current postage deficit (which is not a government deficit) is due to riduclous requirements for prefunding retirements that other quasi-government agencies or corporations in the private sector do not have to meet. Are there inefficiencies, of course. Are they being improved upon, you bet. This year USPS is now REALLY losing money to the tune of 20 million/day. Who isn't losing money in the current economic climate? Will the postal service need government help this year, maybe. But anyone who makes the statement that USPS has been a burden on the American taxpayer is either an igorant fool (no pun intended) or a deliberate liar using such mis-statements of the truth to further their specific viewpoint.

    So, keep USPS out of your political commentary because it just means people like me who know better ignore everything else you say.

    Health care is a national issue that HAS to be addressed. It is crazy that we spend so much as a nation on health care and yet our rankings in the world are so low. Would you pay for the most expensive motley fool newsletter if it consistently resulted in you making less money than the newsletter costed?

    Our out of pocket expenses have dropped while our premiums have increased. This makes sense but I for one would prefer to pay more out of pocket expenses while knowing that my premiums cover me in the event of a major illness/disaster and do not increase. No-one should go bankrupt as a result of an illness.

    Why is Insurance regulated to prevent an insurer in illinois from covering a resident of New Jersey? Isn't the result of this less competition?

    To all the Obama haters..get over yourselves. This is not about Obama. Its about addressing an issue that needs to be addressed regardless of the political persuasion of the person championing the cause.

    I am insured. I have never been turned down for insurance. BUT, I do know people who have suffered through insurance coverage denials. Stating that these indivduals should go to the emergency room as their only alternative is just ridiculous and offensive.

    I don't know what the right answer is but I do know that we have to start and at least the president is doing something.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2009, at 12:23 AM, feathermynest wrote:

    Dear Motley Fool

    While I realize that you are just trying to create a forum for this discussion, it is NOT well done.

    I don't think most read what anyone else has said. I could be (very) wrong on this but I don't think so. Or maybe my post simply wasn't inflammatory enough to generate a response (I still say "Well done Brian"). I'm not sure. It might be useful to provide a poll - a smart poll in fact. Perhaps you could canvas your readers for concept.

    I appreciate the comments of truthisnotstupid. For the rest of the nay-sayers, do your research. Go out and get the statistics on what insurance company "handbooks" say about dropping a woman because she is, or is considering, becoming pregnant - it doesn't end there. Check, while your at it, companies dropping expectant fathers. Get a life people, this could happen to you as could any of a number of unfair practices.

    Health care needs reform in so many ways. And don't EVEN tell me what you think you know. Even if I believed that someone that doesn't hold a job, can't make ends meet, can't get insurance because they're on the "dole", deserves not to be covered (I don't believe this in the least), I still believe in reform because: ALL OF US ARE IN DANGER, YES, JUST ONE DIAGNOSIS AWAY, FROM BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST. Period. Get it now? Probably not.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2009, at 12:49 AM, emiliana wrote:

    For the individual, health insurance with obscene deductibles, say $7-10K are currently affordable. Why not let the individual cover this policy and have the government insure us up to the $7-10K deductible. Or if not the government, let private insurers offer competitive polices for this lower amount. If their loss was limited to $10K, surely cost of policies would be minimal.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2009, at 3:04 PM, gkovash wrote:

    Sorry folks.

    I guess my biggest problem is I don't believe a single word that comes from the mouths of Pelozi, Read, or Obama. No way are they going to put any limits on trial lawers, I am sure that will just be smoke and mirrors.

    I am also quite sure that millions of illegals will be getting it paid for, adding to the cost.

    We do need changes, but we don't have to flip it over like a pancake at the whim of the libs and czars and convicts that are trying to remold this country.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2009, at 6:09 PM, danadlt wrote:

    I'd rather die sick than enrich an insurance company! That's just what I plan to do!

    I'm sorry I voted for President Obama!

    Dana

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2009, at 6:19 PM, danadlt wrote:

    illegals already receive free health care. when they go to the hospital and receive treatment they can't be charged because they don't have #SSN, addresses, or legit jobs. I mean what can hospitals do about illegals paying their health bills, put it on their "credit reports?"

    Of Course not.

    Health Care is always free for illegals...........

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2009, at 8:17 PM, petrus7136 wrote:

    First I have to say thank you to Pres. Obama for finally tackling this problem -- one of the biggest long term problems we have -- that has been totally ignored for the last eight years. Of course, the forces against health care reform are enormous, and we've already seen those forces performing their disgusting act where they resuscitate an age-old "red scare" that, alas still has traction in the US. Yes, they've convinced a large part of the population that an attempt to reform health care is "socialistic" This label is enough to make many Americans stop paying attention to any serious discussion of the details.

    However, once you do look at the details, you realize there are plenty of things that CAN be agreed on by most rational people -- no pre-existing conditions, no cancelling of policies when people get sick, the need to cover preventive care, etc.

    If we could just get past the extremist rhetoric -- it's not about racism or communism or socialism -- it's about creating a health care system that ALL Americans have reasonable access to and that cannot suddenly disappear if you get sick.

    It will be hard to get it right, and it will be expensive, but not nearly as expensive as NOT doing anything.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2009, at 11:00 PM, Pecunia1018 wrote:

    I think the following also need to be included in Health Care reform:

    1. Tort reform - but since this is Obama's professional trade and most of Congress that isn't going to happen.

    2. Have a nationalized licence system (database) for medical professionals to: Keep those who have lost their license from relocating to another state. Remove those medical professionals who have been found incompetent to practice in their respective fields.

    3. No more special benefits packages for the Federal Government "employees".

    4. Make the insurance companies simplify the language and remove the "loopholes" in their policies.

    This would just be a start.

    Keeping your healthcare package and moving from company to company may not work like you want it to. It can create a burden on the employers both in time and money.

    Are you willing to pay more for your premium if the company only pays so many dollars for John Doe's policy and yours will cost the company more? If they will only pay the same amount as they do for John Doe, will you be willing to pick up the difference?

    Congress needs to build on things a little at a time and keep the bills to a reasonable length. Require each elected or appointed Congressional leader to read each bill before voting. And no more loopholes and pork buried in the bills.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2009, at 1:14 PM, RedneckEconomist wrote:

    I believe there is serious reprocusions whenever government sticks it hands into economic activities, particularly when the voters are brainwashed into believing bureaucrats can run a business. As stated by most in earlier comments, it is obvious the issue of "reforming health care" is HUGE. I could write a book about the reasons we can not be rushed into accepting any of the proposals on the table.

    However, I want to present several rather simple principles that follow the discussions. 1st, all insurance is based on actuarial calulations based on past experiences of the population. If an insurance company offers coverage for say kidney transplants, they can estimate how many in the population will experience kidney failure and apply the cost to all policy holders with that coverage. However, if an insurance company is required to pay for all medical costs of each insured person, then it ceases to be insurance and becomes a deposit account where the whole population contributes to the cost of all health care. There is no actuarial calculations about determining costs, one dollar in - one dollar out. Forcing everyone to become contributors will also cause everyone to want their share back. Premium costs will not go down per individual, but up.

    The 2nd miscalculation or misapplied principle is that "costs can and must be controlled" when the government has mandated laws that directly cause costs to increase. An example is the minimum wage. Most healthcare workers are low income earners that are directly affected by the minimum wage. True, the doctors, registered nurses, research technicians are not in that group. However, a large portion of the medical industry workforce is affected by the minimum wage. Two years ago, the Federal minimum wage law was changed that has called for the minimum wage to increase from $5.25 per hr to its current level of $7.25, an increase of 38% in 2 years. The minimum wage base directly affects all wages proportionately. The worker that made $7.25 two years ago, now make $10.00 per hr. History tells that it takes about 2 years for the full impact of the minimum wage increases to affect the price of everything in the economy.

    How can anyone stand up in front of this population and promise that costs will be less. The pure cost of health care will go up and premuims will go up without considering a profit motive for those that choose to provide the payor services.

    We need to remove the term "health insurance" from the vocabulary and use something like "national healthcare fund" and encourage President Obama to use his wonderful organizational skills to hold a healthcare summit of insurers, AMA, state health agencies, drug companies, etc. and lead the summit to identify and correct the obvious problems that exist in an industry that accounts for 17% of our economy.

    The Redneck Economist

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2009, at 3:16 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    Well, redneck, you're almost there, but you need to stretch a bit more.

    The problem is that historically healthcare has been considered an economic issue. It's not; it's a social issue. When it comes to the health of the citizens of a country, the only business an actuary has is to discern the probable cost of keeping the citizens in a reasonable state of health.

    Insurers have no business in healthcare because their goals are contrary to the furtherance of public health. Unfortunately, we have large health insurance organizations which represents a considerable amount of shareholder wealth. We can't just pull the rug out from under the shareholders; thus the president's attempt to quietly phase in the public part of the solution.

    Eventually, there will be no room for a health insurance company. How to do that without destroying still more wealth is the only issue.

    We need a National Universal Health Care system. It is inexcusable that either 12 millions or 50 million (depending on whose figures you trust) people have no insurance. There are further millions of people who are only a major health event away from bankruptcy and perpetual poverty.

    It has to be clear to anyone that covering the health issues of everyone in a planned manner will not cost more than the current system of emergency care and bankruptcy for the poor. The cost to the system will essentially be the same.

    Don't think for a minute that bankrupted health care costs just disappear. Doctors, hospitals, and governments eventually foot the bill. It's time we use the actuaries to actually plan for these costs and budget for them in a reasonable manner.

    Bankruptcy is a sign of failure - both for the individual(s) involved and the government(s) that set the system in motion that allows it.

    Hedge

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2009, at 3:31 PM, prose976 wrote:

    The U.S. Post Service was established in 1775 - they've had 234 years to

    get it right; it is broke, and even though heavily subsidized, it can't

    compete with private sector FedEx and UPS services.

    Social Security was established in 1935 - they've had 74 years to get it

    right; it is broke.

    Fannie Mae was established in 1938 - they've had 71 years to get it

    right; it is broke. Freddie Mac was established in 1970 - they've had 39

    years to get it right; it is broke. Together Fannie and Freddie have now

    led the entire world into the worst economic collapse in 80 years.

    The War on Poverty was started in 1964 - they've had 45 years to get it

    right; $1 trillion of our hard earned money is confiscated each year and

    transferred to "the poor"; it hasn't worked.

    Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965 - they've had 44 years to

    get it right; they are both broke; and now our government dares to

    mention them as models for all US health care.

    AMTRAK was established in 1970 - they've had 39 years to get it right;

    last year they bailed it out as it continues to run at a loss!

    This year, a trillion dollars was committed in the massive political

    payoff called the Stimulus Bill of 2009; it shows NO sign of working;

    it's been used to increase the size of governments across America, and

    raise government salaries while the rest of us suffer from economic

    hardships. It has yet to create a single new private sector job. Our

    national debt projections (approaching $10 trillion) have increased 400%

    in the last six months.

    "Cash for Clunkers" was established in 2009 and went broke in 2009 - -

    after 80% of the cars purchased turned out to be produced by foreign

    companies, and dealers nationwide are buried under bureaucratic

    paperwork demanded by a government that is not yet paying them what was

    promised.

    So with a perfect 100% failure rate and a record that proves that each

    and every "service" shoved down our throats by an over-reaching

    government turns into disaster, how could any informed American trust

    our government to run or even set policies for America's health care

    system - - 17% of our economy?

    Maybe each of us has a personal responsibility to let others in on this

    brilliant record before 2010, and then help remove from office those who

    are voting to destroy capitalism and destroy our grandchildren's future

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2009, at 3:31 PM, prose976 wrote:

    The U.S. Post Service was established in 1775 - they've had 234 years to

    get it right; it is broke, and even though heavily subsidized, it can't

    compete with private sector FedEx and UPS services.

    Social Security was established in 1935 - they've had 74 years to get it

    right; it is broke.

    Fannie Mae was established in 1938 - they've had 71 years to get it

    right; it is broke. Freddie Mac was established in 1970 - they've had 39

    years to get it right; it is broke. Together Fannie and Freddie have now

    led the entire world into the worst economic collapse in 80 years.

    The War on Poverty was started in 1964 - they've had 45 years to get it

    right; $1 trillion of our hard earned money is confiscated each year and

    transferred to "the poor"; it hasn't worked.

    Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965 - they've had 44 years to

    get it right; they are both broke; and now our government dares to

    mention them as models for all US health care.

    AMTRAK was established in 1970 - they've had 39 years to get it right;

    last year they bailed it out as it continues to run at a loss!

    This year, a trillion dollars was committed in the massive political

    payoff called the Stimulus Bill of 2009; it shows NO sign of working;

    it's been used to increase the size of governments across America, and

    raise government salaries while the rest of us suffer from economic

    hardships. It has yet to create a single new private sector job. Our

    national debt projections (approaching $10 trillion) have increased 400%

    in the last six months.

    "Cash for Clunkers" was established in 2009 and went broke in 2009 - -

    after 80% of the cars purchased turned out to be produced by foreign

    companies, and dealers nationwide are buried under bureaucratic

    paperwork demanded by a government that is not yet paying them what was

    promised.

    So with a perfect 100% failure rate and a record that proves that each

    and every "service" shoved down our throats by an over-reaching

    government turns into disaster, how could any informed American trust

    our government to run or even set policies for America's health care

    system - - 17% of our economy?

    Maybe each of us has a personal responsibility to let others in on this

    brilliant record before 2010, and then help remove from office those who

    are voting to destroy capitalism and destroy our grandchildren's future

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2009, at 4:20 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    prose976 says: "The U.S. Post Service was established in 1775 - they've had 234 years to get it right; it is broke, and even though heavily subsidized, it can't compete with private sector FedEx and UPS services."

    There are two points to consider when trying to compare USPS (apple) and FedEx/UPS (orange). First of all, there is only a very narrow area of overlap, and that is in packages. USPS seems to be doing a fair enough job at that, so I don't see the issue.

    Secondly, the USPS was created to solve a social problem - getting mail to everyone, regardless of how far out in the boondocks they live, and all for the same price, regardless of how far the mail has to travel. Neither FedEx nor UPS can possibly manage that for 44 cents a letter.

    Once again, health care is a social issue not an economic issue, just as letter carrying is. Trying to cast it in any other fashion just misses the point.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2009, at 4:51 PM, prose976 wrote:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G44NCvNDLfc

    Just watch this video and that's all you need.

    Fool on!

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2009, at 8:51 PM, LB99 wrote:

    Right On!! Mr President About time somebody cared about us poor American citzens. Congress and other administrations have not for years - Just about THEMSELVES.

  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2009, at 11:03 AM, scalper44 wrote:

    Hedge,

    Healthcare not an economic issue? Then what's the big deal? If it's just a social issue we should be able to insure everyone because we are the big old USA right? Wrong!

    The issue "is" how we pay to insure everyone. How do you make people pay for insurance when they can afford it but chose not to buy insurance? How do you cover all non US citizens who are here sucking off the system and will never pay a dime into it.

    How do you make it fair and reasonable for all socioeconomic levels? Should every American citizen or non american, illegal or otherwise, have the expectation of the same care, regardless of if they can pay for it or not?

    These are tough social questions to be sure but it's a social problem with very heavy economic ramifications. Not unlike most social issues of this nature.

    I have no problem paying more than my fair share if i can afford it (like most American citizens i suspect) but proper controls have to be instituted for that to work fairly. The Fed has shown over the years that they do not have the fiscal discipline to properly institute such controls. The Fed is not the answer. It might start right but sooner or later they would have their paws in the cookie jar, robbing peter to pay paul for one boondoggle or another.

  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2009, at 1:12 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    scalper44 says: "These are tough social questions to be sure but it's a social problem with very heavy economic ramifications. Not unlike most social issues of this nature."

    That's exactly what I said. So I don't see the disagreement.

    You say the government isn't the answer. Well, I tell you that private enterprise has so many conflicts of interest that it can Never be the answer. That really just leaves the government, doesn't it?

    Look, I don't trust the government any more than you do. Hell, even Obama doesn't trust the government. Nor do the senators nor do the congressmen. And they are the government. Somehow, Every Single Western nation other than the US has managed to put together a Universal Health Care system that works for their people. We say we're the greatest nation on earth - can't we do this one thing?

    And, just a final reminder. As I have tried so vainly to point out, the costs are actually already in the system. In spite of that one case, people aren't generally allowed to die in the hallways of hospitals merely because they're indigent. They may get shunted to a different hospital, but they eventually get taken care of; at greater cost to the general society if they were just taken care of to begin with.

    Also, as I have vainly tried to point out: medical bankruptcy debts don't just disappear. They are absorbed by doctors, hospitals, and state and local government. And don't forget to add on the gonish for the bankruptcy lawyers. My point is that this money is already being spent on the poor and indigent for their healthcare. It's just being spent poorly and wastefully. Let's just admit that we're doing it and plan it properly.

    Hedge

  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2009, at 2:16 PM, mchuckie wrote:

    Yesterday, Senior White House adviser David Axelrod, in one of his e-mail missives to the Democratic faithful, wrote that Team Obama has put together a handy video summing up the president's health-care proposal.

    "Four minutes -- that's all you need to learn just what you get from health insurance reform," Axelrod says. Really? Four minutes? That’s all it takes?

    Are you kidding me, it took me over 4 times that long just to download the House version, let alone read the more than 1100 pages.

    The Senate version, a mere 223 pages is just as onerous as they begin the mark up. The section that causes me to write this regards so called Cadillac plans. Senator Baucus thinks it a good idea for those to be taxed. Well, not really taxed. Just no longer tax free. See, losing a tax benefit is not considered a tax increase. Get it? Anyway, I get to pay extra for my health insurance benefit because I live in California. Nice little tax, that. One more reason for the rest of the country to stay put. The definition of Cadillac plans is strictly tied to cost, not benefit. Hence, though my plan and that of my boss, who lives in Northern Virginia, is remarkably similar, mine is Cadillac, his is not. Seems fair, hunh?

    By the way, I know of no plans more Cadillac qualified than those of the unions at my old job. Do you think they’ll be taxed too? Want to bet?

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