"Obamacare" Is a Big, Fat Lie

Single-payer coverage offers us the best chance of providing the best health care to the most people at the least expense.

No. The last thing we need is government mucking up the best health-care system in the world. All we really need to do is put a cap on court awards for medical malpractice.

Absurd. That'll address only part of the problem. What about the high "overhead" costs of the private health insurers?

Don't be a twit. Those health insurers and their high premiums are the only thing keeping Medicare affordable. Private payers are subsidizing the below-market rates that Medicare pays for everybody else!

Well, maybe. But come that's only because the private insurers pick and choose which clients they take on. Medicare gets stuck with all the high-cost old folk, and their pricey end-of-life expenses.

Aha! Death panels ... !

Settle down, folks. You're both right.
Each side (every side?) of the health-care debate contains its own kernel of truth. Everyone's "right" to a degree. But here's the dirty little secret behind the health-care debate: It doesn't matter who's right and who's wrong. "Obamacare" is not going to happen.

Or, at least, not in the form that anyone hopes it will. Universal health coverage for everybody, with the government picking up the tab in its role as "single payer?" D.O.A. Congress nixed this idea from the get-go. The closest we're going to get to that is some sort of "public option," and you can see the president backpedaling furiously away from even that half-measure as we speak.

Why kill a good idea?
Ask 'most any of your Canadian and British friends what they think of single-payer, and chances are good they'll tell you it's a decent system. Not perfect. There are waiting lines involved, and "rationing." But you get your basic medical needs covered, and you never have to worry about the bill. Just like democracy, single-payer coverage is probably the worst way to run a health-care system ... except for all the others.

So why won't it happen? President Obama sums it up best:

For us to completely change [the current health-care system] would be too disruptive. That's where suddenly people would lose what they have and they'd have to adjust to an entirely new system.

The big "lie"
Ostensibly, the president was arguing against taking away employer-provided health care and shifting the responsibility of bill payment to the government. But let's be honest, folks: When you get down to the nitty-gritty of doctor-patient interaction, it makes no difference who signs the check and mails it to the doc ... so long as it ain't us.

So where's the "disruption?"
You're soaking in it. The real disruption would happen to the system of private health insurance, and in particular, to the insurance companies that provide it. Switch to single-payer, and presto-changeo, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH  ) , Aetna (NYSE: AET  ) , and WellPoint (NYSE: WLP  ) lose their raison d' etre.

Now, single-payer proponents will argue that these companies aren't adding value to the health-care system anyway. They're toll collectors, paying the bills and taking their cut anytime a sick person visits a doc. Allow someone else (Obamacare) to pay the bills, and there's no reason for the insurers to exist. So what's wrong with letting them follow the horse-whip tanners and buggy manufacturers into the dustbin of history?

Simply this: Love 'em or hate 'em, the insurers are just doing what we told 'em to do. They're collecting premiums, paying bills, and earning profits for their shareholders under the agreed "rules of the game." They didn't spend decades building lousy products, and drive themselves out of business like GM did and Ford (NYSE: F  ) nearly did. They didn't voluntarily hand out loans to acknowledged liars, racking up tens of billions in losses like Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) or Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) . In short, they didn't do anything to deserve a date with a death panel.

Nor do you
Plus, there's the pocketbook issue. UnitedHealth, Aetna, and WellPoint currently carry $70 billion in combined market capitalization. Extrapolate to the rest of the industry, and we're probably talking well over $100 billion in investments that will be vaporized if we wipe out this industry.

It's not fair to them. It's not fair to us. Companies won't stand for it. Investors won't stand for it. We won't stand for it.

Who you callin' "we," buster?
I'm calling you "we." And before you disagree, pull that mutual find statement out of the trash, shake off the coffee grounds, and give it a good read-through. You may be surprised to learn just how big a stake you already have in the health-care insurance industry. Same deal with your 401(k). Same thing for your pension plan. Simply put, we all have a lot to lose if the government nationalizes health care.

Now for the good news:
And that's why it won't happen. But the best news here for investors is: No one seems to realize this yet.

Oh, Congress may nibble around the edges of the problem, limiting policy exclusions here (and letting insurers charge rates to accommodate), or expanding coverage there (more customers for the insurers -- boo hoo). But they know darn well that this isn't the kind of wholesale "change" voters were believing in last November. Yet investors are still sitting on their hands, and the P/E ratios on primo health-care stocks like Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) are sitting near multi-year lows.

But not us. Here at Motley Fool Hidden Gems, we know an opportunity when we see one. We're watching the health-care sector like a hawk and pointing out the best bets to our members. As a matter of fact, we just discovered a real treasure this week. Claim your free, 30-day trial of the service right now, and read all about it before Congress wakes up.

At The Motley Fool, we put real money where our virtual mouths are. Fool contributor Rich Smith owns shares of UnitedHealth Group, as does The Motley Fool itself, and the stock is also an official recommendation of Motley Fool Stock Advisor and Motley Fool Inside Value. Other Inside Value picks mentioned above include Pfizer and WellPoint.

The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is alive and kickin'.


Read/Post Comments (63) | Recommend This Article (59)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 8:33 AM, sommerTN wrote:

    You arguments have holes so big that a Mack truck could drive through them. If investors get hurt, so what? To parapharase a line from the movie "Airplane," they bought their ticket; I say let 'em crash!

    What did the tobacco companies do when they became the paraiahs? They made adjustments and moved on. That is what the insurers should do. Even with single payer insurance, they could sell supplemental policies and if they reduced their premiums, they would have many or most people sign up for their plans. Right now they can pick and choose who is the more profitable "future patient." As it stands now, they can and do refuse to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

    And.....until you have lost someone very dear to you because they were not able to find insurance because of pre-existing health conditions, you will not understand or care about the very big need to have health insurance available for ALL.

    Respectfully,

    Maria Keller

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 8:51 AM, vividlyfierce wrote:

    Are you serious. I start to read this article and BLAM!!! I am hit with "the heathlcare of this nation is best in the world". Are you joking. That is the most absurd statement that you or anyone living in this nation can make. Sir you must either be so rich that your ignorant or you are living under a rock. And right after that you have the guts to say that the current HIGH premiums is what is keeping medicare affordable. NO. I am sorry but you need to recheck your facts before you go writing statements online for the world to see. Quit trying to halt progress and stop riding on the backs of those that pay you.

    You people make me sick. If you would have spent even half as much time worrying about how to fix a system that is clearly broken instead of writing this garbage we would be hours closer to making sure that every man woman and child is covered under a medical plan. Just remember Jack, that the money you make is off the backs of the blue collar American and we are only as strong as the backs we labor with.

    Think before you speak!

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 9:04 AM, lpohl wrote:

    I believe that the issue(s) as presented by the supporters of a National Health Care Plan is (are) basically to make health care affordable to all under the pretext that all everyone should have insurance coverage to pay the HIGH COST OF HEALTH CARE. My belief is that first the cost of the health care should be addressed and not how to pay the HIGH COSTS.

    Once the actual cost of the service provider are addressed and controlled then the means of paying the reasonable cost can be addrressed, but not in the form of a National Health Care Plan. The preparers of THE PLAN are out of touch with the reality of the majority of the American people; the supporters of THE PLAN are in "lala land".

    Additionally, limits must be imposed on court awarded damages in the cases of malpractice, etc. and punishment of the malpractee must be imposed and enforced - including loss of license to practice the profession. This will go a long way to reduce costs.

    Respectfully,

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 9:10 AM, wildcat2323 wrote:

    Obama's healthcare is a Union payoff...Obama will ALLOW the healthcare industry to "Unionize" the entire industry so he can subsidize his followers.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 9:17 AM, jcwmd wrote:

    You lost me with "In short, they (private health insurance companies) didn't do anything to deserve a date with a death panel."

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 9:21 AM, RRGY2K wrote:

    "the current HIGH premiums is what is keeping medicare affordable"

    Both Medicare and Medicaid pay at rates that cover only a fraction of their fair share, in effect transferring a chunk of their program costs to other patients.

    The hospital isn't allowed to turn patients away because they have no way to pay the bill, so the cost of caring for the uninsured gets translated into $28 Kleenex boxes and $3000/day charges to everyone else.

    Healthcare reform is about a lot of complicated questions like these. Why is it a surprise that the congress can't just latch on to an easy fix in 90 days?

    "Just remember Jack, that the money you make is off the backs of the blue collar American and we are only as strong as the backs we labor with."

    I submit that the vast majority of American productivity these days is the work of American brains, not American backs, for all collar colors. Very few people in America handle shovels in coal mines anymore. But, all jobs are important (or no one would hire someone for them) and no one should put down the work that others do.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 9:22 AM, MKArch wrote:

    You forgot to mention that the insurers average about a 5% profit that is not only an insignificant amount when compared to the cost of health care but would almost certainly be squandered by a government run system. Beating up the insurers is in the name of cost savings is a red herring for Obama's true agenda to go down in history as the president who nationalized health care. It's not about cost it's about ego.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 9:24 AM, HornOCopia wrote:

    The first 2 comments to this board are, as usual, fraught with misunderstanding not to mention ax-grindingly left-sided.

    The problems that are now manifest in the Health Care system, as we all know, were brought on by Government decree to begin with. Given free market latitude there would be competitive pricing and none of this would even be an issue. Well, except for the "can't find coverage for pre-existing conditions" rhetoric. That by itself shows the opposite side's way of thinking.

    (Picture yourself upside down in a ditch and calling to buy Auto insurance!)

    The main issue for me is that Government, because of it's bureaucratic hodge-podge, turns EVERYTHING into a 3-legged sack race.

    Some tweeking and changes toward tort reform and availability (across state lines.) will do wonders for pricing.

    and the person stating, "You make me sick" will be forced aware of the antidote!

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 9:30 AM, MKArch wrote:

    BTW you know darned well the "public option" is the solution to the dilemma of personally ordering the death of the private insurers and tanking every one's mutual funds. Just force them to compete with non profits that will run at chronic deficits but will be propped up by the government. You kill off the private insurers and presto national health care by default. Of course the generation that's already getting saddled with the bills for Medicare and Medicaid that is run at chronic deficits will be saddles with the massive bill for all of this but Obama will be writing his memoirs by then bragging about how he snuck national health care in the back door.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 9:31 AM, csaal16 wrote:

    Good atricle.

    We do have the best healthcare in the world. We don't have the healthiest population due to lifestyle and cultural issues. The world owes us greatly for all of the medical advancements that our capitalistic system has produced. The US subsidizes healthcare research for the world. Where will the new breakthroughs come from if there is no reward.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 10:39 AM, Huayra wrote:

    We have a very well setup healtcare system here in the Netherlands, mostly insurance based but regulated by the government in the sense that it's stipulated what insurance companies need to offer in terms of care and at what cost. I believe that is a similar model to what your current administration wants to setup, although it's more an American model with a little less direct cost regulation through regulation, but cost control in the form of a government option/competition. I quess the result is more or less the same.

    How can some people on this forum say that the US has the best healtcare system in the world if you are one of the few civilized countries that doesn't even cover all of its people. That's is absolutely the first responsibility of any government and any cilvilized nation, before anything else. It's not socialised, it's shared responsibility and care for one another.

    Everything is some sort of compromise, but how can you call something the best when even the people which have coverage and can afford it still have to pay an average of 300 and 700 USD a month for a family of 4. And then they still have a deductible of more then 500 or even 1000 USD a year. This information was provided on the CNN website btw, i didn't know beforehand.

    One thing I know about this discussion, people will always disagree on the precise way to manage healtcare, but regardless I think everybody will agree that all people on this planet have the right to have healtcare available at a reasonable price regardless of income and they should not be worried about losing their entire savings or even house in case a serious ilness falls upon you. At that point you should not have to worry about coverage, especially the elderly who have contributed to the system all their life and have the most medical costs. We will all be in that situation someday.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 10:48 AM, Coyote117 wrote:

    Mr. Smith --

    I usually appreciate your analysis and opinion.

    However, in this case I think you are playing the Fool for the right-wing "rejecters" and "birthers", and the entrenched special interests.

    It is these Interests (including health insurance companies, Big Pharma and other healthcare "parasites") that are funding the right-wing delusions while protecting their own flanks and VIP places at the public trough.

    The essential point you are missing is that the health of the Whole Economy cannot survive another decade of the staus quo...at double digit inflation rates healthcare costs will occupy the entire budget of middle class Americans, other than food, rent and transport within about 15 years.

    The debate here is less about who pays the bills, than who will get to decide what value to place on all the "excess procedures" that are being performed in pursuit of "defensive" medicine and lining the pockets of some greedy practioners.

    The market for healthcare is rigged. People who are sick will never be able to practice the same kind of consumer discretion in purchasing health services that they do in buying a car or TV. They are sick, in pain and want to get well ASAP. The market is not "free", it is closer to a regulated monopoly when it comes to the power of the consumer vs. the collusion of the providers.

    The only way to give the consumer a break in this rigged market, is to have a neutral, fair party set the standards and value benchmark for the industry. People will always be free to purchase the "extras" if they want to and can afford it. But Basic Healthcare has to be considered a right and not lottery depending on whom your emploer is and how generous they feel at a given moment.

    The Public Option, in some form, is the only way to "bend the curve" on healthcare costs and by doing so save the economy and the future.

    Coyote

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 10:54 AM, Caveman03 wrote:

    I make my living in healthcare. I am in and out of at least 12 hospitals every week. I see the ORs ERs, Dr. Offices, admin, etc. The reality is non-profit healthsystems are obligated to take all patients(Medicare, non-insured, etc.) Those hospitals are losing money and are forced to make lay-offs, while the executives at private insurance companies are getting bonuses$$ for training their employees how to not cover their own customers. It happens in all industries not just auto and banks. Its called greed. If anything is to be capped by the government, it should be greed. For profit healthcare systems are more against universal health care because they at times "cherry-pick" their patients and choose private insurance customers. The ironic thing, as far as quality of patient care is concerned, is that the non-profit health organizations re-invest more money into tools such as high tech equipment, quality supplies and instruments, therefore the patient outcomes are better. It seems like the CEO's and admin at the for profit health organizations keep most of the profits for themselves, in-turn, infection rates and patient outcome is worse. Just because the hospital looks like a country club on the front end, doesn't mean it works that way on the back end.

    When one person is sick, it doesn't just affect that one person. It affects the whole family. How do you think the whole family performs at work? Uncertainty, stalls the engine of America. Every American deserves the right to know that he or she will GET WELL SOON!

    please feel free to comment your opinion.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 11:23 AM, menefer wrote:

    Author is wrong. Health care reform will be passed with a public option. This won't put health insurers out of business but it won't be good for them or their stock prices. I don't have any money in health care insurers and don't plan on doing so.

    The reason we spend 16% of GDP on health care, while the rest of the industrialized nations insure everyone for about 10%, is that none of them have "for profit" basic health care insurance. Our system is bankrupting our country and will be changed.

    It will be phased in, but it will happen. Don't worry about the 6% that we will no longer be spending on health care it will simply be available to spend on other items. This will be good for the economy and stocks in general but I wouldn't hold health care insurer stocks!

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 12:14 PM, myhealth wrote:

    Bottom line is health insurance market is NOT competitive.

    Insurance companies only pay 83-84% of premiums to health care costs.

    Insurance companies deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions.

    Administrative costs, waste and fraud in the government payment system is far less than administrative costs and profit in the private insurance market.

    It is immoral that the "Wealthiest" country is the only developed country that does not guarantee health care for all of its citizens.

    Britian has had a universal health system since WWII and has not gone broke in those 50 plus years.

    Labor in this country produce goods and buy the goods.

    Without the poor and labor in this country, who would buy the crap from or pay for the ideas of the rich?

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 1:51 PM, justpostit wrote:

    Really? Your "article" is nearly entirely a sales pitch for a report picking stocks only wearing a different mask. Who's the fool: you or the readers you dupe into believing the will make "$33 million from a $1,000 investment" actually entering their credit card numbers for your report?

    BTW, can I buy the names of those people? I have some funds overseas that just need to be claimed by a US resident with a small deposit, and I'll give them 40% for their trouble!

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 2:27 PM, williamjacobs wrote:

    Mostly a good analysis.

    My quibble is that you claim the health insurance companies do what we ask and don't produce an inferior product like GM....

    Because of recission, health insurance companies collect premiums and do NOT pay benefits. This is a very poor product which resulted in the health care access problems that have spurred this looming "death panel" that is sentencing private health care to the electric chair.

    That said, I agree that public options will not kill Health Insurance. They will evolve into complementary policies that cover things like laser eye surgery, high risk chemo, chiropractic and other therapies of dubious or experimental nature. The costs will be relatively high which means those with disposable income will reap the benefits of the research needed to create new therapies. This may not be as lucrative though and their value would decline.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 2:31 PM, sommerTN wrote:

    Coyote brings up a good point. Since the nature of the hea;th care business (or, should I say, the sick care business!) is such that people will use more of the available resources when they are sick and in pain. When a person is in pain, they can't negotiate the terms of their care, in the manner of "a willing buyer and a willing seller." (The willing buyer and willing seller is used to determine what FMV (fair market value) of property and/or products and/or services. When you (plural/generic) are in severe pain, you will sign (without reading) anything they put in front of you, just as long as you can get seen by a medical professional and treated!

    Since doctors, hospitals and insurance companies "won't do right," we have to depend on the government to attempt to fix the problem. Someone who commented above tried to compare this with having an auto accident, in that you don't call the insurance agent and ask for coverage AFTER you have the accident. That's a red herring and distracts us from the real issues about health care. A car can be replaced. A human being cannot.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 2:48 PM, starbucks4ever wrote:

    Who cares if we lose $100 bln in market cap? That's less that 1% of the total. Every day the market is up or down 1%, we "gain" or "lose" that amount. The case is crystal clear: we should remove parasites from the system and let them starve to death. And as for "Companies won't stand for it. Investors won't stand for it. We won't stand for it.", it's a total and absolute bluff. Of course they will stand for it once a single-payer system becomes a law. What other option do they have? So they will lose all their money and live on Social Security, and that will be the end of the story.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 3:12 PM, DoctorTruth wrote:

    I work for a health insurance company. I am not in management, I work in the computer department. You would not believe the hoops we have to jump through to comply with all the government regulations. States require insurers to cover abortions, and we have to cover in-vitro fertilization. You can actually get pregnant using in-vitro, and then decide to abort the fetus and it's all covered!!

    Want to go to a chiropractor 5 times a week, - no problem! You want every drug ever invented? No problem! Just get your doctor (who is bribed by the drug companies) to prescribe it for you. It's covered!! And you think it's the insurance companies who keep costs high?

    You want to be covered even though you have a pre-existing condition? Will Geico pay to fix your car even if it got wrecked before you bought the policy?

    The government's going to create a "public option" to keep the insurance companies honest?? Who's gonna keep the government honest, ACORN???!!!

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 8:29 PM, washbondjm wrote:

    I can't believe how many so called experts

    surfaced since this started. We already have

    a government run health plan, Medicare and

    Medicade. Seems like the people that are hoping

    for a free ride on health care are whipping up

    all kinds of stories because they are afraid they

    may have to pay a share of the expenses, like

    insurance.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 8:35 PM, washbondjm wrote:

    I have already spent most of my retirement savings on health care ,hospital bills and medicines and

    I have good insurance. There's a big whole somewhere

    I'm only 73. Soon I will only Soc. Security left.

  • Report this Comment On September 30, 2009, at 2:33 AM, Danl3 wrote:

    This is the most ignorant and offensive article I have seen on Fool to date. Comparing the loss of value of one's portfolio to the financial devastation that follows denial of coverage for catastrophic medical conditions is insensitive, and more to the point (in these pages, at least) incredibly short-sighted financial logic. Essentially the argument is that most people will benefit from insurance company profits, so we should say to the unlucky percentage who are wiped out: "sorry, but your tragedy enriches me".

    Owning a few shares of UNC is not "putting your money where your mouth is". Rich Smith and the Motley Fool staff should try having a close relative suffer catastrophic medical trauma (better yet, suffer it themselves), spend years fighting the insurance companies for coverage, and see their loved ones destroyed financially and emotionally before dying in poverty. Then write a trite blog entry supporting the insurance industry, and I'll believe your true commitment to the prioritization of corporate profits over the basic welfare of your fellow citizens.

  • Report this Comment On September 30, 2009, at 12:22 PM, Chokko1954 wrote:

    WOW.....

    This is the best healthcare system in the world. You must be CRAZY.

    We must pass a bill with the public option.

    We are spending way too much on our heath care and we can't offord to keep it up.

  • Report this Comment On September 30, 2009, at 2:31 PM, csaal16 wrote:

    If you had to have a life saving operation tomorrow and travel expense was not an issue what country would you choose to have this operation in? The US has the highest quality care. It's not the cheapest, but it is the best. By the way, comparing mortatlity statistics between Europe and the US is rigged because the US is much more obese and in generally poorer health because of our poor lifestyle choices as a society.

  • Report this Comment On September 30, 2009, at 6:45 PM, healthcare41 wrote:

    Rich Smith's comments should be considered an embarassment to the Motley Fool. This is the type of hype I would expect from Rush Limbaugh or G. Beck. I never thought I would see someone associated with Motley Fool promoting such untruths to bolster a stock.

    I also own UNH stock, Mr. Smith, but I will not pretend that this company has had any patient's health as their primary concern. I am a Motley Fool member, but I am not a fool.

  • Report this Comment On September 30, 2009, at 7:01 PM, TMFDitty wrote:

    Danl3 makes a good point (see the post three-above), to which I'd like to respond:

    I do not mean to say that real healthcare reform *should* not happen. (To the contrary, I advocate single-payer coverage.) I mean to say real reform *will* not happen because as the President says, it "would be too disruptive."

    There are vested interests, and $100 billion or more in market cap, at stake here. The insurance companies must fight for their survival, and have valid arguments for why they should not be wiped out (they "played by the rules," etc.)

    In a perfect world, maybe this would not matter. But in the real world of realpolitik, it does. Were Washington thinking straight, it might have offered to nationalize the insurers, pay fair market value to the investors in these companies, and institute Single-Payer. Co-opt the opposition in that way, and the path to real reform would open.

    Absent this -- it's not going to happen. IMHO, YMMV, and other disclaimers apply, but that's my best guess.

    --TMFDitty

  • Report this Comment On October 01, 2009, at 12:18 AM, NoRebound wrote:

    Best healthcare in the world? Wow. Whatever you're smoking, I need some right now.

    As someone who is arm wrestling the insurance industry at present over something completely stupid I can assure you that federal bureaucracies have nothing on the labrynth that big insurance has created to seperate you both from your money and from the care you thought they promised you.

    American health care companies are some of the least efficient entities on the planet with most sucking up 20-28% of gross in overhead costs. Medicare, just to compare, runs at about 12%. That reason alone is enough to make me want to junk the present system.

    In the end something has to change and something will change after the first of the year. The President won't get his single payer system and the Republicans wont' be able to sit on their hands and do nothing. What we get will be less than perfect, but is likely to be the first step toward a more complete change.

  • Report this Comment On October 01, 2009, at 9:04 AM, MrsCathyGF wrote:

    Anything is better than letting the gov't run our health care. Those who cannot afford it still have more options than anywhere else on this planet. If the gov't truely wanted to support those who truely need help,

    they'd not waste our time with lies, and get it done.

    Extend medicare to tax paying US citizens who meet a low income criteria, cut back on malpractice awards, encourage HSAs, cut back on gov't research because it gets less done than the private sector, and leave the private sector alone to generate cashflow into the system. Liberal agendas only get in our way.

  • Report this Comment On October 01, 2009, at 9:28 AM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    I think it would be good if the govt. mandated catastrophic coverage, and help those that are truly needy. But pisses me off that they want to mandate what kind of insurance I have to buy.

  • Report this Comment On October 01, 2009, at 9:57 AM, jaxflman122 wrote:

    Rich Smith is not interested in health care or better health insurance for all. He is interested only in his own best financial interests and those of the insurance industry. Poor insurance companies. They were " just doing what we told 'em to do." Obscene profits and even more obscene salaries and bonuses to executives?!? The government did an early sell-out on single-payer, yielding to pressure from the insurance industry, but WE must have a public option to keep helath care costs in check or it will just get worse, with more people losing coverage, going bankrupt with health care costs, or dying from lack of coverage. You, sir, are the true liar in this article.

  • Report this Comment On October 01, 2009, at 10:26 AM, jibz wrote:

    How 'bout this scenario. You have good health care and your spouse receives the same on this plan for a mere $100/month. Yours is free. Social Security contacts you and you prove that you're not eligible for SS or Medicare. Your state-run system discovers that your spouse has Social Security and Medicare so REQUIRES you to sign up for Medicare Part B through your spouse. She's already obligated to pay for HER Part B because she's eligible for it!!! So, now that free insurance for you and $100 for your spouse has grown to $100 + $96.40 + $96.40 or $292.80. In addition, Medicare now becomes your Primary and the other plan your Supplemental insurance. Of course Medicare doesn't cover many items that private insurance covers so what was a no problem issue becomes a nightmare when you submit a bill for one of these. The #2 says they won't cover because the #1 (Medicare) refuses to do so. Your provider has to submit their bill for care using a different 'code' in order to receive payment. That's more office staff involvement. The patient pays. That's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of administrative costs for all the entities involved. I lived in a foreign country (Germany) for over a year. Because I was a foreign visitor, I was required to pay the exorbitant sum of $2.50/month, yes, two dollars and fifty cents a month, for total coverage. I could walk into a pharmacy, show my card and my prescription was filled or my OTC meds were given without cost.

    Quite a change when I returned home... Don't get me wrong, I can afford the cost of my insurance. I just believe we can do better for those of us who are already insured and for those who are fearful of getting sick because they have no recourse but to run to the local ER. Tort reform, cost analyses, and any other bright light we can shine on the current system could bring about real change. And, isn't that what our President promised us? Change?

  • Report this Comment On October 01, 2009, at 2:11 PM, WiseWillyAgain wrote:

    I resent the article for valuing investment earnings over the well being of fellow Americans with medical needs. This article could only be written by someone who has not used their life savings to pay for medical costs on procedures only partially covered by health insurance. It couldn’t be written by someone terrified of losing their job because obtaining insurance through a new employer would likely be impossible due to a pre-existing illness they were cured of some years back. A couple I know have paid $700 per month for 7 years to have family coverage only to have $40,000 in medical debts after treatment for two illnesses suffered this year alone.

    Medical bills force more people into bankruptcy than any other cause and these are people, more often than not, with active medical insurance policies. There should be no argument over the need for reform of our medical care system, and I don't think there would be if the private insurance companies didn't funnel huge sums of money to our elected officials. Odd how they have the bucks to buy congress as well as pay themselves huge salaries and bonuses. I guess that tiny profit margin they profess isn’t as tiny as we are told.

    Reform will happen and, eventually, single payer will happen. It will be required as the only realistic solution to out-of-control medical cost. Private insurers will not act to reduce costs. Why would private insurance providers object to higher costs when they skim profits of up to 30% of every dollar spent? These companies should not be rewarded for the job they do.

  • Report this Comment On October 01, 2009, at 8:15 PM, epseps wrote:

    Whether one pays for healthcare with premiums or pays a government entity in taxes, both will be expensive (no one mentions what all these other countries and their people are really paying for their healthcare systems). Healthcare is not FREE or LOW COST. Somebody pays and it is always the consumer in the end (either directly or indirectly). Everyone needs basic care and we all need catastrophic care but we as a society will have to realize that we have to pay for this and that it will take a significant portion of our incomes period. Neither a bankrupt govt. or inefficient and sometimes greedy private systems accomplish this very well in their present form in this country. We the consumers should stop dealing with trying to fix either side of this mess (failed two party system as well as too much forprofit driven healthcare- some profit is needed for the latter to sustain new technology, etc.). How about a grassroots movement and system where each consumer is able to deal directly with any provider of a service or producer of medicine/technology without any of the other unnecessary layers (in other words, rewind the clock a hundred plus years except that we keep the innovation and knowledge we have now)? Everyone kicks in a little extra to help cover the catastrophic. We might be surprised how both sides of that equation might be happy with the results. Probably too hard to do in a complex mess like the current system but surprising how powerful people can be when united on various issues.

  • Report this Comment On October 01, 2009, at 11:26 PM, sevenofseven wrote:

    Medicare has something like 50 TRILLION dollar obligation. And you people want the government to take over everyone's healthcare? If people were being turned away or denied medical treatment on any kind of regular basis, they would be in the streets protesting and it would be on the news. Take away the impediments to competition, reign in the trial lawyers (fat chance), give low income families vouchers or tax credits to buy their own policy. (20 million uninsured x 5,000 voucher = 100 Billion per year - Okay, 40 million uninsured = 200 Billion per year. Just a little less than the 1 Trillion the govt is throwing around. And we all know how good they are at estimating, And that's before they laden the health care bill with billions more pork) Try that first before blowing up the entire system. But then again, it's not about giving people choices, it's about having more power over the people centralized in DC. And really, there are many people in the US who don't want control over their own life, which is sad and a large reason why we have the nanny government we have.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2009, at 12:01 AM, starbucks4ever wrote:

    "Were Washington thinking straight, it might have offered to nationalize the insurers, pay fair market value to the investors in these companies, and institute Single-Payer. Co-opt the opposition in that way, and the path to real reform would open."

    TMF Ditty,

    There is no need to do that. There is a much cheaper way of handling the screams of HMO execs: ignore them. Yes, that's right. Just let them scream and cry over their lost profits all they want. Just tell them the following: "Ladies and gentlemen, we are starting a public option tomorrow. This is likely to make some old business models irrelevant. If you feel your business has no chance to compete with the public option, there are some minimum wage jobs you can apply for. Here is a listing of employment agencies that you may contact for more information, and good luck with your job search." I feel this way of accomodating special interests is the most simple and cost-effective.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2009, at 7:43 AM, TMFBent wrote:

    "I feel this way of accomodating special interests is the most simple and cost-effective."

    Unfortunately, it's not cost-effective for the republicrats and demicans in congress. They need those folks to stay elected, to get those sweet consulting and lobbying jobs after they leave office, and so on.

    What's most cost effective for everyone involved in making policy (over the short run, at least) is to leave everything pretty much the same.

    The biggest problem with U.S. healthcare is that the consumers are completely uninformed as to what it actually costs. Insurance policies and practices (for sketchy reasons and otherwise) keep everyone in the dark about just what the cost of healthcare is. I routinely get bills showing that the insurance company is paying the provider 60% or so of the actual charge.

    What on earth, then, is the real cost of that procedure? How could anyone possibly know? And how, then, could anyone make an informed choice as a "consumer" of healthcare without knowing. It would be like going to the grocery store and not being told the prices on individual items until after you've checked out.

    These are key issues, and some of the plans before congress address them -- at least indirectly.

    Sj

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2009, at 12:37 PM, rizzo101 wrote:

    I read a lot of these comments, but I don't think I saw anything regarding small businesses. What happens to the business sector if anyone with a great idea, or an improved idea, can move forward with it. Isn't the American dream of entreprenuership and the drive of thriving while being your own boss something always touted by politicians as what makes America great? Starting a company and being able afford to hire quality workers becomes much easier if the owner isn't saddled with the massive expense of providing health care coverage, to just themselves, much less employess. Why isn't anyone asking this question of our politicians, instead of spending time screaming at each other in soundbites? How can you have a debate without real conversation? Why are supposed "journalists" calling people names instead of providing 2 rational sides of an issue?

    And on a moral common sense note: if the author thinks 1% market cap and mutual fund performance is more important to the majority of Americans than their families destroyed by catastrophic illness, a more common tale than ever before, then they certainly haven't experienced the emotional trauma even, indirectly, when people with healthcare are denied coverage by the insurance industry. How do we explain our actions to the world community while chanting "we're #1! and USA, USA" when our system doesn't have the incentive to take care of it's own citizens?

    I think we have to really take a moment to look in the mirror and move forward instead of this back and forth yelling that is doing nothing but wasting our time and making Americans more divisive than ever before. Just my two cents.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2009, at 2:10 PM, badnicolez wrote:

    Some questions:

    1. If the government-run health care programs already in place (Medicare and Medicaid) work so well, why not just extend that coverage to the current "33 million" uninsured and cut the waste and fraud from those programs to pay for the additional coverage/care?

    2. What makes anybody think that costs will go down once the government takes over? When in the history of this country has that EVER happened?

    3. A large portion of the "uninsured" already qualify for the current programs, but haven't bothered to sign up. Why?

    4. Another large portion of the "uninsured" are offered plans through their employers, but choose not to pay for it. Why?

    5. What portion of those who currently can't "afford" coverage are able to "afford" to smoke and drink alcohol?

    6. Why did the number of uninsured "Americans" go from 45 million to 33 million in the space of a few days after the "you lie" incident? Did 12 million Americans suddenly gain coverage? Or did they conveniently subtract the illegal aliens from the number of people needing coverage only after being called out on the bad math very publicly?

    Would love to see these answered by those who are so desperately pushing for "reform."

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2009, at 2:19 PM, badnicolez wrote:

    Just thought of another question:

    Are those families currently devastated by catastrophic illness going to be any less destroyed by illness just because the bills are paid?

    Let's try not to demagogue the issue.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2009, at 2:28 PM, pbealtx wrote:

    1 easy and 1 basic change would fix most of the problems. Easy - go back to outlawing prescription drug advertising to consumers, resulting in lower doctor and drug costs. Basic - shift health insurance to individuals from the workplace, resulting in competition, comparison shopping, availability, etc. (the system is built upon the workplace foundation from Eisenhower's era) Just make it like (not exact comparison, i know) auto insurance.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2009, at 2:36 PM, starbucks4ever wrote:

    badnicolez,

    1. Medicare and Medicaid work decently well if you compare them with the private industry. But they could and should have worked much better if fraud were not built into the system. Currently fraud is an integral part of it because they pay doctors by the visit.

    2. It has happened when the government took over (partially) the lifetime annuity industry by introducing Social Security. It costs less to "buy" SS from the government than to buy a lifetime annuity from Hartford, Connecticut.

    3. Usually because they are already insured by a spouse's plan.

    4. Because the premium charged by these plans are out of proportion with the level of coverage they provide, so it makes no sense to pay for them.

    5. Probably a lot, but it's beyond the point.

    6. The problem is not the 33 million uninsured, but the 274 million insured, and the simple math that shows that at these rates, their insurance is not sustainable. Something has to give: either they must lose coverage, or HMOs must lose profits. My vote is for HMOs losing profits.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2009, at 3:32 PM, msm3rd wrote:

    I have read the comments here and find them to be the same old arguments I have been hearing for a long time. It seems that people find information on the internet or fed to them by the talking heads that will bolster their preconceptions instead of honestly looking to find solutions. I have not heard anyone say that reforming health care and the manner in which it is provided and paid for is not necessary. So if it is necessary, why can't we have an honest dialogue instead of relying on half truths and name calling?

    Regardless of the number of uninsured people, having even 1 uninsured person is a tragedy. Having health insurance companies that will cover

    Viagra and Cialis but not cover birth control is insane, but it happens.

    There are many working models out there (Every other industrialized country has some form of universal health coverage). Surely we can find the things that work best from these models and implement them here.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2009, at 3:37 PM, Dhutch3624 wrote:

    I would like to make something perfectly clear. The government health care is about one thing. More Control over our lives. Someone tell me what government program isn't in financial trouble. Let's see: Social Security- Bankrupt, Medicare Medicaid - Bankrupt, Postal Service- Bankrupt, Public Education- a joke. Even the Senate cafeteria is bankrupt, and people actually think the government can do a better job of running health care.

    The economy collapse was caused by the government regulators responsible for preventing these things were all asleep at the wheel. Barney Frank two months before the collapse was spouting off about how great the mortgage industry was. These dim witts in Washington can't run, or regulate anything!!!!

    I agree the health care industry needs some improvements, but I can't understand anyone thinking this collection of idiots in the federal government can fix anything with their track record.

    The system needs to have competition, tort reform, cover pre existing conditions, make the whole process competitive, the costs would go down, and the quality would go up. Just my two sense.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2009, at 4:37 PM, matthewjriley wrote:

    HSAs as an answer? Who can afford to put back enough to pay the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, lab work and a week's stay in the hospital without it taking ten years or more?

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2009, at 6:08 PM, cchitty wrote:

    This is in response to Bluebird76

    A documentary on the Netherlands examined the high rate of happiness in the people.

    The conclusion.. "They expect less from life and have lower aspirations"

    We Americans are not willing to lower our aspirations unless we all become Buddhists.

    The USA does have the best health care system in the world. We just do not claim to have

    the best "Free" system. Remember? there is no such thing as a free meal. If it's free for you it means someone else is paying for it.

    As to your comment "It's not socialised, it's shared responsibility and care for one another." Yes its not Socialism but it pretty much defines communism?

    I notice though you haven;t mentioned yoiur exhorbitant tax rate in the Netherlands and ther fact that your dairy industry has all kinds of protectionism.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2009, at 8:53 PM, Proctalgia wrote:

    "Obamacare" is shaping up to be just another great American political compromise, yet another exercise in appeasement rather than the paradigm shift that is sorely needed.

    We have a broken system running health "care" as a for-profit industry, not as a public service. Some may say that drives innovation and quality through competition, but in 20 plus years of trying to provide care efficiently and economically I beg to differ.

    Contrary to the uninformed statements by Mr. Obama himself and the many who repeat mindlessly the same mantras, the vast majority of "providers" (as we are now called in this business-driven model) do not do multiple unnecessary tests or procedures, even to protect ourselves from the predation of trial lawyers who can afford television and whole page advertisements to attract their dubious business. Yes, tort reform is essential, but mostly to reduce the emotional and financial costs of defending suits without any serious basis and with ridiculous jury-based awards. I have been in US medicine over 20 years without any suits (yet I pay over $550 per WEEK in malpractice insurance in a state WITH tort caps on pain/suffering) but colleagues have been devastated by single suits without any wrong doing on their part.

    Medical costs in this country are inflated beyond reason by "for-profit" practice.

    Drug companies push their latest versions of medications, mostly with slight changes from the now-generic prior version, not to the doctor as much as to the general public. Watch your TV. You can have your same sleeping medicine in a wonderful new slow-release form (non-generic, up to $100/month) instead of the now off-patent normal release version that has worked just fine up until now it is off patent ($4/month or $10/3 months as a generic at Target or Walmart). Once a drug reaches the end of its protected patent years, often they release it as non-prescription (Prilosec, Zantac. Claritin, to name a few) and then vigorously push the slightly amended new patent-protected version via public advertising as a great advance (such as Nexium, "the purple pill", replacing Prilosec). Again, $100 plus a month vs. the $4 generic.

    Because of the way for-profit billing works, hospitals mostly are able to bill for individual disposable items of surgical equipment to insurance companies, but they cannot bill for the use of re-usable versions. That means that there is an enormous market in the production of disposable equipment for laparoscopic instruments and other items, many charged out at over $500/item. Immense profits have been made by these companies and their investors. Doctors are continually pushed to use single-use items that then enter the landfill instead of perfectly serviceable reusable versions. Patients are pushed by advertising to "new advanced procedures" instead of tried and tested ones using cheaper equipment and consumables.

    The highest paid employee in my office has nothing at all to do with direct patient care. Her job is entirely based on sending out billing on behalf of patients and trying to collect receipts from the multiple payers, including Government entities. in addition, a good third of my medical assistant's time is spend waiting on hold on the telephone with insurers, or submitting forms to Medi-Cal (State-run) to allow me to do "unnecessary surgery" on someone miserable with gallbladder problems after they finally approve it (which they do, 100% of the time) 4-8 weeks later. (For those who want to use this to decry Government-based insurance, contrast that to NO wait/ NO pre-approval with Medicare - Federal run, and the answer to my medical assistant's prayer that every case was that simple).

    I have lived and practiced here and in England, and have many friends in Canada. My parents have excellent health care in England - good health screening as well as acute care, free long-term care if they need it, no out-of-pocket expenses over 65 and a wonderful young family doctor who still is very happy to do house calls - as he did several times when my father was sick recently. Two family members have needed surgical consultation - both got in much faster than I can get a patient seen here locally by the same specialty. And no, I did not move here for better income, but because I married an American who was in England and got homesick. If I did not have a wife and children here, I would move back to the UK healthcare system anytime.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2009, at 10:09 PM, xetn wrote:

    Reasons why health care costs so much:

    1. Government intervention at all levels;

    2. Insurance companies that cannot cross states and must pool risks. If you are healthy, do you want to be in the same risk pool as a professional boxer or test pilot? With pooling of risk, insurance companies are forced to increase premiums to cover all risks. Being healthy, I would prefer to be rated with other healthy persons and therefore lower my premiums.

    3. Indigent care. These people are provided hospital care entirely for free. These costs are then passed on to the everyone else.

    4. Patents on medicine create monopolies for those drugs and push up the costs, with the US consumers subsidizing foreign customers. Also, a lot of the major development of new drugs are done in universities at taxpayer expense only end up as a new patented drug and sold to the same taxpayer a huge make ups.

    5. Large malpractice awards by juries that have no idea what they are doing. These large awards have nothing to do with the actual claim, but is only about retribution and large contingency fees for the trial lawyers. (Notice Obama is not addressing this issue (perhaps because he is an attorney?).

    6. The FDA makes getting approval for new drugs an expensive nightmare, some times taking years to approve. (Private testing labs could do the testing in a much more efficient manner and probably for less cost. (The FDA does not care what their function costs the taxpayers).

    There are more areas that could be expanded, but these are some of the biggest areas of cost.

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2009, at 10:00 AM, 371 wrote:

    Wow, I haven't seen such seriously and factually flawed arguments against the single payer option since the Investor's Business Daily embarrassingly bad editorial about how Stephen Hawking would have died had he had medical care under Great Britain's national health service. I'm beginning to wonder how badly researched the rest of their 'business' information is. Should I be subscribing to a investor service that can't get their basic facts straight? Just lazy!

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2009, at 10:50 AM, deltatrader9 wrote:

    Count me as one Canadian who feels sorry for the 40+ million people in America who don't have coverage.

    Frankly, its a disgrace.

    And yes, our model has flaws, some bad ones (waiting lines), but at the end of the day I'll take our system every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    I have always admired lots of American ideals, none more than "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".

    Someone needs to explain to me how those three aforementioned ideals are achieved by a US citizen who has been bankrupted by their health issues.

    But don't take my word for it, after all, I'm just a socialist. ;)

    Mike Smith

    Proud Canadian.

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2009, at 9:11 PM, sevenofseven wrote:

    For those who don't understand Health Savings Accounts (HSA):

    I have an HSA. It is simply a health care policy through Blue Cross. The policy is paid for by my Employer. I pay a 10.00 per week co-pay on the premium, pretax deducted from my paycheck.

    The deductible this year is $5,800.00. So, I am able to contribute up to $5,800.00 into my HSA for 2009. I can place it in a number of investment options, or leave it in cash. The contributions are pre-tax. If my medical bills reach $5800 for the year, then any medical expense above that is 100% paid for. If my medical expenses are only $2800 for 2009, then $3000 will carry forward to 2010.

    I had about $3000 carry forward from 2008, and so far this year I've had only about $2000 in medical costs.

    So, add that all up and my biggest out of pocket possible is $520 + $5800 = $6320.

    This type of policy forces us to question whether we go to the doctor for the sniffles, yet gives us peace of mind if something catastrophic happens.

    I think HSA's are one of the ways to go. We may be to the point next year where we will carry forward enough to cover the deductible, and continue to build up the account.

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2009, at 10:16 PM, gnorton100 wrote:

    The article oversimplifies the situation and the author is obviously in favor of ObamaCare. Government involvement has never made anything better or more efficient.

    My dentist (an independent office) has 2 staff just to handle the insurance forms. And a good deal of this burden is caused by inconsistent regulations at federal, state and some local levels.

    I don't want government involvement but if it must be, federally mandated standardized regulations (blended from all current regulations) are required. In addition, a single federally mandated form for use by all insurance companies is needed. The single form would be based on the required input fo the new blended regulations.

    Reduce administrative overhead and you reduce cost.

  • Report this Comment On October 04, 2009, at 10:34 AM, cando307 wrote:

    A realization made after imigrating to the US was that the medical system here can wipe out your whole life savings with one incident! It amazes me to hear or read about people knocking the Canadian system. I am a Polio survivor, treated under the Canadian system from infancy to adulthood. Knowing what I know of both the US and Canadian system, I cannot see that I would be anywhere near where I am today if I was left at the mercy of the US system, considering my parent's income level at the time. Don't get me wrong, the US has been good to me, but it could be much better if the healthcare system was less of a threat to my life savings. In my opinion, the risk of loosing your life savings vs loosing a bit on healthcare stocks is a no brainer.

  • Report this Comment On October 04, 2009, at 11:04 AM, westslope wrote:

    At the age of 67 I feel lucky to still have a modicum of good health.Perhaps many of you younger folks don't realize that medicare takes out almost 100 dollars out of my social security check.Combine that with the 155 dollars I give to United Health Care every month for additional coverage plus the checkups and prescription drugs I get from the VA (which I pay for)and I have pretty good coverage.The upshot of all this is that I can afford it,but what about people who can't?I have always felt that health care companies should be run as non-profit organizations rather than being driven by the need to satisfy wall street investors and greedy company officers.This would obviate the need for a government run health care system(which medicare already is)and provide better health care for more people.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment....Warren.

  • Report this Comment On October 04, 2009, at 6:40 PM, bliechti wrote:

    Ok I have read through many of the comments, and everyone seems to make a very valid argument regarding National Health Care and the government picking up the bill and a little longer waiting line and..... On the other side we say let’s readjust the Private insurer and set limits and change this and that. However, I have a weighing concern and that is that so many have put it as the "government picking up the bill" are we truly blindly convicted or convinced of this, we are Tax Payers people the government does not pick up the bill, we do!!!! In addition to picking up the bill on our newly proposed National Health care, that through the beautifully glossy eyed lenses that helps us see this happening, we are also set to believe that this change will somehow put more money and better health care into our pocket and health books. I do want to apologize for being blunt, but I can't. We are arguing over the fact that health care is not available to everyone, but it is….. the problem is that we have to pay for the added cost of new inventions and the complaints of so many that the minimum wage was too low. So now we have the issue of cost being too high and ultimately we made it that way... as mentioned in an above note we have unhealthy people "and by golly I am one of them, I like food (Sorry!)" that raises cost because we have to see the Doctors, second we have higher paid individuals not just DR’s. but rank and file as well (minimum wage), we have indigent care, and illegal care (all for free) "or Tax payers pay for it, next, pharmaceuticals now advertise so we have to pay for the new cost for that in their fancy new drugs that of course people like me need, which again are passed onto the patient... Man I could go on for days!! Have we seriously as a nation become this naive in the way things operate and how cost rise and fall? True, there are things that are not right in that people that have preexisting conditions have or can be denied insurance, "I am one of them with preexisting", but I am not denied medical care, we just have to pay for it, if we want health care to be more affordable stop going to the Dr. every time something aches or tickles. As humans we love the concept of the free lunch and when health care is provided, it is proven that we tend to go to the Dr's more than normal "because we can"!! Ok enough with my little "rant and rave" here you go, if we are going to do this thing of Medical Reform we should consider that under the Medicaid plan custodial participants "parents" of welfare should do drug testing in order to receive the Medicaid benefit. Or consider putting the welfare Medicaid "beneficiaries" on a work program after medical care for individual has been completed. This would give them work experience, education and help to alleviate much needed maintenance that is needed, the work can range depending on person, age, etc. Similar to what the courts order if you don't pay a fine they don't get paid!?! hummm!! Next, stop complaining and do something about it, if the cost of something is going up figure out how to help your family fix it... we have become so accustomed to having someone else fixing our problems of cost instead of negotiating a little or even saying please and thank-you!! We are not lazy people (I don’t think)!?! Next, stop using scapegoats to place blame, as humans we have a tendency to shift the true problems we cause to others and this is not right, remember "Hitler" he did that, stop shifting blame and start working as people to fix the problem; I really don't want start paying higher taxes... My family doesn't make much now!!!! Other than that people, pray because if we go the direction that all this could go we are in for a very rude awakening (remember hind sight is 20/20!!)

    WOW that was fun

    Oh by the way government I am up for a consult if you need

  • Report this Comment On October 04, 2009, at 7:23 PM, twangthang wrote:

    As a Canadian I can say unbiasedly that Canadians absolutely love their health care system. Wait lists are only for non urgent surgeries and many of the past problems have been addressed. Canadians are involved in a constant debate and governments listen because it translates into votes. I know it sounds like we are complaining but it is just simply the process of improvement you are hearing.

    I can honestly say our health care system just gets better and better with each passing year.

    Another thing is that it is a fair system. You do not get privileges if you are rich other than you can sometimes pay for an upgrade to a better room if there is that option at your hospital. We all come into this world with a set of genes that are not equal in quality and strength. Just because one man won a lottery or got lucky in the markets or perhaps his parents had money for a better education, does not mean he should be given better health care than his unblessed neighbor.

  • Report this Comment On October 04, 2009, at 9:48 PM, EarthDoctor wrote:

    This family wants OUR tax dollars paying for OUR medicare insurance for all because OUR tax dollars is OUR money.

    All of our doctors dislike the current medical insurance system with gusto. It is simply cost too much money for them to operate in a fiscal responsible manner. And it interferes with responsible medical practice.

    The nations jobs and ability to attract or develop new industry are at stake. We're talking jobs jobs jobs. Toyota recently opened another new plant in Canada.

    The USA is down about 20 million jobs. No new industry has been been developed in the last 30 years to bring those jobs and their pay scales back = loss of national wealth.

    Without Medicare for All Insurance, jobs and new industry development will remain in the negative column for years to come.

    The USA insured cannot afford to have high CEO salaries,golden parachutes,shareholders, key legislators as shareholders and special interest political campaign contributions attached to the cost of medical insurance.

    National Health Insurance does not remove competition from the actual health care industry. It will be alive and well. Profits will be based on customer service and clinic performance based on the clients experience. This is my perception of competition.

    HR 676 is the fiscally responsible avenue. It will save tons of tax dollars for taxpayers off the bill of federal employees alone.

    This is something to never forget. It is the private medical insurance industry that cancels YOUR medical insurance AFTER taking YOUR MONEY for years.

    Smart Medicare Insurance for All will not only improve our quality of life but also our wallets. Yes we would have more expendable cash for birthdays,Christmas, vacations and investments.

    Smart Medicare Insurance for All cannot be cancelled.

  • Report this Comment On October 05, 2009, at 1:52 AM, runninonempty wrote:

    How do you think the insurance companies make a profit? By keeping only the people they can make money on. The others get their rates raised to the point of screaming "UNCLE" or get canceled for whatever reason they seem fit. They have a license to steal (and kill for that matter).

    Wake up people! Quit thinking of yourselves all the time.

    By the way, the mortality rate in Canada AND Britian are lower than in the US with socialized medicine. Hmmm, looks like their doing something right..........

  • Report this Comment On October 05, 2009, at 5:13 PM, Joelshann wrote:

    I take my $10 to a famer and buy his corn. I get $10 in corn. He get's $10.

    I take my $10 to the grocery store that bought the farmers corn, paid him $9, and charges me $12 = capitalism.

    The government takes my $10, takes the farmer's corn, and runs the grocery store: I get $5 in corn for my $10, the farmer gets $5 for his $10 in corn, and all the employees of the Federal Grocery Store get $5 and $5 in corn.

    Multiply that times $1000 x 300 million people....

    Welcome to the future of (any) government run health care program.

  • Report this Comment On October 06, 2009, at 6:40 PM, toycanon999 wrote:

    First let me say, I am Canadian. It is shocking the degree to which Americans refuse to see the merits of anything that isn't American or to think anything done differently in other countries is socialist.

    You never acknowledge that your health care system is the world's most expensive and yet produces poor outcomes in most studies while managing to exclude many millions from the care they need. The critics of obama care have nothing much to offer to fix these problems. It is just the usual right wing propoganda, appeals to fear of communism, and general reactionary nonsense that we see from Republicans.

    Here in Canada we know that our system has issues.

    We face as do you a baby boomer psunami and we lack the resources to deal with it. We need more money put into health care and that is up to government and politicians do not like to tell people that a better health care system with more resources will cost more. They would rather spend money on stadiums. It is sexier than an MRI and someone to read it. You will never fix your system until you admit it has flaws and you are actually willing to make changes without all this right wing capitalist nonsense that always comes up whenever the issue is raised. You hate government and taxes and you forget your history. Before government was mixed in with capitalism you had unsafe products and work places and sweat shops and child labour and starvation wages. Rockefeller dumped his unwanted gasoline in the river. What did he care? It was law that made those things go away not capitalism. Democracy is the great revolution, not Capitalism. Now you have people die because their insurer will not pay and you will not make that go away with some capitalist dogma. Capitalism works great when there is competition and customers who shop, That is not health care. People do not shop and doctors and hospitals and insurers do not really compete. Capitalism and health care mix where innovation is critical like in drug development but not where it is just providing basic services. There is no point to it except making millionaire Republicans and raising costs. So enjoy your system because you can't take your blinders off long enough to fix it.

  • Report this Comment On October 06, 2009, at 7:35 PM, ReadEmAnWeep wrote:

    "No. The last thing we need is government mucking up the best health-care system in the world. All we really need to do is put a cap on court awards for medical malpractice."

    This a joke? They wouldn't be trying to fix it if it was working......

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:35 AM, btakintoye wrote:

    The dude who wrote this is a millionaire doc who wants to continue to prey on poor folk. Truth be told, health care is too expensive even when you ahve the so called insurance and to top it all, you dont get the best from GPs becasue they want to attend to more people to get more money. If you doubt it just visit the ER where you get 2 mins worth of medical attention which Grandma's remedy can do a better job. Then you get billed a hefty sum from both the hospital, the doc and the nurses. God forbid you have xrays or any other ancillaries like MRIs or CAT scans your bank will literarirly be broken. Insurnace only pays a portion of these costs if you have quarter-way decent insurance plan.

  • Report this Comment On October 18, 2009, at 3:14 AM, jojibro wrote:

    No, so-called, "business" has a constitutional, God given or any other right to mislead, swindle, discriminate against and ultimately kill it's customers.

    Contrary to the prevailing conservative/business opinion, health care is not a "product" like any other consumer good.

    It has become a civil right as far as I'm concerned.

    Economically, socially and morally the domination of the Health Insurance Cartel is akin to the abomination of slavery.

    Perhaps the potential liberation from this insidious form of economic discrimination is not unlike what The United States of America experienced leading up to The Civil War.

    It is messy and fraught with immense problems, but is the only alternative that makes any sense, and can be justified in both moral and financial terms, let alone medical or health related.

    Our current non-system is arbitrary, rapacious and extremely wasteful just so a handful of greedy & amoral corporations can continue to hold us all hostage to their whims.

    These companies are the ultimate "DEATH PANEL", and must be ended now.

    We can not be a free (democratic) society without affordable universal health care for all our citizens...period.

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