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Why This Bill Needs to Pass, Flawed As It Is

When it comes to the US medical services system, any change at all is better than the status quo. Anything that hastens the total collapse of the system is a good thing. Even if this proposed program doesn’t work and costs go through the roof, it’s good because it will force more change, and hopefully eventually, a government run system.

They say the proposed legislation will require 17,000 new IRS agents. I don’t have a problem with 17k more IRS agents as long as 17,000 health insurance agents are forced to do something else. The IRS can hire them.

The right wing gestapo can foam at the mouth all they want. They are doing their best to instill fear. Eventually the will fail. Hopefully, the insurance SS hit squads will eventually be brought to the justice they deserve.

What time better than now to start?

Either way, the current system will collapse. Under it, eventually, the majority would not be insured.

Let me give you a for instance of what the health care Nazis are fighting to preserve. I have a relative who has been selling health insurance for one company for the last 35 years. Mansion in ritzy Rydal, PA. Condo on Park Avenue. 300 year old farm house in New Hope, PA. Winters in Palm Beach. Couple of Bentleys. Asshole buddies with some big corporate honchos.

That’s just one agent for one company selling group health policies. That’s what your insurance dollars go to pay for, not to mention the waste and enrichment of the pharmaceutical industry. This is what the anti-reform crowd is supporting. These are the people paying for those ads, paying for the disinformation campaign that has the teabag assholes farting and leaking all over themselves.

This bill is at least a start toward putting an end to this kind of useless anti-social rabble rousing and profiteering. But if it fails, eventually, the Hitler youth behind the anti reform efforts will wake up, realize that they’ve been had, and turn on their masters, because eventually, they too will need medical coverage and won’t be able to afford it or get it at all.

I think the bill will pass. But if it doesn’t I can’t wait to witness the total disintegration of the system. Maybe, if Congress doesn’t act, more states will. As more and more people lose their coverage while medical insurers and medical service providers and pharmaceutical company drug lords grow fatter and richer while more people fall out of the system, eventually change will come.

In the end, the only way that the US economy can survive is to go to a completely government run system. That’s the only way that we can have a level playing field where the rest of the world does not enjoy this enormous cost advantage that it currently has over US producers. Otherwise, mass unemployment, poverty, degradation, armed enclaves for the rich will become the norm in the US, as the rest of the developed world follows a more enlightened path in caring for the society as a whole. If the US continues on its current path, in the end, the cultural mores behind the growth of this country will eventually lead to its destruction.

If we continue on the path we have been on, God help us all. We must wake up, realize our common interests, or we are doomed.

19 Comments

  1. dharmaeye

    As a duel citizen of US and Canada, I agree it has to be a government run and doubt it can work any other way – See other countries with socialized medicine.
    However, given the present condition of the USA, I can’t see it working. As long as the government elite have their own seperate far superior Medical system it will not work.

  2. potatohead

    Would disagree. Just because one system sucks does not mean we need another crappy program that will enrich a new breed of greed. Idaho has been the first to vote against this and for good reason. The conservative and tea party movement are not nazis but concerned citizens that see a country not on a sound economic path.

  3. Lee Adler

    If Idaho does not want to care for all of its citizens, that’s fine with me. Idaho is the richest state in the country, so it does not surprise me that they support the corrupt plutocrats. It’s about the haves making sure that they can continue to skim the cream and make sure the have-nots don’t get a fair shake.

    Of course, if the law passes, Idaho will have no choice but to obey it. The courts will not allow this frivolous protest action. Under the Commerce clause, the Federal Government has the right to regulate medical services. The Governor is a hypocrite and a phony, wasting the the money of the rich people of Idaho.

    The funny thing is that these people who oppose a government run single payer system, which, unfortunately, this bill is not, which would save the US economy trillions of dollars, are the very people who argue against anything that would cost more. So why are they so opposed to a system that would cost less?

    It’s because they’re against anything and everything that would advance the society as a whole. It’s based on fear and fear alone, driven by avariciousness, blind self interest, and ultimately, ignorance.

  4. potatohead

    you make very valid points, however under a current socialized environment like California, the state is broke and asking the rest of the country to bail them out. I have always seen California as a trend leader for the rest of the country.

    I know people that are being denied medical help through our current government ran programs.

    There are no simple solutions. However, Idaho is a state with a conservative attitude that does not like other ideas with no long term solution shoved down our throats. By the way the medicare program that was supposed to be so great is bleeding us dry. How in the hell can you expect a government to run an efficient program when many of its voting citizens depends on its welfare programs to survive. It does not. These citizens realize there power and will vote for more entitlements. The conservative movement is not made up of republicans or democrats but individuals who are disgusted with the waste and inefficient managing of this country.

    Keep up the great work.

  5. Lee Adler

    Obviously, taxes must increase under a government run system, and just as obviously, conservatives will never approve of higher taxes, even if it means a lower overall cost of living. The cost of higher taxes would be more than offset by the savings gained from abolishing the private, for profit system.

    There’s no free lunch, but the evidence is absolutely clear. Countries with government run systems have much lower total health care costs than does the US and better statistical outcomes overall.

    The anecdotal stories of the superhero results of cutting edge technology in the US do not change that fact. Those technologies are the most costly, they drive up total costs, and they are available only to the fortunate few. The bulk of the people do worse under the US system, especially the 45,000 who are killed each year because they can’t get the treatment they need, and the hundreds of thousands who are financially ruined. This is the system that the Govermoron of Idaho, and the clueless tea bigots, driven by the lies from the health insurance and medical services lobbies, are fighting to preserve.

  6. Jill8

    I couldn’t agree more than anything that hastens the total collapse of the current medical industrial greed complex is a good thing.

    This discussion makes me think of this interesting article by a political scientist.

    http://www.eurasiareview.com/2010/02/31969-this-is-liberalism.html

    People have no clue what truly progressive political programs are or could be, due to the Right’s highly successful long-term propaganda campaigns.

  7. Bill Cleary

    I work for an insurance company, in fact the most hated insurance company in the US of A. Nevertheless, I am of the belief that a minimum level of healthcare is something a civilized society should provide to its citizens. If a government system is the only way to achieve that, then so be it, but I question whether that can be true.

    My doubts deal with a part of the equation that I think is getting insufficient attention in the analysis. That is the supply side. There is no doubt healthcare costs are going up. But why is that the case? One of the elephants in the room that is seldom if ever mentioned, is the government programs already in place that increase demand at a below market price. My father in law is 86, he sees a doctor at least once a week, and takes 10-15 medication a day, virtually all paid for by Medicaid, or Medicare. All that and his quality of life is miserable. He sits in a chair all day long lost in dementia. Do I begrudge him, no. But if his family, including me had some skin in the game we might not view spending for such life extending care as money well spent. I suspect we would make sure he was comfortable but not see the point of giving him cholesterol medications, or blood thinners or other non-pallitive treatments. Since the government pays we not only do not face that choice and doctors give him all the treatment the government will pay for.

    Secondly, I know a number of doctors. To a man/woman they say they would not do it over again if given the choice. The road is too difficult, the hassles too many, and the monetary rewards too uncertain any more. Most are in abject fear of the bill passing. The consensus is once the government has control of the demand side with universal mandated coverage, they will start to squeeze the supply side with capped rates, reduced payments etc. If we want the best and the brightest applying to medical school, and I assume we do, this is not the way to go about it. The days of hospitals being run by monks and nuns are gone. there will always be a certain number of people who go into the profession for moral, social, and humanitarian reasons, but in our money driven society those people seem to be fewer and farther between. Eventually we will have the paradox of everyone being entitled to treatment but no one to provide it.

    In short, what we are looking at with a government system is increased demand with policies that will almost certainly decrease supply. Economics 101 says such a system can’t last for long.

    Without price as an allocation mechanism, I don’t see any system being viable over the long term. Allocation by bureaucracy will not, in my opinon, work. the rich will opt out, or if not allowed to do so, will bribe or set up a black market to get the care they want. Everyone else will be subject to rules that will make what insurance companies do now look like child’s play, and once the governemtn denies you treatment, who do you appeal to then.

    I don’t claim to know the answer. This is a case where the laws of economics and morality clash. Perhaps a government system with citizens allowed to choose the level of care they want and being taxed accordingly. accordingly.

    I respect Mr. Adler’s opinions, and understand where he is coming from. And sadly, I tend to agree that as with most of our current institutions, it appears that a total collapse seems to be the only way the status quo will be moved. Hope it doesn’t come to that.

  8. Lee Adler

    My mother has Alzheimers and is in assisted living. I am her health care surrogate. I manage her care, not the doctors, not Medicare. It is the responsibility of the children to make sure that their helpless parents are not abused by the profiteers in the system. I found a great geriatrician for my mother who believes that when it comes to drugs, less is better. I took my mother off all the crap she was being fed for Alzheimers and depression and she immediately improved. If you turn your parents care over to the system and allow them to be pumped full of meds and to see a doctor every week, you are the problem, not the system.

    In nations with national health care, you just don’t see this kind of waste. They give palliative care and that’s it. If it doesn’t improve the quality of life, then there’s no treatment.

  9. Lee Adler

    The fact is that the allocation of services under government run systems, while not perfect, is far more fair and efficient than in a “market based” system. In addition, the doctors in government run systems are doing just fine financially. They don’t face the problem of $200,000 a year malpractice premiums, or having to have full time professional staffs to process claims and chase down payments. The problem in the US is the ones who are only satisfied with being filthy rich.

    Every other civilized nation has proven over time that nationalized health care works better than our system. I wouldn’t expect an insurance company employee to care about the fact, but it is what it is. Government run health care systems work better than the US based private for profit system where all the financial rewards accrue to the insurance company, hospital company and pharmaceutical company executives and their shills.

    The incentives are completely screwed up. How many more people would get care if it weren’t for the billions wasted on executive salaries and bonuses, sales commissions, lobbying, marketing and advertising campaigns, redundant payment and collection systems.

    Wake up people. You are being duped. Stop listening to all the tripe.

    As for the insurance executives-trials for the murder of 45,000 people a year, conviction and death by lethal injection. They are mass murderers, plain and simple.

  10. ChicagoBear

    I don’t really have an opinion on the current bill and would only attest that health care costs as they are now are out of control. My premiums are up over 30% in the last 4 years (but there is no inflation!). Change is needed, one way or the other.

    That said, the rash in my underwear comes from the fact that this bill is being forced on America even though some two-thirds to three-quarters of the people don’t want it. Whatever happened to democracy? Aren’t our elected officials supposed to represent the opinions of the people they serve? Whether this bill is truly a good or bad idea is a moot point. If the people don’t want it, then the government shouldn’t force them to drink the medicine.

    This is just another example of how our government can enact their own agenda and trample the peasants in the process.

  11. Lee Adler

    I don’t know about the percentages in opposition, but one thing I do know is that many who are opposed have been swayed by the lies of the medical services industry which have permeated the right wing media and the tea bigot agenda. A lot of people believe this stuff.

    On the other hand, if you ask the people of the UK, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic,Hungary, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, and Canada, they all think that we’re deluded.

    And they’re right. I know that I am not the only American who feels the same way.

    Somebody has to stand up to the medical services industry lobby and to the right wing zealots that parrot their lies, and call these people for what they are.

    Liars.

    Sadly, too many, blinded by prejudice and ignorance, are willing to believe them.

  12. Lee Adler

    CB-

    You know that I deeply appreciate your support. My response is not personal in any way. I just differ with your opinion.

    I would just add here that the founders drew up the Constitution as a Republic rather than a Democracy, for just the reason you cite. Supposedly, this would prevent rule by a rabid mob, which is not always enlightened. As we know, our politicians are usually even less enlightened and more prone to be in the pockets of the bankers, and insurance companies and pharma drug lords, but the framers intent, rightly or wrongly, was that the elected representatives should make the rules, not the majority of the public.

    Also, in the rest of the civilized world, where parliamentary democracy is the rule, and governments need to be more responsive to the popular will or they won’t last long, national universal health care is wildly popular.

    In this case, our system of government has stood resolutely against progress, and against a system that the rest of the world has found to work, and to have the support of the people. The reason that is not the case in the US is that the medical industry has controlled the agenda with the riches it has amassed, and has brainwashed the public to oppose meaningful, common sense change.

  13. Terryc

    Very persuasive, Lee, but this bill reminds me too much of NAFTA: they were going to work on the labor and environmental problems after the fact–not. Maybe the system will collapse eventually, but in the meantime we’ll be funnelling tons of new money into increasingly powerful insurance companies, perhaps creating a new category of too big to fail. It won’t be the first time JohnQ got sold down the river by the democrats.

    Instead, phone, fax, e-mail: basic coverage (even for our esteemed congressmen), public option (70% of the public wants it), peer reviews of what works and what doesn’t (prequel to tort reform, squelches pharmahype). Better coverage is available from the private insurers at a price if you want it. That way I don’t have to feel bad about my 85-year-old customer’s hip replacement at gov’t expense when I have to pay out of pocket for my grandson’s dislocated shoulder because my daughter-in-law lost her job and healthcare.

    If the insurance companies can collect money from the government for covering us, they will further pervert the system: squeeze doctor pay on the phony claim of cost containment, run unnecessary tests because the government has been persuaded by some lobbyist to pay for them, or in some other way be incentivized to keep us alive long after we’re dead.

  14. Jill8

    Yeah, whether this thing passes or not, we are headed for disaster. Hurry it up, so it happens, and we get the disaster over with. And then hopefully we do something about it– something for the citizens, that is, not for the medical industrial complex which is who has been getting taken care of all this time.

  15. Lee Adler

    No question this bill is an atrocity, but any first step toward change is a good thing. Eventually, the insurance companies must be reformed, brought under strict regulatory control, or go bye bye, with the executives burned at the stake. One way or the other, this will happen in my lifetime. I am mad enough just to stay alive long enough to see it. 😀

  16. Bill Cleary

    Well I have relatives in England and Ireland who tell me a different story. That is they wait for weeks or months to get an appointment, and are wait listed for tests that they would willing pay for out of pocket but can’t because they would dropped from the NHS. An elderly relative had a suspicious lump in her breast but kept getting bounced from getting a CT scan because more emergent cases were put ahead of her. My wife has a number of English clients who have opted out of the NHS. They are generally upper middle class, not filthy rich. they would rather pay both out of pocket and their taxes just to get care when and from whom they want. On the other hand, my sister who lives in England has a child with some chronic health issues that probably would have bankrupted her family and he has gotten tremendous care. Does that mean the system works or it doesn’t, i don’t know, but it appears to be based in large part upon what your personal issue is.

    And people who work for insurance companies are for the most part just regular people. I work for one not out of love for the industry-I hate it- or for a huge salary-I don’t get one. No ironically, I left private practice to get health insurance benefits. I was under my wife’s insurance, but because she was a small business owner she was, in addition to paying for her employees, paying $2000 a month for our family. We didn’t have to pay that much but she wanted to get the best coverage available. that’s a choice. did i like it. Certainly not. Just like I don’t like paying 3 dollars a gallon for gas or 4 dollars A pound for decent tomatoes. but those are the prices where I live. You pay them or you live without.

    Do executives of some, maybe most, insurance companies get too much money. They sure do, but that’s true of just about every industry in the US these days. the profit margins on health insurance are actually quite low, so such executives are screwing not only their customers but their shareholders-and employees– as well. That seems to be the American way these days. I, for better or worse, don’t work at such lofty heights nor do any of my colleagues.

    As for the care my father in law receives, i don’t have your confidence in determining his medical care. If the doctor says he needs something I assume that’s the case. do i think its the best use of scare resources. i don’t, but he’s not my dad and I don’t have a great deal of say in the matter. We pay his rent and try to get him out of the house as often as we can, otherwise his wife-who is not my wife’s mother–makes the decisions.

    I respect your work, and usually your sense of humor. but on this topic your anger tends to get the better of you. I’ll chalk up the insults to over-zealousness.

    I myself think the bill as I understand it, and try as I might I still can’t find out what’s actually in it and it will apparently be in flux right up to the vote with bribes and lard being added or moved around, will do a lot more harm than good. but if bringing down the system is the only way to fix it, than this may just do the trick.

  17. Lee Adler

    As far as the reports of horror stories with wait lists in nations with universal coverage, there’s always rationing in any system. The question is fairness. The US system rations, but it does so arbitrarily, capriciously, and unfairly. Rationing in countries with universal health care typically is based on the severity of the illness.

    The statistical studies are the best indicators of which systems work the best for the most. For simplicity sake I pulled a few stats from the WHO database for the US, UK, and Canada, including statistics on infrastructures, costs, and overall health care outcomes. I suspect there are other countries with varying degrees of government run systems, either single payer or regulated mandatory insurance, whose stats may be better than the UK or Canada, but these are the two countries the US is most often compared to.

    So here are the stats.

    Click to enlarge

    The US is the richest of the 3 countries, has the most doctors per capita, the most medical lab workers per capita, and the lowest government contribution toward total health care expenditures. The US also has by far the highest per capita spending on health care– nearly double that of Canada, and more than double that of the UK, yet in 11 of the 12 measures of health the US was the worst of the 3.

    It’s pretty clear that the extra 100% we pay to support the for profit system is completely wasted in terms of overall outcomes. The medical industry fat cats are skimming 50 cents of every health care dollar to support their evil pursuit of power and wealth at the expense of the American people. They have done a masterful job of duping the American people into thinking that they have the best health care in the world, when in fact, by virtually every statistical measure, the US has the most expensive, the most unfair, and in fact the absolute worst medical services system in the industrialized world.

    Sorry, but those are the facts.

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