Parsing health care to the least common denominator

Carla Axtman

Health care in this country is an expensive, lobbied-to-death mess. There are lots of proposed solutions to fill the potholes wrought on us by insurance companies/HMO/big pharma/pick your poison.

But for the life of me, I cannot understand why the discussion consistently gets boiled down to the least common denominator, especially when discussing the health care coverage for public employees.

Over at his blog today, Jeff Mapes writes on a USA Today reported federal study, highlighting better benefits for public employees over private:

I've seen this before. Public jobs often look particularly good in economic recessions because they are more stable. Added on to that, however, is the rapid growth in health-care costs over recent years that has led employers to shift more of the burden onto workers. Public employers have been less quick to do that - particularly since government workers are more likely to be unionized and to have their benefits protected.

Now that were in a particularly nasty recession and Oregon and so many other states are facing huge budget gaps, public employees and their benefits are bound to face more scrutiny.

Really?

Why aren't we pointing the scrutiny at the private sector, who are unable (or unwilling) to provide employees with stable, affordable health care coverage? Why are we being asked to look at this from a point of view that strips public employees down to that level?

This screwed up health care system which forces people to dump loads of their money into it is contributing to our economic woes. And the discussion is "how can we scrutinize this down to the least common denominator"?

There has to be a better way to talk about this.

Comments

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    There is, it's called single-payer universal health insurance for all, HR 676, and we should never miss a chance to point out how a major cause of our industrial collapse has been loading health insurance costs into employment costs. Since our firms compete with firms that provide universal health insurance (as EVERY OTHER OECD country does), they start every race with an anvil strapped to their backs.

    Single-payer is the greatest economic stimulus imaginable -- it would let the people who want to quit working do so without sacrificing health coverage, creating jobs for younger people. It would eliminate the 31% overhead of private insurance companies, a total deadweight loss to society. And, oh yeah, it's the moral thing to do.

  • (Show?)

    Yes, there is a better way to talk about it -- and that's universal health care, either in the single-payer model that George describes; or the high-quality, affordable, portable, universal, comprehensive, nondiscriminatory private insurance model that Senator Ron Wyden has proposed.

    Either one would raise everyone - private and public employees alike, and everyone else, too - to the same level of health care.

  • StephanAndrewBrodheadForCongress (unverified)
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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur5fGSBsfq8

  • StephanAndrewBrodheadForCongress (unverified)
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    Here is my health care proposal

    http://iraqeraveterangibill.com/Senior_Health_Care.html

    Oh and some more on British health Care

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grbSQ6O6kbs

  • Joe Hill (unverified)
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    I know this is starting to look like people are peppering the site with comments only about single payer, but PROFIT IS THE PROBLEM. If we take the idiotic profit motive out of the system, admit to ourselves what is crystal clear to the rest of the human race, i.e. that the basic health care that a society can provide is a human right to be paid for by society as a whole, then we wring about 90% of the bureaucracy out of the system. That is not a made up number, but they way. Medicare's overhead = 2%. Our present system's bureaucratic overhead = 25%.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Kari:

    ...or the high-quality, affordable, portable, universal, comprehensive, nondiscriminatory private insurance model that Senator Ron Wyden has proposed.

    Bob T:

    It should be portable like your car insurance. Of course, government helped create the system we have and encouraged its growth until people came to believe that it was the free enterprise alternative, which it wasn't. Imagine having your car insurance, or home insurance, tied to your job. Sounds stupid, right? Of course it is.

    The reason it's so "lobbied to death" is because government is so involved and because it's designed the way they want it. They love voters looking to them for alleged solutions ("I'll have one of my staff talk with you about this"), and get donations from the insurance lobby. They feel so important for this.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Jason (unverified)
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    Carla,

    Here's a reality that I think a lot of us fail to realize:

    1. Small companies, those with 15 or fewer employees (which makes up a majority of the business community in Oregon), have a hard time helping employees cover the costs of insurance, especially premiums. Most private-sector employers want to provide insurance. They either can't because of the costs, or have a hard time finding a policy that's affordable for their employees. (And the fewer employees you have, the harder it becomes.)

    2. Workers on the lower end of the pay scale often opt out of insurance because they know then can get healthcare for free by simply visiting an emergency room. Hospitals don't usually turn patients away and end up writing off unpaid bills as part of their charity care budget. I'm helping a business owner as we speak who's employees purposely don't want insurance for this very reason. Sad, but true.

    My wife has worked in the medical industry for years and is currently a medical transcriptionist. I believe it's a systematic problem with many complex levels that are too diverse to debate in this forum. I think it's short-sighted to blame it solely on the public or private sectors. It's both a political and social problem.

  • Vincent (unverified)
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    Single-payer is the greatest economic stimulus imaginable -- it would let the people who want to quit working do so without sacrificing health coverage, creating jobs for younger people.

    It seems to me that this isn't "creating" any jobs at all, regardless of how fashionable that phrase may currently be. It's merely filling existing jobs with different people. Moreover, the people who have left said jobs will now be a drain on society since they're no longer paying into the system.

    Elucidate.

  • Throw the bums out (unverified)
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    From Brodhead's factually incorrect website: Our current private sector health care insurers have the expertise, intellecual capital, infrastructure, and means to create a better health care system for 90 percent of the population without government interference.

    Brodhead: The bottom line facts are 1) The insurance industry does not provide healthcare. 2) The insurance industry is a business who by law have as their primary obligation maximizing profit by denying people healthcare. 3) Despite ravings of people like you and the rest of the mentally-deficient right-wing, the vast majority of people in England, Canada, and every other country that provides universal health care in some way, whether it be through a publicly-owned health CARE system, or a publicly-owned health care INSURANCE system, (do you know the difference?), absolutely would not want their system replaced with anything close to the system based on the inherently corrupt private health insurance industry you propose.

    Those are the facts. Attempts to deny them are seen by the rest of the voting public for what they are.

    Carla - frankly if you want to know why the debate reduces (not "parses", you are using that word incorrectly --- look it up), you, Kari and blogs like Blue Oregon in fact bear the largest part of the blame in a blue state like Oregon.

    Despite the baseless raving assertions of the Brodheads, it would be economically ruinous to the country to provide the level of benefits you advocate here in a system that would compel all Americans to buy health insurance from the profit-driven, exploitive private health insurance industry. Their legally-compelled single-minded lust for profit, and the overheads that result, guaranty that.

    It's actually people like you, Kari, and blogs like Blue Oregon who have not put the fear of God in corporate tools like Wyden, Merkley and most of the Oregon Democratic delegation that they will not be re-elected unless they either support a public, single-payer system or a system that includes a public-plan option is allowed to fairly compete against the enormously unfair advantages given to the private health insurance industry who are to blame.

    Some will recall pure politician Merkley said in this last election he was fine with the idea of a single-payer plan. He just for sure wasn't going to do anything to bring one about as he adopted the Wyden plan as his plan AND made criticism of Novick for supporting a single-payer plan one of the key themes in his hypocritical attack campaign. Of course that was part the cost of gaining the support of Wyden and the industry-friendly DSCC.

    In 2010, some of the big voices on Blue Oregon can right that wrong by turning this into a platform that tells Ron Wyden either he abandons his industry-friendly plan to support a single-payer plan or a solution with a genuine public-plan option that is allowed to use it's fair advantages to out-compete the private health insurance industry for the good of the people, or that Blue Oregon will challenge the Democratic Party and Wyden by getting behind a Democratic challenger who will. (Even though I'm not Novick's biggest fan, the prospect of Wyden making amends for his offense against Oregonians on the strength of the health care issue, not too mention the message it would send to Merkley about his re-election chances if he doesn't make amends for his sins and get on board, is too important to ignore.)

  • Throw the bums out (unverified)
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    Part of this bears further emphasis:

    it would be economically ruinous to the country to provide the level of benefits you advocate here in a system that would compel all Americans to buy health insurance from the profit-driven, exploitive private health insurance industry

    And patently abusive to core founding values of our country and what the Democratic Party at least once stood for.

  • StephanAndrewBrodheadForCongress (unverified)
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    <h2>From Brodhead's factually incorrect website: Our current private sector health care insurers have the expertise, intellecual capital, infrastructure, and means to create a better health care system for 90 percent of the population without government interference.</h2>

    You really do not understand any of what you are talking about. True socialized medicine would entail an employee based health care system where every doctor, nurse and intern would work for the government. This would be something like 1950s Soviet style communism. Germany uses a consortium of non profit insurers etc.

    My plan keeps 90 percent of health Care in the private sector (where it belongs) and eliminating Medicare. 10 percent of our health care would be targeted at seniors in the form of an employee based system.

    Do the math! Where will 2.5 citizens come up with the money to pay for 1 person on full ride entitlements, Obama/Wu style big government, health care that will consume 32 percent of GDP, state government etc. So where is your value adding plan?

    Are people in America supposed to work for peanuts? Is a doctor supposed to go to 20 years of school just to work in a communist style health care system. Obama is thinking about expanding Medicare to cover more Americans. He just wants money to bail out the 4 trillion he has spent.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxIOScgO-W0

  • The Charm Quark (unverified)
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    Well argued, George and Throw! It's amazing that the basic facts are so obscured. When the government supports a basic definition of basic rights, the corporates that try to run roughshod get prosecuted as criminals. Here we call that anti-business. In constantly catering to business, they have created an environment where business, even legit ones, are universally despised. It doesn't work at either end of the horse.

    Actually, she used "parse" right. Take it literally and re-read the statement. Check out Kristin and Todd's posts on Family Leave. A very good example of "parsing an issue to its LCD". Used to be called banal, pandering, talk, but I think parsed to the LCD sounds much better.

    You must be progressive to think there's substance to be debated! It's the new physics. Mass is communicated through the spin force. Some graduate jouralism faculty have begun sharing personnel with the food science folks. Both are concerned with removing as much fat as possible, while retaining all the taste. The days when Journ was "chewing the fat" are long gone. Now we swish the pricey whine around in our mouths, savour the bouquet, and spit it out. Puritan morality says it's better to spit than swallow.

    As Carla approachs her anniversary with the blog, perhaps that's good advice. Try to swallow more and spit less.

  • StephanAndrewBrodheadForCongress (unverified)
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    Does this look familiar? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5oRTAcONMU

  • Steve (unverified)
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    "high-quality, affordable, portable, universal, comprehensive, nondiscriminatory private insurance model that Senator Ron Wyden has proposed."

    Great - If you like rationed health care and doctors with quotas like Canada.

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    Carla - frankly if you want to know why the debate reduces (not "parses", you are using that word incorrectly --- look it up), you, Kari and blogs like Blue Oregon in fact bear the largest part of the blame in a blue state like Oregon.

    Hmmm..I don't think I am. It's an analysis of the language being used by Mapes, looking at it's components. I believe that fits the definition.

    It's actually people like you, Kari, and blogs like Blue Oregon who have not put the fear of God in corporate tools like Wyden, Merkley and most of the Oregon Democratic delegation that they will not be re-elected unless they either support a public, single-payer system or a system that includes a public-plan option is allowed to fairly compete against the enormously unfair advantages given to the private health insurance industry who are to blame.

    Is something keeping you from this "fear of God" thing? Or is it just easier to try to bully those with a perceived bully pulpit?

    Single-payer, as far as I can tell, won't pass at the federal level. There's too much opposition from too many quarters. Rather than bellowing about a health care system that can't pass right now, the appropriate thing to do is get passed the reforms we can..and work toward single payer.

    Some will recall pure politician Merkley said in this last election he was fine with the idea of a single-payer plan. He just for sure wasn't going to do anything to bring one about as he adopted the Wyden plan as his plan AND made criticism of Novick for supporting a single-payer plan one of the key themes in his hypocritical attack campaign. Of course that was part the cost of gaining the support of Wyden and the industry-friendly DSCC.

    So that's what you're going with, eh? Quite a revisionist setup you've got there.

    In 2010, some of the big voices on Blue Oregon can right that wrong by turning this into a platform that tells Ron Wyden either he abandons his industry-friendly plan to support a single-payer plan or a solution with a genuine public-plan option that is allowed to use it's fair advantages to out-compete the private health insurance industry for the good of the people, or that Blue Oregon will challenge the Democratic Party and Wyden by getting behind a Democratic challenger who will. (Even though I'm not Novick's biggest fan, the prospect of Wyden making amends for his offense against Oregonians on the strength of the health care issue, not too mention the message it would send to Merkley about his re-election chances if he doesn't make amends for his sins and get on board, is too important to ignore.)

    When you went to Wyden's town halls and asked him why he wasn't pushing single payer..what did he say to you, exactly?

  • Johnmayer (unverified)
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    Are you uninsured in America? You should check out the website http://UninsuredAmerica.blogspot.com - John Mayer, California

  • StephanAndrewBrodheadForCongress (unverified)
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    Blue Cross And Blue Shield Association Statement: Covering The Uninsured Is A Top Healthcare Priority Statement from Scott P. Serota, President and CEO Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association

    Printer Friendly Send to friend

    March 27, 2009

    Contact: Brett Lieberman (Media Inquiries Only) 202.626.8625

    In recognition of Cover the Uninsured Week, March 22-March 28, Scott P. Serota, president and chief executive officer of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), issued the following statement:

    "The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association strongly believes everyone should have health insurance and we must do more to expand coverage to the 45 million Americans without healthcare coverage. Now is the time to act. We understand what is at stake for our country and want to help craft solutions that work for all sectors of our economy, including the private sector.

    "BCBSA's 'Pathway to Covering America' proposal is a comprehensive plan to expand access to all by building on the employer-based system while also addressing initiatives to improve quality and lower costs – the two go hand-in-hand as part of any solution. Using comparative effectiveness research to know which treatments work best, changing incentives in the delivery system to reward quality, focusing on prevention and wellness, and public-private coverage solutions are also critical components of our 'Pathway' plan to change healthcare delivery.

    "An individual mandate requiring every American to have insurance coverage and requiring insurers to accept everyone regardless of their health status is a critical component of meaningful reform. Coupling these requirements would enable insurers to offer coverage to everyone regardless of their health status – without the unintended consequences of premium increases. With everyone covered through an effective individual mandate, and subsidies for those who need help affording coverage, insurance can function as intended and spread the risk over a broad and representative population and, thereby, avoid the risk of only those who need insurance purchasing coverage.

    "Our 'Pathway' proposal mirrors many of the president's priorities and we look forward to working with the administration, Congress and key stakeholders to advance health reform. We're optimistic that together we can address some of the challenges that for far too long have made coverage unaffordable for far too many."

    To learn more about BCBSA's comprehensive 5-point reform plan – "The Pathway to Covering America" visit www.bcbs.com/pathwayreport. More information about Cover the Uninsured Week may be found at http://covertheuninsured.org/.

    The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 39 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 102 million individuals - one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit www.BCBS.com.

  • Throw the bums out (unverified)
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    The incorrect quibbles over "parse" is so representative if the thinking not going on here:

    You "parse" a singular object into parts. "Lowest common denominator" is a mathematical object for an attribute, not a part, of a non-singular collection of two or more objects. You can't "parse" something into attributes, you "parse" something into parts. Put another away, the LCD is a part of each of the objects in the collection, but it is not a part of the collection. For those unlike "The Charm Quark" who actually care to learn something, this is what Russell and the whole field he created formalizes in theory of types.

    Single-payer, as far as I can tell, won't pass at the federal level. There's too much opposition from too many quarters.

    The most destructive opposition is from selfish, self-interested Democrats like Wyden and Merkley who can depend on talking-point spouters who run cover for them rather than in fact telling them to take a hike. Use this platform to oppose Wyden and you'll accomplish far more to fix the health care problem then you'll ever accomplish with your self-indulgent opposition to Smith or any Republican.

    Some will recall pure politician Merkley said in this last election he was fine with the idea of a single-payer plan. He just for sure wasn't going to do anything to bring one about as he adopted the Wyden plan as his plan AND made criticism of Novick for supporting a single-payer plan one of the key themes in his hypocritical attack campaign. Of course that was part the cost of gaining the support of Wyden and the industry-friendly DSCC.

    So that's what you're going with, eh? Quite a revisionist setup you've got there.

    You betcha. Everyone should take note Carla had answer to each of the five points:

    1) Merkley said he was fine with single-payer 2) Despite quite public requests by single-payer health care advocates, his sole action was to publicly announce that he was signing on to Wyden's plan as his platform. 3) Health care was one of the primary issues in the 2008 Democratic primary and Merkley did aggressively criticize Novick for Novick's campaign pledge he would sponsor single-payer legislation if elected. 4) Merkley did run a negative campaign in which he had the cowardly audacity to aggressively argue voters should reject Novick because he criticized Democrats who back-stabbed their base. 5) Merkley was completely dependent on former DSCC'er Wyden and the rest of Schumer's DSCC faction of the Democratic Party, who just happen to be very popular with corporate donors who oppose health care reforms that would get private insurance out of the game, to run his overwhelmingly primary and general election media campaigns.

    Carla's got nothing except the tactics of Limbaugh, Malkin, Coulter, and Beck. Peas in a pod, they are.

    When you went to Wyden's town halls and asked him why he wasn't pushing single payer..what did he say to you, exactly?

    Didn't need to go to the town hall, had plenty of contact with his staff on the issue over the last several years. His answer, like Dick Cheney, is F-off. People can just visit his website: The fact is that Wyden has decided to join with Republican who oppose not only single-payer, but ANY public-plan option, rather than joining even those Democrats who support Obama's quickly disappearing plan that prominently featured a public-plan.

    Those are the facts, Carla, Kari, Ron, and Jeff just don't want you to pay attention to them.

    Brodhead, look you nitwit: No one here, not even single-payer advocates, are arguing for whatever you in your pathetic fog thinks true socialized medicine is. Even under HR-676, Conyer's Medicare-for-All plan which probably drives you into foaming-at-the-mouth fits, health care providers remain the private businesses they are now. You also clearly don't understand the distinction between health INSURANCE providers and health CARE providers.

    What makes you the pathetic butt of the joke is that you ought to love Wyden's plan: It's totally based on private insurance and private providers just like yours AND he proposes to get rid of all government plans. Well, except for Medicare (and the VA which I think you propose to retain), which he preserves because he desperately needs and wants the votes of the over-65 population.

    Everybody else should take note that Brodhead, Wyden, Merkley, Axtman, and Chisholm are lined up on the same side of the issue against most of the Democratic Party base.

  • StephanAndrewBrodheadForCongress (unverified)
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    Throw,

    great energy level. OK one more time: how are 2.5 people going to pay for 1 recipient on fullride entitlements, as well as, Obama/Wu style big government taxation, along with Oregon state tax, and personal living expenses.

    Medicare medical expenses inflate at 10 percent a year. The 72 rule tells us that Medicare costs will double in 7.2 years. Medicare is around $450 billion a year. In 7 years it will be $900 billion for 45 million seniors. 5 million baby boomers become eligible for Medicare every year for the next two decades. Medicare recipients will approach 75 million. Costs will almost double again from $900 billion to over $1.7 Trillion in 7 years.

    The same thing will happen with Social security and Medicaid.

    Then Obama/Wu government will grow from $4.1 trillion per $3.55 trillion plus omnibus extension $410 billion) year to lets say $7.2 trillion by 2016. Ok thats $9 trillion in government and entitlements. Then add 15 percent of GDP for state expenses. The GDP will stagnate do to 5 million baby boomers leaving the work force with wretched 401 Ks etc. So instead of the GDP adding a trillion a year for 7 years the GDP stagnates or retracts every year. The GDP only grows to 17 trillion. Then we subtract 32 percent of GDP for Health Care. 7 Trillion for Government. 15 percent of GDP for state expenses etc. Now how much do we have left? All this will have to be paid for by a globalized workforce.

    Medicare is to corrupt to keep around.

    I expect you just want free health care! Let small business or the rich pay for your health care.

    Oh and what about the rampant obesity in children, they make up 30 percent of our future labor force. They will have hyper tension, Diabetes, strokes, and all manner of Health problems. Then add in the 1 in 4 smokers with lungs coated with carcinogens, do they deserve free health care?

    Your answer is Single payer?

    You havent even scratched the surface on what our Health care system will have to absorb and endure?

    The only answers you have are in the form of a complaint!

  • StephanAndrewBrodheadForCongress (unverified)
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    Oh and Throw dude,

    I am a Republican!

    I dont think most Democrats support Old Soviet style Health Care like you seem to support Comrade!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp8ZmQMCtqA

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    It's not so hard to afford a single payer system where we remove the for-profit insurance companies.

    Right now, a good chunk of what we all pay in premiums and such goes to overhead and profit. Remove the profit and reduce the overhead to less than 5% and you have a lot more money to spend on care.

    Right now, people go to the ER for health care because they can't afford to see a doctor who asks for payment up front. This means a $45-60 office visit for a cold ends up costing over $1,000. Give people the ability to visit the doctor's instead of the ER, and you have a lot more money to spend on care.

    Right now, many people don't go to the doctor until their condition is so bad that they have to. Give people a system where they can go to the doctor's for routine check-ups, when they first feel that pain in their abdomen, etc. and we can catch major illnesses faster and treat them when it is cheaper and easier on the patient. Do this, and you have a lot more money to spend on care.

    Under the plan that Gov. Howard Dean was advocating in 2003, we could have had the great benefits that Congress gets for less than our premiums we pay on our health insurance now. And that was compared to just the portion we pay ourselves - not the portion covered by our employer. We also wouldn't have $30 a visit copays for visits to our doctor (not a specialist - just the regular ole doctor).

    You make the system affordable through reducing costs of care, removing profit from insurance plans, and limiting overhead costs. Doing so makes the system affordable, gets more people routine care, leaves the ER for actual emergencies, etc.

    And no, the doctors, nurses, etc. would not be "working for the government." They'd be working for the same medical practice, hospital, etc. they are now. They would just receive their payments via the government instead of dozens of medical plans or from the patients. This means less cost of doing business for medical officers as well.

    It's not as if we're the first to do this - we're the last. And if we want our businesses to be able to compete in a global market, we need a system similar to what their competition has in other countries.

  • StephanAndrewBrodheadForCongress (unverified)
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    Jenni,

    This includes Tort reform, malpractice insurance, malpractice awards, online software, reducing illegal immigration, insurance across state lines, tax incentives, HSAs etc. banning fat merchant foods in schools, mandatory hypertension screenings, no smoking, excercise, eating well, reduced environmental causes, clean water, clean air, clean food, no pesticides, no fossil fuel, etc. etc etc................

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)
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    It has always surprised me that the business community isn't more in favor of a national, single payer health plan that would relieve them of the cost of providing insurance. As noted above it's a cost companies in all the other civilized countries don't have to bear.

    As far as some of the points 'bonhead' has tried to make......... private insurance is more costly to provide than single payer. Overhead reaches 30% with the private plans. Medicare 3%. As far as the money goes; we will have to spend money on either system, but under the universal single payer plan we cover everybody and will get more actual healthcare for our dollars.

    The money gets spent one way or the other...... I can't count the times have I seen someone come in to the ER where I work with a stroke, diabetic or hypertension problem costing the system hundreds of thousands of dollars that could of been prevented if only they could of qualified for or had some simple form of affordable health insurance that could of gotten them the medications they needed to prevent their health disasters.

  • (Show?)

    You "parse" a singular object into parts. "Lowest common denominator" is a mathematical object for an attribute, not a part, of a non-singular collection of two or more objects. You can't "parse" something into attributes, you "parse" something into parts. Put another away, the LCD is a part of each of the objects in the collection, but it is not a part of the collection. For those unlike "The Charm Quark" who actually care to learn something, this is what Russell and the whole field he created formalizes in theory of types.

    No..actually you parse language, specifically sentences or paragraphs, which in fact have grammatical attributes.

    But in this case I was being metaphorical. Insurance companies have not literally "wrought potholes" on us, either.

    And yes, this is stupid.

    The most destructive opposition is from selfish, self-interested Democrats like Wyden and Merkley who can depend on talking-point spouters who run cover for them rather than in fact telling them to take a hike. Use this platform to oppose Wyden and you'll accomplish far more to fix the health care problem then you'll ever accomplish with your self-indulgent opposition to Smith or any Republican.

    From where I sit the most destructive, self-indulgent opposition are those who demand something be pushed which causes a backlash severe to the point that nothing is accomplished but a fight. Or worse, momentum in the opposite direction. I have no problem opposing Wyden when I see a reason. On this one, I don't. Ezra Klein (the foremost progressive health care blogger that I know) agrees with me.

    1) Merkley said he was fine with single-payer 2) Despite quite public requests by single-payer health care advocates, his sole action was to publicly announce that he was signing on to Wyden's plan as his platform. 3) Health care was one of the primary issues in the 2008 Democratic primary and Merkley did aggressively criticize Novick for Novick's campaign pledge he would sponsor single-payer legislation if elected. 4) Merkley did run a negative campaign in which he had the cowardly audacity to aggressively argue voters should reject Novick because he criticized Democrats who back-stabbed their base. 5) Merkley was completely dependent on former DSCC'er Wyden and the rest of Schumer's DSCC faction of the Democratic Party, who just happen to be very popular with corporate donors who oppose health care reforms that would get private insurance out of the game, to run his overwhelmingly primary and general election media campaigns.

    I'm sure we're all taking copious notes. I don't have to answer anything. You've built a raft of false premises tied together with invective and bullshit. I don't respond to "the moon is made of green cheese", either. I'm funny like that.

    Didn't need to go to the town hall, had plenty of contact with his staff on the issue over the last several years. His answer, like Dick Cheney, is F-off. People can just visit his website: The fact is that Wyden has decided to join with Republican who oppose not only single-payer, but ANY public-plan option, rather than joining even those Democrats who support Obama's quickly disappearing plan that prominently featured a public-plan.

    Wyden's staff told you to fuck off (or go fuck yourself)? Who told you this, exactly? And why not go to Wyden himself? He holds oodles of town halls..what's stopping you?

    Obama discovered that he can't get single-payer passed now. The man isn't stupid. He recognizes that it's what we have to work toward, but its not feasible yet.

    Those are the facts, Carla, Kari, Ron, and Jeff just don't want you to pay attention to them.

    While I appreciate you putting me in the same sentence with a couple of US Senators...I don't have that kind of juice. But its nice you think so. :)

    As for the rest of your charming comment, I never had much use for toddlers who stamp their feet in the checkout line or bullies on the playground. Your comments smack of both.

  • tom t. (unverified)
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    Throw the Bums Out, here's a few questions:

    1) how do you propose we get the House and Senate to pass single payer? Doesn't it require 60 votes in the Senate? I have been told that the Democratic caucus in the House is "not there" on public option, let alone single-payer. As Wyden and Merkley are liberals by Senate standards, how will you convince Nelson, Nelson, Lincoln, Pryor, Bayh, Lieberman, Levin, Landrieu, Baucus, and the other conservative Democratic senators?

    2) if single-payer is not attainable this Congress, should we wait to fight for universal health care until you succeed in throwing out all of the members of Congress you disagree with and we get a single-payer majority in both houses of Congress?

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Carla, maybe you could take a closer look at the issue, the lightneing rod is, of course, that public sector employees and managers do not "feel the pain" of the obscene rises in health care insurance costs like the private sector does. That is not the answer, but it is one answer to a very, very complicated problem.

    Government negotiators bargain in good faith with public employee unions for excellent, no to low cost coverage. The public employee unions bargain in good faith also. The only persons left out of the good faith bargaining are those that actually pay the bills. that would be the taxpayer. If our elected representatives had to actually pay out $500 - $800 each month from their paychecks BEFORE the $1,000 deductible, endless co-pays and $5,000 out of pocket maximum then perhaps they would be the pig at breakfast instead of the chicken. Right now they are "involved" but not "committed".

    What got us into this health care insurance as tied to the person's employment mess to begin with? There are several culprits, most unwitting:

    FDR - Yep, that's right. FDR's wage and price controls coming out of the Depression and entering WWII placed central planning control over much of the ability to raise wages. However, Kaiser Shipyards found out that they could offer health insurance (then a very low cost) to employees and give them that in lieu of raises. Here we are almost 70 years later with costs that now can easily amount o over 12% of a company or government agency payroll.

    Pharma - yep, they are all tied up with huge profits. Of course how much goes into R&D for failed products that never make it to market? How much goes into twisting the formula ever so slightly (Allegra D ring a bell?) in order to maintain trademark priveldges well beyond 12 years and stave off those dreaded generics? Also, why is it those companies can spend BILLIONS on marketing? Any company annual run on the top 10 precription medications used by their insured will closely correspond to the national top 10 list for prescription drug marketing costs. You wouldn't generally go to your auto repair shop and tell the mechanic, "I want the newest left handed framus from National Car Repair Consortium to fix the funny noise." No but medical consumers regularly tell their caregiver what they want to fix what they percieve as the problem.

    Life Style Drugs - Yep, can anyone spend an hour on TV, reading a magazine or newspaper the old fashioned way and not be assaulted by ads for presecription drugs for virility, putting off menapause, skin discoloration, toe fungus, minor allegies, etc? Yet we, the medical consuming public lap it up. after all, the "insurance company" pays for most of it. Of course everyone forgets this once the annual rates go up at 2-3 times the rate of inflation.

    Our Lifestyle - Most medical consumers drink too much, eat the wrong foods, are entirely to lethargic, get little or no exercise, ignore hypetension, diabetes and other concerns. Some even actively engage in very risky activities such as smoking, multiple sexual partners without protection and swap needles. We treat our vehicles better than we do our bodies. Then after decades of abuse, as we begin to show the signs we show up at the medical institutions doors and say - FIX ME! and damn the cost. It is statistically valid that almost 90% of a persons total healthcare expense is spent in the last 10% of their lifetime. And we expect, no DEMAND 100% results.

    Malpractice and lawsuits - The legal system also comes in for their share of the blame. Go back to the TV or the printed media. Can you count the blatant advertising for some class action lawsuit or another? Why can't some bad things just be chance? Whay does it always have to be somebody else's fault and the injured party (and their attorney) deserve a payout with several zero's and commas? Of course there are genuine malpractice cases out there and in those cases compensation is the only recourse, but it has gone way out of hand.

    For Profit Healthcare - Since we are a capitalist society, the profit motive drives the insurance company, the hospital, the corner healthcare office. What is reasonable and wht is not is left to the consumer - but wait we don't even know the true costs or the true benefits. How can we be "good consumers" when we aren't given the REAL data regarding cost to us and the insurance company? Don't think that because you go to Providence, or some other not-for-profit or Non-profit provider that they aren't in it for a buck. All providers have budgets, boards and people to answer to regarding costs.

    Unreimbursed care - Most providers account and budget for unreimbursed care. Those costs are passed on to those with insurance and the ability to pay. In the most Orwellian outcome, it is actually the person without healthcare coverage, but the ability to pay who pays the highest cost for coverage. Try to go to any provider without coverage and ask them what their best contracted rate is for a procedure. tell them you have no insurance but will pay that contracted rate. They won't tell you the discounted cost.

    I could go on and have already lost most of you. But the problem is multi-faceted. the fix is not one magic twang with the wand of single payer healthcare. Maybe it is a start, but not the panacea some believe.

  • Throws the bums out (unverified)
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    tom t is a perfect example of that person who needs to look in the mirror. His comment is propaganda masquerading as a question:

    1) how do you propose we get the House and Senate to pass single payer? Doesn't it require 60 votes in the Senate? I have been told that the Democratic caucus in the House is "not there" on public option, let alone single-payer. As Wyden and Merkley are liberals by Senate standards, how will you convince Nelson, Nelson, Lincoln, Pryor, Bayh, Lieberman, Levin, Landrieu, Baucus, and the other conservative Democratic senators?

    First, if the Democrats choose, it actually takes 51 votes: For sure health care is as important to the very future of our country as any judicial confirmation, this is the issue for which the Democrats need to blow away the filibuster rules. And they can do that with 51 votes.

    Second, the reason they are not there is because you have states that have the ability and responsibility to put them there by replacing weak, self-serving, industry tools like Cantwell, Murray, Merkley, and Wyden with strong, "for the people before the industry" true Democratic leaders who will put strong pressure on some of the others tom t cites by going into their states and affecting political cmapaigns like the industry and DSCC did for one of theirs in Merkley's campaign.

    And of course, in his point 2) we see the chief reason people like tom t., like Carla and Kari, are actually the biggest problem in the debate: His tactic of making a smug reductionist argument to mislead people as to what was actually said previously. There is no argument in what I've said FOR single-payer. The argument is AGAINST the pillaging of working people by Democratics like Cantwell, Murray, Merkley and Wyden who share Brodhead's position who defend and advocate for privatization of health insurance to the maximum extent possible. In fact, it appears Cantwell, Merkley, and Wyden are more extreme right-wing on this then even Brodhead because they embrace what is in fact properly labeled a "fascist" solution that the state should compell people to buy from the private insurance industry.

    The argument was FOR the process how we can stop this outrage. Those who argue for the people are saying we first cannot settle for anything less in this first reform cycle than a public-plan option that removes the immoral unfair advantage the private health insurance industry has in the marketplace right now. As our own Rep. DeFazio has been a lone voice in the wilderness trying to point out, that includes the anti-trust exemption the industry has to collude against people. The practical value for the industry of that exemption would be institutionalized in a private-insurance only system in which officials like Cantwell, Merkley, and Wyden believe the government should require the people to enrich.

    Those who argue for the people are also saying that the most important political step we can do to fight that starting this 2010 election cycle is to support Democratic challengers who actually represent Democratic Party ideals of standing up for working people against the greedy power interests with whom too many Democratic incumbents actually side with against the people.

    We can see just how far apart those who argue like Axtman, Chisholm, Cantwell, Merkley and Wyden, and who attempt to misappropriate the label "progressive" for their own ends, really are from the progressive movement for health care reform in the interest of working people. Amusingly, Brodhead has helped us see that by also showing us how much their position has in common with the "privatize-it-all" right. At least Brodhead has the integrity to be honest and open about the essence of his position.

    Brodhead, I have one question about your plan: Do you support retention of the VA system in it's current form? I unequivocally do as it's my perception the vast majority of veterans in this country do (they would support improvements in the quality of service as I do too, of course.) Are you aware the VA system is the sole example of true and pure socialized medicine in the US? The doctors are government employees and the health care provider entities are wholly government owned (I'm not 100% sure if every building VA services might be delivered in are). Of course that makes the VA and Medicare the only true single-payer systems in the US also.

    If Carla and Kari actually wanted to move the debate for the people, Blue Oregon would join Hamsher and the Accountability Now 2010 project to support a Democratic challenger against Wyden and members of the Oregon House delegation who do not support a true public plan option for all with benefits equal to those in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (which is a private insurance plan BTW).

  • dartagnan (unverified)
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    Medicare medical expenses inflate at 10 percent a year. The 72 rule tells us that Medicare costs will double in 7.2 years. Medicare is around $450 billion a year. In 7 years it will be $900 billion for 45 million seniors. 5 million baby boomers become eligible for Medicare every year for the next two decades. Medicare recipients will approach 75 million. Costs will almost double again from $900 billion to over $1.7 Trillion in 7 years.

    This is not proof that we need to throw out Medicare. It is proof that we need to bring medical costs under control. Americans spend more on "health care" and get less health than any other developed nation. The reason is a system in which every player -- insurance companies, drug companies, hospitals, labs, doctors -- is single-mindedly focused on wringing out the maximum possible profit.

  • Throw the bums out (unverified)
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    Obama discovered that he can't get single-payer passed now. The man isn't stupid. He recognizes that it's what we have to work toward, but its not feasible yet.

    Carla, Obama never supported a single-payer plan. He campaigned on a plan that allowed those who like what they have now to keep what they have, and to create a plan that had benefits equivalent to those of the FEHBP (a private plan) for those anyone who would like that. He would not say whether that plan should be public or private. In addition he campaigned against a mandate that everyone must buy insurance. In short, he campaigned against key features of what Cantwell, Merkley, Wyden and at least Chisholm advocates, was passively against the position of single-payer advocates, AND in essence refused to speak to those who advocate a public-plan option and wanted to know whether there was any substance to his flowery rhetoric.

    So those who think Obama is on the corporate-right fringe of the Democratic Party because of his health care position should have a pretty clear picture of just how far out of the Democratic sphere NW Democrats like Cantwell, Merkley, and Wyden really are. And why Blue Oregon if it is not just a liar in it's claim to be "progressive" should be working hard to replace Wyden in 2010 with a Democrat.

    And by the way Carla:

    No..actually you parse language, specifically sentences or paragraphs, which in fact have grammatical attributes.

    You parse sentences and paragraphs, collections of words, into parts, i.e. subcollections of words. Those parts have labels, like e.g. noun, verb, to name them. You don't parse sentences into labels. Those labels are attributes of a piece with the LCD because the labels are not IN the subcollections of words, they are names --- instances of "name" types --- FOR those subcollections. Now, one can use the word "attribute" in a different sense, more or less as a synonym for a part in a particular category, but the LCD is not an attribute in that usage for the reasons explained earlier.

    But in this case I was being metaphorical.

    No, you weren't. Your headline sentence is not a metaphor because it is not semantically coherent, metaphors work precisely because they are semantically coherent but not literal. You might have just been making an attempt at being "rhetorical", but your headline sentence is just gibberish. You were just idly toying with language to try to achieve some propagandistic effect, like most of what one sees here on Blue Oregon.

    Kurt - Oregon has never had a problem with malpractice claim. There just is not record here of outrageous awards or favorable juries. It has been targeted by rightwing tort reformers and insurance industries largely because they know the kind of bluish people who think they are so smart are actually very passive and kind of stupid, easily misled. Malpractice rates here are high because we have such poor insurance regulation and the same bluish people are too navel-gazing stupid and lazy to actually demand quality insurance regulation. Interesting fact from my friends in the legal biz I haven't confirmed but I have read cited myself: Jury awards tend to be higher in states with caps because of human nature is such the juries tend to just award the maximum, perhaps because they figure they don't really have the power to render justice threw the amount of the award.

    The costs of successful malpractice suits simply is not a factor in rising health care costs despite what some of the same betraying Democrats who favor a private health insurance industry tell you: Malpractice INSURANCE costs are because of poor regulation and the lack of quality, sensible regulatory legislation due to the group of Democratic and Republican legislators who don't work for the people against the industry. That should give everyone a hint about what lies ahead in the kind of private-insurance based system Cantwell, Merkley, and Wyden and the rest who are not working first and foremost for a public plan want.

    In exchange for a public plan, I'd support a public malpractice plan for doctors with no caps. Every juror then would have a financial and moral stake in deciding awards and no person who has been actually damaged by malpractice would have to fear whether they would have high quality health care for the rest of their life. Think Democratic and Republican private insurance industry proponents would get behind that?

  • StephanAndrewBrodheadForCongress (unverified)
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    unrepentent rude liberal fool,

    As far as some of the points 'bonhead' has tried to make......... private insurance is more costly to provide than single payer. Overhead reaches 30% with the private plans. Medicare 3%. As far as the money goes; we will have to spend money on either system, but under the universal single payer plan we cover everybody and will get more actual healthcare for our dollars.

    Your numbers are not correct. I was called "Bonehead" in 3rd grade! Are you a 3rd grader or just a punk?

    Medicare costs are from between $5,000 per year and upwards of $11,000 depending on area of country. Its a public ripoff. Corruption costs and dual administrative paper costs are 30 percent. Doctors want more than what medicare will provide.

    Obama wants to expand Medicare coverage so he can use the money to pay his 2 trillion dollar deficit, because social security will be empty in a couple of years. Social Security and Medicare will be paid at a 2.5 to 1 ratio off of the taxpayer.

    Ther federal government is broke.

    Obama is a fool.

  • tom t. (unverified)
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    I was asking a sincere question or two, Throw the Bums Out, to which you obviously have no answers. Since you have no answers, only wild accusations, I'm not going to pay any further attention to you.

    Since you want to throw most of the Democratic office-holders out of office, why don't you run? Then I will pay attention to you again . . .and chuckle at your beatdown.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Kurt Chapman:

    FDR's wage and price controls coming out of the Depression and entering WWII placed central planning control over much of the ability to raise wages. However, Kaiser Shipyards found out that they could offer health insurance (then a very low cost) to employees and give them that in lieu of raises.

    Bob T:

    I believe it was more of a WWII-related law that prevented employers from luring workers away from other firms by offerring higher pay (the gov't was "afraid" that too many people changing jobs in the midst of a B-17 production run or a battleship order would diminish overall production skills at the job site), with health-care benefits used as an alternative to higher pay. The mistake the government made later was in encouraging this system, giving us the mess we have now. But then, government loves messes.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Greg D. (unverified)
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    Perhaps we should give the Repub / Lars / Rush health plan a try. Drop the unreasonable government regulations that require hospital emergency rooms to provide free care. Drop government subsidized childhood nutrition and immunization programs. Drop Medicaid. Drop Medicare. Sooner or later (I believe the Repubs would hope sooner), the poor, the elderly, and those not able to afford $1500 per month Blue Cross coverage and their uninsured friends and family will die off, thus greatly improving the average level of health in the USA (not to mention reducing the unemployment rate!). Once we are rid of the 45 million uninsured, my Repub friends can look around the remaining population of the US and make some quick calculations as to who else deserves to die (err, I mean who else should not have access to any health care without paying cash up front). Within a decade or two, my Repub friends will no doubt expect our country will consist mainly of healthy young people, gloriously dedicated to the task of generating more and more profits for themselves and their corporate masters.

  • David from Eugene (unverified)
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    Kurt The Kaiser Shipyards did not provide Health Insurance they provided Health Care. The health care delivery system Henry Kaiser set up still exists. It is the Kaiser Permanente System.

  • David from Eugene (unverified)
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    Part of the problem with this entire argument, both here and elsewhere is that Health Insurance and Health Care are being confused, that a national single payer health insurance is being confused with a national health care system and that a national system is a free system. As long as this confusion continues to exist this discussion will not get anywhere productive.

  • Bill Holmer (unverified)
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    The #1 problem with health care in America is the result of a conspiracy among the doctors, hospitals, drug manufacturers, insurance companies, and government, to conceal the cost of health care from the patients.

    Example: I recently received a call from my internist's office, telling me it was time for my every 5 year colonoscopy. Since I carry a large deductible, it will be largely out-of-pocket. When I asked how much it would cost, the answer was "I wouldn't know that." What other industry makes recommendations to its customers without a clue or a care about the expense?

    Example #2: My daughter was recently diagnosed with Lyme Disease and has one of the nasty co-infections that requires 4 months of medicine that runs $300 per week. Being the responsible type, she has insurance that "reduces" the cost to $135 per week. She's currently unemployed, having just dropped out of graduate school. She tried to sign up for the Oregon Health Plan, which would reduce the cost of her medicine to $3 per week, but was told she wasn't eligible because she had insurance!

    Example #3: My 91 year old father was recently hospitalized with 2 broken vertibrae. The hospital recommended a procedure using the equivalent of surgical "super-glue." However, when the hospital found out that the insurance (which is run by the same entity that owns the hospital) wouldn't pay the bill, they changed their recommendation and decided to let the vertibrae heal on its own. He was never told what the cost would be if he wanted to pay for it himself.

    Example #4 - My 89-year old mother was diagnosed 2 years ago with pancreatic cancer and her diagnosis was that she had less than six months to live, which made her eligible for hospice care. Fortunately, the diagnosis was incorrect, but Medicare (i.e., you and me) still paid $150 a day for twice a week hospice visits for six months, which were totally unnecessary. She was never asked if she wanted to discontinue the hospice care.

    Unless and until we have a health care system that includes patients in the cost/benefit analysis of alternative treatments, we will continue to have a bloated, inefficient healthcare delivery system. All of the single-payer, universal coverage proposals fail miserably in this regard.

  • Greg D. (unverified)
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    The idea of using a cost-benefit analysis to determine who gets health care and who does not fits nicely into my Repub / Lars / Rush model. Kind of like veterinary care is now. If your dog gets sick, you decide whether to have him cared for, or whether he gets the "final injection" based upon various factors, including but not limited to your financial ability to pay for expensive vet care. Maybe my hunting dog is worth that $2000 hip surgery, but maybe my wife's cat is not. The dog retrieves lots of ducks, the cat is not carrying his weight on mouse control.

    Putting down "Old Yeller" is a difficult decision but a decision that is made by thousands of people who can't afford the alternative. However, I know very few people - even among my many Repub friends - who are willing to make that decision re: family members, even if the "cost benefit analysis" of providing care to your elderly mother does not pencil out.

    What the hell kind of country forces people to talk about this stuff. Yikes.

  • Bill Holmer (unverified)
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    What the hell kind of country forces people to talk about this stuff?

    Answer: The kind of country that thinks some faceless bureaucrat sitting in some insurance/doctor/government/hospital office should make decisions about health care with information that is not disclosed to the patient.

  • David from Eugene (unverified)
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    What other industry makes recommendations to its customers without a clue or a care about the expense?

  • David from Eugene (unverified)
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    Bill Holmer

    “What other industry makes recommendations to its customers without a clue or a care about the expense?” What other industry is concerned with the life and death of human beings?

    From the individuals point of view a medical treatment is either needed or not, cost should not be an issue. Only from a national point of view would a cost benefit analysis be a relevant point of discussion. As doctors are dealing with individuals the best treatment not the cost of treatment should be the relevant concern.

    Only in a system where health care is rationed based on ability to pay is cost a factor to individuals.

  • David from Eugene (unverified)
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    Greg D

    People are not animals. We do not put down people because providing medical care is too costly.

    This is not to say that every medical option should be utilized in every case. There is a time to let nature takes its course. Heroic efforts just to keep someone “alive” because it is possible makes no sense, the same efforts made to keep the patent alive long enough for their family to gather to say good by does.

    We as a nation need to have a public discussion regarding end of life care. A discussion where medical costs, religious and moral standards, personal and family choice and quality of life are all part of the discussion.

  • David from Eugene (unverified)
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    Private for-profit Insurance Health Insurance just does not work as a way to pay for health care. The major problem is the for-profit part. As profit is the result of a company’s income being greater then its expenses. The incentive is to maximize income by charging as much as the market can bear while at the same time providing the only the minimum amount of care necessary to avoid government intervention. The system that incentive fosters runs exactly opposite to the needs of the policy holders and the public as a whole. It even impacts those with out coverage, first by increasing the cost of health care for those paying cash, second by providing them an incentive to put off seeking care till the last minute (seeking care makes getting health insurance coverage for the condition difficult to impossible). Cost control systems and different forms and approval processes have raised provider overhead costs.

    And the system is in a death spiral, rising premiums increases the number of uninsured with raise health care delivery costs which in turn raises premiums. The current economic situation is only accelerating the process.

    From where I sit, a mandatory national single payer health insurance system operated by a not-for-profit quasi-governmental body is the best solution for our current crises. It offers a number of advantages (in no particular order)

    1.It makes American Businesses more competitive. 2.It should reduce Automobile, Workman’s Compensation, Malpractice and Liability Insurance premiums. Particularly if long term disability coverage is part of the package.
    3.It would reduce health insurance premiums. Making it possible for more of the population to pay their own way. 4.It would provide access to health care for the currently uninsured. 5. It would reduce health care provider’s front office paper work load. 6.Allow individuals the freedom to choose their own doctor and hospital.
    7.It has a reduced administrative overhead. 8.It would reduce the need for Malpractice suits. 9.It removes the incentive against early risk screening and genetic testing. 10.It provides a strong bargaining position with drug and medical equipment makers. 11.It would provide for a healthier nation by providing timely access to health care and preventive care. 12.It would reduce national health care costs.

    Implementing this system in a fair an equable manner is not simple but it is doable. For example, the pay of those individuals currently receiving health insurance as part of their compensation package would need to be raised to reflect the loss in compensation that a transfer of health insurance premiums from the employer to the employee. This need not be the amount the employer currently pays but could be the amount of the new premium amount. Providers of Automobile, Workman’s Compensation, Malpractice and Liability Insurance no longer burdened with directly paying for the medical care for those covered by their policies should either be required to reduce premiums to reflect their cost reductions or be taxed, the payments going into single-payer system. A provider compensation system needs to be established that compensates the provider for the full cost of providing services. A system would need to be established for the government to pay part or all the premiums for the poor, the indigent, disabled veterans, military retirees, and the elderly (65+). As a sop to the insurance companies the nation should be divided into a number of administrative regions and they be permitted to bid on the contract to provide administrative services for the program. This list is not complete there are undoubtedly other changes or steps that will need to be made to implement the new system but it is doable. This would not be a free system; everyone would pay both a premium and a small per visit charge (5 to 10 dollars). But it would be an affordable system that would provide every one access to medical care.

    There are also several other programs that while not directly related could if implemented favorably impact a single-payer system. Establishing a system of medical schools modeled after the military academy system to train doctors, nurses and other medical technicians. The students receive a free education in return for a multi-year service obligation. Establishing a system of medical clinics, in rural areas, using medical personnel completing their service obligation, to provide health care to underserved areas. Establishing a national disability insurance system, under which an individual who is unable to work because of disease or injury regardless of cause receives a prorated means tested pension and payment of his health insurance premiums for the duration of his disability.

  • (Show?)

    Carla, Obama never supported a single-payer plan.

    Yes he did. But he has consistently rejected doing it without an interim movement.

    You parse sentences and paragraphs, collections of words, into parts, i.e. subcollections of words. Those parts have labels, like e.g. noun, verb, to name them. You don't parse sentences into labels. Those labels are attributes of a piece with the LCD because the labels are not IN the subcollections of words, they are names --- instances of "name" types --- FOR those subcollections. Now, one can use the word "attribute" in a different sense, more or less as a synonym for a part in a particular category, but the LCD is not an attribute in that usage for the reasons explained earlier.

    You're pissing up a rope, man. I've already explained why you're wrong. You don't agree.

    No, you weren't. Your headline sentence is not a metaphor because it is not semantically coherent, metaphors work precisely because they are semantically coherent but not literal. You might have just been making an attempt at being "rhetorical", but your headline sentence is just gibberish. You were just idly toying with language to try to achieve some propagandistic effect, like most of what one sees here on Blue Oregon.

    Yet plenty (including you) seem to manage it just fine. Odd that you clearly appear to understand the meaning, but want to bully and distract with feckless and silly diversions.

    (Speaking of which, "propagandistic" is not a word)

    You also still have yet to address the fact that single payer health care won't pass. And is it perfectly okay with you that journalists like Mapes are humping the conversation about health care to that lowest common denominator? Or are you just too confused to talk about it?

    Again...your comments are chock full of toddler-style foot stamping and playground bully tactics. So how about redeeming yourself with some substantive discussion, instead of say, the current incarnations of your commentary?

  • Joe Hill (unverified)
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    You know, for a short period in the USSR during the initial development of computers, Stalin decreed that research would be conducted not on a binary system (ones and zeros) but on a trinary system (zeros, ones, and twos). He was assured by his computer scientists that this would put them ahead of the capitalists. Stalin bought this argument because he wanted to have a computer solution that was invented by the Soviet Union. He couldn't bear to simply copy someone else's solution. That is why, even at the end of the cold war, many crucial components of fighter planes etc. were powered by vacuum tubes.

    <amusing instructive="" anecdote="" off="">

    Stop trying to pretend that we are some unique case that is different from a problem that THE REST OF THE CIVILIZED WORLD IS ALREADY SOLVING.

    In fact is not a particularly baffling problem. The Canadian solution is not perfect but vastly superior to our own. Use Canada as a first draft. Make improvements (and not in the direction of improving access by profit-making enterprises). Incorporate into present Medicare system. Roll out.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    Lets look at a single health insurers income statement:

    Revenue FY08...........80.415 Billion Dollars Cost of services.......61.839 Gross Profit...........18.576 Less: 3% op cost....... 2.413 Money Americans Lost.... $ 16,163,000,000 (Medicare operates @2%)

  • (Show?)

    Mr Bums -- Could you provide a source for your claim up top that Merkley attacked Novick because Nivick supported single payer?

    As I recall, both Jeff and Steve took the same position: that they'd support single payer if possible, but would support Wyden's plan as a strong step forward. If I'm wrong, provide a source.

    You seem to argue that single payer is a realistic option in 2009. To pass it, we need 51 votes (or maybe 60). Can you name just 10 Senators who support single payer?

    You need 51, but I'll take 10. If there's not even 10, then you're living in fantasy land and wasting our time.

    (For the record, I support single payer - but am not willing to deny 43 million people health care while we build support for it.)

  • Greg D. (unverified)
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    Does Wyden's plan provide for private citizens to join Medicare or the Congressional Plan or some comparable govt. operated plan? If so I agree that portability combined with the govt. option is a major step.

    Without a govt. option plan, all we are doing is arguing about which private insurance company is going to screw us, and how portable our screwing will be.

  • (Show?)

    Mr Brodhead -- Since you're running for Congress, and health care us one of the top two domestic issues that voters say they care about... would you mind sharing with us, in just 2-3 paragraphs your understanding of the similarities and differences between the health systems in Canada, Britain, France, and Germany? In general those four very different systems are the models for reformers in this country.

    Show us you're thoughtful on policy, and not merely an ideological blowhard. If you can.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    David from Eugene:

    1.It makes American Businesses more competitive.

    Bob T:

    I get a kick out of this one. Since when do progressives want to help businesses be competitive by reducing their costs? Heck, according to the usual progressive boiler plate bromides, the money "saved" will simply go into the "greedy" owners' pockets and sued for fat bonuses for management. Why is this one different? Maybe you're all admitting that mandated costs on business (beyond requiring that people get paid, and work in a building that won't collapse) do have a negative effect. Gosh, you must have read something about basic economic lately.

    It would also help to repeal laws requiring any medical benefits, would it not? Again, this system should never have been encouraged after WWII.

    David from Eugene:

    4.It would provide access to health care for the currently uninsured.

    Bob T:

    No one gets turned away from emergency care, or forced to pay if they don't have the funds. That's why it costs so much, by the way. But the access is there.

    Besides, this stuff about 43 million or "uninsured" people creates this image of all those people being helpless if they need some care. This is a misleading figure. Most of these people are in the healthiest group (20s-30s), and temporary for many of these. At that age, seems to me that the typical health problems they will face will be work related injuries, and auto-related injuries. The former can be taken care of with Workman's Comp, and the latter using auto insurance by either the injured person or the other driver if it's his fault. Without these examples you have millions of these people going years without anything that needs more than something you can buy in aisle 11 of Safeway.

    David from Eugene:

    1. It would reduce health care provider’s front office paper work load.

    Bob T:

    Much of which the government makes them do. Compliance, compliance, compliance.

    David from Eugene:

    6.Allow individuals the freedom to choose their own doctor and hospital.

    Bob T:

    Until that is changed when we're beyond the point of no return.

    David from Eugene:

    7.It has a reduced administrative overhead.

    Bob T:

    Much related to government compliance requirements.

    David from Eugene:

    8.It would reduce the need for Malpractice suits.

    Bob T:

    Yeah, good luck suing someone with government protection. It'll be worse if all medical people work for the government. Government hates getting sued because it makes people think it has flaws.

    David from Eugene:

    11.It would provide for a healthier nation by providing timely access to health care and preventive care.

    Bob T:

    That's like saying that the Brits all have nice teeth because of their national dental care.

    David from Eugene:

    12.It would reduce national health care costs.

    Bob T:

    So will telling old people to go home to die. That's what goes on in Europe.

    To sum up, I'd like to see a more free enterprise system tried first. No, not the warped system we've had for decades which is erroneously called "free market" health care by people who wouldn't know their rear ends from a hole in the ground. A system in which the AMA/Government partnership is not allowed to limit the number of doctors [1], and where insurance companies are forced to include loads of coverage as minimums w/o consumers getting to choose, and so and and so forth.

    [1] There was a front page article on the USA Today about three or four years ago which covered an AMA report in which that organization (essentially a union for doctors) admitted miscalculating a few decades ago about the number of doctors needed at present. You see, they have this power or authority because the government granted it to them and reinforces it, all under the guise of "helping the people". No, we're not talking about weeding out people who practiced medicine after a correspondence class, but by limiting the number of students in approved schools. But this means that if a bunch of semi-retired, and retired doctors and other personnel decide to open a medical school which will train doctors as qualified as any other from an "approved" school, they can be prevented from operating by the AMA (government). In fact, if they do try, the government will not provide loans as they do to others because to do so will go against the AMA wishes. But so far as I know, a proper role of government would be protecting the right of such doctors to open a school despite AMA objections, so long as graduates meet the minimum training AMA would normally require in their own approved schools.

    But we could always use more doctors, but since we don't it's considered a "market failure" I guess. Odd, too, that there's no shortage of lawyers.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • (Show?)

    No one gets turned away from emergency care, or forced to pay if they don't have the funds. That's why it costs so much, by the way. But the access is there.

    The ER is not health care. When you go in, they only give you a day or two of medicine - enough to hold you until you can get to a doctor's. Unless you have to be hospitalized, they do not treat diseases or illnesses. They do what they can to stabilize you enough to go home. That's it. I've been enough ERs over the years for myself, parents, etc. to know that.

    If it was so easy to just not pay your medical bills, we wouldn't have so many people who file for bankruptcy every day because of medical bills. I spent weeks going downtown and reading the filings, and almost every single one had a ton of medical bills.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Carla, here is another cause of the angst over healthcare. Without adequate attention to this detail all other attempts at meaningful reform will bu shadow boxing.

    Medicare reimbursement is currently below the cost of providing care. Why should a procedure performed in Heaven's Waiting Room (Florida) be reimbursed at a different rate than the same procedure performed in Portland, Seattle, Walla Walla or Burns? Fully 50% of people recieving hospital care are on some form of Medicare. The cost differential is made up by every other health care user in the US system.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
    (Show?)

    A quick PSA

    If you are approaching the age of enter Medicare, be sure you have a primary care doctor. If you move, or have to change doctors after enrolling in Medicare, you might NOT be able to find a new doctor. Virtually NO doctors will accept new patients on Medicare. My mother is going through this and has resigned herself to using the ER if she gets sick.

    What a great country.

  • David from Eugene (unverified)
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    David from Eugene: 1.It makes American Businesses more competitive.

    Bob T: I get a kick out of this one. Since when do progressives want to help businesses be competitive by reducing their costs? Heck, according to the usual progressive boiler plate bromides, the money "saved" will simply go into the "greedy" owners' pockets and sued for fat bonuses for management. Why is this one different? Maybe you're all admitting that mandated costs on business (beyond requiring that people get paid, and work in a building that won't collapse) do have a negative effect. Gosh, you must have read something about basic economic lately. It would also help to repeal laws requiring any medical benefits, would it not? Again, this system should never have been encouraged after WWII.

    Exactly why would having a progressive outlook preclude wanting American business to be more competitive in the global market place? As to your “boiler plate” comment, historically, touted benefits from some actions have failed to trickle down to the common man often enough to provide some merit to the assertion.

    All government regulations have both positive and negative impacts on the regulated business. Some regulations are necessary, like the requirements you cited that workers be paid and the work place be structurally sound, the positive impacts being greater the negative ones. In discussions of this type it is often forgotten that behind most laws and government regulations is some event that indicated a pressing need for them. Panic bars on theater doors are the direct result of a fire in a Chicago theater at the turn of the last century where the patrons died because a locked metal gate prevented them from leaving the theater. When considering the merits of a regulation both the positive and negative aspects need to be considered as well as looking for other ways to accomplish the same end with less negative impacts.

    I am not aware of any laws currently on the books that mandate that employers provide health insurance. The single-payer system I outlined would remove the employer from the system. Using a transitory situation to provide for an on-going need is bad policy, but in the case of employer provided health insurance this poor policy decision was made by the “free market” system and not govern mandate.

    David from Eugene: 5. It would reduce health care provider’s front office paper work load. Bob T: Much of which the government makes them do. Compliance, compliance, compliance.

    Actually most of the paper work comes from the private insurance companies and much of it is different forms and policies designed to accomplish the same end; increase insurance company profits by limiting the service covered.

    David from Eugene: : 8.It would reduce the need for Malpractice suits. Bob T: : Yeah, good luck suing someone with government protection. It'll be worse if all medical people work for the government. Government hates getting sued because it makes people think it has flaws.

    What government protection? Doctors in the private sector have no protection against malpractice suits nor would they under a single-payer health insurance system such as the one I outlined. Nor would doctors become government employees under a single-payer health insurance system.

    A significant number of malpractice suits are motivated by the need to recover current and future heath care costs resulting from some medical problem arising out of a medical treatment or procedure they received. That problem may be the result of doctor error, negligence or plain bad luck, regardless the patient and his family are faced with high current medical bills, future medical costs and an increased difficulty or impossibility to get health insurance coverage. The only solution to this dilemma is to sue the doctor in the hope of getting a settlement or award that will cover these medical costs. With a universal single payer plan that for billing purposes is not concerned with what caused the patients need for care part of the motivation for malpractice suits would be eliminated. Add a national disability insurance program to the mix and most of the motivation for malpractice suits would be eliminated. This would not eliminate the need for a system to police the medical profession to eliminate the dangerous, negligent or incompetent members. But that is a separate problem.

    David from Eugene: 12.It would reduce national health care costs. Bob T: So will telling old people to go home to die. That's what goes on in Europe.

    So a system that sends poor people home to die is better? Exactly how is a “free market” system where a faceless bureaucrat from an insurance company can delay or disapprove a treatment any better? Exactly how does permitting the insurance companies to sell health insurance that does not provide any meaningful coverage improve the current system? Exactly how does giving the insurance companies another rationale to raise premiums improve the current system?

  • StephanAndrewBrodheadForCongress (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Idealogical

    I am a realist! You are the Idealogical Marxist

    I grew up in the military, and then spent several more decades affiliated with the reserves. While a dependent, I was treated under the DOD system or True Socialized medicine. The reserves only provided health care when you were on active duty. I went decades without health insurance.

    I am lucky to be a healthy man. I do take generic high blood pressure medicine due to an aviators lifestyle and prolonged copious stress in a military environment. My blood pressure spiked when I had to shut down a successful small business and was activated for the Iraq war. For 20 years I was able to keep my BP at 135 over 80. The last 6 months of my activation hauling wounded soldiers from Iraq every two weeks for 18 months and eating fatty military foods while working 24 hour days, my BP went nuts. Other than that,everything is good. I am fairly healthy for 49 years old. I ask nothing from government. I ask nothing from "We The People" . I was raised never to be a burden on society. I dont smoke. I dont drink. I try to exercise regularly, and eat non processed food etc. I stay away from fast food joints. I try to apply coping skills. I live within my means and try to eliminate all "bills". I live within the moment. I have watched some PBS episodes on healthcare, researched several articles on European health care, and I now use the VA as my healthcare provider. Since I am a combat veteran, any issues related to the war are covered until August (for me). Then we use our ODS and pay the VA through them.

    Instead of blowharding on the subject, I will just talk of some experiences others have had.

    None of you looked at my 90/10 proposal so I deleted it.

    None of you understand that in only a few short years 2.5 of our children will be supporting 1 person on fullride entitlements, Obama/Wu bloated government, military industrial complex, state government, bloated education costs, ridiculous health care costs, and 30 trillion in national debt.

    80 million baby boomers that lived in an industrial environment versus an agrarian society!

    I have had very few experiences with health care myself.

    My father on the other hand was a life long smoker military man. He had several heart related issues, and then finally a heart transplant. We spent 6 months in a hospital waiting for a heart while a balloon pump kept him alive. The cost to the public was over 1.5 million dollars. Because he had retired military health care and 2 additional health insurance rider policies, they performed a heart transplant on him. Had he not had very good insurance, he would have been rejected. He did make it through the heart transplant and lived for 2 weeks with the heart of an 18 year old Montana boy. In fact, he was coming back with a vengeance. We talked of hunting and fishing. We became closer "friends!" He told me he was proud of me for being a Flight Engineer and serving my country! Blood clots from organ damage went to his brain and he died!

    This scenario, or a scenario like it, will be repeated over and over again across this great country. We expect our loved ones to be saved by great doctors. We expect doctors to change the affects of life long behavior with a simple procedure. We expect stem cell research to fix diabetes, Parkinsons, cancer and all manner of health disorders. We spend millions in end life care to prolongue the lives of our loved ones so we can see them one more time at Christmas. We spend millions and trillions so Grandma and Grampa can hold their grandchild one more time. We ask our fathers to put down the cigarettes, but catch them smoking even with an IV stand and oxygen bottle next to them! We allow non U.S. citizens to use our Emergency rooms for a cold because the only English they can read is ER! There are so many catch 22s in health care that I am simply overwhelmed! Do we make society collectively pay for the latent affects of fast food, drinking, and smoking! Is the government responsible for the synthesized affects of lifelong bad behavior? Should I have to pay for end life care for a 40 year 3 pack a day smoker? Should I have to pay for a person who eats at Burger King every day of his life? Should I have to pay for an illegal immigrant or a person who refuses to work and demands Well-fare? Do I make Detroit pay for health care at 1500 a car, while the Chinese seek to detroy our manufacturing base. Who gets to pay for Health Care exactly? No Kari, I do not have any answers. I guess I will just have to depend on "The Heritage Foundation" for my information. I do know when I need a bypass, I want the best American doctor I can find that knows how to use a Davinchi machine, so they do not have to open up my chest 3 times! I do understand that as republicans, we have free will. We have a choice to work hard, save, and watch what we eat and breath! Then of course democrats believe in environment. I could not succeed because I am some sort of self fulfilling prophecy. I smoke because I am nervous. I take Prozac because I am depressed. I am depressed because I sit on my rear. I have a fat ass because of the environment. I expect government to fix everything!

    peace out

  • OregonScot (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Coming originally from a nation with a nationalized health care and insurance system (UK) I can safely say that almost NO ONE there wants a system like we have here, no one. So lay off the scare tactics on "socialized" medicine. Yes it has its problems but not as much problem as 40-50 million having no coverage and just as much being under insured. Heck we as a family are paying nearly $800 a month to Kaiser..and even at that they are cutting back and increasing co-pays and out of pocket expenses. It is an insane system guaranteed to deny proper health care to the majority. Single payer be it at State level or Fed level is the only way to go. Forcing people into the clutches of the corporate bean-counters will only make things worse Mr Wyden. Make it single pay and maybe give tax deductions to those that want to go private.

  • David from Eugene (unverified)
    (Show?)

    David from Eugene: 1.It makes American Businesses more competitive.

    Bob T: I get a kick out of this one. Since when do progressives want to help businesses be competitive by reducing their costs? Heck, according to the usual progressive boiler plate bromides, the money "saved" will simply go into the "greedy" owners' pockets and sued for fat bonuses for management. Why is this one different? Maybe you're all admitting that mandated costs on business (beyond requiring that people get paid, and work in a building that won't collapse) do have a negative effect. Gosh, you must have read something about basic economic lately. It would also help to repeal laws requiring any medical benefits, would it not? Again, this system should never have been encouraged after WWII.

    Exactly why would having a progressive outlook preclude wanting American business to be more competitive in the global market place? As to your “boiler plate” comment, historically, touted benefits from some actions have failed to trickle down to the common man often enough to provide some merit to the assertion.

    All government regulations have both positive and negative impacts on the regulated business. Some regulations are necessary, like the requirements you cited that workers be paid and the work place be structurally sound, the positive impacts being greater the negative ones. In discussions of this type it is often forgotten that behind most laws and government regulations is some event that indicated a pressing need for them. Panic bars on theater doors are the direct result of a fire in a Chicago theater at the turn of the last century where the patrons died because a locked metal gate prevented them from leaving the theater. When considering the merits of a regulation both the positive and negative aspects need to be considered as well as looking for other ways to accomplish the same end with less negative impacts.

    I am not aware of any laws currently on the books that mandate that employers provide health insurance. The single-payer system I outlined would remove the employer from the system. Using a transitory situation to provide for an on-going need is bad policy, but in the case of employer provided health insurance this poor policy decision was made by the “free market” system and not govern mandate.

    David from Eugene: 5. It would reduce health care provider’s front office paper work load. Bob T: Much of which the government makes them do. Compliance, compliance, compliance.

    Actually most of the paper work comes from the private insurance companies and much of it is different forms and policies designed to accomplish the same end; increase insurance company profits by limiting the service covered.

    David from Eugene: : 8.It would reduce the need for Malpractice suits. Bob T: : Yeah, good luck suing someone with government protection. It'll be worse if all medical people work for the government. Government hates getting sued because it makes people think it has flaws.

    What government protection? Doctors in the private sector have no protection against malpractice suits nor would they under a single-payer health insurance system such as the one I outlined. Nor would doctors become government employees under a single-payer health insurance system.

    A significant number of malpractice suits are motivated by the need to recover current and future heath care costs resulting from some medical problem arising out of a medical treatment or procedure they received. That problem may be the result of doctor error, negligence or plain bad luck, regardless the patient and his family are faced with high current medical bills, future medical costs and an increased difficulty or impossibility to get health insurance coverage. The only solution to this dilemma is to sue the doctor in the hope of getting a settlement or award that will cover these medical costs. With a universal single payer plan that for billing purposes is not concerned with what caused the patients need for care part of the motivation for malpractice suits would be eliminated. Add a national disability insurance program to the mix and most of the motivation for malpractice suits would be eliminated. This would not eliminate the need for a system to police the medical profession to eliminate the dangerous, negligent or incompetent members. But that is a separate problem.

    David from Eugene: 12.It would reduce national health care costs. Bob T: So will telling old people to go home to die. That's what goes on in Europe.

    So a system that sends poor people home to die is better? Exactly how is a “free market” system where a faceless bureaucrat from an insurance company can delay or disapprove a treatment any better? Exactly how does permitting the insurance companies to sell health insurance that does not provide any meaningful coverage improve the current system? Exactly how does giving the insurance companies another rationale to raise premiums improve the current system?

  • (Show?)

    Mr Brodhead -- You had a lot of interesting anecdotes, but the sum total is that you seem to be objecting to the "socialized" health care that is most akin to the British system. But almost no one in the US is proposing that.

    Even single payer advocates are arguing for something more akin to the Canadian system. Meanwhile, Sen Wyden's plan is most similar to the German system.

    You'll note that some single payer advocates are very angry about Wyden's plan -- so, at a minimum, there must be a difference, right?

    I suggest you read up on the various reform proposals. Ignorance is amusing in a blog commenter, but it is utterly disqualifying in a congressional candidate.

  • OregonScot (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kari, Do not fall into his trap!! The "British system" is very good at providing good healthcare to the most people. My wife, who is a born and bred Oregoniann, once held that belief and all the horror stories heard of "socialized" medicine. But a few years ago we flew to Scotland to see my folks, our kid ,Abby, who was 3 at the time became very sick. I call the GP and it surpised her that he said he would see Abby in an hour. We took her down and she got seen ..free precription..though they did ask how long we were staying. I said 2 weeks the assistant said oh too bad if you were staying over 30 days it would have been free..the princely sum charged? $30..they were so embarrassed to accept this as payment for treating a child. The prescription is free however to kids no matter were they come from. The NHS is just fine. We would do well to have the same here.

  • David from Eugene (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Broadhead: Do we make society collectively pay for the latent affects of fast food, drinking, and smoking! Is the government responsible for the synthesized affects of lifelong bad behavior? Should I have to pay for end life care for a 40 year 3 pack a day smoker? Should I have to pay for a person who eats at Burger King every day of his life? Should I have to pay for an illegal immigrant or a person who refuses to work and demands Well-fare?

    You and the rest of Society are already paying for these people and will continue to do so. The question that is currently under debate is how much will we pay, how will that burden be distributed and how it will be collected. The current system has society paying more then necessary and getting less for their dollar then a universal single payer health insurance plan would.

  • StephanAndrewBrodheadForCongress (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kari,

    you are not going to get away with that last comment. I never have considered myself to be an expert in health care. It gets very boring to here you dis people and then come away superior.

    You have many personal problems that you push off on people. You might consider therapy!

    One last Comment on German health care. Eventhough Germans smoke more, they walk everywhere. As a world traveller, I have seen people from around the world. We are the fattest people in the world.

    My roomate in college is a doctor, I will ask him about health care when he and his family come out this summer so I can take them sandrailing at Winchester Bay.

    Obama and Wu have collectively put healthcare on the back burner.They have spent 4 trillion on zero sum game energy programs. They will seek amnesty for 20 million illegals in order to bolster the electoral college vote. They are staying in Iraq and Afghanistan etc. Finally they will raise taxes on everyone, as well as Cap and trade.The only reason Obama would like to expand health care is to raise taxes and reduce his 2 triilion deficit.

    But then again Kari likes big government.

    Hey its Cambodian New Year and I am working a a BMW 5 series and need to get off "My Fat Ass"

    live in the moment, and save for the future!

    If you have any other questions on Health Care, I get my info from http://www.heritage.org/

    They have PHDs working on health care issues!

    As a small business owner I got pretty good at identifying talent, developing workers, and delegating. I would just delegate health care issues to a staff health care specialist. Successful people surround themselves with talent.

    Oh and I graduated highschool with Julie Goon. She was George Bush's special assistant on Health care and Medicare. If I have any questions or need any references, I will ask her!

    http://www.kaisernetwork.org/health_cast/uploaded_files/100605_ATE-speakerbios1.pdf

    Is that good enough for you Kari Bro! Buddy Bro, Bro?

  • Red Rodger Rising (unverified)
    (Show?)

    For those unlike "The Charm Quark" who actually care to learn something, this is what Russell and the whole field he created formalizes in theory of types

    Bertrand Russell's philosophy is idiotic, as repeatedly demonstrated by the Oxford linguistic analysts. But, then, you were too stupid to see he was supporting your contention. Duh. Let me guess. You're one of those that would explain how taking 200 pages to "prove" that 2 and 2 makes 4 is evidence of his genius. NOW I know why the Oxford linguistic analysts came up with that phrase, "the systematic abuse of a discipline invented particularly for that abuse".

    How about pure denotation? Did you get what was being said about how "parsed to its LCD" is a good description, though inadvertent, of some recent contris?

    Molly coddling opinionated Americans undercuts all your efforts. Screw being nice. Get the job done. If the brittle American ego is always going to be concern #1, there is no hope for any of us.

  • Blessed Dornier (unverified)
    (Show?)

    OregonScot, you really make me shake my head. It was largely NHS abuses that led Scotland to devolve, and...SURPRISE...they have a decent health care system. THAT'S what we're proposing for here, not the old NHS. Even now, it's horrid in places like the Midlands. DO NOT get sick in Coventry. (And that's not easy to do. Even on a bright, sunny, day, Coventry inspires regurgitation. The reason it got bombed so badly is because the Brit gov let it).

    All told, it's still MUCH better than the US system. This is a good long thread. Read and re-read it every time you think to yourself that Americans are just pretending to not get how not having a national system burdens business. They really can't see it. Oodles of evidence of the illogic, litmus testing, follow the monkey behavior that is our politics.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    So, is it fashionable Journalism these days to maintain that denotation is a matter of personal taste?

    For anyone still living in the world of facts, the object of parse has to be something lexical. Health Care is two words. That's all you can parse. You cannot parse a concept. Adjective, noun. That's one meaning of parsing health care. Those stupid Giggle ads at the top of the page. They extracted the words, ran it against their database, and picked an appropriate ad. That's parsing "Health Care".

    "Parsing" Health Care, would be a grammatically correct title. But, I'm sure that's just my opinion, and I haven't shown due hominid respect in communicating it. This "don't say 'all of you' bit is getting to look a lot like lower back tattoos. It's supposed to be a declaration of individuality. It's just a huge coincidence that everyone chooses to express their individuality identically. No wonder most don't object to branding cattle. I wouldn't be so contemptuous of what was being said if the day to day behavior wasn't so contemptible.

    This is the same dysfunctional attitude that I found working with the City. You could show them a situation, cite the code, and they would ALWAYS call their authority to adjudicate. It's just never safe or valid using reason in these days where socially constructed meaning is the only reality.

    Harry et al., consider that's the mindset you're arguing with the next time you take time to really try and clarify something. Denotation is connotation. Just what can you build on that?!? Oh, and the point is a nit. Yeah. And now back to your regularly scheduled pap...

  • Throw the Bums Out (unverified)
    (Show?)

    With regard to Carla and Kari's comments (although people should read the WSJ hit-piece Carla cites to supposedly prove her case about what Obama supposedly "supports" to see another example of how Carla plays right-wing style word games to make her points), Novick's commitment last fall to introduce single-payer legislation if he was elected, and how Merkley responded to that with a passive-aggressive attack repeating in substance: "if the world were just different he'd like single payer", but instead pledging to work for the insurance industry by publicly embracing Wyden's bill, is all in the record.

    For the rest of you more honest and interested folks, you are already clear that many of us are not FOR single payer, but AGAINST the pillaging of the American public as Wyden and Merkley have actively advocated for in their plan for a purely private insurance system. True progressives and true-blue Democrrats will work to defeat Wyden in the 2010 primary in favor of somebody who is not the industry tool that he is. Carla and Kari just make excuses for Wyden which is indisputable proof they care MORE about keeping Merkley and Wyden there where they will work for the insurance companies than protecting the economic and health security of us working people.

    Just so everybody is clear about the kind of people that Wyden and Merkley actually are working for when they passively refuse to lift a finger to fight for a public plan option, read this:

    "Sick Around America" disappoints"

    FRONTLINE's "Sick Around America"

    And to reiterate, as I have said I do not agree with PNHP's "Single-Payer or nothing" approach even though Carla, Kari, Merkley, Wyden and others misrepresent in their strawman arguments against the opponents, thereby working to preserve our exploitative private health insurance system.

  • Throw the Bums Out (unverified)
    (Show?)

    And just to further reinforce I do not support the single-payer or nothing strategy of PNHP, but also to give them credit for acknowledging the position of those who support a public-plan option as what we need to do now:

    Lewin report on the public option

    If you think we need to start down the road of cost control and improving our health care system for the good of all, send a message to Merkley and the rest of the Congress by starting to work to defeat Wyden and his efforts on behalf of the private health insurance industry. If you need any more of a push, take note he's actually working with Republicans to help the industry and against Democrats who propose a public plan option.

  • OregonScot (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "Blessed Dornier". The system of health care in Scotland is still the NHS just that it is ran "locally". It is still single payer, still national insurance based and still free at point of service. AS for the reason for devolution, as an ex mamber of the SNP health care really didnt come into it and wont again when the Union is broken.

  • (Show?)

    another example of how Carla plays right-wing style word games to make her points

    Please..continue to label me as you would a right-winger. That just oozes with credibility.....

    You're still not addressing a number of main points asked of you:

    why is it okay for Mapes to talk about health care this way? Since we have two of the most progressive Senators in the body, how do you propose convincing the other Senators...or do you plan to ignore them and cross your fingers? Why aren't you asking Wyden directly about this, given that there's lots of opportunity to do so, rather than hiding behind the "staff is mean to me" excuse? What's your response to progressive health care experts like Ezra Klein, who agree that Wyden's proposal is a great place to start? Since we can't get single payer passed, do you propose we wait for universal health care until you can manage to get the vastly less progressive (than Merkley and Wyden) Senators out...years and years from now?

  • (Show?)

    Mr Brodhead --

    Your dismissive attitude is disappointing. I had hoped you might be an interesting congressional candidate -- but it seems you're just another blowhard.

    I'm not asking you to be some kind of genius policy wonk -- that's what lege staff are for. But if you're going to be a serious candidate, a basic understanding of the policy choices would be useful. How will you have an answer if you don't even know what the question is?

  • John_Mayer (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Are you uninsured in America? You should check out the website http://UninsuredAmerica.blogspot.com - John Mayer, California

  • (Show?)

    Mr Bums --

    Are you going to name just 10 Senators who support single payer -- or are you implicitly acknowledging that chatter of single payer in 2009 is just so much theoretical fantasy?

    Today's O reported that the number of uninsured is now 50 million -- up from 43 million. I, for one, am not willing to wait even another year while the single payer purists try and figure out how to find 51 votes.

  • Johnmayer (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Are you uninsured in America? You should check out the website http://UninsuredAmerica.blogspot.com - John Mayer, California

  • Johnmayer (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Are you uninsured in America? You should check out the website http://UninsuredAmerica.blogspot.com - John Mayer, California

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Jenni Simmons:

    The ER is not health care. When you go in, they only give you a day or two of medicine - enough to hold you until you can get to a doctor's. Unless you have to be hospitalized, they do not treat diseases or illnesses. They do what they can to stabilize you enough to go home. That's it.

    Bob T:

    I never said it was complete care, but that its existence makes a world of difference for the many who can't pay for an emergency and thus it puts this "43 million without health care" figure in a different light. In many or most of these examples (younger people, 20s, 30's) being "patched up", or given pills or an injection for some sort of infection or virus, is all they need. This "43 million" figure is repeated endlessly to make people visualize 43 million people walking around in need of care right now. Sorry, let's not mis-use that figure.

    What's the solution for hunger? Single payer system for all meals, and nationalization of farms and restaurants and supermarkets?

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Dave from Eugene:

    All government regulations have both positive and negative impacts on the regulated business. Some regulations are necessary, like the requirements you cited that workers be paid and the work place be structurally sound....

    Bob T:

    One was a joke (I doubt it's a regulation that workers be paid). Anyway, I do wish to point out that with all of this talk of fearing "deregulation" etc, there are two major types of regulations and the two should be separated whenever such a discussion takes place.

    I've no quarrel with regulations that deal with safety, although these, too, can go overboard. The other type includes many that have been imposed under the guise of "protecting the consumer" in other ways, yet are often corruption disguised as something beneficial, like oneparticular long-standing regulation in Tennessee regarding casket sales, controlled by a regulatory agency made up of casket makers who wanted to keep others from competing with them. Fortunately, one person wanting to make an honest living selling the same caskets for a lot less money--Nathaniel Craigmiles--challenged this law and won. The ACLU didn't help him, of course. Sadly, this law was probably kept in place for decades by using the same rhetoric about fearing "deregulation" -- well heck, if we don't keep this regulation then some fly-by-night outfit will sell someone a cardboard casket for $1000 !!!!

    I'm sorry, but Mr. Craigmiles and anyone else could enter this business and we can still deal with such fraud without the need to create a good ol' boyz club. Next time you hear some people talking about de-regulation, check to see if it's about getting rid of this type of regulation before you run down the street screaming. You might actually support the de-reg in question. These are kept in place because only a very small number of people find specific regs a hurdle to themselves, and on their own they can't get state legislatures or city councils to change them while most people are too preoccupied with their I-pods, the Blazers, Michelle Obama's arms, or shooting beer cans in the boonies.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Dave from Eugene:

    What government protection? Doctors in the private sector have no protection against malpractice suits

    Bob T:

    I never said they did - but the government will have to stop this if it's going to "keep costs down" after they take over. After all, you or someone said that lawsuits will go away. Okay, how?

    By the way, they might find it better to make all medical personnel government employees. This way, a surgeon who shows up a little drunk and removes the wrong kidney and leaves a latex glove and an earplug where the kidney used to be, after stitching up everything, will get "paid administrative leave" and any lawsuit will be paid by taxpayers, like when cops beat someone up and get away with it while private security guards go to jail for the same thing.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    David from Eugene:

    Private for-profit Insurance Health Insurance just does not work as a way to pay for health care. The major problem is the for-profit part. As profit is the result of a company’s income being greater then its expenses. The incentive is to maximize income by charging as much as the market can bear while at the same time providing the only the minimum amount of care necessary to avoid government intervention.

    Bob T:

    This is more rhetoric, although some examples exist. I don't know why there's such a fear of profits in the system. [I wasn't intending to post so many things tonight, but I have an Amy Macdonald CD playing and I won't leave until it's over.] Anyway, if your view of things is applied to, say, the restaurant field then a high-class restaurant can list a deluxe hamburger for $15 but serve a re-packaged Mickey D's burger with paprika sprinkled over it.

    As with most people, you have a juvenile understanding of profits. But that's okay I guess -- most people are too emotional to deal with dry and dull basic economics. That's why politicians and other do-gooders get where they are, and (for example) why a progressive city council just raped us with a double-stadium corporate welfare deal (sorry, Kari).

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Throw the bums out (unverified)
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    Please..continue to label me as you would a right-winger. That just oozes with credibility.....

    Carla, we know now you don't read for comprehension, and for sure you're writing is just empty words you string together because you think they sound good rather than coherently developing any serious thesis. What's amusing is how you revel in continually demonstrate this over and over and over. You weren't "labeled a right-winger", it was pointed out that the only way you can argue it is to play "right-wing style" word games which you just did again in the cited quote! Wonderful!

    Folks, I think it's clear Carla, Kari, Merkley, and Wyden are more about themselves than anything else, and if that means siding with the private health insurance industry as Wyden's bill does, rather than standing up for our economic and health security by dumping Wyden in 2010, that's fine with them. Despite what Kari, Carla, Merkly, or Wyden hope they can dupe you into believing, people like me for sure are not arguing FOR single-payer, and that is not the primary axis of the debate in DC. They are in effect just quibbling with Bob T. and Brodhead over how the spoils will be divided amongst the private health insurance industry, rather than actually standing with true-blue Democrats defending mainstream Democratic, pro-working-person, values.

    Since March, Wyden has been trying to raise the public profile of his purely private health insurance industry protectioin plan and not lifted a finger to support, nor even said anything usefully positive, about any of the proposals to introduce a public-plan as an option in more patient-friendly reform. Read the links given in previous comments: Reforms to stop the pillaging of working people and business by the private health insurance industry starts with voting out the Democrats like Wyden who are obstacles to that reform in the 2010 primary, and maybe Merkley in the 2014 primary.

    Red Roger Rising - I don't know what stokes your hilarious rant, but I thoroughly enjoyed it in it's over-the-top passion and coherence which is just marginal enough to be subtle. One small detail though, no one is talking about the vast majority of Russell's work (page count not withstanding), only a very small detail about types that helps us understand linguistic paradoxes, and which has become intertwined in everything from mathematical set theory to the modern computer languages that made this very blog possible.

    It you want to rant next time about Ryle's "implication threads", and how just changing a word or phrase in statement changes the implication, please do. I think it might help people understand the kind of argumentation that Carla, Kari and a lot of the chattering left and right are really up to.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    It you want to rant next time about Ryle's "implication threads", and how just changing a word or phrase in statement changes the implication, please do. I think it might help people understand the kind of argumentation that Carla, Kari and a lot of the chattering left and right are really up to.

    Exactly! I don't know about RRR, but that clears up about 99% of what I've been banging on about forever. I admit my bias. My major professor was one of Gilbert Ryle's grad students and, being a staunch German, the fact that the positions overcame the usual English-Continental divide seemed to be light years ahead of the alternative. That, and naive reality sucks. Look at Stephen Hawking. He can overcome everything he has, but shackled to Cambridge style naive reality he is attenuated.

    Anyway, I think the nut, for us, is that the implication is the meaning, something I assume. The meaning of a term is its use.

    I won't go on about the official connection with contemporary computer science. Suffice to say, that attributing this blog to anything Russell ever wrote, is like attributing work done on failed, comical flying machines to work on the Aurora.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This morning the Medford Mail Tribune helps make my point. Three hospitals in a rural setting about 17 miles apart. Good Luck finding out what the actual reimbursement costs are:

    http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090414/NEWS/904140315

  • Throw the bums out (unverified)
    (Show?)

    For those who need yet one more clarifying insight: This is the industry that Merkley, Wyden seek to protect with their private health insurance only plan (and failure to get behind any kind of public-plan option), and Carla and Kari also protect by defending Wyden and Merkley rather than using this platform to defeat Wyden in the 2010 Democratic primary:

    Elderly used as front in letter-writing campaign 'Grass-roots' effort looks more like Astroturf http://www.eagletribune.com/punews/local_story_103032149.html

    Across Massachusetts, senior citizens are writing letters to newspapers demanding that their representatives in Congress protect a form of health insurance called Medicare Advantage.

    At least that's what newspaper editors are supposed to think.

    Some of those seniors are unaware that they have sent any such letters to newspapers. Some of them hadn't even heard of Medicare Advantage.

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