www.byzcath.org
NHS maternity services in meltdown: A former midwife reveals how understaffed wards are sinking into chaos

By Verena Burns
Last updated at 8:39 AM on 16th December 2009

Here is a part of the story:

As I watched her being wheeled into the ward, I felt eaten up with guilt. She'd effectively been ignored from the moment she turned up until the moment she gave birth.

Plonked on an antenatal ward until her time came, with no one to reassure her during what was most likely the most terrifying moment of her life.

No woman should have to give birth in these conditions - let alone in a modern hospital with professional staff at hand.

Welcome to the modern NHS maternity ward. A world of shoddy practice, poor hygiene standards and a shocking disregard for patients' individual needs.

When I read about newly qualified midwife Theresa Naish, who hanged herself in January after a premature baby died on her shift, I couldn't help wondering if she, too, was a victim of the over-worked and under-resourced labour wards I have experienced.

Her father Thomas told the inquest into her death: 'Like all NHS staff, she was over-worked, doing too many hours in a department that was understaffed.'

Although the child had little chance of survival, poor Theresa spent weeks torturing herself that she was to blame, before killing herself.

I don't want to alarm people for, of course, the vast majority of babies are born healthy and safe, but I think it's time we admit what is happening in our hospitals.

Driven by targets and mired in red tape, our NHS maternity wards are becoming baby-producing factories where mothers' needs come very low on the agenda.


Link to story. [dailymail.co.uk]

Not a week goes by that we do not hear about incredible problems in the United Kingdom and other countries that have socialist health care. Pray that it does not happen here. The facts show that if you add together all the direct and indirect costs of health care in Britain the Brits pay almost 40% more then Americans and receive sub-adequate to really bad health care. Wealthy Brits (even those with private insurance) head to either the continent or America for their health care. I've even read about some of the wealthy heading to New York for a combined shopping & dentist trip and others heading to the States to get their cataracts taken care of. NEVER HERE!
Helen

I keep hearing of these stories - and yes some folk go to France and other EU countries to get their new hips and other such surgeries - often paid for by the NHS .

On the other hand I don't hear of Leukaemia patients having to worry how they are going to pay for transplants and this drug or that drug in the UK . Nor do I hear of relatives still paying for treatments after the leukaemic patient has died .
On the other hand, in the U.S. leukemia patients actually get cured. So they have time to pay off their bills.
Be careful Stuart - not all are cured

Many are also cured in the UK .

Sweeping generalisations are bad
Cancer survival rates for almost all forms of cancer are significantly higher in the U.S. than in the UK (or anywhere else in Europe, for that matter), because we don't ration but rather encourage diagnostic testing. Earlier diagnosis equates earlier treatment, often with newer and more effective (albeit more expensive, hence more likely not to be available through the National Health) drugs. Earlier treatment with better drugs equates to higher survival rates.

Also, we do not yet tell geriatric patients that, at their age, they should just shut up and die already. Apparently, National Health is increasingly prescribing "palliative care" (pain killers) for elderly patients who could otherwise be treated successfully, on the grounds that the cost-benefit curve (what it would cost to cure the patient vs. what the patient could give back to society) is not positive.

It's also been reported here that palliative care in the UK has a nasty habit of slopping over into de facto euthenasia.

So, with National Health, you get the best of all possible worlds--a government agency that is inefficient on the one hand, but heartless on the other. I have yet to see any sort of nationalized health care system that did not--eventually--degenerate into a system of ruthless rationing combined with rampant inefficiency.

Health care does not grow on trees, because doctors, nurses, pharmacists, molecular biologists and the entire infrastructure for developing and delivering treatments does not grow on trees. To say health care is a "right" begs the question of who gets to decide how much and when. As soon as government starts saying doctors get paid this much, and no more, the best and brightest cease to go into medicine. As soon as government says it will only use these drugs and no others, or these treatments and no others, innovation dies. Which is why almost all medical innovation of the past fifty years has come from the United States, and not from countries that have socialized health care systems (though those are perfectly happy to use our innovations as soon as they have been superseded by something better--hence the constant preference for second best.

Of course, at present those stuck in socialized medicine hell still have a bolt hole in the United States, where many Canadians--even those who publicly endorse Canada's single payer system--come when they need first class medical care in a hurry. Not too many Americans are crossing the border into the Great White North to seek out a doctor.

The American health care system is the worst health care system in the world--except for all the others.
And we want to patern the best medicine of the world here in the US after these countries? God help us!
Ive lived in several socialist states and Im one that is definitely NOT in favor of a government run health care system.
Stephanos I
And of course I live , eat breathe and exist in the UK - but what do I know ?

OK - I'm ignorant about my country

BUT I gave loving care to my patients when I worked in the NHS - all my working life.

I saw the standard of care given to my husband - which was 100% loving care , and NO-ONE could have received better - not even in your wonderful USA systems

I know nothing

I'm tired of being lectured by folk who believe they know it all
The thing is OurLady'sSlave, we can appeal to the anecdotal evidence of things going desperately wrong for the poor and the elderly in the US, but that never seems to count for anything. But polemical use is made of one person's experience of the NHS, and everyone on the forum suddenly knows with certainty what public health care is like in the UK (or Canada).

I'm originally from Canada, and now from the UK. I've never in my entire (fairly observant) life come across the sorts of horror stories that anti-health care people propagate. So when you say

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I'm tired of being lectured by folk who believe they know it all

I'm with you.
So, when British government commissions find the National Health in a state of crisis, with declining quality of care, endemic shortages and declining patient outcomes, that's all propaganda?
I know people who have lived in various parts of the world and who have made use of their health care systems - including friends who live in the U.K. It is certainly true that the vast majority of health care providers take their jobs seriously and try to provide good health care for their patients. The horror stories we find in the news are also true - although they are still the minority experience.

Health care in the U.K. and other countries with socialist health care has slipped in a major way. That is not the conclusion of an ignorant American but rather numerous panels of British experts (and experts in those other countries). It is very true that Brits pay a lot more than do Americans (adding together all direct and indirect costs) for health care. Socialism always costs more and delivers less - that's the nature of the beast. [In the proposal before Congress there are over 100 new government bureaucracies to manage the government takeover of health care, with an estimate of over 100,000 new government employees to manage it. The conservative estimates are $25 Billion a year - taxpayer money not going to health care but to government employees.]

I will agree with Angela that she is partially ignorant about the health care problems in her own country. Most of us are similarly ignorant about the problems in our countries. One British commentary I read noted pointedly that if this were years ago and you describing the current British NHS quality to the people they would have risen up in protest (and the high cost and low quality) but because the decline was very slow over a number of years they just didn't pay attention. Sort of like putting the live lobster in the pot of cold water and turning on the heat.

I'm not suggesting that America does not need health care reform - it does. But the reform must be market-based (capitalism) since socialism always winds up being very cruel in the end.
Originally Posted by Our Lady's slave
And of course I live , eat breathe and exist in the UK - but what do I know ?

OK - I'm ignorant about my country

BUT I gave loving care to my patients when I worked in the NHS - all my working life.

I saw the standard of care given to my husband - which was 100% loving care , and NO-ONE could have received better - not even in your wonderful USA systems

I know nothing

I'm tired of being lectured by folk who believe they know it all

Unfortunately, that is the problem with the debate in America! Those opposed to Healthcare reform will continue to ignore those (the majority) in other countries who do not have a problem with their healthcare system and continue to bash it...soundbites work better than reality at times...
Originally Posted by Job
Unfortunately, that is the problem with the debate in America! Those opposed to Healthcare reform will continue to ignore those (the majority) in other countries who do not have a problem with their healthcare system and continue to bash it...soundbites work better than reality at times...
And Job misstates. Few in America are opposed to health care reform. The majority are opposed to reform that means more socialism. There are plenty of ways to provide better health care for more people at lower cost then with socialism. Market reforms are the way to go.

BTW, the majority in most countries with socialist health care systems want reform even more than Americans want it. For Britain there are numerous government sponsored studies documenting the problems - things that Angela and individuals might not see in their own day-to-day experiences. But Job and others who support socialism are not about to admit it. It is much fairer to examine quality of health care vs cost of health care. All objective methods of measuring continue to show that America - despite problems - provides the best health care in the world.
If it wasn't for the Nhs I would probably be dead.

If not for the NHS http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-512129/66-babies-year-left-die-NHS-abortions-wrong.html maybe they'd be alive.
John that was my point and sentiment exactly!
And I for one as a Catholic Christian believes everyone and I underline everyone should have access to affordable health care, but definitely NOT a government run program.
Stephanos I
Originally Posted by Lawrence

And we couldn't find such appalling behaviour in US hospitals?

The fact is, perversion of health care happens in your hospitals as much as ours, and while our socialised systems may suffer terrible mismanagement, yours will suffer other types of problems.

As many 'government studies' as StuartK can cite 'supporting' the case against the NHS, there will be just as many supporting it. What seems to matter more is the experience of the people. And while I don't doubt that some people have been hurt by the NHS, there are countless thousands more whose experience of the NHS is routine, positive, and quietly taken for granted.

The anti-healthcare lobby can and will cite numerous studies, I'm sure, but these studies will not be of a health system that I - and I will guess uncountable others - will recognise.
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I for one as a Catholic Christian believes everyone and I underline everyone should have access to affordable health care. . .


We probably won't reach that point with our current political system where the lobbying of powerful interests gets more voice than the people who are supposedly "served." When the drug industry can block the ability of people to import medicines from toehr countries where they are cheaper and the insurance lobby can block the ability of people to buy health insurance outside their geographical or political division, we'll never have the type of system where things will be affordable. On ther other hand, anything that government has injected itself into has always become far more costly than it would otherwise have been.

BOB
Originally Posted by Stephanos I
John that was my point and sentiment exactly!
And I for one as a Catholic Christian believes everyone and I underline everyone should have access to affordable health care, but definitely NOT a government run program.
Stephanos I

May I be allowed to chime in as someone who lives in a country
with a comprehensive and tax-funded health care system.

There seems little point that I should have any continuing involvement in this
debate since people here are arguing it on American premises and not Christian ones.

I am speaking as an outsider, as one who is not American, and while you have
the notion that your principles on these matters are grounded in
Christianity, they are not. They are grounded in the mindset and ideas
peculiar to your local culture. What you write has no necessary connection
with Catholicism or Christianity. It has every connection with the American mindset.

That is not meant to be an affront to you or to any other Americans on list.
After all, my own ideas on this are themselves grounded in my own New
Zealand culture which is derived from that of Great Britain, but I would
contend that my country's way of dealing with issues of poverty and the like
is a much better outworking of Christianity than the American way. In other
words Christian principles are more deeply embedded in New Zealand's social
and political structures than they are in the US.


This country, and other Commonwealth countries, is orientated towards the
common weal. We see the duty of Government as primarily that of managing
the country for the common good of the entire populace. In order to achieve
this common weal we cheerfully hand over our taxes. And while there is
nothing to prevent a man becoming immensely rich there is, thank God, a
government policy which protects a man from becoming obscenely poor.

But this is *not* the view of American government, at least among those who
hold to the original founding of the US. Your Declaration of Independence
specifically states, "...Governments are instituted among men to preserve
these rights..." In other words, you did *not* see government as managing
the country or imposing a blue print for the common well-being of all citizens;
you saw it as the means to guarantee people liberty. It is a very different
concept.

Neither concept of government is in and of itself Christian, but I would
argue that government established for the common weal is more Christian than
government focused on personal liberty.

It is a major mistake however to assume that the American abhorrence of
Government involvement (whether in general or for poverty relief) has anything
to do with Christian principles, and it is really very distressing to find people
looking for scriptural and patristic argumentation to justify their own
culturally conditioned attitudes towards it. Perhaps a meditation on Romans
13 and Saint Paul's teaching on taxation would be useful?

Now the NZ and Canadian approach is all based on a legacy of English church/state
established relationships with a dollop of 19th century Methodist good works
thrown in and this has spread out to the Commonwealth. But I can see how the
American culture of separation of Church and State with the pot of wholesome
libertarianism thrown in can be horrified by the thought of actively putting
someone on welfare.

But for us social security provision as a safety net to help the most needy,
and a free health care system for all is a Christian response and a
Christian use of our taxes.

Now as Church and State drift further apart it remains to be seen if that
partnership will continue but I still argue that we in New Zealand (and
perhaps slightly less now in the UK) enjoy a culture where people have
invested into the state the outworking of its Christian principles as
the basis of its law and care for its citizens.

In my experience, the people who extol the dignity and sense of self-worth
to be found in grinding labour for miserable pay, no health care
and no future have themselves experienced none of those things.

For days now people have been locked in this debate about economics,health,
welfare and the poor. But, as this is a site dedicated to Christian
spirituality, I think both sides should make more reference to Scriptural
and traditional moral teaching on the topic. Do the principles and values
advocated by the Neo-classical Capitalists here (self-reliance,
entrepreneurship, success as the achievement of wealth, etc.) mesh with what
we read in Scripture, the Fathers of the Church and the Saints? Or do they
contradict the sources of our faith?

Can one be a true Christian and a social Darwinist?

Fr Ambrose
New Zealand

When the drug industry can block the ability of people to import medicines from toehr countries where they are cheaper and the insurance lobby can block the ability of people to buy health insurance outside their geographical or political division, we'll never have the type of system where things will be affordable.

You are conflating two different issues, I think. With regard to the ability to buy health insurance across state lines, it is not the insurance industry that is in opposition, but rather the various state governments, which like the control this gives them over insurance mandates in their state (whether these actually benefit people is another issue). The insurance companies would love to be able to sell health insurance across state lines. This, and tort reform (something else you are not likely to see come out of the current health care debate) would do more than anything else to bring down the cost of health care access in the United States.

Drug reimportation is totally different. It's actually two distinct problems. First, there is the question of reimportation of brand name drugs from other countries (e.g., Canada), where they are sold at a steep discount because the government of those countries has monopoly purchasing power. In return for buying a guaranteed very large quantity of a drug from the manufacturer, the government gets a knock-down price. The alternative for the drug company is foregoing that market entirely.

In order to compensate for the discount given to that country, the drug company raises its prices in places where the drug's price is not controlled. Thus, American citizens have been subsidizing the drugs bought by Canadian citizens. When those drugs are reimported, it further erodes the drug company's profit margins, it violates the spirit (if not necessarily the letter) of the contract with the foreign country, and it also reduces the amount of the drug available in that country. It is not merely the pharmaceutical companies that complain about this practice, but also foreign governments, who see their inventories of popular drugs compromised by reimportation; i.e., if Americans buy too much of a drug from Canada, there may not be enough for Canadians.

The other issue is importation of generic drugs from third countries where, let's face it, quality control may not be such a high priority. The FDA has no oversight of the manufacturing processes, purity and strength of these drugs. Caveat emptor! As was seen with recent product adulteration scandals involving Chinese products (including foodstuffs and over-the-counter medicines), this can have serious, even deadly consequences. With the globalization of markets, there is no way to tell whether a product imported from one country originated in that country, or was exported from a very low cost (and low quality) country to a second country, via third country before ending up in your medicine cabinet. There are good reasons to keep drug quality under stringent control, and when you or any other American can simply fill a prescription by mail or over the internet from a low-cost foreign source, it puts all of us at risk.

For instance, suppose you doctor prescribes a particular antibiotic to treat a staph infection, and you fill it from a low-cost internet pharmacy. The drugs you get come directly from that pharmacy to you, without inspection. They may be the right one, at the right strength and dosage, or they may not (cutting with sugar stretches the profits of unscrupulous pharmacists as well as your neighborhood heroin dealer). So, you take all the pills, but you don't get better, because the antibiotics are not the right strength. Your doctor will probably put you on another, stronger drug, but the damage has been done: the bacterial strain you had is now resistant to the diluted antibiotics you had been taking the first time around, which means that antibiotic will soon be ineffective against that strain of bacteria.
Originally Posted by Administrator
Originally Posted by Job
Unfortunately, that is the problem with the debate in America! Those opposed to Healthcare reform will continue to ignore those (the majority) in other countries who do not have a problem with their healthcare system and continue to bash it...soundbites work better than reality at times...
And Job misstates. Few in America are opposed to health care reform. The majority are opposed to reform that means more socialism. There are plenty of ways to provide better health care for more people at lower cost then with socialism. Market reforms are the way to go.

John, please give some "Market reforms" that can be addressed. The republican plans have been nothing more than "window dressing" to cover up their message of "NO". The only "market reform" that I see that could work is regulation of the Insurance companies like we regulate utilities. (Profits are capped so as not to allow for gouging.) Although, we know that would not fly with Republicans either.

I believe it was John Stewart who said, it's like asking for sunlight, but not having the brightness or warmth. It's impossible.
Quote
This country, and other Commonwealth countries, is orientated towards the
common weal. We see the duty of Government as primarily that of managing
the country for the common good of the entire populace. In order to achieve
this common weal we cheerfully hand over our taxes. And while there is
nothing to prevent a man becoming immensely rich there is, thank God, a
government policy which protects a man from becoming obscenely poor.

But this is *not* the view of American government, at least among those who
hold to the original founding of the US. Your Declaration of Independence
specifically states, "...Governments are instituted among men to preserve
these rights..." In other words, you did *not* see government as managing
the country or imposing a blue print for the common well-being of all citizens;
you saw it as the means to guarantee people liberty. It is a very different
concept.

Neither concept of government is in and of itself Christian, but I would
argue that government established for the common weal is more Christian than
government focused on personal liberty.


Thank you for your post Fr. Ambrose! I think that one of the things that is often missed amongst Orthodox and Catholic (read in communion with Rome) Christians is that some of the founding fathers in the USA had a "christian" backgroud which was based in protestantism, branches of which, believed (and many still do) that God's favor is expressed through the wealth of a person. No thought given to the absurdity of this or the morality that is used (or not used) in obtaining that wealth.
Originally Posted by Job
John, please give some "Market reforms" that can be addressed. The republican plans have been nothing more than "window dressing" to cover up their message of "NO". The only "market reform" that I see that could work is regulation of the Insurance companies like we regulate utilities. (Profits are capped so as not to allow for gouging.) Although, we know that would not fly with Republicans either.
Job,

Thanks for the post.

Here are a few easy market reforms:

1. Allow the purchase of health insurance across state lines. A family of four purchasing insurance in Massachusetts pays almost twice as much for coverage than a family in Texas does. The issue here is that states over regulate insurance, forcing private companies to provide coverage for things that most people don’t want (which raises the cost). Assuming the law is written to allow various levels of coverage (like auto insurance does) people would be able to pick and choose from thousands of companies rather than from the handful their states may currently allow.

2. Let individuals join together to get group rates, the same way labor unions and big companies do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying health insurance from the Knights of Columbus or the Lions (or whoever wishes to sell it to you). Almost all state governments prohibit this.

3. Modest tort reform. Right now many doctors order all kinds of tests, more to cover themselves in case of lawsuit then are actually needed. There is a balance here. People harmed have a right to compensation but doctors need not fear a lawsuit for a legitimate action that goes wrong.

4. Get the federal government out of health care management and delivery. If you wish to subsidize health care do so through tax credits and outright grants. The levels of fraud and abuse and waste in the current government run systems (Medicare / Medicaid / CHIPS) are incredible. The private market (with proper regulation that stimulates and not stifles) is far better at delivering quality and efficiency then is the government (governments just cannot be efficient). The private market is also better at getting rid of companies that fail to provide a quality product at a fair price.

I don’t know the details of the various Republican plans that have been put forth (I’ve seen references in the news to three major plans they’ve put forth). For the most part Congress has not allowed them to come to the floor for discussion. It’s perfectly acceptable and moral for them to say “No” to any proposed legislation if they think that it is wrong. Doing the wrong thing is worse than doing nothing right now.

Come to think about it, even the Democrats like Dick Durbin (a high ranking member of the committee) have not seen the details of the current legislation and the other day the Majority broke hundreds of years of precedent by stopping the public reading of an amendment.

In the long term cradle-to-grave socialized health care is not sustainable financially. We can look at countries with such systems and see that they pay a much higher cost than we do for a much poor quality of care. Another part of the fix is for people to directly pay part of their own health care costs. When things appear free they are abused. When you see the costs and are responsible for them you demand quality and economy. [But I’d also do away with withholding and ask taxpayers to write an actual check each month for the taxes they owe – it would work wonders to reduce fraudulent spending on pork projects.]

As to health care company profits, they are for the most part in line with the profits other companies make (an investor purchasing stock in a publicly-traded health care company has a legitimate expectation of a reasonable, market-based return on his investment). If a health care company chooses to gouge its subscribers it will not remain in business very long. [But right now government regulations prevent market forces from forcing bad insurance companies out of business.]

In the end I would invite everyone to examine the facts about the socialist health care systems and capitalist ones. The old saying holds true: “Capitalism is not perfect for there is an unequal distribution of wealth but in socialism there is a equal distribution of poverty.” That wealthy people from countries everywhere flock to America (and other places with capitalist health care) for their health care (despite having free socialized medicine in their home countries) should speak to everyone.

BTW, there are more market reforms, but I've limited it to just four major ones for now. Numbers 1 and 2 above should be relatively easy to accomplish. Number 3 would be difficult since there are so many lawyers in Congress who are ambulance-chasers. Number 4 would be even more difficult. While I'd work at all of them I'd be happy if numbers 1 & 2 were enacted now in place of all the current proposals. Then let it run for a few years and let the market work.

John

How ironic that the countries I hear of extolled as more Christian than the United States (UK, Sweden, Denmark) by some here and on many other forums, are in reality some of the most unChristian countries on the planet.

America is getting a bad rap lately over healthcare reform from everyone from Christians to out and out reds, but I'll take my country and it's so called Protestant origins, and it's unsurpassed record for helping those in need, over any nominally Catholic country in the World.
Especially curious since most Americans are quite happy with their health care, and the actual number of Americans who want some form of health insurance who do not have access to it is only a small fraction of the widely bandied "47 million" (or was it 37 million, or perhaps 25 million?).
Health care is great in the U.S....but for those many Americans who are unemployed, or employed but without being able to afford insurance because it is not offered, etc., it is simply unaffordable.

You would not believe the difference our friends tell us of the out of pocket costs of certain state of the art tests in the U.S. vs. Greece. The machinery is presently (being a full member of the EU) second to none there.

You would also not believe the difference in the cost of private health insurance (offered by American companies in many cases) premiums in Greece vs. the U.S.!!!!

The cost differential in all of this is truly unbelievable, and I believe that much of it is because of the high cost of medical malpractice insurance which is not an issue in any other country around the world.

The concern of doctors and their bedside manner in the U.S., compared to Greece, is far superior though.

Those private doctors I have gone to in the past (lucky me having gotten sick on vacation!!) in London were also excellent too, though not cheap.

In the words of a British friend of ours, America is a litigious society, period.
Bless, Fr Ambrose,

I appreciate your post; you have reminded us of the spiritual danger of the heresy "Americanism."

Health care IS a human right, if not a civic right. Our system has weaknesses and those who can afford to "waste" our health care resources (cosmetic surgery, abuse of antibiotics, diet drugs, sex drugs, emergency care abuse, prescribed duplicate testing and overuse of drugs) screams for reform. The greed of lawyers who get rich from peoples misfortunes is a horrible abuse of resources.

That being said THIS HEALTHCARE PROPOSAL must be defeated! It proposes that many things which the Catholic Church opposes will become mandatory. At the start of the Obama administration pro-abortionists were delighted in the prospect of passing FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act.) This would remove the pitifully few restrictions on abortions which were passed by pro-life states. It would remove the "conscience clause" which allows health care workers and facilities to refuse to participate in abortion and euthanasia. It could mandate all universities to REQUIRE medical students to perform abortions as part of their training. It would provide funding and personnel to abortion facilities like Planned Parenthood. The overwhelming objections of American citizens effectively killed this proposal.

But all the above pro-abortion provisions are possible with the current healthcare proposal; there are not at all restricted, but are authorized by the Health & Human Services Secretary Sebelius, A STRONGLY PRO-ABORTION FEMINIST.

Its extremely clear that any proposal the Obama administration puts forth will be actively or potential pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia and pro-Gnostic.

I believe the anti-socialist views presented on this forum are signs that a large plurality of Christians are distrustful of President Obama and most Democrats in Congress. The capitalist system of health care which we Americans have may be unfair, and generally based upon ability to pay. But it won't and CAN'T mandate participation in abortion and euthanasia.

Until we can trust our government there can be no advocacy of a Federal governance of health care.

May your preparations to welcome the Incarnate God be blessed!

Fr Deacon Paul
In reply to Lawrence's previous post.how can an abortion go wrong? there is only one desired outcome. My sister and I spent at least 60% of our childhood years in hospitals hooked up to machines and if I had lived in America at that time God knows what would have happened to us because of the immense debt we would now be under.

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Health care is great in the U.S....but for those many Americans who are unemployed, or employed but without being able to afford insurance because it is not offered, etc., it is simply unaffordable.

Not quite true. The vast majority of Americans have access to affordable health care through a variety of means, but not every American cares to avail himself of this, or simply is not aware of his eligibility for programs that already exist--many of which are undersubscribed. The actual number of people who want but have no access to health care at all is quite small. It could be made smaller still through some relatively minor tweaks, but the purpose of the wholesale expropriation of the healthcare system has nothing to do with providing affordable healthcare to the indigent.
John, Thank you for your thoughtful reply...Let me address one by one...

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1. Allow the purchase of health insurance across state lines. A family of four purchasing insurance in Massachusetts pays almost twice as much for coverage than a family in Texas does. The issue here is that states over regulate insurance, forcing private companies to provide coverage for things that most people don’t want (which raises the cost). Assuming the law is written to allow various levels of coverage (like auto insurance does) people would be able to pick and choose from thousands of companies rather than from the handful their states may currently allow.


I'm glad this is the first suggested one mentioned since I believe it is the WORST one. Having worked in the insurance industry for almost a decade both as an agent working with individuals and small businesses then working at the Long-Term Care Home Office for MetLife, I can confidently say that you are correct some states do over regulate (Florida is a great example of that.) However there are more states that under regulate and allow for clauses that average people would not be aware of such as (refering to Health Care policies) If you have ever been a victim of domestic abuse, that is a pre-existing condition. Essentially some states have cheaper policies...because they are cheap, clauses which make it extremely difficult to collect...

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2. Let individuals join together to get group rates, the same way labor unions and big companies do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying health insurance from the Knights of Columbus or the Lions (or whoever wishes to sell it to you). Almost all state governments prohibit this.


I'll agree with this...that's what the "Health Care Exchange" is in the congressional bills. It would allow individuals to purchase at group rates and if it was national it would allow purchasing "over state lines" but would set up minimum standards...

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3. Modest tort reform. Right now many doctors order all kinds of tests, more to cover themselves in case of lawsuit then are actually needed. There is a balance here. People harmed have a right to compensation but doctors need not fear a lawsuit for a legitimate action that goes wrong.


Nobody in their right mind would argue against modest tort reform. Actually president Obama advocated it in his address for congress. The definition of "modest tort reform" however, is more difficult than Healthcare reform. So it's really, in my opinion something that should be addressed but due to complexites it should be dealt with seperately.

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4. Get the federal government out of health care management and delivery.


From a liberal perspective, the government is not really in the health care delivery business. If they were the doctors would be salaried. Which would be paid for by a single payer system.

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the other day the Majority broke hundreds of years of precedent by stopping the public reading of an amendment.


I believe this is in reference to Sen Bernie Sanders amendment. If I recall after allowing for approximately 3 hours the amendment to be read, Sen. Sanders dropped the amendment from asking for a vote on it so there really was no reason to have it read. It was kind of like reading the phone book on the senate floor, it no longer had any relevance.

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As to health care company profits, they are for the most part in line with the profits other companies make (an investor purchasing stock in a publicly-traded health care company has a legitimate expectation of a reasonable, market-based return on his investment). If a health care company chooses to gouge its subscribers it will not remain in business very long. [But right now government regulations prevent market forces from forcing bad insurance companies out of business.]


Absolutely, an investor has a legitimate expectation of a REASONABLE, market-based return on his/her investment! However, I believe you are off base in that companies can "pick and choose" who they will offer policies to. I know I recently had a conversation with a CEO of a small business that operates in 5 states (I believe the number was 5) They looked at Health-Care coverage for their full time employees, and do offer it...one of the carriers he mentioned he specifically wanted a quote from was Blue Cross/Blue Shield...This company with approximately 100 employees was "too small" BC/BS would not even quote them.
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I'm glad this is the first suggested one mentioned since I believe it is the WORST one.

Really? If New Yorkers could buy their health insurance in Connecticut, they would see an immediate 40% drop in their premiums, due to New York's mandating of coverage that most people do not want and do not need, but which do drive up costs significantly. In every sector of insurance, cross-state competition has driven down costs. What makes you think health insurance is any different?

There is a corollary to this, which is allowing the young and healthy to purchase high deductable/low premium policies that only provide insurance against catastrophic illness or injury. Most of the people who do not have insurance are in fact the healthy young, who make a rational judgment that, at their stage in life, health insurance is not a high priority. You may disagree, and the government may disagree, but who are you to make this decision for them?

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I'll agree with this...that's what the "Health Care Exchange" is in the congressional bills.

Actually, it is not, since the government would determine who and what could be in the exchange. At the end of the day, its an attempt to get the government to control health insurance. And again, who are you to say what "minimum standards" are or ought to be? That choice is rightly left to the individual, whose circumstances are unique to him.

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Nobody in their right mind would argue against modest tort reform. Actually president Obama advocated it in his address for congress.

Tort reform is off the table. Leading Democrats have stated quite frankly that they have no intention of antagonizing the Plaintiff's Bar--one of their leading campaign cash cows.

But in Texas, where tort reform was implemented a couple of years ago, medical malpractice premiums dropped by a whopping 21%, and there was a large influx of physicians from out of state, many of whom decided to open practices in underserved areas.

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From a liberal perspective, the government is not really in the health care delivery business. If they were the doctors would be salaried. Which would be paid for by a single payer system.

When the government establishes large insurance programs that set rates, when the government decides what constitutes established practices and makes them mandatory for reimbursible services, then government is, in effect, setting physician salaries. There are many ways to skin a cat. This is just one of them.

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I believe this is in reference to Sen Bernie Sanders amendment.

Still a breach of Senate rules, which state that once an amendment is being read, the reading cannot be interrupted for any reason. Then there was Senator Stuart Smalley cutting off Joseph Lieberman's request for two minutes to complete his remarks--a complete breach of Senate comity which outraged quite a few members of "the worlds greatest deliberative body".

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As to health care company profits, they are for the most part in line with the profits other companies make (an investor purchasing stock in a publicly-traded health care company has a legitimate expectation of a reasonable, market-based return on his investment).

Medicare fraud totaled some $60 billion last year. The profits of the top ten health insurance companies totaled $8 billion. Which number is more "obscene"?

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Absolutely, an investor has a legitimate expectation of a REASONABLE, market-based return on his/her investment!

And the market decides that. Not you, not the government.

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However, I believe you are off base in that companies can "pick and choose" who they will offer policies to.

But the government can decide who and what they will cover? Interesting double standard. If I am dissatisfied with my insurance company, I can get another one. If I am dissatisfied with my government, I'm pretty much screwed. Or, at least, that was the outcome of the "Recent Unpleasantness", as we call the War of Yankee Aggression down here.
One more market-based reform John did not discuss: require the posting of prices for standard medical procedures, which would allow patients to shop around. At present, price structure is opaque, which means there is now way for patients to determine if they are getting a competitive price--and since everything is paid by a third party, they don't care, anyway. But if prices were posted, and advertised, then they would begin to converge at the low end.

This has been the case in two areas of medical practice not covered by insurance: cosmetic surgery, and lasik eye surgery. In both cases, healthy competition among providers has led to a dramatic reduction in costs without sacrificing quality of service.
A few quick comments...

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If New Yorkers could buy their health insurance in Connecticut, they would see an immediate 40% drop in their premiums, due to New York's mandating of coverage that most people do not want and do not need, but which do drive up costs significantly.


If someone in NY does not want full coverage they and are looking for a "cheap" plan...they would buy from Mississippi or another state that has even less regulations...And I repeat they would get just that...a CHEAP plan with exclusions out the "ying yang".

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There is a corollary to this, which is allowing the young and healthy to purchase high deductable/low premium policies that only provide insurance against catastrophic illness or injury.


Actually, the house bill does include a "young invincable" option...

Tort reform...I won't say anymore...Stuart's argument is nothing more than taking the extreme and trying to paint all Democrats/Liberals that way...

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I'll agree with this...that's what the "Health Care Exchange" is in the congressional bills.


Actually, it is not, since the government would determine who and what could be in the exchange.


Actually, it is, since those not covered thru their employer would be eligible.

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Absolutely, an investor has a legitimate expectation of a REASONABLE, market-based return on his/her investment!


And the market decides that. Not you, not the government.


Define, the market??? Nobody I know, really has any say...it's like the insurance companies have a gun to our heads...there is no market...it is what it is...

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But the government can decide who and what they will cover? Interesting double standard. If I am dissatisfied with my insurance company, I can get another one. If I am dissatisfied with my government, I'm pretty much screwed.


The line needs to be drawn somewhere, if costs are going to be controlled. Also, that's good for you that you are healthy enough to not be one of the tens of millions in this country who can not just drop their insurance and go to another company...due to pre-existing conditions that insurance companies would not cover outside a group plan...If you are dissatisified with your government, your not screwed...you just need to "suck it up" and work harder on the next election...That's what Democrats and/or Liberals did during the Bush years and the years of Republican control of congress. grin
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The line needs to be drawn somewhere, if costs are going to be controlled.


JOB:

Christ is in our midst!!

There's no such thing as "controlling costs." A cost is what it takes to produce some good or service. We can control the price of what can be charged for the good or service. But when the price that can be charged is less than the cost or production, then one of two things happens: either the good or service is produced by cutting corners or it is not produced at all.

We can control the price--government already does that with Medicare and Medicaid. And there are more physicians who no longer take Medicare and/or Medicaid patients. That's one of the results. Or we can have foreigh-educated physicians come in to fill the gap and wonder about their level of education and training. That's also happening in some parts of the country.

But price and cost are two different animals; they are not the same and they are not interchangeable.

BOB
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If someone in NY does not want full coverage they and are looking for a "cheap" plan...they would buy from Mississippi or another state that has even less regulations...And I repeat they would get just that...a CHEAP plan with exclusions out the "ying yang".

So? What if that's what they want?

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Actually, the house bill does include a "young invincable" option...

Which won't survive Conference. Whereas the public mandate (buy or get fined) will.

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Tort reform...I won't say anymore...Stuart's argument is nothing more than taking the extreme and trying to paint all Democrats/Liberals that way...

Wait! Democratic Party leadership said that. If they don't speak for the party, who does?

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Define, the market??? Nobody I know, really has any say...it's like the insurance companies have a gun to our heads...there is no market...it is what it is...

I don't think so, but better them than the government, thanks very much.

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The line needs to be drawn somewhere, if costs are going to be controlled.

Back to Economics 101. There is only one effective way to control costs, and that is through competition. When government imposes cost controls, all it does is artificially constrain supply, while artificially boosting demand. The result is always shortages, such as we now see in our neighbors to the north.

For some reason, you seem to think that health care is some sort of Platonic form, instead of the commodity that it is. As a commodity, it responds to market forces in the same manner as all other commodities. It also responds to government distortion of the market in the same manner as all other commodities.
Originally Posted by Paul B
Bless, Fr Ambrose,

I appreciate your post; you have reminded us of the spiritual danger of the heresy "Americanism."

Health care IS a human right, if not a civic right....
Health care is a right in the same way that freedom of speech is a right. There is absolutely nothing in the Gospel or the Teaching of the Church which demands support for socialist government run health care. Many Catholics have major problems with some of the bishops who support socialized medicine (a personal opinion they have a right to) because socialized medicine (really socialized anything) ALWAYS leads to rationing. People deserve better.

Phil Lawler over at CatholicCulure.org has the beginnings of a good discussion of this: The Catholic Case Against Health Care Reform [catholicculture.org]. He rightly mentions the moral issues of not being able to stop the government from mandating funding for abortion and other evil things (and we know that no matter what passes some judge is going to rule abortion and other evils a 'right' and order the government to pay for it). But he also mentions that "the principle of subsidiarity teaches (as the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1894) puts it) that 'neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies.' Since health-care coverage can surely be handled by private organizations, resort to the government is questionable at best. Since state governments can surely regulate health insurance, federal involvement is clearly unnecessary."

Also, as we've discussed before, one may have a right expectation to demand the help of a neighbor in an emergency situation but there is nothing in the Gospel about demanding that your neighbor pay for your annual checkup. Care for the poor - yes (but that falls on the Church and not the government and the bishops shirk their responsibility by demanding the government fill the role given to them).

At the level of economics we need more capitalism in health care.

Much to discuss!
Originally Posted by StuartK
One more market-based reform John did not discuss: require the posting of prices for standard medical procedures, which would allow patients to shop around. At present, price structure is opaque, which means there is now way for patients to determine if they are getting a competitive price--and since everything is paid by a third party, they don't care, anyway. But if prices were posted, and advertised, then they would begin to converge at the low end.

This has been the case in two areas of medical practice not covered by insurance: cosmetic surgery, and lasik eye surgery. In both cases, healthy competition among providers has led to a dramatic reduction in costs without sacrificing quality of service.
Yes, I had forgotten about this - and there are others. Very easy to accomplish.

Stuart responds nicely to Job's points and I'm not sure there is a lot I can add. The market does work and should be allowed to work. We have successful examples all around us - from WalMart and Target (successes) to K-Mart (which had to reorganize because they could not compete). And look at the price drop of high def televisions in the past few years. Health insurance companies that overcharge and deliver poor quality would eventually go out of business. But right now some of the bad ones are propped up by states that stifle the market with unreasonable and unrealistic regulations. [Job rightly complains about some states where regulations allow horrible insurance companies to continue in business. I'd suggest he consider what would happen if people could cross state lines (currently illegal) to buy health insurance from companies that provide better quality and a lower price. Most would do so and the bad companies would be left with no subscribers.]

I will also repeat - look at England and Canada (to pick on just two countries with socialist systems). You can't get the latest cancer drugs on their NHS. You think it won't happen here? Look at Oregon, where the lady was told that she could not get the cancer drug her doctors said was best for her but was offered a suicide pill. It's already happening here. There is no way to stop it under a socialist system. Praise the Lord the 'evil' drug company gave her the drug for free. >> If you support the current proposals being rammed through Congress you are in reality supporting such rationing, especially for the elderly (who will eventually get only pain care and not health care).]

Want lower drug costs? Adopt policies that encourage more capitalism in the pharmaceutical industry.

Lots to be done on the market end that the government prohibits (and in so doing drives up prices).
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If someone in NY does not want full coverage they and are looking for a "cheap" plan...they would buy from Mississippi or another state that has even less regulations...And I repeat they would get just that...a CHEAP plan with exclusions out the "ying yang".


So? What if that's what they want?


The problem is these clauses are in the fine print...and the average consumer doesn't know until it's too late...Let's be realistic...companies trying to sell their product do not emphasise, let alone often bring up, their shortcomings...

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Define, the market??? Nobody I know, really has any say...it's like the insurance companies have a gun to our heads...there is no market...it is what it is...


I don't think so, but better them than the government, thanks very much.


I know so, even if you don't think so. Thank you very much! smile

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Back to Economics 101. There is only one effective way to control costs, and that is through competition.


Again, currently...there is no competition in Health Care...the few major carriers dominate the market...also, since most Health Insurance is purchased through employers most people must take what is offered them...

We will never agree on this issue...but I do enjoy "spirited debate"!!!

Chris/Job
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Stuart responds nicely to Job's points and I'm not sure there is a lot I can add.


Actually, from my posting right above this, Stuart did not give any sort of response other than a "boiler plate" ones... smile

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The problem is these clauses are in the fine print...and the average consumer doesn't know until it's too late...Let's be realistic...companies trying to sell their product do not emphasise, let alone often bring up, their shortcomings...

So, your basic argument in favor of government control is people are too stupid to be trusted to make fundamental decisions about their own lives. Yet the people who run the government are incapable of running their own lives, let alone the lives of 300 million people, as every government program ever conceived amply demonstrates. Left to their own devices, the vast majority of people do just fine.

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Again, currently...there is no competition in Health Care...the few major carriers dominate the market...also, since most Health Insurance is purchased through employers most people must take what is offered them...

Again, if you allow the sale of insurance across state lines, there would be competition. To redress the second problem, allow individuals to deduct their premiums in the same way that businesses do, while also allowing small businesses to form their own (not government run) pools to buy group insurance.
Originally Posted by Job
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Again, currently...there is no competition in Health Care...the few major carriers dominate the market...also, since most Health Insurance is purchased through employers most people must take what is offered them...

Chris/Job

In western Pennsylvania there are a lot of companies who offer health insurance...High Mark, Geisinger, UPMC, United Health Care plus most of the major (life) insurance companies. The problem is that hospitals and doctors are selective as to which ones they will accept .....the health care "reform" doesn't address this problem.

Most people are only aware of one or two dominant non-profit insurers because the others are too expensive or not generally recognized by the health providers.

The "reform" bill is not really reform; its a political stab at more control over peoples' lives. That said, I stick to my belief that access to necessary health care is a human right, recognizing Christ in each person. The parable of the good Samaritan suggests this. In my area the hospitals provide this care even if the patient can't afford it. And we have our share of doctors who will do the same.

Fr Deacon Paul
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So, your basic argument in favor of government control is people are too stupid to be trusted to make fundamental decisions about their own lives.


Absolutely not what I am saying. It's not the average consumer who is "stupid" but the corporations making $$$ off of inserting these immoral clauses. It is unrealistic for anyone to think that every contract can and should be read by the average consumer. The average consumer is not stupid. Although, I know that is a claim conservatives tend to throw around.

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Again, if you allow the sale of insurance across state lines, there would be competition.


Once again, I will not continue to beat a dead horse, but this would only lead to a worsing of the situation of the race to the bottom. We'll get plans that are affordable, because they don't cover anything.

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To redress the second problem, allow individuals to deduct their premiums in the same way that businesses do, while also allowing small businesses to form their own (not government run) pools to buy group insurance.


You are mixing up two different issues. I would be in favor of allowing individuals to deduct their premiums the same way business does. Actually, come to think of it, you can already deduct this if an individual is paying for their health insurance, because due to the high expense of Health Insurance, it easily meets the 7.5% threshold to itemize health care expenses. Although, I think, and I don't have a problem with it, it would lead to the elimination of Health Insurance benefits offered in the workplace. Which is why I am saying you are mixing up two different issues. Do you want small businesses to form their own pools (so we can keep the current employer based model) (Also, they already can do this and many do.) Or would you have the emphasys put on the individual?
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Absolutely not what I am saying. It's not the average consumer who is "stupid" but the corporations making $$$ off of inserting these immoral clauses.

And they are immoral why? Because you don't like them?

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It is unrealistic for anyone to think that every contract can and should be read by the average consumer
.

So, the consumer is stupid?

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The average consumer is not stupid.

Which is it? Make up your mind.

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Although, I know that is a claim conservatives tend to throw around.

Um, no. Conservatives believe that the market regulates better than the government. Insurance companies, like other businesses, are punished by the market if they get a reputation for cheating their customers. When the government cheats its customers, it's call "policy".

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Once again, I will not continue to beat a dead horse, but this would only lead to a worsing of the situation of the race to the bottom. We'll get plans that are affordable, because they don't cover anything.

There is no evidence for that at all. In fact, as with all other competitive situations, the company that decides to go the extra mile will get most of the customers (at which point, I suppose, the government will bring an anti-trust suit against it).

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You are mixing up two different issues. I would be in favor of allowing individuals to deduct their premiums the same way business does. Actually, come to think of it, you can already deduct this if an individual is paying for their health insurance, because due to the high expense of Health Insurance, it easily meets the 7.5% threshold to itemize health care expenses.

It tends not to, when your income is high--as I know from personal experience.

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Although, I think, and I don't have a problem with it, it would lead to the elimination of Health Insurance benefits offered in the workplace. Which is why I am saying you are mixing up two different issues. Do you want small businesses to form their own pools (so we can keep the current employer based model) (Also, they already can do this and many do.) Or would you have the emphasys put on the individual?

My preference is to move insurance companies from employers to individuals. Individuals have an incentive to keep down costs; employers tend not to. But if a small business employer wants to offer insurance as a benefit to attract good workers, I favor a pool system that allows them to compete in the same manner as large business for group coverage.
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And they are immoral why? Because you don't like them?


They are immoral since they are "fine print" which is inserted with the sole purpose of creating "loopholes" to prevent paying on what the basic contract is meant to cover. If you don't like using the term immoral for these practices. Maybe they can be "charged off" to "slimy business practices"??? I really don't know how anyone could possibly support such practices. Especially "Christians" so I am assuming we are going through this exercise where you are playing devil's advocate.

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It is unrealistic for anyone to think that every contract can and should be read by the average consumer
.

So, the consumer is stupid?


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The average consumer is not stupid.


Which is it? Make up your mind.


I don't know what you mean? Are you demeaning the average consumer since we are busy and if we read and analyze every contract presented to us in our society we would have time for nothing else? Glad you must be independently wealthy, so you can either read and analyze all day or pay others to do so! Otherwise you would realize that people with lives don't have time to do so, even if the inclination is there. It's extremely sad to me, that you would call people stupid because they have lives. I definitely have not.

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It tends not to, when your income is high--as I know from personal experience.


I think here is where we get to the heart of the matter. It sounds like you are crying "I'm well off, so who cares about the less fortunate. The Rule doesn't help me." Sounds like I should refer to you as Scrooge not Stuart grin
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They are immoral since they are "fine print" which is inserted with the sole purpose of creating "loopholes" to prevent paying on what the basic contract is meant to cover. If you don't like using the term immoral for these practices.

As I said, companies that indulge in such practices will lose their business quite rapidly. It happens in all other sectors of the economy (including other parts of the insurance industry), so why should health insurance be any different, especially if there is more competition?

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I don't know what you mean? Are you demeaning the average consumer since we are busy and if we read and analyze every contract presented to us in our society we would have time for nothing else?

If you are too busy to read a contract that could have life-altering consequences, you deserve what you get--just like those people who took out adjustable rate mortgages without reading the terms, who suddenly found themselves inundated by massive balloon payments.

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I think here is where we get to the heart of the matter. It sounds like you are crying "I'm well off, so who cares about the less fortunate. The Rule doesn't help me." Sounds like I should refer to you as Scrooge not Stuart.

No, not at all. I'm not that well off, just not dirt poor. But once I was dirt poor, so don't bother to lecture me. Inter alia, it's not Scrooge's business acumen that is criticized by Dickens, it is the manner in which he uses (or doesn't use, to be precise) his wealth. For Scrooge, the accumulation of wealth is an end in itself. Dickens doesn't call for Scrooge to abandon sound business principles (and note, there is never a hint that Scrooge engaged in shady business practices, just hard-headed ones). Scrooge is quite right in saying that, but for his business sense, Cratchett would not only not have a Christmas feast, he wouldn't have a job at all. But Scrooge was wrong to horde his wealth, and not to use it more productively, as a good steward should

As for the rule, it won't help anybody except government bureaucrats. Caveat emptor, you get what you pay for--only in the case of the pending "reform" bills, several trillions of dollars will simply buy you lousy care at a higher price. Assuming this bill passes, where are you going to find the people willing to be physicians? Will Canada's shortage be mirrored by our own? Or do you think that doctors, pharmacologists, molecular biologists, medical technicians and the like all grow on trees?

In places where health care is free, it's worth what you pay for it.
Maybe I am wrong here. But, it seems to me that this thread has digressed into an argument between two divergent ideologies. Maybe it is time to back off and let the Byzantine Forums get back to normal.
God Bless and Merry Christmas.
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As I said, companies that indulge in such practices will lose their business quite rapidly. It happens in all other sectors of the economy (including other parts of the insurance industry), so why should health insurance be any different, especially if there is more competition?


Stuart, you are completely missing the point. They ALL DO it!!! Since they are able to get away with it. That's why regulation is needed. They have run amuck for so long...the poison has spread throughout the system...If this wasn't a problem, presidents have not been trying to address this for 100 years (varing degrees of focus on the issue)...

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If you are too busy to read a contract that could have life-altering consequences, you deserve what you get--just like those people who took out adjustable rate mortgages without reading the terms, who suddenly found themselves inundated by massive balloon payments.


Call me a dreamer but I will always believe that with contracts being part of everyday life. The reason we pay to have a financial advisor (for insurance or mortgages) is to have them get the best plan. The problem is if they all stink, they all stink.

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In places where health care is free, it's worth what you pay for it.


This is quite the red herring. Nowhere did I nor anyone else suggest that health care should be free. Or it is free anywhere. I will give you another example of a problem with the current system. There was an issue in the family, where we knew an MRI would be needed. The primary care physician said we need a catscan first. (We knew the issue and the last time it occured, we went through a catscan, only to need an MRI and was told at that point that catscans don't show what is necessary for them.) I was told by the physician that the Insurance company required the catscan first or they would not pay for an MRI. Now, I don't know if it was the insurance company that said it, or it was the doctor looking for additional testing for additional fees. But, It was clear right from the beginning that the catscan was not needed and was just another expense for the insurance company. So even if prices were posted for fees on tests, it doesn't matter if you are required to get a test that you don't need.

Oh...in regards to Scrooge...you are correct "it's not Scrooge's business acumen that is criticized by Dickens" but that is an aspect that has been criticized by others...
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Stuart, you are completely missing the point. They ALL DO it!!! Since they are able to get away with it. That's why regulation is needed.

So, they are regulated, but they all do it. Hence regulation is ineffective. But we need regulation.

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.If this wasn't a problem, presidents have not been trying to address this for 100 years (varing degrees of focus on the issue)...

Actually, it's not the President's job to do this. But some like to pander, it is true, in the search for votes.

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Call me a dreamer but I will always believe that with contracts being part of everyday life. The reason we pay to have a financial advisor (for insurance or mortgages) is to have them get the best plan. The problem is if they all stink, they all stink.

But they don't all stink, do they?

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But, It was clear right from the beginning that the catscan was not needed and was just another expense for the insurance company.

Count your blessings. In countries with socialized medicine, you would either get neither, or just one after a very long wait.

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Oh...in regards to Scrooge...you are correct "it's not Scrooge's business acumen that is criticized by Dickens" but that is an aspect that has been criticized by others...

Then others are simply anti-commerce bigots who really don't know whence the food on their table comes. With Michael Novak, I give two cheers for capitalism.
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But, It was clear right from the beginning that the catscan was not needed and was just another expense for the insurance company.


Count your blessings. In countries with socialized medicine, you would either get neither, or just one after a very long wait.

Have you ever actually lived in a country with socialised medicine? Or is this just another one of those assertions based on anecdotal evidence, which, if weighed up against the positive anecdotal evidence, would be soundly trounced?

You have referred in earlier posts to 'government studies' that reveal the failures of the NHS (UK)/Medicare (Canada). Why is it that I, an instinctively conservative regular news reader, have failed to notice these far-reaching condemnations of my (and other) countries' medical systems?

Alas, I suspect it's because they're not quite as irrefutable as they are being made out here.

I am not saying socialised medicine is the health-care panacea; I am saying, however, that, as undertaken in Canada, Britain, and Scandinavia, it is - and has been - an enterprise of untold value in human terms.

[/Sits back and waits for further fear-mongering]
Slavophile,

Thank you for your post! One of the other forum members, tried discouraging me from keeping this dialogue going with Stuart. However, my rationale for keeping the discussion going was, the problem is the "anti-reform" conservatives here in America, attempt to shut down the conversation and utilize things such as "far reaching condemnations" of other health-care systems. Liberals tend to throw up their hands and give up. Unfortunately, that allows the opposing view to dominate any dialogue.

Again thank you for your post! The condemnation of other country's health-care systems get a "bad rap" from the right in this country.
Originally Posted by Job
If someone in NY does not want full coverage they and are looking for a "cheap" plan...they would buy from Mississippi or another state that has even less regulations...And I repeat they would get just that...a CHEAP plan with exclusions out the "ying yang".
Why is this a problem? Someone who wishes to purchase something like only catastrophic coverage (without covering regular doctor check-ups) should be able to. This would be an ideal way for a young twenty-something to save money.

Originally Posted by Job
Define, the market??? Nobody I know, really has any say...it's like the insurance companies have a gun to our heads...there is no market...it is what it is...
Again, it depends on what state you live in. Some states have good competition and better quality health care. Other states regulate in ways that drive away competition and bring down the quality of health care.

Originally Posted by Job
The line needs to be drawn somewhere, if costs are going to be controlled.
Government regulation has NEVER managed to control costs prices in anything activity it has regulated. Look at the percentage of waste and fraud in Medicare / Medicaid. CBS just reported this past fall that the Medicare fraud was estimated to be $60 billion a year.

Originally Posted by Job
The problem is these clauses are in the fine print...and the average consumer doesn't know until it's too late...Let's be realistic...companies trying to sell their product do not emphasise, let alone often bring up, their shortcomings...
This is not an issue of a failing capitalism or unfair competition. This is an issue of truth in advertising. Many in Congress on both sides of the aisle have introduced legislation to simplify contract language (even to simplify the annual tax return). It is legitimate for the government to issue regulations requiring simple, easy to read contracts. And there is nothing immoral about selling a policy that covers little so long as the purchase knows that and chooses it freely.

Originally Posted by Job
Again, currently...there is no competition in Health Care...the few major carriers dominate the market...also, since most Health Insurance is purchased through employers most people must take what is offered them...
Your statement is not correct. There is plenty of completion in states where it is allowed. The issue here is bad government regulation at the state level that discourages completion, not ‘evil’ insurance companies. Look at the auto insurance model.

Originally Posted by Job
Once again, I will not continue to beat a dead horse, but this would only lead to a worsing of the situation of the race to the bottom. We'll get plans that are affordable, because they don't cover anything.
That is a false statement. What you’d get with regulation that encourages completion is consumer choice. Look at auto insurance. You can choose from a number of plans. If you wish to save money you can get a plan that covers only the other guy. You can choose a plan that covers the other guy and some / all of the damage that might happen to your car. You can choose a plan with no deductible. You can choose a plan that gives you included towing, and even a loaner car. The auto insurance industry is thriving. Compare it to the health insurance in states with socialist programs (Mass, Maine, etc.). Costs are way up, waiting lists are growing, and doctors are bowing out.

Originally Posted by Job
You are mixing up two different issues. I would be in favor of allowing individuals to deduct their premiums the same way business does. Actually, come to think of it, you can already deduct this if an individual is paying for their health insurance, because due to the high expense of Health Insurance, it easily meets the 7.5% threshold to itemize health care expenses. Although, I think, and I don't have a problem with it, it would lead to the elimination of Health Insurance benefits offered in the workplace. Which is why I am saying you are mixing up two different issues. Do you want small businesses to form their own pools (so we can keep the current employer based model) (Also, they already can do this and many do.) Or would you have the emphasis put on the individual?
Elimination of employer health care would not be a bad thing (but it should be done through the market and not by force). It would really assist in creating more completion in the health insurance industry. The issues of how employers added health insurance is a bit complicated, but much of it came about during periods of wage freezes (at a time when employers could not raise salaries they offered benefits instead). If individuals were responsible to write the check for their health care insurance they would examine the policy they purchase more closely, and when they go to the doctor they would ask about the costs of the various tests. That would greatly reduce the current trend toward not caring about the cost since “it’s covered and my insurance pays for it”.

Originally Posted by Job
To Stuart: Are you demeaning the average consumer since we are busy and if we read and analyze every contract presented to us in our society we would have time for nothing else? Glad you must be independently wealthy, so you can either read and analyze all day or pay others to do so! Otherwise you would realize that people with lives don't have time to do so, even if the inclination is there. It's extremely sad to me, that you would call people stupid because they have lives. I definitely have not.
It has nothing to do with being independently wealthy. It is true that most people don’t read the fine print on contracts. They skip that to their own detriment. But what most people do is to rely on the experience of others. When I first purchased a car and looked for auto insurance I went with a recommendation from a friend for a major insurance company in my area. After a few years I realized that the company was famous for dropping people who had accidents (which meant that they had to pay big time to sign up with another company). I then switched to another company and have been with them now for over 25 years. Every year when renewal comes up I look around and review what other companies are offering, but every year so far I am happy with the coverage I purchase. It does not take long and people are certainly smart enough to do that with health care. Also on that front, if competition across state lines were allowed groups like Consumer Reports would be providing reviews and rankings (they do so now but it is limited as one can’t purchase insurance across state lines).

Originally Posted by Job
Now, I don't know if it was the insurance company that said it, or it was the doctor looking for additional testing for additional fees. But, It was clear right from the beginning that the catscan was not needed and was just another expense for the insurance company. So even if prices were posted for fees on tests, it doesn't matter if you are required to get a test that you don't need.
Since you don’t know the cause you really can’t assign blame. This could be a matter of an insurance company having a procedure it prefers (which you change if you chose another insurance company), or it could be a doctor looking to make a bit extra on a test, or it could be a doctor practicing defensive medicine (to avoid you suing him should a future catscan pick up something the last one did not). No way of telling on the evidence you provided, and there is no way for you to trash anyone on such scant evidence.

--

Originally Posted by slavophile
Have you ever actually lived in a country with socialised medicine? Or is this just another one of those assertions based on anecdotal evidence, which, if weighed up against the positive anecdotal evidence, would be soundly trounced?
I’ve traveled extensively but not lived in other countries. I have known lots of people how have lived in other countries. My cousins in Alberta complain routinely about the problems with health care in Canada. We know for fact that numerous wealthy Canadians head across the border to the United States for things like heart bypass surgery because the wait lists in Canada are long (typical with socialized medicine). I have a friend who lived for many years in England who came home to get his dental work done. And we know the wait list in the U.K. is long for pretty much anything (not anecdotally, but from the official British studies that document the problems of their system). The joke among those studying / living in Rome is that if you get really sick someone should put you on a plane home and have a relative take you to a doctor before being admitted to an Italian hospital.

Why do you fail to notice the studies? I have no idea. Very possibly because one needs to do some comparison (a British study, for example, does not always provide a scientific comparison to health care in other countries).

I would say that health care in America has been far more an enterprise of untold value in human terms than has been socialized medicine anywhere else in the world. It is the American system (even if imperfect) that develops the latest technologies and drugs. We have techniques and drugs that are just not available anywhere else in the world. Need the latest cancer drug? You can’t get it England or Canada? You need to get in the States.

One thing that is interesting is human nature. People in the United Kingdom (for example) have either grown up with or have adjusted to socialized medicine. The level of care they get is normal for them and they accept it as normal. That does not mean it is the best it can be for the high cost they are paying (and they do pay far more in direct and indirect costs for far less health care).

--
Originally Posted by Job
One of the other forum members, tried discouraging me from keeping this dialogue going with Stuart. However, my rationale for keeping the discussion going was, the problem is the "anti-reform" conservatives here in America, attempt to shut down the conversation and utilize things such as "far reaching condemnations" of other health-care systems. Liberals tend to throw up their hands and give up. Unfortunately, that allows the opposing view to dominate any dialogue.

Again thank you for your post! The condemnation of other country's health-care systems get a "bad rap" from the right in this country.
I am amazed that Job would bother to label anyone “anti-reform” as such a statement is simply false. Conservatives want reform, just not the reform that liberals want. I stand against socialism simply because it does not work. It drives up costs and spreads poverty.

As far as an “attempt to shut down the conversation” Job is also wrong. He has offered his opinion at great length. I would invite others to read it, and to notice that he seldom responds to anything with facts but rather just whines about ‘evil’ insurance companies. Where are his studies that show that government socialism will provide better coverage at lower costs? One look at Medicare fraud blows anything he might suggest away.

My comments of the problems of health-care in other countries are based on studies done by professionals in those countries. Where are Job’s studies refuting them, that show that socialized medicine provides better coverage at lower cost? They don’t exist. That is why you can get the latest technology and the latest cancer drug in America, but not in Britain or Canada. To say so is not a judgment against the people who live in those countries, just a comment that the socialized medicine they chose does not work as well as the American system. We need reform that embraces more capitalism, not reform that embraces socialism. From what Job has written anyone who is a capitalist is “anti-reform”. That is false.
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Originally Posted By: Job
If someone in NY does not want full coverage they and are looking for a "cheap" plan...they would buy from Mississippi or another state that has even less regulations...And I repeat they would get just that...a CHEAP plan with exclusions out the "ying yang".

Why is this a problem? Someone who wishes to purchase something like only catastrophic coverage (without covering regular doctor check-ups) should be able to. This would be an ideal way for a young twenty-something to save money.


Not a problem IF...they know what they are buying! I repeat, I know the house bill called for a "young invinceable" option.

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Again, it depends on what state you live in. Some states have good competition and better quality health care. Other states regulate in ways that drive away competition and bring down the quality of health care.


Not necessarily, it also depends upon the employer...and if you look at the statistics for insurance companies and state coverage, it's only a few who dominate the market (Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United and Aetna) The regional players, like the old Oxford Health, have been bought up by the big guys, In this case I believe they were bought by United HealthCare. There is NO COMPETITION in the HEALTHCARE ARENA.

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Government regulation has NEVER managed to control costs prices in anything activity it has regulated. Look at the percentage of waste and fraud in Medicare / Medicaid. CBS just reported this past fall that the Medicare fraud was estimated to be $60 billion a year.


Two points:
1. If this is true...Why so much opposition to a public option which was essentially set up to be run like a mutual company. Premiums only would pay for benefits not tax dollars.????
2. Absolutly,medicare fraud is a problem, the way to correct this is prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. Not deny any claim that might be problematic.

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This is not an issue of a failing capitalism or unfair competition. This is an issue of truth in advertising. Many in Congress on both sides of the aisle have introduced legislation to simplify contract language (even to simplify the annual tax return). It is legitimate for the government to issue regulations requiring simple, easy to read contracts.


I agree!!! See even those who disagree can find issues to agree on!!!

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And there is nothing immoral about selling a policy that covers little so long as the purchase knows that and chooses it freely.


Again I agree!!! Never said that the "catastrophic" plan was immoral. Re-read what I have written! As long as people are aware of what they are purchasing.

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Originally Posted By: Job
Again, currently...there is no competition in Health Care...the few major carriers dominate the market...also, since most Health Insurance is purchased through employers most people must take what is offered them...

Your statement is not correct. There is plenty of completion in states where it is allowed. The issue here is bad government regulation at the state level that discourages completion, not ‘evil’ insurance companies. Look at the auto insurance model.


I disagree, look at state by state statistics of insurance domination. Health Insurance is a very different story from auto insurance. I won't say anymore on this except re-read some of what has already been written in response to Stuart's postings.

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Once again, I will not continue to beat a dead horse, but this would only lead to a worsing of the situation of the race to the bottom. We'll get plans that are affordable, because they don't cover anything.

That is a false statement. What you’d get with regulation that encourages completion is consumer choice.


This is not a "false statement". You may disagree with it, and you are entitled to your own opinion. But it is not False, only look around at how other businesses have behaved. Next thing you will be telling me is that $35 overdraft charges from the bank are OK because that's what the market will allow. It will only allow it because there is nowhere else to go. Even small banks know they can charge these fees since that is not a make or break issue since there is nowhere else to go.

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Look at auto insurance. You can choose from a number of plans. If you wish to save money you can get a plan that covers only the other guy. You can choose a plan that covers the other guy and some / all of the damage that might happen to your car. You can choose a plan with no deductible. You can choose a plan that gives you included towing, and even a loaner car. The auto insurance industry is thriving.


John, all I can say is re-read my posts. I agree! That's why there is an exchange to be set up with varing plans. You seem to be bringing up issues where there is not a difference of views and has been stated several times already!

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Elimination of employer health care would not be a bad thing (but it should be done through the market and not by force). It would really assist in creating more completion in the health insurance industry. The issues of how employers added health insurance is a bit complicated, but much of it came about during periods of wage freezes (at a time when employers could not raise salaries they offered benefits instead). If individuals were responsible to write the check for their health care insurance they would examine the policy they purchase more closely, and when they go to the doctor they would ask about the costs of the various tests. That would greatly reduce the current trend toward not caring about the cost since “it’s covered and my insurance pays for it”.


Once again, I agree! Except what would happen in the situation I gave above, where a test was required by the insurance company, when I knew is was going to be useless??? It seems to me like that was a waste of money. That would have been money wasted out of pocket, since I knew that the MRI was necessary.

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Since you don’t know the cause you really can’t assign blame. This could be a matter of an insurance company having a procedure it prefers (which you change if you chose another insurance company), or it could be a doctor looking to make a bit extra on a test, or it could be a doctor practicing defensive medicine (to avoid you suing him should a future catscan pick up something the last one did not). No way of telling on the evidence you provided, and there is no way for you to trash anyone on such scant evidence.


Either way, since I won't get into medical specifics of the situation, I can say it was not "defensive medicine". The evidence is "scant" based on what was posted here, but clearly not so in reality based on the circumstances.

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which you change if you chose another insurance company


John, the problem with your side of the argument (along with Stuart et al...) is that you want to throw around "let the market decide"...There IS NO MARKET FOR HEALTH INSURANCE. It's not like other businesses...if it was why would they need the Anti-Trust exemption???? Let's follow the situation your quote is taken from...The Doctor or Insurance company wants to run an unnecessary test. You say, well change insurance companies! I say, what drop the group plan, to change to an individual policy, especially since this specific issue deals with a pre-existing condition, any other company would not cover it either! So now I would have "cut off my nose to spite my face". There was nowhere else to go!!!! You might say, well not this time but when your employer has it's annual open enrollment choose another carrier. The only choices are with the same carrier with higher deductables. THERE IS NOT A CHOICE!!!!

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I stand against socialism simply because it does not work.


Please John, I give you more credit than that. Throwing around slurs such as socialism, knowing the loaded baggage it brings with it from the distortion through distorted communism, does nothing to elevate the arguments which have been presented on both sides.

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Where are his studies that show that government socialism will provide better coverage at lower costs? One look at Medicare fraud blows anything he might suggest away.


LOL!!! (see above) Throwing around loaded words does not make an argument.

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My comments of the problems of health-care in other countries are based on studies done by professionals in those countries. Where are Job’s studies refuting them


Please show us the studies that you are talking about! Conservatives love to cite these studies...but we never see them, when we do they are from a conservative think-tank...I know based on all the people I have spoken with from other countries with "socialized medicine" they are amazed that many in America speak poorly about their systems...since they are happy with them!!!! And would not give them up for anything remotely close to our system!!! I know some of those people are posters on this forum...but tend to shut down when they realize you and Stuart and others are never going to listen...just keep drinking the "cool-aid"...what you guys are saying although, I agree with much of it, doesn't meet reality...

There is always talk about liberals who live in "ivory towers"...I think this is a situation of conservatives "in ivory towers". Rhetoric does not meet reality.
Originally Posted by Job
Not a problem IF...they know what they are buying!
Again, not an issue of capitalism and it cannot be used to suggest a failure of capitalism. Truth in advertising is what is required and that is a legitimate function of government. To accomplish it one does not need the socialist style reform currently being pushed through Congress.

Originally Posted by Job
Not necessarily, it also depends upon the employer...and if you look at the statistics for insurance companies and state coverage, it's only a few who dominate the market (Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United and Aetna) The regional players, like the old Oxford Health, have been bought up by the big guys, In this case I believe they were bought by United HealthCare. There is NO COMPETITION in the HEALTHCARE ARENA.
Don’t miss the point. State regulations have a large influence on completion (or lack of it). There is a reason that there are only one or two companies willing to do business in states like Maine (which has excessive regulation that discourages completion).

As to employer offerings, it is unrealistic for an employer to offer more than a handful of choices. My company offers about six choices. It used to be a dozen but that was whittled down as it was too expensive for my employer to manage all that. If, however, the country moved from employer provided health insurance to consumer chosen models (like in auto insurance) there would be far more choices.

Originally Posted by Job
1. If this is true...Why so much opposition to a public option which was essentially set up to be run like a mutual company. Premiums only would pay for benefits not tax dollars.????
2. Absolutly,medicare fraud is a problem, the way to correct this is prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. Not deny any claim that might be problematic.
1. Firstly, because there are those in government (like the President) who have openly stated their intent to do away with private health insurance. In a speech during the campaign President Obama stated that he could not promise to do away with private health insurance immediately, and that the move to single-payer socialized health care would probably take 15 or more years.

2. Insurance companies cannot compete with a government run system that has unlimited funding, and where the government has the power to adjust regulations to favor the government run system.

3. No government run system has ever been as efficient as a private-run system. You agree that Medicare fraud is a huge problem. Such problems with fraud exist everywhere in government.

Private companies (including insurance companies) have a profit motive, and that profit motive (to give a decent return to investors) encourages quality and efficiency (when government regulations are reasonable and do not discourage it). Government run programs simply have no incentive to provide either quality or efficiency. Politicians on all sides of the aisle have campaigned to clean up fraud in government (and in Medicare / Medicaid) for many years now. None have succeeded. It is reasonable to ask that they do so before even discussing the idea of expanding the government’s role as a bigger government will only spawn more fraud and waste.

Originally Posted by Job
I disagree, look at state by state statistics of insurance domination. Health Insurance is a very different story from auto insurance. I won't say anymore on this except re-read some of what has already been written in response to Stuart's postings.
I have. There is plenty of completion in states where it is allowed. The issue here is bad government regulation at the state level that discourages completion, not ‘evil’ insurance companies. Look at the auto insurance model. Yes, it is true that the health care and auto insurance models are currently quite different. My point is that they should not be different but the same. In auto insurance you have about a half dozen huge companies, dozens of regional companies and thousands of small companies. If people were allowed to purchase insurance across state lines we’d head in this direction (but only so far as it is unrealistic to expect employers to offer hundreds of choices, unless technology advances to make it much easier for them to do so).

Originally Posted by Job
This is not a "false statement". You may disagree with it, and you are entitled to your own opinion. But it is not False, only look around at how other businesses have behaved. Next thing you will be telling me is that $35 overdraft charges from the bank are OK because that's what the market will allow. It will only allow it because there is nowhere else to go. Even small banks know they can charge these fees since that is not a make or break issue since there is nowhere else to go.
I didn’t quote everything, but yes, your statement is indeed false. Look at how other businesses behave. In auto and life insurance you can chose from lots of companies and each of those companies offers numerous plans. In some states with excessive regulation you can’t purchase simply a catastrophic plan – you have to choose from among Cadillac versions.

Yes, there is nothing wring with a bank charging a $35 dollar overdraft charge if the market will allow it. I choose not to do business with such banks. I don’t bounce checks (and have my checking account tied to a savings account just in case) but if I did the fee is $15. That’s because I use a credit union. The response here is for people to move their money from institutions that have high fees to institutions that have lower fees.

Look at the credit card reform that became law. What did it do? Citibank (to name one) is raising its interest rates (thanks to government regulation) to the maximum across the board (21% for even good customers). Look how many people are cancelling their cards and getting cards from other institutions that offer lower interest rates. A strange gamble by Citibank.

Originally Posted by Job
John, the problem with your side of the argument (along with Stuart et al...) is that you want to throw around "let the market decide"...There IS NO MARKET FOR HEALTH INSURANCE. It's not like other businesses...if it was why would they need the Anti-Trust exemption????
Again, that is false. In states with reasonable regulations there is much more completion than in states with unreasonable regulation (look at Maine, which drove a number of companies from doing business there). Completion is limited by state regulations (not allowing people to purchase across state lines). Completion is not currently limited by the market. Regulations should be adjusted to be more like auto and life insurance.

Originally Posted by Job
Let's follow the situation your quote is taken from...The Doctor or Insurance company wants to run an unnecessary test. You say, well change insurance companies! I say, what drop the group plan, to change to an individual policy, especially since this specific issue deals with a pre-existing condition, any other company would not cover it either! So now I would have "cut off my nose to spite my face". There was nowhere else to go!!!! You might say, well not this time but when your employer has it's annual open enrollment choose another carrier. The only choices are with the same carrier with higher deductables. THERE IS NOT A CHOICE!!!!
Again, the choices are limited to the companies willing to do business in your state, and states with better regulation have more companies competing to do business. Your story is a good reason to move away from employer offered health insurance. If your employer added the part of your salary it provides in health insurance coverage to your salary itself, and you choose from companies in your state that would spring up to sell health insurance (if and when your state allows it) you’d have more options. Everyone from BC/BS to Wal-Mart to the Knights of Columbus should be able to sell insurance. That you have one choice is not due to ‘evil’ health insurance companies but a combination of state regulations and what your employer is willing to offer.

[quot=Job]Please John, I give you more credit than that. Throwing around slurs such as socialism, knowing the loaded baggage it brings with it from the distortion through distorted communism, does nothing to elevate the arguments which have been presented on both sides.[/quote]
Socialism is socialism. You are arguing for socialism. Socialism always tends towards the worst ends and needs to be called the evil that it is. Always.

Originally Posted by Job
Please show us the studies that you are talking about! Conservatives love to cite these studies...but we never see them, when we do they are from a conservative think-tank...
Several of them have been posted here and discussed at length. Read them!

And please provide some links demonstrating how socialized medicine has provided better quality care at lower costs. You always seem to ignore such requests.
Don't have much time left today so I will only touch on a few things...

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Again, not an issue of capitalism and it cannot be used to suggest a failure of capitalism.


Again, this is a red herring...since it implies the problem is capitalism. The problem isn't capitalism, merely the Health Insurance system is not playing in a pure capitalist structure...which as I continue to repeat is the issue...not capitalism...

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Don’t miss the point. State regulations have a large influence on completion (or lack of it).


No don't you miss the point...Employer offerings have a large influence on competition...much more so than state regulations...Again I will state that I agree that our employer provided system, I would say is a big part of the issue. If it were up to me, I would say, be done with it, let the employers give the money that they pay for benefits directly to the employee to purchase their own benefits on the exchange. Although, I'm sure that's too radical...

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1. Firstly, because there are those in government (like the President) who have openly stated their intent to do away with private health insurance. In a speech during the campaign President Obama stated that he could not promise to do away with private health insurance immediately, and that the move to single-payer socialized health care would probably take 15 or more years.

2. Insurance companies cannot compete with a government run system that has unlimited funding, and where the government has the power to adjust regulations to favor the government run system.


What is it with these red herrings and straw men??? President Obama, regardless of what he stated...will not be president in 15 years and even if he was he is President not all powerful King or Emperor who gets whatever he/she wants...

A government run public option run as a mutual company as was originally proposed, has nothing to do with "unlimited funding"...the funding is based on premiums taken in...

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Yes, there is nothing wring with a bank charging a $35 dollar overdraft charge if the market will allow it.


I would love to find a bank around here that doesn't charge it. It exists since no other options exist, except for foregoing the banking system altogether and only paying in cash...Oh yea, even that won't work since you NEED a bank account to even CASH YOUR PAYCHECK!!!! But this is a completely different topic...

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Several of them have been posted here and discussed at length. Read them!

Please link them. I would be happy to take a look at what your sources are!!! smile

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And please provide some links demonstrating how socialized medicine has provided better quality care at lower costs. You always seem to ignore such requests.


John I ignore such requests because it's like asking me when Will I stop beating my wife. crazy

I have stated repeatedly that I agree with the capitalist/market...I am happy that the health care bill has moved to a "regulated marketplace" rather than a single-payer system...but regulations such as a requirement for everyone to carry health insurance is necessary in such a regulated environment...
For my friends who are on the forum and don't live in the US so they may not be on top of the Health care debate these are the things we are fighting here in the US...


GOP Senator appears to propose a prayer for Sen. Byrd's death [huffingtonpost.com]
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On Sunday afternoon, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) appeared to propose a prayer for Robert Byrd's death so that health care reform would not pass. Dana Milbank reports at the Washington Post:

At 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon -- nine hours before the 1 a.m. vote that would effectively clinch the legislation's passage -- Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) went to the Senate floor to propose a prayer. "What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can't make the vote tonight," he said. "That's what they ought to pray."

It was difficult to escape the conclusion that Coburn was referring to the 92-year-old, wheelchair-bound Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) who has been in and out of hospitals and lay at home ailing. It would not be easy for Byrd to get out of bed in the wee hours with deep snow on the ground and ice on the roads -- but without his vote, Democrats wouldn't have the 60 they needed.
Cheap shot, Job. Just shows what we have to put up with in this debate, in which the majority has censored all dissent, ignored the wishes of its constituency, violated both House and Senate procedural rules, and resorted to lies regarding the provisions of their legislation and the arguments made by the opposition against it.

Given that Washington was totally snowed in last night, a member could fail to appear for any number of reasons--and not just the Grand Klavan of West Virginia (how strange that liberal hopes should rest on the shoulders of the one member who was a high ranking official in the Klu Klux Klan and one of the instigators of the Senate fillibuster of the Civil Rights Act back in 1964; politics makes strange bedfellows).
It now turns out that Harry Reid had to summon Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menedez back from New Jersey, with both Amtrak and commercial air service sidelined. One wonders if the Majority Leader would have invested the time, effort and government money to retrieve any stranded Republican senators. But it does go to show just how phoney Job's post, and the execrable Huffington Post blog from which he quoted, really were. For citing such an unreliable source, Job has lost all credibility with me.
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Cheap shot, Job. Just shows what we have to put up with in this debate


Not sure what you mean??? Actually it seems like It was a low blow by Sen. Coburn.
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One wonders if the Majority Leader would have invested the time, effort and government money to retrieve any stranded Republican senators.


Why would the majority leader have invested time, or effort in getting someone opposed is beyond me...just doesn't seem like a logical issue...

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For citing such an unreliable source, Job has lost all credibility with me.


Are you refering to the Huffington Post which was simply reporting, what was reported in the Washington Post???? Stuart my loosing all credibility with you is your loss. You lost all credibility with me a long time ago. Why would you attack the messenger when your message is the one that's flawed. Ad homium attacks get us nowhere.
Senator Coburn did not pray for the death of anybody. There were several Senators not present as the voting began, and there are any number of reasons why they might not have arrived in time to vote--24 inches of snow being a good place to start. As I noted, Harry Reid dispatched an Air Force jet to pick up New Jersey's two Senators--but even Air Force planes can be grounded by weather. Yet you--and your sources--falsely implied that Coburn was praying for the death of Senator Robert Byrd.

You, and your sources, are intellectually dishonest, as is the Huffington Post. As for the Washington Post, let's just say most people in town read it for the Style section.
Go Giants!!!!
Go Cowboys!
I actually wanted to jump back to this thread to apologize to Stuart and anyone else I may have offended. Please accept my apology as we enter the closing days in preparing for Christ's incarnation.

Christ is Born! (Almost)
Glorify Him (even now)!
Since it looks like we are having a bill, I am glad that the Democrats are taking full ownership of it. It is a bad bill and it should have been killed.

I would think it reasonable to vote "nea" even on 'good' bills that have not been properly vetted. With a 2,700+ page bill that had a nearly 400 page pay-off at the 11th hour, I can't see how one senator could offer a solid "yea". The current leftist movement has brought a new measure of absurdity to the political scene.

Terry
Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.
Stuart, Terry, and anyone else who can shed some light--

I only caught a bit in passing of the special deal Sen. Nelson got for his home state. What did it all entail?

BOB
Originally Posted by Job
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Cheap shot, Job. Just shows what we have to put up with in this debate

Not sure what you mean??? Actually it seems like It was a low blow by Sen. Coburn.
As far as Tom Colburn goes (the story that you linked), the Huffington Post is not a fair source of news, and there is no evidence to suggest that Sen. Colburn was speaking of Sen. Byrd. There is about 2 feet of snow on the ground and the nation’s capital continues to dig out. It is far more reasonable to conclude that Sen. Colburn was speaking of the weather, and the travel problems it created. That Job would use it supports that his whole case cannot be supported by evidence (indeed, he has offered little more than emotion and unsubstantiated claims).
Originally Posted by Job
Again, this is a red herring...since it implies the problem is capitalism. The problem isn't capitalism, merely the Health Insurance system is not playing in a pure capitalist structure...which as I continue to repeat is the issue...not capitalism...
Again, you miss the point. Most of the problems here are caused by improper government regulation that limits the market. If someone was allowed to choose their health care company from other states they would go from having (in Maine) one company to choose from to having over 1,300. You seem to think that more government (in place of private insurance) is the answer. That is wrong.

I could respond to your other points but I would like to respond to some earlier points you made.

First, you continue to label me and otters and “anti-reform”. Given that both I and others have offered specific ideas for reform over the past few years we’ve discussed this issue, on what basis do you make such a claim? If you cannot show where I have stood against all types of reforms rather than just reforms tending towards socialism you need to retract your accusation.

Second, you and others have stated anecdotally that people in countries with socialized medicine are happy and would not change. What do you make of the fact that the surveys show that 85% of Americans are happy with their health care, and that over 65% are opposed to the bill being rammed through Congress? The satisfaction rates for American health care notably higher than elsewhere, and the care is (objectively and scientifically measured) notably superior. I see plenty of room for reform both here and in other countries. But I look at the scientific studies that document quality & availability of care vs cost & price. You seem to only look to what people feel about health care. I would look forward to anything scientific / economic that you might provide.
I too am not fully informed on special language crafted for Sen. Nelson in mind, so I can't speak to the context of what would change his mind from his opposition to his support.

I am more familiar with the favor given to Nebraska's Sen. Ben Nelson, that basically alleviates the cost the state would have to put out for a Medicaid expansion. http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2009/12/21/20091221gerson22.html
Of particular concern to Catholics ought to be the ostensibly "anti-abortion" language that Nelson approved, which in fact would only prevent the use of Federal tax dollars to fund abortions in just thirteen states.

"What profiteth it a man to gain the world but lose his soul. . . but for Medicare alleviation, Ben?"
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the Huffington Post is not a fair source of news


Question is Fox news a fair source of News??? I won't say anymore on that since your answer will speak volumes. Although, I think I know the answer.
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Again, you miss the point. Most of the problems here are caused by improper government regulation that limits the market.


John I don't miss the point. We will just never agree! You think the problems are caused by government. I think the problems are based on an inherent greed that has taken hold in our system.

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you continue to label me and otters and “anti-reform”. Given that both I and others have offered specific ideas for reform over the past few years we’ve discussed this issue, on what basis do you make such a claim?


The basis, as I have said over and over again, is the "REFORM ideas" that the right continues to throwout are nothing more than windowdressing. I think in my numerous posts I addressed what you and Stuart have proposed. If you like, I can refer to your side not as "anti-reform" but "the windowdressers" grin

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Second, you and others have stated anecdotally that people in countries with socialized medicine are happy and would not change. What do you make of the fact that the surveys show that 85% of Americans are happy with their health care, and that over 65% are opposed to the bill being rammed through Congress?


First I don't see the connection between your first sentence and the question that follows? The only thing I can think is that you wanted to once again throw out "socialized medicine". This is getting tiring...

In Regards to the second sentence, the fact that 85% are happy with their current health care, is really not the issue. What this bill seeks to accomplish is help with covering those who do not have access. Also, I have asked you to link or at least cite where you get your information from. I am really leary of the 85% number in that, approximately the same percentage in poll after poll are not pleased with insurance companies. I would think that this figure you site (as do many conservatives) has to do with the wording of the poll, and the fact that people on the right are fear-mongering by repeating such things as "socialized medicine", which this really isn't! Remember, and I say remember because I am sure you are aware of this, poll numbers can be made to come out however you want them to. They also have more than one question asked during a survey so one really needs to look deeper into the other questions asked to get the true "pulse" of the population that's being surveyed.

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But I look at the scientific studies that document quality & availability of care vs cost & price. You seem to only look to what people feel about health care. I would look forward to anything scientific / economic that you might provide.


Once again, please provide your sources...
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Since it looks like we are having a bill, I am glad that the Democrats are taking full ownership of it. It is a bad bill and it should have been killed.

I would think it reasonable to vote "nea" even on 'good' bills that have not been properly vetted. With a 2,700+ page bill that had a nearly 400 page pay-off at the 11th hour, I can't see how one senator could offer a solid "yea". The current leftist movement has brought a new measure of absurdity to the political scene.

Terry


Thank you for jumping into the frey Terry! I am also glad the Democrats are not afraid to take full ownership of it. Remember, Medicare and Social Security were not popular at the beginning either. Both are now staples, to a dignified retirement that a great majority would not give up.

In regards to properly vetted. I think senators have enough staff to get through 400 pages in a few days. The Rest of the 2,700 page bill is primarily things that have been discussed "ad naseum" in committees and has been available to the senators for months.
The private sector and public sector have been at a dance for some time. This bill puts the private sector under the public sector's feet, which is its apparent aim.
TERRY:

Thanks for the link. Makes one a bit sick this early in the morning--before my second cup of coffee. Isn't this . . . nah, forget it. When someone does it one the street for money, they call it . . . frown

BOB
The 111th Congress has shown itself to live up to that standard from its beginning.

There have been some analyses of how the stimulus funds were actually distributed. There seems to be a lot of walking around money and no correlation between unemployment rates and appropriation.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/o...d-to-states-that-need-jobs-79530417.html

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“You would think that if the stimulus money was actually spent to create jobs, there would be more stimulus money spent in high unemployment states,” said Veronique de Rugy, a scholar at the Mercatus Center who produced the analysis. "But we don't find any correlation."

....

Additionally, Mercatus found that stimulus funds were not disbursed geographically with any special regard for low-income Americans. “We find no correlation between economic indicators and stimulus funding. Preliminary results find no statistically significant effect of unemployment, median income or mean income on stimulus funds allocation,” said the report.

And we need to trust this congress with 2,700 pages of another bill because of its intentions?
I've been reading the legislation summary. It's really a shame that the Democrats want old people to die. They are cutting the funding to Medicare in half. Does anyone really believe that they can provide coverage to three times the number of people that will be on Medicare in the next 10 years with half the money of the people they can't pay for now? I guess the old people are not an important vote anymore so they can get rid of them.

It's not about health care. It's about power and loss of freedom.
It's possible that the Medicare cuts won't make it to the final bill.

Good health is not a fundamental human right.
Well there is talk that billions maybe trillion of dollars will be saved. My question is this because we old unproductive people won't be worthy of spending money on?
The talk of savings lacks substance and seems to be an attempt at an intellectual sleight-of-hand.
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It's really a shame that the Democrats want old people to die.

I'm sorry, but I find that an obscene and offensive thing to read.

StuartK asked after one of Job's posts (above) 'see what we have to put up with?'

Well, I think the same thing could be asked now. We can be pretty sure that the Democrats don't want anyone to die, and to suggest such a thing is disgusting. We could equally ask how Republicans who stand so vehemently against socialised health care (at least partly) on the grounds that the current proposals are not 'pro-life' can elect governors and presidents that are quite happy to put criminals to death at the hand of the state. Never mind *questionable wars.

Life is sacred 'From conception to natural death' is what we are supposed to hold to. Is it not?

Some consistency and more judicious language is called for here.

Looking more and more like this bill will pass. Fortunately though it appears that it will face legal challenges on the grounds that it is unconstutional to require American citizens to purchase health insurance.
They may not want them to die, but their premature deaths will be an inevitable outcome of their policies. And there is nothing wrong with saying the policies encapsulated in both the Senate and House bills will have that effect--that's not attacking anyone's motivation, just straightforward policy analysis (which, inter alia, the CBO has confirmed). It's not that Democrats want old people to die, they just think good intentions are enough. But we all know what road is paved with good intentions.

I should also point out that Helen is just paraphrasing a Democratic congressman who said, in open debate on the floor of the House, that Republicans want old people to die--because they oppose policies that, interestingly, will probably cause old people to die.
Originally Posted by Slavophile
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It's really a shame that the Democrats want old people to die.
I'm sorry, but I find that an obscene and offensive thing to read.

StuartK asked after one of Job's posts (above) 'see what we have to put up with?'

Well, I think the same thing could be asked now. We can be pretty sure that the Democrats don't want anyone to die, and to suggest such a thing is disgusting. We could equally ask how Republicans who stand so vehemently against socialised health care (at least partly) on the grounds that the current proposals are not 'pro-life' can elect governors and presidents that are quite happy to put criminals to death at the hand of the state. Never mind *questionable wars.

Life is sacred 'From conception to natural death' is what we are supposed to hold to. Is it not?

Some consistency and more judicious language is called for here.
A question: Back in September Alan Grayson, a Democrat from Florida's 16th District went to the House Floor with a chart with similar attacks on the Republican proposals. He said: "If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly! That's right. The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick. Remember the Republican plan: Don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly." Did that bother you? If yes, why didn't you complain about that? And I distinctly remember that back when President Bush spoke about the need for a bipartisan effort to rescue Medicare (which is horribly bankrupt and a financial failure that will require trillions in new taxes to prop up in future years) he was accused by those in other party of wanting our seniors to die. And those who opposed the CHIPS program were openly accused of wanting children to die. Did that bother you? Did you speak against it?

As far as the death penalty, the Church still recognizes that the State may execute people and that it is just. The Church's growing opposition to death penalty in recent years is not based in any teaching that it is immoral but, rather, in mercy. Likewise, the Church did not rule that the two wars to liberate Afghanistan and Iran were unjust. It said that even just wars should be avoided and (although you didn't read it in too many places) it put the onus on both Afghanistan and Iraq as the ones who caused the wars.

So your call for consistency is a false one.
Originally Posted by StuartK
They may not want them to die, but their premature deaths will be an inevitable outcome of their policies. And there is nothing wrong with saying the policies encapsulated in both the Senate and House bills will have that effect--that's not attacking anyone's motivation, just straightforward policy analysis (which, inter alia, the CBO has confirmed). It's not that Democrats want old people to die, they just think good intentions are enough. But we all know what road is paved with good intentions.

I should also point out that Helen is just paraphrasing a Democratic congressman who said, in open debate on the floor of the House, that Republicans want old people to die--because they oppose policies that, interestingly, will probably cause old people to die.
President Obama and others have spoken openly that the elderly should not expect to have their health problems fixed but, rather, that they should expect only to be helped with pain medication (see his informercial that ran on ABC last summer). He may not purposely want the elderly to die but if he is going to ration care (which he will have to do since they are cutting the Medicare budget by half) that may very well be an unintended effect. Had President Bush said or proposed such drastic Medicare cuts there would have been a movement to impeach him.

The most curious thing about this whole government takeover of health care is that no one cares about the costs. Look at social security. When it started there were 14 people paying in for every one receiving benefits. Now there are about 2 paying in for every one receiving it. And since we are an aging population the number of people on social security will triple in the next 15-20 years. There is only so much blood one can get from a turnip. Where is the money going to come from? And then the question is valid for health care (Senator Harkin made it pretty plain today that next year they would introduce legislation to move to single-payer, and a fully socialized system). That means rationing for all and even more tax increases.
Originally Posted by Job
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the Huffington Post is not a fair source of news

Question is Fox news a fair source of News??? I won't say anymore on that since your answer will speak volumes. Although, I think I know the answer.
Fox is a fairer source of news than is the Huffington Post and most of the major media. And that's not my personal opinion but the result of research conducted by The Los Angeles Times. Their research showed that Fox is just right of center while the rest of the major media (ABC, etc.) were all very left of center. If you don't believe it watch them all on the same day there is the March for Life in January. If there is any mention of the March for Life those who stand for Life will be called either "anti-abortion" or "anti-choice". But those who stand for abortion rights will not be called "pro-abortion" but "pro-choice". Bias to the extreme against Christians.
Originally Posted by Job
John I don't miss the point. We will just never agree! You think the problems are caused by government. I think the problems are based on an inherent greed that has taken hold in our system.
That is because you are unwilling to consider facts! A thorough look at the price differences between Maine and Massachusetts at one end and other states (like Texas and Virginia) easily show that government regulations can cause higher prices. Check out this article posted here. It documents how a very liberal originally pro-socialized medicine speechwriter got mugged by Massachusetts. When he moved from Washington, DC, to Massachusetts (a state with socialized health insurance) his health care premium went from $225/month to $500/month. I hope that you are rich and OK paying more than double for your health care.

Originally Posted by Job
The basis, as I have said over and over again, is the "REFORM ideas" that the right continues to throwout are nothing more than windowdressing. I think in my numerous posts I addressed what you and Stuart have proposed. If you like, I can refer to your side not as "anti-reform" but "the windowdressers".
Reform that involves capitalism is not window dressing. Reducing bad regulation has worked wonders in lowering costs and providing better quality service everywhere it is tried. That you would continue to label those who support a capitalist model of reform rather than a socialist one is a false accusation. You’ve offered no evidence of how government takeover of health care will reduce costs and improve quality.

Originally Posted by Administrator
Second, you and others have stated anecdotally that people in countries with socialized medicine are happy and would not change. What do you make of the fact that the surveys show that 85% of Americans are happy with their health care, and that over 65% are opposed to the bill being rammed through Congress?
Originally Posted by Job
First I don't see the connection between your first sentence and the question that follows? … In Regards to the second sentence, the fact that 85% are happy with their current health care, is really not the issue.
The connection is pretty easy. You cite polls that most people in countries with socialized health care are happy, and that the polls prove it. But here in America such polls that show higher numbers are happy are irrelevant. This is especially odd when one considers that even poor people without insurance have access to better quality health care then do most people in countries with socialized medicine. That the latest methods of treatment are simply not available under socialized medicine does not seem to bother you? And you are willing to give that up here (with rationing it will happen – look at Oregon and Massachusetts, the drugs that are not available and the long wait lines).

Again, the solution here is capitalism. If the speechwriter I referenced earlier was allowed to keep the health insurance he purchased in Washington, DC when he moved to Massachusetts he’d still have health insurance. But because of the socialized medicine in Massachusetts he cannot afford it. For those poor who cannot afford health insurance once can save a lot of money getting rid of Medicaid and giving them either tax deductions or grants to purchase a health insurance plan that best suits their needs.
The Cato Institute published a good article on Socialized Health Care in Massachusetts. I post the link below.

Government is never the answer.

http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cj29n2/cj29n2-7.pdf
LOL maybe those of us that do not want it should have just aded more pork and special exemptions so the total went way over the 2.2 trillion some are projecting. Then the dems could tell us it was our fault it did not pass.
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A question: [...] Did that bother you? If yes, why didn't you complain about that?

Umm, because I don't live in the US and would never have heard it?

But I agree. It's appalling language to use, no matter who deploys it. That's why, when I lived in Canada and monitored US elections very closely, I was equally appalled by the so-called 'negative ads' run by both parties. Understand: I'm not partisan in all this. Rather, I'm trying desperately to suggest that it is just possible that what is being proposed here by those forum members most vehemently hostile to socialised health care is not necessarily the only possible option for orthodox, catholic Christians. This is because the hermeneutic of David Frum is not synonymous with that of the Gospel. And that being the case, some less passionate consideration of such matters as health care (and other political initiatives) is probably warranted by all orthodox, catholic Christians.

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As far as the death penalty, the Church still recognizes that the State may execute people and that it is just. The Church's growing opposition to death penalty in recent years is not based in any teaching that it is immoral but, rather, in mercy.

Hmm. When I read Evangelium vitae, I was under the distinct impression that Pope John Paul was suggesting that capital punishment was no longer appropriate based on the inherent dignity of human life. While true that the right of the state to execute is not denied, he wrote: '...offenders should not be executed except in cases of absolute necessity-when society's defense would otherwise be impossible. Such cases are very rare today, if not practically non-existent. Non-capital punishments better suit the common good and human dignity' (emphasis mine - obviously!). So it seems to me to have to do with a lot more than mercy alone. In any case...

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So your call for consistency is a false one.

Perhaps. But not intentional, insofar as I had no idea that such terrible words were being flung from, and at, both sides. But seeing as it's hardly becoming of people called to live in the Logos, perhaps my simultaneous call for judiciousness is worth taking on board by us all?

I'll leave it at that.
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Fox is a fairer source of news than is the Huffington Post and most of the major media.


LOL!!!!
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If you don't believe it watch them all on the same day there is the March for Life in January. If there is any mention of the March for Life those who stand for Life will be called either "anti-abortion" or "anti-choice". But those who stand for abortion rights will not be called "pro-abortion" but "pro-choice". Bias to the extreme against Christians.


John, I have many times watched them on the same day. I have seen extensive "Teaparty" coverage. On Fox...It's a whole weekend event, on the other news networks it's given the same coverage as they would and do, cover other marches in Washington D.C. There was recently a rally in Washington DC, I believe it was for gay rights, but I could be wrong. CNN and the other news networks covered it just like the "teapartys". It was larger than the Teaparty in Washington DC but I believe the total coverage time (for the whole day) on Fox was 93 seconds. Oh, and let's not forget, several times in the past few weeks Fox news has been called out for utilizing pictures from completely different rallys on different days (different times of the year) to "prop up" the protests on the right.
Originally Posted by Slavophile
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It's really a shame that the Democrats want old people to die.

I'm sorry, but I find that an obscene and offensive thing to read.

StuartK asked after one of Job's posts (above) 'see what we have to put up with?'

Well, I think the same thing could be asked now. We can be pretty sure that the Democrats don't want anyone to die, and to suggest such a thing is disgusting. We could equally ask how Republicans who stand so vehemently against socialised health care (at least partly) on the grounds that the current proposals are not 'pro-life' can elect governors and presidents that are quite happy to put criminals to death at the hand of the state. Never mind *questionable wars.

Life is sacred 'From conception to natural death' is what we are supposed to hold to. Is it not?

Some consistency and more judicious language is called for here.

Consistency is not one of the American Conservatives greatest assets. You need to be gentle with them. Remember, they had all this anger last time a Democrat was in the White House. When they controlled the White House and Congress. They ground this county into the ground. Correcting the mistakes they have made is going to be a long painful process. I'm surprised it took so long for it to be said that Democrats wanted Old people to die. I'm surprised there still hasn't been discussion of the "death panels" the Democrats were creating. crazy
Originally Posted by Slavophile
Rather, I'm trying desperately to suggest that it is just possible that what is being proposed here by those forum members most vehemently hostile to socialised health care is not necessarily the only possible option for orthodox, catholic Christians. This is because the hermeneutic of David Frum is not synonymous with that of the Gospel. And that being the case, some less passionate consideration of such matters as health care (and other political initiatives) is probably warranted by all orthodox, catholic Christians.
First, thanks for the reminder you don't live here in America.

Yes, the hermeneutic of David Frum is not necessarily synonymous with that of the Gospel. But then neither is socialized health care synonymous with the Gospel. It is rather odd that those who are most supportive of socialized health care (I don't know about you) have no problems with rationing, waste, fraud, and government bureaucracies (rather than doctors) making decisions on who gets what health care (I've already mentioned the problem with the government of Oregon denying cancer treatment to one lady but offering her a suicide pill). And we know of the problems in some European countries where euthanasia is fairly common for older people in nursing homes.

I already mentioned that Phil Lawler over at CatholicCulure.org has given the beginnings of a good discussion of "The Catholic Case Against Health Care Reform" [catholicculture.org]. He rightly mentions the moral issues of not being able to stop the government from mandating funding for abortion and other evil things (and we know that no matter what passes some judge is going to rule abortion and other evils a 'right' and order the government to pay for it). But he also mentions that "the principle of subsidiarity teaches (as the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1894) puts it) that 'neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies.' Since health-care coverage can surely be handled by private organizations, resort to the government is questionable at best. Since state governments can surely regulate health insurance, federal involvement is clearly unnecessary."

A good case can be made that capitalism in health care with subsides for the poor is far more Catholic than is socialism. Capitalism delivers better quality anything than does socialism. People in countries with socialized may respond to polls that they like socialized medicine but a fair, scientific analysis shows that heath care in countries with socialize medicine have a much lower quality of care and pay a higher price for it than do Americans.

Socialized medicine (really socialized anything) takes away individual responsibility and reassigns it to the state. History shows that it enslaves man rather the frees him, as well as not really proving what it intended to provide. Governments don't do anything very well, and the founding fathers of the United States purposely limited their powers, and especially limited the power of the federal government. Given that those proposing the government takeover of health care are quite open about the next step being full single payer socialized medicine I think that every Catholic should be opposing it.
Originally Posted by Job
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Fox is a fairer source of news than is the Huffington Post and most of the major media.


LOL!!!!
You can reject what is true. But I suppose you consider The Los Angeles Times an evil, right wing newspaper?
Originally Posted by Job
John, I have many times watched them on the same day. I have seen extensive "Teaparty" coverage. On Fox...It's a whole weekend event, on the other news networks it's given the same coverage as they would and do, cover other marches in Washington D.C. There was recently a rally in Washington DC, I believe it was for gay rights, but I could be wrong. CNN and the other news networks covered it just like the "teapartys". It was larger than the Teaparty in Washington DC but I believe the total coverage time (for the whole day) on Fox was 93 seconds. Oh, and let's not forget, several times in the past few weeks Fox news has been called out for utilizing pictures from completely different rallys on different days (different times of the year) to "prop up" the protests on the right.
Not true. Fox gives more balanced coverage all around.

Yes, Fox news has been called out for utilizing pictures from other rallies. So have other networks in the past. CNN, ABC and the rest are also not candidates for sainthood.

As I noted earlier, a liberal newspaper (the Los Angeles Time) pronounced Fox as the most balanced. You can disagree but that does not make you correct.
Originally Posted by Job
Originally Posted by Slavophile
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It's really a shame that the Democrats want old people to die.

I'm sorry, but I find that an obscene and offensive thing to read.

StuartK asked after one of Job's posts (above) 'see what we have to put up with?'

Well, I think the same thing could be asked now. We can be pretty sure that the Democrats don't want anyone to die, and to suggest such a thing is disgusting. We could equally ask how Republicans who stand so vehemently against socialised health care (at least partly) on the grounds that the current proposals are not 'pro-life' can elect governors and presidents that are quite happy to put criminals to death at the hand of the state. Never mind *questionable wars.

Life is sacred 'From conception to natural death' is what we are supposed to hold to. Is it not?

Some consistency and more judicious language is called for here.

Consistency is not one of the American Conservatives greatest assets. You need to be gentle with them. Remember, they had all this anger last time a Democrat was in the White House. When they controlled the White House and Congress. They ground this county into the ground. Correcting the mistakes they have made is going to be a long painful process. I'm surprised it took so long for it to be said that Democrats wanted Old people to die. I'm surprised there still hasn't been discussion of the "death panels" the Democrats were creating. crazy
That is insulting and very unfair. It is very odd that I have approached these discussions in stating that those who favor socialized medicine are well intentioned but wrong. But you have simply and repeatedly insulted and made false accusations against me and others. That says a lot about you.

As far as the "death panels" I have noted that it is hyperbole. But really not far from the truth. When you have a government bureaucracy that decides what treatment you get (will they pay for the latest cancer treatment) they are making life and death decisions. President Obama himself said that old people should not expect treatment but rather accept pain care (a fact you repeatedly ignore).
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That is insulting and very unfair. It is very odd that I have approached these discussions in stating that those who favor socialized medicine are well intentioned but wrong. But you have simply and repeatedly insulted and made false accusations against me and others. That says a lot about you.


This quote says alot about you! Why would truth be insulting and unfair??? You once again refer to the health care reform bill as "socialized medicine". This is insulting and unfair as well. I don't see a single payor system being proposed here rather mandated PRIVATE INSURANCE coverage. I would not only say your comments are insulting and unfair...but deliberate lies being repeated over and over knowing that if you keep throwing out loaded words like "socialized" it will influence some people.

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President Obama himself said that old people should not expect treatment but rather accept pain care (a fact you repeatedly ignore).


John, once again this is patently UNTRUE! And I don't know that president Obama said it or not, and I really don't care, as I have stated before...President Obama is president of the USA...not emperor or king where his word is law...Please!
Originally Posted by Job
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That is insulting and very unfair. It is very odd that I have approached these discussions in stating that those who favor socialized medicine are well intentioned but wrong. But you have simply and repeatedly insulted and made false accusations against me and others. That says a lot about you.

This quote says alot about you! Why would truth be insulting and unfair??? You once again refer to the health care reform bill as "socialized medicine". This is insulting and unfair as well. I don't see a single payor system being proposed here rather mandated PRIVATE INSURANCE coverage. I would not only say your comments are insulting and unfair...but deliberate lies being repeated over and over knowing that if you keep throwing out loaded words like "socialized" it will influence some people.
Senator Harken said today that this is a first step towards single payer. President Obama has said during the campaign that they could not get single payer in one step, but that there would be a compromise and it would take additional legislation to get to single payer.

What you have said about me is not the truth. It has been patently false.

As to socialism, the definition is pretty clear: "From each according to his means to each according to his needs." That is the groundwork being laid with this bill. We get a huge step into socialism now and more later in future legislation.

Originally Posted by Job
Quote
President Obama himself said that old people should not expect treatment but rather accept pain care (a fact you repeatedly ignore).

John, once again this is patently UNTRUE! And I don't know that president Obama said it or not, and I really don't care, as I have stated before...President Obama is president of the USA...not emperor or king where his word is law...Please!
First, you can probably still find his infomercial on YouTube. It ran on ABC last summer and was hosted by Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson. Watch for the section where the lady asked the question about her 100 year old mother getting a pacemaker. He said that under his plan she would not get it, and then he spoke about giving the elderly pain medication. The context was that the rules for who gets health care treatment and who would be denied health care treatment would be subjective.

There is a moral difference between denying quality health care to an otherwise healthy older person and recommending the possibility of palliative care in the case (for example) of someone needing a knee replacement but who is already dying of an incurable form of cancer.

Second, yes, President Obama is not a dictator. But he has stated his intention to bring a fully socialist system for health care to the United States. The current legislation is not the end but only the start. Surely you've read that in even the mainstream papers and on tv? One rightly opposes not just the first step toward socialism in the current legislation but also the foundation being laid for additional socialism in the future.

Third, yes, I can see where you do not care or, possibly, support it.
It should be mentioned that the Senate bill includes a clause that will make it impossible for future Congresses to amend or repeal the bill--all will be bound by the bill as now written. Needless to say, the constitutionality of such a clause is dubous--as is the so-called individual mandate that will require all citizens to buy a health insurance policy or face fines equal to 2.5% of AGI.

Even assuming a bill gets through conference, is passed and signed into law, the legal challenges will be unending and injunctions will prevent its implementation for years.
On the Death Penalty

This may be broken off into another thread if it becomes a topic of discussion. I post it here to extend my comments in a previous post.

Firstly, read Lumen Gentium (from Vatican II), which speaks about to understand the principles of authority in the Catholic Church. There are ranges of issues on which there is room for legitimate disagreement on how and what the Church teaches, and even more room for legitimate disagreement on how to apply that teaching. Most teachings on social and economic issues involve the stating of general principles, with the application of those teachings being left to individual Catholics (sometimes in consultation with their bishops). How we minister to the poor, protect innocent life, fight terrorism and even look at the death penalty falls into this category.

The Church looks at the death penalty differently than it does abortion or euthanasia. The death penalty can justly be applied to those individuals who have engaged in activities of a nature that cause them to forfeit their lives. Abortion and euthanasia of innocent lives is different because those people are put to death while innocent, having been convicted of no crime. The death penalty can be used justly and morally. Abortion and euthanasia are never just and always immoral.

In the Catholic Catechism we find:
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2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically non-existent."
There is legitimate disagreement about what “the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against an unjust aggressor” means.

In Evangelium Vitae we find:
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End of 55: Moreover, "legitimate defence can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another's life, the common good of the family or of the State". Unfortunately it happens that the need to render the aggressor incapable of causing harm sometimes involves taking his life. In this case, the fatal outcome is attributable to the aggressor whose action brought it about, even though he may not be morally responsible because of a lack of the use of reason.

From 56: It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.
The Church clearly recognizes that there can be times where it necessary for the common good for the death penalty to be applied. Few wish to see it applied even in those cases where is just. But the last part of 56 is still wishful thinking. Given that we in America have a history of putting people convicted of murder back on the streets (a typical first time murderer is out in just over 7 years) it can be legitimately argued the death penalty is still necessary to defend society. If, however, those convicted of capital crimes were sentenced to life without parole and actually kept incarcerated for life (i.e., guaranteed never again to be a threat to innocent human life) then one could say that there were “steady improvements of the penal system” to render such cases very rare, if practically non-existent. But we are far from being there, and it is just to argue that until we are the death penalty remains necessary to protect the innocent.

I will also note that EV continues to allow the death penalty. It clearly notes that there are occasions (if rare and almost non-existent in a more advanced world) when the death penalty is just.

If Wikipedia is correct (and it is not always overly accurate) under 16,000 people have been executed in what is now the United States since 1600, and under 5,000 of those since 1930 (a Google search to a news article reports 37 executed in the USA in 2007). Contrast that with over 40,000,000 murders through abortion since 1973 noting that the Church sees a difference between human live taken through due process and innocent human life taken without due process. One is legitimate in certain cases. The other is always murder.

We see the legitimate use of the death penalty becoming used less often. And we see one party demanding that taxpayers pay for the murder of the innocent through abortion.

Today HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated:
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"The Senate language, which was negotiated by Senators Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray, who are very strong defenders of women's health services and choices for women, take a big step forward from where the House left it with the Stupak amendment. Everybody in the exchange would do the same thing, whether you're male or female, whether you're 75 or 25, you would all set aside a portion of your premium that would go into a fund, and it will not be earmarked for anything, it would be a separate account that everyone in the exchange would pay. It's really an accounting measure that would apply across the board and not just to women and certainly not just to women who want to choose abortion coverage."
That is the end round to guarantee taxpayer financed abortion. It effectively nullifies any provisions that taxpayer money not be used for abortion. So if you support the current legislation you support abortion.
Originally Posted by Administrator
Originally Posted by Job
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Fox is a fairer source of news than is the Huffington Post and most of the major media.


LOL!!!!
You can reject what is true. But I suppose you consider The Los Angeles Times an evil, right wing newspaper?

"Evil" is maybe the only definition that fits, and maybe "newspaper", I can personally vouch for their non right wing slant. I used to subscribe to the LA Times because they had a great subscription deal. After several liberal/conservative issues were consistently reported on only the liberal side, I elected to cancel that subscription. The LA Times' competitor, The Daily News, used to be more conservative but has sadly declined to mindless liberalism lately...
Clueless is perhaps better than evil, though LAT certainly fits the "banality" that Hannah Arendt associated evil. Basking in their own rectitude, they lack any capacity for introspection and reflexively parrot tropes that are echoed by "all reasonable people". And, since they are the repository of righteousness, all those who disagree with them must, by definition, be evil--and not merely mistaken. Hence the manichean worldview and the rapid descent into demonization of the opposition that characterize its writing.

Fortunately, few people actually read the LA Times--same goes for most of the old-line bastions of liberal reporting: the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and of course, the Gray Lady herself, the New York Times. Too obvious a lack of objectivity and too many stories skipped over or spiked in the name of political correctness did them in.

Actually the Boston Globe has run a number of articles throughout the year that have been critical of the bill. On the lighter side, Rock The Vote is calling on those who support the bill to refuse to fornicate with those who oppose it.
The "Rock the Vote" group's petition is absurd and obscene.
Originally Posted by Lawrence
Actually the Boston Globe has run a number of articles throughout the year that have been critical of the bill.

That's one example that signifies this is a middle of the road bill. The right is unhappy and the extreme left is unhappy. Granted it's a "left of center bill" not a "right of center bill"...But republicans had 6 years controlling the white house and congress...if they really believed in Health Care reform they could have accomplished it...they only discuss the issue when it is pointed out that they really are anti-reform...Face it...it's a democratic congress and a democratic white house...we lived thru "sausage making for many years" (such as using reconciliation for tax cuts) those who live by the sword die by it...
If what you say is true and this is a middle of the road bill, the moderating effect comes from the Democrats in the Senate.

I look forward to 2010.
Originally Posted by Job
Originally Posted by Lawrence
Actually the Boston Globe has run a number of articles throughout the year that have been critical of the bill.
That's one example that signifies this is a middle of the road bill. The right is unhappy and the extreme left is unhappy. Granted it's a "left of center bill" not a "right of center bill"...But republicans had 6 years controlling the white house and congress...if they really believed in Health Care reform they could have accomplished it...they only discuss the issue when it is pointed out that they really are anti-reform...Face it...it's a democratic congress and a democratic white house...we lived thru "sausage making for many years" (such as using reconciliation for tax cuts) those who live by the sword die by it...
Well, no. The occasional critical coverage in the Boston Globe is more representative of the fact that the good people of Massachusetts are learning first hand the evils of socialized medicine. Quality of health care is down. Costs are up. Wait lists are growing quickly. The proponents of socialized health care don't care, or pretend it is not happening.

It is not true that the Republicans did nothing in the years they controlled Congress. They passed Medicare Part D (Prescription Coverage for Seniors) (something problematic in itself). It is true that they could have done more (mostly they never had the votes because the Dems blocked a lot of legislation). But if we replaced both Dems and Republicans with staunch conservatives we'd see the power of capitalism unleashed and the basic market oriented reforms enacted.

The health care proposal in Congress is a radical leftist program. It is an assault on freedom and quality health care. Even a read of the summaries of the bill makes this clear.
Originally Posted by Terry Bohannon
If what you say is true and this is a middle of the road bill, the moderating effect comes from the Democrats in the Senate.

I look forward to 2010.
It is interesting that the elected officials supporting socialized medicine don't particularly care about the fact that over 2/3 of their constituents don't want this reform. But you can watch the interviews on the network news, they are pretty open about their belief that the people who oppose socialized health care are stupid. Of course, they don't call it socialism, but a pig is a pig is a pig.
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Well, no. The occasional critical coverage in the Boston Globe is more representative of the fact that the good people of Massachusetts are learning first hand the evils of socialized medicine.


I will not doubt that part of the critical coverage in the Globe is due to "half a loaf is better than no loaf" that is the same strategy currently at work in Washington DC...But you can't chalk all of the Globe's critical coverage to the MA experience...otherwise, other "liberal bastions" like the NY Times wouldn't have critical coverage as well...
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It is interesting that the elected officials supporting socialized medicine don't particularly care about the fact that over 2/3 of their constituents don't want this reform. But you can watch the interviews on the network news, they are pretty open about their belief that the people who oppose socialized health care are stupid. Of course, they don't call it socialism, but a pig is a pig is a pig.


John I still would like to know where you get your information? It is true that both the "support for" and "against" the bill being considered seems to be such that neither side is reaching 50%, so there are still "undecided"...However, and I stated this in another post above...the underlying numbers greatly matter...I don't think the "Disapproval" numbers are completely for your side of the argument. Remember, approximately 2/3rds of the population support the public option which this bill in the Senate does not have. Which would logically mean that a great portion of those who disapprove of the bill, disapprove because it does not have a public option.
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