Wednesday, November 18, 2009

An Industry Health Care Story

Today the Congressional Budget Office gave a reasonably good score to pending health care legislation:

A U.S. Senate healthcare reform plan ... meets President Barack Obama's goals on costs and deficit reduction, budget analysts said ...

... Democratic leader Harry Reid will release legislation the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said would cost $849 billion over 10 years ... A Senate aide said the CBO also estimated the Senate plan will reduce the deficit by $127 billion over 10 years and $650 billion in the second decade, while cutting the number of uninsured by 31 million ...

So maybe this thing will pass, and maybe it won't. I have my view of the matter, which I won't share here because A) You can guess what it is, and B) It's tangential to the story I'm about to unspool ...

I have a close friend, an artist, who has worked in the cartoon industry longer than I have, but has only twenty-eight years in the industry pension and health plan because, at the start of his career, he couldn't get a job at a union shop.

Happily, after a few years he landed that coveted union gig and his career took off.

Unhappily, after working for twenty-eight years at three different union studios, he hit the proverbial brick wall common to a lot of people in this business. His support network of fellow professionals died and/or retired and he was eased out to pasture by thirty-somethings at the ripe age of fifty-seven.

An old story, all too often told.

My friend is now fifty-nine. Life being what it is, after failing to land any jobs in his long-time profession he took early retirement, which means he got a lot less in his monthly pension check than he would have if he'd held on.

But he couldn't hold on. He kept looking for work, going on job interviews, not getting anything. The Motion Picture Industry Health Insurance ran out, COBRA ran out, and he steadily burned through savings.

Then three months ago his luck changed: "A job just dropped in my lap, and I took it." The job paid $14 per hour, working in a storage facility, no benefits. But it allowed him to earn enough money to buy the thousand dollar a month health care policy he needs to survive, since he's one of those lucky duckies with "a pre-existing condition," and so can't buy lower cost coverage.

As he said to me recently: "What I can get doesn't cover all the prescription drugs I take, but at least I've got a job now and can afford to pay for a stripped-down health plan, even if it is super expensive..."

Such a deal. A super-expensive medical plan. For a man too old for work in his long-time occupation, yet too young for a full pension or Medicare or Social Security. And his retirement accounts, accumulated over a lifetime of work, steadily melt away.

I watch the health care debate, and the hand-wringing about socialism and "subsidized abortions," and then I think of the $700 billion that Hank Paulson gave Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Bank of America, and the large bonuses those fine companies -- saved from bankruptcy by your tax dollars and mine -- now hand out to their oh-so-deserving executives. And I say to myself:

"There are politicians worried about socialism? Where the fuck were these people fourteen months ago, when they couldn't create socialism fast enough when it came to Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Who the fuck are these people kidding?"

And then I think of my friend, slowly descending into poverty because he can't get a job that pays much of anything and can't get health insurance that costs less than an arm and a leg. And I get all warm and tingly knowing that although he might be eating it, at least Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Citigroup have been saved by federal socialism so that they can rape and pillage another day.

God bless America.

79 comments:

Boxer said...

"There are politicians worried about socialism? Where the fuck were these people fourteen months ago, when they couldn't create socialism fast enough when it came to Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Who the fuck are these people kidding?"

------

Yep. Wretched hypocrites. They are already living privately as socialists (for the few) , but decry the evils of socialism (for the many) publicly.

And as we should have learned in a little parable about socialism this is where it ends up:

"All animals are created equal . All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."

Michael said...

Hot damn, that's a fine post. Bra-fucking-VO.

Anonymous said...

Actually only 350 billion was given out.

I feel better. Don't you?

Anonymous said...

The muck of avarice.

JNE B GOOD said...

I can't wait till it's the government that denies me care.

It's so much better than an evil corporation doing it.

My 2 Cents said...

Yeah, JNE B, the government might turn you down, so let's just leave things the way they are; health care paradise!

Anonymous said...

Look forward to voting in 2010!!

All the thieves must go. We pay taxes but the politicians don't, and even after they are busted they are still ok.

Anonymous said...

Great post Steve, though it makes me so sad.

I recently had a long but civil discussion with several of my friends about "socialism" and healthcare and the subject of compassion. It shocked me that none of them were for healthcare reform, yet they were all self-described (and very much known for being) super-christians. It was their stand that we should leave healthcare the way it is, and leave the compassion up to the church, and that you cant force people to be compassionate towards others through taxing them. The government is big and evil, socialism is the start of the coming of the antichrist, etc etc. People actually believe this.

For the first time ever, I wanted to physically harm my friends. I cant believe how so many people are swayed by ancient hocus pocus, and let that mindset prevail over logic and sense.

But in the end, we agreed to disagree and remain friends. Im sad.

Anonymous said...

I'll skip commenting on the health care issue and go to the other premise of this post. The part about older animators and employment. Steve, you must know about how many animators age 50+ are actually working for the union studios. I bet the percentage is extremely low. Not much diversity in the workplace when it comes to real "senior animators", even when they are supremely skilled in CG.

JNE B GOOD said...

Wow, you wanted to harm your friends because they disagreed with you?

You must not be very good friends with them.

Do you think they want to strangle you for feeling different? Hmmm.

Or perhaps you are the one that believes in hocus pocus thinking that because government meddles in it that it's going to be wonderful?

Your friends might believe in helping people, but feel government isn't the solution. Perhaps you might want to do harm to those Founding Fathers that founding this government? They seemed to have a distrust of government as well. That's why they put limits on what it could do.

And to My 2 Cents, if you noticed I never said health care was paradise. Please don't put words in my mouth. There are problems with healthcare, but I don't feel that the cure some are wanting is better than what we have now. Having lived in Europe during my teenage years, I've seen what socialized medicine offers and I don't think it's the answer to our problems.

Anonymous said...

The above person speaks the truth. I too have seen government-run health care in action. It is an inadequate costly nightmare. The systems in place in the US are quite good in their way, but need improvement - NOT a total overhaul tied to the machinations of a bloated spend-happy government. Do you guys REALLY want Congress to pass a health care bill most of them haven't even read? This whole health-care issue is just a Democrat ploy to make more people dependent on the government, and thus more dependent on THEM. And thus they're far more likely to stay in power. I've seen stuff like this happen in other countries. Beware. This is a very slippery slope, and very dangerous.

Anonymous said...

There isn't a lobby in DC that now doesn't own a piece of the government guarantee that magically erases the losses on our collective failures as a society. We're broke, folks. How do you think your representatives in Congress give you these things? These wars? These tech toys? These houses? These cars? These MRI's? These defined benefit retirements?

They shake hands with lobbyist's across the hall. There's always a deal with the devil to 'reform' the system. Reagan's era did it, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, now Obama. Nothing changes. This healthcare promise is not going to end any different than the 'War on Terror!". You are a fool to believe otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you wanted to harm your friends because they disagreed with you?

Its a figure of speech. But thanks for going off on a tyrant like a child about it.

Meanwhile, 49 people die every single day in this country because they arent insured.

WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THE UNINSURED?

Come to think of it, I'm insured right now because Im between jobs. I start my new insurance plan in one month. What would happen if I got hit by a car today? Id be bankrupt.

Steve Hulett said...

Regarding your Christian friends who think it's every human for himself, and Obama is the devil, here's what the Head Guy of the Christian Church said (in Matthew 25):

... 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' ...

For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

... 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'...


See, the problem with many Conservative Christians today, is they have to tiptoe around what Jesus Christ actually said and did, all those inconvenient things about getting divorced ... or the rich having a tough time getting into heaven ... or throwing the money changers out of the temple.

Things like that. Because if they start paying close attention to that stuff, to what Christ was actually about, then they have to face up to the fact that their corner of the religion might be off Christ's actual path.

Anonymous said...

The only way to stop the health care industry to frighten us is to stop buying health insurance. Do you know that if we took care of ourselves (even with preexisting health conditions) we will spend less than the total of what we spend in paying for the insurance itself.I have preexisting health conditions and yet I am brave enough to do without health insurance. I rather have a roof on my head. Who knows I might just die even after buying health insurance. Like Dr. Cox says"Doctors can only postpone the in evitable. If a doctor truelly cares for his patients he will not worry about the insurance rules before he prescribed the medicine you need.

Anonymous said...

"I'd be bankrupt."

Bankrupt just like the government. The government is not going to pay for the MRI that would have caught the embolism that killed you no more than Aetna.

Just. Not. Going. To. Happen.

But when your family sues, they won't be able to collect from Uncle Sam. So in that way, yes, public healthcare is a good idea.

However, in the same way, public healthcare is a bad idea because it just continues to give tea party nutcases their favorite scapegoat - the government is killing the people through poor and unequal health coverage.

Round and round. Someone please let me off now.

Anonymous said...

As an international transplant from another developed western country, I have to say the quality and cost of healthcare we get here in the states is appalling.

I can't imagine any system could be more convoluted, expensive and ineffective than the current one.

Anonymous said...

Like it or not, with no real recovery in sight and joblessness probably to become a long term issue, we're looking at crap healthcare and crap retirement issues for years to come. There is no magic bullet and what Congress and lobbyists' are doing is just rearranging the furniture to stay in office, like usual. Taxes will have to go up no matter what to pay interest on the debt, but your benefits will continue to slide. That's just where we are and why people are relying on their families more than ever, kids are not leaving home. Except to go fight a war or two, of course.

Anonymous said...

I have preexisting health conditions and yet I am brave enough to do without health insurance.

Brave huh. You'll change your tune if you ever get injured.

I had an injury recently that cost 50 thousand to fix, and Im in pretty good (no, excellent) physical condition. If I wouldnt have had insurance, I'd be disabled or bankrupt.

And all this tripe about "the government is GOING to ruin everything" is all speculation. Plus, we have proof that government healthcare actually already works: Medicare. Its not perfect, but people can survive with it. You cant survive without healthcare.

In the time it took us to discuss this so far, 20 people have died. I hope it isnt someone you loved.

Stephen said...

hang on.. I thought we have been told that after 15 years of union employment (at full time hours), we qualified for "health benefits for life" ??
I'm certain I have asked you (steve) this question specifically during one of your rounds and was told yes, that's true.
so why doesn't your friend have insurance after 28 years of union employment??

Anonymous said...

Steve -

What does it cost per/individual for our 'cadillac' healthcare plans? I think this is a very relevant question for what is currently going on and could put things in perspective, at least in terms of what health care is for us relative to the private market, and relative to the uninsured that the administration believes needs to be covered.

Steve Hulett said...

hang on.. I thought we have been told that after 15 years of union employment (at full time hours), we qualified for "health benefits for life" ??
I'm certain I have asked you (steve) this question specifically during one of your rounds and was told yes, that's true.

so why doesn't your friend have insurance after 28 years of union employment??


Simple, mon ami.

He gets "health care for life" at the age of 62. He is now 59. (He could get HCFL at age 60 ... if he had thirty qualified pension years and 60,000 hours. But he has neither of those.)

So he's got three more years before he can access it.

Anonymous said...

The insurance cartel needs to be stripped of it's exemption from anti-trust laws. That alone would save a bundle of money, but corporate communism is what "free-marketers" like.

JNE B GOOD said...

"Its a figure of speech. But thanks for going off on a tyrant like a child about it."

You want to harm your friends for disagreeing with you and I'm the one acting childish?

Right..

Anonymous said...

It's Thanksgiving. Let's be thankful that the asleep-at-the-wheel idiot who allowed terrorists to attack America is no longer president. Thanks to the bush economic debacle, and the outrageous spending of his "administration," we've got a mighty big hole to dig ourself out of. The cost of the idiotic and un-needed war in Iraq would have paid for the changes Americans want and need in regards to health care in spades.

God put a real man, President Obama, in the White House because he most whole heartedly agrees.

Arlo said...

The health insurance industry in America needs SERIOUS restructuring and some real legislation to protect working people... but this plan isn't it.

If you aren't astonished at the cost, then you aren't worth discussing the issue with, because the debt this will cause is abhorrent. Besides that, the lovers kiss this legislation blows to trial attorneys is RIDICULOUS. The democrats are SO in the pocket of malpractice lawyers is insulting for them to continually states that they are looking out for all of us. (John Edwards anyone?)

I recently got five stitches at a hospital. it was $780.00. For five stitches. The girth of that outrageous bill is because of malpractice insurance that hospitals have to pay because they get squeezed every time an ambulance chaser wants to extort them with the legal process. But the issue is pushed aside by the congress - the system isn;t broken at all, its the eeeevil corporations that are to blame for everything.

As in most cases the truth lies in the middle. Both tort reform is needed and legislation to make the health insurance companies play fair.

Your health insurance should cost the same as your cable bill. There are lotf of people from both parties that know that this can be achieved with sensible legislation and regulation, but they are being pushed aside by Pelosi's congress and their 2,000 page bill.

If you listen to them - or Steve, they'll tell you that Hank Paulson alone is responsible for the bailout. Again, the truth is far more complicated than that glib summation put forth in here.


Paulson had less power than Fed chief Ben Bernanke, was farther from the heartbeat of Wall Street than Tim Geithner, and had less political influence than Congress, which passed reams of legislation. In many of the accounts published about the crisis, Paulson looks like part of the problem while Geithner and Bernanke, who marched in political lockstep with him, have somehow been hailed as part of the solution. This doesn't add up, and it's a dangerously convenient misrepresentation of those desperate days.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32957834/ns/business-the_big_money/

Anonymous said...

You want to harm your friends for disagreeing with you and I'm the one acting childish?

Get over it. Do you have anything on-topic to say?

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine any system could be more convoluted, expensive and ineffective than the current one.

I can. A system run by the government. The same government that can't seem to get anything else right. Oh wait, this will be the one that works smoothly.

The health care system is in desperate need of restructuring. But this bill is not the answer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the bush economic debacle, and the outrageous spending of his "administration," we've got a mighty big hole to dig ourself out of.

Oh I see. So the way to dig out of a hole is to get in the hole and keep digging? That makes sense.


The cost of the idiotic and un-needed war in Iraq would have paid for the changes Americans want and need in regards to health care in spades.

It's not looking like it. At least how the bill currently stands

Arlo said...

$100 million to buy the vote of moderate Dem Senator Landrieu. $100 million of your tax money goes to him for his vote.

http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2009/11/the-100-million-health-care-vote.html

Worst. Congress. Ever.

Anonymous said...

this congress and their decisions are borderline criminal, they are not even abiding by their constituents or the Constitution and Liberty to choose!

JNE B GOOD said...

"Get over it. Do you have anything on-topic to say?"

The question is...

Do you?

Anonymous said...

don't forget how idiot bush funneled hundreds of million to his buddies in Mississippi and Texas (wingnut states) after hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike, while miring Louisiana residents in shameful red tape. Louisian deserves that money.

Not to mention scumbag criminal tom delay paid for gop votes almost every day of his career in Congress.

No, The Dems may only have a small spine, but they have brains and hearts. The gop is just evil and obstructionist.

American Citizens are supporting our President Obama to UNDO all the huge damage idiot bush and darth cheney inflicted on our Country. Not only do we have to dig out of their money hole, but repair our reputation, which wingnuts, bush, and dick worked so hard to destroy for 8 years.

NO one in the U.S. has forgotten the simple fact that BUSH ALLOWED TERRORISTS TO ATTACK OUR COUNTRY. He dropped the ball. BIG time. And that's what he'll be remembered for. Or more thankfully, just forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Oh I see. So the way to dig out of a hole is to get in the hole and keep digging? That makes sense.

Think if it as "seed money." If that shmuck bush hadn't spent the SURPLUS left by President Bill Clinton, or if idiog bush hadn't gotten us into an UN-NEEDED WAR in Iraq, President Obama wouldn't have to deal with all of this.

It's not the answer, but it's a start.

Don't forget that the bush administration spent more money than any other in history (fact).

Anonymous said...

Arlo said:
$100 million to buy the vote of moderate Dem Senator Landrieu. $100 million of your tax money goes to him for his vote.

Senator Landrieu is a woman, you douche nozzle. Get your facts straight before you start blasting stuff like that out.

Steve Hulett said...

I recently got five stitches at a hospital. it was $780.00. For five stitches.

If you're in California, you already have serious tort reform, since California capped awards years ago.

Tort reform ain't gonna solve it. Lawsuits account for 2% of health costs. And less than that in CA.

Anonymous said...

Senator Landrieu is a woman, you douche nozzle. Get your facts straight before you start blasting stuff like that out.

who cares if she is a she. The payoff is still the point.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that the bush administration spent more money than any other in history (fact).

Please state your sources (sincerely curious to read them).
\
Between the freaking bail outs and this health care craziness, I find it hard to believe he won't blow Bush's spending out of the water. I'm also skeptical that the spending will actually help.

I didn't like Bush and I wanted Obama to make things better. But, so far I haven't seen anything positive come from this guy. I truly feel like he is making things worse. Not better. Disappointment all around.

Arlo said...

"Think if it as "seed money." If that shmuck bush hadn't spent the SURPLUS left by President Bill Clinton,"

I love that Obama's MASSIVE deficit that he has created(he has tripled the deficit since taking office) is all the fault of the previous administration. That the debt was built up from years of poor decisions.

But Clinton's surplus?

Oh, that happened overnight! He waved his hand and suddenly we had tons of money!

Because everyone knows that you lose money really slowly, but you get rich QUICK.

Or maybe those patisn voices have a little nugget of info that they think proves their point and the truth is actually more moderate and reasonable....

Anonymous said...

Between the freaking bail outs and this health care craziness, I find it hard to believe he won't blow Bush's spending out of the water.

Wasnt the bailouts under Bush's administration?

g said...

Now I know for a fact Arlo plays devils advocate for fun.

You showed your hand Arlo! Well, it was fun while it lasted...

Animated Response said...

Just curious, but are all animators as crazy and nuts as the socialist loons that keep posting here, Steve?

Sigh..

Anonymous said...

Hey, Arlo and Anon 10:14 :

who cares if she is a she. The payoff is still the point.

If you were a politician and your state had been decimated by a hurricane, the previous administration did virtually nothing in a financial sense to help out, and your state is still lacking in basic needs (oh, like say, adequate health care?), wouldn't you ask for a provision?

You two might call it a "payoff," but I'm sure Sen. Landrieu (D-LA --that's Louisiana for all you idiots) calls it "making sure her constituents don't get the shaft twice."

Anon 7:41 got it right. Go back and read their first paragraph. Then both of you need to call your parents and apologize to them for wasting their time and effort trying to educate you.

God, I hate people who can't think for themselves. Bunch of stupid sheep.

John Locke said...

"God, I hate people who can't think for themselves. Bunch of stupid sheep."

Let me translate this for you:

Baaaah! Baaaaah!

Go find Little Bo Peep, fella..

There's so much to rebut in that statement of yours, but I'd need a book. And all you have to work with is venom and emotion.

Sigh..

Anonymous said...

socialist loons

A) You're just throwing a buzzword around

B) Medicare is socialist and we seem to be doing just fine

Anonymous said...

Louisiana got shafted. True. But, why in the world does it have to be repaid in an already mucked up health care bill? If Obama and this administration really cared, they'd take care of them separately.

This is a bribe, plain and simple. The only thing Obama and his administration care about is passing the health care bill and getting her vote. NOT helping the people of Louisiana!

And the bit about education.. I think your blinders are on so tight you can't take a objective view to this whole idiotic situation. I voted for Obama. I wanted change too. But this is not the change I wanted. My kids and their kids are screwed. Stupid decisions don't correct previous administrations stupid decisions.

Politics as usual. Just a different party in the White House.

Anonymous said...

I voted for Obama. I wanted change too. But this is not the change I wanted.

Really? What kind of change did you want? Give us a picture of the kind of change you wanted and/or expected.

Guess what, the "bribe" is how Congress operates. Sen. Landreiu had leverage, and used it. Frankly, so what. Big deal. Because, frankly, it sounds like your complaint isn't really about that, it's about healthcare reform itself. Well, healthcare reform is something significant that Obama campaigned on. If you voted for him, you knew what he'd try to do.

It's not nearly as extreme as what Hillary would have done. It's not even as far-reaching as what he campaigned on. But it's what the political factions were able to negotiate--it's a decent first step.

Anonymous said...

There are loads of socialist programs the USA engages in:

1. Social Security
2. The military
3. Our infrastructure (highways, etc.)
4. Fire and Police departments

The list goes on...if you live in this country, and take advantage of these services, consider yourself a "socialist loon."

If you weren't aware of this, consider yourself an uneducated "socialist loon."

John Locke said...

"Medicare is socialist and we seem to be doing just fine"

Really? I guess it going broke by 2019 is your definition of doing fine? I guess Astro Boy was hit to you as well? You're reasoning for things lacks reason.

And as for some of you tossing around the socialist word, you have very broad definition of that yourself. Having a military in no way means a nation is socialist, but as for the loon part of your argument, you certainly fit it..

It would figure I ask Steve why there are so many crazies on this website and the ones that attempt to answer are the crazies.

Go back to your drawing board and do something you know about. Clearly, economics and politics ain't it.

Anonymous said...

Having an optional public plan which competes against private plans in no way means a nation is socialist, any more than a government funding a government-run military would suggest it.

It would appear that you have engaged in some loony thinking as well.

Another Anonymous said...

Yeah, it'll be an "option" to compete with those that make the rules you have to follow. I'm sure that will be fair. I bet if Pepsi made the rules that cola makers had to follow then everything would be really fair for Coke, Dr. Pepper and all those other manufacturers.

The government making the rules and then competing is in no way fair.. and in no way should be tolerated.

There are things that can be done to help those that are without health insurance. Competition from state to state would help, but isn't allowed under the law now. Also making it so that it's portable would help greatly. There are several other things that could be done, but letting the government run it isn't an option, it's a mandate.

And if you think this is to contain cost then I ask you to point to me any government program that cost what they said it would, much less came in lower than what they said. Have you ever looked at what the projected cost of Medicare was supposed to be over a generation? It wound up being nine times what it cost. This health care plan is hovering at just under a trillion dollars (848 billion) in the CBO's estimates. Do you really think that it will cost only this? And even if this is the only cost, it's unaffordable and misleading. The taxes for this start being taken right after the bill becomes law, but the services don't start till three years later.

I'm not against reform. I'm against this reform. I'm against someone voting for 2000+ pages of something they haven't read with god knows how many unintended consequences. Putting the label of "reform" on a bill doesn't mean it's reform and letting the government control my healthcare is no better than letting a business control it. Both are bad ideas.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, it'll be an "option" to compete with those that make the rules you have to follow."

You clearly arent keeping up on your current events. The latest finance committee bill clearly states that while the public option will get seed money from the government, after it's established, it will be under the same bankruptcy policies and rules and regulations as private healthcare.

This issue was addressed a while ago, after the uproar in september when it first came out.

What's sad is, all the people who are so against a public option and reform are in for a rude awakening when there's a healthcare collapse (much like the financial collapse) and your employer tells you they can no longer afford healthcare benefits, and your policy is canceled.

Thats not fear mongering, thats the truth. Healthcare costs are doing nothing but rising and rising. That bubble is going to burst people.

Conscientious Objector said...

Yes they are rising. As but you're telling me that this will reduce health care costs? When has the government EVER reduced costs? Please provide examples, not speeches.

If you really think that profit making companies like Insurance Companies will be in a fair position competing against a "option" that doesn't have to make a profit for its shareholders you really haven't ever had to run a business.

This government is borrowing 46 cents for every dollar it is spending right now. That can't be maintained. Simple business will tell you that. There's no need to be a rocket scientist to have a basic understanding that you don't spend what you don't have.

And as far as saving money, please. Adding thirty million people to health care over the next few years with no expansion of doctors is going to lower the cost? Really? How? Clicking ruby slippers and closing your eyes saying: "There's no place like home, there's no place like home!"

If you saw the opening skit to SNL last night, it was hilarious, sad and oh so true. It really hit home what is happening with the people in our government right now.

Anonymous said...

I'm not against reform. I'm against this reform....[L]etting the government control my healthcare is no better than letting a business control it

These two statements belie the utter dishonesty of your position.

Yeah, it's not healthcare reform you object to, it's just this reform. Riiiiiight.

If this plan cost just a third of what it does, you would still be against it, calling it too much, and "government run." Obviously, ANY reform would involve government telling private companies what they can and cannot do. And since you are ideologically opposed to that, you would not support ANY reform.

You may claim this reform package is too expensive. But the current costs are completely unsustainable. Every private plan is DOUBLING in cost every 10 years. If it currently costs $800/month to insure your entire family, in 10 years it will cost $1,600/month. And coverage is being reduced each year.

This plan, while not perfect, will ameliorate costs to help bring them down, as has successfully happened in other countries.

You still haven't described exactly what change you were hoping for when you voted for Obama.

Anonymous said...

Companies will be in a fair position competing against a "option" that doesn't have to make a profit for its shareholders

Oh my god.

READ the L A T E S T senate finance bill. You sir, are not keeping up with the news!!

Anonymous said...

Whoops, didnt mean to say "finance"

I got keyboard happy.

Conscientious Objector said...

You make a lot of presumptions there, Anonymous.

Sorry, but I don't think you can read my mind. But no, I'm not against reform, but sticking the word reform on a bill doesn't make it that. No more than sticking the name patriot on a law makes one a patriot. A bloated bureaucracy that can't balance it's own budget? A government that created a program that ran out of money for it's "Cash for Clunkers" weeks into a plan that was designed to last till the end of the year? And on and on you could go and this is who you want to put in charge of your health care? Really? Wow.


I too don't like the high cost but you think the U.S. Government will lower cost? How?

Have you ever heard of baseline budgeting? It's what congress uses to score how funding is given out to certain entitlement programs. These programs get a 10% increase every year whether they need it or not. So these programs wind up doubling every decade.

Sound familiar?

Show me where the government has made something cost less? You can't. There is no evidence you can provide other than your lofty goals and fluffy ideals that the government will save us.

I've heard many people talk about this plan as if it's "Medicare for the rest of us." Well, Medicare is going broke just dealing with the people it's handling now and supporters of this plan think that they can provide that system for everyone? All while cutting a half trillion from it (Congress says this is how they're going to help pay for savings. They've never cut this before and they won't this time; making the dept rise even more.) A decade from now Medicare will be bankrupt; sooner if some plan like this comes into play.

I don't trust government no matter who is in charge. The only thing worse about Democrats is that they're spending us into bankruptcy sooner than the Republicans. Either way, you're driving toward a brick wall.. one is going at 40 miles an hour and the other is headed there at 80. One just wreaks the car faster.

JNE B GOOD said...

"READ the L A T E S T senate finance bill. You sir, are not keeping up with the news!!"

So you've read all 2000 pages of this bill?

If so, you're doing better than the Senators that are going to vote on it. None of them have read it.

And they lecture business about running companies badly? Hehe..

Riiiiiiggghtt.

Anonymous said...

I too don't like the high cost but you think the U.S. Government will lower cost? How?

Competition.

Show me where the government has made something cost less? You can't

Name anything that costs less from 20 years ago. There's very very little. Its called inflation.

So you've read all 2000 pages of this bill?

I read all the talking points, bill summations, follow all the news channels, and read as much as I can online. Im not a dimwit, and I think I have a pretty good, objective opinion about the whole thing. At least I know when the important changes occur, like the latest senate bill addressing the concerns of the previous September bill, which you didnt know about.

I believe healthcare reform is necessary (18 thousand die every year from being uninsured, costs are running rampant). Republican or Democrat, I dont care. I want reform.

Am I 100% happy with whats being proposed? No. But at least its a start. What else can we do? Wait 3 years until theres a re-election and MAYBE try to do this again? C'mon.

Lets take a lesson from being animators, shall we? Lets get some blocking up there to show, and refine it as we receive notes!! But that wont happen if we dont take a first stab at it.

PS) The bill currently being proposed addresses the Medicare issue as well as how we're going to pay for it. Medicare wont be bankrupt in 10 years if this is done correctly

Anonymous said...

I don't trust government no matter who is in charge.

Dont forget, in a democracy, the government is you.

Whats the alternative? Its my opinion that we shouldnt FEAR the government, as if its some big scary monster. Its my opinion to GET INVOLVED, and get it steering in the right direction. I bet 100 dollars none of you have ever written a congressman (which actually, works, by the way, especially when lots of people write) or joined a campaign committee. Some of you probably dont even vote.

Get involved! Be positive! Look at the possibilities this great nation has! Stop with the negative "we're doomed" attitude! Think about how much better and happier we CAN be if we get people healthy for (hopefully) less money!

Barack Obama is NOT the enemy! He's just a hard working guy trying to make things better in the face of some serious, angry, deep-rooted opposition! He's not a muslim trying to "take away your freedom" or "turn America socialist." Lets get past that petty nonsense and get the job done!!

Anonymous said...

Oh my god. READ the L A T E S T senate finance bill. You sir, are not keeping up with the news!!

The L A T E S T version of the bill has the public option covering about 4 million people--around 1.5% of the population. THIS is what you're getting all scared about?

Oh but please, tell us the latest scary talking points from the hysterical fact-free chainletter email you've received from your conservative friends.

Show me where the government has made something cost less? You can't.

I can. I can slap a 45-cent stamp on an envelope and mail a handwritten letter anywhere in the country. For a pittance. Through rain or shine. If a private company was doing it, they would only deliver the letter to locations they could make a profit on, blacking out large sections of the country. And I highly doubt they'd only charge 45 cents for that priviledge.

Anonymous said...

To the above poster: maybe you misread.

Im FOR the latest senate bill.

But as a side note, it will provide insurance for 31 million...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/19/health/policy/19health.html

Arlo said...

"I can. I can slap a 45-cent stamp on an envelope and mail a handwritten letter anywhere in the country. For a pittance. Through rain or shine. If a private company was doing it, they would only deliver the letter to locations they could make a profit on, blacking out large sections of the country. And I highly doubt they'd only charge 45 cents for that priviledge."


The post office is currently operating on a budget deficit of $9 BILLION. Everything you just posted is negated by that fact.

Try again

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/30/business/30postal.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper

Arlo said...

Also worth noting:

Under Sen. Reid's bill about 16 million U.S. citizens would be uninsured and be forced to pay a penalty tax of almost $800 per year because of this.

About 8 million illegal aliens would be uninsured and would owe no penalty tax.

Both groups would get their health care through a combination of out-of-pocket spending and use of uncompensated care in emergency rooms and free health clinics.

This seems unfair.

Anonymous said...

Yes, illegal aliens muck everything up, I agree.

But in my opinion, thats a separate issue that needs to be addressed. (I vote stricter enforcement and deportation, but thats just me)

Im not going to tell the legal citizens of this country they arent going to get insurance because that would mean illegals would too. Id rather BOTH get it, because then at least SOME good would come of it.

As it is now, it just sucks for those who dont have insurance.

Conscientious Objector said...

"Show me where the government has made something cost less? You can't.

I can. I can slap a 45-cent stamp on an envelope and mail a handwritten letter anywhere in the country. For a pittance. Through rain or shine. If a private company was doing it, they would only deliver the letter to locations they could make a profit on, blacking out large sections of the country. And I highly doubt they'd only charge 45 cents for that priviledge."

You have to come up with the Post Office to give an example of something they're doing right?! Hehehe..

Wow. That is really stretching it to try to make your argument.

You've actually helped prove my point, but facts are beyond your reason right now. That's presuming you ever had any reason to begin with.

Anonymous said...

You have to come up with the Post Office to give an example of something they're doing right?! Hehehe..

Wow. That is really stretching it to try to make your argument.


Nope. I destroyed your argument. Nothing wrong at all with the post office. Been working great for a couple hundred years, and provides a great service for a cheap 45-cent stamp. Ask UPS or FedEx for that rate, and they'll laugh you out of the store.

It sounds to me like you're just deeply intellectually unserious. And wrong, as well.

Anonymous said...

Well, I appreciate your effort (seeing how Im a healthcare reform supporter as well) but is does kinda defeat your argument to know that the Post Office is operating uner a 7 billion dollar loss...

Anonymous said...

"Nope. I destroyed your argument. Nothing wrong at all with the post office. Been working great for a couple hundred years, and provides a great service for a cheap 45-cent stamp. Ask UPS or FedEx for that rate, and they'll laugh you out of the store.

It sounds to me like you're just deeply intellectua"

Dream on Dorthy, you're not in Kansas anymore..

Conscientious Objector said...

"Nope. I destroyed your argument. Nothing wrong at all with the post office"

Wow, you must have flunked debate to not realize how badly you've been discredited.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you're uneducated.

The Post Office operated at a profit throughout the 90's. Not merely self-sufficient, but at a profit. Unsurprisingly, thanks to the usual incompetence and mismanagement of the Bush Administration, as well as external factors such as the rise of email, this is no longer the case. But that hardly proves your case--obviously with the right management, government operations can be quite efficient.

Another example: Medicare. Medicare has an overhead of 4%. Tell me which private health insurer has an overhead less than 30%. You can't. There isn't one. Medicare's expenditures are high, because the overall cost of healthcare has risen, much higher than the rate of inflation. A great deal of the reason for this is manipulation by the private health insurance companies. Medicare is a FAR more efficient organization than ANY of them.

Hugh Betcha said...

I can. I can slap a 45-cent stamp on an envelope and mail a handwritten letter anywhere in the country. For a pittance. Through rain or shine. If a private company was doing it, they would only deliver the letter to locations they could make a profit on,"

Hey moron,

What you are completely ignorant of, is that the US post office is a protected monopoly and does not compete with private companies.

That is why FedEx and UPS can ONLY deliver urgent parcels. They cannot maintain a regular postal service because its against the law for them to do so. How stupid do you have to be to not be aware of this?

I'm just curious... how much of a moron do you have to be to expound upon a subject without knowing the most basic facts about it? By most estimations you have to be so stupid that even if your ignorance is pointed out to you, you are going to try and save face. Prove me wrong.

Also worth noting; no other entity is allowed to deliver parcels to mailboxes or Post Office Boxes. You must have "forgotten" that huh?

Dimwit...

Steve Hulett said...

Show me where the government has made something cost less?

You make this sooo easy.

ANY government medical program in ANY industrialized country -- other than ours -- costs less. With more people covered. With better or equal results.

My conservative friends always say "yeah, but" ...

And that's fine, but the results in other countries are what they are: better than our results.

Look at Canada, since it's right next door. They have (essentially) "Medicare for all" at a fraction of our cost, with better overall results.

Conservatives always point to anecdotal evidence of how really awful it is and how Canadians just don't like it, but anecdotes are all they have. Very few facts are on their side. Canadians support their system by huge margins.

But I'm resigned to our Corporatist State. We will go on giving Cigna, Aetna and the rest or the bloodsuckers their 30% markups because they have their way with Congress and will continue to have their way.

So we'll pay more for health care than any other nation/state on the planet. Learn to live with it.

Arlo said...


ANY government medical program in ANY industrialized country -- other than ours -- costs less. With more people covered. With better or equal results.


Better or equal results?!?
What KoolAid are you drinking?

Look up cancer survival rates and you'll see clear and dramatic statistics that put the United States far ahead of every other nation on the planet. Is this news to you?

What do you think that thousands of people come to our nation to get procedures done because they like the food in our hospitals?

Anonymous said...

Look up cancer survival rates and you'll see clear and dramatic statistics that put the United States far ahead of every other nation on the planet. Is this news to you?

Not true--it depends on the type of cancer.

The US is best with breast and prostate cancers. Both Japan and France are better than us with colon and rectal cancers. And again, they manage that for less money.

Source: http://www.emaxhealth.com/51/23285.html

Your faith-based worship of our private health insurance system is unfounded.

Arlo said...

Colon and rectum cancer are both cancers of the large intestines, so you are talking about one specialty in the battle against cancer. Is that your little victory? You can have it, and I will elaborate for you.

The United States leads the world in treatment and survival rates for :
Breast cancer
bone cancer
stomach cancer
brain cancer
skin cancer
lymphatic cancer
leukemia
throat cancer
pancreatic cancer
Shall I go on?

Stop chiming in and trying to find a chip in the armor of the facts. Its embarrassing for you. The results are irrefutable. Its become clear that you don't have a quarrel with me, you have a quarrel with reality. Go see a psychologist.

Here is Dr David Gratzer discussing the same study you linked.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121668625082172105.html

Anonymous said...

Ah, except you are doing as much cherrypicking as anybody else. Shall we talk about infant mortality rates, where we lag behind other western countries? Or any of a host of other metrics where this is true?

But you're shifting the goalposts. The question was whether a government system could be less expensive than private, and Steve gave a valid example.

On the whole, is the US healthcare system of highest quality? In many respects, yes, with an important caveat--IF YOU CAN PAY FOR IT. Between pre-existing conditions, recissions, and lack of affordable insurance, these are serious problems that offset the benefits of quality care. What good is the best healthcare in the world if you're dropped by your insurance company and can't afford it? I'd happily take a system that is 90 percent as good and takes everybody.

Anonymous said...

I think we can have both the worlds best quality healthcare AND the worlds most affordable healthcare.

HOW?

Remove the middleman. 30% is a ton of profit for insurers to take from the American people.

Healthcare shouldnt be run by risk management professionals. Its a guarantee that people WILL get sick and injured, so the only way for them to make any money isnt by predicting or managing risk, its by finding ways to fuck you out of getting what you need when you need it.

Id gladly take the money me or my company is paying for healthcare insurance, and give it straight to hospitals and researchers and open the doors to everyone. Give THEM the responsibility to affordably manage my care. Surely thats better than trusting United Health or Aetna or Kaiser or BlueCross.

Arlo said...

^ I agree.

I think you should also get a tax credit if you pay for health insurance. companies get a huge tax break for providing health insurance - but individuals don't?!?
Why?

Last time I checked, the basic tenet of this nation was that it was "for the people", and yet our government bends over backwards for companies and punishes the individual.

Site Meter