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And maybe we’ll all get free ponies, too!
Posted by: Dale Franks on Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Ezra Klein appears to be giddy with delight at the prospect of universal health coverage being implemented in the next few years.
Massachusetts has passed the nation's first near-universal healthcare plan, creating a structure that should cover 95%-plus of its citizens by making healthcare as mandatory as car insurance. Nationally, the Democratic resurgence has returned universal healthcare to the agenda and its advocates to power. In the House, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Fremont), a staunch Medicare-for-all advocate, is expected to be chairman of the health subcommittee.

Surrounded by an unlikely array of union leaders and corporate chief executives, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has unveiled an inventive, comprehensive reform plan that would end the employer system forever. What businesses pay in employee premiums would be redirected to employee raises; insurers would offer their plans through state associations that would no longer allow price discrimination for reasons of health or job status; and everyone would have to buy in. Universal coverage would be achieved in under two years.

The most compelling evidence that resistance to reform is futile, however, is coming from the insurers themselves. Cognizant that Congress and the nation are tiring of the current dystopia, the insurance industry recently released its own plan for universal healthcare.

It's a bad plan, to be sure. Its purpose is more to preserve the insurance industry's profits than improve healthcare in this country. But the endorsement of universality as a moral imperative, and the attempt to get in front of the coming efforts at reform, mark the emergence of a distinct rear-guard mentality within the insurance industry. Their game is up, and they're turning some of their attention to shaping their future rather than betting that they can continue protecting their present.
He says it like it's a good thing, of course.

Man, won't it be great when everyone is covered, and health care is free? Imagine going to the doctor's office, and not having to pay a dime, because office visits are free. Or going into the hospital for surgery, and not shelling out one red cent, because hospital care is free.

Huh...I wonder how doctors, and nurses, and hospital electric bills will get paid when health care is free?

Oh, who cares? It won't affect me, because medical care will be free!
 
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I think that Ezra is right in one particular: healthcare reform is gaining political traction. As more and more people pay for a larger and larger proportion of their own health insurance that’s inevitable and, at some point, people whose pay increases going out the door in the form of higher insurance payments in collaboration with companies buried under retired employees’ healthcare plans they promised in a moment of managerial incompetence will have the political pull to force the question.

That’s why, every time the subject comes up, I try to coax people who are interested in trivialities like, oh, the actual foreseeable results of other people’s ill-conceived healthcare reform plans to produce a practical plan of their own in the forlorn hope that good plans might drive out bad ones.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
The thing that scares the beejees out of me is after the government takes over healthcare completey it will not be long before laws begin to get made making this or that lifestyle choice illegal. Of course, being gay will still be ok even tho it increases the risks in certain health areas but I worry about food, drink or whatever else they can dream up to regulate. After all, the government will be paying for our health so they can deem to make us do whatever is in vogue at the moment to keep costs down.
 
Written By: SkyWatch
URL: http://
The only way I’ll ever vote for Govt. healthcare is if I get the same healthcare plan that the U.S. Senate gets.



 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
After all, the government will be paying for our health so they can deem to make us do whatever is in vogue at the moment to keep costs down.
Maybe you’ll have to prove that you’re "carbon neutral" or better to get your meds.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
We might indeed get free ponies, and then discover that we need to feed them and clean up the poop. Just what we need, more big government. It is very very depressing to see that following the bloody twentieth century and all it’s examples more people are still seduced by the siren of socialism. It makes me just want to give up, move to a hermit cabin in the rockies and become a survivalist.
If only I didn’t like good restaurant food so much.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
How ironic that all these comments forget the basic facts about the USA versus countries with universal health care: USA has the highest infant mortality among developed countries, the highest HIV growth rate, highest diabeties growth rate, etc.

Have you ever wondered how more profitable and competitive US companies and workforce would be if $$millions weren’t being poured into "managed care companies" pockets but into the pockets of the actual health care provider. No wonder the USA has a nursing shortage and imports nurses from South Africa and Philippines - who would want to work for such low wages with such training and licenses.

Ask yourself, who would you rather make the decision about providing you healthcare: the government you elect or some CEO of managed care?

I am not saying that 100% government is the answer, but managed care plus the insurance companies has become a disaster.

Just think how much "security" Americans would have if we were spending $2billion /month on healthcare and education rather than on Iraq!
 
Written By: Acetracy
URL: http://
USA has the highest infant mortality among developed countries,
I think if you’ll do even rudimentary research you’ll find there is no standard means for reporting infant mortality and that many, many nations fudge the heck out of their numbers, while health care advances in the US have us attempt to save babies which other nations don’t even try to save (or count in infant mortality stats.)

For instance:
Switzerland, for instance, doesn’t count the deaths of babies shorter than 30 cm, because they are not counted as live birth ...
Or:
A UNICEF press release noted: "Under the Soviet era definition ... infants who are born at less than 28 weeks, weighing less than 1,000 grams or measuring less than 35 centimeters are not counted as live births if they die within seven days. This Soviet definition still predominates in many [formerly Soviet] CIS countries."
Countries use different definitions to pad their numbers.
Since the United States generally uses the WHO definition of live birth, economist John Goodman and others in their 2004 book, "Lives at Risk," conclude, "Taking into account such data-reporting differences, the rates of low-birth-weight babies born in America are about the same as other developed countries in the OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development]." Likewise, infant mortality rates, adjusted for the distribution of newborns by weight, are about the same.
As for the US:
Ironically, American doctors’ ability to save babies’ lives causes higher infant mortality numbers here than would be the case with less advanced medical treatment.
So I wouldn’t get to invested in the "high infant mortality" meme if I were you.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Dale, typically you paint the absolute worse case scenario as the norm. Today is no exception.

You might as well be shouting that legalized marijuana smoking causes black men to rape white women. (If one person abuses it, then it should be prohibited for all)

Lets ignore the obvious wellness advantages of regular visits to the doctor. Ignore the fact when we are given good medical advice on staying well, or early diagnosis of disease, it greatly cuts the chance of expensive major health problems down the road, thereby easing a burden on the system.

Lets just go ahead and ignore that fact. Facts just get in the way, when you are attacking good ideas the Right did not have the brains to dream up.

Instead, try to focus on the real issue, the high cost of catastrophe. How about CATASTROPHIC uni care? Lets put an annual cap of say, the first $3000.00 to be out of pocket (or covered by a minor policy) with the rest covered by the system.

That way, you could dry your crocodile tears on ’pinko citizens’ getting ’free vists’ to the doctor.

Sometimes you guys are a real piece of work; apologists for the status quo.

 
Written By: Rick Day
URL: http://goplobby.org
Lets ignore the obvious wellness advantages of regular visits to the doctor.
Who is ignoring the obvious advantages of getting medical care? The question is why do you want to force me to pay for your care? And why is this even a question from someone who opposes the government from having control over his drug habit? Or are you hoping that eventually you will be able to force me to pay for your mj?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://

Who is ignoring the obvious advantages of getting medical care? The question is why do you want to force me to pay for your care?
Presumably, the answer is that you can pay for somebody else’s health care in the form of being taxed to pay for the general healthcare of other people or you can pay for somebody else’s healthcare in the form of higher premiums on your insurance to cover the care of people who use the emergency rooms as their primary care physician (because they can’t or won’t pay for anything else). But you can’t get out from under unless you’re indigent yourself.

Is the question for you which is more efficient or the principle of the thing?
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
I’d rather have healthcare than the biggest prison system in the world, or hundreds of billions spent every year on a military that creates more problems than it solves.

It’s curious how supposed conservatives are so fearful of tax money actually coming back to taxpayers in marginally positive ways.
 
Written By: Nicolai
URL: http://www.nicolaibrown.com
I’d rather have healthcare than the biggest prison system in the world
The connection between these two escapes me somehow.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
supposed conservatives are so fearful of tax money actually coming back to taxpayers in marginally positive ways
Marginally positive - you said it.

I’m not fearful of tax money coming back, that happens constantly, in unexpected places, like Alaska for unneeded bridges to small islands, or Boston for leaky collapsing tunnels. Some people refer to it as pork, others as economic incentive for their local area.

I’m concerned that the government is going to get deeper into the health business and handle it the same way they do the war on drugs or enforcing our borders with Mexico & Canada.

Someone earlier made a comment about telling you what you can and can’t eat to ensure you’re more healthy and thereby keep the costs down. Bet on it.

What about doctors/hospitals coming up with promising new medical procedures, currently that’s done at the expense and risk of the insurance companies and their customers - which government agency is going to approve of those new procedures when the government is in charge? Which risky procedure is the government going to bless payment for and which not?

Another example - the government doesn’t currently fund embryonic stem cell research - what happens when your pet procedure/treatment falls victim to government funding and approval of whatever current administration is setting money aside for medicine in the new fiscal year?
What? you think that the national health care budget won’t be revisited with each new session of Congress? You think the politics and mis-direction on stem cell research was bad - hah!

It all sounds grand, as usual. The devil will be in the administrative and legislative details, and he’ll be everywhere in the massive massive bureaucracy to manage it.
Best of all, if the "company" provides crappy coverage (a Washington Based HMO) you won’t be able to change health insurers, or if they allow you to have supplemental health coverage on your own which you pay for, you also will be forced to continue to pay in to the government plan (just like Social Security).

Cripes the road map for what will happen is already in place.
Just follow the historical signs. There aren’t any magic surprises here for how this is going to go, just the usual promises of magical results.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I’d rather have healthcare than the biggest prison system in the world, or hundreds of billions spent every year on a military
You don’t really have a clue as to what roles the US Constitution set up for the government, do you?
you can pay for somebody else’s health care in the form of being taxed...or you can pay for somebody else’s healthcare in the form of higher premiums on your insurance
When I choose my own health insurance provider, I can choose to pay the premium which best suits me. You want me to pay for your health costs through taxation or go to jail if I refuse. No thanks.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
I am kinda stuck on that one. How does making people outlaws for not following the government guidelines of health care reduce the prison population?

Wouldn’t making people outlaws for taking care of themselves increase the convicts?
 
Written By: SkyWatch
URL: http://
What is hilarious is that the Democrats don’t seem to have any understanding of what is working for them. Yes Massachusetts has implemented a state healthcare program and is moving towards universal coverage. Why (and how) did they do it? They looked at the number of uninsured people in the state (~500,000). Then they looked at the amount the state paid into the healthcare system to cover those people’s costs (~$800 million). Then they realized that for what they were already paying, they could essentially just buy all those people health insurance. Then they passed laws that said "if you make above X dollars you must buy health insurance, if you make below X dollars then the state will provide you with insurance." And in the blink of an eye, they have near universal coverage without raising anyone’s taxes much. Much.

But this isn’t a single payer system. It isn’t socialized medicine. It doesn’t do away with health care as we know it. So why are Democrats still proposing doing away with healthcare as we know it? Well because it would be all new! And new is good! The current system is old and therefore bad. We need something new and progressive! Idiots.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
Then they passed laws that said "if you make above X dollars you must buy health insurance, if you make below X dollars then the state will provide you with insurance." And in the blink of an eye, they have near universal coverage without raising anyone’s taxes much. Much.
so hypothetically if X = $20,000 and health insurance is $1000.

Bob makes $20,001 and has to pay $1000 for his own health insurance bringing his income down to $19,001.

Jim makes $19,999 and gets $1000 worth of health insurance for free bringing his income up to $20,999.

So it pays to make less. Brilliant!

 
Written By: Mac
URL: http://
Dale,

Open a business, hire a pack of quality employees, and get back to me about how you want to maintain the health care status quo.

Trust me, you won’t enjoy the experience.
 
Written By: davebo
URL: http://
Wait wait wait, i thought i was getting a MOON ponie. Gah Services is already deteriorating.
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
Open a business, hire a pack of quality employees, and get back to me about how you want to maintain the health care status quo.
I’m not in favor of the status quo, which you would know if you’d taken the trouble to do a cursory search of the site to discover my position.

My preferred solution has nothing whatsoever to do with the status quo. It also has nothing whatsoever top do with a government takeover of 1/7 of the economy, either.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Anything free is worth what you paid for it.
 
Written By: Paul
URL: http://
So it pays to make less. Brilliant!
Yes, but considering that the cutoff salary isn’t going to be especially far from the poverty line, I doubt anyone will want to really exploit that sweet spot for long.
Open a business, hire a pack of quality employees, and get back to me about how you want to maintain the health care status quo.
Do you honestly think a government administrated system will be better? Do you think the government will be able to pay for everyone’s healthcare without the employers contributing something either through additional taxes or some sort of convoluted contribution scheme? In Massachusetts they actually expanded the contribution burden for many small business (Romney line-item vetoed, but was overturned).
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
"And in the blink of an eye, they have near universal coverage without raising anyone’s taxes much. Much."

Yet. Give it a few years. This is Massachusetts you are talking about.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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