Human Resources News & Insights

2 key differences between Senate and House health bill

united-states-capitol

The Senate came out of conference with its version of health reform. The 2,074-page bill contains two key differences from the House version that affect employers and employees.

1. Employer contribution

  • Senate: Would not require employers to offer coverage, but employers with 50 or more full-time workers would pay a penalty — $750 for each worker in the firm — if any of their workers receive federal subsidies to buy insurance through the exchange.
  • House: Would require most employers to provide insurance to workers or pay a tax equal to 8%  of payroll.

2. Employee payments

  • Senate: Would impose an excise tax on high-cost insurance plans provided by employers — so-called “Cadillac plans.” The Senate proposal would levy a 40% tax on the premium amounts that exceed $8,500 for individuals and $23,000 for families. And the Medicare payroll tax rate would increase 0.5% for individuals with annual incomes over $200,000 and couples over $250,000. A person without insurance would be required to pay a financial penalty, starting at $95 in 2014 and rising to $750 in 2016, up to a maximum of $2,250 for a family.
  • House: Would impose a 5.4% surtax on high-income people.

The two bills contain some other differences on controversial topics:

Subsidies

  • Senate: Individuals and families making up to 400% of the federal poverty level — $88,200 for a family of four — would receive a subsidy.
  • House: Essentially the same as the Senate version, but the subsidies would be offered on a sliding scale.

Abortion

  • Senate: Would allow people who receive insurance subsidies to choose a plan that covers elective abortions, but insurers must use premium money or co-payments contributed by consumers, and not subsidy money, to cover the cost of the abortions. Would also require that every state offer at least one insurance plan that covers abortion and one that doesn’t.
  • House: Would bar low- and middle-income people who receive federal subsidies to buy insurance from choosing a plan that covers elective abortions.

Coverage for illegal immigrants

  • Senate: Would bar illegal immigrants from buying insurance from a national exchange, even if they could pay the full cost and didn’t receive subsidies.
  • House: Would allow illegal immigrants to buy coverage from a national insurance exchange, but they wouldn’t be eligible for federal subsidies.

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  • http://lily.com John

    With either bill, it will be cheaper for employers to NOT offer health insurance to their employees and pay the penalty, therefore forcing millions of working Americans to the Government exchange.

    Who knows how much this will cost everyone.

    It does nothing to control the exhorbitant and ridiculous fees charges, whihc is the real source of our health care woes.

    In one fell swoop they will have socialized our health care system.

  • Fedup

    Is anyone listening to “We the People”?
    We the People do not want govenment controlled healthcare.
    We DO NOT have a health care problem in America – we have a health INSURANCE problem in America.
    All we want is:
    1) to be able to purchase coverage across statelines
    2) not have pre-existing conditions held against us
    3) not have our premiums go up with we use the coverage
    4) put an end to “for profit” insurance carriers
    5) develop tort reform
    6) no tax dollars for abortion (better yet – ban abortion altogether)
    7) no coverage or benefits for illegal immigrants (what part of illegal do you not get?)

    Wow – It did not take over 2000 pages to cover reform here either! I guess because there were not any pork barrel projects or bribes included….

    I just do not understand. 85% of the people here in this country are Christian. Why do the 15% that are not get to rule this country? What is a democracy anyway? How can we spread democracy to other nations when our own leaders do not understand the definition? America is not a land ruled by the majority!

    Does anyone see that instead of purchasing health care insurance that people are spending their monies on expensive cell phones and monthly plans. If they have a $500 phone and a $200 a monthly cell phone contract they should be able to purchase a $200 a month health insurance plan. The people in America are just like our Congressional and Senate leaders – their priorities are totally screwed up.

    Wake up America! You can not continue to sleep and let Washington socialize this great nation that your fathers and grandfathers fought to preserve! Wake up, register to vote, and vote Christian and not party!

    In God we Trust – It is our National Motto! And just for the record – CHRISTmas is a National holiday. Celebrate it! If Congress does not want it called Christmas then do not let them take a Christmas holiday. Let them stay and work through “winterfest.” We could save some tax dollars on their holiday commuting and their parties!

  • martin

    For some reason sheeple still think this debate has anything to do with “health care” and what is best for us….

  • Paul

    John says, “In one fell swoop they will have socialized our health care system.”

    Really John? And I have trouble understanding why there are people resisting the overhaul of a system that is built for profit rather than health, costs vastly more per person than systems in other industrialized nations and fails to cover some 35 million Americans.

  • Laura

    Is there anyone who doesn’t see an eventual bailout of the health care industry? You hear of these doctors who will close up shop.. yes, but they will go to work at government hospitals or government health networks. They did not go to medical school to sit on the sidelines. There will be student loan forgiveness for those who sign up to service the governement plans. Anyone who thinks that the upper and middle class in this nation will not be completely funding this is naive.

  • Sand

    When they state that they will require employers to offer coverage…are there stipulations that the employers are also required to pay 100% of the premium costs…? If not, then it might not be true regarding being cheaper to pay the penalty vs offering the insurance. I don’t agree at all with the reform our government is forcing upon us, and I do believe the agenda is to completely socialize our health care.

  • Ann

    OMG! The government cannot keep Social Security and Medicare for our Senior citizens an an affordable basis – what are they going to do for the whole country.

    And Abortions – as far as I am concerned this is a legal medical procedure – what right do they have to impose their moralistic views on the “people” especially the poor. The decision for a woman to have this procedure is very personal and difficult and should not be mandated in government health insurances!

    Either way this is going to be a mess and will not fix our health care system. There will be people wanting and needing procedures that cannot have them done, employers who will opt out and pay the fines and penalties because it is better for their bottom line.

  • http://www.cvgrp.com/ Kevin Baldwin

    Two observations: I never hear anyone question how we will pay for an “elective” war, to wit: Iraq. It seems that no amount of money is too much to go kill people and throw our finest youth into the meatgrinder. Yet everyone seems to be so concerned about how much money it will cost to do the opposite: “elective” war on lack of adequate access to health care for Americans. I find it odd that every industrialized nation on earth does this except the richest one.

    Secondly, it is almost amusing the extent to which people overlook the fact that they are already paying the cost of an inadequate health care system. Anyone who seeks healthcare in this country receives it whether they can pay or not. Of those, any who have any assets or income are hounded into bankruptcy to pay it back, and those who have nothing are written off. Guess who pays for those people? Those who already have insurance and government welfare. These reforms are merely proposing a more equal burden: affordable insurance for those who can afford it, and subsidies for those who can not, which amounts to what we currently do already.

  • http://www.cvgrp.com/ Kevin

    Oh, BTW, Fedup, you’re an idiot. No explanation necessary.

  • Tyler

    This is the wrong use of government. People wake up! Government and the three party payer systems broke the Medical free market. The only problem with health care today is that the basic fundamentals of Supply and Demand have been broken resulting in exurbanite expense. The government needs to focus on creating fair competition in the market and then prices will drop while services improve. It is economics 101. With these bills we will pay whatever a few decide should be paid, and get whatever a few decide we should get for service, rather than what the market dictates. A child can figure this out. Don’t let them do this to us! Get a voice. Tell all your friends and family this Thanksgiving and call your representatives!

  • Paul

    Kevin Baldwin:

    Yes sir! You’re right about Iraq, the current health care system…and about Fedup, too.

    I was concerned I might be the only rational being here until you showed up. Imagine my relief! :-)

  • KR

    Does anyone besides myself have an issue with the House version that would allow ILLEGAL aliens the ability to purchase our health insurance.

    I thought ILLEGAL aliens were in the country ILLEGALLY!!!

  • Anon

    I agree w/ Ann’s views on abortions. Isn’t funny how they can be “moralistic” about abortions, but take god and prayer out of everything else. This set-up will cause children to be born into families that do not want them and most llikely cannot afford them. They will likely cost the goverment more money through welfare, free healthcare and other life long goverment assistance. Only to end up as a poorly educated criminal costing millions to incarcerate (sp?). Ok maybe that is not the outcome for everyone, but think about it. There is a significant higher chance of that being the outcome for unwanted children.

    Seriously, what are they thinking?

    I am not happy with this at all. But it looks to be an inevitable change that is forced upon us sooner or later. So for the senate’s version is looking better.

    But they both need to go back to the drawing board. This in my mind is only a rough draft version. There’s a lot of fine tuning and edits to be made.

  • Aspenbound

    Ann, you can do whatever you want when it comes to abortion but why should I have to pay for it. I don’t believe in it and in no way should I ever have to fund it. Ever think that maybe just maybe that I have rights too? Why is it my responsibility to pay for anyone’s carelessness of not using birth control that I am sure “the poor” can get for free? Don’t act like these people don’t know how they got in this situation to begin with because they do. Rather than being responsible citizens they opt to do whatever they want whenever they want and the answer is they can just go and have it terminated if they do get pregnant. I am not talking about the ones who are TRUE VICTIMS, I am talking about the ones who are irresponsible and use abortion as birth control. If you think it doesn’t happen you are way out of touch. So it is not a matter of all of us pushing morals on you, God forbid you should have to have morals, it is a matter of me having rights too.

  • Aspenbound

    KR letting the illegals sign up for insurance is a great way to catch them, I say sign them up and save money trying to track them down.

  • Tyler

    Why are you censoring my comments from 12:05? I placed them a while ago and they are still awaiting moderation while others have been posted!

  • HR Girl

    Socialized our Health Care!?! Well – I’m sorry, but something has to change. I pay over $250 a month for a “credible coverage” policy for my husband who works for a company that doesn’t have health insurance (very small) and I work Part-Time, so I CAN’T get insurance for him through my job… I’m not even sure if this was the best purchase for us, but the last coverage we had was through Blue Cross Blue Shield and cost approx $400 per month… Mind you, my husband is pretty healthy, uses only ONE monthly medication (which I now buy oversees because it is cheeper) and still, they wanted me to pay more than $4800 per year. I figured it was easier to put it in a savings account and pray for the best…So, what is a person to do…?

    And John – just curious, is Canada a socialist country or is the Veteran’s Administration a Socialist branch of our government? Their healthcare system is run by the government. Maybe not always considered the BEST Care – but at least it is CARE.

    Do Dr’s deserve a raise each year like the rest of us? Sure… Do mal-practice insurers need to charge premiums through the roof? Ha – only because there are greedy people who are sue-happy… Do employees for insurance companies have to make a living and support their families? Sure… Do tests and prescriptions need to cost so much? Only because insurance companies try to negotiate down prices, so the other people with out insurance end up paying the higher fees (who negotates for us?). About 7 years ago, my husband had an emergency appendectemy and then an infection following…. Do you know how much the HOSPITAL Bill was? $25,000 – and that didn’t include the surgeon and the numerous doctors who poked their head in his room to see how he was doing and then billed us….

    So something needs to be done. Does anyone else have an idea? Then RUN FOR CONGRESS and do something about it instead of claiming we are becoming a socialist country (by they way….the pledge of allegience which you should have learned in elementary school says, “… to the flag, …and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands…” So, Fedup – what gave you the idea we live in a democracy – it is a Republic…where we vote for people to make decisions for us. If you want to make the decisions, go to Washington.)

  • GMG

    In addition, the govt. run insurance will mandate what treatment must receive and cannot. If you like alternative medicine, that will go away. Read about the Texas teen who was taken from her parents because due to their religious beliefs they wanted to treat the cancer differently than how the state mandated it. http://health.dailynewscentral.com/content/view/1075/63 Don’t think it can’t happen to you. Read the hospital policies – patients don’t have a right to accept or not accept treatment anymore.

  • KR

    Aspenbound – That is what I was thinking but I didn’t want to say it. Interesting that the Fed gov’t just targeted another 1,000 companies for I9 compliance yet the house wants illegals to have insurance. Perhaps we should give them free childcare and food stamps. We just woulndn’t want them to work.

  • Christine

    @Fedup:

    We do not want to buy insurance across state lines because what you end up with is all of the insurance companies based in the states with the least consumer protective laws and the most insurance-company friendly laws. Ever hear of a “race to the bottom”? that’s what you’ll get if you allow sale of insurance across state lines. I want MY STATE insurance commissioner, who answers to ME to be responsible to protect MY interests with respect to the insurance industry.

    Our democracy is not JUST about majority rules. It’s also about freedom of (and freedom from) religion. I don’t want YOUR religious beliefs affecting OUR government. This country was founded on the principles that NO religion should be established as a part of the government, and that everyone should be free to choose their own religion. If you want to live in a theocracy, go live under the Taliban’s rule. Otherwise, stop trying to turn this country into a theocracy. Religion is a PERSONAL matter and no one religion is to be forced on the rest of the people in this country, no matter how small a minority they might be. How would you feel if your religion was the minority, and MUSLIM beliefs were being forced down your throat via government (Islamic extremists)? Or better yet, if you were being forced to pretend you were NOT religious at all (communism).

    I agree with Kevin. You are an idiot.

  • susan

    TO FEDUP,

    THANK YOU. IT ARE 100% RIGHT….

  • SUSAN

    CORRECTION

    TO FEDUP,

    THANK YOU. YOU ARE 100% RIGHT.

  • http://lily.com John

    Paul says, “And I have trouble understanding why there are people resisting the overhaul of a system that is built for profit rather than health, costs vastly more per person than systems in other industrialized nations and fails to cover some 35 million Americans”.

    Insurance companies operate on a very simple loss ratio basis. What this means is that basically the cost of the insurance is a direct result of th cost of the claims it pays out.

    To control the cost of insurance, the cost of claims must be controlled. It is really that simple. How you control the cost of claims is the more complicated question.

    There are basically 3 ways to control the cost of the claims:

    1. Be healthy so you don’t need healthcare.
    2. Be a smart consumer of how you spend your money on healthcare (not to be confused with health insurance).
    3. Manage Care

    The insurance companies attempt to negotiate rates with healthcvare providers, but if you have ever bothered to look at your EOB’s you will quickly see how ridiculous the charges from providers are.

    The only other thing insurers can do to control the cost of claims is to manage care, which is what gives them a black eye, like if the deny for a pre-existing condition. (beqr in mind that under HIPAA, pre-existing conditions cannot be denied if there has not been a lapse of coverage, in in any event, not more than 1 year).

    I fail to understand why an insurer should have to cover a pre-existing condition, when someone previously had no insurance? If you don’t have car insurance and then get into an accident, do you think you should be able to go and by insurance after the fact to get the accident covered. Where is the insurance supposed to get the money from?

    Under the current proposals, few employers would offer health insurance any more, forcing everyone onto the government plan or exchange. Yes, everyone would have health insurance, creating a never ending upward spiral of out of control costs of medical claims (or the government would have to manage care or raise taxes (wouldn’t that be nice).

    Either that or the government would then dictate what the healthcare providers could charge.

    Either way, our healthcare system will have been socialized.

    We need health CARE reform, not insurance reform.

    Welkum to the new Amerika, Comrades
    .

  • ER

    There is a contingency of low paid employees out there that DO NOT sign up for benefits because our government offers free or minimal cost benefits already. An employer has no control over these employees, which could cost us $750 per employee. Unless the government MANDATES that ALL employees MUST take their employer coverage and there is a CONSEQUENCE to THEM, as well, they will continue to use government healthcare at a cost everyone except them.

    The Senate and House have no idea what a plan costs these days, as their healthcare benefits are free to them (their Cadillac benefits cost the U.S. Citizen a bundle, even after they retire).

    They have not involved the employers and the HR managers in their discussions and therefore are moving ahead BLINDLY, in too big a rush to MAKE HISTORY and have their names in future publications. This is serious business and should NOT be something we rush into. If Obama and the Democrats really CARE they would slow down and run a test in a state or two before rushing this into legislation. Instead, they look to place thousands of people at risk of good healthcare.

    I find it a little suspect, as well, that the American Cancer Society is changing its recommendations on well-woman care to cooincide with the writing of this bill. Could it be that they are trying to keep the cost down at the expense of Strong, Outpspoken, American Women?

  • Tyler

    The new Driod sells for $200 and there is a plethora of choices in cell phones. Can you imagine if there was no competition what one would cost, or worse, if the government built and distributed cell phones? Free Market competition is an awesome thing. That’s why you can still get a hamburger for a dollar at McDonald’s people. Wake up!

  • MH

    Kevin–very good points.

    Re: Abortion–ultimately it’s the decision of the woman carying the child and no one else. FedUp, I like the handle, but I disagree with you. As a woman, if I end up pregnant through rape I’m not sure I’d want the child. Even if I consented to sex and ended up pregnant I’m not sure I would want the child. I would use protection and be on the pill (even if it was my husband). Having some one else take away my choice because they believe they are morally superior to me and I’m too ignorant to make my own decisions–that’s rediculous. Also, a lot of the people I know that can’t afford abortions also cant afford other contreceptives so they try the “time it” method and as we all know (personal experience or that of an aquainence) that doesn’t work 100% of the time. They can’t afford the kid, they can’t afford the preventative measures and can’t get assistance for any of it. While I don’t agree with abortion, and don’t believe I could go through with one, I am not every other woman in this country and to impose my will upon them is a violation of THEIR rights. I would hope that more educational institutions would be made available to people with few resources so they could learn how to manage their finances better and have a chance at getting out of the lower economic strata so they can AFFORD preventative measures that don’t include abortion and if they do get into a situation where abortion is a necessary option to consider, that they have the fiscal assistance to consider it.

    Additionally, why should the 15% who aren’t Christian have their rights ignored, overruled and trampled when it is the promise of the freedom of the United States that they enjoy as citizens? Why should their voices, thoughts and opinions not matter?

    Quite frankly, I’m not fond of either of these bills. I think that health care costs have gotten out of control, but it is understandable how they got out of control. If every single person treated wasn’t viewed or encouraged to be a walking or rolling lawsuit the malpractice insurance would cost less and that would be a cost reduction right their which could be passed on to health care recipients. Additionally, the proscription drug manufacturers make money hand over fist in this country and there is no regulation on how high their costs can go. They produce things that, in some people’s case, they need to live. If the person can find a way to pay a higher cost, and maybe help pay the settlement costs for other law suits from other medications not being properly managed, why not raise costs?

    A close relative was on medication that kept her from having seisures. Her monthly costs were anywhere from $300-$600 for medication. She, finally, is able to take a generic medication and her costs have dropped to aproximately $60 per month.

    These bills seem to only address the cost of receiving health care and what could be covered. The problem is that I don’t see enough addressed for the medication components of health care.

  • Karl

    to John – We already have socialized medicine cloaked as private insurance and subsidized by Medicaid and Medicare.

    Again to John – you can more easily control costs of healthcare by simply eliminating health insurance. Health insurance is the reason healthcare costs are so high. Do you think an MRI would cost $1,700 – $2,000 each if consumers were paying the bill? Healthcare is like any other business and prices would have to follow supply and demand.

    To Tyler – exactly right. Free market competition by healthcare providers is the answer.

    Third party payer systems are a new form of socialized medicine. Only in America does this make sense. This philosophy is so ingrained in our culture we have started to sell insurance for our pets and our cars. Health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid have driven the cost of healthcare because it eliminates the natural forces behind supply and demand economics.

  • Sand

    The rest of the country should not be responsible for paying for an abortion, ever! Abortion is to terminate a life, if you want to committ murder why do I have to pay for it? It shouldn’t be about a choice…it should be dealt with just like any other premeditated murder. Oh, I forgot we are all just a bunch of hypocrits…and apparently everyone is ok with that.

  • Tyler

    To restate my previous point! This is the wrong use of government. People wake up! Government and the three party payer systems broke the Medical free market. The only problem with health care today is that the basic fundamentals of Supply and Demand have been broken resulting in exurbanite expense. The government needs to focus on creating fair competition in the market and then prices will drop while services improve. It is economics 101. With these bills we will pay whatever a few decide should be paid, and get whatever a few decide we should get for service, rather than what the market dictates. A child can figure this out. Don’t let them do this to us! Get a voice. Tell all your friends and family this Thanksgiving and call your representatives!

  • Tyler

    Oh yes, and where in the bill is Tort reform? Nowhere? Why not? Gravy days for the layers!

  • Tyler

    Wherever there is Money you will find the scavengers. The more money the more scavengers and who has more money that all of us? No one. The best part is that the government can’t sue for frivolous lawsuits. So lets all argue this abortion stuff to death and make some layers filthy rich!

  • Karl

    Health Insurance started in the early 20th century by what is now Blue Cross. When the Federal Government tried to control inflation during world war 2 by freezing wages, businesses responded by offering benefits. These benefits included health insurance. To make things worse the Federal government made health insurance tax free in the 50’s or 60’s.

    Now as a society we believe that healthcare is a right. “I should all have the same access to healthcare no matter how much or little we make.”

    Why should I get another person’s time and work for free?
    Why should my neighbor pay for my healthcare?

    I agree that we should all have the same access to healthcare. As long as you’re willing to pay for it, you should be able to get it.

  • HR Girl

    Ok John – It is so obvious that you work in the insurance industry – as do I…

    “Be healthy.” I agree totally. But this is often easier said than done. Yes, I agree that eating right and exercise will help – I know it has helped me… But when my child gets sick… There is no amount of ‘chicken soup’ that is going to help. If she has a sore throat and a fever of 102, I have to get her CARE. Should I also mention that she had a ‘fever seizure’ and the Dr is so booked up at 2:00 pm on a FRIDAY (none of the PA’s or Nurse Practitioners are available either) AND I can’t get her fever down… I have to take her to an Urgent Care or the Emergency Room – so that they can run a Strep Test and give me an Rx for antibiotics. So, without insurance that would have cost me over $300 – when I only wanted to take her to our family doctor (a $75 visit without insurance) and then the ‘rapid strep test’ for some antibiotics. So, be healthy was not an option here – and neither was your second cost control an option…. “being a smart consumer”. I had tried the ‘cheapest’ option, but that wasn’t available. Kids get sick and need immediate care sometimes – no matter how we try to save the cost.

    Yes, I do read my EOBs and I am amazed at the cost billed and then reduced… But seriously, I believe this is the amount BILLED because the health insurance industry tries to get the cost discounted so drastically that providers do not have much of a choice. I have seen an Insurance Reimbursement of $1.00 (yes ONE DOLLAR) for an inoculation. The needle and gloves costs more than ONE DOLLAR. Karl has some good points here… Public Consumers could drive costs to a normal rate whereas insurance companies have driven it up… That part needs to get fixed! To go along with your automobile insurance analogy – when you are in a car accident… The body shop knows you have insurance and they give the highest estimate they think the insurance will consider and then they will take what the insurance company gives them. If you don’t have insurance, they find a way to ‘work something out’.

  • Fedup

    I thought that this was a forum for people’s opinions. I have always been under the impression that an ignorant person will not debate the issues but resort to name calling. Looks like we have a few here.
    This is supposed to be about healthcare but since so many people here are pro-choice and pro-moralistic I would like to address those particular people by making one point.
    How do you tell time? I was taught that the year is 2009 A.D.
    A.D. means after the death of Jesus Christ. This was a man that split history in half.
    Before you dismiss the afterlife, moral values, Christian values, the value of a human life, you should at least take the time to read God’s Holy Word.
    As for our constitution – it states – The freedom OF religion! Not FROM religion. No liberal interpretation will change OF to From. They are two separate words. So if you think that the United States was not founded on Christian principles then you have never been to Washington DC. You have never visited our public buildings and you have never read any of the books, letter and opinions of our founding fathers.
    I have one last thing to say. I don’t care whether you believe in God or not. It does not matter one way or the other to me what you do with your lives. The only thing that not believing means is that it will not work for you.

  • Rick

    Hey Kevin B: lack of adequate access to health care for Americans?? Once again, you are confusing health care (which you cannot be denied in this country) with health insurance.

    Guess who pays for those people? Those who already have insurance and government welfare. UMMMM people on WELFARE help pay the bills of people who can’t pay their medical bills?? HUH?? By being on welfare?? And you have the nerve to call someone else an idiot!!!

    Here is some light reading for you on our “war on poverty”, and you think the government is going to fix the health insurance in this country?

    Since 1964 we have spent $8–10 trillion on antipoverty programs. In 1996, at the midpoint in the Clinton administration, the federal government expended $191 billion on poverty programs, fully 12.2 percent of the federal budget. President George W. Bush actually increased the effort. The 2006 budget, at the midpoint of Bush’s administration, calls for a massive increase in poverty programs, increasing the expenditure $368 billion to 14.6 percent of the federal budget. The Bush administration oversees a host of continuing poverty programs that includes Medicaid, food stamps, supplementary security income, temporary assistance to needy families, child day-care payments, child nutrition payments, foster care, adoption assistance, and health insurance for children.

    WHAT??? George Bush spent more on welfare programs than Bill Clinton did?? But I thought George didn’t care about the poor?

    The conclusion is virtually inescapable: if the availability of nearly an unlimited amount of money and the determination of countless government bureaucracies were the necessary and sufficient conditions to eliminate poverty, then in 2004 we should not still have more than 12 percent of the U.S. population—nearly 37 million people—in poverty.

    Even though the political Left wants to make all biblical references suspect, we are led to affirm the admonition of Jesus in the New Testament: “For ye have the poor always with you” (Matthew 26:11). Some two thousand years ago, one of the wisest teachers suggested that the problem of poverty was truly intractable. Is there any governmental poverty program left that we have not implemented one way or another in the literally hundreds of antipoverty laws Congress has passed since 1964? Maybe we should just take another $10 trillion and hand it out as a lump-sum payment to the 37 million Americans who are poor. The expenditure might be cheap if a one-time massive payment would make poverty disappear. Apparently, there are dimensions of poverty that money alone cannot solve.

    Also, you have never heard anyone question how we will pay for a war? Really? That is all the media and the liberal left talked about during the Bush administration. (Barely a mention now that we have Obama in office)

    Casey Research, of Vermont, has analyzed the costs of the government bailouts of the housing crisis, the credit crisis and others and has concluded that the total is $8.5 trillion, which is more than the cost of all US wars, the Louisiana Purchase, the New Deal, the Marshall Plan and the NASA Space Program combined.

    According to CRS, the Congressional Research Service, all major US wars (including such events as the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, the invasion of Panama, the Kosovo War and numerous other small conflicts), cost a total of $7.5 trillion in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars.

    Yeah, the government has done such a wonderful job on poverty and getting the economy moving, lets let them fix our health insurance problems as well.

    Less Government and Less Taxes! Say it until it gets into your thick heads!!!

  • Sand

    Well stated Rick. Thank you

  • Lajeli

    I guess my bargain basement HMO is actually a Cadillac plan. That is nice to know. My company spends way more on benefits than 8% and I bet a lot of others do too…hmmm, htta could lead to a LOT of comapnies dropping coverage and forcing everyone onto the gov program (maybe that is the idea??)
    Also, does it bother anyone else that the senate plan will deny federal subsidies to any state that passes tort reform regarding medical malpractice suits???

  • Lajeli

    Tyler, the bill addresses tort reform on pages 1430 to 1434…maybe more places but haven’t found them yet :)

  • Chris Bekemeier

    I am a Christian. Fedup does NOT represent me or the thinking, caring, compassionate Christian community.

  • Lajeli

    Karl, your post is so good, I wish I had written it!
    I agree that eliminating health INSURANCE is most of the solution…I think catastrophic coverage would be ok and definitely we need a flex plan that is tax free has no cap and can roll over year after year. Also maybe allowing people to hit their 401K or IRA for money for health care would be good too.
    And tort reform!!
    And if the gov just HAS to do something, whyb not pay 50% or mre of tuition for doctors and nurses for the next 15 years to ensure there are plenty of them in them out there in the market place fighting for our business.
    And could we please shorten the waiting time before drugs can go generic and why not make step-therapy illegal (that is one heinous practice there)

  • Gordon

    Tort reform would NOT lower the cost of health care – for the same reason that “trickle down economics” was a failure. Just because there is less cost to a provider, does not mean that provider will lower his cost to patients. Look at Texas. The cap on lawsuits is $250,000, yet the average cost per Medicare enrollee is almost twice the national average. It hasn’t decreased since the cap was put in place.

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/06/01/090601fa_fact_gawande

    I believe the problem with health care is that it has become a business: Doctors, hospitals, drug companies, insurance companies are all profit driven. I’m not against honest profit, but when you have all of these principles fighting to get the most possible profit – costs can go nowhere but up. Consumers can keep themselves healthier, but are they going to shop around for the cheapest doctor or the cheapest hospital or the cheapest drug? I don’t think so.
    There has to be an authoritative body that protects the interests of the public and uses that authority to get doctors, hospitals and drug companies to return to the business of practicing medicine instead of practicing business. I guess that responsibility falls to the government.
    Read the article -

  • Lajeli

    MH, on the issue of abortion which is really off topic but you brought it up…why should the woman be the only one to have a say? The baby has a father and grandparents and siblings…etc
    I’m just sayin…

  • Lajeli

    FedUp, AD does not mean after Jesus’ death. It refers to Anno Domini which is Latin for the “year of our Lord” and begins counting with His birth and not with His death. Other than that, I agree with you and will add to your point by saying that the Constitution states that Congress shall pass no law that prohibits the free exercise of religion. So…how can any law that keeps anyone from any practice of religion be acceptable? It certainly can’t be Constitutional.

  • Paul

    Health care should be our right as citizens–period. The fact that there are CEO’s of health care companies making fortunes from what should be provided free or at minimal cost to all U.S. citizens–e.g. Ron Williams of Aetna’s $23.3m in 2008–is obscene beyond anything you’ll find on your basic internet porn site.

    Yet you’ve got people here wailing about the “cost” of a public option. Ridiculous. First and foremost, we should be discussing single payer, but since we’re not, let’s look at the “cost” of 8 years of unnecessary warfare in Iraq: Somewhere between 1.6 and 3 TRILLION dollars, depending on whose figures you believe. And I’ve just thrown up all over myself because I realize I just fell into the typical “businessman’s” craptrap of looking at dollars before people–let’s at least take a second or two to remember the nearly 4400 U.S. dead and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died in this immoral, unbudgeted, disgraceful fiasco, OK?

    “Culture of life?” Yeah, I’ve got your culture of life. If you’re serious, you’ll support getting the hell out of Iraq and Afghanistan and using the funds to SAVE lives for a change by ponying up for single-payer health care, which most civilized nations have had for decades. But of course none of this is going to happen, because speaking out against greed, corruption and constant warfare is somehow “un-American” and “socialistic” by today’s values.

    Whatever happened to my country?

  • Lajeli

    Gordon, can you please explain this with fact?
    ““trickle down economics” was a failure.”

  • Lajeli

    Paul, health care cannot be a right unless you condone slavery. The care provided to you is the result of someone else’s education and experience and they own it–not you. If you want it, you either buy it, barter for it or take it. Sounds like you vote to take it.

  • Steverino

    As much as I am wearying of all this debate and political rhetoric about our healthcare system, just about anything the Feds could do in the way of National Healthcare Reform would go down sooo much easier if OUR SENATORS and CONGRESSMEN HAD TO LIVE WITH (solely) THE HEALTH PLAN THEY COOK UP FOR THE REST OF US.

  • http://lily.com John

    HR Girl Says:

    November 23rd, 2009 at 1:42 pm
    “Ok John – It is so obvious that you work in the insurance industry – as do I”

    I do not, nor never have, worked in the insurance industry.

    This year, our health insurance carrier’s loss ratio was 104% for our policy. This means that for the last 12 months, they paid out 4% more in claims on our policy than they took in in premiums.

    Trend, (medical inflation) has been running 11-13%, with some years as high as 15%. Why so high when regular inflation has been nil? Medical greed.

    The $$’s you see on your EOB’s should be the $$’s they paid on the claim submitted, which is their already discounted negotiated rates

    What is very clear to me is that our anti-trust laws are woefully inadequate. Normal market forces are not in play when it comes to the medical and oil industries, and in these cases, the government should step in to put normal market forces back in play. Instead, government action (especially lately) has been exactly the opposite.

    Some solutions?

    The government should mandate complete and total transparency from the medical industry regarding fees, charges and quality of care.

    The Government needs to break up larger conglomerates of medical service providers into smaller competing groups, including the huge pharmaceutical companies.

    I have been an HR professional for more than 20 years. While I don’t work for an insurance company, I do have an insurance license as well as my SPHR Certification.

  • Liberty for all

    Fed up hits it right on the nail. It is so sad that we have to fear what our legislators are doing!!
    They ARE NOT LISTENING TO US!! We have WONDERFUL health care in this nation; awesome doctors who train with the best that the world has to offer. What we have is an insurance problem. FIX THAT!!! FIX what’s wrong not ruin what is right! LISTEN TO US. WE THE PEOPLE! Not Obama and Pelosi.

  • Paul

    “Paul, health care cannot be a right unless you condone slavery. The care provided to you is the result of someone else’s education and experience and they own it–not you. If you want it, you either buy it, barter for it or take it. Sounds like you vote to take it.”

    Lajeli, what utter and total nonsense. In a single payer system health care PROVIDERS–i.e., doctors, nurses, technicians, etc.–are well provided for. Why? Because the health care PARASITES–e.g., AETNA, UHC and the like–are removed from the equation.

    Sounds like you vote to line your own pockets.

  • Judy P

    Abortion is certainly not off-topic if it is considered a healthcare right that we will all be funding. Americans are free to choose to have abortions. They can also choose to kill their existing children or spouse if they cannot afford to feed or clothe them or they otherwise become a burden. The fact that our government has declared one to be legal and the other illegal shows that the majority of Americans are morally depraved. The government of Nazi Germany also made it legal to kill millions of Jews and our own country kept other human beings as slaves. Unfortunately, people have not learned from the past and can still be brainwashed into believing that if their government says that something is right, it must be right (especially if it suits them and means that their rights are elevated over another’s). Now there is a chance that we will all be forced to pay for the depraved continuation of this halocaust against the innocent and I am wondering how much longer we have before our country is brought to our knees…

  • Lajeli

    Gordon, you are right when you say that lowering the cost will not make a provider lower the price s/he charges. Competition will and lower the cost opens up more competition. Simple economics. We are learning this with many industries including the manufacturing trade. It is cheaper to produce product in country with basincally no employment law, no worker’s comp and no employer-provided health care which is why the US is losing in a BAD way in this industry. If the costs were lower, someone would charge less and they would get the customers. To avoid bankruptcy, the other suppliers will have to lower prices. They will be able to do so ONLY if costs are lowered. Keeping costs high is why we needed insurance companies who at first helped but then ended up falsifying the pricing as low to the consumer when it is really high and that is what caused the health care industry to be in this mess.

  • Lajeli

    Paul, what do mean “line my own pockets”?

  • caleb

    Fedup,

    The constitution also mentions the separation of church and state. All your sermonizing has no place in this forum.

  • rML

    Dear FEDUP

    you want to “put an end to “for-profit” insurance carriers”?

    but, you have a problem with socialism?

    lol.

    good l*rd, that is a moronic statement. stop shouting and learn something.

  • HR Girl

    John – My apologies… You seemed to have a great deal of knowledge on how the health insurance industry worked (based on your cost saving conclusions). I should not have assumed you were in the insurance industry.

    It is difficult to get employees (even those in the insurance industry) to understand the concept chosing the cost effective option. My EOB’s include costs billed, negotiated rates paid and my deductible/co-insurance info.

    When an insurance carrier can ‘strong-arm’ a medical provider into reducing rates…in essence saying, “You’ll take this amount or my people will go elsewhere.” The providers raise their rates so the percentage of a discount doesn’t hit as hard. Unfortunately, for those without insurance, this rate increase doesn’t get discounted and it is almost impossible to ‘shop’ for a lower cost doctor…

  • Chris Bekemeier

    I am a Christian. Fedup does NOT represent me or my thinking, caring, compassionate Christian community. Thank you.

  • rML

    Let me clarify for you…the TRILLIONS that people made from tax cuts and an inflated Wall Street lined the insider’s pockets, Wall Street, and buddies of Reagan and Bush families, not to mention Clinton.

    the rest of us got stuck with TRILLIONS in bailouts after the house of cards finally collapsed about 27 years later. the rest of us lost 401Ks. lost their savings. lost their houses. lost their careers. lost their dignity.

    the reason that the expert economists say that the market will never reach the heights it did from 1980-2005 (steady upward charting) and only go up and down is that that entire period was built on the b.s. trickle down theory of tax cuts and improper valuation of stocks.

    now we, the tax payer, are paying for it.

    Lajeli Says:

    November 23rd, 2009 at 2:20 pm
    Gordon, can you please explain this with fact?
    ““trickle down economics” was a failure.”

  • CJ

    I just want to make a few notes.
    1) The drug companies (to which I have absolutley no pers or prof tie) can do some trimming but please know that a lot of the drug costs are to fund research, development, trials of new drugs. How many of us have ever asked if there was a drug to help our or a loved one’s conidtion? The pharm companies are not villans; we need them.
    2) Based on experience I agree that there will be a segment of the employee population who will opt out of an employer plan (based on perceived inability to afford). The employer will pay the penalty. Yes, it is irritating that many of these people will have money for cigarettes, meals out, electronics. Something needs to be fixed to prevent those who are too irresponsible to choose medical care when provided.
    3) Regarding the “stay healthy” comment, I think we all do need to work harder at our own health. I haven’t found a study yet that cites that less than 70% for the percentage of health care claims that are lifestyle driven. Are people still going to get sick? Absolutely. However, if we could significantly reduce the self-induced health problems we’d make great strides in bringing insurance rates down.
    4) The malpractice issue does need to be addressed. A good share of our costs go to pay the docs malpractice insurance to cover astronomical awards.
    5) There are employees of small employers who don’t get insurance through work who are struggling with high cost individual plans – some that limit routine cancer screenings. These people need an affordable option.
    6) If we don’t cover illegal immigrants they continue to get sick and spread disease compounding our health problems. They shouldn’t receive free care but if they pay, we’re all better off if they have care.

    We need to stop our emotionally charged fighting and find a workable solution. Nothing will be perfect and the system will have to evolve but we need to start.

  • Sandra

    Unfortuneately, our government has been taken over by criminals that make a lot more money from our taxes than we make from our jobs. The first thing that needs to take place is a vote to reduce the highly paid salaries of both Senators and Congressman and Presidents, ets. They will receive excellent benefits for themselves while they vote to reduce our health care system to a sham.

    Neither Republican Party or the Democrate Party are working for the people. They are only working for themselves. We need a revolution to stop this madness, and I don’t mean one with guns. I mean one with Labor. WE NEED TO STOP THE ECONOMY, ALL OF US. GO ON STRIKE, QUIT FOLLOWING THEM LIKE SHEEP. WE SHOULD HAVE A NATIONAL STRIKE DAY, OR WEEK OR HOWEVER LONG IT TAKES TO GET THEM TO LISTEN.

    Those people in office cannot function if the rest of us are not working. STOP BUYING, STOP WORKING, JUST STOP EVERYTHING, and see how long our criminal government will stand.

    If we don’t pay into the system with our hard earned dollars, they can abuse the system. If we stop voting for them they can’t be elected.

    We need to get the Lawyers out of office!!!!!! We need to take over ourselves by putting people into office that are not career politicions.

    With the internet, we could start electing people to serve our nation without them having to spend thousands of dollare on election campain funds.

    Every community in America needs to get involved to find our George Washingtons and Abraham Lincolns. These people didn’t serve the people to make money, they served the people to promote democracy.

  • HR Girl

    CJ – Thanks for some well thought-out information. I agree that the drug companies aren’t the villians… But why can’t I buy my drug in generic form in the US? Because of patents… This is a free-market and everyone has the right to make money… BUT, when my father was in the hospital, he was receiving the generic form of the same prescription. Hmmm. How can the Hospital get the generic form of a drug when I have to get it that way overseas – or pay an outrageous prescription copay because it is unavailable generically here… And the insurance company wants me to switch to another drug – which is NOT THE SAME…

    Just food for thought…

  • Karl

    PAUL – What does “Health care should be a right” mean? We all have the right to care for our health. I don’t think we have the right to a healthcare worker’s time and effort though. He/she should be compensated for his/her time and effort. Do you think that I should pay for your access to healthcare? Should you pay for my access to healthcare? Why shouldn’t you also pay for my house? Shouldn’t having a place to live also be a right?

    LAJELI – I agree that catastrophic loss coverage would be good to have ailing with access to retirement funds. Funding catastrophic loss and defining catastrophic loss gets more complicated.

    As for making doctors, the system for educating Doctors is broken. We don’t educate to create competent doctors. We weed out Doctors with a brutal process of elimination. If you survive the process you are likely burned out just when you become a doctor. No amount of money will fix this. We need a fundamental shift in our approach to education.

  • Lajeli

    CJ
    1) The FDA is part of the high cost and time issues related to the drug company problems; their own marketing budgets and top tier salaries are another. They have a right to do this but it does inflate the price of their product.
    2) People have the right to be as irresponsible as they want. If the rest of us didn’t have to pay for their mistakes though, they might learn to be a little more responsible
    3) ABSOLUTELY!! Take reponsibility for our own health
    4) Yes, the malpractice is a problem and this health care bill makes it worse
    5) Get the employer out of the equation and increase competition and the plans will get better and more affordable or lower the care costs and you won’t need insurance except for catastrophic claims
    6) People can buy American products all over the world, why not health care? If someone is paying for a service, citizenship shouldn’t matter. if you are talking about tax money paying for the service then not just no but hell no

  • HR Girl3

    Karl and Lajeli — Thank you for your comments. We need to help stop the insanity and educate the people around us about the true nature of these rising costs. The cost of educating our physicians is a problem, the concept of “insurance” is out of control. We are currently paying $50.00 for a box of apple juice in the ER because 25 other people didn’t pay for theirs.

    I attempt to educate folks on these things that drive up costs as well as how the idea of frivilous mal-practice lawsuits ultimately hurt everyone. I remember when there was a time when people died and it was nobody’s fault…people die.

    Also, if poor insurance companies are not making enough to cover expenses…maybe they’d just go away so that my staff and I, (who are now very educated consumers) can go to our doctors office and get the services that we need for an agreed upon reasonable price.

  • Paul

    “PAUL – What does “Health care should be a right” mean? We all have the right to care for our health. I don’t think we have the right to a healthcare worker’s time and effort though. He/she should be compensated for his/her time and effort. Do you think that I should pay for your access to healthcare? Should you pay for my access to healthcare? Why shouldn’t you also pay for my house? Shouldn’t having a place to live also be a right?”

    Aw geez, Karl. You’re right–you caught me there! My bad.

    I’ve revised my way of thinking based on your comment. Thanks to you, I now believe that we don’t have a right to a police officer’s or fire-fighter’s time and effort, either. He/she should be compensated for his/her time and effort. And no, I no longer think I should have to pay for your right to police and fire-fighting services. These services should be privatized, because after all, unfettered competition brings out the best in all services. “NO PUBLIC OPTION ON POLICE AND FIRE-FIGHTERS!”

    So I’ll pay through the nose to have access to really top-notch police and firefighting companies/providers, remembering of course to have my “coverage card” with me at all times so I can give it to dispatchers as robbers ransack my home and/or flames threaten my family and me. And if you can’t pay for this great system Karl, you’ll just have to fend for yourself–it’s your own TS and not my problem.

    Thank you, Karl, for saving me from my own socialist inclinations.

  • JAGGER

    Lajeli, you came through again. Your answer to Paul was right on.

  • PHILIP

    Insurance should pay for medical treatment including abortions.

    Do not cover illegal aliens.

    Make everyone pay something.

    Publish rates for different treatments and drugs.

    Publish a summary plan description of the new plans in plan english.

  • http://lily.com John

    HR Girl Says:

    November 23rd, 2009 at 2:37 pm
    “When an insurance carrier can ’strong-arm’ a medical provider into reducing rates…in essence saying, “You’ll take this amount or my people will go elsewhere.” The providers raise their rates so the percentage of a discount doesn’t hit as hard. Unfortunately, for those without insurance, this rate increase doesn’t get discounted and it is almost impossible to ’shop’ for a lower cost doctor…”

    First, the notion that insurance carriers pay less than your or I would if we did not have insurance is totally false. In fact the complete opposite is true. If your or I did not have insurance, under the current system, we might get billed for ridiculous prices. But you would find you have much more leverage to negotiate down to the real price than the carrier does, and I have years of factual examples to back up this statement.

    It’s very easy to pad the bill when it is a faceless entity paying it. But when it is you or I, they change their tune dramatically.

    Second, yes it is hard to shop for medical services -that’s why the government must mandate transparency. As it is now, going for medical treatment is like going to the highest end restaurant, with no prices on the menu. As long as you have a plastic card, every thing is $25. So the consumer doesn’t care how much it costs, and neither does the provider!

    If insurance has been guilty of anything, is they have been the “great enabler”.

    We do need tort reform. However, all that needs to be done is prohibit frivolous claims and put caps on damages. If a doctor is a hack, they should pay the price.

    We are required by law in most states to have car insurance, but not health insurance. Our cars are better protected than many Americans! That might suggest that rather than have health insurance, just have car insurance. If you get sick, just drive your car into the emergency ward. Not TO the emergency ward, INTO the emergency ward and file your claim accordingly!

  • Rick

    A derogatory term applied to Reaganomics, or supply-side economics, trickle-down economics is the theory that tax cuts for the wealthy merely “trickled down” to the bottom groups and that the rich benefited at the expense of the economy. Similar criticisms were raised about the supply-side tax cuts enacted by Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon in 1921 but not for those made by John Kennedy in the 1960s. Supply-side cuts involve cutting taxes across the board but most dramatically for those in the top tax brackets. The rationale was that those who paid the most taxes would then be able to reinvest their tax “savings.” Thus, supporters have countered the phrase “trickle-down” with the one coined by John Kennedy: “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

    As for the comments on trickle down economics, when was the last time any of you who post here were paid by a poor person?

    Someone had to risk his or her money, invest their time and energy and if their product was good, then they became successful. As a result of their hard work, they were able to hire more people to manufacture, sell and distribute their product. In turn, stores were created to sell their product, companies were created to get their products to the market place.

    So, if the person with the money to begin with, had not created a successful company, would any of that money have made into your paycheck?

    NOPE!! Kinda trickled there didn’t it?

  • Gordon

    Paul – Perfect :)

  • JAGGER

    Paul, you should study the Constitution and find out what “services” the Government is in charge of. I think the big word is “protection” which is why Police and firefighters come under the arm of Government services.

    We, if we are responsible, take care of our own health care. If we want Doctors to be under the arm of Government, then let them choose to be a Public Servant. Some may, some may not. Just like some “policemen” choose to be “private” investagotors.

  • Tyler

    According to this e-mail a Michael Connelly – Retired attorney, Constitutional Law Instructor, Carrollton ,
    Texas did read the entire House Bill 3200: The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009
    and these are his opinions based on his interpretation of the bill.

    Subject: Fw: Someone did read the entire House Bill 3200: The Affordable Health C…
    Well, I have done it! I have read the entire text of proposed House Bill
    3200: The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009. I studied it with
    particular emphasis from my area of expertise, constitutional law.
    I was frankly concerned that parts of the proposed law that were being discussed
    might be unconstitutional.
    What I found was far worse than what I had heard or expected.

    To begin with, much of what has been said about the law and its
    implications is in fact true, despite what the Democrats and the media are
    saying. The law does provide for rationing of health care, particularly
    where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are involved, free
    health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion services, and probably
    forced participation in abortions by members of the medical profession.
    The Bill will also eventually force private insurance companies out of
    business and put everyone into a government run system. All decisions about
    personal health care will ultimately be made by federal bureaucrats and
    most of them will not be health care professionals.. Hospital admissions,
    payments to physicians, and allocations of necessary medical devices will
    be strictly controlled.
    However, as scary as all of that it, it just scratches the surface. In
    fact, I have concluded that this legislation really has no intention of
    providing affordable health care choices. Instead it is a convenient cover
    for the most massive transfer of power to the Executive Branch of
    government that has ever occurred, or even been contemplated. If this law
    or a similar one is adopted, major portions of the Constitution of the
    United States will effectively have been destroyed.
    The first thing to go will be the masterfully crafted balance of power
    between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the U.S.
    Government.. The Congress will be transferring to the Obama Administration
    authority in a number of different areas over the lives of the American
    people and the businesses they own. The irony is that the Congress doesn’t
    have any authority to legislate in most of those areas to begin with. I
    defy anyone to read the text of the U.S. Constitution and find any
    authority granted to the members of Congress to regulate health care.
    This legislation also provides for access by the appointees of the Obama
    administration of all of your personal healthcare information, your
    personal financial information, and the information of your employer,
    physician, and hospital. All of this is a direct violation of the
    specific provisions of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution protecting
    against unreasonable searches and seizures. You can also forget
    about the right to privacy. That will have been legislated into oblivion
    regardless of what the 3rd and 4th Amendments may provide.
    If you decide not to have healthcare insurance or if you
    have private insurance that is not deemed “acceptable” to the
    “Health Choices Administrator” appointed by Obama there will be a tax
    imposed on you. It is called a “tax” instead of a fine because of the
    intent to avoid application of the due process clause of the 5th Amendment.
    However, that doesn’t work because since there is nothing in the law that
    allows you to contest or appeal the imposition of the tax, it is definitely
    depriving someone of property without the “due process of law.
    So, there are three of those pesky amendments that the far left hate so
    much out the original ten in the Bill of Rights that are effectively
    nullified by this law. It doesn’t stop there though.
    The 9th Amendment that provides:
    “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall
    not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people;” The
    10th Amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by
    the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are preserved to the
    States respectively, or to the people.”
    Under the provisions of this piece of Congressional handiwork neither
    the people nor the states are going to have any rights or powers at all
    in many areas that once were theirs to control.
    I could write many more pages about this legislation, but I think
    you get the idea.
    This is not about health care; it is about seizing power and limiting rights.
    Article 6 of the Constitution requires the members of both houses of Congress
    to “be bound by oath or affirmation” to support the Constitution.
    If I was a member of Congress I would not be able to vote for
    this legislation or anything like it without feeling I was violating that
    sacred oath or affirmation. If I voted for it anyway I would hope the
    American people would hold me accountable.
    For those who might doubt the nature of this threat I
    suggest they consult the source.
    Here is a link to the Constitution:
    http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript..html
    And another to the Bill of Rights:
    http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html
    There you can see exactly what we are about to have taken from us.
    Michael Connelly
    Retired attorney,
    Constitutional Law Instructor
    Carrollton , Texas

  • Julie

    Steverino hit it right on the nail for me!!!

    Congress needs to be on the same plan as the rest of us – then I will complain less!

  • Lajeli

    OMG–this is so frustrating! It would be so much better if everyone came to class prepared!!!

    Caleb: The Constitution does NOT mention separation of church and state; that was in a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote. That was later supported by the US Supreme Court as the meaning behind the first amendment; that is what is meant when people refer to the “establishment clause”. The point is that religion is protected from government interference. It does not mean that one individual is protected from the expression of religion by another. Ergo, sermonizing does have a place in this forum.

    Paul: I think you meant to be sarcastic about firefighters but you are exactly right that you have no right to their services and that you should have to pay for it. Police officers are a different story as they are an extension of the court system which is actually a Constitutional right. The two groups are not the same and you are now arguing not only appleas and oranges but lemons as well.

  • HR in MN

    Martin – “Sheeple”??? I LOVE it!!! Wish I had thought of that….

    There was a very good piece on NPR on the cost of MRIs in the US vs. Japan and why the costs differ so radically. If you get a moment, it might be worth looking up.

    Also, might the abortion question (allow vs. not allow) be a test case for other procedures? Uh-oh… my paranoia’s showing!

  • Lajeli

    John, I am confused by what you say here:
    “We are required by law in most states to have car insurance, but not health insurance. Our cars are better protected than many Americans! That might suggest that rather than have health insurance, just have car insurance. If you get sick, just drive your car into the emergency ward. Not TO the emergency ward, INTO the emergency ward and file your claim accordingly!”

    First of all, we are required to have car insuarnce to protect other drivers from our mistakes (liability); full-coverage is an option so in this comaparison, it is much more like malpractice insurance instead of like actual health coverage for an individual. Also, I sincerely question that the car insurance requirement is Constitutional in the first place but at least it is optional in the fact that not everyone drives.
    Cars are not better protected than many Americans but this is an apples and oranges comparison anyway. Many Americans do not have health insurance but I think that you will find many more health providers giving free or low-cost care to the uninsured than you will auto body shops doing the same for those with auto body damage. Also, there is no moral argument with cars adn there is with human beings. Cars are offered no rights under the Constitution and people are…etc
    See the difference now?

  • HR in MN

    Here’s the link tot he NPR MRI piece…

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120545569

  • Lajeli

    Just to look at this from a different angle…
    What would a successful health care program look like?
    Would it be something like this:
    All people within the borders (legally or not) would have free access to quality health care at all times
    Anyone who did not get the outcome they reasonably expected will be fully compensated for the discrepancy and paid damages in the amount to which they believe they are entitled
    All people would make individual choices regarding their own lifestyles and this would not affect their access to health care and risk compensation
    The health of individuals would regin supreme and cost be damned
    All of this would be funded by employers or the US government
    All in favor say “Aye”

    Is anyone else reminded of the short story by Mark Twain called “The War Prayer”?

  • Lajeli

    The abortion issue would be a lousy test case in my opinion due to the nature of the controversy surronding it. It involves two separate Constitutional issues in conflict not to mention ‘implied’ rights of privacy. A fantastic test case would be care for seniors. The standard for care should be set at that level and applied to all. The government already has control over senior health care through medicare and could use it to pilot everything else. They care would become the standard so to speak…that should scare a lot of people into doing what is morally “right”

  • Rick

    Lajeli:

    Awesome responses!! Keep up the good work!!

    By the way John, no one is “required” to have car insurance. You can choose not to have a car.

    Under this scam you can’t choose not to have health insurance.

    Less Government, Less Taxes

  • Lajeli

    HR in MN:
    If the US lowers it’s prices on MRIs and pays less for the machines, the price will increase in Japan??
    It reminds me of an article a I read on why the Wii game system was so scarce in the US a few Christmases ago…

    This blog interview is a little too ‘butterfly effect’ for me and it is based on opinion, hearsay and anecdotal evidence.
    I am still looking for the facts the article admits it does not have…
    Can you help me find more information on this so I can try to jump on board with your theory?

  • Paul

    JAGGER said: “Paul, you should study the Constitution and find out what “services” the Government is in charge of. I think the big word is “protection” which is why Police and firefighters come under the arm of Government services.”

    Actually Jag, before you try getting all pedantic on our backsides, you should at least try to develop some vague SEMBLANCE of a notion as to what you’re talking about.

    Re “protection,” Article IV, Section 4 reads: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

    Now, “…protect…against domestic Violence,” if you stretch, pull, bend, spindle and mutilate that phrase to its breaking point, MIGHT broadly–VERY broadly–be interpreted as pertaining to 21st century police and fire departments. But I doubt it. Sounds one hell of a lot more like a reference to the military than anything else, doesn’t it pal?

    What the Constitution DOES actually say, Jag–in the Preamble–is that one reason for its VERY EXISTENCE is to “promote the general Welfare.” You’re free to go interpret for yourself what that means. But I submit that if “provide for the common defence”–also from the Preamble–allows for creation of a huge, government-run, nationalized military force, then “promote the general Welfare” can certainly allow for creation of nationalized healthcare. And I’d thus submit that failing to “support our healthcare” is every bit as unpatriotic as failing to “support our troops.” Please feel free to surround that particular phrase with a yellow ribbon on the back of your SUV.

    Like my interpretation? I don’t give a rodent’s furry round behind whether you do or not. It’s certainly more plausible, more tolerant, more welcoming and more “American”–and perhaps even more “Christian,” too–than any of those promulgated by the pseudo-Christians and alleged patriots who’ve posted here previously.

  • Gordon

    Paul – I know you don’t give a rodent’s behind what I think either, but that’s GOLD. Thanks

  • Lajeli

    Paul: Like I said, police officers are officers of the court–extensions of the judiciary and therefore the proper Constitutional reference is Article III not Article IV
    There is NO Constitutional provision of protection of personal property from fire.
    Apples and Oranges.

    Sorry Jagger but you missed this one too…the Constitution is talking about protection in a broader scope. Not the protection of individuals but of states. Individual protection is found in Amendments 1-4

  • Lajeli

    Also, Paul, the preamble is put forth as the grand statement with the articles adn amendments supporting in detail what it means so thank God we don’t have to all ‘go interpret for ourselves what it means’. That’s like interpreting the bible to form your own cult; just plain tacky.
    Instead, the Constitution is all spelled out for us so we couldn’t corrupt the hell out of it and bend it and tiwst it until we all got what we, as individuals want, at each other’s expense. If only we still taught it in school instead of the entitlement mentality that has become so popular…
    Ahhh, I do miss the good ol days and long for them often.

  • Lajeli

    Philip, I like the way you think…tell us more!

  • Paul

    GORDON–Thanks.

    Actually, I DO give that little critter’s tail-end about what you think, because from your responses, I can see that you’re not so wed to your own wallet that you fail to take into account the suffering of others. In fact, I suspect that exact contrary about you. Which I admire and appreciate.

    –Paul

  • Lajeli

    rML and Gordon…I really am serious about wanting to know the facts behind the trickle-down failure. I see that RML posted some information but do you guys have numbers or refernce points i could go research? I want to learn more–I might be in total agreement with you on this but don’t have enough fact to be sure…

  • Lajeli

    So Paul, you think that if the government didn’t force us to, no one would help anyone else?
    Do you also believe that creating welath and keeping it is immoral?
    How about loans without collateral; would you bank at an institution with that practice?
    Do you really only care about what people think when they agree with you or is that a mis-interpretation on my part (which I derived from your posts)?
    Is it not possible for one to be “wed” to his/her wallet and still take into acount the suffereing of others?
    I am seriously curious and not being sarcastic…It’s really hard to keep up with all these posts and still get an informative assement of who we all are and who we are talking to right?
    If you answer, thanks

  • Lajeli

    Sorry, I can’t resist…
    Could the phrase “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” mean we are not to burden ourselves nor our children with immense debt? That we are to protect the wealth we create as individuals and pass it down to our children so that each generation will be more fortunate than the last? Will this health care bill do that? Will it ensure domestic tranquility or will it pit us against each other by forcing some to be responsible for others over whom they have no authority? Will it build resentment by forcing charity instead of letting it flow forth from a giving heart? How does making one person responsible for another “establish justice”; isn’t that more like establishing “fairness” instead?
    What a crazy mixed up world we are living in where black means white and white means black…

    I hope all of you have a great evening and a great Thanksgiving (a national holiday declared by that crazy radical right-winger who said “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. ” and “Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built. “

  • Sand

    Thank you Lajeli, very well put. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

  • Tyler

    Why isn’t Food and Housing a right? You will die a lot faster without them than medical attention? You Liberals are ruining the greatest country in the world. Just one more trillion here and there, and maybe, just maybe, we will break the camels back for good. We are at 12 Trillion Dollars People! Do you guys really know what it means for all of us, if the US goes bankrupt?

  • MH

    Lajeli,

    I said “ultimately it’s the decision of the woman carying the child and no one else”, so I think you missed the “ultimately” part. Yes, the partner of the person who is pregnant has a say and certainly an opinion on the matter, however the person who carries the child is the one with whom the decision to keep or kill the fetus lies with.

    In some cases a doctor may recommend abortion because the health of both the mother and child are at risk based on the location the fetus has attached to. The mother may refuse an abortion on the religious grounds. On the other hand a person who has scraped together the funds for an abortion and wants one may not have the support of her family, friends or partner because they view it as a child and wish for adoption to be the answer if she/they are unable to afford to provide care.

    I have friends with medical conditions who cannot have children, ones who can (in spite of protections in place sometimes), ones who need medical assistance and ones who have had abortions because they didn’t have the means or maturity to face the consequences of their actions and be able to hold up under the religious censure they would (and eventually did) receive from those they saw as part of their religious life family.

    At the end of the day it’s the woman who walks through the door in the clinic and says that she wants this to happen. Someone else may be there to provide support, but the gal I know that had an abortion didn’t have that when she went to the clinic.

  • Texas Gal

    OK, good read – all the back and forth. I finally figured this one out…

    Paul, is really Nancy Pelosi! Now Nancy, come on we all recognize you.

    Truth – The government, no matter how compassionate, or greedy just does not run anything well. Our President said it best – UPS and FedEx are doing so much better than the U.S. Postal Service!
    Wonder why? Don’t try to correct a problem for less than 20% of the population by re-inventing the wheel for 100% of the population. In business, that is a bad investment..

  • Lajeli

    MH, I completely understood what you said and I disagree. I think, in most cases, the father should have an equal say in the abortion issue not just “provide support” whatever the mother’s decision.

    I think that if one intends to take a life, there ought to be more than one opinion considered in the matter MOST ESPECIALLY if the female is as you say without “the means or maturity to face the consequences of their actions” Even a criminal gets a jury of twelve! Holy crap! The poor baby in your scenario gets some irresponsible kid who can’t even control her own actions and lacks the ability to stand up to the religious pressure of her family when it comes to caring for an infant, but somehow manages to stand up and reject that same religious pressure when it comes to having sex with a man who shouldn’t be allowed to determine the fate of his own children.
    If she can’t care for a child should she really be “the one with whom the decision to keep or kill the fetus lies with ” In other words, the only one to decide whether or not the child’s life has value?
    Scary, scary, scary…I am sure I will have nightmares for weeks over that one! Good Lord!

    And just to save some of you from going compeltely over the edge, I did say IN MOST CASES the father should have equal say and I think all reasonable people understand what cases I mean (please don’t make me explain somethign this simple)
    I am not really trying to argue the abortion issue in thsi post…just the weirdness of that one particular scenario that was mentioned; I purposely choose not to respond on the medical issue of a “medically neccessary abortion” at this time.

  • Lajeli

    Go Tyler, Go Tyler, Go Tyler :)

  • Lajeli

    MH said “Someone else may be there to provide support, but the gal I know that had an abortion didn’t have that when she went to the clinic.”
    How sad…
    A girl I knew who survived the botched abortion her mother tried to get didn’t have anyone from her family there to provide support during the procedure either.

  • Paul

    “So Paul, you think that if the government didn’t force us to, no one would help anyone else?”

    Your question is a silly overgeneralization–much like your earlier statement to “slavery” when discussing compensating doctors for their skills under a government-run medical system. After all Lajeli, the specific topic here today is the health care bills currently before the House and Senate–not “if the government didn’t force us to, no one would help anyone else.” Those are largely separate and distinct questions, and I suspect that you’re bright enough to know the difference.

    But the specific answer answer in the context of the current topic is this: Without congressional mandate to revamp the country’s current healthcare system, the obscene profits earned by the healthcare corporations would contine to grow each year at the expense of more and more people subjected to outrageous costs and denial of coverage. The way the industry has fought this, through distortions and outright lies–e.g., “death panels”–is evidence that nothing is more important to it than the preservation of those profits.

    “Do you also believe that creating welath and keeping it is immoral?”

    Again, you’re asking a question that’s either naive or disingenuously off topic.

    But I’ll humor you by explaining it much like I would to a child: The answer is no, not necessarily. The morality or immorality of wealth lies in the way in which it’s achieved. Accumulate it by selling narcotics, racketeering, exploitation of women and children as sex slaves, etc.–in other words, all those things that I HOPE you and I agree are criminal and an affront to society–then yes, that would be immoral, wouldn’t it?

    And SO is the accumulation of wealth by inventing creative ways to lessen or even outright deny decent medical coverage to millions of American citizens. There are now 35 million Americans without coverage. Thousands more lose their coverage weekly. Thousands have to chose between decent medical coverage and keeping their homes. There are hundreds of thousands of preventable American deaths each year due to the inaccessibility of adequate coverage. In other westernized countries, this doesn’t happen anywhere close to the frequency with which it does here in the U.S. Additionally in the U.S., a much smaller percentage of the cost of medical care goes to the actual provision of that care than it does in any other westernized system of healthcare in the world. We have a higher infant mortality rate than many other countries who have nowhere near our general wealth or national standard of living. Why? I think we all know the answer–follow the money. And yes, sweet Lajeli, THAT is immoral too.

    “Do you really only care about what people think when they agree with you or is that a mis-interpretation on my part (which I derived from your posts)?”

    Again, wrong, over-generalized, sarcastic (despite your protestation below) question.

    I care what others think based on the way they’re likely to vote in electing representatives who’ll be likely to deal in fair, constructive ways with the issues I’ve discussed above. I care much less about what you in particular think, because most of your posts here have consisted largely of glib, thinly-veiled, often contradictory exercises in saying, “Gee whiz, look at me!” rather than focusing on the issue at hand.

    “Is it not possible for one to be “wed” to his/her wallet and still take into acount the suffereing of others?”

    No. Typically if you become “wed” to someone, you “forsake all others” for them. So if you’re “wed” to your wallet, you’ve made a conscious decision to put the importance of that wallet well above and beyond the “suffering of others,” my dear. It goes back to my answer to your previous question: “Is creating and accumulating wealth immoral?” Again, not necessarily. But if you’re “wed” to that notion, then yes, you’re largely immune to the suffering of others.

    “I am seriously curious and not being sarcastic…”

    No you’re not. As I’ve pointed out, your questions are on their face either air-headed and unfocused, or they’re meant merely to bait. Grow up, take your head out of your tailend and start caring about something other than your own ego for a change.

  • Slick Willie

    OK, The Senate came out of conference with its version of health reform, and the bill has 2,074 pages. Of all of the people (98 responses) who have written comments so far on this blog, how many have read each page of both bills? If they have read them, how many are competent enough to make an intelligent comment? Understand one thing, the insurance companies and their lobbyists, and their patrons in the House and Senate DO NOT CARE what the customers of insurance companies or voters think about EITHER bill. As Tony Soprano said, “Its not personal, just business.”

  • Terri

    If you can’t afford contraceptives and/or a child, then you should keep your legs closed. Be responsible and don’t take the chance of subjecting an innocent child to death or a life of homelessness/poverty, etc. Abortion is a personal decision and should be personally funded.

  • http://lily.com John

    Lajeli Says:

    November 23rd, 2009 at 4:27 pm
    “John, I am confused by what you say here:”
    “We are required by law in most states to have car insurance, but not health insurance. Our cars are better protected than many Americans! That might suggest that rather than have health insurance, just have car insurance. If you get sick, just drive your car into the emergency ward. Not TO the emergency ward, INTO the emergency ward and file your claim accordingly!”

    The above comment from me was intneded as a joke.

  • HR Girl

    John says, “First, the notion that insurance carriers pay less than your or I would if we did not have insurance is totally false. ”

    REALLY? I’ve seen insurance carriers REDUCE the cost of an innoculation to $1.00 – YES ONE DOLLAR! Seriously, the gloves and siringe probably cost more than that. Now, granted, I didn’t pay anything because I had insurance. But, for those that don’t have insurance, they are required to pay the full cost ($45 for the innoculation in addition to the office visit). So, my point earlier was that if the insurance carriers didn’t try to reduce costs so drastically, the uninsured could get better rates… Evening out the difference….

    You and I do agree – I really like your analogy of the high-end restaurant. That is correct. Why would ANYONE who doesn’t HAVE to, shop around for decent priced medical care? (sarcasm here)

    Let’s look at it this way… Dental Insurance carriers say, this is what I will cover at 100% up to “reasonable and customary” charges. That being said, I call the insurance company and say, “For my location, what is reasonable and customary for a cleaning?” They tell me. Then I call around to find a dentist that will either charge that amount or one that doesn’t charge too much above that – because I HAVE TO PAY THE DIFFERENCE. That is shopping around. When my husband needed antibiotics and didn’t have insurance, we called different pharmacies to find out the price of the drug and shopped for the least expensive… That is shopping around. BUT, if someone has a plastic card that says, “It doesn’t matter the cost, you only pay $10, $25 or $50 (depending on a tiered system) then WHY bother to shop around and get a good price? (again sarcasm) No one ever thinks that because of this, their premiums are going to increase and it is too much work… So, that is why the insurance companies need to change… Need to be more consumer driven…

    That being said, Do I think the US Government can do that? I think I’ve been sarcastic enough.

  • Rick

    Hey Slick Willie,

    The better question is how many of the Senators and Congressmen who voted for it read each and every page and thoroughly understand what it contains?

    NONE OF THEM!!!!

    I don’t care how smart you think you are, there is no way that anyone can read and comprehend all 1990 pages of this Senate Bill. I have tried to read some of it and it is so confusing it makes your head spin.

    I scrolled down to this heading, just randomly picked it out of the 1990 pages. Who can explain in layman’s terms what this means and how you could ever determine who is covered? I removed the sentence numbers to try and ease the confusion a little. Pages 1045 and 1046

    SEC. 1713. OPTIONAL COVERAGE OF NURSE HOME VISITA
    TION SERVICES.
    (a) IN GENERAL.—Section 1905 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d), as amended by sections 1701(a)(3)(B) and 1711(a), is amended—
    (1) in subsection (a)—
    (A) in paragraph (27), by striking ‘‘and’’ at the end;
    (B) by redesignating paragraph (28) as paragraph (29); and
    (C) by inserting after paragraph (27) the following new paragraph:
    ‘‘(28) nurse home visitation services (as defined in subsection (aa)); and’’; and
    (2) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
    ‘‘(aa) The term ‘nurse home visitation services’ means home visits by trained nurses to families with a first-time pregnant woman, or a child (under 2 years of
    age), who is eligible for medical assistance under this title, but only, to the extent determined by the Secretary based upon evidence, that such services are effective in one or more of the following:
    ‘‘(1) Improving maternal or child health and pregnancy outcomes or increasing birth intervals between pregnancies.
    ‘‘(2) Reducing the incidence of child abuse, neglect, and injury, improving family stability (including reduction in the incidence of intimate partner violence), or reducing maternal and child involvement in the criminal justice system.
    ‘‘(3) Increasing economic self-sufficiency, employment advancement, school-readiness, and educational achievement, or reducing dependence on public assistance.’’.
    (b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to services furnished on or after 17 January 1, 2010.

    Here is a question for everyone. If none of the insurance changes will go into effect until 2012, why not pose this to the American people at the mid-term elections? Who not let WE THE PEOPLE vote on this?

    Less Government, Less Taxes!

  • http://lily.com John

    HR Girl Says:

    November 24th, 2009 at 9:12 am
    “I’ve seen insurance carriers REDUCE the cost of an innoculation to $1.00 – YES ONE DOLLAR! Seriously, the gloves and siringe probably cost more than that. Now, granted, I didn’t pay anything because I had insurance. But, for those that don’t have insurance, they are required to pay the full cost ($45 for the innoculation in addition to the office visit). So, my point earlier was that if the insurance carriers didn’t try to reduce costs so drastically, the uninsured could get better rates… Evening out the difference….”

    Most typical innoculations should cost next to nothing regardless of whether you have insurance or not. An yes, you could negotiate the price to that same dollar or even less if you knew the costs.

    Consider that the cost of syringes, the rubber gloves and the syrum, etc. cost only pennies or fractions thereof to produce and tranport and take just seconds to administer, and can be done by an unskilled pratcitioner; even yourself. The mass production of these items makes the cost of these almost non existent (which is why they are disposable). The syrums themselves were developed so long ago they are now produced generically. The economies of scale of mass production reduces the cost per item to next to nothing. The amount of raw materials needed to produce them is so small that they litterally cost pennies or fractions thereof to produce. The insurance companies know this so they successfully can pay a more realistic price.

    The medical care profession’s credo is, “never give a sucker an even break”. So they bill you 45.00 for a 50 cent injection. All they need is one sucker to pay that and they can now give the next 100 or so for free and more than break even.

  • Rick

    Paul Says:
    November 23rd, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    You asked: Whatever happened to my country? I found your answer for you.

    On December 8, 1991, the presidents of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus signed the Belavezha Accords which declared the Soviet Union dissolved and established the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in its place.

  • JAGGER

    Refledtions on Paul’s last post.
    I agree, insurance companies have drastically added to the cost of health care, but possibly not in the manner you think. The administration costs of Insurance companies is about 57%, most of it is because working through Businesses, they have to renegotiate every year. Add people, subtract people constantly. Paperwork up the kazoo. If they were selling to indivuals, one sale and done most of the time. Their profit margin is (according to reports I have read) is about 2.2%. That is NOT immoral profit. Just enough incentive to be in that business. Insuring medical coverage is expensive because of a number of reasons: Doctors and hospitals charge too much — but they have to cover the possiblily that they will be sued, and pay huge amounts for insurance to protect their financial futures.

    The insurance companies supply a service to try to help people avoid financial disaster if they get in an accident or are plagued with a bad disease, or their body breaks down from a DNA problem, or problems they inflict upon themselves from poor lifestyle choices.

    The government interference does not allow insurance companies to operate freely in the marketplace. Thus, very little competition is created to “keep them honest” as Congress likes to say.

    You say, “Thousands lose insurance coverage weekly” This is because insurance is tied to emploment. It should not be. This would be a good first step in addressing the problems associated with reform.

    As for “accumulating wealth by inventing creative ways…..” you must mean like Al Gore did by trying to sell us on his Global warming scheme.

  • Paul

    Hi Rick,

    Your post above at 10:47 is certainly glib and cute, but know this: I’ve almost certainly done more for this country than you ever have or will, and have the scars to prove it.

    My guess is that you’re the same kind of smug, privileged, keyboard-warrior “patriot” who swift-boated good men like John Kerry and Max Cleland, guys who left parts of themselves on the other side of the planet while you were still in diapers or not even thought of yet.

    Now go look at yourself in the mirror again, smile, and wish yourself a Happy Thanksgiving.

    Paul

  • LC

    To Paul: spoken like a true Vet, thank you

  • Rick

    Well Paul if whining is your definition of serving your country you are correct.

    I have served my country not only in the Army, but also in my local community. I give very generously of my time and money. I actually feed the hungry while you talk about it. I go to rest homes and spend time with people there while you ask the government to take care of them. I take care of my family while you ask the government to take care of you and your family. I write my Senators and Congressmen weekly with both criticism and praise when warranted. I have worked 16 and 18 hour days to make sure they were well fed, well clothed and were well taken care of. I (unlike you) don’t whine about it, I just do it. So, I have no problem looking in the mirror, God loves the guy who looks back at me and so do I.

    So, once again, you are wrong. Keep your streak going! (John Kerry Patriot.) LMAO

    You have a great Thanksgiving as well.

    Less Government, Less Taxes!!

  • Riet

    Kevin Baldwin,
    I totally agree with your comments!

  • Riet

    Kevin Baldwin,
    I totally agree with your comments, I read them today, and you are right on the mark!

  • Rick

    Despite Obama’s Repeated Claims That Enacting $787-Billion Stimulus Was Urgent, 78 Percent of Money Remained Unspent by End of Fiscal 2009 Says Federal Auditing Agency.

    After his election last November and until the $787-billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed in February, President Barack Obama repeatedly insisted that it was urgent for Congress to enact his economic “recovery” bill immediately. Yet, by the end of fiscal 2009 fully 78 percent of the federal spending authorized by that bill had not yet taken place, according to the Government Accountability Office. In the meantime, the national unemployment rate climbed 26 percent, from 8.1 percent in February to 10.2 percent in October.

    The GAO reported that of the $787 billion in spending authorized by the Obama stimulus plan, only $173 billion (or 22 percent) had been spent by Sept. 30, 2009, the end of the fiscal year. Of this $173 billion, only $47 billion (or 25 percent of the 22 percent) went to contracts, grants or loans for projects. The rest of the money went to federal entitlement programs such as Medicaid and to immediate tax relief.

    Maybe we should wait a little while on the health care debate? Maybe take our time? Maybe try to find an “other than government” solution?

  • Paul

    “I have served my country…in the Army”

    Then you need to get your s**t squared away ASAP, soldier. I do NOT copy any vet who denigrates the service of another for cheap political purposes, whether it’s John Kerry’s, John McCain’s, yours or mine.

    Dismissed.

  • Jen

    I have one word for Fedup…..AMEN! You hit the nail on the head.

  • Gordon

    I am thankful for the progress with Health Care Reform – Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  • Rick

    Hey Paul,

    If you are a Vet, and I have no reason to doubt that you are, then I will apologize to you. You and I will never agree politically, but we do have a common bond through our service to our country.

    I remain steadfast that John Kerry is as patriotic as Jane Fonda, and I will not apologize for my statements about him. When you chastise me about denigrating the service of another for cheap political purpose, you have described John Kerry and his actions when he returned home. Please reserve your frustration for him.

    Have you afforded George Bush the same consideration you give to Mr. Kerry?

    God Bless you and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Lajeli

    Wow, I missed a lot when I go to busy to read posts…
    Paul, thanks for your free assesment of my personality but I seriously hope you don’t quit your day job to go into the mental health care field…LOL!! Sorry, you were dead wrong on me but I understand it would be impossible to get a good read on soemone just from their posts on a site like this.
    I am suprised whenever veterans suport government run health care…I know my experince with military hospitals left me missing the private system. It was frustrating to see great people working in a bad system that provided mostly adequate care with no frills and a high risk of error.

    There are a lot of posts talking about ‘helping’ others and I believe in charity and helping people rise to the best standard of living they can get. I just don’t believe it is the responsibility of the government to do this especially since our standard of law (the Constitution) specifically limits the powers of the federal government to avoid this kind of “take over” of private industry.
    It is not a moral question, it’s a legal, logical one and the legality and the logic fall on the side of government staying out of business.
    Paul, you say “I’ve almost certainly done more for this country than you ever have or will, and have the scars to prove it.” so thanks for whatever you did whenever you did it. I am sure that whatever you were called to do, you did with even greater ferocity than you protect your posts here and I believe it made a difference in many lives whether those people realize it or not

    I think we all get an equal voice in our governemnt regardless of service to the country. That is why citizens should appreciate military service whether they serve or not that way or not. It takes strength to risk one’s lives to protect people who may not appreciate it and will yet still hold equal rights and an equal voice in the same government the first one fought ot protect.
    Military service in someone’s history does not automatically qualify them for greatness in every subsequent pursuit. It is possible for one to serve well in the military and then go on to be lousy at serving in another branch of government.

  • Sand

    Jane Fonda…patriotic?!? How about she’s a traitor…just like our current Goverment Administration is becoming. You insult your own country with your support of traitors and yet you personally served. Wow.

  • Rick

    Sand?

    I was being sarcastic. I think John Kerry is as patriotic as Jane Fonda which is to say that he is not patriotic.

    I also agree with you that our current administration is proving to be quite un-patriotic as well.

  • Sand

    Sorry, Rick…missed the sarcasm…and got mixed up! Ah well, it happens. I am only human!

  • Lajeli

    John, sorry I missed the joke. it was actually pretty funny once I got it
    Thanks for walking me through it slowly :)

    I like McCain’s comment on the accounting in the senate health care bill…
    “I think Bernie Madoff went to jail for this kind of behavior”

  • Lajeli
  • http://lily.com John

    I am ashamed to say that I am from Massachusetts – with representatives like Kerry, Frank, and sad to say, Kennedy.

    Suffice to say that even though Afghanistan is a breeding ground for terrorists that desire to inflict untold harm to our great nation, Massachusetts is a breeding ground for a far more sinister breed of terrorist -the Democrat!

    I’m pretty confident that the damage done to our way of life already, and that which is intended by the recent breed of Democrats, far exceeds any damage that could be inflicted by any terrorist.

  • Lajeli

    Who thinks the health care industry should be overhauled but NOT in a way that creates coverage provided by the government?
    Who thinks it can be fixed by creating ways for people to pay their health care without insurance almost all of the time and that insurance is best at the catastrophic level only?
    Who wants health CARE inhanced and the price tag lowered while INSURANCE is minimized?
    Who thinks that the health care industry is capapble of operating outside the government regulations proposed in the bill?
    Does anyone have ideas to make this work?
    If you were writing the bill, what would it have in and what would it not have in it?

  • http://lily.com John

    Lajeli,

    I think much of the problem stems from the legal system itself. Attorney’s fees should only be paid based upon the outcome of the suit and by the losing side. Doing so would eliminate the frivolous suits making lawyering lucrative for only the most valid and serious of claims. There are too many lawyers out there chasing ambulances driving up the costs of everything, not just healthcare.

    That said, a similar approach should be taken for healthcare. They get paid for results.

    I’ve always said that things are upside down. Everyone should be able to fly on an airplane for free. You should pay after you land and get off the plane.

  • Lajeli

    John, you’re a funny guy. Now that I am beginning to understand your humor, I like it! It’s funny but it’s got that little nugget of truth in there that can’t be avoided. I agree that the lawsuites are a biggie…which is why I hate pages 1430-1433 of the senate bill.
    I believe that a lot of the problem with the health care system now is that there are WAY too many people involved…how many hours are paid in doctors office are spent on dealing with insurance companies? How many times does a doctor have to modify the care plan to accomodate what the insurance comapny will or will not pay for? How much money is spent by any given insurance comapny on “controlling costs”? Are any of these tranactions really neccessary to the point which is getting the proper treatment for the patient?
    Health Care is expensive because of all the waste of people working who don’t really belong in the equation. If the government wants to solve it, they should be focusing on ways to limit the non-value added transactions, not increasing them (and oh boy, do these two bills increase them)
    They are creating the most expensive plan possible with no limit to how much more expensive it will get at the same time, they are quietly removing all other options

    To help explain what I mean, I got the following from Wikipedia (which we all know isn’t a real reference source but in this case it happens to provide a simple and acccurate description of transaction cost analysis):

    In economics and related disciplines, a transaction cost is a cost incurred in making an economic exchange (restated: the cost of participating in a market). For example, most people, when buying or selling a stock, must pay a commission to their broker; that commission is a transaction cost of doing the stock deal. Or consider buying a banana from a store; to purchase the banana, your costs will be not only the price of the banana itself, but also the energy and effort it requires to find out which of the various banana products you prefer, where to get them and at what price, the cost of traveling from your house to the store and back, the time waiting in line, and the effort of the paying itself; the costs above and beyond the cost of the banana are the transaction costs. When rationally evaluating a potential transaction, it is important to consider transaction costs that might prove significant.

    What are the transaction costs in health care right now? What will they be with this bill? Why aren’t we all fighting to minimize these costs?

  • Lajeli

    and john, don’t feel badly about being from Massachusetts! It’s a great place with a great history and you guys did put Romney in the running…BTW, what do you think of the plan he put in place there? What has gone right/wrong in your opinion? Were the rights/wrongs caused by the plan itself or limits to its implementation? I have been dying to find out more from someone there…THX

  • http://lily.com John

    Lajeli,

    Massachusetts’ health care reform has been a great success in that we now have the lowest number of uninsured legally working people in the country.

    It has been a colossal failure in that it has done nothing to lower healthcare costs. The plans people are forced to purchase have deductibles and co-insurance which they cannot afford to pay. It has cost the taxpayers gazillions of $$’s and accomplished nothing.

    We just introduced our employees to a Consumer Driven Health Plan with Health Savings Account. I think this is the way of the future, short-term. More transparency is required, more and more accountability.

    I had one employee that actually looked at his EOB from an ER treatment over this past summer, and was appalled that the hospital billed the carrier for $438 to read the x-ray. Not for the x-ray, to read the x ray. What the carrier doesn’t know, and a hip neither did the hospital, is that the doctor looked at the x-ray for less than 2 minutes, which comes to $13,140 an hour. I have many more examples of this gouging.

    We can go on and on. Bottom line is as I stated previously, our anti trust laws are outdated and ineffective. They were intended for the government to step in when natural market forces no longer were in effect when a company grew so large it had a monopoly. However, now entire industries rather than companies have a monopolistic control over our economy. There is no competition. We pay virtually the same price for gas whether it is Mobil, Shell or Irving and the healthcare industry is no different. The only competition in healthcare is between doctors and their egos.

    If the industries cannot be broken up into smaller more manageable pieces to compete against one another, perhaps they should be regulated as a public utility, being still privately held. Regulate their revenue and let them figure out how to reduce their costs (there’s a nasty side to that thought too).

  • Lajeli

    “If the industries cannot be broken up into smaller more manageable pieces to compete against one another, perhaps they should be regulated as a public utility, being still privately held. Regulate their revenue and let them figure out how to reduce their costs (there’s a nasty side to that thought too).”

    Fascinating…isn’t the police force in San Fransisco like this…a “public utility, being still privately held”? I thought I heard that somewhere

  • Betterway

    To FEDUP-
    When you refer to “WE THE PEOPLE” that is an inclusive statement indicating all citizens of the U.S. I’m sorry, but you are not speaking for ME thus, I must be excluded from your definition of “WE”. It is a very personal decision that a woman has a right to make about her reproductive choices. This decision and choice should not be made by people like you who have no knowledge of her situation. I would kindly ask you to consider that “WE” do not all think alike yet have just as much right to be heard.

  • Sharon

    I am probably late on this discussion but I have to add my two bits. When you feel, as I do, that abortion is murder, that life begins at conception, you cannot sit back and let people arbitrarily kill people – think the halocaust.

    I have been a foster parent for several years and have had the opportunity to observe people who live off the “system” and see girls refuse birth control because they want a baby with no regard to what is best for that “person” who they are carrying. There is no easy answers here.

    Folks I have spoken to from Canada and Great Britain do not like their systems by and large. When my son tore his ACL his soccer buddies from the UK were SHOCKED that he could see a Dr. right a way and even more Shocked that he could get it repaired so quickly. I don’t think a system where we can’t get health care is an improvement.

    I work for a non-profit who depends on gov’t funding to a certain extent. They love to require more and more red tape for less and less money. I can’t believe Anybody thinks the gov’t can successfully run any system. And by the way, the VA system is chockful of waste, just ask someone who has had an occasion to use it – my husband returned from active duty a year ago.

  • Sharon

    who speaks for the unborn?

  • HR Number 2

    This is all very interesting reading. However, I do not believe it is necessary to call people “idiots”, etc. just because you disagree with their comments. You are, in essence, causing people not to respond due to you being “mean”. All ideas have some validity and it may just get someone thinking of a solution. Please be “nice”.

  • Sara

    FedUp I just have one question for you… what does GOD or being Christian have to do with denying healthcare to those who can not afford it ?

    In fact anyone who calls themselves ” Christian” should realize that Health Care should be a RIGHT not a privledge. Would Jesus say to a dying man ” Sorry but I can’t help you because you can’t pay me?” I think not!!

    Socialized medicine is NOT a bad thing. In most all other countries healthcare IS provided by the Govt. I personally would not mind an increase in taxes if that meant that everytime I am sick or had a toothache I wouldn’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay for it. It is disgraceful that so many Americans have to go with out dental care, medical care and/or medication due to their financial situation. This is not the way GOD would like us to treat on another!!

    If this is a Country founded on Christian beliefs then how can any Christian deny medicine, healthcare and a better quality of life to ANYONE.

    I do however, agree that if you are an ILLEGAL immegrant you should not be afforded benefits by the US Govt.’ Do what you need to do to become Legal, don’t take my tax money when you didn’t contribute anything. This is just fair!!

    Health Care should be a RIGHT not a Privledge!!!!!!!

  • JAGGER

    Sara, I am just a Christian and God loving as anyone, but sorry, I don’t agree with you. In American, we are guided by the Constitution our Founding Fathers drafted and ratified. The Constitution does not provide for Health Care Insurance. As far as Health Care is concerned, no one is denied Health Care….not even illegals. Break you leg, have a heart attack, get in an auto accident……..you name it……you go to the hospital and you get treated. So don’t continue to say no one gets help if they can’t pay for it. It is just that Health Care is not a right under the Constitution. If you want the Constitution changed to include it, then campain to change the Constitution. But, don’t ignore the constitution as if it not an importantant part of what makes America great.

  • Rick

    Sara wrote:

    I do however, agree that if you are an ILLEGAL immigrant you should not be afforded benefits by the US Govt.’ Do what you need to do to become Legal, don’t take my tax money when you didn’t contribute anything. This is just fair!!

    (don’t take my tax money when you didn’t contribute anything. This is just fair!!)????

    Can I ask, what the majority of welfare recipients who are afforded benefits by our government have done to contribute to our system? Remember, if they are “poor” they don’t pay taxes.

    So you are ok with giving everything to people who don’t contribute anything to our tax base as long as they are born here or immigrate here?

    How is that “FAIR” to those of us who work hard and contribute?

    Also, if everything is a “right” and should be provided by the government, what incentive is there to work? Why work when you can stay home and do nothing because the government will provide you with everything?

    In 1996 Bill Clinton and a Republican Majority passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, often referred to as the welfare-reform act. Since 1996, welfare caseloads have plummeted by 70 percent—8.8 million people off the rolls, which today are down to 3.8 million.

    The legislation required states’ work-participation rates—that is, the percentage of people on welfare who were working or searching for work—to be at least 50 percent. But states were allowed to diminish that fraction by whatever percentage their welfare rolls had shrunk since 1995. By 2002, welfare rolls nationwide had fallen so steeply that 33 states could meet their obligations with work-participation rates of less than 10 percent.

    The best way to help people is to encourage the growth of business and jobs that afford them the opportunity to work. Not the “right” to work, but the opportunity. They could then “choose” to provide “health insurance” for their families.

    Our Health Care is already the best in the world, and EVERYONE has ACCESS to it.

    We are talking about Health Insurance!!

    Socialized Health Insurance/Care is a bad thing, and NO Government provides health care for anyone! The citizens of a country provide it.

    Remember: The government cannot give to anyone anything it does not first take from someone else.

  • Lajeli

    Betterway: You say that abotion is a personal choice but there are those that would argue that life begins with a heartbeat (because the end of the heartbeat is the determination of death) and therefore, it would be murder or unconstitutional for a woman to choose to end the life. If this were true, then it wouldn’t matter what the circumstances are, the death would be illegal.
    Sara: No one should get a free ride becuae every human life has a value and a purpose. Each person should have a way to contribute to the society in which s/he lives and in that way, earn enough to cover their needs. Anything else would be to say that there are some who are valuable and they should be forced to contribute while there are those who are less valuable if valuable at all and they should be provided for by others. This system would undercut the basic premise of the foundation of US society and would also undercut the understood moral foundation of most Christian religions.
    JAGGER: You are dead on. Health care is the product of private industry and is not a right provided by the US Constitution. Many people in the health care industy as well as in charitable groups are currently acting to help provide healthcare to those who need it. St Jude’s Hospital does a great job of this. Ronald McDonald house helps to support those whose children are suffering. Catholic Charities helps many people in many way, not just heatlh care and these are just three of the biggest groups I can think of on the spur of the moment. The list is much longer and I am sure those of you who don’t believe it yet, can research what is happening and see that yes, indeed, many people who cannot afford health care are receiving it anyway from the goodness of others. Government involvement is not required to solve the problem and as history has taught us, is likely to worsen the problem instead of making things better.
    Rick: I agree. health care is one thing and health insurance is quite another. Let’s not let insurance get any bigger. Let’s help bring health care to an affordable level without insurance if possible. There are people who want what you describe when you say they want the government to provide and do not realize that since the government has no money, they create no wealth and only have the power to trasfer wealth from one source to another, what they are really saying is that they want to some individuals provide for other individuals under the force of the government and that is extremely un-American; so much so that it was one of the very principles this government was created to prevent. Worse case scenario, everyone drops out and asks the government to provide; at that point, where will the government get the funds to provide anything???

  • Lajeli

    Sharon: You are speaking well for the unborn as well as the born. I wish more of us would speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
    I agree with your posts and hope you continue speaking your mind. You seem to be a in a position to have had to learn the hard way what you already knew to be true…When people take care of people, things change for the better and government involvement seems to get in the way more than it helps.

    Better late than never right?

  • Lajeli

    HR Number 2: Thanks for the reminder and for bringing respect back to the conversation! :)

  • Lajeli

    Found this article today…
    http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7017373722?Construction%20Industry%20Angry%20Over%20Provision%20In%20Senate%20Health%20Care%20Bill

    Which says:
    “The Senate bill has a provision requiring businesses with over 50 employees to pay a fine of $750-per-worker fine for any employee who purchases subsidized health insurance on their own. However, the provision was amended to require construction businesses with more than five employees to pay the same fine”

  • Lajeli

    Also this:
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/12/reid_bill_declares_future_cong_1.asp

    which says that page 1020 of the bill that passed states:
    “it shall not be in order in the senate or the house of representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection”

    So no future congress could amend the health care bill…hmmmm too weird for me

  • Lajeli

    School-based health centers will now provide care as follows:

    “`(A) PHYSICAL- Comprehensive health assessments, diagnosis, and treatment of minor, acute, and chronic medical conditions, and referrals to, and follow-up for, specialty care and oral health services.
    `(B) MENTAL HEALTH- Mental health and substance use disorder assessments, crisis intervention, counseling, treatment, and referral to a continuum of services including emergency psychiatric care, community support programs, inpatient care, and outpatient programs.”
    (SEC. 399Z-1. SCHOOL-BASED HEALTH CENTERS)

    I don’t think I want the public school system doing this…anyone else?

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