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Area Democrats laud 'historic' health care bill

Original post made on Mar 22, 2010

A bill reforming America's health care system, what one Bay Area congressman said was "one of the most important bills in the past 40 years," was approved Sunday night by the U.S. House of Representatives, with seven votes to spare. After expected Senate approval of House changes, it will go to President Obama to be signed.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, March 22, 2010, 12:45 AM

Comments (156)

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Posted by concerned resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2010 at 5:49 am

This is a great move forward, however, the task has just started. As people are different, the needs are varied. We should NOT expect overnight miraculous plans.

Mr. President, thank you. And thanks to all supporters.


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Posted by Thanks, America!
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 22, 2010 at 6:13 am

Well, enjoy this camel moving into your tent over the years to come.

Your grandchildren will laugh at you when you say that in the old days you got to choose the type of health care you wanted, no matter how poor, there were no lines for heart surgery or hip replacements, we had plenty of nursing home beds for the very sick, etc..They won't believe you when you tell them the rich and famous from Canada to France to the Middle East used to fly here for the best care in the world.

Like my cousins in France can't believe the stories of their parents, who are doctors, at what has happened to their health care over the last 30 years. They dont' believe me when I tell them what our poorest people get...better care than they, as "middle class" in France, get.

Oh well. At least not one Republican fell for it.

Clear difference between the parties, at last. It was hard to tell, before, but now we know the Repubs, as far left as they had gone, were slowing down this rush toward the cliff in ways we hadn't realized.

Ok, gotta get back to work figuring out how to milk the new system, since it is so much easier to milk a corrupt huge, contradictory govt program than it is to milk a private company which keeps tabs on its money better.

So, in that sense, I thank you Palo Alto for getting us to where I can make more money as a health care worker, even though it is, in fact, taking money from our children ( but at least I will 'get mine" and be able to save it for my kids to use)




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Posted by Thanks, America!
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 22, 2010 at 6:18 am

Web Link

Another great "unintended" consequence of ever increasing debt for the USA..our bonds rating is in threat. This means Buffet is less of a risk ( and other big corporations) than is the USA..hahahahahaha

First time in my half century of life that our USA FED GOVT is a less stable investment than private...


hahahaha.. all I can do is laugh

The cycle of destruction continues, as those who helped sell this "to the people" profit.


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Posted by Correction
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2010 at 7:09 am

" They dont' believe me when I tell them what our poorest people get...better care than they, as "middle class" in France, get."

Backwards. Their poorest get better care than our middle class in America.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2010 at 8:11 am

There is a great saying "if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is".

Time will tell, but the cons are definitely going to outweigh the pros as the system gets abused and this type of thing always gets abused.


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Posted by Mather O' Facte
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2010 at 8:31 am

re: comment by "Thanks, America" above, if you think there are/were no lines with the current/old system for hip replacements or heart surgeries, you are not living in reality. I had a year wait for a hip replacement in 2008, and my father had to wait 6 months in 2001 for a cardiac ablation to fix a tachycardia which was painful and prevented him from living and working normally. There was nothing glorious about the way things have been.

Also, if you want to rail against government programs, then let's also complain about libraries, the US Postal Service, Medicare, Social Security, and the Veteran's Administration while we're at it. These services are a few among many that we should all be thankful that a government run by individuals elected by we, the People, took our interests seriously, created, and ran. It is a moral imperative that everyone have healthcare. It is a moral imperative that we, as a civilized society, take care of those less fortunate than we are, to care for our fellow human beings.

Perhaps such a world is scary to the Boomers and beyond, but from Generation X onward we get it. We understand how the shrinking local and global community in which we live needs to come together and look out for our common interests. Perhaps it's scary to share for you, and those like you. Perhaps you are upset that more taxes will come out of your paycheck to ensure you live in a civil and just society. Maybe not. What I know is that the truth is human beings evolve, physically and socially. And this selfish, xenophobic, attitude espoused by so many of our elders - locally and in Washington - is going to give way to those of us who care about more than ourselves. So rabble-rouse if you want to. Cling to your comfortable, selfish paradigm if it helps you sleep at night. In time, your generation will pass away and those of us who are not afraid of the future will take your place at the polls. That's just the way it is, and the way it will always be.


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Posted by Rogers
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2010 at 8:49 am

Preach it, Resident!
I can not believe all of you have bought into this. The economics of the bill do not make any sense. It will most certainly hasten the bankruptcy of our country. Is this what the guys in "The Pacific" fought for? So congress could snub their noses at us, ignore the constitution and make it up as they go along? Is this what they fought for? Socialism in America? Redistribution of wealth? Unconstitutional mandates?

Thank you Nancy, you've awakened a conservative revolution. Enjoy this day, libs - its the equivalent to champagne in the locker room after the league championships, only to get crushed in the world series.


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Posted by Physician's Wife
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2010 at 8:50 am

Matter O' Facte: What health insurance are you on? Kaiser? You shouldn't have to wait that long.

Why do Canadians fly to world-famous Mayo Clinic for surgery? Because they would have to wait too long for surgery in Canada's universal health care program.


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Posted by notrush
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 22, 2010 at 9:06 am

Matter of fact I'm sorry to hear you had to wait a year and that you are so young too for hip surgery. But if it was necessary, I don't think you'd have to wait that long. I have a Canadian friend who has had to deal with long waits. If this health care bill stands we are in for rationed medical care and long waits will be the least of our problems.

You make the mistake of thinking those of us who oppose this bill are doing is for selfish reasons. No, it's just we don't buy the rosy packaging. This is a change from a free society to a socialist one. Listing socialistic programs that we have in place now as a reason why the system should be turned completely over to govt is dumb. Yes, social security and the post office and veterans hospitals are good. No, that doesn't mean then govt should run everything. Because when govt runs everything, we, the people, are beholden to the govt. and corruption and abuse of power will become more and more apparent.

You are dreaming of an utopian society and that this time the socialists will get it right. But the state never does "wither away" despite Marxist claims that once it "fixes" things we will all live happily together in our cooperatives. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.


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Posted by relieved
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2010 at 9:25 am

Have you ever been denied health insurance? Have you ever been without insurance when you had the ability to pay but no one would offer it to you? Ever been tested for a serious medical condition, found not to have it, but later been denied simply for the testing? What about when your job goes away or you're a small business person and you have to buy private policy insurance? These have all happened to my family and we are healthy! No diabetes, no cancer, no heart disease. It's scary and it's just plain wrong in a developed society such as ours. People who like the current system probably have not had any of the above happen to them.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 22, 2010 at 10:02 am

This is from Investor's Business Daily.

To Repeat: Doctors Could Hang It Up
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY

Health Overhaul: We were harshly criticized last September for an IBD/TIPP Poll that showed 45% of doctors would consider leaving medicine if a health care takeover passed. A new poll has vindicated our findings. READ MORE


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Posted by Daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 22, 2010 at 10:13 am

fascinating right wing logic:the government, which a majority of the voters elected should be prohibited from helping the public get affordable and undeniable healthcare insurance, but big corporations, those benign protectors of the common well-being should. We already know that the US is the craziest country in the world, but now we know that the only thing driving the t-bags and rest of the right wingers, beside bottomless stupidity, is unfathomable insanity.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2010 at 10:16 am

This bill now effectively requires my parents...who have refrained from receiving government assistance in the past...to rely on the government for their health care.

My parents are extremely poor immigrants who spent their lives performing migrant farm labor. My dad worked at Wal-Mart to provide health insurance for his family. His hours were recently cut and he is now working part-time mopping floors at a Wal-Mart Supercenter in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. He has prided himself by the fact that he has not relied on the government in the past. I suppose that this legislation will rob him of a little bit of his dignity and pass the cost to the rest of us.

I suspect that he will be disheartened when he is added to the roster of welfare recipients in this nation. I suppose that my only consolation is the knowledge that it will be paid for by the rest of us.


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Posted by Physician's Wife
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2010 at 10:55 am

Here's the link Bob was mentioning: Web Link

My husband already hung it up because physicians aren't paid enough for us to live in Palo Alto. For all the rigorous schooling and responsibility, physicians are not paid enough. The quality of physicians is going to go downhill if we have socialized medicine. Just because they care for people, doesn't mean they should practice at discount prices or practice according to what is the cheapest method of helping the patient (example: meds forever vs. surgery). Lawyers charge by their time and physicians are on salary.


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Posted by Don G.
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 22, 2010 at 10:57 am

The nanny state is alive and well and we're getting deeper and deeper into it while the elected officials gets stupider and stupider. Enjoy your day in the sun until election day. I only hope we can extricate ourselves from this mess. Sure there are SOME fixes to the healthcare insurance system that need to occur, but not this bill.


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Posted by Daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 22, 2010 at 11:00 am

"My husband already hung it up because physicians aren't paid enough for us to live in Palo Alto"
Yet you live in Old Palo Alto, that infamous favela. My heart just goes out to you. Imagine trying to survive on $300,000 a year. Scandalous.


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Posted by Jesse
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 22, 2010 at 11:10 am

Just make sure the goverment stays away from medicare.


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Posted by RightToHealth
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2010 at 11:18 am

If you believe healthcare is a privilege and not a right than I understand why you are against this bill. But understand also that, without it, we are all (except for the very rich) one lay-off and one medical crisis away from bankruptcy.

Also, this bill does nothing to ration healthcare. That is just a myth. If we were tearing down the private insurance based healthcare system we have in this country (and which is inefficient, despite claims to the contrary), then perhaps you could argue that it would lead to rationing. No such thing is happening.

If you think we are losing liberty because everyone will be mandated to have health insurance, then you should apply the same logic to car insurance. Why should I have to pay if I never get into car accidents? The idea of insurance is to distribute the costs. You should pay whether you are healthy or sick because one day you will likely need it.

And unless you are prepared to turn people away from hospitals/clinics and let them die in the streets, you cannot reasonably argue that healthcare is a privilege. Because what happens today is that we, who have insurance and pay taxes, have to pay for all those who don't and end up in ERs across the country receiving extremely costly care for conditions that could have been prevented or dealt with much earlier on via preventive care or early intervention.

But you all know that already.

And before blasting Canada, France, the UK or Germany for there "socialized medicine" systems, you should try using them. I have, and they work very well. But if you expect the "best care in the world" (read all the tests and procedures I think I, or my family, should have regardless of cost and scientifically proven benefit) at rock bottom prices, than you are living in some utopia and need to wake up.


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Posted by ann
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 22, 2010 at 11:52 am

oh my goodness....mather o facte.........how dare you... you want us boomers to die sooner rather than later...shame on you.....sounds like you have been brainwashed...not educated...
rabble rouse? selfish? we all pay to school all children....and not so they grow up to disrespect the hands that fed them....


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Posted by Sad Day
a resident of University South
on Mar 22, 2010 at 11:58 am


I am overwhelmed by sadness, fear and disappointment. I don't think the average American understands this at all - and what it means short-term and longer-term. I wish I had more options, but sadly, we are all now "at the mercy" - and it won't be pretty.

I don't have the energy today to write about what I have learned about this bill and why I believe it's a disaster, but I am certain that most who support it will be sorry - for a lot of reasons. Enjoy it while you can -


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Posted by ten18
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Interesting how people like "Matter O Facte" are all about the common good when it's being taken care of with other people's money. I'm not sure if healthcare is a privilege or a right, but EVERYONE should have to pay for it, and not through higher taxes. This bill is going to subsidize premiums for people making $88K a year? That's nuts! I think some subisidies are in order for people below a certain verifiable income level, but nobody gets it for free! My wife and I are facing a huge tax increase, AND we have to pay our healthcare premiums, which will NOT decrease under this plan. Socialized medicine will fail - the sooner, the better.


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Posted by Wilson
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm

> I had a year wait for a hip replacement in 2008, and my father
> had to wait 6 months in 2001 for a cardiac ablation to fix a
> tachycardia which was painful and prevented him from living and
> working normally

Postings like this are meaningless, without the following:

1) Reason For Delay
2) Source of Delay
3) Source of Funding For Operation
4) Total Cost of Hospitalization
5) Total paid for insurance prior to the requirement for surgery.
6) Reason personal funds were not used for Surgery.

There are any number of answers that need to be visible before anyone to make any sense out of this posters cryptic comments.



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Posted by Wilson
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 22, 2010 at 12:48 pm

For those who think that "healthcare is a right" .. please think about this:

If everyone of the 300M people living in the US that have a right to $2+M in healthcare services, then this will be the cost to those who are paying the taxes:

3M people x $2M healthcare/person = $600,000,000,000,000 = $600T.

The current budget has grown to over $3T/year--which is adding $1T to the National Debt every year hereafter.

There is simply no way that this country can afford anything like this in any way. Given that the general sense of those promoting this bill is that "Healthcare is not only a right, but it should be free" .. how long do you think it is going to be before there is a taxpayer revolt?

And if you don't believe than anyone in the US is consuming over $2M in healthcare .. please stand up an say so!

The US is already bankrupt. You folks who passed this bill have simply added a ton of nails in the country's coffin.


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Posted by Mather O' Facte
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm

@ann, please accept my apologies if I expressed a desire for anyone to pass on before their time. That's not what I wrote and not what I meant. What I wrote was the simple fact that as older generations pass away, newer ones take their place at the polls, bringing with them their ideologies. I will some day be among the number of those that pass on. It doesn't mean that I desire to do so before my time, nor do I wish anyone else do so. I want everyone to be part of the political process. The reality is that we all die, and when the xenophobic, selfish, old white male politicians in Washington yield their seats to future generations, we'll have a much more progressive political landscape that more appropriately reflects a diversity of social interests. I have great respect for those who came before me, the ones who fought for justice and to defend this country I love. I just want this country to continue to be an institution worth defending. Socialized medicine is a big step in the morally right direction.


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Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Jessie, it's already medicare's demise in the bill. Medicare will be gutted by one trillion $$$. And it's already started. I was denied a PAP smear in january (over 65) and my husband this week was denied a prostate PSA test AND a colon test during his physical. It's started. Medicare is already going 'down the drain'.


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Posted by ten18
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2010 at 1:09 pm

So being old and white qualifies you as xenophobic and selfish, or is it the other way around? Those are fighting words, my man - and a source of the increased social tension evident since Mr. BHO was elected. I think that's an equal opportunity situation - minorities can also be very selfish about the interests of their ethnic or religious groups.


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Posted by JS
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2010 at 1:34 pm

For those who think we have "freedom" now, you are clearly living in an ivory tower, or have just been plain lucky not to deal with the Insurance Companies who run our current health choices. For most of us the only choice of plans is the plan that our corporate employer chooses. Try selecting another plan, and see how far you get, Especially if you have the vaguest 'preexisting condition'. If you are unemployed, or an entrepreneur, or not yet old enough for Medicare, and have 'preexisting conditions' you are not a profitable customer for the insurance companies, good luck, no matter how much you can afford.
And if you cannot buy Insurance coverage you are at the mercy of the hospitals and doctors "uninsured" full retail pricing, so you get a double whammy.
We already have Death Panels, the Insurance Companies, whose only concern is optimizing their profits.


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Posted by Wha?
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm

If people have the money to fly to get healthcare here, and then can pay out of pocket for that health care instead of waiting for what is available in their own country - they have money.

Here, until yesterday, if you had no money and serious health concerns, you got NOTHING! Until you ended up in emergency where it costs all of us way too much.


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Posted by ten18
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2010 at 1:56 pm

So Wha's changed, except that now we'll be paying for indigent care through higher premiums AND higher taxes.


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Posted by Ten
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm

For those of us with preexisting conditions, the Insurance Companies are currently barriers to getting ANY coverage.


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Posted by ten18
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm

All of these issues could have been dealt with, without a massive government takeover of the healthcare industry.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Hi Wha?...

Actually, if you have "no money" but aren't in all-out poverty, you will STILL have to purchase health insurance. From all that I have read, you will receive a subsidy in accordance with your income compared with income levels on a system of federal tiers.

For instance, if your household income is $50K and you are barely able to pay your bills (student loans, house payment, car payment, etc...), you will STILL be required by law to purchase a government-approved insurance plan. However, you will receive a "progressive" subsidy. If you earn $12,500 or less, your subsidy will cover the entire cost of insurance. If you earn $37,500 per year, you will receive a subsidy that pays for a little less than half of the typical cost of government-approved insurance. However, you will need to pay for the rest of it out of your own pocket. No one will be exempt from this legal requirement to buy insurance. If you don't buy...you will be fined.


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Posted by ten18
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm

The beauty of this is that you can just pay the fine (which is nominal compared to the cost of insurance), and then just get insurance when you get sick (since you can't be denied for pre-existing conditions). What a country!


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Posted by GR
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Wife,

Seriously, the rationing of healthcare is much worse in the United States than in developed countries.

Nayali,

Wait, so you're complaining that your parents, who have worked hard all their lives, will have access to healthcare? Because that makes sense.

ten18,

"This bill is going to subsidize premiums for people making $88K a year? That's nuts." Why? We already pay subsidies, in the form of tax breaks, to those who have insurance paid by their companies. And smaller companies that insure their employees pay subsidies to large companies that insure their employees (in the form of worse rates). And the self-insured are subsidizing everyone. So please explain how that is nuts.

Socialized medicine is already here. It's just done in a twisted way....


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Posted by ten18
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Well, so now we're losing that tax break, AND our marginal rates are increasing, along with our Medicare tax, which will now be applied to capital gains and rental incomes. AND our health care premiums will be increasing. It is a bit twisted, eh? With that little list, we're all going to need government funded healthcare, because we're all going to be out of jobs.


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Posted by Satisified
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 22, 2010 at 3:02 pm

It is well worth considering the following:

10 THINGS EVERY AMERICAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HEALTH CARE REFORM

1. Once reform is fully implemented, over 95% of Americans will have health insurance coverage, including 32 million who are currently uninsured.2

2. Health insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny people coverage because of preexisting conditions—or to drop coverage when people become sick.3

3. Just like members of Congress, individuals and small businesses who can't afford to purchase insurance on their own will be able to pool together and choose from a variety of competing plans with lower premiums.4

4. Reform will cut the federal budget deficit by $138 billion over the next ten years, and a whopping $1.2 trillion in the following ten years.5

5. Health care will be more affordable for families and small businesses thanks to new tax credits, subsidies, and other assistance—paid for largely by taxing insurance companies, drug companies, and the very wealthiest Americans.6

6. Seniors on Medicare will pay less for their prescription drugs because the legislation closes the "donut hole" gap in existing coverage.7

7. By reducing health care costs for employers, reform will create or save more than 2.5 million jobs over the next decade.8

8. Medicaid will be expanded to offer health insurance coverage to an additional 16 million low-income people.9

9. Instead of losing coverage after they leave home or graduate from college, young adults will be able to remain on their families' insurance plans until age 26.10

10. Community health centers would receive an additional $11 billion, doubling the number of patients who can be treated regardless of their insurance or ability to pay.11


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Hi GR...

No, I didn't say that. I said that my father has made an effort to refrain from relying on government welfare...and will be disheartened to learn that he will now be forced to rely on it in order to pay for this new government-required insurance mandate.

There were other options besides this messy, expensive piece of legislation. President Obama promised that he would consider every option and that this entire procedure would be done transparently and with cameras rolling. Unfortunately, he changed his mind. This bill would not have passed if it were not for some back-room deals done behind closed, locked doors (which was where the entire bill was written). Health care needed to be reformed. I am just sad that the President and Congress chose this messy monstrosity rather than involving other Americans into this procedure with openness, honesty and full transparency.

I am glad that people like you are willing to have your taxes raised by $400 Billion and face high industrial inflation in order to help pay for insurance for others. Of course, according to the most optimistic estimates, this bill will not begin saving money until after ten years and will not recoup the initial cost until after 25 years ($100M a year for 15 years following the initial ten years). However, I imagine that many middle class families, contract workers and small business owners will be upset at the notion of being forced to purchase an expensive insurance plan or face fines, criminal charges and even jail.


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Posted by ten18
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2010 at 3:09 pm

I'm glad you're satisfied, because item #5 negates the credibility of the other nine - I may have a bridge to sell you . .

Taxing insurance companies - passed on to the consumer
Taxing drug companies - passed on to the consumer
Taxing the very wealthiest Americans - isn't that altruistic! Too bad that includes people making over $250K, which in this neck of the woods is solidly middle class.
Tax, tax, tax. That's what it's all about. Ten years of tax, and six years of benefits.

Even if I believed the $138B reduction in the deficit, is that really a big deal? What is the deficit now, $13T?


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Hi Satisified...

No one is saying that this legislation is "all bad" (although your own list reeks of "all good" points that sound more like spin than legitimate observations. Some of those points sound like "talking points" that rely upon unquestioned and blind optimism. You forgot to mention any of the problems that most Americans (75% according to yesterday's Gallup) have with this current legislation.

1. All Americans are now required by law to purchase health insurance simply for being alive.

2. Those who do not purchase government-approved health insurance will receive a hefty fine (ironic, since they couldn't afford insurance to begin with). Failure to pay the fine results in criminal charges and/or jail time.

3. Subsidies are available to help pay for SOME of the cost of health insurance for families earning less than $75K a year. However, it is a progressive subsidy...and families earning $37.5 would be required to pay for more than half of the cost of an expensive insurance plan.

4. Contract workers, temp employees, religious workers, and the self-employed are now required by law to purchase insurance from a government-approved insurance company.

5. This legislation will cost more than $1.5 Trillion -- yet will only extend coverage by a single digit percentage.

6. Taxes are going up. This includes $400 Billion in Medicare payroll taxes -- with only half directed at wealthy Americans earning $200K or more. The rest of us will bear the brunt.

7. This legislation will result in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid by $500 Billion in order to help pay for the cost.

8. This legislation will result in $200 Billion in cuts to public hospitals and clinics in order to help pay for the cost.

9. Medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies are facing a massive tax increase. These new costs will undoubtedly be passed to via the insurance companies...who will, by default, pass the cost to all of us.

10. Interesting: With all of the talk of limiting the profits of insurance companies, there was NO talk of tort reform or limiting the profits of trial lawyers.

Personally, I think that most Americans will have a great deal of trouble with the most obvious requirement of this legislation. For the first time ever, Americans will be required to purchase something simply for being alive. They will be no way for Americans to "opt out" of this. It is literally the government forcing Americans to purchase something whether they want it or not (different from auto insurance...because you can choose whether or not to own or drive a car).

I truly believe that this will be the greatest point of contention with most Americans. The loss of "choice" will be one of the most difficult thing for people living in a "free" society to grasp. Once a few Americans are fined, charged and jailed as a result of this legislation, there will be a major public backlash.


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Posted by Jesse
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 22, 2010 at 4:32 pm

"Jessie, it's already medicare's demise in the bill. Medicare will be gutted by one trillion $$$."

Don't you think the Medicare Company will sue to keep the government from taking it over? I like my medicare, but it won't work any more if the government is goin to run it.


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Posted by Wilson
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Everything associated with this Obamanation can be seen in this short video--

PROMISES FOR $2,500: ALL AMERICANS NOW AWAIT LOWER PREMIUMS PROMISED BY OBAMA:
Web Link

This man has LIED about everything! Claiming that your premiums will go down .. and then expect to provide "healthcare" to tens of millions of people is not possible. And even if premiums were to go down, but your taxes go up beyond the decrease in premiums--this is still a NET LOSS to family income.

> By reducing health care costs for employers, reform will create
> or save more than 2.5 million jobs over the next decade.8

How utterly dellusional .. The Caterpillar Company doesn't see it that way --

Caterpillar: Health Care bill will cost our company 100 million dollar
Web Link

Of course, if Caterpillar decides to takes its struggling business outside the Continental USA .. no doubt its healthcare costs will go down!

The sooner this man is impeached the better.


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Posted by WTH
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2010 at 5:18 pm

"Don't you think the Medicare Company will sue to keep the government from taking it over? I like my medicare, but it won't work any more if the government is goin to run it."

Are you joking??? I have a hard time taking your comment seriously.

Medicare IS and HAS ALWAYS BEEN a government program!!!!

lol.


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Posted by Biggest argument against democracy
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 22, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Satisfied.. .re: point number 1, over "95% will have health insurance"..uh....95% already had insurance, could afford insurance, or were eligible for govt insurance... what is that 1 trillion dollars for again?

I stopped reading after that one. You are parroting "talking points" of the marxists, famous for promising a free lunch while building the cages around the pigs eating at the trough.

Who was it that said the biggest argument against a democracy is a 5 minute conversation with an average voter?

Probably Jefferson.. I will have to look it up.


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Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 22, 2010 at 5:54 pm

The US *presently* is spending 17% US GDP on medical care and it's increasing rapidly. That's unsustainable, especially after our near-implosion in the fall of 2008. Medical care + finance is taking almost 1/4 US GDP this year, even more unsustainable, both increasing without reform. 'Unsustainable' means it has to be dealt with independent of ideology or personal feelings.

With our pay-to-play political system in Washington we have already proven we can't have a market-driven insurance system. Now the Supreme Court has effectively turned that Constitutional omission into law. That compromises democracy, and also Capitalism/Markets since big companies can buy their environment in Washington and become dysfunctional in the real world marketplace. It means that US preaching democracy and markets will be seen increasingly as arrogance and a pretension of power since the US is broke and as a result its real influence is dropping.

I hope a single payer system over private care providers emerges in a few years. France and Canada spend ~10%, Germany 11% GDP on health care. Their life expectancies all are longer that the US, Canada by three years Web Link . Obviously they're not gassing Granny. They are all under heavy cost pressure because of rapidly aging populations which the US addressed by immigration and Canada is in the process of solving the same way. The US and Canada had room; the US is filling up. Canada uses a points system and escapes some US problems.

The US care system is already financed locally (eg, hospital bond issues) and at state and federal levels (including heavy R&D) by taxpayers. Surely no one thinks that US care will benefit an ever smaller part of the population yet be paid for by everyone? It's only a Libertarian dream that people die in net worth order.

The problem needs to be attacked at several levels. One, IMO, is a single payer system or one like Singapore. Second is to go after the cost drivers in the first place. Cancer R&D and prevention are a priority and that may cut birth defects too. Obesity/diabetes can be attacked by taxing sugar, fructose, etc like cigarettes and putting the proceeds into the single payer system. Universal care has real general benefits. Vaccinating a field worker near Fresno is a real good for families in Palo Alto. The guy doing your yard could pass drug resistant TB to your kids. Plainly the health of the general population has a direct influence on the health and possibilities of everyone, gated communities included.

It's past time for most Republicans to grow up. Republicans in Washington are responding to lobby money from insurance/drugs, over $500 million in 2009. Shame has no influence on them, clearly.


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Posted by Biggest argument against democracy
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 22, 2010 at 6:10 pm

To Wha?,,,if you had no money and needed health care, you got health care through either MediCal or Medicare....and in fact the care you got was as good as the care I got..but I had to pay for mine in premiums, dedcutibles, copays etc.

So, no..you are wrong..

If you had money and had foolishly not bought insurance and then fell ill..well, then you have to pay down until you have less money and qualify for MediCal..however, that is not my risk I took, it is yours.

If you had paid for insurance then there are no discussions.

So..there you are.

You are basing your support of increasing govt health care on false premises.

The pre-existings is and were a big problem. Unfortunately, and typically, a simple rule such as in this bill "Insurances can not deny preexistings" simply means that more of us will dump our insurance until we "need it"..ie until we have a "pre-existing"..there is no penalty for waiting, is there?

What is the result? Dead insurance companies because none can stay alive if they only insure people once they become ill..defeats the whole point, doesn't it? Imagine "no preexistings" for..say..car collisions...would that work?


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Posted by GR
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2010 at 6:12 pm

ten18,

"so now we're losing that tax break"

So you're not just complaining about subsidizing others, you're complaining about losing the subsidy yourself?

"AND our health care premiums will be increasing." That remains to be seen, but if they do it is another argument against for-profit insurance companies.

Niyali,

"I said that my father has made an effort to refrain from relying on government welfare...and will be disheartened to learn that he will now be forced to rely on it in order to pay for this new government-required insurance mandate."

Not so. He need not use it.

Look, legislation is always messy, but the process was open, honest, and fully transparent. Obama bent over backward to accommodate the Republicans--really he went too far because they never had any intention of engaging with the debate. (Not surprising given that they made no moves toward reform in the years they held the white house.) This is the kind of result one expects when a party has only obstruction to offer. It's dysfunctional, I'll grant you that.

This reform was the right thing to do from a moral standpoint, but I'm gratified at the savings it will bring.


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Posted by Biggest argument against democracy
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 22, 2010 at 6:27 pm

H....Pelosi favoribility ratings at 11%,and Reid at 8%... Leader of the House and Leader of the Senate..the architects of the huge deficit bills/private sector takeovers...

and this isn't even Rasmussen..but CBS!!!!!

Web Link

wow!! popular leaders!!

let's see what happens with Obama's now..


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 22, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Biggest,

The polling comes from before the bill vote.

maguro_01--nice post.

Nayeli,

All drivers are required to purchase auto insurance. It's safer for everyone. Similar situation with health care. You don't like it, well, you can try to find a country with decent services and no national health care system. Let me know when you find it.


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Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 22, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Congress is at a low in general because of the Washington pay-to-play system and the publicity about its inner workings. Republican tactics recently will likely backfire at some point since they operate in the same environment in the same way. The Republicans have also chosen to use the Big Lie technique routinely and fall back on demagoguery.

Some of the original Tea Party groups were apparently Astroturf, but most have little use for the corporate-backed Republican national party at all. Republicans and real populism won't mix for long. They may even splinter, some agreeing for the new bill when they figure it out.

For perspective one year of Obama's stimulus package cost about a single year's US trade deficit in the worst years between 2001-2009. That deficit during the last administration was over $2 billion a DAY for years on end. Do people think all that money is piled up on the Planet of Missing Socks? They quietly borrowed much of it back, turning our country into a Ponzi scheme and further running up the national bar tab. The voters were lulled by the artificially low prices, assuming in error that Washington was minding the store. Walmart and others waxed fat by arbitraging the US dollar and the artificially low Yuan, a sure fire business plan.

Be careful of what you wish for....




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Posted by Jesse
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 22, 2010 at 7:19 pm

"Are you joking??? I have a hard time taking your comment seriously.

Medicare IS and HAS ALWAYS BEEN a government program!!!!"

YOU are joking. Medicare works. It saved me a lot of money in the last 10 years and no hassle. No way goverment can do that.


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Posted by WTH
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Jesse,

it would be funny if it was not so tragic to know that people who receive and benefit from Medicare don't know that it is a government program. Oh, the ignorance and disinformation in this country. It's astounding. Read on


"What is Medicare / Medicaid?

Medicaid and Medicare are two governmental programs that provide medical and health-related services to specific groups of people in the United States. Although the two programs are very different, they are both managed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services..."

Web Link


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Posted by narnia
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 22, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Any system is as good as its funding.I have been the recipient of national health care in three different systems. I had premature children both at Stanford and in another country under NHS.
I was made to stay in hospital 10 days under National Health
care so that an eye could be kept on me and made to go home at Stanford after one day (I ended up paying for 2 so that I could
feel comfortable). I payed zero for the NHS services courtesy
of the British taxpayers and a lot at Stanford directly. Nobody
forced me to use NHS. I actually had private insurance and chose to go NHS.

I am very glad for the passing of this bill. The baby I had at Stanford is sick and on medical leave from college. We faced the prospect of her loosing all insurance because she has to be enrolled full time and she can't because she is sick. She would have no insurance and no treatment that we could afford. I hope you are never in this situation.
You can see why because of my experiences I support this bill.


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Posted by transparent!
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2010 at 9:18 pm

"the process was open, honest, and fully transparent."

!!

We could not even see the bill until the congressional representatives had essentially made their decisions.

We still don't know what it means.

We don't know what was promised to who to get their vote, or what was promised if someone did not vote their way.

This is open, honest and fully transparent?


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Posted by Merrill Inman Roe
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 22, 2010 at 9:20 pm

I will vote AGAINST every democrat on my ballot.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Hi GR...

You wrote: "Not so. He need not use it."

Unfortunately, he still has to sign up for it and purchase it (even if the government does it by proxy).

:-\

Hi OhlonePar...

You wrote: "Nayeli, All drivers are required to purchase auto insurance. It's safer for everyone. Similar situation with health care. You don't like it, well, you can try to find a country with decent services and no national health care system. Let me know when you find it."

I have already explained how CAR INSURANCE is very different from HEALTH insurance. You can CHOOSE whether or not you own a car or drive a car. If you CHOOSE not to, you don't need to purchase car insurance. Not so with this new health insurance mandate. Now, you must purchase insurance simply for being alive! Otherwise, you will be fined...and possibly, worse. If you can't/don't pay the fine, you will be charged criminally and face jail time.

As far as your extremely RUDE suggestion to leave this nation: How would you like it if I would have told you the same thing last week? You obviously didn't like the way health care was run for, well, the past 220+ years of our nation's history. However, I didn't ask you to leave the country. It would be nice if you were kind enough to show the same sort of respect to the majority of Americans like me who you disagree with you in regard to this particular health care bill.

We all want a better system and some sort of reform. However, we don't need to rudely show the door to those who we disagree with.


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Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 22, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Medicare is a government program, but it is NOT free. My husband and I EACH pay $96.00 a month - twelve months of the year. In addition we each pay for a "MediGap policy approx. $80 a month - to cover the 20% that Medicare does not pay. Do the math. Repeat after me: Medicare is NOT free, and IT is going to be gutted. ( Medicare rules that a patient is discharged from the hospital on day four after a hip replacement unless there are complications). And private "Gap" insurance will usually not pay unless Medicare pays first depending on IF it pays. All over the country, physicians are dropping patients on Medicare - and virtually every employer requires its retirees to be on Medicare A and B before the company retiree insurance (IF lucky enough to have it) kicks in. As Anna Eshoo blithely said on the Town Square Meeting, a lot of her constituents are going to be very unhappy.


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Posted by Jarred
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 12:11 am

As many have observed, the only thing bipartisan about ObamaCare is the near universal opposition to it. Against all expectations, Obama and Pelosi have finally united the country!

March 22, 2010 is a day that will live in infamy. I predict that ObamaCare will have an equal and opposite reaction from which the Democrats will not soon recover.


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Posted by narnia
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 5:58 am

Nayelli, what a silly comment. So, you can choose weather or not to drive a car? Have you lived in somewhere, where because of your job you have to drive (no public transportation or you walk 10 miles each way every day)? I have and so do the great majority of Americans.

Every child has to go to school, every child has the legal right to a public education. Is this not a mandate? It is and quite rightly so.

Every NHS I had the privilege of use WAS DIFFERENT both in funding and
logistics.
The present bill is akin to the Swiss system. Ask the swiss if they are happy about their civilized health care. They are.
The silly and uninformed comments are so absurd that once the program starts and people see that despite not being perfect, this bill is a good thing the opponents loose credibility.
Nobody forces you to give up your doctor, nobody forces you to work in a certain hospital and yes, emergency rooms will no longer be crowded
with people who use them because of lack insurance. How can this be a
bad thing?


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Posted by Wilson
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 23, 2010 at 8:01 am

> I payed zero for the NHS services courtesy of the British
> taxpayers and a lot at Stanford directly. Nobody forced me to use
> NHS. I actually had private insurance and chose to go NHS.

Courtesy of the British Taxpayers? The bloody government extracts most of your earnings to pay for things like a ten-day stay in the hospital (which this posters believes is her right without having to pay a penny) and she treats this transfer of wealth from those who work to those who don't as a "courtesy". Just Insane ..

A courtesy is when someone holds the door for you, or saves your place in line so that you can go to the restroom. But having 50-70% of your income so that people can lounge around in a hospital for no particular reason (at least none provided in this posting) .. ultimately results in the bankruptcy of a country and is in now way a "courtesy" to those who actually work and pay these crushing taxes (particularly benefiting ingrates like this person).

How long before this unwelcome guest to the US is demanding that she be given a salary because she has a child calling that a "courtesy" of the taxpayers too? It's people like this one .; who has probably never served in the military to keep the US safe (or her own country) .. or has done absolutely nothing to contribute to the overall wellbeing, or prosperity of the US .. whose only goal seems to be to take as much as she can without giving anything back .. who are now pushing for the dismantling of the very moral and intellectual framework that created this country over the past couple of centuries ..

Maybe it's time she started paying some of her own bills .. and quit trying to destroy other people's lives and dreams by having the government steal what they have earned with taxes that will destroy any will to work, save, or plan for the future!

This is what happens when a country opens its borders to just anyone.


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Posted by narnia,
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 8:14 am



I should have made clear that I did NOT pay taxes in the UK when I had my baby there, so it was really courtesy of the of the British tax payers. Later, on on a good salary (about 90,000 pounds a year which in 1989 was about 200,000 dollars then) I payed taxes, never the 50%/70% of income, so don't invent please. At that time I considered my tax pounds to be a good expense and still do. Did I mention that nurses came home for a few weeks to check on the baby? Public health like public schooling or Medicare (another government program) is a good employment of tax dollars. Just think of labor hours lost and you see why promoting good health for ALL is a priority. Medicare for ALL? yes!YES!


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 8:53 am

Hi narnia...

You wrote: "Nayelli, what a silly comment. So, you can choose weather or not to drive a car? Have you lived in somewhere, where because of your job you have to drive (no public transportation or you walk 10 miles each way every day)? I have and so do the great majority of Americans."

Yes, I have. In fact, I choose every single day whether or not I will own or drive a car. Now, you don't have to buy auto insurance simply for having a driver's license. You simply have to purchase insurance if you decide to own and DRIVE your own automobile.

There are people here in Palo Alto (and around the world) who choose to NOT own a car. Here in Palo Alto, people choose to take the train or bus to work. In cities like New York, many people choose to NOT own a car. They are not required to buy auto insurance. Even people who own a car are not required by law IF they refrain from driving it (at least, in any state other than California -- still uncertain about CA yet). In addition, there are no "car insurance gestapo" agents working with the IRS to check whether you have insurance. The only way you will be "found out" for not having insurance is if you are pulled over by an officer for some reason OTHER than an "insurance check" or if you are actually involved in an accident.

This legislation now makes it a requirement (under penalty of fine, criminal charge or even jail) to buy health insurance. This is the point of greatest concern shared by most Americans (of which 75% disagreed with this particular set of bills). Does our government have a right to force us to purchase a product? You can argue that house insurance, car insurance or some other form of insurance is similar, but that is a long stretch. You can always opt out of those purchases...but you can't with this one. If you do, you will be fined. If you don't pay the fine, you will be charged criminally and face possible jail time (up to two years).

You can argue all you want, but this legislation is extremely unpopular with the majority of Americans. We wanted reform -- but not a takeover with increased power given to the IRS. If the people of Massachusetts voted a Republican into Teddy Kennedy's Senate seat -- largely because he voiced complete opposition to this current legislation -- what do you think will happen elsewhere in this nation? I can help but wonder if President Obama will regret trying to force something upon America that most Americans simply did not want (and then attempt to "spin" it as if it was what we wanted).


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 9:00 am

BTW, President Obama keeps saying that "Americans SHOULD have health insurance." No one would argue this.

However, President Obama (after applauding Nancy Pelosi as one of the greatest Speakers of the House and Harry Reid as one of the greatest Senate Majority leaders in history -- even with an approval rating at 11% and 8% [respectively] and sinking) made it sound as if Americans still had a choice now. America does not. The president should have stated, "Americans MUST have health insurance or they will be fined, charged or jailed." That is a more accurate assessment.

The vast majority of Americans do not support this messy legislation. We want reform; however, we didn't want reform that made it against the law to opt out of this legislation.


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Posted by pares
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 23, 2010 at 9:11 am

Health care reforms have been needed but I agree with above poster that I don't want the IRS demanding more proof of health insurance from me to find out if I'm complying. The IRS needs a complete overhaul, but that's another topic.

I don't approve of this bill. Tort reform should have been item number one to change and it's not in there at all. Further, there are many ways to improve health insurance without the govt taking it over. Sure sounds great, the govt will take care of you, but you are selling your souls for this. The govt will want to own you.


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Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 23, 2010 at 9:31 am

And if the 'citizen' doesn't buy insurance then gets fined and 'put in jail', jail WHERE? in California's already overcrowded prison system with the drug dealers, the rapists, the low life criminals? At GITMO? In Federal prison or work farms? Who's going to pay for that one? The states? (And today more states are signing on to block this bill on the issue of 'State's Rights') . Women's or men's prisons or for the fun of it, mix them up? This sounds like something Russia dreamed up in the Stalin days.
And what is next? Education. There is nothing in the Constitution that gives the Federal government control over education - OR health care. Nothing. So if children are not doing well in school (can't even speak English), will the teacher be fined and go to jail? Right now it is proposed to fire the teachers. Who would then even want to teach in a school where the majority of children don't speak English and then the teacher gets blamed for not pulling off a classroom of education miracles in nine months. Anna Eshoo - ARE YOU LISTENING???


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Posted by narnia
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 9:49 am

Nayeli, what an innocent and charming view of this matter you have, not true though.
I am staying at my 2nd residence in one of America's largest cities and I don't have a car here.
Even those who choose not have a car pay through their taxes both at local and federal level. Those taxes are assigned to highway bills, hospitalization, police , etc, services, capital and operating expenses associated and resulting directly from private transportation. We all pay, you included.

As for those who do will chose not to have insurance (remember that those who can't afford it will be helped, just like Medicare recipients are) if they do it out of obstructionism they will indeed be fined and then there will be sanctions for those who persist in what is an absurd and unreasonable stance.

Most comments posted here would win prizes for fantasy, invention and lies.
If you oppose the bill you may blame it on democracy and may fight it and speculate on its results.. But please be truthful. Read the bill, know the facts and stop in inventing "
facts and numbers". Being mad is no excuse for being less than truthful and lack of critical thoughts is of no benefit to you. It's conspicuous.


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Posted by kludged
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 9:52 am

In reading the above comments, I feel like I have stepped into an alternate universe of bad FOX news propaganda. The US was until today the only western developed nation without universal healthcare. We have two options, provide adequate healthcare for our citizens as a right, or treat it as a "nice to have". We are the only developed country where people go bankrupt from an open heart surgery or the complicated birth of a new baby.

As a self employed person I purchase insurance as an individual. I pay $16,000 a year for family coverage with an $10,000 deductable. So the insurance company needs to pay me after I spend $26,000 a year on health coverage out of pocket. I've tried to change insurance companies, but because my daughter have received more than 3 therapy sessions a year from a psycologist, we are unable to switch, even though the insurance company provide NO MENTAL HEALTH benefits. Her condition, even though it costs nothing to my insurer is considered a pre-exisiting condition.

This system is broken and when people try to fix it, the right yells "SOCIALIST"!

Or how about the statement above from kate, you'll go to jail if you don't buy medical insurance, that;s a LIE! This forum would work better if people stuck to facts, not misinformation.


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Posted by narnia
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 9:59 am

Just one more thing. The bill does NOT assign penalties to those who do not buy health care. Penalizes those who don't have health insurance.
And if you don't have heath insurance when you need to be hospitalized who is going to pay? Suppose the bill is more than you own, are you stiffing the hospital or the rest of us who will pay your bill through a pool system and combined state and federal taxes?
Just answer this if you can. Who is going to pay?
Or do you think medical care is free? Employer sponsored insurance is already very subsidized, so we all pay for the insurance we already have, including yours.

Next you are going to say money grows on trees...


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:15 am

Hi narnia...

Thanks? I just don't see how you can equate a STATE requirement with car insurance and taxes IF you own and drive a particular vehicle as being the same as a requirement to purchase health insurance for simply being alive. You can opt out of car insurance. You cannot opt out of this new requirement of health insurance or you will be fined, charged and/or jailed.

This is probably the greatest apprehension that Americans feel toward this legislation. As a result, 75% of Americans opposed this particular legislation. What will happen when Americans who cannot afford purchasing this insurance (even with a subsidy...for whatever reason) are beginning to receive FINES from the IRS simply for failing to purchase it? Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama are taking massive hits to their approval ratings by this push. Nancy Pelosi enjoys 11% popularity and Harry Reid (8%) will likely be out of a job in November. CNN is reporting through a poll taken just last night that President Obama's DISAPPROVAL rating has just passed his approval ratings (Web Link) -- which other major polls (like Gallup and Rasmussen) have already shown recently.

It is funny that you are accusing the 75% of Americans who disagree with this bill as being mad and "being less than truthful" about why we disapprove of this legislation. While I highly doubt that you have read the 2,750 pages of the bill yourself -- it is what we DO know that has made most Americans upset about this bill. The only "fantasy" and "invention" is the spin and talking points that try to sweep the mass disappointment of this legislation under the carpet.

Now, I don't think that this legislation is ALL bad. We needed some form of health reform. However, this legislation was the result of a series of broken promises from the very beginning. It was forged behind closed and locked doors. There was NO transparency. There was no listening to possible alternative solutions. There were shady back-room kickbacks given in order to secure votes of moderate democratic politicians. Most importantly, the requirement of this legislation that extends the IRS to the point of fining, charging and possibly jailing Americans for being unable (or choosing not) to purchase insurance.

This federal intrusion by the IRS is far more important to most Americans than $500 Billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, the $200 Billion is severed payments to hospitals and clinics (which will probably result in staff cuts), the 25% tax increase on medical devices and pharmaceuticals or the extra $400 Billion in taxes (only half of which will be paid for the wealthy).

How unpopular is this legislation?

Scott Brown, an unknown conservative who opposed this health care legislation, was elected to Teddy Kennedy's seat in the Senate. Barbara Boxer is in danger of losing her seat. The Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, will probably lose his seat. Republicans are now poised to gain at least 7 seats in the Senate (and possibly 2-4 more...which would give them Senate control) and take control of the House of Representatives. There is a rumor that one of the Supreme Court justices will step down BEFORE the November election so that President Obama would have an easier time installing a replacement. This situation is NOT the result of the popularity of the Republicans as it is the unpopularity of Democrats who have supported massive deficit spending and passing a $1.5 Trillion health care overhaul that is exceedingly unpopular with most Americans.

I, and others like me, are living in a "fantasy?" The polls say otherwise...and are in danger of saying otherwise through the mid-term elections on November 2nd.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:29 am

Hi again, narnia...

You wrote: "The bill does NOT assign penalties to those who do not buy health care."

According to the AP: If the IRS determines that a person does not own or purchase government-approved health insurance, that person will be assessed a fine of between $1500-4500 (depending on the size of the family). The AP also suggests that the average fine will be $3800. The AP is also stating that it will be criminal to avoid paying the fine with a possible penalty of TWO YEARS in jail.

This is echoed in the link that I included earlier and by other credible news sources:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:31 am

Here are a few more sources that describe the fines and penalties.

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:31 am

...and a few more sources about the fines and penalities.

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link


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Posted by jumping with joy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:36 am

brilliant, Brilliant, BRILLIANT!!!!

Congrats, President Obama, on making change happen.


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Posted by Wha?
a resident of another community
on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:45 am

"To Wha?,,,if you had no money and needed health care, you got health care through either MediCal or Medicare....and in fact the care you got was as good as the care I got..but I had to pay for mine in premiums, dedcutibles, copays etc.

So, no..you are wrong.."

FACT: A relative has a genetic disease he was born with.
FACT: He needs regular treatment, MRIs, surgeries for said condition.
FACT: He lost his ability to work because of lack of health care to take care of that condition.
FACT: To get Medical he had to go on disability.
FACT: To get disability he had to lose his place to live, sell his car, not work and sleep on someone's sofa.
FACT: After doing the above he got Medical, but his deductable was $1,200 A MONTH! Yes, a month! Making it impossible for him to get Medical because he had to quit his job to get disability.
FACT: He got his needed surgeries by borrowing money to pay the deductable, but once he got the surgery he was dropped off disability and then lost Medical. No follow up, not more treatment, in debt and frankly depressed by it all.

As of today, this young man can get health insurance with this pre-existing condition and get a job again and resume his life!

Please don't tell me I don't know what I am talking about. Those of you with serious medical conditions that have insurance know what I am talking about.

Also, you have to buy insurance for your car or have a pot of money set aside. Do you object to that? We made that law when we realized how expensive it is to have uninsured drivers. Just like uninsured people, who cost us all higher premiums because of their frequent visits to the emergency rooms for conditions that should have been taken care of by a regular physician.


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Posted by kludged
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:55 am

I think today's Chronicle has an correct assessment of the incivility of this debate:

Web Link


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 11:12 am

Hi kludged...

The 75% of Americans who opposed this legislation were not comprised solely of Republicans (as this article seems to suggest). Many of us are independents who simply vote our conscience.

I believe that we all liberal AND conservative -- depending on the issue. However, this was not about liberalism v. conservatism. It was an issue about legislation. It was just messy and convoluted by a questionable back-room process.

Most of us who opposed the legislation that was passed against the wishes of the majority of Americans are quite civil. We didn't ask anyone to move to another country if others didn't like our view (as some have done here in this very thread). Of course, we realize that a slight majority in this Congress refused to listen and passed this unpopular legislation anyway.

The most civil way to demonstrate our disappointment with this legislation is to show it at the polls in November. By November 3rd, I suppose that we will know how most Americans truly feel.


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Posted by ag
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 11:32 am

To those who are so fearful of the healthcare reform: relax! The government is NOT taking over healthcare. Health insurers will not cease to exist; in fact, all current health insurers will still be around and even have more customers, since the 32 million who are not insured currently will now be able to buy health insurance in the exchange. Nothing will change for those who are currently employed and insured. Read here:
Web Link.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 11:50 am

President Obama was elected by a margin of 53% to 46% for McCain. Among his change agenda items that got him elected was a promise to reform health care by providing:
* Quality, Affordable and Portable Coverage for All
* Lower Costs for the U.S. Health Care System, including Drug Costs

This is what he ran on. This what he was elected to accomplish. He's now accomplished it. Don't anyone say that he lied or that this bill was undemocratic in any way. It was the will of the majority of Americans who elected him and a Democratic Congress in November, 2008.
The man kept his promise to those who voted for him and accomplished something that many other great presidents over that past 100 years failed to do.
And kudos to Nancy Pelosi for keeping the Democrats' feet to the fire after Joe Wilson was elected in January.


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Posted by Wha?
a resident of another community
on Mar 23, 2010 at 11:53 am

Thank you Steve and AG,

I will take a deep breath and relax. This is the will of the people.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 11:59 am

ag -
Thanks for the reassuring link - nice to see that common sense prevails somewhere.
One thing in the article for those on this blog wailing about the socialization of health care by this bill: did they notice that the stock market was up the day after the bill passed and that it was insurance company stocks that were leading the charge? Apparently those stockholders are not too concerned that the government is going to put the insurers out of business anytime soon.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Hi Steve...

I don't think that anyone would be opposed to "quality, affordable and portable" health care coverage for all. However, the great stickler to this legislation is the MANDATE that people buy insurance (from those dreaded "big insurance" companies) or face fines, charges and/or jail time. This intrusion was NOT one of Obama's promises...and is reflected by his ever-decreasing approval rating. Now, more people disapprove of his job performance and those who approve.

In addition to Obama's promise for "quality affordable and portable coverage" for everyone, the candidate also promised that the process would be completely transparent, televised and that he would listen to every alternative idea about how to reform health care. That didn't pan out either. As for "lowering the cost of insurance" -- this legislation will NOT do that (and no one is pretending that it will any longer).

Obama was certainly elected via a historic vote and received a small majority of votes. I just can't help but wonder if he squandered that trust via broken promises and by pushing this legislation that went against the wishes of the American people. Joe Biden was right, "This is a big f---ing deal!" I just don't know if he understands how big it is in the minds of the American people.

People wanted reform legislation. They just didn't want THIS type of legislation. Do you think that this sentiment will be reflected at the polls in November?


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm

BTW, the "big insurance" companies are pretty much the only industry who is behind this messy legislation. The legislation effectively REQUIRES people to purchase from policies from them -- or receive a fine, criminal charges or jail time. Their profits, like the profits of "big trial lawyers," are going to SOAR!

:-P


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Nayeli-
First, I disagree with your claim that Obama "received a small majority of votes" - 8.5 million is not a small number. 7% is not a small margin.
Second, I don't understand you're concern that people will have to pay for the health insurance they will receive. Everyone needs health care - everyone should be willing to pay for it. I don't feel that this is big government intruding on my rights anymore than I do when I pay my car insurance or buckle up my seat belt. It's the price we pay for a safer, more civilized country.
Third, I think the American people will come to appreciate this health care reform as the rhetoric fades and the facts of the bill become better understood. Much of the upset has to do with the process of legislating, especially with a Republican Party willing to say anything to try and kill the bill, rather than with the contents of the bill itself. The process simply dragged on way too long and we all, liberal & conservative, grew tired of it.
Which raises the point that if you look at the statistic that the majority of Americans opposed it, you have to realize the the progressive & liberal side opposed it, not because it went too far, but because it didn't go far enough.
Of course, we have elections where the voters can express their ultimate displeasure but hopefully, we will have moved on to other things by November. Overthrowing this bill would truly be an example of throwing the baby out with the bath water


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Nayeli -
I share your concern that the insurance companies stand to profit hugely from this bill. I mentioned the booming stock market simply to reassure those who view this legislation as a government takeover of health care, which it clearly isn't.
From my progressive viewpoint, the insurance companies should not have been in a position to profit from this bill, which is why I am disappointed that it doesn't include a government option, not to mention my first choice of single-payer. That's what I gave up in the compromise that this bill represents.
To my mind it's wrong for companies to profit hugely from the illness of others. On the other hand, the 26% overhead that insurance companies build in to their premiums will provide a lot of potential savings as we try to whittle the costs down to the 3% overhead that government health care programs need.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Steve...

You wrote: "First, I disagree with your claim that Obama "received a small majority of votes" - 8.5 million is not a small number. 7% is not a small margin."

Obama received a 52.9% of the vote in the presidential election. That is a slight majority of less than 3%. Yes, he won considerably more than McCain -- but it was a slight majority nonetheless. I apologize if I didn't make that more clear. The reason that I brought it up is to contrast it with the polls that show that a larger majority of Americans did not agree with this particular legislation.

You wrote: "Second, I don't understand you're concern that people will have to pay for the health insurance they will receive."

My concern isn't that people will have to pay for what they receive. My concern is that people no longer have a choice at all. It has been effectively taken away from people and there are no longer any reasons that people could give for not BUYING insurance. Those who cannot afford it...or prefer to opt out...will be fined, charged with a crime and/or sentenced to jail. Imagine a self-employed or contract carpenter who barely squeaks by each month. When work is scarce, he will no longer be able choose to opt out of purchasing insurance for a month. If he did, he would be facing 10,000 new employees at the IRS (the "insurance gestapo?") who are charged with finding people without government-approved insurance. It is this inescapable financial "elephant on the back" that is wildly unpopular with the American people. Instead of being FORCED to do something, why couldn't Americans have been ENCOURAGED to do something (as in the form of a voluntary subsidy listed on the 1040)?

You wrote: "Third, I think the American people will come to appreciate this health care reform as the rhetoric fades and the facts of the bill become better understood. Much of the upset has to do with the process of legislating, especially with a Republican Party willing to say anything to try and kill the bill, rather than with the contents of the bill itself. The process simply dragged on way too long and we all, liberal & conservative, grew tired of it."

Well, I disagree that the Republican Party is wholly responsible for discontent over this legislation. Many independent voters who voted AGAINST the Republicans in the last election are the ones who are most opposed to this legislation.

Of course, your view that that disenfranchisement will die down over time might certainly pan out. However, the sentiment is very REAL and very extensive. Most polls indicate that roughly 75% of Americans were displeased with this legislation and most wanted to scrap it altogether and start from scratch. The greatest point of contention might actually GROW once more Americans realize that they will be FORCED to buy insurance under the penalty of law.

You wrote: "Which raises the point that if you look at the statistic that the majority of Americans opposed it, you have to realize the the progressive & liberal side opposed it, not because it went too far, but because it didn't go far enough."

True, but those same polls show that most INDEPENDENTS and CONSERVATIVES oppose this legislation because it goes too far. Liberals/progressives who didn't think that it went far enough still tend to endorse the legislation.

You wrote: "Of course, we have elections where the voters can express their ultimate displeasure but hopefully, we will have moved on to other things by November. Overthrowing this bill would truly be an example of throwing the baby out with the bath water."

Of course, this may not be "throwing the baby out with the bath water" as it is "throwing out the nasty, dirty bathwater that people think is unacceptable to place a baby in." Most Americans wanted some type of health reform. However, most Americans did NOT want this particular legislation. We have to honestly ask ourselves "WHY?" without limiting our views to our own social, economic or political ideology.

You wrote: "From my progressive viewpoint, the insurance companies should not have been in a position to profit from this bill, which is why I am disappointed that it doesn't include a government option, not to mention my first choice of single-payer. That's what I gave up in the compromise that this bill represents."

I understand your views and respect you for them. However, Obama -- like the rest of Congress -- know that "single-payer" insurance is EXTREMELY unpopular with most Americans. That is the ONLY REASON that they dropped such a notion. Of course, one must wonder if they traded one highly unpopular concept for another equally unpopular concept. Now, the conservatives and some independents are saying that Obama is using the current legislation as a "stepping stone" to a single payer health care system (because some Americans would see single payer as a much better system than the mess he just pushed through Congress).

Regardless, November 2nd will show the reality of the situation. If most Independent voters continue to harbor resentment for the broken campaign promises issued by President Obama and a Congress who pushed through legislation that was widely unpopular to the American people, then their votes will be reflected by this. Current polls are very bleak for Democrats. It is highly possible that the election sentiment of 1994 will repeat itself.

I don't think that too many people are insisting that this is a government takeover of the insurance industry. Rather, many voters are concerned that this is a government intrusion into the private lives of Americans by a slight majority of legislators forcing them to purchase insurance from an industry that those same legislators ridicule and vilified throughout the process. In addition, the cost ($1.5+ Trillion, with $400 Billion in payroll taxes [with only half of which are directed at the wealthy], $500 Billion in cuts to Medicare/Medicaid and $200 Billion in cuts to hospitals and clinics) might outweigh the benefits -- extending the percentage of insurance coverage by single digits while taking away the right of choice.

There will be a day of accountability in November. We will have to wait and see if the current disappointment that is felt by most Americans in regard to this legislation will still be felt at that time.


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Posted by narnia
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Nobody is taking away the right to choose which insurance one wants to pay for, or which school one wants to pay for (public or private) or to sign up or not for Medicare. The bill simply states that YOU have to pay for part of your health care and show you do . ALL our health care is subsidized including the very very rich, so we are all paying for each other's care. Even private hospital care for you means that all of us (either through subsidies, tax breaks, education, roads to get there etc...) would have to pay for you. This bill simply states that ALL have to pay their fair share. Stop whining and pay. Paying your share is the price for civilization. What right does this bill take away from you?
The right of being a contrarian freeloader?


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Posted by ten
a resident of another community
on Mar 23, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Most people in fact do support the features of this reform bill when they look at the details of the program's plans.
Unfortunately the extremist scare tactics have created a huge amount of misinformation and fear. Just look at some of the claims in this forum!
Unfortunately the Insurance Companies, with their 20% overhead and profit margins are left in control of our health care.

The Insurance Companies create more barriers to care, and more barriers to doctors' recommendations than the government has ever even thought about. The Insurance Companies bar those of us, and our children, with 'preexisting conditions' access to the health care providers. The Insurance Companies are the ones controlling the death panels and cancelling policies for anyone who dares to file claims.


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Posted by ten18
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2010 at 3:21 pm

If this bill is so cost effective and is going to save so much money - why are taxes being increase on every front?!


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Hi Narnia...

You wrote: "Nobody is taking away the right to choose which insurance one wants to pay for, or which school one wants to pay for (public or private) or to sign up or not for Medicare."

Again, I did NOT say that.

What I said is that this legislation requires that you BUY insurance...period. Sure, you can choose which insurance that you purchase -- but you are still required to buy insurance from those companies UNDER THE PENALTY OF LAW. You no longer have a choice about whether or not you can buy insurance, or whether or not you can afford a policy when you are laid off one month. If the IRS discovers that you did not BUY coverage for 365 days of the year, you will be FINED. If you do not pay that fine AND quickly buy insurance, you will be charged with a crime (and face jail time).

There is a vast difference between what you said and what I am trying to explain. This isn't car insurance, house insurance or even life insurance -- where Americans still have the choice of whether to purchase it or not. You can own a car and still choose to NOT purchase insurance (and you will not face a fine unless you are pulled over by a police officer and he discovers that you lack insurance). However, you can still choose to NOT own a car...or to own it but PARK it -- and you will not be required to have insurance.

This legislation effectively takes away any say in the matter! You must PURCHASE insurance for simply being alive...under penalty of law.

Regardless of how someone wants to "spin" a notion that "most Americans" support this "if they look into it" (which is completely untrue because polls already indicate that they do NOT), the polls indicate that the greatest point of contention is this lack of choice. I am not talking about choosing between policies from the various big insurance companies. Rather, Americans do NOT want to be told that they no longer have a choice about whether or not they must buy insurance or face hefty fines and/or legal prosecution.

To be clear, I support many portions of this bills. I am glad that big insurance companies are regulated and cannot drop people as they wish. I applaud the attempt to extend coverage. However, I am still strongly opposed to this legislation as a whole. There were better ways to do this that did NOT result in cutting $500 Billion from Medicare and Medicaid, dropping $200 Billion from hospitals and clinics or by raising taxes by $400 Billion (with much of it passed to middle class taxpayers). Most importantly, there were ways to do this without mandating the purchase of insurance under penalty of fines, criminal charges or imprisonment.

Unfortunately, President Obama disregarded his promise that this entire process would be televised and would be done openly, clearly and with listening to every credible idea. This entire piece of messy legislation was done secretly, behind closed doors and with shady back-room deals meant to buy votes from politicians. Americans are only beginning to learn what is in this bill AFTER it was passed by a slim majority of Congressmen.

Of course, we will see what Americans REALLY think of this legislation on November 2nd. Right now, polls indicate that most Americans are not happy with it (or the legislators who voted in favor of it). It is a good thing that Nancy Pelosi isn't running for national office.

;-)


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Nayeli-
You state:
"Most polls indicate that roughly 75% of Americans were displeased with this legislation and most wanted to scrap it altogether and start from scratch."
I don't know where you get this number or how old it is but it doesn't agree with a recent CNN poll (3/21) that shows a much more evenly divided public: Web Link
This latest poll shows only 59% opposed to the bill with 39% in favor. The poll also showed that 13% of those opposed felt it wasn't liberal enough, with the remaining 46% presumably made up mostly of Republicans and Independents who felt it goes too far.
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll from just a week ago showed that when given the choice of passing the bill and then fixing it or not passing it at all, 46% said it should be passed and then fixed while 45% said it shouldn't be passed.
Your statement that "most Americans did NOT want this particular legislation" is accurate (as reflected in the 59%/39% numbers) but it doesn't reflect the conflicted feelings that most people have (as reflected in the 46%/45% numbers).
In my perfect world, we'd have a single-payer system now. Instead, I'm willing to accept the compromise that this legislation represents and hope that it can be improved as we go forward.
The poll mentions that in 2006, 50% of seniors opposed George W's prescription drug plan for Medicare but just 2 years later 67% were very or extremely satisfied with it. I think this reflects a natural reluctance to embrace the new and unknown; once people get to know how something really works, the fear factor is reduced and they can evaluate it more rationally.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 3:58 pm

ten18 -
To be fair, you should also be asking why are insurance premiums going up 20%, 30%, even 40% a year? And that for people lucky enough to already have insurance.
I'm not sure why insurance companies get a free pass when they raise rates by obscene amounts but our government catches holy hell when they propose a tax increase of 1 or 2 percent.
But more specifically, what taxes are you referring to that are being raised on every front? The only taxes that will be increased because of this bill are Medicare taxes for those making more than $200K per year who will pay an extra 0.9% starting in 2013 and taxes on the Cadillac Health Plans that don't kick in until 2018.
So what exactly are you whining about?


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Hi Steve...

The polls that reflected that 75% number were from Gallup and reflected the percentage of people who wanted this particular legislation discarded and the entire process started all over again. I will try to dig them up at PollingReport and link it here.

I think that we can ALL agree that some type of reform was necessary. However, the majority of Americans were opposed to the messy, secretive process and back-room deals with this bill. Specifically, most Americans were opposed to a few specificities with this bill (such as cuts in Medicare/Medicaid, across the board tax increases and most importantly, the requirement to purchase insurance under penalty of a hefty fine, criminal charges and/or jail time).

I sympathize and understand your desire for single-payer health care. In fact, it might have been better than the mess that we are currently stuck with (and Obama probably knows that and will likely hope that this mess is a stepping stone to a completely socialized system). However, you have to know that it was dropped because President Obama and members of Congress realized that a single-payer system is extremely unpopular with most Americans. It might seem better to you and others like you, but it just couldn't pass in Congress without major repercussions.

Again, we will see on November 2nd just how popular (or unpopular) this legislation truly is. Even many longtime Democratic members of Congress are expecting to take a hit as a direct result of this legislation and legislative process.


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 23, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Nayeli,

The numbers from Gallup have already done a flip with today's polls showing 49 percent favor health-care reform while 40 percent oppose. There's a good discussion of this and other polling at fivethirtyeight.com.

The same blog points out that you already pay for mandatory insurance--i.e. SSI and Medicare payments are deducted from most paychecks or paid when income tax returns are filed.

While Republicans are claiming that reform will cost the Dems heavily in November, today's Gallup poll is among the first indicators that that might not be the case. By November, the economy should be continuing to recover and the hue and cry over healthcare will have dropped.

And some Republicans are very, very concerned--this blog post by David Frum--www.frumforum.com/waterloo--spells out what I think is a very real concern. Or as Frum writes: "Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s. It is hard to overestimate the magnitude of the disaster."

He then puts much of the blame on Republicans and Conservatives allowing themselves to give into the extreme rhetoric of Limbaugh and the like. It's worth reading--particularly if you're conservative.

I can say the ugliness of the tea-party attacks at the capital were pretty shocking. Certainly not the way to win new followers.


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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 6:06 pm



Gerald Ford once observed that---

"a government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have."



"Obama's disgraceful manipulation of democracy to railroad through a sweeping socialist healthcare measure that the majority of his country rejects.
The struggle is no longer simply to avert a corrosively socialist imposition, but to reclaim the American governmental system and democracy from an Emperor-President".Web Link

Gerald Hanner in the above linked article from the UK Telegraph says that with the passage of Obamacare question of allowable individual behavior will descend into the very fabric of individual lives.
The "leftward ratchet" is no longer something that happens in the papers or out on Capitol Hill.
It is something you will have deal with daily.

The IRS will hire many thousands to enforce rules,
plus our garbage collectors in their new role as the green police--what you put in your trash reveals your health life style--

As do your Safeway cards etc--

You will be living in a vast Panopticon Web Link

Bentham himself described the Panopticon as "a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example."

Imposing the "sentiment of an invisible omniscience."


The " Road to Serfdom " is always paved with good intentions.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Hi OnlonePar...

The polls that I cited weren't in regard to who wants health care reform. In fact, I think that Democrats, Republicans and Independents all can agree that some reform was needed. The question was in regard to this particular legislation. Most Americans opposed it.

The blog that you pointed out is correct that we already pay taxes that go toward SSI and Medicare (which are going bankrupt). The difference? This new legislation REQUIRES the purchase of health care. It isn't deducted from your taxes. It is IN ADDITION to your taxes. It isn't optional or dependent on your salary. It is a REQUIREMENT under the penalty of a law that suddenly empowers the IRS to levy a hefty fine against us if we cannot/do not make such a purchase.

Why did this new requirement NOT come in the form of a payroll tax? Obviously, we would see it for what it is...and it would be even more unpopular. Ironically, I saw a poll last night that showed that many Americans are still unaware in regard to the requirements of this legislation (especially in regard to the requirement to purchase health insurance under penalty of law). I actually debated with a college student online today who still cannot believe that there is ANY requirement to purchase insurance in this legislation. For some reason, he thinks that this is "free, universal health care."

I suppose that we will have to see in regard to the election in November. As of today, Democrats are poised to lose seven seats in the Senate and many more in the House. Now, I have a suspicion that many Americans will be extremely disappointed when they realize that they will face a fine, criminal charges or jail if they fail to buy insurance. I know that it shocked me when I first learned that it was in the bills. I suspected that the requirement would have been explained in the media and it would have been dropped. However, it barely received mentioned in most popular media outlets...until yesterday.

I am not in a teaparty person (although I respect their desire for a smaller federal government and less power for taxation). I was disappointed by those much reported incidents involving a couple of people who were supposed to be a follower of that movement.

I will say this, though. I am extremely disappointed by this legislation. I am disappointed with the secretive manner by which it was created, the broken promises from the President and Congress (about openness), the shady back-room deals used to gain a few votes, and the manner in which it was rushed through without considering any viable alternatives. It might bear remembering that the reason that health care reform has never passed was because Americans were opposed to it.

We will see where America stands on this issue in November. After all, elections speak louder than spin.


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Posted by senresdem
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Ohlonepar says "I can say the ugliness of the tea-party attacks at the capital were pretty shocking. Certainly not the way to win new followers."

That's a straw dog -- there are always idiots on both sides. To paint all (or most) tea partiers as racist is self-serving to your cause that you are right. But most tea partiers are very concerned about govt growing too much and wasting our tax dollars. I'm a democrat and I agree there's a problem.

As for all those polls, I don't believe that settles it -- how were the questions stated? Who was polled? There's a lot of manipulation that can go on there. Sounds like it's meant to discourage legitimate questions. I don't think the conservatives are the problem; it's the radical left running to extremes.


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Posted by sad sad sad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 6:54 pm

"Most Americans opposed it."

No they didn't. A large majority were in favor. It's only a small vocal minority that's been shouting against it. Trying to make themselves look bigger than they are.


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Posted by WTH
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Nayeli

Today Gallup says 49 % of Americans are for the reform and 40% against.

You sure seems to have a lot of time to spend on this board for a teacher... Are you a spring break?

You know Palo Alto is an expensive town. If you can't afford health insurance (and it will be several years before you have to pay penalties) you might consider moving to a less expensive community.

This way you'll be able to afford the health care you'll find out you'll need the day you want to have a child or grow a little older.

Your rants are tiring by now.


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Posted by My hospital adventure
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Has anyone been in hospital lately? Well, I have and my room, which I shared with another patient, cost $6,500 per night. My room mate died during the night right next to me why, because the IC was full. I didn't get a wink of sleep, and I still got charged $6,500!!! Just thought I'd throw this in, you never know what you pay for when you go to hospital!!


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Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 23, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Reading this thread leaves me puzzled. The US is paying 17% GDP and rapidly increasing for medical care, much higher than anywhere else. That amount is not sustainable. It is not. Medical care and finance this year will take nearly 1 dollar in four of US GDP. How high could it go - one in three? It is no coincidence that these sectors rain money on Washington - insurance and drugs kicked in $500+ million in 2009 and will probably equal that this year.

The finance sector is just added to that. How can office holders defy that sort of financing? Most have to play ball for survival and we are lucky that bill was passed at all, distorted though it is. All the fuss was about money as much or more than it was about ideology. Fortunately the Republicans will have a harder time feigning moral indignation about reforming finance.

Thanks to the Supreme Court decision reminding us that US politics is about money and that it cannot be regulated things are going to get worse. Washington pay-to-play is more than a Constitutional omission, it's now formally the law. Apparently we can't look forward to an Amendment addressed to the problem. The people here pushing Libertarianism, so far a resounding failure, are actually pushing the founding of an American Banana Republic harking back to Jefferson Davis more than anyone. The Main Street business people who post refuse to recognize that the Republicans for some time now have deserted them and act in hostility to their interests, indeed they may want to break up the US. The Republicans are no longer a center/right party.

France, Canada, and Germany have single payer systems and are paying 10%, 10%, and 11%, respectively, and have longer life expectancies, Canada by three years. They clearly are not gassing Granny. They are, however, under severe cost pressures because of their rapidly aging populations. That's a problem more fundamental than the specific medical care system and unsolvable in general. Korea, Japan, and Singapore and others as well as Western Europe and North America have the same problem. The US has been using immigration to get around it, Canada has been doing the same in recent years with a point system.

IMO the US can only approach the problem with a two pronged approach. First is a single payer system over private care - what President Obama apparently actually wants. With the pay to play system in Washington and the state capitals really determining our present system's payment and rules, a market system is proven to not work here and now it can only get worse. A single payer system is quite efficient and not as domineering as present insurance companies and their Case Management systems. It's should be made transparent enough to be more immune to political pressures than the present system. The single payer system also enables older workers to continue working. No economic system imagined can support people who only work half their adult lifetimes on the average and that's where we are presently going or may already be.

Second is to attack basic cost drivers - Cancer and obesity/diabetes which also seem to drive more cancer and cardiovascular problems. With a single payer sugar, fructose, transfats, etc can be taxed like cigarettes and the proceeds put right into the single payer system. Hopefully US R&D levels can be maintained, especially if the fiction that big drug companies are creative can be discarded.

People here ranting about left, right, and upside down are, I believe, being played like fish on a hook. I hope they escape.


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Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Mar 23, 2010 at 8:23 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

On being "forced" to have health care coverage--

We all are "forced" to buy lots of things. It is part of living in a democracy that funds lots of purchases through government and has requirements related to public health and safety.

We all actaully do "buy" auto insurance and home insurance whether we drive or live in a house. Think about if for a moment.

The public transit vehicles (and drivers) are covered by insurance that we all pay for through funding VTA, CalTrain and the like. So evem if we don't own a car (I don't) we pay for auto insurance. If we rent our landlord incorporates his or her building insurance in our rent so we all (unless homeless) buy hoem insurance.

More to the point we all "bought" the Iraq war and locally we all "buy" local education, police and community services.

If we don't pay our taxes we are subject to fines.

As to the polls as recemt bloggers have pointed out, the Gallup poll shows support for the health reform plan and the widely cited CNN poll includes 13% of no votes because it was not liberal enough. I doubt these progressives are ripe for the Republican revolution.

Moreover, do the people who oppose the recently passed health care legislation think we should have followed the polls when support for the Iraq or Vietnam war spending was unpopular or do they call for following polls that favor legislation they oppose or are they selectively using polls that favor their position.

Some of these bloggers in other threads have stood for principle. This easy acceptance of polls when the results seem to favor their position does undercut all the rhetoric about principle.


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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 8:57 pm


@ stephen levy

You say you do not own a car-- really?

If you bike you ride roads subsidized by drivers-- for free

If you use buses or CalTrain you use systems subsidized by tax payers.
No one has to buy car insurance, you can provide evidence of financial coverage instead.
As we have paid off our mortgage we do not have to pay earthquake nor homeowners insurance, we could assume the risk.

Actually we support some sort of universal health care, but the current bill is a Rube Goldberg affair, it does not deal with costs, nor the Trial Lawyers scams.
It was rammed through as a political strategy, not a health care solution-- pure politics--and a form of politics that will haunt us for generations.

After the rest of the civilized world has rejected Socialism-- the majority of Americans now see it it imposed upon them--

It will not stand--


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Hi WTH...

-- You wrote: "You sure seems to have a lot of time to spend on this board for a teacher... Are you a spring break?"

I am off for a few days this week (because my brother is visiting from Texas). I hope that is acceptable to you. ;-)

-- You wrote: "You know Palo Alto is an expensive town. If you can't afford health insurance (and it will be several years before you have to pay penalties) you might consider moving to a less expensive community."

Why is this the response of so many people in these boards? I am just as legally entitled to live here as you are. My husband and I are both highly educated and we care about this nation, state and town. More importantly, we care about others ABOVE any sort of political or social ideology. You are beginning to make me think that my independent perspective (neither Democrat nor Republican, but both Liberal and Conservative depending on the issue) is not acceptable if it doesn't fit precisely into your own political or economic views.

-- You wrote: "Your rants are tiring by now."

LOL! Thanks! You are such a welcoming person who is obviously open to views and perspective that differ from your own! Seriously, you might not like to hear what I am bringing up, but my views are definitely shared by many millions of Americans. I suppose that we will see if you are correct in November. But that is the funny thing about ideology. When we surround ourselves only with those who we agree with, we live in a little ideological bubble (or Platonic cave). This was purportedly the problem with the Bush Administration in regard to "group-think" (or the lack thereof). I worry that this has become an even greater problem with the Obama Administration.

Again...we will see what Americans think in November. The approval ratings of President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and other rank-and-file Democrats are dropping in every major poll for some reason (even within specific districts or states) -- while the disapproval ratings are increasing. We can pretend that MOST Americans agreed with everything in this bill...and suffer the consequences of said delusion on November 2nd.

I suspect that there are voters in New Jersey, Virginia and even Massachusetts who have already spoken in regard to what they thought about this particular legislation. They knew that it was needed...but they wanted something different...something better...that would have been created with those campaign promises of "openness and transparency" and without shady back-room deals used to barter the votes from fellow Democrats who opposed the legislation.

I fear that there will be a rude awakening for those ideologues who are going to pretend that most Americans actually supported this MESS of legislation -- when almost every major poll indicates otherwise. Last night, a CNN poll showed that Obama's DISAPPROVAL rating rose to an all-time high (54%) and his approval rating sank to an all-time low (46%). I suppose that we will find out whether or not people approve of the President, his record and his fellow members of Congress on November 2nd. Currently, I wouldn't hedge my bets with the Democratic Party come November.

Goodnight...and good luck!

;-)


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Posted by sad sad sad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Yes, Sharon, it's all very well if you can afford to forgo the need for insurance.
Those that don't want to have "insurance" and can afford to go without will no doubt set themselves up as self-funded insurance program much the same as large companies currently do.
So, you get the have your cake and eat it. Hardly a reason to be unhappy about the bill passing.


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Posted by sad sad sad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Nayeli, I'm looking forward to November as well! We will see who's right - those Gallup polls must be making you nervous...


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:01 pm

sensredem,

You miss my point. Fact is, the loudest voices of the opposition to HCR were shrill and by the end ugly. You may not think it's fair, but that's how it played out--it's the point David Frum is making in his link. If you oppose the health-care bill, it's worth reading.

Nayeli,

Your poll numbers are already out-of-date. Fivethirtyeight.com is really a great place for poll analysis. As someone on the Dem side of things, I can tell you that much of our frustration was with the Dems not getting anything done. Basically, they finally got something done in the teeth of noisy opposition--guess what? Those of us who were frustrated with Congress are no longer as frustrated. Thus, the 9 percent bump up in the Gallup poll.

Reid may be out. Pelosi, though, isn't going anywhere. You need to keep in mind that if people don't like Democrats, they really, really don't like Republicans--i.e. the party that brought you war and financial collapse.

As for Obama's "all-time low"--betcha Bush wishes his all-time low was somewhere near that.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Hi sad sad sad...

Actually, I am not nervous at all. As an independent who votes my conscience by considering each issue individually and collectively, I have no ambitions in all of this. I do enjoy looking at it from the outside looking in. I think that it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

In 1994, there was a major backlash following the last attempt to push through health care against the will of the people. Now, we will have to see if Americans feel that this legislation was similarly pushed through or if they had hoped for something better. The polls this week indicate that Democrats are currently poised to lose quite a few seats in both houses of Congress and in the various governors races. We will have to wait and see if things change between now and then.


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Posted by GR
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Mag,

Good points.

However, Germany's system is not single payer--they have oodles of companies but none of them are for-profit. Part of the reason these other countries pay so little of their GDP and get more health care is that they eliminate so much of the waste that for-profit insurance companies bring with them (bureaucracy, sky-high salaries, money spent fighting claims, etc.).


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Hi OhlonePar...

I have to get to bed...but here is a poll released by CNN last night. As you can tell, this is not "out of date."

Web Link

Of course, I am not saying that the Democrats are going to suffer for pushing through this legislation (although I dislike quite a bit of it). However, I am saying that, currently, the Democrats are poised to lose big in November. If things don't approve...and if many Americans realize some of the peculiarities in this bill...there might be a continued backlash reflected at the polls.

Goodnight!


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Sharon -
You may have a point somewhere in your diatribe but the overall sense of paranoia just turns me off to anything you have to say. Try turning it down 10 notches or so.

Nayeli-
Your main objection to this health reform seems to be that it includes mandatory insurance for all citizens. Have you considered that this won't be a change for 84% of Americans who already have insurance and have been paying for it all along (with matches from their employer in most cases)? Ever since I got married I've considered health insurance mandatory so it's not a change for me. So only the remaining 16% will notice the change and most of these - eligible for health care in spite of their employment status or pre-existing conditions - will be glad to pay their premiums to have the security that they and their family can get medical care when ill without risking bankruptcy. Granted, some will object to this requirement but they will be a small minority. Most, as Obama has said repeatedly, will experience no change and many of those who do will be glad of it because it means they will have insurance for themselves and their families that they can afford.
Finally, mandatory insurance is commonplace in most industrial countries in the world and I doubt many people in those countries consider themselves to be less free than us Americans or under their government's thumb. It's going to take a little getting used to perhaps but the benefits, to my mind anyway, clearly outweigh the minuses.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:26 pm

BTW, OhlonePar...one last thing...

-- You wrote: "You need to keep in mind that if people don't like Democrats, they really, really don't like Republicans--i.e. the party that brought you war and financial collapse."

I don't think that the Republicans have a monopoly on "financial collapse." The economy was pretty good for several of the Bush years (how quickly we forget though). In fact, the ballooning deficit seems to be forgotten by see-no-evil supporters of the Obama Administration.

I definitely do not want to see Obama or this nation fail. But we can't approach politics in this nation by pretending that we know better than everyone else...that everyone who is "smart" will agree with us...or that our opinion matters more than the opinions of those who disagree with us. Democracy works because each person has one vote. Policies and politicians rise, fall or are repealed on those collective votes.

Remember: Health care failed in the past because most Americans simply did not want what was presented to them. We can't blame it entirely upon Republicans or Conservatives. As always, Independents (like myself) are the deciding factor in American politics -- and they have been the deciding factor in issues like health care too.

I can't pretend to know how other Independents will vote in November. I haven't even decided how I will vote. However, I am certain that I am disappointed by several peculiarities in this legislation. I am even more disappointed by the manner in which this legislation came into its present form. This was not the "change" that we were promised. We wanted health care reform...but not through this messy, convoluted and opaque methods, Medicare/Medicaid cutting, and "buy-health-insurance-from-big-insurance-or-get-fined-by-the-IRS" type of mandate.

Again, we will wait until November to see what most Americans think.

;-)

(Last time...goodnight!)


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Posted by Ed
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:44 pm

To me this issue really boils down to two points. First -- what is morally right -- how would you justify a policy to a child for example? Second -- what makes sense for the system as a whole (not just for each individual selfishly, but for society).

Regarding what is morally right...I simply can't explain to my young child that the right thing to do is to have some children (ok, many millions) or adults not covered by some form of insurance, or having the only option to go to an emergency room. All of these arguments around so-called "socialism" devolve to a notion that we don't really owe anybody else anything. I really can't figure out how to explain that to my kids. Do those of you who oppose some kind of universal coverage -- how do you do that?)

Second, even if one doesn't accept we owe anything to anyone else there still is the purely rational argument. That is -- these uninsured people in fact DO get sick now. They DO get treated -- just in emergency rooms and walk in clinics -- usually far later than would be advisable. As several other posts have already noted -- it isn't as though you aren't paying for their treatment already -- you ARE. In fact, you are paying much more than you otherwise would because the system is so inefficient. So, in addition to being morally questionable it is just plain economically stupid to put a massive surcharge on all of our insurance and drugs and treatments (as is done now) to pay for care of the many millions of people who get far sicker than than they would have been if they had insurance in the first place. Instead, they didn't get good treatment until they end up in the emergency room.


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Posted by Moral, you ask?
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 24, 2010 at 5:28 am

Morally right is easy: Thou shalt not steal.

Very simple.

The basic 10 Commandments are common around the world.

It is theft to allow anyone to take from one person and keep it or transfer it to another.

Period.

Leave people free to earn their own rewards or their own prices.

Morally right for kids? This is where "the sins of the father are visited on the children" comes in. Ancient wisdom.

What do we do for kids to protect them from parent(s) who can't provide them with house, school, clothes, food and medical care? Take them and adopt them out to the millions of parents who CAN, and are begging for a child to love. We have created a system whereby women are having children because there is a financial incentive to do so...and it gets them out of working for a living. They are "breeders" at our society's expense, both the expense of them and their kids, but the expense of the cycle this has created, with 5th generation welfare kids now on the dole. Successfully placed into the slavery of dependence on the plantation.

Stop creating moral hazards that encourage the spirit killing chains of dependence on others.

Allow us who work and produce to use our wisdom to choose which charities we will support. How do you think Children's Hospital, Shriner's Hospital etc etc got their start? Somehow they worked..under DONATIONS.

The more we tax our people, the less the economy, the less the generosity of a people who are strained to their limit. The less our charities can survive as they have to play Political Games to "win" some money, instead of directly pleasing their donors with their results.

And then each charity has to go fight for their "slice" of an every shrinking pie, instead of allow their funds to grow through an ever growing generous pie.

Our poor were the richest poor in the world. Our poor had equal or better health care (except because it was free, they had no worries) to the rest of us. Example...I work in health care, and literally across the hall from each other were 2 men of the same age. One was a Vet, born and raised here, WW2, taxed his whole life. The other was brought here in his 60s.

Both has Medicare A to cover the 1st 20 days of care...after which Med A covers 80% per day and the patient has to bear the other 20% out of pocket. So what happened? the VET had to start paying 20% of the daily cost on day 21, so felt a strong urge to leave even though we all were advising him to try to stay just one more week to recover a bit more. But, he left.

The other, who never paid into the system a day in his life, and came here poor, was on MediCal...which paid the other 20% for his stay after 21 days. Not one single incentive to motivate him to leave.

So he stayed..though he was in much better shape and should have gone home to his family.

Why did he stay? I asked him specifically, and he said "why not?"

And this is the problem with every moral hazard we set up. The immoral will take advantage of the moral, and collapse our system.

Moral, you say? Judge the fruits of the tree to see the morality of the planting. The trees I see in Canada and Europe are filled with rotten fruit and collapsing roots.

Ours started going in the same direction in the 60s, some would argue in the 30s with FDR, and we are now in a ever tightening circle, some would say noose, of collapse.


Perhaps it is a fundamental difference of faith..I believe in the human spirit to vote with its own time and money to know who to help in an uplifting and helpful way, and who not to help because it will just destroy them. And others believe the "govt", that nameless, faceless bureacrat sitting behind a desk thousands of miles away can decide that, for example, Shriner's is better than Packard, and deserves the money...and because everyone now thinks "it ain't my job to care for the poor, that is what my taxes are for", we turn into France and become very stingy with what little discretionary income we have..and Packard dies.

Moral results of ever increasing socialism/marxism? Spirit killing dependence, spirit killing stinginess.




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Posted by Moral, you ask?
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 24, 2010 at 5:43 am

Ed, what people don't realize is that about half of the uninsured right now can afford health insurance, but choose not to buy it. These are the same people who will not go to the doctor before they are ER ready. It is in their personality.

These are the people who "lose so much" because they weren't insured. They have to lose down in order to qualify for MediCal. This was their risk to choose, and they did. These people are, if you will, part of the self-selection evolutionary process. They make choices, and pay their prices.

About 1/2 of the remaining "uninsured" are already eligible for a government program of health care, and have simply failed to fill out the paper work to register for it. Again, by self-selection, these people dont' tend to be the kind of people who think to themselves "gosh, I better line my ducks in a row and get all my govt paperwork in order before it is a crisis"..and wait until they land in the ER room ..where a kindly and overworked Social Worker is assigned to them to get them enrolled.

This leaves about 12-15 million people, to be very generous in numbers, who are not eligible for MediCal, and who actually earn too little to be afford private insurance.

So...we elected Obama to fix these problems, right? Make insurance more affordable to help all americans, help the less well off have access to catastrophic insurance, at least, a pool for pre-existings with a minimalist approach, incentives to buy insurance in your 20s ( most of the uninsured who can afford it but refuse are in their 20s), equalize the playing field in taxes for insurance, ( let private folks get the same tax breaks businesses get in buying insurance)

So, what did we get? a Trillion dollar bill that 70% of don't want, that, even by their own admission, will still have 33 million uninsured in 5 years...that will raise the taxes of the 1/2 of Americans who are paying any already, and raise the insurance premiums by requiring they cover yet more crap that California already requires...

for what?

Words, words, words.

In the end, what a wasted opportunity to do so much good, perverting it into so much bad. So many good and simple solutions to the fundamental problems, thrown away.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 24, 2010 at 8:18 am

David Frum's column of March 21 is worth reading Web Link
It opens with the following observation:
"Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s." He goes on to explain that in refusing to negotiate with Obama, they expected they could kill the bill, leading to a huge political defeat for Obama - his "Waterloo". Instead, Obama, with Pelosi's tactical smarts, passed the bill and left the Republicans sputtering on the sidelines facing their own defeat.
Frum goes on to note that the Repubs could have had a substantial impact on the bill had they chosen to negotiate since Obama badly wanted to produce a non-partisan plan. It would not have been that difficult since Obama's plan had much in common with Romney's Massachusetts plan, which itself included ideas developed by the Heritage Foundation in the early 90's to counter Clintoncare in 1993. Instead, Republicans listened to the radical voices in the party (Beck, Limbaugh, Palin) which "led us to abject and irreversible defeat."
There's been some talk here that the Dems are in for a walloping in November but after reading this reasoned voice from the right, I'm not so sure. While Americans of all stripes were offended by the process of making the "sausage" they seem by-and-large to like the product that resulted.
Americans also like a winner. With this success Obama can legitimately claim to be a leader who can accomplish what he campaigned on. With much yet to do, this win will energize Obama and the whole Democratic Party. What is more, it may begin to turn around an American public - cynical and self-doubting after two terms of George W and a major recession - and give them hope and confidence that the future will be better and that their government can act in their best interest.
Dare I mention the phrase 'Morning in American'?


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Posted by sad sad sad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:15 am

"In the end, what a wasted opportunity to do so much good, perverting it into so much bad. So many good and simple solutions to the fundamental problems, thrown away."

Wow, how long was Bush president and unable to provide a "simple solution"?
This is the best solution we've ever seen. It's an historical moment and all the republicans did was hold up a stop sign! Not a good platform to run on in November.


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Posted by senresdem
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:25 am

Ohlonepar, you say "sensredem, You miss my point. Fact is, the loudest voices of the opposition to HCR were shrill and by the end ugly. "

My point is that the democratic process is undermined when one side ramrods a major change through. There were legitimate concerns and criticisms of this bill and they should have been fixed before passage, number one being Tort reform. Too many special interest groups got a deal. To demonize conservatives is wrong and that is what your previous post was trying to do. That's what I object to. And I do think more than 50% voters would agree with my above comments. Yes we moderates want health care reform but not like this. What happened to transparency? Who really knows what all is in this bill? It's noble (and easy) of you to be so trusting, but it's our children who will be left with the problems.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:57 am

senresdem -
One side had to ram it through because the other side was doing nothing but obstructing, as David Frum pointed out Web Link, and as they're continuing to do with the changes bill currently being debated in the Senate now. It was not the way Obama or the leadership wanted it to be but the Repubs were more intent on closing ranks to hand Obama a defeat than in negotiating a compromise bill that would include at least some of their ideas. Sometimes politics gets ugly to get something accomplished.
What's in the bill is being revealed more and more now that it's law and I mostly like what I've heard so far. Of specific benefit to me is that my 23-year old daughter is back on our family health plan again. I understand there is also language that begins to deal with our growing obesity epidemic.
You profess to be concerned with the problems this bill will leave our children. But if Congress hadn't passed this bill, the problems our children would be left with would be far worse as health care continued to gobble up more of our GDP, totally unchecked, and fewer of our citizens would be able to afford health care. This bill was necessary and it was necessary now.
As the latest poll shows, a majority of Americans are glad this bill was passed. Let's move on.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 24, 2010 at 12:11 pm

To Nayeli. sanresdem and others who objected to the way this bill was inelegantly brought to a successful vote, Maureen Dowd has a good explanation of why things got downright ugly at the end:

" Until now, Obama has gotten irritated at those who cast Washington affairs in Manichean terms of strength or weakness and red or blue. He wanted to reason, to compromise, to float in his ivory tower.
But at long last, when push came to shove, he shoved (and let Nancy push). He treated politics not as an intellectual exercise, but a political one. He realized that sometimes you can't rise above it. You have to sink down into it. You have to stop being cerebral and get your hands dirty. You can fight fear with power.
The Chicago pol in the Oval has had to learn one of the great American truths: You've got to slap the bully in the face."


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 24, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Sansresdem,

But one side didn't ramrod it through. The Republicans were given opportunity after opportunity to be part of the process. Some of us, by the way, remember perfectly well how the GOP behaved during the early Bush years.

Democracy is injured when a minority does everything it can to obstruct the majority. This wasn't about reasoned debate and negotiation--the GOP attempted a power play here in an attempt to permanently weaken the Obama presidency in hopes of retaking power. They remember how Clinton's failed health care initiative helped get them Congressional majorities back in 1994.

Why do I say this? Because the Obama bill is quite similar to healthcare reform previously proposed and supported by Republicans such as Mitch Romney. I think, in part, that's why the opposition was so shrill and ugly--because there isn't that much to object to in terms of policy--but it's a BIG political victory for the Democrats.

Doesn't mean, by the way, that I don't see some GOP gains in November. Unemployment is high--but I don't see a blow-out. Not with Newt Gingrich proposing another government shut-down. Remember how that little feat cost the GOP big time?


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 24, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Words,

You don't get the problem with the uninsured.

Risk pools are the basis of insurance. In order for risk pools to work, high-risk members have to balanced by low-risk members in order to keep down costs. Young uninsured people by opting out of the system actually cost all of us more because the risk is not fully amortized. With the aging of the population, getting a wider risk pool is critical in order to leverage costs.

Everybody needs healthcare, but the pay-as-you-go model doesn't really work. You can't save up and then buy treatment for a heart attack or reschedule a catastrophic illness.

Instead, we've had a situation where pre-existing conditions mean not being able to get individual insurance and the uninsured overcrowd ER rooms and hospitals spread the costs to the privately insured.

We've been paying for the uninsured all along. It's time they started paying into the system.


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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 24, 2010 at 12:31 pm

"Democracy is injured when a minority does everything it can to obstruct the majority."

You are correct OP. Weren't there reports of GOP congressman going into the gallery to exhort the rabble to disrupt the session? Didn't the GOP congressmen give those that were escorted out for disrupting the sessions a standing ovation? Weren't GOP-led protesters yelling the N-word at African-American representatives and calling Barney Frank a fag?
Has the GOP lost all sense of decency? Apparently so.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 24, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Hi Steve...

--You wrote: "The Chicago pol in the Oval has had to learn one of the great American truths: You've got to slap the bully in the face."

A "bully?" Really? Is that what people who simply disagree with Obama or the peculiarities and methods of a piece of legislation are called now? *sigh

"Name calling" like this is the last resort of angry ideologues who know that they have a sloppy argument. We get it -- Obama wanted "change." We ALL wanted change and some type of reform of health care. However, most Americans were opposed to some of the extremely peculiar notions found within this bill.

Most Americans were unaware of many of the details that came with this legislation -- such as the "buy-insurance-from-evil-big-insurance-or-get-a-huge-fine-or-go-to-jail" section or the "cut Medicaid/Medicare by $500 Billion" section. There are many people who just don't know the specificities that this legislation contains.

Of course, this might be because the bills were drawn out behind closed, locked doors. I am still running into people who can't even believe that this legislation will FORCE Americans to purchase an insurance policy (under penalty of law, no less) from those same insurance companies that were vilified and ridiculed for over a year! Wait until the massive fines start rolling out toward people who cannot/do not buy health insurance! Ouch!

I am searching for polls that identify public sentiment regarding each major requirement found in this legislation. It will be interesting to see how this legislation is viewed once all of the specificities have been clearly shown to John Q. Public. While most Americans wanted some type of reform, most did NOT approve of the methods by which this legislation was created or the specific details within the bill.

A "bully?" Really? I suppose that the "bully" that you (or Dowd) claims was slapped by the President was, in reality, a very large percentage of the American people. One thing to remember: Just because they are large in number or disagree with the President on certain things, it does NOT mean that they are a "bully." Besides, there are repercussions for slapping someone. We will see if those repercussions are realized in November.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 24, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Hi Marvin...

Deviant behavior as a result of all of this is disappointing. However, those particular deviants who did those things (whoever they were) are no more representatives of the Republican Party than those angry homosexual activists who marched into churches and disrupted sacred worship services in November 2008 in San Francisco represent the Democratic Party.

Neither the Republican Party nor the Democratic Party have a monopoly on decency. Deviants are born in blue states, red states and purple states.


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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 24, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Nayeli--I will respectfully disagree with you. I think this kind of behavior is very representative of the current Republican Party (Barry Goldwater must be rolling over in his grave by now).
When GOP congressmen egg on and applaud bad behavior this tells me plenty. When right-wing blowhards on talk radio whip up their republican acolytes into a fury this tells me plenty. When prospective Republican presidential candidates make up stuff like "death panels" or claim that this health care legislation is different from the one they proposed in their state, this tells me plenty.
The Republican party has reached a new low as far as common decency and respect--the "baby killer' Screamer and Joe Wilson are real republican representatives of the [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] that the Republican party stands for now.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 24, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Hi Marvin...

No problem...we can always agree to disagree. I do think that there is often more vile rhetoric here on these message boards directed at Republicans than a couple of well-publicized individuals who shouted in a public or government forum.

Now, I have to still say that this is not a left-wing or right-wing issue. It is a PERSONAL issue. There were hundreds of liberal students and professors who shouted down Ann Coulter last night. Some of them called her some filthy, sexist and sexually suggestive names. Now, you don't have to do that -- even if you disagree with that woman. However, those students and professors chose to do so.

Similarly, there are individuals who constantly referred to President Bush as an "idiot," a "baby killer," a "doofus" and a "monkey." I don't think that I should say that those silly little minds are entirely reflective of the Democratic Party or liberals in general.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 24, 2010 at 11:27 pm

Nayeli-
The bully that Maureen Dowd was referring to was the Republican Congress that was, to a person, refusing to negotiate, calculating they could hand Obama a huge defeat. He stood up to them and now they are dealing with their own defeat. That is what she meant by her analogy of "slapping the bully".
And if, as you say, people were unaware of major aspects of the bill (like buying policies from insurance companies and mandatory insurance) then they simply weren't paying attention. Insurance companies have been in the plan all along since single payer never received serious consideration. And the Dems have been clear since at least last summer that the only way to make the system pay for itself is if everyone pays - ie. mandatory insurance. These were not backroom deals slipped in at the last minute - they've been key parts of the plan for months.


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Posted by been in the trenches 30 years
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 25, 2010 at 5:41 am

Well, in the end, what will the result be?

We are stuck with an almost 3,000 page bill that is instantly being brought to court by at least 8 States so far...states that have no desire to turn into a bankruptcy train wreck like California.

This nation will continue on its march toward being California.

All Americans who actually pay for their health care will see their costs rise in insurance premiums to cover yet more mandates we don't want to pay for ( except here in California, being already so regulated, we may not see much rise since we have already gone down this path)

All Americans who pay taxes will see their taxes go up to pay yet more those who pay nothing.

All Americans who paid for their health care will continue to see their options drop, and in 4 years those who don't pay anything already will see their options rise. ( Transfer of health).

A vicious, deliberate cycle of destruction of private health care will accelerate, until the "public option" is all that is left, except for a little supplemental insurance.

Fewer inventions, doctors, therapists, nurses will be attracted to a profession which makes less, and is frustrated daily at an inability to give good care.

The conservatives are on the rise like no time in my life, including the early 90s.

But in the end, it will be too late, the camel's nose was already under the tent of destroying our country from within, this "evil capitalist country", since the top 25% of us already were paying 86% of all taxes, and the bottom 50% paid nothing. We were already socialist, just pretending to be capitalists. Now the veil is off, the rest of the body is in the tent lifting it off the ground.

The Union members and Congress are exempt from any of the taxes, and any of the requirement to participate in this behemoth. Why is that?
The politcial "elite" and chosen don't get cadillac taxes on their insurance, and are exempt from this bill?

So, how much more will be transfer health and wealth before we finish our collapse into bankruptcy, like Greece?

Perhaps it is a good thing that this happened now, in this, way, with only one Party to take the "credit", as we age into this disaster and the cognitive dissonance it sets up screams out.

And, maybe it is a good thing to sped our collapse along so we, the children of the 60s, are the ones who end up paying the biggest price of the seeds of destruction we have planted, as we lose our retirements and our medicare. This is just the start, transferring from those aged who earned it.I refer to the cut in Medicare that is part of this bill. A cut coming just as the Baby Boomers are slamming into an overloaded system. Does that make any sense? Even had there been no cut at all, just doing nothing would have lowered the amount of money available per baby boomer, because we are going to overwhelm the system.

We already have a huge disparity between those who earned, and those who didn't, it is nauseating.

Case in point. Literally true, seen with my own eyes.

In one room, a veteran of our WW2, had to start paying 20% of the health care bill starting on day 21 because he had only Medicare, and it stopped 100% coverage on day 21. In the room next door, a same aged man, brought here from elsewhere just a few years ago, didn't have to start paying anything on day 21 because MediCal would pick up the difference.

The first was worried about money and left against all of us begging him to stay for another week to recover more.

The second, in better shape, was hard to push out the door because there was no financial incentive on anyone's part of him or the family to take him home.

We, in health care, see this daily now..it used to be a rarity, something we shrugged off and talked about over lunch. It is now a non-stop insult, a daily event.

It will only become more so. WE continue to disconnect the reality of the dollar from those who are using the services. EVERYONE should pay a percentage of costs, a "copay" if you will, regardless of financial status, to connect back up the decisions of health care to the receiver of health care.

For those who can't afford the "copay", that is what charities are for. I trust a well run charity a lot more than our govt to sort out those who need the help from those who don't.

This disparity in care received by those who have paid and those who don't, meaning more care for those who are "free", will just keep growing, and our rage will only grow more and more with it.




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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 25, 2010 at 9:34 am

Hi Steve...

No, that "bully" was the legislative process as spelled out by the Constitution.

The Democrats have a vast majority in BOTH houses of Congress. Who were the holdouts? It was moderate DEMOCRATS who stood in the way!

After the people of Massachusetts voted in a Senator to Teddy Kennedy's seat who was strongly opposed to this particular legislation, they lost the "super majority" that was really needed to pass such sweeping legislation. So, they opted to use "reconciliation" for something that it was never intended to be used for. The Democrats have set an extremely dangerous precedent. I wonder if they will cry FOUL after the Republicans control Congress and use similar methods at pushing through legislation.

However, even by using "reconciliation" (which Obama, Pelosi, and Reid and previously PROMISED not to do) -- they still could not reach the magic number of a simple majority in the House! Why? Because other DEMOCRATS stood in the way!

As a result, the President offered some shady back-room deals to trade for "yes" votes. The "Louisiana Purchase," the "Cornhusker Kickback" and other things were offered in exchange for a "yes" vote. But the legislation STILL lacked the simple majority to push it through! Why? Because other DEMOCRATS stood in the way!

So, who was this "bully?"

The "bully" in this case was the majority of Americans who opposed the bill...which was reflected by the initial voting of their Representatives in Congress. Those are the individuals who were "slapped in the face" by this entire dirty legislation.

There will be a day of accountability in November. If what you say is correct, then Americans will give the Democrats even more seats in Congress. If you are wrong, then Democrats will lose seats (and possibly, control). If I was a gambler, I wouldn't put any money on the Democrats. While we can all agree that there were some things that were commendable in the legislation, I believe that Americans are largely upset by the dirty, opaque process and many of the specificities of this legislation...and it will show in November.


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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 25, 2010 at 9:40 am

Web Link

"In the wake of the passage of the health care bill, Democratic members of Congress are receiving death threats and implicit threats against their families."

and
""I think if you look at some of the language that has been used by leaders on the Republican side, one shouldn't be surprised," Driehaus said. "Unfortunately many of us are now receiving threats, death threats.""

Need I say more???


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Posted by Clean House
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 25, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Trenches,

"A vicious, deliberate cycle of destruction of private health care will accelerate, until the "public option" is all that is left, except for a little supplemental insurance."

This would be a positive development.

"We, in health care, see this daily now..it used to be a rarity, something we shrugged off and talked about over lunch. It is now a non-stop insult, a daily event."

I don't disagree. The cause is our present for-profit system of health care. This is how we ration healthcare in this country: by wealth (can you pay), by luck (your employer has a plan), by double luck (government subsidy), by tripled luck (you're part of the generation that is strip-mining the wealth from others).


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Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 25, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Our present medical care system is taking 17% US GDP and it's not sustainable, especially in the present financial circumstances of the US. The percentage is increasing rapidly. What part of "unsustainable" is hard to understand?

That percentage is a consequence of our pay to play political system in Washington and the state capitols over the years. It has nothing to do with a market and clearly no market is possible. The Supreme Court recently made that Constitutional omission the law.

In 2009 the insurance and drug industries dumped $500+ million in Washington lobbying and will likely match it this year. Of course rate increases will pay for it. That money terrifies any office holder who wishes to survive in office. Nothing can happen unless the companies make a pile from it as we may see from the bill. The national Republicans are also trying to raise mobs and lead us into a time of social disorder to accompany our financial shortfalls and economic undevelopment for which they have major, though not exclusive, responsibility.

The dissembling of the Republican "death panel" campaign was a good example of contemporary Confederate politics which convinced many older people that their very life spans are a zero sum game with uninsured and younger people. They will now be getting more and more iron restrictions from insurance company Case Management systems and are in a generational war they can't win. They have most likely traded their faithful vote and activism for a shorter lifespan rather than a longer one.

Hospitals are often built by local bond issues. Actually the US medical care delivery system is very diverse in funding and organization. Some of the best care like the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, or Kaiser is non-profit where doctors are on salary. Some people posting here seem to be trying to get more and more of finite care allocated to themselves and claims of "socialism" and the end of the world coming don't really obscure that point.

IMO, the best scheme would combine a single payer scheme with attacks on the cost drivers like cancer and obesity/diabetes. That last may not be possible as it would cause even more special interest money to rain on Washington. Taxing sugar, fructose, transfats, and the like then routing the proceeds into a single payer system would work and be transparent but if proposed might have doubled the money sent to Washington over the last year. Yet prevention and more R&D effectively enlarge the universe of care available and should reduce the cost for what we have. Innovation might even make a few dollars in export.

Note that a single payer scheme would be a major plus for Main Street and a major plus in permitting older people to continue working.

The reason other country's single payer systems are under such stress is because of their low birth rates and aging populations. The US and more recently Canada and Australia have allowed high immigration rates to counter that cultural failure but the US does not use a points system. We might note that the migration of skilled people to the US is slowing rapidly as they perceive better futures elsewhere.




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Posted by Perpsective
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 25, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Again, let me reiterate, Maguro..that 17% of the GDP is not sustainable ONLY IF IT IS TAKING FROM THE PRODUCERS AND GIVING TO NON-PRODUCERS.

Up to now, most health care dollars were private to private.

That is called supply:demand. As long as the demand is there, and the people have the money to pay for something they want, then the service/goods is provided.

That is called sustainable.

If our health care were double 17%, say 34% of the economy, it would still be sustainable as long as it is private to private.

EVERYTHING is unsustainable if it is a transfer of wealth from private to "public". Our entire government is unsustainable, it continues to grow in employees, and in amount of pay per employee...while the economic producers continue to shrink, the ones who are paying the "public".

The more "public" our health care, the more unsustainable it is.

Look toward Canada, France and England and see how sustainable their system is.

Producers will only work so much to give to non-producers. Eventually we give up.


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 25, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Enough bickering, though. If you are one who "believes" in single payer, evidently no evidence or logic will show you the error of your thinking.

Here is the link to the H and R website, clarifying exactly what, so far, is in the bill laudably signed by only Dems

Web Link

Summary below

Individuals:

This year, the adoption credit is increased. (What does that have to do with health care?)

2011, people with an FSA or HSA will be able to use it on fewer medical expenses. If you use it for non-qualified expenses, you won't be penalized 10% anymore--you'll be penalized 20%. (Too much individual freedom in chosing your health care options!)

2013, people will have their max FSA contributions cut in half. (Still too much individual freedom in chosing your health care options!)

2013, anybody who has significant health care bills and is used to deducting medical expenses on schedule A will have their taxes increased. Threashold for deducting qualified medical expenses is raised from 7.5% of their AGI to 10% of their AGI. (Raising taxes on middle class!)

2013, medicare taxes for small business people goes up. (This helps small business?)

2014, fine of up to $695 by all who have not purchased health insurance. (Do this or else!)

Businesses:

This year, a "white people" tax goes into effect (10% tax on indoor tanning salons)

2013, W-2s change (more boxes with numbers in them) showing how much non-taxable fringe benefit they received in health care. (will fool more people into accepting this health care bill is a good thing!)

2014, businesses with 50 or more people REQUIRED to provide health care and pay at least 60% of the cost. Or pay a penalty.(This will cause some small businesses teetering on this number of employees to fire some people by Christmas of 2013! And this will create a business ceiling of 50 employees for many employers.)

2018, people with very good health care plans that give them everything they want will pay 40% excise tax if they want to keep them.

----------------------

I think Obama misspoke when he promised a tax cut for 95% of the American people ( besides the obvious point that only 52% of us pay any taxes in any case...but what the heck, what is such a mathematical error compared to the rhetoric?)

I think he meant more taxes on every single person who pays taxes, but since a lot fewer people would be employed, there would be a lot fewer people to tax...

Fuzzy math, here we are again.


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Posted by Anony Mouse
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 25, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Anony Mouse is a registered user.

Quoting Perspective

"Again, let me reiterate, Maguro..that 17% of the GDP is not sustainable ONLY IF IT IS TAKING FROM THE PRODUCERS AND GIVING TO NON-PRODUCERS.

Up to now, most health care dollars were private to private."

Uh. What about Medicare?


"That is called supply:demand. As long as the demand is there, and the people have the money to pay for something they want, then the service/goods is provided.

That is called sustainable."

Demand sort of implies choice doesn't it? Provide me a good or service at the intersection of the supply/demand curve and I will purchase. How does that work with a burst appendix? I will die in the next two hours from infection...What's it worth? All the money I have and will ever earn. Sounds like a fair deal. Is that rational?

I can't tell in your last two posts whether you are arguing from the standpoint of reality now, or whether you are advocating some sort of libertarian paradise. There are plenty of "producers" as you call them, who do not have access to health insurance due to preexisting conditions, or who have suffered recission when they became ill. I guess they ended up on the wrong end of the supply/demand curve. Oh well...

Like it or not, the polity has made this decision. They are going to submit themselves to the will of the people in the next election. Even if this is a monstrously stupid bill, democracy will decide. I think most people are against bringing back recision, denial based on preexisting conditions and the like. We'll wait for the people to speak.


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Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 26, 2010 at 4:06 am

Perspective, you appear to have read the first paragraph of a post I made and did not read the rest. Markets are not that much involved in our medical care system until we get down to the actual provider level where there is a fine proliferation of models of care operating. I'm not going to repeat the rest, especially the last paragraph.

It should be mentioned that medical care does differ from other goods. Do you want your grandkids to get TB from the guy who cuts the grass because he won't show up in the medical care system until he starts coughing blood all over the place and goes to an ER? Do you realize that a field worker in the Central Valley not vaccinated puts you and yours in jeopardy? In today's world we are a plane ride or two away from every plague in the world. Especially if you have grandkids in school, the health of your family does depend on the health of the larger community around you. You cannot isolate yourself nor buy your way out of that. With large segments of the population outside a care system there are no sensors either - the medical care system doesn't just provide care dispensed like soda. We wouldn't know we were in trouble until it might be too late.

I get the idea that an ideal Libertarian program would have people die in net worth order. Such a society could only be maintained by force, probably not for long. It's not technologically achievable at the present time anyway. Perhaps genetic engineering, organ regeneration, and the like will change that someday. An amusing exploration of such a world is the film Repo Men in theaters now. It does include action film cliches, though.

By the way, the CDC is at least as important to the defense of the US as all the aircraft carriers. Could there be a business model for it that would provide for our survival? Or under Libertarianism do we just get plagues back just as we would get huge booms, busts, bank runs, crashes, bread lines, social classes based on inherited wealth, disasters without relief, frequent disorders, and so on. Recent examples of Libertarian practice include Senator Gramm's derivatives which proved to be destabilizing, not the opposite, and nearly crashed the world.

OT: I realize that to a "hard" Libertarian political democracy is undesirable since spending, voting with dollars, suffices. So a Washington that simply responds to the highest bidder may seem a good thing. It's true that the Washington pay-to-play system severely compromises democracy. But it also badly compromises capitalism/markets too since corporations buy their business environment that way and become dysfunctional in the real world market place. We already have that problem, now about to get worse.

Our Washington money politics, now official and the law, also gets rid of any message the US may have regarding democracy and free markets. That is going to change our lives. If Bush killed off American Exceptionalism, the Supreme Court has dug a hole and buried it. The days of the US playing world cop were closing anyway with "The Rise of the Rest" plus Bush's taking a dive in the economic wars and losing to China. In the coming dozen years, whoever is elected, the US military is possibly to become a third the present size because the US can't pay for it otherwise. Also Google the phrase [Norquist Starve the Beast] without the brackets for the actual Republican plan going in to obliterate Washington in 2001.

It's worth mentioning that there have been countries where money and politics became synonyms like Indonesia and Russia. They nearly went off a cliff and had to be rescued by IMF planning and money - not promising precedents. The US is not too big to fail in the end, but it is too big to rescue.


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Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 26, 2010 at 5:12 am

ps -

We cannot take for granted that any of the recent legislation will survive nor any degree of real democracy in Washington now that the Supreme Court has turned the money-politics system into unassailable law. And remember that we don't just compromise democracy, but functioning capitalism/markets as well.

It's interesting that corporate political donations through the US Chamber of Commerce are anonymous. So the FEC reporting requirements are circumvented though Washington gets buried in a tsunami of cash.

Washington Post story:
Web Link

Fox story:
Web Link

The most dire possibilities couldn't happen for a number of years anyway. But for safety anyone who is a current foreign passport holder depending on the country may want to quietly keep it up to date and just see which way the ball bounces.


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Posted by Wearing Shades
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Maguro,

You'll be pleased to know that at least one candidate is being up front about all this. This candidate promises to put "people second or even third" behind the interests of corporations. THis candidate promises to create "the best democracy money can buy.

The candidate's name? Murray Hill, who is planning to run in Virginia's 10th Congressional District.

The novel aspect is that Murray Hill is not a person but a company. In the past, this would not have been thinkable, but the Supreme Court has cleared the way for this next logical step by granting companies first-amendment political rights.


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Posted by Ramblin' woman
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 26, 2010 at 6:34 pm

With any luck the Supreme Court will read the part of the Constitution that specifically limits the powers of the Feds to the enumerated powers of the Feds, and leaves the rest to the States. ( Amendment 10 of the Bill of Rights: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, area reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.)

Or, perhaps the one that says one person's "rights" end when they infringe on another person's "rights". Amendment 9: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Perhaps the single best Amendment we could bring about right now is an amendment that All Congress, White House, Supreme Court, Federal Employees, must live by whatever law is passed by Congress/WH...considering they are exempt from this latest fiasco, this might have helped.

Unless they are perhaps Amish, Muslim, or Christian Scientist, who apparently can be exempt from the law because their religions forbid participation in any "risk assessment" scheme ( like insurance) or health care...



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Posted by As predicted
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 15, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Web Link A report of an Investor's Business Daily article

Read the above, ( then be sure to thank the Dems for their support of a bill which makes over 51% of employer-paid health insurance plans "unacceptable"..results are obvious..either more costs to employees and businesses to bring the insurance plans to "acceptable", or dump the plans and put their employees on "public health care". I am sure either option will thrill everyone! Gotta ask you, do you really believe that govt can provide equal health care for the same costs as private insurance?

Does govt do ANYTHING cheaper than private?

Good job, Dems!

Concurrently, neither my parents can find another quality doctor who takes Medicare, the MDs dropping out in droves from the cost-cutting measures recently passed as part of the health care destruction bill..
That is so much better, isn't it? Take away choice from the elderly who have been promised this and worked for it and paid into it for 40 years!

Good job Dems! Destroy all of our choices. What was that again? "If you like your doctor, you can keep him. If you like your insurance, you can keep it"..

As Joe Wilson said ..correctly..."You lie!"


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Posted by New Tax?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 17, 2010 at 8:20 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 20, 2010 at 6:19 am

That was me, above, trying to get folks to continue to follow the logical thread on this Health Care debacle.

It wasn't a tax..oh! now it is! The first time in history the Fed Govt has thought it could force Americans to buy a product, and not only buy a product, but buy a CERTAIN product, and now that it is being challenged under the Commerce Clause, suddenly it is a TAX..( but remember, no rise in tax promise??) The news is everywhere, but here is one leftists trust more, from the NY Times

Web Link

Ok, so now it is a "tax"...a tax which forces one to buy a product. Ok..

Next, let's continue to follow this to the logical conclusion. We told you that the point of this is to collapse private industries, and put them under government control. Folks screamed "no, it is about compassion for the poor!!".

No, here is Mass, who is "ahead" of the nation ( if you want to call it that) having put in Universal Health Care "option" by "taxes" a few years ago ( the same model the Dems just shoved on Americans across this land)
Web Link

Stunningly enough, as prediced, firms are cancelling private health insurance coverage, telling employees to go sign up with the State coverage. ( which is already collapsing from bankruptcy).

Ok, great system, huh?

Wait 5 years, and you will remember this when yours gets cancelled and your are forced to go on the equivalent of MediCal.


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Posted by GC
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2010 at 6:40 am

Tax schmax. Who cares what it's called. It's good for the country.

Follow the logic. Firms are canceling private health insurance because the market has driven costs so high. That's not the fault of the MA plan. Lucky they have a plan they can fall back on since the market is failing them.

This would actually be a good thing if it happened nationwide, because it would drive insurance companies out of business and reduce health care costs while offering more care.


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 20, 2010 at 9:03 am

TO GC, thanks for the "boost" to your side. We know that the goal of communism ( of course, I am not saying you are one!!) is to drive out private business. Even though I am sure you are not a communist, I am glad you are honest about your desire to drive out all private insurance business, and destroy the financial incentives that have made this the home of the best health care in the world.

China and Russia have proven that communists can learn from their mistakes. I hope we can learn faster than they did. before millions suffer needlessly. ( the stories of having your teeth pulled without anesthesia, but it was universal dental coverage and thus fair,should be enough to cause us to hit the re-set button. I have never heard of anyone my entire life here, no matter how poor or "illegal" getting their teeth pulled without anesthesia).


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 20, 2010 at 11:24 am

Ok,..it wasn't a tax, and now it is.

And, it won't cover illegals, now it will

Web Link

How soon can we overturn all the damage of this Admin?


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 27, 2010 at 7:23 am

As usual, leftists everywhere get it wrong, even when they try to "decentralize" they still get it wrong.

Example: Britain "decentralizing" their socialized health care

Web Link

They still get it wrong..instead of letting their millions of citizens take more ownership, more "skin in the game" in their health care, for example by having every citizen have "X" number of dollars in their health care accounts that they can keep if they don't spend it, for example, and be able to contribute their own dollars to it tax free, and even maybe have to pay a pound or two every time they see any health care professional, the leftists in charge instead screw up incentives even more...

they are going to give money to each individual DOCTOR to decide where , who and how to spend it..Now how is THAT for screwing up incentives?

Where on earth do these socialists learn their economics and human behavior from? They simply believe that individuals are too stupid to care for themselves, and "incentivize" the wrong folks whenever they "fix" something.


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 5, 2010 at 6:46 am

Here is a chart outlining the system that UIs believe "is good for the country"...(good for stealing money from producers to hire middlemen in the government to give back half the stolen money to non-producers)

Web Link

It is a chart of all the new bureacracy created to "control" your health care. Gosh, can't wait for some DMV type to tell me if I qualify for a cancer screening or heart surgery.( if they wait long enough, it will increase the chances I will die, then I am not expensive, am I?)

Can't wait until we are JUST LIKE the French Health Care system! I know it WELL from several generations of ..um...not-care..I have observed in my family there. Our MediCal patients here got better care in all areas than they did..their system is collapsing..

Can't wait until we are JUST LIKE Canada! I saw the delay and not-treat response to an ever increasing disc problem there..here, even through MediCal, it would have been dealt with before it became a big problem.

Can't wait until we are like England and deny EASY heart surgery to kids with Down Syndrome (Web Link)

Never forget..when you give the power to government to "save you", you also give the power to government to destroy you.


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Meadow Park
on May 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Health Care costs rise because of Obamacare

Web Link

224 more waivers, on top of the over 1,000 already passed out, given in political favors to companies

Web Link

So, how is that Democrat-pushed hopeful change in "health care" working out for y'all?

(Not)

The more power you give to government to make your choices for you, the more you spend to get less while cronyism takes over.

When will we learn?


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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on May 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm

pers:

the GOP has promised "repeal and replace".

They lost on repeal. They have not offered ANY plan on replace. "So, how is that <GOP> -pushed hopeful change in "health care" working out for y'all? "

Now the GOP wants to privatize Medicare by giving coupons to seniors.

Do you support the Ryan/Gop house budget bill that privatizes Medicare, asks for sacrifices from the majority of Americans, while giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires?


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Meadow Park
on May 18, 2011 at 3:07 pm

No, the Congress passed "repeal", the Senate didn't. Senate hasn't been overturned yet.

The Supremes haven't had a chance at it yet since it has been slow tracked ( the longer it is in place, the harder it is to extirpate, so the Dem strategy is to delay, delay and delay while temporarily easing the pain through waiver).

And, of course, Obama, law abiding fella that he is, has chosen to ignore the deeming of unconstitutionality by the Fed judge, but hey, who cares if our POTUS doesn't follow the Constitution as long as s/he is doing what we want, right? I mean, how can that be anything but good?

Can't replace it till its gone, can we? Let's hope it is gone very soon, so we can have REAL reform that builds on what is good, and reforms what is bad ( the horrid regulations that limit what I am allowed to buy and the horrid liability)

Until then, what' left? Defund, defund, defund. Hoping that is next, we'll see.

In the meantime, how happy is everyone with the ever rising costs ( what happened to "this is to control the rising health care costs"?) and loss of control over their own health care decisions ( what happened to "nobody will lose their plan they like"?)

Not..


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Posted by al norte sm
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Perspective: <not>

The man asked two questions, you neglected to answer either:

- What is the "replace" plan? It's been at least a year, where is the plan? What are the plan components? More coupons for the elderly?

- "Do you support the Ryan/Gop house budget bill that privatizes Medicare, asks for sacrifices from the majority of Americans, while giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires?"

Hints: the first is about a plan they have never bothered to write, and the second is a simple yes or no answer.


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Meadow Park
on May 21, 2011 at 9:05 am

Web Link

Oh I am SOOO excited!! Now the AARP is exempt ( for the year) from Obamacare rules.

Yet more folks who pushed it on us, lied to us, forced it on us, telling us how great it was.."Oh, sorry, too hard on us to implement" ..get a waiver.

How many friends of Democrats/Obama will be left in 2014 with waivers I wonder?

Have to repeal the dang thing, then put in place real fixes..as said many times to you, my friend ANS:

The "replacement" plan isn't a "replacement" but fixes.

1) Limits on silly malpractice
2) Open up our health insurance policy choices so we can buy insurance only against what we wish, not against every lobbyist's dream.


These 2 courses alone will plummet health insurance costs.

To give incentive to more people to buy insurance ( not "mandate", incentive),

1) Equalize the tax incentives between private and business buyers of insurance

2) Assure all insurances are portable, by being INDIVIDUALLY bought and thus able to travel from job to job, State to State.

This would encourage a LOT more people to buy insurance, between it being a lot cheaper, and it being portable, so if bought when one is young, it stays less expensive throughout life.

My favorite to encourage young adults to buy ( or go enroll in their local government insurance like MediCal) insurance, who are half of the uninsured because they simply dont believe they need it or haven't gotten around to enrolling in the already existing govt program...

1) No health insurance, no driver's license

Well, guess I have wasted enough time re-writing ...ad nauseum,..the same old points. Maybe worth it if one more person reads them


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Posted by al norte sm
a resident of another community
on May 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Perspective:

The man asked two questions, you neglected to answer either:

- What is the "replace" plan? It's been at least a year, where is the plan? What are the plan components? More coupons for the elderly? Where are the links to the GOP plan?

- "Do you support the Ryan/Gop house budget bill that privatizes Medicare, asks for sacrifices from the majority of Americans, while giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires?"


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Meadow Park
on May 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm

The "replace" plan is simple: Web Link

I thought I answered it, but here, read for yourself.


In answer to your question: I thought I had answered that clearly already...Yes, I support Ryan's plan,

1) which affects nobody over 54 years old, keeping all promises made to those 55 and over in place ( unlike Obamacare which cuts services now, already to the tune of $500,000,000/year, just as the baby boomers are hitting the system, which is effectively even more of a per person cut).

2) Places everyone 54 and under on the path of Medicare that is basically HMO managed, like half of all Medicare recipients have already chosen. I like it..and I will miss the "cut off" by one year, so will be on the new plan myself.

Ok, is that clear enough for you? And, in fact, your question is phrased in a silly way, it does not ask for sacrifices from the majority of Americans, it sets in place a plan that can be maintained, and not collapse from bankruptcy in 10 years which would in turn place EVERY senior onto their own ability to pay for their health care, or onto their family's ability... No safety net at all left if we are bankrupt, is there?


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Meadow Park
on May 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm

To quote our President .."Let me be clear"...if we continue on our current path, we will collapse..there will be nothing, or next to nothing, for any seniors. That is not a plan for health, it is a plan for bankruptcy.

If we take Ryan's plan, the Medicare gravy train won't run dry, it will be metered out in a way that can be replenished for future seniors to be able to rely on. Stable. I can count on it. I won't have to worry about it all running dry when I am 80.

I would rather have less I can count on, than more that WILL dry up.


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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on May 23, 2011 at 2:27 pm

"The "replace" plan is simple: Web Link"

My two cents: Nice try, kid. That is not a plan, those are talking points. A plan has numbers, can be scored by the CBO, etc..

The GOP has NOT even developed a plan, and the reasons are obvious: their radical, far "right wing social engineering" agenda is getting panned by everyone.

* * * * * *

Your talking points are also absurd: "unlike Obamacare which cuts services now, already to the tune of $500M/year"

First you want to cut Medicare with Ryan, then you moan that the President cut $500M of waste and fraud out of Medicare!!

The Affordable Care Act cut $500M out of Medicare PLUS, which used our tax dollars to allow some Medicare recipients to buy insurance from PRIVATE insurers. It was corporate welfare for private insurance companies! Medicare is an the insurer, why should we pay a higher expense Medicare dollars to go to for for-profit insurer to build their layers of profit and bureaucracy?

First you want to cut Medicare with Ryan, then you moan that the President cut $500M of waste and fraud out of Medicare!! The Medicare Trustees Report the ACA initially extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by another 5-12 years Web Link

* * * * * * *

"which affects nobody over 54 years old" Bull. If that is so, why are seniors everywhere across this country up in arms?!?

I have a better idea, let's listen to the Republican Minority Leader of the Senate, yesterday:

Mitch McConnell describes the GOP's plan to end Medicare on Fox News Sunday: "What Paul Ryan would do is to empower grandma in the private market, to shop and get the best possible deal." Web Link

You want your grandparents in the private market for healthcare?

Medicare is a highly successful, phenomenally popular single payer system for delivery of healthcare to our seniors, since 1965. It needs work, of course.

It does not need to be replaced with a coupon/voucher based system of for-profit insurance corporations. All that will remain of Medicare in a Ryan/GOP world will be the name, as they destroy the system.

The Democratic response to the GOP destruction of Medicare? From the other Minority Leader:

"We have a plan. It's called Medicare."

"...their defense of Medicare as a matter of values, to remind voters what's at stake. "It is a value, an ethic, a pillar," Pelosi said, charging that Republicans want to "undermine one of the strongest pillars of economic security that seniors have.""

Do Americans want Medicare, or do they want GOP/Ryan's version of: "..it will be metered out.."?

Even McConnell won't give Ryan full throated support, it's such a loser idea:

WALLACE: ...Do you support the Ryan concept of turning Medicare from a fee for service plan to a voucher plan, which quite frankly under the CBO analysis means in the long run seniors will end up more out of pocket for health care?

MCCONNELL: Paul Ryan would say it's not a voucher plan, it's a premium support plan.

WALLACE: What's the difference?

MCCONNELL: He says it is different. The point is this Chris, it's going to change...

WALLACE: But you're not willing to say that you support the Ryan plan?

MCCONNELL: What I'm willing to say is that we're going to have to change Medicare and it's going to happen soon.

Folks: that's a guy who doesn't want to kill the political chances of his senators by forcing them to vote for Ryan's budget.

"which quite frankly under the CBO analysis means in the long run seniors will end up more out of pocket for health care"












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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on May 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Pers: you are on the far "right wing social" engineering FRINGE.

Polling: key Senate (McConnell) states for 2012, today from PPP

Support for cutting Medicaid:
Ohio is 33 percent in favor to 61 percent against
Missouri is 32 percent to 63 percent
Montana is 36 percent to 59 percent
Minnesota 33 to 62 percent

National Medicare numbers: from Wapo - "The Post-ABC poll finds that 78 percent oppose cutting spending on Medicare as a way to chip away at the debt. On Medicaid — the government insurance program for the poor — 69 percent disapprove of cuts."

Let's look at NY 26 Tuesday night. A solid rock-rib RED district, by a country mile - look at Bush and McCain's numbers going back.

Hochul by 6. All because of the Ryan/GOP extremist budget bill that cuts taxes for billionaires and dismantles Medicare.

You are on the far fringe. McConnell knows it and he's backing off so he can pick up some seats next year.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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