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Passionate boos, cheers mark Eshoo meeting

Original post made on Sep 3, 2009

A vocal crowd of nearly 1,000 people turned out Wednesday night for a Town Hall meeting with Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) on the national health care system. Boos and applause, in what seemed to be nearly equal measures, greeted the congresswoman at Gunn High School in Palo Alto.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, September 3, 2009, 7:36 AM

Comments (136)

Posted by George
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 3, 2009 at 7:47 am

"Best healthcare system in the world" -- the ignorance behind this is astounding. Best healthcare for the rich, possibly, although wealthy people live long in other countries, too. It sure hasn't been the best system for my family. What I don't understand is why all the social conservatives are carrying water for the health insurance companies. Those companies don't need your advocacy-- they are spending millions every single day to protect their own interests.

Posted by Nancy
a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2009 at 8:55 am

It is high time for reform. I am tired of having health insurance company bureaucrats ration my health care, decide what they will pay for and who my doctor will be, while their top bosses rake in record profits and hire expensive lobbyists to watch their own interests on Capitol Hill. We need more stability, so we can count on our health care coverage and not worry about medical bills bankrupting us (did you know medical bills accounted for 62% of bankruptcies in 2007? Web Link We have more than 45 million people with no health insurance, leading to higher infant mortality and other problems. In fact, America ranks 37th of 191 countries in health care even though we spend more Web Link

Posted by Working MD
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 3, 2009 at 9:26 am

Elephant in the room...Tort reform!! Defensive medicine is eating up our precious healthcare dollars.

Posted by Health Reform the right way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 9:31 am

Dear Nancy,

And you think a govenment insurance plan won't ration your health care and decide what they will pay for??? Obviously you don't know any senior citizen who has suffered major illnesses. I know several, including my parents. Medicare has been a WORSE provider than any of my private company insurance plans and now the liberal democrats want to cut it even more. Why do all of you liberals think that the government will supply some sort of utopia??? Yes, the private insurance companies have been doing a lot of crappy things. So, let's regulate them and the drug companies. We regulate other industries and regulating the health insurance companies is long overdue. But for heaven's sake, let's stop even pretending that Big Brother will give us solve all problems. For you and your friends, I have 2 words - Post Office. The govt insurance plan will be like all other govt programs, first it will become bloated and then the higher taxes and service cuts backs will occur.

As for the coverahe of everyone - your numbers are exagerated. But nevertheless, I agree with you. But let's cover them through either not-for-profts or some sort of tax credit. There are other solutions besides the socialized medical plans that have universally failed in all other countries.

Posted by Carlos
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 3, 2009 at 9:38 am

" "Why destroy the best health care system in this world for this?" asked one. "

This is at best laughable, and at worst it reflects the ignorance of one side of the argument. The side that special interests are taking advantage of by recruiting loud and visible advocates in this campaign of disinformation.

I would like to believe this community is smart/educated enough to have a more objective view and realize we have an unsustainable situation that needs fixing.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 9:58 am

I have to say that Obamacare supporters are pretty insulting. Just because we disagree with you, you accuse us of being "ignorant" and "recruited". Obama had busloads of his supporters shipped to his recent townhall meetings, but I bet that is ok? Those folks were "recruited"?? I think the problem is actually due to the ignorance on BOTH sides of the debate and the mixing up of topics. For example:

1) We DO have the best health care system in the world. People always come to the US to get the BEST treatments. But that does not mean that we don't have problems with the health insurance system, the costs of medical treatmens, the ridiculous tort system that also drives up costs and the masses of uninsured. These are two different issues. Do not attack someone who has spoken accurately and says that we have the best health care in the world. We need to focus on what is truly broken and fix it. Not attack the entire health care industry.

2) Nationalized Health insurance vs regulations - Again, another area where people continue to mix up apples with oranges. I am strongly against nationalized insurance plans, BUT strongly for regualtion of the health insurance industry. Yet I repeatedly see statements and articles from the Obama side accusing people like me being against all health care reform. I have read in many articles that the polls indicate that a large majority of Americans want health care reform. The issue is how to do the reforming. The town halls and polls show that the majority of Americans do not want nationalized health insurance or medical treatment. So, let's focus on the regulations desperately needed to stop insurance companies who block those with pre-existing conditions, drop the very ill, etc, etc. And let's also regulate the drug companies obscene profits. Let's also increase government spending on drug research so that the discoveries won't be owned by one drug company. Let's figure out some way to pay for the tax credits needed to make sure that the uninsured are covered. Etc, etc. A majority of Americans will support those changes. Let's not accuse those of us who are against nationalizing things as being against health care reform.

Posted by reality
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 3, 2009 at 10:25 am

"People always come to the US to get the BEST treatments."

Correction. People USED to come to the US to get the best treatments. It USED to be a huge multi-billion dollar business for US hospitals and medical centers. Rich people coming from places like Saudi Arabia to get heart surgery. That business has now virtually dried up. Those people go to places like Singapore and Switzerland now, where they can get just as advanced care (sometimes more) for far less money. There are still examples of people who come here for treatment, but the majority of that business has gone elsewhere. Now "medical tourism" means Americans going to other countries to get care they can't afford here.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 10:41 am

Where in the world do you get your info from? I have never heard of anyone going to Singapore or Switzerland to get any treatments. Also, the "majority" of business has gone elsewhere?? Again, where in the world do you get your info?? As for the "medical tourism", so what. I have read articles about folks going overseas to get stuff like plastic surgery since it is cheaper and our insurance companies won't pay for it. Good - I have no desire to have increased premiums or taxes just so someone can get a tummy tuck or liposuction. I have also read many articles about those surgeries being screwed up and those people having to come back to the US to get the results fixed. So, woohooo, they went overseas. Big deal - it is not impressive to go overseas for mediocrity.

Again, please supply cites to support these "new developments". I have personally witnesed amazing medical treatments for me and my family and friends. And no, we are not the "rich people". We are simply the insured.

Posted by Hugh
a resident of Fletcher Middle School
on Sep 3, 2009 at 10:56 am

"the changes must be "fully paid for," she said, "not paid with the national credit card." "

This is another blatant lie from your Representative.

Madame Eshoo doesn't realize that the Government CAN NOT create wealth.

Get out the soap!

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:08 am

Het Hugh, haven't you heard? This is all going to be paid for by cutting $622BILLION in "Waste" from Medicare. I can give lots of cites for the figure. Tell me even one other federal program that could take $622BILLION in cuts and not be devastated? Rep Eshoo, Obama and Barney Frank apparently have no problem taking from the elderly for their nationalized programs. The elderly have already paid into the system and now the rules are going to be changed for them since they are frail and often can't speak up for themselves. If a private insurance company collected premiums and then cut services to such an extent, it would make the front page of every newspaper. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:08 am

HR the RW

Many go to Mexico.. Dental is a big business down there with the high cost of insurance and huge co pays. Many people from the US of A and Canada are getting this care in Mx.. Orthopedics also is getting big. Knee or Hip job for a fraction of the USofA cost..

Many Medical Services are increasing their standards and operations up to levels that MANY insurances companies will accept. The insurance Co's like the lower cost and the Patient likes the lower cost and care.

P.S. America is not so great anymore.. Enron and Mudoff kind of home grown...

Posted by Dennis
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:10 am

>Health Reform the Right Way <


"Ills at home send medical tourists overseas":

'Some US health insurers are already offering packages with significant cost reductions or the elimination of deductions and co-payments for patients who are willing to go overseas'

(FT, August 20 2009)

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:11 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Mil
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:21 am

The tone of the debate must change. There is too much acrimony in the debate. I find the name Obamacare insulting. Once you attach someone's name into health care reform, you immediately politicize the issue. As a result some people feel that it is their duty to throw meat at the barking dogs. I think that those opportunitists are very un-American in that sort of behavior. I have seen that behavior in the place I am originally from and it is scary. I am imploring all sides to have a normal conversation without name-calling. At the end of the day we all are Americans. Lets act with more civility and let us listen to one another that way we may truly reform health care.

Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:26 am


Please tell us how you plan to pay for your health care and how you would apply that to the other 300+ million people in the country.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Health Care the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:26 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Mil
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:33 am

By the way, Let's give some credit to Anna Eshoo. In her sixteen years as a congresswoman for the 14th Congressional District, I have never seen her at her best like last night. In my twenty years living in this city, I have never seen such a large town hall meeting before. This is the proof that the issue of healthcare reform is a pivotal issue for most of us. I see it as a positive sign and a strength of our democracy. To me, this proves that our democratic system is alive and well. A community where its people are involved is a community with a bright future. Let us stayed involved in choosing the course of our future.

Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:36 am

Health Reform the Right Way, the more you talk the more you destroy your creditability. Medicare is not being cut $622 billion in one year, it is being cut less than that in 10 years.

Medicare will cut the excessive reimbursements to Medicare Advantage providers. And also payments for unnecessary procedures.

Even rational Republicans will admit that Medicare Advantage is a boondoogle.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:39 am


How is saying that the Democrats will be ousted if they push through the current bill "destuctive, destructive, destructive"? That is what happened when the Clintons tried to push through a nationalized health care bill. All Sharon was saying was that you must listen to the majority of Americans or else risk losing your Congressional seat. Congress was intended to represent the majority, not the personal views of the Congress members. That is how Congress has always worked - represent your constituents or get voted out.

Dear Mil,

We call it "Obamacare" since this really is his project. He has made that clear. It is not meant to be anything but a shortcut term that actually is accurate. Pres. Obama has clearly said that this is a major part of his Agenda for his first year. I am far from "unAmerican" for using this term. However, I agree - we need to keep to objective debates and not merely attacking. That is what I said earlier when I said that I resent being called "ignorant" or a "recruit" of the right wing. Let's stick to the facts - I agree.

As for how to pay for the coverage for the uninsured? Well, I certainly don't believe in stealing from Medicare as I said above. But there are other ways. Yes, we need to raise taxes. And yes, I am willing to pay more in taxes. Or we could end the war.... Exactly why have we increased efforts in Afghanastan? And maybe cutbacks in the space program? Or maybe more cutbacks in a wide range of other programs? Like stop spending on things like Cash for Clunkers which has proven to be a dismal failure. Instead spend only on important things like the tax credits needed to cover the uninsured.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:44 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:47 am

The main strength of the opponents of health care reform has been their ability to make the issue into a symbolic abstract civil war that has nothing to do with solving the problem.

This is not about socialism, or President Obama's personality, his party, death panels, or rationing, this is totally about the deliberately induced dysfunction of of our political system by corporate monied interests that suck up so much money they can buy enough loud voices to sidetrack, reprogram or drown the public debate on an issue that will not get fixed without a change in the basic motivation behind the health care industry, ie. removing or at least managing the profit motive.

As far as Europe having its problems, yes, human greed and corruption may be the norm everywhere, but it is exclusively the US where we accept it so blandly, and refuse to make even an attempt to regulate, punish or control it, and even seem to cultivate it as a virtue. If you don't think that is true, read about the FCC and Madoff. I think of this like an infection, we all get infections, but it does not kill those who actively take steps to fight the infection, instead of letting it getting a stronger foothold and taking over to the point where now we cannot fight something that is so obviously pathological as our out of control corporate industrial society.

Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:55 am

If there is "tort reform" as advocated by "Working MD" does he promise to reduce his fees by an amount that is equal to the reduction in his malpractice insurance?

Posted by My 2 Cents
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:02 pm

"reality" has an excellent point about how the U.S. is no longer the destination for many wishing excellent care at affordable prices. That is not to say there is much good about the U.S. system. What I am not hearing from folks like "Health Care the Right Way" is the recognition that the current health care bills, in addition to more intelligently regulating the insurance industry, provide a public option to take care of the 43 or 45 million people who have no insurance at all.

"Health Care...", before you say "your numbers are exaggerated", please check out the links that Nancy included in her message. The New York Times article titled "Medical Bills Cause Most Bankruptcies" quotes a study published in the American Journal of Medicine. There seems to be a problem with the link she provided for the World Health Organization, but please take the time to go to the WHO's Statistical Information System (Web Link and do some searches yourself. You will find that of 192 countries in the database, according to the most recent information available, the U.S. ranks 28th in Healthy Life Expectancy, 40th in Infant Mortality, 28th in Mortality Rate from Cardiovascular Diseases, 102nd(!) in Mortality Rate from Cancer, and 68th in Childhood Immunization against DPT. Of course, there is one category where the U.S. is a clear winner: per capita expenditure on health. I don't hold up Canada as a great model of how a health care system should function, but they outperform the U.S. on nearly every single measure of health care qualty, and they do it at just over half the cost per capita ($3912 vs. $6714).

It simply makes sense that much of what brings the U.S. health care measures down is the huge population that has no access to it. For heaven's sake, let's get a system that for once provides that access. Honestly, I am tired of the whining about "slippery slopes" to "government takeovers". If the insurance industry responds to the competition of a public option, that will not happen, and the result will be a much more humane society than we have now.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Dear Anon,

Debating with you is a unfortunately a waste of time. No one "bought" me. That is an insulting accusation. And serves only to do exactly what Mil is warning us against. Fortunately, I don't really care what false accusations are thrown at me when my opponents have no real facts to back them up. I know the truth.

And corruption is not accepted blandly in the US. Haven't you been reading any newspapers?? We do put in place all the time regulations to stop corruption. Just a few years ago, for example, to respond to Enron, Congress implemented Sarbanes Oxley. A massive set of laws to ensure no more Enrons. Ask any accountant or businessperson or attorney about SOX. They will tell you those sets of rules are massive and were put into place solely to stop corporate financial shenaigans. How is that bland acceptance?? If you wsnt "blamd acceptance", I would suggest you study Russia or a few countries in Africa (not all - just a few).

As for Madoff being just a US example, I listed plenty of examples of similiar con men in other countries in a prior posting. No one who has been reading financial papers over the last numerous years would ever think of Madoff as being a "US" issue. That is ridiculous.

Out of curiosity, are you a college student? I haven't heard such innaccurate attack of the US since I left college. You didn't give a single cite or fact. Just a view of how America was so evil...

Posted by Health Care the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Hi John - very good point!! That would need to be done for Tort reform to work!

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:16 pm

DEar 2 cents,

I clearly mentioned regulations as being deperately needed in one of my earlier posts. In my first post, I said: "Yes, the private insurance companies have been doing a lot of crappy things. So, let's regulate them and the drug companies. We regulate other industries and regulating the health insurance companies is long overdue."

In my second post, I said: let's focus on the regulations desperately needed to stop insurance companies who block those with pre-existing conditions, drop the very ill, etc, etc. And let's also regulate the drug companies obscene profits. Let's also increase government spending on drug research so that the discoveries won't be owned by one drug company. Let's figure out some way to pay for the tax credits needed to make sure that the uninsured are covered. Etc, etc.

My next posts were mostly in defense of the cheap, anti-American attacks that I am reading by people who are not suggesting any useful ideas. They are merely spouting college class level rhetoric and attacks. But I most definitely am an very strong supporter of major regulations AND increased governemt spending for drug research AND tax credits so that the uninsured will be covered. I am trying to have a useful debate here on how to reach health care reform goals and unfortunately most of what I am seeing are attacks from some people calling me ignorant and "recruited" and attacks on the US.

As for Canada numbers, did your cite include the fact that it take 8 months to get a colonoscopy? or that the death rates from Colon cances is 10% higher in Canada? I agree we could learn from other countries, but we can't say that our less than # 1 numbers mean complete failure of our current system. I will look at your cite. Thank you for the info.

Posted by frances griffin
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:26 pm

I will support the administration's plan because it will help many Americans who are in dire need. But I do have concerns.

I have concerns about what I hear about taking money out of Medicare to subsidize insurance companies, which is essentially what the plan does. How much money this will be is not clear.

Although I am experienced in reading both legislation and legal documents I cannot make sense out of the part of HR 3200 that deals with Medicare. The people having hysterics about the bill do not do a good job of proving their point either. They mainly just make allegations, many of them clearly false.

I do know that Medicare has done a better job than private insurance at containing costs. Sadly, there are still some crying needs left uncovered. But private medical insurance plans, so far as I can see, do not cover them any better.

I have had both private insurance and Medicare and I would rather be a Medicare patient any day than deal with those private insurers delay and deny tactics. Medicare gives a broad choice of providers and no hassles with insurance company interference. That's for me! As for fraud and waste, we know that private insurers waste gobs of money. And then there are military contractors! Need I say more?

What gets overlooked in all of this is that what we really need is single payer, as in HR 676. Public financing for private care. Financial analysis has demonstrated positive outcomes over and over. Efficiency and savings that will permit us to cover everyone and even fill the gaps in needed services. Too bad deceptive advertising and right wing talk radio have Americans scared of the best game in town.

Want to know more? Check out the website of Physicians for a National Health Program.

Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Looks like last week's Town Hall in Menlo Park had funnier protests than last night's. I particularly like the top-hatted cigar-smoking executives with their signs "ObamaCare will kill executive profits" from

Web Link

For all you going on about tort reform, I hope any reform will make it easier for people to sue and file class-action suits for denial of legitimate claims.

If you want to see what a sham our current health care system is, go into any large drug store between Thanksgiving and Christmas -- the height of "layoff season" as companies fire people to get them off their books and see all of the people who can't fill their prescriptions because of all those "transcription" errors. Truly frightening.

I too resent the implication that people were bussed in to last night's meeting. Didn't see a single bus.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:34 pm

I would also like to mention that I don't appreciate the "editing" that is going on by the Palo Alto Online staff. I responded to Fireman who accused the US of being the only country with "Enron and Madoff" like activities and I objected to such an insult and listed a sea of examples from other countries like the UK, FRance (major bank collapse due to one man stealing from the bank) and Italy (Parmalot) and also Anne Hathaway's ex-boyfriend from Italy and POOF, the entry is deleted. And don't call me anti - European. My ancestors came from one of the countries that I listed. Writing on this cite is a waste of time if it is going to be "sanitized" by the Palo Alto Online staff. One of the true beauties of the US is that we are supposed to have the freedom of speech....

Posted by betsy Allyn
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Has anyone been reading about the Pharmaceutical firm Pfizer?

Pfizer just agreed to pay "the largest criminal fine of any kind ever"
in the amount of $ 2.3billion. "to settle civil & criminal allegations".

Why the "insult" Obamacare? Have you no other vocabulary? So much for
"public discourse" what you read is what you get.

I apologize to Rep. Anna Eshoo and thank her for putting up with what is
fast becoming our 'gutter politics.'

Posted by anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Talk to the people in the financial industry, they know exactly how to get past the teeth of any reform that is being contemplated just as they knew beforehand how to blow off Sarbanes-Oxley. Did it stop anything?

Some financial people have said that the current financial crisis occured precisely because of the breakup of Enron and the spread of their accounting practices to other industries.

Health care prices rise due to artifical shortages of supplies, just like taking powerplants offline.

Making this about Madoff, except in some symbolic way is absurd, just as saying that we cleaned up insider stock trading problems by putting Martha Stewart in a jail for a while.

The problem with your point of view of calling everything you disagree with stupid of a lies, or from a college student is that when you look at the debate, you have on the Republican/corporate side claims of bankruptcy, death panels, shortages, loss of what health care those who have it now do have, and disasters, all emotional fear-based arguments.

On the other side, you only have to go to PBS, to listen to T. R. Reid who went around the world documenting how other countries health care works, instead of just attacking it as communist. Of Bill Moyers who gets experts from inside of companies like Cigna executive Wendell Potter who was there and participated in corporate meetings setting the same silly factless strategies that you are pushing here.

Hey Right Way, if you have any real curiosity at all you would not be trying to make up things about me that don't matter, you might be reading facts and experiences from people who know what they are talking about because they have been on the frontlines of the issue instead of doctrinaire corporate fact-free propaganda.

Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I agree with what anon just posted to RightWay. I found it interesting that when my friend last night politely questioned one of the anti-reform people demonstrating in the circle last night, the protester responded, "There's a word for people like you."

Had we stayed around, the jerky guy would have called us Nazi's or Acorn members or whatever hate speech they're fed on Fox.

Such mindless stereotyping and lack of civility unfortunately seems typical.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Dear Francis Griffin,

Unfortunately, Medicare does indeed give "hassles" and "interference". Fortunately you have not yet experience these. I hope you never do. But let me give you a couple of examples- (1) Medicare refused to pay for a life saving drug for an aunt of mine. They insisted on a generic brand. The very highly respected medical doctor contacted Medicare and could not get them to budge. A medicare clerk armed with his chart overuled the doctor. My aunt then had to pay a fortune to pay for the drugs herself; (2) About 2 years ago, there were already cost cuts made to Medicare. For example, now it is impossible for many of the elderly to now get the physical therapy they need. According to a doctor that I spoke with, the elderly now need to keep applying for short spurts of physical therapy even though it is well known that that the frail elderly benefit trememdously with physical therapy. It keeps them more active and less frail. Also, it is a must for anyone with neurological disease like ALS and Parkinsons. Yet, too bad.

As for "hysterics" re Medicare - unfortunately, I assure you that our concerns are not hysterical. The $622Billion in cuts appears in many cites. I can get them for you if you want. For example, Kaiser also mentions the $622Billion in cuts. So, in essence, Pres Obama and our Congress wants to pay for 2/3 of the costs to insure the unissured by taking from Medicare. I am relatively young, but this frightens me tremendously for the sake of the elderly. I say increase taxes (I will willingly pay more) and cut other waste we see on a regular basis in other parts of the country. I keep mentioning ending the war and cutting the space program. Maybe I am wrong about those two. But surely we can find the money somewhere else other than stealing from the defenseless elderly. (And yes, I admit that I have a soft spot for the elderly. Always have, always will.)

Posted by anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Speaking of facts, again, Republicans want us to believe that all lawsuits are frivolous, and large awards will collapse the system. Legal rememdies are pretty weak when someone is dying or dead, so the large awards are one of the few ways to actually modify corporate behavior.

The average physician's malpractive insurance bill is $6000 a year. Ask then what the rent of their office is and it will likely be more than that per month if they are in private practice. Malpratice insurance is not bankrupting anyone, except maybe someone who should not be a doctor anyway.

The right always uses these dramatic fear based anecdotes to make their points because they do not seem to be able to present facts. 20 years ago it was get rid of the estate tax and let billionaires keep 100% of their inheritances, because if we did not the family farm was going to cease to exist. Dramatized by right-wing thugs driving tractors though Washington pretending to be threatened farmer, the facts are that there was never a family whose farm was appropriated for taxes.

Over and over these transparent facades of lies have been used to successfully thwart even a discussion of important issues. Freedom of speech is not about shouting down other people with lies.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Dear Anon,

Blow-off Sarbanes Oxley?? Are you for real?? As I said, talk to any accountant, businessperson or attorney and they will tell you that you can not "blow it off". The current wall st practices that caused the economy blow-up had nothing to do with SOX rules. It had to do with the lack of regulation of the banks. Clinton signed into law a bill that rescinded many regulations that used to occur. Also, today's financial collapse was due to wall st types taking risks with real estate loans. This has nothing to do with SOX. SOX is just a method to make sure that there is no games played with the accounting. It does not intend to end other risky business practices. In fact, the current wall st collapse and the success of SOX is proof that we need more regulations, not sneers that SOX hasn't solved EVERYTHING having to do with business....

As for Madoff, I was NOT the person who raised the Madoff topic. That was curtesy of "fireman". However, I am not surprised that you couldn't tell. Due to the frequent "edits" by the Palo Alto Online staff, it is hard to keep track of who is responding to what posts....

And I assure you that I am not making "emotional claims". I have a sea of facts and personal experiences. You say that I should listen to personal experiences of people I know. Bingo - I completely agree and if you read one of my earlier posts, I mention that is exactly who I have been listening to and I give the examples - my elderly parents, my elderly aunt, my doctors, etc. Also, I have been reading and listening and watching. My sources are listening to Pres Obama himself and Barney Frank, And reading statistical articles. By the way - TR Reid actually supports private insurance plans in his article. He frequently points out the problems in the socialized programs in Canada and the UK. So, your cite supports my views....

You need to stop accusing others of lieing and ignorance simply because they don't agree with you. It is not helping anyone.

Posted by What's In A Number?
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 3, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Lets do some math boys and girls. In 2006, the Census Bureau reported that there were 46.6 million people without health insurance. 9.5 million of these folks were NOT US citizens. So, that brings us to 37.1. Of these 17 million lived in households with incomes exceeding 50K and year, and could, presumably purchase their own health care. That brings us to 20.1. 18 million of the 46.6 were between the ages of 18 and 34, most of whom were in good health and not necessarily in need of health care coverage or chose not to purchase it. Lets see, roughly 330 million people in America, and we want to spend all of this money for less than 1% of the population. Ok, if you want to be generous, then we will make it 3% of the population.

Signed Mark Levin, Page 107, Liberty and Tyranny

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Dear Anon,

Please read the current COngressional Health Care Bill - it bars anyone from suing the Fed govt. I agree with you. I think people need to be able to sue. Instead of jumping on us who want "tort reform", you should be asking what we are referring to. I am saying that the 1/3 cut that lawyers get from the settlement needs to be limited. Since so much go to the legal bills, then the plaintiffs(ie patients) need to ask for even more $$. It is a viscious cycle. Also, there needs to be limits on lawsuits in general. For example, the woman who got $1M for spilling coffee on herself? "Tort reform" does not mean ending lawsuits or limiting them to mere pittances. Please ask what someone is referring to before your next attack post.

Also, by the way, the malpractice insurance that my doctors pay is much more than $6000. Where did you get that figure??? I hear constantly of at least 5 figure costs.

Posted by In Sum
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 3, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Way asks for citations but posts none for his/her numbers, though they " . . . can give lots of cites . . . ."

Way describes Medicare as the worst system they've dealt with. So why not have relatives transfer to private so the money going from taxpayers to Medicare can be used for others who need it and can't afford or qualify for the private? Apparently, you're a rare breed, presumably from the right, willing to put up more money in taxes, so why not give it to the corporations who run better systems and get the care you want?

Way states "We DO have the best health care system in the world," but then goes on in the same paragraph to describe how the system, as we do have to account for all of its workings, is really horrible - but that we do have the best health care providers (i.e., doctors, nurses, hospitals - direct care folk) in the world . . . that is then called into question later.

Way cites an incident of personal experience where a name brand drug was not available via Medicare (presumably to keep costs down) for a relative, but a generic (i.e., one that does the same thing but does not have marketing behind it) was available. However, Way wished to support the corporation with the name brand, and so became infuriated with Medicare that was not permitted using taxpayer money.

I do believe Way has the best of intentions, and there are some valid points made if one listens, but the tactic used on this forum and the anger that seems to come across by Way is not conducive to an intelligent conversation where any agreement can be made. The same can be said for those who call names at Way, but then Way does make some backhanded remarks about others.

Posted by Becky Sanders
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 3, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Who were some of those people at that meeting last night? They were not from around here. They were disruptive and disrespectful. Where did they come from? Where did the opposition hide the buses they came on?

Posted by Move On
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Becky: Those people came from Move On. An ACORN/Bill Ayers sponsored organization.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Dear In Sum,

My friends and relatives can't switch from medicare because they can't afford to. They paid into Medicare their entire working lives and were counting on it when they got elderly. Then our Congress changed the rules on them and your answer is for them to then go get their own insurance? Is it really approriate for you to riducule them like that merely because they are making valid complaints? Not sure I can follow that logic or lack of fairness. I am assuming that you believe only the wealthy complain about Obamacare, therefore my family and I must be wealthy? That would not be an accurate conclusion unfortunately for me and my family.

As for supporting the corporation with the name brand drug for my aunt, that was my doctor's advice who is a cardiologist. It is a known fact in medical circles that this particular drug needs to be the actual corporate version for certain patients. Nevertheless, Medicare refuses to care about that. It is not my or my aunt's desire to help corporate profits. Our goals are to live and to have our health insurance companies - Medicare and private - listen to our doctors' advice. I find it horrific that you can be so cold-heartedly sarcastic about a genuine problem my 80+ year old aunt suffered. Shame on you.

As for my "anger", how am I supposed to respond to numerous unfounded attacts above calling me "ignorant" and "recruited", etc? I try to voice a differnt opionion calmly and I get responses like yours claiming that my elderly aunt wants to help corporate profits because she wants the life saving drug her doctor prescribed. Yes, I am angry when someone attacks a loved one like that, Am I supposed to be Ghandi-like or Mother Teresa-like at all times? Sorry, folks who toss false and viscious attacks need to be ready to get a valid defense from their targets.

As for the "cites" that I said I could supply, you could have politely asked for them instead of ridculing the fact that I could get them for you if you want. I will try to dig them up as soon as possible and get them for you. I did refer to Kaiser for the $622Billion Medicare cuts, but I will try to get the exact website address.

Speaking of cites, I have to admit that I see a lack of them from the opposing posts....

Posted by Twilight
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 3, 2009 at 1:58 pm

"Who were some of those people at that meeting last night? They were not from around here. They were disruptive and disrespectful. Where did they come from? Where did the opposition hide the buses they came on?"

I disagree with "those people". Therefore, they can't have been from around here.

I didn't like what they were saying. Therefore, they were disruptive and disrespectful.

They didn't think like me. Therefore they must have come from some evil cult.

People who don't think like me must be brainwashed. Therefore anyone at the Town Hall who I disagree with must have been astroturfed and coerced into coming. Therefore even though I didn't see any buses, I know the evil cult leaders where hiding them somewhere. Maybe behind a tree or ...

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Hu Twilight,

Are you serious? Those folks were yelling. Doesn't that qualify for "disruptive"? Can Becky not complain about that or does that make them evil? I read your post and was very disappointed by the fact that you were doing exactly what you accused Becky of. Since she voiced a different opinion, she must just be making over the top ridiculous comments. Sorry, the supporters of the Congressional Health Care plan is going to have to do better than just toss false accusations our way. Polls show that a majority of Americans do not like the current Congressional bill but still want reform. It Congress does not start listening to the different ideas on how to get reform and come up with a better plan, either we will end up with nothing (which happened when the Clintons tried to push through their nationalized plan in the early 1990s) or else we will get a terrible bill and the current Congressional Democrats will be voted out in 2010. Why don't we try something new and come up with good refrom solutions that the majority does support?

By the way, I am curious, what is wrong with the phrase "those people"? I use it all the time to refer to a group of people, for example, in a restaurant, I have been known to say - see those people over there, they are clearly celebrating someone's birthday. Or look at those high school students over there, they seem to be going to the prom. Etc, etc, etc. So, why the " around the phrase?

Posted by In Sum
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 3, 2009 at 2:25 pm


I certainly do not think your relatives should have switched to private, but the fact that the could not afford to nor probably could have qualified for is a point that you seem to look past. Yes, there are problems within Medicare, as there will be with any new system that arises - please cite specifically which drug(s) you are talking about and the symptoms that go along with when the corporate drug is required, and you might get some more sympathy (you certainly have more experience dealing with the system than I do) - and I do recognize that folks have been paying into this system and should get care in return, but at what limit? Should we all get more care than can be provided with the money we've paid, however it may have been diminished or mal-appropriated during the time we didn't need it? Would the private health-care do that for you?

Ridicule was not intended towards your relatives nor their conditions, but you make many claims without citation, when providing citation would give many us insight to the health care system and Medicare that we do not have currently. Making remarks without providing any evidence other than "I know" or "Those are the facts!" does not work in such a form of communication as an online forum.

As for my cold heart - you may have interpreted it that way, but certainly it was not written in that manner. Perhaps you should read your own posts in the way you read mine, and you may see what others are seeing about you - however false that may be. I feel I was presenting to you a perspective on your musings here, and you apparently did not like it and then attacked me.

All that said - please do provide citations. I'd like to learn more about your experiences. I do not think there is an us AND them in this matter, but only an Us - we all need to listen to one another, and listen without confrontation or anger, while still providing our own unique perspectives . . . and yes, for those who do not agree with Way, please do provide citations for you numbers.

Posted by GS
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 3, 2009 at 2:50 pm

"Just because we disagree with you, you accuse us of being "ignorant" ... We DO have the best health care system in the world."

Er, that is why we call you ignorant. You clearly know nothing about the health care systems in the rest of the world. Jingoism is a poor substitute for data.

As for "nationalized health insurance," the problem is also ignorance and fear spread by the extreme right wing of the Republican party. The large majority of Americans want what nationalized health care would bring.

Single payer would be great, but short of that we need to turn the health insurers into non-profits. It really is the only way to create fair coverage and reduce costs and waste. You are naive if you think the system can be reformed with a few regulations. It is rotten to the core.

Posted by Health Care the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Dear In Sum,

Nope - I did not look past the point that my family members could not afford to switch to private care. That is precisely my point. They could not afford to switch now since they had been paying into Medicare all their lives. Now the rules are being changed by our current Congress and President. They don't need nationalized insurance or private insurance - they need to get what they paid for. Also, I don't mean to sound nasty, but I don't need your sympathy and I am not going to give you very private specifics about my Aunt's medical condition. Are you serious??? I am to give out on a public website very specific medical information concerning a loved one just because you want to decide to give me sympathy or see if you agree with me? That is an unreasonable request. I would instead recommend that you go talk to any one of your doctors the next time you are in for a check-up and ask them do generic drugs always equal the brand name drugs? And do sometimes Medicare clerks reject the brand name drug? It is a very well known problem according to my medical friends. But I am not a doctor, so I can't give you the medical specifics, even if I wanted to. And, by the way, yes, apparently private insurance companies will pay for these drugs if the doctors specifically requests them because private insurance companies can be sued, unlike Medicare....

But here is an example from the lovely nationalized medical syatem in the UK - The UK needed to be publicly shamed recently in order to get it to covering Herceptin for breast cancer. Also, there are 4 new treatements for kidney cancer that are approved and covered by US private insurers, but are not covered by the UK system.

I did not "attack" you. Again, anyone and everyone who voices an opinion different from the Obamacare supporters or who (as in my case) are defending themselves from attack are accused of attacking. You clearly indicated that my Aunt and I were wrong for insisting on a brand name drug and that we were merely following whatever drug was best marketed. Both my Aunt and I are well educated. We are not mindless ninnies who are influenced by marketing and advertisements. By the way - speaking of advertisements, do you ever read the small prints on those ads? Yikes! Scary, isn't it?! Anyone actually listening to the marketing should be running away from those drugs!

And here are some of the citations I promised. I need to dig up some more, but for starters - see:

Web Link
This cite says that the potential cuts to Medicare is now quickly approaching $948Billion over the next 10 years. In sum, the Obama admistration plainly intends to pay for coverage to the uninsured by taking ALL of the money from the elderly and disabled under Medicare and call it the cutting of "waste"

And then Kaiser Family Foundation also wrote that it was planned to take $622BILLION from Medicare. But when you look at the numbers, it doesn't explain where all the cuts are coming from. Lot's of typical political haziness....
Web Link

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 3:16 pm

GS, you are laughable except how scary your opinions are. Now you are saying that Nationalized Medicine works? Read the TR Reid article cited above and how it talks about all the problems with medicine in countries with nationalized medical care. To quote you. Er, that is why we call you ignorant. You clearly know nothing about the health care systems in the rest of the world. Jingoism is a poor substitute for data.

Also, I love your comment: The large majority of Americans want what nationalized health care would bring. Really? Gee, the polls are showing that a majority of Americans do NOT want nationalized medicine. And I am not a member of the right wing. I am someone with relatives in the UK and I have heard the horror stories from them and I have read the articles. What is your source of info?
I have yet to see your data. Just sarcasm. You unfortunately are not as knowledgeable as you boast. Er...

Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 3, 2009 at 3:17 pm

MoveOn writes: Those people came from Move On. An ACORN/Bill Ayers sponsored organization.

Come on. You can't really believe that Acorn or Bill Ayres have ANYTHING to do with MoveOn's 5 Million members who came together independently because they were outraged by Bush and his cronies. How pointy is your tinfoil hat?

Unfortunately, MoveOn is NOT doing a great job of organizing these days. No signs, no bumperstickers.

Also unfortunately, the anti-reform folks are getting MILLIONS from the health insurance companies so people will lobby for them.

Posted by jude
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 3, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Pelosi should have rammed through a vote before the summer recess.
Now the politicians have gone home and are hearing the concerns of local voters the Democrats are worried about getting reelected and the Republicans are emboldened, the ranks of the independents are swelling.
Obama is desperate to get some form of reform passed as this is his Waterloo.
But that reform will look very, very different from what Pelosi had in mind before the summer.
Democracy in action, I guess, when it come down to it all politics is local.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Jo Ann, the only flaw in your attack of those who are anti-Obama reform are your faulty facts. People in Palo Alto need to understand that the rest of the country is not as left-wing as this neighborhood. The polls show that a majority of Americans are against Nationalized Insurance. Surely you don't honestly believe that a majority of Americans are either paid for that view or are so easily influenced by lobbyists? Are we to believe that the only ones who can see through the supposed lobbyists to the truth are the elite Palo Alto residents??? We need reform and we need it yesterday. A majority of Americans agree on that point. So, let's start having serious talks about how to do this correctly and stop accusing others of having "pointy tinfoil hats". That is not helping the process and it certainly isn't convincing any of your fellow Americans to switch sides. In fact, these accusations of how "stupid" and "easily influenced" middle america is succeeds only in causing them to get even more entrenched in their views.

Posted by frances griffin
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 3, 2009 at 3:34 pm

The complaint posted about Medicare denying a non-generic drug has to be about a patient in a Medicare Advantage program, since traditional Medicare does not cover drugs. Even if you sign up for part D they are not in the business of denying you drugs. They just charge an arm and a leg because the Republican-dominated Congress inserted a clause in the part D legislation forbidding Medicare to negotiate the price.

The Medicare Advantage programs are PRIVATIZED though they use public funds. They have a worse track record than traditional Medicare especially for disabled and fragile patients. I have REGULAR Medicare and though it is not perfect, I LOVE it. Despite having multiple chronic conditions and having had four surgeries in the past seven years I do not have to hassle with the delay and denial I used to get from my employer-based insurers

I was mystified by a conversation I had with a woman at the recent town hall who claimed that she had hassles with Medicare. She gave no information about the kind of hassles and I did not want to pry. Today it hit me: she must in a PRIVATE Medicare Advantage program, such as Kaiser. That fits with the evidence about them.

As for the cost of drugs, our drug companies actually pay manufacturers of generics to NOT manufacture generics when the drug company's patent expires. Result: you can get some drugs at half the price from Canada, because they are available there as generics, but not here.

By the way, a lot of people do not know that the day to day workings of even the regular Medicare programs are carried out by PRIVATE corporations. So when your doctor is tearing his hair out over billing foul-ups or delays in paying bills, thank a corporation, not a government worker.

My guess as to why folks like United Health and Palmetto have not been vigilant about fraud, even to the point of ignoring whistleblowers, is that catching fraud does not pay off well in the short term. We all know that corporations are driven by the quarterly profits.

Lastly member of my healthcare taskforce have filled me in somewhat about the anticipated savings in Medicare. They remind me that Medicare Advantage programs cost the system 12% to 14% more than regular Medicare. So there is some fat in the otherwise lean system. And if they can also get a handle on drug prices, which would reduce the drain for part D drug coverage, it looks quite hopeful.

But the single payer measures, HR 676 for the nation or the California measure, SB 810, would still give us a LOT more bang for our buck.

Posted by Greg G.
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 3, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Those who fight against health care reform will see the error of their ways. Should health care not be reformed in this country, they will see their loved ones or themselves caught in the continuing abuse of patients at the hands of the health insurance industry. They will regret their actions, or most of them will, as many many people get "caught" when their health care needs are DENIED by insurers.

Loved the RAging Grannies who kept us entertained while we lined up for over an hour waiting to get into the town hall. Thanks, Grannies!

Posted by In Sum
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 3, 2009 at 3:58 pm


Do you truly believe your relatives would be able to afford private care had they not been paying into Medicare previously? Only you or they know, and I do believe you may well be right, but my guess is that the majority of folks would not - either due to private insurance high costs, mis-appropriation of the money by the individuals, etc., and some combination of all of those factors.

I never said you needed my sympathy, but if you wish to win over or educate any of us on why you believe what you do, you may want to take the edge off your comments. I stated that I think you have some valid points, but that doesn't seem to matter to you, and I'm not seeing your points clearly as you are making them.

In regards to privacy and your personal situation you presented, your argument is waning. You are already anonymous, and you have an opportunity to lay out a hard fact that given symptoms x,y,z, drug AA is required for results to be seen AND generic drug aa will not give the same results, but Medicare won't pay for AA. Your refusal to provide x,y,z,AA, and aa is unfortunate. Sorry, but given my private health care insurance, as much as I like my Dr., I don't think they're going to give me the time to quiz them on all sorts of symptoms and why a corporate drug would be necessary in a rare instance. I'm sorry for your relatives situations, but you didn't need me to say that, I guess.

As for attacking, I'll freely admit there was some ridicule towards you in my initial post. I guess you don't see backhanded comments such as "cold-hearted" and "shame on you" (not so backhanded, really) as attacks, but however - that's for you to think about. Regarding my comments, it was clear that given the information provided, that was a conclusion I could and did come to. I'll lay it out for you -
1. Brand name drug was unavailable through Medicare.
2. Generic drug was available to you.
3. You're willing to pay more taxes - this does not make you necessarily wealthy, but apparently you have some "extra" income you could part with.

Those are the points you gave me, and you did not (and still refuse to provide a hard example) state that the brand name was required. So, most generics work as well as brand name in most instances - that's my understanding, at least. Medicare needs to conserve money - that means generic is great! Medicare, therefore, stated they could provide generic, but not brand name - seems like a logical conclusion to those not so informed. You were unsatisfied however, so using your extra income you're willing to part with, why not buy the drug or sign up for private insurance? Seems a logical question, no?

And yes, the fine print is scary!

As for your citations, I see McKnight states the $635B number and claims them as "cuts". There's not much else there, however, and I'm discouraged that they don't provide the address itself, so I guess I'll have to find that myself. Confidence is not good for the cite, however, given that they claim $110B reduction is included in a $14.4B reduction over the next 10 years.

The Kaiser citation states the $622B number as savings over the 10 years, which does not necessarily mean "cuts". I'm all for savings.

Try this citation:
Web Link

Anyway, please continue to provide citations as I am curious to know the numbers you are going on as I like to see the whole picture and try not to get attached to any one way of thinking or perspective. I do think you can provide some useful information and insight to the conversation, but I don't see that happening with a continued tone of hostility.

Political haziness, indeed. Peace.

Posted by Newcomer
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 3, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Of all that I've heard on the talk radios, read in the papers, here is the one that I agree with the most and would like to share with you all.

Web Link

It is the op-ed of John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods. As the 'chief' provider of health care to his employees, he carries with him the practical experience in his proposal.

I am not saying this out of cynicism, but would love to hear from those that favor "Public Plan" why this would not be a better alternative.

Posted by jude
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 3, 2009 at 4:02 pm

The crisis for democrats is acute, but to understand why is not readily apparent, and nobody in the media is addressing the deeper undercurrents driving the democrats desparate moves despite public opinion.
Medicare will be bankrupt in just eight years, and probably sooner. Medicaid is growing consistently and consuming ever greater amounts of government revenues. Legacy health care costs of public and private union retirees are growing, with funding sources for these challenged to the point where they will increasingly become a taxpayer burden as well.
Major cuts in these will be required soon to prevent them from drying up funding for other government programs.
Without comingling these cuts with the private sector, a quasi two-tiered health system will develop.
That will lead to a backlash of democrats base voters.
That is why they say the scariest thing of all is doing nothing!
For them.

Posted by around and around we go
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm

All I had to do was read the paper which quoted Eshoo as saying that the bill she voted for was about bringing more "choice" to health care to know it was all an Alinsky-style, or if you prefer, Orwellian-style, lie, as usual.

Please read page 16, and explain how forbidding writing any new policies after the first day of the implementation of the bill is "bringing more choice". I could go on and on, but have ad nauseum elsewhere. For reform-the-right-way, do it the USA style, not the failed European/British/Canadian style. The real reforms that don't throw out the baby with the bathwater are listed ad nauseum on the net, or google the Republican Health Care Reform plan.

The current emperor has no clothes.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Dear In Sum,

WOW. It has been a long time since I saw someone who so much deny their guilt. You keep pleading innocent. Perhaps you don't see the back handed statements that you yourself make? You really don't see that when you accused my Aunt of me of wanting to help corporate companies simply based on their better marketing skills that you wre accusing us basically of being simple-minded fools who do what ads tell us to do?? In your first post you also said that generic does the exact same thing as brand name drugs. You were incorrect and yet told me that we were wrong. It is well known by everyone who has had any kind of extensive illness in their family that there are numerous generic drugs that do NOT equal brand name drugs. Most of the time generic = brand, but not always. Sorry I can't name them all for you, but I am not a doctor. But I do know this fact. So, I just got off the phone with a doctor friend who was horrified at your insistent lack of acceptance of what he also thought was a well known fact. So, he told me to give you Lipitor as an example. I did some quick research and found this cite:

Web Link

NOW do you believe me????

As for my Aunt being willing to buy private insurance to cover this. Again,i repeat. My Aunt cannot afford to go spend money on private insurance when she has already paid into Medicare. AND no insurance company in it's right mind would now insure her when all she wants is them to pay out. Who would want to take someone's premiums at her age and with her illness? That is exactly what Medicare was supposed to do. That is what she already paid Medicare to do. She is stuck, so she needs to pay for the drug itself, despite the fact that it is quickly using up her realtively meager savings.

As for my having "extra income" I am willing to part with - another incorrect assumption that I find disturbing. I am willing to sacrifice for the better good. Yet you conclude that I "apparently" have "extra" money - so, no big deal. But the truth is that I was raised to be willing to sacrifice for others. That means, paying more taxes would not go without pain to me. Even during WW II I had relatives who shared their rationed food. It's a family tradition to help others. And I am proud of it.

As for the Medicare "savings", I too support savings, but are we really to believe the political rhetoric coming from the liberal Democrats that the $622BILLION is just "savings"?? Name another federal program that could take a $622BILLION cut and not be devestated. It has been noted by many that Obama and the liberal Democrats pushing for these cuts are not explaining specifically where they are coming from. They simply say pretty words like "savings" from "waste". There idea of waste involves cutting back services that are needed. Also, their idea of "savings" is to cut back what is paid to service providers. Again, I point to what my family members have gone through and to what is also very well known in the medical community and by anyone who know the elderly - Medicare already reimburses at rates much lower than private insurance companies. And already it is hard to get a new doctor unless you have supplemental insurance along with your Medicare. Make any more cuts in reimbursement rates and then the doctors will refuse to cover the elderly. It will be too costly for them to do so. Then, Pres Obama will be correct - we won't be killing grandma. But she will surely die sooner when she can't get the care she needs.

Again, I ask you for cites supporting your side instead of constantly finding flaws with my comments. I would be very interested in seeing ANY cite that lists objective proof that Nationalized Insurance works, or that the cuts in Medicare are real "waste", or anything that supports why COngress thinks that current bill's limitation on patients' rights to sue the Nationalized Insurance entity is a good thing, etc. Despite my requests here and also to my much more liberal friends, all I get is accusations that I am listening to the right wing, etc. I have never done so in the past. Why would I now? I listen to the actual speeches that Pres Obama and Barney Frank are making and I am reading the legislation. And I will also look for cites from places like the Mayo Clinic for medical info.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Dear In Sum,

But I do want to add one more thing - I do apologize for sounding angry - even in my last post. But I am so very worried about Nationalized Insurance going through AND Medicare being robbed blind. It scares the heck out of me. I will try to dig up more cites since I do sincerely want to show you what is out there. Then, I will respect whatever view you have. In the meantime, please at least be willing to give me the benefit of the doubt and not assume that I am making this stuff up, or that I listen to marketing crap, or that I am living the easy life with "extra income" and I will do my best to give you the info in an objective manner.

As you said in your last post - Peace. That is my goal. Health reform is extremely important. It is truly a case of life or death. we need to get this right. And my sharing info and you not jumping to conclusions is the best way to attain that goal for at least us. What the heck, maybe we will even help others in the process!

Posted by Not My Representative
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 3, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Cannot wait until 2010. Time to clean house...and the Senate.

Posted by seniordem
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 3, 2009 at 5:22 pm

For those of you who are pro this health care reform, what do you think of the gov't having access to your medical records and all of your family's too. Don't you think the gov't will want to get proactive and keep tabs on how you're taking care of yourself? Maybe push intervention for who knows what based on family history. Never mind you as an individual, it will be based on statistics and/or the general good. Maybe you'll have to take medications you don't want to or vaccines that you would rather not. Flip side, you'll be denied your hip replacement if you're considered too old. Sounds like Big Brother to me.

Posted by katie
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 3, 2009 at 5:29 pm

dear around and around: do it the usa way and not the failed european/british/canadian style? how exactly are they failures? the usa way puts the us at #37 in terms of quality health care, spending twice as much per capita with half the results.

i just don't get it that people can't see that employers are going broke from paying into private health care money traps for the last 50 years. it's called a paradigm shift, folks. step away from the fear of change. (and this comes from someone with a chronic health condition willing to see the forest through the trees.)

and why are democrats or progressives (not always the same thing) waiting for permission from the republicans? puh-lease - go it without them. the majority of americans voted for you to be the majority party, not republicans!

Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 3, 2009 at 5:43 pm


What "faulty facts" did I put out when I rejected your claim that Acorn and Ayres are behind MoveOn? Dying to hear this one.

If you're trying to say that any and all "community organizers" are Acorn members, I still disagree. But that being said, I prefer real community organizers to highly paid lobbyists any old day.

I await your answer.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Dear Katie, much sarcasm yet no real solution offered by you other than the proven failures of socialized medicine. Please understand that if you go this route without the Republicans, your precious Democrats will be voted out of office in 2010. A majority of Americans do NOT want nationalized health care. And just because we (including Independent me) voted for Obama and various other Democratic members of Congress does not mean that we voted for ALL their legislation for the next 4 years. How simple minded of you to think so. Do you not remember how the Democrats were largely ousted from Congress in the early 1990s for also trying to put through a Socialized medical plan? History will repeat itself. Once you ignore your citizens, out you go. As Not My Representative said above, "it is time to clean house" if the Democrats think they can cram down everyone's throats their way regardless of what the majority want and has spoken at the town halls and the recent polls on this very specific topic. We need to come up with Reform WITHOUT a socialized portion. Why do you think that is the only way to reform the system?? To quote you...Puh-lease.....

Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 3, 2009 at 6:00 pm


I'm still waiting for your proof about Moveon. (Sound of toe tapping...............)

And regarding ousting the Democrats, I don't think any of us here have forgotten the fact that Bush's Enron buddies ripped off every household in Palo Alto to the tune of $8,500 extra in 2001 when 1/3 of the Valley was unemployed. That $8,500 for small single-family homes was in addition to the ridiculously high rates we pay.

So I wouldn't bet on that. If you want some more reasons why the Republicans are unlikely to come back, happy to give you some.

Still waiting re MoveON.....

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Dear Jo Ann,

More faulty facts from you - I never said anything about Acorn or Ayres. That was another person. All I said was that you were wrong when you said "the anti-reform folks are getting MILLIONS from the health insurance companies so that people will lobby for them." No one is paying most, if not all of us, a dime. For example, I am simply using my own brain, my own eyes and ears to read legislation and watch speeches from Pres. Obama, Barney Frank and Pelosi. Have you read the legislation? Also, I did comment that many of these posts show a VERY simple minded arrogance that the elite Palo Alto liberal opinion must be one of brilliance and the rest of us are either paid off, or stupid or angry or easily swayed by FOX, etc, etc., etc. Wake up and see that there are indeed other opinions out there besides your view (that is supported by no actual cites or facts that I can find in your posts....). And many of the opposing opinions are based on serious research and knowledge of the facts. In sum, just like most of you are not members of Acorn,etc. , most of us are not members of the right wing or followers of lobbyists or stupid fools that listen to drug company marketing. And you can't get rid of the now vocal majority by making snide comments and belittling us.

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 3, 2009 at 6:11 pm

"$8,500 extra in 2001 when 1/3 of the Valley was unemployed"

This statement lacks credibility, the sort of thing ACORN puts out or the claims in the SEIU flyer we all got.

Obama has to get some kind of health care reform because this is his Waterloo, if he fails it will be Carter all over again.
As House members go home they are hearing from their local voters who do not want socialist medicine, they are scared of loosing their seats and will dial back dramatically on their rhetoric regarding health care reform when they get back to Washington.
As another poster said, Pelosi should have rammed this bill down peoples throats before they had time to read it, too late now.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Dear Jo Ann,

Keep tapping that foot. I will repeat again, it was not me who said a thing about Move On. Try reading the posts accurately.

As for whether the Republicans will come back, I am so incredibly happy to hear your smug self confidence. Makes it all that easier to beat you in the polls. You clearly have a memory problem. The Clintons tried to push through Nationalized medicine and the Democrats were ousted. Please tell me again how this is different then now? Do you really have so much contempt for the majority of Americans who do NOT want nationalized health care? The polls and the town halls are speaking loudly. Yet somehow you do not think that these people will have the intelligence to show up at the polls in 2010. WOW! I thought that I had heard arrogance before, but you bring it to a new height (or low...).

Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 3, 2009 at 6:31 pm


Apologies. That comment was from someone called MoveOn.

Re the polls, you'll note that at least 11% of Obama's decline in the polls is from progressives and others who believe that the GOP really doesn't want to work in a bipartisan fashion and will oppose anything Obama proposes.

Many of those people, myself included, want Obama to get on with it without the GOP since most of the polls show at least 77% want health care reform.

That decline doesn't mean we'll vote GOP though.

Posted by Health Care the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Hi Jo Ann,

No problem - there are so many posts that it is hard to keep track who said what!

And yes, 77% want reform, but a majority does not want Nationalized health insurance. That is also being proven poll after poll. That is why I am so deperately hoping that all members of Congress can come up with reforms that don't include the Nationalized plan. Besides the fact that I sincerely don't think another govt entity will fix anything having seen the problems with Medicare and every other federal entity (most recently the post office....), I am also worried that this topic will fracture the country. And I am equally worried that due to all the Congressional fighting, nothing will be done. That is what happened in the early 1990s. The Clintons were hell bent on socialized medicine. The majority of people showed up at town halls to say no, it got defeated and.....nothing else was done. I am hoping that those folks in DC focus on other forms of health reform this time since we desperately need reform. Other methods of reform could include:

1) Regulate the health insurance industry. This garbage where they bar pre-existing conditions is a disgrace. Also, dropping the insured when they get too sick needs fixing. We regulate many other industries, why not the health insurance industry?

2) Regulate the drug companies.

3) Increase spending on drug research so that the patents are not owned by any one entity.

4) Pay for the uninsured through tax credits or some sort of subsidy. As one post says above, the uninsured is not really 46Million. That # is based on the 2006 Census, where 9.5M were illegal immigrants and Congress is not planning on covering illegal immigrants. So, that brings us down to 36.5Million. Of those, some are children and they are covered through other legislation. And about 17million are in households earning over $50K and could afford health insurance but don't get it. (Now before you bite my head off for the $50K #, I promise I will get to that later in my post.) So, we are now down to 19.5M, minus the children already covered. I will take a wild guess and say that brings the "uninsured" problem down to say 10M. I honestly don't think it will cost $1Trillion to cover 10M people.

Now as to the $50K folks - yes, many of them are households that have a hard time making ends meet even on $50K. (A couple of kids will do that for any household!). But some of them are people who chose not to be covered. I have met young people at work for example who don't want to spend any money on health care since they are young and healthy. Personally, I think they are crazy, but it is their money. My point is that not all of the $50K group even want insurance. But let's add 1/2 of them back to the uninsured pile - we still only are about roughly 18.5M. Still, much less than the 46M. Surely we can figure out how to cover these folks with tax credits or subsidies so that they can be insured?

5) Increase competition between the existing private insurance companies. No one above has mentioned this idea yet, although I have seem it in several other articles, etc. Currently, insurance companies only compete in a state. Make it so that they can compete across state borders. Competition always leads to lower prices and better services. It's a basic theory in Economics. And speaking of increasing competition, perhaps improve the tax rules so that more not-for-profits like Kaiser get into the game. And don't allow mergers!

6) Better ways to pay for the extra costs - raise taxes on the upper middle class or raise taxes on certain products such as sodas, etc. Or end the war. Or trim the space program. My point is that there are other sources of $$, just stop sacrificing our elderly. We can reform without throwing granny under the bus by devestating Medicare with $622Billion in "savings".

I truly believe that plenty of solutions exist out there that will help improve the health care system without nationalizing insurance companies and also succeeding in pleasing the majority of Americans AND most importantly hugely helping people.

So, I guess the good news is that all the posts seem to support health care reform. We just need to make sure we do it properly.

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 3, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Obama is correct - 80% of all medical costs are incurred at the end-of-life and generally fall within the Medicare arena.
The means by which these costs will be reduced is a "third-rail" issue.
Instead, Dear Leader is going about it by the Uninsured Moral Imperative - banking on the stupidity of the American public to be distracted away from rationed end-of-life care.
It didn't work.
Now he is faced with the perfect storm - an economy and jobless rate that will hasten bankruptcy of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,
NO Public Option, Inflation and the accompanying energy and commodity (read food) cost increases, a Nuclear Iran, a mismanaged war in Afghanistan and an increasingly attentive electorate who are shocked by what they see.

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 3, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Obama is correct - 80% of all medical costs are incurred at the end-of-life and generally fall within the Medicare arena.
The means by which these costs will be reduced is a "third-rail" issue.
Instead, Dear Leader is going about it by the Uninsured Moral Imperative - banking on the stupidity of the American public to be distracted away from rationed end-of-life care.
It didn't work.
Now he is faced with the perfect storm - an economy and jobless rate that will hasten bankruptcy of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,
NO Public Option, Inflation and the accompanying energy and commodity (read food) cost increases, a Nuclear Iran, a mismanaged war in Afghanistan and an increasingly attentive electorate who are shocked by what they see.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2009 at 9:58 pm

Why should we expect things to get better when bad government has helped create our existing problems with the healthcare system? Excessive tort liability. Doctors can't deviate and actually treat patients anymore. Liability is too great. So they are robots. then, citizens can't legally hire any MD that they want. It's illegal in certain circumstances --- again thanks to existing government bureaucracy. And now that things are getting more difficult to manage due to poorly thought out government policies that are making it so, the solution is.... you guessed... more government. Big F-A-T government. Capitalism is bad. More More Acorn. More government monitoring of dissent. More repression. More Socialism. Send in the Obama messager to dupe. Spread the wealth. Don't believe the lies. We can live with less. Government can't. We the government will decide. You the people will be easily manipulated. We are elite. We are super America socialists. Oink. Oink Oink...

Posted by Bob
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:07 pm

IF Kaiser is a poorly run Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C) as someone stated, and I don't know if it is- then it needs to take some lessons from the efficiently managed Medicare Advantage Plan run by HealthNet Seniority Plus. That excellent efficient plan should not be tarred with anyone else's brush.
In the Nixon administration, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy was the champion of a new kind of medical plan. He is known as the "Father of the HMO" - the Health Maintenance Organization - of which there are many for people NOT on Medicare. About eight years ago Sen. Kennedy also championed a similar HMO-type for those ON Medicare to efficiently combine Medicare A & B and a supplement plan to cover what is not covered by Medicare. It's called the Medicare Advantage Plan - Medicare Part C. The plans are not all alike. So if there is a problem with some, rather than throwing out all of Part C , the problems within it or in certain plans should be fixed. Most, if not all, employers require their retirees to have Medicare Å & B before the company will offer them any supplement plan to pay for part, or all of the 20% that Medicare doesn't pay. No Medicare, no company retiree plan - if they offer anything at all. And many don't offer any retiree plan anymore. (Are you listening SEIU?) And many companies offer the package Medicare Part C in which the retiree signs over his Medicare plan to the private company regulated by the government while still paying the $100 a month to Medicare and the most likely a premium to the insurance company. Medicare Part C is NOT a free lunch.

Posted by katie
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:16 pm

health reform the right way =

my 'puh-lease' was aimed at the democrats, not anyone else in ths string. not sure where you see the sarcasm - i am finding the dems wishy-washy with this, not 'precious.' in terms of solutions, yeah, i offered the euro/british/canadian way -- not failures at all. (i used to live in britain, never needed health care when i was there but no one i knew had complaints.) and i also offered that health insurance costs should not come from the employer. maybe americans would want nationalized health care if they understood what it has cost the private sector for the last 50 years, money that could have been spent elsewhere - maybe keeping america more competitive these days.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:18 am

Dear Katie,

I apologize if you think that I was unfairly sarcastic. I did not mean to be. But I do think that it is important to question some of your logic in your statements. For example, I have to admit that your comment about telling the Democrats to do this without Republican help and your comment about that they had permission to enact this nationalized program solely on the basis that these folks were elected, were of grave concern to me. The Democrats, thank God, are indeed being wishy washy now because they are listening to the voters - as they should. The majority of Americans do not want nationalized insurance. The polls are proving that over and over. No one in Congress or Pres Obama should ever think that just because they were elected, we trust them will making all the decisions. Elected officials have a duty to continual take the pulse of their constituents on all important matters during their entire terms, not just when they are up for re-election again. I am curious. Why do you think that it is bad for these honorable Democrats to listen to their constituents and decide to not support nationalized programs? I am impressed with those Democrats. It is the Pelosis, the Barney Franks, the Boxers, who never listen to us and forge forward with their own agenda's that worry me.

As for doing this without any Republican support - do you really think no bipartisan support is an America way? Not all Republicans are crazy right wingers. If so, I would agree with you. But if the moderate to liberal Republicans like Sen Grassley have problems with the current Bill and it's Nationalized insurance sections, I think that is a warning bell that there are indeed problems with the program. We need to compromise and come together to make reforms - reforms that are supported by the majority of the people. Not merely force on the people what the minoity wants.

Also, I want to add that I have british relatives and they have had very serious complaints about not getting extremely important cancer treatments in one case. I mentioned some of the cancer treatment problems that occur in the UK in an earlier post above. In fact, it was only relatively recently that there was huge outcry in Britian over the deplorable conditions and Blair was publicly shamed into fixing some of them. Nationalized medicine does not work in the UK. I am assuming that all your friends and colleagues over there were relatively healthy? In that case, then it does appear to be ok. But the cancer treatments in the UK are frighteningly poor. Also, the communal hospital wards have a lot to be desired. When ill, do you really want to be in a room of six?

And also I really don't understand your comment about employers paying for health insurance as being bad? If they didn't pay for it, they would need to pay higher salaries in order to get the employees. Either way, the employers pay. Or are you suggesting that a nationalized health insurance would take care of this since there would be no premiums to pay? That wouldn't be possible. The nationalized system would still require premiums. Or are you suggesting that 100% of the premiums should be paid for directly by the people? I am not sure what you are saying.

By the way, I could be wrong, but I think "Around and Around" was merely suggesting what I have been suggesting - make repairs to the current system through major regulations, increase competition, tort reform and more govenment spending for drug research I don't think he was suggesting that our current system is an example of perfection. He simply didn't support nationalized insurance.

Posted by anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:53 am

The US government has wasted so much money on the so-called war in Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention lives). The health care costs would be a drop in the bucket compared to war expenses.
P.S. the GOP has stirred people up with propaganda scare tactics that have no basis in fact. Look at what Rush Limbaugh (who is mistakenly considered mainstream) said about the health care plan (Socialism and Nazi-ism). its total rot. All we need to do is expand Medicare to ALL ages and we'll be set. You can still purchase a medicare supplement if you want or you can go completely private. Options chosen are up to you.

Posted by anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:59 am

You talk about not getting certain cancer treatment in UK and use that as an example to scare people. How about the truth! If you have PRIVATE insurance not thru an employer, like Blue Cross or Blue Shield, they will find a way to drop you when you really need the insurance. There are many many stories of people who were dropped. The company digs something up and claims that you "falsified" your insurance application because you omitted something minor like a heavy period or cramps with period. Even though you've provided all your medical records which had the complaint/symptom. If you didn't specifically write it on the application the company can legally drop you. The insurance workers actually get a bonus for dropping the patient. Check out PBS show Frontline and get informed, not propogandized. I forget the statistics, but there is a huge amount of patients being dropped in CA every day from insurance companies in this sick manner. Also, you will be able to purchase a supplement if you want and can get additional treatments, or upgraded hospital rooms etc. The proposed system is nothing like the system in UK.

Posted by anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2009 at 1:06 am

To Health Reform:
Have you compared the costs of private insurance and insurance thru an employer? There is no contest, the one thru the employer is much cheaper and has lower co-pays because it is part of a big pool. Private insurance costs thru the nose and the benefits are extremely limited. And as mentioned in above post, you can get dropped easily when a problem does arise. Do you even know how many people in this country have to pay for private insurance? It is extremely high, we have many self-employed people or employees of small businesses that do not provide insurance or even employees of Walmart who don't have employee offered insurance. Even someone making $80,000 would have a tough time paying for private insurance unless it is just "emergency" insurance. Have you looked at how much Cobra costs if you lost your job? Its extremely expensive even for the professional who loses their job.

Posted by anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 4, 2009 at 1:54 am

This is an idiotic place for a real discussion. Looking at the other developed countries in this world, in the immortal words of the lady in the lunch scene from "When Harry Met Sally", I'll have what they're having.

I don't care to argue socialism or whateverism, what we have does not work. What we have is not a free market.

When a customer goes to get order a plate of health care from the menu why is everyone not charged the same price? Why are the prices hidden and different? Why is someone who is not paying extortion money to the insurance industry charged on average 6 time more for the same work as someone with insurance?

If insurance is a business instead of an institutionalized and hidden way to discriminate against and kill people, what is the product, and what service does the insurance industry offer, and at what price? Where is the competition.

This is nothing but a big hidden scam like the Madoff scandal only legal because the government knuckled under to private interests to go against the best interests of the public to funnel profits to interests that will help pay to keep them in office.

Aside from what product does the insurance industry sell ... and basically it is a lottery as to whether all that money will pay off, and as soon as you are discontinued for some reason all the money you have been paying all your life like a good little citizen is gone for naught.

Anyone who is defending this is a paid for trouble maker.

Now, that does not mean there are not problems with whatever is being suggested to replace it, but every one the developed countries in the world went through the same initial chaos and has come out better than we are in the end.

What we need is universal health care, and I would include dental and mental, that is unrelated to work, that does not suck money and manpower from corporations to administer, that frees companies up to do what they are competent at, and that cannot be taken away. We free up citizen energy so we do not have to worry that we are going to die or go broke in misery because of a virtual corporate death panel.

When we have that, we all have the same motivation to make the system and our health better.

If insurance companies are afraid they will be put out of business, let them get off their duffs and find a product that people want to buy that adds something to their life, our of choice, not from fear and extortion. Let's start to include everyone in a group we can then honestly call Americans.

Posted by Heath Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2009 at 4:22 am

Dear Anon,

You are insulting and ignorant. An ugly combo. I am not making up the UK facts. Just because you don't know something or never heard of something, do call it lies. I have relatives there and I know what one of them went through with the cancer treatments. I find it amazing how cold hearted all of you supposed pro-nationalized health care proponents are. You discredit all stories as either lies or no big deal when they disagree with your views.

And talk about fear mongering - I have never heard of a single person being dropped by their insurance companies and I know many very ill people. Yet according to the liberal lefties like you, all sick people get dropped. You conveniently "forget" the statistics. The kind of stuff that gets you dropped is when you "forget" to mention your pre-existing illness. It is true that the pre-existing illness problem urgently needs to be regulated, but for heavens sake stop trying to scare everyone into nationalized medicine with these forgotten statistics and half truths and out and out lies.

And, my dear uninformed friend, the proposed system is the first step in a UK-like system. Obama and Barney Frank have both said (and I watched their speeches) that they view the current proposal as "a first step". "The goal" os to have a "complete single payer syatem". According to Pres Obama, it "probably will take 1o, maybe 15 years but that is the goal".

As for how much it costs for the self-employed, guess what?? I am self-employed and so are most members of my family. And I have many friends on Cobra thanks to the recession (who still don't pay what I am paying). I agree that we all pay far too much. That is why I say regulations, regulations, regulations are needed - for both the health insurance industries and the drug companies. And I have been saying over and over, increase competition. Allow the companies to compete across state lines. Help the not-for-profits like Kaiser with more tax breaks so that more of thoes entities will pop up and flourish. Basic Economic theory says that increased competition will decrease prices and increase services.

And you say that socialized medicine works in other countries? Well, please name one country where it works. Why do all of you pro-Obamacare supporters think that utopia will suddenly spring up once we have this beautiful socialized plan in place?? I really don't understand why. Please just tell me one country where it works and provide an objective cite that supports it - not just another posting from you voicing your personal opinion. And please tell me exactly why my proposed alternative solutions (many regulations, increased competition) won't work?? You keep attacking me with insulting tirades, yet you supply absolutely no reasons why my ideas won't work. Also, you supply no example of how socialized medicine works other than your own opinion.

As for you insane rant that all of us who are against socialized medicine are "paid for trouble makers", I ask you - do you really think that the majority of Americans are being paid to disagree with nationized medicine? That is a laughable accusation.

So, before you sneer at troubles that my very ill family members have suffured or how little you think I know about private insurance for the self-employed, maybe you should slow down. You have no idea how much me or my family have gone through. I find it heartless how much you sneer at our misfortune simply because I have a different opinion than you. You owe me an apology but I do realize that you will never be big enough to give it to me.

Trying to have a logical discussion with you reminds me of trying to have a discussion with a pit bill. It's attack, attack, attack....without much thought.... You are correct on one thing - this is clearly an idiotic place to have a real discussion....

Posted by Retired doctor Miller
a resident of Los Altos
on Sep 4, 2009 at 5:41 am

WOW - do people really hate each other that much. It is so politicized that intelligent concerned citizens get shouted down - some by organized politicos and some by honest frustrated people with real experience. I am not sure why I bother to step in here, but it is a critical issue for most Americans. I am an "independent," politically and I want to say three things:

1. Do not believe, for one moment, that this country can afford to give ALL the people ALL the medical treatment that is technically available (meaning it exists). Universal Health Care is a GREAT political slogan..."it is a moral right of every citizen...blah blah blah" All of us don't get it now and neither do the people in France and Canada....let's get serious folks. The question is who does the and in the future.

2. Here are people I don't trust to "run" health care:
The government - at any time in any plan (see the VA)
Unregulated Insurance companies (the gov. can regulate)

3. The lawyers and their lobby (liberal democrats?) must be controlled as part of this issue.

Posted by Carl
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 4, 2009 at 7:45 am

In the US, only very rich people can afford to become seriously sick. We can afford to spend trillions of dollars (that we borrow from China, India and Japan) on military aggression against weaker countries and waste nearly a trillion dollars a year on quenching the military industrial mafia but we "just can't afford to give ALL the people ALL the medical treatment that is technically available". The lack od universal healthcare in the US is so warped and wrong, it's no wonder that more and more people outside of the US consider us to be an uncivilized nation.

Posted by seniordem
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 4, 2009 at 9:08 am

Carl, you say that other nations think we are so uncivilized -- but then why do so many peoples all over the world want to come here?

I agree with retired doctor miller -- no to govt run health care. Govt regulation, yes.

Clearly those of you who support socialized medicine don't see the problems of concentrating so much power in the govt. All aspects of our lives will be under scrutiny for ways to improve health and that includes mental health too. Yep, then we can get some therapy for those of us that still believe in freedom and that govt is there to serve the people not the other way around!

Posted by GS
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 4, 2009 at 9:11 am

Health Reform the Right Way,

It's funny and sad how you cite TR Reid when arguing against "nationalized medicine," since his book holds it up as an example of how other countries do a better job than we do of taking care of our citizens. If you cannot be bothered to read things before you cite them, then you will continue to be ignorant.

Japan, Germany, the UK, and Canada are all countries that have better systems than we do. To quote you quoting me: Jingoism is a poor substitute for data.

"The large majority of Americans want what nationalized health care would bring. Really?" Obviously. Of course, they (like you) have been panicked by the right wing's mischaracterization of "nationalized medicine." Unlike you, I have direct experience with "nationalized health care" in a number of countries, and in every case it has been a cut above the system here.

Single payer would be a good solution, but if we can't get that, we need to turn the health insurers into non-profits.

Good health care has been taken hostage by the extreme right wing of the Republican party, which is in the pockets of the insurance companies, and the panicked ignorant. Let's hope Obama has the courage to stand up to the special-interest lobbies and push a strong bill through. If the Republicans have nothing to add to the debate, blow past them and stop bending over backwards to placate them. Jude is dead right: Pelosi should have rammed through a vote before the summer recess.

We desperately need the fair coverage and lower costs that other major wealthy countries have. If we do not get a major overhaul, the gap in our two-tier system will continue to widen and the costs of the system will continue to spiral out of control. Your children will be faced with tough choices: pay the mortgage or get the operation.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2009 at 10:02 am

Dear GS

Again you blather on as if your opinions are the truth. Not one cite. As for TR Reid - read what he has to say about Japan and Switzerland - 2 developed countries with private medical.

As for my being panicked by the right wing, you are an insulting twit. I am "panicked" by the fact that the Democrats are about to begin a wholesale pillaging of Medicare. I love how you toss out others' views as mere results of "panicked". Grow up. It is you who is panicked since you realize that your unworkable nationalized health plan is going down in a ball of flames.

As for your experience with nationalized health care, prove it. Give specifics. We are just supposed to believe you because you say "you have experience"? What is your experience? Is it equal to my aunt who died due to lack of appropriate treatment of her cancer in the UK?

By the way, if the "extreme right wing" is so influential, how did the Democrats (including Obama) get elected in 2008?? Get a clue. The polls showing our rejection of nationalized medicine is middle America. The "extreme right wing" can't control the majority of Americans or else Obama never would have been elected. Your ridiculous argument about all of us rejecting nationalized care due to right influence lacks all logic.

By the way, AGAIN you have not bothered to explain why the other ideas for health care such as increased regulations of the industry and increased competition by getting rid of state lines won't solve a multitute of problems. Instead you rant on (without any cites or specific facts) that the great socialized frontier is utopia if only we would embrace it.

Fortunately the majority is speaking and you can't shut us up by insulting us.

Posted by To GS
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 4, 2009 at 10:39 am

I know several Japanese who come to the US from Japan regularly for health care, and even some who come and stay awhile for Medicaid. I know a half dozen Americans who have come back to the US while living in Japan to get health care. I know not a single person who goes to Japan from the US for health care, but I have heard of one who wanted a specific type of accupuncture.

True, when Japanese get health care they don't pay anything extra. Apparently that isn't all that's needed.

Also, it is extremely difficult for non-Japanese born to participate in the system. If the US did not require its hospitals to provide health care for all comers, how much would our current crises be mitigated?

The Japanese system would be totally overwhelmed if it sustained anywhere near a proportionate health care cost for those not paying into its system.

Does Japan have a better health care system? It's not obvious that it does.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2009 at 11:40 am

Dear GS

And the support for your statements would be...? I give you specific examples of problems in the UK, some involving relatives, and you say not true! Even the UK MEP Dan Hannan warns us not to follow the UK model. He says "it does not work". But you know better. And then you blather on about your experiences with Japan and we are all supposed to believe them??? It's a one way street with you. By the way, I too have Japanese friends and I hear that the system works.

Posted by Around and Around
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 4, 2009 at 11:50 am

Read "10 Myths of Health Care in the USA" by Sally Pipes, out of the Pacific Research Institute, or the summary out of Cato. By the time you take out non-citizens, citizens eligible but not-yet-enrolled for govt health already such as MediCal/Care, people in their 20s who can afford the cheap premiums and choose not to, people who make more than $50,000/year and choose not to buy insurance, and people who were uninsured for fewer than 4 months in the year they were questioned in that famous "46 million uninsured" are left with 15 million, at the very most, folks who can't afford health insurance.

Our nation is too stupid to figure out how to deal with a problem for fewer than 5% of the population except by destroying the best health care in the world?

OH, I KNOW, let's make it so that we all have equally bad care, THAT is so much more moral!

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2009 at 11:58 am

Bravo Around and Around!! Obama and his supporters are the ones who are truly using the scare tactics, not those of us who don't want nationalized insurance. Bravo!!

Posted by GS
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 4, 2009 at 11:58 am


You are dodging. You should have read the Reid book before citing it, because it cuts against everything you say. Please note that Reid is not an ideologue, and he describes the various systems warts and all, so it should not surprise you that he describes less-than-perfect systems.

Your jitters about moving to a different system (whether the Bismark, British or Canadian models, as Reid calls them) are panicked because they are uninformed by facts and formulated on the basis on jingoism and ignorance. You simply have no solid information on other systems nor do you have personal experience. You have only the wacky stories from the right wing.

And please, don't be silly, I'm not going to share my personal medical experiences on the internet. I have wide personal experience, including surgery, acute care and the rest. But don't trust me: Ask any one of the citizens of Europe or Japan, who are rightly scornful of our system.

You need to stop worrying about the word "socialized" because it is distracting to you. Simply look at the systems in other countries, and it will be evident how bad our system is.


It is true that some extremely wealthy Japanese come here for mainly experimental treatments. What is your point? Everyone there can get timely, excellent, cost-efficient healthcare in Japan, which is not remotely true here. Look at life expectancy or infant mortality or ... well you get the picture. They have it much better in Japan.

"Also, it is extremely difficult for non-Japanese born to participate in the system." No, that's false. You typically have a small range of insurers depending on the kind of work you do and where you live--it's automatic. Perhaps your friends have difficulty because they have not had the courtesy to learn the language of the country where they live....

Posted by GS
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:02 pm


P.S. Sloow down there, tiger, and read carefully. Your last post argues with someone else who is on your side.

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:03 pm

RE: That WHO #37 for the USA in health care.

Here is a link to the list..
Web Link

Read it, and see if you can see a pattern and, without even reading the qualifying criteria, I bet you can figure out who made these rankings and what the purpose was..hmmm...wonder why they REALLY don't try to "rank" any more?. Could it be because this ranking is blatantly absurd to anyone with a brain? Honestly, what do you think the criteria was when Cuba is only 2 below us...and Columbia far above us?

Please note that even the WHO had to acknowledge that our quality of care, our outcomes and our speed of access were ..#1 in the world. But, we need to destroy all that is great in our system for a false sense of security, more government control, which in the end will bring us neither security nor better, not less expensive, health care.

"The World Health Organization's ranking of the world's health systems was last produced in 2000, and the WHO no longer produces such a ranking table, because of the complexity of the task.

1 France
2 Italy
3 San Marino
4 Andorra
5 Malta
6 Singapore
7 Spain
8 Oman
9 Austria
10 Japan
11 Norway
12 Portugal
13 Monaco
14 Greece
15 Iceland
16 Luxembourg
17 Netherlands
18 United Kingdom
19 Ireland
20 Switzerland
21 Belgium
22 Colombia
23 Sweden
24 Cyprus
25 Germany
26 Saudi Arabia
27 United Arab Emirates
28 Israel
29 Morocco
30 Canada
31 Finland
32 Australia
33 Chile
34 Denmark
35 Dominica
36 Costa Rica
37 United States of America
38 Slovenia
39 Cuba


Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Dear GS,

Merely due to the fact that I disagree, you insulting call my personal stories lies and tell me that I don't actually have real stories. Read my posts. I do have actual stories from family members in the UK. And then you keep merely saying that I am influenced by the right. Is that the best argument that you can have? Anyone who disagrees with you must be influenced by the right? Are you really that ignorant? And you laughingly refuse to share your stories. What a lame excuse. You are anonymous! But nevertheless, you sneer at mine. And you continue to supply NO FACTS and NO CITES. Discussing this issue with you is a waste of time. You think that you can win your argument by throwing around false accusations and berating others instead of substantiated facts. It must be nice to live in the fantasy world of the elite left. No real facts to drag you down. LOL! Fortunately your ilk is in the minority and shrinking!

PS My last post was agreeing with Around and Around. What post are you referring to??

Posted by anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:27 pm

The right-wing way said this to me ....
> You are insulting and ignorant. An ugly combo.

Hmmm, the ugliest thing to pretend you would reform health care, but then take a pot-shot at anything that gets suggested, while still trying to maintain the pretense that you would do anything to change the existing system. Coincidentally we have it from real people who know, ie. Wendell Potter ex-Cigna exec this is exactly the strategy opponents of health care will adopt. The last time it was respect the free-enterprise system, call change socialist and promise that the health insurance companies will better police themselves.

Looking at your posts that is quite clear. You are like the negative voice that says no to everything but has no suggestions yourself. I think it is pretty arrogant rude, insulting and ignorant to post every other post like you know something or have an opinion that is somehow better, or that you are qualified to decide on other people's ignorance.

As T. R. Reid found out when he investigated health care around the world, the most important aspect of it was to decide to cover everyone. Once that decision is made improvement will come naturally. They have in all the other developed countries and they will in the US. I really don't think I am saying anything ignorant at all, and I am certainly not insulting you, although I do hold lobbyists who do not divulge their backers and supporters or the current health care system in contempt.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Dear Perspective

Thank you for your post! Very enlightening.

Posted by Around and Around
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Thanks HRRW. We agree on the basic point, this is clear. I have to disagree on some of your tend toward more government regulation of private business management, which I distrust tremendously. What do you think of the following? I know you have already endorsed some of it

American solutions incorporating individual responsibility and rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness:

1) Lower costs AND the number of uninsured:

a) Allow us to buy insurance not "approved" by our State regulators. It can say "does not meet Calif standards" clearly on the forms we sign...let me buy it if I want! This will let me lower my costs by paying to insure for less "stuff". Most people have no idea that they are paying premiums for insurance against absurdities pushed through by lobbyists.

b)Incentivize people to buy at least castastrophic health insurance while young and healthy...Driving is not a right, it is a privilege..earn it by showing health insurance to get your license. This will instantly lower the number of 20-somethings and those who make over $50,000/year who choose to stay uninsured, as well as all those eligible for govt insurance who have not signed up. Circularly, it will also lower all private health care premiums since millions more will be in the pool.

C) Tort reform, of course,.

2) Equalize incentives, take away some of the governmental distortion, and increase portability for individuals : Equal tax breaks for everyone who buys health insurance, whether you buy it privately or through the company you work for.

3) Pre-existings would diminish over time, since there would be more "front end" insuring happening under #1 and #2..but in the meantime, I could see a Federal law mandating that no person can be denied on the basis of pre-existing conditions occuring before the age of 18, so that we don't punish people for the crimes of their parents not insuring them or for being born with problems....this would force all private insurance companies to band together to create a pool for the pre-existings, and I would trust them to figure out the fairest way for them to spread these risks and costs..

ADULT pre-existings: However, we have to think carefully about forcing coverage for "pre-existings" that occur through an ADULT choosing to not insure while they are healthy..then asking for full benefits they haven't paid into once they are ill. There is a problem with allows a "back door" for irresponsible behavior, with no consequences for bad choices, and a rationale for someone saying "why should I pay my $100/month in my 20s and 30s, when I probably wont' need it until my 40s or 50s, and I will be able to get insurance anyway as a pre-existing"? . I don't have a good solution for this problem yet. Given the above driver's license solutions, I am sure we would have a lot fewer uninsured, but we would still need to deal with them, and in a way that penalizes those who choose not to insure until they are ill so that we don't set up yet another moral hazard for irresponsibility in this country.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Dear Anon,

What are you smoking? Several times I have made many suggestions on how to reform health care. So, since you seem to have a problem acurately reading my prior posts, let me repeat myself again. I have recommended that we:
1) Place regulations on the private insurance companies
2) Place regulations on the drug companies
3) Increase competition for the insurance companies by doing away with the limitations of state borders and assist not-for-profits so that they can also compete.
4)Increase govt spending on drug research so new drugs won't be always owned by one drug company

But tsk, tsk on me - I don't agree with the liberal Democrats ridiculous idea of nationalized insurance. So, you simply then resort to the "debating style" of the liberal Democrats - simply passionately deny what your opponent says and make false accusations and wear them down. Sorry, Anon, the majority of Americans can not be beaten down on this issue. We are speaking and you can't stop that by riducing us and lying.

Posted by Health Care the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Dear Around and Around,

I agree with all your points. Your suggested changes would indeed lead to more coverage and lower prices - two goals we need to achieve without resorting to nationalized health care. And I also agree that I am not a big supporter of massive government regulation. As you said, we do need it for at least some time for the pre-existing condition folks. Sometimes someone will switch jobs and not be insured for a month. Or the unfortunate person who loses their job and can no longer afford insurance. Those folks need protection. However, I do agree with your comments about the Adult pre-existing folks who deliberately chose to not be covered until they get older.

You clearly have given this a lot of thought. You suggested a few things that I had never thought of. I enter these chats rooms so that I can have these kinds of discussions and learn new facts and ideas. Thank you very much.

Posted by GS
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 4, 2009 at 1:06 pm


Well, you have sunk to pure insult, but I'll stay above it.

I have given you concrete examples of systems that are much better than our own, and this should be enough to draw conclusions from. If you doubt my estimation and personal experience of these systems, please consult the people who use them. (They will laugh at you, I'm afraid.) So given that you have the information, and that you sound panicked at the prospect of change, the only reasonable explanation for your position is that you are misinformed. Since the disinformation about health care is coming from right-wing jingoism, it does not seem unreasonable to say that the right wing is driving panic by spreading lies.

Your "actual" stories from the UK are irrelevant. Anyone could easily find horror stories from our own system. The question is what is the broad swath of experience? If you told me that you lived for an extended period of time in the UK, and had broader information from your own, your neighbors', and others' experiences, I would begin to take you seriously. But in fact, looking this with a wide lens will show that our system is rotten.

Please slow down and think for a moment. What "facts and cites" [sic] are you looking for? Infant mortality? Life expectancy? The WHO ranking of systems? What possible fact would satisfy you? It's clear you are not after evidence. Why are you carrying water for the insurance companies, who are extorting so much from us?

P.S. Your post beginning "And the support for" argues with someone else who is on your side.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Dear GS,

You stay above insult? How comical! That is all you do, my friend. Oh, yes, I almost forgot. In addition to your insults, you also supply "concrete" opinions. LOL! There is nothing concrete about what you have said at all! Your opinion does not make it concrete. You have given no facts to support any of your opinions - other than trust me, I am correct. And to support these unsubstantiated claims of yours, you merely attack mine. You sneer at stories I have from real people. But but for some reasons, your personal stories and experiences are "concrete". LOL! I have a question for you - Why are we to believe that somehow your stories are so much more truthful and more valuable than mine? You can't even share your stories! We are supposed to just trust you. You even ignore what a member of Parliament had to say. And you ignore any negative comment that TR Reid had to make about Canada and the UK. As for mortality rates - bingo, Canada has a 10% highter death rate for colon cancer that we do. That might be due to the fact that it takes 8 months to get a colonosopy up there.... Also, the UK has higher death rates from cancer.

And don't worry about the residents from the wonderful nationalized programs will be laughing at me. I have spoken to many of them and they agree with me. In fact, they warn me against their systems. Of course, I know that you will send me yet another post with a simpleminded argument that I am making this up and this is all part of some sort of right wing conspiracty. I suppose that next you will be saying that the health insurance companies are feeding me some sort of drug to brainwash me! LOL! Fine, if that is what you want to delude yourself into believing, so be it.

Your arrogance astounds me. I am used to have debates with people who at least acknowledge my facts. I am not used to someone who merely stoops to ridicule and beats the other party down by calling them "controlled" by others and fabricators of stories. Is that the best that you can do? As I said before, you are a one way street. And this is good news to me, because one way streets convince no one but themselves.

The real problem here is that you are panicking that your cause is going down in a ball of fire. The liberal wing of the Democratic party never expected this rising up of Middle America to question their elite left wing ideas and it is scaring the heck out of you. You thought that simply because you won the recent round of elections, you won a free pass to everything you want for the next 4 years. Sorry, that is not how the US works. The elected leaders are required to always listen to the people even in non-election years. It is not the right wing that is causing the problems for you, it is middle America. LOL! I can hardly wait for your next post of attack, attack, attack, but no substance, substance, substance!

Posted by GS
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 4, 2009 at 2:42 pm


Again, you are not thinking clearly. You are unable to say what kind of evidence would be compelling for you. No answer would suffice for you.

But let's take your example. You claim (without evidence) that the death rate for colon cancer is 10% higher in Canada. Use your head. Even if this is true (prove it), so what? It is one disease among many, so your example is irrelevant. Better to ask: where do people live longer? Where do they have a better quality of life, as impacted by health care? It ain't here, brother.

You need everything in black and white, so when you hear a single story about problems in the UK or Japan, you jump to the conclusion that the entire system is bad. Your oversimplification is silly. Overall, is it better to get sick in the UK or here? UK. Overall, is it better to get sick in Japan or here? Japan. Ask people who have a variety of experiences. After they stop laughing at you, you will get an earful.

Let's dump our rotten system, outlaw health insurance for profit, reduce costs, and improve lives.

Radical changes will come for the health care system. If not now, then within 5-7 years, as the system melts down. Then even those who have been panicked by the rightists this time will be on the right side-- even you will be begging for change. It will be less disruptive if we change the system now. I think we'll get a government option a the thin wedge, and then drive toward single payer quickly.

Change is acoming.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2009 at 2:57 pm

LOL! As I predicted! More ridiculing. Now I am "not thinking clearly". And I "oversimplify". If you even had a clue what I do for a living you would realize that I am not capable of taking a complex issue and oversimplifying or being "controlled" by the right wing or being "panicked". Again with the simple minded insults and hollow unsupported statements and the jumping to conclusions. And AGAIN you say I need to talk to Brits and Canadians no matter how many times I tell you that I already have and that many of my sources are relatives. I have tons of additional examples, my poor delusional GS. But it really doesn't make sense to list them all. You will just pooh-pooh them all as right wing panic stories. Yet, you continue to supply zippo on your side. I have shown your posts to several friends and they are having a good chuckle. They all said the same thing - this guy shows absolutely no support other than "I think the UK is better. Ergo, it is!" And "I have stories, but I can't share them on the internet but you must believe me".

Single payer quickly? I wish I could somehow show my reaction to that in this post, but how should I show loud laughter? LOL doesn't seem to do it justice. :) Yup, change is acoming. Thank God. It will be in 2010 when your fellow liberal elitist are voted out of office. Counting the days!

Posted by Around and Around
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 4, 2009 at 3:03 pm

GS writes: "Let's dump our rotten system, outlaw health insurance for profit, reduce costs, and improve lives".

Please find any health care system that costs less and has the same great outcomes we have. Tell me which country it is, and give me the data that supports your conclusion.

If you can find it, I will go for it.

Otherwise, the only way to lower costs is to provide less care through delays and denials, and invent fewer medicines and devices. That is all there is to it. Very simple.

If you want lower costs for all of us, support the reforms I wrote above. If you want lower costs, and care, for just yourself, European or Canadian style,move to a State that allows you to buy simpler, cheaper, HMO insurance that covers less. There are still several left.

In the meantime, we won't let your party destroy the health care we have created and wish to pass on to our children, let alone destroy 17% of the GDP, and pile yet more unsustainable debt onto our grandchildren.

Posted by GS
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 4, 2009 at 3:29 pm


"Please find any health care system that costs less and has the same great outcomes we have." Pretty much the entire developed world. NOBODY pays as much for as little as we do. The U.S. system wastes tremendous wealth in inefficiency. The Japanese system provides better outcomes for something like half the cost. Just one example.

Your proposals just tinker with a rotten system, and regulation is not the problem. Dump the insurance companies--that is step one. It is coming soon or in the mid-term.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2009 at 3:47 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 4, 2009 at 5:10 pm

GS either wanted to deliberately mislead, or simply didn't know the rest of the story.
Link to an NPR story that speaks of this...
Web Link


"Everyone in Japan is required to get a health insurance policy, either at work or through a community-based insurer. The government picks up the tab for those who are too poor.

It's a model of social insurance that is used in many wealthy countries. But it's definitely not "socialized medicine." Eighty percent of Japan's hospitals are privately owned — more than in the United States — and almost every doctor's office is a private business."

Please note, all must buy insurance...period. Private for all but whoever they deemed "can't afford it" the way, I like it! Let's do it! And, while we are at it, let's have the work and education ethic the Japanese have, and the shame associated with not pulling your own weight! I would definitely go for their system here!

Posted by GS
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 4, 2009 at 5:19 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 4, 2009 at 7:00 pm

hmmm...maybe you should read the rest of the link about the problems with their system related to lack of "profit" and regulation of "profit"?

Still prefer millions of us making wise choices to having a few folks decide everything for us.

Posted by GS
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 4, 2009 at 8:43 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by DS
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 4, 2009 at 10:27 pm

I'm so happy to hear so many of my fellow residents speak out against Obamacare! I had no idea you guys were out there!!
BTW, I got an unsolicited email from Eshoo about her dial-in Townhalls. I went to the website and found that you have to sign up and give a contact phone number so that she can call you. There was absolutely nothing about the Gunn meeting, and as a result, I missed the opportunity to attend that meeting. I am outraged and disgusted by Eshoo's too cute way to deal with those of us who might possibly disagree with her. Let's through her out at the next opportunity. She hasn't the balls to meet with anyone who might disagree with her. Fortunately, there were many who found out about her sneak townhall and made their views known.

Posted by GS
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 4, 2009 at 11:05 pm


Er, maybe you should have read your own link before you backed the idea. And maybe you should read it again more carefully. They have no inherent problems related to lack of profit. Since they pay about half what we pay, they can afford to increase costs a little. And that is in the works.

Posted by GS
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 4, 2009 at 11:10 pm


You seem not to be following the debate on Japan. No one said it is a socialist system (whatever that means). But if you like it so much, go ahead and adopt it.

BTW, did you read the fine print? The insurance companies are not for profit. So I guess you're going with my previous proposals.

Posted by dorothy black
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2009 at 11:55 am

As a Senior on Medicare I have no complaints. Would you take that away from me?

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 5, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Nope, Ms. Black, under no circumstances would I want to change the implied contract with those who have believed that their money all these years was being put aside to pay for their social security and medicare.

Those of us a little younger know that this money has, in fact, been a ponzi scheme, taking from my generation to pay for the generation in front of us, piling ever more debt up on each succeeding generation.

By the time I get to 65, the system will be completely bankrupt. We have known this for 20-30 years, and have been saving and investing to try to assure that we can care for ourselves when it collapses. It is going to be very, very messy because a lot of folks simply believe that their money has been "invested" for them, not realizing that it is spent the moment the government gets it, and then some.

We want the kind of change which fixes the system, not the kind which makes it go bankrupt even faster than it is now: the kind of change that puts responsibility and planning back into the control of each person for him/herself, not the kind which gives yet more power to corrupt, politically beholden bureacrats, who will reward the politically powerful ( healthy 20-65 year olds) at the expense of the politically weak ( kids, elderly, disabled, ill). That is simply the nature of humanity, and we need to accept that.

Thanks for your comment.

Posted by narnia
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2009 at 3:01 pm

As somebody who for many years used two very different national health services in different countries, I can tell you that whereas grounds for debate exist on what the are the best options for America, (after all a very big country both geographically and population) the great majority of those whose objections I hear are indeed simply ignorant of the matter.
And that's a fact.

Posted by frances griffin
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 5, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Hello posters: So much heat and so little light.

Please get some serious facts from people who really care about you.

Go see the website of Physicians for a National Health Plan for a discussion of
1.the benefits of single payer and
2.defects in HR 3200 and in the Public Option.( Despite these defects I am still crossing my fingers and supporting HR 3200 with a public option as better than nothing.)

Check out the links to multiple studies by Congressional Budget Office and by the Government Accounting Office that show single payer plans saving money in the long run. The PNHP supports John Conyers' single payer bill, HR 676 and so do I. HR 676 provides a wide array of benefits and saves money too. But big insurers and big Pharma don't want you to know that.

Then ask your legislators to vote yes on
1.the Wiener amendmen. It won't pass but show support for HR 676 and
2.the Kucinich amendment.It protects the right of states to pass single payer.

Posted by Chuck
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 5, 2009 at 6:03 pm

At the rate we're now paying for health care in the US the insurance companies will skim about three trillion dollars over the next ten years. It's an excellent investment for them to spend a hundred million dollars spreading fear now rather than have us wake up to the reality that individual Americans would be healthy, richer, and more secure if the insurers were regulated to really serve all of us.

The market-based system for financing health care puts the insurers' interests in conflict with those of the patients. They make profits by rationing services. The reforms we need are the freedom to change insurers regardless of preexisting conditions and guarantees against arbitrary policy cancellation.

Posted by Chuck
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 5, 2009 at 9:42 pm

By the way, why would anyone have to bus liberals to Palo Alto?

What I saw and heard in the town hall meeting were about thirty anti-reform shouters in the left front of the theater, ten or fifteen more shouters scattered elsewhere in the audience, and perhaps a hundred more polite dissenters who applauded but didn't try to shout down Rep. Eshoo. It's pretty clear to me who put effort into manufacturing a media event.

Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 5, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Although I had more things to do today, I decided to read the Constitution of United States.
NO WHERE does it give the Federal Government the right or POWER to require any citizen or resident of the United States to have health insuranceor for the Federal Government to even get involved in this issue. NO WHERE does it give the Federal Government the power to ration health care or determine what a resident/citizen can or cannot have. But it does say that UNLESS something is defined as within the specific power of the FEDERAL government, it is reserved to the STATES. I didn't see anything in there either about education. Am I missing some fine print???There must be Constitutional scholars at Stanford who could weigh in on this matter....please.

Posted by Health Reform the Right Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 6, 2009 at 12:10 am

Dear Dorothy Black and Perspective,

What Congress forgets to mention (republicans and democrats) is that the social security bucket and the Medicare bucket has been raided over the years to pay for other programs. Congress often called these "loans", but never repaid them. Also, payments for disability comes out of the social security bucket. This was not what social security was set up for. There should be a separate bucket for those payments.

In sum - unfortunately, the social security/medicare system was not a ponzi scheme, but more like an out and out theft. Now the senior citizens are being told that you never really paid in enough to the system and we need to trim "waste". Shame on Congress. But I am not surprised. It is always much easier to pick on polically week as Perspective said. I for one have made a vow that I will become politically active during the next elections and help to try to vote out anyone who was heartless enough to "trim the Medicare waste". Shame on Congress (past and present).

Posted by narnia
a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2009 at 4:15 am


I do not know of any national health services that REQUIRE anybody
to use them. You are free to use any physician you want, and NO
physician is required to be employed by the NH services.

Maybe you are confused as to what the Constitution says about laws.
The Constitution has no requirement for free and public schools
but the law does. That law has been deemed by the Supreme Court to
be constitutional.
Imagine for a moment that there was no law requiring that schools be available and free to all children and
that only the private sector was available. Most of us wouldn't
have been able to send children to schools. PAUSD would not have
been available to you unless you paid and far, far more than you
pay now in taxes.

Fine, you don't want services to be available to you through the government, so:

do not be subsidized by the government when you pay your health fees-you are
do not be do not be subsidized by the government when you pay your mortgage costs-you are
do not send your children to any state school in any form-government is subsidizing you
do not use Medicare-it is a government health service

When I say the government is subsidizing you I mean that those other taxpayers who pay more than you are giving to you.The great majority of us is using services payed mostly by others with only a tiny contribution (not enough) from each of the rest of us.

Ignorance and lack of experience is what's driving what would have been otherwise a fine debate. Most health insurances have a provision for a yearly cap of payed services (typically $50.000/anum). Beyond that you are on your own. That is why a serious illness can bankrupt
families and that is why many of us want a different system. And that is why, in new Jersey, for example, all hospitals are required to charge paying patients 10 times of the hospital costs incurred by the patient so that costs for those without insurance are absorbed.
We are paying trough a subsidized system whether we want or not because that's the only viable way to have a country and be a country instead of just a collection of people each of them on their own. We distribute cost and benefits and so we have a country, indivisible.

National health insurance can be in any form
The Swiss model is a good one (driven by the law and with
few limitations), so are the swedish, british,french, belgium, portuguese, etc. What I want is not to have to worry about being able to afford services particularly in a catastrophic illness. No system can be perfect but we can build something much better than what we have if only the naysayers would allow for a discussion of the facts,
without preventing others from asking questions and being heard.
That you don't want a public health services that's fine but it's not fine by preventing me from having access to them.

Want a bet that you would sign up for health services government sponsored if they were available to you?
Did you take you children to be educated in the public schools?

Posted by bitter and angry
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 6, 2009 at 7:49 am

Narnia, until a couple years ago, private insurance was ILLEGAL in Canada. Private insurances are just now struggling to make a come back in Australia, in order to allow people their God given right to choose their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. If we drive out the ability to have private insurance in this country, which HR 3200 CLEARLY states on page 16 ( please read it), then there is a requirement to be on national health insurance. There is no point in arguing it. The only other option is to be so rich that you can either pay someone $100,000s to get private surgery/treatment, or be so politically powerful you can "jump the line".

No. I am too liberal and too adult to put all that power over me into the hands of a few. I prefer hundreds of millions of us voting on our health care through choosing amongst our 1300 plans across the nation.

BTW, another great example of what happens when you put the power of decision on tax dollars in the hands of the very few...we were counting on the grant money promised us, in writing ( but does that matter?) a few months ago for paying some of the university our kid is attending, and here we are, just about to start school,and just got a letter Friday that said "oh, sorry, we can't grant the $10,000 after all, figure it out". Mind you, this is after paying our taxes faithfully for all of our working lives, much, much more than most people, and feeling fine about it knowing we COULD pay it and it was, supposedly, going to help those in need..But at this point we need the help...and were thinking "ok, this is why we paid into our tax system, to help out those who fell on hard times and need the help for school".

HAAHAHHAHAHAHAAAAAHHHAHAHAHA. ONE person was responsible for this decision, and we are powerless.

We would have been better off keeping all that tax money for ourselves, managing it ourselves, and we would still have enough left, even after the catastrophe we are going through, to care for our kid. This is the same thing with social security, medicare, and now this "public option" crap people want to so blindly believe in. And you want to trust the government to "be there" for you when you need a hip surgery on "universal health care"? "Oh, sorry, you can wait a couple years, since you are retired, and our budget it tight. Who cares if you can't walk anymore without a lot of pain? Figure it out" Or "oh, sorry, you don't make as much money as an engineer, who also needs a hip surgery, and we need her back on the job before you, so you have to wait in a long line behind the more useful people".

Give me a break. Wake up. Stop trying to give away power over yourself to a few bureaucrats. Take care of yourself and your family, help those in need you wish to help through the best organizations or personal hand up you can, and stop trying to steal money from other people to use for yourself. It is still theft, even if it is "voted" in.

Democracy, 6 lions and 4 sheep voting on the dinner menu.

Posted by bitter and angry
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 6, 2009 at 7:54 am

Or even more sinister, if you want the ACORN/CRA approach to medicine "sorry, we haven't met our demographic uota yet for hip surgeries, you have to wait until we find 3 more white people, 2 more yellow people, 1 female, one transsexual, one 30 year old, one 90 year old, .."

you get the point...

Posted by narnia
a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2009 at 9:39 am

I don't know where you get all this "facts" but no, you haven't gotten the right to fabricate them. It has never been illegal anywhere I know of to take private medial insurance or to take your children to private schools (instead of having the government provide schools).
This would be indeed an adult debate if you try to to stick to what is a fact and not hang on what is fantasy. I did experienced not with two, as I said (I had forgotten the third since it was brief) but with 3 national health services. Not only are they much higher ranked than the US system, as I have never experienced any government interference or pressure during my some years of using state sponsored medical services in my many years abroad. During some of those years I was also provided with private insurance by an US employer, but I never used it. Fear of what would happen to me and my family financially in a catastrophic illness or accident is what you get with private insurance. Peace of mind is what you get with state sponsored health care. It can even be like the Swiss system. Would you object to that?
I do suggest that if the results of a referendum on the matter point to a strong majority
refusing state sponsored medical insurance Medicare should immediately be abolished.
But there won't be a referendum. There is no place in the US Constitution (the very same that some of you cite erroneously to try to make contaminated points) for referenda.
It is the job of Congress to pass laws and therefore, bark up the right tree-your congress person.

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2009 at 10:14 am

Perspective is a registered user.

Web Link

Report on ending the ban on private insurance in Canada

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2009 at 10:35 am

Section 102, under "Limitation of New Enrollment" of HR 3200, the one Congress passed and Eshoo voted for ( but you know, this bill won't limit choices in health insurance, will it?)

Section "a" ( yes, little "a")

A) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day of Y1.


Limiting my choice of health insurance through an employer:

Section 102, little "b" of HR 3200, which Eshoo voted for

1) IN GENERAL- The Commissioner shall establish a grace period whereby, for plan years beginning after the end of the 5-year period beginning with Y1, an employment-based health plan in operation as of the day before the first day of Y1 must meet the same requirements as apply to a qualified health benefits plan under section 101, including the essential benefit package requirement under section 121.


Posted by GS
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 6, 2009 at 12:37 pm

HR 3200 provides for the OPTION of enrolling in a public plan.

HR 3200 does NOT limit your choice in health insurance.

To suggest otherwise is pure disinformation, which is what has been happening all along. The republicans have nothing concrete to offer (except continued protection for their insurance industry paymasters), so now they're just makin stuff up.

Posted by narnia
a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Nobody has ever been forbidden from seeing private physicians in Canada or go to private hospitals. But the government won't pay for it. Isn't that what you want? Government out of health care?
To a certain extent success with ANY heath care system depends on how much money is provided to the system. Every private insurance system is a mini (or sometimes not so mini) national heath care. Every benefit to a member is payed from a distribution from other members and insurance companies do limit access to care, as any heath care system does. They have that in their contracts. There is no system in which there are rabbits out of hats or anything growing on trees. It's all based on sharing resources.

Even now, in the US, in Maine for example, private hospitals cannot by law do emergency room work ( same in portugal for example -ranked #12) and that's what makes the Maine's emergency care rankings.
There are MANY systems for state sponsored medical care. Picking up single examples just shows that the writer can't be trusted to think in broad and statistical terms. Thinking of "by and large" terms requires thought, knowledge and the ability to learn.

The sad thing is that we could really go somewhere in this debate if we focus on the facts
and experience. I don't see that there is room for debate with fantasies. Check the very different methods and modes for the different ways of providing care to everybody and you may come out with some understanding of the issues.
And where do you stand on the Swiss system ? Oh, you don't know what that is? Learn and
let others learn and hear.

Btw Perspective, what your post linked is not a report: it is an article (with bias btw) and a very incomplete one at that. Only when you have the whole picture should you talk. And as the article points out "Long queues... result from inadequate capacity of the health care delivery system, not from the method of paying for care" and as we know from various surveys Canadians are proud of their system want it the way it is, with improvements on capacity.

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Sigh. Again. It is about being able to buy the insurance you want, not be forced into the only insurance there is ( government run). Of course you can always find someone to do something for you for the right price if you have the money. Just witness Michael Jackson. You think his nighty-night drugs were paid for by insurance?

Read the words of HR 3200 again. There is nothing to argue about if you read the bill. Or rather, I should say, there is nothing factual to debate over. And since I am tired of repeating the same old things, and I am sure Palo Alto Online will start deleting "repetitive posts", GS and Narnia can have fun arguing about what they think the words mean.

I will hold off further discussion until the next BILL out of the SENATE is published for us to read. This one is dead.

Posted by GS
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 6, 2009 at 5:58 pm

"It is about being able to buy the insurance you want, not be forced into the only insurance there is ( government run)."

You are misinformed. No bills on the table would abolish private insurance--no one is pushing single payer, which is what you are talking about.

The suggestions to the contrary are a disinformation campaign paid for by insurance companies and abetted by the right wing. Don't be fooled.

The political problem for the bill in the senate is that it has no public option. The political problem for the bill in the house is that it does.

The real-world trouble in all of this is that none of the bills goes far enough. Pelosi has watered down her ideas to pander to the rightists so that all we get is a weak public option, and this guarantees that we will be revisiting this growing problem within a few years. It would be better to get it right now.

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Why was this Town Hal not publicly announced in the papers etc well ahead of time.
Anna Eshoo is supposed to represent all Palo Altans, not just those who voted for her.

It is clear now that Obamas main problem is not that some people dislike him or disagree with him, his problem is that increasing numbers of independents, and now members of his own party, simply just do not trust him.

Fair notice to all citizens of town hall meetings is the only way Eshoo can prevent this erosion of trust towards her among Palo Altans across the spectrum.
We deserve better, she can do better.

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 7, 2009 at 7:03 am

Sharon, I will believe there is no stealth eradication of my choices when the Senate bill comes out and I can read it.

Posted by anti-obama haters of america
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 7, 2009 at 8:51 am

"Anna Eshoo is supposed to represent all Palo Altans, not just those who voted for her."

You cannot have it both ways, Sharon. You denigrate and do not show any support for people like Eshoo and Obama, then you claim that they represent you also. You have been anti-Eshoo and anti-Obama from day one.

Posted by narnia
a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2009 at 10:16 am

your words"Posted by Perspective, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, 18 hours ago

Sigh. Again. It is about being able to buy the insurance you want, not be forced into the only insurance there is ( government run). "

So right now anybody can buy the insurance they want?

Posted by GS
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 7, 2009 at 12:22 pm

No one favors death panels. Single payer does not mean death panels. Neither England nor Canada has death panels.

Death panels are an invention of the right wing, used to scare the uninformed. James keeps bringing them up and trying to link them to the Democrats, so I'm guessing he is a right-wing republican engaging in agitprop.


There is no mandate that health care facilities serve everyone, and that is the problem.

Your suggestion that poor immigrants are the source of the problem is risible. The real trouble is that we have allowed greedy insurance companies to decide how the system is set up. They, in turn, first extract billions beyond what is used for medical costs (overhead), and then extract billions more in executive pay.

Single payer would fix the problem. So would turning the insurance companies into non-profits.

Posted by Ethan
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 8, 2009 at 1:21 am

Not so fast on the death panel thing, GS. There's this, from the NY Times:

>>After the mortgage business imploded last year, Wall Street investment banks began searching for another big idea to make money. They think they may have found one.
The bankers plan to buy “life settlements,” life insurance policies that ill and elderly people sell for cash — $400,000 for a $1 million policy, say, depending on the life expectancy of the insured person. Then they plan to “securitize” these policies, in Wall Street jargon, by packaging hundreds or thousands together into bonds. They will then resell those bonds to investors, like big pension funds, who will receive the payouts when people with the insurance die. The earlier the policyholder dies, the bigger the return — though if people live longer than expected, investors could get poor returns or even lose money.<<

Now that there's real money to be made by eliminating those sick policyholders, look for the market conservatives to take a second look at that whole death panel concept. I'm sure the The Wall Street Journal will publish a fair and balanced editorial on the subject. And if the health insurance companies buy heavily into those bonds, and amend their policies accordingly, we're talking serious leverage here. Better call your broker.

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