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The mirage of U.S. healthcare

August 26, 2009

On healthcare, the White House is struggling with a political riptide that threatens to drag it into deep water.

Americans, as they contemplate change, have suffered a weakness of nerve. The main reason is that nearly two thirds of Americans are apparently happy with their healthcare coverage, for all its deficiencies. Repeated reassurances from President Obama that those who like the existing set-up will not be forced to change, have had little effect.

A change of tactics may be in order. The administration must do a better job of underlining the glaring defects of the existing system. The genius of the U.S. healthcare is in providing the illusion of value and security. For their own sake, Americans must be encouraged to set aside jingoistic claims about having the best care system in the world and look more honestly at its short-comings.

Let’s start with value. Most Americans are blissfully unaware that their healthcare system provides appallingly little value for their money. This is because when it comes to costs, they see only the tip of the iceberg. While companies typically pay about three-quarters of an employee’s family premium — on average $12,680 a year — individuals ultimately bear the burden. In a free market, companies do not hand over to their workers more than they absolutely have to. Money spent on healthcare is carved out of take-home pay or other benefits.

“We pay for healthcare in considerably lower salaries,” Uwe Reinhardt, a Princeton University economics professor, said in a telephone interview. “The system seduces people into thinking care is pretty cheap. We are kidding ourselves if we think that the shareholder pays.”

One measure of this financial sacrifice is that employer premiums are now 17 percent of median household income — up from 15 percent in 2003. From 1999 to 2008, family health insurance premiums rose by 119 percent.

With healthcare costs rising fast, it is small wonder that middle-class Americans have failed to wring real pay increases out of employers. The drag on pay will increase further, according to research by the Commonwealth Fund. The foundation estimates that without reform, the cost of premiums could double again by 2020 — gobbling up still more take home pay.

The second big healthcare mirage is security. If the current downturn has demonstrated one thing, it is the fragility of an employer-based healthcare system. Lose your job — as more than 6.5 million have in this downturn — and your insurance can disappear with it. (COBRA provides only a temporary patch and can be expensive.)

It also means that you can lose your coverage if you get very sick. “Get so sick you can’t work, you can also forfeit coverage,” Gary Caxton, an analyst with Kaiser Family Foundation, said in an interview. The very idea of insurance is to protect you during a crisis. Instead Americans are getting insurance that works only when the sun shines. “The American system is least good at the worst times,” as David Cutler, a Harvard healthcare economist, puts it.

The final illusion is that the healthcare system can be relied on in the longer term. In reality it is taking on water fast. This is most obvious in small companies. Less than half of companies with fewer than 10 employees now offer insurance, down from 57 percent in 2000, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. For all companies, the percentage is down from 69 percent to 63 over the past 8 years. Companies are also starting to unload a growing share of costs onto employees anyway.

Deductibles for most employees have more than trebled since 2000 — a trend that looks almost certain to continue. This is all before you take into account the prodigious quantity of tax dollars soaked up by healthcare.

As the private sector has faltered, the state has been forced to step in. The result is that America is stumbling toward nationalization.

A recent Gallup poll found the share of Americans dependent on the state for healthcare — including Medicare, Medicaid and VA benefits — had climbed to 29 percent from 26.5 since the start of 2008. If you include the 17 percent of U.S. workers employed by the state, then closer to 40 percent are covered by the government.

Americans need to take a good look at their existing healthcare system, warts and all. It is the administration’s job to hold up a mirror to U.S. healthcare. If they fail to do so, the U.S. will pass up an opportunity to build a system that’s fair, sustainable and offers better value.

Comments

Mr. Swann,

While I’m sure well intentioned, your commentary misses the point. You state that we don’t realize the true cost of healthcare because employers pick up the tab and then covertly pass that cost to the employee in the form of decreased wages. Likely a true statement. I would submit though that those in favor of a nationalized system, yourself included based on the tenor of your commentary, are missing the covert pass of cost on a much greater scale. There is this little item known as taxes. They also seem to rob workers of take home pay. If you work really hard you get to pay a much greater percentage of them. Medical is not free!!! Privatized or Nationalized. I would now ask what Nationalized system do we have that functions more efficiently than any comparable private system? I am not aware of any. This proposed system will cost more, provided less and shift additional burden of pay. For those who speak of the poor with traumatic injuries who are “left to die” wake up! It doesn’t happen. They get care just like the insured paying costumers. They just don’t pay for it. I care for them daily as do most doctors and hospitals across the country.

Posted by Jeff Rockwell | Report as abusive
 

This is a note in response to the comment from Jeff Rockwell.

Thanks for your comment. But I wasn’t particularly advocating a nationalized system, merely insurance where the individual gets the tax break instead of the company. This would make it easier for individuals to see the cost. It would also increase their take home pay.

It is worth pointing out that the share of tax revenues devoted to health care is not higher in Europe as far as I am aware.

Posted by Christopher Swann | Report as abusive
 

More importantly, the healthcare reform proposed by the White House is not a nationalized system. It is essentially the same system we have today, but with new regulations that prevent insurance companies from dropping your coverage, prevent them from denying coverage for preexisting conditions, and requiring them to spend more of your premiums on your care rather than administrative costs and marketing. These are the changes that will directly affect people that have insurance today.

Now, for people that don’t have insurance, you will be required to get insurance. If you can’t afford it, you will receive a tax credit to get it. As I’ve mentioned a few times, this actually reduces the cost of healthcare for everyone as the uninsured will no longer be a drag on our hospitals. Everyone pays for the uninsured today when the uninsured fail to pay their hospital bills. It’s better for everyone to insure these people and pay the cheaper general practitioner costs.

The public option is just that. An option. If you don’t want a government insurance plan, then don’t get the government insurance plan. Private insurance is not going away and you are not forced into or forced to pay for the public option. Not through premiums, not through tax dollars.

The reform that the White House is proposing is a series of moderate changes. But, these changes are targeted in such a way that as a whole they will have a huge impact for everyone. In my lifetime, I have never seen a more well thought out policy. The marketing, on the other hand, has been less than stellar. Personally though, I’ll take good policy over good marketing.

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive
 

Beating a dead horse here, I know. But, I wanted to point out how healthcare reform opponents attempt to redefine concepts. Take human rights for example. We have a person in the comments section here attempting to redefine human rights as something that must be written on a piece of paper. As another commenter pointed out, a human right is not something that needs to be on paper to exist. The person attempting to redefine human rights then repeatedly asked to make the basic human right to healthcare fit their redefinition. That is a classic example of how opponents of healthcare reform attempt to redefine concepts.

The same tactics are also used with the concepts of “socialism”, “tyranny” and “Nazism”, but in reverse. Opponents attempt to redefine these concepts to tie healthcare reform to them. These are catchphrases that you have no doubt heard many times from opponents of healthcare reform.

Healthcare opponents like to attempt to redefine abstract concepts, because they can’t make their case with hard facts.

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive
 

Kirk.

I think I have nutted out the issue here. You are confusing ‘natural rights’ with ‘human rights’.

‘natural rights’ supposedly exist regardless of codification (According to ONE of the many different theories of law- Bentham and others would disagree).

‘human rights’ are an aspect of international law, and require codification in order to exist. That is just common sense.

If arbitrarily taking something you want and calling it a human right isn’t redefinition, then I don’t know what is. So don’t accuse others of it.

As I agree with you that this thing is a dead horse, I might as well make my position clear and not respond further.

I believe that universal healthcare should be provided, if practical and possible to do so without taxing people into the stone age. And practicality will always be the main issue here.

But I will not go around pretending universal healthcare is a human right, when this is not backed up by contemporary legal theory.

Posted by Haha | Report as abusive
 

Wrong.

Natural law is not separate from human rights. Links are moderated here. So, you may Google “human rights”.

Wikipedia:

“Natural law theories base human rights on a ‘natural’ moral, religious or even biological order that is independent of transitory human laws or traditions.”

I find it sad that someone actually needs a piece of paper from some authority to understand that something is a human right. “It violates human rights to wipe out unarmed civilians,” says the Sudanese soldier. “Show me where that is written,” says the Sudanese general.

But, for robots that must be programmed, you may consume the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the Unites States adopted in 1948 which states in Article 25:

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

I wonder what “medical care and necessary social services” means. I’m sure someone will come up with a meaning contrary to the actual meaning.

You support universal healthcare? Wow, I must have totally of misunderstood you this whole time. What’s this? “…if practical and possible to do so without taxing people into the stone age”.

Interesting, because we currently have a reform proposal that will provide healthcare to all Americans without raising taxes one cent for over 90% of the population. And for the people that will see a tax increase, it is a modest increase that puts rates back where they were in the 1990’s.

Instead of the middle class shouldering the burden of paying for the uninsured, as they are now through their insurance premiums, the burden is shifted to high earners who can better afford it. And that burden is less than what the middle class is paying now, since the healthcare reform package is a net savings as I have pointed out many times.

If you supported universal healthcare, you would be supporting the White House proposal as it fits your bill. Instead, you simply redefine abstract terms as a distraction to the most important issue we are facing today. Others here are talking about real issues. You are talking about petty definitions. Worse, you are even wrong about them.

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive
 

Dear Kirk,

Remember to be careful what you wish for.

I can tell you that the majority of people on this post know what it’s like to be heavily taxed cradle to grave.

And I think you don’t.

I live in Canada and I eat taxes for breakfast, friend. You have no idea how hard those taxes are going to hit you buddy.

Of course, insurance companies are profit driven monsters too but at least you have the option to opt out.

You have no idea what kind of taxes you are facing friend.

Your leader Obama says something to the effect of “its not fair that you should get sick and go broke”

Buddy, you will all be broke.

Posted by Drew Kreutzweiser | Report as abusive
 

You are right. I don’t know what it’s like to be heavily taxed and luckily I never will, because I live in the United States.

As I’ve said, there will be no tax increase coming for over 90% of the people and only modest ones for high earners. This isn’t anything shocking. It is what our president campaigned and got elected on. In fact, this is just letting the tax cuts of the last president – that mainly benefitted the wealthy – expire; while at the same time cutting taxes for the middle class. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive
 

Dear Kirk,

I know I’m right. I’m just trying to be a good ol’ friend, Kirk.

I’m telling you…you have no idea what kind of taxes you are in for.

You – have – no – idea.

And if you believe that tax cut crap then you get the government you deserve and God speed.

The middle class always (I repeat always) shoulders the tax burden. Maybe this will seep in to your thick American skull.

Just remember what I told you. About going broke that is. If your country ain’t broke already.

Posted by Drew Kreutzweiser | Report as abusive
 

(To Kirk…)

Just remember what I told you.
You dumb Yankee ideologue.

Posted by Drew Kreutzweiser | Report as abusive
 

Dear Kirk,

How are you going to pay for the health care of 330 million of your countrymen?

The answer is higher taxes, buddy.

Can you add that up? Or did they teach you the new math in school?

You dumb Yankee moron, you.

Posted by Drew Kreutzweiser | Report as abusive
 

Again to Kirk,

(I apologize to all these posts to the good people at Reuters).

God bless America but God save their educational system…

To reiterate, Kirk, you dumb Yankee you, I eat taxes for breakfast and your little diatribe makes you seem in the eyes of the world as a bit of a wimp.

This solely my opinion

Posted by Drew Kreutzweiser | Report as abusive
 

Having already studied natural, human and legal rights, and having a good grip on most legal philosophy, I was quite amused to be spoken down to by you.

The ‘natural rights’ theory is only one of many theories on the law. There are many legal theories as to why and how human rights exist and bind us. Had you bothered to read your references, you would have known that.

All I can do is urge you to do some reading on legal philosophy. You seem to have a basic grip on one theory, and a stunning ignorance of all the others.

As for your reference to the UNDHR? It makes reference to healthcare. And an adequate standard of living. And emergency health services.

But ‘universal’ healthcare is not mentioned, and seems to be your reading into it. So I will treat it as your opinion, and value it accordingly.

And even if your interpretation was correct, it does not state to whom that duty is imposed.

It is unlikely such a duty exists, because it is one that the third world (and much of the developed world) would never be able to comply with.

Good day Kirk. I will not respond further.

Posted by Haha | Report as abusive
 

Yes, natural rights is one theory of human rights. It is also the theory that was used to found the United States. Hence the “self-evident” rights set out in the Declaration of Independence. So, I feel pretty comfortable using the same theory of human rights as our founding fathers.

I’ve known all along that no matter how I replied, you would never accept the answer, but I thank you for demonstrating so well how the fringe in America would rather talk about the abstract than deal with the real world.

We have a healthcare reform proposal that will insure all Americans while not raising any taxes for 90% of people. And the high earners that will have taxes raised (or rather, have their current tax rates expire) will be paying less in taxes towards healthcare than the middle class is now paying through their premiums to cover the uninsured. This shift in payments from the middle class to the wealthy is effectively a tax cut for the middle class. Better yet, we had actual direct tax cuts for the middle class this year.

Money-wise, the middle class will gain the most from healthcare reform as they will be paying less (probably nothing) to cover the uninsured that they are currently covering. In addition, the middle class will no longer face the threat of bankruptcy when they get sick and lose their insurance. The reform proposal ensures that nobody can lose their insurance. The poor gain the most for healthcare in general as we will finally be delivering on the basic human right of healthcare for all. The wealthy will gain since the country will be a better place and they can rightly claim that they did their patriotic part to make that happen.

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive
 

-Not raising taxes for 90% of people?
-High earners paying less in taxes towards healthcare than the middle class is now paying through their premiums?
-And universal healthcare for all America?

As the saying goes: when you don’t like the reality provided, substitute it for your own.

Posted by JoeyJoe | Report as abusive
 

Either political party can put to an end the health care gridlock, steal the thunder from the other party and make the solution to health care its legacy for the 2010 elections. Republicans and Democrats have convinced everyone that single payer can only be done through a government run program for their own purposes. Many voters are afraid of a single payer system while others have been convinced that a public option or government run program is the only way they can get single payer and health care coverage and the only way to lower premiums and medical costs. That is NOT true and regardless whether its good or bad, single payer has been demonized to the point that its a political dead horse. A unique American solution is a PRIVATE sector single payer health care system run by an independent commission. It takes all the government run proposals off the table but it provides all the benefits of single payer even thought is neither government run nor run by a bunch of insurance companies. Neither party wants this because both get huge campaign contributions from insurance companies, both are exempt from whatever health care program they adopt for those of us whose taxes pay for their health insurance that we don’t get, and they get at least nine options from the insurance companies, all of which would go away with single payer. The commission awards the low bidder, either an insurance company or some other large asset manager, a contract to collect premiums and pay medical bills for a fixed fee with no right to make decisions or refuse payment. It hires people to negotiate down the prices charged by health care vendors, suppliers and providers, making them compete against each other for the first time ever. Doctors’ and hospitals’ charges are subject to the free market because patients can switch at the drop of a hat if they are dissatisfied. A true free market system. The only catch is that Republicans and Democrats in Congress will lose all the campaign financing they have been getting from insurance companies and they will have to be part of the single payer system we belong to. See my blog at jscopegmailcom-jscope.blogspot.com/ for a better explanation.

Posted by john scope | Report as abusive
 

More than 40% of Americans don’t want a single payer system.

The country is split between people that want government run insurance and those that don’t. The current proposal by the White House gives both sides what they want by giving people the choice between private insurance, like they have now, or a public plan that is paid for by the participants.

I’m sorry, but forcing people into a private single payer system is probably the worst idea I’ve ever heard.

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive
 

Hey Kirk,

Are you being paid by the word? I’m just saying that your taxes are going to be soooo high. It will permeate the whole fabric of your American society. I know first hand because I live in Canada and I know all about high taxes. How high? Your taxes are going to be so high you might not even be able to pay your internet bill. I’m talking a cash hungry government machine with an insatiable appetite for your money. Parking tickets. Surtaxes. Victims fees. Taxes on taxes. You will be too busy working to pay those taxes, friend. And taxes always take advantage of people like you – the dumb and the poor.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

I am a citizen of a country where public health care is run by the government and has been woefully inadequate. In my opinion Mr. Scope may be correct. I do not believe a single payer government-run system would be beneficial. The US seems to need better regulation of heath insurance with the ability of patients to quickly appeal decisions by insurance companies that denies them adequate care. It would be marvelous if an independent body would assess insurance companies on behalf of patients and help them choose a provider that would best serve them. But there is also need to reward persons who maintain a level of fitness that makes it easier for them to recover from acute illness and protect themselves from familial chronic disease. I don’t know if that is an aspect of the present US health care debate.

Posted by nigelb | Report as abusive
 

Drew, if you bothered to read then you would know that my family got jerked around by an insurance company.

I know first hand that private insurance companies delay and deny care to boost their profits. I also know that most Americans haven’t been through this, since most Americans are perfectly healthy. It’s not like private insurance companies deny all care, just the stuff that’s expensive and only for those that they think won’t fight back.

The health reform being proposed, specifically the public option, fixes this problem. People that want to stick with private insurance still can under the reform. Nothing is being taken away. But, for all those people like me that are sick and tired of spending days upon days fighting the insurance companies, we’ll have the public option that we will pay for. The public option is paid for by its participants, not the taxpayers. It should be the choice of all Americans whether they personally want a public plan or private plan.

The reform offers more choices and costs less than our current system. This is the best policy in decades and those saying otherwise are just full of crap or have a conflict of interest. Most of the people that are passionate about reform have experienced how bad our current system is. I am one of those people.

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive
 

Dear Kirk,

You have an axe to grind and your position is understandable. And I’m not an American. And I’m not going to defend the insurance industry.

I’ve been ‘jerked around’ (as you so eloquently put it) by my Canadian Healthcare system, too. My mother died in my arms just recently. Looking for an answer I called the attending physician to find out what happened. How did she die? I wondered is this a hereditary condition? A rather annoyed doctor phoned me back and tersely said that “sometimes people just die”.

“Sometimes people just die.”

My father died in 2004, he was turned down from the local hospital because they were on strike. “Are you a local person”?, asked someone at the front desk. As if that would have mattered. “Sorry” said the lady with her palms faced up. We went home and in a few months, again, my father said “its time” and we drove down to another hospital in Barrie, Ontario. Canada.

He received excellent care but was quickly discharged. They need those beds free. He had some doctor prescribe a bunch of pills. He died a few months later. Remembrance Day. Also the paramedics did not take him to the hospital, the last day I saw him, “sorry” said the paramedics.

Remember these are all government people.

If you believe the government is there as some sort of panacea then you are a dumb idealogue.

I can site example again and again.

I seperated my shoulder three weeks ago. Tried to make a doctors appointment. Luckily got one. I asked for an X-ray, for I have some bone chips in my elbow and I was concerned if this is an acute condition or not. I didn’t get an X-ray. He said I didn’t need one. Wouldn’t that be a prudent response for an over extended public health system?

And did I mention the taxes you will pay?

If you are some pundit from the Obama camp then get off this post now. And if your family was truly disrespected then my sincerest aplologies.

How were you jerked around, Kirk?

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

A friend of mine tells me of some drug dealer, who’s wife is a nurse. He goes to the front of queue(line) for all MRIs, X-ray, ct scans, etc.

The waiting list for MRIs is a year, I believe. He goes to the front of the line because of his connections.

At least with your system you’re a consumer. And money talks. And bs walks.

Posted by Drew Kreutzweiser | Report as abusive
 

Another time my father fell backwards on the hard concrete in front of my house and hit his head. It sounded like a pumpkin smashing. He was making these gurgling sounds, blood pouring from the back of his head. I ran inside and called an ambulance. Fortunately my father has a head harder than a coconut and lived another day.

But as he explained to me later, and I was also there, the paramedics that came to his aid put together this stretcher. A unitized device you snap together – kind of like Lego.

Now this stretcher goes underneath as not to disturb the patient. But when they snapped this device together it pulled off some skin on the small of his back and he started swearing. Nothing major just a few expletives.

Did you know what happened? The paramedics (government employed) stopped immediately what they were doing and said if this person (my father) continues to be ‘mouthy’ we are not going to help him.

I was saying to myself, “No. Help him, please”. I mean the guy has a possible brain injury.

Government people are unionized and are employed for life. Government people also do not like to work.

Another story I thought I’d share

Posted by Drew Kreutzweiser | Report as abusive
 

Drew,

I know plenty of Canadians that have had a good experience with the Canadian health care system. If your last comments are true then I am very sorry for your family’s experience. However, given your past comments that were strewn with petty insults and very obvious misrepresentations about how the US health insurance reforms would affect taxpayers, it is rather difficult to believe any of your comments. Your other comments are still here for everyone to read and people can make their own judgment.

That aside, the health insurance reform being proposed for the United States does not create government doctors. The same doctors we have now will be operating under the same business structure they are now. The health insurance reform for the United States simply puts more safeguards in place for those that choose to stay with private insurance. It also offers people the opportunity to choose a public insurance plan if they wish. This public insurance plan is not funded through taxes; it is funded by the premiums paid by the participants. In no way does the health insurance reform force anyone to see government doctors. Neither does our existing government Medicare program for that matter as it is simply an insurance program.

I am an American citizen. I want the abuses of our private insurance companies stopped. The best way to do this is through a public option. If the insurance companies don’t stop their abuses then everyone will eventually choose the public option and they will be out of business. That is why the public option will work – the insurance companies will stop their abuse, because there will be true competition in the market. That is also why costs will come down for everyone just by having a public option – whether you use it or not.

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive
 

The more I hear about the healthcare debate in the US, the more I cannot believe the cruel and perverse attitude that ‘the haves’ in the US have compared to the ‘have nots’.

The UK has enjoyed FREE at point of need healthcare for some time. Yes, we pay National Insurance, but those on low incomes pay very little or in a lot of cases nothing at all and we all receive a first class service from a dedicated and highly competent group of professionals of all levels.

Those in the UK who want to be able to pick and chose a little more and want the luxury of a ‘hotel’ style vacation for a stay in hospital can of course pay for private healthcare insurance. Sometime this is a personal insurance plan and sometimes it is offered as a perk or job enticement. Nice, but not necessary.

The bottom line is healthcare should not be a ‘profit making’ business, it should be a service provided. The US healthcare system is a business, pure and simple. Health insurance companies are not and never will be charities, they are in it for the dollars and if you can’t pay or aint got the cover, then tuff.

How can the congress opposition to this debate sleep at night, knowing they are fighting to continue depriving the most needy of essential healthcare. The answer to that is very simple, they can afford the healthcare insurance (or it’s provided for them) so it’s not really their concern – They just don’t care!

The UK system is not 100% perfect, but it seems that way compared to the US. I would hate to live in fear of not having insurance for healthcare or having to fight an insurance company who are trying their level best to wriggle out of paying for some treatment.

If I need to see a doctor, I ring up and I see one, usually that day – NO CHARGE. If I need to have a hospital treat me for an emergency – I go, I get treated – NO CHARGE. If I need non-emergency treatment for a condition by a hospital – I get referred, I attend hospital usually within a couple of weeks and I get the treatment / surgery / equipment I need – NO CHARGE.

I have personally experienced all of the above situations in the last twelve months. In the US, I would have faced bills running into thousands of dollars or had to have had potentially expensive insurance to cover it all. I am also sure that many tens of thousands of others in the UK can reiterate my sentiments.

So come on America, wake up, wise up and reform your cruel and exceptionally biased healthcare system, so everyone can benefit and not just the privileged ones.

Posted by Phil Brown | Report as abusive
 

I feel the government will inevitably squeeze out any competition. That’s how government operates.

But you, Kirk. I already had you figured out. And you, friend, are a cheap politico. And a scumbag.

Good day.

Drew Kreutzweiser
Bracebridge, Ontario

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

Since Americans will have the choice between the public option and private insurance, with both being paid by the premiums of their participants, the only way private insurance can be squeezed out is if private insurance fails to compete.

FedEx and UPS have managed to compete against the U.S. Post Office. Likewise, there are public and private colleges.

Americans shouldn’t be forced to prop up an industry that is uncompetitive. Americans are forced to prop up the private insurance industry, because they are not given any other alternatives if they want health insurance. The health insurance reform will finally give Americans a choice. If you think private insurance does a better job then choose private insurance, if you think the government does a better job then choose the public option. You can choose either with the reform.

The health insurance reform gives Americans more choice than they have now. Pure and simple.

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive
 

Dear Kirk,

You still here? I thought I told you to get off this site. God bless the innocence of youth…and for calling me a liar??

You have not brought us any examples, concrete or real, defining your position on why your healthcare system will work. Only your 18-24 something, empty, sophomoric diatribe.

And you still have not explained how you got “jerked around” by the insurance industry. I have patiently given you first-hand real world examples.

There seems to be an international opinion (or an assault) on Americans like yourself and I’m starting to see why. For you, sir, are the Ugly American – the spoiled little child.

I will not be satisfied until you state your position. (Please do not quote Wikipedia). I want some facts. I want to ferret you out as the 18-24 something, middle class, perhaps Southern California, ballless Liberal you are.

I’m also somewhat convinced that you a dumb blogger, working for the Obama camp and not a genuine commenter.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

I have actually stated quite clearly, many times, why the health insurance reform being proposed will work and why it is good for the country. I have also stated quite clearly my family’s experience with our current broken system.

I am very curious as to why someone claiming to be a Canadian is so passionate about the American health insurance debate given that they have no stake in it. It seems to me that the time would be better spent focusing on one’s own health care system.

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive
 

Don’t change the subject please. I want real concrete facts citing your position.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

Also don’t talk down to me, either.

But let’s get to the nub of the matter: your parents can’t get the adequate healthcare necessary for your high functioning autism.

(Keep talkin’ – I love it…)

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

Why do I have an interest?

Oh, nothing really except for the fact if you go down this road of Big Government, you will no longer have the discretionary income, which you are used to, and therefore, less money to buy the crap of the world, and therefore, us as Canadians will no longer be selling as much Oil as before to China because your society will no longer be able to buy those goods.

But what’s my real interest.
I want to say “I told you so”.
That’s why

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

I like giving you the mental clunk on the head. Its fun.

(Meanwhile our collegiate friend Kirk is looking in his thesaurus…)

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

Gee, Kirk, anymore useful tidbits of information?

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

You call me a liar. You condescend to me. You spit on my family. Answer me.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

I don’t even believe that your name is Kirk. Its another fabrication from the Obama camp blogosphere.

Will the real Kirk please stand up…

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

I do have a useful tidbit or two.

The health insurance reform will insure all Americans while not raising any taxes for over 90% of people. High earners that do see a tax increase will simply be paying the same low tax rate they paid in the 1990’s. Their increase in taxes is simply an expiration that was built into the prior president’s tax cuts that primarily benefitted the wealthy. High earners will be paying for health insurance tax credits so that low income Americans can get insurance. Today, the middle class pay higher insurance premiums to cover the unpaid hospital bills of the uninsured. This can be thought of as a hidden tax and the health insurance reform will get rid of this hidden tax.

Since everyone will be insured, we won’t have people letting their condition worsen until they must be hospitalized. Instead, they will see a general practitioner. This will bring overall health costs down. For example, it is better to get antibiotics from a GP to clear a mild infection rather than letting the infection get worse and have to spend a night in the hospital on an IV drip. Unfortunately, this happens all too often with our current system since the uninsured often times can’t afford to see a GP and hospitals are required by law to treat anyone regardless of whether they can pay.

Americans will have their choice of private insurance or the public option. Both are paid for through the premiums of their participants. Neither is given special treatment. The public option forces competition into the insurance industry and therefore lowers costs and increases the quality of insurance for everyone. Even for people that choose not to go with the public option.

This is a very good reform package. It is the best policy in decades. When people cut through the misinformation and understand what they are getting, they overwhelmingly support it… well, except for insurance company executives and the politicians they have bought.

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive
 

Poor Kirk,

Still sounding like a broken record. You owe me an apology for calling me a liar. And you still haven’t given me any hard facts.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

Poor Kirk,

“…not raising taxes for 90% of Americans…”

What’s it like to be so young and naive? I’ve forgotten. Will the real Kirk please stand up.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

Actually, I’ve given a lot of hard facts regarding the health insurance reform.

Some good resources that back up these facts are here:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/
http://www.healthreform.gov/

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive
 

Dear Kirk,

This is my final post on this subject. Its time to put this to rest.

The taxes for a nationwide health care system, which you are advocating, will cost you dearly. I know this because we have a nationwide health care system in this country, Canada.

The amount of taxes you will pay will be so high you may not be able to afford your internet bill. I know this first hand. We aren’t even having kids here. We have one of the lowest birthrates in the G20. Its because taxes. Also taxes kill jobs. Remember I told you so…

You call me a liar and, in fact, you are some phony blogger for the Obama camp. I don’t even think you are male. Who is the real Kirk?

I ask you to give me real life examples on how you were “jerked around” by the insurance companies and you have none. Except your broken record rhetoric.

I will not defend the insurance companies but at least you are a consumer when it comes to health care in the States and this will not be the case when its “all free”.

Regarding insurance companies, these are not saints but Big Government is not the answer. Insurance companies deny claims to keep premiums down: like your high-level autism, which I wouldn’t want to pay for.

You say taxes will not go up for 90% of Americans, well you know what they say about wrestling fans: they’re great as long as they don’t vote or breed.

You talk about politicians being bribed. Your Big Government dream will ensure a whole new crop of politicians and public workers weaned on the government teat.

You are an ass, a scumbag, a cheap politico, a stupid Yankee, a dumb ideologue spewing sophomoric diatribe. And a phony blogger wasting my time and energy.

I still haven’t received my apology for calling me a liar, however, it was nice lecturing you (Kirk?).

Drew

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

Drew,

Actually, I’ve pretty much covered everything you’ve brought up. And once again you are stating obvious misinformation regarding how health insurance reform will affect taxpayers. Health insurance reform is a net savings and middle class Americans will pay less because of it. I have explained why this is many times and people can read the many comments and see this.

America is not adopting Canada’s healthcare system. We are reforming our own. Canada’s healthcare system is single payer. America’s reformed system will not be single payer. We will offer a choice of private insurance like we have now or the public option. The choice will be up to the participants and the participants will fund whichever option they choose.

Drew, your mistake is in thinking I care about changing your view. I don’t. You claim to be Canadian. You have no stake in this issue. It is interesting that you are so riled up about it. I only care about putting out the facts regarding health insurance reform and you have helped me do this. Thank you.

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive
 

You still haven’t explained your position yet. (yawn). Your government will be so addicted to the cash brought in that they will squeeze out all competition.

(muttering to myself…how can one be so stupid?)

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

Also you might be best to get your high-level autism checked out. I’m getting tired of this (lol)…

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

Ignorance is bliss. What’s it like Kirk? (your real name insert here).

Thinking that Barney Franks and Nancy Pelosi are your saving grace. Some people are just so dumb…State your position. Counterpoint my arguments. You stupid broken record.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

“You claim to be Canadian…”
I am Canadian. You fool.

I like Obama. He is a good man. I can’t stand his party. Your party. The party of Big Government. I was hoping he would win and then you can see your Democratic party for its true colours. I give real world examples on state run health care. You call me a liar (that’s rich, lol).

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

Stop sounding sounding like an Obama press release.

How is your model going to work? Taxes will be widespread across the board. The middle class always carries the tax burden. When you get out of your parents basement, you will understand this.

You use this flimsy Fed Ex / Post Office argument. Is that all you Democrats got? The government needs (key word: needs) Fed Ex for the efficient movement of goods. The government, your government will not need insurance providers getting in the way of their revenue source.

The Democratic party wants money. Your money. I’ve never met a Liberal who saw a tax he didn’t like. I thought your opinion was based on some family hardship.

The meek will inherit the earth. Have fun Kirk.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

Please let the dim bulb in your thick skull register this…

I’m right. And you are wrong. Right?

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

I’m still rather amused that I get such a reaction from someone without any stake in the American health care system just by saying:

The health insurance reform will insure all Americans while not raising any taxes for over 90% of people. High earners that do see a tax increase will simply be paying the same low tax rate they paid in the 1990’s. Their increase in taxes is simply an expiration that was built into the prior president’s tax cuts that primarily benefitted the wealthy. High earners will be paying for health insurance tax credits so that low income Americans can get insurance. Today, the middle class pay higher insurance premiums to cover the unpaid hospital bills of the uninsured. This can be thought of as a hidden tax and the health insurance reform will get rid of this hidden tax.

Since everyone will be insured, we won’t have people letting their condition worsen until they must be hospitalized. Instead, they will see a general practitioner. This will bring overall health costs down. For example, it is better to get antibiotics from a GP to clear a mild infection rather than letting the infection get worse and have to spend a night in the hospital on an IV drip. Unfortunately, this happens all too often with our current system since the uninsured often times can’t afford to see a GP and hospitals are required by law to treat anyone regardless of whether they can pay.

Americans will have their choice of private insurance or the public option. Both are paid for through the premiums of their participants. Neither is given special treatment. The public option forces competition into the insurance industry and therefore lowers costs and increases the quality of insurance for everyone. Even for people that choose not to go with the public option.

This is a very good reform package. It is the best policy in decades. When people cut through the misinformation and understand what they are getting, they overwhelmingly support it… well, except for insurance company executives and the politicians they have bought.

These are simply facts.

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive
 

I’ve refuted everyone of your points and its getting tiring. And you keep reading from a teleprompter. Your machine like response is only a reaction to the negative tide swelling against your pipe dream of state run health care. Fortunately Americans know better.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

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