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Health Insurance issues

2009-08-11 18:15:54.66718+00 by Dan Lyke 8 comments

Charlene's been helping a friend who's in the hospital awaiting an organ transplant. Health insurance and health care issues have been on our minds recently. A few random notes:

SFGate.com: Doc Gurley: Part I: Insured? Good income? Here's how hospitals can still destroy you financially. Yeah, we've noticed that, things like a person being barely conscious in an ICU and having piddling little bills turned over to collection agencies: Someone's getting kickbacks from the collection agency or something.

Sarah Palin is getting quoted a lot for her Facebook "death panel" essay:

... The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

Let's be absolutely clear here: First, there are panels making life and death decisions based on subjective judgments right now. Second, currently it's the government keeping your health insurance companies in-line while they cancel the policies of paying customers ("post-claims underwiting"). Third, are you gonna pay for that kid, or am I going to continue to pay for your kid with my taxes, because it's a good bet that even if you managed to get private insurance to pay for health bills so far, and paid for the additional costs of educating a child like that, you're not going to support that child through their adult life.

We're at the stage where we can keep people alive for as much of our GDP as we're, collectively, willing to funnel towards keeping them alive. The time has come to make some tough decisions, and the alleged "free market" side of this debate seems to be caught up in ridiculous mis-statements and lies. I'd love to hear some voices from the free market side of this offer up some cogent coherent discussion of the issues, but if they're out there they're being shouted down by Palin, Limbaugh, and the rest of the either misinformed or deliberately misinforming Republican welfare queen whiners.

[ related topics: Politics Health moron Current Events Journalism and Media Economics Government ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-08-12 18:03:40.99995+00 by: crasch

. I'd love to hear some voices from the free market side of this offer up some cogent coherent discussion of the issues

May I suggest:

Markets, Not Mandates: How medical markets would improve health care and reduce costs http://www.reason.com/news/show/135081.html

The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare http://online.wsj.com/article/...204251404574342170072865070.html

Health Care Fantasia http://www.willwilkinson.net/f...2006/03/19/health-care-fantasia/

#Comment Re: made: 2009-08-12 20:13:46.93147+00 by: Dan Lyke

Thanks! Love the John Mackey suggestions, especially starting with the notion that we need to remove the employer health care deduction privilege. The Health Care Fantasia suggestions are great, but the notion that there'll be enough popular support to unseat the cartels in this matter doesn't seem at all practical, given that "Medicare Part D" was basically a give-away to them, and the current proposals are headed down the same road.

I think the other thing we need to do is to stop the collusion between insurance companies and hospitals and make hospitals and doctors bill more transparently. I'm not sure how to accomplish that.

Now, what can we do to pull the whackjobs and Republicans out of the spotlight so that rational arguments have room at this table?

#Comment Re: made: 2009-08-12 21:38:57.012472+00 by: spc476

Dan, don't you mean Democrats, Republicans and whackjobs?

#Comment Re: made: 2009-08-12 22:06:31.147506+00 by: Dan Lyke

I may not always agree with their precepts, but I actually think the Democrats are presenting their side of things with fairly reasoned and measured discourse, coming from where they are. My concern is that the opposition is being represented by what used to be the whackjob wing of the Republican party, but is now mainstream Republicanism, and as such the valid concerns over the proposals being made are being drowned out by the Sarah Palins of the world.

The Democrats are presenting their view on the world, the Republicans are providing a counter-argument that makes that view look like the only rational choice.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-08-13 01:38:21.565256+00 by: spc476

So what do you make of some recent townhall meetings? Seems it's the Democrats that have to worry about 2010 ...

#Comment Re: made: 2009-08-13 01:39:48.192756+00 by: spc476

Also, I don't know about you, but when my Democratic Represenative (and yes, he's Democrat) are willing to pass a 1400 page bill without even reading it I start having issues about said representation.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-08-13 02:15:16.521345+00 by: jeff

I want to know WHO writes these bills. WHO wrote the "Patriot Act," for example? It was passed without reading by nearly ALL of our "representatives."

#Comment Re: made: 2009-08-13 19:29:45.38339+00 by: m

A great deal of the legislation that is passed in Congress is written by the interested parties (lobbyists and their employers). It is pretty much only the "orphan" legislation that has no corporate sponsors that is written by some member of Congress. Even then most of that gets written by the interested govermental department. Slick loopholes are introduced at the time of writing that may look innocent, but exist to provide the benifitors with the most money possible.

Reading the proposed legislation is an impossible task. No one can read all that crap, nevermind understand it. The worst part of it is the references to other bills, which in turn reference other bills recursively. A 1400 page bill may turn out to be 10,000 or more pages.

Tax bills are the worst, and are often written with specifications that can benefit only one individual company, and no one has to guess very hard as to what induced a member of congress to sponsor such a bill.