Very articulate. However, isn’t medicare going broke? How is that the gold standard? Typical Washington. A public option will be revenue neutral as long as costs are contained…once they aren’t, it will be subsidized, aka the post office (which once was self sustaining). By 2030, there will be more oldsters than youngsters. Just as now with SS, the younger folks will pay more and more to support a program primarily utilized by the older (and more medically expensive) folks. I believe we need reform. I wish our politicians would start talking honestly, instead of labeling dissent and concern as unworthy. Radical tort reform. Open the market for insurers to nationwide competition, rather than regional. Portability (remove the employer provided market incentive). Move oversight from state regulatory agencies to federal level, so that regulations are consistent state to state. Start with that kind of stuff, and I will know you are serious. A thousand page bill that requires lawyers to understand? That cannot be adequately explained in a fashion the common man can understand? People instinctively know there is stuff in there that benefits special interests. Clarity, not obfuscation. PLEASE. Months and months have been spent trying to figure out what to do with the Gitmo detainees. This should have been paid the same amount of attention. And if it is so important to the President, he shouldn’t have allowed the House Dems to craft legislation loaded with bureaucracy and perks to friends. He should have driven this from the get go. This is a real tragedy…a great opportunity squandered.
a) A strong regulatory system likely would need lawyers to understand, as a system written for the layman would be torn to shreds by corporate lawyers finding loopholes.
b) Removing employer provided health care would make everyone’s health care cost prohibitive.
c) The President doesn’t write law. That’s just now how this nation works. I’m not even sure how the Patriot Act happened, because the executive branch should not be able to write bills.
d) Finally arguing the principle, the only way to keep health care from being cost prohibitive and to prevent the eldery from draining the coffers of Medicare is a strong push (investment, regulation, and policy) to move from treatment to prevention. Medicare has been running preventative trial programs for years, but no one has ever expanded them, probably because it costs money. If a hospital stay is $700 a night and surgeries, well you know how expensive those are, then the best way to keep costs down is to keep people from that severe of health problems. And most people stay well away from doctors because there’s a 50 dollar co-pay on any visit, and the insurance company ups the premium if you ever see a specialist. You have to move to more preventative health care to even attempt to keep costs down, and you can’t do that when going to the doctor is cost prohibitive. Of course, even if you do set up a great preventative system, the first ten years will be a massive drain on the coffers, because you still have people adapting from a treatment system to a prevention system.
e) And one more point. Health care costs money. Even socialized health care costs money. Even when the government cuts the cost of prescription drugs in half, the costs of health care still rise. There is no way to avoid rising costs. The only way to avoid more and more individual bankruptcies, is if the government steps in and tries to reign in the costs and the costly procedures most doctors perform simply to avoid malpractice suits. I will never understand why someone would refuse slightly higher taxes to never have to see a medical bill again. In my mind, it’s a small cost to pay for a lot of peace of mind.
If slightly higher taxes were a guarantee, that would be one thing, but the CBO projections pretty much blew any revenue neutral comfort. Don’t get me wrong, I support reform. I do not believe in demonizing others to get it. If you have a good plan, you support the plan, and you explain the plan.
I get that there will always be lawyers writing this stuff. I don’t expect the common joe to WRITE it. I expect someone as articulate and passionate about the subject as the President to be able to explain it in common man terms. That has not happened. Of course that makes people wonder if even HE fully gets what the heck the House bill was about. It undermines confidence.
If there is no way to avoid rising costs (which I don’t believe), then what is the point? The value of govt involvement supposedly is to lower the costs. Even socialized health care costs money, yes. NOTHING is free. It is paid for (by govt) with the fruits of labor of others. Ways to contain rising cost I outlined above. Employer provided health insurance is ridiculous. To then get a tax break on it is an insult (and I get one). It lowers your taxable income. SOmone forced to buy an individual policy gets no such glory. That means the govt IS in fact, supporting the insurance companies, and subsidizing the costs to the insured. So we are already doing this in a round about way. I hated this very idea during the campaign..don’t take one of the few damn breaks I get. But, if the markets are opened up, and people can have real choices, I can give that up. I work in govt everyday, I have no illusions about efficiency or cost controls. Doesn’t really happen on an institutional level. So I am not a great supporter of direct govt involvement. But reforms are required. I’m not saying I have an answer, I’m just a little disappointed in politicians not approaching this in a straightforward, no politics manner. It is vitally important, and now it is just another political football. If handled seriously, if planned well, and presented well, this should have been a no brainer. Instead, b/c they thought it was a sure thing, it was manipulated for political gain, and it blew up. Gee thanks.
And I know the WH doesn’t “write” legislation (apparently, only lobbyists do that), but certainly administrations do have agendas that they promote strongly, JFK, FDR, LBJ. So, I’m not giving the Obama Admin a bye on this. It was their baby, and they threw it on the steps of Congress and essentially walked away. Only when the baby got in trouble did the Pres attempt to come rescue the baby. But for it’s development and introduction? No where to be seen. It’s just damn disappointing. (And AE, I am not as smart as you!)
I agree with just about everything there, but I thought when I filled out my tax forms last year I was able to claim any medical related expenses as deductibles. But I guess that was included in the ‘personal deductible’ of whatever amount is set in stone, not as a bonus. Basically, our tax code as it is really punishes freelance/contract workers, which made sense in the 60s, as anyone who was freelance was a small business owner and relatively successful. Nowadays, everyone is freelance, because it lets employers off the hook for state and federal laws.
So yeah, lobbyists/special interest representatives are really annoying. And the only way to fully ‘get rid’ of them (which can probably never completely happen) is incredibly tough campaign reform.