March 17, 2010

Health Insurance Overhaul Open Thread

Have at it.

Think it's gonna pass?

Five years from now, will this help the Dems or the Reps more?

And as part of your comments, share your health insurance status.


keith said...

Answering my own questions:

Yes, it will pass. And the BS like the Cornhusker Kickback will be taken out.

This will benefit the Dems - not short term, but long term, especially after it's seen just how in bed the GOP was with the insurance companies.

10 years from now, there will be a public insurance option. And hopefully there will also be a radical overhaul of medicare and medicaid, a severe clampdown on malpractice and trial lawyers, and social security retirement age raised to 70 and 72.

And for me, I have worldwide high-deductible coverage, not valid in the USA (the cost of course skyrockets if you want that). I pay $1,500 a year. And I think it's wonderful. It's the type of policy that is the future in the USA. No more getting a cold and going to a doctor, who bills your insurance company $500.

Randy said...

I think it will pass.

Current system is broken but better then any other universal Healthcare system on the globe because there still is some level of competition hence we are still the most innovative, to make things better we need to increase competition.

I do not know what is in this bill but my gut tells me its terribly bad and will have disastrous consequences to the country as a whole, it has nothing to do with Dems or Repubs.

I am fortunate and work for a fortune 500 company that provides good medical but I do pay in an insane monthly amount enough to pay for a mortgage and I’m afraid things are only going to get more expensive.

As a result of all this we can look forward to a Glen Back or Palin to win in an overwhelming landslide next presidential election or an extreme conservative.

Keef save this post and bring it back after the next presidential election I’m willing to bet money on this one.

Over all for me its sad, I did believe that Americans are more intuitive.

Banana Republicrat said...

Keith, I would agree with you in a rational world, but the Reps have the better noise machine. Karl Rove et al will turn this into the death knell for the Dems. Hannity listeners will be packing the national mall, begging for a denial of coverage. In five years President Bachmann will roll-out her National Faith Healing Initiative.

The Republicrat family is on my wife's (union negotiated) insurance at ~$4K/yr. It is very good insurance, the kind everyone should have access to. If only our leaders were as interested in putting people together as they are in blowing people up.

Just some kook said...

Yes, it will pass otherwise Obama will be a one term president and all the Dems will be booted from office if it doesn't pass.

With that said...

Just some naive, off the cuff questions I have regarding the health care bill:

How can a 2000+ page bill be considered reform?

Social security and Medicare will be (are?) insolvent and unfunded, how can we expect different with the proposed health care reform bill?

Anonymous said...

I have good insurance. Always have.

I believe this bill will make a bad situation worse.

1st choice: high deductible plans. Other than that no government intervention except possible subsidees for poor people.

2nd choice: single payer universal system

3rd (last) choice: anything based on what we have now

This won't help or hurt either party overall. People have made up their minds already.

Anonymous said...

The current administration has cut huge deals with Pharma and thee insurance companies in the proposed legislation. Also, caps on malpractice awards in California has done nothing to reduce insurance costs.
I have insurance through a drug company's benifits plan and the co-pay is $10.00. No cap on coverage. If I want to do something not covered, I can put money into a pre-tax account.

consultant said...



Just so I'm clear. I'm for health care reform. Public option, single payer, make anything to do with healthcare nonprofit, etc.

Our problem right now is that almost all Republicans in Congress want to destroy America and about 60% of the Democrats don't want to do anything. The Republicans and that group of Democrats have gotten comfortable with passing into law ANYTHING big business wants.

The United States of Corporations.

So if this health care bill pushes back against the corrupt, criminal insurance companies, good. That's a good thing.

SAWB said...

The HCR is a tax grab. Alarm bells have been ringing over at Treasury since February, and unless this bill is signed soon, they will have to continue QE to fund basic services and continue paying entitlements.

So what will it actually accomplish?
Will it save money? No.
Will it improve the quality of care? No.
Will it help the middle class? No.
Will it help small business? No.

A public option in ten years? Yeah, whatever the hell that means. If it's like the UK, it means any serious illness after age 55 and you're dead. Not as dramatic as the means used in Logans's Run, but the end result is the same. Egalitarian bullshit for all, and to all old folks a forced good night.

edd browne said...

For health reforms to work,
Americans need to learn that
aggressive exercise and proper foods
are just normalization; not something special.

Also, junk lawsuits are not really a problem.
The normal pretrial process weeds them out,
and usually the plaintiff pays a heavy cost.

Malpractice settlements/awards don't happen
in cases without merit, despite the chants from
the right-wingers.
Awards are a cost of high-risk professions,
where an honest mistake can mess up a life.

Beyond malpractice, negligence and misconduct
deserve punitive awards. If malpractice insurance
rates are too high, then the medics need to clean
up their professions.

casey said...

I really have a problem with companies making a profit off of sick people.Take out the profit motive and we might be able to start.

Anonymous said...

Obama Fox News interview

patrat said...

I have a high deductible HSA. So far it works for me.
I think some form of HSA could work for everyone but low income people would need some help. Chronic conditions might be a problem too.

I would like some solution to the emergency-room-for everything-problem. They are all overwhelmed around here. There are some neighborhood clinics that have sprung up recently but they are expensive and want instant payment.

The experiences of some friends with hospitals in the last few years has convinced me to avoid them at all costs. One person died, the other 2 were wasting away from no food, due to constant preparation for "procedures" for ever-changing diagnoses by the team- no one responsible. They both left "Against Medical Advice" to save their own lives. And did.

The one who died was also subjected to unncessary procedures, too many drugs, the wrong drugs, wrong diagnoses, wrong and missing records, too much fluid flow in the drip 'til he swelled up like a balloon and then the fun started. A whole EMT squad were rushed to the room ... never saw that before. He had nobody, so nobody sued, no autopsy, cause of death "Cirrhosis" - Not.
He was on state aid, as was one of the other 2. Not sure if it makes any difference.

The right kind of reform would be nice.

Angry Leprechaun said...


Now that I have watched the interview with Bret and Barry, Obama sounds just as stupid as Palin. WTF was that Hawaii reference. And Bret just nailed his ass in the interview when Obama says he knows exactly what is in the bill, and then Bret pointed out he doesn't know shit with all the special porvisions.

Keith you keep bringing up that the GOP is in bed with the insirance companies. Dude the fucking Dems are.

Angry Leprechaun said...

Watch this disaster for yourself.

Angry Leprechaun said...

Ok Keith,
I agree with some of your points, but if you want me, as an independent conservative, to jump on Obama’s leadership along with Pelosi and Reid team I am crying foul. I will not stand for this bullshit just as I do not stand for the bullshit that comes out of Palin’s mouth. Period! I want these monkey fucks to go work somewhere else because there is no way with the special provisions and the BS in this bill that I will support it. Both Demcocks and Repubfucks have illustrated how worthless they are.
Affordable healthcare across the board with a high deductible for worse case scenarios like you have is fine. I will not stand for gov manipulation or as you put it incentives. If someone chooses a BMW and a flat screen over their own health insurance than survival of the fittest can come into play. If someone dies because they have no health insurance, because a BMW was more important, than they die. It is not my responsibility nor Barry’s to dictate how people spend their money.

Anonymous said...

This Too Shall Pass...


Bukko Canukko said...

The health "care" "reform" will pass. After Hopey took Kucinich on that plane ride and changed Dennis's mind (what did he do, threaten to throw Kucinich out the ejector door if he kept saying "no"?) it was clear the fix was in.

I've said it before -- this is a fascist bill where the government uses its power to help insurance corporations, not the population. It will help sink the Dims in 2010 and 2012 because the Repugs will make up some bullshit that's as far-fetched as "death panels" and many American morons will believe it. The only possible counterbalance will be if health insurance companies start fighting FOR this bill after it passes, maybe using fake front groups a la the Dick Armey.

Either way, it's going to be as much of a mess as Medicare Part D was. I don't think it's going to help many people, because there's nothing in it to make insurance companies act better, except for the "no excluding people for pre-existing conditions" clause. But as far as I know, there's nothing that says "You can't raise the cost for an insurance policy to $1,000 a day if somebody has a pre-existing condition." So sick people who need health care will still be screwed.

There's a long lead time before this kicks in, so the airwaves will be full of commotion over it for years. What a revolting development.

Health care status: living in a country with socialized medicine. I pay something puny in premiums for my wife and me, like $106 a month. It's so small, I don't even pay attention. And if I get deported from Canada, I can go back to Australia, where I'm eligible for the national health care there at a cost of 1.5% tax on my salary. Unlike what ignorant SAWB thinks, people over age 55 DO get medical care for serious illnesses there.

The screwed-up situation re: health care in the U.S. is one of several reasons my wife and I would not consider returning to the States. We're doing OK financially, but we're Boomers who are getting older. It's in America where aged people are going to be left to die when they get sick, not countries with nationalized health care.

long beach, ca said...

no it will not pass. the insurance companies and other corporations have too much influence over congress. i work for the state of california. good union medical ppo plan. let it all burn down. my sister ran away to sweden to be with her swedish boyfriend. maybe i will join her when i am 65.

Gil Gamesh said...

Pass: yes
Help: Dems (and the country)

1) 30 million more insured
2) Mandate - lowers cost by spreading risk
3) Eliminate pre-existing condition denials (not possible without mandate)
4) Expand medicaid for the poor
5) Close 'donut hole' in medicare prescription benefits
6) Subsidies for low & middle class
7) State-based insurance pools for those without employer insurance
8) CBO's ten year cost projection is slightly LOWER than the status quo

1) Tax on luxury plans and high wage earners.
2) Increased medicare tax on investment income

That's basically it. The '2000' pages critique is just spin. That's how much verbiage big legislation takes these days.

In all, much less than I had hoped for (single-payer, or at least a backdoor govt-option to single payer). But it's better than what we have now. Do at least this much well, and we may be able to make more progress in the future.

What do I have:
A high-deductible plan ($1200/yr family) + a tax-free health savings account.
I actually like it, and will probably keep it. But, I have family and friends with nothing at all.

ggm said...

I agree with patrat: avoid hospitals at all costs.

I, too, know 3 people who were recently hospitalized. All ended up much worse off. One got MRSA and had to stay in the hospital for weeks. Another went in for heart surgery and died on the table, within minutes. The third was misdiagnosed multiple times and underwent all kinds of expensive testing before doing her own research to figure out it was a simple deficiency, not any of the dire diseases they were telling her she probably had.

I feel like I would rather die than be subjected to hospitalization.

To the poster above, mandates will not lower costs. These insurance companies are out for money. They will keep squeezing people for as much as they possibly can get. Look at what's happened with higher education. The more money the government has thrown at it, the more expensive it's gotten. You can't remove one of the few remaining incentives insurers have to stay competitive and then expect them to lower rates.

sandman said...


I posted this in a long discussion at Mish's several months ago.

Please, read this book by US Historian Allen Matusow - it was published over 20 years ago - but have had updated revisions since.

I took my old copy (I read it as part of my Masters in History) and Scribed the pertinent 4 pages to make it easier for the discussion.

Read the 4 pages.

It is all clearly researched and and footnoted.

What you'll find is that with the rise of health insurance in the 50s, health cost rose on average 7% with inflation at 2%. Once Medicare and Medicaid came into play (1965), health care costs rose 14% in that year and averaged that every year since (again with inflation running at an average 2%).

This is why things cost so much.

If government involvement in health care has driven up costs to unaffordable levels, what will our getting government even more involved do?

Also, Matusow documents the same phenomenon with education - where with the advent of student loans and grants - again starting in 1965 - the cost of education rose on average 10% a year.

Now at 10% - I believe you double every 6 years or so.

Can you say parabolic?

I guess we better get into health care or education before we're priced out forever.


Joe said...

Whether Health Care passes of fails is a total non-issue. The USD is a "Weekend at Bernie’s" currency that the Fed props up with their printing press running at full bore.

We are in for a shocking collapse of epic proportions, THIS YEAR.

Period and Case Closed

Joe M.

Anonymous said...

monkey with the thing till everyone get bled dry quicker ftom "disease management" for profit where cures are not welcome and kickbacks are rampant from all sides involved bin he process who buy what is included as education and available and buy the leglislations to hinder all competors to that monbopoly rather than "health care" as health care, not to forget visa holder providers never available when trouble arises...

borkafatty aka the pig said...

It is most likely gonna pass because the Dems in the House will follow Princess Nancy and King Barry off a cliff.

There is no way this helps the Dems. They get a short term "win" in Congress that will translate into a massive purging of Dems at the ballot box in November. They were gonna lose a lot of seats anyway but this will easily double the body count. The people, including myself, support health care reform in principle but they do not support this vision of health care reform.

Many of the people who are uninsured are unemployed or young and uninsured by choice. The young and the poor are core components of the Democrat base. As soon as both of these groups get their notice that they must buy insurance they dont have the money to pay for, or pay a tax on their already meager earnings that don't go far enough, or go to prison they will be alienated from the Democrat party for a long time, if not for life.

This version of HCR is a disaster for the country as a whole as it is a massive new entitlement that will exponentially increase the nations deficit and debt over the long term, much like medicare. It's also a huge wet kiss to the health insurance industry and pharmaceutical industry. It needs to be defeated. Fascism is not the proper role of government.

Keith's insurance is the type of insurance that people should have. If you get cancer you have insurance for that, if you get a cold you pay for it. Unfortunately, you cannot get that kind of insurance in most of the USA because State Legislatures mandate insurance companies cover everything for everyone and you are not allowed to purchase insurance from another state. Big companies get around that by purchasing insurance in a state where they have operations for their people throughout the country. My wife's company is based in TX, we live in NJ, and we get insurance from TX. If i wanted to buy insurance on my own from TX, I am not allowed to, even though the TX rates are way more affordable and the coverage suits my needs.

The real problem is that insurance needs to be decoupled from employment and this does nothing to address that. Everybody thinks their coverage is "free" because their employer pays for it but thats not true. They get part of their salary in the form of health insurance and its usually about 25% of their total compensation. If people had to get it on their own and they paid the premiums directly out of their own pocket, there would be a lot more competition and the industry wouldn't be able to raise premiums 30% a year. This is a major factor in why most people havent had a raise in 10 years too. There's a 7.5% raise baked into the insurance portion of their salary every year.

Right now the insurance company pays for the care and the employer pays for the insurance. The ultimate consumer pays a pittance directly. Until that changes to where the ultimate consumer of healthcare pays the premiums all the other costs associated with their own care out of their own pockets there will be no end in sight. People are way more careful with their own money than they are with someone elses.

Anonymous said...

The doctor who lives next door said the german healthcare system was the best model. I forgot why.
I've been living under a rock.

SAWB said...

Bukko, I was talking about the situation in the UK, Not Australia or Canada. Both of those countries have huge reserves of natural resources, no military, and no population to speak of -- they can afford to subsidize health care to the point that people like you don't even notice the costs.

The UK is more like the situation here in the USA. Both have dense populations, disfunctional economies levered to the hilt with debt, and significant military spending. While espusing lofty egalitarian goals and other socialist bullshit, in reality the UK's NHS rations health care. An unfortunate result is that older folks are put out to pasture. Need a liver transplant or kidney treatments? Too bad, so sad, you're too old/not important enough/ SOL, now go away and die.

Obamacare will be much the same as it evolves into a state-run system. Limited resources will be rationed, as they must be, to best serve the needs of the State, not individual patients.

BTW I currently have a HSA and a high-deductible ($5K) policy that costs about $950 a month. Is it perfect? No, but it does make me pay attention to the costs of procedures like colonoscopies or CAT scans. Funny how the charge for those things comes down 40% or more when you pay cash up front.

If Obama was really interested in HCR, he would have proposed a system similar to the one in Chile. They have catastrophic insurance funded by the government with an underlay of private plans that serve various price points. The truly indigent get crappy, minimal care. People who want better care pay more for it. Unlike the loopy, false egalitarianism of the UK, or the silly bullshit that is Obamacare, the Chilean system is sustainable.

staticvars said...

I predict it will pass, we'll start paying the taxes immediately, but the benefits will be massively scaled back before they start to kick in 4 years from now. (10 years of taxes to pay for 6 years of benefits with only $130B positive is the biggest slimy lie currently on the front page of the Washington Post). Hopefully we'll fall to something sane in the Singapore/Whole Foods/Indiana model + Death Panels for Medicare. Plus, it's moving to age 70 soon.

edd browne said...

To borkafatty .....

People are not going to read a treatise-comment.
If you want to get points across, make them short,
then make them shorter.

This applies to many commenters recently.

And rethink before you post.

Anonymous said...

I am all for the high deductible/tax free health account.
It will never happen, though. No, my insurance will continue to go up as I supplement the growing class of sickos and leechy baby boomers eating up all the care.

I've got insurance paid for by my employer which I never use. I realized long ago that Western doctors make you sicker not better, so I checked out of that system long ago. My 3 kids haven't been to a doctor in years. Why? So they can be poisened with vaccines and make believe diagnoses which always require big pharmas involvement. No thanks.

We do see a Chinese doctor who practices Eastern medicine for wellness checks. She is a big believer in herbs, vitamins and practicing a veggie diet as much as possible.

It's sad how unhealthy this nation has become - a bunch of drugged up, gum diseased, high fructose corn syrup laced, fat asses. Your bad health didn't happen by accident...

Anonymous said...

This is one of your better posts in a while. thanks!

Mike Hunt said...


The 2000 page plan is a disaster- maybe some version will pass but it really needs to be cleaned up.

One question- do you know if Americans living abroad will have to pay the IRS for not having insurance in the US, or are we exempt? I couldn't find this in spite of some research.

Me: I'm running a company in SE Asia, my insurance plan (paid by the company) for both the wife and I runs $1300 per year and covers doctor and emergency room visits... no co-pay up to $90 per visit. Coverage is up to $50 k per year (big bucks for a procedure out here). It doesn't cover dental or vision so we pay about another $300 per year out of pocket for that.

Am I dreaming or is health care really this cheap? Service is generally professional, fast and thorough.

The US system is totally f*cked. I have a problem where I get wax to build up in my ears, no way to remove it except go to the ear doctor every 4-6 monts to get it removed or I have trouble hearing and feel pretty uncomfortable. Here I go straight to the ear doc, and it costs about $35 which is covered by my insurane (though I'd happily pay cash). In the US I'd have to make an appointment with my primary care physician, then pay them the co-pay. Get them to make a referral to a specialist, wait 1 month. Go the the specialist, fill out the paperwork for an initial eval, then get seen for the procedure and pay another co-pay. Total cost was $50 out of pocket and hundreds of dollars billed to my insurance company plus 2 months waiting.

Just to clean my god darned ears!

Yes, the American system is a nightmare.

And forcing everybody to go through mandatory insurance is a change but doesn't hold any appeal for me.

Maybe it will cause a fix later but so would something terrible. Not sure if I follow your logic Keefer.


yoski said...

pass: likely
10 years from now: most likely won't be around any more b/c it can't be funded. Same goes for meidcare and medicaid. We'll barely have enough to pay for health care for our tax base, ie. people that work AND pay taxes.
Good advice, invest in health. No, not health care stocks, stupid. I mean your own health. Quit smoking, don't get drunk as often, excercise, eat healthy. By the time YOU retire there will be no medicare. 10 years from now, if you're retired and get seriously ill, you're dead unless you can pay out of pocket. One less recipient draining the social security fund. As far as social security, you'll probably get about half of what was promised.

Ross said...

Self employed consultant, late 20's, healthy, uninsured.

No way do I want this 2,000 page mystery meat bill to pass.


Anonymous said...

This legislative health insurance fiasco has more to do with maintaining/enhancing medical spending than 'protecting' uninsured Americans.

This is a rigged 'fix' for the Medical Industrial Complex.

The campaign contributions/kickbacks/payola associated with this boondoggle are going to be enormous...

Anonymous said...

This bill does not do enough. The whole system of health care in the USA needs to be destroyed, and replaced with Single Payer Universal Coverage. Obama care doesn't do that. It just tweaks the existing system a little, postponing the collapse.

Health Insurance Companies are not part of the solution. They are a large part of the problem. They need to be put out of business.

Anonymous said...

This congressional political volleyball match is another shameful display of deceptive intentions being 'sold' to constituents as a legitimate act.

What is actually transpiring in DC is a consolidation of legislative 'proposals' -- written in entirety by health industry lobbyists --being consolidated into a gigantic salmonella-tainted 'sausage' for taxpayer consumption.

We're being 'treated' to this porkfest by a racketeering health care industry flexing its political clout for a bailout of its ethically bankrupt business practices.

Instead of subsidizing their windfall profits, we should be aggressively investigating the corrupt collusive pricing schemes that are driving medical 'costs' through the roof!

insure the unsure said...

Of course it will pass.

But it will only *kick the can down the road* for a few years (months??) until this fraud-fueled medical quackery bubble implodes.

Will the USA suffer a sovereign default beforehand with a crashing dollar and hyperinflation?


Only time will tell...

J12P said...

Got snake oil?

Dogcrap said...

I predict God will show he exists and strike the House with an earth quake just prior to the vote. The only fatality from this quake will be Nancy Pelosi dying while sitting on the toiliet seat. Rumors will spread while with regard to finding Reid unconscience with his head between Pelosi knees.

Anonymous said...

In 5 years no one will admit to ever being a liberal

Anonymous said...

I totally support that! Continue that way!