American Medical Association Commits Malpractice

Georgia’s many doctors, through their professional organization, the Medical Association of Georgia, have gone on record opposing the horrendous health care “reform” legislation now before the House of Representatives, which is being pushed heavily by President Obama.  The MAG is opposing this legislation because it would, if implemented, destroy medicine as we know it in America.  Georgia’s doctors understand that, with all its flaws, our health care is of the highest quality and is the most technologically advanced of any country in the world; which is why far more people come to the United States for medical care than leave America to seek such help in other countries.

Unfortunately, MAG’s national counterpart, the American Medical Association, doesn’t understand this.  The AMA has actually endorsed what has become known as “Obamacare.”  Sixteen years ago, the AMA lobbied against the earlier version of government-dictated health care; known then as “Hillarycare.”  What accounts for the difference?  Clearly not the substance of the two versions of federally-run health care; in fact, the newer version is in many respects even more unfriendly to doctors than was the version authored by former First Lady Hillary Clinton back in 1993.

The AMA’s endorsement seems to have been purchased not with principle, but with money — a promise by Democrat supporters of HR 3200 (”America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009″) to make the formula according to which doctors are reimbursed for performing procedures for Medicare patients, more favorable to the doctors.  Rather than fight on the merits to improve the Medicare reimbursement system, even as they should be opposing the many other provisions of this legislation that injects massive doses of government control into the practice of medicine in the U.S., AMA’s leaders decided to sell out their members, and take the promise of a little money and run.

Doctors across America ought to repay the AMA leaders who have sold them out, by removing those same people from their elected positions; especially its president, Dr. James Rohack.

60 comments Add your comment

artbcpa

July 24th, 2009
7:58 am

While there are effective arguments against many of the proposals be bantied about in Congress, misstating facts only hurts the cause. It is simply NOT TRUE that the US has the best medical care in the world or that more people come to the US for health care treatment versus those who leave. There are tons of statistics showing the US is far down the list in many of the key medical figures – i.e. longevity, infant mortality, etc. Plus any comparison of medical migration shows the number of patients leaving the US for treatment far exceeds those coming to the US. The latest figures I have seen published by Modern Medicine show nearly double the amount of outbound patients compared to inbound patients in 2007 and the preliminary figures for 2008 showed that disparity growing even larger. One could argue that costs have already climbed to a point where going abroad for treatment is economically viable and that the proposals could make the situation much worse. There are many conservatives as well as liberal Democrats who understand that our health care system does need a dramatic overhaul. I would argue that defending a failed system is not the most effective method for defending capitalism. We need to engage the Admisinstration’s proposals with thoughtful proposals of our own. The cost of not doing so will have a huge impact on our economy. The study published in the magazine estimated that the US healthcare providers lost $16 billion last year from medical migration. Let’s not just be naysayers. Let’s admit the failures and adjust and improve where necessary.

Tom

July 24th, 2009
8:09 am

To the contrary, the most recent studies indicate that while our health care is by far the most expensive in the world, it is only average in quality. Our current system is simply not sustainable.

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

July 24th, 2009
9:25 am

Jingoistic flag-waving about how “America’s the best!” can’t cover up our increasingly 3rd-world rankings in public health. For poor performance, we pay out the nose.

Chris Salzmann

July 24th, 2009
9:33 am

Bob Barr…………our health care is of the highest quality and is the most technologically advanced of any country in the world; which is why far more people come to the United States for medical care than leave America to seek such help in other countries.

CHRIS SAYS: Yes Bob, its the highest quality if you’re lucky enough to be covered by the right health insurance policy OR can pay cash for it, which is what most people do when they come here for medical treatment. What about those folks here who:

a) DON’T have health insurance coverage due to unemployment, low incomes, self employed, small businesses, etc?
b) HAVE health insurance coverage of some kind but get denied treatment because of pre-existing conditions?

Even you would have to agree that we have a TWO TIER health care system. Isn’t that the system they have in the third world?

It seems that among conservatives, either these problems don’t exist or they simply don’t give a hoot. What is not disputed is that this country spends over $6,000 dollars per head on health care, which is about TWICE that of most other western industrialized countries like the UK, Canada, France, Germany, etc. Over 20,000 Americans die every year in this country because of no or ineffective health insurance coverage due to lack of preventive care and diagnosis. Lastly, over HALF of all personal bankruptcies in this country are due to health care related costs. These are FACTS which even most conservatives do not dispute. Feel free to look these up online.

So, where are the conservative solutions? Instead we hear them telling us how “Obamacare” will fail by citing numbers from the “non-partisan” Lewin Group which is a wholly owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth. Only the Republican Party would have the temerity to make the case against reforming the Health Care Insurance Industry by citing facts and figures presented by a Health Care insurance company. Makes your head spin.

So again, where are your solutions. And no, its not as simple as being allowed to buy insurance across state lines. Buying health Insurance is not like buying something on Amazon and Ebay. Insurance is governed and regulated primarily by individual states and each has widely different rules and regulations. I know, I have several insurance licenses including a health insurance license.

So again, besides simplistic and nonsensical solutions, do conservatives have any REALISTIC solutions??? I haven’t come across any so far.

Jim Callihan

July 24th, 2009
9:37 am

Yea Bob, don’t you get it? The coffers in DC NEED another mega-sector of the economy – they are beyond broke and no one is buying our junk bond T-bills anymore. If we don’t hand them over every mega-sector of the GDP, we’ll be broke! Oh wait…that happened in the 30’s. Now, if we can ever just get back to broke?

And besides, the way the government has treated our soldiers through the VA is exemplary!

I know, I know, I know…lots of scary stuff out there about not giving “preferred status” to unproductive members of Das Empire. But hey – any moron can see the writing on the wall with SS & Medicare; we must not let those “boomers” bankrupt us, besides how many of them have already said “I’d rather die”?

Government, for the people!

Raider

July 24th, 2009
10:08 am

One year from now – July 24th 2010
“Ring”, “Ring”, “Ring” (the automated operator pick ups)
“You have reached the ObamaCare hotline”
“Press one for, Mexican, Russian, Cuban, French, German, Lithuania, Czech and the Island of Malta – sorry no English
“Press two for, coverage that covers nothing”
“Press three for, if we have cancelled your coverage for no other reason than you were sick”
“Press four for, if you are an illgeal alien but are covered by American taxpayer dollars”
“Press five for, if we have taken out all of your money from your checking account”
“Press six for, the new pets and farm animals coverage”
“Press seven for, the feelings of hopelessness, gloom, despair and agony on you”
“Press eight for, an highly untrained, non-speaking english, non-professional, ACORN associate”
(eight pressed)
“Thank you for your call – you call is not important to us – the next a$$hole will be with you in 6 years, 20 hours, 17 minutes and 4 seconds – please continue to wait”
(CLICK)

Chris Salzmann

July 24th, 2009
10:22 am

So again, any SOLUTIONS from the likes of Raider and John Calihan???? I guess not……………

Mandy

July 24th, 2009
10:32 am

The Medial Association of Georgia is both out of touch and out of step with the physician community at large. In an unprecedented show of solidarity and support for health reform, physicians all over the country are actively speaking out in support of health reform like never before. Every day we, as physicians, see how our current healthcare system is failing patients and doctors alike. And physicians are making this known.

Doctors for America, a grassroots organization of over 13,000 physicians from all 50 states who have loudly and frequently said that health reform can not wait another year. We have joined many other physician organizations (totaling nearly half a million doctors) in multiple letters to Congress supporting real reform now.

The Georgia Medical society should support not only the physician payment fixes but also the investment in primary care and prevention and the increased affordability and choice in health insurance for our patients.

Raider

July 24th, 2009
10:38 am

Chris, I have been saying since 1994, we do NOT need health care reform.
We need insurance reform.
Insurance is the problem NOT the health care industry. Don’t you agree with me?

Turd Ferguson

July 24th, 2009
10:38 am

I will take the devil I know…the current Healthcare system. Read some of the requirements in this silly bill. The way it works is eventually everyone will be required to use the gubmints plan. THis democratic plan basically pushes private enterprise out the door and eventually the gubmints plan will be more expensive that what we currently must endure…well more expensive for those who pay. Of course the illegals and indigents will still get theirs for FREE.

Socialism plan and simple.

Chris Broe

July 24th, 2009
11:58 am

I don’t have no healthcare. I don’t want it. If I had healthcare, I might actually visit a doctor. Then I’d be a sitting duck for the incompetent pap smears and parrotheads wearing the white coats who pass for doctors in the clinics where my wife was allowed to go untreated. The cancer that wasn’t there was destroyed by the arbitrarily-chosen course of chemotherapy. The cancer they couldn’t find, you know, the actual cancer she had, grew exponentially with an inverse proportion to the competence of the doctors with the sea legs. You think fast food workers adulterate the food? Wait to you get a load of the way American doctors poison their patients. My poor wife was misdiagnosed by sophisticted and beautiful sailer-doctors, who sailed the Carribean, and regaled us with tales of jibs and mizzens and buoy-toys. They floundered when it came to diagnosing and prescribing, and thus she was relegated to a generic therapy which served only to torture her final three years. Yes, those doctors were very beautiful women, with personalities as big as Oprah’s. They just weren’t very good doctors. I think Atlanta needs to hear my wife’s medical saga. I think we’ve got a great new story here. Atlanta’s breast cancer patients need to be warned. I’m naming names. Does healthcare need reform? Do Parrotheads drink Pina Colada’s? Does a doctor sail?

Brandon

July 24th, 2009
12:00 pm

Even worse than dealing with our current system for another year would be to implement a government run shakedown. True, the republicans have not presented any competing health care plan, at least not that the media is reporting, but driving blindly into this liberal storm of socialized medicine could easily lead us straight off the cliff. I’m a conservative and have a few proposals. First, standardize all billing procedures for insurance companies to greatly reduce overhead. Two, reduce the enormous costs of litigation and defensive medicine through tort reform. Three, update medicare and medicaid fee schedules so that private insurance no longer has to subsidize entitlements. Four, tax breaks for health costs, including insurance, for individuals not just buisnesses. These are just a few suggestions that would greatly help. It might be entirely possible that we don’t need “comprehensive” reform but I’ll call it comprehensive anyways because politicians and media seem to love that word.

Raider

July 24th, 2009
12:20 pm

OMG – Have you heard or seen this.
What is more American than apple pie – its HOTDOGS!
But the Anti-meat group ran by Flaming Liberals want all hogs to come with a warning label on it.
Because you MIGHT get cancer from eating hotdogs – Yes I said might – did I say MIGHT!
Its being called the Cancer Project. And you MIGHT get cancer from hotdogs!
Hell, I might get cancer from going outside IN THE SUN just to get in my car!
To quote Vince Lombardi, “What the hell is going on out here!”
WHY DONT YOU LIBERALS GO AND PUT A WARNING LABEL ON THE FREAKING SUN!!!
You liberals come up with some of the most STUPIDEST crap I have ever seen!

Chris Salzmann

July 24th, 2009
12:36 pm

Raider July 24th, 2009 10:38 am SAID: Chris, I have been saying since 1994, we do NOT need health care reform. We need insurance reform.
Insurance is the problem NOT the health care industry. Don’t you agree with me?

CHRIS SAYS: Sorry, but you weren’t clear about that. If you read my LONG rant above, that’s what I was talking about too. In fact, this is what the majority of these reforms are all about. It is about Health Insurance Reform. So why are people against insurance reform? Shouldn’t t the Health Insurance Industry have a set of MINIMUM GUIDELINES that they be REQUIRED to operate under?

Makes you wonder about some people.

Milton Ingerman

July 24th, 2009
12:37 pm

I am addressing this directly to Bob Barr:
I heard you being interviewed on the radio a few days ago re: your views on the current healthcare situation. I thought your solutions were brilliant I would certainly encourage you to publicize them. In fact I would appreciate your publishing them on this website (as well as other news resources) so that they may be widely distributed and appreciated.

Chris Salzmann

July 24th, 2009
12:38 pm

Turd Ferguson July 24th, 2009 10:38 am SAID: I will take the devil I know…the current Healthcare system. Read some of the requirements in this silly bill. The way it works is eventually everyone will be required to use the gubmints plan. THis democratic plan basically pushes private enterprise out the door and eventually the gubmints plan will be more expensive that what we currently must endure…well more expensive for those who pay. Of course the illegals and indigents will still get theirs for FREE. Socialism plan and simple.

CHRIS SAYS: LOL! Turd’s sprouting his usual nonsense again. And where did you read these “requirements”? Some conservative website quoting an insurance industry lobbying group?

American Medical Association

July 24th, 2009
2:00 pm

We know the doctors of Georgia – like doctors throughout the U.S. – work extremely hard to give patients the best possible health care, but they do so within the confines of a system that works against them. I hear daily from doctors who have to fight with insurance companies to get necessary care for their patients – and then fight with them again to get paid for it. And I know that it’s heart wrenching to realize that a patient won’t live because they were uninsured and got to the doctor too late.

Parts of our American health system are broken. Patients live longer with better quality of life, but less than one percent of Americans can pay for all their medical care themselves.

Fixing the Medicare physician payment formula once and for all is fundamental to comprehensive health reform and is one of the many reasons we support the House bill. Without congressional action, Medicare will cut payments to physicians by about 40 percent over the next five years, leaving America’s seniors vulnerable to losing their access to care. The House bill repeals the broken Medicare payment reform system, expands coverage to nearly all Americans through a choice of plans and eliminates denials based on pre-existing conditions.

We’re at the beginning of the legislative process, and this bill is an important first step. The AMA will stay actively engaged to get a final bill that preserves freedom of choice for patients of their health coverage and who provides their care, and freedom for physicians to practice in the environment in which they can help their patients best.

J. James Rohack, M.D.
President, American Medical Association

Raider

July 24th, 2009
2:28 pm

Chris, sorry – you are right, I did not read your long rant – its been a crazy day today (friday), and I’m getting ready to leave – I wanted to get my Hotdog rant out there – I’ll read what you wrote now – have a good weekend.

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

July 24th, 2009
3:28 pm

Keep eating those hotdogs, yahoos. And loading up at Sonny’s and Ceci’s. Leave your guns loaded lying around your house. Keep driving drunk and keep up the drinking and the meth.

If enough of you yahoo slobs die young, that will drive healthcare costs down.

Phrg34

July 24th, 2009
3:32 pm

J.James Rohack, M.D. are you not the one who told Rangel that the AMA would love obamacare? All the plan will do for me is set me up for morphine shots in lieu of treatment.

j$

July 24th, 2009
10:57 pm

RealDoctorBC

July 24th, 2009
11:24 pm

The faults that underly the narcissism of socialists or communists that steal from other people under the false title of redistributive justice, or whatever benevolent sounding term they hijack – preclude them from being the best physicians and the best spokespeople for the medical profession. It is time for the socialists, communists, and other similar parasites to back off and take some therapy. They would do well to themselves and everyone else to examine the roots of how they have come to accept their compulsion to disrespect other peoples boundaries.
The role of the physician in health care precludes any endorsement of actions that contravene individual rights. Healthy people respect the rights and property of other people. You cannot have a right to something that somebody else has to provide. While I break my back every day trying to help my patients; the pathologic socialists are hijacking the AMA and using it as a tool to project their perversions onto the American populace. Time to go home losers – the jig is up.

artbcpa

July 25th, 2009
12:32 am

Well Bob, obviously your article brought up a ground swell of opposition. Why is that? Because it was based on conjecture, not facts, and offered no alternative solutions. People are tired of hearing the old political rhetoric. They want answers.

Milton Ingerman said you presented a case for health care reform on radio. Why not present it here on the BARR CODE for others to see and debate?

WTF

July 25th, 2009
6:30 am

At least Obama is trying to get something done to fix a badly broken system, which is much more than the Repubs care to do. They just keep us the tired mantra that anything a non-Repub suggests has to be bad as they continue their tact of No, No, No. Is his plan perfect? Of course not, but at least he is trying to bring about constructive dialogue and a much needed fix to a major crisis.

Too bad Bobby Barr, Rush and the US Congress won’t pull their heads out of their collective butts and for once and try to help reform a bad situation and do the will of the American they portend to represent. Bob needs to get his fact straight and offer some constructive ideas rather than just telling us nothing the Dems suggest has merrit. He if you don’t like socialized medecine, why not reform the one that exists for our vet?

TechLover

July 25th, 2009
7:30 am

World population 6.7 BILLION, US population 305 MILLION. Let’s see, how could more people possibly come here?

Pennsylvanian

July 25th, 2009
7:36 am

Want a solution? Start with tort reform, end the medical lawsuit lotteries. Let’s see POTUS Obama and the Democrats in congress take that on.

Pennsylvanian

July 25th, 2009
7:55 am

Step 2. Find the real problems.
Step 3. Fix the real problems.
Like millions of Americans, I am satisfied with my health care, and with my health care insurance plan. Why throw millions of middle class Americans under this juggernaut instead of simply finding and fixing the problems? We know the answer. This isn’t about health care. It is about power and control over 1/6 of the GDP.

TechLover

July 25th, 2009
8:03 am

ferguson: With your screen name, I hope you’re being facetious. The only thing you got right is that the plan requires people be insured or pay a penalty. If you’re referring to the infamous Page 16, that all the right wingnut websites (and some lying Republican officials) bring up, it’s referring to a definition of a grandfathered policy. You will not be required to join this plan, insurance companies will still be allowed to write new policies, the world will not end. Since hospitals will actually be reimbursed for all services, since everyone will have insurance, prices should come down (unless the hospitals keep scr*wing us) since they aren’t having to cover those who don’t pay in their pricing.

bob

July 25th, 2009
8:06 am

Seventy percent of people are satisfied with what they have now so lets scrap it for something that will be run like Social Security and Medicare. The WHO ranks Columbia ahead of America for overall healthcare, where do you think members of the United Nations would want life saving treatment, here, or Columbia. Most likely, those that are for Obamacare like the UN and think they do a good job.

George Fournier

July 25th, 2009
8:44 am

A very large study (300 million patients) comparing cancer mortality between countries found that In England, a country with a nationalized healthcare system similar to the Obamacare proposal, has twice the mortality for prostate cancer than does the US, and England’s mortality for all cancers as a whole is only slightly better than in the former soviet block Eastern European countries. Englan even limits access to Pap smears, a simple and relatively inexpensive screen for cervical cancer.

booger

July 25th, 2009
10:12 am

Chris S.,

The UK who you hold out to be a good system, is a two tier system as well. I lived and worked in the UK for three years. My company, as many other companies, provided private health insurance. Anyone in England who can afford it uses private healthcare, even though they have to pay the 10% national health care tax.

The national healthcare system is appalling, and broke. The government, who once urged people to use the national system now encourages people who can afford it to use private doctors. In general British educated Doctors go private, and the National System is staffed by immigrants.

I was in charge of two facilities in Canada later, although I didn’t live there. Their system is worse since it is against the law to pay for private care in Canada, although I understand there are now experiments with private pay for use clinics.

Chris Salzmann

July 25th, 2009
10:14 am

George Fournier July 25th, 2009 8:44 am SAID: A very large study (300 million patients) comparing cancer mortality between countries found that In England, a country with a nationalized healthcare system similar to the Obamacare proposal, has twice the mortality for prostate cancer than does the US, and England’s mortality for all cancers as a whole is only slightly better than in the former soviet block Eastern European countries. Englan even limits access to Pap smears, a simple and relatively inexpensive screen for cervical cancer.

CHRIS SAID: You make a good point that needs to be addressed. Here’s the crux of the issue that most people don’t seem to understand. This is all about Health Care INSURANCE reform. Note the emphasis on INSURANCE. This has nothing to do with HEALTH CARE on its own.

1) The problem in the United States is that if you are employed with a large employer, are on their health INSURANCE PLAN, you are doing alright and are pretty satisfied with what you have. I fall in that category.
2) The second group of people fall in the category where they have limited health insurance, with large upfront costs and a lot of exemptions for pre-existing conditions that are not covered.
3) The last group of people consist of those who have NO health care INSURANCE coverage at all to speak of. These folks are low-income, unemployed, employed in small businesses, self employed contractors, small business owners.

Health care INSURANCE reform is primarily aimed at the last two category of people.

Chris Salzmann

July 25th, 2009
10:19 am

booger July 25th, 2009 10:12 am SAID: Chris S., The UK who you hold out to be a good system, is a two tier system as well. I lived and worked in the UK for three years. My company, as many other companies, provided private health insurance. Anyone in England who can afford it uses private healthcare, even though they have to pay the 10% national health care tax.

The national healthcare system is appalling, and broke. The government, who once urged people to use the national system now encourages people who can afford it to use private doctors. In general British educated Doctors go private, and the National System is staffed by immigrants.

I was in charge of two facilities in Canada later, although I didn’t live there. Their system is worse since it is against the law to pay for private care in Canada, although I understand there are now experiments with private pay for use clinics.

CHRIS SAID: Good point. And as my comment to George Fournier illustrates, this INSURANCE reform is aimed at folks who have LIMITED or NO health care INSURANCE whatsoever.

We certainly don’t want to carbon copy what they have in CANADA or the UK. And this reform package does NOT do that. In fact, most people in this country will continue to have access to and be insured through private health INSURANCE as I currently have through my employer.

Chris Salzmann

July 25th, 2009
10:23 am

Pennsylvanian July 25th, 2009 7:36 am SAID: Want a solution? Start with tort reform, end the medical lawsuit lotteries. Let’s see POTUS Obama and the Democrats in congress take that on.

CHRIS SAYS: Tort reform DOES NOT WORK. It’s already been done in Texas and it had LITTLE or NO effect on Health Care or Health Care INSURANCE costs.

Chris Salzmann

July 25th, 2009
10:30 am

George Fournier July 25th, 2009 8:44 am SAID: ……..found that In England, a country with a nationalized healthcare system similar to the Obamacare proposal,……

CHRIS SAYS: Here’s the problem. “Obamacare” and health care INSURANCE reform is in no way similar to what England has which is UNIVERSAL COVERAGE under ONE PLAN. Under the proposal, most people will continue to use private health INSURANCE providers through their employers. I repeat, the “Obamacare” proposals are aimed at those folks who have very LIMITED or NO health care INSURANCE.

How does that make it similar to the United Kingdom or Canada?

Saul Good

July 25th, 2009
11:07 am

More scare tactics by and for the weak and simple minded. The rethuglicans had 8 years to put through a plan. Six of those years they had total control. What did they do? Not one single thing. Insurance premiums since Bush first entered office have DOUBLED. Twice as many people no longer have insurance compared to the day Dubya entered office as well. During that time the insurance companies profits have nearly tripled! You had your chance, you choose to do nothing…so now SOMEBODY FINALLY has the balls to take care of this issue.

Republicans bring nothing to the table. You never have and you never will.

Like your current policy? Keep it. NOTHING is being forced upon anyone. Don’t want to be in the new plan…you don’t have to be. We don’t have the BEST insurance over here in the US…we have the WORST out of all industrialized nations (and we’re behind many 2nd tier countries as well).

Know what’s SCARY? The number of people denied plans because of pre-existing conditions…the number of people who have to let the insurance company decide WHAT they will pay for instead of the doctors (this I know first hand since my brother is a surgeon). There are MANY who need surgeries that are denied them all because the insurance company is playing “god and doctor” instead of letting the medical professionals do what they need to do.

The health care system is and has been broken for a generation here. Now we’re going to do something about it. Don’t like it…get your act together and get your people back in office so they can do what they’ve always done about health care…NOTHING for the people, and EVERYTHING for the insurance companies profits. Yet since all the rethuglicans do is whine and complain..it’s going to be a loooooong long time before you’re back in the saddle again. That’s a GOOD thing.

Saul Good

July 25th, 2009
11:08 am

George, please post the “source” and the ‘link” for the statistics you made up above. Thanks.

booger

July 25th, 2009
11:21 am

Chris S.

Although Obama and the media insist one can keep their current insurance, the actual bill says something quite different. page 16 says a person can keep their current plan however they cannot change to a different private plan. This means if you change jobs, or just decide you would like a plan with a different deductible, the only option would be the public plan. Since private plans can take no new people after the public plan is introduced, they will effectively be forced out of business over time. It also says after five years private plans will have to essentially offer the same plan as the govt., and their rates will must be approved by the govt.

Now I firmly believe these features will be removed for now, but just the fact that they are in the original plan tells you what the designers have in mind. They want a single system, and control over any private. Control is the key word.

Saul,

You say the current system is and has been broken for a generation now……are you implying the system was good a generation ago?

Chris Salzmann

July 25th, 2009
11:36 am

booger July 25th, 2009 11:21 am SAID: Chris S.

Although Obama and the media insist one can keep their current insurance, the actual bill says something quite different. page 16 says a person can keep their current plan however they cannot change to a different private plan. This means if you change jobs, or just decide you would like a plan with a different deductible, the only option would be the public plan. Since private plans can take no new people after the public plan is introduced, they will effectively be forced out of business over time. It also says after five years private plans will have to essentially offer the same plan as the govt., and their rates will must be approved by the govt.

Now I firmly believe these features will be removed for now, but just the fact that they are in the original plan tells you what the designers have in mind. They want a single system, and control over any private. Control is the key word.

CHRIS SAYS: Booger, Do you have a link for the page you are referring to? I don’t want to comment on that before I see the actual language. My understanding is that, after 5 years, all private health insurance plans will have to meet a certain minimum standard of service. That makes sense to me since right now, since a lot of private plans out there in the market have a lot of exemptions regarding pre-existing conditions and cost. If you have a plan through your employer and you change jobs, and are offered a similar plan, you can still join the new plan as long as it meets a minimum standard of care.

But honestly, I need to see the page you are referring to before I can make an informed comment.

Chris Salzmann

July 25th, 2009
11:43 am

One thing that everyone should be aware of. A lot of conservatives are quoting figures from an organization called “The Lewin Group”. One of the AJC’s contributors, Kyle Wingfield also quoted figures from this group in an opinion piece he wrote a few days ago about health care insurance reform. This organization is a wholly owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth, which is a private health insurance company. A conflict of interest to say the least, and any “facts and figures” coming from the Lewin Group should be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism.

booger

July 25th, 2009
12:06 pm

Chris,

No I do not have a copy of the bill, but it has been shown and quoted on the news several times, including CNN yesterday. This morning a Democratic spokesman said the wording was unfortunate but the intent was not to drive Insurance companies out of business. She said she was sure the wording would be clarified.

This is why I said I am confident that this will be changed. However, the fact that it is in the original draft of the bill tells a lot about their objectives.

Also it seems a bit disingenuous to discount out of hand anything an industry group has to say as a conflict of interest, while accepting everything the govt. says. Democrats have been pushing for this for a long time so it is fair to say that they will present this in the most positive way. The costs for example have been discredited by the congressional budjet office, but they are still touting the same line.

Saul Good

July 25th, 2009
12:50 pm

Chris,
I’m glad you brought up the Lewin Group. Getting your figures from them is like hiring a convicted child molester to babysit your kids.

Here’s the article:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/22/AR2009072202216.html

FTA:

Generally left unsaid amid all the citations is that the Lewin Group is wholly owned by UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation’s largest insurers.

More specifically, the Lewin Group is part of Ingenix, a UnitedHealth subsidiary that was accused by the New York attorney general and the American Medical Association, a physician’s group, of helping insurers shift medical expenses to consumers by distributing skewed data. ngenix supplied its parent company and other insurers with data that allegedly understated the “usual and customary” doctor fees that insurers use to determine how much they will reimburse consumers for out-of-network care.

In January, UnitedHealth agreed to a $50 million settlement with the New York attorney general and a $350 million settlement with the AMA, covering conduct going back as far as 1994.”

Sounds like “business as usual” for the republicans.

Booger,
First, Things have become MUCH worse in the past generation or so. Basically since Reagan got into office.

Second: Here’s the bill (right from the government).

http://waysandmeans.house.gov/media/pdf/111/AAHCA09001xml.pdf

Booger, you said the following:
“a person can keep their current plan however they cannot change to a different private plan. This means if you change jobs, or just decide you would like a plan with a different deductible, the only option would be the public plan. Since private plans can take no new people after the public plan is introduced, they will effectively be forced out of business over time. It also says after five years private plans will have to essentially offer the same plan as the govt., and their rates will must be approved by the govt.”

Please scroll down to page 16 and tell me where it says any of what you just wrote. Close, but no cigar.

Chris Salzmann

July 26th, 2009
4:20 am

Yes, the insurance industry is turning up the heat. Have you heard of the group “Conservatives for Patient’s Rights”? They’re running adds about how Obama wants to turn us into Canada (which is pretty funny if you know the facts). Its founder and main contributor is Rick Scott, former CEO of Columbia/HCA. Look him up on Wikipedia. He’s an interesting character.

I also came across this story from the Guardian, a UK newspaper. Its about a former senior CIGNA executive who turned against the insurance industry. He used to be CIGNA’s top PR man. Heres the link:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/26/us-healthcare-obama-barack-change

Some choice bits from this piece:

Last month he testified in Congress, becoming one of the few industry executives to admit that what its critics say is true: healthcare insurance firms push up costs, buy politicians and refuse to pay out when many patients actually get sick. In chilling words he told a Senate committee: “I worked as a senior executive at health insurance companies and I saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick: all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors.”

In his long years with Cigna he rose to be the company’s top PR executive. He had an eagle-eye view of the industry’s tactics of scuppering political efforts to get it to reform. “This is a very wealthy industry and they use PR very effectively. They manipulate public opinion and the news media and they have built up these relationships with all these politicians through campaign contributions,” Potter said.

Such sentiments are rare in an industry that has given America a healthcare system that can be cripplingly expensive for patients, but that does not produce a healthier population. The industry is often accused of wriggling out of claims. Firms comb medical records for any technicality that will allow them to refuse to pay. In one recently publicised example, a retired nurse from Texas discovered she had breast cancer. Yet her policy was cancelled because her insurers found she had previously had treatment for acne, which the dermatologist had mistakenly noted as pre-cancerous. They decreed she had misinformed them about her medical history and her double mastectomy was cancelled just three days before the operation.

Last month three healthcare executives were grilled about such “rescinding” tactics by a congressional subcommittee. When asked if they would abandon them except in cases of deliberately proven fraud, each executive replied simply: “No.”

To Potter that attitude has a sad logic. The healthcare industry generates enormous profits and its top executives have a lavish corporate lifestyle that he once shared. Treating patients for their expensive conditions is bad for business as it reduces the bottom line. Kicking out patients who pursue claims makes perfect economic sense. “It is a system that is rigged against the policyholder,” Potter said. The congressional probe found that just three firms had rescinded more than 20,000 policyholders between 2003 and 2007, saving hundreds of millions. “That’s a lot of money that will now go towards their profits,” Potter said.

SO WHO DO YOU BELIEVE? THE INSURANCE COMPANIES WHO TELL YOU HOW BAD OBAMA’S PLAN IS GOING TO BE OR THIS GUY, WHO LEFT A VERY WELL PAYING JOB AND A VERY COMFORTABLE LIFE TO CLEAR HIS CONSCIENCE? Hmmmmm……..

Chris Salzmann

July 26th, 2009
4:32 am

Saul,

Thanks a bunch for the link to the actual draft of the plan so I can see the “offending” page. Brilliant!!! You’re the first person to actually send this to me. I’ve already saved it as a document on my computer so I can peruse through it later.

Yeah, I don’t see what Booger’s talking about. In fact, the page he’s so concerned about is titled “Protecting the Choice to Keep Current Coverage”. One of the points is the requirement for all NEW private health care insurance plans to offer basic minimum coverage and meet certain minimum guidelines. We already have that with car insurance, makes sense to have that for humans too, ya think??? LOL

artbcpa

July 26th, 2009
7:28 am

bob (not Bob Barr) said: Seventy percent of people are satisfied with what they have now so lets scrap it for something that will be run like Social Security and Medicare.

My reply: and sixty-two point four percent (68.4%) of the people believe all the statsistics you tell them.

Where do you get these statistics? Why would you possibly believe them? If you want to have an intelligent debate, let’s base it on facts and cogent arguments, not wild statistics. Plus even if you were correct, do you have any idea how many people 30% of the population represents?

The bottom line comes down to who do you want making medical decisions for you? Today many decisions about medication, length of hospital stay, and even whether or not a procedure should be performed are being made by insurance personnel whose allegiance is to their bottom line, not your health.

We need a better way to provide medicine. We need a system that reinstalls you and your physicians as the primary decision makers – not the government, not the insurance companies.

That means NO to the Canadian Plan and no to most every other plan. Let’s come up with a plan that takes the best elements of other plans, but recognizes the differences of the way we do things in the USA.

Can’t we come up with an American Plan?

Greedy Doc

July 26th, 2009
10:06 am

I am a Repub and have doc friends but why are you defending this greedy group? Both the insurance and big pharma lobby have pledged to lower prices under the proposed Obamaplan but what have you heard from the docs? Not a dam* peep as they are too greedy (GP/FP’s exception) to give up their multi thousands of dollars per year ripoff of sick people! As Obummers own doc said “the neurosurgeon he sends his patients to could survive on TWO million $’s less per year without starving”!!!!

Pennsylvanian

July 26th, 2009
1:49 pm

CHRIS SAYS: Tort reform DOES NOT WORK. It’s already been done in Texas and it had LITTLE or NO effect on Health Care or Health Care INSURANCE costs.

Interesting. It didn’t work in Texas, so it can’t work? Care to extend that logic to the Massachusetts experience with health care reform?

This health insurance (previously know as health care initiative) is in serious trouble. Pres. Obama’s asinine, race baiting comments last Wednesday will cause his poll numbers to slip even more. He has seriously eroded confidence in his ability to lead the USA.

Greedy Doc

July 26th, 2009
1:58 pm

I should have said “primary care docs” here,sorry. The big specialists are the ones ripping off sick people!

“Not a dam* peep as they are too greedy (GP/FP’s exception) to give up their multi thousands of dollars per year ripoff of sick people! “

Chris Salzmann

July 26th, 2009
4:23 pm

Pennsylvanian July 26th, 2009 1:49 pm SAID:

CHRIS SAYS: Tort reform DOES NOT WORK. It’s already been done in Texas and it had LITTLE or NO effect on Health Care or Health Care INSURANCE costs.

Pennsylvanian July 26th, 2009 1:49 pm SAID: Interesting. It didn’t work in Texas, so it can’t work? Care to extend that logic to the Massachusetts experience with health care reform?

CHRIS SAYS: So, your logic is, if it doesn’t work the first time, lets do it again and hope for a different outcome? That’s your solution? What about the Massachusetts experience? Can you be more specific?

Pennsylvanian July 26th, 2009 1:49 pm SAID:This health insurance (previously know as health care initiative) is in serious trouble. Pres. Obama’s asinine, race baiting comments last Wednesday will cause his poll numbers to slip even more. He has seriously eroded confidence in his ability to lead the USA.

CHRIS SAYS: Although this discussion is off topic, I agree with President Obama in calling the Cambridge police actions stupid. Once they confirmed the identity of Prof. Gates and that they were indeed standing in the Professor’s own home, they should have backed off. So who was supposed to be the professional here? The professor in his own home or the police? I disagree that this was anything to do with racial profiling but more to do with power. The officer felt disrespected and decided to arrest the Professor to teach him a “lesson”. It happens all the time and it doesn’t matter which race is involved. Frankly, the police need to be held to account for this kind of unprofessional behavior. Also need to point out to those folks who think that Professor Gates is some kind of Black Power moron, he’s married to a White woman and has two mixed race daughters which hardly fits the profile that people are painting of him.

So, did the Cambridge police act stupidly? You betcha! Strangely enough, most of the residents in Cambridge itself, which is majority white, think so too. I guess they don’t know their own police too well, and YOU DO?

Pennsylvanian

July 26th, 2009
7:04 pm

You are a lot of fun, Chris. Gates and his ‘little man’ chip on the shoulder problem are not the point. Did the police screw up? Maybe. Did Gates screw up? Maybe. The topic is the health care initiative. Obama planned to ram it through on his popularity. His popularity is plummeting, and he did himself no good with his big mouth. The big news is the president screwed up, and probably made it even more difficult to get the plan passed. And you think I care what the people of Cambridge think? People that re-elect Ted Kennedy? That is hilarious.