Support builds for public option in health insurance game

Michael Bloomberg, the self-made billionaire and one of the 20 richest people on the planet, joins Wal-Mart in support of a government-run health-insurance option as an alternative to private plans:

“Choice and competition are almost always in the best interests of our economy. When I started a small business 28 years ago, there were other companies that offered financial information to banks and businesses. But we found a way to do it better. That gave our customers more options, and it strengthened the marketplace of financial information.

The public option in health care — which President Obama is supporting as a central part of his proposed reforms — grows out of the same idea. If you like the coverage you have, you keep it. But if you don’t have coverage – or if you lose your coverage – you’d have another option. And virtually everyone agrees that a well-managed public option has real potential to provide — for less money — the same benefits that private insurers provide.”

As Bloomberg notes, a public option will likely have lower administrative costs. “We know this based on our experience with Medicare, which spends a lower percentage of every dollar on overhead than private insurance plans do, on average.” Furthermore, “94 percent of metropolitan areas in the United States are dominated by one company or a small group of companies. This kind of anti-competitive concentration protects private insurers from ever having to feel the urgency to provide more for less. When you don’t have to find ways to cut costs and produce a better product, you tend not to do it. The public option offers the opportunity to force the system to innovate, evolve and improve.”

In its own letter, signed jointly with the Center for American Progress and the Service Employees International Union, Wal-Mart lays out the business-case necessity for reform:

… few businesses will be able to keep up with the pace at which premiums are rising.
Premiums are expected to rise by 20 percent in less than four years, according to research by professors at Harvard University — costing 3.5 million workers their jobs, and cutting insured workers’ average annual incomes by $1,700.

Fiscally, the growing cost of health care is poised to drive our federal budget over a cliff. A recent report
by the Senate Finance Committee found that by 2017, “health care expenditures are expected to consume nearly 20 percent of the GDP.” ….

With smart, targeted policies, we can create a financially-viable health care system that enables workers
to change jobs without losing their care, and allows businesses to become more nimble. Health care costs will no longer stand in the way of their ability to retool for the 21st century.”

The American people are also coming around. In a new Quinnipiac poll, Americans were asked: “Do you support or oppose giving people the option of being covered by a government health insurance plan that would compete with private plans?”

The result: 69% support, 26% oppose.

That echoes findings in a CBS/NYT poll, which reports that “a clear majority of Americans — 72 percent — support a government-sponsored health care plan to compete with private insurers… Most also think the government would do a better job than private industry at keeping down costs and believe that the government should guarantee health care for all Americans.

Even a poll by the corporate-funded Employee Benefit Research Institute found strong support. In response to its question — “Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose … creating a new public health insurance plan that anyone can purchase?” — 83 percent strongly or somewhat supported that option.

The political fight is far from over. But a clear majority of the American people and increasing numbers in the business community — at least, those outside the health-care industry itself — are ready for dramatic change.

211 comments Add your comment

FinnMcCool

July 2nd, 2009
7:59 am

That is change we can believe in!

I Report (-: You Whine )-:

July 2nd, 2009
8:02 am

Big business is bribed and on board, yay!

~~~~~

Stepping right into the Wooten’s shoes-

Consider also that electoral politics are practically written into the bill. The first year of cap and trade would be the presidential election year of 2012, when emissions would be limited to 97 percent of 2005 levels. So, not overly draconian while Barack Obama faces re-election. Democrats have also actually scheduled emissions increases in 2014, just in time for mid-term elections, and in 2016. Clearly, they are trying to limit cap and trade’s effect on the next few elections.-Kyle Wingnut, Urinal

FinnMcCool

July 2nd, 2009
8:04 am

Well, WalMart is doing it to make it tough on competitors. It’s self-serving interest much like Altria backing tobacco being moved to FDA oversight.

But, in both cases, it helps out the everyday American.

(I know Conservatives won’t like the idea of helping out the average American, but tough toenails.)

I Report (-: You Whine )-:

July 2nd, 2009
8:05 am

WHINER: I have nothing more to say to you

Promises, promises.

Jay

July 2nd, 2009
8:05 am

Whiner, you’re gone for the day at least. I have warned you repeatedly, and my patience is gone.

See ya.

(For the rest of you who may not know, it’s for his posts on earlier threads.)

TnGelding

July 2nd, 2009
8:11 am

I think both sides are overlooking the real problem, which is disease caused by unhealthy lifestyles and the tremendous burden the chronically ill put on the system.

The plan being put together by Democrats in Congress is just too complicated. They need to analyze who is uninsurd and why before trying to get them insured. In some cases being insured would prevent treatment. We don’t need health insurance, we need health care, and each individual needs to take responsiblity for their own.

It’s good to hear that most realize something needs to be done and don’t object to a government sponsored plan.

FinnMcCool

July 2nd, 2009
8:15 am

Going bck to that last topic:

You know it really is quite sad. The tough-talking Conservatives and NeoCons – tough on terror. “Let’s fight em over there so we don’t have to fight em over here.” “We don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

How did they end up getting them to stop shooting our troops? Payed them off. Bribery. If a liberal did that they would say: “typical liberal.”

Really, Conservatives are just a bunch of pansies. “Let’s pay em over there so we don’t have to fight them over here.”

Is there no end to Republican hypocrisy? They look at us and say “We don’t negotiate with the enemy” while handing a sack of cash to the enemy behind their backs.

Can’t Republicans just man up? Have they never heard the old Shakespeare line? “Oh what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

I don’t believe Democrats are any better than Republicans. But Democrats don’t claim the high ground and claim to be THE ONLY place for family values, etc etc. We know our XXXXX stinks…and we can live with that. Republican’s just can’t live with their personal smell.

Mrs. Godzilla

July 2nd, 2009
8:17 am

Confidence remains high!

RW-(the original)

July 2nd, 2009
8:18 am

But I’m sure all the left wing crap will continue unabated…..

I’ll take the day off , at least, too. Maybe one day this pitiful excuse for a newspaper will learn that silencing conservative voices while keeping an anything goes approach to the libs will kill it’s web site the same way it killed the print edition, but I doubt it.

He did IT

July 2nd, 2009
8:20 am

I like Wal-Mart’s prescription benefit program. Four bucks, four bucks, four bucks and I don’t even need an over-priced health insurance scam to get it. We need more Wal-Mart solutions like their prescription drug program (not that trash that Bush dumped on us to benefit the drug companies). After all, it is the American way. Of course, those in the health care industry that have been enriching themselves on the sicknesses of others probably are not too thrilled. But, you know what, in business there are also many sayings that sum up [over 80 percent of] most folk’s feelings regarding others that would gorge themselves at the trough of those most in need — screw ‘em.

FinnMcCool

July 2nd, 2009
8:21 am

TNGelding,

Good post. I think the problem is our system should be focused on prevention, not treatment. Are we way too involved in after-the-fact remedies that we don’t have the money(??) or the time(??) to focus on prevention?

Drug companies are focused on treatment, not prevention. Maybe there is no money in prevention? If people don’t get sick you don’t sell prescription drugs.

bob

July 2nd, 2009
8:23 am

If walmart wants it than it’s got to be good ! How many times does the left bash walmart and millionaires now they are both looked to for direction on healthcare.

He did IT

July 2nd, 2009
8:23 am

Bye Bye, RW. You’ll be missed.

Doggone/GA

July 2nd, 2009
8:24 am

“In some cases being insured would prevent treatment”

What evidence do you have for this? It seems counter-intuitive.

FinnMcCool

July 2nd, 2009
8:27 am

Conservatives who want to whine that government can’t do anything correctly and so health care shouldn’t be put in their hands: Anyone want to argue that employees in the private sector never get something wrong? They never foul something up? They are perfect every time, every day?

Governement employees run medicare and medicaid. Do your granparents hate those entities so much they’d rather do without them?

Government employees run the military. Are you against our troops? They run the police and fire departments. They fix the pot holes in your roads. They gather up your garbage.

Government employees inspect our food (they don’t catch everything but I have to think they catch most of it.)

Normal

July 2nd, 2009
8:28 am

Jay, I guess I’m confused. Whiner can be a pain, but as long as we aren’t using the seven deadly words, Let him say his thing and let him look foolish. Wasn’t it said “though I may disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it? It’s your blog and you can do with it what you will, but I think we all have the right to say what we think, don’t you?…Just askin’…

DB, Gwinnettian

July 2nd, 2009
8:30 am

I’ll take the day off , at least, too.

Fight the power!

DB, Gwinnettian

July 2nd, 2009
8:36 am

I’ve no doubt that the public will was always there for a “public plan” (let’s not call it single-payer, I guess… not yet.)

It’s just that the pols weren’t willing to leave the campaign contribution trough and take on the entrenched interests. Maybe that tide’s finally turned. I certainly hope so–this issue has been front and center for me for about a decade.

Doggone/GA

July 2nd, 2009
8:38 am

“It’s your blog and you can do with it what you will, but I think we all have the right to say what we think, don’t you?”

No we don’t. “It’s your blog and you can do with it what you will” – that’s the last word. It’s Jay’s blog, he makes the rules.

He did IT

July 2nd, 2009
8:40 am

DB at 8:36. Perhaps big businesses like Wal-Mart and other end users of the healthcare industry (via benefits to employees in lieu of cash) are making bigger contributions to the politicians than those in the healthcare industry can afford to make at the moment.

Turd Ferguson

July 2nd, 2009
8:41 am

Just another debacle compliments of the US Govt. Hopefully the Congress stamp this healthcare BS, DOA.

Redneck Convert

July 2nd, 2009
8:42 am

Well, it’s just plain unAmerican to have guvmint run a health care plan. Where’s the profit in that? You got to have profit and big overhead or else you’re going against Private Innerprize. Besides, if guvmint runs a plan it will keep the insurance cos. from raising rates to make more profit because people will drop insurance co. plans and go to the guvmint plan. If that ain’t Commie, I don’t know what is.

Besides, I’d rather have an insurance co. decide what’s covered. If they do it, it’s just business. But if guvmint does it, why, that’s Rationing Care.

I’m all bumfuzzled by what Bookman says. Have a good day everybody.

Wyld Byll Hyltnyr

July 2nd, 2009
8:45 am

Jay, Jay, Jay, my dear, sweet, Democrat talking point regurgitating Jay.

Let us look rationally at this. Of course Walmart wants a public option, it will reduce Walmarts cost of doing business and do away with the unpleasant and time consuming nature of employee benefits.

Next, Bloomberg is a liberal in a very liberal city, of course he wants a public option.

Now onto the populace in general, the issue at hand is what is the full (cash and intangible cost) of a public option and the surveys you cite never addressed that. Everyone, apart from Rush, would support a public option if its “all in cost” were lower than private plans. That is the question that the survey responders thought they were answering.

The rub lies in the fact that Obumbler’s public option could only cost less than private plans, in light of its more comprehensive risk pool, through government subsidies and rationing of services, or some combination thereof. Just look at Obumbler’s boy, Daschle’s, recent quote, “…health-care reform will not be pain free. Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them.” Or, if you think that’s an outlier, the quote from one side of Obumbler’s faces, ” “Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.”

The reality is that the Obumbler public option will be heavily subsidized, greatly ration care, and ultimately, through lower cost via taxpayer subsidies, crowd all private plans out of the m,arket because, as with Walmart, it is easier and cheaper for business to use a public option.

FinnMcCool

July 2nd, 2009
8:47 am

I like the idea of using Wal-Mart in this case but I’m still not going to shop at Wal-Mart.

Anyone interested should watch the movie “The High Cost of Low Prices.” You may never shop there again either.

Here are some examples of how Wal-Mart uses tax dollars to “fill in” for their unwillingness to offer proper health care to employees:

ALABAMA: 3,864 Children of WAL-MART Employees are Enrolled in Medicaid

“Retail giant Wal-Mart tops the list of companies in Alabama whose employees have children on Medicaid, the [Montgomery] Advertiser reported, citing state records. Wal-Mart workers’ children account for 3,864 children on the Medicaid rolls at a cost between $5.8 million and $8.2 million.”
Source: Associated Press, “Wal-Mart No. 1 in Employee Medicaid,” The Decatur Daily, February 23, 2005
ARIZONA: 2,700 WAL-MART Workers on Medicaid

According to state data provided to Capitol Media Services and reported by the Arizona Daily Star, “Close to one of every 10 Wal-Mart employees is getting health insurance paid for by Arizona taxpayers, according to figures obtained Friday from the state…In the Arizona statistics, nearly 2,700 people listed their employer as Wal-Mart out of more than 28,000 company employees in the state…The numbers came as a surprise to state Sen. Richard Miranda, D-Phoenix, who tried earlier this year to get a law requiring the DES [Department of Economic Security] to disclose the employers of people on AHCCCS. That measure was defeated amid opposition from corporate lobbyists, including Rip Wilson representing Wal-Mart.”
Source: Howard Fischer, “Wal-Mart 1st in State Aid Enrollees,” Arizona Daily Star, July 30, 2005
http://www.walmartmovie.com/facts.php

FinnMcCool

July 2nd, 2009
8:49 am

Wild Bill,
Wal-Mart is already saving on healthcare by having taxpayers pay for the majority of their employees healthcare. That’s not why Wal-Mart is doing this.

Normal

July 2nd, 2009
8:50 am

Doggone, If I feel passionately about something we are talking about and I want to say something about it , but afreaid to for fear I’ll be censored, then why bother at all? The Moderator tell s us when we are out of order, isn’t that enough?

Paul

July 2nd, 2009
8:53 am

[[“94 percent of metropolitan areas in the United States are dominated by one company or a small group of companies.]]

There’s that “Free” market at work.

[[Americans were asked: “Do you support or oppose giving people the option of being covered by a government health insurance plan that would compete with private plans?”]]

Key word is ‘compete.’ Not ‘take over.’ Not ‘eliminate private plans.’ Not ‘mandate.” It’s ‘compete.’ I thought that is a free market tenet so many advocate? Or doesn’t it apply to gov’t?

[[Do you… support…creating a new public health insurance plan that anyone can purchase?]]

Again, it’s ‘can’ purchase. Not ‘must’ ‘have to’ or ‘mandatory.’ It’s ‘can.’

TNGelding

Saw a report this morning in the newspaper. In 31 states, more than 25 percent of adults are obese. In every state, the rate of obesity is higher among 55-64 year olds (the oldest baby boomers) than among those 65 and older.

Medicare spends anywhere for $1400 to $6000 more annually for EACH obese senior than for the non-obese.

Considering this country averages around $7000 per person on health care, that’s significant.

But it’s not going to change by just encouraging people to change. We’ve built an entire system of price payoffs to encourage production and distribution of low-cost, low-nutrient, high fat, high sugar ‘food’ that are more attractive to people with lower incomes. System’s gotta change.

Jay

July 2nd, 2009
8:53 am

Yes, Normal, you certainly do have the right to say what you think, and everybody’s input into blog management is welcome. You guys have ownership of this thing too. However, I also get repeated emails and comments on the street from people who tell me they come to the blog but are put off by the aggressive incivility they see here. They too have a voice that should be heeded.

I’m not trying to turn it into a Sunday School, and the idea that I’m trying to censor conservative views is ludicrous if you read this blog at all. Whiner’s posts are not conservative, they’re just unrelentingly mean and vicious, and if RW wants to embrace mean and vicious as somehow emblematic of conservatism, I will not.

Whiner has been warned repeatedly, most recently just a couple of days ago. He repeatedly proved unable to heed those warnings.

FinnMcCool

July 2nd, 2009
8:53 am

This is how you run a successful company: have your employees clock out after their 8 hour shift but demand that they keep working – off the clock.

In Texas it is estimated that they cheated workers out of up to one hundred and fifty million dollars in unpaid wages

“In a recently certified class-action suit in Texas on behalf of more than 200,000 current and former Wal-Mart workers, statisticians estimate that the company underpaid its Texas workers by $150 million over four years by not paying them for the many times they worked during their daily 15-minute breaks. That $150 million estimate does not include other types of unpaid work. The statisticians, who analyzed time records from 12 Wal-Mart stores, found that the Texas employees averaged at least one hour of unpaid work each week from working through breaks.”
Source: Steven Greenhouse, “Suits Say Wal-Mart Workers Forced To Toil Off The Clock,” New York Times, June 25, 2002 [reprinted via Common Dreams]

Wal-Mart Managers delete time from workers’ timecards

In Massachusetts, “a Middlesex court judge has put his imprimatur on a suit alleging the retail giant failed to pay employees for time worked and neglected to give them meal and rest breaks, the Herald has learned. The eight-page ruling by Superior Court Judge Ernest B. Murphy cites an affidavit by a computer expert hired by the plaintiffs. The expert allegedly found 7,000 instances during a one-year period when Wal-Mart managers deleted large blocks of time from their employee payroll records.”
Source: John Strahinich, “Judge OKs Employee Lawsuit Against Wal-Mart,” Boston Herald, January 7, 2005.

Meanwhile, in California, a class-action lawsuit potentially involving up to 215,000 current and former Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club employees “charges that Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., deleted thousands of hours of time worked from employees’ payroll records by erasing overtime hours and by penalizing employees who forgot to punch in after their meal breaks by denying them pay for the remainder of those days.”
Source: “Alameda County Suit Alleges Wal-Mart Cheated Workers,” Bay City News, January 20, 2005.

Wal-Mart currently faces lawsuits in thirty-one different States for wage and hour abuses potentially involving hundreds of thousand workers.

He did IT

July 2nd, 2009
8:53 am

Well, a public plan will help to ensure that every American can get access to the most affordable basic care but this will not really hurt the insurance companies, given the current economic situation, any more than they are already hurting, at least in the short term (and short term is all any of these companies focus on anyway). People without jobs tend to give up the health insurance pretty quick and who benefits from that. For openers, the health insurance companies will probably, if not already, change their focus to providing bells and whistles policies to those people in the higher income jobs in order to help offset some of their losses. Then, there are all those soon to be sick people in the developing countries that are making all those lead-laden toys for our children, etc. Opportunities abound, especially for the unscrupulous.

Mort Merkel

July 2nd, 2009
8:54 am

There’s competition now, but it’s the procedures and drugs that cost out the ying-yang. Isn’t that why premiums are so high?

I met someone (an American) who had a major health event occur in Australia. The same care in the U.S. would’ve cost six figures easy. The guy’s total bill? Less than $5,000. Our system is broken. Will the government option bring prices down by being the “Wal-mart” of health care?

Paul

July 2nd, 2009
8:55 am

TNGelding

Foot-stomp this: that’s $1400-$6000 MORE. Not total annual health care costs. That’s added onto the average cost.

Curious Observer

July 2nd, 2009
8:55 am

Watch the insurance companies and its lackeys like Sen. Charles Grassley fight a public plan tooth and nail. These companies don’t want competition in the market place. Get prepared for a blizzard of Harry & Louise ads, together with warnings about government “inefficiency” and “taking away your choice.” The opponents of a public plan know that those campaign contributions will fade away if insurance companies are forced to compete and stop hand-selecting customers.

As a Medicare subscriber, I’ve been very impressed by how efficiently the program has handled claims. I haven’t had to deal with a private company that discovers, erroneously, that I have supplemental coverage that I don’t really have and thus holds up claims for months. I have a wide choice of care providers, and I’m not limited to the foreign doctors who eagerly sign on to private plans. It’s well past time that we ended the monopoly that insurance companies have held over health insurance coverage.

Hope&Change for Me and You

July 2nd, 2009
8:55 am

U.S. Employers Shed 467,000 Jobs in June!

Here’s your HOPE (hope I can keep my job) and CHANGE (changed from employed to unemployed)

Tax my business a little more and see how many more people I send to the unemployment line!

Jay

July 2nd, 2009
8:56 am

And Normal, passionate expression of beliefs is fine. Have at it. Passionate, incessant attacks on other people who hold contrary beliefs is not.

FinnMcCool

July 2nd, 2009
8:57 am

Normal, do you not undersand the difference between voicing an opinion and making personal attacks on people who don’t agree with your point of view?

Mrs. Godzilla

July 2nd, 2009
8:58 am

Normal

Say what you need to here, please!

I have never been banned, and I always say what I think needs to be said.

Admittedly I have had a couple two three posts pulled when I crossed the line, but Andy’s behavior has been a constant here for years and years…..funny about RW baling out too….

FinnMcCool

July 2nd, 2009
9:00 am

Curious, good point.

The healthcare industry has had years to put a war chest together to fight this fight. People have been talking about changing the system for years and they industry had to know that a Democrat would get into the white house again.

Money talks, and politicians listen. Prepare for the battle.

DB, Gwinnettian

July 2nd, 2009
9:01 am

Perhaps big businesses like Wal-Mart and other end users of the healthcare industry (via benefits to employees in lieu of cash) are making bigger contributions to the politicians than those in the healthcare industry can afford to make at the moment.

Sure. And this head-turning alignment of WallyWorld, SEIU and the Center for American progress could be something merely as quid-pro-quo-y as that.

However, I’d be guilty of naive cynicism if I were to presume that were the case, so I’ll be holding my fire for awhile.

Wyld Byll Hyltnyr

July 2nd, 2009
9:05 am

Curious Observer 8:55 am

I do not think any private insurance company would mind competing with a public option if that public option was not heavily subsidized by taxpayer dollars. The Obumbler plan will be heavily subsidized and the heavy weight of the government will be used to shift costs to others.

Finally, with respect to efficiency, please answer a hypothetical. You or a loved one is bitten by a poisonous snake and must have a certain antidote by 10:30 tomorrow morning. The sole source of the antidote is in LA. Would you ask that the antidote be shipped via the US Postal service’s overnight service or UPS. How will government run healthcare be any different from government run mail service?

He did IT

July 2nd, 2009
9:08 am

Tax my business a little more and see how many more people I send to the unemployment line!

It was taxes that sent all those others to the unemployment line. Riiiiight!

FinnMcCool

July 2nd, 2009
9:12 am

How to run a successful business part deux:

Wal-Mart is paying eleven million dollars to settle Federal allegations it used illegal immigrants to clean its stores.
http://www.walmartmovie.com/facts.php

He did IT

July 2nd, 2009
9:15 am

Finn,

Didn’t you hear. We made it illegal for illegal immigrants to clean stores, pick vegetables and fruit and nuts and onions, etc., make carpet, build houses, pour concrete, cut up chickens…

Doggone/GA

July 2nd, 2009
9:16 am

“Would you ask that the antidote be shipped via the US Postal service’s overnight service or UPS”

I wouldn’t care. I’ve gotten overnight service promptly and on time from both, but GENERALLY the USPS is cheaper.

He did IT

July 2nd, 2009
9:19 am

My insurance company does not cover package shipments.

Normal

July 2nd, 2009
9:20 am

OK Jay…You be the man…Just sayin’…

socialism is da BOMB

July 2nd, 2009
9:22 am

Just read where UN-employment just hit 26 year high 9.5%!! Heck of job in just 120 days Barry!! Oh,and by the way just to get a jump start on the left – It’s Bush’s FAULT!!!

rcs

July 2nd, 2009
9:23 am

I agree with Paul at 8:55. We have to start with prevention. Obesity in particular, leads to many other health problems. I for one need to shed 50 lbs and hope to do so by year’s end.

lovelyliz

July 2nd, 2009
9:23 am

Here’s the thing: the only people adamantly oppose to a public option are the health care insurance providers, big Pharma, neo-conservative and card carry, actual conservatives. Missing from this group are all the other big business interests. They have a good understanding of how much of a disadvavantage their burden of providing health insurance puts them in when competing with companies from other countries that have nationalized health insurance.

Kayaker 71

July 2nd, 2009
9:27 am

Bookman,

When you throttle dissent, you introduce a new element into debate. Whiner is certainly a thorn in the side of liberals but some of your liberal compadres are little better. You run a blog devoted to liberal discussion. You introduce threads which clearly show your bias. You introduce a topic, throw it onto the net and sit back and watch the fireworks. What do you expect from those who disagree with you? You rarely, if ever, have much of anything to say about the good that conservatism does for this country. You would think that everyone who does not follow the liberal party line is either misinformed, a wingnut, certainly a little crazy or illiterate. Case in point, Palin. I don’t think that there has been a candidate for major office in this country that has been so maligned, her family drug through the mud and who has been the victim of stupid, ignorant comments from liberals. You must have run at least 6 threads on this woman and are compliant in this fiasco. If you don’t want dissent, get out of the blogging business. Not all of us agree with you. Get over it!!

lovelyliz

July 2nd, 2009
9:27 am

We are talking about a public option costing bib, big $$$$$$, but in the end, it may very well cost us less than what we are spending now.

I would rather give my $$$ to a government bureaucrat than a health insurance bureaucrat who already tells me which doctor I can see, how often I can see that doctor, which hospitals I can go to, for which illnesses I can seek treatment, etc.

Normal

July 2nd, 2009
9:29 am

I’m one of those “older” Baby Boomers and I used to have six pack abs…but then, one day, all of a sudden, they started leakin’.Now I have pony keg abs…
————–
But seriously, I’m not obese, but I do qualify as over weight. I quit smoking three years ago and the trade off was weight gain. I’m in the gym now, not to get ripped, but just to try to lose a little weight and keep my heart (one size too big) healthy.
—————-
About public health care…If the elderly and young’uns can have complete coverage, then I’m all for it.

Wyld Byll Hyltnyr

July 2nd, 2009
9:29 am

lovelyliz 9:23 am

You forgot one group from your list of those who oppose Obumbler’s public option; persons who want timely access to the best possible healthcare for themselves and their loved ones.

Frankly, it is very surprising to me that the liberal sheople so vehemently support a public option when none of the details are known. That, in and of itself, is the definition of blind ideology.

Lester Burnham

July 2nd, 2009
9:30 am

What if the snake bite antidote were shipped by F-15?

DB, Gwinnettian

July 2nd, 2009
9:31 am

I was gonna leave this alone, but (sniff) Ah can’t quit you, RW…

I’ll take the day off , at least, too. Maybe one day this pitiful excuse for a newspaper will learn that silencing conservative voices while keeping an anything goes approach to the libs will kill it’s web site the same way it killed the print edition, but I doubt it.

For the record, Jay banned GodHatesTrash and Chad Harris for similarly bad behavior toward fellow commenters. These guys weren’t “conservative voices,” they were left-wing trolls, annoying ones. I never griped when Jay finally decided to stop cleaning up their messes, and you shouldn’t gripe when he bans a CommunistAJC or, potentially, a Whiner.

Moreover, guys like Whiner deserve whatever Jay–who is, by all accounts, about as patient as they come, suffering fools perhaps way too gladly–decides is just. Whiner wants to make each and every thread he enters About Him, and he’s just not that interesting a topic. I don’t know for sure, perhaps people who stumble into these threads after reading Jay’s blog posts for the first time find such stuff fascinating, but I’d wager most don’t.

Oh, and one other thing, mostly for Mrs. G–I got banned for a day, once, some months back. I recognized that I was behaving like a jerk and adjusted accordingly. It’s really not that much to ask.

Doggone/GA

July 2nd, 2009
9:32 am

“If you don’t want dissent, get out of the blogging business. Not all of us agree with you. Get over it!!”

If you don’t like how the blog is handled…no one is forcing you to come here. Jay’s blog, Jay’s rules.

DB, Gwinnettian

July 2nd, 2009
9:32 am

What if the snake bite antidote were shipped by F-15?

And what if they brought BEER?

Mrs. Godzilla

July 2nd, 2009
9:32 am

This tidbit from Think Progress makes me want to ask a question:

“Spending by lawmakers on taxpayer-financed trips abroad has risen sharply in recent years,” according to a Wall Street Journal analysis, “involving everything from war-zone visits to trips to exotic spots such as the Galápagos Islands.” This travel spending “is up almost tenfold since 1995, and has nearly tripled since 2001.”

Have any of those trips been to Germany, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Britain
or any other country with some form of National Healthcare?

I mean I understand the need to go to Argentina but really!

Wyld Byll Hyltnyr

July 2nd, 2009
9:32 am

Lester Burnham 9:30 am

Then the formulation of the hypthetical question would lose its insight and power.

FinnMcCool

July 2nd, 2009
9:33 am

wow, this is kinda cool. Check out the picture of the guy hitting the golf ball in his office.

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/02/showcase-14/?hp

voyeurism

jconservative

July 2nd, 2009
9:35 am

Health care – hopefully a consensus will emerge from all the debate. As a country we do need to rein in the exploding cost of health care in this country. One problem – it is hard to debate when one side calls the other side names. This is Whiners real sin – he contributes nothing to the debate.
And speaking of unhealthy lifestyles – the USA still subsidizes sugar producers.
As a nation we lead the world in fat but subsidize sugar. Does this make any sense?

FinnMcCool

July 2nd, 2009
9:36 am

Wild Bill wrote: You forgot one group from your list of those who oppose Obumbler’s public option; persons who want timely access to the best possible healthcare for themselves and their loved ones.

You mean Canadians? I don’t think they’d be opposed. Certainly you don’t mean US healthcare? With the highest infant mortality rate in the western world?

Wyld Byll Hyltnyr

July 2nd, 2009
9:36 am

Ok liberal sheople, as you bleat and chatter about matters immaterial, why not answer a simple question.

Should Obumbler’s public option be subsidized by tax dollars or should it be required to be self sustaining through its operations?

lovelyliz

July 2nd, 2009
9:36 am

Life expectancy:

Japan (3) 82.07
France (8) 80.87
Canada (14) 80.34
Israel (19) 79.78
United States (45) 78.06
Albania (50) 77.6

Infant Mortality (per 1000 live births):

Estonia 7.2
United States 6.3
Cuba 5.1
Canada 4.8

How can this be acceptable?

AH

July 2nd, 2009
9:37 am

Remember folks you can only attack Republicans in the country now.

socialism is da BOMB

July 2nd, 2009
9:38 am

LovelyLiz “I would rather give my money to a government bureaucrat” Don’t you do that already to the tune of 28-31%,and they’ve done such a wonderfull job with those monies. The Goverment has prooved over and over again that they can’t run any form of business successfuly. We need to extract our collective heads from the holes in the sand.

Red Foreman

July 2nd, 2009
9:40 am

Hey Jay, lets talk about that 9.5% unemployment rate…”the highest on 26 years”

Hope and Change…BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

FinnMcCool

July 2nd, 2009
9:40 am

Why are you folks so worried about the costs? You don’t worry about the costs of maintaining a military or the cost of war.

We are talking about HEALTH. Isn’t health the puropse of all human endeavor? to extend a good, long life?

As important as health care is, let’s find a working solution first…we’ll find how to pay for it later. We always do.

Did you sit around and debate whether hunting Bin Laden would be a financially sound endeavor before we loaded up the troop carriers?

thomas

July 2nd, 2009
9:42 am

I thought we already had public health care—– the emergency room?

But seriously isn’t odd that bookman leaves out that through the creation of a Gov’t ran health group would FORCE millions to loose their coverage and have NO CHOICE but to take the gov’t health care.

Wake up people the politicians are not truely concerned for our well being they are only grasping for yet another way to impose control over our daily lives.

Why not go with the Mass. for of health care? They are nearly all covered and it is not the gov’t running things. I think Mitt Romney is slightly an elitist, but his idea seems to work. This is proof again that the new adminstration is no different than any others as they are more worried about making sure it is their idea and that they get the credit than really coming up with the best solution.

Also Bookman, looking back at past blogs of yours, it would appear that Whiner was attacked by as many posters as he attacked. So again that buldging biased of yours is showing again. Please spare us your rhetoric on how conservatives are valuable, because other than defending your actions I have never seen you praise anything conservative unless in a mocking fashion. Surprise you are just like the politicians you love so much, you do not care about being right or wrong you just want the credit. Sad sir very sad, that mirror must be a tough place to gaze at for you.

DB, Gwinnettian

July 2nd, 2009
9:42 am

How can this be acceptable?

Easy. you tell yourself that’s due to Those People.

Mrs. Godzilla

July 2nd, 2009
9:43 am

New Budget Estimate Of Public Plan Proves It Lowers Cost And Covers More Americans

here

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/07/01/new-cbo-score-health-care/

Confidence remains high!

He did IT

July 2nd, 2009
9:43 am

My health insurance used to cover 100 percent of my medical and dental needs and I did not pay anything out of pocket. Then, they separated the dental and started paying just the “reasonable and customary” portion of the dental expense. Then, they separated out the eyecare and eventually quit paying any of it but added in mental health coverage to compensate. A little later, all medical coverage that remained was subject to co-pays unless it was preventive care, which was not covered at all. A little later, I retired and had to start paying premiums in addition to the copays on the greatly reduced coverage. A little later, only I was partially subsidized and my spouse and other dependents had to pay the full premium in order to get coverage. Then, the copays went up and the doctors in the plan all quit speaking English. I had to enroll in night school to learn three new languages. (OK, so that one was an exaggeration but just barely. Have you ever tried to ‘communicate’ with a doctor from India! I’ve had an easier time communicating with the illegal immigrants from Mexico and I don’t know any Spanish but I do digress substantively here.) Anyway, then my insurance started to get greatly enhanced. In the past few years, in addition to copays and coverage only for things that I don’t use (although the mental health benefit is looking deceptively better with each passing day), I have even higher premiums and coverage of only sixty percent of the tab and a maximum lifetime benefit to boot. Life is too short for this sort of crap. This system that we have has nothing whatsoever to do with providing care for those in need at an affordable price. But, hey, we do have a public prescription drug benefit that only costs us hundreds of billions of dollars in extra taxes to cover all those name brand drugs that Wal-Mart cannot offer for four bucks. Well, that’s enough on that. Now, whatever you do, don’t ask me about private insurance policies. I might just have to hurt you with all sorts of foul language with a lot of it directed at World Insurance Company out of Omaha. Add them to your list of companies to never do business with. Aside from that, don’t fix what ain’t broke. That’s my motto.

thomas

July 2nd, 2009
9:45 am

FinnMcCool,

So should the gov’t also be in charge of food and farming.

I’m just saying one would think that eating is far more important than health care, especially since if you don’t eat then you usually get ill.

So are you also saying that you think we should start paying for everyone’s food each week and not worry about a cost, just figure it out later.

Wow mighty well-fare state of you.

Paul

July 2nd, 2009
9:45 am

rcs

I’ve a neighbor who’s lost nearly 30 lbs in less than a year. He wasn’t obese, just had grown over the years.

He began by walking about 20 minutes. Now he walks 30 minutes about five times a week. He said he also changed his eating habits. Initially all he said was more fresh fruits and veges. A few days ago he said he has desserts once a week, doesn’t eat in restaurants hardly at all (altho many have items that would work), cut out the fried foods and fat.

Come to think of it, that’s what we usually hear. A friend with us had lost 50, gained back 25. Said that was pretty much how he lost it, then stopped and gained it back. His goal is to lose a few so he can stop paying for blood pressure meds.

good luck.

Normal

Seemed like all of a sudden for me, too. Then I realized, the older I got, the faster time went. I realized it was a change in lifestyle – new job, long hours, sedentary – and the change was so gradual it wasn’t apparent. Kinda like watching your kids grow and know something’s changing but it happens so slowly it’s not apparent.

I know what I gotta do. Else it goes from a bit over, to lots over, to way over. Recognizing it is the first step, isn’t it?

Doggone/GA

July 2nd, 2009
9:46 am

“Should Obumbler’s public option be subsidized by tax dollars or should it be required to be self sustaining through its operations?”

It should be subsidized for those low enough on the economic scale as to make it impossible for them to pay full premiums. Remember, all investements are expenses until they begin to pay off.

socialism is da BOMB

July 2nd, 2009
9:47 am

FinnMcCool Point#1-yes the cost of the war has been part of the debate. Point#2 -yes,simple answer to an obvious question. Point#3- Yes we always do,it’s called more/bigger taxation. Point#4- yes,see point#1

Doggone/GA

July 2nd, 2009
9:47 am

“But seriously isn’t odd that bookman leaves out that through the creation of a Gov’t ran health group would FORCE millions to loose their coverage and have NO CHOICE but to take the gov’t health care.”

Proof please.

FinnMcCool

July 2nd, 2009
9:48 am

Liz, I like what you’re saying but please post your sources.

Socialism is da bomb wrote: and they’ve done such a wonderfull job with those monies. The Goverment has prooved over and over again that they can’t run any form of business successfuly.

You don’t support our troops? They’re goverment employees. You like to eat meat? Government employees are checking to make sure you are eating safe food.

Please show me proof, any proof, that private sector employees never screw up. Show us proof that they do everything efficiently.

You see, “Govmint is bad” is just an easy cop-out talking point.

EVERYONE is for small government….as long as you are cutting the services they don’t personally use.

lovelyliz

July 2nd, 2009
9:50 am

Total Health Expenditures Per Capita 2003:

Australia $2,886
Austria $,958
Belgium $3,044
Canada $2,998
Denmark $2,743
Finland $2,104
France $3,048
Iceland $3,159
Ireland $2,455
Italy $2,314
Japan $2,249
Luxembourg $4,611
Netherlands $2,909
Norway $3,769
Sweden $2,745
Switzerland $3,847
United Kingdom $2,317
United States $5,711

I am not saying that we don’t have some of the best healthcare that $$$ can buy, but what good is that if your private health insurance company won’t let you buy it and doing it on your own drives you into bankruptcy?

Paul

July 2nd, 2009
9:50 am

[[“Should Obumbler’s public option be subsidized by tax dollars or should it be required to be self sustaining through its operations?”]]

Sure it should. It would put a public option on a more equal footing with a private option. After all, the government can’t give tax deductions and tax breaks to a public entity!

Doggone/GA

July 2nd, 2009
9:50 am

“I am not saying that we don’t have some of the best healthcare that $$$ can buy, but what good is that if your private health insurance company won’t let you buy it and doing it on your own drives you into bankruptcy?”

Or you just plain don’t have the money to buy it in the first place.

mm

July 2nd, 2009
9:51 am

“Frankly, it is very surprising to me that the liberal sheople so vehemently support a public option when none of the details are known. That, in and of itself, is the definition of blind ideology.”

Wyld Byll,

If the details are not known, why are you against public healthcare? Blind ideology indeed!!!

If everyone in this country new the obscene profits being made by the Pharma companies and insurance companies, they would blow a gasket.

While the Dems are all over the place on this one, we continue to see the lockstep republicans obstruct.

FinnMcCool

July 2nd, 2009
9:52 am

thomas,
You ever heard of the FDA? Food inspectors? Government employees, dude. We are already paying for it.

lovelyliz

July 2nd, 2009
9:54 am

Google it, but in the mean time:

CIA World Factbook
United Nations

jconservative

July 2nd, 2009
9:55 am

Go online & read 10Ks at the SEC. Looking closely you will realize that businesses with a lot of personnel might prefer a halt to the rising cost of
health care even if it meant a tax increase to get the relief on health cost. The alternative is to drastically cut back on medical benefits for employees. (Which some are already doing.)

Normal

July 2nd, 2009
9:56 am

Paul, Yes the first step is to recognize the problem, but the making it happen is step two. As I’m improving in the gym, the length of time it takes me to reach the Preferred heart rate gets longer and longer. This good, I know, but I have to fight myself to keep going, but once I’m there my body seems to settle down and get with the program. It’s the gettin’ there that will kill you…Just sayin’

AmVet

July 2nd, 2009
9:56 am

A delightful good morning all.

A very deserved banishment and another self-imposed (albeit a one day version supposedly) swan song? Alas my poor misunderstood conservative colleagues…

“…if that public option was not heavily subsidized by taxpayer dollars.”

Byll, are you seriously contending that private options are NOT heavily subsidized by our dollars too???

At numerous levels and to the tune of BIG dollars?

Paul

July 2nd, 2009
9:56 am

lovelyliz

Yesterday, one of Thomas Sowell’s columns was the topic. Today, I opened my paper and there was another of his columns, this time on cost of health care. Didn’t sound like the same writer. This column made some sense.

Point was, health care costs more in the US and we get what we pay for. Our cost per person is higher, in part, because we have more advanced, more expensive diagnostic and treatment options than other countries. CATs and MRIs and all that other stuff costs $$$$.. Of course, anything can be over done. But he has a point to consider when discussing comparative costs.

http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=YmQ0N2M1YzA4MzUwYWQ0ZTE2NjBkMjM1MzZiZjllYzQ=

socialism is da BOMB

July 2nd, 2009
9:57 am

FinnMcCool I understand your point,hopefully u understand mine.Based on your statements it does’nt sound your for smaller governmnt though. I can show you thousands of profitable companies (and yes thousands of failed companies),but tell me when the government was last profitable? No, balance of the budget does’nt count as profitable.

Paul

July 2nd, 2009
10:00 am

G’morning, AmVet

I’ve a followup to last night downstairs at 8:37 am. About how we didn’t have to invade Afghanistan and how those factors could affect our strategy now. Also distinguishes between Taliban and al Qaeda, nouns which many people treat as meaning the same thing. They don’t.

Normal

Thanks for the inspiration. Maybe now I’ll stop making excuses and use that gym membership I’ve been paying for! What good’s working for stuff if I’m not around to enjoy it?

Paul

July 2nd, 2009
10:01 am

Normal

And, kudos to @@ and RW-(the original). Those two often say ’see ya later, gotta go exercise.”

Good examples should be commended.

DB, Gwinnettian

July 2nd, 2009
10:01 am

tell me when the government was last profitable?

They’re not in the profit business.

Later, all. Be excellent to one another. Try not to drop anyone’s coverage.

Northern Songs, Ltd.

July 2nd, 2009
10:02 am

Anyone notice the much less antagonistic tone of the posts today? hmmmm…..

getalife

July 2nd, 2009
10:03 am

I have spent time in surgery , ICU and recovery in hospitals.

There was nothing wrong with the health care system.

Until I got the bills.

The public option to compete to lower these bills is a no brainer.

lovelyliz

July 2nd, 2009
10:04 am

But Paul, what good does it do you when you can’t afford the private health care policy, let alone pay for the best care in the world? Then there are the folks who have health insurance, but some health insurance bureaucrat telling them no.

How else would you explain the rise in medical tourism?

md

July 2nd, 2009
10:05 am

Does healthcare need a make-over. You bet. Do we need uncle sugar to do it, doubtful. This is why one sided gov’t doesn’t work. Lack of debate and compromise leaves out too many good ideas.

Instead we are talking about paying for healthcare for those that sit on their butts eating potato chips and cheese dip while waiting for the mailman to arrive with their “paycheck”.

Beautiful.

Pennsylvanian

July 2nd, 2009
10:07 am

Health care is not an enumerated right under the US constitution. The right to bear arms is. If we subsidize health care, shall we also subsidize a firearm for everyone wanting one, but unable to pay retail?

Paul

July 2nd, 2009
10:08 am

loveyliz

I’ve been a strong advocate for reform. Having a hodgepodge system of benefits largely dependent upon nothing other than who you happen to work for strikes me as nuts.

Those are all problems. They all impact the need for reform. I believe Sowell’s point was, of course it costs more here. We have more good diagnostic and treatment tools per person than other countries.

But just explaining one aspect of why costs are higher doesn’t fix the problems you cited. That’s why we’re having the debate.

And if Congress doesn’t offer anything up, then they haven’t fixed anything and the problems will continue.

And in 2010 many more will be voting for Anybody But the Incumbent.

mm

July 2nd, 2009
10:09 am

Socialism,

“but tell me when the government was last profitable?”

Now you’re starting to get it. Which would be cheaper? Healthcare managed by a “for profit” insurance company or healthcare managed by a “not for profit” government agency.

The wingnut lie about the public option being more expensive is a load of crap.

TW

July 2nd, 2009
10:10 am

getalife – yes, the bill is something else. Got an ER bill for a CAT that was $4k – must’ve been a heck of a shot.

Agree, the only flaws with the healthcare are the bills, and perhaps the average wait at the ER.

And perhaps adding 50 mil to the waiting line might increase this challenge, perhaps the savings in cost will allow the challenge to be met?

Are the socialist screamers also for dumping their SS and medicare?

Nice blog on here today.