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The GOP Health Care Plan – At Least It Has Numbers!

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Remember earlier this year how the GOP was absolutely sure that President Obama's budget would lead America to utter ruin? Remember the GOP's alternative budget proposal that would supposedly prevent everlasting economic doom? It had no numbers! Imagine that — a budget proposal with no numbers!

Well, the Republicans certainly have learned their lesson, haven't they?  This time, in order to give America an alternative to the socialist/nazi/communist/maoist Obamacare health reform proposal, they included numbers!  Good for them!

And here's a quick summary of the 'key elements' of the GOP plan:

• Lowering health care premiums. The GOP plan will lower health care premiums for American families and small businesses, addressing Americans’ number-one priority for health care reform.

• Establishing Universal Access Programs to guarantee access to affordable health care for those with pre-existing conditions. The GOP plan creates Universal Access Programs that expand and reform high-risk pools and reinsurance programs to guarantee that all Americans, regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses, have access to affordable care – while lowering costs for all Americans.

• Ending junk lawsuits. The GOP plan would help end costly junk lawsuits and curb defensive medicine by enacting medical liability reforms modeled after the successful state laws of California and Texas.

• Preventing insurers from unjustly cancelling a policy. The GOP plan prohibits an insurer from cancelling a policy unless a person commits fraud or conceals material facts about a health condition.

• Encouraging Small Business Health Plans. The GOP plan gives small businesses the power to pool together and offer health care at lower prices, just as corporations and labor unions do.

• Encouraging innovative state programs. The GOP plan rewards innovation by providing incentive payments to states that reduce premiums and the number of uninsured.

• Allowing Americans to buy insurance across state lines. The GOP plan allows Americans to shop for coverage from coast to coast by allowing Americans living in one state to purchase insurance in another.

• Promoting healthier lifestyles. The GOP plan promotes prevention & wellness by giving employers greater flexibility to financially reward employees who adopt healthier lifestyles.

• Enhancing Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). The GOP plan creates new incentives to save for current and future health care needs by allowing qualified participants to use HSA funds to pay premiums for high deductible health insurance.

• Allowing dependents to remain on their parents’ insurance through age 25.

The GOP claims that under their plans there will be NO job losses, but that the Democrats' plan would cost up to 5.5 million jobs.

They also claim that while the Democrats would cut $500 billion from Medicare, the GOP plan would cut not one penny.  (waitaminnit — don't they always complain about Medicare waste, abuse, and fraud?)

AND the GOP says that the Democratic plan would result in $729.5 billion more in taxes, whereas their own plan would not increase taxes at all. 

Hey, if we look at what the GOP says their plan will do, hey that sounds really, really, really good, doesn't it?  Not only that, but look at what the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said about the Democratic plan a few months ago — that it would save little if any money.  One would have to ask why we should give any consideration whatsoever to the Democrats?

Well, remember that nasty old non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that was slamming the Obamacare plan this past summer?  It seems that according to their analysis, the current Democratic health care plan being pushed by Speaker Pelosi would extend coverage to 29 million presently uninsured Americans, AND would reduce the deficit by $81 billion over the next decade!

And what are the CBO's conclusions about the GOP plan?  

"By 2019, CBO and JCT estimate, the number of nonelderly people without health insurance would be reduced by about 3 million relative to current law, leaving about 52 million nonelderly residents uninsured. The share of legal nonelderly residents with insurance coverage in 2019 would be about 83 percent, roughly in line with the current share. CBO and JCT estimate that enacting the amendment’s insurance coverage provisions would increase deficits by $8 billion over the 2010–2019 period".

Except for the boldface, that's a direct quote from the CBO analysis.

But you have to admit that the Republicans are learning, because this time they at least put numbers in their proposal!

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About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Glenn, here’s a number for you from the current Pelosi-backed plan. The number is FIVE. That’s the number of years which people who don’t pay for state mandated insurance could be sentenced to in jail.

    Yep, they brought back the mandate and even increased the penalty which was only 2 years in jail in the original house bill to a fill 5 years in the new bill.

    I have to say that as you described it the Republican plan sounded pretty good. No mandates, no kicking people off their insurance plans, no one thrown in jail. Find a way to bring more of the uninsured on board and it’s a winner.

    Dave

  • Richard

    If everyone has access to affordable health insurance, but some people still choose not to purchase it, what exactly is the problem?

    Why is the goal to have people insured? Why isn’t the goal to make sure people can get the health care they desire?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Glenn: what about those who will lose their current plan under the Dem’s bill (estimated at 90 million) and are forced into the government-run program? Even though current insurance plans are “grandfathered” into the new system they only do so for five years. (Consult Section 202(b)(1) of the House bill, page 91.)” What happens then?

    More mandates coming from Washington based on their criteria of what is acceptable coverage? . So much for keeping the health insurance you want. And where does it end? Seems more like government control and ideology than actual concern for the health of Americans.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave and Richard –

    I didn’t like the idea of being forced to buy the insurance either…but then an insurance exec (in a debate against Thom Hartmann, IIRC) pointed out that if such coverage is not mandated, but no one can be denied due to ‘pre-existing conditions’, then those with such ‘pre-existing conditions’ (like my oldest son) will simply wait until they have to go to the hospital and only then sign up for insurance.

    In other words, this would allow people – everyone in America, in fact – to game the system on a grand scale.

    As much as I don’t like the HMO’s (and you KNOW this, Dave), I had to admit the insurance exec had a point. I’d far prefer the single payer system, but we can’t have that (yet). For now, if we’re to keep a healthy private insurance industry without allowing them to deny people for ‘pre-existing conditions’, then we’ve got to keep people from gaming the system as described above.

    So the Dems had to compromise – no pre-existing conditions…for mandated coverage.

    Now if the Republicans have a better way to get things done, I’d like to hear it – but they DON’T. Dave, apparently all you read was the summary…but it’s the CBO that did the grunt work of digging into the details to find that the GOP plan is a giant economy-sized piece of bovine excrement that costs more and does less than the Democratic plan.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Christine: the 90 million ‘estimate’ you cite is just propaganda. Can’t anybody cool their jets and have a rational discussion on this issue? Most people get insurance through their employers. Why would the government be plotting to take that coverage away?

    This is just crazy talk. We’re all happy those people are covered! The only way they lose coverage is if the employer stops offering it — far more likely under the current insane system than a reformed one.

    And how many people does Dave actually think will opt for jail rather than buy health insurance? And does he oppose jail terms for tax evasion as well, a similar penalty? How many people refuse to pay their taxes on principle and go to jail for it? And what do you think of them? [I think they’re fools.]

    If there is no mandate for young, healthy people to buy insurance, the risk pool shrinks and prices will go up. The mandate offers new customers to insurers in return for getting rid of coverage exclusions for pre-existing conditions etc.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The GOP “plan” doesn’t have to work. It’s just a rhetorical device.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Christine –

    “90 million will lose their plan under the Democratic bill”?

    I suggest you check your sources, young lady. Try to find NON-PARTISAN sources, instead of just the ones who tell you what you want to hear.

    That’s why I pointed out how the NON-PARTISAN Congressional Budget Office had slammed the previous Democratic health reform plans – the CBO proved its impartiality.

    I suggest you do the same.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    OK Mr. Partisan: (and actually at times you are!) What is the real number?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    And Glenn, before you start claiming propaganda, remember, the number of the uninsured went from 44 mil, then Obama said 20 mil, then it went up again. In fact the number has been all over the place…So which is it?

    And why are you shouting at me again? LOL The CAPS are a dead giveaway!

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Christine, the real number is 308 million once enough time has passed.

    I agree the GOP plan is not a complete and final plan, but the Democrat plan isn’t any more viable. It contains too many provisions which are absolutely unacceptable to too many people and there’s no way it is going to pass. They’ve put every controversial item back into it and added more.

    Why is an unpassable, coercive and unworkable plan any more serious than a unpassable, incomplete and overly optimistic plan?

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Dave, thanks for clearing that uninsured number up. I was going absolutely crazy! lol

  • zingzing

    dave: “the real number is 308 million once enough time has passed.”

    and i have a time machine. once enough time has passed, we can see in to the future past. 308! 308! i’ll bet my testicles on the 308!

  • Arch Conservative

    Dave points out that American Citizens could potentially go to prison for five years for no other reason than declining to purchase health insurance for themselves and from Glenn we get:

    I didn’t like the idea of being forced to buy the insurance either…

    Gee…..how fucking magnanimous of you Glenn.

    But wait it gets better…….

    Handy……

    “And how many people does Dave actually think will opt for jail rather than buy health insurance? ”

    That’s not the point (gratuitous insult). What right does the government have to send people to prison for not buying a product for themselves? And you moonbats have the nerve to says conservatives are impugning personal freedom?

    Lastly…what happened to all that transparency the Dems were running their mouths about? Didn’t Pelosi say just a few short weeks ago that she would put the Dems House bill online for 72 hours before any vote for public consumption? Now we’re supposedly going to see a vote onit this weekend and Lucifer….I mean Nancy Pelosi has not allowed the bill to be posted online for the American people to.

    The obvious question is why? If the Dem House bill were such a great and wonderful piece of legislation that has the potential to help so many why are they hiding from the light of day. Logic would dictate that they’d want as many people to see it as possible. But yet they’re afraid to allow the American people to see it.

    Yet the GOP bill can be viewed online.

    The Democrats are full of shit. Their bill isn’t about health care reform and their actions prove it.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    This is crazy.

    For the umpteenth time, folks…

    The CURRENT system is UNSUSTAINABLE.

    If we do NOTHING the cost of insurance premiums will DOUBLE in the within the next 10 years. No fiscally responsible small or medium sized business (and most Americans get their coverage through work) can absorb 100% Health Care Premium Increases and continue doing business as usual.

    They will either:
    1. Lay off workers
    2. Shut down
    3. Freeze wage increases or switch to ultra-high deductable “roulette-style” policies.
    4. Discontinue offering health care for their workers (most likely)

    Don’t take my word for it: Medpage Today

    “Health insurance premiums, which doubled in the last decade, will nearly double again in the next 10 years, placing an increasing burden on families and employers if costs continue to grow at the current rate, a Commonwealth Fund report predicts.

    In 2008, the average employer-sponsored insurance premium — including the employer and family shares — was $12,298, which represents an increase of 119% from 1999, according to the report.

    That figure is expected to grow to $23,842 by 2020 if current trends continue.

    Because premiums are expected to increase faster than median incomes, it will become harder for individuals to keep their insurance, according to lead author Cathy Schoen, senior vice president of the Commonwealth Fund, and colleagues.

    “Without a change in course,” they predicted, “projections of premium trends indicate that middle- as well as lower-income families may well be priced out of the insurance market, or forced to sacrifice future wage increases to hold onto shrinking health benefits.”

    Honestly, people…ask yourself a question–If your employer (if you have one) has to make a choice between remaining solvent and providing you with health care, what do you think they’ll choose?

    Republicans were in CHARGE. They could’ve made health care reform proposals. They chose NOT to, other than promoting corporate welfare for banks and Wall Street in the form of Health Care Savings Accounts.

    People like Arch Conservative simply want the Democrats to fail at everything now that they’re in charge. It’s the only logical conclusion to draw if you look at the condition of the for-profit health care system in America.

    People like Christine, rooting for the GOP Home Team, want to believe all the spin coming from Insurance Industry Execs (who fund the opposition to reform), and not research data:

    “Several studies estimate the number of uninsured Americans. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 47 million Americans, or 20 percent of the population under the age of 65, were without health insurance in 2008, their latest data available.

    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) estimated that the percentage of uninsured Americans under age 65 represented 27 percent of the population. According to the MEPS data, nearly 54 million Americans under the age of 65 were uninsured in the first-half of 2007. 2

    A recent study shows that based on the effects of the recession alone (not job loss), it is projected that nearly seven (7) million Americans will lose their health insurance coverage between 2008 and 2010. 3

    Urban Institute researchers estimate that if unemployment reaches 10 percent, another six (6) million Americans will lose their health insurance coverage. Taking these numbers together, it is conceivable that by next year, 57 to 60 million Americans will be uninsured.

    The Urban Institute estimates that under a worse case scenario, 66 million Americans will be uninsured by 2019. 4

    Nearly 90 million people ” about one-third of the population below the age of 65 spent a portion of either 2007 or 2008 without health coverage.”

    These aren’t liberal activist groups throwing out these stats, Christine.

    This is about Life and Death.

    “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year — one every 12 minutes — in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday.

    “We’re losing more Americans every day because of inaction … than drunk driving and homicide combined,” Dr. David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said in an interview with Reuters.”

    What are you Conservatives and Republicans supporting in this debate, again?

    –Cobra

  • Arch Conservative

    People like me?

    Let’s start with the basics Cobra. As I stated the Dem’s bill is being kept in secret. Surely even you would like to know why. I agree with the your assertion that the current system needs to be revamped but does that mean we trade in big business for big government no questions asked?

    You’re right. I do want the Dems to fail. They have really bad ideas. What’s wrong with wanting really bad ideas to fail?

    Again the GOP’s plan is available for the public to view and the Dem’s is not. What is the reason for this and who do you trust more Cobra?

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Yesterday, some idiot Rep congressman who’s name escapes me at the moment claimed that Veterans don’t like the care they get from the VA and that they would prefer to receive vouchers that would allow them to go to the private doctor of their choice.

    That is bullshit!

    The VA s a truly shining example of what can be achieved by government run healthcare.

    I go to the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indy. I get virtually everything under one roof. All of my records – every procedure, every test, every pill I’ve ever been given is on their computerized records. There is no hesitation to provide care, the quality of which is on par with about any private care available.

    I’ve no doubt that there are some disgruntled patients. No system is perfect. But I am perfectly gruntled with VA healthcare.

    Dave champions the Rep plan even though it has been shown, as noted above, to be essentially useless, and is predicted to be more of a burden on taxpayers and add to the deficit – the supposed holy grails of conservative politics. Do ANYTHING to oppose the Dems and Obama. ANYTHING!

    B

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Bari, where did I champion the Rep plan? I just pointed out that it’s no more worthless than the Dem plan, which is also completely idiotic.

    Haley Barbour has it right on this issue. They need to go back and start over with something which has been thought out from the beginning and makes sense.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    “Dave champions the Rep plan even though it has been shown, as noted above, to be essentially useless,”

    No. It hasn’t and unlike the Dem plan it doesn’t propose jail time for those who don’t bend to the will of Nancy Pelosi.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Y’know, not one of the cons on this page addressed the question of the insurance executive, the guy from THEIR side who ALSO doesn’t want the Democrats to succeed.

    If we are to keep a healthy private insurance industry as the conservatives want, AND if we are to take away the insurance industry’s ability to reject coverage due to “pre-existing conditions” (such as what my oldest son has), then how are we supposed to stop the entire American public from gaming the system by waiting until they need to be admitted to the hospital before signing up for health insurance coverage?

    THIS is one of those ESSENTIAL nuts-and-bolts issues that the GOP plan does NOT address, but the Democratic plan DOES.

    Dave, Christine, Arch – it’s REAL easy to give high rhetoric, to be all high-and-mighty about what’s right and what ain’t right…but what ain’t so easy is getting down to the nitty-gritty, working through that ‘devil in the details’. The Democratic plan addresses one of those ‘devils in the detail’ by eliminating “pre-existing conditions” while allowing the insurance industry to avoid being gamed. The GOP plan does not.

    NOT ONE of the BC conservatives has a viable and pragmatic alternative that would enable the vast majority of the 50M presently uninsured to become insured.

    But there’s an alternative – single payer (like the VERY successful Medicare), like most of the rest of the industrialized democracies on the planet have. But because the conservatives and blue-dog Dems (all of whom are on the payroll of the insurance agencies who would lose billions) won’t even consider such a proposal.

    SO IF THE BC CONSERVATIVES HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE that WOULD cover the great majority of America’s uninsured, that would allow those with pre-existing conditions (such as my oldest son) to receive coverage while at the same time allowing the insurance industry to avoid being ‘gamed’ as described above, I’d like to hear it.

    But any such plan MUST be viable and pragmatic. The present GOP’s plan, by accomplishing little while costing more to the American taxpayer, fails on both counts.

  • http://jetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    “It is the sworn and sacred duty of every loyal Republican in Congress to make absolutely sure that this President accomplishes little or nothing during this term.”

    …and even that might be too much.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Christine –

    There are two possibilities when it comes to the non-partisan CBO’s negative evaluation of the GOP plan. One possibility is that the GOP is right and the non-partisan CBO is wrong. The OTHER possibility is that the GOP is WRONG and the CBO is right.

    What’s happening with you is that you are refusing to give the second possibility any consideration at all.

    When the CBO slammed the Democratic plan this past summer, I didn’t want to believe the CBO either. I was thinking that their opinion was due to the lingering politicization that the Bush administration had done by appointing so many Neo-cons to permanent government positions (which they DID do in so many cases).

    But I was wrong. The leadership of the CBO was not changed, and while they gave a negative opinion on the Democrats’ plan this past summer, they gave a positive opinion on the Democrats’ new plan this past month.

    You see, Christine – you can’t ignore the possibility that the CBO is right and the GOP is wrong.

    Sometimes your side is wrong, Christine. Sometimes the people you don’t like are right. Right is right and wrong is wrong and neither one cares for personal and partisan pride.

    Personally, I’m not afraid of being wrong. I’m only afraid of remaining wrong, of refusing to change my mind when someone shows me that I’m wrong.

  • Clavos

    the VERY successful Medicare…

    Bwaaahaahhaaaahhaaa!

    $60 billion a year lost to fraud.

    Run by inept federal employees (I know, that’s a tautology).

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Glenn: in a nutshell

    First we take care of the poor, elderly and children
    Medicaid is there for the poor.
    Decrease the age for the elderly to include more.
    In California we have “healthy families” subsidized by the government to cover children of the middle class. Each state should have this. All of these would increase the state taxes but not a massive tax!

    Next: eliminate pre-existing conditions somehow. And like car insurance reward the healthy and if the sickness is due to ones lifestyle, somehow they need to be kept accountable. This is tricky but it can be proved by annual health and fitness evaluations. Including body fat tests, cholesterol, blood pressure etc. Add fitness trainers to health insurance coverage (like me and would add more health related jobs) and make the insured prove that they are taking measures to improve their health and reward them for doing so. I don’t think it is fair that healthy tax payers should pay for those that eat twinkies all day long. Plus they already punish smokers. They do this with car insurance and each year I am a good driver my premiums are lowered.

    Education: Add a huge wellness program to educate and motivate all toward health and fitness..not force!

    Lastly, mandate health insurance, yet jail is ludicrous. And many have to prioritize, instead of flat screen tv’s and iphones, they should be buying health insurance.

    I’m sure I have more ideas but my daughter wants some watermelon!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Um, Clavos – didja notice that almost NO conservative politicians are discussing making cuts to Medicare? Why do you think that is?

    And didja notice that only the Democrats are floating a plan to cut Medicare costs? Part of which includes allowing Medicare to actually negotiate for lower prices (which ability the Republicans had outlawed)?

    And WHO is committing the fraud? Medicare? Or the HMO’s and doctors billing Medicare?

    YEAH, Clavos – blame the victim! Sorta like Ms. Palin wanting to charge rape victims for the rape kits in Wasilla….

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    PS, Medicaid and Medicare should be fixed; streamlined and I forgot about the fraud!

  • http://jetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Most republicans do Christine

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Christine –

    Who is committing the fraud? Is it Medicare and Medicaid? Or is it the HMO’s and the doctors billing them?

    WHERE DOES THE BLAME LIE? With the ones being defrauded (Medicare and Medicaid)? Or with the ones committing the fraud?

    YEAH, blame the VICTIM! That’s what all “real Americans” (i.e. Republicans) do, right?

    And I notice that none of you have answered my challenge yet

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    There is fraud in both Medicare and Medicaid. It is the people on the system and possibly other avenues. People lie!

    My ex is a neurosurgeons and he said that frivolous lawsuits are a major factor in the health care issue and is not even part of the Dems plan. What up? He did said that the insurance industry does control a lot of health care and is a pain in the ass, however, he also informed me that all of his medicaid patients are “pro bono”! So he pays twice for the poor…his service and his tax payer dollars.

    So, what is the challenge?

  • Arch Conservative

    Wouldn’t be hysterically ironic if this bill became law, Glenn lost his job despite the great Obama recovery, was unable to purchase health insurance and went o prison for five years?

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    To suggest that any significant amount of fraud against Medicaire/Medicaid is being perpetrated by the “people on the system,” I presume meaning individual patients, is ludicrous.

    Few individuals have either the access or the wherewithall to pull off any kind of significant fraud.

    The lion’s share of fraudulent claims come from providers – overcharges for services and procedures, billing for services and procedures not performed, and any # of other scams.

    Does some of the blame for allowing these claims to proceed go to government functionaries? Sure. But, let’s look at the reality. It’s rather like David and Goliath only with a more predictable outcome. The government functionaries are David, who have little or no expertise at hurling stones. Health care providers – their lawyers, their financial advisers, etc. – are Goliath. Those people make their gravy by gaming the system. Just like computer hackers, they scour the bottom of the barrel looking for any little loophole, any little niche through which they can suck up their profits.

    However, there are also many who are not particularly clever, but rather, just audacious. They just openly lie knowing that most of those lies will go undetected.

    But, of course, that’s the American way isn’t it? Gordon Gecko’s “greed is good” philosophy. It lay at the heart of American entrepreneurship.

    B

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Christine –

    The challenge is how do you take away the ability of the insurance industry to deny coverage due to “pre-existing conditions”, but protect the insurance industry from people ‘gaming’ the system by waiting until they have to go to the hospital before they purchase that insurance?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Also, Christine –

    There is fraud in both Medicare and Medicaid. It is the people on the system and possibly other avenues. People lie!

    People working for Medicare and Medicaid work for the government. They are government functionaries…and one doesn’t get rich working for the government. However, doctors DO get rich, and HMO executives get FILTHY rich.

    But you want to suspect the government workers who don’t have their own private jets, but NOT suspect the HMO’s whose executives DO have those private jets?

    TELL YOU WHAT, Christine – why don’t you go Googling around for Medicare fraud, and find out WHO commits that fraud and get back to us as to who’s actually committing that fraud? Better yet, I’ll give you another challenge – for every single instance where you can find a government worker (not contracted, but actual government worker) defrauding Medicare, I’ll give you ten – heck, I’ll give you twenty instances of doctors or Big Pharma or HMO’s or other health insurance companies defrauding Medicare!

    AND I’ll match the dollar amounts by a thousand to one!

    Are you up to this challenge, Christine?

  • Clavos

    Not “blaming the ‘victim,'” Glenn, only pointing out that the supposedly “very successful” Medicare does little to nothing to control the fraud, which, in my book, makes it significantly less than very successful.

    And once more I will point out that Medicare does deny care. My wife, terminally ill (as it turned out), was forced by Medicare’s refusal to continue paying for her (necessary) hospitalization to rely on charity to pay her medical bills for the last three months of her life.

    Fraud is rampant and little to nothing is done about it, but they very efficiently cut you off when you reach your pre-determined and inflexible limit.

    Medicare as it exists now is but a chilling window into what government-dictated health care will be like.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The insurance-buying mandate only applies to employed people. If your employer doesn’t offer insurance, you get to choose from plans posted on an exchange site, one of which will be a government-run plan.

    There would be a sliding scale of subsidies to help people who have trouble affording insurance.

    Those 18-25 can remain under their parents’ coverage, or opt for a cheaper ‘catastrophic’ insurance plan.

    The reason the bill mandates that policies for adults 26-64 contain a certain basic level of coverage is that so many insured people now are under-insured and wind up in financial trouble when medical trouble arises.

    The House bill will still have to be merged with a Senate bill, yet to be finalized. There is still room to tweak and improve the legislation.

    Dave [and Haley Barbour] would never support any large-scale health insurance bill, because it would always contain too much spending and government involvement to fit their rigid, narrow ideological view of the world.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Glenn: Trying to fix this health care system is like trying to play chess while smoking crack! Way too complicated and too many idiots on the Hill working on it.

    Although I used to play a good game of chess and even beat my ex (the doc), while drinking a few glasses of wine, I don’t have enough knowledge nor fortitude to take on the entire health care system. Will have to leave the battle for you.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Just a thought – no offense, but when your wife’s Medicare benefits ‘ran out’, is this in any way a result of the Medicare ‘reform’ that the Republicans passed during the Bush administration?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Christine –

    ‘Give up because it’s too complicated’?

    Every year, tens of thousands of Americans are DYING because they can’t get health care, can’t afford health care, or are DENIED health care!

    But it’s too complicated so we should just ‘give up’?

    No. Maybe you’ll give up. I won’t. My oldest son’s life depends upon it.

  • Clavos

    Just a thought – no offense, but when your wife’s Medicare benefits ‘ran out’, is this in any way a result of the Medicare ‘reform’ that the Republicans passed during the Bush administration?

    Funny, Glenn, that’s exactly how the hospital put it to us! They said,” Your benefits have run out, because of the ‘reform’ the Republicans passed during the Bush administration. Had those heartless republicans not done that, we would be able to continue to be paid by medicare, but since they did, you will now have to find other sources from which to pay us.”

    Wow, Glenn! How did you know??

    Oh and by the way, Glenn her “benefits” didn’t “run out” in quotes, as you wrote it. They stopped. Dead. Period. Medicare stopped paying. We were told she had exceeded the maximum allowable number of hospital days in one benefit period, and that Medicare would no longer pay until she had at least sixty days out of hospital, in order to initiate a new “benefit period.” Unfortunately, she was in Intensive Care, so her doctors (undoubtedly Republicans), refused to let me take her home, most probably only so they could continue to bill for their services.

    “No offense” my ass.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The bill just passed the House.

  • John Wilson

    Medicare fraud is way under a billion a year, in a budget that runs about $600 billion. Nobody in the business says “$60 billion”.

  • Clavos

    Medicare fraud is way under a billion a year…

    It’s more than a billion in South Florida alone (uncovered by the Miami Herald, and confirmed by federal law enforcement), and nobody “in the business” wants to admit they’re getting ripped off that badly, but plenty of experts concur with the Herald’s figures.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Um, Clavos – didja notice that almost NO conservative politicians are discussing making cuts to Medicare? Why do you think that is?”

    Just because people can be made dependent on something doesn’t prove that it is a good thing. I guarantee you this, a large percentage of the population myself included (even in my mid 30’s) would opt out of Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment if I could simply have the extra 25% net pay. As is, you can’t cut things because you’ve already promised them to people. Why not allow an opt out clause? Are you scard of freedom and choice?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Glenn: congrats, your side won last night. And from parent to parent, and for what it worth…I am genuinely sorry about your son and wish you all the best with his health!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    You’re the one who brought up the example of your wife. You’re the one who used her as proof that Medicare doesn’t work as advertised.

    All I did was ask whether this was because of the Medicare ‘reform’ the Republicans passed. You’re angry…but I think your anger is misplaced because apparently – by your own words – if Medicare had been left alone by the Bush administration, your wife’s Medicare benefits wouldn’t have been an issue.

    After all my posts I would think you would have seen by now that I never – repeat never – post personal insults (other than to politicians, celebrities, etc.). I do strive not to offend others…and I am NOT so insensitive to try to offend a man about his wife in the hospital! I’m not sure if you know this, but you’ve posted about her situation before and I replied that I know you’re in a hard situation, that I wish you both the very best and that I’m glad I’m not in your situation.

    You brought up her example, and I asked a simple question in a non-offensive way which was quite pertinent to the ongoing discussion. Your anger is obviously out of frustration…but please place the anger where it belongs – against those who placed such a limit on her benefits.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Christine –

    Thank you very much. I’d been trying to suggest to my son to move to Canada for the sole reason that he’d have health care – but you know how young people are. When I was younger, I was never that stubborn. Honest! I was never wrong about anything, either.

    Someone once said that growing old is a process of finding out just how much we don’t know.

    I guess grandchildren really are a parent’s best revenge on their own children.

  • Clavos

    but I think your anger is misplaced because apparently – by your own words – if Medicare had been left alone by the Bush administration, your wife’s Medicare benefits wouldn’t have been an issue.

    I guess for the slower minds in the group, I should label my sarcasm from now on.

    I’m not offended by your reference to my wife, Glenn, I’m offended by your knee-jerk analysis of everything negative as the product of Republican policies (and I’m not even a Republican) in this case, conveniently ignoring the fact that Medicare is the progeny of LBJ’s totally misnamed “Great Society.”

  • Clavos

    One more thing, Glenn:

    This isn’t really the right venue for this kind of thing, but I have no other means of contacting you, so I must inform you here that my wife died, while still in the hospital, about six weeks ago.

    It’s clear from the context of your last comment that you weren’t aware of that, and I apologize to you and to all who might be uncomfortable with such an announcement presented here.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Glenn,

    This article was written in 2009 and we are still fighting for health care reform, I don’t care if it has numbers in it!

    Is there anyone who cares about the numbers spent on War?

    :)Keep fighting, my friend, we’ll get there!

  • http://www.protein-shakes.ca Health Nut

    @ Glenn: Canada’s health care system isn’t perfect either. Unfortunately it turns into a numbers game for them as well. Is the person too old and ‘worth saving’? Do we bother giving them a hip replacement since she’s 82? Usually you can get it if you fight, but it shouldn’t have to come to that.

  • best

    If we are to keep a healthy private insurance industry as the conservatives want, AND if we are to take away the insurance industry’s ability to reject coverage due to “pre-existing conditions” (such as what my oldest son has), then how are we supposed to stop the entire American public from gaming the system by waiting until they need to be admitted to the hospital before signing up for health insurance coverage?

    THIS is one of those ESSENTIAL nuts-and-bolts issues that the GOP plan does NOT address, but the Democratic plan DOES.

  • Gee Whiz

    Healthcare is not a right.

    The job of the government is to promote the ‘general welfare’ and get the F@ck out of our way. Government is already out-of-control and will take many years to be reeled in.

    Common sense reforms should be tried in a handful of states while all out government control has (failed) and is failing in several states (TN and MD). We’ll see in a couple of years which seems to work: tort reform (caps, loser pays legal fees), increased competition among insurance reform (purchase across state lines) and PROVIDERS (yes, nurse practitioners in Wal Mart), medicare reform (those who don’t need it – don’t use it), faith-based initiatives for wellness programs and homeless services (working and kept by Obama), on and on.

    This bill passed by a group of useful idiots; most of whom didn’t even read the bill (can’t blame them 2500+ pages).

    The bill passers were elected by useful idiots who know a free-ride when they see it. They get it all for FREE. And, they can continue to vote. This is why this nation is going down. We’ll be Greece in no time. Check the sources. Read about the economics. It’s one thing to pay more for insurance. It’s completely another to skyrocket the deficit to where it is NOW. From the PHDs I read; we’ll NEVER pay it back.

    and a free band-aid won’t ease the pain.