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Democrats Gear Up New Push for Universal Health Care

By Perry Bacon Jr.
Democrats are launching an aggressive push for universal health care, fourteen years after a failed attempt on the issue resulted in political disaster.

A coalition of liberal groups that includes major labor unions such as the Service Employees International Union and the activist group MoveOn.org announced today it will spend $40 million to make health insurance a major issue in the campaign, with Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, as the one of the group's main spokespersons. The group, which has dubbed itself "Health Care for America Now!" plans to spend its money running ads in battleground states, canvassing 45 states to get people to sign petitions supporting the initiative and trying to get every member of Congress to sign a pledge to expand health insurance to all Americans.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Democratic staffers are trying to set up a structure for getting a bill through Congress next year.

The staffs of Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), who heads the Senate's Health, Education Pensions and Labor Committee, are already meeting with key health care experts, including some from Massachusetts, which passed a landmark health care law two years ago.

In a series of meetings over the next month, Senate aides plan to meet with doctors' groups, insurance companies, business associations and other key players in reforming health care. Their goal is to have the outlines of a health care proposal by the end of this year that can be introduced in the opening days of the next president's administration.

"We want to create a mandate," said Richard Kirsch, one of the leaders of the health care organization of the liberal groups, many of whom worked together to oppose President Bush's 2005 Social Security plan.

Barack Obama has already pledged to make passing health care reform a centerpiece of his first term, and his campaign has recently added a group of advisers who specialize in the subject, including Elizabeth Edwards, Sarah Bianchi, a former Clinton White House aide and Neera Tanden, Hillary Clinton's policy director during the primaries. Tanden is working as a domestic policy adviser, while Bianchi and Edwards are participating in campaign conference calls on health care with other experts.

"It's important for this to be one of the first things that's considered," Edwards said in an interview, referring to the priorities of a new administration. "I'd like to see it on the agenda in 2009."

The coalition of liberal groups is hoping to make sure health care is a priority even if John McCain is elected and to make sure the majority of Congress backs the goal as well.

McCain has also said he would make health care a major issue if he wins the presidency, but Democrats and labor groups oppose many of his proposals, as the Arizona senator is trying to transform the health care system into one in which individuals buy their own health care in a less-regulated market, which means they could have lower costs but also would assume more risk.

The new coalition, while not outlining a specific health care plan, has goals that resembled what Obama and the Democratic candidates proposed in the primaries, offering subsidies to people so health insurance is affordable to the 47 million Americans who currently don't have it, creating new regulations that would prevent insurance companies from charging high prices or not offering insurance to people who already have chronic illnesses and allowing people to either buy insurance from a private company like Kaiser or enroll in a government-managed health care plan that would be run like but separate from Medicare.

But, even if Obama were elected, there's no broad agreement on exactly how a universal health care bill would work, which is the problem Democrats faced in 1993 when the Clintons pushed the issue. Insurance companies, who drove much of the opposition in 1993, have signaled they would not support an approach like Obama's, which add regulations for them but does not require all people to purchase health insurance. Democratic Senate aides are pointing to the legislation passed in Massachusetts in 2006 as a model. That legislation included increased subsidies for low-income people but also a mandate that all people in the state purchase insurance, something Obama has railed against on the campaign trail.

A bipartisan coalition that now includes more than a dozen senators is pushing a more radical health care reform in which people would buy coverage directly from insurance companies instead of getting it through their employers, with people getting tax credits to buy insurance in a more-tightly regulated system. Obama advisers had earlier largely ruled out that idea as too much of a drastic change for the vast majority of Americans who currently get their insurance through their employer.

While Obama has suggested ending tax cuts for people who make more than $250,000 a year to fund the health care subsidies, few Republicans will back what is effectively a tax increase, and some members of the GOP would likely need to support an agreement so it could pass in the Senate.

"It's much easier to oppose something than get something passed," Kirsch admitted.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 8, 2008; 4:12 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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Comments

As an American who has lived abroad I can say that universal health care works. It has its problems. But, there is no country with universal health care that wants to adopt the US style system.

For the opponents who say that we shouldn't establish universal health care because they don't want to provide it to illegal aliens, the answer is we don't have have to. Other countries limit their health coverage to citizens and legal residents - you have to present proof of citizenship or residency when you enroll in the system.

Posted by: Jerry | August 21, 2008 6:51 AM | Report abuse

WOW!! What could the government do about this problem. Hmm... How could big government, that awful tranny, actually work better than private industry. That wonderful private endeavor that continues to deliver so many beautiful and wondrous benefits to our society... like Enron, Savings and Loan, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and 50 million uninsured.

Can anybody say Medicare? Such a awful tyrannical system that is so badly managed. They only pay 4 to 5% overhead compared to private insurance 30%. I mean, what is their problem. They need to get onboard. No profits and big CEO salaries! Idiotic!

The 30% brought in by private insurance amounts to 400 to 500 billion a year. Now that is capitalism at its best! And get this, they don't even have to pay claims they don't like.

Even better, they can lobby to get the government to pass health insurance mandates so everybody has to pay them for insurance they can't afford. Talk about a winning capitalistic industry. It rocks!

Posted by: Mike in Sac | July 22, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Something has to be done. STOP! this fighting and help each other. Try to think about another person.

I have been working for over thirty-five years and I am now disabled and on a very low income. My twenty-seven year old son came to live with me because he is very sick and unable to work. He gets no income at all. Has no health care insurance. He has been to doctors, hospitals, social service,and the health department. None of these places did anything for him but give him bills. If he ever fines out what is wrong with him and someone helps him to get well, he will have to work the rest of his life to pay all the health care bills.

He went to social services and all they could do is give him $162.00 in food stamps. No health care! That did a lot of good since he vomits and has diarrhea every day, at least six times or more a day.

The ER told him that it was very very important for him to have a colonoscopy. This is a test that takes two days. No doctors will see him for this test unless he has up front $200.00 or more for the office visit. He was then sent to the health department and told that they give free colonoscopy. It took him four dats to fine the right person at the health department. Then he was told that you have to be fifty to get a free colonoscopy. If you have doctors telling you that you need a test ASAP why do you need to be fifty????

My son now belives that I will find out what is wrong with him when they cut him open after his death.

Posted by: G. Cross | July 22, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Ummm...#1....the insurance company profits benefit a TON of people in the form of investment, salaries for TENS OF THOUSANDS, and yes...some executives. So...it's fine for George Clooney to make the big bucks but when an EXECUTIVE does (providing something people want)....not cool?

Give me a break.

To the pregnant woman...don't buy into the lie that democrats spread. You are better than that. Look for opportunity...make yourself valuable and marketable with skills or develop products. People do it everyday....its HARD WORK....its worthwhile work...think of your future and your child....better off guiding your own future than the government doing it for you....

Tap into your family for support. Tap into your network of friends or your church. I can tell you this...I open my wallet for a good charity with accountability...by choice...because I can. But I will not go for handouts for all...no expectations...government run.

Posted by: makeUsProud | July 10, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Real leadership is needed to fix America's broken health care system. What's broken? Insurance companies only want to insure healthy people and they deny care to many with insurance to maximize profits, and about 50 million people can't afford insurance.

Insurance costs too much and most of what we pay goes to big salaries for insurance executives, not for health care. To fix health care, the profit motive must be removed, and that means removing insurance companies so we just pay for health care.

We need a single-payer system or a path that leads to this option. Come on Obama -- step up and lead!

Posted by: Chuck | July 10, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I am a woman in my 30s and pregnant. I am scared to death because I am not married and do not have health insurance, not by choice but because being pregnant is considered a "Pre-existing condition" and no insurance will take me. I listen to all the comments and find it hard to believe that in the most powerful country we have to succumb to negating health-care to the future mothers of our society. I am wondering if I should simply get an abortion and avoid the lack of care that me and my baby will receive. What if she gets sick? what If I can't pay the hospital? It is sad that I have to think about terminating my pregnancy due to financial reality of lack of health care. The reality is also that my father was a Veteran and he DID get health care - I think something is better than nothing don't you think'? In Europe is the same story EVERYONE gets basic services.. in fact In France, it just seems that it's so family oriented," said a woman on the radio "A pregnant woman is seen and regarded as a special moment stress out about something I shouldn't have to stress out, not at the time of my pregnancy.. I am scared.. I am scared of ending my pregnancy I am scared of not having health care to care for my baby or myself.. is this MY problem? or is there a Human side to our nation? does anyone Really care? or it's all up to me and that's my problem. :

Posted by: andrea rogers | July 10, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Who do you think payed for scar-face McCain's $100,000 skin cancer surgery, plastic surgery, etc.? You dumb rednecks did.

Posted by: Marriedtobud | July 9, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

A stupid gringo says I no speak what I mean. I do. My family do. We are here to stay gringos. This is our land. America is a continent. There is no borders. My babies Americans. We change America gringo - Si, Cue, Puedo.

Posted by: Jose | July 9, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Again...supporters of UHC can't explain how government will run it more efficiently and can't show something they do currently run efficiently. Thus...end of argument...get off your dead A$$ and work for it if you want it. Don't expect me to fund yours.


Posted by: MakeUsProud | July 9, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Hey, hey, Jose. Next time go by "Hay-ZOOS".

Maybe it'll look more real.

;)

Posted by: Chuckamok | July 9, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Gracios America. You make us belive. We are here. We never leve. We have more babies than gringos. We in power too soon. We take over and make you pay for your sins. We make you speak Espaniol. Go home to Europe gringos. We make you pay for our slavry. Si, cue puedo.

Posted by: Jose | July 9, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Dear Nanny Pelosi and Harry Reid - we're broke and over taxed thanks to you two and your cohorts.

We can no longer afford higher tax hikes to cover every poor soul on this planet. We're broke because you idiots in Congress have done nothing intwo years.

Please, could you simply think about Americans and America first before offering our tax paid benefits to everyone who can jump an unfunded border fence and drop an anchor baby in our back yard?

Maybe, you could think of some spending cuts to programs that benefit everybody else other than Americans.

We nativists, as the WAPO calls us, are tired of paying more for OTA's who are only here to steal what they can get including skims off the higher taxes you idiotic liberals keep raising.

America for Americans!

Posted by: Thom Jefferson | July 9, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

NO, NO, NO. The 'universal health care' being promoted by the Dimocrats will be even more expensive than it now is (when has the government ever run anything more cheaply) and much less available.

Of course, with TubbyTeddy and the socialist MoveOn pushing this dangerous notion, you know that the millions of illegal aliens will also be covered.

As a consequence, government will have to ration health care, unless there is a 2-tier system as there is in England. If you have the money, you can get good and quick health care; if you don't, you can get stuck at the end of a very, very long waiting list for lousy health care.

As I recall, CHillary's version would have made it illegal to have private health care (except for politicians and the very rich).

I'd much rather keep my private health care and my own doctors.

So, Dimocrats and fellow fiends, please take your 'universal' program and [expletives deleted].

Posted by: PJ | July 9, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Jose, we all know your an American because you can't spell. Nice try now grow up and move out of Moms basement. Typical republican.

Posted by: 1-20-09 | July 9, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

My family will all come from Mexco for this and we all will vote for Obama in Octobre.

Posted by: Jose | July 9, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Those that demonize universal health care have never been exposed to it. I have lived in both canada and Ireland, where I was covered under their plans, and the care was good. Unfortunately, I am uninsurable in the U.S. due to pre-existing conditions, as is my wife. The most frustrating thing is, I'm an insurance agent, and can't get insurance for myself.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 9, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

#1 thing not mentioned by anyone in the discussion on UHC and a single payor is the impact it will have on bimomedical research provided by Big Pharma and industry. One can argue for or against UHC, and say what you will about the impact Big Pharma has on healthcare costs, but without their innovation and $$$ for research, new technology will suffer dramatically. This is why we people come from all over the world for medical care in the US. With a single payor system, contracts for drugs and medical devices will go to the lowest bidder. There will be extreme competition between the companies to be the preferred provider, but they will no longer have the money to invest in new research. Be very careful what you wish for, do honest research into the successes of UHC in other countries, and ultimately, understand all implications of UHC

Posted by: asnis715 | July 9, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

For all of those here deriding foreign healthcare and bosting how wonderful our current healthcare system is, they should view where we currently stand internationally. From the discussions here you would believe we were at the top and France was at the bottom. Guess again, we are ranked 37th in the world and that hated French healthcare system which we should never consider, is ranked number 1.

http://www.photius.com/rankings/healthranks.html

Posted by: Leichtman | July 9, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

MakeUsProud wrote:

So...why do people come to the US for treatment but you never see people leaving the US for treatment?
Because they can.
Because it offers something they can't get under socialized systems.
Because they prioritize their health to the point that they want something better than socialized medicine and are willing to pay for it.
Yup. Posted by: MakeUsProud | July 9, 2008 12:11 PM


Clearly, then, you've not heard of the latest phenomenon: medical tourism, in which Americans travel overseas for surgical and medical procedures that they can't afford or have approved in the U.S. Don't know about you, but I think you'd have to be pretty desperate to go to China for bypass surgery.

Why, just yesterday there was a story about this in the very Washington Post you're blogging on:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/03/AR2008070303533.html

Google medical tourism and you'll find plenty of info. Why, there's even a wikipedia article on it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_tourism

Posted by: One More Thing... | July 9, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I once took my daughter to a county hospital and waited two hours for the doctor who said the hospital was a hospital for indigents. She nevet examined the child and made a recommendation for us to take her to her private practice. Her assistant gave us a prescription and asked us if we needed anything else. The doctor then sent Blue Cross a bill for $600.00. Was this fair?

Posted by: truth1 | July 9, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

How come everybody expects that the government will be able to run something like this effectively? What program do they run that is done economically, efficiently and everyone is happy?

Posted by: Stick | July 9, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

How come everybody expects that the government will be able to run something like this effectively? What program do they run that is done economically, efficiently and everyone is happy?

Posted by: Stick | July 9, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

/I have always heard about this democracy countdown. It is interesting
to see it in print. God help us, not that we deserve it./


/How Long Do We Have?/


/About the time our original thirteen states adopted their
new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor
at the University of Edinburgh , had this to say about the fall of
the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier:/


/'A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as
a permanent form of government.'/


/'A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that
voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the
public treasury.'/


/'>From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates
who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result
that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy,
which is always followed by a dictatorship.'/


/'The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the
beginning of history, has been about 200 years'/


/'During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through
the following sequence:/


/1. from bondage to spiritual faith;/


/2. from spiritual faith to great courage;/


/3. from courage to liberty;/


/4. from liberty to abundance;/


/5. from abundance to complacency;/


/6. from complacency to apathy;/


/7. from apathy to dependence;/


/8. from dependence back into bondage'/


/Professor Joseph Olson of Hemline University School of Law, St.
Paul, Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the 2000
Presidential election:/


/Number of States won by: Democrats: 19 Republicans: 29/


/Square miles of land won by: Democrats: 580,000 Republicans: 2,427,000/


/Population of counties won by: Democrats: 127 million Republicans: 143
million/


/Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Democrats: 13.2
Republicans: 2.1/


/Professor Olson adds: 'In aggregate, the map of the
territory Republican won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying
citizens of this great country. Democrat territory mostly encompassed
those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off
various forms of government welfare...' Olson believes the United
States is now somewhere between the 'complacency and apathy' phase of
Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some forty percent of
the nation's population already having reached the 'governmental
dependency' phase./


/If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million
criminal invaders called illegal's and they vote, then we can say
goodbye to the USA in fewer than five years./


/If you are in favor of this, then by all means, delete this message.
If you are not, then pass this along to help everyone realize just how
much is at stake, knowing that apathy is the greatest danger to our
freedom./


WE LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE,
ONLY BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE

Posted by: Tony | July 9, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"You will hate it" its so obvious that you work for an insurance company,I am sure you sleep very well at night.

Posted by: j | July 9, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Universal Health Care, you will hate it!

Universal Health Care, you will hate it!

Universal Health Care, you will hate it!

Universal Health Care, you will hate it!

Universal Health Care, you will hate it!

Universal Health Care, you will hate it!

Posted by: you will hate it | July 9, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

So...why do people come to the US for treatment but you never see people leaving the US for treatment?
Because they can.
Because it offers something they can't get under socialized systems.
Because they prioritize their health to the point that they want something better than socialized medicine and are willing to pay for it.
Yup.

Posted by: MakeUsProud | July 9, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

John Peabody, re: British vs. American healthcare:-
"There is a world of difference in these two plans: like night and day"

Indeed there is. The British spend 7.5% of their GDP on healthcare. The Americans spend 19% of a (much larger) GDP.

Posted by: strum | July 9, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

America is the home of the brave (Fearnot) and free (despite socialist attempts to reduce)....and my gosh how did we live without UHC in the past? It IS a socialist idea and concept. Quite frankly, I'd rather choose my fate than have it chosen for me...which is what socialism does. And, I can tell you this...it WILL NOT cost less being run by the government. What do you think happens when the government starts running something? Bigger...and bigger...and bigger...and bigger. And...tell me how you'll just sink the insurance industry (and associated invesment portfolios of union workers, teachers, everyone) that are invested in their stocks without an impact to the economy? Again...Demorats have nice ideas and want to do the right thing...but the ideas just don't work in practice.

Self reliance....personal accountability...the values this country was built upon.. Not...I want my LCD TV, my cell phone, a house I can't afford, a car I can't afford, internet, dishnet, etc and someone else to take care of my health costs. (and all the fries and cake I want too). What is the incentive for people to take care of themselves if the healthcare costs are "taken care of" by someone else?

Posted by: MakeUsProud | July 9, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Sorry - typo - should have been "..afford the insurance you're mostly fine.."
--
>"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government
big enough to take from you everything have. " ~ President Gerald Ford

>Let me choose my own health care, I'd rather not have my freedom taken away from me thanks

Too late, it's already that big, and you already gave away your freedom through your fear (warrantless wiretaps, TSA searches etc).

Posted by: FearNot | July 9, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

"To hell with their anti-American socialistic agenda!"

Posted by: Thom Jefferson

Mr. Jefferson, per the OED, the term "socialism" was coined only in 1827, a year after you died.

Posted by: DG | July 9, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

"I guess you don't work for me then, to bad, if you did you'd have one hell of a medical and dental plan."

John, if you could hire the entire country, our health care crisis would be solved.

In the meantime, my insurance gets worse and worse.

Posted by: DG | July 9, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

You guys crack me up. America - land of the free - yet your lives are defined overwhelmingly by irrational fears. Fear of terrorism, fear of Islam, fear of Mormons for G***'s sake, and fear of taxation and government infringement on personal freedom. You are so paranoid that you'd rather pay through the nose and then die than open your eyes, look around, and see that it *is* possible to have much better health care at a vastly cheaper (% of GDP) cost.

What's wrong with the US health care system? At the top of a long list is P-R-O-F-I-T. How do you make a profit? Increase income to the maximum the market will bear, and squeeze costs as hard as you can. For the insurance companies, the income is the premiums they charge, and the cost they try so hard to contain is the cost of providing your care - denying claims and denying cover does wonders for the bottom line. Another one that totally escapes me - when did it ever make sense to tie health insurance to employment?

To those of you who fear rationing of health care, wake up - health care is already being rationed today, on price. If you can afford the insurance your mostly fine, if you can't then your access is rationed by affordability.

Why do you allow this to happen? Another fear - fear of socialism. How is it that UHC is somehow 'socialist', but the provision of emergency services e.g. Fire Dept / Police is not? Ask yourself why we don't run the Fire Dept 'for-profit'.

Your collective fears are driving this country in a headlong rush to the bottom of world rankings in every measure. Wake up and look around, there's a whole world out there to learn from (dumb statement, I forgot that xenophobia gets in the way of that one). The rest of the world is fast getting over the US, to the point where they no longer worry about you or dislike you - much worse - they're starting to ignore you.

Don't worry, you'll be fine, just surround yourself with an arsenal and hole up in the cabin and continue to mistrust anything you don't understand (and that gives you plenty of scope believe me!).

America - land of the free (arguable) - home of the brave (sorry, you lost whatever collective bravery you had long ago, fear drove it far away).

"Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness" - James Thurber
"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood." - Marie Curie
"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Posted by: FearNot | July 9, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have. " ~ President Gerald Ford

Let me choose my own health care, I'd rather not have my freedom taken away from me thanks.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 9, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

This country has such a wonderful health care system that we let people die in the waiting room, or they get turned away from emergency hospital so they can die on the way to another hospital so maybe they get accepted,or we have children with rotten teeth because they cant afford the dental care, I never heard this happen in Canada or England for that matter any other civilized country. This country claims to have the best health care, maybe its true but who ca afford ?

Posted by: joe | July 9, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I just can't wait to see what kind of care I get from the lowest bidder, and a Government that will be buying medical equipment from the lowest bidder.

Wonder if it will be better made then the body armor we've been sending our troops.

Posted by: John C. Page III | July 8, 2008 10:08 PM
++++++
If you get your coverage through your job that is what you get now. Your employer buys the cheapest thing they can get and probably change companies every year.
Posted by:
July 8, 2008 11:17 PM
I guess you don't work for me then, to bad, if you did you'd have one hell of a medical and dental plan.

Posted by: John C. Page III | July 9, 2008 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Health care needs to be judged by the life expectancy rates, live birth rates etc. when it is, I think that medical care will get better. We also need to cover everybody. What we don't want to fall into is dilapidated hospitals, long waits to be seen and to have care like some countries with universal health care does. We also need to make sure research into health care is well funded. Right now, many countries benefit from the new drugs and medical innovations the US does. If we stop, maybe no one will do it.

Posted by: Lynn E | July 9, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

There is simply no solution to the health care problem. If there is one, it won't come from politicians. If this country really want to solve the health cost explosion problem, the No 1 thing the government should do is to close McDonalds and all junk food chains that poison people. Fat people should be discriminated and humiliated and should not be allowed to seek medical treatment using tax money. Waist line should be allowed as a factor in school admission, job application. The cost of treating obese related disease has top $100 billion in the past few years. This is more than the $50-65 billion cost Obama proposed to reform the health care system. Just think about it! Fat people should have no human rights because they do not treat themselves as human beings.

Posted by: God Father | July 8, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

"Using common sense one can clearly see that our present system is simply is not working."

It has worked for me.

This week will be two years since I began battling a deadly cancer, and, for now, I'm winning.

The City of Hope, through its "satellite" operation in my town of Lancaster, CA, put me through the hell of chemo, radiation and an operation.

But I've survived. Yes, there were glitches along the way. For the most part, however, I was treated with the utmost kindness, consideration, and professionalism. Especially by the nursing staff.

Just one man's story.

Posted by: Chuckamok | July 8, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

If you get your coverage through your job that is what you get now. Your employer buys the cheapest thing they can get and probably change companies every year.
++++++
I just can't wait to see what kind of care I get from the lowest bidder, and a Government that will be buying medical equipment from the lowest bidder.

Wonder if it will be better made then the body armor we've been sending our troops.

Posted by: John C. Page III | July 8, 2008 10:08 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 8, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Just BLASTED the Repubs.

Should mention that the Dims are so far out in Loony Land, they do not even warrant comment!

Hint-It is the 20 Million ILLEGALS that you love, who have TRASHED the System!

Insured, PAY FOR THEM! :-(

Posted by: SAINT---The | July 8, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

And, the first ones these liberal Nazi fanatics like Pelosi and Reid will want to cover on the American dime are illegal aliens from Mexico.

To hell with their anti-American socialistic agenda!

Posted by: Thom Jefferson | July 8, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I think that those who are for universal health care should seriously do a little more research into it.

Posted by: Kerry | July 8, 2008 7:41 PM

That's it? That's all you've got? This is the basis of your argument against UHC?

Have you not read through these comments? Clearly, we know what we're talking about.

Posted by: One more thing... | July 8, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I have a REAL solution.

Gave it to Mittster, and McSenile.

Combined, THEY do not have the sense on the issue to Spell the Words "Health Care".

One of my BIGGEST Disappointments with BOTH of them! :-(

Posted by: SAINT---The | July 8, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Today, some 3 MILLION Americans work on administrative tasks in the health-care industry. This is an army of accountants, lawyers and managers whose jobs consist on ... making someone else pay for each and every bill. That's what makes the current system so expensive and inefficient.

A single-payer, universal health-care system won't need those millions of administrative jobs, because all bills will be paid by the National Health Care Agency -or whatever you call that thing. Let's keep 100,000 of those jobs, and let's fire the remaining 2,900,000 people.

Now, who is going to tell those guys "you are fired"?
Posted by: berrymonster | July 8, 2008 8:06 PM

At least they won't have to worry about losing their health insurance, will they?? What a ridiculous argument. That's how it's supposed to work, is it not? The current health insurance system if filled with duplication of services, inefficiencies and bloated staffs. As in any industry, they'll have to get lean and mean. People will get RIFed -- but at least they won't lose their insurance! Believe me, that will lessen the blow considerably while they look for new jobs.

Posted by: One more thing... | July 8, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Why do people object to health coverage, arguing that somebody else will pay? That's how all insurances work. E.g. car insurance. If you do not get into accident, it seems you lost your premium. But if you do, somebody else is paying for the repair of your car.

Nobody is arguing that car insurance should be optional, why oppose health coverage? Even young healthy people do get into accidents. And then the public covers their treatment at emergency rooms. Let them cover themselves by paying premiums.

Also, this discussion is so belated. All, all advanced and many developing countries have universal health coverage. It works. I am telling from my own experience.

Yes, one agency, with one set of rules can manage health care much better than dozens separate ones.

Posted by: thought1 | July 8, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I just can't wait to see what kind of care I get from the lowest bidder, and a Government that will be buying medical equipment from the lowest bidder.

Wonder if it will be better made then the body armor we've been sending our troops.

Posted by: John C. Page III | July 8, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

For the taxes my American friends pay, it is a crime that every citizen does not have coverage. It is by choice that successive administrations have not stood up to the insurance companies and said, "you have tried and failed our citizens."

Do not wish for universal care, DEMAND it! That's what taxes are for. Or the American government could continue to fail Iraqis at the cost of millions per day.

Posted by: MikeCanada | July 8, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

to myself (sic): Please read my earlier post - July 8, 2008 6:51 PM It doesn't precisely name the countries, but any wealthy developed country does better than we do. I can get the precise other countries in the study, but they are just the ones you think they ar - France, Italy, GB, Japan, Spain, etc.

Posted by: lensch | July 8, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I am greatly in favor of a one-payor system for all BUT would insist that members of Congress would have to participate in the plan, just like anyone else!
**************************************
And do you really believe that would happen? Even if they were added into such legislation, they would carve out a huge exemption for themselves.

They are already exempt from paying certain taxes that the rest of us pay. Maybe we should all consider running for Congress.

Posted by: myself | July 8, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who's been to the doctor, can't help
noticing the vast inefficiency. The medical industry is behind the times when it comes to technology that would help them
manage better.
Universal Healthcare needs to solve many problems: 1) improve technology to manage
the business side better 2) encourage patients to take responsibility for their health 3) affordable and portable healthcare for everyone

Posted by: paul | July 8, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

The only people who oppose the concept of universal health care in the United States have a) never lost coverage after losing a job, b) never had to make COBRA payments to keep insurance after losing a job, or c) never been denied access to affordable private insurance because of "pre-existing conditions" after losing a job.
***************************************
Well, you've never met met.

I have lost coverage after leaving a job. I have had to make COBRA payments. And I have had coverage of medical care refused.

And I STILL don't support tax payer funded health care.

Why?

Because I am an American who knows what this country truly stands for. And it ain't me paying for someone else's health care.

Posted by: myself | July 8, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Watch the movie Sicko and then explain to me how it that the so-called greatest country in the world is getting whooped by Canada, France and all the other countries with universal health care. They're systems work marvelously and efficiently.

If you think our system is working just fine ask yourself why we're number 37 in the rankings for infant mortality rate.

The greatest country in the world and 36 countries do a better job of ensuring that our babies live.....

Good lord it's embarrassing...

Posted by: dan | July 8, 2008 6:11 PM
***************************************
Consider for a moment that Sicko presents ONE view of health care.

A well-rounded education is an asset.

Posted by: myself | July 8, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

But Ed, other countries have longer life expectancies, they have longer life expectancies for those who reach 60, they have lower infant mortality, etc.,
etc, etc. Please, you're spouting utter nonsense. Read some facts.

Posted by: lensch | July 8, 2008 7:34 PM
*********************************************
WHICH countries? And what is their lifestyle? What amount of exercise do citizens get everyday? What do they eat? How much stress in their lives?

People in America are notorious for not taking common sense preventative health measures (exercise, eating right, not building up stress, etc.) and then come running to the doctor or hospital in an emergency (which might have been prevented with a little more care).

The correlation between tax payer funded health care and the factors you mention is at best tenuous.

Posted by: Myself | July 8, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Ed says,"Other countries may have statically better health care because their system is selective as to whom they give it." and If you need a heart operation, OOPS, too old, if you have cancer OOPS, too old

The exact opposite is true!! Everybody gets it. My mother-in-law got at 76 a major heart operation free. She is now 81 and still in good health. At 77 my mother was diagnosed with cancer. She got an immediate operation within the week and radiotherapy within weeks of that. My high school aged son can get free medical treatment including prescriptions from the doctor that comes to his school 2x a week or I can pay $20.00 to visit my own doctor the same day + $6 prescription. Yes there can be long waits for conditions like cataracts but private hospitals and health insurance exist too for those unwilling to wait. It is not an either or situation regarding health care but getting the best of both (and not making the mistakes of the British NHS.) Remember America is 45th in the world for life expectancy Australia is 9th Canada 15th and New Zealand 31st and our children are overall much healthier.(20 times!! more American children die of respiratory disease than children in Australia and NZ) And we spend far less of our GDP on health care than does the US!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 8, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Since a majority of people have insurance through their jobs do you know what private insurance cost? I pay $1920 a month for my wife and I. I am 58 and she is 52. Blue cross Blue shield. My insurance is as good as you can get. The insurance most people get from their jobs stinks, it is just better then nothing. I am just lucky money is not object to me and I can pay fro what ever I want. I would not want most of the insurance working people have now.

+++++++
Bottom line...the demorats want those that do have insurance and make it a priority in their live to have to PAY MORE for LESS. You can't get something for nothing...and the Federal government is not a solution in this instance. Ever hear of government waste? At least I have a choice now. Once the government gets control...it's over...high prices...limited availability...employees that know they can suck at their job and get shuffled around but never fired. Sounds awesome.

Also...where is it in the CONSTITUTION that I owe you insurance? It's not in there....so it's not something the government should do. For all you whack job liberals out there...the Constitution has meaning.

I love it when I hear of the word UNIVERSAL in healthcare. Universal what? Universal sucky care? Universal expensive care. If the government is gonna run it then I'm in favor of EVERYONE PAYING $500 a month PER PERSON (no exceptions) and NO OPT OUTS (yup ....billionaires and politicians use the same services at the same price - not special treatment). If you're poor you better get a better job to pay for it....not lower payments for you to have the same crap service I'm gonna get. Sort of like normal taxes...I pay more to ride on the same crap roads the deadbeats drive on....great idea. Didn't think so. If you want healthcare then get a freaking job and make it a priority for you...not ME! Get rid of the internet, cable, dish, LCD TV and make it your priority.

Posted by: MakeUsProud | July 8, 2008 8:47 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 8, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

If you want to see how our government would handle universal health care, don't go to Europe, ask a Veteran! The Veterans Administration is in shambles and, in some hospitals, does not provide the most basic of care. I visited the VA hospital in DC on Veterans Day and also visited 5 hospitals in California. There is a lot of good being done, but also a lot of work that needs to be done for the VA to provide the quality health care that Veterans deserve.

Our Veterans are people who, while in active/reservist duty, were taking care of themselves and their health. Think about all of the obese people out there (like Michael Moore) who do not take care of themselves and who will milk the system dry. Their health care costs will be large! I am a triathlete that takes care to eat right and exercise. Why should I pay for the slobs who do not?

Ask a Veteran who has a company provided health plan (that they pay for) if they would ever go to a VA hospital (which is free). Every friend of mine that is in that situation would never step foot in a VA hospital.

If our government cannot properly provide health care to those who deserve it more than all of us fat, dumb, and happy people who do not risk our lives for our country, what makes you think they are going to do a better job taking care of you?

Posted by: Ask Veterans about UHC | July 8, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Using common sense one can clearly see that our present system is simply is not working. Those who talk about the paper work with UHC forget that the amount of paper work with private insurance has in some cases overwrought doctors. And to those who talk about waiting for heart operation I say that is better than being totally deny because some insurance company doesn't want to pay for it. I have that talk to people from other countries with UHC and they all say they like their system better than ours. I have also talk to one person who almost lost his home because of having no insurance. A Universal Health Care even like England's would be much better than our present system. The augments against UHC are for the most part make by people who has stake in the present system in other words they are making money now but would not in a system like Universal Health Care. Oh, one other point should a disease breakout (such as the bird flu could happen) occurred our present would collapse. It is not designed to hand that kind of nation disaster.

Posted by: Terry | July 8, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Does have the latest on "whitey-gate"? It seems Michelle Obama was caught on tape using this term.

Posted by: Hoya Lawyer | July 8, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Robin thinks more money is the solution. How many deductions did you take on your taxes (if you paid at all)? If any...why? The government wants more of your money and you seem to think they need it.

Posted by: MakeUsProud | July 8, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

The FDA cannot determine the precise source of the salmonella contamination but
the goverment can solve all your health-care problems.

Posted by: john | July 8, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line...the demorats want those that do have insurance and make it a priority in their live to have to PAY MORE for LESS. You can't get something for nothing...and the Federal government is not a solution in this instance. Ever hear of government waste? At least I have a choice now. Once the government gets control...it's over...high prices...limited availability...employees that know they can suck at their job and get shuffled around but never fired. Sounds awesome.

Also...where is it in the CONSTITUTION that I owe you insurance? It's not in there....so it's not something the government should do. For all you whack job liberals out there...the Constitution has meaning.

I love it when I hear of the word UNIVERSAL in healthcare. Universal what? Universal sucky care? Universal expensive care. If the government is gonna run it then I'm in favor of EVERYONE PAYING $500 a month PER PERSON (no exceptions) and NO OPT OUTS (yup ....billionaires and politicians use the same services at the same price - not special treatment). If you're poor you better get a better job to pay for it....not lower payments for you to have the same crap service I'm gonna get. Sort of like normal taxes...I pay more to ride on the same crap roads the deadbeats drive on....great idea. Didn't think so. If you want healthcare then get a freaking job and make it a priority for you...not ME! Get rid of the internet, cable, dish, LCD TV and make it your priority.

Posted by: MakeUsProud | July 8, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm tired of people saying that any system managed by government won't work, and then electing governments (like George Bush) who don't believe in funding or properly managing the systems in place. The reason our government systems are struggling is not due to some inherent flaw in the system, but due to the people we are electing. We need to elect officials who will listen to the recommendations of experts, put competent people in charge of the departments, and actually fund the programs. Universal Health Care may not work well under a Republican president, but that's the fault of the Republicans, not the concept of Universal Health Care.

Posted by: Robin | July 8, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

The CIA also said there were WMD in Iraq.

Posted by: Ed | July 8, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

And how many of those people keep those sh&t jobs because of the health insurence? They can now go out and do what they have always wanted to do.
+++++++++
Today, some 3 MILLION Americans work on administrative tasks in the health-care industry. This is an army of accountants, lawyers and managers whose jobs consist on ... making someone else pay for each and every bill. That's what makes the current system so expensive and inefficient.

A single-payer, universal health-care system won't need those millions of administrative jobs, because all bills will be paid by the National Health Care Agency -or whatever you call that thing. Let's keep 100,000 of those jobs, and let's fire the remaining 2,900,000 people.

Now, who is going to tell those guys "you are fired"?
Posted by: berrymonster | July 8, 2008 8:06 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 8, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

And how many of those people keep those sh&t jobs because of the health insurence? They can now go out and do what they have always wanted to do.
+++++++++
Today, some 3 MILLION Americans work on administrative tasks in the health-care industry. This is an army of accountants, lawyers and managers whose jobs consist on ... making someone else pay for each and every bill. That's what makes the current system so expensive and inefficient.

A single-payer, universal health-care system won't need those millions of administrative jobs, because all bills will be paid by the National Health Care Agency -or whatever you call that thing. Let's keep 100,000 of those jobs, and let's fire the remaining 2,900,000 people.

Now, who is going to tell those guys "you are fired"?
Posted by: berrymonster | July 8, 2008 8:06 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 8, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Today, some 3 MILLION Americans work on administrative tasks in the health-care industry. This is an army of accountants, lawyers and managers whose jobs consist on ... making someone else pay for each and every bill. That's what makes the current system so expensive and inefficient.

A single-payer, universal health-care system won't need those millions of administrative jobs, because all bills will be paid by the National Health Care Agency -or whatever you call that thing. Let's keep 100,000 of those jobs, and let's fire the remaining 2,900,000 people.

Now, who is going to tell those guys "you are fired"?

Posted by: berrymonster | July 8, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I am your brother's keeper?

I get it, make OTHERS pay higher taxes to the inefficient Fed govt because 50 million don't have health care. That is the solution?

YOU give your money, but don't put a gun to my head to tax me more.

Posted by: Does it make sense | July 8, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

In case you don't believe, this is from the CIA Factbook. Don't forget we spend vastly more per person th any other country.

Rank by
entity
Entity
Overall life expectancy at birth

1 Andorra
83.52
2 Macau ( PRC)
82.27
3 Japan
82.02
4 San Marino
81.8
4 Singapore
81.8
6 Hong Kong ( PRC)
81.68
7 Gibraltar ( UK)[4]
80.9
8 Sweden
80.63
9 Australia
80.62
10 Switzerland
80.62
11 France (metropolitan)
80.59
12 Guernsey ( UK)
80.53
13 Iceland
80.43
14 Canada
80.34
15 Cayman Islands ( UK)
80.2
16 Italy
79.94
17 Monaco
79.82
18 Liechtenstein
79.81
19 Spain
79.78
19 Norway
79.78
19 Israel
79.78
22 Jersey ( UK)
79.51
23 Faroe Islands ( Denmark)
79.49
24 Greece
79.38
25 Austria
79.21
26 U.S. Virgin Islands ( US)
79.2
27 Malta
79.15
28 Netherlands
79.11
29 Luxembourg
79.03
30 Montserrat ( UK)
79
31 New Zealand
78.96
32 Germany
78.95
33 Belgium
78.92
34 Guam ( US)
78.76
34 Saint Pierre and Miquelon ( France)
78.76
36 United Kingdom
78.7
36 European Union
78.7
38 Finland
78.66
39 Isle of Man ( UK)
78.64
40 Jordan
78.55
41 Puerto Rico ( US)
78.54
42 Bosnia and Herzegovina
78.17
43 Bermuda ( UK)
78.13
44 Saint Helena ( UK)
78.09
45 United States
78.06

Posted by: lench | July 8, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I think that those who are for universal health care should seriously do a little more research into it.

Posted by: Kerry | July 8, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

But Ed, other countries have longer life expectancies, they have longer life expectancies for those who reach 60, they have lower infant mortality, etc.,
etc, etc. Please, you're spouting utter nonsense. Read some facts.

Posted by: lensch | July 8, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

the dems next disaster will be trying to shove global warming down americas throat. all of us don't live in san fran and believe in what they believe.

Posted by: gunclinger | July 8, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

They may have health care, but having health care and getting it is like not having any. If you are to old, too bad. You aren't needed anymore. If you need a heart operation, OOPS, too old, if you have cancer OOPS, too old. You die for the good of Universal Health Care. It makes the government look good. Like they are really doing something. I believe they call it "Helping one to die mercifully".

Posted by: Ed | July 8, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Consider this: Switzerland, one of the most 'conservative' and 'capitalistic' countries in Europe has national health care.
Consider this: What is more valuable? Your tax dollar or a human life?
I would gladly pay higher taxes to know that my contribution would allow others to have health care.
I am my brother's/sister's keeper.

Posted by: abby0802 | July 8, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Ed says,"Other countries may have statically better health care because their system is selective as to whom they give it."

Mind boggling. It is exactly the opposite of the truth. In other countries everyone has health care; in the US 50 million do not.
I despair.

Posted by: lensch | July 8, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

sure, Social Security is a real success. Anybody who thinks this is in a dream world. Medicare is a paid system. Their drug system must be paid. It could cost approxmately 2K to 3K a year for government care. Not every doctor takes Medicar patients. Under Universal Health, if you like the drugs you are taking today, you will probably be taking the same 20/30/40 years from now. Their also another business to consider, the medical equipment industry that yield unbelieveable equipment for saving lives. I suspect that will go down the tubes. And, if you are older and need a serious operation, good luck. You may as well buy a plot, casket and bury yourself. That is you chances. Other countries may have statically better health care because their system is selective as to whom they give it.

Posted by: Ed | July 8, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Medicare for all and force the insurance companies to sell us the supplementals in a competitive market.

Posted by: eskieville | July 8, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

You are not smart enough to be part of this conversation.

--------------
The feckless democrat's solution is nationalize everything. Like Hitler, the national socialists looked really attractive at first to the unknowing. It was only after the pathetic realities dawned on the citizenry that they realize they helped create a monster.

Just revisit for a moment some other illustrious democrat cornucopias of prosperity: public housing; Indian Reservations; Segregation; Welfare; S-8 housing; illegal amnesty etc. Liberalism always creates the EXACT OPPOSITE of its stated intent.

Posted by: Schratboy | July 8, 2008 6:54 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 8, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

The feckless democrat's solution is nationalize everything. Like Hitler, the national socialists looked really attractive at first to the unknowing. It was only after the pathetic realities dawned on the citizenry that they realize they helped create a monster.

Just revisit for a moment some other illustrious democrat cornucopias of prosperity: public housing; Indian Reservations; Segregation; Welfare; S-8 housing; illegal amnesty etc. Liberalism always creates the EXACT OPPOSITE of its stated intent.

Posted by: Schratboy | July 8, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Let's forget the immorality of the uninsured that lets poor people die. Forget the burden on businesses that make them less competitive. Just consider health care financing as a business decision. Develop statistics for measuring how we are doing. Look at the competitors (other countries). Look at their cost. If you are honest, you will become an advocate of a single payer system. Here are some facts. They can be checked at www.pnhp.org.


If you look at the 13 wealthiest countries and rank them according to the 16 basic public health statistics, the US ranks 12th or 13th in each one. Yet, yet we spend 2.5 TIMES as much per person as the average of these countries. Other countries get much better health care at much lower cost. (As a sanity check, WHO ranked the US 37th in the world in health care, above Slovenia, but below Costa Rica.) All of these other countries use some form of single payer system. Of course, they have some problems, but most of these are because they are not spending enough. We would not have those problems. In spite of all these so-called problems, they get better care. Also Medicare is a single payer system, and it is one of the most popular programs in the history of our country. The plan I like simply gives Medicare (without limitations, co-pays or deductions) to everyone. We could do this without spending any more than we are now.


The reason for this is that we waste at least $200 Billion a year on excess paperwork by physicians and at least $100 Billion a year on high overhead (15% vs. 1.3% for Canadians) of private insurance. Look here is a simplified example of what we are doing.


Suppose you have 100 dollars to give to 10 people. You could give $10 to each person. Alternatively, you could develop criteria that determine who is deserving, and then investigate each person. You might find that according to your criteria, only 5 people deserve the money. You spent, however $75, on your investigations, so now you can only give $5 to the 5 deserving ones. We spend much too much money denying people health care.


The basic problem is that the rules are made by private insurance companies whose only goal is to make money, not efficiency or good health care. If they can save a buck by having a physician fill out a 40 page form, they will do so.


What about choice? I am 69 years old and retired. During my career I had 5 HMO's and 5 indemnity health plans. I have much more freedom of choice under Medicare than I had under any of the private insurance plans. I have no more referrals, no more in plan - out of plan nonsense. As for choice of insurance plan, why would anyone want choice if everyone had a plan that covered everything? In any case, you could still have private insurance for those who can afford it as most European countries still do.


Some opposition to a single payer system is that it is pie-in-the-sky; we will never get it through. Maybe so. That's what they said about Social Security and Medicare. One thing is for sure. We will never get a rational health care system if we do not try.

*************************************************************************************

Here is a bit more on drug prices:

Finally we could have lower drugs prices. Practically all basic research on drugs has been done by the Institutes of Health and universities. Drug Companies will only investigate a drug after somebody else shows it has a very good chance of feasibility. They spend 3 times as much (34%) on marketing as research (11%). This marketing is mostly to get us to use more expensive new drugs even in cases where cheaper drugs will do better. It includes not only the odious ads on TV and Magazine, but the thousands of "pushers" with no technical training that badger physicians to use the new drugs. In addition there are payments to doctors, both direct (payments for prescribing certain drugs, free lunches, etc.) and indirect (fake conferences and educational programs at beautiful resorts). I don't know how much we would save if we cut back on "marketing", but we could certainly cut drug prices by 30% without impacting research. It must be huge. (See the work of Prof. Alan Sager at BU).

Posted by: lensch | July 8, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

If you think there isn't going to any paperwork with the government, your dreaming. I am only stating from the AMA and others. Britian and Canada have a shortage of doctors, and some of those are in private pratice. Cash on the line. Why should a person spend 13/15 years of study while others are making their money in their early 20's only to be told how much money they can make or what they can do. It may be not so hot now, but any time the government runs anything it is a comedy of errors and stupidity. They can't even run AMTRAk correctly.

Posted by: Ed Welsh | July 8, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that's what I want. Socialized health care in this country. Why I'm looking forward to waiting 2 years for a heart operation. And you can't beat that government run British dental care. Yeah, it's going to be a real paradise when the Guvmint runs the health care system. I can't wait!

Posted by: Bob Kaye | July 8, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

You can't compare America with Sweden. We have 300 million people in this country while Sweden has less than 10 million. What is the administrative cost of managing the healthcare of 300 million given the way out government runs anything? My friend's uncle lives in Sweden and he had to wait 7 years to have a cataract surgery. They won't operate on his other eye because he's too old. In England, people over 65 or 70 are not eligible to have open heart surgery because of limited resources. It's just common sense that when something is available to everyone in the country, it can't be of the highest quality. People with money can still can a way around the system to get better care.

Posted by: chris | July 8, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Actually what you say is the opposite. Doctors are leaving their practices because of ridiculous insurance rates and they need a whole staff just to do paper work. If you go in a doctors office today 60% of the space is taken up with office procedures. For the first time ever doctors are coming out for Universal health care. They will be able to practice medicine again instead of just being paper pushers. Doctors deal with insurance companies that don't pay even if items are covered. My accountant has a lot of doctors as clients. He said the average doctor he deals with has hundreds of thousands in accounts receivable that the insurance companies stall paying. How would you like to work today and not get paid for maybe eight months. That is how long it can be sometimes. Doctors are sick of it, how can they run their office like that.

++++++++++
There is one item not mentioned. Doctors. What if you have universal health care and no doctors? In the last 15 years doctors have declined 20%. Medical schools are not filling their quotas, and the older are retiring. The doctors in the middle are going back to school to learn other areas, such as legal and MBA's. i.e. At the Harvard Business School MBA program a class of 100, 20 of these were doctors, a very significant number, considering that is only one school. The AMA stated there will be a shortage of between 90K to 200K fewer doctors in approxmately 15 years. If there are no private facilities, then the wealthy will just go to another country leaving everyone else with no doctors. You go to the doctor's office and the nurse says, "I am sorry the doctor is not in, he quit".

Posted by: Ed Welsh | July 8, 2008 6:08 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 8, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Watch the movie Sicko and then explain to me how it that the so-called greatest country in the world is getting whooped by Canada, France and all the other countries with universal health care. They're systems work marvelously and efficiently.

If you think our system is working just fine ask yourself why we're number 37 in the rankings for infant mortality rate.

The greatest country in the world and 36 countries do a better job of ensuring that our babies live.....

Good lord it's embarrassing...

Posted by: dan | July 8, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Watch the movie Sicko and then explain to me how it that the so-called greatest country in the world is getting whooped by Canada, France and all the other countries with universal health care. They're systems work marvelously and efficiently.

If you think our system is working just fine ask yourself why we're number 37 in the rankings for infant mortality rate.

The greatest country in the world and 36 countries do a better job of ensuring that our babies live.....

Good lord it's embarrassing...

Posted by: dan | July 8, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

There is one item not mentioned. Doctors. What if you have universal health care and no doctors? In the last 15 years doctors have declined 20%. Medical schools are not filling their quotas, and the older are retiring. The docors in the middle are going back to school to learn other areas, such as legal and MBA's. i.e. At the Harvard Business School MBA program a class of 100, 20 of these were doctors, a very significant number, considering that is only one school. The AMA stated there will be a shortage of between 90K to 200K fewer doctors in approxmately 15 years. If there are no private facilities, then the wealthy will just go to another country leaving everyone else with no doctors. You go to the doctor's office and the nurse says, "I am sorry the doctor is not in, he quit".

Posted by: Ed Welsh | July 8, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I just wrote something similar. I know a guy who just retired from Motorola. He bought a boat and is now planning on being a fishing guide in the Keys. What you described kept him from doing it 15 years ago. Now at 60 he has to try to start living out his dreams. There is no telling what could be spawned if people didn't have that health care thing around their necks in this country.

++++++++++
Can you imagine the spirit of entrepreneurship that will blossom in this country the day UHC becomes a reality? How many Americans, tied to lousy jobs simply for the insurance, will sign up for UHC and finally take that jump and set up a small business, work full time to get an idea patented, etc.

My partner has had the opportunity to go out on his own and open his own consulting firm. The only reason he hasn't is because BlueCross/BlueShield priced us out of getting private insurance when we checked into it. Why? Because of pre-existing conditions. What might those pre-existing conditions be, you ask? They include: high blood pressure for my partner (easily controlled) and OCD (under control and off meds for two years) in one of our children. They wanted to put our child in a high risk pool with an additional $5K deductible, and they would exclude any type of benefit for mental health coverage -- or any physical illness that they, at their discretion, determined could be the result of mental illness. Our total monthly premium for a family of 5 would have been $3,200/month, plus an additional $5K deductible for our child. We laughed till we cried, and my partner put his business plan up on the shelf.

The same story could be told by countless numbers or Americans.

Imagine the sigh of relief the day we no longer have to worry about ever losing our health care coverage again, for any reason?? Personally, I'll feel like a 500 lb. weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Posted by: One more thing... | July 8, 2008 5:55 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 8, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

You wrote:

You can add to that the person who stays in a dead end job just because of the health care plan. A guy who maybe would like to start a business or work for himself as a writer, or painter whatever. Instead he lives his life in his little corner job scared to death to be without health care watching his life and dreams go by. Your life is ruined in many ways due to the health care system we have. The one I just described is one of the saddest.

Absolutely! I said the same thing in the post right before yours. I have a child in college who aspires to be a writer, and my dream for him is that he can graduate and pursue that passion and let him take it as far as it can. My nightmare is that he takes a stifling job just for the health care insurance. :(

Posted by: One more thing... | July 8, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

You can add to that the person who stays in a dead end job just because of the health care plan. A guy who maybe would like to start a business or work for himself as a writer, or painter whatever. Instead he lives his life in his little corner job scared to death to be without health care watching his life and dreams go by. Your life is ruined in many ways due to the health care system we have. The one I just described is one of the saddest.

++++++++++
The only people who oppose the concept of universal health care in the United States have a) never lost coverage after losing a job, b) never had to make COBRA payments to keep insurance after losing a job, or c) never been denied access to affordable private insurance because of "pre-existing conditions" after losing a job.

Sadly, too many Americans have experienced this, and that's why Universal Health Care is a concept whose time has finally come.

As job losses continue through the election season, more and more Americans will realize that our current system of private insurance tied to employment just doesn't work, and isn't fair.

I laugh when I read about care being rationed as a result of the Dem's plan. If you don't have access to guaranteed, affordable private insurance, your care is already rationed.
Posted by: Finally! | July 8, 2008 5:41 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 8, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Can you imagine the spirit of entrepreneurship that will blossom in this country the day UHC becomes a reality? How many Americans, tied to lousy jobs simply for the insurance, will sign up for UHC and finally take that jump and set up a small business, work full time to get an idea patented, etc.

My partner has had the opportunity to go out on his own and open his own consulting firm. The only reason he hasn't is because BlueCross/BlueShield priced us out of getting private insurance when we checked into it. Why? Because of pre-existing conditions. What might those pre-existing conditions be, you ask? They include: high blood pressure for my partner (easily controlled) and OCD (under control and off meds for two years) in one of our children. They wanted to put our child in a high risk pool with an additional $5K deductible, and they would exclude any type of benefit for mental health coverage -- or any physical illness that they, at their discretion, determined could be the result of mental illness. Our total monthly premium for a family of 5 would have been $3,200/month, plus an additional $5K deductible for our child. We laughed till we cried, and my partner put his business plan up on the shelf.

The same story could be told by countless numbers or Americans.

Imagine the sigh of relief the day we no longer have to worry about ever losing our health care coverage again, for any reason?? Personally, I'll feel like a 500 lb. weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Posted by: One more thing... | July 8, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

With universal health care, my family would at least have SOME health care.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 8, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

The connection between the insurance companies and the medical field is a farce. The average emergency room visit that would cost a person without insurance say $1500.00 cost the insurance company more like $250 to $300. on a contracted schedule. I surgery that would cost you $45,000 the insurance company pays about $12,000. If I could pay what the insurance companies pays I wouldn't need health Insurance. In most cases the doctor gets no more then your co-pay for the office visit average $35.00. It has just become a big bureaucratic paper pushing mess. Those two figures I just quoted I know from personal experience. In fact the insurance companies lead you to believe your medical care costs them a fortune and it doesn't. They make astronomical profits. But that is not even good enough for them. If you are actually sick they get rid of you if they can. They never want to pay out if they can help it. For the first time in history doctors are coming out for universal health care.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 8, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

So much for fiscal responsibility.

Posted by: muskrat | July 8, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

The only people who oppose the concept of universal health care in the United States have a) never lost coverage after losing a job, b) never had to make COBRA payments to keep insurance after losing a job, or c) never been denied access to affordable private insurance because of "pre-existing conditions" after losing a job.

Sadly, too many Americans have experienced this, and that's why Universal Health Care is a concept whose time has finally come.

As job losses continue through the election season, more and more Americans will realize that our current system of private insurance tied to employment just doesn't work, and isn't fair.

I laugh when I read about care being rationed as a result of the Dem's plan. If you don't have access to guaranteed, affordable private insurance, your care is already rationed.

Posted by: Finally! | July 8, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't Senator Clinton getting involved (rather than just her former staffers)? This is supposed to be the issue she cares most about. Is she uninterested in it now, or is she being shut out, and by whom? It would help to learn more on this.

Although I am very grateful Senator Obama is the nominee, I hope we can draw on Senator Clinton's advocacy in this area as well.

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | July 8, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Universal healthcare is the only way to go. It is a national (and international) embarassment that in 2008 we do not have it. People will still be able get private insurance if they want to give away their hard-earned $$$ to insurance companies who do everything possible to avoid having to treat patients. To all the scaremongers who say that enormous waiting lists exist in the UK, Canada, France etc. your claims are grossly exaggerated. Lots of $$$ for "wars" and none for healthcare? Are we really that dumb?

Posted by: Alan | July 8, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I really don't know what to believe about this health care problems we have. I do believe we need to cut costs,but I hear so many pro's and cons about making health care affordable,or universal health care,you just don't know who has the right answer.

Posted by: Dan | July 8, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

The concept behind public insurance is practical. Large purchasing pools effectively spread health services and financial risk. We can create a non-profit, publicly owned insurance program similar to Medicare. Most businesses will see discounts in their premiums. Americans can move from one occupation to another knowing their health needs are covered. Victims of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina or earthquakes will not rely on charity for their health care after their employment is destroyed. Publicly financed health insurance will level the playing field for small businesses that provide health insurance. American business can compete with other industrialized countries that fund health care through Social Security. Public insurance will guarantee medical coverage for all licensed doctors, dentists, optometrists and prescriptions and will give Americans real 'consumer choice'.

We'd be better off pooling our resources and becoming self insured through a public agency like Medicare so all legal residents are insured. The cost of insurance would be much less for most people and businesses and the government would never tell anyone they must limit their income for health insurance. Ever thought why no other industrial country seriously considers adopting our system?

Posted by: Keith Ensminger | July 8, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Scandinavian style univerdal healthcare would be a boon to this country. In Sweden, if you need care, it's there, immediately. It even covers percription drugs, nursing home care, everything. At that, since they have removed any and all private profit, the investors fingers are out of it, so it costs less than 5% of GNP. Our ramshackle mess, on the other hand, costs us 19% of GNP, and is amoung the worst in terms of serivce delivery in the Western world. If we don't make the mistake Canada and the U.K. made and avoid a private super quality system for the very wealthy and everyone else gets what's left over, then we can do quite well. ALl of the horror stories are based on the mess in the U.K. and they are ALL due to the wealthy swine there getting first in line for the best care. Put them in the same boat as everyone else and the care will be excellent. Remove the greed motive and keep Wall Street and all of those gigantic health care companies and pharmaceutical swindlers out of the mix, and the cost will be less than one-quarter of what it is now. From a business standpoint, imagine employers not having to worry about health and dental costs and what a boon that would be to jobs growth. Imagine affordable drugs and not having to worry about some insurance company bean counter turning you or your child down for essential cancer care, for open heart surgery, for drugs you need to stay alive. Imagine not having to worry about affording some drug you need just to stay alive. Imagine putting all of the blood sucking thieves, mostly DME vendors, surrounding Medicare and Medicaid completely out of business.

Posted by: MikeB | July 8, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm a big fan of universal healthcare, at least as a basic minimum amount of care EVERYONE is entitled to. I do fear it becoming a money-pit, or providing substandard care, but better something than nothing right?

It costs far LESS to provide consistent wellcare, than it does to have to take care of a homeless person who hasn't seen a doc in 10 years because they couldn't afford it.

As far as I'm concerned, insurance companies have done our system wrong, and our citizens wrong. NOBODY'S health should be dependent upon a companies bottom line!

Posted by: Fred Evil | July 8, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Here the rich liberal elitist universal health plan as we are all subjected to a squalid system. They go for immediate and high quality country club health care for the rich. No problem them! what i dont think this one will be voting on the matter anyway ;)

Posted by: comeon | July 8, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Are you ready for Universal Health Care as done in England? Well, the people who can afford 'private insurance' as the Brits call it, or have it through their employers, have good care. The 'universal health care' in England is for those who cannot get 'private insurance' either because they cannot afford it or their employer does not provide it. There is a world of difference in these two plans: like night and day. If we have it in the U.S., one will be on wait lists for all sorts of things and the hospital care will be worse. Do you really want this? I don't. I was in an HMO for a few years and it was awful; all the docs did was give prescriptions...rarely any tests and no specialist whatsoever. UHC will be worse.

Posted by: John Peabody | July 8, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I am greatly in favor of a one-payor system for all BUT would insist that members of Congress would have to participate in the plan, just like anyone else!
The insurance companies add nothing to health care: they "skim" money off the top and deny care when possible.

Posted by: Howard Weiss | July 8, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Here the rich liberal elitist universal health plan as we are all subjected to a squalid system. They go for immediate and high quality country club health care for the rich. No problem them!

Posted by: theaz | July 8, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

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