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Health Care: We Fear What We Want

No question that health care reform is on the Nation's front burner. Our Readers Who Comment are all fired up this morning about a Washington Post-ABC poll that says a majority think government action is needed but worry about what it would mean.

Post reporters Ceci Connolly and Jon Cohen are careful to note that this complex issue doesn't lend itself to simple questions or answers.

Our readers complain about insurance companies charging too much and denying treatment for this or that. They worry that a public option might be good or bad. They argue about whether Canadians and Europeans receive better or worse care. Several support the single-payer plan that "Harry and Louise" torpedoed in the Clinton administration. There is a debate about the need to cut malpractice lawsuit awards against a need to get incompetent physicians off the rolls. Several find it necessary to complain about the expenses illegal aliens impose on the system.

We'll start with 2greekdc, who wrote, "3 out of 4 Americans want a public option that improves the quality of health care they receive but lowers costs. Why isn't this reported in the WaPo article?"

(2greekdc didn't read the article, which says, "Survey questions that equate the public option approach with the popular, patient-friendly Medicare system tend to get high approval, as do ones that emphasize the prospect of more choices. But when framed with an explicit counterargument, the idea receives a more tepid response. In the new Post-ABC poll, 62 percent support the general concept, but when respondents were told that meant some insurers would go out of business, support dropped sharply, to 37 percent.")

fwillyhess, weighing in on the same paragraph, said, " 'Popular Medicare program...'?! You must be joking. I work with plenty of seniors and most of them hate Medicare. Hard to find primary physicians to accept it. Constant opting out of physicians who used to accept it. Increasing premiums, lower levels of care, etc., etc... Who does the Post talk to when they make such unsubtantiated statements?"

markeclark said, "The side-effects of our current health care system are bankruptcy, sickness, and death. What could be worse?"

csforst alleged that "Actually, most just want somebody else to pay for them. That is the problem. This isn't health reform--nobody is going to get healthier. This is health care payment redistribution. Let's call things what they are."

palmtree2001 wrote, "Until health care in the United States is not treated like a commodity, there will be those who cannot afford it."

jquinlan29 said, "Health insurance treats nothing, cures no one, pays out as little as possible and costs a fortune, yet people are "satisfied" with their coverage? Why? Medicare works and the overhead is about 3%. No CEO fabulous salaries. There are bills in Congress now to put a public plan -and pay for it - in place. Why should the health insurance industry be protected?..."

VernonC wrote, "A huge chunk of the expense of medical care is the cost of liability insurance that doctors must pay. Patients pay that as part of the doctor's fees, money doesn't come out of the air for doctors like it does for the federal government."

And OregonStorm added, "...True reform to the system must include tort reform. Hundred million dollar awards are insane and the juries who award them are equally insane. These people make no connection whatever between insurance premiums and lawyers pushing for the largest awards possible..."

But owldog said, "What's insane is letting "problem doctors" continue to damage patients, and just pass on the cost of their insurance to their peers. Anyone who talks about limiting malpractice suits, without talking about putting bad doctors out to pasteur (or even prison,) is only looking at half the picture, and blaming the victim..."

Bowerguy1 wrote, "The best way to reduce costs is to bypass the insurance companies. They provide no benefit above what government or nonprofit administration of health care and add substantially to the cost. Coverage of the uninsured would reduce the expensive use of emergency care. If the republicans were truly concerned about costs they would favor single payer which is the cheapest way to go..."

leokasel added, "One of the biggest costs of medical care comes from those people who cannot pay for their medical care. They go to the emergency room, but those costs are covered in the higher payments of those who do pay. Please lets force insurance companies to stop making their money by denying insurance to those in need."

bnboftn asked, "Isn't anyone listening to the Canadians & Brits. The care is terrible and that is the bottom line. Do you want a Congress, that is so greedy, making life and death decisions about you and your loved ones[?]..."

But dwelch2171 said, "These scare tactics are unfounded; the Western industrialized nations have had health plans in place for decades and no matter what you hear, the people wouldn't trade their system for ours, ever. I have been to many of these countries and talked to the locals, including Canada. In order to compete with the global economy we must get a health plan for all our citizens in place..."

dyend wrote, "Of course most want a government run system. It's just makes common sense. Why? For the simple reason, it works. It is there for the person who needs care, not for the stockholders. A private company makes a greater profit for giving less care. Does that make any sense? Only for the company it does..."

joelwisch was one of several who suggested that "If you add health care for illegal aliens to this process, the cost is going to be staggering... Illegal aliens have to come out of the equations or I will adamantly oppose Obama."

Alangc2 wrote, "... I don't want another government agency monitoring, rationing, and making decisions about my health care. That's even before we talk about the increased taxes and enormous cost to pay for it, or should I say borrow for it."

But sashab1 said, "Democratic Senators who oppose a public plan option do so at their own peril. Americans want true health care reform to lessen costs and increase availability of decent health care for all citizens. In reality these goals can best be achieved through a single-payer, universal coverage plan. Unfortunately, the American public has been brainwashed into thinking this is "too radical" an idea..."

We'll close with MPatalinjug, who wrote, "Those who are worried about the financial impact of President Obama's Health Care Reform Proposal now before the Congress obviously need to be reminded that the present system is absolutely unsustainable... without reform, the system as it now exists will collapse in just a few years. This is not even a Hobbesian choice. It is suicidal."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  June 24, 2009; 7:39 AM ET
Categories:  Health , Health-Care Insurance , Illegal Immigrants , Polling  | Tags: Health-Care Reform, Illegal Immigrants, Polls  
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Next: On Sanford: Humanity, Hypocrisy of it All



It’s official. America and the World are now in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. A World EPIDEMIC with potential catastrophic consequences for ALL of the American people. The first PANDEMIC in 41 years. And WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will have to face this PANDEMIC with the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed World.


We spend over twice as much of our GDP on healthcare as any other country in the World. And Individual American spend about ten times as much out of pocket on healthcare as any other people in the World. All because of GREED! And the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare system in America.

And while all this is going on, some members of congress seem mostly concern about how to protect the corporate PROFITS! of our GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT NATIONAL DISGRACE. A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT DISGRACE that is in fact, totally valueless to the public health. And a detriment to national security, public safety, and the public health.

Progressive democrats and others should stand firm in their demand for a robust public option for all Americans, with all of the minimum requirements progressive democrats demanded. If congress can not pass a robust public option with at least 51 votes and all robust minimum requirements, congress should immediately move to scrap healthcare reform and demand that President Obama declare a state of NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY! Seizing and replacing all PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance plans with the immediate implementation of National Healthcare for all Americans under the provisions of HR676 (A Single-payer National Healthcare Plan For All).

Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry. Funding can also begin immediately by substitution of payroll deductions for private insurance plans with payroll deductions for the national healthcare plan. This is what the vast majority of the American people want. And this is what all objective experts unanimously agree would be the best, and most cost effective for the American people and our economy.

In Mexico on average people who received medical care for A-H1N1 (Swine Flu) with in 3 days survived. People who did not receive medical care until 7 days or more died. This has been the same results in the US. But 50 million Americans don’t even have any healthcare coverage. And at least 200 million of you with insurance could not get in to see your private insurance plans doctors in 2 or 3 days, even if your life depended on it. WHICH IT DOES!

Contact congress and your representatives NOW! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

God Bless You


Posted by: JackSmith1 | June 24, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

My family has a small business in Indiana and cannot afford to give it's employees any kind of health care, that's why we agree with a large portion of America on the single payer system. Born in Europe I paid for our health care with insurance stamps in a little book, so did the employer everybody worked for? Until the mass legal and illegal immigration into my country of birth all citizens had exceptional medical services. It insured us of surgery, eyes and teeth care for all the people. Today Europe is under considerable pressure from the millions of foreign labor poured into my nation and other industrialized nations. Why American newspaper always seem to quote that European health care is free--is beyond me? Nothing is free! We paid for it through our employers, but we were--NOT--subsidizing for profit insurance companies?

Every health insurance company removes their pound of flesh, their co-pays, deductible, premiums and of course pre-existing conditions. These nefarious businesses are already spending millions of dollars, spreading rhetoric and propaganda on TV, radio and magazines. They are truly worried that there mammoth profits are in jeopardy, because for once the majority of the American people are not listening to their lies. Yes! You do wait for surgical procedures, but no more than three months. Years ago, I had been out of the country visiting relatives in Australia. When I returned their was a letter waiting for me, for an appointment with a nose surgeon.

We must take into consideration that a American government pool of health care money, far exceeds European standards and would cover every citizen and legal resident. Only the well heeled population don't care for it and the for profit trillion dollar business base have issues, because they have so much to lose?

Posted by: infinity555 | June 24, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"But when framed with an explicit counterargument, the idea receives a more tepid response. In the new Post-ABC poll, 62 percent support the general concept, but when respondents were told that meant some insurers would go out of business, support dropped sharply, to 37 percent."

Nate Silver called the Post out for this shoddy bit of polling today:

Posted by: g9fool | June 24, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

If you would like to help pressure Congress with your vote to pass single payer health care please join our voting bloc at:

Posted by: letsgobuffalo | June 24, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Show Democratic senators you support the public option by adding your name here:

Posted by: forrestbrown | June 24, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

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