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Obama’s Health Care Fixation

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:10 pm - March 24, 2010.
Filed under: Obama Health Care Tax/Regulation

Despite the Democrats’ “historic” legislation all but nationalizing our nation’s health care system, the President and his cheerleaders can’t let go of his fixation on health care.  Despite his promise in the wake of Scott Brown’s election to replace Ted Kennedy in the United States Senate (which seems now to have served as a distraction allowing Democrats to focus on developing strategies to ram through their unpopular initiative) to focus on the economy and jobs, President Obama still seems fixated on health care.

Although health care was not the focus of Obama’s campaign, it remains the focus of his Administration.  In an article in yesterday’s New York Times, David Leonhardt reports that health care “did not appear to be his top priority as a presidential candidate.”  And yet, now that it’s passed, the president is planning a “public relations blitz aimed at turning around Americans’ opinion of the health-care bill“:

Reshaping the legislation’s image will take place in three phases, White House aides said: the immediate aftermath; the seven months until the November midterm elections; and the several years that follow, during which many provisions in the measure will gradually take effect.

Driving the message during those periods is the belief among Obama’s top advisers that Republicans have boxed themselves into a corner with unanimous opposition to the legislation and talk of a repeal.

It’s all politics for these guys, the permanent campaign.  The Obama Administration is trying to sell aggressively something they just forced House Democrats to buy.

Why can’t the White House let the bill speak for itself?  I mean, they’ve already got the better part of the media cheering for them and praising its passage?  Why isn’t Obama turning his focus to the economy?  (Hey, wait a minute, given the results so far of his economic recovery act, maybe we don’t want him to turn his attention there.)

Wonder why Obama just can’t let go of this issue.

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26 Comments

  1. They don’t just want to crush our freedom: They want us to give them our permission. And, they want to be loved for their misdeeds. Ayn Rand depicted both dynamics in _Atlas Shrugged_.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — March 24, 2010 @ 5:23 pm - March 24, 2010

  2. As I hear it, financial regulation is next……so much for being fixated on one topic.

    It gave me great pleasure to watch the heads of certain Republicans explode in the last few days. Louie Gohmert wins the prize as the most insane for suggesting we repeal the 17th Ammendment. So – to take away the government from the democrats and give it back to the people, he wants to go back to a time when state legislatures (politicians) elected Senators (politicians). Yes, politicians picking other politicians is certainly th answer. :-)

    Comment by Kevin — March 24, 2010 @ 5:47 pm - March 24, 2010

  3. And Kevin, it will give us great pleasure to watch your heads explode when Republicans win big victories next fall.

    So, if the president’s not fixated on health care, why does he still plan to campaign on it right now instead of devoting more of his personal attention to financial regulation? Yeah, and more government regulation of the private sector sure is the ticket to create more jobs.

    PS–hope you appreciate my strike-through above. Just to show how you are using the space we provide you to comment on our posts to raise issues totally unrelated.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — March 24, 2010 @ 5:54 pm - March 24, 2010

  4. Maybe these last 2 months HAVE been the ‘laser-like focus on jobs’ that we were promised in the SOTU speech.

    And, given the results of the health care suppository, perhaps we should be glad of the resulting effects on the economy?

    Comment by Jax Dancer — March 24, 2010 @ 7:06 pm - March 24, 2010

  5. “…all but nationalizing our nation’s health care system,”

    What a totally ridiculous statement. Not only does this bill do almost NOTHING to nationalize our health care system, it barely makes a public sector dent into the health _insurance_ field, which is a small part of the health care system. It certainly isn’t a single payer system – which would represent a nationalization of insurance. And of course it does nothing at all to move toward a public takeover of all hospitals and clinics and making doctors government employees – which is what a nationalization of health care would look like.

    Hell, there isn’t even a public option. There is a requirement to buy PRIVATE insurance, for health care that will be delivered primarily by PRIVATE doctors, in PRIVATE clinics and PRIVATE hospitals. The requirement to buy insurance is a necessary step so that these PRIVATE institutions do not have to eat the costs of the uninsured, and so they can remain in business while we forbid them from cuttting people off the minute they need their insurance. (I suggest you have a conversation with the frontrunner for the GOP nomination if you cannot understand these facts).

    Sorry Dan, I dont want to come off sounding like one of your regular commenters here, but please explain why this statement of yours qualifies as anythimg other than a blatant lie.

    “Why can’t the White House let the bill speak for itself? ”

    Are you trying to be funny or something? Bills don’t speak for themselves. This bill has been the subject of a year-long campaign of blatant lying (which seems to be contiuning on all fronts), totally over the top propagandizing, and a lot of near-psychotic behavior from the very extensive conservative media. And you ask so innocently, why doesn’t the administration simply keep quiet and surrender the field of public opinion to the opposition.

    Do you really think that even your readers here are that dumb?

    Oh, and by the way – the focus now is on financial reform. Later this spring and summer it will be energy, and then immigration. And the adminsitration just negotiated an arms treaty with Russia. And signed a jobs bill a week ago.

    I guess you really do think your readers are stupid….

    Comment by Tano — March 24, 2010 @ 9:29 pm - March 24, 2010

  6. “Not only does this bill do almost NOTHING to nationalize our health care system…”

    How perfectly idiotic. What this bill does is reduce the insurance companies to the status of utilities.

    If you have the title to a car, but I can tell you when and where you can drive it, who really owns the car?

    Liberals learned a long time ago that Americans would never go for outright government ownership of the means of production. So they decided that they could achieve the same thing by extreme regulation.

    So who cares that there’s no “public option?” You get the same effect through regulation to the point of ownership.

    Immigration? Obama will seek to legalize the illegals the better to get more Democrat votes.

    Oh, and as for foreign policy, Obama’s been making a hash of that, hasn’t he? Arms control with Russia is worse than useless (we need to start building modern nukes and spend more money on our military), and Obama has done a wonderful job of alienating Israel, the only good nation in the region.

    And meanwhile unemployment is at 9.7% and the deficit is rising rising rising!

    Comment by Tom the Redhunter — March 24, 2010 @ 10:55 pm - March 24, 2010

  7. [Left-]Liberals learned a long time ago that Americans would never go for outright government ownership of the means of production. So they decided that they could achieve the same thing by extreme regulation.

    Which is the economic program of the Fascist party/ideology.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — March 24, 2010 @ 11:08 pm - March 24, 2010

  8. #5: Talking Points,
    Dan wrote “all but nationalizing our nation’s healthcare system.” The statement implies that Obamacare has significant provisions that are consistent with nationalization and/or lay the groundwork for a complete government takeover in the future. And he’s right. The law requires private health insurers to “justify” premium increases to the satisfaction of federal bureaucrats that have the power to veto them. The insurers are required to spend 80-85 percent of premium dollars on actual medical treatment or refund the difference to their policy holders. The federal government can set Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates at whatever level it wishes. Obama and Democrats in Congress have promised that there will soon be a public option to “compete” with private insurers. All of these facts and others demonstrate that the Democrats have “all but” nationalized health care and future laws and regulations that are planned will take us further down that road.

    And besides Talking Points, why are you so outraged about it? Nationalization is EXACTLY what you and your lord and master Obama want. Obama said it himself during the interview with Bret Baier–the Democrats are not transforming one-sixth of the American economy “in one fell swoop.” If the bill that was just rammed through Congress were, in fact, a full nationalization plan, you would be on this blog and others banging out comments praising Dear Leader and assuring us that the federal government is ready and able to fulfill every health care need we will ever require and then some. So, why are you discussing nationalization like it’s a dirty word? Full federal control is your definition of liberty.

    “Bills don’t speak for themselves. This bill has been the subject of a year-long campaign of blatant lying (which seems to be contiuning on all fronts), totally over the top propagandizing, and a lot of near-psychotic behavior from the very extensive conservative media.”

    We know the bill has been the subject of a year-long campaign of blatant lying, specifically, that it is deficit-neutral and will actually save money. Personally, I believe that is a FILTHY FU*KING LIE. But like you said, Taking Points, bills don’t speak for themselves. So, go ahead and sell it to me and everyone on this blog. We have been asking you for days to explain how we are going to pay for Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and all of the other federal and state entitlements that taxpayers are on the hook for and you still haven’t responded. Instead, you keep popping up to give us your unsolicited, tortured analyses of the polls and insisting that Obama is still a superstar–as popular as George W. Bush right after 9/11 even. We don’t give a crap how you interpret the polls because your life’s work is spreading laughable Obama propaganda. Tell us how we are going to pay for all of Obama’s wonderful “reforms.” If you don’t, then we’ll assume that you can’t. And if you can’t, then why the fu*k would you think we are interested in how popular you believe Dear Leader to be?

    Comment by Sean A — March 24, 2010 @ 11:11 pm - March 24, 2010

  9. Tano, I don’t even know why I bother with someone like you.

    In your attempt to rebut me, you ignore all the new regulations put into place regulating the insurance companies and determining what they can and cannot cover. Sean A pretty much nails it. Do I need explain to you why I used the expression “all but.” Not to mention the new government panels (as many as 150 by one estimate) put into place.

    You don’t even know what a lie is. So focused are you on the conservative media that you ignore all the cheerleading going on in the MSM. And the gaming of the numbers to make it look like this package would save money. And the misrepresentations the president has made.

    By letting the bill speak for itself, I am saying that the people are smart enough to understand it on their own. And you act as if we need the president to explain it to us. And while folks in the conservative media are certain to criticize it, others in other media will defend it.

    Are you trying to say that the conservative media has prevented the president get his message across? That they have stopped the mainstream media from presenting his reforms in a positive light? Give me a break, Tano. You give FoxNews and conservative bloggers far too much credit.

    My readers aren’t dumb. The American people aren’t dumb. I didn’t say the president was ignoring other issues. I just said he has made–and continues to make–health care his focus. Do you understand what that means?

    Or must I offer you a reading lesson every time I write a post?

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — March 25, 2010 @ 12:18 am - March 25, 2010

  10. Obama wont do anything to spur economic growth because people with jobs dont need government handouts.

    Funny that Congressman Dingleberries admits what Tardo refuses to stop lying about — that Obamacare exists to control the people.

    Comment by American Elephant — March 25, 2010 @ 1:14 am - March 25, 2010

  11. And the adminsitration just negotiated an arms treaty with Russia.

    And the administration just softened their stance on Iran in order to kiss the asses of Russia and the Chi-Comms.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — March 25, 2010 @ 2:07 am - March 25, 2010

  12. This bill has been the subject of a year-long campaign of blatant lying, (…) totally over the top propagandizing, and a lot of near-psychotic behavior (…)

    [I will deal with the ellipsis in a moment....]

    I would say this is a perfect description of how Obama and his troupe of hyenas have carried on. Obama goes out and promises the moon while combatting the lies and spreading demagoguery to his selected puppets and true believers.

    Now, Tano actually said that this statement only applies to the very extensive conservative media.

    The very extensive conservative media is ABC/NBC/CBS/PBS/NPR/CNN/MSNBC/ The New York Times/ The Washington Post/ AP/ Reuters/ The White House Press Office/ The LA Times/ The Atlanta Constitution/ The Chicago Tribune/ The Boston Globe/ USA Today/ Time/ Newsweek/ The New Yorker/ Vanity Fair/ and Barnacle Bill’s Bunion News.

    How did a few talk radio shows and Faux News become the very extensive conservative media?

    Fighting the truth has always been an uphill battle.

    Oh, and by the way – the focus now is on financial reform. Later this spring and summer it will be energy, and then immigration. And the adminsitration just negotiated an arms treaty with Russia. And signed a jobs bill a week ago.

    Why do I think that Tano will claim that “financial reform” will not involve nationalization and that “energy reform” will not involve nationalization and that “immigration reform” will not involve amnesty?

    It looks like Chavez really got Obama’s dander up when he called him a girly man.

    Comment by heliotrope — March 25, 2010 @ 9:34 am - March 25, 2010

  13. My theory would be his ego. He is a very arrogant man, and after winning election, can’t disassociate that people may like him personally and think he means well and speaks well, but his policies and those coming out of Congress are complete trash.

    His own fault, really, for letting the Congress nobody likes write all the legislation and not taking a more active leadership role in reigning Pelosi and Reid in. But I think he is a classic liberal ideologue who can’t understand people not liking his policies. As if just explaining socialism to us the 500th time will suddenly change our minds…

    If he hasn’t focused on jobs by end of summer, he may get his slaughter midterm elections. BTW Have you guys commented at all on the supposed theory that he WANTS to lose Congress to improve his re-election chances in 2012? I’d love to see some of your guy’s analysis.

    Comment by Tim — March 25, 2010 @ 12:28 pm - March 25, 2010

  14. blatt is a deluded moron. No way the GOP wins anything in November; the repugnant right has offered NO positive solutions for the country. The democrats are the ones offering plans, and they will be rewarded immensely for their productivity.

    Oh, it’s going to be a LONG, LONG, LONG decade for you repugnants.

    Comment by buckeyenutlover — March 25, 2010 @ 12:32 pm - March 25, 2010

  15. Yea, buckeye, I too have had days when I didn’t sleep well and when I stumbled out of bed, ended up making a really bad cup of joe.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — March 25, 2010 @ 12:38 pm - March 25, 2010

  16. bnl: Use your phrase, “the great President Obama” again. I mean, in all seriousness, like you do. I love it when you do that :-)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — March 25, 2010 @ 1:42 pm - March 25, 2010

  17. No way the GOP wins anything in November; the repugnant right has offered NO positive solutions for the country. The democrats are the ones offering plans, and they will be rewarded immensely for their productivity.

    Like they were in Massachusetts, where the screaming black child Obama insisted that anyone who voted for Scott Brown was a racist, misogynist teabagger who wanted to kill health care.

    Scott Brown won in a landslide. Obama lost and lost big. He failed. His whining turned people against him, and his “health care bill” killed him at the polls.

    Got an answer for that, buckeyenutlover? Didn’t think so. You’re a coward, just like your sniveling token Obama.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 25, 2010 @ 2:11 pm - March 25, 2010

  18. “Dan wrote “all but nationalizing our nation’s healthcare system.” The statement implies that Obamacare has significant provisions that are consistent with nationalization ….”

    Agreed.

    “And he’s right.”

    No he is not. What you go on to list are examples of REGULATION. Maybe you are a bit fuzzy on this concept, but regulation is entirely different from administration. The government regulates private entities. It administers governmental agencies.

    Nationalization means government ownership of industry. Britain has a nationalized health-care system. You might guess that from its name – the National Health Service. They own hospitals and clinics. They employ doctors. In a fully nationalized system, you don’t need an insurance industry because revenues comes from taxation, and care is given without patient payment.

    Healthcare is nationalized in the US for the military, and for veterans. NOTHING in this bill moves us any closer to a nationalization of the system.

    Insurance is a small part of the health care system. Most of the money funnels through insurance, but most of what we mean by health care is actual delivery of services, by doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, drug companies etc. A single payer system represents a nationalization of the health insurance industry – thus a small step toward a nationalization of health care overall. But there is no single payer system in this bill, and none was ever on the table.

    “Obama and Democrats in Congress have promised that there will soon be a public option to “compete” with private insurers”

    But there isn’t one, and what we are talking about here is the actual bill.
    But even if there were a public option – it would be an option – for those in the exchange (those who dont get their insurance at work). What was the CBO estimate of how many would sign up for the public option? A few million?

    So even if there were a public option, which there isn’t, it would represent a minor increase in the role of government INSURANCE – a voluntary step on the part of individual consumers, at that.

    “Nationalization is EXACTLY what you and your lord and master Obama want. Obama said it himself ”

    No, he said that if we could start from scratch, he would prefer a single payer system. That would be a nationalization of health INSURANCE, not the healthcare system. Are you really so dense that after a year of arguing this issue you still need to have things like this explained to you?

    “the Democrats have “all but” nationalized health care ”

    The term “all but” means “almost”, or “slightly short of”. What is clearly the case here is that, since there is no public option, that there has been ZERO movement toward nationalization, even of the insurance industry, which itself is but a small part of the health care system,

    You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of regulation, as I mentioned above. If you divide things into statist, or socialist systems vs. free-market capitalists systems, regulation fits as an important and necessary part of the latter. You seem to have some bizarre notion that regulation is socialism-lite or proto-socialism. That is completely wrong. Regulation is a necessary part of an anti-socialist system.

    Regulation of industries or marketplaces is like having a police force in your city. Human beings being what they are, if there is no police force, you get otherwise good people cutting all kinds of corners. And the criminals run free. Have a good police force, and suddenly the overwhelming majority of people slip into the good citizen role, and the criminals are on the defensive. Having an effective polioe force is NOT totalitarianism-lite. It is rather, a necessary ingredient of having a free society.

    Comment by Tano — March 25, 2010 @ 2:35 pm - March 25, 2010

  19. ‘Tano, I don’t even know why I bother with someone like you. ”

    Because in your heart, you know I am right. (to coin a phrase)

    “In your attempt to rebut me, you ignore all the new regulations put into place regulating the insurance companies …”

    Please see above explanation of regualtion, and its role in a free market, as opposed to a nationalized, system.

    “Do I need explain to you why I used the expression “all but.” ”

    You certainly do. It means “almost all”. The truth is “not at all”. Or maybe you have just decided to use the rightwing dictionary – which basically says that anything a democrat does is, by defintion alone, socialist – irrespective of what everyone else in the world has ever meant by the term.

    “You don’t even know what a lie is. ”

    Oh yes I do. Thats why I am such a pain to you.

    “.. the gaming of the numbers to make it look like this package would save money…”

    Hey, that was the CBO – held up by all sides as fair arbiters. Lauded by the right when they showed how the early versions of the bill fell short of budget neutrality.

    “By letting the bill speak for itself, I am saying that the people are smart enough to understand it on their own.”

    I know that that is what you said. And it is entirely disingenuous. The bill is being hammered constantly, daily, with millions of dollars spent by organized opposition and armies of lobbyists and pundits. The “people” are not understanding this on their own – it hasnt even been passed for more than 48 hous now – it has had no effect on people’ s lives. And I guarantee you that less than 0.00001% of the people have read the 2700 pages. So the people know NOTHING about the bill except what they hear or read in the media (writ large -including sites like this). You expect the administration to not make their own case for their own proposal? You cannot be serious.

    “Are you trying to say that the conservative media has prevented the president get his message across?”

    Where did I say anything like that? All I said is that you are being ridiculous to ask the administration to shut up.

    “I didn’t say the president was ignoring other issues. I just said he has made–and continues to make–health care his focus.”

    It is not his only focus. He focuses on many things. As I pointed out to you, he both signed a 17 billion dollar jobs bill, and finished negotiating an arms control treaty – just last week. Your thesis, that he is focused primarily on health care and not giving other issues the attention they deserve is patently ridiculous.

    Comment by Tano — March 25, 2010 @ 2:53 pm - March 25, 2010

  20. Perhaps the most naive and pathetic attempt at “education” I have ever read:

    Insurance is a small part of the health care system. Most of the money funnels through insurance, but most of what we mean by health care is actual delivery of services, by doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, drug companies etc. A single payer system represents a nationalization of the health insurance industry – thus a small step toward a nationalization of health care overall. But there is no single payer system in this bill, and none was ever on the table.

    1.) Health care insurance is entirely (100%) ancillary to health care.

    2.) Money in the health care system comes from cash payments, insurance payments, government entitlement payments and what health care providers can squeeze out of deadbeats.

    3.) ALL “of what we mean by health care is actual delivery of services, by doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, drug companies etc.”

    4.) A single payer system is one revenue source and that source is the government. It pays what it wants to pay for #3. It has nothing to do whatsoever with insurance, which a calculated assignment of risk on the basis of profit potential. To speak of insurance and single-payer health care as interacting in any manner is profoundly ignorant.

    5.) “ A single payer system represents a nationalization of the health insurance industry – thus a small step toward a nationalization of health care overall.” Not only did you blow the whole syllogism, you go right back to the same false premise. A single payer system has ZERO to do with health insurance. A single payer system has no more to do with insurance than Social Security has to do with insurance. Just because a demagogue slaps “insurance” in the title, it does not make it insurance.

    6.) NEWS FLASH !!!! The single payer controls the health care system. Unless, of course, sweet Tano fervently believes the sucker bait that we will all just go get whatever health care we want and/or need regardless of cost and Uncle Sugar will pay the bill.

    7.) But there is no single payer system in this bill, and none was ever on the table. So what? When the risks change for the insurance companies, they will adjust the premiums to cover the risks and their profit margins. When premiums go up and people scream, Tano will say ….. what? “Tough tamales!” Nope. He will scream for price controls and government regulation of the insurance premium prices. And when the insurance companies stop writing health care insurance, the government will ……. what? Turn and look the other way. Nope. Why, they will become the …… single payer and they will regulate costs, access, procedures, etc. etc. etc.

    Tano, you should stick to misreading polls. Your ability to obfuscate the obvious is tissue paper thin and, frankly, rather sad.

    This is when Tano runs away. All communists fall flat on their faces when their utopian sewage system backs up on them.

    Comment by heliotrope — March 25, 2010 @ 3:36 pm - March 25, 2010

  21. Oh yes I do. Thats why I am such a pain to you.

    Oh, no you don’t.

    You see, Tano, in the normal world, a lie is when a person says one thing and then does the complete and exact opposite. Such as Obama screaming that mandates and taxes on benefits were bad and awful and anti-freedom, and then putting them in the ObamaCare bill and claiming they were a good thing.

    In your world, though, that’s not a lie, because a person with black skin who supports anti-Jewish screeds and is a liberal said it.

    In contrast, since GPW is white and Jewish, he must be a liar. According to the Obama Party and its spokespersons like Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Reverend Jesse Jackson, and Reverend Al Sharpton, all white people, especially Jews, are liars. Your Obama, for example, stated on his propaganda website DailyKos that Eric Cantor, who the Obama Party has openly stated is a dirty Jew, shot a bullet into his own office to gin up sympathy.

    You assess whether or not something is a lie based solely on the skin color, racial background, and political leanings of the person who said it. That makes you so disgusting on so many levels that it truly is a pain. It is repulsive to think that, in this day and age, someone can hold the completely racist and anti-Semitic views that you and your Obama Party do.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 26, 2010 @ 1:40 am - March 26, 2010

  22. WHat the hell is this last comment? You seem desparatly trying to fish around for some way to criticize what I wrote, but you come up completely empty.

    “1.) Health care insurance is entirely (100%) ancillary to health care.”

    ??? What is that supposed to mean? We don’t wrap wounds with health care policies? Well, thanks for clarifying that!
    I wrote: “Insurance is a small part of the health care system.” I did not write “Insurance is a small part of health care.”

    “2) Money in the health care system comes from….”

    So?

    “3) ALL “of what we mean by health care is actual delivery of services, by doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, drug companies etc.”

    What a stupid comment. We are discussing the health care system here. The whole thing – especially the money involved, including insurance.

    “A single payer system is one revenue source and that source is the government.”

    Obviously.

    “To speak of insurance and single-payer health care as interacting in any manner is profoundly ignorant.”

    Who spoke of them “interacting”? A single payer system NATIONALIZES the function that private insurance plays.

    “A single payer system has ZERO to do with health insurance.”

    What are you nuts? Do you not understand the most basic issues here – what we are talking about? If you institute a single payer system, there is no more private insurance industry. No more premiums to private corporations who then pay for services. You pay taxes to the government and the government pays for the services.

    What are you thinking…..?

    “A single payer system has no more to do with insurance than Social Security has to do with insurance.”

    Huh? SS functions precisely the way insurance does. You pay premiums in the form of payroll taxes that buy you the security of a minimal income if you become disabled, or if you reach retirement age. Just like insurance, if neither of these things occur, you get nothing, nor do your heirs. Just like insurance, the insurer pays out benefits with the money that comes in the door in premiums.

    “The single payer controls the health care system. ”

    Does Medicare control the health care system? It is a single payer system for those over 65. No, it doesn’t. Doctors and hospitals and pharmacies and drug companies, and all the related businesses in the health care system remain independent and private. Does the single payer have significant influence – sure – just like the Pentagon has significant influence over the heavy armamants industry. It remains however, an industry of private enterprise.

    “But there is no single payer system in this bill, and none was ever on the table. So what? ”

    So what? So there is no government takeover of the health insurance industry, nor any government takeover of the health care system. You spin a fantastic scenario, much like rightwingers always do. Medicare was going to be the death of the American medical system. Just like the Clinton tax increases were going to throw us in a depression. People like you have no clue whatsoever about how the world really works. You have your nasty little ideology, and you constantly fear-monger about how the world will end if things dont go your way. And it never quite works out that way.

    There seems to be an awful lot of people in this country who need to learn these lessons over and over again, but fortunatly, they are not a majority.

    Comment by Tano — March 26, 2010 @ 1:50 am - March 26, 2010

  23. Sorry, by “last comment” I meant the comment by Heliotrope. The last one I read….

    Comment by Tano — March 26, 2010 @ 1:51 am - March 26, 2010

  24. What he’s managed to do constantly since taking office (even with healthcare in the foreground) is snub, insult and alienate our allies and acquiesce, cavort and uplift our enemies, dictators and crazed tyrants the world over. Here’s the latest of these: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/03/25/president-allegedly-dumps-israeli-prime-minister-dinner/?test=latestnews?test=latestnews

    Comment by rodney — March 26, 2010 @ 10:34 am - March 26, 2010

  25. Tano,

    Would there be a health care system without health care insurance? Yes.

    Does health care insurance help people cope with health care costs? Yes.

    Health care insurance is totally separate from health care. There is health care with it and there is health care without it.

    Example: Cosmetic plastic surgery is a hot business. There is no cosmetic plastic surgery insurance. (Not talking reconstructive here.)

    Example: Only recently has the insurance industry found a way into health care insurance for pets. That means, they have determined a way to cover expenses and reap a profit.

    I state again from #20: Health care insurance is entirely (100%) ancillary to health care. While we are fortunate to have an excellent health care system which is interlinked with excellent health care insurance, health care does not vanish if health care insurance vanishes.

    What a stupid comment. We are discussing the health care system here. The whole thing – especially the money involved, including insurance.

    Actually, you are insisting that health care insurance is an important component in the health care system. You are dead wrong. Nationalized health care systems have no insurance component whatsoever. They have some sort of government document one can access which explains the limitations of his access to health care. Period.

    “A single payer system has ZERO to do with health insurance.”

    What are you nuts? Do you not understand the most basic issues here – what we are talking about? If you institute a single payer system, there is no more private insurance industry. No more premiums to private corporations who then pay for services. You pay taxes to the government and the government pays for the services.

    Funny, you almost get it: ” You pay taxes to the government and the government pays for the services.” That clearly means: “A single payer system has ZERO to do with health insurance.” Which is what I said and, in turn, you called me “nuts.”

    Tano, I am on the board of a good sized hospital. Here is what our CFO would explain to you. About 5% of our patients don’t pay. The patients who pay cash for major stuff get an average of 35% discounted from their bill for paying cash. Medicare/Medicaid reimburse about 60% of what they are billed. (That accounts for bills they never pay and bills they discount.)

    The health insurance industry must have a useful network of doctors, providers of drugs and hospitals in order to offer health care insurance. They “overpay” the hospitals and doctors in order to keep them around. They make up the differences in Medicaid/Medicare losses and deadbeats and they even cover the discounts for those who pay cash. They raise their premiums accordingly. When health care insurance premiums soar, it is because Medicaid/Medicare has cut its payments back, more deadbeats are showing up, law suits have cost a bundle, etc.

    Tano, a single payer is not an insurer. You seem to have no understanding of the “insurance” concept. It is a slot machine. You can not pull the handle if you do not put money in first. Some people get lots of money out and some people just pour lots of money in. The slot machine can be adjusted to determine whether it pays off frequently or seldom. The slot machine owner sets the machine to give him as much profit as possible, yet still induce people to play. There are competing slot machine owners who help keep the profits under control.

    When Obamacare requires the health care insurance providers to include pre-existing conditions, it is just an additional mathematical imperative. Now the health care insurance providers have to build the new risks into their premiums. They can spread it across all premiums, only to premiums of people with pre-existing conditions or a combination of both. But premiums will go up.

    When premiums go up and people scream, the Obama reaction will be to load price controls on the policies. When the health care insurers can not profit, their underwriters will take the money to other insurance places (homeowners) where they can make money. The health care insurance provider will quit that part of the industry.

    Will that make health care go away? Of course not.

    The Obama answer will be to set up a single payer system. They might use a front company to handle the “business” as a government corporation. Amtrak, Freddie, USPS, etc. are government corporations, but the only “insurance” aspect of them is the “assurance” that they will carry out their obligations without regard to their ability to pay.

    A single-payer system is a tax pass through system. It will, of necessity have certain rules as to what services will not be provided. For instance, do you believe that a 90 year old alcoholic needing a liver transplant will get one, do you? (He might have had private insurance that would have ponied up. After all, business is relatively indifferent to need.)

    In England, the single payer cuts off a great deal of treatment at patient age 55. No government health care system can pay for everything for everybody. Insurance policies determine services through a price structure. Think about housing, automobiles, designer labels, cheap beer and fine wine. You pay to play and you pay more as your level of luxury goes up. In the government system, your “utility” determines how much public money should be spent on you. At some point, your “utility” is so low that medical care expenses are a “waste.” (Hello Death panels.)

    I realize that you have a very small understanding of basic economics, so I will add this. Today, by law, insurance companies must have substantial sums in safe keeping to pay their possible, sudden bills. (Hurricane damage or an epidemic.) The government grabs taxes from hither and yon and pours the money out hither and yon and leaves the highway fund, social security, Medicare/Medicaid, etc. with IOU’s which are backed by future taxation or future bonds sold to willing citizens or China.

    The single-payer system will not have a pot of taxes to draw on. It will have file cabinets of IOU’s and a dependency on promises being kept.

    Comment by heliotrope — March 26, 2010 @ 10:46 am - March 26, 2010

  26. I saved this out, because it really is at the heart of the crisis.

    Does Medicare control the health care system? It is a single payer system for those over 65. No, it doesn’t. Doctors and hospitals and pharmacies and drug companies, and all the related businesses in the health care system remain independent and private.

    Medicare/Medicaid controls so much of health care that legions of doctors and many, many hospitals are seriously engaged in setting up structures for existing without Medicare/Medicaid. The key problem is that those over 65 can only get around Medicare by paying cash as the government has a total lock on health care insurance for those over 65.

    Our hospital provides a great many, expensive diagnostic tests ordered by physicians and paid by Medicare and supplemental Medicare insurance. There is a redundancy of testing that is necessary to fend off possible law suits.

    When you go to the supplemental Medicare insurance site for your state, you will discover something amazing. All the classes of policies are identical, because they were written by the government. But the premiums vary by insurance companies by a huge spread? Why? Because the companies have to offer the insurance, but they all choose to limit their exposure in certain classes of policies by making the premiums ridiculously high.

    Medicare may not have 100% control, but it drives health care for those over 65. It is being cut, but there is no way for private insurance to pick up the slack. It is against federal law.

    Seniors may well have to spend their savings on health care. Medicare will pay for cataract surgery, but not the lenses. So, the medical people charge enough for the lenses to cover the high discount Medicare pays for the surgery. Canada works their system by providing a managed shortage of joint replacements which put people in waiting lines for months and even years. By the time the patient comes up to being treated, the deterioration is so great he no longer can be helped.

    Medicare is in the health rationing business now and it will only become a larger part of their program.

    Comment by heliotrope — March 26, 2010 @ 11:15 am - March 26, 2010

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