shot in the arm, shot in the butt


Okay, somebody help a brotha out here. Frankly, I admit to being out of my depth on this national health care issue, and I’m having trouble fathoming why universal health care isn’t considered a moral question, akin to a human rights issue in this country. 45 million people have no insurance, and 14,000 people lose it every day.

The facts, as far as I can tell are these: we have the most expensive health care system in the industrialized world, yet we are the “sickest” country in the industrialized world, with one of the shortest life expectancies. I’m not trying to be a dick, but doesn’t that sound like a system that needs to be fucking gutted and reborn?

I would like to know why the Republicans and certain “blue dog” Democrats are blocking Obama’s plan. Unacceptable answers include “it’s too expensive”, because we have no problem funding two wars and bailing out the banks, and I refuse to believe that our actual health and the untold suffering of our uninsured countrymen isn’t worth the same (or more) money. We have the funds, period.

Please just someone tell me that the Republicans want Obama’s plan to fail because they don’t want him to succeed at anything. As cruel, barbaric and scorched-earth as that is, at least I can understand it. Or someone could tell me that conservatives are philosophically unable to care about people they don’t know; that, too, would make sense.

So I ask: what is the problem? If conservatives have a good argument, I swear to god, I’ll listen intently and keep an open mind. And you doctors, what would be your solution? I know health care is an inherent snoozer of an issue for most people, but I have to decide if I’m going to be furious or not.

0 thoughts on “shot in the arm, shot in the butt

  1. Insurance Guy

    Listen, people: before you dive head-first into this health care reform thingy, take a moment to THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN.
    I’m NOT talking about poor kids with inadequate health care — they’re screwed anyway — I’m talking about the beautiful, innocent children of insurance company executives. They’re the ones who’ll REALLY suffer if those misguided liberals have their way and somehow force meaningful health care reform on us.
    Our pre-teen girls will be forced to settle for bikes instead of ponies; vacations will be taken not in Mallorca, but Myrtle Beach; for god’s sake, our 17 year old kids will be sent off to college with Fords instead of BMWs!
    Look — no one does more in this country to protect the rich from the poor than the insurance industry does (OK, maybe the police, but you get my point). If health care reform is enacted, our profits will fall dramatically. Our beautiful, innocent children will be thrown to the proles for slaughter! All we’re asking is that you get our backs this one time.
    Anytime you hear someone speaking intelligently about improving the lives of poor people with better health care, just loudly say “Socialized Medicine!” over and over until they stop (those words scare the shit out of all conservatives, most moderates and a surprising number of liberals).
    Remind your representatives in Washington to remember the children of insurance company executives when they vote.
    While you’re at it, talk to them also about socialized education, socialized mail delivery, the socialized highway system and the socialized military. These things set bad precedents in this country and should be abolished.
    Let them hear from you! THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!

  2. Salem

    When am I going to hear someone explain how our current healthcare system is crippling our economy. How are we going to rebuild this economy when the majority of our aging baby boomers are one disease away from exhausting their life savings. They can’t live with their kids ’cause their kids are already living in their basement again.
    The burden will always fall back on the taxpayer and the fallback price is always heavier than a preventative solution.
    What about lost productivity? What about the financial drain on small business owners and upper middle class families who actually pay their medical bills without filing bancruptcy or having the government pay their bills?

  3. dean

    Broken record. The Republicans have nothing to do with this, but you want to blame them. In reality, the Democrats can pass pretty much whatever they want — the DO control both houses of Congress and the Presidency. So, turn your ire to the Democrats (for once).
    You don’t want to hear about the money. Tough. One of my main objections is money. You say that we have the funds to pay for it — go spend some time in the real world. I am a successful lawyer and I am feeling a huge pinch this year, but my problems pale compared to the people who actually work for a living. “But we paid for a war. . ” — hey, 2 wrongs don’t make a right. Stop spending on the war too . . fine with me.
    Second objection is trust. This is a routine difference between Dems and Reps. I do not think that the federal government can run it and make it better. The CBO has guffawed (yes, guffawed) at every cost analysis done by Obama. It would be a huge mess.
    Are there problems? Yes. Gutting the system is not the answer.

  4. Insurance Guy

    Yes, dean! You are clearly on the right page, especially about the money thing.
    Never mind that in every other country with public health care, per capita costs are less (33-50%) or that their average citizens live longer, healthier lives. I’ve been to those countries. Those people are smarter than we are! We could never do anything as well as they do!
    Besides, who cares about average citizens? Our wealthy citizens are healthier than their wealthy citizens and obviously, that’s what counts.
    dean’s right: the government would screw it up, just like they screwed up mail delivery and the military. Let’s maintain the status quo. The insurance industry is doing a great job for rich America!

  5. dean

    This post and the comments abound with crackwhore-like statistics.
    Our country’s health statistics aren’t so dire when you factor out violent crime. Another topic for another day.
    If it is just us Republicans standing in the way, why are the tracking polls showing that the popularity of Obama’s plan is in the toilet? Wait . . don’t tell me. It’s because of Foxnews, talk radio, Sarah Palin, Hannity, white cops in Cambridge, Mormons, Dick Cheney, Coach K, Tea Party attendees, Christians, Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter, birthers . . . am I leaving out any of your usual strawmen?

  6. jersey

    I detect a note of sarcasm from Insurance Guy.
    In fact, I’m starting to think that he’s not an insurance guy at all.
    I don’t pretend to understand the intricacies of the health care debate, but as an owner of a business that employs over 300 people, I can tell you that something needs to be fixed. When I see that Aetna bangs my company for a 35% increase in our premium, yet Aetna comes out with a 28% increase in profits, well – it’s hard not to ask, “what the fuck?”
    Einstein had it right: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing, but expecting a different result. They have to fix it, but I’m not sure that the goverment running the show is the answer. But dean is spot-on here: can’t blame the GOP when Obama has the ability to line up both houses to get something done.
    In the meantime, I’ll leave it to the “subject matter experts” while I try to sell a tractor or two.

  7. Schultz

    I want universal health insurance and coverage for everyone- I just don’t want the US Government running it. Be honest people- do you really believe that the government can develop, initiate and implement a health care system from scratch??? It seems far fetched to me given the track record of such crack organizations as the GSA, Social Security, IRS and yes, the USPS.
    I would like to see more government oversight and control of the current insurance industry. The Obama administration has proposed adding a 8-10% tax on those businesses that do not provide a health insurance plan to employees. As a small business owner who does not provide a plan but does provide reimbursement for employees, I find this very troubling and another assault on small business- but it’s a start.
    The big questions is how do you insure the unemployed and those who cannot afford today’s premiums. As hypocritical as this sounds, I would start with the IRS.

  8. Insurance Guy

    Excellent tactic, dean! Everyone take notes: when confronted with statistics that you can’t refute and which don’t support our case, simply slam them with a childish insult! “Crackwhore” is perfect, with its connotations of squalid, criminal poverty. That’s the image of poverty we want middle America to have (certainly we don’t want them to consider the hard-working, wage-slave poverty that wins sympathy).
    Also, nice point about violent crime. It has nothing to do with health care, but boy does it distract! Factor out poor people altogether and the statistics get even better!
    Kudos to both you and jersey for focusing on the partisan political fight. Another good distraction. Of course, Big Insurance lobbies and funds both Dems and Repubs. I’m pretty sure we have the bipartisan support necessary to castrate this health care reform thing. But don’t take it for granted! Call your representatives and let them know how you feel!

  9. Ehren

    The reason old people (who basically run this country, both political parties and most businesses) don’t want to switch health care systems is the same reason that parents never want to see their children be part of some “experiment” in education reform. Nobody wants to be the test case for a complete overhaul of a system that is vitally important to them, and works well enough right now. And by “well enough”, I mean that it is seems better than a worst case disaster or a best case “this will be awesome, but we’ll have to work out the kinks for decade or so.”
    Overhauling health care will be expensive and a pain in the ass, but so is fixing your roof. But the more it leaks, the more trouble it will be worth if you don’t take care of it. I think we’re getting to the point that the dialogue about this is becoming more urgent, but as long as our population continues to age, I’m not sure we’ll be able to get something through.

  10. josie

    Can conservatives answer me this: Lack of decent healthcare options is crushing entrepreneurial spirit everywhere. I know a TON of people who have had to return to the womb of Big Business and dump their small business dream because of lack of affordable insurance options to cover their families.
    The rest of them are just getting by without any coverage, and avoiding seeing the doc lest they be branded with a pre-existing condition.
    Our current system is a big dis-incentive to early-stage innovators. That’s un-American. Face it, the system is broken.

  11. josie

    OK, so there is no question to answer, but I would like to see someone whose opinion differs from mine address this point.

  12. wottop

    The current system benefits the white-collar world where health insurance is a normal part of most jobs.
    It is killing the guy at the bottom and his family who does not get these benefits.
    Why are we content to kill off the later group? That is what we are doing. I am in the first group and just don’t understand the “I got mine, fuck the rest of you” mentality. Is there no compassion left for our fellow man?
    If the little guy wants anything, it will soon be time for him to fight for it. If we as a society are not willing to help, then he will just have to kill US to get it. Sounds drastic, but what will he have left? Do you think his children are less important to him than yours are to you?

  13. Bud

    What does insurance have to do with health care? No one having a heart attack calls out for his insurance agent!
    This to me is the heart of the problem. Why should one industry, which contributes nothing but cost and misery to the system, benefit so enormously from it?
    Why not replace it with a non-profit alternative?

  14. Rebecca

    I find it to be a moral issue as well. The hypocracy of the Christian Right is unbelievable – truly, what would Jesus do? How can the evangelicals be against health insurance for people? Didn’t their savior preach helping the sick and poor? I haven’t been to church in a long time, but I swear that was a big part of the message there.
    Many truly poor people have health insurance through Medicaid or other state programs. Well – except in California now. Just be careful, you really won’t want to visit an ER now that hundreds of thousands of people just had their coverage terminated by the Governor!
    There was an interesting article in the LA Times a few weeks ago about the current systems not being utilized fully, and the difficultly that people find in trying to sign up for coverage for which they are eligible. The article can be found here:

  15. Steve Williams

    I was appalled to read that health care reform, even if enacted this year, will not take effect until 2013!
    Three years is a long time for us all to suffer the drain on U.S. productivity due to poor health care at unjustifiable cost.
    Too long for poor people to wait, if you believe in social justice.
    Too long for people with routine health problems to wait, if you believe even for-profit payers should behave ethically.
    Too long even for people like me with excellent health care, for now subsidized by the stimulus, but soon, I hope, paid by my next employer.
    I am already very disappointed in the legislation, which can hardly be called “the Obama plan.” I’m still waiting for Obama to bring the passion.
    Now to find out fair treatment will be on hold for three years while bureaucrats regulate and obfuscate … I’m speechless.

  16. Rebecca

    There are people who fall out of group health insurance plans and then don’t qualify for private insurance. My family would be in that situation if my husband lost his corporate job. My sons would probably be denied private insurance coverage because of medical conditions they have; hell, I probably would be too! So if you don’t qualify for Medicaid, (which we wouldn’t) you’re in trouble if you get sick. There’s not an alternative!
    So what happens to families that lose their group coverage and can’t pay for COBRA or buy private insurance? Do they play russian roulette with their health? One car accident can financially ruin you for life – and I have a big problem with that.

  17. Jody

    “gutted and reborn”
    See that’s the problem with so many things, they can’t be gutted and reborn (see Wall Street or energy policy or say, a fresh Cabinet full of unknowns who might actually bring hope and change). This topic is so complex and interwoven that virtually every comment about it is equally right, or wrong, from any side.
    The proposal IS socialized medicine, but we’ve already socialized a lot of medicine. Might as well expand it, but with a basic premise: It could improve basic wellness, but only the wealthy will be able to pay for experimental treatment or specialized services (this would also be called “insurance”). Once we accept this basic tenet then expectations would be lowered. (I don’t know why we don’t, it certainly applies to every other aspect of being alive). If you believe that the very latest and greatest health care is a right, which I don’t, then all of this is a fairly insurmountable problem. For example, I smoke. I feel that I have effectively removed myself from the right to have certain healthcare procedures; but I can admit this, few others can.
    Although I am on a government insurance plan it has always been too expensive for my kid. The cost to insure him privately for 13 years: between $95 and $125 per month, less than most cable bills. The cost to keep him out of soft drinks and ice cream daily and out on his bike: practically free.
    I hear the analogy about car insurance: It’s for the accidents, the unknowable- not for maintenance or long-term repair. I see this analogy the opposite way: a health care plan, for maintenance and/or long term care- not for the abstract. If you get serious cancer and can’t pay for the treatment, you die.
    So how do new procedures and drugs get developed? Private sector. Can’t really get away from that. (Capitalists, do not rejoice, for I have to remind you that government funding pays for a shitload of these breakthroughs and the research) Therefore I see the validity of Obama’s comments as to both systems continuing to exist- they have to unless we would like to say we’ve come far enough and now will only treat what has been developed thus far…
    No question about it, care will have to be rationed,
    But it already is.
    And if you’re fat, smoke, like meth or are a base jumper: watch your ass!

  18. Neva

    Ian just approved my comment from earlier. I had to be approved first (!) and I didn’t even use any bad words, unless you count insurance company. Please look way up at 6:42 am for my early morning thoughts (it was 9:42 here I believe).

  19. LFMD

    Hi. I work for a health insurance company. I like the work, and I want to clarify a few things about the industry itself. First, the insurance companies are highly regulated by the states in which they do business. Every contract form, amendment, mandated benefit, and increase in premium is reviewed first by the state insurance departments, and believe me, the scrutiny is high. All underwriting practices are reviewed and audited on a regular basis. All insureds have the right to appeal any decision made by the insurance companies, and most appeals and grievances are decided by the regulators. In my opinion, any contractual language dispute or insurance law interpretation errs on the side of the insured. As it should be. I do not know of many industries that are regulated as closely as insurance.
    I think that the hostility towards insurance companies is often misdirected. Yes, there are lots of administrative hoops to jump through, and I know it is tiresome. The bigger problem in our health care fiasco IMO is the cost of care. We need health insurance to protect ourselves against the cost of care. Without insurance, how could you pay for your yearly prescriptions? The cost for giving birth in a hospital? Surely there is not a need for hospitals to charge $5 for a band-aid or Big Pharma to charge $200/month for an antidepressant.
    I like the insurance executives I know. Believe it or not, they are not focused on screwing all of you. . . they are trying to offer diverse insurance products to the public. And yes, it is a business, so there is an interest in profit and staying competitive with other health insurers. So that we can continue to offer new and interesting health insurance products.

  20. Neva

    You know I love you LFMD and I’m glad you like your job but I have had nothing but HUGE headaches from insurance companies that in my experience simply deny a certain percentage of claims just because they can and it will cost them less if even just a few of those folks don’t fight back.
    I just cannot see the logic of a company whose invested interest is only is paying out less money for your care.
    You are right, health care is costly but it mostly because we have so many people who can’t afford health care that we must pay for those folks too.
    What do you mean by diverse insurance products anyway? I have never been offered anything diverse other than a payment or a denial.
    I just do not think that a for profit company should be involved in my health care.

  21. Neva

    Oh, also, they may be heavily regulated but not enough to keep they from denying people with health problems, denying claims for no good reason and then refusing to explain the cause for denial. I still cannot understand how they can get away with denying claims and not explaining why.

  22. kjf

    neva is correct about insurance companies. i have very good private insurance and i would say about 75% of my claims are denied. and then i call them and they are approved. this leads me to conclude that they assume most people will just accept their denial. and pretty much every time i call them they have some crazy reason. like when i had a ski accident and tore my ACL i went to an ER for care. the bill was submitted and denied. so i called them and they said the ER didn’t put the date of the first incidence of this injury. so i said, well it was the day i went to the ER. and they said ok and paid the bill (over $2500). another time i had a mammogram and they denied the claim so i called them and they said it was denied because you have to be over 40 to have a mammogram paid for. so i asked them what year they had as my birthyear and they said 1955….so i waited a few seconds for her to figure out i was in my 50s and she said oh they will pay it. or the time they denied the claim for major surgery after it was already pre approved. i called and they said oh we should have approved that. or the time they refused to pay for my crutches with icepicks on the bottom of them (after ACL tear in snow country) because there was no code for icepicks and the ER put in the code for crutches and the icepicks as miscellaneous. the agent said there was no way to approve a claim with a miscellaneous code listed. so i asked them why they had a miscellaneous code at all and she said it was for things that were not listed. like icepicks on crutches for people who were injured in the snow i said? and she said yes but we do not have a code for icepicks. the damned icepicks were under 10 dollars and i considered just paying for them but i pay for health insurance every month so i appealed the denial. and then they paid for them.
    it is absolutely ridiculous. and i am sure they keep statistics on how many times they get away with this and they just keep doing it because most people do not read or understand their policies.

  23. Neva

    Yes, say what you will about Medicare and Medicaid (and there is a lot to say) but at least they tell you UP FRONT what you will be paid and what they will or will not cover. This helps you avoid so much hassle on the back end dealing with unexplained denials and gobbledy gook. I think the backassward denial of things after the fact is just one hair shy of fraud.
    How would you all in business feel about providing all your service with the hope that you will be reimbursed later on “if” some third party decides you will be. Your bottom line is uncertain and you are constantly trying to retrieve money from old claims which takes gobs of time for your staff. Or.. you just try to see 30% more patients and assume you won’t chase those 30% of claims you never see payment for..

  24. ChrisM

    The current health insurance and delivery systems — wasteful, complex, and expensive as they are — were created by a hodge podge of federal tax law and state mandates. All the stupid existing laws, just like all the stupid new ones being formulated now, are written by f***ing politicans. Politicians, regardless of party affiliation, legislate based on the influence (cash/power) peddled by lobbyists who get paid (cash) to represent an endless list of special interests that want stuff (cash) from the government. And please, it isn’t only insurance companies that are grabbing at health care cash.
    For f**k’s sake people, our society is awash in food, clothing, cars, iPods, cell phones, 800 channels, botox injections, spa treatments….on and on…without state and local government controlling production, prices, and distribution. Can you imagine how much health insurance/care you could buy with with all the perfectly good stuff people choose to throw away every day?
    Morality? No, this is sheer stupidity. Average people with enough money to buy all sorts of goods and services have come to expect that health care should be free. “Free,” of course, means that someone else pays for it. And when you want someone else to pay your tab on an ongoing basis, you usually have to hire some muscle to make an offer they can’t refuse.
    We’ll see what happens. The middle class like to eat their health care cake and have it too, but some of them realize they are going to be at the back of an even longer line of very hungry guys with napkins tucked in their shirts and a fork in each hand.

  25. Insurance Guy

    ChrisM is right! If deadbeats can’t afford health care, they should just go ahead and die. It’ll make America stronger.
    That’s how Insurance protects the rich from the poor. We deny the poor coverage when possible, and deny their claims as a matter of course. Only the strong are able to fight us and survive. The weak die off, the strong survive and the herd becomes stronger!
    You’re welcome!

  26. jenx67

    my complaints are beyond pedestrian and make me sound like someone from the sticks. still, doctors are jack a**es and treat poor patients with no healthcare who seek help for the common cold and other unmentionables like PID (homeless women, etc.) via the ER like absolute crap. i saw this first hand when i worked as the public information officer for the the largest ambulance service in oklahoma. my experiences made me feel like all the health insurance in the world would not solve the biggest problem: crappy, asanine doctors. moreover, why does it take me four months to get an appt. with a dermatologist for my 12 year old? Let more people into medical school, and then don’t pay them so much money. Doctors aren’t rich in Cuba you know. Like I said, what my comment lacks in eloquence it makes up for in personal experience. i have a few stories about doctors that would make the most steeled sick.

  27. Randy

    I love how it is all the evil drug companies who are a drain on the healthcare system. I work in the drug industry and there are higher salaries in the pharmaceutical arena, but these billion dollar beasts are not monsters. It takes a lot of money and time to prove that a compound works and to bring that compound to market. Why to drugs cost so much? Because assuming that a compound is found that works and it survives the clinical trial process and is approved by the FDA, the drug companies are left with just a few years of patent protention to make back their money and feed the research cycle again. That is why you see them reconstitute the drug as the patent expiry nears and position it as a “new” drug. One of my solutions to this cost screams in the face of what Obama said today in Raleigh. He wants to cut the patent life to 7 years to get generics on the market faster. I say go the other route and drop the whole patent life cycle and limits. Allow the companies to maintain the patent on their intellectual property as long as they want with the only concern being when a new competitive drug product is introduced (a better drug that treats the same disease). This would be a major blow to some jobs in the generic businesses (and my company works with both and would take a hit here as well), but it would allow the companies to lower the cost of their drugs because they have a longer time to recoup the costs of bringing it to market and supporting the R&D stream. They could better price the drugs knowing that the patent could never be lost (there would probably need to be some regulation for greed, but I’d think that could be factored in to the approval process in some way). Anyway, I just think that if we want to drive down the costs, moving more quickly to get generics on the market is not the way to go (despite their cheaper costs). Why do the generics cost so much less? Because these companies only have to do limited testing on the forumla that the patent owner had to do massive amounts and phases of testing to prove that the drug was safe and what was the effective dose for treatment. I’m telling you – give the companies a longer lease on the life of the drug to recoup costs and fund more research and you will see the name-brand drugs come down in price – guaranteed.

  28. Nice

    to “Randy”: not one word was written against pharma. in fact, pharma got a couple of positive nods. of course, to know that, you’d have had to actually read the post and the comments, which obviously you didn’t. methinks you’re a pr hack posting your spiel on every blog and board you can find.
    so for others like me who don’t enjoy being brainwashed, here’s a summary of your post: “blah blah, poor little drug companies, blah frickin blah.”
    have a nice day.

  29. wottop

    While we are at it: Why exactly is it important for 50+ year old men to still get an erection? I just cannot believe that this should be anything but an out-of-pocket expense.
    Sure, I’m 41 and can still salute, but this is just an example of something that is draining the resources of the system.

  30. tregen

    Exactly how is it that Obama’s plan makes things better? I have no opinion, one way or another but have neither read or heard a thing that concretely establishes that the “plan” does anything to address the systemic problems. The truth is that the Dems control everything, there is no reason to blame the republicans (and I’m a hard core dem) but when the repubs were in control, I blamed them and to be fair this mess needs to be laid at the feet of where it belongs; the dem leadership in the house, senate and whitehouse. Incredibly inept politics.
    Just out of curiousity and perhaps a bit off message for this post but; for those who believe that health care is a moral issue and a human rights issue, what is your position on abortion?

  31. ChrisM

    Thank you I.G. for providing xtcian readers with a “teachable moment” about the difficulty of writing truly insightful, humorous satire.
    For those interested in health care policy, especially those who may accept the assertions that no alternatives are being offered to the “reform” now being formulated in Congress, here is a link to an article authored by my friend Paul Howard, Ph.D., a Senior Fellow and Director of the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Medical Progress. Unlike my polemic, Paul’s article does not contain any expletives:
    Also, here is another article from a Manhattan Institute contributor (and medical doctor practicing in England) exploring not only whether there is a “right” to health care, but whether that is a meaningful question.

  32. Piglet

    Clearly, the government cannot be trusted to monitor health coverage and ration what your policies will cover. Those decisions should be made by a private for-profit entity that gets paid every time someone dies from the denial of treatment.

  33. Zel M.

    There are two fundamental issues here – the health care system and how we pay for health care.
    Our health care system may be the most expensive, but it is also the best. Tell me if you’re on a plane and are struck with a life-threatening illness, where do you want the plane to land? If you choose Toronto over New York, you’re lying.
    Also, there is not a problem with ACCESS to health care in this country. If you need a doctor, you can get to one. The problem comes in with how you pay for it.
    I think the primary reason many on both sides of the aisle are opposed to the president’s plan is that it doesn’t solve the problem. You choose the problem, it doesn’t solve it. And it bankrupts the treasury while not solving anything.
    There are supposedly 45 million people without health insurance. By my math, that means there are 260 million who do. If the scope of this plan was to just reach a net to those 45 million people, that’s one thing. But study after study shows the plan in its current form simply does not work.
    Further, states who have tried this on limited levels (e.g. Massachusetts, Hawai’i) have not been able to make it work. As many people on this board have said, to truly remake the system would require blowing up both health care delivery and payment mechanisms, and even the president knows that ain’t gonna happen.
    Face it – this plan is a bad fix. And in this case, a bad fix is NOT better than no fix at all.
    And most important, here’s the thing, and there’s really no getting around it: If the president’s plan is so wonderful, why are Congress and the president himself exempted from it? Kind of like politicians who are beholden to teachers’ unions and preach about public education for all sending their kids to private school, don’t you think?

  34. Alan

    I think no one would argue that healthcare for all isn’t a good idea…the problem is how the government wants to handle the problem. The government has no business handling healthcare…they’ve already screwed up something as innocuous to society as the Cash for Clunkers program. If they really wanted to fix healthcare, they’d go after the insurance companies…the beginning and end of almost all healthcare access and cost issues.
    Oh, wait, that won’t work…they’re all on the dole from the insurance companies…

  35. dob

    All those conservatives saying the government can’t run a health care program, what about Medicare? It’s government-run, covers the most expensive segment of our population in entirety, yet its costs are rising more slowly than the private industry. What about the VA system? By many measures, it’s now enjoys the highest customer satisfaction of any plan in the country. What about the federal employees’ health insurance system?
    You don’t want the government to run a health care system because of your ideological biases, not because the data indicate it wouldn’t work. For Christ’s sake, consider the post office. It’s government-run, is entirely self-funded, has service mandates that would make private industry cringe, and can reliably deliver a piece of paper from one end of the country to another in a matter of couple of days.
    Free market libertarians, what a joke. “It works in the real world, but what about in theory?” Health care is not a free market for any number of reasons. It’s time to make it a public utility, a right of citizenship. Fucking Cuba has better infant mortality rates than we do. We can’t do it? We can’t afford it? Please. It’s all about priorities, and you’re damn sure showing where yours are.

  36. Randy

    To Nice – No, I didn’t read all of the blog posts and I wasn’t attacking anyone or any thing said on this board. But in Obama’s stump for healthcare speech in Raleigh on Wednesday he did “attack” the Pharma industry and talked about lowering the patent life. I was merely adding to the debate with my feeling that his patent idea is going in the wrong direction. My opinion and yours is that you don’t care for it. Fair enough.
    And no, I’m not a PR hack. Actually graduated from UNC’s j-school and now work in QA for a company doing drug research.
    To Neva – I agree. I think the direct marketing and the outrageous dinners are a complete waste of money and I don’t want my doctor swayed by that. I actually applauded my doctor when he threw a drug rep out with his samples. Being in QA in the pharma industry, I actually tell people that the best thing they can do for themselves is “not get sick”. Not an easy thing to adhere to. Even with my recommendation to extend the patent life, it would have to be done very carefully because knowing some of the greedy bozons running some of the companies, they wouldn’t use the extended time to lower the price of the drugs. Hence my statement about there being a need to factor that in somewhere. But completely agree with you about the junkets and dinners – they can’t be helping lower the cost of prescriptions.
    And to those who say that all of the conservatives are just bashing the plan and don’t care – I point you to Mitt Romney’s really good editorial in USA Today (on Thursday I believe) where he said that they can insure everyone and it can be in a bipartisan way like they did in Mass. Now, the article is probably some posturing for a run in 2012 (God knows he’d be better than Palin), but the fact that they have 98 percent of the population of the state covered does sound promising. Not sure what the healthcare and insurance coverage is like in Mass. as I live in NC, but I’m one of those conservatives who actually knows that the system is broken and needs to be fixed, but it needs to be fixed the right way and paid for. We can’t keep deficit spending our way to oblivion (and “W” was horrible with numbers over his 8 year term and did not contribute idea one to solving this problem – so I give Obama some credit for at least getting this debate going in his first 6 months).


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