48 Replies Latest reply on Nov 19, 2010 1:33 PM by JerryD

    Obama health care bill

    FSO

      What are your thoughts on the affects of the Obama health care bill on seniors?

      http://edlabor.house.gov/documents/111/pdf/publications/AAHCA-BillText-071409.pdf

       

        • Re: Obama health care bill
          jclark
          Per the Rachel Maddow show last night, the are alot of untruths in the TV  ads  so it is  hard to get a clear picture of how th bill will afffect us.  Per AARP,  these ads are being paid for by pharmacutical companies but under the name of any organization called "seniors over 60" or something close to that.  I am trying to get some more accurate info from my local senators office.  anyone have another idea? 
            • Re: Obama health care bill
              Rubiosa
              Yes. IMO, the best day-in, day-out coverage of the health question is by Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, 8 and 10 Central, M-F.  
              • Re: Obama health care bill
                nancypretty

                I trust the health information I receive from both Fox and CNN.  Also, ABCs John Stossel gave good health information on his special 20/20 program:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdx_2cuPgQQ

                  • Re: Obama health care bill
                    osprey2

                    The best discussion I've seen of the health care proposals is in the latest edition of the AARP Bulletin (September, 2009).  It's very well-considered and well written, and speaks not only to what is best for senior citizens but also what is best for the nation.  And no, it is not completely supportive of everything in the proposals.   

                    By the way, be careful concerning what you hear on Fox News.  That group is focused on destroying President Obama and the Democrats at any cost, and they have little or no interest in what is best for our nation and our citizens.  Any news organization that has to say "Fair and Balanced" probably isn't.  The AARP Bulletin mentioned above takes them on point by point and reveals their lies.  Calm down, everyone, and do some reading from multiple sources.          

                    • Re: Obama health care bill
                      IPPY

                      I was asked to answer a Survey regarding what is the most expensive Item on a personor married Couple's Monthly or Quarterly, besides their Rents/Mortgage I would say it is Health Care.

                      It is such a shame that the average citizen is so against President Obama's Health Care Plan.Just  listening to them at a Town Hall Meeting this Summer, I feel that they are from the Know-Nothing Party. When I was abroad in Europe last year I had the opportunity to visit the Hospitals and Clinics of both Western Europe and Eastern Europe, let me tell you the American way of health care can never compare with their health care.The patients in their Hospitals do not suffer from staff infection like here and their Facilities are not filthy and dirty like in the States.

                       The Medical Physcians in their Countries do not give unnecessary Procedures and they do not bleed the Insurance Companies like in the States.

                      The senior Citizens do not overly use their Health care like here and then turn around and call

                      Obama's Plan Socialism.

                      I was in Countries in both Europe and Asia that have Socialist Medicine and they do not have to wait for ever for

                      transplants and other dangerous procedures.

                      In the last several months I have seen Advertisements on Television showing Canadians complaining

                      about their Health care Plan in Canada. I don't know if they are actors or real Canadians they give a very

                      gloomy picture of their Health Care waiting hours to be served and controll over their health care.

                      Wake Up American Citizen's, this is all a Maketing Technique to discredit Senator Kennedy's Health Care Plan.

                      I spoke with many Canadian Citizens and they all told me that on an office visit don't you have to wait for

                      in your offices  in the States until called.

                      Most times don't the American's have to wait for Kidney transplants that don't always work out and the Peson dies anywhere.

                      Not to be Demeaning to other readers of this Column, if your idea of traveling is going down the shore and I do it sometimes or visit Disney World with the Kids, kindly think before you talk!

                      Every Administration puts on a front for television viewers and behind the scenes they try to play a Tolitarian role

                      globally. pretending to bring Democracy throughout the World. Wake Up!.

                    • Re: Obama health care bill
                      teryng
                      Use factcheck.org. They seem to be nonpartisan and do what their name says: they check facts and debunk the stuff that makes it to mass e-mails and fraudulent claims.
                    • Re: Obama health care bill

                      Any bill, under any president, that isn't thoroughly understood by the people, and isn't even thoroughly read by Congress, is suspect.

                      While certain reforms are necessary (i.e., I don't like the idea of folks losing their homes or life savings because of a health catastrophe, nor the ghastly doughnut hole), this bill's apparent railroading is cause for concern, as are some of the current and past statements and writings of Obama's advisors regarding margin costs and such.

                      Regardless of how this turns out, there needs to be much more emphasis on preventive care, personal responsibility, and healthy eating/living, and more scrutiny of the health insurance, hospital/nursing home, and pharmaceutical industries.  

                        • Re: Obama health care bill
                          mcurtis

                          Excellent points.  If it's a good bill, it will stand up to intense scrutiny.  If even Congress cannot explain it, there's something drastically wrong and should be delayed until it is fully understood by Congress and the public.

                          Am very afraid it's just another means of government control as in the auto and banking industries.  The government cannot take the place of private enterprise without disasterous results to this country.

                            • Re: Obama health care bill

                              Totally agree.  Limited government, not governmental takeover, was what the framers had in mind.

                              Many seniors are attending the health care reform info sessions and expressing exactly how they feel.  While some folks (seniors included) will always look for an easy way out and for someone else (i.e., someone else's tax dollars) to "rescue" them, most appear to be concerned about potential change that they do not understand - and that those holding the sessions cannot fully explain.  

                              Most that I see are primarily worried about the doughnut hole, being forced to select a plan different from Medicare-Medicaid or their current private insurance, and being at the "bottom of the totem pole" when it comes to significant procedures and the associated costs.

                              We're still working and really like our health insurance (haven't changed companies in 30 years!).  We pay about $230 a month (my husband's employer picks up the rest) and can't complain.  Our other out-of-pockets expenses are always under $1100 a year (both of us) and that's usually 1/3 for prescription meds and 2/3 for a root canal or crown!

                              What blows me away is the cost of some prescription meds for seniors.  My aunt has a critical need for a specific medication, for which there is no generic and no competitive equivalent.  If I were to fill it (on my insurance), three months worth would cost me out-of-pocket just $65.  However, my aunt is forced to pay nearly $750 for three months worth (doughnut hole dilemma).  This is totally outrageous.

                              To me, health care reform doesn't mean throwing the baby out with the bath water.  It means taking a good, long look at what we presently have, realizing that approximately 80 percent of the country is satisfied with their health care and insurance, and fixing the parts that are lacking.  Oh, and admitting that some people just don't want it, period. 

                                  

                                • Re: Obama health care bill
                                  RichardMW

                                  I disagree.

                                  I think that the current system of private medical insurance is seriously broken. 20% of the population has no insurance and can't afford to see a doctor. Most personal bankruptcies in this country happen because people have a catastrophic medical event and can't afford to pay their hospital bills. This is true even if they have insurance.

                                  Consumer Reports, in the current issue, did a survey of readers who had insurance and found that 15% had difficulties getting paid for treatments.  That sounds a lot like rationing of health care.

                                  I think that the private insurance based system is spending a lot of money on screening treatment and denying treatment. They need to be regulated a lot more than they are now. They do raise rates every year and reduce benefits every year.

                                  I am lucky enough to be retired and am covered by Medicare plus I have additional reitree coverage from the company I worked for the last 10 years of my career. I have no coverage from the previous company that I had worked at for 18 years.

                                  Medicare is no perfect, but it is much easier to deal with than the insurance company that provided me with coverage when I worked. Insurance systems right now do not pay your doctor if they spend time advising you how to take care of yourself to prevent illness. They only pay for treatment of those illnesses once you get sick. That is wrong and costs a lot of money to deal with preventable illnesses.

                                  As a retiree, I have no dental insurance, eye glass coverage or hearing aid coverage. Medicare has minimal coverage for preventive care. My retiree insurance, from my former employer, covers prescription drugs ( with a high co-payment) and will cover hospitalization beyond the Medicare limits. If Medicare pays 80% of a medical bill, my retiree insurance will not pay another penny.

                                  Medicare (government based coverage) s not perfect but it basically works. The simplest solution is to expand Medicare to cover more people. Then fix it. It was set up in 1970 and a lot of medical procedures have changed since then. Preventive care is more important than was understood when Medicare was set up. Ditto for dental care and hearing aid coverage.

                                  Also, I don't want to spend the last 2 weeks of my life, on a respirator, in a hospital bed, unconsious, at a cost of $200,000 that my dependents will pay or insurance will pay. I would much rather get hospice care from caring attendants in my home that would keep me as comfortable as possible.  What would you prefer?

                                  Free market health care just doesn't work for the customer when all the insurance companies are driven totally by a profit motive.  Free market health care is like a free market toll highway with no speed limits, no lane markers, no need for entrance /exit ramps and certainly no need for seat belts. It is exciting but I don't think that this is what most of us want when we we are driving to see the grand children.

                                   

                                    • Re: Obama health care bill
                                      FrankTrades
                                      Medicare "works now, but how long can the funding be sustained as we all age?
                                      • Re: Obama health care bill
                                        howyou

                                        I agree with many of your statements.

                                        When I go to the Dr and am asked for my current insurance card, I say, "Oh, you mean my health discount card?"  Because to me, that is really what I have.  If a visit is $100 without insurance and I pay $45 co-pay, then I have received a discount.

                                        I have a good friend that almost died last summer due to a stroke.  The problem--she had no insurance and not earning enough money to pay for a dr visit to get a screening for high blood pressure, high cholesterol.  Luckily, a family member found her in her home.  She was rushed from our small community hospital to a larger facility 2 hours away.

                                        Because of her financial situation all bills were taken care of.  You know that old saying, "you can't get blood out of a turnip."

                                        The bottom line is:  Had she been able to get treatment BEFORE THE STROKE, she could have been on meds to manage her condition.  But, that is not how the system is set up.  Only when she almost died, was she allowed any care.  How screwed up is that?????????????????

                                        Denying care  is immoral and unethical.  Period.  Her cost analysis--critical care, hospital, procedures,  I'm guessing around $60,000 vs a $10 prescription (had she had pre-screening for high BP).  Go figure.

                                      • Re: Obama health care bill
                                        mtretire

                                        I am horrified to hear the public health care option is fading fast in the face of lies, rumors and town meetings packed with the 21st century version of the Know-Nothing Party. Without a public option, “reform” will translate into 50 million new customers for the insurance/medical industry paid for by tax payer funds. The opposition to reform is making noise but little in the way of ideas is coming from the likes of Palin, Limbaugh and their ilk. I’m all for free markets as a finance professor but free markets and medical care are a bad mix as the rest of the developed world clearly understands. Yes, there are dangers from too much government involvement but a public option which experts believe would only attract a few million people, would not be anything “Orwellian” (to quote Palin). Cost is certainly a concern but the minute someone says taxes or put doctors on salary, a few crazies start shouting Nazis or communism. That’s not debate, that’s ignorance.

                                        Limited government was fine when 98% of the people were farmers. Health co-ops are nice in small towns but unlikely to succeed in our urban, highly competitive country. And there are sometimes when heroic measures aren’t worth the effort in the last weeks of life. That’s not the same as “pulling the plug” on grandma.

                                        The worst outcome is a health care bill that simply continues what we have but with government paying for the uninsured. That won’t even work for the Know Nothings because it will mean higher taxes, a ballooning deficit and in the end the very rationed care Know Nothings claim to fear.

                                          • Re: Obama health care bill
                                            AlexandriaAl

                                            There were several good stories concerning health care reform on National Public Radio's Morning Edition today, August 18, 2009.

                                            "Not All Democrats Want 'Public Option' Dropped"

                                            http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111976166

                                            "Is Britain's Health System Really That Bad"

                                            http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111976186

                                            and "Surgeon Defends Britain's National Health Service", in which a British surgeon calls one of the recent remarks by Senator Grassley (R-IA) concerning the British system "ludicrous." (I knew there was going to be a problem for Grassley when he said "I've been told..." He should have checked for himself before making his remarks.)

                                            http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111976190

                                             

                                             

                                             

                                            • Re: Obama health care bill
                                              brodewd1
                                              Interesting debate... Disinformation...shouting down opposing views...scaring ignorant folks...hmm where have I seen this behavior before? Machiavelli is laughing, shaking his head and saying "I told you so...".  Fascinating how effective willfully spreading disinformation is in controlling the masses. And I see it still works to Rule By Terror - ie, scare people so bad they will go along with anything. Einstein said there were only two things that were infinite - the universe and human ignorance. Capitalist vs Socialist, competition vs cooperation, the same old song, the same old eternal struggle. Both live and war on forever in the human soul. We need both. "Every Man For Himself", "I've Got Mine, You Get Yours", "All For One, One For All"... Am I my brother's keeper?
                                              • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                Ursa

                                                It may look dispassionate to you, but to my mind it reflects a mindset that really would immediately result in rationing.  Part of our problem is that most insurance does not provide for preventive care.  I remember working in an office populated mostly by young people; I was the only person paying into the IRA that was the only retirement fund.  These young people would not buy insurance either.

                                                  The whole point of insurance is that everyone in a large group pays into a fund that will then provide for those unlucky to contract an illness.  This obviously means that some who pay into the fund will not benefit directly in most years.  The young particularly fit into this mold.  But if the young person has an automobile or motorcycle accident his benefits would exceed those of most older people.  Insurance won't work if you parse the benefits by age.  The proposed system would be worse than what we have. 

                                                  • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                    FrankTrades
                                                    I understand the logic of insurance.  What i do not like is being forced into an "insurance" where there are those who are not paying their way (illegals), where I have essentially no say over the program because it is the only option (sorry, I'm a capitalist), and where I have to pay for people and procedures that i do not want to pay for...e.g., people who have no regard for their health at all.



                                                    Preventative meds must start with the individual, NOT with any sort of insurance program.  Someone who is not savvy enough to take care of themselves may belong on my tab, but someone who willingly puts their health in jeopardy does not. 



                                                    I don't want socialized medicine.  O'Bama's program is socialized medicine.  The subset of problems we have with our U.S. med delivery system will not be solved by socializing it.  We went through this with Hillary and Bill.  I just don't see any economic advantage and certainly no health advantage for the country in this program. 



                                                    We'll run it just like the Post Office, O'B says -- did you hear that the P.O. is laying off thousands?  What happens when the "system" decides to do that for medical care workers?



                                                    How will we pay for this?  Medicare, a recognizable prototype for the proposed system, is essentially bankrupt.  So let's not take that government run system and expand it the length and breadth of the country!



                                                    The government obviously cannot handle finances, witness what a great job Barney Frank has done with the House finance committee, stemming economic disaster (i.e., none).  If you think Madoff had a cruel financial scheme going, consider social security, coffers empty or full of IOU's, the greatest Ponzi scheme ever, but its executioners are not held the least bit culpable.  Why would a nationalized medical system be any different?



                                                    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/05/12/politics/main5009169.shtml



                                                    http://www.heartland.org/publications/health%20care/article/21432/Medicare_Finances_in_Dire_Condition.html



                                                    No, I just don't think that is the sort of approach I want for medical care for my family!

                                                • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                  howyou

                                                  Lucky for you you've have the same healthcare for 30 years.  In seven years I've had, let me count, around 8 or 9 different carriers.  Same job for 10 years--but employer is constantly "shopping around."  Our premiums ALWAYS go up, up, up.  Our benefits  always go down, down, down...................Every May it's the same old story.."We're changing providers.  You really don't have any say, but come to the meeting anyway."

                                                  People who have not had the experience of going without insurance or not had the experience of trying to figure out "in network," "out of network," "co-pays in / out network," ...let's see -- is my physician in or out this year...really don't have a clue how difficult it is out here in the world of healthcare frustration.

                                                  I just started phy. therapy a month ago for an injury.  At the time, my policy had a limit of 60 visits per year.  Lost that policy on Aug 7.  New policy has a limit of 20 phy therapy per year.  Most people who have not had any frustration with healthcare  really don't "get it."  On a rare occasion I will talk to someone who has great healthcare, but also understands the U.S. needs comprehensive care for all. 

                                                  Put "the rest of us" on a sliding scale.  The frustration of having a chronic condition, coupled with fighting with the insurance company is really becoming a ethical dilema.

                                                    • Re: Obama health care bill

                                                      You are absolutely right regarding the unethical treatment of patients by (some) insurance companies, as well as what I consider the immoral treatment of employees by those employers who jump around to find the cheapest way to satisfy their insurance obligations.  I do not envy you one bit.

                                                      However, please do not assume that just because we are satisfied with our insurance and currently have no complaints that it doesn't mean we haven't had issues along the way.  Indeed, we  have fought several battles (won some, lost some) with doctors, hospitals, and our insurance company.  Yes, we have had to deal with in and out of network decisions, co-pays, and (at one time) catastophic coverage hassles.  (I, too, have a chronic condition.)  Early on, yes, we were without insurance for a couple of years.  At different times, our grown children have been without insurance as well...  with all the ensuing hoopla when a trip to the doctor or hospital was an absolute necessity.

                                                      So yes, there are those of us who view health care reform with the same skeptical eye as how we view health care in general -- but who DO have a clue of the major difficulties some folks experience, as well as the extreme unjustness of the calamities that can befall some. 

                                                      As stated earlier, I believe our country definitely needs to revamp its health care policies, but not necessarily throw the baby out with the bath water.  If some folks are happy, we need to leave them be.  It appears that the majority of folks are satisfied to some degree.  However, I agree with you that we must adjust the way we look at health care for those who are not just unsatisfied, but for those without insurance, doing without health care, losing their homes or life savings to major illness, etc. 

                                                      What some at the town hall meetings are saying (in the audience and at the podium) seems ludicrous to me (at least via the media soundbites).  At the same time, please rest assured that there do exist those of us who (while viewing with alarm:  governmental interference, the threat of higher taxes, and a bill that's forced through without the proper discretion and understanding) do hope that your "sliding scale" proposition becomes a reality for those who choose it; that the doughnut hole for seniors is curtailed; that the public's need for decent and appropriate care is fulfilled; and that such a program be based on the positives of other countries' plans while fiercely eliminating those plans' negatives.  I think a little dignity for EVERYONE is in order.

                                                      Best to you.   

                                              • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                FrankTrades
                                                The bill supporters were busy last night denying that there was any provision to deny care to any elderly, while the bill was changed to remove that language. Something veryfishy is going on here.

                                                Should we all drive only Mercedes?  Should all our children go to Harvard or Princeton?  Should we all make the same salary?

                                                Who IS we?
                                                  • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                    stagehand
                                                    FrankTrades, there never was any language to "deny" care. What's being changed is (alas) the removal of language to make sure that the subject of "end of life" care, and personal choices is discussed periodically with older patients. There's nothing fishy going, on, only an attempt to sow fear to defeat the bill. I can tell you that my late father was glad he thought about these issues while he was well enough to consider them.

                                                    I find it particularly irritating that so many complaints about "government takeover" are made when Medicare and VA care are the lowest cost and most efficient health plans currently in operation. Again and again we read about Medicare recipients who don't seem to know that their (excellent) health plan is 100% government-run.
                                                      • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                        FrankTrades
                                                        Stage,

                                                        One thing I have learned out of management training and experience over the years is that when someone comments, no matter how off base it seems, there is always "something" in what they say that can be very important. 

                                                        My wife works as an RN for short pay in a welfare hospital that essentially depends totally on Medicare.  You should see them trying to make ends meet!  It's not easy.  The doctors are there essentially out of the goodness of their hearts, certainly not for profit.  I cannot imagine an entire system based on something like Medicare!

                                                        Tort Reform and Preventative Programs are the real needs for reducing health costs. 
                                                        Added procedures, testing and time spent by doctors
                                                        to assure they do not get sued is hugely excessive and one of the basic reasons why costs are so high.  The other reason is the exorbitant costs for pharmaceuticals, which are also the source of so many law suits.  As a parent who has lost a child to cancer, this too is unfortunately not a foreign topic to me.

                                                        I also have no motivation to pay for the bad habits of people who squander their health on excessive food, cigarettes, etc.  To say nothing of abortions on demand...


                                                          • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                            howyou

                                                            What's wrong with each individual paying on a sliding scale fee?  Everybody pays.   Of course, the poor sucker working for $7.25 at Walmart won't pay the same as the bank exec making $500,00 per year.

                                                            But, everybody pays.

                                                              • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                carolanne

                                                                From each according to his ability - to each according to his need -as dictated by the 'government'

                                                                Sounds like socialism to me

                                                                  • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                    asikorsk

                                                                    Dear carolanne.

                                                                    This Karl Marx quote, shows you do not understand what communism was and what socjalism is.

                                                                      • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                        Monarch1

                                                                         I have been self-insured for the past nine years and Obama's Health Reform did nothing in the near term for the self-insured or early retired. I wrote the White House during the reform process, and met with my local congressman regarding this huge oversight. I am even in touch now with the Congressman’s Washington liaison, who promised to take these issues to HHS. So far my small voice goes unheard. This is a HUGE problem and I am surprised that more self-insured and early retired have not come forward. Diane Sawyer of ABC NEWS did not respond either to my letter of concern and documented insurance information…This issue is my new pet peeve.

                                                                        If you plan to retire before age 65, don't count on a part-time job to offer insurance, or dream of affordable individual health insurance, especially if you have a pre-existing condition. Early retirees must wait until 2014 for real change to occur in health care reform, and by then both of us will be eligible for Medicare. I also doubt if 2014 changes will stick, especially if Obama is no longer in office. Let's face it USA, the insurance industry has a chokehold on congress. Perhaps through this post, we can rally more folks and make a real difference in Washington.

                                                                  • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                    AK6989

                                                                    I do believe that we need a health care reform. I do not believe the one we are in process of passing will resolve the problem with cost, inefficiencies and unavailability to all.

                                                                    Mr. Obama as far as I am concerned has failed to most of his promises, open government, open flow of information, veto of any bill with pork in it, bring health care under control, bring unreasonable suits in health care under control, etc. When you read that most of the so called blue dog’s had gotten some kind of deal’s for they’re vote you wonder what the Democratic Party stand for, obviously not for the voters, when the majority wants a meaningful reform to the health care but the majority does not want to loose any of the privileges they are enjoying now. I do not know what the real solution should be, but definitely it must include tort reform and pharmaceuticals cost control, we can’t continue to pay for all the pharmaceutical research only from US taxpayers
                                                                  • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                    katydoes
                                                                    I agree that a lot of misinformation is making the rounds on the healthcare bill, while acknowledging that not a lot of detail is out yet in the public domain. Members of my family got excellent end-of-life care through Medicare and the VA. We were all pleased that they had had the foresight to discuss these issues ahead of time. Many more seniors have expressed fear to me that they would be forced to live than have ever expressed fear that they would be forced to die. I, too, have been struck by the number of gray-haired people at these town hall meetings screaming about fascism and the Nazis while, I am quite sure, taking full advantage of Social Security, Medicare and/or their VA benefits. I think we all need to take a breath and calm down. This is America; if we can't have a civil discussion with one another, how can we expect to lead the rest of the world?
                                                                      • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                        Seekeranne
                                                                        Neither of my sons, ages 40 and 42 have health insurance.  It is more like 45 million in this country without health insurance, not 20 million as someone in this forum stated.  The emergency room is not the place to treat these folks for a reasonable cost. 

                                                                        NC-National Public Radio had a show on the other day.  40% of NC's families of four have an income below $38,000.  16% have a family income below $22,000.  The median income in the US is $50,000.   About 20% of income probably goes for health insurance if they have it, at least another 17% for FICA and taxes.  That doesn't leave a whole lot to go for a car or cars if both work which is necessary for most just to get to the low income job, for shelter, food, clothing, childcare or school supplies. 

                                                                        Whatsover you do for the least of these our brethren you do also unto our society, community, country or fill in what you've been taught to believe.  Lack of health insurance for all costs doctors, hospitals, health care workers, employers, employees, families, children, society a lot of "money", work time, peace of mind.

                                                                        How many Christians making over $250,000 are bellyaching about having their Bush tax cuts repealed - the rest of us will not have our taxes raised by Obama's plan.  What happened to love your neighbor as yourself?  Do unto others, etc.  It is more blessed to give than to receive.  Make love not war - boomers should know that slogan.

                                                                        My husband and I are lucky enough to have Medicare and retired Federal employee Medicare supplement for which we pay $6,551 dollars a year.  So we are paying $546 a month for our health insurance.  Medicare is not free, it is subsidized insurance.  And it is very unfair in what it pays to hospitals and doctors and I think that is an underlying cause of the cost of health care for those under 65.    I think those of us seniors who could afford a copay should have to pay, though I know there are difficulties in establishing sliding scale situations.  I also think that if everyone had to be in the health care insurance pool the cost would be better distributed and us old folks wouldn't have to feel we are taking advantage of doctors by needing care and those under 65 facing medical crisis situations would get the care they need.  Hence to me, an affordable public option is the best route to go.  That is what insurance is based on - all pay into the system so those that need help get it.

                                                                        My 91 year-old father's part-time caregiver is 77, doing peritoneal dialysis for herself four times a day due to kidney failure and paying between $300 and $400 a month for her medical supplies even though she has Medicare and Social Security.  She is still working because she can't afford to quit and we are not about to dismiss her because she needs the money we pay her.  Why does she have kidney failure?  Just start studying the sodium levels in our food supply.  Did you know that an improper ration of potassium to sodium causes kidney failure?  I have changed my ways after studying her health problems.  That's a sneaky diet problem that I had never encountered in all my healthy living reading.  I knew too much salt was bad, but the too little potassium receives little press and is an important part of the equation.

                                                                        The state of prescription drugs in this country is dismal. Abused, overused, insufficiently tested, too costly and not monitored for harmful interactions.  My allergic reactions are dismissed by doctors, my severe osteoporosis resulted from a combo prescribed by various doctors.  My jaw pain persisted for several years.  I ask the dentist and several doctors why.  Only by careful reading of pharmaceutical notes was I able to discontinue Fosamax combined with Advair and Flonase and solve both problems.  The pharmacy and the doctors have my lists, ask for them every office visit, but I had to figure this out by reading the fine print.  Antibiotics and painkillers are prescribed way too often and too much.

                                                                        Since medical error is the third leading cause of death in this country my husband and I  avoid prescriptions if at all possible, we avoid hospitals and doctors whenever we can.  But if either of us gets seriously ill I am very glad we can get medical care and that we can question and research our care.  I have learned the importance of being our own patient advocates from caring for both of my parents.


                                                                          • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                            katydoes

                                                                            Some very good observations. I, too, am bothered by people who have been blessed with much complaining about their burdens and also trying in every way possible to avoid paying their fair share. I also agree about too many prescriptions and physicians either ignoring or dismissing input from their patients. I was once treated for high blood pressure with a medication which is contraindicated for asthmatics when the problem was an over-the-counter sinus pill that, guess what, can raise blood pressure.

                                                                            Once you have enough money to meet your basic needs plus some luxuries, you really can share with others!

                                                                              • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                                Sensei2001

                                                                                "Once you have enough money to meet your basic needs plus some luxuries, you really can share with others!"

                                                                                I'll give you my address so you can send me everything you make over minimum wage.  What a load of poppycock!  Why should someone who chooses to earn more than what YOU think is "enough" be punished for it by having it taken away from them by a tyrannical government?  Why should people who choose to earn less be rewarded for their laziness by FORCING other people to "share" with them?

                                                                                  • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                                    JerryD
                                                                                    When the health care "debate" began, I felt that I was really ignorant about the situation. I heard about a book that addressed health care worldwide and purchased it for a very nominal cost at Amazon. The author traveled the world asking each major system what they could do for a fairly serious, but not life threatening, medical problem. The adventure was very enlightening. The name of the book which I highly recommend as an educational experience is:

                                                                                    The Healing of America
                                                                                    T. R. Reid
                                                                                    The Penguin Press

                                                                                    Two of his major conclusions are:
                                                                                    • Providing health care to all is a MORAL decision which the US has not addressed as others have. Can we let people with treatable diseases die or go bankrupt over medical costs?
                                                                                    • Portions of the US health care system has every type of major approach he found in the world. For instance, Medicare is named exactly after the Canadian health care system.
                                                                                    Other enlightening facts are:
                                                                                    • The US insurers, aside from Medicare, get way too much of our premiums while providing no benefits.
                                                                                    • For profit can lead to egregious abuses - note for profit hospital system abuses and Medicare/Medicaid fraud.
                                                                                    • We provide too little money to educate adequate medical personnel, leaving them with huge bills that they need to recover and possibly pushing them into specialties that yield more revenue to pay those costs. The US needs to pay more and expect those trained to provide needed services in places that do not have them and where the trained personnel could then afford to go to.
                                                                                    When I heard from AARP and other sources that Medicare fraud approaches $60 BILLION a year, I suggested to my Congressional reps that they spend 1% of that a year to buy and operate the huge computer and networking infrastructure along with intelligent programs using all encompassing databases to solve this problem. When I hear some of the STUPID payments they make (male procedures for female patients, 1000's of payments to one patient, etc.), I am appalled. Given these resources that amount to billions, I could write software to catch fraud and still pay in 14 days. What a poor excuse! Why don't they contract it to Google, Amazon, IBM, Anderson, HP, or other huge, complex solution providers that already know how to implement these large systems?

                                                                                    Once we develop these controls, why don't we provide them to willing states to address similar Medicaid fraud at that level?

                                                                                    The recent health care bill was a slam dunk by a ruling party with nothing but opposition from the other party so that they can stand back and throw stones. Our reps in Washington should be locked in a big room until they come up with compromises that work and which minimize the cost. That ain't easy. But then they never even tried. We need to review the entire situation, go slow on implementation, try some experiments, establish independent, peer-reviewed, expert committees to set standard procedures (just  using simple sterile procedures reduces huge infection-related costs and death) and treatments and many more thoughtful approaches like real companies use to address complex and expensive problems.

                                                                                    Here's to a more useful and effective debate!!!!!
                                                                                      • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                                        Sensei2001

                                                                                        "Provding health care to all is a MORAL decision..." is an interesting statement.  The US has, in fact, provided health care to all citizens by ensuring -- until recently -- that there are sufficient medical practitioners and facilities to treat every citizen.  That is not really a "moral" decision the country did not face.  Instead, it is a moral decision the country MADE when it was established as a capitalistic constitutional republic.  The real MORAL decision the country is now debating is whether one underprivileged minority -- the taxpayers -- will be forced to provide free health care to a privileged class who chooses not to pay for their own health care.

                                                                                        The other moral decision the country is debating is whether health care will be managed by the citizenry or the evil, oppressive hand of government.  The reason the US was founded as a constitutional republic with extremely limited government was that our founders recognized that government is inherently oppressive and evil.  They found those truths to be self-evident.

                                                                                        And we are also facing an ECONOMIC issue that in many respects overshadows any moral issues.  In 2009, the total cost of government in the US -- at the combined federal, state, and local levels -- exceeded the earnings of the entire US population by $200 billion!!!  Our government is already costing us more than all of us together make.  So who is going to pay for the extra $1 trillion a year that a "free" healthcare system will cost?  China?  India?  North Korea?  Listen to what the G20 are already saying about our out-of-control fiscal policies.  The hard truth we have to face is that, moral or not, it simply can't be done, because there is no money to pay for it.

                                                                                          • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                                            ldgpangeo
                                                                                            It is a moral decision in the reality that our social norms do not permit the denial of health care.  Consider the public uproar and resulting lawsuits if a hospital denied medical care to a person in serious need because the person could not prove that they could pay for the treatment.

                                                                                            if so, then you have a limited series of options:

                                                                                            1.  Let the hospital accumulate unpaid bills which you then pay via increased prices to the paying patients (our current system).

                                                                                            2.  Require everyone to buy insurance with subsidies for the poor ("Obamacare" -- also Massachusetts Romney care).

                                                                                            3.  Fund medical care by a tax-based national insurance (most European nations).

                                                                                            Don't delude yourself into thinking that you are not already paying for the uninsured.   The payments are just less visible via high medical costs.

                                                                                              • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                                                JerryD
                                                                                                ldgpangeo said...

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                I...

                                                                                                Don't delude yourself into thinking that you are not already paying for the uninsured.   The payments are just less visible via high medical costs.

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                

                                                                                                EXACTLY! Well almost. We provide "free" very expense solutions to critical problems in SOME cases. Many treatable situations are avoided since it is NOT true that providers must treat preventable situations, only critical or life threatening ones. There is no obligation to treat progressive situations like lupus, diabetes, etc. which end up as very serious and even life threatening until the patient is frequently lost. 

                                                                                                And the costs are passed on to others. Ever compare the cost of a major medical procedure when you have no insurance to the cost if you are covered by Blue Cross, say? So the insurers have the bargaining power and those without it are screwed and powerless, frequently resulting in bankruptcy. Well, maybe not the Ahmish guys I saw at Mayo's who paid cash, but then they know how to bargin better than most of us.

                                                                                                The author of the suggested book tells an extremely sad story of a 32 year old young lady with lupus who was bright, college educated, middle class and who finally died because she could not pay for the treatment after being dropped from her parent's plan and was excluded from insurance due to preexisting conditions. What a failure of our mishmash health care system.

                                                                                                All I ask is that we all educate ourselves and have an intelligent discussion. Nobody wants to pay more than their share, and the US culture is indeed different than many others. But think. We should be able to look at all of the solutions that have been devised and create one that suits our culture. Without education, one might conclude that all solutions need to be socialistic and government run. Not so!

                                                                                                Take Germany as an example. The author states: "the Bismark health care system guarantees medical care to just about all ... who live in the country", "The quality of care is world-class", "there's no 'queue' for treatment", "Patients can choose any doctor or hospital and insurance must pay", "every Germain has a choice among two hundred different insurance plans which compete vigorously even though prices for insurance are fixed (my emphasis)", "The general practitioners ... are also private businesspeople, working in private clinics", "In many areas ... there's less government control ... than in the United States (my emphasis)", "It's sheer nonsense to suggest that Germany ... is engaged in government-run 'socialized' medicine". Read about it,. Doesn't that sound better than what we have? At least it's a working model that we should give a serious look with our rose-colored US cultural glasses on, no?

                                                                                                Let the serious debate begin!!!!!



                                                                                                  • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                                                    ldgpangeo
                                                                                                    The sad thing about the health care debate in this country is that it quickly devolved into scare messages (e.g. "death panels", "govt. takeover", "socialism", ...) with little education about how the other developed nations are providing quality care at costs lower than the US.  The ugly truth is that our health care is the most expensive in the world, yet we rank below most other developed nations on all measures of public health, including infant mortality, longevity, incidence of major diseases, ....

                                                                                                    My wife's family is Canadian and lives in Quebec.  I can attest that the Canadian single-payer tax-funded health care works far better than it has been depicted on Fox and the other right wing groups.  Several family members have required major medical care and all was delivered rapidly and in a totally professional manner, without any fear of personal bankruptcy or major out-of-pocket fees.

                                                                                                    I am reminded of a eye-opening PBS documentary that pointed out that there are several models for health care delivery aruond the world and somehow the US has adopted every one of them at the same time:

                                                                                                    People pay everything:                  here done by the uninsured.
                                                                                                    The govt pays for care:                  here done by Medicare/Medicaid.
                                                                                                    The govt. employs the doctors:     here done by VA
                                                                                                    Private insurance pays:                 here done by large employers.

                                                                                                    We badly need to clean up this mess.  I'm not convinced the current law is the best, but it was what could be passed in the current divisive climate.  I sincerely hope it is revisited in future years to evolve us toward a better system.  That said, the stupidest of all would be to return to the mish-mash that we currently have in place.


                                                                                                      • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                                                        JerryD
                                                                                                        ldgpangeo said...

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                    ....

                                                                                                        My wife's family is Canadian and lives in Quebec.  I can attest that the Canadian single-payer tax-funded health care works far better than it has been depicted on Fox and the other right wing groups.  Several family members have required major medical care and all was delivered rapidly and in a totally professional manner, without any fear of personal bankruptcy or major out-of-pocket fees.

                                                                                                        I am reminded of a eye-opening PBS documentary that pointed out that there are several models for health care delivery aruond the world and somehow the US has adopted every one of them at the same time:

                                                                                                        People pay everything:                  here done by the uninsured.
                                                                                                        The govt pays for care:                  here done by Medicare/Medicaid.
                                                                                                        The govt. employs the doctors:     here done by VA
                                                                                                        Private insurance pays:                 here done by large employers.
                                                                                                        ...
                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                        All of this is covered in a very thorough manner in the book I suggested. And as I mentioned the author stated that we have all fof the major strategies here in the US. I later saw him on TV saying that, although he never mentioned it to his publisher, he did not even need to leave the US in order to see all of the major choices. They all exist here in one form or another, but not universally.

                                                                                              • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                                                ldgpangeo
                                                                                                That might apply if you gained your wealth totally on your own with no community participation.  Why do you forget that you gained that wealth through a community including, schools, police, courts, roads, ...   Furthermore, you gained from the many people who patronized your business, bought your services, provided you with advice and mentoring, ....

                                                                                                Now that you've gained your wealth, why do you feel it's a "tyrannical" act to be expected to give back to support those things that got you where you are.  You are part of a broader society and have a responsibility to support that society.  
                                                                                                • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                                                  katydoes

                                                                                                  Dearest sensei2001: I could say a lot about your response but have decided to just let it go. I have been blessed and I try to share - poppycock and laziness don't enter into it.

                                                                                          • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                                            PROFPLASTICS
                                                                                            My health insurance here in Florida is Humana Gold which is part of the Medicare Advantage program.  This is a privately run program in which the government turned over my Medicare to Humana because it was more efficient for private insurance to run.  There are about ten million seniors on this type of program.  It is my understanding that Obama wants to get rid of Medicare Advantage.  I thought he said no one would lose their present insurance.  Fox Cable News is by far the most fair and balanced reporting on the health care discussion.
                                                                                              • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                                                stagehand
                                                                                                Profplastics, I certainly hope they did not "turn over" your plan to Medicare Advantage. You should have had to order such a change before it happened. The insurance companies are currently receiving a subsidy from the government for Medicare Advantage (some might call that Corporate Welfare, but set that aside for the moment.) Many Medicare recipients chose Medicare Advantage because it (...often) eliminates deductibles and copays, in exchange for receiving all services from providers who are in-network with the plan you chose. This is not "more efficient", it's just something that some clients prefer.

                                                                                                When I say "more efficient", I'm quoting you, but I also mean to refer to the acknowledged fact that private insurance companies have massively higher overhead costs than Medicare, VA, or Medicaid plans do. Sorry, but that's true.

                                                                                                Personally, I prefer to have free choice of providers. But I understand that not everyone can afford a plan that allows out-of-network providers, or to have higher costs when I do go out-of-network. I don't know about Obama, but I personally want to end Medicare Advantage because it gives the insurance company too much clout (and there's that subsidy thing ...)

                                                                                                Medicare Advantage, in and of itself, is not any more "privately run" than the individual doctor a regular Medicare recipient may go to-that is, if the doctor is still accepting new Medicare patients! My point is that Medicare Advantage is just as much a "government" program as is traditional Medicare. All of the money Humana Gold spends on your care is from the government, and the reimbursements (and the bonus payment ...) come from the Federal government's normal sources of funds, like taxes.

                                                                                                A recent Paul Krugman column in the New York Times, August 6, 2009:

                                                                                                There was a telling incident at a town hall held by Representative Gene Green, D-Tex. An activist turned to his fellow attendees and asked if they “oppose any form of socialized or government-run health care.” Nearly all did. Then Representative Green asked how many of those present were on Medicare. Almost half raised their hands.

                                                                                                Now, people who don’t know that Medicare is a government program probably aren’t reacting to what President Obama is actually proposing. ...

                                                                                                Another interesting Krugman citation, NY Times, August 31, 2009. It's an astounding statistic that indicates why a "public plan" is such a good idea. The idea that a public plan will drive the insurance industry to ruin is far-fetched alarmism, intended to sow fear among those over 65 - who have - a public plan!

                                                                                                The health insurance industry, in particular, saw its premiums go from 1.5% of G.D.P. in 1970 to 5.5% in 2007, so that a once minor player has become a political behemoth, once that is currently spending $1.4 million a day lobbying Congress.
                                                                                              • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                                                howyou

                                                                                                Virtually every medicare recepient I have taked to about overhaul of the healthcare system is happy with what "they have."

                                                                                                Most say, "no government takeover."  Then, they get all snippy when reminded medicate is government run.  Go figure.

                                                                                                • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                                                  bj_hopeful

                                                                                                  Thank you!  Yes, we already have social medicine folks!  Although many Vets can tell you horror stories about their care, my cousin's husband uses a VA Hospital in Ohio, and believe me the man gets decent care.  Medicare does need some revamping, but I think if should stay in place for Seniors.  One thing they need to do is "Think Seniors" when they make determinations on certain coverage limitations.  Stroke victims who are making progress with therapy should not have that therapy cut after so many weeks or so many visits.  This only causes people who would be able to come back completely from a stroke to never be able to completely recover.  I've seen this occur over and over in the past.    Also,I have an 86 year old Mom who had both knees replaced over the last year, and now walks without the excruciating pain she lived with for several years.   Would she have been denied these procedures within the context of the new plan view?

                                                                                                  Is the longevity of people like her at risk because of any refusal of care? 

                                                                                              • Re: Obama health care bill
                                                                                                Jeanine
                                                                                                There are multiple plans in Congress and we can expect details will change, but/still I support the Democratic/Obama plan for these reasons:
                                                                                                1) The current health care system in the USA, is not that good. We pay more than other developed countries and the health outcomes are not as good. (Stories about long waits for care are misleading. There are waits for care here as well. There also is rationing here and now.  The proposed plans would mean less rationing.)  The fact that millions have no health care insurance means that many receive very poor health care. This is morally wrong and it also leads to less efficient, more costly care which we pay for in taxes. Those of us who have employer subsidized health insurance may not notice it, but costs are rising. There also needs to be changes so it is NOT the case that doctors have incentives mainly to order tests and do procedures and little or no incentives to treat the whole person. So we need change.
                                                                                                2) Insurance companies, which have big profits, need regulation and they need competition. Looking around for good models, Medicare, a single payer system, is pretty efficient, though even here there are features that need to be changed. A public option available for everyone would be a good thing. The Medicare drug option should follow the model of the military and include negotiating with drug companies. 
                                                                                                Some people on this list talk about socialism and capitalism. I am a capitalist. I believe that when the government (taxpayers) take the risk, an insurance company should not be guaranteed a profit. Similarly, when the government funds the bulk of medical research, a drug company should not claim it deserves large profit margins. Direct-to-consumer advertising and sales pitches to doctors are not education.
                                                                                                3) The people against the Obama plan are the ones telling the big, nasty lies. They are talking about death panels. They are encouraging seniors to believe that 'the government' will take away Medicare. The Obama side are being open about the costs. The estimates do not include any potential savings. This is in contrast to the previous administration that purposely understated that costs of tax cuts, perscription drug plans, and the wars.