Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A wise move


After allowing the opposition to frame the debate for weeks, President Obama reportedly is thinking about delivering a speech to outline what he thinks are the important elements that should be included in a health-care reform bill. Republicans have been effective in stirring up angst and anger about the reform legislation, and to this point, the White House has been largely silent or vague about its priorities. It's pretty clear at this point that Republicans in Congress have little interest in compromise on the issue and will never cast their votes for anything resembling meaningful change in the way we pay for health coverage. According to a new Associated Press report, one of the key Senate negotiators on health care, Charles Grassley of Iowa, said in a recent fundraising letter that he needed people’s help to “defeat Obama-care.” That doesn't sound much like a man who is interested in crafting a bipartisan approach to the very clear and very real problems in our existing health-care insurance system. The time has come for Obama to press for approval of the plan he campaigned on. Members of Congress should not be expected to blindly climb on board with the president, but they also should not be siding with insurance companies and their lobbyists at the expense of the American people. And that's exactly what they're doing if they refuse to take bold steps toward a major overhaul of the sick system we have now. And if the members of the president’s own party cower in fear of people like the shrieking town hall idiots who parrot what they hear from lying slimeballs such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, they should be ashamed of themselves.

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65 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We want to defeat Obama-care for the same reason Hilary-care was shot down. It isn't constitutional. I don't want the federal government involved in health care anymore than they are now. Lets go back to the church and local communities taking care of the poor and sick who don't have health insurance rather than a large overbearing federal government.

September 2, 2009 at 1:18 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Clearly the churches and local communities aren't getting the job done now. And what part of the Constitution prohibits a public option in a health-care reform bill?

September 2, 2009 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

And when can we expect a bill to repeal social security and medicare?

And when are we going to retroactively censure or impeach Teddy Roosevelt for that whole panama canal thing? I don't recall "splitting continents" to be expressly exclaimed in the constitution...

September 2, 2009 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Are we going to try Neil Armstrong for treason? I just checked the constitution and didn't find space exploration mentioned...

September 2, 2009 at 1:30 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

The air force might be unconstitutional, too... the enumerated powers specifically mentions the army and navy... but not the air force...

I can't believe those infallible founders couldn't foresee the invention of jet fighters and stealth bombers back there in the 18th century...

I can't believe they didn't foresee the expense of MRI's and CAT Scans and laser surgery and vaccines and blood pressure medicines and chemo and radiation therapy way back when "Health Care" involved a leach and a prayer and you paid your doctor with a basket of cabbage...

September 2, 2009 at 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure why you say the church isn't getting the job done. In the past peoples lives revolved around the church and the services they provided. We gave a large amount of our income there and they provided for the poor and sick. Today our lives don't revolve around the church and the goverment takes what should be going to the church. If you are poor you have medicaid. I don't buy the numbers the government provides for the number of uninsured. This is a power grab, nothing more.

September 2, 2009 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

What don't you buy about them?

How does one go about getting their church to pay for their medical care? Can I get a church to pay my health insurance premiums? Is there a website?

September 2, 2009 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

And I'm still wondering where the Constitution enters into this.

September 2, 2009 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

I heard someone say that government-run health care will be like the DMV with blood. Perfect description.

September 2, 2009 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

I'd like to share a couple of excellent PBS Frontline videos about our health care system and those across the world. They're called "Sick around America" and "Sick around the world." They are excellent and well worth your time.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundamerica/view/

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/

September 2, 2009 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Priguy says:

"I heard someone say that government-run health care will be like the DMV with blood. Perfect description."

Entirely possible... but let's say I couldn't afford a car... I'd GLADLY deal with the DMV, in all it's mindnumbing crappiness... because if I was dealing with the DMV, that would mean I had a car!

If you are one of the millions of people without coverage, I'm sure you'd gladly take a government option that was not as sparkly and awesome as a private plan because it's considerably better than what you already have.

And that's assuming that a public option would suck... Other countries' public options are half as expensive as what our private system is, yet they are not 1/2 as good... in most cases, they are better.

September 2, 2009 at 2:26 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Thanks, Mike. I'll check those out when I get the time.

September 2, 2009 at 2:26 PM  
Anonymous nomen said...

Brant, the question of whether or not it is constitutional has to do with the powers of Congress to enact such legislation and tax a citizenry for a service already provided by private companies, and whether or not they have the power to force people to purchase health insurance. Does it get in the way of commerce? Can Congress impose this tax? Can Congress mandate that people buy health insurance? The argument is a complete stretch in that almost everything Congress has done since the framing of the Constitution can be questioned as to whether or not it is constitutional. Congress does have the power to provide for the general welfare of citizens. However, does that include providing health insurance? Of course, when the constitution was framed there was no such thing as health insurance in this country, so it is impossible to determine what the framers would have thought about government-provided healthcare. I’m pretty sure that a common treatment back then was bloodletting, so it really is apples and oranges.

That is really the silliness of the whole “return to the values of our founding fathers” argument, because the founders could not possibly have envisioned America as it is today. I would like to think that they were forward-minded individuals and would be appalled by apparent desire to undo two and a half centuries of social advancement. I'm sure there are those who disagree with me.

September 2, 2009 at 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A constitution is set of rules for government—often codified as a written document—that establishes principles of an autonomous political entity. In the case of countries, this term refers specifically to a national constitution defining the fundamental political principles, and establishing the structure, procedures, powers and duties, of a government. Our constitution doesn't include health care as a responsibility. It does provide for the common defense. Air Force not constitutional. Speechless.

September 2, 2009 at 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sick around America" and "Sick around the world." Thats funny. When anyone with money gets sick where to they go?
Canada? No.
Cuba? No.
France? No.
They come here. The country with the most advanced and best health care in the world.
#1 in patient care. USA! Just go to the WHO website under patient care. You will see.
USA #1...

September 2, 2009 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

"To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;"

Common defense AND GENERAL WELFARE... which, if you take "general welfare" to be things like ensuring a safety net for old people, widows and orphans, and insuring against health maladies of your population... then it's all gravy...

If not, then I would expect any elected representative who claims that a public option is unconstitutional would then bring forth a bill to eliminate medicare and social security... in the name of consistency

September 2, 2009 at 3:35 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

How many rich furriners came to the US for health care last year?

September 2, 2009 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

UPDATE: Obama will be addressing Congress regarding health-care reform on Sept. 9.

September 2, 2009 at 3:48 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

Anon... Did you even watch the documentaries? It wasn't examining medical treatment, but how each country handles health insurance. They interview a British doctor who had a heart attack while visiting Las Vegas, and he was astonished by the $67,000 medical bill for eight days in the hospital.

And please provide a link for said WHO patient care rankings.

September 2, 2009 at 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sunday, CSPAN aired the weekly Q&A with Brian Lamb. His guest was John Garrett (I think have the name/spelling right). Dr Garrett is an accomplished heart surgeon at Virginia Medical Hospital, a not-for-profit hospital. He is also Chair of the Board of Trustees at the hospital.

When Mr. Lamb asked him about the current proposal, Dr Garrett had many comments. He was also asked about finances. He said that every Medicare patient that comes to the hospital (about 50% of the patients - 350 bed hospital) looses the hospital 20%. In other words, the cost of reimbursement from Medicare is short about 20% of what it costs them to service the patient. The Board is forced to aggressively negotiate with insurance companies for at least 120% of cost, so that the shortfall on the Medicare patients can be made up. The hospital aims for about a 1.4% margin. This gives them enough money to continue to upgrade the facilities (just purchased a $7M CyberKnife).

When asked what would happen if two things happen:(1) Medicare reimbursements are cut back for services, as the present plan suggests (cutting $500B over the next 10 years), (2) Medicare type plans are introduced across the board for all patients. Dr Garrett suggested that they would be forced to cut services, cut staff, and stop buying any new equipment. He saw great danger in the stopping of new equipment. Suppliers of this equipment now would stop producing current equipment, and stop developing anything new, knowing they would not sell it.

This picture is not a rosy one, if the Medicare idea is expanded to include all coverage, or all people. Obviously, the hospital case is but one of many entities impacted. But, if the hospitals are severely curtailed in their services, and extensions into new technology, health care quality would degrade. This is Dr Garrett's greatest concern -- reducing care quality to mediocrity. Perhaps more people would get care, but the quality of care would diminish.

CSPAN is devoting three days worth of programming this week to the health care reform measure. It includes interviews, such as one with Dr Garrett. An interview with the CEO on Monday testified to the significant changes in the hospital sector of health care. These insider looks at the issues are much more interesting and insightful than political stump speeches, or town hall meetings.

September 2, 2009 at 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had the British doc had his own health insurance, his stay in the hospital would have been covered.

And I'm sure those fine people at PBS have no dog in this fight.

September 2, 2009 at 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a link to the C-Span interview time Dr Garrett, plus the CEO of the hospital. About 1 hour duration.

http://www.c-span.org/Watch/Media/2009/08/31/Health/A/22636/Virginia+Hospital+Centers+James+Cole+President+CEO+and+Dr+John+Garrett.aspx

Other links are on the page as well, featuring other interviews.

September 2, 2009 at 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" vaccines and blood pressure medicines and chemo and radiation "
................
These things are nothing but a cup of poison!

September 2, 2009 at 6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Healthcare reform in this country is direly needed when an ambulance ride from the Presby Medical Center at the top of S Main St. to the Washington Hospital Emergency Dept at the top of N. Main St is billed at $862.00, Insurance allowed and paid $450.00 plus mileage. That total is for a 2 mile trip and only one way. We have not received the bill for the return trip yet, but expect more of the same.

Chuck

September 2, 2009 at 7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please observe that those who had curls up behind their necks with the Patriot Act a few years go (too much intrusion into the private lives of citizens) is the same crowd that wants government to intrude into their health care.

Can somebody explain, please?

September 3, 2009 at 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, President Obama will speak to a joint gathering of Congress next week. Why should we believe what he will say?

He has stood in front of town meetings and spoken things that are directly contrary to what was in the House bill. It was clear in the early part of the push to get the bill passed that he was not familiar with the contents of the bill. When Press Secretary Gibbs was asked why the President spoke contrary to the contents of the bill, the explanation, "Please don't take the words of the President literally."

So, when he stands before Congress and the American people next week, what reason do we have to believe what he says? The entire plan was rolled out without any thought, without any systematic explanation of why the House bill was good for the citizens. The White House and Speaker Pelosi believed this legislation would pass through quickly, and they could make it law before much discussion. Remember, in early July, the President said often, "We have to get this passed before the August recess." If this would have happened, all the discussion and debate of the past month would not have happened. What were the legislators saying in the town hall meetings, when they said, "We are here to get your input on drafting this legislation?" If it was cut in stone in early July, they would not have been out in August getting input for the bill.

The debacle on this reform lays right at the feet of the White House and Speaker Pelosi. They did a very bad job in convincing anybody their plan was the right one. Few, if any, would say that change is not needed. But, the political process at work in this debate has been a disaster. Will the outcome reflect the character of the debate? I'm afraid it will.

September 3, 2009 at 8:34 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

"Can somebody explain, please?"

Because I'm not a terrorist, but I do get sick sometimes.

September 3, 2009 at 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some churches ARE "getting the job done." Many churches have active social assistance programs that offer food pantries and, for example, house homeless familes one week a month. But it takes money, and giving is down.

Then there are those churches who seem to spend all their money on getting more people to come to church each Sunday and "be saved" so their denomination can have the most busfuls of converts pulling up to Heaven's Gate on Judgment Day. Billboards, radio ads, Bible study, trips to the Steelers games -- all in an effort to fill them buses. Fund missions in Africa to convert the heathens. But give money to help the poor, feed the hungry or heal the sick a block from your church? Not a word uttered.

As for health care in America, it's wonderful. If you can afford it. My 20-year-old son had surgery this year that involved three hospital stays. $230,000 bill. Luckily, he had comprehensive health care and they picked up most of the tab. Had he still been under the insurance plan his mother & I have, we'd have had to pay 20% -- $46K. Let's suppose we'd had no insurance. Simple: he'd have had no surgery. There's something wrong with a system where those in need can't get care.

September 3, 2009 at 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a big difference in having the government listen to your phone calls and jail people indefinitely and having it oversee health care. You see how well the system functions under its current model.

September 3, 2009 at 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This argument about hospitals having to cut services and lay off people and having that effect the hospital suppliers is the same argument (scare tactic) that the US auto industry used successfully for the last 40 years to stop changes that would have improved the auto industry. If the Japanese and Koreans came over and started setting up hositals and health care that wran more efficiently that the US ones, guess where we'd all be going for health care.

Why do we get MRIs for a hangnail in America? Because they cost $2500, that's why. Why would my BP medicine cost $400 amonth if I didn't have a decent health plan? Why should the guy who has HBP but no health plan have to pay $400 a month for his meds when I pay $30? It's not right.

September 3, 2009 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Uhm... this blog is different

September 3, 2009 at 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nuke the country. Start over. Simple

September 3, 2009 at 11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6127514/Sentenced-to-death-on-the-NHS.html

Thoughts?

September 3, 2009 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

IF it's true (and not just speculation by those who wrote the letter) then they shouldn't do that... :-)

September 3, 2009 at 12:42 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Unfortunately, it's not really an alpha-omega argument here, with Insurance companies and Republicans one side and Democrats pushing for reform on the other. In a no public option plan, the insurance companies have as much to gain than as anyone else. The age old addage rings true here, look at each side, and then look at where the money from each side is coming from. My argument from the start is why blow up the system for 10% of the country? It be easier to push $10 from the other 90% of us and get them on the same plan that government workers use. Give them reduced rates, in much the same as we do in our plans, something in the range of a minumum wage earner, maybe $30 a month. And, if you don't pay it, well, you slide into the existing pool of people that won't pay and use the emergency rooms as their primary care provider. Not sure there's anything we can do with them short of suspend service completely, which should and could never happen. It's always that 1% that screw it up for the rest of us.

September 3, 2009 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

There are millions of people who have insurance, but are financially less free due to the amount they are paying for it.

On a per capita basis, Americans pay about 7 grand a year for health care (a lot of which goes toward insurance premiums)... In much of the rest of the world, the per capita expenditure is half of that...

So, rather than focus primarily on what to do with the 45 million uninsured, think about the economic benefits of the 255 million OTHER people having, on average, an extra 2 or 3 grand to spend on things OTHER than health insurance each year.

Think of what our businesses can invest in when they aren't picking up the tab for the majority of the 13,000 dollars AVERAGE for an insurance policy. Yes, the average policy (which usually covers multiple people, ie, a family) is 13 grand a year... My company is small. We have 30 employees. If our company didn't have to foot the bill for the portion of health insurance that it provides, that would be an additional 352,000 dollars per year that it would have available to develop new product lines, invest in new employees, or whatever else it chooses to do with it... aside from just shoveling it over to an insurance company.

September 3, 2009 at 2:07 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

In much of the rest of the world, the income taxes, as well as VAT taxes, comsume much more of their income, with the resulting taxes covering that $3500 bucks and more. The cost savings in single payer are just a shell game. Sure, if your company doesn't shell out the $352k, it's an immediate savings, but someone has to pay the doctors, laywers, secerataries, and bedpan emptiers in the hospitals. With a massive deficit already, to assume that same $352k won't come out in taxes is wishful thinking.
Healthcare isn't free, it will never be free. We as a society need to decide to either fix the system we have, trash it and start new, or go as we have. Each of these choices will involve fiscal and ethical choices that we'll have to live with in the end.

September 3, 2009 at 2:42 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

We spend 16% of gdp on health care and an average of 7,000 per person.

The rest of the world spends less than 11% of GDP on health care and, in most cases, less than 5,000 per person.

It doesn't take a phd in mathematics to see that their high tax rates are NOT due exclusively to universal health care.

If my tax bill increases by 4 grand and my insurance bill decreases by 7 grand... Yes, I am paying more in taxes, but I have a net savings of 3,000 dollars.

So you can lament a country's tax burden of 40 or 50 or 60 percent... but you don't account for the services available as a result of that. If you didn't have to spend your income on child care, car payments, car insurance, health insurance, student loan debt, ect... then the fact that half your check goes to pay for taxes doesn't really affect your financial well being...

But since no one is proposing all that other stuff (just health care reform), there's no reason to worry about massive tax hikes.

September 3, 2009 at 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are the GDP numbers misleading because we perform 1000 times as many MRI's or X-rays as those countries? Is it more because every person insured or not has access to chemo, raditation and diagnostics such as mammograms? How many MRI machines are in the US as compared to these countries?

September 3, 2009 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

So adding more people into the system and creating a bureacracy within the government will lead to cost savings? Ok, if you put every insurance company out of business, cut doctor pay rates by a third, and give hospitals less money for each procedure, you MIGHT get some savings. But I can't believe that a plan writen by pages and not even read by the lawmakers will even come close to even making the problem better, no less fixing it.

These politicians are people, and a heck of a lot of them aren't any smarter than us. A lot of them are dumber (Diane Watson Call your office...) Hence, I don't trust many of them any more than I'd trust myself to fix the problem. And, I certainly don't think an mere 1100 page bill is the panacea to our problems. The system is broke, and it's a heck of a lot more complicated than 1100 pages and some evil insurance companies.

September 3, 2009 at 3:44 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

That almost certainly contributes to the problem... and since we aren't leading the world as far as our actual health, it would appear that getting an MRI for every sneeze and hang nail is probably not necessary to keep a population in good health

September 3, 2009 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

"So adding more people into the system and creating a bureacracy within the government will lead to cost savings?"

Yes. The purpose of an insurance company is to spread risk. The bigger the subscriber base, the more thinly spread the risk is.

"Ok, if you put every insurance company out of business, cut doctor pay rates by a third, and give hospitals less money for each procedure, you MIGHT get some savings."

Who said anything about putting insurance companies out of business? You can still buy private insurance in universal health care countries...

And what's with cutting doctor's pay by a third?

And yes... pay LESS for services rendered. Japan's national health service pays something like 85 dollars for MRI's (compared to 1,500 here) and MRI centers in Japan are profitable.

"And, I certainly don't think an mere 1100 page bill is the panacea to our problems... The system is broke, and it's a heck of a lot more complicated than 1100 pages and some evil insurance companies."

It's a start... Oh, and insurance companies aren't evil (I'm an atheist, I don't believe in "evil" to begin with)... they are simply ill-equipped to simultaneously fulfill two contradictory roles.

You can't insure people for less than the amount of money their care requires AND be profitable. You can either evenly spread the cost of risk amongst a population and charge exactly what the expenditure on that risk is (aka, 0% profit margin) OR you can determine which customers are MOST likely to incur the MOST amount of charges and then either eliminate them from the pool or increase the average cost to offset their expense.

Insuring the population in order to ensure that everyone has basic, routine, and preventative care available to them should at least be a loss-leader government program or at BEST a zero profit, minimum expense system...

September 3, 2009 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

What I am having a problem getting beyond is this argument that seems to arise from a belief that it "can't" work for reason x or reason y... yet we have example after example of where it DOES work.

I mean, if you simply made a carbon copy of just about any other country's health care system and implemented it here, it would be a MASSIVE step in the right direction.

"How can it possibly cost less?"

Ask any Franc, Fin, Brit, Maple Leaf, Swede, Germ, or Norse...

It's like the rest of the world has iPhones and we are sitting here saying that the world will fall apart if we adopt this new "touch tone" technology for landlines...

September 3, 2009 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

Anyone else sick of the right-wing mainstream media?

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09246/995148-109.stm

September 3, 2009 at 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brant, Please provide an example of a lie told by Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh in regards to the health care issue. Thank you
Is it a lie that unemployment wouldn't reach 8 per cent with stimulus bill passed?

September 3, 2009 at 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cash for Clunkers is an example of how our government operates. Not real comfortable letting those jabrones handle health care. No matter how many times ellipses posts doctored figures I just don't buy it. I think I have too much common sense.

September 3, 2009 at 6:01 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

So your response to actual statistics is "nuh-uh!"??

September 3, 2009 at 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MJ, The lady without health insurance who was shot at LA Fitness...Did they turn her away or did she receive the same top notch care as other who were injured and insured?????

The Goat Lady

September 3, 2009 at 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

E, You can make numbers say anything. When numbers don't jive with common sense, (see global warming) I don't factor them. Dr.'s agree that having the government in the room with the patient and the lawyer isn't a good thing. The Dr. patient and lawyer is enough. Why can't we try tort reform and allow individuals to shop across state lines. If you want to see how the feds compete in the private market look to Amtrack.

September 3, 2009 at 6:41 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

Goat Lady... it's not about the treatment. It's about being able to afford it. I don't think you should have to declare bankruptcy due to medical bills.

September 3, 2009 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Oh, and to one of the anonymouses...

No, the fact that unemployment went above 8% when the president said it wouldn't is not a lie. If you believe something to be true, and you state what you believe to be true... if it turns out to be false, it's simply incorrect, not a lie.

Case in point: George Bush, in believing that Iraq did, in fact, have weapons of mass destruction, did not lie in using that as justification for war. He was wrong, but he did not lie, as long as he did not know that there were not WMD in Iraq, it was not a lie.

September 3, 2009 at 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See, the thing with health insurance is, those that have don't want to give up for those who have not. Just like in so many other areas. Help everyone, but don't take anything away from me. Save gas, but don't take away my big car.

September 3, 2009 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

I like the folks who don't believe numbers and just stick with their preconceived notions. In other words, "The heck with those facts. I'll just blindly keep believing what I wanted the believe in the first place."

September 4, 2009 at 6:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading so much about this health care matter, I am led to believe that those who are pushing for Obamacare believe that immortality is right around the corner. The argument is that if we get the proposed program, including a public paid option, people will live longer, and possibly just keep living forever.

Why do so many people feel so strongly about extending life on earth? What is so great about this place? Consider: hatred of others, broken relationship, broken promises, sickness, unexpected loss of life, unemployment, wayward children, lies, ... and the list goes on. Everybody can fill in their own blank. If short of ideas, just read the newspaper.

Having a health care program is so important to some folks, just to extend life a few years. Fifty years ago, nobody had any health care plans. How much has lifespan been extended? Oh yes, a year or two. Who cares? So what? So many of the advances only create an illusion that life will be better, when, in fact, many suffer and suffer, with a hope that they will be better.

The last time I checked, the failure rate of life is 100%. The only question is the point of failure. Are people so afraid of what happens at death that they want to prolong that date further? Maybe we need to spend more time in preparation of that point in life (which EVERYBODY reaches), rather than trying to move the date.

September 4, 2009 at 7:04 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

The average life expectancy between 1959-1961 was 67.55 for males and 74.19 for females.

Today, average life expectancy is 75.21 for men and 80.36 for women.

The biggest part of health care reform is the cost. We pay twice as much, by any measure, as the rest of the world. If life expectancy didn't change at all from current levels, but we saved a couple thousand dollars per year, per person... it would be a huge success

September 4, 2009 at 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if your life expectancy numbers are right, that is only eight years longer. So what? What is being done with those eight years? At what cost? At what suffering, just to keep the heart pumping and brain waves moving? What is wrong with natural death?

Spend your time considering what end-of-life means, not trying to make it something it is not. Listening to all this hollow talk leaves one to wonder how arrogant mankind has become, thinking we are in control and that we can really manage the big issues of life.

September 4, 2009 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

That's my point... we agree on life expectancy- it's not necessarily about extending life by an extra 5 or 10 years... it's about cost.

Other health care systems in the world cost half as much as ours while their populations live as long or longer than us.

September 4, 2009 at 8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Health care isn't about "extending life a few years." It's about quality of life in the years you have. Routine health care shouldn't break you or your employer. It shouldn't cost $500 a month for a single person to have access to quality health care. And before you say that extending your life into your 80s isn't worth it, talk to 85-year-olds who have decent health. Then wait till you're 78 to see if you want to live a few more years. No one wants to exist hooked up to a machine, but if having decent, preventive health care when I'm 75 helps me get to 85, I'm all for it. May each of us be so lucky as to die in our sleep and save our families the cost of long-term hospitalization.

September 4, 2009 at 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Steelerfan43 said...

I would just like to point out that one of the anon posts stated that a Dr. Garrett works at a non-profit hospital in Virginia and that it would go down the tubes if the gov't gets invovled with health care. Well, most hospitals are "non-profit." Here's an example of one, Washington Hospital. Guess what, they still charge a ridiculous amount for a regular over the counter Tylenol that they claim is hospital grade. They still charge a ridiculous amount for gauze, bandaids, wooden crutches, etc. They still blow money on additions and upgrades when they can't afford to staff them. They still lay people off after those upgardes because they claim there is no money. And all of this without a universal health care system and the gov'ts little stickie hands. WOW! So where are we better off...............we're NOT. We need a complete overhaul of the health care system. We need to tear down our current system and start fresh and new. The politicians need to think less of themselves, their campaign and their pockets and think more of their constiuents they claim to care about so much. Stop blowing smoke up all of our @$$es republican, democrat and liberal alike. Do what we put you in office to do. Reform this country and make it the place that our founding fathers wanted it to be. The place of opportunity and freedom for EVERYONE, not just a choice few. Stop bickering and pointing fingers, come together and help the masses.

September 4, 2009 at 9:56 AM  
Blogger MJ said...

Great point, Mr. Polamalu. Here's another "non-profit" hospital... UPMC, yet its brand is slapped on all three sides of the Steel Building.

September 4, 2009 at 10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Steelerfan43. I was recently a patient at the Washington Hospital. I delivered my baby there. I stayed two night. They gave me a total of 5 Motrin, 3 vitamins, and 4 stool softeners. I received my statment from the insurance company. The charge of those 12 pills were over $500.

Yes, we need a health care reform but it needs to start from the bottom up.

JD

September 4, 2009 at 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa, Steelerfan. Dr Garrett is involved with a not-for-profit hospital, not a non-profit one. Your argument falls apart with this distinction.

For those wanting to discount Garrett's comments (another suggested that the hospital's tales of woe are bogus), please provide a refutation of what he says. Give us the accounting records, or summary of balance sheets to support that what he says is wrong. Or, if you are self-proclaiming a refutation, then provide us with your credentials on why your statements are right, and Garrett's are wrong. Thanks.

September 4, 2009 at 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Late last week, the White House had a conference with Democrats on the Hill. What leaked out of that conference was the fact that the White House may write their own health care reform legislation. Over the weekend, suddenly "all options are on the table" (as per Axelrod).

These revelations demonstrate that the White House had no ownership in the House legislation, contrary what perception may have been advanced by them. This goes a long way why the roll-out of the proposal was done so poorly. President Obama was out as the cheerleader for something that he had no part in drafting. He was the leader in creating confusion and conveying misinformation, later attempted to be covered by Press Secretary Gibbs.

This is what happens when such a massive overhaul is attempted to be pushed through without debate, and without knowing what was included in the bill. There was no reason for all the divisiveness this reform has caused. Most citizens agree that reform is needed, so that isn't the argument. The question is how to attack the problem. With the White House not fully on board with what Speaker Pelosi promoted, the average US citizen was left wanting with good explanations.

Perhaps the White House can regain control of the situation by doing just what they suggested -- starting over with something drafted by the White House, with both houses of congress on board. The past effort was only developed with one of the three bodies at work, and proved to be a dismal failure. This is far too important of a matter to have one of the three bodies manage the progress.

September 7, 2009 at 6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Lets go back to the church and local communities taking care of the poor and sick who don't have health insurance"

I know I want the local Rev. doing my colonscopy and the catholic nuns treating my wife's breast cancer with prayer.

September 7, 2009 at 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "local Rev." isn't going to give you a colonoscopy. But he or she can take steps to see that the church social hall can be used to offer free blood pressure screenings, or allow a nurse who is a member to start a fitness program at the church. The church can act as a clearinghouse for unbiased health information because some people will believe what comes from a pastor before they will believe what comes from a friend. It can run a soup kitchen, house homeless families once a month or otherwise raise awareness of the state of the poor and sick in the nation. And although I'm not convinced that prayer works, what can it hurt?

September 7, 2009 at 7:56 PM  

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