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Health Care part VI

Old 12-21-09, 01:59 PM
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Health Care part VI

Previous thread (Part5): HERE

Enjoy.

At this point I wouldn't mind the whole health care bill falling flat on its face. I don't think it does much to reform anything.
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Old 12-21-09, 02:07 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
At this point I wouldn't mind the whole health care bill falling flat on its face. I don't think it does much to reform anything.
I think you're wrong, Governor Dean.
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Old 12-21-09, 02:11 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
I think you're wrong, Governor Dean.
Only time and political persuasion will tell.
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Old 12-21-09, 02:17 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Stay tuned. This part just gets the camel's nose under the tent.
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Old 12-21-09, 02:27 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Yes, like every other civilized country in the world.

Bankruptcy. Yet we have troops in Germany and Japan. Please.

The money that goes to Germany & Japan & Korea & etc. are merely drops in the bucket.

How long is it going to be before we're unable to pay the interest on national debt?
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Old 12-21-09, 02:31 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
I think you're wrong, Governor Dean.
Well when Morning Joe and Tavis Smiley are both agreeing that the bill is just a big giveaway to the insurance companies, that's not a good sign.
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Old 12-21-09, 02:32 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
At this point I wouldn't mind the whole health care bill falling flat on its face. I don't think it does much to reform anything.
I'll bet the people on Medicare (and especially Medicare Advantage) would agree with you.
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Old 12-21-09, 02:42 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by kvrdave
$2500 deductable, everything paid above that. Up to $1800 per year put into their "wellness" accounts that works towards their deductable, or can be used on quack medicine like acupuncture, etc. Carries over, so some people have a $2500 deductable with $7000 in their wellness accounts.
Originally Posted by CRM
Does Whole Foods fund the initial $2500? If not, it's a bad plan. I can see a cashier barely getting by funding their "wellness" account and going to the doctor regularly - yeah right.
By my math, it looks like $700 out of pocket/year. That is a heck of a lot better than most people's insurance. (I know, I know...not better than your's)
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Old 12-21-09, 03:08 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by classicman2 View Post
I'll bet the people on Medicare (and especially Medicare Advantage) would agree with you.
I admit I haven't been paying much attention to the healthcare debate, nor to politics in general, but this blog entry from a site called the LA Progressive is pretty damning I think.
Medicare in Crisis: The Devastating Impacts of a Corporate Health Care Bill

Wading through the endless debate over health care has exhausted the patience of most Americans — the zigzags, obscure language, and long-winded discussion is inherently repulsive.

But now the dust is starting to settle, and the Congressional vision for health care in the U.S. is emerging. Instead of being “progressive,” it will amount to a massive, corporate-inspired attack on American workers, the elderly, and the poor.

After months of confusion and delay, Congress has shipwrecked the popular energy over health care onto the jagged rock of corporate interests. More spectacularly, health care “reform” is being used as an opportunity to greatly advance corporate influence over social spheres long-dedicated to the working-class — seemingly harmless provisions carry with them enormous implications.


These devils hide in the details of the competing health care bills in Congress; both contain debilitating right-wing policies hidden within a progressive shell. Obama is indeed acting as the agent of change, to the great benefit of the U.S. corporate elite.

And although the final bill has yet to be crafted, there exists general agreements as to what the end version will look like. Americans will be forced to buy shoddy corporate insurance with no limit to the cost, no guarantee of quality, with large premiums and other tricks to further gouge consumers. If a public option emerges in the final bill — by no means a guarantee — it will be shrunken enough to insure very few people (2 percent of the U.S. population).

But it gets worse. How this health care “reform” will be paid for has implications that dwarf the above atrocities.

For example, the Democrats were determined to pass a health care bill that “will not add one cent to the deficit.” And they have succeeded: the House and Senate health care bills both plan to reduce the deficit by over $100 billion. But a second-grader could do the math here: more service does not equal less cost — a truism that dominates the for-profit health care industry.

So how does the government plan to save billions of dollars as they “help” millions of people?

The two biggest cost saving schemes are the most damaging. The first is the enormous attack on Medicare. Since its inception, the corporate elite wanted this program struck down. Now they have their man for the job — a Republican could never get away with such obvious treachery.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Senate version of health care would cut $404 billion from Medicare and Medicaid; the house version would cut $570 billion. The final cut could be much more. Obama made the ridiculous claim that only “wasteful” parts of Medicare would be cut. The truth is far different.

One way that both Congressional health care bills will gut Medicare is referred to as “forced productivity gains” — cost saving measures essentially; trimming the fat.

What are these savings? The most mentioned device — by politicians and media alike — is the reduction of “wasteful tests” and procedures that doctors routinely perform, an idea that the health care mega-corporations love. It will save them billions, while having catastrophic effects on the health care of millions of people.

For example, the recent announcement that women will now be persuaded to cut back on screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer have caused an uproar nationwide: people are correctly making the connection behind Congress’ “forced productivity gains” and the new “recommendations” that will be used by insurance companies to justify cutting these services, both of which will boost profits. The general agreement behind rationing health care in this way will be an attack on not only Medicare, but serve as the backbone of any health care bill passed, negatively effecting everyone unable to afford luxury health care.

Another piece of Medicare that’s being trimmed is Medicare Advantage, a favorite program of the elderly because of its comprehensive services. Premiums for this program are already rising drastically in anticipation of the health care bill’s passage, considered by Congress to be “wasteful.” Without this program, Medicare will be greatly devalued and be more appropriately named: “band-aides for seniors.”

Finally, The Senate health care bill attacks Medicare by reducing payments to doctors by 25 percent. If doctors receive such a drastic reduction in pay, they will simply refuse to see Medicare or Medicaid patients; people will thus be insured only on paper. The newly insured Medicaid patients under any new congressional bill will be sorely disappointed.


Once Medicare is undermined in the above ways, the corporate sponsored right-wing will make a very convincing argument that “Medicare doesn’t work”, leading to future cuts that will further destroy the program.

The second hidden disaster in financing a congressional health care bill is the tax on so-called “gold-plated” or “Cadillac” health insurance policies that some employers offer their workers. This tax is supposedly meant to apply to the health care policies that “elite” employees receive.

And while there should exist no complaints about taxing corporations, the motives behind this particular tax are intentionally deceiving. As it turns out, many, if not most workers in unions will be included in this tax, which, under the Senate version, will include any plan worth more than $8,000 for individuals and $21,000 for families. Hardly elite, considering the still-soaring costs for health care.

If this provision were to pass — and it’s very popular in Congress — the immediate reaction would be very predictable: employers would immediately drop their health care plans, forcing workers into the now-forced purchasing of inadequate health care. This is why unions oppose such a plan. California Democrat Pete Stark agrees: “Employers and insurers will reduce their benefits to avoid paying the proposed tax.”

Workers fortunate to have union contracts will be heavily pressured to concede their plans, which in the past they’ve sacrificed wage-increases to keep. Ultimately, employers will have a new excuse not to provide health care to workers.

Obama again used his superb intelligence to totally obscure the issue in support of the tax:

“I do think that giving a disincentive to insurance companies to offer Cadillac plans that don’t make people healthier is part of the way that we’re going to bring down health care costs for everybody over the long term.” Translation: he supports taxing the health care of union workers.

Overall, a compromise bill between the Senate and House versions will create utter disaster for the working-class. It will not signal a progressive “step in the right direction,” as many liberals claim. At minimum, it will be a step backward, though more likely such a bill will be an enormous regression, to a time where health care was the exclusive privilege of the wealthy.

The right-wing attacks on “Obamacare” — along with the media’s lack of questioning — have shielded the Democrats from any serious debate about the above questions, including many other concerns unmentioned here.

The trash legislation that Congress is producing is the direct consequence of the Democratic Party being dominated by giant corporations — in this case the health care industry. The two-party system is the political system of the corporate elite, who switch party affiliations when they find it convenient; many of them throw equal money at both parties.

A crucial prop in this broken political system needs to be removed and organized under its own strength. If the unions took their support from the Democrats, organized their members and resources into a new political party, and aggressively pushed reforms that benefited the majority of working-class Americans, U.S. democracy would be tremendously strengthened. Medicare could not only be saved, but expanded to everyone from birth to death and be considered a fundamental human right.
Link to story

These Medicare cuts directly affect the industry I'm in and my company has already had to cut staff and indirectly reduce services to our residents as a result to the Medicaid cuts that have already been put in place. I can only assume that further staff cuts will result if Medicare is cut.
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Old 12-21-09, 03:27 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by classicman2 View Post
The money that goes to Germany & Japan & Korea & etc. are merely drops in the bucket.

How long is it going to be before we're unable to pay the interest on national debt?
The troops in Germany and Japan are merely symbols of the money wasted by the DoD. When we stop building weapons systems we have no intention of ever using or are operationally unusable then you can tell me we are bankrupt.
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Old 12-21-09, 03:29 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by orangecrush View Post
By my math, it looks like $700 out of pocket/year. That is a heck of a lot better than most people's insurance. (I know, I know...not better than your's)
You don't consider premiums "out of pocket" expenses? Or are you telling me WholeFoods GIVES this policy to their employees? And most if not all families rarely will spend $700 on well visits in one year. That is ludicrous. All it does is prevent people from going for well visits.
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Old 12-21-09, 03:49 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
The troops in Germany and Japan are merely symbols of the money wasted by the DoD. When we stop building weapons systems we have no intention of ever using or are operationally unusable then you can tell me we are bankrupt.
What does wasting money on defense have to do with if we're bankrupt or not?
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Old 12-21-09, 03:59 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

One would think if we were bankrupt, we'd be complaining about things we ARE paying for rather than things we are PROPOSING to pay for.
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Old 12-21-09, 04:19 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

probably not in a thread dedicated to the health care bill though
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Old 12-21-09, 04:22 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by Venusian View Post
What does wasting money on defense have to do with if we're bankrupt or not?
It was a ploy, motivated by political ideology, to change the topic away from the indefensible, pathetic, corruption-laden health care bill that will probably end up taking the Democrats out of power.
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Old 12-21-09, 04:25 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
You don't consider premiums "out of pocket" expenses? Or are you telling me WholeFoods GIVES this policy to their employees? And most if not all families rarely will spend $700 on well visits in one year. That is ludicrous. All it does is prevent people from going for well visits.
Premiums aren't generally considered out of pocket when people descuse these things. Do you consider the taxes you pay to support health care for others to be out of pocket health care expenses? Obviously, if their plan costs the employees 10K/year there won't be too many cashiers partaking.

If families spend less than $700 on well visits, then they end up ahead in an HSA system. They get $1800 to spend on whatever they want (or to save).
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Old 12-21-09, 04:48 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by Venusian View Post
probably not in a thread dedicated to the health care bill though
Of course it's relevant. You cannot say we have no money to pay for our citizen's health while spending billions per year on defense. (Billions more than we need to, that is.)
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Old 12-21-09, 04:52 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by orangecrush View Post
Premiums aren't generally considered out of pocket when people descuse these things. Do you consider the taxes you pay to support health care for others to be out of pocket health care expenses? Obviously, if their plan costs the employees 10K/year there won't be too many cashiers partaking.

If families spend less than $700 on well visits, then they end up ahead in an HSA system. They get $1800 to spend on whatever they want (or to save).
That's not the way an HSA worked that I was in. The money you did not use was lost - or carried over in this case - not to be used unless there is some chronic illness that would precipitate countless visits to doctors in a calendar year.

And I'm not sure why my premium that I pay monthly that benefit only me and my family would not be considered out of pocket expenses but by taxes that ostensibly would help others (the horror!) would be. Taxes are taxes.
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Old 12-21-09, 04:53 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
Of course it's relevant. You cannot say we have no money to pay for our citizen's health while spending billions per year on defense. (Billions more than we need to, that is.)
We waste money on lots of things including defense
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Old 12-21-09, 05:13 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
Previous thread (Part5): HERE

Enjoy.

At this point I wouldn't mind the whole health care bill falling flat on its face. I don't think it does much to reform anything.
I think only certain groups are happy with this. and I know several states scored really big with this bill.
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Old 12-21-09, 05:47 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
That's not the way an HSA worked that I was in. The money you did not use was lost - or carried over in this case - not to be used unless there is some chronic illness that would precipitate countless visits to doctors in a calendar year.

And I'm not sure why my premium that I pay monthly that benefit only me and my family would not be considered out of pocket expenses but by taxes that ostensibly would help others (the horror!) would be. Taxes are taxes.
Then you did not have and HSA. HSA's by law carry over. It was probably an FSA or HRA.

Originally Posted by CRM
Does Whole Foods fund the initial $2500? If not, it's a bad plan. I can see a cashier barely getting by funding their "wellness" account and going to the doctor regularly - yeah right.
Then why couldnt they subsidize the poor. The important thing is if they are spending money out of an account they have ownership in it. Our company has had and HSA for over 4 years now and it is holding down costs to the employee as well as the company.

The ironic thing is without the HSA we would have to have higher deductibles and copays every year until we basically had the same plan without the HSA.

Our company funds 50% of the deductible BTW.
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Old 12-21-09, 06:01 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
The troops in Germany and Japan are merely symbols of the money wasted by the DoD. When we stop building weapons systems we have no intention of ever using or are operationally unusable then you can tell me we are bankrupt.
The cosf of this watered-down health care bill (if enacted) will dwarf the DOD budget.
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Old 12-21-09, 06:08 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by classicman2 View Post
The cosf of this watered-down health care bill (if enacted) will dwarf the DOD budget.
Only if you compare the healthcare bill's ten-year costs against one-year of the DOD's budget.
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Old 12-21-09, 06:11 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
You don't consider premiums "out of pocket" expenses? Or are you telling me WholeFoods GIVES this policy to their employees? And most if not all families rarely will spend $700 on well visits in one year. That is ludicrous. All it does is prevent people from going for well visits.
Are you just trying to find a reason to hate this because it wasn't proposed by Obama and it isn't medicare for all?

By the time you figure out co-pays, prescriptions, etc. we certainly spend over $700 per year, not including premiums.

I think people like you just hate the idea of people having some control and responsibility for themselves. $700 out of pocket for a year (max) is so rediculously low that it is laughable.

And if it prevents people from going to well visits (their choice, which bothers you, I'm sure), then they still have complete coverage if they get something serious. Why is that so awful? I don't go once a year, nor do I want to. Why do you think I should have to? Why can't you let people live their own lives and just live your own.

This is exactly why I love my sig. Liberals hate freedom when it involves other people using it in a way they don't approve.
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Old 12-21-09, 06:28 PM
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Re: Health Care part VI

Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
Well when Morning Joe and Tavis Smiley are both agreeing that the bill is just a big giveaway to the insurance companies, that's not a good sign.
I am shocked that cable news pundits are proclaiming that the sky is falling and it's the end of civilization as we know it. I mean, that gets so much worse ratings than sober and measured reflection, you just know that they are only getting hysterical because they love their country so much.

This bill drives tens of millions of new customers to the private insurance industry. It also imposes some pretty serious regulations on those same insurance companies, including a mandate that a minimum percentage of premium dollars be spent on patient care (I believe it's 75% for single policies and 80% for families). It is not at all clear to me that the insurance companies are better off under this bill than they are without it, and given the fact that they are opposing this bill, I suspect that it's at best unclear to them.

But all of that is beside the point. We're a corporate country. We have all of these founding myths about freedom of religion and liberty and taxation without representation, but the truth is we were founded by people looking to make a buck. And that desire to make a buck has driven us throughout our history, from the Revolution, to the Civil War, to westward expansion, to our rise as a world power, to our post-World War II policies. So, with all due respect to the Daily Kos, if you think we were going to be able to put the insurance comapnies out of business with this bill, you're just naive. That's just not the way things work in this country, this culture.

But so what? I don't care how much money Blue Cross makes next year. I care about the quality of care in the U.S. I care about whether my fellow citizens and I can get quality day-to-day care and reliable catastrophic care at an affordable cost. I think this bill improves the status quo in that regard, and so I support it. It does so by leveraging our corporate and capitalist impulses and building walls to prevent them from going where we don't want them to go while allowing them free reign when they point in a direction we like. And it doesn't do so perfectly, or as well as I would like in an ideal world. But I think it does so about as well as could be hoped for in the real world.
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