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July 29, 2009

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Face facts, folks: the Republicans are beneath contempt, but the Dems are just worthless and complacent. This is what a slow but inexorable national decline looks like, à la 1950s Britain.

"But but but Obama was supposed to be post-partisan and if he goes after his opponents then me and my sagacious right-wing blogger friends are going to stroke our beards knowingly and say 'well well well, guess the messiah is not a post-partisan' over and over."

Oh, it's not even so slow. Pretty steady since 1974...

"This is what a slow but inexorable national decline looks like, à la 1950s Britain."

Britain's withdrawal from Empire happened because it became economically unsustainable for them to do otherwise, as well as politically unsustainable even earlier to not offer full independence all around (as in India/Pakistan, for example).

Either you're pointing to some other aspect of British decline in the Fifties, and I think it might be helpful if you'd be more specific about that, or you'd seem to be, at best, a little premature about drawing a parallel to America, which is not in the economic position (yet, at least) that Britain was in during the Fifties, nor is it giving up political control over overseas territories in similar fashion. Britain had expended most of its wealth on fighting WWII, and spent the fifties and early Sixties still in economic dire straits, with rationing of various items continuing right through until the late Sixties. This, too, bears no resemblance to contemporary America, which has suffered no massive bombing, nor major loss of population to war, nor rationing.

We have a serious debt problem, and a serious deficit problem, and a serious indulgence in paying for overseas wars, and military force, but we're not exactly at our Suez yet.

In short, what you say, "à la 1950s Britain," what do you mean? Because the number of lack of parallels seem far more striking to me than the number of parallels. Could you explain a bit further, please? Thanks.

Oh, it's not even so slow. Pretty steady since 1974..

Well, there's something to that, definitely, but I don't think it was until the Clinton and Bush 2 years that the American political elite made a near-irrevocable decision to mortgage the fundamentals of national prosperity. By which I mean, the last chance to turn the ship around was probably in the 90s or early 00s, and Washington pretty much decided not to.

FWIW, I think Bill Clinton was an amazingly bad president, and I thought so even before the true extent of his crapness was laid before us over the past 12 months or so.

For Obama it's too early to say, but I'm definitely worried that he's a lot like Dubya in the sense that they are both essentially professional pols, maestros at getting elected, but Neros once they're in there.

You want the dems to attack people (republicans) and urge the public to worship at the altar of the Goddess of Nameless Reform rather than have a thoughtful discussion about the merits of THIS bill and what a good bill should contain.

That is a disgustingly cynical way of governance.

"You want the dems to attack people (republicans) and urge the public to worship at the altar of the Goddess of Nameless Reform rather than have a thoughtful discussion about the merits of THIS bill and what a good bill should contain."

D'd'd'dave, we've had that "thoughtful discussion" since 1948. If you weren't paying attention all this time, that's no one's fault but your own.

Let me also allow Gail Collins to speak for me in the following:

[...] The other week I said I agreed with you about the critical importance of cost controls. Then I asked — O.K., I sort of demanded — that you denounce the Republican leaders in the Senate who were flinging around proposals to make it illegal to investigate cost controls at all. You basically said that was a stupid thing to do, but that the Republicans weren’t really the problem since they aren’t in charge.

But actually, they are. And so are we. The reason the country can’t solve the health care mess is because the people with the biggest bullhorns don’t speak honestly and clearly about it. Nobody understands the Democratic plan, and that scares the public. The irresponsible Republicans are just waiting to make whatever comes out sound terrible. The responsible Republicans are working to come up with a compromise that’s going to be even more incoherent than the Democratic version.

My version of reality is that:

A.) Since something like a third of the cost of health care is in administration, and the problem with reorganizing health care has to do with all the multitudinous plans and policies, a single-payer system would be far and away the most cost effective answer. We don’t talk much about it because it isn’t politically possible. But it isn’t politically possible because we don’t talk about it. The opponents of a public plan are afraid that people would all gradually migrate toward it, causing the insurance industry as we know it to wither away. Wouldn’t that be a good thing?

B.) There have to be limits on what doctors can prescribe. The president pretends the only limit will be on useless tests and drugs that have an equally good, cheaper alternative. But useless and equally good are in the eye of the beholder.

There are already limits unless you have a really, really good insurance plan, but a lot of the country either has very good coverage or imagines their coverage is good because they haven’t really tested it. They’re afraid of change. Yelling “rationing” every three seconds totally poisons the discussion. And that is no little matter.

I’ve already gone on longer than I promised, so there’s no C.

Meanwhile, your comment consists (again) of nothing but name-calling.

I suggest that when you read stuff here that makes you mad, that you take some deep breaths, go for a walk, and then, if you like, consider if you have a substantive argument to make, and make it. Denouncing people with outrage, and nothing more, doesn't add much.

I'd also love pointers to some lovely thoughtful discussions from Senate and House Republicans as to good and practical ideas on health care reform bills they're actually proposing as alternatives. Then we can have a "thoughtful discussion" about them.

If we haven't been having "thoughtful discussions" about these issues at ObWi for the past five years, what have we been doing all this time? (Aside from posters working on clever blog post titles, that is.)

Are you claiming that Sebastian and von (and formerly Charles Bird and Moe Lane) are all mindless leftists?

Regarding offense and defense, the republicans seen to be creatin an answer to the "you didn't present any alternatives" argument:

http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/07/29/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry5195904.shtml

Its hard to really judge it from CBS's regurgitation of the republican talking points, but it looks ummm ... ill thought out. But they can claim it controls costs (although it only attacks parts of the cost problem that are irrelevant), lets people keep their insurance (although their insurance will probably suck as a result of this) and is mostly tax deductions (which is true - sort of). Oh, and it undermines medicaid and schip. What is it about trying to kill poor people with these guys?

That would be Mel, the cook on Alice.

"What is it about trying to kill poor people with these guys?"

They're not good at campaign contributions, so why worry?

Worse, they tend to vote Democratic.

Oh, look, the liberals notice they might try exercising some gumption.

More on that theme.

If the Democrats take your advice, Publius, health care is dead.

There are numerous Republican and Democratic reform bills circulating, so you cannot peg the Republicans as anti-reform.

But that's just the tactical problem with your approach; you have a strategic one as well. Democrats have the positive case: you've got to make that case; attacking the other side won't ever be enough.

Unfortunately, however, you're screwed on strategy as well. The Democrats most prominent bill -- HR 3200 -- is really, truly terrible.

what are the "numerous" Republican reform bills?

And on HR 3200, I strongly disagree. It does a lot of things that would provide enormous benefits (even under your own criteria).

But here's the thing -- it depends on what you think is politically possible. If a sharp break with employer health care is POSSIBLE, then HR 3200 is not as good, and Wyden is much better (I think we're in the same place there).

But if you think (as most legislators seem to) that this break is impossible, then HR 3200 is pretty much as good as you can hope for.

And it basically meets every one of your criteria. It provides near-universal coverage. It provides robust benefits and protections, regardless of jobs.

It also goes a lot further than the Senate bills in controlling deficits through a surtax and (now-raised) employer mandate (which will be cheaper to some, even to some, and more expensive to some).

I think in your old post you said it added 239 billion over a decade -- that's not very much considering the benefits.

I'm basically with you on the Wyden stuff as I said. but your analysis of HR 3200 under your own criteria doesn't justify the sweeping condemnations of it. If passed, it would be the best legislation Congress has passed in a generation.

as for the long-term cost curve, Wyden is best. But I continue to believe that big savings will come outside the 10 year CBO window when things like the indep commission gets set up, exchanges grow, etc.

I mean, the real key is getting the basic infrastructure down without exploding the deficit. The HR bill does that -- and lays the groundwork for cutting costs further. It wouldn't be hard to gradually expand the exchanges to include a Wyden-type bill

So I'm coming to the defense of my comrades in the House. Their bill is going to 1000x better than anything the Senate spits out.

von:

Health care is probably dead anyway. I'd love to be proven wrong about this, but the GOP will spend the entire recess hammering against reform and fearmongering, the Democratic response will be characteristically inept, and the best we'll get is some scaled down "reform" bill that maybe closes the pre-existing condition loophole but doesn't do much else.

Gary

"Meanwhile, your comment consists (again) of nothing but name-calling."

There was absolutely no name calling in my comment.

" Denouncing people ... doesn't add much."

I did not denounce a person. I denounced an approach advocated by a person.

"Are you claiming that Sebastian and von (and formerly Charles Bird and Moe Lane) are all mindless leftists?"

I haven't written about any of those persons.

I will, however, now denounce your ability to read with comprehension - which falls short of calling you a mindless leftist.

publius: "I continue to believe that big savings will come outside the 10 year CBO window when things like the indep commission gets set up, exchanges grow, etc."

So, after 2024. Whoop de doo.

"the best legislation Congress has passed in a generation" indeed.

.
Healthcare is dead. But so are the Blue Dogs. There will be no "change" until we get corporate whores and corporate money out of politics. That's going to happen now, thanks to the obvious corruption and unconcern for the voters' interests in Washington. Start picking progressive candidates for 2010, 2012, 2014 & 2016. Then you'll get your change, and your healthcare. And not until. If Obama is one of them he goes too.
.

Publius, your advice boils down to, "Ignore any substantive complaints about the legislation, while engaging in ad hominem attacks on anybody who raises them." I admit, our political discourse might be degraded enough for that to be effective advice, but it's hardly attractive.

"There are numerous Republican and Democratic reform bills circulating, so you cannot peg the Republicans as anti-reform."

Sure, they can. They'll just have to lie about it. That's no particular obstacle.

If this is such a good idea then get a bill passed that says all of the politicians have to sign up for it. YOU WON'T GET ONE SIGNATURE!!!!

von: "There are numerous Republican and Democratic reform bills circulating, so you cannot peg the Republicans as anti-reform."

I call BS. There are 0 serious Republican bills.

harley: Um, all the Congresscritters ALREADY have government run health insurance. And seem to like it fine. Just FYI.

Sorry, but your advice doesn't make much sense. If a patient has inflamed tonsils, the cry to "do something" does not justify amputating his legs. Pressuring the patient to accept that "treatment" against his will is apparently what you're recommending. If the democrats' bill (whatever it is) is so great for everyone, why does anyone have to be pressured to sign onto it?

Whatever the perceived problem, do not doubt for a moment Congress' ability to make it worse when they "fix" it.

"The kind of man who demands that the government enforce his ideas is always the kind whose ideas are idiotic." --H. L. Mencken

The problem is that you aren't paying attention to real concerns, instead ascribing the decline in the popularity of "reform" to "evil" Republican machinations and Blue Dog reticence. And this isn't really reform we're talking about. This is a radical redesign of the health-care system in this country. Worse, it is a redesign that looks to systems that are failing as the models for the reform.
Republican resistance has little to do with insurance companies and a putative vested interest in their welfare. It is the fact that the "wonderously successful" medical programs we have aren't "wonderously successful" at all. The VA is probably the best, and it's a mess. There are too many personnel who, being civil servants, have little incentive to do their jobs well. The Indian Health Service is very good to a point ... then a complete failure. (Just try getting a dental appointment. I've been trying to get one for over a year for a broken tooth. I'm not a child, nor a diabetic, so apparently I don't need teeth, according to the priorities of the IHS system.) Medicare and Medicaid have been growing in a manner that threatens to bankrupt the country without the help of the present economic downturn.
If you want to control health-care costs, start with things we KNOW will work, like tort reform. But, that can't be done, thanks to President Obama's specifically pulling that idea off the table. And that's where the real vested interest lie: the attorneys who comprise roughly 80 percent of Congress, and sit as our President and First Lady.

One problem is that the President is going around misstating what the bill will do. He is wrong in what he says about it and this fact can't be hidden, it will come out. For an example of what happens, see this article and what has gone wrong in Maine.
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/my-individual-health-coverage-51922707.html

Meanwhile, some suggest public option is not a good compromise ...

http://www.dorfonlaw.org/2009/07/heresy-on-health-care.html

Education is important, especially given all the parts. It would be pleasant to actually have some time for the public to truly understand what is in mega-legislation.

For instance, I hear it will kill people. This was quite educational, if repetitive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6nMegZRejs&feature=related

Anyway, yes, to fight for something, you should also challenge those who think standing still is a good thing. This can also put forth a false choice (standing still is bad, so my way must be good), but either way, it's part of the mix.

what are the "numerous" Republican reform bills?

Wyden-Bennett; Coburn-Barr; Baker-Daschle-Dole.

"... we shouldn't individualize politics. It isn't about feelings and egos and wooing."

That's a very "high road" perspective and the one that many good liberals take.

It's also why Republicans win: Republicans personalize politics and understand that it's about feelings, egos, and "wooing".

Right wingers are working for corporate-monopoly-insurance industry interests, often in conflict to other corporate interests.

The right wing is predictably going to spend a small fortune to emotionally manipulate people's feelings with false, fantasy nonsense. The right wing will personalize ("individualize") the issues and will target specific politicians. And the right wing will "woo" their base with those false, emotionally manipulative, 'individualized' narratives.

It's what the right wing does and they are master at the narrative.

The counter narrative must include the facts and must be expressed in a way to woo people's feelings on both an individual level, but also in a way that 'individualizes' both the victims of the right wing's corporate sell out, but also 'individualizes' some of the 'individual' corporate sellouts.

The FACTS:

It is personal to families of the 18,000 Americans a year that are dying from lack of health insurance.

It is personal to 14,000 Americans a day that are losing their health insurance.

It is personal to many of the 1/6th of Americans that don't have health insurance.

It is personal to many of the 25 MILLION who understand that they are underinsured.

To many of the 1/4 of Americans who either lack health insurance or are underinsured it is personal.

It is personal to those Americans who had their health insurance "rescinded" (RATIONED) by a faceless CORPORATE BUREAUCRAT.

It is personal to the employee who is fighting to keep their health insurance.

It is personal to the small business person who is fighting to provide health insurance to their employees.

Liberals want to be nice, fine, but if you want real change it's time to get personal and start aggressively going after both the corporate Blue Dogs and the corporate lackey Republicans who are working against American's health interests.

The facts are on the side of progressive policies, but it takes being able to connect to people's feelings on the issues that makes a difference.

It takes a willingness to bruise the egos of the corporate lackeys that are working against American's interests.

And it takes a willingness to woo those American's that are listening to those corporate lackeys and getting misled by fictions.

von: "Wyden-Bennett; Coburn-Barr; Baker-Daschle-Dole."

Wyden-Bennett is "bipartisan", not Republican, especially given the Republican co-sponsors who have said they don't actually support it.

Baker-Daschale-Dole is "bipartisan" again, with no national public option, but states are allowed to make their own plans, that have to run by the same rules as private plans, which is extremely vague. It has an employer mandate, which I've gotten the impression you hate, and would never get past the Republican caucus, and an individual mandate, which is generally not a great idea unless there's a lot of regulation to keep that from just being a windfall for insurance companies. (The "Bipartisan Group" webpage that they'd posted it on seems to be down, too)

And the Coburn-Barr one I haven't been able to find details on yet, in a couple of minutes of googling. Do you have any details on it?

The Wyden bill may be a gazillion times better than HR 3200, but it certainly won't get any Republican votes, or the Blue Dogs, probably. These others look like just "bipartisan" attempts to be "reasonable" and give cover to opposing anything Obama and the Democrats propose. But y'know, I could be being silly and taking the Republicans at their word about wanting to kill health care reform to try and defeat Obama, it could be these gentlemen who were screaming about "socialism" and birth certificates are really dignified statesmen who wish only to improve the country.

But I doubt it. What evidence do you have that any of the Republicans are actually interested in health care reform, von, seriously? Given their actions over the last fifteen years, since 1994, many of which they controlled Congress?

and "baker dole daschle"? None of those people are legislators.

I mean, the larger point here is that Republicans could easily say "we'll vote for that one." They haven't, b/c they don't want to pass reform. In fact, they're probably structrually constrained from doing so by their base.

You may be right, but the burden of proof goes the other way. To me, it looks like they're trying to kill it. if the wyden bill was up there, they'd be doing the same

"Oh, it's not even so slow. Pretty steady since 1974..."

OT, but as a perhaps relevant point of interest the US became a net importer of oil around 1970.

d'd'd'dave at 02:24 AM, I didn't and don't intend to make a big thing out of it; I will simply note that "You want" doesn't make remotely clear who the "you" is, and I read it as attacking all the "yous" who are Democrats, and you then accused everyone of advocating "a disgustingly cynical way of governance." That's all I meant by "name-calling." I'll just leave that there, and decline to argue further about it, as on the scale of offensive debate, it's relatively trivial, I'll agree. I simply felt it wasn't a helpful substitute for a substantive contribution.

"I will, however, now denounce your ability to read with comprehension - which falls short of calling you a mindless leftist."

And I'm ever so grateful you choose not to go there.

"That's going to happen now, thanks to the obvious corruption and unconcern for the voters' interests in Washington. Start picking progressive candidates for 2010, 2012, 2014 & 2016. Then you'll get your change, and your healthcare."

Now there's an optimistic person. I think this would be very nice, but it seems a great deal like wishful fantasy to me.

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley needs a solid Democratic challenger in 2010.

Iowa is a purple-to-blue state and Grassley might represent corn interests and insurance interests but he sure doesn't represent the bulk of Iowa voters.

Some of the more egregious "Blue Dogs" should get primaried. I'd like to see Tennessee's Jim Cooper get primaried out, he was one of the principle right wing Dems that screwed with Democratic President Clinton's healthcare plan and he's being a toxic distraction to this day.

a single-payer system would be far and away the most cost effective answer. We don’t talk much about it because it isn’t politically possible. But it isn’t politically possible because we don’t talk about it.

Here's a thought I've been kicking around over the last couple of weeks. Let's assume for the sake of argument that Obama and many of the Democrats in Congress would really prefer a single-payer plan to any of the compromises being batted around, but they're scared off of pushing for it because it's not "politically possible."

(No, I don't believe for one second that this is the case--I think Obama and most of his fellow Dems in Washington are fully committed to keeping the health insurance industry intact in more or less its present form. This is purely a hypothetical. Work with me here.)

If this were the case, might it not be politically smart to go all-out for single-payer, knowing that it might not be "politically possible" at the present time, but with the idea of opening the Overton Window and getting people "talking about it"? Would a strong push from the POTUS and his allies for a "politically impossible" bill make it more or less likely that that bill could become "politically possible" in 5 or 10 or 15 years' time?

I remember Hillary Clinton back in '93 saying that single-payer might very well be the best option, but it wasn't politically doable. Had she really believed that it was the best option (again, I'm quite certain she didn't), and gone all-out to get it passed, but failed, could we conceivably be closer to getting it passed now?

As a strong supporter of single-payer, I'm finding pretty compelling the argument that accepting a severely watered-down compromise bill this year could actually be worse than no bill at all, in that it closes off any possibility for more radical, structural change for the foreseeable future. But I'm honestly not sure if the idea of shooting the moon now would be any better.

Thoughts?

A "single payer" system would provide superior health outcomes.

Countries with "single payer" systems have longer lifespans for their citizens and lower infant mortality rates.

"Single payer" countries also pay half as much as US for those superior outcomes.

Unfortunately "single payer" (like the Canadian system where the government pays the bills of private hospital care) is mistakenly synonymous with "socialized medicine" (the British system where the government owns and operates the hospitals).

Both the Canadian system and the British system provide superior health outcomes. But because the right wing's marketing effort to demonize the word "socialized" has been so effective, even in the face of the facts, trying to move to any system that the right can smear with that word is exceedingly difficult.

The real irony is that if you were looking to lengthen people's lives or reduce the number of infants who die, the truly conservative system would be a single payer system.

The truly radical system is the toxic corporate-medical-monopoly that we have now. We pay twice as much for the corporate-medical-monopoly and it provides worse health outcomes and covers fewer people.

The *real* irony is that if you were looking to save government money by reducing waste - you'd want a single-payer system. If the conservatives in Congress were honest and legitimately negotiating for conservative principles, they'd be pushing for single-payer. But, they're not, and so they're not.

Democrats need to also remind people that the cost of doing nothing far exceeds the cost of "Obamacare" - by a trillion or more dollars. That is the crucial point that no one is hearing.

Last year, I was pretty convinced that we'd get no real reform of the health care system. Far too much money had been invested in both major parties to make sure that it wouldn't happen. Obama's own proposals were tepid and temporizing.

We got closer to real reform than I would have thought, but we still didn't get very close. I think the only open question at this point is whether we get no bill at all, a bill that does next to nothing, or a bill that bails out the insurance industry and calls itself "reform." There's no question in my mind that the last of these options would deserve to be opposed.

Despite the optimism of some on this thread that just one more victory for the forces of corporate greed in this country will somehow, magically, turn voters and/or politicians against our political establishment, ridding our political system of corporate money and influence, I think that outcome is highly unlikely, especially in the short run.

The most likely path to real reform is that the costs of the status quo for corporate America will eventually become so great that they'll put their ideology away and support real reform. When the U.S. Chamber of Commerce starts agitating for reform, it'll happen. If we get national health insurance, we'll achieve it the way Bismarck's Germany did.

But Bismarck was a commie! (Actual argument I heard from right-wingers. That he introduced health insurance, social security etc. is cited as the proof).

"If they attack Republicans' defense of the status quo -- if they make it a liability -- reform becomes much more likely."

Read: if they [dems] simply make up that republicans' are defending the status quo... There are no republicans' defending the current healthcare system. This is media propaganda. Republicans' are interested in reform, just not this masked single payer ploy of Obama's. But of course the media supports Obama by perpetrating this strawman. They always speak of republicans being the party of no, ignoring their alternatives to the dems' proposals.

Luke: So... What are these alternatives the Republicans have offered?

"Face facts, folks: the Republicans are beneath contempt, but the Dems are just worthless and complacent. This is what a slow but inexorable national decline looks like, à la 1950s Britain."

So said the ignorant lib. These are opinions, not facts.
Most ironically, the 1950's was when Britain began their failing government-run healthcare system.
Gary Farber, Don't expect a cognizant response from brain-dead, byrningman anytime this century.

"Most ironically, the 1950's was when Britain began their failing government-run healthcare system."

Failed? It's so popular that no political party in the UK ever dreams of proposing the elimination of the NHS. It's one of the most popular government services ever created in Great Britain. It'd be death for any party to propose eliminating it.

Facts:

[...] An independent survey conducted in 2004 found that users of the NHS often expressed very high levels satisfaction about their personal experience of the medical services they received. Of hospital inpatients, 92% said they were satisfied with their treatment; 87% of GP users were satisfied with their GP; 87% of hospital outpatients were satisfied with the service they received; and 70% of Accident and Emergency department users reported being satisfied.
Compare what Americans as a whole think, let alone what uninsured Americans think.

Similarly, Canada's health service is wildly popular in Canada, the French service in France, the German service in Germany, and so on. These are easily confirmable facts if you're interested in looking into the facts, rather than trying to confirm myths you'd prefer to believe.

I know hundreds of British citizens, and I know of none who would like to see the NHS abolished, or the American system instituted. Ditto Canadians.

"These are opinions, not facts."

Yes, we prefer citable fact, rather than opinion, around here. Feel free to offer your linked cites to demonstrate public desires in Britain, or support of any majority kind, to elminate the NHS.

I concur with D'd'd'dave who said: "I will, however, now denounce your ability to read with comprehension..."

"Failed? It's so popular that no political party in the UK ever dreams of proposing the elimination of the NHS."

First if all, I said failing not failed. Since when has any government entitlement ever been rescinded? And that means UK politicians are looking out for the people or aren't they just really just playing defense?

For someone who points out everyone else's not providing citable fact, you don't seem to do have many yourself. Let's see, your "Facts" are from wikipedia. Great, no one can dispute that! The link for the NHS survey you are allegedly quoting is conveniently invalid. Plus this seems to be a survey of the NHS done by the NHS. How about an objective source?
Not finding a source for the national health services being so wildly popular in Canada, France and Germany either.
OK, what is your source for: "Compare what Americans as a whole think, let alone what uninsured Americans think. " There are recent surveys showing around 80% of Americans are satisfied with their health insurance, which I'll provide later.
"I know hundreds of British citizens, and I know of none who would like to see the NHS abolished,...": Thought there were millions of citizens - not a statiscally-sound survey. Once again, I don't know of any "free" government entitlement, failing or not, that people want to give up; so this doesn't prove that it is or is not failing. I can provide some citable facts on this if can provide at least one objective one.

"The *real* irony is that if you were looking to save government money by reducing waste - you'd want a single-payer system."

You must be basing this on the fact that Medicare, Medicaid and the VA are so efficient? Oh, that's right they're not! It is believed that there is at least 3-4% fraud - waste, ~$72Bil - from Medicare, while the credit card industry for example has < 0.001% fraud. Capitalism is efficient. Gov't is inherently wasteful. Show me where it's not. Where are all those savings Obama promised he'd get by going through the budget and finding waste? Another campaign (lie) promise. The Real irony here is that you seem to actually believe your own propoganda.

"If the conservatives in Congress were honest and legitimately negotiating for conservative principles, they'd be pushing for single-payer. But, they're not, and so they're not."
Yeah right, going against capitalism by destroying the healthcare industry is a conservative principle. I believe this is a quote right out of 1984. You are clearly an economist of the marxist persuasion.

Since right winger "Luke" has pulled out the big words it should be pointed out that the corporatist system he's a servant of is what Mussolini would have proudly called fascism.

The corporate-medical-monopolies have HUGE waste, a good portion of it is what's looted by the corrupt C.E.O.'s.

The corporate-medical-insurance industry is entirely a parasitic organization of corporate-bureaucrats who arbitrarily ration ("rescind") the healthcare of faithfully paying consumers.

Why do corporate-bureaucrats arbitrarily rescind ("ration") paying customers healthcare? For the bonus of course.

CORPORATE-MEDICAL-INSUARNCE COMPANIES PROFIT FROM DENYING COVERAGE.

It's how they make the big bucks.

It's how corrupt corporate-medical-insurance con-artists like Bill McGuire can loot $1.4 BILLION from an insurance company: Corporate rationing of healthcare through rescission.

Luke: So... What are these alternatives the Republicans have offered?

Yeah, I'm wondering about that too. How about it, Luke?

Not finding a source for the national health services being so wildly popular in Canada, France and Germany either.

Anecdotally, I know a lot of people from all of those countries, and none of them are much interested in US-style health care. They like their systems quite a bit. And when I worked in Germany, I liked the fact that medication that I ran out of, for which I required a scrip in the US, I could buy over the counter at any pharmacy in the country.

Capitalism is efficient.

After the debacles of the last several years, how any thinking person can simply spout this trite nonsense as axiomatic is amazing.

Being a Utah health insurance underwriter for www.BenefitsManager.net and www.DentalInsuranceUtah.net I have the opportunity to consult within many state insurance committee meetings. Some interesting changes took place in Utah with the passage of House Bill 188 that other states should pay attention to and perhaps the federal legislation. The bill created a state insurance pool requiring private health insurance carriers to come together and underwrite risk. Through governmental guidelines (which I have traditionally opposed in the past) they created a arena of underwriting rules that essentially guarantees the participating insurance carriers a ?no loss? or ?no gain? over each other. What this essentially means is that they pool the underwriting medical risk and spread it evenly among each carrier. All the sudden, we see guaranteed issued policies. We see rates drop by as much as 13% In Utah, our average monthly family rate is $867 for a $500 deductible plan. Some of the family rates within the ?Utah Insurance Exchange Portal? are approaching $700.00 now. To see more of HB 188 and see how Utah wrangled change without increasing taxes or rationing go to: http://www.prweb.com/releases/utah_health_insurance/health_care_reform/prweb2614544.htm
The private insurance sector can be corralled into cooperation where they can meet their goals. You have to understand that health insurance carriers are only looking for a 4-5% administration fee. That is it and they are more efficient as compared to a governmental portal that will cost more money. Take a look at Utah folks!

"Luke: So... What are these alternatives the Republicans have offered?"

Nate,
The republicans' ideas about healthcare reform are about controlling costs vs the Democrats' plan to fundamentally change healthcare.
-Going across state lines to get health insurance of your choice.
-Wellness/Fitness- Outcome-based treatment
-Medical Malpractice (Tort) Reform - $100Bil
-Eliminate Fraud/Waste/Abuse - $350Bil
-Allow small businesses to join together to lower healthcare costs.
-Guarantee people with pre-existing conditions insurance.

"What are these alternatives the Republicans have offered?""

Republican McCain's "humane" plan was 'go to the emergency room' (and go bankrupt).

"Luke 'The Fascist'" explains some other Republican "alternatives":

"-Going across state lines to get health insurance of your choice."

Because the lowest common denominator of State regulations would further enrich regional corporate-medical-monopolies even more than the current disfunctional system.

"-Wellness/Fitness- Outcome-based treatment"

Which is what the foreign nations that have single payer systems (Canada) and even sociazlized medicine (Britain) have already achieved.

America's corporate-medical-monopolies have put US behind scores of other countries: Behind 49 other countries in life expectancy, behind 43 other countries (and the entire European Union combined), and behind 36 other countries for overall healthcare.

"-Medical Malpractice (Tort) Reform - $100Bil"

Archaic right wing talking point that demands that YOU CAN'T SUE THE DOCTOR THAT DROPPED HIS WATCH IN YOUR CHEST DURING THE OPERATION.

The larger agenda is that right wing fraudsters don't want to be sued for their criminal negligence.

"-Eliminate Fraud/Waste/Abuse - $350Bil"

Keep in mind that that Fraud/Waste/Abuse is under the current CORPORATE-MEDICAL-MONOPOLY.

The fact that their is $350 BILLION Of corporate-medical-monopoly fraud, waste, and abuse is under the private-corporate system so beloved by right wingers.

Part of that $350 BILLION in Fraud/Waste & Abuse is corporate CEO's walking away with multi-million, even billion dollar bonuses. How? They don't pay out claims and they walk away with your faithfully paid premiums while the corporate-medical-monopoly rations ("rescinds") your healthcare.

"-Allow small businesses to join together to lower healthcare costs."

Here's a better idea: Allow small businesses to buy into Medicare for all, it would be cheaper, offer better services, and not have corporate-bureacrats rationing your care for their monthly bonus.

"-Guarantee people with pre-existing conditions insurance."

Here's a better idea: Guarantee everyone the right to buy Medicare insurance and cut out the corporate-medical-monopolies alltogether.

The current corporate-medical-monopolies have put US behind 43 other countries (and the entire European Union combined) for infant mortality.

[corrected]

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