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August 25, 2009

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and whose current insurance would have left him sixty grand in the hole.. except the hospital decided to make themselves a charity for him (reason unexplained).

Has it ever occurred to anyone - and I might still be going out on a limb here - that at least some of the people who have been turning out publically to protest reform don't have any health insurance at all, or are about to lose it, or just lost it? An introguing thought...

And who wants a saftey net for me but not for thee: “There has to be a safety net there. But I don’t want that safety net to catch too many people.”

When Ms. Collier’s breast cancer was diagnosed three years ago, Mr. Collier’s employer-provided insurance paid for her office visits, a biopsy and three surgeries. But the insurer covered only a small fraction of her radiation treatments, which it considered experimental, leaving the Colliers with a $63,000 bill. To their great relief, the charge was later written off by Emory Healthcare, whose doctors had recommended the regimen.

Lucky them. That probably meant they could keep their house.

Mr. Collier’s employer, Buccaneer Inc., which is based in Atlanta, pays 100 percent of his health premiums but requires $509 a month to cover his wife. That cost has been escalating by at least 15 percent a year, and the couple’s deductibles have quadrupled

Better get used to it.

Here comes this new guy in town,” he said, “and he wants to centralize everything. He wants to take over the car companies. He wants to take over the banks.

Seriously, WTF.

And last but not least:

While Mr. Collier said he did not object to paying more to support coverage for the truly needy, he predicted that a universal coverage system would dole out tax dollars to “lazy and irresponsible people who play the system.”

Because we all know folks who are getting rich off of Medicare.

I'm guessing there are about a hundred million Mr. Collinses out there.

I think there are probably many Mr. Collinses russell. I suspect that's normal and not to be changed. What we need is for people like the article author and Mr. Collins' representatives to point out just what the few commenters here have pointed out. And maybe a nice polite letter written to Mr Collins via the article's author and his editor, pointing out those moral inconsistencies and errors of fact to Mr. Collins since he is never likely to visit a site like this. That would take much less work to bring about a little change.

democracy is inadequate. people really are too stupid to govern themselves.

It just boggles my mind that an apparently respectable publication can air the grievances of such an obviously uninformed individual without even bothering to correct them. I mean, what the? If the piece was satirical, maybe I could understand. If the point was 'look what we have to deal with', maybe it could be justified. But the article seems like a straight up and down fluff piece, 'opinions-on-the-shape-of-earth-differ'. Inexplicable

Oh, and it hardly needs to be pointed out, I guess, but making Joe America believe things in his best interest really aren't in his best interest is by far the greatest trick (the GOP? people with money?) ever pulled...such backwards paternalism.

Better, more cost-effective health-care for you and your cancer-afflicted wife? Noo, that's not good for you. Big government. Baaaad.

Mr. Collier's just another good ole boy who obviously does not subscribe to the concept that Washington should have the power over all issues ever conceived by mankind.

I think he hit correctly on the point that Obama and the democrat controlled Congress have spent a lot of political capital on the 'stimulus', (not), the cap and trade energy fiasco, cash for clunkers and the bank and auto bailouts and there is little left to see them through the healthcare effort and that is showing.

It's not easy to discern exactly how he thinks about the safety net for healthcare so I'll give mine. I think every person should be able to get any normally available medical service and treatment commensurate with a given medical condition regardless of ability to pay. This might not always include every possible treatment money can buy, after all, at least so far, money can still make a difference. Being rich actually means something is different. But for the rest of us folks who live at the middle class level, a severe illness might mean financial disaster. Maybe Mr. Collier touches on this when he says he would not like the safety net to catch too many people. I can recall a couple of decades back when families had elderly members needing long term care and much shuffling of assets was done between family members to avoid using all the financial resources and shifting that burden to the state as much as possible. Since this is wrong, laws and regulations were promulgated to make such actions illegal. How well they have worked I have no idea. But the idea that a medical misfortune that leads to individual bankruptcy because of the costs incurred to deal with it should be absorbed by the state so that the individual bankruptcy is avoided and the individual retains financial assets is not acceptable to many people. I also recall not much sympathy when I complained that the government wants more than half estate amounts exceeding exclusions. Mr. Collier did not comment on the 63,000 that was forgiven but I dare say there are many who pay and are thankful for successful outcomes. So there really are legitimate concerns regarding how such a safety net for healthcare works.

"There has to be a safety net there. But I don’t want that safety net to catch too many people."

I'm sorry, but this is a rather comically repulsive statement, especially when coupled with the last 'he predicted that a universal coverage system would dole out tax dollars to “lazy and irresponsible people who play the system.”'. He wants to make sure that his grown children and grandson are protected, so I don't think that someone else who shifts their assets is going to be considered as being lazy and irresponsible.

The whole comment invites speculation about just who shouldn't be caught and why they shouldn't be. Yes, there are legitimate concerns about how a safety net functions, but this blaming of the recipients rather than looking at how the safety net functions is a bait and switch.

Apparently Teddy Kennedy just passed away, so I wonder what effect this will have on the debate, if any.

Joe Klein points to the source of our soft-spoken citizen's concerns. The post title is 'Lower than Dirt'.

I think every person should be able to get any normally available medical service and treatment commensurate with a given medical condition regardless of ability to pay.

Yeah, so do I. What's your plan for making that happen, GOB?

To be clear, I have absolutely nothing against Mr. Collier. I don't think he's a [email protected] cracker, and I don't think the basic concern about the size and scope of the government is necessarily wrong-headed.

What I do think is that a steady diet of Rush and Fox News has, basically, poisoned his mind. Because those folks are liars. Worse, they are liars for a living.

I also find myself profoundly saddened and discouraged by the whole dialog we're having, as a nation, about health care.

Were it not for a $63,000 gift, Collier would quite possibly be either homeless or a widower. But he doesn't want the safety net to catch too many people. This apparent causes him no cognitive dissonance.

He's not a bad guy, the problem is that the basic premises of the whole conversation are insane.

I'm with cleek, the political process in this country is profoundly broken.

I'm not going to judge Mr. Collier as a person, who doubtless has many dimensions that don't show up in his front-page New York Times profile.

But I can say without hesitation that the NYT has chosen to legitimate -- to present as a reasonable set of views, with no counterbalancing facts or arguments -- his dumb-assed crackerism.

“There has to be a safety net there. But I don’t want that safety net to catch too many people.” he predicted that a universal coverage system would dole out tax dollars to “lazy and irresponsible people who play the system.”

Do those of you who have not spent time in the U.S. south really not understand who Mr. Collier is talking about? It's not a subtle or impenetrable code.

Them. Those people. The n---ers.

The entire national "conversation" is corrupt, because this kind of garbage is put on the same level -- no, on a higher, more legitimate level because of Mr. Collier's salt-of-the-earth "authenticity" -- by the corporate-owned media and the corporate-owned political class than the actual arguments about the possible ways to assure that no one fails to receive necessary medical care because of inability to pay.

I grew up in the south during the 1950s and 1960s. This front-page article feels exactly as if the New York Times had featured on the front page, unrebutted, the views of a random man in the crowd that burned the freedom riders' bus in Anniston, Alabama in 1961.

Views on humanity of human beings differ.

Only effete liberals -- a supposedly dying breed (several news accounts this morning describe Ted Kennedy as "the last liberal") -- could possibly believe in racial equality.

Only "the left of the left", according to the corporate sellout cowards on the White House staff, could possibly believe that universal, affordable health care is a right important enough to trump the industries that currently profit from its absence.

I'm saddened by Senator Kennedy's death, but glad he didn't have to see this article.

What's up with the Times? On Tuesday it cited Lyndon LaRouche (along with Betsy McCaughey, Michele Bachmann, and Sarah Palin) as someone whose criticisms of Zeke Emanuel should be taken seriously, describing him as a "political provocateur" rather than a loony cult leader.

russel:Because we all know folks who are getting rich off of Medicare.

Well sure we do, they're called "doctors."

I'm looking forward to a nice lavish, sympathetic cover profile of the Reverend Fred Phelps in an upcoming Sunday Times Magazine. The "God Hates Fags" school of religious thought has not gotten a fair shake from the MSM. Nor have the Holocaust deniers, come to think of it.

It's refreshing to see that the Times is trying to restore a sense of journalistic balance by eliminating the old liberal elitist distinction between "informed" and "ignorant."

Teach the controversy--let people make up their own minds!

Well sure we do, they're called "doctors."

Yep, doctors are practically force-marching Medicaid patients into their clinics; the rates are THAT good.

Maybe all those articles I've read over the years about Medicare patients being turned away because of low and slow reimbursement were just smokescreen, though.

Slarti - just speaking from personal experience of my father recounting that a large part of his at times seven figure income came from Medicare patients (maybe in fact the bulk of it). He did say that reimbursement rates now, as opposed to a couple years ago, are lower than they had been. But perhaps he and his partners are the exception.

Something that would be useful to know is to compare how slow Medicare reimbursements are and how much staff time they take up vs. recent trends in private insurement on how slow they are and how much staff time they take up. I'm sensing an oddness here that I can't put my finger on (or articulate....)

He did say that reimbursement rates now, as opposed to a couple years ago, are lower than they had been. But perhaps he and his partners are the exception.

I've found articles detailing problems with Medicare reimbursements going back into the Clinton administration.

It'd be interesting to find out whether there was actually something to gripe about, though, versus griping calculated to increase profit.

Sounds as if your father was a specialist, Ugh. True?

Here's what the author of the piece, Kevin Sack, wrote to me:

"And to think that your point of view is superior to that of other people, even large numbers of people, on a topic as unpredictable as health policy is arrogance."

So Obama's call for universal coverage is equivalent to some redneck not wanting poor minorities to have health insurance. Good thing Kevin's not writing about torture...

i am willing to assume that mr. collier is a fair minded, compassionate fellow, but i don't think it unfair to also consider him intentionally ill-informed. he reminds me of the born again christians who assure me they are avid readers about their faith. take a spin through any of their christian bookstores. you will be lucky to find one serious volume on bible history or religous philosophy. what is being offered is no more than a confirmation of what the customers already believe. mr. collier has applied that criteria to his sources of political information. does he really believe that fox and limbaugh traffic in the truth? i suspect it is going to take a genuine personal experience to get the bucket off mr. collier's head.

I too received a message from Kevin Sack after complaining about the un-newsworthiness of the piece:

Sorry, I guess I didn't get the directive saying we should only report the
views of electoral winners. Sometimes the commissariat loses my email
address.

Kevin Sack

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