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Guest Post: Health Care - Let's Liberate the Masses

Tyler Durden's picture




 

Submitted by Dylan Ratigan

I work for the General Electric Company. It is, at least at NBC Universal, a very nice place to work and I am very lucky to work there.

You meet lots of interesting and accomplished people, there are lights and cameras and action.

And GE is a good company, with well-established systems to hire, transfer, promote and sometimes fire the hundreds of thousands of people that make up the business.

One perk of being a GE employee is that you get special access to a GE product store where you can buy things like stoves and other GE Appliances at discounted employee rates. A nice perk, especially if you need a well-crafted stove.

But if you decide you want to buy your appliance someplace else, no problem, the GE Appliance Store is there if you want it at any time, but there is certainly no obligation to buy there. And they certainly don't pay me in expensive GE stoves, because I would much rather have actual money that I could then go and use it to buy any stove I want, maybe even a smaller, cheaper one since I live in New York City. Or if I didn't need a new stove, I could just use the money for something I did need.

The same is true for all of the non-health insurance I have. They have nothing to do with where I work, so I can change my homeowners insurance and car insurance at any time, and the insurers are forced to compete based on my preferences.

And yet that is exactly the opposite of how the Employer-based Health Care model works: they decide your choices, and if you don't like their limited selection, you end up having to forgo their entire subsidy and pay for the plan you want completely out of pocket. It would be like getting partially paid in stoves that you don't need and can't sell.

However, when you compare my predicament to the 47 million people without health insurance, I couldn't seem more whiny. The fact is that GE does provide me with excellent health insurance, so this really has nothing to do with benefiting me personally. But the cost of health insurance in this country is out of control, and it is not only keeping millions from accessing proper medical care, but it is also hobbling our large companies in the global marketplace and strangling at birth many of the small businesses we need so desperately to get job growth going.

Meanwhile, innovative health care programs like the Mayo Clinic are out of reach of most of the 174 million Americans currently on Employer-based health care, protecting the majority of insurers from competing against the Mayo Clinic's amazing advances. This in turn prevents the smarter, less-expensive large scale health care companies from growing large enough to cover the currently uninsured.

As it stands now, being forced into an Employer-based health care system encourages the exorbitant spending that is bankrupting our country.

Imagine, if you will, that you are going out to nice steakhouse tonight with every person that you work with. Now imagine that everyone in advance knows the total bill will just be split up equally at the end, no matter how much each of you orders. How many people do you think will order just a salad when they know that they will be paying for part of your double filet? Now imagine that half the bill will be paid by your company, except with the caveat that they get to pick the restaurant. Would this system ever work for a group lunch at your company? So why would we use it for something as important as health care?

So as we all watch this bill make its way with 564 Proposed Amendments on its first day, pay close attention to the employer voucher option being offered by Ron Wyden, which seeks to directly address this massive flaw. And once again, we must ask if our government really does work for the taxpayers and the well-intentioned doctors and hospitals who care for them? Or do they work for the entrenched insurers, employers that wish to stifle employee competition, employee benefit Management companies and unions that make billions or wield their power based on the current broken system and are lobbying hard to keep it that way? This will be yet another litmus test.

 

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Tue, 09/22/2009 - 13:23 | 76449 Enkidu
Enkidu's picture

Dylan - As I live in Canada & the UK I'm not sure who you work for now? I thought you worked for CNBC (your presence was one of the few reasons to watch that mad rubbish) which is owned by GE. However, I thought you had moved channel - is that also owned by GE? By-the-way, from an outsider's point-of-view, it is baffling why the American people have not staged an uprising about holiday entitlement, health care, wars, rich guys, robbers...

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 13:36 | 76460 Danz Gambit
Danz Gambit's picture

Dylan quit CNBC, which is owned by NBC Universal, and after a short hiatus, re-surfaced at MSNBC ... which also is owned by NBC Universal ... which is owned by GE .. which is owned by ... ?

 

I like Dylan, but I wish he'd get a different gig.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:14 | 76514 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

which is owned by GE ... which is owned by the Sheinhardt Wig company

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:18 | 76517 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Why are you talking about robbers when you're the looter proudly making off with goods that are the side-effect of violence from the state-run cartel?

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:34 | 76541 SilverIsKing
SilverIsKing's picture

Dylan, this may be a bit off topic but can you tell us if Dennis Kneale is as big a douche bag in person as he appears to be on TV?  Thanks.

Wed, 09/23/2009 - 01:33 | 77100 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

lol

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 13:32 | 76455 jdun
jdun's picture

The health care bill will only work one way. It gets rid of private sector responsibility. So in fact you will only have one choice and a very bad one at that.

 

Government is never the solution to anything. Anybody that think they are is either very naïve or have the intelligent of a child.

 

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 13:40 | 76466 aldousd
aldousd's picture

well, I can't say they have the intelligence of a child, but I'm pretty sure it won't work. lots of people voting with their dollars isn't perfect, but it is better than a few people drawing it on a blackboard.  I'm also very appalled at the above Enkidu's suggestion that we should have an entitlements revolt. Now THAT is scary stuff.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:02 | 76493 Enkidu
Enkidu's picture

Scary stuff? Hmmm... well, it is with bemusement that we on the outside watch the richest country in the world offer such poor benefits to the citizens of that country. I know, of course, that this is red rag to bull etc. but health care in UK and Canada are not bad at all - its greatest advantage is that you don't even have to think about it. When some nasty bodily misfunction occurs you just pop off to visit a free doctor and then go to a free hospital. The docs/nurses etc are just as good as your in the US - in fact, they often work there, as I understand. Even when you lose your job you just carry on as normal - visiting the same doctor and clinic. Also, once you get used to the fact that the state provides things it is not so bad. In the States your education is somewhat provided by the State. It is just a different system - kinder, more humane - not alarming!

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:37 | 76545 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

The purpose of government is not to offer benefits.

"You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the direct end of your Government."

See anything about health care in there?  I didn't think so.


Tue, 09/22/2009 - 21:56 | 76957 TumblingDice
TumblingDice's picture

Liberty and credit based money...I wonder if they can ever be reconciled in the end.

My personal view is that it is still possible to leave liberty untouched and preserved as long as the government does a straight up socialization, as in offer medical care as a straight up positive right. But that is impossible to do in this system of corporations offering their own insurance, with incredibly expensive medical education and the debt overhang inherent with the use of FRNs. Now it is only possible to negotiate a compromise that in the end will favor everyone that is providing the service now and hurts the American taxpayer/debt slave.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 18:28 | 76815 lookma
lookma's picture

By "richest country in the world" do you mean most "indebted country in the world"?

Wed, 09/23/2009 - 02:14 | 77120 Enkidu
Enkidu's picture

Yes, you are right - it is difficult to describe anything these days because of all aspects of so-called 'balance sheets' - but I meant in that the US has the largest military (by a huge margin), is the largest world consumer, largest polluter, etc. etc. Yes, they have tons of debt denominated in cheaper and cheaper dollars. To be honest I don't know any more what wealth vis-a-vis debt - debt seems to be wealth too. 

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 15:10 | 76572 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

People with blind reliance on the "market" are the the ones who are naive. Healthcare is the perfect example as countries that have government run systems provide better care for less than the US.

You are truly a fool if you believe that a system with layers upon layers of private, profit taking companies means a better, more effective system in every instance.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 16:11 | 76671 lookma
lookma's picture

The US does not have a free market in healthcare.  You are comparing government programs, not government v. the free market.

But its easier to bury one's head into the sand and throw around meaningless political talking points, however divorced from reality they may be, than to challenge one's own ignorance and chose to learn.

Wed, 09/23/2009 - 03:25 | 77139 JohnnyChimpo
JohnnyChimpo's picture

Unfortunately, most of our health care is provided by nonprofit institutions.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2009/09/16/john-lott-health-care-claims-o...

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 18:31 | 76778 bluelou
bluelou's picture

Reply To jdun:

"private sector responsibility" is a vague notion.  "Government is never the solution to anything" is a mantra.  Contrary to what you may have been told, notions and mantras are not facts.  

Think originally and you might get somewhere.  If private sector responsibility is on the watch with respect to health care why are the private sector inefficiencies and inadequacies so glaring?

If gov't is never the solution to anything why do we need securities market regulations?  Why do we have public utilities commissions?  Why have a social welfare system (Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid/AFDC, etc.)?

I'm not giving you the answers.  Find them yourself.  Ignorance is a choice to be unaware.  You can break free of this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 21:06 | 76916 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

"If gov't is never the solution to anything why do we need securities market regulations?"

Oh oh oh....I know this one!!!

So we have a definition for the phrase REGULATORY CAPTURE.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 13:38 | 76461 3greenlights
3greenlights's picture

A GE employee on ZH... whoa, does that make Dylan a "moronic blogger...?" Any thoughts, Charlie?

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 16:47 | 76720 MinnesotaNice
MinnesotaNice's picture

+10... that is just amazing that Dylan wrote a piece for ZH... that says a lot about what audience ZH is attracting... people are flocking to and participating in disseminating the truth...

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 13:40 | 76465 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

First Cramer defending flash trading and now Dylan defending GE and the healthcare bill. I think a memo was issued.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 13:58 | 76490 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I don't think you are being fair here. I also respectfully ask you to re-read what he said. I don't see him defending GE or necessarily defending the healthcare Bill, quite the contrary.

When Dylan left CNBC and Fast Money coincided with me turning the channel.

Even though his questions can run on for days, if you want fair and balanced he is one of the few you will find.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 13:40 | 76467 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

insurance carriers are not forced to compete, that game has been rigged for years. The states are usually the referee, here in MA they say its a model system but its bleeding $$ already. LESS FOR MORE

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 13:44 | 76470 Commander Cody
Commander Cody's picture

Competition breeds innovation.  The private sector produces, the government consumes.  We are all destined to die of consumption.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 13:44 | 76473 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Enkidu- dylan's new show "The Meeting" is on MSNBC, which is owned by GE-just as CNBC is.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:07 | 76500 Enkidu
Enkidu's picture

Jeez - that is alarming!

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 13:49 | 76475 River Tam
River Tam's picture

Similar to Public Schools versus private in Florida. You pay property tax for public schools and get no benefit for your property tax payment if you choose to enroll your children in private school.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 15:15 | 76581 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

So the fact that kids of people who cannot (even with some phony voucher program) get an education has no value to you? What an incredibly limited way of thinking.

Come to think of it, I get no value from you being able to drive on roads that I pay for.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 21:21 | 76933 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

How exactly does not being able to read, or APPLY basic math help the poor?

How does memorizing fairy tails about the Civil War being fought to free slaves, and learning think like the herd, qualify as education?

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 13:52 | 76482 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Dylan, you need only ask yourself one question: Are the employees of GE, including your boss, also working under the same insurance program you are?

The day CONgress, the government workers, and all those who are trying to take over the health care insurance program sign up for the same program, I'll agree.

And you do not strike me as someone who would buy the notion that 47 million people who do not have health insurance (would someone, Anyone, please tell me how "they" figured that one out?) all of them cannot afford it, so why do you repeat the same lies?

Indeed there is much wrong (and right) about our health programs in this country, but if you think having the Federal Government monopolize it is the answer then you have lost all common sense, deny history, and command no respect.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 15:30 | 76605 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I'm not Dylan and I don't work at GE but I tell you that there are various group benefit coverages within GE . What's more, what people don't understand, is that GE makes
most of the decisions and pays all the bills. The insurance company just collects an administration fee unless a single person's bill exceeds a fixed amount, like $250,000 at
which point actual insurance kicks in where GE has to pay a deductible and co-insurance until an out of pocket max is reached.

Lower level employees have higher copays,
less benefits and may even be more restricted in
the list of providers available. It costs the administrators a lot of money to manage all these group plans, all these provider contracts with/within a single corporate entity but you never hear that side of the debate/expense.

Insurance companies compete for GE's business that keeps this cost down and creates its own unique abuses. Trust me, anyone who has a say in GE's choice of administrator is flagged in the computer system and all co-pays are waived and all treatments get special attention and approval.

Wed, 09/23/2009 - 05:57 | 77162 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

So GE is partially self-insured? They pay medical bills up to $250,000 per person, 'out of pocket', out of earnings or borrowing money, like a deductible, THEN insurance kicks in like a Catastrophic program would?

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 13:55 | 76485 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

the trouble with the health care bill antis is that they promote the NHS comparison. now, the NHS is probably THE most centralised universal provision system in the world. look at France and tell me its so bad.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 15:44 | 76626 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

France is the size of Two Californias. Talk to me when the European Countries comprising some 400,000,000 people, consolidate and offer insurance to everyone, "free" of charge.

You who compare some pissant countries to the disUnited States are ignorant in the extreme to think that you can insure 500,000,000 people.

There isn't a country on earth, besides China (good luck over there) that attempts to insure 500,000,000 people.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:05 | 76496 putbuyer
putbuyer's picture

This article is a virus

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 20:47 | 76898 Sqworl
Sqworl's picture

HAHAHAHA

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:07 | 76501 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Two issues with this example. Anybody is free to go shopping for health insurance within their state, just like stoves. However, the shopping is limited by two very important issues not brought up by the author - first each State limits competition within their State and Companies are able to qualify their health plans under the IRS code. Nothing prevents a person running out get their own health coverage or meet their need; but, it will be costly because it generally won't meet the qualified plan rules and one will have to use after tax dollars for it.

Most consumer products that are needed for the mass use do not have these influences or limits. And stoves do not have these limits.

Don't like the Company Plans? First get the States to lift the restrictions on competition and second qualify all health care under the same IRS rules.

Then you can compare stoves, auto and health insurance.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 16:57 | 76729 chunkylover42
chunkylover42's picture

ding, ding, ding!

+1

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:22 | 76516 Pizza Delivery Man
Pizza Delivery Man's picture

If you want healthcare the military is an option. I did (many years ago) and I elect to have private insurance. I think the VA sucks a big fat and veiny cock.

Dylan - Why don't you quit GE and give up your healthcare benefits and join the Marines? You can have all the socialized medicine you want.

On a lighter note I really do love your reporting.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:28 | 76532 nhsadika
nhsadika's picture

No young person wants healthcare until they are in a car accident.  We expect our nation to protect us from bogeymen - $1+ trillion defense budget - how "democratic" a choice of public spending, just as long as the tax payer doesn't blow it on his own health!

Did you ever think the whole game is from corporates who want "socialized" bomb making, and "war making?"   Let there be no mistake, there will be no public run healthcare plan... I expect the corporates to come to rest on a plan that allows them to increase their customer base!

It has all been prearranged I assure you - even Obama will give on the public option.  The theatrics are just there to suggest a public debate.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:22 | 76527 Cheeky Bastard
Cheeky Bastard's picture

WHAT; Dylan Rating actually wrote an article for ZH; I'm not quite sure how should i interpret this. If, really this article is written for the sole purpose of being published on ZH; then i need to pick up my jaw from the floor and congratulate on the, whats the word I'm looking for; courage maybe. Anyway i now need to read the article.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:22 | 76528 DaddyWarbucks
DaddyWarbucks's picture

Good well made points.

"And once again, we must ask if our government really does work for the taxpayers and the well-intentioned doctors and hospitals who care for them? Or do they work for the entrenched insurers, employers that wish to stifle employee competition, employee benefit Management companies and unions that make billions or wield their power based on the current broken system and are lobbying hard to keep it that way? This will be yet another litmus test."

There is already more than enough eveidence to answer this question. The problem is that most don't like the conclusion so they keep asking the question over and over again.

As one who has owned and operated small businesses most of my life let me add some more ingredients to the soup.

A person who is a W-2 employee in the U.S. enjoys some legal protection against pre-existing condition clauses. For example a woman who is hired during the seventh month of pregnancy cannot be denied coverage for the birth and related medical services.

You can be assured that GE brings more weight to the bargaining table than a 10-25 person shop. As one can imagine that shop doesn't get the same plan choices or rate schedules that GE does.

If one is self employed it is even worse. An attorney who does work for me now and then explained that it is virtually impossible for her to get maternity coverage as part of an Individual policy these days. At the same time an illegal alien or "low income" person gets "free" maternity services; "free" of course means that we pay for it with our tax dollars.

My grandfather who lived in the pre-insurance era was actually better off than us because he at least did not have to pay prices that had been inflated by the insurance parasite.

This state of affairs is a tragedy of historic proportions.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:27 | 76534 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Healthcare does not work properly in a market based system. Free markets are not the end all solution for everything in the entire universe, they are a tool societies can use for the benefit of society as a whole. They are USUALLY the best solution we know of for product innovation and pricing. When they are not the proper tool for a certain subset of things (such as the military, or health care, etc) it really is not that big of a deal. Get over it, for some products and services the free market is not beneficial and that is obvious to pretty much everyone outside of American Republicans.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 15:02 | 76564 nhsadika
nhsadika's picture

Agree 100%  That doesn't mean we'll be able to efficiently create a single entity like the provinces in Canada have...it would be havoc.

But their data is interesting.  Just one expense that is way out of wack.

The cost of malpractice insurance is $100,000 for many obstetricians and even higher for some surgeons in the US. A noncomplication C-Section delivery is about $6000k in the US if you pay out of pocket (physician makes about $3000+).  

Malpractice is far less in Ontario - $25,000.  And the get this, the physician reimbursement for that C-section in Ontario it is $514.85 (6x less) - all the fees are online, just take a look.  
http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/ohip/sob/physserv/k_obstet.pdf

So you have a physician in the US paying $100,000 in malpractice - that seems efficient!  You also have tons of little bureacracies running in the private world, trying to support an ever increasing profit motive.  It is absurdly, comically inefficient.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 16:11 | 76676 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Great link, thanks!

All insurance companies have the same thing but it varies between them so it is proprietary information. Since there is no objective information on quality, shopping
would only lead to the bad side of town as
even the base, the medicare amount, is based on nothing more than zip codes and the rents required to maintain a practice in one versus another.

"So you have a physician in the US paying $100,000 in malpractice - that seems efficient!'

Somehow when a baby is stillborn because the
physician decides that a vaginal delivery provides a greater return than a c-section (no anesthesiologist to cut into the profit base, especially in an HMO) and then loses a lawsuit as a result that it is the fault of the legal system! Tort reform is the call! Not, Excessive Incompetence in the Medical Profession!

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 17:04 | 76732 chunkylover42
chunkylover42's picture

Take a look at LASIK eye surgery.  It is considered a luxury and is generally not covered in most insurance plans and is not eligible for medicare reimbursements.  In other words, it's the closest thing we have to unfettered free markets within health care.  And the prices have come down dramatically since the procedure was developed due to technological innovation and competition.  Once you buy the equipment necesary, the marginal cost of one more patient is very low.  Once the second doctor in town opens his practice, you better believe he's going to attract customers with lower prices more/better services, or some combination.

We use insurance to pay for every little medical expense.  This is absurd.  The answer is less insurance, not more.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:27 | 76535 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I think Dylan makes some excellent points. One way or another, we are going to have to give up this insane mess we have now (or that turd of a bill in Congress) and go with one of two choices:

1. Complete free market, one where insurance companies actually have to compete and provide INSURANCE, just like they do for homes and cars, no employer mandates, just good old basic insurance; OR

2. A UK, Canadian or dare I say FRENCH system. The French system is just about like Medicare is now: insurance for everyone, with supplemental private plans to cover the extras.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:42 | 76550 Bankster T Cubed
Bankster T Cubed's picture

Hi Dylan!   -  Guess what?   We are all simply fucked.   Because the same monster that owns our financial system, that manipulates our markets as we're seeing, that suckers savings from citizens 24/7, that steals shamelessly from the Treasury because it owns the Secretary of the Treasury, completely totally owns and controls our government.   The giant vampire squid is no fairy tale.   Whatever congress passes will definitely be a gift to the vampire squid, and will suck blood from us.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:54 | 76558 economicmorphine
economicmorphine's picture

Mr. Ratigan:

Nobody is "forced into an employer sponsored health care system".  You are incented to use it, but not forced.  If you were a person of conviction, you might choose not to use it, or to get your own health care plan.  If you truly believed what you wrote, you might even choose to pay for a plan that gives you access to the Mayo Clinic, if that's what you want.

I am self employed.  I used to work for GE, and I still have a clock radio I bought from the company store.  It was a second, but the thing was indestructible, not like GE's current business lines which, as I understand it are basically in media and financial derivatives.  Since leaving, I have moved to Texas.  My dentist, my pharmacist and an increasing percentage of all of my medical care providers are across the Rio Grande or, if you are Mexican, el Rio Bravo del Norte.  The care is equal to and in many cases better than what I can get on this side of the river.  The providers charge a reasonable rate for their services and I am happy with the quality of the product.

That's what people of conviction do.  So please, keep NYC the hell out of Texas.  You folks have screwed enough things up.  Life works well here.  We don't need you or your arrogant opinions.  We will get by.

 

Regards.

 

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 15:03 | 76567 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Across the Rio Grande? I can hear homeland security now "This guy Morphine is going to be big trouble".

Pretty soon you will be forced to buy a health insurance policy. And if you don't pay, it will be deducted from your paycheck/tax returns or if you really wanna play dirty and not pay for it Uncle Sam will deny you a passport and put you on the TSA blacklist.

Ha how do you like that?

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 15:11 | 76573 Silver Bullet
Silver Bullet's picture

That is not what he meant.

He said he liked his healthcare.

He simply meant that, although he liked it, he had no REASONABLE other choice. He was locked into whatever plan GE provided him.

In other words, there really isnt a free market for health insurance (for better or for worse)

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:54 | 76559 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Ah, I was looking for a well-crafted stove pipe hat. Like the one in this image:
http://www.clicket.com/images_med/F61282.jpg

Can the GE store supply me with that?

Thanks for your thoughts on forced mandatory healthcare reform that gets shoved down our throats now isn't it time that you got back to TV fantasy land? I must get ready to purchase insurance! Yea!

--Honest Abe

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 14:59 | 76561 SlimeyLimey
SlimeyLimey's picture

The citizenry of the US, in healthcare as in so many other issues, is suffering from Stockholm syndrome - sympathizing with their captors. Healthcare in the US costs 2.5 times as a percentage of GDP of what it does in any other first world country, but ranks #42 in terms of quality of outcome for the patient or "consumer" as they are accustomed to being called.

I've lived in the UK and the Netherlands as well as the US and would trade the healthcare system in a heartbeat.

[edit] i run a small business and pay for healthcare for my family and employees. [/edit]

And socialism? By the measure of % of GDP controlled by the government, the US is already more socialist than most countries in Europe. Just has different priorities on where to spend the money...

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 15:05 | 76569 KawKaw
KawKaw's picture

More of you Yanks should think about moving to Canada.  But leave your guns behind.  Healthcare in Canada works.  If you're a 35 year old lad playing rugby and twist up your knee, you'll walk on crutches for a few weeks, but you'll get a top drawer doctor and whatever you need, including an MRI, when it's your turn.  YES, you have to wait.  Let's face it you never had a rugby career to begin with, so what if you don't get the MRI on that same day.  But if you're having a baby, you get a Doc and bed immediately.  If you think you may have cancer, you can see 1 or 3 or 5 specialists until you're satisfied.  AND IT'S ALL COVERED FOR EVERYONE.

 

The cultural retardation in the U.S. is going to destroy it.  People focus on all the wrong issues.  The arguments are about guns, abortion, Obama's birth certificate, and death panels...com'on people.  These are wedge issues meant to divide us.  Most people are centrists...take back your country and start leading the world again.  The folks that made sacrifices in the 1940s and 1950s and made the U.S. great didn't always think about ME, ME, ME...

 

WAKE UP!!!

 

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 15:25 | 76599 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

On the flip side look at healthcare in China. If you want it you have to pay cash for it.

That makes people get up and work hard making trinkets for Americans everyday. It develops a work ethic. Unlike some countries who sheepishly walk to the welfare window and with puppydog eyes and their best pouty lip look BEG for welfare.

I'll take the current American system thanks.

And the problem is with medical billing not insurance. CAP THE FUC*ING COSTS THAT DOCTORS ARE ALLOWED TO CHARGE. $4000 for an CTSCAN (because GE charges $12 million dollars for the CT Scan machine but only in the US in China a CT Scan machine costs much less) THANKS GE!

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 15:06 | 76570 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

To be legal, every contract has what is called "consideration".

If I give you X, I will get Y in return.

In return for giving the medical community guaranteed coverage for every patient that walks in the door for whatever reason, whatever real or imagined ailment, we get what?

Good Intentions??????????

How can you not say that our government is in the pocket of the medical community?

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 15:31 | 76607 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

All this debate about the best way to "reform" the healthcare, or health insurance,(depending on what the spin is that particular day) system is pointless for one very basic reason--the US government and the public are broke, leveraged to the gills, and won't even be able to cover programs like Social Security obligations starting in 2010-2011 without creating a larger deficit. We have way too much debt already across all three sectors of the economy(financial, government, and consumer) to add yet more debt to the system--and even if the President took every penny of every income from "the rich" he still wouldn't be able to pay for it. The posters on this board have pointed out frequently that the debt we have on our books is unsustainable over the long term, with banks and the government working hand-in-hand to steal from taxpayers even further. Quite frankly, healthcare or health insurance costs shouldn't even be on the public's radar until the issue of how this country is going to remain solvent gets solved. The President signing a "stimulus" bill and calling it a day isn't going to cut it, particularly when one of his own party members in the House has been sitting his fat ass on the Fed audit bill since February.

The healthcare debate is nothing more than a manufactured distraction because, IMO, if most Americans ever found out how complicit our elected leaders have been and continue to be in screwing us over, those leaders could have an honest-to-goodness revolution on their hands. It's the equivalent of two people arguing over whether cable or satellite TV is better, when they are both in the process of being kicked out of their homes because they can't pay the mortgage. It won't make a damn bit of difference if a "public option" is better if it can't be paid for, and neither side wants to deal with the far more important issue of why they are being foreclosed on in the first place. (My apologies for the awkward analogy)

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 15:48 | 76631 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Dylan is taking lessons from his master, Obama. Arguments like his make you "feel good", but then when examined you find are without merit.

We need to step back here and state the obvious. HEALTH INSURANCE provided by the employer is a BENEFIT. It is not the employer's mandate to provide you with a good health plan or an affordable healthplan. In fact, they don't have to provide you with anything. They provide you benefits because they believe it is in their interest and advantage to attract good employees, there is a tax benefit for them, and they hopefully feel deeply for their employees and want to bless them and care for them.

The real issue is that health plans are regulated in each state and each state has different requirements for policies. For example, Texas does not require health insurance companies to offer maternity benefits unless they are group or company plans. If you are an individual, sorry, no maternity benefits for you! In Tennessee though, the state mandates that all individual plans carry maternity benefits.

Doesn't make much sense to me and pisses off people in Texas.

The whole system sucks, but you better be careful with unintended consequences. We'll have doctor shortages within a year I bet as .gov decides that a specialist should receive no more than $252,000 a year (strategically placed there so docs will be listed as rich and pay extra taxes of course).

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 15:52 | 76638 Joeman34
Joeman34's picture

How can anyone argue that government controlled health care is a viable solution???  WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! 

 

Government already had their shot at reforming health care, read:  Medicare/Medicaid.  Let's review how well those programs are doing.  Oh yeah, they're both basically bankrupt and represent about a $38 trillion unfunded liability.  And by the way, when these programs were started, the politicians claimed the programs would reduce costs, which is exactly what they're claiming now.  Anyone in favor of government-run health care is ignorant.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 16:22 | 76688 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

It did an excellent job of making healthcare unaffordable for millions of people as well. Which is what it was meant to do. It created a "big pocket" that was capable of inflating prices way beyond what any insurance company was able to do. When my dad was in the hospital for a heart attack. He would get every damn doctor in the place stopping by and saying "Hello" to him. These were then huge "consulting" fees billed to medicare.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 17:43 | 76774 SlimeyLimey
SlimeyLimey's picture

That's because of the system of fee for service. Take a look at how the Mayo clinic works. A fixed fee for a complete course of treatment. Doctors on payroll. This is how it's done elsewhere.

Fee for service for medicare and medicaid is what's bankrupting those programs. It's not going to last, regardless of the outcome of the current debate.

The day when the tax payer is going to reimburse seniors for whatever care they and there doctors decide they need, whether or not it works, is over.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 16:14 | 76681 JohnKing
JohnKing's picture

WTF is Dylan doing? I remember he was an early supporter of the bailout, it went through and then he went antagonistic, this is starting to look like a pattern and I wonder how much play-acting is going on. Government should be kept out our lives, period. This nonsense about mandatory insurance is quite scary, If it is mandatory, you can bet it will at some point be highly predatory.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 16:24 | 76695 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

You mean like car insurance where it gets close to actually leasing you your own damn car back to you. There's no way the risk on an individual car is THAT high.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 16:41 | 76713 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

If you trace down the causes for these exorbitant costs, you will probably find the federal government at the source.

Back in the '30s, the same people who brought you the Fed also brought you Western Medicine. Or rather, they licensed Western Medicine to take over Health Care, though they understand little of health in the first place.

They relegated many useful disciplines to the Witch Doctor Heap. Homeopathy. Herbs. You name it.

Colleges for both Homeopathy & Women were largely wiped out. The social upheaval of the Great Depression killed off a lot.

The FDA, Drug Laws & the like have their origins then, to the best of my knowledge. All tied in together.

This is just the coup-de-gras (spelling???). The original work of the '30s only laid the foundation of the mess we have now.

Forget what is written in the legislation. Think about what it will morph into.

Death Panels aren't in it. The ability to hide them in future legalese is, whether they come to be or not.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 18:04 | 76796 JohnKing
JohnKing's picture

That's it. No way they will Granny but with legislative creep they will kill you (and your children).

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 17:15 | 76747 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

There are going to be doctor shortages anyway. with 100,000 malpractice and 250,000 salary and a 100% chance of getting sued during your career why bother? 80 hour weeks? 250,000 in student loan debt for 8 years of school? would you do that? what if you are in family practice making 120,000 with 250,000 in debt. Not worth doing. Healthcare is going to be rationed simple as that. The question is how do we do it? By government formulation? By death by spreadsheet of private healthcare or because the system is so broken that primary care visits have 6 month wait times. Everyone needs to get over rationing, it is happening, the question is how.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 20:00 | 76869 SlimeyLimey
SlimeyLimey's picture

This is America. It will be rationed by money. It will continue to have the health care that reflects the true values of the people.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 18:32 | 76813 michigan independant
michigan independant's picture

Sorry to digress but the Senate has overspent so focus on the true game here in this political economy. Only to bureaucrats can the idea occur that establishing new offices, promulgating new decrees, and increasing the number of government employees alone can be described as positive and beneficial measures. If you have to convince a group of people who are not directly dependent on a solution of a problem, you will never succeed. If the community served cannot secure a viable social contract with a provider of services how can a bureacrat be a cost effective solution, simply it cannot. This current national dicussion is a ruse for the true issue untold problems. More taxes just means you are more said property of the state. Americans alive today cannot define capitalism without tripping over the broken systems in legal, contract and civil law and you wish to give more to coruption? A fool and his money soon do part so keep looking in there direction to so called reform. I wish only to direct my resources in a fallen world and no one can turn stones to bread is what they are asking you to do. Unsustainable tragejectory's so vote for better results since it has not been about the taxpayer for how long now? and wish them to do what? Grow up...... seven P's

 

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 18:48 | 76823 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

France? I know doctors who have chosen to drive trucks to provide a better life for their families. There will be a huge shortage of doctors in the US as many will decide not to come to the US to a sicialist system. This is solely a mechanism for government to gain total control of the people. To curtail freedom and independence. You think you will receive a world class health treatment in a socialist system? Who would believe this? I am going to work day/night so that i can pay for the healthcare of 100 million free-loaders? i say: go back to where you came from. The US is founded in capitalism, christianity, freedom, responsibility. there are plenty of european coutries to go to for your freebies.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 19:57 | 76868 SlimeyLimey
SlimeyLimey's picture

So carry on paying 2.5 x too much for the 42nd best health care in the world.

Wed, 09/23/2009 - 00:04 | 77042 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

At least in the 42nd-best healthcare system I won't have to worry about nearly dying of appendicitis because there are no surgeons to do a fairly routine surgical procedure.

http://mitchieville.com/8868/the-mayor-had-an-interesting-christmas/

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 21:18 | 76930 michigan independant
michigan independant's picture

+1

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 20:47 | 76897 The Eradicator
The Eradicator's picture

I would like to see the link of insurance to employment removed so that individuals can go to brokers and the brokers can negotiate with insurance companies with a pool of people that would be larger than most (if not all) companies. The brokers would not be able to ask any health related questions, so that removes the pre-existing condition issue. The government's role would be to insure that the brokers don't ask about pre-existing conditions and not collude with the insurance companies, however since there would be competition between brokers this may regulate itself. I would see ultimately a handful of brokers with large pools of individuals that would have great negotiating power with the insurance companies. Also, people would not be looking for/holding on to jobs strictly for the insurance. I think that this would be a truer "public option"

I would also remove the anti-trust restrictions on doctors so that they can collectively negotiate with insurance companies. I would also allow the brokers/doctors to negotiate with any insurance company in the country, not just in their state.  I think this would be a far more free market oriented approach.

You still have the issue of tort reform which is more difficult to deal with because you need to strike a balance between legitimate redress of malpractice and the thought that if something goes wrong, it is somebody else's fault and they need to pay up big.  Perhaps brokers could offer cheaper policies for people that agree to fixed financial settlements in the case of malpractice, but again this to me is a much thornier issue.

This doesn't address the issue of the uninsured directly, but it should make insurance more affordable and allow for relatively cheap "catastrophic" policies. If the government wants to provide a "safety net" for people without insurance or tax credits (not that they have the money), the costs would at least be less prohibitive.

 

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 21:04 | 76913 Sqworl
Sqworl's picture

I hate the insurance cos, but I hate them because our lawmakers are their whores!!!

I pay $1200 a month for insurance, my copays are huge, I recently went to chiropractor and my copay is $60.00.  He gave me back change $10.00.  He said I pay for the illlusion of having insurance.  My meds cost me a fortune in copays.  Pharma is milking us and paying our lawmakers.  Obamacare is going to ration and destroy our privacy.  Its all about money for the politicians google Marwood...see who makes money on health lobby?

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 21:24 | 76935 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

For some more (lengthy, and hence not copied here) views on healthcare, please see: http://www.polyopinions.com/search/label/healthcare

Wed, 09/23/2009 - 03:30 | 77142 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Health insurance and medial treatment is an easy problem to solve.

First though, you have to get to the bottom of that problem. The bottom of health care is Stock Insurance companies. (As opposed to Mutual Insurance Companies) Stock insurance companies have a fiduciary responsibility to charge you the highest premiums possible, and provide the least services possible, in order to provide the most profit to their shareholders. Any CEO that says otherwise is either lying, or needs to be fired with cause for breaching said fiduciary responsibility.

Mutual insurance companies, on the other hand, want to provide the best service possible, at the lowest price possible, to attract the most policy holders possible so they may spread the fixed costs over more policies and have better negotiating power with doctors for lower rates.

The solution to medical care is to then force ALL insurance companies in America to be mutual insurance companies. (Barring Specialty line insurers who would be banned from any other products).

The would do two things immediately. It would lower medical (And other) insurance costs as insurers would no longer be paying out dividends on their stocks or paying money for stock buybacks.

And second it would stop either the government, or private individuals from having to negotiate medical costs as that would now be born by the insurance companies.

The next change that needs to take place is that NO insurance company can disqualify an applicant for a pre-existing condition or charge them a higher premium. As long as the pre-published premium is paid, then the company must offer the policy.

Then we need a minimum policy of coverage in order for a plan to be called "medical insurance". This would include, outpatient, inpatient, doctor, pharmacy, vision, etc. If a plan did not meet these minimum standard, it could still be sold, but it could not be called medical insurance, it would be called under a spcific name, like dental, or vision, or liposuction insurance.

There, now everyone in America will have access to insurance if they are willing to get off their ass and pay for it. And that insurance will cover their medical needs to a minimum degree.

Now, we can fix Medicare and Medicaid just as easily after health insurance is fixed. Just write a law that says that Medicare and Medicaid will pay no more than the lowest price a product or service is offered by a company anywhere in the world. So if Glaxo sells medicine X in Cuba for $0.05 cents a tab and in America for $500.00 a tab, then Medicare and Medicaid will pay no more than $0.05 per tab for that medicine.

As it is, the United States healthcare consumer supports the low prices to the rest of the planet. Because we pay the $500 per prescription the drug companies can offer these products to other countries at a reduced cost and still make a profit.

Also, no major market (Defined as an area with more than 100,000 persons) may have a single medical insurance provider that controls more than 10% of the market. In areas smaller than this this percentage can grow to as high as 20%. If there are not enough companies for a given area, the largest providers will be broken up in that area until there are enough companies. Yes, this will raise costs in the short term as companies are broken up and efficiencies are lost, but it will save money in the long term as monopolies are stomped on.

And finally, to fix health care we need tort reform on medical malpractice. And this is easy as well. Unless a doctor or surgeon or other medical practitioner was not qualified or was under the effects of a controlled substance or other condition that effected their ability to perform their duty, then the medical practitioner is immune from liability suits.

Wed, 09/23/2009 - 04:59 | 77154 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

There's an old Monty Python skit about "no pay insurance". That is insurance you buy which then does not ever pay for anything. Perhaps the British already went through, in the times of Monty Python, what the Americans are going through now.

Wed, 09/23/2009 - 09:35 | 77231 Fear of the Dark
Fear of the Dark's picture

Tyler - did DR really submit this to Zerohedge to post on his behalf? If so kudos to you.

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