Heather Graham on Health Care Policy

Econophile's picture

By Jeff Harding

The Daily Capitalist

Npt a link

I confess to being an e-mail subscriber to MoveOn.org. Yes, it's for all the reasons you suspect: spying on the enemy. There maybe some issue somewhere that I would agree with them, but I can't really remember. So, I'll just say that I'm against everything they and George Soros stand for. What they stand for is ignorance, mainly of economics. They also stand for increasing the power of the state to impose their objectives on us by force. But, I choose to mainly focus on economic issues here.

That said, they have no idea what they are talking about, they are a big propaganda mill financed by Soros, they lie, and there are a lot of eager young faces who believe in their lies and ignorance. Based on this, I believe Soros is a sinister, evil force in the world.

I just received this giddy, breathless announcement that just bubbled over with fun:

We just finished a great new ad starring actress Heather Graham...as the public option. (Really!) It could be the funniest and most memorable ad we've ever produced. But with the health care debate moving fast, we want to get it on the air immediately. Can you check out the ad and if you like it, chip in? We're calling out conservatives, who say they love free enterprise but are afraid of real competition, with a new ad starring actress Heather Graham as the Public Option. (Really!)

This is a stunning piece of news. First, Heather (I've-seen-you-naked) Graham is probably a very articulate spokesperson for this subject, well versed in the topic, and has studied all sides of the argument. I'm sure of it. Then they really make a critical point here by challenging we "conservatives" to stand up for competition. I mean, who isn't for competition. If MoveOn is for it, then gosh, it must be good.

Watch Heather first, then I've got more stuff to talk about:

Bloated, lazy, profits, apple pie, competition, public option are some of the words used in this propaganda piece. It's classic agitprop from the Soros propaganda machine.

These people are using the classic Big Lie technique. They create a falsehood and sell it with value-laden, emotional words. They demonize and stereotype the enemy (semi-free enterprise) in ways seen in the crude manner seen during the 20thC from unsophisticated agitators seeking government control over their fellow human beings.

If this piece was reversed somehow where a "conservative" group was ridiculing advocates of national health care, I am sure the public response would be one of outrage.

No one in their right mind could believe that the government could effectively compete against private enterprise. You all know this almost instinctively without having to understand any economic theory. Without the element of profit driving a business enterprise, it will be inefficient, lose money, not serve its customers well, and eventually will go broke. US Postal Service, Amtrack, Massachussetts's health care system, Britain's national health service. If you can come up with an example where a government-operated system was efficient and effective, please let me know. So, you have to suspect that there is some other motive behind the public option other than "healthy competition" and the American Way.

What are the motives of the people behind the public option? I propose that, (i) they are ignorant of economics, (ii) even if they aren't, they will sacrifice principle for power, and (iii) they ignore anything that disagrees with them. It is all about power folks.

See this Wolf Blitzer interview with David Axelrod, and you will see what I mean. You might not want to watch this on a full stomach.

Use small link at bottom left

He's uttering the Big Lie and ignoring the obvious. I rest my case.

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Anonymous's picture

Here's the roll call on the vote on HR 3596:

Anonymous's picture

I'm for healthcare reform too, but not the kind currently being advocated by the Demoblicans and Republicrats.
As investing genius Jim Rogers once said, "A pox on both their houses."
If you prefer, it might be easier to print each of the links below and read them.

Please take the time to read the following; it provides an in-depth look at the real problem of government meddling in healthcare, and how THAT was the genesis of spiraling costs.

#1) Great excerpt from 2008 Presidential candidate Ron Paul's book "The Revolution: A Manifesto".
Posted by "Defender of Liberty" at boards.wild.com.


Read down near the bottom, the part that starts off "...On the other hand, just about everyone is unhappy with the health care system we have now, a system some people wrongly blame on the free market. To the contrary, our
system is shot through with government intervention, regulation, mandates, and other distortions that have put us in this unenviable situation.

It is easy to forget that for decades the United States had a health care system that was the envy of the world. We had the finest doctors and hospitals, patients received high-quality, affordable medical care, and thousands of privately funded charities provided health services for the
poor. I worked in an emergency room where nobody was turned away for lack of funds. People had insurance policies for serious health problems, but paid cash for routine doctor visits. That makes sense: insurance is intended to
protect against unforeseen and catastrophic events like fire, floods, or grave illness. Insurance, in short, is supposed to measure risk. It has nothing to do with that now. Something has obviously gone wrong with the
system when we need insurance for routine visits and checkups, which are entirely predictable parts of our lives..."

Long read, but the truth is well worth the time.

#2) "Blame Congress for HMOs" by RN Twila Brase
How HMOs came about in the early 70s, the real start of today's mess, additionally giving too much power to insurance companies and lawyers.

#3) Check THIS out. Cash medical care beating the big providers at their wasteful game.
"IdeaLab: Cash-only Healthcare Still Works" by Brian R Forrest MD


I guarantee you the big secret to their ability to compete at a low enough cost is: people only go when they MUST!
Remove the economic incentive from individuals to watch costs, and it's painfully obvious that the result will be spiraling costs as everyone overuses the seemingly "free" care, as was the case in the early days of HMOs (again, see #2 above).

The reform sorely needed in healthcare, and NOW, is government getting the hell out of business. And almost ALL business, not just healthcare.
Government and business never will mix or match - traditionally, they're an awful pairing.

Exhibit A - Well, just the title alone says it all!
"Why Government Can't Run a Business: Politicians need Headlines. Executives Need Profits."
Link to the original Wall Street Journal opinion piece by John Steele Gordon.

Exhibit B - In 1999, IRS seized the Mustang Ranch brothel in Nevada and took a loss on it. Not exactly an astute business move for such a powerful government agency.


Since this topic has been dominating headlines recently, I was just talking about all this with an old friend earlier this week, and he told me that his friends with ties to the medical industry noted that Canadian doctors and nurses who lived near the Michigan border almost always wanted to work on the US side of the border, and that Canadian socialized
healthcare wasn't "all that". Not batting a single eyelash in shock, and a pretty strong indictment, as far as I'm concerned.

As far as people who have chronic issues, that's an OUTSTANDING question. Keep in mind that the free market solution also has its effects and works from the doctor's side.

When doctors and clinics get paid from a large, 3rd party, nameless, faceless entity (like an HMO/PPO) with the APPEARANCE of unlimited pockets, there is a massive disconnect as far as the impact of pricing decisions and default risk. (There's the trader/econogeek in me talking, but it totally applies here...)

For example, pretend I become a doctor, named Dr. Evil (like in the Austin Powers movies!), and I start to practice oncology care, something that's chronic and ongoing as far as "treatment" goes (more on the reason for the quote marks later).

When MY payment in this economic transaction (each "treatment") comes directly from a massive insurance conglomerate, I naturally am going to have the feeling that hey, MegaHMO, Inc. (an imaginary company) can afford this, let me jack up my pricing as high as possible. They've been around for a long time, and they're a huge pocketed corporation and therefore less likely to default, even in the face of my artificially jacked up pricing. Where the disconnect comes in, is I as a doctor didn't stop to think, WHY is the default risk lower? The HMO always seem to be able to pay me no matter what I charge. It's because MegaHMO can always raise their coverage pricing and extract the payment from their membership. BECAUSE OF THIS ECONOMIC DISCONNECT, I fail to understand that INDIRECTLY, I'm ultimately passing my artificially high prices on through to all the end users, and harming them financially as a nameless, faceless collective mass.

If I'm seeing patients on a CASH basis, and I KNOW them personally, there is a DIRECT economic connection there, and I know without having to think too hard, that since they're NOT a megacorporation, that they are of ultimately limited financial means. Because of this, I will act differently in both my care and billing practices. I'm going to strive to do only the tests that are necessary and watch costs as far as the drugs I use, because I know that the risk that a single, non-corporate client defaults on their medical bill is exponentially higher. NOW, add in the free market principle of OPEN COMPETITION, where MANY doctors all over the country begin practicing on a cash basis like this, and patients can then see whoever the hell they please. Guess what? Now they're not locked into an ARTIFICIALLY CREATED (thru legislation - again, see the article "Blame Congress for HMOs" in my last email) oligopoly/monopoly via the mandate of being forced to stay "in-network". That's what "in-network" systems ultimately serve as for the HMOs, local area medical oligopolies, that have the effect of artificially raising costs higher than they would be in an open competition, direct bill to patient, cash basis system.

As you can see, open competition will drive...
And naturally.
With no "legislation" (aka: government's economic meddling) needed.
And no more pain in the ass insurance paperwork for me as a practicing doctor, so that I don't have to hire staff specifically for that, and can hire another hand to assist with actual medical care instead?
WOW - where do I sign up for all this?
Oh yeah - just get the government meddling out, that's right.

What PISSES me off is some people would read this and go, "well, the free market is what got us here in this mess in the first place".
Hold on a second. They're saying Congress mandating the birth of HMOs and insurance company control over the medical industry thru legislation in the early 70s - they call THAT open market competition and blame the free market?
That's actually called being TOTALLY ignorant of ANY uber-basic Econ 101 principles, and having no IDEA what they're saying.
When special interest lobbying groups are GIVEN economic control thru legislative fiat, those are ABSOLUTELY, DEFINITIVELY, NOT free markets.
That's MUCH closer to the communist/socialist central planning model.
Capitalism... IS... NOT... PERFECT. It's just less fucked up than the other styles.

This all brings to mind a quote I saw on Solari.com.
"Make a law, make a business." — Old New Jersey street saying
THAT'S a nice concise statement that sums up the power of bullshit legislation.

We ALREADY have very socialized healthcare in America, and from what I read and hear, people who are forced to rely on it generally hate it.
Ask people who are in the VA's healthcare system what they think.

The affordable, cash basis system worked for us in the past, in the pre-HMO era. Ask older people who remember. Why not bring it back, and reverse the lunacy started in the early 70s?

Also, realize that the financial industry bailouts helped... the financial companies. Not us the little people.
Do you REALLY believe that the made up fairytale of "healthcare reform" is designed to help us?
Don't fall for their bullshit and lies AGAIN.
"We the people" are about to get financially jacked.
FUCK the medical insurance industry's multibillion dollar lobbying groups on Capitol Hill.
Americans need to wake the fuck up FAST, and see just how corrupt the game has become over the decades.
It's finally getting out of hand.

The best solution to all of this is:
cash basis healthcare, WITH some, I said SOME, insurance coverage, namely, ONLY FOR CATASTROPHIC ILLNESS AND CONDITIONS.
I would bet LOTS of money, that THOSE premiums would be MUCH smaller than what we pay today.

You'd just have to fight with the medical insurance industry's multibillion dollar lobbying machine to get those laws repealed.
So call your Congresswhores and let them know how you feel, and tell your friends to do the same.
Cause if you threaten them financially, by threatening to vote them out, they'll do whatever you tell them.
The people's voice just needs to be more forceful than the industry's voice.

Because Congresswhores will do anything for a majority vote to get reelected.

Private enterprise is already figuring out how to compete against the current corporatocracy:

“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
- Albert Einstein

Econophile's picture

Thank you all for the comments.

One of reasons I write is to try to educate people about economics. I can see that, except for a few perceptive commenters, there are vast misconceptions about basic economics and the economics of health care. This post was written to illustrate how politics enters into the decision making process that will impact a substantial part of the economy.

Many of you are outraged by what you perceive as my idiocy because you see nothing wrong with the government essentially running an industry. I believe that the proposals from Obama, the Democrats, and the Republicans will eventually lead to the inefficient delivery of health care, skyrocketing costs, vastly higher taxes, and the decline of the best system of health care in the world (someone mentioned how other countries are piggybacking off of our technology).

Because the topic is so complicated I will write several articles about this topic, and you can decide if I am still an idiot, or perhaps I have something to say. I usually write about the economics of the current economy, economic policy, and investment risk, but I believe this topic is so important that it deserves to be presented on Zero Hedge.


Anonymous's picture


Here's a little math on your suggestion, which I think has merit also.

Obastard's plan will leave uninsured 25 million out of 30 million now uninsured -- per Obama.

Let's assume that it would cost $333 per month to insure those 5 million who would be covered under the Reid-Pelosi-Obama plan. The bill would be just shy of $20 billion annually.

That would be $200 billion over the next 10 years.

Or, doing the math the other way around, to insure those same 5 million will cost at least $90 billion annually if the overall overhaul of the system is enacted.

For Government to spend $900 billion when $200 billion would actually solve the "problem" is typical government inefficiency.

Anonymous's picture

doctors are gathering together and they are going to march on washington. they threaten to quit medicine if health care reform is passed, because they say it would smother them in more bureaucratic paperwork and kill their money pig. they want the system to remain what it is, that is insurance companies being overcompensated and overcompensating doctors. the doctors are feeding on the high side of the pork of an elitist business.

50 or 100 years ago, doctors were members of their communities and lived alongside their patients. they thrived and strove in the ups and downs of the towns they lived in. they set a broken leg and were paid in live chickens if that is all the patient had. that is not a myth. there were few insurance companies in between the patient and the doc.

In this narrative, this is where the villain steps in. The villain being the U.S. government. The U.S. government in 1965 created Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare and Medicaid began paying doctors and hospitals and skewed the market. There were created two classes of people, those with paid health care and those without. Insurance had been a relatively small part of the medical industry hitherto. Unions began negotiating for medical coverage. Medical coverage became part of bargaining for employment benefits in the marketplace.
The chasm between the haves and the have nots grew wider in the 1970's and the 1980's, as the medical profession fed by increased money supply from the government and insurance, and helped along by the disconnect between the patients and doctors, built expensive facilities, and invented new procedures, and purchased new equipment to provide a larger range of more expensive care. Doctor and hospital fees began outweighing the ability of a family to pay out of pocket. Today in 2009 a two hour visit to the emergency room of a local hospital to get an xray and a 5 minute consultation by an attending physician will set you back more than $1500. Medical care by a doctor with his attending equipment is out of reach of anyone earning less than $1,000,000 a year, and even then, major surgery can cost up to $500,000, and can conceivably bankrupt anyone less than a millionaire.

should doctors be concerned about how much money they make, or... should they be concerned about how to make their patients healthy?
can we cure doctors of their disease of greed?

Moe Speeks's picture

I will ask you to never speak ill of Rollergirl again,,,

thank you very much,

Anonymous's picture

Some physicians work for patients. Others work for the State, considering prognosis in order to use society's resources most "effectively."

Dr. Ezikiel Emanuel: "the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated.” (The Lancet, Volume 373, Issue 9661, Pages 423 - 431, 31 January 2009)

The public option translates as State control over physicians. Welcome to 1984.

Harbourcity's picture

Idiotic article is idiotic.

Spiro's picture

Who gives a fuck what Heather Graham thinks? Entertainment for the useful idiots.

Anonymous's picture

Health care is already dead in America. There is no private market in which companies market directly to consumers. Say what you will about a public option (for the record, I'm against the current status-quo-strengthening bill) but at least that would involve a consumer interacting with the insurance provider, albeit a state-run one. Your post is hysterical; if you paid attention to this debate at all in anything resembling an unbiased news source, you'd realize the insurance companies have been essentially writing this bill along with the statists.

Anonymous's picture

Do you understand that the "public option" is administered by private insurance companies? For instance, Medicare is administered by Kaiser and Blue Shield.

Anonymous's picture

Right, because Toby Keith on foreign policy is a whole lot better.

And as (fiscal) conservatives dominate the financial sector, and leading up to the financial crisis, also dominated the highest levels of government that were supposed to be watching them, I'm having a hard time fathoming how any conservative can seriously accuse anyone else of not understanding economics.

C'mon clowns, make like Alan Greenspan, and admit that your world view was based on a false premise. You'll feel better after you get it out.

Blues for Dante's picture

The healthcare industry, much like the human body, is a wildly complex system that nobody on this earth can completely understand, or even comes close to understanding. Therefore, such statements as "the public option will kill healthcare in America" lead me to ask... how do YOU know? 

Since we have never had a public option for the general public (not just the elderly)... it is pretty tough to determine exactly what its effects would be. Would it cost some money? Yeah. Would it bring down certain costs? Possibly. Would it kill healthcare? Doubt it. Some (probably older) doctors may be happy to take a pay cut in order to help out lower income patients under a government plan, much like some teachers take less money to work at public universities. 

The public school system isn't great, but it serves its purpose and helps millions of people get a degree who cannot afford a private education. Also, like healthcare, it depends a whole lot on the individual. If one drinks a 5th every night and never goes to class, one will likely will not learn anything and will also likely incur higher health bills in the future (near or far). 

Finally, something that gets lost in this debate is that America is by far the fattest / least healthy country in the world. If everyone got off their asses, exercised, played sports and/or ate (reasonably) well, the cost to society as a whole would be greatly reduced. I don't want some slob literally eating up my tax dollars, but I would be happy to pay a little more in order to provide a safety net for those that truly get dicked.

Or maybe we could withdraw from Afghanistan, cut military bases in certain regions, and downsize the army/navy/air force to reasonable/non-imperial levels, putting the extra money towards a better healthcare system.  

Of course, its never that simple... 

Unscarred's picture

+ $1,000,000,000,000 (or the equivalent cost of the program itself)


A good friend of mine is completing her residency as a general surgeon.  She began as the sweetest and most innocent person you'd ever meet.  Now, she's callous and bitter, in large part because of all the people who come into the ER sporting Gucci handbags; Rolex, Tag Heuer and Cartier watches (because they never wear Baume & Mercier); and driving $50,000 cars; and WITHOUT insurance.

Not only do so many people have the money to carry insurance and choose not to, but in the process they literally have raped, pillaged, and bled the system to where costs are through the roof.  Plus, those f%<kers are the most rude, obnoxious, entitled and ungrateful pieces of $h!t that she operates on. 

Let the bodies pile up in the streets.


Besides, Heather Graham has seen better days.


Anonymous's picture

What idiotic drivel.

The US is going bankrupt, and as part of any attempt to sober up it is going to have to find a way to spend less than 16% of GDP on health care (thanks to the wonders of for profit health care). Every other civilized country in the world gets more, for much less. Bring on single payer health care and put the insurance companies out of business. It would be a start.

Anonymous's picture

So your solution is to take a government that's already $12 trillion in debt and put an even greater financial burden on its shoulders? Talk about idiotic drivel.

Anonymous's picture

I guess Pam Anderson wasn't available....

Tomified's picture

I think the most urgent part of this "urgent" health reform is taxing employee health benefits. It'll be a huge windfall for the government and quite a burden for most people. That might even make the public option more attractive, resulting in millions of people paying into a social security like fund that the government can empty in return for the promise of future payment.

Anonymous's picture

"No one in their right mind could believe that the government could effectively compete against private enterprise. You all know this almost instinctively without having to understand any economic theory."

That is so ridiculously stupid. The reason is simple: government can completely mismanage resources and still be more effective than private enterprise. How? Leverage. If the government operates with 5 times the number of insureds as the nearest private insurer, the govenment can be up to 5 times less efficient and still outperform the best private insurer.

Anonymous's picture

Agree completely Soros is evil. Inthe 90's he thought nothing of destroying the economies of a few asian countries solely to enrich himself, while millions suffered.

Anonymous's picture

As a Canadian I suggest you think about whether health care should be a FOR PROFIT INDUSTRY. Think of it as a moral question and not a fiscal question. Also if almost every other Western country uses public heath care is it not possible that everyone else may have it right.

Anonymous's picture

"As an American I suggest you think about whether farming/housing/clothing should be a FOR PROFIT INDUSTRY. Think of it as a moral question and not a fiscal question."


snorkeler's picture

I have been looking around today but have been unsuccessful in finding the names of the 9 representatives on the Judiciary Committee that voted against H.R. 3596 which seeks to repeal the anti-trust exemption that health  and malpractice insurers have enjoyed since 1945. 

These names need to be all over the web and these 9 scum bags should not be re-elected.

Any help that can be offered is much appreciated.

Power of the web! While we can still enjoy it. 

Anonymous's picture

We should get our full earnings and pay ALL our own bills.

If we all paid OUR OWN 15% soc.sec./medicare in CASH each week at the post office or grocery or bank, plus fed income tax, plus state/local income tax, plus health insurance and other things employers now withhold for ... things would change in a hurry!

And anyone who gets WELFARE should give up 40 hours per week for it, same as a job.

Best wishes from Kansas! --Redbud

Anonymous's picture

There is no need to guess at the price/performance ratio of government-run healthcare. Just look outside the US for plenty of numbers. The claim that the private sector can do it better and cheaper just doesn't match up with the math. Perhaps if the government got COMPLETELY out of the healthcare business, but good luck getting that done.

Anonymous's picture

Nobody, I mean nobody is truthfully answering the question of the concept of allowing insurance providers to participate in all 50 states...dickweed Axlehole states that this in not "endemic" to our plan....what a cheeseball. Of course it's not endemic, so let's ask why it is not endemic and why the hell can't we bring competition across the board. I'm sure this is not all of the solution to the problems, but it sure as hell would be a good start.

Anonymous's picture

A question I posed to my resident Congressidiot, Pete Stark:

The federal government has squandered billions of dollars in Social Security money, to the point that there is no trust fund, merely a pile of IOUs. The program now pays out more than it takes in, and it is your Congress that has participated in the looting of years of surpluses.

The federal government has squandered billions of dollars on Medicare, a program that is underfunded, pays out pennies on the dollars in reimbursement, and traps seniors in a program they wouldn't need had they not been taxed for it when they were working.

The federal government has squandered billions of dollars to fight poverty, yet we still manage to have people in poverty and it is your party that says we aren't doing enough.

Tell me sir, exactly how do you propose that this same entity can effectively and cheaply provide health care better than the free market?

Anonymous's picture

Methinks Jeff had better rethink his claim about government competition.

A dollar into the Public Option, minus claim payouts, minus burden, minus inefficiency, minus fraud, gets an some amount x number of cents in patient care out the other end.

A dollar into the Private Option, minus claim payouts, minus burden, minus inefficiency, minus fraud, minus marketing, minus executive bonuses, minus dividends gets an some amount x number of cents in patient care out the other end.

So if even if the differential costs of of burden, inefficiency, and fraud in the Public Option (run by our incompetent guvment) are less than the current expenses of marketing, executive bonuses and dividends, more healthcare gets to the end patient, the Public Option subscriber has made a better investment.

Suppose the Public Option cuts costs by 10% over the Private firms. If we accept the 17% of GDP is spent on healthcare, that frees up 1.7% of the American economy to do something more constructive.

If, on the other hand, the claims payout on the Public Option is too high, no one will buy the plan (that's why its called an "option"), as it is a poor investment. Good old fashioned American competition wins the day, and Jeff's unsubstantiated claim that private industry can do a better job will be verified.

The insurance industry's survival is at stake.

The conservatives find themselves in an odd corner. Disdainful of lazy government, yet afraid of government competition. Champions of lower costs through outsourcing, yet unwilling to address lower costs through systemic change. Proponents of free markets, yet willing to defend virtual monopolies. Believers in economics, yet unwilling to run the numbers.

Anonymous's picture

"The conservatives find themselves in an odd corner. Disdainful of lazy government, yet afraid of government competition. Champions of lower costs through outsourcing, yet unwilling to address lower costs through systemic change. Proponents of free markets, yet willing to defend virtual monopolies. Believers in economics, yet unwilling to run the numbers."

The liberals find themselves in an even odder corner. Disdainful of the private sector, yet dependant on it for funding. Champions of lower costs through subsidization, yet unwilling to address lower costs through systemic change. Proponents of total state control, yet willing to defend "competition." Believers in socialism, yet unwilling to run the numbers.

A government that is $12 trillion in debt cannot provide complete and total healthcare for 23-49 million people, or more, when it won't even be able to meet its obligations to Social Security within the next ten years. The math is not on your side, no matter what fantasy assumptive formula is being used to try and make it work. If the public option supporters actually cared about reforming the cost of healthcare, while making it "deficit-nuetral," they'd be supporting ways to do so without the government spending a dime. Your entire scenario falls apart the minute businesses dump their healthcare plans and tell their employees to go on the government option, putting an even greater financial burden on a government already struggling to keep from drowning to meet its current obligations.

And lets not forget that the Congressmen and women proposing the various bills in Congress won't be required to give up their gold-plated plans for the one they are arguing for. Even they know that the health care plan they are proposing sucks, which is why they don't trust their own health or that of their families to it.

Anonymous's picture

What well managed company will retain its employee health insurance benefit if it can off load the whole mess to the publc option for a nominal charge? The human resource and accounting departments of these companies can reduce their workload and expenses by a large factor by eliminating paid benefits. If the nominal charge per employee is too expensive, the motivation will then be to reduce the number of employees. If we want companies to be involved in their employees' healthcare, we need to prevent a public option.

Anonymous's picture

I fail to understand why we actually want all companies in the business of health care. We should actually not want this. It simply is an administrative burden to all companies offering health insurance to their employees. Get them out of this and these companies will be more competitive in world markets.

Anonymous's picture

end the monopoly of the 4 or 5 big insurance co's. I once knew a medical billing transcriber, what an obscuring nightmare of a system to protect double billing, and other types of fraud. the problem is too many healthcare dollars do not go to provide the needed care

Rollerball's picture

Amazing how many buyers fear (and ignorance) hath made.  Dr. Kevorkian sells peace.

nhsadika's picture

Totally disagree. Even if you are a "Austrian" schooler the argument is quite weak. The central premise is:

No one in their right mind could believe that the government could effectively compete against private enterprise. You all know this almost instinctively without having to understand any economic theory

Economic theory does not say nor can it prove that public vs private is better. Running to examples such as the US Postal Service or Amtrack or NHS is ridiculous argument by example. Most importantly it ignores that fact that part of the goal of government is to create cheap public infrastructure that benefits all which leads to generalized wealth. Think about this when the vultures try to privatize public held commodities - like water - for profit in the name of efficiency.

To understand healthcare you have to realize how vastly inefficient it already is in the US. And how on a price/value basis it is doing worse than many many countries. Some of the factors are defensive medicine ($100K malpractice insurance policies for some physicians - where that would pay for ANOTHER physician in Canada), the profit motive which rewards doing procedures versus preventative care (lots of $ in placing stents in your arteries vs being the physician who delivers on getting you to exercise and take your meds), tons of mini fiefdoms...anyone on the inside can tell you many more including tales about insurance companies going against patients best interests over and over and over in the name of profit.   How about lack of transparency? Public systems can be vastly more transparent - a C-section pays a physician in the US roughly $3000-4000 (not easy to find that), in Ontario it is $514.85 - all the fees are online, just take a look. http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/ohip/sob/physserv/...

I am not saying that the US doesn't have hi-end medical care. If you need a quintuple bypass you probably want to be treated by a world class leader at MassGen. However, ensuring that everyone gets a quintuple bypass at MassGen-like institution is not the goal. THAT IS NOT the problem at hand. If extending coverage, moving beyond profit, and moving towards HEALTHcare vs SICKfix then governments can be more efficient in achieving those outcomes.

Ducky's picture

The whole debate seems to center around the idea that we are going to magically decrease price by increasing demand. Be wary.

Most people want cheaper health care but have never price shopped for health care services unless they are looking for something that is not covered by their plan.

They'd better put a decent up front deductible on this plan to get people shopping or this will not be cheap to the taxpayer.


crzyhun's picture

There are three parts to this issue.

1. Health care

2. Insurance

3. Providers.

These three constantly are conflated. I have an HSA. IT has been going up, as I age this is normal. I also am very healthy. I have never had anything but a minor hernia opo, second due soon. BTW these are not always due to strain, mine are due to heredity. Dad had two too.

The system since 1930 has been devolving. Add the medicare/caid 1965 travesty, the gov't has interefered more and more into the insurance and provider part consistenty. Also, the fed's, the states and local gov't all interfere in some way in all three above already!!

There are quasi public options already, the blues, some are not totally not for profit. This is your closest example of how bad/good things will get. The gov't fed/state already have their hands in and on so much its not funny.

The issue that irks most on the left is the for profit part. Very much like the puzt czar over the Zombie 7, Z-7, there is a question of - gee how much should you be making. Now I know that there are many issues around testing and retesting, due mostly to CYA, suits from lawyers vs Md's- two of the highest paid professions on the planet, you have to agree that some savvy health care user can say, "whoa "to the test, what gives?" Not enough do.

Solutions are many- for those who care to educate themselves, Innvators Prescriptions give a bookful. One easy step is to make insurance companies offer plans accross state lines. Second address the chronically uninsured with local clinics. And third, drop the employer offered HC model, so folks out there get what they are really doing. Give a bigger tax exemption on Shcd A instead of 7.5% off set drop it to zero =immediately deductible.

Finally, go fast- have fun- and be safe!!

Econophile's picture

I haven't written about health care for a while and this is my first post on ZH about this topic. But, I would ask you to think about our system and why it is so screwed up. Since the free market is pretty good at furnishing every kind of service and good necessary to sustain life, what is different about health care that makes it so bad? I mean, we get plenty of food, shelter, and media, the three basic necessities to a good life ;), why can't the market provide good medical care? The answer is, first, that we have pretty good medical care already, and second, the "dysfunctional" aspects of it are directly related to government interference with the free market.

Anonymous's picture

You're so full of it that the current medical system won't be able to cure you.

kevinearick's picture

Ah, healthcare:

On the demand side, the doctors are artificially increasing demand by providing drugs / treatments (like the arms dealers) that superficially address symptoms identified, and create additional symptoms in the process, a vicious cycle.

On the cost side, the doctors wear many hats, on all sides of the transaction, except the patient’s. They control access to education, regulation, hospital equipment, laboratories, and serve as special interests in the semi-closed holding company pyramid schemes.

By artificially controlling supply and demand (like the oil & physical property industries), they increase their own salaries, especially at medical schools, resulting in exponential downstream costs, in another vicious cycle.

And they often marry someone who also collects multiple salaries from the trough, usually as a hospital administrator, public administration professor, consultant, and charity administrator (corporate inbreeding).

And the healthcare bill addresses these problems how?

Obviously, the output gap between reality and mythology has grown so large that many are finding it impossible to get back from la-la land.

In symbiotic systems, if you find cancer in one area, you may expect to find it in others shortly.

If we just employ more computers; that will solve everything. Human beings are awfully inconvenient, useless eaters. So goes the logic.

What were they doing in Auschwitz again? Oh yea, never again.

If we would just get out of the way of the doctor-patient relationship. Let the experiments begin (if we could just find the genes for thinking …).

it’s basic economics/physics,

the jig is up, the Titanic is sinking, and everyone is asserting that they need yet another subsidy to correct for the misapplication of the last subsidy.

Anonymous's picture

complete bullshit

Econophile's picture

There's an argument.

Anonymous's picture

That has always been the definition of health care insurance. The big problem is that it is not treated like car insurance, with heavy deductables. The govt already runs 45% of the health care system (medicare is a government program) and the insurance companies 37% with the rest paid out of pocket or medicaid. Most of the screaming seniors don't want any change to medicare - don't let the government mess with medicare - they say. If the public option is so scary to the insurance companies that actually provide no value but skim off profits for themselvees - you might ask why.

Anonymous's picture

Medicare seems to be wildly popular... This is one of the worst posts I've seen on ZH...

Rusty_Shackleford's picture

"Free" is always "wildly popular".

torabora's picture

Free isn't so popular with those who have to pay for 'free'.

Anonymous's picture

MoveOn took in almost $100 million in donations between 2004 and 2008--I wonder how high that number would have been if they announced that all the money they raised would be going to charity to pay for health care for the poor, rather than political lobbying? I'd wager not even 25% of that total.

The healthcare "reform" debate has turned into nothing more than a manufactured distraction at this point. Supporters of the public option refuse to accept that the government is FLAT BROKE--SS is broke, Medicare is broke, Medicaid is broke. The government is $12 trillion in the hole and has to raise the debt ceiling, AGAIN; mortgage debt is through the roof. The country as a whole is over $50 trillion in debt, and people honestly think that we can provide complete and total healthcare for 23-49 million people (initially; this number will go up dramatically once businesses drop their healthcare plans and tell their workers to get on the govt plan), while managing to keep costs down AND advancing medical innovation? Not a chance in hell. The math is completely against it.

Healthcare and health insurance (and cap-and-trade, and the environment, and the wars) is NOT the main problem in this country--the massively high U3 and U6 are. Obama and the rest of his administration need to get that through their heads. Signing a stimulus bill that's completely failed to do what it was predicted to do--prevent the U3 from going over 8%--and calling it good isn't going to cut it.

Anonymous's picture

EVERY major western economic country has a publicly financed ("public option") health care system (and soon, China will too). Why? Because in spite of its numerous shortcomings, it has been proven to be the most effective mechanism for funding health services to the most people at the lowest cost. Only the US continues to perpetuate a system that provides big profits for a monopolized industry at the expense of millions of its citizens (gee, sounds familar doesn't it?)

Rusty_Shackleford's picture

The "why" is easy.  Because it is politically expedient and people will aways trade "free stuff" for votes. 

See.  Easy.


Just don't get cancer in any of these places. - http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba649


Because who really cares about individual rights and limited government?  That's so 1776.  It all about the hive mind now.  Long live the collective!!!

Anonymous's picture

You outdid yourself foaming at the mouth asshole:
"Just don't get cancer in any of these places"
Go get your cancer elsewhere...