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Health Care Discussion.

Ok I truly think Michael Moore has done somethings that are more dispicable than almost anyone else.
I am gonna put all my thoughts about the guy aside cause I really want to have an unbiased discussion with the people here I respect.

He thinks we should have Government mandated, controlled and funded health care. He equates it to police and fire services. That comparison kinda seemed crazy to me right off the bat but I wanna be open minded.

He and Oprah just posed the question to us all "Do you think the child of a gas station attendant and the child of an investment banker deserve the same health care." I think its an loaded question but let's throw it out there.

This is one I have an opinion on... But, I think it might be wrong. I wanna learn!!
Cody Heitschmidt
Sent from my BlackBerry


  1. Ok I couldn't sleep so I wanna take this further.

    I want everyone to have Health Care. But for some reason the only possible way I see to make the situation better is for more people to get their self to a point where they can pay for health insurance. I know that seems brash.

    Here's what i would love...

    One of the geniuses who reads this dumb blog to describe a feasible Gov sponsored health care plan for all Americans, maybe it can work??

  2. I don't see how it can work. If everyone was the same, and had the same health concerns, then it probably would work. What about the people with special needs? They need more hospital care than a person fortunate to have good health. And because of that it won't work. With universal health care, everyone gets the same. But, not everyone is the same....

    I think a step in the right direction would be to get the drug makers to lower their prices. Pharmaceutical companies have a lot of influence in day to day medicine, and in my opinion is one of the reasons for high medical cost.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. First of all, you can't lead with the sentence you did without explaining what Michael Moore has done that is more despicable than almost any other person? That is quite a statement. Seems to me that he spends a lot of time advocating for people who often have trouble getting their voices heard.

    The United States is the exception to health care, not the rule. Most industrialized countries provide health care for their citizens. You want a plan? It's two steps. First, we have to decide as a country that we value the health of every citizen, rich or poor, entrepreneur or deadbeat, equally. Once we make that determination, we take the best of what other countries have offered and establish national health care. I don't know the Hillary or Barack plans up and down, but I'm sure that they take us a long way down the road to establishing something sensible.

    I think that the hard part is step one, not step two. A common conservative talking point, and one that you bring up here Cody, is that people should take some personal responsibility. Need health care? Get to work and get some. Bootstraps and all.

    This argument is compelling in some political debates, but fails when you're talking about health care. Once you realize that you need health coverage and don't have it, you're not typically in a condition to go get it (not to mention that even if you were, your pre-existing condition wouldn't be covered under most plans). You can't tell someone with cancer or AIDS or a compound fracture to go get a job and then get covered.

    I like to look at the issue in reverse. Think if the biggest loser you know. Someone that doesn't contribute to society in any discernible way. A total drag on the system and everyone around them... someone that has never realized an ounce of their potential. What do they deserve from our government? Police protection? Yes. Access to the courts? Of course. What about health care? If they get cancer do they deserve treatment, even if they can't pay? I would argue that this is as big a no-brainer as police protection. I think that the government has a responsibility to look after the health of its citizens, no matter what their contributions to society have been.

    As far as you are concerned Lizalde, I don't know where to begin. You don't seem to understand what insurance is, private or otherwise. Insurance is not dependent on everyone having the same ailments. You need to go do some research before you jump back into the fray.

    my apologies, the previous post was deleted for a few spelling mistakes discovered upon re-read.

  5. Nate,

    I don't need to justify what i said about how I feel about Michael Moore because I said and meant that i am gonna leave that out of this specific discussion. I hate the guy's tactics on a lot of things. But none that matters in this discussion. I wanted it kinda out in the open cause I have bashed the guy before and I knew someone would fall back on the "You just don't like Michael Moore because he's anti-gun" weak ass argument. I don't like Michael Moore, but I am not sure if I like/dis-like his stance on health care. So I am removing my thoughts on him from my part in this discussion. Just like I said I was in the beginning.

    Let me deal with this though. I can't stand when you twist my words. I never said people "I think people should just boot strap it".

    I said I can't come up with a way to better the situation that is better than that.
    Can You?

    You didn't in this comment.

    You said everyone should have Health Care, which also happens to be the second sentence in my first comment. I think everyone should have Health Care. You made this bi-partisan and pointed out the "common conservative talking points" then tied them to me. The whole point of everything I have said is that that is wrong. We need to find a legitimate and feasible way to make the Health Care situation better... That's my point. The only thing I can come up with is people making their individual situation better. I said " I think it's wrong but I can't come up with anything else, I need help understanding a better plan". Your response is "that plan sucks you conservative Republican jerk". That's my damn point... Our situation now sucks... My best solution sucks.

    Thanks for reaffirming I am right on those points.

    How do we fix it.

    Say we decide... Health Care is just like Police/Fire/Innocent til proven guilty. What do we do, just fire up the tax machine and pay all the insurance premiums to private companies? Does everyone get the benefits? Does everyone escape out of pockets premiums? In the Netherlands 35% of the population makes too much money to get the benefits of their social health care system... Is that fair?

    Here is a good article (actually pretty short) that one should read.

    Anyway, please feel free to argue whether the system needs to change at all or not but please read my post and first comment and don't just come at me with the standard "You dumb republicans are mean" arguments.

    I think our health care system needs to change, I just don't get/know how it can.

    Specifics is what I am looking for.

    This is my Conservative argument:

    "Tell me what we will do when we do decide that Health Care should be provided to everyone, have a plan, and I will jump on the wagon"

    It doesn't make sense to Conservative minded people to jump before their is a plan. And it's not fair to bash them because they won't jump without a plan.

    A good plan.

  6. Regarding Michael Moore. I was just pointing out that I'm not sure it's fair for you to say "Michael Moore is the antichrist now let's not talk about it." You get your jab in and then make a rule that it can't be discussed. No good.

    But ok, let's not talk about Michael Moore. So what you are saying is that you think that everyone should have health care? So you have satisfied step one, is that right? I just want to get this straight, you are saying that you think Universal Health Care is a good thing in theory, you just don't think it's doable (or you're not sure).

    If that's the case, now we're just into a discussion about whether governments can effectively provide health care and what the plan would be. The only way to do that is to go through the facets of a national health care plan. Where do you want to start? How about we go post Barack's plan and talk about it.

    I apologize if I put words in your mouth and made you out to be mean. I know that you are only mean to 4Hers (who do not deserve health care, under any plan).

    Dave is our most well-versed when it comes to policy, so maybe he wants to get things kicked off.

  7. I would also say that I think the best use of your blog is to have the discussion of whether the government should cover all citizens (the theoretical argument). That was the discussion that I started to have in my first post, because I do think that it's a hearts and minds issue. I think that it's easy to be apathetic to how horrible our health care system is, and how many people are screwed over by it all the time.

    I'm not sure that your blog is the best place for you to become educated over a good national health care policy. If what you really are saying is "I think that everyone should be insured, and I want to be educated on the best government policy", you should probably look elsewhere. Your bloggers aren't necessarily the people that will educate you on the fine points of a national health care plan.

    I for one hate the current health care system. I think we need national health care, and I support Obama largely because I know that he feels the same way and will work to enact universal coverage. It doesn't mean that I know his proposal point by point. Maybe I should, but I for one put my faith in his leadership on the issue, and don't get overly concerned with the details.

  8. I know exactly how insurance works. Depending on how you use it, depends on the cost you pay. Where I work, we had a 30% increase. That was related to how our company performed on claims. You get a ticket, or a wreck, your car insurance goes up. You have to fill out a form stating pre-existing conditions when you apply for health coverage. When you get life insurance you have to do the same thing, plus state family history.

    Insurance is risk based priced. Based on your risk, here is your price.

    As I said in my post, not everyone is the same. You please tell me, in our capitalist economy, where your going to find a pharmaceutical company, insurance company and doctors that are going to agree to a one price for all policy. It's not going to happen.

    If that does happen, then we will lose out on our "specialty" doctors. We will no longer see a heart specialist, spine specialist and so one. Your family practice doctor would be the one taking out a tumor as a gives your kid amoxocylin for his running nose.

    Plus, where is the funding going to come from this? It's coming right out of our pockets! So lets say we have universal health care. We will be the ones paying for the people that are not in the best health. It's not fair for the person that visits the doctor once a year to pay for the family that goes to the doctor every time they sneeze.

  9. Hillary's plan included garnishing the wages of those who chose not to buy insurance.

    Personally, I think that in and of itself is self-explanatory and defeats the whole universal health care debate.

    The debate continues to be how can we get people covered who can't afford coverage.

    When the solution is we garnish their wage to make sure they have to pay for coverage, it's self-defeating.

    I think univrsal health care would be an additional burden on the working poor and the lower middle class. The non-working poor already likely have medical cards and have free universal health care coverage already.

    IMHO, it's one of those debates to promote socialism in the U.S. but not any real solutions.

  10. That's right, not the 4-her part they need health care lot's of health/injury concerns with all those animals and crafts...

    Your right that, I want everyone to have health care but I don't see a legitimate means to get there from here.

    I just scanned Obama's plan on his website. 15 page pdf that is literally perfect for everyone. Everyone wins. Just haven't figured out how it gets paid for.

    Keep in mind I just said i scanned it, that's all, not bashing it, just don't get the money part, cause everyone wins and saves money.

    I will spend more time on it and would appreciate any input.

  11. Jolene, I kinda agree.

    I don't see a true perfect solution and I think that is because we are so far down this road.

    i will keep looking.

    Nate, I seriously get educated every time I turn a question like this out on this blog. Whether it's legal advice from Dave, you being mean to me :) or just somebody letting me know where to go look... I learn a lot from talking with people I respect.

    Just listen(reading) is great for me.

  12. Jolene,

    Give us specifically how Uni-Health is a burden on working poor and lower-middle class.

  13. liz,

    IMHO, one of the questions we should be asking is this:

    How many people will die in the world when the funding for medical R&D dries up?

    How many people will die in the world and in the U.S. when drugs are too expensive to produce and aren't available at all?

    In our current system, we have fundraisers and social programs to help out people with medical situations they can't afford. It's a way of providing medical care for those who can't afford it.

    But if the treatment is no longer available or being researched, it won't matter how hard you try or how much money you raise, those folks will die.

    I don't have any answers. I'm not sure there are any but the reality is there will be people who die if R&D money dries up.

    AIDS is still not cured. Do we just hand all those who are infected now a death sentence without hope so we can cover others for routine medical care?

  14. I am no health care expert, but I have to think that there are reasonable ways to cover everyone effectively. All industrialized western countries (as well as others) provide such universal coverage, except for the US. They are somehow managing it and staying gobally competitive. Indeed, the president of GM testified before Congress that the US needs health care reform, stating that GM faces competitive problems due to government-paid health insurance in other countries. You can read about the different ways countries do it here.

    Cody, I appreciate your consideration of Obama's plan. I found a FAQ on his page, that says his plan will cost $50-60 Billion a year, and will be covered by having the the Bush Tax Cut expire as it is already set to do on those making over $250,000.

    Our country must do this eventually, and similar to the minimum wage debate (or public schools, social security, unemployment insurance), it will cost money, it may not be perfect but it needs to a national priority out of human dignity and justice.

    In addition, in the long run, preventative universal health care will save money and increase productivity down the road.

  15. it cut off obama's website, I don't know how to hyperlink it. I will try again.

  16. Cody,

    Let me first say that Obama's plan is not universal health care coverage. Hillary's plan was.

    What Obama does say, on his website are two key words, right there in the first sentence of his plan desciption "make available".

    Hillary's plan mandated coverage. Obama's plan "makes available" coverage.

    I'll copy a paragraph here from a Paul Krugman Op Ed piece:

    Jonathan Gruber of M.I.T., one of America’s leading health care economists, does in a new paper.

    Mr. Gruber finds that a plan without mandates, broadly resembling the Obama plan, would cover 23 million of those currently uninsured, at a taxpayer cost of $102 billion per year. An otherwise identical plan with mandates would cover 45 million of the uninsured — essentially everyone — at a taxpayer cost of $124 billion. Over all, the Obama-type plan would cost $4,400 per newly insured person, the Clinton-type plan only $2,700.

    ...which makes sense. We pay over $600 a month for group family coverage now or $7,200 a year for health insurance premiums. A bit over half of that for single coverage seems right to me.

    So let's say you have a Nurse's Aide who's making 20K a year, with a couple of kids. We'll use the $7,200 we pay in premiums as a base point for family coverage mandated by a true universal health care plan. Do you know any single mothers with 2 kids making $20K a year who have an extra $7K a year to pay in insurance premiums?

    I know the debate, if folks can't afford the insurer's rate, they fall back into the government plan.

    As a person who went through this whole "fall back" to the governments plan when insurer's pull out of your state because of laws being passed that make it impossible for them to function at a profit, it stinks. In Texas it happened with homeowners insurance and it got so bad people couldn't get loans to buy houses. We got punted off private insurance when our insurer pulled out of state and the "government coverage" was cheaper but it was a joke. Didn't cover much of anything and if you did have a claim before you were punted out of the government system again (which you could only get into if you proved others wouldn't insure you but which you could only stay in for a specified period of time before you were once again shot back into the private sector to fare as best you could). It's a huge, huge, huge mess.

    Basically you end up paying for insurance that doesn't cover squat. But you still have to pay for it.

    Adding in one more thing. Paul Krugman wrote an editorial last March and he seemed to believe that if Hillary got the nom, universal health care would come into being. He also believed that if Obama got the nomination, there would be no way it could in reality come into being during his Administration.

    Hillary supported mandates. Obama has taken strong positions against mandates and people would pretty much do what they do now - buy health insurance when they could afford it or believed they were sick. Obama's plan would, on paper, let those who realized they were sick with a major illness then buy insurance without penalty.

    Which means the whole pool would have increased rates and health insurance would actually become more expensive rather than less expensive.

  17. The Hillary vs. Obama health care argument was all a little silly. As this column cites (and quotes the arguments you raised by columnist and strong Hillary supporter Paul Krugman)

    "both have pretty good proposals on the table....At issue is how "universal" we can expect any health-care reform to be. Obama's plan creates various mechanisms to make both private and public health insurance more readily available. Hillary's plan does the same, but also creates an "individual mandate" requiring every American to buy health insurance. Obama's plan creates an "individual mandate" too, but only for children. Otherwise, under Obamacare, citizens would remain free to buy private health insurance or not as they pleased."

    Since taking the nomination, Obama has adopted parts of Hillary's plan, like small business tax credits and they have pledged to work together to get health care passed if Obama is elected. If he is elected, I truly think you will see some sort of health care reform passed.

    The important thing now is to compare Obama's plan to McCain's plan. McCain's plan would eliminate employer-based insurance that most of employees rely by getting rid of the tax deductibility of employer-provided insurance. This would cause employers who offer insurance to take money out of workers' paychecks to cover their tax liability on their health insurance. Most employers would stop providing health insurance and leave it to workers to buy their own plan. Then, McCain's plan to give every worker a $2,500 tax credit(not cash), or $5,000 for a family to purchase their own health care. Try paying for insurance with a tax credit like this if you or someone in your family has serious halth problems.

    His plan would undermine the current system and likely leave millions of folks with health problems unable to buy insurance.

    I think, regarding health care (and other issues) the choice between the two is clear--and Obama's plan makes the most sense, will help the most people, and cause the least amount of economic harm.

  18. Dave,

    IMHO, the simple description for McCain's plan is to remodel health insurance along the business model of personal life insurance. In recent times, also the model of rollover IRA's and retirement plans.

    His plan does do several important things:

    1. Provides portability from job to job and/or during periods of unemployment.

    2. It levels the playing field between large employers and small employers and even independent/contract employees. No longer would large employees have that major advantage in the hiring pool. It would allow new and/or small companies to grow and compete much more easily.

    3. It solves one of the major problems of Union shops in the U.S. competing with non-Unions shops in the same industry. One of the major reasons automakers in the U.S. are crippled are their health insurance coverage obligations through Union contracts. We've seen the end result especially in the past year or two - American automakers are on the verge of going under. Making health insurance portable would take that burden off the backs of large employers, making it easier for them to compete with non-Union and/or foreign companies. I do understand that retiree benefits are also a big issue but much of that is also health care covrage for retirees. It's billions of dollars.

    I don't know that it'd be a liability to get employers out of the health insurance business.

    Seems like I had another point but I got sidetracked. No matter.

    Back to an earlier post for a second. Someone posted that Obama planned to pay for health care reform (which we all know is different than universal health care) by letting the tax cuts expire. I know tax cuts are a hot button issue but tax revenues have increased with the tax cuts. I'd have to see numbers for tax income comparisons for those over, what was it 250K to know if there was a price payback but overall, the tax credits increased revenue rather than decreasing it.

    On Obama's plan, I've read that most of the children he's mandating coverage for are already covered under previous plans but just haven't signed up. I'm unclear why making a new program to replace and stretch old programs that people are choosing not to utilize would make any significant difference.

    On an even note, both Obama and McCain have plans to decreae medical expenses.

    Health care reform is definitely coming.

  19. Here is an interesting site that explores the pros and cons of a universal health care policy.

    My own opinion is that I don't think that other countries that have universal health care are effective. I have read numerous times that people in those countries can die before they are able to get in to see someone because of the waiting list to even get in to see someone. I also think that those "other" countries have much different governments and am not sure that the way our goverment is set up could handle it.

    Perhaps making health care more affordable is the best plan...not free. Free doesn't make people accountable. I won't debate that health care in the US is broken. However I do not put much faith in the goverment running a universal health care system effectively...hell they can't even manage Medicare effectively(Our state ran Medicaid also fits in this boat in my opinion).

  20. looks like the top three important things done by McCain's plan are also done in Obama's plan, with the addditional bonus that Obama's plan covers everyone--even those with serious medical problems or pre-existing conditions.

    And Aaron, I often "hear" these stories of people dying waiting in line, but I have never seen any empirical data on this. Most people I know from Canada or Western Europe are completely satisfied with the care they receive. And it can't be any worse then people dying from lack of treatment at all, no preventative measures or early diagnosis when they are un- or under-insured in the present system.

  21. Jolene-

    I have to commend you. I just realized that you been the first person I have heard (on blogs, tv, papers and magazines) that has expressed genuine excitement about an actual McCain policy.


  22. Dave,
    We obviously know different people in Canada and Europe because the people I know (other people who work in human services) aren't so enthusiastic.

  23. Dave I forgot to mention. The things that you are charging our current medical system of not doing (preventative care, early diagnosis, etc) are the same things that the people I know from Canada and Europe are experiencing with their "Universal" health care plan.

    Trust that I am a firm advocate for the un and under insured; I am just not convinced that a Universal Health Care plan doesn't just create a different monster.

  24. I wrote a ridiculously long comment to this and just decided to make it a post, sorry! It's up now.


I love the discussion in the comments.. so... GO FOR IT!

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