Get ready for mandated health insurance

posted at 11:30 am on November 12, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Even before Barack Obama takes the reins in January, his party plans to start issuing health-insurance mandates to the American people — and pay for it with expanded entitlements.  Max Baucus (D-MT) will introduce legislation that goes beyond Obama’s pledge to mandate coverage for all children, instead mandating that all adults also get insured.  And if they can’t afford it?  Well, Medicare is solvent, isn’t it?

Without waiting for President-elect Barack Obama, Senator Max Baucus, the chairman of the Finance Committee, will unveil a detailed blueprint on Wednesday to guarantee health insurance for all Americans by facilitating sales of private insurance, expanding Medicaid and Medicare, and requiring most employers to provide or pay for health benefits.

Aides to Mr. Obama said they welcomed the Congressional efforts, had encouraged Congress to take the lead and still considered health care a top priority, despite the urgent need to address huge problems afflicting the economy. …

Mr. Baucus would create a nationwide marketplace, a “health insurance exchange,” where people could compare and buy insurance policies. The options would include private insurance policies and a new public plan similar to Medicare. Insurers could no longer deny coverage to people who had been sick. Congress would also limit insurers’ ability to charge higher premiums because of a person’s age or prior illness.

People would have a duty to obtain coverage when affordable options were available to all through employers or through the insurance exchange. This obligation “would be enforced, possibly through the tax system,” the plan says.

What could possibly go wrong with this scenario?  For one thing, Medicare could collapse — and it’s about to do just that.  In three years, Medicare will spend more than it gets in Part A (hospital coverage) premiums from Social Security, and this is just the beginning of the long twilight of the Baby Boomers.  That will create a deficit in Medicare that will either have to be absorbed from the general fund or alleviated by cost reductions.

Instead of looking to restore some sort of stability to the already-failing Medicare structure, Baucus wants to hang more cost onto it.  He doesn’t stop at Medicare, either.  His program will put the same burden on states through Medicaid.  That will create even more instability in benefit plans and force more public funds on that level to get spent on coverage.

The result?  Taxes will go up at both the state and federal level across the nation, and it won’t just be the “rich” that feels the pinch. Tax rates will necessarily rise as deficit spending explodes.  The dollar will weaken once again, thanks to the enormous debts that this will generate, and the capital needed to restore the economy will get lost in the monumental expansion of government control this will require. Baucus thinks that magically insuring people will eliminate costs, but it just transfers it instead to the least-efficient model: government bureaucracies.

Instead of reforming entitlements, the Democrats plan an expansion of them.  The collapse will come quicker than anyone predicted.  I guess that qualifies as “change”, and you’d better believe it’s coming.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

But if you have a more general illness – cancer, heart disease etc, as well as illnesses that are not life-threatening but fairly serious – then you’re likely to have a pretty bad experience.

EnglishMike on November 12, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Yes, we dealt with this in my older sister’s case. She had a condition after the birth of her last child that was never diagnosed. It was a condition that could be easily diagnosed and treated, yet left unattended it could have eventually have resulted in heart failure.

There were other instances, but this was the most worrisome.

Cody1991 on November 12, 2008 at 12:53 PM

This is not good. I wish I could share what I am thinking. American’s cannot even say how they feel, without being accused of racism. So much for Freedom of Speech. We been losing so much for so long. And now this.

sheebe on November 12, 2008 at 12:54 PM

I guess the USA really needs to go bankrupt under a socialist president before it realizes how lousy of a choice it was to elect a far left liberal.

tx2654 on November 12, 2008 at 1:04 PM

EnglishMike – A few years ago I spent several weeks in Scotland. I quickly discovered that I should avoid any reference to health care at all costs. The second the issue came up people became almost hysterical in their hatred of their health care scheme. To a person they all wished they could have the health care system of the States…
Having been fed all the rhetoric extolling the virtues of “single payer” countries (The United States is the only industrialized nation in the west without gov’t health insurance)ad nauseum, I was really surprised to learn this sentiment from people actually living with it!

Babs on November 12, 2008 at 1:05 PM

Is there a SINGLE example in which a public entity performs a service at a lower cost and/or higher quality than its private counterpart?

I can’t think of one. Milton Friedman had a wonderful way of explaining why this is so. Think of the situation where some money has to be spent on a product or service. There are four possibilities:

1) You spend your own money on what you want.
Result: You’re frugal with your funds and wise in your purchase. You get what you want at the price you can afford.

2) You spend someone else’s money on what you want.
Result: You get exactly what you want and forget the cost. No reason to economize when someone else is paying the tab. The result is a waste of money and resources as you overpay for the product or service.

3) You spend your own money on what someone else wants.
Result: You’re careful with what you spend, so careful that you’ll probably get something the other guy doesn’t really want. The result is a waste of money and resources as the funds are misdirected from their goal.

4) You spend someone else’s money on what they want.
Result: You have no reason to economize because it’s not your money, and since you’re buying it for someone else, you’ll probably not get exactly the right thing. The result is a HUGE waste of money and resources.

Option 1 represents free market spending
Option 4 represents government spending

PackerBronco on November 12, 2008 at 1:06 PM

I’m so, so, so scared. It already freaks me out that all my kids medical records are on databases now…without my consent…but if we are all DUTY BOUND to have this insurance, and it’s all digital…we are on the fast track for one world government and genocide. Yes, tin foil hat is on and I don’t care.

Mommypundit on November 12, 2008 at 1:08 PM

I tried to learn a little more about this. If you have access to group health insurance, no matter how expense, none of the other options are available to you. If you make 4X the poverty level or less, you can get an income tax rebate to defer some of the costs. If you ar a family of 4 and make $100,000 a year and spend $2000 a month of insurance, tough tamales, you get the privilege of supporting everyone else.

bopbottle on November 12, 2008 at 1:19 PM

firepilot & fireblogger-

People encouraged us not to listen to what Obama said but to hope for what we wanted him to say. Or something like that. So everyone heard what they wanted to hear and voted for him based on that instead of what he actually SAID.

linlithgow on November 12, 2008 at 1:21 PM

What scares me is that I work for the government and I have health care, but what if they suddenly decide the “public plan” is better than Blue Cross and throw us all under that? As it is now, though, I may have to stay in this job for life if I can’t find a new employer whose health plan would cover my preexisting conditions, so it would be great if that law were enacted to help people who do have insurance. Aside from that, though…you’re probably looking at rationed care in a public plan. Your care will be prioritized. And what doctor is going to want to provide services for a public plan if he can make more with a private one? Just a few questions

scalleywag on November 12, 2008 at 1:45 PM

I’m scared to death and I feel completely helpless.

jewells45 on November 12, 2008 at 1:46 PM

My employer offers a decent plan at a decent price. Decent being a relative term but hey, what’s a pleb to do?

Right now the company is switching to another carrier and the employees are at that choose stage. High end, low end, this add-on or that one?

I wondering if I should even bother filling out the form if all this public dole money is about to crash the HC system.
Maybe I’d be better keeping the weekly deductions and going ‘commando’ on the insurance until Uncle Sugar decides what to do.

Limerick on November 12, 2008 at 1:53 PM

On the bright side (from Canada), maybe the exodus of thousands of Canadian doctors to the US (where the money is significantly better) will reverse itself and we will no longer have millions without a family doctor.

ProfessorMiao on November 12, 2008 at 1:58 PM

These Dem idiots seem to feel that they always know what’s best and barge into situations about which they know little or nothing. Never let stupidity or lack of information stop you is their motto. Frank(the poster boy for not understanding much about much)was going on about how the bail out(which is working slowly but surely)is wrong because it is not buying failed mortgages. Paulson, who might actually grasp the situation, is directly shoring up banks which is working better over all. Frank is just another Dem who not only made the mess with his stupidity, he is now working on making it worse with even greater stupidity. Yet the “majority” votes for these people. What does that say about the “majority”?

jeanie on November 12, 2008 at 2:02 PM

Any proof to your claims? I am an independent agent and I’m not seeing what you’re seeing. No pun intended.

Vince

“The latest report of the Medicare trustees points out that HCFA’s administrative expenses represented only 1 percent of the outlays of the Hospital Insurance trust fund [which finances Part A] and less than 2 percent of the Supplementary Medical Insurance trust fund [which at that time financed Part B]” (Heritage Foundation et al., “Open letter to Congress and the executive: Crisis facing HCFA and millions of Americans,” Health Affairs 1999;18(1):8-10, 8).

See also the report from the Lewin Group, which reported about 2% overhead, and the government’s own report, which listed about 2% overhead, here http://www.oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/region2/20301020.pdf – 2006-03-28.

Here’s reference to overhead costs of private insurance companies, showing 37.2% overhead: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-4107021.html

We know what Twain said about statistics, so appropriate levels of salt are encouraged, nevertheless I think it’s safe to say Medicare does far better than the average private for-profit insurance company on overhead.

EyeSurgeon on November 12, 2008 at 2:13 PM

Fillibuster fillibuster …..la la la la la la la

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on November 12, 2008 at 2:17 PM

Oh yes please, may I have some more? More freebies that is.
Yeah just gimmeee gimmmeee more of that ‘free’ stuff.
I am now not motivated to go & get that higher paying job bcs it will stick me in a higher income bracket so I’ll:
1. pay actual income taxes
2. get screwed here on health care
So now my only incentive is to stay in my crappy public school teaching job just for the health insurance.
Yay.

Badger40 on November 12, 2008 at 2:19 PM

As a wise man once said….

And as we look out over the wreckage of healthcare for all, bankrupt coal companies, nationalized banks, and hyperinflation, we will always be able to look back with sustained pride on the great National Reconciliation of 2008. Call me an optimist, but I like to think when America’s breadlines erupt into riots it will be because of our shared starvation, not the differences in our color.

Scorched_Earth on November 12, 2008 at 2:19 PM

The United States has 3,4 times the population of Canada (if I recall correctly) and some other European countries. The long waiting period which is an occasional problem in Canada will be a perennial problem in the United States. The good number of poor immigrants will flock to hospitals. I see a large Latino presence among patients in free clinics as is.

If the Dems allow undocumented aliens to benefit from nationalized healthcare, then we’d be in soem serious trouble.

Mad Kimchi on November 12, 2008 at 2:31 PM

Senator Bacchus is going to bankrupt us once and for all time.

forest on November 12, 2008 at 2:40 PM

Everytime socialism fails, socialists say that it was because there wasn’t enough socialism, so they expand it. Too bad that McCain couldn’t articulate that, or even truly believe it.

nottakingsides on November 12, 2008 at 2:54 PM

The United States has 3,4 times the population of Canada (if I recall correctly) and some other European countries. The long waiting period which is an occasional problem in Canada will be a perennial problem in the United States.

Canada has only 186.6 physicians per 100,000 population, while the USA has 245 per 100,000. Waiting might not be as bad here, with a third more physicians per capita.

EyeSurgeon on November 12, 2008 at 3:08 PM

Clinton’s healthcare plan was firmly rejected — by a Democrat Congress. Obama is going to find Congress the biggest thorn in his side when it comes to passing all of his programs.

rightwingprof on November 12, 2008 at 3:44 PM

Clinton’s healthcare plan was firmly rejected — by a Democrat Congress. Obama is going to find Congress the biggest thorn in his side when it comes to passing all of his programs.

rightwingprof on November 12, 2008 at 3:44 PM

Not likely. It is looking more and more like a foot race between Obama and congressional Dems to see who can storm the bastille first.

Massive tax increases on wealth, investments, energy, manufacturing, businesses and huge increases in expenditures for more big govt give aways….add all of that on top of the roughly $59 trillion ($500,000 per household)of unfunded govt obligations (as of 2007).

What could go wrong?

Just waiting for Al Gore to land the Gulf Stream 5 to take the reins as climate control czar. That should push the Dow through the remaining 2-3,000 points after all the other cabinet posts are filled and Obama and the Congressional agendas becomes more clear.

moxie_neanderthal on November 12, 2008 at 4:16 PM

The US is pretty much the only large country in the world that doesn’t provide some healthcare through the government. And private companies are saying that it’s the private healthcare costs that make the US uncompetitive with other countries.

It’s time to nationalize healthcare. (And by the way, allow safe drugs to be imported from other nations and allow the US goverment to directly negotiate with the pharma companies on drug prices for US programs). It could end up saving US jobs.

jim m on November 12, 2008 at 4:30 PM

expanding Medicaid and Medicare, and requiring most employers to provide or pay for health benefits.

well, bye bye small business, my family runs a small business and if we have to pay for their medical + these Taxes that seem to go up every year…. the first 9 months of business we make 0 profit, that means 9/12 of every dollar we make goes to taxes of some sort, be it property tax , payroll, or income. plus rising cost of Energy where our bills are more than 3000 a month for energy and 3000 for gas. (we are a dry cleaners in Louisiana fyi)

I know we will fire half our employees, go up on prices to the point that we loose business , and run on a skeleton crew. BTW we have hired first time employee 16-20 year old high school and college students, well bye bye part time help, you can thank obama for your welfare check each time you CANT buy food or beer!!

unemployment 12% before Obama leaves office in 2012, Jindal might can fix it

Donut on November 12, 2008 at 4:41 PM

The US is pretty much the only large country in the world that doesn’t provide some healthcare through the government. And private companies are saying that it’s the private healthcare costs that make the US uncompetitive with other countries.

Are you kidding? The biggest flaw in our system is that it isolates the insured from the costs of thier insurance. Mixing socialism with capitalism makes capitalism inefficient. The bloat we see in healthcare cost is due to overuse not real inflation.

It’s time to nationalize healthcare. (And by the way, allow safe drugs to be imported from other nations and allow the US goverment to directly negotiate with the pharma companies on drug prices for US programs). It could end up saving US jobs.

jim m on November 12, 2008 at 4:30 PM

The WTO trade deal shortened the patent time to 17 years from 25. That is from application, the clock does not start when the drug hits the market. That is why the government let pharma companies advertise again.

Negotiating drug prices is not a good idea. When, I ask have price controls ever worked? Take the profit out of the business and you keep R&D dollars in drug companies pockets.

Other nations don’t put their R&D dollars into drugs we do. They steal our drugs and manufacture them illegally. Where do people go when the profit has been sucked out of making medicine? The government? Is the government goihng to replace the pharmacuetical industry?

Stop drinking the kool-aid

Theworldisnotenough on November 12, 2008 at 4:45 PM

unemployment 12% before Obama leaves office in 2012, Jindal might can fix it

Donut on November 12, 2008 at 4:41 PM

12% that is what I’m talking about. Another poster predicted 8.5% this summer. That think is low. Ohio and California are going to run out of unemployment benefits soon. Without a longterm low tax incentive no one iss going to risk this administration.

Theworldisnotenough on November 12, 2008 at 4:47 PM

Canada has only 186.6 physicians per 100,000 population, while the USA has 245 per 100,000. Waiting might not be as bad here, with a third more physicians per capita.

EyeSurgeon on November 12, 2008 at 3:08 PM

.
Won’t our number go down as the financial incentive to become or stay a doctor goes down? Aren’t certain kinds of doctors fleeing certain states already over the cost of malpractice insurance?

AnotherOpinion on November 12, 2008 at 4:53 PM

Gotta disagree, bond fan.

It is impossible to get prices in advance for most procedures. Have you tried to make calls in advance to find out the all-in costs for most hospital procedures?

And whose fault is it that other countries don’t pay the R&D costs? Shouldn’t the US (or the major employers and insurance companies) require the pharma companies to price their drugs to the US market so US consumers bear no more than X% of the R&D costs?

Other countries (like Ireland) have given economic breaks to pharma houses who do R&D there, so let’s allow the R&D to move elsewhere if the pharmas decide that’s in their best interest.

jim m on November 12, 2008 at 4:58 PM

The most fascinating thing about Baucus’s (devastating) plan is his creepy word-play. At first he stipulates “Every American has a right to affordable, high-quality health care” [my italics]. The article then also claims he maintains “People would have a duty to obtain coverage when affordable options were available This obligation ‘would be enforced, possibly through the tax system,’ the plan says.” [My italics again.]

Assuming the second line is an accurate reflection of Baucus’s perspective (it only partially quotes him directly), is the claim here supposely that we all possess an individual “right” it is our civic duty to exercise, upon pain of punitive measures such as tax penalties? That sure is a peculiar slant on the notion of “rights.”

The word that pops most readily to my mind is “doublethink.”

Blacklake on November 12, 2008 at 5:01 PM

Clinton’s healthcare plan was firmly rejected — by a Democrat Congress. Obama is going to find Congress the biggest thorn in his side when it comes to passing all of his programs.

rightwingprof on November 12, 2008 at 3:44 PM

And under Obama’s plan, who pays for all the illegal aliens who continue using our ER physicians as their primary care docs, and as their ob/gyns for their anchor babies? Or is that problem supposed to magically disappear once Obama gets his amnesty program passed and they all get their visas? And how is the American electorate going to feel about the prospect of giving rights of citizenship to tens of millions of undereducated, unskilled, non-English proficient individuals, who will be competing with unemployed Americans for scarce jobs, and signing up for all the new taxpayer-funded benefits Obama promises? How many more trillions of dollars in debt are these new citizens going to cost us, and is anybody in Congress even going to bother asking that question before they try to ram yet another ill-conceived amnesty law down the American public’s throat?

AZCoyote on November 12, 2008 at 5:07 PM

The US is pretty much the only large country in the world that doesn’t provide some healthcare through the government.

And yet, we have the best, most advanced health care in the world, and we are the wealthiest, most powerful nation in the world because we don’t do things the way lesser nations do. That makes no sense though, so let’s trash that system so we can have crappy health care and less money and power like everyone else, lol.

And private companies are saying that it’s the private healthcare costs that make the US uncompetitive with other countries.

Perhaps, but that’s because of the way the private system is set up. You do realize it’s not an either or situation,don’t you? It doesn’t have to be the either current private system or nationalized, there are other options. There are plenty of adjustments that could be made to the private system to make it better. Nationalizing it should not even be an option. But that’s what happens when you let economic illiterates(like yourself) make the decisions.

Yeah, you’re right, we should put government in charge of the heath care system because government has an excellent track record of running things responsibly, and keeping costs down. Sure, the country is virtually bankrupt because of government, but I foresee no problems with nationalizing health care.

Canada has only 186.6 physicians per 100,000 population, while the USA has 245 per 100,000. Waiting might not be as bad here, with a third more physicians per capita.

One, you’re delusional, and two, how many doctors per 100,000 do you think we’ll have once the same policies that drive doctors out of Canada gets implemented here? We already have a doctor shortage, and it’s only going to get worse if it happens. No one is going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and 16 years of their life to go into a profession where salaries will be limited to try and cut costs.

Wake up people, and stop drinking the freaking kool aid.

xblade on November 12, 2008 at 5:07 PM

Um,

How is this different from RomneyCare?

someone2 on November 12, 2008 at 5:20 PM

And whose fault is it that other countries don’t pay the R&D costs?

People like you. It’s the very policies you believe in that keep those other countries from investing in R&D.

Shouldn’t the US (or the major employers and insurance companies) require the pharma companies to price their drugs to the US market so US consumers bear no more than X% of the R&D costs?

Should the US tell your employer that he has to cut back on how much he pays you to even the playing field for competitors who can’t pay you as much?

Other countries (like Ireland) have given economic breaks to pharma houses who do R&D there, so let’s allow the R&D to move elsewhere if the pharmas decide that’s in their best interest.

Ahh, yes,let’s save jobs by shipping them overseas, lol.

Too too funny….

xblade on November 12, 2008 at 5:21 PM

The power of change and Hillary Clinton.

getalife on November 12, 2008 at 5:31 PM

If you’re not familiar with Arizona Prop 101 get that way and work on this for your own state. The only way to fight the socialists in the Politburo is via working with states to reassert their 10th Amendment sovereign rights. Our Fed was never intended to be the powerful monstrosity it has become.

DerKrieger on November 12, 2008 at 5:49 PM

It’s almost like they’re deliberately trying to wreck the economy.

But since we’re already far down this road, maybe we ought to start calling our representatives and telling them that government health care and stimulus checks aren’t going to be enough to buy our votes for 2010. Why can’t we have universal satellite television and HDTV? Don’t they want us all to watch their propagandists on MSNBC, CNN and Fox?

Sign of the Dollar on November 12, 2008 at 5:53 PM

As a denizen of the Bay State and an afflictee of RomneyCare (ptui!), I can attest that a move such as this by a Democratic Congress on a national basis will throw the mid-term elections straight back to the GOP.

Here’s just a tidbit of an anecdote under RomneyCare: As a self-employed person making over $41k, I’m ineligible to use the MassHealth system without paying dearly for it (on the order of $440/month).

Because of this, I’m also supposed to be dinged on my state income for not *having* health insurance. So the nice case worker at MassHealth signed me up for MassHealth with ZERO benefits.

Result? I have a plastic MassHealth card saying that I’m a valid insurance-carrying cardholder in the Commonwealth who won’t be hit with a tax penalty AND I also get to pay cash 100% on all my medical bills.

Smoke and mirrors – - thanks, Mitt!

DarthBrooks on November 12, 2008 at 6:05 PM

Healthcare has experienced inflation in terms of thousands of percent growth since the introduction of Medicare, and Medicaid…Medicaid alone is now costing states 20% of state budgets and all the while the costs of this program is growing by double-digits. How is more government healthcare going to be even remotely affordable? As well, waste, fraud and abuse will be astronomical.

Nozzle on November 12, 2008 at 6:12 PM

The US is pretty much the only large country in the world that doesn’t provide some healthcare through the government. And private companies are saying that it’s the private healthcare costs that make the US uncompetitive with other countries.

jim m on November 12, 2008 at 4:30 PM

The money in the US health care system is what even allows other countries to draught off of us and provide socialized health care. If the US turned to that model, innovation in health care would cease for everybody, since there would be no cash in it, anywhere. That’s socialism for you. Change.

The world is about to find out how much they have been getting from the US, but not acknowledging or realizing. It will be an eye-opener – for Americans, too.

progressoverpeace on November 12, 2008 at 6:25 PM

We spend about 10% of the US GNP on healthcare and that is planned to increase. That’s not supportable and is causing the US to lose jobs.

And explain how a change in US policies would stop other companies from deciding to pay R&D costs. Right now, we pay all of a drug’s development costs Why should they invest in R&D if the US consumers continue to foot the bill for all of a drug’s R&D?

jim m on November 12, 2008 at 6:26 PM

I wonder how many millions of illegal immigrants will take advantage of this system…. Which will, incidentally, wreck private healthcare and by extention ALL healthcare programs in the last sane nation on the planet.

Thanks voters! It’s not like he didn’t warn ya.

Sign of the Dollar on November 12, 2008 at 6:32 PM

We spend about 10% of the US GNP on healthcare and that is planned to increase. That’s not supportable and is causing the US to lose jobs.

We have to stop government meddling in health care or the costs will be even higher. Health care needs to move to a free market. And people who don’t deserve any, like illegals, shouldn’t get any. Any other way is towards disaster, as we have been heading for a while.

And explain how a change in US policies would stop other companies from deciding to pay R&D costs.

jim m on November 12, 2008 at 6:26 PM

The same reason that companies don’t bother investing in any R+D for any market other than America. Europe is really ticked about this, since it includes their own drug companies. After the US has provided the rich market to develop and sell the drugs in, they’re available to the rest of the world for just the cost of manufacture, essentially. And then there are all the illegal knockoffs, too. Without the US market, none of the socialist markets provide any profit even worth the effort.

progressoverpeace on November 12, 2008 at 6:34 PM

Yeah, it is collapsing:

Washington’s $5 Trillion Tab

http://www.forbes.com/home/2008/11/12/paulson-bernanke-fed-biz-wall-cx_lm_1112bailout.html

Out of control.

getalife on November 12, 2008 at 6:34 PM

I’m not an economist,, but how much higher can government spending increase without everything just collapsing??

JellyToast on November 12, 2008 at 6:43 PM

JellyToast on November 12, 2008 at 6:43 PM

It all comes down a matter of confidence (“Full Faith and Credit”). I see confidence in all public institutions crashing. Who can say ‘when’. This comes down a brutal lesson in game theory.

progressoverpeace on November 12, 2008 at 6:48 PM

Instead of reforming entitlements, the Democrats plan an expansion of them. The collapse will come quicker than anyone predicted.

There is only one moral choice for reforming Medicare and Medicaid: eliminate them.

JDPerren on November 12, 2008 at 6:55 PM

So then, why shouldn’t the US government (and major employers and insurers) tell pharma companies that it (they) will pay a price for drugs which includes no more than 20% of the total R&D?

jim m on November 12, 2008 at 7:05 PM

I certainly hope this new socialized medical insurance program covers mental health issues because the people who want it are definitely as nutty as a squirrel turd.

Larry L. Sharp on November 12, 2008 at 7:14 PM

jim m on November 12, 2008 at 7:05 PM

It’s more than just drugs. This involves everything that comprises our health care system, which is large and complex and well beyond any centralized planning. Even something as seemingly innocuous as your proposal launches into what are considered R+D costs, …

Central planning cannot build the large, complex systems that modern society demands. There are too many decisions that need to be made and too many experiments that need to be attempted (and failed). If the government had been pulling this crap before, they would have been convinced by Edison that DC was the way to go and the US would have been saddled with a very expensive, unweildy, inefficient DC(direct current)-based electrical infrastructure.

But, we have been taught to accept that our government even knows which species should be living where, so this sort of thinking about health care is not so unusual. Central planning has never shown itself capable of creating large efficient systems. And in fact, the results have been destructive more than merely worthless.

progressoverpeace on November 12, 2008 at 7:15 PM

What happens when there is no one to provide the care? Is he going to draft providers into mandatory service? I suggest you stay healthy.

BrianA on November 12, 2008 at 7:15 PM

Then how do you stop the US consumer from effectively paying for all of the worldwide R&D costs for new drugs?

jim m on November 12, 2008 at 7:17 PM

I am bummed. There is no way I can afford to get health coverage. My job don’t pay that great. And my car payment comes first. So, don’t know what will be.

sheebe on November 12, 2008 at 7:22 PM

jim m on November 12, 2008 at 7:17 PM

We don’t have to. The other countries are just lucky recipients, as they are lucky recipients of many of the advances that are born of the vibrant American private sector (which is about to be killed). I’m just saying that when the development and growth here is killed off, the rest of the world is in for a big surprise, along with those Americans who thought that we could be like France, or Sweden, without realizing that they could only be as they are because the US took care of so much for them, directly and indirectly. This lesson will be driven home in the not-too-distant future.

progressoverpeace on November 12, 2008 at 7:23 PM

Insurers could no longer deny coverage to people who had been sick.

This means that health insurance is no longer insurance, it’s a form of welfare.

Congress would also limit insurers’ ability to charge higher premiums because of a person’s age or prior illness.

This guarantees that everyone pays a higher premium. Combined with the inability to deny coverage to those who are already sick, premiums will skyrocket and/or companies will decide to get out of the health insurance business.

obladioblada on November 12, 2008 at 7:38 PM

Our country was so stupid they actually believed
the dems could
pay for all of this out of thin air
and then just bankrupt the entire country.
Hell obama isnt even in office yet and the economy is in a freefall..

Are all of these Liberals this STUPID or do they really understand that we cannot pay for this..

Idiots
http://prepareforwar.blogspot.com/

jcila on November 12, 2008 at 7:42 PM

This is a plan for the government to take over the healthcare industry in its entirety plain and simple.

Insurers could no longer deny coverage to people who had been sick. Congress would also limit insurers’ ability to charge higher premiums because of a person’s age or prior illness.

This would break all private insurance companies. They must be able to compensate for those who heavily use the insurance. If they can’t increase premiums for that person they will have to increase them for everyone and no one will be able to afford it. Then you will have good ol’ big brother stepping in to insure everyone and our health care system will be destroyed.

We must stop this all all costs.

We are in big trouble.

boomer on November 12, 2008 at 7:45 PM

It’s time to nationalize healthcare. (And by the way, allow safe drugs to be imported from other nations and allow the US goverment to directly negotiate with the pharma companies on drug prices for US programs). It could end up saving US jobs.

jim m on November 12, 2008 at 4:30 PM

This is a ignorant mind set. If you want medicine from other Countries, Move there then! Are you nuts? Did you just float in on a boat? Other Countries don’t have good medicine. It is way different, and you don’t know what is in it. That would be great for other Countries to put what they want in it. Like Sinai? Or any other poison. Use your head. You aren’t though. We need to make the Medicine here more cheaper. But Universal Health care won’t work. It will not save jobs!

sheebe on November 12, 2008 at 7:48 PM

I believe Medicare pays physicians .29 on the dollar or less right now.
How many physicians no longer accept Medicare as their pay rates continue to fall while the malpractice premiums continue to rise?
Wow, I am seeing some major problems on the horizon.

Yep, that’s pretty much right on the money. We’re already to the point where Medicare providers are losing money on certain types of patients and it keeps getting worse. So with the Democratic plan we’ll have fewer uninsured patients. They just won’t be able to find anyone willing to take care of them. What a disaster this is going to be.

eyedoc on November 12, 2008 at 7:50 PM

Just a personal experience with medical care in England. My mother was injured while on a trip there. Required surgery to insert a rod into her wrist. Done at a very nice hospital there. When she got back to the U.S. a surgeon here had to operate again and try to fix what the surgeon in England had botched up. The surgeon did what she could, but my mom’s arm has never been the same. Proper surgery in England would have fixed her right up.

The company I work for is offering a relatively new form of insurance. High-deductible plan with a Health Savings Account attached. Money put into the HSA is used for deductible expenses. If you don’t use it, it rolls over year after year. Once you hit your deductible limit all costs are covered. I think this can help hold down medical costs as it gives the insured an incentive to get the best price on their health care. Lots of companies are starting to offer this type of insurance to their employees as a way of holding down cost increases.

Snidely Whiplash on November 12, 2008 at 7:57 PM

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7723212.stm

S on November 12, 2008 at 11:42 AM

I totally understand this clip. I am Latina, therefore there is a belief system in place for those people that feel stuck with the regular ways.

It was really cool to see a “botánica” at the end of the clip. I hang in there whenever I can and get stuff for my jinxes >:-}

ProudPalinFan on November 12, 2008 at 8:01 PM

And by the way, allow safe drugs to be imported from other nations and allow the US goverment to directly negotiate with the pharma companies on drug prices for US programs). It could end up saving US jobs.

Okay, first of all, there’s no way to safeguard the quality of medicines imported from other countries. The problem is that those medications have a high liklihood of having been manufactured elsewhere. In other words, medication you buy from a Canadian pharmacy has a high probability of not having been made in Canada and there’s no way to know where it actually came from.

It may have been made in a third world country, or it may be completely fake. I’ve seen this first hand in patients of mine who have bought medications from foreign countries that have turned out to be counterfeit, and this has all been well documented. This is why drug reimportation is a bad idea. However, the US government presently does NOT prosecute individuals buying meds from other countries, so anybody who wants to do this can go right ahead. Just understand that you’re taking a big risk by doing it.

Allowing the government to negotiate prices directly with drug companies means you’re establishing price controls. Price controls don’t work because they produce shortages. They also would reduce the incentive that drug companies have to produce new medications. It costs about 1 billion dollars to develop a new drug, and then you probably have about a 1 in 10 chance of it being approved by the FDA. If you slap price controls on drugs, why would companies continue to spend all that money on drug development?

eyedoc on November 12, 2008 at 8:08 PM

Okay, everything below the first three lines of my post shouldn’t be in block quotes. Not sure how I screwed that up.

eyedoc on November 12, 2008 at 8:10 PM

Eyedoc, I’ve purchased antibiotics in Mexico and Canada over the years. If the price is 90% cheaper than in the US, I’ll take the risk. Besides, it’s my understanding that many of the medications in the US are now already being manufactured outside of the US. If the FDA and US distributors can find a way to certify to the quality of those medications, why can’t they put in place a similar method for other medications?

And if market forces themselves don’t make it profitable for companies to produce new drugs, why should new drugs be produced at all?

jim m on November 12, 2008 at 8:33 PM

i work for a medical device company and had a conversation with a cardiologist today about nationalized health care and the direction in which this country is going. he showed me a contract he had with a local clinic detailing the prices that they would pay the md for consulting fees. In 1995, he made almost $400.00 for each consult. now that figure is $00.00. now, they still pull down a nice living, by anyones standards. however, it gives you some idea how things have changed. decent doctors will bolt once they see they won’t make squat under this plan.

sandlin71 on November 12, 2008 at 8:34 PM

It is my understanding that the same exact drug is sold by the drug companies to the suppliers for a different price depending on the country. So, the people in Canada can buy a drug for X while that same drug is sold in Africa for 1/2X and sold in the states for 2X. In this way we in the U.S. not only pay the costs of R&D but also subsidize the cost for people in other nations.
I have long thought that any drug developed in the U.S. should be sold for the same exact cost the world over. I am not sure how we could legislate that but, I sure would like to see it happen.

Babs on November 12, 2008 at 8:40 PM

sandlin71 on November 12, 2008 at 8:34 PM

Bless you for stating this. I been saying same thing. I pick up Deposits from Doctors, Clinics. They say same thing. That if Universal Health care, or a Mandated Health care Starts. They are out of here.

sheebe on November 12, 2008 at 8:52 PM

We had Reagonomic principles applied to the healthcare system. Result? Tens of millions of uninsured. But its the Dem attempt to SOLVE that problem that’s going to bankrupt us. LOL Whatever.

DeathToMediaHacks on November 12, 2008 at 9:04 PM

My English cousin died in 1993. She had complained of increasing abdominal pain for three years. After repeated trips to doctors in Manchester, England, they decided on exploratory surgery. They opened her up, found her ridled with cancer, and sewed her up. She died six months later at the age of 48.

With the Catholic Hospitals possibly closing if abortion is forced on them; the lines will stretch around the block a couple of times.

Of course the elitists will get preferential and private care of the best health care available. Those of us below elitist will just have to suck it up.

When does the fuse get lit?

Ragnarok on November 12, 2008 at 9:45 PM

I’m scared to death and I feel completely helpless.

jewells45 on November 12, 2008 at 1:46 PM

No problemo…………. next time you need a Doctor, just go to your local Emergency Room, leave ALL ID behind, and just say,

“No habla Englis…… yo estoy “illegal alien”…. necessito medico…… (then in perfect English say) ……. and if you don’t, the ACLU, La Raza, and ACORN will sue your ass………..”

……… ain’t this a great country?

Seven Percent Solution on November 12, 2008 at 10:31 PM

A person keeps trying to think that everything will be OK, because these politicians, in the end, are rational to at least some small extent and wouldn’t really do anything that stupid.

Then they immediately set out to prove you wrong!

I have no thought left to turn to except that which says that these liberals, every single one of them, are brain dead. We are paying to keep a bunch of brain-dead people on their life support systems. Too bad we were not able to pull the plugs and watch the lines go flat.

Yoop on November 12, 2008 at 11:18 PM

How is this any worse than the billions spent to bail out Wall St? At least kids will be taken care of along w/ the fat cats at AIG……

Noneya on November 13, 2008 at 4:54 AM

Then how do you stop the US consumer from effectively paying for all of the worldwide R&D costs for new drugs?

jim m on November 12, 2008 at 7:17 PM

As I understand it, it is illegal to import medicines into the country because socialist nations abroad have demanded below market prices in their markets. Thus we end up paying all the R&D for new medicines. So maybe we should just reverse it:

Ban the export of medicines abroad but open the borders to medicine imports. The Pharma Co’s will almost immediately drop their R&D programs and prices on existing drugs will decline domestically.

Sometimes you just got to let a system break before things get better.

Browncoatone on November 13, 2008 at 7:15 AM

I think we’re for telling our senior citizens that no one in this country should be denied medical care because of a lack of funds. But I think we’re against forcing all citizens, regardless of need, into a compulsory government program…

Say it again Ron!

Browncoatone on November 13, 2008 at 7:42 AM

Hey, Jim M – you know those cheap pharmas you buy in Mexico?

Bootleg DVDs.

You’re trying to kill the goose that laid your golden egg.

“Market forces” don’t include theft.

Seriously, get yourself an Econ 101 book.

Merovign on November 13, 2008 at 10:22 AM

As others have noted, it’s not illegal to bring back medicine from other countries for personal use.

jim m on November 13, 2008 at 11:13 AM

My college roomie now owns a business in Canada, he is paying well north of 50% in taxes. I said “hey, at least you get free health care!”

He blew a gasket, he said no one, NO ONE, with the exception of the poor, uses the doctors in that that system. It would be like taking a state appointed attorney for your murder trial.

End result he pays a private health care company ON TOP of his insane taxes.

Alden Pyle on November 13, 2008 at 11:20 AM

EyeSurgeon on November 12, 2008 at 2:13 PM

I haven’t read the whole thread, so I don’t know if its been pointed out or not, but the comparision of the overhead costs of Medicare/Medicaid to private institutions is sort of apples to oranges. Medicare/caid pays only labor and supplies and doesn’t have to pay for hardware/buildings/computers/parking lots/utilities etc.

Itchee Dryback on November 13, 2008 at 1:17 PM

The US is pretty much the only large country in the world that doesn’t provide some healthcare through the government. And private companies are saying that it’s the private healthcare costs that make the US uncompetitive with other countries.

It’s time to nationalize healthcare. (And by the way, allow safe drugs to be imported from other nations and allow the US goverment to directly negotiate with the pharma companies on drug prices for US programs). It could end up saving US jobs.

jim m on November 12, 2008 at 4:30 PM

What do you call medicare, Medicaid, Wick, etc?

Bevan on November 13, 2008 at 1:48 PM

If you make health care free but do not increase the number of doctors, nurses and hospitals, you just have a long line to nowhere. But save your dollars for the bathroom because our government debt will get so big they will have to run the printing presses to deflate the debt away and dollars will be cheaper than toilet paper. Just like Zimbabwe.

KW64 on November 13, 2008 at 11:20 PM

KW64 — right you are — but our income sure will look lots higher on government forms.

Obama’s Harvard educated father was an economist. Kenya is ranked 184th in GDP.

Apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree!

IlikedAUH2O on November 14, 2008 at 7:35 AM

Comment pages: 1 2