The stealth health-care nationalization in the “stimulus”

posted at 10:55 am on January 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Kimberly Strassel gives the Obama administration credit for learning from history with their stimulus package.  Not from the history of economics — the package pretty much entails a What Not To Do aggregation of New Deal ignorance — but from the history of health-care nationalization.  Rather than attempt it honestly, as Bill and Hillary Clinton did in 1993, Obama has hidden nuggets of it within the so-called stimulus bill that passed the House (via Power Line):

Still, it’s the “stimulus” that has proven the real gift horse — a behemoth that has allowed Democrats to speed up the takeover of health care under cover of an economic crisis. They initially claimed, for instance, the “stimulus” would provide Medicaid money to states struggling to pay existing bills. What in fact it does is dramatically expand the number of Americans who qualify for Medicaid.

Under “stimulus,” Medicaid is now on offer not to just poor Americans, but Americans who have lost their jobs. And not just Americans who have lost their jobs, but their spouses and their children. And not Americans who recently lost their jobs, but those who lost jobs, say, early last year. And not just Americans who already lost their jobs, but those who will lose their jobs up to 2011. The federal government is graciously footing the whole bill. The legislation also forbids states to apply income tests in most cases.

House Democrat Henry Waxman was so thrilled by this blowout, it was left to Republicans to remind him that the very banking millionaires he dragged to the Hill last year for a grilling would now qualify for government aid. His response? A GOP proposal to limit subsidies to Americans with incomes under $1 million was accepted during markup, but had disappeared by final passage. In this new health-care nirvana, even the rich are welcome. CBO estimates? An additional 1.2 million on the federal Medicaid dime in 2009.

The “stimulus” also hijacks Cobra, a program that lets the unemployed retain access to their former company health benefits — usually for about 18 months. The new stimulus permits any former employee over the age of 55 to keep using Cobra right up until they qualify for Medicare at age 65. And here’s the kicker: Whereas employees were previously responsible for paying their health premiums while on Cobra, now the feds will pay 65%. CBO estimates? Seven million Americans will have the feds mostly pay their insurance bills in 2009. …

Add it up, and Democrats may move 10 million more Americans under the federal health umbrella — in just four weeks!

Rahm Emanuel once advised that crisis means opportunity, and the Democrats have taken that message to heart.  They’ve exploited the sense of economic crisis in order to build a Trojan Horse stimulus bill that encompasses all of their legislative goals — and they’re trying to stampede people into supporting it out of panic.  Hope and Change?  More like Fear and Loathing.

What this does has nothing to do with stimulating the economy.  Worse, it exponentially increases the difficulty in reforming entitlements, and Medicare already was the one program most in need of reform.  It’s heading into insolvency even without the additional load of ten million new and unplanned subscribers in three weeks.  Now, we will have even more subscribers to throw into the reform grinder, making it more painful than ever to effect the necessary changes to bring the program back into solvency.

And how do the Democrats plan to make this work?  They want to kill the one part of the program that actually receives payments.  Medicare Advantage is exactly the kind of public/private partnership that could rescue Medicare, where recipients buy supplemental coverage to make Medicare work for them better and extend the bargaining power to reduce costs at the same time.  Democrats want to kill that program and force all MA patients back to the poor coverage Medicare alone provides.

This demonstrates what a disaster this stimulus bill is, and what a disaster Democratic rule in Washington will be over the next two years.  It’s hard to believe one could credibly say this, but I long for the honesty of the Clintons.


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Barry is going to run out of pens at the rate he’s signing executive orders.

Most transparent government ever! Unprecedented openness and honesty! Fair and balanced.

Itchee Dryback on January 30, 2009 at 12:03 PM

and our healthcare providers are not prepered for the influx of patent load, another 10 million? it will overstretch the system to freezing point..

ginaswo on January 30, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Doctors should be at the front of the barricades.

JiangxiDad on January 30, 2009 at 12:03 PM

JiangxiDad–I suggest some changes to voting requirements. I’d suggest something like limiting the vote to those who’ve served in the military, maybe two tours of duty, or any combat service. (Got the idea from Heinlein’s book Starship Troopers,which describes the US after the fall of all the Western democracies, including our own.)

–Only about 9% of the current US population ever served in the military. About 65% of US households own their homes. Limiting the vote to the military would be eltist and, frankly, I don’t think I’d be willing to stay around to watch the results.

jim m on January 30, 2009 at 12:04 PM

It’s time that health care was treated in the US like it is everywhere else

Whats that? Wait in line till your dead, or if you have enough money come to the US.

MDWNJ on January 30, 2009 at 12:05 PM

They pick up 65% of Joe’s private health insurance tab while he is in this tough period of his life.

Truly despicable!

factoid on January 30, 2009 at 11:50 AM

Who’s they?

Itchee Dryback on January 30, 2009 at 12:05 PM

Communism 101.

Johan Klaus on January 30, 2009 at 12:06 PM

MobileVideoEngineer on January 30, 2009 at 12:02 PM

You’re doing it right, kudos! I’m not above eating Ramen either ;) There are many ways to tighten a belt between meals.

LimeyGeek on January 30, 2009 at 12:07 PM

You know what, JingxiDad, no one forces doctors or nurses to work as a doctor or nurse. If they don’t like the pay, then they can change jobs and professions—just like the rest of the world.

There’s no reason doctors should be immune to economic forces when the guys making cars aren’t (any longer).

It may mean that we have more foreign trained doctors in the US, just like what happened in England.

jim m on January 30, 2009 at 12:07 PM

And I hear they are already considering not delivering babies on Saturdays….

No, wait….

That’s mail from the USPS thread. Sorry.

TexAz on January 30, 2009 at 12:10 PM

As much as I appreciate the sentiment behind awarding voting privileges to the military……just what do you think makes the military any more qualified to make decisions about civilian government than the rest of us?

LimeyGeek on January 30, 2009 at 11:49 AM

Just that I could be sure that they didn’t hate their country. They already did something for me that they didn’t have to indicating they have my interests at heart. Also, they wouldn’t fight for a system they didn’t want to see perpetuated–a system that would be codified in a constitution.

I know there are great flaws. But seems better than what we’ve now got. Anyway, I’m all ears.

JiangxiDad on January 30, 2009 at 12:10 PM

It’s time that health care was treated in the US like it is everywhere else

Don’t you fucking dare try to bullshit me about nationalized healthcare. I was born into it, grew up with it, and did everything I could to avoid it. It is a miserable, degrading, sociopathic socialist perversion.

Here we are, in America, enjoying affluence unheard of in mankind’s history….sitting fat and happy….and some complacent, ignorant cretins have the gall to suggest that ‘their way’ is better.

Up yours.

LimeyGeek on January 30, 2009 at 12:11 PM

You know what, JingxiDad, no one forces doctors or nurses to work as a doctor or nurse. If they don’t like the pay, then they can change jobs and professions—just like the rest of the world.

There’s no reason doctors should be immune to economic forces when the guys making cars aren’t (any longer).

It may mean that we have more foreign trained doctors in the US, just like what happened in England.

jim m on January 30, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Did you know that English speaking, highly educated India is launching off shore on-line legal services? $35 for a house closing sounds pretty good to me! I see no reason why you should be immune to economic forces.

JiangxiDad on January 30, 2009 at 12:12 PM

It’s time that health care was treated in the US like it is everywhere else. {By the way, the bill only picks up 65% of the COBRA cost for the first 12 or so weeks of coverage, not for the entire period).

jim m on January 30, 2009 at 11:57 AM

Does the incidence of Canadians coming to the U.S. for health care give you any clue?

Johan Klaus on January 30, 2009 at 12:13 PM

What the Administration is proposing is to help people who lost their jobs pay their health insurance premium to their current private health insurance company. The proposal does not offer health care of any kind being provided by the government.

factoid on January 30, 2009 at 11:57 AM

The camels nose under the tent.

Johan Klaus on January 30, 2009 at 12:15 PM

The camels nose under the tent.

Johan Klaus on January 30, 2009 at 12:15 PM

More like “camel toe in the parade”

LimeyGeek on January 30, 2009 at 12:16 PM

Does the incidence of Canadians coming to the U.S. for health care give you any clue?

Johan Klaus on January 30, 2009 at 12:13 PM

Does the incidence of Americans going to Canada for their meds give you any clue?

factoid on January 30, 2009 at 12:18 PM

I overheard two physicians talking about the nationalized health care fiasco recently. Basically their comments were that the doctors or the system would have to decide who would get the rationed health care because there would be fewer doctors and more patients. Their concern was that surgical procedures would be performed only on those who had a long life ahead of them. Seniors would be denied based on their life expectancy. It’s a brave new world, folks!

Christian Conservative on January 30, 2009 at 12:19 PM

They pick up 65% of Joe’s private health insurance tab while he is in this tough period of his life.

Truly despicable!

factoid on January 30, 2009 at 11:50 AM

When I am in a tough period in my life, I tighten my belt.

Johan Klaus on January 30, 2009 at 12:19 PM

From My Earlier Instigation:

Note: Since He keeps the Oval Office at steaming tropical (jungle?) temperatures and works in his shirtsleeves, we can’t call him the the Empty Suit since he doesn’t wear one. Any suggestions on a new name for Dear Leader?

People in My office mentioned like Gannett and WDWMJ — Lord of the Lobes or King Louie.

Weird? They couldn’t think of a con man villain in Hollywood movies. I said maybe that is because that industry is FULL of con men.

Good Luck to you guys who are violently fighting corrupt Chicago machine socialism. I go back to work. He hasn’t changed THAT yet, has He?

IlikedAUH2O on January 30, 2009 at 12:19 PM

I agree, JiangxiDad. I need to compete in the world economy, like we all do. The $35 Indian house closing isn’t a real-world example because it assumes that the Indian lawyer understands particular state laws, that all the paperwork is signed ahead of the closing (some of the docs are usually signed at closing) and that the Indian lawyer would have someone on the ground in the US to get the needed land surveys and make the filings (the US person would likely cost more than $35). But there are things (legal research, basic contract review) that the Indian lawyers are doing quite well.

——————————————
My understanding is that the number of Canadians coming to the US for health care dropped significantly once Canada allowed supplemental private health insurance policies. But I’d like to hear from others if I’m wrong.

jim m on January 30, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Limiting the vote to the military would be eltist and, frankly, I don’t think I’d be willing to stay around to watch the results.

jim m on January 30, 2009 at 12:04 PM

Offering the vote to everyone led to what we now have, and frankly, I don’t think I’d be willing to stay around to watch the results.

JiangxiDad on January 30, 2009 at 12:20 PM

I have been in practice for 18 years. I make 75 percent less per patient now than I did then. Hospitals are going bankrupt. Medical care is one of the largest employers in the US behind government and schools. MA is one of the biggest reasons. If this plan goes through, I guarantee you will see a HUGE impact over the next two years. You will see over five thousand hospitals close by 2011. This is not democrat chicken little stuff. This will happen.

Redglen on January 30, 2009 at 11:52 AM

All medical professionals need to get together & educate the feds on this issue. Petitions! I’ll sign!

So to get to the point, personal assistance is a whole lot faster and cheaper than government assistance.

MobileVideoEngineer on January 30, 2009 at 12:02 PM

This is why families are important. With the govt caring for people from ‘cradle to grave’ it allows people to burn bridges with family bcs they know they will never need them bcs the govt will always be there.
It makes everyone a little less personal.

Badger40 on January 30, 2009 at 12:20 PM

The $35 Indian house closing isn’t a real-world example because it assumes that the Indian lawyer understands particular state laws, that all the paperwork is signed ahead of the closing (some of the docs are usually signed at closing)…

So it’s ok,as long as they can’t do all of your job,right? Just wait.

JiangxiDad on January 30, 2009 at 12:21 PM

Seniors would be denied based on their life expectancy. It’s a brave new world, folks!

Christian Conservative on January 30, 2009 at 12:19 PM

I know a way ‘seniors’ could help out in the future-Soylent Green anyone?

Badger40 on January 30, 2009 at 12:21 PM

Badger40 on January 30, 2009 at 12:21 PM

Don’t give the Beltway-Elite any ideas. Remember, (yelling),

Soylent Green is people!

kingsjester on January 30, 2009 at 12:24 PM

The $35 Indian house closing isn’t a real-world example because it assumes that the Indian lawyer understands particular state laws, that all the paperwork is signed ahead of the closing
jim m on January 30, 2009 at 12:20 PM

And how good are the foreign trained doctors?

Johan Klaus on January 30, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Medicare Advantage is not a supplement for traditional Medicare, but a replacement.

Insurance companies typically throw in sweeteners on their MA products like lower co-insurance and additional benefits. Before Part D, many MA plans offered prescription coverage at little or no additional cost. Another example is free transportation to and from doctor’s appointments: one plan in my area offers 24 free one-way trips per year (12 round trips) and bumps that to unlimited to ESRD members who haven’t yet flipped back to traditional Medicare which can equal 100-150 free round trips to and from their dialysis clinic.

Who knew Democrats hated lower-income, disabled AND end-stage renal disease Medicare members….?

Tongueboy on January 30, 2009 at 12:28 PM

Right now, they can’t do all my job because of the need for immediate action and responses and because of the need for “face time”. Fact is, they probably can never do everything needed for my job as it’s now structured.

They are very good at many things, however. But the wages in India and China (in general) are going up significantly and it’s no longer as relatively cheap as it once was. [And experienced Indian lawyers currently bill at around $100/hour. I'm in house and my blended hourly cost, including full overhead allocation, is likely around $150/hour, so given the other factors and my specialized knowledge of some areas of US law, it's unlikely that I'd be replaced in India.]

jim m on January 30, 2009 at 12:30 PM

I have been in practice for 18 years. I make 75 percent less per patient now than I did then. Hospitals are going bankrupt. Medical care is one of the largest employers in the US behind government and schools. MA is one of the biggest reasons. If this plan goes through, I guarantee you will see a HUGE impact over the next two years. You will see over five thousand hospitals close by 2011. This is not democrat chicken little stuff. This will happen.

Redglen on January 30, 2009 at 11:52 AM

Have you visited Covert Rationing Blog?

DrRich (a classical liberal) slays me:

DrRich congratulates this Dear Reader for getting into the appropriate frame of mind for the new era that is now dawning upon us. For, when confronted by a host of growing and seemingly intractable systemic problems, we have clearly seen that in this new era our main task as Americans is to: a) elect dynamic new-era leaders who will utterly change the way these problems are addressed, and b) hope audaciously.

Accordingly, like his Dear Reader, DrRich hopes that all truly effective healthcare services will be made available under our universal healthcare system. DrRich also hopes to win the Pennsylvania lottery this week. Both of these hopes are suitably audacious.

I love some of his strategies.

Rae on January 30, 2009 at 12:35 PM

But the wages in India and China (in general) are going up significantly and it’s no longer as relatively cheap as it once was. [And experienced Indian lawyers currently bill at around $100/hour. I'm in house and my blended hourly cost, including full overhead allocation, is likely around $150/hour, so given the other factors and my specialized knowledge of some areas of US law, it's unlikely that I'd be replaced in India.]

jim m on January 30, 2009 at 12:30 PM

Well I’m glad to hear about the wages. Maybe trading will become more equal as a result (but I know I’m dreaming).
Your profession & wage remind me I need to get another job-in the geoengineering business.
Ugh.
This public school teacher wage bites.

Badger40 on January 30, 2009 at 12:36 PM

I have been in practice for 18 years. I make 75 percent less per patient now than I did then. Hospitals are going bankrupt. Medical care is one of the largest employers in the US behind government and schools. MA is one of the biggest reasons. If this plan goes through, I guarantee you will see a HUGE impact over the next two years. You will see over five thousand hospitals close by 2011. This is not democrat chicken little stuff. This will happen.

Redglen on January 30, 2009 at 11:52 AM

Have you visited the Covert Rationing Blog, by chance?

DrRich (a classical liberal) slays me.

DrRich congratulates this Dear Reader for getting into the appropriate frame of mind for the new era that is now dawning upon us. For, when confronted by a host of growing and seemingly intractable systemic problems, we have clearly seen that in this new era our main task as Americans is to: a) elect dynamic new-era leaders who will utterly change the way these problems are addressed, and b) hope audaciously.

Accordingly, like his Dear Reader, DrRich hopes that all truly effective healthcare services will be made available under our universal healthcare system. DrRich also hopes to win the Pennsylvania lottery this week. Both of these hopes are suitably audacious.

He also has some great ideas about maintaining some liberty wrt our health care.

Rae on January 30, 2009 at 12:41 PM

Sorry for the double post!

Rae on January 30, 2009 at 12:44 PM

I can get an attorney here in the US for a $17 a month retainer fee. I get a will, medical power of attorney and durable power of attorney for no extra cost and updated every year if necessary. I get my closing papers reviewed for no extra cost as well as unlimited consultation, and letters written on all subjects.
I don’t need you, jim m because whatever is not covered under the monthly premium is covered at a 25% discount. In 1 1/2 years, I have used this service 11 times.

Vince on January 30, 2009 at 12:45 PM

Sorry for the double post!

Rae on January 30, 2009 at 12:44 PM

The carbon footprint of the wasted bandwidth will be reflected in your next government theft document 1040.

LimeyGeek on January 30, 2009 at 12:46 PM

I don’t need you, jim m because whatever is not covered under the monthly premium is covered at a 25% discount. In 1 1/2 years, I have used this service 11 times.

Vince on January 30, 2009 at 12:45 PM

I hope if your situation changes, that you are eligible for some type of legal Cobra benefit, the cost of which is picked up by Jim M and other taxpayers. Good luck!

JiangxiDad on January 30, 2009 at 12:47 PM

Step 1) Bend over.
Step 2) Spread butt cheecks.
Step 3) Grit teeth, do not apply lubricant.
Step 4) Recite “Yes We Can” repeatedly until searing pain subsides…

Welcome to the rape of America.

Wyznowski on January 30, 2009 at 12:53 PM

Offering the vote to everyone led to what we now have, and frankly, I don’t think I’d be willing to stay around to watch the results.

JiangxiDad on January 30, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Universal suffrage has proven disastrous. I’m in favor of saying that to vote, one must a) be 21 years old, b) pay taxes, and c) own property.

DrMagnolias on January 30, 2009 at 1:15 PM

The weasels are in charge of the hen house.

Speakup on January 30, 2009 at 1:16 PM

Does anybody understand these provisions well enough to comment on whether or not illegal aliens will be eligible?

Pianobuff on January 30, 2009 at 1:16 PM

CRAP ..
These idiots with no
id required
no income verification required
No ss number required

Please explain to all of us
How in the hell you can ensure that
25 – 50 illegal mexicans wont be
lined up at the medicare office to sign up..

sheesh i can see it now
Name Juan from mehico
SSN 000-00-0000
date of layoff jan 19 2009
address 1 park bench (in the park)

thank you would you like to register to vote
SI

Sheesh this is insanity..
I beleive that this CAUSED the economic crisis
because all of those Banks
Couldnt FIND any of the people to whom they were FORCED to give loans to thanks to the stinking liberl democrats..

Morons..

jcila on January 30, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Does the incidence of Americans going to Canada for their meds give you any clue?

factoid on January 30, 2009 at 12:18 PM

Whats the comparison? Educate me.

Itchee Dryback on January 30, 2009 at 1:19 PM

I’ve already called and emailed both my Republican Senators in Tennessee about this pork laden bill. Sen Corker’s screener was able to state that he will not support the bill in its current form. Sen Alexander’s office was a little non- committed to stopping it, IMO.

ny59giants on January 30, 2009 at 1:23 PM

I could give you sample copies of powers of attorney, simple wills, durable powers of attorney, promissory notes and deeds right now. That is no big deal. The review of simple closing documents and the “unlimited” (during normal office hours) consultation isn’t a bad benefit, but it doesn’t include things like divorce, preparation of other purchase or sale documents, etc.

jim m on January 30, 2009 at 1:28 PM

Does the incidence of Americans going to Canada for their meds give you any clue?

factoid on January 30, 2009 at 12:18 PM

Any American that does this is stealing from the people of Canada. I hope they feel proud.

LimeyGeek on January 30, 2009 at 1:29 PM

I look forward to WW III to get us out of The Greatest Depression. In the mean time I expect a Constitutional Amendment to allow The One to remain in office since we need him so much, you know like FDR.

burt on January 30, 2009 at 1:35 PM

Soylent Green is people!

kingsjester on January 30, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Oops! Sorry!
But it is soooooo goooood. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….

Badger40 on January 30, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Any American that does this is stealing from the people of Canada. I hope they feel proud.

LimeyGeek on January 30, 2009 at 1:29 PM

Whatever happened to some states’ effort to contract buying meds out of Canada bcs they were cheaper?

Badger40 on January 30, 2009 at 2:16 PM

Communism 101.

Johan Klaus on January 30, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Exactly

Maxx on January 30, 2009 at 2:20 PM

Whatever happened to some states’ effort to contract buying meds out of Canada bcs they were cheaper?

Badger40 on January 30, 2009 at 2:16 PM

Doesn’t matter who’s doing the stealing….government….individuals….theft is theft.

LimeyGeek on January 30, 2009 at 2:31 PM

Doesn’t matter who’s doing the stealing….government….individuals….theft is theft.

LimeyGeek on January 30, 2009 at 2:31 PM

Well I wonder bcs our guy Dorgan was spewing about how we needed to do it at one time.
If he’s still into it, I need to email him & tell him to knock it the he&& off!

Badger40 on January 30, 2009 at 2:33 PM

Badger40 on January 30, 2009 at 2:33 PM

He probably figured he could sell it politically because I doubt most people understand how much Canadian taxpayer money goes into those miraculously ‘cheap’ drugs.

LimeyGeek on January 30, 2009 at 2:37 PM

My dad is an 88-year-old retired physician. He just told me he is glad he is near the end of his life because he can’t bear to see what is happening to health care in this county.

There’s an old maxim that anything you subsidize, you get more of, and anything you tax, you get less of. The more you subsidize people’s health care costs, the more health care they will use.

rockmom on January 30, 2009 at 2:45 PM

There are some silver linings to all this… at least we’ll never have to listen to a liberal rave about the “unitary executive” again, and they’ll never be able to say another word about deficit spending. Sure, they’re “nuanced” enough to turn on a dime and become deficit hawks under the next Republican president, but if they try to criticize President Palin over budget deficits in 2013, even the most casual voters will be holding their sides and howling with laughter. Or maybe they’ll be holding their sides and howling because they’re still waiting for appendectomies from the Obamacare system.

Maybe another silver lining is the rapid acceleration of the socialist garbage that was strangling us slowly. We were cruising for a major collapse when Social Security became insolvent in the 2020s. Obama’s deficit spending is already a tragedy on its way to becoming a farce, and we’re only in the first month of his administration. The doomsday timetable for systemic collapse must be moving forward by years – which might just get a lazy and disconnected electorate to start taking notice of it. Remember how unhappy they got when gas was heading for four dollars a gallon? They were ready to unceremoniously junk thirty years of carefully accumulated environmentalist regulation… another fifty cents a gallon increase, and they would have been ready to vote Democrats out of office en masse, chanting “drill, baby, drill” all the way to the polls. Imagine how they’ll feel when price controls hit prescription drugs the way they hit foodstuffs during the Nixon years, or when Obama sets up a lavishly funded Health Care Service to explain why their dying grandparents have to wait nine months for an MRI. Maybe no one but an uninhibited socialist could demonstrate the absurdity of Democrat “economic policy,” by fast-forwarding to the end of the horror story. Maybe Obama *was* the one we’ve been waiting for…

Doctor Zero on January 30, 2009 at 3:15 PM

More from the Sando de Excrement ™

Mason on January 30, 2009 at 4:00 PM

They pick up 65% of Joe’s private health insurance tab while he is in this tough period of his life.

Truly despicable!

factoid on January 30, 2009 at 11:50 AM

Another way to say it – Joe gets plastic surgery with your money, while he’s contributing ZILCH to society on his own.

hawksruleva on January 30, 2009 at 4:32 PM

I look forward to WW III to get us out of The Greatest Depression. In the mean time I expect a Constitutional Amendment to allow The One to remain in office since we need him so much, you know like FDR.

burt on January 30, 2009 at 1:35 PM

Actually, I think the latest studies of historical economics belive that World War II didn’t end the Great Depression, it just artificially masked the symptoms by sending men overseas. There were still shortages, and personal consumption increased only 2.5%.

http://www.cafehayek.com/hayek/2008/10/wwii-cured-the.html

hawksruleva on January 30, 2009 at 4:35 PM

hawksruleva on January 30, 2009 at 4:35 PM

Good comment.

Actually, I agree with you. I was being a little sarcastic and not very accurate in my comment. I have read that the Republicans were set to have a significant pickup in the 1938 election because of the terrible economy, but that was ameliorated by the expectation of getting into a big war and by the “don’t change horses” theme which was full fledged in 1940 and 1944 elections.

burt on January 30, 2009 at 5:28 PM

You go, Democrats! Keep it up! Piss off the old folks and you’ll be out in 2010.

GarandFan on January 30, 2009 at 6:04 PM

I guess dishonesty is change we can believe in…

So much for Obama’s “new politics”, he’s just another Chicago thug gangster in a suit.

Cr4sh Dummy on January 30, 2009 at 6:23 PM

Does the incidence of Americans going to Canada for their meds give you any clue?

factoid on January 30, 2009 at 12:18 PM

Your name is perfect. The definition of “factoid” would be “something that sounds like a fact but isn’t.

And your “example” doesn’t fly. Going north to get cheaper drugs is one thing. Going south to get treatment you can’t get (or can’t get for six months or a year, and you’ve got a growing cancer that will be terminal by then) is something else altogether.

Squiggy on January 30, 2009 at 7:02 PM

“Stealthcare”

RalphyBoy on January 30, 2009 at 8:07 PM

I have been in Healthcare for over 20 years on the revenue cycle side of hospitals. As some of the comments above state, if this stimulus passes and more people are put on govt rolls for healthcare we will see the collapse of the whole system in a very short time. Every year Medicare pays at least 25% less on charges. I do agree that the charges you see on your bills are outrageous but realize that the amount a facility gets on lets say $100.00 is about $30.00 cash and then your copay is determined (by YOUR insurance) and you pay it or you don’t, the rest is adjusted off. If you do not pay your copay there is not a whole lot the hospital can do.
Most of the departments in a facilty are not income producing but costs alot of money to run, (Medical Records, Information Systems). Excessive overhead to be ready for patients 24/7.
In January 2008 two of the top insurance payors stopped paying for most of the procedures and charges in the emergency department. On 12.31.07 it would pay 40% of the bill, on 01.01.08 it dropped to 20%…if there are two nurses helping you in your emergency situation the facility is not even getting a payment to cover the cost of the two nurses. That does not count the techs or xrays or other ancillary services you may require. My point??
The government needs to STAY OUT OF HEALTHCARE! The system will adjust itself, yes we may have hospitals close but nationalized healthcare would be worse!

Coastal Paradise on January 30, 2009 at 8:54 PM

“Stealthcare”

RalphyBoy on January 30, 2009 at 8:07 PM

Good tag. It ought to be hammered home over the next few days.

ddrintn on January 30, 2009 at 10:42 PM

Doctors should be at the front of the barricades.

JiangxiDad on January 30, 2009 at 12:03 PM

You kidding? Doctors would love nothing more than having 100% of their patients on medicare. It’s guaranteed payment. As opposed to fighting with insurance companies for payment. It would be as if every contract you ever had was a federal govt contract. Bliss from the viewpoint of a small business.

angryed on January 31, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Government-run healthcare terrifies me. I have several chronic illnesses and know that under Commie Care I will be put on waiting lists. As a sickly housewife, I will be one of those not deemed worthy of the expense of medical care.

Mrs. Happy Housewife on January 31, 2009 at 1:52 PM

yep and when your on life support, they can say…pull the plug! Ask Canada!

johnnyU on January 31, 2009 at 6:00 PM

Medicaid money to states struggling to pay existing bills. What in fact it does is dramatically expand the number of Americans who qualify for Medicaid.

I’ve been saying this and saying this and writing this now for YEARS — THIS is the “Howard Dean” (Hillary Clinton) “national healthcare” plan and process that the Left has been advancing now for years.

And, although we down one Democrat Leftist, we don’t down their plans as a group and the group plan is to expand a “Medicaid” model nationwide just as Howard Dean did in Vermont, to the failure of any quality of public healthcare there (and which has ruined Vermont’s economy — thus, the Stimulus Obama, et al. are now cooking up).

I’ve been like a voice crying in the wilderness about this process that the Left (Hillary, Obama, many of the Leftwing (so-called) “veterans’” but Leftwing groups and such who claim that national healthcare is necessary) — what their plan is is just to expand Medicaid nationwide (your taxpayer dollars) to accomplish this tomfoolery called “national healthcare” AND which will result in “expanded” healthcare “places” and services such as anyone today can go see and experience in the real at any public healthcare office. You’ll see just what it involves if you stop by a public health office and take it all in…

THIS STIMULUS ALSO contains many billions to “digitalize medical records.” TAKE NOTE.

So, no wonder Google’s CEO is slurping at the bottle of the White House lately. Among others.

S on February 1, 2009 at 2:03 AM

You kidding? Doctors would love nothing more than having 100% of their patients on medicare. It’s guaranteed payment

MEDICAID. Not “Medicare.”

Medicare actually worked for a long while — good to above good quality of care for enrollees, services readily available, doctors happy to treat Medicare patients — UNTIL Congress started lopping off the reimbursement rates for doctors while raising rates for Medicare enrollees and reducing covered services.

THEN it became a problem as it remains now of Medicare enrollees often not being able to locate any practitioners who will even accept Medicare patients (low reimbursement, many of them figure they can earn more for the same services by not treating Medicare patients).

IN some case, MEDICAID reimburses at a higher rate without arguments so doctors can offer a wider range of services to Medicaid patients versus Medicare patients.

MEDICAID is the “state funded” “welfare” or “freebie” service that impoverished people without any or with very low income receive as a part of state social services (along with other services like SSI payments, food stamps and such through State Human Services departments, upon application, income-determined, as in, one has to be very low income to qualify so many illegal aliens DO qualify [fraudulently] AND/OR their relatives who may be legal, such as their children or elderly relatives who they import because of Medicaid availability).

MEDICARE is only made available via the federal Social Security Administration to people either over 65 and retired (when they file for retirement after working before retirement), OR workers/younger adults who are disabled after working and paying the Social Security taxes adequate to qualify. MEDICARE involves a monthly payment inorder to be maintained by enrollees — currently about a hundred bucks a month for both Parts (hospitalization and clinical).

MEDICAID, by comparison, is not age-related or age-determined nor even health-determined (whether disabled or not under 65, if income is severely restricted, you are offered Medicaid on application — so many disabled adults who have not paid enough into the Social Security process via taxes when disabled end up on Medicaid, but it’s based upon their non-qualifying for Medicare due to not enough taxes paid and them not having much to any income, NOT based upon their disablement or disabling condition).

MEDICARE is based upon age (retirement) or under age if disabled BUT DEPENDS ON whether or not someone’s paid beyond a certain amount into the Social Security system via taxes withheld for that purpose. If not, you get sent to Social Services in your state where you’re enrolled in “welfare” or non-taxes paid SSI payments, Medicaid for healthcare and other helps.

People in Medicaid today actually get more services than those enrolled in Medicare. For example, the elderly or disabled who need nursing care, they have to become impoverished (divorce a spouse who has more income, put assets in someone else’s name inorder to be declared impoverished) inorder to pay for nursing home care (Medicare doesn’t pay for that, Medicaid does).

Medicaid recipients do pay a copay but they also get more services than Medicaid does and more doctors today accept Medicaid than do Medicare.

S on February 1, 2009 at 2:16 AM

And what the Democrats are attempting is an expansion of Medicaid nationwide. All those hapless ‘workers’ Obama likes to crow about who also crow about them needing “national healthcare” are in for the worst of surprises: if enabled, this process will give them a public health department approach to “medicine” which is likely as not to be no healthcare at all unless you can wait six hours and are not bleeding to death in the process…like that.

Grim.

No nation of our size has the money — even if we spent all our money — to create a “free” “national healthcare” system that would involve competent, thorough care for all. It’s just not possible with our population.

Sweden, for example, has a much, much smaller population that the U.S., so in Sweden, they can manage a lot of great services for all residents and enjoy paying all those taxes accordingly (they get good to great services for all those taxes they pay, so they don’t mind them as much), but their limited population size is what makes that possible.

In the U.S., with our huge population, we could never manage any quality of care as to services for all. Nor continue to develope quality of care if so. Private-payor process makes our unique healthcare system possible, and unfortunately, it costs money to do so.

Congress enjoys a very nice healthcare system because members there enjoy a “group healthcare plan” that meets their enrollees’ every needs. But that quality of care will never be possible nationwide. The only thing close to that are OTHER private payor plans that cost consumers a good amount of money to maintain them, BUT, they get coverage for most of what is needed.

S on February 1, 2009 at 2:25 AM

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