Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Sunday, September 25, 2016

When the Obama administration drove the Affordable Care Act thru Congress in 2010, its advocates made plenty of calm, sober, technocratic arguments. There was a lot of talk about “don’t worry, you’ll keep the insurance you have”, and many assurances that health care reform would reduce future budget deficits, and “bend the cost curve” of medicine downward. In their understandable haste to pass some kind of universal health care law, however imperfect, liberals, Democrats, and President Obama himself missed the fundamental first step: They failed to clinch the moral argument that — unlike iPads or Toyotas — health insurance is a right, an essential element for both physical health and economic well-being.

Now even if the Supreme Court sustains some or all of the law, conservatives at the federal and state level will do everything they can to delay and disrupt it — at least until the moral argument is as unassailable as stop signs on our streets.

Conservatives and Republicans do not concede the moral imperative of universal health care — although that leaves them isolated in the entire advanced democratic world. There is no other country among our allies in Western Europe, Canada, Japan, and Australia that does not stipulate every citizen will have health insurance from birth as a matter of course. In all those countries, the center-right parties have long accepted the moral imperative, whatever initial misgivings they may once have voiced. So do the medical- industrial complexes of every nation but ours.

Across the developed world, there are variations on how universal health insurance provision is reached—from a truly socialized system in Britain to single payer government administrated health insurance in Canada, to hybrid public/private systems in Germany and France (and it is amusing to read American conservatives praising the German “social market” state these days—yeah, they were in favor of those unions and universal health insurance all along!), to mandated, subsidized, and regulated systems in the Netherlands and Switzerland. All of these plans, however, start with the predicate of health coverage for all — and the details are worked out from there.

So the moral issue must be joined in the most aggressive fashion possible. Not so much by showing empathy for the uninsured—liberals are always wonderful at showing empathy. No, by belligerently challenging conservative pundits and Republican politicians at every opportunity, reminding them how lucky they are to have health care themselves. Just imagine what would happen if, during one of those mildly energized discussions on ABC’s This Week, the liberal interlocutor of the week said something like this to George Will:

  • dtgraham

    I think these same thoughts whenever I see a conservative making inaccurate statements about socialized health care on political talk shows. I’ve lived in Canada all of my life and I know that what they’re saying is simply not true. There are obviously no death panels. There are plenty of hip and knee replacements done on patients 85+. I once saw that stat by chance. Have forgotten the exact number but it seemed surprisingly high. Everything is done here from cardiac to neurosurgery. There are no wait times for emergencies. For non emergencies, any wait time is badly exaggerated by the right. If your family doctor is unavailable for whatever reason, you can go to a walk-in clinic and see a doctor any time you want. A big seller…..no out of pocket costs. There’s no fee for anything. Some provinces have a very small monthly premium that goes to your provincial government and that’s all you ever pay. Some, like mine, don’t even have that. It’s all financed by taxation.

    Employers should not have to be burdened with providing health care to their employees. That’s the job of the state in my opinion. I think Richard Yeselson is bang on here. Panelists that go on these talk shows have got to do their homework on health care elsewhere. They don’t seem to be doing it.

    • and who is to blame. rich Doctor or Patient. Revise healthcare and don’t do away with it for people who need it. I am a contrator and I know lot of small company’s that drive 70 thousand dollar truck and make $3oo,ooo a year cheat on taxes and have good insurance that the employees pay for and don’t want the employee to have insurance.

    • phantomoftheopera

      right on! we already have our own death panels in the states. they’re called ‘insurance companies’. i have a friend, under 80, who has bad knee pain, but can’t get a replacement because her insurance company says she’s not bad enough. i wonder how they channel her pain to them?

      what’s moral about making money–tons of money–from insuring people? seems like they have no incentive to pay for what needs to be done, since it will just be money out of their own pocket, so to speak.

    • howa4x

      I agree completely but this is how republicans get middle class people to vote against their own self interest. They label it socialized medicine and to scare everyone. they point to the Canadian system and say you don’t want to be like those people do you?
      It’s unbelievable that we in America can be so easily duped

  • We are so screwed. The Supreme Court will/is making this country a joke. And a bad one at that.

    • dtgraham

      I saw something on Rachel Maddow last night that simply stunned me. It was from the Nation magazine. The Supreme Court has been working on something quietly for the last week that hasn’t been getting reported. They’ve apparently come up with a series of requirements that will now make it very difficult for labour unions to spend any money on candidates or parties. As if unions could ever hope to even come close to transnational corporate money, as it was. They’ll have a much harder time doing even that now. This, from the court that believes unlimited billionaire and corporate money is just fine and Montana’s 100 year old nullification to Citizens United must be struck down.

      That is really, really, sick. They’re not even faking it any more. Just change their name to the Republican Supreme Court or the Plutocrat Oligarchy Supreme Court and be done with it.

      • EdC

        HOw aaaabout changing the Republican party to thePlutocratic Nationalist Party. (Pee N’ Pee ) for short. Republican Believe it is their ENTITLMENT to run everyone elses’ lives. the problem is that a Republican can and frequently does screw up one car funeral precessions

      • Remember, one of the first actions taken by Hitler during his early rise to power, was suspend the courts and replace judges with followers of the Nazi cause.

        • EdC

          But Alieto and Roberts are already there

    • ctruskey

      Yep that decision they made Monday June 25, 2012 was horrible and all illegals are laughing at that bad joke.

  • William Deutschlander

    Not only is Health Care Coverage for ALL a MORAL issue, it is a HUMANITARIAN COMMON SENSE issue that only a BIGOT would deny.

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is ESSENTIAL to Health Care in the United States of America.

    The opposition to ACA is a 1% GREED ISSUE, the commercial insurance industry is very profitable to it’s management and stockholders, who are largely 1 PERCENTERS!

    Unfortunately the GOP owns a great many politicans and judges and they want GREED foremost!

  • jarheadgene

    “GREED is Good, because Greed WORKS,” said “Gordon Gekko” That is the mantra of WILLARD
    Mitt ROMoNEY.

  • rustacus21

    Notice, when reading the Constitution, how it ‘ADVOCATES’ “protections”, “inclusions”, “advancements”, “authority over which…” provisions are made & applying to whom. There are more terms & descriptions, to be sure, but Liberal/Progressives understand these concepts, thus, over the centuries, have been at the forefront of defining & redefining the “INCLUSIVITY” parameters by which they apply. In every case of dispute, conservatives have, even from the very outset, have been in opposition & tried their very best to ‘restrict’, ‘limit’ &/or otherwise, ‘prevent’ the comprehensive, Constitutionally PROSCRIBED application of Democracy. So the question settles down to not whats wrong w/conservatives, but rather whats wrong w/conservative voters that they don’t understand the ‘CIVIL SOCIETY’ function of this, universal or comprehensive health care, as it’s a ‘general welfare’ provision, assigned to the discretion of WE THE PEOPLE, to be carried out by our representative. Conservatives, on the other hand, have been primarily about the business (since Nixon) of wrecking the entire ‘welfare’ apperatii & thus, pursuing a conflict position -‘AGAINST’ the Constitution. Or am I not seeing the same history that reality unfolded over time, in ways it did NOT happen… as it did…?…!

  • Right on! I recommend for anyone who hasn’t seen it the Michael Moore movie “SICKO” a entertaining and factual look at the health care system in our country and others. It really opened my eyes to the truth about socialized medical health care in our system & in other countries. Of course I always knew that the insurance companies in our country run things. I have end stage arthritis in both of my ankles, cortisone shots or pain pills no longer have any effect. The only reasonable step left would be an Total Ankle Replacement. I was refrused 3 times after going through the grievance procedure. What my insurance company would pay for would be to fuse both ankles which would put me in a wheel chair since it severly limits the motion of the foot. So the insurance company would pay to cripple me but would not pay to let me walk.

  • SaneJane

    Bullies usually get their way but nice people often don’t. We have to finally admit that we cannot trust the right thing will happen just because we know it is right. The Republicans are very successful at getting their false message out there. Almost everyone I know is convinced that “Obamacare” will destroy our country and that anyone who believes otherwise is stupid or evil. What can we do to change this?

    • dtgraham

      Two things SaneJane. Make a list of all of the countries that have national health insurance of some kind that are also doing fine fiscally. They’ll falsely claim that Greece and Spain’s problems are due to health care (laughable) so don’t use those. Hit them with a dozen and a half countries and then challenge them as to why it hasn’t destroyed them. Make them answer. Maybe point out a few nations whose health care most resembles Obamacare…..Switzerland and possibly Holland. Why are they doing alright? Make them answer. Then, challenge them in a different way. When they bring up, ‘we can’t afford it’, mention the absurdity of a smaller country having universal care and doing well financially, and yet the richest country on earth, the United States of America, just can’t do it. Mock their patriotism along the lines of, ‘you’re telling me that all of these other guys can do it but the United States of America, with a 15 trillion a year economy, can’t. Tell them America can do anything. First, hit them with logic and then question their patriotism. Conservatives are very sensitive about the latter. American conservatives anyway. They don’t seem to care about their fellow American getting health insurance, but they may care about that.

      Hard to say that that will counter the conservative media machine who disseminate false information daily on this topic and others. It’s really the talking heads on the regular, normal, media who need to be doing this as Fixed News is cautious about who they put on as a liberal and what they’ll be allowed to say.

    • I agree. The GOP message is one of a Scrooge mentality, let the poor, the elderly and even those young, die and decrease the surplus population. They are willing to let our country sink into financial and health ruin just because they have the finances to pay and do whatever they wish. I have heard that all members of congress and senate are fully covered financially for all their medical needs. I sure hope we can change this mentality before it’s too late!

  • Unfortunately, when it comes to interpretation of laws or the advancement of special interests, morality and, indeed, humanity, are inconsequential.

  • rockin_the_bay_in_Tampa

    Note that FDR had some of the same problems in the 1930’s & 40’s, when he tried to “reform” things and start the social security system, the New Deal-of which the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) system came about (socialism OMG!), and others. He got Hell from the Supreme Court and the repubs in Congress who, also could not stand him winning a 4th term. They changed the constitution to make presidents have term limits to 2 terms only. He simply went to the people and had a fire side chat via radio (TV was not invented yet). Maybe Obama needs to do the same.

  • karinursula

    So it is the mandate that seems to be bothers everyone. Americans say they don’t like to be
    told what to do. In my State we have seat belt law, car insurance is mandatory, It is mandatory that I pay federal and state taxes. It is mandatory that I register my car, and and and. And still in my book is the health insurance that is most important. The most advanced nation and no universal insurance. How many more people have to die or go
    into bankruptcy before the GOP congress wakes up. Well of course we pay their health insurance.

    • Yes indeed we do pay for the health insurance of others. Hospital cost, emergency room fees and higher insurance premiums to name but a few. Back in the day when Romney was a champion of the individual mandate, and before he flip-flopped into what he is today, he sometimes actually made sense.

      Romney, while gov., pointed out that to allow people to go without health insurance when they can expect someone else to pay the tab for their treatment is a ‘de facto mandate’ on providers and taxpayers. His plan was simple and leaving two choices. Either buy insurance or pay for your own care. Those are bascially the words of Edmund Haislmaier of the Heritage Foundation from April 11, 2006. Strange how much the GOP has been running away from its own ideas. I’m sure it must somehow be Obama’s fault.

  • howa4x

    The real moral problem with our healthcare is that its a for profit system. Doctors, hospitals, unbundled emergency rooms, pharma, devise makers, diagnostic makers, insurance companies and Wall st all make a hefty profit on the illness of Americans.Due to our lifestyle it is looked at as a growth industry. Insurance companies make enough profit to pay their CEO’s millions in compensation,and produce a 20% profit that goes to Wall st. Doctors have divided themselves into specialities and now you can’t just see one if your sick, but are passed around to many. They work closely with the drug companies who have figured a way to maximize their profit by creating drugs that maintain your illness instead of curing you, so you stay on their drugs forever, and are forced back to the doctors regularly to monitor their toxicity, and treat the drugs side effects, with different drugs that are prescribed to deal with them. Let’s not forget the lawyers who make a profit in wrongful death cases, and the terrible effects of dangerous drugs that came on the market through incomplete testing by the drug companies, in the race to get them profitable.

    The obscenity of the system is that it makes this profit off sick people and the most profit off a dying person since 80% of health care expenditures occur in the last 6 months of a patients life.

    Ever wonder after hundreds of billions spent in research there is still no complete cure for cancer. People only go into a state of remission. That’s because now cancer has developed it’s own industry and billions are made treating it

    The ACA did try to take some of the profit out of the system and wants more spent on patient care, but the immorality of the system is left in tact. The more sick people there are the more money everyone makes, and in fact it depends on them. But the real profit comes when healthy people who comsume litte resources are forced into the system to pay premeiums
    This is the reason that the AMA is not in the forefront in the fight against obesity, they make too much money treating diabetes, heart disease, and the other effects of the disease. and don’t want to lessen their customer base. The only real fight is who gets more, them, the insurance companies, Wall st, or big pharma.

    In the Republican primary the term Vulture Capitalism was used, but this system is the real definition of it.

  • 2hheels2

    No healthcare regulation until we can get to a one payer system. This is the only way to have a balanced health care. IF there was a one payer method people pay into it but like medicare they dictate to insurance industry what they will pay. Let’s learn this from France other countries have done it and it’s working. Health care is necessary we need big Pharma and insurance companies regulated so more people can afford it. I am tired of paying for people walking into emergency rooms. Don’t we pay enough for lazy uneducated people.

  • alumahead

    Hard to shame someone who wasn’t blessed with a shame gene.

  • Republicans often claim they, and their causes, are more “christian” than promoters of “evil liberalism.” Seems to me that providing good, affordable healthcare would be a Christian cause they could support. I guess their opposition to healthcare is a good measure of their Christianity!!

  • I do not have medical insurance. I was home alone a month ago when I felt ill. I called 911. The fire truck arrived about 10 minutes after (I did not tell anybody there was fire anywhere). Then an ambulance came 2 minutes after the fire truck. The paramedics did some checks on me. The decided to take me to an emergency room. I asked how much I will be billed for the ambulance service and I was told about $100.

    At the emergency room, they did some tests including: blood tests, x-ray and blood pressure. The nurses did not find nothing wrong with me. I did not meet a doctor. No medication was administered or prescribed. I was at the emergency room for 1.5 hours.

    About three weeks after, I received the following bills from six different organisations for the services I received that day:

    – Ambulance and fire truck service by local county —— $784
    – Radiology Associated( Never met them) —– $52
    – Cardiovascular Associates ( Never met them) ———- $40
    – Pathology Associates ( Never met them) ——— $140
    – Physicians Associates ( Never met them) ——– $741
    – The hospital system —————————— $4,243

    The bills sums up to about $6000!!! This was for a 4.9 miles ride in an ambulance, blood tests, blood pressure test and x-ray.

    Health care in this country is rotten!!!!!!

    • sigrid28

      Hey, Frank. I had a similar experience, which taught me some surprising things about the way local health care systems try to cope with this type of situation, when sick people have no health insurance. A stack of bills piled up. Here’s what I did next:
      #1. I asked for an ” itemized statement” from each provider (see how I learned some useful jargon?).
      #2. I tried to pay the least expensive ones ASAP, but only if the itemized statements matched up with the truth as I knew it. (If this ever happens again, and I don’t die, I plan to write my own detailed description of the experience as soon as I recover, in order to compare my account to itemized statements later on.)
      #3. I discussed all of the itemized statements with the providers. I waited until I was not feeling angry or helpless. Each of my health care providers had a very nice, articulate, and helpful billing representative, with whom I spoke on a first name basis. I made sure to say, “I’m sure you didn’t invent the system you work in. Even though I am having a few problems, I feel sure that we are both on the same page, in wanting to do the right thing.” At the end of the discussion (VERY IMPORTANT), I asked for another itemized statement based on our discussion. I made sure that the very nice representative put a note in my account record indicating that I had called.
      #4. Several health care providers had a sliding scale of payment, which I could access by sending information about my income, etc. The hospital’s bill, which was the highest, was reduced by 80% based on my cooperation in this process.
      #5. Then, I tried to pay each of these bills off, little by little, each month. Only one provider sent the bill to a collection agency. I still send a portion each month to that provider, not the collection agency. I keep a record, so I don’t overpay, and so I can see that I am keeping up my end of the bargain.
      #6. Like you, I’m educating myself by reading “The National Memo” and Richard Yeselson, for example. Like you, I am doing all I can to stoke the kind of dialogue that can bring about change, even when it comes to chatting up a health care provider’s billing representative. Then, we’ve all got to vote and live to see the day when, as the gospel song goes, “a change is gonna come.”

  • EdC

    this statement was to dtgraham dtg you are talking about a dog with two headds. The health care issue in any of these countries is not the reason for how poorly they are doing finically. The problem with this world has been a take over of “conservative” (and a seperate) “values” A couple of decade ago everyone was doing fine or on the way to be doing fine, but conservative values took over, complete with an international trickel down theory. give everything to the rich, (and I steel this fromReverand Sharpton) and by and by you will get taken care of. Well many of us Democrats and Unionist knew this was b—s—, and know that the only thing that trickels down is wet b—s—. WE tried to stop Reagan here in this country, to no avail. How did we know that it wouldn’t work. Americaa 1929, Argentina 1919, etc. The problem in Europe right now is give to the rich and they aren’t giving back. The real problem is that the leaders of the Republican party also know this and they are trying to destroy equality at any cost.

  • EdC

    And premote wage slavery.

  • ObozoMustGo

    Only a moron and leftist nutjob actually believes that they can convince America that socialized medicine is a good thing. Unlike all the other countries this useful idiot Yeselson cites, we have OUR CONSTITUTION that we live by. And clearly, as we will see in the coming days, the SCOTUS will agree that socialized medicine is incompatible with the individual freedoms that our Constitution protects for all Americans. There is NO guarantee of healthcare in the Constitution. NONE! Just like there is no guarantee for food or housing or X-Boxes. Your imagined “right” to healthcare is a fools sales pitch.

    For all of you leftist nutjobs out there, here are some bigger moral questions about healthcare:

    1) what entitles you to the labor of a doctor? Because you breathe you have a right to someone else’s services?
    2) What entitles you to have your healthcare paid for by the labor of your neighbor?

    All of you leftist idiots out there confuse health insurance and health care. NO ONE that needs medical attention is denied care anywhere in America if they truly need it. Medical care and health insurance are 2 totally different things.

    The reason medical care costs have skyrocketed since the 70’s has been precisely BECAUSE of the growing involvement of government in the healthcare markets since the inception of Medicaid/Medicare.

    If you want to see medical care costs decrease, and resulting health insurance costs decrease, we should get the government out of it all together. Let the free market take over. All we have to do is look at the examples of other products and services delivered in competitive markets. The profit incentive IS the main driver behind innovation and the main driver behind cost cutting for competitive survival. Witness the following example:

    Car Insurance – Car Insurance is what we call REAL insurance. It doesn’t pay for your maintenance, breaks, tires or gasoline. It only pays when you have a catastrophic loss. You bear a little burden in your pre-agreed upon deductible, they pick up the rest. The market is quite efficient and cost effective. If you are a bad driver with higher risks, then you pay more. Good driver, low risk, low premium. Very simple.

    What do you think the cost of car repair and car insurance would be if they also had to pay for your oil changes, breaks, tires, routine repairs, and gasoline? Then, place the industry under the watchful eyes of government bureaucrats, whose bureaucracy must be paid for somehow. Add to that, the fact that both State and Federal governments must be involved in oversight and the costs of the “oversight” increase even more. Every repair results in a mountain of paperwork by the mechanic’s growing administrative staff so that the customer can only pay $5 for his oil change and the mechanic will have to file papers to collect the other $25 for a $30 procedure. When he does, the insurance company disputes his charge for the oil change saying that it is not “ordinary and customary”. So his admin has to fight it to collect.

    I could go on and on and on and on with this example, but any reasonable thinking human being NOT committed to socialist ideals would understand that under the scenario of making auto insurance and auto repair follow the same model as government controlled health care, costs of auto insurance and auto repair would necessarily SKYROCKET!

    Does ANYONE seriously believe that auto maintenance or auto insurance would be cheaper? You cannot say so with a straight face. Sorry. You cannot.

    Clearly, the involvement of government does NOTHING except increase costs, reduce efficiency, and drive down quality. What it does do, however, is increase politicians’ power and authority over people. That’s all government controlled healthcare will do. It’s NOT about medical care for poor people. Anyone that believes such bullsheet is a complete bafoon and a sucker!

    Have a nice day!

    • howa4x

      Once again here we go with that heathen social darwinism, a philosophy that is based on survival of the fittest. Not very Christian of you pal. If you have money and job related insurance fine, if you don’t too bad, go off in the woods and die. Just don’t do it where I can see it. I would rather not see the suffering. Right obozo? Isn’t that the conservative philospohy?

      • dtgraham

        That’s just Obozo’s ideology talking, and nothing more howa4x. I had to take my wife to an emergency room in 2009 that led to a week long hospital stay. When visiting her, I met a male nurse who self identified as an American ex-pat who had come to Canada to live and work. We got to talking about the expenses of Theresa’s visit and the comparability of the cost on both sides of the border. Turned out that the cost of everything was substantially cheaper here. He knew his stuff in that way. Obozo is completely wrong on this. Health care just doesn’t work the way virtually everything else does in the free market. It’s a different animal altogether. There’s a similar dynamic with auto insurance. We have had single payer government auto insurance in my home province since 1969. The reason why the odd Conservative government of those provinces that have this, never scrap it, is because it’s cheaper than private and everybody knows it (they’d like to get reelected). Something to do with duplication of services, among other factors, with private insurance companies. I certainly don’t advocate that for everything but you get the picture.

        Incidentally, the bill for Theresa’s week long hospital stay and treatments? Zero. Nothing. You don’t pay. We just thanked everybody profusely and walked out. I like paying higher taxes for this for, both, my family and for my fellow Canadians. It’s a marvelous thing for citizens to do for one another and it’s still one heck of a lot cheaper than private health insurance.

      • ObozoMustGo

        howie… almost everyone has a car and almost everyone of those can afford some form of car maintenance. Of course successful people afford better cars and better maintenance. That’s life, buddy. That’s just life. But, if you want to see car care costs SKYROCKET, regulate the autorepair market just like the healthcare market. Treat it exactly the same way and you will see how horrible it becomes just like our healthcare system. What I typed was exactly correct, and you know it.

        So your assumption that I or anyone else wants to see people die is incorrect, and a deliberate lie, and you know it. You again, just like all leftist nutjobs tend to do, confuse health INSURANCE with health care. Any person in America can go into a hospital and if they need care, they will get it in every circumstance. Health insurance is just a way to shift the costs to other people who shift their costs to you and so on and so on. If you think that turning healthcare over to the government will make it more efficient and lower cost, you are living in a pipedream, clearly. NOTHING…. I repeat…. NOTHING is done by the government more efficiently and at lower cost. NOTHING!!!!!

        The only real hope we have is to turn over healthcare completely to the free markets to regulate supply and demand and drive efficiency into the sytem like it does in EVERY other single free market that has ever existed before. Make health insurance and health care just like car insurance and car repair, notwithstanding of course that healthcare does require different forms of standards and oversight. Make insurance companies compete across America and let people pay for it themselves. Allow plans that provide for catastrophic coverage only for those that want to buy it. Most people don’t want to pay for a plan that pays for every sniffle and ache and pain they get. I only need insurance if I have the really big expense that would bankrupt me. Get rid of the idea that healthcare is free. There is NOTHING that is free in this world except your mother’s love, and that’s questionable for many people.

        Government control over 1/7th of the economy is a BAD idea!

        Have a nice day, Howie!

        • howa4x

          What planet are you on? We have a for profit health care system where doctors, hospitals, unbundled emergency rooms, pharma, divice makers, diagnostic makers, and insurance companies are all there for profit. Insurance companies not only pay their executives huge salaries(CEO of Cigna makes 24 million/yr) but gives the 1st 20 cents of every dollar paid in premiums to Wall st. for investors( does that sound like socialism?)
          The entire reason we have the individual mandate is to keep the profit margin of the insurance companies fixed. It was a Republican idea thought up by the heritage foundation and tried out by a republican governor, Romney in Mass. (personal responsibility)
          This is the issue: if there are only sick people covered by insurance the company would loose money if they can’t drop people like they did before the ACA. Ins co’s would drop you on something called pre existing conditions, so if you had a heart attack once they could drop you for being a bad risk. That is how capitalism works in the market place. So if you are one of the unlucky ones that had you or a child or a family mamber that had a health problem either you premiums would go sky high or the family gets dropped completely. Remember in capitalism you are there to make a profit for your investors. A few yrs ago Atena dropped 8 million people from their rolls because their stock was downgraded by Wall st analysists. These were families that had a risk factor. This is why we have so many uninsured. So instead of having a public option , the congress stuck with the insurance companies and are making healthy people buy insurance, since they consume little medical resources while paying for insurance. Are you getting this? Or am I over your head here? I know you conservatives only think in terms of slogans and complex issues elude you.
          So now lets talk about how capitalism works in health care. Docctors divided themselves into sub specialities so you really can;t see just one because disease dosen’t work like that, so a number of them get a peice of the insurance action you. Big Pharma found a way to maximize profits by making drugs that don’t really cure you but maintain your illness enough so you can still work. Now these drugs have side effects and cause other problems so you always need to go back to the doctors to get new drugs prescribed to counter those side effects. You can lower high blood pressure through exercise and a change in diet or you can take a satin and have loads of side effects. Your choice. Doctor groups are all private corporations or LLc’s( they do not work for the government)
          Now here is where the morality comes in for all you good evangelicals and followers of Jesus. The profit in the system is made on people illness and family misery, and the most profitable part is when someone is dying since 80% of all health care expenditures come in the last 6 months of a patiens life, like Mom on a resperator for 6 monts at $5000/day.
          How about those death panels now?
          So what is there about this system that is not capitalism?
          Socialized medicine which this system really isn’t lowers health care cost by taking the profit out of it. Everyone works for the government and is paid a salary like everyone else.
          So for having the most expensive system in the world exponentialy we are ranked 34th in the world just below Belize.
          so Obozo you look like a fool when you write about our system being the greatest(remember the rankings) and that all we need to cure it is capitalism. It makes me realize you have no clue to how the healthcare system really works
          Have a nice day buddy!

          • ObozoMustGo

            howie… I know quite well how the system works. And I know quite well how ANY government program works, and THEY ALL SUCK!!! Every single one is a cost overrun nightmare. Healthcare would be NO DIFFERENT. What are you smoking???? Medicare/Medicaid IS a socialized medicine program. IT IS GOING BROKE!!!

            How stupid can you be, howie? I don’t really think you are dumb, but just locked into single step thought processes that are the hallmark of the mob mentality left. Look at all the cliche’s you clowns on the left have and live by… You have a cliche for everything, and NONE of them are true. It’s foolish, and a world view that does not reflect reality, but rather some vision of utopia on earth where man can be perfected through government.

            Do you think cars would be cheaper if the government took it over and “took the profit” out of it? Would iPhones be cheaper if the government took them over and “took the profit” out of it?

            Better question: Woud we even have cars or iPhones if the government ran those industries? The answer is a resounding HELLLLLL NOOOOOO!!!! Don’t be so foolish and clouded by this jealousy and religious-like cult belief that you can legislate equality and fairness. You can’t now, and never will.

            The profit motive in a competitive market is what drives innovation, creativity, efficiency and cost reduction. The economic engine that runs auto insurance or health insurance or ANY market is the same because human behavior is alwasy the same. People act in their own self interest ALL THE TIME! It’s human nature. Even serving others in charitable efforts is ultimately a self motivating act. Any time a government tries to legislate a market, even healthcare, for a socialist goal or ideal, they are screwing the market and preventing proper economic function of innovation, efficiency, and cost reduction.

            It’s no accident that the escalation in health care costs coincides with the growth of Medicare/Medicaid. This is just a plain fact, my friend. It is what it is. We do NOT have a free market in health care. It is the most heavily regulated and government subsidized industry in America, and you guys on the left keep screwing with it and complaining that the market isnt working right. Get your damned hands out of it and watch it work correctly. My example of auto insurance and auto care are PRECISELY CORRECT.

            Regarding pre-existing conditions and the individual mandate….. I dont care if Heritage or Obozo or Romney or anyone else proposed the mandate. The simple fact is that there is NO WHERE in the Constitution that gives the Federal Gov. the authority to FORCE PEOPLE to enter into a private contract. In fact, it is plainly unconstitutional at its face value. Since we cant force people into private contracts, it follows logically that we cannot force the providers to take pre-existing conditions. If that is the case, why would I buy health insurance and waste my money until I actually needed it? This is a system ripe for scams. This is why the whole thing must be shot down and scrapped.

            Socialized medicine has NEVER been about healthcare for all. It IS about more government control over people’s lives. That is exactly what it is about. It’s about growing government and political power, packaged in a nice sounding and compassionate motive. Plain and simple.

            I am open to discussion and consideration of how we deal with the uninsured and those on the margin that may have pre-existing conditions. But there is most certainly market based solutions that do not involve transferring 1/7th of our economy over to control by politicians. Everything they touch turns into a disaster. EVERYTHING!

            I gotta run for the day, howie. Good discussion. Thank you.

            Have a nice day!

          • howa4x

            The real esculator in HC costs is the fact that 80% of health care dollars are spent in the last 6 months of a patients life. This is why we see a rise in medicare costs. We have an idea that because medicare is paying for it we will spare no expence to keep our parents alive. If we had to cover part of the cost it would be a different story. This is the reason that in the origional discussions about the problem, that is when Dems and Repub sat and tried to discss it in a rational manner, advance directives was a possible soulution. They would state for example that if my parent became comatose we wouldn’t want extraordinary measures to keep them alive, like a resporator. The problem was people like Sara Palin started yipping about death panels, and that issue was pushed away.We clearly need to reopen that discussion if we want to reform medicare and lower costs. The other way of course is to ration care which no one wants to do.
            Another accelerator in HC costs is the lifestyle we lead. With 60% of us becoming obese, we as a people will require more costly interventions. Most will develop Diabetes type II and from there heart disease. Already 14% of youth are obese and will develop heart problems by the time they are 30. These are cost intensive problems and it’s not a conservative or liberal problem it’s all our problems. So all the cost accelerators are in place so what system to we design to deal with it?
            If the ACA goes away then insurance companies will start dropping millions of these high risk people to keep their profits up.( now that’s capitalism isn’t it?)
            As I wrote we have a capitalistic healthcare system, that although regulated , leaves a lot of space for people to make alot of money off of it. The HC system is privatized, and the only actual HC system the government ownes is the VA. All the congress gets their care at Bethesda naval hospital so the care can’t be that bad or they would go elsewhere. Actually they could go to the best hospital in their home state but choose BNH instead.
            Using fixing a car is a bad analogy. If the car was passed to 5 different specialists to fix it the cost would be far more expensive, and of course the more you take out and put in in terms of spare parts raises the cost, sort of what open heart surgry is like. Entering the health care system is not that simple or cheap.
            Hospitals and insurance companies play and kind of cat and mouse game. Insurance companies usually deny the fist claim that is put it and will keep that game going until the threat of lawyers enter the picture. Insurance companies have 2 ways to hold onto money, 1 being deny payment 2 allege pre existing condition and refuse to pay for the operation.
            Once again all this revolves around profit which is the basis of capitalism. As for regulation of the hospitals, I would go into one unless someone looked at it. would you?
            Privare doctors are not regulated by the government at all.
            I don’t know why you keep saying we are in a government run system when clearly we arent?

    • ” There is NO guarantee of healthcare in the Constitution. NONE! ”

      Wrong!
      ” We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. ”

      The part of the Constitution’s Preamble that states ” promote the general Welfare ” should cover Health Care, since Good Health IS part of the populations General Welfare.

      “Only a moron and leftist nutjob actually believes that they can convince America that socialized medicine is a good thing.”

      Only a moron would think that 33 out of the 34 industrialized nations of the world are wrong. Despite of the fact that the WHO ranks the US 37th as far as Health care goes. Even a few Third World countries have better Health Care systems. Yet the US spends more money on Health Care than any other country in the world.

      As for your claim that the Government is the cause of skyrocketing medical costs, don’t be simplistic. While the Government is responsible for some of the costs most of it is caused by the insurance companies.

      ” The hospital offered to charge her a rate less than 25% of what her insurance company would have been charged. The difference in those charges is the cost of having third party payers getting in between the patient and the medical provider. “

      • ObozoMustGo

        Charlie… my response in line below:

        >”The part of the Constitution’s Preamble that states ” promote the general Welfare ” should cover Health Care, since Good Health IS part of the populations General Welfare.”” Only a moron would think that 33 out of the 34 industrialized nations of the world are wrong. Despite of the fact that the WHO ranks the US 37th as far as Health care goes. Even a few Third World countries have better Health Care systems.”“As for your claim that the Government is the cause of skyrocketing medical costs, don’t be simplistic. While the Government is responsible for some of the costs most of it is caused by the insurance companies. “<

        Look at anything the government has EVER gotten involved in and I will show you a market that has skyrocketing costs and massive inefficiencies. Look at the costs of college education. Since the government started getting involved, costs have exploded massively year after year with no end in sight.

        It's the same old story time after time after time after time. You leftists always seemingly have a good idea to "take care of some group in one way or another". So you try to manipulate the market by controlling some facet of it or perverting that market with some goofy incentives. This makes you leftist dummies feel good. But when whatever that program is begins to show signs of failure as they all inevitably do, you complain that the market is not working, and you therefore must try to control it more with more intervention. Then when it really gets screwed up, costs escalate out of control and service begins to decline, you proclaim that the market doesn't work and now the government must take control. This is the same patter over and over and over again and again and again with every single leftist government social program ever invented. It is the same with healthcare.

        This is why I always say that liberalism is the disease that presents itself as its own cure.

        And you are correct, having 3rd party payers drives up the costs. How much do you think your sandwich you ate for lunch would cost if a third party company had to pay for it? You're right, about 3 times as much. We should outlaw plans that make people think that every pain and every sniffle requires a visit to the doctors office, and that those visits are free or next to free. Make health insurance like car insurance. Compete nationally, individuals pay, and get plans that cover the catastrophic events like heart attack or disease without restrictions on treatment. You'll see costs come down and reach efficiency levels like the auto care business has achieved. Yes they are different, but they are very similar markets. And the economic rules that govern the auto insurance and care markets are the same as those that govern the health insurance and care markets.

        Have a nice day, Charlie!

  • I agree that ensuring that every citizen has access to healthcare is based in social morality, common sense and the good of the Country; however, it will never work with the ultra-conservation wing of any party, because their morality does not stretch much beyond sex. They are not concerned about people who cannot access health care, are homeless, are hungry, or sick. They do not care what happens to anyone kids but their own. We all remember the question being ask at a Republican meeting about what would they do with a person who was sick and did not have the money for a doctor, the response was quick and simple “let them die.” The sad thing is our employer based system is not working, there has been a steadily increasing number of employed individuals that are not covered at work, many providers are frustrated and leaving the field and the number of medical mistake are increasing while healthcare’s quality is going down. The private employee based system we have now is not sustainable. The smaller health insurance companies are not surviving and are being bought up by larger insurers who need more and more people to cover in order to please their stock holders and premiums and co-pays are becoming more than most people can afford to pay. That is why the insurance industry insisted on the Mandate in the Affordable Care Act. It will/would have been a gold mine for them. The Right is cutting off their own nose to spite their face. They has input to Obamacare, the Bill they hate so much was a compromise to get them to vote for it. The bottom line is sooner or later the government will be “bailing” out the health insurance industry if the Affordable Care Act is struck down by the Supreme Court and we will end up with a single payer system.

  • quasm

    Mr. Yeselson;

    What is moral in having the government extort money from others to pay my medical expenses?

    Dik Thurston
    Colorado Springs

    • Due to the fact that a great many so-called Christian Americans just plain refuse to do the right thing, the Christian thing. The American Government has had to resort to “extortion” to get what’s right done. Take for example equal rights.

  • PingMan0843

    We have serious problems with health care in this country; however, most people focus on the symptoms of the problems instead of the root causes. Prior to the government getting involved in health care with the passage of the Medicare act in the 1960’s, most people had health insurance only for a catastrophic illness/accident that required hospitalization more than a couple of days and carried a fairly large deductable. It was fairly inexpensive and was called major medical insurance. For all other health care, people had to pay their own way. Because of this, all the charges for medical treatment were questioned by the patient or patient’s family. This kept market forces at work and kept fees inline with other costs subject to market forces. One need only look at the rise in professional fees for services covered by Medicare (and subsequently other health insurance companies) compared to those not covered — for example an tonsilecomy compared to cosmedic surgery. The covered fees have skyrocketed, way ahead of cost of living, while the non-covered fees have stayed on track with the cost of living. Prior to 1965 no one believed they had a right to health care. If you wanted it, you were responsible to pay for it. Once government gets involved, the equation goes completely out of balance. Now third party payers decide what treatment gets paid for; most patients now have no idea what their insurance company is paying for their treatment, and, for that matter, neither do the service providers. The rules provided by government has added greatly to the costs largely due to having administrative costs run out of control because there are no market forces to keep them in check. A friend of mine recently was awarded a settlement after an automobile wreck resulted in the need for neck surgery. She took the money and then bargained with various surgeons and hospitals until she got the best value for her money. The hospital offered to charge her a rate less than 25% of what her insurance company would have been charged. The difference in those charges is the cost of having third party payers getting in between the patient and the medical provider. The other root cause of the escalating costs is the failure to provide legal limits on medical liability. This greatly adds to the cost of providing service and does nothing to improve quality — just makes lawyers lots of money. Until people address these issues, costs will continue to escalate out of control until Medicare is no longer able to tax enough to pay for it — we are headed down the same path as Greece, Spain, France and other countries where the government has gotten so big it crowds out private enterprise.

  • I am a contractor and I know lots of contractors that drive a $60,000 truck and live in a $250,000 home and have good health insurance that the workers work hard to make him money and won’t help the employe get healthcare Insurance. Without mandates on all levels we would not have to buy auto insurance, take good care of our children, have building codes, Fire codes and lots of things needed to help citizens do what is best of everone.

  • ctruskey

    Nowhere in the US Constitution does it mention health care as a right.

    • deleted

    • We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

      The part of the Constitution’s Preamble that states ” promote the general Welfare ” should cover Health Care, since Good Health IS part of the populations General Welfare.

  • auntiemmame

    This article is so right on target. Affordable health care really a moral issue; not to mention that keeping the entire population healthy is a win for all citizens. The Republicans of all people should see this since they are so religious and Christian. The bottom line is that their real god is money.

  • EdC

    comment to ctruskye Not in Los Angeles, they are pissed. the wrong people get punished, It should be the republican clowns who import and hire them in the first place that get punished, not the naive that get caught in the lie.

  • howa4x

    If there was one single reason to re elect Obama, the next president get to replace probably two justices. This is why citizens united passed. To ensure enough money was there to get Romney elected. The Supreme court has become one of the most corrupt places in government.

    • dtgraham

      Exactly right howa4x. That’s one of the better reasons I can think of to get Obama reelected. The GOP have gotten so nuts, that regardless of how disappointed anyone is in the President, he still seems like a combination of FDR and Bobby Kennedy compared to the modern Republicans. Man, that’s a sad thing to say.

  • BenUriel

    Conservatives regard liberals as self indulgent fools with a penchant for meddling where they are not wanted and calling it morality. Liberals also appear to believe or at least con the rest of us with the trope that the reason the poor are poor and life is hard is that the richest people (most of whom are in fact themselves “liberal” or at least sprung from working class families) have nothing to do but try to make the poor poorer and more miserable. The fact is that a large percentage of “conservatives” are the same poor working class people the in fact rather elitist liberals purport to want to be saving. They sort of remind me of 19th century missionaries who came where they were not wanted and though they did cure a disease here, dig a well there and teach the occasional child to read, would simply not quit meddling in peoples lives and trying to improve them in whatever silly saccharine nonsense was was most lately in fashion among them until somebody politely got them to go home or failing that, speared them. Or an old Monty Python skit.

  • onedonewong

    I just reread my copy of the constitution and can’t find healthcare as a right. Guess the author must have the new Obama constitution He’s a constitutional lawyer you know unfortunately he never took a course on the constitution

    • dtgraham

      Of course health care wasn’t considered a right by people of the late 18th century…..anywhere. However, slavery was considered a right in the U.S. constitution until the 14th amendment eliminated it a century later. The founders were good men, but also men of their times who couldn’t possibly foresee the changes that would come in societal and social thinking over the centuries to come. All they could do was leave a general guideline for freedom as they understood it. There is no way that Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson would write the same constitution today.

      • onedonewong

        They did leave us 1 thought as Thomas Jefferson said ” when citizens realize they can pass laws that give them unlimited access to the US Treasury then the country is lost”
        I wonder if the founding fathers would do if the term of Doctor was used, guess back then all they had was voodoo

    • how do you know PRESIDENT OBAMA never took a course on the constitution? Health is morally ,the right way to care for all citizens.

      • onedonewong

        How because he is clueless on the laws of this country, he’s an expert on Sharia. Great then why don’t you pony up the $$ for every one’s HC??

        • The President is an expert on the Constitution. He took many classes at Harvard on it & he even taught Constitutional law classes at Harvard. Stop being such a idiot & a liar.

          • onedonewong

            He took many classes on Air Guitar just look at his resume. He never taught a single class at Harvard but he did appear in the Harvard air guitar symposium