Friday, August 21, 2009

So Sad (Now) - re: National Health Insurance and Obama

1. I am sad that a Single Payer National Health Insurance Plan, the one logical alternative is Not going to replace Medicare, Medicaid, the Federal Health Plans (for Federal employees, retirees and Congresspeople) - and be made available to All.

2. I am sad that it appears now that either:

a. A watered down Public Option based plan will be passed - strongly influenced by the Drug Company Lobby, the Health Insurance Industry Lobby, the Hospital Industry Lobby and other such "interested parties" : with a likely result that it won't significantly help most Americans and will likely not stop health insurance and medical treatment under it from being - unaffordable for many or:

b. Other - "reform health insurance legislation" - will be passed and it may tokenly do a little good, but basically will not change much, or

c. No - health insurance reform legislation will be passed and

d. The Republicans - and Red Dog Democrats - will gain as a result of all of this and

e. President Obama - will be greatly weakened as a leader of our country

3. I am sad that President Obama seemingly did Not understand the lessons of the past - and didn't see the need to take Strong Leadership - meeting in Private with Democratic Party leaders and influential others - and hammer out a basic Plan - in advance of - "going to the Public" - and thus has been torn to pieces - in Public - by the combined efforts of the Republican Party and the organized other vested interests who may lose by serious reform.

The lessons of the past were Not that - Single Payer Health Insurance was "not feasible" - but rather that it was necessary to be organized and focused as a "single strong interest group" - strong enough to take on "Special Interests" - opposed to serious reform - to avoid - a "people vs. special interests" - repeat of the prior Clintons failure in the early 1990's.

4. I am sad that for the most part far, far too many American people do not clearly see certain obvious facts such as:

a. Health Insurance and Medical Treatment is Expensive -

1.) (Federal coverage for Federal employees/retirees) Examples from: (
2.) Blue Cross Rates for Family Coverage: the "low cost" coverage which appeals to those who don't have Huge Normal Medical Expenses - costs Non-Postal Employees/Retirees = $216.48/month - and the total paid by the Federal Government and the Worker/Retiree = $865.93/month,
3.) Blue Cross Rates for Family Coverage: the "comprehensive" coverage which appeals to those who have Huge Normal Medical Expenses (where paying a Higher Premium pays off for them) - costs similar people - $356.59/month - and the total paid similarly = $1120.47/month

b. To provide 50,000,000 - uninsured people with health coverage will either require:
1.) Uninsured Families - to pay figures such as $800-1100/month for good coverage or
2.) The Federal Government - to pay substantial amounts of such figures to give good affordable coverage or:
3.) Dual Systems to (continue to) Exist - where - those without good employer subsidized health insurance and those with no employer subsidized health insurance - if not of high income - are only able to afford policies with features such as $2500 yearly deductibles and similar - which continues to make health care unaffordable for them.

c. Non-Generic (and often generic) Prescription drugs in the U.S. - cost significantly more than in other countries - where their governments effectively have price controls which generally both keep costs lower and still allow drug companies to profit from these sales. It is a drug industry lobbying falsehood that the high prices in the U.S. are necessary to keep research and production going. Advertising and related lobbying costs could be drastically lowered without hurting most Americans most of the time,

d. Liability related court costs (and "tort reform") - are a smokescreen - which are a relatively small percentage of our medical costs,

e. Healthcare costs are higher in the U.S. than in other developed countries:

Example: 2003 Per Capita Costs:
( - from Kaiser Family Foundation
* U.S. = $5,711
* Canada = $2,998
* Germany = $2,993
* France = $3,048
* Japan = $2,249

f. It is an illusion that our health coverage is better than most developed countries AND - such countries virtually all (if not all) have universal health coverage

We can and should have a better healthcare system which in the long-run will provide universal coverage and lower overall costs. In the short-term some of us will have to pay more and "lose a little" - to get such coverage.

IF - single payer - is not our (eventual) system we will need to find ways to make powerful vested interests and their lobbies no longer control the system so that Profits no longer dictate "the market" - as exists today. We already have "socialized medicine" with all our Federal (and some limited State) systems. Medicare has not been the disaster that naysayers predicted, though it has problems.

It would seem logical for a new single system to be developed as follows:

a. Start initially with either: Medicaid, Medicare or the Federal Employee Healthcare System,
b. Reform - the system for one of the three programs to provide a single, comprehensive system that is available for all current beneficiaries,
c. Expand the reformed system over time to a second and then third of the above-mentioned groups, and then
d. Make the reformed system available to all other Americans,
e. Tax the public and employers - in an equitable manner (based upon income for the public and similarly for employers) - to pay for the increased costs - as the Government subsidizes coverage for all to make it affordable for all.

Thank you!

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