right’s lies about the current health
insurance proposals before Congress have rarely been compiled in such concise
an article from the Right Wing blog ChronWatch:
Page After Page of
Reasons to Hate ObamaCare
By Alan Caruba
problem is, there’s something missing, such as context. See, the writer is
expecting the reader to take everything as gospel, and agree that it’s bad,
without any sort of explanation. It’s a
list of all of the things that are wrong with the current state of the health
care reform bill before Congress. If you’d like to follow along, feel free
click here to go to the bill itself.
In fact, I would encourage you to look at it for yourself; it’s an easy
way to learn what’s actually in it, without having to read through all
of the legalese.
not called Please Cut the Crap for no reason. Below each item the right wing assures readers we’re supposed
to hate, I’ve inserted context, and explained why you really shouldn’t hate
it. Unless you should. All of my responses are italicized and printed in red,
so that you can tell whose words are whose.
warn you, this is a long one, but it’s an important one, so get a glass
of tea, print this out, and read it to everyone who spews one of these
talking points, because this really does touch on pretty much all of
the right’s talking points. And now you’ll be able to refute them.
Isn’t that cool?
Now, let’s continue with the article.
Here are just a few
very good reasons to hate ObamaCare:
• Page 22:
Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure!
of all, it starts on page 21, not 22, and it simply mandates a study of
on the part of all companies that choose to provide self-insurance, to
make sure they are capitalized properly. This is something that private
companies are required to do; it’s to protect the consumer. Say you
work at a
company with their own health insurance system; how would you like to
after you’ve received a $100,000 bill for a hospital stay, that the
insurance pool can’t pay the bill?
This is also important because when they can’t pay the bills, then everyone else with
insurance ends up picking up the slack. Got that? That’s the reason health insurance
premiums have more than doubled in the last ten years, and are scheduled to
double again in the next ten, if nothing changes.
Anyway, why should companies acting as health insurance companies be
allowed to operate under different rules than insurance companies? Isn’t that
• Page 29:
Admission: your health care will be rationed!
The section actually starts on page 26, and it’s entitled:
SEC. 122. ESSENTIAL BENEFITS PACKAGE DEFINED.
There is absolutely NO
section in there, from page 26 through page 30, that indicates rationing of any
kind. Looking at Page 29 specifically, it contains a section called
“Annual Limitation.” A-HA! See? It’s a LIMITATION! That’s the same as
rationing, right? Didn’t they admit rationing?
no. Because the limit is on the amount that people will have
to pay out in cost-sharing, should the agency implementing the bill
use a version of cost-sharing. The limit is on how much a patient will
pay, not a limit on the health care the patient receives.Watch how many
times these tools bring up the “rationing” canard. It’s almost as often
as they mention ACORN. (I kid you not. Just wait.)
See what I mean when I say we have to watch these people, and check
• Page 30: A
government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and,
unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)
The section on Page 30 establishes an advisory committee, and yes;
they will decide which treatments and benefits you get. I’m unsure as to why
this is a bad thing. I don’t want my health insurance premiums going to
Britney’s boob job, even if I have private insurance. Which reminds me; does
this bozo actually think private insurance companies don’t have a list of
acceptable treatments and benefits?
There is one difference here, though. The committee’s
recommendations will be published and the public will have access to them.
Which means they will be able to offer input to the process.
Oh, and there is nothing here about “no appeals process.”
The Committee will simply recommend processes for implementation. Not only that, but varying appeals processes are laid out in detail throughout the bill. So, he lied about that…
• Page 42: The
“Health Choices Commissioner” will decide health benefits for you. You
will have no choice. None.
See above. The Commissioner
will simply oversee implementation of the rules that are decided upon by the
Commission. He or she will be responsible for making sure that everyone is
held accountable up and down the line. Nothing in the bill gives power to a
“czar,” who will make health benefits decisions. The commission and
the Secretary will make decisions on benefits as changes become necessary.
Again; I’m not sure why this is a bad thing, except that right wingers don’t
seem fond of accountability.Well, unless we’re talking about unskilled poor people who get welfare money.
• Page 50: All
non-U.S. citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare
Now, when you read something like this, you half expect to see
something mandating that non-US citizens be given “free health care.”
funny thing is, the word FREE only appears one time in the entire bill,
and it is not coupled with the term “health care.” People will be
with a new health care choice, based on their income, to a certain
we can toss that little red herring off the boat right away. NO ONE
receive free health care. I mean, unless they win some sort of
something.I guess that’s possible.
No, the section the wingnut refers to is entitled:
SEC. 152. PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION IN HEALTH CARE.
What is says is:
“… [A]ll health care and related services
(including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act
shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the
provision of high quality health care or related services.”
The word “free” isn’t in there. It just means that no one
can be denied insurance coverage or health care because of their looks, or because they’re wearing robes or a burqa. But
nothing in there says undocumented immigrants will be able to scam
“free” health care. In other words, you can only call that a lie.
• Page 58:
Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard.
it says everyone who opts into the public insurance system MAY be
issued a health identification card, if the commission thinks that’s a
good idea. But
the bill doesn’t mandate it. It’s quite possible the insurance
will recommend that states implement the public health insurance
option, and some states may put the information on your driver’s
license or state ID card. And again; the only people who will need a
card are those with public insurance.
And what’s wrong with this idea, anyway? I’ve never had
health insurance from a private company from which I didn’t receive an
• Page 59: The
federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank
accounts for electronic funds transfer.
or what? Only one problem; it’s a lie. And I don’t mean he’s mistaken; I mean,
he’s lying. Here’s what it says:
‘‘The standards under this section shall be developed, adopted and
enforced so as to… (C) enable electronic funds transfers, in order to allow
automated reconciliation with the related health care payment and remittance
It clearly refers to payment for the health care, not payment of the
premium. Most health care companies love this, and will adopt it. But it
is still their choice, just as it could be your choice to pay your health
insurance premiums by direct transfer, check or payroll deduction. As is the
• Page 65:
Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans
(read: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)
Once more, it doesn’t say that.
What it does say is:
SEC. 164. REINSURANCE PROGRAM FOR RETIREES.
13 (a) ESTABLISHMENT.—
IN GENERAL.—Not later than 90 days after the date of the
enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall
establish a temporary reinsurance program (in this section referred to
as the ‘‘reinsurance program’’) to provide reimbursement to
assist participating employment-based plans with the cost of providing
health benefits to retirees and to
eligible spouses, surviving spouses and dependents of such retirees.
Okay, you’ll note the word PARTICIPATING in the above. To anyone who would bother to slide down a
couple of paragraphs, past the definitions, all of which define the terms in
the above, and do not include the word “mandatory” anywhere, to Page
67, we find:
(b) PARTICIPATION.—To be eligible to participate in the reinsurance
program, an eligible employment-based plan shall submit to the Secretary an
application for participation in the program, at such time, in such manner, and
containing such information as the Secretary shall require.
So, it’s all voluntary. Not only that, but it’s REINSURANCE, which
means the participating plan will be providing their capital to the federal
government to fund the plan. I would also point out that members of unions such as SEIU and UAW
are also taxpayers, and they currently purchase private insurance for retired
members. And if ACORN isn’t a red
herring, I don’t know what is. I’m not aware that ACORN provides health
insurance to anyone. But hey; it’s not true racist wingnuttery until you invoke
ACORN, eh? This isn’t the last time you’ll see it.
• Page 72: All
private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a
This is a phenomenally stupid complaint from a right wing
ideological perspective, and it lays bare the moral bankruptcy in their
arguments against universal health care. These are the same people who are
always touting competition and choice as the most important aspects of
capitalism. The point of the insurance exchange is to give people an obvious
and transparent choice of health insurance options. A private insurance company
can participate and offer their wares alongside the public option, if they so
choose. If they don’t want to participate, they’re free to conduct business as
usual, and they won’t have to conform to any
government rules. Well, except for the ones they must already conform with, whenever the Bush Administration’s not in office.
They’ve always had to conform to government rules to participate in Medicare, and I
don’t see any of them dropping out of business for that.
• Page 84: All
private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange (i.e.,
total government control of private plans)
Again, this is a lie. There are
requirements for those choosing to participating in the Health Exchange, but there is absolutely no
mandate to join. And if there is going
to be competition, it should be on a level playing field, which is
what the Exchange creates. It
easy-to-read set of options, which insurance companies are free to
all companies who participate are instructed to offer several levels of
plans. If you really think about it rationally, and not the right wing
way, the Exchange actually enhances the private insurance companies’
chances of survival. But these idiots want to kill it. If there’s a public option available at a
competitive price per month, insurance companies can offer two other tiers of
service, with whatever enhancements they want to include, for a higher price.
So, rather than offering “total government control,” it actually
allows insurance companies an opportunity to offer several tiers of “enhanced” service, to enhance their
• Page 91:
Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services; translation:
There’s that perpetual racist component
again. My great-grandmother couldn’t read English well enough to follow medical
instructions when I was a kid in the 1960s, and she had been in this country
since she fled the Nazis in the 1930s. I know this, because she used to have me
read stuff to her when I was 6. By the way, she was from Poland, and she was
very, very white. Hundreds of thousands of people come here legally from all
over the world, without knowing English sufficiently, and they occasionally get
sick. Hell, half the right wingers in this country legally can’t speak English
well enough to read a Congressional bill, let alone a doctor’s instructions.
• Page 95: The
Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for
Government-run Health Care plan.
Once more, they invoke ACORN. The above is too silly to even bother
with, except to say that informing people of their options and helping them
sign up seems remarkably similar to the teams of people the private insurance
companies send out to workplaces during “open enrollment.” Just
• Page 102:
Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no
choice in the matter.
eligible for Medicaid already have public health insurance.
The reason they qualify for Medicaid is because they are poor and have
choices. What sense does it make to have two separate public health
Medicaid and this new plan. I mean, this is ridiculous, folks. Page
102 makes clear that Medicaid will be folded into this new plan when it
passes. It’s a no-brainer.
But I will say this; people on Medicaid will actually have just as much choice as they’ve always had; probably more.
• Page 124: No
company can sue the government for price-fixing. No “judicial review” is
permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers
will be crushed.
This is also extremely inaccurate, if not an outright lie. There is
no “price-fixing.” First of all, the bill refers to the same
rate-setting statutes the government has
always followed with Medicare and Medicaid. It has to do with the rates they
pay for procedures, and the process includes medical providers and follows them
very closely. The doctors and medical corporations still set the prices in that
system, and private insurers will be free to negotiate higher or lower payment
prices if they wish. They don’t pay the same as Medicare and Medicaid for procedures now, and no one’s complaining about “price fixing.”
You know what? This isn’t just inaccurate,
• Page 127:
The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages.
Once again, the bill doesn’t say that. In fact, the language is
almost exactly the same as the language in Medicare, and it says absolutely
nothing about anyone’s “wages.” The entire section is about rates for
procedures and treatment, and physicians
are free to apply in any category they choose, just as they are now with
level of dishonesty in this one is astounding. Every
single private health insurance company in the market negotiates rates
with participating physicians, and physicians are not allowed to charge
more than that amount. In other words, they do the same thing Medicare
The only difference is, Medicare pays every claim short of fraud, while
insurance companies routinely deny claims, and try every trick they can
think of to not pay at all. And they wonder why we’re gunning for
• Page 145: An
employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan.
This one is pure crap. There’s no other way to put it. Here’s what it actually says:
SEC. 312. EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITY TO CONTRIBUTE
TOWARDS EMPLOYEE AND DEPENDENT COVERAGE.
21 (a) IN GENERAL.—An employer meets the
requirements of this section with respect to an employee if the following
requirements are met:
(1) OFFERING OF COVERAGE.—The employer offers the
coverage described in section 311(1) either
through an Exchange-participating health
benefits plan or other than through such
(2) EMPLOYER REQUIRED CONTRIBUTION.— The employer
timely pays to the issuer of such coverage an amount not less than the employer
required contribution specified in subsection (b) for such coverage.8 (3)
PROVISION OF INFORMATION.—The employer provides the Health Choices
Commissioner, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human
Services, and the Secretary of the Treasury, as applicable, with such
information as the Commissioner may require to ascertain compliance with the
requirements of this section.
(4) AUTOENROLLMENT OF EMPLOYEES.—The employer
provides for autoenrollment of the employee in accordance with subsection (c).
In other words, IF the employer opts into the public insurance
system, THEN he must provide for the autoenrollment of employees… again a choice.
But here’s the really dishonest part. Just a few paragraphs later, there is
this little section (Page 148):
(2) OPT-OUT.—In no case may an employer
automatically enroll an employee in a plan under paragraph (1) if such employee
makes an affirmative election to opt out of such plan or to elect coverage
under an employment-based health benefits plan offered by such employer. An
employer shall provide an employee with a 30-day period to make such an
affirmative election before the employer may automatically enroll the employee
in such a plan.
this lying wingnut said “no alternatives.”
Strange, but I see an employer being able to choose not to participate
public insurance system. And every employee has the choice to opt-out;
so right in the bill. Those seem like alternatives. Even if you’re not
the best at math, you have to know that two is greater than zero, right?
• Page 126:
Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families.
Again, an absolute lie. The page number is 146, not 126, which is a quibble. But
employers are not required to pay healthcare
bills for anyone. IF they CHOOSE
to participate in the public insurance system, they are required to
autoenroll employees in the insurance, unless the employee chooses to
But the INSURANCE pays the bills, not the employers. Employers will not
be required to pay for the procedures themselves, unless they opt to
self-insure. But that’s hardly a mandate, is it?
• Page 149:
Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the
public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll.
• Page 150:
Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the
public option, pays a 2 to 6% tax on payroll.
lies. The section ONLY refers to any employer who doesn’t offer ANY
insurance to his employees. If they offer either private insurance or
the public insurance, they do not have to pay the 8%, regardless of the
size of their payroll. The purpose of the public
insurance system is to cover as many people as possible. An employee of
employer who wants to buy the public insurance will have to pay an
indexed to the probably meager pay the cheapskate employer is paying.
(Think fast food franchise
where everyone works for $8 an hour or less.) The fund created by this
will subsidize the purchase of health insurance for these people.
An employer with a tiny payroll will pay considerably less, but
again; ONLY if he doesn’t participate in the public insurance system. Here’s
If the annual payroll of such employer for the
preceding calendar year:
The applicable percentage is:
Does not exceed $250,000
………………………………. 0 percent
Exceeds $250,000, but does not exceed $300,000 2
Exceeds $300,000, but does not exceed $350,000 4
Exceeds $350,000, but does not exceed $400,000 6
So, if they have a really small business, say 10 employees making
$24,000 each, and don’t offer insurance, they get off scot-free. In fact, if
they have 20 employees making $15,000 per year, they only pay $6,000 into the
If you ask me, there’s a gap here. Really small cheapskate business
owners are going to get off light, and all other taxpayers will have to foot
more of the bill as a result.
• Page 167:
Any individual who doesn’t have acceptable healthcare (according to the
government) will be taxed 2.5% of income.
Yay! Finally, they got one right. Well, partially right, anyway.
without health insurance — specifically those who choose to
run around without health insurance because they’re too cheap and
will now have to pay something into a system that is required to take
them when they contract a serious illness or get hit by a bus. Let’s
the guy makes $100,000 per year, the total tax is $2,500, which is far
less than he would pay for health insurance now. And for those who
think this is especially unfair to rich people who choose not to carry
insurance because of their immense wealth, don’t
worry; the amount is capped at the size of the average health insurance
premium. In return,
the rest of us won’t have to pick up the tab when the uninsured numb
wheeled into the emergency room for a trauma because he was riding his
dirt bike and slammed into a tree while not wearing a helmet. .
In other words, this is something to applaud, not to hate. It should
encourage people to opt into the insurance system, which saves everyone money.
• Page 170:
Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will
pay for them).
This wingnut sure does have an obsession with immigrants. By the
way, NON-RESIDENT ALIEN means someone who doesn’t LIVE here. In almost all
other countries, there is a national health insurance system, and their
government will pay for their health care. Why would we tax them for something
they won’t use in most cases?
• Page 195:
Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have
access to ALL American financial and personal records.
And we get back to the lies.
The agency will have extremely limited
access to SOME information contained in IRS TAX records for those individuals
choosing to participate in the public health insurance system, in order to
determine eligibility for certain premium discounts. There are strict limits on
the info they will have access to, and there is a strict prohibition on passing
the information anywhere else.It is most certainly NOT “ALL American financial and personal records.”
• Page 203:
“The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax.” Yes, it
really says that.
No, actually, it doesn’t. What is it about wingnuts that makes them think
they can put a period anywhere they want, and change the meaning of something,
and no one will notice? Here’s what it REALLY says:
NOT TREATED AS TAX IMPOSED BY THIS CHAPTER FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES.—The
tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax
imposed by this chapter for purposes of determining the amount of any
credit under this chapter or for purposes of
I can’t explain what this means. I’m simply pointing out that it doesn’t “really say” what they say it says…
Bill will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors and the
poor most affected.”
This is also a lie. The entire section has to do with reducing the
number of physician services used to compute health care growth rates from 2011
on. There is absolutely no provision to reduce services for Medicaid. In fact,
Medicaid will be folded into the public insurance system, which makes the above
assertion just insane.
• Page 241:
Doctors: no matter what speciality you have, you’ll all be paid the same
See above. Another lie. It’s another part
of the section dealing with predicting costs. Specifically, it deals with
“conversion factors. There is nothing in there mandating what anyone gets
paid for anything.
• Page 253:
Government sets value of doctors’ time, their professional judgment, etc.
• Page 265:
Government mandates and controls productivity for private healthcare
• Page 268:
Government regulates rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs.
just insane. The first one doesn’t set values for anything. It simply adjusts
the method for coming up with values later on. Which makes sense, because
covering everyone will drop the health care inflation rate tremendously,
especially after the first few years.
The second evaluates productivity and offer incentives to increase
efficiency and productivity. As for the last one, why wouldn’t the government
regulate the rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs they intend to
buy? You think private insurance companies just go to Wal-Mart? And read it
carefully; all it does is extend Medicare regulations to the public insurance
system. Why is it suddenly not good enough?
• Page 272:
Cancer patients: welcome to the wonderful world of rationing!
They love that word “rationing.”
If only they knew what it meant.
Essentially, there is no rationing anywhere in
this bill. And anyone who doesn’t think private insurance rations health care
has never encountered a denied claim. But not only does the section they point
to NOT impose anything close to “rationing,” it promises to pay EXTRA
to hospitals that specialize in cancer treatment. EXTRA!
when does “rationing” constitute EXTRA anything? Bet our grandparents
are pissed to know that gas rationing during World War II meant they
could get extra.
• Page 280:
Hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems preventable
• Page 298:
Doctors: if you treat a patient during an initial admission that results in a
readmission, you will be penalized by the government.
Okay, the first one’s not entirely a lie, although it doesn’t say
“preventable readmissions;” it says “EXCESSIVE readmissions,” and there is a significant difference. It
merely extends a policy that’s been standard under Medicare for years. It
encourages doctors to make sure they aren’t treating the hospital as an
assembly line and making sure people are treated properly the first time. It
also goes a long way to keeping hypochondriacs out of the hospital to a
significant degree, and keeping costs down.
The second one, on the other hand, is completely made up. First of
all, the page number is wrong. But it rewards efficiency. Think about it this
way. Suppose you take your car in to have the air conditioning repaired, and
the shop charges you $200. If you have to take it in two more times for the
same problem, are you going to accept them charging you $200 more each time? Of
course not. Well, why shouldn’t doctors be encouraged to do everything possible
to fix a problem the first time? Not only that, but imagine a medical office
scamming the insurance company/government by purposely not treating everything
the first time, so that they can get more money for more readmissions? This
measure actually increases efficiency.
Imagine that; these wingnuts actually have a problem with the
government encouraging efficiency and combating waste, and keeping the cost of health
• Page 317:
Doctors: you are now prohibited for owning and investing in healthcare
318: Prohibition on hospital expansion. Hospitals cannot expand
without government approval.
• Page 321: Hospital expansion hinges on “community”
input: in other words, yet another payoff for ACORN.
Surprise; more lies The bill prohibits doctors from referring
patients to hospitals in which they have a significant ownership interest
in, without disclosing to the patient
that he indeed has an ownership stake in the hospital. The government also
prohibits “self-referral” under most circumstances. That’s actually
fair to all of the other hospitals. There is absolutely zero prohibition on
doctors having ownership of hospitals.
What this tool is citing has to do with rural areas. It’s to prevent one
physician from effectively controlling all aspects of health care in a region,
But once more; doctors are not prohibited from doing anything,
except creating a monopoly and locking others out of a market. And the
“community input” provision is just common sense. Note, another ACORN
reference, and there is no way it applies here at all. I’m not aware of ACORN
being involved in hospital expansion in rural areas.
• Page 335:
Government mandates establishment of outcome-based measures: i.e.,
I don’t even have to look this one up, but I did anyway. Another
Outcome-based healthcare is common sense. And it has nothing to do
with “rationing.” In fact, rationing is the exact OPPOSITE of
“outcome-based” care. By emphasizing quality care, you reduce the
number of ER and urgent care admissions, and you reduce the number of
readmissions, as well. Again; it’s the opposite of rationing. Rationing is what
private insurance companies do. I’m reminded of that guy at the beginning of
Michael Moore’s film, “Sicko,” in which some poor guy had a choice of
which finger he would like to have reattached. “Outcome based” care
would have repaired both fingers and made the guy a productive citizen again.
Health care “rationing” forced him to choose the cheapest finger to
• Page 341:
Government has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans, HMOs,
They already have the ability to regulate and disqualify Medicare
Advantage plans.. In other words, this maintains the status quo . Oh, and it says absolutely nothing about
• Page 354:
Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals.
No. That’s not what it says. What it says is, it will begin to phase
such special needs individuals into the public health insurance system. IOW,
those people who qualify for Medicaid and people under 65 who qualify for
Medicare will be eligible for this system instead. Seriously, can wingnuts read
• Page 379:
More bureaucracy: Telehealth Advisory Committee (healthcare by phone).
• Page 425:
More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior Citizens, assisted
• Page 425:
Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of
attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of
• Page 425:
Government provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you
• Page 427:
Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment; government
dictates how your life ends.
• Page 429:
Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as patient’s
health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans.
An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT.
• Page 430:
Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life.
More bureaucracy than the private insurer’s tendency to automatically
deny claims over $1500, and force you to call them in order to get the bill
paid? Have you ever been to a hospital’s administrative offices? There is no
more bureaucracy than in the private health insurance industry.
That said, Telehealth has been around for years, and has saved
Medicare countless dollars by directing seniors to services. This merely
expands the concept to people covered under the public insurance system.
Imagine; more service; what a concept, right?
The rest are pure paranoia. The Advance Care Planning Consultation
system has also been around for years, and I’m unaware of a spate of senior
suicides or euthanasia as a result. It simply encourages people to consult with
their doctors, and get all of the options available for either planning for the
end, or working to create a higher quality of life. I’m sure almost everyone
knows someone with a debilitating disease, such as multiple sclerosis or
diabetes; advance care planning reduces the likelihood that these people will
constantly show up at urgent care or the ER for minor problems that they
themselves can take care of.
• Page 469:
Community-based Home Medical Services: more payoffs for ACORN.
• Page 472:
Payments to Community-based organizations: more payoffs for ACORN.
Two more gratuitous mentions of ACORN. And
what’s wrong with either of the above?
• Page 489:
Government will cover marriage and family therapy. Government intervenes
in your marriage.
This one is silly, of course. Unless the government starts mandating
marriage and family therapy, and then conducts the therapy themselves, the
“intervention” isn’t happening. I mean, many health insurance plans
cover psychiatric services under some conditions, but no one is suggesting that
Blue Cross or CIGNA is trying to control your mind.
• Page 494:
Government will cover mental health services: defining, creating and rationing
Of course, it merely adds them to the Medicare mix. There is nothing
to define, create or ration them in this bill.
I guess they became tired, because they got tired of lying about
halfway through the bill. There are over 500 more pages to this thing.
A tip of my hat to
my friend, Ben Cerruti, for providing this look at the Obamanation called
Yes, thank him for lying his ass off, and
giving me a chance to cut the crap, big time. I’d been working on a piece about
right wing health care lies, and this gave me a chance to dispel most of them
in one fell swoop. I mean, all of these lies in one piece. How do these people
sleep at night?
Write, e-mail, fax, or call your senators and your representative
and tell them to vote NO!
If you tell them that, you’re a fool. The CBO estimates that, with
no changes to the health care system, premiums will increase by $1800 per year
for the next ten years. That means an family will pay an average annual premium
of more than $32,000 by then. And that’s assuming that the 47 million people
without insurance doesn’t increase tremendously. This offers everyone a chance
at affordable health insurance, and stops the health care inflation that has
crippled our economy for decades. But more than that, it will make us a proud
nation, that cares about its people once again.
Stop letting these wingnut idiots lie their asses off. Read what I
wrote above, and compare it to what’s actually in the bill. It’s really not as
long as it sounds, by the way; if the bill was written single spaced, with
normal margins, it would probably be a couple of hundred pages at best. But
look through it, and what you’ll find is a plan that is very thoughtful and
measured, and provides access to everyone.
Call your Congressperson and Senators, and ask them one simple
Do you REALLY want to be on record as having voted against health
insurance for all this year?
This is going to happen. If not this year, then we throw out the
assholes who vote against it, and put in someone who will. Our country is
becoming second-rate right before our eyes, and one reason is the money we’re
flushing away on health care for no one, while thousands of people die and
thousands of others are pushed to financial ruin.
The fact that the opposition can do nothing but lie to get their
point across means that even they believe universal health insurance is
necessary. Either that, or they like seeing their rates double every decade…
Thanks to a reader, I found another little right wing talking points from a little
group called the “Liberty Counsel.”
The Liberty Counsel is a lobbying group that describes itself
as “a nationwide public interest religious civil liberties law firm,”
according to the memo, which is conveniently located on their web site. Because much of the memo mimics the previous
article almost word for word, and lie for lie, I have mercifully left out the
portions of the memo that I have already addressed.
The Liberty Counsel works out of three locations, including — and
don’t tell me you didn’t see this coming — Lynchburg, Virginia. Those of you
familiar with the history of far right wing politics will recognize the misuse
of the term “Liberty” and the city of Lynchburg, VA quite well. Jerry
Falwell, it seems, saw himself as something of a right wing messiah (note the
lower case, folks) of sorts for those poor, downtrodden white southern
Christians, who have never had a real voice in this country. (Right wingers,
that was sarcasm.)
The Liberty Counsel’s web site
boasts of their mission, which is “Restoring the Culture One Case at a
Time by Advancing Religious Freedom, the Sanctity of Human Life and the
Traditional Family.” But I wonder; why is a group charged with
the” Sanctity of Human Life” so intent on protecting a status
quo in which tens of thousands of people die every year because they
access to the health care system, and wherein people are denied life
treatments and procedures because they cut into a private insurance
profits? It is simply not possible to call yourself “pro-life” with any
sort of credibility when you defend such a status quo. And if they’re
so intent on protecting the traditional family, doesn’t
it seem odd that they are siding with private insurance companies, and
families who are being ruined by health care bills they can’t afford to
And what would Jesus think of these so-called
“Judeo-Christians” turning to outright lies and misstatements to protect profits, at the expense of
And make no mistake, folks; the people writing this crap are liars,
and I will prove it.Oops… they’re lawyers; maybe they’ll sue me… bummer…
Once more, read the bill along with
me… please? Again, I have once again put my responses in red.
Administration’s Health Care Plan
HR 3200 currently
under consideration in the House of Representatives
and adapted on July 29, 2009, by Liberty Counsel from the original authored by
Peter Fleckenstein and posted on FreeRepublic.com and his blog, http://blog.flecksoflife.com.
(What can you say about a “Christian” group that gets its
marching orders from Freepers?)
• Sec. 203, Pg. 85,
Line 7 – Specifications of benefit levels for plans means that the government
will define your HC plan and has the ability to ration your health care!
This is actually the first slight difference between this memo, and
the previous blog post, but it actually carries roughly the same theme.
What this section would do would be to create several different
levels of service, so that people can buy the coverage that makes the most
sense to them. Most private insurance companies do this now; they offer a basic
plan, like an HMO, and a more feature-laden plan, such as a PPO. Some also
offer a Catastrophic plan, which allows the policy holder to pay cash for most
of his or her family’s health care, and only covers serious illness or
injury. I’m pretty sure that’s three
levels of coverage. But as the bill points out, the customer will choose the
plan level that’s right for them, the government won’t.
Now, read the section very carefully, and you’ll find that the three
plan levels for the public insurance will compete with three levels from each
private insurance company that chooses to participate in the system. Basically,
when it’s time to choose your plan each year, you will have three public option
choices, and three choices each from three other private insurance companies.
You could have a choice of a dozen different plans under this bill.
And there is no more rationing under this plan than there already
exists. It’s insurance; if by rationing they mean the government may decide not
to pay for the oxy contin the maid purchases for you, perhaps they’re correct.
• Sec. 223, Pg. 124,
Lines 24-25 – No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No
“administrative of judicial review” against a government monopoly.
I dealt with this one somewhat in the last article, but keep
in mind; this one is coming from lawyers, who really should know
better. In fact, if they have JDs from reputable law schools, they do
is it possible to sue the government for
“price-fixing,” when private insurance companies are free to
negotiate their own rates and prices, and they are given an equal
with the public insurance system? The answer, of course, is that no
price fixing is possible under the plan proposed by this bill.
Put it another way; there’s a reason they only want you to look at
lines 24-25. If you look a few paragraphs before that, you will find the following:
(3) ESTABLISHMENT OF A PROVIDER NETWORK.—Health
care providers participating under Medicare are participating providers in the
public health insurance option unless they opt out in a process established by
ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS FOR SETTING RATES.—Chapter 5 of title 5, United States
apply to the process for the initial establishment
of payment rates under this section but not to the specific methodology for
establishing such rates or the calculation of such rates.
CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this subtitle shall be construed as limiting the
Secretary’s authority to correct for payments that are excessive or deficient,
taking into account the provisions of
section 221(a) and the amounts paid for similar
health care providers and services under other Exchange-participating health
(e) CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this subtitle shall be
construed as affecting the authority of the Secretary to establish payment
rates, including payments to provide for the more efficient delivery of
services, such as the initiatives provided for under section 224.
(f) LIMITATIONS ON REVIEW.—There shall be no
administrative or judicial review of a payment rate or methodology established
under this section or under section 224.
What you see here is the establishment of rules that are pretty much
identical to the rules providers have been held to under Medicare and Medicaid for
years. But look at the above in bold.
WHAT “other… health benefit plans”? I thought they were creating a
“government monopoly.” Can you see that they’re lying, folks?
Everything in this bill assumes rigorous competition,
and it allows for the possibility that there will be competition for pricing
for medical procedures. There cannot be any competition in a “government
• Sec. 225, Pg. 127,
Lines 1-16 – Doctors – the government will tell YOU what you can make. “The
Secretary shall provide for the annual participation of physicians under the
public health insurance option, for which payment may be made for services
furnished during the year.”
Here’s another one I dealt with previously, but feel the need to revisit,
because these alleged lawyers actually attempt to include a quote from the
bill, and completely misrepresent it in the process. Once again, these guys try to push you into a
specific section of the bill, in an attempt to get you to ignore everything
around it. As you can guess, the above quote is out of context.; there is no
period after the word “year.” These people should be ashamed. Here’s
what it actually says:
(1) PHYSICIANS.—The Secretary shall provide for the
annual participation of physicians under the public health insurance option, for which payment
may be made for services furnished during the year, in one of 2 classes:
(A) PREFERRED PHYSICIANS.—Those physicians who
agree to accept the payment rate established under section 223 (without regard
to cost-sharing) as the payment in full.
(B) PARTICIPATING, NON-PREFERRED PHYSICIANS.—Those
physicians who agree not to impose charges (in relation to the payment rate
described in section 223 for such physicians) that exceed the ratio permitted
under section 1848(g)(2)(C) of the Social Security Act.
(2) OTHER PROVIDERS.—The Secretary shall provide
for the participation (on an annual or other basis specified by the Secretary)
of health care providers (other than physicians) under the public health
insurance option under which payment shall only be available if the provider
agrees to accept the payment rate established under section 223 (without regard
to cost-sharing) as the payment in full.
Once more, the site on which this appears is for a law firm. These are lawyers, folks. They know how to read this stuff. They
knew damn well there was no period there, and they had to know that the section
they were talking about had nothing to do with anyone’s wages. I would also note the
voluntary nature of the participation of physicians in any category. Know how I figured that out? In order to be
included in any category, they have to be “physicians who agree.” That would seem to indicate voluntary participation.
• Sec. 1122, Pg.
253, Lines 10-23 – The government “validates work relative value units” (sets
value of doctor’s time), professional judgment, methods etc. (defining the
value of humans).
Okay, I dealt with this one earlier, but the lawyers at Liberty
Counsel put a unique spin on this one, to be sure.
I mean, “defining the value of humans?” Are they kidding
with this crap?
this is all about is applying a value to the service performed, not
putting a price on the doctors themselves, so that they can be sold on
Now, the folks at Liberty Counsel are lawyers.
Are they saying that the lawyers who bill their time at $750 an hour are
three times better humans than those who “only” bill $250 an hour? It is a
fact that all professions have to set prices for what they do, and that is all that is happening here. If
we’re going to start talking about the relative value of human beings, based on
what we’re willing to pay them for their work, we should talk about CEO pay.
• Sec. 1233, Pg.
425, Lines 4-12 – Government mandates Advance (Death) Care Planning
consultation. Think Senior Citizens and end of life. END-OF-LIFE COUNSELING.
SOME IN THE ADMINISTRATION HAVE ALREADY DISCUSSED RATIONING HEALTH CARE FOR THE
Ok, I dealt with this one a little previously, but this adds a
little twist. When has anyone in the Administration discussed
“rationing” care for the elderly? And where does it say that in this
The easy answer is that it doesn’t. And there is NOTHING MANDATORY
about the participation in the advanced planning program. It’s there if you
want it. That’s all. YOU decide if you need it.
Okay, while the people writing the lies contained in the
previous article seemed to get tired
after 500 pages or so, the fine liars at
Liberty Counsel were just getting started.
• Sec. 1401, Pg. 502
– Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research Established. Big Brother is
watching how your treatment works.
This one is beyond absurd. One would expect it from an uneducated
wingnut, but from trained lawyers this is abhorrent. Here the bill’s explanation of the Center for
Comparative Effectiveness Research:
‘‘SEC. 1181. (a) CENTER FOR COMPARATIVE
EFFECTIVENESS RESEARCH ESTABLISHED.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall establish
within the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality a Center for Comparative
Effectiveness Research (in this section referred to as the ‘Center’) to
conduct, support, and synthesize research (including research conducted or
supported under section 1013 of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement,
and Modernization Act of 2003) with respect to the outcomes, effectiveness, and
appropriateness of health care services and procedures in order to identify the
manner in which diseases, disorders, and
other health conditions can most effectively and appropriately be
prevented, diagnosed, treated, and managed clinically.
‘‘(2) DUTIES.—The Center shall—
‘‘(A) conduct, support, and synthesize research
relevant to the comparative effectiveness of the full spectrum of health care
items, services and systems, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices,
medical and surgical procedures, and other medical interventions;
‘‘(B) conduct and support systematic reviews of
clinical research, including original research conducted subsequent to the date
of the enactment of this section;
‘‘(C) continuously develop rigorous scientific
methodologies for conducting comparative effectiveness studies, and use such
‘‘(D) submit to the Comparative Effectiveness
Research Commission, the Secretary, and Congress appropriate relevant reports
described in subsection (d)(2); and
‘‘(E) encourage, as appropriate, the development
and use of clinical registries and the development of clinical effectiveness
research data networks from electronic health records, post marketing drug and
medical device surveillance efforts, and other forms of electronic health data.
Big BROTHER? I read 1984, and I suspect the attorneys at Liberty
Counsel have read it, or at least know something about it. What
does a research center designed to make
health care more efficient, and therefore less expensive have to do
with Big Brother? Essentially, the
research will make your doctor’s work easier and your treatment more
Yet, these people see this as a bad thing; an example of the government
too much power? When the government wastes money like crazy — you
spending $1 trillion on an unnecessary war — we don’t hear a word from
ersatz “Christians.” But when it comes to spending $1 trillion (or
less) to insure people who are currently uninsured and give them a
fighting chance to stay alive, and they
lie to prevent it? Sorry, but to anyone who has ever read 1984 knows
that the memo this post is based on has more in common with Big Brother
than anything in the health care reform bill.
• Sec. 1401, Pg.
503, Lines 13-19 – The government will build registries and data networks from
YOUR electronic medical records. “The Center may secure directly from any
department or agency of the United States information necessary to enable it to
carry out this section.”
• Sec. 1401, Pg.
503, Lines 21-25 – The government may secure data directly from any department
or agency of the US, including your data.
• Sec. 1401, Pg.
503, Lines 21-25 – The “Center” will collect data both “published and
unpublished” (that means public & your private information).
Wow… in the course of a paragraph, they manage to come up with three
whoppers. Here’s what the section actually says:
‘‘(A) OBTAINING OFFICIAL DATA.—The Center may
secure directly from any department or agency of the United States information
necessary to enable it to carry out this section. Upon request of the Center,
the head of that department or agency shall furnish that information to the
Center on an agreed upon
‘‘(B) DATA COLLECTION.—In order to carry out its
functions, the Center shall— ‘‘(i) utilize existing information, both published
and unpublished, where possible, collected and assessed either by its own
staff or under other arrangements made in
accordance with this section,
‘‘(ii) carry out, or award grants or contracts for,
original research and experimentation, where existing information is
‘‘(iii) adopt procedures allowing any interested
party to submit information for the use by the Center and Commission under
subsection (b) in making reports and recommendations.
Okay… so we learned above that the mission of the Center is to do
treatment research. The goal is to make health care more efficient. So, let’s
approach this logically, shall we?
There are currently serious privacy restrictions on federal and state
governments. Oh, I know the Bush Administration tried their damnedest to
destroy the concept, but they largely failed. Therefore, no government agency
is entitled to your personal information without a warrant, or at least
probable cause. The LAWYERS at Liberty COUNSEL certainly know this. No government agency can get any personal
information without demonstrating that you committed a crime, or may have committed
a crime. That includes medical and financial records.
Now, combine that reality with the mission of the Center, which is
to compile data regarding treatments, and share with doctors the information
that makes them better doctors. What personal information would they need about
you to do that job? Doctors send anonymized treatment information to various
agencies all of the time. Hell; private insurance companies use this type of
information all of the time, as well, in order to decide when to deny treatment. If you’ve ever
been denied treatment because something has been deemed
“experimental,” then you know what I mean.
The government is not allowed to build registries of private data,
private information about individual citizens is not allowed to be shared
between agencies, and the government is forbidden by law from collecting
personal data about you without a warrant or probable cause. And there is
nothing in the above passage — the passage THEY quoted, mind you, that
indicates any need or intention to collect personal data about anyone.
• Sec. 1401, Pg.
506, Lines 19-21 – An “Appointed Clinical Perspective Advisory Panel” will
advise The Center and recommend policies that would allow for public access of
Once more, there will be no private data. Public access of data
regarding the best treatment regimens available for battling an ailment or
disease is a good thing, isn’t it? But hey: don’t believe me; here’s what it
actually says (pay close attention to the section in bold):
‘‘(G) make recommendations for policies that would
allow for public access of data produced under this section, in accordance with appropriate privacy and
proprietary practices, while ensuring that the information produced
through such data is timely and credible;
appoint a clinical perspective advisory panel for each research priority
determined under subparagraph (A), which shall consult with patients and advise
the Center on research questions, methods, and evidence gaps in terms of
clinical outcomes for the specific research inquiry to be examined with respect
to such priority to ensure that the information produced from such research is
clinically relevant to decisions made by clinicians and patients at the point of
Yes, the bill says all information will be private. PRIVATE!
• Sec. 1401, Pg.
518, Lines 21-25 – The Commission will have input from HC consumer
If this is a list of bad things about the health care plan, I guess
I don’t understand why this one’s here.
‘‘(3) STAKEHOLDER INPUT.—
‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—The Commission shall consult with
patients, health care providers, health care consumer representatives, and
other appropriate stakeholders with an interest in the research through a
transparent process recommended by the Commission.
I’m at a loss. Imagine, input from actual health care consumers. How
But at least this one’s not a lie…
• Sec. 1411, Pg.
524, Lines 18-22 – Establishes the “Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust
Fund.” More taxes for ALL.
This is a bald-faced lie.
(b) COMPARATIVE EFFECTIVENESS RESEARCH TRUST FUND;
FINANCING FOR THE TRUST FUND.—For provision establishing a Comparative
Effectiveness Research Trust Fund and financing such Trust Fund, see section
And when you bother to go to
Sec. 1802 (Page 823) you find out it’s a trust fund… exactly as they said:
COMPARATIVE EFFECTIVENESS RESEARCH TRUST FUND; FINANCING FOR TRUST FUND.
(a) ESTABLISHMENT OF TRUST FUND.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—Subchapter A of chapter 98 of the
Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to trust fund code) is amended by
adding at the end the following new section:
‘‘SEC. 9511. HEALTH CARE COMPARATIVE EFFECTIVENESS
RESEARCH TRUST FUND.
‘‘(a) CREATION OF TRUST FUND.—There is established
in the Treasury of the United States a trust fundto be known as the ‘Health
Care Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund’ (hereinafter in this
section referred to as the ‘CERTF’), consisting of such amounts as may be
appropriated or credited to such Trust Fund as provided in this section and
‘‘(b) TRANSFERS TO FUND.—There are hereby
appropriated to the Trust Fund the following:
‘‘(1) For fiscal year 2010, $90,000,000.
fiscal year 2011, $100,000,000.
‘‘(3) For fiscal year 2012, $110,000,000.
‘‘(4) For each fiscal year beginning with fiscal
‘‘(A) an amount equivalent to the net revenues
received in the Treasury from the fees imposed under subchapter B of chapter 34
(relating to fees on health insurance and self-insured plans) for such fiscal
‘‘(B) subject to subsection (c)(2), amounts
determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to be equivalent to
the fair share per capita amount computed under subsection (c)(1) for the
fiscal year multiplied by the average number of individuals entitled to
benefits under part A, or enrolled under part B, of title XVIII of the Social
Security Act during such fiscal year.
You get the idea. It’s a trust fund. They take a portion of the
premiums, and use them for research on the best way to spend less money in the
Oh, and I know they read Sec. 1802, because they call it a
bottomless tax pit later in this screed. You’ll see. And when you get there,
you’ll already know that it’s not. $300
million over 3 years? That’s
per year per citizen. Hardly a money pit. Iraq is a money pit; we spend
more than $300 million every single day over there, and these same
people are all for that. So they have no credibility when it comes to
critiques of government spending.
• Sec. 1441, Pg.
621, Lines 20-25 – The government will define “NEW Quality” measures in HC.
Since when does government know about quality?
You know, it’s a common whine among the right wing, to claim that
government doesn’t do anything right. But after the last couple of economic bubbles, and
with the government bailing private industry out, and not the other way around,
I think that argument is just petty.
Of course, what this section actually means is that there will be minimum quality
standards that have to be met in the delivery of health care services. Think
they’ll complain when Aunt Jenny decides
to go to a witch doctor for an arthritis cure and then demands her public
insurance pay for it? Besides; they won’t be doing it alone, as you’ll find
when you actually read the section:
‘‘SEC. 1192. DEVELOPMENT OF NEW QUALITY MEASURES.
‘‘(a) AGREEMENTS WITH QUALIFIED ENTITIES.—
GENERAL.—The Secretary shall enter into agreements with qualified entities to
develop quality measures for the delivery of health care services in the United
• Sec. 1442, Pg.
622, Lines 2-9 – To pay for the Quality Standards, government will transfer
money from “qualified entities” (government Trust Funds) to other government
Trust Funds. More Taxes.
Once more… no new taxes. It’s a Trust Fund, and it is paid through
• Sec. 1442, Pg.
624, Lines 19-23 – Qualified Entities: “The Secretary shall ensure that the
entity is a public, nonprofit or academic institution with technical expertise
in the area of health quality measurement.”
• Sec. 1442, Pg.
623, Lines 5-10 – “Quality” measures shall be designed to assess outcomes and
functional status of patients.
• Sec. 1442, Pg.
623, Lines 15-17 – “Quality” measures shall be designed to profile you,
including race, age, gender, place of residence, etc.
Keep in mind, this section still has to do with the study, which is
designed to assist with the efficacy of treatment. Let’s start with what the
section actually says, in context.
‘‘(1) PATIENT-CENTERED AND POPULATIONBASED
MEASURES.—Quality measures developed under agreements under subsection (a)
shall be designed—
‘‘(A) to assess outcomes and functional status of
‘‘(B) to assess the continuity and coordination of
care and care transitions for patients across providers and health care
settings, including end of life care;
‘‘(C) to assess patient experience and patient
‘‘(D) to assess the safety, effectiveness, and
timeliness of care;
‘‘(E) to assess health disparities including those
associated with individual race, ethnicity, age, gender, place of residence or
‘‘(F) to assess the efficiency and resource use in
the provision of care;
‘‘(G) to the extent feasible, to be collected as
part of health information technologies supporting better delivery of health
‘‘(H) to be available free of charge to users for
the use of such measures; and
‘‘(I) to assess delivery of health care services to
individuals regardless of age.
Now, keep in mind, this is from a piece that purportedly cites the
bad aspects of the health care bill.
Which means they think all of the above is a bad thing.
Essentially, the bill would create a center for research into health
care processes, as noted. And in order to participate, according to pages
623-624, you will have to be qualified to do so, and you must focus on outcomes
and status of patients, in order to recommend improvements. This doesn’t seem
to be a controversial concept to me.
Now the last complaint listed is another outright misstatement, if
not a lie. The quality measures are NOT deigned to profile “YOU”.
They are designed to note differences in treatment based on ethnicity and
geography. You know, to identify areas where cancer clusters appear, or to
identify and treat ethically-specific diseases, such as sickle cell
anemia, and Tay Sach’s disease. But note once more that the federal government
is forbidden by law from providing identifiable data about you to anyone,
because of privacy laws. So, no; the people doing this study will not know who
you are. This is a right wing scare tactic, and nothing more.
• Sec. 1443, Pg. 628
– The government will give “Multi-Stake Holders” pre-rulemaking input into
selection of “quality” measures.
• Sec. 1443, Pg.
630-31, Lines 9-24, 1-9 – Those Multi-Stake Holder groups include unions and
groups like ACORN deciding what constitutes quality.
is just a vicious lie. What is it about ACORN that has these
folks’ panties in a bunch, anyway? if I was a lawyer for ACORN, I might
consider a defamation suit at some point, because most of the
complaints are unfair. And what’s wrong with unions having input to
their own health care? Here’s the complete list of who will have input
system. Ask yourself why they single out ACORN and unions:
‘‘(6) MULTI-STAKEHOLDER GROUPS.—For purposes of this subsection, the
term ‘multi-stakeholder groups’ means, with respect
to a quality measure, a voluntary collaborative of organizations representing
persons interested in or affected by the use of such quality measure, such as
‘‘(A) Hospitals and other institutional providers.
‘‘(C) Health care quality alliances.
‘‘(D) Nurses and other health care practitioners.
‘‘(E) Health plans.
‘‘(F) Patient advocates and consumer groups.
‘‘(H) Public and private purchasers of health care items and
‘‘(I) Labor organizations.
‘‘(J) Relevant departments or agencies of the United States.
‘‘(K) Biopharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of medical
‘‘(L) Licensing, credentialing, and accrediting bodies.
Now, I count twelve different groups of “multi-stakeholder
groups,” including huge drug companies and major health delivery
corporations. Assuming they all have equal input into the process, it would
seem that “unions and groups like ACORN” won’t be
“deciding” anything at all. What; do these clowns imagine that the
UAW and the Teamsters will just declare their will on something, and the other
10 groups will simply roll over? And if they can do that, what’s to stop big
pharma from doing the same? The whole concept is absurd. Christian lawyers will
have just as much input into the system as “unions and groups like
• Sec. 1444, Pg.
632, Lines 14-25 – The government may implement any “Quality measure” of HC
services that bureaucrats see fit.
• Sec. 1444, Pg.
632-333, Lines 14-25, 1-9 – The Secretary may issue nonendorsed “Quality
Measures” for physician and dialysis services.
Want to read what it really says? Of course you do.
‘‘The Secretary shall submit such a non-endorsed measure to the
entity for consideration for endorsement.
If the entity considers but does not endorse such a measure and if the
Secretary does not phase-out use of such measure, the Secretary shall include
the rationale for continued use of such a measure in rulemaking.’’
I don’t see anything in there mandating anything. The entity can
choose to consider and/or endorse the measure at will, and if the Secretary
decides to implement the measure anyway, he or she has to give a rationale.
• Sec. 1251
(beginning), Pg. 634 to 652 – “Physician Payments Sunshine Provision” –
government wants to shine sunlight on Doctors but not government. “Reports on
financial relationships between manufacturers and distributors . . . and
between physicians and other health care entities.”
This is another misrepresentation, to say the least.
Here’s the entire title:
SEC. 1128H. FINANCIAL REPORTS ON PHYSICIANS’
FINANCIAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH MANUFACTURERS AND DISTRIBUTORS OF COVERED DRUGS,
DEVICES, BIOLOGICALS, OR MEDICAL SUPPLIES UNDER MEDICARE, MEDICAID, OR CHIP AND
WITH ENTITIES THAT BILL FOR SERVICES UNDER MEDICARE.
other words, the people choosing to deal with the pubic insurance
system as providers will be required to disclose any potential
conflicts of interest, so that patients can make an informed choice
regarding their health care. Again; I’m
not sure why this is a bad thing, except as a device to make another
government — you know how incredibly incompetent they are. I mean,
look at the
banking system; look at how those banks had to bail out the — no,
wait; bad example.
See, the reason this is misleading (I’m being nice; it could be
called an outright lie) is because the
federal government is only planning to provide insurance, not deliver health
care. Essentially, they will only pay
the bills. It’s also misleading, because
the entire federal government is subject to sunshine laws already, except for
those issues dealing with national security. Therefore, the government is
already obligated to show everyone how it pays its bills and to whom; this bill
would reveal any potential conflicts of interests health care delivery
people may have. Again; why is this a
• Sec. 1501
(beginning), Pg. 659-670 – Doctors in Residency – government will tell you
where your residency will be, thus where you’ll live.
This isn’t even a misstatement; it’s an outright lie.
The section is entitled:
TITLE V—MEDICARE GRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION
SEC. 1501. DISTRIBUTION OF UNUSED RESIDENCY POSITIONS.
The section deals with the number of POSITIONS available in
hospitals. Hospitals are limited with regard to how many residents they may
take in, if they choose to participate in the Medicare program. There’s an
excellent reason for this; it increases the chances that you’ll actually see a
doctor when you’re treated at the hospital. Left to their own designs, many
hospitals would load up the residents and squeeze doctors out. This prevents
But there is NOTHING in that section that dictates where a resident
will have to live, or even addresses that. It simply addresses resident
allocations to where they’re needed. That’s all.
• Sec. 1503
(beginning), Pg. 675-685 – Government will regulate hospitals in EVERY aspect
of residency programs, including teaching hospitals.
This is another falsehood. In fact, if you
look closely at the section, you’ll note that it merely extends current
Medicare regulations to the public insurance system. So, I guess the relevant
question is, if the government’s not regulating hospitals in EVERY aspect of
residency programs now, with Medicare covering 40 million seniors, then where’s the problem?
• Sec. 1601
(beginning), Pg. 685-699 – Increased funding to fight waste, fraud, and abuse.
(Like the government with an $18 million website?)
This is just another excuse to whine about government spending. Makes you
wonder where they were the last eight years when, while they were claiming a
booming economy, they added more than $5 trillion to the national debt. By the way, the link to the bill they use points to the government web site. Just
I sure don’t see a problem with this. Waste, fraud and abuse in
Medicare is down quite a bit from its heyday, so the efforts must be working.
And since they seem to be so concerned about government waste, it would seem
prudent, if you’re going to be adding more people to the government’s insurance
system, to add a little money to protect it from waste, fraud and abuse.
• Sec. 1619, Pg.
700-703 – If your part of HC plan isn’t in the government’s HC Exchange but you
qualify for federal aid, you don’t have to pay.
Um… if you qualify for federal aid, presumably you don’t have any
money., and you’re on Medicaid anyway. Of course, even if you don’t have any money, if you get sick or injured,
you’re still entitled to a certain level of health care, and we all know you’re
never going to pay it. The new system that would be created by the bill, however, pays the bills, and doesn’t
pass them on to everyone else, as the current system does.
Of course, as usual, that’s not what the section in question
addresses, anyway. Here is the heart of the section:
‘‘(4)(A) For purposes of this Act, subject to
subparagraph (C), the effect of exclusion is that no payment may be made by any
Federal health care program (as defined in section 1128B(f)) with respect to
any item or service furnished—
‘‘(i) by an excluded individual or entity; or
‘‘(ii) at the medical direction or on the
prescription of a physician or other authorized individual when the person
submitting a claim for such item or service knew or had reason to know of the
exclusion of such individual.
It’s not talking about YOU. It’s talking about health care providers
who have been excluded from the system for whatever reason. You can’t, for
example, go to a witch doctor or a psychic for healing, and expect the
government to pick up the tab. You can’t go to an unlicensed physician, or your
nephew who’s in pre-med for treatment, and then submit the bill to the public
insurance system for payment.
• Sec. 1128G, Pg.
704-708 – If the Secretary determines there is a “significant risk of
fraudulent activity,” on HC provider or supplier, the government can do a
• Sec. 1632, Pg.
710, Lines 8-14 – The Secretary has broad powers to deny HC providers and
suppliers admittance into HC Exchange. Your doctor could be thrown out of
This one is pretty remarkable, in that it’s supposedly a complaint.
Why is this a bad thing? If you ask me, every government contractor should be
subject to such scrutiny. Here’s part of the actual section:
‘‘SEC. 1128G. ENHANCED PROGRAM AND PROVIDER
PROTECTIONS IN THE MEDICARE, MEDICAID, AND
‘‘(a) CERTAIN AUTHORIZED SCREENING, ENHANCED
OVERSIGHT PERIODS, AND ENROLLMENT MORATORIA.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—For periods beginning after
January 1, 2011, in the case that the Secretary determines there is a
significant risk of fraudulent activity (as determined by the Secretary based
on relevant complaints, reports, referrals by law enforcement or other sources,
data analysis, trending information, or claims submissions by providers of
services and suppliers) with respect to a category of provider of services or
supplier of items or services, including a category within a geographic area,
under title XVIII, XIX, or XXI, the Secretary may impose any of the following
requirements with respect to a provider of services or a supplier (whether such
provider or supplier is initially enrolling in the program or is renewing such
‘‘(3) AUTHORITY TO DENY PARTICIPATION.—If the
Secretary determines that there has been at least one such affiliation and that
such affiliation or affiliations, as applicable, of such provider or supplier
poses a serious risk of fraud, waste, or abuse, the Secretary may deny the
application of such provider or supplier.’’
Contrary to the indication by the
“religious” Liberty Counsel, the Secretary can’t unilaterally do
anything. It needs evidence. And since it’s the government, it can’t deny
anyone anything without due process. And
the public insurance plan can’t “throw (anyone) out of business.” All
if can do is to exempt them from the plan. If you want to go to a crooked
doctor, you have every right to go to a crooked doctor. But you don’t have the
right to expect everyone else in your insurance plan to pay for your session
with the crooked doctor.
• Sec. 1637, Pg.
718-719 – ANY Doctor who orders durable medical equipment or home medical
services is REQUIRED to be enrolled in, or eligible for, Medicare.
Um, no. Wrong again.
Any doctor who orders such
items and expects Medicare or the public
insurance system to pay for it, must be enrolled in or eligible for
I think you’ll agree, there’s a distinction to be made there…
• Sec. 1639, Pg. 721
– Government MANDATES that Doctors must have face-to-face with patient to
certify patient for home health services.
• Sec. 1639, Pg.
723-24, Lines 23-25, 1-5 – The same government certifications will apply to
Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s health plan: Your kids).
• Sec. 1640, Pg.
723, Lines 16-22 – The government reserves right to apply face-to-face
certification for patient to ANY other HC service.
I know right wing senators have, in the past, demonstrated a
remarkable ability to diagnose via video, but if we’re going to be using
taxpayer dollars to pay for home health care, shouldn’t we make sure there’s no
fraud involved? I mean, how much will the bozos at the Liberty Counsel whine
and cry, if they found out Medicare money was going to doctors who were secured
via webcam, from a web site? What if they found out that a company was getting
public insurance money for, say, providing “home health services” to
an able-bodied person, where they essentially just sat around and watched
football all day?
What is their problem with oversight? The way these guys whine about
the government, one has to wonder why they seem to have such a problem with the
government protecting their investment.
• Sec. 1651, Pg.
734, Lines 16-25 – Proposes, for law enforcement sake, that the Secretary of
HHS will give Attorney General access to ALL medical data.
As usual, this is ridiculous.
For one thing, this section of the bill actually extends regulations in
the Social Security Act that have guided Medicare for years to the new public
insurance system. Now, I’m unaware of
the Department of Justice combine the files of elderly patients looking for
reasons to arrest them.
The section in question is entitled:
Subtitle D—Access to Information Needed To Prevent
Fraud, Waste, and Abuse
SEC. 1651. ACCESS TO INFORMATION NECESSARY TO
IDENTIFY FRAUD, WASTE, AND ABUSE.
The section they identify is as follows:
‘‘(d) ACCESS TO INFORMATION NECESSARY TO IDENTIFY
FRAUD, WASTE, AND ABUSE.—For purposes of law enforcement activity, and to the
extent consistent with applicable disclosure, privacy, and security laws,
including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and the Privacy Act of 1974, and
subject to any information systems security requirements enacted by law or
otherwise required by the Secretary, the Attorney General shall have access,
facilitation by the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human
claims and payment data relating to titles XVIII
and XIX, in consultation with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
or the owner of such data.’’.
Now, there are a few things to consider with the above
misinformation. There is nothing in the above that gives anyone in the
government access to ALL medical data. It very clearly says any delivery of
any information is subject to privacy
it gets worse. You’ll note that I left the page number in there.
See that? Liberty Counsel only noted lines 16-25, because they don’t
want you to read further. But the section they point to doesn’t end at
line 25. Of course, if you don’t stop at line 25, you’ll
see that the section only deals with claims and payment data. Ouch! You
what that means? It means it has to do with providers; why would you go
to patients for claims and payment data, since patients aren’t paying.
And note that there is nothing in this section about medical data.
Patient data will not be
subject to this law, only claims and payment data, and only if law
has evidence of fraud, waste and abuse.
Yep, another lie…
• Sec. 1701
(beginning), Pg. 739-756 – The government sets guidelines for subsidizing the
uninsured (and you have to pay for them).
This one is asinine on many
levels. For one thing, it’s a lie. Here’s the title of the section in
TITLE VII—MEDICAID AND CHIP
Subtitle A—Medicaid and Health Reform
SEC. 1701. ELIGIBILITY FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH INCOME
BELOW 133 1⁄3 PERCENT OF THE FEDERAL
Let’s start with the fact that most of the people in this category
are actually already covered under Medicaid and S-CHIP programs. So
technically, most of them aren’t currently uninsured, so that’s kind of
silly. And those who are included in
those programs are already being subsidized.
And of COURSE the government sets guidelines for those. These people
supported Bush; they know the rules. Poor folks who get subsidies from government
are always subject to guidelines. Rich folks who get them are given the money
free and clear.
But this is also stupid for another reason…
One of the reasons why we need this reform is because those of us with insurance ALREADY
SUBSIDIZE THE UNINSURED. That’s why premiums have more than doubled in ten
years; the uninsured end up in the ER, and they have no money and will never pay. So prices have
to go up to compensate. Our insurance premiums and our tax money
subsidizes the uninsured now. And if this passes, there will be many fewer
uninsured, which means less subsidy.There’s the disconnect in a nutshell folks.
• Sec. 1704, Pg.
756-761 – The government will shift burden of payments to Disproportionate
Share Hospitals (DSH) to states (your taxes).
Ok… Want to know what this section is actually about? Here’s the
beginning of the section:
SEC. 1704. REDUCTION IN MEDICAID DSH.
(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than January 1, 2016, the
Secretary of Health and Human Services
title referred to as the ‘‘Secretary’’) shall submit to Congress a report
concerning the extent to which, based upon the impact of the health care
reforms carried out under division A in reducing the number of uninsured
individuals, there is a continued role for Medicaid DSH. In preparing the
report, the Secretary shall consult with community-based health care networks
serving low-income beneficiaries.
(b) MEDICAID DSH REDUCTIONS.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall reduce Medicaid
DSH so as to reduce total Federal payments to all States for such purpose by
$1,500,000,000 in fiscal year 2017, $2,500,000,000 in fiscal year 2018, and
$6,000,000,000 in fiscal year 2019.
Yes, that’s right. The section is about folding Medicaid into the
public health insurance system, which only makes sense. Right now, Medicaid works through the states.
The states decide who qualifies, and cover people within the state, via
payments from the federal government. As Medicaid is phased out, in favor of
the public insurance system, the payments to states to cover payments to hospitals with high
numbers of Medicaid patients will be reduced because there will be
significantly fewer Medicaid patients, not because they’re putting a larger burden on the states. Right
now, the DSH money goes to hospitals with large numbers of Medicaid and
uninsured payments; that will be less necessary, because nearly everyone who
goes to these hospitals will be paid for, and health care inflation will slow
down considerably as a result.
• Sec. 1711, Pg. 764
– The government will require preventative services – including vaccinations
Here’s another outright lie, folks.
The section’s title tells the tale:
SEC. 1711. REQUIRED COVERAGE OF PREVENTIVE
The term is required COVERAGE of preventive services. It means that
preventive medicine will have to be covered under the public health insurance.
There is nothing in that section that requires individuals to GET preventive
care; the section requires that the insurance COVER such care.
• Sec. 1713, Pg. 768
– Government-determined Nurse Home Visitation Services (Hello union paybacks).
• Sec. 1713, Pg.
768, Lines 3-5 – Nurse Home Visit Services – Service #1: “Improving maternal or
child health and pregnancy outcomes or increasing birth intervals between
pregnancies.” Compulsory ABORTIONS?
• Sec. 1713, Pg.
768, Lines 11-14 – Nurse Home Visit Services include determinations of economic
self-sufficiency, employment advancement and school-readiness.
Government-determined? Check out the title:
SEC. 1713. OPTIONAL COVERAGE OF NURSE HOME
Has the word “optional” taken on
a new meaning in recent years? Is it now a synonym for mandatory?
The one about abortion is absolutely fascinating. I challenge anyone
who has ever gotten through elementary school reading to read “compulsory
abortions” into the following section, which is the one they’re quoting.
(Okay, to be fair, they’re urging you to only read the three lines that I will
put in bold type for you):
‘‘(aa) The term ‘nurse home visitation services’
means home visits by trained nurses to families with a first-time pregnant
woman, or a child (under 2 years of age), who is eligible for medical
assistance under this title, but only, to the extent determined by the
Secretary based upon evidence, that such
services are effective in one or more of the following:
‘‘(1) Improving maternal or
child health and pregnancy outcomes or increasing birth intervals between
‘‘(2) Reducing the incidence of child abuse,
neglect, and injury, improving family stability (including reduction in the
incidence of intimate partner violence), or reducing maternal and child
involvement in the criminal justice system.
‘‘(3) Increasing economic self-sufficiency,
employment advancement, school-readiness, and educational achievement, or
reducing dependence on public assistance.’’
So, (1) is about the POSSIBILITY (note the word “optional”
above) that the public insurance plan might cover (not make mandatory, but
COVER) the use of home visits by trained
nurses in BECAUSE
THEY HAVE BEEN FOUND
TO improve the health of the child and mother, to make sure the
well, and seem to encourage poor women to wait a little while between
pregnancies. It’s actually against the law for the government to use
tax money to pay for abortions and, as these fine lawyers point out
later on, all fees in this plan are to be treated as taxes. In order
for them to cover abortions, they would have to repeal laws that have
been on the books for more than 30 years. In other words, the whole
abortion thing is — you guessed it — a lie.
As for the last one, all I can say is, either these lawyers have a
serious reading deficiency, or they’re lying about what the bill says. They
refer to section (3) above. What Section (3) actually says is that the
Committee will consider the POSSIBILITY of COVERING “nurse home visitation
services” BECAUSE such visits increase economic self-sufficiency, etc.
• Sec. 1714, Pg. 769
– Federal government mandates eligibility for State Family Planning Services.
Abortion and government control intertwined.
Seriously; what are these people reading? It sure as hell can’t be
the bill. The section’s title:
SEC. 1714. STATE ELIGIBILITY OPTION FOR FAMILY
What’s covered? Everything that is currently covered under Medicaid,
which does NOT include abortion. In fact, public financial assistance for
abortion has been illegal for more than 30 years, and there is nothing in this
bill that repeals that law. This is the coverage:
the medical assistance made available to an
individual described in subsection (hh) shall be limited to family planning
services and supplies described in section 1905(a)(4)(C) including medical
diagnosis and treatment services that are provided pursuant to a family
planning service in a family planning setting’’ after ‘‘cervical cancer’’.
Honestly, people who would actually like to see the number of
abortions reduced should be all for this public option health insurance,
because it takes the cost of having a healthy baby out of the decision-making
for women who are considering abortion. Just saying. You allegedly
“pro-life” people should be loving this bill, because it doesn’t
provide money for abortions, and it makes women less likely to have one,
because they can be assured of having a healthy baby, and assured that their
baby can go to the doctor when he or she gets sick.
• Sec. 1733, Pg.
788-798 – Government will set and mandate drug prices, therefore controlling
which drugs are brought to market. (Goodbye innovation and private research.)
Here’s probably one of the biggest non-abortion lies in this screed.
The government would only mandate the prices they PAY, not the prices overall.
And here is the formula:
‘‘(5) USE OF AMP IN UPPER PAYMENT LIMITS.—The
Secretary shall calculate the Federal upper reimbursement limit established
under paragraph (4) as 130 percent of the weighted average (determined on the basis of manufacturer
utilization) of monthly average manufacturer prices.’’.
What does that mean? It means hospitals will not be allowed to
overcharge the public insurance system.
Got that? It means a pharmacy in Bugtussle won’t be able to charge $200
for a 30-day supply of a drug that has an average price of $100 everywhere
else. It has nothing to do with the government setting prices; it’s about the
government refusing to be overcharged for them.
for the ridiculous concept that, somehow innovation and private
research will be affected, there are two reasons why that’s crap.
First, drug companies are largely subsidized for their R&D by the
government now; they don’t use much of their own money. Also, because
of patent considerations, companies have a limited
amount of time to gouge the public for their drugs, before companies
along and produce their own versions of the drug. Therefore, they have
create new drugs in order to make more money.
Not only that, but as I noted previously, in the first six months
after Medicare added a prescription drug benefit, the profits of the top 10
drug companies INCREASED by $8 billion. Even WITH price controls, how DAFT
would one have to be to think drug companies would LOSE money by GAINING 47
million potential customers?
In other words, any of you who believe drug companies would go broke
if price controls were put in place are among the most gullible people in the
• Sec. 1744, Pg.
796-799 – Establishes PAYMENTS for graduate medical education. The government
will now control your doctor’s education.
It doesn’t establish anything. They already pay graduate
students. If they would bother to READ
the section in question, they would find that it merely extends the payments
under the Medicare and Medicaid laws to this insurance plan.
In order for you to believe this puts
government in control of a doctor’s education, then you have to believe that
anyone who receives a Pell Grant is being controlled, as well. Seriously, this
is that silly.
• Sec.1751, Pg. 800
– The government will decide which Health Care conditions will be paid. Say
Can you say “LIE!”???
I’ll give you a hint; here’s the title of the section they
SEC. 1751. HEALTH-CARE ACQUIRED CONDITIONS.
(a) MEDICAID NON-PAYMENT FOR CERTAIN HEALTH
Once more, this simply extends conditions that have always been in
place under Medicare and Medicaid to the
new public insurance system. And it refers to doctors screwing up during
treatment, and then billing to fix the screw-up. In other words, imagine
someone like, say, Sean Hannity, undergoes brain surgery and the doctor leaves
behind a sponge in there. That would certainly explain a lot, but should
Hannity’s insurance company be billed the full amount for the second surgery,
to take the sponge out?
Apparently, the people who wrote this thing would consider that
Beware that word “rationing,” folks. It has no meaning
with regard to health care, and private insurance does that all of the time.
• Sec. 1759, Pg. 809
– Billing Agents, clearinghouses, or other alternate payees are required to
register. The government takes over private payment systems too.
Again, an absolute lie.
Once again, the entire section extends existing Medicaid regulations
to the new system. But beyond that, here’s the title:
SEC. 1759. BILLING AGENTS, CLEARINGHOUSES, OR OTHER
ALTERNATE PAYEES REQUIRED TO REGISTER UNDER MEDICAID.
So far, so good. It’s responsible to know who you’re paying, to know
they’re responsible, and to know that money that is supposed to go to a payee
will actually get there. It also reduces the possibility of fraud. I always
thought taxpayers appreciated it when government was responsible with their
money. Here is the section that’s being added by this bill:
‘‘(78) provide that any agent, clearinghouse, or
other alternate payee that submits claims on behalf of a health care provider
must register with the State and the Secretary in a form and manner specified
by the Secretary under section 1866(j)(1)(D).’’
I don’t see government taking over payment systems. In fact, just
the opposite. Providers can use agents and clearinghouses to collect payments
if they’d like. The only requirement is that said third parties be registered.
That seems to be the opposite of that the Liberty Counsel says. How odd.
• Sec. 1801, Pg.
819-823 – The Government will identify individuals “likely to be ineligible”
for subsidies. Will access all personal financial information.
Funny. The section doesn’t say that. The only interest is in those
who might be eligible for a prescription drug subsidy. Here’s the qualifier:
‘‘(C) RESTRICTION ON INDIVIDUALS FOR WHOM
DISCLOSURE MAY BE REQUESTED.—The Commissioner of Social Security shall request
information under this paragraph only with respect to—
‘‘(i) individuals the Social Security
Administration has identified, using all other reasonably available
information, as likely to be eligible for a low-income prescription drug
subsidy under section 1860D–14 of the Social Security Act and who have not applied
for such subsidy, and
‘‘(ii) any individual the Social Security
Administration has identified as a spouse of an individual described in clause
I’m sorry, but nothing in that section includes “all personal
financial information” by any stretch.
And there are severe restrictions on the use of the information:
‘‘(D) RESTRICTION ON USE OF DISCLOSED
INFORMATION.—Return information disclosed under this paragraph may be used only
by officers and employees of the Social Security Administration solely for
purposes of identifying individuals likely to be ineligible for a low-income
prescription drug subsidy under section 1860D–14 of the Social Security Act for
use in outreach efforts under section 1144 of the Social Security Act.’’
• Sec. 1802, Pg.
823-828 – Government sets up Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund.
Another bottomless tax pit.
Discussed previously. $300 million over
three years, and a few cents out of every premium in order to make health care
is not bottomless, nor is it much of a pit.
• Sec. 4375, Pg.
828-832, Lines 12-16 – Government will impose a fee on ALL private health
insurance plans, including self-insured, to pay for Trust Fund!
Ok, this one’s true. But it’s also liable to be relatively small.
And since premiums have doubled in the last ten years, and are likely to double
again without a public insurance plan, such a fee will likely be a major relief
to everyone carrying a private insurance policy.
And frankly, since it’s the private insurance companies’ fault that
we need this in the first place, why shouldn’t they be charged a little bit, in
order to pick up their slack. THEY chose
to refuse insurance to many, if not most, of the uninsured. They could just
choose to sell them all policies.
• Sec. 4377, Pg.
835, Lines 11-13 – Fees imposed by government for Trust Fund shall be treated
as if they were taxes.
• Sec. 440, Pg.
837-839 – The government will design and implement Home Visitation Program for
families with young kids and families that are expecting children.
• Sec. 1904, Pg.
843-844 – This Home Visitation Program includes the government coming into your
house and teaching/telling you how to parent!
These are both lies. The government will implement a program to
finance the creation of such programs. Here’s a major part of that section:
‘‘Subpart 3—Support for Quality Home Visitation
‘‘SEC. 440. HOME VISITATION PROGRAMS FOR FAMILIES
WITH YOUNG CHILDREN AND FAMILIES EXPECTING CHILDREN.
‘‘(a) PURPOSE.—The purpose of this section is to
improve the well-being, health, and development of children by enabling the
establishment and expansion of high quality programs providing voluntary home
visitation for families with young children and families expecting children.
‘‘(b) GRANT APPLICATION.—A State that desires to
receive a grant under this section shall submit to the Secretary for approval,
at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may require, an application
for the grant that includes the following:
‘‘(1) DESCRIPTION OF HOME VISITATION PROGRAMS.—A
description of the high quality programs of home visitation for families with
young children and families expecting children that will be supported by a
grant made to the State under this section, the outcomes the programs are
intended to achieve, and the evidence supporting the effectiveness of the
“Enabling the establishment and expansion” of such
programs is not the same as “design(ing) and implement(ing)” such
programs. The fact that they provide STATES with the ability to apply for such
grants if they “desire” to, would indicate something far less than a
The second one above is incredibly stupid, especially from lawyers.
First of all, the government can never come into your house without
your permission, a warrant or probable cause.
And no one can tell you how to parent, unless you are considered a
danger to your children. Let’s get that out of the way first.
But here’s a crucial portion of that section:
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—In this section, the term
‘‘(A) means expenditures to provide voluntary home
visitation for as many families with young children (under the age of school
entry) and families expecting children as practicable, through the
implementation or expansion of high quality home visitation programs…
Wow. There’s that term “voluntary” again. No one storming
into your house, wagging their fingers at you and telling you what a horrible
parent you are here. Not in this bill.
• Sec. 2002, Pg. 858
– The government will establish a Public Health Fund at a cost of
$88,800,000,000 (That’s Billions).
Okay, could we please enter the modern era? This country spent $2.7
TRILLION on health care last year. (That’s TRILLIONS!) Anyone who gets that
excited over $88.8 billion doesn’t understand the scope of the problem. But it’s worse. It’s not $88.8 billion in one
year. It’s spread out over 10 years. The first year, the amount is $4.6
billion, or 0.0017% of $2.7 trillion. By
the way, while $4.6 billion SOUNDS like a lot of money, it’s roughly $15 per
person. We spend more than $7700 per person for health care.
Now that we have some perspective, what is this fund? Well, as you
can see, they mischaracterized the title. Here is the actual title:
SEC. 2002. PUBLIC HEALTH INVESTMENT FUND.
Strange that they would leave out the word “investment,”
isn’t it? What’s wrong with investing a little bit of money in public health?
Nothing, of course, which is why they left it out. And its purpose is spelled
out in the title of the section, just a few pages back:
DIVISION C—PUBLIC HEALTH AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Yes, that’s right. The investment is in developing a public health
workforce. And the appropriations are controlled by Congress.
• Sec. 2201, Pg. 864
– The government will MANDATE the establishment of a National Health Service
o Sec. 2201 –
“Fulfillment of Obligated Service Requirement”
o Sec. 2201, Pg.
864-875 – The NHS Corps is a program where Doctors perform mandatory HC for 2
years for partial loan repayment.
These three are just ridiculous.
The National Health Service Corps has been in existence since 1972. It provides money to medical students and
residents. In return for the money, they have to perform services under
Medicare/Medicaid. This would extend to the new plan.
Therefore, there is no MANDATE, and nothing new will be ESTABLISHED.
Oh, and by the way, they misquoted the second line:
(a) FULFILLMENT OF OBLIGATED SERVICE REQUIREMENT THROUGH HALF-TIME
• Sec. 2212, Pg.
875-891 – The government takes over the education of Medical students and
Doctors through education and loans.
Once again, are these lawyers addled enough to believe that the
receipt of grants and loans from the government means the government has taken
over your education?
• Sec. 340L, Pg. 897
– The government will establish a Public Health Workforce Corps to ensure an
adequate supply of public health professionals.
• Sec. 340L, Pg. 897
– The Public Health Workforce Corps shall consist of civilian employees of the
United States as Secretary deems necessary.
• Sec. 340L, Pg. 897
– The Public Health Workforce Corps shall consist of officers of Regular and
Reserve Corps of Service.
• Sec. 340M, Pg. 899
– The Public Health Workforce Corps includes veterinarians. Will animals have
heath care too?
• Sec. 2233, Pg. 909
– The government will develop, build and run Public Health Training Centers.
Again, these are just absurd. Why are they
complaints? We already have a shortage of medical professionals in this
country. With 47 million people previously uninsured people now able to get
health care, that shortage is about to become more acute. Putting together a
system to recruit and train medical professionals is common sense.
But at least they’re not lies…
• Sec. 2241, Pg.
912-913 – Government starts a HC affirmative action program under the guise of
They just can’t get away from the racism, can they? Here’s the title
of the section:
Subtitle D—Adapting Workforce to Evolving Health
PART 1—HEALTH PROFESSIONS TRAINING FOR DIVERSITY
SEC. 2241. SCHOLARSHIPS FOR DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS,
LOAN REPAYMENTS AND FELLOWSHIPS REGARDING FACULTY POSITIONS, AND EDUCATIONAL
ASSISTANCE IN THE HEALTH PROFESSIONS REGARDING INDIVIDUALS FROM DISADVANTAGED
First of all, if these people would
actually read this section of the bill, they would find that these programs are
already in place. So, they’re not “starting” anything. But when I see
the above, I see “poor,” not “minority.” Of course, I don’t
see anything wrong with affirmative action programs, anyway.
• Sec. 2251, Pg. 915
– Government MANDATES cultural and linguistic competency training for HC
It doesn’t mandate a damn thing. It OFFERS grants to people who want
or need cultural and linguistic competency training. In fact, nothing they have
claimed has been MANDATED by this bill has actually been mandated. There is
nothing in this bill that isn’t voluntary on the part of medical professionals
But this is all about scaring people who are worried that
“illegal aliens” might get “free” health care.
Here’s the section:
‘‘(a) PROGRAM.—The Secretary shall establish a
cultural and linguistic competency training program for
health care professionals, including nurse
professionals, consisting of awarding grants and contracts under subsection
‘‘(b) CULTURAL AND LINGUISTIC COMPETENCY
TRAINING.—The Secretary shall award grants and contracts to eligible entities—
‘‘(1) to test, develop, and evaluate models of
cultural and linguistic competency training (including continuing education)
for health professionals; and
‘‘(2) to implement cultural and linguistic
competency training programs for health professionals
developed under paragraph (1) or otherwise.
As usual, there is nothing in the above mandating anything. It’s
offering the programs to people who need them. There are large sections of the
country who have seen huge immigration waves, and doctors who can communicate
with their patients have an easier time with treatment. Once more, this is a
common sense measure the right wingers use to scare their “base” into
fearing the “brown people” moving into their neighborhoods.
• Sec. 3111, Pg. 931
– The government will establish a Preventative and Wellness Trust fund, with
initial cost of $30,800,000,000 (Billions more).
Do I have to do this (Billions!) thing again? This is a pittance.
It’s also over 10 years. Oh! And it’s also a portion of the PUBLIC HEALTH INVESTMENT FUND. (see Above)
• Sec. 3121, Pg.
934, Lines 21-22 – Government will identify specific goals and objectives for
prevention and wellness activities. More control of your life.
• Sec. 3121, Pg.
935, Lines 1-2 – The government will develop “Healthy People & National
Public Health Performance Standards.” They will tell us what to eat?
These are insane. It’s like saying the President’s Council on
Physical Fitness forces people to exercise. Here’s the section:
‘‘SEC. 3121. NATIONAL PREVENTION AND WELLNESS
GENERAL.—The Secretary shall submit to the Congress within one year after the
date of the enactment of this section, and at least every 2 years thereafter, a
national strategy that is designed to improve the Nation’s health through
evidence-based clinical and community prevention and wellness activities (in
this section referred to as ‘prevention and wellness activities’), including
core public health infrastructure improvement activities.
‘‘(b) CONTENTS.—The strategy under subsection (a)
shall include each of the following:
‘‘(1) Identification of specific national goals and
objectives in prevention and wellness activities that take into account appropriate public health
measures and standards, including departmental measures and standards (including Healthy People and
National Public Health Performance Standards).
‘‘(2) Establishment of national priorities for
prevention and wellness, taking into account unmet prevention and wellness
‘‘(3) Establishment of national priorities for
research on prevention and wellness, taking into account unanswered research
questions on prevention and wellness.
‘‘(4) Identification of health disparities in
prevention and wellness.
‘‘(5) A plan for addressing and implementing
paragraphs (1) through (4).
By preventing illness and promoting wellness, we reduce health care
expenditures. Right now, we spend $2.7 trillion. (That’s TRILLION) If we could
cut 5% from that by promoting better preventive care, that’s a hell of a lot
more money than the $80 billion these same people have been going crazy
over. But the bottom line is, it’s a
lie, because there is no government control here. I mean, unless you believe the government’s
food pyramid is somehow coercive.
• Sec. 3131, Pg.
942, Lines 22-25 – “Task Force on Community Preventive Services.” More
government? Under the Offices of Surgeon General, Public Health Services,
Minority Health and Women’s Health.
• Sec. 3141, Pg.
949-979 – BIG GOVERNMENT core public health infrastructure includes workforce
capacity, lab systems, health information systems, etc.
• Sec. 2511, Pg. 992
– Government will establish school-based “health” clinics. Your children will
be indoctrinated and your grandchildren may be aborted!
• Sec. 399Z-1, Pg.
993 – School-Based Health Clinics will be integrated into the school
environment. More government brainwashing in school.
These are simply government control
paranoia run amok. The bill will create funds to expand prevention and wellness
abilities, because they’re adding 47 million people to the rolls who have never
been able to go to the doctor before. The more they do to promote healthy
lifestyles and educate people regarding what they eat and drink and how they
take care of themselves, the more money we’ll save. But to think they’ll be
enforcing draconian laws designed to force us to eat healthy foods with every
meal and exercise is just crazy.
• Sec. 2521, Pg.
1000 – The government will establish a National Medical Device Registry. Will
you be tracked?
Not unless you have a medical device implanted, I wouldn’t
think. That’s not too many people. And
as noted previously, they still have to follow applicable privacy laws.
Okay, that was a
pretty gargantuan task, mainly because these people are gargantuan liars. But
take heart; the reason they have to lie so much is because they have nothing
else. There may actually be a few legitimate arguments against going with a
public option national health care plan. The problem is, the potentially
legitimate arguments are being drowned out by the absurd lies.
One piece of advice
I have for everyone; don’t use these to argue with the right wingers you run
into. To do so is a waste of time and energy, to be sure. Instead, use them to rebut the lies and give people the truth. And by all means, get people to READ THE BILL!
The right wing fart
machine is working overtime on the health care reform bill, lemme tell ya.
The following was sent
by a reader. It’s by Radio Gasbag Dennis Prager (whom I’m told is actually a
really nice man, so it will hurt a little putting my rhetorical foot up his
“nice” ass…), and this load of crap is absolutely chock full of misinformation
and false assumptions. He even lies about the number of questions. There are a
lot more than 10.
apparently came from the Jewish
World Review. (Why are so many so-called religious people so dead set
against letting everyone have access to health care?)
As always, the
article I’m responding to is not edited, and my responses are in red…
10 Questions for Supporters of ‘ObamaCare’
By Dennis Prager
1. President Barack
Obama repeatedly tells us that one reason national health care is needed is
that we can no longer afford to pay for Medicare and Medicaid. But if Medicare
and Medicaid are fiscally insolvent and gradually bankrupting our society, why is
a government takeover of medical care for the rest of society a good idea? What
large-scale government program has not eventually spiraled out of control, let
alone stayed within its projected budget? Why should anyone believe that
nationalizing health care would create the first major government program to
“pay for itself,” let alone get smaller rather than larger over time?
Why not simply see how the Democrats can reform Medicare and Medicaid before
nationalizing much of the rest of health care?
Okay, the first thing you’ll notice that there are four questions in
the above, not one. But they’re all based on ridiculous assumptions.
biggest misconception in the above is based on a simplistic idea
that somehow, all aspects of our health care system are separate
entities. Medicare and Medicaid are integral parts of the same health
care system as
private insurance, and they are going broke, in part, BECAUSE of
even people without insurance are entitled to health care at
some point. (He mentions this in a later question, but misrepresents
that, too, by the way…) But if they don’t have insurance, no one pays
the bill. Only,
hospitals and doctors have expenses, so to make up the shortfall, they
prices. Got that? Every thirty seconds, someone in this country goes
due to health care bills. And when people can’t pay their bills,
has to make up the difference. As more and more people are left without
insurance, and as insurance companies refuse to cover more and more
health care delivery people have to raise their prices to compensate.
insurance companies can raise premiums. Medicare and Medicaid are paid
tax money; they can’t just raise taxes to cover the shortfall. And once
again; the shortfall is largely CAUSED by the private insurers, who
refuse to cover people who need it, and who do their best to not pay
claims for people they do insure.
What’s causing Medicare and Medicaid solvency problems is
health care inflation, which averages three to four times the inflation rate of
the rest of the economy. But check this out; if every bill was paid, then
health care inflation would drop by as much as 75%, even if no other factors
adjusted. Just cover everyone, and Medicare and Medicaid are saved.
See, here’s the silliness in the above. Medicare and Medicaid aren’t
bankrupting society; the private insurance system, which refuses to allow one fifth of
the population from even paying into the system, and refuses to pay the bills
for many of the people it doesn’t reject, are bankrupting Medicare and
The next question, about public health insurance “paying for
itself,” also stems from the ignorance in thinking that, somehow each part
of the insurance system works wholly independently of every other part of the
Check out these statistics:
- In 2008,
health care spending in the United States reached $2.4 trillion, and was
projected to reach $3.1 trillion in 2012.1 Health care spending is
projected to reach $4.3 trillion by 2016.
- Health care
spending is 4.3 times the amount spent on national defense.
- In 2008,
the United States will spend 17 percent of its gross domestic product
(GDP) on health care. It is projected that the percentage will reach 20
percent by 2017.
nearly 46 million Americans are uninsured, the United States spends more
on health care than other industrialized nations, and those countries
provide health insurance to all their citizens.
- Health care
spending accounted for 10.9 percent of the GDP in Switzerland, 10.7
percent in Germany, 9.7 percent in Canada and 9.5 percent in France,
according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
We already spend more on health care than anyone else. Fully 17% of our GDP goes to
pay for health care. Obviously, the money is already there. Only right now, the
expense is being paid by fewer people every year. It doesn’t take a
mathematical genius to figure out that $2.4 trillion shared by 300 million
people is a lot cheaper than the same amount shared by 200 million. Plus, there
is no competition in the system right now. Competition will bring prices down,
Look at the stats above. We spend more and get less than every other
industrialized nation in the world for health care. Every other nation spends
less and covers everyone. Wouldn’t it make sense to find out what they do and
maybe copy them?
2. President Obama
reiterated this past week that “no insurance company will be allowed to
deny you coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition.” This is an
oft-repeated goal of the president’s and the Democrats’ health care plan. But if
any individual can buy health insurance at any time, why would anyone buy
health insurance while healthy? Why would I not simply wait until I got sick or
injured to buy the insurance? If auto insurance were purchasable once one got
into an accident, why would anyone purchase auto insurance before an accident?
Will the Democrats next demand that life insurance companies sell life
insurance to the terminally ill? The whole point of insurance is that the
healthy buy it and thereby provide the funds to pay for the sick. Demanding
that insurance companies provide insurance to everyone at any time spells the
end of the concept of insurance. And if the answer is that the government will
now make it illegal not to buy insurance, how will that be enforced? How will
the government check on 300 million people?
Seriously, this is a lot more than one question. Let’s start with
the ridiculous misrepresentation of what Obama actually said.
If Prager is pleading ignorance about this, I don’t buy it.
Insurance companies refusing to sell you a policy because of a pre-existing
condition has nothing to do with any of the questions that he poses after. I mean,
for Chrissakes, is it even possible for these people to be honest?
When an insurance company refuses to sell you a policy, EVERYONE
ELSE in the system gets to pay your bills when you finally need care.
Understand? That’s what he’s referring to. Tell you what, Dennis; fill out an
application for insurance at your work and check off the box that says
“Hepatitis B” and watch what happens. They’ll turn you down, and
there is nothing you can do to get coverage. Period. That means, if you get the
flu and you don’t have the cash to pay for treatment, everyone with insurance
pays for it. It also means that, if you show up at the hospital for treatment,
they have to treat you, and someone else pays the bill. Well, someone else pays
the bill after you go into bankruptcy court and have the bill wiped out.
And Dennis? Everyone who buys health insurance IS healthy. Got that?
If they’re not healthy, they don’t get insurance; no one will sell it to them.
That’s the problem with the system. The people most in need of health insurance
don’t get insured, because the private companies won’t take “the
Now, let’s look at the ridiculous comparison with car insurance,
shall we? Can anyone see the logical fallacies in the above? The first one is
obvious. If I go to a shop with a car that’s been in a serious accident I am
not entitled to have it repaired or replaced, if I have not paid for insurance.
On the other hand, if I have been turned down by every health insurance company
available because I have a “pre-existing condition,” and I end up in
the ER with a heart attack, the hospital is required to treat me.
See the difference? We have a right to life-saving and
pain-relieving health care, regardless of our ability to pay. We do not have
the right to have our car repaired.
The life insurance question is a red herring for the same reason the
car insurance question is insane; your next of kin has no inherent right to
receive money upon your death.
Dennis also seems to misunderstand the purpose of insurance, which
may explain the rest of this idiocy. Here it is again:
“The whole point
of insurance is that the healthy buy it and thereby provide the funds to pay
for the sick.”
No. That’s not the purpose of insurance. The purpose of any
insurance is so that a large group of people can pool their resources, and not
go broke if something bad happens at an inopportune time. In the case of health
insurance, everyone is entitled to health care at some point in their life,
should they need it. Only a large swath of the population is forbidden from
paying into the insurance pool.
Now, the last question is actually not a horrible one. Eventually,
it will be necessary to make everyone buy health insurance at some point,
because everyone needs to be covered. But first things first; right now, let’s
just make sure everyone who wants insurance has it, because that will make
insurance far cheaper for everyone.
3. Why do supporters
of nationalized medicine so often substitute the word “care” for the
word “insurance?” it is patently untrue that millions of Americans do
not receive health care. Millions of Americans do not have health insurance but
virtually every American (and non-American on American soil) receives health
The first question above is also a pet peeve of mine. This reform
isn’t about “health care;” it’s about “health insurance,”
and getting everyone covered. So, that part of the first question is actually
The disconnect comes, because he refers to people in favor of reform
as “supporters of nationalized medicine.” The current bill, and even
the discussions of “single payer” health insurance, do not involve
nationalizing medicine. The medical delivery system is not the problem. We have
some of the best medical facilities and medical professionals in the world in
this country. The problem is the tens of millions of people who are denied
medical insurance in this country, and the hundreds of billions of dollars
uninsured people cost the system every year, causing the entire system to
spiral out of control.
Now the final statement made after the fallacious question, is
outrageous. The millions of Americans who don’t have insurance do NOT receive
“health care.” They may receive emergency care if their arm is
falling off, or their condition becomes so bad they need a machine to live, but
to call that “health care” is absolutely immoral. Health care is
going to a doctor when you start feeling bad, or when you first notice a lump
or a strange mole. And tens of millions of people don’t have that option. In
fact, millions of people are turned away from health care every year because
they don’t have insurance or the ability to pay.
Not only that, but tens of thousands of people who HAVE insurance,
and discover that lump or mole, LOSE their health insurance as a result of
daring to contract some sort of ailment that is on their “list.” How
many WITH insurance avoid reporting an ailment, because they’re afraid the
insurance company will
A whole lot of people don’t get “health care,” and for him
to insinuate that they do is a level of ignorance that is unconscionable for a
“nice guy” right wing talk show host.
4. No one denies that
in order to come close to staying within its budget health care will be
rationed. But what is the moral justification of having the state decide what
medical care to ration?
This is may favorite technique used by right wingers to
“prove” their point.
Hey Dennis; I deny that there will have to be rationing. And there
are many like me out there, I assure you. Therefore, your arrogant claim that
“no one denies…” is absolute crap.
Now, let’s talk about this whole concept of “moral
justification,” shall we?
The state will decide what medical care it will COVER. That is not
the same as rationing. Rationing is what the private health insurance companies
do now, to maximize profits. Do you even know how an HMO works? Its entire
premise fits the very definition of rationing. The insurance company pays a
medical corporation a certain amount of money each year for each patient they
take on, and the corporation gets to keep everything they don’t spend. That is
rationing. And if you have ever had to use your health insurance, you have
undoubtedly heard them recommend a cheaper alternative procedure to a doctor.
There is nothing in the health care reform bill that would ration
anything. If you mean they will only cover basic health care, and not pay for
Uncle Joey’s new nose, or Aunt Marlene’s sex change, you’re probably right. But
that’s not rationing. What insurance companies are doing right now is
As for this “moral justification” crap, just who the HELL
do you think you are, asking for moral justification from anyone else, when you
are advocating against making sure that 47 million people who are currently
uncovered, are covered.
What’s your “moral justification” for advocating in favor
of a status quo in which one family per minute is thrown into bankruptcy
because they can’t pay their medical bills?
What’s your “moral justification” for advocating for a
system in which private insurance companies deny insurance coverage to people
who need it, because they are likely to have to use it?
What’s your “moral justification” for advocating for a
system in which a person can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in premiums
for 30 years, and have nothing to show for it if he loses his job through no
fault of his own.
What’s your “moral justification” for advocating for a
system in which fewer and fewer people are forced to pay higher and higher
premiums every year, to cover costs incurred because the people the insurance
companies refused to cover got sick?
I could go on. There is no “moral justification” for
health care rationing. So why have you been so quiet about it when private
companies have been doing it with impunity for many decades?
5. According to Dr.
David Gratzer, health care specialist at the Manhattan Institute, “While
20 years ago pharmaceuticals were largely developed in Europe, European price
controls made drug development an American enterprise. Fifteen of the 20 top-selling
drugs worldwide this year were birthed in the United States.” Given how
many lives — in America and throughout the world – American pharmaceutical
companies save, and given how expensive it is to develop any new drug, will the
price controls on drugs envisaged in the Democrats’ bill improve or impair
The answer to this question is a resounding “no.” There’s
no other answer. Private insurance companies control prices now; they don’t pay
full price for drugs. No one is interested in putting drug companies out of
business. But can we get real about the profit situation at those
“poor” drug companies? When Medicare introduced its prescription drug
plan, big pharma’s profits soared $8 billion in just
the first six months alone. That’s just the INCREASE folks. The top ten
pharmaceutical firms made
a profit of $80 billion in 2007. That’s PROFITS, folks. That hardly
indicates that they have an overwhelming burden to overcome with their research
Now, if the big drug companies made that much money when the
government added 40 million Medicare recipients to the market, why would adding
47 million other insured individuals, many of who are denied insurance because
they’re sick, reduce their profits? And if price controls cause their profits
to stagnate somewhat, or even go down a bit, are we supposed to leave 47
million people uninsured, because it would mean Pfizer might “only”
make $15 billion, instead of $20 billion? Are you honestly dumb enough to
think these companies will go out of business if they can “only” make
$40 billion instead of $80 billion?
Where’s the “moral justification” of continuing to deny
coverage to 47 million people, so that 10 drug companies can make an extra $40
billion in profits every single year?
Oh, and one more thing; the reason most of these companies are
located here is because of the generosity of the US government when it comes to
research money. They still SELL drugs in all of the countries that control
prices. And they make a profit in those countries, as well.
6. Do you really
believe that private insurance could survive a “public option”? Or is
this really a cover for the ideal of single-payer medical care? How could a
private insurance company survive a “public option” given that
private companies have to show a profit and government agencies do not have to
– and given that a private enterprise must raise its own money to be solvent
and a government option has access to others’ money — i.e., taxes?
You know I don’t really give a shit about the answer to the first
question. Private insurance companies have had a veritable monopoly for many
years, and they have abused it. The only concern advocates for health care
reform have is to make sure that every single person in this country is covered
by insurance, and to control costs.
But to answer that phenomenally stupid question anyway, the answer
is of COURSE private insurance companies can survive and make plenty of money.
Look at how they make money now; they make it by refusing to cover people who
might actually need health care. They can still do that, if they want. The
difference is, those people will now be able to sign up for a public option.
The funny thing is, if Dennis would read the bill, he would find
that private insurance will be offered alongside the public insurance option,
which gives insurance companies the chance to actually compete with the public
option directly. Plus, insuring everyone will eliminate that pesky double-digit
inflation that has plagued the health care industry for decades.
Not only that (and this is something I never hear mentioned by right
wingers — wonder how come?), but insurance companies pay for drugs and
procedures. Um, won’t their expenses drop, with the government getting into the
act and working to keep prices low? I mean, if the government limits the price
of a 30-day supply of a drug, doesn’t that also potentially reduce the cost to
the insurance companies, as well?
I would also point out to Dennis that the concept of private
insurance as a profitable enterprise is relatively new. Up until about 25 years
ago, almost all private health insurance was non-profit. And strangely, it
worked better then; go figure.
But the bottom line is if private insurance companies can’t make
money and they go by the wayside as a natural course of things, then so be it.
But this would be the first country to see that happen. Most countries with a
national health insurance system still have a healthy private insurance system,
as well. In fact, if the system was “rationing,” as Dennis claims
WILL happen couldn’t private insurance make a boatload of money filling in
those rationing gaps?
(Right wingers really don’t do logic much…)
7. Why will hospitals,
doctors, and pharmaceutical companies do nearly as superb a job as they now do
if their reimbursement from the government will be severely cut? Haven’t the
laws of human behavior and common sense been repealed here in arguing that while
doctors, hospitals and drug companies will make significantly less money they
will continue to provide the same level of uniquely excellent care?
See how right wingers think? I actually had one of them tell me
yesterday that the American Dream was to become rich. No shit. I bet you had no
idea that all of those teachers, police officers, firefighters and soldiers
were actually giving up on the American Dream to do what they love. I bet they
But there’s an even more insidious notion in effect here.
BILLIONS OF DOLLARS of health care bills go unpaid every year, and
most of them are incurred by people who are refused insurance, or who don’t
carry any because they think they’re indestructible. But there are also a
significant number of bills that go unpaid insurance companies refuse to pay
the bill for their insured. In many hospitals, as much as 30% of their bills go
unpaid in a given year. Plus, the administrative costs for getting paid by
private insurance has gone through the roof, while Medicare and Medicaid have
streamlined their processes.
Therefore, the assumption that the government will cut their
reimbursement is a red herring. Will hospitals be able to increase prices by
20% a year, as they do now? No, but that’s because they won’t have to.
The problem with our system is, we have a health care delivery
system in which outcomes are the most important thing. For the most part,
medical professionals care about their patients and they go through the things
they go through because they love medicine. Yes, they want to live comfortably,
but their goal, for the most part, isn’t to make a million dollars a year; it’s
to heal sick people.
On the other hand, private for-profit insurance companies make money
by denying care. They don’t care one little bit about outcomes; in fact, if you
die before you use up all of your premium, they make even more. They make money
by NOT paying for things.
With 47 million people covered who aren’t covered currently, health
care providers will collect MORE money not less. With inflation back to normal,
they can better anticipate and plan. They can eliminate much of their
administrative overhead. And with increased competition, private insurance
companies will be forced to at least consider outcomes in their business
In other words, Dennis. Doctors, nurses, and everyone else, will
probably make MORE money with LESS hassle.
8. Given how many
needless procedures are ordered to avoid medical lawsuits and how much money
doctors spend on medical malpractice insurance, shouldn’t any meaningful
“reform” of health care provide some remedy for frivolous malpractice
Ok, finally… not a dumb question. Only, it really has nothing to
do with health care reform. Yes, there should be malpractice insurance reform.
Although having worked in the legal industry for quite some time, I can tell
you the monetary effect of the lawsuits isn’t as great as the right would like
you to believe. If there’s a problem, it’s with insurance companies. Truly
frivolous lawsuits never make it to trial. But insurance companies are very
quick to settle pointless suits, because they can then cry about the terrible toll
they take on their bottom line, at the same time they raise premium rates.
But I’ll talk about this later. This is about insuring the
uninsured; malpractice insurance reform is a separate issue.
9. Given how weak the
U.S. economy is, given how weak the U.S. dollar is, and given how much in debt
the U.S. is in, why would anyone seek to have the U.S. spend another trillion
dollars? Even if all the other questions here had legitimate answers, wouldn’t
the state of the U.S. economy alone argue against national health care at this
Of all the questions they ask, this is perhaps the silliest one.
We’re not spending ANOTHER trillion dollars. And the fact that these
people think we will actually demonstrates the depth of their ignorance on this
We already spend 17% of our GDP on health care. It’s estimated that,
if we do nothing, that will increase to 20% of GDP by 2016, even assuming a
nominal growth rate of 2% per year. Last year, we spent $2.4 trillion on health
care, which comes to $7900 per person. (Here are more dry stats, if you
would like to read them.) The average family health insurance premium is
now more than $15,000 per year. The CBO estimates that, unless we cover
everyone, that amount will increase about $1,800 per year for the next 10
years, which means the average family premium will top $30,000 per year. And
that’s all assuming that the number of uninsured only increases a little.
What this plan will do is spend some money on the front end to save
us a whole lot more in the long run. The trillion dollars Dennis is on about is
over TEN YEARS. We spent 2.5 times that much in the last year alone. And since
health care spending is expected to be close to $4 trillion per year by 2016,
the $1 trillion we spend on this over the next ten years will probably save us
at least twice that much. Here’s a chart
from the CBO on how much health care is projected to increase if nothing is
done. That promises to be far worse for the economy than taking control of the
out of control bus and slowing it down a little. Here is the CBO’s
preliminary analysis of HR
3200, the original House bill. Go to page 2; over the course of the entire
10 year period, the total effect on the deficit is $239 billion. Total. That’s
10 years. And that’s before the tweaking that is currently going on in the
But here’s the bottom line. While we’re spending $1 trillion as a
country over 10 years, the average family who decides to keep their private
insurance will save most of that $1,800 per year increase per year for at least
seven of the ten years. Health care inflation will drop back to the normal
range. And overall health care costs will drop a lot for several reasons.
People will be covered, and will be able to be treated for a condition before
it becomes expensive. Doctors will be able to treat patients properly the first
time, and won’t have a bureaucrat from a private insurance company overriding
their judgment and demanding a “cheaper” method of treatment.
This is something the government is not used to dealing with these
days, and something the right wing can’t wrap their heads around; it’s an
attempt to secure the healthy care system for the future. It’s an investment.
10. Contrary to the
assertion of President Obama — “we spend much more on health care than
any other nation but aren’t any healthier for it” — we are healthier. We
wait far less time for procedures and surgeries. Our life expectancy with virtually
any major disease is longer. And if you do not count deaths from violent crime
and automobile accidents, we also have the longest life expectancy. Do you
think a government takeover of American medicine will enable this medical
excellence to continue?
We are not healthier. That’s an outright lie. We are 37th in the
world in health care performance, and 72nd in overall health, of the 191
nations surveyed by the
World Health Organization. If you don’t want to believe the WHO, the Commonwealth Fund ranked the 19
most advanced countries in the world and placed us last. Our infant mortality
rate is dead last in the industrialized world. Our life expectancy rate is not
longer; we’re actually the only industrialized nation in the world in which
life expectancy has DROPPED in the last 20 years. There are actually pockets in
this country, in inner cities and rural areas, in which life expectancy figures
are comparable to those in sub-Saharan Africa.
Since no “government takeover of American medicine” is
planned, by any stretch, this is your typical right wing straw man. But the
government will be setting up a public health insurance system, and everyone
will be covered if they have health problems. That means all of the people who
are currently not able to go to a doctor because they can’t afford it will now
be able to go to the doctor. It means all of those people who can’t get health
care until such time as they are in dire need of emergency care, will be able
to get treatment before they get to that point.
So the easy answer is, covering every American with health insurance
will make us healthier.
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Copyright 2009 The PCTC Blog