Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Cure for Health Reform Fears...


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Let's Do Health Care Reform in Several Steps:


8/27/2009

My opinion:

I think most Americans have no idea what health systems are like in any other country because they've never been outside the US. People in Europe can travel to their neighbors so much more easily and see different cultures. I'm guilty of this--I've never left the U.S. either.

Fear of the unknown is understandable, but the health care reform debate should be based on truth, not lies. Unfortunately, I think the democrats are trying to reform the entire system at once. People are scared when the see a 1000 page law. I think congress should fix the worst problems first. Like congress should ban insurers from dropping people for pre-existing conditions and limit rate hikes for everyone to the rate of inflation. Even if we don't do the reforms that will cost tax money, we can change regulations and those changes can themselves fix a lot of the inequity.

It reminds me of how California's legislature cut back on strip mining abuses 6 years ago. Even though the federal government has this antiquated law that gives away federal land to mining companies, and congress can never get the votes to change it, our state legislature changed the local laws to require every mine to restore the landscape to what it looked like before the mining project. That raised the costs so high that several federal mine giveaways in the desert were dropped by the companies because they knew they couldn't make money doing it.
(I also write an enviro blog at http://rare-earth-news.blogspot.com . )

This is the way we could accomplish the same goals of a government plan by making the health insurers follow rules that curb their profits so much that they will be the ones seeking a federal bailout. And with a bailout comes government control, like at GM and Chrysler. If reform was done in stages, we could do this.

Most Americans hate the insurance companies--let's target their abuses right now.

We don't have to fix the entire system at once. We can knock down the power of the insurers now and later force them to be part of the fix of the entire system.

---Rex Frankel, for StopCorporateGreed.org

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http://humboldtherald.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/thompson-town-hall-packed/

“This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US department of energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the national weather service of the national oceanographic and atmospheric administration determined the weather was going to be like, using satellites designed, built, and launched by the national aeronautics and space administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US department of agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the food and drug administration.

At the appropriate time as regulated by the US congress and kept accurate by the national institute of standards and technology and the US naval observatory, I get into my national highway traffic safety administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the environmental protection agency, using legal tender issed by the federal reserve bank. On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US postal service and drop the kids off at the public school.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the department of labor and the occupational safety and health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal’s inspection, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the local police department.

I then log on to the internet which was developed by the defense advanced research projects administration and post on freerepublic.com and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can’t do anything right.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Exposing the Right-Wing's Lies about Health insurance reform

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FACT CHECK: Health overhaul myths taking root

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_fact_check_health_poll

By CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press Writer Calvin Woodward, Associated Press Writer – Wed Aug 19, 5:39 pm ET

WASHINGTON – The judgment is harsh in a new poll that finds Americans worried about the government taking over health insurance, cutting off treatment to the elderly and giving coverage to illegal immigrants. Harsh, but not based on facts.

President Barack Obama's lack of a detailed plan for overhauling health care is letting critics fill in the blanks in the public's mind. In reality, Washington is not working on "death panels" or nationalization of health care.

To be sure, presenting Congress and the country with the nuts and bolts of a revamped system of health insurance is no guarantee of success for a president — just ask Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Their famous flop was demonized, too. After all, the devil does lurk in details.
It can also lurk in generalities, it seems.
Obama is promoting his changes in something of a vacuum, laying out principles, goals and broad avenues, some of which he's open to amending. As lawmakers sweat the nitty gritty, he's doing a lot of listening, and he's getting an earful.
A new NBC News poll suggests some of the myths and partial truths about the plans under consideration are taking hold.
Most respondents said the effort is likely to lead to a "government takeover of the health care system" and to public insurance for illegal immigrants. Half said it will probably result in taxpayers paying for abortions and nearly that many expected the government will end up with the power to decide when treatment should stop for old people.

A look at each of those points:

THE POLL: 45 percent said it's likely the government will decide when to stop care for the elderly; 50 percent said it's not likely.
THE FACTS: Nothing being debated in Washington would give the government such authority. Critics have twisted a provision in a House bill that would direct Medicare to pay for counseling sessions about end-of-life care, living wills, hospices and the like if a patient wants such consultations with a doctor. They have said, incorrectly, that the elderly would be required to have these sessions.
House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio said such counseling "may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia."
The bill would prohibit coverage of counseling that presents suicide or assisted suicide as an option.
Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who has been a proponent of coverage for end-of-life counseling under Medicare, said such sessions are a voluntary benefit, strictly between doctor and patient, and it was "nuts" to think death panels are looming or euthanasia is part of the equation.
But as fellow conservatives stepped up criticism of the provision, he backed away from his defense of it.
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THE POLL: 55 percent expect the overhaul will give coverage to illegal immigrants; 34 percent don't.
THE FACTS: The proposals being negotiated do not provide coverage for illegal immigrants.
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THE POLL: 54 percent said the overhaul will lead to a government takeover of health care; 39 percent disagree.
THE FACTS: Obama is not proposing a single-payer system in which the government covers everyone, like in Canada or some European countries. He says that direction is not right for the U.S. The proposals being negotiated do not go there.
At issue is a proposed "exchange" or "marketplace" in which a new government plan would be one option for people who aren't covered at work or whose job coverage is too expensive. The exchange would offer some private plans as well as the public one, all of them required to offer certain basic benefits.
That's a long way from a government takeover. But when Obama tells people they can just continue with the plans they have now if they are happy with them, that can't be taken at face value, either. Tax provisions could end up making it cheaper for some employers to pay a fee to end their health coverage, nudging some patients into a public plan with different doctors and benefits. Over time, critics fear, the public plan could squeeze private insurers out of business because they would not be able to compete with the federal government.
It's unclear now whether Obama is committed to the public option. He described it recently as "just one sliver" of health reform, suggesting it was expendable if lawmakers could agree on another way to expand affordable coverage. Now the White House is emphasizing his strong support for it.

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THE POLL: 50 percent expect taxpayer dollars will be used to pay for abortions; 37 percent don't.
THE FACTS: The House version of legislation would allow coverage for abortion, but the bill says a beneficiary's own money — not taxpayer funds — must be used to pay for the procedure. How that would be enforced has not been determined.
Obama has stated that the U.S. should continue its tradition of "not financing abortions as part of government-funded health care." Current laws prohibiting public financing of abortion would stay on the books.
Yet abortion guidelines are not yet clear for the government-supervised insurance exchange. There is strong sentiment in Congress on both sides of the issue.
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The poll of 805 people was taken Aug. 15-17 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.