Thursday, August 27, 2009

Health care "reform" question of the day 

Philip K. Howard asks a great question:

It is incredible to me that, amid public concern over the leading healthcare proposals, congressional leadership continues to stonewall any discussion of legal overhaul. They have effectively left the field open to Republicans, who now have seized the center with proposals for special health courts and other ideas that enjoy broad support from almost all healthcare constituents, including consumer groups and patient safety advocates. See here, here and here. I know the trial lawyers give Democrats a lot of money, but can this possibly be smart politics?

The Republicans ought to pound this issue harder than Rocky smashed Apollo Creed's broken rib.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Aug 27, 06:57:00 PM:

There's several tells in Healthcare:

1) no mention of tort reform;

2) nothing to address the looming shortage of doctors;

3) no mention of disease management;

4) most equal pigs keep what they've got -- Senators, Congressmen, federal employees, UAW workers, etc. The rest of us get put into steerage.

If you take out the public option, I don't know what's left in the 1,000 pages -- other than to force many of us to buy mispriced insurance we don't want -- and to put a trillion dollar tax on the top 5% -- when we already project $9 trillion in deficits over the next ten years. Recall that the CBO has said that there are no cost savings in this bill -- zero, zilch, nada.

It's an outrage that Big Pharma will spend $150 million on TV ads to promote TeddyCare, at Obama's "behest."

I'm also wary that there's a delayed implementation date. If adopted, Obama will just put us to sleep until he's out of office.

Comprehensive reform this ain't.

I like the lack of tort reform angle. I'd also argue that all federal employees, including our representatives, must get folded in.

Link, over  

By Blogger Lynn, at Thu Aug 27, 07:53:00 PM:

Please leave the Federal Employees out of it. FEHB (Federal Employees Health benefit) plan has many of the things regular Americans want in the normal health insurance business. Portability (Change Federal jobs and take your plan with you), across state lines, flexible spending accounts, etc...

Besides, do you really think the Senators and Representatives who vote for this monstrosity really expect that they will be using it for anything? And if they are going to need to force a certain number of people into it to make it pay, the first poor suckers are going to be the Federal employees. All the more reason for me to be out in front of the parade, yelling “Not only no, but hell no!”  

By Blogger Carolyn, at Thu Aug 27, 08:29:00 PM:

Could not equal tax treatment for individuals and employers purchasing health insurance also be considered a "legal reform"?  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Thu Aug 27, 09:10:00 PM:

A room full of lawyers is not the place to go for tort reform...but if the Rebublicans want to re-register themselves as a populist party...they'd better take the Bard's advice.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Aug 27, 10:02:00 PM:


I don't understand your comment -- my fault. Please clarify. Are you a federal employee? Federal employees get a great deal on healthcare is my understanding. Sounds like you are. If so I hit a nerve ... and I absolutely want you to join the fucked-by-Obama club if that's what's on offer.

If we're going to de facto single payer we shouldn't have tiers. We need to consider the implications of #1) bringing federal employees down to the level of TeddyCare ... or, #2) pricing TeddyCare at the level of federal employees.

#1) If the Obama philosophy is that we're all in this together, then let's all be in this together. That means federal employees too. Lynn, if you're screaming at this idea ... join the outraged over Obama club. Tell me why this isn't this fair, when none of us have rights, constitutional or otherwise, in ObamaLand.

#2) Politic whining will drive the costs of TeddyCare as high or higher than that of federal employees. The CBO already says TeddyCare doesn't save a dime. I suspect the reality will be far worse. Look at the MittCare in Massachusetts.

Federal and state employees, cushy union folks, and retirees have to made to see that they have skin in this game. If the ship goes down, they will too. In worse cases, they'll fare worse.

The radical opposition response is to bring these favored interests down to the level of what Obama proposes for the rest of us.

Link, over  

By Blogger SR, at Thu Aug 27, 11:53:00 PM:

This issue while somewhat important in the discussion doesn't come close to the level of philosophical importance of the views of Ezekial Emanuel as set forth by Betsey McCaughey's WSJ exposition. Emanuel, advisor to President Obama on healthcare is reported to be strongly of the opinion that the physician patient relationship should at least be equal if not subordinate to considerations about society's well being. This is scary stuff. It is not in the 1000 pages yet that we know of, but it probably informs a lot of what is.  

By Blogger Lynn, at Thu Aug 27, 11:56:00 PM:


Ok Anon. Lets try again using smaller words.
Obamacare sucks.
Feds know that.
We do not want it either.
When it get implemented, Feds will get stuck in it first.
Congresscritters have nothing to worry about, and will never have to face Obamacare.

The sad part is Ted Kennedy actually had something to do with the improvements the Feds have had in FEHB over the years, from portability, to medical savings accounts. The sadder part is his opposition to allowing these improvements to be extended to the rest of the population.  

By Anonymous tyree, at Fri Aug 28, 01:54:00 AM:


for a short story on the cost of lawsuits on a ladder company. Everything a hospital buys costs more because of the tort lawyers and their enablers.  

By Anonymous WLindsayWheeler, at Fri Aug 28, 07:09:00 AM:

Yes, tort reform is the biggest single issue of Health costs. ---and it is missing in the 1000 pages of Teddycare. And it is a glaring mistake.

Doctors regularly need Half a million to millions of liability insurance. Birth Doctors probably have twice that and that is why Birth Doctors are so hard to find. It is too expensive to be a birth doctor.

Tort reform would do more to lower costs than anything. And yes that is a matter for the states like health care is the matter of the states and not the Federal Government.

Anyway we are in deep doo-doo any way you look at it.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 28, 10:11:00 AM:

Howard Dean states the obvious,

"Democrats didn't include tort reform because tort lawyers are tough people who give us a lot of money."

Or something.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 28, 02:25:00 PM:

"President Obama will cut 10% from the money Medicare pays specialists in heart disease and cancer next year, Bloomberg News reported.

Family doctors will get an 8% raise and nurses will get a 7% raise in an effort to make health care cheaper and less effective.

“Our 37,000 members are fighting tooth and nail on these other issues rather than fighting thoughtfully for expanding access,” said Jack Lewin, 63, chief executive officer of the Washington-based American College of Cardiology.

There is your socialized medicine, folks, putting the bureaucracy first. Saving money takes priority over saving lives."

Don Surber reports on the nationalization of Healthcare article of the day, in which we learn that the only thing that matters are SEIU jobs, not the actual "medical care" part.  

By Blogger Elise, at Fri Aug 28, 03:35:00 PM:

True believers in single-payer will argue you to the ground and when that doesn’t work they’ll stomp on you to convince you that malpractice suits do not impact health care significantly - if at all. See this comment fight at Reclusive Leftist for an example.

The Obamacare people can slap a KennedyCare label on the monstrosities they’re pushing but what Ted Kennedy proposed is not Obamacare - and it’s not altogether true single-payer either. It’s sort of like a combination of government as insurer and a shadow FEHP - and enrollment in KennedyCare may not be mandatory. (That’s a little ambiguous.) Plus the bill to establish KennedyCare is only 27 pages long and written in something that approaches plain English. I’m not saying I like it but if I’m going to have something shoved down my throat I’d rather KennedyCare than HR3200 or single-payer.  

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