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Old August 24th, 2009, 08:44 PM
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Default NPR Radio

thanks to my good friend ToddDH, I have been listening to NPR radio the last week or so at night and they have been having a fascinating series about the current Health Bill debate..very well balanced series entitled "Fresh Aire" and airs at 7pm CDT
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Old August 25th, 2009, 08:26 AM
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I was surrounded by Healthcare bills last year. They were all state bills, but I read quite a few. There was even a single payer bill, similar to this bill. My question is how will this single payer healthcare insurance be paid and who will collect the past due taxes if it's not paid? The one I read it was an Employer healthcare fee. So willl this healthcare plan be paid by an increase in employer's federal taxes, increase in sales tax, increase in property tax, or is it some other tax that is increasing? If there is no way to pay for it then already the plan has a major flaw. I was in Canada on a cruise and thier sales tax was quite high, I think that is how they pay for their healthcare system. I'm not certain through.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 09:09 AM
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Obviously we have a severe health care issue in this country. While everyone seems to promise this or that and attempts are continuing to pass legislation that everyone claims hasn't been produced (I guess that 1000 page House proposal was just for ha-ha's), I still haven't heard one single explanation by ANYONE as to HOW the current proposals are going to, in any way whatsoever actually address the problem in even a remotely affordable fashion. Yet now we learn (very quietly I hasten to add) today, that the deficit will grow more than two trillion dollars more than the trillions upon trillions already piled up!

Am I the only one scared to death?

Todd
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Old August 25th, 2009, 10:20 AM
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Todd..to answer your question, everyone should be concerned..what we need is a calm national dialogue to discuss concerns and solutions in an objective forum and respectful fashion..we really have 4 basic types of health coverage...government provided (Veterans and Native American Indians)..employer/employee shared (co pay)...social security over 65 (medicare) option...pay if you can afford it(or have no coverage or are in a high risk pool )...the rest of the world has one of the stated options as their primary...we have 4 which accounts for some of the problems..the other major concern is that in our country there is not a reward value system for preventative health measures, which in the short term increases cost, but in the long term saves $$$..we have a system that precludes pro active measures and in fact looks for ways to exclude (does the term pre-exisiting conditions strike terror in anyone's heart if not pray that you never lose your job)

there is no one system that is perfect or covers all needs..however, something needs to be done...

I have no intentions of starting an intense dialogue on these boards about health care..my only interest was to make my fellow cruisemates aware of a place where they can listen to different perspectives of this issue and to remind everyone before they take a cruise to make sure how they are covered if they become ill while on a cruise
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Old August 25th, 2009, 10:39 AM
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I won't argue with you about if a single payer system is good or bad. Because it isn't either, like everything else it has Pros and Cons. Some people beleive the Pros outweight the Cons and others beleive the Cons Outweight the Pros.

I'm with Todd be it elephant or donkey all politicians really enjoy spending money even money they don't have. Whenever any program like this comes out my first question is: "how are you going to fund it?"

If the single payer system is paid for by an employer fee. It will always be underfunded. This is because of the large amount of baby boomers near retirement age. Also the children aren't working. What about smaller employers with 10 employees or less what type of stress will an additional fee put on these employers? Also is adding an additional tax/fee to employers during a recession a good idea?

Is the NPR show addressing these issues and explaining how the single payer system will be funded? It would be interesting to hear this information.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 01:44 PM
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it's a series of broadcasts looking at this issue from several perspectives..it's not a right or wrong or cast judgement..i don't know how long the series has been on or how long it will last...you might go to their website for rebroadcast information

if you have HBO, did you see the Michael Moore documentary?

I still for the life of me cannot understand why the greatest, richest country in the world has such a large % of it's population either uninsured or underinsured..there are alot of people out there who have lost their job thru no fault of their own that can't afford or don't have access to health insurance for their families..which means sick kids don't see doctors..plus for small businesses the cost of health insurance keeps rising (as i suspect you and your husband are fully aware of)

in new orleans, the health system was broken before katrina..4 years later it is worse...
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Old August 25th, 2009, 02:42 PM
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There is no painless way this problem is going to be solved and both political parties are going to have to some degree, "bite the bullet."

Venice, you wisely recognized that the baby boomers are only now really exploding in numbers putting even greater pressure on Medicare, pressure that if not addressed, will result eventually in total collapse. One of the reasons for this is that both parties have over the decades, diverted huges sums that should have gone to Medicare and Social Security to other causes and reasons and even should they not have done so, the system would still eventually collapse.

Pragmatically, there is absolutely no way this country could even begin to afford a universal health care system that would still provide the same level of coverage, for instance, as I enjoyed before I went on Medicare. It cannot happen, purely and simply under the free enterprise system. Already many corporations that promised free or very inexpensive health care for life have had to renege on that promise for purely economic reasons. Yet is that fair for working folks who were led to believe (and expected by the employer back then to continue) that such a perquisite was a primary reason why those employees stayed with that company? Now for those who still enjoy such coverage, does that mean they have to take a reduction in benefits and coverage? Would that be fair?

Whether we wish to believe this or not; in some means, shape or fashion, benefits are going to have to be rationed in any "universal" healthcare system, it only remains to decide to whom and to what degree? It cannot be otherwise for if it is, then healthcare might as well remain as it is. The greatest conundrum and for all practicable purposes one which must first be addressed and that is very simply, "How are we going to pay for this now and into the future?"

Politicians on both sides of the aisle can promise until the Resurrection but unless and until SPECIFIC solutions that address a reasonable level of stated concerns are included in any legislation, we can't proceed. Well, let's put it this way; to do so in my opinion would be blatantly dishonest and probably political suicide..at least at this point in our country's history.

To effectively address the above is going to take time, possibly more than a couple of years. To implement a plan will require overwhelming public support and to achieve that will require that Republicans, Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives reach a true consensus acceptable to the overwhelming majority of the American people.

As some have suggested, before going whole hog with any plan, why not simultaneously try various plans in given states to see which work and which will not? To do this is common sense.

While a degree of expediency is necessary, we had best not get so "expedient" that we drive off an unimaginable precipice.

Todd
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Old August 25th, 2009, 04:29 PM
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I thought this web sitr was NOT supposed to be about politics. Am I wrong? If so I will express my oh so liberal opinion!!!
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Old August 25th, 2009, 05:37 PM
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To me there are two approaches to healthcare insurance.

First is a Single payer (universal healthcare system) similar to Canada.

The Second is a healthcare gap coverage, which means people with employer coverage could remain on there plan and the legislation would try and cover the people that do not currently have health insurance coverage.

Does anyone know the bill number(s) I would like to take a look at the bill. See if I can find a funding source.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 06:03 PM
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was not meant to be about politics..the intent was to help folks identify a place to learn more about the health care systems in the world, but then again, in this country everything is about politics

so on that note...since I started this thread, I will end it
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Old August 31st, 2009, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katlady
I was surrounded by Healthcare bills last year. They were all state bills, but I read quite a few. There was even a single payer bill, similar to this bill. My question is how will this single payer healthcare insurance be paid and who will collect the past due taxes if it's not paid? The one I read it was an Employer healthcare fee. So willl this healthcare plan be paid by an increase in employer's federal taxes, increase in sales tax, increase in property tax, or is it some other tax that is increasing? If there is no way to pay for it then already the plan has a major flaw. I was in Canada on a cruise and thier sales tax was quite high, I think that is how they pay for their healthcare system. I'm not certain through.
If it is like Medicare, it will not be a "single payer" system at all, but will be subcontracted to insurance carriers on a regional bid basis. When Congress says "single payer", they actually mean "single source", I suppose, because CMS does not actually administer or write the providers' checks for Medicare. What they do for their 2% is oversee their contract with CIGNA, BC/BS, Prudential, or whoever has the particular regional deal, and when a provider is audited or has a question, they deal with the insurance carrier.
During the time I served as a compliance officer, I also learned that the rules, such as for bundling or un-bundling of services, are not the same in all states. It varies according to which insurance company has the contract. So a provider can be fined for doing in Tennessee what is required in Pennsylvania. So much for the simplification argument.
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Old September 1st, 2009, 06:45 PM
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This board is not supposed to be about politics, but so far I haven't seen anyone making a political statement about the topic. (it isn't too hard to tell when someone switches over from honest opinion to reading the talking points memo).


I think both sides of the issue recognize we have a real problem with health care in this country. I think the problem is that we need a really good discusion on the possible solutions - which has not really happened.

The problem with what we are seeing now is that no one knows how this bill is going to work, and the right is distrustful of letting the left ram it through. It is also political, which is to be expected.

Bill Moyers said the Republicans do not want to give this to Obama, because it would look bad for them politically, which I think is partly true. The party that can solve this issue will be heroes. Therefore the only answer is a bipartisan solution - so both parties can take credit.

I think we need a bipartisan consensus. If the left really wants this should listen to the ideas from the right, and if the right really wants this they should say, "Ok, we'll let the democrats take the lead on this as long as we believe the bill makes sense."

It is the people on both sides who are too stubborn to concede the other party may have some good ideas that will stop this from ever happening.
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Old September 1st, 2009, 08:46 PM
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well the theme this week is animals who get sick, so that's not political
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 04:38 AM
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You're right Paul.

For instance I too want to see a Health care plan that will cover those who have none at all. I also understand that the "Right" is going to have to give up something to get it, like it or not, as does the Left.

Having said that, I am in that group of, by the latest poll, 71 percent of Americans who don't like what's been offered so far and here is why i don't and it really doesn't have anything whatsoever to do with partisan politics.

When one strips away all the rhetoric from both sides there still remains within the Senate bill:

1. Absolutely no estimation of the cost of that particular plan, nor is there any specific explanation of for how it would be paid!!!! There is plenty of rhetoric about "this wouldn't happen" and "that wouldn't happen" as regards the aforementioned but to my knowledge, NO responsible entity beyond the hot air of politicians, has actually even addressed this most important of questions.

2. All thinking Americans understand that any affordable comprehensive solution that will cover all Americans, will absolutely have to include some kind of cutbacks. For those in responsible positions who say that's not going to happen, then for God's sake, how come nobody, I mean nobody, will specify why the wouldn't or if they did, how they would occur or to what or whom! While I don't believe it means we're necessarily just going to throw Grandma' under the bus, I have a wife over 62 who has cancer and I myself have quite advanced congestive heart failure, COPD and diabetes. Now given our prognosis regarding longevity, I don't believe either my wife or I are going to be around when whatever is decided is finally and eventually implemented. we might be , however and it's for that reason that I am extremely fearful, not for myself, but for my wife. Independent nationwide polls show the overwhelming number of Americans have the same concerns as do I. I am certainly not "un-American" nor am I "a right wing lunatic" for having these concerns or for demanding reasonable answers that include FACTS not promises.

For instance, there is one government program that does offer "unlimited" (at least to the best of my knowledge) medical care, when of course, you can get it. Yet even that is awash in red ink. We here in East Tennessee have an excellent VA Hospital and while wait times for an appointment are longer (considerably in some instances) than they are for the average civilian, it's still I'd say, overall acceptable. That, however is around THIS area of the country. You get up into areas of the Northeast and elsewhere and that wait is exponentially longer!!! Even around here, to get into VA Hospice takes so long that often, the patient dies before getting into it. They can't be accepted simply because it's full. I knew a man that was quickly accepted into the local VA hospice but only because he had a whale of a lot of connections that were able to generate a mighty push from the man's Congressman. What about the poor Veteran who doesn't know such people? Just these waits mean that rationing is being conducted. It's still rationing whether you're rationing because of "cost," "no available beds," or "lack of physicians." Congress, to its credit, is taking definite steps that hopefully will eliminate these problems. Nevertheless to do this will cost as yet unknown billions and billions of dollars.

Okay, if it's going to cost that much just to redo the VA, then what in God's sake, is it going to cost the American taxpayer just to "redo" our nation's health care system?

2. While exclusions are demanded and one side says there will be exclusions (illegal immigrants, etc.), there is absolutely nothing whatsoever in that bill that specifically states there will be exclusions and what they are. For those who are not in the know, if any such piece of Legislation does not specifically identify exclusions, then you can bet your last dollar there aren't any, despite what any politician may tell you. That is not rhetoric, that is fact. No where in the Senate bill that I have gone over in depth, did I find anything about that particular health care proposal specifically noting that this or any plan would be available only to United States citizens or lacking that phrase, that it would not include illegal immigrants. If the plan doesn't or won't, then why isn't it written into the plan?

3. Many Americans don't want any health care plan to include public funding of abortions. The proponents of current legislation state that it won't because such is covered under the Hyde Amendment. Even so, how come every attempt to attach a specific amendment to this bill has been voted down? If it's covered under the Hyde Amendment then it would be nothing to appease a significant portion of the population to specify no public abortions in this bill.

These are just a tiny number of the issues about which Americans of all political parties want answers.

Can reasonable answers be found? I have every expectation that they can be. But to get them is going to take time, probably a lot of time. That may necessitate that any complete reworking of our health care system may have to be instituted incrementally.

Whatever occurs, a comprehensive revision of American health care is far far too complicated for any political party or Administration to ram a plan through into law without dotting every eye and crossing every "T" and which the American public fully understands.

Each one of us, Democrat, Republican, Liberal or Conservative can point out the folly and egregious abuses found in virtually all governmental programs and institutions. Total revision of this country's health care is far too important and far too expensive to do otherwise than take it in carefully measured steps.

Whatever comes out of this debate in Washington, I sincerely hope that any concrete proposal revamping our health care system will be published in it's entirety in sufficient time that the American people can be fully aware of what is contained therein prior to a vote on the legislation. To do otherwise is of the highest folly.

That's at least, my opinion.

Todd
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