GOP Playbook Useless in Health Care Fight


Mitt Romney arrived at the House Republicans’ late-January retreat to a room that hardly needed a pep talk. Their vote against the Democrats’ Economic Recovery Act had revved them up; all Romney needed to tell them was that they “stood strong,” and that their fellow Republicans stood proud. Romney, who’d testified at the sole House Republican hearing on the stimulus, urged them to take one step further.

“We remain the confident voice of limited government and free enterprise,” said Romney. “These principles are going to face another test when it comes to health care. We should be first to propose a Republican plan to bring health insurance to all Americans, one based on market dynamics, free choice, and personal responsibility. Whatever direction we take, let’s not simply react to what the Democrats do.”

The House Republicans took Romney’s advice. Six days after his speech the party announced the formation of the House GOP Health Care Task Force, an ad hoc group of 16 members that would, in the words of Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) craft “real solutions to improve our health care system by putting patients before paperwork and frivolous lawsuits.”

As the stimulus debate winds to a close, it would appear that House Republicans are picking up their playbook and taking what they need for the coming battle over health care reform. But based on conversations with Republicans inside and outside of Congress, the right does not expect the strategy to work with health care, an issue that all consider strong Democratic turf. The Romney concept of “pre-empting” Democrats is a rearguard effort, something that will produce a list of Republican health care policies that the party can point to when Democrats charge them with obstruction, as they did with their for-show versions of a stimulus package. Republicans, who have developed a consensus about the virtues of tax cuts, have not done that same work on health care.

“Republicans have been absolutely dreadful on health care,” said John Goodman, the president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, who devised the first Health Savings Accounts in the 1980s and who helped craft Sen. John McCain’s health care policy in the 2008 campaign. “They’re always on defense, they always let the Democrats take the initiative, then they scramble to come up with alternatives.”

While the Republicans’ stimulus working group came out of the gate with a media strategy, a public hearing (with guests Romney and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman) and an uncontroversial package of tax cuts, the health care group is operating below the radar and concentrating on message before policy. At their first meeting, Republicans did not meet with heads of the health care industry or with policy wonks, but with Dave Winston of the Winston Group, a polling firm that does the bulk of its work for the GOP. The second meeting brought in Steve Burd, the CEO of Safeway, the supermarket chain that has donated a total of $18,498 to members of the task force, according to Opensecrets.org.

Reached by TWI Thursday, Winston confirmed that he showed Republicans polling data on whether Americans favor “private” or “government” solutions for health care. “By an overwhelming margin, people prefer private over government-run health care,” said Winston, “but you have this big group who say [they] want some combination of private and public solutions. And of course, that’s what we have now.”

Winston recommended that Republicans pull their plans off the shelf and “modernize them,” while warning them that their disadvantage on the issue is steep—Americans trust Democrats over Republicans on health care by anywhere from 15 to 30 percentage points.

Some critics of the House Republicans speculated that the health care task force was a vehicle for spin, not a sweatshop where ideas would be hammered out. The fact that the effort is headed by Blunt, the former whip whose portfolio has shrunk since handing that job to Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), perplexed some analysts who consider the less senior members of the task force, such as Rep. Ryan, more serious about health care.

“Paul Ryan is a real force in that conference,” said Len Nichols, the director of the Healthy Policy Program at the progressive New America Foundation, and the senior health care adviser for the Office of Management and Budget during President Clinton’s 1993-1994 push. “Ryan ought to be chairing this. But the Republicans don’t ask me what to do.”

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for task force member Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) disputed the idea that Republicans were “reactionary” on health care. “He has a comprehensive bill that’s he’s introduced every Congress,” said Buck. “That’s not reactive.”

Since the last significant health care reform, the 2003 passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act, other Republican members in the House—not just Price—have introduced health care bills that propose reforms such as a refundable tax credit for health insurance and letting consumers purchase health care plans across state lines. But According to Goodman and other free-market health care reform advocates, the party has never taken reform seriously enough to come up with an agenda that can compete with the Democratic agenda.

“I don’t like it,” said Robert Moffit, the director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation, “but there are people who mouth things about choice and free markets and don’t know what they’re saying.”

The Republicans’ stimulus playbook will be harder to apply to health care because the Senate, where Democrats had to work to broker a stimulus deal, is a softer sell on health care reform. Even after the losses of 2006 and 2008, the Senate includes several senior Republicans from safe seats who have been breaking bread with Democrats over health care. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), a dark horse candidate for Secretary of Health and Human Services, has collected five Republican co-sponsors for his Healthy Americans Act, which would cover uninsured Americans through, among other policy changes, employer taxes. Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah), a veteran of the 1993-1994 health care battle who wanted to make a deal with Democrats, is Wyden’s chief co-sponsor.

“He’s smart as hell,” said Nichols of Bennett, “and he wants some sort of bi-partisan reform.”

In their battle against the stimulus, Republicans could count not just on party unity, but ideological unity—few members of either House agree with the Democrats’ Keynsian approach to the economic crisis. On health care, the GOP’s message is far from figured out. While January’s stimulus working group ran a tight press shop that connected reporters to its members, calls to several of the health care task force members went unreturned while Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) postponed an interview.

David Weigel is a staff writer covering the conservative movement at the Washington Independent.

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  • invalid-0

    David, Do you agree that an overwhelming majority of americans want a private solution to health care? I bet they want a private/public combo, whatever that would look like. What countries have the best system, do you think, and how do they work? (i.e., Japan, Scandanavia, etc.).

    My own thoughts are that the medical profession has always tried to limit the supply of doctors to create artificial demand. When i go for healthcare, i dont care if its a PA, MD or a surgeon, i seem to get the same level of care and i eventually get better. so it seems like most of us dont require such a high level of care for ordinary healthcare. of course, our tort system prevents such a simple solution. Thanks.

  • invalid-0

    The GOP (aka morality police) cares nothing about people or reforming health care or making it more affordable – they have had PLENTY of chances to do something over the LAST EIGHT YEARS. I am so sick of these do-nothing obstructionists. They are a bunch of empty suits who take orders from corporations (their constituents). If you are pregnant, you cannot get a private health insurance policy and neither can anyone in your family! That’s how it is in Florida. Maternity insurance is almost non-existence when you aren’t pregnant (you have to purchase a policy and basically pay on it for years to accumulate a few thousand dollars in benefits). How’s that for “pro-life”? You can thank the very moral GOP. You can get good insurance if you are lucky to have benefits at a job – but that reality is slipping away every month as people are being laid off.

  • invalid-0

    Let’s think about this for a moment..The Winston Group does the MAJORITY of it’s polling work for the GOP….and that’s who has come up with numbers telling the GOP that people do not want government health care….funny how The Winston Group is NOT one of the leading Polling companies…because Gallup & Polling Point both say they are all wet, that an over whelming majority do want government run health care for people who have no health care and private for those who can afford it….far cry from what your piece implies.
    That’s the problem with the GOP and why they lost in 2006 & 2008 and why they will lose even more seats come 2010. They only hire people smart enough to recognize this fact and spoon feed them what they want to hear, or they ignore facts.

    The GOP is a party that use to be relevant.

    • http://www.tratamente-naturiste.org/category/plante-medicinale invalid-0

      Maternity insurance is almost non-existence when you aren’t pregnant (you have to purchase a policy and basically pay on it for years to accumulate a few thousand dollars in benefits). How’s that for “pro-life”? You can thank the very moral GOP. You can get good insurance if you are lucky to have benefits at a job – but that reality is slipping away every month as people are being laid off.

  • invalid-0

    In an age of anxiety and layoffs, when a politician worth his or her salt has to let go of ideology to help as many Americans as possible, the Republicans keep chewing on more than they’ve bitten off. I’m a Republican, for example, but I’m ashamed – absolutely ashamed – of the selfish devotion to ideology I saw during the stimulus debate. The same thing is happening in California, where we need to raise taxes for the good of the state, but right wing whack jobs have intimidated the moderate Republicans who should know better into standing silent when millions of Californians need a “yes” vote to balance the budget. Shameful. In the past, I’ve voted Republican. In the future, I’m voting Democrat. It’s the right thing to do in these dire times.

  • invalid-0

    It’s only a matter of time before employers begin to unilaterally eliminate health care coverage from employees (unless a collective bargaining agreement prevents them from doing it). Financially pressed employers have already stopped contributing to pension plans and matching employee contributions to 401(k) plans. The momentum for the already popular proposal of a government sponsored plan, made attractive by a non-profit status and much lower administrative costs, will increase in rate. Doctors and healthcare providers are already in a federal system. It’s called Medicare. More doctors accept Medicare than any other private insurance plan. Perhaps because the government is easier to deal with than the private insurance companies. Government provided health insurance will be the only acceptable alternative when employer provided coverage is scrapped because the purchase of an individual plan, with premiums that exceed $10,000 a year for a single individual in an HMO, is prohibitively expensive.

  • invalid-0

    Only the GOP would start with polling when coming up with new healthcare legislation.

    Clueless…

  • invalid-0

    You may as well call the republicans’ task force The Insurance Lobby Dream Force. It will propose a system where insurance companies are assured of unseemly profits. It is the republicans welfare for the rich scheme. The only system that makes sense is the single payer system. Time for Americans to demand what is fair and effective.

  • invalid-0

    i am nearly 40 and have never had health insurance. the perpetuated illusion that a job intrinsically offers health care is a cancerous myth. sure, if you’re the assistant to the manager of the tri-state territory of one of the corporations in america then yes, that is true. but the great majority of jobs are not of this caliber, and the buying power of small businesses with transient workforces is appalling. any health care i ever looked into was absurdly unaffordable – one employer laughed that i had inquired! (i laughed with him when i found out how much it would be.) the health care system is in need of a great upheaval. radical ideas, like using all “sin tax” exclusively for public health care, among other ideas. health care has no place being free-marketed in a civilized society. if these johns-hopkins etc, doctors have the luxury of living in a society where they get their coffee from unisured workers, buy their food from uninsured waitresses, get driven in taxis by uninsured drivers, etc, etc, etc, to the tune of hundreds of millions of people in their community – the very same community that provides such a hospitable (no pun intended) place to become a noble doctor – then they ought to find a means to provide health care to some of THESE people instead of showing their humble contrition by venturing to other continents for humanitarian pursuits before they come home to become capitalist businessmen. indeed, the republicans have no business being involved in the debate. they have been a monkey wrench in our progress for 16 years, not eight. clinton sparked hope a long time ago, remember? and newt and the gang proceeded to harangue. thanks newt, dole, strom, mcconnel, frist, boehner, romney, but do us a favor – think about your professed savior (i mean jesus, not reagan, and definitely not rush) and finally – FINALLY – stay the hell out of it and let the sensible folk fix it. Republicans? health care? that’d be like letting my lawyer fix my car. “step away from the vehicle, and put your hands behind your head.”

  • invalid-0

    Tia, you hit the nail on the head. These Creepublicans didn’t do anything but tear down our entire economic system over the last 8 years and, not happy with having only damaged that, they want to kill health care for the rest of us now. What a plan!

  • invalid-0

    The Grand Obstructionist Party is at it again, attempting to forge a health care policy “MacGuffin” to provide cover for their eventual refusal to negotiate with Democrats who have been seeking solutions to the health care issue for decades, they will obstruct, as they did when Nixon attempted to lower the standard of healthcare in this country by promoting “cost saving” HMOs as a workable solution. (D) Rep. Clyburn has been working on a program to first build a national “clinic based” provider infrastructure throughout the country which would provide the groundwork for a community oriented approach to providing national healthcare, without such pragmatic approach to national healthcare, the current infrastructure will not be able to support the influx of patients, but his plan will require an investment in the future, lets see if Republicans will deem his efforts “wasteful spending” or if they get on board. This one will require more than “tax breaks”.

  • invalid-0

    I wonder if the over 65 Republicans-John McCain or even his mom-refuse Medicare coverage on principal?

  • invalid-0

    I wonder if the over 65 Republicans-John McCain or even his mom-refuse Medicare coverage on principal?

  • invalid-0

    I wonder if the over 65 Republicans-John McCain or even his mom-refuse Medicare coverage on principal?

  • invalid-0

    You had me after “GOP playbook usless”

  • invalid-0

    Such anti-social behavior displayed by the GOP is well known to be mental illness as defined in the DSM-IV. A single-payer health care system could easily identify these mentally ill adults while they are still children–they are the bullies and arrogant ‘insiders’ in our schools–and deal with their mental illness appropriately. Though it may take a generation or two to ‘cure’ these people, it is a worthwhile endeavor on a finite planet where such behavior should never be tolerated or condoned, as they are not capable of any positive contribution to society in their current form.

  • invalid-0

    A system that is like the system the old people in this country have now; a mix of medicare (not the phony medicare advantage that is ripping off medicare now) and private policies that pay what medicare doesn’t. It will ease us into single payer. We have to eliminate the profit motive from health insurance it is one of things that is making it so expensive. That and the insistance of corporate boards in awarding their CEOs and other officers multi-million dollar bonuses (last year United Healthcare awarded its CEO a multi-million dollar bonus) and then turning around and raises its premimiums. It is just a matter of time that more companies will either drop their health insurance or expect their employees to pay more to get less. More people uninsured just means the ones remaining will pay ever higher premimiums to cover the hidden tax; the fact that we all pay for the healthcare of people who are uninsured through higher doctor and hosptital bills. There is a crisis coming on the horizon that will be far greater; a complete breakdown. I suppose that will be the time that congress will finally act.

  • invalid-0

    The Grand Obstructionist Party, or rather the Grand Obfuscation Party is not concerned with alleviating any problem which requires the Government to act on the behalf of the American people, rather than their own ideology. Remember all the nonsense poll based polititricks which brought us the classic hit “Government is not the solution to our problems, Government is the problem”. Simply replace “Government” with “Republicans” and the conundrum speaks for itself. We MUST hold their feet to the fire, the media won’t because they’ve been piegon-holed into the “liberal bias” mold for 15 years by political stratagists seeding the public with their own form of “conventional wisdom” pre-made made for the uneducated voter. As we speak the GO(O)P is devising a political strategy to gain control of the Healthcare debate through the creation of a politically expedient Us/ Them narrative made to fit with their ideology. What else would they be doing on our tax dollar that are paying their salaries, they certainly are not legislating and negotiating in D.C. right now, last I heard they were developing a “stimulus review” board to politicize every detail of their “subjective” opinion of this plans effectiveness on CSPAN. This is where we must continue to reach out to like-minded Americans and build the consensus that the Grand Obfuscation Party enternally seeks to undermine.

  • invalid-0

    Wow!
    I have to agree with your well stated comment. It has always confused me how we think the very concept of “insurance” and free market capitalism could go together.
    Think about what insurance is.
    Think about what capitalism is.
    Now lets pool our resources as a
    – community
    – state
    – nation
    and have real insurance not selective profitable “insurance”.
    I’m sure the word “socialism” will scare a lot of people but what do you think insurance is. Insurance for a profit makes no sense. Just look at our current health system. Try making a claim.
    Maybe our nation will come a little closer to a real insurance pool. I have no problem with letting people with money join another private club but we should all be part of a single payer insurance group.

  • invalid-0

    It amazes me that the first thing the Republicans do when crafting a health care program is turn to a pollster for input. Don’t they already have some idea of what a republican approved plan should look like?

  • invalid-0

    Is not the California emergency a result of Article 2 of the state constitution, “Voting, Initiative and Referendum, and Recall,” that has allowed voters to block tax legislation, especially school taxes?

  • invalid-0

    The GOP. Aren’t those the folks which brought us that wonderful Medicare drug plan, Part D or whatever they call it? I read that it has cost billions more than it should. The drug companies are using it to raid the treasury. And the health insurance companies are using it to sell policies which provide less, not more.

  • invalid-0

    I don’t know what, but something must be changed! I’m an electrician. I had to turn down a higher paying job because I couldn’t get insurance for my 5yr. old daughters preexisting condition. How does that help America?

  • invalid-0

    The medical profession is not limiting the amount of doctors. It is no longer worth the expense, effort and aggravation to be a primary care physician. My brother is a pediatrician. he works 80 hr weeks. Puts in countless hrs in the hospital for emergency procedures and will be lucky to make 120k before taxes. He has to play a cat and mouse game with insurers who try every way possible to deny a claim for a treatment he has already performed. On top of this he has malpractice insurance. Do you want to do this job??

  • invalid-0

    and wish there to be universal healthcare, I am dismayed at your apparent readiness to have anyone who disagrees with your POV labeled medically and forced into treatment.

  • invalid-0

    You can not make a profit on medical fate. That turns every human being into a casino. Oh, wait, you’re Republicans. No problem. Republicans do not live in the real world. You can have a capitalist country with a free market and STILL pool ALL our contributions — yes, even YOUR tax money — into a well-oiled medical machine that delivers private care with public money. WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF? HEALTHY VOTERS?

  • http://thswap.wordpress.com invalid-0

    I completely agree with this. I pay alot of money for an individual insurance plan HMO, have deductibles and out-of-pocket and my employer pays me part of the monthly premiums. BUT because he treats me as a 1099, I get taxed on that healthcare help as income…awful. There are so many independent contractors who cant join a group and individual is so expensive. i am single with not alot of expenses, that is the only way i can afford it.

    We need a single-payer system. I dont understand why medicare cant be expanded to cover us all…not just the people on Payrolls (cuz there are lots of us who are not, even though we work) and honestly, after having lived in the UK, every single citizen of this country should be able to have healthcare. of course, private insurance will always be available to those who want to pay for it. I didnt have to pay for ANY of my women’s health issues in the UK and my rpescription for the flu was very affordable. This is how it should be. Preventitive care is so much better for society.

  • invalid-0

    No. The California emergency is not down to the “voters.” It’s the result of the requirement (which only California and two other states have) for a two-thirds majority in the legislature to pass a budget. This allows the minority party (always the GOP nowadays) to block budgets indefinitely; if the requirement were only for the simple majority vote, common across the nation, the budget would have passed months ago and there would be no budget crisis of the kind we’re seeing now, where the state is slowly shutting down operations.

    And where do these Republican cavemen come from? From cunningly gerrymandered districts (and in this respect, both party leaderships always work together and are equally at fault) that are non-competitive and where a candidate is most likely to win if he is the most ideological and uncompromising in promoting the values of his/her own party. The moderates are all gone. Fortunately, last year “voters” passed a little-noticed measure designed to take the district-drawing process out of the hands of the legislators and make it the responsibility of a (theoretically, and hopefully so) non-partisan panel. That’s really the only thing that would work to end the bitter, angry, immovable radical partisanship in the state legislature, which is killing the state’s prospects.

  • invalid-0

    Neither the health care profession nor the government limit access to doctors. Only insurance companies restrict the doctor you can go to see. If you go outside your healthplan, you get very limited coverage and huge co-pays. Try to get a prescription that is not on the insurer’s formulary list and see how much it costs you. My mother even admits her Medicare is great because she DIDN’T sign up for one of the private health insurers taking over for Medicare and stayed with the traditional plan. And she calls Part D “Part Disaster”. And I know a pediatricion too and I agree with you pay description. But try paying two or three people just to fill out the billing forms for each insurer and see how much it costs. It is 1.78 billion for healthcare CEO’s in pay that has destroyed our system, not lawyers suing to get care for their clients.

    • http://www.citazioni-celebri.com/frasi-latine/ invalid-0

      No. The California emergency is not down to the “voters.” It’s the result of the requirement (which only California and two other states have) for a two-thirds majority in the legislature to pass a budget. This allows the minority party (always the GOP nowadays) to block budgets indefinitely; if the requirement were only for the simple majority vote, common across the nation, the budget would have passed months ago and there would be no budget crisis of the kind we’re seeing now, where the state is slowly shutting down operations.

  • invalid-0

    Fixing health care is the single thing our government could do that would provide economic relief to individuals, small businesses who want to do the right thing for their employees, corporations, and retirements plans. Extending a Medicare-like plan to all Americans which can then be supplemented by private insurance sounds like a good place to start although the current Medicare plan makes it very difficult on physicians in some states with low reimbursement rates. The Right Wing is too far out of touch with the man on the street to understand this.

  • invalid-0

    It is amazing to me that all you people believe falsely that the Govt is the answer to all problems. Did you forget that its the govt that bankrupted social security and medicare in the first place? Currently the US govt owes social security and medicare 56 trillion dollars. http://www.truthin2008.org/ Thats right TRILLION!!! And you continue to believe that the govt can save us. My own mother can not get disablility from social security due to their definition of ‘total’ disability. And the doctor that she was seeing to get the meds she needs just stopped taking medicare because it did not cover all the expenses of her visit. I agree that something needs to be done so we americans can have better health care. But if you think that a bunch of people that makes more than most americans and receives the best health care in the country can answer the problem then you are sorely mistaken.
    As for California, maybe if all the money for health care was not spent on illegal aliens in your state then the state might not be in such a finanacial crisis. http://morganwrites.wordpress.com/2008/07/03/californias-illegal-aliens-cost-taxpayers-nearly-9-billion-a-year/ Funny how the answer from liberals always seems to be raise taxes. Why can not the answer be to reduce govt and lower taxes? http://mises.org/story/3332 Where in the world does it say that its our responisibility to take care of the world when we are unable to take care of our own???? Ohh thats right, its not the illegal aliens fault that their country ie Mexico has no health care so we should take care of them. And you say conservatisim is a mental disease. I say au contaire mon ami. Its liberalism thats the mental disease.

  • invalid-0

    Politicians, both Dems and Reps
    Insurance Companies
    Corrupt Lawyers and Judges

    I will add one more to this wall of shame:
    The American Medical Association.

    For not protecting the public against bad doctors
    For allowing allowing itself to be prostituted
    by the BIG 3

    We do have access to the best healthcare in the world.
    However, there is a big difference between accessibility
    and affordability…

  • invalid-0

    You are exactly right, Deanna, the Winston Group is in fact 100% a propaganda unit of the GOP. I’ve spoken to their callers, who are scripted and trained to do push polling, aka propaganda. America is seeing the GOP spin machine finally losing its credibility with the majority and spinning out of control. I hope the new president is strong enough to call it what it is. He says he’s a good “counter-puncher”, and he’s getting hit mercilessly by 7/24 media, so lets see the counter-punch. This is a Bush Policy Bailout of trillions in damage by the GOP. We should encourage the world to Buy American goods, instead of this global corporate nonsense about protectionism – its Americanism to buy American. And healthcare is infested with parasite insurance companies that shouldn’t exist, double costs, and reduce care. And the big banks should simply fail. There are plenty of good banks to take their place.

  • invalid-0

    Why is Govt the Answer????

    Because we have seen what the private industry does when it comes to health care. Did you miss the hearings last year when HMO officials testified that they were given MAJOR BONUSES for denying people their rightful treatment that would cost the HMO millions. Other wise lets have no insurance system everyone pays for themselves. Doctors can build their own hospitals and pay for their education, no Pell Grants or any other Government assistance.

  • invalid-0

    I agree that the medical profession is not limiting the amount of doctors. I think there are several factors at work including people choosing other professions that may have a higher income return.
    However, I would guess that any doctor working 80 hours a week that doesn’t at least Net 120k After taxes needs to rethink his strategy, starting with his overhead costs. Now if he is working in a rural area, perhaps your scenario is correct… but certainly not in the suburbs or cities. I am sure that there are difficulties with insurance as I have seen issues from my side as a patient, but being a doctor means running a business. Businesses just don’t run smoothly; there are bumps.

  • invalid-0

    I don’t know how long your brother has been a pediatrician. It takes a while to get established. I do know that I live in a town of 6,000 and the doctor here who fixed my broken ankle does a whole lot better than you describe. He just built a home that cost well over a million dollars which is about ten to twelves times more than most homes here. He took a trip to the east and came back with a couple hundred thousand dollars worth of rugs for his new house, spent a bundle furnishing it and his daughter brags at school that everything in her “suite” is gold plated from her private bath faucets to her doorknobs and door stoppers. All the money for these things has been sucked out of the people in this small town of factory workers and farmers. The medical profession certainly does limit the number of people who graduate from medical school. Some of it is done by setting the number of students accepted and some is done by making life so rough that a great many never graduate. There is nothing about working 24 to 36 hour shifts as an intern that makes a person a better doctor. That’s how mistakes happen, but it does weed people out. There are good doctors who work for fair wages, but there are a great many doctors who make exorbitant money. PA’s could be used to contain healthcare costs, but they aren’t. They’re used to make more money for the doctors by shunting people to a PA and charging the same as if you’d seen your doctor. PA’s have much less education and training and make a lot less money so the doc can keep a whole lot more of it. Doctors could make a good living and still help contain healthcare costs if they chose to.

  • invalid-0

    I’m just getting over the whole breast cancer thing, but I’m one of the lucky ones who has incredible health insurance. I could not imagine the stress of finding out I had cancer and not have access to adequate medical treatment.

    It is a national disgrace that we don’t have a healthcare program to cover all citizens, but the thought of the Republicans putting a program together is horrifying. The insurance citizens must be salivating at the thought of the profits the Republicans will hand them. Once again, the GOP puts party before the country and citizens. Their only motivation to come up with a healthcare plan is to win back power – they could care less about citizens. The GOP has lost all it’s humanity and compassion.

  • invalid-0

    Insurance cos. skim 30% of all healthcare dollars and only make money by denying services. Your mother would do even worse with private health insurance. Medicare and all Americans healthcare would be improved by participation by everyone. It is the most efficient system in the country. The 2-1/2 trillion per year we pay for healthcare is twice per patient what any other country pays, and we get worse healthcare results. With single-payer you pay less and get more. No more 40 million people having to go to the ER at $600 per trip to the taxpayer, when all they need is $50 office visit. We have universal healthcare already, its just that the insurance cos are sucking up $750 billion per year for shareholders and executives, and making it harder for docs to treat.

    I agree with simply enforcing existing laws against hiring illegals, but please note that the Repubs are voting against the E-Verify program to let employers confirm valid hires. They are in bed with big business, who want lower slave wages for all Americans and want as many illegals as possible. There are some Dems who are also in bed w. big business for the same reason, and to look good to Latino voters, who in reality don’t want illegals because they depress wages.

    The http://www.truthin2008.org/ 56 trillion is bogus. That is the sum total of the next 60 years of costs. To compare apples and apples you need to look at the 110 trillion in contributions over the next 60 years. Do the math.

    BTW, no Republican really wants smaller gov’t. They say that 100 times/day, but in reality, more power is in more gov’t, and rather than “tax and spend” they “borrow and spend” much, much more than the Dems. Every R president since Nixon has increased the gov’t expenditures much more than every D president. Look it up. You can’t trust R’s with your money. It takes the D’s to clean up the mess caused by the Bush Recession. This is a Bailout that will cost trillions, on top of the trillions already lost.

    Lastly, what gets my dander up about the GOP, US Chamber of Commerce and US Business Roundtable immediate stand against Buy American. These are a bunch of global multinational non-American companies. What is needed is for Obama to stand up and say “The World Should Buy American — it isn’t Protectionism, it’s Americanism – it’s boosterism to buy superior American goods from the best workers in the world, the most creative minds in the world”, and let the rest of the world deal with it. No new laws or tariffs needed. That would change everyone’s tune.

    • http://www.truthin2008.org invalid-0

      Michael: Thank you for reviewing our numbers. We apologize that we are not clear that our “True Debt” number is net of the contributions. Our True Debt is the benefits that are currently promised by law minus the “contributions” that will be paid by workers and their employers.

      Truth in Accounting, Founder & CEO

  • invalid-0

    Yadda yadda yadda; same old FAILED drivel. Go back to pulling the wings off flies.

  • invalid-0

    We are the only developed nation in the world that thinks financing healthcare is a “business”. In a business the first priority is maximizing return for the investors and that is what we have. Providing real people actual access to necessary medical services is a byproduct that must never be allowed to interfere with PROFIT. For generations the assorted fat cats that benefit from this arrangement have used “socialized medicine” to frighten the public. So instead we have PROFITIZED MEDICINE which should really scare all of us. It results in millions of people who can not get access to healthcare because they will not be “profitable” to insure, and about 20,000 of them die annually for no other reason than they can’t get care or get it soon enough. The obvious solutiion is for all of us to DEMAND immediate action on HR676 — a bill that already exists — which would expand traditional medicare to the entire population. This is the real healthcare reform — ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES!

  • invalid-0

    What no one is considering is that fact that over 50% of academic physicians are within 10 years of retirement. Who is going to teach the next medical school classes. Remuneration for this work is probably 50-60% max of what MD’s can make in private practice. Recruiting the brightest and best to provide next generation of physicians is practically impossible. The cost of care is outrageous. Our dtr is teaching English for South Korean Public Schools this year. A case of the flu, 2 dr visits, 5 prescriptions, cost her less than $15 US, with her Korean Medical coverage country provided as part of her contract. MD even spoke English, pharmacy at clinic, fresh fruit juices provided in the waiting room(15 min. max wait). Don’t tell me we have the best care in the world. We are WAY BEHIND.

  • invalid-0

    In regard to the physician pay reply and the “extravagant doctor in a small town”, this person has absolutely no idea what the financial background of this physician might be. I would be willing to bet that they had “family” money long before ever becoming a doctor. As an anesthesiologist I know that the only physicians I know that live in that fashion had money long before medical school. I find it interesting that people who did not give up 12 years of their lives including numerous missed holidays, birthdays, funerals, weddings, other family events and nights of sleep opine so freely on the amount of money that physicians are paid. I receive less than a plumber makes on a per hour basis for taking care of medicare or medicaid patients who at the drop of a hat can sue me for outcomes that were not even in my control. If those people that think doctors are paid too much would like to sign up for 12 years worth of no wages ( except residency at about $1.50/hour) and compounding student loan debt feel free, then you can speak of what you know.

  • invalid-0

    Alex -

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I agree. We should do whatever provides the best health care for largest number of Americans for the lowest cost. Since David is a conservative, I distrust his intent.

    Republicans now have zero credibility on the economy AND health care. We have the health care system that the republicans have insisted on for the past 30 years and there is no doubt that it does not work.

    They claim that we “don’t want the government telling our doctors what to do.” However they see no problem with a “profit seeking insurance company telling our doctors what to do.”

    Health care costs are the primary cause of our jobs being shipped overseas.

    Republicans are disingenuous at best on health care reform. I see vast quantities of straw men in our future. Expect more obstructionism from the Giant Obstruction Party.

  • invalid-0

    They are afraid of all of the straw men that the anti health care reform faction deploys every time we try to change this horribly broken system.

    The are companies making vast profits keeping things exactly the way they are. They do not want change so they issue propaganda saying how bad anything else will be.

    Example: “Do you want government telling your doctor what to do?”

    And yet, we currently have ‘for profit’ insurance companies telling our doctors what to do. I think the government doing it would be an improvement over what we currently have. How about you?

  • invalid-0

    “It is amazing to me that all you people believe falsely that the Govt is the answer to all problems.”

    “My own mother can not get disablility from social security due to their definition of ‘total’ disability.”

    Hmmm…maybe mom should stop looking to the government as an answer to her problems and go get disability from the private sector.

  • therealistmom

    See, most of us have this idea that we pay taxes to pay for the good of the community- that means expenditures for such things as disability assistance for people who cannot work. But if there is this whole public sector that is handing out cash and benefits without me paying into the system point me in that direction- this whole $60 a month in SSI for my disabled child is making me way too rich and all.

  • emma

    I think Susan J’s point is that people who are quite happy to see those who can’t afford insurance die from treatable illnesses are showing clear signs of anti-social personality disorder, (as covered in Axis II of the DSM), which is characterised by a callous disregard for others and an inability to feel empathy.

     

    Perhaps if health care were available to all, people with anit-social personality could receive some kind of treatment early on, which might prevent outright psychopaths from obaining governmental power. Imagine how different the world might look right now had Dick Cheney been identified early on as a severe case of APD, verging on psychopathy, and had been able to receive treatment to reduce or eiminate the symptoms of his psychopathology.

  • invalid-0

    The Republicans have screwed up America big time. I don’t trust them to be fair in anything that they do. Always from them when they open their mouths, all I hear is self-righteous talk. A selfish people cares only about what matters to them. So far they have done nothing good for all citizens regardless. Their hatred is very obvious and I do not agree that most people wants government not to be involved with health insurance policies for the citizens of this country. Thats a lie… You must have asked only their puppet groups or made up that line. How can anyone who wishes that our newly elected president fail, make the right decisions for this country period. Republicans have finally come into the light out from the dark and they look and sound funny. There is something very wrong with them and we all need to wake up before it’s too late. They want government dead.

  • http://www.californiahealthplans.com invalid-0

    I’m afraid fixing health care will cost a fortune. Billions of dollars will be spent just on research to find out the most cost-effective solution. “Extending a Medicare-like plan to all Americans which can then be supplemented by private insurance” – sounds really good but the question is, how much will they be willing to give aid? And how long will they hold?

  • http://www.californiahealthplans.com invalid-0

    Mostly, doubt the government actually. In fact, I don’t know if there is a leader believing he can solve problems like those enveloping health insurance. People has tried every possible form of government, thinking it’s the Ace, but to no avail. Although, the government isn’t the cure, at least, it has got some medicines to help ease the sick society.

  • invalid-0

    In response to all you gov’t.run healthcare
    advocates. Look at what a great job they’ve done with Medicare
    and Social Security. Tens of millions in unfunded liabilities
    in our future and you’re asking for more?

    rondo

  • invalid-0

    Boy, did _you_ drink the Kool-Aid! Social Security is the _only_ government program currently solvent, and you bozos are trying to get your mitts on it too.

  • invalid-0

    Republicans suck. I mean it. They only say yes to themselves and big money. They are rotten to the core bunch of hippocrits. Poor Romney had to sell two of his four multi million dollar mansions booo hooo for him. What about the 7 deadly sins Greed Glutony?? I thought the GOP was a God fearing group? Oh I guess that only stands for controlling women. GOP can shove it up their $#%^&’#!

  • invalid-0

    One thing Republicans do not seem to realise is that losing their health insurance, being denied coverage and being unable to afford health care can happen to them too! An insurance company bureaucrat isn’t going to give a damn if an applicant is a Republican or Democrat – if you have a pre-existing condition, sucks to be you!

    They have been very, very good at exploiting many Americans’ fear of “socialism” and “big government,” which is why they were able to shoot down the Clinton reforms in 1993-94 and then take over Congress. They’ve been doing it at least since Ronald Reagan did his little LP-record screed against “socialised medicine” back in the 1950s.

    However, I don’t hold Bill Clinton blameless. When the Republicans squelched his plan, he rolled over and played dead. Democrats have done so ever since, largely because they don’t want Rush Limbaugh excoriating them for three hours every day as “liberals,” “socialists,” whatever (which he’d do anyway).

    I live within walking distance of the Canadian border. I can tell you from experience that no Canadian I have talked to will say their system is perfect – but not one has told me they would trade their system for our non-system. The same goes for Britons, Australians, Germans, French, New Zealanders, etc. I can also tell you that Canadians are not coming over the border in droves to access health care here. The “waiting lists” that the Republicans use to scare hell out of people are largely for ELECTIVE PROCEDURES.

    The Republicans like to cite supposed “government bureaucracy” as reasons for blocking health care reform. However, they have no problems with Byzantine insurance company bureaucracy. Nor do they have problems with their elected legislators having GOVERNMENT health care through the Federal Employee Benefits Health Plan.

    I was in the Air Force. I had “government” health care there, including a two-week hospital stay. It was excellent. I am now disabled. Medicare works far better than any private insurance I have ever had – period.

    My parents lost the only house they ever owned due to my mother’s medical bills – AND THEY HAD INSURANCE. When my dad had to go for colostomy surgery he was fighting with his Medicare supplemental insurance on the phone from the waiting room of the hospital while the doctors were trying to take him into surgery!

    It dismays me that President Obama is not even considering single-payer. Even so, the Republicans will fight him tooth and nail, with Limbaugh’s loud mouth and obedient “dittoheads” leading the charge. I just hope he doesn’t cave like President Clinton did 15 years ago.

  • http://www.betamerica.com/?utm_source=seo&utm_medium=article&utm_campaign=seo invalid-0

    Now a days , we all know that we hear this topic and we have a lot of ideas and opinions that sometimes we want to argue to other personality. Thanks for sharing this for a good explanation and having a closure with this topic.

  • http://www.mexicarinsurance.com/ invalid-0

    Keynesian economics are about a century old but the basic principle still applies to the present: in times of economic downfall, the government has a moral imperative to pump prime the economy to alleviate the plight of people losing jobs and businesses closing. Even if the costs are staggering for our generation, I’m willing to work harder to pay for it. After all, these expenses are but investments for our future.