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Health Care Costs and Obama’s Hasty Fire Extinguisher

webrrfire_bak_edited-2

I watched Obama’s press conference sober, but my head started spinning about 5 minutes in. I then subjected myself to scanning the 1,000 plus pages of the laborious and mostly incomprehensible House version. Two hours down the drain.

I have mighty serious questions to which I want good answers (if there are any). Here are just three.

At the very least, this plan needs to be fully understandable, and that includes both its short and long term impacts. Of course Americans will have to sacrifice in order to insure everyone, and we want a clear statement as to what that cost will be. Obama used “code” —such as “You won’t get anything that won’t make you healthier.” I am pretty sure that means that if you are really sick you get morphine. Period. But much of the time doctors are unsure of what might work and what won’t. Medicine is far from an exact science, and our individual bodies respond differently. We are not Borg (yet).

And what, exactly, is the definition of “heathier”? This is especially critical to know because if your problem does not meet that unstated criteria, you are apparently on your own. Does healthier mean a little improvement? Some improvement? A total cure? (Pharmaceutical companies put most of their resources into symptom relief products, not cures. There’s no money in curing people.)

And, really now, where exactly is the money to pay for all of this going to come from? Yes, I heard Obama’s favorite answer. Folks earning over one million dollars a year will make up the needed funds. But, you know what? There aren’t that many of them!

We have an estimated 2 to 3 million people with financial portfolios worth a million or more dollars (this excludes the value of personal residences, consumables, collectibles, and consumer items such as furniture), but these people are not necessarily earning a million dollars every year.

I tried to find how many people actually earn a million dollars a year, but ran up against walls. The census bureau tops out its reporting at $250 thousand or more, and an estimated 98% of our people make less than that. And I feel confident in asserting that most of those with an annual income of $250,000 a year or more make less than a million. I would like to know the number of those mil-a-year people who are going to do the heavy lifting for Obama’s health care plan.

So, I draw ‘em as I see ‘em. A raging fire of runaway health care expenses to be sure. But, I have yet to see anything other than a leaky bucket filled up too fast as the proposed extinguisher.

  • Moody

    I do agree with you. They are now having to deal with the cost part of the equation. This will be done. The Obama adminstration has learned from the mistakes of Massachuetts and is not repeating them.

  • Moody

    I think fire safety duties must be aliened to each and every one. The duty is placed on the ‘responsible person’, i.e. the landlord or in certain cases, the managing agent, who is required to carry out a fire risk assessment and take specific action to minimize the risk of fire in the common parts.

  • Shiv

    I do agree with you. They are now having to deal with the cost part of the equation. This will be done. The Obama adminstration has learned from the mistakes of Massachuetts and is not repeating them.

  • http://firefox AnnieCollier

    I haven’t been to SF in several years. We’re going up later in the month for my son’s wedding. Since I am paying for lunch for the immediate wedding party, I thought I’d check out the menu first to see what we’d be offered. Imagine my surprise to find that not only do I pay for my own health care but I’ll be paying for the SF employees as well. An addition to their gratuity statement (automatic 18% for parties over 6…expected). Unexpected is the following: Unexpected: “Please note a “4% Health surcharge” will be added to your bill to support San Francisco’s universal health care program.”

    I don’t really know if this is in every place in The City but if so, Gavin Newsom can kiss his campaign for governor goodbye right now.

  • Clara

    Someone in a thread above reminded us that Obama’s mother-in-law should be first in line to show us it won’t be demeaning or difficult to be sitting down with strangers discussing the end of life. The President of the World should be making this health care bill relevant in order to help us all understand and there is no better place to start than his own family.

    One of the truest statements I’ve heard about this fiasco was a member of Congress making the case for slowing down to carefully consider all ramifications of this “reform”. After all, how many months did the Obama family devote to choosing a puppy? Mind you, I think it was correct to devote this time to selecting a companion who will spend many years with you. So, doesn’t the biggest ever overhaul in our health care delivery system deserve at least the same time and careful consideration as they devoted to deciding on BO?

    • http://solara9@comcast.net Tricia Spiegel

      Good comment Clara!!! Six months is way to short a time, especially when we see how the last spending spree went and how distrust in government is low, to make such a change.

      There are reasons why almost every President since Teddy Roosevelt tried health insurance and it failed. It’s very complicated and they moved too fast.

  • Patience

    We have an aging demographic and scientific advancements have enabled people to live longer. So why shouldn’t healthcare spending increase? Needs are changing thus so should priorities, for government as well as individuals.

    • tyoholo

      You mention a completely different issue. You are correct the cost will naturally go up with the age of the population. But, that is not the issue. The issue is why does the U.S. spend more than twice as much as every other industrial country on the planet, who also have an aging population?

      • blue orchid

        The reason our health care cost is more than twice per capita than any other nation while getting a far worse result is that our health care is run by for profit private corporations (instead of by government)who are maximizing their bottomline at the expense of every body else. Just take a look at the record profits the health insurance companies are making.

        • viking

          “while getting a far less result”…are you high? The U.S.A.’s health care results beat any other place on the globe. Our victories in health care are not matched by any other country. You spread lies.

          • blue orchid

            ARE YOU KIDDING? OUR HEALTH CARE RESULT RANKED 34TH IN THE WORLD. Despite the fact that we spend more than twice per capita than any other country in the world.

            The facts speak for themselves. If someone here was spreading lies, it definitely wasn’t me. Check out all the data published by all the research/studies/surveys by all the reputable organizations in the world.

  • http://mitchdworkin.com/ Mitch Dworkin

    We need completely specific details and full transparency with Obama’s health care reform legislation BEFORE it is passed in my opinion:

    http://securingamerica.com/ccn/node/17784

    CNN VIDEO: John King explained why Obama is having problems passing health care

    Submitted by Mitch Dworkin on July 22, 2009 – 7:57pm.

    I am very concerned with what I have seen so far about how the Obama Administration has managed TARP and the economic stimulus package which are both high dollar items with long term consequences!

    Health Care reform will also be very expensive and it will have long term consequences which is why I completely agree with Harry Reid when he delayed the Senate vote and said “I think that it’s better to have a product that is one that’s based on quality and thoughtfulness rather than trying to jam something through:”

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/07/23/health.care/index.html

    No health care vote before August break, top Democrat says

  • jiminycricket

    Another priceless work of art, Tricia. Lest we forget, it’s no longer called “Health Care Reform”. The Anointed One calls it “Insurance Reform”…just as there are no such things as “Terrorists”, any longer.

    • Steve_in_KC

      He changed the name because everyone was calling it HC reform, as in Hillary Clinton, or HillaryCare. The original health care reform bill was Hillary’s, back in 1993. He stole it from her for his own use in the primaries of 2008.

      He didn’t want everyone to remember this was originally her baby, but presented at a time when we weren’t on the verge of another Great Depression. As they say, timing is everything.

      • Clara

        So, where is the Health Insurance reform? What is being reformed, other than to tell them they can’t dump their insured customers anymore. Why is there no reform of the premiums they charge? That is the number one reason that the cost of healthcare has exploded yet I hear no one telling the insurance companies they will have to back down their rates and eat some of this sacrifice pie just as we are told we must.

        The American people are being bamboozled, to use the President’s term. How in the world can we demand to know what is in the bill and how we as individuals and families will be affected? Does anyone care what we think?

  • bayareavoter

    Great cartoon and I agree with you. What’s the rush on something so complex and so expensive?

    Why not make healthcare like social security and all working people pay for it? Americans somehow expect it to be free or have the “rich” pay for it. Ridiculous.

    The rationing really scares me. Who’s to say that extending the life of a granny one year is equal to a full life time of a teenager and not worth the expense? (stats currently sited in last week’s NYT Sunday Mag about a British case)–is the granny taking care of her grandkids? is she a comfort to her children? Is the teen some worthless gangbanger selling drugs in the ‘hood? Who makes these judgment calls?

    If we have subsidized tobacco farmers, ethanol farmers, oil companies, Halliburton, why not subsidize some of those more expensive, less common drugs that cost so much? Who do we trust to make these decisions?

    And Massachusetts with Axelrod’s other prodigy, is going broke with their health care system.

    I know they want to kick Clinton’s butt and show him they can pass healthcare FAST but at least Hillary spent time researching how to do healthcare. The times were different and even the Dems were against her plan then.

    We need healthcare. But we need to do it right and frankly, after the stimulus plan and the bailouts to their friends I just don’t trust them. Or Congress, either.

    • tyoholo

      You have no idea what you are talking about and frankly your ignorance shows the right-wing/insurance industry talking points are working on you. Unless you are 100% satisfied with you healthcare you are nuts.

      First, there is no rush. The Democrats and Republicans have been directly working on this for 6 months. The Democrats and Obama have had this as part of their platform for more than three years. The industry experts and healthcare economists who are iunvolved in writing the bill have been working on and studying this for years. Part of this is based off the Massachuetts plan, which has been in process and working for more than 5 years (which by the way was a bipartisan effort driven by Governor Romney). Healthcare in American is an area that has probably been study more than anything else. I wish they would spend even 10% of the effort on the defense budget. There is no rush. The people that want to slow down the effort are just using that as their last resort to try and stop the legislation. Complete BS. The Republicans have had plenty of opportunities to be constructive. In fact over 150 of the Republcian suggestions have been inserted in the bill. So to say this is a rush or an attempt to “show” Hillary is complete BS. An insurance industry talking point.

      I would also say that this is the beginning of a process. It is not a static point in time. Healthcare reform will evolve over years. Lets get the process started now. People without insurance has hit a 50-year high because of the recession, so there is some practical urgency.

      Not sure where you get this whole idea of rationing from. Complete BS. In fact, you have a ton of rationing right now by the insurance companies, who pick and choice who they want to insurance and doctors often must check with the insurance companies before they begin procedures. Under this new healthcare bill precisely the opposite to rationing will occur. Everyone gets coverage and you cannot reject someone for a pre-exisiting condition.

      Comparing the U.S. system to either the Canadian or British system is complete BS and a sure red flag that someone is lying to you. First, there is no real rationing in the Canadian or British system. Ask a Canadian or a Brit. Ask them what they think of their system and whether they would trade it for the U.S. system. Secondly, even if you assume that there is rationing in the British and Canadian systems, then why do you think that would necessarily translate to the U.S.? As this bill are not setting up the Canadian or British systems, not even close. The entire private system stays in place in the U.S. All 160 million people currently on private insurance can entirely stay on their current plans if they want and nothing has to change other than their price might come down.

      You just are falling for all the BS fear mongering. That is only argument that people that represent the insurance industry have. Fear. I don’t know about you but I am tried of having politicians push the country in direction through the use of fear. Go to war, lose our rights, etc.

      By the way Massachusetts is not going broke. In fact, the Massachuetts experience has been very successful. Everyone is covered. Now they made the mistake of not simultaneously going after costs and paying for it before they inacted the coverage part of the plan. They are now having to deal with the cost part of the equation. This will be done. The Obama adminstration has learned from the mistakes of Massachuetts and is not repeating them.

      I suggest you read this article on the Massachusetts experience.

      “For now, however, the (Massachusetts) program enjoys broad public support. According to the Urban Institute, 68 percent of working-age adult residents approved of the plan in the fall of 2006. In the fall of 2007, a year into implementation, 71 percent approved. Similarly, a Harvard School of Public Health survey found 61 percent approval in September 2006. Come June 2007, 67 percent approved. The program is becoming more, rather than less, popular with time.”

      http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=a_limited_health_care_success_in_massachussetts_

      • Clara

        Rationing will occur because there will not be enough doctors, nurses and other healthcare personnel to treat millions more people. And who is to say they won’t still show up in the ER? Oh, that’s right. There will probably be a huge fine for going to an Emergency Department in the future.

        • BunyaBo

          Why will there not be enough doctors and nurses? Why would things change from today? Does not make sense.

          By the way:

          Number of physicians in the U.S. has grown 28% faster than the overall population in the past 10 years.

          And, did you know the very conservative doctors group the AMA supports this healthcare reform.

          See: http://industry.bnet.com/healthcare/1000931/ama-support-of-health-reform-bill-is-a-milestone/

          First time I have ever heard that “there will be no Doctors” talking point. The opposition must really be reaching.

          One of the primary reasons costs are high in the emergency room is that a lot of people who show up there are uninsured. Emergency rooms are a lot more expense than simply going to see your doctor. Given that almost all the uninsured will be covered, then it is safe to say that the number of emergency room visits will be cut by the uninsured. More can now go to see a doctor rather than just leach off of emergency rooms.

          • Clara

            BunnyB,
            I’m hardly the opposition, at least from the far right. I am also a nurse and know what a shortage we already have. The projections show that the average age of nurses is now in the upper 40′s and retirement will escalate soon. If you have a finite number of nurses to care for an additional 40 or 50 million more patients, then there will be delays in care, delays in doing that diabetic teaching, delays in getting that bed bath or clean sheets, delays in getting your medication delivered or your surgery off on time.

            As for the doctors, there are already shortages of primary care doctors. Production will have to be cranked up, just as more nurse educators will have to be supported in order to teach more new nurses. You can have the right amount of doctors, but without the nurses, the job won’t get done.

            • Barry

              So what does a shortage of doctors and nurses have to do with with healthcare reform? What are you saying, because you think we do not have enough nurses we should keep the 50 million uninsured and 25 million under-insured from getting health insurance?

              • viking

                What’s wrong with your thinking? If we have an exploding pop. that’s going to need health care and only a steady pop. of people going into medicine we are already at a shortage before you even begin with this health insurance/health care reform crap!

      • http://solara9@comcast.net Tricia Spiegel

        Most of the writers and readers are Democrats who are disgusted with their party. Most of us were Hillary Clinton supporters. We try to call ‘em as we see ‘em, and we were hoping to be much happier with our new administration.

        • tyoholo

          The problem is you are not “seeing them” properly, so hard to call them, when you are not really seeing them.

          Your view on healthcare is being distorted because you are looking at the issue through a prism of hatred for Obama.

          The entire Democratic party is not Obama. There are many good people in the Democratic party that are working on this issue and have been for years, well before Obama.

          And you may call yourself democrats or ex-democrats, but you sure don’t act like one. Continuously, quoting right-wing misinformed talking points. You are shilling and doing the work for the Republicans and the insurance companies.

          So you hate Obama, so many of you now change your ideological believes regarding healthcare, the economy, the environment… etc. I don’t get it. To me you really never could have been that strong a Democrat.

          Healthcare is likely going to be the biggest single issue of this adminstration and for this country for many many years. Iraq, Afghanistan, the recession, Sotomayor, Gates are all much smaller relative issues.

          To sit here and critize the drive to improve healthcare because you hate Obama and want him to fail is ridiculous. Many of you will benefit if this legislation passes. Then I bet you will be looking for ways to not giving Obama credit.

          • Tricia Spiegel

            I don’t think most people here “hate” obama. That is a strong word. Deeply disppointed that his incredible inexperience is so obvious is a better description.

            • Barry

              Boy you are wrong. This website is full of nothing, but hate toward Obama.

      • Regina

        You remind me of the no-clue social workers who (40 years ago)bought underpriveleged homeless kids hundred dollar boots ….you may be able to read, but you don’t know what to do with the information.

  • TexasMirth

    Pat – great cartoon. I was thinking the bucket might be carrying gasoline instead of water.

  • http://deleted BuzzisbackLatte

    Dream on.

  • tyoholo

    Pat,

    Your post is very superficial. No real value except some generic NQ bitching about Obama. Obviously, you did not read any of the proposals or even got an idea of some of the basics. For example, I am not sure where you are getting that a new tax will only be on people earning $1 million or more? Does not say that at all. See below.

    Let me give you the broad brush strokes about what is in the H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, although alot could change, as we do not have the final details:

    Benefits:
    > 97% of legal americans will be covered
    > adds the 46 million uninsured
    > 158 million who are currently insured by employers will see premiums go down, also limits on lifetime caps removed (nothing has to change for these people, as they can keep their current private plans if they want)
    > 15 million self insured will see some benefits and breaks
    > those on medicare and medicaid will continue to be covered
    > being denied for pre-existing conditions will be done away with
    > there will also be a public option that will compete with private healthcare insurance companies

    Mandate:
    > you buy in or pay a penalty
    > your doctor could change , if you want the public option and your doctor does not want to participate in the public option; otherwise if you stay in your private plan you keep your doctor
    > can’t be denied coverage

    Cost:
    > about $1 trillion over 10 years; or $100 bn per year

    Paying for it:
    > tax increases on the wealthy; you will pay more taxes if: as an individual you make $180,000 or more and if a family makes $350,000 or more; increase in tax will be from 1% to 5.4%; (Your $1 million number comes from families who earn over $1 mm a year will pay the highest 5.4% surtax for healthcare). An individual earning $180,000 will pay 1% more in taxes.
    > business surcharges if businesses do not enrol; small business will be exempt and they will even get tax benefits; may reduce healthcare costs for small business
    > the higher taxes and business surcharges combined will make up about $583 billion, as reported by the House Committee on Ways and Means
    > cost cuts in medicare/medicaid will make up $465 billion;
    > in addition drug companies/AARP have come out and said they will reduce costs by $80 bn over the ten years; although may are skeptical, but at least it shows you that reform can create pressures to force companies to reduce costs. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/21/AR2009062101924_pf.html

    > paying for it is still up for debate and being negotiated; there are also potential for taxes on sugary beverages and fees on pharma companies are also being considered. It is also helpful to know that the new $1 trillion only represent 4% of the total costs of healthcare expected over the next 10 years. That leaves you with 96% of the costs to find ways to cut these costs to make up for the new 4%. Should be doable.

    These are some the of main goals, but there are a lot of other things also included. For example there is the proposal to give MedPAC, the expert advisory board to Medicare, real power. That would be a major step toward trying to help get Medicare costs under control.

    Health care reform bills have already been passed by the House Ways and Means Committee, House Education and Labor Committee, and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and endorsements of congressional Democrats’ reform efforts by the American Medical Association and American Nurses Association. Wal-Mart has even also publicly come out and said it supports the Democrats plan. There is a lot of momentum that will not easily be killed. I suspect we will get a vote next week or in September.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/07/01/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry5127536.shtml

    • masslib

      Yes, covered with expensive, craptastic private for-profit insurance. Are the American people such dunces that they want to keep passing money hand over fist to private, for-profit third party payers. It makes no sense.

    • http://solara9@comcast.net Pat Racimora

      tyoholo–
      I read over the most recent Huose bill and I listened to Obama’s press conference. The one million dollars was his baby–that is on record. (he noted thta Congress night have other plans he would consider so long as it didn’t “put a burden on the middle class.”)

      It’s difficult to not be “superficial” writing a story under 500 words, BUT my criticisms are sincere. If I saw real merit and no major pitfalls in the plans I see, I would say so.

    • ksclematis

      “> cost cuts in medicare/medicaid will make up $465 billion;
      > in addition drug companies/AARP have come out and said they will reduce costs by $80 bn over the ten years; although may are skeptical, but at least it shows you that reform can create pressures to force companies to reduce costs. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/21/AR2009062101924_pf.html

      And, exactly what sugary Kool-Aid have you been sipping???

      Medicare/Medicaid coverage is supposed to be for those citizens who are least able to pay co-pays and a percentage of their procedures and meds. Your
      reference material is only as good as the paper it’s written on, and for those who don’t search any further than what the newswriters author in order to get paid.

      We need to be able to read the entire bills online, or in print to know exactly what would be passed into law and who would benefit or who would pay for coverage of the increasing costs of medical/surgical procedures. Nothing I’ve heard or read has mentioned that doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, lobbyists and pharmaceutical companies would be restrained by law to keep their same prices , but would entitle them to continue raising costs to the glee of their shareholders.

      • tyoholo

        It is like talking with idiots. Get your head out of your ass.

        Not sure what your points are here about newswriters. Did you even look at my references. They are about Wal-Mart and the AARP.

        What I describe here is what is in the actual bill. Read it for yourself. I an not quoting “newswriters” as you say.

        http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3200/text

        http://edlabor.house.gov/documents/111/pdf/publications/AAHCA-BILLSUMMARY-071409.pdf

        And what exactly is your point in your last paragraph. Do you understand that this bill is about shifting the entire paradigm with a public option that will attempt to do thing better, without a profit margin and compete with the private insurance companies, to force them to lower their prices. It also begins the process of healthcare reform that will develop over many years. It is creating a fundamental change that will lead to more changes.

        You people live in a dream world. You continually vote against your own economic interest. I do not get it. If it is anyone drinking the Kool Aid it is the idiots who don’t even know the facts and continual sput off political BS. Read the bill and get to know what you are talking about before you develop your opinion. The healthcare reform that currently is being debated will likely help many of you. To say you are against it just because you hate Obama is pure ignorance and stupidity.

        • Regina

          The unintended consequences are what you are missing. You seem to be one of those elitists who believe what they read and can’t conceptualize the total package. There needs to be reform….tarp money, medicaid/medicare fraud….etc. But why overhaul the entire system under the guise of insuring 47 million?
          That is not the real number..just because the democrats say it doesn’t make it true. This will not be the first time AARP has sold out the seniors….what about the support of the drug plan? Only 17 percent of the Doctors belong to the AMA who have come out in this bill’s support. Most doctors are against it…If you really looked at the bill, you would realize it will only work if seniors and those most in need get rationed care. Insurance companies need to be kept honest and legislation needs to be passed and enforced to protect the voters. Who will keep the government officials honest?

          • Barry

            From the Bill:

            “Improves Medicare. Senior citizens and people with disabilities will benefit from provisions that fill the donut hole over time in the Part D drug program, eliminate cost-sharing for preventive services, improve the low-income subsidy programs in Medicare, fix physician payments, and make other program improvements. The bill will also address future fiscal challenges by improving payment accuracy, encouraging delivery system reforms and extending solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund.”

            • Solara9

              The donut hole filling is just a PR move from Big Pharma–it doesn’t cost them much extra.

              The rest is just what the summary says–try to find these wonderful things stated clearly in the actual bill. Note that the only provision Pelosi and others tout is their own PR moves–you get to take your insurance with you if you change jobs and preconditions do not matter. Those are good things to be sure, but they are spread like a shroud to cover the rot underneath.

              AND look what they do to seniors!

          • viking

            Great post!! Spot on!

    • TexasMirth

      When in the senate, Obama repeatedly voted against health care reform. But now he pushes for a government takeover of health care. This is not about caring for the people. It is about bringing one fifth of our economy under govt control. This bill is a Trojan horse. Under the “Creating Healthier Communities” provision of the bill found on page 382, grants could be awarded to groups that are members of a “national network of community-based organizations,” aka ACORN. Does that sound like health care reform? The elderly and the chronically ill will pay a tragic price if Obama gets his way, but ACORN will survive just fine.

      • Regina

        Kudos to you!

        • viking

          Absolutely the elderly but they are not the only ones!

    • TeakWoodKite

      Broad brush tyoholo; “we do not have the final details:”

      I find you very superficial. No real value except some generic lizard brain cognitive abilities.

      Well, as Pat Racimora is an honorable person.
      You believe anything you are told, good luck with the details., especially the ones that get parachuted in right after conference.

      Sad really tyoholo, that you fail to comprehend the bottomline. Most citizens want single payer healthcare. What is occurinf know is the off-loading of healthcare burden from the corporate welfare state onto the backs of POOR Americans.

      Take the broad brush and paint yourself out of this picture.

      • http://solara9@comcast.net Tricia Spiegel

        Teakwoodkite–LOL!!!! Love it.

      • tyoholo

        Your strategic foresight might need a little help.

        A public option is likely the road to single payer. Think about that for a minute. I will let you figure that one out.

        There is no way that you could go directly to single-payer. Not in this country. The republicans and the insurance companies are already scaring the people enough with just a public option.

        However, ultimately I think single-payer is where we are headed, as the rest of the planet has prove that to be the best option, or there will be a single-payer combined with a private system like in the U.K.

        • PamFlorida

          The reality of publicly funded healthcare can be witnessed at your nearest county or state run clinics and hospitals. Take a day trip and see for yourself. It’s not a pretty picture.
          Ask a veteran who relies on the VA for healthcare or an American Indian on a reservation.
          BTW-Doctors and for-profit hospitals do not have to accept Medicare and Medicaid insurance, just as they can pick and choose what private insurance plans they will accept. There is no provision in the legislation to change that.
          The availability and access to quality care will still be great for those who can pay for private plans. Those who cannot pay for private plans will be in the same sinking boat tommorrow as they are today. The only difference will be is that more people will be in the boat.

          • Barry

            How about you take a trip to any other industrialized country on the planet and see how their healthcare works that they pay half for versus the U.S.?

            Also, I am not sure you are correct on VA healthcare. Sure there are issues, but I think most experts believe it works well.

            The public plan will pay doctor accordingly to attract them…. the difference is there will be no big insurance company taking a big profit.

          • blue orchid

            PamFlorida,

            You are utterly wrong. All the publicly funded health care in other Western industrialized countries are far more efficient, effective and humane than ours.

            And our VA health care is a powerful testimony that American government as well can run health care far more efficiently and effectively than private for profit corporations, believe it or not.

    • http://www.hillaryorbust.com Hillary or Bust

      “Mandate:
      you buy in or pay a penalty”

      On this portion alone I am 100% OPPOSED to this bill. Don’t force me to pay for health insurance I don’t want. It’s bad enough I have to pay for car insurance just to own a car, now I have to buy health insurance just to live and breathe in America? What? So I have to pay hundreds per month for something I’d rarely use?

      No no no no NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • blue orchid

        Hillary or Bust,

        God forbids if you get a stroke or is injured in an accident, is it fair that other taxpayers have to foot your medical bills because you have no health insurance?

        • http://www.hillaryorbust.com Hillary or Bust

          “is it fair that other taxpayers have to foot your medical bills because you have no health insurance”

          Ummm…a move towards government-provided health care IS precisely having taxpayers footing medical bills for others.

          Who said that if I had an accident I intend to put the bill off on other taxpayers anyway?

          I have a problem with the entire health insurance model…forcing insurance on people won’t fix health care…insurance is the problem as far as I’m concerned…

          • blue orchid

            If you don’t have insurance and is injured in an accident, other taxpayers would have to foot your bill whether you like it or not.

            Uninsured people are part of our health care problem, because they contributed to the inflated bills others have to pay.

    • AZBlondie

      Have you seen the long-term cost graphs? The 1 trillion over 10 years is only the beginning. The bill purposely delays a lot of the costs so that much of them do not occur for several years – so it is not 100 billion a year at the end of the 10 years, it is much more.

      Unfortunately, I can’t find the link the moment…

      • tyoholo

        Yes I have seen the cost analysis of this bill. The total cost according to the CBO is likely $1 trillion to get everyone insured, which will represent about 4% of total healthcare costs over the 10 year period. That leaves you with 96% of the other costs to find cost cuts to actually cover the 4%. Should be doable.

        Take a look at the CBO report, although the CBO, as they admit is not a complete analysis.

        I will quote you the relevant passage of the latest CBO analysis.

        “That estimate reflects a projected 10-year cost of the bill’s insurance coverage provisions of $1,042 billion,..”

        See:

        http://cboblog.cbo.gov/?p=332

      • blue orchid

        AZBlondie,

        It seems you have no clue what the current health care costs us, it is about 2 trillion dollars a year.

        We simply can’t afford not to reform our health care, it is impoverishing this country and making our manufacturers less competitive globally.

    • tead off

      How are they going to cover 47 Million Americans with the same amount of Doctors? Rationed care will be the answer to everything–except for Seniors and the cronically ill. It will be their duty to sacrifice their lives. If Obama really wanted to get all the Uninsured covered immediately he could take 29 Bill of that Stimulus money and cover them through Medicare. 29 Billion a year and everyone would be covered.

      However, that wouldn’t give Obama control over all our lives would it?

  • SHV

    Sorry, no bill until all federal employees have to sign up for the government plan, especially our coddled Congress. It’s the GOVERNMENT plan, but the government employees are exempt from having to join?!?! Only in America….
    **********
    That “meme” about government plan was a “Trojan Horse” that many people bought into. Once people set their sites on the goal of Congress’s health plan, the Insurance Companies had won the war and you got screwed.

  • jwrjr

    Too bad that the bucket in the cartoon contains gasoline.

  • Babs

    Sorry, no bill until all federal employees have to sign up for the government plan, especially our coddled Congress. It’s the GOVERNMENT plan, but the government employees are exempt from having to join?!?! Only in America…..

    • blue orchid

      Babs,

      Guess what, I have news for you, our Congress do
      get health insurance from the government plan, the best of health insurance, obviously they love it. But they apparently are not eager to let ordinary Americans enjoy the same benefits, how selfish.

  • Hg

    Anyone who thinks the government is a none profit entity is obviously long over due and in desparate need of a brain scan.

    • blue orchid

      And anyone who thinks that private for profit corporations are more trust worthy and less selfish and greedy is obviously clueless and naive, to put it mildly.

      Why are all the government run health care in other Western nations far more efficient, less costly and far more effective than our health care? Think about it and get informed, don’t just believe stuff that you heard.

      • viking

        Hey ding-dong-blue-orchid,

        They’re not! And, they ration health care. And the quality of health care personnel has been lowered.

        So its not just that you’re rationed, but the care you finally get is sub-par.

        You’re in favor of that? If so, move to those countries and revel in it. Get the hell out of here because this country is about excellence and achievement, not lowest common denominator.

        • blue orchid

          Do you really believe all those lies? Have you even lived and experienced health care in those countries like I had?

          If you want this country to be one of excellence and achievement as it once did, you better get better informed and educated, because democracy can not be fully functional without informed and educated voters.

        • blue orchid

          Do you really believe all those lies? Have you even lived and experienced health care in those countries like I had?

          If you want this country to be one of excellence and achievement as it once was, you better get better informed and educated, because democracy can not be fully functional without informed and educated voters.

  • Rich

    A wonderful cartoon on a very important and timely subject. matter The cartoon says it all and yet I feel I need to make my comments.

    To thinking people everywhere, this is what I wrote Senator Boxer, Feinstein, and Rep. Farr:

    Why the rush? If I sign a contract and do not even bother to read it, never mind understand it, the law and most people would think I am stupid. Have you and your representatives read and understood all of the 1,000 pages in the health care bill? Do you understand all of the intended and unintended consequences? Are you, your family, all of the people who represent your point of view and all federal employees willing to go on this government health care system regardless of what age you are? If your answer is “yes” and you still feel this is good for America then you should support and vote for it. If not, then please don’t support or vote for it until you do!

    Before we do this major overhaul, I personally would like to see Medicare and Medicade systems fixed to show the people that government can fix things and run something in a very efficient way. Then I would support making major changes to our health care system. If your stock broker got you into an investment plan and then later told you would be bankrupt in five more years, and then asked you for more money to invest with him or her to build an even bigger investment scheme, would you do it? That is what we are being asked to do by the people who created a system that is going bankrupt and will not be there for our children.

    What about changing the law for how lawsuits are handled so that Malpractice insurance does not eat up so much of the doctors and hospitals cost? Once this is done and we see the affect that it has on cost for health insurance, then it would motivate me to support making changes.

    What about making health costs a deduction on our taxes which would also help to lower the cost of healthcare and make it more affordable for more people?

    What about not paying for healthcare for illegal’s or decide we want to provide healthcare for all the people in Mexico and other countries who cannot afford to have the medical treatment they need and their government will not provide.

    There are hundreds of thousands of us who do not want anyone to rush into a contract they have not read and/or fully understood where the cure can be worse than the disease. If you do, then I cannot respect or support your decision. Have we already forgotten those wonderful mortgages that people got into without fully understanding what they were doing under the fanciful magic that it was good for the home buyer and good for the country, and instead it turned out to cause people to lose their investments, their homes, and crash our economy.

    Rich

    • Patience

      Great letter Rich.

    • Ani

      Well stated, Rich. I was thinking the same thing about those who bought homes without reading the fine print — and no we are paying for that as well, one way or another. We do not need to see that happen with Health Care. I agree they need to slow down and read every provision and think this through.

      Fabulous ‘toon, Pat. This says it all. :)

  • blue orchid

    Obama did say that he will raise taxes on people whose annual income is over $350000(slightly over one third million dollars)to pay for his health care reform.

    As to the question of how many people has an annual income of at least one millions dollars, I can only report that about 3 years ago it was reported on TV news that in Illinois over one hundred thousands people made one millions dollars or more a year.

    Having said all that, I think the only way to successfully reform our health care is to get rid of all private for profit insurance companies and implement a single payer system.

    No other developed nation leaves the life and welfare of their citizens at the tender mercy of for profit corporations, who are out to ruthlessly and unscrupulously maximize their profits any which way.

    • Stan Davis

      Hear, hear. Why isn’t this obvious to everybody with an IQ bigger than their shoe size?

      Stan Davis
      Lakewood, CO

      • TexasMirth

        No other developed nation leaves the life and welfare of their citizens at the tender mercy of for profit corporations…

        Instead, they leave the life and welfare of their citizens at the “tender mercy” of bureaucrats.
        And that is why the death rates from cancer are greater in those compassionate countries than in the mean old U.S. – http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba649

        Universal coverage DOES NOT MEAN universal access.
        Read Jack Tagg’s story: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92916560

        Or Marianne Skogh’s story, the 83 year old Swedish woman who was denied treatment (after waiting over a year to see the specialist)- she was told she was too old for the surgery she needed. She had to pay for it herself because her compassionate country said: NO!
        http://www.thelocal.se/20888/20090724

        We should be careful what we wish for.

        • AZBlondie

          I added this link to the last health care thread, but the discussion was pretty much dead by then…

          Health Care Mythology from RealClearPolitics.com

          http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/07/23/health_care_mythology_97552.html

          • http://solara9@comcast.net Tricia Spiegel

            That IS a good article. Thanks!

        • tead off

          In The Netherlands — a very liberal place with Govt Healthcare for all, they now have a law legalizing Euthanasia. In this country we have Healthcare on Demand and we don’t kill off our citizens when they become a burden to the Healthcare System. Perhaps its our Judeo/Christian ethic that prohibits us from giving up on our fellow citizens or perhaps we fear too much Government control of our lives.

          As Reagan once said — THE SCARIEST WORDS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARE “I’M FROM THE GOVERNMENT AND I’M HERE TO HELP YOU.

          • blue orchid

            tead off,

            It seems you are utterly out of touch with reality, apparently brain washed by conservative propagandas.

        • blue orchid

          Having lived in 5 countries on 4 continents including Canada and Germany, I can say that our helth care is by far the most inefficient, costly and inhumane among the Western industrialized countries.

          All the conservative propagandas notwithstanding, evidently good government can run health care far more efficiently, equitably and humanely than private for profit corporations. The facts speak for themselves and our own health care is a powerful testimony to that. Like it or not.

          • viking

            Hey blue orchid-
            “…I can say that our (sic) helth care is by far the most inefficient, costly and inhumane among the Western industrialized countries.”

            But what you and no one else in the world can say is that when people of means need immediate top flight care, they go to Canada or Germany or any of the other 5 countries on 4 continents, where you’ve lived.

            Top flight, state of the art and safest, best medical care in the world is here in the U.S.A.

            • blue orchid

              What you said maybe true to some extent, but not in all cases. Just recently I heard someone super wealthy from a third world country came to the U.S. to have his brain tumor removed, but was advised by his U.S. surgeon to consult a certain Australian brain surgeon instead, who he said posesses more expertise and experience in that particular case. The patient followed the advise and travelled to Australia, he was subsequently successfully operated in Australia.

              I know that some super wealthy people from third countries sometimes travel to Germany and most likely other European countries as well for medical treatments.

    • http://www.hillaryorbust.com Hillary or Bust

      “No other developed nation leaves the life and welfare of their citizens at the tender mercy of for profit corporations, who are out to ruthlessly and unscrupulously maximize their profits any which way.”

      Corporations are made up of people. If health care is such a big CHARITABLE concern then why aren’t more people banding together to creat a non-profit network of clinics and hospitals? The Shriners do amazing things in their hospitals. Why do we need government to do it for us? Just asking.

      • Peggy Sue

        You’re right. The Shriners do an amazing job. But they’re in trouble now with the economic downturn–their trust funds have been seriously depleted and charitable funding has flatlined. They may close several of its hospitals for lack of funding, which is very sad when you look at how many children in particular that they’ve helped.

        Until we have a real recovery, not the illusion we’re being sold, everyone and everything is being squeezed [except for the top dogs, of course].

        And Nancy Pelosi is already talking Second Stim, along with this badly flawed healthcare program. I found it interesting that the Dems are now referring to it as “health insurance” reform as if changing the name is what it’s all about.

        These politicains really do think we’re total fools.

      • blue orchid

        Hillary or Bust,

        The answer to your question is, because contrary to what conservatives want people to believe, a government has the means to do many things more efficiently and effectively that other private organizations can’t, which is why we leave many things for the government to do: defense, police, fire fighting…..Which is also why no amount of private charities can make up for the lack of government social programs. One has only to compare the general living condition in this country with that in most other Western European countries. No wonder in Germany the phrase “American conditions” ( amerikanische Verhaeltnisse) stands for something horrible that must be prevented.

        • viking

          Wow that’s cute. The U.S.A. has the developed highest standard of living in the world and what’s more we’ve lifted everyone else with us. You are falsely informed and wrong minded about this nation, the U.S.A.

          • blue orchid

            Viking,

            You are so sadly out of date with your infos. What you wrote might be true a long time ago, but is definitely not the case today. On the contrary, our country today has the largest gap between rich and poors and has the least upward mobility among Western industrialized nations.

            I strongly suggest that you spend sometime living in Canada, Western Europe, particularly Scandinavian countries. Or you could read enlightening American books like “The United States of Europe”, “The European Dreams” etc. to open your eyes to the new reality.

  • Chicago Joe

    CBO deals new blow to health plan
    By: Chris Frates
    July 25, 2009 02:47 PM EST

    For the second time this month, congressional budget analysts have dealt a blow to the Democrat’s health reform efforts, this time by saying a plan touted by the White House as crucial to paying for the bill would actually save almost no money over 10 years.

  • HARP

    5 year talk with a government official ??? Well I guess they can start with Obama`s mother in law. After all, She is part of the FIRST family and they would like to set the example……right!!!

    Bye Bye granny.

  • http://solara9@comcast.net Solara9

    How can anyone vote on something so important without fully thinking it through? Oh yeah. I forgot about the Iraq war.

    This health care bill does have holes in it–and I bet none of them are good for people, especially old people.

    • olivia1998

      I’m one of those old people and a women who fought to make things better for other women and people. How dare Obama say it sucks to be old take a pill.

      • HARP

        They can come to my house and while they are here, they can talk to my 2 best friends……Smith & Wesson.

        • viking

          Yes Sir!!! I like your style!

    • AZBlondie

      For a good example of why a bill should be thoroughly read and understood before it is signed, do a google search on ‘consumer product safety improvment act unintended consequences’.

      I heard a radio interview with a representative from Learning Resources (I think) who was discussing the huge impact this act is having on the company – and that is a larger company. I no longer sell my handcrafted children’s barrettes and beaded jewelry at the children’s resale store around the corner, because the crystal accents I use (leaded crystal) are deemed to be ‘hazardous’.

      Here are a sampling of links…

      http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/02/08/thrift.stores.lead/index.html

      http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/16/cpsia-safety-toys-oped-cx_wo_0116olson.html

      http://www.city-journal.org/2009/eon0212wo.html

  • Stan Davis

    Sometimes I get the nagging thought that the status quo isn’t too bad compared to what Congress will come up with and what Obama will sign. (He’d probably sign a bill of crap and call it fertilizer.) But then I’m on Medicare with a retired state employee supplemental, so I’m in pretty good shape.

    Stan Davis
    Lakewood, CO

    • olivia1998

      I wouldn’t oount on holding onto that Stan.

    • ksclematis

      I’m also on Medicare with state retirees’ supplement…it’s quite expensive, but I have excellent coverage….for all medical, and no donut hole for Rx. I think it’s better coverage than the Federal plans, except for premiums. With only mental calculations I think that over the past 3 or 4 years, I’ve come out ahead with the extensive surgeries, physical therapies and treatments I’ve had.

      So, unless someone can negotiate with the insurance companies and pharmas, I think I’m better off now than anything I’ve seen or heard from the BO plans. I’ve not heard about any restrictions on the insurance companies’ profits, or any negotiations with the exception of the ‘universal’ public plan, for competitive costs. Also, I’d probably be in the “ready to die” age range!! I think he’s pushing this program for his resume and more electibility status.

      • tead off

        Obama is down to 48% approval according to Zogby. This means he’s in free fall–dropping hourly. Now they want to go after the CBO because of their opposition to Obamacare. Sounds like Obama needs a subject changer and Racism is not working for him.

        I believe that The House will not vote until after the recess at which point Healthcare will be quietly shifted to the back burner. Maybe I’m an optimistic but the old saying is IF YOUR DIGGING YOURSELF INTO A HOLE STOP DIGGING, that is unless you live in Cloud Coo-Coo Land which is where Obama resides most of the time.

  • JohnnyB

    Nice Cartoon Pat: I think if they don’t vote before the break, health care will be on the back burner.

    Everyone should be covered under the Federal Employee Health Insurance Plan. Do away with HMO’s, Insurance “MAKE BIG PROFITS” companies, and turn no one away from the best health care possible. That is in our National Security interest, much more than chasing some people around the mountains in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. We can pay for that (borrow for it), but we can’t go to the doctor (not all of us). Hire the London School of Economics to come up with how we pay for it.

    • http://solara9@comcast.net Solara9

      I agree with Johnny B!

      • viking

        “Hire the London School of Economics to come up with how we pay for it.”

        Are you in Junior High?

  • Kim

    I watched that first health-care “infomercial” on ABC when Obama had a so-called townhall meeting with handpicked audience members. After listening to the answers he gave to questions, I became certain that Obama’s way of making health-care more efficient and cost effective will be to limit or deny care to the terminally ill, the very old and the disabled. I suppose he thinks that these people don’t contribute anything to society anymore, so they should just go ahead and die.

    • blue orchid

      Kim,

      What you wrote is precisely what the insurance companies want people to believe, when in fact all too often they are the very ones doing all those inhumane stuff.

    • http://firefox AnnieCollier

      Kill off the older generation with an added bonus that they will then have a population with no memory of lives lived in freedom and the unique character of the USA B. O. (before Obama). Even now, you find young people with no understanding of our history or unique character. We really have to stop this and get them kicked out of the majority in 2010.

    • politicalidentitycrisis

      Obama fails to realize that if he is lucky enough, he will live to be elderly himself. Actually, most politicians forget that they will be elderly one day, too!!!

      • tead off

        Check out Congress — They are elderly. Now that the new mantra for the Democratic Party is — IF YOU DON’T CHOOSE TO DIE WE’LL CHOOSE FOR YOU they have that glazed look of those who have come too far out on a limb to go back now. Something tells me a Foreign Policy crisis will turn up and save them from themselves.

    • TeakWoodKite

      If you look at the way his dying relitive was treated by BO, you can get some idea on how it will be.

      Great art Pat, describes it perfectly.

  • Linda Anselmi

    Pat, Excellent Toon.

    It describes Obama’s health care plan perfectly!!!

  • tzada

    Draw one of the elderly at their 5 year chat with the board. The board that may persuade them to let their life be ended for the good of the whole? Or draw us a picture of the board that meets and decides it is time for someone to die and they can choose the death method for that person to die. Can u imagine ACORN being a white person judge and jury? Or an Muslim being a Jews?

    Sorry Pat to be so morbid. I liked your cartoon and post as usual. Thanks for trying to cheer us up.

    • Pat Racimora

      Oh, Tzada–You are reading my mind. The next one up gets into that 5 year controversy.

  • http://firefox AnnieCollier

    Another right on cartoon, Pat. Thanks.