The health care summit …

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… was probably a waste. But I’m starting to love my president again. Here’s a prime reason why (from today’s NYT):

One of the sharpest areas of philosophical disagreement between Mr. Obama and the Republicans emerged when Senator John Barrasso, the Wyoming Republican who is also an orthopedic surgeon, contended that Americans would make better, less costly health care choices if they had catastrophic insurance coverage that required them to pay for most services out of pocket.

Mr. Obama asked if he would prefer that members of Congress have only catastrophic coverage; the senator said he would. “That’s right, because members of Congress make $176,000 a year,” Mr. Obama replied, adding that he wondered whether Mr. Barrasso would feel the same way if he earned only $40,000.

I mean, what sums up the out-of-touch Republican approach to health care reform better than Barrasso’s words? Yes, all Americans should only have catastrophic insurance, and that way they’ll just pay for the rest out of pocket. Out of empty pocket.

Pathetic.

I pay taxes. Lots of taxes. I don’t love doing so. But if you tell me I need to pay more taxes to make certain millions of Americans are covered, I’ll do it without hesitation. The question is: Will you?

14 thoughts on “The health care summit …”

  1. I will, and for good reason.

    I found out just how devastating a serious illness can be. I found out just how much it costs to be treated for Cancer.

    In the last year my insurance has been billed over $600,000 for my treatment and my share has been about $20K (that covers medicine, co-pays, insurance deductibles and a percentage of what the insurance didn’t cover).

    If someone doesn’t have insurance, they die. It’s that simple.

    There’s no way an uninsured person or a person living at or below the poverty line could make it. No way.

    Had I been part of the Summit, I’d have carried in a replica of the Statue of Liberty so our politicians could read:

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    Nowhere does it say that once the tired and the poor get here we’ll treat them like slaves until they get sicker and die.

    As of January 1, my insurance deductible reset, meaning for the next few months I’m on my own.

    Every time I hit the lab for blood work (once a week) it’s $847. EIGHT-HUNDRED-FORTY-SEVEN DOLLARS to have my blood drawn and tested in a machine.

  2. “If someone doesn’t have insurance, they die.”

    that is the bottom line… couldnt be said any more articulately… which is all the more difficult for me to understand why the repubs just DONT GET IT.

  3. The Republicans get it. They just don’t care.

    Obama is wonderful in setting like the one yesterday because he’s a smart man and his heart is in the right place. But now does he have the balls to act like a leader and push some kind of legislation through Congress? I’m doubtful.

  4. Jason, the proposed legislation doesn’t contemplate a so-called “public option.” It simply requires that everyone be forced to purchase (expensive) health insurance or pay a penalty tax. This may theoretically put downward pressure on premiums because the capital pool is healthier (the assumption being that healthy people who would have otherwise not bought insurance will be adding capital while not threatening to “draw down”).

    The issue is, the least healthy people require so much more care that the only way an insurance pool can work is if they pay more premiums to compensate for the risk they add to the pool. This has been deemed “unfair” by liberals. Unfair it may be, but without risk-based pricing, insurance pools cannot function. See Medicare as an example.

  5. My last post being a response to the “the repubs just DONT GET IT” refrain so often heard. This legislation doesn’t even address the whole “without insurance, you die” problem, if it can be called that, so why not just scrap it and start over?

  6. Because the second the Dems do, the Republicans will run away and hide and then pop up in July talking about how the Dems haven’t done anything.

    Anyone that actually believes these clowns are still bargaining in good faith is an idiot.

  7. please stop implying that obama is the little engine that could going up against the man

    the guy has a super majority in both houses and cant get close to passing anything. whats that mean??

    u cant blame republicans

  8. Classicist:

    While Congress may not pass health care reform, I believe there is bipartisan support for outlawing the rejection of coverage based on pre-existing conditions. If this happens, wouldn’t this severely hamper the risk-based pricing model? This was covered in The New Yorker a couple of months ago.

  9. so i should pay more taxes so people like steve can get free coverage? find a job that covers it or pay out of pocket. i shouldnt have to pay for people to get coverage.

    what needs to happen is govt stays out of it and lets more competition happen so companies will actually compete and lower prices to fit the market

  10. No, it doesn’t. The Dems spent the better part of a year trying to get the Republicans involved. The plan incorporates GOP ideas.

    But that’s the typical Sarah Palin supporter argument. The whole, “Well, yeah, THEY DO IT TOO!”

    Whatever. Go masturbate to pictures of Palin and leave the thinking world alone.

  11. Jim K: Yes, such legislation would severely impact insurance solvency.

    Honestly, if members of the electorate strongly believe in insurance based on universal access and not on accessibility, i don’t see why the government doesn’t suggest the establishment of a special health insurance fund, remote from the treasury, where taxpayers can contribute whatever they want and earn a dollar-for-dollar federal tax credit for their contributions (up to their taxable income for the fiscal year [i.e. cannot create a tax asset]). Grant access to any non-medicare/medicaid qualified contributors.

    Should satisfy concerned parties. Until it becomes insolvent, like all entitlement programs.

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