< HOME  Monday, September 07, 2009

Health insurers have Americans by the balls...

And they're squeezing real hard to make sure a public health insurance option never sees the light of day in America...

As President Barack Obama prepares for a Wednesday night speech to Congress in a risky bid to salvage his top domestic priority, no other issue is so highly charged. Obama's liberal supporters consider the proposal for a public plan to compete with private insurers do-or-die. Republicans say it's unacceptable. It's doubtful the public plan can pass the Senate.
"Doubtful" in this context means "No Way In Hell."

And if it doesn't pass the Senate, then it's dead in the water.

And why is there no way in hell the Senate would pass a bill that includes a public insurance option???

That's a no brainer.

Insurers say they could never compete against the price-setting power of government.

And of course if insurers are forced to compete then they'll be forced to cut their profits, which they're not willing to do.
[Meanwhile,] Employer groups warn it would undermine the system of job-based coverage.
Of course, employer groups, who benefit greatly from being able to use "health insurance benefits" to keep their employees shackled to their desks don't want to see a public insurance option that would give their employees a way out of the nightmare known as corporate America and increase their bargaining power.

Many Americans would quit their corporate job today if it weren't for the prohibitive cost of buying health insurance independently.

The fact is, insurers and employers know that the average American has neither the knowledge nor the time to examine the details of a public option and its feasibility. Therefore, they prevent any meaningful discussion about it by throwing around words like 'socialist' 'communist' and 'nazi' and warning against the astronomical cost to tax payers.

But it's all BULLSHIT and they know it.
A public option — or government plan — has come to mean different things to different people. Some say it could be a public trust and independent of the government: nonprofit co-ops could serve as a check on insurance companies. In its original form, supporters envisioned a Medicare-like plan in which the government pays the bills. But it would be financed through premiums paid by beneficiaries, not taxpayer dollars.
Americans don't have for-profit fire departments, police departments, or a for-profit judiciary.

Why in the hell should we have for-profit health insurance???

The truth is a government plan would work brilliantly because of a little understood phenonomon called ECONOMIES OF SCALE.

Most people would opt for the public option because it will be more affordable than the private option since there is NO PROFIT involved.

More people means the risk of illness can be spread over a wider population, thereby decreasing premiums even further or resulting in windfall annual surpluses that would be otherwise pocketed as profits by blood sucking insurers.

Indeed, most people are healthy anyway. therefore, the windfall savings made annually any given year by a government plan could serve as a surplus that could not only finance innovation in medicine and healthcare, but could also be used to subsidize medical education, increasing the number of doctors and availabilty of affordable health care...holy cow - a true revolution in health care in this country.

But as usual, the greedy corporate vampires in the insurance and banking industry are trying their darnedest to keep Americans ignorant of these plain and simple truths.

They're not interested in "free market competition" for the benefit of the people.

Insurers are determined to minimize competition to ensure that they, and only they, can continue to keep American balls in a vice...squeezing and squeezing until they've squeezed every drop of life out of us and our children.

It's time Americans realized that our troops should be brought back from Iraq and Afghanistan and stationed in front of the headquarters of corporate America - banks and insurers in particular.

Wakeup America - they're robbing us blind while we fight each other in the process.

See also Labor Chief Slams Insurance Companies as "Death Panels"


At Monday, September 07, 2009, Blogger Greg Bacon said...

All Obama has to do to make a lot of this grief go away is to give a blank check to Israel.

At Monday, September 07, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just like a casino, insurance is speculative gambling with people's lives & livelyhoods at stake, the dice are hot and loaded.

that ain't the kind of vice i had in mind!8$

At Monday, September 07, 2009, Blogger andie531 said...

I don't want their damn Soviet health care. http://mises.org/story/3650

We have a program in this state that covers the uninsured. It had to kick people off because it was going bankrupt. It is better than the proposed national care, which we can do without. State by state is probably a better way to go.

At Monday, September 07, 2009, Blogger qrswave said...

to be clear - I don't care whether it's state by state or national, as long as it's NOT FOR PROFIT and as long as usurious banks are not involved.

state by state is no doubtedly better. but that won't work effectively until the national usurious banking system is dismantled.

right now the FED has the 50 states and their respective municipalities by the balls...

local governments can't get anything done without those bogus "federal reserve notes" controlled by the FED.

At Monday, September 07, 2009, Blogger andie531 said...

The illegals need to be taken out UNLESS their employers pay the entire premium. The co. I work for pays about $250-300 monthly into my insurance - I pay about $80. I am not in favor of covering everyone - covering the uninsured, fine. I used to be on the uninsured program, and didn't have to wait for care. Do it at the state level.

Japan has national health care - I have used it. I lived there for 8 years. However, when looking at these systems, the quality of the system is never taken into consideration.

The US has the best trauma care facilities in the world - and the highest level of technology. The Drs. here, in spite of all their flaws, are overall better trained. That automatically is going to cost more.

By comparison, Japan is more like a third world country. Ambulances there are called "meat wagons" by expat doctors because they have virtually no life saving equipment on board. I know that from personal experience.

A GP in Japan is trained in about 10 ailments, one of which is the common cold. I know that because I knew an American nurse who taught at Tokyo U. Medical School. I also knew a Japanese nurse.

I remember reading about a nurse in Tokyo who was told to give a patient milk and then proceeded to give it to them thru an IV.

"Dumbassedness" is common - general studies undergrads at universities in Japan are not required to attend a single class to graduate (see Japanese Higher Education as Myth). That's why universities in Japan have a 90% graduation rate. You can get thru the program in a coma.

Medical schools in Japan may be suffering from this same lax attitude, I don't know.

You cannot compare two countries and say "Well, they have single payer and it works" without studying the details, and no one seems to do a very good job of that. I have a clue for anyone who wants to study a foreign health care system - ask a few of the expats that live there. They won't BS you.

In addition, Japanese national health insurance premiums start out very small (about $10 a month) and the longer you pay into it, the more it sucks out of you. Up to 1/3 of income. Not cheap in the long run.

At Monday, September 07, 2009, Blogger qrswave said...

national healthcare in Japan or anywhere else may have these flaws but it sure as hell isn't because of the public insurance plan.

more likely it's a case of systemic rampant corruption at the provider level.

healthcare is a complex system and health insurance is only part of it.

private health insurers take advantage of this complexity to place the blame on public health insurance...

public health insurance is a no brainer...but that doesn't mean it's the only problem that needs to be solved.

At Monday, September 07, 2009, Blogger Greg Bacon said...

Yes, America has some of the best health care technology, but who in the hell can afford most of it?

One way or another, we pay for the uninsured that are forced to go to a hospital ER for care.

When Taiwan went looking for a good model for their national health insurance, they used Medicare.

There shouldn't be money grubbing CEO's of United Health and Blue Cross denying care to people to increase their bottom line.

Get rid of those leeches and let them find another host.

As for telling medical horror stories, around 100,000 people a year die in US hospitals from doctor's mistakes.

How many a year die from similar screwups in Japan?

At Monday, September 07, 2009, Blogger andie531 said...

We had public health insurance here. It worked fine.

The old shell game of making the opponents to Obamacare look weird is in full swing: http://www.adl.org/main_Extremism/larouche_obama.htm

As usual, they are playing both sides.

What kills me is the constant reference to images of Hitler being "anti-semitic". How?

People are pissed and I don't blame them: http://judicial-inc.biz/98anger_in_white_america.htm

Anything the AARP, another Zio group, is for, I am not going along with. The Mises Institute article was enough for me

Good luck with non-profit. The school system is "non-profit" and is also a socialist, pc mess where more money is pumped into administration than education. I know, I work with it.

Non-profit doesn't stop corruption. It didn't in Russia.

At Monday, September 07, 2009, Blogger andie531 said...

How many a year die from similar screwups in Japan?

The Japanese will fudge stats to make themselves look better. I have heard of many cases of completely incompetent care in Japan. They won't be forthcoming with that info, so there is no basis to compare - the question is moot.

Better to make a comparison with a country with a similar culture like Canada or the UK.

At Monday, September 07, 2009, Blogger andie531 said...

When Taiwan went looking for a good model for their national health insurance, they used Medicare.

When Japan couldn't deal adequately with the Kobe earthquake disaster, they decided to study FEMA.

Remember Katrina?

At Monday, September 07, 2009, Blogger Greg Bacon said...

The Japanese will fudge stats to make themselves look better. I have heard of many cases of completely incompetent care in Japan. They won't be forthcoming with that info, so there is no basis to compare - the question is moot.

If that question is moot, then so are your Japanese medical care horror stories.

The World Health Organization's ranking of the world's health systems

1 France
2 Italy
3 San Marino
4 Andorra
5 Malta
6 Singapore
7 Spain
8 Oman
9 Austria
10 Japan
11 Norway
12 Portugal
13 Monaco
14 Greece
15 Iceland
16 Luxembourg
17 Netherlands
18 United Kingdom
19 Ireland
20 Switzerland
21 Belgium
22 Colombia
23 Sweden
24 Cyprus
25 Germany
26 Saudi Arabia
27 United Arab Emirates
28 Israel
29 Morocco
30 Canada
31 Finland
32 Australia
33 Chile
34 Denmark
35 Dominica
36 Costa Rica
37 United States of America


"Yipeee, we're number..... 37?"

1.The US has the most expensive healthcare system in the world. It is almost twice as expensive as every other developed nation. This is largely due to administrative costs which account for 19-25% of healthcare costs, and up to 34% at for-profit hospitals.

2.Other than South Africa, America is the only developed country in the world that does not provide healthcare for all of its citizens.

Yes, I remember Katrina. How does a delibrately manufactured crisis during which GW sat on his thumbs, after appointing a horse lover to head FEMA, have anything to do with health care?

At Monday, September 07, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...


if for-profit health-care is so much better, then why do poor people want an affordable system?

basically, how medicare works is with a graduated premium ($$-$$$), depending on how much money you make, under a certain amount, and all you have to do is prove you filed taxes, and coverage is free.

the biggest problems with the health-care industry, are corruption, including for-profit health insurance and pharmaceutical rackets, and what is known as health-care itself, which is a toxic monstrosity that kills millions worldwide, and is not unlike our culture in general.

it would seem rather hypocritical for people who have no coverage to be force-vaccinated, wouldn't it?

At Monday, September 07, 2009, Blogger andie531 said...

If that question is moot, then so are your Japanese medical care horror stories.

So - back to what the WHO is basing its stats on and that is what the Japanese give them. There are not enough objective researchers who live in Japan who speak the language and who can dig up more pertinent info. I thought you'd at least get that much.

While living there, I was aware of the fact of bad medical care - through my own and the experience of other expats and locals as well. The expats inevitably choose private clinics with foreign or foreign trained doctors. That's usually after several failed attempts with the local GP's.

You said the Taiwanese copied Medicaid - my retort was that the Japanese copied FEMA. Medicaid has always been subject to fraud - same as FEMA - that's the analogy.

At Monday, September 07, 2009, Blogger andie531 said...

Japanese hospitals experience a "crowding out" effect, with space for emergency care and serious medical conditions sometimes overwhelmed by a flood of patients seeking routine treatment, said Naohiro Yashiro, a professor of economics and health-care expert at International Christian University in Tokyo.

"Patients are treated too equally," he said. "Beds are occupied by less-urgent cases, and there are no penalties for those who over-use the system."

The government has largely been unable to reduce the length of hospital stays, which are four times as long in Japan as in the United States. Hospital doctors are often overworked and cannot hone specialized life-saving skills, according to recent reports by McKinsey. Statistics show that the Japanese are much less likely to have heart attacks than people in the United States, but that when they do, their chance of dying is twice as high.

There are shortages of obstetricians, anesthesiologists and emergency room specialists because of relatively low pay, long hours and high stress at many hospitals, doctors and health-care analysts said. Emergency room service is often spotty, as ER beds in many hospitals are limited and diagnostic expertise is sometimes lacking. In a highly publicized but not unprecedented incident, a pregnant woman complaining of a severe headache was refused admission last year to seven Tokyo hospitals. She died of an undiagnosed brain hemorrhage after giving birth.

"We are in a hospital desert at night," said Yashiro, citing insufficient pay incentives for the robust 24-hour staffing common at large U.S. hospitals.

At Monday, September 07, 2009, Blogger andie531 said...

Skilled doctors tend to leave Japanese hospitals for the higher pay and predictable hours of private clinics. There, they become primary-care doctors, making up for low treatment fees with astonishingly high volume, seeing patients in an assembly-line process that leaves little time for questions.

Toshihiko Oba had spent most of his medical career in hospitals. As an ear, nose and throat specialist, he worked 80-hour weeks for 13 years, with an annual salary of $100,000. The average salary for a hospital-based doctor in Japan is about $150,000, according to the Ministry of Health.

"The money was not so good and you have lots of responsibility and pressure," said Oba, 47.

Five years ago, he made a career change common for Japanese doctors at the pinnacle of their careers. He left the hospital and opened a private clinic, and now treats mainly colds and allergies.

In his office in Tokyo's upscale Ginza district, Oba works from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., five days a week. He said he works fast, typically treating 150 patients a day, usually for about three minutes each.

Volume has allowed him to increase his income severalfold, Oba said... Most doctors in Japan who jump from hospitals to private clinics double their income...

Medical malpractice insurance in Japan is not a major expense for many doctors, in part because there are relatively few lawyers. Oba pays only about $1,000 a year.


Recapping some of this:
1) Patients are overusing the system - yes, this is true - the elderly in Japan like to hang out in the ER - it's their favorite social spot.

2) There's a dearth of doctors and specialists because of the system. - Yes, typical of most single payer systems - However, not such a bad thing when you consider that, like Dr. Lorraine Day states, the mortality rate of the population improves relative to the decrease in doctors.

3) This Dr. opens a clinic treating only colds and allergies. Yep, those are two of the 10 ailments he was trained to deal with.

4)The private clinics whiz people through. Example: some private dentists in Japan are notorious for not using Novocaine so they can work on more patients at once. Novocaine takes 10 minutes to do its job and they don't want to waste the time. I started going to an American trained dentist after dealing with the sloppily trained Japanese ones.

5) Lack of lawsuits - yep - try and sue someone in Japan. Good luck. This is not always a good thing.

I don't know how closely WHO studied the Japanese model, or what they are using for stats. Sorry - I had plenty of experience with Japan, including being given a lot of very ineffectual made in Japan drugs. I will take the US over Japan any day for healthcare.

At Monday, September 07, 2009, Blogger andie531 said...

And of course, if you read the above article to the end, you will see the story of a woman who takes her kid to the Dr. the minute he's got a runny nose (apparently about a dozen times a year). This is a waste. But this is one of the main things the Drs. there are equipped to deal with, along with the 9 other basic ailments they are trained in.

As usual, the comments section is filled with people who didn't read the first half of the story or who had very little to do with the system.

Free medical screenings? Fine, great. I can get them at Walgreens. The question is, what happens once you have cancer or some other life or death issue?

Having lived in Asia for so long, I was well aware of the fact that no one in Asia goes much to Japan for treatment - they do go to Singapore because as another article states:

it is Singapore which genuinely sets the gold bar for the very highest standards of medical care.
The reason is simple: while a few of the very top hospitals in places like India or Thailand may be compared to the best hospitals in the United States, each and every one of Singapore’s hospitals can equal the highest standards of the very best American hospitals.


So apparently the "gold standard" in hospitals are American. No mention of Japan.

At Monday, September 07, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Japan is one place that doesn't fund it's public health & education systems properly.

With a public system, rich people can still have their top-knotch private practicians, but regular people wouldn't be forced to go into debt for capitalists' dream-care, lest they go without any care at all.

The devil's in the details either way.


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