by Darryl, 08/29/2009, 5:28 PM

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA-01) held a town-hall meeting in the North Kitsap High School in Poulsbo earlier today. Kos diarist Pen gives a brief write-up:

The usual suspects were there with their “keep the feds out of my healthcare” signs and their baby killer signs. They were perhaps 25% of a large crowd that filled North Kitsaps auditorium full.

I was immediately handed a flier about ‘Death Panels”. I took it, perused it, then said to the woman handing them out: “So you really believe there are death panels?”

“Not yet,” she told me, “But there will be.”

“Oh, there ARE death panels right now, “I assured her, ” and since Obamas been president, the health insurance industry has presided over the deaths of 18,000 Americans.”

I handed her flier back and didn’t stick around to listen to her blathering as I walked away. I had seen the fear in her eyes when I brought up the REAL death panels going on today. It’s the talking point that literally destroys the right wings platform.

Read the whole thing.

Tomorrow Inslee holds another town-hall meeting at the Woodway High School in Edmonds from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Attendees are asked to RSVP by email at inslee.rsvp@mail.house.gov or by phone at 206-361-0233.

97 Responses to “Inslee’s town-hall meeting”

1. Faceless Bureaucrat spews:

Somewhere, deep in the bowels of some right-wing p.r. outfit, someone is terribly proud of coming up with the “death panels” meme. A star is born.

2. Deathfrogg spews:

The problem is that, just trying to counter gibbering psychotics with rational discourse is impossible. You cannot argue a point logically and truthfully with someone who thinks totally in delf deception and narcissism.

The wingnut at work talks in these terms. he’s obviously seriously mentally ill, and his incredible lack of humility has disturbed me to the point of quitting. He is so absolutly positive that Obama is going to try to exterminate all the fundementalist christians that he’s sure he’s going to be arrested any minuite. His main brag is that he was only wrong about anything once in his life, and that was back in 1984.

These are the adults that were coddled and spoiled and complimented for everything when they were children. They could never do anything wrong, ever, and think that they are still entitled to the same treatment.

You cannot tell them no, for anything.

3. Roger Rabbit spews:

How Republicans Plan To Kill Grandma

Wait … don’t laugh … I didn’t make this up. Really, I didn’t, it’s in Newsweek:

“It was [GOP Sen. Charles] Grassley himself who devised the ‘Throw Mama From the Train’ provision of the GOP’s 2001 tax cut. The estate-tax revision he championed will reduce the estate tax to zero next year. But when it expires at year’s end, the tax will jump back up to its previous level of 55 percent.

“Grassley’s exploding tax break has an entirely foreseeable … consequence: it incentivizes ailing, elderly rich people to end their lives … before midnight on Dec. 31, 2010. It also gives their children an incentive to sign DNR orders and switch off respirators in time for the deadline. …

“This is not merely hypothetical. Serious economists take the possibility seriously. In a 2001 paper … economists … concluded that benefactors die in greater numbers just before tax hikes and just after tax cuts. A 2006 study done in Australia … reached the same conclusion. …

“Republicans in Congress have created a similar inducement for Grandma not to die before January 2010, but to make sure she is gone by January 2011.”

(Quoted under fair use; for complete article see http://www.newsweek.com/id/214267)

4. ArtFart spews:

@3 Why not? For a long time it’s not been at all uncommon to induce labor in near-term mothers before the end of the year to game the tax deduction. Seems to add a bit of symmetry, huh?

(NOTE: Posted with tongue firmly in cheek.)

5. ArtFart spews:

Pen’s observation about the fear in the eyes of the heckler he confronted is significant. Deep in the dark recesses of their minds, the “trailer park conservatives” know they’re playing “just pretend” in the futile hope that if they keep denying the reality of how they’re being screwed more than anyone else by the system as it is. they’ll keep reality from closing in and strangling them.

In other words, the neocon propaganda machine has indeed driven them to outright psychosis.

6. Geoduck spews:

For anyone else living down in the South Sound, Brian Baird is holding a town hall meeting at the Columbia Center, downtown Olympia, on Monday the 31st, from 7 to 9 PM. Glad to see he scrapped the “telephone-only” plan.

7. Mr. Cynical spews:

Inslee ought to consider this:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Rasmussen Reports shows if Americans could vote to keep or replace the entire Congress, 57% would throw out all the legislators and start over again. Just 25% would vote to keep the Congress.

I hope Inslee bitches about the “whackjobs” who disagree with Single Payer…calls them all kinds of names like Pelosi & Obama.

8. Zotz spews:

Norm Dicks is holding townhalls tomorrow in Port Townsend (4:30) and in Bremerton (at the conference center next to the ferry) at 7:30. I’ll be there.

9. Zotz spews:

Timely front page post on right wing hack Rasmussen, here:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/8/27/773158/-Rasmussen-Caught-With-Their-Thumb-On-The-Scale

10. Deathfrogg spews:

@#7

Rasmussen is such a bad polling outfit that their “reports” are only purchased by Faux nooz. No one with any real integrity uses their data mostly because they openly falsify much of the data that they gather.

Their polling questions are so skewed that they have to make up their own catagories for the types in individuals polled.

Rasmussen Reports is a joke.

11. k spews:

Old stuff, Mr C. People always hate the Congress and then reelect their Congressman,

12. Mr. Cynical spews:

Zotz posts a story in the DailyKos to try and discredit Rasmussen…historically the most accurate poll BECAUSE THEY POLL LIKELY VOTERS!!
Too Damn Funny!

13. sarge spews:

@7 Cynical:

Don’t worry, Inslee won’t be in Congress much longer. He’s going to be our next Governor (assuming Gregoire doesn’t seek a third term, which I think is a pretty good assumption).

14. Roger Rabbit spews:

@13 Gregoire should go to Washington D.C. for Obama’s second term. That’s the best place for her. However, if she does seek a third term, she’ll be easily re-elected, because the GOPers have no one.

15. Roger Rabbit spews:

@6 Another opportunity for GOPers to grandstand, riot, and obstruct the free speech of others. Go for it, shmucks! Show
America’s voters how little your party has to offer them.

16. Montana Sheepfucker spews:

Y’all be patient with Cynical, we’re making progress. We’ve almost got him weaned off that Butte nightclub act (where he fucks his mother for tips in his g-string) to a more suitable one of being on the receiving end (!) of a Tijuana Donkey (his sister may be pissed but what the hell).

And he continues to preach on Sundays!

17. correctnotright spews:

@12: Klynical makes me laugh. How can anyone be that stupid?

So funny:

We have already shown that Rasnmussen asks biased questions, just invented the “index’ you cite (after Obama was in offic becuae Bush would have been off the scale negative) and was way off on the election (until the last month when they changed their polling numbers to try and be accurate at the last minute).

You are such a fool and a tool, Klynical. Can’t you even read?

Are you so dense that you can’t take in information or are you deliberately spouting misinformation?

18. Per Karlsen spews:

No death panels?

Unlimited health care?

Think for a second. There is no way you can have unlimited health care – no way. All those “industrialized nations” that supposedly “take care” of their citizens’ health, ration the care and that rationing is determined by government boards, many of which are unelected.

In an environment where demand exceeds supply (the government/public option), someone has to go without. A 40yo man has more viability than an 80yo man, so the government panel will accelerate the younger to the head of the line over the elder. The 80yo has lived his life. New kidneys or hips are far more expensive than repairing a hernia on a 40yo.

Go home and die. We have higher priorities.

Those are the “death panels.”

To say that you can have unlimited health care is mathematically impossible. You know it.

19. jcricket spews:

Oh, my dear Per Karlsen, there are Death Panels right now. These are the bureaucrats behind the desks at insurance companies. These are the insurance company reps that refuse coverage for someone who for years has been paying his/her premiums and inconveniently is diagnosed with an expensive disease. These are the insurance company reps that will give no coverage at all if part of someone’s history is that they conquered an expensive disease. This is what is happening with private health insurance with people under the age of 65.

All those “elderly” now getting hip replacements and other body parts not to mention prescriptions, and other life sustaining assistance? They are getting their health care from Medicare which is a single payer government program.

These are the facts as they truly exist today, so maybe it is YOU who should think for a second. Think, instead of mindlessly copying and pasting the talking points you received in your e-mail this weekend.

Or, are you just another disingenuous (and by the way, disposable) tool?

20. Per Karlsen spews:

Inslee whined on and on about medical inflation and how that weighs on the .gov budget. Yet, you claim that single payer will provide unlimited hips and drugs?

See the connection? I doubt it.

You can not throw money at a problem and expect the costs to drop. Even the dumbest UW Econ major can understand that, or can they? Empirical evidence from Saturday shows otherwise.

By the .gov promising endless money, they get medical inflation, as they shift aggregate demand out to the right. The only way around this is to limit price, which causes a shortage, just as it does everywhere else price controls prevail.

Rationing. Get it? I doubt it…

Insurance companies should be allowed to sell across state lines so people can choose (pro-choice) their insurance and sidestep inhumane, private sector “death panels.”

You can’t have it both ways. You can not promise “all you can eat” health care, education, housing, food, etc. without having skyrocketing costs. By doing so, you are necessitating some form of non-price based rationing. Given that the .gov is cutting the checks, they decide who gets treated and who has had a viable life and needs to take a pain pill and be done with it.

Death panels.

21. MarkS spews:

Karlsen, another come piss on it conservative.

22. Per Karlsen spews:

@MarkS,

Thanks for addressing the issue.

Feel free to argue with basic math all you want.

23. worf spews:

Does anyone know the origin of the ‘dot gov’ thing in PKTroll’s comments? Is it some new limbaugh thing like ‘drive by media’? What does it mean? Does the conflation of the government and the internet denote some new right wing conspiracy theory I haven’t heard yet?

24. Don Joe spews:

PK @ 22

Thanks for addressing the issue.

Why should anyone here defend your creatures of straw?

25. worf spews:

Next time some teabagterrorist tells you they don’t want to “pay for someone else’s” healthcare, remind them that we didn’t want to pay for an illegal and immoral war in Iraq, or the murderous Blackwater thugs killing civilians, or the biggest embassy in the world, or to pay Halliburton billions to do jobs the military could have done better for a fraction of the cost, or to drop off containers of $100.00 bills in the middle of the desert, etc., etc., etc., and noone ever asked us our opinion.
All that money could have funded healthcare for everyone for a long time. Instead it enriched Bush’s top donors.
Fuck you, conservatives, fuck you all to hell and back.

26. jcricket spews:

No one is claiming unlimited anything. You resort to typical straw man argument — out of necessity, I am sure. And nice way to change the subject. You were claiming that government health care would result in rationing and death panels. Now you are steering away from the cold fact that there presently ARE death panels and rationing. It’s just that it is being done by a private entity pocketing the profit.

Right now, the death panels and rationing powers are those whose motive are sheer profit. None of those health insurance companies gives a rusty rat’s ass about you as human being. What a shock it will come to you someday as you are thrown under the medical bus by those you so deceitfully defend when, not if, you ever need more than antibiotics for whatever you came home with. Huge corporate profits at the expense a treatment that means life or death is a close to blood money as it comes.

With a public option alongside the private insurance companies, there will be a choice. You could continue to give your premium money to a corporate entity who will pay its CEO hundreds of millions and still end up with a multi-billion dollar profit annually, or you can pay smaller premiums into a not-for-profit public option where the counter-equivalent of a CEO’s salary and lobbying cash will be used to help many lives.

Medical inflation has increased disproportionately compared to every other sector of the economy. Where has that money gone? To lobbying efforts, advertising, CEO and executive salary. (Most of the R&D investments in this country are done at the university level which is state/ government subsidized, so don’t try to hand me any crap about premium money going to R&D. It ain’t reality.)

Today, insurance companies by their behaviors qualify as monopolies in their respective markets. It is only because, through their past lobbying efforts, that they are exempt from anti-trust laws. Through their long term and intense lobbying efforts and exorbitant spending (of our premium dollars) an anti-competitive system has been set up.

So, for all the howling and rallying cries of ‘free market competition’ from the ignorant right-wing tools like you, there exists a monolithic system that is so threatened by a choice of a public insurance provider in addition to the present private companies, that you resort to hysteria, hyperbole, and out-and-out lies to misinform and scare people.

A bigger person would be ashamed of themselves.

27. worf spews:

Feel free to argue with basic math all you want.

I don’t have an issue with basic math, hence I have no argument with it.
Unlike you.

28. Per Karlsen spews:

So, am I to understand there will be a limit on hips and drugs, or will they be unlimited?

Stick to your story.

Limited? Great. Now, tell me how they are rationed if the price function is not at play.

Unlimited? Great. Now, tell me how we control costs when there is unlimited demand.

29. Don Joe spews:

Is there some strange planet where the phrase “universal health coverage” is synonymous with “unlimited health care”? Must be a planet where dining-room tables talk.

30. sarge spews:

@14 RR.

Don’t underestimate Rob McKenna.

Rossi was a lot closer to “having no-one” than McKenna.

The Dem’s like to think of McKenna as a weak candidate, but he isn’t.

Remember, he had the balls to file suit against the MBA & BIAW last fall for violating campaign finance laws when they illegally funneled a bunch of money to Rossi.

The Republicans like this guy, and from where I sit, I don’t see a lot for Democrats to hate other than he is loved by the R’s, which by itself isn’t enough to get much traction.

31. jcricket spews:

PK, you are a right wing fool.

There are no plans to have death panels, or rationing panels. Those memes are twitter fodder and no more. You know they are.

You speak of medicine as though it should be a marketable commodity. That is exactly the pitfall of private for-profit insurance. Giving care to sick people reduces profits, and we can’t have that!

By lowering the costs and increasing the pool of coverage to tens of millions of more people, there will be more money available for medical care, instead of health care premium money going to lobbying, exorbitant CEO and exec pay, and advertising at hundreds of thousands of dollars for a few minutes of air time every single god-damned week (not to mention that our premium dollars will not be used in overnight investments, where the private insurance companies have lost a bundle in the last few years, and expect us to cover their bad judgment).

With the limited/unlimited scenario you so stridently promote, you are trying to set up a false dichotomy right next to your straw man. What’s next? Circular logic? Half-truth/Suppressed Evidence? With each additional post you make, your lack of substantive argument is more and more evident.

Not all things are a zero sum game. What are you afraid of? If some low income person gets basic health care that it will somehow reduce your share of health care? Your piece of the pie will be smaller?

You are shameless.

32. Per Karlsen spews:

@Don Joe,

I asked both questions so you could pick the more accurate proposal.

Is it unlimited or limited?

If universal does not mean unlimited, then rationing must occur. If not on price, then how?

Pick one and answer the relevant question.

33. Broadway Joe spews:

28:

Who is paying you to lie?

34. Per Karlsen spews:

Shameless? Asking two basic questions is shameless?

How do we ration limited care?

How do we contain costs on unlimited care?

What other options are there? It is either limited or unlimited.

Quit dissembling and answer the question.

35. Per Karlsen spews:

@Broadway,

I’m just asking how we ration limited care or control unlimited care. It’s really very basic.

Answer the question.

Why must someone that asks a question that you cannot answer being paid by someone?

36. Per Karlsen spews:

@Jcricket,

I am a low income person. Does that change anything?

37. Roger Rabbit spews:

@20 So who’s talking about single-payer (besides a few sign-wavers in the audience)?Nice deflection, pal, but there is no single payer bill before Congress. Inslee talked about a public option that will pay for itself with premiums with no taxpayer subsidy.

38. Per Karlsen spews:

@Roger,

Do you actually believe that a “public option” will be paid for entirely by premiums and not suffer the same fate as all the other .gov welfare programs?

What happens when the poor “demand” more health care than they “supply?” What then? Do we then go into other areas of the budget to close the gap, or raise taxes on those not in the “public option” to pay for those that can’t float their own freight?

Do you have an historical example of this actually working?

39. Roger Rabbit spews:

@22 The basic math is that to get $1 of health care services from the system, we have to put $1 into the system. The problem is that the insurance industry skims nearly 30% of our health care dollars off the top but delivers no health care. So doesn’t it make sense to reduce the role of the financial middlemen so more of our health care dollars get spent for actual health care?

40. Per Karlsen spews:

Basic math: using private insurance is 70% effective.

How much do civil servants make? How much does Washington consume of the welfare dollar before it makes it out to the mailbox?

You still have the option to pay out of pocket, like you do with most of the other things in life. That is 100% efficient.

(opens Pandora’s Box…)

41. Roger Rabbit spews:

@25 “Fuck you, conservatives, fuck you all to hell and back.”

That’s how I feel, too. After what the conservatives did with my tax dollars, I don’t give a flying fuck whether they like what we do with their tax dollars.

42. jcricket spews:

Okay, let’s talk the unlimited hip scenario:

Are you assuming that there will be unlimited hips that need replacing?

43. Per Karlsen spews:

It’s been over 4.5 hours and none of you could answer the basic qustion: Is it unlimited or limited, and how do you control rationing or costs in the relevant scheme?

You like to talk of it being unlimited when confronted with the realities of rationing (as other socialized medicine schemes do).

You like to talk of cost control when addressing runaway medical inflation (caused by the .gov).

You flatly refuse to get your story straight. You know that as soon as you say you program is unlimited, your cost control meme is shot. You also know that as soon as you say it is limited, you open yourself up to deathpanels.gov.

Pick a side and answer the question.

44. Roger Rabbit spews:

Conservatives show their true colors by opposing a public option financed solely by premiums that would introduce competition into what is now a monopoly market.

45. Spiny Norman spews:

Mr. Cynical claims that Rasmussen is historically the most accurate pollster. The facts are easy enough to establish; one need only look at how Rasmussen were handed their collective asses in the last general election. Is Mr. Cynical ignorant, or is he dishonest? Given his nom d’imbecile, I think we can make a solid guess.

46. Per Karlsen spews:

@jcricket,

If you tell the public that all hips are covered, then as soon as someone presents himself for a hip replacement, you must provide. Now, either you have the resources or you don’t. If you do, then fine. If not, then you ration.

If the present system treats 100% of hips, then what is your beef? If not, then you ration.

47. headless lucy spews:

re 18: “No death panels? Unlimited health care?”

How does one equal the other?

48. headless lucy spews:

The free market says republicans suck. You guys are such losers in the marketplace of ideas.

What do you think of the fairness doctrine now — outside the ‘tard markt of AM radio?

49. Roger Rabbit spews:

@27 The basic math is that insurance companies take 30% of our health care dollars and provide no health care.

50. jcricket spews:

You are a coward, demanding that your questions are answered, and when your questions are explored, you muddy the waters with some hypothetical bullshit about about “If….”

Again, PLEASE answer a simple question: Are you assuming that there will be unlimited hips to replace?

If the answer to that is the obvious “no”, then I can understand why you avoid a direct answer.

You wail on about the perils of unlimited care, but obfuscate when you are asked about specifics.

I say again: You are a fool. You are shameless.

51. Roger Rabbit spews:

@30 The Republicans can’t love him all that much if there’s nothing for Democrats to hate.

52. Roger Rabbit spews:

@34 et al. — We ration health care now, and some of us don’t like the way insurance companies ration it. For example, I favor more money going for cancer treatments and less to CEO salaries.

53. Don Joe spews:

PK @ 32

I asked both questions so you could pick the more accurate proposal.

Yet, neither question is remotely relevant to the bills that are going through congressional committees. You’re focusing on the difference between “universal” and “unlimited” while completely ignoring the difference between “coverage” and “care”.

Barney Frank is right. Having a conversation with people like you is like talking to a dining-room table.

54. Deathfrogg spews:

Countries that have single-payer, universal health care system run by the government:

Italy
France
Germany
Spain
Portugal
Denmark
Norway
Sweden
Switzerland
Ukraine
Finland
Cuba
Paraguay
Panama
Mexico
Brazil
Argentina
Chile
Venezuela
Ecuedor
Peru
Japan
South Korea
China
Taiwan
United Kingdom
Canada
Greenland
Iceland
Rumania
Poland
Hungary
India
Vietnam
Indonesia
Thailand
South Africa
Bulgaria
Greece
Turkey
Isreal
Lebanon
Syria
Iran
United Arab Emirates
Saudi Arabia
Kuwait
Madagascar
Australia
New Zealand

This is not a complete list, I knew a person in New Zealand who died waiting for a kidney transplant, but she had an odd blood type and couldn’t be matched in time, which happens right here in the USA.

The ONLY real solution is to take the corporations totally out of the loop. Eliminate the profit motive altogether, fund the medical schools and universities for the bulk of the research into new surgical techniques and desease control/prevention.

The corporations produce nothing, their ONLY legal obligation is to generate profit, which was illegal untill the 1880s. The founding fathers knew what corporate power would end up becoming, and did all they could to prevent the corporations from gaining political power.

Unfortunatly, a totally corrupted Congress and Supreme Court after the States War let them enter into the political arena, with zero regard to existing law. They then were allowed to dictate the laws that were enforced, and wrote the laws for the purpose of protecting themselves, rather than benifiting the nation. Corporations are the enemy of a Representative Democracy. They are aneathema to the very concept of a Republic. They have shown, in every situation, that they cannot be trusted to serve the needs of the people, they will often deliberatly undermine the will of the people, and will always use illegal methods to increase profit, at any cost but of that to themselves.

Take profit out of the equation. It has corrupted the entire system.

55. Per Karlsen spews:

Unlimited hips does not equal billions of hips per year. Unlimited hips means that anyone who wants new hips gets them. Same with drugs.

In any system, if demand outstrips supply, the price either rises until that is not the case, or people go without. There is no third option.

If there are not enough orthopods to replace the amount of hips people demand, then some mechanism will have to ration hips until enough orthopods are brought online to meet demand. The only way to bring on more orthopods is to increase their return for services, aka profit, a motive seemingly hated by those proposing health care reform. The only other way is for a Soviet style command-control 5yr plan to create more orthopods.

This is the scenario feared by those opposed to Obamacare.

Unlimited means that you must treat 100% of the people for 100% of what they present. Anything less than that is limited and must be rationed. Rationing in a free market is done via price and the profit motive creates more supply to meet the demand and will ultimately bring prices down.

I know it is tough. I honestly believe that most on this board believe that a .gov system is better than the present system because they believe that .gov is essentially good (primarily if they control the .gov). The .gov system has shown to fail in most instances.

IF the “public option” is completely contained, and you don’t want high CEO salaries and dastardly profits, start a non-profit insurance co for people. Pay your CEO $75K, and don’t have shareholders.

The public option will not be contained and will need to be supplemented by external funds from those who are not in the system. If it could be contained, a non-profit insurance company would form to take care of the problem.

History and current examples are not on your side. Government fails at such schemes and other socialized medical regimes are teetering on collapse as they ration and send people to India and the US to be treated. You know this.

Reforms I do support are along the lines of drug pricing and preventing Americans from getting hosed to subsidize foreign medical schemes. If Pfizer charges Canada $2/pill for WonderdrugAAA, then it must charge Americans the same amount. I am sick of paying $50 for a pill so some damn Italian can pay $2, and then have the Starbucks Lobby rub it in my face as how socialized medicine “works.”

I am also in favor of drawing back US military commitments to defend Europe and force their governments to raise funds to defend themselves. That would also weigh on their socialized medicine, as we wouldn’t be subsidizing it through the back door.

56. Per Karlsen spews:

Without profit, how do we motivate people to be productive?

The same way Stalin did.

If I am going to make the same if I work hard, a little, or not at all, why bother to work?

Profit is not the problem. Government distortion of markets is the problem. Profit has created most of what you take for granted.

57. headless lucy spews:

Re 56: Robbing a bank is driven by the profit motive as well as working hard and earning a living wage or being a union busting CEO or politician, or being a Commissar.

The same sort of personality type as may be found robbing a bank may be found as the CEO of a major corporation.

In each case the hard working productive citizen is penalized. In the Stalinist country for producing more than the average and in the capitalist country for being productive and not receiving just recompense.

Is America a Stalinist country? Where do you think you stand?

58. Don Joe spews:

@ PK

Do us a favor. Go to your doctor tomorrow, and ask for a hip replacement. Get back to us with the answer that your doctor gives you.

59. jcricket spews:

“Unlimited hips means anyone that wants new hips gets them”

So, how many is that?

Do you honestly think that someone just wakes up one day and says “I think I’ll get a new hip today!”? And that this scenario will be multiplied by so many people that the health care system will be bankrupt?

Your manufactured concerns are predicated on absurd hypotheticals and outright lies. Your claim of government health programs teetering on the verge of collapse are ridiculous. It is the private insurance scheme in this country today that is unsustainable. Sell whatever shares you have soon.

PK, your case is weak at best, and disingenuous at worst. I could say it has been nice chatting with you, but you are a weasel-wording, goal-post moving, obfuscating user of fallacy.

In the future, I hope for more skilled opponents.

60. Roger Rabbit spews:

@38 “Do you actually believe that a ‘public option’ will be paid for entirely by premiums”

Yes.

“and not suffer the same fate as all the other .gov welfare programs?”

The public option is not a welfare program. Also, to the extent your question implies that all welfare programs are failures, that’s false.

“What happens when the poor ‘demand’ more health care than they ‘supply?’ What then?”

First of all, you don’t understand what is happening right now. Although we have nearly 50 million people without health insurance, most are getting health care. The cost of providing it to those unable to pay is passed through to the paying customers. If you have health insurance, you’re paying for those people right now. At his townhall this afternoon, Rep. Inslee said this pass-through adds $1,200 to $1,300 to the average policyholder’s annual premiums.

Your question appears to assume that extending coverage to the poor would increase demand for health care without providing a mean to pay for it. Your assumptions are wrong on many levels. First of all, most of the truly poor are already covered by Medicaid or Medicare. The idea that America’s uninsured are “poor” is false. Most of the uninsured are in the workforce. They don’t have health insurance because their employer doesn’t offer it, or because they don’t earn enough to afford it, or because they’re temporarily unemployed.

At the macroeconomic level, because most of the uninsured are getting health care now, bringing them into coverage shouldn’t add new costs. Instead, what that will do is shift the cost of their health care from the paying customers like you who are currently subsidizing them to whoever pays their premiums, which in many cases will be those people themselves. Setting up a public option that pays for itself from premiums should save you money because then they’d be buying their health care, instead of you buying it for them.

Finally, patients for the most part don’t control demand for health services. At least not in the same sense they create demand for ars, houses, and TVs. People go to an ER, clinic, or doctor because they’re injured or feeling ill. It is the doctor who decides what goods and services they will receive, and who creates the “demand” for specific medical procedures and services, by determining what will be done for that patient.

“Do we then go into other areas of the budget to close the gap, or raise taxes on those not in the ‘public option’ to pay for those that can’t float their own freight?”

I don’t like your choice of words. Only a cold-hearted bastard refers to another person’s medical needs as “freight,” regardless of what their financial condition is. I don’t like your whole conception of the relative responsibilities of the individual and society given our capitalist system. Generally speaking, it’s healthier for the economy in the long run to let outmoded industries or inefficient businesses go under. But these failures put people out of work, and if someone can’t pay for his health care — “float his freight” as you put it — because of the normal workings of our dynamic economy, only a coldhearted and immoral bastard would argue that he should be denied medical care merely because he was unlucky in the economic game.

As for the other parts of your question, it’s not realistic to talk about “going into other areas of the budget.” For one thing, Congress won’t do it, regardless of which party controls Congress. When conservatives were in power, they tripled the rate of growth in federal spending and paid for things they wanted — the war in Iraq and tax cuts for the rich — by borrowing from China, a hostile nation.

In any case, there isn’t very much of the federal budget that’s discretionary to begin with. Social Security, Medicare, and defense account for two-thirds of the budget. You can’t get enough savings from small programs to pay for a big new program. Unless you make major revisions to those three areas of the budget, or at least one of them, you’re just playing with small change.

The method of providing for the uninsured that makes the most sense is to use money that’s already going into the health care system but is being wasted. By far and away the biggest waste is the 30% going to the insurance industry, which buys no health care, but merely pays for very expensive and very inefficient financial intermediary services. Redirecting as much of that money as possible toward paying for actual health care is an obvious reform strategy.

As I understand the Democrats’ proposed bill, their primary source of funds for covering the uninsured will be premiums paid by those receiving the coverage. They also are discussing raising income tax rates on those earning over $250,000 a year. In respect of that, my response would be, the rich have had a very good run for many years — both in terms of claiming a larger share of the nation’s total economic output and getting favorable tax treatment for themselves — so asking them to pay another percent or two of their income in taxes isn’t asking too much. Given that income has been shifting to the rich and taxes have been shifting to workers for the last 30 years, it’s their turn to carry some additional freight.

“Do you have an historical example of this actually working?”

Yes. I get my health insurance through a “public option” called PEBB, which is run by a state agency, but is financed entirely from premiums paid by public employees, employers, and retirees, and has operated successfully without taxpayer subsidies for decades.

61. Roger Rabbit spews:

@40 “How much do civil servants make?”

That depends on who they work for. State government is notoriously low paying. Rural counties don’t pay well, either. Salaries paid by King County and Seattle are better. The federal government tends to pay well, although not as well as large corporations. And government employees don’t have opportunities to earn stock options, performance bonuses, are large executive salaries. The governor makes about $160,000 a year — for supervising an annual budget of over $25 billion and more than 100,000 employees. Any comparable private sector job would pay millions. For an unelected career state manager, it’s hard to get to $100,000, and for non-management employees, nearly impossible.

“How much does Washington consume of the welfare dollar before it makes it out to the mailbox?”

I can’t give you accurate numbers off the top of my head, but I’d guess around 30% of welfare budgets go for A & O, the rest for services. This includes both the federal and state levels, and is roughly the same as the private health insurance industry’s percentage of total health care dollars. Administering welfare programs is labor intensive.

“You still have the option to pay out of pocket … that is 100% efficient.”

Assuming you’re referring to health care, this assertion is nonsensical. There’s no other way to describe it. Medical care is so expensive only a few people can pay for it out of pocket. As of 2000, a one-night stay in a hospital for chest pains, with doctor consultations, a battery of cardiac tests, and followup consultations, cost about $20,000. I don’t know what it is today. That’s a devastating expense for most people. As for paying for a prolonged hospital stay, or an expensive treatment like radiation therapy or kidney dialysis, it’s ridiculous to suggest that people of ordinary means can pay for that.

And, in fact, people without insurance who are hit with such expenses generally don’t pay for it. It ends up being charity care that’s passed through to paying customers, or it’s paid for by Medicaid which is passed through to taxpayers. It gets sliced and diced and repackaged and spread through the system in a thousand different ways. And it’s anything but efficient. Any hospital has several different schedules of charges for the same services depending on who’s paying the bill — insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or the patient. Private-pay patients pay the highest rates of all, because every expense that hospitals can’t recover from one of the other mentioned sources gets loaded on the private-pay patients. That’s where $5 charges for an aspirin come from. It’s basically the same as the $50,000 toilet that Boeing charges for the Air Force. That many isn’t really paying for a toilet; it’s simply an accounting device.

62. Roger Rabbit spews:

erratum @ previous post: “money” not “many” in last sentence

63. Roger Rabbit spews:

@42 PK appears to assume the “public option” will result in a significant increase in demand for medical care (using hip replacements as an example). I debunked this in detail @60. His other arguments are based on false premises, too. I’ve deconstructed these in a series of comments above. The GIGO principle applies here: PK is inputting “garbage facts” and so, of course, he extracts garbage conclusions. What he’s really doing is asking rhetorical questions based on falsehoods instead of real facts. As the saying goes, he’s entitled to his opinions, but he’s not entitled to make up his own facts.

64. Deathfrogg spews:

@56

Without profit, how do we motivate people to be productive?

The same way Stalin did.

So it either or? Totally just one method or the other? Now I know you’re shilling for someone.

You motivate people by paying them. A fair and honest wage for their labor and skill. If Stalin is your only example of the counter arguement, you are just uneducated, and very likely here on some assignment. Reactionaries like you are a nickel a ton these days.


If I am going to make the same if I work hard, a little, or not at all, why bother to work?

So, you think that once people are going to get universally available medical care, they’re going to stop working? Just lay around all day waiting for that next opportunity to get sick so they can bleed the taxpayers money away. That has got to be one of the stupidest comments I’ve seen in here, and there’s been a lot of them.

We’re not talking about paying everyone the same wage, we’re talking about making sure that the people who actually DO MOST OF THE PHYSICAL WORK, are allowed the same level of medical care that the CEO’s and bankers and politicians get, at no expense to themselves whatsoever.

The current system is failing, rapidly, and is on the verge of real collapse, as most of the monies generated by the current health payment system is being bled off at the top by the executive class, who really don’t do not do anything in the way of real work at all. Benefits, actual real payouts for services are being rapidly reduced to the zero point, while the top executives hoard an ever increasing level of wealth for themselves. They do have to keep up with that antique Ferrari collections.


Profit is not the problem. Government distortion of markets is the problem. Profit has created most of what you take for granted.

Bullshit. Profiteering does not belong in a system that services the most needy part of the population with the least ability to support it financially.

Take a job, a real job and not whatever it is you do, something like welding. Work and pay into the insurance system for ten years without so much as a checkup. Then, go have a car wreck, or a heart attack or fall off your roof wile doing repairs. You now need major surgery to repair the damage. Such a surgery plus followup care and medicine, under the current system, would require about $150-$200,000 IN CASH to pay for.

But, you have health insurance you say. Thats all neat and tidy, but the surgical procedure you need is still considered “experimental” by your insurance company, even though its been in use for 20 years. So they say, “no, we aren’t going to pay for that”.

So you take them to court. The court, after about 3 or 4 years of back and forth litigation, rules in your favor.

Meanwhile, you have lost your job, because you took three months off after the surgery. The president of the company you worked for sees the insurance rate go up because of the costs associated with YOUR medical care. So he sez to hisself, he sez, “I’m gonna lay that snivelling little fuckhead off cause he’s costing us money”.

That is how the system works NOW.

Wake up fuckhead, if you aren’t shilling, you are totally ignorant of the situation. You aren’t living in a vaccuum, you are part of a society. Ayn Rand was NOT a philosopher, she was a deeply psychotic, selfish hack.

65. Per Karlsen spews:

The public option will be entirely self funding?

Just like social security, right?

Just like medicare/medicaid, right?

Enjoy your delusion and your hate. Talking economics with Marxists is futile.

Enjoy.

66. Roger Rabbit spews:

@43 PK, all economic goods are rationed, and we all know that. Assuming you’re new to this blog, the liberals posting here are mostly academics, lawyers, and other highly educated people who have studied economics in college; so it isn’t necessary for you to talk down to us. That energy would be better spent on trying to make your own questions and comments more coherent.

Getting back to your question, in a free market, goods and services are rationed by price. What you seem unwilling to acknowledge is that health care does not function like a free market. In the medical marketplace, most consumers can’t make rational price-based decisions for a variety of reasons, not least of which is they aren’t told what the services will cost. Another reason is the pricing isn’t driven by market competition, and is often arbitrary.

I’ll give you a specific example of the latter. The last time I was in a hospital, I was billed for a $75 “patient responsibility” item that my insurer refused to pay and which wasn’t explained by the bill. My insurance carrier couldn’t tell me what the $75 was for, because they didn’t know. All they knew was the billing code didn’t match up with their approve-for-payment list of billing codes. When I called the hospital’s billing department, they couldn’t tell me either, for more or less the same reason — it appeared in their system only as a code number. After many phone calls, it finally was explained to me that I was charged $75 for having the emergency room admit me to the hospital. Armed with this information, I asked my insurance carrier why the admitting charge wasn’t covered. They explained that under their agreement with the hospital there wouldn’t have been an admission charge if I had been admitted at the front desk instead of the ER. Of course, no one told me this at the time. The front desk was 50 feet down the corridor from the ER reception area, and I could have hobbled down there, with assistance from my wife — and would have done it to save $75. Of course, this misses the main point, which is, the $75 ER admitting charge is bullshit to begin with. They simply tacked it on the bill to see if they could get it from me. More phone calls, this time to supervisors, to squawk about it. You know what they did? They wrote it off. And figured out some way to wring the 75 bucks out of some other poor sap who is less inquisitive and less persistent than me.

So what does this prove? It proves that some hospital charges are arbitrary and abusive, bordering on fraudulent. It proves the medical billing system is full of bill-padding and deceit. It proves there’s no pricing transparency and no meaningful opportunity for patients to exercise rational price-based decision-making. In other words, it’s a one-sided rigged game with billing departments calling all the shots. And because they can’t get away with gouging insurance companies, they focus their gouging activities on self-pay patients and the “patient responsibility” portion of insured patients’ bills. And, I will add, on stealing from Medicare and other government-run programs.

So, there’s price rationing in medical care, but not by patients making economic decisions. The rationing decisions are made by insurance companies, again without transparency and often in arbitrary and abusive ways. By this I mean insurance companies that take your premium money but find some excuse to deny payment for a treatment that, in their view, costs too much. Meaning big, expensive, life-saving treatments you can’t afford yourself, which is why you bought insurance.

KP, our system is broken. If you don’t want to reform it, then my response is, let patients hire lawyers like me to sue insurance companies not only for the cost of treatment, but also for attorney fees, wrongful death damages if the patient dies while wrongfully denied coverage, and punitive damages.* Don’t like that? Then how about stronger regulation of insurance companies to make them honor the promises they made to their policyholders when they collected the policyholders’ premium payments. That’s part of what the Democratic legislation does. But I know you conservatives don’t like regulation any more than you like reform, so here’s the deal: When insurers screw my clients, I’m gonna sue! Tort reform? Shove it up your ass.

* Washington doesn’t allow punitive damages except where there’s a specific statutory authorization, such as the treble damages provisions in the consumer protection and timber trespass statutes. The rationale of punitive damages is to discourage harmful behavior.

For example, in the famous McDonald’s hot coffee case, the plaintiff — who was severely burned on the inner thigh and underwent extensive skin grafts — was awarded punitive damages amounting to two days of coffee profits earned by the McDonald’s chain. The restaurant industry’s standard for coffee temperature is 140 degrees, but for business reasons, McDonald’s required their franchisees to maintain coffee at 180 to 190 degrees, which is hot enough to scald flesh. Before this lawsuit, McDonald’s had received over 700 reports of people being burned by their superhot coffee, but they made a business decision to continue selling extra-hot coffee. In other words, they knowingly exposed their customers to danger in order to boost their profits. The jury awarded punitive damages to counter the company’s economic incentives for continuing this policy, although as noted above, the punitive damages award was puny relative to McDonald’s profits from coffee sales. The court reduced the punitive damages to three times the compensatory award, which was equivalent to the coffee profits McDonald’s earned every 8 1/2 hours. McDonald’s appealed and the parties reached a confidential out-of-court settlement substantially under the judge’s determination, which further reduced the punitive damages award.

67. Deathfrogg spews:

Enjoy your delusion and your hate. Talking economics with Marxists is futile.

Okaay, filed under: Dumb as shit.

You really don’t understand a damn thing you’re saying do you? Just stringing wordstuff together like a microcephaletic in an institution does with those pretty plastic beads…

68. Roger Rabbit spews:

@54 “This is not a complete list, I knew a person in New Zealand who died waiting for a kidney transplant, but she had an odd blood type and couldn’t be matched in time, which happens right here in the USA.”

We also have more motorcylists than New Zealand, so there’s more kidneys available here.

69. Roger Rabbit spews:

@55 There’s no such thing as unlimited health care anywhere in the world under any system, including ours.

As for your argument that Obama’s health reform is akin to a “Soviet style command” health economy, there’s remotely approaching that in anything that’s been proposed.

70. Roger Rabbit spews:

@56 You’re being shrill now. No profit in our health care system? That’s absurd.

71. Roger Rabbit spews:

@58 Good point, and a restatement of what I said in one of my previous comments above: What medical goods and services a patient receives is determined by the doctor (based on legitimate medical requirements), not by the patient (whether framed as “demand” or in some other tautology).

72. Roger Rabbit spews:

I also want to add re #55 that here, once again, you are basing your arguments on false premises. Remember what I said about GIGO?

73. Don spews:

And I keep hearing this canard (so famously spouted by Bush) that Americans can already get health care in the emergency room. This is the dumbest thing I ever heard of. Emergency room care is the most expensive form of health care there is. And it is not “free”, hospitals are only required to treat you, not foot the bill. If you are indigent, the cost is tacked onto the bills of those who can pay. If the hospital determines you can pay, even a little bit, they will hound you, sue you, take any asset you own in order to satisfy that debt.

74. Roger Rabbit spews:

@65 Social Security is generating surplus cash flow at present; and Medicare is not receiving financial support from the general operating budget or general tax revenues. So, yes, they are self-supporting. You lose, but thanks for playing.

And, by playing the “Marxist” card, you yourself are acknowledging that you have lost the argument.

75. Roger Rabbit spews:

By the way, KP, I’ve taken you on point-by-point and you haven’t responded to any of my comments. Thanks for playing. You’ve met your match, and then some. It was fun, but I gotta go now.

76. DCG spews:

If the ‘public option’ health care plan is so good why won’t politicians agree to have that as their plan?

77. Deathfrogg spews:


If the ‘public option’ health care plan is so good why won’t politicians agree to have that as their plan?

Because they are well and truely bought. The GOP for over half a century now has been wholly owned and operated by the various industrial complexes. The individuals in the GOP and many in the Democratic party have no ability, on their own merits or qualifications, to gain or maintain public office without the massive cash flow system put in place by the multinational corporations since the end of WW2. No man or woman is allowed to run for public office at nearly every level, without having been bribed, or blackmailed into the position.

No person is allowed to hold office without submitting to the will of one or more private industrial interests. This is what the GOP always wanted to be after WW2.

There was a reason why Jack Abramhoff only allowed his staff to “consult” (bribe and/or blackmail) Republicans. It is like shooting dead pigeons in an empty swimming pool, to bribe a conservative. Money takes precedence over everything where the conservative personality is concerned. The more money, the greater the concern.

You don’t have any money? Fuck off. I only talk to people with money. If you can’t bribe them, they wont even let you in the office.

78. DCG spews:

So Pelosi, Reid, et al are being bought off and not putting the best interest of Americans before their own?

79. Deathfrogg spews:


So Pelosi, Reid, et al are being bought off and not putting the best interest of Americans before their own?

They all have their respective handlers. they all have staff to translate the bills for them. They all have outside consultants they talk to, always corporate. They all get to eat their Suffritte and wash it down with that $400 bottle of wine, at the taxpayers expense.

They all have skeletons in their closets, and they all are mostly in it for the liberal access to wealth that all sitting congresspersons are granted. They are a self-policing organization, and they rarely ever police themselves for anything.

Otherwise, they’d end up in a circular firing squad, and they are painfully aware of that.

80. DCG spews:

Then me thinks that there is no bill that would ever benefit the American people if the politicians are only striving for liberal access to wealth. I believe the lot of them are in it for themselves and am saddened that they do not recognize they represent us the people.

81. Don Joe spews:

@ 76

If the ‘public option’ health care plan is so good why won’t politicians agree to have that as their plan?

Why would they need to avail themselves of the public option? They already have coverage.

Or do you simply not understand the point behind the public option?

82. Intreeged spews:

GOP sucks GOP sucks GOP sucks. Thats all I hear or read. Who wrote this healthcare bill? Which senators? Which reps? It was not written by anyone we have elected nor read by them! Pull thy head from thine ass.Does anyone know? How can you defend something you know nothing about? Let me guess because the GOP sucks right? You poor foolish idiots Obama is Bushs little 1/2 white twin. They are two peas from the same pod. Too bad your lust filled eyes are too stupid to see it. You damn “change” whores! All you want is someone to care for your lazy asses.

83. DCG spews:

If they believe that the public option is good enough for Americans, why don’t they give up their FEHB and subscribe to what they believe is good for Americans without insurance? Why is it necessary for us to continue to pay for the FEHB benefits they have (over 400 plans they can choose from)? If it’s good enough for those without insurance, shouldn’t it be good enough for them?

84. Deathfrogg spews:

@83

I believe you’re being honest in your questions, they are logical, and to the point.

The problem is, at no time in the history of this nation, has logic, or honesty, ever applied to congress. Honest people do not aspire to poltical office. The game requires dishonesty and vindictiveness to be played well. People without those naturally ingrained personality traits cannot succeed in the game.

Look at the most successful politicians in American history, especially after the States War. They all, to a man, are assholes. If they aren’t assholes going in, they sure as shit are after a couple of terms in the office.

Oh, they smile, kiss babies and chuckle politely at the dinner conversations. But eventually, they all turn out to be the kind of person that you wouldn’t want over for dinner too often.

85. worf spews:

@56Without profit, how do we motivate people to be productive?
How about pride? I know people who do far more important work than me, who get paid less, yet they get up every morning and gleefully go off to work because they enjoy what they do, and get a very intangible benefit from said work – satisfaction.
The more interesting question I think would be; Why is it that so few people who self identify as “conservative” gain any personal satisfaction from their employment, unless said employment allows them the “freedom” to outspend their neighbors? Is the sole purpose of human existence to not only flagrantly use more resources than your neighbor, but to also arrogantly rub your neighbors face in your ‘wealth’? And isn’t that selfish mindset in direct contradiction to the supposed ‘christian’ values ‘conservatives’ pretend to represent?
As I said earlier today, fuck you, conservatives, fuck you all to hell and back.

86. Mr. Cynical spews:

85. worf spews:

@56Without profit, how do we motivate people to be productive?
How about pride? I know people who do far more important work than me, who get paid less, yet they get up every morning and gleefully go off to work because they enjoy what they do, and get a very intangible benefit from said work – satisfaction.

Few government workers have PRIDE in their work.
They work for all the days off and diamond benefit package.
PRIDE??
Gimmee your source for that statement.

87. MarkS spews:

Billionaires for Wealthcare

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHVwrCzRUX0

88. Steve spews:

@86 “They work for all the days off and diamond benefit package.”

“Gimmee your source for that statement.”

Gimmee the source for your statement. Just kidding, of course. We all know that you simply pulled another one from your ass.

89. Rujax! spews:

@ 88

The BIBLE, Steve…they say they’re getting this shit from the bible now.

90. Steve spews:

@89 Hmm, the word of God as spoken through his prophet, Mr. Klynical, and no doubt to be found in the Book of Klynical. And the Lord sayeth unto Mr. Klynical, “Behold, government workers work only for the days off and a diamond benefit package.”

91. Rujax! spews:

LOLOL!!!!

92. Mr. Cynical spews:

Here is the link to the State of Washington HR Dept.
Benefits==31% of wages
Paid Time-off===17% if you look at holidays, vacation, sick leave and personal days.

Where can you get a package like this steve
Steve is the guy who invented a pretend Black Friend after insulting Puddy with Racist BS.
When that didn’t fly, steve tried for even more sympathy by having his pretend Black Friend die.
Heck, steve even managed to convince himself he was raised and survived a life of growing up in “the projects”.
And today..Steve belongs to a mostly white-guy Kountry Klub where he gets drunk arouund noon and starts posting on HA!
For good measure, steve also tells us he is Kommodore of his White-guy Yacht KLUB!!

Steve—pinch yourself. Reality is over here.
NO ONE BELIEVES YOUR BS about growing up in the projects and all your Black friends!!
Give it a rest steve!

94. Steve spews:

@92 “Where can you get a package like this steve”

Linking to a HR site is Mr. Klynical’s proof government that employees only work for the benefits. I figured he’d pull something from his ass.

“Steve is the guy who invented”

Like I could care what you think. However, I will say that I do care what Puddy thinks. I recall that he once told you to back off because it’s obvious to him that I’m telling the truth. I’ve shared further, and more recent experiences with Puddy that you’re apparently not aware of, knowing full well that Puddy could use those disclosures to attack and even hurt me. But I trust Puddy. It’s been a trust well founded. He doesn’t go down that road. He never has. You do. That’s just one reason why I’ve learned to respect Puddy. And as for you, I don’t respect you at all.

95. Steve spews:

@92 “Reality is over here”

Funny stuff. Mr. Klynical, who pulls his own version of “reality” from his ass each day, giving me directions to find, of course, “reality”.

Sure thing, Mr. Klynical.

96. Broadway Joe spews:

35:

It’s because you’re lying, we all know it, and we want to know who’s paying you to do it.

97. Brendan spews:

@74,

Lemme guess… you are the sort who assumes that because you have a growing amount of money in your bank account today, that that will always be the case… right?

While it is true that today Social Security and Medicare are in the black, those surpluses, intended for various trust funds have been moved to the general fund (and replaced with IOU’s to the trust fund) through some fancy book keeping and is the sole reason that Clinton could ever claim to run a surplus btw (granted he was not the first nor last to use this accounting trick).

The problem is that while they are self supporting today… no credible accountant or economist expects them to be for very long… in fact at present rates IIRC social security will start to move into the red come around 2017.. at which time only a few options exist… paying off the increasing IOUs from the general fund (and creating even larger general deficits), cutting back on benefits, raising the retirement age, or increasing Social Security taxes… and of course no matter which option you choose then, the problem will only grow worse with time.

The same is seen in any Ponzi scheme (just ask Bernie Madoff) where wor a while things are quite profitable and work great… until you run out of investors in relation to the number of people you need to pay.

Given the existing schemes… you expect this new one to be different how exactly? Oh right… because we’ve been told that this time they’ll get it right, this time it’ll be different.