What is Bad Healthcare Reform?

January 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Marilyn's Message

There are two kinds of healthcare reform being promoted nationwide as the Obama Administration talks about providing healthcare for everybody in the United States.

One kind continues to support corporate medicine urging everybody who can to continue paying premium prices and purchasing health insurance policies so that healthcare continues to be provided by insurance companies and drugs continue to be controlled by for-profit companies too. This is BAD Healthcare Reform.

The other is a public healthcare system where we would all jointly support a national healthcare system such as Medicare, the fantastic system that (admittedly with many faults and needs for improvement) covers millions of us because we have paid into it in advance. This system costs a lot less money than insurance company policies, and provides for everybody whose age or disability makes them eligible.

If we created a policy making everybody of all ages eligible for Medicare and required everyone to pay into it, we would have a national healthcare system that would work for all of us. Some economists in Europe point to the plethora of young workers, many from other countries, in the United States who would be paying into this system for many years even though they would not need any extensive and costly healthcare for a long time.

It is called SINGLE-PAYER. It is similar in some respects to the many national healthcare systems in advanced nations worldwide. One difference is that all healthcare procedures would be provided by PRIVATE DOCTORS, not public facilities. The government would not control our healthcare (as in socialized medicine). 43 States are now cutting back on their healthcare and education programs as a result of the recession. They wouldn’t have to do that if they would join together in creating a single-payer system.

I never expected to be real real sick this last year, but I guess none of us do. However, it gave me the opportunity to experience how Medicare really works.

All of my chemo treatments and medicines were covered by Medicare as well as many other ancillary procedures. My cancer has receded and I am on the road to full recovery thanks to seamless healthcare coverage. I wish everybody had it!

Every one of us needs to tell Tom Daschle, the new Health and Human Services Secretary, and President-Elect Obama that, yes, we know it would cause them some problems to reject the multi-billion dollar proposals to keep healthcare in the corporate column making beaucoup bucks for private corporations. But we are waiting for the promise of universal coverage. A single-payer system that works all over the world in every advanced nation is waiting for us to adopt it and even to improve it.

Read all about single-payer, a bill in Congress called H.R. 676 and then find out what you can do to make it a reality.

With many good wishes for the New Year and thanks for your work and your financial support for Healthcare-NOW!

Sincerely,
Marilyn Clement

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Comments

24 Responses to “What is Bad Healthcare Reform?”
  1. duh moments says:

    Interesting that one of your signs in your video speaks to HMO’s and the folly of that disaster program…funny thing–that is the healthcare system we got FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT the last time they got to meddle in this issue. People, PLEASE stop and think–do you really think having more government involvement in your life will give you better healthcare as bureaucracy grows its ill-devised programs?? How much more of your paycheck do you really want to go toward paying for another government intervention??? Please just think about the direction you think would be better. And just remember a quote “Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have.”
    Thomas Jefferson

    • jeremy says:

      Do you not realize that we are currently subsidizing the rest of the worlds medical coverage by ensuring continued profits for the american medical association? America is being sucked dry by two industries that by no surprise are still profiting, regardless of the current financial crisis, energy companies and the medical industry

  2. Carol Ames says:

    I say NO to Obama’s reform plan and YES to single-payer [NO PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANIES] national healthcare plan. If “we the people” don’t make demands on Obama and hold him accountable to OUR interests, the corporate/private insurance lobbyists will tug on him 24/7 to make him WORSE to our interests. Anyway, I voted for Nader!

  3. Gerry Hunt says:

    As a Vietnam Veteran with insulin dependent diabetes, I have gotten excellent health care from the Veterans Administration, a single payer form of healthcare, for the past 5 years. For 32 years before that I suffered rejection after rejection from the private health insurers in America, even though I do not have any side effects.

    After 37 years of business experience as a CPA, I can assure you that only government will allow accountability, transparency, integration, alignment, regulatory standards, options for reconsideration, and affordability. All those factors are necessary to managing the cost of healthcare, and the private health insurance industry spends millions every year to influence politicians to avoid those factors. In truth, the private health insurance industry capitalizes deception.

  4. Marguerite Rece says:

    I am a 74 year old retired RN, with Medicare only and no part D. I can afford the copay. I cannot afford insurance that might or might not cover what I have while still taking all my money to insure me. When I was younger, working full time, I had health insurance , and had to carry a $10,000.00 deductible in order to afford it. I never used it so my money was not there for later coverage.

    This past year, with a hip replacement the charge for my pre surgery MRI was $3,190., my actual out of pocket charge on Medicare only was less than $250.00, and the total surgery with Medicare only was @$3000.00. The other charges of the total $30,000 to $35,000 were covered by Medicare. Why would I want to give all of my money to an insurance company that gives no guarantees to me about coverage, while giving lots to them in profit that they can then use to buy candidates for office to support them. And this is happening while hospitals are having to let needed workers go in order to stay solvent, creating a less than safe situation for patients and staff alike and leading to unnecessary loss of life and , or disability.

    It is not the practitioners that are bankrupting the hospitals. It is the profit making insurance and pharmaceutical companies that need to be removed from our health care.

    We can afford to cover all of us under Medicare for ALL. We need to help our Legislators who have a plan that totally covers them and their families for life, to see that we want the same thing for ourselves, our families and all others residing in this country. We are all in this together,
    I have “the audacity of hope.” “We can do this. Yes, we can.” So let’s do it. NOW
    ” My parents taught me, “Where there is a will, there’s a way.”
    My faith tells me that “the Way will open if we truly seek it., for ALL. So Lets…………

  5. Barbara says:

    I really don’t think the single-payer program would take as much out of my husbands paycheck as the insurance company that currently takes out $150 a week for an 80/60 plan, not including dental and vision, especaially since my family qualifies for Family Care and All Kids here in Illinois. Infact, we would drop the insurance altogether and just use Family Care if it wasn’t for the fact that the government is requireing him to keep health insurance on his daughter from a previous marriage even though she already has 100% coverage through her mothers policy (her mother so happens to work for BCBS). If there were only a program like Family Care for every American what we pay in would go by our income and we wouldn’t have to pay out more to an insurance company every week.

    With the direction the economy is going in more and more people are going to have to drop their health insurance just to be able to pay their bills. Then the health insurance companies are going to be asking for a bail out from the government. Which do you think is the better route?

  6. jeremy says:

    I honestly feel that the best action for all is to refuse to pay any charges above your insurance coverage. He everyone does this, the medical profiteers would cease to make a profit. Eventually there would be such a decline, so long as everyone is on-board, the only option would be complete overhaul of our current system.

    • Danielle says:

      The problem with this though is that IF they finally came around, no one would have any credit, because we all would have been sent to a collections agent by that point… Then what?

  7. sally smith says:

    I have severe back problems, and I cannot get physically therapy which I badly needed…because it is not medically necessary as the good insurance says. I called up the insurance company, crying about the pain I am in, and they were sorry, but I had to wait 30 days (in pain) for an appeal that I am probably going to lose….I went to a chiropractor and for some reason, I was approved 8 visits…..I have touchtone health insurance, and I want to say..”don’t get it”…..

  8. I am vocalizing for health care services for the elderly, veterans, disabled, injured and ill patients.
    As Insurance Committee Chair for the FL State Massage Therapy Association and as Insurance Consultant to LICENSED Massage Therapists Nationwide, we are petitioning that whatever plan is finally put in place, that direct reimbursement be provided to STATE LICENSED or Certified Health Care Providers such as Licensed Massage Therapists, Nurses, CNA’s, Home Health Aids and others who directly provide services via prescription from treating physicians.

    This alone could save millions of dollars to the industry. Trained and Licensed providers being directly paid would provide much more direct and efficient patient care and will eliminate reimbursement to those who do not actually do the labor- intensive work.
    Thank you for “listening”.
    Vivian

  9. Jane says:

    A system like Medicare is not the answer. I worked in medical offices for years and Medicare was nothing but a nightmare to file and try to get paid. Drs had to hire extra personnel just to handle Medicare claims. The Drs and hospitals do not get paid properly for their services because Medicare’s scale is unrealistic to the cost of providing the service and making any kind of profit. The only way Dr’s and hospitals stay in business is because some of their patients pay cash or those with insurance outside Medicare. Some Drs even have a limit as to the number of Medicare patients they will accept, based on what they need to pay their bills and stay in business. That may sound cold, and it is unfortunate, but that is the reality of what has already been forced on them by the government.

    For example, I had an outpatient x-ray at the hospital. The hospital charged $49. Medicare allowed $9 and paid $7. There is no way that hospital could have covered their cost. That is typical of everything I see. A $4,000 surgical procedure – they allowed $1200 and paid about 900. That is the reason so many doctors work for hospitals now. They can’t afford to keep up a private office unless it’s a large practice with lots of Drs. Even the hospitals don’t have small practices – there are usually at least 4 Drs in each practice they own. Has anyone noticed how the single family Dr we knew as kids has been long gone? Thank Medicare for that. When this new system is finally forced upon us, is the government also going to pay Drs to spend 10 years training for their profession, because they will never be able to recover the cost of that training through their reimbursements.

    My husband and I each have $150 a month deducted from our Medicare for Part B. We also have $150 a month deducted from our retirement checks for our Medigap policy. So even though we are covered, we pay $7200 a year from our retirement income to be covered. We still pay a large percentage for our prescriptions, of which we each have about eight. But we still prefer this system to anything else that would be worked out by a bunch of politicians and those who think they know what is best for us.

    My final point: Before I retired, the insurance I have now as my Medigap was my primary insurance – and only insurance. When I had a surgical procedure that cost $8,000 – my insurance allowed the entire amount and paid 90% of that. They paid my entire hospital bill, with no write-downs and the Dr and hospital were able to stay in business. Now, Medicare would deduct over half of those amounts before making 80% payment. Of course, in our case the second insurance covers the difference and it doesn’t cost us anything out of pocket, but the Dr and hospital are not receiving compensation that allows them to provide us with the best health care if Medicare patients were all they were treating.

    What we will be left with if this happens is a system of inferior doctors and hospitals that will be running on minimum. We will not be able to walk into the emergency room with chest pain and be able to be seen in 5 minutes and treated within 15 minutes, averting a more serious problem. We will sit there until we are in serious trouble and it will cost tons more to treat us – if we even make it.
    Think about it.

    And another thing: My husband is 79 years old. He has serious heart failure. We are seeing a special cardiologist in a few days about an implantable defibrillator and two-lead pacemaker that could give him back some of his heart function, and thus some of his life. We are hoping for another good five years that we can enjoy together. Once this new program is instituted, my understanding is that he would probably be turned down for this procedure and told he should just “get used to being disabled” because of his age. I hope and pray that does not happen to anyone. When we are told that we cannot avail ourselves of the miracles of medicine that have been brought about by our ingenuity, research, and dedication then something is very wrong.

    • You only need those forms to compete with private insurance. Once we provide everything with our taxes, Those thousands of forms can be streamlined and even eliminated.

  10. Jane says:

    To clarify my statement above that our insurance now pays “the difference” – what our second insurance pays is the difference between what Medicare ALLOWED and what they PAID – not the difference between what the Dr or hospital charged and what was paid. That is a much smaller amount. Just wanted to be clear about that.

  11. Has anyone above tho’t to include the excluded, the millions excluded, that single payer will cover? Yes, I recall that at the outset, Medicare was no fun at all for doctors. But today, administrative costs of the thousands of different companies = 33% of the premiums while tha figure for Medicare = 3%. Case closed.With that difference alone, all can be covered and all medical coverage except cosmetic are included And the physicians and nurses who are spearheading this effort show how significantly they, the professionals are on board.

    This ought to be the historic time for single payer. We had social security for the aged in the 30′s. Let’s get health care for all now.

    Did you all know that Warren Buffet made his billions in insurance w/ his Hathaway company? And his quote last week shows he is frightened of an outcry for single payer. Lets cry out!

    • Caroline says:

      Did you know that Social Security is bankrupt, Phyllis? Did you know it’s a sinking ship, oops a sunken ship. Does that mean anything? That maybe it was not a good idea???

  12. I don’t understand, whose comment is awaiting moderation? If mine, what is the problem?

    If concerned about Buffet’s quote, it was in the Wall Street Journal.

    Yes, he is an affable, very likeable person and quite successful.

    Among those I expected to speak out for single payer and didn’t was the largest senior citizen group and some unions. Then I realized they sold their own money making insurance! It’s been a fine investment. But excess profits at the expense of people’s health? That’s just not cricket.

    Please change the referral to Daschle who hasn’t been Health person for quite awhile now.

  13. Rene DeMattei says:

    The single payer plan means that the money that we pay into it (far less than the $900 a month my employer’s plan requires) goes MOSTLY to my healthcare (and yours) instead of into the pockets of CEOs with multimillion dollar salaries. How many clients paying into Blue Cross does it take JUST to pay the CEO? How many more clients’ money goes to paying for the employees that are told to deny as many claims as possible and REFUSE to insure the people who actually need it? Single Payer is completely different from HMOs and socialized medicine. I still get to pick my Dr who is private. It’s only the payment that comes through the government. I think it’s obvious to anyone who uses a private insurance program that the private insurance companies are in it for themselves, not for their clients. Medicare and Medicaid, with all their problems, are better than private insurance companies who have forgotten that the CEOs and stockholders are NOT their only STAKEHOLDERS>

  14. terkoz says:

    I have severe back problems, and I cannot get physically therapy which I badly needed…because it is not medically necessary as the good insurance says. I called up the insurance company, crying about the pain I am in, and they were sorry, but I had to wait 30 days (in pain) for an appeal that I am probably going to lose….I went to a chiropractor and for some reason, I was approved 8 visits…..I have touchtone health insurance, and I want to say..”don’t get it”…..

  15. Bodryn says:

    My Canadian fiancee broke her wrist and leg one Saturday morning while in Canada. The next morning she was in surgery and spent 5 or so weeks in rehab. Total cost: $165 for a wheelchair rental.

    Later, I had a serious brain bleed due to high blood pressure – fortunately I had state-of-the-art health care in Canada, but not for free as I’m not a citizen. I thought I was covered by insurance – turned out my Prudential 80-20 plan paid only about 3%. Medicare won’t pay in Canada, and neither does the VA.

    I would have done fine if my American health care months earlier had given me proper blood pressure medication, but I had a nurse practitioner at a place where pharmaceutical salesmen came and went every day. I was given sample drugs that worked poorly and had side effects, so I discontinued them and as a result had the brain bleed.

    If Americans can’t get single payer, clearly the country is no longer a representative democracy, but something else. I think Americans now exist only for the profit of the corporations.

  16. Andreas Savva says:

    I agree with Phyllis 100%.

    Helthcarefor all now!

  17. Gino says:

    You all tell me if you think their is something wrong with this picute. I use to have great health care coverage, Aetna PPO which was provided by my employer. It truly was great indeed. But Aetna decided to raise their rates on this plan by as much of 42%!! 42% !!! Now, how do you justify that ? So doing this, this force my employer to go to a cheaper plan. What use to be a deductable of only $100.00 is now:
    $1.500 dollars !!!!!! Just like that !!! And thats only the beginning. Once you get a medical bill lets say for $10.000 dollars. You owe 35% of that $10.000 dollars !! You tell me is that fair ? And to think that most rep. in our goverment think all is well and nothing should be done done about it. We need no heathcare reform. What are they insane ? !

  18. Caroline says:

    Many of you speak of the wonderful benefits you have received FREE and at much-reduced costs, good for you! But did you ever stop to think what it cost the rest of us? It costs much more to administer the program than to pay directly. You will cost the government (us… not the government!)one and a half times what your expense really costs on the open market. Do you think it’s smart to pay a dollar and a half for something that costs a dollar? Why don’t you start doing that with your own money at the cash register and tell me how long you continue that practice. EXACTLY! That’s why, on the whole economically-speaking, socialized medicine is a bad overall practice. And that’s not even touching upon any of the other reasons why socialized medicine is an evil. Check out every other society that has socialized medicine and research their situation. You will either find that they are socialist/communist or regret having chosen to introduce socialized medicine to their culture.

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