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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bend Over, Grab Your Ankles, Don't Call Me In The Morning And Never Mind About The Aspirin

Calhouns Can(n)ons for August 27, 09

The headline in the August 24, L.A. Times said it all: “Healthcare insurers get upper hand.” This was followed up with, “It’s a bonanza,” said Robert Laszewski, a health insurance executive for 20 years who now tracks reform legislation as president of the consulting firm Health Policy and Strategy Associates Inc.”

Lazewski is also quoted as saying that the insurers’ “reaction to early negotiations boiled down to a single word: ‘Hallelujah!”

I’ll say. At this point the health insurance companies own congress and have been remarkably adept at public outreach via various Republican Talking Points, as well as multiple press, talk radio, TV and Astroturf ad campaigns. The media blitz has apparently convinced a growing number of Americans that the government wants to kill their Grannies, install a government bureaucrat in their doctor’s office to make medical decisions for you, and that any “public option” will mean “socialized medicine,” followed by Communists taking over the country.

Gone missing from the Granny-killing fear-mongering is this telling tidbit: According to the Times story, “ . . the senate Finance Committee discussed requiring that insurers reimburse at least 76% of policyholders’ medical costs under their most affordable plans. Now the committee is considering setting that rate as low as 65%, meaning insurers would be required to cover just about two-thirds of patients’ healthcare bills.”

Translation: In general, Medicare reimburses 80%. If the insurance companies get their way – and who’s doubting that they will? – private mandatory health insurance could only cover 65% of medical costs. So there’s the perfect scam: Americans will be required to buy insurance from private companies that will make sure that their customers will pay top dollar while only receiving the lowest possible coverage, thereby shoving more and more of the financial burden back on patients and their families. And with no viable “public option” as competition, we’re back in the land of Harry & Louise’s “No Choice” choice.

In short, this is shaping up to become The Great American Love story: The American people and their elected representatives clearly love medical insurance companies so much that they will go to any lengths to keep them in business. Indeed, they appear willing to believe the most arrant nonsense so they can continue to pay more for less in order to make sure that their favorite companies will continue to receive those magnificent profits and so be able to reward their CEO’s with those breathtaking yearly salaries.

And since love is blind, that’s probably why Americans haven’t been able to bring themselves to ask these few simple questions: Exactly what do the private, for-profit insurance companies bring to the table that a not-for-profit type Medicare For All and/or Single Payer System does not? Administrative costs are far higher for private plans, and since the prime focus of the medical insurance industry isn’t to deliver quality health care, it’s to deliver profits to their stockholders, just how does that benefit the consumer? And if a not-for-profit “public option” turns out to be cheaper and/or delivers better healthcare to consumers, and some companies that can’t compete with that go out of business, why is that a bad thing? Isn’t that what “the wisdom of the marketplace” is all about?

Well, love can make people do crazy things. If millions of starry-eyed Americans refuse to take a cold shower and then start calling their Congressfolk, “The insurers are going to do quite well,” said Linda Blumberg, a health policy analyst at the nonpartisan Urban Institute, a Washington think tank. “They [the private insurance companies] are going to have this very stable pool, [us captives] they’re going to have people getting subsidies [from the taxpayers who also have to cough up for their own private policies] to help them buy coverage and . . they [the insurance companies] will be paid the full costs of the benefits that they provide – plus their administrative costs [which are about 3-5 or more times the administrative costs of Medicare for example].”

For insurance companies, it doesn’t get any better than this: Year ‘round Christmas plum pudding for them, while the American consumer will get nothing but coal in their stockings. But isn’t that sacrifice is what true love is all about?

170 comments:

Alon Perlman said...

The Insurance companies will pay 65% of the costs to the same patient?

When the actual costs are inflated by MORE then 65% due to the management, paperwork and activities related to insurance? Such as Coding of diagnosis (ICD-9) and coding of treatment.
(a sterile q-tip costs more than a clean one)-GENIOUS. It costs more to enter the procedure into a billing procedure than to conduct the procedure.


I’m looking into putting a chicken coop into the back, for my supplementals
2 fattened AFLAC Ducks should barter well against a minor in-office surgical procedure.
And aboot now, I should be looking for my Canadian American Dictionary.

It’s only aboot 400 miles south to the Tijuana pharmacy.

Watershed Mark said...

Congress needs a healthy dose of " term limits"- STAT

Mike said...

What the President and all of Congress needs is to be bound to the same medical insurance and social security plans that we the people have to live with... not a "special" package of benefits...

Sandra said...

Having lived in several countries with "national health," and having enjoyed excellent medical care on a number of occasions, I had high hopes that the good old USA would finally see the light.
I thought that perhaps we were finally ready.
I never imagined a system like Sweden, but believed that we would develop something uniquely American. There might still be a chance for that, although it's obvious that it will take a real crisis - not just talk of a pending one - to bring about the change that's needed.
Perhaps we have to settle for incremental changes, but at least moving in the right direction.

Watershed Mark said...

”Proposed Bill”
Obama Care Plan Could Raise Taxes

It may also require you to have the government health insurance if you change jobs.

The government has also thought about what would happen if you change jobs.

Under Section 102, if you lose your insurance through changing jobs, you are required to take the government health plan.

"If you ever change jobs, you are on the government plan whether it makes you happy or not," adds Schlomach.

It also states that after five years, any employer health insurance plan must meet government requirements.

(excerpt from page 16)
SEC. 102. PROTECTING THE CHOICE TO KEEP CURRENT 2 COVERAGE.
3 (a) GRANDFATHERED HEALTH INSURANCE COV4
ERAGE DEFINED.-Subject to the succeeding provisions of
5 this section, for purposes of establishing acceptable cov6
erage under this division, the term ‘‘grandfathered health
7 insurance coverage’’ means individual health insurance
8 coverage that is offered and in force and effect before the
9 first day of Y1 if the following conditions are met:
10 (1) LIMITATION ON NEW ENROLLMENT.-
11 (A) IN GENERAL.-Except as provided in
12 this paragraph, the individual health insurance
13 issuer offering such coverage does not enroll
14 any individual in such coverage if the first ef15
fective date of coverage is on or after the first
16 day of Y1.

“oh dear”

Watershed Mark said...

THE NEW COVERAGE IN A NUTSHELL:

The phone rings and the lady of the house answers.

"Hello?"

"Mrs. Sanders, please."

"Speaking."

"Mrs. Sanders, this is Dr. Jones at St. Agnes Laboratory. When your husband's doctor sent his biopsy to the lab last week, a biopsy from another Mr. Sanders arrived as well. We are now uncertain which one belongs to your husband. Frankly, either way the results are not too good."

"What do you mean?" Mrs. Sanders asks nervously.

"Well, one of the specimens tested positive for Alzheimer's and the other one
tested positive for HIV.
We can't tell which is which."

"That's dreadful! Can you do the test again?" questioned Mrs. Sanders.

"Normally we can, but the new health care system will only pay for these expensive tests just one time."

''Well, what am I supposed to do now? "

"The folks at Obama health care recommend that you drop your husband off somewhere in the middle of town. If he finds his way home, don't sleep with him.

Watershed Mark said...

Long before there was "health insurance" there was aspirin.

TORT REFORM-will conserve money to pay for actual care.
When will common sense make its way into this "National" discussion?

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

The section you quote does not say that people who change jobs (where insurance is is provided) will be forced into the public option.

Perhaps there is another section which says this, but not the one you cite.

Your buddy Schlomach is either not competent to read legislation or has a goal of twisting the words into something they do not say.


As a lapsed Republican ... one who loves the GOP but finds those running the party these days to be so lacking in integrity and common sense that he feels forced out ... I have to say that this whole healthcare spat is over one of two things:
1 - the notion that if Obama loses this one he loses all his political clout and thus the Republicans will gain clout
2 - the FUD planted by astroturfing K Street lobbying firms, paid for by big pharma and the insurance companies, who specialize in misinformation .

Whichever, I find it very troubling that the Republican party, one which used to be about honesty, hard work and the truth, even when inconvenient ... is now a party who is not as much focused on the good of the nation or honesty in the discussion but about winning at all costs.

There is a special place in Hell for those who know what is right but choose to do wrong anyway out of a desire for personal benefit or for the misfortune of others.

I just can't figure out whether Jesus would vote as a R or a D in the Senate. I suspect typically a D, but not on all issues.

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,
The problem with the proposed legislation is that it is both vague and obtuse.
Whether it is so intentionally or by accident, it does not serve the sheople well at all.

Twisting words is what lawyers do well. I suspect many “D” lawyers are responsible for the language in the proposed bill as the “R’s” were not at the table.
Don’t you listen to Nancy?

It is hysterical how some care to share their frustration about Health Care reform by attempting to blame the Republicans while the Democrats have all three houses.

BWAHAHAHAHA!!!

Why would you bring Christ into this discussion?

Watershed Mark said...

Do you believe Senator Kennedy would have had the level of care he had under the proposed plan?

Really?

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,
I'm curious, are you and your family on a government health plan?
How is that going? Is it solvent?

Health care is "personal"...

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

If you believe the legislation which is both vague and obtuse is a problem, I guess you have a problem with all laws passed at the State and Federal level since about 1960.

As for R's not being at the table ... I must say that if so, it was by choice not because they were excluded. Maybe they felt it was best to keep uninvolved so that they could take potshots.


Why bring up Jesus? Um, because folks who misrepresent things just to win ought to worry that he'll come back and judge them.

Take the FRC, for example ... while I'm sure many of them believe that they are doing the right thing to oppose "Obamacare", their way of doing so ... by perpetuating lies and passing off those misstatements as somehow representing Christ's position ... it is just downright distasteful and I am sure that Jesus is offended by those who would claim his mantle covers their political position on an issue which is at best unrelated to the faith and, at worse, is antithetical to the faith.

I guess it all comes down to how one reads Matthew 25 (both parables). Do we have any responsibility to help the sick or does God somehow absolve us of that responsibility at a national level? Those who preach abortion is wrong and that God will judge us as a nation because of our legalized abortion should surely also worry about those who are driven into the poorhouse because of usury by insurance companies who deny coverage.

No offense intended here, but any believer who opposes HR3200 and what it contains should step forward with a solution to the health care mess we have in the US that they can support. With that in mind, Mark, do you or would you:

1 - support legislation to keep insurance companies from retroactively dropping people and from denying treatment just because it is too expensive

2 - support legislation to keep insurance companies from refusing to offer coverage to people with preexisting conditions

3 - support legislation to limit the profits one can make in health insurance, much like we limit the profits for utilities

4 - support legislation to prevent drugs from selling in the US for more than, say, 10% higher than they sell for in other western and industrialized nations

5 - support legislation requiring insurance companies join a collective to provide catastrophic insurance at a low cost to those who would not be able to afford other insurance (and set a cap on profit from such coverage at, say, 1%)

6 - requiring people to have some sort of insurance coverage so that they don't dump the cost on the rest of us when they get sick (but keeping the gains for themselves if they are lucky enough to remain healthy)

7 - having the Feds and/or State pay for coverage for those who are indigent and unable to afford coverage

8 - changing reimbursement rates so that MDs don't flock to expensive specialties to make larger salaries

9 - changing reimbursement methods so that MDs and hospitals don't benefit financially from running more tests than necessary

Shark Inlet said...

If someone isn't in favor of at least 7 of the above 9 I figure they aren't really interested in real reform and that they don't mind the current system. In short, they are a middle class person who hasn't experienced a serious illness in their family in the recent past.


It is also interesting to note that Economics (the science) does not support the notion that the "free market" is optimal for all goods and services in all situations but that instead, state-run programs or highly regulated industries where profit is limited are best. Think highways, think the Army, think utilities.

As to Ted Kennedy and his healthcare, I really have to wonder why why we would care that much about how the rick are gonna do under the new plan when pretty much everyone in the lowest 80% (incomewise) will have far better care. I would suggest that the question shouldn't be about Ted's care but about the care your neighbor down the street didn't get because his health company denied him treatment and then no other company would sell him insurance at all. He would be far better off!

Lastly ... it is funny discussing this issue with my dad, the dittohead, because when he describes the horrors of socialized medicine he faced when visiting England, he is describing what I face every time I use my run-of-the-mill healthcare here in the US. Along those lines, he raves about how great Medicare has been for him at the same time he says that our government could never run a health care program effectively.


So Mark, are you a true Christian who opposes usury and supports coming alongside the sick .... or are you a poser who opposes "Obamacare" because it is "socialized medicine"?

Watershed Mark said...

We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.
August 28th, 2009

1963- before health “insurance”.

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,

I do not believe that legislation can provide "health care."

So you are on the government administered sick care?

MY prescription:

1. Eliminate state boundaries for insurance providers.

2. Mandate that everyone have a minimum plan such as is required when operating an automobile/truck. (The gubment can pick up those who cannot aford the premium, as they do now)

3. TORT REFORM- Probably the single most important.

Private insurers actively root out fraud while the gubment does not.

Throwing out the entire system in favor of some obtuse gubment plan becuase a small percentage is not or chooses to not be insured is stupid and will increase the costs.

You seem to ignore that the Democrats don't need the Republicans to pass their plan which will not begin for five years.

Everyone knows the longer the current "plans" are up for review the more everyone will understand just how stupid and unworkable they really are.

The Dems realize they will be swept from office should anything close to what's out there gets passed.

Like "Prohibition" it would be repealed.
In this case, before it would ever be instituted.

I'm not going to address your religious concerns.
You obviously have "issues" that are well beyond health/sick care.

You never did answer my question: State or Private Plan?

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"Along those lines, he raves about how great Medicare has been for him at the same time he says that our government could never run a health care program effectively."

That's been the ongoing weirdness in all of this. "Down with socialized medicin but Keep Your Hands Off My Medicare!!!" Are people that unable to connect some very simple dots?

Additionally, the healthcare delivery systems also need a great deal of work. Our present system rewards waste and creates hideously expensive poor outcomes -- i.e.less bang for the buck. It really is nuts.

Watershed Mark said...

Congressional Term LIMITS STAT.

Watershed Mark said...

1963- before health “insurance”.

Gold was around $60.00 an ounce in the early 1960’s, before there was health insurance.

Watershed Mark said...

ObamaCare: The Musical

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

I've gotta disagree with you on pretty much everything you've just written.

Certainly state term limits in California have resulted in less bipartisanship and stupider decisions ... what makes you think that the result at the national level would be different at all?

As for your "solution" of requiring everyone to buy insurance (and the gubmint picks up the tab for those who cannot afford), it is perhaps silly in one key way. If there is oligopoly now in the health insurance industry (and allowing "companies" to cross state boundaries won't change that, they are all owned by one of two or three main companies nationwide) there is no real competition.

Nope, it's a tough problem, but the Republican "solution" is more of the same and more of what doesn't work at all these days.

Why not at least limiting profits on insurance and drug companies to make sure that they don't abuse the captive market?

Churadogs said...

One question that remains unanswered is this: Single payer countries cover all their citizens and pay about 1/2 per capita for their health care than we do, and judging by the overall health care benchmark outcomes of the WHO, have healthier overall citizens than we do. We pay 2x the amount and have sicker citizens, which translates to way less bang for the buck. Why? And What's wrong with this picture?

Shark Inlet said...

I do wonder why Republican and BluDawgs never attempt to answer the question about why these single payer countries can do such a good job when they claim that we cannot.

Are these Republicans seriously saying that Americans cannot achieve the sort of cost and quality combination that those in Taiwan, Canada and France have?

I get the feeling that the only reason for this defeatist attitude ("waaah ... we CAN'T do it ... waaaah ... we're more pathetic than Cuba ... waaaah") is that Reagan trained Republicans to always believe that government is inefficient and that the "free market" can always do a better job.

Well, yes ... government is always inefficient, but in this case, governments in other countries are about half as inefficient as private businesses in this country are. If the best the US private industry can do is worse than Serbia but twice as expensive and Republicans are saying that it can't ever ever be better, they are simply put, pathetic and anti-American.

Sewertoons said...

Thank you Shark!!!!

Aaron said...

I found a wonderful link from Factcheck.org that debunks a lot of myths that conservatives have been floating around.

26 Lies About H.R. 3200

ososgrande said...

One aspect of tort reform that is not discussed is free access to your, or any, Doctors records. The system is rigged now so you cannot find out that Dr X has had 3 lawsuits/settlements due to the fact he cannot find his end of the tongue depressor. The public needs to be able to 'vet' their md. However, the AMA guards their members records like Ft Knox.
All parties need to 'buy in' to make the system work, including the Docs.

Sewertoons said...

Thanks Aaron!

ososgrande, I fear for people judging doctors on performance. Not every person who brings a complaint has a legitimate one, and settlements are sometimes made to make problems go away, rather than ferreting out the truth. Are you talking about settlements made by insurance companies or about lawsuits that go to court -- and who is paying for the doctor's lawyer??

On the car insurance front, I was once accused of backing into a pedestrian on the sidewalk as I came out of my driveway. I did no such thing, but the insurance company gave him $10,000 to make him shut up and go away (they told me that). I was not penalized and made to pay more for my car insurance, but that seemed really unfair. It would have cost more money to fight him, so they gave in, that is what they told me.

If this is done differently for doctors then I might agree with you. Doctors need vetting, but I'd rather see a way not controlled by insurance companies anyway. Is that why the AMA guards the records so closely?

ososgrande said...

Sewertoons. I am talking about the public, you and me, having the ability to find out what our docs history is. A long list of claims for a doc would tell me something. Where there is smoke, there is fire.
I would like to make an informed decision before I go to a doc.
If a doc has string of settlements I thing he/she should be paying more for their professional liability policy than the doc who has no such history.
Their cost of insurance would make their practice very hard to keep open and for a good reason.

Sewertoons said...

I agree ososgrande. A long list would be a tip off. As long as everyone "gets" that xx% of claims are bogus. The doctor with 7 who has been in practice 30 years might be off the list of a prospective patient where a doctor in practice 5 years might have zero and he/she "get" the patient in question. I'm not sure how this would work.

How are premiums done now? Everyone doctor pays the same amount?

Watershed Mark said...

Hall and Wilcox’s financial relationship was solidified in late 2006 when Hall and his wife invested in a home mortgage with Wilcox—the home is listed as being worth $500,000 on the county’s assessment roll. Hall’s firm has represented the county for as long as most county officials can remember. They’re also one of the only independent firms to litigate for the county.
Well, well- Warren is either very involved or very obtuse. Either way Warren has some explaining to do.
Any bets about his retirement before he formally answers Lisa’s complaint?

Watershed Mark said...

Sorry, I forgot his last name Lynette wrote: "I was not penalized and made to pay more for my car insurance, but that seemed really unfair."

In case you haven't noticed paying more is a form of punishment.
Why do YOU LIE?

Watershed Mark said...

Why doesn't anyone in Congress want to talk TORT REFORM?

Watershed Mark said...

About
Our Mission
We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.
The Annenberg Political Fact Check is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC was established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg in 1994 to create a community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would address public policy issues at the local, state and federal levels.
The APPC accepts NO funding from business corporations, labor unions, political parties, lobbying organizations or individuals. It is funded primarily by the Annenberg Foundation.
Brooks Jackson
Director, FactCheck.org


Our inbox has been overrun with messages asking us to weigh in on a mammoth list of claims about the House health care bill. The chain e-mail purports to give "a few highlights" from the first half of the bill, but the list of 48 assertions is filled with falsehoods, exaggerations and misinterpretations. We examined each of the e-mail’s claims, finding 26 of them to be false and 18 to be misleading, only partly true or half true. Only four are accurate. A few of our "highlights":

Gotta love it when “a nonpartisan, nonprofit "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” –decides it needs to debunk email…Politics is great!

Watershed Mark said...

There are job opportunities available within the Foundation and its initiatives. If you are interested in one of the listed positions, please email your resume and coverletter to jobs@annenbergfoundation.org

Watershed Mark said...

While Annenberg ran his publishing empire as a business, he was not afraid to use it for his own ends. One of his publications, The Philadelphia Inquirer, was influential in ridding Philadelphia of its largely corrupt city government in 1949.

The LOSTDEP sure could use someone with these skills and tools today.

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

Those e-mails which factcheck has been checking are ones that I've received and I am sure that you have as well. One of the things that conservatives have been become really good at is e-mails which cause FUD. Most the claims listed in these e-mails I've heard as "facts" from family members, friends and even Rush.

Those e-mails feed information to faithful who then repeat that info and it is then covered by the FOX News krewe as if it is a fact. Toss talk radio and Drudge into the mix and each feeds the other.

Even so, the FUD is not something that is trustworthy, as the factcheck analysis points out.

With that in mind, what do you think, Mark, about the fact that your side has been spreading disinformation? Even if unintentional (which I doubt, but that's another topic), it is entirely out of line for conservatives and Republicans to not step forward and renounce such falsehoods.

What would Jesus do?

I am convinced that even in situations where people might disagree about a matter of politics, we should at least be able to state the position of those we disagree with in such a way that they feel we did justice to their position. We should also not misrepresent their beliefs or intent. To do anything less is simply put, a sin against the Lord of Truth.

So Mark, are you gonna stand behind these claims or renounce them?

Now that you know better, are you going to do your part to stop the misinformation or will you let thing lie because the misinformation just happens to be convenient for your politics? Are you willing to let sin reign or will you oppose it where ever it might be found?

Aaron said...

Here's something to think about:

Half of the claims made in those e-mails were claims made by TCG about a few weeks ago.

People believe these e-mails.

I remember the e-mails before Obama became president: "Obama's a secret muslim!" "Obama likes killing unborn babies!" I've read them all.

Watershed Mark said...

Here's something to think about:

Why can't any of the three houses articulate a coherent on point message?

Watershed Mark said...

Steve: Let the buyer beware.

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

Are you saying that you believe Jesus doesn't want you to correct misinformation being used to mislead people? Do you really believe that Jesus would stand behind the used car salesman who would mislead the buyer about the vehicle characteristics?

Certainly the buyer should beware ... as that is simply a wise practice ... but your answer appears to suggest you feel no responsibility to pass on truth to others who have been misled.

Just sayin'.

Watershed Mark said...

Why was vacuum never studied?

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

No offense, but while you may believe your comment to be at least peripherally on-topic, it would have been better to simply answer the question because you should know whether you believe misleading others is in line with what Jesus would want you to do even while I might have no idea about what Paavo was thinking back in 2008.

So then, do you wanna answer the question you were addressed which you can reasonably tackle and which is on topic ... or do you want to duck behind a rhetorical device, something which you appear to have been critical of in an earlier conversation.

Sewertoons said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/31/opinion/31krugman.html?em

Watershed Mark said...

Why does sorry, I forgot his last name lie?

State or Private health care program Steve?

Watershed Mark said...

State or Private health insurance care program Steve?

Shark Inlet said...

On the same topic, 'Toons, you might want to read Conservatives, yesterday and today by Gregory Rodriguez from yesterday's LATimes.

Watershed Mark said...

Why does sorry, I forgot his last name Lynette lie?

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

What are you asking ... and why do you think I would even want to bother answering you if you are so unwilling to at least address the topic I brought up? Do you not understand that communication is a two-way-street?

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,
Read above abd you will find my question is ahead of yours.
Also please see my comments regarding your religious concerns where they apply to me.

Interesting there is so much labeling and so little sustance in your discussion, samewith sorry, Iforgot hs last name Lynette who lies in a futile effort to "help" the county as they are having trouble articulating their position as well.

Sewertoons said...

Thanks Shark!

Watershed Mark said...

The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for truth,” and so it goes away. Puzzling.
September 1st, 2009


Why wasn’t vacuum collection studied?
Why does Lynette lie?

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

Okay, I see your original question. I thought you were asking it rhetorically so didn't bother answering earlier and then when you brought it up again, I didn't see the point in answering.

Anyways, my employer gives me private insurance options which I can choose from. I pay some of the cost and they pick up the rest. My bill (and the amount my employer picks up as well) has been increasing faster than the cost of Medicare (in dollars per person in age-adjusted terms) as a whole.

Clearly my private insurance company ... who is reporting record profits these days ... is taking a larger amount off the top. Why haven't I chosen another plan? Because all the other private insurance plans I am offered have the same problem.

In short, private insurance in the US does a worse job than does the various government programs at controlling costs.


Why bring Jesus up? Because anyone who is a believer should stand up against falsehood being used to harm widows and orphans.

Are you a Christian, Mark?

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,
Who is your employer?
Would Jesus work for them?

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,

The some/rest isn't very useful in a discuusio about costs.

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

Your entirely rhetorical questions (and please remember, you have stated in the past that you don't approve of the use of rhetoric) are funny.

First ... if you are gonna play the "I asked first so you need to answer first" game you should answer before asking else you will be subject to ridicule.

Second ... now that you're playing the WWJD game, would Jesus work for a health care insurance company?

Third ... any believer would be pretty willing to tell others of his belief so it is my mistake in thinking you were a Christian. I wonder why I was thinking you were.

As to my insurance information ... now that you've asked and I've answered ... why did you ask?

Then, when you wrote "
The some/rest isn't very useful in a discuusio about costs" (sic) what the heck did you mean?

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,

You want to discuss costs but refuse to discuss cost.

Thanks for playing.

Watershed Mark said...

Do you know how much "your" plan costs?
When you are state "they pay some and I pay the rest" it makes me wonder if you know what your plan costs compared with what is covered.

Lawyers are a big part that make the cost of insurance "rise", which iswhy I prescribe TORT REFORM STAT.

Why isn't TORT REFORM worthy of "change?"

I noticed you did't want to address whether Christ would work for the State.

Watershed Mark said...

I can see the smoke your State Government's budget from here...

Time to get those taxes up while cutting sevices.

Watershed Mark said...

I can see the smoke from your State Government's budget from here...

FOGSWAMP said...

Health care reform couldn't pass during healthy economic times in the US, so it will be a tough patient to heal these days with a worldwide economic crash.

Most every healthcare system in the world is having money problems to keep them afloat. The answer seems to be to cut back services, as in Canada today.. This leads to a two-tier system creeping in and destroying the ideal system that 86% of Canadians still rate as high.

The two-tier system has been a topic of debate in Canada for years as patients face lengthy hospital wait times, etc.

On June 25, 2009 British Columbia's Health Minister, Kevin Falcon when speaking about a two-tier Canadian health-care system stated "I don't have any philosophical objections to it... what we have to do is improve the public delivery services..I think choice is a good thing and reducing is not a good thing".

BC health authority is in the process of cutting 100 jobs and workers asked to accept four-day work weeks, hiring freezes etc. to cope with a $30 million budget shortfall.

Last year the government added $ 120 million to the system in July, this year according to Kevin Falcon there will be no bailout and the Provinces will just have to cut costs somehow.

The Canadian Medicare Protection Act prohibits private insurance health care in the proivinces(for good reason), however that law was challenged by the province of Quebec in the Supreme Court of Canada June,2005 and won.

Now BC faces a legal challenge to parts of it's Medicare Protection Act, as well as Alberta and Ontario.

I am a Canadian citizen residing in the USA and just returned from an extended visit to British Columbia my home and native land.

My view (and that of my many Canadian relatives)is that if Canadians do allow a two-tier system to creep-in, they should keep it mandatory that the entire population belong to and pay into the existing system, thus making it more affordable and workable. Like you want to spend more for health-care go for it.

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

You talk a lot of smack and then when asked questions you seem all-of-a-sudden unwilling to participate in any discussion. Such is the mark of someone uninterested in actual discussion.

Bluster and blather all you want ... just let me know when you come down to Earth and want to actually discuss these issues.

Watershed Mark said...

Canadians and many other countries citizens come to the UnitedSTates of America to get high quality and prompt medical care they cannot receive in their own country.

Steve,
Why so hard to tell us how much "after tax" you pay for insurance?
Don't you know?

Watershed Mark said...

Canadians and many other country's citizens come to the United States of America to get high quality and prompt medical care they cannot receive in their own country.

Why would we want to be like "them?"

Watershed Mark said...

Time to get those taxes up while cutting sevices.

Watershed Mark said...

Let’s be careful out there-


Warning: Swine Flu Shot Linked to Killer Nerve Disease

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

You only now raise the issue of how much I pay for health insurance "after tax". Please don't suggest that you've asked before because you haven't.

I also don't want to bother looking it up for you now simply because you have not shown me much courtesy at all in our discussion ... certainly you have avoided all the direct questions I've asked you even while I've attempted to answer your questions. That is not how polite adults treat each other.

As for your suggestion that Canadians and others come to the US for treatment ... it is obvious ... those who are millionaires in any country will pay whatever it takes to get the best. Right now, the US system is great for the few who have unusually good insurance (that is ... not the 95% of us who are not blessed to have the best plans where most likely our employer picks up the whole tab).

Mark, if you have one of those plans where healthcare is not rationed already ... if you are part of that top 5% ... you will not be asked to switch insurance at all ... so please don't raise this issue because it a red herring and completely irrelevant.

Watershed Mark said...

Health care, "a red herring and completely irrelevant?"

Because you don't have any idea what you are paying for insurance Steve, how can you be an advocate for throwing it away in favor of a gubment run system that will destroy the industry/system delivery as we know it?

Can you at least tell us what percentage you pay?
Anything your employer(teehee)te State of California pays is not taxed like your portion is, that's why I asked.

FOGSWAMP said...

Mark said "Why would we want to be like them"?

We are in fact like them, are we not all homosapiens? eh

With respect to U.S. health care reform. U.S.governments are already on the hook for health care to the tune of almost $3500.00 per person---about 20% more than Canadian governments----and this liability grows as the population ages.

Canada is facing the same problems
right now as America, only in reverse. They have had the system since 1996, so perhaps the U.S. could learn something from them. eh

Watershed Mark said...

FOGSWAMP,

OK, I should have written, why would we want to change a system that works to a system that folk’s desert in time of dire need?

The United States is a world leader provider of health care. Do we need to “fix” some things- YES!
TORT REFORM, Boundary territories and “mandatory participation” as I have stated above.

It still amazes me no one will address my prescription.
Why wasn't vacuum collection studied?

FOGSWAMP said...

Mark

You're question was "why would we want to be like them" (Canadians)was a good one.

My answer is that the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that U.S. male life expentancy is 67.5 and Canadian is 70.0. So you get 2.5 more years of old age!

You state "The United States is a world leader provider of health care". Not so, according to the WHO.

The World Health Organisation's ranking of the world's health systems rank Canada as 30 and the U.S.A as 37 out of l90 countries.
This was in 2000. they no longer produce such a ranking table because of the complexity of the task.

Also note that the World Health Performance Rank by Country based on overall health system performance, rates Canada at 35 and the U.S.A at 72 out of 191 Countries.

The USA comes in dead last in Preventable deaths for selected countries. France was number one of 14 and the USA dead last.

Without doubt France is the world healthcare leader, US comes dead last.

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

Either you are pretty dumb or you are deliberately trying to twist my words.

I did not say that health care was irrelevant but that a few Canadians and folks from some other countries come to the US for healthcare is irrelevant.

As for my individual healthcare coverage, your questions seem more than a bit prying when you've been so unwilling to answer a single one of my questions.

In short, you are attempting to control the discussion entirely and I'm not gonna play that game.


Finally as to your question about why we would want to be like Canada where everyone gets quality healthcare ... why would we not want to be like them?

Here's a good question for all those actually interested in actual discussion ... is the denial of basic health care to some 20% of the US population and the rationing of another 40% (or more) of the US population something that is so good that it is worth paying 80% more for our health care system per person than folks in other countries where all get quality coverage?

Watershed Mark said...

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health.
The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and the achieving of world peace.
We Americans fund the WHO. I’m not a supporter of the UN, for reasons I won’t go into here and now.
The UN is financed from assessed and voluntary contributions from member states.

I do not “trust” the life expectancy numbers currently being used as all murders, gang killings, car accident victims and causalities of war have been figured into the life expectancy "figures." Most of those gang killings and many other groups contain folks who young, which may attribute to a skewed/weighted figure.

Canada — Population: 33,212,696 (July 2008 est.)

USA - 304,059,724 - Jul 2008

I will argue that we Americans have a much more free and mobile society than the Canadians.
You guys are locked down due to the weather while we are surfing and such.

We have many more miles of highway, beaches and usable open space and enjoy a much higher level of freedom than Canadians.
As you are a Canadian, do you spend the requisite 6 months and a day to keep you health benefits in place? If not, why not?

France, like other countries in Europe, has a system of universal health care largely financed by government through a system of national health insurance. In its 2000 assessment of world health care systems, the World Health Organization found that France provided the "best overall health care" in the world.[1] In 2005, France spent 11.2% of GDP on health care, or US$3,926 per capita, a figure much higher than the average spent by countries in Europe. The entire population must pay compulsory health insurance.

Life Span vs. Quality of Life may be one reason you choose to live here instead of Canada.
If Canada is so great why do you live here?


Be sure to have a look at the Tax rates around the world.
I haven’t heard about how folks leave the US and fly to France when they have a severe medical condition they cannot efficiently and without wait address here.

Somehow I just don’t have any confidence in what the WHO has to say about American or French Health Care.
But that’s just my opinion.

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

Your response on the question of healthcare in Canada versus the US versus France seems to be not actually related to the quality of healthcare in any of the three countries or the costs of healthcare in any of the three.

Why choose to be irrelevant?


Certainly your discussion about tax rates is a funny one because, after all, if you lump US health care costs in with taxes, we pay more than France, Canada and the like. If we were to do single payer and taxes were to go up, our individual (and employer financed) healthcare costs would drop.

When you consider the total amount spend on healthcare in the US per person (including those who are uninsured) is nearly twice what it is in other western Countries (plus Japan plus Taiwan plus Korea) it is clear that we're paying far more than we need to be paying.

Even if you don't like Single Payer or a Public Option, you have to admit that things are messed up now just like Glen Beck noted during his hospital stay a year and a half ago.

Lastly, you suggest that Tort reform, requiring people to buy insurance coverage and allowing insurance companies to cross state lines would be a partial solution. I like the first two but don't think the third would help at all. If three firms now own some 90% of the health insurance companies (in terms of participants) we essentially already have an oligopoly which crosses state lines.

In short, this part of your solution will have little impact on the real problems:

1 - Preexisting
2 - Retroactive denial of treatment
3 - Drop people once they get sick
4 - Overhead rate is usury
5 - We pay too much for drugs
6 - MDs reimbursement rates don't encourage quality care

Single payer, a public option or the requirement that all insurance companies participate providing a low cost collective which has limited profits would all help.

FOGSWAMP said...

Mark

Many Canadians seeking specialised healthcare do in fact go to the U.S. (because that's where all our good doctors fled ha ha.) The Canadian government cannot prevent that due to the Free Trade Agreement, I was told.

We should enjoy our low tax base and save money because it surely won't last much longer.

The health care bill for 305 million people will make our present national debt look like chicken-feed.

Then get ready for Carter-like inflation.

Churadogs said...

One of the problems with health care as well as energy costs are all the hidden "subsidized" costs that we don't think about. If, for example, you took all the costs associated with creating a gallon of gas (military costs to protect the oil, navy to keep the shipping lanes safe, health costs associated with the pollution,acid rain, etc. etc. and pro rated it per gallon, I suspect that suddenly that gallon would get very, very expensive, and by comparison solar or wind would get very cheap. Do the same for "health care," lost productivity, loss of competitive advantage in business competing with multi-nations that do have state funded single payer & etc, cost to taxpayers to pay for care of people who, due to lack of insurance, let their illnesses get catastrophic, etc. and add all that to what's actually paid out of pocket by each of us and whoever's also kicking in (i.e. employer) and the real costs get even higher than we think they are. In short, there's all sorts of hidden costs we don't think we're paying so our energy and health care costs appear less than they really are.

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,

Please show me the linkage which support your claims- no blogs please.

Limiting profits, limits incentive for advancement.

TORT REFORM STAT-

Watershed Mark said...

FOGSWAMP- Given the difference in population I will wager more Doctors are "bred in" than fled to the US.
I agree there will be inflation but I believe it is due to the Federal Reserve. Please see the "wake up call" link I posted previously.

Watershed Mark said...

Ann,

Conserving energy and self help health care are important and can easily be a part of a personal responsibilty program.
Google offers Blackle. Whether one chooses to use it is a personal choice.
It does not "yet" return the identical results as a Google search but that should change over time as more folks use it.
My son told me about it last week after hearing about it from another 6th. grade classmate.

There are ways to conserve energy and protect your health that do not cost anything.

One more thing about gubment and health:
Currently there is no "nutritional" reccomendation labeling requirement on sugar consuption. The currently mandated labeling simply “declares” the grams of sugar but does not indicate what is a reccomended daily dose as it does for fat, sat fat, protien, sodium etc. As Diabetes and Obesity are raging in the US and while these diseases lead to other more serious health conditions why wouldn’t the current administration want to address and change this very simple informational “labeling” tool.

Why won’t the administration address sugar consumption labeling?
Why wasn’t vacuum studied?

FOGSWAMP said...

Public funding for any health care system requires that it be tied to that nations economy and just how much is determined by how rich, or poor that nation is at any given time.

In Canada between about 1970 and 1990, health care received a steady increase in funding every year due to a good economy. This money was used to build new hospitals, buy new equipment, hire new doctors and offer more services etc. But when the recession hit in 1991, funding was stopped as governemt scrambled to fix the failing economy (like the U.S. should be doing today instead of finding ways to spend more). eh

Canadian politicians were confident that after the recession was over, health care would re-emerge as the strong symbol of Canadian identity that it once was. Instead, it has yet to recover from damage that was caused by the elimination of funding it had come to depend on.

Watershed Mark said...

FOGSWAMP: Do you have any linkage to support your statement:
"Public funding for any health care system requires that it be tied to that nations economy and just how much is determined by how rich, or poor that nation is at any given time."

FOGSWAMP said...

Mark old chap

I was referring to my second paragraph, relating to what actually occurred in Canada over time.

I just assumed that would apply to any nation, would it not?

Unless they have a money tree, or believe in the tooth ferry.


"Often wrong but seldom in doubt"

Watershed Mark said...

Good on you SWAMPFOG.

Assunptions are what led us to where we are now.
Let's think it through and get it correct.

TERM LIMITS, TORT REFORM, REMOVE THE BARRIERS TO COMPETITION- STAT!

Watershed Mark said...

Sorry, FOGSWAMP I mis-wrote your name.
Please accept me apologies.

FOGSWAMP said...

Watermark Shed

Apology gratefully accepted.

Why all the hyprochondria about health care reform in North America today when most people in the Uninted States and Canada think their health is good?

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
made up of 30 countries (including U.S.A and Canada)just released Health Data on July 1st, 2009.

The chart shows percentages of populations aged 15 and over reporting good health.

New Zealand 90%
Uninted States 89%
Canada 88%

It was surprising to learn that Japan was at 39% (second lowest)and not surprising that Slovak Republic was at the bottom of the chart at 34%.

So don't worry, be happy.

Watershed Mark said...

I place little stock in statistics.

Take care.

Churadogs said...

Mark asks:"Why won’t the administration address sugar consumption labeling?"

For the answer, you need only check the amount of money the sugar industry donates to the political campaigns of both parties for your answer to that one.

FOGSWAMP said...

Mark said " I place little stock in statistics".

Reminds me of the TV serial drama "The West Wing" first produced by Aaron Sorkin (I think) wherein they used the quote "lies, damned lies and statistics".

Watershed Mark said...

I realize why government does what it does.
By my Socratic method I am attempting to raise awareness.

Why wasn't vacuum collection studied in the County's process about "Alternatives?"

Alon Perlman said...

Fogswamp, (& WMark) a pretty classy show-and allways a great quote, that would be SAMUEL CLEMENS, AKA the second knot on the rope as the Dixie Belle(?) Churned by Tom Sawyers raft.
Unfortunately Statistics is one of the few tools we have.
The FDA several years ago allowed Meat treated with Carbon Monoxide to be UNLABELLED. Though C=O is a poison when inhaled, and I havn't researched this fully-but not a danger Ingested, the danger is in assuming that red looking hamberger when out of the (Expiry dated) package will continue to "look Edible" long after it should look like zombie cow. Hope that is now or will be no longer allowed.
About a third of the population is susceptible to salt related hypertension. (Very high salt does raise blood pressure for anybody) for some time there was an expensive but fairly affective campeign that targeted Everybody on the assumption that the unlucky third would not be identifying themselves. Then the money ran out or the proponent in charge retired. Guess it's safe now. We do suffer from an element of Faddisem, here, in the land of unlimited information.

Watershed Mark said...

Alon,
There are many substances that are being added to our food supply these past few years that the FDA & USDA considers “Generally Recognized As Safe” or GRAS not labeled and without your knowledge or consent.

I have never heard of Carbon Monoxide being used in atmospheric gas packaging of fresh meat.

Did you know?:Ammonia is a naturally occurring substance that is contained in all life forms, from plants to animals to humans. Life forms could not have evolved and cannot survive without it. Ammonia is used extensively in the production of a wide range of food and beverages.

Churadogs said...

What's allowed into food (including genetic modification) is more apt to be based on the economic interest of the corporations manufacturing or the agribusinesses growing the food rather than anything based on "health" or environmental issues. If you are what you eat, all of us have Monsanto stamped on our behinds.

Watershed Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Watershed Mark said...

Factor in the pharmaceuticals we are being handed effectively makes us guinea pigs.

Alon Perlman said...

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ei=XzSjSvH5NZGoswPfn4iNDw&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=1&ct=result&cd=1&q=carbon+monoxide+meat&spell=1

WMark
given that I have about 20 years of FDA pharmaceutical knowledge, I didn't bother to google prior to posting.
for all I know, there may have been further changes since 07.
Did I know about Ammonia? yes

Post marketing servailance for phamaceuticals was a weekness in the drug approval process when I was last in the Biz ~'03

Watershed Mark said...

Alon,

Why the trouble with links...?

Why wasn't vacuum studied?

Why does Lynette lie?

Alon Perlman said...

W-Mark
Why move away from health related topics?
Why the repetition?
Why so defensive?
Why address these questions to me?
Why give me a chance to repeat things you read from my postings earlier on this blog?
Why not drink Bud Dry?
Why would I be such a threat to people's Ego’s?
refers to activities starting 4.5 years ago relating to several people named in a recently published book.
Why am I still running up that hill?

Anyone can tell you that Liars Lie because they are Liars.

But-Why do Liars tell the truth sometimes?
But-Why do honest people Lie?
Why do honest people Lie to themselves?
Why do other honest people not understand, that a person who has lied to themselves, can appear genuine when not telling the TRVTH?
Why do honest people not understand that a person who complains of a wrong is morally obligated not to perpetuate that wrong when their turn comes up?
That in a society inundated by marketing, “Looking Good” is more rewarding than “Being Good”?
That while Bad things happen to good people, Why do good people choose to do Bad things?

I'm trying to experiment with HTML language and to force myself to remember the syntax. Several were not structured as links intentionally, like this self referential (blue) sentence.

Why ask me about vacuum, I was a proponent of STEP (and any sealed shallow pipe with better leak detection) and (Vacuum to) a lesser extent long before the Re-claim-ator showed up.
Why was the promotion of Vacuum not held higher by most of the crowd, (because during-after the TAC there was enough out there that an African Gray could run all the STEP arguments? Because some real study would be involved?), (because everyone in Los Osos wants STEP, they just don’t know
it yet?)
Why not give Ann her Blog back?
Why post things directed to force another to respond?
Why are the police beating me because "I" failed to pull over, and I did not want to lay down in the parking lot, and I am a big man.
Why did they continue after I was down and cuffed?
Why did I burn down my brother's business?
Why did I not keep the money in the Hood?
Why don't we all just learn to get along?

Why attach a meaning, should I choose not to respond to whatever you respond, to these RETHORICAL Questions?, and why bother?
I know you know I know, thanks.

Word verification for today; gravo
So this is not addressed to you by name Mr. Mark Low
A system that does not return a significant benefit to those who pay for it, is unjust, why is that so hard to understand?
That the once, or currently, productive members of the society may be placed in a situation where they cannot continue to function and may become significantly more burdensome if they are not helped?
That the outcome of removing assistance even to those not accepted as “productive” can have repercussions that can’t be eluded by “enclaving in a gated community”?
That laws even “Good” or “Environmentally friendly”, or “economically unsustainable” or “compromised to attain their passing”, CAN HAVE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES, THAT ARE UNJUST, AND ARE IN AGGRAGATE MORE DAMAGING THAN IF THERE WAS NO CHANGE TO THE ADMITTEDLY FAILING STATUS –QUO?
That a society that cannot or will not protect its weakest members, is immoral.

Sewertoons said...

Thank you Alon!!

Alon Perlman said...

?Para Que?

No Tengo Nada,

excepto un caso grava de roble venenoso.

!Doctore, doctore!
me mas malo Y no dinero.
Excepto la Montania de Oro.

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

You suggest that limiting profit will cause folks to be less innovative and less productive (in the health care sense). If that is the case, why do we have a public commission to set utility rates? Certainly, when there is a monopoly, oligopoly or collusion of some sort, regulation produces better results than allowing prices to follow the market. Why is health care any different than natural gas in this sense?

As an Economist, I anxiously await your response because your claims seem stand at opposition to the laws of Economics. Perhaps you can even win a Nobel Prize if you are right!

Watershed Mark said...

You get it Alon! Porbrecito Floricienta…

Sorry, I forgot his last name Lynette, Why do you lie?

Steve,

Anyone can sell drugs Steve.
Have you looked into Holistic Medicine lately?

Economist is yet another name for someone who does not produce anything.
When you speak of regulation in the energy sector, it reminded me of when your employer, “The State”, regulated (limited) what utilities could charge that led to Enron and other providers of the energy to charge whatever they could get away with because citizens used more energy than they would have used had they had to pay market price, because “The State” set the sale price.

If you really want State regulated service from soup to nuts why not move to Russia?

It is amazing what some in academia think passes for award winning.
But then Al Gore won a prize for his thoughts about global warming.

Watershed Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Watershed Mark said...

Freezing taxes and inceasing spending as government does should lead to term limits by the people but does not because of apathy bias and stupidity.

I really liked your energy industry example.
BWAHAHAA...

Watershed Mark said...

TORT REFORM, Improved competition by eliminating state boundaries and TERM LIMITS in Congress will lead to more economy while a government takeover will not.

Let's get the fraud out of medicare and other government run programs.

Watershed Mark said...

Before we make more programs, eh?

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

It seems as if you don't wanna actually talk about the issues at hand but instead want to bring up off-topic issues.

As for your comments on CA's electricity fiasco a few years ago, I would suggest you read what Severin Borenstein has written on the topic before you spout off again.

Let me know if you want to have an intelligent discussion ... otherwise it is not worth wasting my time. The anti-intellectuals who are popular these days are not good examples, Mark. Why bother following them?

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

It is of interest to me that every time someone appeals to expertise and the conclusion doesn't match your preconceived idea, you seem to try to belittle the expert or expertise.

Why is that?

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

If you are really so abhorrent about any state regulation, why don't you move to Somalia or Outer Mongolia.


Lastly, I note with interest that you've never really addressed the cost question I asked you before. If the US is spending approximately 80% more than other countries with "comparable" or "better" quality of care, why can't we do better?

Do you think that we simply cannot do it? Do you think that Americans cannot do what other Countries are capable of doing?

Or is it the case that there is undeserved profit taking, usury, by some in the health care industry?

Word Verification: drone

Alon Perlman said...

¿Cómo puedo saber si yo no me permite cometer errores,

es que el método de los programas Sócrates griego?

Es fácil si se utiliza una máquina para pensar.
¿no está claro?
por favor perdóname
¿para qué?
No tengo nada,
Sin embargo, tengo todo en el mundo.

Doctor, doctor!
Estoy muy enfermo y no tienen dinero
a excepción de una montaña de oro

pero el conductor no me dejó ponerlo en el autobús.

(disfrute de la música en la respuesta escrita anterior,
palabra secreta para la verificación de hoy es, 'Cogna'
"CIGNA" no estaba disponible)

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,

I have no interest in reading opinions from State employees.

The people are not being well served by their elected employees.
Why are you trying to demonstrte they aren't being well served by their contracted employees.

Don't prison guards make more that teachers in California?

You provide no proof of your claims as usual?
Why would anyone consider that "expert or expertise?"

I'll give you another chance before I flunk you. Are you suggesting that you are a "drone?"

I LOVE LO!
Why would I want to give it up?

Watershed Mark said...

Pobrecito...

Watershed Mark said...

Don't prison guards make more than teachers in California?

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,
You have not demonstrated that you know what your health care is actually costing you.

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

Your willful ignorance on topics you choose to discuss absolutely amazes me.

I don't understand why, if you want to use the CA electricity market as an example of anything, you would refuse to read what the expert on the subject says.

Watershed Mark said...

Sorry Steve,
You failed.

Watershed Mark said...

Your failure costs me nothing.

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,

I had a klittle spare time this evening so I put this toether for ya.

Here is what we might expect should the government vote to assert itself into more of the health care industry:

Supply and demand
California's utilities came to depend in part on the import of excess hydroelectricity from the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington.[


Another conversation went as such:
Trader 1: “They’re f-----g taking all the money back from you guys? All the money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?”
Trader 2: "Yeah, Grandma Millie man. But she’s the one who couldn’t figure out how to f-----g vote on the butterfly ballot."
[Laughing from both sides]
Trader 1: "Yeah, now she wants her f-----g money back for all the power you've charged right up, jammed right up her a-- for f-----g $250 a megawatt hour."
[Harder Laughing]
Government price caps-
By keeping the consumer price of electricity artificially low, the California government discouraged citizens from practicing conservation. In February 2001, California governor Gray Davis stated, "Believe me, if I wanted to raise rates I could have solved this problem in 20 minutes." [6]
Energy price regulation forced suppliers to ration their electricity supply rather than expand production. This artificial scarcity created opportunities for market manipulation by energy speculators.
State lawmakers expected the price of electricity to decrease due to the resulting competition; hence they capped the price of electricity at the pre-deregulation level. Since they also saw it as imperative that the supply of electricity remain uninterrupted, utility companies were required by law to buy electricity from spot markets at uncapped prices when faced with imminent power shortages.

Why not address the fraud already underway under government supervision?
Who wants shortages in health care?

Watershed Mark said...

I had a little spare time this evening so I put this together for ya.
Where's your linkage? You don't want a no credit on top of your failure do ya?

Watershed Mark said...

Another conversation went as such:
Trader 1: “They’re f-----g taking all the money back from you guys? All the money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?”
Trader 2: "Yeah, Grandma Millie man. But she’s the one who couldn’t figure out how to f-----g vote on the butterfly ballot."
[Laughing from both sides]
Trader 1: "Yeah, now she wants her f-----g money back for all the power you've charged right up, jammed right up her a-- for f-----g $250 a megawatt hour."
[Harder Laughing]

Shark Inlet said...

So Mark,

How does the unregulated market for wholesale electricity in conjunction with a limited retail price for electricity bear any resemblance to our health care discussion?

Presumably it is because you believe that supply-n-demand would have balanced things out nicely had consumers been asked to bear the full cost of their choices.

Yes, I guess, but there is a simpler and more elegant solution.

If the wholesale market hadn't allowed for gaming the system (i.e. withholding electricity until demand exceeded the restricted supply ... a false shortage, as it were, designed to cause the marginal price for electricity to spike), there would have been no need for what you suggest.

Had the full cost been passed on to the consumer as you suggest, yes, the total electricity demanded would have gone down, but the gaming of the system could have and would have still gone on.

In short, boneheaded lawmakers who believed that deregulating everything in sight was a good thing is why we were in such a crisis.

Nope, regulation in some markets is necessary for optimal societal benefit. Regulation doesn't mean no profits, but that the level of profit is controlled due to the nature of the industry.

Regulations are not bad, but they are hard to get right. Even so, in some industries it is far better to regulate than not to.

But then, I suppose that you would also be in favor of eliminating regulations on pollutants, hunting endangered species and any form of weaponry.

Watershed Mark said...

I support the Second and TEnth Amendment and Congressional TERM LIMITS STAT.

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,
You cannot regulate ”shift”.

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

It is so sad that you are simply unwilling to engage in discussion. Toss some cr*p out there and then, when challenged, you dismiss expert opinion and change the topic. Simply pathetic. Let us know when you grow up.

Word Verification: unagnu (as if there would ever be two)

FOGSWAMP said...

Shark

You stated that you are an "economist", then later you mentioned something about an economist being an "expert" and then the word "expertise" all in one sentence.

I doubt that you could convince many in the real world today that your profession (if that what it is, or was) saw our current crisis coming. The so-called professional "experts" were blind
to the possibility of a catastrophic failure in our market economy.

Like sheep herd mentality all moving together and believing the markets were inherently stable. They had it wrong for so long.

These or the "professionals" advising our financial institutions and Federal Reserve Board for decades before everything came apart!!!

I saw a cartoon by Darren-Bell the other day that says it all;

Laid-Off Economist
Will Predict
Economic Upswing
For Food

"Often wrong but seldom in doubt"

Watershed Mark said...

FOGSWAMP,

Did the cartoon character holding the sign look like Steve Rein?

Thanks for the laugh.

Steve,
I'm still waiting for you to prove you actually know how much you are paying for health insurance.
Once you begin to deal in facts the solid discussion will have begun.

Remember your actions or inactions hurt you not me.

BTW, it does say much about your thinking in general when you feel/think/believe that "word verifications" somehow invalidate or validate one side of a comment and not the other...

Why are they a part of your discussion?
Do you think/feel/believe that in someway your rhetoric is made real?

Shark Inlet said...

Fogswamp,

There were several Economists who were warning about the multiple problems. Yes, many were wrong, but on any one of the issues ... like whether the subprime mortgage industry would have a huge and negative impact ... there was someone who, in retrospect, was clearly spot-on. Another example is the so-called netting together of all the investment banks ... that if one goes down, the rest will fall as well due to the nature of how they were buying each other's products, a few of which were real dogs.

Even so, Mark's discussion with me has largely been about the theoretical question of whether regulation is ever a good idea or whether the "free market" is always better. Back in 1973 Jack Hirschleiffer proved that markets where information is obscured (for example, with CDOs where the stated risk associated with each portion of the package is too low) will produce economic inefficiencies (read: someone's making a buck, but others are being deprived of even more).

Face it ... it is too easy to critique economists for not being able to predict the economy ... but they do a better job than anyone else. And, more importantly, when discussing historic events, economists have an insight that others do not because of their training.

Shark Inlet said...

Mark writes some blather (that makes him feel superior because he thinks that he he can justifiably avoid discussion of real issues because I am uninterested in a discussion of an off-topic issue which he brought up) and then demonstrates his confusion:

"BTW, it does say much about your thinking in general when you feel/think/believe that "word verifications" somehow invalidate or validate one side of a comment and not the other...

Why are they a part of your discussion?"



No where have I ever said that the word verification was anything but amusing for Alon and myself. That you would say I believe in some sort of magic power suggests sloppy thought on your part.

FOGSWAMP said...

Shark

So what did their "training" and "learning" about "historic events" bring us?

Even the great maestro Greenspan admitted that he was in a state of "shocked disbelief", because "the whole intellectual edifice" had "collapsed."

The end result of the "better job" was a severe recession. The worst, by many measures, since the Great Depression.

Shark Inlet said...

Fogswamp,

Your criticism of Economists (as a whole) for not accurately predicting the events of Fall 2008 (even though some did) is like criticizing a doctor for not accurately predicting prostate cancer in a particular individual.

Ignoring MDs because they didn't predict your particular disease is clearly foolishness. Following the advice of doctors is clearly better than refusing to do so.

Certainly, a post-mortem analysis is also easier than predicting aberrant event. Would you criticize basketball fans for not predicting Davidson to make the Elite Eight in 2008? After the fact, we know why they won, but before their tourney run no one would have predicted them.

Even if you know that there will be some big upsets in the tourney, it is hard to say that NCAA hoops fans are as a group lacking in knowledge just because they didn't predict a particular huge upset.


Now ... perhaps you or Mark would be so kind as to explain how the Economics of California's electricity market has anything to do with health care reform. Mark brought it up, presumably to say that regulation is bad, but his example doesn't seem to apply as I've explained above.

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

Why are you not complaining about socialized firefighting services? Why are you not promoting people buying private fire insurance?

Watershed Mark said...

Steve, In answer to your questions:

Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

I hope this helps.

FOGSWAMP said...

Shark

Shark

You state some economists did accurately predict the events of 2008 and I fully agree.

However finance theorists continued to believe that their models were essentially right, and so did many people making real-wold decisions (Greenspan).

The warnings were mocked and dismissed as being misguided etc.,
even by Larry Summers our top economic adviser in the Obama administration.

Take, for example, the precipitous rise and fall of housing prices. In 2004 didn't Robert Shiller identify the bubble and warn of painful consequences if it were to burst, yet Greenspan declared it "most unlikely". He believed the home -price increasess reflected strong economic fundamentals!

In those days it seemed that the word "bubble" drove most economists nuts, they didn't want to hear about it. Monstorous bubbles just don't happen they screamed, not wanting to end or dampen the festivities I guess.

You're right the all-purpose punch line that "nobody could have predicted it" is false as a few economists did so and were scoffed at for their efforts.

Shark Inlet said...

Nice try, Buckwheat.

Watershed Mark said...

Damned Economists

Watershed Mark said...

Damned Economists

Watershed Mark said...

Steve wrote: “Now ... perhaps you or Mark would be so kind as to explain how the Economics of California's electricity market has anything to do with health care reform. Mark brought it up, presumably to say that regulation is bad, but his example doesn't seem to apply as I've explained above.
1:50 PM, September 08, 2009”


Steve,
A very quick check of the record (below) reveals that you first connected health care to utilities. Man you make it easy…

Shark Inlet said...
Mark,

You suggest that limiting profit will cause folks to be less innovative and less productive (in the health care sense). If that is the case, why do we have a public commission to set utility rates? Certainly, when there is a monopoly, oligopoly or collusion of some sort, regulation produces better results than allowing prices to follow the market. Why is health care any different than natural gas in this sense?

As an Economist, I anxiously await your response because your claims seem stand at opposition to the laws of Economics. Perhaps you can even win a Nobel Prize if you are right!
8:55 AM, September 07, 2009


Where do I claim the prize?

Watershed Mark said...

Steve wrote: “After all, only a fool would not want to know whether there is a cheaper option, even with drawbacks, before making a purchase.”
Steve, I am impressed! You are beginning to learn. Why would Paavo be so foolish?

MIKE little mouse wrote: “Go read and learn from Shark...!!!”
MIKE little mouse: You are such a joker but you just aren’t funny.

Sorry, I forgot his last name Lynette wrote: “I'll believe 50gpd indoor use when I see it.”
Sorry, I forgot his last name Lynette, Why should anyone believe a liar?

Steve wrote: “if you have a collection system with valves to release gasses, it will smell. Personally, I don't think that it would be a big deal, but someone who feels so strongly about smells would, of course, support gravity.”

Steve, I love it when you demonstrate you don’t understand design or process. Sewers create hydrogen sulfide gas which smells like rotten eggs and that is something associated with leaky gravity sewers having manholes every 400 feet and 22 lift station/pocket pumps, not sealed collection systems as you suggest.

Shark Inlet said...

Okay, I get it.


I brought up utilities and the regulating of utilities as an example of how we are often happy with regulated markets ... after all, I suggested that limiting the profits for insurance companies would be a good way of keeping costs down.

Mark then said that in the CA Electricity crisis, the problem was that the prices for the consumer were fixed and further suggested that if the gouging of CA wouldn't have happened, had consumers actually been asked to pay the full costs of their electricity usage.

I then disagreed and told Mark that he was just plain wrong about the CA crisis. I gave him a reference (by name) to develop some understanding.

Mark then blew off what I was saying by criticizing the employment status of the expert and the field of Economics and used the fact that Economists, as a whole, didn't predict the Fall 2008 fiasco.




Okay then ... I've already explained why the partially regulated CA electricity market regulation was quite different from a fully regulated market.

What would be an appropriate healthcare analogy to the nightmare CA electricity crisis market a decade ago where companies gamed the system to make a buck that wasn't really "earned" in any way? Suppose that healthcare consumers didn't have to pay more than a nominal cost for their care but that the providers of that care can charge the insurer (whether government or private) whatever they would like. Sort of like letting a hospital charge $100 per aspirin tablet or a drug company charge five times in the US what they charge in Canada but. Oh yeah ... that's what's happening now.

If profits were limited to something reasonable but not usurious there would still be competition in the free market, just like in a regulated energy market. Society would be better off.


Word Verification: bless

Sewertoons said...

What would wsm do if he couldn't afford his health insurance, so dropped it, and then had a long, debilitating illness? What if he had a disease that denied him insurance.

Want the nation to take care of you wsm, or are you willing to croak to save the rest of us the money it would take to help you?

Shark Inlet said...

This cartoon reminds me of Mark.

Watershed Mark said...

Here's my prescription, again:

Congressional term limits, TORT REFORM, eliminated the artificial barriers to competition, seek out and punish fraud in the gubment system.

Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Watershed Mark said...

Steve:

Re: Cancer

Cancer requires three thins to prosper-

1- an acidic environment
2- sugar
3- lack of oxygen.

It's that simple and that difficult.

Get yourself some lithmus testing paper and begin a regimen that avois substances and foods that contribute to the 3 things I mentioned above.

Follow my advice at your own risk.


You gotta give SWANPFOG KUDOS for the description of the Economist cartoon, don't cha?

Watershed Mark said...

You gotta give SWAMPFOG KUDOS for the description of the Economist cartoon, don't cha?

Sorry for the typo SWAMPFOG

Watershed Mark said...

The sugar thing gets right back around to the lack of % of a healthy diet labeling I mentioned before.

See how simple and yet how hard it is for the government to make some changes.

I suggest making those changes yourself, if you are able.

Watershed Mark said...

Operation of the body is similar to the Operation of a USBF™ plant which is simple and self-regulating.

Nice eh?

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

Your solution to the topic of discussion in this comment section will not solve one key problem with healthcare in the US.

That problem? That insurance companies will deny coverage, drop you and do anything to avoid paying for an expensive illness. You will then be unable to buy insurance at all because of your preexisting condition.

None of what you propose will address this serious issue.

As such, I figure that you don't mind insurance companies doing a bait-n-switch ... and then "too bad, so sad" refusing future coverage. However, it would be great if you would explain how this is good for the country ... this denial of health care.

Unless you can explain how this is good for the US or explain how such actions could be prevented, we'll know you aren't so much interested in helping people or the US as a whole as you are fearful that a government solution will be inconvenient for you.

Face it, all government is inconvenient sometimes and necessary at other times. We were asked to sacrifice for the greater good during wars for our nation's good. Why can't we be asked to sacrifice for the soundness of our nation's health and thus economy?

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

Your solution to the problem of cancer is funny. Even if one has a "perfect" diet, cancer will still occur in rates which are still on the same order of magnitude.

Again, your "solution" is underthought and doesn't really solve the problem ... folks who do get cancer (maybe from drinking too much 7up as you suggest) still will be dropped because of the cancer and they will then be unable to get insurance and then should they need future care, they need to choose to live off the rest of us (as 'Toons pointed out) or to refuse to receive treatments.

Mark ... you simply didn't address the point. Why is this such a common occurrence?

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,
Too bad you think pop is a health food.
That substance is the root of so much sickness.

I never said that nothing need be done with health insurance.
I have stated my positions which remain unchanged in spite of your rhetoric.

The onus is on the POTUS to explain clearly "redefine" again his "plan" as Pelosi and Reid have been so obviously unable to do so to date.

I think you'll be getting some more information later today from the Senate Finance committee.

So far no one is addressing the trial lawyer "Jackpot Justice" save Jon Kyl-R Arizona BTW...

Watershed Mark said...

Also,
It isn't my goal to debate you on Ann's Land as you fall short on facts and never back up anything when asked to do so.

You keep plowing crooked rows without thinking of the consequences to you children or their children.

Heck, you don't even know how much your insurance is costing you.
My point here is that my discussion is for the benefit of those reading now and who will read in the future what I write to you, not for you.

After all I got you to write that what Paavo has done is foolish.

Get it? Got it? Good...

Shark Inlet said...

Um ... Mark, you seem to have read something into what I wrote about soda. Try a re-read.

I am not using rhetoric, I am noting that you told us what you would do to solve the health care crisis but that your "solution" would not actually solve one of the chief problems. With that in mind, do you want to tell us how to solve the heath care crisis or are you gonna simply sit back and take pot shots at those who are trying to actually do something.

As for falling short on facts, I find it funny that you think you've presented anything but opinion here and yet you feel that you have the right to criticize me based on something you believe but don't know to be true ("plowing crooked rows", "don't ... know how much your insurance is costing").

Frankly, I find your style of "debate" both laughable and insulting.

Even so, all the best to you, my misguided friend.

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,

It seems we can agree to disagree amicably. TERRIFIC!

“I work for positive results and for the good of the whole.”

I will hope you can find something to take away from that statement.

Shark Inlet said...

We can agree to disagree amicably.

However, am still hoping you can write something which makes sense as a way of tackling the very real problem that people with private health insurance are now essentially at the mercy of their private health insurance (which profits from denying coverage which was promised). In short, I am still hoping that you can say something which makes sense.

Watershed Mark said...

Who would want to be at the mercy of government health insurance which rewards fraud thereby making more of it?

Shark Inlet said...

Mark ...

Reading between the lines, you would prefer to be at the mercy of a private health insurance which itself practices fraud as a way of making money.

Doesn't sound smart to me at all.

Shark Inlet said...

On the other hand, some people distrust the gubmint so much that they are far more afraid of a gubmint employee than they are of a private insurance company employee who is put in the position of denying a certain dollar amount of claims or else be let go.

Sure, you can trust corporate 'merica if you wanna, but they've never looked out for you in the past (frankly, they don't care if you live or if you die) and they certainly make more money if they deny you coverage than if they pay for your treatment. You can disbelieve the laws of Economics and instead trust in an idealized "free market" which doesn't actually exist for health care.

It is your choice to ignore the facts, stick your head in the sand and pretend that Obama is the devil if you wanna.

I will defend to the death your constitutional right to be uninformed and unwise.

Alon Perlman said...

Darnit, SharkInlet, it's pronounced Gummint.
In all else you are correct, and may I add that in a Global economy, a free market does not exist, for while the goods may trade "freely", the regulations that rightly exist in certain nations, (Upton Sinclair, etc..) do not constrain the actions of all "trading partners".
Only a hypothesis, but is it...
Word verification; tystabl

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,

I believe in the Constitution even though some swear to uphold as they attemp to shred it.

A brave man dies once whereas a coward dies athousand times.

I fear nothing in the world, not even your rhetoric.

Given your mindset, you and your children are in for a very big surprise.
Your mindset hurts you and yours, no me and mine.

Be patient...

Watershed Mark said...

I believe in the Constitution even though some swear to uphold as they attempt to shred it.

In regards to "health care reform", if there is such an emergency, why is it that nothing being discussed does not go into effect until January 1, 2013?

That date is after the November 2012 election cycle.
Talk aout a poliyical handeling of a very important issue...

Shark Inlet said...

Okay Mark ...

Same question, but for you ... if reducing taxes was so important and so good, why did the Bush tax cuts have a sunset?

Realpolitik, my friend.

Somedays you have to choose the imperfect but doable over the unattainable perfect.

With that in mind, what is so wrong with the Obama plan outlined last night that you think it worse than what we have now?

Watershed Mark said...

Taxing to support stupid spending is not sustainabe.

Re: Last nights speech: The Devil is in the details.


The POTUS hassaid we have a crisis...
Why does nothing change until 1-1-13?

Politics as usual, is not change.

Shark Inlet said...

So Mark, if the Devil is in the details, where is that devil? What details are problems for you?

Second, you know full well that it would take time to generate a public option program ... having one three years from now sounds about right. Having a crisis doesn't mean that one should rush into a bad solution ... or do you think we ought to rush into something unwisely like, say, a war in a foreign country based on speculation instead of fact?

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,
Link me to the plan you wish to discuss.

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

How about the plan you are so negative about. What plan is that one. Presumably you would not be so negative unless you had seen those details. Pick one.

Watershed Mark said...

Steve,
How about we hold off our disussion until the Dems settle out on "something" unless you want to point me to the one you are so positive about?

I have no desire to argue over something just to have it change.

Did you notice the POTUS said there are only 30 million uninsured citizens as compared to 47 million unisured he sopke of 3 weeks ago?

Seewhat I mean about change?

Watershed Mark said...

Did you notice the POTUS said last night that there are only 30 million uninsured citizens as compared to 47 million unisured he said there were 3 weeks ago?

When putting together the numbers it is important to actually know final figures, don't cha think?

Shark Inlet said...

Fair 'nuff.

I am advocating for reform and you appear to be opposed to the sort of reform being proposed by the Dems on matters of principal and other basic disagreements. Waiting until something specific has been proposed, like 3200, for example, would be wise.

After all, until all the plans are finalized, it is not worth discussing anything at all. I guess the same goes with the sewer in Los Osos. We should wait until the County has finalized their plan before criticizing it or supporting it in any way.

:)

Watershed Mark said...

On the sewer issue it is very important to be heard every step of the way.

Just as with the health reform we must all be heard.

Being heard resulted in 17 million folks being "changed out" of the equation. WE must root out and eliminate corruption if we and our children are to have any chance for a life close to what we/I want.

Why wasn’t vacuum studied?
Why does Lynette lie?

Watershed Mark said...

The Dems seem to be opposed to what the Dems are proposing...:-)

Shark Inlet said...

Mork (do you really say "nanoo nanoo"?),

On the 30 vs 47, you might want to read ner.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Obama-I-used-to-say-47-million-uninsured--Now-its-30-million-58237842.html>http://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Obama-I-used-to-say-47-million-uninsured--Now-its-30-million-58237842.html.

Not a definitive answer, to be sure, but an explanation which makes sense.

In short, there aren't fewer uninsured people ...

Shark Inlet said...

Let's talk about Medicare for a while. Are Republicans in favor of Medicare or opposed to it?

Watershed Mark said...

Stevo,
Your link failed.

Let's not and say we did.
I have a busy next few days.

Shark Inlet said...

The link:

http://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Obama-I-used-to-say-47-million-uninsured--Now-its-30-million-58237842.html.