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Old 12-24-2009, 08:52 AM
 
199 posts, read 189,209 times
Reputation: 163

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For ****'s sake, you mindless lemming have got to stop saying this bill is "huge step forwards", it's not.

As someone who have spent time in another country with excellent universal health care, the US health care bill is a joke and a laughingstock, it's a bailout for health insurance companies. Barack Obama and the Congress is not going to save you.

Here's what the two pro-single payer group has to say about the current bill:

/////
Pro-single-payer physicians call for defeat of Senate health bill

Legislation 'would bring more harm than good,' group says

A national organization of 17,000 physicians who favor a single-payer health care system called on the U.S. Senate today to defeat the health care legislation presently before it and to immediately consider the adoption of an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program.

While noting that the Senate bill includes some "salutary provisions" like an expansion of Medicaid, increased funding for community clinics and the curbing of some of the worst practices of the private insurance industry, the group says the negatives in the bill outweigh the positives.

The negatives, the group says, include the individual mandate requiring that people buy private insurance policies, large government subsidies to private insurers, new restrictions on abortion, the unfair taxing of high-cost health plans, and cuts of $43 billion in Medicare payments to safety-net hospitals. Moreover, at least 23 million people will remain uninsured when the plan finally takes effect, they said.

"We have concluded that the Senate bill's passage would bring more harm than good," the group said in a statement signed by its president, Dr. Oliver Fein, and two co-founders, Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler.

Addressing the Senate in an open letter, they write: "We ask that you defeat the bill currently under debate, and immediately move to consider the single-payer approach - an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program - which prioritizes the advancement of our nation's health over the enhancement of private, profit-seeking interests."

The full statement appears below.

To the Members of the U.S. Senate:

It is with great sadness that we urge you to vote against the health care reform legislation now before you. As physicians, we are acutely aware of the unnecessary suffering that our nation's broken health care financing system inflicts on our patients. We make no common cause with the Republicans' obstructionist tactics or alarmist rhetoric. However, we have concluded that the Senate bill's passage would bring more harm than good.

We are fully cognizant of the salutary provisions included in the legislation, notably an expansion of Medicaid coverage, increased funds for community clinics and regulations to curtail some of private insurers' most egregious practices. Yet these are outweighed by its central provisions - particularly the individual mandate - that would reinforce private insurers' stranglehold on care. Those who dislike their current employer-sponsored coverage would be forced to keep it. Those without insurance would be forced to pay private insurers' inflated premiums, often for coverage so skimpy that serious illness would bankrupt them. And the $476 billion in new public funds for premium subsidies would all go to insurance firms, buttressing their financial and political power, and rendering future reform all the more difficult.

Some paint the Senate bill as a flawed first step to reform that will be improved over time, citing historical examples such as Social Security. But where Social Security established the nidus of a public institution that grew over time, the Senate bill proscribes any such new public institution. Instead, it channels vast new resources - including funds diverted from Medicare - into the very private insurers who caused today's health care crisis. Social Security's first step was not a mandate that payroll taxes which fund pensions be turned over to Goldman Sachs!

While the fortification of private insurers is the most malignant aspect of the bill, several other provisions threaten harm to vulnerable patients, including:

* The bill's anti-abortion provisions would restrict reproductive choice, compromising the health of women and adolescent girls.

* The new 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans - deceptively labeled a "Cadillac tax" - would hit many middle-income families. The costs of group insurance are driven largely by regional health costs and the demography of the covered group. Hence, the tax targets workers in firms that employ more women (whose costs of care are higher than men's), and older and sicker employees, particularly those in high-cost regions such as Maine and New York.

* The bill would drain $43 billion from Medicare payments to safety-net hospitals, threatening the care of the 23 million who will remain uninsured even if the bill works as planned. These threatened hospitals are also a key resource for emergency care, mental health care and other services that are unprofitable for hospitals under current payment regimes. In many communities, severely ill patients will be left with no place to go - a human rights abuse.

* The bill would leave hundreds of millions of Americans with inadequate insurance - an "actuarial value" as low as 60 percent of actual health costs. Predictably, as health costs continue to grow, more families will face co-payments and deductibles so high that they preclude adequate access to care. Such coverage is more akin to a hospital gown than to a warm winter coat.

Congress' capitulation to insurers - along with concessions to the pharmaceutical industry - fatally undermines the economic viability of reform. The bill would inflate the already crushing burden of insurance-related paperwork that currently siphons $400 billion from care annually. According to CMS' own projections, the bill will cause U.S. health costs to increase even more rapidly than presently, and budget neutrality is to be achieved by draining funds from Medicare and an accounting trick - front-loading the new revenues while delaying most new coverage until 2014. As homeowners seduced into balloon mortgages have learned, pushing costs off to the future is neither prudent nor sustainable.

We ask that you defeat the bill currently under debate, and immediately move to consider the single-payer approach - an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program - which prioritizes the advancement of our nation's health over the enhancement of private, profit-seeking interests.

Oliver Fein, M.D., President
David U. Himmelstein, M.D., Co-founder
Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H., Co-founder
Physicians for a National Health Program

//////

Nation's Largest Nurses Organization: Health Care Bill Cedes Too Much To Insurance Industry

The 150,000 member National Nurses United, the nation's largest union and professional organization of registered nurses in the U.S., today criticized the healthcare bill now advancing in the U.S. Senate saying it is deeply flawed and grants too much power to the giant insurers.
"It is tragic to see the promise from Washington this year for genuine, comprehensive reform ground down to a seriously flawed bill that could actually exacerbate the healthcare crisis and financial insecurity for American families, and that cedes far too much additional power to the tyranny of a callous insurance industry," said NNU co-president Karen Higgins, RN.
NNU Co-president Deborah Burger, RN challenged arguments of legislation proponents that the bill should still be passed because of expanded coverage, new regulations on insurers, and the hope that it will be improved in the House-Senate conference committee or future years.
Story continues below

"Those wishful statements ignore the reality that much of the expanded coverage is based on forced purchase of private insurance without effective controls on industry pricing practices or real competition and gaping loopholes in the insurance reforms," said Burger.

Further, said NNU Co-president Jean Ross, RN, "the bill seems more likely to be eroded, not improved, in future years due to the unchecked influence of the healthcare industry lobbyists and the lessons of this year in which all the compromises have been made to the right."

"Sadly, we have ended up with legislation that fails to meet the test of true healthcare reform, guaranteeing high quality, cost effective care for all Americans, and instead are further locking into place a system that entrenches the chokehold of the profit-making insurance giants on our health. If this bill passes, the industry will become more powerful and could be beyond the reach of reform for generations," Higgins said.
NNU cited ten significant problems in the legislation, noting many of the same flaws also exist in the House version and are likely to remain in the bill that emerges from the House-Senate reconciliation process:
1. The individual mandate forcing all those without coverage to buy private insurance, with insufficient cost controls on skyrocketing premiums and other insurance costs.
2. No challenge to insurance company monopolies, especially in the top 94 metropolitan areas where one or two companies dominate, severely limiting choice and competition.
3. An affordability mirage. Congressional Budget Office estimates say a family of four with a household income of $54,000 would be expected to pay 17 percent of their income, $9,000, on healthcare exposing too many families to grave financial risk.
4. The excise tax on comprehensive insurance plans which will encourage employers to reduce benefits, shift more costs to employees, promote proliferation of high-deductible plans, and lead to more self-rationing of care and medical bankruptcies, especially as more plans are subject to the tax every year due to the lack of adequate price controls. A Towers-Perrin survey in September found 30 percent of employers said they would reduce employment if their health costs go up, 86 percent said they'd pass the higher costs to their employees.
5. Major loopholes in the insurance reforms that promise bans on exclusion for pre-existing conditions, and no cancellations for sickness. The loopholes include:

* Provisions permitting insurers and companies to more than double charges to employees who fail "wellness" programs because they have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol readings, or other medical conditions.
* Insurers are permitted to sell policies "across state lines", exempting patient protections passed in other states. Insurers will thus set up in the least regulated states in a race to the bottom threatening public protections won by consumers in various states.
* Insurers can charge four times more based on age plus more for certain conditions, and continue to use marketing techniques to cherry-pick healthier, less costly enrollees.
* Insurers may continue to rescind policies for "fraud or intentional misrepresentation" - the main pretext insurance companies now use to cancel coverage.
6. Minimal oversight on insurance denials of care; a report by the California Nurses Association/NNOC in September found that six of California's largest insurers have rejected more than one-fifth of all claims since 2002.
7. Inadequate limits on drug prices, especially after Senate rejection of an amendment, to protect a White House deal with pharmaceutical giants, allowing pharmacies and wholesalers to import lower-cost drugs.
8. New burdens for our public safety net. With a shortage of primary care physicians and a continuing fiscal crisis at the state and local level, public hospitals and clinics will be a dumping ground for those the private system doesn't want.
9. Reduced reproductive rights for women.
10. No single standard of care. Our multi-tiered system remains with access to care still determined by ability to pay. Nothing changes in basic structure of the system; healthcare remains a privilege, not a right.
"Desperation to pass a bill, regardless of its flaws, has made the White House and Congress subject to the worst political extortion and new, crippling concessions every day," Burger said.
"NNU and nurses will continue to work with the thousands of grassroots activists across the nation to campaign for the best reform, which would be to expand Medicare to cover everyone, the same type of system working more effectively in every other industrial country. The day of that reform will come," said Ross.
///////
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Old 12-24-2009, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,873 posts, read 102,258,726 times
Reputation: 32945
The perfect is the enemy of the good, says this RN.
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Old 12-24-2009, 09:05 AM
 
12,439 posts, read 10,278,943 times
Reputation: 3137
Quote:
Originally Posted by clue View Post
For ****'s sake, you mindless lemming have got to stop saying this bill is "huge step forwards", it's not.

As someone who have spent time in another country with excellent universal health care, the US health care bill is a joke and a laughingstock, it's a bailout for health insurance companies. Barack Obama and the Congress is not going to save you.

Here's what the two pro-single payer group has to say about the current bill:

/////
Pro-single-payer physicians call for defeat of Senate health bill

Legislation 'would bring more harm than good,' group says

A national organization of 17,000 physicians who favor a single-payer health care system called on the U.S. Senate today to defeat the health care legislation presently before it and to immediately consider the adoption of an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program.

While noting that the Senate bill includes some "salutary provisions" like an expansion of Medicaid, increased funding for community clinics and the curbing of some of the worst practices of the private insurance industry, the group says the negatives in the bill outweigh the positives.

The negatives, the group says, include the individual mandate requiring that people buy private insurance policies, large government subsidies to private insurers, new restrictions on abortion, the unfair taxing of high-cost health plans, and cuts of $43 billion in Medicare payments to safety-net hospitals. Moreover, at least 23 million people will remain uninsured when the plan finally takes effect, they said.

"We have concluded that the Senate bill's passage would bring more harm than good," the group said in a statement signed by its president, Dr. Oliver Fein, and two co-founders, Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler.

Addressing the Senate in an open letter, they write: "We ask that you defeat the bill currently under debate, and immediately move to consider the single-payer approach - an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program - which prioritizes the advancement of our nation's health over the enhancement of private, profit-seeking interests."

The full statement appears below.

To the Members of the U.S. Senate:

It is with great sadness that we urge you to vote against the health care reform legislation now before you. As physicians, we are acutely aware of the unnecessary suffering that our nation's broken health care financing system inflicts on our patients. We make no common cause with the Republicans' obstructionist tactics or alarmist rhetoric. However, we have concluded that the Senate bill's passage would bring more harm than good.

We are fully cognizant of the salutary provisions included in the legislation, notably an expansion of Medicaid coverage, increased funds for community clinics and regulations to curtail some of private insurers' most egregious practices. Yet these are outweighed by its central provisions - particularly the individual mandate - that would reinforce private insurers' stranglehold on care. Those who dislike their current employer-sponsored coverage would be forced to keep it. Those without insurance would be forced to pay private insurers' inflated premiums, often for coverage so skimpy that serious illness would bankrupt them. And the $476 billion in new public funds for premium subsidies would all go to insurance firms, buttressing their financial and political power, and rendering future reform all the more difficult.

Some paint the Senate bill as a flawed first step to reform that will be improved over time, citing historical examples such as Social Security. But where Social Security established the nidus of a public institution that grew over time, the Senate bill proscribes any such new public institution. Instead, it channels vast new resources - including funds diverted from Medicare - into the very private insurers who caused today's health care crisis. Social Security's first step was not a mandate that payroll taxes which fund pensions be turned over to Goldman Sachs!

While the fortification of private insurers is the most malignant aspect of the bill, several other provisions threaten harm to vulnerable patients, including:

* The bill's anti-abortion provisions would restrict reproductive choice, compromising the health of women and adolescent girls.

* The new 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans - deceptively labeled a "Cadillac tax" - would hit many middle-income families. The costs of group insurance are driven largely by regional health costs and the demography of the covered group. Hence, the tax targets workers in firms that employ more women (whose costs of care are higher than men's), and older and sicker employees, particularly those in high-cost regions such as Maine and New York.

* The bill would drain $43 billion from Medicare payments to safety-net hospitals, threatening the care of the 23 million who will remain uninsured even if the bill works as planned. These threatened hospitals are also a key resource for emergency care, mental health care and other services that are unprofitable for hospitals under current payment regimes. In many communities, severely ill patients will be left with no place to go - a human rights abuse.

* The bill would leave hundreds of millions of Americans with inadequate insurance - an "actuarial value" as low as 60 percent of actual health costs. Predictably, as health costs continue to grow, more families will face co-payments and deductibles so high that they preclude adequate access to care. Such coverage is more akin to a hospital gown than to a warm winter coat.

Congress' capitulation to insurers - along with concessions to the pharmaceutical industry - fatally undermines the economic viability of reform. The bill would inflate the already crushing burden of insurance-related paperwork that currently siphons $400 billion from care annually. According to CMS' own projections, the bill will cause U.S. health costs to increase even more rapidly than presently, and budget neutrality is to be achieved by draining funds from Medicare and an accounting trick - front-loading the new revenues while delaying most new coverage until 2014. As homeowners seduced into balloon mortgages have learned, pushing costs off to the future is neither prudent nor sustainable.

We ask that you defeat the bill currently under debate, and immediately move to consider the single-payer approach - an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program - which prioritizes the advancement of our nation's health over the enhancement of private, profit-seeking interests.

Oliver Fein, M.D., President
David U. Himmelstein, M.D., Co-founder
Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H., Co-founder
Physicians for a National Health Program

//////

Nation's Largest Nurses Organization: Health Care Bill Cedes Too Much To Insurance Industry

The 150,000 member National Nurses United, the nation's largest union and professional organization of registered nurses in the U.S., today criticized the healthcare bill now advancing in the U.S. Senate saying it is deeply flawed and grants too much power to the giant insurers.
"It is tragic to see the promise from Washington this year for genuine, comprehensive reform ground down to a seriously flawed bill that could actually exacerbate the healthcare crisis and financial insecurity for American families, and that cedes far too much additional power to the tyranny of a callous insurance industry," said NNU co-president Karen Higgins, RN.
NNU Co-president Deborah Burger, RN challenged arguments of legislation proponents that the bill should still be passed because of expanded coverage, new regulations on insurers, and the hope that it will be improved in the House-Senate conference committee or future years.
Story continues below

"Those wishful statements ignore the reality that much of the expanded coverage is based on forced purchase of private insurance without effective controls on industry pricing practices or real competition and gaping loopholes in the insurance reforms," said Burger.

Further, said NNU Co-president Jean Ross, RN, "the bill seems more likely to be eroded, not improved, in future years due to the unchecked influence of the healthcare industry lobbyists and the lessons of this year in which all the compromises have been made to the right."

"Sadly, we have ended up with legislation that fails to meet the test of true healthcare reform, guaranteeing high quality, cost effective care for all Americans, and instead are further locking into place a system that entrenches the chokehold of the profit-making insurance giants on our health. If this bill passes, the industry will become more powerful and could be beyond the reach of reform for generations," Higgins said.
NNU cited ten significant problems in the legislation, noting many of the same flaws also exist in the House version and are likely to remain in the bill that emerges from the House-Senate reconciliation process:
1. The individual mandate forcing all those without coverage to buy private insurance, with insufficient cost controls on skyrocketing premiums and other insurance costs.
2. No challenge to insurance company monopolies, especially in the top 94 metropolitan areas where one or two companies dominate, severely limiting choice and competition.
3. An affordability mirage. Congressional Budget Office estimates say a family of four with a household income of $54,000 would be expected to pay 17 percent of their income, $9,000, on healthcare exposing too many families to grave financial risk.
4. The excise tax on comprehensive insurance plans which will encourage employers to reduce benefits, shift more costs to employees, promote proliferation of high-deductible plans, and lead to more self-rationing of care and medical bankruptcies, especially as more plans are subject to the tax every year due to the lack of adequate price controls. A Towers-Perrin survey in September found 30 percent of employers said they would reduce employment if their health costs go up, 86 percent said they'd pass the higher costs to their employees.
5. Major loopholes in the insurance reforms that promise bans on exclusion for pre-existing conditions, and no cancellations for sickness. The loopholes include:

* Provisions permitting insurers and companies to more than double charges to employees who fail "wellness" programs because they have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol readings, or other medical conditions.
* Insurers are permitted to sell policies "across state lines", exempting patient protections passed in other states. Insurers will thus set up in the least regulated states in a race to the bottom threatening public protections won by consumers in various states.
* Insurers can charge four times more based on age plus more for certain conditions, and continue to use marketing techniques to cherry-pick healthier, less costly enrollees.
* Insurers may continue to rescind policies for "fraud or intentional misrepresentation" - the main pretext insurance companies now use to cancel coverage.
6. Minimal oversight on insurance denials of care; a report by the California Nurses Association/NNOC in September found that six of California's largest insurers have rejected more than one-fifth of all claims since 2002.
7. Inadequate limits on drug prices, especially after Senate rejection of an amendment, to protect a White House deal with pharmaceutical giants, allowing pharmacies and wholesalers to import lower-cost drugs.
8. New burdens for our public safety net. With a shortage of primary care physicians and a continuing fiscal crisis at the state and local level, public hospitals and clinics will be a dumping ground for those the private system doesn't want.
9. Reduced reproductive rights for women.
10. No single standard of care. Our multi-tiered system remains with access to care still determined by ability to pay. Nothing changes in basic structure of the system; healthcare remains a privilege, not a right.
"Desperation to pass a bill, regardless of its flaws, has made the White House and Congress subject to the worst political extortion and new, crippling concessions every day," Burger said.
"NNU and nurses will continue to work with the thousands of grassroots activists across the nation to campaign for the best reform, which would be to expand Medicare to cover everyone, the same type of system working more effectively in every other industrial country. The day of that reform will come," said Ross.
///////
I agree this compromise plan is just a big win for the insurance companies and the pharms and does little for the middle class of America. It is a joke...an expensive joke. I am for expanding medicare to everyone.
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Old 12-24-2009, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Oxygen Ln. AZ
9,321 posts, read 16,537,945 times
Reputation: 5691
What I want to know is if it does not whittle down the income of doctors and nurses to minimum wage, how will this bill cut healthcare costs? I mean a surgery is still expensive....right?
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Old 12-24-2009, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Northern Wi
1,530 posts, read 1,335,686 times
Reputation: 420
This bill is NOT going to help the people, it's a legal body grab of every American citizen.

Tenth Amendment Center Working to limit the power of the federal government

Articles of Freedom
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Old 12-24-2009, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Northern Wi
1,530 posts, read 1,335,686 times
Reputation: 420
Let's not forget it's also MONEY to finance the Federal Gov.s crooked deals!!
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Old 12-24-2009, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
8,998 posts, read 13,067,777 times
Reputation: 3536
Quote:
Originally Posted by MotleyCrew View Post
What I want to know is if it does not whittle down the income of doctors and nurses to minimum wage, how will this bill cut healthcare costs? I mean a surgery is still expensive....right?
You don't have to cut nurse or doctor wages down to minimum wages to bring down health care costs.

The "health care" bill passed will not cut costs. It just expands the coverage of private for-profit health insurance to more Americans.

Without price controls, you are right, surgery (among other things) is still expensive.
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Old 12-24-2009, 07:38 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,935 posts, read 22,195,599 times
Reputation: 9019
All it did was turn many Americans into criminals for not buying insurance, and give a nice bailout to insurance companies. Insurance companies are probably excited about this bill, force everyone to buy their products, give them a bailout...
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Old 12-24-2009, 09:37 PM
 
Location: Jonquil City (aka Smyrna) Georgia- by Atlanta
16,248 posts, read 21,252,185 times
Reputation: 3587
Quote:
Originally Posted by clue View Post
For ****'s sake, you mindless lemming have got to stop saying this bill is "huge step forwards", it's not.

As someone who have spent time in another country with excellent universal health care, the US health care bill is a joke and a laughingstock, it's a bailout for health insurance companies. Barack Obama and the Congress is not going to save you.

Here's what the two pro-single payer group has to say about the current bill:

/////
Pro-single-payer physicians call for defeat of Senate health bill

Legislation 'would bring more harm than good,' group says

A national organization of 17,000 physicians who favor a single-payer health care system called on the U.S. Senate today to defeat the health care legislation presently before it and to immediately consider the adoption of an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program.

While noting that the Senate bill includes some "salutary provisions" like an expansion of Medicaid, increased funding for community clinics and the curbing of some of the worst practices of the private insurance industry, the group says the negatives in the bill outweigh the positives.

The negatives, the group says, include the individual mandate requiring that people buy private insurance policies, large government subsidies to private insurers, new restrictions on abortion, the unfair taxing of high-cost health plans, and cuts of $43 billion in Medicare payments to safety-net hospitals. Moreover, at least 23 million people will remain uninsured when the plan finally takes effect, they said.

"We have concluded that the Senate bill's passage would bring more harm than good," the group said in a statement signed by its president, Dr. Oliver Fein, and two co-founders, Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler.

Addressing the Senate in an open letter, they write: "We ask that you defeat the bill currently under debate, and immediately move to consider the single-payer approach - an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program - which prioritizes the advancement of our nation's health over the enhancement of private, profit-seeking interests."

The full statement appears below.

To the Members of the U.S. Senate:

It is with great sadness that we urge you to vote against the health care reform legislation now before you. As physicians, we are acutely aware of the unnecessary suffering that our nation's broken health care financing system inflicts on our patients. We make no common cause with the Republicans' obstructionist tactics or alarmist rhetoric. However, we have concluded that the Senate bill's passage would bring more harm than good.

We are fully cognizant of the salutary provisions included in the legislation, notably an expansion of Medicaid coverage, increased funds for community clinics and regulations to curtail some of private insurers' most egregious practices. Yet these are outweighed by its central provisions - particularly the individual mandate - that would reinforce private insurers' stranglehold on care. Those who dislike their current employer-sponsored coverage would be forced to keep it. Those without insurance would be forced to pay private insurers' inflated premiums, often for coverage so skimpy that serious illness would bankrupt them. And the $476 billion in new public funds for premium subsidies would all go to insurance firms, buttressing their financial and political power, and rendering future reform all the more difficult.

Some paint the Senate bill as a flawed first step to reform that will be improved over time, citing historical examples such as Social Security. But where Social Security established the nidus of a public institution that grew over time, the Senate bill proscribes any such new public institution. Instead, it channels vast new resources - including funds diverted from Medicare - into the very private insurers who caused today's health care crisis. Social Security's first step was not a mandate that payroll taxes which fund pensions be turned over to Goldman Sachs!

While the fortification of private insurers is the most malignant aspect of the bill, several other provisions threaten harm to vulnerable patients, including:

* The bill's anti-abortion provisions would restrict reproductive choice, compromising the health of women and adolescent girls.

* The new 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans - deceptively labeled a "Cadillac tax" - would hit many middle-income families. The costs of group insurance are driven largely by regional health costs and the demography of the covered group. Hence, the tax targets workers in firms that employ more women (whose costs of care are higher than men's), and older and sicker employees, particularly those in high-cost regions such as Maine and New York.

* The bill would drain $43 billion from Medicare payments to safety-net hospitals, threatening the care of the 23 million who will remain uninsured even if the bill works as planned. These threatened hospitals are also a key resource for emergency care, mental health care and other services that are unprofitable for hospitals under current payment regimes. In many communities, severely ill patients will be left with no place to go - a human rights abuse.

* The bill would leave hundreds of millions of Americans with inadequate insurance - an "actuarial value" as low as 60 percent of actual health costs. Predictably, as health costs continue to grow, more families will face co-payments and deductibles so high that they preclude adequate access to care. Such coverage is more akin to a hospital gown than to a warm winter coat.

Congress' capitulation to insurers - along with concessions to the pharmaceutical industry - fatally undermines the economic viability of reform. The bill would inflate the already crushing burden of insurance-related paperwork that currently siphons $400 billion from care annually. According to CMS' own projections, the bill will cause U.S. health costs to increase even more rapidly than presently, and budget neutrality is to be achieved by draining funds from Medicare and an accounting trick - front-loading the new revenues while delaying most new coverage until 2014. As homeowners seduced into balloon mortgages have learned, pushing costs off to the future is neither prudent nor sustainable.

We ask that you defeat the bill currently under debate, and immediately move to consider the single-payer approach - an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program - which prioritizes the advancement of our nation's health over the enhancement of private, profit-seeking interests.

Oliver Fein, M.D., President
David U. Himmelstein, M.D., Co-founder
Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H., Co-founder
Physicians for a National Health Program

//////

Nation's Largest Nurses Organization: Health Care Bill Cedes Too Much To Insurance Industry

The 150,000 member National Nurses United, the nation's largest union and professional organization of registered nurses in the U.S., today criticized the healthcare bill now advancing in the U.S. Senate saying it is deeply flawed and grants too much power to the giant insurers.
"It is tragic to see the promise from Washington this year for genuine, comprehensive reform ground down to a seriously flawed bill that could actually exacerbate the healthcare crisis and financial insecurity for American families, and that cedes far too much additional power to the tyranny of a callous insurance industry," said NNU co-president Karen Higgins, RN.
NNU Co-president Deborah Burger, RN challenged arguments of legislation proponents that the bill should still be passed because of expanded coverage, new regulations on insurers, and the hope that it will be improved in the House-Senate conference committee or future years.
Story continues below

"Those wishful statements ignore the reality that much of the expanded coverage is based on forced purchase of private insurance without effective controls on industry pricing practices or real competition and gaping loopholes in the insurance reforms," said Burger.

Further, said NNU Co-president Jean Ross, RN, "the bill seems more likely to be eroded, not improved, in future years due to the unchecked influence of the healthcare industry lobbyists and the lessons of this year in which all the compromises have been made to the right."

"Sadly, we have ended up with legislation that fails to meet the test of true healthcare reform, guaranteeing high quality, cost effective care for all Americans, and instead are further locking into place a system that entrenches the chokehold of the profit-making insurance giants on our health. If this bill passes, the industry will become more powerful and could be beyond the reach of reform for generations," Higgins said.
NNU cited ten significant problems in the legislation, noting many of the same flaws also exist in the House version and are likely to remain in the bill that emerges from the House-Senate reconciliation process:
1. The individual mandate forcing all those without coverage to buy private insurance, with insufficient cost controls on skyrocketing premiums and other insurance costs.
2. No challenge to insurance company monopolies, especially in the top 94 metropolitan areas where one or two companies dominate, severely limiting choice and competition.
3. An affordability mirage. Congressional Budget Office estimates say a family of four with a household income of $54,000 would be expected to pay 17 percent of their income, $9,000, on healthcare exposing too many families to grave financial risk.
4. The excise tax on comprehensive insurance plans which will encourage employers to reduce benefits, shift more costs to employees, promote proliferation of high-deductible plans, and lead to more self-rationing of care and medical bankruptcies, especially as more plans are subject to the tax every year due to the lack of adequate price controls. A Towers-Perrin survey in September found 30 percent of employers said they would reduce employment if their health costs go up, 86 percent said they'd pass the higher costs to their employees.
5. Major loopholes in the insurance reforms that promise bans on exclusion for pre-existing conditions, and no cancellations for sickness. The loopholes include:

* Provisions permitting insurers and companies to more than double charges to employees who fail "wellness" programs because they have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol readings, or other medical conditions.
* Insurers are permitted to sell policies "across state lines", exempting patient protections passed in other states. Insurers will thus set up in the least regulated states in a race to the bottom threatening public protections won by consumers in various states.
* Insurers can charge four times more based on age plus more for certain conditions, and continue to use marketing techniques to cherry-pick healthier, less costly enrollees.
* Insurers may continue to rescind policies for "fraud or intentional misrepresentation" - the main pretext insurance companies now use to cancel coverage.
6. Minimal oversight on insurance denials of care; a report by the California Nurses Association/NNOC in September found that six of California's largest insurers have rejected more than one-fifth of all claims since 2002.
7. Inadequate limits on drug prices, especially after Senate rejection of an amendment, to protect a White House deal with pharmaceutical giants, allowing pharmacies and wholesalers to import lower-cost drugs.
8. New burdens for our public safety net. With a shortage of primary care physicians and a continuing fiscal crisis at the state and local level, public hospitals and clinics will be a dumping ground for those the private system doesn't want.
9. Reduced reproductive rights for women.
10. No single standard of care. Our multi-tiered system remains with access to care still determined by ability to pay. Nothing changes in basic structure of the system; healthcare remains a privilege, not a right.
"Desperation to pass a bill, regardless of its flaws, has made the White House and Congress subject to the worst political extortion and new, crippling concessions every day," Burger said.
"NNU and nurses will continue to work with the thousands of grassroots activists across the nation to campaign for the best reform, which would be to expand Medicare to cover everyone, the same type of system working more effectively in every other industrial country. The day of that reform will come," said Ross.
///////
This is a horrible terrible bill. I wish it would die.
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Old 12-25-2009, 02:57 PM
Status: ""a mind that understands science"" (set 6 days ago)
 
18,776 posts, read 12,111,665 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clue View Post
For ****'s sake, you mindless lemming have got to stop saying this bill is "huge step forwards", it's not.

As someone who have spent time in another country with excellent universal health care, the US health care bill is a joke and a laughingstock, it's a bailout for health insurance companies. Barack Obama and the Congress is not going to save you.

Here's what the two pro-single payer group has to say about the current bill:

/////
Pro-single-payer physicians call for defeat of Senate health bill

Legislation 'would bring more harm than good,' group says

A national organization of 17,000 physicians who favor a single-payer health care system called on the U.S. Senate today to defeat the health care legislation presently before it and to immediately consider the adoption of an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program.

While noting that the Senate bill includes some "salutary provisions" like an expansion of Medicaid, increased funding for community clinics and the curbing of some of the worst practices of the private insurance industry, the group says the negatives in the bill outweigh the positives.

The negatives, the group says, include the individual mandate requiring that people buy private insurance policies, large government subsidies to private insurers, new restrictions on abortion, the unfair taxing of high-cost health plans, and cuts of $43 billion in Medicare payments to safety-net hospitals. Moreover, at least 23 million people will remain uninsured when the plan finally takes effect, they said.

"We have concluded that the Senate bill's passage would bring more harm than good," the group said in a statement signed by its president, Dr. Oliver Fein, and two co-founders, Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler.

Addressing the Senate in an open letter, they write: "We ask that you defeat the bill currently under debate, and immediately move to consider the single-payer approach - an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program - which prioritizes the advancement of our nation's health over the enhancement of private, profit-seeking interests."

The full statement appears below.

To the Members of the U.S. Senate:

It is with great sadness that we urge you to vote against the health care reform legislation now before you. As physicians, we are acutely aware of the unnecessary suffering that our nation's broken health care financing system inflicts on our patients. We make no common cause with the Republicans' obstructionist tactics or alarmist rhetoric. However, we have concluded that the Senate bill's passage would bring more harm than good.

We are fully cognizant of the salutary provisions included in the legislation, notably an expansion of Medicaid coverage, increased funds for community clinics and regulations to curtail some of private insurers' most egregious practices. Yet these are outweighed by its central provisions - particularly the individual mandate - that would reinforce private insurers' stranglehold on care. Those who dislike their current employer-sponsored coverage would be forced to keep it. Those without insurance would be forced to pay private insurers' inflated premiums, often for coverage so skimpy that serious illness would bankrupt them. And the $476 billion in new public funds for premium subsidies would all go to insurance firms, buttressing their financial and political power, and rendering future reform all the more difficult.

Some paint the Senate bill as a flawed first step to reform that will be improved over time, citing historical examples such as Social Security. But where Social Security established the nidus of a public institution that grew over time, the Senate bill proscribes any such new public institution. Instead, it channels vast new resources - including funds diverted from Medicare - into the very private insurers who caused today's health care crisis. Social Security's first step was not a mandate that payroll taxes which fund pensions be turned over to Goldman Sachs!

While the fortification of private insurers is the most malignant aspect of the bill, several other provisions threaten harm to vulnerable patients, including:

* The bill's anti-abortion provisions would restrict reproductive choice, compromising the health of women and adolescent girls.

* The new 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans - deceptively labeled a "Cadillac tax" - would hit many middle-income families. The costs of group insurance are driven largely by regional health costs and the demography of the covered group. Hence, the tax targets workers in firms that employ more women (whose costs of care are higher than men's), and older and sicker employees, particularly those in high-cost regions such as Maine and New York.

* The bill would drain $43 billion from Medicare payments to safety-net hospitals, threatening the care of the 23 million who will remain uninsured even if the bill works as planned. These threatened hospitals are also a key resource for emergency care, mental health care and other services that are unprofitable for hospitals under current payment regimes. In many communities, severely ill patients will be left with no place to go - a human rights abuse.

* The bill would leave hundreds of millions of Americans with inadequate insurance - an "actuarial value" as low as 60 percent of actual health costs. Predictably, as health costs continue to grow, more families will face co-payments and deductibles so high that they preclude adequate access to care. Such coverage is more akin to a hospital gown than to a warm winter coat.

Congress' capitulation to insurers - along with concessions to the pharmaceutical industry - fatally undermines the economic viability of reform. The bill would inflate the already crushing burden of insurance-related paperwork that currently siphons $400 billion from care annually. According to CMS' own projections, the bill will cause U.S. health costs to increase even more rapidly than presently, and budget neutrality is to be achieved by draining funds from Medicare and an accounting trick - front-loading the new revenues while delaying most new coverage until 2014. As homeowners seduced into balloon mortgages have learned, pushing costs off to the future is neither prudent nor sustainable.

We ask that you defeat the bill currently under debate, and immediately move to consider the single-payer approach - an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program - which prioritizes the advancement of our nation's health over the enhancement of private, profit-seeking interests.

Oliver Fein, M.D., President
David U. Himmelstein, M.D., Co-founder
Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H., Co-founder
Physicians for a National Health Program

//////

Nation's Largest Nurses Organization: Health Care Bill Cedes Too Much To Insurance Industry

The 150,000 member National Nurses United, the nation's largest union and professional organization of registered nurses in the U.S., today criticized the healthcare bill now advancing in the U.S. Senate saying it is deeply flawed and grants too much power to the giant insurers.
"It is tragic to see the promise from Washington this year for genuine, comprehensive reform ground down to a seriously flawed bill that could actually exacerbate the healthcare crisis and financial insecurity for American families, and that cedes far too much additional power to the tyranny of a callous insurance industry," said NNU co-president Karen Higgins, RN.
NNU Co-president Deborah Burger, RN challenged arguments of legislation proponents that the bill should still be passed because of expanded coverage, new regulations on insurers, and the hope that it will be improved in the House-Senate conference committee or future years.
Story continues below

"Those wishful statements ignore the reality that much of the expanded coverage is based on forced purchase of private insurance without effective controls on industry pricing practices or real competition and gaping loopholes in the insurance reforms," said Burger.

Further, said NNU Co-president Jean Ross, RN, "the bill seems more likely to be eroded, not improved, in future years due to the unchecked influence of the healthcare industry lobbyists and the lessons of this year in which all the compromises have been made to the right."

"Sadly, we have ended up with legislation that fails to meet the test of true healthcare reform, guaranteeing high quality, cost effective care for all Americans, and instead are further locking into place a system that entrenches the chokehold of the profit-making insurance giants on our health. If this bill passes, the industry will become more powerful and could be beyond the reach of reform for generations," Higgins said.
NNU cited ten significant problems in the legislation, noting many of the same flaws also exist in the House version and are likely to remain in the bill that emerges from the House-Senate reconciliation process:
1. The individual mandate forcing all those without coverage to buy private insurance, with insufficient cost controls on skyrocketing premiums and other insurance costs.
2. No challenge to insurance company monopolies, especially in the top 94 metropolitan areas where one or two companies dominate, severely limiting choice and competition.
3. An affordability mirage. Congressional Budget Office estimates say a family of four with a household income of $54,000 would be expected to pay 17 percent of their income, $9,000, on healthcare exposing too many families to grave financial risk.
4. The excise tax on comprehensive insurance plans which will encourage employers to reduce benefits, shift more costs to employees, promote proliferation of high-deductible plans, and lead to more self-rationing of care and medical bankruptcies, especially as more plans are subject to the tax every year due to the lack of adequate price controls. A Towers-Perrin survey in September found 30 percent of employers said they would reduce employment if their health costs go up, 86 percent said they'd pass the higher costs to their employees.
5. Major loopholes in the insurance reforms that promise bans on exclusion for pre-existing conditions, and no cancellations for sickness. The loopholes include:

* Provisions permitting insurers and companies to more than double charges to employees who fail "wellness" programs because they have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol readings, or other medical conditions.
* Insurers are permitted to sell policies "across state lines", exempting patient protections passed in other states. Insurers will thus set up in the least regulated states in a race to the bottom threatening public protections won by consumers in various states.
* Insurers can charge four times more based on age plus more for certain conditions, and continue to use marketing techniques to cherry-pick healthier, less costly enrollees.
* Insurers may continue to rescind policies for "fraud or intentional misrepresentation" - the main pretext insurance companies now use to cancel coverage.
6. Minimal oversight on insurance denials of care; a report by the California Nurses Association/NNOC in September found that six of California's largest insurers have rejected more than one-fifth of all claims since 2002.
7. Inadequate limits on drug prices, especially after Senate rejection of an amendment, to protect a White House deal with pharmaceutical giants, allowing pharmacies and wholesalers to import lower-cost drugs.
8. New burdens for our public safety net. With a shortage of primary care physicians and a continuing fiscal crisis at the state and local level, public hospitals and clinics will be a dumping ground for those the private system doesn't want.
9. Reduced reproductive rights for women.
10. No single standard of care. Our multi-tiered system remains with access to care still determined by ability to pay. Nothing changes in basic structure of the system; healthcare remains a privilege, not a right.
"Desperation to pass a bill, regardless of its flaws, has made the White House and Congress subject to the worst political extortion and new, crippling concessions every day," Burger said.
"NNU and nurses will continue to work with the thousands of grassroots activists across the nation to campaign for the best reform, which would be to expand Medicare to cover everyone, the same type of system working more effectively in every other industrial country. The day of that reform will come," said Ross.
///////

The more Obama does, the less the nation likes him. They are beginning to see who the guy really is, and it is not flattering. Clinton, while being a dem, at least did not attempt to destroy the nation while in office. Perhaps the dems will choose more wisely next time. I am really beginning to wonder if Obama will even get his party's nomination in 2012.
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