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Healthcare reform scares

Arizonacommunity ratingguaranteed issueHCR 2014healthcareindividual mandateKyrsten SinemaNancy BartoObamacarepublic plan

Could healthcare reform be the next big drive-'em-to-the-polls wedge issue? Conservatives in some states think so -- witness the anti-Obamacare referendum that the Republican-controlled Arizona legislature recently approved. The measure, which will go on the ballot in November 2010, would change the state's constitution to declare that "A law or rule shall not compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system." Except if that law happens to be Medicare, Medicaid or workers compensation, all of which are exempted from the measure. According to the conservative Tenth Amendment Center, advocates of similar measures are working to get them on the ballot in at least five other states.

Sponsor Nancy Barto, a state House Republican from Phoenix, said the goal is to protect Arizonans from being forced into a "government run healthcare system." No such measure has ever gotten a hearing in the Arizona legislature, Barto acknowledged in an interview, but Congress is heading in that direction now with its proposals for an optional "public plan." She added that calling the public plan an "option" was misleading because "when government enters the field and starts competing, and starts making the rules for their competitors ... [it] will  -- drive their competiors out of business."

The funny thing about the "Arizona Healthcare Freedom Act," though, is that the proposal was around before Barack Obama became president....

Arizona voters defeated a similar measure in 2008. The main difference now is that Barto's bill included language that exempted existing government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Not that Barto is a big fan of the federal health programs for the elderly and the poor; she says she'd like Arizonans to be able to opt out of those systems too.

And that's one of the problems with the referendum -- it treats healthcare as an optional cost that people should be able to shed. The only people who avoid paying for healthcare today are those who are indigent or who manage not to pay income taxes. The expense of caring for the uninsured and the underinsured is borne by everyone else, in the form of higher insurance premiums and healthcare bills. The gaps in coverage and cost-shifting are not only inefficient, they stand in the way of badly needed changes in the way heathcare is delivered and paid for.

The referendum ostensibly protects Arizonans from being required to carry health insurance, even though such a mandate is essential to requiring insurance companies to offer coverage to anyone who seeks it ("guaranteed issue") and to charge everyone in the region the same premiums ("community rating"). Barto, who favors a tax-subsidy approach to healthcare reform, said she doesn't support guaranteed issue or community rating because they drive up the price of insurance. And that may well be true, if those steps are taken without pursuing other reforms that improve quality and control cost. Yet the focus in Washington, at least at this point, is as much on controlling costs as it is on expanding coverage. That's because the two go hand in hand -- for example, increasing access to primary care is seen as a way to improve results and control costs by reducing unnecessary procedures and better coordinating treatment.

Anyway, Arizona voters will be able to express themselves again on this issue in a year and a half, by which time the fate of the administration's push to change the healthcare system will be known. Either way, the measure appears to be moot. There's no support in Arizona for trying to achieve universal coverage within the state's borders; as David Landrith, vice president of policy and political affairs for the Arizona Medical Assn. put it, "This is not Massachusetts. We have a hard enough time getting our legislators to cover kids with somebody else's money." Nor is there any chance of Congress adopting a single-payer plan that eliminates private options. And any mandates to carry insurance that Congress imposes will arguably pre-empt state laws. Barto admitted that "anything that Arizona passes that conflicts with what's going on in Congress is going to end up being challenged in court." So the most likely effect of the referendum, if it passes after Congress enacts a healthcare overhaul, would be to provide more work for Arizona's struggling litigators. In the meantime, it will give conservatives another issue with which to drive people to the polls. "It's a Red Scare thing," said Democratic state Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Phoenix. "That's what most initiatives in Arizona are."

-- Jon Healey

 

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jacksmith

AMERICA’S NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY!

It’s official. America and the World are now in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. A World EPIDEMIC with potential catastrophic consequences for ALL of the American people. The first PANDEMIC in 41 years. And WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will have to face this PANDEMIC with the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed World.

STAND READY AMERICA TO SEIZE CONTROL OF YOUR NATIONAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM.

We spend over twice as much of our GDP on healthcare as any other country in the World. And Individual American spend about ten times as much out of pocket on healthcare as any other people in the World. All because of GREED! And the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare system in America.

And while all this is going on, some members of congress seem mostly concern about how to protect the corporate PROFITS! of our GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT NATIONAL DISGRACE. A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT DISGRACE that is in fact, totally valueless to the public health. And a detriment to national security, public safety, and the public health.

Progressive democrats the Tri-Caucus and others should stand firm in their demand for a robust public option for all Americans, with all of the minimum requirements progressive democrats demanded. If congress can not pass a robust public option with at least 51 votes and all robust minimum requirements, congress should immediately move to scrap healthcare reform and request that President Obama declare a state of NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY! Seizing and replacing all PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance plans with the immediate implementation of National Healthcare for all Americans under the provisions of HR676 (A Single-payer National Healthcare Plan For All).

Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry. Funding can also begin immediately by substitution of payroll deductions for private insurance plans with payroll deductions for the national healthcare plan. This is what the vast majority of the American people want. And this is what all objective experts unanimously agree would be the best, and most cost effective for the American people and our economy.

In Mexico on average people who received medical care for A-H1N1 (Swine Flu) with in 3 days survived. People who did not receive medical care until 7 days or more died. This has been the same results in the US. But 50 million Americans don’t even have any healthcare coverage. And at least 200 million of you with insurance could not get in to see your private insurance plans doctors in 2 or 3 days, even if your life depended on it. WHICH IT DOES!

If President Obama has to declare a NATIONAL STATE OF EMERGENCY to rescue the American people from our healthcare crisis, he will need all the sustained support you can give him. STICK WITH HIM! He’s doing a brilliant job.

THIS IS THE BIG ONE!

THE BATTLE OF GOOD Vs EVIL!

Join the fight.

Contact congress and your representatives NOW! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

God Bless You

Jacksmith – WORKING CLASS

Dallas

This is still America and we can still make up our own minds on things. Having a one-payer national health care plan is not only a bad idea, it breaks all the anti-trust laws on the books! That means it breaks the laws that forbid any one company or entity from having a monopoly on any business (such as health care coverage). The single payer health care coverage might keep other companies around it in place for now, but it would eventually take over all their business because it was cheaper.A monopoly by the government is a violation of anti-trust laws!

But, there is more to it than that. the previous poster seemed to indicate that all the President has to do to counteract a law in Arizona is to declare a NATIONAL STATE OF EMERGENCY for a health care crisis. In this case, it seems to me that the President has way too much power! If all he has to do is declare a state of emergency and go around all the laws made, then something is TERRIBLY WRONG! The framers of our Constitution tried to avoid such a matter by giving the President less power so he did not become king-like. This country has checks and balances to keep everyone in check, EVEN THE PRESIDENT!

The previos poster says we should stick with Obama. He is brilliant. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!! We are going BANKRUPT as a country! Do we really want to spend more money on something we cannot pay for now? Why not just continue with our Medicare and Medicade for now instead of adding more debt to our can't-pay-for-it-debt already?

You could say this is THE BIG ONE. The one that decides whether we stay free Americans and begin to pay off our debt or the one that finally sends us over the edge to complete bankruptcy!

Contact your House representatives and your senate representatives and tell them to vote "NO!" on the Health Reform Bill. It will take a lot of us everywhere to counteract what has happed already! Two million people contacted their Houe Representatives to ask them to vote "NO!" on the Cap and Trade Bill and that wasn't enough! E-mail, phone, or Fax them. And tell everyone you know to do the same! PLEASE!!! Numbers of people matter to those voting!!

Peter

Its funny, but many of these right wing wing nuts do not even have health care coverage- let along have the ability to see a Doctor. As usual most of the far right are unable to look out for their own best interests.

Jon Healey

@Dallas -- IANAL, but if you're right about antitrust law, then the IRS and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would be illegal, among many other government entities. You might want to rethink that.

Robert Coulter

Free Rider Myth
I am amazed at the tolerance of the American public to the healthcare individual mandate. It seems that most believe that this will lower their insurance rates because "free riders" will be forced to pay into the insurance pools. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Healthcare providers collect their bills like any other enterprise. If someone has the money, they will pay. "Free Riders" are actually those who cannot afford healthcare and therefore could or can not afford their healthcare premiums. Nearly all of these individuals will receive free or greatly subsidized healthcare paid for by increasing premiums on others or the taxpayer.

So what is the real purpose of the mandate? I am afraid the answer is very sinister.

Healthcare costs are increasing rapidly with no sign of slowing down.
Currently, one could make a rational decision not to have health insurance and decide to pay their healthcare costs 100% out of pocket and tap into savings if a major illness is encountered. This would be like self-insuring.
This actually cuts the insurance company out of the loop. One pursuing this strategy is also much less likely to
seek professional healthcare for trivial medical issues. This would act as a natural brake on the runaway costs of healthcare and health insurance. If health insurance is mandated; however, this natural brake cannot happen. The mandate
is meant to force YOU to stay in the health insurance system. It may seem like a smart decision now, but when healthcare costs go through the roof you will wish to unload your useless and expensive mandated insurance policy but will be unable to do so.

--Like being in a runaway car with your foot shackled to the gas pedal!

Jerry

Dallas, one of the health insurance companies, the specific one escapes me at the moment, controls something like 70% of the Indianapolis market and 65% of the state of Indiana. This is not an isolated example as every major metro area in the country is controlled by 1 or 2 health insurors. Now what again are your concerns with a government competitor that could be (but won't be ) a monoply? What about the oligopoly that currently runs the health insurance industry?

Mitchell Young

The various levels of government cannot even bring themselves to enforce immigration, labor, and tax laws against contractors who pick up jornaleros or upscale couples who employ nannies and gardeners off the books. How exactly is this universal care mandate going to be enforced on everybody? And if it isn't enforced, isn't this going to be one more example of raising the cost of law-abiding citizen (and legal resident) labor in comparison with illegal labor?

sursum

Reform may not be necessary, for Blue Coss is suggesting to clients they go abroad for care. They have arrangements with hospitals in S.E.Asia and travel companies that brings in a procedure costing $45,000.00 in the US for ony $15,000.00 including travel and hotel and are actullay runnng a special in South Carolina to promote the idea. Lets see, outsourcing in a global economy....sound familiar at all? I wonder if their rates for insurance will drop? (giggle,giggle) Apparently 500,000 Americans do this now

Derek

Not sure what was intended by this statement:

"The only people who avoid paying for healthcare today are those who are indigent"

I know of two people personally that have died because they could not afford cancer treatment, they died before being accepted to Medicare. There are no programs to treat people with life threatening conditions like cancer or severe cardiac disease, you die. The only hope is to make it through the two year waiting period.

The only requirement for hospitals is to help if you are virtually dying when you walk into the ER. Once you are stable they send you on your way. If you have any assets at all they go after those assets.

This myth that there is this magical system that provides health care for the poor needs to end.

Jon Weiss

Is everything this guy touches a "crisis"? First it was the banks (wihich are still failing even after the bailouts) , then the auto industry (which are still in trouble even after the government took control of the largest company) , now it is healthcare, what's next? Does government need to control our food intake so we don't run out of food? Food that is regrown every year from the ground? From the looks of things Obama IS a crisis all in himself.

I spent yesterday on the phone calling all of the Senators and Representatives offices, with my proposed amendment to the healthcare legislation.

My proposal is; Since the Congress is willing to give us the healthcare that we supposedly "need" and that their plan is so great, that they should also include in the legislation a provision that abolishes the current healthcare plan set aside for politicians and enroll themselves into the plan they created for the rest of us.

Strangely enough out of 100 Senators and 435 Representatives I got NO TAKERS, 5 that said they would "consider it", and 1 that asmitted that my idea had already been brought up during the "mark-up" session and rejected.

I have to wonder with so much (lack of) enthusiasm for their inclusion in the program...how bad is it?


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