Since I am in the category of people who is expected to see my health insurance double or triple, I wonder why people are spending so much on their health insurance.  I do see that since we are "poor", we'll likely get free or heavily discounted health insurance under Obama's plan.  It seems silly to me that you all should pay for my health insurance, but since that is the American way, I won't turn down taking your money.  (though I would vote against these silly bills - even if I was offered money for my state -- too bad the legislators sell out so easily; though they now know the right way to get more money for their state - publicly declare that you are waffling on the issue, and let it slip that if only there was $100 million in the bill for you, you might change your mind).

And some quotes from the media, since I've been seeing more news at my parents' house.

David Orentlichter, co-director of the Center for Law and Health, Indiana University, concurred. "Insurers will have to charge the same rates to all persons -- with some freedom to charge higher rates based on age."  ABC News

That's not really fair - you mean you can charge higher premiums for people who spend more money?  That's crazy talk.  Why should older people pay more than younger people who spend more? To be consistent, proponents of this silly bill need to say that everyone should pay the same premium amount.

And I wonder why Obama is urging legislators to ignore their constituents?  (Granted, it was only "reportedly said", though by a member of his own party)

"It's tempting to say, 'I'm tired, it's hard, I'm getting beat up back in the district, it's just not worth it,'" Obama said, according to a source in the meeting. "If we do not get it done this year, we will not get it done anytime soon."  ABC News

Funny. And here I thought legislators were elected to represent those people in their district.

Now I know why I don't bother paying attention to the news - it's too depressing to hear about how our "leaders" are doing things.

Posted by Jon Daley on December 28, 2009, 11:09 am | Read 14563 times
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I don't imagine you want to get into another long discussion of the merits of health care reform, but your last paragraph kind of bugs me.

I'm all for ignoring network TV news, such as the ABC articles you quoted (and especially cable news), but there are plenty of other news sources that cover policy. If you are going to bother commenting on legislation, it might be worth your while to pay attention to some of those news sources.

Posted by Chip on December 28, 2009, 9:32 pm

Can you list some good sources? I mostly just use google and click on the top links in the news category, so I see a variety of newspapers around the country. Today, I am at my parents, and their ISP had links to the ABC stories, which is why I ended up there today. The Wall Street Journal has had a number of articles that I've read recently, probably linked from other people's blogs or something.

Posted by jondaley on December 28, 2009, 10:14 pm

And if it makes you feel any better, I felt the same way while Bush was president too...

Posted by jondaley on December 29, 2009, 12:17 am

I wish you had been there, Jon, when a discussion at a party recently touched on health care. I bowed out quickly because it was, after all, a party -- and even more because the other person insisted on overwhelming me with more volume and profanity than logic. But I'm pretty sure you could have countered his example of people whose incomes made health insurance unaffordable.

He did have a point I hadn't heard before, however: that because American businesses provide health care for their employees, whereas in other countries that expense is borne by the government, this put the Americans at a competitive disadvantage worldwide. I'd be interested in the Swiss perspective on this.

Posted by SursumCorda on December 29, 2009, 9:37 am

A competitive disadvantage in what sense - that an American living in another country expects to get insurance paid by his employer, and so wants a higher salary?

Posted by jondaley on December 29, 2009, 9:39 am

That American companies have the additional expense of employee health insurance, thus making their products more expensive relative to those produced in countries where companies do not have that expense. Of course this does not take into account whatever additional costs there are to foreign companies for the funding of government-sponsored health care.

Posted by SursumCorda on December 29, 2009, 11:13 am

Kaiser Health News (which has no affiliation with the Kaiser Permanente health insurance group) is a non-profit news organization that does original reporting, has daily summaries of health related news from other news outlets, and publishes opinion columns from across the ideological spectrum. It is probably the best place to start. There are a few individual bloggers who focus on health care who I find to be essential reading (I'm sure it is both that I generally agree with their political philosophy, and that their reporting has impacted what I understand to be the reality of how our health care system functions in the US). The best two are Ezra Klein at The Washington Post and Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic.
Posted by Chip on December 29, 2009, 9:26 pm

I'm not sure why feeling the same way during the Bush presidency would make any difference. The thing that bugged me was not that you were criticizing a president I like and largely agree with.

Posted by Chip on December 29, 2009, 9:29 pm

I wasn't sure if that would matter to you.

But, you still didn't list any "good" media sources.

Posted by jondaley on December 29, 2009, 9:35 pm

My comment with some suggested news sources got caught up in the spam filter, I assume because I included hyperlinks.

Posted by Chip on December 29, 2009, 9:52 pm

Regarding the competitive disadvantage of American companies: The most important thing to remember when comparing the US to other countries is that we spent about twice as much on health care as any other place (there are some industrialized countries that do spend a bit more than 50% of what we do, but even more industrialized countries that spend less than 50% of what we do) Since we funnel the vast majority fo that non-Medicare and non-Medicaid spending through employers, it does impact them.

The biggest competitive disadvantage, as I understand it, is to companies who are still paying the health insurance costs to large numbers of retired employees. Back in the day, neither the company nor the union who negotiated these contracts (remember that the employees were giving up salary in exchange for these benefits) had any idea that health inflation would be as crazy as it has been for the last couple of decades.

Posted by Chip on December 29, 2009, 9:53 pm

Yes, thank you. I've marked your comment as non-spam.

And yes, it makes sense about the pensions and health care for retired folks. I guess eventually all of that will go away, though I hear there are some companies (and of course the government) who still offer pensions and health care for the rest of one's life. Seems kind of excessive to me, but I guess that is because I am growing up now, rather than fifty years ago.

Posted by jondaley on December 29, 2009, 10:15 pm

Hmm. I've started reading some of the links you sent, and the first link talks about how the mandatory insurance is too expensive. I guess I assumed you would link to someone who thought the bill was a good idea.

I disagree with many of the assumptions about income, though I suppose some of the ones I disagree with are how people do live their lives today. For us, we have lower expenses in almost every category that they list. And significantly lower in most of the categories.

Posted by jondaley on December 29, 2009, 10:30 pm

I've added the three links to my RSS reader, so we'll see how it goes. I guess I am confused by the logic of the Jonathan Cohn (who linked to the article I posted above) when he says: (my paraphrase) yes, it will cost too much for certain folks, but I can still celebrate that the bills have been passed.

One of the commenters quoted the statistic again about the average family spending $11,000/year on health care. It'd be interesting to see a graph of the populations costs - ie. is the average $11,000, because there are a handful that spend millions, or is it really a good number, ie. that lots of people spend $11,000 on their healthcare.

I thought the comments about this bill taking the money from the young and healthy and giving it to the old and sick were good. I just wish it was said more straightforwardly, e.g. just call it wealth redistribution or whatever, and not pretend that it will be better for everyone. The thing that is odd to me is that lots of people say it will be a tax on the rich, and those who are currently buying "fancier" health plans, but I don't think anyone disagrees that I'll be spending more on health insurance, I think even counting the subsidies since I'm "poor". So, if the plan costs more for the rich, and costs more for the lower middle class, or whatever one would call me, and the firedoglake writer says it will cost more for people in the 60K range, it seems like we are running out of categories of people for whom it won't cost more.

Posted by jondaley on December 29, 2009, 11:08 pm

You asked for the Swiss perspective and I'm afraid this is all you'll get. We don't get the same news you do, so we had no context for Jon's post and it made no sense to us therefore we won't comment because we think it will take too much time to figure out. Sorry we can't be more helpful.

Posted by IrishOboe on December 30, 2009, 4:42 am
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