Those “fake” death panels

Hey, I checked my stats and saw two whole hits coming from the site of a well documented fraud.  Welcome!  I’m glad you are reading a site that professes authentic Christianity and not the fake, girlie-man, passive-aggressive, postmodern, intellectually bankrupt, “In your face, God!” tripe put out by Liberal theologians. 

Here’s a news clip about an Oregon woman who was told that her chemo wouldn’t be covered but her physician-assisted suicide would be:

But the death panels aren’t real, you lying conservative haters!  Which is why we took them out of the bill!  Where do you come up with these things?!

</sarcasm>

Hat tip: Duane’s Mind (via Facebook)

0 thoughts on “Those “fake” death panels”

  1. That’s your definition of a death panel? How does this differ from the decisions made by insurance companies every day. I suppose your insurance company hands out $70 pills like smarties.

    I’m familiar with Tarceva, the drug in question. It is not chemotherapy, and it’s not a cure. It is a drug with very good outcomes in certain patients with very specific cancers when given immediately after a chemotherapy run. It will prolong life in some circumstances, provided there on not other factors. Many insurance companies don’t cover it at all, and many more cover only a small portion of the cost, which are about $140 per day. Most insurance companies will only cover it as a second line treatment, for patients with the ability to handle strong chemotherapy treatments immediately prior to taking this drug.

    We don’t really know the story here – there could be reasons that this drug may not help her, but as far as I’m concerned if her doctor thinks it will help her, she should get it. I’d propose a system where if a patient could find a second doctor to agree that the drug will help, the two opinions could override the government decision.

    The sad thing here is that when the patent runs out on the drug, it will be cheap, and handed out like aspirin.

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      1. The letter gave the women the options available to her. The report did not give the full text of the letter. I certainly hope it was not worded in any way that would encourage her to take that option. In Oregon, death with dignity is a medical option. It involves a prescribed drug to the patient, so insurance companies may in fact cover this. I took a quick look online, but could not find any info about coverage.

        Answer this though. Why would an insurance company NOT want a patient taking this option? This is a gold mine for insurance companies. They make the most money when a patient dies quickly, and money is their prime motivation.

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      2. Good question, and one that points to the follow of going with Obama’s clear and stated preference for a single payer system.

        Ghoulishness aside, health insurance companies might prefer that you commit suicide rather than run up their bills. Then again, you won’t be buying many premiums after that. And in a free market people would probably choose other companies over yours, thus hurting your business.

        But in a single payer gov’t model, there will be no alternatives.

        Think HMOs are bad? Then you should really hate the idea of a single payer gov’t plan. It is the ultimate HMO, only with no competition and no real regulation (the gov’t pays the bills and “regulates” itself, which isn’t much of a comfort).

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      3. Neil, we have single payer in Canada, and cancer patients get these drugs whenever their doctor prescribes them. Doctors have prescribed things to my son that are completely experimental. Payment and cost are simply things that have not been discussed.

        I don’t trust the government any more than you do, but I don’t get why you would trust a company to provide you with treatment when your health is in peril. At that point you do not have the opportunity to switch companies/

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    1. Arguing that current private health insurance could possibly do something similar is not a very strong argument for single payer or a public option.

      The point is that no one wants death panels, whether they be private or public.

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      1. So basically you want unlimited free access to any drug that has any small chance of saving your life.

        If you don’t want it to be unlimited, then there must be someone that decides if your chances for survival make the drug worthwhile, and you call that a death panel.

        If you don’t want it to be free, and want everyone to pay for their own drugs, then that option is and always will be available.

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      2. Our current system is not good, and because insurance companies hold the purse strings they make decisions on what treatments they will pay for. But a single payer system will do the same thing. Everyone’s been laughing at the idea of death panels. Well, here’s the proof. But saying that private insurance does the same thing is not a good argument for gov’t run health care. That’s moving us sideways, not getting better.

        But no, I don’t want it to be free. This whole idea of “free”, whether because insurance pays it or the gov’t pays it, is what makes health care so expensive in the first place. Which is why when you say that paying for it yourself is already available is a red herring. Sure you can pay for it, but the game’s already been rigged against you. From subsidies for employer based insurance, to subsidies for gov’t based insurance like Medicare and Medicaid, costs have been so distorted that it’s almost impossible to go it alone.

        Instead, I’d like real reform that actually lowers costs and therefore makes health care more accessible to more people.

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      3. OK, now we’re talking. Those are good points, and despite my leftist lean, I do acknowledge those problems with socialize medicine, and the costs of health care. But, I don’t see any of these things being helped in any way by the private sector.

        In Canada, we pay dinky little user fees for certain things. $70 for an ambulance ride, regardless if it’s three blocks up the street, or an helicopter airlift off of a mountain. $25 for stitches, whether it is one stitch, or 300. $50 for a cast, whether its for a finger or a leg ($75 if you want a fancy coloured fiberglass one), and there are also small dispensary fees for drugs. I think these should be a bit higher, and should involve more things, since people take advantage of the system.

        Medical costs are inflated, but just for drugs. Most everything else is pretty much fixed. Doctors are not going to take a pay-cut, and hospitals are not going to be built for less.

        My son was born extremely premature, and when I asked the head neonatologist what his care would have cost over his first few years of life, he estimated it to be over five million dollars. We paid the $70 for the first ambulance ride, and got reimbursed since it was a hospital to hospital transfer. How much of that five million would you think I should have paid, in a perfect system? How many insurance companies would have paid for that, and how many would have kept up his coverage for the 30 operations he has had since. He would already have hit his maximum lifetime benefit in almost every plan I’ve heard of.

        Canada’s health care is mostly single payer, and they pay for all of this stuff.

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      4. When you say “they pay for all this stuff” what you’re saying is that the bill for the entire nation’s medical costs are being spread to every tax paying member of the nation.

        The US has this system already. In fact, 47% of all medical costs in the US are paid by the government through programs like Medicare and Medicaid. There’s two problems I see with this situation.

        First, Medicare and the like pay far less to doctors than does private insurance. This means that the price that private insurance pays is artificially high. That cost is then transferred to me in the form of higher premiums. So everyone complaining about the skyrocketing premiums need only look at the government for someone to blame.

        Second, these government paid programs are going bankrupt. According to the CBO, they will soon make up almost the entirety of the federal budget. Taxes will necessarily have to rise exponentially just to pay for the 47%. And we’re now talking about adding on all the rest as well?

        The bottom line is that making a single payer system will not decrease total health care costs, and the government cannot afford to pay for it all. As an accountant, to me it’s simple debits and credits. And the ideas being discussed right now just do not add up.

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      5. Also let’s recall that the government is exempt from GAAP.

        The actual unfunded liabilities are so boggling large that it defies comprehension, in the dozens of trillions.

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      6. When you say “they pay for all this stuff” what you’re saying is that the bill for the entire nation’s medical costs are being spread to every tax paying member of the nation.

        Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. That’s how we like it in Canada. Everybody I know is happy that they helped to pay for my son’s care, and I am, in turn, grateful for it. Why is this concept so evil to you guys?

        I do agree that the doctors should be paid in full for their services, regardless of the payer. Maybe that’s the portion that needs to be changed.

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      7. We don’t like the concept because it leads to the government denying care and instead offering to pay for assisted suicide.

        “Everybody I know is happy that they helped to pay for my son’s care”

        Then they would have been happy to give you the money directly, outside of any gov’t run program.

        But even tossing all those concerns aside, we are still left with the fact that there is not enough money for a single payer program even if we wanted one.

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      8. We don’t like the concept because it leads to the government denying care and instead offering to pay for assisted suicide.

        I’ve just shown you that it does not lead to that. Single payer health care is not new in Canada, or the UK, and this simply does not happen.

        Then they would have been happy to give you the money directly, outside of any gov’t run program.

        Right, so with zero notice, you would expect me to beg for millions of dollars from my family and friends, so that my baby doesn’t die.

        there is not enough money for a single payer program even if we wanted one.

        Voters have indicated that you do want national health care. There wasn’t enough money to go to war either, but that was pushed through. I think this is a little more important.

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      9. 1. The video in this post shows that it does. And you haven’t denied that.

        2. Or to a charitable organization taht people like me have been giving to for years. Or reduced prices and/or long term payment plans from doctors and hospitals who aren’t forced to lose money on every Medicare patient they treat.

        3. That depends on which poll you look at. But like I said, even if we do want one, there isn’t enouhg money for it.

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  2. I don’t get this. WHY didn’t they cover it? Didn’t they think she was worth it? The patient wasn’t prevented from getting the drug on her own, was she?

    I don’t know that I agree that any insurance company MUST cover ANY drug or procedure that is only a “maybe” in terms of effectiveness, but that they should cover whatever the patient’s doctor says is likely to help the patient’s situation. Alternative, unproven and experimental drugs or procedures should not be forced upon the insurance companies if they are to keep their own costs low for their policy holders.

    Whether one has a health insurance policy or not, one should save toward the possibility that the worst might befall. If insurance companies are expected to be bottomless wells of money, there’s no way the cost of policies will go down.

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  3. Marshall

    Apparently, the pharmaceutical company agrees with you. Genentech agreed to provide the medicine to this woman at no charge.

    How could this be? I thought capitalist companies were greedy blood suckers that didn’t care a wit about anyone or anything but $$$$$.

    But I guess THAT distinction goes to the Oregon Health Plan. What is their official policy? Listen to the end of the video, “If we invest thousands and thousands of dollars in one person’s days to weeks, we are taking away those dollars from someone.”

    First of all, the assumption that the person only has “days to weeks” is based on the drug not working! Who thinks the drug will not work?

    Second, why would those dollars be taken from someone else? Oh, wait, you mean the Oregon Health Plan is broke? Why would that be?

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    1. Good point, Mark. And if the gov’t uses that end of life philosophy then why shouldn’t they use it at the beginning of life? They should never support health care for preemies, right? After all, if society has determined that they are fair game for abortion then of course they can’t be as valuable as “persons.” And they certainly consume a disproportionate amount of resources.

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      1. Neil, do you listen to anything I say? I’ve given you details about how preemie care works under socialized medicine, yet you use that specific case to fear monger.

        You have nothing to back up your claims other than your idea that the government will, at every opportunity try to kill people, force abortions, or hasten the death of anyone who is sick.

        The government is elected by the people, and the people want to live in a society where life is valuable, and the sick are cared for. If the government provides crappy health care, they won’t be in power long.

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      2. You’re a smart guy. You could at least be honest about this. This does not “give” the government any more power at all. They can’t deny care any more than they could before.

        If you don’t like the decision of the government, go to an insurance company, or buy the care yourself, or go through the democratic process to change it. What is the problem with the government giving a basic standard of care to everybody, and have them get the rest, if they choose, out of their own pocket?

        The results you claim are inevitable have simply not happened in the many countries that have gone this route. Can you show that they have, or is it purely speculation on your part?

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      3. I have presented you, repeatedly, with a multitude of citations from the bill itself, about how it gives the government massive amounts of new power that it did not previously have, with the end result also including a nationalization of 15% of the economy.

        You can continue to ignore reality if you wish, but you are again at the point where you deny logic, reason, and clear indisputable facts when they are presented to you.

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      4. Ryan, you are slipping again. Clean it up or wait for another post. It is disgusting that you’d accuse of others of dishonesty simply for pointing out the obvious. Obama is on record for wanting a single payer system.

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      5. I’ll be moving to the Netherlands by year end. I remember doing a project in debate class in high school about euthanasia in several Nordic countries (this was in the early 90’s), and some of the research I dug up using what passed for a library and the web back then was ridiculous. I hesitate to make hard claims because 1. It’s been almost 15 years, and 2. I don’t have the material in front of me to cite, but there were some appalling statistics about the number of people euthanised with zero consent. I’m sure you can find it.

        I found something in 0.24 seconds, according to Google.

        (and since I don’t know how to block quote, you have to suffer with quotation marks!)

        “In 1991, in an effort to come to grips with the actual medical practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide, the Dutch Government established a government commission, headed by Professor Jan Remmelink to study the problem. The Remmelink Report opened the eyes of both the people of the Netherlands and the world to the extent of the practice of euthanasia in Holland. Remmelink found that 49,000 of the 130,000 deaths in the Netherlands each year were not natural but involved a “medical decision at the end of life” or MDEL. 95% of these MDEL cases involve, in equal numbers, either withholding treatment/discontinuing life support or the alleviation of pain and symptoms through medication that might hasten death. This latter (alleviating pain and symptoms) category accounted for approx. 20,000 deaths that had been hastened by a physicians decision. Actual euthanasia, using the official Dutch definition, occurred in 2,300 cases or 2% of all Dutch deaths. Dutch physicians helped 400 patients who requested suicide, for either mental illness or discomfort, to kill themselves in 1990. The alarming statistics of the Remmelink Report indicate that in thousands of cases decisions that might or were intended to end a fully competent patient’s life were made without consulting the patient.

        Over 50% of Dutch physicians admitted to practicing euthanasia, most often on cancer patients. Only 60% kept written records of their euthanasia practice and only 29% filled out death certificates honestly in euthanasia cases.

        In 1996 a second report on euthanasia in Holland (for 1995) was published. In the interim the number of cases where a doctor had made a decision with the intention to hasten death without the patients express request had risen from 15% to almost 20% of the total annual mortality rate of the Netherlands. At the same time, the number of cases of euthanasia, using the narrow Dutch definition, rose from 2,300 to over 3000, a 30% increase in just 5 years. ”

        All this and officially, euthanasia is ‘illegal’ in the Netherlands.

        http://www.euthanasia.com/netherlands.html

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      6. I forgot to add why this applies. The Netherlands, have a one-payer system in which the gov’t controls the entire thing. You asked what could possibly go wrong when a person has zero options.

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      7. The link between euthanasia and a single payer system may exist, bt I think it could have the opposite effect.

        People are more likely to request euthanasia if they feel that further medical treatment would be a financial burden on their family. If there is no burden, like the single payer system, they can make decisions that are more likely based on their personal desires.

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      8. But the reality of the Dutch example proves the opposite. Thousands of people opting for suicide over treatment, even though health care is public.

        I agree with the idea that people without burdens make decisions based on their personal desires, but the reality of the Netherlands shows either people prefer death to treatment. As suicide is immoral, I don’t support it.

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      9. One of the nasty problems with the Dutch system is that many of the ‘suicides’ aren’t voluntary. The elderly are petrified of seeking medical treatment because doctors freely admit they are euthanasing elderly patients without their permission.

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      10. Ryan, you have given examples of how health care works in Canada.

        I have not heard that the US government plans to turn our health care over to Canada or copy the Canadian system.

        Does you parliment have the same health care plan as the regular citizens?

        If the President and the Congress would agree to go on the new health care system, I think that might make it more palitable.

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    2. As you said, it was the pharmaceutical company who gave her the medicine for free. This stuff costs them nothing to manufacture, the cost of the medicine is to offset R&D costs. Drug companies give out free medicine all of the time, probably way more than half of what they manufacture.

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      1. Apprently your not familiar with the cost of maintaining gMP’s, or paying employees, or patents, or extending those patents, or distribution, or warehousing, or the fact that their are annual fees to the FDA and USDA to maintain sales of those products, or legal defense ….that is, if you actually believe the manufacturing of a drug is free.

        Your actually criticising those evil drug companies for giving stuff away….seriously? For River Blindness in Africa for example…and here I thought those evil companies only care about P& L statements.

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      2. A swing and a miss.

        Re-read my comments again. We should all be thankful that there are companies, and individuals out there working on improving medicine. I said that the huge majority of their costs are R&D. That’s research and development, and it includes most of the costs. Do you really think it costs much to find warehouse space for tiny pills? Do you think it costs much to ship them? As far as manufacturing costs, the fact that prices miraculously drop dramatically once the patent runs out is testament to the fact that these costs are relatively low.

        Drug companies hand out free stuff all of the time, and for good reasons related to studies, samples, and compassionate reasons as well.

        All that said, don’t delude yourself into thinking that companies care about anything. They are companies, not people. They exist for profit, and only for profit. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but don’t think they exist for any other reason.

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      3. Yes, one you pay for infrastructure, research, machines, etc. the incremental costs of producing another widget are low. That’s basic economics.

        But once they are gone, or once the incentives for research are gone, we all lose.

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      4. Medical research will always be lucrative. Health care for all will mean drugs purchased for more people, even if the prices are forced down.

        Here’s a good overview of the the misconceptions about medical research and its link to private health care.

        http://bioethics.net/journal/j_articles.php?aid=61

        Most new drugs are not produced by, or funded by, American companies.

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      5. What you said was “This stuff costs them nothing to manufacture”….I gave you examples which clearly prove that statement wrong…full disclosure: I work for a sub. of Merck….and have been with i pharma for 14 years….but what do I know.

        If we are only in this for profit, why give away ANYTHING? Your ignorance of the subject is astounding, seriously. The millions of doses of avermectins we’ve given away for River Blindness could certainly have helped our profit…to the tune of millions of dollars…hmmmm…kind of disproves your entire theory that we are all about profit.

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      6. You’re still not listening to me at all. The money it costs to develop drugs is huge, and includes licensing, research, patents, studies, etcetera. Actually buying the material and pressing the powder into pills is not the expensive part in most cases. You know this if you work for a drug company.

        Companies give away stuff for free all of the time. It’s about being a good corporate citizen, and the tax write-offs help as well.

        Ask your CFO how much of his year end presentation has to do with profit, and how much of it has to do with doing good in the world. To be clear, I’m not saying this is bad, it’s just how companies work.

        I absolutely applaud your company for giving away medicine for River Blindness, but don’t tell me those people were in the position to buy it from you. You were not going to make any money from them. But your company did the right thing, and that’s awesome.

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      7. Again, your ignorant of the topic at hand. You do realize that we have to pay the feds annual fees, for each approved drug, right? No you dont. You have no idea what it costs to maintain GMP’s for our sites, or how much it costs to have a product toll manufactured, you have no idea how much we payout in defense fees, you simply have no idea…period. You actually think pressing powder into pills is the extent of distributing a USDA or FDA approved product, seriously?

        Your ignorance of the matter shines through by claiming we couldnt have made money of Africans who could never pay for the product, so we just gave it to them…seriously, think before you write…we could sell that product ANYWHERE in the world for the profiit,,,yet we dont….we choose to give away.

        Your life espectancy has risen in large part due to pharma.

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    1. Of course they would exist. I’m not disputing that what you are calling “death panels” exist. I’m saying that it’s a fear mongering name given to something that already exists, and is controlled by private companies.

      There is no way for you to get an unlimited supply of any and all drugs that may extend your life. At some point a decision must be made about what is reasonable to expect.

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      1. “it’s a fear mongering name given to something that already exists, and is controlled by private companies.”

        True.

        However, that’s not how it’s being played out in the public square. Insurance is demonized with stories of people being denied coverage and going bankrupt or even dying. These stories are then used to push for gov’t run insurance…which would still result in denied coverage and even dying.

        Like I said before, I would like real reform. And what’s being debated now isn’t it.

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      2. One more thing…

        “At some point a decision must be made about what is reasonable to expect.”

        I would like that decision made by me, not by a private or public bureaucrat.

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      3. I agree with both your comments here. I’m not saying that private companies need to stay out of things. We have private care in Canada as well, and I think it works really well. If I want an non-urgent operation sooner, I can pay for it and have it done right away, and I can get insurance to cover this. I’m most concerned about catastrophic circumstances, their cost, and their effect on future coverage. These cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, as you know, and can cost a family generations of savings, even with insurance coverage.

        I would like that decision made by me, not by a private or public bureaucrat.

        Completely agree, and that will always be the case for those who can afford the treatment. Even so, in my entire life, I’ve never heard of anyone in my extended family being denied for any drug or procedure a doctor has ever prescribed. Everything a doctor orders gets covered. However, when it’s a million dollar surgery that might give you a 10% chance of living an extra week, I think it’s probably time to pack it in, and your doctor will probably agree.

        I think the people yelling DEATH PANELS, and invoking Nazi comparisons at town halls are hurting your cause. You have reasonable argument against this, but the talking heads on the right are spewing garbage.

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      4. “I’m most concerned about catastrophic circumstances, their cost, and their effect on future coverage”

        Then we should set up a program which insures against the unforeseen catastrophic circumstances and allow all the rest of the care be paid for by the person receiving the care. This one change alone would drastically reduce the cost of health care.

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      5. “I”m not disputing that what you are calling “death panels” exist. I’m saying that it’s a fear mongering name given to something that already exists, and is controlled by private companies.”

        So according to our leftist friends there are $50m uninsured Americans….the infrastructure hasnt been established to accomadate that kind of output…..which means less quality care, and less quantity of care….which leads to more rationing.

        But hey, the government can handle it way better than those nasty insurance companies that operate at a 3% margin , with only a 2-5% rejection rate. Sure.

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      6. That 50 million number is inflated – I thought it was more like 15 or 20 million.

        Anyways, so your country’s infrastructure is not able to handle the health care of it’s people, so you think it’s cool to just give it to the ones who have the most money. You’re seriously not willing to take a 10% cut in what you receive to help the people with nothing?

        You’re also making a mistake in assuming that providing health care to those bottom 5-10% of people will have no benefits. This will give millions of people the ability to work, and will take away their need for welfare. It will make people healthier, and less likely to need more extensive care later in life. It will reduce the amount of times hospitals need to take losses on care provided to the uninsured in ERs. This is a lot of saved money.

        As for rationing, your health care is already rationed. Unless you are getting a hyperbaric chamber to sit in every time you twist your ankle, you are not getting the best available care.

        Rationing has become a dirty word, but it just means that the available resources are being divided up. I’d rather they go to those who need them most. You want them to go to the people with the most money.

        Be a team player.

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      7. Rah rah. You trade in stereotypes 24×7. Who says we don’t want to help? We know a little about maximizing the whole and we know there are far better ideas to improve health care in America (PSAs, tort reform, incentives for people to be healthier, insurance policies across state lines, etc.). Very tangible things that would improve the system in a hurry, and none of which Obama & Co. are choosing. You just visit from stereotype land with your self-righteousness and judge everyone else.

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      8. Relax man!

        He specifically said ‘there is not enough infrastructure for all of us”. That means some people get nothing. I’m repeating what he said back to him, something you guys do to me every day.

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      9. Please show me where I wrote that quote.

        The point I was making, which you didn’t grasp is that if I were to except your idea that rationing is already occuring (and I pointed out that only 2-5% of claims are rejected -AMA numbers), then another 50m insured people will lead to MORE rationing, ala, your country.

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      10. “As for rationing, your health care is already rationed. ”

        Yes it is. And no one likes rationing. So why are we arguing for another way to ration? Another way which by all accounts will create more rationing.

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      11. Assume much, about as often as you misquote me, I guess. Healthcare is denied about 2-5% according to the AMA, far less than what will occur if an infrastrucre isnt set up prior to rushing through a communists fantasy of healthcare. Insurance companies live at a 3% bottomline, they provide jobs and a good product for the price, otherwise 84% of American wouldnt be satisifed with their current coverage. You and Obama’s ideas will simply spread the misery versus helping a few…but thats the goal isnt it?

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      12. Where did I misquote you?

        And by the way, I doubt 84% of Americans are satisfied with their coverage, since a out 10% have none. That would mean about 93% of people with coverage are satisfied with it. Are they satisfied with the cost? I doubt it. Would they prefer more? Probably. They voted for a guy who said he was going to completely change it.

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      13. I’ll conceded that I should not have used quotes, as it was not a direct quote. But do you really think there is a difference between what you said, “the infrastructure hasnt been established to accomadate that kind of output” and my wording of “there is not enough infrastructure for all of us”. I honestly thought that was what you meant, and if not, you certainly implied it.

        Thank you for the link. I’m not blind to evidence, and I admit I’m surprised at those poll results. The results from Gallup are only 67% being satisfied with their healthcare, and those are the people who were at home to answer the phone. I’ve got a background in statistics, and I trust Gallup’s methods. As for polls by news organizations though – not so much. The questions are often poorly worded.

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      14. There are people who choose to be uninsured.

        Some of them are just irresponsible, others are not.

        Some people are self-insuring. I have a neighbor who chose this option. He invested the money he would have paid in premiums. He had one child involved in a serious care accident and another fell off a horse. Later his wife developed cancer which ultimately killed her.

        He is not a rich man, but he managed to pay all the bills. In most cases the health care providers were willing to accept the lesser fees they would have been paid by insurance and in some cases longer term payment arrangements were made.

        Why shouldn’t he have thie right to do this.

        Unfortunately, doctors are no longer allowed to accept lower fees from private patients. I don’t know if this is a government regulation or just modified agreements with insurance companies.

        By the way, this is not a risk I would take myself. I have always carried private insurance.

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