Medicare-for-all is best corporate bailout…

The solution hasn’t changed, but the politics must…

           

By Jack E. Lohman

Can you imagine a chart so offensive? THIS in America!!!

 Chart source

This is absolutely disgraceful for the most advanced nation in the world!

Not because our health care is bad, because it’s not. We have the best doctors and nurses in the world. But we have the most atrocious way of rationing it. Over 15% are without, 85% of us have it, but 5o million of those are with restrictions.

If we have health care, we love it. The young, indestructible bucks don’t need it, though some day they may. Hopefully it won’t be a surprise, like one of their kids being diagnosed with diabetes, autism or other serious disease they have no control over. Then the costs accumulate fast and you can’t upgrade at that point.

Today over 47 million Americans are without health care and it’s getting worse as more employers opt out to keep their companies afloat, and more people are losing their jobs in the recession. One sixth of our nation is without medical insurance.

And it’s all because the “for-profit system” is protected by cash dollars (“bribes”) being transferred from the insurance industry to your trusted politicians, all to retain the status quo.

Get that! Our politicians have refused to fix health care because the insurance industry has paid them not to!!!  Do not think for a moment that politicians make stupid decisions for free. Even the Dems are being paid off.

Our per-capita costs are twice those in other countries. HALF of our expenditures are total waste, 31% consumed by our insurance bureaucracy and 20% by overuse, abuse and fraud. If the political will were there we could eliminate this 51% of waste and extend care to 100% of our people for the same dollars we are paying today!

We don’t need Kennedy or Baucus or Wyden.
Or any new system, for that matter.

The proposal already exists: HR676 Medicare-for-all by US Rep. John Conyers. Instead of throwing $700 billion at a few poorly-run companies, we should spend it on a health care system that will save every employer in the U.S. $6000 per year per employee. Bail out all employers, not just a few high-rollers.

With a Medicare-for-all system, you get sick, you get care, and the caregiver gets paid. You keep your same doctor and hospital, and there’s a 20% co-pay to reduce patient over-use. And if you want to go outside the system and pay for something not covered, you can. How’s that for free-market medicine?

The savings to the public would be $400 billion per year, and fewer companies will outsource their jobs to other countries once they are relieved of these costs. Doctors and hospitals will no longer have to cost-shift because of bad debt, and we’d eliminate bankruptcies due to unpaid medical bills.

Even without the $700B bailout, the proposed system pays for itself. It’s a zero-sum option.

Winston Churchill once said “America will always do the right thing, but only after everything else fails.”  Sadly, we are proving him right.

And, yes, Canada has wait times, but we aren’t Canada and ours isn’t a Canadian system. We’ll properly fund it with twice the dollars, and we’ll not have wait times.

We are currently paying for all health care anyway, if only when employers add their costs to products and we reimburse them at the cash register. Plus the costs of job losses due to outsourcing.

And no, this isn’t free care, we’d just pay for it differently and more efficiently than we are now. Our current system is funded through employer insurance premiums, cost shifting, bad debt, bankruptcy costs and higher priced consumer products. This includes high insurance CEO wages, shareholder profits, broker sales commissions, marketing costs, actuarial and legal costs, and much more. They even pass along their lobbying and campaign contributions.  We’ll eliminate this waste.

Other countries simply pay via taxes, a more efficient system that reduces costs by the 31% above. But this offends insurance CEOs, because it bypasses their industry and reduces their salaries. They like things just as they are.

  • Tidbits:
  • Reducing the “per-procedure medical costs” is not an option! Doctors and nurses and hospital personnel are not overpaid, nor is technology over-priced.

    The only option is eliminating the waste — the insurance bureaucracy and over-utilization — and that can only be done with a single-payer system and better oversight. 

    Curtail “excessive” technology upgrades, but not the technology itself. Prohibit the “for profit” status of hospitals that causes inappropriate staff and nursing reductions, and prohibit the bias that results when hospitals buy up their referring physician practices.

    It’s a no-brainer, but politicians don’t think of no-brainers. They think campaign contributions, and the health care industry is more than willing to share its profits with the guys that make the rules.

    With lower costs and greater coverage, we can’t afford not to fix the system! Our economy demands it.

    If Wisconsin were smart it would beat the Feds to the punch with a BadgerCare-for-all system that would attract businesses to our state.

    Okay, for you right-wingers that don’t seem to get the math, we’ll turn it over to Halliburton to manage! But keep in mind that your families are getting [bleeped] in this process too.

    28 Responses to Medicare-for-all is best corporate bailout…

    1. ShirlyC says:

      I do not want my health care controlled by government bureaucrats. Sorry. I’ll keep my health savings account.

    2. Shirly, obviously you are not on Medicare. I am, and I see the same doctor I have seen for years. HE decides the care I get, not government bureaucrats. And besides, if bureaucrats are faulted for anything, it is spending too much money, not too little. They have no financial interest in the decision.

      On the other hand, CEOs of private insurers are compensated on the basis of how profitable they are, and profits increase as needed tests are denied. That’s one reason many physicians are retiring early. They are tired of having insurers interfere with their treatment of patients. You should be upset at that as well.

      As far as your HSA, hopefully you will not be among those who (or a child) developed a disease only to find out that you are stuck with a pre-existing condition that cannot move with you to a new plan. Please see the “Resources” link at the top of this page.

    3. JoanC says:

      The last time I read the bill language for h.r.676 there was no mention of co-payments.
      I see in the above discussion about Medicare-for-all, a reference to 20% co-pay to “reduce patient overuse.” Where did that come from?

      Granted there are very serious problems with the business practices of private health insurers that merit close study and careful oversight. But the kind of “rah rah” advocacy promoted above which makes choosing a health reform plan a “no-brainer” scares me. The public deserves to be informed about the true problems and the trade-offs that will be needed in coming to a solution.

    4. Don Levit says:

      I agee with Joan.
      Jack, let’s add a bit of objectivity to Medicare.
      What are its greatest weaknesses?
      Don Levit

    5. jim jaffe says:

      But wait, there’s more. First there’s the fact that nearly everyone on medicare who can afford it is buying Medigap insurance if they can afford it because they believe the coverage is inadequate. Second, an even larger group is purchasing Part B, which costs them about $100 a month (more for high income people) and the government is matching that 3-1. In other words, we’re buying insurance for outpatient care at at cost of $400/mo. Finally, we have the medicare drug benefit, which also costs extra. regular medicare includes hardly any drug benefit. bottom line– many workers already have much broader, cheaper coverage than medicare provides. they’re appetite for a transition is, rationally, limited.

    6. Thanks for the comments guys. Joan, there are no co-pays in HR676, and I’m on the fence on that one. Part of me says there should be, to limit patient overuse. But the other part of me says that 80% of overuse is the doctor’s doing, because the tests are profitable and patients are gullible. But maybe the co-pay would prompt the patients to limit the doctors when over-testing is attempted.

      Then there’s the real practical side of me that says co-pays can backfire. Kaiser did a study and found that co-pays often kept the patients away until their diseases were more costly to treat or became untreatable. More women died because they opted to put food on their tables rather than take their blood pressure medicine. So on this I think it’s pretty much a push.

      And Don, Medicare is not perfect and deserves much stronger oversight. There is fraud and overuse, but I’d add that fraud and overuse is much higher on the private side because it doesn’t (as often) involve jail time. And I’d rather see its rules and regulations drawn by a contracted health care board with staggered terms, than a government agency. But by and large Medicare is the better of the two choices today.

      I wrote about some of that here: http://tinyurl.com/2hzj65

      And Jim, you’re right. There’s a lot more to consider, and that all adds to the administrative costs of health care, which all translates to higher costs.

    7. And I’d recommend that everybody read this free online book at
      http://www.makingakilling.org/chapter1.html

    8. “Gee, Dad, there’s something wrong with everything, isn’t there?”
      “Just about, Beav.”

      A wise man and school principal I once worked for liked to quote those lines from Leave it to Beaver. There’s a lot less wrong with HR 676 than the status quo, which will eventually collapse under its own weight if we don’t fix it first.

      Excellent graph, Jack. Good comments, too.

    9. Ken Van Doren says:

      Perhaps you should add a little analysis as to WHY there is thisv “offense.” One thing that comes to my mind is that because of mandated coverage at emergency wards, the least ethical of the poor inflict the greatest costs on the rest of us. They get the most expensive care, and many do not pay, so our bills are higher,
      And there is much needless regulation that drives the price higher.

      And we are a very litigious society. Is this chart adjusted for the higher costs of liability insurance and legal fees here in the US?

      How about the fact that the US probably treats more non-citizens than any other country? Is that accounted for?

      Also, in places like CUBA and probably many other ocuntries, the choices of the gifted are more limited than in the US. So the scarcity of labor and our much higher average incomes means we probably have more competition for labor than might be the case in other countries.

      And countless there are other factors that might explain why health care is more expensive in the US than in other countries that I have neither though of nor discussed. My question is, have ANY of these factors been discussed in the core study you quote?

      Here is a statistic that I am fairly sure you are aware of Jack: In the US, about half of all health care costs are already paid for by government. So the answer is simple. Let the health care industry get by on just that half…..

      It might be possible except for the factors above. And unless you control the factors that I mentioned, your scheme will be revealed for what it always has been-pie in the sky.

      Given my considerable experience in and with government, I can think of nothing that would be a greater threat to our prosperity and our freedom, except maybe a giant stimulus package complete with bailouts for major corporations and banks that share in the blame for the current economic debacle. To add a to this mess a health care bailout would ultimately reduce us to grinding poverty. In the long run, there is nothing more dangerous to health than government oppression that will surely accompany a socialization of all our industry. But it is happening right before our eyes.

    10. Thanks John, and indeed we must fix the system fast. Interestingly, GM is now making more cars in Canada than in the US, because (in part) their health care is $800 per employee per year and ours is $6500 per employee in the US. It is weighing us down terribly.

      And Ken, yes, we could turn away all immigrants and the poor at the emergency room. Let their kids die if they can’t pay. Only give health care to those who are working and can pay for it. Give the rest of them the finger. Let the CEOs charge the patients whatever they can get away with. If they can’t pay, take their house and car. Let’s get rid of all regulations. What the hell, Somalia did it!

      But, that’s not the kind of country I want to live in, nor do most people. We are a compassionate country (though not the kind of “compassion” the right wingers sold us on). But so you might feel better about the “mandated coverage” in emergency rooms, understand that hospitals are required by law only to stabilize the patient, not treat them, and they can then bill the patient and send them into bankruptcy thereafter. Isn’t that really nice?

      Litigious country? Yeah, but legal costs have remained at less than 1/2 of 1% of health care costs for the last five years. I don’t defend the system, because we need to move to a three-judge medical court rather than 12-man jury, but legal costs are NOT the problem with health care. And for the record, Canada’s per-capita legal costs are higher than those in the US.

      And Ken, if I thought for a moment that you anti-government types would go through life and never expect help in your old age, I’d support your not being taxed for either Medicare or social security. But I know full well that when you retire, if you somehow did not make it to the upper levels of income to support yourself and pay your own health care, you’d be knocking on government’s door to help you survive in old age, even though everybody else paid in and you didn’t, because we Americans are a compassionate people. So knowing that, I support mandatory Medicare and social security, for which I’ve paid into since their inception.

    11. Ken Van Doren says:

      Jack

      It is very easy to be “compassionate” with money that for the most part, is not yours. You advocate theft of MY resources, so that in my old age (right around the corner, btw) I will be LESS able to take care of me and mine, and MORE likely to need the handouts you talk about.

      As to the poor at the emergency wards, even if they are “stable,” it still takes time to diagnose whatever problem sent them in. PLUS, we have trained the poor to take advantage of the system, almost completely wiped out the shame associated with welfare a couple generations ago. So once again, a little socialism leads to a lot of socialism, “progressively.”

      I find your figures regarding costs of litigation to be completely untenable. If I find time, I will research, but in conversations with doctors I know, their comments do not support yours.

      I have an idea for you. I will take your bargain. No medicare, no medicade, I will educ ate my own children, I will not ask for subsidies or particular tax breaks for my business that do not apply generally, if you will lower my tax rate commensurately. So you say the rich will not pay under this system? Maybe. But since the socialist system is likely to destroy the wealth, and if in place from the beginning, would not have allowed the accumulation of wealth that drives our economy, they would not exist, and sooner or later, you will have to do without their taxes anyway. BTW, I am NOT talking about those who benefit from the manipulation of the money supply, like the David Rockefellers of the world, and other bankers who benefit from the legalized counterfeiting of our currency. I am talking about those who got rich honestly, by creating products or services for which consumers gladly traded their dollars.

    12. Ken, when I support Medicare and social security, it isn’t just other people’s money, it’s also my money. I’ve been paying into the system for far longer than you, and I advocate spending my kid’s money too. Because we live in a “system” that is designed to benefit all people. Admittedly, we have problems with political corruption that feeds the greedy, and we must change that.

      To accept your arguments that it’s everybody for themselves, dog eat dog, is not my first choice. But that’s why we have individual freedoms.

      I am not in favor of freebies. I support work-for-welfare. Poor people that need help should have to provide some work for the city or state. Sweep floors, shovel snow, do anything that pays back the taxpayers at least something. But to cast them out is not what I support.

      On litigation, my costs include judgments and the attorney costs only. They do not include the insurance company profits (malpractice premiums) and the over-testing people call defensive medicine, which I’m sure represents 5% of our total of over $2 trillion. But all of that over-testing is also profitable, so the physician motives are unclear.

      You and the other 2% of Libertarians are living in the wrong country, Ken. We are not going to be what you want, but our freedom gives you the right to fight for it nonetheless. I support the diversity, but when the final vote is in, it’s in.

      What you should be more concerned about is our corrupt political system that allows greedy people to control our politicians to the detriment of America. Get the money out of the political system and taxes will go down. But the L’s (typically) object to that as well.

    13. Don Levit says:

      Jack:
      When you say that Medicare is the better of the 2 choices today, you may be right.
      Both the commercial market and Medicare are not sustainable, imo.
      It is also the opinion of the GAO and the CBO that Medicare is not suistainable.
      I can provide the excerpts from a recent report by the GAO to that effect.
      One of the major problems that the report discloses is that the money that you and I pay into the trust funds never make it into the funds.
      Rather, the funds are notional accounts, in which the money is credited to the trust funds, but actually remains in the Treasury’s General Fund, which is used for general expenses of the federal government.
      Treasury securities are placed into the trust funds, not cash or cash-equivalent securities.
      In effect, the government is borrowing from itself, similarly to it borrowing from the public.
      However, unlike borrowing from the public, when the government borrows from itself, an asset is created, in the form of trust fund IOUs.
      From an accounting perspective, the government considers this a wash, with the so-called asset cancelling the liability.
      This is a deceptive way to account for the trust fund obligations, imo.
      If the federal government were a private insurer, the reserves accumulated in the trust funds would be disallowed by the state departments of insurance.
      It reminds me of a saying my grandfather had: “What you owe, you owe.
      What you own, you may not own.”
      Wise words, even if you’re the federal government, with the ability to tax the populace, and create deficits.
      Don Levit

    14. Don, you are absolutely correct. Neither one of them is sustainable. But you really must look at the core problem, which is our corrupt political system. Because of that nothing is sustainable. They are making the rules to favor their campaign contributors, and if you are not one of them you will pay the price.

      Think about it. From our corrupt politicians we got an unsustainable Medicare system and a trashed economy. In one case the insurance and pharmaceutical industries are walking away with trillions of wasted dollars, and in the other case the bankers, credit and auto industries are doing the same. Why? Because they paid big cash dollars to the politicians who wrote the rules.

      Jim Sensenbrenner owns $5 million in pharmaceutical stocks and voted for the $780 billion giveaway to the drug industry that simultaneously blocked Medicare from negotiating the 50% discount the VA system is getting. Public outrage? Nah, he was re-elected with 80% of the vote. Billy Tauzin was instrumental in getting the bill passed and ended up with a $2 million per year job with Big Pharma as a lobbyist.

      Because of campaign contributions the banking and credit industries were deregulated. I don’t have to tell you the results of that.

      There IS only one solution: public funding of campaigns. For $10 per taxpayer per year these politicians would be working for the taxpayers instead of the greedy CEOs that are draining the system of trillions of dollars every year. Get the money out of the political system and politicians will make the right decisions. If that turns out to satisfy Ken, and we trash Medicare and Social Security, fine. But at least we’ll know that this was their stupid decision rather than the stupid decision of some special interest that wanted in our pockets.

      And all of this ‘government borrowing from itself” wouldn’t be happening with a non-conflicted congress. I think it is in Singapore that they execute corrupt politicians. I don’t advocate that, but long jail times are in order.

    15. Let me also address what I believe will help turn around Medicare.

      1) Create a health care board of directors consisting of 15 experienced members from the industry and academia, including doctors and hospital CEOs, all retired people but most certainly people without any connection to health care today. No politicians. Let them lay out the rules of coverage and non-coverage. They can hear testimony from all sides of the issue, but they rule the roost.

      2) Convert CMS to a workhorse entity that does not create rules but implements those created by the above board and provides oversight of the private area contractors (like our WPS in Wisconsin).

      3) Establish private investigative companies that root out fraud and overuse and are paid on successes only.

      4) Eliminate the Medicare Part D Drug program and turn it over to the doctor-pharmacist team. Doctors can write prescriptions and pharmacies can fill them and bill Medicare directly. They’ve been doing this for years so it is not new to them.

      5) Mandate that all politicians be covered by Medicare instead of their gold-plated taxpayer funded policies of today. That’ll ensure its success and proper funding.

      6) Require that all hospitals are community owned non-profit entities that are not owned by a for-profit parent. We cannot have patient care or hospital staffing dictated by profitability.

      7) Mandate that all hospitals and clinics tie their patient records into the national VA Medical system’s VistA system.

      There are many more ideas, and I’ll add them if I think of them. But this should get you started.

    16. Don Levit says:

      Jack:
      I share your concerns of politicians and the Congress which comprises them.
      I also am in agreement with your characterization of for-profit hospitals and for-profit insurers, to the extent that short-term profits are favored over long-term sustainability.
      Profitability, in and of itself, is a neutral term.
      It simply means that revenues exceed costs.
      The reason that is so, is because value is added.
      Simply passing on costs, because the business perceives the market can bear more expenses, is not adding value.

      You are in favor of Medicare expansion, because you believe it is the better of the 2 choices today.
      What type of an “insurer” could you conceive of, that could be an even better third choice?
      I am thinking of a not-for-profit, tax exempt insurer which does not provide products and services that are now available commercially.
      Don Levit

    17. Don, having been a CEO in the health care field for 25 years, let me redefine your “profits.” They are, after all of the necessities are paid for, what you can take home and put in your piggy bank. Responsible CEOs will spend most of it on future growth or on technology expansion. Irresponsible CEOs will cut back on patient services and staff so they have more to take home. Add for-profit hospitals and insurers to the latter.

      I don’t like “insurers” when it comes to patients having to put their lives in somebody else’s hands. Sounds too much like the Mafia. I like to think of Medicare more as an administrator of payments. They make no profits, they simply pay the bills. Could it be privatized? Well, hospitals, doctors and the WPS administrator in Madison already are. I think my #1 and #2 above minimizes the governments’ involvement about as much as we need to.

      Jack

    18. […] Medicare-for-all would save every corporation in Wisconsin and the United States $6000 per employee per year, and […]

    19. […] at health care. The only proposal not on the table is the best one, HR676 Medicare-for-all by Rep. John Conyers. That’s because it eliminates the biggest waste, the insurance […]

    20. The REAL ECONOMIC STIMULUS

      Originally published February 6, 2009

      TARP otherwise known as the Wall Street Bailout

      Yesterday, Elizabeth Warren, Harvard Law Professor who now chairs the Congressional Oversight Panel responsible for reporting on the billions given away through TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) or “Wall Street Bailout” told Congress yesterday that the government “overpaid” $78 Billion for the purchase of troubled assets.

      Let’s see, our GOP Congressman here in Wisconsin’s 1st District voted for the TARP Bailout. In fact, he took credit for being one of the main architects to revamp the bill so that it could pass through both houses of congress and be signed by our now former president. I wonder if he has a plan to recover the $78 Billion?

      American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 or Economic Stimulus Package

      As I write this post, the U.S. Senate is debating the Economic Stimulus package which has now ballooned to an amazing $900 Billion plus. This does not even take into consideration the interest that will accrue, because we will have to borrow all the money needed to pay for this piece of legislation. Granted there are some very good items to consider in this bill, but how much of it will stimulate our economy now versus how much is intended for one or two years from now? How much of the bill will actually stimulate our economy period? Do we have to pass one massive bill immediately or under duress conditions only to realize that decisions made with calm heads and careful deliberation may produce better more fiscally responsible long term results?

      What is the real economic stimulus? HEALTH CARE.

      Single Payer/Medicare – An Economic Stimulus Plan for the Nation

      In an article by Bruce Dixon for the Black Agenda Report he highlights the following:

      “According to a study released January 14 by the California Nurses Association, adopting a single payer system of universal health care in the US would create 2.6 million new jobs, as many as the Bush economy destroyed in 2006, and boost the revenues of private employers by an annual $317 billion. A single payer health care system would put more than $100 billion in the pockets of employees and add $44 billion to state, local and federal budgets in badly needed tax revenues.”

      “The California Nurses Association study goes a long way toward proving that universal single payer national health care may be the best medicine not only for our health care holes and disparities, but for the economy itself. Whether the politicians who ran just weeks ago promising a national health care plan will take the prescribed medicine depends on our insistence, our tenacity, and our refusal to be distracted. People deserve universal health care, and the 2.6 million jobs created by single payer health care are equal to the president’s claims for the entire stimulus package. It’s time to take the medicine. “

    21. Thanks Paulette. Note also that Rep. Ryan also voted for the 2003 Medicare Drug program that passed $780 billion to the pharmaceutical industry and prohibitied Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices. So did Sensenbrenner. With friends like these we certainly don’t need enemies.

    22. […] zero sense to support the thousands of health care plans and all of their administrative costs. Medicare-for-all is best corporate bailout. The insurance CEOs won’t like it but it makes the most sense for the country. Let’s […]

    23. […] zero sense to support the thousands of health care plans and all of their administrative costs. Medicare-for-all is best corporate bailout. The insurance CEOs won’t like it but it makes the most sense for the country. Let’s […]

    24. […] The health of the nation is important, but we must also protect the health of our economy. Employer cost for premiums are $6500 here and $800 in Canada. US companies are at a severe competitive disadvantage because we have saddled them with this expense as no other nation has. Rather than bailing out our greedy bankers, we should bail out our other employers instead. See Medicare-for-all is best corporate bailout.  […]

    25. […] per year; it would save every US Corporation $6500 per employee per year in health care premiums. How’s that for a bailout?  But this one isn’t going to just the […]

    26. […] just one company out of the thousands outsourcing. Medicare-for-all would be this country’s wisest bailout ever, for 100% of businesses and not just the […]

    27. […] we’d pay for it differently; through taxes rather than wages. But it would bail out 100% of our companies that spend 15% of their wages on health care. Not just the banks and car manufacturers. And it […]

    28. AVG internet security 2015 serial key until 2040

      Medicare-for-all is best corporate bailout… | Moneyed Politicians

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