Prepare for health care… failure!

Where is Kohl and Feingold when we need them?

By Jack E. Lohman

The arrogance of Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) must have cost the insurance industry a pretty penny. Representing the industry rather than his constituents, Baucus has been holding Senate hearings on health care without spokesmen from the very popular single-payer movement. Everybody but single-payer supporters were invited!

This is political corruption at its finest. Whether you agree with single-payer or not, this should not be the way you want your elected officials to run our country. Their loyalty should be directed toward the best interest of their constituents, not the special interests that funded their campaigns. They should not be open to bribes.

Our politicians should not be for sale, but in this case Baucus has received over $500,000 from the industry. Other senators are also on the hook for their take of the $46 million given by the insurance companies in 2008.

Isn’t politics great?

So on Cinco de Mayo our trusted politician thumbed his nose at the public, even ignoring the 8 doctors and protesters that were arrested during the proceedings. (See Video of arrests and list of speakers and their testimony.)

Yes, there are ideologues who prefer an everybody-for-themselves approach. Buy your own policy, or don’t. Some even know what diseases they and their families plan to get, and insure only against those. Unexpected diabetes or other childhood diseases are not on their list. But of course, when the chips are down and they are sick and unemployed, they’ll choose the public dole because dying is not on their list either.

Then there are those of us who feel that health care should be paid for like we do for fire and police and armed forces protection. Everybody chip in and hope we never need it.

That’s single payer. You get sick, you get care, and the caregiver gets paid. Medicare-for-all. Over 60% of physicians and 80% of nurses and the majority of the public prefer it, and the country would save over $400 Billion dollars per year if we were to implement it. But that $400 Billion comes out of the wasteful insurance bureaucracy, thus the industry opposition.

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. 

We consumers pay for all these costs anyway, but as it is we are forcing American companies to manufacture their products in other countries. And our politicians just sit and watch. Go figure. 

When special interest money must flow to achieve or block legislation, you know the winners are not the public. Good laws do not require payola.

Baucus wants to replicate the Massachusetts plan, but it has failed miserably and costs have gone UP! But the insurance industry loves it, don’cha know!

One thing is for sure; whether we get single-payer or not, Max Baucus must be ousted from office! If he is so openly corrupted by insurance industry dollars, can you imagine how many other issues and special interest giveaways he is involved in behind closed doors? We taxpayers can no longer support this kind of payola.

Action Request:
Fax your message to the Senate Finance Committee HERE
Call your two senators too, get their number HERE

14 Responses to Prepare for health care… failure!

  1. Doesn’t anyone find the SEIU HCAN and Baucus a suspicious trio or more? i watched, i saw Baucus manipulate the SEIU CAlling Truck and all kinds of little Baucusbot minions running around for the Tester Campaign; Baucus kinda ran the Tester Campaign – i warned Tester back then to stay away from Max but Nooooooooooooooo. And nobody i know wants Baucus – not even his X… Plus a major nat’l demonstration in his face, being the coward that he = now is the time to pound on the Finance Cmmt and let them know how little Montana cares for this derelict elected official.

  2. William, as a Wisconsinite I’m only getting to know Baucus, but I sure wouldn’t want him here. I thought Republicans were bad at graft, but this guy invented it.

  3. it’s not ‘graft’ per se it’s …

    NEO-LIBERAL DLC FREE MARKET FUNDY !!!

  4. Pete Gruett says:

    I’m pretty sure the public savings is $400 Billion, with a ‘B’. Yes, it is remarkable that Baucus would include advocates for every system except the one that is already implemented and providing superior healthcare at far lower cost in more than a few countries.

  5. I agree 100%, Pete.

    We have one major problem that prevents us from getting single-payer health care. It is that our politicians are corrupted by the bribes (they call them campaign contributions) from the insurance industry.

    The LAST thing the industry wants is an efficient, workable solution to health care, because they know they’d then be on the outside looking in. Thus it is worth the $46 million that they gave in campaign contributions to both political parties in 2008.

    Think about it: $46 Million in political bribes has saved them the $400 BILLION in insurance bureaucracy waste they are currently enjoying. That is a superb return-on-investment. We have a corrupt political system, and Obama was dead wrong NOT to pass public funding of campaigns before trying to fix the faults in the economy and health care.

    So what do we do as voters? Pressure our politicians to pass single-payer and campaign reform, or vote them out of office in 2010!!! There IS NO other option.

  6. And let me add that the way you know that single-payer is the best for the country, is the amount of cash dollars that the insurance industry is spending to block it. $46 million means it’s a pretty serious battle for them. They must win at all costs. It’s unfortunate for Americans that our politicians can be bribed, but the industry counts on it.

  7. H. Green, MD says:

    1. The Call to Action/Health Care Reform 2009 proposal released 11/13/08 (http://www.finance.senate.gov/) by Senator Max Baucus is a disaster. The Baucus plan is an expansion and continuation of the status-quo mixture of a government subsidized ineffective private health maintenance insurance industry operating parallel to and within Medicare Insurance.

    7 Specific Reasons Why the Baucus Health Reform 2009 Plan Fails…..

    1) The Baucus plan fails to enroll all Americans in a single payer Interstate Health Insurance such as the most efficient health insurance plan (Medicare) which is already contracted with most doctors, hospitals and clinics in the Country. Medicare has the lowest operating expenses and the best morbidity (sickness rates) and mortality (death rates) compared to all other insurance companies due to less health care rationing by Medicare when compared to the private insurance industry. The Baucus plan will therefore divert $700 Billion to $1 Trillion per year away from patients, hospitals, doctors, clinics, nurses, pharmaceuticals, therapist and researchers into the overhead pockets of health private insurance company administrators and executives.

    2) The Baucus plan fails to technologically upgrade, integrate and centralize medical billing and records systems in order to optimize examination of clinical outcomes, pharmaceutical efficacies and monitor fraud and abuse. Without medical outcome revelations, we will never have a capitalistic completive marketplace in American medicine. In addition, by failing to centralize and technologically upgrade billing and records systems within a single Interstate Health Insurance plan, America will be unable to instantly monitor disease outbreaks and instantly respond to natural and man made disasters or bio-nuclear terrorism..

    3) The Baucus plan fails to control drug costs by failing to allow a single efficient national health insurance company such as Medicare to bid on pharmaceuticals. In addition, the Baucus plan by failing to put all Americans on a National Health Insurance Plan such as Medicare does little to shrink the ‘risk pool’ of insured, thereby failing to decrease insurance premium expenses for all Americans and American businesses.

    4) The Baucus plan fails to provide funding for scientific, clinical and epidemiological research and development by allowing private insurance companies to divert funds from medical research and development to instead support their massive and profitable administrative and executive bureaucratic overheads.

    5) The Baucus plan fails to provide physicians with the same legal protection from malpractice lawsuits which have been established for commercial health insurance corporations during the last 3 decades. Without protection from lawsuits, primary care internists and family practitioners will continue to prematurely refer their patients to expensive specialists instead of tackling changing diseases as they were trained to.

    6) The Baucus plan fails to explain where to find the 1.5 million new health care workers which will be needed once 100 million new Americans obtain decent health care insurance. Health care workers can be found easily by shutting down the wasteful and inefficient private health insurance companies (which bankrupt 1.5 million citizens per year), putting all Americans on National Health Insurance such as Medicare. The 1.5 million former private insurance company bureaucrats can then be reemployed to actually deliver health care in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, pharmacies and home health services such as Alzheimer family assistance.

    7) The Baucus Plan fails to address the problem of disenfranchised physicians. Many physicians in this country have left the practice of medicine, or downsized their practices due to private insurance company rationing and abuses, malpractice threats and direct pharmaceutical marketing. A recent national poll of physicians based on the AMA database demonstrated that 60% of physicians support a single payer National Health Insurance such as Medicare. A continuation and technological upgrading of our most fair Medicare Health Insurance for all based on the concepts outlined above would undoubtedly motivate those disenfranchised physicians to return to the profession and bright younger physicians to invigorate the field.

    The Baucus plan is wasteful, inefficient, fragmented, creates a new redundant Federal bureaucracy and will continue to provide no potential future health improvements for America. Only an efficient National Health Insurance carrier such as a technologically upgraded Medicare Insurance company will be able to provide low cost comprehensive health insurance and pharmaceuticals for all Americans while maintaining the quality of private physician practices and Hospitals.

    Howard Green, MD, FACP, FAAD, FACMS
    West Palm Beach, Florida

  8. Thanks Dr. Green. The Baucus plan is horrible, but Baucus was paid very well to make it horrible. Over $500,000 from the insurance industry. He should be ashamed and should resign his office.

    As physicians well know, the best, simplest, least costly, most effective thing we could do is expand what has been working so well for years, Medicare. You get sick, you get care, and the caregiver gets paid. Nothing could be simpler.

    But that is obviously not what the insurance industry wants, and they’ve given $47 million in “speech” to win their way.

  9. And this from David Sirota on the industry’s good deed to cut their ripoff of the public:

    >>> “Why should the American public believe the health industry is going to voluntarily do anything to cut into its profits?”

    Because their profits have been humongous to date, enough to support $46 million in campaign contributions in 2008 alone. To protect the majority of those profits they are willing to give up a minority. $400 billion a year times 10 years is $4 trillion. They are willing to give up $1 trillion to save the other $3 trillion.

    But our conflicted politicians are faced with a tough decision. Doing it right by implementing a Medicare-for-all system that would save $4 trillion over 10 years, but cut them off from the campaign contributions, or doing it wrong and saving the $46 million in cash bribes.

    I’ll let you guess as to what their decision will be.

  10. dianne says:

    The Baucus/Obama (and let’s not forget Ted Kennedy) national health insurance mandate will fail but not before many hundreds of thousands of citizens have been gravely harmed. If this plan goes through as the Massachusetts-clone it is slated to be, we will hear the same excuses as Massachusetts residents have heard ad nauseum for the past three years that the Massachusetts nightmare has been in effect: Well, it’s not perfect; we’re working on it; some have fallen through the cracks of health care reform.

    No one in Massachusetts has fallen through any such cracks. The entire scheme is a Byzantium sinkhole – an expensive bureaucratic non-system designed to favor the insurers who wrote the law and paid off the legislators on Beacon Hill. Sound familiar? Well, Mr. B & Co. are following the Massachusetts playbook page by page with behind-closed door meetings and fuzzy sound bytes that mean nothing.

    We hear: health care reform must be dealt with immediately to help the economy. (Whose economy- eh?) In Massachusetts, it had to be dealt with immediately so as not to lose federal Medicaid funding. This was the carrot; no one on Beacon Hill looked at the stick. In fact, the formal name of the Massachusetts law, a/k/a Chapter 58, includes the word “emergency.” The far-reaching goal was to market this model to the nation, so, no matter what, it had to be a “success.” Enrollement numbers are tweaked here, massaged there. They change with the wind. Everything is fine. It’s going great guns. People love it. They don’t tell the public about the 2008 BCBS Foundation survey that shows 56 percent of small businesses are being harmed by this law. There are other parts of this survey that they don’t talk about either.

    So Congress will pass national health no-care non-reform by reconciliation because it is an emergency. This is reckless endangerment, and the American people will find out several months into such a scheme that they have been duped big-time!

    Far too many in Massachusetts are worse off than they were before Chapter 58 was implemented. The subsidized plans are not affordable for many residents with incomes below 300 percent FPL, and members of the premium-based subsidized plans can’t afford the copays. Some must skip medication during tough months, others can’t follow through with necessary care, many use the E.R. because, aside from the shortage of PCPs, the state reimburses at a very low rate so docs can’t afford to take these patients and pay overhead or support their own families. E.R. usage has increased since this law went into effect.

    Subsidized patients not only have a problem finding a PCP they want to use, they are torn away from their specialists who may not take this type of insurance or aren’t in the network. This is a big problem regarding continuum of care and morale. Many did not sign up for the insurance because they couldn’t afford the amount the state decided was affordable, none of their doctors were in the network, and they weren’t willing to sign a contract that contains an estate recovery program for people age 55 and over. Estate recovery is a Federal requirement. The state is still playing games with the language regarding this unconscionable policy. If estate recovery (and property liens that are used to secure the government’s interest in the property) aren’t removed from Federal policy, millions in this country will be forced into a collateral loan instead of a health insurance policy.

    Many in Massachusetts were forced to keep their incomes low or to intentially lower them in order to remain in an assigned insurance plan. So, if someone needed to earn more to pay, for example, the heating, food or property-tax bills, that extra money could bounce them into a higher-cost plan, but might not be enough to pay the new premium or copays. Therefore, they were better off declining the extra money. People refused raises, bonuses and quit a part-time job just to survive this law. Income-based health insurance is oppressive for all the reasons stated above and many more.

    I will also add that many in the state who did not qualify for a subsidized plan and were required to purchase a Connector “discount” plan (think National Health Insurance Exchange) couldn’t afford the least expensive plan so opted to pay the tax penalty (enforced by the Dept. of Revenue as income tax evasion with interest and late fees, liens, seizure of bank accounts and garnishing paychecks). Others who were intimidated by the coercive market strategy (postcards sent out, warnings in the newspapers, posters on the Boston buses and subways, ads at Fenway Park) bought these expensive bottom-of-the-barrel policies and can’t afford to use the insurance which has a $2,000 annual deductible per person, $25 copays and 20 percent coninsurance after the deductible has been met. We are talking about residents with an income of mid $30,000 to mid-$40,000 gross trying to survive in the economy this nation has known for the past 5 years or longer, and some are self-employed which makes this effort extremely difficult.

    The proposed national plan will have these same grave issues and many more. Even if there is a public plan – no one knows what this really looks like – millions will not be able to afford it and will be tossed into the expanded Medicaid and other subsidized plans which no one talks about in the media. It’s as though this population doesn’t exist.

    Meanwhile, the insurance companies will have carte blanche – after all, the entire national plan will be built on them, so if they don’t like something and want to cut and run, well . . . Congress will be hard-pressed not to give in. It’s what has happened in Masschusetts. And health care cost reform in Massachusetts is also in the hands of the insurers who have started “capitation” and doctor/hospital tiering. They are the deciders now more than ever before. Be forewarned – health care cost reform doesn’t mean much more than watching out for insurance company profit margins. P.S. Many of the insurance companies in Massachusetts are non-profit.

    We must continue to fight the fight of our lives for a national health insurance plan that doesn’t harm citizens’ lives and livlihoods but is also fiscally responsible. The law must be fair and equitable for all. Therefore, we must have Medicare for All.

    btw, Do members of Congress have a health insurance policy with an estate recovery program? If the answer is NO, then not one citizen of this nation should be subject to this under mandated health insurance, whether it be national or on a state-by-state basis, including low-income seniors who require government aide to pay for their medications and supplemental medical insurance.

    • Supaji says:

      It isn’t. I have a copy of the Constitution right here, and the only thing that vaguely could allow it is a setcoin that says Congress shall have the power to “provide for the general welfare.” However, Obamacare doesn’t PROVIDE for the general welfare, as it doesn’t actually provide the healthcare. It PROMOTES the general welfare, in a round about way, but Congress does NOT have the power to promote the general welfare. It’s illegal, Obama is guilty of treason and Constitutionally must be impeached. Was this answer helpful?

  11. Thanks much for the lowdown on the Massachusetts plan, Dianne. It should not surprise you that Mitt Romney just loves the system that he signed into law (though it doesn’t cover him; he’s moving to New Hampshire).

    The sign of ANY good system is a reduction in E.R. usage, and if that has increased in Massachusetts that’s a clear sign that fewer people in need have access to good healthcare coverage. I also understand that health costs in MA have increased with the new system. Nice going Mitt.

    It’s also interesting that what is “affordable” is being decided by the politicians and not the families that write the checks.

    The insurance brokers and their companies must truly love the system though. I wish that when I was in business I could get a law passed that made people buy my product. Wow.

    • Juan says:

      Problem is that MOST are ENTIRELY self-serving with some agenda they belevie will benefit their ambitions. How many deals are cut with corporations? The pharmaceuticals, for example?

  12. […] – If you really believe that mandated health insurance is the answer, please read this summary from a Massachusetts resident. […]

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