Life as a Preexisting Condition

Congress, Health Care, Obama Administration

The must-read new story today is by Lisa Girion of the Los Angeles Times. In “Health insurers refuse to limit rescission of coverage,” we find the clearest case yet why the private health care industry will never, ever, not in a million years, come even close to solving the health care crisis.

In a nutshell — yesterday three big insurance company executives — WellPoint Inc., UnitedHealth Group and Assurant Inc. — told the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations that their business models depended on being able to cancel the health insurance policies of customers who cost them too much money. An investigation by the Committee had found that over a five-year period, these companies had canceled the coverage of more than 20,000 people in order to avoid paying more than $300 million in medical claims.

One of the execs claimed the rescissions — industry jargon for canceling coverage — were necessary to protect the companies from fraud. People lie about preexisting conditions on their applications, he said, and this drove up the cost of insurance for everyone else. I’ll come back to this point in a moment.

In practice, this means insurers target people with high-cost conditions such as breast cancer and lymphoma and direct employees to examine patients’ paperwork for any pretense to cancel coverage. People with innocent mistakes and inadvertent omissions; people who were unaware of a preexisting condition at the time they filled out the application because the symptoms hadn’t developed yet; people whose preexisting conditions were minor and had nothing whatsoever to do with the disease costing the insurer money — such people found themselves dumped out of the health care system at their time of greatest need.

A Texas nurse said she lost her coverage, after she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, for failing to disclose a visit to a dermatologist for acne.

The sister of an Illinois man who died of lymphoma said his policy was rescinded for the failure to report a possible aneurysm and gallstones that his physician noted in his chart but did not discuss with him.

Karen Tumulty at Time presents several other heart-breaking, and outrageous, examples.

Of course, you might remember that Michael Moore documented this practice quite nicely in Sicko. We all knew this was going on. Members of the House Committee feigned surprise.

But I want to go back to the part about rejecting people with preexisting conditions. Who above the age of 40 does not have a preexisting condition? For that matter, what percentage of young adults freshly cut loose from their parents’ policies find they cannot obtain insurance because they failed to get through childhood without a preexisting condition?

The insurance companies are saying they can’t make a profit unless they deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions. How is this not an admission the private health insurance industry is a big, fat FAIL?

Righties just love to tell us that the reason health insurance is so expensive in some states, like New York, is that those states have (Cue: “Fortuna, Imperatrix Mundi (O Fortuna)”) regulations. And what are those regulations? Chief among them are provisions that limit the insurers’ abilities to deny coverage to people with preexisting condtions.

So, in many states, a middle-aged person with no serious health problems who was once prescribed Lipitor for high cholesterol would be unable to obtain health insurance at any price. In New York, this person can get insurance. Yes, it’s so expensive most people can’t afford it, but it’s obtainable for those who can pay for it.

What this says to me is that relying on a private insurance industry to pay for health care costs is unworkable. A private insurance industry simply cannot do the job of paying for health care, because the only way a private company can make a profit is to deny coverage to people who are actually sick so that they don’t have to pay those bills.

My next question is, how obvious does this have to get before people see it?

I’m sure some people do lie on their insurance applications in order to obtain coverage. But in most industrialized democracies, this wouldn’t even be an issue. You’re a citizen, you get health care. Whether you once had acne treatments or took Lipitor or had a gallstone or even had a life-threatening disease, you get health care. Because the purpose of the health care system in most countries is delivering health care, not making a profit.

And for those worried about the cost to government of providing health care to sick people, let me present this handy chart:


This chart was adapted from a Canadian site calling for health care reform in Canada. The Canadian system has its problems, but I suspect seeing the mess we’re in persuades many Canadians to leave well enough alone. At least Canadians can get health care.

I believe the only way we’ve got a shot at lowering per-capita cost while delivering health care to everyone is to kick the insurance companies out of the picture altogether and going to a purely public system. At least a public health insurance plan would be a step in that direction.

Regarding the recently released CBO estimate of $100 trillion over ten years — see Extra Klein for why the CBO estimate is deeply flawed. See also “The Bright Side of the CBO Snafu.”

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  1. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 17, 2009 @9:32 am

    “… over a five-year period, these companies had canceled the coverage of more than 20,000 people in order to avoid paying more than $300 million in medical claims.”
    Uhm, let’s look at their profit-margins over that same time period. Want to bet that it’s in the ten’s of billions, if not much, much more?

  2. Chief  •  Jun 17, 2009 @9:40 am

    I keep getting e-mails from President Obama and other Dem White House operatives asking me to support the President’s health care “reform.”

    I respond to them, even tho I realize my response may be going into a bit bucket, all the same by saying that, “not only does single-payer have to be on the table, but single-payer must be front and center on the table. I do not want my health care dollars creating obscene profits for insurance companies.”

    I write to Sen sherrod Brown but get s short luke-warm response.

    Does it take a Tehran-like demonstration of a quarter million people in D.C. to get their attention?

  3. Bill H  •  Jun 17, 2009 @9:53 am

    There was a thing on (I think) ABC News about a guy in Canada who had to wait a year to get a hip replacement. After that wait he got the hip replaced at no cost to him. He went on with his life with a new hip and no bills to pay.

    In the US there would be two groups. One group would get the hip replaced without a wait. In this group there would be many who would wind up losing their home because the hospital would sue them for unpaid bills. Those people would be living (with their nice new hips) on the street. The second group would never get the hip replaced at all because they could not pay for it. People in that group would live the rest of their lives in the pain that the Canadian guy suffered for just one year.

  4. Kla  •  Jun 17, 2009 @9:58 am

    If only we the people had enough money to compete with the Chamber of Commerce and the AMA lobbies (see opensecrets, the #1 and #2 highest spending lobbyists). But as each day passes, I see the public plan disappearing. I’d like to rail but I’m so discourage at this point, I am almost catatonic with disappointment. Once again any chance I have (2 chronic conditions, dropped my $600/month private policy 8 years ago–imagine the price today!) of getting continuous health insurance is going going gone. Currently unemployed and living on hope which is fading.

  5. maha  •  Jun 17, 2009 @10:23 am

    It’s not like people get next-day hip replacements here, either. I know someone who will be getting a hip replacement this summer and has been waiting for a few months already. The wait probably will less than a year, but not significantly less, I don’t think.

  6. A Canadian Reader  •  Jun 17, 2009 @10:47 am

    Chief’s suggestion of Teheran-style demonstrations might not be such a bad idea. It looks like nothing else is getting across to your law-makers.

  7. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 17, 2009 @10:49 am

    250,000 won’t sway anyone in DC.
    I was there in 2/07, when we had almost 1,000,000 people to protest the Iarq Occupation. Of course, the news covered it as thousands, or tens of thousands – if they covered it at all…
    It will take millions in DC, and millions in state capitols around the country to get the attention of the corporatists in DC.

  8. uncledad  •  Jun 17, 2009 @12:26 pm

    “The insurance companies are saying they can’t make a profit unless they deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions.”

    Isn’t that analogous to auto insurance companies saying we can’t cover you cause that car you own runs and could get into an accident? They got a lot of balls making that statement; you’d think their (Big Insurance) legal departments could come up with a less straight forward way of admitting such a policy!

  9. Chief  •  Jun 17, 2009 @12:28 pm

    When DoJ made some really offensive arguments re: DOMA last week, it upset the LBGT community enough that they pulled some funding from an event that VPOTUS was to speak at. Got Obama’s attention to the point where the gov’t will provide some benefits to same sex partners of federal employees.

    Health care reform advocates do not have that kind of clout, I don’t think.

    So, what are the options? Who has a big enough bull-horn or a high enough platform to command some attention?

    I am not advocating anything but a show of numbers of people that are fed up with the current health care system and want single-payer on the table.

  10. dr. luba  •  Jun 17, 2009 @1:15 pm

    Actually, the wait for hip replacements in the US is one of the shorter ones in the world. Why? Well, consider who gets most hip replacements–Medicare patients.

    That’s right, our “public option” gives us relatively short waits. Go figure.

  11. dr. luba  •  Jun 17, 2009 @1:23 pm

    Insurance companies are no different than the financial industry–they want to privatize the profits and socialize the risks, which appears to be the modern American business model.

    They are happy to take your money as long as you are healthy, but, if you get sick, and you become a liability, they will dump you as fast as they can…….onto the government, once you’re bankrupt and poor.

  12. moonbat  •  Jun 17, 2009 @1:30 pm

    The bottom line (what a telling expression) is that health care, like so many things in the US, isn’t about helping people, it’s about making money. It comes down to what are we about as a people?

    It would be one thing if every country on the planet had this problem, but as your chart and so much other data points out, other countries have solved this problem, by being serious about putting people before making money.

    This is a fundamental blindness, that’s so mind boggling obvious, and yet it’s so ridiculously insurmountable in this country.

  13. uncledad  •  Jun 17, 2009 @1:44 pm

    “This is a fundamental blindness, that’s so mind boggling obvious, and yet it’s so ridiculously insurmountable in this country.”

    I’d say more like fundamental ignorance!

  14. Jeany  •  Jun 17, 2009 @2:05 pm

    We’re going to have to make Washington and its lobbyists believe that we are on the verge of burning the city to the ground.

    There is NO place for profit in basic care, period. What part of “this doesn’t work” do they NOT get? It’s time for profit-seeking being relegated to luxury and vanity medicine, otherwise we’re saying that it’s perfectly all right that many go without that others may profit.

  15. buckyblue  •  Jun 17, 2009 @2:15 pm

    “The bottom line (what a telling expression) is that health care, like so many things in the US, isn’t about helping people, it’s about making money. It comes down to what are we about as a people?”
    I’ve been reading Page Smith’s “People’s History of America” (copyright 1980) and one of his main points is that American’s have always been about, what he calls, Luxury. Americans need to make money and then buy things with that money. Unfortunately, I believe this is who we are as a people, money grubbing, greedy people who use that wealth to buy crap. What a legacy we will have. It also makes sense for why we are so reluctant to pass policy that will limit people’s ability to make a profit, despite the overwhelming logic for the greater good to do so. And why the resounding din from many on the right is that we don’t allow for enough free market capitalism into the situation, which, like God on high, will fix the situation. I have serious doubts if ‘we the people’ really are capable of fixing this, or any other situation.

  16. moonbat  •  Jun 17, 2009 @2:18 pm

    Chief – I received that same email & I wish I had the presence of mind to respond as you did. I merely deleted it. I’ll know better next time. Thanks.

  17. muldoon  •  Jun 17, 2009 @2:31 pm

    Our legislators are well aware of the fact that we desperately need health care for every American. However, when you scrape off all the empty rhetoric and bald-faced lies, simple truth is they’d rather remain in office–with the help of their big-money donors–than lift a finger to help our country in a time of desperate need. These are not patriots; they are self-serving bastards.

  18. Swami  •  Jun 17, 2009 @2:39 pm

    Got Obama’s attention to the point where the gov’t will provide some benefits to same sex partners of federal employees.

    Chief…Those benefits might affect maybe 2 people at the most. What good is a diplomatic passport except to keep one from getting hung in public for being a homosexual in a Muslim country. And language training? that’ll work! I could be wrong, and I know Obama has political constraints, but when the actions don’t align with the rhetoric I get the perception of being strung waltzing down the garden path.

    I like Obama and I think well of him. But on several issues the extent of any progress that he’s gonna make has already been exercised by way of sweet sounding words and lofty concepts. All the hope we can handle. For one,I know with all of my being that anyone reading these words will not live long enough to see the situation in the Middle East change into Obama’s glorious vision of peace in the middle east. It won’t happen by rhetoric alone…. and that seems to be all Obama is offering. No action.

    In regard to the Gay/Lesbian community, it’s beyond clear that they are going to be served a platter of good intents topped off with a “my heart is with you”. There is absolutely nothing besides insincerity that prevents Obama from integrating gays and Lesbian into the military.. Obama claims he understands their plight for equality, but not enough to use his authority as Commander- in- Chief to do what he claims is right.

    As far as medical insurance coverage. I wouldn’t hang by my thumbs waiting for any real progress…because I’d probably lose two good thumbs in the waiting.

  19. LongHairedWeirdo  •  Jun 17, 2009 @2:46 pm

    Well, universal coverage takes some of the wind out of that argument. The point is, if everyone is paying for coverage, there’s enough money in the system to cover everyone, pre-existing condition or not. People might move from one insurance company to the other, which might hurt the new company if it’s during an expensive illness, but it’s just as likely that another person with an equally expensive condition will leave the new company for another. So it all balances out, just like with, e.g., life insurance.

    But this does illustrate the major problem. Insurance really shouldn’t be run as a business, it should be run as a service. When you have people able to say “we’re responsible to our shareholders first and foremost” then you have people who have an interest in denying claims (or just delaying payment as long as possible), or dropping coverage… it makes the shareholders happier.

    Which is precisely why single-payer is a better option than private insurance.

  20. Bonnie  •  Jun 17, 2009 @3:16 pm

    I remember when health care was non-profit. When it became “for-profit” is when it went to hell in a handbasket. American doctors think they are owed three houses, a car for every member of the family, sending their children to private schools, vacations to places I will probably never see because of all the years they spend in med school. Well, I didn’t force any of these people to become doctors; and, I don’t owe them but a fair and liveable fee for services. If we went back to the days when doctors were paid in produce or other services provided by their patients, the doctors seemed to be grateful for things they did not have to buy. Getting rid of the middle-men, the insurance companies, is the only solution in my mind. These insurance people have no regard for human decency and getting rich on other people’s misery is a disgusting way to make a living. Additionally, as these stories show, the insurance companies create some other miseries of their own that most people would not have; and, perhaps, be healthier from the absence of this harassment and misery.

  21. felicity  •  Jun 17, 2009 @3:52 pm

    I suggest we tax payers, like tomorrow, quit paying the health insurance for House and Senate members – apparently it’s paid for for the rest of their lives no matter how long they’ve served in either body. It’s definitely time for that rubber to hit that road. (And when the nay sayers scream socialized medicine they need to be reminded that if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.)

    (That study of single-payer plans operating in other industrial nations done a few years ago found that the French had the best system – operates like our Social Security System. Curious how Roosevelt etal managed to get that legislation throught?)

  22. Jon  •  Jun 17, 2009 @5:06 pm

    I know two people here in Germany who have had hip replacements. Both waited about two months from diagnosis to OP.
    As for coverage, when I married here six years ago, I was covered. I had to sign a form saying “Yep, we’re married” but I didn’t have to take a physical or answer any questions about pre-existing conditions, or, indeed, my health.

  23. GhandisSpirit  •  Jun 17, 2009 @6:21 pm

    I think I saw a statistic somewhere that one in 150 children are born autistic. Then, add in those children that have birth defects and those who are born with conditions such as sickle cell. It’s just not fair, what they’ve been doing.

  24. ozonehole  •  Jun 17, 2009 @11:03 pm

    I haven’t checked into hip replacements here in Taiwan, but when my Taiwanese mother-in-law needed an artificial heart valve, she got one a week after diagnosis.


  25. Kathy Kattenburg  •  Jun 18, 2009 @4:52 pm


    Fantastic post, as always, but I think you mean Ezra Klein. :-)


  26. Francis D  •  Jun 19, 2009 @9:18 am

    Insurance based models can work. Just ask the Germans. (The different European models all have strengths and weaknesses – in terms of best care you probably want to look at the French, and in terms of best value for money the British). But the American system is FUBAR.

  27. Cliff  •  Jun 20, 2009 @11:53 am

    “The Canadian system has its problems, but I suspect seeing the mess we’re in persuades many Canadians to leave well enough alone. At least Canadians can get health care.”

    You’re Damn right.

    We have some private clinic chain owners and right wing think tanks constantly advocating for increasing privatization – but even they can’t openly promote American style care in Canada – though they can be found at American insurance conferences and right wing bun fights solemnly informing their ideological soul mates that Canadians are eager to destroy our public system.

    Fortunately some Americans living in Canada know better and push back.

  28. TJ  •  Jun 20, 2009 @2:19 pm

    I am for single-payer. But everyday I send an e-mail to some member of Congress and draw this line in the sand: I want the same coverage you get. And I challenge you to stand up in public and tell me why I don’t deserve the same coverage you get, that I help pay for.

    Everyone on this thread should send an e-mail every day to some congress member or gov’t official. Every day! And get your friends and family to do the same. Every day! It takes five minutes. Or make a phone call or send a FAX. Every day! Encourage the good guys, call out the bad guys. As soon as you finish reading this, do it. And do it every day.

  29. bill bush  •  Jun 22, 2009 @9:39 pm

    I liked the link to “Extra” Klein — likely a spell-check “correction” — but you might want to keep it, since his new articles don’t carry his previous tag: “Mamma said wonk you out!” I always read him.

  30. SH  •  Jun 26, 2009 @11:11 am

    I actually work for a living, pay my insurance premiums and am very happy with my current insuance company and my health care. Requiring an insurance company to accept somebody with a preexisting condition such as AIDS or cancer is rediculous. Those are the cases for the government. This requirement is designed to put private insurance out of business which will leave the government as the only option and the government can’t run anything efficiently. Government employee productivity is less than 1/3 that of private industry. Medicare and Walter Reed are perfect examples of what we can look forward to.

  31. maha  •  Jun 26, 2009 @11:29 am

    SH — let’s think this through. First, consider that increasing numbers of people who work for a living are not getting health insurance benefits, and that the cost of health insurance is really hurting American business.

    Then, please notice that you are saying that the private insurance companies should be allowed to cherry pick customers so that they can refuse to pay for the more expensive ones, and then the more expensive patients can be taken care of by taxpayers. This amounts to a government subsidy of private insurance. This is OK with you?

    The alternative is to set up an insurance system that puts everyone together into one risk pool and eliminates a lot of the paperwork and overhead, driving down the cost of health care overall and taking some of the strain off business. We could leave the private insurance companies in place, but they’d have to learn to be more lean and mean to compete.

    But you’re saying it’s more important to support the private insurance industry than to actually set up a cost-effective program that does a better job of providing health care to more people. You do know what’s what you’re saying, don’t you?

  32. SH  •  Jun 26, 2009 @1:41 pm

    Lets get a few things straight; first of all the government never does anything cost effectively, overhead is out of sight and paper work only increases. Have you ever done business with the government? I have. Look at the EPA, GSA, HUD or any of the other giant wasteful government agancies that employ 10’s of thousands of people that are among the least productive in the world. Private industry could accomplish better perfomance with 1/4 of the people. This health care proposal will create an agency that will dwarf all other agencies except the military. Obama says this will be self supporting, are you kidding me? Lets assume that all americans are covered but 1/3 of them are not paying anything. That leaves 2/3 paying for everyone else. That means that the hard working bill paying public will be financing and paying an additional 50% over their true premium. Is that fair? I think not. American business will be picking up the slack with increased taxation to fund this boondogle which will impead job creation. I know, I’m a business owner.
    It currently takes medicare an average of 6 months to reimburse doctors for care which is why so many doctors won’t accept medicare. Do you actually think this will improve? The government is already in the banking business, the auto industry and now they want to control health care. Where does it end. Obama has no idea what he is doing. This carbon tax and cap and trade will cost millions of jobs and increase living costs for ALL americans. North Korea is getting ready to launch a cruise missile towards Hawaii. Iran is building nuclear weppons. Where are his priorities? Reduce funding for missile defense? So much damage in so short of a time. Good Luck!!

  33. Xecklothxayyquou Gilchrist  •  Jun 26, 2009 @2:42 pm

    Private industry could accomplish better perfomance with 1/4 of the people.

    But, mysteriously, doesn’t. Nor will it. They’ve had their chance, failed miserably, and the voters took private industry’s favorite party to the woodshed for it. Get over it, you lost.

    North Korea is getting ready to launch a cruise missile towards Hawaii. Iran is building nuclear weppons.

    Uh-huh. Thanks for the reminder that education needs to become a real priority again.

  34. erinyes  •  Jun 26, 2009 @3:24 pm

    I say reduce funding for missile defense and increase funding to teach wingnuts critical thinking.I’m so goddamned sick of the guns guts and god gang, they’re screwing the world into the ground in the name of Jesus.
    A bad credit score would hurt you more than a TOTAL gun ban.
    If the right gets it’s way, a medical plan will be a roll of duct tape, a Bible, and a bottle of asprin.
    Them weppon be scary……………..

  35. uncledad  •  Jun 26, 2009 @4:08 pm

    “Private industry could accomplish better perfomance with 1/4 of the people.”

    Where do you get these numbers? I suspect you pulled them out of your a#$h*%^

  36. uncledad  •  Jun 26, 2009 @4:15 pm

    “The government is already in the banking business, the auto industry and now they want to control health care. Where does it end.”

    The goverment has intervened in these industries because the rat bastards that where running them ran them into the ground. If you don’t like our goverment and the laws in this country move away, I don’t think you’ll be missed!

  37. liberalpercy  •  Jun 26, 2009 @4:27 pm

    SH – If what you are saying is true, then you have nothing to worry about. Gummit will be so incompetent that nobody will buy the Public Plan and your wunnerful health insurance giant will continue to tell you to bend over and say ‘thank you’ while they raise your premiums and not pay for your medical care.

    Your claim that Medicare takes 6 months to pay is bulls**t. My mother-in-law recently had a stroke and spent 10 days in a coma before she died. Medicare paid all bills within the month. They are quite efficient.

    Medicare overhead is a small fraction of the overhead of UHC or BCBS. You are just spewing right wing lies without thinking about whether they have any connection to reality or not.

    BTW – if gummit is so inefficient, then why do all you free marketeers always insist on increasing funding for the largest welfare program of them all – Defense procurement?

  38. dr. luba  •  Jun 26, 2009 @6:33 pm

    Come on folks–quite picking on poor SH. After all, he is a true Republican capitalist. “Privatize the profits and socialize the risk.” That’s what it’s truly all about, no?

  39. Chris  •  Jun 26, 2009 @7:06 pm

    first of all the government never does anything cost effectively

    Last time I checked I can write a letter, drop it in a mailbox and 2-3 days later the person gets that letter delivered to them for .44¢. I don’t know of any privatized business that can do the same.

  40. Ian  •  Jun 26, 2009 @7:12 pm

    SH —

    Not sure I’m understanding what you are saying. Pretty much every single government in the first world and most in the second already have government run health care, and for the most part, they provide better care for less cost than our purely private system. This is not opinion, this is just data.

    Now for the opinion part. If pretty much every other functioning government on earth can do this thing, but you are saying there is absolutely no way *our* government could possibly do this thing … well, here’s where I’m confused. Do you really think this country sucks THAT badly?

    I mean … I guess the only appropriate question here is, why do you hate America so much, SH?


  41. Chris  •  Jun 26, 2009 @7:12 pm

    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that person is on the other side of the country. If I FedExed it, it would cost at least 12 bucks.

  42. Pat Pattillo  •  Jun 26, 2009 @9:43 pm

    SH, before arguments carry weight one must understand how the area in which they argue works in reality.

    For example, suppose you are insured and you get laid off. It happened to me a few times, once when mainframe computers were usurped by PCs and another more recently in the current recession when profits sank at an internet marketing firm despite being considered knowledgeable in my field.

    If you do not continue your insurance (ever looked at what that might cost you?) then when you land another job everything you ever had is a preexisting condition except possible being fact-challenged. Ignorance isn’t covered.

    Things like this happen all the time.

    A public option will create a quality that provides security so then if these wonderful insurance companies that seem to please you so much and who do the job so much better want to compete then they will have to give a quality product for a fair price.

    Your assertions about medicare are pure fantasy. With overhead of 3% it beats the more inefficient private drug plans. It would do even better if Bush has not crippled it by preventing it from negotiating quantity drug prices with drug companies. In that case free market advocates decided the free market wasn’t such a good idea. Read up on Medicare Part “D”…

    It is hard to engage in a discussion with someone like yourself who believes and parrots lies picked up from those in the pockets of insurance companies. They have no excuse for lying but your ignorance is another question altogether.

    Someone needs to supply you with kind and patient tutlelage steeped in fact. This is as far as I can go with you given my time and inclination. You quite simply know very little of the things you wrote here. Maybe others will be more patient but your ignorance is inexcusable and doesn’t really engender the helping hand you so baddly need.

  43. morzer  •  Jun 26, 2009 @9:51 pm

    SH: Private industry could accomplish better perfomance with 1/4 of the people.

    This would be the private industry we’ve all just spent billions to bail out? Have you missed the economic news for the last decade? Enron ring any bells?
    SH:Obama says this will be self supporting, are you kidding me? Lets assume that all americans are covered but 1/3 of them are not paying anything. That leaves 2/3 paying for everyone else.

    First, self-supporting is not what Obama said. he is aiming for budget-neutrality, to be achieved by efficiency and cost-control. There is a difference. Second, you have no basis for the figures you provide. They are simply bad fiction and arise from your desire to defraud the public.
    SH:It currently takes medicare an average of 6 months to reimburse doctors for care which is why so many doctors won’t accept medicare.

    No, many doctors do accept medicare. Those that don’t generally want to make more money, rather than caring for patients. But you didn’t want the facts, did you?

  44. freD  •  Jun 26, 2009 @10:24 pm

    SH completely ignores the “handy chart”. I’m curious about this. In his shoes, my own argument would have addressed the chart in some way. Back in my shoes (thankfully) I wonder if the handy chart is ignored because it’s Canadian? Tricksy and false? Satanic?

  45. Chief  •  Jun 26, 2009 @11:08 pm


    I have 3 insurances. Primary is Medicare as I am 68 years old. Secondary is BC/BS Fed Retiree and tertiary is Tricare for Life (retired U.S. Navy).

    In looking over my EOBs for the secondary, I see the secondary paying their share (about 20% of allowed costs) in less than 6 weeks of my doctors visit. And they pay after Medicare.

  46. PseudoNoise  •  Jun 27, 2009 @12:07 am

    Shorter SH:
    The US government is nothing but a den of sloth, incompetence and waste.
    How can you expect private insurance can compete with that?

  47. Balakirev  •  Jun 27, 2009 @10:45 am

    “Lets get a few things straight; first of all the government never does anything cost effectively, overhead is out of sight and paper work only increases.”

    Boy, I’m sure glad we USians don’t have public libraries, public schools, publicly funded sewage systems, fire and police departments! If we did, think how ineffectively they would be cost-managed! Why, with all their bungled finances and poor service in the public eye, they wouldn’t last a year!

    “North Korea is getting ready to launch a cruise missile towards Hawaii. Iran is building nuclear weppons.”

    You forgot to mention the zombies who are even now massing across the Canadian border, waiting the word of Howard Dean to invade and steal our precious body fluids. But keep it up! You’re on the right track.

  48. Rick Massimo  •  Jun 27, 2009 @12:27 pm

    I know, I’m a business owner.

    Ooooh, back off, everyone! He’s a BUSINESS OWNER! He EMPLOYS PEOPLE, and for no other reason but the goodness of his heart! He knows EVERYTHING! And he should get EVERYTHING he wants! ALWAYS!

    It’s what’s best for all of us.

  49. Paidi  •  Jun 27, 2009 @3:24 pm

    Actually, a vast number of (small) business owners actually have no employees other than themselves (and occasional business partners). Somehow, I suspect that is very likely the case for SH. Understand that, at least here in my state, anybody with $300.00 can easily form his own corporation (fees may vary from state to state) – and Voila! You are now a CEO and business owner! And creating a proprietorship is even easier.
    Understand that there is a thriving industry that provides a drop box address, business phone with a “receptionist”, etc. so that it appears you are more than some poor schluck operating out of your efficiency apt. (or your parents’ basement).

    Furthermore, a great many of these have health insurance under a major group plan through their spouse, who usually works in a large enough corporation or government agency to provide affordable coverage. Believe me, as a business owner for over 30 years (and former VP of an insurance company), I can tell you that that is the only conceivable way SH could possibly be happy with his health insurance, unless he himself is actually employed as a drone in a mammoth corporation with his business on the side. (a distinct possibility)
    Then again, judging from his mindless rants, he may very well still be on his parents’ group plan.

    Nothing he has said so far even hints that he has the slightest clue of the process of actually procuring health insurance for a business. Or anything about insurance, or running a business, – or anything at all, for that matter.

  50. fuyura  •  Jun 27, 2009 @6:06 pm

    I hope SH takes comfort from the fact that the North Korean missiles and Iranian nukes (if they even exist) are the products of their respective governments, and hence nothing to worry about.

  51. Stella  •  Jun 27, 2009 @8:32 pm

    I have had excellent health insurance coverage for decades, and have spent way too much of my time as an adult battling with those insurers who refused to honor their contractual obligations. Most recently payment for a wheelchair has been denied after a fractured hip. It never ceases to amaze me that no matter what medical problem my family encounters, we are unlikely to be covered. The fight is wearing me out.

    BTW – what does SH stand for? I could guess…

  52. freD  •  Jun 28, 2009 @12:56 am

    Ya know, if North Korean missiles and Iranian nuke programs are being run by their respective governments, and the U.S. missle defense system was completely privatized, with, as you know, the latter being at least ‘three times more efficient / better performance’… dude, they’d never catch up! And then that Minneapolis bridge woulda been rebuilt in like, a 4 months or less! Mail stamps would cost pennies, our streets might really be paved with gold…

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