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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 23, 2009

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE PASSING OBAMNIBUS HEALTHCARE PLAN

Progressive Review

What's in the over 1000 pages of the pending bill?

What services and cost savings do private insurers offer over single payer?

Whatever happened to the growingly accepted idea that a healthcare plan based on employer payments had been bad policy?

If we had had a single payer program twenty or thirty years ago, would General Motors have gone broke?

Why should the executive branch have the unconstitutional privilege of cutting the Medicare program without congressional approval - a selective line item veto that could hurt health services for millions of seniors?

While it is a good idea to eliminate repetitious medical tests, what grounds are there for assuming that appointees of Obama and his successors will do a better job of it than the medical profession? And might they not be more interested in making a better budget than a healthier patient?

Obama said, "Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that's out there. . . The doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, 'You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid's tonsils out.'" Could he identify the doctors he believes are doing this? Has he filed a malpractice complaint about them? And how is this different than a president cutting health care because he wants a lot more money in his budget?

Do we really want to boost the cost of drugs by banning generic competition to new drugs for 12 years?

Do we really want to ban cheaper drugs from Canada?

Does the fact that the current plan would subsidize private insurance for people earning in excess of $80,000 a year help explain why these private corporations have become more friendly to the measure?

Exactly how much healthcare rationing will there be?

How long will it take the country to undo the problems that seem inevitable as the result of a hodgepodge measure that nobody really wanted in the first place, nobody knows what it will cost, and nobody knows what it's really going to do?

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you change a system without goring someone's ox? Answer: you can't. Especially if that person is powerful. Any thinking person knows that a well-run single payer system is the most economical. And the notion that a publicly operated system must intrinsically be substandard is simplistic and demonstrably biased. How well run it will be is driven largely by expectations and the earnestness of its leadership. If we expect it to be poorly operated, it will be.

We'll just have to let the whole healthcare system fall apart before we can sanely rebuild it. Too bad a lot of us will need to needlessly die in the process. That's the price we will pay for greed and the lack of selflessness and real character in our elites.

July 23, 2009 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The key word is "system." We need fewer "systems" and health care would be a good place to start. Before health care became a "system," it was affordable, adequate for most medical needs, and doctors made house calls.

A single-payer "system" will still be wasteful. Medicaid is basically a single-payer system, is it not?

Ban insurance and health care costs, especially drug prices, would plummet. (Yes, I know, it can't happen here).

July 24, 2009 9:41 AM  

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