Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Questions and Answers on Health Care Reform

Sometimes our government makes things so complicated that no one can understand what they are doing. I doubt that they understand it either. I am certainly no Einstein, but on the Health Care Reform I hope to simplify some of the issues for you.

Questions and Answers:
  • What is it going to cost?
  • That is the wrong question. The question should be: "What will it cost if we don't reform health care now. The answer is, every individual will pay more for their health care until it is unsustainable.

    Nationwide, insurance premiums have doubled in the last nine years, increasing three times faster than real wages. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, last year the U.S. spent approximately $2.2 trillion, or $7,421 per person, on health care. This equals 16.2 percent of our GDP, nearly twice the amount of the next most costly nation. It is estimated that by 2040, one in every three dollars will be spent on health care.

    The price of health care keeps rising and will continue to do so unless it is reformed. Individuals, businesses, states, and the Federal Government are all going bankrupt due to the costly burden of health care. This is helping to bring down our economy in many ways. (Trust me on this.)
  • What is the rush? Why not take time to do it right?
  • First, to say there is a rush is just plain silly. We have been studying the need for reform for 40 years and attempts at reform have always been defeated. There is no better time than now to succeed. If it isn't done now it won't happen again in decades. And if nothing is done, you probably won't be able to afford your health care in a very few years. Even if you are able to get insurance, or are on Medicare, you will no longer get the quality of care you now enjoy. Those who are frightened by the lies being put out by the insurance industry should really be frightened if nothing is done.
  • How are we going to pay for it?
  • If we used the common sense that other countries have used we would have no trouble paying for it. The single-payer system costs far less than we are spending right now on health care. When they put out scare tactics about a trillion dollars cost they are ignoring, and not subtracting, the amount we are already paying and are not taking into account the savings that will be built in to real reform. (Note: I emphasized REAL because we will save nothing unless this is done right.) But even without the single-payer system the cost saved by reducing fraud, waste and duplication in our current system and, along with a Public Option, will go a long way to pay for those who are now uninsured. True, the savings won't happen over night, but eventually we will recover the cost of insuring the uninsured or under-insured with future savings.
  • How will it change my insurance that I have now; especially if I am on Medicare?
  • The current reform plan will not affect you at all. It will, however, give everyone more benefits in the form of free gym membership and free counseling for living a healthier life. In other words, preventative medicine. If this is put back in the final bill (as it should be) it will also pay for assistance on making a Living Will and a Medical Power of Attorney IF YOU WANT ONE. This is not a mandate.
  • Is this socialized medicine?
  • No, no, no. The government will not be the employers of the doctors and will not own the pharmaceutical companies. The government will play the same roll for everyone who want to join the Public Option that they now do for the Veterans and Federal Employees. (Your Congressmen and Senators among others.)
  • What will happen to the Insurance Companies under the Obama plan?
  • The only thing the government will do is mandate that the insurance companies can no longer kick people off the rolls when they get sick and will no longer be able to refuse to insure people that have pre-existing conditions. Their obscene profits will probably drop.
  • Will the government ration health care?
  • Absolutely not. There is NOTHING in the bill about rationing health care. Health care is being rationed now by the insurance companies. They decide what doctor you can see, what procedures they will cover, what medications you may use, etc.
  • Will Elders be euthanized?
  • This is such a ridiculous charge I shouldn't even have to answer it, but since some people are gullible enough to believe this, I will. the answer is: ABSOLUTELY NOT. The big lie about this is just that - a big lie!
  • Will I be forced into a government plan?
  • No. You can keep your current plan and your current doctor. All it will do is give you more choices.
The reality is that a single payer option is still the best reform plan that would save the most money. Perhaps it's the only one that would. For those who say they don't trust their government, I ask them why they trust the private sector (aka the insurance and pharmaceutical industries)? It's damned obvious that those industries do not have your interests at heart. Believe me, the bottom line is their goal.

And for those who believe all the lies about the terrible things that happen to patients in other countries I say "Hogwash!" I have heard from many individuals from France, Canada, England and Switzerland who are very happy with their health care system. I have also heard of many in our country who are not. Many more, I might add. Please follow the link to an article from the BBC on what their plan is really like. The lies being told by the likes of Michelle Malkin, et al, are absurd .

For a look at how much power is being amassed against reform, the following link provides an eye opener.

I hope I have answered some of your questions. Remember, there really isn't a bill yet. Here is a link to the proposed bill as it stands now:

Here is a link to a reality check:

And just for fun, here is a link to one of my favorite blogs, Margaret and Helen. It is written by two friends, but Margaret does most of the writing. Her style reminds me of the late great Molly Ivins. Margaret is also a Texan and is a salty old elder in her 80's who writes with a delicious sense of humor. I am sure you will enjoy her blog. This post is linked to the subject of the uninformed screamers at the Town Hall meetings.

I try very hard to be realistic when I analyze something. So to make this whole things easy to understand I will simply say, "If you sell a product and make a profit, isn't it logical that you can sell it for less if you omit the profit?" Why is it any different with the cost of health care? I would love to eliminate the insurance industry from our system of health care, but with the current bunch of Yahoos beholden to the Insurance Industry in Congress that will never happen.

Finally, let Obama and your representatives know that you prefer a single payer system but will settle for nothing less than the Public Option. Without that, the rest is just band aids and window dressing.


Xtreme English said...

Thanks for this, Darlene....I remain in awe of your ability to sort this stuff out.

Tabor said...

Once again you have clarified for the not-so-deep thinkers which appear to be the loudest (while I hope not the largest) of numbers.

NancyB said...

Well Done; if you have a twitter account, post it there also. I will link to this also. GREAT JOB!!

Nancy said...


You have the best "Grip" on the intricacies of the Health care Plan of anyone I have read; and I have read a lot.

Please keep informing us so that we will always be on top of the facts and can rebut the idiots who challenge us when we suggest that,like Medicare, a governnment run health care program will be a benefit to most Americans.


Alexandra Grabbe said...

Thanks for this post and for answering questions so clearly. I also regret the single payer option is not being proposed, but the President is doing his best and needs our support.

Grannymar said...

Great post Darlene, very informative.

20th Century Woman said...

Great post. I know you worked hard on that. And you really know this subject.

Anonymous said...

Your clearly stated questions and answers are much appreciated.

You certainly know your stuff!!

Claire Jean

Darlene said...

Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments and for visiting my post. I deeply appreciate the support you give me.

Cazzie!!! said...

It is amazing, health care reform goes on all around the World..and I wish the answers were simple.
Here in Australia we have reforms, and I am a nurse and am yet to see the changes take place..nothing gets done quickly..but I hope that in time it gets done RIGHT.
I will keep updates on your blog, and Betty's too I think..this subject is close to my heart.

fpaynter said...

Excellent and most informative post! Thanks for writing it!

Joy Des Jardins said...

This really helps clarify things a lot Darlene. I know it helps me...I hate all the mumbo-jumbo they throw out just frustrates me and it's so confusing. Thanks so much sweetie....I truly appreciate someone with a clear head putting it in terms we all can understand.

Looking to the Stars said...

Great Post! Like always you are able to make things clear for all. Thank you always for your posts! :)

Darlene said...

*Thanks to everyone who commented on my post with such nice words. I deeply appreciate all comments and hope you will understand that time does not permit me to answer each one individually. I am busy reading all the other blogs on this issue.

MissDazey said...

Hi and thanks for visiting my new blog.

I want to read more of your blog. I just discovered Ronni's Time Goes By site. Wow, had no idea there are so many excellent blogs written by people over 50.


Darlene said...

*Miss Dazey - You are welcome and thank you for reciprocating. I will be back and hope you will be too.

Ronni's blog is the creme de la creme of elder blogs. She is the one who inspired most of us to write our own blogs. Time Goes By is the leader that most of us want to emulate.

Dianne said...

could you clone yourself and run for Congress - in every state!? ;)

thank you for such an informative post, presented in a calm and rational manner

Vagabonde said...

I admire your stamina in all this Darlene. I just read that 250,000 veterans are homeless and that the USA is the only country who does not provide health care for its citizens in the western world. I read that it is now ranked 39th but spends the most, I feel so depressed. I can’t understand why the people are so reluctant to have this changed and believe all the lies about health care. It is obvious that with so many pharmaceutical ads on TV, all the various channels do nothing to clear the confusion. The greed is palpable.

Darlene said...

*Dianne - What a sweet thing to say. I am humbled, but fear I am far from being a capable politician.
I hope you will return and thank you for the compliment.

*vagabonde - It is so disheartening to see the lies working and the polls showing a decreasing support for reform.

Cynthia Friedlob said...

I also blogged in support of Ronni's "Day."

Thanks for your detailed, sensible post. I just want to provide two other links for your readers so that they can find out (if they don't already know) who represents them in Washington and how to contact those representatives: