Health care reform: The motives behind the opposing parties

By on August 17, 2009 1:42:35 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Aroddo

Join Date 04/2009
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While some conservatives claim that Obama wants to kill your granny I hesitate to accept that as Obamas sole reason for pushing the health care reform.

From the private insurers point of view it makes perfect sense to oppose the reform ... if they didn't, they'd face an immense decline in profits if either the government option provides better care or if regulations bar insurers from avoiding costs by their current methods.

But it's a bit too simplicistic to merely claim that one party acts out of altruism (or a loathing of old ladies) and the other out of greed.

So, what do you think are the driving motives in this dispute ?

(Note that I don't ask you what you think is the better solution.)

 

Pro (Motives of the health care reform advocates):

  • The Believe that health care is a right, not a privilege (file under altruism).
  • Desire for more government control.
  • An excuse to raise taxes (no one wants to pay more taxes without a good reason).
  • Desperation (they can't get private insurance and hope for the public option).

Con (Motives of the health care reform opponents):

  • Greed / seeking profits (Insurance companies will lose money if forced to provide care to sick)
  • Selfishness ("Why should I pay for your surgery?").
  • Government shouldn't do health care because they are incompetent ().
  • Poor people should die sooner than later.
  • It is not clear how the reform can be financed.
  • A deal with drug companies prohibiting the government to negotiate drug prices can't lower costs.

 

Two key issues that make the health care reform necessary in the eyes of the proponents are quailty and cost.

Quality has been discussed to death and information (and misinformation) is freely available.

Cost is harder to estimate - one simply can't understand what estimated costs of trillions of dollars over decades means for your paycheck. So I started a different thread where I want to compare the personal average cost of health care in different countries.

The personal Cost of Health Care - An international comparison

For example: German average gross income is about €2,500. After deductions (including health insurance) a single person without kids gets to keep about €1,500.

And what can germans do with that money in germany? Why, buy beer, of course. €1,500 get you 1,200 litre of high quality Pilsener beer - twice as much if you don't care about quality and go for the cheap labels.

Health care costs: €185 per month (currently $264)

 

Cheers!

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August 17, 2009 1:44:34 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I have to agree with you most of the opposition is probably on the issue of profits.

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August 17, 2009 2:10:53 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Government is inefficient.  Government is broke.  Why someone would want them running healthcare is beyond me. 

 

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August 17, 2009 2:18:12 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Yeah, because the private companies are sooo effecient. Check the numbers.

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August 17, 2009 2:19:40 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Island Dog,
Government is inefficient.  Government is broke.  Why someone would want them running healthcare is beyond me. 

 

I always wondered about that republican talking point: Why do those who claim that the government is inefficient always prove this statement to be true when they are the government.

Anyway, I didn't ask about that, I asked about the motives.

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August 17, 2009 2:20:44 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

True Island but you got to also think about people who can't afford it also... but then again they are most likely be black and therefore who care about them. (this is meant to be a sarcastic comment)

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August 17, 2009 2:30:18 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

hmm.... so Mooster, you think some motives are greed and racism?

 

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August 17, 2009 2:56:48 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I saw a show on Oprah.  It had health care experts from all over the word (and the guy that made "Sick'O).  They said things like "The police, fire department, sherif dept are all run by the goverenment.  Our current health care is "For Profit" and is now going through the same disasterous results as our as our banks and economey due to it's greed (drug companies most of all). 

Their main point is that as long as our health care system is a "for profit" system, it will slowly get worse and worse.  Another point they made was: Do you want goverment agencies that you rely on for your life to be "for profit"?  Do you want to call the police and have the look up your credit rating first?  If you call the fire dept, do you want them to check the value of your home before they'll respond?  Do you want to call the sherif about your stolen car, only to have them check the blue-book value if it's worth chasing the theif?  Well that's about how health-care works now in our country.  Need a Dr apt?; a special proceedure?; an operation?; then SHOW ME THE MONEY!  You don't have enough money you say?  Just lost your job and don't have insurance you say?  TFB!

And then there's the outragous price those of us who can pay, do pay, because so many other can't.  Just ask how much your asprin, saltine crackers, or even just a bottle of water costs you at the hospital; You'd get off cheeper buying stuff from Donlad Trumps garage sale.     

Jay Leno's mother had a heart attack while on a trip in England.  After months over there (they did not check for insurance or income sorce first, they just let her in), they relased her with a bill of about $1000.  That's all, and they even appologized to Mr. Leno for having to pay that much.  Over here, just one accident or sickness that puts you in the hopital (even is you HAVE insurance) can destroy you financially for life. . .

Not reforming Health Care in this country would be like not repairing a leaking damn.  It's just too bad the drug companies and health insurance lobbiests are scarring so many people with their "Soilent Green Death Camps are comming!" rumors.

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August 17, 2009 3:07:44 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Paladin, I think you're overreacting a bit there.

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August 17, 2009 3:09:40 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Greed and Racism for some sure....but not the majority of who are opposed.  They believe if the government runs healthcare, people lose even more freedom as stated in the constitution.  No, I don't support this idea of the government trying to take over our lives, but its what I've been hearing from my conservative friends.

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August 17, 2009 3:11:37 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

@PurplePaladin: So you too think the cons' motives are greed. And about the reformers motives? I repeatedly heard Obama state that the cost of health care right now is too high ... and yet he suggests that his reform will both provide care for everyone and lower the costs for the government. That's quite a goal but probably achievable when they manage to cut unnecessary costs (like bartering for cheaper drugs). But what's the motive behind the pros? Altruism? Or simple pragmatism? Or because Obama is a communist nazi muslim terrorist from Kenya?

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August 17, 2009 3:11:44 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Healthcare may need reform, but the government shouldn't be the ones doing the reforming.

The governments SOLE job should be to maintain order, nothing more or less.

 

We as a country are too complacent. If we want to fix the healthcare, we should do it ourselves instead of crying to a government that has to much power already.

 

Scariest thing about Orwell's "1984" is NOT that it is so similar to our current situation. But that if I were to claim that it was, everone would leap on me crying "Conspiricy Theorist!" without checking the facts.

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August 17, 2009 3:13:02 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

While some conservatives claim that Obama wants to kill your granny I think that we can safely disregard this as a driving motive for the US health care reform.

I'm curious, why is your first comment on your article an attempt to "disregard" something? It's my opinion that when people start ignoring other peoples opinions and belief just because it doesn't fit your perspective is when a debate becomes an argument, a pointless one at that accomplishes nothing.

From the private insurers point of view it makes perfect sense to oppose the reform ... if they didn't, they'd face an immense decline in profits if either the government option provides better care or if regulations bar insurers from avoiding costs by their current methods.

From the Gov'ts point of view one could say it makes sense for them to want to pass this... if they don't they will not be able to excuse raising taxes on everyone basically making no "profit" what so ever. The idea that the Gov't can provide better care is kinda funny considering Medicare and Medicaid are not the most desired service neither in the US or the world.

But it's a bit too simplicistic to merely claim that one party acts out of altruism (or a loathing of old ladies) and the other out of greed. So, what do you think are the driving motives in this dispute ?

Driving motives? Control. Obviously if the Gov't gets control of the Healthcare system, the insurers will lose the control they currently have. If the Gov't fails to gain control, not only will the insurers remain in control but probably gain more control, not to mention that failing to gain control, the Govt will rsit gaining control of any other concept they may have and possible even lose control of some they currently have. In the end it's all about control. It's kinda ironic to think that with all this tug of war over control of the Helathcare system in the US, nowhere do either the insurers or the Gov't have us average people as part of the groups pulling but instead we are the ones being pulled around. In the end we will never have control ourselves, isn't that sad?

 

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August 17, 2009 3:23:02 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I agree with Island Dog. I consider myself a moderate liberal, but with Medicade broke, Medicare broke, and Social Security broke I don't see how someone could think that the federal government could run a fiscally sound heath care plan. Also, the police and fire departments are ran by local governments, not the federal government. Comparing the two is rediculous.

I'm all for health care reform. It's bullshit that companies can decline your claims and drop you the way the can or the way someone who is already sick has about .0000000001% chance to get covered. However, having a federal government ran health care plan will not fix the problem.

 

So pro's to reform -Increases compitition between companies(allowing competition between states would do wonders)

More limited ways inwhich insurances companies can screw comsumers

 

Cons(If public health care is implemented) - Goverment intrusion into your health needs.

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August 17, 2009 3:28:18 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting CharlesCS,

While some conservatives claim that Obama wants to kill your granny I think that we can safely disregard this as a driving motive for the US health care reform.

I'm curious, why is your first comment on your article an attempt to "disregard" something? It's my opinion that when people start ignoring other peoples opinions and belief just because it doesn't fit your perspective is when a debate becomes an argument, a pointless one at that accomplishes nothing.

Simply put: Because it's stupid. Spinning euthanasia councelling into a death panel designed to kill grannys and unworthy life just seems too far fetched in these modern times, especially after WW2. But I admit that some might believe this nevertheless and are still intelectually capable of using the internet, so I'll remove that point from the OP.

From the private insurers point of view it makes perfect sense to oppose the reform ... if they didn't, they'd face an immense decline in profits if either the government option provides better care or if regulations bar insurers from avoiding costs by their current methods.


From the Gov'ts point of view one could say it makes sense for them to want to pass this... if they don't they will not be able to excuse raising taxes on everyone basically making no "profit" what so ever. The idea that the Gov't can provide better care is kinda funny considering Medicare and Medicaid are not the most desired service neither in the US or the world.

Interesting. So you think they'll raise taxes not only high enough to cover the reform cost but even higher, so they get more money for federal projects?




But it's a bit too simplicistic to merely claim that one party acts out of altruism (or a loathing of old ladies) and the other out of greed. So, what do you think are the driving motives in this dispute ?


Driving motives? Control. Obviously if the Gov't gets control of the Healthcare system, the insurers will lose the control they currently have. If the Gov't fails to gain control, not only will the insurers remain in control but probably gain more control, not to mention that failing to gain control, the Govt will rsit gaining control of any other concept they may have and possible even lose control of some they currently have. In the end it's all about control. It's kinda ironic to think that with all this tug of war over control of the Helathcare system in the US, nowhere do either the insurers or the Gov't have us average people as part of the groups pulling but instead we are the ones being pulled around. In the end we will never have control ourselves, isn't that sad?

 

Control for control's sake? Or do you mean control over the market via regulations for the sake of ... let's say stability or predictability?

And frankly I don't understand your last point. Don't you have a democracy where you directly vote for your representatives in the government? How can you say you-the-people don't have control? Or do you simply resent that you-the-other-people currently have control?

 

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August 17, 2009 3:46:19 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Arrodo, please add the granny thing back in. It's not only stupid, its an outright fabrication. Then we could also argue about the if the holocaust happened. 

Charles, why would the goverment want control? I thought the only goal of politicians apart from ideological ones was to be reelected, so they hopefully make sound decisions to sway the voters. I don't see more control helping them get reelected.

 

 

P.S. private overhead was 11-30 %, while medicare/mediaid whatver was 4%, that what I read in some stats anyway. 

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August 17, 2009 3:47:06 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

 

Being from Canada (a country where everyone and their dog enjoy free "healthcare") I'd like to (but probably shouldn't ) take this opportunity to set a few things straight.

There are no "death councils" in Canada.

Sure, someone somewhere decides what medicines/treatments etc. are to be offered/available, but those are then offered to one and all!  There is no "council" that decides this person get's this drug/treatment while joe over there gets an inferior drug/treatment.

Of course, this means that there are some treatments/drugs which are available in Europe or in the US that aren't available in Canada.  Sometimes the government will pay and sometimes it won't.  That doesn't mean there is some "death council" in Canada.  It just means that in Canada we believe if we can't afford a treatment for all, then it doesn't make it under the "free healthcare" umbrella.  Something inherently wrong with that?

Sure, wait-times.  Wait-times are atrocious.  Sometimes people end up dying before their scheduled appointment for treatment.  It happens in a system that tries to care for all at the same time.

 

I'd like to share two very differing experiences with our "free healthcare" system with you for analysis.

1. 

Many years ago the vehicle I was travelling in was hit head-on by a drunk (intent on killing himself).  Long-story short, I was ejected, bounced on the highway and sustained quite a few fractures.  As a result of those injuries I spent almost 5 months in the hospital, several more as an out-patient and am sure my "bills" (in a non-free healthcare system) would have made me bankrupt!

Did I receive the very BEST treatment known to man?  Probably not, I'm sure there are better technologies etc. available in Europe/USA for certain injuries I received, but at the end of the day I'm alive and not bankrupt!

 

2.

A few weeks ago while using a "mandolin" (yes I'm a man....and yes I do cook) I turned a portion of my thumb into a faux-potato slice (yes...I said I was a MAN!  ...what safety guard??).  At first my wife simply cleaned the wound, and bandaged me up nicely (we were having a dinner party so going anywhere at that moment was out of the question).

Hours later, (post clean-up) with my whole hand now throbbing and at 1am I decided to head down to the local hospital to get at least a tetanus shot (I hadn't had one in years).  It took almost an hour for the triage nurse to see me.  She un-wrapped my thumb saw it was still bleeding (this was now almost 10 hours after I initially cut it) cleaned it again, re-wrapped it and said "please have a seat".  So I sat down among the other 4 people in the emergency waiting area. 

One of the other four had a bad rash, another bad stomach pain (she left after waiting for 3 hours....) the third had what appeared to be a sprain as a result of drunken stumbling and the the fourth had a nasty cough.

So I waited......and waited........and....well my throbbing hand and I along with the security guard who didn't look like he could run down an old lady......watched almost the entirety of two movies.......while I waited.......and waited.....looked again at my yellow wrist-band and the large sign beside triage:

White wrist-band  =  can't remember (don't worry or something like that)

Green wrist-band  =  not urgent

Yellow wrist-band =  urgent

Red wrist-band = emergent

Purple wrist-band = resuscitative

 

Then at around 4am the triage nurse asked me to follow her into a room.  "The doctor will be right in to see you........".   Around 30min later a rather lovely nurse un-wrapped my thumb for the second time, saw it was still bleeding, cleaned it again and left....."the doctor will be right in to see you....."  An additonal 30min later the lovely nurse was back to stick me with a needle (the Tetanus shot I had come for) and once again said...."the doctor will be right in to see you..."

...somewhere around 5:30am a nurse just about to go take a nap (she spoke over her shoulder at someone outside the room) un-wrapped, and once again cleaned my still bleeding (and now slightly more aggravated.....thanks to the constant un and re-wrapping etc.) thumb, then she went to take a nap.  This time no one said "....the doctor will be right in.....".

Around 6:30am I left the room and started pacing the hallway.......was anyone even coming?  What was I still doing here?  I mean I'd received the shot I needed, was there anything left to do?  sigh........public healthcare....grumble grumble....

At 7:10am a doctor sidles into the room with a joke on his tongue.......nice.  Did you just get on shift buddy? cause I've been warming your waiting room chairs and now this flat-ass stretcher for the last six hours!   He got the hint.......monk was in no mood for jokes right about then.  So he got busy un-wrapping my thumb for the umpteenth time!  (and btw.......doctors SUCK at un-wrapping things......those nurses were much more sensetive......damn...I bit my tongue!)  So.....Mr. doctor-man looks at my thumb....says....."wow....nice potato-slice.....tee hee!..." then he says....we'll get it wrapped up again and you're free to go.  Then he leaves the room.....I'm sitting there holding bloody gauze against my thumb so the still bleeding wound won't mess up the otherwise clean room.

..another 20 minutes later....a third nurse......(chirpy little thing)..breezes in....sticks my thumb in some totally impractical condom-like device and gives me a hand-puppet!  Thanks.  I'm hoping my car hasn't been towed....

 

Of course I'm not exactly thrilled at the performance of our "system" in my second scenario.  So do I support a TWO-tier system whereby in scenario number one everything that happend, would happen the same way again, but in scenario number two I might have the option to go to a "paying clinic" and have had my shot and been out of there in minutes as opposed to hours.

Public free healthcare is GREAT but what would make our system BETTER, is to simultaneously have the option of going to other clinics (within Canada) where one could pay and therefore forego the wait-times of our free healthcare system.

I say, more options are always better.  Those claiming that public healthcare is wrong/bad, simply don't know what they are talking about!

 

-- monk out! 

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August 17, 2009 3:53:45 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

now here is an intersting discussion and another one to highlight the quite fundamental cultural differences between north america and large parts of europe.

from the numbers I read, the US spends about 16%* of their GDP in health care. this is far, far higher than here. France for example spends 11.0%, Germany 10.4 and GB 8.4%. I don't have the numbers for my country at hand and though it is a sizable part, it certainly isn't 16%. also the coverage is higher here as far as I know, i.e. a lot more ppl are in fact insured. about the quality of health care I cannot say much, but here I have absolutely no trouble gettting whatever help I need. surgery on a 70 year old? no problem. expensive drugs? you get them if you need them.

so my point is: the cold, hard numbers say that the system performs extremely weakly compared to the funs it consumes. why that is so, I am not sure, but it certainly does not support anyone who opposes fundamental reforms.

another point I want to make is the difference between market failure and government failure. now, there are tons of theoretical and factual examples where the free market downright fails. you can check literature on public goods, external effects, signals, assymetrical information and a bunch of other things here to understand why. that's market failure. government failure is when it won't get any better by public control. this can happen, but it not always does, sometimes the public can do what the private cannot.

as such, I want to stress that at least from my perspective, control and order is NOT the only thing the government is required to do. what it should do is to define the desireable level for various policy areas (like amount of public health coverage, coverage of infrastructure services, status of competition in markets) and then chose the least intrusive measures to make it happen. so bottom line for me is: free market cannot and will not be a stable system long term in the absence of control. it is the basis for economy, but not the entirety of it.

 

* number from German magazine Der Spiegel (31/2009)

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August 17, 2009 3:54:57 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting lifekatana,
Arrodo, please add the granny thing back in. It's not only stupid, its an outright fabrication. Then we could also argue about the if the holocaust happened. 

No, I think charles is right in a way. Leaving it in discourages the guys that genuinely believe that stuff from posting here.

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August 17, 2009 4:23:39 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

rom the numbers I read, the US spends about 16%* of their GDP in health care. this is far, far higher than here. France for example spends 11.0%, Germany 10.4 and GB 8.4%.

ran a short calculation. If you factor in actual population size and current GPD, then US spends even more money per capita than everyone else.

The per capita cost of health care in Germany amounts to about $3688 while the US has to fork over $7430.

Numbers from Shadowhai & Wikipedia.

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August 17, 2009 4:56:18 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Some of the conservatives arguements do make me do a bit of an epic facepalm.

 

Your healthcare system sucks.  Sorry, but its true.  Whether Obama's plan is the best one remains to be seen, but at least he's put the issue on the table to let a debate happen.  It has shown though that a lot of Americans love to claim that they want their freedom.  And what a lot of them actually mean is they want their money.

 

Anyone actually noticed that Obama's plan will benefit the poor most, while most of the people opposing it are rich Republicans?

 

Poor Barack.  While he's a candidate everyone supports him, when he gets in the Oval office everyone hates him.  Is it me or is the reason the Republicans have more presidents because they like to sit back and reduce government power so that if something bad happens they can always blame someone else and claim that the Democrats would have made it worse?

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August 17, 2009 5:11:33 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

You want the real reason?

 

POWER. 

 

Simple as that.  The government only gets as much money as it can tax.  it can only tax so much from the people, unless it controls the people.  The founding of the United States was to break that power over the people that governments had.... and now we want to reinstate it?!? 

I think not.

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August 17, 2009 6:38:46 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Healthcare may need reform, but the government shouldn't be the ones doing the reforming.

I think that about sums it up.

Has anyone looked at this bill at all?  Its over a 1000 pages.  I read enough to know this bill is just wrong.  Anyone here work for a goverment job?  Anyone deal with the health care you get with a goverment job?  Yes its better then not having health care but it really sucks.  The goverment has no place in this.  

Dubbya increased the size and might of the goverment by a large amound, and no one is happy about it.  What makes this any different?  Because hes a democrat and not a republican?  What difference does that make anymore.  When it comes to the ones in washington they are just two sides of the same coin.

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August 17, 2009 8:12:52 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Are you honestly saying that the Bush "reforms" reducing your civil rights are the same as the Obama initiative to provide health care for all americans?

And why shouldn't the government reform the health care system? Wo else can? The private insurers out of the goodness of their hearts?

The bill could consist of just  two simple points and they still would fight against it:

  1. Health insurance must not be denied due to preexisting conditions or any other reason.
  2. Payment for treatment or medication must not be denied by the insurers if the attending doctor considers either absolutely indispensible.

Once these points would be law, the insurers would have to invest their efforts in researching most cost efficient and effective treatments and work together with doctors to create a standarized treatment catalogue. But since these two points seem to be the main methods of protecting their high profit margin these sensible provisions are not acceptable.

You say reform is needed? Then it must come from the government or it will never happen.

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August 17, 2009 8:20:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Did this really need a second thread?

 

[quote]ran a short calculation. If you factor in actual population size and current GPD, then US spends even more money per capita than everyone else.

The per capita cost of health care in Germany amounts to about $3688 while the US has to fork over $7430.

Numbers from Shadowhai & Wikipedia.[quote]

 

You forgot to factor in lifestyle.  This would include exercise, diet, localized population density, air and water quality, climate, all kinds of things.  If germans were fat, lazy, donut stuffing, chain smoking alcoholics that drink a gallon of floride in their tap water, you'd have something.

 

This for instance, in combination with this.  There goes as much as 20% of the difference right there.  You can probably get rid of most of it without ever factoring in price controls on drugs that have shifted the lionshare of the cost to the US, and the handful of other countries still paying for R&D.

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August 17, 2009 8:55:47 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

This is really just about control.  The one trying to scare us is obama.  Scare us into buying into all his crap.  

I think it may have been done already, but to qoute Benjamin Franklin, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety". 

To psychoak, I think you have something there.  If american life style were to change and we kept health care as it is now, it would be a lot better.

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