Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 10, 2009
POLITICS: Paid For By...

I know I link to a lot of RedState posts these days, but really, Caleb Howe has done it again with an extensively documented post examining efforts to pay for support for Obamacare, as well as rounding up more from other blogs on the same subject.

Debra Saunders also has more on the media coverage I referenced the other day:

When Boxer grilled Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about what personal price the childless Rice paid for the Iraq war, Boxer later boasted that she was "speaking truth to power." But when angry voters try to do the same with elected officials, whether they're heckling them or just showing up, Boxer wants the media to investigate.

It's laughable: Democrats discrediting protests because - ooooooh - they're organized. Last year, weren't these same folks guffawing about Jesus being a community organizer?

+++

When anti-Bush protesters behaved badly, when Code Pinkers shouted and anti-war protesters brandished signs with swastikas, they did not rate nearly as much press scrutiny as the ObamaCare protesters. There seems to be the impression in my profession that comparisons of Bush with Hitler were to be expected, but not of Obama with Hitler. That's below the belt.

Finally, Michael Barone unpacks why the whole Obamacare plan is designed to make a single-payer system inevitable.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 4:01 PM | Politics 2009 | Comments (25) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Crank, you are playing fast and loose with facts again to prove your point.
Shall we recap history, During the last administration how many open public forums were there? How many open forum were reduced to shouting matches ? How often were the facts clearly distorted ( death boards and killing the elderly)? Every time a protester (singular) shouted something during the last Administration they were quickly shown the door.
Nobody in their right mind can even claim this level of discourse is healthy for the current health care debate. So why not try and contribute to the debate in a healthy manner instead of exaggerating the past to justify the current antics of the party you support. We all know health care is broken in this country so why not take the high road to get it fixed.

Posted by: javaman at August 10, 2009 4:39 PM

I guess all who have gold-plated health care coverage through their "big law" firms don't need to worry about poor working class stiffs who are one major illness away from being bankrupt and homeless. And, all those protesters concerned about "government health" care can graciously reimburse the taxpayers for their medicare coverage and go it alone in the "free market."

That's right! Pull up the ladder jack, I'm OK.

Posted by: Magrooder at August 10, 2009 4:41 PM

You really are going to claim that the opponents of the Bush Administration never distorted facts? And that Members of Congress did not, for those 8 years, have public forums with their consituents about the war, Medicare, Social Security, etc.? (I assume you mean to compare current town halls by Members of Congress to prior town halls by the President, as opposed to apples to apples). Really, you must live on a very interesting planet.

Posted by: Crank at August 10, 2009 4:45 PM

Magrooder's rapid reach for the ad hominem argument illustrates nicely that he's out of other bullets.

We have a pretty good system now, better than most if not all the other nations of the world. Nobody would claim that it's perfect, which is why there are a number of proposals on the Right to improve the system. The difference is that we're not the ones looking to do radical surgery on the system, and to do so under a battery of false pretenses and manufactured urgency.

Posted by: Crank at August 10, 2009 4:49 PM

Let us take Queen Facebook (Sarah Palin) last post about Health care which was backed by Old Newt Lover. Not a distortion but flat out lies. All politicians will twist the fact I get that. But, when lying is the norm to scare people it is not helpful in fixing something that is broken. Just think if we had followed Bush with private investments for SS where would we all be? That was the main complaint against privatizing Social Security I guess you would be call lying as well in your rehash of the past.

Funny thing the Government does nothing right but leave my Medicare alone.

Posted by: javaman at August 10, 2009 4:53 PM

The amount of denial these people live in is amazing.

We have Obumbler teling people to report their fellow citizens to a White House blog. We have the Botox Queen screeching that insurance companies are "villians" and that people that disagree with the Dems are "un-american" and " nazis". We have the Dems renting actors to show up at forums in " support" of the their plan and you are equating all of this that to what went on during the Bush Admin. Are you stupid or are you a liar? Which one is it?

There was nothing too low to be said about Bush by moonbats for 8 years. Any nut job, with any complaint/rumor about the Bush Admin was given air time and promoted by the mainstream media. The same mainstream media that now doesn't report the protests against Obamacare or the tea party or when it does shows their partisan stripes by attacking the participants.

We all know health care is broken -really??? broken? really? the best care, best doctors, best hospitals, best research facilities, highest doctor/patient ratio in the world, highest survival rates for every major disease, shortest waits in the world to see specialists and to have surgery broken???-but wait, I forgot the talking point is that is broken and you, like a good lefty drone, have to repeat whatever your masters tell you.

I have a question for you-the projected deficit for Medicare is 27 trillion dolars. The single largest deficit of any kind in world history-please explain to me how after authoring that disaster how any logical human being could possibkly think that more government intervention is needed? I really want to here that bit of logic.

Posted by: dch at August 10, 2009 4:56 PM

javaman - So, it is your contention that none of the current plans would permit a government-established panel to ration potentially lifesaving or life-extending care based on quality of life assessments? Because that was the thrust of Palin's argument: that the QALY formulas, as applied by the same people who think her son should have been aborted in the first place, would look askance at him as a recipient of government-rationed care.

Posted by: Crank at August 10, 2009 5:01 PM

Broken as broken can be. That is why they have medical vacations to foreign countries to get treatment at a fraction of the price we pay. I work for a company that has the employees pay no premium on on healthcare insurance. But, my last place of employ every year we hoped that the benefits coordinator took her job seriously b/c every year we paid more and got less. If your company does not have deep pockets you will fall into the latter paying more for less.

Posted by: javaman at August 10, 2009 5:02 PM

Queen Facebook post was clearing stating that those boards are in this current bill. As it stands now insurance companies do that right now. They have actuaries figure out what care is most profitable for them. Have you ever had a legitimate claim turned down? That is why they reject some claims that are legitimate based on the coverage you have. Extending quality of life should that include explaining the various levels of Hospice care and the levels of DNR orders that can be written? Not having thosei in place for a family is very difficult when a loved is suffering. But as long a we give out misinformation on this issue it is all good right.

Posted by: javaman at August 10, 2009 5:09 PM

You did not answer the question, you just changed the subject to talk about insurance companies.

Which "current bill" do you refer to?

Is it your contention that the proposed "cost savings" by means of rationed care would not perform QALY analyses?

(To answer your beside-the-point, there are many things done by private companies acting in competition with one another that would be far more menacing to have done by government, especially a government monopoly as any public option would sooner or later grow to. Private companies are constrained from making some of the sort of this-person-offers-less-good-to-society types of evaluations that public health plans in other countries frequently make. And it's an entirely legitimate and accurate concern that once we cross that Rubicon, we can't go back).

Posted by: Crank at August 10, 2009 5:18 PM

I do love the arguments of 'well you did it first!'. Nothing like adopting the arguments of 5 year olds to conduct political discourse. Really though, first one to the Hitler comparison always loses.

The big thing is - the timeline Crank. After 4 years, a good amount Bush actions vs. 6 months and not nearly as much. This - like much of the comments after the election - is one of the things most often neglected.

Don't worry Crank, having people show up to shout down their Congressmen did nothing to convince me that intellectualism on the Right is dead.

"The difference is that we're not the ones looking to do radical surgery on the system"
No - the difference is no movement on it for 6+ years. And the proposals now seem more like what they are, desperate moves to provide for something that could have been done long ago.

"So, it is your contention that none of the current plans would permit a government-established panel to ration potentially lifesaving or life-extending care based on quality of life assessments?"
Can you point to this in the current bill as it would apply to children who are not dying?
Does this impact everyone, or only those who are not on a private plan?
Can you even point to somewhere in the bill where it says rationing will be allowed?

"Because that was the thrust of Palin's argument"
Here is her argument - ' The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care.'
She was flat out lying Crank, using a false argument to put on the health care plan. And, as a bonus, using her child to do it.

Hmmm, I wonder why those who were quick to decry those who used false arguments in the Social Security debate are so welcoming to them now. Hmmmmmmmmm.

Posted by: Dave at August 10, 2009 7:19 PM

Dave - Rationing care is the entire point of Obama's contention that the bill will reduce health care costs. I'll probably have a followup on this later.

Where did Palin say she wasn't talking about end-of-life decisions? That's exactly where the rubber meets the road here, and it's exactly why this stuff matters. Her point is, obviously, aimed at the very situations in which the bill is supposed to have an impact.

Posted by: Crank at August 10, 2009 7:38 PM

Your current health care is already rationed. Why do you think a woman that just had a baby only stays in the hospital for two and half days? Because a board decided that is all the time she needs.

The current system has boards that decides on what treatment will be paid for and how long you will get said treatment. Why do you thing the insurance companies have so many Actuaries? Did you know once upon a time Mammograms were considered elective procedures till the insurance companies figured out it was cheaper and more profitable to pay for them.
Not anywhere in any of the health care bills is anything about medical boards deciding treatment. If there is please point to where we all have missed it.
Funny thing is the provision that you are basing your entire augment on was put forth by a Senator from Georgia and guess what he is a Pro-Life, Bible first Conservative.
If we are getting Gov Facebook words twisted why is she issuing followup statement to clarify her point?

Posted by: javaman at August 10, 2009 9:03 PM

Did you know once upon a time Mammograms were considered elective procedures till the insurance companies figured out it was cheaper and more profitable to pay for them.

Err, so what? You say this like it is an indictment of something or someone, and I have no idea if it's true (because why would you post a citation?), but all I see is that the health insurance companies voluntarily expanded the treatment options that they covered.

Posted by: DKH at August 10, 2009 9:46 PM

"Rationing care is the entire point of Obama's contention that the bill will reduce health care costs"
Actually, it's not. Here's Heritage, from back in February. And ABC, from June.
http://www.heritage.org/research/healthcare/wm2314.cfm
http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/06/obama-identifies-313-billion-for-health-care-through-medicaid-and-medicare-savings-.html

Megan McArdle did something on this as well. This is different.

Disagreeing with these statements or savings is fine. But these are some of the savings, as of now. If you can find savings supported by Congress or the White House that includes rationing(this does not include moving away from defensive medicine), feel free.
And those who bring up rationing also neglect to mention it does not impact the people with private plans. If you notice, every scare comment that someone on the Right brings up about alleged rationing neglects this as well, and does so on purpose.

When you do a writeup, please don't leave this out. I like honest arguments, and when this is left out something becomes fishy. Hey, if you want to bring up the 'eventually....' bogeyman, feel free - but deal with the present as well.

"Where did Palin say she wasn't talking about end-of-life decisions?"
She didn't specify, as she hits both on 'death panel' and 'quality of life' for all purpose health care(also bringing up rationing), not just end of life. In addition to neglecting saying no such thing would happen to someone with a private plan, let alone no such panel exists.

And it's not where the rubber meets the road, since there are many quality of life operations on children as well. Ear tubes, hernias, spinal fusion, cleft palates.

Posted by: Dave at August 11, 2009 12:02 AM

Blech, comment got caught by the filter.

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Posted by: paul simth at August 11, 2009 2:53 AM

My take:

1) This public insurance option has got to go. Yes, people are being priced out of the insurance market and some reform is necessary, but not like this. Besides, we really can't afford it anyway, fiscally speaking.

2) This is a trojan horse for a single payer system. It's going to be near impossible to compete with a public health plan that is backed by enormous tax revenues. And worse yet, with the exchange dictating exactly how these private insurance companies can compete with the government.

3) And yes, Obama does eventually want a single-payer plan - those video clips are pretty compelling.

Posted by: MVH at August 11, 2009 7:41 AM

I have stayed out the whole Obamacare debate for the following reasons:

1) I can't figure out just what is included/excluded in the proposed legislation. I hear Obama say one thing, Congressman say something else, and the blog sites (both liberal and conservative) say another. Just what is this thing proposing to do?

2) I can't figure out some of the references like "single payer system", etc. mean. Is there a "Health Care for Dummies" somewhere?

3) No one has defined the problem we are trying to solve. Is it that the actual health care being provided by our doctors/hospitals is poor and needs improving? Is it that the price for health insurance is too high for the average person? Is it that the care is good, price is fine, but it is not availible to people due to not enough doctors/hospitals? Just what is it that we are trying to fix here?

Some recent family situations have gotten me involved with Doctors, hospitals, Nursing home, and Medicare over the last 2 years. My observations:

1. The care given by doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes in my area is TERRIFIC! When I compare this to other countries (like France), we are so much better; it is not even close.

2. The cost of insurance and medicines is higher than I would like.

3. The availibility of care is terrific. When there is an issue, we got care quickly and never was our health in peril because we had to wait for care.

4. No issues with the Health insurance company. They paid what they said they would pay.

So if someone can answer my questions or point me to places I can get answers, that would be great!

Posted by: Lee at August 11, 2009 11:40 AM

Lee,

I'm no expert, as you well know, but I can answer some of these:

1) The health plan proposal advocated by Obama and the Democrats is currently in legislative limbo. Who knows what is going to be in it when it is passed.

The current bill has a public insurance option where the government provides insurance coverage. Private plans can continue to provide coverage, but only with plans that are consistent with the government plan. Who decides whether the plan is consistent? Some type of exchange (read: government bureacrats) decide if the plan can coexist with the government plan.

2) I understand "single payer system" to be one health insurance company - namely the government or some entity controlled by the gov't:

"In a single-payer system, all hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers would bill one entity for their services. " (This website has the basics, it's states arguably the best case for this system)

http://www.pnhp.org/facts/what_is_single_payer.php

(3) The "problem" has been defined differently by just about everybody. Based on that CBO study I found a while ago, I define the problems as follows:

a) The introduction of new (and costly) technology/medicine/improvements in health care are responsible for most of the high costs of health care. Also, as our country has become wealthier (and unevenly so), we have spent more money on health care, which contributes to rising prices. As a result of those two factors, many people are being priced out of the health care insurance market.

(b) Portability is also a problem. Businesses that provide health care subsidize the costs for employees, but not all businesses are large enough to afford to do so. If you leave your job that subsidizes, insurance is costly without the subsidy, and you can't continue that insurance indefinitely.

This also hurts small businesses, who can't attract quality employees because of the lack of health care coverage.

(c) Insurance companies can deny coverage for preexisting conditions. So, for example, if you are laid off, lose your insurance, and contract some illness or injury, you might be uninsurable (unless of course, you can get another job with a company that subsidizes health care - usually insurance companies don't ask about preexisting conditions upon enrollment)

For myself, I don't think quality of care is huge problem.

Posted by: MVH at August 11, 2009 12:54 PM

As hominem?

No, just calling you on your self-interested, undisclosed bias, protected from the whims of the market unlike most of the country. Fear and distortion are the only weapons the wing-nuts have left.

Posted by: Magrooder at August 12, 2009 4:54 PM

Lee

In addition - hit up wikipedia for 'Health Care Reform in the United States'. After that, you can chase down many of their links to find out more. It's currently being hit by those on either side, but still has information.
Hit up healthreform dot gov as well, but that will be somewhat slanted. No more than anywhere else, really.

Single payer means different things to different people, but even this isn't being proposed right now.

'Private plans can continue to provide coverage, but only with plans that are consistent with the government plan.'
This isn't exactly true, if by government plan you mean the Public Option and not Standards. Private plans can be entirely different from the public option, both in terms of what they cover and how much. Say, PET scans after a doctor's referral vs. PET scans only for certain cancers.
There will be other changes to make sure it can participate in the Exchange, and others to make sure you don't get denied coverage for something preexisting. No real changes at the basic level, for most people.

Not sure how rescission will be handled.

Posted by: Dave at August 12, 2009 6:44 PM

Dave,

"This isn't exactly true, if by government plan you mean the Public Option and not Standards. Private plans can be entirely different from the public option, both in terms of what they cover and how much. Say, PET scans after a doctor's referral vs. PET scans only for certain cancers."

But doesn't the exchange set a floor of some sort?? I'm referring to this role:

[H]ealth care reform bills circulating on Capitol Hill would seek to expand access to health insurance by creating “health insurance exchanges” or “gateways” (Exchanges) at the state or local level. Qualified individuals and small businesses could purchase health insurance offered by a private entity participating in an Exchange, or, if adopted, a public plan option.

* Covering essential benefits: The draft House “Tri-Committee” bill released on June 19, 2009, would require qualified health benefits plans to cover “essential” benefits through defined benefit packages that would vary by the insured’s cost-sharing obligation. Plan sponsors could elect to offer benefit plans that include additional benefits, such as vision care. The amended Senate bill proposed by Democrats on the HELP Committee would permit sponsors of qualified health plans to provide “essential” benefits through benefit plans with one of three cost-sharing variations. States could require these plans to cover additional benefits.

http://www.healthcarelawreform.com/tags/health-insurance-exchange/

Doesn't the role of determining what is an "essential benefit" and determining "defined benefit" packages dictate what kinds of plans would be available in the exchange??

Posted by: MVH at August 12, 2009 10:06 PM

Hey Crank,
Do you have Lexis/ Nexus? How much time was spent by the MSM on the millions who marched against the Iraq War vs, the tens of hundreds against healthcare reform?

You lose any argument when you try to conflate how the corporate media is so unfair to conservatives vs. liberals.
Try to make some other points because that one is laughable at best.
While you're lexus/ nexus-ing compare Whitewater vs. the Downing Street Memos. You're comparing 7+years to 2+ days.
Signed,
Clinton was a terrible President (but not anywhere near W or Reagan terrible), so my point isn't about how much I liked him.

Posted by: Berto at August 13, 2009 7:51 PM
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