Monday Open Thread (2010-03-22)

Here is your open thread for Monday March 22nd, 2010. You may post random links and off-topic discussions here. Also, if you have an idea or a topic you’d like to see covered in an article, please make it known.

Happy International Talk Like William Shatner Day, everybody!

Be sure to also check out the forums, and get your word in the user-driven discussions there!

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

65 comments:

  1. 1
    Scotsman says:

    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

    I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

    My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

    — Thomas Jefferson

  2. 2
    Cheap South says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 1 – Yeah, I am sure he did not “waste the labor of his slaves (oops, “people”) under the pretense of taking care of them”. I would not quote a guy whose creditors kicked his family out of Monticello shortly after his death because of his UNPAID debts.

    I am sure you did not quote Jefferson when Bush was listening to citizens’ phone conversations under the pretense of taking care of them, did you?

    Yeah, access to health care represents the end of liberty. Please give me a freaking break.

  3. 3

    Okay, if we’re going to talk health care, we have a bill that almost no one likes, that only passed to get past the 60 vote rule of the Senate. While it has some good features, I don’t see that it does nearly enough to control costs, and in fact I think it will cause health care costs to skyrocket (probably for the government, employers, and individuals).

    Clearly the Dems and Reps have proven now that they don’t work well together, but I don’t think it’s necessarily their fault. I don’t think politicians can develop a system that will work because politicians will develop a system that requires individuals to pay too little for basic services, or even optional services (e.g. Viagra). That’s part of the reason insurance is so expensive today–mandates of coverage imposed by state politicians.

  4. 4

    RE: Scotsman @ 1 – BTW, it’s not entirely a taking for others. Part of the bill I like is mandatory coverage because otherwise it is a transfer, sort of like how I have to pay for uninsured/underinsured auto coverage for those without auto coverage. People to go without medical coverage do get treated, and the rest of us pay for that.

  5. 5

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4

    I’ll Repeat Myself

    Health Care Reform will never work without reducing the costs of health care wages, if more patients are thrust at it for services at prevailing wage rates. Expecting the lucky top 50% of American households with decent jobs to pay for the bottom half will cause even more unemployment. Remember it’s richer retirees and employees that buy plane tickets, vacation homes and computers too; which keep the jobs going.

    The poor need a health care safety net; but not with taxes on the top 50% of workers. Without health care wage reductions, health care reform is doomed in unemployment debt.

  6. 6
    Going West says:

    CNN Money “Real Estate 2010”

    I live in Wash DC although I’ve been watching this blog for a few years as I want to move out west. According to CNN Money, most of Washington state will be appreciating in 2010 (http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/moneymag_realestate/2010/states/WA.html). Maybe Tim can decipher the magic formula behind it. I was hoping to time it just right to get there at the bottom in a year or 2 :)

  7. 7
    Tyler says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 5

    I agree with this. There are multiple way to achieve this, but none seem to have been discussed as part of this reform package.

    If you look at the cost of medical school over time, it has far outpaced inflation: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/about-ama/our-people/member-groups-sections/medical-student-section/advocacy-policy/medical-student-debt.shtml If you want to reduce the cost of a service, this needs to be addressed. I don’t have the link/data to back this up, but I suspect that the costs of education and the costs of service have a strong correlation.

    So, the cost to get educated to become a doctor has risen a lot, and guess what, so has the cost to become an elementary school teacher! I could buy some argument as to why the cost to educate a doctor rises over time, as the general knowledge needed to learned has increased over time, but for a 5th grade teacher?

    In my opinion, the underlying connection is the cost of cheaply borrowed (quite often government backed) tuition, which has allowed the tuition “bubble”.

    Sound familiar?

  8. 8
    The Tim says:

    Fine, if we’re going to talk about “health care” I wonder if someone would mind reading Karl’s take on the plan and explain to me where he is incorrect.

    An excerpt:

    I’ve read the Health Bill.  Both the 2,000+ page original and The House changes as voted upon.

    Here’s the bottom line:

    • If you refuse to buy health insurance, you will be fined on a sliding scale that amounts to 2% of your AGI.  So if you make $100,000 a year, you could be fined $2,000 for “refusing” to buy insurance.
    • You cannot buy a catastrophic policy any more.  The “cheapest” acceptable policy will cost somewhere around $15,000 for a single person, and over $20,000 for a family.  This is, for most people, more than five times the maximum possible fine – each and every year.  The law makes it effectively impossible to maintain an existing catastrophic policy as they “renew” every year, and should any change be made you are then forced to buy something “acceptable” in the law (or pay the fine.)
    • When the “pre-existing condition” bar comes down you cannot be charged more or denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

    When the fines and pre-existing coverage “stop-out” go into effect (now for kids, in a couple of years for the rest) drop all coverage for those affected.

    Why?

    Because:

    • The fine is 1/5th or less the cost of the “insurance.”
    • For routine care, you now can negotiate for your care before it is provided.  It will be cheaper to do so than to buy the insurance – for routine events.
  9. 9
    anonymous says:

    RE: The Tim @ 8 – That’s exactly why they had to mandate that everyone buy insurance. Karl doesn’t think the mandate is strong enough. We’ll have to see how many people take his advice to drop coverage.
    You also have to consider the subsidies provided for low income people, average $6000/person I believe. Probably a lot of the people without employer provided coverage fall in the low income category. If the subsidy + the fine + routine care + some amount to cover the risk of emergency care (you may not have time to get coverage before the $5K ambulance arrives), was lower than the plan costs, it might make sense to do as he says, not that everyone will.
    My employer provided coverage is under $10,000 total costs (mine and the employer’s costs), and it covers 2 people over 30. His estimated price of 15-20K sounds a little steep, but I haven’t been shopping for individual coverage.

  10. 10

    RE: The Tim @ # 8
    “You cannot buy a catastrophic policy any more. The “cheapest” acceptable policy will cost somewhere around $15,000 for a single person, and over $20,000 for a family. This is, for most people, more than five times the maximum possible fine – each and every year. The law makes it effectively impossible to maintain an existing catastrophic policy as they “renew” every year, and should any change be made you are then forced to buy something “acceptable” in the law (or pay the fine.)”

    I don’t believe this is correct. The premiums are supposed to be capped at 9 point something of income, so my cost might be something like 15 thousand if my income were around 165,000 per year. Most people don’t make nearly that much. For most people, they’ll be paying less than half of that.

  11. 11
    The Tim says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 10:

    I don’t believe this is correct. The premiums are supposed to be capped at 9 point something of income, so my cost might be something like 15 thousand if my income were around 165,000 per year. Most people don’t make nearly that much. For most people, they’ll be paying less than half of that.

    Okay, but doesn’t his point still stand even if that’s the case? If the fine is 2% of your income and an approved policy is 9% of your income, it is still 4.5 times more expensive to pay for a plan than it is to just pay the fine.

  12. 12
    Scotsman says:

    We’ll never see any of the benefits anyway. This country will be bankrupt in the next 5 years and all entitlement programs will be cut to the bone as a result. I’m amazed by the number of people who think they are going to be getting something for nothing with this legislation. When they discover that they get to start paying for it in the next few months, but will never see any benefit, there will be a lot of unhappy campers.

    Yes, health care needed some tweaking, but this will only make it worse for all in the end. You can’t insure more people for a lower total cost while offering the same level of service. Epic fail. Rationing is on it’s way.

    Here’s another rarely discussed aspect- just because you have insurance doesn’t mean you can get health care if the doctors either aren’t there or won’t accept your insurance. My daughter had recently thought of becoming a doctor, but talking to those who practice now and looking ahead at the consequences of this legislation has killed that dream. Others have estimated that up to 1/4 of practicing physicians will soon leave the system. I’ve never seen such a distortion of cost controls, incentives, and promises in my life.

  13. 13
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 1:

    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

    so I guess you’re saying you don’t know anything about health reform? lots of people have jobs AND health care and are still hurting from our health care system. you can talk about how people don’t want to work but even if you have insurance you don’t know if it will actually work for you. I can’t believe that this far a long in the process you don’t know that.

    here is a heartwarming story.

    Insurer targeted HIV patients to drop coverage
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62G2DO20100317

    most people who go to free health care clinics have jobs.

    Health reform’s human stories
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33975919/

    “After watching for hours as the patients moved through the clinic, it was hard to believe that I was in America.

    Eighty-three percent of the patients they see are employed, they are not accepting other government help on a large scale, not “welfare queens” as some would like to have us believe. They are tax-paying, good, upstanding citizens who are trying to make it and give their kids a better life just like you and me.”

    I’d rather the country go bankrupt than have 45,000 citizens a year die for lack of healthcare. without employer based coverage, medicare and medicaid the numbers would be much worse.

  14. 14
    willcasp says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 10

    That is part of the problem. Insurance should be prices according to the risk of the insured, and not the income level of the insured!

    If we want to lower costs for healthcare, we need to look at serious tort reform, modernizing medical billing systems (why can’t I get an itemized list of what I will be charged when I leave the hospital?). Last, but not least, medical schools will need to be seriously subsidized by the government, and only the smartest will get in. You will never get lower costs with doctor’s carrying $300K or more in debt when they finish their, in some cases, 12 years of training. I realize a standard GP may take an additional 5 years, and $150K of debt, but you get the idea.

  15. 15
    willcasp says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 12

    I fully expect employers to dump their health care offerings, and let employees pay more out of pocket for less care on the government plan.

    Employers will pocket the difference.

  16. 16
    Ross says:

    By willcasp @ 14:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 10

    That is part of the problem. Insurance should be prices according to the risk of the insured, and not the income level of the insured!

    If we want to lower costs for healthcare, we need to look at serious tort reform, modernizing medical billing systems (why can’t I get an itemized list of what I will be charged when I leave the hospital?). Last, but not least, medical schools will need to be seriously subsidized by the government, and only the smartest will get in. You will never get lower costs with doctor’s carrying $300K or more in debt when they finish their, in some cases, 12 years of training. I realize a standard GP may take an additional 5 years, and $150K of debt, but you get the idea.

    Medical schools control doctor supply by depressing school admission rates (in the name of quality). If there’s more doctors out there, then their services will cost less. So, schools should be encouraged to increase admissions.

  17. 17

    RE: softwarengineer @ 5 – Wages have little to do with the cost of health care. It’s the demand that drives up cost, and that is caused by insurance policies that provide for too much coverage.

  18. 18
    The Tim says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 17 – Indeed. The analogy of car insurance that covers every fill-up and oil change comes to mind.

  19. 19

    RE: Tyler @ 7 – I really doubt the cost of med school rising has done anything to reduce the supply of doctors, and as such I doubt it’s had any effect on the cost of medical services.

  20. 20
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 13RE: willcasp @ 15

    I wouldn’t expect you to see the magnitude of this change. It completely changes the nature of the relationship between the people and the government. Now, instead of the government being dependent on the people’s wishes, the government will control, and in fact offer the only choice, for health care, one our most important needs. What the government can afford and decides to provide will be your only choice, maybe not initially, but certainly within a decade or so.

    The only good news is I truly believe the government will fail before this plan is fully implemented. Fun times ahead.

  21. 21

    By The Tim @ 18:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 17 – Indeed. The analogy of car insurance that covers every fill-up and oil change comes to mind.

    To move the analogy to housing, if government required housing insurance the same as they’re requiring medical insurance, the $8,000 we would be talking about wouldn’t be the tax credit, it would be the cost of the consumer to buy a house. ;-)

  22. 22

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 10 – Is this correct about catastrophic coverage? Is that different than what I have with my $2,500 deductible policy connected to a HSA?

    That’s really what they need to be moving people to–higher deductibles–except perhaps for preventative exams and children.

  23. 23
    D. in Ballard says:

    We’ve had quite a few people comment here over the years who lost their houses due to medical expenses. I guess that’s just okay for everyone here because you’ve got yours and no one else matters.

  24. 24
    The Tim says:

    RE: D. in Ballard @ 23STRAW MAN ALERT

    Just because someone disagrees with the bill that appears at this time to be certain to pass, that does not mean that they want poor children dying in the street and people losing their houses just because they got a nasty ingrown toenail or something. Sheesh.

  25. 25
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 20:

    RE: pfft @ 13RE: willcasp @ 15

    I wouldn’t expect you to see the magnitude of this change. It completely changes the nature of the relationship between the people and the government. Now, instead of the government being dependent on the people’s wishes, the government will control, and in fact offer the only choice, for health care, one our most important needs. What the government can afford and decides to provide will be your only choice, maybe not initially, but certainly within a decade or so.

    The only good news is I truly believe the government will fail before this plan is fully implemented. Fun times ahead.

    you don’t understand, DOCTORS will control more of our healthcare instead of insurance company bureaucrats who are just looking out for the company’s bottom line. medicare, medicaid and the VA are more popular than private insurance. this won’t get repealed. your claims of the government controlling care is nonsense. medicare and medicaid are decades old and people love it. I personally know that medicare works. I’ve seen it. you’re just big on conspiracy theories. it’s all coming together.

  26. 26

    RE: D. in Ballard @ 23 – Maybe if insurance wasn’t so widespread, the people could have afforded the medical procedures without insurance!

    Providing service is a good thing, but as someone noted, it has to be rationed in some manner. Typically services are rationed by price. But when the service is covered by insurance, price no longer works as the rationing tool And simply adding more insureds, while simultaneously increasing required coverage, is merely going to lead to skyrocketing costs–both the cost of insurance and the cost of procedures.

    Just an example. A month’s supply of Nasonex now costs about $120. About 10 years ago when not too many policies covered it, the cost was about $60.00. If no insurance covered it, the cost would probably be under $40. But now, just for that one drug, we’re going to have a system where anyone can sign up for insurance and expend $120 a month on Nasonex, but the cost of Nasonex will probably jump to $150 or $180. What do you think is going to happen to the cost of insurance when that happens for virtually every drug and every service?

    BTW, NWNBC just had an article where it called insurers, drug companies and hospitals “unlikely allies” in the fight for this bill. I don’t consider them unlikely allies at all. They’ll love this bill. Their profits will all soar.

  27. 27
    pfft says:

    By The Tim @ 24:

    RE: D. in Ballard @ 23STRAW MAN ALERT

    Just because someone disagrees with the bill that appears at this time to be certain to pass, that does not mean that they want poor children dying in the street and people losing their houses just because they got a nasty ingrown toenail or something. Sheesh.

    I have detected that attitude over the years. I’ve got mine and who cares if you didn’t get yours. you’re didn’t work hard enough or were too stupid. I know those types of people.

  28. 28

    By pfft @ 25:

    By Scotsman @ 20:

    RE: pfft @ 13RE: willcasp @ 15

    I wouldn’t expect you to see the magnitude of this change. It completely changes the nature of the relationship between the people and the government. Now, instead of the government being dependent on the people’s wishes, the government will control, and in fact offer the only choice, for health care, one our most important needs. What the government can afford and decides to provide will be your only choice, maybe not initially, but certainly within a decade or so.

    The only good news is I truly believe the government will fail before this plan is fully implemented. Fun times ahead.

    you don’t understand, DOCTORS will control more of our healthcare instead of insurance company bureaucrats who are just looking out for the company’s bottom line. medicare, medicaid and the VA are more popular than private insurance. this won’t get repealed. your claims of the government controlling care is nonsense. medicare and medicaid are decades old and people love it. I personally know that medicare works. I’ve seen it. you’re just big on conspiracy theories. it’s all coming together.

    The people getting paid are going to be the ones that restrict services? You’re kidding, right?

  29. 29
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 20

    OK, enough is enough.

    We have an Insurance industry that is out of control in this country. It’s money for nothing. It’s administrative costs based on the amount of pay outs per year.

    If you look at insurance profits they will direct you at how much they paid out last year. Your profit is after administration.

    It only makes sense that the pay outs go up each year.

    It doesn’t stop there because the Insurance Industry can invest the billions of dollars that roll in daily in a wide variety of things. It seems to me the tax payers just bailed out an Insurance Company.

    Actually Medicaid, and Medicare are Health Insurance bail outs that we all pay for. Now the idea we don’t already pay for Health Care in an increased cost of goods from employer paid health benefits is just naive.

    So we all pay more, get less, and fund an Insurance Industry with tax dollars.

    Then to add insult to this injury, we have the Malpractice Insurance Premiums that are blamed for the rise in Health Care costs. Even though the Insurance Company is the one that settles based on an actuary formula, they blame the court system for being to lenient.
    It’s next to impossible to get a doctor, or hospital sued for a fair claim. They can tie you up in court forever, and just keep raising rates. It’s all free money to them.

    Why would we want to change a system like this? It’s in the Constitution:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Now if you want to pay for some stuff, let’s get out of Iraq, kill Osama Bin Laden, and shut down some bureaucracies that actually hinder our liberties.

  30. 30
    D. in Ballard says:

    Straw man maybe, but you guys do seem to get a great deal of joy from the misfortunes of others. Tell me I’m wrong.

    I don’t know why I’m so pissed off reading you guys anyway. It passed. Woo hoo.

    So a straw man argument is the way to get someone to respond to one of my comments?

  31. 31
    David Losh says:

    RE: The Tim @ 24

    The Bill that is passing has ballooned from 12 pages to 2700 pages. It will need to be replaced with a single payer expansion of Medicare, Medicaid.

    The problem is that the Insurance lobby, and drug company profits, make it hard for any one in politics to take on this issue. Insurance is more pervasive than the oil lobby.

    It had to be done this way because the Republicans have drawn a line in the sand for this President. This is only the first step. He is talking about banking regulations, student loan reform, immigration reform, and a long list of social agenda.

    What bothers me is that they have chosen to attack the Presidency rather than play politics.

  32. 32
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 28:

    By pfft @ 25:

    By Scotsman @ 20:

    RE: pfft @ 13RE: willcasp @ 15

    I wouldn’t expect you to see the magnitude of this change. It completely changes the nature of the relationship between the people and the government. Now, instead of the government being dependent on the people’s wishes, the government will control, and in fact offer the only choice, for health care, one our most important needs. What the government can afford and decides to provide will be your only choice, maybe not initially, but certainly within a decade or so.

    The only good news is I truly believe the government will fail before this plan is fully implemented. Fun times ahead.

    you don’t understand, DOCTORS will control more of our healthcare instead of insurance company bureaucrats who are just looking out for the company’s bottom line. medicare, medicaid and the VA are more popular than private insurance. this won’t get repealed. your claims of the government controlling care is nonsense. medicare and medicaid are decades old and people love it. I personally know that medicare works. I’ve seen it. you’re just big on conspiracy theories. it’s all coming together.

    The people getting paid are going to be the ones that restrict services? You’re kidding, right?

    exactly. nobody will ever try to repeal medicare or medicaid because they won’t get a vote.

    Anthony Weiner introduces amendement to repeal Medicare; puts Republicans on the Spot
    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=385×345627

  33. 33
    pfft says:

    By David Losh @ 31:

    RE: The Tim @ 24
    What bothers me is that they have chosen to attack the Presidency rather than play politics.

    david frume said as much. if you want a big loser scotsman, it’s the republican party and the tea party. they put all their effort into making healthcare obama’s waterloo and they failed. it’s a huge defeat. they didn’t realize that it was waterloo but the healthcare reform advocates were Wellington!

    single payer is closer.

    next up is making the environment more healthy and clean through the polluter tax, aka cap and trade.

  34. 34

    By D. in Ballard @ 30:

    Straw man maybe, but you guys do seem to get a great deal of joy from the misfortunes of others. Tell me I’m wrong.

    You’re wrong. I don’t see anyone getting joy out of the misfortunes of others. The thing is many people simply don’t see this as a solution. If it’s such a great solution, why are so many parts of it not going to take effect for years? The reason for that isn’t because time is needed. The reason for that is because it will be a disaster.

    Personally I think both the Dems and Reps make some really bad arguments in this area. And it’s because they are pandering to their constituencies.

  35. 35
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 34:

    By D. in Ballard @ 30:

    Straw man maybe, but you guys do seem to get a great deal of joy from the misfortunes of others. Tell me I’m wrong.

    You’re wrong. I don’t see anyone getting joy out of the misfortunes of others. The thing is many people simply don’t see this as a solution. If it’s such a great solution, why are so many parts of it not going to take effect for years? The reason for that isn’t because time is needed. The reason for that is because it will be a disaster.

    Personally I think both the Dems and Reps make some really bad arguments in this area. And it’s because they are pandering to their constituencies.

    if everything went into effect today they’d say why didn’t they phase it in? why did they just dump radical reform in our laps w/o any planning?

  36. 36
    D. in Ballard says:

    Sorry Kari, I’m a regular reader. I was referring to the joy of seeing people’s values on their homes drop. Apologies if I was vague. So feel free to once again “tell me I’m wrong.”

  37. 37
    The Tim says:

    RE: D. in Ballard @ 36 – There are two possible explanations as to why someone might be happy to see home prices fall:

    1. The joy of seeing home prices return to rational levels that regular people can afford without suicidal financing, so I can buy a home without destroying my financial future.
    2. “The joy of seeing people’s values on their homes drop.”

    I think in the vast majority of cases, it’s #1. I don’t know why you would assume that everyone who is happy about falling prices is motivated by #2.

  38. 38

    RE: pfft @ 35 – How much planning do you need to make preexisting conditions illegal?

    BTW, Washington state tried that before and had to give it up when the last insurer was leaving the state. Maybe this national legislation makes it so that any insurer offering group coverage has to offer individual coverage. And maybe they’re doing something about pregnant women signing up for coverage at 7 months, and then dropping it after giving birth. But whatever they’re doing, why does it need to take so many years to go into effect?

  39. 39
    D. in Ballard says:

    Look, I’ve been patiently waiting out the market for the last two years. This site is a great place keep informed. I too want to see prices drop. I’m just trying to get someone to admit that there is a great deal of schadenfreude on this site. There was some guy you were tracking his house on zillow in a forum. You guys were having fun. And more power to you, he sounds like he was really annoying. But you are deriving pleasure from what may be a pretty tough experience for a lot of home owners out there.

    Anyway, I’m over my initial anger. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything.

  40. 40

    RE: D. in Ballard @ 36 – I can sort of see why someone who didn’t own a home would want prices to drop. The problem is, some of them wanted prices to drop so far that it would have destroyed the entire economy! As it was, they only dropped far enough to threaten the entire economy and put a bunch of people out of work.

  41. 41
    The Tim says:

    By D. in Ballard @ 39:

    There was some guy you were tracking his house on zillow in a forum. You guys were having fun. And more power to you, he sounds like he was really annoying. But you are deriving pleasure from what may be a pretty tough experience for a lot of home owners out there.

    It’s a big jump to go from the back-and-forth that we had with Meshugy (which he most certainly started and encouraged) to a general schadenfreude toward every underwater homeowner.

  42. 42

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 22
    The way I understand it, you and I will no longer be able to continue our high deductible catastrophic coverage. We’ll be required to sign up for ” better” coverage. I’ve got mixed feeling about this. I’ve always felt that a little “tweaking” would be horribly insufficient, and that the insurance companies needed to be reined it. Unfortunately, what passed yesterday almost guarantees the insurance companies profits. Health insurance stocks climbed today.

  43. 43

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 42 – I hope that’s wrong. That’s just moving everyone in the wrong direction, and will make everything much worse.

  44. 44
    Ross says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 43:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 42 – I hope that’s wrong. That’s just moving everyone in the wrong direction, and will make everything much worse.

    Agree.
    I think most people agree the big problem with healthcare in this country is costs. Unfortunately, this bill does not much to address costs. There’s a bit of hand waving to the effect of …our larger economies of scale should lead to efficiencies and lower costs… (It’s a semi plausible argument, except for the fact that its being made by an organization with a poor record for efficiency). So for now, this bill is really about moving towards a single payer solution (not necessarily a bad thing) and perhaps solving a couple of problems with the existing system (i.e. pre-conditions and insurance). I’d like to be idealist and hope both parties can now work on the cost part of the equation — but that seems pretty far fetched and unlikely.

  45. 45
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: D. in Ballard @ 39 – Oh man, you are not really using Meshugy as an example, are you? You really need to do yourself a favor and spend some time in the archives. Even he would admit he had it coming. That being said, the jabs were almost always good-natured – in both directions.

  46. 46
    Daniel says:

    I have to admit that whole health care debate was amusing to me and my popcorn consumption will probably hit a yearly low soon. Having lived in different countries with vastly different systems, experiencing all of them first hand, there is no question for me what type of system to prefer. I keep this vague cause details quite often just result in name calling by people who never left North America, cannot find either of Italy/Japan/Brazil on a map but are entirely convinced that anything strange to them surely has to be the devils work, or worse: the ideas of a socialist =)

    Edit: Just to clarify, I was not living in those specific countries but just picked them randomly.

  47. 47
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Daniel @ 46

    Japan actually has pretty good health care at very reasonable prices, typically provided by neighborhood doctors who handle most of the everyday stuff very efficiently. It is mostly private in nature. They also have almost no lawyers. What a concept.

  48. 48

    RE: Daniel @ 46 – It’s not the system that bothers me. It the fact that to try to fix the system they are expanding on the reason that it’s broken. It’s like drilling holes in a boat that is sinking!

  49. 49
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 47:

    RE: Daniel @ 46

    Japan actually has pretty good health care at very reasonable prices, typically provided by neighborhood doctors who handle most of the everyday stuff very efficiently. It is mostly private in nature. They also have almost no lawyers. What a concept.

    maybe not the best source but it basically contradicts what you said.

    “Japan provides healthcare services, including screening examinations for particular diseases at no direct cost to the patient, prenatal care, and infectious disease control, are provided by national and local governments. Payment for personal medical services is offered through a universal health care insurance system that provides relative equality of access, with fees set by a government committee. People without insurance through employers can participate in a national health insurance program administered by local governments.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_system_in_Japan

  50. 50
    Daniel says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 47 – As far as private, public or mixed models go I actually think all three _can_ work, provided they incorporate reasonable legal provisions to avoid abuse by the parties involved. This includes avoiding government abuse in public systems. I personally grew up in a mixed system where both public insurance (administered in a somewhat government independent way by not-for profit insurances) and private insurance (usually offering more extensive plans at a higher cost) was available.

  51. 51
    HappyRenter says:

    RE: Daniel @ 50

    Sounds like Germany! Sorry. Wasn’t that kind of Obama’s original idea?

  52. 52
    corncob says:

    By pfft @ 49:

    … with fees set by a government committee.

    DEATH PANELS!

  53. 53
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 49

    I don’t see the contradiction. Medical care for small issues is so cheap and readily available that most people just go down the street and pay for it, kind of like getting the oil changed in your car. Yes, for major operations, etc., there is a mix of insurance plans available. The point is it’s a very different environment with different expectations and different costs and controls.

  54. 54
    Herman says:

    RE: The Tim @ 41 – I, for one, have experienced great joy and validation at seeing home values drop and personal finances ruined. Especially for those who overextended themselves in the name of greed.

    I say this as a homeowner who has lost tens of thousands from my personal balance sheet.

    I just think we all need to learn a lesson.

  55. 55
    Herman says:

    In other news, I’m sort of pleased to see this health care bill pass. I don’t really understand it, but someone implied the gist of it to me and it sounds like I can get free health care now.

    Free, as long as I stop working, so you can subsidize it for me.

    I’ve been looking ahead at retirement when I can live off my savings while posting a small interest/dividend income. I’d been worried about the cost of health care so I had to extend my planned work years out, now I don’t. With this subsidy in place I should be able to stop working within a few years. Hopefully right about the time Obama targets me for earning $200k+ I can drop out of the workforce.

    I mean, there’s no sense working to pay for something that I can get for free as long as I don’t. You won’t miss my tax revenues, will you?

  56. 56
    Mikal says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 53 – What in particular is reasonable for cost? We have the best health care the world that few can afford. If it was so good we wouldn’t be ranked 37th by WHO.

  57. 57
    David Losh says:

    Let me belabor this point some more. The way we pay for Health Care is the issue. Insurance has gotten out of control in every aspect of our lives.

    Insurance creates profits by being the middle people, the pool of funds, the guarantee to pay. Like in Housing Development there is no down side. If things go wrong the Corporation goes bankrupt. While the company is selling the promised product the money keeps rolling in.

    Auto Insurers demand product enhancements to make paying claims more homogeneous. The crumple panels, and plastic bumpers are the best examples. Home Insurers want larger amounts of coverage for replacement costs, water tank tie downs, earth quake fittings, expanded flood plain coverage, hurricane, and hazard assurances.

    We all pay more to get less from insurance.

    The difference is that our Health is different than our stuff. I personally don’t trust our corporate America business models with my Health. I do trust our government as the best form of government in the world. I know Medicare, VA, and Medicaid work. I know if more funds were directed at those programs they would better monitor themselves to find fraud.

    If we were really serious about caring for the people on this country we would look at Health Care as a war. We would do whatever it takes to win it.

    The best part about this war is that it would be fought within our boders for the benefit of the people. Unlike our wars on drugs, and terror, where we go out into the world to force our standards on people, we could expand on programs we have in place to make them work better.

  58. 58
    willcasp says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 42

    Ira, I am not so sure. The way I understand it, if you consider that 95-95% of tax filers earn less than $100,000 per year, and pre-existing conditions will eventually be covered by guarantee; it will make sense for most people to pay the penalties, and then only purchase insurance when they actually need it. Why not, they will get it?!

    I think that this is the worst case scenario for the insurance companies, but the economics of the bill make this the logical thing to do for a significant majority of the population!

  59. 59
    Scotsman says:

    Now that the bill is passed, we finally get to read it. What a surprise to discover that congress has exempted large blocks of staffers, etc. from having to participate in this fine program. I guess it’s another case of it’s good enough for us, but not for them. Sweet!

  60. 60

    RE: Scotsman @ 59

    How Much Will the Mandatory Health Insurance Cost Americans?

    $500/mo? $1000/mo? No one knows yet. Remember too, the pre-existing condition is moot, meaning more costs will be shouldered and dreaming health insurance premiums under health care reform will decrease is a pipe dream?

    What’s the fine or jail time if you don’t pay for it?

    On expanded Medicaid [that only pays about 20-30% of the actual medical expenses] to the poor, how will that not bankrupt hospitals who currently service Medicaid patients and will all providers [like Walgreens] suddenly stop taking Medicaid patients with the horrifying increase of this type of patient?

    Lord only knows Scotsman. The bottom line: you don’t get health care “Money for Nothing”….there’s likely gonna be huge health care services degradation [IMO] and/or massive taxes, premium increases; keeping health care wages static as the unknown effects of the unknown bill unfolds in the next 3 years.

  61. 61
  62. 62
    Cheap South says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGi_wGs43GE

    This guy will be apologizing to Rush before the week is over.

  63. 63
    pfft says:

    By softwarengineer @ 60:

    RE: Scotsman @ 59

    How Much Will the Mandatory Health Insurance Cost Americans?

    $500/mo? $1000/mo? No one knows yet. Remember too, the pre-existing condition is moot, meaning more costs will be shouldered and dreaming health insurance premiums under health care reform will decrease is a pipe dream?

    What’s the fine or jail time if you don’t pay for it?

    On expanded Medicaid [that only pays about 20-30% of the actual medical expenses] to the poor, how will that not bankrupt hospitals who currently service Medicaid patients and will all providers [like Walgreens] suddenly stop taking Medicaid patients with the horrifying increase of this type of patient?

    Lord only knows Scotsman. The bottom line: you don’t get health care “Money for Nothing”….there’s likely gonna be huge health care services degradation [IMO] and/or massive taxes, premium increases; keeping health care wages static as the unknown effects of the unknown bill unfolds in the next 3 years.

    you sure have a lot of specific problems against an “unknown” bill.

  64. 64
    Scotsman says:

    Sheesh- didn’t they just raise the debt limit? Now they’ll need to do it again? From zerohedge:

    “We have added $223 billion of debt in the last three weeks, and $755 billion in just 5 months. As a reminder, the debt limit is $14.3 trillion. We are $1.7 trillion away from the limit. At March’s run-rate of about $300 billion per month, the debt ceiling will be breached by October 2010. If somehow the government manages to reduce the monthly issuance to “just” $200 billion, we have eight and a half months until breach, or January 2011.”

  65. 65
    Mikal says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 64 – What kind of shape would we be in if the Bush tax cuts had never happened? They were passed by parlimentary procedure has this new health care bill is being passed.

Leave a Reply

Use your email address to sign up with Gravatar for a custom avatar.
Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Please read the rules before posting a comment.