Photo credit: @julesdwit.
A not-for-profit media organization supported by people like you.
I’m excited to see all these responses! As I stated in my interview, I encourage everyone to share examples from their own experiences with health care with their elected officials. Constituents of my district can contact our office at 718-287-1142.
Jerry Cohen:The US Postal Service is now privately owned. That said, the best example right now of a well-run public plan is the VA. They do not pay for more expensive drugs or procedures unless there is proof of greater value. I agree with you about the sorry state of snack foods.
HMS:Hopefully no one here is calling reform "free." If you look at the aggregate, the US pays far more than any other country for health care, yet is 37th in patient outcomes. France and the others are doing something better than we are. Vis-a-vis the CBO, you might check out Peter Orzsag's blog. He is now at the Office of Budget and Management, but he used to head the CBO and in that capacity wrote hundreds of pages about health care and its costs. Pay closer attention to the "plans" and to who is actually talking about them rather than the rhetoric.
HJS: Whatever is the case at the moment, the proposals I've seen so far appear set to provide a somewhat wider group slightly more at the cost of wholesale mortgaging our future. This is not simply my opinion; check out what the CBO has to say about the economics of every single proposal they've looked at thus far. IMO, the various "plans" so far are a kind of Hail-Mary pass at healthcare reform, held together by wishful thinking and by lobbyists for the hospitals, MDs and drug companies. I want lots better, more carefully thought out over a reasonable period of time.
HMI we pay more and get less. now that's the bottom line, right?
I've had health care in France and in Italy, on all occasions "free." But anyone who thinks, as do some here, that the French system is some model enterprise—well, they need to do some homework. First of all, they need to tell us just what percentage of an average worker's paycheck that "free" system absorbs—something approaching 50% will be in the ballpark. Then, they need to find out how well France is coping with the ever-increasing costs of this system (along with their unemployment compensation, daycare and oh-so-many other benefits in their "European Model"). In a nutshell, the system looks great from outside, worked well for a few decades, and is now in a world of trouble, thanks to France's declining birthrate (among other issues). I vote for importing their cheeses and leaving their economics strictly alone.
I listened to Congresswoman Clarke's comments pretty carefully this morning while driving to work. I grew up in Brooklyn and believe the old line - " You can take the boy out of Brooklyn but...you can't take the Brooklyn out of the boy" I hope one day to locate back in Brooklyn. Anyway, the congresswoman stated quite emphatically that she would not sign any bill that would not include a public option. I have heard many people who should no better express these feelings. If a public option is such an effective and efficient way to do things how come the US Postal Service is running a $ 2.5 billion dollar deficit over a 3 month period and UPS and Fedex seem to be profitable? Even with all the advantages of government backing the Post Office has major problems. In NY working individuals and small businesses including sole proprietors can obtain health insurance through the Healthy NY insurance program. All carriers doing business in NY participate - the plans are government designed and are offered at substantially lower rates than non government plans. Many healthy individuals choose not to participate even though this program is available because they would rather spend the premium dollars on other things and take their chances with medical catastrophe. I went to the Yankee game last night. In a stadium paid for largely with public money the only remotely healthy items to buy to eat were peanuts and pop corn. The other items were all loaded with grease; fat; salt; and God knows what else. The food at Giant stadium was even worse. I am really getting tired hearing about how obesity is a problem in this country directly impacting our medical system. There were almost 50,000 people at the stadium last night - many of them children.
Ed:I think that the pro-life movement is a problematic source for the 300,000 number. Is there a non-partisan source for the number?
I think it is also a stretch to assume that the bill would lead to the building of clinics in the 85% counties that you cite. What is your source for that info?
gary:I will take a look at Section 1233. The bill is daunting, some 1,000 pages long.
An honest look at the House Dems' end-of-life counseling regimeAugust 8, 2009Democratic politicians and the MSM consider it a given that concerns about the "end-of-life counseling" provision in Secion 1233 of a House-drafted version of health care legislation are nothing but the unfounded product of right-wing fear-mongering. But Charles Lane of the Washington Post, certainly no right-winger, has taken a careful look at Section 1233 and finds that he too is concerned.
Also, 85% of counties in the US don't have abortion clinics, this bill would lead them to build clinics in these counties, bailing out Planned Parenthood, whom President Obama owes.
The 300,000 number is estimated by the pro-life movement from what happens when these laws are added or repealed. It's a lot.
Jawbone:I am sympathetic to your situation, especially with the burden of the pre-existing condition. The premium rates for individual or small-group policies rise at a much faster rate than large groups, and yes, 17% is a not bad figure. Pretty scary.You have to be careful with the PNHP figures. The 30% of total costs that they assign to administrative costs and profits reflects not just what the insurance companies are paying but also the self-reported hours that doctors spend doing paperwork. Also, nursing homes and pharmaceuticals are cut out of the total pie with these figures, so that skews them. If we manage to eliminate unnecessary, redundant and unproven treatments, we can save $700 billion a year. Now that is real money, almost a third of what we spend, plus the quality of care would rise.
Ed H.I hear what you are saying about federal funding, but where do you get the 300,000 number?This is a problem, obviously for people who pay taxes and don't want to fund abortion. I have the same problem paying my taxes which fund the death machine part of the Pentagon.
The proposed bills would expand abortion because: it would make abortion part of the core health care. Then, the parental notification laws, waiting periods, and discussion would be eliminated, and it would be federally funded (the Hyde Amendment repealed). These changes would increase the number of abortions by 300,000 per year, they call it the Planned Parenthood bailout bill.
Good points made by Tracy from NJ.
#26-- I somehow deleted the line about Obama hoping that increases can be held down to 50-70%, not 100%.
And good luck just having increases go up 100%!
The scariest thing is that Obama has said that he hopes health insurance reform will slow the increase in premium costs (does he include co-pays and deductibles in that?); he argues that without his reform plan premiums will increase 100% in the next 10 years.
Will they "only" increase 50-70%? My individual plan's increases have been about 15-18% each year. How will the parasites maintain their profitability? Demial of care? Higher premiums than predicted? Gotchas? The mandate to buy insurance will initially bring them more customers, but will they feel they need to push those really needing coverage into the little public option? A form of cream skimming, cherry picking?
My parasite's premiums for the plan I had last year went up to $20,140 for the year, only 17%. But, wow, 17% of my rates are a lot of money. Which I can in no way afford. I found through the NJ Insurance Commission that my parasite also offered a higher co-pay, much higher deductible for just over $12,500 a year. Which I took. Until I get on Medicare, I can't leave my parasite and I can't even more out of its coverage area as I have a chronic, although considered "good," cancer.
According to Dr. David Himmelstein of Harvard and PNHP.org, single payer would save $350-$400 Billion per year -- $350 to $400 Trillion over 10 years. That would cover everyone with comprehensive insurance, from day one, dollar one -- no co-pays, no deductibles, no denial of care, no crazy quilt of rules and regulations.
We can't afford to NOT have Medicare for All single payer.
Hugh:Good point, France is another example of another country that does not have single payer, yet has a system that works very well and no one goes bankrupt. We should be studying all of these other systems instead of screaming irrationalities about euthanasia, rationing and socialism.
I agree that the profit-driven system we have now is not working, however, for the sake of quieting some of the arguments it might be worthwhile to look not only at the British and Canadian single-payer systems, but also at the Swiss, Japanese and German systems, where everyone is required to purchase insurance, but the cost of treatments is controlled and the insurance is affordable and no one goes into bankruptcy because of health care costs.
Tracy from nj:I have the same questions you do about the cost to a family of this new pubic option. If we don't do something to rein in runaway costs caused by too much overtreatment and unproven treatment, any public option including single payer would go bankrupt quickly.
If you look at the $2.3 trillion pie chart, private health insurance adminstrative costs and profits only add up to 7% of the pie. This is probably not money well spent but it is not enough to cover all the uninsured, particularly when you factor in the increased cost of those 50 million people seeking care.
Yes Steve Mark 15, The Nazis also used thugs to disrupt meetings. For me the American Republican Party is nothing less then a crypto Fascist “White” Party masquerading as conservative.
The caller is right: Show the inefficiency of this current privatized, rationed (by high costs), exclusive, unequally run health care system.
@ Ed  - Prove that any of the 3 or 4 undecided upon health care bills will create a greater expansion of abortion since the advent of Roe v. Wade.
No one knows what the bill will be, so I have chalk your statement up to misinformed fear-mongering.
clamp down host! ur letting ur guests/callers run roughshod over you! what they're saying isn't even that interesting!
The insurance industry is counting on the media to be myopic. They can stage these town hall confrontations knowing that they will occupy available news air time or space rather than a thoughtful examination of the issues.
We're no longer a knowledgeable electorate and our democracy is therefore doomed.
France has GREAT health care (which is why right-wing morons never mention France) has a hybrid system of public care, private care and very tight regulation.
It works very well.
But, for all the problems abroad, I have NEVER had the problems I have in the US. I have had to see doctors in Italy, Britain and Argentina in the course of my travels. I got care every time, no problem.
EVEN THOUGH I PAY $!0 THOUSAND per year here in the US, I effectively do not have health care from Empire BlueCross BlueShield.
Why aren't insurers who deny claims in life threatening cases charged with attempted murder - or actual murder?
I am also in Congresswoman Clarke's district and support single payer - I would urge my congresswoman to push harder for the greater reforms that she and many of her constituents believe are necessary to meaningfully change the status quo.
Although I believe that it would benefit our nation greatly if affordable healthcare was available to everybody, it seems that we are going about it all wrong, adding layers and layers of cost and beaurocracy for the reason of centralized control (via Federal oversight or large HMO providers). It seems that localizing healthcare, and cutting the number of channels that anyone desiring service has to go through, would be more efficient, costing taxpayers less, and bring accountability back on doctors and patients, which are really the only members of this process that matter.
Those of us who are lucky enough to have an employer offered health insurance plan (of which there is NO choice in what type of plan or from which insurer, mind you) are only one layoff away from losing health insurance. And in the current economic climate, we're all at risk. Come one people. We're all in this together.
Thugs and mobs? One party's constituency is another party's thugs -- Acorn is no different than the "angry mobs." So were the Sons of Liberty to the British.
Hi--I am in Congresswoman Clark's district. In response to the gentleman who called: were health care more readily available, more affordable to all, there would be much less abuse. Where there is so much profit to be gained, there will be more gaming the system.
I would also like to encourage Mrs. Clark in her firm resolve on the public component to health care. I am very distressed that this might disappear in the end.
I am big supporter of reform, but not really comfortable with bills put forth. Can you provide:
Estimate of cost for family four for comprehensive insurance under either exchange or public option?
Comparison of deficit provided by CBO under these proposals versus deficit if nothing is done? (I assume the latter will be high as well - but noone is making that comparison(
The administrative costs and profits for insurance companies (salaties, bonuses, advertising and reserves) are enough to cover almost all health care costs. Why do we need for profit insurance?
Finally, why is health care NOT a basic right like education? Can't those of us (myself included) who want premier insurance purchase a supplemental policy above basic one provided for all by government? (as in paying for private ed) Why must this be deficit neutral as opposed to all other spending? Should we raise taxes for each military expenditure? Why didn't we raise taxes to fund our wars??
Please ask for a definition of good public option!
What we need?
Medicare for All...the bailout for the rest of us.
What a Festivus that would be!
ed Helmrich GOOD, i'll have two please!
Hear, hear, Congresswoman Clarke and the Progressive Caucus! If there's no public option, vote NO! Please stand firm on this on this principle.
I'm in Yvette Clarke's district and support single payer. I'm self-employed and because I was underinsured, I'm still paying off medical bills from 2007. Anyone who calls herself a "progressive Democrat" should support single payer, and single payer only. This whole "debate" is a disgrace.
Medicare for All -- It's the bailout for the rest of us!
Amazing that trillions can go to banksters, but considering $1 to $1.5 Trillion **over 10 years** to preserve and protect the health of Americans? Ooooh! Too expensive!
A weak public plan will not do much to "compete" with the Big Insurance Parasites (BIPs). BIPs have already driven small health cooperatives out of business (many started up during the 70's; less than a hundred remain and, per Sen. Jay Rockefeller, only two are licensed!) and have in most areas establish monopolies or duopolies.
We're one nation -- we need universal single payer type health CARE. Not another opportunity for the parasites to feed on the body politic.
Medicare for All...with a Robust Private Option!
What angers me is seeing Republican thugs disrupting town hall meetings. What is outrages is the fact that the Republican Party, in order to make political gain, will deny millions of Americans affordable health insurance and medical treatment.Indeed within 5 years many companies will no longer offer a health plans for their employees.
2. I have been unemployed for over 18 months. I am self-employed and I am going completely broke because there is absolutely no safety net for freelancers like me. There are hundreds of thousands -- indeed, millions -- of temp and self-employed people like me. Not included in unemployment figures. Not considered at all in the political realm.
Before we get to economics, the health care bill is still be the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade. Do we really want this?
The fact that there is disagreement over the need for health care reform is insane and shameful. For the wealthiest country on the planet to not provide some form of broad-based public coverage for its citizens puts us behind Bangladesh and Peru. We need to get over our prosaic fear of higher taxes and realize we are all going to have to share the burden to finance this thing.
I can't get through on the phone at all -- busy signal. I am a constituent.
Brava Congresswoman Clarke and the Progressive Caucus!
1. Health insurers are the problem.
I pay over $10 THOUSAND per year for Empire BlueCross BlueShield. They have denied EVERY CLAIM I have ever made. Everyone. I have appealed every denial. Each denial was overturned when it went to the state.
How does Ms. Clark see Healthcare working if there is just better Competition - as if life & death respond to the laws of Supply and Demand? Is there a limit that anyone is willing to pay to save the life of a loved one? Why not make all Healthcare not-for-profit? Is there any good reason that investors should make a profit on our lives?
"Keep your goddamn government hands off my medicare!" - a classic GOP quote
Email addresses are required but never displayed.
Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
Subscribe on iTunes
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR and PRI, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.