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NY Times Editorial on the Passage of the Health Care Bill

By JLP | March 25, 2010

I was out of town for the first part of the week. I went to San Antonio for a few days with the family. I was there when the health care bill passed. I picked up a copy of the NY Times (the official paper of the left) on Monday, which contained an editorial praising the bill’s passage.

Although the entire editorial made me angry, this particular part really made me scratch my head:

Just as Social Security grew from a modest start in 1935 to become a bedrock of the nation’s retirement system, this is a start on health care reform, not the end.

The NY Times makes it sound as if social security has been a success. It’s a real shame when social security is considered a “bedrock of the nation’s retirement system.”

Lastly, I want someone to explain to me how this bill is going to cut costs? I see it mentioned time and time again and have yet to see HOW this is supposed to cut costs. I’m telling you right now: this bill WILL NOT cut health care costs.

Topics: Miscellaneous | 29 Comments »


29 Responses to “NY Times Editorial on the Passage of the Health Care Bill”

  1. Ron Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I heard my congressman (who ended up voting AGAINST the bill) say that this bill would

    1. cut health care prices
    2. improve quality
    3. provide better service

    Working in business for over 30 years, I can tell you that you can’t accomplish all three.

  2. JT Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Agreed.

    I try to be as objective as possible when it comes to evaluating both Democrat and Republican propositions, and I hate to say it, but there is almost nothing good in this bill.

    The only thing that I saw that I did like was the fact that health insurance companies will be required to show where your premiums are going. In other words, how much is going to actually pay for health care costs vs how much is going to pay for administrative costs. More information is a good thing here.

    However, that tiny, tiny good is easily overshadowed by 2,000+ pages of horrible ideas.

  3. BD Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    And here I thought the New York Times was the official paper of New York. Silly me.

  4. Courtney Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I think the idea is that giving people to access to preventative care is cheaper, in the long run, than having them show up in the ER with complications due to chronic untreated conditions and the ER cannot ethically refuse treatment regardless of ability to pay. There was a case in my state several years ago where a boy had a tooth infection, which could have been prevented by some $100 annual dental exams that his mother couldn’t afford. Instead, the infection progressed and ended up first in his bloodstream and then in his brain, and after $100K of hospital intervention he died anyways. Which is a better use of my tax dollars?

  5. BD Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    One clear and simple way this will cut costs is reducing the subsidy the federal government currently pays to insurance companies who offer Medicare Advantage plans. (Right now, the same company in the same region is paid more for an Advantage member than a regular member). Those subsidies were initially offered because Congress wasn’t sure if there would be enough seniors interested in the Advantage plans to be commercially viable. It turned out there were, and the subsidies weren’t needed, but it’s taken years to have them dialed back.

  6. JLP Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    The editorials are clearly to the left. That’s all I’m saying.

  7. Dan Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    The worst part about the bill is the ban on insurance companies refusing to provide coverage for children on the basis of pre-existing conditions. Parents need to take Personal Responsibility for the health and well-being of their offspring. This includes building a time machine and traveling to the future to find out if their kid gets sick or not, and if they do get sick, coming back to the present and not having them in the first place. I’m so tired of paying for other people’s mistakes! Society as a whole only receives maximum benefits when I have the maximum number of dollars in my wallet in the short term.

  8. Andrew Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I am not making the claim that this bill will have a net negative effect on cost. It does have the potential to cut certain costs.
    Being uninsured often causes inefficiencies:
    The uninsured go to the ER because it is the only section that will not refuse them. This bill may eventually go unpaid and is passed onto paying customers.
    If anyone else has ideas. I would be interested to hear them.

  9. JLP Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Cute, Dan.

  10. John Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    How can you say that Social Security has not been a success? Millions of Americans have been able to survive in retirement because of this program. Just because the politicians have stolen the money over the years, you cannot blame the program.

    As far as the health care program, many people are against it because the taxes that are included are finally reversing the cuts that were given to the wealthy starting back with Reagan when he cut the top rate from 70% to 28%. The 3.8% tax on unearned income will make up for the cuts in the income tax rates that the wealthy have enjoyed for over 25 years.

  11. JLP Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Social Security could have been a success had it stuck with its modest beginnings and not been allowed to be taken over by politicians who continued to broaden its use in order to buy votes.

    When I look at the amount that my wife and I are paying into the system and the benefits we “might” recieve, I have to say that the program is not success.

  12. Retiredat40 Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    That’s a good point. The problem with this bill is that it is a Republican designed plan modeled after the Romney and 1994 Republican plan. So naturally it is not going to cut costs because it is a subsidy to the insurance industry.

    We can always pay for it with a tax cut.

  13. Ron Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Retiredat40 — now that’s funny. Blaming Republicans for the passage of the health care bill that was passed by a partisan majority of Democrats and ZERO Republicans. You people are a laugh a minute.

    Someone tell me how changing the AGI requirement for the deductibility of health care expenses from 7.5 to 10 percent helps anyone?

    For the same price (probably less) the feds could’ve bought each of those 32 million without insurance a BCBS policy for about $3,000.

  14. Retiredat40 Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Ron, you really should pay more attention. I didn’t say blame the Republicans for its passage. I said it was a lousy plan because it was designed by Republicans.

    Take a look at the Romney plan and the Obama plan and see how many differences you can find. Better get out your microscope.

  15. Kirk Kinder Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    The plan will have massive unintended consequences. Already, CFOs at corporations are running the numbers. Many are finding they are better off dumping health insurance plans and paying the fine. Imagine if hundreds of companies do this.

    Second, the $695 penalty for a single person is nothing compared to the cost of a policy. Why would a single person pay $1,200 or more for insurance when they can pay $695. And, if they get sick, the new law mandates no one can be refused for prior conditions. You get cancer then you just buy the guaranteed insurance.

    Also, the cost neutral or savings is malarky. Medicare has cost 9 times the initial estimates. Even if this plan costs twice the estimate, we will be looking at another trillion dollar debt.

    Reform will only happen when the patient becomes the consumer. Right now, we have no reason to question costs or procedures because we don’t pay for it out of pocket. If we all had to fulfill a $2,000 deductible, then you can be sure we would become smarter shoppers. I have an HSA, and we use minute clinics, generic drugs, refuse unnecessary treatments, and question the doctor on everything. These cost efficiencies would appear if everyone had to pay themselves.

  16. Jon Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    The only cure for the high cost medical care is the free market. The government has over regulated the industry for many years now and the supposed cure for it is more government. Time to get rid of licensing, government subsidies, etc. The only thing that the government should be doing with medical care is making sure both parties keep to the contract signed and help resolve any disputes!

  17. Stacey Says:
    March 26th, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Who is going to be stupid enough to choose to work anymore? Live in the US and you too can have:

    Free/subsidized housing
    Food Stamps
    Health insurance
    Free public education

    Have a little cash-based business on the side and you’re good to go! Arbitrage at its best… A/K/A having your cake and eating it, too.

    We the taxpaying suckers now have been burdened with providing even more basic needs–yes, to those truly in need PLUS to millions of people who need to get their crap together and stop nursing from the national t!t. (Sorry JLP, but the imagery fits and I did try to disguise it!)

    So for years of education/vocational training and their associated costs/opportunity costs, countless hours aways from spouses, children, stressful commutes, etc. we are now unjustly taxed for the millions of people who couldn’t find a way to take care of themselves. Meanwhile ‘high-income wage earners’ again get hosed b/c they’re “rich”–higher medicare % on earnings, higher inc tax on interest and dividends, still no chance in hell of ever deducting medical expenses b/c of the increased AGI threshold short of a catastrophic illness, etc.

    Despite ALL the drawbacks to this crappy law, I am happy for the poor souls w/preexisting conditions who have been stuck between a rock and a hardplace. But the hard-core Republican/Libertarian in me is fuming b/c the government is going to botch this up, and botch it up good. Hell we can’t even keep terrorists off planes when they basically have flashing neon lights by their names on watch lists. Do you really think this healthcare program is going to be administered well?

    And re: the point above about the penalty being cheaper than the insurance–so where are they going to go for treatment? Yes, the ER. So won’t we be back where we frickin’ started?

    Does anyone know how these “penalties” will be extracted from people who don’t sign up for insurance? If they make so little that they are not completing a tax return are bounty hunters going to track them? Are we going to garnish their nonexistent wages? Throw them into our imaginery debtors’ prison? Heck we can’t even find/arrest/stop the marijuana growers in the National Parks! Here’s a tip boys: use infrared from your helicopters and shoot at anything that shouldn’t be in certain isolated areas.

    Don’t even get me started on the higher education changes coming down the road w/increased Federal $ to “select” students/schools. When can one just be judged for WHAT they know and nothing else?

    I’m all for the beatitudes (When I was thirsty, you gave me to drink, etc.) but we are frickin’ ENABLING OUR CITIZENS (COMRADES?) TO BE UNDERACHIEVERS. Where’s our national expectation of accountability and yes, PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY?

  18. BG Says:
    March 26th, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Great rant Stacey!

    FYI: I think the cost estimates (‘savings’) is because the bill is practically nothing but a tax increase for the first four years….

  19. JT Says:
    March 26th, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Kirk Kinder,

    I swear, you are my long lost twin. I couldn’t have said it better.

    JLP,

    Yes, the NYT leans to the left. But the right has Beck, Rush, Hannity, O’Reilly, and everyone else at Fox News. TV, and media in general, has a very polarizing effect on political views. Best to stay away from all of it and find international sources and/or information online where one can get a more full spectrum instead of the edges.

    Stacey,

    It’s pretty obvious you’re just a little fed up! :)

    I think that we all need to be realistic when it comes to health care. Yeah, it would be great if we had endless resources so we could let old Mr. Jones live 6 more months with his terminal illness. However, we live in a world of finite resources, and if it’s going to cost $100,000 just so he gets 6 more months of time on Earth, then someone has simply got to say no.

    We cannot and will not pay that much money out of a public fund for him. If Mr. Jones has his own money that he wants to put up for the operation, then all the power and luck to him. But we cannot let the privileged seniors take more out of this system then they put in, only to shoulder the cost on their grandchildren. It simply is not sustainable.

    We need real solutions to this debacle and that involves allowing for medication to be purchased across country borders. There is no reason the US should subsidize the rest of the world by paying high drug prices at home while other countries get them for a fraction of the cost.

    We also need to allow the purchase of health care plans across state boundaries. Allowing state specific plans allow insurance companies to profile states and geographic regions, potentially offering worse plans for areas where people are at a higher risk.

    And there should not be a difference in drug cost between an uninsured individual and an insured one. Medicare costs are artificially low, subsidized by higher prices paid by those without the government plan.

    Finally, legalize cannabis. I don’t understand why people are so against this plant. It has proven medicinal use, it’s entirely more safe than alcohol and tobacco, and might just cause us all to relax a little bit and stop the partisan fighting.

  20. Jade Says:
    March 26th, 2010 at 11:38 am

    The next item on tap is to offer amnesty to illegal aliens who will then automatically have access to benefits.

  21. Stacey Says:
    March 26th, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    BG, Ranting is the thing I do 2nd best ;)

  22. David M Says:
    March 27th, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Social Security has been an ABSOLUTE SUCESSS!!!!!

    I’m way down on this thread and thus not many people will read.

    It was set up to ensure that people would not be destitute in there old age – has it done that absolutely.

    I wish all that are against Social Security, long, happy and healthy lives.

    However, just image having 2 young children and dieing at 25 years old. Would you be happy that your wife and kids would have money to pay there bills?

    Or imagine getting stricken with a disease at 30 years old that makes it impossible to work.

    Try not thinking of Social Security as an investment, trying thinking of it as an insurance policy.

    Why do I feel this way. Well my father died when I was 4 months old and I was the youngest of 9 children. Did we live a life of luxery when I was a child – absolutely not. However, we had a dry and warm (not hot as Social Security does not pay that much) place to sleep and we had food on the table.

  23. Brendan Says:
    March 28th, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    I have lived in Ireland and New Zealand, and we look in wounder at the fact that people in the USA have to pay to get healthcare. In the rest of the developed world we consider it a right to get decent healthcare without major cost. The only other developed country that makes you pay for healthcare is Singapore (and even then they price control, have government subsidys and mandatory savings)

    You say that in socialized medicine that there is rationing, yet you have insurance companies rationing out healthcare in the US. (it is called only insuring the healthy people, or cutting of cover if they spend to much)

    Any person no matter how sick they are can buy heath insurance in Ireland and will pay not extra in premium because of their risk. (I pay €30.90 a month for additional health insurance). And even without insurance you will still get care.

    I know that if I get sick I do not have to worry about the bill, I just go and get treatment, I may have to wait a while(that is why I have some cheap insurance to get me to the front of the que) but that is well worth it.

    You Americans need to grow up and stop being scared of Socialized Medicine (you are not getting it anyway only mandatory insurance requirements).

    You will hate these reforms now but in a few years time you will be wondering why they did not arrive earlier. You just go and ask a British National to get rid of the NHS.

    If your system is so great why is poor Cuba got a healthcare system of similar quality to yours?

  24. BG Says:
    March 29th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    #22 David) spot on! SS is a life-saver for those who truly need it. That’s why I advocate a means-test for retirement benefits to save the program.

    #23 Brendan) Even the people in European (socialized medicine) countries are paying for health-care one way or the other. In fact, a lot of medical care is subsidized to some extent in the us. We have Medicare for the elderly, and Medicaid for the poor. People argue that these programs are financial failures, but refuse to see that these programs are insuring people that normal insurance companies would not. The government is insuring the sickest, while the private health insurance companies are insuring the healthiest.

    Regardless, it’s hard to deny the fact that healthcare, overall, costs more (for what you get) in the US, compared to European countries — which is why I think some kind of reform is needed — just not sure what that is.

    There is truly a lot of waste in the system we currently have setup, that’s why I order US-made prescription meds through Canada…

  25. JLP Says:
    March 29th, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    BG (#24) wrote:

    “That’s why I advocate a means-test for retirement benefits to save the program.”

    I would ONLY advocate something like this if the social security tax rate declined substantially. Otherwise, NO.

  26. BG Says:
    March 30th, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    #25 JLP) actually, I’d rather eliminate the SS tax completely, fund the entire program through normal income taxes — it would get rid of the idea that you are somehow paying into a private account (which you are not).

    Doing that would change the tax-rate from 15% on $106k, to be something more like 2% income-tax rate increase: on ALL income.

    Make the entire program similar to food stamps / welfare (which is would be with a means-test). So I agree, if there were to be a means-test, there would also need to be a drastic change in how the program is taxed/funded.

  27. kitty Says:
    March 31st, 2010 at 11:52 am

    I am in a wait-and-see camp, although I’d imagine my costs will go up no matter what….

    Some people above mentioned expensive treatments that can only gain a few months of life. Having a mother with stage 4 lung cancer (before anybody talks about “power of prevention” – my mother is a life-long non-smoker from a never-smoking family), gave me some perspective about these new treatments that can only gain a few months of life, so I’d like to share this perspective:

    1. These “6 months” or “2 months” is an average. With any treatment for diseases like cancer there are people who don’t respond at all – often the majority – there are people who get bad side effects and die sooner, but there are people who benefit tremendously. In some cases, these rare people go into complete remission or gain as much as 5 years of good quality life.

    2. These treatments may only prolong life for 2 months now (on the average), but they are small steps on the way to better treatments in future; they offer insight about how responds and who doesn’t, people with which cell characteristics are more likely to respond, why people stop responding and how to prolong the time people are responding, etc.. Some newer treatments may not appear to be much better, but they have fewer side effects which is important. More recent research involves finding mutations first and then creating drugs that target only those with these mutations. Some of this data only becomes available after the drug gets taken by more people i.e. after it is approved. I can give you specific examples from my own experience, but I don’t have time now. If you stop paying for these treatments, there will be little or no incentive for the pharmaceutical companies to do research. Also, with diseases like cancer, even if young people get it too, the majority of the patients are the elderly; so if you start talking about age, you’d eliminate the vast majority of patients.

    4. With older people, getting treatment in some cases may actually mean improvement in quality of life during last few months or just prolonging a tolerable life until one dies from something else e.g. heart attack which is a whole lot less painful. Theory is great, but would you deny the chance of being comfortable with new treatment that stops cancer for a little bit to your relative if faced with slow painful decline? I do agree that in some cases, treatments just prolong suffering, and one just needs to say enough. But in some cases new treatments improve quality of life at least for a while.

    4. Everything you believe in, all theoretical discussions go out of the window if it is your loved one who is suffering. It is extremely easy to think as @JT does – I thought along similar lines just a few months ago – but it’s very different when it is in your family.

    I do agree there is a lot of waste. In some cases, yes it makes sense not to get treatment – if it’s really futile treatment or treatment that only prolongs suffering. But one needs to take this “2 months of life” in context of its being average, of treatment’s effect on quality of life during last months and the fact that this imperfect treatment may lead to far better treatments in future.

    Another thing I’d like to mention is that people think that if they do everything right, they’ll not get sick. Everyone can get sick, with every life style. Sure some actions reduce or increase your risk, but in many cases the effect is much smaller then people think. And in many cases there is no prevention.

    One last thing – one area of waste is unnecessary testing. Think about it next time you see a great new test advertise on TV. Also early detection is not nearly as effective as people think, in most cases.

  28. Ken Says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    This healthcare bill was DESIGNED to increase costs of healthcare which will then cause us to have to go to a one payer government system, which is what they wanted in the beginning of this debate last year. This will take about 10 years.

    How do I know this? Simply from three line items in the bill. 1) No cap on how much can be spent on one persons health care, 2) An insurance company cannot use pre-existing conditions to exclude someone from a policy, 3) Taxes (fines) on those who don’t buy health insurance is very small.

    The result is no control on costs.

  29. Jerry gallagher Says:
    April 3rd, 2013 at 8:29 am

    It’s April 2013: News flash! obammy-care is a total disaster with the American people being shown as the dopes they are.What person didn’t laugh when queen nancy said we have to pass this so we could see what’s in it? Our ‘elected officials’ are completely driven by money,pork and power; time for that 20 year revolution? Nah,just keep collecting gov. bennies til they’re gone ,THEN the revolution.We have become the joke of the world.

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