Town Square

Obama's national healthcare makes no sense to me - FOR UNREGISTERED USERS

Original post made by Ken in South Pleasanton on Jun 18, 2009

I don't know why Einstein restricted comments to registered users of this site. Even Einstein would know that the more information you give out about yourself the more likely you are to be in trouble at some point.

Other than that, Einstein has a valid point. I think the problem is that Obama has made promises that lacked good planning and thought and is now being held accountable for coming through with the goods. At one point I believe someone in the Senate or Congress commented that under such a plan as has been proposed, WE, THE PEOPLE, would have a healthcare system similar to what they have in Washington, D.C. I think that would be great! I don't think they pay a thing from their paychecks for their coverage and it lasts a lifetime. If this proposal is such a good deal, then all federal employees - elected, appointed, salaried, or hourly - should be made to use the new system and forfeit the benefits of their existing plans. If that were the case, you might see a very different stance on the subject.

By the way...anyone can comment on this thread. It is not restricted.


Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 18, 2009 at 10:09 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Ken, Do you understand that WE, THE PEOPLE are paying for that healthcare system in Washington? NOTHING IS FREE, and those of us that are working (and getting healthcare through our employers) will all LOSE if we nationalize healthcare.

We will lose money because our taxes will go up to fund the socialized healthcare.

We will lose CHOICE because employers won't fund insurance benefits for employees. Why should they? The feds are covering the healthcare costs with OUR money. And even if they do offer healthcare benefits, Obama wants to tax them as income.

If you don't have a job, or don't have insurance in your workplace, you should be 100% in favor of this plan.

If you have a job, and have insurance, you should be 100% AGAINST the plan.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 18, 2009 at 10:17 am

Stacey is a registered user.

To be honest, I haven't been following the current updates on this issue, but two things...

1) Non-citizens and undocumented immigrants should not be on any welfare or national healthcare system. The real welfare states (i.e., Sweden) don't do this, nor should we. Welfare states are very protective of who they let into their systems.

2) There's been examples of countries (i.e., Taiwan) moving to a national healthcare system with positive results (i.e., lower costs). Contrast that with NO EXAMPLES of countries scrambling to implement a healthcare system like we have here.

Parent of Two wrote: "employers won't fund insurance benefits for employees. Why should they?"

And why should they do this now? What's the difference again? You wrote too "or don't have insurance in your workplace".

Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 18, 2009 at 10:42 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

For now, providing insurance benefits is a competitive advantage in the industry, and is part of a retention strategy. If you have two competitive job offers, the quality/level of insurance may sway a person towards one company or another. And if you're already working and have insurance, you are more inclined to stay with your firm since you've established your doctors under your current plan.

The biggest problem with Obama's plan (and pretty much any nationalized plan) is that it only benefits a small minority, and it's typically a non-taxpaying minority, meaning it's a huge financial drain and DIS-incentive for working folks. Why work for money and insurance if Obama is handing out checks to deadbeats?

Yeah, barring a lotto windfall, I'll probably always work, but there are some who would take such a program as an offer to lay around and collect checks, and run up a healthcare tab that others have to pay.

Posted by Just some thoughts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2009 at 4:58 pm

I just wanted to throw out a few random thoughts here.

I used to work for the PUSD where I chose to get the money in lieu of my health benefits. I took the money up front because my husband's company had better healthcare insurance options (PPO) that were cheaper benefits than those offered to us at the time at PUSD (which I didn't 100% understand since there were only 200 employees at my husband's company. I was sure that more than 200 at PUSD were opting in for benefits so why not better choices, but I digress.)

In addition, my husband's company offered 401-K matching at a terrific rate, so from our household's bottom line, taking into consideration the money we got in lieu of my benefits, we upped his 401K contributions. This was a huge deal when my husband looked to a competitor that solicited him to come to work for them. He declined, because as Parent of Two pointed out, we didn't want to lose out on the benefits. It was a significant difference, and not one that could be made up by the minimal increase in a paycheck, therefore, his company "retained" him.

My father is a small business owner. He worked incredibly hard for years to learn a trade and then took his skills to another area and started his own one man show. He hired a relative, then a friend, and as his business grew and profited, he created a company that currently employs over 40 people. They all get offered healthcare benefits, and remembering how well he was compensated, my dad makes certain his "guys" get bonuses twice a year. If his business does well, they "do" well. Dad's a fair and at times a generous man.

As I understand it, my father is concerned by his own tax bracket as of right now, and as much as he doesn't want to lose one guy on his team, Dad will most likely be laying off approximately 7 employees from his team and also his office. If things in the economy worsen, he will most likely try to reduce his costs again - costs meaning jobs. I won't go in to exactly how it will happen, but in order to save his business so at least some are employed, he may try and reduce his team and rehire them as consultants to avoid a lot of additional costs - costs here meaning benefits. He acknowledges, however, that this can reduce the quality of work his "consultants" perform, but, then again, in this economy, he would be banking on the "happy to have a job" attitude. He would reduce costs - jobs and benefits, but most likely keep many employed. That is his goal.

It is so sad that those that think they can tax the wealthy - and my dad is wealthy - also think that it somehow won't affect those with lower incomes. How can that be true based upon this example? It seems to me that you would want to get out of the way of the small business owner, my dad, so he could succeed and provide more jobs with growing benefits to his employees.

In both of my examples, the small business model always pulled ahead of the example of government interference or government provision of benefits.

I would rather see all of my dad's employees stay employed and keep their benefits. This could happen if CA would reduce the tax rate. More people employed with more benefits mean less people on the dole needing a bigger tax revenue to support them.

The choice is simple to me.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 18, 2009 at 6:33 pm

Hundreds of thousands of illegal residents in the US plan to use the health care system, fixed or broken. What they will continue to do is go to hospital emergency rooms and
receive the medical care that they need. Even the medications are free!

I say go for it! This is a land of plenty, help yourselves since your employers use and abuse you until you drop dead. Do what is necessary to sustain yourselves and your families. Welcome to America. Home of the free and the brave. If Americans don't like it, they can go back to where their ancestors came from.


Posted by Claudette McDermott, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Keeping selected articles for Registered only commenting, helps to keep the comments on a respectful tone as some choose to be rude and disrespectful and hide behind anonymity with fake names. When you are a Registered person PW has your real name and address and you will be exposed to them for your disrespectful behavior online. You then may be held accountable for your behavior.

anonymous |əˈnšnəməs|
(of a person) not identified by name; of unknown name : the anonymous author of Beowulf | the donor's wish to remain anonymous | an anonymous phone call.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 19, 2009 at 9:45 am

What a thoughtful comment from the morality cop!

bow - wow to you to...

Posted by Einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Jun 19, 2009 at 10:12 am

Einstein is a registered user.

Ken, I accidently clicked the wrong box when I did my original post and restricted it but was not my intend although as stated above you do get more civil and thought filled comments when you do. Anyway Einstein is better with math and physics than computer :)

I have been following this debate over national healthcare and the more I learn about it the more I do not believe it makes sense and I believe there has to be another motivator going on here. Even though they can walk into any hospital or clinic and not be turned away for care the Obama administration says there are 45,000,000 uninsured and the cost to insure these people runs from 1.7 trillion to 4 trillion. This morning I was watching the sub committee meeting and these numbers came out. Of the supposed 45,000,000 uninsured, 11,300,000 are already eligible under programs already funded, 9,700,000 are illegal aliens, and another 11,000,000 make over $75,000 dollars per year. This means that out of a population of over 300,000,000 people we are going to pay between 1.7 and 4 trillion to insure maybe 14,000,000? The real interesting feature aside from the economics is that the people currently being covered by private insurance will be endangered by the government undercutting pricing and creating a situation where private insurance carriers cannot be competitive.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 19, 2009 at 10:22 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Einstein wrote: "The real interesting feature aside from the economics is that the people currently being covered by private insurance will be endangered by the government undercutting pricing and creating a situation where private insurance carriers cannot be competitive."

But that's the point, right, to reduce the prices? For years now real wage earnings have been diminishing due to the rising and out-of-control costs of health care. It isn't enough to just say, "x number of people already have insurance so the plan is for covering y number of uninsured". The real problem is that the US is a spending outlier on health care and this has driven costs sky high to people who already have insurance. The money we'd normally pocket for general spending is now going to health care costs and that's with our private health care insurance system. This pressure is eroding real wage earnings in both the public and the private sectors and will also lead to the unraveling of programs like Medicare. A national healthcare insurance program has to be for all of us, all 300,000,000.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 19, 2009 at 10:24 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Why are we a spending outlier in health care? It's a case of the haves versus the have-nots. And in the subject of health care, that's just inhumane.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 19, 2009 at 10:47 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Here's another way to look at it. When you have health insurance, you spend other people's money. So you don't care too much about what you're spending it on, only that you get the best that money can buy. Now, for a real "free market", for real competition, get off insurance and spend your own money on health costs. How much are you willing to spend on a 15 minute visit to the doctor for checking up on that flu you've got?

I think most don't realize that a lot of the costs for health insurance are eaten up by administrative things insurance companies do due to adverse selection. Unfortunately, the arbitrary risk groupings people get sorted into by private insurance companies diminish the whole point of insurance, the spreading of risk over a large groups in order to reduce cost to individuals. Now imagine the bargaining power of a group of 300,000,000 people versus some arbitrarily small private insurance group and the lower costs due to larger spreading of risk.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 19, 2009 at 10:50 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Just Google for "adverse selection in health insurance"

Web Link

"Individual choice over health insurance policies may result in risk-based sorting across plans. Such adverse selection induces three types of losses: efficiency losses from individuals being allocated to the wrong plans; risk sharing losses since premium variability is increased; and losses from insurers distorting their policies to improve their mix of insureds. We discuss the potential for these losses, and present empirical evidence on adverse selection in two groups of employees: Harvard University, and the Group Insurance Commission of Massachusetts (serving state and local employees). In both groups, adverse selection is a significant concern. At Harvard, the University's decision to contribute an equal amount to all insurance plans led to the disappearance of the most generous policy within 3 years. At the GIC, adverse selection has been contained by subsidizing premiums on a proportional basis and managing the most generous policy very tightly. A combination of prospective or retrospective risk adjustment, coupled with reinsurance for high cost cases, seems promising as a way to provide appropriate incentives for enrollees and to reduce losses from adverse selection. "

Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 19, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Parent of Two is a registered user.


Forced universal healthcare impedes choices for working adults. Those of us (the "haves") that WORK and contribute to the economy typically get health insurance through our employers. We're still indirectly subsidizing those who don't work (the "have-nots") since hospital and medical costs build in their expenses to provide FREE care to those who can't afford it, making our insurance payments higher and our visits more costly.

The fact is that working Americans should NOT have to share the burden of the lazy and unmotivated. Working Americans get insurance through their employers, Senior citizens already have their healthcare provided, so who exactly is Obama targeting with his universal program?! Answer: the deadbeats and the lazy.

Why should OUR healthcare be reduced to the level of the lowest common denominator? I like my insurance, and it's one of the reasons I like my job. Isn't that some of the incentive for working, to provide care for our families?

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 19, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

After I wrote, I saw this editorial: Web Link

The high points of current problems it touches on that I tried to address:

- Real wage earnings are being diminished: "one out of every five dollars we earn will be spent on health care within a decade. In 30 years, it will be about one out of every three"
- The US is a spending outlier in health care: "per capita health care spending in this nation almost 50 percent more expensive than any other nation" "At the same time, we must give incentives to doctors to provide the most effective tests and treatment, not the most profitable."
- What you pay out of pocket for insurance is being eaten up by administrative costs like adverse selection: "roughly a third of health insurance premiums go toward administration, marketing and profits" "The insurance industry, despite being able to cherry-pick its patients from the healthiest among us, has demonstrated that it cannot, or will not, contain premium costs."

Parent of Two,

Have you happened to have a close look at your insurance? What does it cover for say, organ transplants? Any idea how much it costs these days for an organ transplant and does your insurance cover the full cost? Can you afford what it doesn't cover? One has to ask why the "medical tourism" business is taking off.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 19, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Also notice I mentioned that rising health costs erode programs like Medicare. Now there's a fast way to expand government spending.

Status quo on this one just isn't going to cut it.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 19, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Letter from the CBO about Health Care Reform and the Federal Budget: Web Link

"In the absence of significant changes in policy, rising costs for health care will cause federal spending to grow much faster than the economy, putting the federal budget on an unsustainable path."

Posted by The cost, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2009 at 1:33 pm

The way to reduce the cost of healthcare is to reduce those that access our healthcare system without any insurance. This does not mean providing less expensive insurance coverage to them. It means identifying those that access the system that are not citizens. They do not deserve healthcare if they have broken the law purposefully.

I recently tried to do a return. The business said that I was outside the window to do the return and they would not give me a store credit or allow the return.

I was not given notice by the company in advance. They must have looked at their losses at some point and decided how to improve it. They did. As a consumer, I will know next time either to not shop there or to participate within the guidelines.

This is how it should be for healthcare. There should be a "notice" in front of a hospital, ER, etc, that if you cannot pay, or do not have insurance, you will not be treated. Period. There should be some administrator in between the patient and the doctors to make that call so that the healthcare staff can focus on their job.

I think people would think twice before venturing to a nation that won't help you if you get ill and are here illegally. This is by far the biggest asset to those coming here jumping ahead of those waiting in line legally. Some in fact purpose to come here just for healthcare. "It's free" the Mexico government told it's citizens, in one example, in a pamphlet it distributed to it's citizens to know ways to get assistance in the US if they came across the border!

Talk about audacity of encouraging a people to rob our nation since they don't take care of their citizens. That's like my next door neighbor watching my routine and telling one of their relatives when I am home or not to rob me.

I also believe we should require citizenship proof, just like we do for a passport, to access our public education system, welfare system or any other tax revenue dependant program. Those who pay or have paid are welcomed, those not? No way!

I'm not heartless, there are many charitable orgnizations that can help those that cannot help themselves and I would donate to those myself as well as continue to donate my time in the Su Salud health fair in the Central Valley for the migrant workers. Putting doctors and nurses, hospitals and clinics in the middle of people who need service and the tax payers is so unfair.

Let them to do the work they worked so hard to do for those of us that can pay them. To ask them to do otherwise, in turn subsidizing it ourselves isn't fair.

Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 19, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Stacey, no matter what is suggested, proposed, or even proven, you will hold onto your socialist beliefs that it is somehow working-class society's job to pay for the care of the non-working.

You use the word "humane" like those of us who insist on working and taking care of our families are somehow less humane than the leeches that are taking advantage of our nation's largesse and not working and not paying their fair share. "The cost" is right. The government isn't protecting the most productive citizens. They're pandering to the least productive.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 19, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Every time I meet somebody with no health insurance, I encourage them use the ER in any hospital for their ongoing medical, not just emergency care. There are so many hospitals that it's possible to try out different hospital's and never have to pay 1 cent!

It doesn't make sense to me to get sick and stay sick so that others are happy that you don't work the health care system. Pretty stupid not to take care of yourself, especially if it's free!

Nobody that I know seems to care what you do about your health except me. So, take my advice and use the ER in any hospital in the USA. Happy trails...

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 19, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Parent of Two,

Your response indicates to me that you completely misunderstood what I wrote. Somehow you figured that I've been talking about working-class society paying for someone else's medical care when in fact I've been talking about the destruction of working-class society's ability to pay for medical care. Your idea of who is working-class society is actually shrinking as working families switch from being fully insured to being uninsured or underinsured because they can't afford the coverage. All we have to do is look no further than this website with the numerous Pleasanton teachers who came and highlighted the costs out of their pockets for medical coverage.

As for being inhumane, "The cost" provided a great example above when that person wrote, "There should be a "notice" in front of a hospital, ER, etc, that if you cannot pay, or do not have insurance, you will not be treated. Period."

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 19, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

BTW, to "the cost", think you can afford health care? Do you have insurance? If you do, you're spending other people's hard-earned money.

Posted by The Cost, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Heads up, Stacey,

I was referring to the illegal immigrants that are consistently degrading the system we have so graciously put in place.

They in fact are spending everyone's hard earned money. I pay my health insurance premiums myself and my costs are in part to the inability for others to pay at a hospital that sees them for free.

You said I was inhumane? How about the Mexico government, for one, that encourages their citizens to risk their life to come across the border for any social program their citizens need.

Wow, Stacey. Pick on someone of your mental equivalent. I'm not that easy.

Posted by Bobby, a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 20, 2009 at 9:27 am

It could all be done if we were to institute tort reform and also limit the size of awards in settlements. In Canada you are not allowed to sue for malpractice unless is is ridiculously grievous like cutting off the wrong leg and also if you sue and lose you pay all court costs.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 24, 2009 at 5:01 pm

I have lots of individuals/families who are in the USA illegally!

I always suggest to good people that they utilize hospital ER's if they are ill. It is good to be well and utilize health services if you are ill. That way, they can work, pay taxes and feel better. duh... A person would have to be crazy remain ill if health care services are available.

If "The Cost" is unhappy with the ways things work in the USA, then go back to where your ancestors came from...PRONTO!