A Hollywood Republican

This blog is for an open discussion on politics. My views will be to the right as will be most of the posters. But, we are willing to post alternative viewpoints as lons as they are well thought out. I started this in response to the Obama election and will continue it as long as it feeds a need.

Aug 10, 2009

The Right To Choose by Ira Schwartz

If there is one basic right that is the cornerstone of our democracy it is “the right to choose”. We can choose our religious and political beliefs, our government leaders, where to live and what jobs we take. We can, for right now, even choose whether or not to enlist in the military. The right to choose is the most sacred of all our rights and is what sets The United States of America apart from most of the other countries of the world.

Now along comes HR 3200, known to most as the Healthcare Reform Bill. I have heard this bill touted as the best thing since Hippocrates first penned his now famous oath or the worst thing since the Spanish Inquisition. I figured the truth lay somewhere in between. I am sad to say I was wrong. After checking dozens of websites listing the pros and cons of HR 3200 and actually reading sections of the bill, which by the way is more confusing than a GPS gone bad, I have come to the conclusion this bill is very, very bad medicine. It’s not even a good bill. But the real scary part of it is…IT TAKES AWAY OUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE. Below are a few of the major problems with this bill.

If this bill passes as it currently is written everyone will be required, by law, to have health insurance, either thru your own private plan or the governments. If you don’t choose a plan the government will choose one for you. If you opt out of the plan you will still be required to pay the premium only now it will be called a “tax”. Can you say “Taxation without representation?” Any way you slice it, you lose your right to choose.

When you are eventually enrolled in the governments plan, and we all will be sooner or later, you will be given a little device called “A Beneficiary Identification Card.” This card is like an ATM card on steroids. It will contain your complete, updated daily, financial and medical records. You must use this card each time you go to the doctor or seek medical attention. The government’s medical administrator will determine, after reviewing your financial and medical profile, if you qualify both financial and medically for treatment. This essentially means if you can’t afford to pay the co-pay right then and there you get no medical attention. These are their words folks not mine. If you don’t believe me use the link listed below and go to page 58 paragraph (D) of proposed bill HR 3200.

AARP likes this bill because they say, “it takes care of the elderly.” It’s obvious they haven’t really read this bill either. Page 102 of the bill states that the Commissioner shall provide a process for any person eligible for Medicare who has not enrolled in an “Exchange provided” health care plan to be automatically enrolled in Medicaid whether they want to or not. Again you have no choice.

But just when you thought it was safe to remove your reading glasses along comes Page 124 (f) Limitations of Review – “There shall be NO administrative or judicial review of a payment rate or methodology.” Simply put, you have no means to protest their decision. The Health Gods have spoken. You are royally screwed. You have no choice.

While our present Health Care system isn’t perfect it does work. If HR 3200 passes it will, in time, destroy that system leaving a huge, ponderous governmental machine in its place. Do we really want a large version of Medicare or worse a larger, more inefficient version of the Veteran’s Administration? The only real solution is a partnership between the government and the health care companies to create “together” affordable healthcare for all. We did it with Car Insurance we can do it with healthcare. You pay for the coverage you want, ala carte healthcare. If you need additional coverage you simply call the agent and order it. Simple, fast and at a fraction of the cost of HR 3200. More importantly it would allow us to remain in control of our own medical care and not some faceless bureaucrat in Washington whose only concern is the bottom line. The right to choose would be where it belongs…with us.

This bill needs to be defeated at all costs. If it passes it allows the government to control us, the people, instead of the people controlling the government. It will set a dangerous precedence. Write your congressman or congresswoman, your senator, the president. Make your voice heard at town meeting. The right to choose is that important.

I’ve only listed a few of the major problems associated with this bill. If you’d like to read more there are dozens of websites where the information is readily available. Just sort out the facts from the political rhetoric. For those of you that would like to read all 1000 plus pages of HR 3200 for themselves the link is: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h3200ih.txt.pdf

A bottle of Tylenol or scotch should be within easy reach before you start. Good luck.

© 2009 by Ira Schwartz

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13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ira -

You write very well, I must say. I would like to offer a rebuttal to your arguments because, what you don't mention is just as important as what what you do mention.

1) Concerning the 'Right to Opt Out': I think its a good thing to make Health Insurance mandatory. The cost of medical care for the uninsured is passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher premiums. Sorry, but you don't get to choose and then expect me to pay for the result of your action. That's not what the Founders envisioned when they said Freedom of Choice.

2) Do you have insurance now? Then you must know about the insurance card that you present each and every time you go to the doctor. The 'Beneficiary ID Card' is this and a whole lot more. Having your medical history on the card will make it harder for information to be missed, thus easier to get you the best care in a timely manner. About the cost argument you make; that happens today too, whenever you submit a claim that is rejected by your insurance company. Lastly, doctor's today often demand co-pays up front. So, this is no change from the norm.

3) Judical review of a payment rate or methodology relates to how much providers are paid for services, not what services are to be rendered. Thus, you've taken this statement out of context. There will be the ability to appeal a treatment related decision. That is the same is today.

4) Yes, our system does work (sort-of). But, its not sustainable. And ala-carte sounds great, until you get sick, and then want the coverage you though you didn't want....then, we're right back where we started.

Okay, so this is a difficult issue. Part of me says, you are correct. But the other part says that we cannot fix this mess until we realize that Health Care cannot be treated the same way (economically) as other industries. It needs to be about quality of care, not quarterly dividends and yearly bonuses. We should not be interested in profits at the expense of people's lives.

And we, the people, need to understand that our lifestyle choices are pertinent to this discussion. If you smoke, you should pay more. If you are obese, same thing. Now, I would love to see a risk based pricing provision in the bill....but there isn't one.

August 10, 2009 at 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Ira Schwartz said...

George,
I agree with some of what you say. But if people refuse to obtain health care that's their choice not the governments. I'm tired of the government telling me what's right for me. They haven't got a clue whats right for me. And as far as the membership card I have for my insurance company it may have my medical history on it but it doesn't have my financial history on it. The government isn't the best at keeping information priviledge. People who smoke should pay more, people who drink should pay more. What I don't want us to end up with is a huge bureaucratic machine that works worse then the veterans administration. That's what we'll end up with. Ask any canadien ask any vet. The nightmares go on forever. If the government wants to get into health insurance let them work with those that know it best. And yes I'm sick and tired of paying for those, illegal aliens included, who use the emergency room like a personel doctor. This bill will never be capable of addressing the problems they are trying to fix the most.

August 10, 2009 at 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ira -

Why is it okay for auto insurance to be mandatory, but not health insurance? From my perspective, its all based on individual risk.

If I get into a car accident and don't have insurance, I run the risk of having to fix the damage on my own dime. And god forbid, I hurt someone. In that case, I risk financial ruin. That is a good enough reason for me to purchase car insurance.

Now assume I don't have health insurance and I get sick. The current system guarantees me treatment via an emergency room. And If I get really ill, I'm also guaranteed treatment. So, what's the risk?????

The difference here is that YOU END UP PAYING FOR MY TREATMENT. That's a great deal for me....but a horrible deal for you.

That's why health insurance, in my humble opinion, needs to be universal.

The added benefit is that, done correctly, mandatory coverage will drive down costs by increasing the pool of individuals who do are not covered by their employers.

There is a lot of the bill I don't like either. And frankly, no bill will be acceptable to everyone. It is impossible to please everyone. But today's system is not sustainable. People need to understand this!!!! The Insurance Company's will have no incentive to change their ways unless we force them too. We already have many of the components of socialized medicine today (the bureaucracy, rationing, exclusion, and more) in our 'private sector system' with the large investors acting as the gatekeepers. People need to understand that too, and they don't.

Take Care!

August 10, 2009 at 5:59 PM  
Blogger preech7 said...

Ira, great article again. So many people want to be "taken care of" it is sickening. Get off your lazy butts and fend for yourself.

George, this country's health care system IS the best in the world. Why is it people come here for medical treatment from other countries? (Rhetorical statement). I have family in England and friends in Germany and France. Guess what? Their systems don't work. Never did. I don not want any bureaucrat telling me what to do and when to do it. Too many graves mark the brave men and women of America who paid the ultimate price for you and I to choose. Universal healthcare has never worked. Sorry, but his is not Russia...at least not yet.

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."—George Santayana

Marty

August 11, 2009 at 4:39 AM  
Anonymous Ira Schwartz said...

Hi George,

In a perfect world everyone would have healthcare. In a perfect world nobody would ever need it. I think everyone agrees this is not a perfect world, in fact far from it. What we don't need is manditory healthcare for all, at least not in the way Bill Hr 3200 has it layed out. What we need is our government working with the insurance providers so that healthcare is AFFORDABLE for all. Make basic plans available that even the lowest paid worker can afford. Once that is done, and I know it is no small task, then we can let the people know that if they don't have a health care plan and you get sick, you are on your own. Maybe that's a little cold but the onus will now be on the individual because they now can afford it but THEY choose not too. Again this is not a perfect plan but the governments track record in running large organizations is pretty poor. I know this has been beaten to death but the Veterans Admin is a prime example. They know what the problem is with the Vet but have they fixed it? No. Instead we throw trillions of dollars around like it was chump change. How about we spare a little for the men and woman who deserve it. I say if the government wants to get involved in universal healthcare it should fix the programs they already have first. Till then figure out another way to get the job done besides creating another huge bureaucratic nightmare that will cost trillions and never do what it was supposed to do.

Thanks again for the intelligent feedback George. Open dialogue is always a good thing.

Ira

August 11, 2009 at 7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty good blog Ira, but as you can see there will follow a lot of
different interpretations of HR3200 by real and amateur decypherers of
the law.

Can you recall the last time you had to communicate with the
Federal government: Were you able to speak with someone that could
actually make a decision (that didn't favor the gov't) TODAY?

Were you actually able to SPEAK to a live person or were you reduced to
trying to navigate some miserable website set up by government
employees? Enjoy dealing with the Unemployment Office? Last time I tried
there was NO local office, just a website to navigate.

Probably the easiest government agent to speak with you in person works for the IRS.

Best of Luck.

August 11, 2009 at 12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great blog...thanks Frank!

Marty -

With all due respect:

1) You already have healthcare bureaucrats telling you what you can and can't do. Its all laid out in your healthcare plan and formularies.

2) People come here for treatment because we offer the best treatment options in the world, have the best doctors in the world, and have the best technology in the world. The fact that we have these does not mean that we have the best healthcare system in the world, only that we have the best providers.

3) Healthcare should be a right and not a priviledge. But we can agree to disagree on that part.

And Ira,

We can also agree to disagree on the merits of universal coverage.

And I've already told you my opinion on ala carte....

And Anonymous -

Wow....nice slam!!!!

Take Care!

August 11, 2009 at 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Ira Schwartz said...

George thats what makes this country so great.

August 11, 2009 at 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's time to take a cue from the Asian culture..... or at least the image that they respect their elders because, well,
they've lived long enough to have a vast body of life experience that whipper-snappers lack.
I saw my parents in their later years spend os much time either at doctors offices or reading up on their coverage.
So, it's clear to me that our elders will spend a disproportionate amount of time repeating my folks experience.
Notice that all these 'shills' attending their representatives offices, generally speaking, are elderly.
Don't you think they know through first hand experience what works and what doesn't?

August 11, 2009 at 11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Frank. I just read that blog. Very good read. What really caught me was the comments from Ira. He made a comment about auto insurance being mandatory. I would like to point out the most important thingregarding that argument, STATES make auto insurance mandatory, not the federal government. They also regulate it.
i am sure alot of the "mob" Americans would have less issues with their state making laws, as they do now, The federal govenrment has NO authority to make these laws. The Constitution is quite clear that anything not covered in its body will go back to the states for jurisdiction.
America has been asleep for too long. The federal government has taken way too many liberties. Skirting the Constitution, abusing the sovereignty of the states and in the end, We The People.

August 12, 2009 at 8:17 AM  
Anonymous ira said...

You right about trusting our state governments more than our federal. However I'm not so sure I trust OUR (Ca.) state government very much right now either

August 13, 2009 at 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA) claims that President Obama told him "he's willing to be a one-term president if that's what it takes to get health care and energy reform."

Read more: http://politicalwire.com/archives/2009/08/13/obama_willing_to_stake_presidency_on_health_care_reform.html?referrer=js


Does this guy really care about America?

August 14, 2009 at 7:04 AM  
Anonymous Ira said...

You know the old saying about being careful what you wish for. If this keeps up that statement might turn out to be very prophetic. To Tell you the truth I don't think any of them Reps and Dems care about anything other then furthering their own agendas. Sad...very sad.

August 14, 2009 at 8:15 AM  

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