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POLICY/POLITICS: Universal Health Insurance and the NY Times–all hail Jon Cohn (with brief UPDATE)

In recent months, not content with letting Judy Miller transcribe enough Cheney press releases to sink us into a $1 trillion dollar/3,000 lives and counting quagmire in Iraq, whomever runs the New York Times’ health care coverage has essentially handed the keys to the liquor cabinet to a succession of idiots who wouldn’t know anything about health care if they were sober. It’s then printed a series of the most illogical, stupid and plain wrong articles about health care that’s so bad that I’ve run out of ways to describe how if the NY Times were a dog it could not leave its pustilent sore alone.

But Holy Cowdung Batman. Maybe there’s hope, as they’ve this weekend allowed Volvo-driving latte-quaffing liberal Jonathan Cohn—who actually knows something about the topic— to write a long article for the magazine. It’s called What’s the One Thing Big Business and the Left Have in Common? and the answer isn’t too surprising.

But now they’ve taken this timorous first step, what’s next for the NY Times— op-eds from Enthoven or Fuchs? Regular columns from Brian Klepper? Giving Ian Morrison or Robert Laszewski a chance to explain how health care really works? Cutting and pasting from THCB? I’m waiting!

UPDATE: I’ve added a permanent & free link to Jon’s piece so it’s not buried behind the NY Times firewall. He focuses on exactly the correct topic, which is "Do big business CEOs have the cojones to take on the health care industry," in other words to piss off all those drug and insurer CEOs they meet at their Wyoming hunting lodges. And of course can the ones who are losers in the current charade (Safeway, Costco, anyone with a union) persuade enough of their colleagues that they shouldn’t be competing over who can pay the lowest health care benefits–when WalMart seems to be winning that contest too. An excellent piece, so go over there, read it and ponder why the NY Times doesn’t print more like it as compared to the pustilent sore variety for which they seem to have such an appetite.

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Mike A.Phil K., Elkhart INMark FishmanPatgreg Recent comment authors
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Mike A.
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Mike A.

AN OPEN THANK YOU TO THE U.S. SENATE –
Congratulations Comrades – you’ve moved us one step closer to Soviet style health care. You should all be proud!

Phil K., Elkhart IN
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Phil K., Elkhart IN

It is too bad that we do not have a way of witnessing a “dry run” or some model of how a government run or monitored health care system might work. Oh, wait, the H1N1 vaccine distribution, or maybe the FTC’s supervisory role over Wall Street? I guess we do have some examples of how well the government manages things! As they say: How’s that workin’ for ya?

Mark Fishman
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Fishman’s Framework for Tax Reform, the tax reform plan that saves our middle class is now available to read free of charge at: http://www.serioustaxreform.com Los Angeles, CA – The publication of Fishman’s Framework for Tax Reform heralds the introduction of the tax reform plan that will save our middle class. This revolutionary tax reform plan lowers taxes for individuals and corporations yet raises almost $1 trillion more revenue than our current tax system. The additional revenue solves Social Security’s long term funding problem, creates and fully funds National Health Care and expands public education to include college,… Read more »

Pat
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You make a good point. My only thought is that competitiion amoung insurers is one of the only way to keep profit margins in check.

greg
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greg

Why Insurance?? Why Payer – at all?? The whole model is premised on companies and profits. How do we get away from the profit motive? Corporations are controlled by greed. They exist to make money for shareholders, and in most cases the lucky few who rise to the executive ranks make a little money too. When we are talking health and health care, why do we have a system that is controlled by anyone who is obliged by definition to making profits. Health care providers, doctors, nurses, and other practitioners, have a right to expect a reasonable living given their… Read more »

Leopold
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Every American should have a good and reliable health insurance

IrvingK
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IrvingK

U.S. NATIONAL HEALTH CARE PLAN: Rather than the hodgepodge ideas for national health care in the U.S. by the candidates (Clinton wants a “combination governmment and private”—Edwards wants a cobbled-together system of Medicare, Medicaid, compulsory employer, and government subsidization of some private insurance). We should have true government-run national health insurance consisting of a compulsory single-payer system based on a percentage of the gross income of each and every American (with a cap). It could be collected on a pay-as-you-go basis by employers, just as they collect for social security and federal income tax. (This would save billions of dollars… Read more »

Tom
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Tom

I submit for discussion that we drop the name single payer and call it the “everybody pays health care system”. In out political debates language is extremely important. We can also describe the required tax a flat tax. Everyone paying taxes would pay the same rate, around 15% isn’t it. Most who oppose us do not want to pay for someone else. Well the truth is I dont think thats what we are talking about. We are really talking about everybody pays but on a sliding scale. The every body pays title kills the primary objection by its name. We… Read more »

Kari Chisholm
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Hey, sorry I’m a little late to the discussion. Barry and Peter, you’ve got good thoughts on single-payer. In general, that’d be a great system – but it’s unlikely to see the light of day in our current political environment. The question before is this: Do we wait another 50 years, or do we do something today? Senator Wyden’s plan – supported by business and labor – seems like a reasonable approach to the problem. Full disclosure: My company built Senator Wyden’s website – but I don’t speak for him or his staff. There’s lots more info about Senator Wyden’s… Read more »

Rhino
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Rhino

jd I’m sorry it sounded like that, my auto body reference is not in regards to the elderly or others, it’s in regards to pricing, the fact that you, the consumer, has a tough time shopping for health care and there is not a market out there competing for your business. We often find out that a procedure costs 2X or 3X if done at one facility over another. And then what is with the bill being $25k and the final payments, after discount, being $8k? In my solution the 15% would still get service. The overhead and admin cost… Read more »

jd
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jd

Rhino, Your auto body example perfectly conveys what’s wrong with your suggestion: when it costs too much to repair your car, you junk it or sell it and buy a new one. What do you do when it costs too much to repair your body? Around 80% of all health care costs go to pay for 15% of the people. These people tend to be older, to have serious chronic conditions, or to have had a major acute event. Few of these people can pay out of pocket for their care without bankrupting themselves and their families. So, shall we… Read more »

Rhino
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Rhino

Anyone thought of doing away with health insurance all together? We have great networks of providers, why not create a system that really works and take the money out of a 4th party system. ex. Prefered One network creates a membership program where users pay a network membership fee. The rates for all services are up for review and the members recieve discounted rates and low cost medical visits. The members would be paying the network of clinics, hospitals, specialists, etc. directly. Take out the insurance company and allow doctors to decide what is in the best interest of their… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

Barry, this is not 1974, and neither do unions have anywhere near the political power they had then. As well this is the age of the neo-cons and a well entrenched conservative power base, so that will be the ideology to overcome. I don’t have any delusion that this country will see a true single pay universal coverage system any time soon. If we are lucky it will be a transitional plan but with mostly insurance and some government elements. I don’t think it will work as it will be hard to keep it properly funded when not everyone has… Read more »

Jerry R Lucas RN
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Subject: Nurse shortage
heartfelt, but over long and irrelevant comment on nurse shortage deleted here. If you want to read it go to the website linked in the author’s email

Barry Carol
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Barry Carol

I was interested to learn recently that way back in 1974, we almost got national health insurance. Medicare and Medicaid were enacted in 1965, most others got their health insurance from their employer, but costs were rising rapidly, and 10% of the population remained uninsured. The Democrats’ plan, whose lead sponsor was Senator Ted Kennedy of MA, would have provided coverage similar to what federal employees got with no deductible and a 25% co-pay with an out-of-pocket maximum of $1,000 ($5,000 in today’s dollars). The Republican plan was similar, except that the OOP was $1,500 ($7,500 in today’s money). Do… Read more »