GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

Archive for the ‘Health care’ Category

Comment: health care reform

Posted by George J Janczyn on March 24, 2010

I find it odd that so many people call this a government takeover of health care. With government barred from competing with for-profit insurance companies, prohibited from negotiating lower prescription drug prices for Medicare (or shopping for generics or importing meds from Canada), and all citizens required to subscribe to private insurance company programs, this looks like a corporate takeover to me. And the beauty of the Republican opposition strategy (and Republican corporatists do benefit from this plan) is that they get to blame the Democrats for anything that goes wrong. I suspect many progressives are aghast at passage of this bill what’s happened. They certainly are in turmoil about it.

 

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Paying the price for water

Posted by George J Janczyn on October 31, 2009

In last week’s VoSD water panel discussion, some people wrote how they are bothered by operating expenses in their water bill. While there are differences of opinion whether operating expenses should be through a separate fixed fee or be included in the the price of water itself, at least the money goes to cover those expenses.

What about other services we use? We not only pay steep fees to other service providers, we often pay them for nothing. Got cable TV? Internet service? Landline? Cellphone? Mobile of any kind? We have no choice but to pay high fixed monthly fees for these whether we use the service or not. This practice makes these companies enormously profitable.

While some corporate entities whip up fears about government control, they’re perfectly happy to use government to force people to use their services. Take the obvious, health care: insurance corporations want government to force every individual in the country to buy their for-profit plans. Forcing the entire country into their revenue stream should be good for profit margins. As for cable TV (and sometimes internet service), consumers in many neighborhoods have no choice due to corporate monopolies granted by the government.

Even without government assistance, these services minimize consumer choice by default. If you want a particular kind of cell phone or mobile device, there’s usually no choice of carrier. Put another way, if you like a particular carrier, your choice of cell phones is limited and you’re usually forced into a service contract extending for a period of time. Of course this is all good for the bottom line: David Rohde describes wireless profits thus: “AT&T posted a 40.9% margin out of its wireless business for 1Q09. Verizon Wireless is doing even better, with a 46.0% margin. Forty-six percent! Hmmm.”

I think we’re in no position to complain about water prices when we live in such a precarious situation, far-removed from our water sources. It’s amazing we can live here at all. And if we didn’t allow ourselves to be bullied by greedy corporations running these other services, paying that water bill would be much less painful.

Posted in Health care, Politics, Technology, Water | Leave a Comment »

We’re number 37

Posted by George J Janczyn on September 13, 2009

RT @freegovinfo:

Posted in Health care, Videos | Leave a Comment »

Health care clarity

Posted by George J Janczyn on September 12, 2009

Yesterday, Bill Maher interviewed New York Congressman Anthony Weiner about our nation’s health care situation. Mr. Weiner proceeded to give a most articulate and constructive view, and he touched on all the important points. The money quote, near the end: “the health insurance industry shouldn’t exist at all.” Exactly! I was sorry when his time ran out. Unfortunately the beginning of the interview was marred (Mahered) by a lame joke about his name, but Weiner just smiled and noted that he hasn’t heard his name treated like that since 5th grade. Ha! His comments are well worth hearing.

(the video was pulled from another site I had linked to; I’ll try to keep tabs on this one)

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Quotable

Posted by George J Janczyn on August 26, 2009

We know the high price we have also had to pay-in our credibility with the international community-in the loss of life-in the individual tragedies of loved ones left behind in communities here at home-in the billions of dollars that should have been spent on jobs and housing and health care and education and civil rights and the environment and a dozen other clear priorities, and should not have been spent on a misguided war in Iraq. —Sen. Edward Kennedy

Americans are apparently supposed to believe that our government providing insurance to a seventy year old is a noble service, but providing that same service to a fifty year old is socialism, and providing that same service to a twenty year old or a ten year old is something that only a goddamned Hitler would do. —Daily Kos

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Health care mythology

Posted by George J Janczyn on August 24, 2009

My previous post on the subject of health care was to highlight the huge disparity in health care costs in our country compared to the rest of the world. As long as I’m on the subject, I highly recommend that you check out T.R. Reid’s piece in the Washington Post: Five Myths About Health Care Around the World. It is worthwhile reading. One of his observations is particularly noteworthy:

The key difference is that foreign health insurance plans exist only to pay people’s medical bills, not to make a profit. The United States is the only developed country that lets insurance companies profit from basic health coverage.

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Health care costs _way_ more in the U.S. Why is that?

Posted by George J Janczyn on August 21, 2009

This OECD data chart is pretty revealing. [Revised to add: The data is from a 2007 report. A knowledgeable source tells me that the U.S. per capita expenditure is now around $8300.] As The Daily Howler observes: “People are happy with their current insurance for a fairly obvious reason: They don’t know how badly they’re being looted!”

HealthCosts

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America’s Affordable Health Choices Act

Posted by George J Janczyn on August 11, 2009

If you’re going to argue the merits, you need to study the topic.

OpenCongress.org is a great service that provides comprehensive information about all things Congress, including full-text and status of bills. Of particular interest for many people these days is the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.

It’s not just the full text that OpenCongress provides, they have made it possible for people to make and read comments about any individual part of the bill, or to link to specific parts of the bill for email or blog discussions elsewhere. Check it out:

Posted in Health care, U.S. Congress | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »