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Hillary Clinton's universal health insurance

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
What do you think of Hillary Clinton's proposal for universal health insurance?

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/09/...are/index.html

Basic outline of the proposal:

health insurance coverage:
- same health care benefits that Congress has
- require everyone to have health insurance
- require insurers to cover everyone who applies
- provide tax credits for low income people to buy insurance
- provide tax credits to small businesses for employee coverage

paid for by:
- eliminating Bush tax cuts
- limit employer deductions for insuring high-income employees

As far as universal health insurance coverage goes, I don't think it goes far enough. She doesn't do anything to reign in the escalating costs of health insurance and health care, which are the primary problems of the current system. She's not going to be able to pay for it without higher taxes all around. And how are low income people supposed to pay for their insurance for the whole year until they file their tax return? What if they don't even have enough taxable income? Frankly, I think she's caved in to the special interests of the health care and insurance industries.

I think we need to start by addressing the problems of the high costs of health care and health insurance. Without solving those problems, universal coverage will be a fiscal disaster.
post #2 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
What do you think of Hillary Clinton's proposal for universal health insurance?

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/09/...are/index.html

Basic outline of the proposal:

health insurance coverage:
- same health care benefits that Congress has
- require everyone to have health insurance
- require insurers to cover everyone who applies
- provide tax credits for low income people to buy insurance
- provide tax credits to small businesses for employee coverage

paid for by:
- eliminating Bush tax cuts
- limit employer deductions for insuring high-income employees

As far as universal health insurance coverage goes, I don't think it goes far enough. She doesn't do anything to reign in the escalating costs of health insurance and health care, which are the primary problems of the current system. She's not going to be able to pay for it without higher taxes all around. And how are low income people supposed to pay for their insurance for the whole year until they file their tax return? What if they don't even have enough taxable income? Frankly, I think she's caved in to the special interests of the health care and insurance industries.

I think we need to start by addressing the problems of the high costs of health care and health insurance. Without solving those problems, universal coverage will be a fiscal disaster.
Two words on how to reduce health care costs over all: TORT REFORM!

For those who don't know that means limiting the amount in damages that a person can get if they sue for malpractice. Now let me walk you through it. My SIL works as a doctor right outside of Chicago. It's a nice upscale suburb. She makes (roughly) 350k a year. Now, to anyone that would be a fantastic salary. However, her malpractice insurance is 150k a year. It's almost half her income. There is no other job that we ask people to pay half or nearly half of their income into something. Think about the people she could treat if she didn't have to pay that much?

I'm all for universal health care, but it will become a enormous mess if we don't reform the legal aspect of it first.

Edit: I'm willing to pay higher taxes to make sure that everyone is covered for health insurance. You know why? Because my cost from my employer will go down. Substantially.
Also, it's the right thing to do.
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
Edit: I'm willing to pay higher taxes to make sure that everyone is covered for health insurance. You know why? Because my cost from my employer will go down. Substantially.
Also, it's the right thing to do.
i wonder, i think my friends in vancover pay more then i do,, i will have to ask.

Really to control health care, 2 things need to be done.
1) price controls placed on the cost of meds and treatment
2) limit malpractice

there you go, 3/4 of the issue is fixed
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
i wonder, i think my friends in vancover pay more then i do,, i will have to ask.

Really to control health care, 2 things need to be done.
1) price controls placed on the cost of meds and treatment
2) limit malpractice

there you go, 3/4 of the issue is fixed
Some of the increases in health care are to make up for the people who can't pay. If everyone is covered and everyone pays then cost will go down.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
Two words on how to reduce health care costs over all: TORT REFORM!

For those who don't know that means limiting the amount in damages that a person can get if they sue for malpractice. Now let me walk you through it. My SIL works as a doctor right outside of Chicago. It's a nice upscale suburb. She makes (roughly) 350k a year. Now, to anyone that would be a fantastic salary. However, her malpractice insurance is 150k a year. It's almost half her income. There is no other job that we ask people to pay half or nearly half of their income into something. Think about the people she could treat if she didn't have to pay that much?

I'm all for universal health care, but it will become a enormous mess if we don't reform the legal aspect of it first.

Edit: I'm willing to pay higher taxes to make sure that everyone is covered for health insurance. You know why? Because my cost from my employer will go down. Substantially.
Also, it's the right thing to do.
Very well put!
1/4 of my income will be going to insurance beginning next month to cover my husband and myself. My employer covers 75% of my insurance. If it wasn't for that it would be totally unaffordable. My DH's employer recently discontinued benefits for financial reasons. It was either that or lay-offs. Tax breaks could have prevented this, IMO. As it is now, we won't be doing Christmas. Somehow will also need to come up with co-pays. Well, that's my hard luck story, but my point is that too many people either struggle to have health insurance or go without. If I couldn't get my husband on my plan, he would likely not have coverage due to his preexisting conditions. Right - the people who need it most have the toughest time getting it.

Go Hillary!!!
post #6 of 21
It's a good start. Everyone should have insurance, but doctors should be determining what treatment options to consider, not the insurance company.
post #7 of 21
My only question with a universal health care is how does it effect the doctor's salaries? For example B is part of the VA. The VA is constantly trying to hire doctors because not many apply (the one in Ann Arbor lucks out with U of M Interns & residents). Why don't they apply? Because the VA places a cap on how much doctors can make.

I think that's the fighting stance on this. Thats why we have so many doctors coming in from so many different countries: We don't place a cap on how much a doctor can make. So doctors concerned with a $300K a year salary, may only get $150K. Otherwise at this point Americans are willing for a universal health care.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
I don't think Hillary's plan has any caps on doctors or drugs or anything.

The problem with the VA not being able to attract doctors is because they can't compete with private practice. If everybody was under the same cap, then that wouldn't be any issue. However, if the cap was too low there'd be another issue: college students wouldn't be too motivated to go into medicine and eventually we'd have a doctor shortage. (There's already a shortage in some specialties, but that's off topic.)
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
My only question with a universal health care is how does it effect the doctor's salaries? For example B is part of the VA. The VA is constantly trying to hire doctors because not many apply (the one in Ann Arbor lucks out with U of M Interns & residents). Why don't they apply? Because the VA places a cap on how much doctors can make.

I think that's the fighting stance on this. Thats why we have so many doctors coming in from so many different countries: We don't place a cap on how much a doctor can make. So doctors concerned with a $300K a year salary, may only get $150K. Otherwise at this point Americans are willing for a universal health care.
Because of the level of care and education I highly doubt that doctors will take much of a hit when it comes to pay. In fact, with tort reform (if it ever happens) they'll see more liquid income even if they make less.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
Because of the level of care and education I highly doubt that doctors will take much of a hit when it comes to pay. In fact, with tort reform (if it ever happens) they'll see more liquid income even if they make less.
Yes, it's the lawyers who would take the hit.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockcat View Post
Yes, it's the lawyers who would take the hit.
Naw! They'd just move on to another industry.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
Naw! They'd just move on to another industry.
You have a point there.
post #13 of 21
I think that if the issues that plague our system with rising costs aren't addressed, this will just be another out of control spending measure that won't do nearly as much as she wants for the amount of money she has planned. Tort reform would be a good place to start.

Oh, and apparently any criticism is just "politics as usual" according to Hillary. I guess that makes her plan bulletproof. But I will say, it's better than Edward's proposal to blackmail Congress and the Presidency with cutting their health care if it isn't overhauled by 2009.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/09/...are/index.html
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb View Post
I think that if the issues that plague our system with rising costs aren't addressed, this will just be another out of control spending measure that won't do nearly as much as she wants for the amount of money she has planned. Tort reform would be a good place to start.

Oh, and apparently any criticism is just "politics as usual" according to Hillary. I guess that makes her plan bulletproof. But I will say, it's better than Edward's proposal to blackmail Congress and the Presidency with cutting their health care if it isn't overhauled by 2009.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/09/...are/index.html
Black mail works. However, if a malpractice attorney is black mailing Congress into making a decision on health care I call that the blind leading the blind.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
Some of the increases in health care are to make up for the people who can't pay. If everyone is covered and everyone pays then cost will go down.

errr, not with the health care plans i have seen.
all i see is goverment or doctor or lawyers trying to get there hands on my money
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98
errr, not with the health care plans i have seen
I realize that's tongue-in-cheek, but just so everybody knows, lookingglass is correct about that. Emergency rooms are mandated to treat whoever walks in the door whether they have insurance or not, whether they have a real emergency or not. When they can't pay for their treatment, the cost is just distributed among those who can pay, and that would be all the rest of us and our insurance companies. It's a given principal of insurance that the more people that are insured, the lower the cost is for everybody, because the cost is spread more widely. It's like water in a glass. In the glass in might take up six inches, but if you spill it on the floor it's spread out and only takes up a fraction of an inch. And that doesn't even count the additional savings by people going to a general practitioner instead of the high-cost emergency room for their ordinary run-of-the-mill ailments.
post #17 of 21
I know she is, and i agree with her. I just dont agree that will bring the cost down.
by limiting the amount you can sue a doc for yes, that will help.

But so will forcing the drug companies from making 1000% profit on a pill.
You not going to controil this issue with one step, Its going to take several.
Once the overall cost of health care comes under control then you can expaned it.
for the most part all i hear from the goverment is give me your money, with out any steps to control the cost.

Right now i am sure the drug compaines are dooling over the idea.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Oh, I don't think anybody ever said it only takes one step. In addition to tort reform and universal coverage you can add revoking pharmaceutical marketing to the general public. Advertising is one reason drug costs are so high. Another reason that's not generally discussed is price controls on drugs in almost every other country except here. So who do you suppose funds drug company's research and development costs for drugs they're going to sell to the whole world but only make large gross profits on drugs sold in the U.S? There needs to be a fair distribution of costs.

Even tort reform isn't just about malpractice insurance. It's also about defensive medicine. That is, defending doctors' liabilities by ordering extra unnecessary tests and running up the cost of health care not for the benefit of patients, but for the benefit of doctors covering their behinds because they might be sued.

The whole thing is very complex and Hillary's plan keeps too much of the status quo.
post #19 of 21
Did anyone see the John Stossel special last week on the health insurance issue? It was thought provoking. They had the president of Whole Foods on, he started some new kind of health coverage account. Sort of like a HSA, but it didn't get lost at the end of the year if you didn't use the money. It was a very interesting concept.

They also looked at the consequences of a non-privatized government run system like Canada's. It said Canadians often wait several months for a CT scan etc. One town even had to have a monthly name drawing to determine which resident got on the new patient waiting list for a local primary care physician. Those with money often make arrangements to come to the US for surgeries or go to the new, illegal, private surgery centers and pay out of pocket to get the treatment they need. One of these illegal surgery centers was set up by the former head of the Canadian medical association, because he said their national system was not meeting the needs of the citizens.

There was also a U.S. doctor that didn't accept insurance of any kind. He had a price list for procedures. Very reasonable prices I might add. He said the money he saved by not having to file all sorts of forms for insurance was a saving he passed on to patients. He also said his income was right on the national average for a family practice physician. He worked with his patients on payment plans. Very progressive thinking.

Personally, I think insurance companies are part of the problem. The President of United made a salary of 34 million dollars in 2005. Where does that salary come from? It seems a bit excessive when we look at the premiums doctors pay for malpractice insurance and what we pay to have coverage.

Insurance companies have too much control in decision making. What we really need is insurance reform.
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittymonsters View Post
Personally, I think insurance companies are part of the problem.
Absolutely. But doctors and patients are also part of the problem. If all doctors posted price lists like the doctor cited in your post, I think that would save a lot of money. In what other business do you purchase something without knowing the cost ahead of time? I recently had a lab result come back with one parameter a little over the normal range and my doctor scheduled a CT scan for me. I called the hospital to find out what the cost would be, and finding it to be shocking, I called back to the doctor's office to find out if there was an alternative. So, after some research it turns out there's another way to get the information he wants that costs about half as much.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittymonsters View Post
There was also a U.S. doctor that didn't accept insurance of any kind. He had a price list for procedures. Very reasonable prices I might add. He said the money he saved by not having to file all sorts of forms for insurance was a saving he passed on to patients. He also said his income was right on the national average for a family practice physician. He worked with his patients on payment plans. Very progressive thinking.
That's v. cool and something most private docs should do IMO. If you ever read your statements, most (or all) say they are billing your insurance as a COURTESY; instead, providers are doing all the work in getting claims processed and paid. A majority of patients aren't interested at all in getting their providers what is due - even when they are asked to do so.

With a potential universal hc inititive, I v. much would like to know if they will still keep a claim model as it is now, or do away with a lot of administration. Last quote I heard was HMOs spend 30% of their revenue in administration re: claims and approvals. (PPOs generally sepnd 5%)

I'd like to have a third plan that is gov't, but keep some of the private industry. I think some competition is good. I also wonder what steps will be available if you want to fight care that is denied prior to service. That happens with the current gov't plans as it is now. Having ALL of my eggs in one basket make me nervous as heck.

I work in healthcare, so it is hard to envision how will it work if the US makes one big switchover. I'd like a transition really...first set up gov't health centers to work the model w/no charge to patients, but with the model for the paper trail in place and to be utilized...and so on.
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