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Healthcare Debate - What is the Public Option Anyway?


Guest LAW
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A new poll finds that although 79% of respondents are in favor of the policy known as a “public option” when it’s included in a list of possible healthcare reforms, just 37% are able to correctly identify the much-discussed proposal from a list of possible definitions.

 

The research, which was conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB) and released

exclusively at a health care forum featuring the National Journal’s Charlie Cook and underwritten by the AARP, PSB, and Burson-Marsteller.

 

The poll also revealed that 26% of Americans believe that the “public option” refers to the creation of a Great Britain-style national health care system.

 

“The disparity between Americans’ ability to identify the public option and their opinion of it as a policy is an opportunity for partisans on all sides of the issue,” said Billy Mann, Senior Vice President of PSB.

 

“In part because two thirds of the public is still unclear on what the public option would entail, the concept has become both a convenient punching bag and a sacred cow. Ultimately, it’s a strong reminder of the impact and importance of effective and clear

communications in public advocacy campaigns.”

 

The research reveals that Americans’ opinions on the health care debate are still defined by

partisanship, even while 76% of all Americans – and even 68% of Democrats – agree that the

President and the Democrats in Congress should work together with Republicans to pass any

legislation.

 

75% of Democrats and 55% of Independents believe it is now more important than ever to reform

America’s health care system, but a full 62% of Republicans think that the country cannot afford to confront the issue at this time. Further, 84% of Democratic respondents favor government-based funding for any possible reforms; in contrast, 81% of Republicans think that responsibility for obtaining health care should lie on individuals – views which mirror the parties’ stances in Washington.

 

Additionally, opinion on the best strategy for reforming health care is evenly split between two

approaches: increasing affordability or improving access to care. Each of these goals garners the support of 42% of the general population. But the division of opinion on preferred outcomes is rooted in partisanship – with 53% of Democrats in favor of improving access (compared to 25% of Republicans)and 48% of Republicans favoring efforts to improve affordability (compared to 38% of Democrats).

 

Independents – the key swing vote on this as other issues – essentially mirror the general population and divide evenly.

 

“As the healthcare debate becomes louder, more contentious, and more partisan, Americans are still united in wanting Congress and President Obama to find bipartisan solutions,” said Alisha Johnson, Associate Publisher of National Journal Group . “And despite the heat of the August recess, Americans of every stripe do identify some additional areas of common ground on the issue of health care reform.”

 

86% of respondents say that insurance should be available to everyone regardless of health

history – including 93% of Democrats, 87% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans. Large

majorities also reject paying more in either insurance premiums (74%) or taxes (64%) to expand

access to care.

 

The poll also identifies common and significant disconnects between Americans’ perceptions of

the behavior of large organizations like drug companies and health insurance companies, Such

organizations are strongly viewed as opponents of this year’s health care reform effort (at rates of 70% and 79%, respectively) despite having taken significant steps to partner with Administration and Congressional reformers.

 

“The debate over health care reform is in many ways still defined by the tenor of the last big

reform effort in 1993,” said Maureen Pierce Smile, Acting Director of AARP CO. “This year’s

debate has the potential to be more nuanced and more productive, but even though Americans

trust President Obama to do the right thing for healthcare reform more than Congressional

members of either party, he and his administration have a lot of work to do before any changes

will come to pass.”

 

Survey Metholodogy Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates conducted an Internet survey on

August 12-13, 2009 among 1,000 Americans. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3.10% at

the 95% confidence level and larger for subgroups.

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We understand the amount of money being spent on policy bashing special interest groups are doing. The PSB poll just stated what everyone already knew. Americans are confused by all the rhetorical noise in the media.

 

My Carefirst insurance rate just went up 24 percent. That is a yearly expense increase of $35,000.00 for my group. I feel fortunate that I can afford it. But, I know many friends that cannot.

 

According to the American Medical Association Uninsured and Medicaid patients are more likely than insured patients to be hospitalized for Avoidable Hospital Conditions (AHCs).

 

Rates for uninsured patients are significantly greater than for privately insured patients in Massachusetts for 10 of 12 individual AHCs, and in Maryland for five of 12 AHCs. After adjustment for baseline utilization, the results were statistically significant for 10 of 12 AHCs in Massachusetts and seven of 12 AHCs in Maryland. For Medicaid patients, rates were significantly greater than for privately insured patients for all AHCs in each state before adjustment, and for nine of 12 and seven of 12 AHCs in each state, respectively, after adjustment for baseline utilization.

 

I also understand that CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield owns half the insurance policies in the Washington DC metropolitan area, and UnitedHealth Group has another 20 percent. That really leaves people with little choice.

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CBS did a similar poll and the results were close to the above.

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/poll_healthcare_090109.pdf

 

I can live with a public option that keeps the insurance industry honest and provides Americans with a choice. I would support a nonprofit institute to evaluate and compare drugs, devices and medical treatments.

 

The Democrat version of the "public option" looks to be the creation of "nonprofit" entity established by a government grant, run independently, and not ready until after the next Presidential election. The Republican option being pitched over the blogosphere is "tort reform."

 

Just wondering if any politician knows where this reform is really going.

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Guest Michael Steele

Republicans believe reforms to America's health care system are necessary, but reform should be incremental and should first do no harm -- especially to our seniors. And we oppose raiding Medicare to pay for Obama's new health care experiment.

 

The Republican Party's Seniors' Health Care Bill of Rights is straightforward. It calls for:

 

* Protecting Medicare and not cutting it in the name of "health care reform;"

* Prohibiting government from getting between seniors and their doctors;

* Outlawing any effort to ration health care based on age;

* Preventing government from interfering with end-of-life care discussions;

* Ensuring seniors can keep their current coverage; and,

* Protecting veterans by preserving Tricare and other benefit programs for military families.

 

It's quite simple really: Republicans want to keep seniors and doctors in charge of health care choices -- not a new government-run entitlement that raises costs, increases regulations and limits choice like the Obama Democrats' plan.

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Guest ALWAYS RED

I look at polls too. 45% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance. That’s down a point from yesterday and the lowest level of total approval yet measured for Obama. Fifty-three percent (53%) now disapprove.

 

Eighty-one percent (81%) of Democrats approve while 83% of Republicans disapprove. As for those not affiliated with either major party, 66% disapprove.

 

This poll shows that Obama approval has gone steadily down since July. That times in perfectly with his pushing Obamacare at the same time. I think we will be seeing the GOP take Congress back in 2012. We just have to keep up the fight until then.

 

obama_total_approval_september_1_2009.jpg

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Okay Law; you never answered "Fine".

 

Here is something that I do that 99.99999999% will NEVER DO.

 

You go to the doctors’ office, you read the forms, and most of you sign them.

 

I go into the doctors’ office, I read the forms, I don't like what I'm reading.

 

SO I Line out the parts of the contract that I don't like, and re-write it right there and then.

 

Then I sign it, and tell the staff to read it well to MAKE SURE everything is in order "3 times".

 

They just look to see if they got the signature, and don't take my advice and read it "Not my fault if they don't read it".

 

Law it seems that I have more EXPERIENCE than you do.

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Okay Law; you never answered "Fine".

 

Here is something that I do that 99.99999999% will NEVER DO.

 

You go to the doctors’ office, you read the forms, and most of you sign them.

 

I go into the doctors’ office, I read the forms, I don't like what I'm reading.

 

SO I Line out the parts of the contract that I don't like, and re-write it right there and then.

 

Then I sign it, and tell the staff to read it well to MAKE SURE everything is in order "3 times".

 

They just look to see if they got the signature, and don't take my advice and read it "Not my fault if they don't read it".

 

Law it seems that I have more EXPERIENCE than you do.

I do not understand your answer in the context of your question.

 

I am not a doctor. I am not an insurance agent. I have worked with many civil organizations.

 

I am discussing health insurance and you are giving tips about what you do at the doctor's office. I do get my health checked, flu shots, and treated when I am in bad health. I choose to accept my health care rate increase or I would have to start paying a $1400.00 deductible at my previous rate.

 

I do agree with you that every contract you sign should be read. The parts you don't agree with line out. But, sometimes that does not work if you are desperate need of immediate care.

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My point is that one of us here has had/have more experience with the delivery of the health care system than the other.

 

Immediate care is already provided at the E.R., but what your group "The Democrats" have in mind is ultimately rationing of the health care system by the government.

 

Considering that social security is going broke as well as Medicare doesn't give your group a leg to stand on.

 

Expansion of Medicare while it's going broke? Makes no sense...

 

Removing Pre-existing clause with in the insurance industry will do far more to spur competition with in the insurance industry, as well as get more people who are disabled in the reg work place with out putting an undue burden on the economic system.

 

Again Remember ? This is ALL I was after "Removing Pre-existing clause", and that's it. <------ If the BILL was just this? It would pass easy, and help out a whole lot of folks.

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Guest Worth Reading

Congressman Wally Herger delivered the following opening statement during the July 17 Ways & Means Committee debate over House Democrats proposed government takeover of the health care system:

 

“Mr. Chairman, nobody disputes that America's health care system needs reform. Rising health care costs are putting the squeeze on families, businesses, and government alike, while placing quality health coverage completely out of reach for too many Americans. Unfortunately, the bill before us fails to bring costs under control. Instead, it would raise taxes and force employers to cut jobs at a time when we are in the middle of the most severe recession in decades.

 

“In addition to the 8% payroll tax on businesses that can't afford to provide the level of coverage mandated by Congress, the surtax will put the top marginal income tax rate in California above 55%. We shouldn't have to resurrect the 1970s to remember that when tax rates go too high, people lose the incentive to build new businesses and create jobs.

 

“These massive tax increases are no substitute for real fiscal responsibility. Today, we spend a much higher share of our economy on health care than any other industrialized country. The bill before us raises taxes to pump even more money into health care, but it's woefully short on cost savings. Even the President's budget director has expressed concern that this bill doesn't do enough to move Medicare away from the fee-for-service system that drives up costs. Meanwhile, it does nothing at all to address the costs associated with out-of-control medical liability lawsuits.

 

“Finally, the bill before us fails the President's own test that if you like the coverage you have, you should be able to keep it. As we have heard in previous testimony, an independent study has estimated that 2 out of 3 Americans who have private health coverage will lose it because of the policies in this bill, such as the establishment of a new government-run health plan paying Medicare-based rates. In addition, several million seniors will be at risk of losing their Medicare health plan.

 

“If we are committed to ensuring that people who like their health care can keep it, then this is the wrong bill. If we want to build on what works and encourage more innovative employer plans, then this is the wrong bill. And if our goal is to advance responsible reforms that will truly get rising health costs under control, then this is most certainly the wrong bill. I hope we will reject this legislation so we can get to work writing a bipartisan health care bill that achieves the objectives we all want to pursue.”

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Guest John Higgins

Has any of those pencilnecks in Washington realized our country is flat broke. My state is flat broke. My company is close to being broke. I sure in hell hope the Chinese realize they will be paying our welfare checks!

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What about a government run school of medicine for civilians? This would allow people that do not have enough money to afford medical school a way to get free education and help out our country in return.

 

It could be based on the "West Point of Medicine, 'Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and Americorps.

 

Prerequisites:

  • Completed a 2 year term of service with AmeriCorps
  • Biology with Lab (1 year)
  • Inorganic Chemistry with Lab (1 year)
  • Organic Chemistry with Lab (1 year)
  • Physics with Lab (1 year)
  • English (1 year)
  • Calculus (1 semester)
  • MCAT results (April 2007-September 2009)
  • U.S. Citizenship
  • Age Requirements
    • Due to commissioning standards, applicants that have reached their 31st birthday by 30 June 2010 will have torequest an age waiver prior to an offer.

    [*]Baccalaureate Degree granted no later than 1 June 2010[*]Clinical Experience

    Clinical Experience is defined as traditional clinical activity withpatients and/or health care professionals or paraprofessionals.[*]Letter of Approval by Americorps.

The doctors would complete their service in existing Free Clinics nationwide. This way the disadvantaged can have a place to go and get treated.

 

Then our government could follow the path of the path of America's healthiest state... Vermont.

 

Read the tort reform they have that everyone wants.

 

http://hcr.vermont.g...tober_08__0.pdf

Edited by Luke_Wilbur
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Rep. Paul Broun (GA) recently published a blog post: "America Does Not Need a Government Run Health Care System." Read an excerpt here:

 

Two days and two health care town halls. At least, that was what I had planned for. Instead, as nearly three thousand of my constituents turned out to express their concerns about Obamacare, we held a second town hall each night for the folks who couldn’t get into the first ones. All in all, everyone was passionate but very civil with their questions and comments.

 

What folks said in my four town halls was akin to what others have been repeating at gatherings all across America. In Clarkesville, I was asked why so many expensive bills – like Obamacare - are being rapidly pushed through Congress. They have concerns that big mistakes will be made if health care reform is rushed through so quickly. I could not agree more.

 

We have seen hurried mistakes with the recent bank bailouts, the so-called “stimulus,” and cash for clunkers, because they were rammed through Congress with little or no debate. Health care reform impacts a very large part of our economy and our daily lives. Doesn’t Congress owe it to Americans to have an open and meaningful debate that produces a plan supported by a large bipartisan majority? I think it does. But that’s not what the President and Democrat leaders in Congress are doing.

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CBS did a similar poll and the results were close to the above.

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/poll_healthcare_090109.pdf

 

I can live with a public option that keeps the insurance industry honest and provides Americans with a choice. I would support a nonprofit institute to evaluate and compare drugs, devices and medical treatments.

 

The Democrat version of the "public option" looks to be the creation of "nonprofit" entity established by a government grant, run independently, and not ready until after the next Presidential election. The Republican option being pitched over the blogosphere is "tort reform."

 

Just wondering if any politician knows where this reform is really going.

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What about a government run school of medicine for civilians? This would allow people that do not have enough money to afford medical school a way to get free education and help out our country in return.

 

It could be based on the "West Point of Medicine, 'Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and Americorps.

 

Prerequisites:

  • Completed a 2 year term of service with AmeriCorps
  • Biology with Lab (1 year)
  • Inorganic Chemistry with Lab (1 year)
  • Organic Chemistry with Lab (1 year)
  • Physics with Lab (1 year)
  • English (1 year)
  • Calculus (1 semester)
  • MCAT results (April 2007-September 2009)
  • U.S. Citizenship
  • Age Requirements
    • Due to commissioning standards, applicants that have reached their 31st birthday by 30 June 2010 will have torequest an age waiver prior to an offer.

    [*]Baccalaureate Degree granted no later than 1 June 2010[*]Clinical Experience

    Clinical Experience is defined as traditional clinical activity withpatients and/or health care professionals or paraprofessionals.[*]Letter of Approval by Americorps.

The doctors would complete their service in existing Free Clinics nationwide. This way the disadvantaged can have a place to go and get treated.

 

Then our government could follow the path of the path of America's healthiest state... Vermont.

 

Read the tort reform they have that everyone wants.

 

http://hcr.vermont.g...tober_08__0.pdf

 

I agree that we have to make medical education affordable (or even free), to discourage doctors from overcharging to pay back their education loans.

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Guest Fiscal Conservative

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's commission on health care examined the potential cost of expanding Virginia's Medicaid program for the poor.

 

The estimated price to cover adults who earn less than the federal poverty level -- $22,050 for a family of four this year was roughly $1 billion.

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Guest Congressman Mike Ross

I have never been one to back down from what I feel is best for my constituents and for the state of Arkansas. While I believe we need health care reform, I have said from the beginning it needs to be done in a deliberate, bipartisan and common sense way that reflects Arkansas values. Earlier this summer, I felt we were moving way too fast on a bill that will affect all 300 million of us in this country. So, I stood up to Speaker Pelosi and President Obama in July and put the brakes on health care reform in the House of Representatives. I successfully forced the leadership to delay a floor vote until September at the earliest so that each Member of Congress would have the opportunity to do what I have done – hold 37 town hall meetings on health care and read the bill.

 

While we must reform the system to help the more than 300,000 Arkansans without health insurance, I firmly believe we must also ensure that those of you who like your current health insurance plan will always be able to keep it and you should always be able to choose your own doctors. I have been skeptical about the public health insurance option from the beginning and used August to get feedback from you, my constituents. An overwhelming number of you oppose a government-run health insurance option and it is your feedback that has led me to oppose the public option as well. There are so many other reforms we need to try first before we completely overhaul our entire system. A government-run public option is the wrong direction for health reform in this country and I will oppose it in the U.S. Congress.

 

We need a uniquely American solution to our health care crisis, not one based on places like Canada or England. While I am opposed to a government-run public option, I believe we should create opportunities for the uninsured, self-employed and small businesses to have the option of participating in a group, with choices they can afford. I also believe there are still many badly-needed reforms we should move forward with, such as requiring health insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. And, we must insist on common sense tort reform as a means of controlling frivolous and costly lawsuits.

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People without insurance are less likely to get preventive care. They often wait until their health problems are too serious to tolerate or ignore, and then arrive at hospital emergency rooms. By this time, health problems that could have been easily addressed earlier have become difficult or impossible to treat.

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This reform bill is Obama's plan to do away with private insurance and get everybody into single payer, but that seems that the unavoidable and obvious eventual outcome.Think about how many jobs will be insurance jobs will be lost. Have you ever gone to any government institution? Have you ever waited in long lines to get something done. Most of the workers have no incentive to work. They just roam around the halls all day.

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Guest Michael Vet

This is not a debate. Racist biggots try to put down the President, because he is a black man with vision. White leaders fear the power of his following. History will paint a different picture of a great man who was trying to help the common man in need. Tonight I will sit down with my family and watch the President's speech. I suggest you listen to his words not stare at the color of his skin.

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Guest Dennis Kucinich

Are you concerned about a public option? Let me share with you some insight about health care legislation which may not be good for your health.

 

A lesson in politics. The Kucinich Prediction: Here's what's going to happen ...

 

1. House will make a big deal about keeping/putting a public option in HR3200 because it competes with insurance companies and will keep insurance rates low.

2. The White House will refer to the President's speech last week where he spoke favorably of the public option.

3. The Senate will kill the competitive public option in favor of non-competitive "co-ops". Senate leaders like Kent Conrad have said the votes to pass a public option were never there in the Senate.

4. The bill will come to a House-Senate Conference Committee without the public option.

5. House Democrats will be told to support the conference report on the legislation to support the President.

6. The bill will pass, not with a "public option" but with a private mandate requiring 30 million uninsured to buy private health insurance (if one doesn't already have it). If you are broke, you may get a subsidy. If you are not broke, you will get a fine if you do not purchase insurance.

 

This legislative sausage will be celebrated as a new breakthrough and will be packaged as health insurance reform. However, the bill may require a Surgeon General's warning label: Your Money or Your Life!

 

The bill that Congress passes may pale in comparison to the bill that millions of Americans will get every month/year for having or not having private health insurance.

 

It will take four years for the new legislation to go into effect. During that time we are going to build a constituency of millions in support of real health care, a constituency which will be recognized and a cause which is right and just: Health Care as a Civil Right.

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