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The changing health-care debate
The Washington Times ^ | January 19, 2007 | Masthead Editorial

Posted on 01/19/2007 12:41:24 PM PST by neverdem

A few years down the road, January 2007 could be remembered as a turning point in American health care. A turn leftward, that is. This week, the groups best known for their stalwart opposition to Democratic universal health-care schemes in the 1990s announced two separate coalitions with former adversaries. This follows less-than-conservative health-care initiatives by Republican governors in California and Massachusetts within the past year. Viewed together, it looks like the political terrain on health care is shifting.


    In one of this week's coalitions, America's Health Insurance Plans, whose predecessor the Health Insurance Association of America helped torpedo HillaryCare with its "Harry and Louise" ad campaign, joins Families USA, one of Sen. Hillary Clinton's favorites, among other groups, to advocate a yet-to-be-detailed "overhaul" of health care. The other coalition joins the Business Roundtable with the Service Employees International Union, among others, for a similar purpose, also short on details. Not until the coalitions elaborate on the specifics will we know where the new health-care debate is headed.


    These are the key players in American health care, buttressed by the top representatives of corporate America generally: America's Health Insurance Plans, the Business Roundtable, plus the American Medical Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Hospital Association and others in addition to the above heavy hitters are also involved in these two coalitions. Together, this is quite nearly the entire universe of industry players -- with the important exception of the pharmaceuticals industry. All may now be signaling that they find market-based health care to be unacceptable.


    If SchwarzeneggerCare is any indication, the direction is likely to be measurably to the left of previous years. Mr. Schwarzenegger's plan for universal coverage includes "pay or play," a 4 percent payroll tax and a four percent tax on doctors and...

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: arnoldcare; health; healthcare; medicine; socializedmedicine

1 posted on 01/19/2007 12:41:25 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

When it comes to healthcare, we're screwed. Some form of universal healthcare is inevitable.


2 posted on 01/19/2007 12:43:45 PM PST by NittanyLion
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To: neverdem

Why not just try what happened in Tennesee?
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1769201/posts


3 posted on 01/19/2007 12:46:58 PM PST by traviskicks (http://www.neoperspectives.com/Ron_Paul_2008.htm)
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To: neverdem
Fine.

I hope the morons all like it.

4 posted on 01/19/2007 12:49:30 PM PST by Jim Noble
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To: neverdem

I expect more MD's to set up offices in Nevada.


5 posted on 01/19/2007 12:51:47 PM PST by sono (There are only two exit strategies - One is victory, the other defeat - Joe Lieberman)
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To: traviskicks

It's going to happen one way or the other. I don't see any way out of it at this point. Too many hospitals and health departments are going broke treating the uninsured and illegals. As long as the feds require hospitals to treat everyone we will have this problem.

But it still really angers me! I belong to Kaiser, which I get through my job. I am very happy with Kaiser. However, the Kaiser hospital I go to is the ONLY hospital in town. Every person on Medicaid (Medi-Cal here in CA) can come into the hospital and be seen. I have been to the emergency room a few times and had to wait while Medi-Cal patients, WHO ARE NOT KAISER MEMBERS AND DO NOT PAY, are seen ahead of me. This is a PRIVATE hospital, not a public one, yet we still have to wait while they treat the illegals and the susidized, non-Kaiser "poor".

It's just going to get worse.


6 posted on 01/19/2007 12:53:49 PM PST by sdillard
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To: NittanyLion
"When it comes to healthcare, we're screwed. Some form of universal healthcare is inevitable."

Send researchers and Congressional junkets to Canada. Have them study everything we're doing and take detailed notes.

Then don't do that.
7 posted on 01/19/2007 12:56:23 PM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: NittanyLion
Universal healthcare is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline. It is the wrong solution for the problem and will only make the problem worse.

Too much insurance and too much employer and government provided healthcare benefits are what is causing the high cost of healthcare.
8 posted on 01/19/2007 1:13:53 PM PST by Hendrix
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To: Hendrix
Too much insurance and too much employer and government provided healthcare benefits are what is causing the high cost of healthcare.

I couldn't agree more. Sadly, I suspect less than 20% of Americans agree with us.

9 posted on 01/19/2007 1:15:03 PM PST by NittanyLion
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To: neverdem
The Massachusetts plan is actually not the worst. It was supported by the Heritage Foundation. The way I understand it, is that it basically requires everybody to purchase a health insurance plan. If you can't afford one, you receive a voucher to buy one. By the measure of many economists, this may very well turn out to be cheaper in the long run.

We have laws that require emergency rooms to treat people regardless of their ability to pay. The result is, we have people treating the emergency room as their personal doctor. Who ends up paying for this? The average American, either through their health care costs of their tax money. The amount of tax money they'd pay for health care vouchers would be smaller than the amount they'd save on their own health care.

These economists could be wrong of course, and that's why it's wise for a few states to try this system out first. The only way we could have a true free market health care system would be to repeal those emergency room laws, which would never fly. This system still leaves the business of health care private, even if not all the money in it is. It has the advantages of competition and does not have disadvantages of excessive bureaucracy, neither of which would be the case with a single-payer system.
10 posted on 01/19/2007 1:18:29 PM PST by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: neverdem

Mitt Romney was a big backer of the Mass plan last summer. There is an individual mandate that every person in the state has to purchase health insurance. The state provides subsidized insurance for those considered to be the "working poor" but who are above the Medicaid income eligibility levels.


11 posted on 01/19/2007 1:22:09 PM PST by dashing doofus (Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber)
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To: neverdem
If we're going to go in that direction, I'm in favor of just adopting single payer a la Canada.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

12 posted on 01/19/2007 1:24:33 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: Hendrix
Too much insurance and too much employer and government provided healthcare benefits are what is causing the high cost of healthcare.

Very true. Employers should have never gotten involved in providing health care for their employees. At this point, with so many contracts already made, it's hard to conceive how we would go about untangling that mess.
13 posted on 01/19/2007 1:27:49 PM PST by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: NittanyLion

We already have "universal health care". Some people pay a great deal out of pocket for it, some pay modest (or maybe not so modest) sums into an insurance pool, and make a co-payment at time of delivery of medical services, and some are totally dependent on the kindness of strangers.

Emergency rooms have to accept incoming patients. Once the prospective patient has been put through triage, a certain degree of priority is applied to that particular situation, and it may be ten seconds, or ten hours, before directing medical attention to that individual.

The objection is that ALL medical care will be centered on crisis response, and the slow, deliberate application of good preventative medical care will become a casualty of this redirection of resources. Elective medical procedures will be allowed (or forced) to be postponed, until a crisis does occur, the fire drill response.

"Get your employer to pay for it" is bad policy, for a multitude of reasons. Because your employer does NOT pay for your health insurance plan, you do. By taking a lesser wage, or having the premiums deducted from your take-home pay AFTER taxes. Even if the employer pays ALL the premium, this is still a bad deal for the employee, because when the job terminates for any reason, the medical coverage disappears. Or the employer may have just done the insurance coverage shopping for you, and acquired the least-expensive source out there, with some company that is willing to accept the premiums, but may have a very poor record of paying the bills, something you do not want to discover in the middle of a major medical crisis.

Some may ask, why can't individuals just buy into the same plans that are available to most government employees? This is not the same thing at all as having the government, at whatever level, being the single-payer source, as the insurance is actually through regulated companies, that provide the coverage based on actuarial risk tables. Some people just cannot qualify for coverage under any plan, because of pre-existing health conditions, or time limitations, or some other disqualifier. Or if they do qualify for such a plan, they may be unable or unwilling to make the necessary premium payments or co-payments. These inevitably wind up as somebody's charity cases.

So to finance coverage for this pool of uninsureds, is it wise to enroll them in "compulsory" insurance? Again, this problem with triage, and overdependence on somebody else footing the bills, resulting in deferred or even inadequate delivery of health care. So, some say, slap a surtax on top of Social Security, or some kind of excise or national sales tax on goods and services, to finance. But then, it becomes a TAX, and not an insurance plan.

Problem with that, is that the tax will NOT be dedicated and segregated for that purpose and that purpose alone. The fund will be raided almost immediately, as were Social Security and Medicare, by throwing it in the general revenue fund, and "borrowing" against those funds, to run general government programs. Essentially, this program would only ADD to the national debt, as it would be funds that were to be paid out at some future time, but spent on current responsibilities, which means, there ain't anything in the bank when it comes time to pay the bills coming in.

Since the time of the New Deal, the government has been mortgaging more and more of its future by borrowing, and now, the least tremor in this cycle of always borrowing ahead, sets off tsunamis and shock waves all over the world.

Which is why GM builds such uninspired automobiles, and is soon to become the #2 automaker in the world. GM provides the biggest health insurance and pension program in the world, and exists only to continue to serve that purpose, not to build cars.


14 posted on 01/19/2007 1:31:26 PM PST by alloysteel (Just going to church doesn't make you a Christian,like standing in a garage doesn't make you a car.)
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To: sdillard

>>
But it still really angers me! I belong to Kaiser, which I get through my job. I am very happy with Kaiser.
>>

I apologize for singling you out, sir. But this statement is why FR and conservatism has not evolved a good policy response on this matter.

The truth is a lot of FR types are in traditional jobs who get group health plans through those jobs. Well, this is a HUGE problem for conservatism because what it is doing is concealing from most on FR that This Is Not The Norm.

The norm in the US is jobs as self employed people or as employees of very small business. Or employed at fewer than 40 hrs per week, and paid hourly. Add to these categories another group of Americans called "early retirees", who get an early out or simply achieve enough success to stop working before age 65.

All of those several categories can be refused individual policies for pre-existing conditions. They Can't Get Insurance. Group plans are not allowed to exclude pre-existing conditions.

I would suggest that THIS is the single key focal point that the GOP could rally around as a viable conservative position. Enforce a declaration that all people in non group plans are in total a group and constitute a group plan in and of themselves. This would prevent exclusion for pre-existing conditions and it would prevent enormous premium increases for individual plans.

It also would, in conservative fashion, keep government out of the healthcare business. Insurance companies WILL see an impact on profits from this because they are currently gouging individual plans and excluding high risks -- but a tax break for the industry could balance this and remain quintessentially conservative.

Anyway, that's my contribution to the 2008 GOP platform. :)


15 posted on 01/19/2007 1:35:14 PM PST by Owen
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To: neverdem; Carry_Okie; calcowgirl; All

Here we go again... PING!!!


16 posted on 01/19/2007 1:41:03 PM PST by SierraWasp (There is no one else in the hollow "center" except CA's celebrity collectivist compellinator!!!)
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To: Owen

You seem to have given this a good deal of thought.

Let me add a bit of data regarding requiring people to buy insurance.

I'm required to be in Part D medicare and pay $38/month to do so. All of my generics are available in or out of plan for $4 ...no savings.

After the free enrollment period they changed the formulary so of 4 non-generics I need, two were dropped from the plan.

Basically, I am forced to pay for useless insurance or face extravagant penalties (1% per month). I can't drop the bad company until next November.

I understand that some folk will need less than the premiums and others more, but being locked in and having only a handful of meds even available needs addressing. I see a similar problem with forced buying of healh insurance. IMHO


17 posted on 01/19/2007 2:06:43 PM PST by From many - one.
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To: neverdem
In other words, Democrats can learn to love a "Republican" health-care plan if it looks like Mr. Schwarzenegger's. This is a decent imitation of HillaryCare.

Thanks for nuttin', Arnold.

18 posted on 01/19/2007 2:31:14 PM PST by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: From many - one.

Never heard of requiring part D. Sounds to me as if you have some shopping to do.


19 posted on 01/19/2007 2:32:55 PM PST by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: NittanyLion
When it comes to healthcare, we're screwed. Some form of universal healthcare is inevitable.

That's because the Republican Party has accepted the premise that healthcare is a right. The Party has always been the lesser of two evils and now their intellectual weakness is coming home to roost. "For the greater good" is now widely accepted by Republicans and conservatives alike. That their feel good programs are nothing but theft doesn't seem to bother them in the least. If a rational liberty focused party existed I would be ecstatic, but one simply cannot be found in this country.

20 posted on 01/19/2007 2:38:26 PM PST by Live and let live conservative ($)
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To: ClaireSolt

"Never heard of requiring part D. Sounds to me as if you have some shopping to do."

It's not required if you don't mind paying a 1%month surcharge. Classic bait and switch. When I signed up all my meds were covered. I still paid in more than got out, but that's how insurance works, so I'm not complaining about that.

But the company stopped covering the more expensive meds, didn't notify me until the free enrollment period was over and I have to wait until November to change companies or pay an extra 11% for the rest of my life.


21 posted on 01/19/2007 2:47:11 PM PST by From many - one.
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To: Owen
Enforce a declaration that all people in non group plans are in total a group and constitute a group plan in and of themselves. This would prevent exclusion for pre-existing conditions and it would prevent enormous premium increases for individual plans.

Let's assume, as a healthy adult, that I have one of those individual plans today at a reasonable premium. How would forcing me into a pool with others who have pre-existing conditions (i.e. not-so-healthy people who will most likely require more care) result in anything other than premium increases for me?

22 posted on 01/19/2007 2:55:16 PM PST by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: calcowgirl

>>
Let's assume, as a healthy adult, that I have one of those individual plans today at a reasonable premium. How would forcing me into a pool with others who have pre-existing conditions (i.e. not-so-healthy people who will most likely require more care) result in anything other than premium increases for me?
>>

Good question.

Here's the answer:

>>
Let's assume, as a healthy adult, that I have one of those individual plans today at a reasonable premium.
>>

You don't. That individual plan costs more than the equivalent group plan. Also, how do you know you're healthy? When were you last to the doc for a full physical? This is another aspect to the problem. You have to be reluctant to go for a physical. If something is found amiss, you then have a pre-existing condition and you are forever screwed.

We need to get fully calibrated on this. Fall off your bicycle and break a few bones? Some plans will not cover problems that evolve in that area of the body. Appendectomy? If you later develop surgical adhesions, they aren't going to cover treatment for them. Gall bladder removed? That will be a whole list of digestive issues that won't be covered. And these are the mild ones. Anything like blood pressure that is general and very, very common, may get you excluded altogether.

As soon as you have one of these exclusion problems, you can't relocate. You can't change insurance carriers. You can't let that policy lapse by even one day. If you do any of these things the insurers are allowed to re-evaluate your worthiness of coverage.

So, your question is a good one, but the premise is necessarily going to be very rare. I suppose a 23 yr old might fall in the category, but he or she will be going in for a physical eventually and rolling the dice when they do.


23 posted on 01/19/2007 3:51:27 PM PST by Owen
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To: NittanyLion; wardaddy; Joe Brower; Cannoneer No. 4; Criminal Number 18F; Dan from Michigan; ...
When it comes to healthcare, we're screwed. Some form of universal healthcare is inevitable.

IMHO, universal healthcare will cause healthcare rationing and fewer physicians as they elect to retire ASAP. If you think medicine is bad now, you ain't seen nothing yet.

The Last Time Congress Reformed Health Care: A Lawmakers Guide to the Medicare Catastrophic Debacle

"Congressman Dan Rostenkowski, one of the most powerful politicians in the United States, was booed and chased down a Chicago street Thursday morning by a group of senior citizens after he refused to talk with them about federal health insurance .... Eventually, the six-foot four-inch Rostenkowski cut through a gas station, broke into a sprint and escaped into his car, which minutes earlier had one of the elderly protesters, Leona Kozien, draped over the hood."

Health Insurance and "Adequate" Care

The Quranic Concept of War Check the source. It's long, but interesting, for a long war.

From time to time, I’ll ping on noteworthy articles about politics, foreign and military affairs. FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.

24 posted on 01/19/2007 5:03:12 PM PST by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: NittanyLion
Some form of universal healthcare is inevitable.

Unfortunately. A lot of boomers are going to want someone else to take care of them as they age and they have no compunction about having the Government force their kids and grandkids to pick up the tab.

I am in that age group but I would be happy to see all government entitlement programs ended, even though I've been paying into them all my adult life.

25 posted on 01/19/2007 6:28:05 PM PST by Chuckster (Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnoset)
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

I think the Mass. plan is the best solution I've heard. Uninsured people do, as you said, use emergency rooms too much. That's terribly expensive, and paid for by taxes.
Insured people are much more likely to visit doctors or clinics, a much cheaper way to provide health care.
Best of all, it keeps health care in the private sector. We can all buy the best insurance we want, or can afford.

I'd like to see several states try this before we even talk about gov't provided health care.


26 posted on 01/19/2007 7:02:21 PM PST by speekinout
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To: NittanyLion
When it comes to healthcare, we're screwed.

But it doesn't have to be. All that needs to be done is to lower and simplify the tax code and abolish government healthcare regulations that mandate that insurance have to cover certain procedures and mandate that people have a right to use ERs as their primary care physicians.

Next Medicaid should be abolished.

27 posted on 01/19/2007 7:21:40 PM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist (Forgot your tagline? Click here)
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To: neverdem
"Congressman Dan Rostenkowski, one of the most powerful politicians in the United States, was booed and chased down a Chicago street Thursday morning by a group of senior citizens after he refused to talk with them about federal health insurance

ROFL! "MEDIC!"

28 posted on 01/19/2007 7:22:58 PM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist (Forgot your tagline? Click here)
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian
Good points. Another option for states is to simply use a portion of their sales tax into a healthcare fund managed by private insurance, who are overseen by an independent or non-profit board.

Since people are paying into the system perpetually, there's no worries about where the money is coming from. Competition among the insurance companies would make healthcare affordable as the insurance companies would tailor plans that best meet that person's needs. And sales taxes are the least regressive of taxes.

Low-income people would stop buying plasma TVs and take-out dinners and buy their own insurance plans instead of relying on Medicaid. In fact, Medicaid should be abolished and those who are truly disabled or terminally ill could be mapped over into Medicare, which itself would be phased out over time.

29 posted on 01/19/2007 7:30:37 PM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist (Forgot your tagline? Click here)
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To: From many - one.

I see. Sound like you have a gripe. Does your plan say you should take generics for the meds not covered, but your doc says they are not the same? I have been happy with Humana Plus for 6 years.


30 posted on 01/19/2007 7:55:51 PM PST by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist
...Medicare, which itself would be phased out over time...

Do you think 65+ year-old-olds, most of whom have pre-existing conditions, would get private insurance? There's too much risk in this group for it to be feasible.

31 posted on 01/19/2007 8:04:01 PM PST by Aikonaa
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To: ClaireSolt

They dropped them altogether. There are no generics yet for either.

I'm not posting to gripe about part D, I'm posting to warn about forcing people to buy health insurance. The "gripe" is just an example I can attest to.


32 posted on 01/19/2007 8:06:26 PM PST by From many - one.
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian
Employers should have never gotten involved in providing health care for their employees.

They were forced into it by wage controls during WWII; they couldn't attract the best workers any other way.

Check out the time line at the bottom:


-- from THIS page

33 posted on 01/19/2007 8:12:07 PM PST by FreeKeys (“Everything the government touches turns to crap." -- Ringo Starr)
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To: neverdem

You're absolutely correct, this is going to be a disaster for our healthcare; all this is taking place at the same time as they are being lobbied by pharmaceuticals to deny us access to alternatives like supplements, homeopathy, etc.


34 posted on 01/19/2007 9:20:00 PM PST by Arizona Carolyn
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To: speekinout

You don't mind having 4% of your earnings go for healthcare for illegal aliens? That is part of the California plan.


35 posted on 01/19/2007 9:21:03 PM PST by Arizona Carolyn
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To: neverdem

Thanks for the ping!


36 posted on 01/19/2007 10:11:43 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: From many - one.
I don't really think you were forced. However, I agree that forcing is a bad idea. Peter Lewis of Progressive Insurance made a huge fortune off of the pools of car insurance customers dropped by companies. In 1994 I was in that spot and they charged me $900/mo for my car and my son's.

To me it is a racket. My Medicare HMO costs more than my SS check. I would not rank it as the most important priority in my life and certainly not more important than everything else put together.

37 posted on 01/19/2007 10:41:54 PM PST by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: sdillard
"Too many hospitals and health departments"

the reason that hospitals are going broke is because they are forced to take less money in payment than what the actual cost is....

how would you like to have a business where the govt told you that you had to sell things at half price to every other person who comes in the door?

38 posted on 01/19/2007 10:46:20 PM PST by cherry
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To: Arizona Carolyn

I mentioned the Mass plan, not the CA one. As far as I can tell, the most significant difference between the two is CA's allowance for care for illegals.

I know CA needs a guest worker program for agriculture, and there isn't one. But subsidizing illegals as a substitute is the absolutely wrong way to go about fixing the problem.


39 posted on 01/20/2007 3:08:26 PM PST by speekinout
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To: speekinout
Yes, it is and to charge doctors who already get approximately $16 for an office visit to treat a Medi-Cal patient 2 - 4% of their gross for the privilidge of living and working in California, is wrong as well. Plus adding what adds up to an additional 4% payroll tax on all workers in the State, too... all makes me glad we moved. Oh, and the insult: to reduce what citizens, who happen to live in California and are on welfare, receive to help pay for insurance for illegals is terrible..... I am not a fan of welfare, just the whole premise is so flawed.

One GOP California State Senator said this was turning California into an HMO for Mexico and I think he was accurate. Perhaps, if they want to really push the law, they should create Workfare instead of Welfare in California and put all the strong, healthy, men who are on welfare into a work program for their checks, including picking fruit or other crops.

40 posted on 01/20/2007 4:06:43 PM PST by Arizona Carolyn
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To: Arizona Carolyn
put all the strong, healthy, men who are on welfare into a work program for their checks, including picking fruit or other crops.

Except are there any "strong, healthy men" on welfare? I think not. Almost all male welfare recipients are addicts, alcoholics or mentally ill. Or, in the case of CA, illegal immigrants.

41 posted on 01/20/2007 6:36:28 PM PST by speekinout
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To: speekinout

Good point. What a mess.


42 posted on 01/20/2007 7:44:40 PM PST by Arizona Carolyn
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