The Health Care Debate

My main issue with the health care debate is the obvious deception used to promote the need for reform.  There clearly is an underlying motivation for all this move to government run health care.  To get a taste of it, watch the video below.  The move to government run health care has nothing to do with cost or access.  The powers behind this move simply want the government to run the industry.  Why, I don’t know.  I just don’t know why anyone would want the government to run anything they do not have to.  And they certainly do not have to run health care.

A few weeks ago I watched this video on CNBC.  It’s a segment that Erin Burnett did on the 46.5 million uninsured Americans.  I’m not a fan of the final number that Erin came up with in the video, but the video did start me down the path of questioning the 46.5 million number in the first place.  You may have heard it referenced in the above video.  Members of my family have mentioned it in discussions and emails as well.  I’ve always assumed this was an accurate number and was developed from sound evidence.  That was until I saw this CNBC segment and did some research myself.  The way the number is being used seems to be deceptive.

The first thing I did was go out and get the National Institute for Health Care Management’s April 2008 brief that the number was generated from and read all 17 pages.  I learned a lot.

In fact, I learned that of the 46.5 million, 12.0 million currently have access to public health care (under our current system) and choose not to receive it for one reason or another.  Various reasons are outlined in the report as to why.  So, without spending one dime, we can insure 12 million people just by getting them signed up.  But if they choose not to, for their own reasons, that’s their business.  It’s not the government’s job to protect people from themselves.

I also learned that 7.3 million people make more then 400% above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and do not have health care.  400% above the FPL is $40,840 or more for a single person and $82,600 or more for a family of four.  According to a lot of researchers I’ve read, many of these individuals are self employed.  Of those 7.3 million people, 5.2 million are childless adults.  So, that’s a single person or family of two making in excess of 400% of the FPL.  I think there can be an argument made that a large percentage of these individuals have access to health care and can afford current, private health insurance out of their own pocket.  If they choose to.  Again, if they choose not to have it, that’s their business.  After reading this brief I was telling a friend at work about what I was discovering and he told me about his neighbors.  They are a married couple who make more then 400% above the FPL and guess what……their children get SCHIP.  The married couple themselves do not have a health care package because they are both self employed.

So, now we are up to 19.2 million Americans who can access health care either by paying for it themselves or simply signing up for it.  And the government doesn’t have to pay a dime to do it.  Did you get that part?  Without spending a single tax payer penny, we can insure 19.2 million Americans by getting them signed up for a current program, or educating them into buying their own coverage.

I also learned that there are 10.0 million non-Americans included in that figure.  Non-Americans are considered those both illegally and legally in the country.  The NIHCM calculated the number to be 4.4 million documented non-citizens and 5.6 million undocumented non-citizens (illegal immigrants).  The NIHCM defined documented non-citizens as legal immigrants to include refugees, legal permanent residents (e.g., green card holders), and legal temporary residents (i.e., those in the country legally for a specified period and purpose).  The question this poses is, will a government run health care system allow for documented non-citizens to enroll?  What about illegal immigrants?

So, now we are up to 24.8 to 29.2 million people who either have access to health care either by paying for it themselves, simply signing up or are not American citizens in the first place.  The 24.8 million is the 19.2 million from above, plus the illegal immigrants (who shouldn’t be covered by a government plan).  The 29.2 million includes the 19.2 million from above, plus all 10.0 million non-Americans.  There could be an argument made that legal refugess/immigrants, etc should be covered so I gave you two different numbers.

That leaves 17.2 to 21.7 million people without access to a current public plan or money to afford health care.

Personally, United States Government run health care should only apply to American citizens and not to non-Americans of any type.  If you want it, become a citizen.  So, I’m going to use that 17.2 million number, well, because this is my blog and its my opinion.

So, now the final question is this:  Why are we so willing to spend $1.4 trillion dollars over 10 years to attempt to insure 17.2 million people?  That comes to 81,395.35 for every man, woman and child without health care over 10 years or $8,139.54 a year.

And if everyone was tossing around 17.2 million uninsured Americans (or 5.7% of the population of the United States) instead of 46.5 million would we be even having this discussion?  I doubt it.

Now, just this evening I learned how Congress is planning on paying for this health care plan.  They are in preliminary discussions about adding a “surcharge tax” or “surtax” to the national income tax.  But of course, they are only going after those that make more then $250,000 a year to pay for their grand plan.

It’s too bad no one with any political clout is willing to challenge those that claim the 46.5 million number is accurate.  It’s too bad no one with any political clout is willing to challenge the underlying motivation of our President and members of Congress who want to see private, for-profit health care eliminated and replaced by a government, not-for-profit health care.

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3 Responses to “The Health Care Debate”

  1. trexmom Says:

    I am shocked (although probably shouldn’t be) that they want to move toward a single payer system. I agree that health care is in need of some improvements but getting the government involved certainly won’t improve the situation. And celebrating the fact that insurance companies would be put out of business is just wrong – more folks out of work.

    There are reasons people seek medical treatment in the US. We have the best. If you talk to someone from a country with socialized medicine, there are waiting lists for simple surgeries (i.e. gallbladder removal) and what of the pre-term babies (some countries do not have sufficient NICUs to treat them).

    I have a friend who is a family physician and she actually believes there should be government provided health care. She thinks if people were given a choice between a big screen TV and medical insurance, more often than not they would choose the TV and therefore should not be given the choice. This way it basically “forces” people who might otherwise not be insured to be insured and therefore she can be paid for her services.

    I say if people don’t want insurance then they have to live with the consequences – and we should not have to pay for them.

    Just like the person who doesn’t wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. If he crashes and is critically injured and the hospital bills lead to financial ruin, then he should be held accountable, no one else. It was his choice to not wear the helmet.

    I’d just like to know where accountability went? If people would learn to take care of themselves, then we wouldn’t have this issue!

    Like

  2. chernon Says:

    I like your research, Rich. And your points, trexmom. I have past experience as a person who could afford health insurance and procrastinated about buying it for a long time. And I knew others who also chose not to add that monthly expense, paid their own way with medical expenses, and risked the possible consequence of a traumatic health problem, loss of income & savings, and economic burden on hospital & society.
    So I believe there are a high number of uninsured who choose not to buy it when they can afford it. I know of adults who buy it for their kids but not themselves. That issue should be publicized, explained, and exploited to convince those people of how wrong it is.

    About the govt. running the industry: I don’t believe want that specifically. They want: competition for private insurance, and REFORM of insurance companies — and FORCING them to HAVE to reform, for their own financial future, could happen with strong enough competition.
    As with govt. “wanting” to run the auto industry: they don’t.
    And the cigarette & liquor industry: I know that those industries have always feared that one day the govt. would interfere, in favor of the citizens’ welfare. The govt. has a right to, but also has considered the rights of their being a private industry – so far.

    Or any other industry. The Federal govt. is responsible for watching out for the health and well-being of citizens and the financial health and wellbeing of the economy. If the private sector is damaging or hurting or neglecting our citizens, then the govt. is mandated to step in. Result: FDA for food safety, FTSA for transportation safety, the old WPA that created jobs during the depression, and all the cabinet posts and departments that step into private industry when that business’s financial health hurts their customers/consumers.

    HMO’s brought bureaucrats into the medical field to overstep physicians’ orders. That was a calculated business decision by private industry and the govt. did not step into that business.

    Medicare – being govt run – doesn’t have that bureaucracy, their patients are happy with it (you know how it worked for Mom and Dad), & it works medically. (It has a financial & a fraud problem, plus doctors suffer financially for it, and they haven’t figured how to fix that yet.)
    So, I consider this debate – as I’ve heard others say – to be an insurance reform measure as well as a medical expense reduction measure (such as, reducing hospitals’ expenses for treating poor people who can’t pay or don’t get treated til at advanced stage of illness.)

    Finally, look up Wendell Potter, formerly of CIGNA health insurance, his testimony to the Senate & interview on PBS-TV.
    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07312009/profile.html

    I think, also, that another past insurance exec has gone public – he was VP of Communications at Aetna. Can’t find him, tho, from internet right now.

    FINALLY, Rich — would you like to send some of your research & message to the Obama Admin’s Health team? They read emails from citizens, and they send out emails to promote their agenda. I think they should be made aware of your point.
    Go to HealthReform.gov
    There’s a link called “Share Your Story and Ideas”

    Like

  3. chernon Says:

    Correction: there isn’t another insurance exec, from Aetna. It’s the same guy – Wendell Potter.
    Also, I didn’t mention what other reasons the Fed govt has for health care reform, besides the insurance industry reform. I do know there are other big issues, like the poor and employer-provided programs, etc.
    Thanks!

    Like


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