Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sen. Cory Booker is throwing his support behind a "Medicare for all" bill being introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), becoming the latest Democrat floated as a 2020 contender to back the legislation. The New Jersey senator told NJTV News that he would sign on as a co-sponsor of the bill, which is scheduled to be rolled out on Wednesday. "This is something that's got to happen. ObamaCare was a first step in advancing this country, but I won't rest until every American has a basic security that comes with having access to affordable health care," Booker told the New Jersey outlet. He added that "you should not be punished because you are working-class or poor and be denied health care. I think health care should be a right to all."

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In addition to Booker, Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.) are supporting Sanders's legislation.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) also announced his support on Monday.

Comments

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This is very good news!

#1 | Posted by PunchyPossum at 2017-09-11 08:30 PM | Reply

Great to see this rolling forward, but until someone has the political balls to announce how they are going to pay for it (i.e. raising taxes) it is nothing but political theater.

#2 | Posted by leftcoastlawyer at 2017-09-11 09:21 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 3

If we put a 20% tariff on imports from the slave-wage countries, that would pay for it. That would raise $400 billion a year. And it would force a lot of industry back to the US, providing high-paying jobs.

But what are the odds of that happening? Globalists pay for our election. We are doomed. Doomed!

#3 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2017-09-11 09:38 PM | Reply

If we put a 20% tariff on imports from the slave-wage countries, that would pay for it. That would raise $400 billion a year.

Assuming they wanted to pay it and not just sell elsewhere. And before you start, there are other markets.

#4 | Posted by REDIAL at 2017-09-11 09:45 PM | Reply

#4 Yes. I want them to sell it elsewhere, so that factories come back to the US, the middle-class is re-invigorated, welfare spending goes down, and internal tax revenue goes up.

How can you not see the advantages of ditching globalization and going back to the old American System?

#5 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2017-09-11 10:03 PM | Reply

How can you not see the advantages of ditching globalization and going back to the old American System?

Mostly my problem with that is the "old American system" was based on almost all of Europe and Asia's manufacturing capacity having been bombed into junk during WWII.

It took decades for them to recover, but now they are back. And their workers for the most part are willing to work cheap, making cheap junk for American consumers.

Are American consumers willing to pay the prices demanded by American workers to build cheap junk products?

I do not know.

#6 | Posted by REDIAL at 2017-09-11 10:18 PM | Reply

#6 No, I'm talking about the American System, as it was called in the 1800's, when tariffs protected our manufacturing so that it grew rapidly and turned America into a powerhouse. Don't you remember professors talking the American System in college history class?

#7 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2017-09-11 11:14 PM | Reply

Here's a wiki link for you: en.wikipedia.org(economic_plan)

#8 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2017-09-11 11:15 PM | Reply

Oh. Wait. Yer Canadian. I forgot. My bad. That's why you don't know. Did Canada ever have protectionism?

#9 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2017-09-11 11:23 PM | Reply

Don't you remember professors talking the American System in college history class?

No, but I've pretty much forgotten the Magna Carta as well.

"America" wasn't a powerhouse until WWII. Huge industrial capacity, no actual enemy attacks. Huge advantage.

#10 | Posted by REDIAL at 2017-09-11 11:27 PM | Reply

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And I'm going to bed... work and all in the am.

#11 | Posted by REDIAL at 2017-09-11 11:28 PM | Reply

"#6 No, I'm talking about the American System, as it was called in the 1800's, when tariffs protected our manufacturing so that it grew rapidly and turned America into a powerhouse."

Tariffs didn't protect US industries. Oceans did that. Just like they protected the US from foreign adversaries. The most recent instance where Tariffs were implemented as a means of achieving the goals you describe, it had the result of extending and exacerbating the great depression. See Smoot-Hawley.

#12 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-12 09:00 AM | Reply

It took decades for them to recover, but now they are back. And their workers for the most part are willing to work cheap, making cheap junk for American consumers.
Are American consumers willing to pay the prices demanded by American workers to build cheap junk products?
I do not know.

#6 | POSTED BY REDIAL AT 2017-09-11 10:18 PM | REPLY | FLAG:

You can afford to work cheap when you don't have to pay off tens of thousands of college loans or pay $1600 per month for health insurance and have cheap mass transit everywhere.

#13 | Posted by 726 at 2017-09-12 09:54 AM | Reply

4 to 8 years of proposing a bill that has zero chance to pass.

It'll be cynically funny when they actually get into power again and this is dropped like a bad habit.

#14 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2017-09-12 01:48 PM | Reply

Booker, Warren Support Medicare-for-All

Somewhere, Hillary is still waiting for polls to tell her to support it too. Then she'll act like she's been for it all along, when she was actually mocking bernie for proposing it during 2016.

#15 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-12 05:30 PM | Reply

#14

No they will make an effort to pass it and fail then blame the other side, sorta like repeal and replace 😂

#16 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2017-09-12 06:00 PM | Reply

4 to 8 years of proposing a bill that has zero chance to pass.

It'll be cynically funny when they actually get into power again and this is dropped like a bad habit.

#14 | Posted by sitzkrieg

At least they're staking out a position and moving the public debate.

People will start to talk more about medicare for all, it's costs and benefits, instead of just screaming COMMUNISM!

It will only get dropped if the dems are dumb enough to nominate another corporate puppet.

#17 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-12 06:08 PM | Reply

That would raise $400 billion a year.

Which would barely pay for California. To cover the entire US, the estimate is closer to $1 Trillion.

Tell any politician that they need to raise $1T per year in taxes and they will set new personal bests running away from you.

#18 | Posted by leftcoastlawyer at 2017-09-12 06:17 PM | Reply

Tell any politician that they need to raise $1T per year in taxes and they will set new personal bests running away from you.

#18 | Posted by leftcoastlawyer

But tell them it's for the military, and they'll ask WHERE DO I SIGN?

#19 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-12 06:22 PM | Reply

#19

Too true, but this would be an ADDITIONAL $1T in taxes over the $701B spent by the US on Medicare (as opposed to $611B on the Military) in 2016, which is about 15% of the 4.3 Trillion Dollar budget. That would raise the budget in 2016 dollars to about 5.3T and would make healthcare spending at $1.7T even bigger than Social Security at 24% of the total budget.

#20 | Posted by leftcoastlawyer at 2017-09-12 07:07 PM | Reply

#20

It also doesn't address changes to market conditions that would affect the ability to receive care. It's easy for the government to tell a patient that they will pay $x for the doctor to provide a service, but unless that doctor is willing to accept $x as payment the act would be meaningless. Doctors and providers are going to prioritize those patients who are willing to pay the most money, all other things being equal.

#21 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-12 08:08 PM | Reply

Too true, but this would be an ADDITIONAL $1T in taxes over the $701B spent by the US on Medicare (as opposed to $611B on the Military) in 2016, which is about 15% of the 4.3 Trillion Dollar budget. That would raise the budget in 2016 dollars to about 5.3T and would make healthcare spending at $1.7T even bigger than Social Security at 24% of the total budget.

#20 | Posted by leftcoastlawyer

But does that include how much cheaper medical care would get once single payer and all of its negotiating power is in place?

First world socialized medicine countries spend less than half what we do on comparable care.

Charts of what we spend vs other systems for the same procedure:
www.vox.com

#22 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-12 08:36 PM | Reply

It also doesn't address changes to market conditions that would affect the ability to receive care. It's easy for the government to tell a patient that they will pay $x for the doctor to provide a service, but unless that doctor is willing to accept $x as payment the act would be meaningless. Doctors and providers are going to prioritize those patients who are willing to pay the most money, all other things being equal.

#21 | Posted by madbomber

If that were the case, only the rich would be getting care in england, switzerland, canada, sweden, etc etc etc. Yet somehow they make it work for everyone in most situations.

#23 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-12 08:37 PM | Reply

The problem with arguing against single payer is there are already many examples of it working FAR better than our system.

Republicans have to pretend like these countries don't exist.

#24 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-12 09:18 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"Doctors and providers are going to prioritize those patients who are willing to pay the most money, all other things being equal."

That's the way it is right now, yeah?

Is that a problem?

#25 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-12 09:19 PM | Reply

#23 | Posted by SpeakSoftly You would not like to be on England's healthcare.

#26 | Posted by Federalist at 2017-09-12 09:19 PM | Reply

"If that were the case, only the rich would be getting care in england, switzerland, canada, sweden, etc etc etc. Yet somehow they make it work for everyone in most situations."

You do realize that each one of those countries has it's own unique healthcare system, right? I only ask because I often get the feeling that may on the left carry the perception that they're going to get high quality care without having to pay for high quality care. In England, they have state-provided care, but most people purchase supplemental insurance in order to get better quality and service. Which is kinda what i was suggesting would happen here.

#27 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-12 09:22 PM | Reply

"That's the way it is right now, yeah? Is that a problem?"

Not even a little bit of a problem.

#28 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-12 09:24 PM | Reply

Sounds like a good issue for the Dems to run with for the mid-term elections.

#29 | Posted by Ray at 2017-09-12 09:41 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"Not even a little bit of a problem."

So then why did you say "It also doesn't address changes to market conditions that would affect the ability to receive care" if that isn't a problem in the first place?

#30 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-12 10:27 PM | Reply

First world socialized medicine countries spend less than half what we do on comparable care.
Charts of what we spend vs other systems for the same procedure:

Unfortunately, the US tends to underwrite pharmaceuticals for the rest of the world, along with medical technology. If you think Europe is having a hard time with upping their NATO spending, wait and see how they react to across the board spending on healthcare once the US starts negotiating prices for Medicare for All.

Don't get me wrong, its an idea whose time has come, it just is a lot more complicated (and expensive) than most of my brethren on the Left realize, especially from a political standpoint.

#31 | Posted by leftcoastlawyer at 2017-09-12 10:30 PM | Reply

"Unfortunately, the US tends to underwrite pharmaceuticals for the rest of the world, along with medical technology. "

If by "underwrite" you mean "doesn't impose price controls" and "doesn't negotiate prices" then sure.

You make it sound like the US is being generous, when what's happening is the US is being fleeced.

#32 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-12 10:35 PM | Reply

"If you think Europe is having a hard time with upping their NATO spending, wait and see how they react to across the board spending on healthcare once the US starts negotiating prices for Medicare for All."

It won't drive their prices up if we drive our prices down. It's not a fixed sum game like that.

#33 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-12 10:37 PM | Reply | Funny: 2

#32

Pretty sure you knew exactly what I meant since you interpreted it correctly.

#33

Actually, it is a fixed sum game since they need to keep their shareholder returns constant, but I am sure you knew that as well.

#34 | Posted by leftcoastlawyer at 2017-09-12 10:52 PM | Reply

LOL now you're being silly.

If we impose price controls here it won't affect price controls someplace else.

#35 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-12 11:45 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

(Also, shareholders don't want constant returns, they want ever-increasing dividends.)

#36 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-12 11:49 PM | Reply

So then why did you say "It also doesn't address changes to market conditions that would affect the ability to receive care" if that isn't a problem in the first place?

It's not a problem for the doctor, who is always going to be getting paid. It would be for the patient, who still has as much access to care as they did before MFA.

"If we impose price controls here it won't affect price controls someplace else."

If "we" (and by "we" I mean short-sighted people like you) impose price controls, the incentive to create new products and procedures declines. And LCL is right, the US is funding much of the world's current medical research. The US spends $1454 per person on medical research. In contrast, the ENTIRE EU spends $758 per person. In short, if your plan is to live off someone else, it requires someone else doing the work necessary to allow you to live off them.

#37 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-13 09:54 AM | Reply

I think LCL is right...the US is going to see some sort of government provided healthcare plan in the near future. But I also think that many of those who supported it are going to be disappointed when they see what they experience first-hand what low cost healthcare looks like.

#38 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-13 09:57 AM | Reply

If we impose price controls here it won't affect price controls someplace else.

As Madbomber succinctly points out, we "subsidize" the rest of the world on medical research. It is not meant to be a subsidy in the classic sense of the term but that is its practical effect. If we put a lid on price, being the largest customer in the world, it will require the supplier to seek that lost $$ elsewhere.

Take FedEx (one of my biggest clients) as an example. They actually take a very small loss on every package they ship for Amazon but are fine with it since they are one of their largest customers. Why would they possibly do that? Because the volume of packages that they send for Amazon opens the supply chain to markets that they otherwise wouldn't be able to reach, which then allows them to ship profitable packages for mid and small companies to those same areas. This in turn allows them to turn a larger profit since they are able, thanks to Amazon, expand their "footprint" around the globe.

(Also, shareholders don't want constant returns, they want ever-increasing dividends.)

The first step to ever-increasing dividends is to make sure your profit doesn't decline once your largest customer tells you to cut your costs by 30% or more. Like Amazon in my FedEx example, once the US starts negotiating lower prices (like all the Euro countries with socialized medicine do), Healthcare companies of all types will be looking for a smaller "client" to cover the delta.

#39 | Posted by leftcoastlawyer at 2017-09-13 11:40 AM | Reply

All these comments have proven is that, one way or another, every American citizen who pays taxes or purchases anything will be paying for everyone to have Medicare. That, by definition, means healthcare is not a right. It's a privilege being given to people by other people.

Regardless which side you are on, stop trying to say healthcare is a right. It isn't. Try to find a logical way to frame your argument or just don't say it.

#40 | Posted by humtake at 2017-09-13 12:01 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

#40;

What? All of our rights are given to one another by one another. That is what a society does. A privilege would mean some citizens don't get it.

#41 | Posted by IndianaJones at 2017-09-13 12:14 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 3

From Bernie:

Today is a historic day. Along with 15 co-sponsors -- Tammy Baldwin, Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker, Al Franken, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Martin Heinrich, Mazie Hirono, Patrick Leahy, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, Brian Schatz, Tom Udall, Elizabeth Warren, and Sheldon Whitehouse -- I am proud to introduce Medicare for All, single-payer health care legislation in the U.S. Senate. Today we begin the struggle to transform our dysfunctional health care system and make health care in the United State a right, not a privilege.

Please add your name as a Citizen Co-sponsor of my Medicare for All, single-payer health care bill. Let's make it clear that we're in this together and that you will help us educate and organize at the grassroots level. That's how we win.

The insurance companies, the drug companies, and Wall Street won't like this legislation. They will try to make words like "NATIONAL HEALTH CARE" sound scary.

They will spend huge amounts of money in lobbying and campaign contributions to defeat this legislation and maintain a system in which they make hundreds of billions a year in profit, while ordinary people suffer.

petitions.moveon.org

#42 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-09-13 01:09 PM | Reply

More from Bernie:

Enough is enough! Now is the time for us to take them on, join every other industrialized country on earth, and guarantee quality health care to every man, woman, and child in our country.

The American people are with us on this issue. They understand that it is absurd that we spend almost twice as much per capita on health care as any other country and that we pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. They also know that we already have a very popular and effective single-payer system in this country. It's called Medicare, and it has succeeded in providing near-universal coverage to Americans over the age of 65. It is time to expand Medicare to all.
Let's be honest. Taking on the medical-industrial complex won't be easy. These powerful special interests have unlimited sums of money to spend against us and will have the support of much of the corporate media and the many politicians they helped elect.

The truth is that we will only successfully transform our health care system is when we transform our political system. The two struggles go together. We will succeed when we involve millions of people in unprecedented political activity who are prepared to stand up and fight for a government that represents all of us, not just greedy powerful corporate interests. In other words, we need a political revolution in this country.

Please add your name as a Citizen Co-sponsor of my Medicare for All, single-payer health care bill. Let's make it clear that we're in this together and that you will help us educate and organize at the grassroots level. That's how we win.

petitions.moveon.org

#43 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-09-13 01:10 PM | Reply

And finally:

Medicare for All means that Americans will no longer hesitate about going to the doctor because they can't afford the cost. It will mean that a hospital stay will not bankrupt us or leave us deeply in debt. It will mean that we can go to the doctor we want, not just one in our particular plan. It will mean that we will no longer be spending enormous amounts of time filling out complicated forms and arguing with insurance companies as to whether or not we have the coverage we paid for. It will mean that we will be able to get the prescription drugs we need at a price we can afford. It will mean that middle class families will not have to spend 20 or 30 percent of their incomes on health care.

At a time when we have hundreds of separate individual health care plans, a Medicare for All, single-payer health care system would save many billions a year in administrative costs. It would allow our businesses to be able to better compete against companies around the world that don't have to worry about the cost of providing health care to their employees. It would mean that workers would no longer have to stay in jobs they dislike, simply because they receive decent health care benefits.

The time is now to address one of the great crises our nation faces. It is not acceptable that 28 million Americans have no health insurance and that even more are under-insured with high co-payments and deductibles. The time is now for a Medicare for All, single payer system. Health care must be a right, not a privilege.

Before I introduce my legislation, let me know that you're with me. Let me know that you're prepared to join the struggle.

Please add your name as a Citizen Co-Sponsor of my Medicare for All, single-payer health care bill.

In solidarity,
–Bernie Sanders

#44 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-09-13 01:13 PM | Reply

#23 | Posted by SpeakSoftly You would not like to be on England's healthcare.

#26 | Posted by Federalist

Then why isn't anyone in England trying to move to an american system?

The NHS is actually something they have a lot of national pride in.

The fact is NO ONE wants our health care system, which is only awesome if you're rich.

#45 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-13 01:27 PM | Reply

I think LCL is right...the US is going to see some sort of government provided healthcare plan in the near future. But I also think that many of those who supported it are going to be disappointed when they see what they experience first-hand what low cost healthcare looks like.

#38 | Posted by madbomber

You mean like canada, england, switzerland, sweden, austria, new zealand...?

Oh what horrible affordable healthcare nightmares.

There is no reason we can't do what other countries have successfully done, except we have one thing they dont - republicans.

If republicans get on board to make medicare for all work, it would work.

If they try to sabotage it in order to prove it doesn't work (like they do with every other government function besides the police and military), then it won't work, and they'll say "see we told you so!"

#46 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-13 01:31 PM | Reply

#23 | Posted by SpeakSoftly You would not like to be on England's healthcare.

#26 | POSTED BY FEDERALIST AT 2017-09-12 09:19 PM | REPLY

says you

www.theguardian.com

www.usnews.com

#47 | Posted by hatter5183 at 2017-09-13 01:44 PM | Reply

I'm for the medical for all.

I want my government to tell every nation out there that we no longer will defend any other nation. No troops will be sent anywhere else. We are closing most of our bases and bringing our people home.

Let them spend their tax dollars on defense. We need to move our defense spending to medical.

#48 | Posted by Petrous at 2017-09-13 01:44 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 3

I want my government to tell every nation out there that we no longer will defend any other nation. No troops will be sent anywhere else. We are closing most of our bases and bringing our people home.

Never going to happen, but we should cut back dramatically, especially in Germany and England.

Let them spend their tax dollars on defense. We need to move our defense spending to medical.

One of the only things I agree with Dolt 45 on is that NATO and Japan/South Korea need to spend more on defense, while the savings would barely move the needle for Medicare for All it would be a start.

#49 | Posted by leftcoastlawyer at 2017-09-13 01:59 PM | Reply

"I want my government to tell every nation out there that we no longer will defend any other nation. No troops will be sent anywhere else. We are closing most of our bases and bringing our people home."

The idea with bases overseas should be to increase security in America's interest, not "nation building." Just like removing all our troops from Iraq created the vacuum that Isis and Al Quaeda rushed in to fill was a mistake, Eisenhower addressed that same thing in his book, "At Ease." It describes how our immediate massive drawing back of troops after WWII leaving equipment in the field resulted in the Soviet Union's filling THAT vacuum. On the other hand, I don't think we have to worry about a lot of nations where we have troops becoming sanctuaries for terrorists today and are capable of defending themselves.

#50 | Posted by jestgettinalong at 2017-09-13 02:20 PM | Reply

"The idea with bases overseas should be to increase security in America's interest, not "nation building."

Why are you talking about bases when total military spending is 3% of GDP and Healthcare is 18% of GDP?

Closing all the bases won't even move the needle.

#51 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-13 02:29 PM | Reply

"A privilege would mean some citizens don't get it."

A privilege would mean that some pay for it while others don't.

"You mean like canada, england, switzerland, sweden, austria, new zealand...?Oh what horrible affordable healthcare nightmares.There is no reason we can't do what other countries have successfully done, except we have one thing they dont - republicans."

In virtually every one of those countries, the government provides a baseline level of healthcare. Which most people subsidize with a private plan in order to increase quality and timeliness. And that's the point I'm trying to make. If you don't mind waiting longer for care, or recovering in an open bay, or generally accepting no-frills healthcare, you'll be OK. But if you expect to receive the level of service that most Americans are accustomed to, you're going to have to shell out some money.

The other problem is going to be the availability of doctor's. Unless the government is somehow going to create more of them, I'm not sure how they are going to increase the patient load while decreasing overall payments. I think it could be done, I just haven't heard anyone other than myself suggest ways it could happen.

#52 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-13 03:08 PM | Reply

But if you expect to receive the level of service that most Americans are accustomed to, you're going to have to shell out some money.

#52 | Posted by madbomber

Define "most americans."

Yes not all americans will get the top of the line care that RICH americans currently enjoy, but that's not to be expected.

MOST americans are middle class or poor, and they'll be better off under medicare for all.

#53 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-13 03:15 PM | Reply

#47

From the article you posted:

"However, public perception may not reflect the realities: People in Canada, which ranks No. 3 on this list, are coming to the U.S. in greater numbers to pursue better health care than what they receive back at home."

"Define "most americans."

If you have been to a hospital recently and received any care at all, you probably got your own room, or maybe shared one with another person. The hospital probably provided you with some sort of decent food. They probably provided sheets and you probably had your own bathroom. That's not the case in many other countries. And in in order to reduce costs while increasing patient loads, these would likely be the first things to go for those who were being serviced by low-paying government plans. That's much closer to how it is, at least in the UK, where baseline care really is no-frills. I'm not saying this is good or bad, it's just what these systems look like. And it's not just rich people who experience high quality healthcare here. It's pretty much any American with a healthcare plan. I'm not rich, but the worst hospital conditions I've seen are when my youngest daughter was born, and my wife had to share a room with someone for a day.

"MOST americans are middle class or poor, and they'll be better off under medicare for all."

YOU can't objectively say that because you can't objectively state that MFA will provide the level of care that these individuals find satisfactory.

#54 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-13 03:30 PM | Reply

YOU can't objectively say that because you can't objectively state that MFA will provide the level of care that these individuals find satisfactory.

#54 | Posted by madbomber

I can objectively state that in first world nations with government healthcare, the middle class and poor do not want to copy the american system because they are served better by theirs.

#55 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-13 03:42 PM | Reply

"I can objectively state that in first world nations with government healthcare, the middle class and poor do not want to copy the american system because they are served better by theirs."

I really can't argue. Maybe low-payment patients will be OK with accepting sparse conditions if it means saving a few bucks.

But maybe they won't.

#56 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-13 04:30 PM | Reply

I spend a lot of time in Europe for work. The first time I ever went to Germany, it was to a neat little town on the Moselle River. I booked a hotel online that had decent reviews. It was also surprisingly inexpensive compared to what I'm used to paying when I travel in the states. When I checked in, what I got was a very small room with what I can only describe as a toddler bed with one blanket, one pillow, a small TV, and a chair. It was pretty shocking, so on the second night I requested something bigger. What I got was a slightly larger room with two of the toddler beds (with one blanket and one pillow each) pushed together. But still far different than what you would find even in a motel 6 in the US. After spending more time in Europe, I've found that this is pretty common. I was in Belgium and Amsterdam last week, and both of the rooms I rented were similar to this. It's not a bad thing, it seems to work for the Europeans, but it's very different from what we're used to in the US.

I think that a base-line European system might be equally shocking to a USan. Again, it's not that Europe is better or worse than the US, just different.

#57 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-13 04:56 PM | Reply

Americans pay $3.2 Trillion per year in health care costs, a lot of which is pissed away to insurance companies. Those whining about the cost of single-payer seem to ignore the fact that we'd have that much more money to throw into The system.

#58 | Posted by JOE at 2017-09-13 06:40 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Americans pay $3.2 Trillion per year in health care costs, a lot of which is pissed away to insurance companies. Those whining about the cost of single-payer seem to ignore the fact that we'd have that much more money to throw into The system.

Posted by JOE at 2017-09-13 06:40 PM | Reply

Bears repeating.

#59 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2017-09-13 06:48 PM | Reply

"Americans pay $3.2 Trillion per year in health care costs, a lot of which is pissed away to insurance companies."

In 2013, the average profit margin was 5-6% for health insurance providers. You're not going to find a lot of savings there. Some, but not a lot. After that, you start to dip into the administrative and operating costs, most of which would likely result in a decline in the quality of the care provided.

#60 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-13 09:34 PM | Reply

"If "we" (and by "we" I mean short-sighted people like you) impose price controls, the incentive to create new products and procedures declines"

Okay.

I'm struggling to see how I lose out when they can't invent some new thing to price-gouge me with.

Paint me a picture.

#61 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-13 10:10 PM | Reply

"In 2013, the average profit margin was 5-6% for health insurance providers. You're not going to find a lot of savings there. "

Sure you are. Because so much of their expense is make-work of paper pushing, which is duplicated effort.
For what you're saying to be true, you'd have to believe that economies of scale do not apply to insurance companies.
Then again, you're so economically illiterate you might not know what economy of scale is in the first place.

#62 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-13 10:12 PM | Reply

"In 2013, the average profit margin was 5-6% for health insurance providers."

5-6% of 18% of GDP is 1% of GDP.
Total defense spending is... 3% of GDP.
So it's one-third the total military budget we could save if we removed the profit motive.

Math much?

#63 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-13 10:14 PM | Reply

Maybe that 5-6% savings aka 1% of GDP could be plowed into a "Medical And Pharmaceutical Innovation Fund."

You'd hate that!

#64 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-13 10:28 PM | Reply

"Okay. I'm struggling to see how I lose out when they can't invent some new thing to price-gouge me with. Paint me a picture."

Well, it pretty much means there is a drastically reduced incentive to create new drugs to treat the conditions that effect mankind. If you have cancer, you probably hope that there is someone out there working towards a cure.

#65 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-14 08:52 AM | Reply

"Sure you are. Because so much of their expense is make-work of paper pushing, which is duplicated effort."

Yeah. Because for-profit businesses are always looking for ways to be more inefficient and lose money. Quite different from government agencies which are knowing to operate far more efficiently. Like the DMV, for instance. Or better yet, the DoD. The model of efficiency.

#66 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-14 08:54 AM | Reply | Funny: 1

"Then again, you're so economically illiterate you might not know what economy of scale is in the first place."

Where did you get your MBA again? I've offered before, but if you'd like to compare academic pedigrees, I'm game.

"Maybe that 5-6% savings aka 1% of GDP could be plowed into a "Medical And Pharmaceutical Innovation Fund."

Maybe. If it were though, it would represent a steep decline from the 2.74% of GDP currently spent on medical research.

#67 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-14 08:57 AM | Reply

"Americans pay $3.2 Trillion per year in health care costs, a lot of which is pissed away to insurance companies. Those whining about the cost of single-payer seem to ignore the fact that we'd have that much more money to throw into The system."

Um, it's "pissed" away because they are the ones paying for the medical costs. I think you may have missed part of the logic here because it's so simple I can't imagine anyone saying this unless it is a simple mistake. If insurance companies didn't exist, that money would still have to be paid. You give money to your insurance company, you go to the doctor, the insurance company pays most or all of the bill. The government subsidizes so the costs don't go to you and so the insurance company can still pay the cost for your medical treatment. If the money didn't go to them, it would go to whoever the payer is. So you would never see any real savings or maybe a very tiny fraction of the $3.2 number you mention.

#68 | Posted by humtake at 2017-09-14 12:05 PM | Reply

"Well, it pretty much means there is a drastically reduced incentive to create new drugs to treat the conditions that effect mankind"

You live in a fantasy land.

"In a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found the United States comprised 51 percent of global research spending, at $131 billion in 2007. But by 2012, that number dropped to $119 billion, or 45 percent of the world's biomedical research spending. By comparison, Japan and China increased their spending by $9 billion and $6.4 billion, respectively, during the same time. In 2012, Japan and China accounted for 13.8 percent and 3.1 percent of the world's total research spending."

...

"While most other countries examined by the researchers also saw relatively stable contributions from the public sector, no other country saw as drastic a decline in private investment as the United States. The only other region with a decline in industry contributions was Europe, which decreased from $55.9 billion in 2007 to $53.6 billion in 2012, according to the study."

www.usnews.com

#69 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-14 12:43 PM | Reply

"If insurance companies didn't exist, that money would still have to be paid"

Right, but it wouldn't have to be paid to insurance companies, so they can pay it to their CEOs and more importantly pay it to the investor class in the form of dividend checks.

Instead that money could just be spent on actual health care.

Now, I don't advocate getting rid of insurance companies, I simply advocate having the government run one big insurance company which will be more efficient than having a zillion smaller ones owing to economies of scale, and also will reduce duplicated effort when say two insurance companies work the same claim, like when I was in the hospital and they sent my claim to the wrong insurance company, who rejected it, and then they sent it to the right insurance company. If there's no wrong insurance company to send it to, because there's only one, that problem can't happen.

#70 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-14 12:47 PM | Reply

"Quite different from government agencies which are knowing to operate far more efficiently. Like the DMV, for instance. Or better yet, the DoD. The model of efficiency."

Here in California you can make an appointment at the DMV and be done in five minutes. Routine renewals can be done via mail, including driver's license; unless you want a new picture, you don't have to go in.

#71 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-14 12:48 PM | Reply

Yeah. Because for-profit businesses are always looking for ways to be more inefficient and lose money. Quite different from government agencies which are knowing to operate far more efficiently. Like the DMV, for instance. Or better yet, the DoD. The model of efficiency.

#66 | Posted by madbomber

No, for profit businesses are always looking for a way to charge you more and give you less.

It is an undeniable FACT that single payer systems offer more effecient and cost-effective care than ours does.

You can't just pretend that canada, sweden, england, france, germany, etc doesn't exist.

This is like if your lawn was brown and ugly but your neighbor's was green and healthy - would you conclude that it's just impossible for you to have a healthy green lawn, or would you maybe try to copy some of your neighbor's lawn care techniques?

#72 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-14 01:17 PM | Reply

"Because for-profit businesses are always looking for ways to be more inefficient and lose money."

The funny thing about this statement is when insurance companies pay claims it goes in the books as a "medical loss."

When they do their job, they lose money, in their minds.

They're right, too.

#73 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-14 01:52 PM | Reply

#69

Yeah.

In 2013 the US spent $473.4B on medical research. And I'm not sure how you characterize me living in a fantasyland by pointing out metrics that are a decade old.

"You can't just pretend that canada, sweden, england, france, germany, etc doesn't exist."

I never did.

Did you read my post in #57? If MFA is going to reduce costs, it's going to come at some of the quality and amenity that are commonplace in current US healthcare. I think the best analogy will be the difference between flying on Allegiant or flying first class on Singapore Airlines. Allegiant will get you to where you need to go, but you'll be limited in the days you can travel, they're not going to feed you, and if you want any extras you're going to have to pay out of pocket. And there's nothing wrong with that. But if you're used to going into a hospital and having your own room, or getting a decent meal, or enjoying any sort of amenities, those won't be included in the cost.

Like I said, I think that some sort of government sponsored plan is on the way, and it will provide some level of basic, no-frills healthcare for those who are unwilling or unable to pay for more. Most people will probably purchase supplemental plans, just like they do in France or the UK. In fact I think that the US healthcare system will eventually look much like France's.

#74 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-14 03:07 PM | Reply

Did you read my post in #57? If MFA is going to reduce costs, it's going to come at some of the quality and amenity that are commonplace in current US healthcare. I think the best analogy will be the difference between flying on Allegiant or flying first class on Singapore Airlines.

#74 | Posted by madbomber

Not many americans are flying first class health care these days.

High deductibles, hard to find good doctors in your insurance program, long waits etc.

I took my GF to the emergency room in EXTREME pain because of a herniated spine and they left her in the waiting room writhing in pain for HOURS. She wasn't the only one either.

This myth that single payer would make us go from lexus to kia is bullcrap. It's more like going from unreliable old mustang to reliable new prius.

#75 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-14 03:19 PM | Reply

"If MFA is going to reduce costs, it's going to come at some of the quality and amenity that are commonplace in current US healthcare."

Our quality is already lower than the other modern countries that pay less than us.

Can you tell me why that is?

#76 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-14 03:23 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"Not many americans are flying first class health care these days."

Actually, most are. The system isn't designed to provide efficient care.

"High deductibles, hard to find good doctors in your insurance program, long waits etc."

You realize that the last two are even greater under socialized healthcare, right?

"I took my GF to the emergency room in EXTREME pain because of a herniated spine and they left her in the waiting room writhing in pain for HOURS. She wasn't the only one either."

Was she at risk of life limb, or eyesight? If not waits at the ER are common. It's called an Emergency Room because it's purpose is to quickly respond to emergencies. had your GF been having a heart attack or a stroke, you wouldn't have waited.

"This myth that single payer would make us go from lexus to kia is bullcrap."

It's not if you compare the conditions that basic, government provided coverage gets you in the UK vs the US. And that's what people need to understand. You're not going to save money if you still want your own room, room services, and the other amenities that are common to US healthcare.

#77 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-14 03:33 PM | Reply

"Our quality is already lower than the other modern countries that pay less than us. Can you tell me why that is?"

The quality of the care is lower? When at the hospital, do you prefer to have your own room, or recover in an open bay? Do you like having an attendant bring you a coke or a glass of water, or are you OK with having a family member care for those things while you're in. And in terms of the care itself, if you're in need of a specialist, the US is the place to be. The US has far more specialists than other countries. Which is why the number of Canadians visiting the US is increasing.

#78 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-14 03:37 PM | Reply

lmao.... it's like the successful democratic capitalist welfare states in northern Europe with quality health care, education, child care, good incomes, great vacation time, and all-round good public service oriented government don't exist for rwingers.

Who are the reason we can't have those nice things here; their corporate masters and ideological demi-gods for whom rwingers serve as proxy voters have convinced them that it can't happen here. (Zappa)

#79 | Posted by Corky at 2017-09-14 03:42 PM | Reply

"High deductibles, hard to find good doctors in your insurance program, long waits etc."

You realize that the last two are even greater under socialized healthcare, right?

#77 | Posted by madbomber

No those are the things that single payer scaremongers say you get under single payer, when you actually also get them WITHOUT single payer.

And you can keep repeating that "most americans" have first class health care, but that doesn't make it true. If they can't afford it, they don't have it. They have high deductibles, fights with their insurance companies, long waits, and high expenses.

"In 2007, the Commonwealth Fund released a report that compared U.S. health care against several other countries based on a variety of benchmarks. The data were principally derived from statistically random surveys of adult residents and primary care physicians from 2004 to 2006, in the following countries: United States, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands. This is what the researchers found:

* Canada had the highest percentage of patients (36%) who had to wait six days or more for an appointment with a doctor, but the United States had the second highest percentage (23%) who reported that they had to wait at least this long. New Zealand, Australia, Germany, and the U.K. all had substantially smaller numbers of people reporting waits of 6 days or longer. Canada and the United States, in that order, also had the lowest percentage of persons who said they could get an appointment with a doctor the same or next day.
* The United States had the largest percentage of persons (61%) who said that getting care on nights, weekends, or holidays, without going to the emergency room, was "very" or "somewhat" difficult. In Canada, it was 54%, and in the U.K, 38%. Germany did the best, with only 22% saying that it was difficult to get after-hours care."

#80 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-14 03:50 PM | Reply

"No those are the things that single payer scaremongers say you get under single payer"

That's what those living under single payer are saying. Why aren't you listening to them?

The commonwealth fund did a more recent study as well. Findings follow:

"So it turns out that America has its own waiting problem. But we tend to wait for different types of medical interventions. And that is mainly a result of payment incentives, experts say.

Americans are more likely to wait for office-based medical appointments that are not good sources of revenue for hospitals and doctors. In other countries, people tend to wait longest for expensive elective care -- four to six months for a knee replacement and over a month for follow-up radiation therapy after cancer surgery in Canada, for example.

In our market-based system, patients can get lucrative procedures rapidly, even when there is no urgent medical need: Need a new knee, or an M.R.I., or a Botox injection? You'll probably be on the schedule within days. But what if you're an asthmatic whose breathing is deteriorating, or a diabetic whose medicines need adjustment, or an elderly patient who has unusual chest pain and needs a cardiology consultation? In much of the country, you can wait a week or weeks for such office appointments -- or longer if you need to find a doctor who accepts your insurance plan or Medicare."

www.nytimes.com

The rest of the article is good as well. And again, I'm not making a good versus bad argument, because that is wholly subjective. What I am saying is it's completely unreasonable to think that MFA would be identical to healthcare provided by traditional plans. I don't think anyone would rationally make that argument.

#81 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-14 03:59 PM | Reply

"The quality of the care is lower?"
The quality of health outcomes is lower, and the cost of those outcomes is higher.

"When at the hospital, do you prefer to have your own room, or recover in an open bay? "
Whichever one it is, it probably won't affect the quality of my health care.

"Do you like having an attendant bring you a coke or a glass of water, or are you OK with having a family member care for those things while you're in."
Again, it likely won't affect my health either way.

"And in terms of the care itself, if you're in need of a specialist, the US is the place to be."
Health outcomes do not support this claim.

"Which is why the number of Canadians visiting the US is increasing."
It's wise for Canada to cover Canadians whose care needs are best met outside of Canada. That's a benefit for Canada. It's also indicative of overcapacity here, but some overcapacity is sensible too.

#82 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-14 05:07 PM | Reply

"And again, I'm not making a good versus bad argument, because that is wholly subjective."

Metrics like life expectancy and infant mortality are not "wholly subjective."
Cost... that's not even a tiny bit subjective.

#83 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-14 05:09 PM | Reply

"Whichever one it is, it probably won't affect the quality of my health care."

What you're saying doesn't matter to you, it may matter to most others. Maybe your position is that they can go ---- themselves if they disagree with you, but at the end of the day this is for them. Not for you.

"Health outcomes do not support this claim."

Actually, they do. Vey much so. If you need an MRI, or a hip replacement, or cancer treatment, or some other complex procedure, the US is the place to be. Where it lags is treatment of preventable conditions and the availability of general care.

"Metrics like life expectancy and infant mortality are not "wholly subjective." Cost... that's not even a tiny bit subjective."

You're saying this as an ideologue with a political bone to pick. You're also presupposing that lower costs will somehow mean that the health problems that currently plague Americans will simply disappear. That life expectance will go up as a result of lower cost, lower quality healthcare. And there is no reason I can think of that would make this statement true. Do you have one.

And I can imagine that transforming a visit to the doctor into something akin to a visit to the DMV, only with shots and probing, might turn off a lot of patients regardless of hoe free it is.

#84 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-14 05:28 PM | Reply

That's what those living under single payer are saying. Why aren't you listening to them?

#81 | Posted by madbomber

Where? Show me the people in a single payer system who are campaigning to copy our system.

I'll wait.

#85 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-14 05:46 PM | Reply

"Where? Show me the people in a single payer system who are campaigning to copy our system."

I'm not sure what you mean by "copy" the US system, but absolutely privatization of healthcare is always a hot topic amongst countries that have socialized systems. Sweden, for instance, has privatized many of the healthcare services that were previously state-provided. And the results there have been positive, with decreasing costs, decreased patient waits times, and an increase in medical innovation. The system is far outperforming the UK medical system.

On a different front, a Supreme Court decision in Canada effectively declared the egalitarian aspects of their system to be a violation of humans rights, since it effectively prevented paying patients from receiving timely care because allowing it meant they were effectively line-jumping in front of those who weren't paying.

Like I've said many, many times now, I think that a government-provided plan is inevitable. But it will be no frills. Most people will purchase (or employers will provide) supplemental plans that allow for the higher quality that US patients are used to.

And at the same time, no one is actively campaigning to produce a healthcare system that offers a single government option with no other alternatives.

#86 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-14 06:03 PM | Reply

Like I've said many, many times now, I think that a government-provided plan is inevitable. But it will be no frills. Most people will purchase (or employers will provide) supplemental plans that allow for the higher quality that US patients are used to.

And at the same time, no one is actively campaigning to produce a healthcare system that offers a single government option with no other alternatives.

#86 | Posted by madbomber

Once you have basic healthcare for all, you can add more services on top of it. The rich will always get better care than anyone else. But it's that government plan that sets the price scale that the additional services have to compete with.

We don't have that here. We have capitalists all trying to see who can screw us the worst, with suffering and death being mere collateral damage to their profit pursuits.

#87 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-14 06:42 PM | Reply

"Once you have basic healthcare for all, you can add more services on top of it."

Which in some form or fashion is what happens in all of those other countries whose health systems you hold in high regard.

"We have capitalists all trying to see who can screw us the worst, with suffering and death being mere collateral damage to their profit pursuits."

You need to move past your ideology. It's holding you back. When Merck creates a billion dollar treatment for a disease, you're not being screwed over because they give it to you free of charge. Aetna is screwing you over by earning a 5% profit margin. If the US healthcare system turns out to look anything like the other Federal agencies, you'll look back fondly on commercial plans and what they cost. Like I told Snoofy, this isn't about satisfying your ideological need for a specific outcome, it's about providing a satisfactory solution for patients. And maybe USans will flock to MFA...who knows, but if they decide it's crap, it shouldn't be forced upon them because it's the "progressive" thing to do.

#88 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-14 07:20 PM | Reply

When Merck creates a billion dollar treatment for a disease, you're not being screwed over because they DON'T give it to you free of charge

#89 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-14 07:21 PM | Reply

When Merck creates a billion dollar treatment for a disease, you're not being screwed over because they DON'T give it to you free of charge

#89 | Posted by madbomber

That depends on what they're charging for it and how much they're paying themselves, doesn't it?

When people are dying because they can't afford medicine, but pharma CEOs are buying private islands, someone is getting screwed over.

#90 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-14 07:25 PM | Reply

"That depends on what they're charging for it and how much they're paying themselves, doesn't it?"

No, it doesn't. Unless your position is that the planet was better off before the drug was created.

"When people are dying because they can't afford medicine, but pharma CEOs are buying private islands, someone is getting screwed over."

Seems to me they're no worse off than if the drug hadn't been created at all. It seems like the sticking point with you is that only the poor are dying, whereas everyone should be.

#91 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-14 07:41 PM | Reply

Seems to me they're no worse off than if the drug hadn't been created at all. It seems like the sticking point with you is that only the poor are dying, whereas everyone should be.

#91 | Posted by madbomber

No my problem is cruelty being seen as acceptable in the pursuit of profit. Some industries like healthcare are not subjected to regular market forces so regulation is needed to keep sociopaths from profiting off making others suffer.

If pharma CEOs can afford private jets, private islands, and private congressmen, then they can afford to drastically lower their prices.

#92 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-09-14 08:02 PM | Reply

"Some industries like healthcare are not subjected to regular market forces so regulation is needed to keep sociopaths from profiting off making others suffer."

But healthcare is subject to market forces. If the most gifted medical researchers in the country are motivated by money, you're going to pay them or go without. Or you're going to do like Stalin did with Andrei Tupolev, and give them the offer between punishment and production.

Like I said earlier. Your ideological baggage is limiting your ability to comrehend. If serving the public good is enough to keep the best and the brightest going, that's great. if they want material wealth, fame, and fortune, then it's very difficult to make the claim that they are undeserving because of it. Especially if the outcome is one where people will suffer because of it.

Your hero Bernie is a solid member of the 1%. I don't hear you criticizing him, despite the fact that he's never done anything but teach the rest of the animals the words to "Beasts of England"

#93 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-14 09:42 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

"If the most gifted medical researchers in the country are motivated by money."

Why would they be any more motivated by money that the most horrendous medical researchers???

#94 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-14 09:45 PM | Reply

"When Merck creates a billion dollar treatment for a disease, you're not being screwed over because they DON'T give it to you free of charge"

Is there a price point where you are getting screwed over?

What is it???

#95 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-14 09:48 PM | Reply

Did the economics get too hard again?

#96 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-14 11:10 PM | Reply

"Is there a price point where you are getting screwed over?"

Nope. Because objectively, you're never any worse off after the drug was created than you were before...regardless of how much the drug costs.

#97 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-09-15 12:22 PM | Reply

Your hero Bernie is a solid member of the 1%. I don't hear you criticizing him, despite the fact that he's never done anything but teach the rest of the animals the words to "Beasts of England"

#93 | POSTED BY MADBOMBER

His income is $200,000, about $350k/year shy of being a 1%er in DC. Bad math skills are the a conservative stereotype you've just helped perpetuated.

#98 | Posted by IndianaJones at 2017-09-15 12:38 PM | Reply

"Is there a price point where you are getting screwed over?"
Nope. Because objectively,

So then whatever point you were making about the price being zero has nothing to do with price.

So your argument doesn't apply, or eevn make sense.

#99 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-15 01:00 PM | Reply

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