August 3, 2009

Op-Ed: A closer look at Paul Ryan's health plan

By Kelly K. Gallaher

Congressman Paul Ryan has been very busy talking about the health care crisis and touting his plan called “The Patients’ Choice Act.” My local newspaper invited him to write a series of articles to examine the “facts” of current legislation. After reading his article on July 27, I realized they offered it with no rebuttal or factual verification. A day later, I received a mailing from Ryan criticizing current health care reform proposals while stressing the benefits of his plan.

Ryan’s plan sounds great, while U.S. House of Representatives Bill H.R. 3200 sounds scary. This time I sat down and read very closely every idea and derision posed in Ryan’s mailing. With a small amount of research I was able to refute every statement of criticism contained in the mailing. All of them. I was also able to dismantle the benefits Congressman Ryan claims his “Patients’ Choice Act” contains and discovered a pattern of distorted language designed to misrepresent and confuse constituents about health care. I will illustrate a few of the worst:

Regarding his proposed tax refund of $5,700 for every family or $2,300 for individuals, Ryan says:
“My plan, The Patients’ Choice Act, ensures universal affordable health care for all Americans.” and “Allows everyone to use this tax credit to select from a group of comprehensive health insurance plans that fit their specific needs-just like Members of Congress and federal employees do now.”
Last year family coverage in the private market averaged $13,000 and exceeded $16,000 per year in some states and is predicted to keep rising nationally. A figure far more than double the tax credit would allocate.

Republican Senator Richard Burr admitted that Ryan’s credit is not sufficient to cover American families. Burr says, “that probably won’t meet the equivalent of an FEHBP (Federal Employees Health Benefit Program) plan.” Even Ryan’s friend in Congress says this isn’t equivalent to the coverage they have.

Under Ryan’s plan, families with employer paid insurance would be taxed on the entire amount the employer contributes just as if it were wages.

Replacing the current employer tax exclusion with an individual tax credit would significantly weaken employer-based coverage because individuals receive the credit and employers no longer have an incentive to contribute.

Unlike health reform proposals that the House and Senate committees are developing, Ryan’s plan does not set meaningful minimum standards on what benefits insurers must cover. It doesn’t limit deductibles or out-of-pocket costs leaving private insurers to determine those themselves state by state.

On current proposals being debated in the House and Senate, Ryan says the following:
“Total costs would exceed $1 trillion.” and “Creates an entitlement that will cost another trillion over the next ten years, on top of the trillions the government is already scheduled to spend on health care.”
The initial report by the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) in early July calculating estimated costs has been used by Ryan and his colleagues frequently and unfairly. The CBO did not calculate savings that health care reform will produce. On July 20, the CBO recalculated that the H.R. 3200 reform bill would not only be budget neutral, it will produce a surplus of $6 billion over time.

The real threat to government spending is the system we have now. According to the Kaiser Foundation: by 2018 health care costs are expected to top $4.4 trillion if nothing is done.

House and Senate committee reforms would reduce overuse of expensive healthcare technology and cut back on preventable medical error -- two of the greatest cost drivers in the entire system. According to the Center for Health Research: comprehensive reform could save as much as $1.4 trillion over ten years.

Perhaps the worst lie Congressman Ryan is telling:
“A recent study predicts two out of every three Americans will lose their current employer-provided insurance under the government plan.”
The “recent study” he refers to is a study conducted by the Lewin group, which is wholly owned by UnitedHealth Group (UHG), one of the nation’s largest insurers. The Lewin Group is part of Ingenix, a subsidiary of UHG that was accused by the New York attorney general and the AMA of helping insurers shift medical expenses to consumers by distributing skewed data. In January, UnitedHealth paid a $400 million settlement covering conduct going back to 1994. According to Center on Budget and Policy Priorities it is Congressman Ryan’s “Patients’ Choice Act” that “would significantly erode employer-based coverage” while it “fails to create a viable alternative for people losing employer coverage.”

Lastly, Congressman Ryan decries government interference in health care. However, he completely avoids discussing that his plan for the uninsurable constitutes a huge government system itself. Nearly 100 million chronically ill Americans (representing up to 75% of health care spending) who cannot afford coverage except at colossal premium costs would be funneled into a state/government run health insurance exchange with prices and language determined by private carriers in each individual state. Ryan’s plan is devoid of the competition a public option offers and entrusts insurance companies to police themselves.

Ultimately, Congressman Ryan’s “Patients’ Choice Act” benefits for-profit, private health insurance companies by retaining and defending their central role in this billion dollar industry. Perhaps then, it is no coincidence that the insurance industry has been Congressman Ryan’s top contributor since 1989. In fact, he has received $1,143,560 in campaign contributions from health care industries over the last decade.

As 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance every single day, Paul Ryan offers nothing new; he is obstructing real reform and offering us more of the same. His “Patients’ Choice Act” is a retread of two bills already introduced in 2008 and both were recycled by John McCain in his unsuccessful run for President. In contrast, H.R. 3200 has included 160 Republican amendments, which proved to be smart, constructive and bipartisan, but you won’t hear that from Paul Ryan.

I believe we will have comprehensive health care reform this year and I hope it will be a good plan. It is clear that my U.S. Representative, Paul Ryan, intends to play no role in helping to shape this historic legislation. He said last week on MSNBC, “let’s have an honest debate.” My reply to him is: you first.

Kelly Gallaher is a founding member and coordinator for Community for Change and is currently working with Organizing for America in the 1st Congressional District in Wisconsin. She is a partner in the “Artists Gallery” cooperative, is married and has a nine-year-old daughter, Tess. She says: “I wrote this commentary because I truly believe we must work together to construct a plan for health care reform that works for everyone. Seeing and hearing my Representative, Paul Ryan, politicize that facts of current proposals for political clout is disappointing and underscores the perils of special interest influence on our elected officials.”


  1. I like this plan better than Obama's. But I'd prefer they just leave new health care plans on the table and go fix Medicare first. Then Social Security.

    Ryan's staff also told me that he introduced an amendment in committee last week that would have required Congressmen, Senators, and staff to use the "public option" in Obama's plan, but it got voted down. If it's not good enough for Ted Kennedy, it's not good enough for me either...

  2. The slinging is getting bad, yesterday I heard Pelosi say we have 50 million uninsured people in this country who can't get insurance. That is a flat out lie. The number that keeps getting touted is 45.7 million. That number only reflects the number of people who did not have insurance at one time or another in the year 2007. The actual number of people who cannot get insurance or who cannot afford insurance is actually below 20 million. There are other things to fix in this system prior to reform, and if they do, your reform will be a lot less costly if needed at all.

  3. At least its an Op-Ed.

  4. Paul Ryan doesn't really want an honest debate.

  5. And Oboma does?
    At least we are not all sheep

    Not going down without a fight

  6. Colt - Thank you for pointing out a very important point. Those of us who have been critical of for providing free publicity for certain points of view and for disguising opinion in the form of news appear to have been heard. Let's see how long this practice continues.

  7. Paul Ryan is also on the take. See his campaign receipts HERE. He is not interested in "fixing" it, but he does want to obstruct progress because he doesn't want the Dems to have a win. So his constituents will pay.

  8. I hope Paul looks at this!
    On Page 425 of Obama’s health care bill, the Federal Government will require EVERYONE who is on Social Security to undergo a counseling session every 5 years with the objective being that they will explain to them just how to end their own life earlier. Yes...They are going to push SUICIDE to cut Medicare spending!"

    PG 425 Lines 4-12 Govt mandates Advance Care Planning Consult. Think Senior Citizens end of life

    Pg 425 Lines 17-19 Govt will instruct & consult regarding living wills, durable powers of atty. Mandatory!

    PG 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3 Govt provides apprvd list of end of life resources, guiding u in death

    PG 427 Lines 15-24 Govt mandates program 4 orders 4 end of life. The Govt has a say in how ur life ends

    Pg 429 Lines 1-9 An "adv. care planning consult" will b used frequently as patients health deteriorates

    PG 429 Lines 10-12 "adv. care consultation" may incl an ORDER 4 end of life plans. AN ORDER from GOV

    Pg 429 Lines 13-25 - The govt will specify which Doctors can write an end of life order.

    PG 430 Lines 11-15 The Govt will decide what level of treatment u will have at end of life

    Pg 469 - Community Based Home Medical Services=Non profit orgs. Hello, ACORN Medical Svcs here!!?

    Page 472 Lines 14-17 PAYMENT TO COMMUNITY-BASED ORG. 1 monthly payment 2 a community-based org. Like ACORN?

    PG 489 Sec 1308 The Govt will cover Marriage & Family therapy. Which means they will insert Govt in2 ur marriage

  9. We should all have advance directives and living wills. Like it or not, we will all die at some point. It is important to think about how we want to live our last days.

    No one is encouraging suicide. There are many aspects of treatment to think about. For instance, my 83 year old father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was given six months to live. The doctors told him that with treatment, he could live for eight months. He underwent the less aggressive chemo treatment, decided the side effects weren't worth two months, and instead took painkillers so he could enjoy his life.

    My great aunt, who is 101 years old, prays every day that it will be her last. She is in incredible amounts of pain, and has chosen to sign a do not resussitate order.

    I know that if I am in a coma, I would prefer to be taken off of life support so my family can move on with their lives.

  10. Community Based Home Medical Services=Non profit orgs


    Most health care entities are non-profits, you tool.

  11. Anonymous, that is NOT Obama's health care bill, it is the insurance industry's, put for by politicians who shared in their $46 million in bribes.

    The truth is that we could provide first-class Cheney-care to 100% of our people for the same dollars we are spending today, but through a single-payer system that eliminates the 31% of waste created by the insurance bureaucracy. But we'd pay for it through our infrastucture (taxes) rather than product prices and the loss of jobs.

    So much for being practical.

  12. 9:42

    Big difference between you telling your loved one your wishes and the goverment tell you what they will be.
    What if the Government belives that your child with say Autism is better off dead or your teen aged son who might have MS? What then?
    Over 65 sorry we can tax I mean you do not want to be a burden on your kin do you... A Brave New World we have coming.

  13. Oh, Lordy me. And suppose that you must give up your first-born in order to get health care???

    Wake up America. You are being conned.

  14. Obama's plan will dismantle the best coverage in the world - Why do this for 10% of the population. That is what we are talking about when you understand the current non-insured numbers the Democrats keep throwing around. Of these uninsured, some ar illegals, some are eligible for other government programs but don't take advantage of them, some are young individuals who choose not to be insured because they they think they are infalible. Take those people out of the mix and you are at about 10% The government shoud fix, fund SS and Medicare before they take on another program to mishandle and under fund. Tell your representatives - "Hell No" we do not want this plan.

  15. And Colt, that's exactly what happened when the executives at the for-profit Cigna private insurance company did when they denied the kidney transplant for the 17 year old girl in California. They don't have to worry about her running up costs any more. She died.

    So much for private being better than public.

    Jack Lohman

  16. "Most Health Care entities are non-profit Now"
    Exactly who is non profit?
    The, the, all the support The team of vultures at the
    The definition of non profit does not fit the medical world at all.

  17. The government is not taking over healthcare.

    The public option is an option. If you don't like it, then don't choose it as your insurance provider of choice. Take your business to a private insurer.

    I'm not sure how insuring people that cannot afford it somehow ruins the system. I guess people that think that way are content to see people continue to use the emergency rooms for primary care and have those costs passed to us. I guess they are content to see small business drop coverage because the costs are so high to insure their employees. I guess they are content to see the budget both federally and locally get chewed up by the alarming rise in costs.

    Let's wait to fix it? We already tried that and it clearly isn't working. The problems didn't go away and now are far more expensive to fix. If you wait, then the grandkids will REALLY have a bill on their hands even worse than the one we have NOW.

  18. It sounds like Paul Ryan is the enemy of a lot of bloggers here. They want the government to do nothing, while Ryan is telling them that the system is broke and in dire need of repair.

    He doesn't really want to debate and have an honest conversation on the issue because his base believes that nothing should be done, that we're good. If Ryan continues to speak about the need for reform, then his is at odds with his own party and talk radio. He'll bow down to their wishes.

    Besides, as pointed out in this Op-Ed, his misguided plan sucks in a lot of ways.

  19. See Jack you can sue the insurance companies you may not win but there are actions you can take.
    Obama care good luck with that. Finding out more each day about ACORN and Union activists not only creating the events but packing them too. So glad that ACORN got $$ from the simulates aren't you?

  20. Anon 10:25 you are naive. How many companies do you think will continue to subsidise insurance for their employees - they've just been waiting to cut this expense out of their budgets. Currently most large comapanies cover about 70% of the premium costs for their employees. If this plan were to go into effect - they'll stop subsidising it in a heart beat. Then everyone will be forced into this plan increasing the costs, debt and taxes. This plan must "DIE".

  21. 10:25

    "The public option is an option. If you don't like it, then don't choose it as your insurance provider of choice. Take your business to a private insurer."

    BS, even Obama on tape said the public option is the only way to single pair heath care.
    Guess Obama Care needs to find away to stop You Tube and freedom of speech . You claims above are lies and you know that when you typed it.
    We know the truth!

  22. 10:25

    "The public option is an option. If you don't like it, then don't choose it as your insurance provider of choice. Take your business to a private insurer."

    BS, even Obama on tape said the public option is the only way to single pair heath care.
    Guess Obama Care needs to find away to stop You Tube and freedom of speech . You claims above are lies and you know that when you typed it.
    We know the truth!

  23. Here are some provisions of the proposed health care bill. Proponents will not tell you about these policies.

    All American citizens will be ordered to have a National ID Card (page 58)

    The government to have immediate access to every American citizen's bank accounts via electronic funds transfers (page 59)

    All property owned by the doctors in the United States to be determined by the government (page 317)

    All American citizens ordered to give the United States government power over their living wills (page 425)

    The United States government given a new power to determine who and how their citizens die (page 427)

    End of life plan for each American citizen ordered by the government (page 429)

  24. Anon 10:48

    You are nuttier than a walnut! But nice try at the old fear and smear. It always amazes me that some sad sacks actually listen to you guys.

    For the rest who actually want to be informed instead of brainwashed go to:

    And read how the wacky right wing mouth-breathers are lying to you.

  25. Anon 10:42

    If you believe the public option will eliminate employer based healthcare coverage, then wait until you see Paul Ryan's plan:

    "Under Ryan’s plan, families with employer paid insurance would be taxed on the entire amount the employer contributes just as if it were wages.

    Replacing the current employer tax exclusion with an individual tax credit would significantly weaken employer-based coverage because individuals receive the credit and employers no longer have an incentive to contribute."

    In other words, employers will drop coverage because they no longer have an incentive to keep paying. The amount they were paying is given to the employee directly in a form of a tax credit for them to go out and buy their own insurance. So basically Paul Ryan is guaranteeing everyone a net pay decrease by removing the employer contribution to health care costs, all while giving you $5700 to purchase a $13000 plan.

    Thanks Paul - great deal!


    Read it if you dare! The public option will not take over the health insurance industry.


  27. A few questions from the Heritage Foundation (recognizing that they are a conservative organization) -

    Can you promise me that I will not lose my current plan and doctor?

    Can you promise that you and your family will enroll in the public plan?

    Can you promise that Obamacare will not lead to higher deficits in the long term?

    Can you promise that government bureaucrats will not ration health care for patients on the public plan?

    Can you promise me that my tax dollars will not fund abortions?

    These seem to be reasonable questions to me.


    His own words

  29. Obama said that if he was starting from scratch, he would like to see a single payer system.

    Good questions Anon 11:57. Too bad Paul Ryan didn't feel it was important enough to show up at the recent healthcare forum in Racine to answer them. Yet he wants an "honest" debate. Ask Paul Ryan the same questions about the Republican Alternative Plan and see the results. You might be surprised.

    I guess an honest debate to Paul Ryan means that he can say whatever he wants to the Journal Times and on softball FOX interviews without even being questioned.

  30. Anon 10:11... Yes, most health care entities are non-profits.

    As a not-for-profit organization, we strive to make a difference in the lives of our patients and our community. We are focused on our Mission and Values, which emphasize the respect and dignity of our patients, employees and the communities we serve.

    Aurora Health Care, a not-for-profit Wisconsin integrated health care provider, was created around a single idea: There is a better way to provide health care.

    Children’s Hospital
    Children's Hospital is a private, independent, not-for-profit hospital. It is a major teaching affiliate of The Medical College of Wisconsin and is affiliated with more than a dozen schools of nursing. A number of other pediatric education programs also are associated with the hospital.

  31. How about getting back to the core issue weather Dem or Rep, liberal or conservative which is all the government economists now say the US government can't afford anymore spending. The spending spree of 2009 has created a hole the US may spend a decade getting out of without healthcare reform. Spending even more on heathcare will be the ruin of our economy long-term.
    There are issues with the current system and now we will have to live with it as it is because of all the earlier spending.
    The August visits home for the Washington elected is becoming a real eye opener for them. The support for runaway spending has died.
    As noble as universal health care may be, the US is broke folks. There is no more water in the well for another big spending package.

  32. Anon 12:29 again, by what warped definition, are any of them non profit (oh because our govt. said so!) in that everyone gets paid to do their job!
    All businesses should then be considered non-profit, as well as every taxpayer?
    They are greedy. They fire Drs that do not bring in enough revenue!
    Again how are they non-profit?

  33. "Spending even more on heathcare will be the ruin of our economy long-term."

    Spending nothing and doing nothing will be the ruin of our economy long term. We can't keep putting off all of our problems with excuse after excuse. A big chunk of healthcare reform was already in the budget.

    Realistically if reform doesn't get done now, then how many more years before it will? A Republican won't do it, so it has to be a Democrat. Imagine what your premiums will look like in 8-10 years or more when nothing gets done.

    This must be resolved. Paul Ryan is touting his plan, and guess what? It costs billions! Even Paul Ryan isn't saying do nothing.

    Some people are all up in arms about the current plan but know nothing about the Republican alternative. That just goes to show you how partisan they really are. Just radiobots doing the bidding of their intellectual masters.

  34. OK there are a lot of savings just sitting in the wide open. Every illegal alien costs each and every one of us, not to mention their families that use the emergency room as their regular care provider.
    Why is this not addressed in either parties plans.
    The savings on this alone is billions, maybe hundreds of billions Nation wide!

  35. "Just Say No" to Obama Care.

  36. Great idea. I guess you can get rid of all illegals currently here and ones that would come for free somehow.

    Do you know how unrealistic and expensive it would be to try to round up all of these people and send them home?

    Even Paul Ryan's plan would cover illegals. You should ask him about that....that is of course if he would ever show up in Racine to talk about healthcare.

  37. Expensive????
    They just had their march in MKE!

    Could have gotten thousands nation wide in 10 minutes, how hard is that?

    Go to any and every lawncare service in the area, every large farm.

    Most every company in town how hard is that.

    I can name them for anyone that cares.

  38. What matters is who “owns” this so-called non-profit? The community or a for-profit entity? If the latter, the non-profit arm can stay nonprofitable by “paying to” the for-profit, exaggerated “management fees” which can then be divvied up amongst the executives. So the management fees come from patient premiums and reward the executives and politicians (in campaign contributions). Don’t forget that the politicians get a piece of the action. THAT is our problem.

    Aurora is owned by a for-profit entity.

  39. Jack:

    Exactly my point!

    You did a more complete explanation, but no one will see the reality of the situation.

    As long as the kick-backs in the form of campaign contributions keep rolling in!

    Our supposed representatives will continue on their misguided paths.

    I do mean both parties!


  40. I agree. And frankly, if we did nothing other than get the payola out of the electoral system I'd be happy letting the politicians make the decision. But as long as their elections are funded by the industry that's where their votes are going to migrate. Only public funding of campaigns will get them voting for the public.

  41. At least the Post put Kelly's name on this one.

  42. After Obama's waffle during the last election, there will be no reason to expect candidates to take public campaign funding in the future. He and McCain both agreed, then Obama changed his mind and decided to cash in with the special interest groups.

  43. The JT is embarassing itself.

  44. Colt (10:25) -

    The public option and the single payer system are two different issues. And what Obama proposed is far from what Congress will be passing. The Dems won't touch a single payer system with a thirty-five foot pole.

    The likely byproducts of the current plan will be akin to those of the LIHEAP (energy assistance) program, which is essentially corporate welfare for energy companies. It provides an option for those who can't afford healthcare to afford it, and for those who would rather have the government plan to have it. It may very well drive up costs of competitors, or it could drive them down, all depending on how many people convert to the gov't plan if it exists, and what the cost/benefit ratios of either plan will be.

    I don't have the statistics, but someone earlier made mention of the medical industry being largely non-profit, and someone else tried to rebut that. I'll just say that Aurora Healthcare is indeed a nonprofit -- the largest in the state. But nonprofit status only means that the organization/corporation must act "in the public good" -- and there are multiple 501 (nonprofit) classifications with the IRS, many of which are still subject to an income tax, while others are not. I'm not clear on where Aurora falls in that spectrum.

    It's really amazing how we have the ability to conduct a civilized debate, but would rather insist on whatever particular ideological standpoint we happen to have convinced ourselves we believe.

  45. 6:04
    God forbid I believe Obama who on tape said its all about a one payer system. Heven forbid I chose to believe that that is THE Only goal of Obama Care, after all that is what he said.
    I must be some rabid right wing nut job not to trust the government with my health care not like they pend trillions of $$ or anything without reading the Bills they are voting on.
    Please stop me before I and millions of others keep taking to the town halls with the cry of Fight the power Fight Obama. NO to Obama Care!
    See our next step will be to vote Mason and Lehman out of office Doyle will be gone all on our way to gain back this great country of ours and not allow the worst president ever elected in my lifetime to have two terms.
    My understanding is there is now a email you can report me to.
    Be sure that under Obama care just like the Gulag I can get the help I need and maybe like the PRC if I match I cab give all to the benefit of true believers

  46. The Email you can inform I mean report I mean be sure we anti Obama folks can get the help we need



    Green Bay WI said NO Obama Care!

    Fight the power

  49. >>> "I'll just say that Aurora Healthcare is indeed a nonprofit"

    But Nicholas, I understand that the Aurora non-profit is actually "owned by" a for-profit. They can operate as a non-profit under that scenario. Am I wrong?

  50. Jack,

    To my knowledge (although I'm no nonprofit lawyer, just someone who's worked for nonprofits the past 9 years), IRS regulations prevent 501-schedule non-profits from being "owned" by anyone. However, because the US constitution allows corporations the same rights as individuals, non-profits can own private companies.

    These relationships are typically exploited in "social entrepreneurship" schemes -- which are sometimes quite beneficial to the community and serve as legitimate fundraisers, and which sometimes compromise the integrity of the org's social impact.

    Now, if that's true, it's not to say that any non-profit org's board of directors might not also own or be on the board of a for-profit company, from which vantage they can leverage their involvement in either organization to further their interests -- although they're not *supposed* to.

    Also, Colt, you may have gotten the wrong idea from me. I'm not arguing for what you call "Obama Care." I think it's a step in the wrong direction, and I don't think you're a "right wing nut."

    I do think that your logic around the issue sees less than even-handed, if only because saying "No to Obama Care" is a far cry from articulating a realistic alternative that tackles the problem of a well-lobbied medical industrial complex.

    I wasn't aware of the "" email, and you've got my interest piqued. I'll have to check that out. Where did you find out about this, and what exactly do people report to this address?

  51. Rees Roberts8/05/2009 6:59 AM

    This is nuts. Most of the comments here are not very well thought out. They merely repeat what they have heard or read about their own political parties stand on the issues. In other words, the comments here mostly do not represent self thought.

    I do appreciate those comments which provide links to the actual bills.

    But please folks, unless this is again just an exercise in how much entertainment value you wish to extract out of this blog then please consider that these issues are serious ones which should detail YOUR thoughts not that of any particular political party.

    Try once -- just once, to come up with comments that do not have their basis on politics alone. Consider the effects not only on your own situation but that of your neighbors. In other words detail how proposals would really effect you or someone you know. Provide some real specifics. Ask your employer what they would do. Do you believe their response? How that would effect you.

    If we can not be seriously involved enough to discuss this subject without political overtones then don't complain with what we end up with. Don't be like our entangled politicians. We need to take back our country and do what is right not what will get them elected again. Think about that.

    Rees Roberts

  52. Rees Roberts my thinking is if we do not agree with you then it just must be talking points

  53. Here are the talking points:

    This was sent out in May of this year prior to the healthcare debate heating up (and before any plans were actually released). This was used as the playbook for anti-reform messaging.

    If you find yourself repeating any of this stuff, then consider yourself a victim of the marketing machine, and a tool for repetition of talking points. You were told what to think and kindly obliged without question.

    That is part of what Rees is talking about in my opinion.

  54. Anon 8:54am:

    Yes, that is the intent of my point.


  55. Rees Roberts8/05/2009 10:40 AM

    Anon 8:54am:

    Yes, that is the intent of my point.


    p.s. forgot to change to name identify.

  56. Rees - don't lecture us or tell people what to do or not do. To dismantle our entire health system with tax increases, increases in debt and limited choices for 10% of the population is down right sinful. And as more and more people are finding out the details of this bill(since our representatives didn't even take time to read a bill that they want to pass)the approval rates are dropping like a brick. This bill ultimately will not be the wishes of the majority of the population - so then who are our representatives actually representing. And speaking of talking points - your gal Pelosi has done exactly what you are complaining about - handing out talking points to the representatives to use as they go back to their districts.

  57. Anon 11:10. Please don't be so hard on Reese. He and his friends know exactly what's good for you, your family and your neighbors. He only has your best interests at heart. He's only trying to show you how much he cares. . . and that you are too dumb to appreciate all he and his pals are doing for you.

  58. Frank Luntz, Republican Strategist in May:

    Instead, Luntz says Republicans should warn against a “Washington takeover” of health care, and insist that patients would have to “stand in line” with “Washington bureaucrats in charge of healthcare.”

    Here are some suggested arguments for Republicans that Luntz calls “clear winners”:

    —“It could lead to the government setting standards of care, instead of doctors who really know what’s best.”

    —“It could lead to the government rationing care, making people stand in line and denying treatment like they do in other countries with national healthcare.”

    -“President Obama wants to put the Washington bureaucrats in charge of healthcare. I want to put the medical professionals in charge, and I want patients as an equal partner.”

  59. More Luntz:

    It’s not enough to just say what you’re against. You have to tell them what you’re for. It’s okay (and even necessary) for your campaign to center around why this healthcare plan is bad for America. But if you offer no vision for what’s better for America, you’ll be relegated to insignificance at best and labeled obstructionist at worst. What Americans are looking for in healthcare that your “solution” will provide is, in a word, more: “more access to more treatments and more doctors…with less interference from insurance companies and Washington politicians and special interests.”

    And Paul Ryan in his own words...sound familiar?:

    The consequences of getting reform wrong go beyond costly missteps to America’s economic, fiscal, and personal health: Washington-centered health care is an affront to the American ideal.

    He continues to challenge his critics by asking, “What is the alternative?” He knows that there are alternatives – better alternatives where the patient, not the government, is at the center of health care in America.

    The Patients’ Choice Act is a real proposal with actual legislative text, demonstrating that we can have universal health insurance in this country without the government taking it over.

    We will continue to make the case for an approach where patients and doctors are the nucleus of health care in America. We will continue to make the case for health care reform rooted in faith in the individual.

    The decision as to whether or not you need a potentially life-saving treatment will not be a decision you, your family or your doctor will make, it is a decision the government will make on your behalf.

    Nothing will rally ordinary Americans against the president's plan more than his allies arguing too forcefully for a system run by politicians and bureaucrats in Washington

    Congress and the Obama administration are now on a path to finish the job and move us past the tipping point into a Canadian or UK-style government-run system.

  60. Rees Roberts8/05/2009 1:20 PM

    Anon 11:10am

    Easy for you to hide behind your anonymous status and poke your higher than thou comments to me. At least you know who made my comments. Why don't you and the others make yourselves known? Really, why not? Are you afraid of letting others know who you are?

    As for limited choices just because 10% don't have health care, I would only remind you that 90% of us are not getting our money's worth now. We are something like 30th in quality of health care for the entire world and look how much we pay for it. Is that what you want to continue fostering? If we do continue the way we are, we as an entire country will be bankrupt. Is that what you want? Come on, be reasonable.

    And who ever said the proposals would dismantle our entire health system? Show me in the House Bill where it does that. I dare you to be again reasonable.

    Bottom line is why does it have to be so "them" versus "us"? Why does it have to be that way? You make it look like we are in separate countries. How about we start talking like we are United again. If not, guess what will happen? Yup, we all will feel the negative results. Nothing is ever that black and white.

    Just back up your points with reason. Just stating the talking points is not reason. Then and only then will this whole discussion start to have meaning. And if you think this was a lecture then I feel sorry for you. I actually am on your side because if I wasn't I wouldn't even be on my own side. Right? Think "United" States of America.



  61. House Minority Leader John Boehner today in his? own words:

    "Americans want lower health care costs -- not a trillion-dollar government takeover of health care that increases costs and lets Washington bureaucrats make decisions that should be made by doctors and patients."

    Mindless puppets with nothing to stand behind but empty words and no solutions. What a great American.

  62. Rees you said - "If we do continue the way we are, we as an entire country will be bankrupt. Is that what you want?" Obama already has bankrupt the country - the legislature has stolen from Medicare and Social Security. So those funds will run out - I don't want the government mismanging my health care and putting us in trillions more debt - you are very naive. Leave health care as it is -it covers the 90% of people who want care and legally qualify for care.

  63. "Leave health care as it is"

    Hurry up and tell Paul Ryan that because he wants to reform the system. I guess as the GOP heads further down the route of do nothing, that leaves Paul Ryan in a pretty awkward spot since he has an alternate plan and all. Pretty soon they will turn on him and call him Paul RINO

  64. OK, let me get this straight. Opponents of a public option suggest that it would be SO GOOD that most people and companies would choose it over whatever coverage is currently offered by insurance companies.

    Well, now, we certainly wouldn't wish to offer such a superior alternative for Americans, would we?

  65. just received from email:


    While discussing the upcoming Universal Health Care Program with my sister-in-law the other day, I think we have found the solution.

    I am sure you have heard the ideas that if you're a senior you need to suck it up and give up the idea that you need any health care. A new hip? Unheard of. We simply can't afford to take care of you anymore. You don't need any medications for your high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, etc. Let's take care of the young people. After all, they will be ruling the world very soon.

    So here is the solution.

    1) When you turn 70, you get a gun and 6 bullets. You are allowed to shoot 3 senators and 3 representatives.

    Of course, you will be sent to prison where you will get:

    3 meals a day, a roof over your head and all the health care you need!!! New teeth, great!!! Need glasses, no problem. New hip, knee, kidney,lung, heart?

    Well bring it on. And who will be paying for all of this.

    Why, the same government that just told you that you are too old for health care. And, since you are a prisoner, you don't have to pay any income tax.

    I really think we have an answer!!

    from dumb email

  66. Randolph - I hope your post was not serious. If it was, it was idiotic. If the plan goes through, companies will ditch their employee plans to save money, not because the government plan is better - the companies are probably jumping up and down at the thought of no employee insurance expense which is about 70% of the premium costs. Therefore 100% of the people will be Forced to take this lousy plan.

  67. 7:56

    If you are afraid of employers dropping coverage, then you should be alarmed at Paul Ryan's plan. He actually removes the tax deduction for business that offers health care, and gives that money to individuals (in the form of a tax credit) to go buy insurance on their own!

    By removing the tax incentive, Paul Ryan is trying to decouple insurance and employment. Sounds good right? Well here is the problem:

    An average family plan costs $12,000. Many employers kickin a portion of the costs and you pay the rest in premiums. Let's say your company is chipping in $10,000 towards the cost of your care and you pay the remaining $2,000 (little less than $200/month).

    If Paul Ryan gets his way, your employer drops your coverage along with the $10,000 they were chipping in and all you get in return is a check for $5,000 from the government to buy insurance. Add the $5,000 to what you were already paying ($2,000) and you have $7,000 to buy a $12,000 plan. The net effect is that instead of paying $2,000/year for coverage, you are now spending $7,000.

    Ryan's plan actually dramatically increases your costs. Now you could argue that the employer would increase the wages of employees to compensate for dropping coverage, and after I stop laughing for a day my response would be "yeah right".

  68. 8:51 - where did I ever endorse Ryan's plan - I say leave things as they are.

  69. Thinking you can just stay put is foolish. As costs keep increasing at enormous rates, eventually more and more employers will drop coverage because they just can't afford it. You won't be compensated with a higher wage.

    This is already starting to happen. You may want things to stay the same but reality is taking you in another direction.

  70. 9:08 - No, the left wing liberal socialists are taking us a different direction. They want the government to control everything, banks, auto industry and now health care - what's next? And lastly you say costs keep going up - well the government does not have the money to cover these costs. They can't even fund and control SS or Medicare - what makes you think they'll be able to handle Obama Care? If this goes through there is no turning back. The Democratic Representatives are trying to push this through and they have not even read the bill - the new Demo Spector even admitted this. they don't even know what's in it.

  71. Kelly,

    You do an excellent job of pointing out some of the significant flaws and drawbacks regarding Paul Ryan's plan.

    However, to clarify, there are now TWO health care bills coming to the floor of the House in September.

    The first one, HR 3200, is the one that still keeps the private insurance companies in the process and proclaims to offer a "public option" for those who qualify through a series of conditions. I do not have endorse this plan, due to its ambiguity and inability to really solve the health care crisis.

    The second bill, HR 676, is expanded and improved Medicare for the entire country. This plan is called SINGLE PAYER. This would be 100% guaranteed coverage for all Americans regardless of pre-existing condition or job transfer. It is the ONLY plan that guarantees everybody in and nobody out.

    Single Payer is publicly funded, but privately driven by you and your doctor. It is NOT the socialized government takeover that the right wing keep trying to scare us with.

    Also, for those of you who keep thinking that you don't want to pay for "poor or lazy people" as I hear so often. I got news for you. We all already pay for the indigent, because the medical providers pass the loss on to those who pay. Under a Single Payer plan, we would pay LESS for those less fortunate.

    You can compare the two bills by clicking on this link.

    As for the plan proposed by our PAC bought congressman, it is the same old same old GOP plan of segregating access, privatization and shuffling the chronically ill/high risk to state funded pools. It will not diminish costs for anyone, just move them around in a shell game. So if you are wealthy and healthy you will be just fine.

    We can all go out and talk to our congressman at his upcoming listening sessions.

  72. The government doesn't control the auto industry. The banks can repay their loans or not take bailout money and they would be just fine. The government is not taking over healthcare by offering an additional health insurance option.

    The reality is that the financial markets were in freefall and something needed to be done. Bush started the action with TARP and Obama continued with stimulus.

    You can blame government for helping or blame business for getting themselves into that situation by their own greed.

    Healthcare reform is coming if we choose to act or not. The reality dictates that something must be done to reduce costs. Doing nothing almost ensures the government will have to take this over somewhere down the line.

  73. This is a fascinating article, regardless of where you stand on health care:

  74. Keith Olberman is a communist.

  75. Dear Anon 8/04/2009 12:36 PM

    You said, "How about getting back to the core issue ... the US government can't afford anymore spending. The spending spree of 2009 has created a hole the US may spend a decade getting out of without healthcare reform. "

    That 'spending spree' probably saved us from a far deeper hole, out of which we would not have climbed for well over a decade. If we don't fix the present Healthcare situation, will we pay back our 'spending spree' any faster? I don't think so.

    On the question - a change or no change in health care - we have to consider _both_ the positive and negatives of _both_ options. Making no change has a huge negative - it's not doing the job today, and it costs us far more than it could, as well as in the near future, far more than we can afford - as you nearly point out.

    Time to connect some dots, folks. Leaving things as they are is not an option. Rep. Ryan knows this, but he also doesn't connect his own dots for his own bright thoughts. His numbers don't add up, either.

  76. 11:35 - my current health care is working just fine - we don't need to do anything.

  77. 11:35 is right. You don't have to do anything, including changing your insurance provider after the reform bill passes. You still have have the liberty and freedom to choose your insurance plan.

    God Bless America!

  78. Ok, so you decide to do nothing and keep your insurance. Now someone at your place of work says to themselves.....hey we can dump this insurance because everyone here can still get the government insurance option. Man, we just saved a bunch of money at our business.

    So, now where does that leave you? Under Paul Ryan's plan we are totally screwed. Paul gives us a bit of a tax deduction but that tax deduction doesn't even come close to covering the cost of the government health insurance option. See why we are so concerned?

  79. 12:30

    That's actually the point. Lots of companies are already dropping coverage because it is just too expensive. I totally understand why people are concerned, and that is why it is important to review your options.

    Paul Ryan believes that your insurance should not be tied to your employer. He wants them to drop coverage. To do this, he takes away the corporate tax incentive to provide insurance and then gives it to the individual in the form of a tax credit. Then what?

    On the other side, the public option would be one option of many. If your employer dropped coverage, you could still purchase it on your own and not choose the public option. Also, larger business that do not offer coverage are fined. That would nit happen in Paul Ryan's plan.

  80. Since Ryan believes that our health insurance should not be tied to employers - how does his "Patients Choice" plan relieve his employer of the benefit burden?

    It looks like Ryan gave himself the option to can keep the employer based insurance he has, while taking the option away from everyone else.

  81. This comment has been removed by the author.

  82. I cannot believe that people will fall for this plan - nothing said about limitations on costs for insurance. No cherry picking - the only thing is the insurance companies prices will espouse the old adage "the sky's the limit" better stated as "we can't refuse you insurance, but we can charge you more".

    Another wolf in sheep's clothing - keep trying Senators Ryan and Burr; you don't yet have it right.

    I pay 12K per annum for my insurance now (a single). Your tax "help" is but a drop in the bucket. And at these prices, the insurance company still keeps refusing to pay for "incidentals".

    Thanks but no thanks, Senators - I vote for the public option.

  83. What Public Option are you all talking about? The only one I knew about was an emergency pool set up this summer for people with pre-existing conditions that would allow coverage until they could get onto other plans?

    Why are people so anxious to have their health care choices determined by big business? At least you can vote the bums out if they do a bad enough job. With big business, the guys with the big bucks always win. You still trust big business? You haven't learned? Wow.