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Help move HR676 forward

bringiton's picture

And use me as your surrogate! What could be better?

Tomorrow I’ll be talking in person with my US House Representative and one of the topics I will raise is Universal Health Care. For several reasons, none immediately relevant, I intend to skewer him on HR676. He’s a good guy (IMNSHO), decent and kind and smart, but he hasn’t signed on as a co-sponsor and I want to know why.

So here’s your chance to make me your tool, to send me off to do your bidding. Tell me why my guy should back HR676, in 50 words or less (has to be brief, I have additional items to raise and there will be others with their own questions). I’ll synthesize all your suggestions and put it to him, then come back here with his response.

Could I possibly be more fair and open-minded? (That was rhetorical; no need for commentary.)

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DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

the more important thing to remember about HR 676 is that it will cost the federal government LESS than what we are spending right now and cover everyone. That is the most important single thing.

My experience with elected officials is that they rarely commit in a personal meeting, don't expect to close right away. Just let him/her know that this is a motivating issue for you.

Submitted by lambert on

I think it's an astute comment that they, too, need to persuaded that they won't end up worse off.

People put a lot of effort into screwing together solutions, and I think they get invested in them.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

I always liked the argument, which comes from Krugman, I think, that that the money we spend denying care -- the whole corporate bloat set up to do that -- is enough simply to give the care to the people we deny care.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

Returning briefly from RL:

I just had a long talk with a guy who was enumerating all the problems he'd been going through -- from the insurance company giving him only X number of droplets, good for a week, for his three-year-olds infected ear, and then charging him extra for a refill when he came back before the week was up (three year olds move around a lot), to one office charging him $100 for his own records, and that was just the small stuff.

His conclusion was the profit motive had no place in the health care system, and I think he's right.

It's a moral issue, just as much as buying and selling the bodies of slaves was a moral issue.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

It's the right thing to do. For the country. For the economy. For people who have insurance, whose premiums' JATO-shot increases will slow if not stop; for people who don't have insurance, so they can get some; right for taxpayers and trauma victims, because more people will be down at the doc-in-a-box and fewer will bring preventable crises overripened to the (crowded and growing fewer every day) ERs, and when the truly poor have their bills paid by the county, the bills will be smaller, so the taxpayers will spend less. Right thing to do for the doctors, the hospitals, and the consumers, too. Lower cost, better service, it's a win-win.

Why is it right for the economy? It'll relieve the cost of pensioners' and workers' insurance premiums, just like it does for individuals. Corporations and small businesses alike are staggering under the burden off -- and more and more often defaulting on their contracts to provide -- the cost of health care expenses for workers and retirees. That'll mean more jobs, and better wages, available for everyone.

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

Submitted by lambert on

All posts collected here:

1. If you've got insurance through your company, they'll weasel out of it any way they can.

2. The right label isn't the wonky single payer but Medicare for All,

3. Supporters range from Al Gore to Bush's ethicist to majority of all doctors.

But really -- better health outcomes (why doctors like it), at less cost, and tried in other countries with great success. What's not to like?

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ]
Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

the money we spend denying care — the whole corporate bloat set up to do that — is enough simply to give the care to the people we deny care.

40 cents of every health dollar goes to administrative costs, that is doctors and hospitals dueling on whether a claim gets paid. We would put those 40 cents to taking care of sick people under Medicare for all.

And if your Congressman says that he does not want a government run health care system, ask him why he objects to Medicare, because that is what Medicare is.

Submitted by hipparchia on

now that i no longer have insurance --

- my doctor knocks 20% off for office visits

- my last visit to the hospital, they knocked 30% off when i told them i didn't have insurance without my even asking, and then we negotiated down from there

Submitted by hipparchia on

put too many links in! caught in moderation!

Submitted by hipparchia on

i've been slogging my way through factchecking that ruy texeira article you linked me to. what

i'm finding is that polls with wording that describe single-payer-type systems with reasonable

accuracy show the public is definitely in favor of the idea...

some items from pollingreport.com, on health

care delivery issues [i've left off the 'don't know', 'other', etc, kinds of answers in each

poll, which is why what i've shown here doesn't add up to 100%; full results available at

pollingreport.com] --

Submitted by hipparchia on

1. this poll says americans clearly favor raising taxes and providing health care for everyone, in 1999, 2003, and 2008:

"Which of these do you think is more important: providing health care coverage for all Americans, even if it means raising taxes, OR, holding down taxes, even if it means some Americans do not have health care coverage?"

6/12-15/08:
66% coverage for all, 31% hold down taxes

10/9-13/03:
79% coverage for all, 17% hold down taxes

12/99:
71% coverage for all, 26% hold down taxes

Submitted by hipparchia on

2. this poll, done twice in 2007, shows that even with the plutocrats trying to break our government, americans still favor, by a reasonable margin, a government program over the current private insurance mess:

"Which do you think would be better for the country: having one health insurance program covering all Americans that would be administered by the government and paid for by taxpayers, or keeping the current system where many people get their insurance from private employers and some have no insurance?"

9/14-16/07:
55% one program for all, 29% current system

2/23-27/07:
47% one program for all, 38% current system

Submitted by hipparchia on

3. another poll where americns clearly trust governement to provide their health insurance and would be willing to pay higher taxes to get it:

"Do you think the government should provide a national health insurance program for all Americans, even if this would require higher taxes?"

5/4-6/07:
64% yes, 35% no

Submitted by hipparchia on

4. here's an interesting one, even if the govt program were to limit their choice of doctors and cause them to have to wait for some procedures, in 2003 at least, people still preferred the govt plan:

"Which would you prefer: the current health insurance system in the United States, in which most people get their health insurance from private employers, but some people have no insurance, OR, a universal health insurance program, in which everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that's run by the government and financed by taxpayers?"

10/03:
33% current system, 62% universal program

Asked of respondents who answered "universal program": "Would you support or oppose a universal health insurance program if it limited your own choice of doctors?"

10/03:
57% support, 41% oppose

Asked of respondents who answered "universal program": "Would you support or oppose a universal health insurance program if it meant there were waiting lists for some non-emergency treatments?"

10/03:
62% support, 33% oppose

Submitted by hipparchia on

so far, the only results i can find to support texeira's assertion that support for uhc goes DOWN [substantially] when the details of implementation are explained look like this one, on the massachusetts system:

"Do you think it's the government's responsibility to provide health insurance for those who can't afford it, or don't you think so?"

10/23-29/07:
60% think so, 33% don't think so

"As you may know, a new law in Massachusetts would require all residents to have health insurance. Low-income residents would get state subsidies to help pay insurance premiums, but everyone would pay something for health services. The plan would penalize people without any insurance and charge fees to employers who don't provide coverage. Would you support or oppose this plan in your state?"

10/23-29/07:
49% support, 40% oppose

Submitted by hipparchia on

[this one got lost in moderation too]

Submitted by hipparchia on

in 2005 canada spent $3359 per person on health care, we spent $6401. the more recent numbers are even higher, but this one was a nice little chart.

Submitted by hipparchia on

in 1970 canada and the us both had private insurance systems like ours today, and both spent 7% of gdp on health care. in 2004, 30-ish years after canada had switched to their medicare system, canada was spending 9.9% of gdp on health care, while we spent 15.3%.

Submitted by hipparchia on

there are layers and layers of bureaucracy in our system, and it's not because we need all those layers, but because each one represents another profit-making opportunity for the vultures.

[canada-us comparison again, 1999] in canada, it takes about 1.5 administrative employees per 10,000 insured person, in the us, the private insurers employ 15, 20, 30! administrative personnel per 10,000 insured persons [3rd table, click to enlarge]

Submitted by hipparchia on

on the hcan approach, i've got lots to say, none of it nice, but i'm still slogging through the research on that. can't say for sure, so you might not want to bring it up, but it looks like hcan's wording and posibly even the entire hillary-obama-edwards-care plan is based on truthiness.

hcan's leader worked on getting single-payer for new york stte n the 1990s, it didn't work out, and his feeling is that because maybe it's because people feared making the switch from what they already had. that's it, just this one guys feeling.

apparently he commissioned a few focus groups, without any real polling or anything else to provide validation for his feeling, and came up with what we know as hcan today, but i have to do some more research on it before i can connect all the dots.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

the cheaper, more productive and efficient alternative to the disorganized thread with a variety of commenters of different ilk!

:-), nice job, Hipparchia.

Submitted by hipparchia on

it was all one comment, but the moderation seems to have gobbled it up.

although, now that i look at it, this way is a bit more readble, i think.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

at least Orion ATL had all his one liners in one comment! And even that got Lambert upset!

You took it to a whole new level!

Submitted by hipparchia on

how to make those one-liners. if you first write your comment in notepad and then c&p it to the text box here, that's what it comes out looking like. orion was unjustly hounded for that.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

(where the heck is s/he anyway?)

defended his/her one-liners as a form of poetry (or was it stream of consciousness... I can never tell the difference because I don't understand poetry).

Submitted by lambert on

Orion could write both ways, he tried it. However, Orion went with the rest of the truthiness brigade, and not for a pompous and pretentious style that was virtually unreadable on a laptop screen (and therefore just outright bad for classes of readers). Call that poetry? Jeebus.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Gosh it is good we're speaking again without Morse code. Fricking hurts my head remembering the conventions.

Thank you for your many comments, I am always pleased to see you however painful may be the particular encounter, and for the accidental poetry; it is important to remind ourselves, frequently, that if it were not for pain and serendipity there would be no Human species.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i don't even know what the conventions are. i've been working without a script here. you have quite the thick skull, if your head hurts, might be because you accidentally let a new idea bash its way in.

that said, you're one of my favorite people here, in part because of your facility with words. me, i can hunt down numbers, but string them together with pretty words? not so much. you'll have to come up with the 50 words.

from the fact sheet at john conyers' site, another couple numbers you might want:

Currently, the average family of four covered under an employee health plan spends a total of $4,225 on health care annually – $2,713 on premiums and another $1,522 on medical services, drugs and supplies ... Under H.R. 676, a family of four making the median family income of $56,200 per year would pay about $2,700 for all health care costs, including the current Medicare tax. [nb: looks like these numbers might be from 2005 or 2006]

couple other important things:

Eligibility
Every person living or visiting in the United States and the U.S. Territories would receive a United States National Health Insurance Card and ID number once they enroll at the appropriate location.

Health Care Services Covered
This program will cover all medically necessary services, including primary care, inpatient care, outpatient care, emergency care, prescription drugs, durable medical equipment, hearing services, long term care, mental health services, dentistry, eye care, chiropractic, and substance abuse treatment. Patients have their choice of physicians, providers, hospitals, clinics, and practices. No co-pays or deductibles are permissible under this act.

and there's even money in there for job re-training for insurance company employees who will be displaced.

the public supports this, we'll all be able to get the health care we need, it'll cost a hell of lot less than it costs us now, and that extra money we're spending will no longer be going to line the pockets of the robber barons [not these robber barons anyway, we'll probably end up giving the $$ to the robber barons who control the food supply and energy and banks, but that's another story].

i personally like the murder-by-spreadsheet meme, but it's your audience, you'll have to decide what mix of cold facts and imflammatory rhetoric is most likely to win them over.

go get em, tiger.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Interesting, isn't it, to try and distill down an important point to just the barest summary. What sometimes result are readily teachable moments, ones that really stick, that can really matter.

About the restriction I imposed; 50 words or less. Needs to be to the point, rolling it out like thunder, boom, crash, slam, pin his ears to the wall. There are reasons why specific to this sort of encounter, but mostly the deal is that whether it communicating with your Most Honorable Representative or pitching to Joe and June Sixpack the whole message is received, considered and either accepted or rejected in the first 15 seconds; Rule # 1 of advertising, and advertising is all that human beings ever do.

Fifty words or less, and the first ten are the ones that need to grab; they are the words that must have fish-hooks in them. After that, if you haven’t snagged them, the attention span of your average politician, or your average bar-room pick-up encounter, or your typical house cat, has been exceeded and their minds begin to wander. House cats on average, it must be said, have longer attention spans, better intentions, and are less likely to stray. Total time spent yowling and propensity towards eventual infidelity are about the same.

Thanks ever so to all for the comments and suggestions; difficult, I know, to squeeze it down to the nitty-gritty, and so much appreciation for your effort. Thanks Lambert, for taking the time from a jammed up RL. Thanks to FrenchDoc, truly, for stopping in – if only we weren’t so much alike, you and I, who knows; we might get along better. Thanks DCBlogger, for all of your diligent work and for the caution; totally understood. And thanks as always to Sarah, for once again reminding me to seek my better self.

It is a Saturday afternoon meet; anyone wanting to add on before then, please do.

daily democrat's picture
Submitted by daily democrat on

Hipparchia suggested I contribute to the healthcare discussions by reporting on my UK experiences. I'm not sure whether this link would be directly relevant for your discussion today, bringiton, but I was surprised to learn that the UK National Health Service was initially, at least, made voluntary for doctors:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/nhs/5143.sh...

Truth Partisan's picture
Submitted by Truth Partisan on

The old system is broken--we can't return to it. Therefore, we need something else. Big corporations are dumping their health plans; individual plans are too expensive. Decent medical care is a basic public necessity that government can and should provide; Medicare has been good and successful. HR676 is closest.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

the RIGHT thing to do --
right for doctors,
right for patients,
right for the insured,
right for the uninsured,
right for taxpayers,
right for the employer,
right for the citizenry.

Medicare, for everybody, now.

Submitted by ohio on

All the medical science in the world won't save people if they can't get it and it's crazy that they can't get it because they can't afford it. We need a courageous guy to stand up and do the right thing. Be that guy. We really need you on HR676.

Fifty words, excluding header.