Christine Manzanares: We want government-run health care

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This is response to David Ihde’s March 31 letter to the editor.

When are conservatives like you, David, going to understand if we, as a country, cannot enact legislation that could put controls on the insurance and pharmaceutical industry so that we — the U.S. — stop spending more than most countries on healthcare, even though many people are uninsured and our health statistics are no better than countries that spend considerably less than us, then we do want government-run health care.

Actually there are a lot of us that want single-payer, Medicare for all, or that horrible term "socialized medicine.” Call it what you want, but it is really the only solution.

In my research about Colorado Care, it is estimated that since 2007 the number of physicians has increased by 200 percent while the number of health care administrators has increased by 3,300 percent. The money is no longer going to the doctors, it's going to the insurance companies and their countless employees. Many of them hired just to find ways to deny claims, not to mention the millions given to the CEOs.

When doing my do diligence when ACA was first being discussed, I found one of the major reasons that our legislators are hesitant is because our stocks and mutual funds will take a considerable hit as health care stocks that continually grow in value every year, would be eliminated.

It is disheartening that some people think it's OK to make money on on the backs of people’s health or death. I think the estimate was it would take 10 (plus or minus) years for the market to recover. I'd rather loose a few dollars in my investments then to keep the unfair, unregulated, (oops a bad word to you conservative Republicans) broken system we have now, and I am not talking about the ACA, I am talking about our for profit health care system.

When studying health care reform I came upon an interesting article, “An Introduction to the Healthcare Crisis in America: How Did We Get Here?: Everyone should read this and here is the link: cfeps.org/health/chapters/ch1.htm.

Democrats wanted to try to enact legislation to reform healthcare for all Americans, and the gloom and doom Republicans actually "charged that national insurance was part of a larger socialist scheme."

My last statement is we have tried it your way since the ‘40s. It does not work, unless you like reaping profits on the backs of Americans and making health care unaffordable for many. It is time for a change, and by the way, David, I hope Colorado, or maybe the entire USA, gets government-run healthcare. Then where will you go?

As far as doctors leaving, there are plenty in favor of single payer, and if we can get to that place here in America, where would the doctors go?

By the way, the "government"-paid $60,000 toilets and $25,000 hammers went into the pockets of Halliburton and the other private contractors hired by the Reagan and the Bush administrations’ cronies, and that is entirely different subject, privatization that ends up costing us more, not less.

Christine Manzanares

Yampa

Comments

Ken Mauldin 3 weeks, 1 day ago

While some people feel very strongly about the implementation of government-run healthcare, recent elections demonstrate that a vast majority of American voters don't want the government in charge of healthcare.

Even voters in liberal States like Colorado, California and Oregon have rejected a government-run healthcare scheme by a wide margin.

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John Kinkaid 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Think VA hospitals when you think about how good a single payer system would be. My wife and I belong to a health co-op and pay only $220/person/month for coverage. I would recommend joining a health co-op.

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David Ihde 3 weeks, 1 day ago

More like we haven't​ had a free market since the 40's or 50's. And since government interference by the feds started in earnest in the 60's, premiums and healthcare costs have skyrocketed. Therefore it's your way that we have been doing and failing at.

But liberals like yourself make me laugh. Which part of the last election in Colorado on healthcare did you not get? Hillary won the state but the liberal policy of government run healthcare single payer style got slaughtered! That means Liberals​ voted against it in droves not for it. So where you are getting your premise is lost on me.

Now states can do what they want, but federal run healthcare any style is unconstutional per the tenth amendment. This crap that the general welfare clause, commerce clause, necessary and proper clause and the phony Federal Supremacy Clause, which can't be found anywhere in the constitution, allows for the federal government to take over an industry is absurd on its face. If they can take that over they can take any industry over. That's the central component of Fascism. Our Founders did not give us anything remotely close to that. In fact, they so feared they gave too much power to the feds they demanded the Bill of Rights which includes the Tenth or the constitution would not have been ratified. Besides, what would we need states for? So you can know where you are on route 66?

But more importantly, if the constitution can be violated for the supposed good it can be violated for the bad too and we see that everyday with illegal spying with the NSA and the Patriot Act, illegal search and seziers, eminent domain abuses and asset forfitures without due process to go along with military mischief overseas. Time for everyone to connect the dots. Be careful what you ask for

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Lock McShane 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Ken, do you remember the ads against ColoradoCare? They were all about the huge tax increase we would have to pay if A69 passed, with no mention of the insurance bills we would not be paying, which would be greater for most than the new taxes. The opponents convinced the voters that everyone's costs would go way up, which was false.

People want a system that works. The current system doesn't work; the system we had before the ACA didn't work; no one has proposed a for-profit health insurance system that will work. What are we left with? There are many examples around the world of government-run systems that work pretty well; none are perfect, but everyone gets health care and no one goes bankrupt after getting sick.

Please show us an example of a for-profit health insurance system that covers all at less cost than what we have tried. Please give us your plan, instead of just putting down plans that have proven to work.

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David Ihde 3 weeks, 1 day ago

And what were​ the excuses in California, Oregon and Vermont Lock? And I thought Liberals loved taxes?

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David Ihde 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Yeah, way to go Christine! Take our choices away! Where will we go if they just stuff this down our throats like the ACA? Where will the doctors go? Maybe out was business unless of course you point that gun at their heads. Right? Thanks for making an important point for me from my letter!

You are a classic reason why liberals are dangerous to freedom!

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Lock McShane 3 weeks, 1 day ago

David, what choices are being taken away? The choice of which company is allowed to screw you? If you are in favor of choices, then you should be in favor of everyone having the choice to buy into MediCare. Let the people pick if they want the private or public option, and see which one is more popular. If I am happier with MediCare, even if I am the only one, why can't I have that option?

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Lock McShane 3 weeks, 1 day ago

I didn't comment on the other states because I wasn't there and didn't experience the campaign like I did here. I believe that Vermont failed because the pool was too small, not because of any ideology about the system.

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David Ihde 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Not only is Medicare unconstutional as aforementioned, it would not be fair competition when one side gets to make all the rules and has unlimited ability to print money with no incentives of the profit motive. Christine thinks all those people hired by the insurance companies were to deny claims. Nonsense. They were there to tackle the mounds of paperwork required by the government.

If you can't figure out what choices would be taken away look no further than the ACA.

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David Ihde 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Yes I know, the courts have upheld it. Would that be the same courts that upheld all those other things I've mentioned too?

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Chris Hadlock 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Some would think that means your opinion is out of the main stream. When that many court decisions disagree with your reading of the Constitution it might not be the courts that are wrong.

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Lock McShane 3 weeks, 1 day ago

I just googled "court decisions medicare is unconstitutional" and got no decisions that support that premise.

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Larry Desjardin 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Here's a good article on the single payer attempt by Vermont, and some of the challenges. Remember, the governor was elected on a platform of bringing single-payer to Vermont, worked on it ferociously, but later gave up citing the risk was too high. What I liked about the Vermont attempt, as opposed to ColoradoCare, was that it was being proposed by people who would take responsibility for its success or failure. In the end, the proponents couldn't find a path to success.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2014/12/21/6-reasons-why-vermonts-single-payer-health-plan-was-doomed-from-the-start/#4ae48fe54850

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Ken Mauldin 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Had a universal, single-payer system been passed into law before the last election, the Obama administration would have had access to the complete medical records of every candidate running for president during the primary season. Everyone should agree that Debbie Wasserman-Shultz having access to Bernie Sanders leaked medical history would have made rigging the DNC primary election a lot easier. The Obama administration would also have the complete medical records of every person running for every elected office from a State Governor to the local treasurer. Would those (DNC) Saints in Washington DC ever leak personal medical information for political purposes?

Now, substitute the Trump administration and the possibilities are the same. Would liberals want the Trump administration to have complete access to the medical records of Jerry Brown or Elizabeth Warren as they announce their intention to enter the 2020 presidential race? Would liberals want a Trump administration to have the complete medical records of all Colorado DNC gubernatorial candidates as they announce their candidacy? The question is the same: Would those (GOP) Saints in Washington DC ever leak personal medical information for political purposes?

Would any liberal trust the Trump administration with the complete medical records of every DNC candidate in the country? I voted for Trump and I wouldn't trust him with access to that information. I have never known a politician that I would trust with access to that information and it's a fantasy to think such a trustworthy person could ever be elected President.

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Lock McShane 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Ken, do you mean that the Republican candidates don't have anything in their medical records that would hurt their campaign? Or is it that the Republicans always play dirty and would push anything in their bid for control?

Also, we could have single-payer without government access to medical records.

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Ken Mauldin 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Lock - I don't trust either party with that information and neither should anyone else. Single payer would necessarily create a government-held depository of healthcare data that could be leaked or hacked.

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Chris Hadlock 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Ken, I actually share many of your concerns about privacy. Anywhere data accumulates someone finds a way to make money with it. From Gov't, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Comcast, ATT, Verizon and indeed everywhere you touch electronics someone somewhere is trying to capture what you looked at.

The question is: Are the current insurers like Anthem, Blue Cross etc. and providers like YVMA/YVMC or any other Doctors office any safer?

You are dead on right when you say both sides would use the information, but the scope of the problem is so much larger.

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Lock McShane 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Instead of government of the people, by the people, for the people, our present government is of the money, by the money, for the money. That is what has to change.

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Lock McShane 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Pilot, I don't like to have to do your job, but when you publish an article, you need to proofread. "my do diligence" should be "my due diligence" and "I'd rather loose a few dollars" should be "I'd rather lose a few dollars". Spell check won't catch these errors, and it will be nice to read what you publish without such obvious errors.

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Ken Mauldin 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Hi Lock - I agree with the sentiment and would offer the slight correction that it's about control, control, control. Currently, money is a very large part of the mechanism to reach the levers of power. Because knowledge is power, I expect the next generation of those who would seek to control us will use information as much, if not more than money. Perhaps they'll use money to get in power and then information to stay there. The generation that lives under that boot will say it's all about data, data, data - but it will always be about control. It's only the tools that change through generations and cultures. Lenin felt very strongly about socialized medicine and considered it the literal "keystone of the socialist state."

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Lock McShane 3 weeks, 1 day ago

So how do we reduce control, while still keeping people from harming each other? Many use control to harm others, yet without control, people run rampant and selfishly harm others.

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Ken Mauldin 3 weeks, 1 day ago

We should allow individuals, to the greatest degree possible, to make decisions that impact them personally. We already have laws against force and fraud and should enforce them vigorously. Because what is considered selfish is such a subjective standard, it's not something that can be implemented socially. For example, I don't think it's selfish to want the best for yourself and your family and I don't begrudge someone that took risks and made the various investments typically required to become a successful person. Even the definition of a successful person is subjective. The fact that Mark Zuckerberg is worth $58B hasn't caused me $20 in harm. In fact, I would probably argue that my life has been improved by his innovation that allows me to keep up with friends that live far away.

Universal healthcare is Pandora's Box and if we're both lucky, we'll never find out how bad that can get in America.

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Lock McShane 3 weeks, 1 day ago

"Universal healthcare is Pandora's Box " Then why does it work in other countries, but can never work here?

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Ken Mauldin 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Because we have a different form of government that includes a model of federalism and a more fiercely independent electorate. Those are dramatic differences individually, but when combined they create an environment that's not conducive to national universal healthcare in the United States.

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Lock McShane 3 weeks, 1 day ago

I have been trying to learn about this fiercely independent electorate, but there doesn't seem to be anything on the web. Maybe they are so independent, they never group together. Our electorate these days is not independent, but highly polarized, which is why we cannot just hunker down in the mud and actually work together to solve our problems. We could have a best-in-the-world health care system, but our narratives about the American psyche are preventing a rational meeting of the minds and actually study what has worked, identify the flaws, and improve the flaws to create something better.

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Ken Mauldin 3 weeks, 1 day ago

I think a variety of ideas, even to the degree of being polarized, is a form of independence. American liberals used to celebrate diversity, now they almost demand one-size-fits-all conformance in both thought and actions. I'd prefer a polarized, diverse society over a society compelled to be homogeneous any day.

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Lock McShane 3 weeks, 1 day ago

I don't want homogeneity either. Differences are great, but we can't let our differences prevent us from working together. Oil and water don't mix; shake them up and they soon go their separate ways. But add some emulsifier, and you get a delicious salad dressing that stays together with separate flavors. We could use a social emulsifier. Any ideas?

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Ken Mauldin 3 weeks, 1 day ago

I'm not sure how to reconcile the values of one person that wants to live in a commune and another that wants to have individual liberty. Hence, our dilemma and subsequent polarization.

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Lock McShane 3 weeks, 1 day ago

They can both have their individual values, but they shouldn't let those values prevent them from working together on common goals. If you needed help and I was able to help you, I would never let our philosophical differences prevent me from helping you. I live my life very independently, doing many things around my place solo if there is no help around, yet I recognize the reality that none of us go through life alone and we all need everyone around us to live a fulfilling life.

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Ken Mauldin 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Hi Lock - Agreed. I would also help you if I were able. But a determination of either of our levels of "ableness" should be our individual decision, not something we were compelled to do. I understand the advantages of working together, but there are also distinct disadvantages to compelled collaboration. When trying to find the level of compelled corroboration that is necessary for a stable society, I will always err towards Jefferson and Madison and away from Lenin and Mao.

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Ken Mauldin 3 weeks, 1 day ago

We already collaborate for defense, infrastructure, education and welfare programs, all of which to a greater or lessor degree have been acceptable through the generations. Universal healthcare is a completely different proposition. We're not talking about roads and bridges and fire stations that benefit everyone; nor are we talking about taking care of the elderly, orphans or the disabled; we're talking about examples like paying for the addition treatment for someone that didn't take advantage of an education and make better life choices or birth control for a grown woman that can go to Walgreen's and buy birth control for $10 or cancer treatment for the person that smoked 4 packs of Pall Malls everyday for 30 years.

The paternalistic government that would be required to implement universal healthcare would best be described as achieving it's goals through force, i.e. compelled corroboration.

Like I said earlier, I recognize that some compelled corroboration is required and absolute individual liberty is neither preferable nor possible in America. I'm all for working together to meet common challenges. When trying to determine what level is best, however, I err towards Jefferson and away from Lenin because looking back over history it's obvious that Jefferson's ideas of promoting individual responsibility and limited government produced better results.

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David Ihde 3 weeks, 1 day ago

You won't find any unconstitutional rulings on Medicare anymore than you will find them on federal marijuana laws because the courts have been compromised by activists. The New Deal was struck down a few times before it was allowed. The federal government had to pass a constitutional amendment to give it power to make alcohol illegal nationally. Why didn't they have to do the same for marijuana? Again, when the constitution is violated for the supposed good it's violated for the bad too.

Franklin said we gave you a republic if you can keep it.

We are not keeping it.

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Fred Duckels 3 weeks ago

Shouldn't the Pilot be charging advertising rates for all the sore losers infomercials that deliberately saturate the news? Righting the ship with this guilt trip propaganda makes me feel guilty and I can no longer sleep at might. Rest assured that is my problem and you won't see an article on my need for government assistance.

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Eric J. Bowman 3 weeks ago

"Now states can do what they want, but federal run healthcare any style is unconstutional per the tenth amendment. This crap that the general welfare clause, commerce clause, necessary and proper clause and the phony Federal Supremacy Clause, which can't be found anywhere in the constitution, allows for the federal government to take over an industry is absurd on its face."

No, that's your opinion that's completely unsupported except by your determined insistence upon it, and perhaps listening to too much right-wing talk radio. Government-run health insurance, and even healthcare, has been around for ages and lawsuits opposing it on 10th-amendment grounds have always been laughed out of court by generations of judges, from across the political spectrum, at all levels of the judiciary.

The Commerce Clause allows Congress to regulate interstate commerce. Not sure how they've "taken over the industry" or how single-payer would amount to that.

I'm also not sure how 26% of eligible voters electing Trump, amounts to some sort of referendum against single-payer. Or how the failure of Colorado's flawed effort means voters disapprove of the entire concept.

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Eric J. Bowman 3 weeks ago

"The federal government had to pass a constitutional amendment to give it power to make alcohol illegal nationally. Why didn't they have to do the same for marijuana? Again, when the constitution is violated for the supposed good it's violated for the bad too."

How is the Controlled Substances Act unconstitutional? It's the legislation which enacted the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, a treaty duly enacted and ratified by the Executive and Legislative branches according to the Constitution, and upheld by the Judiciary as not infringing on any Constitutional rights. It has always been foolish to list marijuana on Schedule I and conduct a "war on drugs" making a mockery of the 4th Amendment, sure, but the reason they (meaning We) didn't need an amendment, is it's the Constitution itself which says so.

"You won't find any unconstitutional rulings on Medicare anymore than you will find them on federal marijuana laws because the courts have been compromised by activists."

Oh yes, how they have been! Conservative activist judges legislating from the bench bugs the crap out of me, particularly when they're blithe about overturning 230 years of precedent based on doing some sort of hula around the "original meaning" of the Constitution. The result in my lifetime, has been a steady progression of constitutional rights being applied to the artificial legal construct known as "the corporation."

There has long been a "legal fiction" known as "corporate personhood" which is morphing into a truism -- the Citizens United decision was the first to declare that corporations have freedom of speech, then the Hobby Lobby decision used that precedent plus an "originalist" interpretation of "personhood" at odds with its long-standing status as a legal fiction to grant Freedom of Religion to corporations.

"Just to be clear about the decision: Gorsuch and others didn’t just rule that Hobby Lobby’s owners had constitutionally-protected religious beliefs, but that the artificial legal creation of the state itself, Hobby Lobby Incorporated, possessed religious convictions."

https://movetoamend.org/gorsuch%E2%80%99s-gory-expansion-corporate-personhood

This is a blatant, deliberate misunderstanding of what a "right" is. The Bill of Rights doesn't confer upon me any rights, it recognizes that natural-born persons have rights bestowed on them by their Creator, and enjoins the Federal Government from violating them. This creates a dilemma, in that an artificial legal construct is a creation of the Government, so only the Government can confer First Amendment rights on a corporation.

That's an activist judge legislating from the bench, overturning duly-enacted legislation, by conferring religious rights on a corporation in order to justify the desired outcome, instead of ruling on the merits of the case -- how could Congress have made an error, when it was unknown until 2014 that it was even possible to "violate corporate religious rights?"

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Nancy Spillane 3 weeks ago

Ms. Manzanaras: I stand with you on every.single.point. One day we just might get there. I am all for universal health care/single payer/medicare for all. I believe that once insurance companies are removed from being the "middle man," those dollars will actually go to health care. Thank you for your insightful letter.

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David Ihde 3 weeks ago

Eric, you just made my whole point here as to why the Federal Government has no business in healthcare. It was Obamacare that interfered with the religious beliefs of a closely held corporation's owners beliefs not the other way around. It's their money not the government's. And federal government healthcare and insurance has not been around for ages but instead follows in the footsteps of the New Deal which was struck down before miraculously being allowed. The larger point of citizen united was Roberts correct analysis that government has no business regulating political speech no matter where it's coming from.

Your Marijuana analysis is absurd. If they could have just used legislation then why didn't they do that for alcohol?

And yes, that same Court allows local governments to take your property and give it to another private entity for increased tax revenues and call it public purpose when it says public use. Asset forfiture without due process, illegal search and seziers without a warrant based on probable cause when the constitution says upon probable cause you can get a warrant and a tax code that clearly does not square with the 14th. Where in the constitution does it say judges can reinterpret it?

And if you can't figure out that single payer is a takeover of healthcare and the insurance market for it, I can't help you. And yes I did support my statement by rightly pointing out that if they can do that they can take over all industry which is the central component of Fascism. Not what our Founders gave us and certainly not what the commerce clause or any other clause was about. That's not my opinion, that's a fact.

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David Ihde 3 weeks ago

BTW, it's not just Colorado's flawed attempt. California and Oregon voted it down too by wide margins and Vermont couldn't figure out how to pay for it and thus scrapped it. This is the proper arena for such referendums and experiments. I don't see too many states clamoring for it so why should the feds be?

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Michael Bird 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Christine, Can we look at facts. About 80% of healthcare cost is medical leaving 20% administrative. Under a federal single payer system, the total staff (federal) would be paid more than insurance companies pay, receive a defined pension that private industry cannot afford, receive more paid holidays, accrue sick day pay not offered by private industry, receive very expensive and comprehensive health insurance plus have dependents partially paid for, etc. so personnel costs cannot be lower than insurance company's costs. Now let us delete all insurance companies. We end up with a savings of up to ( underline up to ) 15% of ADMINISTRATIVE costs only. To significantly reduce single payer costs, medical costs must be reduced. I repeatedly asked Nancy Spillane, an admirable advocate of A69 or any other proponent to specifically state how our medical costs were to be significantly reduced. No one answered with specific data. None from any single payer proponent. I am not against this idea. I see a lot of merit. I am not interested in hyperbole and would appreciate factual specific concepts such as allowing bidding on pharma, not having every hospital in large metropolitan areas duplicate medical services, limit price increases on pharma, - others must have better ideas that I. The emphasis on those horrible insurance companies who do not try to screw people out of legitimate claims or they'd lose their ass in Court daily and whose stock market return is 30% below the S&P 500 should move on to the 80% majority of healthcare cost - doncha think ?

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Lock McShane 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Michael, single-payer would do more to reduce the costs of procedures with their buying clout than the insurance companies. Insurance makes more money with higher costs; they have no incentive to reduce costs. Providers will save on their costs too, because now it takes more paper pushers than caregivers to handle the complicated insurance system.

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Eric J. Bowman 2 weeks, 6 days ago

"Your Marijuana analysis is absurd. If they could have just used legislation then why didn't they do that for alcohol?"

Huh? Do you not get the difference, that no treaty was involved with alcohol prohibition? That's the reason. MJ prohibition was enacted due to a treaty being signed agreeing to do so, and to quote the Constitution at ya:

"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

There's not even a requirement for a treaty to be constitutional, i.e. it's the other mechanism besides direct amendment for changing the Constitution. This is scary because most Americans are ignorant of this, and pay little attention to treaties, which is how we came so close to adopting ISDS (Investor/State Dispute Settlement) under TPP, abrogating our national sovereignty to international panels of corporate-appointed attorneys who don't give a hoot about our rights as Americans.

So I'm not sure how my comment you quoted is "absurd" given the direct text of the Constitution, and the factual differences between how alcohol and mj prohibition came about?

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Eric J. Bowman 2 weeks, 6 days ago

BTW, in case nobody noticed this:

"Despite divided views towards the 2010 health law, three-fourths of the public think President Trump and his administration should do what they can to make the current health care law work..."

http://kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/kaiser-health-tracking-poll-april-2017-the-fall-of-the-ahca-and-next-steps-for-the-aca/

Which begs the question, is Donald Trump prepared to be the President of the United States of America, or just his supporters?

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Eric J. Bowman 2 weeks, 6 days ago

"BTW, it's not just Colorado's flawed attempt. California and Oregon voted it down too by wide margins and Vermont couldn't figure out how to pay for it and thus scrapped it. This is the proper arena for such referendums and experiments. I don't see too many states clamoring for it so why should the feds be?"

The attraction Americans have for Federal single-payer, and the reason it's unworkable at the State level, is the difference between having one market, and fifty. Why I call State-level single-payer, "fifty-payer."

Can I ask you why you feel I'm undeserving of health insurance coverage until I'm 65, if even then as you also think Medicare's unconstitutional? Or do you have some other solution whereby I don't have to bankrupt myself, my family, or commit suicide if I'm diagnosed with cancer or something? Hardly a farfetched notion, happens every day in America.

I obviously disagree with you that single-payer is a threat to my Freedom, and would think so even if I wasn't more worried about my and my family's LIVES if, say, I was able to acquire health insurance without literally mortgaging the farm.

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Eric J. Bowman 2 weeks, 6 days ago

"It was Obamacare that interfered with the religious beliefs of a closely held corporation's owners beliefs not the other way around."

Yes, it IS the other way around!!! What of Hobby Lobby's employees whose religious convictions aren't opposed to contraceptive coverage in their insurance policies? Why should an artificial legal construct have religious rights which supersede those of its employees? Corporations dictating their religious beliefs to employees, is what I find "absurd."

I don't care if a corporation is "closely held" or not, and there's nothing in that decision which explains why it should make a difference (which is to be expected when political ideology trumps legal precedent). When you incorporate a business, you give up certain rights in exchange for some very tangible benefits, i.e. the "corporate shield" and its associated limitation of your personal liability.

Hobby Lobby wasn't forced to do anything because of ACA. The owners of the corporation ALWAYS have the option to operate without those protections, by NOT incorporating (or un-incorporating). The downside would be higher taxes, plus personal liability if sued by employees on religious-discrimination grounds for trying to impose "corporate religious beliefs" (or even those of its owners) on employees. If you're not willing to face the consequences, then follow the law.

Which is why the Hobby Lobby ruling is so onerous:

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/04/04/court-finds-lgbt-covered-by-civil-rights-act/

If "corporations are people too" and deserve religious freedom, then the courts carve out an exception to prior laws like CRA. Provided a corporation's religious beliefs allow discrimination, it's OK to deny service to minorities? "No Shirt, No Shoes, No White Skin, No Service!" is exactly the reason "corporate personhood" has become so pernicious -- if you want to incorporate, thereby socializing your business risks to every member of society, then I'm sorry but you'll just have to serve every member of society. I wouldn't want to live in a country that's run any other way, any more than I approved of Apartheid in South Africa despite being white at the time.

Nothing more extreme & radical going on in America today, than this notion of allowing corporate discrimination on religious grounds in a country founded, for the most part, on RELIGIOUS FREEDOM for PEOPLE not CORPORATIONS. The biggest assault on personal liberty in this day & age, comes from assigning our rights to artificial legal constructs as if they too possess a soul and a conscience, or a God. Abhorrent, and valid enough reason to filibuster Gorsuch on principle (which anyone with the slightest libertarian impulse should understand if they can get past their political partisanship) even if it does trigger the whiny, childish GOP to invoke the nuclear option.

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Eric J. Bowman 2 weeks, 6 days ago

"The larger point of citizen united was Roberts correct analysis that government has no business regulating political speech no matter where it's coming from."

No, the larger point is that only is possible if corporations are people, too. I will never abide by that concept, even if I may favor some of the resulting decisions, it's just wrong for the Government to grant God-given rights to its own on-paper creation.

You scare me, because if you believe corporations have rights of speech & religion, then by extension you also think they deserve the right to vote. How many votes do you think a corporation should have, btw?

What about robots? Do you think other artificially-created-by-Man entities should have the same rights as human beings? Should robots be declared to have the religious convictions of their owners, freedom of speech, and the right to vote? What about self-driving cars? Should they be allowed to unionize?

Wouldn't it just be simpler, aside from making one helluva lot more common sense, to reject this notion that anybody but human beings has God-given rights? Seems so obvious to me as a point every citizen should agree on, but no, partisan politics gets in the way of common sense, time and time again...

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Eric J. Bowman 2 weeks, 6 days ago

"Asset forfiture without due process, illegal search and seziers without a warrant based on probable cause when the constitution says upon probable cause you can get a warrant and a tax code that clearly does not square with the 14th. Where in the constitution does it say judges can reinterpret it?"

The CSA legislation itself, and the listing of MJ on "schedule I," came about in strict accordance with the Constitution, and even though theoretically it could have, it did not overturn the 4th or 5th amendment, that much we can agree on. Unconstitutionally abused though it may be, the fact remains that there was nothing unconstitutional (only incredibly stupid and shortsighted) about the Controlled Substances Act itself or how it was passed -- only how it's come to be enforced over time.

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Eric J. Bowman 2 weeks, 6 days ago

"And if you can't figure out that single payer is a takeover of healthcare and the insurance market for it, I can't help you. And yes I did support my statement by rightly pointing out that if they can do that they can take over all industry which is the central component of Fascism."

I can't help you, if you can't see that it isn't. What country with government-run health insurance, or even healthcare, doesn't also have private health-insurance and healthcare markets? Once basic needs are covered, it's hardly forbidden for insurers to offer, and consumers to purchase, coverage that even includes elective plastic surgery, or Viagra. Or Doctors' Offices to specialize in those areas. The difference is, the ability to profit over life-and-death basic-care decisions is forbidden to them.

But, for the record, I've never stated my approval of government-run healthcare only government-run health insurance. If that's taking over a market (which I don't believe it to be), then it's a market which shouldn't exist. I believe life-and-death decisions should be made between Dr. and Patient without government insurance, let alone insurance companies, interfering. Because death is always more profitable to an insurer -- why they favored a government insurance-coverage mandate which included healthy young people, so much more profitable.

But you conservatives need to get your arguments straight, in this thread we have one of you stating gummint healthcare is the cornerstone of Communism, and another of you stating gummint healthcare is the cornerstone of Fascism. Which is it, guys? And, seeing as how America is neither Fascist nor Communist (yet, in both cases), why couldn't our single-payer system rise above that and serve all citizens of a diverse nation regardless of their income or political beliefs?

Because the current system, and what came before it, is BROKEN. I'm tired of Republicans just telling the rest of us what we can't have, i.e. health insurance. Unless you think I'm undeserving, which I suspect but just want y'all to come out and SAY, then what's your solution?

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David Ihde 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Nice try Eric, but there was no Treaty when the feds declared pot illegal nationally back in the thirties. But as someone said correctly above, treaties must be Constitutional.

https://www.google.com/amp/reason.com/archives/2014/03/05/is-marijuana-legalization-illegal/amp

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David Ihde 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Nonsense that state single payer is unworkable! Really, how is the European Union doing it? They have a total population similar to ours but every country, akin to our states, does their own healthcare. States are supposed to be sovereign.

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David Ihde 2 weeks, 6 days ago

You are totally confused about the Hobby Lobby decision. Before Obamacare interfered companies were free to offer any benefits they choose including none at all and people were free to work anywhere they wanted. That would include choosing between pay packages and benefit packages. Hobby Lobby provided benefits that they could afford and squared with their beliefs. It's none of your business and none of the Federal Government's business. Again why our healthcare is none of the Federal Government's business. It's a dangerous concentration of power that our Founders did not give the Federal Government.

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David Ihde 2 weeks, 6 days ago

BTW, the ACA interfered with all companies with 50 or more employees regardless of incorporation. It was not Hobby Lobby dictating anything to their employees. It was the ACA dictating to Hobby Lobby. The court got it right.

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David Ihde 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Never said that single payer was the cornerstone of Fascism. I said that if they can takeover an industry like healthcare or health insurance in the name of commerce, Federal Supremacy or such other supposed power granted them by the constitution that they could take over anything and everything which is a central component of fascism. I stand by that statement.

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David Ihde 2 weeks, 6 days ago

My solution is in my letter way way way above where we are now and probably forgotten by all of us. Lol

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David Ihde 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Getting back to marijuana, if the feds can make pot illegal based on the commerce clause, then they can make the food on your table illegal and starve you to death. Before you laugh, you may want to ask a former Soviet citizen that question as I have, whether that could happen here when indeed it did happen there!

Again, the whole point of the constitution, put another way from above, is to never give them power in the first place, not hope they won't abuse that power. History is replete with plenty of examples of abuse.

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Scott Wedel 2 weeks, 5 days ago

David,

Though, with 14th Amendment "equal protection" clause then it would be not be possible to ban one person's or group's food that doesn't ban everyone's food. The law currently bans various things from being consumed such as lead and pesticides.

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David Ihde 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Yes, they could ban everyone's food. Don't think that was the impetus for the commerce clause by our Founders.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 2 weeks, 4 days ago

The joys and sorrows of healthcare.

"You are never going to make everyone happy. Obamacare is unpopular. The GOP replacement was unpopular. Single payer is unpopular. In fact, one searches in vain for a healthcare reform that voters will love.

Americans want widely contradictory things from health-care reform. They want the highest quality care for everyone, with no wait, from the doctor of their choice. And they want it as cheap as possible, preferably for free. At the same time doctors, trial lawyers, hospitals, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, and government bureaucrats are all trying to protect their fiefdoms, hold onto their gains, and shift costs to others. There is simply no way to satisfy all these special interests and produce a health-care plan that will be hugely popular."

from an article in National Review online by Michael Tanner

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Michael Bird 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Loch, Please specifics. Comments such as single payer systems would reduce costs because of their buying power is not specific but another generalization. Do you mean to abolish the prohibition against bidding ? If so, when. And replace it with what ? To reduce medical costs (the 80%of healthcare) do you advocate reducing payments to medical providers ? If so, how so ? Please--For the moment, try to stick with medical costs and not the minority of administrative costs, the 20% (ins cos and self directed plan's staff). For a single payer system, or any system , a reduction of medical costs must occur in order for total costs to be reduced. Proponents of a single payer system and A69 would not answer this question. They always veered back to the bad old ins cos and would not venture into the massive majority of healthcare costs (medical at 80%) and then they couldn't answer basic questions, such as what would the personnel costs be, but would simply answer that they'd be lower. A69 proponents could not even answer what the CEO of CFO salaries would be. To support a plan, one must know the basics of that plan such as detailed costs and timeline. A single payer system may absolutely be the better solution but how can it be supported with "it has to be cheaper than insurance companies " comments with no basis. Federal employee costs compared to private industry costs provide higher, not lower, costs. But if 50% less employees were needed ,there could be a personnel cost reduction but we'll never know UNLESS and UNTIL that information is provided to the public. Why hide it ? If one doesn't have it, say so but don't say it'll be cheaper - just because I said it would. Again, detailed specifics are needed and required, please.

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Lock McShane 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Hi Michael

I will try to address your points.

Abolish the prohibition against bidding

I am unclear what you mean by this. Do you mean by bidding, negotiation of prices? MediCare sets prices and it would be good if they could negotiate drug prices as well. There is no incentive for the insurance companies to reduce costs; if they did, it would reduce the amount of their profits. The insurance companies have done nothing about reducing the cost of procedures.

Administrative costs

You always state the 20% administrative costs of the insurance companies, but never mention the administrative costs to the providers who have to deal with the immensely complex system of insurance billing, which, most of the time, is greater than the admin costs of the insurance companies.Simplifying Billing will do much to reduce costs before it gets to the insurance companies. There should be one price per procedure per provider, no matter who pays, whether it is the patient, the insurance company, MediCare, or MedicAid. This would do much to reduce costs.

Pay discrepancy

There is much debate about the cost differential between Federal and private sector workers.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/federal-eye/wp/2015/10/12/expert-we-have-no-idea-how-federal-pay-compares-to-the-private-sector-so-lets-stop-acting-like-we-do/?utm_term=.19e817862a08

I doubt that this has a large effect on health care prices. And no one in the Federal bureaucracy is getting a multi-million dollar salary that increases costs throughout the system. Does the head of MediCare get millions in salary?

If choice is the best decider, why not let people have the option of buying into MediCare and see which system is more successful?

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David Ihde 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Lock, your claim that insurance companies have no incentive to reduce costs because of a profit motive makes zero sense. Controlling costs is a main component of achieving a profit.

Making all procedures one price also makes no sense as there are different problems associated with all procedures and varying costs for many things around the country including rent.

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Don Thayer 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Bullet points:

YOU want government-run healthcare – WE don't. Trump and Republicans have been elected overwhelmingly to repeal it. House Republicans have voted to repeal the ACA over 40 times, yet they still hold a solid majority after 6 years.

The number of physicians vs administrators since 2007? Under the ACA, a common situation is $5000 +/- in premiums, BUT, if healthcare is necessary, we pay a $6000 deductible (vs $600 previously for me), and THEN, even after paying the deductible, another $6000 co-pay (previously $1200 total for me) before insurance pays. This happened instantly when my policy changed in 2014 due to the ACA. The insurance companies no longer need to deny claims – again, due to the ACA. When we get sick or hurt, we pay all of it unless it's a VERY serious issue. $17000 - per person I might add - per year in addition, is not healthcare.

In the previous “unfair, unregulated, broken system”, regulation required services be provided, regardless of our insurance coverage.

A lot of us DON'T want single payer – we want choice.

The healthcare industry is making money due to the ACA – we are required to buy their product, which also encourages poor customer service - there's no need to provide customer service or be competitive.

We've tried it the old way since the 40's – and it worked for 60 years - yet costs have skyrocketed since 2014 when the ACA really took effect.

There may be plenty of doctors in favor of single payer, but there are ALSO plenty in favor of patient choice.

“The government-paid $60K toilets and $25K hammers went into the pocket of Halliburton” - really? So, since the government is corrupt and abusive, let's give them complete power over the healthcare industry? So now that massive waste goes to the “kind” insurance industry instead of the abusive infrastructure company?

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Scott Wedel 2 weeks, 2 days ago

As for treaties, the legal interpretation is that being proposed by the President and approved by the Senate that they are comparable to laws even though not considered by the House of Representatives. A treaty does not override US laws or preclude the creation of new laws.

Thus, if US laws said nothing about MJ and the US signed a treaty banning it then it would become illegal. But US laws mention MJ and nothing stops Congress from making MJ legal or the Administration from using discretion granted to it under laws to reclassify MJ as a Schedule II drug.

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Lock McShane 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Most Americans want government ensured health care, 60% to 38%.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/01/13/more-americans-say-government-should-ensure-health-care-coverage/

There is no reason to have many different prices for the exact same thing from the same provider, just dependent on who is paying. The same procedure from my provider should cost the same regardless of who is paying. Should City Market charge 10 different prices for the same item depending on who is paying?

I want choice as well; I want to be able to choose MediCare if that is what I want.

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Scott Wedel 2 weeks, 2 days ago

That survey didn't ask if the public wanted government health insurance, but whether public supported government regulations of health care that including preventing excluding coverage for pre existing conditions.

So if you choose MediCare then are you willing to pay Medicare's cost of providing your health care?

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David Ihde 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Drugs at a pharmacy are a known quantity. How long a procedure takes will vary patient to patient with many variables in play. For instance, my lady is going for her second try at breast reconstruction after her second bout with cancer. This time it's going to take two doctors. Now should that cost the same? Is her case exactly like all the others ever done? Not so simple, is it?

Did you know that Medicare denies claims at twice the rate of private insurers? And that more and more hospitals and doctors are not accepting it anymore?

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Lock McShane 2 weeks ago

David, I am saying that the procedure should cost the same for every payer, not that every procedure should cost the same.

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Michael Bird 1 week, 6 days ago

Lock, Thank you for responding and helping start a dialog about cost reductions.We agree that it'd be good if pharma prices could be negotiated but I asked you how that could be specifically achieved since current law prohibits it. According to 20/20, every word of the pharma section of ACA was written by pharma lobbyists. How would you specifically prohibit their power from again influencing a new law, which would be required to change the current process of buying pharma. How would you specifically suggest getting a new law passed ? Again,I asked only for suggestions to lower medical costs and you mentioned possible medical office staff cost reductions from a single payer system, which is a good result, but you failed to mention how to reduce the huge majority of medical costs arising from MD charges, and all other medical providers. If we were to have the costs of the Canadian med system, our MDs would have to incur a huge reduction in income as Canadian MDs are paid much less. If medical providers costs are not reduced, the 80% cost of healthcare cannot be reduced much. For fun, take the salaries of the top 20 health insurance companies CEOs, divide that sum by total healthcare costs, and see how a 70% reduction in their salaries ( or even their total current salaries ) would barely measure on a chart. I, purposely, did not provide these figures because I wanted everyone to be comfortable with the accuracy of the comparison. So now we can go back to the real problem - medical costs need to be reduced and how to do that. In Canada, medical providers are told what they'll be paid. Is that our solution. In single payer systems, pharma is told what they'll be paid, whatcha think ? Loch, significant changes are needed but we all need specifics , without emotion or error ridden data, such as was put out by A69, which completed ignored that an increase of medical costs would obliterate the possible small savings in administrative costs. With factual information, we can hopefully work toward an acceptable solution but, I believe, painful changes may be necessary. Thank you for contributing.

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Michael Bird 1 week, 6 days ago

Christine, FYI - Please call the Colorado Dept of Insurance and you will find that unlike your totally incorrect statement, insurance companies are highly regulated. Each State has a Dept of Ins to enforce and carry out each State's regulations of which there are many. Unlike most industries, insurance companies cannot just charge what they want. The rates, which create premiums must be approved by the CO Dept of Ins -regulated. Did you know a stock market fund cannot take a hit as it is an inanimate object but the fund owners, teachers, pension funds,farmers, your neighbors, etc who own the fund can suffer losses and gains ? Did you know that insurance companies' returns are 30% LESS than the S&P500 ? If you owned a restaurant and the price of food went up 25%, wouldn't you have to increase your prices and pass along that food price increase? If you didn't , you'd be out of business in a very short time. Guess what ? When healthcare costs increase, those increased costs cause an increase in insurance premiums but unlike a restaurant, the increase is highly r e g u l a t e d. Do you understand that insurance companies cannot arbitrarily increase premiums unlike almost any other industry ? It is because they are regulated.

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Lock McShane 1 week, 5 days ago

Yes, we need price controls; it is the only way to bend the price curve down. We will have to change the laws on price negotiation by the payers, since the consumer has no power.

There was a good Fresh Air on Mon. that discusses the problem of health care as Big Business.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/04/10/523005353/how-u-s-health-care-became-big-business

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